Proof #49: Look at Who Speaks for God

A reply to proof #49 of God is Imaginary.

There’s nothing to disagree with: the authors of GII have picked some of the craziest examples of people speaking in the name of God.  Many of these folks aren’t even great examples of human beings, let alone exemplary teachers of the Word.

There are many people who purport to speak in the name of God but don’t.  Impostors will come and go, and God doesn’t stem the tide.  The Old Testament explains that God tests us by sending false prophets (Deut 13:1-3), which puts significant responsibility on both individuals and the church for being able to recognize and denounce a false prophet.

God promises a stern final justice for these people, both from Jesus’ mouth and the pen of his brother James.

Jesus said, “Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me, but whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone fastened around his neck and to be drowned in the depth of the sea” (Mt 18:5-6).

James wrote, “Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness” (Jms 3:1).  People should think long and weigh it carefully whether or not they want to become teachers of the Word, for they will bear serious punishment for leading other folks astray.

But, most people don’t really think those sorts of passages through before jumping into vocational ministry.  So, much of the New Testament warns of false teachers and false prophets.  The people of God need to spend time in the Word on their own to raise their level of discernment and enable them to spot a false teacher.  The church, for its part, should teach people sound doctrine to help them interpret the Word well enough to spot a wolf in sheep’s clothing.

As many atheists point out, few Christians spend time with the Bible.  Many atheists know it better than Christians.  And, the church has done a woefully inept job at teaching Christians how to recognize sound doctrine.

And so false teachers have arisen, and are quite popular (see 2 Tim 4:3).  GII believes this proves that God is imaginary.  It doesn’t follow, however, that if people misuse a document that the author doesn’t exist.

People twist the First Amendment all the time, from vilifying blog owners who delete annoying or profane comments to trying to justify piracy and copy infringement.  Does that lead us to conclude our Founding Fathers don’t exist?  Of course not.  Same case with God.  Pointing at phonies and crazies who co-opt the message of Christ is neither a defeater nor an obstacle to the existence of God.  It is expected, which is why both Testaments warn of the coming of such folks.

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