Friday, July 29, 2011

Shaming Christian Lindtner, Part 2

Are we to believe, like most people do, in the rumours about some physically and technically impossible gas chambers in which millions of Jews were killed - even though no one to this day has been able properly to locate such places of horror on the map? Even though not even one victim can be mentioned by name? Even though there be no Hitler order?

I wanted to put this atop again, not only so search engines will get it...again...but also to make the sound of Christian Lindtner flip-flopping come out as loud as it can.

In Part 2 of 7, Lindtner specifically denies the last statement in the above, acknowledging that there was an "order" by Hitler to destroy the Jews -- and he says, not so much as in a direct order to his goons, but inasmuch as his speeches called for Jewish destruction, and his goons took that to heart.

Flip. Flop. Flip. Flop.

We have 5 more parts to go, so it remains to be seen what else he has to say. It remains, though, that this sudden backpedal has the scent of someone realizing his butt is in a rather enormous sling.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Shaming Christian Lindtner, Part 1

Our next seven entries will be devoted to observations on Christian Lindtner’s latest crap on the Holocaust. Back in January, we laid down the law on Ken Humprheys for using this idiot as a source for his Christ-myth crap. It’s apparently stung Lindtner in the butt pretty badly, and there’s a couple of glaring evidences to show this.

The first is the following quote from Lindtner’s “jesusisbuddha” website:

A final problem: If Christianity is a gigantic hoax - how has it been possible to deceive so many for so long? How did the priests, the bishops, the popes manage to pull it off? All the professional liars?

Are there any modern parallels that prove helpful?
Are we to believe absurdities such as those of some unidentfied towelheads in the backwaters of far-away Afghanistan, or their impotent likes elsewhere, who are to be held responsible for the 9/11 events? Are we to believe, like most people do, in the rumours about some physically and technically impossible gas chambers in which millions of Jews were killed - even though no one to this day has been able properly to locate such places of horror on the map? Even though not even one victim can be mentioned by name? Even though there be no Hitler order?

Well actually – you won’t find it there any more. He’s removed it. Unfortunately for him, it’s preserved in a number of locations, including a TheologyWeb thread and a thread on Brian Flemming’s Danielle forum. There’s also a forum at a place called “Faith Freedom” that documents the place it originally appeared, which was That page now has some mostly harmless drivel, though it does link to the material we discuss below.

Lindtner evidently hoped that quote would slowly die off after he removed it. It won’t. I’m keeping it alive.

The second evidence: Lindtner has posted a 7 part series on YouTube (!) in which he explains himself. We’ll discuss each of the 7 parts over the next 7 entries – I can only stand to watch so much of him. In Part 1, he’s evidently quite nervous, mostly refusing to look at the interviewer and never looking at the camera that I can recall. Thankfully, not even YT’s wacko community seems to think much of him; Part 1 as of this writing had 500 views, but Part 2 had only 233, Part 3 only 155, and down from there. There are also no comments. And no, I won’t be providing a link to his trash. I’m sure even Farrell Till would approve of that.

So what of Part 1? Not much to it despite a 14 ½ minute run time. Lindtner tries to explain that there’s a difference between the term “Holocaust” and the phrase “Final Solution” as used by Hitler, which ranks pretty well in the Who Gives a Crap Award category, and doesn’t enlighten anyone a great deal. He also says that the Holocaust has become a sort of “secular religion” and even terms it...snort...a new form of Judaism.

Hokey smokes, Bullwinkle. Has Ken got this message yet? (Of course not. He’s still using Lindtner as a source.)

As a reminder, Lindtner isn’t exactly worthy as a source even in his commentary on Jesus. A reader noted his comment that, “Only Buddhism and Christianity have made extensive use of parables - and the Buddhists came first!" Their reply hits the nail:

How can this be substantiated!? Hinduism/Judaism/Shintoism/Daoism/Islam/Paganism havnt made "substantial use of parables"?! Did parables originate with Buddhism?! How much Christian and Buddhist literature needs to be compared before one can say they have made "substantial use" of parables?!

We’ll see what else “Dr.” Christian Lintball has to say, with Part 2 tomorrow. Meanwhile here’s a bunch of links that preserve that quote, and our earlier Forge entry for reference. Click on them lots and keep them atop Google.

Forge entry

TWeb thread

Faith Freedom forum --
see post by Norseman at the bottom of the page

Cached quote from atheist forum

Quote on a blog that seems to be French

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

End of the Diablos Path

And now we have the last of the diabolical doccies. I'm sure you'll miss them, but fear not, the Path People are the sort who will have 20 more by next week, especially if you write them suggesting something is good.

36) Immortality of the soul -- well, this one's a bit weirdly phrased, but it seems to be OK in the end, because it says God is the source of immortality, and that's the only way souls are immortal. They didn't need to take 500 pages to say it, though.

37) The King James Version is the perfect Word of God -- bah. That one was a challenge. I wouldn't call it diabolical. Silly, yes, but not diabolical.

38) It is OK to use or display religious images, icons, and likenesses -- yep yep. The usual bad definition of "image", though to be fair, they don't make it clear how far they take it. So you'll have to just hope that your Jesus coloring books won't send you to hell.

39) Some are predestinated to burn in hell forever -- this is just a combo of two prior doccies, so why they felt the need to make a hybrid, I can't say.

40) One cannot see God's face and live -- yes, I agree with the idea here but not that it's diabolical to think this. But really, they do this one because the Path People think they're had visions or revelations, so they have to really turn the screws on this one.

41) Deathbed conversions to Christ -- again, a repeat of something from a prior doccy. And for convenience, the story of the thief on the cross is designated to be added into the text later. Too bad there's no textual or historical reason to agree (and a cultic reason isn't good enough). So in the end, the Path People are still dodging the question it raises.

We're done now -- so what's left? We're assured that:

The day of vindication is now here and all things are now being reversed so that all is right side up. The day of the Lord is here. Repent, all those to whom it is given. Again, I say, repent.

All I can say is -- pardon me if I don't get up.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Down the Diablos Path, Part 5

Time for some more diabolical doccys. Want to annoy the Path People? Tell them you're using it as a checklist for things you plan to believe in.
30) All marriages are of God -- this one appears to just be an extension of the prior one about family unity, to the extent that it proposes that someone can marry out of God's will -- so that (shh) you can join the Path People and divorce your spouse if they get ticked about it...because the emphasis is on (hmm) what to do if you're married to an "unbeliever." That's convenient, as is the fact that the Path People designate anyone as an "unbeliever" who even uses the wrong fork at dinner.

31) "The Lord's Supper" -- a rant against transubstantiation as practiced by Catholics. I don't consider it a big deal, but the Path People really hate this one. However, their only "argument" is as follows:

According to one writer, Lew White, in his book, "Fossilized Customs," the error part was present before Jesus' day, with the pagan Mithraists, worshipers of the sun, who held wafers of bread up to the sun to receive its rays. By pronouncing the words, "Hocus Pocus" and "Abracadabra," words that now sound silly and are spoken in fun, the bread was believed to be transformed and was "transubsantiated" into the actual presence of the sun. By eating that bread, the partakers would possess the powers of the deity.

Funny how David Ulansey, the world's leading Mithraic scholar, never heard of any of this. As far as I can find, Lew White is an unqualified moron just like the Path People (and based on Amazon's look in feature, he provides no documentation for this idiotic claim about Mithraism).
After that, there's some ranting about varieties of practices in the Supper across the denominations, ranting about celebrating Easter (a pagan holiday, of course), ranting about eating ham at Easter (which is inferred to be an insult to Jews as grave as killing them as Hitler did), and then we're told the Path People don't keep the Supper, but no clear reason is given why; there are hints that its now a pagan ritual because it has been so badly corrupted.

32) Jewish worship practices and traditions are important to keep -- they say this one's more a false notion than a diabolical doccy. I call it no big deal either way, and suspect at this point the Path People were scraping barrel bottom looking for something to call wicked and diabolical.

33) The dead in Christ are unconscious -- I agree this is wrong. Not diabolical, but wrong. (Link below, where I explain why it is wrong a lot more coherently than they do.)

34) The wicked are annihilated -- once again I agree this is wrong. Uh oh. I hope I'm not turning into one of these guys.

35) Satan was once a good being -- whew. Not entirely. While I agree here that Satan is NOT found in Ezekiel and Isaiah, the Path People give two fairly crappy arguments for saying Satan was created evil. One is a lame appeal to Is. 45:7 (link below), which puts them in an exegetical league with some of the dumber atheists. The other is an appeal to John 8:44, which describes Satan as a murderer "from the beginning" -- which we're told, it is most "logical, relevant, and reasonable" to assume, means in the Garden of Eden. Unfortunately, why it is most logical and all that isn't explained; nor is it explained why Eden was Satan's lifetime debut.

We'll look at the last collection Tuesday. Have you made a list of these you want to believe in yet?

Link: State of the deceased.
Link: Is. 45:7

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Another Type of Doccy

Ah, rats. It's going to be one of those days. I forgot I had a medical appointment, so I'll get back to the Path of Truth stuff tomorrow. In the meantime, it's just as well a good spot to relay a few things.

Once I get done with the Path of Truth, I'll be having a look at some material by Christian Lindtner, the Holocaust denier that Ken Humphreys thinks is a good source. Apparently the stink I raised about that is starting to hurt, because Lindtner produced some vids of some sort, which I have not looked at yet, but which address the issue. Whether they're denials of affirmations or something else remains to be seen.

After that, I expect we'll reach the month of August, and at that time, the Forge will drop a regular posting schedule and just become someplace I post when I have something to say that fits. I expect that still might end up being once or twice a week at times. (The Ticker blog will remain a 3x per week gig.)

Why? Obviously it's a matter of priority and what's developed since I posted the 2011 Tekton Manifesto. Writing is fun for me, but it can take time, and it actually takes longer for me sometimes to come up with an idea for one of the blogs than to write about it. At the time of the Manifesto, too, I had no idea how productive I could become with TektonTV; and after it took me over a month to produce the first animated vid, I couldn't have imagined I'd eventually learn more efficient techniques that would get me to a total of 50 vids there as of today. So call this a shift in priority and assignment of time.

As an observation ceremony of sorts, I'm also working on designing a new background for the TektonTV channel. Right now you'll see a background with the Tekton logo used as placeholders. I'm doing that to get some space measurements.

Anyway, be back tomorrow with more on the Path of Lunacy.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Down the Diablos Path, Part 4

So now, back to those diabolical doccies; and by the way, there are 41, so we'll be at this maybe 2-3 more entries. It’s tedious going and starting to get really dull. Almost makes you wish the Path People were advocating free sex or something like that to get things interesting.

22) Denominations are legitimate in the sight of God -- legitimate in what way, though? There's a lot of bellowing about how Satan is behind such things, but what it boils down to is, the Path People are the only true church, the rest are bogus, so there. There's some validity in criticisms over division, religious entertainment, etc. but "we're the ones with the truth" is what the centerpiece is, though much short on specifics; to wit:
The Baptists "pump" water baptism but have no use whatsoever for being baptized in the Spirit of Christ whom they profess to serve. In rebuking the Corinthians, Paul emphasized the latter and played down the former.

Yeah...OK. But these dimwits couldn't even reveal a simple password to me, so whatever "Spirit" they have must be on the toilet. In any event, while there are legit criticisms to be had, the fact is that denominations just aren't that far apart in the essentials, outside of cults. But that's something I'm working on now, so...say no more.

23) There is no literal, personal voice of God speaking today as in Biblical times -- so they say, but like I said, if they're hearing God's voice, "God" must be on the toilet. I'm of the view that prophecy in general has ceased, but if someone can give me the goods of a valid prophecy, I'll consider that they just might have an ear to God's mouth. As it is, the Path People can't seem to deliver any sort of prophecy that isn't more than "join us you heathen". Quite a fail rate for folks who claims that they have "personal, intimate, direct communication and fellowship with Him" and provide no more validation for it being a real voice than "I think it was." (And by the way, they also say that if you do NOT hear God's voice, you're not saved. OK. I just heard it, and he says you guys are morons.)
24) All believers have equal authority and status -- what's this mean? Not what you may think; it's related to some idea that not all have equal access to God. OK, to be fair, yes -- people like the Apsotles, having been given more responsibility, probably did get more access; they needed it. So why think the Path People have it too? Um...because God told the Path People they did, that's why. Yep. A bunch of creepy wackos growing organic veggies in the woods definitely have all the responsibility Paul did.

25) Women are ordained or called as ministers of God, in spiritual authority over men -- well, partly here, this is a non-issue because the Path People don't think any modern people are ordained of God anyway, male or female. But beyond that, it's just the usual claptrap we see from misogynists who haven't figured out stuff like that 1 Cor. 14:35-6 is Paul quoting a Corinthian position which he then disagrees with. This is yet more reason why we need better exegetical education for our pastors and teachers. What doesn't occur to these folks, sadly, is that a lack of women in authority in the early church was more due to social strictures of the ancient world than anything else. Put another way, it was because men weren't ready to accept them as leaders, not because they were not suited to be leaders. Of course...if the Path People are that bad off too...we can grasp that easily.

26) All flesh is clean for eating -- yep. This is where we first get the teaching that that OT law is still meant to be observed. Now what though of the fact that "every creature of God is good, and nothing to be refused, if it be received with thanksgiving: for it is sanctified by the Word of God and with prayer"? The Path People's response reaches heights of wackiness unknown heretofore, as they suggest that you then ough to go eat a skunk, a snake, or even a cockroach. (Never mind that some natives peoples have in fact eaten those very things.) Or, they suggest, maybe cow urine.

Uh, news flash, guys -- freedom to eat any meats doesn't equate with choosing to eat any of them.
So how do they explain that admonition to Timothy? They don't. In a perverse turnaround, they tell us that "for it is sanctified" is a qualification indicating that "every creature" is not really every creature, but just the clean ones in the OT. Now isn't that the Jim Jones Exegetical School having class: The reading on any other account would have the qualification the other way around, as you'd think if they were right, it would say, eg, "every sanctified [or clean] creature".

Just as perversely, the fact that Gentile converts were not told to eat kosher in Acts 15, is excused away by saying:
But consider that the passage clarifies their thinking: "For Moses of old time has in every city them that preach him, being read in the synagogues every sabbath day." In other words, they were saying, "These are the more urgent matters; do these for now until you grow and are able to handle more and as you do, you will do well and the Law of Moses is available to you when you're ready for more."

Um, right. Strange how that works out in favor of what they want. But how could things be so "urgent" that they couldn't slip in, "oh yes, and obey the dietary laws"? Especially since the Path People tell us how important it is? For some reason, the Path People's own past inability (which they admit to!) to keep these dietarty laws becomes an excuse to validate a wacky reading of Acts 15; this in spite of the urgency professed in ridding ourselves of all these other diabolical doccies.

27) Democracy is Christian and\or Godly -- I don't know who argues this, but the Path People's view is that only theocracy is legitimate as a form of government, and they hope it happens soon.

28) Family unity is a hallmark of true Christianity – I don’t know who teaches this either. I wish they’d quote the sources of some of these doctrines so we can get an idea what they’re talking about and contextualize it. That said, their main purpose in this is not so much, family unity is bad, but I’m thinking more of a reply to those who have observed their cultish tendency to split families with their nonsense, under the assumption that their teachings are valid and worthy of a family splitting over them, as Jesus predicted in Matthew 10.

Yeah, right.

29) Spouses are equal in marriage – just more of the same misogyny we refer to in #25 above, misusing some of the same passages Glenn Miller discusses in his series here. I can understand why this groups’ leaders would want this kind of thing, though, because they have faces that would scare a dog out of a butcher shop.

Boy is this dull...uh...uh oh...

30) You should have free sex all the time.

Nah, I just made that one up.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Down the Diablos Path, Part 3

Well, here we go with the next set of diabolical doccies from the Path People. Be sure and also check out the TWeb thread linked below to see a sample of the quality response (ha ha!) they gave us by email on the Trinity.

14) Salvation is possible in this life only -- oy vey. Didn't I deal with exactly the same arguments with the Mormons? Sorta. The Path People use a couple of the same verses (link below) but mostly they use a lot of emotional rhetoric of the "how dare you believe something so horrible" variety.

The real hoot is the way they dispose of Heb. 9:27:

"And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment: So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many..." is a passage of Scripture used to support this evil doctrine. There is nothing there saying that judgment is eternal or temporary damnation. In fact, the word "judgment"only means a decision, for or against.

Um...yes, true. But in the context of the words "once to die" and that of Christianity's Jewish background, that means only that there's no chance for salvation after death. No second decision. The Path People simply speculate wildly about second chances, then suggest anyone who doesn't agree is worse than Hitler (yes, even invoking his name). Then they try to invoke a cheap guilt trip by suggesting that anyone who really believed this would do nothing but evangelize -- not even stopping to bathe or shave.

Actually, I can believe that of the Path People, based on their pictures, already. But even if the Path People are right, there's a lot more they could be doing for God even now. So the guilt trip rebounds on them the same way, if we want to play that game.

15) Those who do not believe in the Lord Jesus Christ will be fearfully and forever tormented, without end -- well, OK. As everyone knows, I don't buy the traditional fire and torture view of hell; they don't either, though their rejection of it is based more on "waah, how horrible" than any sort of sound exegesis of Scripture (much less do they have any idea what honor and shame might have to do with it).

16) There are many ways to God -- yeah, OK. This one is actually pretty much orthodox. Even a busted clock is right twice a day, right?

17) Christmas is a holy, God-ordained celebration -- Um...I have no idea who thinks this, sorry, and certainly not of the modern commercial holiday that gets the Path People's undies in a knot, to the point that they call it a "a wonderful rape in the form of a seduction." Get a grip, guys. Yes, people actually should be good to others all year -- I've made the same point myself -- but let's not get snotty and proud of ourselves, shall we? All this rot about "superstitions and practices" tells us more about how weak you are, not how weak everyone else is. (It is true of course that many think Jesus' birth was that day, as they note.) I'll let the egomanical nature of the Path People speak for itself, though:

"God alone knows the heart" you object. Yes, He does, and you don't, and so He sends me to tell you, if perchance you will listen and be saved.

He sent YOU? They couldn't even give me a simple password (last entry) I asked for, so pardon me, but if God sent YOU, it must be because He's gone senile.

18) Easter is Christian and Biblical -- same rant as above, really. Same answer. It speaks for itself that I last heard the same arguments from ProfMTH (and my answers to him apply too; link below).

19) God is trying to save the whole world now -- as far as I can tell this is some sort of screed against Christian Reconstructionism. Or something. Not my cup of tea.

20) Man has been given a free will -- yep. Same sort of thing we address at yet another link below. They're Calvinist on this score, but not very good at thinking outside the box or resolving the contradictions in their position, either. Instead, if you even ask about the contradictions, you're carnal and self-righteous. Now isn't that so Jim Jones of them.

Last one today:

21) Now we are in the dispensation of grace, not Law -- I'm no dispensationalist, but there's also nothing clear given -- at least on this point -- about what the Path People mean by the law. Since they're not sacrificing animals -- or are they? -- it's clear they're not full nomists. Looking ahead to point 26, they do at least insist on some dietary laws...we'll have a look at that one next time.

TWeb thread
Mormons and second chance evangelism
Easter vid
Free will

Thursday, July 14, 2011

I Am John Loftus

We’ll get back to the Path People tomorrow, but I had to stop to make a confession.

I invented John Loftus.

No, really. He doesn’t actually exist. I’m the one who is actually behind Debunking Christianity, all his books, and also, his Doubting John account at TheologyWeb. It’s all something I made up.

I didn’t think I’d ever be caught at it, but it happened. The background is that the other day on TektonTV,I loaded up this vid:

Now as you can see, I used John (or I should say, “John”) as a character. But there was one very intelligent atheist at YT styled “AliburX” who saw through my subterfuge, and said:

OK, first of all, you made up a fantasy character, Loftus, then defined him as an adulterer, and then further defined him as an illiterate who doesn't understand what thou shalt not commit adultery means when he reads it. That guy is your fantasy and does not represent anyone therefore your point is meaningless. There are plenty of us who have studied the bible and still find it severely lacking in any real substance. Simply asserting the bible is meaningful doesn't make it so.

What can I say? Guilty as charged. John is just my invention. He never actually existed. All the guys at Triablogue, Debunking Loftus, and so on have been arguing with a figment of my imagination all this time. I acknowledge it, and I repent. I can’t fool an intelligent atheist.

But you’re asking, "What about all those personal appearances John has been making? That’s not you." True – it’s an actor I hired named Reginald Snarf. I’m sort of glad this is over, since he charges an awful lot.

So in close on this saga, I just have one request of all of you….

Buy my book.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

The Diablos Path, Part 2

As a note before we get to Part 2, I've lately been tormenting one of the Path People's leaders by email, telling him that if he really has an ear to God's mouth, he ought to give me the password. What I meant by that was that I had thought of some random celebrity's name, and he was supposed to guess it. Instead he thought I was asking how to get to heaven. Ha ha. What a maroon. Prophet test = fail.

7) Eternal security... Once saved, always saved -- OK, to be fair, I'm not all with the P in TULIP myself, but here it's the Path People doing the legalist limbo again, thinking it's also sin that'll get you toasted. Hardly. When Jesus says we have to endure to the end (Matt. 10:22), he means it -- but what the Path People and many others fail to realize is that the temptation to apostasy in the ancient world was much, much greater than it is now, and that's why we have so many warnings about it. Unfortunately, since today's temptations are more mundane - e.g., sinning -- legalists like the Path People assume that's what these verses are about.

There's one particular passage often miused in this regard, and they do it too:
“And one said to Him, Lord, are the ones being saved few? And He said to them, Strive to enter in at the narrow gate. For I say to you, many will seek to enter in and shall not be able” (Luke 13:23-24 MKJV). What these folks miss is that in essence, Jesus doesn't answer the question. And that's what we'd expect, of course: The question, like many questions in an agonistic setting, is actually a challenge; and here, the challenge is being posed by Luke in light of the teachings he just recorded about the value of the Kingdom of Heaven and the sacrifice one must make to join it. The questioner is challenging Jesus' teachings by implying that they mean few will be saved. But notice: Jesus doesn't say, "Yes, few will be saved." He does say "many" will not be -- and that's not the same thing.

Like most legalists, the Path People fear that "eternal security causes the lawless to be secure and confident in their sinful lives, spreading their lawless attitudes like cancer and causing those without faith to blaspheme the Name of God." I'm sure if asked they could provide about a dozen anecdotal examples. But as noted in a prior entry, they're forgetting about rewards -- and so are the lawless, for that matter.

8) We cannot help but sin; it is impossible not to sin -- it's not exactly clear where the Path People go with this one. I wouldn't say we "cannot help" but sin; I do think it is impossible to never do it again this side of death, but we are certainly supposed to be struggling with and suppressing it. Do the Path People think we'll be perfect and never sin after conversion, though? No, not quite that far:

We defile perfectly, but His blood cleanses us from ALL unrighteousness. Sinless perfection? Perhaps, but by His virtue and work and none of our own.
Good concession -- because I'll bet they wouldn't pass that test either. So overall, I can grant this one, with provisions also noted in an E-Block article (July 2010) where I addressed that subject.

9) Nothing more is required after conversion... Christ did it all -- well, really, this is just another variation on Doccy #1, so we won't cover it again.

10) Christ has fulfilled the Law; we are no longer under the Law but under grace -- huh? So will Path People restart the sacrifices in the Jerusalem temple then? The Path People don't discuss it to that extent here; instead they prefer to offer scary picture of someone in hell because they didn't do...whatever it is. They do have another article on law and grace; maybe we'll look at it later, and some of the other diabolical doccys later on seem to go in some detail.
11) We are all going to be raptured before the great tribulation -- I agree. Because the "tribulation" took place in 67-73 AD. No, the Path People don't believe that themselves; they're essentially post-tribbers from the looks of it. I'll leave it at that because it might be funny to see if I can get them to add preterism to their list of diabolical doccies.

12) You must belong or go to a church -- OK, to be fair again: There's a point made here to effect that if your fellowships around you are corrupt, you shouldn't attend. Tell me about it -- I can hardly find any that know what apologetics is, let alone that are willing to hear about it. That said, there's always the question of whether your evaluation of those fellowships is accurate, or whether you're just a discontented lunatic.
The author for the Path People says that, "[t]he Lord directly, specifically and categorically commanded us to come out of all church systems, informing us that those in them were perishing in their sins, whoredoms, pleasures, idolatries."

I vote discontented lunatic. God told me so, too.

13) Sunday is the Sabbath -- ooo boy. Let's make this simple -- do they offer anything that answers what we have at the article linked here?


That was simple. More next time.

Friday, July 8, 2011

The Diablos Path, Part 1

The Path of Truth cult has a list of "diabolical doctrines" that we'll be looking at the next few days. Now some of you may wonder why we'd bother with a pissant cult that grows vegetables and sells organic baby food; the answer -- besides the fact that, as usual, I'm feeling masochistic, and we've been asked to have a look -- is that these are the sort of claims we'll hear from other quarters, too, and if at some later date someone else falls down the beaten Path -- or a similar one -- this will be there for them.

And besides, it'll be fun to see if we can tick them off.
Each description the Path People offer for each doctrine is about 70% rant, so we'll just be quoting what's the bare bones.

1) Accept Jesus as your personal Saviour and you will be saved
OK, to be fair: The Path People have a point, but it's nothing John MacArthur hasn't said already, and far better. That said, the Path People are off anyway; "accepting Jesus" will get you saved (it's entrance into the covenant), but doing nothing else will get you used diapers (versus, works = rewards).
The Path People say it is "presumptuous" to suppose you can "accept" God because it is not as though " we, and not God, call the shots." Um, yeah...but what if God Himself said that the rules were, to be saved, you accept the terms of the covenant? Who called the shots then? They don't consider this, but they do yank the story of Paul's Damascus Road call into the mix, as though this proved some sort of point about salvation, to this effect: "... the primary aspect of man's relationship with God was one of submission to Him as Lord over him and to His will."

Uh...yeah, that's appropos, IF you're being called with a bop on the head for a special mission, like Paul is. The Path People do seem to have this idea that they're that important, but bottom line is, Paul's call is no model for each person's salvation process; never said to be, never meant to be, save in imagination.

The Path People, though, are caught in that maelstrom that MacArthur and Hodges were whirling years back, the one you can safely cross with a couple of words: "Semitic Totality." (Link below.) Without this, you inevitably in one of two directions: Either Hodges' over-libertaranism, or the Path People's angry legalism and veritable works-salvation.

The Path People can't get around this easily. The key question which sets the bar is, "What about a deathbed conversion? What about the thief on the cross?" The Path People offer examples that don't answer that question (eg, pre-NT persons like Namaan, and people who had yet to hear about Jesus at the time they choose for illustration, like Cornelius!), and they need to, for therein lies the answer of whether obedience is required for salvation, or whether it is the inevitable result of salvation. They say, "A true conversion is marked by a point in obedience." But what if you die before that point? The Path People do not answer that question; rather, they dodge it by dismissing such conversions as "almost all, if not all, spurious." That's a cheap and insulting way to get out of the dilemma -- or rather, NOT get out of it. OK, how about this: A guy converts, then gets hit by a bus. They can't use impending death as an excuse to say that one's spurious. Think they'll answer the question now?

Their second "diabolical doctrine" is said to be, "Conversion is full salvation," and in essence, it is just the first one put another way. The third is, "Gifts of the Holy Spirit are not for today," and here, I have said that I am open to the idea that these gifts do still exist, but you need to prove they're in effect. Go to a hospital and heal people. Have those tongues analyzed by a linguist to show they're a real language and not babble. Naturally I want to ask if the Path People are doing any of this, but while they babble on about "carnal minds" and Satan deceiving people, all we get is anecdotes on toast: "I have seen many healings, and have personally witnessed them with others. I have had many visions, as Joel said believers would have, most of which have been fulfilled. Several people I know have had dreams and visions, which came to pass. Prophecies, many of them, have been fulfilled, with more to come." Oh really? Documentation, please? And while they're at it, they need a prophecy to let them know that Mark 16:17-18 isn't original to Mark.
They demand an argument for the gifts passing away....I have that (below), but if they can collect a few verified healings or tongues, I'll be open to change my mind. I won't be holding my breath.

The fourth "diabolical doctrine" is, "There are no apostles and/or prophets today." Yeah, OK. Once again, Path People: If you've got prophets, show me they can do their stuff. They're all on about how prophets aren't "found within the confines of established religion," speak only when God says to, etc etc etc -- but where are they, and what are their credentials -- and are they willing to step up for a Deuteronomic test that means stones in your Fruit of the Looms if you fail?
That there might still be apostles is less questionable. As they say, an apostle is one sent, and theoretically that could be many people in many roles today. But this isn't as big a deal as claiming to be a prophet with an ear to God's mouth.

The last ones for today, Diabolical Doccy #5: "The Spirit of Christ and the Holy Spirit are different or two entities," and #6, "God is three persons." I already noted in prior entries that the Path People know as much about hypostatic theologies as they do about Japanese recipes for escargot, so there's no need to say more on this one; the only ones "confused" here are the Path People.
In close, though, it's amusing to see what their ultimate authority amounts to: Please, I know your arguments and I tell you they are all products of brain-soiling and quite easily explained away with truth from Scripture. I hear the voice of God. As Jesus said, My sheep hear My voice..." Do I hear introductions like, "This is the Father" or "This time it's the Son" or "Yesterday you heard from the Son but today I, the Holy Spirit, am speaking?" Or do I sometimes or always hear a chorus of three voices? No, I hear one voice as did all the prophets of God. He is one, not three.
Okay, fair enough.
Hey, Path People...I'm a prophet, and God just told me:
You're idiots.
Semitic Totality

Thursday, July 7, 2011

John's Prostitution Ring

I had planned today to start a series on that Path of Truth cult, but realized a physician appointment today was bringing me near the local seminary, where I also had some business to do, so I'll start that series tomorrow. For today, I thought it interesting to note that John Loftus has found a way to prostitute the current "trial in the news" to argue against Christianity. (Yes, I'm not naming the defendant -- to show my contempt both for that defendant AND the media obsession with that proceeding.)

But then again, like I told someone who noted this also: John could find a way to prostitute a recipe for Swedish meatballs into an argument against Christianity.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Beastly Bomber Blowups

I've written this post as an accompaniment to a TektonTV vid launched today that's branded as part of a series titled Beastly Bomber Blowups. It requires some background explanation.

The subject of the series is a fundy atheist who is one of that select breed (like Farrell Till once was) who loves to see their name in lights, so to counter that, I grant them some sort of substitute identity. (It's appropos, too, because this fundy atheist used to be one of Till's groupies.) So I had designed a character to represent this fundy atheist that i call the "Pett Bomber" (pictured here) -- a tiny, tempramental, arrogant fuzzball with a puny voice and a chihuahua bark. His signature move, as it were, is that at the end of an episode, the little fuse attached to his head lights, and he explodes like a bomb -- representing his failure as an anti-apologist.

I've had an off and on history with this non-entity, who over the years has figured that he might win some attention by going after me. It's failed him miserably, even though he tried a couple of different venues for getting famous enough to earn a living off of anti-apologetics, including the Secular Web. He had a website at one time, but in the past few months, it disappeared, and it's not hard to see why: According to statistics sources, it was getting as many visits a month as my article on Mithra alone gets every 15-30 days. No wonder these guys always whined for me to link to them, as I always say. (He's also playable like a violin: Since I made this post, he's restored the site, and has done other things that are clearly reactionary to this and other things I have done. Dance, boy, dance. )

In YouTube, he did find some of the attention he craved, though that doesn't mean much either, in a context where a conspiracy theorist like Alex Jones can have as many as 127,000 subscribers, and a low-talent, low-scholarship hack like NonStampCollector can have as many as he does. Summed up, it's not hard to grab an audience at YT when so many lowbrow elements reside and subscribe there, and as I once noted, fundy atheists in particular would be expected to flock to a venue where everything is in pictures.

Back to the Bomber, though: he decided to take on my vid on 2 Kings 2:23-5, and I just recently finished a series in reply, which he says he intends to reply to after a month-long vacation in July. Um hm. Well, I've started this new series in part to make sure he returns to find a lot more to do.

The Blowups series will pick through his vids addressing claims that are both brief and within my area of study. Today's release was on the subject of Tacitus -- one of my specialty areas of study. And yes, he put his foot in it big time there. The purpose of the series will be to demonstrate the depth of both his ignorance and his critical thinking skills -- even with regards to quite simple matters -- as well as make life harder on him. Which frankly, needs to be done for more than one reason: As a producer, he's not only an academic fraud, but also a creative failure. His own vids are almost entirely composed of film clips, music, and graphics lifted -- often beyond what could be reckoned as fair use -- from other sources, including commercial films by major studios that would likely have his wallet in their pockets for the next 30 years if YouTube ever appeared more prominently on their radar.

The point on his thievery raises another explanation. In this new series, my "fursona" interacts with what is a mechanized version of the original "fuzzball" I created. This substitute is not there just to represent that the "real" fundy atheist is on vacation, though that happened to fit it with what I was doing. It also highlights another instance of his thievery. The mechanized version reflects a stolen version of the original "fuzzball" that he instituted. Back in mid-May, he produced a short "news" vid for his subscribers announcing his vacation plans, and the announcer was a parody version of my "fuzzball".

It wasn't his sole thievery in the vid. He has also used a background graphic from a news graphics site that he should have paid for, and with which he obscured his thievery by covering up a watermark on the graphic with other props. I made light of this in one of my own reply vids in the Elisha series, a day after he released the bowdlerized "news" vid. Interestingly, his "news" vid then disappeared a day or so later -- without any explanation. Nothing says "guilty conscience" quite so eloquently.

At any rate, since the Bomber is MY creation, I took the liberty of taking it back for the new series. His own version was itself a sort of animated freak, that had apparently been created not with any real effort, but by applying to a service (or software) like He had hinted to tease his subscribers that he planned to use the bowdlerized Bomber in his responses to me. (Note that this is in spite of the fact that just a few weeks before, this fundy atheist had accused me of using a "juvenile" cartoon format to "soften" the Elisha story. Apparently once you become a hypocrite, it's no longer a "juvenile" or "softening" format.)
His version of my "fuzzball," though, had a computerized, unnatural voice, and didn't move at all other than the mouth -- and one of the two mouth positions looked absolutely idiotic, as though it had grown a trumpet. So my own re-parody has it depicted as a mechanized rendition, with the same mouth movements -- quite suitable to the lack of care shown by his own composition.

Sure, it was intended as a parody of my character. But that's not the point. The point rather -- as I state at the end of the vid linked below -- is that this combined with his other thivery of material shows that it's not because of parody that he made the bowdlerized version -- it's because he's too mentally ossified to come up with his own ideas.

Adding to his public disgrace, several of his subscribers praised him for inventing the character -- which is demonstrative on two counts: 1) he never corrected them (that had to be done by other users, one Christian, one a less hostile Skeptic); 2) his own subscribers, who praised him so heartily for allegedly defeating my original Elisha vid, obviously were unaware of my own replies using the character. That certainly says a great deal for the backwards and oblivious mentality of his subscriber base.

I'll still have plenty of other TektonTV projects over the next month, and all of my treatments of this shameless craven will be brief and relatively simple compositions. They will, however, have plenty of bang for the buck, and will leave him squirming for many months to come -- and longer, as he'll find out I've designed my vids to be easily added to, so that if he ever does reply, I'll have my own responses up within 48 hours...or less.

Hey, it's how I drove Farrell Till into relative silence -- why not do it to one of his groupies, too?

Hub link

Friday, July 1, 2011

The Perils of the Path People, Part 2

Next up for our look at the weed-choked Path that needs to be beaten, we have a survey of passages on the Trinity, used by, and how the Path People respond. I’ll have to say that I wouldn’t use nearly all of the OT passages gotquestions does in support of the Trinity, so I won’t be defending them on those points. Proverbs 8 along with a couple of verses from Isaiah are really all that are on point for a solid defense of the doctrine, and gotquestions doesn’t use these.

One point I would not argue is that gotquestions says, “The Hebrew word for God, Elohim, definitely allows for the Trinity.” I’ll allow that the Path People are right that this is not an open declaration of the Trinity, since it does not specify three. But where they really get funny is when they try to answer the point that the “im” ending in Elohim indicates plurality:

Did you know, dear reader, that the Hebrew words for “water” and “Heaven,” both singular nouns, also end in “im” – “mayim” and “shemayim”? The plural form of a noun in Hebrew does not automatically mean there is more than one.

Sorry, yes it does, unless scholars of Hebrew have, as of late, changed their minds. But hello? “Waters” and “skies”…does that mean there’s more than one water, more than one sky? Not exactly. These plurals are collective in nature—get that? Their excuse is:

This is the case with “Elohim,” which, when referring to God, is not plural, but singular, denoting great distinction.

Really? “Great distinction?” What Hebrew grammar says that? None! The problem is that the Path People don’t understand the notion of plurality of power indicated by the word elohim (link below, which is why they also fail to grasp the importance of verbs and adjectives with elohim being used in the singular).

There’s a good deal of modalistic babbling after this which doesn’t interest me; especially since the Path People think Matthew 3:16-17 (the baptism of Jesus) is a key proof text for the Trinity. It isn’t, exactly; it’s also compatible with tritheism (Mormons) and Arianism (JWs). Modalists alone have a hard time with that one, but the Path People (evidently modalists in training) assure us that’s only “proof of man’s lack of understanding”—our lack apparently being that God appeared in three forms at one time, yes, but He’s still just one guy in reality, showing off three “functions” simultaneously. Put simply, modalists like the Path People have to strain the most to make this fit with their theology, and we end up with the spectre of God as a schizophrenic who talks with his own sock puppets and also uses the same terminology and concepts as a paradigm in Judaism that matched up with Trinitarianism. How convenient.

Then we get to the NT passages used by, and here again, there’s a whole bunch I wouldn’t use at all. None of my useful proof texts make an appearance, except a couple of fragments of John 1, which are not used as I would use them, and needless to say, neither side has any notion of the relevance of texts like Sirach (which I expect the Path People would just mouth-foamingly wave off as “works of men” or some nonsense like that). It just goes like this, basically: Gotquestions points to a verse that calls Father, Son, or Spirit God; the Path People have a temper tantrum and scream back, “Of course that’s true, but in a modalist sense, not in a wicked, evil, carnal, ungodly trinitarian sense!” It gets dull after a while, but simple minds like these folks tend to enjoy repetitive motions. It amuses them and keeps them from the dangers of original thought.

So that’s all I can really say; the Path People haven’t got a clue about these things beyond kindergarten theology, which is no doubt why, in the end, the old “you’re gonna burn in hell heathen” warnings round off all their commentary as the example below shows:

GotQuestions presents itself as the one-stop shop for answers to all your questions about God and the Bible, from a Christian perspective. We show that this is not true - their perspective is their own, one born of flesh, not the Spirit of God. His thoughts and ways are not men’s, and men’s are not His, no matter if they claim to represent Him.

Awwww…cry me a river, cult babies.

I sure hope that I too make it on their not the Spirit of God list for this!
[Edited by PML on 08-29-2014]