The God pill


Things like certain Western ideas about God, like He is this angry God who killed His own Son to appease Himself of His own anger. The Orthodox notion that Christ's sacrifice was done completely out of love in order to overcome death makes much more sense. I needed to get rid of all those ideas before I could let Him come into my life as He is. Being an atheist helped me see through bad theological ideas about the Christian God.
You have to blame the transcription errors of Isaiah 53 in the Masoretic Text for pushing the Calvinist image of an angry God

Isaiah 53:10 Masoretic (KJV): Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in his hand.

Isaiah 53:10 LXX: καὶ κύριος βούλεται καθαρίσαι αὐτὸν τῆς πληγῆς ἐὰν δῶτε περὶ ἁμαρτίας ἡ ψυχὴ ὑμῶν ὄψεται σπέρμα μακρόβιον καὶ βούλεται κύριος ἀφελεῖν (and it is the Lord's will, cleanse him of the wound, if you give for sin, your soul will be a seed for a long time, and it is the Lord's will to be innocent)

The MT conveys that it pleased God the Father to bruise and torture Christ in order to satisfy His anger at mankind's sin, but in the LXX it shows the exact opposite of Christ being cleansed (and healed) of his wound. Well, if we take His Resurrection as being restored to health and life from the injuries of the crucifixion. It's really astonishing how deliberate divergence in the OT text can result in diametrically opposing theologies as Calvinism vs Eastern Orthodoxy. The Christ-rejecting rabbis did great damage in altering the Torah because they couldn't accept that it pointed to Jesus of Nazareth as the fulfillment of the Law and the Prophets.

I suspect the rage that atheists display when you don't grant their presuppositions is their rage against God. Many are wrestling with God, and when theists grant their presuppositions they feel that they are prevailing in this struggle. When you challenge it, it opens them up to the pain of their struggle. For this reason I think there is hope for them.
I've never encountered any atheist or agnostic who goes, "Oh, God exists, okay" and then moves on to their lives as if that information doesn't bother them.

Not sure if it's the right thread but came across some interesting material about ancient Chinese. Also them noticing various Christianity-related events, most notably through astronomy. Obviously I'm not promoting letting people and "proof" guide your faith but interesting regardless.

or article:

[removed][noticed some subversion/blasphemy on site]

I used to do some online recreational digging on proofs that the Han Chinese civilization of the earliest dynasties (the legendary period of Three Sovereigns and Five Emperors, the Xia and the Shang dynasties) was originally monotheistic, and that the Sovereign Lord Shàngdì 上帝, to whom the annual Border Sacrifice was performed by the Emperors of China, was really the Triune God worshipped by Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and the prophets of Israel.

In the Beginning... the Chinese worshiped a single Creator God, Shang Di 上帝 for which the characters indicate the "emperor above", or supreme ruler. The Chinese emperors ruled under a "mandate from heaven". Their dynasties ended when they departed from that mandate.
Over hundreds of years their devotion to Shang Di deteriorated and much knowledge about how that God had brought the Chinese to their land and prospered them was lost. Confucius tried to recover some of the teachings. Eventually Buddhism invaded along with other religions. The worship of Shang Di degenerated into the ceremonial Border Sacrifice annually performed by the Emperor until 1911 A.D. The common people no longer knew much about Shang Di.

About five hundred years ago the Temple of Heaven complex was built in Beijing for the performance of the Border Sacrifice. There is a large Altar there for most of the ceremony.

It says (Huang Tian Shang Di / Supreme Lord of the Great Heaven). There are no idols or other gods represented in this complex. This is the true God of China.

Dr. Chan's book gives many chapters of detail showing the former Chinese devotion to Shang Di and relates that to the Hebrew's El Shaddai, both the one Creator God. He describes the Border Sacrifice ceremony in great detail.

The purpose of the books by Drs. Chan and Nelson and this web site is to show that the faith presented by the Christians has the same spiritual roots as the Chinese faith in Shang Di. The two cultures had a common origin before the dispersal of the nations from Babel (Genesis chapter 11). They worshipped the same God, but with different languages after that separation. The God presented in the Bible chose to work out his eternal plans through a particularly troublesome people group, the Israelites and Jewish descendents. They were usually disobedient and ungrateful and frequently degenerated into idol worship. Eventually God came to live among them in the person of Jesus Christ. Jesus lived a perfect sinless life as he taught God's way of living and performed many miracles. Eventually Jesus Christ offered himself as a pure living sacrifice to pay for the sin of the entire human race. His resurrection from the dead was proof of God's successful accomplishment of paying our sin debt in full. Since then the Christians have been under the command to spread the news of that accomplishment to all people groups.

Christianity is therefore not a foreign religion for the Chinese. It is a restoration of the worship of Shang Di, plus an update about what God had accomplished during the centuries of separation of the two cultures. The future greatness of the Chinese will be related to the degree to which they can recover the Mandate of Heaven (Tian Ming) of the original Chinese dynasties through the genuine worship of the true Creator God.

Answers in Genesis (an Evangelical creationist apologetics website) had a bunch of articles dedicated into this topic, and also how the origin of certain Chinese ideographs alluded to the Genesis creation account and the flood of Noah.

The ancient Chinese philosophies of Taoism and Mohism had vestiges of this primeval knowledge of the Christian God. The concept of Tao is a rough analogue to the idea of Logos by Greek philosophers, and the Mohist school of thought preached about universal altruism, which is unprecedented in the Chinese historical context

The founder of Mohism, Mozi, on the other hand saw the problem of his day mainly stemming from people not following the Will of Heaven (tianzhi 天志), which is embodied in the principle of impartial love (jian’ai 兼愛). As he himself states, “What is the Will of Heaven that is to be obeyed? It is to love all the people in the world universally.”[8] To him, humans should not base their standard of behavior upon human example, said to have inconclusive results, but instead trust in the all-inclusive, impartial standard of Heaven and the examples of good spirits and gods. Rituals were to be carried out for the sole simple purpose of attracting favor from Heaven and the gods. Following the standard and Will of Heaven in this way, the ruler would restore peace to society by becoming a moral arbiter. The Son of Heaven would ensure peace in society by listening to the petitions that would explain what is good and evil within society. After consideration, laws that would rectify the situation then would be issued. Those rulers who followed how Heaven worked and governed according to these principles would be considered legitimate. These legitimate rulers would be able to ensure that only the competent were able to assume office based on virtue regardless of birth and bring the common people in harmony under the proper management of benevolent government for the universal betterment of society.[9]
In contrast to the Confucian attitude of Heaven being an ultimately unknowable supreme entity or natural order that provides political legitimacy by simply establishing principles for the ruler to follow, Mohism also embraced the idea that Heaven is a close, moral entity the rulers can consult for guidance.[26] This is due to the Mohist conception of Heaven as an entity clearly influencing reality and intended for the benefit of its chosen rulers. For Mozi, the Son of Heaven, experiencing the direct, controlling power of Tian, is a subject that is not vague, distant, baseless, and empty. To him, it is by Heaven’s nature as an entity of love and direct human relevance that the various kings of yore were instated or rejected by the world, depending on their conformity to its intent.[27] This is the most distinguishing part of Mozi’s concept of tianzhi as the replacement of the Mandate of Heaven. Part of the reason for the Mohist school to use this notion is that Mozi believes that the Confucian school has turned the early Zhou notion of the Will of Heaven into a notion of “fixed fate”. In a major criticism against this perceived fatalism of the Confucians, the Mohists wrote, “…the Confucians believe firmly in the existence of fate and propound their doctrine, saying ‘Long life or early death, wealth or poverty… Are all decreed by the ordinance of Heaven… Human wisdom and strength can do nothing.’”[28] The use of the term “Will of Heaven” not only allows the Mohist school to distinguish themselves from the Confucians but also to reject the interpretation of Mandate of Heaven as a doctrine of fatalism.[29]


As an aside, I love how my post started with a comparison of Calvinism vs Orthodoxy, and in ended with a comparison of Confucian fatalism vs Mohist synergy of the human will with the "will of heaven"