Your Kids Need to Think Critically About the Resurrection…Because Secular Media Does Not

by Natasha Crain

This month’s issue of Scientific American magazine features an article by atheist Michael Shermer entitled, “What Would It Take to Prove the Resurrection?” It’s boldly subtitled, “How to think about claims, even the Resurrection.”

Wow! This article in a popular magazine says it’s going to teach us how to think about the resurrection. I couldn’t wait to read it.

It was even worse than I thought it would be.

Every year at Easter time, secular publications feature articles on the resurrection, and every year they’re cringe-worthy.

In this post, I’ll highlight two key ways this particular article actually teaches bad critical thinking, then provide a three-point framework for helping your kids think more logically about the subject.

By the way, if you have time for Easter baskets, egg hunts and egg dying, you have time to have these conversations with your kids. Seriously. This is important.

Bad Thinking 1: Extraordinary Claims Require Extraordinary Evidence

Shermer stakes his argument against the resurrection on a favorite motto of skeptics: Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.

If you haven’t heard this before, it’s a standard line skeptic throw out as an attempted conversation stopper. It’s meant to wave off any supposed evidence for a miracle as inadequate for demonstrating that something as improbable as a miracle actually occurred.

This idea that extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence, however, falls squarely in the category of things that sound good but don’t hold up to logical scrutiny.

While much could be said here, the most important point is this: Why must extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence? Extremely improbable—“extraordinary”—things happen every day, and ordinary evidence is often sufficient for demonstrating that they happened. It’s extraordinarily improbable, for example, that a terrorist attack would happen in a specific place at a specific time. But when investigators evaluate the scene, they look at perfectly ordinary evidence to determine what happened—security footage, weapons at the scene, and the word of eyewitnesses.

“Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence” is not a test we apply in any other area of life. Skeptics use it to subjectively set the evidential bar for miracles so high that no miracle could ever be believed.

That’s not critical thinking…that’s simply maintaining one’s presupposition that miracles don’t happen.

Bad Thinking 2: Proposing Explanations Without Considering Evidence

After saying that extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence, one might expect Shermer to lay out the evidence for the resurrection and demonstrate how that evidence fails to meet his (extraordinary) standard.

He does not.

Without considering any evidence for the resurrection, he simply lists possible reasons the Bible would even report such a thing:

Maybe the eyewitnesses were “superstitious or credulous and saw what they wanted to see.”

Maybe they reported, “only feeling Jesus in ‘spirit’ and over the decades their testimony was altered to suggest they saw Jesus in the flesh.”

Maybe accounts of the resurrection “never appeared in the original gospels are were added later.”

Each of these hypotheses can be strongly refuted, but because I want to focus on Shermer’s proposed method of thinking and not his specific hypotheses, I won’t go into that now. Instead, I want to simply point out that rather than look at historical data and consider what hypotheses best explain the historical facts, he looks at no evidence, lists three hypotheses anyway, then concludes any of these is necessarily more likely than the resurrection…because they don’t involve miracles.

So, to recap, a popular and well-regarded magazine has suggested that the way we should think about a claim like the resurrection is to:

  1. Identify it as a miracle claim.
  2. Accept that any natural explanation is more probable than a miracle explanation.
  3. Reject the miracle claim.

In other words, we’ve just been taught that the way to think about miracles is to assume they aren’t possible. Brilliant!

Sorry, Scientific American, but I’m not impressed.

Please Teach Your Kids to Think More Critically Than This

Parents, we need to do better than this. Our kids need to learn to think more critically than the world around them because they will encounter this kind of poor thinking everywhere. And I assure you they won’t learn this in Sunday School, so the responsibility falls to you. Here’s a 3-point “miracle evaluation” framework every kid should understand. (I talk about this subject in multiple chapters of Keeping Your Kids on God’s Side, so I’ll reference those chapters for each point if you want to read more.)

  1. Are miracles possible?

Shermer, and many skeptics like him, simply presuppose supernatural miracles aren’t possible. They effectively say, “Miracles aren’t possible, so the resurrection didn’t happen.”

Circular logic is not good logic.

Here’s better logic to learn: The possibility of miracles depends on whether or not God exists.

If God exists, supernatural miracles are possible because the supernatural exists. If God does not exist, the natural world is all there is, and supernatural miracles are therefore impossible by definition.

  1. What are the facts surrounding a given miracle claim?

Unless you’re simply throwing out the possibility of miracles because of your prior commitment to atheism, miracle claims must be investigated on a claim-by-claim basis.

In the case of the resurrection, there are four facts that are so strongly attested historically that they are granted by nearly every scholar who studies the subject, including the skeptical ones. Drs. Gary Habermas and Michael Licona lay these out in their book, The Case for the Resurrection of Jesus. Because this is a blog post and not a book, I’m only going to explain each fact briefly. See Habermas’ and Licona’s book for a comprehensive discussion, or chapter 21 in Keeping Your Kids on God’s Side for a summary.

  1. Jesus died by crucifixion.

Jesus’ crucifixion is referenced by several non-Christian historical sources, including Josephus, Tacitus, Lucian of Samosata, and the Jewish Talmud.

  1. Jesus’ disciples believed He arose and appeared to them.

Habermas explains, “There is a virtual consensus among scholars who study Jesus’ resurrection that, subsequent to Jesus’ death by crucifixion, his disciples really believed that he appeared to them risen from the dead. This conclusion has been reached by data that suggest that 1) the disciples themselves claimed that the risen Jesus had appeared to them, and 2) subsequent to Jesus’ death by crucifixion his disciples were radically transformed from fearful, cowering individuals who denied and abandoned him at his arrest and execution into bold proclaimers of the gospel of the risen Lord.”

A skeptic may claim there are natural (as opposed to supernatural) explanations for what happened to the disciples, but very few deny the disciples experienced something that led them to willingly face severe persecution and death.

  1. The church persecutor Paul was suddenly changed.

Paul seriously persecuted the early church (Acts 8:3; 1 Corinthians 15:9; Galatians 1:13; Philippians 3:6). But everything changed when he had an experience with whom he claimed was the risen Jesus (Acts 9). After that experience, he converted to the Christian faith and tirelessly preached Jesus’ resurrection, eventually being martyred for his claims.

  1. The skeptic James, the brother of Jesus, was suddenly changed.

James was not a believer in Jesus during Jesus’ ministry (Mark 3:21,31; 6:3-4; John 7:5). However, 1 Corinthians 15:7 says Jesus appeared to James, and after this alleged resurrection, James was described as a leader of the church (Acts 15:12-21; Galatians 1:19). He, too, was martyred for this belief, as recorded by both Christian and non-Christian historical writings (Hegesippus, Clement of Alexandria, and Josephus).

Again, these are the facts that virtually all scholars agree on…facts which require explanation and facts which weren’t even considered by Shermer.

  1. What is the best explanation for the facts?

In chapter 22 of Keeping Your Kids on God’s Side, I lay out seven theories people have offered to explain these facts:

  • Jesus only appeared to die.
  • The disciples lied or stole Jesus’ body.
  • Someone other than the disciples stole Jesus’ body.
  • Witnesses went to the wrong tomb.
  • The people who saw Jesus were hallucinating.
  • People invented Christianity based on pagan myths.
  • As Jesus’ teachings spread, they were embellished with supernatural details.

As I show in the book, not one of these explanations fits all of the known historical facts. A supernatural resurrection, however, easily accounts for them.

There’s good historical reason to conclude that a supernatural resurrection is the best explanation of the facts if you don’t have a prior commitment to atheism.

As theologian Wolfhart Pannenberg concludes, “The historical solidity of the Christian witness [to the resurrection] poses a considerable challenge to the conception of reality that is taken for granted by modern secular history. There are good and even superior reasons for claiming that the resurrection of Jesus was a historical event, and consequently, the Lord himself is a living reality. And yet there is the innumerable repeated experience that in the world the dead do not rise again. As long as this is the case, the Christian affirmation of Jesus’ resurrection will remain a debated issue, in spite of all sound historical argument to its historicity.”

I don’t expect Scientific American to come to the conclusion that a supernatural resurrection best fits the historical facts because it’s a secular publication. But I would challenge them in the future to present a more thoughtful approach to considering such issues.

I won’t hold my breath for that to happen.

In the meantime, if Christian parents spent as much time talking about these issues as dying Easter eggs, it might not be as much of a concern.

Can we make that happen?

 


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36 replies
  1. TGM says:

    Having a sit-down with the kids to talk about critical thinking sounds like a great idea. Make sure you impress upon them the importance of not equivocating or creating straw men. Natasha clearly does not understand what it means to be ‘extraordinary’. It’s almost comical that she considers both the resurrection and a terrorist attack (even at a specific time and place) to be ‘extraordinary’. She diminishes her own deity so effectively that I should just stop here.
    .
    Sorry, but extremely improbable is not the same as extraordinary. You see, we have violence. We have terrorists. We also have times and places. And we know the mechanisms by which terrorism happens. There is simply nothing extraordinary about natural events in the way that supernatural events are purported to be. We have no experience to suggest that resurrection is within the realm of possibility, except for the bible, which you’re trying to prove. There’s your circularity.

    Reply
    • BEH says:

      TGM, it seems like you’re trying to re-define a word just to support your conclusion. Take, for example, the word “extraordinary”. This word has a specific meaning. It means ‘unusual’, ‘remarkable’, or’ exceptional to a great degree’. Does a miracle qualify based on these accepted synonyms? Absolutely! Does a terrorist attack apply? You bet. If something is highly improbable, does it occur ‘regularly’? No, by definition. So probability is one way to determine if something is extraordinary.

      I will grant you, however, that it depends on one’s point-of-view. For example, is human DNA extraordinary? Well, every living thing has DNA, so DNA itself is not unusual. Every human has human DNA, so again, not unusual or extraordinary. So if we only look from the perspective of ‘now’, then human DNA is not extraordinary. But is its existence likely? From a statistical point of view it’s likelihood is so improbably as to be impossible. Yet here we are! Is human DNA extraordinary? Absolutely!

      What really caught my eye in your response is when you said “There is simply nothing extraordinary about natural events in the way that supernatural events are purported to be.” What ‘way’ is that? It seems like you’re trying to add something to the definition of extraordinary that is simply not there.

      Supernatural events are, by definition, extraordinary. But natural events can also be rare, unusual, and exceptional to a great degree. for example, the fact that human beings exist is extraordinary

      Reply
      • Andy Ryan says:

        A terrorist attack may be an extraordinary event, but it’s not an extraordinary claim to say one has happened. Attacks happen every day around the world. It’s more surprising if no attack happens anywhere in any given week.
        .
        This seems to be a long-winded way of trying to excuse the lack of evidence for the resurrection.

        Reply
      • TGM says:

        So… “exceptional”. Your dictionary recitation is probably adequate, though if our skeptic does not agree with that definition, you’ve spent a lot of cycles realizing you’re not even on the same page. Also, we can get stuck in degrees of extraordinary as I don’t think resurrection-extraordinary is anywhere near terrorist-extraordinary (for reasons I already covered). Andy also makes the notable point that we’re addressing claims, not events.
        .
        Highly improbable things happen regularly all the time. Check your math. Occurrences = probability times chances. You can get frequent occurrences of low probability things if you have enough chances. And they can happen regularly. Supernovas quickly come to mind. I’m sure I could provide more and better examples with more thought.
        .
        As for DNA, I’m not so convinced that DNA is unusual or improbable. We simply don’t know enough yet to determine how unlikely nucleotide accumulation really is. It’s a little bewildering, in any case, when theists talk about probability and chance when they believe it’s all designed and planned out from the start.
        .
        As to what really caught your eye, the “way” of which I speak is simply the difference in our ability to evaluate, investigate, and manipulate the natural world versus the supernatural – which we cannot seem to investigate, nor can we even confirm its existence, describe its properties or even define it usefully.

        Reply
  2. jcb says:

    So this article means well. Yes, critically thinking is a good approach to most issues, including the one about the resurrection.
    It is false to say that using the guideline, “Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence” is “bad thinking”. Rather, this claim is generally, prima facie, true.
    The author says the use of this idea is to stop conversations. While surely this is true for some people, for many atheists this is not. It is simply a reminder of what is true: the resurrection claim is, as theists regularly would say, miraculous, amazing, atypical, i.e., “extra-ordinary”.
    No, asking for much evidence for a grand claim is not “meant to wave off any supposed evidence”. Rather, if one claims that a miracle has occurred, it is reasonable to ask for a lot of evidence, given that miracles such as resurrections are very improbable.
    The author says that asking for such evidence doesn’t “hold up to logical scrutiny.” This charge is false and unsubstantiated. Asking for much evidence is, again, reasonable.
    The author asks, “Why must extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence?” The answer is obvious: if we require hardly any evidence for extraordinary claims, then we will have to accept that Zeus exists, Bigfoot exists, etc. If a little evidence can make a highly improbable claim true, then this is the result. But instead, we should expect more evidence for the extraordinary, precisely because ordinary life shows such claims to be improbable.
    If someone claims that an alien attacked them, this is improbable. It would require much more evidence than normal to prove it is true, given that improbability.
    The author says, ““Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence” is not a test we apply in any other area of life. That is false. The example above demonstrates it. If one claimed to have won the lottery, we would also require more than the usual evidence: there would be a thorough check of the winning lottery ticket, etc.
    The author says, “Skeptics use it to subjectively set the evidential bar for miracles so high that no miracle could ever be believed.” This is largely false. Improbable “miracles” could be believed. But the bar should be high for such things. And it is false to say that this bar is so high that “no miracle could ever be believed”.
    The author seems to want to set the bar so that too many “miracles” will be accepted, when in fact they are not shown to be probable.
    The author is right about this: Shermer would have been more helpful if he laid “out the evidence for the resurrection and demonstrate(d) how that evidence fails to meet his (extraordinary) standard.” If he did, he could have said that resurrections are prima facie highly improbable, and the evidence we have for one resurrection is from assertions from 2000 year old documents, which doesn’t make those assertions probable.
    Again the author is right: Shermer would have done better by considering evidence “for” the resurrection. Failing to do that doesn’t of course show that the resurrection is probable, and no evidence we currently have does make it probable, given what we know about 2000 years of how death works/what happens when you die.
    Shermer’s list of why the Bible might have reported false claims to remind us that most of those things he lists are still more probable than that someone resurrected (as if bodily cremated, as a result of divine intervention by a perfect, supernatural being). It is more likely that the eyewitnesses saw what they wanted to see than it is that a person came back to life after being bodily cremated.
    The author is wrong here: The possibility of miracles does not depend on whether God exists. Miracles are possible, regardless. God’s existence (or non-existence) doesn’t change whether some things are possible or not. Supernatural miracles are possible even if God doesn’t exist If God does not exist, it doesn’t follow that the natural world is all there is. (This is some very sloppy logical reasoning on the part of the author).
    The author then proceeds to make the “minimal facts” case for the resurrection. Nothing about those facts makes it probable that Jesus resurrected, given what we know about life and death/what we’ve learned about biology in the last 2000 years, as well as what we’ve learned about differing cultures, superstitions, creation myths, etc.
    The author then considers several alternate explanations for the 4 minimal facts. The author then says, these explanations don’t “fit” the historical facts. For example, the historical data doesn’t show that the body of Jesus was probably stolen. This is true, but the author fails to realize that this doesn’t make the claim “Jesus was probably resurrected” true.
    The author wrongly asserts, a “supernatural resurrection, however, easily accounts for them.”. Since we don’t know of any supernatural beings, we can’t say a supernatural being easily accounts for/partook in this resurrection.
    The author also wrongly asserts, “There’s good historical reason to conclude that a supernatural resurrection is the best explanation of the facts if you don’t have a prior commitment to atheism.” Rather, if one doesn’t have a prior commitment to theism, one would not have any good reason to conclude that a theistic/supernatural event took place. if we start with what we know: the world exists, people exist, virtually everyone who dies doesn’t resurrect, etc., then it is improbable that a claim of resurrection 2000 years ago is true.
    No, there are not good reasons for thinking that the resurrection probably occurred. Nor would it follow that “the Lord” probably exists if someone did resurrect 2000 years ago.
    So yes, we all should use critical thinking. But if we did, we would see that the evidence we have for a resurrection 2000 years ago is minimal, and the evidence we have that when one dies, they don’t resurrect, is immense, we would conclude that a resurrection probably didn’t occur 2000 years ago.

    Reply
  3. Andy Ryan says:

    “It’s extraordinarily improbable, for example, that a terrorist attack would happen in a specific place at a specific time”
    BEFORE an attack happens, if you’re going to predict that the attack will happen in a specific place at a specific time then people will want strong evidence to back up your claim.
    AFTER the fact, it’s not an extraordinary claim at all. Terrorist attacks happen all the time in all sorts of places.
    This isn’t analogous to a resurrection in any way.
    .
    Here are some alternative explanations for the Bible account of the resurrection being true:
    1. The Disciples fervently believed Jesus was the son of God and that they would go to heaven if they spread the word on him. Therefore they were happy to lie that they’d seen him resurrected and die for that lie.
    2. The Disciples lied for some other reason, and never thought they’d die for it. They were caught and said they’d recant, but were killed anyway
    3. The Disciples were not killed for their claim. Decades after their deaths, their followers falsely said they were martyred.
    4. Some Disciples WERE killed, but for some completely different reasons.
    5. The Disciples were mentally unwell, and convinced themselves they’d seen their friend resurrected.
    6. The whole story about Disciples was made up decades after they supposedly lived.
    Now, you may argue some or all of these are unlikely. But none are impossible and all are much more likely that a man coming back from the dead. You can claim that if the whole story was false, people would still have been able to check the details a few decades later. Well perhaps some did, found it was nonsense, and so didn’t believe. But then others didn’t check, and rejected the claims of those who did. People disagree all the time on claims such as this. Religious cults often get debunked – e.g. their predicted end of the world doesn’t take place – and while many many members will quit, others will cling ever more tightly to their beliefs. Even today when it should be easy to debunk lies, many people just reject the evidence and stick their fingers in their ears.
    .
    At the end of the day, you’re making claims about what a small group of people would or wouldn’t have done 2,000 years ago, when you know nothing about these people and are really on accounts of what happened by other people about whom you know nothing. And you’re resting on these shaky foundations your entire belief about a very unlikely occurrence.

    Reply
    • TVZ says:

      “Even today when it should be easy to debunk lies, many people just reject the evidence and stick their fingers in their ears.”
      .
      I saw you attempt the same thing with Stephen Hawking saying “the law of gravity could have created the universe.” It all depends on our world view. We look for evidence to support our view, imo.

      Reply
      • Andy Ryan says:

        “We look for evidence to support our view, imo.”
        .
        Sounds like you’re agreeing with me then. Unless you disagree that there exist people in the world who’ll cling to dogma in the face of contradictory evidence, you’re agreeing with my point.

        Reply
          • Andy Ryan says:

            Sure – that’s not a position I ever denied, and it’s not one that affects my point either way. The case for the resurrection seems to rest on the idea we can trust a small group of people to have behaved completely rationally and honestly 2,000 years ago, when we know nothing about those people or their motivations.

    • Dalibor says:

      Interesting points you have there. However, based on what I’ve been reading about this subject so far, I would answer you as follows:

      1-4. I’ll try to connect this in one section:
      Not probable for several reasons: Their life up to that point shows strong moral values, lying not being their “tool”. But they were cowards. They left Jesus alone when they came to arrest him. After the resurrection they were scattered scared outcasts, confused and in grief. However, something happens that transforms them so quickly into bold men and women, willing to die, to be mocked, to be tortured, to be at least riduculed etc. for their claims. There are many documents of their deeds regarding spreading the word about Jesus and regarding their troubles because of them, I mean extra-blbical documents as well as Biblical. Scholars agree on that.

      Point 5 – Argument known as “massive halucination theory”, already refuted in several sources by scientists who claim that is impossible for the group of people to have the same halucination, even less likely in different times and ocassions.

      Point 6 – Bible quotations and manuscript copies are well preserved as Greek originals (with few discrepances, totally minor and not changing the stories or messages) all few decades from the Jesus death, which is very short time for that age. Remember that most of it was spread by words, and little by little got composed in writings by different people. This is very very short answer, this subject is huge and easy to look up, I can name few sources if you’d like.

      Best regards

      Reply
  4. Susan Tan says:

    “Thinking critically” is another philosophical buzz phrase that Christians should throw out.

    Philosophy is not the Christian’s teacher. God is.

    And this life is not all about refuting unbelievers for Christians.

    This life for a Christian is all about loving and learning from God so we can love everyone better which includes respecting them.

    Philiosophy is vain like Paul said. Instead of learning critical thinking which is the world’s way Christians should resolve themselves to learn God’s way so He can build the mind of Christ in them.

    A false version of heaven has been perpetrated in the Christian world because many early Christians married Platonism to Christianity.

    But God’s view is Hebraic not Platonistic so we need to throw all the worldly philosophical thinking out of the Church and focus exclusively on the thoughts of God as expressed in the Word of God so we can take every thought captive and obedient to God as we are directed in the New Testament to do.

    We don’t need to think like second rate philosophers when we can pattern our thinking on God’s.

    So we need to get back to God and start learning some Hebrew and Greek and Aramaic for a change then maybe Christianity would not be riddled with so much doctrinal error.

    Who cares what Shetmer thinks? He is a man.

    I care what the great Holy Infallible Yahweh thinks who is my father and came to redeem me to restore me to think more like Him along godly lines.

    I don’t give a damn what an unholy, ungodly person determined to undermine God’s fatherhood of the human race thinks SO I learn to tune the ungodly rebellious ones always trying to communicate their lies and rebellion out SO I CAN better tune Into God.

    We need to stop pampering and making so much out of our old carnal minds which are doomed to die and let God build the mind of Christ in our children through the Word of God.

    When we do that we also tune out the world’s 3 great idols: education, science and government which people now make way too much of thinking they will solve human problems when a Christian knows God is in control.

    So why surrender your mind to thinking along inferior worldly lines when the Holy Spirit is your tutor Christian!

    I don’t give a damn what Plato thought. I don’t give a damn what Nietzsche thought. I don’t give a damn what Shetmer thinks. All these people show is their inferior human thinking when God will build the mind of Christ in His people and the mind of Christ is a spiritual mind and superior to any old broke down human mind that spends all it’s time self obsessing about problems instead of solving them through the mind of Christ.

    Why are we studying the thinking of dead men at all when we have the active and living Word of God containing His thinking and plans and changes for us right now?

    I am so sick of the ungodly, weakminded, fearful rebellious communicating their weak minded rebellion that I don’t want to hear at all how a Shermer stayed a rebellious spiritual failure and a weakminded individual.

    Shetmer could have learned from God, too but instead all he ever did was spew weak minded ideas all over the place communicating error and rebellion to people confusing them.

    So get the philosophy out of Christian homes and set up God’s thinking in pride of place.

    Why is any Christian wasting time correcting a backward human thinker who refused to listen to God?

    Teach your kids to invest their time wisely with God and tell them to throw all the weak minded thinkers who don’t even know God but who want to plant their weak minded rationalizations out.

    The minds of people are like gardens and need tending that is why we have to carefully pick what ideas we entertain in them and meditate on daily.
    Because God is reproducing His children not worldlings.

    God’s ways are mentioned all over the Bible and the prophets and God’s family are always raised God’s way not the world’s way. It is when a Christian allows himself to be distracted by the world and it’s foolish ways that we get in trouble.

    Don’t let the world meddle with your children. Just tell the kids to obediently listen to God without distraction until they understand.

    Feed your kids the scriptures not philosophy until they become a full measure of a man.

    Why did homeschooling start up? Isn’t it because the world’s schools could not raise our kids in God’s way?

    Now a lot of Christians are sending their kids off to public school not even knowing when the next weskminded crazy worldling will walk into the school and start shooting the kids.

    The world is an epic careening failure right now. Letting people murder babies. Thinking people want to watch it’s evil minded carnality or entertain it’s evil ideas.

    We need to take our Christian minds back from the world and come out of it so we can maintain some separation from it’s unholy ideas.

    Minds are like sponges they can absorb dark ideas that twist the minds out of shape so you have to learn to exert your God given will to push the world’s darkness and confusion away something Shetmer never learned to do because he is too
    worldly.

    In summary don’t be like the world or a Shetmer. Rebel against the world and it’s insanity and listen as exclusively as possible to God. Too many of the people alive in the West are almost exclusively the products of too worldly an education.

    So get back to God because He produces the best people. He produced all the prophets and disciples didn’t He? So go back to Him and make sure He notices you so He will handpick you too like He did them.

    Shermer never noticed all the handpicking God does. He’s too skeptical to take direction from God or consult Him to notice but you can’t get him to shut up and stop spewing his spiritually blind confusion and error all over the place.

    So tune him out and turn him off and tune into God for a change.

    Christian radio is a gazillion times better to listen to then Shermer’s self edifying trash.

    So listen to that for a change until God cleans your dirty sponge of a mind out and confirms your mind to His more perfect one.

    Hope this clarifies. God bless everyone reading and take your mind back and focus on God and not the unholy world for a change skeptics! What you want to let this world steal your peace and drive you crazy?

    Think about it! Don’t argue at all without meditating in the Word long and deeply.

    Reply
    • bob says:

      SUSAN TAN says:
      This life for a Christian is all about loving and learning from God so we can love everyone better which includes respecting them.
      .
      …and then she says…
      .
      I don’t give a damn what an unholy, ungodly person determined to undermine God’s fatherhood of the human race thinks…
      .
      I don’t give a damn what Plato thought. I don’t give a damn what Nietzsche thought. I don’t give a damn what Shetmer thinks.
      .
      I am so sick of the ungodly, weakminded, fearful rebellious communicating their weak minded rebellion that I don’t want to hear at all how a Shermer stayed a rebellious spiritual failure and a weakminded individual.
      Shetmer could have learned from God, too but instead all he ever did was spew weak minded ideas all over the place communicating error and rebellion to people confusing them.

      .
      Why is any Christian wasting time correcting a backward human thinker who refused to listen to God?
      .
      Christian radio is a gazillion times better to listen to then Shermer’s self edifying trash.
      .
      Hope this clarifies.
      .
      Oh, Susan, it “clarifies” more than you can possibly understand. Thanks you for this.

      Reply
      • Susan says:

        Good. I never said I didn’t care about a person. I said I didn’t care any more what many think. They need to scrap what the world taught them and learn from God. But most won’t they are too busy making apples equal oranges when they don’t they are entirely two different things.

        Hope this clarifies.

        Personalization or taking things too personally is a problem for some people.

        That’s why we are told to tell the truth in love but even when doing that some people refuse or can’t understand. It could be they need things spelled out more plainly like I did above whether they take things the wrong way or not.

        And if you ever saw a bit how different perspectives influence interpretations then you might even agree with me that we need to get God’s perspective right before subjecting Him to varied philosophical interpretations but it happened anyway and a lot of people never probably realized they applied the wrong perspective when they did it.

        Have a blessed day, Bob.

        Reply
        • TGM says:

          Personally I was drawn to the word “respect”. You can try to walk back the vitriol however you’d like Susan, but we’ve all witnessed the ostensible Christian respect in your rant. Nice one Bob.

          Reply
          • Susan says:

            Sorry to disappoint but sometimes I get into a stream of consciousness that I consider prophetic. I know you unbelievers don’t believe in prophecy but you’ve probably never felt or noticed the Spirit feeding you ideas either. With all the prophetic witness in the Bible you would think if you unbelievers really wanted evidence then you would study this phenomena but afaik you don’t. You just rationalize it away or dismiss it or are unaware that it exists. Sometimes you just play arm chair psychiatrist and call Christians delusional not even realizing the mind of Christ is operational in a lot of people to varying degrees manifesting in different gifts or talents.

            It would be better if you could get the mind of Christ then maybe you would understand instead of judging people with no real experience of what you are judging.

            I actually know people who experienced the baptism of the Holy Spirit.

            Of course, as an unbeliever you probably don’t move in the circles where such things happen.

            But experience is a type of knowledge to some degree and it is strange that skeptics disavow the experiences of other people that they cannot know themselves unless they seek to know them. But seeking requires a seriously dedicated good heart motive that is not replaceable by cold headed detached scientific reasoning. It is hard to relate to another person when one is overly detached and God is a Person and a relationship with Him is formed through attachment not detachment.

            Science requires detachment so it is the wrong medium in which to approach God but good luck getting a determined unbeliever to understand he is going about things the wrong way

            So why argue over something you were never motivated to discover deeply and personally.

            You thought you would attempt to throw out other people’s experiences and evidence with no effort whatsoever on your own part.

            You unbelievers are clueless. You are all spiritually blind and need to seek relationship counseling because you are so hardened and insensitive to God now that you can’t form a life changing relationship with Him.

            Take care. I wish
            you all the best TGM.

            I can be as detached as anybody studying people. I should have been a counselor because I have the detachment to stay neutral while studying and suggesting solutions to other people’s problems.
            So I am telling you unbelievers could have serious attachment issues and it is worth you personally examining and researching yourself.

            Read Curt Thompson’s Anstomy of the Soul. The unbelievers approach to God is all wrong. It would bother you not to be able to make relationships in the real world and it is probably subconsciously bothering you spiritually too but you are so busy trying to deny it by arguing and making an intellectual issue out of what is essentially your own relationship formation problem.

            I hope this helps. I know a lot of unbelievers are very knowledgeable about this world but you may not be that knowledgeable about yourselves. It could be you like to escape the difficult subjective questions about yourself by solving objective problems like evidence that you feel more comfortable with.

            Have a blessed day.

          • bob says:

            Susan said: Sorry to disappoint but sometimes I get into a stream of consciousness that I consider prophetic.
            Oh, don’t apologize, and I wasn’t disappointed at all. All you did was offer more confirmation of what I have known for years as an atheist – and that is this – Christians claim to be “controlled by” or “influenced by” or “led by” a “Holy Spirit”, and yet they prove over and over again that they are incapable of behaving any better than your average non believer.
            Your “prophetic stream of consciousness” was simply a mundane and predictable display of hatefulness toward anyone who dares to criticize your beliefs. That – my lady, is the core of Christianity – so congratulations – you have proven that you are a “True Christian”.

  5. Susan says:

    Where did you earn the right to criticize anyone’s beliefs Bob?

    I make no bones about it. The Bible doesn’t talk of critical thinking. It talks about wisdom and discernment and maybe people could keep things straight if Christians would use biblical terminology instead of philosophical terms.

    Also God says to take every thought captive and to meditate on whatever is lovely.

    A Christian exists. We don’t have to prove a thing to people who are determined to replace our subjective and objective truth with their own ideas.

    My beliefs are reviewed by myself and were never subject to strangers revisions. Read the other Scientific American article. It is the critical thinkers who are more prone to over analysis and destroying their own beliefs. The intuitive thinkers are better at keeping their’s attack.

    I will think for myself along with God who regularly proves His wisdom to me and you as a separate individual have the right to be less discriminating.

    I have always had faith in my ability to spot the expert and on the spiritual the ultimate expert would be God and no one else.

    So keep consulting the spiritually illiterate trying to deny the spiritual if you wish and see how that turns out for you. But I think you have things backwards.

    Just sayin. Have a nice day.🌈

    Reply
    • bob says:

      Susan said: Where did you earn the right to criticize anyone’s beliefs Bob?
      You are just as adept at criticizing the beliefs (or lack of belief) in others as I am of criticizing yours. You do it consistently and constantly right here on this forum. Do you see that?
      .
      I hope you can see that, when a person (YOU) publicly pronounces their religious beliefs on a publicly accessible internet forum, they (YOU) are INVITING criticism from people (ME) who disagree with those religious beliefs (claims and justifications). If you don’t like having your religious beliefs questioned and / or criticized, then just go away. Just stop posting. If you stop posting absurdities, no one will criticize your absurdities.
      Have a nice day.

      Reply
      • Susan Tan says:

        Bob, if your mind is made up why not stick to a likeminded atheist blog?

        You are a private individual who represent yourself.

        I am an evangelically minded Christian who is God’s representative on Earth having been given the task by God to deliver the Gospel to the world. It is a legal right as God owns everything by right of creation including you. Jesus Christ broke Satan’s illegal claim at the Cross.

        So if you leave this forum I will leave off exhorting you. I have not been forcing my beliefs on anyone. I have the gifts of help and a teacher-counselor disposition so I try to help people who I think are making a mistake.

        Read John 3. Jesus Christ said you MUST be born again and he came down from Father and died to make sure everyone receives the right to be born again which is your first and most basic right.

        You don’t understand this right was designed by God to be relationship based and good relationships are based on trust, love and respect so I am explaining to you how to get the relationship. It will require some effort on your part.

        Now if you as a private person don’t want to be born again you should exhibit some self control and leave this board.

        I am acting in my official capacity as a Christian while you are just a private individual hanging out where you don’t belong because you like being divisive.

        I have the reason and authority as God’s ambassador for walking into any opposing stronghold on Earth to deliver God’s message but you don’t. I have it because Christ is the reigning legitimate authority as King of kings on Earth and he has delegated to his disciples the authority to represent him to His subjects.

        I understand you don’t believe in God’s authority so you are on the internet communicating your sentiments to anyone.

        But if you don’t know how to love God or understand His documented position and plan in the Bible then you should be quiet until you gain understanding if you are incapable of actively seeking God.
        Because you are just sowing confusion and because God is keeping track of every one of your words and deeds.

        You need to stop arguing and study why human attachment is so important especially in respect to a relationship with God.

        If you don’t have a relationship then you can get one but sooner or later it will involve repentance, too.

        If you delay or refuse to understand that God loves everyone how can that really benefit you. Doesn’t it leave you feeling insecure and unsteady trying to force your human will on people to relieve the psychological pressure through argumentation and non-stop analysis of others i.e. Christians behavior rather than examining yourself as Christ tells everyone to do.

        If you were really secure as an atheist there would be no need to troll anyone for cheap laughs, Bob, you would be content in all circumstances without laughing at anyone else’s expense.

        But it could be you troll because it at least keeps you in the vicinity of God because you don’t feel totally secure in your atheistic decision.

        So look into the relationship attachment issue, Bob, and stop sabotaging yourself relationally.

        Didn’t God say He loves the world and aren’t you a part of His world?

        You need to start doing the deep subjective thinking to get secure in God’s family and be adopted into it and stop ranging like an insecure spiritual orphan on the internet when you don’t have to. Just accept God at His Word and stop letting doubters and insecure haters project their doubts into your mind. You need to learn to rest secure in God to have His personal peace. These doubters and haters are denying you God’s peace by projecting false claims into your natural mind so you need to learn to cleave to God both in your thought life and your emotions.

        Have a blessed day! Hope this helps. Everyone has to wrestle and do the self analysis to establish and maintain their relationship with God but some people are better at facing it than others are.

        Why wouldn’t you want an Omni-benevolent Father, Bob, when you already have Him. It is just something in you that refuses to acknowledge the relationship so you personally must work that issue out. Consider yourself the prodigal son and go home to God, Bob, while you still can.

        God Bless!

        Reply
        • bob says:

          Susan said:
          I am acting in my official capacity as a Christian…
          Please accept my apology – I had no idea you were “official”. But would I be out of order if I asked to see your “official” Christian badge or ID?
          .
          …while you are just a private individual hanging out where you don’t belong…
          Can you show me in the blog rule book where it states “Unless you agree with every ridiculous claim made by Susan, you don’t belong here.”
          .
          Susan, have you ever tried, while reading some of the responses from your detractors, asking yourself if they might actually have a point? Try it. In stead of typing out an epistle that no one will respond to (let alone actually read), try just reading, as dispassionately as you possibly can, some of the criticisms aimed in your direction, and then just contemplate what is being said.
          If you can’t do that, due to some psychological malady, or you won’t do that, because you are to brainwashed to care, then for your own sake I suggest that you at least try to limit your responses to a few sentences at most. Anything beyond that is a total waste of your time.
          Just a suggestion.

          Reply
          • Susan Tan says:

            I applied for ordination in 2015, Bob, but got used to flying solo on the Net a long time ago.

            I have been working for free for God for a long time now Bob and I don’t think He wants me reading the criticisms of men so He can lead me. I already have a strong capability for self analysis and criticism and know I am not yet perfect but still God uses me for His work in the world.

            You have to be careful not to be overly critical though it could degenerate into a critical spirit that tears you apart.

            We are all after love, joy and peace in the human soul after all but some have more challenges than others.

          • Andy Ryan says:

            I’ve given up trying to work out who they’re aimed at. I just scroll past them and I’m pretty sure even the other Christians are doing the same. She’s not trying to convince US, perhaps it’s just herself she’s trying to convince.

          • bob says:

            Susan said: We are all after love, joy and peace in the human soul after all but some have more challenges than others.
            Susan, can you see that this claim of yours does not match up AT ALL with the tirade of yours that I quoted a couple days ago, that included this example: I don’t give a damn what an unholy, ungodly person determined to undermine God’s fatherhood of the human race thinks…?
            .
            Susan said: …and I don’t think He wants me reading the criticisms of men so He can lead me.
            Then why are you here reading “criticisms of men”? If you don’t think God wants you reading my responses to your claims, why are you reading them? Susan – for the love of all that is rational, can you not recognize your own hypocrisy?
            .
            Andy said: I’ve given up trying to work out who they’re aimed at.
            Can you teach me how to do that Andy…just give up…?
            .
            r.u.reasonable@gmail.com

  6. Susan says:

    Oops meant to say “their’s intact” above.
    But you have different brain types and some people are more intuitive and some are more logical.

    Reply
  7. Susan Tan says:

    Maybe I am like John the Baptist, Andy. A voice crying in the wilderness of the internet. Repent and be baptized.

    Spiritual self analysis and birth all start by being able to focus on God in His Word and some people’s focus is more divided and disrupted by the world’s ideas than others.

    Really by all this constant arguing you are denying yourself the ability to understand God in a deeply subjective experiential way which IS self knowledge.

    I knew from history sin exists.

    I know from Jesus words that he is telling the truth.

    I know from reading the Bible that God is the Great Psychiatrist as well as the Great Physician and He is telling us to tend to Him so He can tend to our hearts and souls but some people let the lies and roots of bitterness and the critical spirits crowd out God in their hearts until they can hear Him no longer. That is what deep seated carnality allows to happen to people.

    So Christ says “examine yourself ” and use the Sword of my Spirit to cut yourself free from all the worldly deception. He came to adopt everyone for God but this world likes to lie to people in all sorts of ways so after a while they throw Christ under the bus while they buy deeper and deeper into this world’s lies.

    The only way to uncover a lie is through seeking the truth and personal investigation, isn’t it?

    So stop tuning God out and focusing on the world so much. The world is a whore that will tempt you but dump you without any personal peace at all when the going gets tough in this world. Why do you think Joseph ran from Potiiphar’s wife? Temptation like greed doesn’t satisfy long. Only the peace of God that passes understanding lasts forever.

    But God will adopt you and treat you like family.

    2 Timothy 1:7 New King James Version (NKJV)

    7 For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.

    The Bible verses were given to us by Christ to feed us into spiritual maturity something everyone needs.

    Peace Be With You, Andy!

    Reply
  8. Susan says:

    Bob I don’t consider that a tirade. That is the gift of exhortation manifesting itself.

    Seriously, you don’t think subjecting and putting your mind under the yoke of unbelievers thinking didn’t take a toll on your own mind increasing spiritual darkness?

    Our minds are delicate and the wrong thoughts can over run and rule our minds if we let them😇.

    I know you won’t like Joyce Meyer but she has a book called Battle Field of the Mind. If we think the wrong thoughts it can sabitage us spiritually and in this lifetime.

    Why does cognitive behavioral therapy exist? Isn’t it because mind problems exist from people learning to think bad thoughts that repeat but should not if we can learn enough self control to dismiss them.

    God was teaching people cognitive behavioral therapy by replacing our evil dysfunctional carnal thoughts with His own more godly promises along time ago then He told us start tending to our own minds in conjunction with His spirit. If you can take every thought captive then how can an evil thought rule over you and direct you to evil actions?

    But faith is a growth as well as a role modeling process so a Christian while he is still growing up is trying to meet God’s standards but we all have issues. No one but Christ ever came perfect into this world. Even Adam was only good.

    So if God came to Earth to give people the best role model possible why do so many disagree with Him doing that?

    Jesus said to look inside ourselves to self correct our own errors under His guidance.

    Still he has covered every sin. Past, present and future.

    Hope this helps.

    Reply
      • Susan says:

        Well don’t give up. Seek enlightenment and that requires getting a relationship with God.

        If you can’t get a relationship going with God then how can you receive His revelation?

        People that have established relationships want to give you revelation but they have things backwards. You need the relationship first but someone has trained you to saw off your relationship with God before it can start.

        So why argue with someone in a personal relationship with God? You don’t have the experiential knowledge to take them on?

        God Bless and remember to ask, seek and knock and the door will be opened.

        Reply
        • Susan says:

          Really think about it, Bob. If a Christian exists then don’t we prove faith exists.

          There is your first proof.

          Take it and go seek.

          What are you waiting for a special invitation from God? He already gave the world His son and general revelation too focus on so we can see the truth of the matter.

          Reply
          • bob says:

            Think about it“…? That is the reason I am no longer a bible believer…I thought about it. The last thing Christians want people to do is “think about it”. Thinking, with regard to unsubstantiated religious claims, inevitably leads to skepticism, which leads to doubt, which leads to rejection.
            .
            “Believing is easier than thinking. Hence so many more believers than thinkers.”
            –Bruce Calvert
            .
            If a Christian exists then don’t we prove faith exists.
            ? What are you talking about? Of course, faith exists…as a response in the mind of the faithful. Who said it doesn’t exist?
            .
            Susan, you are a nut.

  9. Susan says:

    The minds of the faithful are the enlightened minds Bob.

    Too bad you can’t use your own mind to locate spiritual truth but sit up on boards denigrating people more enlightened than you.

    It is when revelation is controlled or denied that mental darkness ensues and all you do is deny God and want to meddle with other people’s enlightenment.

    Logic is not the only way of reasoning. Some people intuit.

    You can misuse your reason too so it should not be idolized either.

    I am so happy to just believe because it puts me on the path of enlightenment that leads to spiritual knowledge.

    All you need to believe is a witness but you denied the witness Bob so you could honor your own reason and you reasoned to an incorrect conclusion that keeps you in the dark.

    Oh well maybe some day you will see the error of your ways and repent.

    So sorry your mind could not seize on such an obvious concept as a witness and accept it.

    You did not accept God and now you are cut off with an unenlightened mind.

    I guess you desired to ignore God so you destroyed His witness.

    Done here. I can’t learn spiritually important things from someone unenlightened can I?

    Do you have any idea how many atheists argue from self made positions of ignorance and confusion?

    I have lost count of the number of them asking which religion is right. That is unenlightened.

    You turned off the light. Shot yourself in the head intellectually then come over to a Christian site and want to teach them how to extinguish God and the light and life He brings and are proud of your own ignorance.

    I am not saluting your misuse of your God given mind.

    I hope you repent because you purposefully and deliberately rejected God based on a rejection of the evidence to serve your own ego and self and that is hardened in sin like God says and warns us against becoming.

    I hope I never become so sinful that I make the reasoning mistakes you make, Bob.

    Now run along now. I am not buying the pack of lies you tell yourself as good logic.

    Reply
  10. Susan says:

    Many Christians think it is important to think critically. Because many have logical brain types.

    But some people have intuitive brain types.

    The logic dominated brain types always insist on critical thinking but people can pray to God for the gift of discernment.

    Which is better? A supernatural spiritual gift or training your carnal mind to think critically?

    We only have to rely on critical thinking in the absence of a more fully formed spiritual mind.

    So we need to get the mind of Christ then know how to use the Sword of the Spirit. It is an offensive weapon given by God to cut to the heart of a matter. A Christian’s weapons are spiritual not earthly so we had better be able to learn to distinguish between the natural and the spiritual.

    Reply

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