Tried plowing through the book by Timothy Keller, An Invitation to the Skeptical, Making Sense of God. I saw many 5 star reviews for the book, with extensive praise being heaped upon the author and this book. I have to be honest, he was neither compelling or interesting. Excessive use of “quotes” and endnotes made reading tedious. The first 4/5ths of the book are dedicated to insulting the secular worldview. The book is loaded with logical fallacies that are too numerous to list here. I am not going back to review this dreck chapter by chapter.
As a skeptic, Keller really missed the mark trying to convince me. He makes too many assumptions of the reader and makes odd choices, such as refuting an evolutionary biologist using song lyrics. No, I am not kidding. He uses Nietzsche like a crutch; quote mines authors far more capable than himself. He constantly conflates belief with faith and uses solipsism as a justification of the assertion that secularism requires as much faith as religion. He uses numerous omissions and lies, such as ancient people did not contemplate the problem of evil. Epicurious anyone?
The last fifth of the book it dedicated to good, old fashioned apologetics. Not limited to, but including, the Kalam argument, argument from fine tuning, morality and others. A large section of the book is dedicated to the idea that morality can only be derived from an absolute morality. Personally, I am a moral relativist.
The book did get me thinking, just what the heck are Judeo-Christian morals? The author certainly didn’t define them. He had very, very short Bible quotes, and none really outlined what that morality is. For a Christian pastor, he really does not refer to the Bible in any coherent way. So, to the internet I went and found 40 Bible verses for Morality and Redemption. So, let’s dive in and see what moral absolutes the Bible has to offer:
‘For I am the LORD your God Consecrate yourselves therefore, and be holy, for I am holy. And you shall not make yourselves unclean with any of the swarming things that swarm on the earth. ‘For I am the LORD who brought you up from the land of Egypt to be your God; thus you shall be holy, for I am holy.'”
So, don’t have sex with animals? Wow, thanks for that little nugget of morality.
“Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.
Not sure how this relates to morality.
“You have heard that it was said, ‘YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR and hate your enemy.’ “But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,
Nice thought, not very useful in the real world.
“But I say to you who hear, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.
Well, really the same thing as the last statement, moving on.
“But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High; for He Himself is kind to ungrateful and evil men. “Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.
Again, the same thing as the last 2 quotes. Be good for goodness sake and have mercy. Nice concept, probably get you shot in the end.
but like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior; because it is written, “YOU SHALL BE HOLY, FOR I AM HOLY.”
No idea how this is morality. Redemption, maybe?
“Pay attention to Me, O My people, And give ear to Me, O My nation; For a law will go forth from Me, And I will set My justice for a light of the peoples.
Must be a little out of context. No morals here, just a call for justice.
So then, the Law is holy, and the commandment is holy and righteous and good.
Something is good and holy because it is good and holy. Kinda circular.
Then God spoke all these words, saying, “I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. “You shall have no other gods before Me. read more.
No other gods before me. Not really a moral thing here, just a jealous god.
“It will be righteousness for us if we are careful to observe all this commandment before the LORD our God, just as He commanded us.
Obey the commandments that are commanded. No morals here, just adherence to the rules.
Righteous are You, O LORD, And upright are Your judgments. You have commanded Your testimonies in righteousness And exceeding faithfulness.
He declares His words to Jacob, His statutes and His ordinances to Israel. He has not dealt thus with any nation; And as for His ordinances, they have not known them. Praise the LORD!
Just what are those statutes and ordinances? 10 commandments? 619 rules?
Where there is no vision, the people are unrestrained, But happy is he who keeps the law.
Just obey the rules and you will be happy.
“Listen to Me, you who know righteousness, A people in whose heart is My law; Do not fear the reproach of man, Nor be dismayed at their revilings.
No morals here, either.
Thus says the LORD, “For three transgressions of Israel and for four I will not revoke its punishment, Because they sell the righteous for money And the needy for a pair of sandals. “These who pant after the very dust of the earth on the head of the helpless Also turn aside the way of the humble; And a man and his father resort to the same girl In order to profane My holy name.
Help the helpless and Father and Son should not fuck the same girl? Deep morals there, I tell you.
“So when you spread out your hands in prayer, I will hide My eyes from you; Yes, even though you multiply prayers, I will not listen Your hands are covered with blood. “Wash yourselves, make yourselves clean; Remove the evil of your deeds from My sight Cease to do evil, Learn to do good; Seek justice, Reprove the ruthless, Defend the orphan, Plead for the widow. read more.
So be a public defender.
“I hate, I reject your festivals, Nor do I delight in your solemn assemblies. “Even though you offer up to Me burnt offerings and your grain offerings, I will not accept them; And I will not even look at the peace offerings of your fatlings. “Take away from Me the noise of your songs; I will not even listen to the sound of your harps. read more.
No morals here, god is not listening.
He has told you, O man, what is good; And what does the LORD require of you But to do justice, to love kindness, And to walk humbly with your God?
Be just, kind, and humble. Sounds like someone has been borrowing from the Tao or Buddhist ideals.
For this you know with certainty, that no immoral or impure person or covetous man, who is an idolater, has an inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God.
Kind of vague here. Simple rules not be an idolater or coveter.
Therefore consider the members of your earthly body as dead to immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and greed, which amounts to idolatry. For it is because of these things that the wrath of God will come upon the sons of disobedience, and in them you also once walked, when you were living in them.
More impurity, passion, evil desire and greed=idolatry.
And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.
No morals, just redemption.
“Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill. “For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass from the Law until all is accomplished. “Whoever then annuls one of the least of these commandments, and teaches others to do the same, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever keeps and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. read more.
So morals are the 10 commandments then.
For the Law was given through Moses; grace and truth were realized through Jesus Christ. No one has seen God at any time; the only begotten God who is in the bosom of the Father, He has explained Him.
More redemption and contradiction.
“This is the judgment, that the Light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the Light, for their deeds were evil.
Circular reasoning here.
For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin.
“You shall not pervert the justice due an alien or an orphan, nor take a widow’s garment in pledge. “But you shall remember that you were a slave in Egypt, and that the LORD your God redeemed you from there; therefore I am commanding you to do this thing.
No real lesson here.
‘You shall not oppress your neighbor, nor rob him The wages of a hired man are not to remain with you all night until morning. ‘You shall not curse a deaf man, nor place a stumbling block before the blind, but you shall revere your God; I am the LORD. ‘You shall do no injustice in judgment; you shall not be partial to the poor nor defer to the great, but you are to judge your neighbor fairly. read more.
Don’t steal, pay the man right away, don’t be a dick to the deaf, blind. Treat everyone equally. Finally, some real morals. Really, not earth shattering moral absolutes here, just empathy.
“If your kinsman, a Hebrew man or woman, is sold to you, then he shall serve you six years, but in the seventh year you shall set him free. “When you set him free, you shall not send him away empty-handed. “You shall furnish him liberally from your flock and from your threshing floor and from your wine vat; you shall give to him as the LORD your God has blessed you. read more.
Good, solid morals for keeping slaves here. If you read the complete quote, you can keep the slaves forever if they are married.
“When you gather the grapes of your vineyard, you shall not go over it again; it shall be for the alien, for the orphan, and for the widow. “You shall remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt; therefore I am commanding you to do this thing.
Leave the scraps for the poor.
Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body.
Don’t defile yourself.
Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.
No morals, just redemption.
“Moreover, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. “I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will be careful to observe My ordinances.
More redemption and we will be stone, then not stone, but stone?
Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God. Such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God.
Kind of harsh here. If you are effeminate or gay you can’t get into heaven? The rest of the items on this list are a choice, but not if you are gay or effeminate.
For what the Law could not do, weak as it was through the flesh, God did: sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh, so that the requirement of the Law might be fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.
More redemption, blood sacrifice.
Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. read more.
So, if you act like a normal adult, you can’t get into heaven. I see they prohibit just about every fun thing out there.
that, in reference to your former manner of life, you lay aside the old self, which is being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit, and that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth.
So then, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.
But now you also, put them all aside: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and abusive speech from your mouth. Do not lie to one another, since you laid aside the old self with its evil practices, and have put on the new self who is being renewed to a true knowledge according to the image of the One who created him– read more.
“FOR THIS IS THE COVENANT THAT I WILL MAKE WITH THE HOUSE OF ISRAEL AFTER THOSE DAYS, SAYS THE LORD: I WILL PUT MY LAWS INTO THEIR MINDS, AND I WILL WRITE THEM ON THEIR HEARTS. AND I WILL BE THEIR GOD, AND THEY SHALL BE MY PEOPLE.
“But this is the covenant which I will make with the house of Israel after those days,” declares the LORD, “I will put My law within them and on their heart I will write it; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people.