Proof #32 - Talk to a theologian
Have you ever noticed that when you read the Bible, it often makes no sense? For example, you can read Matthew 17:20 and Jesus clearly says, "Nothing will be impossible for you." And yet, you know for a fact that that statement is wrong. Lots of things are impossible for you.
If you ask a Christian about this discrepency, the Christian will say, "Ah, you see, you are not interpretting the Bible correctly. You need to talk to a theologian. He will set you straight."
Isn't it odd that the all-powerful, all-knowing, all-loving, perfect creator of the universe has written a book, but he was unable to write clearly, so we need human theologians to interpret it for us? Why would a perfect god say "Nothing will be impossible for you" unless he meant "Nothing will be impossible for you?" Surely God knows how humans interpret sentences. So why didn't he speak the truth?
The reason why God speaks so unclearly, and why God fails to speak the truth so often in the Bible, and the reason why we need theologians, is because God is imaginary. You can see that in the following dialog with a theologian:
Chris: Yes, I am a trained theologian. How may I help you?
Norm: Can you answer a question for me: Does God answer prayers?
Chris: Yes, certainly. He has answered hundreds of my prayers.
Norm: Pray for him to put $10,000 in my pocket right now.
Chris: It does not work that way. I said God answers prayers, not that he is a cosmic genie.
Norm: So, in Mark 11:24, when Jesus says, "Whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours," what did he mean? That sounds like you can have whatever you pray for.
Chris: He means that you pray for something, and if it is his will then you shall receive it. Jesus is under no obligation to answer any prayer. Nor is he obligated to provide the answer that you expect. There are thousands of ways for Jesus to answer a prayer indirectly.
Norm: If it is his will, aren't I going to get it anyway? Why pray?
Chris: Ask, and you shall receive. You have to ask...
Norm: ...and then you should receive. Jesus does not say, "Ask, and you might receive if it is my will." His statement has no conditions.
Chris: He meant that. It is implied. You need to see Jesus in the context of the rabbinical doctrine in the early fist century AD.
Norm: OK, why does God never answer impossible prayers? For example, if I pray to fly like superman, or to restore my friends amputated limb, why will it never happen?
Chris: It is not God's will. It would eliminate faith in God if God answered an impossible prayer as you are suggesting. Our God is a God of faith. That is his intention and is clearly stated throughout the Bible.
Norm: So why did God part the Red Sea? Surely that took away faith.
Chris: You clearly have no understanding of God's intentions or purposes in the Bible. At the time of Genesis, under Mosaic law, God's relationship with mankind was completely different than it is today.
Norm: I see. So in Matthew 17:20, when Jesus says, "nothing will be impossible to you," why isn't flying-like-superman or $10,000-in-my-pocket-right-now part of that?
Chris: Quite clearly you have never bothered with any sort of exegetical understanding of the Bible's promises on prayer. God is under no obligation to answer any prayer.
Norm: So when Jesus uses the example of moving a mountain, which is clearly impossible, what did he mean?
Chris: Jesus clearly was speaking metaphorically, as was common in the first century.
Norm: So when Jesus said "anyone with faith can move a mountain," what he actually meant was, "No one with faith can move a mountain."
Norm: Then, who can move a mountain?
Chris: God can move a mountain.
Norm: But he never does.
Chris: It is not his will. And keep in mind that God must remain hidden.
Norm: Let me make sure I have this straight. Here is what Jesus said in Matthew 17:20:
You will say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there,' and it will move; and nothing will be impossible to you.
Is that right?
Chris: You are completely clueless, and an idiot besides. No biblical commentary, and no Christian denominational body agrees with any of your interpretations of these passages, nor do I.
Norm: Answer the question. Is that what he meant?
Chris: This is irrelevant to the conversation.
Norm: Here's what I do not understand. What Jesus said in the Bible is obviously wrong. If God is perfect, there is no reason why God would put something that is completely wrong in the Bible. Why do we need human beings like you to interpret and massage and explain what God might have meant in the Bible? Why wouldn't an omnipotent, all-knowing, perfect God have written it the way he meant it, in an understandable, clear, unambiguous, truthful, correct way? There isn't anything vague about, "Nothing will be impossible for you" or, "Ask, and you shall receive." Yet, it is completely wrong. Explain that to me.
Chris: You are completely missing the point.
Most people can see the problem that is apparent in this conversation. There is no reason why an all-knowing, perfect God would write down, "you can move mountains" or, "nothing will be impossible for you" or, "Ask, and you shall receive" unless he meant that.
Unfortunately, the reality is that no one can move mountains, and thousands of things will be impossible for you. Not even Jesus moved a mountain. In fact, not one of Jesus' supposed miracles left any evidence for us to examine today.
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