Nicholas Kristof, religious doubter, interviews a dead certain Christian pastor

We have to have at least one post about religion today, and here it is.

Oy! The New York Times, for its Sunday Christmas Review, features a long interview of Pastor Timothy Keller, an evangelical Christian whom the interviewer, Nicholas Kristof, characterizes as “among the most prominent evangelical thinkers today.” Keller is also the author of the best-selling books The Reason for God: Belief in an Age of SkepticismThe Prodigal God: Recovering the Heart of the Christian Faith, and Prayer: Experiencing Awe and Intimacy with God.

The interview, called “Am I a Christian, Pastor Timothy Keller?“, is characterized by Kristof expressing his doubts about Jesus’s divinity, the truth of the Resurrection, and the Christian doctrine that only acceptance of Jesus as savior will get you to Heaven. Keller slaps these doubts down one by one, assuring Kristof that yes, all these things are true, and that Christianity is certainly based on true statements about how the world is. (That’s a point I made in Faith Versus Fact, but one that many religionists still deny, claiming that much of the Bible is metaphorical, and yes, everyone has the chance to go to Heaven, be they Jew, Buddhist, or Muslim.

In the end, Keller tells Kristof that he, Kristof, is not really a Christian!

Here are a few bits of the Q&A that I’ve put under my own headings (bold). Kristof’s questions are in italics, Keller’s answers in Roman type.

Religion is based on truth statements, not just communality or moral sentiments. Absent those empirical truths, religion is worthless:

KRISTOF Tim, I deeply admire Jesus and his message, but am also skeptical of themes that have been integral to Christianity — the virgin birth, the Resurrection, the miracles and so on. Since this is the Christmas season, let’s start with the virgin birth. Is that an essential belief, or can I mix and match?

KELLER If something is truly integral to a body of thought, you can’t remove it without destabilizing the whole thing. A religion can’t be whatever we desire it to be. If I’m a member of the board of Greenpeace and I come out and say climate change is a hoax, they will ask me to resign. I could call them narrow-minded, but they would rightly say that there have to be some boundaries for dissent or you couldn’t have a cohesive, integrated organization. And they’d be right. It’s the same with any religious faith.

Kristof then asks whether one can be properly skeptical of the Virgin Birth. Keller’s response:

If it were simply a legend that could be dismissed, it would damage the fabric of the Christian message. Luc Ferry, looking at the Gospel of John’s account of Jesus’ birth into the world, said this taught that the power behind the whole universe was not just an impersonal cosmic principle but a real person who could be known and loved. That scandalized Greek and Roman philosophers but was revolutionary in the history of human thought. It led to a new emphasis on the importance of the individual person and on love as the supreme virtue, because Jesus was not just a great human being, but the pre-existing Creator God, miraculously come to earth as a human being.

And that is that! Then Kristof, chastened, asks about the Resurrection: did it really happen? Keller, of course, says “yes”:

Jesus’ teaching was not the main point of his mission. He came to save people through his death for sin and his resurrection. So his important ethical teaching only makes sense when you don’t separate it from these historic doctrines. If the Resurrection is a genuine reality, it explains why Jesus can say that the poor and the meek will “inherit the earth” (Matthew 5:5). St. Paul said without a real resurrection, Christianity is useless (1 Corinthians 15:19).

. . . The Christian Church is pretty much inexplicable if we don’t believe in a physical resurrection.

They then go back and forth on the Resurrection, with Kristof, who knows his Scripture, pointing out the discrepancies in the different Gospels’ accounts of that miracle, with Keller proffering the usual apologetics, rationalizing these discrepancies and making the dumb claim that the Resurrection must have happened because women were the first eyewitnesses, and who would have believed women if the story wasn’t really true? QED

Can you be a Christian unless you buy the whole hog?

Kristof, then, wonders if he’s a real Christian. Keller dashes what hopes he had:

[Kristof] So where does that leave people like me? Am I a Christian? A Jesus follower? A secular Christian? Can I be a Christian while doubting the Resurrection?

[Keller] I wouldn’t draw any conclusion about an individual without talking to him or her at length. But, in general, if you don’t accept the Resurrection or other foundational beliefs as defined by the Apostles’ Creed, I’d say you are on the outside of the boundary.

Faith, says Keller, is perfectly concordant with science, and, anyway, we have lots of faith-based beliefs.

When asked why would should suspend our skepticism when it comes to religion, and just take things on faith, Keller drags in Tom Nagel, a philosopher who is one of the doubters of materialism when it comes to evolution and consciousness—though Nagel is not a believer. (Read Allen Orr’s negative review of Nagel’s ideas.)

I agree. We should require evidence and good reasoning, and we should not write off other religions as ‘superstitious’ and then fail to question our more familiar Jewish or Christian faith tradition.

But I don’t want to contrast faith with skepticism so sharply that they are seen to be opposites. They aren’t. I think we all base our lives on both reason and faith. For example, my faith is to some degree based on reasoning that the existence of God makes the most sense of what we see in nature, history and experience. Thomas Nagel recently wrote that the thoroughly materialistic view of nature can’t account for human consciousness, cognition and moral values. That’s part of the reasoning behind my faith. So my faith is based on logic and argument.

But of course Nagel is buying the “The Something of the Gaps” argument, one that is deeply flawed. We can alter consciousness (or remove it and then bring it back) by material intervention, which is pretty good evidence that consciousness is indeed a material phenomenon, even if we don’t yet understand how it works or how it evolved. Keller goes on:

In the end, however, no one can demonstrably prove the primary things human beings base their lives on, whether we are talking about the existence of God or the importance of human rights and equality. Nietzsche argued that the humanistic values of most secular people, such as the importance of the individual, human rights and responsibility for the poor, have no place in a completely materialistic universe. He even accused people holding humanistic values as being “covert Christians” because it required a leap of faith to hold to them. We must all live by faith.

Here Keller is conflating the religious view of faith (“believe these fairy tales without evidence”), with a confidence we have that if we treat people better, our society will wind up the way we want. Yes, it is a preference to favor human rights and equality over human non-rights and inequality, but you can at least see what kind of societies result from different interventions, finding out if what you wanted comports with what you do. Morality is also a preference (I don’t believe that moral values are objective), but I wouldn’t call it a “faith”, since it’s not belief without evidence. Your choice of a moral system is no more a “faith” than is your preference for steak over tilapia or chocolate ice cream over broccoli.

Keller’s non-Bayesian view of God.

Keller seems to think that because we don’t really know whether God exists, the odds must be about 50/50. But what about the priors: the lack of any evidence for a god, much less the Christian God? There are, after all, such things as likelihoods, and Keller’s embrace of Christianity seems no more rational than a Muslim’s embrace of the Qur’an as the literal truth:

I don’t see why faith should be seen as inconsistent with science. There is nothing illogical about miracles if a Creator God exists. If a God exists who is big enough to create the universe in all its complexity and vastness, why should a mere miracle be such a mental stretch? To prove that miracles could not happen, you would have to know beyond a doubt that God does not exist. But that is not something anyone can prove.

. . . I’d also encourage doubters of religious teachings to doubt the faith assumptions that often drive their skepticism. While Christians should be open to questioning their faith assumptions, I would hope that secular skeptics would also question their own. Neither statement — “There is no supernatural reality beyond this world” and “There is a transcendent reality beyond this material world” — can be proven empirically, nor is either self-evident to most people. So they both entail faith. Secular people should be as open to questions and doubts about their positions as religious people.

Of course one can’t prove there is no god, but, as Victor Stenger used to say, “The absence of evidence is the evidence of absence—if there should have been evidence.” If God wants us to accept him and his son, why did he withhold the evidence from us, and in fact allow most of the world to believe in non-Christian faiths that Keller absolutely rejects? I’m sure Keller would reject all kinds of things (like Russell’s teapot) for which there’s as little evidence as there is for his Christianity. We simply have no evidence for a God, just like we have no evidence for a real Santa Claus. The sensible and parsimonious thing to do is provisionally reject a god.

Non-Christians don’t get saved. 

Sophisticated Theologians™ twist themselves in knots trying to show that yes, even Jews, Muslims, Hindus and—except for Edward Feser—even dogs can be saved. Keller slaps them all down, though he can’t really give a good reason why all those non-Christians will broil in Hell. In the end, Keller just punts and says salvation is reserved for Christians because the Bible says so. But of course the Qur’an is clear on the same issue, but with respect to Muslims. And, in the end, Keller punts again and says, well, God’s ways are mysterious (my emphasis in the following):

The Bible makes categorical statements that you can’t be saved except through faith in Jesus (John 14:6; Acts 4:11-12). I’m very sympathetic to your concerns, however, because this seems so exclusive and unfair. There are many views of this issue, so my thoughts on this cannot be considered the Christian response. But here they are:

You imply that really good people (e.g., Gandhi) should also be saved, not just Christians. The problem is that Christians do not believe anyone can be saved by being good. If you don’t come to God through faith in what Christ has done, you would be approaching on the basis of your own goodness. This would, ironically, actually be more exclusive and unfair, since so often those that we tend to think of as “bad” — the abusers, the haters, the feckless and selfish — have themselves often had abusive and brutal backgrounds.

Christians believe that it is those who admit their weakness and need for a savior who get salvation. If access to God is through the grace of Jesus, then anyone can receive eternal life instantly. This is why “born again” Christianity will always give hope and spread among the “wretched of the earth.”

I can imagine someone saying, “Well, why can’t God just accept everyone — universal salvation?” Then you create a different problem with fairness. It means God wouldn’t really care about injustice and evil.

There is still the question of fairness regarding people who have grown up away from any real exposure to Christianity. The Bible is clear about two things — that salvation must be through grace and faith in Christ, and that God is always fair and just in all his dealings. What it doesn’t directly tell us is exactly how both of those things can be true together. I don’t think it is insurmountable. Just because I can’t see a way doesn’t prove there cannot be any such way. If we have a God big enough to deserve being called God, then we have a God big enough to reconcile both justice and love.

What a reprehensible and unempathic little toad Keller is! And why did Kristof and the NYT give his blatherings space in the Christmas issue. Where’s an atheist to talk about evidence?

timothy_keller

Timothy Keller

h/t: Barry

47 Comments

  1. Posted December 25, 2016 at 11:27 am | Permalink

    sub

  2. jaxkayaker
    Posted December 25, 2016 at 11:41 am | Permalink

    The blog post title says Bill, but it’s actually Nicholas. You did correctly put Nicholas in the content of the post.

    • Filippo
      Posted December 25, 2016 at 12:04 pm | Permalink

      Though I do wonder if William Kristol is any less supremely confident of the rectitude of his religious opinions than he is of his opinions about anything else.

    • Posted December 25, 2016 at 12:08 pm | Permalink

      Oy, I’ll fix, thanks!

  3. GBJames
    Posted December 25, 2016 at 12:03 pm | Permalink

    The older I get the less patience I have for theological make-believe. These guys never have anything new to offer.

    I’m convinced that large numbers of people are simply stupid; adults incapable of intellectually advancing beyond the 3rd grade.

    • Linda Calhoun
      Posted December 25, 2016 at 12:09 pm | Permalink

      Of course they have nothing new to offer.

      Why on earth would they need something new? They already have the “truth”.

      There is such an element of “neener, neener, neener” to Christianity. Ick. L

      • ploubere
        Posted December 25, 2016 at 12:36 pm | Permalink

        Exactly. They’ll never have a new argument because they’re stuck on the same story, which cannot be questioned or doubted. They get huffy if anyone does. And yes, they’re just annoying in their lack of intellect, which they nevertheless claim to have.

        • phil
          Posted December 25, 2016 at 5:58 pm | Permalink

          And their lack of self reflection: “Just because I can’t see a way doesn’t prove there cannot be any such way.” But somehow a lack of a thorough material explanation of consciousness is evidence for its divine origins.

          “He even accused people holding humanistic values as being “covert Christians” because it required a leap of faith to hold to them.”

          Well he is quite wrong there, it makes then covert Muslims. Obviously.

    • Alexander
      Posted December 25, 2016 at 7:43 pm | Permalink

      What is really shocking is that this drivel is written by someone with a complete absence of common sense and judgement and who is a regular columnist for the NYT. Religious superstition opens doors…

  4. Mike Deschane
    Posted December 25, 2016 at 12:20 pm | Permalink

    There is an equally vacuous opinion piece by Russ Douthat citing near death experiences, Holy Ghost appearances, communing with the dead, etc. as evidence for… something spriritual maybe, and justification for a life devoted to worshipping, er, something spiritual. Not an unexpected emanation from him I suppose.

    How about just being good and kind without the metaphysical mambo-jumbo.

    Thanks for keeping the sanity alive Dr. Coyne!

    • Filippo
      Posted December 25, 2016 at 12:35 pm | Permalink

      There is an op-ed, “Humanizing Jesus,” similarly possessed of a refulgent rectitude, by Peter Wehner in the Saturday 12/24/2016 hard copy NY Times.

  5. Historian
    Posted December 25, 2016 at 12:24 pm | Permalink

    When I read the Kristof piece, I had one thought: why should Kristof feel the need to seek out some assurance from a theologian that he is actually a Christian? Apparently, he would somehow feel better calling himself a Christian while simultaneously questioning the basic tenets of Christianity.

    I suspect that Kristof is far from alone in feeling the need to call oneself a Christian while doubting what it actually believes. Breaking entirely free from a religion is very hard thing for former believers to do.

    I also found it interesting that many commentators on the NYT site chastised Kristof for seeking answers from a fundamentalist pastor. Why, they asked, didn’t he seeking counseling from a liberal Christian? In that case, certainly he would have found answers more to his liking.

  6. rickflick
    Posted December 25, 2016 at 12:34 pm | Permalink

    The pastor gave incredibly weak answers to simple, direct, questions. I suspect, however, the adherents are oblivious to the way the interview went sour for Keller, or just say to themselves: “I couldn’t care less.”

  7. ploubere
    Posted December 25, 2016 at 12:45 pm | Permalink

    I will grant the pastor this, that if you’re going with the christian line, be honest about it and stick with it. Without the resurrection, then the story does fall apart, just as it does without original sin. I think Jerry explains this quite well in his book. Religious fables and science cannot be squared without a great deal of cognitive dissonance.

    • GBJames
      Posted December 25, 2016 at 12:51 pm | Permalink

      Who gets to decide what ” the christian line” is?

      • Posted December 25, 2016 at 2:52 pm | Permalink

        As the former head altar boy at my Catholic church when I was growing up, I was struck by how very Protestant Keller’s answers were– they are not “the christian line”. His responses were deeply suffused with the sola scriptura, sola fide ideas that fed the Reformation. Catholicism has (?had– I haven’t paid close attention for many years) an elaborate theology of how the just who die without accepting Jesus are not condemned to hell, but do not have quite as fulfilling an afterlife as those who do. (I forget the details of the doctrine, but it mattered whether the person had or had not had some exposure to Christianity.) This flows from Catholic rejection of sola scriptura, and acceptance of the importance of works (i.e. good deeds), in addition to faith.

        • rickflick
          Posted December 25, 2016 at 3:26 pm | Permalink

          What a relief. I was beginning to think they sounded completely insane. My faith is restored. 🙂

  8. Randall Schenck
    Posted December 25, 2016 at 12:53 pm | Permalink

    It reminds me of something in John Loftus’s book: Religious doctrines are not the reason adherents believe, nor is it due to the arguments. They believe for community reasons, for ritualistic reasons and for ethical obligations that bring them into safe conformity with others. They were usually not reasoned into their faith in the first place so it stands to reason they cannot usually be reasoned out of it either.

  9. Colin Davidson
    Posted December 25, 2016 at 12:55 pm | Permalink

    Kristof’s piece was just the warmup for Douthat’s smug compendium of nonsense about unbeliever’s ‘supernatural’ experiences. Check it out but keep your barf bag at the ready.

    Thanks Jerry and team for all your hard work this year and look forward to more of the same in 2017.

  10. jaxkayaker
    Posted December 25, 2016 at 12:58 pm | Permalink

    I give Keller credit for honesty, but it’s overwhelmed by the tortured logic, poor semantics and general irrationality.

  11. Jackson
    Posted December 25, 2016 at 1:03 pm | Permalink

    I enjoyed nyt article and appreciate Kristof doing this interview. Implicitly shows the problem with this and other religions…

    Excellent fit with faith/fact book…

    • eric
      Posted December 26, 2016 at 8:20 pm | Permalink

      Yes, I agree. JAC (maybe rhetorically) asked this: “And why did Kristof and the NYT give his blatherings space in the Christmas issue.” But honestly I think Kristol did nonbelievers a favor. Sometimes the best thing you can do for your side is just give your opponent an open mic, and I think that’s the case here. ‘All non-christians go to hell no matter how nice they are’ and ‘you don’t count as one of the saved unless you adhere to a literal resurrection and the Apostle’s creed’ isn’t very ‘holiday heartwarmy.’ I think Kristol, perhaps inadvertently, laid bare some stuff about mainstream protestant Christianity that makes liberal believers uncomfortable, and liberal fence-sitters turn away from the religion.

      This is mainstream. Laid bare, it isn’t very nice or reasonable. And that not-niceness and not-reasonableness came through loud and clear in this interview. Was that Kristol’s intent? I have no idea. But I think anyone outside the fold isn’t going to see this as a positive ad for Christianity.

      • Diane G.
        Posted December 27, 2016 at 3:42 pm | Permalink

        + 1

  12. Rev Jeremiah Caldon
    Posted December 25, 2016 at 1:32 pm | Permalink

    Regarding belief in the resurrection and the virgin birth.

    A perfect man rebelled against God and introduced sin (falling short of the glory, i.e. perfection, of God) into the world (ROMANS 3:23). For sinners to be reconciled with God would require that they pay the punishment for ALL of their sin, individually. Since ALL sin is mortal i.e., requires both temporal and eternal DEATH, no one can pay for their own sin (ROMANS 6:23). To resolve this seeming dilemma, God foreordained that He Himself would enter the world in physical form, live a perfect live, and die a death that would pay the eternal debt for ALL sinners (ROMANS 5:8). Those that believe i.e., trust, in His payment would be forgiven their sin, reconciled with God and secure eternal LIFE (EPHESIANS 2:8-9).

    The virgin birth is necessary for God, in the form of the Messiah Jesus, to be both perfect (therefore, able to make both a widespread and eternal payment for sin) and a man (therefore, able to specifically save mankind).

    The resurrection is necessary for God to demonstrate that He alone has power over temporal and eternal life and over physical and spiritual death.

    If the Messiah, Jesus, was merely a man, he could not pay for the sin of others. Even were he perfect, he could not pay the sin of others.

    If the Messiah, Jesus, were not resurrected, he would have no power over death, temporal or eternal.

    As you can see, Jesus as a mortal man who died a common death cannot provide eternal life for anyone. Jesus as God-in-the-flesh can provide reconciliation for ALL those who repentant of their sin and trust exclusively in His death and resurrection as eternal satisfaction for sin.

    In short, belief in the virgin birth and the Resurrection are essential elements to trusting the Messiah, Jesus, for payment of one’s sin and the guarantee of Eternal Life. It’s a package deal in which skepticism is resolved by trusting in the testimony of eyewitnesses and drawing the correct conclusion (a process that defies scientific method, which requires recreation of the original process; but, which easily replicates the method we use in our justice system every day). — Rev. Caldon

    • rickflick
      Posted December 25, 2016 at 3:31 pm | Permalink

      Is anybody else’s head spinning after reading this?

      • GBJames
        Posted December 25, 2016 at 3:56 pm | Permalink

        I stifled myself.

    • GBJames
      Posted December 25, 2016 at 3:54 pm | Permalink

      And you know this how exactly?

      • Posted December 25, 2016 at 3:58 pm | Permalink

        That was my question. The answer, of course, will be, “Because the Bible says so!”

    • Steve Pollard
      Posted December 25, 2016 at 5:06 pm | Permalink

      Dear Rev Caldon, I find your arguments bizarre. I presume you must at some point have attended a Christian seminary of some sort. Did they really not give you a hint that the authors of the Septuagint managed to mistranslate the Hebrew word for “young woman” into the Greek word for “virgin”? What would that do for your laboriously constructed theology? I also presume,from your confident assertions, that you have no understanding of the profound and irreversible changes that take place in a dead body, starting with the brain.

      Sorry, but you don’t even get to first base. Next!

    • phil
      Posted December 25, 2016 at 6:14 pm | Permalink

      “It’s a package deal in which skepticism is resolved by trusting in the testimony of eyewitnesses…”

      Bullshit.

      Besides, punishing someone for the crimes and misdemeanours of others is consider immoral these days.

      It would be interesting to know whether Rev Caldon became a believer because of this, or whether he learnt this rationalisation after the fact.

    • Roger
      Posted December 25, 2016 at 7:33 pm | Permalink

      With apologists like you and Keller, why would Christianity even need any enemies? Keep up the good work.

    • Sakebomb
      Posted December 25, 2016 at 8:58 pm | Permalink

      Lol, why is a virgin birth necessary for someone to be perfect? Why would the mother having had sex at some point foul some future baby? Such stupidity.

      • infiniteimprobabilit
        Posted December 25, 2016 at 9:09 pm | Permalink

        Well, the whole point of mumsy being a virgin i.e. never having had sex is that it removes a normal physical explanation of how she got pregnant. Therefore, it must be (gasp) a miracle.

        Otherwise, some suspicious sod like me would just say she’d been getting a bit on the side that Joseph didn’t know about. (Or else maybe that Joseph – wasn’t he supposed to be geriatric and past it or something? – had somehow managed to get it up. Which I suppose would be almost as much a miracle, though a much more enjoyable one, at least for Joseph).

        cr

        • Tim Harris
          Posted December 25, 2016 at 9:48 pm | Permalink

          Mary’s having to be a virgin has also do with very strong feelings (I shan’t call them quite thoughts) about pollution. The Buddha was said to have born from his mother’s side, and not in the usual way for the same reason. Athene was born from Zeus’s head… Pollution and the fear of it is a fascinating subject, since it structures our views of the world. Why do we so readily describe people we dislike or want to insult by reference to certain ‘dirty’ parts of the body or to ‘dirty’ activities? Why the sentimentality about pre-pubescent boys’ voices (which are no different from girls’ voices)?

    • Kirbmarc
      Posted December 26, 2016 at 7:24 am | Permalink

      “In short, belief in the virgin birth and the Resurrection are essential elements to trusting the Messiah, Jesus, for payment of one’s sin and the guarantee of Eternal Life. It’s a package deal in which skepticism is resolved by trusting in the testimony of eyewitnesses and drawing the correct conclusion (a process that defies scientific method, which requires recreation of the original process; but, which easily replicates the method we use in our justice system every day).”

      Eyewitness testimony is questioned according to accuracy in every justice system. Also in the case of Christianity we have no direct eyewitness testimony, but second or even third hand accounts.

    • Sshort
      Posted December 26, 2016 at 10:23 am | Permalink

      What an utterly silly and wicked doctrine. Thanks for the clarification.

    • jaxkayaker
      Posted December 26, 2016 at 10:55 am | Permalink

      tl;dr:

      God made Adam’s sin hereditary, so to forgive us for something our ancestor did wrong, God sent his son, who is also Him, to be born of a virgin and murdered so he can forgive us for something we didn’t do, but only if we accept the above as true and ask for forgiveness. This still leaves the question of why God insists on blood sacrifice in order to forgive, instead of just an acknowledgement of wrongdoing and a petition for forgiveness.

  13. Ken Phelps
    Posted December 25, 2016 at 1:51 pm | Permalink

    The cartoonish arguments of presups like Keller are living confirmation of Darwin’s point re the relationship between ignorance and confidence.

  14. Posted December 25, 2016 at 6:58 pm | Permalink

    ‘Tis the season to be folly.

  15. infiniteimprobabilit
    Posted December 25, 2016 at 7:24 pm | Permalink

    Oops. I misread that headline as “… interviews a dead Christian pastor”. Have we suddenly gone spiritualist?

    Sadly, no such curious thing…

    cr

    • rickflick
      Posted December 25, 2016 at 7:36 pm | Permalink

      I figured it was just the frontal lobes, for certain.

  16. JonLynnHarvey
    Posted December 25, 2016 at 7:53 pm | Permalink

    I don’t know if there is a Deity or not, but I know the evangelical Christian one does not exist.

    The notion that one must be a believer to go to heaven gets its clearest expression in the epilogue to Mark that is missing from the earliest manuscripts.

    The Bible is not consistent on this point. Passages in Paul’s letters seem to imply universal salvation, why the Gospel of John does not. Neither presents belief as a bargaining chip.

  17. Diane G.
    Posted December 25, 2016 at 8:36 pm | Permalink

    Admittedly I just skimmed over this column in the Times last night, but my feeling was that Kristof, known liberal that he is, might be playing devil’s advocate, trying to make a statement about the incoherence, injustice, and ludicrous tenets of conservative Christianity by leading Keller into exposing it all so well.

  18. somer
    Posted December 25, 2016 at 10:21 pm | Permalink

    “I can imagine someone saying, “Well, why can’t God just accept everyone — universal salvation?” Then you create a different problem with fairness. It means God wouldn’t really care about injustice and evil.”

    Except that God explicitly created, allowed and often commanded the injustices and evil

    I form the light, and create darkness; I make peace, and create evil; I am HaShem [God], that doeth all these things. Isiah 45:7

    Shall the horn be blown in a city, and the people not tremble? Shall evil befall a city, and HaShem [God] hath not done it? Amos 3:6

    Out of the mouth of the most High proceedeth not evil and good? (Lamentations 3:38)

    “And among the nations the remnant of Jacob [Israel], surrounded by many peoples, shall be like a lion among the animals of the forest, like the young lion among the flocks of sheep, which, when it goes through, treads down and tears to pieces, with no one to deliver (Micah 5:8).” or the verses in NT that say that Jesus will lead many nations with “a rod of iron” or commands slaves to obey masters. Not to mention the aggressive end of times psychobabble of Revelations
    or
    “When a man strikes his slave, male or female, with a rod and the slave dies under his hand, he shall be punished. But if the slave survives a day or two, he is not to be punished; for the slave is his money Exodus 21:21 Revised Standard Edition 1952
    or the villification of women (Ezekiel 16:36-45, all of Proverbs, (Isaiah 3:16 Jeremiah 13:26).

  19. YF
    Posted December 27, 2016 at 9:48 am | Permalink

    Keller’s career and livelihood depend on the truth of Christian doctrine, so he has no choice but to lie for baby Jesus. It’s not like he’s going to concede, by the bowels of Christ, that he may be mistaken.


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