Friday, July 22, 2005

Save Yourself Some Pain

Have you ever been to Kirk Cameron’s website, Way of the Master? Well, it’s a pretty well made site. It has lots of cool flash animation and videos of Mr. Cameron telling us just how afraid of Hell we should be. The site’s high-priced flash features make it look really official and authoritative, but when you look closely at the content, you can tell that it’s just a silly attempt by Cameron and friends to make sense of a nonsensical pro-afterlife worldview.

Within the site, there is a booklet called “Save Yourself Some Pain.” I read this online booklet and almost immediately began shaking my head at just how poorly these people explain and understand their beliefs. Let’s take a look at this booklet.

Becoming a Christian is the most incredible event that will ever take place in your life. You have found peace with your Creator. You have found everlasting life!

The italics are theirs. Talk about a poorly worded beginning paragraph! They say that once you accept Christ you get an everlasting life, but according to Christianity, everyone already has everlasting life. That’s what an afterlife is, by definition. I think what they really mean is that you get an everlasting life in Heaven. Some may think that I’m nitpicking, but I disagree. What Cameron and friends are doing here, is miscommunicating and/or misunderstanding the single most important piece of their afterlife-belief: salvation.

What if I told Kirk that I didn’t want to exist as a consciousness after my death? Would I have to simply deny God to do that? Fine, consider it done! But that doesn’t leave much room for Hell, does it? Well what if Kirk said that denying God would merely get me into Hell? Fine again, but then his argument about finding everlasting life becomes nonsensical, for to go to Hell is also to have everlasting life. With such a fancy (and no doubt expensive) website, you think that they could be a bit more careful about how they word things like this.

God acquits us from the Courtroom of Eternal Justice on the grounds that Jesus Christ paid our fine. We are "justified" (made right with God) by His suffering death. The resurrection of Jesus Christ was God's seal of approval of the fact that His precious blood was sufficient to pay the fine.

Think of it this way... You have violated the law and face a $50,000 fine. You tell the judge that you are truly sorry for your crime, but he answers, "So you should be -- you have broken the law! Now, can you pay this fine?" He can only acquit you if the fine is paid. If someone else pays your fine, then he can let you go, but he must have "grounds" on which to release you.

Again, the italics are theirs. Now what we have here is a misapplied analogy. If any of you out there read Goosing The Antithesis, then you will already know that I love analogies. And I can see a really big hole in this analogy.

Cameron compares judgment by God to be the equivalent of paying a fine in a court of law. This is the first error in their analogy. According to Christian doctrine, at the end of your life, you are judged by God and treated accordingly. But in the analogy, this judgment would compare to a prison sentence, NOT a fine. A spiritual fine would be like saying a lot of prayers, or reading some Bible passages, or something like that. In a court of law, a fine is a lot different than imprisonment of your body; a fine is something where you give up resources (money) and are then free to go. But in Christianity, you can’t be judged at the end of your life and then be set free to go (to continue living in this life); your current life is over and all you got left is Heaven or Hell. Therefore, Heaven would be like being acquitted, and Hell would be a prison sentence.

This is why their analogy doesn’t work. In a court of law, you can have a relative or friend pay a fine, but you cannot have a friend or relative serve your prison sentence. So having Jesus sacrifice himself is not like having your fine paid for you, but it is like having your prison sentence served for you. And no sane individual will ever contend that justice is served by having an innocent person serve the prison sentence of a convicted criminal.

The reason we need a substitute (a savior) to pay our moral "fine," is because we have broken God's Law. To see how much we have transgressed this Law (the Ten Commandments), we will go through some of them -- Have you ever told a lie? Have you ever stolen something? Have you ever lusted after another person? If you answered "Yes" to these questions, you admit that you are a lying, thieving, adulterer at heart, and you have to face God on Judgment Day!

The italics are theirs. Now their message is standard Christian fear tactics: You better feed God’s ego because that is all he cares about, and the way you treat your fellow man is an accessory concern.

If you have used His name in vain, then you are guilty of "blasphemy" -- you've substituted God's holy Name for a curse word. Perhaps you've hated someone, then the Bible says that you are a murderer. You have violated God's holy Law, and you're in BIG trouble. On Judgment Day, you will be found guilty and end up in Hell. That's why you need the Savior. Merely being sorry for your sins, or confessing them to God won't help you. You must turn from sin (repent), and your faith must be in Jesus Christ alone. He is the only "grounds" for God to grant mercy towards you. If you're not sure of your salvation, make Psalm 51 your own prayer.

The italics are theirs. Notice that they again expose their analogy mistake by admitting that God’s judgment is not a fine but a prison sentence when they say “…you will be found guilty and end up in Hell,” but they don’t seem to notice their glaring mistake. If Jesus pays your court fine for you, will Jesus also spend eternity in Hell for you? Now that would be nice! This whole message of cleaning up crimes by spilling innocent blood (the Crucifixion) doesn’t translate at all into the “court fine” analogy. But Cameron and friends don’t seem to have either enough intellect to notice or enough honesty to care. I wish I had the opportunity to contact Cameron and ask him some follow up questions. For example, if a criminal murdered Cameron’s family in cold blood, would he be satisfied with an innocent six-year old girl serving the criminal’s death sentence instead? After all, isn’t that the kind of justice that Cameron is championing here?

I don’t know what more depressing, the fact that they expose the immorality of salvation through innocent blood by botching an analogy, or the fact that the vast majority of Americans cannot tell the difference.

So everyone, the lesson to learn today is, ironically, found within the Title of Kirk Cameron’s little e-booklet (though not in the way he intended). Save Yourself Some Pain, and reject these absurd, immoral, and repugnant afterlife beliefs.


Anonymous said...

The funniest part about this is that all he's trying to do his sell his books to you. Isn't Christianity supposed to be all about giving freely?

Anonymous said...

Are you trying to say that there are evangelical Christians without well thought-out and clearly expressed arguments? Shocking!

The italics are mine.

Delta said...

His arguments are clearly ridiculous. The only conclusion that we can draw from this is that Kirk Cameron is Satan himself and has made this website to shake our faith in the Almighty.

Aaron Kinney said...

I AM, you are one funny atheist LOL!

Whats up with that italics notification every time someone quotes anyway? See, I have seen it everywhere so I thought it was like necessary to do so. And lucky for me, I chose to analyze a letter with lots of italics.

Anonymous said...

Excellent post as usual Aaron. I'll have to add that to our topic list for the next show on morality.

Anonymous said...

Have you seen his TV show of the same name? It is just as bad, except they go out on the street and actually convince naive passers-by that they have some kind of answers. It is sad and depressing. And predictable.

But I think you do get 10% more Pascal's wager with the TV show than the website!! (So I got that going for for me...which is good.)

Aaron Kinney said...

Are you serious? I had no idea that there was actually a show called "Save Yourself Some Pain!" And to consider that I got that title from Kirk Cameron's letter of the same name. Hmmmm...

Anonymous said...

OOPS. Sorry, the show is called The Way of the Master. I suppose I should be a little more clear and read what I type, huh?

Aaron Kinney said...

LMAO no problem. Makes more sense now. I thought that the show title seemed funny...

Anonymous said...

Why do all of the TV child stars end up fucked up? Most of the time it's drugs, but you might argue this crap is a drug as well. Looks like Kirk still has some growing pains to do(I know you guys hesitated to use that corny line, but I have no dignity, so it makes no difference to me. Besides, I coulda said Kirk needs to be growing brains or something equally funny yet stupid). It seems like for every Tim Robbins there is in Hollywood there's a Brittany Spears to cancel him out. Then there's Madonna. Whatever the fuck she is.

Aaron Kinney said...

Hey Boywonder,

Growing up in a TV/entertainment world does not tend to equip one with the rational faculties needed to differentiate between fantasy and reality.

Sad but true.

Hellbound Alleee said...

I wish Kirk Cameron would come up to ME on the street, boy...I'll give 'em something to evangelize to! Boy oh boy...

Anonymous said...

Ah well, the fool has said in his heart, there is no God. Nuff said.

Anonymous said...

I find it funny that the atheist will sit down and write for hours trying to defend something they do not belive in. But I think all he really shows is his lack of knowledge. the original poster of this blog clearly shows he has not even read the Bible or has any understanding of what the Bible speaks about.
In his first paragraph he criticized Kirk's ministry for saying that the believer will find everlasting life. That is true: the Bible states that a person who belives on the Lord Jesus has passed from death to life. This is in opposition to what the non beliver will experience as eternal Death; ie the lake of fire or what you call hell. Whther you want to deny your consciousness after death or not will be irrelevant at that point; the instant you die you will be where you wil be.
Furthermore the use of what you call paying a fine is a term his ministry uses to make it easier for people to relate to the sacrifice of Jesus. The Bible teaches that 'all have sinned and fallen short of the Glory of God"

Anonymous said...

That created a breach between God and the Human Race. God being a just God could not just excuse what man had done to distance himself through sin. It was only through the sheeding of blood through a perfect sacrifice that God could reconcile man. Put it this way. Being a just God God could not just reach down and say to man, "ok youv'e sinned but its ok I forgive you now come back to me" This would make God unjust.
What he did was send his Son to bring man back to him to take the burden of Sin and to die onm the cross for that sin. You see we deserved to die. We are all sinners. If you look honestly in your heart you know that to be true. God only asks that we accept this sacrifice and repent of our sins and come back to him.
The write of this original blog makes many other false assertions. He claims that Jeus' couldn't serve our sentence but he already has; by offering himself in our place to die on the cross he defeated death and promises the same to all who believe and trust in him. Hi final ad hominem attack on Cameron is just as weak as the rest of his arguement. Compaaring punishing a 6 yr old girl for murdering Cameron's family is ridiculous. Jesus took on the burden of sin as a grown man. He was God come to earth to take that burden because God loved us so much that he was not willing we would perish.
I'm saddened when i read articles like this. The author has no understanding of Christ's message or of the Bible. It's obviuos he has never read it. I appeal to you if you are reading this; read the Bible hear what God has to say to your heart. He is willing that you come back but you have to realize that you are a sinner and ask him for forgiveness. I'll close by saying the Atheist often accuses the Christian by saying that "how can he know if there is God without seeing him without having the knowledge?" But what knowledge does the Atheist have? Is he all knowing? Can he prove God does not exist? No. He can't. He would have to know everything there is to know to know for a certainty. He doesn't. SO he is really an Agnostic. DOn't you owe it to yourself to find out what is really going on?

Anonymous said...

lol this is this a serious post? Here is my mental picture of your process...

You obviously must have spent a decent amount of time/money to attack Kirk Cameron...

1) You viewed the Way of the Master website: time/money

2)You read the pamphlet: time/money.

3)You found ways to criticize something you don't even believe in: time/money.

Are you getting paid for this? You must have done all of this with an ignorant mindset. I think you are wasting your "Naturalistic" life away.

So lets take a look at Aaron's world view and nitpick at his lifestyle;

You say you are hopelessly addicted to freedom but all I see is; Someone who feels like they have to fight for their freedom.

You say you are an anarchist and your favorite movie is V for Vendetta? V fought against a TOTALITARIAN government! This is a government that regulates nearly every aspect of public and private life. On your profile it says you live in the United states. You have no idea what it is like to fight for your freedom and I highly doubt you are in the military due to your views. So I must conclude that your freedom was handed to you on a silver platter.

Of course V was a bad ass revolutionary... in a COMIC BOOK/MOVIE.

If you can fall in love with V for Vendetta than why can't you fall in love with Jesus Christ/God? The fact is Jesus and God are more real than V; due to Christian apologetics.

My point is, God holds freedom above any other form of goodness, think about it...He lets the devil run free, he lets humans run wild and he does not intervene with our free will even though bad things happen. Yes, at first he was a very judgmental God. So why doesn't God flood us again? because Jesus died for our sins. Jesus saved mankind with his wisdom and he accepted torture and sacrificed himself because he loved us. (keep in mind, he knew all of this was going to happen before it did)
V KILLED people in order to force his views on others. How is this freedom? He did all this with the thought of hate and vengeance in his heart. He did all this without knowing if he was truly going to succeed. That is not very admirable and wise in my book.

If you don't believe in the Bible that is fine, but Jesus is more of a hero than V is. They both died for their cause: The freedom for mankind. Except, Jesus did all of this without violence.

So I take it you fell in love with Hollywood. I hate to say it but you make a very typical American. The shoot em up mentality and you have a Ford Mustang as your profile pic. You have literally become what you watched. You are not free. You are being controlled by the media. Your pastor is a tube and ultimately; you are a tube.

So, Who are you fighting?
The government? God?... Kirk Cameron's pamphlet? Do you think of yourself as a revolutionist? What makes you think you have followers? Do you really think you can prove theism wrong through the criticism of this pamphlet?

So the lesson to learn today is; This is such a perfect example of atheist vs. Christianity. atheist attack what they don't understand (The Bible & sadly this pamphlet). In the end you just sound ignorant. "Save yourself some pain" Aaron and give into the truth.

I didn't write this because I hate you; I wrote this because you are in dire need of a third person perspective. I mean, don't you think someone should tell you if you have something in between your teeth? This makes me more of a friend than any you have ever known.

Anonymous said...

btw I am an American. I just want to add that there will never be perfect government but without laws everyone is free to sin. For example, Who would avenge the innocent six year old girl and your families death if they were murdered in cold blood? Do you really understand the concept of justice?

I don’t know whats more depressing, the fact that YOU expose the immorality of ATHEISM and ANARCHY by botching a critique, or the fact that the vast majority of ATHEISTS cannot tell the difference.

UMRT said...

Atheists cannot debunk miracles like Marian apparitions (appearances of the Virgin Mary). Christians will debate whether such events are from God or the demons, but either way, they prove the Bible to be true.
One example for Atheists to tackle is the Image of Guadeloupe. It has a complicated story which is itself very difficult for atheists to debunk. However, it left an image which science has suggested is not made by humans. The image didnt have brushstrokes, had no pencil marks (like paintings do), thus suggest several parts of the image was painted in 1 single step (like how a printer prints something on a piece of paper). This image appeared in 1531 and it is still in good condition, though other similar material would rot in 20-50 years. It also survived a bomb blast that destroyed nearby metal crosses and also survived an ammonia spill onto it. More incredibly, an examination of the cloak depicted in the image shows that the stars on it matched the stars in the sky over the site on the date of the event (1531-Dec-09). This is not all. A close examination of the eyes of the woman depicted in the image shows that it reflects the image of the persons that saw the vision of the woman. Lastly, the woman in the image is depicting a scene from the Bible (Revelation chapter 12), so Muslims and Jews beware. There has been 1000+ cases of apparitions recorded, and most involve supernatural miracles and correct predictions of future events. In forums, the only response from Atheists is that the burden of proof is on Christians, but the truth is, Atheists are the ones who need to prove this is false other wise they are doomed. No matter whether apparitions are from God or from bad spirits, they have a Christian theme to them and are useful for refuting atheists. To add to that, Jesus predicted that there would be things that will deceive the elect, so if apparitions are demonic, it is prophecy fulfilled and thus will add glory to the bible just like how the anger of atheists reading this will be another prophecy fulfilled. The bottom line is that no matter what explanations atheists come up to try to suggest God isn't real, Miracles will trump all atheist "theories". If apparitions are demonic, that also explains most of the miracles of other religions. The truth is that out of the 1000+ apparitions, only one of them need to be from God or other spirits, to prove Christianity is true, and yet there are hundreds if not thousands that atheists cannot explain.