Jesus Camp coming to P’cola film fest

September 7, 2006


The documentary “Jesus Camp” is scheduled to run at the Pensacola International Film Festival in November.  The film, directed by Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady (The Boys of Baraka), follows Levi, Rachael, Tory and a number of other young children to Pastor Becky Fischer’s Kids on Fire summer camp in Devil’s Lake, North Dakota, where kids as young as 6 years-old are taught to become dedicated Christian soldiers in God’s army.

The film shows how born-again Christian children are recruited to become an active part of America’s political future. It is expected to garner am Oscar nomination for best documentary.

Local atty Mike Papantonio and Ring of Fire radio host is shown in the film.

Visit their website:official website. Here is the trailer: Jesus Camp

Under press reviews on the website, the Independent News is listed.


58 Responses to “Jesus Camp coming to P’cola film fest”

  1. Melinda Says:

    This film should be mandatory viewing for all of Escambia & Santa Rosa residents. Fundamentalism is dangerous to us as a society, be it Christian or Muslim. Fundamentalism requires believers to suspend critical thinking. Reason & logic should be our guidepost in life, not fear & superstition.
    Mike Papantonio is predictably great in the movie. Pensacola is lucky to have such a talent in our midst.

  2. Dean Says:

    I haven’t seen the film, but will. First time I have heard of it. With that said, if it stays true to its trailer shown, it should be great. If you know Jesus, you know peace, compassion, forgiveness and love…not hate and violence. A soldier for Christ is a soldier that loves, not a soldier that hates. Reason and logic, properly sought out, can only lead you to Christ. God bless.

  3. Todd Says:


    With all due respect, your comments are indicative of one who has not thought seriously about this issue. Do you really believe that fundamentalism of the Christian variety is comparable to that of the Islamic brand? Consider, all the more pertinent as we approach the 5th anniversary of September 11th, that one strand of thinking and ideology built much of what we know today as Western Civilization, while the other seeks to eradicate any and every vestige of it. One worldview propelled people to rush into the two towers sacrifically, while the other moved them to fly two planes into them. Co-equal ideologies???? Hardly. By the way, you have exhibited a gross misunderstanding of Christian fundamentalism – contrary to what you may think it is (i.e. people on the streets yelling, in its truest form it simply means holding to the fundamental tenets and doctrines of Christian orthodoxy. Properly understood, it bears absolutely no resemblance to an orthodox, consistently practiced Islamic faith. One expression (Orthodox Christianity)gave us the very freedoms that we possess today through theological reflection on the notion of liberty of conscience; the other (consistent Islam) seeks to eradicate those very freedoms. In addition, you state that reason and logic should be our guidepost in life. While partly true, please understand that reason and logic only flourished in uniquely Christian cultures that understood that God Himself was rational and logical, contrary to pagan views of deity, and that sought to engage in scientific inquiry so as to better understand the mind of God Himself. Pick any major area of civil and religous liberty and you will find that it is undergirded by Christian theological reflection. Conversely, look at the Islamic world today – seen any democratic/republican societies flourish under that worldview?? If you really believe that both are co-equal, covert to Islam, travel to Mecca and attempt to pray as a female in the next few weeks. Respectfully Melinda, you need to drastically rethink your categories.



  4. Tom Says:


    Your refrain is familiar. After the WTC was attacked, I told my family that I would not be surprised to see liberals (be they political or religious), atheists and agnostics equate Fundamentalist Christiantianity with Fundamentalist Islam. Didn’t take a prophet to make that prediction…

    I imagine when you speak of Christian Fundamentalists, you have in mind Evangelical Christians who regularly appear on News outlets defending Orthodox Christianity. You very likely make no distinction between an “abortion clinic” bomber and say… Jerry Falwell or Pat Robertson. While I am not a fan of either of these men, and would even hesitate to call them true fundamentalists, you cannot possibly compare them to those who fly themselves into buildings, and who blow themselves up on school buses and in malls. Might these men seek to have men and women who hold like Christian views elected to public office? Certainly! But, you’ll not find them cutting off heads or forbidding women a place among the most ardent worshippers.

    I’m sure there are some fanatic brands of cults, masquerading as Christians (David Koresh, Jim Jones and others) who are dangers to society. But, even these do not cut off the heads of infidels! They are more dangerous to themselves and their followers than they are to you and me.

    Madeline, were it not for fundamentalist Christianity, there would be no United States. Who, except the most fanatical and committed fundamentalist Christians, would board a small wooden ship, laden with their entire family and livelihood and sale for a wilderness land that they had never seen? Who?

    A bunch of fanatics for Christ, that’s who! Who would seek to bring the Scriptures to the common man in his own common language, knowing that it would cost him his life, William Tyndale, a fundamentalist Christian, that’s who.

    Tyndale brought fundamental (foundational) Christianity to England by giving them the word of God in their own language. These one’s who were powerfully converted by the living Word of God, were transformed and sought to see the error and impurities of the State run church purged. They were called Puritans. You will not find a group more committed to pure and undefiled Christianity in all of world History.

    Give thanks for fundamentalist Christians. For they are why you live in a free country like the United States of America.

    You err greatly by comparing fundamentalist Christianity to fundamentalist Islam. As Todd said above, a fundamentalist Islamic worldview encourages men and women to hijack planes, cut off heads, blow themselves up and murder innocents by the thousands.

    A Christian world view encourages men and women to board ships and sale 3000 miles to a place they’ve never seen, in order to advance the Gospel of Christ. In the process, hospitals and schools are built, advanced farming techniques are learned, and women and children are set free from the harsh realities of savagery.

    An Islamic world view leads men to board an airplane and kill themselves and innocents in order to advance Islam.

    A Christian world view brings liberty and freedom.

    An Atheistic, or Islamic worldview brings oppression and totalitarianism.

    A Christian worldview causes a man or woman to leave family and friends and go to an area they know little or nothing about, and bring the life changing Good News about Jesus Christ.

    A Pagan worldview encourages a man or woman to drown their baby in the Ganghes river because it was a girl and not a coveted boy.

    A Christian worldview values the life of every human being, be they born or unborn.

    Every significant contribution to the world today has come from those who held a Christian worldview.

    Our problem today is not that there are too many fundamentalist Christians in our society. Our problem today is that many
    “Christians” and the Churches they attend have left the fundamentals for an entertaining palatable version of the Gospel, which, as the Apostle Paul said, “is no gospel at all” (Galatians chapter 1).

    The problem gripping America can be traced to a dead and accomadating pulpit not to fundamendatalist Christianity. The problem in the world today is a lack of Fundamentalist Christianity and an over abundance of Paganism and fundamentalist Islam.

    What America needs is for Pastors who are burning with a passion for the God of the Bible and for the Gospel of His dear Son, to boldly proclaim the Scriptures in all there fullness.

    What the world needs are fanatical, fundamentalist men and women who will not “consider their lives dear to themselves” (Acts 20)and go to the most darkened countries bringing the Gospel of Christ to a lost world. God has sheep waiting to hear the call of their great Shepherd (John 10), even in places like Iran and Saudi Arabia.

    “Other sheep I have which are not of this fold; them also I MUST bring, and they will hear My voice; and there will be one flock and One Shepherd” (John 10:16).


  5. Tom Says:

    Here is an excerpt from a newsletter that I recieved today from Voice of the Martyrs. It plainly shows the difference between Christianity and Islam:

    “Diana grew up in a strict Islamic family in Pakistan. Her life was pretty typical until she met a girl named Mary who was a Christian. Now Diana is also a Christian and on the run.

    When Diana’s family learned that she had become a Christian, they repeatedly beat her and insisted she return to Islam. But Diana refused. She was then forced to a local canal where her uncle put a pistol to her head and gave her one last chance to return to Islam. Diana replied, “You can kill me if you want. I will not leave Christ.”

    It was then that Diana’s uncle noticed an extremely poisonous black cobra swimming in the canal. Believing he could escape any prosecution for his niece’s death, he threw her into the path of the cobra. He also knew she could not swim.

    Diana miraculously escaped from the canal and is in hiding today. She is a new Christian but has already learned what it means to suffer for Christ. She recently told The Voice of the Martyrs, “Jesus was crucified for us. Can we not endure some of the same for Him?”

    Pakistan, anyone?


  6. Anonymous Says:

    It is contended by many that ours is a Christian government, founded upon the Bible, and that all who look upon the book as false or foolish are destroying the foundation of our country. The truth is, our government is not founded upon the rights of gods, but upon the rights of men. Our Constitution was framed, not to declare and uphold the deity of Christ, but the sacredness of humanity. Ours is the first government made by the people and for the people. It is the only nation with which the gods have had nothing to do. And yet there are some judges dishonest and cowardly enough to solemnly decide that this is a Christian country, and that our free institutions are based upon the infamous laws of Jehovah.
    — Robert Green Ingersoll, “Individuality” (1873)

  7. Anonymous Says:

    Deuteronomy 13:7-11

    If your brother, the son of your father or of your mother, or your son or daughter, or the spouse whom you embrace, or your most intimate friend, tries to secretly seduce you, saying, “Let us go and serve other gods,” unknown to you or your ancestors before you, you must not consent, you must not listen to him; you must show him no pity. No you must kill him, your hand must strike the first blow in putting him to death and the hands of the rest of the people following. You must stone him to death, since he has tried to divert you from Yahweh your god…..

    Now that doesn’t sound like a very “christian” thing to do, does it? But that is what your good book is filled with. I can quote you more than one hundred scriptures that compel believers to kill their children, kill their neighbors, kill the unbelievers or infidels.
    Modern christians practice a “cafeteria-type” christianity. You pick and choose which parts you will believe in and which ones are not acceptable in today’s society. But if you are going to buy into this insanity, by all means buy it all. In fact you are commanded to: Deuteronomy 13:1 “Whatever I am now commanding you, you must keep and observe, adding nothing to it, taking nothing away.”
    There has been more death around the world due to religion that any other single cause. And it continues today. When wil it be enough? You can have your beliefs. It is when you try to force them on me, “bring the good news of Jesus Christ!” as you say, that’s is the root of the problem. Why can’t you accept that it is okay that someone believes differently than you, that is okay if they don’t believe at all. And it is not incumbent upon you to try and change their beliefs to match yours.

  8. Joe Says:

    Tom, I take issue with many of your points and would like to add my own perspective.

    The problem with fundamentalism of any kind is that is subjugates reason to zealotry.

    The problem with religious fundamentalism (Islam or Christian) is the belief (again, beyond the bounds of reason) that “God is on our side.” When the stakes are absolute, it’s a slippery slope to the point where violent ends now justify divine means.

    The difference between Islamic and Christian fundamentalists — and the reason why the former is more frequently violent than the latter — is not inherently religious. Both the Bible and the Koran have verses that can be (and have been) exploited to justify violence, and both preach love, charity and peace as well. The difference is in government. Unlike Western (i.e. “Christian”) nations, Islamic society has never separated church from state. When violent fundamentalists run the show and violent fundamentalism is taught in schools, guess what you’re gonna get more of?

    Lastly, fundamentalist Christians are not “why [we] live in a free country like the United States of America.” You’re correct that early settlers to the New World included fundamentalist Christians, but they weren’t any more definitive of “America” than anyone else at the time — including debtors, soldiers, opportunists, and slaves — and they certainly didn’t want “freedom” as we think of it. They set up their own little theocracies, like the ones from which they escaped, and non-believers to subject to exile or worse. The freedoms that define the United States were born years later in the Age of Reason.

  9. Tom Says:

    Joe, very thoughtful comment. I take issue wth you on many points. But, to hone in on one, the Age of Reason was birthed in Protestant Theology. The “reason” we had an “age of reason” was because of the liberties that flowed from a liberating protestant ethic. The divide between sacred and secular was demolished in the Protestant Reformation. Not only was the Church sacred, but plowing a field was (rightly) seen as sacred. Science flourished, the industrial revolution was launched, economies blossomed, countries were born, all as a result of putting the Word of God into the hands of the common man, rather than entrusting to ecclesiastical authority alone.

    And as to what gave birth to American Independence, one need only read the Declaration itself. The Creator lay at the foundation and focal point of our freedom.

    And, many argue, that the war for Independence was “The Presbyterian War” as it was refered to by the English. The Great Awakening gave rise to the Independence movement. Men were set free from sin and death, and naturally sought to have “no sovereign but God.” This is an indisputable fact.

    One last point of disagreement. To liken Christian Theology to Islamic Theology is to show one’s ignorance of one or the other… or both.


  10. Tom Says:

    Anonymous, the reason I can’t “accept that it is okay that someone believes differently than [me], that is okay if they don’t believe at all” is because it is not okay, as you say. Men are free to believe whatever they choose. I can’t change the way they believe any more than I can turn you into a zebra. It takes a sovereign move of God on the heart and mind of a man before he’ll see God for what He is, and himself as he truly is.

    As to your quotes from the various Old Testament passages, these were commands given to Israel in the ceremonial and legal vein. Many of them involve capital punishment. We practice capital punishment this very day. In fact, we’ve practiced it for hundreds of years. Like it or not, we derived its legitimacy from Holy Scipture. However, to settle your heart a bit, Christians are bound by a New Covenant that has been revealed in the New Testament. Old Testament Ceremonial law has been set aside. A new law has been given:

    “Love your neighbor as yourself.”
    “If your enemy is hungry feed him.”
    “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.”
    “Do not return evil for evil, but, overcome evil with good.”

    And here is one especially for you…

    “Be not unbelieving but believing.” (Jesus).

    If would be wonderful if you responded like the repsonder who was commanded to believe:

    “My Lord and my God.” (Doubting Thomas)

    However, we cannot deny that God takes His own vengence. Ever hear of Ananias and Saphira? Herod The Great? and others who met their demise at the hands of God. God commands Christians who are being persecuted to leave room for the vengeance of God. He can bring justice, and he will bring justice. Mark it down.

    Nevertheless, Anonymous, He commands you to repent and believe. This is an open invitation. “Come, you who are thirsty and drink.” The thing about this statement is this: only the thirsty will come. If you are satisfied, ignore me, ignore God and do not come. But, do not be mad at me for trying to bring water to the thirsty. I am commanded to do it. I delight to do it. Will you rob me of that delight because it offends you?


  11. Nick Bodkins Says:

    The Beach Party at the Threshold of Hell will be at the Pensacola fest as well… I wonder what everyone will think about that? I can’t wait to see Jesus Camp and hang out with t the courageous bunch of filmmakers, can’t wait til November!!!

  12. Anonymous Says:


    You say science flourished as a result of putting the Word of God into the hands of the common man?? Are you saying that with a straight face? Seriously? That is the most laughable outlandish statement that I have ever heard. You demonstrate succinctly the root of the problems caused to society by fundamentalist christians. If left to your kind, we would all be drawn & quartered or burned at the stake. I’m not thirsty. Not at all. But I don’t feel the need to shove my beliefs down your throat like you do. You say it is not okay that I don’t believe? Well guess what…I don’t care what you think. We live in a free country (for now) where people like you do not get to exact your revenge on others who holds beliefs different than yours. That’s what makes our country unique and strong, as Joe was trying to explain to you above.

    One of our founding fathers said it best:
    Millions of innocent men, women, and children, since the introduction of Christianity, have been burnt, tortured, fined, and imprisoned; yet we have not advanced one inch toward uniformity. What has been the effect of coercion? To make one-half the world fools and the other half hypocrites. To support roguery and error all over the earth.
    — Thomas Jefferson, Notes on the State of Virginia, 1781-82

    I’ll be anxiously awaiting that vengeful justice from God you say is headed my way. 😀

  13. Anonymous Says:

    About that wall of seperation between church and state that Katherine Harris says does not exist:

    Because religious belief, or non-belief, is such an important part of every person’s life, freedom of religion affects every individual. State churches that use government power to support themselves and force their views on persons of other faiths undermine all our civil rights. Moreover, state support of the church tends to make the clergy unresponsive to the people and leads to corruption within religion. Erecting the “wall of separation between church and state,” therefore, is absolutely essential in a free society.
    We have solved … the great and interesting question whether freedom of religion is compatible with order in government and obedience to the laws. And we have experienced the quiet as well as the comfort which results from leaving every one to profess freely and openly those principles of religion which are the inductions of his own reason and the serious convictions of his own inquiries.

    — Thomas Jefferson, to the Virginia Baptists (1808). This is his second use of the term “wall of separation,” here quoting his own use in the Danbury Baptist letter. This wording has several times been upheld by the Supreme Court as an accurate description of the Establishment Clause: Reynolds (98 US at 164, 1879); Everson (330 US at 59, 1947); McCollum (333 US

  14. Todd Leonard Says:


    It difficult to determine where to correct your extreme ignorance and misunderstandings. Have you ever heard of Lister, Kepler or Newton, just to name a few of the brilliant scientists who engaged in inquiry because of a commitment to Christian truth? And by the way, please don’t use selective quotes from Jefferson taken out of context to support such blatant distortions. If you are capable of looking at the whole record and debating honorably and reasonably, feel free to debate; if not, do yourself and others a favor and bow out now.


  15. MomOfThree Says:

    Gosh, sure glad I voted against you, Mr. Leonard. I sudder to think of you sitting on my children’s school board.

  16. Anonymous Says:

    No one said that you couldn’t name a few scientist down through the ages that held religious beliefs. But they are in the minority. In general, religion is hostile to science and research. Just as you are today. Bet you believe that the earth is a few thousand years old, right? Those crazy scientist with carbon dating and fossil evidence are just plain wrong, right?

  17. Heather G. Says:

    Saying science flourished BECAUSE of religion is beyond misinformed. Nothing could be further from the truth. Science flourishes IN SPITE of religion. Science flourishes because of the curiosity of the human mind.
    and the more education the human mind receives, the more likely they are to abandon the fairy tale beliefs of religion. Hence the reason for religion’s hostility to scientific education.

  18. Tom Says:

    My Kids Dad, for that is who you are, you said it yourself, “I am not thirsty”. Great (actually not great, I wish you were thirsty), the water of life is for the thirsty. So, ignore me. I’m not forcing anything down your throat. I simply repeat the invitation to look on Christ, repent and believe in Him.

    Tom (not Thompson)

    Mom of Three why are you so afraid of the Gospel? It is not poison. It is “an aroma of death to the dying” (scripture) for sure. But, it is also “an aroma to life to those who are being saved” (more scripture).

  19. Anonymous 1 Says:

    Todd Leonard,

    Why are you so arrogant? Disagree if you will with anonymous; however, her observations are worthy of discussion, not vile attacks from you. Here is what you say:

    “It (is) difficult to determine where to correct your extreme ignorance and misunderstandings.”

    What? She offered evidence that you should discuss. Next you state:

    “If you are capable of looking at the whole record and debating honorably and reasonably, feel free to debate; if not, do yourself and others a favor and bow out now.”

    Come on, Todd, you know that your retort is a personal attack pure and simple. I am also glad I did not vote for you (I almost did). Please run again so I can vote against you again. Do you have a personal attack for me now?

    Anonymous 1

  20. Tom Says:

    Anonymous 1,

    Todd was addressing Anonymous who stated that our arguments were “laughable” and “outlandish”. Will you offer correction to her? I do not expect you will.

    Todd spoke truth. How is that “arrogant”?


  21. Anonymous 1 Says:

    Are you Todd Leonard? It seems that you are, or are you his paramore? Let Todd defend himself.

    Anonymous 1

  22. My Kids' Dad Says:

    Hey Tom (not Thompson). uh… I have not posted on this thread. Not have I ever made refernce to my thirst. Actually, I had a cold beer after work… oops that’s another strike against me!

    The kool-aid must be getting to your head.

    You guys are a hoot!!

  23. Tom Says:

    My Kid’s Dad, I’m pretty sure you are okay… nothing wrong with a good beer! I thought you weren’t posting anymore? Glad to have you back though.

    Tom (not Thompson…I don’t think he’d join us for a beer at McGuires, but, I could be wrong, I’ll ask him next time I see him)

  24. Todd Says:

    Anonymous 1,

    I am not sure what you mean by “vile attacks.” I simply asserted that Anonymous’s claims were indicative of ignorance on the subject and that it was highly specious to take Jefferson’s quote out of context. This blog can be a healthy place for debate but most often devolves into rhetoric. Challenging debate is healthy and beneficial if done with the proper motives. I do not believe that I have used any of the incendiary language such as the following used above by others:

    “In general, religion is hostile to science and research. Just as you are today.” Really? How does Anonymous know that? It is just the opposite. I believe that free religious expression (a result of the outworking of Christian principles) fosters scientific inquiry and history emphatically bears this out. For evidence of this, read Baylor Sociologist Rodney Stark’s new book, The Victory of Reason.

    “The kool-aid must be getting to your head.” Now that’s a real mature way of debating!

    These types of things are really beneath serious debate. I hope we can do much better.

    Good Weekend To All!


  25. Anonymous Says:

    A much better source of information regarding religion & science is “The End of Faith” by Sam Harris. This book spent months on the New York Times top ten best seller list for a reason…It is the best reasoned look at religion around the world and it’s effects.

  26. Tom Says:


    You said:

    “I’ll be anxiously awaiting that vengeful justice from God you say is headed my way.”

    I hope you have a change of heart before that day, I really do. You have no idea what you are saying and WHO you are mocking. Assuming that you do continue in your blindness all the way to the grave, I want you to know that you will be greatly surprised by the sight of the ONE who sits on His glorious throne. Unless you are 100% sure you are right in your beliefs, you might want to re-think such brash statements. Are you not even a LITTLE fearful when you say such things? If not, then the scripture holds true:

    “There is no fear of God before their eyes” (Romans 3:18, Psalm 36:1).

    The height of foolishness is exhibited in the man who has no fear of God.


  27. Anonymous Says:

    WHY would I be fearful? Fearful of what? Of scriptures written by other crazy guysof years ago? Fearful of a god who doesn’t exist? Nope sorry, I’m not.

    Still waiting…..Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

  28. Joe Says:

    Tom, I commend you for your faith and your willingness to “walk the walk.” However, the “hedge your bets” philosophy conveyed by your comment (“unless you are 100% sure,” etc.) has never seemed to me an entirely persuasive argument for faith — especially one particular faith — because it could just as easily be applied to anything else. In the words of Homer Simpson, “What if we picked the wrong religion? Every week we’re just making God madder and madder.” It also seems to me like an insincere form of piety, like a child who is good only for the sake of Christmas presents. Won’t God know your real motives?

    Speaking of our theological discussions, have you made any progress on that Genesis puzzle I left you with a few weeks back? What’s the consensus from the creationist community?

  29. Tom Says:

    Hi Joe,

    My comments to Anonymous had to do with his making such “brash” statements against something or someone that, deep down, he knows is real. Only a fool would make such statements. And yes, he knows that there is a Creator. He simply takes what can be known about God by merely observing nature, and he supresses and denies it. Upon doing so, he is handed over to embibe deeply into the well of error and foolishness. The omnipotent hand of God is my only hope. It is the same for anonymous.

    As to the Genesis puzzle, I see no problem with Adam’s naming the various animal species in a brief period of time. Certainly there was minimal variation in the species at that point in creation history, so the task would not be as mammoth as it would be today. Neither would it be necessary for him to name every species of bird, cow, horse, etc. Bird, cow and horse would have sufficed for duck, sparrow, ox, buffalo, zebra, donkey, etc…

    I’m sure there are more scientific explanations available, but, I’ll rest in the this simple one.

    Never heard a response back from you on the question:

    “Who do you say Jesus is?”

    His by Grace,


  30. Todd Says:


    I would encourage you to go to the following website listed below and read this review of Sam Harris’ book. I have listened to Harris numerous times on C-SPAN and, while he appeals to the unabashedly naturalistic and secular mind, ultimately his arguments are not persuasive, as his worldview rules out the presuppositions that he relies on to refute theism. And this is the problems with a completely naturalistic worldview; the presuppositions brought into the debate are logically and consistently negated by consistent naturalism. I am the first to admit that there are areas in my worldview (distinctly christian and theistic) that have apparent inconsistencies, yet these are due to my limited understanding and my fallibility as a human being. Yet, with all due respect, your claims require exhaustive knowledge. Which exhibits more hubris? Finally, the article that you linked to on the origins of the Bible is an argument advanced by German Higher Criticism for the last one hundred years. It is known in theological circles as the Documentary Hypothesis and asserts four primary sources for Old Testament formation: Jehovah, Elohist, Deuteronomist, and Priestly. It has several foundational presuppositions:

    1. There is an evolutionary approach to Israel.
    2. Different names for God indicate different authors.
    3. Duplicate stories and repetition indicate different authors.
    4. Varying languages and styles indicate different authors.
    5. Numerous redactors (those who pieced the documents together) worked over hundreds of years to piece together the different streams from different sources so as to give the appearance of unity.

    Let me respond to them briefly:

    First, names of God are used interchangeably in the same verse. Please tell me what source verses in that category come from? Changing names for God is common in near Eastern studies and this makes poor criteria for asserting that this leads to completely different sources. These changing names simply reflect various aspects of God’s being. For instance, in Genesis 1, Elohim is used as this connotes the power of God in creating, while in Genesis 2, Yahweh, the personal covenant name of God, is used to signify deep intimate relationship with his creation (i.e. Adam).

    Secondly, repetition for emphasis is characteristic of ancient writing. In fact, it is no stretch to say that it is the very essence of ancient, particularly Hebrew writing.

    These challenges, while on the surface giving the appearance of invalidating the origins of Scripture, actually end up doing the opposite: Validating that the One True and Living God superintended a process over thousands of years to give His people His Self Revelation so that they may find true life and live as He intended. Contrary to your rantings, the Christian faith is no blind leap into darkness. In fact, it is just the opposite: The only worldview that consistently makes sense of the way things are in reality. I pray you will one day have eyes to see this very thing.



  31. Hit-n-Run-Guy. Says:

    I’ve been following this for a while now and it has been entertaining, but as of late it has lost some of its appeal. It’s primarily because “Anonymous” has run out of good material with which to argue. So let me encourage thought once again. Who agrees / disagrees with the premise found at the below link?

  32. Anonymous -- to YOU! Says:

    I would tell you, but then I’d have to kill you. 🙂

    (Just kidding. I have no idea how I feel, H’n’RG, because I don’t have the 5 and a half hours it would take to read that whole dang thing! SHEESH!)

  33. Anonymous,

    You don’t have time? It’ll take all of about 20 minutes to read the article from start to finish. Given that you have gotten an early start tonight on the blogoshphere (your last 3 posts occurred well after midnight) you have ample time to not only digest this article, but to post another substantive comment like the one above. On further thought, given the history of your prior posts, and the apparent inability to properly interpret something as simple as a few lines in a court record, if you begin right away you will be lucky to make your 2 a.m. posting deadline. We are all rooting for you.

  34. Anonymous Says:

    Since when do I have to come up with material to prove my point? I’m not the one telling the believers that they are going to hell and that MY god or my pink flying martian is going to strike them down for not believing. Both Tom & Todd are. They profess that this being/creator they worship and swear is real wrote this book for them and based on that book they can tell me how wrong my beliefs are and how I am going to be struck down by their vengeful god/omnipotent one. Which exhibits more hubris? Seems to me they are the one who needs to come up with some proof. If you are going to claim such things are so. What if I suddenly said that I believe in a god of Whatumtum who left divine inspired scriptures for me that said people like Todd & Tom are wrong, and not only are they wrong but they will be struck down by the Holy Whatumtum for not believing? Wouldn’t it be incumbent on me to provide some proof? Or is faith the only subject that we as humans have to accept at believer’s words? And to demand proof is to be worthy of being struck down? Yea, right.

    And Tom, sorry but deep, deep, deep down I know it’s NOT real. I studied different religions for more than 12 years, with most of those spent on christianity. And from those studies and investigation I kept arriving back at the same conclusion, no creator, no god, no divine plan, just a human need to think that there is some all powerful being in the sky in charge of everything. The thought that we are in existence just by chance and we alone are masters of our own fate is much too scary for most to comprehend. Since the beginning of time man has created gods and supernatural forces to hang our beliefs on.
    But that is just where I arrived after my studies. You obviously arrived at other beliefs. That is your prerogative. But it is also mine. I won’t spend my energy telling you that you are wrong. Don’t waste yours telling me I am wrong.

  35. Anonymous Says:

    There is more than one person posting here as Anonymous. What court records are you talking about???

  36. Dean Says:

    To all…

    One day we will die, we should all be able to agree on that.

    What happens after you die? I can tell you and you may, or may not believe me.

    I believe there is Heaven and there is Hell. I choose Heaven and I believe, through faith, that the way to Heaven is through God’s Son, Jesus Christ. That is what I believe. That is what one of my best friends, a Scientist believes. Friends that are in law enforcement, the medical field, education and the military also believe that. Young and old, poor and rich, smart and not-so-smart believe it.

    In love, I hope that you do now, or will soon believe too. We may not be struck down for unbelief…thank God! He gives us time and He gave us His Son.

    But we don’t have forever to decide.

    We all die…where will you spend eternity?

  37. Todd Says:


    Thanks for finally being somewhat transparent on your post. That is refreshing.

    Again, with all due respect, you exhibit some inconsistency. You have posted several times impugning the faith that both Tom and I profess and defend openly. You have linked to lengthy articles and sites that attack the foundations of the christian faith. Each time, we have responded with logical arguments in defense of what we believe after thoughtfully considering the positions that you have put forth. Yet now, after having done so, you fall back to the position that you need not “prove” anything – that it is our burden to prove the existence of God. To say that God emphatically does not exist, as you have done, is an absolute truth claim every bit as much as to say that God does exist, as we have done. Now here is the issue: We have two competing truth claims that must be examined evidentially. We are confident that we have sufficient reasons for believing as we do, as I have said before that the christian faith is no blind leap in the dark. Your burden is equal. To say that you are absolved of burden of proof is to be intellectually dishonest. I go back to what I said before:

    “If you are capable of looking at the whole record and debating honorably and reasonably, feel free to debate; if not, do yourself and others a favor and bow out now.”

    Finally, you said the following:

    “The thought that we are in existence just by chance and we alone are masters of our own fate is much too scary for most to comprehend. Since the beginning of time man has created gods and supernatural forces to hang our beliefs on.”

    A couple of thoughts on this:

    First, if we truly are alone and “masters” of our own fate, as you say, then why would this be scary? If it is as you say, it would in fact be the exact opposite: We would accept it without hesitation and trepidation of what lies beyond this life. In other words, our thinking would correspond to the reality of the way things are. Yet we do not accept this notion. The question is why we do not. Why is there fear, anxiety, and longing for meaning beyond what we can observe? If you are correct, and the material universe is all there is or ever will be (a.k.a. Sagan), then we should never have this impulse; it is simply unexplainable. Yet I believe we have a reasonable answer, one that you may not like. It is this: We were made this way. As St. Augustine said, we have a God shaped void in the soul of man that only God Himself can fill. And this has been my main point all along; that the christian worldview is true because it corresponds to ultimate reality, the final and critical test for any worldview. If you have time, I would love to hear your response to my post on the Documentary Hypothesis. I sincerely took the time to read your link. I would hope you would be thoughtful enough to do the same. Thanks for writing back.



  38. Todd Says:


    One thing I have failed to mention in these series of posts is that I do in fact believe that the zeal demonstrated in the clip above is misplaced on the part of these sincere Christians. That has been lost in this ongoing debate. In fairness, you have not taken a position on this one way or the other but I want to make it clear to you and others that while I do believe that the mission is noble (that of training young christian men and women to live out their faith in every area of culture), I do not believe that glorified “Pep Rallies for Jesus” accomplish this one bit. That is a shallow approach that rightfully alarms those not disposed to thinking along christian categories and one that harms, not helps the advance of serious Christianity. Thanks for giving space to this.



  39. Tom Says:


    You said:

    “And Tom, sorry but deep, deep, deep down I know it’s NOT real.”

    Well, Anonymous, you have been deceived by your own “wisdom”. I do not doubt that you “THINK” you “know it’s not real”. But, examine that statement a bit closer, “deep, deep, deep down I KNOW IT’S NOT REAL.” So, do you have the ability to look deep within yourself, and find knowledge so complete and exhaustive that you can emphatically and confidently “KNOW” beyond a shadow of a doubt that God is not real?

    Once again, Anonymous, you prove the truthfulness of the Holy Scriptures written by Him whom you so foolishly impugn. Romans Chapter 1 gives a very good description of you, and, in fact, all men.

    Romans 1:18-25

    For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth.
    For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them.
    For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.
    For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened.
    Claiming to be wise, they became fools,
    and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles.
    Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves,
    because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.

  40. Tom Says:


    Loved the link. That guy knows his stuff. Very solid. Very sound. Thanks.

    His by Grace,


  41. Tom Says:


    Just wondering if you’ll ever respond to Todd’s thoughtful answer to your JEPD questions concerning the origin of the Pentatuch.

    Also, did you ever find the time to peruse Hit-n-Run-Guy’s link:

    I highly recommend it to all truly interested readers.

  42. Todd Says:

    It looks as if Melinda (Post 1 above)has some celebrity sympathy for her views. Here is an excerpt from the American Family Association regarding a comment made by Rosie O”Donnell on “The View.”

    September 14, 2006

    O’Donnell on ABC: ‘Radical Christians’ no different than murderous radical Muslims

    Neither O’Donnell nor ABC has apologized

    ABC’s Rosie O’Donnell told a nationwide audience this week that “radical Christians” are the same as radical Muslims who piloted hijacked jetliners into New York’s Twin Towers, who chop off the heads of individuals and who bomb innocent children in suicide attacks. O’Donnell made her comments as host of ABC’s “The View.”

    “Radical Christianity is just as threatening as radical Islam in a country like America where we have separation of church and state,” O’Donnell said. She had been saying that America was attacked “not by a nation.” She continued: “And as a result of the attack and the killing of 3,000 innocent people, we invaded two countries and killed innocent people.” Even her liberal co-hosts were shocked by her comments.

    Co-host Joy Behar protested that Christians are not trying to impose mass murder on America. “This group (radical Muslims) is threatening to kill us.” Replied O’Donnell: “No, but we are bombing innocent people in other countries. True or false?”

    O’Donnell was saying there is no difference between the radical Muslims who kill in the name of Allah and Bible-believing Christians who follow the teachings of Jesus.

    Neither O’Donnell nor ABC apologized for the comments. Had she made similar comments about minorities or homosexuals, there would have been an apology, and she would have probably been fired.

    The message from ABC is that bashing Christians is acceptable, even comparing them with murderers who kill in the name of Allah.

  43. Tom Says:

    Rosie… now there’s an intellectual giant for you!

  44. J Says:

    I like how it went from “radical Christians” in the first sentence to “bashing Christians” in the last sentence. As if all who claim to be Christian are the real thing.
    I’m pretty sure that she’s referring to a very small portion of “Christians” who distort the teachings of Jesus and do horrific things based on their own demented view of Christianity. Much like the radical Muslims mentioned do.
    If you can’t see the parallel between the two it’s only because you don’t want to.

  45. Todd Says:


    Can you please tell me what types of “horrific things based on their own demented view of Christianity” that these so called christian fundamentalists do that is comparable to actions by “radical Muslims?” I am curious. I will be out for most of the day but hope you will thoughtfully respond.



  46. Joe Says:

    Please correct me if I’m wrong, but wasn’t Jesus a radical pacifist? Tom and Todd, rather than asking others to justify what some B-level celebrity says on a daytime talk show, shouldn’t you be up in arms over the fact that our government is going to war at all? If we are supposed to turn the other cheek to someone who attacks us directly, how can we account for a policy of preemptive war against nations who have not attacked us?

  47. Nick Bodkins Says:

    I am NOT going to get dragged into the Todd and Tom show, but being that Rick’s blog is my homepage now, I see the fact that they opine more than any other users on this site, dragging Jesus, and quoting scripture in almost every post. I have a question for you both. What is different, in your glazed over eyes, between a radical Muslim killing people they see as infidels in the name of Allah, and a radical Christian blowing up an abortion doctor? You are probably going to answer that the abortion doctor is killing innocent people, but before you give me that, the radical muslim sees zionists as killing innocent muslims.

    Like I said, I AM NOT going to get dragged into this, but I just felt it necessary to inject a point of view that was different than Church Talk with Todd and Tom.

    “If you’re not a born-again Christian, you’re a failure as a human being.”
    –Jerry Falwell

  48. Todd Says:


    Thanks for asking. It is a very good question.

    Your question involves the doctrine of Just War Theory, taught by precept in the Scriptures, and first articulated as coherent doctrine by Augustine. I believe that your premise that we are “to turn the other cheek to someone who attacks us directly” is foundationally flawed. May I recommed that you read “Just War Against Terror” by Jean Bethke Elshtain, a professor at the Univeristy of Chicago. She has written extensively on the ethics of preemption, a vexing problem that you have correctly identified. Reasonable people will disagree as to whether Iraq falls into the Just War category but that is a separate issue altogether from what the Scriptures teach regarding pacificism and the moral use of force. I have also linked to an article that succintly lays out the Christian position on Just War Theory and pacificism.



  49. Joe Says:


    I’m afraid you’re going to have to do better than that. The problem with “Just War” theory is that it can be claimed by most anyone, for most any act of aggressions. (I know you hate these comparisons, but I’m sure a lot of Islamic leaders and even terrorists would assert authority under “just war” doctrine.)

    But back to the Christian position. How is my premise “foundationally flawed”? If you believe the Bible is the literal, inerrant word of God, why are you referring me to a book published in 2003? God told David he had blood on his hands and could not build His temple. Shouldn’t a sermon by Jesus Christ (considered important enough to be mentioned in multiple gospels) be able to stand on its own value?

    Look, I’m a lousy pacifist. After 9/11, I wanted to kick some serious ass, and to that effect I’m glad we got rid of the Taliban. But then, I also don’t believe the universe was created in six literal, 24-hour days, so I feel there’s less burden on me to reconcile my own philosophy with the Bible. Please tell me how our involvement in Iraq qualifies under any definition of “Just War”? And back to my main point, please tell me why you think Jesus would support a preemptive invasion?

  50. Joe Says:

    My apologies, I didn’t notice that you had conceded the war in Iraq as a questionable application of “Just War” doctrine. (Why then, I wonder, do you object to Rosie O’Donnell’s views? Do you doubt that American bombs have in fact killed innocent civilians?) I still feel, regardless of what doctrine Augustine and others have concocted to make Christianity compatible with a society in which war is inevitable, that the “true” teachings of Jesus strictly pacifist. Please explain to me how you can interpret scripture differently.

  51. Todd Says:


    As always, you are the most thoughtful of the respondents and I commend you for this. With regard to your post, you said the following:

    (Why then, I wonder, do you object to Rosie O’Donnell’s views? Do you doubt that American bombs have in fact killed innocent civilians?)

    I do not deny that American force has resulted in the death of innocent civilians. We long for a world in which perfect justice will prevail and one day it will in the One Who is Justice Himself, as He will set the world to rights (a hope that no atheist by the way can share). Regarding this, let me give you a quote from Elshtain:

    “Consider the vast gulf that separates just war restraint from Osama bin Laden’s call for an unlimited attack by Muslims everywhere against all infidels everywhere. This is the mentality of holy war, which aspires to limitlessness: One can never kill enough infidels. For holy warriors or crusaders, the occasion for war is the simple intention to spread their gospel, whether political or religious, through violence, whenever or wherever possible, against the infidels. For just warriors, both aims and means are limited, even if one has been grievously harmed.”

    There is certainly no moral equivalence between the two based on any objective standard.


    “Shouldn’t a sermon by Jesus Christ (considered important enough to be mentioned in multiple gospels) be able to stand on its own value?”

    I am glad to see that you accept the veracity of the words of Christ, for that is a rare thing with most on this Blog. Having established that, I hope you will be consistent and accept the veracity of the rest of Scripture as well, since Christ Himself claims that He is the Author not just of His recorded words, but of all of Sacred Scripture (the doctrine of Inspiration). This now takes us into the matter of hermeneutics, the principles of interpretation. Without tying up too much space on this post, I refer you again to the article that I linked to above; it succintly explains the fallacy of the pacifists position in light of the entirety of Scripture.



  52. Tom Says:

    “Turn the other cheek” is a favorite of “non-Christians.” It ranks right up there with “judge not lest you be judged”. Both are almost always misinterpreted and taken completely out of context by skeptics.

    Read the entire passage and you’ll see that turning the other cheek has nothing to do with war. It has nothing to do with self defense. A slap on the cheek is not comparable to an unprovoked attack meant to inflict bodily harm and death. A slap on the cheek is an insult, and nothing more. Christians are to bear the insult as Christ Himself bore the insults of His accusers on the eve of His crucifixion.

    Christ nowhere condemns war. In fact He warns that wars will come. He even commends a centurion (a Roman Soldier in charge of 100 men), for his great faith. Peruse the link provided by Todd for a treatment on “war.” But, do not look to Jesus’ command to turn the other cheek as a command to stand idly by and be slaughtered by Muslim extremists.

    I’ll respond to Nick Bodkins’s earlier comments at a later time. I was waiting for someone to bring up “abortion doctors”. Suprised it took this long…

  53. Todd Says:


    You said:

    “What is different, in your glazed over eyes, between a radical Muslim killing people they see as infidels in the name of Allah, and a radical Christian blowing up an abortion doctor? You are probably going to answer that the abortion doctor is killing innocent people, but before you give me that, the radical muslim sees zionists as killing innocent muslims.”

    Well, let me be the first to admit that I have glazed over eyes. Yet, as Calvin said, the Scriptures act as a pair of lens that afford us greater clarity and perspecuity than we would otherwise have if left to ourselves. I shudder to think where I would be if left to rely on “Godess Reason” like the wretched souls during the French Revolution (what a stunning success, eh?).

    You are partially correct in your anticipation of my response. The abortion doctor is certainly inflicting his/her own terror in the womb and destroying innocent human life. The individual that takes the life of the abortion doctor falls into the category of the anarchist more so than that of a terrorist. Terrorists use innocent life to accomplish their objectives. Conversely, the abortionist killer has now assumed for himself the power that God confers upon the state; the taking of life (Romans 13). He has done that which Scripture condemns. Take the case of Paul Hill locally. He was expressly condemned by christian leaders repeatedly for his non-biblical positions and was condemned for his murder of the local abortionist and his security guard. While engaging in evil, his actions were limited to the doctor and his armed bodyguard. Only complete moral relativism would equate this to the limitlessness of taking hundreds of innocent lives while waging unrestrained terror on the infidels (who just so happen to be anyone who disagrees with Islamic teachings).

    I come back to the point I have made over and over again: Consistent Islam is militant and violent. Peaceful passages in the Koran cannot invalidate explicit calls to eradicate those considered infidels. Since its inception in the 7th Century A.D., with the violent actions of Muhammed himself, to the present day, Islam has advanced by the sword; any objective view of history will validate this. Conversely, Christianity, though not without perversions like the Crusades (although fought for primarily defensive purposes), has had a history of stability and and a recognition of the intrinsic worth of each human being as being made in the image of God that has produced a vastly different society.



  54. Evan H. Johnson Says:

    Tom and Todd,

    Go away and leave us alone. There are plenty of religious blogs you can carry out your thinly veiled love affair on without jamming up this blog.

    Bible quotes and parroted theolgy are the hallmarks of small minds and intellctual dishonesty.

  55. Jason Says:

    Wow…a debate on religion. This sort of thing always ends with great results.

  56. Joe Says:


    I perused your link, and I remain wholly unpersuaded by their “comprehensive analysis.” Their textual evidence of Christ’s non-pacifism is in three passages: chasing the money-changers from the temple, telling the disciples to sell their coat for a sword, and the vision in Revelations. In the first example, we see a very angry side of Jesus, but we don’t see any actual violence perpetrated on the merchants. Their explanation of the second example’s “context” (that “people of that day often had to carry a sword in order to fend off robbers”) is laughably wrong. Jesus gave three warnings at the last supper: that Peter would thrice betray him, that Simon would remain faithful, and that one of them would need a sword. All three came true immediately afterwards, the latter when a disciple cut off a priest’s ear. (If they all needed swords for protection, why would two between the twelve disciples be “enough”?) Jesus told them to sheath their weapons, and that those who live by the sword will die by it. You could even say he presciently wanted them to be armed for this encounter to fulfill prophecy and to give this explicit instruction. As for their third example… the Revelation was always my favorite, but it was a metaphorical vision written nearly a century after the crucifixion by John of Patmos and is certainly not meant to be taken literally. (If so, we all might as well give up on the whole Heaven thing, ’cause I’m pretty sure it’s reached the 144,000 soul “maximum capacity” by now.) To say the least, I don’t think it trumps the actual teachings of Jesus, which were decidedly nonviolent.

    Tom disagrees with me. He says I’ve taken the phrase “turn the other cheek” out of context (yet that whopper about “buying a sword” slipped by him, too). Jesus may not have condemned war, but I’m pretty sure he blessed the peacemakers. What’s the difference? Of course, that’s the tricky thing about the Bible — if you don’t like the implications of a certain verse or theme, you can usually find another verse that will advance your own views. “Hmm… ‘blessed are the poor’… ‘camel through the eye of a needle’… ‘having nothing yet possessing all things’… ah, here we are! ‘The poor will always be with you!’ So God wants me to be rich!” Makes Biblical literalism a zero-edged sword. (Everyone remember the “curse of Ham”?)

    The author then talks about personal vs governmental obligations of nonviolence and reach the absurd conclusion that, since governments are the “ministering authority” of a just God, all wars initiated by “the State” are implicitly just. By that logic, any and all wars committed by various governments throughout history have all been approved by God, and all those soldiers who were “just following orders” actually had a divine blessing. What a terrifying concept!

    I will agree, however, that the State has a responsibility to its citizens that sometimes makes war inevitable. I even agree that some wars are just. I guess I’m saying that a single Christian can (and should be) 100% pacifist whereas the State cannot, which only furthers my belief that church and state be separated. To wit, if America is a “Christian” nation, then all her Christian citizens are accomplices in belligerence. Not a very appealing theological notion.

    Thoughts? Responses?

  57. Tom Says:

    Evan H. Johnson,

    Sorry that we’ve made you angry. We’re carrying on a discussion with several individuals who have made some pretty bold statements likening evangelical Christians to fundamentalist terroristic Muslims. I think this is a debate worth having. If you do not, then, I’m sorry. If this doesn’t interest you go read about the Maritime Park or the IN Cover if you prefer. There is plenty of exciting conversation on those other threads which are completely devoid of “small minded” and “intellectually dishonest” commentary.

    His by Grace,


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