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Jack Chick Tract Club link

In Your Face!

in your face

An on-line Theological Q & A Forum

 

Richard Lee is an evangelical minister and has been a Chick tract fan for over 20 years. Hehas a Masters of Divinity from Fuller Theological Seminary. He has graciously agreed to host the Theological Question & Answer forum to our humble JTC Museum.

The opinions expressed here are his alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of Chick Publications or the JTC Museum. However, Richard's credentials are impressive and readers should expect some interesting insights. To ask him your own theological question, click here. Be aware that most questions and answers will be posted unless you specifically request otherwise. Richard's responses are typed in bold.



The Transfiguaration. Jesus spoke to both Moses and Elijah. Elijah, of course, was taken to heaven in a fiery chariot and he never died; but we read at the end of Deuteronomy that Moses did in fact die. Here we see our Savior conversing with at least one person who had died. The example for intercessory prayer was given to us by Christ Himself, and the Fathers of the Church have always stated this is where it comes from. So you see, Mr. Chick aside from being ignorant, has never bothered to look at the Catholic Faith with Catholic eyes. He will answer for what he does, but that is the Lord's call, not ours. So I will agree with Robert's friend and also say not to kill Jack Chick, LOL.

-Tim 12/21/00

Dear Tim,

The Matthew and Mark passages are merely DESCRIPTIVE, not PRESCRIPTIVE accounts, of what the writers saw fit to include in the Gospels. In regards to the Elijah story (which is irrelevant anyway), the legend of Elijah not dying is apocryphal. In fact, AFTER the story of the whirlwind account of him going up into heaven (II Kings 2:15), we see that he wrote a letter to Jehoram in II Chronicles 21:12. The example for "intercessory prayer" best comes from the Pauline epistles, and the Lord's Prayer (Our Father), rather than taking an incident which has NOTHING to do with prayer, but with another matter entirely. The Transfiguration was meant to illustrate Jesus mediating and fulfilling the "Law" symbolized by Moses and the "Prophets" symbolized by Elijah. Modern biblical studies confirm this. The Church Fathers, as brilliant as they were, were reading an Aristotelian bias and expanded the biblical text beyond the boundaries of the authors' intent. This is how religion evolves, and thanks to modern biblical critical methods, scholars (including Catholic ones) can now arrive at a more accurate understanding of the text.

 


 

Hi, my name is Nick, and this is the first time I heard that Elijah being carried to Heaven alive is a fable drawn from the apocrapha. Can you show me were you got your proof about this?

Hi, Nick!

No, I didn't mean that the story of Elijah being taken to Heaven is taken from "THE Apocrypha," I said that the story of Elijah being taken to Heaven (permanently, and not seeing death) is "apocryphal," meaning "doubtful." The Apocrypha, as you know, is a set of Jewish writings which the Church Fathers quoted, and later the Roman Catholic Church considered canonical during the Counter Reformation, circa 1545. They contain nothing about the Elijah story. The story in the Bible of Elijah taken into Heaven is in II Kings 2:11 "and Elijah went up to heaven in a whirlwind." However, some have taken this to mean that he went UP INTO HEAVEN where God's throne is, thus never seeing death as a mortal man. This interpretation is doubtful. It is more likely that the author meant that Elijah was taken up into the heavens (atmosphere) and transported to another place, where he lived out his normal lifespan. II Chronicles 21:12 suggests this, because we read that Elijah wrote a letter, which chronologically (in all probability) occurred after the story in II Kings 2:11. Thanks for the chance to address this, and clear up some confusion. I suggest checking out Ralph Woodrow's ministry, wherein he addressed this in his writings. Ralphwoodrow.org.

Richard Lee


<< hi, I don't deny Chick's clever (he obviously doesn't think angels use panasonic camcorders to record events of our lives), but as an atheist I wonder how he (or any believer) cannot be bugged by the following:

Dt 6:2, Is 1:19-20 vs. Dan 12:3 and Mt 22:31. Doesn't the simplest explanation seem that Judaism started in ancient times as something unsophisticated, that various people (such as Daniel and Jesus) added "improvements" to? ie - Judaism started as a religion that promised rewards in this life, but was too primitive to envision an "afterlife". This was an "enhancement" that Daniel invented and that Jesus supported. I could add to that - Leviticus stipulates unconditional sacrifices to cover sin. Job wonders what he has done wrong (13:19) because he has obeyed the letter of the law (paving the way for...). Isaiah (1:11-17) adds a stipulation that if you perform the rituals robotically and forget what they are for, they will be useless. Jesus (and to his credit - we haven't really advanced beyond this) Mt 6:16, Mt 23:5-6 seems to indicate that if you perform rituals for the sake of narcissism, they will be worthless.

My point is that JudeoChristianity looks like (to me) something invented by humans that evolved into more sophisticated forms over time. Not by something given by some perfect being (which would have no "tweaks" given over time). If this issue is addressed by you (or anyone else) elsewhere - please feel free to redirect me. I'm not a time waster - I think any "atheist" who obtusely interpretes scriptures ("Jesus say to hate my family and curse fig trees - therefore he's evil!") is not really an athiest - just a theist with a chip on his shoulder.>>

 

Greetings! Happy New Year, and Congrats for being the first "In Your Face" question for the glorious new year of 2003. Anyhow, you raised some good stuff for a great dialogue, so let's take a look:

The passages you mentioned (Dt. 6:2 and Is 1:19-20) do in fact serve the purpose you mentioned. Early Hebrew religion (later Judaism) was a religion concerned about behavior and ethics, not obsessed with an afterlife. This does not preclude ancient beliefs about an afterlife. No doubt many inquirers about a possible afterlife resorted to seances or occultic methods to communicate with the dead or seek the future. If ancient Israelites did not speculate during an early period in their own history about such matters (during the time of the Exodus), it seems unlikely that the prohibition against such activity would have existed. For example, "Leviticus 19:31 Regard not them that have familiar spirits, neither seek after wizards, to be defiled by them: I am the LORD your God."

Around the time of the compilation of I Samuel 28:8, it is obvious that many ancient Israelites, although lacking formal theological sophistication by later Greecan/Roman standards, were curious about summoning the dead, thus affirming some type of afterlife.

By the time of Daniel's compilation, it may indeed be the case that "enhancements" that you describe were implemented, although not necessarily originating with Daniel. Not content with merely inhabiting a land from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean, many were concerned about afterlives, resurrections, spirits, angels, etc. I would even agree with you (and beyond what you said) that all religion (not just Judaism) begins in a primitive form to evolve into sophistication over many generations. This is no secret to theologians or comparative religion scholars. I would be the first to agree that rituals, concepts, practices, and homogenized blended beliefs from other cultures is invented by humans. However, "believing" theologians (not unbelieving ones like Rudolf Bultmann) believe that the ultimate deity, or god, or ultimate truth is revealed through a filtered flawed human experience, namely diverse cultures. As a believer in Christ, I agree that it's merely faulty at best, or absurdity at worst, that God gave Judeo/Christianity with all of its rituals and concepts as one whole package without tweaks over time from people. Most believers would argue that revelation is "progressive," that is unfolding truths over time. Nevertheless, detailed concepts about the exact nature of the afterlife, what happens when one is immersed in water, etc. and other ideas are human originated. Naturally, most true athiests and comparative religion scholars think that it's all a human invention without any divine power behind it at all. Either way, no one can conclusively prove it one way or another.

What many fundamentalists and others try to do to answer this dilemma is to "trim" off the innovations that usually envelope basic religious concepts, and strip them down to the basics (just belief in God and what the Bible says). As you've probably figured out, others go farther to "trim" away innovations, and don't stop at basics because others think that the basics are just human ideas, too.

This type of "reform" or "return" to basic beliefs (or the abandonment of them) is what causes many religious movements to change for the better, and not allowing any one belief attain dominence to the point of tyranny, since such dissent decentralizes power from a large religious system (such as Roman Catholicism as just one example).

Back to the question: is Judeo/Christian belief the byproduct of human cultural evolution? I would say "yes," to some point. I don't think that God drops the Bible or any set of ideas in one untouched whole as a pristine package without human interference. The people in the Bible were themselves products of cultural changes and shifts due to captivity of dominant cultures. However, I also believe that in the center of this "tweaking" of religious concepts that originate with humans, is a basic belief from revelation expressed in creation, the gradations of good, to semi-good, to bad, to evil (a spectrum of right and wrong), the existence of emotions, a seeming purpose for something beyond just satisfying biological drives, and selfless sacrifice as in Christ's example that gives me cause to remain a believer. However, I'm no simplistic fundamentalist who views the Bible as PRESCRIPTIVE for all beliefs and conduct. I'm content to agree that it contains a record of beliefs of people who were unsophisticated at points in a prescientific culture (such as the view that a plant is responsible for fertility as recorded in Gen. 30:16).

Interesting that you would bring up some arguments that I've heard athiests/agnostics raise. I read Bertrand Russell's "Why I Am Not A Christian" along with listening to Dan Barker's "testimony" of conversion from preacher to atheist. I won't say that they were closet theists with chips on their shoulders, but the "fig tree" example they both raise is not substantive enough to refute Christianity. Yes, you are correct that there are other matters, like the issue you raised, that are stumbling blocks to faith. I wouldn't "refute" your view, but take your view from a different angle that still embraces theism. A type of theism that uses limited human capacities in thinking through beliefs and enhancing them, reinterpreting them in the light of new evidence, and even abandoning models of belief that reevaluate traditional ideas. I tend to demystify Christian religion by looking at religious ideas that evolved in Christianity as a reaction to the experience the primitive Christians had with Jesus, and how Christians had to reconcile what they experienced with the realities of continued existence in the day-to-day world. They were not content to see him as a mere man, but had to understand their experience with enhancements through the use of language to convey what they felt.

Continue to think and challenge yourself as you have done, no matter where the answers you find take you.

Sincerely,

Richard F. Lee, M.Div.


Hi I read your tract on Are Catholics christians, and I have to say that for someone who claims to be educated you could at least have represented catholicism in an honest way. But wait that would mean that you have no reason to to say that Catholicism is from satan, in fact you would have to retract that statement which I'm sure your to proud to do after all you have full assurence of salvation right no matter what you do you have faith and thats enough. I feel sorry for you, I will pray for you that you will learn what it means to not bear false wittness. Your tract was full of alot of rhetoric with out any explanation (but I suppose thats the point you woudn't want any one to think about the things you say you just want them to except it as fact). I have yet to see or hear a good argument against the infailablity of the Roman Church all protestant attempts are arguments against some imagined type of impeccability that Rome has never claimed this leads me to believe that you dont care about truth, truth excludes error and anything that includes error is false. Your protestant bible includes error in the table of contents. You all claim to be bible christians but as soon as you got your hands on it you made the bible say whatever you wanted it to say by kicking 7 books out of the old testament and if Martin Luther had his why James would be gone as well. I need not remind you that the two people that your religion is founded on John Calvin, and Martin Luther were not such great people Luther was half way insane and Calvin was a seminary drop out who on more than one occasion had a man burnt at the stake for disagreeing with him. The Catholic Church has never put any one to death the governments these people were subject to did that without church approval. But I've said enough I'm sorry for the harsh tone it's just that I would have expected a real argument against Catholicism I don't know what religion you were arguing against but it's not the Catholic Church. Have a nice day.

Luke >>

I am not Jack Chick. Why are you directing this at me? I answered your inquiry earlier, and you respond with ad hominem attacks against Luther and Calvin.

First of all, I don't defend Calvin's actions anymore than I would defend the Catholic Church. Did you even BOTHER to check the reference I gave you called "Vicars of Christ: Dark Side of the Papacy"? Ex-priest De Rosa carefully documents that the papal claims to infallibility and innocence of taking of human life are built on a house of cards.

Kicking out seven books out of the Bible? The Apocrypha wasn't officially included until the 1546 sessions of the Council of Trent, but irrelevant to the fact that the Old Testament was decided by JEWS, and it resembles the Protestant Old Testament except for how the books were arranged. Remember, the Roman Catholic Church in general was anti-Semitic during the Middle Ages, and placed those books in the Hebrew Bible which the Jewish council at Jamnia in AD 100 avoided. Protestants were honoring how the Jews limited their Old Testament canon to the same books.

By the way, your run-on sentences are distracting. My only Jesuit professor corrected my grammatical errors, and I'll return the favor by correcting a faithful Romanist whose grammatical and spelling errors exceed mine. If it weren't for the Reformation, there would have been no Enlightenment, no industrial revolution, no democracy, or no questioning of church authority. The entire West would look like Mexico, South America, or any other Third World country where Catholicism is the unquestioned official religion of the land. For your information, I'm a "Freethinking" Protestant, not tied to some religious authority in robes. Think for yourself. You'll go a lot farther in life if you do.

Richard Lee, M.Div.


For quite some time, I have been trying to substantiate/corroborate the existence of Charles Chiniquy as postulated by Jack Chick (Jesuit plot to assasinate President Lincoln). I have asked the History Channel and Abraham Lincoln experts if in fact Mr. Chiniquy and Mr. Lincoln ever met. To date, no one has replied (in the space of three years). What are your comments? Thank you, Carolyn

 

Hello, Carolyn,

Thanks for your question. There is no doubt that Chiniquy existed. Even those opposed to Chiniquy's later views on Catholicism affirm that he existed. Some websites such as Rev. Charles Chiniquy, D.D. (1809-1899) and CHINIQUY: LINCOLN WRITINGS, reprinted from the Journal of the Illinois State Historical Society, February 1976, vol. 69, pp. 17-25 discuss a little about his life. However, I doubt that anyone was a witness to Lincoln's and Chiniquy's meeting, and it's unlikely that historians would care much about a disgruntled ex-priest who previously hired Lincoln as a lawyer before he became president of the United States. I found an extremely rare book (now out of print) initially published in 1924 by an anti-Catholic author Burke McCarty entitled "The Suppressed Truth About the Assassination of Abraham Lincoln." It recounts the meeting that Chiniquy had with Lincoln on page 39, but of course coming from McCarty it's hearsay. The quote in fact comes from "Fifty Years in the Church of Rome" that Chick Publications reprinted.

Personally, I have no doubt as to their meeting, but do question how Chiniquy was able to remember Lincoln's supposed anti-Catholic remarks. Tape recordings did not exist, so we can't affirm in any great detail what was supposedly said. It may be possible to check out the archives in the state of Illinois in the county court where Chiniquy had his lawsuit involving the Chicago Roman Catholic archdiocese, and Lincoln's name may appear on the paperwork. Both McCarty's and Chiniquy's books are obviously biased in favor of the alleged Catholic plot to kill Lincoln, and it could be argued that both would have a vested interest in depicting Lincoln as one who "knew" that his death would be carried out by Catholic/Jesuit assassins. In all fairness to Roman Catholics, strong anti-Catholic (and antisemitic too) feelings existed over 135 years ago in the U.S., so it wasn't surprising that Catholics were blamed for many things they didn't do. If you find anything else in your research, please let me know and we'll post it.


 

Hi Richard:

I remember you're telling me the arguments about Mormon's not being a religion. I have forgotten most of the Bible passages that support this belief. Will you kindly refresh my memory? Thanks a million.

- Tom Boles

 

Hello, Tom,

Mormonism, also known as the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, IS in fact a religion. Orthodox evangelical Christianity just doesn't consider it to be a valid expression of the Christian faith, that's all. The history of the Mormon faith is extensive, and why Christians objected to it when it was founded by Joseph Smith, Jr. back in 1831 has a lengthy history. My friend, Jim Spencer is a former Mormon elder who gives his testimony why he left the LDS church. Through the Maze Home.htm or www.mazeministry.com.

Since there are so many ministries devoted to discussing and refuting the Mormon's church's claims, I won't belabor the point. Basically, Joseph Smith, Jr. claimed that the angel Moroni revealed to him that Joseph Smith, Jr. was to restore the one true church since all of Christianity was apostate. A first blush suspicion of his claims is immediately addressed in Scripture: Galatians 1:8 "But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.

9 As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed."

God bless,

Richard Lee


Dear Rich,

Where do you stand on Biblical Contradictions? A few examples:

Righteous live?

Ps.92:12: "The righteous shall flourish like the palm tree."

Isa.57:1: "The righteous perisheth, and no man layeth it to heart."

-Midnightvenus2

See Rich's Response here.


I celebration?

I go to a Christian church, and the pastor spoke about Christmas. He said that it is bad believing in the tradition made by man. Well it gets to the point were I'm confused because I'm a TBN watcher and most of them have Christmas decorations. I'm a Christian and a true believer of Christ, and I also know that he was not born on the 25th of December. The bible doesn't say that. Please tell me what I should believe and give me your opinion about Christmas!!!!

Sincerely, Lorena M.

See Rich's Response here.


Let me ask you if you're aware of any place in the bible where it says it's the christian duty to fight to defend Israel or give military aid. I know about the "bless those who bless Israel" part, but blessing and killing for are two different things. (Very different.) Bush indicated he's for a Palestinian state, and some are saying that's not Christian. I'm wondering where their scripture is to support that claim.

-Kevin

Read Richard's Response here.


BRAVO! Excellent job refuting the popculture-Buddhist. The audacity of the postmodern to find it Absolutely True that our claims of Absolute Truth are Absolutely False blows me away

However... I have no problem with being open to a day/age theory or some other literary interpretation of Gen 1-11 (although I personally believe Creation took place exactly as we are told. Gen 1-3 contains parallelism). But do you actually believe that multiple sources contributed to the Pent.? Do you believe that Jesus rose from the dead LITERALLY? Or is that going "too far"?

-Zack

See Rich's Response here.

 


One point of error in Mr. Chick's history of the Catholic Church that I have not seen addressed on your website has been the issue of his inaccurate timeline. Mr. Chick seems to believe that a canonized New Testament was compiled in the apostolic age. He believes that the uniquely Catholic elements of the church (hierarchy, sacraments, autoritative pronouncements, etc) were all imposed by the Emperor Constantine. The "true Christians" retreated into hiding, where they became the Walbegensians and other "heretical" groups prior to the reforation, afterwhich they metamorphised into Evangelical Fundamentalists. This course of developement is inaccurate. The two main points of doctrine he considers to be "Catholic" (eucharistic adoration and hierarcy) are evidenced in the writings of Ignatius and Polycarp (ca 110 ad). The official canon of scriptures that Mr. Chick himself accepts was not formed until the fourth century, under the direction of Constantine. His belief in a universally accepted orthodox cannon of scriptures prior to that era is incorrect.

His accounts of "Babylonian religion" disagree with all other historical sources on the beliefs of the babylonians, and I see no primary-source sitations in his comics or tracts. The Catholic sacrament of confession could not have been imposed by Constantine, as it was not invnted until the Dark Ages by Irish monks.

Also, there exists no evidence linking the Walbagensians to any first-century Christian group or Fundamentalist Evangelical Chrisatianity to them or any of the Christian dissident groups of the Middle Ages. It is an inarguable historical facts that theology expressed by Fundamentalist Evangelicals was created within the last two centuries.

-Thomas K.

See Rich's Response by going here.


Recently released on Video: Elizabeth. It deals with Catholic history in the UK, including a very famous Jesuit plot. Go here for Rich's review.


As Christ's church, all interpretations of scripture are through Him. The church has this authority. Where do you and Jack Chick, and other Catholic bashers, get the authority to interpret scripture, to say what is and isn't the correct interpretation? Does your theology degree accord you this? I think not. Does Chick's anti-catholic disability allow him to think freely? No.

Do you forget that your molested form of Christianity would not be possible were it not for the Catholic church? I read your nice justification on the Eucharist, which though it is clever, is not true. The problem was in the question--it gave you a way out. You deny Catholicism's strict interpretation on the Eucharist, yet somehow manage to support the rapture, of which Christ spoke nothing.

Wait, now I get it. Protestants invent their theology, so long as they don't have to invent truth. While Protestants depend on themselves, and their schools, to interpret scripture, the Church depends on Christ alone.

You know this, and have no excuse.

James Y.

See Rich's Response by going here.


Dear IYF,

I know this must seem irrelevant, but I'm curious. In Numbers, the scripture says that Balaam's donkey was a she/female. In 2 Peter, he says that the donkey spoke with a man's voice. Now common sense would say she spoke with a woman's voice if the donkey was a she right? Was Peter in some way prejudiced against the female gender or what? Or did the donkey actually speak with a man's voice when her gender was female.

Also, the angel said he would've killed Balaam and spared her/the donkey.

Erin

 

Hi, Erin! Thanks for the Bible question, I'll try to answer this the best I can.

Good observation on the issue of the gender of Balaam's donkey. The account in the Old Testament that you are referring to is in Numbers 22:21-30. Balaam smote (or hit) his she-ass or donkey, and we read that the animal verbally responded to Balaam's abuse. The speaking of the donkey shows what a mistreated animal might say to it's owner. This account shows us that the Lord intervened in the natural order, and Balaam heard the donkey speak.

In 2 Peter 2:16, we read a brief recounting of this incident, to show us that Balaam followed in unrighteousness. This text is telling us that the donkey had more sense than Balaam, a false prophet, because the donkey seemingly was more "spiritual" since it had more perception, although it was just an animal without vocal cords! The word "man" in 2 Peter 2:16 is the Greek "ANTHROPOS," which can mean either male or female. Peter isn't literally concerned with the gender of the donkey (although it was common knowledge that such animals were female). His point was that Balaam was a false teacher, and that the false teachers of Peter's time were like Balaam. Peter was not prejudiced against the female gender, and such wasn't the point in his citation of the Balaam and she-ass story from Numbers 22:21-30. Hope this helps.


Dear IYF,

Where to begin? Where to begin? Let's start off by saying first and foremost, that Chick tracts are a great way to get me rolling on the floor laughing. I read the one about Mormons just this evening and busted a gut. It was amusing, yet it was the only one I slightly agreed with.

I really can't fathom where a "Christian" could possibly think it to be okay to condemn whole groups of people to hell. After all that's supposed to be God's department. Buddhists, Muslims, Catholics, Mormons, gays, drug users, and the list goes on. I even confided in my mom's pastor and he even agreed with me that people have no right to say whether or not someone is going to hell. You would think that Mr. Chick would try to teach benevolence and compassion among his fellow men instead of all that fire and brimstone that just gets people mad anyway.

The tracts don't even begin to make me want to become a Christian. They are repulsive, Offensive (but you know that already), and riddled with fallacies.

The one falsehood that really burns in my mind is in the one of the tracts that names Jesus as God. It even goes so far as to say Jesus created the universe. It says god was born on earth as Jesus. This contradicts the biblical account of Jesus being seated at the right hand of the father. That one will do for Christians contradicting themselves. Moving on...

I am a Buddhist. The only belief that I don't share with fundamentalist Buddhists is vegetarianism. It contradicts itself. How can natural balance be maintained when the animal population is left to it's own devices. That however is not the point I'm trying to make. I was simply providing some personal background. In one tract it portrays Buddhists as money grubbing, violent people. This could not be farther from the truth. Buddhists are pacifists in the greatest sense of the word. Zen is the supreme state of enlightenment, and we strive for it. We meditate, and we try our best not to let obstacles like anger and violence from getting the best of us. When we try not to get angry it will get easier to not get angry at anything. We aren't violent like the people in those tracts. We do not beat the pulp out of people who do not believe as we do. It's all based on bias and very little fact.

Secondly, we really have no central deity. That is why Buddhism works so well along side of other religions. It is easy to mix with traditional beliefs. Buddha isn't even considered a God. He was a teacher. He was given the choice by his father of staying at home and living a life of luxury or going out to teach and open the path to enlightenment.

Now that I've completed the hard core religious stuff, I'll actually ask a question. What is your position on Marijuana. I personally believe it is just as harmless as any common household product. If you want to argue about it, sugar kills your pancreas (in excess), cholesterol (found in just about everything American ) will give you a heart attack, ibuprofen damages your kidneys, aspirin damages stomach lining. The list goes on. It just goes to show that everything in moderation is just fine. Marijuana isn't the gateway drug people claim it to be. I've been smoking it for many years now and I've never done anything else. I've never considered doing anything else and none of my friends have either. I don't even drink. I don't party or fornicate for that matter either. I'm considered by most a sort of a shaman because of this (it's them not me). Marijuana hasn't damaged my ability to do anything either. I smoked more weed my senior year than any other time and my grades were straight A's. I have the highest SAT, ACT, and ASVAB scores in my school. I can also program in 5 different languages and I'm only eighteen. So, brain damage is only an unfounded rumor just meant to scare people away. Chick's tracts bash drugs as a whole, but only PCP is mentioned by name. Someone shot heroin. The rolled a J and that's all I can think of. I want to know what the Christian position on Dambe is.

I'm tired and I'm going to go to bed. Laters.

Sincerely, OD

(Click here for response.)


Hello,

I am curious about why is it that all these christian faiths believe in the same god, and practically the same bible (is there 2 versions?) but you still bash on each other? Another thing, why is it that when Mr.Chick creates tracts about homosexuals, they he depicts them as angry, and violent. And dressing in drag. And sometimes hating straight people and trying to "talk" straight people into a homosexual relationship? I know lots of homosexuals and they have never acted in this manor. I am upseted by this. I know he is trying to make it look horrible to young people and adults, but is it neccessary? It will just bring up more hate towards them if people are afraid of them. (Remeber Matthew Shepard). I know you have your beliefs, and I have mine, but I think this might be a bit too much. These tracts don't make me want to believe in a God, because he seems very hateful. And I am outraged by the messages sent by these, it pushes me farther and farther from the belief. I was once kicked out of a church because they tried to make me burn my cds (which aren't that bad unless you have a thing against Live, radiohead, and smashing pumpkins), they touched people and told them that God was touching them and they would fall back, and they condemed homosexuality to the point where they went to a homosexual church and told them that they were going to hell, they threw things at them and threaten to burn down thier church. I immeditly stood up and took up for them, saying that if thats what they are then thats what they are, and they have the right to be that way, for they have thier own mind. and if they are believing in the same God I was then more power to them. and I was kicked out after revealing that I was bi-sexual and that I refused to repent because I didn't see it as wrong. Since that inncident 2 years ago, I have not been in a church since. I believe that if we just leave people alone then things would be much peaceful. But then again, that could only be the words of a dreamer.

~Alicia

(Click here for Response.)


Dear I.Y.F.,

Faith is an inherently unreasonable thing. It requires belief without direct evidence or cause. It also isn't necessarily good. It can be productive (charitable compassionate Christians), or destructive (Heaven's Gate, etc). Given this, how does one come to it? Why should one believe in spirituality? What compelled you? Why does it seem *true* to you? As a closet atheist with several Christian friends, I'm curious.

-Joe

(Click here for response)


Dear I.Y.F.,

Where do you stand on the issue of genetic cloning?

-K

Dear K,

This is a new issue that the biblical authors certainly couldn't have anticipated. Science fiction has now become science reality, and genetic cloning raises tough ethical issues. For example, in the case of the deterioration of human organs which may result in the death of the individual, it could be possible to clone a new body to harvest the organs in order to replace the deteriorating ones. If new organs aren't found, lower quality of life or even death will result. On the other hand, if a new body is cloned, it will be destroyed for its organs.

Cloning also raises existential issues: Is a new life created when a person is cloned? Is it wrong to harvest body parts from one's own genetic material? Is it wrong to reproduce oneself without natural sexual relations as God designed? Certainly, this raises the dilemma of "playing God," and the Roman Catholic Church in particular objects to tampering with the natural order when it comes to any reproductive issues (like the use of birth control to prevent the possible conception of life). By contrast, Protestants have been more sharply divided on reproductive issues, and undoubtedly this will include genetic cloning as it receives more public attention. Is it really "playing God" to intervene in the quality of human life, or using technology to extend it? Isn't artificial means of extending one's life playing God too? If it is, then medical science as we've known it is "sinful." I do not take such an extreme absurd position in condemning legitimate medical science. IF (and I know this isn't currently the case) it is possible to clone human organs to meet the needs of transplant patients WITHOUT creating an entire body to do it, then I don't see why it is wrong if it serves the purpose of saving life. Jesus interferred in the natural course to restore deteriorated limbs to give a better quality of life (Mark 3:1-5). Jesus Christ established a biblical precedent that saving life overrides other considerations, such as obeying Sabbath restrictions or other religious laws.

On the other hand, if a whole body were to be cloned to harvest organs, this would be barbaric to the extreme since the body would include a brain with sentience and feeling. As for genetic cloning in and of itself apart from organ harvesting, to me this would not be radically different from the conception of twins or triplets. However, the cloned human being would have a significantly degraded genetic code. The analogy is that of a duplicated second generation videotape. I wish to consider all sides of this issue before building a rational position. I'm sure the debate on genetic cloning has only barely begun.


Dear I.Y.F.,

Astronomer Phil Plait of http://www.badastronomy.com may soon be entering into the "age of the universe" debate. Are you willing to volunteer to be a target for flames? One discussion has touched on the Catholic Church persecuting Copernicus and Galileo.

-Brian

 

Dear Brian,

Why, thank you! Don't mind if I do...(I know I'm behind in e-mails, but I'll try to tackle something new). I don't consider the age of the earth or universe to be central to Christian orthodoxy, but some Fundamentalists do. In fact, it isn't a part of the 16 Statements of Fundamental Truths of the General Council of the A/G, but the Calvary Chapel movement will not ordain anyone to ministry if he doesn't agree with a literal interpretation of Genesis and six days of creation. Is the A/G heading towards this? I think so. The recent publication "Perspectives: General Christian Doctrines" from Springfield on pages 28 and 29 state that "Assemblies of God believers hold that the Genesis account should be taken literally." As an A/G minister, I strongly disagree. First, the document presumes that this is a "general Christian doctrine," which implies that it speaks for ALL Christians, and second, this statement does not reflect accurate scholarship on the meaning of the Genesis accounts of Creation. (Note that I said "accounts of Creation" in the plural, meaning that I do in fact agree with contemporary biblical scholarship that more than one account of creation is to be found in Genesis 1 and 2).

What I find troubling is that so many Pentecostal Christian believers will use the literal interpretation of Genesis as a "litmus" test for being a believer, and will probably not hire any member of the clergy who disagrees with the party line.


[An in"flamed" response about Creationism]

Richard:

First and foremost I do not consider myself Pentecostal or Charasmatic; instead I would align myself on the other side of Orthodox Christianity. It saddens me to hear you take such a view concerning the book of Genesis. I am one of those "fundamentalist" who does take the creation account as being one literal account. Internal evidence of the book itself indicates that the Genesis account is to be taken literally: (Genesis 1:5, 8, 13, 19, 23, and 31); "and the evening and morning were the ...." The use of evening and morning are to be held as limiting a day to a solar day. I recognize that the sun did not come into being until the fourth day. The words evening and morning are quite clear cut. Concerning external evidences it is quite interesting to read the Talmud (Mishna) which supports a literal interpretation of Genesis. Genesis gives us no indication of other interpretations save for what is written. From what is written it is quite easy for us to understand what "evening and morning" are. I can say with surety that there is no evidences (internal or external) to support the alternative view of evening and morning as long periods of time.

I find it quite interesting Richard that you apparently subscribe to the alternative view, however, you put forth no evidence to support it. I am probably quite safe in assuming you subscribe to higher criticism of the Pentateuch. Namely, the theory of J.E.D.P. Richard I must be honest with you; first, how you view the book of Genesis determines your view of scripture as a whole. Yes your interpretation of the book of Genesis is a litmus test; I would not hire you to preach, teach Sunday school, or even attend the nursery. I wouldn't even let you park cars. The inspiration of scripture (literally: God breathed scripture) is not the party line of any denomination, it is the claim the bible makes for itself (2Tim 3:16; 2Peter 1:21). If you are unable to except the plenary inspiration of the Bible; how can you fully except Christ as the son of God or other essentials of the faith.

In Him,

Robert N.

The Reverend Richard responds:

This is an example of what television preacher Dr. Gene Scott calls a "Funkamentalist." Brother Bob here may just believe that Jesus turned water into grape juice, too. Maybe he believes that drinking cans of Mountain Dew eventually leads to drinking cans of beer! And women should be seen, and not heard!

Well, Mr. Robert N. doesn't offer proof to support HIS view that Moses wrote the entire Pentateuch. Besides, other Christians, like Dr. Hugh Ross (www.reasons.org) do NOT affirm the six days of Genesis chapter one as 24 hour days. Genesis chapter two, verse four states "in the DAY that the LORD God made the earth and the heavens..." Now we have a problem here if one insists that Genesis 1 has literal 24 hour days, when chapter 2 has the entire creation in only one day! This difference (not a true contradiction in my opinion) is a reason why modern scholars believe that there are at least two different authors behind the Genesis accounts. Besides, the final editors of Genesis allowed two differing accounts of the "days" to be included, and to me this is proof that literal days are not meant. I have to be intellectually honest as to what the text means; I cannot and will not force a 21st century fundamentalist mindset on the biblical text where the authors of Scripture themselves wouldn't allow it.

As for parking cars for a church, you are right, I shouldn't! If God meant for us to drive cars, He would have given us wheels! Jesus didn't have a car; neither should we! (Let's take the literal interpretation of the Bible to it's extreme conclusion!) Besides, I've been upgraded to communion cup cleaning detail, and next week, I get to scrub the sin scum from the sides of the baptismal tank. Praise the Lord and pass the Welch's.


[Knight's 2nd Letter on Chick's Catholic stance, (sent within hours) included numerous scripture references. They are repeated in the response.]

Dear I.Y.F.,

I would like to engage Jack Chick in one of his many mistakes, in his tract Are Roman Catholics Christians he says that the priest by some magical feat changes the bread to Christ's body. For your information, Jack, that wasn't the church's idea, it was Christ's! Lets look at the Bible and see what it says. It has to be true if it says so in the Bible right Jack?

-Knight

(Click here for response.)


Hi there Robert and Robert's friend. Merry Christmas to you both. I want to answer the question posed here. First of all, prayer is communication. When we pray we talk to God. When we implore the intercession of Mary and the Saints we talk to them. You asked for the Biblical proof of this, here they are: Matthew 17:1-8 and Mark 9:2-8.

The Transfiguaration. Jesus spoke to both Moses and Elijah. Elijah, of course, was taken to heaven in a fiery chariot and he never died; but we read at the end of Deuteronomy that Moses did in fact die. Here we see our Savior conversing with at least one person who had died. The example for intercessory prayer was given to us by Christ Himself, and the Fathers of the Church have always stated this is where it comes from. So you see, Mr. Chick aside from being ignorant, has never bothered to look at the Catholic Faith with Catholic eyes. He will answer for what he does, but that is the Lord's call, not ours. So I will agree with Robert's friend and also say not to kill Jack Chick, LOL.

-Tim 12/21/00

Dear Tim,

The Matthew and Mark passages are merely DESCRIPTIVE, not PRESCRIPTIVE accounts, of what the writers saw fit to include in the Gospels. In regards to the Elijah story (which is irrelevant anyway), the legend of Elijah not dying is apocryphal. In fact, AFTER the story of the whirlwind account of him going up into heaven (II Kings 2:15), we see that he wrote a letter to Jehoram in II Chronicles 21:12. The example for "intercessory prayer" best comes from the Pauline epistles, and the Lord's Prayer (Our Father), rather than taking an incident which has NOTHING to do with prayer, but with another matter entirely. The Transfiguration was meant to illustrate Jesus mediating and fulfilling the "Law" symbolized by Moses and the "Prophets" symbolized by Elijah. Modern biblical studies confirm this. The Church Fathers, as brilliant as they were, were reading an Aristotelian bias and expanded the biblical text beyond the boundaries of the authors' intent. This is how religion evolves, and thanks to modern biblical critical methods, scholars (including Catholic ones) can now arrive at a more accurate understanding of the text.


Hi, my name is Nick, and this is the first time I heard that Elijah being carried to Heaven alive is a fable drawn from the apocrapha. Can you show me were you got your proof about this?

Hi, Nick!

No, I didn't mean that the story of Elijah being taken to Heaven is taken from "THE Apocrypha," I said that the story of Elijah being taken to Heaven (permanently, and not seeing death) is "apocryphal," meaning "doubtful." The Apocrypha, as you know, is a set of Jewish writings which the Church Fathers quoted, and later the Roman Catholic Church considered canonical during the Counter Reformation, circa 1545. They contain nothing about the Elijah story. The story in the Bible of Elijah taken into Heaven is in II Kings 2:11 "and Elijah went up to heaven in a whirlwind." However, some have taken this to mean that he went UP INTO HEAVEN where God's throne is, thus never seeing death as a mortal man. This interpretation is doubtful. It is more likely that the author meant that Elijah was taken up into the heavens (atmosphere) and transported to another place, where he lived out his normal lifespan. II Chronicles 21:12 suggests this, because we read that Elijah wrote a letter, which chronologically (in all probability) occurred after the story in II Kings 2:11. Thanks for the chance to address this, and clear up some confusion. I suggest checking out Ralph Woodrow's ministry, wherein he addressed this in his writings. Ralphwoodrow.org.

Richard Lee



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