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“Grace of God” Revisited

By WizenedSage (Galen Rose) ~

My good friend Carl S. and I are frequent contributors to the Letters page of our local weekly newspaper here in Maine. Recently, Carl took some flak for his contributions on religion. Rather than him responding and making it look like a personal, one-on-one argument, we decided it would be best if I responded in his defense. My letter, below, was published yesterday. I wanted to share it with you all because I think many will get a chuckle out of it. Obviously, I think ridicule is a legitimate and highly useful weapon against religious nonsense. Oh, and thanks to Fuego for recently pointing out some of the contents of 2 Peter 2 on ExChristian.net.

I read with interest last week’s letter on these pages by Ben Barth titled “The grace of God.” In his letter, Mr. Barth takes Carl Scheiman to task for his letters in this newspaper “about freedom and the fallibility of Christianity and the Bible.”

Mr. Barth writes, “It was not until I knelt beside my bed with tears in my eyes that I knew the meaning of the word 'freedom.'” Yes, Mr. Barth clearly had a very emotional experience, but emotions can prove nothing about the outside world – or the alleged supernatural realm. Emotions can only prove that we are emotional.

Mr. Barth writes, “It would seem to me, having read many of Mr. Scheiman’s letters that he is the product of the “enlightened” and “progressive” evolution of mankind, the same evolution that has taken us all from slingshots to the atomic bomb.”

Yes, but that is also the same enlightenment that has taken us all from commands to execute blasphemers like me (Leviticus 24:16) to free speech, and from the “demon” theory of disease (Matt. 8:16) to the germ theory of disease.

The Enlightenment, a philosophical movement beginning in the late 17th century, emphasizes reason and individualism over tradition and authority. And, it is thanks to the Enlightenment that our legal systems no longer blindly follow the dictates of Biblical authority to execute blasphemers, homosexuals (Leviticus 20:13), witches (Exodus 22), and people who work on the Sabbath (Exodus 35:2). If this is the “enlightened and progressive evolution of mankind” that Mr. Barth refers to, then I say let’s hope for a whole lot more of it in the future.

Although not nearly as harsh, Mr. Barth’s criticisms of Carl Scheiman reminded me of 2 Peter 2 that goes into great detail accusing those who leave the teachings of the church as brute beasts and servants of corruption who allure through the “lusts of the flesh.” The author of Peter further casts these heretics as adulterous sinners who beguile uncertain believers and resemble dogs which return to their own vomit. Note, however, that this chapter also references a talking donkey as proof that what the author says is true.

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