Sample clip of my debate with an
atheist on the issue of morality.
Find the whole debate at this link
Atheists claim that “the Old Testament still applies”
You may or may not be surprised that many atheists attempt to talk Christians, and other atheists, into believing that the Old Testament still applies (they are unsuccessful with Christians but very successful with other atheists). Three examples of this follow and all such claims seem to focus, or lack focus, upon one text…to which we shall come.
So does the Old Testament still apply? Did it require savvy 21st century atheists to figure out that 2,000 years of Christian have been mistaken about the Old Testament and therefore the New?
Let us begin with three basic points:
1) According to the New Testament, the Old Testament “applies” in that, “whatever was written in earlier times was written for our instruction, so that through perseverance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope” (Romans 15:4).
2) The Old Testament, in terms of the Law, applies to those who agreed to live by it and lived by it at the place and time to which it pertained: the Jews/Israelites of millennia ago, in the land, who lived in YHVH’s monarchically administered theocratic kingdom.
3) Jesus affirmed the moral teachings of the Old Testament and elucidate the fact that the ritual teachings were to be internalized and ultimately, and this is the key, fulfilled. An example of this is when He stated, “The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath” (Mark 2:27).
Now to the mere three claims that “the Old Testament still applies”:
1) As with all such claimants; Sam Harris is either biblically illiterate or the greatest bible expositor in history. He claims:
…most Christians think that Jesus brought us the doctrine of grace, and therefore you don't have to follow the law. While it's true that there are other moments in the New Testament when Jesus can be read as saying that you have to fulfill every ‘jot and tittle’ of the law (this is in Matthew)-and therefore you can get a rationale for killing people for adultery out of the New Testament-most Christians, most of the time, don't see it that way. The Bible is a fundamentally self-contradictory document.
I wrote a response to this claim already, in Sam Harris: Let Him Who is Without Faith Cast the First Stone, so I will merely point out that with his generic citation of “Matthew,” you can see where we are heading.
2) Charlotte, of “The Church of Theists Suck,” which lives on via evilbible.com, stated:
…how to catch a Christian in the act. When you see them expounding a verse and ignoring another, call them on it. I know what you'll hear. They'll say, "that's from the Old Law and we aren't under the Old Law anymore".
Trip them with this: "But aren't the Ten Commandments part of the Old Law?" "Yes, but we are obligated to follow them because they are reported in the NT" (Matthew 19:16-18, Mark 10:17-19 & Luke 18:18-22).
Immediately point out to them that Jesus omitted half of the Ten Commandments and invented a new one, "though shall not defraud" !
Before they can get a word in edge wise finish them off with: "According to scripture it is easier for heaven and earth to pass, than one tittle of law to fail" (Luke 16:17 & Matthew 5:18-19).
If sin is transgression of the law, as 1 John 3:4 says, then you should be following all of the Old Law. This, from experience, is the best way to shoot down these idiots and bar them from getting away with their hypocrisy.
These arguments are so very confused and weak that I responded to them point by point, just to make a point: see Atheism, EvilBible.com, "Theists Suck" and Christians are Hypocrites, part 4 of 6
So, there is Matthew again, this time specified as Matthew 5:18-19. FYI: she quotes Luke 16:17, Matthew 5:18-19 states:
For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled. Whoever therefore breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.
3) I do not know if this “debate” will continue but for now…on a YouTube channel I ran across the following comment to which I replied:
...if anyone tries to pull the "ignore the OT" crap, pull out Matthew 5:17-18, which says that not so much as a dot will pass the law "till heaven and Earth pass away".
This fallacious concoction of assertion plus partial quotation plus citation of Matthew 5 verses 17-18, was followed by this comment:
Haha, thanks! I should've posted a link in the video to my Reality Check video about how the Old Testament still applies.
And there you have it. Now, I do not know how authentic the AuthenticAtheist is but the reaction seems to be typical and in keeping with 1) ubiquitous biblical illiteracy and 2) lack of honest skepticism: note that 1) and 2) feed each other.
How so? Let us review: the claim is that if anyone tries to pull the "ignore the OT" (some, such as I, will take issue with the “ignore” statement but, never the less) pull out Matthew 5:17-18, which says that not so much as a dot will pass the law "till heaven and Earth pass away".
Let us begin with whether Matthew 5 verses 17 and 18 says, “not so much as a dot will pass the law ‘till heaven and Earth pass away.’”
This is what those verses state:
Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill.
For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled.
Do you see what happens when you actually practice honest skepticism (as per Acts 17:11) and read the text and the context for yourself? You end up not taking a text out of context to make a pretext for a prooftext. The citation was to verses 17 and 18 but the assertion combined with a partial quotation was of verse 18 alone. Verse 17 puts it into context; Jesus seems to be stating that while till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled, He came to do the fulfilling.
Imagine that I say, “I will lose 5 lbs. and I will never eat chocolate again until I lose 5 lbs.”
Someone may say, “He said that he ‘will never eat chocolate again’ but I saw him eating chocolate the other day.”
Yet, a more discerning person will say, “But he had qualified his statement by putting that he ‘will never eat chocolate again’ in the context of it meaning a specific time span of ‘until I lose 5 lbs.’”
But, it may be retorted, “But he said, ‘I will never eat chocolate again,’ and that is a direct quote.”
Yet, the context is “until I lose 5 lbs” which is something “I will” do. After losing the 5 lbs., I ate the chocolate.
Likewise, Jesus was saying, “I will fulfill the Law and the Prophets and they will never pass away until I fulfill the Law and the Prophets.”
At His death, He stated, “It is finished” (John 19:30) and thus, fulfilled the Law and the Prophets via His life and death. Therefore, the “I did not come to destroy but to fulfill…till all is fulfilled” was accomplished and the Old Testament does not “apply” in the sense that the atheists define it.
That UnderlordZ is mistaken is easily remedied by facts but that AnAuthenticAtheist takes whatever he is told, without question, runs with it and promulgates it, is quite another.
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