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January 04, 2007

Comments

Christian

Bill,

"seems to say" returns to a topic you have addressed before. I know that you are not a relativist but acknowledge truth can be subjectively interpreted. I have replied that you are right but that doesn't prevent us from drawing conclusions and actually living.

Why would the atheist choose to attack your choices? Does he claim inconsistency?

Christian

Bill

He has made the following comment:

"I think evangelical conservative Christianity has the best chance at being right about Christianity as a whole, and by rejecting it I reject Christianity."

It seems (from my limited experience with him) that if people try to correct his view of what a Christian is, he calls them cherry pickers. So, yes, his basic point is that someone like me is inconsistent in their view of the Bible. What he presupposes, however, is that the fundamentalist concept of the Bible is equivalent with true Christianity. Does that help explain?

John W. Loftus

According to Sam Harris in The End of Faith: "religious moderation appears to be nothing more than an unwillingness to fully submit to God's law. By failing to live by the letter of the texts, while tolerating the irrationality of those who do, religious moderates betray faith and reason equally." p. 21.

Bill

But is the Bible, as canonized by the early church, "God's law?" Is it the only Christian text? What would full submission to this particular text entail? How do you "fully submit" to a collection of writings that includes narratives and poetry?

I have no problem with someone saying that being a Christian involves fully submitting to Christ/God. But that's much different from talk of submitting to a book.

Christian

I am certainly in danger of evaluating Sam Harris' quote out of context, but why is religious moderation the goal? Does that mean that I'm not a radical Islamist intent on decapitating any who disagree?

Matthew 5-8 and the sermon on the mount is not moderate. Neither is it intolerant. It addresses who we are, not just what we do. It paints the portrait of hearts changed by Christ. That betrays neither faith, nor reason.

Bill - - it will always be difficult to discuss faith with an atheist if your own view of biblical authority is not higher.

Bill

Christian,

John is commenting on religious moderation because I'm coming from a more "moderate" standpoint than fundamentalism.

Why do you think John's view of biblical authority is higher than mine?

Christian

I don't think that at all. He and you (and me for that matter) have drawn different conclusions. We (you and I) agree on the essentials of Christianity. He rejects God after careful consideration.

He is, however, eager to play the Bible against itself. I agree that interpretation of scripture requires discernment. I suppose the labels of fundamentalist and moderate confuse me because I was raised in a different tradition.

John's presupposition now is that of a naturalist. I doubt that he accepts any supernatural content in the Bible. He can certainly correct me. To use a document you don't believe to debate a discussant who holds it dear is an honored, if freshman, debating technique. Don't let it rattle you.

If you had a lower view of scripture than John, you would be an atheist too.

Christian

Bill,

I've been thinking about this post, its content and my responses. I owe you an apology. One area of growth for me is that I need to listen better. I did not give your words the consideration that they deserved.

We disagree on some things but agree on the core. The world is to know we are Christians due to our esteem for each other. Pray for my sanctification as I seek to understand your viewpoint and avoid the construction of straw men.

I am glad to have you contend for the faith with an antagonistic atheist such as John. My narrowness provides him with better fuel than he could imagine.

Sincerely,

Christian

Bill

Thanks, Christian. I don't know that you necessarily needed to apologize for anything, but I appreciate the spirit in which it was offered!

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