Taco Bell pastor

**This story has been modified for cohesiveness. I don’t remember everything to exact detail…

I was reading a Social-Science Commentary on the Letters of Paul in my car during lunch when I was interrupted by a man getting out of his SUV… a big, blue, Ford I think… possibly Chev. “Getting ready for a theology test?”
“Something like that,” I said barely looking up at the late-middle aged man wearing sunglasses.
“What school do you go to?” he persisted while getting something out of his truck.
I looked up at him again… he had a mustache that was a little longer and more scruffy around a bump on the side of his mouth. I think I was gauging whether I’d rather read or let the guy in a little and let him choose to end the conversation. “I don’t go to school, I’m just reading for fun.”
“You’re studying the Bible? For fun?” I think he was genuinely impressed.
“Yeah… well I’m an atheist reading…”
“You’re an atheist?”
“Really an atheist?”
“Yeah… agnostic atheist technically. I don’t know there isn’t a god, I just believe there isn’t.”
“So you’re agnostic…” The guy goes off on being a pastor and the odds of prophesies coming true… I had no knowledge of the prophesies let alone the statistics he was spouting off on, no surprise that I can’t tell you exactly what was said. Whenever I thought of something to say or ask he kept on going… and the moment and relevance was gone along with my attention on whatever I was thinking.
I managed to ask what one of the prophesies were.
“Jericho,” He said simply. “The archeology confirms the wall fell flat, just like it says in the Bible. I saw pictures.”
“Ok I’ll look it up,” I said. I did look it up on wiki… not really a scholarly resource, but it’s good for an over-view to see if I wanted to delve in further.
‘The simple fact is that there is no mention of the Hebrews or Israelites in any text from Canaan, Egypt, or elsewhere in the Near East before 1207 B.C. And yet there should be if the Exodus took place in 1450 B.C. and the Israelite conquest of Canaan took place in 1410 of 1400 B.C., because there are plenty of Canaanite and Egyptian texts what could have mentioned them if they were present.’ – Eric H. Cline on Page 116 of From Eden to Exile: Unraveling Mysteries of the Bible, National Geographic Society.
The guy (Eric Cline) has scholarly credentials as long as my arm… depending on the font size anyway. I’m going to stop caring and take his word for it until someone shows me otherwise. http://home.gwu.edu/~ehcline/
The pastor also told me about archeologists finding chariot wheels in the Red Sea at Gulf of Aquaba… look that up too… Ron Wyatt doesn’t seem to well received to this field and none of his findings can be confirmed. And there was only one wheel reported. You judge for yourself though:

At some point the pastor stated that he studied physics and described that statistics are they know how many atomic particles to shoot into a core for nuclear core for making a nuclear bomb go off, that’s what he was interested in. And what are the odds that he would park next to me at that specific time of day… “We both arrived here for lunch… why does it have to mean something?” I said, or something to that effect. He talked about how God works through everything and so on. I kept bringing up that I’ve come here for lunch a couple times… funny thing is that since then I’ve seen his SUV on three occasions and him on one of those.

From statistics he went to describing why shaking a bag of watch parts wouldn’t make a watch, thus life can’t come from nothing. And he I told him it’s not the same thing… but couldn’t think of the words to articulate. I was kicking myself because I knew what he was saying was complete BS… he’s just switching up the argument Way of the Master uses all the time. He even went on to describe the complexity of the eye, and no transitional fossils, and DNA being code… old arguments long gone over. Ask me if you want my take on them.

Funny how he just has to plea ignorance and hope that I’m not carrying around fossil records… which I should print off and keep in my car from now on. When I tried talking about Chromosome 2 I choked and tried calling it mitochondria… wtf? And I didn’t bring up ERV’s… which in my mind is the cardinal argument for common ancestry. I’m just a little annoyed because I just watched this video earlier in the day: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i1fGkFuHIu0 – Oh well, failure to remember will just make the topics stick better.

Looking back, he was a nice guy who seemed sincere. He prayed with me/for me right there and then… which was a little awkward, but I rolled with it. We touched a little on other stuff like words, cosmology, faith, and how god works through things. He enjoyed my saying that the only people who claim to be full (gnostic) atheist are actually just bitter theists. I think he got that I was an honest guy who was really seeking truth, and he honestly believed I would find my way back to Christianity. I basically told him if there’s a God, it’s basically up to him… it was a good lunch break. Good times.

An Atheist’s Interpretation of Romans – Chapter 2

This one was little tougher for me to paraphrase in my own words…

Romans as Interpreted by an Atheist – Chapter 2

1: I think Paul is telling his follows in faith that while all the above is wicked, they should not pass judgment because they are all sinners as well. God forgives them out of his kindness, tolerance, and patience.

5: So if they cling to arrogant aloofness they’re actually only storing up Gods wrath against them. God doesn’t show favoritism among sinners.

12: Paul says God doesn’t care if people are apart, under, or hear the law. Righteousness is for those who follow the law for it may be written in their hearts as well as our scripture.*

17: Basically I think Paul is saying that those trying to teach yet don’t adhere to the teachings themselves are hypocrites. God’s sin radar is pinging because their would be students see your hypocrisy then curse God’s name because of it. That’s a problem.

25: Paul basically says why circumcision means nothing in regards to sin.

28: Re-emphasizing his point on circumcision in case no one got it from his first rambling paragraph.

* And it’s here that we could start a discussion on morality… maybe not, there isn’t a whole lot to go on for you to explain your point of view because to me the Bible is just another book. For me to get to the conclusion that morality is god-made… I first need to think there is a creator. We COULD discuss whether morality is taught to us through our life cycle or if it’s written into our human DNA, or whatever, so every human has this same morality… BUT then we’re back to how DNA, or whatever, got here digressing the discussion into the evolutionary theory… so I pretty much need to believe in a creator before you can get me started in understanding morality according to the Bible. What do you think?


A final commentary:

Not really much to say about this one… I think Paul’s addressing his troops telling them to shape up and avoid rookie mistakes.

Romans ala NIV: Chapter 2

God’s Righteous Judgment
1: You , therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge the other, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things. Now we know that God’s judgment against those who do such things is based on truth. So when you, a mere man, pass judgment on them and yet do the same thing, do you think you will escape God’s judgment? Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, tolerance and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness leads you toward repentance?

5: But because of your stubbornness and your unrepentant heart, you are storing up wrath against yourself for the day of God’s wrath, when his righteous judgment will be revealed. God will give to each person according to what he has done.”To those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honor, and immortality, he will give eternal life. But for those who are self-seeking and who reject the truth and follow evil, there will be wrath and anger. There will be trouble and distress for every human being who does evil: first for the Jew, then for the Gantile; but glory, honor, and peace for everyone who does good: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile. For God does not show favoritism.

12: All who sin apart from the law will also perish apart from the law, and all who sin under the law will be judged by the law. For it is not those who hear the law who are righteous in God’s sight, but it is those who obey the law who will be declared righteous. (Indeed, when Gentiles, who do not have the law, do by nature things required by the law; they are a law for themselves, even though they do not have the law, since they show that the requirements of the law are written on their hearts, their consciences also bearing witness, and their thoughts now accusing, now even defending them.) They will take place on the day when God will judge men’s secrets through Jesus Christ, as my gospel declares.

The Jews and the Law
17: Now you, if you call yourself a Jew; if you rely on the law and brag about your relationship to God; if you know his will and approve of what is superior because you are instructed by the law; if you are convinced that you are a guide for the blind, a light for those who are in the dark, an instructor of the foolish, a teacher of infants, because you have in the law the embodiment of knowledge and truth– you, then, who teach others, do you not teach yourself? You who preach against stealing, do you steal? You who say that people should not commit adultery, do you commit adultery? You who abhor idols, do you rob temples? You who brag about the law, do you dishonor God by breaking the law? As it is written: “God’s name is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you.”

25: Circumcision has value if you observe the law, but if you break the law, you have become as though you had not been circumcised. If those who are not circumcised keep the law’s requirements, will they not be regarded as though they were circumcised? The one who is not circumcised physically and yet obeys the law will condemn you who, even though you have the written code and circumcision, are lawbreaker.

28: A man is not a Jew if he is only one outwardly, nor is circumcision merely outward and physical. No, a man is a Jew if he is one inwardly; and circumcision is circumcision of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the written code. Such a man’s praise is not from men, but from God.

An Atheist’s Interpretation of Romans – Chapter 1

The whole chapter sounds like much ado to me… here we go.

Romans as Interpreted by an Atheist – Chapter 1
1 Basically Paul, in the name of the Lord, is talking to non-Israelite’s calling for their obedience through faith.

7 Yes, God loves them too.

8 Their faithfulness is noted. I assume he’s talking about the gospel of memory unless Jesus wrote something down… might be a tricky translation? Anyway, by whatever gospel he’s talking about the Lord knows Paul prays for them and wishes to visit.

11 He longs for mutual encouragement of faith with the recipient… it’s nothing against them, Paul talks to other non-Isaelites, please don’t hate Paul.

14 Paul feels obligated regardless of nationality or levels of stupidity.

16 Paul mentions gospel again… again I wonder, specifically, what he’s referring to. My Bible had a snip-it on Martin Luther below this paragraph; I think it implied that it’s what set him off to translate the Bible to the common language. Not sure, I’m going off memory and a wiki page on what I know of the matter. Anyway, Paul talks about righteous faith being found in this gospel thing he mentions.

18 Paul goes off, in the name of God, until the end of the chapter. Luckily it sounds like he isn’t talking about me… unless my wickedness is unconsciously suppressing truth, but I don’t really have a lot of control over my unconsciousness. My consciousness contests, honestly as far as I can tell, that God’s invisible qualities have not been clearly seen, or coherently read by me. This is an observation of circumstances having to do with my awareness while going through happenstantial events.

21 More condemnations to about those who knew without appreciation. Sounds like Pauls talking about idol, and/or materialistic, worshipers here.

24 More condemning of those who knew without appreciation and the worship of material things.

26 And more condemnation, this time specifically regarding lustfulness in general and especially that which led to unnatural relations. You want to talk about homosexuality? That could be an interesting topic… I don’t see why it would matter, but it obviously matters from a Biblical perspective.

28 Paul concludes his first chapter condemning as many adjectives as possible in this last paragraph. Still he’s talking about those who knew God but refuse to give Him proper acknowledgment.


A final commentary:

I thought this chapter was like eavesdropping on a sibling writing home about how dad’s doing. It starts out pleasant saying dad loves them and Paul wish he could visit… then a guilt trip starts rolling as Paul lets loose how Dad thinks some of the siblings take their father and his generation for granted. Without mentioning any names, Paul goes on to tell them that dad thinks a few of the ladies in this family are sluts and how he caught some of the guys checking out his butt… which just wasn’t right. Then RAWR! For good measure Dad says: “()*&$%(*). You guys should know better!”

There’s more to read so I assume his blood pressure was ok. 🙂

Anyway, let the discussion begin.

The rest is the actual text from my NIV, I typed it to help with my own comprehension, so you can’t say I didn’t read something, and so I have a reference in the same window while I’m working things out.

Romans ala NIV: Chapter 1
1: Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle and set apart for the gospel of God—the gospel he promised beforehand through his Son, who as to his human nature was a descendant of David, and who through the Spirit of Christ our Lord. Through him and for his name’s sake, we received grace and apostleship to call people from among all the Gentiles to the obedience that comes from faith. And you also are among those who are called to belong to Jesus Christ.

7: To all in Rome who are loved by God and called to be saints: Grace and peace to you from God our Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ.

8: First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you , because your faith is being reported all over the world. God, whom I serve with my whole heart in preaching the gospel of his Son, is my witness how constantly I remember you in my prayers at all times; and I pray that now at least by God’s will the way may be opened for me to come to you.

11: I long to see you so that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to make you strong—that is, that you and I may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith. I do not want you to be unaware, brothers, that I planned many times to come to you (but have been prevented from doing so until now) in order that I might have a harvest among you, just as I have had among the other Gentiles.

14: I am obligated both to Greeks and non-Greeks, both to the wise and the foolish. That is why I am so eager to preach the gospel also to you who are at Rome.

16: I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile. For in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith.” (Referencing Habakkuk 2:4, Galatians 3:11 ?)

18: The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness, since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made if plain to them. For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities —his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.

21: For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles.

24: Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desired of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen.

26: Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones. In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for the perversion.

28: Furthermore, since they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, he gave them over to a depraved mind, to do what ought not to be done. They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed, and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, and malice. They are gossips, slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant, and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; they are senseless, faithless, heartless, ruthless. Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.