Our responses to your complaint Emails
We receive a lot of Emails critical of the contents of our Web site. We welcome these
letters because they often reveal specific errors in one of our essays. But other Emails
are of a general nature.
As of 2008-APR, we have placed about 4,300 essays and menus on line. Any one reader is certain to
disagree with the contents of some of them. Disagreements are particularly intense over
the Christian menu which contains dozens of links to descriptions
of basic Christian doctrines.
The following are common criticisms and our response to them. Perhaps if you read them,
you will be saved the time of writing us a letter (and we will be saved the time of
replying). We respond to as many letters as we are able to, even the "You and your
children will burn for all eternity in the fires of Hell because of what you have put on
the Internet" type of Email.
You lack formal theological education, yet you speak as authorities
Three out of the four of us are professionals. But all of us do lack a formal
theological education. But we do not speak as authorities. We simply
explain what liberal, mainline and conservative theologians believe. We are reporters.
With the exception of a very few locations on our web site, we do not present innovative theological
beliefs. Those cases are clearly marked.
There is nothing particularly original in any of our essays. We describe very few of
our own personal ideas. We merely describe all viewpoints by followers of
Christianity and other religions. We also have hundreds of essays that deal with
current controversial social and religious conflicts.
Many conservative Christians, attend
conservative Protestant or Roman Catholic religious services, listen to conservative Christian radio stations, buy religious
books at conservative Christian bookstores, go to conservative Christian theme parks, etc.
They are often shocked when they read about the beliefs of sincere, intelligent,
thoughtful, studious and devout liberal Christians. They are unaware that there are many
Bible commentaries and handbooks whose authors state that:
Please trust us. We are not making all of this up. Please don't "shoot the
messenger." In our quest to provide you will information on all
Christian viewpoints, we will inevitably write a great deal of material that
religious conservatives find offensive. There is also much material here that
offends religious liberals. This is the real situation in North America. We are
merely mirroring it.
You give almost all of your attention to liberal interpretations
This is quite true. We probably devote at least three times the space to liberal beliefs
than to conservative beliefs. Consider our essay on the Virgin
Birth. The conservative view takes up 3.6 lines, whereas the liberal views take up 8
screens. But there is a reason for that. It is not bias on our part.
Many Bible passages define a belief clearly and without ambiguity. For example, two
Gospels (Matthew and Luke) mention the virgin birth of Jesus. If one believes in the inerrancy of the Bible, there is no room for alternative beliefs.
Jesus' birth must have happened exactly that way." Simple. Case closed. No need for
argument. No need to explain alternative beliefs among conservative Christians because there
But the liberal view is based on an entirely different conception of the Bible. They
look at the sacred texts of other religions in the Mediterranean area in the expectation
that some of the ideas from those texts might have been adopted by Christian/Jewish
authors. They study other Gospels, infancy stories, books of revelation, etc. that were
considered inspired text by various early Christian groups but which never made it into
the New Testament. They arrange the books of the Christian Scriptures chronologically in
order to detect how a particular belief might have developed through time. They compare
accounts in different Biblical passages in order to determine how they compare and
conflict. They look for personal agendas of the authors, and the religious groups that
they belonged to. They believe that the Bible shows different Christian traditions
developing, often in bitter conflict with each other (e.g. Jewish Christians, Gnostic
Christians and Pauline Christians). They look for forgeries and copying errors that
may have crept into the text. They might conclude that what liberals might call "the
virgin birth legend" does not relate to a real event circa 6 BCE, but is a myth which
was invented in order to show that Jesus' birth was a miracle, much like the births of the
founders and saviors of humanity in other Mediterranean religions. Our essay on the birth
goes on for 8 pages with a half page of references added.
With some topics, we have to explain not one but an of a number of different
conclusions reached by different liberal theologians. On other topics, we find that the
Roman Catholic church has a doctrine that is at variance from both conservative and
liberal Protestantism. So we explain all three beliefs. This takes a lot of
words, and area on your screen.
You are heavily biased towards the liberal view
On the contrary. If you want to see really biased reporting, you should look elsewhere
on the Internet. You can go to Fundamentalist and other Evangelical sites and learn only
of the conservative view. You can go to liberal Christian,
progressive Christian, and Atheist sites and see only their
views. At least we try to explain both (or all) sides accurately.
You poke holes in the conservative view
This is true in one instance: In our studies of evolution, we found a little discussed
fact in the fossil record that proves that fossils and rock layers were not
laid down during the Noachian flood. This indicates that the beliefs of most Creation
Scientists are wrong. It does not show that the Theory of Evolution is true; just that
Creation Science is not true.
But that is an exception. One cannot prove or disprove something like the Trinity, the virgin birth or the resurrection of
Jesus from scientific observations. So, we simply explain both or all belief systems.
Some people believe that liberal views actually poke holes in corresponding the
conservative views. That is not really possible, because both sides come from entirely
different points of origin:
|The conservative typically believes in the inerrancy of the
Bible. Thus his/her views are impervious to disproof, If the Bible says that something
happened, then it happened exactly that way.|
|The liberal typically approaches the Bible as a series of books by fallible religious
authors whose writings show a gradually evolving belief system. They see contradictions
and errors in the text. They look upon the Bible as just one source of original material.
They often ask "why things were recorded as they were" rather than
"what really happened."|
So, conservative and liberals start with very different assumptions about the bible and
reach very different conclusions. But they are not attacking each other. Each is saying: "If
you start from a certain fundamental belief system about the nature of the Bible, then
this is a conclusion that you might reach."