Category Archives: Everyday Apologetics

Misunderstanding Mrs. Proverbs 31

The woman described in Proverbs 31 is meant to be an ideal. But in practice, she’s almost an object of ridicule among dedicated Christian women.  Who could do all that?!
At the same time, we don’t dismiss her. We ask her to wear a lot of our hats. She is called upon to endorse our preferences.

I have heard too many times from well-known pulpits and theologians and from other women, that the woman in Proverbs 31 is an ideal picture of a woman who has it all. She had a fulfilling home life and a career outside the home. I cannot find the evidence.

I certainly do not object to wives having careers. But let us refrain from misusing Biblical text.  Let’s let Scripture say what Scripture says, and not press it into our service. There may be Scripture to support our career choices, but I do not find that support in Proverbs 31.

Does the woman in Proverbs 31 have a career? Can we take a look together?

A wife of noble character who can find?
    She is worth far more than rubies.
Her husband has full confidence in her
    and lacks nothing of value.
She brings him good, not harm,
    all the days of her life.
She selects wool and flax
    and works with eager hands.
She is like the merchant ships,
    bringing her food from afar.
She gets up while it is still night;
    she provides food for her family
    and portions for her female servants.
She considers a field and buys it;
    out of her earnings she plants a vineyard.
She sets about her work vigorously;
    her arms are strong for her tasks.
She sees that her trading is profitable,
    and her lamp does not go out at night.
In her hand she holds the distaff
    and grasps the spindle with her fingers.
She opens her arms to the poor
    and extends her hands to the needy.
When it snows, she has no fear for her household;
    for all of them are clothed in scarlet.
She makes coverings for her bed;
    she is clothed in fine linen and purple.
Her husband is respected at the city gate,
    where he takes his seat among the elders of the land.
She makes linen garments and sells them,
    and supplies the merchants with sashes.
She is clothed with strength and dignity;
    she can laugh at the days to come.
She speaks with wisdom,
    and faithful instruction is on her tongue.
She watches over the affairs of her household
    and does not eat the bread of idleness.
Her children arise and call her blessed;
    her husband also, and he praises her:
“Many women do noble things,
    but you surpass them all.”
Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting;
    but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.
Honor her for all that her hands have done,
    and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.

Certainly no one can deny that this woman works. She is incredibly busy at home. She is such a diligent, efficient, committed worker that she seems to do the work of several people. Mentally walk through her day. When exactly do you find time in there for her to go to a job between “…she gets up while it is still night”…and “her lamp does not go out at night”?

Where is the career in this proverb? Is it this?

She considers a field and buys it;
    out of her earnings she plants a vineyard.

She is the wife-manger of her husband’s estate.  An estate would include a home and the land where all that the man owns is located: the fields where food is grown, animals are pastured, and other agrarian products produced, all for the provision and wealth of the owner’s family.

She is the manager of all she surveys.  She possesses the trust of her husband and her household, and the prerogative to increase the wealth of her estate. She buys more property to add to her family farm.  This makes her an independent real estate agent?

Or is it that we’re so addicted to the trope that says that ancient women were subservient and socially powerless that we are blind to the plain meaning here: she is a respected woman of social standing with perfect freedom to manage the household estate and broker a land purchase in the marketplace?

Is it this the career?

She makes linen garments and sells them,
    and supplies the merchants with sashes.

I use some skills I picked up in art college to create handmade books, which I sell. I do it all at home. I do not receive a paycheck. I do not spend my days assigned to a different location than my home. I do not observe company hours. And most importantly, I do not work for a boss.

Mrs. Proverbs 31 does not answer to any “boss” but her husband.  

The woman in Proverbs 31 excels at sewing.  She creates garments for everyone in her household so that they are properly, modestly dressed and warm in winter. In addition, she is such a diligent worker that she designs and sews sashes which she then sends to the marketplace to be sold.  She ingratiates herself with the merchants who will offer her products for sale by gifting them with these beautiful sashes. This has been a common practice of homesteaders and farmer’s wives throughout human history. This makes her a businesswoman with a career?

She sees that her trading is profitable,
    and her lamp does not go out at night. 

Picture her sitting in front of the household accounts at night after everyone else is in bed. 

This woman is a wife and mother who works tirelessly for the benefit of her family’s estate. She feathers her nest, she builds up her home. I  do not see any evidence in the passage which places this woman under the authority of a boss not her husband, or transplants her effort to another sphere outside her home, non-inclusive of her home

I just can’t find that outside-the-home job in Proverbs 31. If you find it, please let me know.

She opens her arms to the poor, and extends her hands to the needy.

This woman, and by extension her family, profits from the overflow of her domestic activity.  She is doing all these things for her household, and she is so diligent that she produces a generous surplus and God rewards her industry. This is the home overflowing out into the world, not the world — a job—inserting itself into the home. Nor is it her leaving her home to be profitable for another’s interest.

Charity begins at home; her generosity sends her wealth out into her community. Missions begin at home; her abundance sends the next generation out into the world and into the future.

Generosity, charity, philanthropy, obedience to the Lord’s commands to love your neighbor. Call these a career if you like but I don’t see it.

Don’t we have to devalue her hard work at home in order to insist that she have a career in addition to her homemaking?  If so, is that because the work done by a woman in her home, for her home, isn’t perceived as being “real” work? Or significant work?

Let’s find other sources of blessing on our lifestyle choices. Proverbs 31 Woman is busy enough without putting on all the hats we need her to wear.

What If We All Have the Same Purpose?

We encourage one another to make a difference. It is a worthy goal–to make the world better, to leave something positive behind. We esteem the people who make their mark. Not to think ourselves shallow, we also value the quiet achievers–those behind the scenes who make a difference but don’t ask for glory. We call them more noble.

We value the loud and the silent achievers for what they’ve done. Showy or shy, our worth is based on our accomplishments.

Our elderly parents tell us that they would be ashamed to be on the receiving end of care:”I don’t want to be a burden.”

Have you seen “The Drop Box?” This is a documentary about South Korean Pastor Lee Jong-rak, who takes in abandoned babies. He has constructed a box, a pass-through, on the side of his ministry home in which people may leave infants which they cannot care for, no questions asked and anonymously. Without the box, many of these babies would be abandoned in the dark on the streets of Seoul, and many of those would be found dead by next morning. This happens.

The opening of the outside of the box trips an alarm, and Pastor Lee rises in the night to run to receive the babies. Most he has passed on to social services, but 18 have become part of his family. Almost all of those are disabled. His own biological son is a severely disabled young adult.

This is what Pastor Lee has to say about his disabled children:

“There are children who rely on the help of others to survive their entire lives. Many people think it is better for them to go to heaven as quickly as possible, because life on earth is too difficult for them. But God sent them to the Earth with disabilities. They’re not the unnecessary ones in the world. God sent them to Earth with a purpose.

Disabled children teach many people, change many people,and help people reflect upon themselves, which is why they are the educators of society. Even these deficient, feeble children, these really weak children, live with smiles on their faces.”

The Drop Box: Rescuing Hundreds of Babies in South Korea

But here is an equation which we find difficult to resolve.

In our achievement-oriented society, aren’t we all valued by our ability, our accomplishment, our visibility? If accomplishment equals value, then the handicapped, who cannot accomplish, are of little value.

That sounds bad. We don’t approve of our own equation. It does not reflect well on us. So we add to that evaluation this item: the disabled are relieved of accountability to achieve. They can’t accomplish so we won’t expect them to.

Does our equation make sense yet? What can we add to make it work?

Since achievement equals value, maybe the disabled have some sort of consolation purpose. We think things like: perhaps they’re here to make us appreciate that we don’t have to endure lives like theirs. They inspire us to be grateful for our well-being. Maybe their purpose is to smile in spite of their horrible and pointless existences. That must take some special grace that I don’t have (and don’t want.) They have value without achievement.

Maybe this kind of thinking soothes our secret horror at the thought of living like they do but it may also be a way of soothing our consciences while we find some way to value the value-less.

But that doesn’t work either. Our generosity is toward ourselves; it does nothing for the recipients of our pity. I am afraid that our concern is with easing our own feelings rather than with helping the person who needs our help.

But back to the equation.

If the disabled are of value even though they cannot accomplish, how can I be of value because I achieve? If my abled-value standard is true, how can disabled people be of value?

If the able aren’t valued by the disabled’s virtues, and if the disabled cannot be valued by our achievements…

We are using two scales. Two equations are necessary: one for the able, another for the disabled. If so, don’t we assume that there are two scales for two different classes of human beings?

That’s rarely a good idea. Eugenicists usually start here.

In God’s economy, there must be only one set of balances. There must be an objective value measure to which all human persons have access. What if we are all valued in the same way? Must we not all ultimately be weighed on the same scale?

The crippled child cannot be weighed on the same scale as the highly accomplished and physically unchallenged adult, and come out equal.

It may be better to weigh the able on the same scale as the disabled. What if— in God’s measure, which is after all the true reality—we are valued the way they are? What if the able are judged by the disabled standard?

What do we have in common?

If we have the same purpose they do, then no one’s true value is accounted because of his accomplishments. Then value must be intrinsic and unearned. It must mean that all our purposes must be attainable without the aid of our accomplishments. That we all have value, regardless of our abilities.

What if we are valuable even though we have nothing to give? What if our value has nothing whatever to do with what we can do?

What if we are greatest when we have nothing to give?

We are all put on Earth needy, dependent, and disabled. Do babies have lesser value? Some people remain dependent. What can our common purpose be?

What if everyone‘s purpose is to be the object of the care of other people? What if we are at our greatest when we are receiving? What if you– no matter how capable you are— are here so that others may care for you?

Let’s be honest. In practice, most of us would find that humiliating. But what if your whole purpose is to become humble?

People were bringing the little children to him to place His hands on them. But the disciples rebuked those who brought them. When Jesus saw this, He was indignant and told them, “Let the little children come to Me, and do not hinder them! For the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Truly I tell you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.”…

We struggle against being dependent; dependence makes us insignificant. Accepting help is humbling. We want to be the giver, the person who makes a difference.

Almighty God is glorified when one person cares selflessly for another person, and when we spend ourselves on another who is needy.

Turn that picture around. We overlook this perspective: God is glorified and honored when we accept care with humility and gratefulness, and receive love which we cannot pay back in any tangible manner

Pride is the root of all sin and God values humility. Can it be that what God desires most for us is to be in relationship, and to engender love from others? Are we here to inspire grace in others?

Let us remember the most fundamental equation in God’s Word. The most significant thing we can ever do is to accept God’s salvation when we have nothing to give in return, no way to earn it and no way to ever pay it back. The greatest thing we can ever do is to submit to rescue while acknowledging our utter helplessness, and to thank, love and acknowledge our Rescuer. This is our eternal condition.

Psalm 34:

Taste and see that the Lord is good;
blessed is the one who takes refuge in him…
The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears them;
he delivers them from all their troubles.
The Lord is close to the brokenhearted
and saves those who are crushed in spirit.

A universe where Pastor Lee’s adult son– unable to see, talk, or walk, nor even to comprehend– and I, physically and mentally able to accomplish much–are on truly equal ground, of fully equal yet inestimable value, makes sense. The equation works.

Pro-Choice is Not The Virtuous Choice

OK, so let’s get down to fundamentals. If you are pro-choice, your argument is founded on an assumption of higher moral standing. You are fighting for rights, you are taking the high road, you aren’t one of those who want to control women, etc. You are more virtuous, and you signal that fact all you can.

But you are not more virtuous. In fact, your position has no virtue at all.

The prochoice position depends on dehumanizing or otherwise negating the worth of other human beings. Those human beings are the most helpless and innocent there are.

The pro-choice position depends on then advocating for their deaths!

It is all about death. Destruction. Hopelessness. Victimization. Elitism. The advocacy of privilege. The strong imposing their power over the weak. Manipulation. Disenfranchisement. Injustice.

That is my premise, as it ought to be the pro-life movement’s premise. Before you pivot/deflect to: “What about the women’s rights?” please deal with this fundamental question first.

Now please defend your pro-death position.

A Few More Words About Relationship

Thinking about your relationships eventually leads to thinking about the relationships you have which are not so good. If you are a conscientious believer in Jesus Christ,  you must be honest and circumspect with yourself about whether you have behaved rightly in those less than ideal relationships. Jesus put an extraordinarily high bar on our relationships.

I was thinking about a person, let’s say X, who I find difficult, who I don’t really trust. Walking away from the relationship is not an option. I must get along and I certainly would never want to be openly unpleasant to X if only for the sake of peace. But my approach has been to be emotionally distant and to give X no further opportunity to injure or make use of me. Sounds like a good strategy, huh?

Then I did something dangerous. I thought about Jesus. Did my part of this relationship meet with his approval? Did I reach his bar for relationship maintenance? And the clear answer was: absolutely not.

The imperative of relationship, Jesus’ imperative, is that we have total integrity in our relationships with other human beings. We are not here to make things easy or comfortable for ourselves; we are here to be holy and righteous. Our imperative, our command, is to persevere through relationships and make them loving to the extent that it depends on us. And what Jesus means by loving is this:

This is my commandment: that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this: that he lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you.

We are here to become holy. We are here to demonstrate by our every moment what the True God is like. And He loves perfectly. He invented love. He is love.

Yes, especially those relationships we could do without. That in law, that sibling, that old friend. The one who actually has done you dirty.

Rather than distance yourself, literally or emotionally, be ready to be real in that relationship and to engage with that person. Recognize that it will be challenging to stay in and stay righteous. It will probably be impossible. But you have access to a supernatural and inexhaustible supply from outside your own resources.

I’m not saying there isn’t a time to walk away from a relationship which is actually harmful or dangerous. There are people we must leave behind and not see again. And a break up is a break up— that’s a relationship that is over.

Most of our relationships, however, are not so. We should not be so quick to discard other people because our relationships with them are uncomfortable or challenging. It could be you are meant to face that challenge and learn from it. It could be you would be a better friend, or sister, or spouse because you learned how to navigate in that relationship and succeeded in making it a healthy one.

We don’t get a pass on leaving a relationship emotionally because it is a difficult one. We have a responsibility to make that relationship loving if we answer to the God who is love.

 

P. S. Can we do away with the terms boyfriend and girlfriend when the people being described are no longer boys and girls?  Relationship statuses which were meant to be left behind in teenagerhood because people were supposed to move on to more mature and permanent statuses (significant other) haven’t proved sustainable. But please, a 70-year-old does not have a girlfriend.

 

 

10 Ways Large Families Save the (Earth) World

1. I just finished wiping the icing off the bottoms of a bunch of birthday candles. I’m going to need those again in ten days, and again less than a month later. Why would I buy new ones when these still have a good inch and a half? Crumbs of old homemade icing never hurt anyone yet. I bet moms of two kids buy a new set of candles every birthday and throw them away.

Also, homemade-from-scratch cake costs about 1/20th of a bakery cake and tastes 20x better. Hydrogenated shortening kills; real butter doesn’t.

2. My son needed to do zero adjusting when he went to college and shared a room with two other guys. He shared a room with two guys at home too. Maybe my boys were unusual, but they never fought over territory. So at college my son was perfectly content with his bed and his desk; he let the other guys vie for lebensraum.

3. It is essential to learn patience when eight people share one bathroom. It is equally essential to learn sympathy and consideration for others (‘ bladders).

4. Bags and bags of clothing used to show up on our porch. We had never asked for hand-me-downs; people just assumed we could use them. They were right and we were thankful. It would have been difficult indeed to buy new clothes every season for every child. Most of the clothing we received was in like-new condition, and a lot of the items had price-tags.

Perhaps the most valuable component of these acts of generosity was that my kids learned that a second-hand item in good condition does not differ one iota from a brand-new one. There is shame neither in sharing nor receiving, and there is nothing which so inspires giving than receiving.

5. My kids are now adults who don’t expect the world to hand them all the amenities– partly because we didn’t teach them to expect gifts except on Christmas and their birthdays. They didn’t expect candy except on Christmas, Easter, and Halloween.

My oldest daughter was honestly judgmental about her friends expecting big gifts for Easter and lesser holidays. My kids know how to delay gratification, and although they do not always practice it, they know how to be frugal.

6. Reduce, reuse, recycle. It was our lifestyle before the motto was coined. I was raised by children of the Depression and learned to make my spending count. When I was growing up, we didn’t spend money on non-essentials but we had all we needed. We weren’t used to vacations and we were usually the last of our friends to get the latest tech like color TV.

We raised our kids with the same mindset: one not deprivation but careful frugality. Spend when you need to without regret, but save whenever you can for future needs. We didn’t spend much on vacations. We drove our cars until they were junk. Eating out or ordering in was a rare special occasion.

7. Contrary to popular assumption, big families have small footprints. We eight use approximately the same resources that the four of you, or the two of you, do.

At the same time they condemn parents of several kids for selfish and wasteful American materialism, my childfree acquaintances espouse the superior lifestyle of spontaneously flying the globe, to stay at the priciest family-free resorts, indulging themselves in only the finest and most select perks that the self-absorbed can devise. Driving further to shop for only the trendiest fair trade items.

I’ll compare my eight-person staycation expenses to your two-person dream trip any day you like. Guess who comes out using up more of earth’s precious resources? Virtue-signaling and Childfree -signaling don’t mix.

8. Happy families. Positive family experiences. Fostering a concept of unconditional belonging. We believe that being plunked in the middle of a bunch of other difficult human beings is actually according to a wise plan; we are each more or less compelled to learn how to live in peace with these other people, which teaches us valuable lessons about how to get along in a world full of other people.

9. Raising people who want to have children and build families, and who see the importance and enduring value of pouring their lives into others and investing themselves in creating a unique family culture which will continue to influence after they are gone.

In other words, small footprints may lead to small footprints.

10. Today, a large family orientation usually develops within a faith orientation. Our society has moved toward smaller families with the advent of birth control and the cult of personal fulfillment. I might also say with the de-emphasis of faith culture and the growth of materialist culture. It is counter cultural to have large families and, counterintuitively, large families very often happen due to deliberate choice. That choice usually derives from faith in the intrinsic value of each person, given by a gracious God.

Because of this faith orientation, the lessons of other-centeredness, the value of family, the hope of enduring heritage, good stewardship of material wealth, sustainability, recycling and reusing–all part of a whole.

Bonus reason: I love my big family.

 

 

 

 

 

Celebration at the Bottom of a Hole

This post was written with Easter in mind, but it is no less relevant at the present moment.

I can celebrate the joy of Resurrection Day just where I am, sitting at the bottom of a deep dark hole in the ground. I can celebrate not because I’ve managed to clean up my mindset for the celebration of a holy-day, nor because I’ve willed myself to feel happy about the right things to feel happy about at Easter-time.

I anticipate the joy of Easter even though.

I’m feeling the exhaustion of three years of pushing through because what needed to be done needed to be done. The stresses of life increase while my husband and I grow older and weaker in the face of them. We regularly lament to each other these days. I am downright depressed. I’ve had to realize that I am no longer the optimist who presumes the happy outcome.

Rather because of those things, I am celebrating.

Easter comes whether or not I’m ready to put on an appropriate Easter hat. Indeed I’m not where I ought to be, fully grounded in daily Scripture meditation, immersed in His Word. I’m not handling life a well as I could right now, and I know I need to focus on God’s wisdom and guidance, yet I do not open that Book nearly as often as I can. I’m trying to push ahead under my own power, which is simply foolish.

But right where I am, I can celebrate the Resurrection without fear and embarrassment before my Savior. Indeed, I can’t adjust myself so as to pretend to be presentable to him.

Too often we translate our Lord’s words as transactions rather than expressions of relationship. The question: am I measuring up well enough to face Jesus Christ right now? is foolish on so many levels. First of all, no–and you never will. Second, he already knows that. Third, he’s taken care of your unfitness already. Fourth, that’s not what he was talking about.

And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.

And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.

Behold, I am coming soon!

A discussion of his second coming devolves from joy to engineering as we try to discern pre-trib timelines and terrifying scenarios of judgement. Will I pass the test? Am I really in the club? I could be left behind!

The transactional view steals our joy and deadens our desire for relationship. But he is always speaking words of intimate fellowship and love.

We aren’t listening. What he said was: “I am coming back for you.”

Like you’re a child and your father must leave you in a scary place for awhile. He says to you: Don’t be afraid. Just wait here. I’m coming back for you. You trust, you sit and wait, in faith. Because he loves you more than anything and you know he would never abandon you. He will never leave behind those who are his own.

Through the haze I still know He is the one who humbled Himself to become one like me, but poorer, humbler, less regarded. He set his face like a flint toward his torture, rejection and murder. On his own behalf, he had no reason to go there. Then He made good on all the purest promises ever given. He is the One still there making Himself known to me, hour by hour. He knows just where I am, and whether the cause is a broken world or myself, he is willing to meet me just where I am.

I am a pillar in the Temple of my God. I will be given a white stone. My treasure is where my heart is. I will receive a crown of life. I have the free gift of eternal life. I will enter into the joy of my Lord. I will inherit glorious riches.

All these things, and much more, will be because He is being true, to Himself and to me. Because He is grace and love and I am so needy. It is right to celebrate the Resurrection here and now, joyfully, at the bottom of my hole.

Mythicism and the Public Jesus of History

Mythicism and the Public Jesus of History

“Arguments for the nonexistence of the Jesus of history stumble over the public nature of much of the primary evidence. Jesus was observed by crowds of people, by friends and foes alike. The strongest evidence for the existence of Jesus is found in Paul’s letters to the Christians of Corinth and Galatia. In these letters, whose authenticity no one doubts, Paul describes his firsthand—and very public—encounters with two of Jesus’ original disciples, Peter and John, and with James, the brother of Jesus. Attempts to explain away this James as someone other than the brother of Jesus reveal the desperation of the mythicist approach to the evidence. It is important to remember that critics of early Christianity never doubted the existence of Jesus—they disputed His identity and significance. Modern critics should follow their lead.”

I Don’t Believe in Ford

The success of science sometimes leads people to think that because we can understand the mechanisms of the universe, then we can safely conclude that there was no God who designed and created the universe in the first place. This reasoning commits a logical error in that it confuses mechanism and agency. Consider a Ford motor car. It is conceivable that someone who was seeing one for the first time and who knew no science might imagine that there is a god (Mr. Ford) inside the engine, making it go. Of course, if he were subsequently to study engineering and take apart the engine, he would discover that there is no Mr. Ford inside it. He would also see that he did not need to introduce Mr. Ford as an explanation for its working; his grasp of the impersonal principles of internal combustion would be enough to do that. However, if he then decided that his understanding of the principles of how the engine worked made it impossible to believe in the existence of a Mr. Ford who designed the engine in the first place, this would be patently false. Had there never been a Mr. Ford to design the mechanisms, none would exist for him to understand. It is equally mistaken to suppose that our scientific understanding of the impersonal principles according to which the universe works makes it either unnecessary or impossible to believe in the existence of a personal Creator who designed, made, and upholds it.” — John Lennox (from, Beyond Opinion: Living the Faith We Defend)

This is one of several great quotes here:

12 Apologetics Quotes: Christianity, Critical Thinking, and the Life of the Mind

Imagine

“…And no religion too-hoo…”

Imagine the world that our atheist friends yearn for, the one they say is inevitably on its way because religion is going out of style like spats, and we have evolved past the need for it. Most everyone is a non-believer in religion, organized faith, the supernatural, or anything outside the materialist box.

Imagine the consensus is non-faith. Everyone agrees that there’s no God up in the sky, the universe randomly appeared out of nothing, and we human beings create our own moral consensus.

Freethinkers rejoice. We don’t talk about the fact that there’s no God anymore because it’s no longer a debate. It’s not even an issue.

Everybody thinks with crystal-clear lucidity. Insanity, gone. Reason for conflict or war, gone. Harmony and peace prevail because there’s no longer any spiritual conviction making people care about righteousness or goodness. Nobody’s invested in anything enough to have serious disagreement.

Cultural atheism is the societal religion. We have thrown off the shackles and taken off the blinders. Finally we can think freely.

Do we imagine that all non-believers are true non-believers?

Sure, there are some committed atheists who understand why they are atheists. They are devoted to the maintenance of societal consensus. Defenders of the truth. They teach. They disciple. Because it’s important.

Then, there are the unreflecting atheists who were born into their non-faith. They don’t think about it. They say the right things and they believe them because it’s what they’ve always been taught. Everybody thinks these things. They are cultural atheists who swim in the water they’re immersed in. Indeed there are many who call themselves atheist, but don’t understand their own worldview. They are nominal atheists without any real interest in the cause.

What do you think the ratio would be? And wouldn’t that be a lot like the world now, under the tyranny of superstitious religion?

And might there not be skeptics in the freethinking world? Heretics? One of the things acknowledged by that bygone antique, the Bible, is that all human beings are fundamentally self-seeking and contrary. There will be people who perversely insist that there is a God, He wrote us a book, He sent His only Son to earth as a man…even if they don’t mean it.

Here’s one illustration of the fact that non-belief can be as committed as belief:

In largely Muslim Pakistan, a taboo atheist subculture endures

The criticisms of the faithful by atheists include:

Why do millions of Christian people disagree? Why are there multiple denominations? Differences in doctrinal interpretation must mean that all doctrine is false. The conclusion is not at all logical. Because we’re not robots but freely-thinking humans, we experience our own separate journeys of learning the faith. If we were all mindless followers, wouldn’t our stories be nearly the same?

Or maybe there is that divide between believers: the vast numbers of nominal and the comparitively few committed believers. The news that anti-faith proponents can’t seem to digest: most people who might call themselves religious are nominal; the numbers of believers who have really invested, examined and intentionally adopted  are relatively few.

The Bible predicts that the world would be just so. The way is narrow, and few enter therein. Those who Christ will address with, “I never knew you” may not be speaking with authority or proper knowledge when they discuss their experience of the faith. Atheist apologists usually prefer to argue with the low-hanging fruit.

And if the current discourse of atheists on social media or mass media is any indication, that utopia where everyone goes about their lives relieved of the burden to acknowledge a god, free to finally act and think without the religious detour, finally able to arrive at some kind of real reasonable, natural stasis, will never happen. Because no atheist I have ever encountered seems able to dismiss God from his thoughts for a single second. The typical atheist is more invested in his awareness of the existence of God than most Christian believers I know.

When the atheist paradise arrives, the world may be filled with heretics and nominal atheists. And the few true believers will have the onerous task to keep orthodoxy alive.

For the record I hate that vapid song Imagine.