Tuesday, April 01, 2014

A redated April Fool's Day meditation



April Fool's day is today, but what I have to say is not specific to that day. On AFD, people try to show up the gullibility of their fellows by trying to get them to believe things that aren't true. I think, though, that in many ways Christians have failed to value the virtue of wisdom, and the result has been a kind of gullibility that makes us look as if the charges of credulity that are leveled by unbelievers at believers have some merit to them.

Consider the following passage from C. S. Lewis, where he talks about the virtue of prudence:

He wants a child’s heart but a grown-up’s head. . . . The fact that you are giving money to a charity does not mean that you need not try to find out whether that charity is a fraud or not. . . . It is, of course, quite true that God will not love you any less, or have less use for you, if you happen to have been born with a second-rate brain. He has room for people with little sense, but He wants every one to use what sense they have. . . . God is no fonder of intellectual slackers than of any other slackers. If you are thinking of becoming a Christian, I warn you, you are embarking on something which is going to take the whole of you, brains and all. (Mere Christianity pp. 77-78).

In an essay I will be publishing in the upcoming volume on philosophy and the Chronicles of Narnia, I add:

Like many passages in Lewis, this one has tremendous contemporary relevance. Many people in the Christian community (and outside of it) have been slack in their intellectual responsibilities, and the results have been disastrous. The mass suicides in Guyana and the suicide of the Heaven’s Gate cult in California are grim reminders of what happens when religious people give up on thinking critically and simply follow what a leader says. Or to take less dramatic examples, but ones closer to home, think about how millions of Christians get caught up in spiritual fads like the recent “prayer of Jabez” phenomenon or the sensational eschatology of the Left Behind series. How many people have given money they can hardly afford to television evangelists, only to find out that the money went for air-conditioned dog houses and visits to sleazy motel rooms? The Christian community suffers greatly whenever it is intellectually lazy and careless.

But are matters of faith and exception to the policy of prudence? Should we be prudent in the rest of our lives and exercise faith (believe without regard to evidence) in matters of religion? Lewis's answer is emphatically no.

I am not asking anyone to accept Christianity if his best reasoning tells him that the weight of the evidence is against it. That is not the point at which Faith comes in...Now Faith, in the sense in which I am here using the word, is the art of holding on to things your reason has once accepted, in spite of your changing moods. . . . That is why Faith is such a necessary virtue: unless you teach your moods “where they get off,” you can never be either a sound Christian or even a sound atheist, but just a creature dithering to and fro, with its beliefs really dependent on the weather and the state of its digestion. Consequently one must train the habit of Faith.

Hence Faith and Prudence are not polar opposites, but are rather two sides of the same coin. The job of Christian apologetics, in my view, is to show that the life of prudence and the life of faith are in harmony with one another, in short to show that Christianity is rational. Much of the world thinks it is not rational, and a lot of things Christians say and do supports them in this, making the task of Christian apologetics more difficult than it would otherwise be.

15 comments:

Edward T. Babinski said...

Speaking of April Fool's...

I was a Christian, "a fool for Christ," and gave it my "brains and all." And know of others as well. Here are some questions I would have liked to have been able to ask Lewis.

1) Show me that the Bible contains more "science" than "mythological notions" about the cosmos. I know that didn't seem an important point to Lewis, who loved mythology, but it seems a bit odd starting off the world's allegedly most inspired book with a mythological flat earth creation account that talks as if "God" drew the circle of the flat earth on creation, and "God" set the earth on its flat foundations, and "God" moves the constellations "in their season," etc. Later on of course in the Bible it says "God" raises Jesus from the dead:

http://www.edwardtbabinski.us/creationscience/cosmology.html

http://www.edwardtbabinski.us/tektonics/flat_earth_bible.html

http://www.edwardtbabinski.us/latest_2003/geocentrism.html

2) Show me how atonement works, i.e., scapegoats and scapebirds (the latter of which were believed to be able to remove or perhaps atone for mold, mildew and leprosy according to the Old Testament). I don't see a connection between a human or animal bleeding, and God forgetting about the sins of the people who bled the animal or brought it to the priests to be bled. Nor do I see why they believed that "the life was in the blood" rather than the brain and nervous system. Nor why the scape goat wasn't bled at all, but was slapped on the its rump and driven into the desert, carrying the sins of the people off into the wilderness. The scape bird also remained alive when it allegedly carried off mildew and leprosy:

http://www.edwardtbabinski.us/tektonics/biblical_superstition.html

It also strikes me as odd that Jesus died on Passover since the Passover lamb was not sacrificed for sin. This brings me to further "typological" questions...

3) Show me that various Old Testament prophecies cited by the Gospel authors were more than just "typologically" fulfilled:

http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/jim_lippard/fabulous-prophecies.html

When I first began recognizing that taking the "prophecies" literally wasn't working, I had to keep standing back and squinting my eyes more and more to "see" how "fulfilled" the prophecies were, "typologically" speaking, but by then I was standing outside the faith.

4) How can the imprecatory (or, curse my enemy) psalms be considered holy? I know Lewis held a low opinion of those particular pslams himself, and Lewis also admitted that the God's goodness comes before it's inerrancy. But that just raises the question of whether or not Lewis might accept that the Bible ought to be re-edited, maybe the "non-inspired or errant" portions marked in green? Or couldn't an omniscient and omnipotent God have inspired a "better Bible" a bit more holistically complete, and more succinct?

And what about some of those bloody Old Testament penalties for breaking various questionable commandments? I find it difficult to believe that any "god" enjoyed hearing imprecatory psalms sung to him, or that any sane "god" would have commanded some of the things Yahweh allegedly commanded "his people" to do, along with the subsequent penalties described.

5) Prove to me that if "God" did every destructive thing that the Bible says "God" did or commanded, why such actions or commands wouldn't stain even a devil's character. I'm taking about drowning everything in which was the breath of life, destroying cities with everything in them that breathed, sending plagues and famines and armies to kill everything and everyone, including children and pregnant women, and finally "casting" people into a lake of fire whose smoke rises forever and ever. If a devil did all of those things imagine what we'd think of that devil.

6) Why do highly intelligent scholars admit their uncertainties concerning whether certain letters labeled "Paul, Peter and Jude" are authentic; and uncertain about who wrote the Gospels, and how they are related (i.e., literary redaction hypotheses); and also uncertain about what the historical Jesus, said, did, or believed about himself and his mission? Even James D. G. Dunn and N. T. Wright admit various uncertainties. Yet so many Christians don't seem to have a clue what scholars are taking about and never seem half as uncertain about anything they believe.

Also, if the "Letter of Jude" was not written by Jude, but by an anonymous Christian in the name of Jude (as scholars suspect), and that letter cites a passage from the "Book of Enoch," and even says that the passage was a "prophecy" by "Enoch, the seventh from Adam," which is very doubtful indeed; then we have two anonymous people writing in the names of other people, a doubly dubious letter that became part of Christianity's "inspired canonical Bible," and that is simply too much uncertainty for me to swallow.

7) Why hasn't N.T. Wright's book on the resurrection of Jesus converted highly intelligent fellow Anglicans? Why hasn't Wright even faced up to the most telling criticisms and reviews of his arguments? Also, why does Paul say that "flesh and blood shall not inherit the kingdom of God," and the "stomach shall be destroyed;" but decades after Paul--in the Gospels of Luke and John--Jesus is described as striving to convince people that he had "flesh and bone" and "eats" fish? Something's fishy.

8) I have met many compassionate people of different beliefs and faiths, and read many wonderful things in books other than the Bible, including books about the experiences of Christian monks who have fellowshiped with priests and monks of other religions. Dom Bede Griffiths, C. S. Lewis's lifelong friend comes to mind in this respect, because Griffiths set up a Christian-Hindu ashram in India and fellowshiped with people of other faiths for many decades and wrote about it in his books. I have also read about the history of Deism, and of Unitarian Christianity, and about famous Unitarian Christians who helped found the institution of modern nursing (Florence Nightingale) and the American Red Cross (Clara Barton). I have also read about the history and contributions of freethinking individuals both Christians and non-Christians throughout history. I have read about the debates between Castellio and John Calvin on the subject of "heresy/heretics;" and I have read the new book, Freethinkers : A History of American Secularism by Susan Jacoby that details the contributions of freethinkers to American society from the days of the Founding Fathers to today. So I am past fearing "hell for unbelievers," or, fearing what might happen to the world if everyone believed in evolution:

http://intelligentdesign.edwardtbabinski.us/belief_evolution.html

9) And speaking of Adam's "fall" and sin "growing more abundant" (Paul's letter to Romans) in the world, I ran across a book by Lawrence H. Keeley, called, War Before Civilization (Oxford University Press; 1996), in which Keeley cites archeological evidence to argue that human beings used to kill each other more often in the past than today, percentage-wise.

Keeley's charts of relative mobilization rates and casualty rates among tribes and modern nations are fascinating. He suggests that the terrible Twentieth Century wars would have had a death-rate twenty times higher "if the world's population were still organized into bands, tribes, and chiefdoms": the typical tribal combat casualty rate of .5 percent per year, during the course of the century would translate to "more than 2 billion war deaths." http://www.troynovant.com/Franson/Keeley/War-Before-Civilization.html

Keeley also pointed out that a higher percentage of the populace of Europe was killed in the 17th century (during religious-related warfare, when everybody was a creationist and believer in the Apostle's Creed) than during World War 2.

I also read elsewhere that evidence of cannibalism in the human past continues to surface in ancient archeological digs and even has been discovered inside human genes.

So if you take the long view, and agree with Keeley (though I have read criticisms of his conclusions), deaths due to intertribal warfare and murder were more prominent in the past than in the present, i.e., percentage-wise per total population. So if Adam fell, it appears he may have fallen upward not downward over the centuries.

10) I have a host of specific questions related to the cosmos and biology:

http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/ce/4/

http://intelligent-design.us

http://www.edwardtbabinski.us

11) There is also the history of the Christian church, a history of schisms and conflicts too numerous to mention. History proves that Christians fall just as blindly into the same dirty ditches dug by their alpha male primate leaders as all other human groups in religion and politics.

12) Religion is undoubtedly addictive. Having "final answers" is sort of like getting hooked on heroin. In fact some drug addicts claim they beat the drugs by getting hooked on Jesus and Bible reading/memorization. However you don't hear about addicts for whom the Jesus cure ultimately fails, since bad press is never shouted from the rooftops. Instead you hear about the few for whom it worked out great. To think otherwise or to entertain doubt is simply to be blinded by the devil.

Christianity also mutates to fit the society it's in. In America, Christianity is just as secular and kitschy as American society in general, with Christian t-shirts, books, records, stadium-filled rallies, Christian theme parks, and apologetics cruises, not to mention bestselling books about promises of growing rich (Prayer of Jabez), as well as Christians voting to support the military industrial establishment with increasing funds while Jesus warned that "All who take up the sword shall die by the sword." Jim Wallis, the Christian editor of Sojourner's magazine and author of God's Politics, asks, “How did the faith of Jesus come to be known as pro-rich, pro-American and pro-war?” See also the book, The Scandal of the Evangelical Conscience by Ron Sider who details further evidence of Christian worldliness. Sider admits, "Poll after poll by Gallup and Barna show that evangelicals live just like the world... Evangelical Christians and born-again Christians get divorced just as often, if not a little more, than the general population. And Barna has discovered that 90 percent of the born-again Christians who are divorced got divorced after they accepted Christ [The Barna Group, The Barna Update, 'Born Again Adults Less Likely to Co-Habit, Just As Likely to Divorce,' August 6, 2001, http://www.barna.org]... Or take the issue of racism. A Gallup study discovered that when they asked the question. 'Do you object if a black neighbor moves in next door?' the least prejudiced were Catholics and non-evangelicals. The next group, in terms of prejudice, was mainline Protestants. Evangelicals and Southern Baptists were the worst." [Ron Sider speaking in Christianity Today, April, 2005, Vol. 49 Issue 4, "The Evangelical Scandal"]

Meanwhile in the Southern Hemisphere, Christianity of a most conservative and unintellectual sort is growing fast via promises of miracles, etc.

Those are some of the questions I have pondered and that have led me to question what I formerly believed.

Ed
http://www.edwardtbabinski.us

JD Walters said...

Ed,

You have some good questions, but some of them are misguided. Let me comment briefly on some of them.

1) The Bible doesn't have to contain more 'science' than 'mythology' in order for it to be inspired. That seems to be a very crude form of scientism. A more nuanced understanding of inspiration is in order.

2) Show me how atonement works? You seem only to be referring to the OT ideas of atonement, which of course Christ has done away with. Given that God accomodates his relationships to his people to what they can understand and given that the shedding of blood is such a visceral, archetypal experience for ancient peoples, it is not surprising that God would relate to his people in this way.

The Passover lamb was sacrificed in order for God's wrath to 'pass over' that house. In the New Testament context, God's wrath comes as a result of sin. In our earliest New Testament letter Paul says that Jesus "saves us from the wrath that is coming". He was the sacrificed lamb which caused God's wrath against us because of our sins to 'pass over' us. There is no discrepancy here.

3)On the contrary, I would find it suspicious if Jesus fulfilled the OT prophecies too 'neatly'. I have never been much impressed, by the way, with the argument that God somehow encoded the details of Jesus' life hundreds of years before they happened, as a way of 'proving' that he was the Messiah. The loose 'fit' between the OT prophecies and Jesus' life suggests to me that the evangelists were not making up events in Jesus' life out of thin air. Rather, they saw a new interpretation and fulfillment of the Scriptures IN LIGHT OF what they had witnessed in Jesus' life. In order words, if you didn't know Jesus, you wouldn't have read the OT texts that way. Jesus was a fulfilment of the story of Israel as a whole, God's unique messianic servant in whom God's promises (for redemption, etc.) find their "yes". Finally, you need to remember that the evangelists' style of Scripture interpretation was entirely typical of Judaism at that time.

6) You seem to be contradicting yourself when you say that faith is comforting because it gives certain answers to life's uncertainties, and then turn around and ask why believing NT scholars are not more certain about their conclusions. What's wrong with uncertainty? It's often a mark of mature faith, not deficient faith. Remember also that they are forced to work in a secular environment where skepticism about the Bible is more or less a dogma and in order to be taken seriously one has to 'play along' to a certain extent. I am sure that both James Dunn and N.T. Wright (to say nothing of Martin Hengel, Ben Witherington, Scot McKnight, Joel B. Green, Larry Hurtado, John Meier, etc.) would tell you that NT study has only enriched and strengthened their faith, not overthrown it.

9) So you think that sin can be quantified as the proportional number of people killed in war? Keeley's study only suggests that people fought wars less 'efficiently' in the past. This says nothing about greed, lust, pride, selfishness, etc. The world would be full of sin even if nobody were killed but people still thought they were better than others, etc.

These questions seem more like rationalizations for your decision to deconvert rather than the considerations which led you to abandon belief in the first place.

Edward T. Babinski said...

Dear J.D.,
The rationalizations all appear to be on your side, I asked questions, and you supplied rationalizations, or unproven answers. The questions remain, as do the fact that for every scholar whom you mentioned, many more have grown more doubtful and/or moderate or liberal in their interpretations, including acknowledging more questions than say, Christians of previous generations were able or willing to raise. I could also cite scholars who left Christianity altogether after pursuing advanced theological and biblical and archaeological studies. Moreover, entire institutions of higher Christian learning, founded on a most conservative basis, move toward less certainty, not more certainty, over time, and if they continue to retain professors and students of the highest intelligence. The process takes about 200 years, give or take 50 years, for a Christian institution to make such a movement toward moderation and/or liberalism. And the reason why conservative colleges exist at all today is that some small group founds a new conservative college in reaction to the general trend I mentioned. All of the most conservative Christian colleges today are therefore relatively youthful institutions.

Edward T. Babinski

Kyle said...

Ed,
Thanks for the good questions. I would question whether they are actually questions though, as you seem to make more demands (ala "show me" or "prove") than actual questions (I think there are only 2 question marks in the 2000 or so words, and only one is non-rhetorical.

I would ask whether or not your demands stand more firmly against the caricature of your former fundamentalism than against normative Christianity (even that of Wright and Dunn that you mention). It seems as though your arguments lose their effect (at some places where you comment) because they are aimed at people who are fundamentalists of a particular, southern-United States style, and not normative of Christianity on the whole and particularly not even conservative Christianity worldwide.

For instance, having spent a great bulk of time in China working with the churches and pastors, knowing intimately how the church is growing and the demographics, I would say that your arguments would be ineffective (on the whole, although some of them are good against more general Christianity). In China, Christianity is seen as an educated worldview. It has caught on in the cities (particularly in the largest east coast cities) and has yet to have any foothold in the villages. Whereas the stories that are popularized in America (I think of "The Heavenly Man") come from a more rural setting, this is not standard of Chinese Christianity. One of the biggest retorts against Christianity by those in the villages who are either adamantly atheist or adamant in their Chinese worship (it depends on the village), is that Christianity is the result of a western education, and that if people would simply resist education that is not approved by the government leaders, then they would maintain their previous worldview and resist the rise of non-historically Chinese worldviews (anything that's not Chinese buddhism in its various forms or atheism).

Although miracles are a part of the Chinese Christian experience, they are by no means normative or "promised" as you suggest is the case in the southern hemisphere. In fact, a more nuanced Christianity seems to be the norm from my experience. It may simply be my contacts and associates, but most of the Christian professors I know take the more traditional interpretations of Genesis to be true (i.e. read it allegorically or figuratively), hold to theistic evolution and rather knowledgeable concerning atonement theory (with Renee Girard being particularly popular since he is taught at the largest seminary in the country).

So I see what you are saying, and whereas your arguments and questions for Lewis may be good in light of your previous fundamentalism, I just don't see them as that effective against more nuanced Christianity (including most of the people at this site or Tilling's site and some of the other places you comment), or effective against the rising, more educated Christianity in Asia.

Kyle said...

One other note,
Jimmy Dunn and Tom Wright have both responded to many of their critics (as have the other scholars that JD mentioned). Here is one example made public where Wright responds to some of his more scholarly critics:

http://www.ntwrightpage.com/Wright_Old_Arguments.htm

I particularly think that Crossley does the best job of representing skepticism, and that Wright adequately responds. Wright (along with other scholars holding to a traditional interpretation of the resurrection) have responded to arguments against the resurrection throughout the major journals (JNTS, JBL, etc.). All who are interested can simply go to a library and do a search for these critiques and responses.

I've heard some people online complain that Wright hasn't responded to Carrier's arguments or Price's arguments, but the problem is that their arguments aren't published in scholarly journals that are read throughout the field of study. The life of the academic is busy...teaching, writing, researching, etc. and one hardly has time to respond to internet critics who do not go through the normal means of academic discussion (i.e. peer-reviewed journals).

Sic et Non said...

Victor,

I greatly enjoy your blog, especially your intellectual honesty regarding all things Christian.

I think one reason that many Christians don't critically engage is that this type of engagement requires relinquishing dogmatic certainty (that is especially prominent among evangelical cirles, and perhaps some atheist circles too) and acknowledging the ambiguity in the evidence. It's much easier to repeat the old arguments in a sheltered atmosphere than acknowledge we are less than certain about what we believe.

My question for you regarding this is primarily an existential one regarding living with uncertainty regarding one's ultimate worldview commitment. I have gathered that you believe the evidence for Christian theism is rationally strong, but not the only rational option. I do not know how certain you are that Christianity is true. For the sake of the question, I'll guess 75%.

I think you would agree that the decision of a worldview is one of the most important and existentially significant decisions one can make. For comparision, imagine someone who was 75% certain that other minds exist. If on a regular basis, he considered his belief that there was a 25% chance that his dear wife was not another person but a cleverly designed robot, he would probably have a difficult time maintaining his sanity.

At the personal level, if I regularly reflect upon my belief that there is a 25% chance that the God who gives my life its ultimate significance, whom I worship, whom I give my money to, and so on does not exist, I would probably become a relatively unhinged person.

I realize I have a tendency to dwell on the negative, but I think this is still a legitimate question: How do you live with the ambiguity in the evidence on a day to day basis? I would value your thoughts.

Anonymous said...

PRETRIB RAPTURE DISHONESTY

by Dave MacPherson

When I began my research in 1970 into the exact beginnings of the pretribulation rapture belief still held by many evangelicals, I assumed that the rapture debate involved only "godly scholars with honest differences." The paper you are now reading reveals why I gave up that assumption many years ago. With this introduction-of-sorts in mind, let's take a long look at the pervasive dishonesty throughout the history of the 179-year-old pretrib rapture theory:

Mid-1820's - German scholar Max Weremchuk's work "John Nelson Darby" (1992) included what Benjamin Newton revealed about John Darby in the mid-1820's during his pre-Brethren days as an Anglican clergyman:
"J. N. Darby was a very subtle man. He had been a lawyer, or at least educated for the law. Once he wanted his Archbishop to pursue a certain course, when he (J.N.D.) was a curate in his diocese. He wrote a letter, therefore, saying he had been educated for the law, knew what the legal course would properly be; and then having written that clearly, he mystified the remainder of the letter both in word and in handwriting, and ended up by saying: You see, my Lord, such being the legal aspect of the case it would unquestionably be the best course for you to pursue, etc. And the Archbishop couldn't make out the legal part, but rested on Darby's word and did as he advised. Darby afterwards laughed over it, and indeed he showed a copy of the letter to Tregelles. This is not mentioned in the Archbishop's biography, but in it is the fact that he spoke of Darby as 'the most subtle man in my diocese.'"
This reminds me of an 1834 letter by Darby which spoke of the "Lord's coming." Darby added, concerning this coming, that "the thoughts are new" and that during any teaching of it "it would not be well to have it so clear." Darby's deviousness here was his usage of a centuries-old term - "Lord's coming" - to cover up his desire to sneak the new pretrib idea into existing posttrib groups in very low-profile ways!
1830 - In the spring of 1830 a young Scottish lassie, Margaret Macdonald, came up with the novel notion of a catching up [rapture] of Spirit-filled "church" members before Antichrist's "trial" [tribulation] of non-Spirit-filled "church" members - the first instance I've found of clear "pretrib" teaching (which was part of a partial rapture scheme). In Sep. 1830 "The Morning Watch" (a journal produced by London preacher Edward Irving and his "Irvingite" followers, some of whom had visited Margaret a few weeks earlier) began repeating her original thoughts and even her wording but gave her no credit - the first plagiarism I've found in pretrib history. Darby was still defending posttrib in Dec. 1830.
Pretrib promoters have long known the significance of her main point: a rapture of "church" members BEFORE the revealing of Antichrist. Which is why John Walvoord quoted nothing in her revelation, why Thomas Ice habitually skips over her main point but quotes lines BEFORE and AFTER it, and why Hal Lindsey muddies up her main point so he can (falsely) assert that she was NOT a pretribber! (Google "X-Raying Margaret" for info about her.)
NOTE: The development of the 1800's is thoroughly documented in my book "The Rapture Plot." You'll learn that Darby wasn't original on any chief aspect of dispensationalism (but plagiarized the Irvingites); that pretrib was initially based on only OT and NT symbols and not clear Scripture; that the symbols included the Jewish feasts, the two witnesses, and the man child - symbols adopted by Darby during most of his career; that Darby's later reminiscences exaggerated his earliest pretrib development, and that today's defenders such as Thomas Ice have further overstated what Darby overstated; that Irvingism didn't need later reminiscences to "clarify" its own early pretrib development; that ancient hymns and even the writings of the Reformers were subtly revised to make it appear they had taught pretrib; and that after Darby's death a clever revisionist quietly made many changes in early Irvingite and Brethren documents in order to steal credit for pretrib away from the Irvingites (and their female inspiration!) and give it dishonestly to Darby! (Before continuing, Google the "Powered by Christ Ministries" site and read "America's Pretrib Rapture Traffickers" - a sample of the current exciting internetism!)
1920 - Charles Trumbull's book "The Life Story of C. I. Scofield" told only the dispensationally-correct side of his life. Two recent books, Joseph Canfield's "The Incredible Scofield and His Book" (1988) and David Lutzweiler's "DispenSinsationalism: C. I. Scofield's Life and Errors" (2006), reveal the other side including his being jailed as a forger, dishonestly giving himself a non-conferred "D.D." etc. etc.!
1967 - Brethren scholar Harold Rowdon's "The Origins of the Brethren" quoted Darby associate Lord Congleton who was "disgusted with...the falseness" of Darby's accounts of things. Rowdon also quoted historian William Neatby who said that others felt that "the time-honoured method of single combat" was as good as anything "to elicit the truth" from Darby. (In other words, knock it out of him!)
1972 - Tim LaHaye's "The Beginning of the End" (1972) plagiarized Hal Lindsey's "The Late Great Planet Earth" (1970).
1976 - Charles Ryrie"s "The Living End" (1976) plagiarized Lindsey's "The Late Great Planet Earth" (1970) and "There's A New World Coming" (1973).
1976 - After John Walvoord's "The Blessed Hope and the Tribulation" (1976) brutally twisted Robert Gundry's "The Church and the Tribulation" (1973), Gundry composed and circulated a 35-page open letter to Walvoord which repeatedly charged the Dallas Seminary president with "misrepresentation," "misrepresentations" (and variations)!
1981 - "The Fundamentalist Phenomenon" (1981) by Jerry Falwell, Ed Dobson, and Ed Hindson heavily plagiarized George Dollar's 1973 book "A History of Fundamentalism in America."
1984 - After a prof at Southeastern College of the Assemblies of God in Florida told me that the No. 2 man at the AG world headquarters in Missouri - Joseph Flower - had the label of posttrib, my wife and I had two hour-long chats with him. He verified what I had been told. But we were dumbstruck when he told us that although AG ministers are required to promote pretrib, privately they can believe any other rapture view! Flower said that his father, an AG co-founder, was also posttrib. We also learned while in Springfield that when the AG's were organized in 1914, the initial group was divided between posttribs and pretribs - but that the pretribs shouted louder which resulted in that denomination officially adopting pretrib! (For details on this and other pretrib double-mindedness, Google "Pretrib Hypocrisy.")
1989 - Since 1989 Thomas Ice has referred to the "Mac-theory" (his reference to my research), giving the impression there's no solid evidence that Macdonald was the real pretrib originator. But Ice carefully conceals the fact that no eminent church historian of the 1800's - whether Plymouth Brethren or Irvingite - credited Darby with pretrib. Instead, they uniformly credited leading Irvingite sources, all of which upheld the Scottish lassie's contribution! Moreover, I'm hardly the only modern scholar seeing significance in Irvingism's territory. Others in recent years who have noted it, but who haven't mined it as deeply as I have, include Fuller, Ladd, Bass, Rowdon, Sandeen, and Gundry.
1989 - Greg Bahnsen and Kenneth Gentry produced evidence in 1989 that Lindsey's book "The Road to Holocaust" (1989) plagiarized "Dominion Theology" (1988) by H. Wayne House and Thomas Ice.
1990 - David Jeremiah's and C. C. Carlson's "Escape the Coming Night" (1990) massively plagiarized Lindsey's 1973 book "There's A New World Coming." (For more info, type in "Thieves' Marketing" on MSN or Google.)
1991 - Paul Lee Tan's "A Pictorial Guide to Bible Prophecy" (1991) plagiarized large amounts of Lindsey's "The Late Great Planet Earth" (1970).
1991 - Militant Darby defender R. A. Huebner claimed in 1991 to have found new evidence that Darby was pretrib as early as 1827 - three years before Macdonald. Halfway through his book Huebner suddenly admitted that his evidence could refer to something completely un-rapturesque. Even though Thomas Ice admitted to me that he knew that Huebner had "blown" his so-called evidence, prevaricator Ice continues to tell the world that Huebner has "positive evidence" that Darby was pretrib in 1827! Ice also conceals the fact that Darby, in his own 1827 paper, was looking for only "the restitution of all things" and "the times of refreshing" (Acts 3:19,21) - which Scofield doesn't see fulfilled until AFTER a future tribulation!
1992 - Tim LaHaye's "No Fear of the Storm" (1992) plagiarized Walvoord's "The Blessed Hope and the Tribulation" (1976).
1992 - This was when the Los Angeles Times revealed that "The Magog Factor" (1992) by Hal Lindsey and Chuck Missler was a monstrous plagiarism of Prof. Edwin Yamauchi's scholarly 1982 work "Foes from the Northern Frontier." Four months after this exposure, Lindsey and Missler stated they had stopped publishing and promoting their book. But in 1996 Dr. Yamauchi learned that the dishonest duo had issued a 1995 book called "The Magog Invasion" which still had a substantial amount of the same plagiarism! (If Lindsey and Missler ever need hernia operations, I predict that the doctors will tell them not to lift anything for a long time!)
1994 - In 1996 it was revealed that Lindsey's "Planet Earth - 2000 A.D. (1994) had an embarrassing amount of plagiarism of a Texe Marrs book titled "Mystery Mark of the New Age" (1988).
1995 - My book "The Rapture Plot" reveals the dishonesty in Darby's reprinted works. It's often hard to tell who wrote the footnotes and when. It's easy to believe that the notes, and also unsigned phrases inside brackets within the text, were a devious attempt by someone (Darby? his editor?) to portray a Darby far more developed in pretrib thinking than he actually had been at the time. I found that some of the "additives" had been taken from Darby's much later works, when he was more developed, and placed next to or inside his earliest works! One footnote by Darby's editor, attached to Darby's 1830 paper, actually stated that "it was not worth while either suppressing or changing" anything in this work! If his editor wasn't open to such dishonesty, how can we explain such a statement?
Post-1995 - Thomas Ice's article "Inventor of False Pre-Trib Rapture History" states that my book "The Rapture Plot" is "only one of the latest in a series of revisions of his original discourse...." And David Reagan in his article "The Origin of the Concept of a Pre-Tribulation Rapture" repeats Ice's falsehood by claiming that I have republished my first book "over the years under several different titles."
Although my book repeats a bit of the Macdonald origin of pretrib (for new readers), all of my books are packed with new material not found in my other works. For some clarification, "The Incredible Cover-Up" has photos of pertinent places in Ireland, Scotland, and England not found in my later books plus several chapters dealing with theological arguments; "The Great Rapture Hoax" quotes scholars throughout the Church Age, covers Scofield's hidden side, a section on Powerscourt, the 1980 election, the Jupiter Effect, Gundry's change, and more theological arguments; "The Rapture Plot" reveals for the first time the Great Evangelical Revisionism/Robbery and includes appendices on miscopying, plagiarism, etc.; and "The Three R's" shows hypocritical evangelicals employing occultic beliefs they say they have long opposed!
So Thomas Ice etc. are twisting truth when they claim I am only a revisionist. Do they really think that my publishers DON'T know what I've previously written?
Re arguments, Google "Pretrib Rapture - Hidden Facts" and also obtain "The End Times Passover" and "Why Christians Will Suffer 'Great Tribulation' " (AuthorHouse, 2006) by media personality Joe Ortiz.
1997 - For years Harvest House Publishers has owned and been republishing Lindsey's book "There's A New World Coming." During the same time Lindsey has been peddling his reportedly "new" book "Apocalyse Code" (1997), much of which is word-for-word the same as the Harvest House book - and there's no notice of "simultaneous publishing" in either book! Talk about pretrib greed!
1997 - This is the year I discovered that more than 50 pages of Dallas Seminary professor Merrill Unger's book "Beyond the Crystal Ball" (Moody Press, 1973) constituted a colossal plagiarism of Lindsey's "The Late Great Planet Earth" (1970). After Lindsey's book came out, Unger had complained that Lindsey's book had plagiarized his classroom lecture notes. It was evident that Unger felt that he too should cash in on his own lectures! (The detailed account of this Dallas Seminary dishonesty is revealed in my 1998 book "The Three R's.")
1998 - Tim LaHaye's "Understanding the Last Days" (1998) plagiarized Lindsey's "There's A New World Coming" (1973).
1999 - More than 200 pages (out of 396 pages) in Lindsey's 1999 book "Vanished Into Thin Air" are virtually carbon copies of pages in his 1983 book "The Rapture" - with no "updated" or "revised" notice included! Lindsey has done the same nervy thing with several of his books, something that has allowed him to live in million-dollar-plus homes and drive cars like Ferraris! (See my Google articles "Deceiving and Being Deceived" and "Thieves' Marketing" for further evidence of this notably pretrib vice.)
2000 - A Jack Van Impe article "The Moment After" (2000) plagiarized Grant Jeffrey's book "Final Warning" (1995).
2001 - Since 2001 my web article "Walvoord's Posttrib 'Varieties' - Plus" has been exposing his devious muddying up of posttrib waters. In some of his books he invented four "distinct" and "contradictory" posttrib divisions, claiming that they are either "classic" or "semiclassic" or "futurist" or "dispensational" - distinctions that disappear when analyzed! His "futurist" group holds to a literal future tribulation and a literal millennium but doesn't embrace "any day" imminency. But his "dispensational" group has the same non-imminency! Moreover, tribulational futurism is found in every group except the first one, and he somehow admitted that a literal millennium is in all four groups! On the other hand, it's the pretribs who consistently disagree with each other over their chief points and subpoints - but somehow end up agreeing that there will be a pretrib rapture! (See my chapter "A House Divided" in my book "The Incredible Cover-Up.")
2001 - Since my "Deceiving and Being Deceived" web item which exposed the claims for Pseudo-Ephraem" and "Morgan Edwards" as teachers of pretrib, there has been a piranha-like frenzy on the part of pretrib bodyguards and their duped groupies to "discover" almost anything before 1830 walking upright on two legs that seemed to have at least a remote hint of pretrib! (An exemplary poster boy for such pretrib practice is Grant Jeffrey. To get your money's worth, Google "Wily Jeffrey.")

FINALLY: Don't take my word for any of the above. Read my 300-page book "The Rapture Plot" which has a jillion more documented details on the long-hidden but now-revealed history of the dishonest, 179-year-old, fringe-British-invented, American-merchandised-until-the-real-bad-stuff-happens pretribulation rapture fad. If this book of mine doesn't "move" you, I will personally refund what you paid for it!

Ilíon said...

A post on April Fools ... that seems a good place to post this link: This is disturbing and disgusting

Here's Mark Stryn's take on it: The American Super-Bower

Lou said...

(This I just saw on the web. Lou)

FOR PRETRIB RAPTURE REPEATERS

Congratulations! You are now fulfilling the Bible which says "Come now, and let us repeat together."
Be sure to repeat what Walvoord, Lindsey, LaHaye, Ice etc. repeat what their own teachers repeat what their own teachers repeat etc. etc. etc.!
Repeat that Christ's return is imminent because we're told to "watch" (Matt. 24, 25) for it. So is the "day of God" (II Pet. 3:12) - which you admit is at least 1000 years ahead - also imminent because we're told to be "looking for" it?
Also repeat the pretrib myths about the "Jewish wedding stages" and "Jewish feasts" (where's your "church/Israel dichotomy" now?) even though Christ and Paul knew nothing about a "pretrib stage" and neither did any official theological creed or organized church before 1830!
You should read "Pretrib Rapture Dishonesty" on the "Powered by Christ Ministries" site to find out why you shouldn't repeat everything your pretrib teachers repeat.
Do I have to repeat this?

Ilíon said...

This is also not directly about April 1.

You (VR, or Gentle Reader) may recall some minor discussion back in November or December about the how senate race in Minesota was turning out. It still isn't resolved -- The WSJ: Minnesota's Missing Votes

Anonymous said...

Mr. Babinski,
I would like to do my best to answer your first question.
1) "The Bible contains more mythological notions than science about the cosmos"
I would like to know where you found these bits about a flat earth in the Bible. Also, it seems as if you are labeling anything with God in it as mythological. Actually, God is more scientific than abiogenesis, and evolution (which I'm assuming is your belief) takes more faith than believing in a Creator.
Think about it. An archeologist in a dig finds a chipped rock, and a human skeleton. He looks at the skeleton, thinking about the human body, how every part works together, how a single strand of DNA holds more information than a library, how red blood cells are perfectly formed to be as useful as possible etc. Looking at this skeleton, he thinks "Huh, must've been random chance and mutation over millions of years transforming lifeless slime into life, and then eventually into monkeys, then this." Then, he looks at the rock, a couple of chips out of it, and calls his colleagues excitedly saying "This was formed by intelligence!" How does this make sense?
How is abiogenesis any different from spontaneous generation which has been proved wrong?
Have you ever heard of the "First Cause" argument? It basically says "nothing comes from nothing." Basically, spontaneous generation is false, so there must be something to get something. Unless there is something eternal, than at one point in history, the universe came from nothing. "Ex nihilo, nihilo." "Out of nothing, nothing comes," basically. Back again to spontaneous generation.
So what is that eternal thing? Well, most people would say either God or the universe.
So, for the sake of argument, let's pretend the universe is eternal. I assume you'd agree that the universe is expanding. Well, if the universe is expanding as time goes on, then going back in time, the universe would be contracting. At some point it would contract into a point, and then going farther back in time...what? It would contract itself into oblivion, that's what. It doesn't seem logical for the universe to be eternal.
What about God, then? Well, if God is eternal, then we have a creator for the world, an explanation of the incredible complexity of the world.
So is God so illogical to believe in? I would contest that that is not the case. God is more logical than random chance mutations.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Babinski,
I would like to do my best to answer your first question. (Note: This will be published in two comments, as the comment is too long to be published)
1) "The Bible contains more mythological notions than science about the cosmos"
I would like to know where you found these bits about a flat earth in the Bible. Also, it seems as if you are labeling anything with God in it as mythological. Actually, God is more scientific than abiogenesis, and evolution (which I'm assuming is your belief) takes more faith than believing in a Creator.
Think about it. An archeologist in a dig finds a chipped rock, and a human skeleton. He looks at the skeleton, thinking about the human body, how every part works together, how a single strand of DNA holds more information than a library, how red blood cells are perfectly formed to be as useful as possible etc. Looking at this skeleton, he thinks "Huh, must've been random chance and mutation over millions of years transforming lifeless slime into life, and then eventually into monkeys, then this." Then, he looks at the rock, a couple of chips out of it, and calls his colleagues excitedly saying "This was formed by intelligence!" How does this make sense?
How is abiogenesis any different from spontaneous
generation which has been proved wrong?

Anonymous said...

Have you ever heard of the "First Cause" argument? It basically says "nothing comes from nothing." Basically, spontaneous generation is false, so there must be something to get something. Unless there is something eternal, than at one point in history, the universe came from nothing. "Ex nihilo, nihilo." "Out of nothing, nothing comes," basically. Back again to spontaneous generation.
So what is that eternal thing? Well, most people would say either God or the universe.
So, for the sake of argument, let's pretend the universe is eternal. I assume you'd agree that the universe is expanding. Well, if the universe is expanding as time goes on, then going back in time, the universe would be contracting. At some point it would contract into a point, and then going farther back in time...what? It would contract itself into oblivion, that's what. It doesn't seem logical for the universe to be eternal.
What about God, then? Well, if God is eternal, then we have a creator for the world, an explanation of the incredible complexity of the world.
So is God so illogical to believe in? I would contest that that is not the case. God is more logical than random chance mutations.

Anonymous said...

My apologies. My comment somehow was saved twice.

Keen Reader said...

I see that Babs has been using yet another forum as his personal pulpit.