Home > All, God, Lying For Jesus, Media, Philosophy, Rant, Religion, Skepticism > Adventures In Christian Radio [Part I]

Adventures In Christian Radio [Part I]

Introduction

Every once-in-a-while I like to dabble in points of view other than my own. Especially when it comes to religion. I wouldn’t be able to consider myself an Atheist if the only thing I knew was Atheism. Makes sense, right? Can’t say the same thing for most, let’s say, Christians.

Take, for example, the book I’m reading right now: Darwin On Trial by Phillip Johnson. I can’t say that I’m enjoying it, but I’m at least taking a stab at it with an open mind. Do you know of any Christians reading The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins? Reading books which speak badly about God is a sin. It’s only a step above the original Church position of keeping the common man from reading anything at all… the pre-Martin Luther (The Father Of Protestantism) days. Pre-religious totalitarianism, mental slavery days. You know, the whole burning of and killing of “witches,” people who think the world is round, people who work on Sunday, children who disobey their parents.

If you have any questions about these things, read the book of Deuteronomy. You can get the gory details for yourself. In fact, here’s a quote from EvilBible.com:

The act of murder is rampant in the Bible.  In much of the Bible, especially the Old Testament, there are laws that command that people be killed for absurd reasons such as working on the Sabbath, being gay, cursing your parents, or not being a virgin on your wedding night.  In addition to these crazy and immoral laws, there are plenty of examples of God’s irrationality by his direct killing of many people for reasons that defy any rational explanation such as killing children who make fun of bald people, and the killing of a man who tried to keep the ark of God from falling during transport.  There are also countless examples of mass murders commanded by God, including the murder of women, infants, and children.

And if you’re one who says that “that’s in the Old Testament. Jesus made it so we don’t have to do that anylonger,” then you haven’t really read the Bible. In particular, Matthew 5:17-19:

17 Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil.

18 For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.

19 Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.

That’s right… even the least of commandments. Killing your kid when he or she talks back to you.

Anyway, back on topic. Any other worship than Jesus and reading the Bible is considered “Devil Worship.” If you don’t believe what they believe, you’ve already been classified and shelved away – your opinion summarily blocked out. And how can they possibly do that? Not being well versed in any other opinion other than their own? They can’t. And that’s what makes a good portion of the Christian community ignorant. It’s also arrogant to assume knowledge of absolute truth.

Anyway, the point of this entry is to talk about some things I heard on my local Christian radio station last night: WZXV – “The Word Radio.” So let’s get to it…

Humans Cannot Reason For Themselves

This first particular segment contained a whole bunch of psychological woo-woo nonsense. Not that the second segment didn’t. But this particular brand of woo-woo seems, to me, to be very detrimental to mental development.

A woman called in asking for some advice. She wasn’t sure about where God wanted her to go in life. She wasn’t sure which path in life was “in His Will.”

This seems incredibly weak-minded, to me. And, while this isn’t the main point of this subsection, I will say that it seems people use Christianity as a way to avoid dealing with problems or issues in their life. Christ will shoulder your burden; you don’t have to.

Where should you be going in life? I don’t know. No one does. Go where you want to go. That’s part of being a human. Making your own choices. Not leaving it up to some invisible man in the sky. I think that’s what an intelligent, loving God would want for you. Toughen up and deal with your problems.

I understand that people desire to feel stable, in control, safe. But, when you go to lengths of creating false mental constructs to support your instability, only bad things can result. Where does “God” want you to go in life? It’s a recipe for destruction.

The host went on to tell a story about a recent event between her and her child. This is the part that really disturbed me. The following was her method for determining “what God wants” in your life.

She talked about how her child, one night before bed, said, “Mommy, I don’t think I’ve ever heard the Lord speak to me before.” She responded that certainly, her child had heard him. The child responded with, “No, I don’t think so.”

Skip forward to the next day.

The child apparently grabbed a golf club from the garage and proceeded to hit bark (tree bark?) in the back yard, knocking a big piece through a window.

When sitting down with her child, she asked if he heard a voice inside saying, “You shouldn’t be doing that?” When her child responded back in the affirmative, she stated that that voice was, in fact, “the Lord.”

Now, what’s wrong with that? A lot of things. First of all, it establishes in the child’s mind that sense of shirking responsibility, of developing false mental constructs.

Instead of telling her child the TRUTH, that the voice he was “hearing” was himself… that he already knew that he shouldn’t be doing what he was doing, she decided to let “the Lord” take credit for that tendency to do right.

This is a turn for the worse in this child’s life. Instead of realizing that he knew the right choice to make all on his own… instead of cultivating that; his mother is telling him, essentially, that he has no idea what the right thing to do is, and he has to depend on “the Lord” for making right decisions. He can’t rely on himself any longer. He has to wait for signs from “the Lord” to do anything. Essentially rendering him mentally impotent.

And what form does “the Lord” take? In the Christian community, it could be a pastor telling you to give money to the church. It could be a “Christian Academic” telling you that evolution has no evidence to support it, and to ignore any other points of view – declaring them “the Devil’s work.” There are endless other forms of mental slavery that this leads to.

Christians Still Resort To Bronze-Age Superstitions

This second segment was of particular interest to me. It was about a group of people who were planning an outdoor viewing of The Jesus Movie for a large group of teenagers.

Now, I’d never heard of the Jesus Movie before, but apparently it’s a pretty significant film. The site has this to say about it:

Every four seconds, somewhere in the world, another person indicates a decision to follow Christ after viewing the “JESUS” film.

Every four seconds… that’s 21,600 people per day, 648,000 per month and more than 7.8 million per year!  That’s like the population of the entire city of Seattle, WA, coming to Christ every 27.5 days.  And yet, if you are like most people, you may have never even heard of it.

Called by some “one of the best-kept secrets in Christian missions,” a number of mission experts have acclaimed the film as one of the greatest evangelistic tools of all time.  Since 1979 the “JESUS” film has been viewed by several billion people all across the globe, and has resulted in more than 225 million men, women and children indicating decisions to follow Jesus.

Those are some pretty mind-blowing stats. I wonder where they came up with them? I’m sure they aren’t lying for Jesus, or anything like that. That would be dishonest. I bet they don’t lie for Jesus in that movie, either.

Anyway, let’s get to the real meat of this story. This radio segment was presented as one of those “Breaking News” type of things. Like a “FOX News Alert” or something. And you won’t believe what they had to say.

Allegedly, where they were showing this film, there was a witch doctor who didn’t want the film to be shown in the community. And, also allegedly, this witch doctor made it rain every time they tried to have this gathering.

A witch doctor? Are you kidding me? Absolutely incredible. Magic spells and everything. I bet if they turned on the Weather Channel, they would have known about the witch doctor’s “magic spells” ahead of time.

Upon further research, I’ve found this witch doctor mentioned several times on the Jesus Film website. Here and here.

I must say, the story about the witch doctor “turning to Jesus” is priceless. After probably a lifetime of doing magic spells, he all of a sudden believes in Jesus after watching some movie? My “lying for Jesus” sense is tingling.

Conclusion

What nonsense. Absolute nonsense. And people ask what the harm is in believing in the “supernatural.” What harm can it do for people to believe in, and take literally, a book written 2,000 years ago, deeply rooted in magical thinking?

This is the harm it can do.

People believing in utter lunacy (witch doctors changing the weather), and disillusioning themselves. Teaching their children that their own conscience, their own sense of reasoning, of right and wrong, is actually “the Lord” speaking to them.

Lying. Deceiving. Anything to get a few new converts to Christianity. And for what? Does it boost our ego? To have another join the flock. Does it make people feel better when they rope in another convert?

I almost wonder why I even bother listening to Christian radio. It honestly makes me angry hearing these types of stories. It’s almost as though these people have such utter disregard for actual truth, that they’re willing to say or do anything in the name of Jesus; regardless of the negative impact it has on those around them… especially their children.

If it were up to me, religion wouldn’t even be allowed to be taught to children until they were 18. And it’d be a different world if that were the case. If they were actually allowed to understand what they were having shoved down their throats.

Try telling someone of sound mind and body, and of legal age that their sense of right and wrong is “the Lord” speaking to them, or that witch doctors change the weather because they don’t  like a Jesus movie. Good luck with that one, buddy.

You’re better off taking advantage of little children who don’t have the capability of understanding. Get them while their heads are still soft enough to shove that crap in there.

Ok, so that’s enough of my rant. And yes, I do get a little upset about this type of garbage. Probably because I used to be a Fundamentalist Christian; it upsets me to see how deceived and duped I was. This is how I release some of that anger.

So anyway, read a book. It’s good for you.

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  1. crazeeaz
    Sunday October 11, 2009 at 11:30 PM

    1) Reading isn’t a sin, I read Origin of Species and think, like Darwin did at the end of his life, that Natural Selection is a little focused and forced (turn you anthropomorphism radar on when you read that) but I’m still open the idea of Genetic Drift. I haven’t reconciled this with Genesis yet but I’m not losing sleep over it. 2)Richard Dawkins has more of a narrow view of creation than most theists and is just as much a pompous ass as your charismatic caricature. 3)You are picking on a very narrow vein of Ultra-conservative Protestant Christianity and propagating it as the whole or majority of the Christian experience. I’m a Christian who has read Darwin and Dawkins to some degree, I’ve also read the Gita some Buddhist stuff and an English interpretation of the Quran. I have Christian friends who are evolutionary biologists (much to the chagrin of Dawkins) I consider Christian radio an attributor to a great deal of mental illness and would discourage all people from listening to it. We are, however, working on quality Jesus music you might find Thad Cockrell palatable plenty non-Christians do. For someone purporting to be so open-minded you have a distinctly closed minded view of the divers of Christianity, since you’re so big on telling other people how their kids should be raised I’d like to know are you raising your girls to be as narrow minded as you?

    • Sunday October 11, 2009 at 11:36 PM

      I’m assuming that by “narrow minded,” you mean that they don’t agree with you 100%? That’s what everyone says when people don’t agree with their religion.

      I see no evidence to accept Christianity, no more than elves. For starters, you can’t even demonstrate that humans have souls. Or even define what a soul is. As soon as you try, you find that these things are taken care of, their explanation is found in the brain.

      I raise my children to be critical thinkers.

      • crazeeaz
        Monday October 12, 2009 at 12:20 AM

        No one agrees 100% and I called you narrow minded not them, anyone that’s half of what you characterize Christians to be is plain stupid not narrow minded.

        Really you started with souls? I openly profess to believe that a guy that was tortured and executed for treason 2,000 years ago never broke a rule in the TANAK and decided he didn’t like being dead so he quit, hung around with his travel buddies for a weeks then supermanned his way to heaven and you pick out an idealogical translation error? That’s not exactly picking your battles.

        The word soul, as it appears in the Bible, is simply a word that means breath in both the lannguage of the Hebrews and in Greek. The use then is a metaphor for the forces that maintain the ability of the body to sustain life, which as you’ve pointed out is mental synapses in the brain. Forget what you learned about dual substances in philosophy and do a comparitive word search. If you replace “soul” with “life”, or “brain” in the bible you get the same basic message, except in verses like Gen 35:18 where it could just say “breath.”

        When they do this “critical thinking” are they encouraged to bring to it the same angered biased that you do? That’s no very objective and seems rather emotive for a skeptic.

        • Monday October 12, 2009 at 12:29 AM

          Well, besides the fact that there is no evidence that the Biblical Jesus ever actually existed, all you’ve done is give me another word for the “soul.” It doesn’t possess any explaining power and, in fact, presupposing a supernatural soul confuses matters. It doesn’t make things clearer.

          And accusing me of anger isn’t really fair, since you’re basing it on your interpretation of the words I am typing.

          Imagine the misconceptions after 2,000 years… Words being written down, rewritten, argued over, rewritten again. And you expect me to accept that book as the word of a perfect God?

          • crazeeaz
            Monday October 12, 2009 at 5:16 PM

            You are the one arguing about an everlasting soul, you started it and I conceded.

            Your words on Christian garbage “This is how I release some of that anger.” no interpretation required.

            Imagination is fun when I write fiction but the fact is that we have consistant and numerous Greek texts with minimal drviation when compared to other contemporary texts accesible and expounded on for free on the internet. If you hadn’t noticed my explanation for you rather mundane ‘soul’ question utilized this knowledge.

  2. Monday October 12, 2009 at 8:54 PM

    Luke 2:1-2 describes the census. There’s no historical evidence of an Empire-wide census during Augustus’ reign. Quirinius was not appointed governor of Syria and Judea until A.D. 6, many years after Jesus was born. This points directly to the historical inaccuracy of the Bible.

    Those Greek texts are also post-bible. There is plenty of evidence that most of the gospels were copies of Mark, with embellishments. Many parts are word-for-word.

    We could talk about how the the genealogies of Jesus don’t match. How many conflicting stories are there in the New Testament? Where is Jesus from? Bethlehem, or Nazareth? You can’t answer that because the Bible claims both… from different stories.

    Not only this, but the books of the New Testament were written at least 120 years AFTER the events that they are claimed to describe. There isn’t even enough evidence to support the idea that the people who they are claimed to be written by were actually written by them.

    The Pentateuch is claimed to have been written by Moses, and yet it describes Moses’ death.

    We can go into the flaws of the text itself if that’s what you really want.

  3. crazeeaz
    Tuesday October 13, 2009 at 5:16 PM

    The word translated governor is a general term that means any authority such as the military authority that Qurinius had since around 8bc a couple years before his birth. Further there is no historical evedence that there wasn’t a census and some archeological finds are suggesting that there may have been.

    True. There is very little argument that Matthew used Mark as source material unless you believe Papius but he wasn’t exactly a literary critic. Luke also used mark but is assumed to have done a great deal of face checking from those eywitnesses he talks about in chapter 1. I don’t see your point here.

    Those are incomplete geneologies that represent the particular bias of the gospeler as to kingship (Matt) or priesthood (Lke). I was born in Frankfurt W. Germany, raised in two towns in NC, and now live in Raleigh; where am I from?

    That is a scholarly debate that people with a lot more education than me but I will say this; Clement of Alexandria makes mention of Mark in 96, and Papius make mention of both Mark and Matt in 130, ten years would not have been enough for them to have circulated. I don’t know where you got this information but I would point you to the research of Dr. Bill Adler for a better representation of dating.

    As for the Pentateuch I would recommend looking into Jewish or ancient practices of pseudepigraphy and how they correlate to belief in inspiration. I haven’t done any research on this myself because it’s not my field but I imagine Jacob Neusner, a Jewish TANAK scholar, has written something about it because he’s written something about everything else.

    As for the flaws in the text itself they aren’t that big of a deal because they don’t effect the overall purpose of the Bible to help us to relate to the people of God in the past and understand the divinity and resurrection of Christ, it’s not important if the writer of Chronicles makes a clerical error or whether Jesus was going to or coming from a city what’s important is that the devine condecended himself for eternity in order to save us because of love.

    • Tuesday October 13, 2009 at 5:46 PM

      Your first point about the census is a logical impossibility. There’s no such thing as evidence that something didn’t happen. So, to say that there’s no evidence that a census wasn’t taken is not something you can demonstrate. It can only be demonstrated that there WAS a census – for which there is no evidence.

      My overall point as far as contradictions, inconsistencies and errors in the text has to do with the word of a perfect God. Should we really have all of this disagreement if the book is perfect? It should be plainly obvious that the book is inspired by a perfect being.

      From what I gather, and the arguments that you present that you do not believe the Bible to be inerrant?

      Your last point seems to be a bit of special pleading. It might have errors, but it’s still true… except the parts where there are errors.

  4. crazeeaz
    Wednesday October 14, 2009 at 11:19 AM

    As I said before TANAK historicity isn’t my field, I spend most of my time in New Testament Literary chritisism, but I didn’t like the answer I gave you about moses so I did some research. As it turns out the claims of the Pentateuch being written by Moses are extra-canonical ussually in the form of Jewish traditions.

    My point about the census isn’t illogical, Luke, an ancient text, describes a census around the time of Jesus birth. Since many facts in the book are supported by other contemporary texts there is no reason to believe that unverified facts aren’t true; the burden of proof is on you to prove that there was no census not on christians to prove that there was.

    Anyway based on the laxity of your arguments and out right falsity of your facts and the fact that my research projects are taking off soon I’m going to have to end this conversation. A friend of mine commented the other day that we have such weak athiests in western culture because we have such weak theology as Christians, I’m inclined to agree. The only reason I know must of this stuff I’ve been posting is because it’s closely related to my undergrad studies. If you really want to be a hassle to Christians stop picking on Johnson and reading Dawkins views on religion (he’s a great biologist but his knowledge of religion is comparable to a Texans understanding of crickett) and pick up some literature of substance. For conservative Christianity you might attack N.T. Rite or Wayne Grudem or go as far back as Edwards or even Calvin. As for good atheistic literature you really have to go all the way back to Marx or the mustache aficianado Nietzsche before everybody turns to what C.S. Lewis called “soft soap”. Contrary to your tagline reding a book is really only good for you if you read one that’s challenging.

    I hope this conversation has been as fun and helpful for you as it has for me. I enjoy your blog and will pop in from timt to time. Have a good day and God bless you and your girls.

    • Wednesday October 14, 2009 at 12:07 PM

      As far as the census goes, it would have been physically impossible for people in that time to travel, in some circumstances hundreds of miles, back to their home simply to be present for a census. How would the message get out to that many people? There is no evidence that this occurred. It would be a stretch to accept that it did happen.

      And it is logically impossible to provide evidence for a non-event. I would be curious about the documents you’re referring to which support the idea of a census taking place.

      And by contemporary, do you mean contemporary to Luke? Or contemporary to the time when this census supposedly took place?

      Essentially, all you’ve done is claim my arguments are false. But, you haven’t really shown how this is so. Or, in the case about Moses, you’ve only shown that the Pentateuch is written by an unknown author. This would lead us to believe that it cannot be trusted.

      But the history of the Bible is questionable, at best. I would have a hard time believing that the Bible we have today is anything close to an “inspired” work of God – based solely on the fact that it’s been revised, edited, voted on and altered so many times that I can’t see an all-powerful God conveying his messages in written form… knowing the flaws of human language and the fallibility of “interpretation.”

      There are countless contradictions in both the New and Old Testaments. For example, who was Joseph’s father?

      Matthew 1:16, “And Jacob begat Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus, who is called Christ.”

      Luke 3:23, “And Jesus himself began to be about thirty years of age, being (as was supposed) the son of Joseph, which was the son of Heli, which was the son of Matthat, which was the son of Levi…”

      While the case could be made for a Levirate marriage, there is no extra-scriptural evidence to support it.

      If nothing else, this is indicative of the fact that these are the writings of men, and not of an all-knowing God. They were not under the influence of God, but of their own understanding.

      The main problem I see is the fact that, as an historical work, and a work that’s so intently and thoroughly studied by such a wide variety of people, it’s pretty much impossible to NOT find someone to support any position made about the Bible.

      To simply say that you or I know of people who agree with your stance is really not furthering the case for either of our points. It’s either an argument from authority, or cherry-picking – especially when it comes to the historical method.

      The Bible does talk about witches, witchcraft and wizards. I do not accept these ideas, nor demon possession.

      But yes, this conversation has been interesting.

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