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God is Not Imaginary: Apologetic #1

I have recently been introduced to the site called God is imaginary, and the material presented there have been described as hindrances to biblical faith. And of the “50 simple proofs” presented there, the first is the one which I will look at today: “Proof #1 – Try praying.” I will do my best to give a defense of prayer both for the benefit of others and that Christ would be glorified in the defense. If anyone can add to this defense, please leave a comment. As is appropriate, quotations from Proof #1 will be block quoted with my responses following. Warning: This could get lengthy.

What would happen if we get down on our knees and pray to God in this way:

Dear God, almighty, all-powerful, all-loving creator of the universe, we pray to you to cure every case of cancer on this planet tonight. We pray in faith, knowing you will bless us as you describe in Matthew 7:7, Matthew 17:20, Matthew 21:21, Mark 11:24, John 14:12-14, Matthew 18:19 and James 5:15-16. In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.

We pray sincerely, knowing that when God answers this completely heartfelt, unselfish, non-materialistic prayer, it will glorify God and help millions of people in remarkable ways.

Will anything happen? No. Of course not.

That’s quite a prayer, and the best response would be looking at each of those verses to see if they are being used properly or not. Biblical truth is foolishness to unbelievers, and it is exceedingly rare that I see Bible verses used correctly in arguments against Christianity. That is probably the case here as well, but I will let you draw your own conclusions.

Looking at the verse references themselves, it is notable that seven of the eight occur prior to the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ; this means that they were given in a situation where the Old Covenant was still in force. Very often, a failure to note that the New Testament doesn’t begin with Matthew 1:1 but with the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ is a cause of error. That may or may not be the case here, and we’ll find out as we examine the verses.

And even though they quoted James, one of the New Testament epistles, I can already tell you that they failed to consider anything the verse actually says.

This is very odd. Jesus makes specific promises in the Bible about how prayer is supposed to work. Jesus says in many different places that he and God will answer your prayers. And Christians believe Jesus — according to this recent article, “54% of American adults believe the Bible is literally true.” In some areas of the country the number goes as high as 75%.

If the Bible is literally true, then something is seriously amiss. Simply look at the facts.

If you want to examine Bible verses and test God thereby, you would do well to remember something else Jesus said, “You shall not tempt the Lord your God” (Matthew 4:7). If you are not willing to believe Him but would rather test Him, what obligation has He to answer any prayer that comes from your lips?

In Matthew 7:7 Jesus says:

Ask, and it will be given you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For every one who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. Or what man of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!

If “every one who asks receives”, then if we ask for cancer to be cured, it should be cured. Right? If “our Father who is in heaven gives good things to those who ask him”, then if we ask him to cure cancer, he should cure it. Right? And yet nothing happens.

This is far from a blank check for prayer. Jesus encourages believers to prayer to the Father just as a child would ask his earthly father for things. Should an earthly father spoil a child, giving them each and every thing they ask for or seek? Of course not! Why expect God to do the same? The cross reference of Luke 11:13 specifies that it is the Holy Spirit which the Father gives to people who ask.

In Matthew 17:20 Jesus says:

For truly, I say to you, if you have faith as a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible to you.

If “nothing will be impossible to you”, then if we ask to cure cancer tonight, cancer should disappear. Right? Yet nothing happens. Note that if we take the Bible less-than-literally here, the statement “nothing will be impossible to you” becomes “lots of things will be impossible to you,” and that would mean that Jesus is lying.

This He spoke to the disciples and their unique ministry. However, the disciples did not move mountains; what need would there have been for such a task? The Lord uses hyperbole to communicate that with even a tiny amount of faith, seemingly impossible and arduously difficult tasks are possible.

In Matthew 21:21:

I tell you the truth, if you have faith and do not doubt, not only can you do what was done to the fig tree, but also you can say to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and it will be done. If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.

If “you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer”, then if we ask to cure cancer tonight, cancer should dissappear [sic]. Right? Yet nothing happens. Note again that there is not a non-literal way to interpret “you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer”, unless you replace “whatever” with “nothing” or “little.”

Even if literal mountains were meant (and we have no reason to believe so since the apostles never demonstrated such a feat), the context is Jesus speaking to the disciples. This is not a general command to every believer in the world. Jesus spoke in a context relevant to the Kingdom of Heaven, the Jews, and other things closely related by not identical to the Kingdom of God and the church. Such distinctions are vital, for if they are not made we end up with people mocking God due to their own failure to comprehend the Bible.

The message is reiterated Mark 11:24:

Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.

If God says, “believe that you have received it, and it will be yours,” and if we believe in God and his power, then what should happen if we pray to cure cancer tonight? It should be cured. Either that, or God is lying.

Considering this verse comes from Mark’s report of what was happening in Matthew 21:21, the explanation above applies here as well.

In John chapter 14, verses 12 through 14, Jesus tells all of us just how easy prayer can be:

“I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father. You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.” [ref]

Look at how direct this statement is: “You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.” This is the “Son of God” speaking. Have we taken him “too literally?” No. This is a simple, unambiguous statement. Have we taken his statement “out of context?” No – Jesus uses the word anyone. Yet Jesus’ statement is obviously false. Because when we ask God to cure cancer tonight, nothing happens.

If you read this as a blank check, you do not know Christ or very much about His nature at all. He acts only in a manner according to the Father’s will, His glory, and the greater good. Humanity does not define the Father’s will, His glory, or the greater good, so one would expect many petitions made to be ignored by God, and rightfully so. Could you imagine the state of the world if every prayer ever uttered with “in Jesus’ name” tacked on the end was actually answered? That would not be a world I’d want to live in. Remember that Jesus taught us how to pray, and He explicitly mentioned to pray that God’s will be done. In other words, regardless of what our desires are and what our petitions are, we should expect and desire God’s will above all else.

We see the same thing over and over again…

In Matthew 18:19 Jesus says:

Again I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything they ask, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I in the midst of them.

As we are to pray for the Lord’s will, it isn’t surprising that the Lord’s will should be done. Think not that we can simply pray anything at all and expect it to come to pass. Prior to any and all of these verses quoted thus far, Jesus told us that our prayers should be of a certain pattern. Prayers designed to test God’s promises do not fit the pattern. Prayers designed to get your own way or to glorify man do not fit the pattern. Praying for the Lord’s will and waiting upon Him… Now that fits the pattern!

In James 5:15-16 the Bible says:

And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise him up. If he has sinned, he will be forgiven. Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.

Conveniently, verse 14 was not referenced. After all, it qualifies the following verses by referring to those who are sick and come before the elders of the church to be prayed for. That is the prayer of faith that will save the sick. Sadly, there are so few biblically qualified elders in the world (see 1 Timothy 3:1-7). Don’t expect every church in town to have one (let alone multiple elders, as the passage in James requires).

The conclusion I’m already drawing based upon the mock prayer and handful of verse references is that the objecting party either has no interest in actually understanding what the Bible teaches or is simply blind to the truth due to being spiritually dead. Or both.

In Mark 9:23:

All things are possible to him who believes.

In Luke 1:37:

For with God nothing will be impossible.

Both passages have direct reference to actions of the Lord; in Mark the belief was connected with Jesus’ casting out of an unclean spirit, and in Luke we find Gabriel explaining how it would be possible for a virgin (Mary) to conceive.

Okay, so we’re done with the rundown of verses. Please make note that while objectors will pick and choose verses to suit their goals, they rarely pick ones which effectively ruin their argument right from the beginning. I point you to Matthew 4:7, at which point Jesus reiterates an Old Testament command that “You shall not tempt the Lord your God.” The word “tempt” means to “test thoroughly” according to Strong’s Concordance, and is not praying a prayer simply to see if it’s answered a test of God’s faithfulness to His Word? God is not our guinea pig. Who is the created to test the Creator? We are dirt. Sinful, unworthy, and impure dirt. (Praises be to God that He is able to change us into a son of the Most High!)

Nothing could be simpler or clearer than Jesus’ promises about prayer in the Bible. Yet, when we pray to eliminate cancer, nothing happens.

Those hearing Jesus speak of prayer would be well familiar with a notable portion of His most influential sermon: Matthew 6:9-13, the model prayer. In addition to whatever other petitions we may offer up before the Lord, they are secondary to the core elements of a prayer (it is notable that the oft added “in Jesus’ name” is not part of the Lord’s model prayer; “in Jesus’ name” is a heart attitude, not a verbal repetition). When we pray for God’s will to be done while expecting God to answer any list of requests we could come up with, we are being hypocritical and lying to God. Do you want God’s will be done? Then pray it, and don’t get upset when whatever you want and request doesn’t come to pass. That is the condition by which God answers prayer: His will be done!

And keep in mind that this is Jesus talking here. These are not the words of human beings. These are not the words of “inspired” human beings. These are supposedly the words of God himself, incarnated in a human body. Jesus is supposed to be a perfect, sinless being. And yet, it is obvious that Jesus is lying. What Jesus says is clearly incorrect.

What Jesus says stands. You simply are incapable of understanding them properly (John 1:5). Shall I fault the artist because I cannot understand his message? Or the programmer because I cannot make heads or tales of a program? Then why fault God for your own blindness? Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and be cured of your spiritual blindness now and forever!

If you would like additional proof, gather a million faithful believers together into a giant prayer circle. Have them all pray together in Jesus’ name that God cures every case of cancer on the planet tomorrow. Pray sincerely, knowing that when God answers this completely heartfelt, unselfish, non-materialistic prayer, it will glorify God and help millions of people in remarkable ways. Now, we certainly have two or more people gathered together, and they have asked in Jesus’ name, and we have not one but a million faithful believers who, by definition, have faith and believe. We have fulfilled every one of Jesus’ requirements.

Have you prayed for God’s will? If not, you have not met all of Jesus’ requirements. You can’t talk about prayer and Jesus without talking about the prayer Jesus told us to pray. Keep that in mind.

Will Jesus answer the prayer now? Of course not. Your prayer will go unanswered, in direct defiance to Jesus’ promises in the Bible. In fact, if you pray for anything that is impossible, your prayer will always go unanswered.

It is notable that quite often, miracles in the Bible did not produce faith. This can be seen throughout Scripture. How faithful were the Israelites after all the miracles God employed in freeing them from Egypt? After all of Jesus’ miracles, how many were left standing for Him at His crucifixion? Even Peter had betrayed Him as the others walked away!

And you want miracles? If you will not believe in Jesus Christ through the testimony of even the Old Testament Scriptures, you won’t believe in Him even if a man is raised from the dead!

Sure, the early church exhibited miracles. They followed the apostles ministry. But the miracles were phased out as the church was established and the New Testament canon was completed to serve as confirmation as God’s message.

Regardless, if it is not God’s will to do something, no amount of prayer will change that. Truly, our Father knows best, even if that does involve leaving cancer uncured. We all have our part to play in His glorification!

If you are an intelligent, rational human being, all of the examples mentioned above show you that the God of the Bible is imaginary. What Jesus says about prayer in the Bible clearly is not true.

And what the objector says about what Jesus says in the Bible about prayer is clearly not true. If one does not begin where Jesus began on the subject, one lacks the basis for understanding. Just as rejecting the truth of Genesis will lead to all sorts of errant interpretations throughout the rest of the Bible, so does ignoring the Sermon on the Mount result in errant understandings of everything else Jesus said.

Understanding the Rationalizations

A favorite Christian rationalization for why God does not answer our prayer to eliminate cancer is because “it would take away free will.” The logic: If you pray and God answers your prayer, then God would have revealed himself to you, and you would know that God exists. That would take away your free will to believe in him. Of course, if this is true, then by default all of Jesus’ statements about prayer in the Bible are false. It means that God cannot answer any prayer. Also, why is a God who must remain hidden like this incarnating himself and writing the Bible?

This rationalization indeed doesn’t make any sense. God is sovereign and perfectly able to act within the lives of man. He healed numerous people during the Incarnation; others He left sick. He spiritually heals multitudes through salvation; others He allows to remain in their sins. Why? It isn’t because of free will!

Whatever will we do possess, it in no way is a restriction upon God. Can a pot talk back to the potter? Can the pot resist being moved, painted, or broken by the potter?

Can the created determine the Creator’s actions? Such a thought is absurd!

If Jesus is God, and if God is perfect, why aren’t all of Jesus’s [sic] verses about prayer true? Was Jesus exagerating [sic]? Was he fibbing? If Jesus is perfect, why wouldn’t he speak the truth? Why doesn’t a prayer to cure cancer worldwide tomorrow work?

If you are such an expert on the Bible and know it well enough to point out “holes in the plot,” why have you ignored pivotal material, such as the model prayer in the Sermon on the Mount or James 5:14?

Believers have many different ways to explain why all these verses in the Bible do not work, even if you are praying sincerely, unselfishly and non-materialistically, and even if the answer to your prayer would help millions of people and glorify God in the process. They will say things like this:

“You need to understand what Jesus was saying in the context the first century civilization in which he was speaking…”

You simply need to understand Jesus’ teaching on prayer holistically; taking subsequent verses without the initial verses avails nothing. Remember that during the Incarnation, Jesus was focusing on developing a small group of disciples so that they could be the apostles of the church. His doctrine, like that of any teacher, was progressive, building upon past teaching. Ignore the basics, and the rest lacks coherence.

or:

“When Jesus talked about ‘moving a mountain’, he was speaking metaphorically. When someone says, ‘it is raining cats and dogs,’ no one takes him literally. Jesus was using a figure of speech rather than speaking literally…”

Whether Jesus’ speech was literal or figurative still requires that a request be in line with the will of God. That is basic and fundamental to everything else Jesus said about prayer.

or:

God is not a thing. He is a being. He has a will. He has desires. He relates to people. He has personality traits. Prayer is a fancy word for talking to God. God, who knows everything, even before we say it, knows the difference between our thoughts and wishes, and when we are actually addressing him. He hears our prayers and responds. His responses are based on his personal decisions. We cannot predict how he will respond to our prayers… [ref]

That is actually quite true. The only prediction I would ever make regarding my prayers is that His will shall be done. Why I would actually need anything beyond His will escapes me!

The problem is, all of these rationalizations miss two important points:

  1. God is supposed to be an all-powerful, all-knowing, perfect being.
  2. The statement, “Nothing will be impossible for you”, along with the other Bible verses quoted above, are false. The fact is, lots of things are impossible for you.

But living out the Lord’s will is not impossible for us. An all-powerful, all-knowing being that grants us our hearts desire is known as Santa Claus. An all-powerful, all-knowing being who has His own purposes and His own will which are far above our own… That is God. Sadly, there are many similarities between Santa and God, so the confusion is understandable, but you should really take the time to get to know God before seeking to say He was wrong while ignoring the verses which defeat your entire premise.

If a perfect being is going to make statements about how prayer works in the Bible, then three things are certain: 1) He would speak clearly, 2) he would say what he means, and 3) he would speak the truth. That is what “being perfect” is all about. A perfect, all-knowing God would know that people would be reading the Bible 2,000 years later, and therefore he would not use first-century idioms (he would say what he means).

Upon what basis do you come to these conclusions? You are seeking to create a god to your own specifications, comparing it with the true God and complaining that He doesn’t measure up. God incorporated the idiom and culture of the day throughout the Bible; remember that the Bible is inspired by God, not dictated by Him. The personalities of those He used to pen its words can be seen throughout the pages. Even Jesus used the culture around Him during the Incarnation to get His points across; for example, I have yet to see a coin with Caesar on it, but I’m still able to understand what Jesus was talking about when He mentioned it.

Jesus said exactly what needed to be said to the disciples, which is evidenced in the success of the early church in such a short span of time, all under the leadership of the apostles.

You don’t have to understand it. You don’t have to like it. But what He said got the job done because God’s Word does not return void.

Besides all of that, your three points apply just as much to the Sermon on the Mount’s model prayer as they do to the verses you have chosen to highlight. God’s will be done.

He would know that normal people will be reading the Bible and interpreting it in normal ways, so he would speak in such a way as to avoid mis-interpretation (he would speak clearly). He would know that when you say, “Nothing will be impossible for you”, that what it means is, “Nothing will be impossible for you” and he would make sure that the statement “Nothing will be impossible for you” is accurate (he would speak the truth). If God says it, it should be true — otherwise he is not perfect.

Without considering the whole of Scripture, many verses are easily mangled to support whatever an imagination can devise. The Lord expects us to know the Scriptures. Such is admonished so often within its pages.

And what one finds when searching the Scriptures and studying in order to be approved unto God is a little verse tucked away in Proverbs 16. Verse 9 says, “A man’s heart plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps.”

If the Lord is directing my steps, I can be assured that nowhere He will lead me will be impossible for me to go. See how well this works out when the Bible is considered as a whole?

Unfortunately, the fact is that thousands of things are impossible for you no matter how much you pray, and no one (including Jesus) has ever moved a mountain.

Jesus formed the mountains; I find that a bit more remarkable than moving them. Job 9:5 testifies that God (Jesus) removes mountains, and goes on to list other displays of God’s power. Sure, Jesus could do all sorts of things to prove to you He is God, but even if He did, you still wouldn’t believe. The human heart is a very deceptive thing in that way. And the spiritual dead have a tendency to like being spiritual dead.

Speaking fluently in unknown foreign tongues is an impossible feat, but it was done. Raising the dead is an impossible feat, but it was done. Surviving a deadly snake’s bite without harm is an impossible feat, but it was done. Walking on liquid water is an impossible feat, but it was done. Prophesying the future is an impossible feat, but it was done.

The Lord does allow the impossible to be done. That doesn’t mean you’ll accept it. Objectors rarely will accept the truth when it’s presented to them, which is why the Romans didn’t all immediately convert after the crucified and dead Jesus was once again walking their streets. How hard must their hearts have been! How hard is yours?

In order to see the truth, you need to accept the fact that all of the above verses are wrong. The fact is, God does not answer prayers. The reason why God does not answer your prayers is simple: God is imaginary.

God cannot be tested. Any attempt to tempt or provoke the Lord will not be met with bountiful blessing, so why bother?

Aside from that, the formula of prayer that the test is designed to prove or disprove is not at all Biblical and therefore God would be under no obligation to answer it, whether it was a test or not. Pray the Lord’s will, and remember that when you don’t, God can and will say “no” to you.

Thanks for reading. I apologize for the length, especially since much of the material was repetitive (such is the case when the same error is made repeatedly on the objector’s part).

I do hope others are able to offer further defense of the faith; I certainly don’t claim my defense to be flawless! And I welcome any feedback or questions which you may have.

28 replies on “God is Not Imaginary: Apologetic #1”

I agree wholeheartedly with all of your responses, and I thank you for defending Christ like you did. The objecter, to mention him nicely, has such an eroded understanding of the Bible and God that I am truly amazed he even managed to make what looked like a decent refutation. However, upon stacking up his human perceived claims next to the Living Word, it easily and entirely falls apart.

I shall be reporting this website (both your’s and the objecter’s) to Alpha and Omega Ministries. I would love to see what they have to say in response to this man’s joke.

The Lord has shown me a verse in addition to this response.

1 John 5:14-15, “This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that IF WE ASK ANYTHING ACCORDING TO HIS WILL, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us–whatever we ask–we know that we have what we asked of Him.”

(in addition) “Have them all pray together in Jesus’ name that God cures every case of cancer on the planet tomorrow. Pray sincerely, knowing that when God answers this completely heartfelt, unselfish”

That is, indeed, selfish. Testing God in any way is a form of selfishness, for all you wish to gain of this test is the knowledge that God exists.

“Jesus formed the mountains; I find that a bit more remarkable than moving them.”

You have a point there. :)

Great response. I love it.

Justin: Yikes! I can’t believe I overlooked 1 John 5:14,15!

I also want to add a few more verses in addition to that passage:

“And whatever we ask we receive from Him, because we keep His commandments and do those things that are pleasing in His sight.1 John 5:22

(Many say they are Christians, but how many can honestly say they are keeping Jesus’ commandments and doing things which are pleasing in His sight? I know I often do not.)

“You lust and do not have. You murder and covet and cannot obtain. You fight and war. Yet you do not have because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures.James 4:2,3

Just as it is impossible to rightly give any glory to man in salvation because it all belongs to the Lord, so does prayer’s response. Man has always asked for his hearts desires. Man is a lustful creature. We cannot help but ask, to want, to desire. Wars have been fought (and are being fought) because of this. Countless souls have left this earth by sword, bullet, and explosion because the desires of man are not satisfied.

Thanks for the comments both of ya. They are very encouraging!

Also, I fixed some minor grammar and formatting issues in the original post; thanks to Colin, who pointed them out in IM.

Steve: Thanks for the encouragement. It wasn’t my idea to write a rebuttal; I did it for a friend (whom I have never actually met, thanks to the Internet) who cited the article as a hindrance to their faith.

And I firmly believe that such burdens ought to be shared so that they might not be a hindrance at all.

Rick: “Yikes! I can’t believe I overlooked 1 John 5:14,15!”
Hahaha! That’s okay, we forgive you. ;) I’m just glad that I was shown this passage, because truly it does shoot down the objecter’s… well, objections. Hahaha!

“Many say they are Christians, but how many can honestly say they are keeping Jesus’ commandments and doing things which are pleasing in His sight? I know I often do not.”
Exactly.

Rick, if ever you have the time or the patience, I would thoroughly enjoy it if you wrote up a rebuttal for each of his arguments. Thanks if you do!

Steve: “UGH!”
I affirm that “ugh”. It makes me wonder sometimes, but it just goes to show you the true depth of the deadness in sin. 1 Corinthians 2:14, “A natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised.”

“May the author not draw away a single soul.”
Amen! Rest assured that His “sheep listen to My voice; I know them, and they follow Me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of My hand.” Thank You, Lord Jesus, for this awesome promise.

I also referred both this site and the “God is imaginary” site to a brother at church. He is an apologist (not professionally), and he might stop by on this blog.
I cannot wait until college, because I am going to be a professional apologist, God willing.

And, BTW, HAPPY THANKSGIVING EVERYONE! ^_^ Hope you all have a great day with your families, and most importantly, giving thanks to the One who is faithful.

Okay, sorry if I am breaking any rules, such as double posting, but I don’t know how to edit my former blog in order to add to it.

Rick: From the way you write, I assume you are Reformed? If yes, yay! If not, sorry for the confusion. If you are, I suggest these two sites to you: monergism.com and aomin.org Both are exceedingly great Reformed sites, and the second one is an apologetics site.

I was also wondering if there is a way for me to, say, write up an article of my own and post it on here. If I could, I thank you! I have so much I want to say and write, but with virtually nowhere that I know of to do so, and with no way of creating my own website/blog, I am without an outlet.

Thanks for responding when you do!

Justin: No, you aren’t breaking any rules; user-editing of their own comments currently isn’t possible here, nor will it be in the foreseeable future. But since post counts aren’t displayed nor are ranks given based on posts, there is no harm in multi-posting if needed.

Also, I am familiar with both of those websites (Monergism.org and Aomin.org); I have read a couple of books by James White and it is partially thanks to his teachings (coupled with Shawn‘s encouragement that I am not a King James Onlyist anymore. And yes, I could be described as Reformed, holding to the Five Solas as well as the Doctrines of Grace.

You are welcome to register here; there should be a link at the very top of every page to register. When you do, I’ll give you authoring privileges so that you can save writings. I’ll review whatever you work up and publish it if it’s accepted. I’m sorry I can’t guarantee that whatever you write will be posted, but when it is possible to be better safe than sorry, one should be better safe than sorry — especially when truth is concerned. :)

God bless.

Rick: Okay, thanks. I didn’t know if it was against site rules or not, but I just really, really needed to ask you and I wasn’t about to wait for someone to post in order for me to post. Hahaha!

I know what you mean about James’ teachings on the Bible. I wasn’t a KJO, but I didn’t hold to the doctrines of grace, nor did I even know about them. Which is understandable considering I’ve only been a Christian since about my sixteenth birthday seven or eight months ago. But anyways, I had read the book “Debating Calvinism” by Dave Hunt and James White, and I had no idea what Calvinism was all about. But as I read the book, not only did I learn about it, but the Spirit used the book to show Calvinism’s validity. Ever since I’ve been reading as much as I could about Reformed theology.

Thanks for allowing me to register. I completely understand your wanting to approve of what I’m saying, I would probably do the same thing, and I would find it odd if you didn’t. I may be smart, but that doesn’t mean I’m going to know it all, especially when it comes to God’s infallible Word. Even the Bible says (I forget where at the moment) that some parts of the Bible are hard to understand, and need to be meditated on.

If and when I do submit something to be posted, and you find it unacceptable, I would enjoy if you gave me some feedback as to what you found wrong with it AND what you found right with it. Please and thank you!

Justin, I set your user account to “Contributor,” so you should be able to login & write now. Toggling on or off the visual rich text editor (WYSIWYG) can be done via the Users area of the admin panel.

Anyway, I look forward to what you offer!

Hey Rick, thanks! I just typed up my first deal, and I hope to see it in soon. I don’t know how I’m supposed to get it onto the blog, though. Unless you’re the one who manages that, then okay. But I have it saved in my drafts section, so if I’m supposed to be the one to post it, you’re gonna hafta show me the ropes. Thanks again!

Hi,

Thank you for this enlightening discussion of the first socalled proof against God. I pray these false teachings don’t keep people from our Lord. I would, however, encourage everyone to pray for the people behind the website. Pray they may truly hear and understand Gods word. There is tremendous joy in heaven and in fact here on earth among Christians for each person that finds his way to God. Gods will be done!

greetings and in Christ,

Roel

I have no ill feelings toward Christians, so please forgive me for saying this: Most of the responses here sound as deluded as the authors of the God Is Imaginary Web site make believers out to be.

Justin, you say that the Lord showed you a specific verse that was relevant to the discussion (and it is a relevant verse). Might I posit to you that a rational person would believe that he discovered the verse through the act of searching through the Bible with the goal of finding such a verse, or even by random chance, or through looking at the concordance to find a relevant verse, or even through memory of such a verse existing? The odds of one of those situations being true seems far more plausible than receiving a divine revelation for something that could be accomplished far more easily through a Google search.

I have another set of question to pose to you, Jason, and they come almost directly from the site you all agree egregiously misunderstands Christian beliefs. You say that some parts of the Bible are difficult to understand and need to be meditated on. But if God is an all-powerful, intelligent being, why couldn’t or didn’t he inspire the Bible’s authors to write in clear, easy-to-comprehend language? Why did God leave the words so ambiguous as to allow the faith to fracture into so many different factions? Why can’t people like the God is Imaginary Web site authors or myself understand them? I certainly didn’t set out as a child to undertake some crusade against Christianity, so why, despite years and years of teaching from faithful people, can I not understand why a person should believe any of what is in the Bible?

As for the response Mr. Beckman has kindly provided — and thank you for that, as I was searching for a counterpoint to the God is Imaginary Web site — am I correct in summing up that much of the site’s argument is flawed because it failed to take into consideration the requirement that a prayer ask for God’s will to be done?

If that is the case — and although I re-word your response to parallel the original message, I do sincerely hope that I have avoided building a straw man of your argument — the two sides can be simplified this way:

God is Imaginary: “If you pray to God, your prayer will have no effect because God is imaginary.”

Rick Beckman: “If you pray to God, your prayer will have no effect because prayers can be only for something that already is God’s will.”

I thus ask of all of you, Why would you spend precious time performing any action that will not yield a result? And should we not be ashamed for wasting a valuable resource (time) on futility?

ok first of all as one of the videos states on godisimaginary.com all christans are in a bubble of delusion and u will all think of any excuse any rationalisation to try to prove to youself that god is not imaginary when in fact there is no such thing as god for instance if god is perfect and the bible are gods exact words and god is the all knowing creater of the earth and the universe why is there so much antisientific nonsence in the bible

1. the earth was not created 10,000 years ago
2. jona did not live in the stomach of a whale for watever amount of time the bible says i do not recal that right now
3. the earth was not coverd in water up to mount everest
4.god did not create adam from a pile of dust
5.as the vidoes also state what makes your religion any less beliveable than scientology or muslim there is no diferent ther just both religions that both make no sence yet both groups belive there religion is right with absaloot certanty
6.the video is asuming u are a inteligent college educated christan witch most of you people arent if u dont see that each one of the videos make complete sence and are absalootly corect and all of your suposed disproofs of the videos are rationizations that actualy dont prove anything becides your absaloot delusion

this website is pathetic its just some guy who thinks he can disprove every video on godisimaginary.com and a bunch of idiots who probably havent even watched the videos agreeing with him over and over

Understanding the Rationalizations
The most common rationalization for the lack of scientific evidence is the “God must remain hidden” argument.
Many believers try to rationalize God’s existence by saying something like this: “The existence of the universe proves God’s existence. Something had to create the universe. Science has no explanation for the universe’s creation. Therefore, God created it.”

The way to understand that this is a rationalization is to look back in history. Ancient people, before they had science, explained many things that they did not understand with “gods.” There have been sun gods, thunder gods, fertility gods, rain gods, etc.

The Bible works the same way. It tries to explain many things that its ancient authors did not understand by attributing them in God. For example, if you read Genesis 9:12-13 you will find this:

And God said, “This is the sign of the covenant which I make between me and you and every living creature that is with you, for all future generations: I set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between me and the earth…”
This is the Bible’s explanation of rainbows. Of course we now know that rainbows are a prismatic effect of raindrops. In the same way, Genesis chapter 3 tries to explain why human childbirth is so painful and Genesis chapter 11 tries to explain why there are so many human languages. These are myths, nothing more.
In the same way, Genesis chapter 1 contains the Bible’s creation myth. The creation of the universe and life is attributed to God. We already know that God had nothing to do with the creation of life but religious people still try to attribute the creation of the universe to God.

The fact is, God had nothing to do with the creation of the universe, in the same way that God has nothing to do with the sun rising or rainbows appearing. Science does not have a complete explanation for the universe’s creation, yet. While it is true that science does not yet know everything there is to know about the universe, scientists will eventually figure it out. When they do, what they will find is that nature created the universe, not an imaginary being.

Dear jake,

It is a pity you respond so agitated about the contents of this website. I can assure you that sensible and critical christians exist. I am a PhD student, and got my MSc cum laude, that would require me to be a sensible person, right? Still I am a devout Christian! Furthermore, I have looked at the arguments on the godisimaginary.com site and do not find them convincing…

I do not have time to write large articles about this like Timothy, but at least I can comment on your points:

1) The bible does not require the earth to be just a few thousand years old. Only mankind is supposed to be that old, and even that can be viewed differently, without viewing the bible as a nice story book. (I know that mankind (homo sapiens sapiens) is allegedly 40000 years old… but as a scientist I have serious reservations on stretching carbon dating that far.)

2) Well, prove it! were you there? If there is a God, then this would be possible. But just assuming that it didn’t happen does not disprove that God does not exist.

3) Well, it is still interesting to see that all ancient cultures remember a gigantic flood in their stories! Furthermore, you will be able to find seashells etc. on Mt. Everest. Although we can debate about the age of those shells

4) Were you there? How do you know this? You can ask me the same thing, but at least it is not a valid argument against faith.

5) Of course one’s belief does not make a religion true! But still this does not prove whether one of those religions is true, regardless of what people believe, i.e. this argument does not disprove anything

6) So you say: if you do not believe what I believe you are not intelligent? Please, tell me you are more intelligent than that!

Dear Jake, I hope you will see that christians are not provably delusional! You may believe I am delusional, but at least you must admit there will remain a possibility that in fact you are delusional.

I hope that you will give God a fair chance, because He has made the ultimate sacrifice for you. If only you believe in Him and his Son Jesus Christ, all your sins are forgiven.

greetings and God bless,

Roel

@Jake

Short remark about your rationalizations post. The stories in the bible you cite explain why things are as they are. Science can only explain how they are as they are. Science can never say anything about the purpose of anything in nature.

greetz,

Roel

Roel: Thanks for your replies; I no longer take much time to update timothysburden.com — I’m slowly building up rickbeckman.org to replace this blog. And from that, I’ll note that my name is Rick, not Timothy. The confusing names is one of the reasons why I’m jumping ship to a different domain. :P

Jake: Thanks for your posts. I’m sorry that you were so upset that you felt the need to respond thrice in a row, but I will point out that you offered nothing I haven’t heard before. I’m very much aware of the arguments you present, but thank you for reminding me of them. Have a great day.

why would u say “where u there” i dont haft to be there to know the facts its science and i am fairly sure the bible does say the earth was created 10,000 years ago not just humans and btw its kind of pathetic that your so wrapped up in your own delusion you cant see that my comments make perfect sence and you do not say anything about my most previous comment witch i didint type but i got from godisimaginary.com and on your all cultures have records of a giant flood comment, floods happen all the time and u cant prove that there was a giant flood covering the whole earth because a few cultures have reported floods around the same time. and if what u say about the sea shells on mount everest is true (witch ive never heard of) there would be tons of seashells all over the world and in the desert and the arctic witch there ARENT and there would also be other scientific evidence of a flood. the bible says god made the flood happen to kill everything on earth and if god is GOD then how could people have survived?

I like how you explain things did you know that there is a few web sites doing what your doing try to prove that site wrong

I have no problem with people believing there is a God. People have been believing in all kinds of Gods for thousands and thousands of years, so no argument there. If you believe or want to believe in God, bless you. However the bible is not an authoritative unadulterated representative voice of an omnipotent omniscient being. If it were so, it would not be shrouded in instrumentation of prayer with specific modalities to specific persons with specifically vague language requirements. Re: specific prayers or statements of God’s absolute powers to grant things (“all things are possible…) are possible only to disciples or to Jesus’ mother upon her immaculate birth. That certain happenings can only apply for those people presenting before church elders ‘which, unfortunately today, there are very few’. Wasn’t the Bible meant for all people, not just English Literature majors and Historians who can decipher the metaphors, understand what prayers should be asked or answered, God’s strict doctrine regarding prayer (Please dear God, let my infant son not die of sudden infant death syndrome – this is a non-answerable prayer because it’s not succeeded by “if it be God’s will”) I’ve prayed my whole life and never knew that. i suppose those things, those “answered prayers” I ascribed to God’s omniscience and omnipotence, are stupid attributizations as I used the wrong language to pray. Asking questions to help one understand the language of the bible hinges upon man’s “We are dirt. Sinful, unworthy, and impure dirt.” unworthy, sinful, impure, dirt[y]” interpretation and personal representation. As the bible teaches, man is imperfect and thus any interpretation is wrong, imperfect, and an instrument of his own pride. This means that we must read the bible and take it completely literally because to allow any other person who is not God to tell us what God means, if the Bible is what God means, is wrong because they (man, men) are impure, sinful, unworthy, biased and clearly not God. God did not say, “Please have these words interpreted for me because I may be speaking out of context or you may not understand. ” God also did not say “Please pray like I said, because if you are unaware of this I will automatically disregard your plight due to your improper language, inability to read, blindness, mental disability, etc, whatever your problem , even if you are the representative of Jesus Christ on earth” if he meant all that, then even the Pope is insulting us all with his prayers.
The Pope’s Insulting Prayer
The sick, the elderly, the handicapped, and the dying teach us that weakness is a creative part of human living, and that suffering can be embraced with no loss of dignity. Without the presence of these people in your midst you might be tempted to think of health, strength, and power as the only important values to be pursued in life. But the wisdom of Christ and the power of Christ are to be seen in the weakness of those who share His sufferings.

Let us keep the sick and handicapped at the center of our lives. Let us treasure them and recognize with gratitude the debt we owe them. We begin by imagining that we are giving to them; we end by realizing that they have enriched us.

May God bless and comfort all who suffer. And may Jesus Christ, the Savior of the world and healer of the sick, make His light shine through human weakness as a beacon for us and for all mankind. Amen. [L’Osservatore Romano, 5-31-82, 3].

Further, the bible has been changed significantly from when it was originally written.

The Bible, we are told, is the inerrant word of God. But what word is it? And how should that word be translated into English? One might think there are straightforward answers to those questions, but there are not. Just last week, in fact, a brand new English translation of the biggest-selling Bible, the “New International Version” (“NIV”) was announced. All-new and improved from the last version, published in 2005, and the one before that, in 1984. HarperCollins, the publisher, moves millions of these products every year; it’s good for business to toss in changes periodically, like auto manufacturers do, to help meet sales targets.
All the better if the changes arouse controversy. In 2005 there was a storm of protest, as HarperCollins made sweeping changes to more gender-neutral language than God had originally used. For example, right at the outset, the 1984 edition has God saying “Let us make man in our image.” In 2005, this was politically correctedto read “Let us make human beings in our image.” So were thousands of other similar references, like “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath,” which was changed to “The Sabbath was made for people, not people for the Sabbath.” The 2005 model was so hip, HarperCollins even advertised it in Rolling Stone magazine.
But now the empire is striking back. The new, improved 2010 model throws women back overboard, with God saying “Let us make mankind in our image” and Jesus saying “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.”
Still, male cheerleaders remain disgruntled. Take I Timothy 2:12, which used to read “I do not permit a woman to teach or to haveauthority over a man; she must be silent.” Now it is toned downinto “I do not permit a woman to teach or to assume authority over a man; she must be quiet.”
Some of the attempts at compromise simply produce bad grammar. Revelations 3:20 now reads: “If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me.” I’d have had sore knuckles if I turned in a sentence like that to my 4th grade grammar teacher.
Choosing Sources
The first step in translating the Bible is to decide what source to translate from. This is no easy task, because there are hundreds of different early versions of the Bible to choose from, each one a little different from the others. In fact, according to Biblical scholarBart Ehrman, there are more variations among the different early versions of the New Testament than there are words in the New Testament. The committee of God experts in charge of producing the latest model for HarperCollins to sell says that “We use what Bible translators call an ‘eclectic text’ drawing on all the major published original texts, but making our own decisions about the textual variants found in those traditions.” In other words, they pick the parts they like from each one, and toss the parts they dislike, based on their personal knowledge of what God really thinks.
Take for example the story of the woman found in adultery, where Jesus says “He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone.” This story does not appear in any of the earliest versions of the New Testament. When it does start to pop up, hundreds of years after the death of Jesus, it lands in different spots within the Gospel of John – one early Bible even plants it in the Gospel of Luke. It is virtually certain, therefore, that this little gem was not actually written by the author of the Gospel of John. So did the HarperCollins team leave it out, because it is not authentic? Of course not, because it’s the sort of thing the character they want to portray would have said, if he had only thought of it. Besides, they would sell fewer books that way.
Translation
Once the sources are combed for “all the news that fits,” the work of translation begins. The earliest Gospel texts we have are written in Greek, a language not spoken in 1st century Galilee. These were translated into Latin, the language of the western half of the Roman Empire, by Jerome in the 4th century, in a work that became known as the “Vulgate.” When the humanist scholar Erasmus began comparing the Vulgate with the early Greek texts in the 16thcentury, though, he found it riddled with simple errors – at the rate of better than one per page. So he produced a new, far more accurate translation, dedicated to Pope Leo X. Though Leo seemed pleased, others in the hierarchy were outraged, because it wasdifferent from what they had learned. Who cares about accuracy? At the Council of Trent, Pope Paul IV condemned Erasmus as “the leader of all heretics” and sought to have all of his books burned. Jerome’s inaccurate Vulgate remains the official Latin text used by the Catholic Church today.
One person who did like Erasmus’ work was Martin Luther, who translated it into German. When he got to parts that didn’t fit his peculiar theology, though, he simply changed them, or deleted them. The whole Epistle of James, for example, he dismissed as “apocrypha.” At the critical point of Romans 3:28 [KJV], “Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law,” Luther chose to insert the word “only” in front of “faith,” since Paul had erred by not going quite far enough in driving home the point Luther wanted him to make.
Gender issues
Today’s gender issues are not at all new. Many Bible publishers have gone to great lengths to downplay the role of women, sometimes in the pettiest of ways. Acts 17:4, in the NIV and even in King James, says “And some of them were persuaded and joined with Paul and Silas, as did a great many of the pious Greeks, along with a large number of prominent women.” Prominent women? How un-Christian! Lots of Bibles, such as the “God’s Word” version, translate this as “And some of them were persuaded and joined with Paul and Silas, as did a great many of the pious Greeks, along with a large number of wives of prominent men” – putting women in their proper place.
Then there is the famous passage from I Corinthians 14 [1984 NIV]:
Women should remain silent in the churches. They are not allowed to speak, but must be in submission, as the law says. If they want to inquire about something, they should ask their own husbands at home; for it is disgraceful for a woman to speak in the church.
Ehrman and other scholars make a persuasive case that Paul never actually wrote this passage, and that it was written in later by a misogynist. It sticks out like a sore thumb, because the verses before it and immediately after it deal with rules of etiquette while someone is prophesying, such as not interrupting in mid-prophecy, and these words interrupt the natural flow. Moreover, some of the best early texts put this passage at other places in the Epistle, suggesting it was a later insertion like the story of the woman found in adultery. Most importantly, in the very same Epistle, just three chapters earlier, Paul says that women should wear veils on their heads while they are prophesying in church. How can they be prophesying in church if they are remaining silent? I guess that’s what is called a “miracle.” It would be even more of a miracle if the God experts rewriting the Bible decided to leave rubbish like this out of the books they are trying to sell – and we all know that the age of miracles has passed.

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