Monday, September 21, 2015

You Know You're Too Intelligent to Entertain Christianity If....

A brief scan online early on a Sunday morning alerted me to a contemptible smear of the Bible by internet magazine Salon, entitled, "The right hides behind a fictional Bible: Memo to Ted Cruz and Donald Trump — your favorite book is made up."   Breathe easy.  I looked and few out of the tiny orbit of Salon pays attention.  I could find it nowhere else, not even still where I first saw it.

Be advised of Salon's story.  It headquarters downtown San Francisco, spawned in 1995 during a strike at the San Francisco Examiner.   Once editor-in-chief and now editor-at-large, reliably liberal Joan Walsh slides over to MSNBC to spread further propaganda.  Salon has never had a year where it made money.  It operates in a permanent deficit like its favored system of government, surviving from redistributed wealth.  A la internet technology start-ups and the Huffington Post, purchased by AOL in 2011 for 315 million, Salon waits on life support for a future buy-out. Jeffrey Tayler, the author of the article, mainlines these nasty screeds every few weeks to liberal junkies.

You can't separate Salon from San Francisco politics and MSNBC and you can't separate Salon's politics from Salon's religion.  The Washington Post just reported there are more atheists and agnostics in this incoming Harvard class than there are Protestants and Catholics.  The political left dovetails with the religious left.  With Tayler's post, you read the bias of naturalistic presuppositions. He proves nothing.

For being such a lame book, the Bible's epistle, 2 Peter, busts Tayler, his picture next to its scoffer walking after his own lust.  Salon and Tayler both obsess over sexuality.  They chaff over authority. Increased civil unrest follows rash behavior, necessitating expanded powers of coercion.  See unemployed, broke bakers, florists, and wedding photographers. Witness college campuses that categorize contrary ideas as violence and hateful as anything with which they disagree.

Like the apostate of 2 Peter, Tayler's main argument is mockery.  He provides no evidence, just taunts his strawman of the Bible with tiresome redundance -- "absurd," "absurdities," and "absurdist" -- a mean girl calling names in rhythmic cadence on a virtual playground.  He's insulted first by the biblical account of the virgin birth, second the omnipresence of God, third the life of Jesus Christ, fourth the passion of Christ, and fifth the written New Testament.  It insults his intelligence and it insults his intelligence and it also insults his intelligence.  No one as intelligent as Mr. Tayler should have to listen to Christianity and Donald Trump is a narcissist.  Christianity sins most against the intelligence of Jeffrey Tayler.  Mr. Tayler is no Jethro Bodine.

As a basic test of your intelligence, Mr. Tayler wants to inform you that....

You know you're too intelligent to entertain Christianity if other human beings (like you) sent a probe that passed Pluto.

You know you're too intelligent to entertain Christianity if Jesus spoke in Aramaic.

You know you're too intelligent to entertain Christianity if God doesn't have a facebook page.

You know you're too intelligent to entertain Christianity if Jesus allowed an impostor as one of his followers.

You know you're too intelligent to entertain Christianity if other human beings split the atom.

You know you're too intelligent to entertain Christianity if Jesus healed the sick before the invention of sanitary wipes.

You know you're too intelligent to entertain Christianity if God can exist in temperatures above 455 degrees fahrenheit.

You know you're too intelligent to entertain Christianity if you believe any human beings with the exclusion of Jeffrey Tayler.

In Christopher Hitchens, insult had its most eloquent prolocutor, and  Mr. Tayler, you are no Christopher Hitchens.



Everyone comes into a conversation about origins with presuppositions.  No one is neutral.  A Tayler talks like he is, like he is just following evidence, allowing it to take him to the truth.  However, naturalism is his presupposition, a convenient one for someone who prefers his own desires to anything else.  The presupposition disqualifies him for his chosen subject matter.

Coming into a conversation, Tayler assumes conversation, not that we're just two chemical reactions spewing at one another.  He assumes laws of logic to judge truth.  He makes judgments, which assumes a standard.  Everything Tayler assumes even to write his post undermines his point. Consistent with his view, no one can converse, judge, or conclude, because accidents or chance can't be judged as right or wrong.  The assumptions with which Tayler begins contradict his own view, but they are consistent with mine.  What I'm saying is that Tayler borrows the Christian worldview to attack Christianity.  He's lost the argument right when he opens his mouth or places his fingers on the keyboard.

Granting that Tayler isn't neutral and that he presupposes naturalism, and granting that he argues against the Bible by borrowing from a Christian worldview, the burden rests upon him to prove the Bible isn't true.  He doesn't get to dismiss it just because he says it insults his intelligence.  If you take the best atheist and the best theist in a debate, the atheist loses every time.  Using the laws that the atheist borrows to judge the Bible, he loses every time, because the atheist doesn't tell the truth about the world.

Tayler doesn't actually mock the Bible.  He mocks his perversion of it.  He doesn't know what he's talking about.  Sure, you can find many different people who will say something bad about the Bible. That's a major premise in the Bible, that God's Word will be attacked, especially by unbelievers.  It's not surprising.  I try to read all the criticisms with an open mind, believing what is true.  They're just not.  Tayler doesn't come close.  He's just insulting.


James Bronsveld said...

The phrase "knowing this first..." appears in only two places in the Scriptures, both in II Peter, and their placement is no coincidence. Having just preached through the opening verses of II Peter 3, I can see why Peter begins the statement about scoffers doing what they want with the phrase "knowing this first." Before even attempting to understand or unravel the question asked, Peter effectively gives us the reason for the doubt/scoffing. Every sincere-sounding theological doubt or questioning of the coming of Christ, or even that it was promised ("where is the PROMISE of His coming") is simply a cloak to cover the truth we should know first about them: that they are simply walking after their own lusts. Tayler and his fellow scoffers (including the religious ones) are willingly ignorant (interesting how the Greek is structured, suggesting this knowledge is hidden from them, and that they're okay with it), just like the scoffers in Romans 1. They know the truth, but they suppress it, and then deservedly receive the reprobate/worthless mind over to which they're given.

Even more interesting is Peter's bibliology in the face of their claims of "cunningly devised fables." He proves them wrong using 1) the transfiguration (inscripturated by that point, no doubt, but only witnessed by 3 of the disciples), 2) the Scriptural account of a worldwide flood, 3) the Scriptural account of fire from heaven on Sodom, 4) the Scriptural account of a talking donkey, and 5) another reference to the Scriptural account of a worldwide flood. I am struck and humbled at my often own lack of substance-filled faith when I see that the apostle responded to the mocking doubts about Scripture by piling on more Scripture. Why? "Knowing this first [most importantly]..." the mocking and doubting is a just cloak, just a cover, just an excuse.

Ryan Hayden said...

I had read this Salon article too and had many of the same thoughts. Glad you tackled it.