Bible Secrets Revealed?: A Response to the New History Channel Series (Part 3)

Gnostic Gospels

This is the third installment of a new series reviewing the History Channel series entitled Bible Secrets Revealed (for others, see here and here).  The newest episode is entitled, “The Forbidden Scriptures,” as is definitely one of the most provocative so far. It is designed to argue that certain books were “banned” or “forbidden” from the New Testament.

This episode makes numerous claims about the development of the New Testament that, once again, prove not to be the whole story.  Many such claims were made, but I will only mention a few of the key ones here.

1. Was the canon just a power-play?   This episode repeats the standard narrative that the canon was chosen by men with an agenda trying to preserve the power of the church.  The canon is just about politics, we are told.

Kathleen McGowan makes this point in the video: “There were a group of men with specific agendas determining what would and what would not become canon. And this agenda was about preserving the power of the church.”

But, there are problems with this sort of claim.  One major problem is that there was no unified political or ecclesiastical infrastructures during the first centuries that could have accomplished such a feat.  The church had no real political power until Constantine in the fourth century.  And, the ecclesiastical structure of the church was quite undeveloped in the earliest stages.   Even if a group wanted to force their books on others, it would have been difficult to pull such a thing off.

What is remarkable is that despite this lack of infrastructure, the church did seemed to have a “core” canon of books that they agreed upon by the middle of the second century.  Thus, in the earliest phases of the church there are appears to be a canon of sorts that is decidedly NOT the result of politics.

There are also problems with referring to apocryphal books as “left out” or “banned”.  While such terminology adds to the dramatic nature of the documentary, it is inherently misleading. Such books were not “left out” because they were never “in” to begin with.  Take the Gospel of Thomas as an example.  It was not “banned” from the canon because it was never a real contender in the first place.  It never makes it into any canonical list anywhere. Indeed, when Thomas was mentioned by the church fathers it was most often done to condemn it!

It should also be observed that Kathleen McGowan is not even a biblical scholar.  She is not a professor and has no advanced degrees in biblical studies (not sure she has any degrees in biblical studies). On the contrary, she is a popular novelist committed to discovering the “divine feminine” and believes she is descended from Jesus and Mary Magdalene.

Why in the world is she being presented as an expert on the NT canon?  This raises series questions about the credibility of the History Channel in my opinion. But, the next point may provide an explanation.

2. Was Mary Magdalene an apostle?  Next, the documentary turns to the Gospel of Mary in order to present Mary Magdalene as having the same level of authority as the twelve and to present Jesus as the first feminist.  It is then suggested that the the authors of the canonical gospels “suppressed” this story of Mary in order to protect male authority in the church.

Aside from the fact that this sounds a lot like Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code, there are serious historical problems here. For one, there are very few reasons (if any) to think that the Gospel of Mary is representative of authentic Jesus tradition. It is clearly a second-century composition with no credible claim to be an eyewitness account, has been substantially influenced by the canonical Gospels, and is evidently a further development of traditional canonical material. Even Christophter Tuckett declares, “It seems likely that the Gospel of Mary is primarily a witness to the later, developing tradition generated by these [canonical] texts and does not provide independent witness to early Jesus tradition itself.”

As a result, the Gospel of Mary was so removed from the flow of early Christianity that it was never mentioned by any church father—not in their discussions of canon, nor even in their discussions of apocryphal gospels. Indeed, we would not have known of the gospel if not for the original manuscript discovery at the end of the nineteenth century. Thus we are hard pressed to think that this gospel represents a wide-spread and popular way of thinking in early Christianity.

3. Was God Married?  The documentary appeals to a single inscription found in Egypt where Yahweh is mentioned along with his “Asherah,” presumably referring to the goddess of fertility.  The conclusion from this evidence is that the original Israelite religion had a belief in a goddess who is equal in power to Yahweh and then this was purged out later.
It is at this point that the documentary reaches an all time low.  No recognition is given to the fact that this is just a single, obscure inscription that stands over against mountains of evidence that ancient Israel was monotheistic and actually condemned the Asherahs.  Moreover, the documentary provides zero textual evidence that the Old Testament text as been “purged” or “edited” in regard to goddess worship. This single inscription is being used to reach outrageous and unwarranted conclusions about the nature of early Israelite religion.

 

The simple point is this: There is zero reason to think this inscription is representative of early Israelite beliefs.  More likely, it is simply representative of the belief of the single author who wrote it.

In the end, we are again left with a very disappointing episode.  Yes, it was entertaining.  It was certainly provocative.  Unfortunately, it is simply not not historically accurate.  For a History Channel production, that proves to be sadly ironic.

Comments

Bible Secrets Revealed?: A Response to the New History Channel Series (Part 3) — 35 Comments

  1. Editing secrets revealed, Bias revealed, Spin revealed…the loaded dice of selective information & hollow teaching has many fingerprints & traces of human DNA also.

    Thanks for the revealing review & the opportunity to learn more.

  2. I am thankful that Dr. Kruger is willing to subject himself to the drivel of “Bible Secrets Revealed,” but his analysis leads me to a deeper question: What is our response as Christian apologists to those who gravitate toward this History Channel type of “scholarship”? I have to admit that my inclination is determinedly un-Christian. This series is postmodernism, deconstruction, and iconoclasm at a pitch. My temptation is to move toward an acerbic response.

    We Christians are all too often accused of being simple-minded, or worse, simpletons, who turn off our brains when considering the historical factual content of the Bible. But look at what the “scholars” at the History Channel are doing! I am reminded of the Apostle Paul’s admonition to Timothy that such scholars “occupy themselves with myths and endless genealogies which promote speculations rather than the divine training that is in faith[.]” And as Francis Schaeffer taught, faith is not a mindless adherence to untested belief. Rather, Christian faith has time-tested historical and factual bases.

    A personal application came for me a few years ago. I was facilitating a business transaction with an art teacher and his wife. During the transaction, I attempted to interject a gospel principle, or some other semi-veiled witness. The art teacher immediately picked up the conversation, informing me that in art history he teaches the fact that Jesus was married to Mary Magdalene and that da Vinci and all his contemporaries knew and portrayed it in their art.

    It is neither good business nor good etiquette to tell one’s customer or client, “You’re an idiot.” So I just looked at him mildly amazed, and so he, in turn, continued to inform me along that line of pseudohistory of art. I confess here that I was at a loss as to how to salvage the situation. The tragedy, of course, is that he has likely continued to disseminate his pseudointellectual religious education to unwitting art students.

    In the marketplace it is sometimes difficult to know how and when to put forth an effective witness into the marketplace of ideas. In the vernacular, my attempt was an epic failure. I thought that I was being sensitive to the Holy Spirit. The outcome makes that thought questionable. The place did not offer sufficient time to challenge the customer/client’s presuppositions. Maybe I should have suggested to exchange contact information and offered to discuss these issues later?

    At any rate, we need to publicly challenge the misinformation and deconstruction of series like “Bible Secrets Revealed.” If not now, when? If not us, who?

  3. No recognition is given to the fact that this is just a single, obscure inscription that stands over against mountains of evidence that ancient Israel was monotheistic and actually condemned the Asherahs.

    -This sounds to me like the exact opposite of the truth- on the level of “no recognition is given to the fact that this is just a single, obscure document that stands against mountains of evidence that Nazi Germany was one of the most democratic and religiously tolerant nations in the world”. Where are these “mountains of evidence”?

  4. I agree with the rest of the points in this piece, BTW. Also, describing Kuntillet ‘Ajrud as in Egypt is true, but very misleading.

  5. Re: “Take the Gospel of Thomas as an example. It was not “banned” from the canon because it was never a real contender in the first place. It never makes it into any canonical list anywhere. Indeed, when Thomas was mentioned by the church fathers it was most often done to condemn it!”

    I’m not sure this actually follows. For one thing, one could interpret the early church writers’ condemnation of GThom precisely as a token of its being a “real contender”—the state of affairs which provoked ecclesiastical refutation of some sort. Moreover, the Fathers’ witness ought to be tempered by (or perhaps even be viewed in light of) the material evidence we’ve got for books such as GThom but also for other, and more widely read, works such as the Shepherd: the papyrus fragments of GThom—which, by the way, perhaps simply due to mere coincidence actually outnumber the early MSS of Mark—and, much more significantly, numerous early papyri of the mentioned Shepherd (let alone its placement in S.01) are but a few instances of important material testimony of the fact that at least some Christian groups made a some use of these books within their Christian devotion. So, depending of course on one’s definition of the term “contender”, I think that assertions such as GThom “was never a real contender in the first place” might be a bit overstated. You are of course correct to say that, conversely, GThom was never banned from the “canon” either and, at the end of the day, I think your critique of the documentary is warranted and called for; however, I think one could use more nuanced arguments than the above example.

    • btw, on the significance of the material evidence for GThom in the 3rd century Egypt, see Luijendijk, “Reading the Gospel of Thomas in the Third Century,” in Clivaz and Zumstein 2011.

  6. #3.The irony of accepting an obscure inscription to overthrow the OT Theology of the children of Israel. Much like the recent discovery of the Jesus had a wife parchment that ended up being fake yet created such a stir. I think you touched on the love of controversy within society before, some just cant get enough, like the paparazzi & those who hang out for the goss. This works in favour of particular authors & programs but does little in actually revealing the matter truly at hand.

    Is it a case of the well worn saying, the blind leading the blind…

  7. I agree with Ray. To me, it feels as though the gospels not included could be considered censorship of God’s word. Why not include them all and let the people decide how they feel about them?

    • canon can’t be rewritten, because history can’t be rewritten. The Christian canon(s)—whatever one might make of it/them—is a historical phenomenon and its shape dates back to the chapter of history that’s long passed. Naturally, this is not to say that one can’t read and profit from reading the non-canonical Gospels today, but they’ll never be a part of the New Testament.

      • For sure. And whatever truth may have actually been has been edited away to fit the needs of man and the church. It would seem one can only profit from the church’s version of the truth.

        • This only works from the premise that the original “truth” had been different from what lay before us—but that’s not to operate at the level of history anymore, that’s conspiracy.

    • Some of these additional writings have been viewed and considered by people in the past on multiple occasions. The establishment of the Canon was not a one-day meeting (or one week meeting) as the program hints. Years of thought, reading, comparisons, setting up qualifications and discussion went into the establishment of the Canon.

  8. There is no determining the real truth. All we have is what is written, which fails to win over Bible advocates by way of science, logic, discussion, or any other message.

    It becomes the classic mustard seed argument found in Matthew 13:32.

    Some versions of the Bible say it is the smallest mustard seed on Earth. Others say it is the smallest seed of all. Either way, we know this is not true. Certainly the knowledge base of such an onimpotent being would know smaller seeds existed.

    So…what we have to do to correct this problem is add to it by saying…Well, he mean the smalles seed for the area and time he lived (even though it doesn’t say that at all, anywhere).

    This becomes a great defense because it actually diverts the written word. As long as we are free to add onto the text…it will always be correct.

    In retrospect, we should reserve the right to use this to say any part of the Bible we want only applies to the location and time Jesus lived (that would be fair).

    It sort of works like a leaking boat with a thousand holes. We plug it the best we can.

    • If what was written is a truthful account as it testifies to be then we can know the truth. In the parable of the mustard seed we do see a spiritual kingdom that has come to prophetic fruition. What began as tiny, small or miniscule has over time become a large tree providing much activity.

      To somehow think or assume that science or logic will show the way is belief without evidence itself regarding truth & has gaping holes that often shift from one day to the other.

      Confusion or disagreement over the wording of a small seed does not deny that Jesus came as He did but it rather hi-lights the difficulty of interpretation at times. Many claims have been made regarding Scripture being false on account of the current historical/archaeological perspective, yet with new discoveries it has proven to be true(that would be a good program). God & His Word is not limited to any one age, much unlike science, it is prophetic & truthful. It speaks for the past the present & the future.

      • I see. So the wording of the Bible doesn’t matter so much, or really the interpretation problems, as long as the final result ends with the the book being correct? It is beginning to make some sense. What the Lord says is indeed not literal but in how we need it to operate for our purposes. While it doesn’t deny Jesus’ parable, it certainly doesn’t do it any favors. Since God created science, I surely would have thought it should support his word. Hmm…

        • Yes after submitting my words I did realise my term of science was very broad & could be taken many ways depending on where a person may be coming from. Yes there is science in its limited nature that does support the Word of God.

          Yes the wording does matter & iota’s, but I think it should be understood that Jesus wasn’t giving a science lesson nor is Scripture a scientific text book. When considering the storm, we are not told what types of clouds, or the boat, what type of timber or design it was or how salty the sea water was either. With the fish & loaves we are not told what type of fish or bread it is, what the boys genetic make up is…does this mean it never happened or that the story is false…not at all.

        • As an extra thought, I would say God gave us the ability to be scientific but in general did not create science as such. It is a method that can be very open to interpretation, abuse & mistake, we see this too in TV programs. The same could be said of the Bible at times regarding all things human.But in all of this, a perfect being, God, chooses to work to redeem humanity in a way that defies the human way of doing things & I can know this by faith, even a small amount of faith can blossom & grow..

  9. I”ll make this easy, The lord Jesus is the son of god, God is the sovereign ruler of the universe and the father of all believers, and this series brings all this into question, I know what I know and have seen what I’ve seen and no history channel series will change that.

  10. Michael,
    I’ve completed video-responses for episodes 1 and 2 and put them on YouTube, A video-response for the third episode that you’ve replied to is in the works. Although some observers may say, “Why bother responding to the History Channel; it’s just entertainment,” I don’t accept that, because a lot of viewers are likely to not approach it as entertainment, Cargill and Ehrman and Reza Aslan don’t see themselves as entertainers, do they? So, yes, public engagement with the program is warranted. Thanks for doing your part.

  11. Over and over in this series, the producers quote texts that are more obscure, less complete, with very little scholarly/historical acceptance and little to no archeological evidence to refute a book (the Bible) that has been studied, questioned, doubted, burned and outlawed for centuries. Yet, the Bible has withstood all of these attempts and more and has proven to be accurate over and again. The producers fail to apply the need for proof to the other texts that it calls for to be used for the Bible.

    A few years ago, modern scholars lined up to say the trial of Jesus was fake because Pilate did not exist. Years later, Pilate is found written on a historical stone at a digsite in Israel.

    Scholars pointed to the lack of evidence of a city of Jericho. Sure enough, years later, Jericho is found and has the strangest walls around it.

    For years, scholars said the Bible has been copied too many times and cannot be accurate. The Bible must be full of human error and re-writes (this series hints at the same thing). Then, the Dead Sea Scrolls were found and when compared to modern writings, showed how astonishingly accurate the copies had been over the centuries.

    The series lives and breathes in bringing up old arguments that have been around for many years and have been resolved by many others. The series only seems new because people don’t study these things today as they did in the past. Education is not what it used to be. Popular culture has overtaken history.

    The series views the Bible through the lenses of Post-modernism and Western Culture and forces those viewpoints upon the watchers.

    • Which Bible is accurate? I don’t mean to understand everything and think both sides offer insight, but I must admit there seems to be a hundred versions of the bible when I go into the bookstore. There are also so many denominations all claiming to be right. Forget non-believers…How do we know which Bible and which denomination IS the right one? Catholics, Babtists, methodists, mormons, Jews, etc. We all believe in God but bitterly fight each other. Don’t any of us run the risk of being wrong even though we follow the Bible?

      As radical as it may sound, can salvation be had without church or the bible. Does loving God and inviting him into your heart eliminate the need for either one? If so, is all this a moot point?

      • To start with, I would say the oldest books that are in the original languages (Hebrew, Greek, Aramaic) are accurate. The challenge does come when translating from these languages, as with any translation. Because the people who spend their lives translating are committed to God and to accurate translations from the original languages, there are some very accurate versions, such as Young’s Literal. Other people have translated Scripture without using original language as a starting point and with a focus on readability in a modern language, such as New Living and The Message. Some translations are made word for word (Young’s), some focus on translating phrase by phrase and some focus on translating idea/thought by idea/thought.

        Why are there so many denominations? Because sometimes people disagree with each other. For example, should people be immersed completely in water when baptized or have a cup of water poured over their heads or be sprinkled with water? Sadly, people split up their groups over such things. Some major ideas cause a difference, such as the need/role of priests.

        I think where these groups of believers come together is in finding salvation, through Jesus Christ. I don’t think salvation can be found outside of the Bible, which contains the teachings and public life of Jesus Christ. Some people believe salvation can be found in many different ways BUT what happens when people die? (I have another post around here on this.)

        What do you mean by “loving God?” Is this loving the thought of God or an idea of God? Is it loving God enough to do what He wants and not just what I want? Is it saying “I love God” or living like “I love and live for God?”

      • TheWanderer, you said:

        “Catholics, Babtists, methodists, mormons, Jews, etc. We all believe in God but bitterly fight each other.”

        What exactly do you mean by “believe in God”? Jesus Himself said “He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father.” Jews surely do not honor the Father. The Mormons do not believe that Jesus is God, and so to say that they “believe in God” in the same sense as a Baptist or Methodist is not accurate. Matter of fact, Mormons do not even believe in an un-created creator God, as everyone else on your list does. The believe that the Father/Yaweh/Jehovah was once a man and he graduated to being “a god” and thus Mormons actually have a problem of infinite regress.

        You said:
        “As radical as it may sound, can salvation be had without church or the bible. Does loving God and inviting him into your heart eliminate the need for either one?”

        Where does the concept of “salvation” come from? What do YOU mean by “salvation”? Salvation from what/whom? Where does that concept come from?

        If someone wants to “love God”, where does one go to learn who God is, and how to love Him? How does one know that God is knowable? Or lovable? How do you define “love” and how would the God you want to “love” define “love”?

        Where do you get the concept of “inviting Him into your heart” from? (Ill give you a hint, its not found in the Bible, but thats another topic for another day). What does that mean exactly and what is the purpose of “inviting Him into your heart”?

        • So, Chris, now you have brought us right back around to where this TV series is. The answers are found in the Bible (at least, that is what many people believe, including myself). As I stated elsewhere, the starting point is that God wants to reveal himself to people so they will know Him and He chose to reveal himself through the Bible.

        • I agree with chris. Further, if you investigate ancient Judaism and Second temple Judaism you will find that Monotheism did not firmly start until the 2nd Temple Period which starts at the end of the Old Testament. Ezra even admits that the people go back to thier old ways as does Jeremiah. Both Persian officials being fully knowledgable and acclamated to Persian Zoroastrianism which is where Chirisitianity gets ALL of it’s beliefs on Heaven, Hell, and the afterlife. Ancient Judaism does not hold to these concepts, when you die you cease to exist. The concept of the logos was “adopted” from the greeks. The bulk of this acclamation occured during and after the exiles. That was the purpose of exile: You take away or destroy the primary national god (The Ark), then exile the people and after 3 or 4 generations it’s all a distant memory replaced by new cultural influences. This was the SOP for Kingdoms in ancient times. It worked well. So, the first term for the church “Catholic” or universal would be rightly so since Christianity consists of beliefs incorporated from various other religions that the Jews had encountered from around 700bc thru 100bc including Zoroastrianism and Hellenistic Judaism. Do the research, most of the obvious evidence is right in the Bible. Simple question: Why doesn’t the Old testament speak much, if at all, about the spirit world like the New Testament does? Because it’s all late exile, 2nd Temple developments. Still, we can not deny the afterlife or the spirit world.

          • Jim, Ive haven’t said much for you to agree with. I’ve really just tried to get explanation for the assertions made by TheWanderer. Ive pointed out that putting belief in God by Jews, Mormons and Baptists all in the same category as has been done as being ridiculous, as their theology is all very different. It’s pretty insulting to each group and extremely ignorant of their beliefs to just lump them all together.
            Ive also asked for explanation about the statement made pertaining to salvation and asking God into one’s heart in relation to the need for the church or the Bible.

            With that being said, I strongly disagree with you. The fact is, you are plain wrong.
            First, you mention monotheism. Monotheism is absolutely clearly TAUGHT ever since the very first verse of the Bible. Whether or not the Jews were idolators is a completely different story, and does not change the clear teaching of the Bible, from the first verse to the last. Actually the idolatry of the Israelites is a major theme in the Old Testament as you mentioned especially in Ezra/Nehemiah which just further demonstrates the need for the New Covenant that had already been promised multiple times many generations earlier. Your point Jim only given further credence to the need for the New Covenant.
            Next you claim that ancient Judaism says “when you die you cease to exist” This also is just plain false. Isaiah, Ezekiel, Daniel, the Psalmist(s), King David, all spoke of a life after this life and several even more specifically mention a resurrection. I would suggest that you do more research before making such a blatantly false statement as you definitely do not know your prophets very well.
            Next you assert that the spirit world is a late exile second temple development. Thats just ridiculous. First, the Old Testament, just like the New Testament, is an account of progressive revelation. So we should expect certain concepts to be further developed as time goes on. With that being said. Job, one of the oldest books of the Bible, clearly links the events on the physical earth to the spirit world. Jewish tradition attributes with book to Moses, making it as old as Genesis and all the internal evidence gives the events a date in the patriarchal period making it a very early story.
            Early in Genesis, Jacob saw the ladder of God with angels ascending and descending upon it. This is a clear teaching about the spirit world’s involvement with the physical world. Abraham met two angels who destroyed the region of Sodom. The spirit world’s interaction with the physical world is very clear in the account of Abraham. Sarah’s womb being opened is an example, and the women of Abimelech in Genesis 20 is another crystal example. Joseph, in the end of Genesis, clearly attributes his situation in Egypt and the actions of his brothers to the providential care of God who rules from the spirit, which controls the physical world. Joshua met the commander of the army of the Lord who’s very presence made the ground Joshua shook on, holy. Go back to Exodus and learn what that means and then talk about the physical and spiritual worlds. Battles were constantly attributed to the spiritual world. Heck, look at the Exodus account, especially the plagues. The book of Kings really deals with the spirit world. Take Elijah praying for his servant’s eyes to be opened to see all the Lord’s hosts surrounding their camp in 2 Kings 6, or the prophet Macaiah in 1 Kings 22 stating that there was a false spirit, from God, causing all of Ahab’s prophets to prophecy falsely so that Ahab would be destroyed. I don’t know if if could get any clearer than that. Of course we could also mention the evil spirit in 1 Samuel 16 tormenting Saul. This is really only the tip of the iceberg. I could literally go on and on and on. But the fact is, based on your statement, you really do not know the Old Testament very well because it clearly contradicts you. Whatever you’ve been taught, you’ve been lied to. Just sit down and read the Old Testament from Genesis through Judges, and then read Sam, Kings and Chronicles. Then come tell us that the spirit world is rarely mentioned. Then, go read the major prophets and come tell us again.

  12. I wish you could go into more detail about the 3rd part, as it seems quite a bit of skeptics, and atheists like to talk about God, and Asherah on the internet, and it would be great to know how to fully refute this claim.

    • The idea of God having a wife is simply not encouraged or taught as a belief in the Bible. The idea of gods and goddesses has been in many other cultures and was in the cultures surrounding Israel. Asherah is mentioned in the Bible as someone the people should not worship (even though people continually did). Asherah poles were the physical representation of the worship. Worship of Asherah brought the wrath of God upon the people. It amazes me how people are returning to this worship of Asherah after centuries of not worshiping Asherah. Yet, the worship of the God of the Bible has been constant for thousands of years.

      Many cultures had fertility goddesses. Sex was seen as worship of these goddesses and oftentimes was performed in temples. Through the prophets in the Bible, God repeatedly denounces this worship and false goddesses. Men were able to get sex and attribute it to the worship of a goddess, thereby making all sex moral and more available outside of marriage.

      The skeptics want to view Christianity as “a religion” and not “the religion” and so they apply a different idea to Christianity and the Bible while ignoring the massive holes and problems of other religions promoting the goddess ideology. Meanwhile, no other belief system can compare to the positive impact Bible followers have had on the world over thousands of years.

    • In talking with skeptics, atheists and other non-believers, I like to use a simple question: What happens when people die? Let the other person answer the question. Then, ask each belief individually in any order: What do muslims/hindus/buddhists/Christians/etc. say happens? I focus on the major world religions but they can add any. Next question: Can you disappear into nothing, be reborn as a cow, be annihilated in fire and live in heaven/hell all at the same time? Does the same end happen for every person? What is it? Many people will try to give nice philosophical thoughts like: It depends on what you believe or all the roads lead to God and happily ever after. When pressed, most people realize there is only one true ending that is the same for everyone. Practically all religions say they are the only way. Which is right?

  13. Perhaps one of the biggest problems for beleivers comes from within, especially when engaging in dialgue with non-believers. Often it is we who become guilty of desregarding, putting aside, or outright defying the teachings we defend. How often have we done something impolite to our fellow man, called them a name, became angry, or judgmental to to one who does not agree with us?

    I typically don’t like to tell non-believers they are wrong because they will find just as many ways to tell me I am wrong. Few actually stop to question these people from a compassionate angle. Maybe their lack of faith results from a physical or emotional standpoint. Maybe they felt abandoned, disconnected, or intellectually shorted by beleiving. I have made more ground with sincerly asking why they feel the way they do rather than telling them that what they feel is wrong. Likewise, I am not entriely at peace either and can maybe see where some discord takes place. My father is devoutly Catholic and he has a hard time with the fact that I don’t agree with Catholic practive. I refuse to go to church or adhere to these teaching. Something about Catholic churces screams weath, power, and cynicism. In my opinion they should sell the fancy stained glass, marble, gold, and silver that lines most of these places and use the proceeds to feed the hungry and give care to the sick. God’s word doesn’t need these precious decorations in my humblest of opinions. I only pick on Catholicism because that is what I was brought up in and because I can begin to understand where one can part with the church…and perhaps with God.

    I am not afraid to say that we beleivers must look at our own ministires. There are certainly some wonderful churches and ministers/preachers/ect. but there are also several cases where we fall short. I have seen wealth and decadence, I have seen lavish television superstar ministers, polical sermons that skew (in my opinion) what the word says. I can certainly see how non-beleivers can begin to find doubt. The problem is that we have man speaking to us about the word of God, and unfortunatley, humans error and slant can happen in these messages. It’s a challenge indeed, but what can we do to clean up our act? I fear that many short-sighted non-belivers many not truly know enough about or oppose God, but rather oppose the picture we ourselves have painted about God and religon in general.

  14. Let me say this once… (will anyone challenge the scripture “Shout it from the rooftop” lol Matthew 10:27… or Ephisians 1 “predestined before the foundations of the earth”??? With that said, There are many mansions in my fathers house… yet listen closely, don’t take offense, “By Grace thru Faith we are saved – there is only one way to the father – thru his son!”… You all can have the whit of scholars, You can have the prestige of billionaires, say things cleverly and with humor… You can have all the answer that you truly believe in your hearts… and don’t ask me why some are deaf, some are blind, reason this or reason that? But with that said, One day we will all know the truth! ye-haw… tell yer ma… LOL

  15. I am happy that believers with experience and expertise are hip to the attempts to shake the solid foundation the scriptures embody. I too have noticed old anti-faith arguments and biases being touted by scholars. Let’s keep the focus on the purpose of the Gospel and the purpose of this series. This blog is an important part of the defence of the faith.