See Part 1 here.
6. Godless Cranium (GC): “Have your book that is meant for all humankind be written in all the known languages so that you don’t have to rely on translators or translations. After all, this is supposed to be the most important message ever. Let’s make sure everyone can read it, okay God?”
Reply: Is GC really being serious here? Does he expect the Bible to have been written in all 6500 world languages (1)? That would be a mess. Again, like most other arguments by GC this is a non-sequitur. Just because God chooses to reveal himself to a certain people in history (a people who happen to have spoken Hebrew) it does not mean that he did not reveal himself. Also, the fact that the Bible is the most translated book ever by having been translated into some 531 full languages (2883 other languages have at least some portion of the Bible) (2) seems very consistent with Jesus’ instruction to make disciples of all nations (Mat. 28:16-20, Mark 16:14–18, Luke 24:44–49, Acts 1:4-8). Bibles are reaching places and locations for the first time thus fulfilling Jesus’ instruction (3). We can conclude that GC’s argument is a non-sequitur and can be dismissed.
7. GC: “Include something in your book that people of that era wouldn’t have known. Some suggestions off the top of my head would include the cure for cancer, the cure for AIDS or renewable energy sources and how to harness them efficiently.”
Reply: This is laughable! AIDS hadn’t even been encountered in the years of the Old or New Testament… so why would God intend to reveal a cure for a disease that did not even yet exist.
Secondly, why? Why does God have to do any of these things that are totally irrelevant to the biblical message in order to make Christianity valid? The biblical meta-narrative has nothing to do with cures of diseases nor the with the methods of energy renewal. Why doesn’t GC just ask God to drop a psychology journal out of the sky or maybe a book on veterinary science chronicling all the cures to the all the diseases that will ever be experienced by animals in this world? Why even stop at that? Does GC think that God is some magical vending machine that you poke and then expect something to pop out? It would appear so.
Thirdly, the Bible mentions many things that the “people of that era wouldn’t have known.” Let’s mention a few details that are unusually consistent with our current scientific models of reality. To name a few, the authors mention details such as the creation of the universe from nothing (Gen. 1:1), the early Earth being covered in water of which is an accurate scientific description of early Earth (Gen 1:2), the Earth being stationed in the expanse of space (Job 26:7), the description of springs at the bottom of oceans (Gen. 7:11), and many other little nuggets of revealed truth. Although reading modern science into the Bible is anachronistic and ought to be avoided one still can’t help but take note of these details that any writer two or three thousand years ago would never have known. As an accumulative case this convinces me of the inspiration of scripture. It also proves GC’s statement false and I have come to wonder if he’s ever touched a Bible in his life.
Lastly, this is a non-sequitur. Even if we grant all of GC’s arguments it just doesn’t logically follow that Christianity is false or that God has not revealed himself to the writers or in Jesus of Nazareth.
8. GC: “Make it absolutely clear what parts of the Old Testament are to be ignored. I mean are we really supposed to stone our children for being disobedient or can we cut them a little slack? What’s the deal here? With a little clarification we probably could have given same-sex couples equal rights a little sooner or something. This is important stuff, God.”
Reply: This is a critique of the law that imposed a severe punishment on intensely rebellious children. However, GC is being far too simple in his analysis for, as exegete Paul Copan explains, “We’re not talking about a little practical joker or even about a teenager who won’t clean up his room. No, he’s an utter delinquent whose hardened, insubordinate behavior simply can’t be corrected, despite everyone’s best efforts. He’s a repeat offender: “when they [his father and his mother] chastise him, he will not even listen to them” (Deut. 21:18). He’s a picture of insubordination—“a glutton and a drunkard” (v. 20; cf. Prov. 23:20–21). This serious problem would have had a profoundly destructive effect on the family and the wider community. (Jesus was called “a glutton and a drunkard,” a very serious offense in Israel.)” Copan continues: “Notice, though, that the parents don’t take matters into their own hands. They confer with the civil authorities, who are responsible for keeping an orderly, functioning society. The parents aren’t in the picture any longer; they’re not taking charge of punishment. Rather, the community carries out this exercise of social responsibility. And when it takes this drastic action, it’s a tragic last resort to deal with this trouble” (4). I take such a child to be an uncontrollable burden to his community & family that threatened its stability. God commanded his people to be holy as well as to “purge the evil from among you” (Deu. 17:7) and I believe that such a child brought evil & disrepair to the community and thus needed to be dealt with since no other method of discipline had worked prior. For the people of God it would seem that these punishments were to be sobering reminders of what God expected.
Regarding GC’s apparent confusion to “Make it absolutely clear what parts of the Old Testament are to be ignored” is actually quite simple. These Old Testament laws may be subdivided into three categories such as the Ceremonial Law, Judicial/Civil Law & the Moral Law. A Ceremonial Law would involve the covenant of circumcision, the Civil Law would involve culturally specific laws to ancient Israel (laws involving servants, penalties for crimes etc.) & the Moral Law would involve the ten commandments. However, only the Moral Law is applicable to us today whereas the Ceremonial and Judicial Laws of ancient Israel are not. For example, the covenant regarding circumcision isn’t applicable to us today (Galatians 2:1-3; 5:1-11; 6:11-16; 1 Corinthians 7:17-20; Colossians 2:8-12; Phillipians 3:1-3) and no longer does it matter what we eat or drink (Colossians 2:16-17). I don’t think that there is anything overly-complicated about this.
9. GC: “Be consistent! Let’s cut out the cherry picking or chances that someone can cherry pick verses. For example, don’t proclaim in one part of the book that you’re a God of war and in the next say you’re a God of peace. This crap is terribly confusing and again, I thought the idea was to provide answers.”
Reply: I have already answered this challenge (see here) however there is no inconsistency of God being both a God of war & a God of peace. God wages war against sin but he ultimately desires peace and justice (these aren’t mutually incompatible attributes). This is not by any means terribly confusing GC.
10. GC: “Provide the bible in more than one medium, maybe even with an update mechanism. I mean, what if you’re illiterate? You’re now having to trust someone else to read the bible for you. My GPS updates, but the bible doesn’t have an update mechanism. Maybe God, you can provide one, since it should be a fairly basic thing for you to do. Just think how much easier it would be if the language just modernized as time went on.”
Reply: This is just more speculative nonsense…
In concluding i don’t think that any of GC’s recommendations are plausible. Most of them are speculative nonsense (see points 7, 10), non-sequiturs (see points 1, 2, 3, 5, 6) and comes down to his ignorance (see 8). Only a few of his points provide any challenge to Christianity (see points 4, 9) of which I think have been answered accordingly & sufficiently. Readers can be the final judge and I’d like to hear thoughts below. I am also sure that Godless Cranium and I will have further interactions.
1. Infoplease. How many spoken languages are there in the world? Available.
2. Wycliff Global Alliance. Scripture & Language Statistics 2015. Available.
3. Corpus, E. 2014. Chinese Christians Cry in Praise as They See the Bible for First Time (VIDEO). Available.
4. Copan, P. 2011. Is God a Moral Monster? p. 129 (Scribd ebook format).