Russell's Criticisms of Christianity & Jesus

Bob Carabbio

Well-known member
Do you think one can be a Christian either without believing in God, without believing in any afterlife, or without believing Jesus to have at least been the best and wisest of men?
What's IMPORTANT is what happens AFTER you're Convicted of you SIN and of Judgement by the Holy Sprit.

FIRST repent surrender, and be Born Again of the SPirit, and THEN you can worry about "Theological stuff".
 

Nouveau

Well-known member
What's IMPORTANT is what happens AFTER you're Convicted of you SIN and of Judgement by the Holy Sprit.

FIRST repent surrender, and be Born Again of the SPirit, and THEN you can worry about "Theological stuff".
You didn't answer the question.
 

Electric Skeptic

Well-known member
The direct events of the fall were: loss of eternal life, sin and being put out of the garden to fend for themselves.
Which God did. ALL of those events came about because God willed them to.
Every awful thing that happened after that can be laid at the feet of the men who chose to act with greed and violence to satisfy their own desires.
Nonsense. Every thing that happened, awful or not, happened because God made it so.
Salvation by God is the central theme of the Bible.
Yes, ridiculous as the idea is. God is going to save us from...God.
God's power is not at issue. What is at issue is God's right to rule. Since the time of Eden men have asserted their independence from God, that they have the right to rule, that we are better off under human rule than we would be under God's rule. God could have changed this with, as you say, a snap of his fingers, but that would not have demonstrated that his ways are better or that mens ways are worse. Allowing humans a time to rule will show it to be either beneficial or harmful to mankind.
Of course God's power is the issue. He doesn't need to demonstrate anything. Whatever ends he wants to achieve he could achieve without all the trauma and pain. That's what omnipotent means.
 

Nouveau

Well-known member
Matthew 10:23 "But whenever they persecute you in one city, flee to the next; for truly I say to you, you will not finish going through the cities of Israel until the Son of Man comes."

Matthew 16:28 "Truly I say to you, there are some of those who are standing here who will not taste death until they see the Son of Man coming in His kingdom."

Matthew 24:32-36 "Now learn the parable from the fig tree: when its branch has already become tender and puts forth its leaves, you know that summer is near; so, you too, when you see all these things, recognize that He is near, right at the door. "Truly I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all these things take place. "Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will not pass away. "But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone."

Luke 21:7-24 They questioned Him, saying, "Teacher, when therefore will these things happen? And what will be the sign when these things are about to take place?" And He said, "See to it that you are not misled; for many will come in My name, saying, 'I am He,' and, 'The time is near.' Do not go after them. "When you hear of wars and disturbances, do not be terrified; for these things must take place first, but the end does not follow immediately." Then He continued by saying to them, "Nation will rise against nation and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be great earthquakes, and in various places plagues and famines; and there will be terrors and great signs from heaven. "But before all these things, they will lay their hands on you and will persecute you, delivering you to the synagogues and prisons, bringing you before kings and governors for My name's sake. "It will lead to an opportunity for your testimony. "So make up your minds not to prepare beforehand to defend yourselves; for I will give you utterance and wisdom which none of your opponents will be able to resist or refute. "But you will be betrayed even by parents and brothers and relatives and friends, and they will put some of you to death, and you will be hated by all because of My name. "Yet not a hair of your head will perish. "By your endurance you will gain your lives. "But when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then recognize that her desolation is near. "Then those who are in Judea must flee to the mountains, and those who are in the midst of the city must leave, and those who are in the country must not enter the city; because these are days of vengeance, so that all things which are written will be fulfilled. "Woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing babies in those days; for there will be great distress upon the land and wrath to this people; and they will fall by the edge of the sword, and will be led captive into all the nations; and Jerusalem will be trampled under foot by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled."

Luke 21:25-33 "There will be signs in sun and moon and stars, and on the earth dismay among nations, in perplexity at the roaring of the sea and the waves, men fainting from fear and the expectation of the things which are coming upon the world; for the powers of the heavens will be shaken. "Then they will see THE SON of MAN COMING in a cloud with power and great glory. "But when these things begin to take place, straighten up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near." Then He told them a parable: "Behold the fig tree and all the trees; as soon as they put forth leaves, you see it and know for yourselves that summer is now near. "So you also, when you see these things happening, recognize that the kingdom of God is near. "Truly I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all things take place. "Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will not pass away."


When you are doing Biblical theology there is the 20/20 rule, that is 20 verses before and 20 verses after so that you interpret within context and that you are not mistakenly practicing eisegesis

The Matthew 16 passage is followed by the transfiguration in Matthew 17 so that is easily explained

The Matthew 10 passage is more difficult to correctly interpret, however the context surrounding Matthew 10:23 has wording like Luke 21 which clearly points to the end of the age, and what is more there is an indefinite time element in regards to the Gospel going to the cities in Israel, which is timing that only God knows

Furthermore in regards to Russell's fallacious argument, Matthew 24 and Luke 21 reference the budding of the Fig Tree as a prerequisite to the coming of the Son of Man with the generation identified as the time element, Luke also mentions all the trees. This time element could not have been fulfilled during Jesus' time on earth, especially after the Jews were dispersed in 70 A.D. and finally in 135 A. D.

The budding Fig tree is representative of the nation Israel which was reborn in 1948 and the generation that witnessed the rebirth of the nation Israel will not entirely pass away before some of them witness the events written in the Book of Revelation

A double fulfillment or a near and far fulfillment of Jesus' prophetic words the first of which some of it took place in 70 A.D. with the completion of the prophecy coming in the very near future
Firstly, thank you. This is a great response - directly addressing the point, and entirely free of ad hominems. This is the kind of discussion I was hoping for. I will concede that there are alternative interpretations, and plausible ones, that undermine Russell's criticism here. However, I think an equally powerful criticism remains. Here is what BibleRef.com says about Matt 24: "Various readings of this verse have inspired conversation, disagreement, and division since Jesus first said them more than 2,000 years ago. Several different views on the end times are formed around what Jesus means in this statement." Jesus' disciples were asking a straightforward and reasonable question, yet Jesus responds in a vague manner left open to interpretation and misunderstanding. Why would he not be clear and unambiguous about what "this generation" refers to, for instance? Did he not consider how easily this could have given his contemporary followers reason to think his second coming would occur within their lifetimes? In my view, such ambiguity and lack of clarity in his message is not consistent with being the best and wisest of men.
 

BMS

Well-known member
Do you think one can be a Christian either without believing in God, without believing in any afterlife, or without believing Jesus to have at least been the best and wisest of men?
But that doesnt make someone a Christian so what is the point of the question?
 

Nouveau

Well-known member
But that doesnt make someone a Christian so what is the point of the question?
What makes someone a Christian is a matter of sufficiency. Russell is talking about necessity, i.e. what, if absent, would prevent one from being a Christian.
 

5wize

Well-known member
Well I think that the men and women who have given their lives for their country or other such thing were running that which you call a "fool's errand". But that doesn't prevent me from recognizing their bravery and valor nor the sacrifice of the parents. Even if they were misled, what they each did personally is worthy of my respect.

I think that allowing my disagreement with the cause that so many have given their lives for to view them with disdain would be the opposite of thinking clearly.

john
The topic was the Easter celebration so I assumed you were talking about that supernatural sacrifice which was a mere choice with many other options that an omnipotent being could muster, one of which is forgiveness without such slaughter. Note that before men and women give up their lives for a country there is much détente and attempt of avoidance.

What becomes incoherent about your stance here is that you will remember Jesus was in the business of forgiving sin well before his crucifixion. Believing that Christ had to die for forgiveness of sins in inconsistent with the actions of his life.
 
What becomes incoherent about your stance here is that you will remember Jesus was in the business of forgiving sin well before his crucifixion. Believing that Christ had to die for forgiveness of sins in inconsistent with the actions of his life.

When I read the end of Matthew, it looks like Jesus resurrected, simply to prove he could do the big miracle. The centurion says it
[54] Now when the centurion, and they that were with him, watching Jesus, saw the earthquake, and those things that were done, they feared greatly, saying, Truly this was the Son of God.

That's all I thought it was, when I heard it as a kid.
 

Hypatia_Alexandria

Well-known member
What does she have to say about Xenophanes?
Again he is only referenced very briefly in the opening pages of chapter 1.

She opens that chapter with a discussion of the alleged "face of God" that was digitally constructed in 2018 by researchers at the University of North Carolina and notes that both psychologists and social anthropologists have long understood that a significant amount of cognitive bias underlies the depiction of divinities in human societies.

As for Xeonophanes, she refers to his comments about horses, lions, and cattle and how they would depict their deities if they had the ability to draw, his comments on the Ethiopians and the Thracians and their depictions of their deities, as well as his observations on Hesiod and Homer and their presentations of the gods as being too like humans. She ends her very brief reference to him with his own philosophical insistence that a god was "a being in no way like mortals in either body or thought"
 

RCM

Active member
Then you need to show that there is a third option, or theology is in trouble.

No, philosophy is in trouble when it attempts to formulate an argument in relation to God when philosophy is ignorant regarding Biblical truth

If you would have taken time to analyze the post, you would have seen that Euthyphro's dilemma does not represent Biblical truth
 

RCM

Active member
I don't see how that follows. I think he's rather saying that God and His next-world justice might not exist, given that actual-world injustice doesn't prove they do exist.

When Russell or anyone else chooses to doubt or be skeptical of truth that God has declared, whether they know it or not, they are aligning themselves with satan who was the first to cast doubt and deny the truth of what God had said (Genesis 3; John 8:44)

Furthermore, when a person like Russell is a big enough skeptic that they propagate their doubt about what God has said through lectures or writings, they are calling God a liar
 

AV1611VET

Well-known member
I'll say this much for Russell:

At least he was willing to make his ignorance of the Bible and Christianity public.

And in analyzing what he believes, he's really no different than any unbeliever today.

In short, he's just a poster child for ignorance.
 

RCM

Active member
That's not what 'theory' means in the context of science. Theories are systems of laws, principles, mechanisms, and explanations that explain certain facts and phenomena. They do not transmogrify at any point into facts, as that would be a category error.

A law (or rule or principle) is a statement that summarizes an observed regularity or pattern in nature, like the law of heredity

A scientific theory is a set of statements that, when taken together, attempt to explain a broad class of related phenomena that no one has observed in empirical reality. A theory is an attempt to provide an explanatory answer (why) that fits the evidence that so called knowledgeable experts accept as fact

The so called knowledgeable experts then propagate the theory of evolution as fact when the law of heredity, which is observable, stands in complete contradiction
 

RCM

Active member
But if your faith is leading you to reject settled science, then it may be putting you into the former camp rather than the latter.

Settled science? Don't make me laugh

Dr. John Lennox along with others have exposed the limits of science

Science cannot even answer the questions of a child nor the most important questions in life

(1) Explain the origin of creation and state your point of reference (witness) and your source of absolute truth

(2) Explain the origin of man. From who or what came life? Who or what has the power of being?

(3) What is man? Material, immaterial, or both, and how do you know?

(4) Why is life the way it is? Why is there evil, suffering, and death?

(5) What gives life purpose and meaning that can't be taken away tomorrow? If you or someone you love is in an accident tomorrow and permanently paralyzed from the neck down, does life still have meaning and purpose?

(6) How does a person receive true justice and from whom? If a young girl loses her life to a violent crime against her, how does she receive true justice?

(7) What do you do with your guilt?

(8) Explains what happens after death?

Life doesn't center around science, listen to the conversations of the people out there in the world



The Bible answers all of the above questions in correlation with reality and with no contradictions



RCM
 

Lucian

Member
Again he is only referenced very briefly in the opening pages of chapter 1.

She opens that chapter with a discussion of the alleged "face of God" that was digitally constructed in 2018 by researchers at the University of North Carolina and notes that both psychologists and social anthropologists have long understood that a significant amount of cognitive bias underlies the depiction of divinities in human societies.
Isn't that kind of obvious, though?
As for Xeonophanes, she refers to his comments about horses, lions, and cattle and how they would depict their deities if they had the ability to draw, his comments on the Ethiopians and the Thracians and their depictions of their deities, as well as his observations on Hesiod and Homer and their presentations of the gods as being too like humans. She ends her very brief reference to him with his own philosophical insistence that a god was "a being in no way like mortals in either body or thought"
Yes, he was a bit iconoclastic in these respects, at least at times.
 

5wize

Well-known member
When I read the end of Matthew, it looks like Jesus resurrected, simply to prove he could do the big miracle. The centurion says it
[54] Now when the centurion, and they that were with him, watching Jesus, saw the earthquake, and those things that were done, they feared greatly, saying, Truly this was the Son of God.

That's all I thought it was, when I heard it as a kid.
It's funny how a "Big Show" was important back then, but now... crickets. Just a book of incoherent riddles and contradictions we are told are the substitution for God's hiddenness in the world.
 

RCM

Active member
Firstly, thank you. This is a great response - directly addressing the point, and entirely free of ad hominems. This is the kind of discussion I was hoping for. I will concede that there are alternative interpretations, and plausible ones, that undermine Russell's criticism here. However, I think an equally powerful criticism remains. Here is what BibleRef.com says about Matt 24: "Various readings of this verse have inspired conversation, disagreement, and division since Jesus first said them more than 2,000 years ago. Several different views on the end times are formed around what Jesus means in this statement." Jesus' disciples were asking a straightforward and reasonable question, yet Jesus responds in a vague manner left open to interpretation and misunderstanding. Why would he not be clear and unambiguous about what "this generation" refers to, for instance? Did he not consider how easily this could have given his contemporary followers reason to think his second coming would occur within their lifetimes? In my view, such ambiguity and lack of clarity in his message is not consistent with being the best and wisest of men.

There are so many things to think about in regards to what you ask, so I will just state some of them and not elaborate

The way that God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit inspired the written word is that it is always relevant, so that when you read the scriptures the wording seems as though it was written just to you in the present time in which you live, the theology of the Bible is timeless in spite of the culture being thousands of years old. To some people they mistakenly assume the Bible is an antiquated book that is out of date, however, just the opposite is true, the Bible is God's revelation of absolute truth for all of humanity for all time

Jesus spoke in plain language in the gospels up to the point the Jewish leaders rejected Him and from there on He spoke in ambiguous language and in parables (ref. Mark 4:10-12)

I would argue that the Apostles were not confused after the resurrection, it was then they began to see everything more clearly (John 2:22) and the New Testament letters they penned under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit testify to this (John 14:26)

Also there is blindness to truth that is a result of sin (2 Corinthians 4:4), which results in many people being confused or thinking something implies a certain conclusion when there is another point of view

The coming return of the Lord Jesus has always be imminent in Biblical anticipation while at the same time there were indications of delay, (ref. Matthew 24:48; Matthew 25:19; Luke 12:45; Luke 20:9; 2 Peter 3:9)

Prophecy is primary for determining who is the source of truth and knowledge, as God states in Isaiah 41:21-24, "Present your case," the LORD says. "Bring forward your strong arguments," The King of Jacob says. Let them bring forth and declare to us what is going to take place; As for the former events, declare what they were, That we may consider them and know their outcome. Or announce to us what is coming; Declare the things that are going to come afterward, That we may know that you are gods; Indeed, do good or evil, that we may anxiously look about us and fear together. Behold, you are of no account, And your work amounts to nothing; He who chooses you is an abomination."

Yet, prophecy is very complicated and is misinterpreted and abused by many people. One rule of thumb is the law of non-contradiction, because God's revelation in the Bible presents itself as primary and authoratative therefore, if you hold any belief or opinion in regards to prophecy that is not consistent with the whole of Biblical prophecy, it must be recognized to be in error.

An example of prophecy in scripture being difficult is Daniel 11. Daniel 11 is so explicit up to verse 35 that the critics say Daniel had to be written late, yet from verse 36 on there is nothing in known history that fits right, so it must yet be future. This is the case with much of Jesus prophetic words in the Gospels, when is He addressing near events and when is He addressing end of the age events? That is why we study scripture, because it is like a puzzle and certain pieces have to be put in place before you can put others in.

Proverbs 25:2 states, it is the glory of God to conceal a matter, but it is the glory of Kings to search out a matter

Deuteronomy 29:29 states, God keeps the secret things to himself

Colossians 2:2-3, "That their hearts may be encouraged, having been knit together in love, and attaining to all the wealth that comes from the full assurance of understanding, resulting in a true knowledge of God's mystery, that is, Christ Himself, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge."




RCM
 
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