Bill Maher and His Make Believe God

Bill Maher flanked by the sycophants of the tri-table unleashed his acrimony on the Noah narrative in the Bible and the movie by the same name. Bill says the story of Noah is “about a psychotic mass murderer who gets away with it, and his name is God” who “sent a flood to kill everyone! Everyone! Men, women, children, babies.” He says Christians are mad because the movie “doesn’t stay true to their made up story.”

So tell me, how is God a “psychotic mass murderer” if the flood is a “made up story?” Here’s a newsflash Bill, no humans were harmed in a “made up story.” If Bill believes the whole idea of God is made up his logic is even more absurd, he is accusing a made up god of being “a psychotic mass murderer.”

If the Bible is a book like any other book it would be like Bill’s logic, incomprehensible, unbelievable.  But if the Bible is supernatural in its inspiration and preservation, if it reveals the God who is more powerful than we could imagine, created everything, knows everything, is more holy than we can conceive, more just than we have a right to expect, and more loving in His actions than we deserve, then maybe we can begin to understand the Bible.

Like Bill Nye, Bill Maher wonders how Noah using ancient tools and technology with only his three sons for help built an ark the size described in the Bible? I don’t know. How did the ancient Egyptians 2500 years before Christ build the Great Pyramid of Giza, who using ancient tools and technology, moved 2.5 million stones weighing between two and seventy tons, and laid with such precision as to rival and even in some instances surpass modern architectural achievements? I don’t know. I don’t think Bill does either, since the scientists he claims to have so much confidence in haven’t figured it out.

We already know Bill is smarter than his make believe god (not such a feat really), but did you know he is more moral than his make believe god? Bill’s not saying, but his high moral standards were probably shifted out during his many discussions with his buddy Hugh Hefner at his Playboy Mansion. If his make believe god was wrong for drowning babies, I am sure it is just a matter of time before Bill’s pro-life, anti-abortion sentiments surface.

“The first to plead his case seems right, until another comes and examines him,” Proverbs 18:17. Bill thinks he is smart and moral as long as he does all the talking, but a closer examination tells a different story. Right now it is profitable and even fashionable to mock a silly, stupid, immoral, make believe god. They did in Noah’s day, but the laughing stopped when it began to rain.

I could say more about Bill’s make believe God, but I think you get the picture. The next swimming event on God’s schedule will be held in a lake of fire. I would think about that.

Fred is Dead

Fred Waldron Phelps, Sr., pastor of Westboro Baptist Church in Topeka, Kansas, died this past week on March 19.  He and his congregation had become infamous for their avowed hatred of homosexuals, and picketing the funerals of those servicemen who died in combat.  Phelps believed those who fell in battle suffered their misfortune because they defended America and its tolerance of homosexuals.

     He and his followers (mostly family members) earned a reputation for being outrageously offensive to those who did not hold to their specific brand of hatred.  They condemned those Christians who believed homosexuality was a sin, but reached out to the LGBT community with the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  When Jerry Falwell died they picketed his funeral.

     To say Westboro Baptist Church’s pastor and members are a grotesque caricature of Christianity would be wrong.  There was nothing remotely Christian about their actions.  I am sure the community of Westboro, Baptists everywhere, and all churches cringe when this group manages to make the news.  Their demonstrations were an embarrassment to genuine Christians.

     The only thing they seemed to love more than hating homosexuals is the media attention they garnered wherever they went.  They would target politicians and celebrities with their protests showing no concern or respect for any who disagreed with them.  The irony in all of this is it may have proved to be counterproductive.

     Cathy Renna who has been a consultant to LGBT organizations over the years said, “The world lost someone who did a whole lot more for the LGBT community than we realize or understand.  He has brought along allies who are horrified by hate.  So his legacy will be exactly the opposite of what he dreamed.”  Director of the LGBT Project for the American Civil Liberties Union James Esseks agrees, “people in the middle [of the issue] would think, ‘If that’s what it means to be anti-gay, I want no part of it.’”

     But while their manners and methods were wrong, and did unimaginable damage to the very cause they claimed to represent, Fred and his followers were right about homosexuality. Amid the senseless demonstrations, and mean-spirited name-calling, and vulgarity of this hate group, the stark scriptural truth about homosexuality is undeniable and incontrovertible.  It is a sin, no different in its effect, no different in its penalty than any other sin.

     In His love the Father warns us, “it is appointed for men to die once and after this comes judgment,” Hebrews 9:27.  When we die the next scheduled event on God’s calendar is judgment.  It is both inexorable and inescapable.  No matter what we think or how we feel will alter what He has declared and from that Tribunal there will be no appeal.  Are you ready?

Capital Punishment, Forgiveness and Justice

On February 16, 2009, Martin Grossman was executed for killing Florida wildlife officer Margaret “Peggy” Park on December 13, 1984, more than twenty-four years before.  Peggy’s mother said his execution was “long overdue.”

     Grossman who was nineteen at the time and a seventeen-year-old friend were target practicing in a wooded area with a stolen gun.  Park was patrolling the area when she came upon the two young men.  Afraid a probation violation would send him to prison, Grossman managed to overpower Park beating her unconscious with her own flashlight, and then shooting her in the back of the head with her own gun.

     While on death row, Grossman purportedly became a model prisoner and converted to Judaism.  Several Jewish and Christian organizations said his sentence should be commuted to life in prison; he was a changed man they claimed.  Their pleas raise the issue of what bearing remorse and repentance should have on criminal sanctions in the light of Christ’s teachings on forgiveness.  Some recent articles in Christian publications have attempted to readdress this perennial issue.

     It may surprise Christian and Jew alike that the Bible teaches it was God Himself who instituted capital punishment.  When Noah disembarked from the ark and the restoration and reordering of society was at hand, one of the instructions God gave him was “Whoever shed’s man’s blood, by man his blood shall be shed, for in the image of God He made man,” Genesis 9:6.  This verse promotes and restores justice needed, but lost before the flood.

     Those who think forgiveness is solely a New Testament idea need to reread the Old Testament.  Jesus merely reiterated and expounded upon forgiveness.  And those who think justice is confined to the Old Testament needed to reread the New Testament.  Jesus is the principal proponent of justice in the New Testament.

     The confusion lies in the failure to carefully understand these teachings in Scripture.  Forgiveness is enjoined on the believer so one can guard their heart from being consumed by revenge and hatred, and to emulate the magnanimity of our Savior.  Only the one offended can forgive the offender.  Society cannot forgive what one person does to another.  In Scripture, society is commanded to seek justice for the one wronged and protect the weak from the aggression of miscreants.  Forgiveness promotes the wellbeing of the one offended, justice promotes the wellbeing of society.

     To assert that because Jesus taught forgiveness He dismissed the proper application of justice is absurd.  Forgiveness does not nullify justice; they each have their proper place.  Jesus never suggested or taught that the death penalty for certain offenses instituted in the Old Testament is now to be ignored.

     There is no way mere men can know with certitude that Martin Grossman was a changed man.  I hope he was, because on February 16, 2009, at 6:17 pm, he met his Maker.  And I agree with Peggy Park’s mother; justice was long overdue.

I Read the Book

Many movies are based on a book.  Some go to see a movie because they read the book, and some go to see one based on how well it is promoted, and some are satisfied with just reading the book.  For those who both read the book and watch the film version comparisons are inevitable.  The movie went along with the book, or it was better than the book, or the book was better.

     The husband-wife team of Mark Burnett and Roma Downey who gave us the five-part televised miniseries The Bible, have collaborated again to produce a recently released movie on the life of Christ entitled Son of God.  The film and the miniseries, like many movies, are based on a book, actually, the Book of books.  Their interest in producing Bible-based entertainment was inspired by Cecil B. DeMille’s epic film The Ten Commandments.

     It is a formidable task to produce a film adaptation of any part of the number one, all-time, Bestseller.  No other book is as widely read, more studied, or revered.  Opinions regarding it are many, varied, and strongly held.  To make a movie predicated on any of the Bible’s many themes or narratives is to invite the sure criticism of this or that group.  Mark and Roma were aware of this, and it is said they meticulously researched the material, and sought the advice of Bible scholars in producing the film Son of God.

     Producing a Bible-based movie is a no-brainer.  The many narratives of human history within its pages are mesmerizing.  The Scriptures’ record of epic events of places and peoples drip with drama, and the rise and fall of empires and individuals are captivating.  Sheer curiosity draws believer and unbeliever alike to the movie theater; in short, Bible movies are moneymakers.

     There are a host of movies that have been based on biblical themes.  I have seen several of them.  I have liked some more than others, but they all fall short in one or more ways.  This is understandable; the entertainment industry thrives by making a profit, not getting the story right.  If a movie prompts people to read the Bible it has served a good purpose, but don’t let your faith be predicated on a Hollywood adaptation.

     I have talked with some who have seen Son of God.  There are mixed reviews.  Some liked it, others not so much. I do not think anyone can really get to know the One who said, “I am the way, and the truth and the life (John 14:6)” for the cost of admission and a couple hours of eating popcorn and sipping on a coke.  For me the criterion for a movie about any subject in the Bible is how true it remains to the scriptural account.  I found Son of God disappointing, but that is because I read the Book.

This Is Not The Last Word

Arizona Governor Jan Brewer had to make a decision this past week, whether or not to veto SB 1062.  Her dilemma can be seen in the two perspectives of the proposed legislation; proponents characterize the bill as protecting religious freedom and its opponents call it discriminatory and anti-gay.  The bill was a response to recent court cases in which a Colorado bakery and a New Mexico florist were both found guilty of discrimination for failing to provide services for same-sex weddings.

     Being ignorant of the exact wording of SB 1062, I am not inclined to comment on it directly as others have.  Some within the Christian community have been quick to say what Jesus would or would not do in each of the situations given.  I think some have sincerely, yet thoughtlessly, rushed to judgment in this matter on both sides.

     So let’s clarify some things.  Jesus did eat with sinners.  He was very relational in His interactions with individuals to be a righteous influence in their lives.  But sharing a meal with sinners does not mean Jesus shared in their practice of sin or condoned sin.

     It is true Jesus did not condemn the woman taken in adultery (John 8:1-11).  He did not need to because she was guilty.  This is why she never argued for her innocence, or said her accusers were lying.  When those within the gay community point this passage out I am heartened that they recognize homosexuality is a sin like adultery, and wish they would follow Jesus’ admonition to the woman to go and “sin no more,” John 8:11.

     There will be more cases like this one.  When Associate Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote the majority opinion in United States v. Windsor striking down the Defense of Marriage Act, he wrote that, “both moral disapproval of homosexuality, and a moral conviction that heterosexuality better comports with traditional (especially Judeo-Christian) morality” is unconstitutional, he set the stage for what happened in Colorado, New Mexico, and Arizona.

     Christians have a higher mandate than the Constitution.  “Like a trampled spring and a polluted well is a righteous man who gives way before the wicked,” Proverbs 25:26.  We defile ourselves and our nation when we do not stand for righteousness.  To stand silently by and not warn our nation, or allow others to go blindly into eternity without sharing the hope that can only be found in Christ would be a greater sin than homosexuality.

     Jan Brewer’s veto or Anthony Kennedy’s ruling will not be the end of this controversy, because the real Supreme Court does not convene down here.  “Many seek the ruler’s favor, but justice for man comes from the Lord,” Proverbs 29:26.  This is not the last word.