A Reply To Kingdom Advancer
RE: "This is written as a Christian retort to an atheist who attempted to turn Scripture against itself to show that "nobody can get to heaven." Of course, this atheist doesn't believe in heaven. She's just saying that nobody could get there by Jesus' standards, anyway, because the bar is set so high. She lays it down as an eight-step, biblical process."
Firstly, it is not my argument, it is the argument of "Rational Idiot Productions" of which I have no affiliation. So that is your first mistake, to claim that it is my claim and my production.
Secondly, you are of course welcome to disagree with that production, but you are not allowed to claim that it is MY argument.
RE: "Step 1, according to her, is found in Luke 10:25-28:And a lawyer stood up and put Him to the test, saying, "Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?" And He said to him, "What is written in the Law? How does it read to you?" And he answered, "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself?" And He said to him, "You have answered correctly; do this and you will live." Now, the atheist thinks this step is pretty simple. I do too.
Firstly, once again, it is not my claim, but I will refer to the claims made by the production for the sake of argument.
Secondly, the argument expressed in the production relies specifically on the words in the bible which refer to how someone can be saved, as these are of primary relevance to the concept of salvation.
RE: "However, Jesus is not implying that we can earn our salvation here.
Firstly, if Jesus is not implying that salvation is to be found by loving the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself and that this is the way to salvation, why was it said?
Secondly, if your claim is that no one has been able to keep this part of the law, then the argument is over, as god, if it exists, has sent mankind on an impossible mission from the beginning.
RE: "All have sinned," (Romans 3:23) "There is none who is good," (Luke 18)...and the list goes on. Jesus said, "If you love me, you will keep my Commandments." (John 14:15) This includes His command to repent, turn from your sins, accept Jesus as your Savior and Lord [a.k.a. the road to salvation.]"
Firstly, Romans 3:23 does not mention how to be saved, it mentions that all have sinned. "for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,"
Secondly, John 14:15 does not mention specifically salvation, it talks of obedience. "If you love me, you will obey what I command."
RE: The "second step," Luke 18:18-22, is where her thought-processes get interesting:A ruler questioned Him, saying, "Good Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?" And Jesus said to him, "Why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone."You know the commandments. 'Do not commit adultery, Do not murder, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Honor your father and mother.'" And he said, "All these things I have kept from my youth."
When Jesus heard this, He said to him, "One thing you still lack; sell all that you possess and distribute it to the poor, and you shall have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me." The atheist came across with the false impression that Jesus is saying--in order to enter heaven--everyone must sell everything they own.
Firstly, Luke 18:18-22 is included because it is specific to the argument where Jesus asnwers a man's question of how he will attain eternal life. And after mentioning the usual commands, this one is also mentioned.
Luke 18:22 "When Jesus heard this, he said to him, "You still lack one thing. Sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me."
Secondly, if Jesus did not mean that you have to sell everything and give it to the poor, as part of the process towards salvation, why bother saying it?
RE: "This is what I say: First of all, look at what the ruler said, "What must I do to be saved?" This teaches us two things about this encounter:1.) Jesus' general advice could apply to everyone's salvation, but any particulars apply only to the individual.2.) The man was showing his self-righteousness and self-reliance. He wanted to know what HE could do to be saved. "For by grace you have been saved through faith; and THAT NOT OF OURSELVES, it is the gift of God." (Ephesians 2:8, emphasis added)"
Firstly, your opinion or interpretation of Jesus's intent, is of no value to me. We are discussing what was actually said, not what you infer or interpret the words to say.
Secondly, Ephesians 2:8 States that you are saved through faith, so this is relevant to the discussion of salvation.
Ephesians 2:8 "For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God"
Thirdly, but this only presents more questions. If you are saved by faith, what is the point of mentioning all the other requirements for salvation? And if it is a package deal, which the video suggest, then this just is another requirement for salvation.
RE: "Jesus FIRST told the man to keep the Law; the man thought he had. But no one has kept all of the Law, all of the time. And if you break one part of the Law, you're guilty of all. (James 2:10) That's why Jesus questioned the man's assessment of good. The man likely had a misunderstanding of the Law, and Jesus also knew that He was breaking the First Commandment continously, by making a "god" out of his wealth."
So no one can follow all the law. I think you covered that previously. But if no one can follow all the steps nor all the laws, then no one can have salvation either, which is exactly the argument of the video.
RE: "Note verse 23, which says that man was "very sad," because he was "very rich." He did not want to give up his money to be saved or in order to follow God. The Bible tells us that we "cannot serve God and wealth." (Luke 16:13)Jesus was not saying that everyone has to sell all their belongings."
So, Jesus wasn't telling people to sell everything, in order to gain salvation, it was just a suggestion. Uh huh...
Luke 16:13 does not specifically mention salvation, but I will treat it as an aside.
Luke 16:13 "No servant can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money."
Notice how it doesn't mention salvation in the verse, because it was previously mentioned that you had to SELL EVERYTHING in order to attain salvation. And I guess there is no point in God being redundant.
RE: "He was pointing out that the man could do nothing himself to be saved for he had already violated the Law and was still violating the Law: He would need Jesus. If he sold all he had, it would be the equivalent of repenting--it would demonstrate that he had removed his god of money--but He would still need to follow Jesus.That being said, Christians are merely "stewards" of God's wealth and should be using it for His will and glory."
Firstly, Ahhhh... I wondered how you would try to interpret SELL EVERYTHING so that you didn't have to fulfill this part of the steps for salvation. So, once again you interpret the words to fit what you are required to do. You are not prepared to SELL EVERYTHING so therefore you interpret it to mean something else.
Secondly, it has already been stated that one of the steps towards salvation was to supposedly follow Jesus. So to mention it again seems a bit redundant on your part.
Thirdly, but the question does arise as to whether Jesus literally meant for him to be one of his disciples by following him from place to place while he preached, or whether he meant to figuratively follow his teachings two thousand years in the future. No doubt, you will pick the latter, though this makes less sense as Jesus made reference to the end of the world happening in HIS lifetime, not two thousand years down the track.
Mark 13:30: [After detailing events up to end of world, Jesus says]
"Truly, I say to you, this generation will not pass away before all these things take place." So, I suggest that "follow" meant to literally follow Jesus during his lifetime, as Jesus saw the end of the world happening in HIS own lifetime.
RE: Step 3, Luke 14:26-27, 33:"If anyone comes to Me, and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be My disciple. Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple. "So then, none of you can be My disciple who does not give up all his own possessions." The atheist feels there's some hypocrisy here. How can you hate your parents and honor them? How you can hate everybody and love everybody? This is what I say: Here another thing is taken out of context. "Hate" is used here in a statement of hyperbole. Jesus is making an extreme comparison. Jesus, again, is saying that God must be our priority--again referencing the First Commandment.
So, "hate" doesn't mean"hate" and "sell everything" doesn't mean "sell everything" and "follow" doesn't mean to literally "follow." But amazingly, coming back from the dead IS taken literally. What double standards you have.
Once again, there seems to be no way of ascertaining the meaning or intent of a passage except subjectively which is what all believers do, even those who believe in the words of "Thomas the Tank Engine." But I get the message, you get to interpret it to fit your preconceived beliefs and I am supposed to accept your beliefs over what it says literally.
Now, as we have ascertained that the bible is open to interpretation; that is, the literal meaning is not intended, I interpret the resurrection to symbolise the path of the sun as it passes through the signs of the zodiac. My interpretation is therefore as valid as yours as I arrived at it using the same process of subjective interpretation. If you view your interpretation to be correct, then I can view mine as being correct.
And by the way, "love your ememies" always seemed a little threatening to me, as the god of the old testament liked to love his enemies to death. And Jesus is god, so I am not convinced that god has a very balanced perspective on "love" in the first place.
RE: "Step 4, John 6:53-57:So Jesus said to them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in yourselves. He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day. For My flesh is true food, and My blood is true drink. He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in him.As the living Father sent Me, and I live because of the Father, so he who eats Me, he also will live because of Me." First of all, I think when an atheist turns to the topic of communion, it shows that they really don't have a great argument."
Firstly, the concept of sacrifice is ancient. The idea that blood contained the power to give life is probably as ancient as mankind, which is why sacrifice of not only animals but people was a popular past-time. Sometimes that human sacrifice was a willing one, that is, there was no coersion required. Sacrifices occurred in most cultures and rituals developed around the belief that to drink of the blood or to eat of the flesh would impart the "powers" of the sacrifice into the recipient.
That is, that the flesh and blood literally contained the power or "essence" of the individual or animal. To sacrifice a wild dangerous animal to the gods and to drink its blood etc, was seen as a way to assume the power of that animal. Sometimes the sacrifice was a willing human.
The influence of culture and the fact that one would be seen as a hero, albeit a dead hero, didn't put a lot of people off from being a sacrifice. Especially if they were promised that their life would protect the lives of all of their village/tribe etc. So, the idea that it took ONLY one sacrifice to save everyone, is just an evolution of the idea of sacrifice. The fact that the "jesus sacrifice" retains all the other elements of ancient sacrifice strongly suggest that this was just an evolution in the concept of human sacrifice.
RE: "Anyways, the atheist thinks this is "grotesque" and "satanic."
Actually, I say it is an ancient practice which evolved into the idea of one human sacrifice instead of many.
RE : Step 5, Matthew 18:3-4:He said, "Truly I say to you, unless you are converted and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven." The atheist thinks there's something strange with this. I don't see anything strange here. She says it doesn't have anything to do with humility, but I say: 1) Look at verse 5: "Whoever then humbles himself as this child, he is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven." So it has nothing to do with actually becoming a child. It's about losing pride and humbly asking for forgiveness, for "God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble." (1 Peter 5:5) So yes, humility is a big part of salvation--becoming "like a child" is a big part of salvation. Humility is a natural precursor to salvation.2) The atheist seems to think that being like a child means being gullible. I say:It certainly does not mean gullibility. And I must say, anyone who believes in atheism, evolution, and the lack of a need to believe in absolutes, definitely does not have room to talk about gullibility.3)This passage likely partially means dependence on God and in Jesus. Like a child would trust and depend on his parents, so are we to depend on and in God."
Once again, it depends on what qualities you associate with children. You choose one and claim that is the attribute required for salvation. Let's assume that the attribute is humility. Humility is a great attribute if you want to be be a follower. Not a great attribute if you want to be a self-determining adult. Other qualities associated with children are an unquestioning faith in leaders, either ones based in reality, or ones based in mythology or religion. All leaders want compliant and obedient followers who just have faith in them and believe everything they say. In order to be compliant and obedient, one needs to prefer faith over reason. Little children have under-developed reasoning power, so of course a god would claim that people need to remain gullible and trusting like children.
RE: "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God." Nicodemus said to Him, "How can a man be born when he is old? He cannot enter a second time into his mother's womb and be born, can he?" Jesus answered, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. "Do not be amazed that I said to you, 'You must be born again.'
The concept of baptism or purification is also as old as religion itself. This is just a revised version of a ritual which was performed thousands of years prior to christianity. One of the earliest recorded instances of baptism is in Egypt. Water was purified in ancient Egypt, both for the living and the dead. Indeed, washing in water was essential to the resurrection from the dead in ancient Egypt, just as in the idea of christian baptism. The initiation of an Egyptian priest was a baptism in a sacred pool. This pool was symbolic of the waters of Nu, the Cosmic Ocean, which washed away all evil. Then the priest candidate was sprinkled with oil and water as purification. So, I am hardly surprised that "being born again" or having ones sins washed away through a ritual involving water is part of the christian cult as well.
RE: "The wind blows where it wishes and you hear the sound of it, but do not know where it comes from and where it is going; so is everything who is born of the Spirit." First things first. The atheist says that "Jesus is completely wrong here. We do know where the wind comes from and where it's going." Well, a couple things to note: 1.) Certainly people of those times didn't have knowledge of the currents.2.) Secondly, we cannot track with complete accuracy the wind."
Well, we are not talking about "people of those times not having the knowledge of the currents," we are talking SPECIFICALLY about the fact that JESUS DIDN'T. A man-god who can cure people of leprosy, and raise people from the dead, DOESN'T know about the wind.
Secondly, we cannot PREDICT exactly where the wind will go, but we can accurately track wind currents. I suggest you go to this page just for one example. I am sure there are many. Wind Tracker Display
RE: " Jesus was not necessarily talking about major currents; He might've been merely talking about the unpredictable breeze."
Sorry, but that excuse is just hilarious.
RE : Step 7, Matthew 5:20:"For I [Jesus] say unto you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven." The atheist thinks that this means we really are expected to follow the 600+ laws that the Pharisees followed. But Jesus was actually saying two other things: 1.) First of all, the Pharisees had corrupted the Law. They had narrowed some parts and expanded others. They "tithed mint and dill and cummin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law," (Matthew 23:23) like the essence of murder and adultery, hate and lust. (Matthew 5:21ff)2.) Jesus was once again showing us that--to enter heaven on our own merit--we'd have to be "perfect, as God is perfect."
Firstly, it is your assumption that Jesus is saying that the pharisees have corrupted the law. Secondly, the pharisees claim that Jesus corrupted the law. You remember the old testament? The one you purloined in order to create your own god myth? The old testament explains quite well what happens to false prophets who attempt to change the law. Jesus's claim, if he existed, was that the law of the pharisees was corrupted, so the law did not apply to him. That makes him a political dissident, but not a god or the son of a god.
The jews certainly thought he was trying to corrupt the law and that he was a false prophet. Jews who practice judaism still consider jesus to be a false prophet who was trying to corrupt the laws. Jews also believe that allah is a false prophet, even though islam also uses judaism as a stepping stome in order to create its own religion.
In Deuteronomy 13, god describes this false prophet as a member of the Jewish people (13:2- 7) who would tell true prophecies and would have the power of miracles. God would give this false prophet the power to perform miracles and reveal prophecy, but the false prophet would try to seduce the people away from god's law and towards strange gods unknown to Judaism. The purpose would be to test whether jews were truly committed to living under the law, or whether they would be dazzled and fall for the temptation to join a false path to salvation (13: 3-6, 7-8, 11).
In this bible passage, god repeatedly commands the Jews to kill this false prophet, lest the evil spread and destroy many souls. So, the jews certainly believe that jesus came to corrupt the law as a test from god to keep them faithful to the jewish law. Deuteronomy 13:5 "That prophet or dreamer must be put to death, because he preached rebellion against the LORD your God, who brought you out of Egypt and redeemed you from the land of slavery; he has tried to turn you from the way the LORD your God commanded you to follow. You must purge the evil from among you." In other words, if you worship Jesus as a god, you are corrupting the law.
RE: "(Matthew 5:48) This is impossible--not even Christians can match up to this standard, for it would require total perfection--past, present, and future--not just future perfection. Therefore, we need Jesus' sacrifice, for there “ is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved.”
The penny finally drops. It is an impossible list to achieve, therefore no one can get into heaven. Matthew 5:48 "Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect."
RE: "Lastly, I realize I'll be accused of "interpreting" the Bible according "to what I want to believe," but that's false. In all factuality, what I'm doing is called "keeping things in context," or--in other words--doing the exact opposite of what this atheist is doing. ~Kingdom Advancing.
Yes, you will be accused of interpreting the bible according to your own needs, desires and comprehension problems. By the way, have you worked out yet that you misinterpreted Matthew 5:22 yet?
Was it a deliberate misinterpretation to suit your own needs, desires and preconceived beliefs? Or was it just a lack of comprehension skills? If it is the latter, I suggest that you do not rely on your own ability to make sense of the bible, as your own ability is obviously flawed.
"But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment:"
"and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council:" (That is, whoever calls his brother worthless shall be in danger of the council.)
"but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire."
Each statement has a separate consequence. In the first one, if you are angry without cause, you are in danger of the judgement. In the second one, if you call someone worthless, you are in danger of the council. And in the last one, if you call someone a fool, you are in danger of hell fire.
As you have demonstrated your inability to comprehend this passage correctly, based on your inability to understand punctuation and word meaning; I have little trust in your ability to comprehend other passages in the bible. That is, your ability to comprehend and therefore make valid judgements is in doubt.
Now, I know you have created a webpage on your own site in an attempt to rebut any arguments I may put forward. But I want you to know that I will not be visiting your site to rebut them. I will rebut them here. Afterall, I want MY blog to receive the traffic, not yours :)
PS: You also seem to have an inability to comprehend whose argument is whose. You wish to attribute the video to me. Nothing on the original article expressed my thoughts concerning the ideas expressed in the video. So, in future, please respond to the correct source. You should have addressed your argument concerning the video, not assume that it was my video or my words.