Open Letter to a New Atheist (Revised with Endnotes)

Open Letter to a New Atheist (Revised)

I understand your questions about the Bible.  For Christians with my mindset, the Bible is a book that is both human and divine.  Because it is human, it is not perfect in the sense that it is totally without error. In space and time, nothing can be perfect in that sense.  If there were something that was perfect, man would have turned it into an idol, which some have done with the Bible.  When the Bible says  “the word of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul”, it simply means that it is sufficient to revive or energize the spirit of man.  The Greek word  téleios was and is translated ‘perfect’ by many Bibles.  However, this can lead to a lot of God talk.  By God talk I mean many extreme ideas and talk, which religious folks get into.  A better understanding and translation would be complete, sufficient or mature.  Jesus said, “be perfect even as your heavenly Father is perfect.”  If you were to understand the word perfect as meaning ‘without fault or sin’, this would be impossible.  If one reads the context carefully they would see that Jesus is simply saying that we should treat  everyone equally; and that  means to love all men.

The problem with the fundamentalist is not that they believe the Bible to be the word of God; their problem is that their God is too small and their reading of the Bible is shallow and vulgar.  Though they say that they believe it to be the very words of God, they don’t treat it that way.  They don’t even stand up when it is read publicly.  However, this is not the Bible’s problem, as I have said humanity will poison everything it touches.  In spite of this, I do believe the Bible to be perfect in its ability to accomplish God’s intent for it, i.e. fulfilling his purpose.

The God, which I believe in, is so large that he must accommodate man at every level of contact with him.  When humanity was young and immature, God dealt with him as a parent would deal with a small child.  He surely would not  have had Jesus  enter into humanity in a cannibal’s village; they could not have understood him and would have had Him for dinner.  God had to nurture and bring man to age before sending Jesus into the world.  The Bible says he used religion and law as a schoolmaster to bring us to a place of faith and living by the Spirit and not by the law (Bible).

A mature Christian lives by the Spirit of God and not by the Bible as a fundamentalist.  For the Christian, everything is moving toward téleios or completion, when you read the Old Testament Scriptures, you’re dealing with God’s interaction with primitive man. They were not ready for the teaching of Jesus and it would have been impossible for God to speed up the process of  preparing them without violating his nature, the laws of natural development and their free will. If he had intervened in some overwhelming way, he would have been criticized for that by some today.

I do not know for sure why God had the Israelites destroy some of the inhabitants of the land, but I think I have an idea.  It is not as if he did it in an arbitrary fashion.  For He told Abraham 400 years prior to telling Joshua to destroy them, that he could not destroy them because they were not wicked.  However, when Joshua came on the scene, something had changed.  They had become exceedingly wicked.  They were offering up their children to false gods by burning them alive and were practicing animal sex.  In view of this, I would suspect that their whole tribe was riddled with disease of every kind. Remember, they had no cure for these diseases during that period.   If the Israelites were to intermingle with them rampant disease could have destroyed the Israelites.

It does not come from wisdom to judge another people’s culture and especially ancient ones, for we were not there.  If we had been there we probably would’ve done the same things.  Sometimes, there isn’t a choice between good and evil.  Sometimes,  it is simply a  choice between two evils.

In World War Two,  our leaders had a  choice to either invade Japan and lose 300,000 soldiers, which could have severely crippled our nation or to drop the atomic bomb on Japan.  They did what they felt they had to do and they did it without any divine guidance.  Could it be that God sometimes has to do something that makes him unhappy?  Christians simply believe and trust that He knows the  circumstances better than anyone and therefore, is just in all of his dealings with man.  Also remember that any position can be framed to make it look good or bad.  The question is, is the person who is framing it deliberate in his effort to be correct  and reasonable?  To place our standards of morality on to the ancient Israelites and God is  neither correct, nor wise.  It may not even be moral.  All I am saying is be careful about how you frame your judgments of people.  It is not as easy as some would like us to believe.  By the way, I find many atheists to be more judgmental than Christians; they seem to have an exaggerated opinion of their moral standing.  In this way they seem to be somewhat like the secular Pharisees.  They, like the Pharisees, seem to put the emphasis on negative morality, the immoral things that they do not do, and very little emphasis on what they ought to be doing.  Just something to think about.

There is a lot, and I mean a lot, of misinformation about how the Bible came together and most  of it is based on nonsense. I will try to find some condensed scholarly information for you[1]. It is strange that men who knew the apostle John, like Clement of Rome[2], quoted John’s gospel in the second century,  since according to some, it didn’t exist.  That is truly amazing.  The writings of the early Christian fathers are a collection of old books and writings from the second and third centuries, which is well before the canon was officially accepted.  Now here is the truth, those writings are filled with quotes from the Gospels and other New Testament documents.  Were they quoting from books that did not exist or has someone given you bad information?  I have personally read many those sourcebook which numbers in the hundreds, so my knowledge is not hearsay.

Who do you think spreads all the disinformation about Christianity, the Bible and the U.S.?  Do you think it could be Lenin’s useful idiots?  For example there was a book that came out in 2013 that was being promoted by progressive radio and even public radio entitled “Zealot”.  It is a book that tried to raise questions about Jesus’ own self understanding.  The promoters  had presented the book as being written by an unbiased author.  Now, here is the truth.  The author is a Muslim and associated with left-wing organizations that have their roots in communism.  His media company called, “Aslan Media” gets its fiscal sponsorship from the Levantine Cultural Center who are also partners with Code Pink.  He also sits on the Advisory Board of NIAC, the National Iranian American Council. Both Code Pink and the NIAC get their funding from George Soros, who I believe is an evil man and a socialist[3].

Jesus said the whole world lies in the Evil one and that he was a liar from the beginning. The world is filled with lies and disinformation, I would suggest that you be careful about what you hear and believe. LD


[1] I now have a series of videos on my website, The Reliability of the New Testament (Introduction).

[2] [a.d. 30-100.] Clement was probably a Gentile and a Roman. He seems to have been at Philippi with St. Paul (a.d. 57). There has been some scholars who have questioned the authenticity of some of the writings bearing his name. However, for my discussion the authenticity is not the question. It is the fact, that the writings bearing his name makes reference to the New Testament documents.

[3] I had one atheist respond, who seem to believe that a Moslems could be unbiased about the self understanding of Jesus. I find it amusing to have an atheist take the side of the Moslem who they believe is wrong about God and yet he is right about Jesus. Could it be a case of “The enemy of my enemy is my friend”?