Some questions

Sent in by Gina L

I was born and raised in a strict Catholic family. Since the time I was a child I questioned certain things about Christianity that I never found answers to.

First, if God is all-knowing, he knew Adam and Eve would sin. He knew he'd redeem sinners through his son Jesus. He also knew that many people wouldn't live up to the standards to allow entry into heaven, thus condemning them to an eternity in hell. The New Testament stresses the loving, forgiving nature of God. But what I have always wondered is, if "God is Love" then why would he create us knowing most of us will be damned for all of eternity.

Second, if we need to live a certain way and believe certain things in order to obtain salvation, why are our lives so short? Doesn't it seem like an insurmountable task to be completed in an average lifespan?

Thirdly, if we were created in "the image of God" and God loves all of us as his children, why is the feminine aspect of our nature so suppressed? Are only men truly created in the likeness of God?

And another thing...why is such a sin to believe in mystical experiences or psychic phenomena even if they bring to us a feeling of love, peace, compassion, acceptance and all the other things that a loving, peaceful and compassionate god would value?

I believe in good and evil in the world, but I'm having a really hard time finding answers that clarify these things for me. And I really think that God would want us to understand them to encourage us to become closer to him, leading us eventually to heaven for all of eternity.

And why are none of these types of things ever addressed in church? Why doesn't the priest's homily ever help us understand this? Is it because if he addressed the topic, he'd have to admit he wonders the same thing?

59 comments:

mike said...

It seems that when the bible is put under the test of reason, it fails in a big way.

I have heard christians say that god did know that Adam and Eve would sin. But, he made it that way so he could prove his love to the world. What a stupid plan. Seams to me god could just love people and then it would be obvious.

Schwarzwald said...

I'm glad you mentioned the question about God and why the Feminine is so suppressed. I've wondered about this as well.

God says He detests homosexuality. Fine. Then why do I get the impression based on the fact Christ chose only men to be His Disciples that there appears to be a problem with God and women? There's also the strange conversation between Jesus and Peter in John 21:21-23 that has me scratching my head.

God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. All male. Wow. There's definitely a big thing against women with believing in God the "super" Male.

Another thing. How can God the Father want men to "love" Him when all there is are doctrines and sayings that teach God is male? God is against homosexuality yet straight men are being asked to "love" a male God. Try figuring out that one.

Todd G said...

The whole thing that gets me is like you said if God is all knowing then why did he create people at all when Jesus said most people will go to hell. A loving and merciful god does not create people that their only purpose in life is to suffer. On top of that most "christians" are not people i would want to spend eternity with. Also according to the bible most of my family and friends are going to hell and i would rather be with them for eternity anyways. I could not enjoy heaven if i knew that my friends and family were in hell. Christians say god makes you forget about the people in hell but i don't want to.

Rich said...

Here is the problem. You are trying to make sense out of biblical notions that are basically nonsense. It cannot be done. The bible is a total mish-mash written by ignorant barbarians and massaged over and over again by theologians with agendas.

Forget about the bible. Forget about the supernatural. There is only nature and our job as humans is to love one another and to try to understand nature. Some brilliant men and women have worked out a lot of answers for us. Study science and listen to scientists not charlatans. Logic and reason are your surest guide to fulfillment and happiness in this life.

Anonymous said...

And to add to it 99.999999% of humanity will go to Hell and only a minuscule fraction will go the Heaven. Wouldn't an intelligent designer have figured out a better way of saving everyone? Even a bank have better return on a stupid checking acount!

Micah Cowan said...

But what I have always wondered is, if "God is Love" then why would he create us knowing most of us will be damned for all of eternity.

Heh. The Apostle Paul answers this question quite clearly and unmistakably (Rom 9:17-22):

For the Scripture says to Pharaoh: “I raised you up for this very purpose, that I might display my power in you and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.” Therefore God has mercy on whom he wants to have mercy, and he hardens whom he wants to harden.

One of you will say to me: “Then why does God still blame us? For who resists his will?” But who are you, O man, to talk back to God? “Shall what is formed say to him who formed it, ‘Why did you make me like this?’” Does not the potter have the right to make out of the same lump of clay some pottery for noble purposes and some for common use?

What if God, choosing to show his wrath and make his power known, bore with great patience the objects of his wrath–prepared for destruction?


So, in a nutshell, the answer is: “God can do whatever the fuck He wants.” Oh yeah, and “don't fucking question Him—He's God!”

Anonymous said...

Michellendresslerfan, there is nothing more gay than Christianity.

Christian men are called to be the bride of Christ,..and fundies are against gay marraige? That's weird. peace,freedy

Anonymous said...

I agree with what rich said. There are many other sources of insight besides the Bible. There are modern philosophers who have wrestled with questions of good and evil. Freeing your mind from the premise that the Bible has all the answers is the first step. Over time, you can discover what you believe--discover what you think makes sense. {One writer who stays in the Christian camp is Bishop John Sprong.] One important part of the process: sometimes the Church tells you that you don't have a right to question. Reject that completely. Fight for your own mind, fight for your own integrity as a person. I wish you well in the process. The end result is being able to know what you believe and believing something that does not offend your own common sense. Good luck with it!

imaginary sky daddy said...

Micah Cowan wrote:

So, in a nutshell, the answer is: “God can do whatever the fuck He wants.” Oh yeah, and “don't fucking question Him—He's God!”

If hell really did exist, then you'd be one of the first to split it wide open. You have just as a barbaric attitude as the stupid but yet smart barbarians that wrote the buybull. But to all reading this, I strongly stress the stupidity much more.

Praise "(j)ebus" lmao

But actually when you think about it, it's really not so funny, for all the misery that it's caused humanity. :-(

Anonymous said...

What is scary that religon still has a major impact on todays society and it seems to be something that is not going away soon.

I just don't understand how so many religions in the past became dead, such as Greek/Roman mostly are in darkness but Babble God still can be valid.

Also remember Baby Jesus Votes Republican. ( I had to say that)

Anonymous said...

The reason is it is hard to understand is so that we have to have faith. And don't go asking why we need to have faith because Almighty Dog will smite your ass with brimstone.

Brett Robson

Telmi said...

Rational questions, Gina.

It looks like you are on the road to discovering new things.

My response is to query whether the Bible God can be said to be all-loving or forgiving. At the risk of sounding repetitive, ad nauseam, I wish to say I was a Catholic but now close to being an atheist, simply after reading the Bible.

Have you read the Bible? I have long reached this conclusion: whether he exists or not, the Bible Dog, oops God, has been portrayed as a genocidal maniac, a sadomasochist, a capricious malevolent psychopath, a verbose, repetitive egotist heavily dependent on humans for assistance and worship, a freak obsessed with animal sacrifice and splashing/sprinkling of blood, a male chauvinist with a fixed bias in favor of the male or for a particular race etc.

If you have read the Bible from beginning to end, you would remember how the Bible God committed genocides himself, and punished people recklessly and unjustifiably, and instigated or encouraged the Hebrews, his followers, to kill and pillage. Do you want to continue believing in this God?

To believe in Jesus is to believe in this God. Jesus' teachings as found in the New Testament are really nothing to shout about. Much of the morality he taught already existed and practiced in other cultures. Jesus himself has issued condemnation of people who have no faith in him or the Bible God.

The Bible is full of crap or gibberish. I had thought of putting it in the trash bin, but held back beacause of the need I may have in drawing references for arguing my points, from time to time.

If you use reason, you will find discover that reason is far superior to belief [or faith?]

Yukkione said...

First, if the god character is omnipotent, then he had this whole convoluted tale of good and evil, sin and redemption planned from the get go. Another reason the story lacks believability.
Christians would have you believe that we die so soon because of sin. When in fact, we just wear out and succumb to disease. No mystery there. Live life while you’re here. It’s all you get.
The early Christian Church did not have such suppression. However, it was instituted shortly after by men in power. This is a hallmark of all Abrahamic religions. It’s no wonder new religions like Wicca have grown so fast because they give balance between the female and male aspects of the divine.
Psychic phenomenon is frowned on because the church has no control over it. They deem it all to come from the devil, unless of course it’s an image of the virgin in a piece of toast or on a wall somewhere.
Good and evil do not exist. That is to say in pure form. Theists like those terms because they are simple and it makes it easier to point out the “enemy”. Take Gandhi… He is considered good, but he denied his wife life saving medications and she died. (God did not heal her) Then when afflicted with the same disease, he took the medicine.
Basically churches stick to a few tried and true themes, especially in the US. That’s why Americans are so woefully ignorant about their own religion. However, they are very willing to go out and protest about gay people and the other pet issues of those that lead them. To address your issues in church might cause people to actually think. We don’t want that do we?

Anonymous said...

Gina,

You said "...I believe in good and evil in the world..."

That's as good as any place to comment. The world isn't "good" or "evil." Disease, famine, drought, death of young, innocent children, disasters, etc., are understood if you view the world through a different lens, one that espouses no agendae, either good or evil.

There is no god saving some and neglecting others, which eliminates the seemingly duplicitous nature of god. There is no devil scouring the planet for the souls of those of weak faith, eliminating the evils that men do as supernatural in origin.

We are flawed, striving creatures, a part of an earth that would just as easily have made reptiles the dominant species had they not died off. They ruled for millions of years. Man's dominance has been a fraction of that, and there's no promise that a cataclysmic extinction akin to the dinosaurs will not impact us in our future.

If you think that sounds bleak, I feel you miss my point. We must relish the time we are given on this planet. We must find beauty every day in things which seem insignificant. Living for an afterlife, which is but hearsay, is foolish, in my opinion.

It is interesting that, as a species, some lead, and the majority will follow. I followed christianity for MANY years. I now find that mankind has, in what would be considered the ultimate act of hubris, by many christians, come to the point in his evolution that precludes the need for a deity.

The time has come to put superstition, magic and the idea of a cold, stand-offish god away with the other "childish things," to quote the bible. ;)

I hope you will explore the questions you pose in more depth. You will, more than likely, come to the conclusion that many before have made: There is no god of christianity or islam, no jewish YHWH or hindu gods, no spirits, ghosts or spectres. Peace.

Lee

Spirula said...

Rational questions, Gina

Hence the problem. Rational questions about an irrational, contradictory book of mythology. That is why "faith" is required to believe it. Faith itself is irrational and unworthy of being considered a virtue.

Gina,
Sometimes it helps to look at Christianity (or religion/civilization in general) from an entirely different point of view. I would suggest Daniel Quinn's "Ishmael" or "The Story of B". BTW, Daniel Quinn started out training to become a Catholic monk.
("Ishmael" will appear strange for about the first 50 or so pages but then it will become quite clear what is really going on.)

Anonymous said...

HI Gina,

Really Really good Question. The explanation that I come up with is that you can't force someone to love you. You have to give them the choice. So God can create people with the possibility of his creation rejecting him or "sinning". I think also that many times we mix up what true love is. For example loving my daughter means sometimes having to say no and setting limits.

boomSLANG said...

The explanation that I come up with is that you can't force someone to love you. You have to give them the choice. So God can create people with the possibility of his creation rejecting him or "sinning". I think also that many times we mix up what true love is.

A mugger has a 44 magnum pressed against the temple of some married guy's head. The mugger gives the married guy a "choice"; either give up his wallet, or get his brains turned into red confetti. For some strange reason, the married guy is compelled to give up his wallet.

Two weeks later, the mugger is busted, and is eventually given court date. In court, the mugger pleads "not guilty", and when asked under what grounds, the mugger replies: "Well, I gave the poor married guy a choice....he didn't HAVE to give me his wallet."

So, as we see, this "God gives you a choice" analogy that theists like to tout is nothing more than coersion/blackmail. THAT is where the "mix up" is on what "love is".

Anonymous said...

It still comes down to the definition of love. Boomslang, how do you define love? Where does it come from? Is there such a thing?

webmdave said...

MG, love is a many-splendored thing, or so I’ve heard. But where love comes from or what it is, is irrelevant to this discussion. Boomer is right on. When your favorite deity says love me or else suffer the consequences and burn forever in horrific, torturous agony, without chance of parole, mercy, or even death to relieve you… that is not love. That, friend, is coercion of a very barbaric flavor.

boomSLANG said...

It still comes down to the definition of love.

Married guy,

You used a parent analogy to define "love", did you not? Okay, don't you want your daughter to love you of her own volition? Or it doesn't matter how she comes to love you, only "if" she does...even if that means threating her with physical violence? Please be honest.

Boomslang, how do you define love?

Who cares about my description of what love is? You could provide me with a description of what "logic" is, but that doesn't mean you adhere to it in any way.

Where does it come from?

"Love", in humans, comes from millions of years of evolving into civilized intelligent beings, who when in groups, have the innate primary goals of keeping the family together, as well as propagating the species.

Is there such a thing?

Yeah, but you won't find it in any Holy book.

Look, you can slice it, dice it, mix it up, weasle-word it 'til your typing fingers fall off. At the end of the day?... the message of Christianty is "Love Jesus...OR BURN". Nice.

Anonymous said...

Boom

imho your definition of hell seems to be merely the fundamentalists' definition. (Fire, torture, etc)

If hell is simply seperation from god and christians, is that not a place that you would want to go to?

boomSLANG said...

Evan: Boom

imho your definition of hell seems to be merely the fundamentalists' definition. (Fire, torture, etc)

If hell is simply seperation from god and christians, is that not a place that you would want to go to?


Evan, I would've thought my non-belief in gods was implicit, but I guess not. Okay, I'm an EX-member of your theology. Understand? That means, I don't believe in "Yahweh", "El", "Jesus", "Satan", "Lucifer", "Heaven", or "Hell". If I should respond under the premise that any or all of the aforementioned things exist, it is ONLY for the sake of argument.

To address your question---I get my "concept" of hell from the Christian handbook..i.e..the "holy Bible"---"merely", the very same place you get your concept of "God".

Now, if you'd like to adopt your own personal concept of "hell", and say that hell's not an actual "place" where an actual "devil" reigns supreme?..well fine, then we can say that "heaven" isn't an actual place where an actual "god" reigns supreme.

Thanks so much for clearing that up = )

Anonymous said...

Married Guy & evan:

First things first: do you have any proof that the supreme being you are talking about actually exists?

Anonymous said...

BoomSlang,

(You used a parent analogy to define "love", did you not? Okay, don't you want your daughter to love you of her own volition? Or it doesn't matter how she comes to love you, only "if" she does...even if that means threating her with physical violence? Please be honest.)

Love can only be volitional. You can't force someone to love you. If there is any coercion or manipulation it ceases to be love. That is actually where the mugger anology falls apart. You can't threaten someone to love you. You seem to be referring to child abuse and psychological manipulation. I do of course love my daughter (and my wife too). My daughter has not had to do anything for me to love her. (Eventhough she is incredibly cute, but she is only one) I am also fully aware that she is going to disobey me and make many mistakes, but that is not going to lessen my love for her because of her status as my daughter and my status as her father.


Thanks for the responses.

boomSLANG said...

Still married guy came back with: Love can only be volitional. You can't force someone to love you.

Right. So, okay.....let's review your initial post:

Married guy: "The explanation that I come up with is that you can't force someone to love you. You have to give them the choice. So God can create people with the possibility of his creation rejecting him or "sinning".[bold added]

For the second time---*the alleged "choice" that your "God" offers is NOT technically a "choice", but blatant coersion. Furthermore, when I spoke of "volition", I meant it as choosing to love out of the authentic/innate desire to do so, not out of the fear of the consequences for not doing so. Do you understand now? It seems you are equivocating a bit on this point.

Still married' continued: If there is any coercion or manipulation it ceases to be love.

If there is any coersion or manipultation... IT CEASES TO BE A CHOICE. Case in point. (See here* for a review)

Still married guy still trying: That is actually where the mugger anology falls apart. You can't threaten someone to love you.[bold added]

Um, then what do you call telling someone that they'll be incinerated in a "lake of fire" for not making the right "CHOICE"..i.e.."choosing God"? Are you telling me that's not a threat? What is it then?..reverse insentive? So, no..the mugger analogy works perfectly, unless of course, you "want" your brains blown out. lol

Closes with: I do of course love my daughter (and my wife too). My daughter has not had to do anything for me to love her. (Eventhough she is incredibly cute, but she is only one) I am also fully aware that she is going to disobey me and make many mistakes, but that is not going to lessen my love for her because of her status as my daughter and my status as her father.

Thank you for sharing, and also circumventing the entire point.

Bye now.

J. C. Samuelson said...

If I may add just one thing to boom's excellent response...

"I do of course love my daughter (and my wife too). My daughter has not had to do anything for me to love her. (Eventhough she is incredibly cute, but she is only one) I am also fully aware that she is going to disobey me and make many mistakes, but that is not going to lessen my love for her because of her status as my daughter and my status as her father."

As a father, I identify with these sentiments. Ironically, it is also one of the most compelling emotional reasons to reject the Christian God.

Can you conceive of punishing your daughter for not loving you in return? If at some point in the future, she should decide she is better off without you, would you reject her as evil, unworthy of being in your presence? Of course not! Yet that is precisely what we are taught by the Bible.

As a father figure, the God of the Bible is a lousy example. In order to be allowed into His presence, we must first express our love for Him through His Son, right? There is really no way to spin this in God's favor - His "love" is conditional.

To my mind, that flies in the face of what I know as a father.

Anonymous said...

Boom

I don't view the Bible as a handbook.

Alanah

I have encountered evidence for a higher being which has satisfied me. (This does not mean I do not continue to question or investigate) I have no new revelations that have not been throughly disected on this site. Overall my "evidence" would be the typical "this world seems to be created" line of logic. If you are still interested we can dialogue, but I would suggest a new thread.

eel_shepherd said...

Ramen666 wrote:
"...I just don't understand how so many religions in the past became dead, such as Greek/Roman mostly are in darkness but Babble God still can be valid..."

Paraphrasing a quote I once read, "The religion of the technologically dominant culture inevitably becomes the dominant religion."

What this boils down to is that biblegod has nothing much to recommend it. It just happens to be the god of the technologically dominant culture.

But just for the sake of argument, let's say that the guy or gal who said it was wrong, and look at the Xtian/jewish god story on the merits. The main thing it has going for it is that it's an _easy_ story, once you can persuade yourself into the Original Sin mindset. Humans can't be in fellowship with The Big Guy because he operates on a sinless plane. The Big Guy has the same problem (which he brought on himself, but we'll let that pass) with "looking upon" sinners. Stalemate. Only solution --- a bridge. Only possible type of bridge --- someone/thing that's human and divine. (That would be yer Jesus...) Simple story. And a simple story is about all that a culture bent on becoming the technologically dominant one has time or attention-span for. There's too many other, and real, things to accomplish if you're on the road to being the top dog. So the short answer to the question What does Xtianity/biblegod have that the previous religions/gods didn't? --- Nothing.

Married Guy: "...I am also fully aware that [my daughter] is going to disobey me and make many mistakes..."

I'm not persuaded that disobeying you _would_ be a mistake.

Anonymous said...

Boomslang: "I meant it as choosing to love out of the authentic/innate desire to do so, not out of the fear of the consequences for not doing so. Do you understand now? It seems you are equivocating a bit on this point."

No equivocating here. You are making the assumption that the presence of a consequence to either one of the choices is a contradiction to the love being authentic and that there is a legitimate choice.

Anonymous said...

Married Guy wrote:

You are making the assumption that the presence of a consequence to either one of the choices is a contradiction to the love being authentic and that there is a legitimate choice.

How is "love god or die" a legitimate choice?

boomSLANG said...

Married guy(still going): You are making the assumption that the presence of a consequence to either one of the choices is a contradiction to the love being authentic and that there is a legitimate choice.

Married guy,

You are failing, and I now believe willfully failing, to grasp the point. I'll try once more.

A legitament free "choice" would be: Do you want potatoes with your steak??..or do you want wild rice? Notice, there is zero adverse consequence for EITHER "choice".

Now, a "choice" with the intent to influence the subject's decision..i.e..to coerse the subject, would be: Hey friend, if you eat potatoes with your steak?... I'll throw in a life-time supply of free dining coupons....IF NOT, you can eat ARSENIC pilaf with your steak---the 'choice' is yours, 'm kay buddy?

Now, any logical adult can see the manipulative nature of the latter analogy. If not, you are just plain being stubborn. Yes, stubborn.

Once again---the theist likes to tout their Jebus' love as "authentic", yet, if that "love" isn't reciprocated?...guess what?... it's OFF TO HELL WITH YOU. And sh*t... if biblegod existed?... that ALONE, would be reason enough to reject his sorry ass---nevermind his hate-filled homocidal rampages in the OT.

Good day.

boomSLANG said...

Evan: Boom

I don't view the Bible as a handbook.


Yes, I know...I was being facetious. 'Sorry 'bout dat.[/facetious]

To review, Evan, you found fault in my definition of "Hell", saying that I referenced the "fundamentalist's definition", which wasn't "literal". I merely countered that argument by saying that you reference the "fundamentalist version" of "heaven" and "god", and thus, it would follow that those things aren't "literal", either.

What's sauce for the goose, is sauce for the gander, Evan. 'We good now? = )

Anonymous said...

AlanH & Others

"How is "love god or die" a legitimate choice?"

Actually rejecting God gives us exactly what we want: being apart from him which the Bible terms spiritual death. This is why there is no manipulation and no gun to the head. Again the rejection of God leads to exactly what we want: not being with God.
As all Ex-Christians must know that Christians are presupposing a God (yes as revealed in that book)who is Sovereign, Gracious, Meciful, Holy and Just at the same time. Christians also hold his sovereignty and the choice he gives human beings in tension (not as a contradiction)

Tbe interesting and yet frustrating thing about these discussions is that they are in vaccum. There is no context to them. We don't know each other nor do we interact with each other in the real world. All these ideas and worldview philosophies impact how we live our lives in a practical way. Our worldviews whether ex-christian , christian or other must be consistent with reality. I find that the Chrisitian worldview is the most plausible and most consistent with the real world (good, evil, love, beauty, etc...)

Thanks for the discussions.

boomSLANG said...

Married guy retorted: Actually rejecting God gives us exactly what we want: being apart from him which the Bible terms spiritual death. This is why there is no manipulation and no gun to the head.

Um, the Bible, in no uncertain "terms", says that if you reject biblegod, you will be cast into a "lake of fire". If you need me to provide the verses, I will do so. You are equivocating, once again. You are "candy-coating" the consequences of rejecting your biblegod, thus, in an attempt to level, legitimize, and rationalize the "choices"....those choices, of course, being "Heaven" and "HELL". Nice try, though...."A +" for thick-headed persistance; "F -" for weasle-wording.

Married Guy continues: As all Ex-Christians must know that Christians are presupposing a God (yes as revealed in that book)who is Sovereign, Gracious, Meciful, Holy and Just at the same time.

Revealed in "that book"??? What about the Holy Q'ran? The Book of Mormon? Dianetics? Point in case--you have no more evidence that your Holy book is an objective "Truth", than some Muslim "married guy" has that his "Holy book" is an objective "Truth". So yes, we agree on one thing---that you ARE presupposing your favorite bible hero as "Truth". Thanks for your help on that one = )

Married guy: Tbe interesting and yet frustrating thing about these discussions is that they are in vaccum. There is no context to them.

There is no context? Call me crazy, but maybe that has something to do with the fact that you have not one single shred of evidence for your beliefs. Nonetheless, even the concept of an "ALL loving" being who tortures people FOR ANY REASON is a blatant *contradiction.

*work/party; square/circle; tax/return....you get the message(well, most do)

Married guy(synopsis): Our worldviews whether ex-christian , christian or other must be consistent with reality.

Reality? Show me a reptile or donkey that speaks the human language. Show me a man who entered a whale through the whale's mouth, who didn't come out the whale's ass. Say a "prayer" for an amputee, and then show me the "new" limb. Where is the unicorn petting zoo? Show me a walking cadaver.

Reality? Please check yourself.

I find that the Chrisitian worldview is the most plausible and most consistent with the real world (good, evil, love, beauty, etc...)

"Good, evil, love, beauty"...Allah is real! "Good, evil, love, beauty"...Buddha is real! "Good, evil, love, beauty"...Snow White is real! Yay!

Married guy: Thanks for the discussions.

Thanks for showing, once again, that we made the right decision for dismissing ourselves from your cult.

Anonymous said...

Wow Boomslang

Just because I don't see things your way and am not convinced then I am "stubborn, thick headed, etc.."

I am also curious: What empirical evidence do you have that there is no God? and how do you define love? Is there such a thing as evil? Was Hitler Evil? On what basis?

webmdave said...

MG wrote:

"I am also curious: What empirical evidence do you have that there is no God? and how do you define love? Is there such a thing as evil? Was Hitler Evil? On what basis?"

Although MG addressed Boom, I decided to barg in.

MG, you are the one making the fantastic claim that there is a supernatural deity out there. Until you present evidence for the existence of it, no one is under any obligation to provide evidence that it doesn't exist. That just doesn't make sense.

I mean, where is your evidence that there are no unicorns living on Uranus? Where is your evidence that there are no giant spaghetti monsters on Alpha Centauri? Where is your evidence that Allah isn't real? Where is your evidence that Zeus isn't alive?

See how silly it is to ask for evidence against a fantastic claim?

If you can't find evidence against unicorns and spaghetti monsters in space, does that mean those things are real?

As far as the rest of your questions, are you really interested in discussing these things, or are you just throwing them out because you think it proves something? Because if you are really interested in exploring questions of love and evil, there are a host of articles on this site already addressing those questions.

Anonymous said...

MG: "I am also curious:"

Is it curiosity, or defiant challenge that compels you...

MG: "What empirical evidence do you have that there is no God?"

The exact same empirical evidence you have to support your god.

MG: "...and how do you define love?"

Unconditional/Unrestrictive care... Your ideal, god... do they fall into that category...

MG: "Is there such a thing as evil?"

To restrict love...

MG: "Was Hitler Evil? On what basis?"

He restricted love to a single race.

Perhaps, your virtues are the same MG... Unfortunate, that the Holy book presents a literal conflict with such a simple concept... Let’s look at the bible literally...

Isaiah 45:7 (NIV) - "I form the light and create darkness, I bring prosperity and create disaster; I, the LORD, do all these things."

Suppose "all these things", includes restricting love, to only a select few... I may have my limits, and may not be able to attain a 100% balance in passing unconditional love equally to everyone I meet... but... what is your god's excuse... Just curious.

Anonymous said...

MG, if you had to teach Sunday school; and a child asked you to weigh or differentiate between the evil acts portrayed of Hitler and the evil acts portrayed of god in the bible... How… per se, would you attempt to answer the child...

Wouldn't it be prudent, to give lenience in judgment to those who aren't capable of perfection, while holding those who are capable of perfection to a higher standard?

Is there such a thing as perfect evil? I think I'd have a hard time trying to give an honest answer to the child, and I'd likely feel guilty if I attempted to side-step the issue altogether.

boomSLANG said...
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boomSLANG said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
boomSLANG said...

MG: Just because I don't see things your way and am not convinced then I am "stubborn, thick headed, etc..",

If I told you, repeatedly, that "square circles", can, and do exist, I would be deserving of the same charge, or worse.(for more on contradicting concepts, see below)

MG wants to know: I am also curious: What empirical evidence do you have that there is no God?

None. Irrelevant conclusion.

Now, you are asking if I have evidence for a generic "deity"...i.e.."God". The fallacy of argument is that, while doing so, you are presupposing that if one had evidence for a "God", that THAT god MUST BE the Christian biblegod, no question. Bzzzzzzzzt! WRONG. Here's the meat and pototoes....pay attention this time:

Fact:

1) No Christian, thus far, has put forth any empirical evidence for their Biblegod.

2) If they had empirical evidence, that would contradict the term "Christian Faith", thus, making the phrase "Faith in God", obsolete. It's called "Faith", for a reason.

3) While true, no one has absolute "knowledge" that a non-personal disembodied "entity" does not exist, on the other hand, we do know that "square circles" CANNOT exist. By the same logic, we can conclude that, A) any "being" that is both omniscient and omnipotent, likewise, CANNOT exist, and B) any being that offers love with conditions attached, CANNOT be an "ALL-loving" being.

Therefore, the Christian biblegod does not and cannot exist, either in reality, or in concept. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

Married Guy wrote:

Actually rejecting God gives us exactly what we want: being apart from him which the Bible terms spiritual death. This is why there is no manipulation and no gun to the head.

I can't follow your line of reasoning. You're saying one can choose to "do what you want and die," or "believe in Christianity and live," yet there is no pressure or manipulation involved because man has a spiritual death wish?

What empirical evidence do you have that there is no God?

Depending of course on your definition of god there are various things to consider: prayer has been shown to be ineffective, "miracles" are consistently unverifiable, and the vast majority of religious "evidence" consists of psychological phenomena which can be explained without requiring the existence of a deity.

Anonymous said...

So!
If you have the capacity to rationalize, that our creator gave all of us an equal chance to read and understand the Bible, and we all have an equal chance to reject it, and some do and some don't, then some of us must be more equal than others.

I just bet the Christian apologizers have an answer for that.

A very small percentage of the people in the world get the chance to understand and accept or reject "The Word".

Where are all the billions of people who never heard of the bible or Jesus? Are they in heaven?

I just bet the Christian apologizers have an answer for that.

How about retarded people who don't have the capacity to even understand the concept of redemption through Jesus?

I just bet the Christian apologizers have an answer for that.

How about the congenital imbeciles? The nice Neanderthal people? Are they in heaven?

God knows who will reject him even as he creates them. Oh, Oh, the deck is stacked!!!

Bible God really isn't a very nice guy is he?

I just bet the Christian apologizers have an answer for that.

When you live in a fantasy world you always have the answers, and if you don't, you just make em up.
Dan

J. C. Samuelson said...

MG,

"Actually rejecting God gives us exactly what we want: being apart from him which the Bible terms spiritual death."

Reductio ad absurdum. Apply the same logic to those Germans who rejected Nazi policy ca. 1939-1944, and you'll see why. Did those folks want to be executed, imprisoned, or exiled? I'm sure that, based on the logic you've proposed, someone could argue that Hitler gave them what they were asking for.

And before protesting God's innocence compared to Hitler, it might be worth your time to take another peek in the Bible. To make it easier for you to find the nasty stuff, here's a link. Of special interest are the links on the right side of the page.

"I find that the Chrisitian worldview is the most plausible and most consistent with the real world (good, evil, love, beauty, etc...)"

Yes, the real world does have its share of good, evil, love, beauty, and so on. They are useful abstractions, and one need not be a Christian to perceive them. On the other hand, it takes a certain variety of faith to perceive the Christian God as real in all His particulars

In my experience, god concepts are neither plausible nor consistent. They may serve as convenient placeholders for things we don't understand, but the specificity and dogma that often surrounds them are a distraction. Sometimes, a dangerous distraction.

Spirula said...

nice Neanderthal people

Just for the record, the brain cases of Neanderthal skulls shows that their brains were, on average, actually larger than average modern humans. Of course, there is debate as to the significance (or not) of that.

Eat that Geico!

Anonymous said...

Me: "I am also curious: What empirical evidence do you have that there is no God? and how do you define love? Is there such a thing as evil? Was Hitler Evil? On what basis?"

This is my attempt to understand the ex-christian worldview. Every person has a belief system whether it is christian, exchristian, antichristian, etc...Eventhough you are all ex-christians you still have a worldview that you have decided is more consistent with reality.

So I want to understand the underlying assummptions and beliefs. We all base our lives on some core foundational beliefs whether that is in God or not. We all get up every morning and live our lives based on some lens of belief.

For example my understanding (which might be totally inaccurate and false) is that the atheistic worldview presupposes that there is nothing outside of the material world and that the supernatural doesn't exist. I am trying to figure out how that conclusion was arrived to. What evidence is there that the supernatural doesn't exist. All worldviews make presupposition based on what they believe.

You all very strongly believe that the Christian worldview is false. Well why is your worldview true and correct?

A few months ago, I had a brief discussion with an adolescent (who was of jewish background) who wasn't able to say that what Hitler did to the jewish people was wrong. I found that disturbing. I am trying to understand where that worldview comes from and is there any more evidence for that belief system versus mine.

Any insight would be appreciated.

Anonymous said...

"Heaven for climate, Hell for companionship" Mark Twain

In trying to reconcile all of this, I decided to look into atheists who became Christian and found this:
http://www.ex-atheist.com/Hell.html

I struggle with how SO MANY people can believe this and some have really turned their lives around which is hard to argue with.

webmdave said...

MG, what is the world view of the trees? What is the world view of your cat, your dog, or your horse? What is the world view of every single form of life on the planet?

To live. To survive. To reproduce.

We all -- all life forms -- desire those simple things. Finding the best way to balance the needs of the individual vs. the needs of society has been our challenge as a species since we first climbed out of the trees.

Your unsubtle presentation of Hitler as a reason for presenting the Bible as the one true standard of morality is stupid. The Bible presents numerous heinous atrocities ordered by Yahweh. In fact, Hitler can't carry a candle to Yahweh and his magical son. Those two have promised to torment most of humanity in horrific, burning misery for all eternity, for the crime of not believing in them.

I'll tell you what. If you honestly think no one would know right from wrong without moldering stories scribbled by ancient, wandering nomads, and ignorant, itinerant preachers, then I fear for your family. Apparently, you believe that you need your religion to know right from wrong and if you ever lose your religion, I suppose you'll immediately become unrestrained, and commit all sorts of perverse, child-molesting, rape and murder.

If you're too emotionally retarded to know right from wrong, those you wrong will teach you how to know the difference. There's considerable mutual agreement on many things -- just try harming someone and see what happens. Those more esoteric things we disagree with, we debate as society and make laws that are based on majority opinion.

However, if you only listen to the Bible for everything, the slave trade was a good thing, and there is no Biblical reason not to start that business back up.

webmdave said...

Still looking, many people have turned their lives around with all sorts of religions or philosophies: Protestantism, Catholicism, Buddhism, Islam, Stoicism, ect. Just because someone turned their life around doesn't mean the religion is true.

Just because someone swears they were taken on ride on a UFO, and believes it, doesn't make it true.

Get it?

boomSLANG said...

Every person has a belief system whether it is christian, exchristian, antichristian, etc...Eventhough you are all ex-christians you still have a worldview that you have decided is more consistent with reality.

Being an ex-christian doesn't constitute a "belief system". It's simple---we no longer believe the Christian doctrine. Again, we don't believe it as truth ....just like you don't believe the Islamic, Mormon, Jewish, or Scientologist doctrines as "truth". Now, is your lack of belief in those worldviews a "worldview"?

So I want to understand the underlying assummptions and beliefs.

What "assumptions"? What "beliefs"? Okay, is your non-belief in leprechauns a "belief"? Are you assuming that leprechauns don't exist?.... or, are you basing your NON-belief in leprechauns on lack of objective evidence?

If some dirt-poor guy won the lotto, Lucky the Leprechaun's magical four leaf clover would explain his winnings, right? Right, it wouldn't be an improbable coincidence based on odds, hell no.....so there's no other explanation except that it MUST BE Lucky the Leprechaun's magical powers...right?

Sound's absurd, doesn't it? Welp, the Theist's "God of the gaps" argument sounds equally absurd to the Atheist.

We all base our lives on some core foundational beliefs whether that is in God or not. We all get up every morning and live our lives based on some lens of belief.

Relevance? Muslims "get up every morning"; Buddhists "believe in God", and yet, you'd surely take issue with their "core" beliefs. It is much more likely that ALL religions are false, than it is that yours is true, and all OTHERS are false.

You all very strongly believe that the Christian worldview is false. Well why is your worldview true and correct?

Because it corresponds to what we know, based on the scientific method....and science tells us that square circles don't exist.

Anonymous said...

The only thing that I get out of your answer is that your worldview is that of atheism.

"To live. To survive. To reproduce" are all things that people do. They are not a worldview of core beliefs. A worldview would dictate why live,survive, reproduce.

Webmaster you didn't actually answer any of the questions. You just tell me why you don't believe in christianity instead of telling me what your alternate worldview is. Fine you don't believe in christianity; What do you believe in and how did you come to those conclusions. What standard of opbjective evidence did you use?

"just like you don't believe the Islamic, Mormon, Jewish, or Scientologist doctrines as "truth". Now, is your lack of belief in those worldviews a "worldview"?"
No my lack of belief in those belief systems is not a worldview, but my lack of belief in those systems is consistent with my Christian worldview.

My whole point is that every person including you has a belief system/philosophy. All you do is say what you don't believe in without ever articulating your view and how you came to the conclusion that your worldview is correct.

For example, Why do you say the slave trade was wrong? What is your basis?

J. C. Samuelson said...

"This is my attempt to understand the ex-christian worldview."

There is no "ex-Christian" worldview, as such. Not that I've seen, anyway. An ex-Christian might be an atheist, agnostic, Buddhist, Muslim (very unlikely), Jewish, Pagan, Taoist, and/or subscribe to any one of a number of philosophies and/or lifestyles. As it applies here, ex-Christian simply means "no longer Christian," just as boomSLANG said.

"Every person has a belief system whether it is christian, exchristian, antichristian, etc..."

Perhaps, but there are different kinds of belief systems. Some are faith-based, some are evidence-based. Most religions fall into the former category, whereas secular belief systems usually fall into the latter. That is, for the secularist, very little (if anything) is accepted on faith alone.

"So I want to understand the underlying assummptions and beliefs."

That depends on who you talk to here. The key thing to remember is that all assumptions are based on beliefs, so with the diversity one encounters here, this is a very, very big question.

As an atheist, my own assumptions are rooted in naturalism. That is, I think the natural world is all there is. Claims concerning the supernatural (something that breaks the laws of nature) constitute extraordinary claims, and therefore require extraordinary evidence. Gods fall into this category, as do unicorns, the Easter Bunny, Santa Claus & his flying reindeer, ghosts, ESP, telepathy, telekinesis, OBE, NDE, resurrections, demons, angels, etc., etc., ad nauseum.

"We all base our lives on some core foundational beliefs whether that is in God or not. We all get up every morning and live our lives based on some lens of belief."

That's a bit of an oversimplification, don't you think? Most of us live our lives much the same way you do; we get up, go to work or school, spend time with friends and family, and so on. Our judgments of what constitutes good, evil, love, hate, beauty and so on are also probably not terribly different from your own, with the possible exception that many of us here consider the Christian God to be neither good nor even real.

"...the atheistic worldview presupposes that there is nothing outside of the material world and that the supernatural doesn't exist."

Correct.

"I am trying to figure out how that conclusion was arrived to. What evidence is there that the supernatural doesn't exist."

I'm sorry, but this is backward. One doesn't prove a negative like that. The problem is that there is no reliable evidence in favor of belief in the supernatural, whereas there are literally mountains of evidence documenting the natural world. Simply put, the evidence for the natural is the evidence against the supernatural. If someone wants to make a supernatural claim, it is that person's responsibility to present evidence.

Having said that, no one can prove nor disprove God. It is a concept that is not falsifiable, and that is why claims in favor of it can only be countered by natural explanations for phenomena that are attributed to God, which we have in abundance. It's also why claims in favor of God must be supported by reliable evidence that can itself be falsified. To my knowledge, no one has ever presented any.

"You all very strongly believe that the Christian worldview is false. Well why is your worldview true and correct?"

Because it is predicated on the existence of reliable evidence. The Christian worldview is not, at least with regard to its own God.

"No my lack of belief in those belief systems is not a worldview, but my lack of belief in those systems is consistent with my Christian worldview."

Amen! In the same way, our lack of belief in your belief system is not a worldview, but our lack of belief in your belief system is consistent with our various worldviews.

You just answered your own question. Good job!

"For example, Why do you say the slave trade was wrong? What is your basis?"

The systems of rational moral philosophy that have developed ever so slowly over hundreds of years. As Sam Harris points out, morality can be defined in terms of the happiness and suffering of conscious creatures. Thus, slavery can be considered immoral because it selfishly ignores the happiness and suffering of slaves. No doubt this could lead to a more complex discussion, but there's a short answer.

Apologies to those whose toes I may have stepped on in answering this. :)

boomSLANG said...

Boomslang to MG: "Being an ex-christian doesn't constitute a 'belief system'. It's simple---we no longer believe the Christian doctrine. Again, we don't believe it as truth ....just like you don't believe the Islamic, Mormon, Jewish, or Scientologist doctrines as 'truth'. Now, is your lack of belief in those worldviews a 'worldview'?"

MG responds: *No my lack of belief in those belief systems is not a worldview...[bold added to reference later on]

Thank you. And likewise, my lack of belief in those belief systems, PLUS, my lack of belief in your belief, isn't a "worldview". If I'm not mistaken, I believe the charge was that "ex-christianity" was a "belief system"/"worldview".

MG continues: ... but my lack of belief in those systems is consistent with my Christian worldview.

....and their lack of belief in Christianity is "consistent" with their worldviews. So?

MG: All you do is say what you don't believe in....

LOL! Um, correct. This place is clearly marked an EX-christian website. The "what" we don't believe in, is Jesus. So when asked why we don't, or no longer believe in "Jesus Christ", it would be pretty silly to start spouting off things we DO believe in.

MG continues: ...without ever articulating your view and how you came to the conclusion that your worldview is correct.

We've already established(based on your answer here*) that non-belief is NOT a worldview. Please?...pretty please?...stick in your memory bank? And speaking of "all you do"---what you have consistantly done is to try and shoot holes in Atheism, and all the while, erroneously under the premise that if you can somehow make non-belief in gods "unreasonable", then your Christian beliefs will be "reasonable" by default. You are merely shifting the burden of proof, just like so many Theists do. YOU are the one making the positive claim; the burden of proof is in YOUR lap.

MG: For example, Why do you say the slave trade was wrong? What is your basis?

Because we, as an evolved species of civilized animals; and we, as a collective society, have determined that doing UNneccessary harm to others in our group is unethical.

Now, the BETTER question is---how do YOU know that slavery is "wrong", since you claim that our "morals" come from a book that clearly condones slavery, as well as rape, bigotry, and murder? How's that foot taste, hmmmm?

webmdave said...

MG, according to Wikipedia:

“A worldview describes a consistent (to a varying degree) and integral sense of existence and provides a framework for generating, sustaining, and applying knowledge. ...

The term denotes a comprehensive set of opinions, seen as an organic unity, about the world as the medium and exercise of human existence. Weltanschauung serves as a framework for generating various dimensions of human perception and experience like knowledge, politics, economics, religion, culture, science, and ethics. For example, worldview of causality as uni-directional, cyclic, or spiral generates a framework of the world that reflects these systems of causality. A uni-directional view of causality is present in some monotheistic views of the world with a beginning and an end and a single great force with a single end (e.g., Christianity and Islam), while a cyclic worldview of causality is present in religious tradition which is cyclic and seasonal and wherein events and experiences recur in systematic patterns (e.g., Zoroastrianism, Mithraism, and Hinduism).

These worldviews of causality not only underlie religious traditions but also other aspects of thought like the purpose of history, political and economic theories, and systems like democracy, authoritarianism, anarchism, capitalism, socialism, and communism.

The worldview of linear and non-linear causality generates various related/conflicting disciplines and approaches in scientific thinking. The Weltanschauung of the temporal contiguity of act and event leads to underlying diversifications like determinism vs. free will. A worldview of Freewill leads to disciplines that are governed by simple laws that remain constant and are static and empirical in scientific method, while a worldview of determinism generates disciplines that are governed with generative systems and rationalistic in scientific method.

Some forms of Philosophical naturalism and materialism reject the validity of entities inaccessible to natural science. They view the scientific method as the most reliable model for building and understanding of the world.”

My point in quoting all that is to point out that you are not really asking me about my worldview. You are using the concept of worldview as synonymous with religion. You are really asking me my religious beliefs. Well, I have no religious beliefs at all. I do not believe in the supernatural. I've seen no evidence of the supernatural and although I faithfully believed in such things for over three decades, I finally escaped the cloud of irrational thinking that is religion and began investigating the world from a more naturalistic position.

You want to know what I “base my worldview on.” I base it on nature and my observation of nature. In my mind, there simply is nothing else to base it on. Nature is the default position, once the supernatural is no longer presupposed. Nature has evidence. Supernature has none, The supernatural only exists in the imaginations of human beings. Belief in the supernatural will shape people's worldviews, but that shaping is not necessarily healthy nor rational.

Finally, all this probing into other people's worldviews... I realize this approach is a modern apologetic technique. I used this approach myself when I still “believed,” but I now fail to understand why it is considered effective. Undoubtedly there are many things in life I have not given sufficient thought to. No doubt I lack the ability to foresee the longterm affects of my current worldview, were it to be held by vast numbers of people and continue for long centuries. I am simply not equipped with either the intelligence or the education to determine such things. Therefore, I am sure there are people who could poke holes in my rather simple view of the world, which is what I sense is your hopeful intention.

However, poking holes in my view of things in no way satisfies the need for solid evidence from you that your religion in any way describes reality. Poke away at my worldview, if that pleases you, but in the end you will still have no evidence that your god impregnated a teenager and made a super-god-man who later died on a stick, ate dirt for a weekend, and then levitated into space. Showing weaknesses in my comprehensive skills will do nothing toward making stories of taking donkeys, floating ax heads, flying fiery chariots, talking bushes, talking snakes, magic mantles, holy fortune tellers, and on and on, anything more than myths – stories written to entertain ignorant peasants, or perhaps teach, or maybe just to keep them coughing up donations for the priest craft.

webmdave said...

JC, please risk offending my toes as often as possible. And thank you for doing so.

webmdave said...

Oh, MG, I see I missed your question on slavery.

Why do I think it is wrong? I was brought up to think it is wrong. I was taught it was wrong in school. The message has been reinforced a thousand-fold over my lifetime. I would like to think that I am so altruistic that I know by nature that slavery is wrong, but I realize that would be naive on my part. If I had been born in the deep South in 1800, I would no doubt have considered slavery a good thing. I would have been taught since birth it was a good thing. The southern churches all supported the institution of slavery from the Bible.

Today, my thinking is still strongly influenced by the way I was brought up and educated. I cannot escape that, and because I was brought up a certain way, I tend to view the world through the lens of my admittedly limited background. However, I do not suppose that my view is the standard that all others should use for determining the course of their lives. That would be extremely arrogant, wouldn't you agree?

I understand that had the accident of my birth been to Islamic parents in Iran, my worldview would be completely different than the one I hold today. As such, I am grateful to have been born in a country with a secular worldview, based on secular laws, instead of a theocratic worldview nation, based on religious laws. I'm sure you can also agree with that.

Anonymous said...

look people god is love ok the devil just want to confuse u guys.may be because he knows that some of u were cristian and were something very special for him. god is almost coming and the devil is goin to do every thing he can to destroy cristians because he knows that they know the truth and that they are goin to safe lives please think about what u are saying because its bad to talk about god that way please take this advice from a 13 year old girl.. god bless.

Anonymous said...

13 year old girl anon said:
"the devil is goin to do every thing he can to destroy cristians"
---
Dear 13 old girl,

While no xtian (adult or child) has offered us ANY proof of your god directly, I'm willing to settle for some secondary proof, that this DEVIL you fear so greatly is actually real.

Have you met this devil?

What does it look like?

Why does something so evil and powerful hide from us humans in the same way your god does?

How would I contact this devil of yours, pray-tell?


AtheistToothFairy

Anonymous said...

"the devil is goin to do every thing he can to destroy cristians "

There are millions of churches and millions of christians What's taking the devil sooo long to destroy the churches?

I love this one!

"god is almost comming"

as soon as god can locate the keys to his magic carpet, he's comming...lmfao

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