Initial Thoughts on the 2nd Dan Barker vs. James White debate…

First blog post in MONTHS!

Well, I just got off the AOMin chat channel and finished listening to the White/Barker detate that happened.  It was a little over 3 hours, and it was definitely quite the show.  Right off the bat, I’m not going to pretend that I remembered everything that was said (and won’t suggest that my representation of the debate is factually inerrant in any way), but here’s my synopsis:

1.  Dan comitted a fatal error right off the start.  When White started his opening statement, Barker interupted him and pleaded for a point of order; he asked that White would not quote from his own book Godless.  Why?  Barker essentially has changed some of his positions from the book (released in 2008) and doesn’t want to have to defend some of the things that he’s changed his mind on.  Ironically, the book was apparently for sale on the merch table at the debate though.  Fatal error is an understatement.  Barker came to the debate and brought his latest book, but protested to his opponent actually refering to his published offerings on the subject.  If Barker is still in transition on the issues of the debate, selling his book at the debate while admitting it’s error is both a marketting flaw and a debating seppuku.

White rightly remarked that he’d never heard of anyone doing that in a scholarly debate.  Usually, people desire to have people quote their books (as opposed to some T.V. interview, or some sound bite, or a blog post, etc.).  It seems that when a person writes a 400 page book on an issue, they’re relatively confident on the subject matter and have done enough thinking about the issue to think it’s worth publishing, for the benefit of the world at large.  Barker is a bizarre exception to this rule.

2.  Barker got horribly outgunned by White on the various source texts that are used to establish the Isis/Mithras/Osiris issue, as well as the supposed Christian borrowing from those texts for the creation of the “Jesus Myth”:

  • First, White knew the source material and had done original language work that adequately challenged the translation of some of the source documents.  Barker apparently does not know Greek enough to simply read a Greek text without helps, since he had nothing to say about White’s interpretative points stemming from original language work.
  • Secondly, White commented on the parallels and showed how utterly non-parallel they are; i.e Osiris was “resurrected”, but this really means he was hacked to pieces and sewn together and ultimately became a zombie.  Not quite as similar to the resurrection of Christ as many people attempt to portray it.
  • Barker admitted that the Old Testament’s essential message was one of how the Israelites were constantly flirting with idolatry; thus he made the effort to show how the Israelites were familiar with paganism and attempted to incorporate it into Judaism.  White responded by pointing out that the univocal response to paganism in the OT was one of disgust; the prophets consistently and constantly showed a hatred of paganism in all its beliefs and practices.   Also, the paganism was essentially set by the leadership; i.e. when a king was bad, the nation was bad (idolatrous like Ahab or Manasseh), but when the leadership was good, the nation was good (non-idolatrous like David or Josiah).  It’s very hard then, knowing how completely “anti-idolatry” the Jews were after the Babylonian captivity, to suggest that anyone in Judaism would support what would have clearly been idolatrous concessions, if early Christians were Jews stealing from paganism to make up their Christianity.  The Jews, especially the leadership (Pharisees and Sadducees), would have condemned any pagan concessions, and the early Jewish converts would have gone with them in condemning the ‘psuedo pagan message’ that the Christians were delivering.  This is not the case with Christ though.  Everyone knew he was a miracle worker, and the historical records of the gospel suggest blasphemy where Christ said he was God.  This was an utter attack against the Jewish monism that was found nowhere in preceding paganism.  The 1st and 2nd century Jews knew that Christianity was new and different, but nobody thought it was a reversion to, or new version of, pagan idolatry.  Many things were rightly said of early Christianity by the Jews, but ‘pagan rip off’ was not one of them.
  • Barker completely abandoned this topic in both of his Q&A periods, which is telling.  Barker used his Q&A time to pursue obvious ad hominem arguments; namely the idea of Young Earth Creationism and ideas surrounding Mormonism and their “scriptures”, attempting to establish evidences of inconsistency with White.  The YEC questions were simply attempting to show that White was a crack pot, and Barker didn’t go near Mithraism/Isis/Osiris, etc. in his Q&A time.  In channel, everyone was consistently asking “Why is he changing the debate subject?” and “Why is he using such obvious rhetorical traps and ad hominem arguments?”

3.  Barker started off the debate attempting to give proof that Christianity stole from pagan sources to manufacture the “Jesus story” but ended up the debate reverting to a pleading for uncertainty.  He closed his final statement suggesting that White looks for “proof” when you cannot prove anything, suggested that Christianity is unprovable, his atheism is equally unprovable but more rational (though he abandoned any form of reasoning, outside of ad hominem attacks against White, to show how it is more rational), and gave the standard “I only believe in 1 less god than you” line.  Barker was on the ropes, and it seemed like he knew it.  I was wondering where his notorious “capital ‘A’ atheism” (I’m going to prove that God does not and can not exist…) went by the end of the debate.

I’m guessing that’s why the “Jesus never existed” camp is so utterly small (what, >10 biblical scholars support that, if that?), and why the “Jesus is entirely a concoction from earlier pagan myths” camp is not much bigger (what, >100 biblical scholars, if I’m being generous?).  The first position, when thrown in the ring of actual debate and when demanded to present its factual evidence in the face of articulate and informed rebuttal, is simply atrociously weak and utterly indefensible.  The second position, when thrown in the ring of actual debate and when demanded to present its factual evidence in the face of articulate and informed rebuttal, needs to rest in ambiguity and has to completely ignore the numerous glaring differences between Christ and the pagan ideas in order to argue for precious few tiny similarities.

The web groups that applaud things like Zeitgeist are essentially filled with high-school level skeptics who are incompetent critical thinkers that are allergic to self-critical examination, and the whole “Jesus never existed” and  “Jesus is a concoction of pagan components” positions are built upon bizarrely improbable skepticism stacked upon bizarrely improbable skepticism stacked upon bizarrely improbable skepticism.   Let’s face it; the majority of people who support the latter position on a popular level, have no training in anything relevant to anything biblical (Ancient Near Eastern History, Religious Studies, Classical or Semmitic languages, let alone Biblical studies, theology, exegesis, biblical languages).  I think that’s why biblical scholarship (i.e. the SBL or…*cough* the ETS) currently has less than a dozen scholars who positively defend the position as opposed to the thousands of currently active biblical scholars who, although they represent a wide variety of opinions about Jesus, recognize that he was a figure who was not simply a figure built from the lego blocks of the paganism that came before.

Anyway, those are my initial thoughts.  I look forward to none of the coming comments, knowing who usually comments on this sort of stuff!  Hooray!

Until Next Time,

The Armchair Theologian

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24 thoughts on “Initial Thoughts on the 2nd Dan Barker vs. James White debate…

  1. Oh Brian! You’re more than welcome to comment here any time! I’m glad my ramblings gave you an idea about the content of thee debate.

    It was seriously strange. I kinda felt bad for Barker, since he was off his game, right from the start. Then again, I don’t pity anyone who shows up for a public, moderated, scholarly debate unprepared.

  2. I am interested to find out how Barker’s debate with Matt Slick went as well. In doing a quick search on the debate, it seems the debate was happening the same day. If you find the audio pop up anywhere, let me know.

    Barker has debated so many times I suppose it is easy for him to just get comfortable with reciting the same mockery every time. However, White seems to pour himself fully into every debate as far as preparation goes.

  3. I’m really interested in the Slick vs. Barker debate too, Brian. I heard of Slick probably a decade ago, but I’ve never really researched much at CARM. From what I know, he’s a competent apologist. I’d be interested to hear him interact with Barker.

    As for Barker, I totally agree. He’s got a basic “boiler plate” argument that he takes everywhere, and it’s pretty much 80% emotional manipulation and “intellectual hugs” for the atheists. I got interested in him this past spring, but I’m really losing interest in Barker. He doesn’t have much of a case and doesn’t have much to say that stands up to actual research. He doesn’t seem to know biblical languages enough to make them useful (i.e. he knows the alphabet enough to read the words, but he doesn’t have a clue about lexicography or syntax), and he doesn’t really know how to do research (he seems to think that consistently quoting the most absurdly fringe element, on any issue, and ignoring the strongest counter arguments from your detractors, is presenting a strong case for a position).

    White consistently reads and studies his opponents in detail, preparing for a debate while building cases against any and all of the arguments that he can find.

    Barker (and a lot of the popular “ex-most-Christian-guys-ever” atheists) thinks that he’s “been there, done that” with the entirety of Christian theology, thus he thinks that he doesn’t have to prepare anything beyond a long list of simplistic bible ‘contradictions’ and a few logical arguments, all of which emerge from (usually basic) misunderstandings.

    Barker came from an amazingly shallow strain of pseudo-Christianity (the “word faith” movement), and thinks that all of (true) Christianity is equally as shallow.

    I used to be a “word-faith” (friendly) charismatic too, years ago…

    Both Barker and I left the pseudo-Christianity that we were associated with…

    Barker became a more consistent atheist.

    I got saved from the coming wrath of God against sin by the penal-substitutionary death of Jesus Christ on my behalf.

  4. So Barker objects to his own published works, on the topic at hand, being referenced in a public debate where he also is *selling* that book in the back.

    “Don’t quote my book…I may have changed my mind”

    That’s about as amazing as it gets.

    “A fool’s mouth is his undoing, and his lips are a snare to his soul.” – Proverbs 18:7

  5. My wife and I were their for the Barker v. White debate in Newberg. Unfortunately we could not stay for the Barker v. Slick debate.

    This was the debate to be at. Your synopsis is really spot on, but their is no way of conveying the atmosphere in that church after Mr. Barker’s interruption of Dr. White’s opening statement. It felt like this one could turn ugly real fast. Luckily, Dr. White is not one to cower in the face of this kind of objection and the moderator (at least at this moment) had the backbone to put down his objection and allow Dr. White to give his full opening.

    Two things that I would add from being in the audience: First, Mr. Barker is not afraid of cheap shots, pandering to his supporters, and mocking the debate system. It really is embarrassing to see these kind of tactics in any forum, let alone as a guest in a church. Second, many of the atheists in the crowd really had no clue as to what a debate is or how those who are debating are to interact. Time limits? Questions only in the cross-ex? No cheering? I am sure that there were many Christians that were befuddled in the audience, but as it is said, “it is better to be silent and appear stupid than to open your mouth and remove all doubt.”

    Dr. White is truly a master at his craft and the time and study he puts into his debates shows — especially live. Mr. Barker could probably put together a “good” argument, but I just don’t think he is interested in much more than posturing.

  6. From my perspective, Dan was able to demonstrate, citing specific examples, that a number of the stories in the bible were too closely related to those found in texts published prior to the birth of Christ to be a coincidence. “Dr.” (I’m sorry, but his degree was from an unaccredited institution, and earned in only three semesters at that) White was only able to provide two sources to support his argument, one of which was the bible (inadmissible, since it is the source of the argument in the first place) and the other was from another apologist’s opinion piece written within the recent past. The rest of the debate was spent by White trying to debunk and discredit the work of Mr. Barker, who himself admitted that he had adjusted his opinion once new evidence came to light (something any rational person would do. It’s called “learning”). Both White and Slick chose to try to discredit Barker by attacking his previous book, which only made it obvious to many of us that they had to resort to such tactics because they had no real argument in the first place. It blew my mind that White wasn’t able to tell the audience when the human species was created (between 6-10,000 years ago?) or even exactly what Adam was (White actually referred to him as “some sort of a creature”). Sorry guys, but no rational argument was given to strengthen your theory. This was the first debate I’d attended on the subject, and I actually attended in the hopes that I’d hear an argument for the existence of god that would spark my curiosity, or at least give me pause…it didn’t happen.

  7. Pingback: Feedback on the Second James White vs Dan Barker Debate « The Domain for Truth

  8. What’s going on here?

    AOMin linked me and now I’ve got people on my stupid blog! I was comfortable posting something dumb once every 4 months (in between semesters) and saying nothing of note…

    …now like 250 people have showed up here and…*gasp*…even left comments!

    Oh sheesh! Now I feel so much pressure! Doh!

    Just flipping out there.

    Now I’m better.

    Some responses, I guess.

    1. Brett – I can only imagine how tense it got when Barker interrupted White. That must have been A-Awkward!

    I also agree with you that Barker, and many of the atheist fanbois, don’t really care about debate rules or cross-ex protocol. They only want a microphone so they can say what they want to say.

    If I remember correctly, Barker said something about how he was “proud to break that rule” or something, as if completely disregarding the rules of debate, to which he agreed, makes him somehow noble or something. That was both silly and obnoxious.

    2. Eric – Welcome! Let’s interact! So you said:

    “Dan was able to demonstrate, citing specific examples, that a number of the stories in the bible were too closely related to those found in texts published prior to the birth of Christ to be a coincidence.”

    You didn’t find White’s rebuttals to challenge those close relations at all?

    What, in your mind, were the flaws with White’s rebuttals?

    ****************************************

    You also said: “White was only able to provide two sources to support his argument”

    I’m unclear. Did you not hear him reference the original works from where many of the ‘pagan myth connections’ came from?

    Did I mishear White when he commented on those source texts?

    ****************************************

    You also said: “The rest of the debate was spent by White trying to debunk and discredit the work of Mr. Barker, who himself admitted that he had adjusted his opinion once new evidence came to light (something any rational person would do. It’s called “learning”)

    Yeah, learning is when you change your opinion when new information comes to light. That is laudable and I applaud Dan’s willingness to change his mind when he realizes an argument doesn’t hold water.

    Usually, when people come to a ‘change of mind’ on something that undermines a published work of theirs, they tend to pull that work from the sale of, say, the merch table in the back of the debate!

    I’ve got some ‘definitions’ for you to! Hooray! We can both learn!

    Abandoning support of your latest, 400 page book (after around two decades in your professional field) when new information (that is not new at all) comes to light is called “not doing adequate research”.

    Abandoning a book and then attempting to sell it at the back table of a debate is called “bad marketing”.

    Do you think anyone should have bought the book after Barker distanced himself from it and suggested that he may have changed his mind on it?

    ****************************************

    You said: “Both White and Slick chose to try to discredit Barker by attacking his previous book, which only made it obvious to many of us that they had to resort to such tactics because they had no real argument in the first place.”

    Eric, I’m wondering how you would suggest that a person would prepare to debate a specific person without analyzing and working through their authoritative positions on issues as found in their own published works?

    ****************************************

    You also said: “It blew my mind that White wasn’t able to tell the audience when the human species was created (between 6-10,000 years ago?)…”

    Is not “6-10,000 years ago” a ‘when’ statement?

    It may not be a calendar date, but it appears to be a ‘when’. Maybe I’m wrong, but I have been led to believe that answering a ‘when’ question with a sentence involving numbers, or any temporally locative statement, would constitute an answer.

    **************************************

    You also said: “This was the first debate I’d attended on the subject, and I actually attended in the hopes that I’d hear an argument for the existence of god that would spark my curiosity, or at least give me pause…it didn’t happen.”

    You do know that the subject of the debate wasn’t the existence of God, right?

    I think you went to the wrong debate if you wanted some sort of argument for the existence of God. This debate was about whether or not the story of Jesus Christ was referring to a historic person or was simply compiled from various components of pagan mythology.

    Are you possibly thinking of the Matt Slick debate?

  9. I was at the debate as well and don’t have much substantive to add to the comments from BrettR and mennoknight.

    If I could interject a different type of observation, from my perch in the front row… to me, Dan Barker appeared calm, collected, and confident in his opening statement, but after he lost his ‘we’re not here to debate my book’ interruption and James White’s clear demonstration of strong preparation and much deeper domain knowledge, Dan Barker’s body language projected (to me) that he felt outmanned. He was tense, shaking, and gulping down almost an entire large pitcher of water. Maybe those are his normal mannerisms, but I thought there was a clear change in him.

    That’s also when he resorted to the cheap shots and pandering to his supporters, which BrettR accurately mentioned, such as mocking prayer to restore his microphone when it wasn’t working later in the debate, saying he prayed to Mother Goose, saying he was proud to break the rules, invoking the flying spaghetti monster and other examples that I think discredited himself even further than the initial interruption. James White helpfully advised the atheists that they do themselves harm rather than good when they follow Richard Dawkins’ lead in the spaghetti monster regard. :-)

    The only noise-makers, interrupters, and mockers were the atheists. And they were loud. Why is that? The simple rules for the audience were printed on the program. My wife sat next to two atheists who gave a pro-Barker, anti-White commentary for at least half of the debate.

    In sum, I firmly believe Dan Barker felt he had lost this one midway through, even acknowledging to the audience at one point James White’s skill in such venues. His mannerisms reflected this and his mockery kicked in when his arguments failed.

  10. I want to say thanks you seem to cover the debate very well I was sad to miss it but had prior plans with my child.

    Eric,

    I notice you did the same error Dan likes to do and thats attack the person instead of the topic (typical atheist/muslim tactic). DR. White is a very intelligent man degree or not. Bill Gates never finished college would you say he is stupid? Do you have a degree? I mean common just because you don’t agree with a person doesn’t mean they have bad arguments. I taught myself many things and with the internet now anyone can learn about almost anything by reading websites or books or both.

    Thanks for the debate feedback from the other commenter’s atheism can never be defended thats why they use weak arguments like Dan did. I removed Dans book from my amazon wishlist and left a comment why I did so I refuse to read a writers material if he doesnt even back it anymore.

  11. Hello gentlemen (and women),

    Okay, I’ll bite, mennoknight (btw, great song title? You can’t argue with that).

    You said “Eric, I’m wondering how you would suggest that a person would prepare to debate a specific person without analyzing and working through their authoritative positions on issues as found in their own published works?”

    Of course you’d familiarize yourself with your opponent. My contention was that White avoided, other than referencing unsupported claims (saying it’s proven and actually proving it are two different things), the debate topic, and instead chose to try to discredit phrases he cherry picked from Dan’s book, often out of context. Basically, he dodged the question.
    ———
    You said “learning is when you change your opinion when new information comes to light. That is laudable and I applaud Dan’s willingness to change his mind when he realizes an argument doesn’t hold water.”

    I would love…love…to have you give me one example of a claim made by White that he later amended because he’d learned that his original stance was incorrect. I’d be willing to bet that you and he both believe him infallible.
    —————-
    You said “Is not “6-10,000 years ago” a ‘when’ statement?”
    “It may not be a calendar date, but it appears to be a ‘when’.”

    So, what, are you trying to say that god choosing when to create humans is similar to when the cable guy says he’ll be there “between 8 am and 4 pm”? How about this: We can discuss this issue at the coffee shop down the road from you. You go ahead and grab a table, and I’ll meet you sometime this week? No, 6-10,000 years ago is not an answer, especially coming from someone claiming to have his knowledge of the subject. By your logic, the terms eventually, later, and soon would also be acceptable timeframes.

    Lastly

    You said “Abandoning a book and then attempting to sell it at the back table of a debate is called “bad marketing”.”

    He didn’t “abandon” his book, he simply said that, in light of additional evidence, he’d most likely have revised his position on certain points. Again, we atheists call that “learning”, and it’s quite different than simply taking what’s told to you as fact, and unwaveringly and unquestioningly repeating it to any poor sap you happen to sit next to on the bus.

    Oh, and as far as marketing is concerned, White and Slick seem to have that cornered considering the vast amount of videos and publications they had for sale. If you ever want to discover motive, you need to ask yourself “who stands to benefit most from the situation?” If White and Slick were true apologists, they’d be selling their “knowledge” at cost as a benefit to humanity. It’s hard to have my soul saved if I have to scrap up 20-30 bucks to learn how to do it. Nice racket though…were I without morals, I’d do the same, but I don’t think I could sleep at night knowing I was profiting from another’s need to find god.

    I was not surprised that they didn’t read my question aloud during the Q and A, but maybe you can answer it: What kind of morality was involved in the church’s decision to try and cover up numerous child molestation cases by moving the perpetrator to other communities, shaming the victims, or paying them off outright in exchange for their silence? And exactly what percentage of your tithes are used to either pay such claims, or provide legal defense for the accused? What percentage would it be before one would be considered an accessory? Hmmmm. Just sayin’ is all. You’ll be a better, more productive person if you concentrated your efforts to improve this life rather than trying to score points with a god to get into the next one. I can sell you promises all day if it takes you dying to find out if what I’d sold you was worth the payment.

  12. One last thing. If any of you could engage me with an open mind, I’d be happy to return the favor, seriously. Otherwise this will be my last post. This is a fascinating topic, and it’s hard to find believers with any degree of substantive knowledge. Heck (notice I didn’t say “hell” out of respect, though I guess I just did there, no disrespect, of course), I’ll give someone my direct email if they’d agree to keep it private and not abuse the communication.

    BTW, thanks for actually posting my comment, I know it was a bit caustic, and I appreciate your willingness to entertain dissenting thought.

  13. Hmmm…Eric, Can you engage me with an open mind?

    I get that question a lot, but the inferred request is always extremely one-sided.

    I’ve had a lot of public and private interaction, and that question always cuts both ways.

    I’ll gladly entertain any questions and evaluate arguments on the basis of logical consistency or correspondence to reality, but I openly and violently object to being forced to entertain questions that require me to abandon reality (as it has been made known to me) in order to do so. (i.e. I am a Biblically-informed Christian and will gladly defend Biblically informed questions about God. I don’t defend false conceptions of “God” and I’m not a simple “theist”.)

    You’re free to bring objections, sources, and arguments.

    You’re also free to bring the worldview in which such objections, sources and arguments find their source and cultivation.

    But, any pretending that you’re “objective” and I’m “insane” doesn’t play with me. Neither one of us is objective. We both have worldviews that interpret our experience and inform our logic, and honest debate only works when we recognize that reality.

    Is that open enough?

    So:

    1. “Basically, he dodged the question.”

    I found White to directly respond to Barker in the Q & A period. He also quoted sources. I just listened to around an hour of the debate today, and I found that in the Q&A period, White to more directly address Barker’s assertions without using quotation or references. The same would be said for Barker in the Q&A period.

    2. “I would love…love…to have you give me one example of a claim made by White that he later amended because he’d learned that his original stance was incorrect.”

    He’s pretty vocal on how he used to be Arminian. He is now a Calvinist.

    Same goes for me.

    How much was that bet for?

    3. “No, 6-10,000 years ago is not an answer, especially coming from someone claiming to have his knowledge of the subject. By your logic, the terms eventually, later, and soon would also be acceptable timeframes.”

    Well, 6-10,000 years is a general ‘when’. You trace back the genealogies and get to Adam being around 6-10,000 years ago. It’s a very general time deduction.

    I’m sorry you don’t like it. It’s not a specific answer, but it’s what’s in the Bible and it’s all that I can offer.

    Ironically, you suggested that “soon” would also be an unacceptable time frame. In Revelation 3:11, 22:7, 22:12, 22:20, Jesus says he’s coming “soon”. It’s been around 2,000 years, and he’s not back yet. The answer “soon” is still true, and it’s the answer to the question of “when is Christ returning?”.

    What reason do you have to demand a specific date?

    On what basis would God give a specific date to believers?

    4. “He didn’t “abandon” his book, he simply said that, in light of additional evidence, he’d most likely have revised his position on certain points.”

    Sure. I’ll grant that. See my following blog post about that.

    5. “Again, we atheists call that “learning”, and it’s quite different than simply taking what’s told to you as fact, and unwaveringly and unquestioningly repeating it to any poor sap you happen to sit next to on the bus.”

    Uh, did I offend you on the bus?

    Was you that Scientologist that tried to evangelize me the other day?

    But seriously, I read and study the scriptures, and I unwaveringly (though not unquestioningly) accept what God informs me of in his revelation to me of himself and the nature of ultimate reality; the Bible. I accept God’s perfect revelation about reality because I have neither access to ultimate reality nor the infinite mental resources necessary to gain ultimately trustworthy understandings on anything. Outside of God, I cannot ‘know’; I can only ‘guess’.

    6. “If White and Slick were true apologists, they’d be selling their “knowledge” at cost as a benefit to humanity.”

    They do. Compare the prices of their books on Amazon to on their own websites. Theirs is the only job they have, and they don’t sell a lot of books (Christian apologetics isn’t something you get into for the money).

    7. “It’s hard to have my soul saved if I have to scrap up 20-30 bucks to learn how to do it.”

    Nobody charges for the gospel. White and Slick don’t. They charge for the apologetic books that they spend thousands of hours and thousands of dollars producing.

    James White has a toll free number – 1-877-753-3341

    Call him during the day and he’ll pay the nickel to give you the gospel.

    8. “What kind of morality was involved in the church’s decision to try and cover up numerous child molestation cases by moving the perpetrator to other communities, shaming the victims, or paying them off outright in exchange for their silence?”

    A complete lack of morality. It was horrible for the Catholic Church to do that. Since the 16th century, my ancestors have been Protestants and would join you in tearing down the corruptions in the Catholic Church.

    9. “And exactly what percentage of your tithes are used to either pay such claims, or provide legal defense for the accused?”

    Exactly 0%. Since the 16th century, my ancestors have been Protestants and would join you in tearing down the corruptions in the Catholic Church.

    10. “What percentage would it be before one would be considered an accessory?”

    I don’t know. I would suspect it would be relevant if a person had any sort of knowledge as to where their money was going. Anyone who has knowledge of such corruption and financially supports it would be guilty though. Either way, since the 16th century, my ancestors have been Protestants and would join you in tearing down the corruptions in the Catholic Church.

    11. “You’ll be a better, more productive person if you concentrated your efforts to improve this life rather than trying to score points with a god to get into the next one.”

    I fully agree.

    I think it would be a LOT better though to realize that attempting to ‘score points with god’ was a wretched act of rebellion against God. Attempting to manipulate God with actions or words is foolish and rebellious and is not the behavior of Christians. God demands that people repent of such things. Many people are not concerned with the evils of this world and the problems of the suffering in this life. Christians should not be among that group, and those that live lives marked by hatred to their fellow man have good reason for critical self examination to see if they’re actually Christians:

    “We love because he first loved us. If anyone says, “I love God,” yet hates his brother, he is a liar. For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen. And he has given us this command: Whoever loves God must also love his brother.” – 1 John 4:19-21

  14. So are there still dead babies in purgatory?

    What if I actually believe in god, but am not aware of it on a conscious level…if my living a good life and helping others is in all actuality my subconscious revealed, will I then get in to your heaven, even though I proclaim to be an atheist?

    And Mennoknight, if god’s speaking with you, is he not speaking to another at that same moment? And if he can speak simultaneously to many people, could an event take place somewhere else in the world at that very moment that would cause him to misspeak?

    Why does he plan for the world to end if he’s the one who’d created it in the first place? Is he correcting a mistake? Did he make a mistake? And if so, is he really infallible?

    If god exists beyond, outside of, and prior to what we know to be time and infinite space, how was he able to create it in the first place?

    If he so loved the world and the people he’d created in his image, why has he chosen to treat humanity to so much of the pain and destruction that’s existed throughout the ages? Seems a bit sadistic.

    Why are there passages in the bible specifically telling us how to own and manage slaves? Or instructing us to kill people rather than continue to try to “save” them?

    If contraception is not allowed, why then does god choose hurt and kill people who’ve contracted a disease like AIDS, regardless of their sexuality and intention?

    When you said earlier “Oh SNAP! Thanks for that clip! How awesome is that?” were you not reveling in what you believed to be someone else’s failure and humiliation? It doesn’t seem like the god you’ve explained to me would be the kind that would do or condone such a thing.

    “Whoever loves God must also love his brother.” – 1 John 4:19-21
    How does god know what brotherly love is when he has no brother himself? Hey, for that matter, what if god’s brother was an atheist?

    Have fun with all this.

  15. Sorry, missed a question

    You said “He’s pretty vocal on how he used to be Arminian. He is now a Calvinist.”

    What made White change his mind? Is he as much of a calvinist as he was an arminian?

  16. Eric, it appears that you didn’t respond to any of my questions. Well, at least I can respond to you.

    1. “So are there still dead babies in purgatory?”

    No. There is no purgatory. I’m not Catholic. Since the 16th century, my ancestors have been Protestants and would join you in tearing down the corruptions in the Catholic Church. Did you miss that the three times I said that in my previous comment?

    2. “What if I actually believe in god, but am not aware of it on a conscious level…if my living a good life and helping others is in all actuality my subconscious revealed, will I then get in to your heaven, even though I proclaim to be an atheist?”

    a. It’s impossible for you to live a “good life”. The very idea that you are a “good person” is itself the sin of paralleling yourself with God. When you do that, you insinuate that God is deceived about his own knowledge of his own moral exclusivity (i.e. he’s holy = perfect in moral purity; in an utterly separate category than sinful man.).

    “The LORD looks down from heaven
    on the sons of men
    to see if there are any who understand,
    any who seek God.

    All have turned aside,
    they have together become corrupt;
    there is no one who does good,
    not even one. ” – Psalm 14:2-3

    “The LORD said to Moses, “Speak to the entire assembly of Israel and say to them: ‘Be holy because I, the LORD your God, am holy. ” – Leviticus 19:1-2

    b. The only way one escapes the coming wrath of God against their sin is through believing God’s testimony regarding Christ and trusting that Jesus is who he said he is and does what he said he can do.

    “Then they asked him, “What must we do to do the works God requires?” Jesus answered, “The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent.” – John 6:28-29

    “For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me. And this is the will of him who sent me, that I shall lose none of all that he has given me, but raise them up at the last day. For my Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.” – John 6:38-40

    “Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” – John 14:6.

    3. “And Mennoknight, if god’s speaking with you, is he not speaking to another at that same moment?”

    No. God speaks to many people, but not directly. I’m not a prophet. I have God’s word, spoken through his prophets, written down (inscripturated) and I hear his voice via his written word, mediated through his prophets and delivered through various sources (personal study, reading, preaching, etc.)

    4. “And if he can speak simultaneously to many people, could an event take place somewhere else in the world at that very moment that would cause him to misspeak?”

    God doesn’t have a speech impediment. We’re using the word “speak” in very different ways. God guides me directly through his providence and the leading of the Holy Spirit via the written words and the conscience, but God does normally issue direct, propositional communication with people. That’s not normative throughout biblical history.

    5. “Why does he plan for the world to end if he’s the one who’d created it in the first place?”

    He doesn’t plan for the world to end. The world will be restored in the eternal state, not annihilated.

    6. “Is he correcting a mistake?”

    No.

    7. “And if so, is he really infallible?”

    See question 6.

    8. “If god exists beyond, outside of, and prior to what we know to be time and infinite space, how was he able to create it in the first place?”

    a. Time is finite. We live in a linear time that had a beginning. Space is infinite, but the universe has boundaries.

    b. I don’t understand where the difficulty is here. If God exists outside the universe, how could he create it?

    Well, by creating it. The Bible says that everything was made by the word of God; he simply commanded things to be and they were. (Psalm 33:6, Genesis 1:3, 6, 9, 11, 14, 20, 24, 26).

    9. “If he so loved the world and the people he’d created in his image, why has he chosen to treat humanity to so much of the pain and destruction that’s existed throughout the ages?”

    Answer #1 – He doesn’t make anyone rebel against him; people do that all by themselves. God isn’t the one who pulls triggers, robs banks, murders babies, etc. Every specific act of sin is perpetrated by a person who does so because that’s what they ultimately want tot do.

    “When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; but each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.” – James 1:13-15

    Answer #2 – Because God is glorified. God is glorified for his grace in saving those whom he chooses, for no reason of their own merit. God is glorified for his justice by giving the justly earned reward to those who make themselves his enemies and spit on the hand of peace that he offers them in Christ.

    10. “Why are there passages in the bible specifically telling us how to own and manage slaves?”

    Because God was setting limits on one of the main institutions in the Ancient Near East. Compared to Hammurabi, God is amazingly gracious.

    11. “Or instructing us to kill people rather than continue to try to “save” them?”

    Because the 4 generations he’d given to them to repent was up. (See Genesis 15:16 and surrounding context.) God doesn’t give people ‘forever’ to repent of their wickedness.

    How much time has he given you?

    12. “If contraception is not allowed…”

    I’m not Catholic. Since the 16th century, my ancestors have been Protestants and would join you in tearing down the corruptions in the Catholic Church. I feel like I’m repeating myself.

    13. “why then does god choose hurt and kill people who’ve contracted a disease like AIDS, regardless of their sexuality and intention?”

    a. How many people who live monogamous, morally upright lives marked by a biblical sexual ethic get AIDS or other STDs?

    Probably 99.99% of AIDS cases come from:

    i. Homosexual sex.
    ii. Premarital sex.
    iii. Extra-marital recreational sex.

    Since 1984, blood transfusions and getting AIDS from the dentist are not likely ways of catching AIDS.

    b. How does sexuality and intention even factor in to the 0.01% of the cases where none of the 3 options I listed occur?

    c. Specific freak incidents of a monogamous, morally upright individual acquiring AIDS would take a case-by-case analysis for any reasonable answer, but in general, it’s because this world is corrupted by sin; bad things happen and people get hurt/die. When earth is remade, such will not be the case. Christ is the only way to be saved from God’s coming wrath against all the various sin and acts of sin in this world.

    14. “When you said earlier “Oh SNAP! Thanks for that clip! How awesome is that?” were you not reveling in what you believed to be someone else’s failure and humiliation?”

    Duly noted. Comment has been edited. Thanks for pointing that out. My mouth gets the best of me sometimes, and it’s a constant source of sin that I need a lot of divine grace to clean up. Doh!

    15. “How does god know what brotherly love is when he has no brother himself?”

    Well, because God experiences perfect love between the 3 persons of the Trinity. The love between husbands and wives, let alone brothers, is only a dim reflection of the love that God has for himself.

    16. “Hey, for that matter, what if god’s brother was an atheist?”

    Then we wouldn’t be here to talk about this because God wouldn’t exist.

    17. “What made White change his mind?”

    Studying the Bible. Same went for me. I had got there long before I’d heard of White…

    18. “Is he as much of a calvinist as he was an arminian?”

    I’m not sure what you mean. He’s more intense in his Calvinism, since it’s built on meticulous study of the text of scripture, where as his Arminianism was simply the product of his upbringing (though I’m not personal friends with him and don’t really know the specific answer…you should seriously as TurretinFan or one of the AOMin people. For that matter, call him on the toll free number. I’m sure he’d love to talk about that.)

    *******************************************************

    Since you missed all the questions I’ve asked you, here’s a simple list:

    FROM MY PREVIOUS POST:

    1. Can you engage me with an open mind?

    2. Is that open enough (referring to my description of “open mindedness”)

    3. How much was that bet for? (I really like chocolate cream pie)

    4. What reason do you have to demand a specific date? (regarding the origin of humanity)

    5. On what basis would God give a specific date to believers? (same topic)

    (You can ignore the silly question about the Scientologist on the bus)

    FROM THIS POST:

    6. Did you miss that the three times I said that in my previous comment? (referring to Catholicism)

    7. How much time has he given you? (to repent from whatever sin you have in your life)

    8. How many people who live monogamous, morally upright lives marked by a biblical sexual ethic get AIDS or other STDs?

    9. How does sexuality and intention even factor in to the 0.01% of the cases where none of the 3 options I listed occur? (similar topic, the options being homosexual, premarital and extra-marital sex)

    **********************************************************

    So there you have it:

    17 answers to your 17 questions and 9 questions from me.

    I look forward to your responses!

  17. Eric,

    I’ve been observing your comments here, and it strikes me that your questions tend to commit the fallacy of complex question. For example, Mennoknight already said he’s not catholic, why keep asking questions of his beliefs that are based in Catholic theology? On top of that, you ask a lot of questions but won’t extend the same courtesy that Mennoknight has in answering your questions. Perhaps you can begin by answering his questions as well.

  18. Oh Jimmy! You scared Eric off! Doh!

    I guess the answer to Question 1 – “Can you engage me with an open mind?” was a definitive “no”.

    Oh well.

    Typical skeptical responder.

    “Answer my questions with answers that make sense in my own irrational worldview and don’t expect me to critically interact with anything you say; I’ll mock or ignore you and then flee when I’m in a corner or when this display of my hubris no longer entertains me.”

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