Let's all talk a stroll down the roadway of BJ's "Men of Athens" blog, his response to me, and his superstitious afterlife disease that has most definitely rotted away his logical thought facilities.
The first thing to note is the description of BJ's Men of Athens blog. You can find this blog description just below his blog title. Here is BJ's blog description:
I believe from sacred scripture alone, that I am a wretched sinner according to God's standard, and the "good news" is that I am saved by grace alone, through faith alone in Christ alone, and the glory goes to God alone. This is the Gospel and I negotiate it with no one.
Holy shit. This description is probably the craziest, most self-demeaning, and most brainwashed Christian blog description I've ever read. I was going to pick it apart, but I think that just leaving it here for all to see is sufficient; it exposes it's own vile nature plainly and proudly.
Now let's move on to what BJ says about me. BJ starts off by explaining how I used to be a follower of Ayn Rand but now subscribe to self-interest. That's all well and good, but then BJ comes off half-cocked by making an ignorant accusation. At least he correctly predicts that I will deny such accusation. The difference though, is that while BJ has no evidence to support his accusation, I have ample evidence to deny it with.
To set the context I must mention that recently a brother in Christ suffered the lose of an unborn child. This brother was, I my opinion, kicked while he was down by Aaron Kinney (AK hereafter). Ak may deny this acusation.
If BJ actually surfed the comments section of the Christian who suffered the loss, he would see the things I wrote directly to him. Allow me to paste the things I said directly to the Christian in question, just to see how badly I "kicked" him while he was down:
"Even atheists sympathize with you [Christian], myself included...
When I was a small child, I watched my mother go through multiple miscarriages. It was very sad and traumatic. Of course our family got through it ok but it is definitely an emotional rollercoaster ride...
Dont give up [Christian]. You have the support of both Christians and atheists in the goals your family is reaching for. Im glad to see that you are looking at it from a "glass is half full" perspective...
Well, if your God does exist, I hope that he blesses you soon with a healthy happy bouncing baby. And if He doesnt exist, then I hope that no natural complications arise from you and your wife's next pregnancy."
Obviously, BJ didn't do his homework. I did nothing other than to give the Christian who suffered the loss full emotional support and sympathy, and I meant every word I wrote. In response, the unfortunate Christian (who does not often reciprocate kind words with me, making this instance even more significant) replied to me thusly:
I will note that, in response to a challenge from Josh Brisby after I made my supportive comments, I went over to Josh's blog, The Reformed Oasis, and left him the following comment. Please note the disclaimer, and realize that I wrote this comment a very short time after writing all those supportive comments earlier:
"But you have to accept [God's] will whatever it is. I mean this with no disrespect to anyone when I say: Shouldnt you have popped open a champagne bottle at the news of the miscarriage?"
My champagne argument was meant entirely within the context of accepting God's will, and my earlier supportive comments made my sympathetic feelings on the matter clear. BJ, on the other hand, did nothing but throw mud at me and directly insult me like a whiny little bitch:
Spare us with your condescending comments like...
"I wish the best for your friends (I know who they are) and hope that next time their "God" allows them to have a successful pregnancy
We see through your low-life, indirect assault on our brother. Ask Mr. Neil to post your question as the next Q.O.D. Now go put your nose in the corner of intellectual impotence and stay there until you can play nice.
Although I am sorry to hear of your Mother's miscarriages. Hopefully you can console people now, having lived through such experiences. How does it go again?...." Its okay Mom, its only a little meat-bag that isnt even human yet." So how many pounds of meat do you think your mother lost?
Who pissed in BJ's Cheerios that morning? Realize that BJ posted this comment before I posted my champagne comment! That means that he was acting all fussy before I even posted what was my only risqué comment in the whole discussion. Neither did BJ even answer my question of why should a Christian feel bad about anything that happens if its all God's will anyway. BJ was so concerned with insulting me to make himself feel better that he ignored the substance of the topic at hand altogether.
I wanted to ignore BJ and consider him part of the background noise, but after he made a whole post about me, and did so with such shoddy thinking, I felt like I had to finally address him. Now that I addressed most of the ad-hominem in the various comments sections, let's finally take a look at BJ's "increase the font size until they submit" tactics of addressing my actual arguments. I'm not going to actually reproduce the enlarged font sizes in his replies because Christians do that kind of thing all the time, and it's annoying, and it looks like crap. Just realize that every "...NEXT!" sentence of BJ's involves enlarged fonts in a very annoying manner. If you want to see it for yourself, click here:
Lets assume for the sake of argument that the atheist has no reason to feel bad at the death of a loved one (I do not agree with this in reality but Im granting it right now to drive a point home). Then what reason does the Christian have to grieve at the death of a loved one?
Because our worldview says we can....next!
BJ wants to push back the question so badly that he has to do it with extra big letters. BJ is a total intellectual retard, who is a victim of acute "push the question back and pretend you answered it" disease, and he is at such an advanced stage of the disease that he really believes that he is answering the question!
Of course, I am not going to take his assertion on his word alone, for his word is worth shit to me, since he has proven to be unable or unwilling to act like a moral person, unlike some of his Christian peers.
Where in Christianity does it say that a person of faith may lament and mourn God's will? What passage in the Bible does it say that in?
And more importantly, just proving that a Christian can grieve at the death of a loved one doesn't provide a reason for the Christian to actually do it. Even if I were to take BJ's word at face value and concede that the Christian can grieve at God's will, it still doesn't answer my question "...what reason does the Christian have to grieve at the death of a loved one?" In other words, assuming that the Christian can grieve at God's will, why would he want to do so?
Christians can do just about anything they want to. Christians can definitely sin. So should they sin just because they can, using BJ's (il)logic?
BJ then proceeds to round two of his question pushing:
In fact, what reason does the Christian have to follow any of Gods laws?
Because we love God and those who love God delight in His law....next!
At this point I wonder if BJ even understood my question? This is an exemplary example (ha ha funny word play) of a non-answer.
Why does the Christian love God? Why does the Christian delight in His law, and follow it? BJ keeps repeating that something is a certain way, but utterly fails to answer my question of why it is, or should be, that way.
BJ then addresses (poorly) my question about Heaven and Hell as a motivating factor:
Because of the threat of heaven or hell?
No...because we love God and delight in His law....next!
What a cop out! BJ insists that Heaven and Hell are irrelevant and superfluous, and still doesn't seem capable of giving me a reason why the Christian loves God and delights in His law, or why the Christian even should.
Funny how Christians constantly threaten everyone with hellfire and eternal damnation, and proudly trumpet promises of eternal heavenly bliss, until you ask if Heaven and Hell are motivating carrot-stick factors, at which point the Christian claims that Heaven and Hell are superfluous and irrelevant.
Heaven and Hell are very powerful tools in the converting of people to Christianity. Why do Christians attempt to make them irrelevant when morality is called into the discussion? Maybe because, subconsciously, they get the feeling that if they admit their importance, the proverbial sweater will unravel?
But after my Heaven/Hell question, I quickly noted that even admitting that Heaven and Hell were motivating factors would still only push the question back, yet this goes right over BJ's head:
No, that only pushes the question back one level. For why should a Christian care if he ends up in heaven or hell?
Good question Aaron. This shows you really understand what you are saying. Not! How can a Christian go to hell? Why does a Christian need to be worried about hell? Im not worried about hell, are you?............ NEXT!!!!
If anyone is having trouble understanding anything, it's clearly BJ. Even if we assume that no true Christian goes to Hell, my argument is still valid! Is Hell a motivating factor or not? BJ insists that it isn't but fails to provide any motivating factor or reason for why Christians do what they do and believe what they believe. Calvinists, as I understand it, believe that everyone is preordained to go to one or the other. Do they not worry about which one they end up in? According to most Calvinists that I've talked to, you cannot know if you are going to Heaven until you die. Why does BJ seem so sure? My question of "why?" remains unanswered.
Let's assume that BJ is sure that he will go to Heaven. Is Heaven a motivating factor for him? If so, why? If not, why not? What is it that makes BJ love God and delight in His law? Because God says so? If so, then why does BJ care what God says? So far, BJ has no reason for any of this. Does BJ even know why he loves God and follows God's law?
And why is Heaven and Hell so commonly talked about to believers and non-believers alike? How can Heaven and Hell be irrelevant if they are used as primary tools in Christian evangelizing? Recently we had Ray Comfort on the Hellbound Alleee show, and if you browse to the Living Waters evangelical site, the first thing they have is a quiz that attempts to determine if you are "...good enough to get to Heaven?" Heaven and Hell irrelevant? My ass!
BJ then explains that all Christians go to Heaven:
AK's ultimate question is this...Why should a Christian care if he ends up in heaven or hell? AK maintains that it is because of self-interest. I think not. Think about the question. Are Christians concerned about where they will spend eternity? Is hell an option for a Chrsitian? Noooooo! AK's questions assumes that Christians are working for entry into Heaven, or else they get fire. It is fallicious and he is all screwed up philosophically, logically, and theologically.
According to BJ, all Christians go to Heaven, including Hitler. Fine. But again, it pushes back the question one level. In fact, for BJ to claim that he is sure he will go to Heaven because of his faith implies that he is indeed concerned about the carrot/stick system of Heaven and Hell, because he is comforted in the belief that he will end up in Heaven. He implies that he is concerned about whether or not he gets the reward of Heaven, but since he is already secure in his belief that he will receive this reward, he claims that he doesn't worry about Hell at all. The only reason BJ isn't worried about ending up in Hell is because he believes that he already obtained the motivating factor/reward of Heaven. He admits the motivating factor of Heaven and Hell without realizing it.
BJ then talks about whom Christians are concerned with:
Christians are concerned in the interest of others. That is to say, we have others-interest in mind, not self-interest. Hence, the Great Comission.
When I talked to Matt Slick on his radio show, Matt insisted that Christians are, and should be, concerned with God's will and God's interest. Matt Slick insisted that the only reason we do anything is for God's glory, and immoral acts are immoral acts not because of the damage done to the person, but because God says it's immoral. Matt Slick insisted that the only entity we can truly wrong is God, not other people.
I don't know how much BJ agrees with Matt, but BJ's blog description indicates that he does. Specifically the part that says "...and the glory goes to God alone."
Christianity states that immoral acts are immoral not for their effect on another person, but for their effect on God. Everything in Christianity revolves around God's self-interest. It is silly for BJ to say that he is concerned with other people's interest. At best, he is only concerned with other people's interest by proxy, because God says he should be. So foundationally, BJ is (or should be) only concerned with God's self-interest.
In Christianity, self-interest is only legitimate when it's God's self-interest, and everyone else is owned by Him, lock, stock, and barrel.
BJ then finally makes a real attempt to answer one of my questions, but employs a no-true-Scotsman fallacy in doing so:
I will attempt to answer questions from within my worldview. What AK really is asking, although it was roughly stated, is "What did the unbeliver we once were have in mind when we chose Christ? Self -interest as AK maintains? Well, some so called conversions start with the decision of ," Do you want to go to heaven or hell?" And the unbeliever says wellll.....Heaven sounds better, and would be a better business move (self-interest). Yeah! What the heck...I will sign up! So in this case AK's question is a juggernaut for that person. I do not believe this is what happens at conversion, and hereafter is my philosophy of what happens at conversion.
No TRUE conversion happens because of the threat of Hell is what BJ is saying. So called conversions? Porridge, anyone?
BJ then poses his own question, and then exposes his cognitive dissonance regarding self-ownership and free will:
The question I pose is, "Who does what in Salvation? " The Christian Worldview claims that God does everything. God elects His people, and Saves them from Himself.
Does scripture reveal something differnet about conversion than what I have said above? Does not God replace the heart of stone (AK's heart), for a heart of flesh (Believers heart)? Does not God draw men unto Himself? Yet at some point AK mistakenly thinks that Christians do the decision making. While it is true that we chose God freely, it is only after regeneration takes place that we want to chose. By being regenerate we will chose God. Not because of hell or heaven, but because God has called us unto Himself. We are His people and He is our God. However, it is true that after conversion we learn that people will be in hell, and in heaven. Heaven is kinda the perk of being chosen. As for those in hell, I guess they didnt have their self-interest in mind when they rejected the Gospel.HA!
BJ admits that God does everything and chooses who gets saved and who doesn't. BJ admits that all ownership of everyone and everything is God's. BJ admits that humans don't even get to decide if they are Christian or saved or anything.
But then BJ says that Christians choose freely, only after regeneration takes place. So only after God chooses someone to be a Christian and be saved do they choose to do so themselves. What? You can't have your cake and eat it too. Either you make your own decisions or you don't. BJ seems to reject self-ownership as well. But how can BJ be guilty of anything if he doesn't make his own decisions and doesn't even own himself?
BJ claims that after conversion, Christians learn about that people will be in Hell and Heaven. Bullshit. Non-Christians all know this fairy tale; they don't become aware of it after they convert. Again, Heaven and Hell are big conversion tools, and BJ admitted as much just a few paragraphs earlier (in his Scotsman fallacy response).
BJ says that Heaven is also a perk. But a minute ago it was irrelevant and superfluous. Perks are positive things that are not irrelevant. Perks are desirable and beneficial by definition, and certainly not inconsequential. BJ wants to have his cake and eat it too with Heaven/Hell, self-ownership/God-ownership (as in God owns you), and free will. His claims keep flipping with each argument he tries to answer.
And how can people not have their self-interest in mind when they reject the Gospel and go to Hell, if they didn't know about Hell in the first place as BJ is (momentarily) claiming? BJ implies that the non-believers know about Hell two sentences after he says they don't learn about it until they convert.
BJ has the cognitive-dissonance meter pegging off the scale here.
In a blogosphere of (mostly) thinkers, BJ is a mouthpiece; a parrot for Christianity squawking off the same old cookie-cutter non-answers in an attempt to drown out any thought-provoking questions. "God did it! Squawk! Because I said so! Squawk! I'm going to Heaven but it's irrelevant! Squawk! I don't know the meaning of the word 'why'! Squawk!"
BJ appears not to understand what "pushing the question back" even means. BJ seems not to understand why he follows God, loves Him, and delights in His law. BJ comes off as the ultimate brainwashed automaton. It is ironic to see BJ use such a dismissive tone, when his own conduct inspires non-believers such as myself to dismiss him.
Normally I make a point to attack only the ideas and not the messenger, as I did with Josh Brisby, who is a really nice guy. But BJ is very insulting to me and antagonistic and acts almost like a troll. So I'll lay down some insults of my own just for fun.
BJ is an asshole. BJ is stupid. BJ sucks at defending his worldview, and accordingly, sucks at evangelizing. He makes Christianity look disgusting (remember his blog description, not to mention his tone). Rather than bring the unsaved into the fold, he alienates them. He is an asset to atheism and a liability to Christianity. He acts too big for his britches. He acts like the type of Christian whom other Christians would claim "he isn't a true Christian!" BJ sucks at using spell check, which makes his over-confident and dismissive tone come off as half-cocked, rushed, sloppy, and gives off a "bite off more than he can chew" kind of feel. Odd that he is so good with font-size manipulation, but so poor at using the spell-check feature. It shows that BJ is more comfortable using force, authority, intimidation, and emotional appeal, instead of using logic, professionalism, clarity, and well-thought-out arguments.