I was pulling weeds next to my Russian neighbor who was changing his oil of his car. I knew he formerly was biochemistry major who
wanted to be a medical doctor, but that he decided instead to become a
preacher. I asked what he was doing these days and he said he was working on
his second master’s degree. His first was in pastoral science (for becoming a
preacher) and his second is in theology (for teaching preachers in training).
He had learned how to read Hebrew and Greek in order to read original biblical
manuscripts. This guy is a theologian who took a course on apologetics, which
is the defense of Christianity.
I recently read The God Delusion and was curious as to how I would fare in a debate with a well-armed Christian. I thought I might feel bad
about destroying the faith of a regular Christian, but then I realized that
asking a boxer if he wanted to box is not like a bully picking on someone.
Debating with a theologian would be more like boxing with a boxer.
I told him that was interesting and that I had been doing some reading recently (The God Delusion and A Letter to a Christian Nation). I
recently learned that the Gospels were written 70 – 100 years after Jesus was
born. I said it was amazing how the gospels were not written by eyewitnesses but
by authors interviewing old men. He said Mark was written by interviewing Peter
the disciple, who was about 90 and that John was written by the disciple John.
He led the discussion to the Old Testament and I told him I was amazed how in Numbers 31, God ordered the Jews to kill all the Medianite
men and all the non-virgin women. God then ordered the Jews to take the virgin
girls for them selves. He replied that the bible also said that the men could
not keep the women as their wives after “taking them for themselves.” What?
I said that I always was amazed that God punished all the people after Adam because their ancestors Adam and Eve ate a fruit that God
told them not to eat and because they were not following laws that God had not
shared with them. Then he picked Abraham and his descendents to be his favorite
people. I told him how unfair I thought that was that God was administering
justice based only on who your ancestors were. My theologian friend said that
even Abraham was a sinner but that God was showing his mercy by picking
I said I couldn’t believe I told him I thought it was unfair that God punished people because they were born with a high IQ that made them
be able to study evidence and draw conclusions about the universe without a book.
He said that God planted ideas to test people to see if they still obey.
I told him I thought it was unfair that he was born in a Christian family and was raised to believe in Christ whereas children born in a
Moslem family were taught that Mohammad was visited by the angel Gabriel and
was given the truth. Theologian said that Moslems suppress the truth of Jesus.
I asked how it was fair that he did not have to suppress any thoughts of Jesus.
He was born into a supportive family. I said that he was a lucky guy. He said,
no he was not lucky but he had no explanation as to why he was not luckier than
the Moslem child. He was silent with a long awkward pause so I changed the