Category Archives: Worldview

The Illogic of Atheism

What is more illogical, the existence of free will, or a determinist who is open to having his choice to believe in determinism changed by the evidence?

But, if determinism is true then I guess George had no choice but to hold an illogical position.

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The Brick Bible: Subtly Deceptive

brickbibleThe Brick Bible, which comes in several books (such as The Old Testament, The New Testament, The Brick Bible for Kids: Six Classic Bible Stories, The Christmas Story: The Brick Bible for Kids, as a complete set, etc.) claims to be “an original, modern interpretation of the Bible, based on older public domain translations such as the King James VersionDarby’s Bible, and Young’s Literal Bible.  In addition, modern English Bible translations were used as references, and the author consulted the original Hebrew for certain passages.”  After one reads (views) The Brick Bible, he should come to realize that it is not a Bible at all.

Up front note that the LEGO Group does not sponsor, authorize, or endorse the publication or content of these books.  

The Brick Bible attempts to illustrate the stories of the Bible using LEGO bricks in various dioramas.  The author states on his website “For ease of understanding and avoidance of bpsmith lego bible2copyright issues, The Brick Bible uses its own wording of the Bible’s text.  But chapter and verse numbers are always cited and also act as clickable links to the rendering of the same verses in the King James Version, the New International Version, the New Revised Standard Version, the New Living Translation, and the Easy-to-Read Version.”  The author is simply trying to appear to give a fair rendering of Scripture while using his own wording to create the impressions and emotions of the Biblical text that he wants regardless of whether it is faithful to the original text. 

The Brick Bible does not contain the Bible in its entirety.  Through selective editing, the author creates his own (mis)interpretation of Scripture.  Small, almost imperceptible edits turn a reasonable Biblical story into something suitable for mockery.  For example, brickbiblenoaharkthe author portrays on page 27 of The Brick Bible: The Old Testament an ark crammed with Noah’s family and the animals, which perpetuates the skeptics tactic of debunking the historicity of Noah’s flood by showing how the ark could not possibly have contained all the animals as claimed. 

He portrays Yahweh as a singular being, instead of a Trinity.  See page 20 where Yahweh is depicted as talking to the angels instead of the other members of the Trinity when he said “The man has become like one of us, knowing good and evil….”  The author’s God-caricature is always as an angry, vengeful, human-killing monster.  As an example of this type of portrait, page 29 shows skeletons everywhere when God is brickbiblefallmaking his covenant with Noah.  Instead of emphasizing the promise of a new start, the author subtly reminds us that God (unjustly) killed everyone else in the world.  Every single facial expression of Smith’s chosen LEGO character for God is with furrowed brow and angry eyes.

In going through the Ten Commandments, and the punishments for violations, he depicts the punishments (death) to be carried out at the scene of the “crime” instead of after a trial and the testimony of at least two witnesses.  He creates two misconceptions in the mind of the reader.  First, that the punishments are disproportionate to the wrong, and secondly that the punishments are administered on the spot instead of after careful deliberation based on the evidence.  This strategy is to make God’s justice to be unreasonable, if not immoral.  The author chose to illustrate the more violent passages of the Bible, and failed to provide these passages in context.  The theme of his illustrations is simply God’s wrath. 

Depictions of the events in the New Testament are similarly flawed.  Matthew 27:52-53 describes the opening of graves and many who were dead came back to life after the brickbiblezombiesresurrection of Jesus.  On page 134 of The Brick Bible: The New Testament, the author states “At [the moment of Christ’s death] the tombs broke open and the bodies of many holy people who died were raised to life.”  The author shows zombies leaving the tombs instead of resurrected bodies.  This alone is problematic.  He also misunderstood Scripture because the resurrection of these people occurred after Jesus’ resurrection, and not at his death.  This point is important because Colossians 1:18 and 1 Corinthians 15:20 state that Jesus is the firstborn of the resurrection, not these people who are mentioned in Matthew.  Downplaying the miracles, the author shows the Apostles performing “many signs and wonders” as if they were conducting mere magic tricks.  By doing this, the author turns brickbibleapostlesthese accounts into goofy legends and undermines the evidence of the Apostles’ authority as eyewitnesses to the resurrection.

The use of LEGO toys to depict Bible stories does not allow for a clear understanding of Scripture.  The depictions are often silly, and limited by the “brick” nature of the medium.  The limitations of the medium, combined with the likely nefarious aim of the author, turn the serious nature of the Biblical accounts into silly stories akin to the absurd tales of Norse or Greek mythology.  Through his Brick Bible the author would have us believe that God is hateful and vengeful.  He makes no attempt to portray the real theme of the Bible: redemption.

Though marketed to children, The Brick Bible is not suitable for children with its cartoonish depictions of killing and sex.  The Bible itself with its adult themes, may be unsuitable for children without their parents close supervision.  Parents need to explain the hard passages of the Bible to children, and not just assume kids are going to get the right impressions from descriptions of killings and rapes that are recorded in Scripture.

The content of this “Bible” is not accurate or theologically sound.  But now I want to discuss the author.  His name is, Brendan Powell Smith, or at least that is what his

bpsmith trans

Brendan P. Smith, a.k.a. Elbe Spurling

name was until he legally changed it to Elbe Spurling after he announced that he is a “transgendered lesbian atheist.”  What he has told us is that he is a man who likes women, and that he doesn’t believe in God.  So, he is in denial about his gender, in denial about his sexual preference, and is in denial about his creator.  Such a person is not in a good position to offer spiritual guidance to our children.  Yet, some parents still think giving his books as gifts to children is a good idea.  After reading some customer reviews on Amazon, clearly some parents have no discretion.  Here are some examples:

Someone whose screen name is 250xGirl stated “Bought for my step son who is autistic and here (sic) loves Legos. This is perfect for him to relate to the Bible.”  Another customer identified as Janyre said “My little guy (who’s 8) LOVES this. Not only is it super creative, but the stories are quite accurate too. I’d recommend it to any other boy mom out there.” “Sombrero” exclaimed “My Kids (5 and 3) will not go a day without reading this bible. What can I say to the author besides THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU for such a wonderful work of art that gets my kids to read their bible daily!!! Its beyond imagination how amazing this work is. God bless.”

Another Amazon customer gave the product five stars, stating “This was a huge hit as a gift as a confirmation gift.”  Confirmation of what?  That parents who do not read the actual Bible really have no discernment when choosing illustrated Bibles for their children?  The Brick Bible is not a gift to give to children for their spiritual growth.  Parents who give these books to their children are giving them a completely wrong understanding of God.

On his website Brendan Smith, a.k.a. Elbe Spurling, uses the imagery of his LEGO photos to misinterpret Scripture and cast the Word of God in a bad light.  For example, in brickbiblenazi1interpreting the source for governmental authority, Smith insists Romans 13:1 (“Everyone must submit to governing authorities, for those in positions of authority have been placed there by God”) required unquestioned devotion to Hitler and his Nazi government, and that the American War for Independence was also rebellion against God.  Smith also plays fast and loose with enemies, slavery, women, marriage, wealth, wisdom, those who will never inherit the Kingdom of God, justice, and the Jews.  He simply parrots how atheists characterize what Scripture says about these issues without bothering to understand context or nuance.

In his desultory, disconnected spirituality, Smith has drafted up something called “The New Morality: Living on the Right Side of History.”  He condensed this “new morality” into 10 “New Commandments” which are more like guidelines than commands.  These new guidelines, however, are a mishmash of some of the “Old Commandments” and some brickbibleguidelinesprogressive platitudes, like do not alter the environment, and minimize the suffering of “sentient animals” which presumably means we should protect the animals, but not babies in utero.  But, I will discuss this “New Morality” in another article.

Brendan Powell Smith is a troubled man.  That he is an atheist should lead us to question his motives for illustrating the Bible.  That he is mentally disturbed by his pretending to be a woman also raises concerns of whether we can trust his perceptions of Scripture.  Do not mistake my review of these books to be a call for burning them.  I believe God has given us liberty, even liberty to choose what is wrong.  Though, with wrong choices certainly comes consequences.  I also believe that truth will prevail in the ultimate sense over lies like those promoted in The Brick Bible.  But, until truth triumphs, lies may deceive many into forgoing eternal life offered to us by Jesus.

Also, do not think by my evaluating the author that I do not care about him.  We should pray for him.  He is deeply disturbed.  Atheism is currently being studied either as a cause of mental illness, or a mental illness itself.  His transgenderism is also a mental illness.  I am not saying this to insult him.  As a man created in the image of God, he is of inestimable worth.  But, we still need to be discerning in what we allow our children to consume.  Like the lie the serpent told Eve in the Garden of Eden, The Brick Bible is subtly deceptive.  It pretends to be a fair rendering of Scripture, but it paints a distorted portrait of who God is.  We should not let Brendan Smith’s fun, and somewhat funny, misinterpretation of the Bible put another brick in the wall that separates our children from God.

Sexual Liberation of Women Leads to Sexual Slavery

Women-and-sexual-slavery-Essay

The article “We Were All Meant To Be Sluts” is one author’s attempt to liberate women from the sexual shackles placed on them by society.  The author, however, actually undermines the goal the author set out to achieve.  He wants to liberate women’s sexuality from society’s “system” of morality.  However, his postmodern advice will only lead to the sexual slavery of women.  (I do find it somewhat self-serving that a MAN would champion the sexual liberation of women, perhaps creating more willing sexual experiences for himself.)

Mark Groves, the author, asked “If sexuality and sexual freedom brings our character into question, then what do we think about the many wise and amazing human beings who found themselves and learned their lessons through sexual exploration and being open-mindedhit-by-bus about making mistakes?”  This statement assumes that personal experience is a preferred way of gaining wisdom.  You can certainly gain wisdom by walking in front of a moving bus, but wisdom from doing that is best learned from other people’s experiences.  There are consequences to sex outside of the safety of marriage, especially if those sexual encounters are frequent.  Sexual boundaries are meant to protect people from the consequences of promiscuity.

Mark also based most of his article on a straw man argument that those who promote the benefits of marriage and warn against the consequences of sex outside of the lifetime straw manexclusivity of one man and one woman have a “fear of sexuality.”  Yes, there are consequences for promiscuity that can have serious repercussions for families and society.  But, we do not fear the sex act.  Sex within the boundaries of marriage is satisfying and stabilizing.  Sex within marriage protects women from the savage, unrestrained sexuality of men.

Mark reduced marriage from a sacred status to simply “a beautiful thing” because the “divine heterosexuals who rule the institution” get divorced, commit adultery, and view pornography.  He is saying that marriage is only as important as people treat it; that the worth of marriage is wrapped up in the worth people give it.  By that logic black slaves were unimportant because slave owners treated them poorly; or that women in Saudi Arabia are less valuable than men because they are treated poorly.  Contrary to Mark’s assertion, marriage has inherent worth regardless of whether people treat it as valuable, because the One who created the institution of marriage defined and gave it value.  That people do not value what is inherently valuable does not reduce marriage’s worth.

In a bit of hypocrisy, Mark decried the suppression of female (promiscuous) sexuality in one breath, but then in the next breath, he shames the sexual freedom of rapists, child molesters, and people with sexual fetishes.  By what standard of morality does he condemn rape and child molestation?  Who decreed those sexual practices to be wrong?francis schaeffer feet in mid air.jpg  Mark Groves? Society?  If society has decreed rape wrong, isn’t that just another “system” that interferes with someone’s sexual freedom?  Didn’t society once say homosexual sex should be punished? Isn’t it society’s “system” that puts the brakes on female (promiscuous) sexuality?  Why is Mark upholding one system that suppresses someone’s sexual freedom while trying to tear down that system for sexual practices he prefers?  The truth is, Mark has no standard by which he chooses other than his own personal preferences.  Christianity, on the other hand, has a moral foundation for saying rape and child molestation is wrong because such acts are decreed wrong by a transcendent moral source, God.  In reality, Christianity promotes an eternal, objective standard of morality, while Mark promotes a relative, subjective standard that changes with the whims of society.

Towards the end of his article Mark offered a bit of postmodern nonsense advice.  He postmodernism relative truthsaid “There is no one way to do anything. And anyone who claims to have it all figured out is the very person to run from” and “There is no ‘right way’. There is only your way. And no one knows your life better than you. Live YOUR truth.”  He is essentially saying “You can’t tell people what to do” which is, of course, telling you what to do.  The problem with this advice is that it is self-defeating.  Self-defeating statements cannot possibly be true.  He is saying that truth is relative. The problem here is that he is making an absolute truth claim.  He is saying “It is true that truth doesn’t apply to everyone.” But in order for him to make that claim, his truth claim has to be true for everyone.  His assertion is self-defeating, and therefore, not true.  The truth is that truth is true for everyone.

Mark tries to summon the magic of John Lennon’s “Imagine” with his several “Imagine if” statements. He said “Imagine if we were told to just play, see, and feel.”  Yes, imagine acalvinhobbesmoralrelativism world where everyone did as he pleased.  Imagine if there were no judgments to prevent you from playing, seeing, and feeling what you’d like. Imagine no boundaries where the strength of men overpowers the weakness of women, but no one was allowed to make any judgments.  That is the world Mark Groves will find with his bad advice.

He tries to prevent this outcome by asserting “all of our decisions just need to be guided by our human capacity and desire to be kind. If every decision we made were based on the answer to the question: ‘What would love do?'”  But, Mark has no moral foundation to base his guidance on “human capacity and desire to be kind.”  “Human capacity and desire to be kind?” What if someone doesn’t want to be kind?  What gives Mark the authority to force someone to make decisions on kindness?  Who gets to define what “kindness” is?

Mark talked about “love” but then in the end just defines love as the sexual act.  “You are the expert of you. You know you better than anyone. You know how you love. You know what feels good, and you know what your heart beats for. You know what you want to try and what you are curious about.”  “Love” in his imaginary world is nothing more than the banality of sex for the sake of an orgasm.

human-trafficking.jpgAll that Mark has done with his article is to give people an excuse to “Live YOUR truth,” to abandon commitments because they are no longer pleasurable.  That world would not be paradise for women, but a hell on earth. Trying to liberate women, Mark Groves would put them in chains.