Recently I received an email that contained a standard atheistic rant against the bible and another typical response from a "True Believer". I'm not positive, but I believe it's from Ray Comfort's blog. It seemed like as good a piece to start blogging on as any, so I decided to give my response to it. It's short enough, so I'll include the text of the email here.
"I have violated some of the strictures in the Bible. I work on Sunday, I wear cotton polyester blend T shirts sometimes, I love lobster, when my children disobey I choose to let them live, I don't own any slaves. Lots of things like that so I have violated your Bible but that is not God’s law because there is no God to make laws. Just an old book of barbarian myths." Ryk
~You are a little confused about the Law that will judge you. The complete Hebrew Law has a total 613 precepts. It is broken into three categories:
1. The Ceremonial Law. For the worship of God--how the Tabernacle was to be constructed, what to wear--ordinances saying not to wear cotton and wool together because the combination produces sweat. What to eat--certain animals are "scavengers" and are not healthy to eat, etc.
2. The Civil Law. How the nation of Israel was to govern. How they were to treat their slaves (servants), punish murderers, rapists, how to stop rebellion, etc.
3. The Moral Law. The Ten Commandments. God sees the thought-life of each of us and considers lust a violation of the Seventh Commandment (see Matthew 5:27-28). He also sees hatred as murder. It is the Moral Law that you are bound by (see Romans 2:15) and that is the Law that will judge you on Judgment Day (see Romans 2:12, James 2:12). It is the Moral Law that will justly send you to Hell for your sins.
However, God in His great kindness, offers you forgiveness of sins through repentance and faith in Jesus--everlasting life. Only a fool would refuse such an incredible offer. Please, think about your salvation. There's nothing more important than where you will spend eternity.~
So we see some common tactics used by believers in assaulting the opposing viewpoint. First, use a weak argument, one that you can knock down with little effort. The atheist in this scenario seems to be just an average Joe, someone who hasn't done much homework on the subject and is repeating things they may have read in passing on blogs and atheist sites. This person's grammar is poor, doesn't have a very cohesive structure to his argument and therefore makes an easy target. The deeper issues concerning the valid although poorly presented points from the atheist must be glossed over or completely ignored.
Next, display your apparent "greater knowledge" of the subject. This believer knows how many "precepts" the Abrahamic law has and how many "categories" it's broken into. Never mind that this is meaningless, it sounds good! They've also either got decent grammatical and spelling skills or have at least done spell and grammar checks on their text before submitting.
Finally, wrap it up with your point and denigrate your opponent with thinly veiled insults.
Now, the problem with this believer's final little bit of "wisdom" (aside from the "fear factor") is that it's just a modified version of "Pascal's Wager", which has been refuted time and again over the centuries. If you don't believe in the Judeo-Christian god, you can't accept the "incredible offer" described by the believer. I can no more make myself believe that Jesus is real than that Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, or the Tooth Fairy are. There is no solid evidence for the existence of the Biblical character Jesus. There is no solid evidence for the existence of the Biblical character of "God". So, no, skeptics are not fools for refusing to accept this "incredible offer". The fool would be the one who has faith in none of it, yet decides to accept the "incredible offer" just in case, believing that if the biblical god actually exists, it could be tricked by human deception.
Sorry Believer, whomever you may be. I'm still neither convinced nor impressed.