Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Was Michael the archangel really Jesus?

Many questions about Michael and Jesus
By D. Adams January 23, 2012

         What do you do when a Jehovah’s Witness (JW) knocks at your door? Do you invite them into your home or do you slam the door on their face? Why not invite them into your home, listen to them with compassion, and then continue with a dialogue asking them questions about their faith. This venue will not be intent to be another repertoire of exchanges of scripture verses but rather an exchange of the true nature of Christ. This approach may be familiar to you or perhaps it may be a new way to start a discussion and get a true dialogue between the JW and yourself. Always remember to keep the focus on the questions and do not let them stray away from these questions unless they concede that they do not know the answer, it is then that you can answer each of these questions within the confines of the Trinitarian view.

There are lines of questioning that should be asked of the JW’s either when they knock at your door or coming into contact with them regarding this issue of Michael and Jesus. We know that the JW’s have a punch list of questions for us. Patiently wait until they are finished and then ask them a few of these questions to see how deeply rooted their theology and faith is within their beliefs. It isn’t to ridicule them but to put them on the defensive as they do us, surely the JW is also a critical thinker and should have asked these questions and be able to answer them as best as they can (cf. 1 Peter 3:15). Be sure to keep them on the topics and do not accept any red herring tactic to lead astray or deflect from the questioning on their part, when they bring up Trinitarianism, clearly tell them this is not about the Trinity, but about their beliefs. You waited patiently through their battery of questions, if they are honest and compassionate, they will have the courtesy to listen to you and answer your questions. This is how foundations are built, on solid ground with honest well-thought-out responses while engaging questions about your faith (1 Thessalonians 5:21).

             First and foremost, Trinitarians have been asked or have reasoned through such questioning and have had responses to these very questions, very early on. This line of questioning will be directly related to Michael the archangel and how he, and when he became Jesus. In the OT there were anthropomorphisms (where angels appeared in human form) but in the sense of Michael and Jesus we have the Holy Spirit overshadowing the Virgin Mary. She gives birth to Jesus who was a human by birth from the womb of a human. Of course we also should ask to which creedal statement, canon, catechism shall we reference these questions and answers within the JW theology or Watchtower society? If there is no creedal statement, is there a lack of unity about such beliefs? Would any of the answers to any of these questions determine an orthodox JW versus and un-orthodox JW? Perhaps some people have become Jehovah’s Witnesses because the Trinity seemed too complex for them, but in all honesty leaving orthodoxy to convert to a view that is much more complicated is clearly not to be understood as rational. The JW convert still leaves many of the same questions about Jesus unanswered, in which there are no real answers accepted by the Jehovah’s Witness sect.

50/50 split?

So we begin with the question of; is Jesus a union of Michael and if so to what degree? Is this a 50/50 union or is it fully/truly Jesus, fully/truly Michael as we view the hypostatic union of Jesus and the Word. The JW may suggest that such a question is unreasonable for a non-Trinitarian, but this has nothing to do about a unity in the sense of the Trinity, but a unity between Jesus and Michael.  Would one believe that Michael was replaced by Jesus? If so, where did Michael go? The JW may object to these lines of reasoning, stating it is more in line with a Trinitarian view only. However, if there is no replacement or dissolution of Michael then there is a unity of some sort. And clearly, Mary gave birth to a son.

Again, this isn’t like the OT anthropomorphism where the angels would appear as human form instantly, deliver a message then disappear. In this case Jesus was in the womb, birthed as a true human with the exception to the virginity of Mary. Jesus clearly, grew in knowledge, ate, drank, felt pain, and was able to function in society as a human. Trinitarians do believe that Jesus was truly human, not a sub-human, what would the JW’s really define Jesus as, truly human or sub-human? I suppose one could hold to a modalistic view of Jesus and Michael within the JW group, but would it be orthodoxy? By definition; modalistic implies that Michael would become Jesus, but again we must not forget about the birth by a human (Mary). Is this merely a possession of Jesus by Michael and where does it lead the JW mindset, which leads us to the next question.

Was Michael in the womb of Mary?

                So the next question we ask is; was Michael in the womb of Mary? Some may answer; yes, and some no, or possibly not sure. Another possible scenario could be an adoptionalist view where Michael entered Jesus during his Baptism, but again we also know that God never called any angel his son (cf Hebrews 1:5-14). It is also a fair assumption to believe that an archangel is still classified as an angel. So perhaps the adoptionalist view may not work in that sense. So we ask; can a mere woman give birth to an angel? What is the purpose of this birth of Jesus through the Holy Spirit, Mary, and Michael?

Is Mary the Mother of Michael?

                If Mary did carry Michael, is she the mother of Michael? Is there a sense of the prototokos; meaning that Mary is the Mother of the human nature of Jesus? To which creedal statement, canon, and catechism shall we reference this question within the JW theology or Watchtower society? If there is not any creedal statement, is there a lack of unity about such beliefs? Would any of the answers to any of these questions determine an orthodox JW versus and un-orthodox JW?

Does Jesus have a soul?

                Assuming that Jesus is truly/fully human of a mixture (of some sort) by the JW’s, is Michael the soul of Jesus, and does Michael merely control the body of Jesus? So the reasoning is; does Michael have control over his thoughts or is it the shared thoughts with Jesus assuming if this is truly a union. So is Jesus subordinate to Michael in the sense that Jesus has two natures? This leads us to the next question.

Does Jesus have one or two natures?

                Does Jesus have the nature of both human and archangel? Does Jesus have any access to the nature of an archangel in abilities? If so which abilities would Jesus have? Could it be a co-mingling ending up with such as the Eutychianism view? This would imply that the human nature of Christ was overcome by the nature of Michael.  Could Jesus take other forms other than human, or could he revert back into an angelic nature at any time? Can an archangel be tempted and fail? What about the personhood of Jesus? How would this affect the nature of the archangel?

Is Jesus one or two persons?

                Is Jesus two persons; in the sense of Jesus and Michael remain distinct and yet separate in their personhood? Or do they become one person? Do they still have a parallel nature (or lacking ability) that will not allow them to become one person?

Did Jesus ever claim to be Michael?   

                Surely the old tried and true interrogate is; did Jesus ever claim to be God, or a similar line of questioning is… the word Trinity is not in the Bible. By the same token; using the same rhetoric as the JW, one can honestly ask: did Jesus ever claim to be Michael, directly, and was there a fulfilling prophecy of Michael to become Jesus? The JW may respond by stating (people in the Bible) some names did change, like Jacob becoming Israel (cf Gen 32:28), but that is an equivocation error on their part. We clearly know that Jacob was first Jacob then became known as Israel, and we know that Saul became Paul. The distinction here is that we know from scripture the names before and after and why there was a name change. There is no scripture that makes such claim for Michael becoming Jesus; it has to be read into the scriptures by the JW (whilst using a single verse for this theology). The concept is not repeatable for Michael and Jesus, so their line of reasoning is a non sequitur fallacy.

Does Jesus have two wills?

                Seeing that clearly there is some sort of amalgamating (mixing, or a union) between Michael and Jesus (Michael not being replaced by Jesus), does Jesus have a will? Does Michael still maintain his will or does Jesus take over the will of Michael, vice versa?  Is there a subordination of the wills between Jesus and Michael that works continually or are there times when Jesus’s will takes precedence, or Michael’s will taking precedence? If so, when would either apply?

Does Jesus remain as Jesus?

                So the JW’s believe that Michael was created before the world, and became Jesus in some aspect through the womb of Mary. So after Jesus’s death on the cross and ascension into heaven (as they believe Jesus is now a spiritual being), does he become Michael again to complete the verses in Revelation 12:7? If so, where does Jesus go, and where did Jesus’ body go after the resurrection during this ascension into heaven? If it is not a bodily resurrection is it merely a spiritual resurrection then what happened to the body of Jesus that no one has found? Where was Jesus’ soul during this whole process of being in the womb of Mary, to birth, then death, and resurrection? Did Jesus have a corporeal body during any time or just after the resurrection? Why?

Did Michael die on the cross?

                When Jesus died on the cross, did Michael die as well? Did Michael leave Jesus before, during, or after the crucifixion, or did he also die? If so, clearly Michael needed to be resurrected as well. Can Michael have the ability to leave Jesus at any time, as in the Book of Revelation 12:7? Was it Jesus or Michael that felt the pain, can angels feel pain?  Could an angel or archangel die upon a cross? Was it the efficacy of Jesus or Michael that forgave sins, and atonement?

Did the Early Church Fathers believe Michael was Jesus?

                Hermas is often quoted from within the JW sect as believing Michael was Jesus. Often there is a quote used from the book of JND Kelley, Early Christian Doctrines (page 95). But they fail to recognize that JND Kelly also states that Christ’s pre-existence was taken for granted. There were creative functions assigned to wisdom in later Judaism. If we explore page 94 of this same book, we find that Hermas clearly envisages three distinct personages—Master i.e. God the Fathers, his beloved son; i.e. the Holy Spirit, and the son of God Jesus Christ. Two divine persons, Father and Holy Spirit, the third the savior or Lord. This was an amalgam of binitarianism and adoptionism. So clearly Hermas believed the Son (Michael) as the Holy Spirit. Was the Holy Spirit a created angel?

What is the voice of the Archangel?

                1Thessalonians 4:16  “For the Lord himself will come down from heaven with a shout of command, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first.”
This is one of the main verses that the JW’s utilize to prove Jesus is the archangel. But first we acknowledge that Jesus (or Michael) is referred to the Lord himself, so Jesus is Lord. But is this a verse that is prose or poetic, is there any imagery? Some Bibles will ether state the voice of an archangel or voice of the archangel.

Zechariah 9:14 Then the LORD will appear above them, and his arrow will shoot forth like lightning; the Lord GOD will blow the trumpet and will sally forth on the southern storm winds.
Using scripture to interpret scripture we see the Lord GOD will blow the trumpet and will sally forth on the southern storm winds. Basically, if we read Zechariah chapter 9 it is about the day the LORD their God will deliver them as the flock of his people (cf verse 9:16). This is the same meaning in 1 Thessalonians 4:16 regarding the flock of his people. Clearly the terms voice of the archangel, and the trumpet of God are metaphorical in nature as would be the arrow like lightning in Zechariah 9:14. The resurrection would not be metaphorical. As noted In Zechariah it is the Lord GOD, in 1Thessalonians 4:16 it is referenced as Lord, but not Lord GOD. The JW should ask why the change in the nature of GOD if he is Lord GOD with the trumpet and then it is Michael with the trumpet of God.

Is this a mystery?

                Surely you have heard the JW state the Trinity as a mystery, and they go on to use God is not the author of confusion (cf 1 Corinthians 14:33). However, we know that God did confuse languages during the tower of Babel in Genesis 11:7. At first glance these two verses 1 Corinthians and 14:33 seem at odds; however, 1 Corinthians 14:33 is about prophecy, tongues used within the Church at Corinth. This verse is not about the confusion of the nature of God, but the interpretation of tongues and prophecy. The same with the confusion of language, it is not that God is confusion himself, but allows for confusion of their languages during the tower of Babel setting.

Besides, the terms: mystery and confusion are not the same. A mystery is something that baffles understanding and cannot be explained; while confusion is [an act] causing a disorderly combination of elements with identities lost and distinctions blended. Clearly there is a distinction between the two definitions, one is something that baffles understanding, and the other is an act causing a disorderly combination of elements with lost identities. Therefore, the Trinity may be a mystery of sort that baffles understanding but can be explained within its terms. Clearly the Trinity is not an act to create lost identities and distinctions, but this knowledge of Trinity is acquired after an abductive reasoning of all scriptures. We expect the same of the JW’s to reach a basis of knowledge based upon abductive reasoning of all the scriptures to define their view and answer these question as Trinitarians have.

So basically, with so many questions about the nature of this union of Jesus and Michael, it truly seems to be a mystery for the JW’s. So, one must ask, is it not their beliefs that have a mysterious content about Jesus and Michael concerning this union and occurrence of the reasoning behind the two becoming intertwined? Besides, the Trinity, being suggested as a mystery, is still articulated clearly and Trinitarians are able to answer many of these same questions posed in this article, so who really has the mystery here? Can the act of confusion be ascribed with the identity of Michael being lost and the distinctions of Jesus and Michael being blended? Can the Bible explain this JW theology? Is this morphing of Jesus by Michael being clearly taught within scripture? If not, then the JW argument against the use of terminology of the Trinity (is not in the Bible) fails.               

Friday, January 6, 2012

Proving a negative conversation

By D. Adams
September, 14 2007

Often times I will listen in on a VOIP chat or text forum to gain knowledge about other worldviews. During a brief lapse of my theological studies at TTP this September, I ran across an Atheist on Paltalk. Granted, I tried to have a conversation with some intellect. Despite Mr. Bad*****’s reasoning maneuvers (actually logical fallacy gymnastics) I did not have any of my basic life’s questions answered when it comes to why we exist, and since we exist what is our purpose. I haven’t given the Nihilist position much thought. I ask why there is something rather than nothing. There seems to be a certain amount of despair that often comes with being a Nihilist.

Mr. Bad*****’s derelict position espouses the same old arguments, so bear with me. Many atheist’s or skeptics make these same presumptions that Apologists have answered on numerous occasions. I have compiled a simple list of the counter-arguments (against the existence of God) that Bad***** has in his bag of tricks filled with mojo (moot). I will give a somewhat detailed answer to some of the questions, and I will show why the questions he raises are not based upon reason or logic. Granted a few of the chide remarks were from fellow Atheists in the room at the time. Mr. Bad***** will be further addressed as Mr. B in this article.

Reason #1 not to believe in God (Mr. B’s reasoning)
The first line of reasoning that was presented; “You can not prove a negative axiom.” Before we get into answering this argument let’s first acknowledge that when Mr. B. was confronted with the premise on establishing that there is no God he answered with this classic response. It is true that we cannot prove God exists or does not exist with mathematical certainty. We can however reach a conclusion through deduction and reason (as shown later). This is a case of special pleading, where the Atheist states he cannot prove his statement that there is no God, however the Christian must be able to prove God exists in order to meet the special demands of the skeptic.

Here are a few ways to address this so called dilemma. First off, the best answer to reply to the skeptic with is “can you prove that statement?” this in reference to the “you can not prove a negative” maxim. At first glance the skeptic/Atheist will think s/he has won the argument, however let me show you how we can prove a negative.

Let’s start with a simple example “I am not an architect.” Indeed, I am not an architect by trade nor do I have a certificate or credentials as such. I cannot produce anything to suggest that I am, therefore I am not an architect. Let’s try another argument “I am not a mother.” I am a male and a father however, I am not a mother, nor can I be both (physically or anatomically) at the same time according to the law of non-contradiction. One more just for titters “Michael Jordan does not play for the Cleveland Browns.” Unless you are from another planet, we all know that Michael Jordan did not play football for the Cleveland Browns. I could go on but suffice it to say we can indeed prove a negative.

The problem lies within how the premise of the argument is presented. Most skeptics cannot answer their own premise (them not being able to prove a negative). We have just proven that we can prove a negative by deduction. The statement is invalid in that sense, but one can be more accurate and change the statement to “physical limitations can make it more difficult to prove an empirical universal negative than it is to prove an empirical universal positive existial.” Nevertheless, deduction is process of logic. Remember if you cannot prove a negative, then similarly you cannot prove a positive. This is a self-defeating statement (you can not prove a negative) for if one could not prove a negative--one would not be able to arrive at a deduction (God does not exist) and the skeptic/Atheist could not arrive at their premise without the use of deduction.

This axiom falls on its face when confronted with logic. Granted, due to our limited capabilities we cannot provide tangible mathematical proof that there is a God, nor could we disprove that there is no God. We can conclude by means of deduction that there is a God (See upcoming articles). And I am sure that the skeptics, through a deduction process could also conclude there is no God. In this article, we will see how well Mr. B constructs his syllogisms to justify his position.

Chide remark
As for Mr. B’s reply,… he stated “are you stupid, what, you didn’t go to school, don’t you know you can not prove a negative, you are a fundy”? Indeed while I did not attend Yale, Harvard, or Princeton, nevertheless I managed to attend a local college. As for Mr. B, well… we will let him speak for himself, of himself, and by himself.

Reason #2 not to believe in God (Mr. B’s reasoning)
Second line of reasoning, the prayer doesn’t work shibboleth. Mr. B’s reply was “Why don’t all the Christians get together and pray to end the war, or pray for a cure for cancer, you see prayer doesn’t work.” “Why don’t you Christians pray for these things, and why hasn’t God answered them”? This is an appeal to emotions logical fallacy were the reason for God’s non-existence is due to one’s own emotions of who one thinks God should be or what he should do in this case.

Well if it were only that easy, then what would be the reasoning be behind learning from mistakes, or going through tribulations? Should we make God into a mere yes man, do as I command? This would diminish the essence and eminence of who God is. If we control God then he no longer is God, and he would be bound by us, thus creating our own God in a box. If God would end war and cure cancer, (he could mind you) what would be his motivation to do so? Didn’t he already promise to do so, later in his own time (not ours)? This is why, we, as Christians have a reason for hope and not despair. This is how we distinguish the here and now from upcoming heaven. The Nihilist goes on in despair blaming God for not stepping in, yet not believing in God. So where does this leave the Nihilist, or Atheist? When God is out of the picture, who or what do they blame for their despairs. In some instances, they chose to blame Christians. I hope I am talking to the right folks here, or should I say scapegoats?

Anyone that has read the Old Testament (Yes Mr. B claims he has extensive knowledge in the OT) can attest that God did allow some negative things to happen in order to perform his will. The Old Testament teaches reward and punishment, honor and shame, God’s love, forgiveness, and his wrath. We know that circumstances sometimes need to occur out of necessity even if we think they are wrong or do not seem logical at any given moment. If Pearl Harbor was never attacked by Japan then how could we know the true effects of a nuclear bomb? I am not trying to suggest that killing is acceptable in any manner but there was a critical lesson learned about our capabilities and how destructive we as humans have become.

My Experience with Cancer
Having a father that passed away due to bladder cancer, and a grandmother that also succumbed to the effects of cancer, I can honestly say I do pray for a cure. I know there will be no more cancer or war in the place that God has promised in the Bible. Is it correct for me to ask God to change his mind and do it now? I have learned to be patient in this realm of difficult issues.

Chide Remarks
I asked Mr. B what he has done to help stop the war and he would not reply. He simply stated “See all you Christians are just fundies and prayer doesn’t work.” I retorted that “I don’t just pray” He was a bit befuddled when I made that statement. I went on to say “how can we be the hands and feet of Jesus if we limit ourselves only to prayer?” Another Atheist went on to state the condition of America in which I asked him what does he do about the dilemma in Africa (Darfur mainly)? Of course, I stated I pray for them, and my church has an agriculture project (2000 acre) that I helped finance through my selfless donations. I couldn’t get a response for anything (other than complaints about Christians) that he or other Atheists in the room have contributed to help with these catastrophes (other than finger pointing). They seemed to be focused mainly on their agenda on tearing down Christians with their appeal to emotions, and logical fallacy techniques.

To make a long story short. I pray for many things including the end of war and future wars. I pray for the end of cancer, and I know in time these will be eliminated because of my faith in the word of God. I have had several family members deployed to Iraq so yes I do pray for them and the people native to Iraq (despite cultural differences). This is one just one of the things separates Christianity from other religions, cultures and worldviews (praying for our enemies). Just as God had heard the prayers of the Hebrew slaves, I am sure he will redeem us from all this suffering when the timing is right (Hope vs. despair). What hope does the Atheist have for the end of Cancer? They simply put their trust in man and science. When will medical science be able to cure Cancer? Why haven’t they been able to cure it? When someone suddenly is cured of cancer (many cases of this) without medical attention it is unable to be explained by science, yet it still occurs. Science and Atheists seem silent on such matters.

My experience with prayer
My daughter was cured of Aplastic Anemia despite all the futile attempts that our doctor demanded the only way for her to be cured is through a bone marrow transplant. Years have passed and still the doctors cannot provide an answer as to how she has been cured without their care. With diligence, proper attitude, and knowing God’s nature, prayers can be answered. Should we expect God to answer our every whim? No. I have found that some situations are better to go through then to go around.

Reason #3 not to believe in God (Mr. B’s reasoning)
The third line of reasoning was, “Christians don’t follow the Torah, they don’t follow the entire Bible and therefore they are fundies.” It’s complex to reply to this reasoning without going through the theocracy of ANE culture, and reasoning behind the 613 laws. Mr. B goes on to claim that “I know the Bible better than Christians do” If Christians are to judge ye righteous judgment then how will Mr. B fair against his claims of knowing the Bible? Mr. B seems to be making many judgments against Christianity and has yet to provide anything in the realm of scholarship. We wait in squeamishness expectancy. So far all Mr. B has spread is balding assertions and animosity against Christians.

The Laws
The 613 laws were in place for the Israelites for that given time in order for God to perform his will. The main reason for God to create a counter-culture was to separate them from other societies. It prepared the way for a coming messiah that Moses writes about in the Bible. It also showed the Israelites what was pleasing to God, and what was displeasing to God. It also showed them that in order to be forgiven of sin--the sacrifices that needed to be made in order for them to understand repentance. Hence the term shame. The equivalency for today could be considered a fine in terms of money. Since agriculture was dominant for the time, it was easy for them to understand that losing cattle was a great tragedy. Not all were farmers, and some were allowed to purchase these animals for this purpose. This is where a thorough study of honor and shame should take place for the given culture at that period. 

Some of the dietary laws were to keep out disease and sickness within the culture. Sometimes a separation was needed until the disease or sickness resided. Imagine a plague with no antibody; it could wipe out an entire civilization with ease. Some of the laws dealt with cleanliness since there were no readily made antiseptics. And yes, some of the laws had to deal with punishment for crimes such as stealing, rape, bestiality, cheating, fornication, murder, etc. These laws helped to establish moral values and a theocracy for the Hebrew culture. Some surrounding ANE cultures performed human scarifies, and other rituals that by today’s standard would be considered as unacceptable. As Christians, we do understand those laws that were set in place for the nation of Israel, and we understand that breaking any of the 10 commandments is a violation to God. To my knowledge, no one today is keeping all 613 laws (Torah) since the sacrifices have officially been discontinued in the lost temple where the Dome of the Rock now resides.

I replied to Mr. “B” that “I am not a Hebrew in the ANE culture of Israel.” Of course, he went on to commit a logical fallacy using the slippery slope argument “that since I did not follow all 613 laws (not that anyone today can either) I did not follow any of the 10 commandments.” My reply was “that is a slippery slope argument.” His reply was “nut-uh it’s not a slippery slope” and did not bother to explain his conclusion to that premise. To recap a slippery slope is an argument that presumes that if a certain condition is met (e.g. not following all 613 laws) then immediately that person falls into a deeper despair or a certain classification--usually the worst case scenario possible (such as not following the 10 commandments).

In closing
We, as Christians know what God finds appeasing and displeasing. In fact, 9 of the 10 commandments are reaffirmed in the NT and some exemplified in the beatitudes that Jesus preached in the Sermon of the Mount about murder and lust for example. Even the notion of hating another was now equivalent to murder, and just thinking about an affair was equivalent to committing adultery.

Reason #4 not to believe in God (Mr. B’s reasoning)
The fourth line of reasoning was “The Christians had segregation of blacks and whites during the early beginnings of America, especially in the 1950’s” This is what we call a hasty generalization and guilt by association fallacies.

The premise made here by Mr. B is that all Christians are anti-black or anti-Semitic. One could easily turn the tables and say that “Pol Pot and Stalin were Atheists and they killed millions of people, therefore all Atheists are bad.” This is also a sweeping generalization and guilt by association logical fallacy. A sweeping generalization fallacy is committed when a certain group or sect is the rudimentary cause behind a cause or catastrophic event. Guilt by association fallacy goes even further in that all who claim to be part of this group are guilty by association with this group. This is can be based upon past events, or even present events. This is considered as profiling (sometimes racial).

This is a classic tactic utilized by many skeptics; however, it does nothing to disprove Christianity as wrong, just the people making claims to be Christians. It also displays nothing on the skeptic’s stage of truth where they obtain their morals or standards. If morals are solely dependent upon time and a certain culture then this could be deemed as relative. Relative is not the same as objective truth that is applicable to all people at all times. If this is the case then how do Atheists condone any tragedy, or God’s wrath in the Bible? If the standard was different in ANE culture then why create an anachronistic fallacy?

An anachronistic fallacy (in this case) is that a certain culture is bound to the rules and theocratic laws we have in place today, even though they do not live in our society today (or vice versa when it comes to the 613 laws). This is usually due to poor scholarship and the lack of ANE culture studies. Too bad Mr. B wasn’t deeply rooted into historicity as he suggested in argument #3.

We, as Christians look to Christ as the measure that defines Christianity, not other people claiming to be mere Christians. We are told we will know them by their fruit. Unfortunately, (by implication) Mr. B doesn’t have a working grasp of the NT either when it comes to defining Christianity. Mr. B looks at the worst case scenario, and then develops a picture of what he thinks Christianity is. This is also a relative view.

The Chide Remarks
Mr. B. replies with the classic rebuttal “well that one guy (Meaning Lot) slept with his daughters and God thought it was OK” This could be a quoting out of either context logical fallacy or a classic strawman logical fallacy argument. Evidently, Mr. B did not quote the surrounding context for if he did he would find that Lot did not willingly sleep with his daughters.

The strawman is an argument that is based upon a faulty (usually un-researched) premise that grossly mis-represents or misquotes an opposing view. Once the opposing view has been represented (incorrectly represented) then it’s an easy way for the opponent to tear down the opposition. Sometimes this can be unintentional such as finding a faulty source by accident or reviewing information that has not been thoroughly backed through scholarly studies.

If we assume Mr. B is correct in his earlier statement that he knows the Bible better than Christians do, then his remark totally defeats that statement. Surprisingly Mr. B is his own worst enemy when it comes defining truth and establishing any consistency with his worldview. If he truly knows the Bible (such as any historian, theologian, or Bible scholar) and logic as well as he claims then he may need to take a refresher course in his studies.

Reason #5 not to believe in God (Mr. B’s reasoning)
The fifth line of reasoning was yet another classic “Jesus is just another copy cat myth; I can show you similar claims in other religions.” Mr. B goes on to state that “I can show you parallels within Krishna, Buddhism, and other ancient religions that resemble Christ.” “Did you know Christ’s’ birth date is also claimed as the same date as other deities”? Yet another Atheist chimes in on the astrological claims mentioned in Acharya’s book “The Christ Conspiracy”

Apparently, Mr. B has been using sources such as Kersey Graves, Acharya S. and the likes of the Christ myther crowd. Of course, Dr. Edwin Bryant, Professor of Hinduism at Rutgers University is a scholar on Hinduism and Professor Chun-fang Yu would disagree with Mr. B on this premise. Note that Dr. Edwin Bryant has devoted most of his life to his studies and he strongly disagrees with any parallel claims in Hinduism and other religions for that matter. Mike Licona wrote a fine rebuttal to these claims which you can find in the link provided at the end of this article.

I have covered a portion of this in a previous article so I will not add any more to the response.

Reason #6 not to believe in God (Mr. B’s reasoning)
This is the final argument by Mr. B. It goes something like this “You Christians are just afraid of the truth, and you can’t refute me.” Well Mr. B you are correct in one premise I am afraid. I am afraid of relative truths. I am afraid of inconsistent worldviews. I am afraid that people like yourself will paint a distorted picture of truth, and you will continue to base your epistemology on false premises. I am afraid that people will actually listen to you in blind faith and not fully research your claims.

Mr. B thus far, all you have are relative truths that are based upon a gross misrepresentation of Christianity, history, culture, and logic. While I have answered your every question and in return, I expect the same. I don’t really expect to hear a reply from you. If you can assemble a much better syllogism to refute Christianity then I do welcome the challenge, but until that time I will remain fast in my master studies of theology, epistemology, philosophy, and of course, the fellowship I find in The Theology Program.

God Bless,

Mike Licona article on Christ parallels: