Dialogue with Ben

Ben: If I understand you correctly, you may not be able to comprehend why some people would hurt others, but you wouldn’t say that their path in life; their ultimate goal, is any less valid than your own. Have I represented you accurately?
Thomas: Not exactly. I can’t comprehend why people hurt others because I’m not in their skin, soul, whatever and because what I have learned about myself has made hurting others on purpose incomprehensible. I have no way of knowing why others do what they do and don’t see how I can judge them.
Ben: You said that in your worldview, the world should be a place “where everyone accepts everyone”. Why?
Thomas: “Should” is the operative word in that statement. It is not the way the world is, it will not be that in my lifetime and probably never but my view of a perfect world, heaven, if you will, is one in which everyone accepts everyone else. I use the word “accepts” rather than “love” because love is a word that has too much emotion and misunderstanding attached but I am basically talking about Christ’s central message of love for everyone. The reason everyone should accept everyone, other than because it is what Christ wanted, is that to do otherwise is frequently a source of conflict.
Ben: What if butchering another human makes someone happy?
Thomas: Accepting a person as they are does not include accepting certain behaviors.
Ben: Should we judge or encourage a serial killer like Tommy Lynn Sells?
Thomas: Judging his actions is a no-brainer. Putting him away forever or killing him is all fine with me.
Ben: Why should everyone accept everyone?
Thomas: It’s really hard to love someone if you don’t accept them for who they are. Accepting is not condoning or agreeing with; it is “I see you as a person.”
Ben: Why should we love everyone?
Thomas: Maybe you think Satan wrote Matthew 5: 43-48 and Luke 6:27 or are you picking and choosing? But rather than rely on the Bible I’ll give you my own answer from my own life. While trying to follow the advice from your savior, Jesus, I have found that the more successful I am at loving neighbors and enemies the happier I am. Hating Tommy Sells may make you feel better and if that is the case, it is what you should do. Finding it in my heart to love him, while difficult, makes me feel better. Do I love him enough to think he should be running around in society? Hell no.
Ben: Is your worldview morally superior to the worldview of Tommy Lynn Sells?
Thomas: Sells is a character in my life similar to the ghosts in Pac-Man. I have no morally superior worldview
Ben: Do you exist in a worldview of total relativism where anything is right for anyone?
Thomas: I exist in a place where there is only one person I can change and, thus, only one person to judge. Put me on Sell’s jury and I’d judge his actions unacceptable and I wouldn’t care much what happened to his body but I might feel some compassion for his soul (if I was in a dualistic mood). I have no idea what is right for you or for Sells or anyone else.
Ben: Would you appeal to the Bible? But if you do, why reject so much of it while taking just the parts that you like?
Thomas: Gosh, Ben, it seems to me you are rejecting the passages I cited above. Of course I take the parts I like as do you. There is enough contradiction in the Bible to make everyone happy.
As an aside, I’ve done some research into religion and serial killers and haven’t found one that came from an atheist upbringing so I was further amused at Sells statement: “I’ve made my peace with my maker.”

Thinking

I get great pleasure out of thinking. Concentrating on the meaning of life is as satisfying to me as, I presume, it is for a golfer to concentrate on an important putt. I don’t place any greater or lesser importance on my pleasure than on the golfer’s pleasure. I write these thoughts largely for myself though it is quite possible that if I were the only person in the world, I would not bother.
Would I still think if I were alone? One of the things I have found when I am alone is that I frequently think in the past tense. “As I walked up the road toward Mt. Vesuvius from where the bus had dropped me …” I was 27 when I was having that thought in those words while climbing Mt. Vesuvius. I wrote them down in my diary along with the thought “If there was only one person left on earth, and he was I; He would die. Why?”
Why? Because the thought in my head seemed to indicate that I was not climbing through a flowering orchard on a spring day with the cone of Vesuvius ahead of me for my current pleasure but rather for an experience that I could relate to others. Otherwise, why were not my thoughts in the present tense?
Deep breath. “Ahhh. The air is so sweet. God! I love this.” I breathe the air again. I look toward a sound and see a bird. As I emerge from the orchard and start up the cone I can feel my body carrying me upward smoothly. I pause and turn to look out over the bay of Naples. No words in my head about what I am doing. I’m just doing it. No recording necessary.
Would my mind be blank, blank of worded thoughts that is? I shouldn’t think so. The bird might call to mind something I know of birds that could be added to. The fragrance of the air might recall a spring day somewhere in my past. The pull of gravity on my body might bring thoughts of pride at my fitness or a resolve to become more fit. But I’m glad my thoughts weren’t in the present tense. Realizing that brought the philosophical thought, that I was not doing this for myself alone. It is those somehow larger thoughts that I enjoy most, larger and ever so debatable.
There are many things I would not do were there not other people to tell but that is a different thing from thinking. If all other people on the planet suddenly disappeared, would I stop thinking? First I would probably think that was strange. Then I might think it a bit frightening. My life would clearly be different with no one to talk to. I would have to sort out my needs and figure out how to meet them. There would be no one to generate electricity or make matches. How would I cook food? Where would I find food? There would be a lot to think about, at least at first.
At age 27 I thought that I would die if I were the last person on earth. Now, I’m not so sure. Of course I would die eventually but I’m not sure that I would just curl up and die because the only reason for living was to communicate with others. I think I would want to solve the important questions like food and shelter and then I think I would be able to amuse myself with thoughts about the meaning of it all. What was going on? What was I supposed to be doing? The thoughts might not be global or cosmic so much as “What is over the horizon?” “Am I truly alone in the world or are there people that I can find somewhere?” “How did this happen?” Ah, the thoughts seem to progress toward the more philosophical fairly soon.
It is difficult to try to understand thinking before there was language. One model would be animals, I suppose. What does the woodchuck think when it’s nose touches my electric fence for the first time? How do animals learn to be fearful of predators? Are they fearful or merely cautious? What did the early hominid think before language? Can there be thoughts before language?
If I try to think without using words, I think I can have thoughts. Are they thoughts or emotions? Certainly they would be extremely limited absent thoughts from others through written and spoken words. Hunger, shelter, sex are processed through the brain. Those are the “thoughts” I can imagine without words as I sit here half a million or so years later. It was clearly thoughts that brought about the development of tools. It has only been within the past 3,000 years that we have been thinking philosophically. Most of our thought up until then, I suspect, was focused on survival and on improving the quality of life.
What is my dog thinking when she huddles close to me during a thunder storm? What is she thinking when, alone in the house during a thunder storm, she gets into the bathtub? If dogs could communicate about things like thunder, would they exchange ideas on how to cope, try out each others ideas, and come to a general agreement on which strategy worked best?
Before language did hominids wonder what thunder was all about? Did they try to figure out a reason behind it? Once they developed language how did they come to the conclusion that thunder was caused by a god driving his chariot across the sky? As I try to think myself into the skin of people living under those conditions it seems a pretty logical explanation for something that was inexplicable at that time.

Another country heard from

Thomas, you wrote, ” I do believe there was a man named Jesus who grew up in Nazareth.”

I don’t. I’ve only recently come to this conclusion after I read this:

http://rosarubicondior.blogspot.com/2012/08/the-historical-evidence-for-jesus.html

Good stuff, though, even if he was a myth… If only people read the Jefferson Bible instead of the King James version.

Another Country

Thank you, Another Country. The link is excellent and I think we are in agreement that there is good stuff in the New Testament whether or not Jesus put on his sandals one foot at a time or if he existed. My fundamentalist friend, Michael, thinks there is good stuff also; I have asked him twice which was more important believing Jesus was the way to heaven or living a good life. He has not answered either time which leads me to believe he thinks believing is more important than understanding or doing.
I tend to believe there was a man who got it right who lived about the time attributed to Jesus and that a number of people heard him and realized he was onto something. The disciples became, if not already, itinerant preachers. They tried to get people to understand the message and as they traveled around they embellished the story creating the myth that is the New Testament. Folks who use their minds, however they got them, can see the beauty of the message of loving everyone and try to bring it into their own lives. Followers, dare I say sheep, pick up the easy way which was probably not part of the original message and can go to bed comforted every night because they have accepted Jesus as their savior and whatever they did during the day is less important. I feel quite sure that the person who understood loving neighbors and enemies as stated directly and through the parables never said he was the way into heaven as that notion is not at all loving

Michael dialogue continued (3)

Thomas: Michael, you wrote “He (God) said He created nature and all creation that would cause men to ask questions and search for who made all of this.” I think you are making my case. You are saying God made creation so we would think. Beautiful. My point exactly. Ask questions; ask questions about creation, who created all of this. YES! That is spot on. And then along comes Satan and he doesn’t want us to think about God’s creation, he wants us to focus on his words.
I’m going to get off the Satan bandwagon for a moment and say something real. The Bible was written by men who were doing exactly what you say God wanted them and us to do, to ask questions. The Bible is their answer (which, if you believe in Satan, could have been influenced by him), the answer of men who knew so much less about the world than we know today. I think we, those of us living today, should do exactly what you say, “ask questions and search for who made all of this.”

Michael: Oh, I think I am seeing what you are saying now.  Are you saying we should more trust his creation (all that we see and experience) rather than this book containing his “supposed” words?
Thomas: Yes.
Michael: Well, we know from Josephus and other non Biblical sources that Jesus really existed and was gathering lots of attention from his miracles and from the fact He claimed to be God.

Thomas: There are those who dispute the existence of Jesus but I’m not one of them. I do believe there was a man named Jesus who grew up in Nazareth. I believe he was one of the great, perhaps the greatest, philosophers of living using philosophy and psychology. That he wasn’t born in December seems unimportant unless you are an astrologer. That miracles were added to his story by those who wrote his story is, I feel, unfortunate as it makes a lot of people skeptical. His teaching of love, his parables, great quotes, that when he spoke of the Ten Commandments he left out the first three are all believable to me. Why anyone who understands life would need the miracles to believe in his wisdom is beyond my comprehension.

Michael: If all we look at is creation for evidence of God, we would never know about Jesus’ claims to be God.

Thomas: You are saying God’s creation is not evidence enough for you.

Michael: Generations until the end of the world would never read or know about Jesus.

Thomas: Have you heard of Homer? Seven hundred years before Jesus he wrote the Iliad with some interesting quotes like “The glorious gifts of the gods are not to be cast aside.” I think Jesus’ teachings would have survived until now if he had written them down without the miracles, as have Homer’s.

Michael:  I think your way is saying that Jesus is not the only way to Heaven and that there is no real “way” to Heaven, so we all should just love each other because we will be together anyway forever.  Is that what you are saying?

Thomas: You’ve got a lot packed into that question. First, I don’t believe Jesus said he was god or he was the only way into Heaven because that would be contrary to all the rest of his teaching. It’s the kind of thing Satan, if you believe in Satan, would have gotten the disciples to write. I think that and the miracles were embellishments to the real story of Jesus life and teachings. If he said anything like “I am the way” his meaning would have been “my teaching is the way, love thy neighbor, don’t have enemies, etc.” Some people have taken his meaning to be “believing in me is more important than living a good life.” That is the kind of thing Satan would love.
When you say “we all should just love each other” I find myself questioning your definition of love in this context. Loving everyone is not the same as loving family members. I’ve spent a lot of time trying to figure out how that works, how do I love someone who kills, someone who does stupid things, someone who has stupid thoughts? I think I have figured out how I can do that and it is working out pretty well for me. You’ve probably read my essay on the website on love so you may understand what I’m talking about.

Michael: There is no real basis for that way of thinking and there are no specifics or details.  You would just be hoping.  Jesus lays out a real plan and it is recorded in the Bible.  I don’t see how Satan could benefit by focusing on Jesus so much in the Bible.
Thomas: Not hoping, Michael, just living my life based on learning and thinking, learning from reading what others have thought, learning from experience, learning from conversations like ours and using the gifts I find I have in this life—my senses and my mind.

What do you think Jesus “real plan” is? Is it 1) to love neighbors, enemies, everyone or is it 2) to believe he is God. There is pretty good plan for living laid out in the New Testament. We could say one by Jesus and another (2) by Satan, if we believed in Satan.

Dialogue with Michael part 2

Michael: Your premise is correct in that Satan doesn’t have God’s power.  Remember, Satan was created by God and can only do what God allows him to do.  God has allowed false teachings, but He also has allowed true teachings.  People have difficulty deciding what is the true teaching.  The prophecies of the Messiah and Jesus Christ fulfilling them (plus the genealogy in Matthew) is the clear difference between the truth and false teachings.  No other religion has anything close to this.
Thomas: Satan was created by God? That is a new thought for me and I appreciate you introducing it. Can you tell me the reference for this? This doesn’t seem to go with anything I have read in the Bible. It is an interesting thought though.
Michael: I wont quote the Bible since you will just say Satan wrote it,  God implies creator,  He was not created.  He lives outside of his creation and has the power to create.  You yourself said Satan can’t create therefore he could not be the creator.  That makes him a created being like you and me.  He is not equal to God
Thomas: Quoting the Bible is fine, I do it frequently. The notion that Satan wrote the Bible is simply a logical argument based on what many who believe there is a Satan believe his powers and motives to be and taking that belief in an analysis of some part of the Bible. I don’t believe in Satan but the concept is fascinating to me. My notion of Satan and God are that they both existed before the creation of Earth kind of like brothers, and that when God created earth Satan was jealous.
I agree with all you write except “That makes him a created being like you and me.” I’m trying to work this through. First, I’m dropping “like you and me” because you and I certainly don’t have the powers attributed to Satan. (Let me know if I’m wrong in this.) As for the thought that God created Satan, I’m not aware of anything in the Bible (I will not refute anything you quote from the Bible by saying Satan wrote it.) so I’d be happy to know where you have gotten that thought. The second question that raises is why. Why did God create Satan?

Michael: God created angels with Lucifer as most beautiful and highest position.  Apparently God gave them free will like he did man.  Lucifer wanted to be worshiped like God and rebelled along with a third of the angels.  These are Satan and demons.  They don live in Hell yet as they roam Earth deceiving and tempting.  God calls him the prince of this world.  So he was created like we were and willful sin has wrecked this world.  Calvinists believe man has no free will and that God planned it exactly this way but I believe he gave us free will to chose to love and follow him and we are the ones messing up the world

Thomas: Please tell me the source of this information. I’m pretty sure it’s not in the Bible but I might have missed something.

Michael: It’s easier just to use this link I found rather than mention them myself.  http://baptistbulletin.org/?p=13559

Thomas: That link is quite clear. Thank you. I’ve just started looking up the passages referenced and will give all this more thought. Perhaps you can help me with Ezekiel 28: 12-15. Is Tyrus an alias of Satan? It seems like Tyrus is a human rather than an angel. This may be where I have trouble following the story that God created Satan. I don’t think it says anything like that in the Bible unless you change some names and/or make some assumptions. If the Bible is God’s word, it seems we ought to pretty much stick with his words.
Michael: God changed Lucifer to Satan, Saul to Paul, Abram to Abraham because they had changed character and he gave them new names that suited their new character good or bad.  He also spoke of cities as if they were a person like Sodom and Babylon.  Yes Tyrus went from a city that traded Jews into slavery into Antichrist/Satan.  Confusing  but not more than parables which Jesus did on purpose.

Thomas: Which of the three theories about when Satan’s sinning occurred do you believe? If I understand the link, this theory about Satan is just a theory. If the Bible is God’s word, why does man today have to make up theories about it? The following quote from the web site you sent me seems to sums up the theories:“So it would seem best to believe that Satan’s sinning occurred after the six days of creation but before man fell into sin, possibly in just a matter of days.” Are you comfortable with this? (emphasis mine)

Michael: I believe in a young earth.  I don’t believe in the gap theory or macro evolution.  There are dinosaur fossils but not missing link fossils.  So desperate are the evolutionists they came up with the craziest theory ever called punctuated equilibrium which means the evolutionary change is rapid and sudden instead of slow and steady.  Sounds like creation to me.
God does make a point to say His ways are not our ways.  The important parts of the Bible, the gospel of Christ, are very simple to understand. Don’t get caught up in doctrinal arguments. Salvation through Christ is what it is about and none of my words will ever convince you.  Read Matthew mark Luke and john ask God to convince you of the real truth.

Thomas: I commend you an saying “I believe”. No one can argue with a person’s belief because it is personal, it is yours just as other people’s beliefs are theirs. I think we get in trouble when we get belief and knowledge mixed up.

[stay tuned, this dialogue goes on]

Dialogue with Michael

See comments for the beginning of this dialogue.

Michael: Thanks for the reply, Thomas D.  I am probably older than you…I’m 50.  Your life will be over in the blink of an eye and you will have spent so much of your time and effort with this website and it will all be in vain if you continue to hold to your current beliefs.  Besides, is it really bringing you satisfaction doing this?  If you indeed know the Bible, then call out to God and pray to Him for belief or faith and do it in sincerity.  If He doesn’t answer you, then at least you did as He commanded.  He responded to me when I did and He still does when I’m sincere.   That’s better than arguing semantics and philosophy all day.  That will never accomplish anything because people just don’t change their minds through “healthy” debate and arguing.  Anywho, I don’t mean any harm, just saying what I have experienced.  Btw, “Mere Christianity” by CS Lewis had a large part in changing my mind about things.

Thomas: I’m 76 and I live my life as if the next blink may be my last. You may have heard of people whose lives have changed dramatically after having had a near brush with death. My thinking about life over the years has brought me to this wonderful place where I respect and love my fellow travelers in this journey we call life. I got to this place without a near death experience; in fact I am very healthy and active and have always been. I currently grow an acre of vegetables producing over 9,000 pounds last year.
Thinking for me is fun and hoeing the peas is a good time to think. I invite you to read my essay on love on Satanwrotethebible. I suspect you are put off by the website title. The essay on love is sincere and very much in keeping with Jesus’s teaching.

Michael: Wow, 76?  I wasn’t expecting that.  I am used to these younger kids who think they know everything and just want to argue.  I get caught up in their agenda, leave comments and usually regret it.  I grew up in the Mississippi Delta surrounded by farmland.  I even have a degree in Entomology, so it sounds like we aren’t that different.  Uh, yes, I guess I am put off by the website title…maybe even confused a little as to what you believe.

Thomas:You may be amused to learn that atheists visiting my site are also a little confused as to what I believe. My quote “Leave your leap of faith behind and use your God-given mind” leads them to think that I believe in God which confuses them because they assumed anyone who thought Satan wrote the Bible would not believe in God. In my writing I try hard to put myself in the other person’s shoes, to empathize. The notion of Satan writing the Bible assumes the person I’m communicating with believes in Satan and also believes the Bible is the word of God. If I don’t understand where they are in their thoughts, it is not likely I will be able to communicate with them. If you believe in Satan and read my essay “Satan Wrote the Bible”, please tell me where I went wrong—other than the title and conclusion, of course (ha, ha).

Michael: Okay, I read it.  It’s a very creative take on the Bible.  Let me ask this.  What if the Bible is indeed God’s Word (as most Christians believe) and that your idea about Satan writing the Bible is actually Satan’s influence on your mind.  I will go so far as to state, that Satan is influencing either your mind or the Christians’s mind about the Bible.

Thomas: Excellent! You are absolutely right! If you believe the Bible is God’s Word and if you believe in a force of evil with all the powers you attribute to Satan, then it is equally likely that Satan is influencing my mind as that Satan is influencing the Christians’s mind.

Michael: If Satan wrote the Bible, then God is not revealing His word to His people today. The creator has decided not to communicate with His people and that really doesn’t make a lot of sense.  Why wouldn’t God reveal “the real truth” as you state to us in a different way then?

Thomas: I think the creator has communicated eloquently and does so every waking moment of every life that is open to the Creator’s truth. The Creator gave us our bodies with their senses of smell, sight, sound, touch and brains to absorb all of that, to appreciate, to love, to embrace this gift of life. Did he create such dullards that they could not get the message?
Don’t you agree that Satan couldn’t create our bodies, our senses and the flowers, sunsets and billions of life forms and geological forms; that Satan was not a creator? Where we disagree is that you think God’s creation was not enough; that we can’t understand it, appreciate it, figure out how to conduct ourselves in this amazing thing called life without an instruction book.

Michael: Satan doesn’t have the power to allow Jesus Christ to fulfill all Old Testament prophecies for the Messiah.  Only God could have done that.  That would make Jesus the true Messiah that we should follow, which would destroy Satan’s purpose for writing the Bible.

Thomas: Isn’t your impression that Satan has the power to manipulate, that he has the power to cause books to be written, to influence people’s actions, etc. You are saying he doesn’t have the power to allow Jesus Christ to fulfill OT prophecies but all you are writing about is based on writing that Satan could manipulate.

{More to follow]

What Would Your Wish be?

 

A genie materializes before me and says: “Thomas.”

“What?! You scared the crap outa me.”

“Thomas, I am here to grant you one wish.”

“One, I thought I was supposed to get three?”

“No, that’s in mythology. In reality you don’t get any but I’m making an exception in your case.”

“OK. I wish that everyone loved everyone like Jesus said we should.”

“Eh, sorry, I can’t grant that wish.”

“Why?”

“I can’t tell you. Wish again.”

“I wish that everyone understood the difference between belief and knowledge.”

“Can’t they just look it up in the dictionary? Or Google it?”

“I think I’m asking for more than that. I want all of us to be able to say about our faith, our belief in God, heaven, hell, etc. to say ‘this is what I believe but I don’t know.’”

“You want atheists to say I believe there is no god, but I don’t know?”

“Right.”

“And Christians to say I believe in God but I don’t know?”

“Yes, and Jews and Muslims and everybody who holds a belief in something that cannot be proven to be true.”

“Why do you care?”

“Because if all of us recognized that our belief was ours and we respected everyone’s belief as being as valid as ours it might be a big step toward loving each other.”

Good in the Bible

Dear Bible Believer, Let me get back to your original question: if Satan wrote the Bible, why is there so much good in it?

Put yourself in Satan’s shoes—you say out of jealousy he wants to destroy God’s creation. He wants us to destroy the forests and fields, to destroy the Garden of Eden, to kill all other creatures and each other; he wants us to deny the pleasure of our senses. You say he is smart and crafty; would it be smart to preach the destruction of creation? If he said he was God and preached destruction, killing and denial, would you follow that god? Satan is devious, right? So he causes the Bible to be written and in it he puts some good things like “Thou Shalt not kill. [It’s interesting that when asked to name the Ten Commandments, the first most people name is “Thou Shalt not kill”. It is number six in the Bible.]

While Satan would like to see lots of wars and have us kill each other he puts in the Bible “Thou shalt not kill.” That makes sense to us. It is wise advice. Then Satan fills the Bible with killing.

God is a brutal, bloodthirsty son of a bitch. Here’s one example:

And at midnight the LORD killed all the firstborn sons in the land of Egypt, from the firstborn son of Pharaoh, who sat on the throne, to the firstborn son of the captive in the dungeon. Even the firstborn of their livestock were killed.  Pharaoh and his officials and all the people of Egypt woke up during the night and loud wailing was heard throughout the land of Egypt. There was not a single house where someone had not died.  (Exodus 12:29-30)

In that one God did the actual killing himself but he also enjoyed ordering murders:

All who curse their father or mother must be put to death. God’s words to Moses in Leviticus 20:9

If you thirst for more of this check out:

http://www.evilbible.com/Murder.htm

Dear Bible Believer, how do you reconcile God’s actions, brutal actions and orders with the Sixth Commandment?

I find the teachings of Jesus to be excellent. He taught love. That was far and away the thing he preached most yet much blood has been shed over belief in him. When he says “I am the way. Only through me can you get to heaven.” Where did that come from? It is not loving. It is excluding. I frankly don’t believe he ever said anything like that. I believe those words were put into his mouth by disciples, preachers traveling around spreading his word and gathering followers. It served their purpose but it did not serve Jesus’s teachings or his legacy well.

Satan’s influence – a dialogue

Bible Believer: If Satan wrote the Bible, why is there so much good in it?

Thomas: Is Satan stupid?

BB: No! He is very smart. That is how he is able to lure us to do things we shouldn’t.

Thomas: What is his mission?

BB: To get us to do bad things.

Thomas: Like destroying God’s creation?

BB: Yes.

Thomas: Are we part of God’s creation?

BB: Yes.

Thomas: Do you believe God gave you your body with senses of smell, sight, touch, hearing, the pleasure of sex?

BB: Yeah, I guess.

Thomas: You guess?

BB: Well, I’m not sure about sex. That might be Satan.

Thomas: Is sex something other than a wonderful combination of the senses, might I say climax?

BB: Yeah, but Satan can get in our mind and make us do things we shouldn’t.

Thomas: Sex is something we shouldn’t do?

BB: Right, unless it is between a man and a woman and only because they are married and want to have children.

Thomas: You are married. Have you had sex with your wife other than to have children?

BB: Yes, but that is because Satan makes me do it.

Thomas: Do you masturbate?

BB: No. Why are you raising your eyebrows; don’t you believe me?

Thomas: You are unique. Anyway, your sexual urges come from Satan? How does Satan do that? I understand that he is smart but he did not create your body, the body that has the sexual urges.

BB: He gets in my mind.

Thomas: Your God-given mind?

BB: Well, yeah, but I’m weak.

Thomas: God gave you a weak mind?

BB: Yeah, no! It’s not God’s fault I’m weak.

Thomas: Your God-given weak mind gives in to the pleasures of your God-given body? How does it make you feel when you “are weak?”

BB: I feel bad because I’m not doing what God wants me to do.

Thomas: How do you know what God wants you to do?

BB: It’s in the Bible.

Thomas: If it weren’t for the Bible, you would enjoy sex without feeling bad? Have I got that right? If God had written a manual for life saying “I have given you a body with senses that can bring you great pleasure and joy; I have given you a mind that will help you enjoy your life; I have given you plants and animals, mountains and oceans if you take care of them they will feed your body and soul all the days of your life; if that were God’s word, would you feel bad when you used your body?

BB: I guess not but that’s not what he said.

Thomas: So, Satan can influence people; could he influence what people write or say?

BB: He’s sure influencing what you are writing. Yes.

Thomas: Is my writing influencing you?

BB: Hell no!

Thomas: Do you think Satan could work through religions to get people to go astray?

BB: Just look at history. He does some of his best work that way.

Thomas: Through other religions, not yours?

BB: Right, there are lots of religions out there that have lost their way.

Thomas: What is your religion?

BB: Lutheran.

Thomas: So Catholics have lost their way?

BB: Absolutely! Martin Luther established that.

Thomas: And Jews have lost their way?

BB: They killed Christ didn’t they?

Thomas: And Mormons?

BB: I don’t really know much about them but unless they believe the only way to heaven is through Christ, why, yeah, they are on the wrong track.

Thomas: Muslims?

BB: Isn’t that obvious?

Thomas: So, Satan is winning? All those millions of people who aren’t Lutherans have been won over by Satan even though all of those people believe in the Bible, the same Bible you believe in. They follow, or at least try to follow, the Ten Commandments, just as you do. All but the Jews believe Jesus was holy.

BB: Not Muslims.

Thomas: Actually, they do but they have a more recent prophet who created another holy book, the Koran. Mormons have the most recent prophet to whom the Book of Mormon came directly from God much as the Ten Commandments came to Moses. The Jews have the oldest word from God and the Mormons have the most recent. What makes the Lutherans special?

BB: I just know they are. It is my faith.

Thomas: I respect your faith as long as it makes you happy. However, if it makes you unhappy, I suggest you question it. You believe Satan is smart and that he can work through religions. Perhaps you should use your mind to make sure you are not following Satan, to make sure Satan is not taking away anything God gave you. I’ll get back to your original question in my next post.

Jehovah’s Witness

I had a lovely conversation with a Jehovah’s Witness recently. As she turned to leave she paused and looked back to express the very thought that was on my mind. “I enjoyed this. We listened to each other.”

She couldn’t understand how I could write an essay “Satan Wrote the Bible” and yet I claimed not to believe in Satan.

“Do you believe there is a Satan?” I asked.

“Yes.”

“Then the essay is for you. It is written for those who believe in personifications of Good and Evil and who think the personification of Good, God, caused the writing of the Bible. I read Job with great care many times trying to understand what was being said. I really don’t think I was trying to find what I found.”

“You found that Satan wrote the Bible?”

“I found that Satan comes across as being smarter than God and that led me to the notion that Satan wrote the Bible.”

“But you don’t believe there is a Satan?”

“Right.”

“But you believe Satan wrote the Bible?”

“I believe the Bible was written by young men who thought the world was flat.” [I have been corrected: “humans have known the to be earth a sphere since 240 BC.” see comments for more.]

At this she turned to a page in the Bible and read, “Isaiah 40:22 There is One who is dwelling above the circle of the earth.” She referred to another passage about space indicating that we are but a small part of the universe. Then she asked, “Young men?”

“Just a flip comment based on life expectancy 2,500 years ago,” I replied.

In this exchange I implied that I read Job objectively. I certainly tried but it is likely that if I had believed God wrote the Bible, I would have come to a different conclusion. I do think I was a leg up on someone reading the Bible to substantiate his or her belief. It is incredibly difficult to read anything objectively but well worth the effort to try.