18 Dec 2016

Everything About the Human Condition Explained in One Spot

Religious 47 Comments

Perhaps the most famous Bible verse is John 3:16, but I’ll quote 17 as well. (There are double quotation marks because it’s Jesus speaking.) “16“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. 17“For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him.””

So what’s the problem? Why isn’t everybody saved and destined for paradise? The next few verses explain:

18“He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. 19“This is the judgment, that the Light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the Light, for their deeds were evil. 20“For everyone who does evil hates the Light, and does not come to the Light for fear that his deeds will be exposed.

I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again: Notwithstanding the moralizing of many loud Christians, the actual doctrine teaches that all men (and women) are sinners who deserve hell. If you truly accept the gospel account, you have no right to judge anybody else. Rather, you must confess your own guilt and throw yourself on the mercy of Jesus.

But what the excerpt from John above explains so well, the stumbling block is that some people don’t want to be honest about their own guilt.

47 Responses to “Everything About the Human Condition Explained in One Spot”

  1. Jan Masek says:

    This is similar to the whole infinite punishment for a finite crime thing. Don’t judge the murderer, you envious person!
    The only thing needed to achieve eternal life is to believe in Jesus, as long as you do that your other actions don’t matter because you’re a sinner anyway (maybe not by definition but the desciption of sin is so broad that nobody has ever lived that wasn’t a sinner).

    Sorry, I’d like to but I don’t get it. What kind of a thing is it where Truman or Roosevelt go to heaven and Rothbard to hell

    • Bob Murphy says:

      Sorry, I’d like to but I don’t get it. What kind of a thing is it where Truman or Roosevelt go to heaven and Rothbard to hell

      Well we don’t know that’s what happened, do we?

      But if Truman and Roosevelt said, “I want to spend eternity with God, and I realize I am repugnant next to His perfect character,” while Rothbard said, “I do not acknowledge God’s superiority over me and I do not want to be with God,” and then God respected their wishes, I don’t see what’s so horrible about that.

      • JimS says:

        Actions do matter:

        John 8:11 She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more.

        This he said to the woman accused of adultery. He did not say, believe really hard, he gave her a course of action, sin no more.

        John 8:34 Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin.

        He commands us to love one another and do unto others.

        He tells us to care for the poor. We are told to glorify Him.

        All of these are actions. Yes, they must be done in faith. Statements about not being judged by actions or judging action are there to avoid action competitions among us in our bid for a spot in heaven.

        Was Christ a man of action or merely faith? Are we not told to be Christ like? He was a man of action, so our actions matter.

        Be careful of your thoughts, for they become your words. Be careful of your words, for they become your actions. Be careful of your actions for they become your character. Be careful of your character for that is your destiny. Now I am mixing Chinese proverbs with scripture which may be some sort of violation, but I think you take my point.

        • Bob Murphy says:

          JimS, do you take me to be telling people, “Go ahead and sin, it doesn’t matter”?

          • JimS says:

            I cannot produce that exact quote and largely you are correct about the issue of faith being key to redemption.

            I remember those little cartoon pamphlets in church where some bad character repents at the last moment before death and is accepted into the kingdom of heaven and I do believe that to be true. The criminal on the cross next to Christ is another example. I’ll even go so far as to say, except for the suicide issue, Adolf could have repented and been saved.

            Let us consider another scenario; if Adolf had been committed to life at hard labor. Mere faith, I do not think, would satisfy. I believe some atonement would be involved. I believe some redeeming acts might be required. I have no clue as to what such acts those might be.

            I love the Sherwood Pictures films. Flywheel is a great one where the main character recognizes his faults and goes through extreme measure to atone for his wrong doing. I think in most cases, action is required and we are instructed to act.

            I guess my criticism is, you often imply faith is all that is needed. True. But that is for a very few exceptional cases. Faith is action and it requires participation. I think a good analogy is buying a treadmill and never using it. The treadmill doesn’t make you fit, the use of it does. Faith is buying into the existence, teachings, and the will of God but action is needed to reinforce and make it real and make us whole; fit , if you will.

            I think what you do is very interesting and is a great service. Do you feel what you do is God’s will? That is, do you feel your professional life is directed by God and you are doing His work? I think it is. Christ speaks a lot about truth and I feel your mission in economics is a sort of truth mission. Can you share a thought on this? Do you think your work is an action of your faith?

      • skylien says:

        So it really is not about believing in the existence of god but only about believing in the authority of god?

        I believe that Hitler existed but I would not have acknowledged any authority of him over me. However I don’t know about the existence of god, but I would not question his authority if he existed, hence I would believe in his authority over me.

      • Jan Masek says:

        Well, if you say it like that.. 🙂

        In my mind I picture hell as some kind of an external frying pan, that would seem harsh.

  2. skylien says:

    What does “believe” really mean here?

    I cannot make myself believe, or stop believing. You either do it or you don’t. Obviously pretending to believe (in the sense I would understand it) cannot help you, and vice versa..

    However if I take 19 and 20 into account then “believe” doesn’t really mean believe as I would understand it but rather means you are not willing to step up for all your actions to be judged by God. This rather takes courage to do (and in addition to that I’d assume honest regrets) and is different to mere believe in the usual sense.

  3. Henry says:

    This is the cheap grace/”it doesn’t matter what you do” gospel preached by every televangelist who has ever been caught sleeping around, watching porn, and running a little prostitution ring on the side. “It doesn’t matter what I do–’cause I’m saved!” Wrong, buddy. Quit trying to do theology, Bob, you’re leading people astray with a false gospel. I’ll pray for you.

    • Bob Murphy says:

      Henry, can you please point to any of the sentences that are false from my post? I’m assuming nothing Jesus said is false, so what did I say that you think is wrong?

      • Craw says:

        If anyone who believes in Jesus “is not judged” then he has no actual _need_ to “throw [him]self on the mercy of Jesus”. So you are wrong and the right position based on this scripture is: “It doesn’t matter what I do–’cause I’m saved!”

        As for Henry, he seems to imply John is a false gospel.

    • Jan Masek says:

      Why be confrontational about it? Regardless if you’re right or not.

  4. Caden Banks says:

    I always pair this passage with the 14th chapter of John.

  5. Henry says:

    Bob, I’m not convinced your question is sincere. But regardless, it’s what you left out vs. what you left in. You failed to include all the other words of our Lord that specifically say we are judged by our actions, that those who fail to repent will not have eternal life, etc. I am happy to send you a sampling of those verses. But if you truly are not familiar with those other verses, than perhaps you should refrain from boasting about being saved and leading young people astray with your erroneous theology.

    • Bob Murphy says:


      I am familiar with the verses saying you need to repent. Look again in my original post. I wrote: “Rather, you must confess your own guilt and throw yourself on the mercy of Jesus.”

      And I literally summed up the post like this: “But what the excerpt from John above explains so well, the stumbling block is that some people don’t want to be honest about their own guilt.”

      Does that really look like I was saying people don’t need to repent?

      I’m not asking you to talk about what you thought I was “really” saying. I’m asking, for clarification: Do you agree that I said nothing false in my post? And you’re worried that I might have misled people through omission?

  6. Toby says:

    Bob, these verses seem to say that there is one reason and reason alone for not coming to the Light and that is because your deeds are evil. Am I reading this correctly?

  7. Henry says:

    Bob, please post a link here in the comments to at least one post you’ve written at some point in your life regarding the necessity of repentance for salvation, complete with relevant Scripture verses. Have you ever written about this or acknowledged this publicly? Or are all your “theology” posts just along the lines of, “I’m saved! Morality doesn’t matter! Woo-hoo! Lucky me?”

    • Bob Murphy says:


      Can you please stop throwing insults and sarcasm? You are really behaving immaturely here.

      You ask me if I’ve ever in my life posted the necessity of repentance. What about this very post? I wrote:

      “[T]he actual doctrine teaches that all men (and women) are sinners who deserve hell. If you truly accept the gospel account, you have no right to judge anybody else. Rather, you must confess your own guilt and throw yourself on the mercy of Jesus.”

      How are you getting mad at me when I say right here that “you must confess your own guilt”?

      And of course I never wrote “Morality doesn’t matter.” You are putting words in my mouth.

      Now it IS true, that you can be a murderer and be saved (Moses, David) and you can even be a criminal and repent on your death bed and be saved–the thief hanging on the cross next to Jesus. So yes, if you want to contrive a reductio ad absurdum, I am happy to take the bait, because Jesus Himself forgives truly repentant sinners on their deathbeds.

      I understand if you think some people preach immorality via salvation through grace, but I’d like you to at least quote me doing so instead of sarcastically putting words in my mouth.

      Here are two other posts I’ve written on this (one and two). I *thought* I had one contrasting Paul and James, and how they treated the same story of Abram, but now I can’t find it.

  8. Henry says:

    Bob, if you think I was insulting you or being “mad,” then you truly need to toughen up/man up. I do not see a full, coherent, or correct explanation for the biblical doctrine of the necessity of repentance for salvation in either of your overly-long posts that you linked to above. Here is a good article from the non-Protestant side for you to read and learn from, however: http://www.catholic.com/magazine/articles/are-you-saved-if-only

  9. Henry says:

    By the way, here’s an example of a real man, Bob. Standing up for that silly morality that you claim not to need for salvation: https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.lifesitenews.com/mobile/news/prof-who-refuses-to-use-gender-pronouns-points-to-catholicism-as-bulwark-ag?client=safari

    • Bob Murphy says:

      Henry wrote:

      here’s an example of a real man, Bob. Standing up for that silly morality that you claim not to need for salvation:

      Henry, this is the last response I’ll give: I am quoting Jesus’ words and actions to back up my position. In contrast, to attack me, you keep making up positions that I do not hold.

      Yes, people should be moral. But if you are saying, “You have to be moral enough to get into heaven,” then no, you are demonstrably wrong. And once you clarified what you *are* trying to say, it would probably be compatible with my perspective.

      • Craw says:

        ” this is the last response I’ll give”


        You and Henry are debating what you say is the most important thing in the the universe: how one is saved and avoids infinite punishment. If you are right, and Henry is wrong, then Henry and those he leads astray face infinite suffering. How can that not be worth a little frustration?
        Or if Henry is right than you and those you mislead are doomed to unending suffering. That must surely be worth some effort.

        How can a true believer agree to disagree here??

        • skylien says:

          I guess the answer would be being wrong is not the same thing as being evil.

        • Dan says:

          Because arguing with a-holes on the internet is a waste of one’s life. Would you advise him to spend every waking moment arguing with people like Henry online, because there are a limitless supply. If not, at what point do you decide to move on from the random tool who is being weirdly hostile? I say immediately.

          • Craw says:

            A sensible view, as long as you don’t believe in the dogma. That’s the point though, as Dawkins and others have pointed out. Once they leave church most believers do not behave as if they really believe.

  10. Henry says:


    It’s the last response you’ll give because the Tim Staples article is airtight and you’re not able to refute it. Stick to economics and don’t spiritually confuse the readers of this blog any further with your heretical, superficial, incoherent, and uninformed Protestant views. We have 2,000 years of beautiful theological works of the Church Fathers you could be quoting, but instead we get your sanctimonious drivel about how great it is that you’re saved without doing anything. Real Christianity requires hard work and sacrifice, Bob. And that statement is backed up by Scripture and the martyrs.

    • skylien says:

      Hard work as in praying the rasory a certain amount of time?

    • Dan says:

      “but instead we get your sanctimonious drivel…”

      Haha, yeah he’s the one being sanctimonious.

  11. Sarah says:

    Better not mock Catholics, “skylien.” That’s just dumb.

  12. skylien says:

    This is a serious question Sarah. BTW the tone was already set by Henry himself. And I am sure he is tough enough.

  13. Sarah says:

    Hi, this message is for Dan, who wrote the “a-holes on the internet” comment above. Please don’t take this the wrong way, but you sound like a snowflake. I thought this was an interesting and informative theological debate, in fact. I thought the Tim Staples article was brilliant and well-written.

    • Craw says:

      Ha! I finally have to defend Dan! He is no snowflake. He is many things but snowflake ain’t remotely one of them.

    • Dan says:

      Don’t trigger me, bro

  14. Dan W. says:

    And this post proves:

    (1) It is as futile arguing religion on the Internet as it is to argue economics, sports and politics

    (2) No sooner will an observation be made about religion, sports or politics than a post will be made attacking an argument never made in the original post.

    Merry Christmas everyone! Just know if the Good Book is to believed then some, but not all, will be saved in the kingdom of God. And if the words of Jesus are to be believed the fastest way to be on the outside looking in is to engage in condemnation of those you don’t think belong.

  15. Sarah says:

    So, Dan (and presumably Bob, who seems to assent to Dan’s comment), does this mean no one should argue about religion at all? Or just not on the internet? I’m confused. And it seems as though you’re saying we shouldn’t argue–instead, we should just trust that Dan and Bob’s final take on the “Good Book” is what we all should believe? Sounds a little snowflakey to me . . . . . .

    • Bob Murphy says:


      I’m happy to engage in productive online arguments. When someone repeatedly mischaracterizes my view and drops insults at me on my own blog, I owe that person nothing and there is little point in debating (in my opinion).

      I will have another post on faith vs. works on Sunday. If you want to disagree with me at that time, I will be happy to respond to you, but I would ask that you try to keep it substantive rather than calling me a snowflake etc.

    • Dan says:

      No, it means you shouldn’t waste your time arguing with idiots or people who are weirdly hostile for no reason. Not sure how you could miss that since I spelled it out pretty explicitly. You can do as you please, though. If you get joy from arguing with people acting like jackasses or being one yourself, then have at it.

      Also, when you go around calling people snowflake in every post you sound like some huge nerd that just learned some hilarious (in your mind) new insult. I’d lose that one and come up with something more clever, or at least use it more sparingly.

      • Bob Murphy says:

        Dan, I think she was responding to “Dan W.” who said this post proves that arguing religion is fruitless (or words to that effect). She wasn’t responding to your comments.

        • Dan says:

          Ahh, I missed that. I stand by my view on using the term snowflake, though. You can get away with it if used sparingly or in the right way, but it is without a doubt one of the nerdiest new insults.

          I might be biased though because I work with a guy that uses it at least twice a day, and he is the definition of a nerd. Really nice guy and one of the people I like BSing with the most, but a huge dork.

  16. Sarah says:

    Bob, okay, I’ll just call you a wimp, then (kidding, no offense intended). I read the Tim Staples article linked to by Henry above. Thought it was excellent. Will you rebut it point by point in your next post?

    • Bob Murphy says:

      Hi Sarah,

      Yes I will respond to it. I was toying with the idea anyway, and since you chimed in to say you thought it was very persuasive, that sealed the deal.

      If I were a snowflake I would no longer exist, living in Texas.

  17. Major.Freedom says:

    Henry, everyone is heretical, superficial, incoherent, uninformed, and sanctimonious from time to time.

    Yourself included.

  18. Sarah says:

    Whoa, Dan, settle down, bro. And ouch, that “huge nerd” insult sure hurt! Okay, I’ll leave you guys alone now. Cool bros like you have better things to do than debate important spiritual matters, apparently . . . . Glad to see someone busted you out of your little comfort zones, though. You might want to be nerdy and actually read those articles Henry sent, BTW. They’re good/thoughtful!

    • skylien says:

      I have read the links posted by Henry. Unfortunately it deals with something else and does not answer my questions.

  19. Phil says:

    ” the stumbling block is that some people don’t want to be honest about their own guilt.”

    As has been the case since the time of Adam. Rather than accept their guilt, men (and women) have gone to great pains to deny wrongdoing and project their guilt elsewhere.

    “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” (Rom 3:23)
    “None is righteous, no, not one.” (Rom 3:10)

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