Monday, February 18, 2008

God is Imaginary: #3 Look at historical gods.

Look at historical gods.

The kernel of this argument is that believing in something, regardless of how many believe, doesn't make it so. It goes on to repeat the old canard that Christianity has borrowed everything from other religions. So lets start with the bullet-pointed quotations (which are taken directly from The Da Vinci Code--they might as well quote from Harry Potter).

First, C.S. Lewis argued that, if Christ was entirely original, you'd take him for a kook--it would require high level incredulity to believe that no one had stumbled upon even a vestige of the truth. That other religions contain pieces of the truth should not be surprising, particularly when you consider that...

Second, if the Bible does contain true history, then all people were once part of a believing society. It would, once again, require a high level of incredulity to believe that those people had lost all of the truth, regardless of how it was corrupted and perverted. Which leads to the third concept that...

Third, everyone had access to these things at the same time, yet publication was lacking. People recorded the happenings of the Flood, and moved on, long before the time of Moses, who recorded them by inspiration. So in the hundreds of years between Babel and Moses, it is quite possible that some "older" religion adopted it--even though they were coexistent.

So we see that lack of originality is by no means a devastating assault on Christianity. It is to be expected if you consider the history in Scripture to be true history.

Most of the items listed in the first bullet point, the inheritance from older religions, have to do with form, not substance. To this I refer to Collossians 2:16-17, "Therefore do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day. These are a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ." In short, borrow as needed. If one can lead pagans to Christ through the adoption of sun-disc halos, it is a small price to pay.

The one issue in the first bullet point that does need addressing is the "god eating." Those of an atheist bent will accuse me of splitting hairs, but as the saying goes, "God is in the details." The "god eating" religions, such as gnosticism and the Jewish Zimzum heresy, were based on the same concept--that god had been broken into pieces, and those pieces were scattered throughout creation. Thus by eating certain things, one could contribute to the "wholeness" of god. The Christian "god eating" is entirely different. God is not broken into pieces--He is infinite--and therefore within and throughout everything, so such "god eating" is meaningless in that sense. Instead, the "god eating" is no more eating than you are "self eating" every time your heart pumps. Christians are the body of Christ, and he nourishes us.

In the second bullet point, Mithras was called "Son of God" and "Light of the World," solely in The Da Vinci Code, which is another reason they might as well be quoting Harry Potter.

And finally, in the "Understanding the Rationalizations" box, they repeat another piece of wisdom, "It was once the case that most people believed the world to be flat." No. It is still the case that people believe that it was once the case that people believed the world to be flat. This particular idea comes from, wait for it, another novel. I'm still waiting for the devastating Harry Potter quote. This novel is by Washington Irving, about Christopher Columbus. It was hard to make Christopher Columbus into a hero when he went on his voyage because his math was wrong and everyone else's was right, and so the flat earth myth was born. Herodotus recorded the roundness of the earth in 500 B.C. The Book of Job recorded the roundness of the earth in 1700 B.C. There's not much literature older than that. Those silly Sumerians believing that the earth is flat!

Back to the Fifty Reasons.



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