Is the Atheist My Neighbor? with Randal Rauser

jrforasteros —  July 3, 2015 — 6 Comments

Randal Rauser returns to the StoryMen to call for Evangelicals to reconsider our approach to Atheism. After we review the ugly history of Christian-Atheist relations, we examine how we can begin to show respect for our atheist neighbors, and even learn from them.

Story Men - July 3, 2015

Is the Atheist My Neighbor? with Randal Rauser

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In this Episode:

1:30 – Canada Day

03:30 – Is the Atheist My Neighbor?

08:00 – The Rebellion Thesis

18:30 – National Atheist Day

26:30 – The Good of Atheism

35:00 – Hostility to Hospitality

42:30 – GIVEAWAY

44:00 – PPOW
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Episode Links

Randal’s Books

Click to see the book on Amazon!

Click to see the book on Amazon!

What on Earth Do We Know About Heaven?

The Swedish Atheist, the Scuba Diver and Other Apologetic Rabbit Trails

God or Godless

Randal’s Amazon Author Page

Connect with Randal:

(Blog | YouTube | Twitter)

Pop Culture PPOW

JR.: Wytches by Scott Snyder and Jock

Clay: Mark Waid’s Daredevil (Vol 1 | Vol 2 | Vol 3)

Matt: August Moon by Diana Thung

Randal: Back to the Future

Find the StoryMen Online:

We blog at NorvilleRogers.com

Follow us on Twitter:

Matt | Clay | JR.

Here’s the stuff we’ve made:

Matt’s Books | Clay’s Books | JR.’s Messages

The Other StoryMen:

StoryMen Audio Producer: Aaron Kretzmann

Aaron’s website
Follow Aaron on Twitter

StoryMen Art by M. S. Corley

M. S. Corley’s website
Follow M. S. Corley on Twitter

StoryMen Theme Song by Anthony Mako

Anthony Mako’s website
Follow Anthony on Twitter

What verse did we discuss during the episode?

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  • Is Jesus’ “love” truly remarkable? A Universalist Christian has the right to think so, but I’m not so sure a damnationist Christian does.

    Dr. Avalos views Jesus’ love in context with his other teachings as a form of “deferred violence.” We are taught to love our enemies, but God will punish his eternally.

    Jesus “love” must be viewed in context with his first century apocalyptic notions of a final judgment, hell, i.e., “Do not fear him who can kill the body, but he who can toss both body and soul into hell…” And there’s his judging of the cities that “rejected” him “It shall be easier on Sodom and Gommorah than on those cities.” In context, how loving is deferred ETERNAL VIOLENCE against those who don’t leap on board the bandwagon of one’s cult? A dis-empowered earthly Jesus may be shown to have unleashed just a smidgen of that fury in the episode of making a whip and assaulting the moneychangers in the temple court (prominently shown on the cover of Dr. Avalos’ book, The Bad Jesus).

    And what of Jesus’ call to perfectionism? Filled with the thought of coming change, he [Jesus] insisted that there was but one important thing, and that was for each man to save his soul. He should care nothing for wife or child or property, in the shadow of the coming disaster…He endeavored, as it is said, to induce men to desert all they had, to let the dead bury the dead, and follow him. We know now – if we know anything that Jesus was mistaken about the coming of the end, and we know now that he was greatly controlled in his ideas of life, by that mistake. Believing that the end was near, he said, “Take no thought for the morrow, what ye shall eat or what ye shall drink or wherewithal ye shall be clothed.” It was in view of the destruction of the world that he called the attention of his disciples to the lily that toiled not and yet excelled Solomon in the glory of his rainment. [The parable even has an appropriately apocalyptic ending: “The grass of the field that is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace!” Mat 6:30] Having made this mistake, having acted upon it, certainly we cannot now say that he was perfect in knowledge.

    New Testament theologian, Robert M. Price, agrees with Ingersoll that Jesus’ plea for “moral perfectionism” directly resulted from his mistaken belief that God’s judgment day was imminent:

    Jesus’ eschatology accounts for the radical perfectionism of the application of his values, e.g., “Love your enemies…bless those who curse you…if struck on one cheek, turn the other…lay not up for yourself treasure on earth [do not save money!]…Whoever takes away your coat, do not withhold your shirt from him either [leaving you naked, since those two items summed up the clothing worn by ancient Near Easterners]…give to everyone who asks of you, and whoever takes away what is yours, do not demand it back [!], etc.” I can’t buy Luther’s way out, i.e., that Jesus was showing us how we can’t obey these values, in order to prepare us for the gospel of justification by faith! Sorry, Luther! The text repeatedly says, “Do this to reach the kingdom, do this or be punished.” I am thinking foremost of the Sermon on the Mount in which Jesus is depicted as saying:

    In everything, therefore, treat people the same way you want them to treat you, for this is the Law and the Prophets … Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits … Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire [apocalyptic speech]. So then, you will know them by their fruits. Not everyone who says to Me, “Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. Many will say to Me on that day, “Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?” And then I will declare to them, “I never knew you; DEPART FROM ME, YOU WHO PRACTICE LAWLESSNESS.” Therefore everyone who hears these words of Mine and acts on them, may be compared to a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house [apocalyptic speech]; and yet it did not fall, for it had been founded on the rock. Everyone who hears these words of Mine and does not act on them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. The rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and it fell and great was its fall. [Matt. 7: 12-27]

    Most perfectionists are neurotics: was Jesus? Not if he predicated perfectionism as the only way to live due to the nearness of God’s judgment day! Then it would seem feasible! Though Jesus would also have been a false prophet.

    • Hi Edward,

      Are you responding to something in the episode? Or is this just trolling?

      Thanks!

      • I listened to the whole podcast, and the previous one with Randal as well. I read Randal’s last four books and often read and comment on his posts on his blog. I am currently preparing two full length reviews of Randal’s latest two books, but it takes me longer to write a review than it takes Randal to write a book. Randal and I have a lot in common background wise, Both came out of the Hal Lindsey years, dispen-sensationalist backgrounds, Larry Norman fans. Randal kept coloring inside the lines of Evangelicalism and Biblical inspiration with occasional admissions of tentativeness, such as his hopeful universalism. But he still sounds pretty certain about what is the most probable belief system that will ensure people eternal life and even wrote a book about what heaven will be like based on some biblical passages that he seems to interpret as literally as many inerrantists. I tried my best to remain inside the lines, reading everything from conservative to moderate to liberal theologians, but wound up agnostic.

        My question was directed at Randal’s talk of God’s/.Jesus’ remarkable love in your broadcast. To me this raises serious questions, since Randal often simply skips past passages concerning God’s eternal wrath. He hopes they can be interpreted differently, more flexibly, in the end, but he also hopes the depictions of a new earth can be interpreted literally. I think his manner of biblical interpretation is inconsistent.

        By the way, I have yet to ask anyone on my own blog or facebook page if they are trolls. I let people post even If they have a point embedded in curses and name-calling. I’m not particularly worried about that sort of thing, and it demonstrates the full range of responses to my writings.

        • Thanks for the reply. I’ll let Randal tackle the reply.

          We moderate our comments here, and don’t make any *ahem* apology for it.

          Thanks again!

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