Category Archives: Atheism

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 skeptic’s 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.

Responding to an Atheist

This link is to a blog post where an atheist lists 5 reasons why he does not believe in God.  Below is my response:

I’m afraid this is going to be long, but I want to address your 5 points.

  1. “I can be good without God.” First, you are confusing epistemology with ontology. That you know right and wrong and can behave does not mean you can justify your Goodwithoutgod2.pngstandard of morality. Of course you, as an atheist, can behave. But, where do you get your standard to determine what is proper and improper behavior? Without a transcendent source, you have no way to justify your morality. Your morality is all based on personal preference. If you then say that morality is defined by the culture, then you are obeying an external moral code forced on you even though you don’t like the idea of a motivational force behind a system of morality. That Goodwithoutgod1culturally mandated morality, however, is also fickle and subject to the whims of the majority. Atheists can be good without God, but the question remains, Why? Secondly, you have a wrong understanding of Christianity. Christianity is not about following a set of rules to earn salvation. It is about the free gift of forgiveness for our sins because of what Jesus did on the cross. This free gift of salvation is offered to those who surrender their lives to God. This surrender then leads to obedience. But, obedience is not for God’s sake; it is for our sake. Sin is destructive to us. God seeks our good; obedience leads to our good.

  2. “The Bible is not enough evidence.” Your point is a bit confusing. I think your objection to the existence of God is because you consider the Bible unreliable. Where is your proof that the Bible is unreliable? How did you come to that Mathmiraclesconclusion? What do you mean by “evidence?” What kind of evidence are you willing to accept? You asserted that “There is no way to prove that the miracles in the Bible are true.” How did you come to that conclusion? As historical events, miracles are amenable to scrutiny like any other historical event using the tools of the discipline of history. So, we can know whether the recorded miracles in the Bible are reliable. You stated “The gospels may just be the writers’ interpretation of what God wants to say but not necessarily what He means.” You have a misunderstanding of the intent of the Gospels. They were not written to convey “what God wants to say.” Instead, the Gospel writers intended their writings to be considered eyewitness accounts. Luke wrote in Luke 1:1–4 “Inasmuch as many have undertaken to compile a narrative of the things that have been accomplished among us, just as those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and ministers of the word have delivered them to us, it seemed good to me also, having followed all things closely for some time past, to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, that you may have certainty concerning the things you have been taught.” Luke is a first-rate historian who wrote the Gospel of Luke as recorded history. You cannot simply dismiss the truth claims in the Gospel accounts because you think they can be subjected to many different interpretations.

  3. “I have unanswered questions.” You have not coherently stated your unanswered questions. Do you really reject the existence of God because people believe that we are important to God? That seems a rather silly objection. Also, why should applying “human” attributes to God cause you to deny his existence? How else Image of god.jpgcould we relate to and describe God if not using familiar terms? What you are not considering is the Christian understanding of God. Christians describe God as a Trinity, three persons in one being. That certainly is not a human attribute. Also, Genesis 1 describes God creating mankind in his image, so why should you be surprised if men and God have similar attributes? You do not seem to have thought this objection through. God is beyond our comprehension, that is why he came to earth as God the Son in the person of Jesus. If there is a God that is omnipotent, omniscient, and infinite, don’t you think he would be able to figure out how to communicate his existence and attributes to us?

  4. “I went too far in the religious spectrum.” I am not sure what you mean by this. Is what you mean by “too far” that you have entered the religion of atheism, so now that is too far to come back to a belief in God? What made you question God’s existence? Did you not get adequate answers for your doubts? What were those doubts? Why do you assume we cannot know anything about God? Your position is self-refuting. By saying God is “incomprehensible” you are saying that you know Religious Spectrum.jpgsomething about God, which means that he is not incomprehensible. A self-refuting statement cannot possibly be true. God is personal and knowable. God is not just a simple solution to a paradox that we do not understand. He is a necessary Cause. Edwin Hubble discovered evidence of an expanding universe; therefore, the universe must have had a beginning. Anything that begins to exist must have a cause. Therefore, the universe must have a cause. This Cause must be eternal, immaterial, personal, intelligent, omnipotent because this Cause was outside of time, chose to create matter out of nothing. The Big Bang means that God is necessary.

  5. “It’s simply a choice.” You assert “There is no evidence that proves or disproves the existence of God.” What do you mean by “prove?” How much evidence is enough? “Proving” the existence of God is not like doing a mathematical equation that can be completed with absolute certainty. As an attorney, I make reasonable conclusions all the time based on evidence. The standard used in making reasonable conclusions is never “proof beyond all doubt.” Just reading your post, it is clear that you reached your atheist conclusion based on flimsy evidence. You did not require proof beyond all doubt to reject the existence of God, so requiring that standard to prove God’s existence would be a bit dishonest. We don’t need choice.jpgthousands of years to determine if God exists. There are compelling arguments and evidence right now. Lastly, you insist no one should impose his beliefs on anyone else. Again that is self-refuting. You are making an imposition that demands no one make impositions. Also, by what standard do you say someone should not be disrespectful? Who says? Why are you forcing that morality on others? Do you see what you are doing there? You are imposing a moral code that demands no one imposes a moral code. Atheism has no mechanism to account for morality so it has to borrow (steal) from Christianity in order to provide a coherent, peaceable world. Wouldn’t you rather follow the Source of morality than follow an atheist religion that has to borrow and steal in order to have a moral code? One thing you did get right is that it is a choice. But, it is a choice with eternal consequences. After all, there are only two kinds of people in this world: one who says to God “Your will be done” and is guaranteed an eternal life of infinite goodness; and one to whom God says “Your will be done” and is granted his wish to be in eternity away from anything that is good.