Questions About Grisham’s Opinions

Posted: December 2, 2012 at 2:39 a.m.

Aresponse to the article “Science and Religion: Panel Discussion Provides Lively Exchange” in the religion section (Nov. 24) It would be refreshing to have the Christian faith represented by a person that stands on the word of God. Rev. [Lowell] Grisham responded to the question: “How did the universe begin?” by saying, “I don’t have a clue.” Has he not read the Bible?

This story is only available from our archives.

Opinion, Pages 10 on 12/02/2012

RE "By faith, I accept the Lordship of Christ in my life as being far superior to my own logic, which has failed me numerous times."
This is not a valid reason to eschew logic in general; it is a reason to eschew the author's logic, which has clearly failed him at least one more time than he realizes. After all: he arrived at this conclusion "logically".

Posted by: AlphaCat

December 2, 2012 at 12:48 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Actually, if he is going to claim to be a priest in a church, he logically should place some trust in the Bible. So far as I know Lowell and his followers have not. All demonations believe parts of the Bible and deny or pay no attention to other parts. The Roman Catholic Church being among them. Purgatory really?

Posted by: JailBird

December 2, 2012 at 1:39 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

>>Christianity is a religon of faith and is based on the Bible.
--John Wyles

Then, there's this:

"Christianity is not an organized religion.... Christianity is a philosophy. You don't have to believe Jesus is God in order to admire his view on life.

"Millions of Muslims admire Jesus as a prophet. In fact the United States was founded on Judeo-Christian philosophy, that's what shaped our constitutional tenets. Again if you are stone-cold dumb and don't understand the difference between an organized church and a philosophy, I cannot help you."

Posted by: cdawg

December 2, 2012 at 2:51 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

It would benefit one not to believe in anything to admire Grisham's view on anything

Posted by: JailBird

December 2, 2012 at 3:03 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

We would not have to endure these constant religious arguments if people would simply recognize that conservative Christians/fundamentalists do not represent the whole of Christianity.
There are more ways to read the Bible than they seem to know about.
Many of the beliefs that they assume define Christianity are only two centuries old and largely American.
Quoted from Wikipedia:
Steve Falkenberg, professor of religious psychology at Eastern Kentucky University, observes:
"I've never met anyone who actually believes the Bible is literally true. I know a bunch of people who say they believe the Bible is literally true but nobody is actually a literalist. Taken literally, the Bible says the earth is flat and sitting on pillars and cannot move (Ps 93:1, Ps 96:10, 1 Sam 2:8, Job 9:6). It says that great sea monsters are set to guard the edge of the sea (Job 41, Ps 104:26). "

Posted by: Coralie

December 2, 2012 at 3:35 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

"The more fantastic a ideology or theology, the more fanatic its adherents."....Edward Abbey

"There are more lemmings among men than there are Unicorns.".....Me

Posted by: JailBird

December 2, 2012 at 3:48 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Wyles: "I accept by faith there is a... [whatever]">>

What is this curious thing called faith? I often ask true believers like Mr. Wyles what the word means and they don't know, which rather surprising considering how often they use the word. If you give them the dictionary definition sometimes they'll just say: "well, we don't go by the dictionary definition." Or they'll refer to Hebrews 11:1

"Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see."

Which really doesn't say anything at all other than to suggest hoping for something can be a reason to believe in something. Wishful thinking.

Dr. Peter Boghossian covers this nicely in a 17 minute presentation (after 17 minutes it's Q & A).

"Faith: Pretending to know things you don't know"

Highly recommended.


Cited below:

Posted by: fayfreethinker

December 2, 2012 at 5:14 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Excerpt from George H. Smith.

Appeals To Faith

"By appealing to faith, the Christian wishes to claim the status of
knowledge for beliefs that have not fulfilled the minimum requirements of
knowledge. Indeed, this is the only context in which the appeal to faith
makes sense. But to label as "knowledge" that which has not been rationally
demonstrated is a contradiction, because reason demands that nothing be
designated as knowledge except that which can fulfill its fundamental

This is the essence of faith: to consider an idea as true even though it
cannot meet the test of truth, to consider an idea as having a referent in
reality while rejecting the process by which man knows reality. Regardless
of the particular manner in which the Christian characterizes his version
of faith, he cannot escape its irrational bias. His only chance of escape,
to claim that articles of faith can also meet the requirements of reason,
is a dead end, because it renders the concept of faith inapplicable. Faith
is possible only in the case of beliefs that lack rational demonstration.
Since faith must entail belief in the absence of rational demonstration,
all propositions of faith--regardless of their specific content--are
irrational. To believe on faith is to believe in defiance of rational
guidelines, and this is the essence of irrationalism.

Because of this inherent irrationalism, faith can never rescue the
concept of God or the truth of Christian dogmas. Faith is required only for
those beliefs that cannot be defended. Only if one's beliefs are
indefensible--and only if one wishes to retain these beliefs in spite of
their indefensibility--is the appeal to faith necessary. If the Christian
wishes to argue for the rationality of his convictions, he should stick
with presenting evidence and arguments, and he should never appeal to faith
in the first place. The Christian who calls upon faith has already admitted
the irrationality of his belief; he has already conceded that his beliefs
cannot be defended through reason.

If we cannot understand the concept of God, we do not come closer to
understanding it through faith. If the doctrines of Christianity are
absurd, they do not lose their absurdity through faith. If there are no
reasons to believe in Christianity, we do not gain reasons through faith.
Faith does not erase contradictions and absurdities; it merely allows one
to believe in spite of contradictions and absurdities.

The appeal to faith solves nothing and explains nothing; it merely
diverts attention away from the crucial issue of truth. In the final
analysis, not only is the concept of faith irreconcilably opposed to
reason, but it is evasive and quite useless as well."
--George H. Smith, (Atheism: The Case Against God, 1989, pp. 123-124)

Posted by: fayfreethinker

December 2, 2012 at 5:15 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Gee, what set him off? To believe or not to believe, that is the question. Tis a far, far better God we believe in now, than we have ever believed in before. Problem is man keeps shaping God in his his own image. God is a spider that man keeps weaving cobwebs around. God, if there be one, might not recognize himself after man has distorted him so.

Posted by: JailBird

December 2, 2012 at 5:46 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

It looks like, with the exception of Franklloydleft, pretty much all of the anti-God commenters have shown up.

Why is it the only ones who don't know God have the most to say regarding God? And they say it over and over and over...

I suppose you need to convince yourselves.

Good luck with that.

Posted by: patrioteer

December 2, 2012 at 8:56 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

"The devil divides the world between atheism and superstition."

-George Herbert (1593-1633)

"To be an atheist requires an indefinitely greater measure of faith than to receive all the great truths which atheism would deny."

-Joseph Addison (1672-1719)

"The more thoroughly I conduct scientific research, the more I believe that science excludes atheism."

-William Thomson, 1st Baron Kelvin (1824-1907)

Posted by: Tankersley101

December 2, 2012 at 9:03 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Read if you will a lengthy quote by Christian apologist Ravi Zacharias, excellent defense of Christianity:

Posted by: justanArkansan

December 2, 2012 at 10:37 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Wyles: "Grisham responded to the question: “How did the universe begin?” by saying, “I don’t have a clue.” Has he not read the Bible?">>

The only honest answer to the question of "how did the universe begin" is, we don't know. When people give the honest answer rather than make something up, that's actually a good thing for which they should be commended.

Mr. Wyles can pretend that his ancient anonymous error and contradiction filled book with stories of talking animals in it has the right opinion on the matter, but there are no good reasons to believe those unknown writers living in primitive times had anything but murky guesses. And saying you believe without good reasons (which is what faith is), is never a reason to believe. It's the opposite of that. Everyone knows this when shopping for hot tubs, but it seems they completely forget it on matters of religion.

Regarding Tank's quote:
" atheist requires an indefinitely greater measure of faith..." -Joseph Addison

There may be God, but there probably isn't. And whether there is one or not, it's still better to believe things based upon good reasons rather than a lack of good reasons (faith).

I have a dictionary of God's. It has over 1,500 and is very incomplete. I know of another one which has 2,500 gods but that isn't complete either. The Christian God is listed, as it should be, along with Abaasy, Azi, Calliope, Daikoku, gyges, Kishimo-jin, Pereplut, Pinga Qaholom, Wakan-Tanka, Baal, Allah, Vishnu, Shiva, Loki, Quetzalcoatl, Zeus, Odin, Apollo, Osiris, Krishna and all the rest.

It doesn't take any "faith" to *not* believe in any these gods, and if it did, then Tankersley would be using a lot of faith indeed. Because it's safe to say he doesn't believe in them and is an atheist with regard to each and every one of them.

As the saying goes, an atheist is simply someone who believes in one less god than you do.

Storm god. By all accounts, he is an extremely jealous god who cannot tolerate the presence of other divinities. This is a source of great puzzlement to many of them as, when Yahweh was a member of the Grand Council of the Gods presided over by El of Ugarit, relations between Yahweh and the rest of the council members were always most cordial." --Comprehensive Dictionary of Gods, p. 195

Posted by: fayfreethinker

December 2, 2012 at 11:19 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Jesus loves you, fayfreethinker.

Posted by: Tankersley101

December 2, 2012 at 11:29 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

JustanArk: "...quote by Christian apologist Ravi Zacharias, excellent defense of Christianity:">>

There are theologians and philosophers who make substantive attempts in defense of Christianity but Ravi isn't one of them. Ravi Zacharias' apologetics are rudimentary and childish at best but he does sell a lot of books to evangelicals who like to have their ears tickled. One of the founders of the Fayetteville Freethinkers wrote an extensive rebuttal to one of his books. It can be read here:

That Colossal Wreck
A Review of Zacharias's A Shattered Visage: The Real Face of Atheism (1997)
by Doug Krueger

Zacharias didn't respond but he had a fellow named Paul Copan write a response to it. It's posted here:

Doug roasted it to a crisp too:
"Copin' with Copan
The Defense of Zacharias that Fails"

We offered to have Mr. Zacharias, or Mr. Copan come and have a formal public debate on these topics, but they didn't take us up on the offer. As you can see from the dates on those articles, this was about 15 years ago.

"An atheist doesn't have to be someone who thinks he has a proof that there can't be a god. He only has to be someone who believes that the evidence on the God question is at a similar level to the evidence on the werewolf question." --John McCarthy

Posted by: fayfreethinker

December 2, 2012 at 11:32 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Tnk: "Jesus loves you,...">>

How do you know?

Darwin loves you, Tankersley.

Posted by: fayfreethinker

December 2, 2012 at 11:34 p.m. ( | suggest removal )



"How do you know?"

He died on a cross for us all.

You claim to be fond of Rev. Grisham. I'de be intersted in his explanation of Jesus love for us and your thoughts.



Posted by: Tankersley101

December 2, 2012 at 11:44 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Tank: "He died on a cross for us all.">>

I gave a lecture at the U of A a couple days ago for the campus freethought group. At the end, (as I did last year) I spoke highly of Rev. Grisham and how... well, actually let me just quote/paraphrase it as I have it on my powerpoint:

Lowell Grisham is a priest at our local Episcopal church. In my opinion he is a fine example of a Christian who emulates, lives and works to practice the best qualities humans can strive to achieve: charity, tolerance, peace, love, understanding, kindness etc. His understanding of the Bible, being based upon modern scholarship, would agree, almost entirely, with mine. He does not agree with the literalist, fundamentalist interpretations of the Bible. Point being… one can live a fulfilling Christian life without appealing to an outdated, unscholarly, unsustainable and false literal interpretation of the Bible.

Earlier in my lecture I also talked about the Atonement Theory (there are several) and how it came from the Hebrew idea of the Scapegoat. See our tract on this here:

I also provided this quote from the Episcopal Bishop John Shelby Spong which addresses the issue:

"The death of Jesus is said to have been something God required: a ransom, a sacrifice offered to God, a payment demanded by God for the sins of the world,...

I have come to the conclusion that this language, “Jesus died for my sins,” is a violent distortion of the meaning of Jesus. It offers me a God who is sadistic and bloodthirsty. A God whose will is served by a human sacrifice is not a God I would ever be drawn to worship. It is rather a grotesque idea.”

"The view of the cross as the sacrifice for the sins of the world is a barbaric idea based on a primitive concept of God that must be dismissed."
--Bishop John Shelby Spong,
The Bishops Voice-The Twelve Theses: A Call for a New Reformation by Bishop John S. Spong, Newark, NJ

As with most things, I agree with Bishop Spong on the atonement, and Robert Ingersoll too.

"The absurdity of the doctrine known as 'The fall of Man', gave birth to that other absurdity known as 'The Atonement.'
So that now it is insisted that, as we are rightfully charged with the sin of somebody else, we can rightfully be credited with the virtues of another."
--Robert Ingersoll (1833 - 1899)

Posted by: fayfreethinker

December 3, 2012 at 12:02 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

Free, that is called: The Imputation of Adam's sin and the Imputation of the Righousness of Christ; not the Atonement, which is the act.

Posted by: JailBird

December 3, 2012 at 12:26 a.m. ( | suggest removal )


I personally disagree with your view on Atonement, but I do appreciate your candid response.

Happy holidays to you and yours in whatever tradition you choose to recognize.


Posted by: Tankersley101

December 3, 2012 at 12:26 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

Thanks Tank.

"In the old days, it was not called the Holiday Season; the Christians called it "Christmas" and went to church; the Jews called it "Hanukka" and went to synagogue; the atheists went to parties and drank. People passing each other on the street would say "Merry Christmas!" or "Happy Hanukka!" or "Look out for the wall!"
--Dave Barry, "Christmas Shopping: A Survivor's Guide"

Posted by: fayfreethinker

December 3, 2012 at 9 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

What is religious 'faith' but the belief in something despite all the evidence against it? From a moral perspective, what is virtuous about deliberate self delusion? To 'have faith' entails dishonesty about reality. Thus, to lie, even to oneself, cannot be considered moral. Atheism, therefore, is the most moral position regarding all proposed supernatural beings whether angels , demons, unicorns, fairies, gods etc. But I will certainly defend one's right to believe any ridiculous thing one chooses.

Posted by: Lmore

December 4, 2012 at 6:30 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

Did you get extra credit up at the University for that post Lmore?

Posted by: Tankersley101

December 5, 2012 at 2:42 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

The imposibility of the human mind to comprehend nothingness proves the existance of something bigger that you or I. Those elements that just happened to be existing there and somehow exploded (big bang) into the universe, how did they get there? If the universe came from nothing, then nothing would still exist since something cannot come from nothing. If something was already there, where did that something come from since nothing cannot create something. How does nothing move something. Scientifically, all matter in motion have to be put into motion by other matter in motion. Therefore, something from nothing cannot exist, and something cannot move without a previous mover. Therefore something always existed and something moved that first something. That something is called "God" by many of us.

Posted by: JailBird

December 5, 2012 at 7:20 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

"If the universe came from nothing, then nothing would still exist...">>

Which happens to be the case...

"A Universe From Nothing' by Lawrence Krauss:

Posted by: fayfreethinker

December 5, 2012 at 8:34 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

According to the current doctrines of mysticoscientism, which is the doctrine "Mouth" Grisham believes in, we human beings are really and actually nothing but "organic patterns of nodular energy composed of collocations of infinitesimal points oscillating on the multi-dimensional coordinates of the time-space continuum". That proves that the universe came from something therefore something does continue to exist....Moneymysticoscientism

Posted by: JailBird

December 5, 2012 at 12:24 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Moneymyst: "That 'something' is called "God" ..." essentially the premise that 'God' is the manifestation of all that exists. I'll buy that definition. One thing cool about God is that everyone is free to define It as they please. And who's to prove them wrong? Unless of course one belongs to an organized religious sect. They define It for you which is much less taxing.

Moneymyst: "Therefore something always existed and something moved that first something." Uh, doesn't that make it the second something then? But, you're right, something has to move the first something. Unfortunately though, it then always becomes the second something. What do we call that thing that existed before "that something...called God" ?

Posted by: Lmore

December 5, 2012 at 1:12 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Why can't people just accept that it is all a Mystery?
Why do they have to put a word on it and then insist that other people accept their word for the Mystery?
I'm an agnostic in this sense, that nobody has the last word.
If God made the Universe, who made God?
What was out there before the Big Bang?

Posted by: Coralie

December 5, 2012 at 1:52 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Lmore and Coralie, our minds cant go there, its off limits. We can't even construct that image of that existance before there was something. The world is older and bigger that we are, and a lot of people have trouble with that.

How did the material get there to make the Big Bang? Maybe the Universe expands to a point when it begins to collapse into itself and then explode again for eternities. Which came first, the chicken or the egg? What if distance is time and not a measurement in miles.

I've heard it said that man trying to explain the construction of the universe is like a fish in a farm pond explaining to another fish how to build that barn the Amish are constructing next to the pond.

Posted by: JailBird

December 5, 2012 at 2:20 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Exactly what I said.
It's a Mystery, so why try to pretend that one understands it?

Posted by: Coralie

December 5, 2012 at 4:56 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

"Once you have eliminated the impossible, what ever remains, however improbable, must be the truth.".....Mr. Spock
For years, us boys wondered what was in a jawbreaker candy. Later we found out; tooth decay. A mystery solved.

To boldly go where no man has gone before and find nothing.

Posted by: JailBird

December 5, 2012 at 8:10 p.m. ( | suggest removal )