Mother Hubbard's Cupboard

A look into the mind of one of the most random, crazy people in all the land.

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Location: East Peoria, Illinois, United States

A Lutheran seminarian eagerly awaiting the return of Our Lord. Soli Deo Gloria!

Thursday, August 16, 2007

The God Who Wasn't There - A Poor Critique of a Poor Documentary

Funny Links of the Day: The Projected Path of Hurricane Dean
Mortal 300
Deffinately worthy of an "awwwww!"
Pulp Muppets....I'm not kidding.
Fire truck segment from Family Guy using Grand Theft Auto....pretty impressive.
Didn't you always hate it when this happened?
Alright, pastors, I KNOW something like this has happened to you :-)

Benny Hinn = Apparently worthy of a soundtrack?

Scripture of the Day: Old Testament- 2 Samuel 6:1-19
New Testament-1 Corinthians 9:1-23
Psalms: Morning-143
Evening-81, 116

Icon of the Day (well, from August 15) - Dormition and Assumption of the Theotokos

I recently saw a documentary on youtube which has been highly publicized by "The Rational Response Squad" called "The God who wasn't There." From the start I was worried. I knew this DVD contained arguments which many atheists believed to be so important and good that they were giving away the DVD for free (well, on the RRS website you had to forfeit your soul). Little did I get what you pay for.

The majority of the DVD is spent either interviewing people (random Christians who have no knowledge of church history or "scholars" from the Jesus Seminar or some secular university professors of folklore) or doing voice over for video or animation. The DVD basically says that Christ never existed. The scholarship however, is pretty bad to say the least.

Things wrong in the DVD:
1. The DVD asserts that St. Paul wrote the epistle to the Hebrews.
ANSWER: St. Paul most likely did not write the epistle. Some church fathers believed St. Barnabas wrote it or St. Timothy translated what might have been St. Paul's words. St. Luther accepted the possibility that St. Apollos wrote it. However, to say that St. Paul wrote it is somewhat disingenuous when making what is supposed to be an intellectual argument....which leads to the next two points.

2. St. Paul is thought to be the only one writing books of the Bible and that everyone else "forgot" about Jesus until about thirty years after his writing.
ANSWER: Forgotten in the DVD is the issue that we have very little literature from the first century. Perhaps more letters were written but God didn't deign for us to have them in the Scriptures. Also forgotten is the fact that St. Paul was a missionary AND bishop. He would have been travelling and guiding churches he was away from, thus he would be writing extensively more than other apostles who were closer to their parishes. Also, the problem with saying that everyone else "forgot" about Jesus ignores the clear indication that the Holy Apostles thought that the world would end and Christ would return BEFORE they all died. It wasn't until they started dying that the Gospels were really written down.

3. The DVD asserts that the writer of the Epistle to the Hebrews did not believe that the drama of Christ occurred on earth. It claims that the writer believed that it happened spiritually.
ANSWER: The passage used was, "If he were on earth, he would not be a priest, for there are already men who offer the gifts prescribed by the law (Hebrews 8:4)." The context of such a passage however is in reference to His being seated at the right hand of the Father in Heaven. He is the high priest in the ultimate tabernacle of heaven of which the earthly priests and earthly tabernacle are only shadows. He has become the mediator of a new covenant. What is going on in Hebrews is that it is a sermon discussing the nature of Heavenly worship. This is why Christians believe that when we worship on earth, we enter into a joining together of Heaven and earth (particularly when the Holy Eucharist is at the center of the liturgy).

4. The DVD says that St. Paul didn't quote Christ at all in any of his letters and never mentioned any events of His life. That statement was qualified by saying that St. Paul only covers the events of Holy Week.
ANSWER: Because of the qualification given, the initial statement had been invalidated. What the DVD meant to say was there is no mention of any miracles of Christ mentioned by St. Paul aside from the institution of the Holy Eucharist (1 Cor. 15) and the resurrection of Christ (Acts 17, 23, Romans 1, 16, 1 Cor. 15, Phil. 3). The DVD does not mention however that the Holy Gospels are passion narratives, and that these two miracles combined with the historic event of Christ's crucifixion is the common message of them. The incarnation is also not mentioned as a miracle that St. Paul talked about....but he did (true man-1 Tim. 2:5, true God and true man-Rom. 8:17). The comment of the DVD is meaningless if you actually understand the essential message of Christianity, "repent and be baptized....for the remission of sins."

5. The random "guy on the street" interviews involve the man behind the camera asking people if they have heard of some false gods.
ANSWER: Common, everyday lay people aren't told the history of our church, and this is a sad fact...but that does not mean we are ashamed of any lack of anything in that history. Perhaps one should ask the videographer if he is aware of the early racist history behind Darwinian evolution and how such racism using the "science" continues in some regards to this day? Now ask any random non-Christian that same question.....what do you want to say they haven't heard of it? The argument swings both ways and in the end is meaningless.

6. He quotes St. Justin Martyr as saying that Christ is no different than Zeus in regards to being born of a virgin.
ANSWER: This is what the early Christians recognized-that Satan took clear indications of what was known earlier (and can be shown from the Old Testament, even early on) about the incarnation of Christ and jaded it to be similar yet strikingly different from the truth. This has always been the explanation. But for example, there are differences between these. Hercules is a godman, but he is half man and half god because his father was Zeus and his mother was a mortal. Christ has a father in God the Father and a mother in the Blessed Virgin Mary, but He is not 50/50, but He is 100% God and 100% man.

7. In the argument for the non-existence of Christ, only fundamentalists are addressed with points of the movie. Never are the historic Christian denominations or traditions addressed. Such shows that by "stumping" fundamentalists they falsely think they have "sumpted" all of Christianity.

8. The DVD producer apparently still doesn't understand what "blaspheming the Holy Spirit is," nor why it is the unforgivable sin.
ANSWER: A Christian should never live in fear of this sin. It is a sin that is done by rejecting the Holy Spirit at ALL times. If you have Christ in your thoughts and heart, you aren't doubting the Holy Spirit with your heart. It is the unforgivable sin because rejecting the Holy Spirit with your heart prevents the salvific application of grace which has already been won for you through the atonement. That is why the videos of people denying the existence of the Holy Spirit is sad but also not a cause to believe they are eternally damned (for they may later not reject Him).

All I can say is that if this is the best atheists have, apologists will have their work much easier than in the past....because these arguments are some of the oldest. Praise be to God!!!


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