Yep. Bob 'Plagiarist' Hutton is back.
I've decided to make a feature of this. Every post Bob puts up, I shall answer, take the piss out of, critique, fisk, or at the very least mention, and provide a link to. I have three reasons for doing this. Firstly, Bob's all too typical of his "stratum" (for want of a better word) of religious "thinking" (ditto), and so provides a window which, distasteful as it might occasionally be, we really should be wiping the grime off and peering through, now and again.
Secondly, he doesn't post too often (two or three a month, usually), so it's not likely to take this entire blog over.
Thirdly, Bob's "moderation" policy amounts to ignoring any comment, no matter how polite, which he doesn't want to address, or (I suspect) which might make him have to face an uncomfortable truth or two. So—and credit goes to Remigius, who put this thought out there—as a kind of service, I offer the comment-sections below my responses to his posts, where they most surely won't be magically disappeared.
A couple of guidelines. If you've left a comment on Bob's blog, feel free to copy it before submitting it there (or make use of this nifty Firefox add-on which saves your comment-form entries automatically), and then paste it into a comment under the relevant post, here. If you do so, please mark it clearly as a cross-post. And a caveat: Bob has certain politeness-standards. Don't be pasting stuff here and whinging that he disappeared your comment, if your comment was sprinkled with cuss-words etc. (I'm not sure, but I'd be willing to lay odds that Bob would moderate against such hideous crimes as "god" not being capitalised, even when not used as a proper noun. Better safe than sorry.)
Of course, if you want to just comment here, feel free to do that too.
And so, with the preamble over, let's take a look at Bob's latest. I'm feeling in a fisking mood; though some parts may be treated more seriously than others.
Take it away, Bob…
After having proved the emptiness and folly of atheism in my last article,
I turn now to details of a leaflet I am using in the run-up to Easter. It's entitled "Do you know why Jesus died?" and answers that question with the following four points:
Could it be that he died because the human body does not react very well to being nailed to a tree?
1. His death was predicted long ago.
The events of Good Friday were not a chance happening, nor was Jesus caught out by circumstances beyond His control. This was all part of the plan of God put in place before the world was even created.
Whoa there Bubba!
You're saying that he knew before he started that human beings would sin and need redemption? 'cause it looks to me like you're saying, in that case, that he knew beforehand that, just for instance, he would drown an entire freakin' world for "sins" which he already knew they would commit, but went ahead and—as an all-powerful creator—created them sinful anyway. Christ, what a bastard you portray him to be, Bob.
The Old Testament contains many prophecies about the coming of a Saviour, and Jesus fulfilled every one of them (further proof that the Bible is the inspired, infallible and inerrant Word of God). Many of these prophecies relate to His sufferings and death. An example being Isaiah chapter 53.
For starters, Isaiah 53 is quite obviously talking about the restoration of the Jewish nation. As this essay says:
The key to deciphering any biblical text is to view it in context. Isaiah 53 is the fourth of the four "Servant Songs." (The others are found in Isaiah chapters 42, 49 and 50.) Though the "servant" in Isaiah 53 is not openly identified – these verses merely refer to "My servant" (52:13, 53:11) – the "servant" in each of the previous Servant Songs is plainly and repeatedly identified as the Jewish nation. Beginning with chapter 41, the equating of God's Servant with the nation of Israel is made nine times by the prophet Isaiah, and no one other than Israel is identified as the "servant"
The Christian interpretation of that chapter, Bob, is a retro-fit. It's an attempt to re-interpret old "evidence" in order to bolster the claim that Jesus was fulfilling prophecy.
And talking of prophecy, I've mentioned this before, but a universe in which prophecy is possible has to be deterministic, and therefore (whether designed or not, whether the designer is the one making the prophecy or not) cannot be a universe in which free will is possible. Thus, if you're sticking with the Isaiah nonsense, Bob, you're going to have to give up the idea that anyone can be (as you later say), "forced into a situation where they must make a choice." Pick which you like most—choice or prophecy—and go with it, but you cannot have both without the universe imploding in a puff of logic.
2. His death was punishment for others.
When Jesus was crucified there were 2 thieves also being put to death. One of them admitted that Jesus had done nothing wrong. Why then, was He being thus punished? The answer: as a sacrifice for others, as a sacrifice for us, as a sacrifice for the sins of the whole world. As 1st John 2 v 2 puts it "He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world"
(The word propitiation simply means that the wrath of God against sin was laid upon Jesus, so we can go free).
The Bible also says that Christ suffered for sins "the just for the unjust" 1st Peter 3 v 18.
Serious question: How does this work?
If I offer to do prison-time on behalf of a convicted criminal, would you feel justice had been served if the court took me up on my offer?
How can a person atone for crimes which were committed by others?
This is the scapegoat theory of justice. It is the theory that we don't have to atone for our own sins, but rather we can somehow load them onto an innocent bystander, and punish them instead.
Did I say "justice"? Sorry, no. It's a combination of badly-aimed, naked vengeance and self-interested blood-sacrifice of an innocent to appease a cosmic bully.
3. His death provoked 2 kinds of response.
Three kinds. You don't mention disgust.
As mentioned earlier there were 2 thieves being crucified with Jesus. One of these recognised Jesus's claims and expressed faith in Him (this man went to Heaven); the other thief refused to put his trust in Jesus thus ensuring that he would end up in Hell.
This sums up everyone in the world. The whole world is on one or other side of the cross. For those who truly repent of their sins and turn to Christ there is the absolute certainty of eternal life in Heaven. However, for those who refuse to do this, or simply ignore the call of Christ, there is the absolute certainty of eternal damnation in Hell.
And again, I do not see how this god may be considered loving or just. It's all very well saying that a person must repent of their sins (not to mention that the weight put on that part by many sects is minimal at best). I could even say that that was laudable in some circumstances. But then there's that "you have to believe in Jesus" part.
Why on Earth should belief in God make a blind bit of difference? Why, specifically, should an otherwise blameless person be punished, merely for non-belief, whilst a serial killer is awarded the keys to Heaven on the basis of a repentance in the last few hours or minutes of their life?
Does anyone really think that this is justice?
Personally, I'm just glad it's all bullshit, 'cause I really would not like this God bloke, were he real.
4. His death still demands a response.
The Bible says that the "…message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing but to those who are saved it is the power of God" 1st Corinthians 1 v 18.
Should've stopped after the seventh word of that quote, there, Bubba.
The cross will either draw a person to Christ or repel that person.
Hint: It's a torture device upon which people were left to die slowly and painfully of a combination of shock, exposure and blood-loss. Do you feel drawn, or repelled?
Every time someone is confronted with the Gospel (Christ died for our sins……..and rose again – 1st Corinthians 15 v 3-4) that person is forced into a situation where they must make a choice, simply ignoring the Gospel is to choose to reject it.
Of course, there is that fiddlin' little matter of it being an awful story of human sacrifice. Oh, and the other matter. Umm, what was it, now? Oh yes… the one of there being absolutely no evidence that it actually happened. But yeah, it would be foolish to reject it on such petty grounds.
Chris's resurrection after 3 days is the proof that His sacrifice for sin was complete, and that we cannot earn our way to Heaven by good works but through faith in Him as our personal Saviour.
Holy Christ, who's this "Chris" bloke? (Please tell me this is a faithful transcript of an actual leaflet Bob's been handing out…)
Of course, the resurrection might be slightly better proof of Chris's barbaric and unnecessary sacrifice (couldn't the all-powerful creator of the entire universe find a less bloodthirsty way to communicate his message?), if there was any proof of the resurrection. Ho-hum.
And there's that horrible little "God gets a sad on if you don't believe he exists, and punishes you for eternity" bit again. But he really is a loving god! Honest!
Please pray that, as these leaflets go out, God will draw precious souls to repentance and faith in Christ.
Please remember to place this leaflet in the "Paper" receptacle at the recycling centre. Unless you're short of loo-roll. Or fag-papers.
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