Book Review: ‘The Everlasting Man’ by G.K. Chesterton

'The Everlasting Man' by G.K. Chesterton The Garrett Ashley Mullet Show

“Pessimism is not in being tired of evil but in being tired of good. Despair does not lie in being weary of suffering, but in being weary of joy. It is when for some reason or other good things in a society no longer work that the society begins to decline; when its food does not feed, when its cures do not cure, when its blessings refuse to bless.”

So says G.K. Chesterton in one among many poignant observations in ‘The Everlasting Man.’

But whether this is his magnum opus or not, it is at a minimum his response to a principal antagonist in H.G. Wells, specifically his work in ‘The Outline of History.’

And indeed, Chesterton’s was an apt description of where we are now. Many – particularly Christians in America – have grown pessimistic, weary in doing good, dogmatically insistent on going with the flow because they are tired of the good. Thus our food does not feed, our cures do not cure, and our blessings refuse to bless.

This is what it means that we are now in a Recession. But the kind of Recession we are in, easily enough transformed into a full-blown Depression, is chiefly spiritual. It stems from being obsessively aware of our feelings and sensations, even being sensual, but being ultimately senseless where truth, goodness, and beauty are concerned.

More and more America resembles Chesterton’s description in ‘The Everlasting Man’ “of the static commercial oligarchies like Carthage,” “standing and staring like mummies.” Ours is increasingly the tired democracy he warns about as ending up in despotism and tyranny, and all because men grow weary of doing good themselves and prefer to appoint as few men as possible to the task as their representatives doing it for them.

But on this note, where Chesterton is long gone except in memory and his prolific writings, we do well to consider. Are we producing such thinkers in our day? And what we do with them when we get them?

“Despotism can be a development, often a late development and very often indeed the end of societies that have been highly democratic.” But the cure for what ails us is not to camp out on such pronouncements in resignation, but rather to heed them and be spurred to action.

The men who grow tired of evil rather than of good do not turn pessimistic. Instead, they are stirred to manful action. We need more men to “play the man” along the lines of Proverbs 12:9 instead of playing the great man. Whatever impressions I’ve given as late to the contrary, by all means be lowly as Jesus was lowly! But realize therein that lowliness before God is the antithesis to fearing what man may do to us, and that there is an inverse relationship between our fear of God and our fear of man.

Is that not why we have grown weary of doing good, because we fear what men may do to us when we do? And what of what the Apostle Paul wrote the Thessalonians about aspiring to live a quiet life? We do not know what is our business that we should mind it. Instead, we are content to have our faculties reduced to only what we can see, touch, taste, hear, and feel with our natural senses. And we have become experts about our emotions and subsequent impressions. 

But if we are to avoid the mummification of our society, and thereby its subsequent downfall and ruin, we do well to consider that such is our business, and mind it. But God gave us the mind for more than careful study of our feelings. And therein lies the trouble with our therapeutic age which carries evolutionary assumptions to their devolutionary conclusions. In becoming wise in our own eyes, our foolish hearts have been darkened, and we do not believe that we are everlasting men in Christ. We do not expect eternity so much as we say we are preferring to meditate on it. 

Being so Heavenly minded ought to produce in us Earthly good. Yet Earthly good is often slandered and libeled as fleshly and carnal by those who resemble more the brothers of David than David himself. Where the equivalence of Goliath presents itself, shepherd boys are encouraged to keep quiet and go home. All the while, the pessimism inherent must be overruled at all costs.

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  1. the problem is that most Christians aren’t doing good at all. They are harming people, and are upset that their false claims about a god agreeing with their personal hates are being ignored or shown to be made up fantasies.

    1. Garrett Ashley Mullet says:

      How do you know?

      1. how do I know that “the problem is that most Christians aren’t doing good at all. They are harming people, and are upset that their false claims about a god agreeing with their personal hates are being ignored or shown to be made up fantasies.?

        hmm, when Christians lie and claim LGBT+ folks are evil and deserve death. When Christians try to keep rights for themselves only. when Christians victim blame people to try to hide when prayers to their god don’t come true. When Christians attack each other and claim each other heretics and satantists.

        That’s how i know.

      2. Garrett Ashley Mullet says:

        For you to say that there is such a thing as lying must mean there is such a thing as the truth. But how do you know what the truth is?

        For you to say that Christians are not doing good at all, or that it’s a lie to say that LGBT+ folks are evil – that implies that there is such a thing as good and evil. But again, how do you know what good and evil are?

        As for the claim that Christians are trying to keep rights for themselves only, I would also ask for an example of that. I’m not familiar with any instances in which Christians have tried to do this. But I know history to be full of examples of just the opposite – Christians insisting on human rights for all based on what God’s Word says is true and good, regardless whether everyone concerned is themselves a Christian.

        You say Christians try to blame victims so they can hide when their prayers don’t come true. You may need to unpack that for me to be sure what you mean. Are you referring to people who are promised healing if they pray and believe, then accused of not having enough faith when their prayers seem not to be answered in the way they’d hoped?

        As for the last bit about Christians attacking one another, or claiming one another are heretics and Satanists, I’ll give you an analogy to make a point that’s important to remember here.

        The fact that there is such a thing as a counterfeit bill does not mean that real money doesn’t exist. If anything, the fact that there are counterfeits only makes sense if there is such a thing as a genuine article. But if someone tries to pass counterfeit money, we don’t say that either the counterfeit must be real or else there is no such thing as real money.

        The fact is that not everyone who claims to be a Christian is one. That holds true for victims and “good people” as well. It’s not enough to claim that one is such a thing to make it so. But I’d point you back to your first accusation against Christians – that they “lie.” The test has to be to weigh and measure claims and actions against an objective standard of goodness and truth.

        For all true Christians, that standard is Christ as we know him in the Bible. For all true Christians, that standard is God’s Word. But you can’t both condemn Christians for being liars and evil while at the same time denying that there is any such thing as truth or goodness, nor can you blame Christians when they’re faithful just because some claim Christianity while behaving and talking in evil, untrue ways.

      3. ROFL. Oh my. Yep, Ican say that there is a truth, and have facts to support my claims. Sadly, Christains have nothing to support their claims about their many,many claims about what their god “really” wants.

        You are trying to use the argument from morality, which always fails hilariously when a Chrsitian does that. You see, Garrett, since Christians can’t agree on what truth is or what morality their god wants, you have nothing but a baseless claim ofsuch things, just like all of the theists and other Christians who disagree with your version. All Christian claims are subject to your personal attempts to make your god in your images. What’s even funnier is that many Christians have no problem with their god doing things that they, hopefully, would find horrific if a human did them. This makes your morality subject to who or what someone is, not the objective morality of an act itself.

        Garrett, unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last 20 year or so, you seem to be either willfully ignorant or trying to lie to me. Let’s see, Christians have been trying to keep the rights of marriage only for themselves, doing their best, and spending millions, to prevent LGBT+ folks from being able to marry and enjoying the same rights. Christians are also trying to prevent people from being able to adopt children unless they are of an approved marriage. This is only two examples. Christians also have been trying to keep out people of different faiths, trying write ordinance that will prevent mosques, temples, etc, out of certain neighborhoods. Christian judges have taken away parent’s rights when a parent was an atheist. I can cite links but I wanted for this post not to be caught in some holding area.

        Christians also had no problem with slavery for many thousands of years, thanks to your bible. The early church only complained if the slaves were the right kind of Christian. Your bible itself says that no slave should see their freedom: “18 Slaves, accept the authority of your masters with all deference, not only those who are kind and gentle but also those who are harsh. 19 For it is to your credit if, being aware of God, you endure pain while suffering unjustly.” 1 Peter 2

        Some abolitionists here in the US happened to be Christians. All slave owners here in the US *were* Christians.

        Christians *do* try to blame victims when their prayers fail and their god does nothing. I’ve seen this myself, and yep, they were Christians who said that a fellow Christian didn’t pray the right way when she died of cancer, leaving her husband and children alive and alone. I’ve also seen Christians claim that this god will not give anyone more than they can bear, and when that person commits suicide, it is the victims fault for not correctly “trusting in god”. I can also cite where Christians have claimed that someone’s child has died because the parents “sinned” (just like in your bible where this god kills David’s son for something David did, 2 Samuel 12 if you aren’t familiar)

        As always, you offer excuses on why your god failed to answer prayers as it promises in the bible. Your bible promises to answer all prayers with what is asked for and quickly. There is not one place where it says that this god will say “no” or “later”, or it will give what it thinks is needed. I can cite chapter and verse on that too. If you’d like to see those verses, ask, and I’ll put them up next since this will be a long post as it is.

        Alas, not one of you Christians who claim the other isn’t Christian can show that your version is the true one and the other is counterfeit. Now, per the bible, it does give a way to know who is who. Per JC himself, his followers should be able to do miracles like him. This is in Mark 16, John 14 and James 5. Now, that none of you can, does this mean there is no such thing as a real Christian? Seems so. Your analogy fails.

        No reason to think you are a Christian, Garrett, per your own bible. Alas you also have no objective standard of goodness or truth either. Every Christian claims to be a TrueChristain™ just like you do. Every Christian says that their standard is Christ as they know him in the bible. Every Christian says that what they follow is “God’s Word”. I can condemn Christians with no problem at all since yep, there is truth and goodness and Christianity ain’t it. It seems you have no problem at all in blaming Christians that you don’t agree with in talking in “evil untrue ways” and you have nothing to show that this is the case any more than you have evidence that only you do talk “good true ways”.

      4. Garrett Ashley Mullet says:

        First of all, the point of what I wrote you before was not to prove that I only talk in good and true ways. The point was to set out a framework for interpreting what is or is not reasonable as a standard of judgment to apply to Christians – or even to anyone or anything at all. You introduced language of good and evil, truth and lies, and I stated foundationally that there has to be a standard of knowing what these things are. But your response seems to confuse my laying that foundation of basic principles as something more specific than it was.

        As for whether Christians agree or not based on our using different translations of the Bible, I would encourage you to look closely at what the differences are between the best translations of the Bible into English. The use of this or that synonym is nothing new to communication, and it’s self-evident that the use of the English language has changed over time to where an original KJV translation being updated to more contemporary diction and verbiage is not the same thing as the difference between up and down, in and out, or left and right. Besides that, I’d encourage you to differentiate between differences in interpretation from a meaning standpoint and differences in interpretation from a word-for-word standpoint. What the text says being disagreed on in small ways shouldn’t be conflated with debates about what has been said means.

        But, yes. Christians do disagree about interpretation, doctrine, and practice. And that’s been true since the beginning. In fact, the Scriptures themselves talk about disagreements, debates, and dissensions between Christians and non-Christians alike where doctrine and practice are concerned. But if you think that problem is resolved by rejecting Christianity, think again. Whatever problems there are with settling on fixed definitions of truth and goodness within the history of the Church, they are exponentially greater when you look outside of Christianity.

        Even there, though, I can’t help believing your chief complaint is less that Christianity is no more true or good than other faiths and worldviews. Your contention seems to be that Christianity is the most evil and untrue of all possible faiths. But why?

        You mention several examples in which you are either not providing specific examples to support your claims, or else you are pretty clearly exaggerating, or else you are making things up. And I can’t help but wonder what drives this hostility toward a God and those who believe in Him if you think the whole business is a lot of hokum.

        I already answered the question of what it might mean if Christians say untrue things or behave badly, how such doesn’t prove that the Christian faith and message are false or evil anymore than the reality of counterfeit money disproves that there is such a thing as real money. But you sidestepped that without so much as a nod that this can be true in any measure. And that proves a kind of bias on your part which seems far more personal and Emotivist than objective and even-handed.

        For instance, you say that some abolitionists happened to be Christians, but all slave owners in the U.S. were Christians. Yet you offer no proofs or evidences. I’ll have to take your word for it, apparently. But better than that would be reading again the copy of Mark A. Noll’s ‘The Civil War as a Theological Crisis’ I have sitting on the shelf beside me. You can borrow mine if you’re close by. Or you can order one yourself.

        The fact is that Christians wrestled with the morality and godliness of slavery in the abstract for a long time, that’s true. But dedicated and diligent Christians opposed the practice as held in common throughout those states in the South that lost the Civil War. And Noll is right that nearly half a million men lost their lives over a primarily theological dispute so that men, women, and children could be free, and so that our national conscience could be clear. And the first question in the minds of the abolitionists who fought for the Union – like my 3rd great-grandfather George Fisher McFarland who saved the cause at the Battle of Gettysburg, even at the cost of his legs – that first question was not whether all the slaves were or would be Christians. The first question was whether we will give an account to a Holy and Righteous God for our conduct.

        That’s the same question that motivates all true Christians in relation to the question of sexual morality – not least with homosexuality and transgenderism. And I don’t bat an eye at denying the institution of marriage to people who have never throughout history – in any time or place, in either Christian or any non-Christian civilization – been regraded as married. No, they are not married. But they do want to destroy the institution of marriage because their hearts are wicked.

        The good news is that there is grace and forgiveness in Christ. But life eternal is found in believing in our hearts and confessing with our mouths the Lord Jesus Christ, and in confession and repentance of our sins. Salvation is not found in celebrating our sin and throwing parades for it. Nor has that ever been the path to true liberty. Nor will it ever be, since a man reaps what he sows.

        As for your other examples, and your question about God answering prayers. God never promises that everyone will get precisely what they ask Him for quickly and precisely how they ask for it. Read the text again more carefully. It says that God will not be mocked, and that a man reaps what he sows. But where some suffer even as Christians, we are in no position to judge God. Creation is under a curse due to the sins of man generally. But anyone who would say that every instance of suffering and death is the fault of the individual who suffered and died, even if they are a Christian, has clearly not read the book of Job, nor certainly the gospels.

        But this is just my point – that people can claim to be things they aren’t. And just like someone can claim to be a woman when they are a man, or a man when they are a woman, someone can claim to be a Christian when they are not, just because they want to pass themselves off as one for selfish gain and the improvement of their reputation to gain an advantage with some people in their circle.

        The truth is the truth, and goodness is good, and God knows who belong to Him.

      5. Again, Garrett, you have nothing to show that your version of Christian claims is “reasonable”. As I have pointed out before, each Christian thinks that they are reasonable, and that the Christians who don’t agree with them aren’t, all with no evidence of this at all. Since Chritsians claim that their god is the source of all “good”, it seems rather silly that you object to mentioning this.

        There does not need to be an objective standard, and that Christians themselves can’t agree on what good and evil are, your nonsense fails. We can have shared concepts of what good and evil are, but that doesn’t make them objective. I have confused nothing, but if you wish to accuse me of that, do show what I’ve confused.

        Each Christian also claims that their favored version of the bible is the “best”, so depending on such biased claims is worthless. That your supposedly omnipotent god can’t keep its message clear demonstrates that such claims as omnipotence fail. Each Christian has different ideas on what this god “really” wants when it comes to morals, on what parts of the bible to take as literal or metaphor. I can demonstrate this in just the complete inability to agree among Christians when it comes to what the creation myths in genesis “really” say. If this god is what is claimed, there shouldn’t be *any* disagreement.
        So, after all of your excuses, you do admit that Christians disagree about almost everything. And yep, it has been true since the beginning and not one of you can show your version to be the “right” one. And yep, the problem of needing to worship human invented gods is resolved by rejecting all of the contradicting versions of Christianity. There are few examples of such ridiculous and constant disagreement about supposed truth outside of Christianity, but do give what you think there are.

        It is nothing new that you want to pretend that my actual complaint against Christianity is something other that what I’ve stated. That is a common dodge by Christians. Your Christianity is demonstrably no more true or good than any other version of Christianity or any other religion. That I can point out the harm it causes doesn’t mean that other religions do not.

        Christianity has had 2000+ years to cause harm with its spreading of ignorance and hate of the “other”. Other religions haven’t done that or have had the same time to do that. We see no genocides committed by followers of Odin or Zeus in their myths, glorifying such nonsense.

        Do show where I’m exaggerating, Garrett. If this is true, you should have no problem. Can you? I have hostility toward the harm you cause. It’s also rather fun that you claim I haven’t given specific examples when I have. Why did you choose to lie about that?

        That your god does nothing when a Christian lies or behaves badly does show that this god is imaginary and your religion is nonsense. Per your own bible, this god takes personal action on people who lie and who behave badly. Funny how it doesn’t do it in reality, but only in baseless stories.

        As it stands, there is no evidence that there is “real money” aka your god at all, so your analogy fails. I sidestepped nothing at all, you have yet to show your god exists. I’m waiting for that. Alas, since your analogy fails, your accusations of bias on my part also fail. It is no surprise that you attempt yet another common Christian bit of nonsense, claiming that my reasons for not believing your god are only emotional.
        You then proceed to claim that I am wrong in saying that all slave owners in the US were Christians. This is a claim by you so you have the burden of proof to show me that there were slave owners who weren’t Christians. Christians claim that this is a Christian nation and it is Christian majority. Your own claims make your argument fail. I have Noll’s book, and it doesn’t say what you claim. Noll’s book agrees with me since it says that there was a crisis between Christians on the question of slavery. This caused various sects to split into confederate and union supporting versions. Indeed, the last paragraph in the book underlines how Christianity split and failed in claims of truth from all sides “Since at least the time of the fundamentalist-modernist battles early in the twen- tieth century, older strands of Protestantism, both liberal and conservative, have been enervated by repeated uncertainties about the interpretation of Scripture. Over the course of the twentieth century, they have been joined in similar interpre- tative dilemmas by Protestants of traditional European background, Roman Catholics, and Jews. What believers might do about those dilemmas is a question worthy of another set of lectures. From the historical record it is clear that the American Civil War generated a first-order theological crisis over how to interpret the Bible, how to understand the work of God in the world, and how to exercise the authority of theology in a democratic society.”

        Yep, Christians haven’t agreed on what morality this god wants for a very long time, and this does include the idea of slavery. In the bible, this god approves of slavery and says that no slave should seek their freedom. Some Christians opposed the practice, ignoring what their bible says, and some Christians accepted the practice, agreeing with what their bible says. Your god did nothing at all to prevent the killing of half a million men. Your god, if it exists, caused the death of a half a million men since it couldn’t make itself understood.

        Again, you try to claim that only those Chrsitians who agree with you are “true Christians” and you can’t show this is the case. Your baseless opinion of sexual conduct is just like the baseless opinion as those Christians you disagree with. You all pretend some god agrees with you. I know you don’t bat an eye at denying rights you enjoy to other. Selfish bigots don’t. Your argument that if people never had a right in history that means they never should is hilariously pathetic. Hmm, since women were property in the Old Testament, per your ignorant nonsense, we should never have gotten any rights at all. Thanks for demonstrating just what a Christian can be. Alas, people who disagree with you aren’t “wicked” that’s the lie of someone who thinks that only what he wants is good, and tries to pretend some god agrees with him. Funny how allowing other people to marry doesn’t destroy your marriage or my marriage at all. I’ve been married for 31 years now, and surprise, nothing happened when other people could enjoy the same rights.

        There is no good news about worshipping a child killing genocidal maniac who approves of slavery. I have far better morals than to sink to doing that. Alas, your opinion on what “sin” is just what you’ve made up. Your sad little fantasies about what happens to people who disagree with you will never come true.

        You also claim that this god never says that people who pray will get precisely what they want. Actually it does, and it is no surprise thatyou are either ignorant of your bible or are trying to lie to me about what is in it. I’ve read the texts quite carefully and it shows you wrong: “7 “Ask, and it will be given to you; search, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened for you. 8 For everyone who asks receives, and everyone who searches finds, and for everyone who knocks, the door will be opened. 9 Is there anyone among you who, if your child asked for bread, would give a stone? 10 Or if the child asked for a fish, would give a snake? 11 If you, then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good things to those who ask him!” Matthew 7

        “19 Again, truly I tell you, if two of you agree on earth about anything you ask, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven. 20 For where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there among them.”” Matthew 18

        funny how no exceptions are mentioned here or in the following.

        “22 Jesus answered them, “Have faith in God. 23 Truly I tell you, if you say to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and thrown into the sea,’ and if you do not doubt in your heart but believe that what you say will come to pass, it will be done for you. 24 So I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.” Mark 11

        “17 And these signs will accompany those who believe: by using my name they will cast out demons; they will speak in new tongues; 18 they will pick up snakes, and if they drink any deadly thing, it will not hurt them; they will lay their hands on the sick, and they will recover.”” Mark 16

        unsurprisingly, not a single Christian can do this. Did the bible lie or are you all simply not getting something right?

        “12 Very truly, I tell you, the one who believes in me will also do the works that I do and, in fact, will do greater works than these, because I am going to the Father. 13 I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 If in my name you ask me[f] for anything, I will do it.” John 14

        “7 If you abide in me and my words abide in you, ask for whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.” John 15

        “13 Are any among you suffering? They should pray. Are any cheerful? They should sing songs of praise. 14 Are any among you sick? They should call for the elders of the church and have them pray over them, anointing them with oil in the name of the Lord. 15 The prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise them up, and anyone who has committed sins will be forgiven. 16 Therefore confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, so that you may be healed. The prayer of the righteous is powerful and effective. 17 Elijah was a human like us, and he prayed fervently that it might not rain, and for three years and six months it did not rain on the earth. 18 Then he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth yielded its harvest.” James 5
        Oh and for mocking god, funny how I’ve been doing that for decades and nothing happens. Your god is either imaginary or impotent. Anyone can judge this god, and with good reason since it is an ignorant and vicious character. There is no curse on reality, that is yet again just more baseless stories. I do agree that, per your bible, this god is responsible for hurting people. The book of job is great since it shows that this god needs to impress its archenemy so much that it allows the murder of a family, and then when Job calls this god on its action, this god has to try to pay Job off, by giving money and a “new” family. Hmm, I do wonder if you’d accept a “new” family from this mafia boss god. I wouldn’t.

        Yep, people can claim to be things they aren’t. Per the bible, since you can’t do what Jesus supposedly promised, there is no reason to think you are a Christian. You think that other Christians aren’t Christians. You can’t show you are one and you can’t show they aren’t, well, unless you want to use the same standard I’m using from your bible. You also have no say in if someone is a woman or a man, dear. Your baseless opinion doesn’t count. You accuse others of “selfish” gain, and gee, you have no evidence of that at all. You have no truth at all, only baseless arrogance that your opinions are some gods.

      6. Garrett Ashley Mullet says:

        Snow Leopard, you are very confident in making bold and exaggerated, hyperbolic claims, but you should slow down and listen, or even try to prove your case a little on one accusation before racing off to the next, and the one after that.

        I actually don’t even know that it’s at all clear that all Christians think they’re reasonable, for instance. I meanwhile know many Christians who humbly admitted they have much to learn, and that there are many things they can’t make any claim to understanding at all. Doubtless you would mock these for being honest where they’re not sure just as you mock the ones who do know what they know and confidently assert it.

        But you’re mistaken also when you deny that there needs to be an objective standard of good, or that Christians disagree about even the nature of good and evil. Where is an example of this? Again, where I said before, even if you can furnish an example, I will repeat myself because you either didn’t listen the first time or else are ignoring that I said it, and will probably ignore my repeating it also.

        Not everyone who claims to be a Christian is one, as the Scriptures attest; also, Christians disagreeing does not disprove that there is such a thing as an objective reality.

        Or, what will we say? Where you and I disagree, does that mean there is no such thing as truth? Then it’s a curious thing that you keep on claiming the things you’re saying are true.

        But the fundamentals of logic require that a statement must either be true or false; it cannot be true for you and false for me, or false for you and true for me. One of us is correct and the other is not, or else we are both incorrect, if we are contradicting one another along lines where there are more than binary options for an answer. But where I say a thing is true and you say it is false, only one of us can be correct. The statement must either be true or false, and it cannot be both. But if you reject this, then you have rejected logic and rationality as a whole.

        As for your complaint that every Christian claims their favored version of the Bible is “the best,” you’re just making things up now. In point of fact, the only Christians I know of who make anything approaching this claim are the ones known as “KJV only” – and they are very much in the minority compared with the multitude of Christians in my family and broad circle of friends. I have only one brother-in-law who stubbornly argues that the KJV is the only legitimate translation of the Bible into English, and he’s very badly mistaken about that, but there’s no reasoning with him about it.

        You should acquaint yourself with a thesaurus. That’s where we find that there can be a lot of words and phrases which are synonymous, albeit often with a slightly different nuance. Yet you accuse God of not being able to keep the message straight, and you don’t know what you’re talking about.

        It would be one thing if God had promised we were all going to perfectly agree and immediately understand all mysteries. If God had promised that this side of Heaven, instead of promising that is what comes in the hereafter, then it would be scandalous that we so often disagree and misunderstand. Yet God does not promise this thing you seem to think He does, so there is no contradiction.

        Take for instance the example you give of Creation. Some think the days in Genesis are metaphor and symbolic only, having actually been millions or even billions of years long each. I myself believe they are literal days. But our disagreeing and debating isn’t an indictment of God, but a confirmation of what God’s Word says about our human nature – especially our sinful nature, but even just our finite nature – from Genesis to Revelation. Our debating and misunderstanding actually proves what God says in His Word correct, then, instead of disproving it as you allege.

      7. Garrett Ashley Mullet says:

        But I make no excuses, nor do I need to. But I do disagree with your characterization of my position as being that Christians disagree about almost everything insofar as you take this to mean that there is no such thing as truth, or you would twist that statement to imply that all Christians disagree about almost all things. That just isn’t so.

        You say also that some worship gods invented by man’s imagination. I don’t know whether that’s true or not. In my worldview there are angels and demons, and such beings made by God can definitely deceive mankind into believing they should be worshiped. But again, even here, we come again to my earlier analogy you ignored about counterfeit money and the genuine article. Counterfeits don’t disprove that there is such a thing as a genuine article. If anything, the ability to pass off counterfeits implies to all our minds that there is such a thing as the real of which this or that fake is an illegitimate imitation.

        As for what examples of constant disagreement there might be about truth outside of Christianity, here we are. And you are clearly not a Christian, and this is by and large a ridiculous argument made not only possible but necessary by your caustic engagement.

        Where you go next is in saying that Christianity is in some kind of unique position of causing hatred, harm, and fear of the “other” over the past 2,000 years or more. That’s not true, though. And the only reason I can think of for why you would suppose such a thing is true is that you’ve been molded and shaped in your thinking by the likes of Richard Dawkins – a bitter and illogical pseudointellectual full of venom and fallacies if ever there was one.

        But you’re muddying the waters to bring Zeus and Odin into this by claiming their adherents carried out no atrocities, as if that’s analogous.

        I suppose you would overlook the Viking raids and attendant violence by pagan Norsemen who worshiped Odin and Thor and the rest, and made human sacrifices to their gods. I suppose also you’d ignore the Aztecs and their sacrifices of war captives to their gods to make the crops grow. There’s too much to get into there while you’re opening every other random door you can think to, so I’m going to pass because I don’t take yours as an honest inquiry so much as a thoughtless smear and careless generalization.

        But then you go on to say that I have yet to show my God exists at all. And this is quite correct for one simple fact – I never set out to prove to you something which you are dead-set against believing. This is quintessentially a case of casting pearls before swine, and I owe you nothing in the way of proofs.

        So also, I need not prove that you’re wrong when you say casually that all slaveowners were Christians in the South prior to the Emancipation Proclamation. The burden of proof is on you to prove that they were, since you were the one who made the audacious claim, and I merely told you it was wrong and silly.

        As for Christians claiming America is a Christian nation, I don’t know anyone for whom that is true – least of all me. What many Christians do claim is that the United States of America was settled and founded by many Christians, and on Christian principles. And that is true. But that is a very different thing than the words you are putting in my mouth and the mouths of all other American Christians.

        You quote Noll from the end of his book, and I’m glad for that. I have no disagreement with Noll’s characterization in that quote. But you make a leap from saying that there was a theological crisis – which I already agreed with since I read his book and recommended it to you – to making a very different claim and coming to a very different conclusion. Namely, you make a leap of logic from saying that a debate about slavery is the same thing as saying that actual and true Christians don’t agree about good and evil generally.

      8. Garrett Ashley Mullet says:

        But again – I repeat myself – to say that Christians debate and disagree and misunderstand, or that not all who claim to be Christians actually are Christians, this is not the same thing as saying that actual Christians disagree about the fundamentals of what is right and wrong. There is a nuance in what I’m saying here which I think is lost on you intentionally because you have an axe to grind.

        God does not say that no Christian slave should want freedom, or pursue it if it’s available to him. Nor either is God’s Word ambiguous about man-stealing, or what is known in our day as “kidnapping” – yet another example of synonyms not being the same thing as contradictions, by the way. What God’s Word does say is that slaves should obey their masters in a way that honors the Lord. And what of it? We are said to be slaves of Christ if we’re doing it right, and that is not wrong. But you cannot say that being a slave to Christ is the same thing as affirming sinful masters treating their slaves any way they please, especially where God gives commands throughout His Word for how slaves are supposed to be treated.

        But then you make an accusation against God that He caused the death of half a million men in the Civil War. But in order to support this, you put yourself up as judge over God. And if you deserved to be in that spot, then you would be God instead of Him, though you lack all the prerequisites of wisdom, knowledge, goodness, and power to make that stick.

        What I did not say, however, was that all Christians who agree with me are true Christians, and anyone who disagrees with me is not a true Christian. Again, you’re being exceedingly uncareful because you have an axe to grind. What I would say is that those who believe in their hearts and confess with their mouths according to the Apostles, Nicene, Chalcedonian, and Athanasian Creeds are Christians, even if we disagree about secondary issues. And part of how I know this is that the Scriptures tell us that Christ promised that not all who would say to him “Lord, Lord” would inherit the Kingdom of Heaven, but those who do the will of his Father in Heaven. Moreover, right action follows right belief. But He gives more grace.

        Meanwhile, you are venomous, and call baseless anything and everything you feel you need to in order to hurt and abuse Christians and Christianity. It’s an odd look for someone who doesn’t believe in an objective standard of truth and goodness. Call baseless what you will; you are not the judge and arbiter of truth and goodness, and all mankind will give an account – not to you, but to Christ.

        But you quote passages you don’t understand or else willfully twist and misrepresent. Yet I don’t know whether you do this because you read them only to find more ways to abuse Christians and the truth, or else you do this because these things are hidden from you by God.

        Note well that it’s written also that we have not because we ask not, or because we ask amiss according to our selfish, sinful passions. Yet where God’s answers to prayers are always “Yes” and “Amen,” no promise is given as to timing. And the ultimate fulfillment and blessing of “Yes” and “Amen” are found in Christ in God’s good timing, not in yours or mine since we are not God.

        But at the last, you say a sad and curious thing. You say there is no reason to think I am a Christian. That is a wonder. Perhaps you suppose there is no such thing as a Christian just like you suppose there is no such thing as God. But if that’s the case, again, as with Richard Dawkins, it’s very curious to be so angry with a God and His people when you claim they don’t exist, and based on an objective standard of truth and goodness which you also claim does not need exist and cannot exist.

      9. and funny how you, Garrett, can’t demonstrate I’ve done any of the things you accuse me of. How not surprising.

      10. You can call me Vel. You can also read about me on my blog.

        As I’ve already noted, you make a lot of accusations, but can’t support any of them.

        I do find it amusing that now you want to claim that somehow Christians don’t think they are reasonable. No evidence for that claim either. Christians conveniently claim they know all about this god, what it wants morally, etc but when asked the hard questions, then their certainty suddenly vanishes and this god is claimed to be ever so mysterious. How convenient, eh? This isn’t being honest by any stretch.
        You call me mistaken for disagreeing with you when you make baseless claims of a need for an objective standard of good. You can’t show that this is needed, so your claim of me being mistaken is nothing more than one more false claim. Christians don’t agree on what is good and evil. Funny how some of you are sure that being gay is evil, but some of you are quite sure that this is fine with your god. Of course, you only consider those Christains who agree with you to be Christians, yet another baseless claim. I do love that you say you’ll cling to your lies even if I furnish examples. How unintentionally honest of you. You can repeat false claims all you want, it won’t make them true.

        As most, if not every Christian does, you claim that those who don’t agree with you aren’t really Christians. You can’t show this to be the case, nor can you show that you are a Christian, per the identifiers in the bible. And there is indeed an objective reality, your religion doesn’t reflect it, with your baseless claims of your god being real and being the source of morality.

        There is also truth, but again, Christians can’t show that their cult is reflective of that. Again, you all contradict each other, demonstrating that your view of truth is entirely subjective.

        Yep, logic says that there is a true and false, and surprise, the many many different versions of Chisitainty can’t be shown true. As you say, something can’t be true for one Christian and false for one Christian, so they contradict and since neither can show their claims to be true, they are false by default. Thanks for confirming how Christianity fails.

        It’s just great to see you try to claim that Christians don’t find that their version of the bible is the best. You admit that they do with mentioning that KJV onlyists are Chrsitians and yep, they find it the best. I do love how you try to claim that since KJV onlists are a small fraction (they aren’t) this means I’m wrong. That any Christians do this makes me right. Some find that the NIV is the best, some the NRSV. Catholics have their own versions with extra books. The Mormons have a whole new testament. Then we have the Christians who insist that the bible can only be “truly” understood read in Hebrew or Koine Greek. I get to see ads for that nonsense every day on social media. Your claims fail again.

        Thesauruses are great. And again, funny how your god can’t make itself clear per the claim of Christians themselves. Christians don’t agree on what the bible means, Garrett. They disagree on what this god means by heaven and hell; about how one is saved; on what morals this god wants and what it finds ot be “sin”; on what being “born again/born from above” means, etc. This is why we have dozens of sects of Christianity. If this bible was clear, you would have one perfect version. You don’t.
        If your god is perfect, omnipotent, and wants everyone to understand so it doedsn’t have to send anyone to hell, then it could make this happen. If humans can stop it, it isn’t omnipotent or perfect or good. And funny how your god does say that everyone should agree: “20 ‘I ask not only on behalf of these, but also on behalf of those who will believe in me through their word, 21 that they may all be one. As you, Father, are in me and I am in you, may they also be in us,[f] so that the world may believe that you have sent me. 22 The glory that you have given me I have given them, so that they may be one, as we are one, 23 I in them and you in me, that they may become completely one, so that the world may know that you have sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me. 24 Father, I desire that those also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory, which you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world.” John 17

        Curious that God/Jesus failed so dramatically. How “scandalous”.

        Yep, Christians disagree about the bible and what it “really” means constantly, and not one of you can show that it means what you have invented or reflects reality at all. Creationists can’t agree or even convince each other. Yes, your disagreement is an indictment of your god since your bible promises otherwise. That “sinful nature” can corrupt the bible is just hilarious and pathetic. Your god allows Christians to kill each other over its incompetence or intentional malice.

      11. Garrett Ashley Mullet says:

        Snow Leopard Vel, I do not want to read your blog, seeing as how I already read Dawkins’ ‘The God Delusion’ years ago, and got quite enough a notion of the New Atheism from that. But thank you for the invitation.

        As for my making a lot of accusations, it would be more accurate to call them descriptions. But they don’t need supported, since they are self-evident in reading your attacks of me and all Christians and Christianity generally.

        But you say I want to claim that Christians don’t think they are reasonable. This is another example of what I mean. You swing wildly from one extreme to another as if it’s all or nothing. Either all Christians think they are reasonable or else no Christians do. What I said is that I know many Christians who humbly admit their gaps in knowledge understanding as a requisite to shoring up both through study, contemplation, and dialog that is both respectful and honest.

        But then you say “Christians conveniently claim they know all about this god,” and that is not true, as a cursory glance at the Athanasian Creed before mentioned makes clear. We actually believe so strongly that God is ultimately incomprehensible that we put it in the rubric for knowing who is or is not a Christian, 1500 years ago codifying what we already believed from God’s Word.

        And then you say we Christians to know all about what God wants morally. Yet this is not true either except where Christians do unapologetically say that the same God who made all that exists by speaking it into existence ex nihilo is capable of expressing Himself clearly, as well as revealing Himself to those He wants to.

        I do indeed call you mistaken for disagreeing with me about the need for an objective standard of good. But again, I don’t need to show you the need for this because it is what is known as a self-evident truth.

        That some who claim to be Christians disagree on what is good and evil is a moot point for reasons already stated. But I did not say homosexuality is a sin except insofar as God’s Word says that. That some dispute this shows that they are the workers of lawlessness Christ says will be cast out into the outer darkness despite saying “Lord, Lord” on the day of judgment.

        Again, I don’t need to prove to you that I’m a Christian to your satisfaction, nor do I have any desire to prove it to you by your standard. Instead, it’s Christ who justifies and determines and judges. And I’m content with that.

        But you say there is such a thing as objective reality, and that my religion doesn’t reflect it. Again I ask you how you know what this objective reality is. How do you know what is true and good, and what proofs and evidences of the authority of your position can you provide?

        You admit also that there is such a thing as truth, but that Christians can’t show that their cult is reflective of it. And again I say that my duty is not to change your mind and heart. Only a miracle could do that, and God will work that wonder if it pleases Him – to soften your heart, and to replace your heart of stone with a heart of flesh, if it pleases Him.

        But you admit that logic requires there is such a thing as true and false. Then you say the many different versions of Christianity can’t be shown true. Yet wisdom is known by her children. And again, Christ will show who is true and who is false.

        Yes, I do deny that something can be true for one Christian and false for another Christian. But this is a very different thing from denying that Christians can be genuinely mistaken and even disagree about secondary issues, and yet still be Christians, particularly when we consider that who is or is not a Christian is settled by who is in Christ, not by who knows and understands all mysteries in and of themselves.

      12. Garrett Ashley Mullet says:

        Paul the Apostle speaks to this in the question of meat sacrificed to idols in the New Testament when he talks about differences of conscience – some stronger and others weaker – over the question of whether Christians can buy and eat that meat sold in their local marketplace by pagan vendors. But he doesn’t settle the question by saying that we know who is a Christian or not based on their answer to the question, except to say that we should not use our liberty in Christ to destroy our brother whose conscience on the secondary question differs from ours.

        But what I admit about those who insist that the KJV is the only acceptable translation of the Bible into English can still be Christians is, as you say, that they find it to be the best. Even so, I deny that they get to decide who is or is not a genuine Christian according to this standard, just as a deny that you are the final judge and arbiter of who is or is not a Christian. Again, God knows who belongs to Him.

        But what does it matter how many hold this view, whether they make up a small fraction or a big one? Again, it’s a moot point unless Argumentum ad populum is more a logical fact than a logical fallacy.

        So you say thesauruses are great. But then you change the subject to your accusation again that God doesn’t make Himself clear, taking as proof the question I already answered of Christians disagreeing.

        Again, not all Christians agree as to what the Bible means. But there are primary disagreements, then secondary, and even tertiary. And if the validity of the truth were that we all agree on what it is, then you and I would be stuck concluding that there is no such thing as truth whatsoever despite what you just admitted about the basis for all logic, that a thing must either be true or false, but it cannot be both true and false at the same time. This applies to disagreements between Christians just as it applies to disagreements between you and I, and the truth does not cease to be true just because there is disagreement and debate as to what it is.

        But then you get lost in your own head, and prove yourself wise in your own eyes, when you reason that God being perfect and omnipotent, and wanting everyone to understand so He doesn’t have to send anyone to hell, is therefore under some kind of obligation to make known to you how His purposes coincide with His promises and attributes to suit your reasoning and assumptions. Meanwhile, you assume a number of relationships which humility requires re-examining according to what God says in His Word.

        Yet this is exactly why I say it will take a miracle for you to get the evidences and convincing you claim to want – because your heart does not know the requisite humility and fear of God which would allow you to see with your eyes and hear with your ears and turn to salvation and away from destruction. Yet God is just and good and Holy no less for our injustice, evil, and unholiness. So also, He is infinite and eternal no less for our finitude and temporality.

        At a certain point, we have to admit a mystery to the way we function. Do we have free will, or is all pre-determined by our nature? This is the question of the ages asked by philosophers, psychologists, biologists, historians, politicians, entrepreneurs, parents, siblings, lovers, and spouses. And, yes, theologians have been asking this question as well for just as long.

        If God has given man an ability to choose, and if that pleases God to whatever extent we are free – even if we choose to make ourselves slaves to sin and death – then God remains definitionally the judge of what is good and true. And you can hold Him in contempt for not having done it some other way. On your own head be it.

        But if Christ prayed that those who believe in him would be one, do you know what that means? And if Christ prayed this, the answer will be ‘Yes.’ But you act and reason as though the already but not-yet has to happen on your schedule, when you please, as you see fit, or else it wasn’t answered and won’t be. But that’s just silly.

      13. and yet one more Christian who denies the great commission when they fail in it.

      14. Garrett, you, like many Christians, seem to think that atheists worship Dawkins. We don’t and we all have different worldviews. So if you have read Dawkins, and try to assume he is like every atheist, you are working on your willful ignorance again.

        No, you do not describe me in your accusations. I ask for evidence, and surprise, you have none. You claim that your accusations are “self-evident”, which is claimed when a Christian has no evidence. You just hope someone will believe your lie. It’s rather like the nonsense in Romans 1 where Paul, without any evidence, claims that this god is the creator of the universe. All he has is a baseless claim, just like you.

        Christians don’t humbly accept gaps in their knowledge, they just claim that their god is “mysterious” and “god has a reason” to cover up those gaps with a claim that can’t be supported. It is not respectful or honest to try to run away from the hard questions when you claim to know everything else about your god, including that your version is the only “right” one.

        I do love the completely false claim that Christians are sure that this god isn’t “ultimately” comprehensible. If this were true, then you would have no reason to claim that objective morality comes from your god. If you can’t understand it, then what makes you think you have the right answers? And yet again, you try to claim that only you and those who agree with you are the only real Christians. Funny how you can’t show that to be true at all, just like those Christians who say you aren’t a real Christian.

        You all claim that know what morals your god wants, and surprise, you all disagree. And yes, this is true, though you all try so very hard to claim each other aren’t Christian. All you have are a circular firing squad of no true Scotsman fallacies. We have Christians who are sure that this god abhors abortion, but others who say it is fine. We have Chrisians who claim that homosexuals are hated by this god, and gee, others who say it is fine. And funny how each Christian claims that this god was only “clear” to them and no one else, and only revealed himself to them and no one else. Not one of you can show this to be true.

        You can call me “mistaken” all you’d like. It isn’t true and you fail again with your baseless claims. And yet again, you have no evidence so you try to lie and claim that a “self-evident truth” supports you, when there is nothing “self-evident” about your claims at all.

        Again, poor Garrett can’t show that his version of Chrsitainity is the “right” one, and per the bible itself, he is evidently a fraud since he can’t do what JC himself promised. You also try the wonderful “I was just following orders” defense to try to get out from being responsible for your own hate. Oh, it’s your “god” that really hates homosexuals, not *you*. You are just “following orders”. I know how well that nonsense worked at Nuremberg. Other Christians call you a “worker of lawlessness”, so your finger pointing fails as usual. You are every so sure that everyone but you will be “cast out”, a lovely sadistic little fantasy that will never come true. No one will be punished for not agreeing with Garrett.

        It’s very easy to say that some imaginary character is all you need to be responsible to. It certainly is nice when you are only judging yourself. Since Christians can’t agree on the morality this god wants, you have no basis to say it judges anything at all.

        Now, we’re getting into where every Christian ends up, in attempts to claim that they and they alone can know what objective reality is. You claim your religion is the source of this objective reality, yet you can’t demonstrate this, Garrett. I can ask any theist how you know what this objective reality is. The way I know, and you too, is through your brain, and when it is not sick or injured, you can interact with this objective reality and depend on cause and effect. I can know what is true by the nifty scientific method, observation, prediction, cause and effect etc. Funny how Christians have neither to show that their particular god exists. I know that molten steel will incinerate a bare human hand. If you think I’m wrong, we can arrange to have you show me how your reality trumps mine. I’ll be quite happy to observe you become an amputee, something that yor god notably can’t “heal”.

        I can also know what is good by observation and cause and effect, and my very human empathy. No god needed to know what is good, and since Christians can’t agree on what is good, I don’t have to care about what their baseless opinions are. I don’t need any authority but reality. As usual, the theist will often end up in what amounts to solipsism since he has no evidence for his god.

        Alas, Garrett, the great commission *is* the command to change the minds and hearts, and Christians like you ignore it when you fail at doing what you are supposedly told. You whine and insist that it’s this god’s problem. Since it does nothing at all, Christianity has a problem: no one is responsible for recruiting new Christians. No wonder the cult is dying.

        Now you claim it’s up to this god to choose whether to “soften” my heart, which again shows that this cult is not about free will at all. It’s always good to yet again see tht Christians don’t agree on much at all.

        Yep, there is logic that requires truth and falsity. Chrisitanity can’t be shown true, and the actions of Christians, and the inaction of their god, underlines this. You can’t show your version true, Garrett. You try to claim that only you are wise, but again, no evidence of that at all, just the prating of each Christian who claims they are wise as you. Alas, no imaginary friend showing who is true and false. Christian claims of that happening “any day now” have been going on for 2000+ years. Your sadistic fantasies will never come true. No one will bow before Garrett.

        Yep, you claim that you are the only TrueChristian™. You are quite sure that since you consider some thing true, every real Christian must agree with you or not be considered a Christian at all. This holds for every Christian’s claims, even down to the “well, *they* might be genuinely mistaken”, but funny how you can’t show that *you* aren’t. You have decided that you know who the real Christians are, belying your pious claim that it is only Christ who can determine that. Since there is no Christ, all I get to watch is Christians judging each other, all sure that they are Christ on earth. You all clami to be “in Christ” and not one of you can demonstrate that.

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