Coral Ridge Ministries: Panic Mode

Apparently, Coral Ridge Ministries have been sending out a mass e-mail, warning their flock about the “New Atheist Crusade to ‘Evangelize’ America.” I quote a paragraph:

Just this summer, while our children and grandchildren were away at Bible camp, hundreds of other children were attending a new, nationwide network of camps designed as training grounds for young atheists. These camps feature talks on famous “free thinkers” such as Isaac Asimov and Ted Turner . . . and games such as the “invisible unicorn exercise” where campers must try to prove that imaginary unicorns, used as a metaphor for God, don’t (STET) exist.

Whoop-whoop-whoop-whoop! The target-rich area alarm is going off — helmsman, set the deflector shields to Screensaver 2 and put the Long-Range Bogosity Sensors on full scan.

First, let’s observe that the “training grounds for young atheists” feature speeches about free thinkers. While I think there are certainly a great many free thinkers about whom children should be informed, summer camp might be better spent looking through telescopes and hunting for fossils. Not surprisingly, that’s what Camp Quest does, plus creating UFO photos, roasting s’mores and the like. Maybe the Coral Ridge folks are projecting their own obsession with prophecy and Leader figures onto the freethinkers?

Second, what’s with that big “STET” notice? Are they afraid that a copy editor will change “don’t” to “do”? Or should “(STET)” really be “[sic]” — maybe the Coral Ridge evangelists are afraid of giving the impression that invisible unicorns don’t exist?

Finally, out of all the freethinkers in the world, why did they pick Isaac Asimov and Ted Turner? (I doubt Coral Ridge’s description has anything to do with what Camp Quest actually does.) Maybe Turner is fresh in their memory from his remarks about Ash Wednesday and his calling pro-lifers “bozos.” Now, that’s mild compared to the people whom freethinkers really respect, like Bill Hicks:

Boy, I’ve never seen an issue so divisive. You ever see — it’s like the Civil War, isn’t it? Even amongst my friends, who are all very intelligent — they are all totally divided on abortion. It’s unbelievable.

Some of my friends, for instance, think these “pro-life” people are annoying idiots. Other of my friends think these “pro-life” people. . . are evil fucks. How are we going to come to a consensus? You ought to hear the arguments around my house: they’re annoying! They’re idiots! They’re evil! They’re fucks!

Brothers, sisters, come together! Can’t we once just join hands and think of them as evil-annoying-idiot-fucks?

One commenter at the Richard Dawkins Forum suggests a reason why they might be upset with Asimov:

Maybe they just want their money back after seeing “I, Robot.”


19 thoughts on “Coral Ridge Ministries: Panic Mode”

  1. I agree wholeheartedly, but we’re talking Coral Ridge here — you just can’t expect them to be familiar with the facts!


    I saw Bicentennial Man in the theater, when it first came out; the audience was a strange mix between families who’d come to see a heartwarming Robin Williams movie and long-haired programmer types who’d come to see an Asimov adaptation.

  2. I think the reason they don’t mention folks like Bill Hicks is pretty obvious. Fear. I mean, even though he’s dead they fear and respect the scary “I’m going to get angry and use naughty words” thing. Part of their authoritarian programming, really. They can’t help it. Really, it’s the same reason that even right-wingers who disagree with Bill O’Reilly never criticise him.

  3. Here’s the bottom line folks, and I’m really not telling you anything you don’t already know down in your heart anyway (God planted it there, so if you’re the 1 in 10 who has the courage to actually “be still and know HE is God”) Jesus Christ died for your sins. Pretty simply put – if (IF, ok? so listen up), if there was a holy GOD who would not COMPROMISE with evil (or I guess he would also be evil), but he created MAN who through Adam (yep, good ole Adam), sinned, and was not longer HOLY – then God has a problem. He loves man, and he hates SIN and he won’t (can’t because he’s a holy God) compromise. So what does he do? Simple. He SENDS his SON JESUS CHRIST who died for you and me. If we accept JESUS CHRIST, and his ‘put on his righteousness’, we will be forgiven and one day, go to heaven.

    Now go ahead, mock away, call me an idiot. It’s fine. I was once just like you. The bible says spiritual things are “foolishness” to those of the world. So, really I’m not talking to the 9 out of 10 of you. But the 1. Just the 1 who will read this, and consider it – dare I say it? Pray about it. Jesus said “my sheep know my voice”. Are you one of his sheep?

    I am.

  4. Kenny:

    It’s not in my heart, but then again, as you say, you’re not really talking to me, are you?

    Sivi Volk:

    It’s actually a Bible Code-type acrostic. The first letter of every capitalized word spells out, er, HIGCMHHSJ. . .

    OK, maybe I was wrong.

  5. You’re right – my capitalization probably wasn’t great. I have to make sure everything is PERFECT when I write at work – on it the net it doesn’t matter so much. Well, actually, you’ve proven me wrong on that point.

    I’m really not talking to anyone. I think its the Lord that’s doing the talking.

    I like that part in the bible where the Lord says my sheep know my voice. It reminds me of what he said to Lazarus when told him to wake up. Lazarus was dead, but he woke up. So, Lazarus ‘heard’ his voice.

    I found something really cool the other day. I’ll put it in a separate post because I’ll probably run out of room.

    Given your theological bent, or lack thereof, I would be genuinely curious how you would respond to it. I have NO explanation besides an all power God.

    Have a great day guys. We have a bunch of bible toting members from our Church coming over tonight so we can all look pious to one another. Yep – I see where we need work too. A lot of time we’re all show and no go.


  6. I sent this email to a buddy of mine. Here it goes.

    Let’s suppose you were asked to come up with your own Genealogy. Let’s
    limit it to the first 21 families. Assuming you had all the books and
    records in front of you of course (no easy feat, in an of itself), but
    for the sake of argument, let’s say you have them all, right there.

    Ok, I’d like you write down your genealogy – all of the names. Since
    you have all the records, let’s make it a little bit of a challenge.
    I’d like you to do this, but ask you to make sure the the number of
    words you use, are evenly divisible by 7.

    Could you do that?

    Ok, let’s say you could do that. It might take some time, but you could
    do it.

    Since you were so adroit at doing that, let’s also say that the number
    of letters must also be divisible by 7 evenly – no remainders.

    Oh, well, this is going to take longer than we thought, but let’s say
    you could do that too. Might take a few months of hard work (in my
    case, much much longer), but you’re a bright guy, so let’s say you do
    that in two months. Wow! you’re smart!!

    OK, you did so well with that, let’s make it harder.

    Let’s also say that when you write these names down, the number of
    vowels, and the number of consonants must also be divisible by 7.

    And just for fun, let’s also say that

    The number of words that begin with a vowel must be divisible by 7.
    The number of words that begin with a consonant must be divisible by 7.
    The number of words that occur more than once must be divisible by 7.
    The number of words that occur in more than one form must be divisible
    by 7.
    The number of words that occur in only one form shall be divisible by
    The number of nouns shall be divisible by 7.
    Only 7 words shall not be nouns.
    The number of names in the genealogy shall be divisible by 7.
    Only 7 other kinds of nouns are permitted.
    The number of male names shall be divisible by 7.
    and The number of generations shall be 21, also divisible by 7.

    Just one huge cosmic coincidence?

    How about:

    If we look at the first 17 verses of the New Testament (The Gospel of
    Matthew) which deals with a single principal subject: the genealogy of
    Jesus Christ, It contains 72 Greek vocabulary words in these initial 17
    versus(*note;The verse divisions are man’s allocation for convenience,
    added in the thirteenth-century A.D.). We find the following Heptadic
    (7) structure throughout these original Greek versus.
    #1. The number of words which are nouns is exactly 56, or 7 x 8.
    #2. The Greek word “the” occurs most frequently in the passage: exactly
    56 times, or 7 x 8.
    #3. Also, the number of different forms in which the article “the”
    occurs is exactly 7.
    #4. There are two main sections in the passage: verse 1-11 and 12-17. In
    the first main section, the number of Greek vocabulary words used is 49,
    or 7 x 7.
    #5. Of these 49 words, The number of those beginning with a vowel is 28,
    or 7 x 4.
    #6. The number of words beginning with a consonant is 21, or 7 x 3.
    #7. The total number of letters in these 49 words is exactly 266, or 7 x
    #8. The numbers of vowels among these 266 letters is 140, or 7 x 20.
    #9. The number of consonants is 126, or 7 x 18-exactly.
    #10. Of these 49 words, the number of words which occur more than once
    is 35, or 7 x 5.
    #11. The number of words occurring only once is 14, or 7 x2.
    #12. The number of words which occur in only one form is exactly 42, or
    7 x 6.
    #13. The number of words appearing in more than one form is also 7.
    #14. The number of 49 Greek vocabulary words which are nouns is 42, or 7
    x 6.
    #15. The number of words which are not nouns is 7.
    #16. Of the nouns, 35 are proper names, or 7 x 5.
    #17. These 35 nouns are used 63 times, or 7 x 9.
    #18. The number of male names is 28, or 7 x 4.
    #19. These male names occur 56 times or 7 x 8.
    #20. The number which are not male names is 7.
    #21. Three women are mentioned-Tamar, Rahab, and Ruth. The number of
    Greek letters in these three names is 14, or 7 x 2.
    #22. The number of compound nouns is 7.
    #23. The number of Greek letters in these 7 nouns is 49, or 7 x 7.
    #24. Only one city is named in this passage, Babylon, which in Greek
    contains exactly 7 letters.
    And on and on it goes.

    I think God was trying to tell us something, as clearly no human could
    produce this work. Also, I wonder if God has a sense of humor. How
    many times have we all “blown by” the genealogy of Christ in Mathew
    thinking “this is kind of boring”. I suspect of the universe itself has
    the same mathematical precision as illustrated by the Lord in Mathew’s
    genealogy of Jesus Christ.

    What a God!!!!!!!

  7. If Matthew’s genealogy agreed with any of the others, in the New Testament or in the old, maybe I’d give a damn. In order to achieve that wonderful set of 14 * 3 generations from Abraham to Jesus, Matthew had to toss out names. He says that Joram begat Ozias (1:8), but in fact there were sixty-four years between the two kings, during which time reigned the monarchs Ahazia, Athalia, Joash and Amaziah. Oh, and in the third set, from the Exile until Christ, Matthew says there were fourteen generations, but only lists thirteen. (Salathiel, Zorobabel, Abiud, Eliakim, Azor, Sadoc, Achim, Eliud, Eleazar, Matthan, Jacob, Joseph and Jesus.) Oops! Suddenly his arithmetic doesn’t look so impressive.

    Oh, and Luke gives forty-three generations from David to Jesus, and of the two lists, only three names are the same.

    The explanation is, in fact, that an awful lot of numbers are divisible by 7, and that if you look through any text, picking and choosing the length of this and the number of times those begin with vowels, you can find just about any number you want.

    Also, many of those magic 7s are in fact faked.

    Children are dying whilst your God is playing number games.

  8. He lists 13 because David was still King. Your history is in error. Look a liitle deeper. I’m impressed that you took the time to research. As far as the math goes, naturally this was in the ancient Hebrew language – not English. The math has been reviewed by scientists and clergy alike – there is no refuting it. Hummm. All this before computers. How do you figure?

    Are you willing to bet your soul that you’re right?

  9. First, you said it was the “ancient Greek,” and now it’s the “ancient Hebrew”? And what does that have to do with Ivan Panin making up his own version of Matthew to have more of those magic 7s?

    And why doesn’t Matthew agree with Luke or Chronicles? Are they just carrying on the honorable Biblical tradition of contradicting one another, a tradition established by the two different creation stories of Genesis 1 and Genesis 2? And a little later, there was that business about God saying that Adam and Eve would die “as soon as” they ate of that nasty fruit — and Adam lived, what, another nine hundred thirty years? That fruit of the tree of knowledge must have had a lot of antioxidants.

    Who are these “scientists and clergy”? Give me names. Your mere assertion that they exist is no good. If scientists are to be trusted in everything they say, then the Universe is 13.7 billion years old, the Earth is 4.5 billion years old, and life on Earth arose by a process of evolution. Scientists say so. Oh, and lots of clergy agree too.

    Are you willing to bet your soul on a book which can’t even be consistent with itself? For that matter, are you willing to bet your soul that God wasn’t serious about that whole not shaving thing (Leviticus 19:27) or the business about not picking up sticks on the Sabbath (Numbers 15:32)?

  10. Black Stacey – regarding And a little later, there was that business about God saying that Adam and Eve would die “as soon as” they ate of that nasty fruit — and Adam lived, what, another nine hundred thirty years? That fruit of the tree of knowledge must have had a lot of antioxidants.

    The Bible was referring to Adam and Eve’s spiritual death. Which did occur instantaneously. And he didn’t say “as soon as” – we have to be careful when dealing with scripture not to misquote – as the devil did in the garden of eden. But I will concede the point because he said “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die.” Spiritual death. Adam and Eve messed it up for everyone, and we got their curse “By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food” referring of course to our having to “work” for our supper.

    Regarding “For that matter, are you willing to bet your soul that God wasn’t serious about that whole not shaving thing (Leviticus 19:27) or the business about not picking up sticks on the Sabbath (Numbers 15:32)?” (By the way, you’re missing the point – I already have.)

    You’re referring to the Sabbath. Jesus said, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath” (Mark 2:27).

    I know you can’t accept what I’m telling you. I know its foolishness to you. “The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned.” I Corinthians 2:14.

    I know Jesus Christ. He’s very wonderful. I’d like you guys to get to know him too. When you have a personal relationship with him, its supernatural. Trust in the Lord, for he is the ONLY way to Heaven.

    To Adam he said, “Because you listened to your wife and ate from the tree about which I commanded you, ‘You must not eat of it,’
    “Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat of it all the days of your life.

    I hope you make the right decision in this life, because (as they said in Braveheart – always liked that movie ;-), what we do now will echo throughout eternity.


    (Blake – I think there is hope you for you – just a feeling, dunno.)

  11. Actually, it was Russell Crowe’s character who said that, in Gladiator.

    And Genesis 2:17 says that Adam will die the day he eats of that bothersome fruit, but since you’re clearly willing to reinterpret any word to have any meaning you prefer, there’s little point in arguing about it.

    I cannot fathom why I must be punished for another person’s transgression, in which I had no part. The idea that Adam and Eve somehow “messed it up for everyone,” including people born thousands of years later, is morally repugnant. It is akin to condemning your son and all his descendants to hard labor because he stole from the cookie jar one Saturday morning. Pile atop that the issue that by the Genesis account itself, they did not know right from wrong when they ate the fruit, and the LORD God comes across as unworthy of human respect.

    If there is any hope for me at all, it lies in the chance that I will never be tempted by the arrogant, inhumane mythology bequeathed to us by Paul of Tarsus.

  12. The Bible refers to Adam and Eve’s gizornimplat death, which didn’t happen instantaneously but in fact took several minutes. Kenny is clearly condemned to hell for his erroneous theology.

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