The Pen is mightier than the sword, but the Pen must sometimes move the sword against corruption if the corrupt are not moved by the pen.. An idea without an implementer is useless. "The Rulers do not carry the sword in vain"Rom 13:4

Sunday, December 1, 2013

The New Atheists- and their favorite anti God "proof text" (Pslm 137)

Don't you fear them ?   Arn't they scary ?  Do you (Christian) tremble at the pounding of their feet approaching? Fe fi fo fum...I smell the blood of Christendom-they sing...  Brilliant minds... Lawrence Krauss .. Phd and expert on Cosmology and theoretical physics..... Sam Harris  Neuro Science- how the brain works...Richard Dawkins-Evolutionary Biologist. Christopher Hitchens, writer and academic  Wow... quite a team of heavy hitters. I can imagine them marching forward relentlessly, huge ugly mean heads, clenched fists, jackboots and arm bands with a black '0' on a white circle on a red background.  The zero meaning "no God".  The jackboots meaning "it's not enough to just 'not believe' in God...you must also believe there is NO God!".

After all, how could there be?  The major document which claims His existence is the Bible, and look at what that says !     

Psalm 137:9

"Happy is the one who seizes your infants
and dashes them against the rocks."

Shock horror!   "God" is advocating the smashing of babies on rocks? How could any sane person believe in such a vile and cruel monster?  Ergo...God is a myth and does not exist. Or as Ludwig Feuerbach once wrote in the late 1800s "God did not create man, Man invented God"

The thing which astonishes me more than anything about these "New" aggressive and agitated Atheists is the stark contrast between their extremely high academic qualifications in particular fields (not Biblical) and their incomprehensible babble that they come up with about the Bible.  It get's worse, they then use immeasurably shallow argument to 'prove' to the masses that God does not exist, and they seem to be relying on their secular/scientific qualifications to 'flow over' into things they know very little about and lend unwarranted credibility to their froth and bubble/babble. As Edward Bernays, the father of 'Propaganda' (he wrote the book on that subject too) once said on the Letterman show after he was introduced by Letterman as "Dr... Dr Bernays, welcome... so...tell us all about it?" to which Bernays replied... "Well..I know one thing, if you call me "Dr" people are more likely to believe me!"  Bernays was the man who created the 'wants' based consumer society in the USA beginning from the mid 20s. See "The Century of the Self" documentary for more fascinating information on that. 

Krauss, Harris and Dawkins and the late Christopher Hitchens,  all sing in 4 part harmony that  such a God as found on Psalm 137 v 9 is abhorrent and if he did exist, he is not worth worshiping anyway.
So it's not a bad idea to clarify and explain the actual context of this verse and nail down some directional bearings of understanding.

The Psalms were composed by people as an aid to worship. King David is one who composed various psalms.  Some spoke about an attitude of repentence....this one (51) is an expression of contrite regret by David after his adultery with BathSheba.

Pslm 51
For I know my transgressions,
and my sin is always before me.
Against you, you only, have I sinned
 and done what is evil in your sight;

In other words, they were composed by real people, about real events.  We believe (by faith) that they were inspired by the Holy Spirit, and that they contain information of high spiritual value and some contain messianic prediction. (Pslam 22  "My God, my God,why have you forsaken me?"  words spoken by Jesus on the Cross in fulfillment of this Psalm)

Regarding Psalm 137:9   the context is always a good place to begin... who is speaking...about what? 
In this case it refers to the standard cruelty of the pagan nations when they invade other nations in ventures of conquest.  The Israelites had been taken into cruel captivity by the Babylonians, (because Israel had gone after false gods and sunk  to the point of installing cult prostitutes in God's Temple)
This was a psalm of lament..It begins with the words the group Boney M made famous in their popular version..

By the rivers of Babylon we sat and wept
when we remembered Zion.

So this  is about the Israelites bemoaning their present plight and reminiscing about their true home.
The psalm then says:

Remember, Lord, what the Edomites did
on the day Jerusalem fell.
“Tear it down,” they cried,
“tear it down to its foundations!”

Who is.."they" ?   It's the Edomites of course. An invading army.
Finally the Psalm says:

Daughter Babylon, doomed to destruction,
happy is the one who repays you
according to what you have done to us.
Happy is the one who seizes your infants
and dashes them against the rocks.

This is speaking about an invasion that happened to the Babylonians from Persia led by Cyrus the great. This describes how the Persian invader will deal with the Babylonians.  The part "because of what you have done to us" is a reference to the psalmists understanding of divine retribution using the Persians as the hammer and anvil.   The Babylonians had shown no mercy to the Israelites and in poetic language this psalm is basically saying "You'll get as good as you gave".  The language is describing the brutality of an invasion, not advocating, commanding or encouraging such conduct.
This kind of thing did happen in those days. It's quite difficult for the Bambi/Disney generation to comprehend such terror, but as our TV screens continually inform us, this brutality is alive and well int he middle east today, with Al Qaeda and Islamists carrying it out on daily basis.

The Western mind finds it abhorrent to consider such things, because we have been long removed from 'tribalism'....but you need only read back a couple of hundred years to the time when we were all 'tribal'... in my case a member of a Scottish Clan...and the imagery recorded of what one clan did to another is just as horrific as the wording of Psalm 137.    The 'happiness' of the soldier dashing an infant on rocks if the pagan happiness of victory.  There is absolutely nothing in that 'proof text' Psalm which would dissuade a rational person from belief in God.

But what it does do, is illustrate how you can know a heck of a lot about 'one' thing (Physics, Neuro Science etc) but it does not by any stretch of the imagination mean you know much about another subject (Biblical truth).   I just hope the reader will carefully weigh up what is served up on populist anti Christian TV and the Net, and go a bit further than allowing your mind to be spoon fed by people who didn't even look at the label when they bought your food.

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