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Christianity Johnson on 11 Sep 2008 01:14 am

The Absurdity of the Christian Peephole

Today we turn once again to Billy Graham to demonstrate the Peephole that Christians use when they examine our world:

God will welcome you just as you are

The title sounds encouraging enough, and the article contains this promising quote:

God understands your problems and welcomes you just as you are. We don’t have to be perfect before God will accept us

Wouldn’t it be nice if this were true? Unfortunately, according to the Bible, this viewpoint is completely incorrect. Most people, rather than being accepted by God “just as they are”, will be cast into Hell for an eternity of torture. As mentioned in this post, just about everyone who isn’t a Southern Baptist is on the highway to Hell.

The only way that Billy Graham could make a statement like that is to be looking through a peephole that sees “God” as “all loving”, while ignoring the huge swaths of Biblical verbiage that clearly demonstrates otherwise.

The Christian Peephole is even more obvious in this passage:

It’s important for you to understand exactly what Jesus said about worry. He knew that we all tend to worry about the future — but God knows all about the future and because He loves us we can trust our future into His hands. He said, “Do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear. … Your Father knows that you need them” (Luke 12:22, 30). The opposite of worry, Jesus was saying, is trust — trust in God and His unchanging love.

Billy Graham has left several good parts out of his Luke quote, so let’s look at the entirety of Luke 12:22-34:

Then Jesus said to his disciples: “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear. Life is more than food, and the body more than clothes. Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds! Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest?

“Consider how the lilies grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today, and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, how much more will he clothe you, O you of little faith! And do not set your heart on what you will eat or drink; do not worry about it. For the pagan world runs after all such things, and your Father knows that you need them. But seek his kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well.

Doesn’t this sound fantastic? God will feed us without our needing to sow or reap! Even better: “And do not set your heart on what you will eat or drink; do not worry about it… your Father knows that you need them. But seek his kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well.” God will give us the food and drink we need!

What an amazing peephole this is. When we remove the peephole and take time to look at reality, we find that this verse of the Bible is completely untrue. According to this post:

- “every year nearly ten million children die in the world due to preventable diseases.”

- “some 4000 children die every day, because they simply don’t have access to an adequate supply of clean water.”

- And many millions more die of starvation.

Strangely, God has forgotten to give these children what they need. And what he promised them. Luke 12:22-34 is provably ridiculous. Only by looking at the world through the Christian Peephole would you ever quote this section of the Bible.

If you would like a deeper perspective on how ridiculous the Bible can be in this area, try this:

Examine your health insurance policy


13 Responses to “The Absurdity of the Christian Peephole”

  1. on 11 Sep 2008 at 11:54 am 1.Armchair General said …

    Fail.

    Unfortunately, the ability to read is not synonymous with the ability to comprehend.

  2. on 11 Sep 2008 at 2:04 pm 2.OC said …

    “Unfortunately, the ability to read is not synonymous with the ability to comprehend.”

    One would assume that an omniscient author’s word selections would ensure that there may be no misinterpretation or incomprehension. The author of the Bible appears to be woefully inadequate in this regard.

  3. on 11 Sep 2008 at 2:34 pm 3.Armchair General said …

    Can you read Greek and Hebrew?

    As I said before, the Bible has been translated from Greek and Hebrew (and some Aramaic). It has been translated by PEOPLE.

    If you’d like to understand it at its fullest, you’d need to be able to read Greek and Hebrew. Otherwise, we rely on MAN’s ability to translate correctly.

    This is why it’s useful to cross-reference verses with other translations, to make sure the concept is coming through as intended. There are many words in the Hebrew and Greek language for which there are no adequate English translations.

    The refusal to understand the concept of thoughts and ideas being lost in translation is, quite simply, ignorant.

    Of course, you’d have to be willing to go through the work of understanding, and cross-referencing … which you’re obviously not interested in doing. You’re simply interested in pointing out translational bumps and thick-headedly attempting to exploit them as “flaws.” The only real flaw is your inability to go about reading a translated document in an educated manner.

  4. on 11 Sep 2008 at 3:12 pm 4.OC said …

    “Can you read Greek and Hebrew?

    As I said before, the Bible has been translated from Greek and Hebrew (and some Aramaic). It has been translated by PEOPLE.

    If you’d like to understand it at its fullest, you’d need to be able to read Greek and Hebrew. Otherwise, we rely on MAN’s ability to translate correctly.”

    Your logic is patently absurd. According to your Bible, it is your God who created all human languages. Therefore, an omniscient and omnipotent God would ensure that the Bible is available inerrantly in every language, both known and unknown, in order to prevent the transcription errors that you describe. Only in a world without a “God” would we find the need for errant human translation. In addition, an omniscient God would ensure through his word choice that there is no possibility of misinterpretation of his message.

    “The refusal to understand the concept of thoughts and ideas being lost in translation is, quite simply, ignorant.”

    On the contrary, the possibility that your Bible includes “thoughts and ideas being lost in translation” means that we are unable to rely on any portion of the Bible, as there is no way to distinguish which parts are errant and inerrant. It is no different than a bottle of medicine with a tampered “safety seal”. The entire bottle is compromised and must be disposed of.

  5. on 11 Sep 2008 at 3:23 pm 5.Armchair General said …

    Actually, since we still have the original Greek and Hebrew documents (in addition to numerous translations), we can always go back and verify.

    It’s not really terribly difficult to figure out if you’re willing to do a little leg-work in the areas that aren’t 100% clear immediately. So no, it’s not really like a tampered medicine bottle at all.

    It’s like a bottle who’s label is in another language and you just need to make sure you understand the translated directions before taking it. If the medicine contained inside was going to save your life, you’d probably go through whatever lengths necessary to make sure you understood it correctly.

  6. on 11 Sep 2008 at 5:09 pm 6.OC said …

    How might we verify that “original Greek and Hebrew documents” are actually original? How might we verify that their source is God? Your omnipotent creator appears to be working at a level incompetence so broad that he failed to design a mechanism to certify his message.

    Also, it is strange that your God delivered such an important message only to one part of the world, leaving civilizations on other continents uninformed. How curious that an omnipotent being would be so inadequate.

  7. on 11 Sep 2008 at 6:21 pm 7.Foolish believer said …

    even if God had certified His word with a wax seal, delivered it digitally signed with a mega-bit private key, delivered it personally with a Heaven’s Gate return address or even left it written in the clouds, there would still be someone asking: “am, why not just have a radio station and those clouds, isn’t this primitive smoke signals?” God created us to think, work and act intelligently not to be moved like pieces on a chess board.

  8. on 11 Sep 2008 at 8:26 pm 8.lil tom said …

    mr. armchair said “As I said before, the Bible has been translated from Greek and Hebrew (and some Aramaic). It has been translated by PEOPLE.”

    yes, and contrived by PEOPLE as well. that’s the whole point here. none of us need to learn several extra languages to realize that. indeed it is also said that to understand the quran at all one MUST be able to read it in its original arabic. now with your logic, how can you POSSIBLE know that the quran isn’t the work of GOD if you haven’t read it in arabic and studied it thoroughly? any preconceptions you may have about it in english may very well just be mis-translations.

    I wholeheartedly agree that many religious texts are fascinating pieces of literature and to understand their context one needs to approach them from the angle they were composed in (as with any musical, literary, cinematic works and so forth). I am a fan of preserving mythologies as such. even as an atheist I feel there is a lot to learn from reading the mythology of the world, buddhist and taoist texts, the poems of rumi and william blake, even the quran has a few nice moments. and the more one studies religions, the more one sees the very reason they exist. they are a hope mechanism. a way to preserve our anthropocentric view of the universe answer the (at the time) unknowable questions.
    one thing we can certainly learn from the study of religion is that it is always counterproductive to make claims without evidence. it only slows down progress in understanding our world to a glacial pace (eg. galileo, burning heretics (aka intellectuals), caste system, creationism, crusades, holy wars, banning stem cell research) and creates huge barriers for science and reason.
    whereas religion makes claims that can never be proved wrong (or right, for that matter) and it is a sin to question certain Truths,
    science demands that “truths” (although there is no such claim of fundamental TRUTH in science, thankfully) be put to the test. it is indeed the job of science to attempt to disprove a theory until enough evidence builds to settle the question. I for one am quite thankful that we have adopted science in medicine and shed shamanism and faith-healing. we have a long way to go, and although the situation looks grim at times, I think we can overcome these counterproductive modes of thinking and concentrate our hopes toward the real world.

  9. on 12 Sep 2008 at 8:03 am 9.Anonymous said …

    Yes I agree with everything you people are saying because you simply are blinded and are talking out of your blindness.

  10. on 12 Sep 2008 at 8:27 am 10.Chirst's spokesperson said …

    The Bible says the things of God are foolishness to those who are perishing. The Christian walk is a walk of Faith. This means that we believe in something we do not see but we know it is there. People want to see something before they believe it, otherwise they assume it isn’t really there. That is human nature. But God is not human and He cannot operate or function like a human.

    The Bible says His ways are not our ways and neither are our ways His ways. So He knows very well that we humans will not understand how He operates. People always try to give excuses on why they simply do not believe there’s a God but I think that is just an excuse to continue living in sin.

    Forget about who wrote the books in the Bible and concentrate on nature itself. Nature is a miracle in itself and the universe and creation testifies that there is a greater being who created all this. Look at your own body and see how it functions, do you think the theory of evolution or the The Great Bang or Big bang or whatever could come up with such a structured, precise design without greater intelligence involved? Think about it…

  11. on 12 Sep 2008 at 11:38 am 11.Anointed said …

    This is to the person who says God is ignoring the poor and needy. You people do not understand how God works. God works through people. He does not come down from Heaven and physically answer prayers. Let me give you an example.

    A man was drowning in the middle of the ocean and he prayed to God to save him. Then, after a few minutes of his prayer, a group of men in a boat came to where he was and asked him if he needed help, he told them that he was waiting for God to save him. Puzzled, the group of men, sailed away and left him there. Of course the man waited and waited but God did not ‘come’ and rescue him.

    He prayed again and this time a helicopter came his way. He told the people in the helicopter that he was waiting for God himself to rescue him. The helicopter then went away and the man, after a few hours of waiting on God drowned and died. Once he was in heaven, he asked God why he did not rescue him as he had requested.God replied that he send a group of men in a boat to rescue him but he refused and again in a helicopter but he refused.

    Isn’t it the same way you are arguing that God has ignored the plea of the poor and needy?? God is a spirit and for him to function, he needs to use a human body to do so.He uses people through charity to give these children food.

    Unfortunately the people who are supposed to be His hands and feet are the believers and they have not understood this concept and only a few really go out of their way to give to the needy. That’s why the Bible instructs us to give to the poor.The problem is that when we ask God to do something, we always expect this big miracle like bread falling down from Heaven..literally. Understand how God functions before you attack, please…all of you.

  12. on 12 Sep 2008 at 6:32 pm 12.lil tom said …

    “Unfortunately the people who are supposed to be His hands and feet are the believers and they have not understood this concept and only a few really go out of their way to give to the needy.”

    I agree. It’s very unfortunate that the vast majority of Christians don’t understand the very book they claim to run their life on. kind of makes you wonder why god in his infinite wisdom made it so difficult to parse for the average person.

    I suppose he thought it would be fun if only a select few who could possibly make sense of it would be saved.

  13. on 15 Sep 2008 at 6:25 am 13.Anointed said …

    God did not make anything difficult for anyone, Lil tom,everyman has a free-will and a choice to do something.You choose to give or to withhold from the poor. God has not designed us to be like controlled robots that He can order around here and there.

    That’s how much He loves us, enough to let us have our own choice and not Him deciding for us.He just puts the instructions before us on what is right and what He expects from us and then it’s our choice which way we choose.You also have to understand that Christians are still humans and still have the ‘human mentality’.

    That’s why the Bible says we should change our mindsets to be like Christ’s.Of course humans are prone to selfishness and first choose to satisfy their own needs before others…that’s human nature and that’s where most Christians get stuck.It’s not easy moving from one mindset to the next but God also cannot automatically force us to do so because it’s our choice.Afterall, we are human, not robots.Giving has to come from the heart, not from a controlled heart.

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