Greg’s on a timer and answers questions about unbiblical counsel, Zeitgeist, and how God interacts with us.
- How do we respond to a rape victim who’s told by a church “any person who has the Holy Spirit shouldn’t be anxious, depressed, etc.?”
- The youtube video “Zeitgest” presents Christianity as a copycat religion. How can we respond to this?
- Does God interact with us? And if so, how?
Melinda: Hi there. I’m Melinda the Enforcer. This is #STRask, STR’s short podcast. I’m here with Greg Koukl. Is your mic working?
Melinda: Yes, it is. Good. It wasn’t working in the previous podcast, and I was worried when we did STRask that we were going to have to share a mic. That would be a little too close for comfort, so.
Greg: Oh man. I shaved.
Melinda: Thank goodness. We don’t know why it stopped working. We don’t know why it starts working, just thank goodness it does.
Greg: I shaved.
Melinda: That’s not ...
Greg: But you didn’t.
Melinda: Gosh. That is just rude.
Greg: She doesn’t need to shave though. That’s why she didn’t.
Melinda: Gosh. That’s just like one of the meanest things you can say about a woman.
Greg: Oh it was a joke.
Melinda: Women don’t find those jokes funny.
Greg: I know, but you don’t joke about things that are true. You joke about things that are not true.
Melinda: Yeah, there’s just some things you don’t joke about.
Greg: Okay. Like women’s whiskers?
Greg: Even if they don’t have any?
Melinda: Yes. Nobody even likes to have the hint out there that they have whiskers.
Greg: I thought it was pretty good.
Melinda: No. Anyways, this is Stand to Reason’s short podcast, #STRask. We put Greg on a timer. He’s got four minutes or less, or his mic will just stop working, whichever comes first. We’ll see what happens. Send us your questions on Twitter, and then you use #STRask so I can find them, thus, the name of the program. Let’s get going Greg.
The first question comes from QuirkyProton93. “How do you respond to a rape victim who’s told by a church any person who has the Holy Spirit shouldn’t be anxious, depressed, etc.?”
Melinda: Don’t listen to that church, is what I’d tell her.
Greg: Well yeah.
Melinda: Find a new church.
Greg: The reason I’m pausing, I mean it’s just kind of a grotesque thing to even hear, when a woman has been assaulted in that way, and then to receive this kind of counsel. I mean it almost falls in the category of honor killing. You know? It’s like let’s do harm to this woman because of something that was done to her, that she had no control over. You know?
I’ve thought about this in the past. If somebody says something like that, you reach up to them, and you pinch them on that spot right on their shoulder.
Melinda: My sixth grade teacher knew what that spot was, although, he never pinched me.
Greg: Yeah, perfect. The top of the trapezius there. And you pinch them really hard, and then when they start jumping around, you say, “If you were really a spirit-filled Christian, you would not be jumping around now, when you felt the pain that I’m causing.” Being spiritual does not mean that you don’t feel pain from any of a number of sources, physical or emotional.
Spurgeon struggled with depression his entire life. Okay? That was a burden, a cross that he carried.
Melinda: You were just telling me about-
Greg: Talking about William Cowper, who was the poet and the hymnist.
Melinda: In the British abolition movement.
Greg: Involved in the abolition movement, a dear friend of John-
Greg: ... Newton, and he suffered with such severe depression, that he had to be rescued by John Newton from killing himself multiple times. These are people who were deeply wounded and being spiritual, being genuine Christians who walked with God, did not take away that emotional pain. I have a hard time imagining how anybody can actually advance this view, since I know that there is nobody in that church that said this that can qualify. They’re just not talking about their pain. That’s all because it’s politically incorrect in their community to do so. This is just simply abusive to say that to a rape victim.
Now is there solace in Christ? Is there comfort in Christ? Yeah, after a fashion, but the kind of comfort that God provides isn’t always acting in such a way to completely remove the emotional pain. I think there are times when something like that happens, but usually God carries us through these hard times. He doesn’t remove the hard times.
“In this world, you have tribulation. Be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” He doesn’t say He takes the tribulation away. That there’s some way that He has worked to enable us to be over-comers in Him, even though we’re in the midst of the tribulation. And sometimes the tribulation itself is just the pain that we’re feeling based on difficult things that have happened to us in the past.
It just strikes me as obviously false. If somebody says, “If you’re really a spirit-filled Christian, you would never suffer with any of these things.” Tell me anywhere in the scripture where it says that kind of thing.
Melinda: On the contrary, I don’t know how anybody could read the Psalms and have that idea. Deep anguish, depression is expressed in the Psalms, and even Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane, you know horrible, horrible emotional turmoil.
Melinda: I mean there was nobody that was more spirit-filled than Jesus. It’s just horrible.
Greg: That’s a great point.
Melinda: So QuirkyProton93, tell this woman to find a new church. Most churches would never talk to her like that. Next question comes from Kalumdale, yeah Kalumdale. “Hi Greg. The YouTube video Zeitgeist, presents Christianity as a copycat religion. How can we respond to this?”
Greg: Okay, it’s going to take me a few minutes to lay this out here.
Melinda: Yeah, four.
Greg: Okay, Zeitgeist plays a theme, the film represents a theme that a lot of people are playing nowadays, and that is that what Christianity amounts to is a rehashing of ancient mythology, Egyptian and Roman in particular, that has dying and rising messiahs.
And if you look at some of the stuff on the internet, Zeitgeist is just one example of this. But they’ll give you lists like, this other god was born of a virgin on December 25, was crucified, dead for three days, resurrected, had stars in the East to signal their birth, performed miracles, had twelve disciples, worshiped on Sunday. All of this stuff. Okay?
Then they ask you, “Now who is this?” And you say, “Jesus.” “No that was Osiris,” or “That was Horus,” or “That was Mithras,” or something like that. Well, let me just tell you, none of that is true. When you go back to the primary source documentation of any of these mythologies, they don’t have these kinds of details. These are things that are just making the rounds on the internet, and every skeptic is quoting each other when they do these things. I saw Bill Maher even read one of these things.
There is not hardly, and I’ll say there’s maybe one or two in the whole world, credentialed historian on the life of Jesus that believes this nonsense. Now I’ve written a whole piece about this called The Recycled Redeemer. I give a talk on it.
Melinda: It’s a past Solid Ground.
Greg: Pardon me?
Melinda: It’s a past Solid Ground.
Greg: Yeah, past Solid Ground, it’s on our website. I have a chapter dealing with this in The Story of Reality. I just want to point out the basic mistake these are making, these kinds of claims are making, apart from the fact that virtually all of their so-called parallels are completely fabricated. That is that it does not matter how much similarity there is between Jesus of Nazareth and some ancient accounts, if the accounts of Jesus of Nazareth themselves stand on their own feet historically, which is why historians use them because they don’t think Jesus was a myth. They don’t think Jesus never existed.
In the greatest work on history, in history, the 12-volume Story of Civilization. It was a Pulitzer Prize winner. There was a whole volume on Caesar and The Christ. Okay? Real historians know that this is drivel, which is the line I ended the chapter with in The Story of Reality regarding this kind of thing.
The real question here is whether the primary source historical documentation that we have on Jesus of Nazareth is good. Now if it’s lousy, then it’s fair to say, “Wow, where did they come up with this?” Then you might want to know what other influence there might have been to fabricate the story of Jesus of Nazareth. However, as C.S. Lewis has pointed out, first you have to show that a person is mistaken, before it’s reasonable to ask why he’s been mistaken.
These guys do it in reverse. They say, “Well, the account of Jesus is not reliable because we think it came from these other sources.” That’s backwards. First you have to look at the resources themselves. If they are reliable, and they’ve shown themselves to be, then it doesn’t matter how many similarities there are.
And the famous example with past, the famous example, the book Futility, Morgan Robertson, 1898, wrote an account of a ship that steamed between London and New York on its maiden voyage. It was the greatest ship ever built. It was unsinkable. The ship was called The Titan, by the way. And it struck an iceberg and sunk. There were an unbelievable amount of similarities between that and what happened 12 years later or 14 years later, whatever it happened to be, when the Titanic itself sank.
But no one would call into question the historical legitimacy of the Titanic sinking just because there was this book called Futility, which has now been retitled The Sinking of the Titan, I have a copy of it. Just because some fiction in the past was similar to it, you gotta look at the primary source historical documentation for the life of Jesus first, and see if that stands on its own. And if it does – and it does – then nothing written before, even if it did have similarity, which these don’t, can undermine that historical support.
Melinda: And you mentioned this. You touched on this. Many of the comparisons are just not even there anyways. They misrepresent or get wrong a lot of details of the myths that they try to compare, and for more detail, go to our website, STR.org. Type in Zeitgeist, and you’re going to get the Solid Ground plus a couple of other different articles that go into all those details.
Next question comes from Twitter, “Does God interact with us, and if so, how?”
Greg: Well the answer is yes, and all you have to do is read the Bible to see God’s involvement with humankind. There are lots of different ways in scripture that God involves Himself. One way is just by sovereign workings. He does things on behalf of Christians. He answers prayers. There are subjective elements. You know, David rejoiced in the Lord. Jesus rejoiced in the Holy Ghost.
I mean there are lots of different things that are emotive, that are subjective, that are first-person private we see happening. There are visions in the scripture. There are prophetic words. There are a host of ways that the God of the Bible, and uniquely so. This is unique among religions, that the God of the Bible intervenes in history to make Himself known, whether it’s through revelation and scripture or speaking in different ways. Or whether it’s intervening in the historical events of the nation of Israel or in the early church or in the lives of Christians.
There are a multitude of ways that God interacts with believers, so that’s the difference between Christian theism and deism. Deism holds that God created, and he wound up the universe, and He just let it spin off by itself. He didn’t get involved. But that is not the Christian view, and that is not the biblical record.
Melinda: Okay, before we finish up, I just want to mention a couple of things coming up. The week this is posted, Labor Day week, you’re speaking September 9th, at Olive Branch Christian Church in Corona, California in the evening. You’re speaking at 6:30, and they’re actually having a Chick-fil-A dinner at 5:30. They asked me to mention that.
Melinda: Then our ReTHINK conference is coming up September 22-23. So make sure you go to our website and get signed up for that. Send us your questions on Twitter using #STRask for the short podcast. I’ll pose them to Greg and limit his time. We still have the regular podcast. You can call in Tuesdays 4:00-6:00 and have a conversation with Greg and get a longer answer as he is wont to do.
I am Melinda the Enforcer, with Greg Koukl, for Stand to Reason.