We are moving on in the first chapter of Glenn Tinder’s book Liberty: Rethinking an Imperiled Idea.
#1. It goes without saying that there are vital faiths other than Christianity (pg. 6)
If you can recall in part one we talked about how Mr. Tinder’s confession of being a Socratic and Kantian Christian tells us that he is not a biblical Christian. These words provide us with some of the evidence to support our point.
There is no other faith that is vital to human life. Only Christianity is vital because it is the only faith that brings the truth and salvation to the people. Every other faith, if it disagrees with God, his way of salvation and his commands, etc., is false teaching and cannot bring the truth to the people.
When something is false, it cannot be or offer the truth nor can it offer any form of liberty. False ideas do not bring liberty but enslavement.
Mr. Tinder continues to provide more evidence for his lack of being a true believer as he continues to say things like:
The great non-Christian religions have distinctive and worthwhile features not found in Christianity. Nevertheless, much that is true of Christianity is true of other religions as well. (pg. 4)
These words show that he is not really a Christian. There is nothing in other non-Christian religions that make their faiths worthwhile. There may be some distinctive aspects but those are not worthwhile as they do not lead a adherent to the truth, to liberty or eternal salvation.
One distinctive aspect in Islam would be that martyrs get 72 virgins when they die but that concept appeals to men’s sexual desires not eternal truths and is more of a tool to manipulate adherents into doing the will of the Imans. It does nothing about liberty except to rob the faithful of it.
Another comparison can be made with Mormonism. In that cultic belief, adherents get to be God of their own planets but how does that teaching aid liberty or bring truth when such a placement cannot be verified? This point to can be seen as a manipulative measure designed to corral the people into giving up their liberty for the false teachings and practices of that faith. It appeals to the human desire for power and control over others not the biblical teaching of humility, meekness and so on.
Each alternative religion to Christianity appeals to some facet of sinful human nature, using liberty as hook to get people to bite into their false ideas. None offer liberty as a result. With Islam a convert to Christianity can be killed; in Mormonism a convert is expelled much like Scientology who does the same thing when people leave their cultic faith.
None of the alternatives offer anything vital to the people including liberty. That is something that is taken away from them thus they cannot be seen as great or vital but a poor imitation designed to rob people of all that they have for some imaginary conclusion when they die.
#2. Take the myth of the last judgment as an example (pg. 7)
Here we have another piece of evidence demonstrating to us that Mr. Tinder is not a true Christian. He cannot say that it is a myth for to do that he would have to prove that God does not exist as God tells us he does in the Bible.
He would have to be able to travel to all points in the universe and outside of its boundaries to gather the evidence to prove that God is not who he claims to be and that there is not going to be a final judgment. He does not have the lifespan to accomplish this.
An easier way to prove that the last judgment is a myth is to prove the Bible to be incorrect on different issues. But this too is an impossible task as we have too much evidence from all scientific and other parts of life showing that the Bible is indeed true.
Yes people may not believe it is going to happen but not believing is not evidence. Then people may not accept that the final judgment is going to happen but, again, non-acceptance is not evidence of anything except that the unbeliever does not accept that the final judgment is real.
Mr. Tinder needs real, verifiable and infallible physical evidence to make his case and he just does not have it. When people dismiss biblical teachings, then we dismiss those people from having the truth and we do not listen to them.
#3. The core Christian idea, that God is love…somehow lost authority in the minds of many Christians. God came to be thought of as exceedingly angry. No longer could one be sure that in the final judgment love would reign over wrath, God could no longer be trusted. (pg. 12)
To be fair, this is true in the minds of many who have left biblical Christianity for some alternative and false form of the faith. It is a very mistaken and error prone concept, one that does not define love as God defines it
Those who adhere to the quoted idea have reconstructed the definition of love to fit what they want love to be and not what God has it to be. Yes, we can also say that many of those people described in that quote have reached the conclusion that God is exceedingly angry but what they do not look at is that he became angry because people stopped believing hum and following his commands.
That last part is something those people just do not want to look at for it makes them at fault and responsible for their own choices. They want a God to love and accept them and say to them when they error, ‘oh that is alright’ and then pat them on the head and give them a big hug.
They don’t want a God who punishes and disciplines those who disobey him. In other words, they do not want God but a god made after their own image. Then as to the love over wrath perception, what those people do not see is that the final judgment is not about love v. wrath but that they forced God to send them to hell because they refused to believe him and follow his commands, etc., and accept his son as their savior. God has no other choice but to send these people to hell because they did not follow God’s rules nor believe God when he said sin cannot live with him in his kingdom.
Wrath and love have very little to do with the final judgment. It is the liberties taken by the people being judged that seal their fate. As to God not being trusted, well that is merely an excuse to stop following God and his ways.
God never said that love would influence his judgement nor did he ever say that wrath would be the only emotion present as he punishes those who refused to repent of their sins. He has told us exactly what is going to happen thus trust is not even in the discussion here. We can trust that God is going to fulfill what he has told us as he has given us an existence filled with his keeping his word as examples to lean upon when it comes to future events. We can trust God alright to do exactly what he told us as he cannot lie and his examples have shown us that he keeps his word.
Trust isn’t even on the table here. There is a difference between unbelievers and those people who claim to be Christians yet follow alternatives. The unbeliever, for the most part, knows that they are going to be sent to hell while the alternative believer keeps deceiving themselves into thinking they will escape that punishment even though they do not believe or follow God.
That is the crux of the issue. It doesn’t matter what form of Christianity you claim to adhere to, if it isn’t in line with God and his word then you have no hope of seeing heaven. Trust is not part of the whole picture but the liberty and choices humans use to detour their faith from the truth to some false idea that appeals to them.
#4. The doctrine of universal salvation cannot, for various reasons, be taken as definitive truth (pg. 14)
Again we must ask, why Mr. Tinder thinks so and what proof does he have that it is not so? he uses the biblical teaching of ‘love thy neighbor’ as one of his reasons why this is not so, but how he came up with that concept is a mystery. At no time does the Bible teach that love thy neighbor influences salvation or who can be saved.
He says that ‘love thy neighbor’ becomes a meaningless concept if some people are doomed. He does not understand the concept of ‘love thy neighbor’ or its place in the true Christian life. The Bible has made it very clear that salvation is through Jesus alone and that salvation is an act of free choice. One must choose to be saved.
That choice can be influenced by those believers who practice ‘love the neighbor’ but that is about it. The concept ‘love thy neighbor’; is about how believers are to live towards their fellow man and it depends upon having the right definition of the word love. Mr. Tinder does not have it and places his own definition upon that word which causes him to misunderstand how ‘love thy neighbor’ is applied.
When one is influenced by those in need of a savior, one cannot expect or even hope to have the right perspective on ‘love thy neighbor’ and other biblical teachings like salvation.
#5. Let me put the question in very simple terms. Can non-Christians be good people? (pg. 17)
To answer that question, they can be good people as the world defines the word good but they are not good people as God defines the term. Again we must go back to Romans 3:12 to support this point. Paul writes:
Ro 3:12 All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one.
While non-believers can do good works and be charitable, those acts are tainted by their unrepentant nature and impure motivations. To be good one must have faith, be cleansed form sin and be made a new creature in Christ.
We do not go by the secular world’s definition of the word ‘good’ but by God’s. When we do so, we know how to respond to questions like the ne quoted one above. Only God makes a person good.
We will stop with part 3 here.