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A Letter To A Christian Friend


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Some of you here may know Scott, a Christian who used to post here. I missed whatever happened that got him banned, but I noticed he was from Alabama and decided to say hello one night. This was about a month ago. We talk on a regular basis, and he sent me an email and requested my thoughts. His email was on the existance of God; I replied to his points with the following letter:

 

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The Ultimate, Jehovah, and the Progenitor:

A Letter to a Christian Friend.

 

 

 

You say God exists. What do you mean by God? The meaning of god varies. We say “Money is his god”, meaning that money is what this person’s life is focused on. This is merely metaphor. “God” is also used to identify the creator of the universe. By “God”, people in the western world are usually referring to the Ultimate. By “Ultimate”, I mean the all that is; a being that is omniscience, omnipotent, and omnipresent. But most people in the western world think of the Biblical god, Jehovah, in the sense of being the Ultimate. And that is where I shall base this letter from.

 

Your first point to me was that the Creation of the World proves the existence of God. “It’s here, so something made it”. But apply the same thinking to God -- “the earth is here, so God made it. God is here, so something made God. What made God?”. Your head will explode trying to wrap itself around that. We humans are linear beings; everything we know of has a start and a finish. We are born, we age, we die. Stars are born, they age, they die. But the Ultimate is not linear. The Ultimate is incomprehensible. But we can reason a little. We can talk about the Ultimate abstractedly, using metaphors and the like. We say God is a loving father, a wise shepherd, a vengeful warrior, a jealous lover. We make the Ultimate a little like us so that we can better understand it. But why would the Ultimate create the earth? There’s no real reason to make all this, the planets and stars and even galaxies.

 

Many people try to say that Jehovah is the Ultimate. This is bunk. If the Bible is to believed, then humanity was created to worship God. Why does the All That Is need to be worshipped? Why would it want this? It doesn’t need it, and it doesn’t want it. The Bible shows God having emotions, much like us: but why would the Ultimate have emotions? It wouldn’t. And this isn’t a case of making of making the Ultimate more knowable; it’s simply not possible. It would be like seeing a mountain and saying “The mountain is excited”. Mountains can’t feel emotions; they can’t even act like they feel emotions. We could say “The storm is angry and be correct in ascribing the emotion to the storm, The storm is doing things that angry beings do; it moves, makes noises, destroys things. But the mountain is just there. The Ultimate cannot have emotions even ascribed to it. So Jehovah, who purportedly created humans to worship him, and who feels emotions, is not the Ultimate.

 

So maybe there is some being out there that created the Earth and humans simply to worship him, because he has an ego and it needs to be stroked. But he’s done a poor job of it. First of all, he has requirements for being able to worship him. If he simply wants to be worshipped by free-willed creatures, why limit the amount of creatures doing the worshipping? The more the better, right? But the Bible has rules. And even more puzzling, only one little tribe has been told “Worship Me”. Why is Jehovah limiting his worship pool further? Why not tell the other humans, like he did with the people of Nineveh? And why stop telling people what to do after a few thousand years? Fear is a powerful motivator, and it seems to be the biggest tool Jehovah has. But bushes don’t burn anymore. There’s no celestial drama. This makes no sense if Jehovah is real. If Jehovah is not real, and the Bible is simply the workings of one tribe of humans, it makes a lot of sense. They want to believe they’re better than everyone else. They want people to follow the rules, do what they say. They want to justify mass murder and ruthless exploitation. This is why I don’t believe in the idea of Jehovah. It’s not plausible. As Gene Roddenberry put it, “We must question the story logic of an all-knowing, all-powerful God who creates faulty humans and blames them for his own mistakes.”

 

So the Ultimate God didn’t make Earth, and the Jehovah god didn’t because he’s nonexistent. What about the Progenitor god? What do I mean by the Progenitor god? First, I must say that there is a big difference between being God -- the Ultimate -- and having the attributes of God, like power. This is obvious; Clarke’s law states that any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic. But just because a being is bigger and more powerful, that does not mean they are to be worshipped as a god.

 

I believe in the possibility of a Progenitor, or a group of Progenitors. By Progenitor, I mean a being capable of creating life on earth, or at least manipulating things to make the arrival of life more probable. Perhaps the Progenitor is even powerful enough to create the Universe. But why? That question will be answered when I address your third point.

 

Your second point to me was that you felt we all had the innate desire to worship something, to be a part of, something greater than ourselves. I do not believe this to be true. Religion is a part of almost every culture on the earth, but so is science. This does not mean there is some sort of celestial homing beacon in us that draws us toward a divine presence. It proves only that we are sentient; we are self-aware, and we wish to explain ourselves and our environment. I have said that religion and science are two horns on the same bull -- both seek to explain the whence and the whither. This brings me to your third point.

 

Your third point was that you believed we needed purpose to exist, and that that purpose was to worship Jehovah. We do not need purpose. Does a rock lying in the middle of a desert have a purpose? No. It’s just there. It can be picked up and used as a hammer, or used as a weapon, but it has no inherent purpose. And neither do we. We are biological organisms: our only purpose is live as long as we possibly can and to reproduce so that something of us lives on even after we meet our eventual demise. This is why salmon swim upstream and why whales cross the globe and why lightening bugs shine in the night, luring children to trap them inside jars for their amusement. The propagation of life is our only purpose. Life exists to make more life. And all other purposes derive from this purpose. We want to be rich to make life easier and longer. We want to be powerful so make sure that nothing can end our life. We go to college to make our life more bearable and to become rich and powerful. My own purpose comes from my chosen philosophy, that of humanism: I want to help humanity in general, to contribute to learning, to see humanity itself prosper. I have developed a larger view, one that helps me and helps humanity. I once asked a cynic who had converted to Christianity why he had. He said he didn’t want to go to Hell. He dropped out of church a few weeks later. The only reason to believe in religion once science has explained what religion failed to is because we are driven by that motive to survive. And even though we know we will die, we want to think that some part of us will live on, so we put our trust in Jehovah to make sure we live eternally. We do what the pastor says, no matter how absurd, because we do not want to displease Jehovah, because we do not want to suffer. It all comes down to life trying its damndest, trying to survive.

 

But what if the Progenitor idea is accurate, the idea that there is some very powerful being or a number of beings who created us. Why? Art or science, maybe a little of both, is what I can figure out; the same reason we observe petri dish cultures and expose a tank of gas to UV light and wait for life to arise: to see what happens, for self-expression. And that is my answer to your questions.

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Thanks for sharing, smellincoffee...

 

I had a thought a couple of days ago, while working through these threads, what had happened to ol' Scotty. He was interesting. Couldn't argue his way around a Kleenex tissue, but...interesting.

 

I liked your responses to him, maybe he'll do some real thinking.

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You say God exists. What do you mean by God? The meaning of god varies. We say “Money is his god”, meaning that money is what this person’s life is focused on. This is merely metaphor. “God” is also used to identify the creator of the universe. By “God”, people in the western world are usually referring to the Ultimate. By “Ultimate”, I mean the all that is; a being that is omniscience, omnipotent, and omnipresent. But most people in the western world think of the Biblical god, Jehovah, in the sense of being the Ultimate. And that is where I shall base this letter from.

 

 

 

Well "omnipotent" is a meaningless term to me. Some would call Jesus "omnipotent" I suppose and yet he wasn't everywhere at once, nor did he cure all. But let's see where we can get anyway

 

Your first point to me was that the Creation of the World proves the existence of God. “It’s here, so something made it”. But apply the same thinking to God -- “the earth is here, so God made it. God is here, so something made God. What made God?”. Your head will explode trying to wrap itself around that. We humans are linear beings; everything we know of has a start and a finish. We are born, we age, we die. Stars are born, they age, they die. But the Ultimate is not linear. The Ultimate is incomprehensible. But we can reason a little. We can talk about the Ultimate abstractedly, using metaphors and the like. We say God is a loving father, a wise shepherd, a vengeful warrior, a jealous lover. We make the Ultimate a little like us so that we can better understand it. But why would the Ultimate create the earth? There’s no real reason to make all this, the planets and stars and even galaxies.

 

This isn't really an argument against the existence of God, just as "God must have created it" is not much of an argument for his existence. I don't see much point in arguing it.

 

Many people try to say that Jehovah is the Ultimate. This is bunk. If the Bible is to believed, then humanity was created to worship God. Why does the All That Is need to be worshipped? Why would it want this? It doesn’t need it, and it doesn’t want it.

 

Probably he doesn't care much. I think the church, not to mention skeptics have failed to understandwhat Jesus meant by "they must worship him in spirit and in truth." It's not for his sake we worship I don't think, but for ours. And I don't see anywhere it's called a requirement for salvation anyway. You are making some unsupportable assumptions here I think.

 

The Bible shows God having emotions, much like us: but why would the Ultimate have emotions? It wouldn’t. And this isn’t a case of making of making the Ultimate more knowable; it’s simply not possible. It would be like seeing a mountain and saying “The mountain is excited”. Mountains can’t feel emotions; they can’t even act like they feel emotions. We could say “The storm is angry and be correct in ascribing the emotion to the storm, The storm is doing things that angry beings do; it moves, makes noises, destroys things. But the mountain is just there. The Ultimate cannot have emotions even ascribed to it. So Jehovah, who purportedly created humans to worship him, and who feels emotions, is not the Ultimate.

 

Well thankfully God isn't as cold as a mountain. Forgetting the OT God for a moment, what do you find so unspiritual about Jesus' emotions, eg when he wept over Jerusalem and said "how often I would have gathered you together as a hen gathers her chicks"?

 

So maybe there is some being out there that created the Earth and humans simply to worship him, because he has an ego and it needs to be stroked.

 

A straw man I think, and rather simplistic given what apologists have written about that.

 

But he’s done a poor job of it. First of all, he has requirements for being able to worship him. If he simply wants to be worshipped by free-willed creatures, why limit the amount of creatures doing the worshipping?

 

How is he limiting them other than to insist they worship him "in spirit and in truth."

 

The more the better, right?

 

Well only if they aren't hypocritical or full of pride. He has enough of those worshippers already. In fact that is one of your won objections is it not? He accepts too many people you say he shouldn't. You can't have it both ways. As it is the Christian God was happy to take a life-long thief to paradise merely for declaring Jesus a righteous person apparently.

 

But the Bible has rules. And even more puzzling, only one little tribe has been told “Worship Me”. Why is Jehovah limiting his worship pool further? Why not tell the other humans, like he did with the people of Nineveh? And why stop telling people what to do after a few thousand years? Fear is a powerful motivator, and it seems to be the biggest tool Jehovah has. But bushes don’t burn anymore. There’s no celestial drama. This makes no sense if Jehovah is real. If Jehovah is not real, and the Bible is simply the workings of one tribe of humans, it makes a lot of sense. They want to believe they’re better than everyone else. They want people to follow the rules, do what they say. They want to justify mass murder and ruthless exploitation. This is why I don’t believe in the idea of Jehovah. It’s not plausible. As Gene Roddenberry put it, “We must question the story logic of an all-knowing, all-powerful God who creates faulty humans and blames them for his own mistakes.”

 

Well ignorant people call me a "fundy", but I think the OT God was blamed for all sorts of the devil's work, as Jesus explicitly says. Job blamed God for all kinds of stuff the devil was doing to him.

 

Your third point was that you believed we needed purpose to exist, and that that purpose was to worship Jehovah. We do not need purpose. Does a rock lying in the middle of a desert have a purpose? No. It’s just there. It can be picked up and used as a hammer, or used as a weapon, but it has no inherent purpose. And neither do we. We are biological organisms: our only purpose is live as long as we possibly can and to reproduce so that something of us lives on even after we meet our eventual demise. This is why salmon swim upstream and why whales cross the globe and why lightening bugs shine in the night, luring children to trap them inside jars for their amusement. The propagation of life is our only purpose. Life exists to make more life. And all other purposes derive from this purpose. We want to be rich to make life easier and longer. We want to be powerful so make sure that nothing can end our life. We go to college to make our life more bearable and to become rich and powerful. My own purpose comes from my chosen philosophy, that of humanism: I want to help humanity in general, to contribute to learning, to see humanity itself prosper. I have developed a larger view, one that helps me and helps humanity. I once asked a cynic who had converted to Christianity why he had. He said he didn’t want to go to Hell. He dropped out of church a few weeks later. The only reason to believe in religion once science has explained what religion failed to is because we are driven by that motive to survive.

 

No, that's part of it, but not all of it. I had no idea I would last more than a week as a Christian. I became one because of my conscience. I realized Jesus was the most righteous person who ever lived, and that he deserved a shot at fixing my heart. I just knew no body else could. I also had a thirst for the righteousness he seemed somehow able to impart. It was about my spiritual thirst at the time, not just "survival" like some sort of animal instinct.

 

And even though we know we will die, we want to think that some part of us will live on, so we put our trust in Jehovah to make sure we live eternally. We do what the pastor says, no matter how absurd, because we do not want to displease Jehovah, because we do not want to suffer. It all comes down to life trying its damndest, trying to survive.

 

But what if the Progenitor idea is accurate, the idea that there is some very powerful being or a number of beings who created us. Why? Art or science, maybe a little of both, is what I can figure out; the same reason we observe petri dish cultures and expose a tank of gas to UV light and wait for life to arise: to see what happens, for self-expression. And that is my answer to your questions.

 

Don't you agree it is a little arrogant on both sides to try to answer these as if we knew much? I mean science is always finding out it knows a lot and understands nothing. Now e have to admit the possibility of 10 more dimensions and a parallel universe or two. How do we know that both the Christian mystics and the string theorists are not talking about the same thing? We don't know. If the Christians are guessing, I think it's fair to say their guess is, the more science "learns," to be as good as yours. The more science learns, the less it seems to explain. We haven't even learned how complex life and the universe is I don't think, yet we speak as if we know enough.

 

Rad

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Well said.

Probably way over Scott's head... But every seed planted has a chance to grow.

 

He hasn't responded to me yet, but I enjoy discussing things with him.

 

Rad:

 

First of all, thank you for your response. :)

 

It's not for his sake we worship I don't think, but for ours. And I don't see anywhere it's called a requirement for salvation anyway. .

 

For our sake? What does worship do for us? I came out of the Pentecostal church, where worship is not only expected, it's required. They don't have "song service", it's worship service.

 

Forgetting the OT God for a moment, what do you find so unspiritual about Jesus' emotions, eg when he wept over Jerusalem and said "how often I would have gathered you together as a hen gathers her chicks"?

 

How can we forget the OT God if we're not forgetting Jesus, since the vast majority churches hold that Jesus was God's son or God himself?

 

A straw man I think, and rather simplistic given what apologists have written about that.

 

The god you were taught to believe in may be different from the one I was taught to beleive in; and as soon as I considered in an objective fashion the god I was taught to believe then, I realized that this WAS the only reason their biblically-based doctrine gave me for my existance; to worship God.

 

How is he limiting them other than to insist they worship him "in spirit and in truth."

 

I'm referring to the amount of tedious rules present in the Bible concerning sacrifice and worship.

 

 

Well only if they aren't hypocritical or full of pride. He has enough of those worshippers already. In fact that is one of your won objections is it not? He accepts too many people you say he shouldn't. You can't have it both ways. As it is the Christian God was happy to take a life-long thief to paradise merely for declaring Jesus a righteous person apparently.

 

I believe you're replying to my comment out of context -- God seemingly ignored the rest of the world, with few exceptions. The Hebrews are no different from the rest of humanity, other than having a distant progentior, Abraham, who God took a liking to. Why should accident of birth dictate eternal destiny?

 

Job blamed God for all kinds of stuff the devil was doing to him.

 

The devil was doing those things to Job at God's bidding -- "Have you considered Job?" God didn't need to test Job; if he's omniscient, then he already knew that Job had integriy. The book of Job was probably written to discourage people from asking why God allows bad things to happen; when Job asked God why, God's response was "I'm God, you're not." How is this "just"?

 

It was about my spiritual thirst at the time.

 

As someone with a naturalistic worldview, I don't believe in spirits and by extension spiritual thirst, so I have to read that as a metaphor. As I have no spiritual thirst that I'm aware of, I don't see that we can find common ground here. But if you want righteousness, you don't need it handed it down to you.

 

Don't you agree it is a little arrogant on both sides to try to answer these as if we knew much? I mean science is always finding out it knows a lot and understands nothing

 

True wisdom is knowing you know nothing. To me, discovering something isn't important; its the satisfaction I glean in trying to figure out things. The end result is a mere footnote, the last chapter in a book; what makes the book enjoyable is all of the chapters that preceded that one.

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First of all, thank you for your response. :)

 

Sure

 

 

For our sake? What does worship do for us? I came out of the Pentecostal church, where worship is not only expected, it's required. They don't have "song service", it's worship service.

 

Well I have a sneaking suspicion a lot of ex-Christians came out of churches where people were just going through the motions and inventing demands they assumed God was making. I suspect God himself helped most ex-Christians escape legalistic churches, given Jesus' views on the subject. I personally think most of the church is dead right now, content with a kind of spiritual materialism and external appearances. I would not know where to tell a skeptic to go to church in most places. I just encourage them to think and experiment for themselves and avoid what I call "atheist fundamentalism." I define "fundies" as those who think in black and white- I really don't care what creed they adopt or reject.

 

 

How can we forget the OT God if we're not forgetting Jesus, since the vast majority churches hold that Jesus was God's son or God himself?

 

This is not a rational argument. The entire church could be wrong and stll you should decide for yourself. You can't argue both that we should think for ourselves and then argue that "I'm just going by what the church says."

 

 

The god you were taught to believe in may be different from the one I was taught to beleive in; and as soon as I considered in an objective fashion the god I was taught to believe then, I realized that this WAS the only reason their biblically-based doctrine gave me for my existance; to worship God.

 

Well I wasn't taught anything really, at least not anything I swallowed whole. I was an atheist who became a Christian when I was 26, after reading the NT for myself. I still have big issues with most pat church doctrine, little of which communicates anything spiritual. "You cannot tell where [the Spirit] comes from or where it goes." You just have to be open to getting in it's way- at least that is how I was able to witness a couple genuine revivals and in one case aphysical manifestation of the Shekinah glory.

 

 

 

I'm referring to the amount of tedious rules present in the Bible concerning sacrifice and worship.

 

Yes and I might agree they are tedious in the OT sense, but don't you think Jesus kind of did away with those by summing them all up and saying faith in him fulfilled all? I mean isn't that why a lot of Christians are Christians, who formerly dissed all that as you do? It's a huge relief to me that I do not have to do all that and couldn't anyway. Why shouldn't I believe God knew I could never meet the requirements of the law, as Paul explicitly says, and eventually did it for me. If he had not given me the demands of the law, I would never know how far short I was.

 

 

I believe you're replying to my comment out of context -- God seemingly ignored the rest of the world, with few exceptions. The Hebrews are no different from the rest of humanity, other than having a distant progentior, Abraham, who God took a liking to. Why should accident of birth dictate eternal destiny?

 

Well I don't think it does. Of course I don't find anything in the NT which says nonbelievers and ignorant people are automatically lost. In fact Peter clearly says they are "better off" than those who heard it and rejected it.

 

 

The devil was doing those things to Job at God's bidding -- "Have you considered Job?" God didn't need to test Job; if he's omniscient, then he already knew that Job had integriy. The book of Job was probably written to discourage people from asking why God allows bad things to happen; when Job asked God why, God's response was "I'm God, you're not." How is this "just"?

 

That's that whole P of E argument, which I think is easily dismissed by a single question. If Jesus came back and healed 82% of all people in hospitals and saved 71% of all people who ever existed, would you follow and serve him or not? That is the question, for if it happens all these "arguments" won't mean much. If he is real then most "arguments" will boil down to subjective moral decisions that were made and rationalized. I'm saying he could exist and not be "just" or "good' or "omnibenevolent" or "omnipotent" in your eyes, and yet others would say he certainly was.

 

 

 

As someone with a naturalistic worldview, I don't believe in spirits and by extension spiritual thirst, so I have to read that as a metaphor. As I have no spiritual thirst that I'm aware of, I don't see that we can find common ground here. But if you want righteousness, you don't need it handed it down to you.

 

Based on the sorry history of the world, I would respectfully disagree. And I might suggest our generic ignorance of our need is more proof the problem exists and is unsolvable by anything but an act of God himself.

 

 

True wisdom is knowing you know nothing. To me, discovering something isn't important; its the satisfaction I glean in trying to figure out things.

 

Well I have to agree. However, is it possible a few Christians might be more open-minded and might possibly discover what you cannot?

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Rad:

 

Judging from your remarks, I'm beginning to think that the bedrock of your faith is your own personal experience, and not devotion to Biblical literalism and inerrancy. Is this observation accurate?

 

 

This is not a rational argument. The entire church could be wrong and stll you should decide for yourself. You can't argue both that we should think for ourselves and then argue that "I'm just going by what the church says."

 

I don't take the Bible literally myself, but when discussing these matters with someone who does, I rely on my past experiences in church to tell me how to go about discussing.

 

You just have to be open to getting in it's way- at least that is how I was able to witness a couple genuine revivals and in one case aphysical manifestation of the Shekinah glory.

 

What do you mean by aphysical manifestation? I've been told of "blue clouds" hovering over intense worship services, but the fact that these apparations was only seen by an elite few discounts them, in my opinion.

 

Yes and I might agree they are tedious in the OT sense, but don't you think Jesus kind of did away with those by summing them all up and saying faith in him fulfilled all?

 

He fulfilled, augmented, and did away with many of the laws. People like to pick which ones they want to ignore and which ones they want to adhere to. They want salvation justified only by faith (as opposed to faith with works) but like to justify homophobia.

 

 

That's that whole P of E argument, which I think is easily dismissed by a single question. If Jesus came back and healed 82% of all people in hospitals and saved 71% of all people who ever existed, would you follow and serve him or not?

 

Depends on why he didn't heal the rest of the people in the hospital and save the rest of the people who existed.

 

Based on the sorry history of the world, I would respectfully disagree. And I might suggest our generic ignorance of our need is more proof the problem exists and is unsolvable by anything but an act of God himself.

 

From what I read, humanity is generally progressing; sometimes stumbling, but generally moving in the right direction. There are gross injustices in the world, but there used to be many more. I used to think that I needed God to "fix" me; but I realized I could fix myself.

 

 

However, is it possible a few Christians might be more open-minded and might possibly discover what you cannot?

 

More open-minded? I don't consider myself close-minded. I was two years ago, when I was a fundamentalist Christian, but nowadays I don't take anything for granted. I believe there is room in this universe for a God, and if one reveals itself to me, I would know there was one. But I don't see anything demonstrating that the Christian-Judeo god is around. Perhaps he is; but I haven't seen anything backing it up.

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Rad:

 

Judging from your remarks, I'm beginning to think that the bedrock of your faith is your own personal experience, and not devotion to Biblical literalism and inerrancy. Is this observation accurate?

 

Well it's a little more complicated than either-or. I do presume that if I test something Jesus says and it comes out true in my experience, then I presume other things he said are true and I must excercise some faith to find out. Only a couple of things he said give me much pause anymore. I don't like them all but I have found them infinitely valueable in my life. Call it blind faith if you like, but I don't think so.

 

 

I don't take the Bible literally myself, but when discussing these matters with someone who does, I rely on my past experiences in church to tell me how to go about discussing.

 

I thought you were talking about discerning what was true and what isn't, by observng Christians in general, which IMO is not a rational way of discerning truth.

 

 

What do you mean by aphysical manifestation? I've been told of "blue clouds" hovering over intense worship services, but the fact that these apparations was only seen by an elite few discounts them, in my opinion.

 

In this case it was a bright shimmering light concentrated over a person's leg which appraered for a few seconds and left. One and all saw it. It was truly awesome.

 

He fulfilled, augmented, and did away with many of the laws. People like to pick which ones they want to ignore and which ones they want to adhere to. They want salvation justified only by faith (as opposed to faith with works) but like to justify homophobia.

 

Well here you seem to be making general statements about the faults of people in the wider church, which as I said doesn't rationally prove anything. In fact it's an ad hom argument, no?

 

 

Depends on why he didn't heal the rest of the people in the hospital and save the rest of the people who existed.

 

Yes, that is what most skeptics say. The problem is, it means that proof is not really what you are looking for. You want proof PLUS God to be what you would personally call moral and "omnibenevolent." That's fine, but you can see why some would call this hypothetical God "omnipotent" and "Omnibenevolent" while you would not. Surely their moral judgement is as valid as yours? You see the problem I am talking about I hope.

 

 

 

From what I read, humanity is generally progressing; sometimes stumbling, but generally moving in the right direction. There are gross injustices in the world, but there used to be many more. I used to think that I needed God to "fix" me; but I realized I could fix myself.

 

Well more people died from war, intentional starvation, political murder, other genocide and death in slave camps in the last century than in all the "religious" wars ever fought, and all wars put together probably, in all the previous history. So I am a little mystified as to how you can say that. Good grief, can you imagine Muslim extremists with nuclear weapons now?

 

More open-minded? I don't consider myself close-minded.

 

I'm not saying you are. I'm asking you if it's possible a Christian could be more open-minded toward the mysteries of the universe and the answers to them than you are because of you bad experiences. (?)

 

 

I would know there was one. But I don't see anything demonstrating that the Christian-Judeo god is around. Perhaps he is; but I haven't seen anything backing it up.

 

Well you seem fairly open, but remember my hypothetical question about Jesus returning. Obviously "proof" is insufficient for you to serve God. As I said, it's fine to insist on certain morals, but it shows that it wouldn't do God much good to prove anything to you. You might still have an alergic reaction to him, so to speak, and find fault. Is it fair to say a God could exist and knows who is "willing to do his will" and who is not? Is it possible that it would actually be better to manifest himself another time to some people, rather than just create a bunch of people who claim to agree with him, but really don't think he is a just God? I think this explains why so many Christians find out he's real AFTER they "will to do his will" and know nothing of God before?

 

Sure God could do all these signs and wonders and prove himself, but since he would create a zillion hypocritical "believers" who think his will is wrong, (and would doubtless say so!) that would be just foolish, no?

 

Rad

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In this case it was a bright shimmering light concentrated over a person's leg which appraered for a few seconds and left. One and all saw it. It was truly awesome.

 

You'll excuse me for being a bit skeptical Was this persons' leg being healed?

 

 

Well here you seem to be making general statements about the faults of people in the wider church, which as I said doesn't rationally prove anything. In fact it's an ad hom argument, no?

 

No -- the point stands. How do you decide which parts of the Old Testament you want to stand by, and which ones you want to toss out? Jesus said he hadn't come to change the law one jot or tiddle, but to fulfill it. How does the death of someone fulfill a law about stoning a child for disobeying hir parents? And Jesus did change laws by more than a jot or a tiddle; he made people accountable for their thoughts and actions.

 

Well more people died from war, intentional starvation, political murder, other genocide and death in slave camps in the last century than in all the "religious" wars ever fought, and all wars put together probably, in all the previous history. So I am a little mystified as to how you can say that. Good grief, can you imagine Muslim extremists with nuclear weapons now?

 

That's a sweeping generalization -- a war doesn't have to be obviously religious (the Crusades) to have been fueled by religion. In any case, we weren't even talking about religion starting wars.

 

Well you seem fairly open, but remember my hypothetical question about Jesus returning. Obviously "proof" is insufficient for you to serve God.

 

The issue being discussed isn't whether I'd serve God or not; it's about if there's a God out there who wants to be served.

 

Sure God could do all these signs and wonders and prove himself, but since he would create a zillion hypocritical "believers" who think his will is wrong, (and would doubtless say so!) that would be just foolish, no?

 

No more foolish than creating everything to begin with knowing how many woud reject him.

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You'll excuse me for being a bit skeptical Was this persons' leg being healed?

 

 

 

 

Yes. So what. We all saw it and talked about it for a long time. You stated only an "elite few" see such things. That is simply your own experience talking, not mine.

 

 

No -- the point stands. How do you decide which parts of the Old Testament you want to stand by, and which ones you want to toss out? Jesus said he hadn't come to change the law one jot or tiddle, but to fulfill it. How does the death of someone fulfill a law about stoning a child for disobeying hir parents? And Jesus did change laws by more than a jot or a tiddle; he made people accountable for their thoughts and actions.

 

If you like. I'm merely saying it is irrational to argue that bad doctrine proves anything. That's simply a form of ad hominem.

 

 

That's a sweeping generalization --

 

Not at all. It's historical fact.

 

a war doesn't have to be obviously religious (the Crusades) to have been fueled by religion. In any case, we weren't even talking about religion starting wars.

 

You said things are getting better. I think history, esp recent history proves otherwise, but we can avoid the question from now on if you like and let the readers can decide.

 

The issue being discussed isn't whether I'd serve God or not; it's about if there's a God out there who wants to be served.

 

And I'm saying why you don't know and can't know based on the arguments you presented. You made a PoE argument above. I'm simply saying why such arguments are not very objective. But the answer is yes, he wants to be served by those who "will to do his will." I have shown why it would be foolish of him to want anyone else serving him. I have also shown that is is an oversimplification to say God is "limiting" who can worship him. I think we are the only limitation there, and as I said, it's not a requirement for salvation anyway.

 

 

No more foolish than creating everything to begin with knowing how many woud reject him.

 

I don't necessarily agree he knows every single person's fate, names date of death, etc before they are born.. I find it interesting so many skeptics insist he (hypothetically) knows all this, because I can't find it in the Bible. I know the probable fate of most people just from experience and observing their habits over a long time. I will admit though that I do not know for sure.

 

But at least note this is simply a moral objection, not a rational argument for the non-existence of God. I think the question is whether, if Jesus returned and offered them salvation, if they would forget a lot of their scruples. I think they would.

 

BTW, how the heck do you edit stuff here? Is there a button?

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Yes. So what.

 

This is unrelated to the topic at hand; I was only asking out of curiosity.

 

Not at all. It's historical fact.

 

Politics and religion have been tightly interwoven through most of human history. Can you imagine how human history would have proceeded had the Christian monarchs of medieval Europe, or their Sacaren counterparts, been equipped with nuclear arms?

 

I think history, esp recent history proves otherwise....

 

Are you referring to the problems of the middle east?

 

I'm simply saying why such arguments are not very objective.

 

If I fail to be objective, the fault is my own. I'm relatively new at this -- and it's difficult to remain objective when the question at hand concerns ones purported eternal destination. I'm working on it, though.

 

I find it interesting so many skeptics insist he (hypothetically) knows all this, because I can't find it in the Bible.

 

Psalm 147:5 KJV

Great is our Lord, and of great power:

his understanding is infinite.

 

That's just one verse I know of. There's another I'm trying to remember.

 

 

As for the editing, I don't know.

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