Atheist tolerance

In case there are those who wonder why Christians are so “paranoid” about the secular movement to force Christianity out of the public sphere and into the ghetto, here’s the latest explanation for why they might have just a few concerns about where things are headed in the West:

Hunted down at their workplaces by military police, the 25 Christians were rounded up and detained without any formal judicial procedure. Later that month, the parishioners and their clergy were brought to the road construction site, where spectators had been arranged in neat rows to observe the public execution of the pastor, assistant pastors, and elders. According to a report based on an eyewitness account, the five church leaders “were bound hand and foot and made to lie down in front of a steamroller,” accused of subversion and of being Kiddokyo, or Protestant Christian, spies.

The 20 parishioners were detained near their clergy, and watched, along with the assembled audience, as the five Christian leaders were told they could escape death if they denied their faith and pledged to serve only Kim Jong Il and his father, the first dictator of communist Korea, Kim Il Sung. According to the eyewitness, the clergy remained silent.

For their steadfast belief, the Christians were executed. According to the report, “Some of the fellow parishioners assembled to watch the execution cried, screamed out, or fainted when the skulls made a popping sound as they were crushed beneath the steamroller.”

Another account contained in the report says that on a summer day in North Korea in 1997, a young woman was washing clothes in a tributary of the Tumen River when she dropped a small Bible she had hidden amid the laundry. Spotted by a fellow washerwoman, the girl was reported to North Korean authorities on the suspicion that she was engaging in an exercise of thought or religion condemned by the state. The girl, believed to be in her 20s, and her father, estimated to be around 60, were arrested by local national security police and imprisoned for three months.

One morning, they were taken to a public market area, where, after a brief show trial, the father and daughter were condemned as traitors to the North Korean nation and its communist dictator, Kim Jong Il. The father and daughter were then tied to stakes a few meters from where they had been “tried,” and, before an assembly of schoolchildren, were riddled with bullets by seven policemen who fired three shots each into the pair. According to a report drawn from eyewitness accounts, “The force of the rifle shots, fired from fifteen meters away, caused blood and brain matter to be blown out of their heads.”

According to one defector who was grilled by North Korean border guards, the Kim regime fears that “Juche will be toppled by Christianity,” referring to the state ideology, and exercises brutal control over North Koreans who have been exposed to Chinese or South Korean Christian churches.

Do not forget those brave men and women, and pray that you never face such a test of your faith… or lack of it. I shall await with interest the usual explanation of how the North Koreans are really Christians ala the National Socialists, how Kim Jong Il was actually an altar boy in his youth, and so on….

Before anyone brings it up, I note that the Inquisition, (ironically, one of the most humane institutions of its time), was a long time ago. Christians might as fairly and accurately point to Nero; the point is that atheists and Muslims are killing Christians today.

And Juche will be toppled by Christianity. Evil knows its master. The gates of Hell will not prevail.

Mailvox: deitic definitions

dlcarroll seeks clarity:

can you please give succinct definitions of the difference between ‘god’ and ‘God’ as you have used them lately?

This is pertinent for understanding; you have correctly and completely labored to show the blindness of the atheist with regard to spiritual things, but those same comments also tend to muddy the distinctions between Satan/Yahweh/Zeus/Moloch/Molech/ Asterah/Asherah/Baal/Beelzabub as like unto differences of (potentially) equally powerful football teams.

However much the Bible speaks of other gods, it is clear that historic Christianity is monotheistic (in the sense that there is one supreme God who is infinitely mightier than the sum of all other entities) and it seems disingenuous to suppose otherwise without qualification. To also assert that said Supreme Being is also at war with the lesser being(s) and has ordained that we enlist in His service does not contradict that.

Fair enough. An agreed-upon understanding of terms is always helpful when seeking to harmoniously grok in the fullness. I see it thusly:

1. god = a powerful supernatural being that is capable of interacting with the natural realm and is worshipped by humans or other supernatural beings. Examples: Satan, Moloch, Quetzalcoatl etc.

2. God = the Creator God of the Bible. Also known as Yahweh, Jehovah, the Lord God of Israel and numerous other appellations. At war with some of the aforementioned gods, worshipped by others.

3. false god = an imaginary being that may or may not be worshipped by human beings; while it may have a natural manifestation, it has no supernatural existence. Examples: The Great Spaghetti Monster, wooden idols, Shub-Niggurath, thunder.

4. mythical god = a being of historical legend which may or may not exist on the supernatural level. It is either a god or a false god, but as they are unworshipped and are not known to manifest today it is difficult to have an opinion on their existence. Examples: Zeus, Tyr, Morrigan.

Interestingly enough, it is difficult to condemn the atheist too harshly for his inability to understand the difference between belief and worship, especially given that in this case it appears to be built around the concept of monotheism. My two favorite online dictionaries give two similar, but significantly different definitions:

Oxford Online: Monotheism – the belief that there is a single god. Monotheism – The doctrine or belief that there is only one God.

As should be clear by now, the difference is rather important.

Mailvox: some Christians don’t understand either

cZja doesn’t get it:

My point is that your argument assumes a distinction that the athiest doesn’t make or acknowledge. And that’s why I think it’s a weak argument.

And thus your point is wrong, because my critique merely demonstrates how that particular atheist witticism is both silly and Biblically ignorant. As the atheist rejects the supernatural, the reference to “one less god” clearly indicates a belief in any supernatural being that is worshipped by men. It says nothing about the characteristics of that particular being. Meanwhile, Christians believe in many supernatural beings, no few of whom are worshipped by pagans. Therefore, the critique can hardly be described as weak given how it eviscerates that particular criticism and reveals the critic to be uneducated on the matter.

The atheist doesn’t make the distinction between God the Creator and Zeus, Moloch or Satan. To him, they are all “gods”. Therefore, it is patently false that the Christian does not believe in more than one god, unlesss that Christian also denies that Satan exists or that there are those who worship him, in which case that Christian would be as Biblically ignorant as the godless wit himself. Which can, of course, be the case.

Now, I do agree that as an argument against atheism, my “argument” is very, very weak. This is mostly because it isn’t one.

Harry cites a bunch of verses from Isaiah:

Isaiah 43:10–…before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me.

Isaiah 44:6–…I am the first, and I am the last, and beside me there is no God….

Repeating those verses that state there is one God and ignoring the many, many references to lesser gods not only fails to prove a case for monotheistic Christianity, it makes one look dishonest at best.

Renee puts her trust in the majority for once:

Most Christians will tell you that there is only one god. Some of them don’t even believe in the devil. If they don’t believe in Zeus, and they know why they don’t believe in Zeus, then it is probably for the same reasons I don’t believe in God.

Are you sure they are not telling you that there is only one God? I’ve noticed that those who are taking exception to my point are very free with confusing the concept of god and God. But the atheist quote refers only to gods, and as I have demonstrated, the Bible refers to many sorts of gods who are not God, from false gods made by man to the mighty gods of the assembly to the evil god of this world.

If there were no other supernatural powers, if there were no other gods, then there would be no need for God to command that there be no other gods before Him. Jesus Christ’s temptation in the desert would mean nothing, for without a god of this world, there was nothing with which to tempt him nor would that god’s desire for Jesus to worship him make any sense. Finally, how would sin and death hold any claim on humanity, why would Jesus Christ’s death be necessary, if they did not grant some god a hold on fallen man?

Finally, if we have an Advocate, who is part of the Triune God, what can the Accuser be if not another god?

UPDATE: Brody risks muddying the water in an attempt to clarify:

This is always the topic I tend to comment on, because I am really trying to comprehend what it is I could be missing. I think the atheist quote in believing in one less god than you do is not as well explained as you would have liked. But its basic gist is that you do not believe in Allah, or Buddha, or Wiccan Witch of the West.

That gist is incorrect. The atheist’s witticism expressly posits a notion that the Christian believes in only one more supernatural being than the atheist, due, I suspect, to the atheist’s reliance on the term “monotheism” instead of an actual knowledge of Christian theology.

I certainly believe in Buddha. I see no reason to doubt that he was a historical man. I do not, however, worship him. In like manner, I believe in the god Lucifer and the god Moloch; I do not worship them either.