Impact

A Christian Conservative Goes to College, part 13 (World Religions Class: Attack on the Bible)

The assigned textbook for the seven week World Religions Class was Huston Smith’s The Illustrated World Religions. The book listed seven major religions: Hinduism, Buddhism, Confucianism, Taoism, Islam, Judaism, and Christianity. Seven weeks, seven major world religions, one week for each religion, right? Wrong! We spent the first two weeks with Professor Yu making a joke of Christianity, Judaism, and the Bible, confusing and mangling the facts… Then we students sat in class for the next two weeks as the professor attempted to deconstruct the Bible, Judaism, and Christianity. Four out of seven weeks spent attempting to erode Christianity and its foundations? Does this sound like a World Religions course or something else?

Huston Smith, we have a problem!

For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world rulers of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil…. For this reason, take up the full armor of God so that you may be able to stand your ground…. by taking up the shield of faith with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one” (Ephesians 6:12-16).

The assigned textbook for the seven week World Religions Class was Huston Smith’s The Illustrated World Religions. The book listed seven major religions: Hinduism, Buddhism, Confucianism, Taoism, Islam, Judaism, and Christianity. Seven weeks, seven major world religions, one week for each religion, right? Wrong! We spent the first two weeks with Professor Yu making a joke of Christianity, Judaism, and the Bible, confusing and mangling the facts… Then we students sat in class for the next two weeks as the professor attempted to deconstruct the Bible, Judaism, and Christianity. Four out of seven weeks spent attempting to erode Christianity and its foundations? Does this sound like a World Religions course or something else?

Huston Smith, we have a problem!

For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world rulers of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil…. For this reason, take up the full armor of God so that you may be able to stand your ground…. by taking up the shield of faith with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one” (Ephesians 6:12-16).

Professor Yu left us for two weeks. He was replaced by a colleague and friend who picked up right where Professor Yu left off. At this point in the semester we entered two weeks of biblical deconstruction.[1] Professor #2 first gave the class a handout of the first 24 chapters of Genesis from the NRSV. His instruction to the class was to compare Genesis 1 with Genesis 2. Well, I thought, at least the students would be reading some Scripture for themselves, and I knew that God’s word would accomplish His purposes: “It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it” (Isaiah 55:11, NIV).  

The Professor assigned the class to “compare and contrast the different creation narratives.” (This begged the question,[2] assuming that the narratives were “contrasting” as opposed to complimentary.) Now I can be fair and admit there are things in Scripture that are hard to understand, even in the creation account. Even more-so, there are things in Scripture that I do not understand at all! I can admit this. But would we ever hear a college professor look at some passage in the Bible and say, “I really don’t understand what that is saying here; I wish I did, but I don’t”? Doubtful.

Unfortunately critics usually begin with their minds made up. They search high and low for reasons to dismiss the Bible because they usually begin with the following presuppositions: “This book is not God’s revelation, if there is a God, He certainly would not be the Christian God, there are no such things as miracles, etc.” From that starting point they leave no stone unturned until they find something that will help them reject the Bible and the God of the Bible.[3] When they find mystery, they scream “contradiction!” And “wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires” (2 Timothy 4:3, NASB). They seek confirmation of their views from every humanist biblical critic since “the Enlightenment” while rejecting the wisdom of thousands of years of biblical orthodoxy. (Most of the time they act as though the objections they raise have never ever been answered by theologians and apologists.) Having this all in place, they laugh and scoff at the Bible, and disrespect it at every turn.

And the professor did just that: He began by superimposing sexism onto the Genesis 2 account, “Notice how in Genesis 1 God creates male and female in his image, but the Genesis 2 account has God creating man in his image and then creating woman in man’s image to serve the man. In Genesis 1 man and woman are both CEO running the world. In Genesis 2 man is the CEO and woman is the helper, secretary to the CEO.”

Ignorant and unstable people twist the Scriptures, to their own destruction (2 Peter 3:16).

Then the Professor said, “Notice that God said, ‘It is not good for man to be alone’? [Genesis 2:18] God must have found Adam masturbating and so he decided to create woman.” (!) This is not the comment of a junior high school student, but a remark by a college professor, a man who also taught at Temple. If a 45 or 50 year old man in the workplace, made a comment like that above to an 18 or 22 year old girl, she would probably find him creepy. We might even expect a harassment lawsuit. But an “old” college professor gets to say what he wants to a classroom full of young people? (It’s still creepy, certainly inappropriate, and totally sacrilegious and profane.) “Fools rush in where angels fear to tread.”[4]

He went on to ask whether after The Fall (Genesis 3) the punishments inflicted upon the serpent, the woman, and the man, “were fair.”

“Well,” answered one student named Lisa, “It could have been worse.” She was right of course!

It is unthinkable that God would do wrong, that the Almighty would pervert justice” (Job 34:12, NIV).[5]

But who indeed are you – a mere human being – to talk back to God?” (Romans 9:20).

Again, he introduced sexism: “God told the man not to eat from the tree [Genesis 2:16-17], is it then fair that the woman is punished more severely? The husband should be punished more. Eve received three punishments and Adam only one.” I can’t figure out his Genesis 3 math at this point, then again he wasn’t a math teacher. And thus far he wasn’t a World Religions professor either; he was at his secular humanist preaching in full vigor: “Do you really think this all came from God? If it did, then God is a sexist. And another thing: If you don’t want us to eat the fruit of the tree, why put the tree there? That’s a set up. What kind of God is that?”

It is the God who will judge you for your willful ignorance at the end of time.

I tell you, on the day of judgment you will have to give an account for every careless word you utter” (Matthew 12:36, NRSV).

But because of your stubbornness  and your unrepentant heart, you are storing up wrath for yourselves” (Romans 2:5).

The teacher continued along these lines as he passed into the account of Cain and Abel, the Tower of Babel, and the Flood. He kept asking students to judge what God had done. This is Secular Humanism, man as the judge of all things: “Fundamental to the concept of Secular Humanism is the strongly held viewpoint that ideology — be it religious or political — must be thoroughly examined by each individual and not simply accepted or rejected on faith.”[6] Man as the center, not God.[7]

“When Cain killed Abel,” he said,[8] “God punished him by putting a mark on him and telling him the land would no longer produce for him. When God got mad at the people of earth, He wiped all but eight of them out with the flood. When God got mad at the people building the Tower of Babel, He simply confused their languages and scattered them all over the earth. Now tell me is he or she the same God in all three accounts?”

He or she? God?!?!

In my journal I wrote, “It’s like [these professors] are like disobedient children, misbehaving, seeing what they can get away with. And God says, ‘Is it because I have been so long silent that you have ceased to fear me?’ (Isaiah 57:11).”

But these men blaspheme in matters they do not understand. They are like brute beasts, creatures of instinct, born only to be caught and destroyed, and like beasts they too will perish” (2 Peter 2:12, NIV).

“Why does God not want man to live forever?” the professor asked, beginning a string of questions. (A question that takes God’s Genesis 2:15-17 warning that disobedience would bring separation and death and subtly twists it.)[9] “Why is God opposed to man working together at the Tower of Babel? What is God afraid of?” He gave his own answer: “Competition.”

“You see,” he said, “The Jews knew there were other gods. After all, when Yahweh[10] came to them, he made a deal with them. We find that in the Ten Commandments, in the first commandment God says, ‘You shall have no other gods before me’ [Exodus 20:3]. He knew there were other gods.”

How wicked and deceptive is the professor’s teaching! For the Holy Scriptures declare again and again:

For all the gods of the peoples are idols [or non-existent things], But the LORD [Yahweh] made the heavens” (Psalm 96:5, NASB).[11]

“These kinds of stories,” said the professor, “teach obedience: Follow instructions, obey the authority figure, God, or the representative of God in the community. This kind of teaching teaches people not to think for themselves.” Yet I think it was the professors who did not want their students to think or question. They rarely or never presented the counter arguments to things that they were teaching. As mentioned before, they acted as though their criticisms have never been answered or deconstructed. These professors were essentially saying, “Look, I’m the authority on these things. I have studied all the world’s religions. You can trust what I am telling you.”

Of course, the professors always had their disclaimers: “I don’t want you to turn away from your traditional beliefs, I just want you to think” professor Yu once said. But it appears that what they really mean is: “I want you to think like me.” I saw this after one student spoke up and concluded, “God’s punishments are not consistent.” At that moment the professor offered a knowing laugh. And it gave me the sincere impression that the laugh was an unspoken, “By Jove, you’ve gotten it.” In other words, “Now you understand what I’m trying to tell you.” They were purposely sowing seeds of doubt and destruction. This is what they were teaching!

The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons. Such teachings come through hypocritical liars, whose consciences have been seared as with a hot iron” (1 Timothy 4:1-2, NIV).

This is what the LORD says: ‘Cursed is the one… whose heart turns away from the LORD” (Jeremiah 17:5, NIV).

See to it, brothers, that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God” (Hebrews 3:12, NIV).

_____________________

Please enjoy my other columns at http://www.examiner.com/christian-perspectives-in-philadelphia/stephen-j-drain.

______________________




[1]
Other possible terms are “historical criticism”, “higher criticism”, “biblical criticism”, and “historicism”.

[2] “Begging the question” is a form of fallacious argumentation “in which the conclusion of an argument is stated or assumed in any one of the premises” (Introduction to Logic, Twelfth Edition, by Copi and Cohen, copyright 2005, published by Prentice Hall, Saddle River, NJ, glossary). (See also  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Begging_the_question)

[3]The unbeliever does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him. And he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned” (1 Corinthians 2:14). Of course, the professor rejected the idea that Moses wrote the book of Genesis. He rejected it although the Jews, to whom the book was given, accepted that the first five books of Scripture came from Moses, as did Jesus. “If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead” (Luke 16:31). Thus “evil people and charlatans will go from bad to worse, deceiving others and being deceived themselves” (2 Timothy 3:13).

[4] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fools_Rush_In_Where_Angels_Fear_to_Tread_%28disambiguation%29

[5] Such an accusation against God (even if veiled) demonstrates the wickedness of man. See my column entitled YOU are wicked at http://www.examiner.com/christian-perspectives-in-philadelphia/the-gospel-101-you-are-wicked or point 3 of Would God Actually Sentence People to Eternal Hell?, my previous column here, found at http://blogs.bible.org/impact/stephen_j._drain/would_god_actually_sentence_people_to_eternal_hell

[6] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Secular_humanism

[7] “The ancient man approached God (or even the gods) as the accused person approaches his judge. For the modern man the roles are reversed. He is the judge: God is [the one under scrutiny or under suspicion]…. Man is on the Bench and God in the Dock” (C.S. Lewis, God in the Dock, © 1970 by The Trustees of the Estate of C.S. Lewis, published by William B. Eerdman’s Publishing Company, Grand Rapids, MI, page 244).

[8] This is not a verbatim quote, but a representation of things he said.

[9] Remember how crafty the Serpent was at subtly twisting and lying about what God has done (Genesis 3:1-5).

[10] The name of God, (actually YHWH as Hebrew did not have vowels) often translated Jehovah or “LORD” in all capitals in many modern Bible versions.

[11] See also Isaiah 43:10, Isaiah 44:8, etc.

J Drain

"Rescued, ransomed, and saved because of the love of God the Father, through the regeneration of the Spirit of God thanks to faithful preachers and teachers of the Word, because of the perfect life and merit of Jesus the Messiah, His substitutionary death and His physical resurrection from the dead. Undeserved. Undeserved. Undeserved." Steve would label himself an apprentice Christ follower, an Evangelical Christian with strong Reformed beliefs, a "Five Point Calvinist". Steve loves discussing and debating the two "taboo" subjects: Politics and Religion. He tries to read and listen to a minimum of forty books a year and realizes that no matter what topic or genre, whether Bible, theology, Christianity, history, biography, philosophy, political, social commentary, pop-culture, or even fiction, they all tie together in the spider's web of worldview. His favorite author is C.S. Lewis, James R. White, J. Budziszewski, G.K. Chesterton, and Peter Kreeft. He loves Charles Haddon Spurgeon and Dwight L. Moody. Steve's hobbies are generally reading and writing, music, hiking, and laughing. He has been writing songs/lyrics since the age of about eight and has played in a few Christian bands. He has written poetry, several biblical studies over the past decades, and has even finished his first book manuscript entitled, “Shaken Faith: When God Has Let You Down” with friend and co-author Al Rossi. He has also written for the now defunct Examiner website as the Philadelphia Christian Perspectives Examiner. He wishes he could write some fiction.

One Comment

  • Avatar

    Visitor

    Re: Attack on the Bible

    Fear not, as stated it is a spiritual warfare.   The good news is that the spiritual battle has been fought and won.  All that is left is for us to be as faithful witnesses demonstrating a peace that passes all understanding.  Jesus did not have to defend himself and we can smile knowing that Truth (Jesus) has and shall prevail.  Let others wonder as we quietly share our beliefs with those who have ears.  This witness is stronger than all the noise of all those shouting, trying to do the impossible of changing truth, with doubt and fear.  Quiet and rock solid faith and trust in the face of blind sheep being blown in the wind, is the anchor that will speak louder in silence, than any pathetic soul abusing power resorting to forcing students to regurgitate falsehoods for a passing grade.  Remember the darkness hates light.  Our Lord is good and faithful.  Fear not.  Smile in the victory so significantly evidenced in an act that only God could do – the resurection.    Amen