A review of “Making the Case for Christianity” by John Bombaro and other LCMS Lutheran theologians, Part 6

“Objections to Christian particularism arise from a worldview that emerges from the metanarrative of Scripture being rejected in part or entirely.  Contemporary objections both within Christianity and outside are therefore conditioned by the way people understand the story of the world, the corresponding ideas about what is and is not fair…”

—John Bombaro

“How can a good and loving God,” they (skeptics) ask, “who is sovereign and providential and therefore ultimately responsible for the dissemination and application of the Gospel, be the cause of such unjust and unreasonable condemnation?”  How can people be judged on the basis of something they don’t know?  What kind of “good news” tells a story with such a bad ending for the tribes of Papua New Guinea and the bush people of Africa who have never even heard the story in the first place?”  It just isn’t fair.

—John Bombaro

Harsh stuff.

Jesus (“God”) excuses no one who fails to believe in him as their Lord and Savior, even though they may have never heard of him.   Why do conservative Lutherans and other conservative (western) Christians believe this.  Answer:  The story of “The Fall”.  This ancient creation story is found in the Hebrew Bible (the Old Testament of the Christian Bible) in which Yahweh, the Judeo-Christian god, creates the universe, the earth, and everything on earth including human beings.  The universe is perfect.  Human beings are perfect.  However, Yahweh gives human beings a free will, the ability to reason; the ability to make choices—the ability to disobey him!  They are not robots.

Yahweh makes human beings the masters of his creation.  They live care-free lives frolicking with lions, tigers, and bears.  But Yahweh has one very important rule for them.  They are not allowed to eat from Yahweh’s special fruit tree which he has placed in the middle of their garden home.

One day as one of the humans is passing by Yahweh’s fruit tree, a talking snake convinces her to take and eat one of Yahweh’s forbidden fruit.  She then convinces the other human being (her husband, Adam) to also eat the forbidden fruit.  Yahweh, who knows everything, confronts the two with their crime.  He is angry.  Very angry.  This wicked crime must be punished.  So for the crime of disobeying Yahweh’s command and eating his special fruit, Yahweh mete’s out the following punishment:

  1. Hard labor, for life.
  2. Execution (death) at the end of the long years of hard labor.
  3. Eternal torture, in some fashion, of both the body and the soul (conscience), in a special place of torture/torment, called Hell.

(Western) Christians, Roman Catholics and Protestants, believe that the guilt for this fruit-eating crime, and its punishment, has been passed down from mother to child, to every human being who has ever lived on planet earth.

The fifth chapter of Making the Case for Christianity is authored by Dr. John Bombaro, pastor of Grace Evangelical Lutheran Church, San Diego, CA, a Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod (LCMS) congregation.   Dr. Bombaro received a Masters in Theology from the University of Edinburgh and a PhD in Theology from the University of London.  He is a Lecturer in the Theology and Religious Studies Department of the University of San Diego.  He is an editorial advisor for the publication, Modern Reformation.

Dr. Bombaro is my former pastor.  Dr. Bombaro was my catechism instructor.

Dr. Bombaro opens the chapter with an assault on Oxford university professor and outspoken, prominent atheist, Richard Dawkins.  He points to this quote from one of Dawkin’s books, “New Testament theology adds a new injustice to [the Old Testament depiction of God], topped off by a new sadomasochism whose viciousness even the Old Testament barely exceeds…God [Yahweh] incarnated himself as a man, Jesus, in order that he should be tortured and executed in atonement for the hereditary sin of Adam.”  

Dr. Bombaro then says this about Professor Dawkins and other atheists on page 118, “…for atheists like Dawkins since there is no God and religion is make-believe anyway, Christianity is unfair and hateful to most, even to Jesus himself and, therefore, is rightly ridiculed and condemned and should be outlawed from public discourse.”

Wow.  I have never heard or read that atheist Richard Dawkins has called for a legal ban regarding the discussion of Christianity in public.  Dr. Bombaro gives no source/reference for this alleged statement.  He should have. I think he is exaggerating.  Most agnostics/atheists I know strongly defend the principle of free speech—for everyone.  Let’s all refrain from making unfounded, inflammatory statements that do nothing but incite fear, bigotry, and hatred.

Dr. Bombaro continues on page 120, “Dawkins’ appraisement of Christianity comports with the fairness doctrine’s  [the concept that the “good news of God” can be embraced (or at least tolerated), so long as it does not come with corresponding bad news from God, or anyone else for that matter] boundaries for the socially acceptable.  At the heart of this increasingly prevalent worldview is the intellectual commitment to the Kantian Divide, the unscalable wall between the phenomenal and noumenal, the real and the unreal, the natural and the “supernatural”.

Dr. Bombaro goes on to give a detailed discussion about how God (Yahweh) is the King of the universe.  And Yahweh is not a token, constitutional monarch.  Yahweh is an absolute sovereign.  He is the law.   There is no constitution or Bill of Rights that even he must abide by.  No.  What Yahweh decrees is right is right and what Yahweh derees is wrong is wrong.  There is no process of appeal for an “unfair” ruling.  What Yahweh decrees as “fair” is what is fair. Dawkins and other atheists can cry “unfair” all they want.  Yahweh could care less about their “fairness doctrine”.

Nice.  We have a modern term for this kind of ruler—dictator.

So why do Christians view Yahweh’s dictatorial system as fair?  As just?  As good?  Well, because they believe that Yahweh is the essence of fairness, of justice, and of goodness.  Yahweh can do no wrong.  It is impossible.

Does anyone see the cognitive dissonance here?

Imagine if there were a dictator today who condemned people to decades of hard labor, followed by eventual execution, and then magically had the power to torture that person’s body and conscience (soul) forever and ever after their death?  Would any Christian deem this system of justice as fair, as just, as good?

No.  Of course not.

But it is perfectly fine when it comes to Yahweh.  How is that?

As a former Christian myself I believe this cognitive dissonance is due to psychological conditioning, beginning as small children.  If you grow up in a culture that believes that wives who “step out of line” deserve a good beating by their husbands, and you grow up in a home where the wife is regularly beaten for any infraction, not matter how trivial, the children in that household will grow up believing that it is entirely fair, just, and good for husbands to beat their wives.  The home and the culture provide positive feedback that wife-beating is an acceptable behavior.

And I believe that that is what has happened with conservative Christians.  They have grown up in a culture in which the story of “Adam and Eve and the forbidden fruit eating” is part of that culture.  They have grown up in homes where they have been taught that Adam and Eve deserved their punishment for eating forbidden fruit.  And, these children have grown up believing that it is fair, just, and good for Yahweh to hold THEM guilty for this ancient act of our first ancestors.

If this story is true, we humans have no choice but to kneel at the feet of Yahweh in total submission.  He is all powerful.  “Resistance is futile”.  But that doesn’t prohibit us from using our brains, and my brain tells me that if Yahweh is real, and if Yahweh behaves as Dr. Bombaro and other Christians say he behaves, then Yahweh is evil.  Really evil.  He is as evil and immoral, if not more evil, than any earthly dictator has ever been.  Earthly dictators can torture you and kill you.  Yahweh is not satisfied with that.  He tortures you, in some painful fashion, for eternity, after you are dead.

I believe that Dr. Bombaro is accurate in his assessment of the worldview of most non-theists (agnostics and atheists).  We prefer a world with no superstitions.  We can tolerate those faiths/superstitions that teach “nice” gods who do good things to and for people.  It is the “bad” gods who cause humans to compartmentalize and label each other as the “just” and the “wicked” with which we have serious issues.

And let’s be clear about this point:  The overwhelming majority of non-theists with whom I am acquainted do not believe that the supernatural (noumenal) is impossible.  We simply believe that the supernatural is improbable.  We believe that there is insufficient good evidence to justify believing in the existence of invisible beings, flying around the universe, performing magic tricks that defy the laws of nature.

Now, Dr. Bombaro might retort, “But we have proven the existence of God (Yahweh) in the first chapter of this book!”  No, you did not, Dr. Bombaro!  The Christian author of chapter one, Joshua Pagan, gave a reasonable argument for the view that the universe began due to the intelligent design of a Creator, but Mr. Pagan gave zero evidence that this Creator was the ancient Judeo-Christian god, Yahweh.  Zero.  And as far as the issue of a Creator is concerned, readers should note that although the overwhelming majority of scientists believe that the universe started with a “Big Bang” (that the universe did have a finite beginning), there is no consensus as to what or who caused that big bang/beginning.  Mr. Pagan is a theologian.  As far as I can tell, he does not have an advanced degree in any field of science.  Yes,  there are some scientists who would agree with Mr. Pagan that a Creator is the best explanation of the evidence, but Stephen Hawkings and many other very brilliant scientists can give very good arguments for why a Big Bang can occur without a Creator.

The issue of the origin of the universe is unsettled.   The Christian authors of this book cannot say that they have proven the existence of a Creator.  And they most definitely have not proven the existence of Yahweh.

So where does that leave us?  Christians are going to insist that a supernatural world exists, ruled by their god, Yahweh, and we skeptics are going to say that a supernatural world may exist, but is unproven, and therefore Yahweh warrants no more consideration than the existence of Zeus, Jupiter, Lord Krishna, Allah, or any other alleged supernatural being.

Christians can appeal to faith, but non-theists consider faith without good evidence “blind superstition” and will not take Christians seriously.  We consider such “faith” naïve.

So that is why some Christians, such as Dr. Bombaro and his co-authors feel the need to provide “objective evidence” (they pledged in the foreword of this book to provide this objective evidence) for their belief that you and I are going to face eternal, “unspeakable” punishment for our “sins” and for the sins of our ancient, forbidden-fruit-eating ancestors, in a terrible place called Hell, …all based on a Bronze Age, middle eastern creation story!

Yet they have not provided any evidence for the existence of their god, Yahweh.  They have appealed to four, two thousand year old, non-eyewitness documents (non-eyewitness as per the scholarly consensus, as previously demonstrated) that allege all kinds of fantastical supernatural events including the ghost-impregnation of a virgin and water walking, and, have then attempted to use these very questionable and therefore unreliable documents to prove that in circa 30 AD, a dead man walked out of his grave, appeared to friends and family, and later levitated (ascended) into outer space!

But, now, here is the rub, folks!

If Dr. Bombaro were a fundamentalist, he would hand-wave away my objections and confidently state that the Bible is always right and that scientists, scholars, and other intellectuals who question the historicity of this ancient creation story be damned.  He would state that we can always trust the Bible.  He would state that we can trust that the Bible is historically accurate in all statements of fact.  And therefore, we can believe as unquestioned historical fact that God punished all mankind due to Adam and Eve’s original sin of forbidden fruit eating in the Garden of Eden and unless we submit to Jesus, we will perish!

But Dr. Bombaro doesn’t do that.  Although social respectability is unimportant to Christian fundamentalists, not so with Dr. Bombaro and other moderate Christians like him.  This type of Christian is very proud of his or her educated status and very diligent about maintaining theological positions consistent with up-to-date science.

For instance, as a former member of Dr. Bombaro’s church and having sat through Dr. Bombaro’s catechism classes, I can tell you that Dr. Bombaro does not believe in a literal Six-Day Creation, even though, the Bible clearly defines what a “day” entailed in the act of Creation.  Quoting from the LCMS’s Concordia Edition of the Bible, the first chapter of the Book of Genesis, “and there was evening and there was morning, the first day” and in subsequent verses:  “and there was evening and morning…the second/third/fourth/fifth/sixth day”.   You can’t get much clearer than that, folks!  So how does Dr. Bombaro come to believe that the earth and the universe developed over billions of years?  Answer:  Scientific evidence proves it without a reasonable doubt to anyone with a high school education!  So instead of admitting that the Bible (Yahweh) made a mistake, Dr. Bombaro chooses to not read this portion of the text literally; he has convinced himself that somewhere between evening and morning….God slipped in a couple billion years!

Good grief.

Dr. Bombaro also believes in Darwinian Evolution and the Natural Selection of Species.  He believes that all life forms evolved over millions of years from lower life forms.  He believes that humans and the great apes have a common ape-like ancestor.  How do I know?  He taught these facts…in my catechism classes in his church. 

So how does the evolution of species from lower life forms harmonize with the rest of the Genesis Creation story?  Not well, folks!  Not well.  You see, in order to harmonize the Bible with modern science, moderate Christians like Dr. Bombaro are forced to twist themselves, and the Bible, into a pretzel to maintain the illusion that this ancient book, written by primitive peoples without the benefit of modern science, accurately described events in ancient history— allegedly full of talking/walking snakes, talking donkeys, talking bushes, and other supernatural phenomena.  In other words, the parts of the Bible that overwhelming scientific evidence has proven false is deemed “non-literal” or metaphorical, but those parts of the Bible that either have not yet or cannot be proven false by science, such as ghosts impregnating virgins and the transmission of original sin, are taught as absolute fact.

Dr. Bombaro has crossed out page after page in his Bible as non-literal fiction, yet asks me to believe, and taught my little children in his church, that it is absolute fact that unless each one of us gets down on our knees and submits to Jesus (a man who died 20 centuries ago) as our eternal Lord and Master, we will all suffer “unspeakable” torment in Yahweh’s torture pit…all because our ancient ancestors ate some of his damn fruit!

Dr. Bombaro blames my loss of faith (deconversion) on my fundamentalist upbringing in the Baptist denomination.  I don’t think so.  I credit my loss of faith/deconversion to my LCMS pastor, who opened my eyes, in LCMS Lutheran catechism class, to the fact that the Bible is loaded with unbelievable, science-defying claims and errors.

I just found a few more unbelievable claims and errors than he did.

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19 thoughts on “A review of “Making the Case for Christianity” by John Bombaro and other LCMS Lutheran theologians, Part 6

  1. Hi Gary,

    I am flabbergasted that Dr Bombaro, who is clearly not a Fundamentalist, allows himself to be associated with a work that is largely Fundamentalist in tone. Is his pro Fundamentalist tendency on some issues affected strongly by his need to subscribe to the LCMS standards (which seem to be somewhat Fundamentalist)?

    Shalom,
    John Arthur

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    1. Dr. Bombaro is in a real pickle:

      He is against gay marriage and women pastors, but scoffs at the ideas of Biblical inerrancy and Creationism.

      He is a moderate.

      Too conservative to be accepted in the ELCA (the liberal branch of American Lutheranism) and too liberal to be “honest” in the LCMS (the conservative branch of American Lutheranism).

      He needs to start his own denomination: Bombaroism.

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      1. Just to be clear, I don’t see Dr. Bombaro’s status as a moderate as being a significant improvement over being a fundamentalist/conservative. He still holds to the most fundamentalist tenant of orthodox/traditional Christianity that there is:

        “If you don’t believe like me, my god is going to torture you forever in his Torture Pit, you wicked evil-doer.”

        You can’t get more fundamentalist than that.

        And his fundamentalist view on “salvation” is more fundamentalist than even most evangelical Christians. Many evangelicals believe that God will give those who have never heard the Gospel a chance to believe after they have died, due to a statement by Paul in the Epistle of Romans, I believe, which states that God will judge sinners according to their understanding/knowledge of the Gospel.

        Dr. Bombaro gives no such “out”. If you are not a Christian by the time you die, regardless of the fact that you haven’t even heard of the name “Jesus”, you will be forever punished/tormented in Hell.

        That is a sick belief, my friends. Really sick.

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        1. It is my personal opinion that “moderate Christianity” is more dangerous than fundamentalist Christianity, and here is why: Anyone with a college education can see that fundamentalist Christianity, which believes in strict Biblical Inerrancy and Creationism, is ignorant nonsense. The evidence for Darwinian Evolution is massive. The evidence that the universe is billions of years old is massive. In addition, the overwhelming majority of modern archeologists believe that the Exodus story is a myth. There is no good evidence for the historicity of this key event in the Biblical narrative.

          Fundamentalists can easily be proven wrong.

          Moderate Christians are more clever. They cloak the central (fundamentalist) beliefs of Christianity such as The Fall, the Virgin Birth, Eternal Salvation through Christianity alone, and the Bodily Resurrection, within a scientifically compatible façade of a God who creates the universe using evolution; a God who sends a Great Flood only to the Euphrates River Valley; and other scientifically compatible re-interpretations of their ancient holy book.

          We skeptics can prove Creationism false. We can prove a world-wide Flood false. We can prove an Exodus of millions of ancient Hebrews from Egypt false. But we cannot prove Original Sin false. We cannot prove as false that Mary was impregnated by a ghost. We cannot prove as false that the dead body of Jesus of Nazareth was reanimated by the ancient Canaanite deity, Yahweh.

          And because we cannot prove these core (fundamentalist) beliefs as false, the moderate Christian can continue to pedal these unprovable theological concepts as facts; alleged facts with which they prey on uninformed adults and little children, telling them that unless they capitulate to Christianity, an invisible Boogeyman is going to torture them in the Afterlife.

          It is still fundamentalism, just presented in a prettier package.

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  2. Some readers might be asking themselves this question: Why is Gary picking on his former pastor? Why is Gary picking on a pastor who is a MODERATE; Gary should consider himself lucky that he had a moderate pastor and not a fundamentalist pastor: Gary should consider himself lucky that he had a pastor who is trying to lead the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod away from some of its fundamentalist beliefs, such as Biblical Inerrancy and Creationism. Why doesn’t Gary just leave Christianity; leave the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod; and leave his poor pastor alone??

    Simple answer: He is NOT a nice man. Somebody has to take this arrogant man down a couple of pegs.

    When you first meet Dr. Bombaro you will immediately be attracted to his charisma and charm. But don’t let that fool you. Stick around for awhile you will learn the following about him: He MUST be the top dog. He must be the alpha male. He does NOT like to be questioned or challenged. He is a very intelligent and highly educated man. What is unfortunate, is that Bombaro uses his intelligence and his education as a means to maintain power and dominance. Anyone who dares to challenge him will be immediately crushed. He never did this to me. I would not have put up with it, but I saw him do it to several others in the church. Challenge him and he will put you in your place by making you look stupid; speaking above you in such complicated theological and philosophical terms that the person eventually just shuts up. It was sickening to watch.

    If you think this is just my opinion, go onto the website “Rate my Professor” and see what Dr. Bombaro’s students at the University of San Diego, say about him. (He teaches theology at this Roman Catholic university.) Yes, you will see several (mostly) female students say how wonderful and intelligent he is, but notice what many of his male students say about him:

    “Be careful. Don’t challenge this guy or he will ‘destroy’ you.”

    “Mean. Very mean. Avoid this guy. He loves using big words to humiliate people.”

    John Bombaro believes that he knows more about the Christian religion that any of his superiors in St. Louis. He has said so. It is his goal to drag the “backwards” LCMS kicking and screaming into the 21st century. How will he do this? Answer: By carefully introducing Higher Criticism into the LCMS, but insisting vehemently that his approach is not Higher Criticism. And he is willing to lie if he has to to keep anyone from derailing his “modernization” of his parish and the LCMS at large.

    He lied to me. He lied to me multiple times. He told me certain of his teachings were Lutheran when they were not. They were his own invention. When I finally forced him to admit he had been lying, he refused to apologize and has continued to refuse to apologize, becoming defiant and insulting.

    John Bombaro needs to eat some humble pie; admit he lied to his congregation for teaching non-Lutheran doctrines and apologize for his insubordination to his LCMS superiors. He is an arrogant, self-absorbed man and he needs to finally admit it.

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  3. Hi Gary,

    Does Dr. Bombaro treat the first 11 as myth or as historical? He believes that the scientific evidence for evolution is pretty strong so how can he hold to a historical Adam, or a historical Garden of Eden or historical “fall”?. How does he treat Romans 5:12 ff. ? Does he agree with Paul or not?

    Shalom,

    John Arthur

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  4. “Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death came through sin, and so death spread to all because all have sinned—”

    He believes this verse literally. I’m sure he would give a very complicated theological explanation for why we must believe in the historicity of the Fall, but not the rest of the Creation story.

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  5. Another email from an LCMS pastor:

    Gary,

    I am confused.

    First, you say you are an atheist, then you warn people about higher criticism.
    First you say you’re past Christianity, then you show grace concern for issues with in it.
    Then you say this is about academic issues, then you admit that it is personal.

    Look, I get that the pastor hurt you, I get that your faith in God was destroyed by him. But the goal of Christianity is not about division, and its not about intellect. It is about the healing power of God, the same power that raised Christ from the dead, at work in each of us, reconciling us to God and therefore to all who are reconciled to God.

    It is that simple – and I urge you to depend on God, first and foremost – and let God bring about the healing you need. Including eventually, both you and Pr. Bombaro finding your relationship healed. You may think that impossible, I have seen God do far more…

    You are in my prayers.

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    1. My response to this LCMS pastor:

      Hi Pastor,

      Let me try to make it clearer:

      I do not regret that Dr. Bombaro opened my eyes to the many errors in the Bible. I am glad it happened. I now see that Christianity is based on superstitions, not facts. For instance, if the Creation story is not literal, as Dr. Bombaro believes, proven false by modern science, then why should the story of the Fall be accepted literally? And if we no longer accept the story of the Fall literally, there is no reason to believe that humans need a Savior.

      After realizing, thanks to my LCMS pastor, that the Bible DOES contain errors, I went on to study other claims in the Bible. I found out that the overwhelming majority of modern archeologists and Near East experts believe that the Exodus of millions of Hebrews from ancient Egypt never happened. It a myth. It is ancient folklore.

      Jesus believed that this event happened. Jesus was wrong. And if Jesus was wrong, he was not an all-knowing god.

      And to top it off, the majority of modern NT scholars do NOT believe that eyewitnesses wrote the four Gospels and the Book of Acts. These books, filled with fantastical supernatural claims, were written many decades after the alleged events, by non-eyewitnesses, in lands far, far away.

      So probability strongly suggests that the virgin Mary was not impregnated by a ghost; Jesus never walked on water; Jesus never caused demons to possess herds of pigs; Jesus did not come back from the dead. Superstitions. Most probably, ancient superstitions.

      I am angry at Dr. Bombaro for his arrogance; his unwillingness to admit he lied and his refusal to apologize for it. I am angry at him for his insulting, arrogant behavior towards me since my deconversion. If he had been humble and compassionate, speaking to me as you are, I would have left him alone. However, he is not. He is an arrogant, abusive prick (see the online comments by his students at USD) who needs to be brought down a few pegs. In addition, it is an excellent opportunity to expose other believers of this ancient superstition the way out: use your brain; use science; use reason; use Higher Criticism and you will most likely come to the same conclusion that I did: Christianity is not true.

      Gary

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      1. Response from same LCMS pastor:

        Dear. Mr. Matson,

        I don’t do combat apologetics. I used to, but I’ve often found that those who protest Christianity the loudest, who hold to every new argument that denigrates it have an agenda that is more emotion driven than logic. I was trained originally in textual criticism and abandoned it after spending time with the patristic writings. Arguing about that does nothing to reconcile broken relationships, it only strains them. Simply put, it is wasting time, and because what is bothering you is not simply reason, but underlying pain, concentrating there is of no value. Your emails to all the churches in the district simply get deleted. (I’ve actually received multiple copies to multiple emails)

        This is certainly true in your situation, you and Pr. Bombaro need to be reconciled, but that is impossible without the Holy Spirit’ work within you, with an understanding of God’s mercy. You both need to have the peace that comes as you kneel together at the commune rail, and recognize the mercy of God that has been poured out on each of you, and indeed the entire family of God.

        I am urging you both to do this, by the way, and praying that it happens.

        Godspeed,

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        1. My reply to this very kind LCMS pastor:

          Thank you for taking the time to talk to me, Pastor. I really do appreciate it.

          However, you are focusing too much on my personal conflict with Dr. Bombaro and not on the more important issue: the lack of good scholarship supporting the claims to which you have dedicated your life. If you, like the authors of “Making the Case for Christianity”, believe that the majority of NT scholars believe that there is good, “objective” evidence for the supernatural claims of the Bible, you are sadly mistaken.

          The majority of NT scholars no longer believe that eyewitnesses wrote the Gospels and without eyewitness testimony, the credibility of your ancient belief system falls apart. To be frank: The evidence indicates that the beliefs you are teaching to the adults and little children in your church are nothing more than fantastical tales. There is no good evidence to believe them. If you personally choose to believe these supernatural claims by “faith” that is certainly your prerogative, but don’t you think you owe it to the man and woman in the pew to tell them the truth?

          The LCMS can delete my emails, but that isn’t going to stop my efforts to spread the truth to other LCMS and other Christian laypersons who have been deceived by Christian pastors peddling out-of-date scholarship and assumptions as absolute fact. There is no good, objective evidence for Christianity. Making the case for Christianity has failed.

          Sincerely,
          Gary

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  6. We disagree on many things. For example you refuse to see God as anything other than another person. You refuse to acknowledge that if the Christian God is real then we are his creation and do not address whether that would change our relationship.
    I address that issue here:
    https://trueandreasonable.co/2014/04/07/is-god-horrible/

    You say:
    “Wow. I have never heard or read that atheist Richard Dawkins has called for a legal ban regarding the discussion of Christianity in public. Dr. Bombaro gives no source/reference for this alleged statement.”

    Dawkins was quoted saying this:

    ‘What a child should never be taught is that you are a Catholic or Muslim child, therefore that is what you believe. That’s child abuse.’

    Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2312813/Richard-Dawkins-Forcing-religion-children-child-abuse-claims-atheist-professor.html#ixzz4PLWchIdV
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    So telling my own child what religion they are is child abuse according to Dawkins? Although he may have not had the details correct it seems the author was correct in stating Dawkins has some pretty extreme views on what a parent can tell their own children. That a state would come in and monitor that is imo far worse than monitoring what is said publicly.

    I can’t speak for Lutherans let alone all the different Lutheran churches.(although I do know quite a bit about Luther) But not all Christians think a person must believe in Christ in order to be saved. Children can be saved before they are old enough to believe much of anything. It is true that scripture and the Catholic Church seems to indicate that such children should be baptized. But even there the Church leaves the question open.

    The Pope even somewhat recently acknowledged that non-believers can be saved. This makes sense because what we believe is sort of in a gray area as to our control. It seems we have some indirect control in our beliefs but not always direct control.

    I mention the Catholic beliefs because they are often left out of what “Christians” believe even though they represent half of all of Christianity.

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    1. I also believe that teaching children that they will burn in Hell if they do not obey an invisible cosmic Boogeyman is child abuse, but that doesn’t mean I would start locking up parents who teach it. And I doubt that Dawkins would either.

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        1. I believe that Klansmen who teach their children that black people are inferior to them is child abuse, but I wouldn’t put the parents in jail for it.

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          1. I think saying religious views are like racism is very difficult to defend. I also think you are diluting what the term “child abuse” is.

            And BTW setting aside your and my views lets get back to Dawkins. If you read the article he actually argues that religious teaching is more injurious than actual physical molestation.

            So getting back to your points about the author, I think the author had reason for his statements about Dawkins. Perhaps he was wrong but he had good reason to portray Dawkins as he did.

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  7. Hi Gary,

    In 1975, a conservative evangelical theologian,Harold Lindsell, wrote ” Battle for the Bible” and in 1978 he wrote another book called “Bible in the Balance”. In one section of these books he claimed that moderates within the LCMS and its flagship seminary (Concordia) were using higher critical techniques, yet trying to claim that they were faithful to the LCMS confessional standards,

    I am not sure how accurate Lindsell’s analysis was, but in the late 70’s (I think ?????), many of these moderates left Concordia and formed Seminex (Seminary in exile). Do you know how Dr. Bombaro’s stance compares with those moderates who left Concordia?

    Shalom,
    John Arthur

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    1. My guess is that they would be very comparable. One of the LCMS Lutherans “blackballed” in the Seminex crises 0f the 70’s was LCMS theologian AC Piepkorn. He wrote some very interesting articles that pointed out the many contradictions in the Bible and predicted the turmoil that these contradictions would one day cause among the laity of the LCMS if the LCMS did not adopt a more “moderate” position on inerrancy.

      I believe that his “prophecy” is coming true.

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  8. Joe: My original point was that Dawkins never called for the criminalization of Christianity. He may say a lot of nasty things about it, but he hasn’t called for making it illegal.

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