Wednesday, April 2, 2008


Departing from my usual course of action, I will deal with this atheist article quickly (because it deserves nothing more) and then vent my frustrations (if you, dear reader, care to hear them). The article's basic claim is that God is more evil than all atheistic/secular governments/institutions combined because he continually slaughters biological life (nay, all of creation) with horrible diseases. How could a "loving" God do such a thing! Answer: He didn't, and He doesn't. To demonstrate this, I will answer each the question's that the article asked:
  1. "When were all the harmful viruses, germs, bacteria and parasites created?" Viruses, germs, bacteria, and parasites are all (except for viruses) living organisms, and are a part of the material world. Thus, God created them (which answers the second question that the article asked). Notice, however, that the key word in that question is "harmful." By themselves, viruses, germs, bacteria, and parasites are either harmless or even helpful (like the bacteria that help digestion or that eat away dead skin cells). What makes these things "harmful" is when they become carriers, and therefore transmitters, of disease. Therefore, we must distinguish between two things in regards to our answer to this question: God created the biological life and material components, but He did not create disease. Disease (along with other things) is a result of the Fall: "For the wages of Sin is death." (Romans 6:23) Disease, suffering, death, corruption, and evil are all aberrations of the created order. God did not put them their; they came because of man's choice.
  2. "Who, other than God / Yahweh himself, could create?" See answer 1.
  3. "If this was the intended effects on humans after the Fall with their forced removal from the Garden of Eden, than why did God even go though the motion of tempting Eve and Adam in the first place since this harmful creation was already created and simply waiting on them outside the Garden?" (sigh) First of all, neither the Fall nor its effects were "intended," as though God wanted them to happen. Second of all, the creation was not "harmful" when it was "created." It was good when it was created (read Genesis 1--"and God saw that it was good"). I will not state anything further, because I have already dealt with this nonsense here and here, and I refuse to repeat myself.
  4. "If man (as a sinful creature) alone is the target of these harmful and deadly acts of creation (as one Christian doctor tried to tell me), than exactly why are both plants and animals also affected by harmful viruses, germs, bacteria and parasites?" A "Christian" doctor told you what? It has been (since Christianity's inception) a part of orthodox belief that the whole of creation was affected by the Fall, not just man. Either the doctor was misunderstood (which happens), or he was smoking something serious.
My frustrations are not with these questions in regards to my faith; after all, I did answer them. My frustrations are two: (1) with such questions per se, and subsequently (2) with the state of Christianity in the realm of fundamentals and orthodoxy. I have spoken of these frustrations here before, but I wish to say just a little more.
When I was young (or younger) I typically stayed away from anything that was antagonistic to my faith, and that was a good thing; you should not engage things until you are equipped to handle them (never engage a tank with a fork). However, other then not being ready to engage such antagonism, all forms of doubt and skepticism (whether it was atheistic, agnostic, or devil's advocate) had a numinous horror to it, like it was something monumental and grand, a challenge and obstacle that all must face but many have failed at beating. There is a terror in the thought that there are real and stated doubts about what you think is obvious.
Needless to say, when I got educated (both intellectually and spiritually), I felt that it was time to see what's out there in the world of doubt. After all, if you are not capable of dealing with the "tough" issues laid before you by skeptics, what kind of faith do you have? So I read atheistic articles and blog postings, and even read Bertrand Russell's now (in)famous essay. Every time I read (and still read) something like that, the resulting effect inside me is always the same: sheer, utter disappointment.
When I write about atheistic anything, I want to do it while being amiable and polite (while still being forceful and blunt). After all, I'm not here to merely win an argument, but lead people to the truth; and by that, lead them to the Gospel. Apologetics and evangelism go hand-in-hand. Nevertheless, I cannot help but feel great frustration whelm up within me as I stumble over one idiocy to the next. Every argument I have run into, every supposedly great and crushing argument, has always been the same thing: a ridiculous montage of slip-shod thinking, faulty logic, contradictions, straw-man arguments, emotional rants, misunderstandings and misinterpretations and misquotings of Scripture and/or doctrine, arrogance, and personal vendettas. Perhaps this is all my fault; perhaps I set my expectations to high; but, darn it, I was expecting more than what I've gotten (and still get) so far.
This frustration, however, leads to my second and real frustration. Ignorance is only a crime for those who should know better. Atheist do not know any better; Christians do. The fact that atheists can have such idiotic, crazy, confused, and messed up ideas about what Christian's believe says more about us than it does about them. If people reject what we present, then they are at fault; if they are confused about what we present, however, then we are at fault. Dorothy Sayers still said it best: "Let the dogma of the church be dragged out from under the dreadful accumulation of slipshod thinking and trashy sentiment heaped upon it [by Christians], and set [upon] an open stage to startle the world into some sort of vigorous reaction.” Shame on us, for not keeping the burning truth bright and clear before the world; shame on us all. Until we change our thinking about what it means for a Christian to engage culture, about what it means to develop a Christian intellect, we will have to live with the mess we have made.

P.S. For Chesterton on the importance of the fundamentals, read this from his book Heretics.