02 July 2008

Is there anything the God of the Bible could do that a believer wouldn't call good?

I recently asked the question, "Is it wrong to burn people to death?", and although there was a lot of discussion about it in the comments, there was no clear answer from any believer. The best (and pretty much only) answer seemed to be that yes, it is wrong to burn people to death today, but it wasn't wrong back in the day when God told people to do it and did it himself on occasion. You see, back then there were no laws against it and it was an accepted form of punishment. God was just doing and telling others to do what everyone else was doing. What could be wrong with that?

It reminded me of the "answer" given by John Yoo when asked by John Conyers if there was anything the president could not order to be done to a suspect if it was necessary for national defense. When Mr. Yoo refused to answer, Conyers asked, "Could the president order a suspect to be buried alive?" Of course that question wasn't answered either.

So it got me thinking. Is there anything that the God of the Bible could do that a believer wouldn't call good? Could he, for example:

  1. Bury people alive?
    Korah, Dathan, and Abiram ... came out, and stood in the door of their tents, and their wives, and their sons, and their little children. And Moses said, Hereby ye shall know that the LORD hath sent me .... If these men die the common death of all men ... then the LORD hath not sent me. But if the LORD make ... the earth open her mouth, and swallow them up, with all that appertain unto them, and they go down quick into the pit; then ye shall understand that these men have provoked the LORD. And it came to pass ... that ... the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed them up.... They, and all that appertained to them, went down alive into the pit, and the earth closed upon them: and they perished from among the congregation. And all Israel that were round about them fled at the cry of them: for they said, Lest the earth swallow us up also. Numbers 16:27-34
  2. Burn people to death?
    And there came out a fire from the LORD, and consumed the two hundred and fifty men that offered incense. Numbers 16:35 (See here for more examples.)
  3. Burn people forever after they die (but keep them alive to torture them)?
    The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God ...he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone ... And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever. Revelation 14:10-11
  4. Force parents to eat their children and friends to eat each other?
    And I will cause them to eat the flesh of their sons and the flesh of their daughters, and they shall eat every one the flesh of his friend. Jeremiah 19:9
  5. Force people to kill their brothers and eat themselves?
    Through the wrath of the LORD of hosts ... no man shall spare his brother. And he shall snatch on the right hand, and be hungry; and he shall eat on the left hand, and they shall not be satisfied: they shall eat every man the flesh of his own arm. Isaiah 9:19-20
  6. Force people to cut off their noses and women to pluck off their breasts?
    And I will set my jealousy against thee, and they shall deal furiously with thee: they shall take away thy nose and thine ears. ... Thou shalt even drink it and suck it out, and thou shalt ... pluck off thine own breasts: for I have spoken it, saith the Lord GOD. Ezekiel 23:25-37
  7. Kill a newborn baby to punish its parents?
    Because by this deed thou hast given great occasion to the enemies of the LORD to blaspheme, the child also that is born unto thee shall surely die. 2 Samuel 12:14
  8. Dash little children to pieces and rip up pregnant women?
    Samaria shall become desolate; for she hath rebelled against her God: they shall fall by the sword: their infants shall be dashed in pieces, and their women with child shall be ripped up. Hosea 13:16
  9. Cause birth defects and spread dung on peoples' faces?
    Behold, I will corrupt your seed and spread dung upon your faces. Malachi 2:3
  10. Order a woman's hand to be cut off "without pity" for touching a man's genitals?
    When men strive together one with another, and the wife of the one draweth near for to deliver her husband out of the hand of him that smiteth him, and putteth forth her hand, and taketh him by the secrets: Then thou shalt cut off her hand, thine eye shall not pity her. Deuteronomy 25:11-12

Of course, this is just a sample of what God has done. See here for a more extensive list of biblical cruelties.

Are all of these things good just because God did them? Just like whatever Bush does is legal because he is president?

If there a sane, moral Christian out there, I'd love to hear your response.

101 comments:

Jae said...

Hi, been reading your blog for a little while now and just wanted to say: keep up the good work.

Until I was 16 I was a Christian (thankfully this was just a rebellion against my atheist family!). Then I read the Bible and it was the stories like this that made me see how insane and deceitful religion can be.

Jason said...

God asks Christians to do the same...? Would you happen to have Scriptural references showing where God asks Christians to burn people forever after they die, cause birth defects, force people to eat themselves, or cause localized earthquakes that kill specific individuals...?

Perhaps you have some relevant Christian-specific commandments from the NT that you would consider equally as cruel.

sconnor said...

Jason, Steve asked for sane, moral christians.

--S.

Steve Wells said...

Jason,

I've removed the reference to God's immoral commands, not because I think they no longer apply to Christians (I think they do), but because I want to focus this post (and the comments) on the actions of God alone.

Is there anything the God of the Bible could do that a believer wouldn't call good? How about the ten things that I've listed in this post? Are they the actions of a good God?

Jason said...

Steve,

They're the actions of a God who made it clear what the punishments would be for not obeying His commandments.

Steve Wells said...

So they are good then, is that what you're saying Jason?

It was good for God to kill David's newborn baby in order to punish David? (2 Samuel 12:14-18)

sconnor said...

Steve asked Jason, It was good for God to kill David's newborn baby in order to punish David?

Jason's sadistic, psycho-fuck of a god, just didn't cause David's infant son to just simply die, no, god caused and allowed David's son to suffer, in sickness, for seven days, only to die.

To cause an infant to be sick and let the him suffer, for seven days, only to die, as a punishment for an others actions is an abominable act, perpetrated by only the most vile, loathsome, and revolting, creature -- imaginable.

Jason said, They're the actions of a God who made it clear what the punishments would be for not obeying His commandments.

When did god make it clear to David, if he didn't follow his commandments, god would cause David's son to become sick -- suffering for seven days -- only to die?

--S.

Hugo said...

When I read PZ's post I also thought back to the burning post, John Yoo seems to place the president at the same level as believers put their god.

Jason said...

Steve,

I'm not saying it's good or bad - I'm saying it is what it is.

Steve Wells said...

Nice answer, Jason.

John Woo couldn't have said it better!

RR said...

So "it is what it is" -- essentially means you can't bring yourself to say god's actions in this case were "good" (and just)... ??

I thought if you were a christian, anything your god has done - blessed people, punished them or their offspring, etc. etc. - must be considered good.

RR said...

... the point being, its demonstrated yet again that there is nothing: no action, believe or edict that can dissuade a believer.

If you start with "the god of the bible is real", as your axiom, ANYTHING is justified. Any behavior can be considered "acceptable" if you can convince yourself "god wants you to do it" (e.g. - like burning people alive, killing women and children, or even salting the earth...)

Sounds like pure moral relativism to me...

Anon said...

I think it's a very fair comparison between the explanations/excuses given for Bush and God.

I can't decide whether I should be shocked that Yoo won't say that the president can't order people to be buried alive, or scared that Yoo's non-response means he could envision the president doing such a thing (or believe it could be justified).

Certainly even Bush and company couldn't consider ordering a person buried alive, could they?

In any case, it's the same sort of logic for Bush and God: if the president did it, it's legal (or I won't say it's illegal, just in case). If God did it, it's good (or I won't say it's not good, just in case).

Doesn't there come a point where you decide that you can no longer support the president, or defend God, because of the horrible things they've done? Does fear prevent one from crossing that threshold, or is the reward too great (power / eternal life)?

Most Christians really don't know most of the violent things that are in the Bible. They may have vaguely heard of maybe one or two things on Steve's list, at the very most, and shrugged it off as an aberration. But once you've read the Bible and see what God is really like (based on the sorts of things he says and does over and over again in the Old Testament), I don't see how you can still want to believe the Bible is true, or that the God described in the Bible exists.

Jason said...

Perhaps Christians read the Bible and see that the God described in it is wrathful when His commandments are broken, but also loving and merciful towards them that believe and is willing to offer eternal life as a reward. Just a thought.

Hugo said...

Ah, the old BELIEVE OR ELSE trick, very moral, very benevolent

Wife-beaters all over the world know that it's a very successful strategy, they always go back for more.

Anon said...

Jason said: Perhaps Christians read the Bible and see that the God described in it is wrathful when His commandments are broken, but also loving and merciful towards them that believe and is willing to offer eternal life as a reward.

This would make sense, except for:

1) Some of the punishments described in Steve's original post, and elsewhere in the Bible, kill innocent bystanders who did not break the commandments.

2) Even "just" people are sometimes punished by God (Job being the most famous case)

If you argue to counter the first point that even babies are born sinful by nature and deserving of God's wrath, then is it just for God to only kill some babies and not others? What makes one baby more deserving to die than another?

If you argue to counter the second point that God isn't "wrathful" towards his believers and is simply testing his followers sometimes, then this shows that God isn't always loving and merciful towards his believers. How is a believer to know makes God decide whether or not to be merciful towards them?

Since we don't expect a just God to mete out punishment in a clearly unequal fashion, it would make sense logically that (and or more of the following):

* God is just, but some of the stories about God in the Bible are untrue
* God is just, but judges by some other means that he has not told us
* God is simply not just
* God simply does not exist

Are there any other logical explanations for why God unjustly punishes some people?

Jason said...

Hugo,

Actually, God isn't threatening anything. If you don't want to believe, you live and you die and that's it. It's far less dramatic then what you're suggesting. Pity, isn't it :)

Hugo said...

Hugo,

Actually, God isn't threatening anything. If you don't want to believe, you live and you die and that's it. It's far less dramatic then what you're suggesting. Pity, isn't it :)


But by not believing we're supposedly braking his commandments and then he should be wrathful to bring us into the fold so that he can love us ...
At least according to scripture as interpreted by jason here:

Perhaps Christians read the Bible and see that the God described in it is wrathful when His commandments are broken

But yeah, I know, words in an ancient book or very sincere wishful thinking by believers don't change reality :-)

Jason said...

Anon,

1) Who were the 'innocent bystanders'?

1b) What makes one baby more deserving to die than another? It's a humbling pill to swallow but our lives are God's. "For every living soul belongs to me..." (Eze 18:4) and "I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion." (Romans 9:15)

2) The Bible doesn't say Job wasn't punished and in the end, he was given more then he had at the start.

2b) How is a believer to know makes God decide whether or not to be merciful towards them? By a basic reading and understanding of Scripture.

Are there any other logical explanations for why God unjustly punishes some people?

God isn't injust - He just doesn't happen to conform to your sense of justice.

Jason said...

Hugo,

The 'commandment' in the NT is to have faith, be baptised, and follow Christ. If you'd rather not, that's fine. In return, you will live, you will die, and that will be the end of your existence. That's the punishment.

Steve Wells said...

As John Conyers said to John Woo, "I think we can see the games that are being played here."

John woo wouldn't answer the question, and neither will Jason. I suggest we call another witness.

Is there any believer out there that will answer the question. (Is there anything the God of the Bible could do that a believer wouldn't call good?)

GAD said...

"Is there anything the God of the Bible could do that a believer wouldn't call good?"

You've set up a contradiction, the god of the bible is the definition of good i.e. he defines what is good, if one believes in god then by definition everything he does is good.

Anon said...

Jason: 1) Who were the 'innocent bystanders'?

Among others, babies eaten or punished for the deeds of their parents. They were innocent bystanders (or at least no more guilty than any other baby) who were victims of God's wrath.

Jason: [Job] he was given more then he had at the start.

Getting more kids doesn't give you back the ones God killed. Why didn't God resurrect the kids He murdered and give them back to Job?

Jason: God isn't injust - He just doesn't happen to conform to your sense of justice.

What sense of justice does he conform to? Is there any way you or any other believer would admit God did something that was not good?

Gad said: the god of the bible is the definition of good i.e. he defines what is good, if one believes in god then by definition everything he does is good.

Other gods in other religions do both good and bad things, why can't God do something bad? In fact, the Bible in Isaiah 45:7 quotes God as saying "I make peace, and create evil."

So we know that God creates evil. Gad, Jason, or other Christians or Jews who may be reading this: Is creating evil a good thing?

I would think that creating evil is, by definition, bad.

GAD said...

"Other gods in other religions do both good and bad things, why can't God do something bad? In fact, the Bible in Isaiah 45:7 quotes God as saying "I make peace, and create evil.""

Because god is real and the other ones are false, of course.

"So we know that God creates evil. Gad, Jason, or other Christians or Jews who may be reading this: Is creating evil a good thing?"

Yes, because by definition everything the one true god does is perfect and good.

"I would think that creating evil is, by definition, bad"

Nope! God, not you, defines what is good and bad.

Religion doesn’t have to make sense, if it did it would be called science.

sconnor said...

Jason said, 2) The Bible doesn't say Job wasn't punished and in the end, he was given more then he had at the start.

Once again, Jason, your mindless attempts at salvaging your god's ridiculous and vulgar reputation are both idiotic and ludicrous. The story -- yes the STORY of Job is a revolting and disturbing little ditty, that paints your god as a deranged, asshole. God is the cosmic equivalent to a sick, juvenile delinquent who has an ant farm and on some boring, afternoon, day, decides to take an ant out of it's farm and torture it by pulling the legs off one by one, then decides to slowly burn it with a magnifying glass. And why does god torture Job? It's to prove a petty, little point to Satan. God is nothing more than an insecure, contemptible, piece of shit, who tortures people to get his rocks off and make inane points at the expense of his earthly children -- absolutely deplorable.

What makes this asinine story and Jason's defense of it so revolting is the absurd notion that god gave him more than he had at the start. After god tortures Job and kills his children, he decides to make everything better, restore the faithful Job to his healthier self and with the compassion of a demented, dictator, he replaces Job's seven sons and three daughters with an entirely different set of children. I mean what kind of fucked-up, god is this? How can the excruciating pain of losing a child be removed by replacing it with the birth of another? What is god saying? -- that a child is expendable and then replaceable like a lost CD or new ants for the ant farm?

My ten year old son died from a heart attack related to leukemia. I know what suffering is and I know the overwhelming devastation and the crippling grief it has caused me, to lose my son. A Deity could give me all the wealth in the world and a thousand other sons, but nothing and no one could replace Connor. The very idea of it is insane and makes me nauseous and only points to the story of Job as being an absurd, heartless, myth compiled by primitive, superstitious men. And the very idea that Jason continues to defend this repulsive, psycho-fuck god is astonishingly, abhorrent and makes me just as sick.

It is so obvious that Jason is an uneducated, ignorant, asshole, that is hopelessly steeped in his religion. The bullshit that constantly flows from his mouth is a vomiting waterfall of strained conclusions and contradictory evidences, that he can't smell. Jason futilely protects his myopic beliefs, where he cowers in the comfy-cozy, illusion of hope and arrogantly proclaims that his unique, christian club is posthumously, saved -- providing him, with a false sense of security and a bogus sense of superiority.

Jason you are a small-minded, delusional fuck-tard, shit-hole, who reeks from the bullshit you spew. You and your god are complete psycho-fucks -- a couple of cosmic ball sacks, only worthy of the shit you wallow in. You are just as vile and repugnant as the god, you get on your knees for and worship, as you suck his cosmic cock and defend him.

--S.

Jason said...

Anon,

Scripture doesn't say God commanded that babies were to be eaten and in the instance of idolatrous Samaria, there were no 'innocent' bystanders. The entire people were wicked and since God knows beginning from end, I believe God knew the children would have grown up to be equally as wicked as their parents.

Ultimately, there is no answer which is going to make you happy when it comes to this kind of a discussion. I believe that God has ordained a life in which we have to experience suffering at all levels, and has done so in order that we might have the maximum of free will and the greatest test of faith. And I don't have a problem with that.

Getting more kids doesn't give you back the ones God killed. Why didn't God resurrect the kids He murdered and give them back to Job?

God gave Job twice as much of everything at the end except children. I believe Job would have thus known his first ten children were going to be resurrected and 'given back to him', not in his lifetime, but in the lifetime to come.

What sense of justice does he conform to? Is there any way you or any other believer would admit God did something that was not good?

God conforms to His own sense of justice and no since I sincerely don't believe God has ever done something inherently evil.

So we know that God creates evil. Gad, Jason, or other Christians or Jews who may be reading this: Is creating evil a good thing?

Absolutely. Without evil, what would good be?

GAD said...

Jason said:
"Absolutely. Without evil, what would good be?"

Spoken like a good Christian. To bad being a good Christian is worthless, it cost you $4 for a cup of coffee at Starbucks same as anyone else.

Without evil, what would good be? How about the world and universe before the fall, you know the way god made it and intended it to be. Where good was good without any evil, you know the world your implying can't exist because it doesn't have evil to make good, good, and the one all good Christians say will come again in the end.

Calimero said...

Jason said:
"Absolutely. Without evil, what would good be?"

Well said Jason only a true christian could ever be an apologist for hitler, stalin, pol pot, the inquisition and all the other willfully murderous bastards in history.
This is not a philosophical or religious discussion this is not even a productive discussion, people who believe in god are mentally unstable, they are broken and they are irrational. No rational argument is likely to fix them. They are however entitled to their delusions, just as we are entitled to lock them up if their thoughts or actions are considered by the majority to be a danger to society; That time is fast approaching. And hey all we would be doing denying them their freedom, (which is a bit rotten but for everyones good). In comparison, if there was any truth to their reality they would have us all burning in hell for eternity. So you see we are the nice guys.

Jason said...

Calimero,

You're taking my comments out of context. I'm merely stating that without evil, good doesn't exist. If you disagree, please pose your argument instead of misrepresenting my statements.

sconnor said...

The deluded bat-shit crazy Jason said, Scripture doesn't say God commanded that babies were to be eaten and in the instance of idolatrous Samaria, there were no 'innocent' bystanders. The entire people were wicked and since God knows beginning from end, I believe God knew the children would have grown up to be equally as wicked as their parents.

Asshole, you don't know if the babies and children or other bystanders in Samaria were going to grow up and be wicked; you simply made that part up, to rationalize and justify the actions of your piece of shit god. For a person who relies on scripture to do your thinking for you, it would seem you overstepped your limited bounds and went into the land of imagination and conjecture, to try, once again, to salvage the reputation of your psycho-fuck of a god. Nowhere in the context of the Samaritan story does it say that the children or the innocent were going to grow up to be wicked.

Would it have been immoral and absolutely deplorable for your god to kill the innocent, if indeed, they weren't going to grow up wicked? Why do I even ask? You can't answer it, honestly.

Dumb-fuck Jason, said, I believe God knew the children would have grown up to be equally as wicked as their parents.

Hmmmm, kind of makes you wonder why he created them, in the first place, knowing what they were going to become and all?

Jason numb-nuts, can use this strained rationalization for other atrocities committed by his shitty god, as well. Jason condones god's actions when he drowned the estimated 30,000,000 of his earthly children, because, you know, they all were going to grow up to be wicked. Or when David committed that awful, horrid, sin of counting the people, god had to punish him, well not him so much, as in fact, he caused his people to suffer and die, in a plague, but by Jason's logic they deserved it, because they would have grown up to be wicked, as well. Fuck you Jason, you are diseased in the head -- you got nothing, but a psychotic, delusional perception.

Jason also contends, that, God has ordained a life in which we have to experience suffering at all levels, and has done so in order that we might have the maximum of free will and the greatest test of faith.

Which is also complete bullshit; another rationalization you pulled out of your shit hole. You relegate your sky-boss to a deranged psychopath who uses suffering as a tool. You would think if your god was truly all-powerful he could have acquired exactly what he wanted out of us, while still maintaining the maximum of free will without all the unimaginable, vile, suffering in the world.

I have to wonder, how did god give the maximum of free will and test the faith of innocent babies -- during the Holocaust -- who were thrown onto a heap of dead bodies to be burned alive?

You would also think that your supposedly all-powerful god could create a world where good exists at various levels, without the existence of evil -- evidently your god couldn't handle that. Doesn't your precious heaven abolish suffering, while presumably, free will and goodness exists, at the exclusion of evil, or does your god continue to fuck with us -- keeping us as slaves, doing whatever he wants with us?

Face it Jason you are a deluded, asshole.

Jason said, God gave Job twice as much of everything at the end except children. I believe Job would have thus known his first ten children were going to be resurrected and 'given back to him', not in his lifetime, but in the lifetime to come.

You mother-fucking, piece of shit; this one really pisses me off. First the context of the scripture never says that -- you just pull this out of your ass again to salvage the disturbing, reputation of your foul god. Second, knowing that your children will be resurrected sometime in the future, still doesn't absolve your prick-god for killing his children, so as he might prove a petty point to Satan. It only proves your god is an INSECURE megalomaniac, who knows nothing about the monumental grief a parent suffers when their children have died. There is no consolation knowing that one day you may see them again, because you have lost everything, in the here and now. The suffering and the grief still remains because of the enormous hole in your life. Jason, you brain-dead fuckin' little donkey; you know not what you are speaking. You are a vile, festering wound on humanity, a deluded, drone of ignorance and insanity and a no good piece of shit, who is a waste of skin and a thief of oxygen. I would tell you to firmly plant your head up your ass but that would be redundant. You've been in that foul stench for years. It is my sincerest pleasure to continue to ridicule you and berate you, because you are a disgusting and pathetic creature only deserving of disrespect. I laugh at you but I would spit in your face, just the same.

--S.

Anon said...

I believe God knew the children would have grown up to be equally as wicked as their parents.

Couldn't God have given these children to another family, who would raise them better? Or were these children biologically wicked from birth?

Job would have thus known his first ten children were going to be resurrected and 'given back to him', not in his lifetime, but in the lifetime to come.

You do realize that no one went to heaven before Christ was resurrected, at least according to most Christian denominations? In this case, Job's children spent hundreds or thousands of years either dead in the ground or burning in hell.

Do you think those who aren't in heaven find each other later in death, or in hell?

If so, then Job had to wait many years before seeing his children again, until he died. If not, then he may never have seen them again. Some people believe that all non-Christians, including the ones who died before Christ's resurrection, are still dead or in hell since they did not know Christ.

Do you believe this? What do you base your belief on for this matter?

Without evil, what would good be?

God created evil, yet punishes humans who commit evil. Do you not see the problem here? If God was unable or unwilling to create an existence without evil, that's not our fault, is it? If anything, God should apologize to us for creating evil instead of finding ways to punish us for its fruits.

Calimero said: people who believe in god are mentally unstable, they are broken and they are irrational. No rational argument is likely to fix them.

I used to believe in God, and it was by finally thinking things out little by little that I eventually stopped believing. Christians can become atheists; atheists can become Christians. I think if people engage in honest debate, it can be useful for both sides.

I'm very, very sorry about your loss, sconnor. I understand your anger a little better now. A loving god wouldn't make people suffer and take them from us with no explanation. I don't even want to know what "excuse" could be used by Christians to explain this, other than the standard "he's in a better place now." If there's really a better place up there, why not take everyone there then? It's completely senseless.

Calimero said...

Jason says

You're taking my comments out of context. I'm merely stating that without evil, good doesn't exist.

Hiding behind sophistry is a waste of time. You are using the statement "without evil, good doesn't exist" to justify your argument for what any sane person would call "God's evil deeds". Otherwise why end your justification for your imaginary friends actions by including the statement at all! You cannot justify any evil action, gods or Hitler's, by claiming it is necessary for evil to be demonstrated so that its antithesis can be understood. God as described in the OT is "evil" by the standards of any civilized society.
Anyone who defends either Gods actions or disagrees with that statement is clearly not sane - by any "normal meaning of the word.
It is as yet not a crime to be irrational for which all of christ's followers should be. grateful. HAND

Jason said...

Anon said: Couldn't God have given these children to another family, who would raise them better? Or were these children biologically wicked from birth?

Sure He could have, but He didn’t. As for your second question: “...For I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me...” (Exo 20:5)

You do realize that no one went to heaven before Christ was resurrected, at least according to most Christian denominations? In this case, Job's children spent hundreds or thousands of years either dead in the ground or burning in hell.

I do realize that. Like I said, Job would have known his first ten children were going to be resurrected and 'given back to him', not in his lifetime, but in the lifetime to come.

Do you think those who aren't in heaven find each other later in death, or in hell?

I’m not sure where you’re coming from...?

If so, then Job had to wait many years before seeing his children again, until he died. If not, then he may never have seen them again. Some people believe that all non-Christians, including the ones who died before Christ's resurrection, are still dead or in hell since they did not know Christ.

Like I said, “in the lifetime to come.”

Do you believe this? What do you base your belief on for this matter?

What exactly do you think I believe based on my brief comment regarding Job’s sons and daughters being resurrected?

God created evil, yet punishes humans who commit evil. Do you not see the problem here? If God was unable or unwilling to create an existence without evil, that's not our fault, is it? If anything, God should apologize to us for creating evil instead of finding ways to punish us for its fruits.

Please answer the question: without evil, what would good be?

Jason said...

Calimero,

This question was posed: So we know that God creates evil. Gad, Jason, or other Christians or Jews who may be reading this: Is creating evil a good thing?

To which I responded: Absolutely. Without evil, what would good be?

There's nothing here about justifying anyone's actions and I object to the accusation I'm being deceptive. If you're not interested in answering the question, just say so.

Dave said...

Sconner, reading your post about your son brought me to tears, even knowing about it from prior posts and your blog. My heart aches for you. I have 2 teenage daughters that are the light of my life, and even the thought of losing them is more than I can handle.

If I were to suffer a major loss, it would be far easier for me to handle knowing that it was due to some random cosmic event than it would thinking there was some all-knowing all-powerful god at the helm. A god that uses his own creation’s suffering as some kind of sick mental masturbation.

As do others except Jason, I find the story of Job and his children literally sickening. The clincher for me about the story was that god not only replaced Job’s children to make everything okay, his new daughters were even better looking than they were before. As if their physical beauty would make Job love them, and god, even more. It doesn’t get any sicker than that. And Christians don’t even see the sickness. As Jason has repeatedly demonstrated to everyone except himself, their humanity has literally been removed.

Sconner, I used to find your use of foul language offensive. I do not any longer, and you write what I am thinking. And amongst the anger you make some outstanding points. Thank you.

Speaking of which, there is one set of comments earlier in this thread that I think deserves Jason’s attention.

In response to Steve’s question ”Are they the actions of a good God?”, Jason said, ”They're the actions of a God who made it clear what the punishments would be for not obeying His commandments. Sconner then asked ”When did god make it clear to David, if he didn't follow his commandments, god would cause David's son to become sick -- suffering for seven days -- only to die?”

Jason has never answered this very direct and precise question. Jason, please do so.

GAD said...

"Without evil, what would good be?"

Was the world not good without evil in the beginning, and will it not be good without evil in the end?

Jason said...

Dave,

I have no drive or desire to respond to Sconnor's points or questions.

Thanks for your input.

Jason said...

Gad,

It was and it will but neither instance removes the existence of evil, it simply removes the acts of evil.

Perhaps you can answer: without evil, what would good be?

GAD said...

"It was and it will but neither instance removes the existence of evil, it simply removes the acts of evil."

So then good doesn't exist in and of itself, it is a vacuum state in the absence of evil acts?

Jason said...

Without evil, what would good be?

Dave said...

Jason, I have a question for you. In response to Steve’s question ”Are they the actions of a good God?”, you said, ”They're the actions of a God who made it clear what the punishments would be for not obeying His commandments.

So my question is this: When did god make it clear to David, if he didn't follow his commandments, god would cause David's son to become sick -- suffering for seven days -- only to die?

sconnor said...

Jason, the mindless drone, who never had an original thought of his own, said, "Without evil, what would good be?"

It would be great!

Such arguments, for the necessity of evil to make goodness more meaningful or apparent, are trite and shallow and crumble before the idea of an omnipotent God; for certainly, a God -- THE CREATOR OF THE WHOLE UNIVERSE -- could produce a creation in which there were an infinite number of wonderfully, enjoyable, possibilities at every level, all of them good and all of them extremely and exponentially, pleasurable and satisfying, without the existence of evil.

As an example, I do not need a big vat of poison at a fine cafeteria for me to appreciate the cornucopia of excellent choices and delicious food.

--S.

Calimero said...

Jason said...

If you're not interested in answering the question, just say so.........

i am interested in answering the question, but maybe I'm missing something.

the question ? ............ "So we know that God creates evil. Is creating evil a good thing?"
and you claim ! "Absolutely. Without evil, what would good be?"

Then would it be correct to assume that you think

1) That God creates evil
2) That this is a good thing
3) At least one reason you feel its a good thing is because "Without evil, what would good be?


1) That God creates evil, is an erroneous assumption,

2) and "we" (plural ?) know nothing of the sort.

Most rational people don't think God creates evil - because "god" is imaginary and imaginary things exist only in the imagination. But lets skip that.

3) Without evil, what would good be?

Well first we have to define our terms. What is evil? I think "evil" is a concept used to describe the actions of sentient creatures, real or imaginary, that causes willful and needless pain and suffering. Someone who carries out or precipitates evil acts can be described as an evil person. Its that simple.

You on the other hand for whatever lack of reason, have created, a great big universe sized imaginary friend and convinced yourself that you "know" your imaginary friend's imaginary wishes, motives and creative scope, and no doubt you think, with sincerity, if not with much common sense that "god" creates "evil" - perhaps in the same way a chef creates a souffle or a chocolate cake ?

If context in irrelevant and you simply want an answer to the question.........

3) "Without "evil", what would good be?

how about " without "tall" what would short be?

Hardly profound and not very informative. Most adjectives have opposites, their existence is neither mutually dependent nor exclusive. They are qualitative concepts not hard edged entities. Without "evil" good would be what it has always been. Without black white would still be white.

On the other hand if you are saying that it is necessary for "evil acts to be demonstrated" so that we recognize "good acts"
please say so and I will explain why that is a load of rubbish as well.

HAND

Jason said...

I think there's an answer buried in there somewhere. It would appear as though you believe good can exist even if evil didn't. Is this true?

Anon said...

Jason, your argument is, essentially, that it's okay for God to create evil, do evil things, and let humans to do evil things because if he didn't, then good would not exist, because without evil, there cannot be good. Is this correct?

Let's accept your hypothesis for a minute. How much evil is required for good to exist? When you say that God "could have" given the babies he killed to another family instead of killing them, but he chose not to, was this because there is some sort of "evilness quota" that he must fill or else good would not exist? If there isn't a quota of how much evil must be done for good to exist, then why in this specific circumstance does God commit the evil act of killing babies?

You quote Exodus as justification for God killing or forcing to suffer the descendants of sinners to several generations. You do realize that this is God's rule that he made up, right? God, unless there's an "evilness quota" he must fulfill, also could have let future generations off the hook with his divine forgiveness, saying in Exodus:

[hypothetical good God speaking]"I, the LORD your God, am not a vengeful God. I will not visit the iniquity of the fathers upon the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hated Me. I will spare these children from my wrath and show unto them my eternal love, for I realize that generations to come should not be held to pay for the sins of their forefathers."[/end of quote by hypothetical good God]

God chose not to do this either out of some perceived obligation to commit evil, or just because he gets pleasure out of being mean to innocent humans sometimes. If there is another explanation, please let us know.

Concerning Job, and the issue of whether or not pre-Christian Jews are in heaven, and whether or not the unsaved see each other again in/after death, why should I tell you what you believe? You say you made a "brief" comment on the matter. This is why I asked you to explain further. You ask me and others to further explain brief references we make. You can choose not to express your beliefs on the matter of course, but your asking me to explain what I think you believe doesn't make sense when you can choose to do so yourself.

Dave said "The clincher for me about the story was that god not only replaced Job’s children to make everything okay, his new daughters were even better looking than they were before. As if their physical beauty would make Job love them, and god, even more. It doesn’t get any sicker than that.

I agree. If God wanted to make Job wait to see his original children again until sometime in the life to come, as Jason claims, why did he send more children to Job in the meantime? Did God realize after the fact that it was kind of mean to kill Job's children and leave him childless, and hoped a more beautiful set would at least be some consolation?

It's like killing your son's pet goldfish in front of his eyes just to see if he'll swear at you for killing them, but once he doesn't then you buy him some pretty tropical fish to make up for it. Except of course instead of fish, we're talking about killing children here, and instead of your dad tormenting you by killing your pet goldfish, we're talking about an almighty God torturing you by killing your children. A perfect God could have found a way around committing the evil act of killing the children in the first place.

As sconnor and others have pointed out, God as creator of the universe should have been able to find a way to create a good universe. Instead, he created both good and evil. He either thought it'd be more fun that way, or he wasn't able to.

I think I've figured it out. The flaw in your argument, Jason, is that if the concept of good exists, then the concept of evil must exist by definition. This doesn't mean evil must exist in reality.

Let me give an example. I can write a sentence that has absolutely no typos in it. It is a 100% error-free. I can write another sentence, and another, and another, carefully typing and proofreading to make sure there are no typos in it. I have created good sentences with no bad sentences.

I can have the idea that a typo exists. I can know that if I type something wrong, there will be an imperfection, a bad sentence. The simple act of writing a sentence introduces the possibility of having typos. But I am not obligated to make a typo in order for 100% correct sentences to exist. The concept of a mistake would exist, but not the obligation to make a mistake.

I am a human. There is no way I could type perfect sentences from now until eternity. But a perfect God is alleged to have created the universe. Why couldn't God create only good things? Why must he create evil? As soon as you create something, there is the possibility that something bad will be created. But an all-knowing, all-powerful God should be able to avoid creating bad things, just as a perfect typist should be able to avoid making typos. The possibility exists to create evil, but the obligation does not exist.

So Jason, do you think that God is incapable of creating only good things? Does he have to create bad things too just because it's possible to? If God was at a keyboard, would he have to make typos just because it's possible to? Would he just choose to make typos for the fun of it, or to prove that typos can exist?

Jason said...

No, that’s not correct. My argument is that it’s not a bad thing that God created evil because without evil, we would have no concept of good. As others have done already, I don’t understand how or why you’re drawing assumptions from this straightforward statement. Nonetheless, since no one’s bothered answering my question as to whether or not good can exist without evil, I’m really not interested in discussing this topic any further.

Calimero said...

Jason In response to you last missive.

Yes you are essentially correct. I think you can have good without evil but it depends on what you mean by "good and evil"

As Anon said quite succinctly "if the concept of good exists, then the concept of evil must exist by definition. This doesn't mean evil must exist in reality."

If you define good and evil as the evaluation of behaviors across a dualistic moral spectrum - you require a "label" for both ends "good" and "evil". The invention of the concept of "good" instantly creates its antithesis.

But in the "real" world good and evil are the "actions" of people towards other living creatures. If all actions are motivated by altruism and kindness evil would not exist "in reality".

You can consider "good and evil" to be culturally embedded qualitative terms - used to describe the character and actions of people. Spinoza echoed this contextual context and added that the difference between good and evil depends on personal inclinations and advantages. By these definitions Good and Evil do not exist, per se.
In the christian story evil is the result of forsaking God but God is ultimately responsible for creating evil.

I'm happy to leave it there but perhaps you could shed a little holy light on what you mean when you use these terms - or don't you know?

HAND

Jason said...

Seeing as the terms were originally used by Steve and Anon, you'll have to ask them to define it.

Dave said...

You know, Jason, if you don’t want to discuss this good vs. evil thing anymore, that is more than fine with me. As usual, your repetitive drivel has driven this subject into the ground so far that you’ve lost nearly all your audience. But how about the question asked a while back that is directly related to Steve’s original post that you refuse to answer?

I’ll pitch it again for the fourth time:

Regarding David’s son being murdered by god, Steve asked you a question way up near the top of this thread ”Are they the actions of a good God?”. You replied, ”They're the actions of a God who made it clear what the punishments would be for not obeying His commandments.

So the question again is this: When did god make it clear to David, if he didn't follow his commandments, god would cause David's son to become sick -- suffering for seven days -- only to die?

This question is simple and relevant. Quit ignoring it and answer it.

Anon said...

Jason, I understand what you're saying, but I disagree with it. You said: My argument is that it’s not a bad thing that God created evil because without evil, we would have no concept of good.

Which reality would you consider better: a) we don't have a concept of good, but no evil exists, or b) we have a concept of good, but evil exists. Wouldn't choice "a" be the better choice?

Jason said: no one’s bothered answering my question as to whether or not good can exist without evil

I thought I did, but I'll try it from two perspectives. I think from my own perspective though that logically, the concept of good necessitates the concept of evil, but neither necessitates the existence of evil. I explained my views more in detail in my last post.

Taking it from a biblical perspective though, I'd say we can never know. God creates both good and evil. If God exists, only he would know for sure if a universe without evil would have been possible. If I believed in God, I would have to assume evil must exist in reality, otherwise I wouldn't understand why God created it in the first place. Since you're a believer, you can maybe explain your views better than I can.

The whole purpose of Steve's post I think was to get Christians to define good or evil as it related to God's actions. As several people have pointed out, he asked the question: "Is there anything that the God of the Bible could do that a believer wouldn't call good? "

As a Christian believer, would you call the acts listed in Steve's original post (burying people alive, forcing people to eat their children, etc.) good?

Calimero explained two possible distinctions between good and evil well. Since in Steve's original post, it lists specific acts by God, I think we're focusing on actions here. So, I think Steve's question could be reworded as:

"Is there any action that the God of the Bible could take that a believer wouldn't call good? "

You seem to at least partially answer the question indirectly. As Dave pointed out, you said the actions God took against David and his son are "the actions of a God who made it clear what the punishments would be for not obeying His commandments.

So for you as a believer, would you define good as obeying God's commandments, or not disobeying them? If so, then what commandments did God punish David and his son (and Job and his children) for? What evil acts did they commit to merit God's wrath?

We are looking at actions taken by the Judeo-Christian God, so it would be interesting to know how a believer defines good in the context of God's actions.

sconnor said...

Jason said: no one’s bothered answering my question as to whether or not good can exist without evil

In the Christian doctrine, presumably, in heaven, good can exist, without out evil.

I'm not sure what the delusional, Christadelphian doctrine says, but would it be god's domain -- heaven on earth -- where only good exists, without evil?

--S.

Calimero said...

Thats a bit evasive

Everybody on this post has made a sincere attempt to illustrate what they consider the terms "good and evil" to mean in the context of this exchange.

The question is simple Jason as I do not want to further misrepresent your views can you tell me what the terms "good and evil" mean to you.


If your answer is "read the posts again" or "I already have" could you please clarify your position .

HAND

Jason said...

Anon said: Which reality would you consider better: a) we don't have a concept of good, but no evil exists, or b) we have a concept of good, but evil exists. Wouldn't choice "a" be the better choice?

No, I don’t believe it is. A world in which neither good nor evil exists is stagnant and mechanical and doesn’t appeal to me in any way, shape or form.

As a Christian believer, would you call the acts listed in Steve's original post (burying people alive, forcing people to eat their children, etc.) good?

And like I previously stated, I'm not saying they're good or bad - I'm saying they are what they are. (Gen 24:50)

So for you as a believer, would you define good as obeying God's commandments, or not disobeying them? If so, then what commandments did God punish David and his son (and Job and his children) for? What evil acts did they commit to merit God's wrath?

David: 2 Samuel 12:9-14

As previously stated, the Bible doesn't say Job wasn't punished.


For those here who are frustrated I'm not saying the things they want to hear me say, I will quite happily bow out and turn this over to any other Christian who's reading this to offer their opinions on the matter.

GAD said...

If good is a thing in and of itself, then you can have good without evil (or evil without good). To say you can't would be a logical contradiction with respect to god as god could certainly make one thing and not another. I see lots of problems with good being a thing though , such as god would have to create it and therefore could not be it before he made it.

If good is not a thing in and of itself, but is the absence of thing, evil acts, in the same respect that dark is not a thing in and of itself but is the absence of a thing, light, then a "good" world is one with no acts of evil i.e. nothing violates gods will. This works well with the concept of god, especially with the idea that god created evil which would be the freewill to violate gods will.

Putting aside the above, the real question here is not if good is a thing or not or even if evil is needed (qualifies) for good, but how can god doing (not creating evil) evil acts (not us) be justified. There is only one answer, evil has to be defined as the violation of gods will and god can not violate his own will. In which case god can never do evil (only us) therefore if you believe in god then you cannot also believe that he does evil. The only way out would be to believe that god does or is both good and evil, but that contradicts the concept of god............

Calimero said...

So can I ask what use is a book purporting to be a moral code. If none of the actions of one of the main characters are exemplary. None of gods actions can described as good or evil "they are what they are"

And the only sin in the bible is "not doing gods will". Which we can never know, because who can know gods will if we are not even capable of comprehending his actions. The only evil act possible accordingly is not obeying the will of god . Which is dependent on whatever mood the petulant psychopath is in. No lesson, no morality. No moral code is discernible if you look to god as an example. God's advice "do what my prophets tell you not as I do.

In fact as long as you believe in god and he sanctions it, you can murder, smite, burn, rape and mutilate your fellow man all day long, these jolly activities are permitted by the bible as long as your doing gods will. However you can never tell if you are doing gods will unless you ask a prophet or speak to a preacher because, as we know, gods will is unknowable (except through interpretation perhaps how handy is that?). How do we know this? because the obvious common sense tools we use to make informed decisions about right and wrong about morality and ethics cannot be applied to gods actions as described in the bible. He is, like his followers, beyond comprehension.

A lifetime of good deeds and kindness will still see you set on fire burning in hell for eternity if you don't believe in this particular god. A lifetime of cruelty torture and psychopathic action and you still get eternal life if your actions are done in the name of god.

The more I hear christians trying to explain either their beliefs or their holy book, the more I feel sorry for them. Some of them are no doubt very nice people - in a deluded way - but the problem is , its too late , they have all been brainwashed, indoctrinated into their cults their gangs, their unthinking congregations.

here are some quotes I think sum up the problem all organized religion has.

"Religion is an insult to human dignity. With or without it, you'd have good people doing good things and evil people doing evil things. But for good people to do evil things, it takes religion." -Steven Weinberg

"Going to church doesn't make you a Christian any more than going to the garage makes you a car." -Laurence J. Peter

"Faith is often the boast of the man who is too lazy to investigate." -F.M. Knowles

"If 50 million people believe a foolish thing, it is still a foolish thing." -Anatole France

"The way to see by faith is to shut the eye of reason." -Benjamin Franklin, Poor Richard's Almanack, 1758

"God and other religious beliefs are human inventions, created to fulfill various psychological and emotional wants or needs."

"The invisible and the non-existent look very much alike." -Delo McKown

"Religion. It's given people hope in a world torn apart by religion." -Jon Stewart


HAND

GAD said...

Calimero,

Great post! We can feel sorry for Christians if we must while kicking them to the curb, but kick them to the curb we must.

Where you say,

"because the obvious common sense tools we use to make informed decisions about right and wrong about morality and ethics cannot be applied to gods actions as described in the bible. He is, like his followers, beyond comprehension."

For a view of whats written in the bible that does make sense I highly recommend

Who Wrote The Bible
By Richard Ellott Friedman

sconnor said...

Jason said, And like I previously stated, I'm not saying they're good or bad - I'm saying they are what they are. (Gen 24:50) Then Laban and Bethuel replied , "The matter comes from the LORD; we cannot * speak to you bad or good.

Leave it to the Christadelphian, whack-job, to pluck an obscure -- nothing to do with the larger scope of good and evil, in the world, at large -- Hebrew verse and then heap upon it, layers of interpretation, to rationalize his feeble argument.

The good and bad in this case is, they could not decide that Rebekah should marry Abraham’s son. And they could not decide that she should not marry him.

This has nothing to do with God issuing a proclamation, on the more loftier issue, of, you, supposedly, can not use your brain and decide what is good and evil, IN THE WORLD. Oh, Jason would have you believe that, as he so blatantly straddles the fence, by saying, "They are what the are".

Pussy fence straddler.

--S.

henrywindgates said...

And I love how Fred Phelps actually called Buddhism and other religions evil, as if his own religion (Christianity, of course) is pure which in fact it's not. Of course, it also makes us question the validity of these Christian fanatics who has been brainwashed into believing that god will help them fight the so-called "holy battle" or something like that.

Totally sick.

-Henry

RR said...

I actually can't believe that I read thru a lot of this stuff.

Bible-folk: come on -- there is simply no sane justification for the iron-age barbarism you find in the bible. It is demonstrably a bunch of ancient pseudo-myths by a tribal people. There is no evidence any of it is inspired by some all-powerful-being.

Of course, if you START with the belief that such a thing as god exists ... then you can contort and twist reason to make all of these barbaric stories support your thesis.

People wake up: we have a short span of years on this earth in which to live our lives. Don't waste it groveling before an imaginary being... cuz all two quickly you'll return to dust and "you" (that consciousness that defines who you are) will be lost forever.

sijia said...
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sijia said...
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none said...

The reason that this argument will never solve anything is because the majority of people here are putting God's knowledge, wisdom, and understanding on a finite level. We as humans will never be able to understand and give reason to everything he does because we simply do not have the capacity or ability to do so, and for good reason.

I love when people ask me to prove there is a god. There is no physical evidence (other than creation and our existence of course) that can prove there is a god. God wants us to have faith that he exists. You cant have faith if there is proof.

Dave said...

The reason that this argument will never solve anything is because the majority of people here are putting Flying Spaghetti Monster’s knowledge, wisdom, and understanding on a finite level. We as humans will never be able to understand and give reason to everything he does because we simply do not have the capacity or ability to do so, and for good reason.

I love when people ask me to prove there is a FSM. There is no physical evidence (other than creation and our existence of course) that can prove there is a FSM. FSM wants us to have faith that he exists. You cant have faith if there is proof.

Anon said...

None, it's good to read your post and hear another point of view. I do have a few questions based on what you wrote.

You said: "The reason that this argument will never solve anything is because the majority of people here are putting God's knowledge, wisdom, and understanding on a finite level."

Actually, the problem comes when we're assigning God infinite knowledge, wisdom, and understanding. If God only knew what the Israelites considered moral (finite knowledge/wisdom/etc.), then it would make sense for him to do all these punishments that people were allegedly okay with back then. He would be limited to what was known at that time period.

But if God has infinite knowledge/etc., he surely would have known that future generations would consider cutting off people's body parts and burning people to death to be heinous crimes. Why would he commit such barbaric acts when they would later be considered outrageously cruel? He certainly was wise enough to think of other punishments that would be less shocking, at least to modern readers. Or are we to consider burning people to death "good" act simply because God did it?

You can say that we just can't judge God, but we must judge him at least to some extent. Otherwise, there would be no way to choose the Christian God over many other ones (more on this later). We have to decide what God, if any, to follow. What makes the Christian God "more good" than other deities and worthy of our faith and worship?

None said: We as humans will never be able to understand and give reason to everything he does because we simply do not have the capacity or ability to do so, and for good reason.

What do you think the "good reason" is that we don't have the capacity or ability to understand? I've heard a couple of explanations, but I'm curious about your take on this issue.

I love when people ask me to prove there is a god. There is no physical evidence (other than creation and our existence of course) that can prove there is a god. God wants us to have faith that he exists. You cant have faith if there is proof.

I think Dave's post is a good rebuttal to this. Pretty much all religions say you have to have faith to believe. Why should we believe the Christian God exists over Zeus, Vishnu, or the Flying Spaghetti Monster? If we're told the Christian God says something is good, why should we believe that over what Allah said?

pistorius47 said...

(Sorry if this is a duplication. This is my first comment post, and I'm not sure my first attempt took.)


If Christians really believe that whatever their God does is by definition good and that human standards of right and wrong cannot apply to a holy God, then what they are really saying is that they are worshiping a God who could possibly be deceiving them about everything, while still being worthy of their worship. After all, who could hold God to account for perpetrating what the average human would call a malignant deception. For the truly committed Christian, every promise of the bible could be an outright lie and God would still be holy and good.

GAD said...

"For the truly committed Christian, every promise of the bible could be an outright lie and God would still be holy and good."

Since there is no god it (the bible) is all an outright lie. But that hasn't stopped anyone from believing, and if you can believe that it's a short trip to believing that god is good no matter what he does.

J Mark said...

Is there anything the God of the Bible could do that a believer wouldn't call good?

No there isn't...

One essential problem that plagues the host of this blog is that he believes his own mind to be the final arbiter of truth. By the way, the same symptom is apparent in all posters who maintain a similar atheism.

For all of you...this is the greatest act of arrogance. Each one in their own minute way shows both their ignorance of the complete text of the Bible and of Christians in general. Your opinions have been formed by countless repetitive hearsay. Rather you should read Scripture with an open mind and befriend a number of Christians.

You will find it profitable to consider the spiritual laws expressed in the Bible to be as absolute as the physical laws described by scientific observation. You will need to keep an open mind…the same kind of open mind needed to consider scientific evidence. You will have to start the expectant possibility that what you are reading may be true. That is the only way you can be objective.

On the other hand, if you look for errors you will find them. Just as any person could look at you and find errors. Maybe your hair has unmanageable cowlicks, or you have a slight droop in one eye, or your face is a little asymmetrical. Should a person focus on these things or take the time to get to know you personally?

Similarly, if you get to actually know a number of Christians you will learn a couple of things. Some are no different than you. We fail. We are angry with God for our poor circumstances. We are hypocrites. Others are very successful. They always seem blessed. They are generous. They are loving. They are intelligent and exceedingly well read.

We also know something about ourselves:

We know that we are imperfect.
We know that we are inherently evil.
We know that no matter what we do or say may be corrupted by a hidden motive.
We know that we are helpless to change ourselves in any long-term and meaningful way.
We know that the demands of obedience made in the Bible are impossible for any human to fulfill.
We know that sin (error) is the root of evil…not God.
We know that arrogant pride, believing that you, not God, are the final arbiter of truth is the original sin.
We know that sin introduced the consequence of death on earth because sin separates us from the

But each one of us one thing that you do not…
We have a personal saving relationship with God that restores life eternally. Why?

Because we know that the forgoing problems were a consequence of having rejected God in the first place.
We each turned away from that state of unbelief, renounced our own weak self and asked God to intervene and save us.
And he did.

God himself came to earth in human form, as his own Son, Jesus Christ. He was not just a “good teacher”. He himself came to innocently experience and suffer the consequences of our sin by a self-sacrificing, and tortuous death on the cross. He thus negated the causal effect of the original root sin and all the subsequent evil, pain and death that grew out of it.

As a result, all persons who turn away from unbelief and accept Jesus Christ’ sacrificial gift will be given eternal life, now. The Holy Spirit will into your spirit and dwell there. He will advise you

All you have to do is recognize you are wrong. Ask God to forgive you for your arrogance, and accept Jesus’ gift of salvation.

The hardest part is the first. For 45 years I was just like you...an arrogant, atheistic, scientific humanist. I finally wised up.

Well…I’m still somewhat arrogant. But God is helping me with that.

GAD said...

One essential problem that plagues J Mark is that he believes his own mind to be the final arbiter of truth. By the way, the same symptom is apparent in all posters who maintain a similar theism.

For all of you...this is the greatest act of arrogance. Each one in their own way shows both their ignorance of Science and of reality in general. Your opinions have been formed by countless repetitive S&M fantasies of a sky god who will beat your evil ass into being worthy of serving his every desire. Rather you should understand Science and befriend Reality.

You will find it profitable to consider that there is no sky god to be as absolute as the physical laws described by scientific observation.

===================

"On the other hand, if you look for errors you will find them. Just as any person could look at you and find errors. Maybe your hair has unmanageable cowlicks, or you have a slight droop in one eye, or your face is a little asymmetrical. Should a person focus on these things or take the time to get to know you personally?"

Hum, cowlicks Vs a flat earth with monsters swimming underneath it.........

"Similarly, if you get to actually know a number of Christians you will learn a couple of things."

You assume to much. I know of no atheist (including my self) that doesn't know many Christians.


"We also know something about ourselves:

We know that we are imperfect.
We know that we are inherently evil.
We know that no matter what we do or say may be corrupted by a hidden motive.
We know that we are helpless to change ourselves in any long-term and meaningful way.
We know that the demands of obedience made in the Bible are impossible for any human to fulfill.
We know that sin (error) is the root of evil…not God.
We know that arrogant pride, believing that you, not God, are the final arbiter of truth is the original sin.
We know that sin introduced the consequence of death on earth because sin separates us from the "

Pure S&M fantasy! Whip me, beat me, teach me to serve your every desire master.

"Because we know that the forgoing problems were a consequence of having rejected God in the first place.
We each turned away from that state of unbelief, renounced our own weak self and asked God to intervene and save us.
And he did."

You assume to much again. And who did god supposedly save you from, not yourself, but from him.

"God himself came to earth in human form, as his own Son, Jesus Christ. He was not just a “good teacher”. He himself came to innocently experience and suffer the consequences of our sin by a self-sacrificing, and tortuous death on the cross. He thus negated the causal effect of the original root sin and all the subsequent evil, pain and death that grew out of it."

Millions of babies die a more tortuous death then Jesus every year! Get over the whole he suffered so much BS, it's an insult to all humanity!!!!!

"As a result, all persons who turn away from unbelief and accept Jesus Christ’ sacrificial gift will be given eternal life, now."

Not eternal life, eternal enslavement. Without the freewill to ever chose different then god. Making you the pointless robot that Christians claim freewill was needed to prevent in the first place.

"The hardest part is the first. For 45 years I was just like you...an arrogant, atheistic, scientific humanist. I finally wised up."

No, what happened is that the fear of death finally got to you and looked to the placebo of religion to numb your mind of reality.

Dave said...

J Mark, J Mark, where to start. It’s nice to get a Christian poster here other than Jason, but wow, your post is so full of arrogant Christian parroting crap that it is difficult to even begin a response. Fortunately, Gad did a nice job, but I would like to add one thing, based on my own personal experience.

You said, “Each one in their own minute way shows both their ignorance of the complete text of the Bible and of Christians in general. Your opinions have been formed by countless repetitive hearsay. Rather you should read Scripture with an open mind and befriend a number of Christians.” You could not be more wrong, at least for the growing number of people like me. You see, I am not an atheist, I am an EX-christian.

I became an ex-Christian in my forties, after living my entire life as a Christian. My parents, siblings, and most of my nieces and nephews are Jesus loving parrots that spew the same crap as you do. As I once did. I wager that us ex-Christians are more familiar with the Bible than 99% of Christians. When I talk to Christians about god murdering Job’s children, god having bears rip children apart, God murdering half a million first born Egyptian children, or hundreds more sick stories, their eyes widen with unbelief and they say something like “I didn’t know that, I’ll look into it”. Next time I see them, their eyes have re-glazed over, that smug Christian grin is back, and now I am accused of being under the influence of Satan for questioning the righteousness of the baby killing god they worship. It is literally becoming sickening to me.

I am becoming convinced that Christianity is a cult, and it takes a dramatic life altering event to allow a Christian to see life with an open mind enough to see Christianity for what it really is. Sconner is a good example of this, as am I. Now that we have figured out we were born right the first time, posts such as that of J Mark here are nothing but repetitive non-original garbage, and literally appear to be from someone that has lost their grasp of reality.

And finally, J Mark says “For 45 years I was just like you...an arrogant, atheistic, scientific humanist. I finally wised up.”. And now you are so humble aren’t you? And wised up? Why do you suppose studies have shown a correlation between I.Q. and non-belief?

Thomas said...

Is this Gad guy being serious?

Hugo said...

Thomas, what is it that Gad said that you do not agree with?
Mind you he quotes other people but it is sometimes not quite clear where the quote ends and his comment begins.

GAD said...

"Thomas, what is it that Gad said that you do not agree with?"

Yes, what?

"Mind you he quotes other people but it is sometimes not quite clear where the quote ends and his comment begins."

Note that I do use "quotes" when quoting.

Hugo said...

Note that I do use "quotes" when quoting.

Yes I see the quotes imho it is a little more clear to use something like <i>italics</i> like I did here to differentiate quoted text from own text.

Then again thomas may just be a raving bible thumper ;)
His blog does have some German comics that would prompt me to ask if he is crazy or what? (nothing religious though)

GAD said...

Yes I see the quotes imho it is a little more clear to use something like italics like I did here to differentiate quoted text from own text.

Fair enough. Or maybe even

Yes I see the quotes imho it is a little more clear to use something like italics like I did here to differentiate quoted text from own text.

In any case it looks like Thomas' comment was just a hit and run.

Thomas said...

"what is it that Gad said that you do not agree with?"

How about, "the god of the bible is the definition of good i.e. he defines what is good, if one believes in god then by definition everything he does is good," or "God, not you, defines what is good and bad."

"thomas may just be a raving bible thumper"

That's funny, I was thinking the same thing about Gad!

"His blog does have some German comics that would prompt me to ask if he is crazy or what?"

Now please explain this leap of thought to me!

"In any case it looks like Thomas' comment was just a hit and run."

What, just because I didn't respond instantly?
You seem to make some pretty bold assumptions about people you know nothing about!

Hugo said...

I'll take a guess based on later comments, that gad was giving a fair description of what the believers were gonna say (and the comments here have have amply confirmed it)
As for those comics on your blog, I understand German but stabbing a girls eye out, don't really get the joke ;-)
Anyway, seems like we're all on the same side so: Welcome Thomas ;-)

GAD said...

How about, "the god of the bible is the definition of good i.e. he defines what is good, if one believes in god then by definition everything he does is good," or "God, not you, defines what is good and bad."

As Hugo rightly stated I was answering for believers, not my self.

What, just because I didn't respond instantly?

Well, it was your only post on this thread and it was a day old.


You seem to make some pretty bold assumptions about people you know nothing about!

That was bold? OooooK. How about this, your seem awful touchy.... ;)

Thomas said...

"As for those comics on your blog, I understand German but stabbing a girls eye out, don't really get the joke ;-)"

First of all, I didn't make the comics.
They are just translations, as I state on the blog, and each comic has link to the original underneath it.

The comic you are referring to is a sequel to an earlier comic.

"As Hugo rightly stated I was answering for believers, not my self."

That's a shame. It was great material for Fundies say the Darndest Things.

"Well, it was your only post on this thread and it was a day old."

Ooh, so I only made one post that day. Big deal.

"That was bold? OooooK. How about this, your seem awful touchy.... ;)"

Yes, it's not the least bit bold to call someone a crazy, raving bible thumper, based on virtually nothing.

GAD said...

Yes, it's not the least bit bold to call someone a crazy, raving bible thumper, based on virtually nothing.

"a crazy, raving bible thumper" LOL! OK, show where I said or even implied such a thing about you.

Lets see;

- You couldn't follow the context of my statements on this thread.
- Instead of asking me to clarify my statements directly you post it as statement.
- From the above you are implying that I am "a crazy, raving bible thumper".
- You imply that I implied that you were a "a crazy, raving bible thumper" based on nothing.
- And your overly sensitive about simple things.

I'm seeing a pattern here, and it's not a very flattering one..... Best we stop here.

apomate said...

First let me say I'm not sane, but rather a fool. Otherwise I wouldn't step in where many people seem to enjoy tearing each other apart. But I'll share some thoughts, and if my words are offensive to anyone, I will not bother you again.

I would propose that it is a logical error to judge god as a man. You would not bring a lion to court and judge him as a man, say for the murder of an unfortunate child who became his prey. If you wish to judge the god of the bible then you logically must judge him as the bible describes him, with all the attributes the bible gives to him -- holiness, goodness, righteousness, power, wisdom, creator of all things, etc. Thus, you cannot accuse the god of the bible of evil, because by definition in the bible, the god of the bible is incapable of evil. Would you argue that the bible teaches that god is evil? Debating whether the god of the bible is good or evil is like debating whether "red" is a color. The best thing for you to do if you don't like the concept of god being good is to simply deny that he exists at all rather than trying to argue that he is evil.

What do you think, then? Is the god of the bible good? But if there is no god then there is neither good nor evil. After all, how would you decide what is good or evil, and WHO would be allowed to make this decision? At best you would use a majority vote? In a tribe of cannibals, roasting and eating people would be voted as "very good." Do YOU consider "roasting and eating people" good? No? Why not? What possible rationale could you give for saying it is "evil"? Your only basis for a decision (other than the legality of eating people in the country where you are located) is a system of values you pretty much received from others, much of it as a child (and probably modified to a degree). And whether you like it or not, I'm willing to suggest that at least some of your current moral values have signifcant roots in the holy writings that you attack. My conclusion: the concept of good and evil cannot even exist outside the framework of the bible and the god of this bible. (or similarly in some other holy book and its god).

Let me venture one question to Steve, who so desperately is looking for a sane Christian to attack. (I'm not he, by the way, remember, I said I'm a fool.) Is it wrong for a person to douse himself with gasoline and set fire to himself and burn himself to death? The answer for one who has no god is clearly, "no." So that answers one of your questions --"Is it always wrong to burn someone to death?" No, it is not --- if you don't believe in god. Both YOU and the CHRISTIAN will be obligated to qualify this question before you can adequately answer it. You need to design your questions more carefully. (Why do I think of such a sordid thing, you ask? I witnessed it, unfortunately. It was not a pretty sight, nor a pretty sound, but this person did what he considered good and right, as a protest against an immoral situation at that time. And a number of his contemporaries felt he did a good thing as well. I don't think you would accuse him of an immoral act.)

OWL

GAD said...

can not judge god, check
god can not do wrong, check
no good or evil without god, check
mans moral relativism bad, check
gods moral relativism good, check

and finally, drum roll please,

someone burning themselves to death justifies god burning people to death!

Because we all know there is no difference between doing something to yourself and somebody else doing it to you.

Christian logic at its best.

If there are no gods, then all the gods and their bibles were invented by the human mind, in which case the ideas of good and evil exist in humans and are not contingent on a god.

apomate said...

Hmmmm, ... well Gad's first 5 paragraphs replying to Apomate neither refute anyone's reasoning, nor do they give any reasoning of his own for anyone to refute - so there is nothing to reply to.

Last paragraph, .... absolutely correct, .... IFFFFF there are no gods.

To rephrase it to see if I understand Gad correctly: If there are no gods, the very fact that people can talk about good and evil, as we are doing here, proves that these concepts can exist outside the framework of god and the bible.

But, if god DOES exist, then Gad's declaration "in which case the ideas of good and evil exist in humans and are not contingent on a god" cannot be proved, and remains only an opinion, as yet with no reasons supporting it. Neither can I prove the counter declaration. I'm expressing an opinion, and giving reasons for my opinion: a meaningful concept of good and evil will be difficult if not impossible outside the framework of god and his bible (some proposed initial reasons in third paragraph of my previous post).

...and I would be interested in other opinions with reasons regarding where the concept of "good" and "evil" could originate if there were no god. Thanks for your consideration, and may you see and enjoy many good blessings each day.

Hugo said...

apomate, you start by saying that it is illogical to judge your god as a man
by apomate:I would propose that it is a logical error to judge god as a man.

but then you say this:

by apomate:If you wish to judge the god of the bible then you logically must judge him as the bible describes him, with all the attributes the bible gives to him -- holiness, goodness, righteousness, power, wisdom, creator of all things, etc.

Those are all human values (except holiness, what does that mean anyway?)
Why did you leave out all the embarrassing stuff? Jealous, murdered (see original post), deceitful, evil etc.
Yes, among all things he(?) created according to the bible is evil, you can twist and turn words and do your bible apologetic gymnastic to say that that evil is not really meant as such and that it meant something else like calamity which still sounds pretty evil to me but even if you consider it something less then how are you able to square it with the supposed all goodness?

by apomate:
My conclusion: the concept of good and evil cannot even exist outside the framework of the bible and the god of this bible. (or similarly in some other holy book and its god).
Please tell me you do not consider burning people a good thing because the bible says that your god considered it a good punishment, I really don't wanna go down that road again.

apomate said...

By judging god as a man, I mean one is treating god as if he were a man (which is illogical becaue he is not a man), and then judging him using a set of standards (laws) designed only for man. I suggested that this might be like judging a lion for killing a child -- which is certainly first-degree, premeditated murder, since lions hardly kill little children by accident or in self-defense. Judging a lion as guilty of murder and thus declaring it evil in this way by applying laws to the lion that were designed for man is illogical because lions are not logically subject to man's laws. Similarly, god is not subject to man's laws either. If he were we could judge him of trespassing (since he is everywhere), violation of privacy (he knows your thoughts, and knows every spot on your entire body, and taps all telephones), of being an accomplice to all crimes (since he is present at the scene of all crimes and does not make any effort to stop or later report them), of failure to pay property taxes (he owns all properties), of murder (all men die as a result of god's decree), of speeding (most certainly he moves faster than 100mph down the highway - smile - I had to drop in that one!), well, seriously, we might be able to judge god guilty of breaking most of man's laws. But can we truly, and logically hold god responsible and subject to man's laws? I suspect that many of Steve's attacks depend very heavily upon using laws designed for man, to judge god.

(By the way, returning for a moment to the lion: We could confuse ourselves even more by debating whether it is good or evil that the lion killed the child. Who would argue that it is good? But, ... will you then argue that it is evil or wrong? The problem comes from trying to judge the lion as if he were a man, making it subject to man's laws. I believe we have to consider doing such a thing as, ... illogical.)

----

Now when you say, "Those are all human values (except holiness, what does that mean anyway?)" are you intending to say that "Man is good" in the same sense that the bible says "God is good"? Goodness is a defining attribute of god, and it essentially says "god equals good" (like: god=good). But would you say that man=good?

You are quite right about my limited list of god's attributes - trying to make a long list wasn't needed, and I naturally named some "favorites." Perhaps this is indeed in error on my part -- I should be more grateful that god is a jealous god (god himself says, "I am a jealous god."), for if he weren't perhaps he would not have made such an effort to provide for my restoration to fellowship with him. Now about anger and wrath, in a quick search I found many references to god's wrath and anger, but none that use "IS" to say anything like "god is anger" or "god is wrath," so at this point it doesn't look to me like the bible intends to assign anger or wrath as a defining attribute of god -- only that he expresses these emotions at times. As for murder and deceit, I doubt there is really anyplace in the bible where these terms are applied to god at all. I think those accusations are the result of someone trying to apply man's laws to judge god.

As far as god creating evil, I might consider that he created evil in the same sense that he created darkness, ... but this post is too long now, so let's return to that next time if you wish. You raised a couple other questions, but likewise, if you want me to continue, I'll address them next time.

May you discover the blessings of life, and the strength to face the challenges.

apomate said...

Opps, sorry, the first line of my just-made post got cut off somehow. It started off with:

"Thanks for your comments Hugo.

By judging god as a man, ...."
------------

Hugo said...

Similarly, god is not subject to man's laws either. If he were we could judge him of ....
No we couldn't because he/she/it does not exist!
you have quite an obsession with lions killing babies, why do you need god to tell you what is right and wrong, if god declared it good you'll consider it good, what's your take on Jephthah's story, no "oopsies just kidding, didn't really mean it" in that story like with Abraham...
Good for you to avoid any of my points, you still didn't explain why you only mentioned the good bits of your god's character as described in the bible and left out the embarassing parts...
Hope you discover the real world before you have to leave it.

GAD said...

If a loin killing a child is not evil, then god killing children can not be deemed evil.

If a man burns himself to death, then it is OK for god to burn people to death.

Is that an argument for god or stupidity?

apomate said...

Thanks for your replies, both Gad and Hugo.

But neither of you refuted my reasons. You made many statements, and Gad paraphrased rather badly a few of my words back to me. But you did not give reasons, so they are only opinions without reasons. There is nothing for me to reply to. You are entitled to those opinions, but my opinions differ from yours.

One exception - Hugo says we can't judge god because he doesn't exist. But if we accept Hugo's declaration, then Steve cannot judge god either and everything said on this website about god is nonsense. If you wish to accuse god, then you must assume that god exists for the purpose of the discussion.

No, I did not avoid a single issue Hugo brought up. I either addressed it in detail, or said I would do so in my next post if he wanted. (But now that is impossible since Hugo launched another basketfull of issues, and he will now accuse me of avoiding either the previous ones, or the new ones.) Pick out the issue you want to throw at me and tell me which one it is, please. If you had invented baseball, you'd have put three pitchers in the infield, all pitching simultaneously! :)

Hugo said...

Indeed, all talk about god is pointless THAT IS WHY we talk about what the believers think about their god, when questions are asked they are about what you think about your god. We know that we do not have to wait for answers from god, since it does not exist, you are the one who claim that it exists and you even claim to know that it has written certain books and you claim to know what it wants you to do so in this post we (atheists) ask if you consider good anything you imagine your god wants you to do and it becomes ever more clearly the answer is "yes" (from answers here and there are also plenty of historic and recent events that show that people will follow very destructive thoughts when they think that their god wants it so, a recent example: god wants babies to say "amen" before dinner so the parent considered it right to withhold food from the baby)
We are not judging god we are judging your (believer's) beliefs (stories) and actions that you say come from your god.

Nobody's putting time constraints on your answers so go ahead and start addressing the points I raised, I won't accuse you of missing or avoiding parts if you address at least something ...

GAD said...

"But neither of you refuted my reasons."

What reasons?

apomate said...

Thank-you Hugo. Good post.

I don't agree that it is pointless for an atheist to talk about god. Similarly I don't think it is pointless for a christian to talk about atheism. Both the christian and the atheist need to be able to give good, sound reasons for the position they take, and those reasons should include why they choose to reject the OTHER position. Is this reasonable?

About the BIG question (anything god asking me to do being good), I have a problem with the way you word it, because god isn't like a director providing me specific orders to follow. But if you ask me, "Can god ever do evil?" I will say, "absolutely not." And if you ask me, "Is everything that god does good?" I will say "absolutely yes." God has revealed himself and his desires through the writers of the bible, and this done in such a way that this revelation is completely trustworthy. I go to the bible to know this god and his desires. If I interpret the bible correctly and act accordingly, then the bible (and god as well) will never lead me to do evil. (Nevertheless, at times I do evil because I reject or fail to heed some part of the bible!)

With the qualifying remarks I've made above I basically agree with the general content of your first paragraph.

Your conclusion about judging christians rather than judging god, does indeed make sense to me. You are indeed free to judge the actions of those who really are christians to see how consistent they are with the teaching of the bible. You will find bad examples even among true christians, but I'm certain you will also find admirable examples if you are willing to admit that. However, there is a strong tendancy here on this website to search for the "extreme" cases and to use them to construct your perception of god and the bible, and then to criticize this perception that you have created. There are multitudes of false christians out there, and the bible declares this as well, saying you will know them by their fruit. I don't think you will find the truth about god and the bible by studying false christians.

I'll throw in a comment here about Jephtha, since I think I can do it very briefly.
I assume you are referring to Jephtha's carrying out his vow, and I assume you want to use this to discredit god. But, in fact, this is only a history narration of his actions, and neither god nor the bible gives any opinion or comment on Jephtha's vow-action. God may disapprove of Jephtha's vow-actions just as much as you, (and I) do -- but we aren't told.
My personal take: I would say Jephthah made two bad decisions, and that any human sacrifice is evil, because it is against biblical teaching.

Now, the other issues from previous posts that I said I'd do later include the matter of god creating evil, the matter of burning people (which you said you wanted to avoid), why I need god telling me right from wrong, ... Is that about it? There were some other things you mentioned, but perhaps these are not really "issues," but just a tossing about of some thoughts. Unless you move the conversation to something else in your next post, I'll look at the idea of god creating evil in my next post.

Sorry for the delay. Had some connection problems over the weekend, and also some other matters pressing for attention.

Take joy in the good that is around you.

Hugo said...

Thank-you Hugo. Good post.

Well I'm happy you at least read it.

I don't agree that it is pointless for an atheist to talk about god. Similarly I don't think it is pointless for a christian to talk about atheism. Both the christian and the atheist need to be able to give good, sound reasons for the position they take, and those reasons should include why they choose to reject the OTHER position. Is this reasonable?

Oh I never said that it was pointless to talk about god, that is just the point, I talk about the god that you claim exist, with another believer I talk about the one that she thinks exists, there are so many gods as there are believers and I enjoy talking about the hypotheses that those believers construct about their particular god that they think exist. I don't reject anything, I just do not believe it based on the evidence presented, it is possible that I will immediately claim non-belief to a certain god without even listening to the believer because I have already heard about that believer's god and even though that believer may have a slightly different view I have already heard the overall concept and have deemed the evidence insufficient or down right false, no need to waste time. Here with your type of christian god I have already heard a lot of the different versions and arguments and none of them have ever presented something that I could believe, I'm engaging in the conversation with you to see how a person who at least on the surface seems like a good person integrates that kind of a god claim, it is an interesting phenomenon, some construct elaborate workarounds for the "bad stuff", others ignore it, you seem to be of the first persuasion.

About the BIG question (anything god asking me to do being good), I have a problem with the way you word it, because god isn't like a director providing me specific orders to follow. But if you ask me, "Can god ever do evil?" I will say, "absolutely not." And if you ask me, "Is everything that god does good?" I will say "absolutely yes." God has revealed himself and his desires through the writers of the bible, and this done in such a way that this revelation is completely trustworthy. I go to the bible to know this god and his desires. If I interpret the bible correctly and act accordingly, then the bible (and god as well) will never lead me to do evil. (Nevertheless, at times I do evil because I reject or fail to heed some part of the bible!)

So you think the burning people, human sacrifice, slavery, ... in the trustworthy bible are good things. You do some word gymnastic to read "god did good because the people deserved it and had it coming" or "the writers of the bible didn't mean to write that, it was a message, god would not really do that" instead of "And there came out a fire from the LORD, and consumed the two hundred and fifty men that offered incense", is that not a little dishonest, can you not see that it is the same as reading "Mein Kampf" and saying that the Jews had it coming or that Hitler didn't really mean what he wrote, his generals misinterpreted the "great Furher"'s message and his message was good if interpreted correctly and acted upon accordingly (I am not praising Hitler!, he full well knew what he did and wanted to do, I do believe that he was at least a deist but he also used (several particular christian) religions as a tool to facilitate the distribution of his message and the fact is that many faithful German believers took it without questioning, I'm not elaborating on this, it is a whole discussion on it's own)
Really think about this, why do you say "the revelation is completely trustworthy" but still change the words or meanings when YOU disagree with them, should something from (your) god that is COMPLETELY trustworthy not be taken as literal as possible?

With the qualifying remarks I've made above I basically agree with the general content of your first paragraph.

With qualifying remarks you mean, "anyone who interprets the bible differently from me is a false christian" and "what I consider evil (and what my god considers evil) is not in the bible and if you think it is you are not reading or interpreting it correctly"

Your conclusion about judging christians rather than judging god, does indeed make sense to me. You are indeed free to judge the actions of those who really are christians to see how consistent they are with the teaching of the bible. You will find bad examples even among true christians, but I'm certain you will also find admirable examples if you are willing to admit that. However, there is a strong tendancy here on this website to search for the "extreme" cases and to use them to construct your perception of god and the bible, and then to criticize this perception that you have created. There are multitudes of false christians out there, and the bible declares this as well, saying you will know them by their fruit. I don't think you will find the truth about god and the bible by studying false christians.

The thing is that I look further and also look at what drove a person to do something, how a mind can get to do things that are considered evil, and in many cases I can see direct links to religion and the indoctrinations. Like when a mother goes against her most natural instinct and lets her baby die of hunger, yes, it is an extreme case but do you not see that they have the same bible as you, that the actions came directly from a devout and sincere belief in the very real existence of a deity (that expects worship)?
You last line, the bible also declares that "their fruit" means nothing, in some verses it says that you just have to believe, and that is the problem, the bible can justify just about any position you want, you want to kill your neighbor, there's verses for that, you want to love him, ... have a look at the inconsistencies list on http://skepticsannotatedbible.com/
Please define for me a TRUE CHRISTIAN (or a false one and why), from what I see every christian (indeed every believer) defines himself as such, everyone else is a "false christian" in one way or another.
The decisions YOU make to pick and choose the chapters you want to live by or to interpret the particularly bad parts in a way that stroke with your good side do not come from the bible, they come from the environment and society that you grew up in and most of those values are quite secular and have in many cases been built up by going against religious dogma.

I'll throw in a comment here about Jephtha, since I think I can do it very briefly.
I assume you are referring to Jephtha's carrying out his vow, and I assume you want to use this to discredit god. But, in fact, this is only a history narration of his actions, and neither god nor the bible gives any opinion or comment on Jephtha's vow-action. God may disapprove of Jephtha's vow-actions just as much as you, (and I) do -- but we aren't told.
My personal take: I would say Jephthah made two bad decisions, and that any human sacrifice is evil, because it is against biblical teaching.

I want to do this to discredit the bible as a "special book" and to show you that you are accepting horrible stories as "good".
Again if the writers of the bible were "completely trustworthy" then why are you adding words? If god disapproved why did he not do an "oopsie" like with Abraham? Here you have already spinned it, what a strange thing to say that something in the bible can be against biblical teaching?
Are you not putting words in your god's mouth (if it has one) by saying that human sacrifice is evil, if god disapproved why does the trustworthy bible not say so, it talks about god's disapproval in in many other cases that are a lot less troublesome (picking up sticks on the sabbath for ex.)

Now, the other issues from previous posts that I said I'd do later include the matter of god creating evil, the matter of burning people (which you said you wanted to avoid), why I need god telling me right from wrong, ... Is that about it? There were some other things you mentioned, but perhaps these are not really "issues," but just a tossing about of some thoughts. Unless you move the conversation to something else in your next post, I'll look at the idea of god creating evil in my next post.

I wanted to avoid it because it has been dealt with in another post, go ahead tell us why you think god was fibbing or did not really mean what he said (or the writers of the bible didn't really understand or mean what they were writing) when god says in the bible that he created evil.

Sorry for the delay. Had some connection problems over the weekend, and also some other matters pressing for attention.

No problem take your time, I do too.

Live life to it's fullest, it is the only one you get!

GAD said...

"there is a strong tendancy here on this website to search for the "extreme" cases and to use them to construct your perception of god and the bible, and then to criticize this perception that you have created."

Extreme? Just read your bible sometime, that's all it takes to show that god is not all-loving or all-good.

I suggest Numbers 31. Based on population statics I have seen numbers as high 90,000+ women, pregnant women, baby boys and boys killed (not in battle, but defenseless afterward) by order of god. Then the virgins were divided up for the men with the cattle. Hum, now why virgins? Not to mention the argument that 32 virgins may have been sacrificed to god by order of god.

Extreme, The only thing extreme is believing that this BS comes from a god and that that god is all-loving and all-good.

wmute said...

You cant have faith if there is proof.

So, Adam, Moses, Mary, Job, Lot, Abraham, Paul and pretty much everyone else mentioned in the Bible did not have faith? If salvation is by faith, then it seems like kind of a dick move my God to have deliberately made it impossible for these people to have faith by proving that he exists.

that any human sacrifice is evil, because it is against biblical teaching.
So, that whole "Jesus" thing (you know, where God had his son tortured and sacrificed so that He could end all death and suffering) was evil? What about when God hardened the pharaoh's heart, so that he'd have an excuse to kill all the little babies in Egypt, that was evil, too? It's in Exodus 10:1-2, so we know God did it, right?

Hugo said...

good one wmute, I wanted to add in the Jesus human sacrifice too but couldn't quite fit it in my response.

apomate said...

Hi Hugo,

I won't paste your text in here, or my post will turn into a book :).

Your paragraph, "Oh I never..." is fine and defines your position quite well. Why do you throw out "elaborate workarounds" even though they may be valid arguments that explain difficult situations? These kinds of arguments exist not only in the bible, but in science (theory of relativity was pretty "elaborate"), evolution, archeology (especially regarding dates), geology, and history (there are apparent contradictions in history books that historians explain using "elaborate workarounds").

In your paragraph, "So you think..." you appear to assume what I believe. Please hear my comment here: there is nothing in your paragraph that represents my position. Please reread my paragraph and let my own words state my position. If you wish to question what I said I will reply to it. Indeed, in many things in your paragraph I might have a position very similar to your own.

Again, in your paragraph, "With qualifying..." you declared things that I do not believe.

Your next paragraphs begin with, "The thing is..." and here I present again what I said before: if you wish to examine true Christianity, then you must do so by examining true Christians. Absolutely in no way am I free to interpret the bible any way I wish. The bible itself severely speaks against anyone who does. Nor do I pick and choose from the bible.
How can you claim to know me so well?

A "true Christian" is well defined (in a reverse way by telling what a christian is not) by this passage in Matthew 7:21 where Jesus Christ says, "Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.
22 Many will say to me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?'
23 Then I will tell them plainly, 'I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!' " (NIV translation)

So you see there will be people who say, "Lord, Lord" who are not christians. They may have uttered prophesies, and done miracles, and yet they are not christians. In verse 23 is the short definition (again, in reverse form): The true Christian is the one to whom Jesus Christ will say, "I know you." So you will be able to find plenty of people who declare they accept the bible but to whom Jesus Christ may well say in the future, "I never knew you."

I agree with you that, unfortunately, people have tried to use the bible to justify horrible sins. The fault falls on the individual person, not upon the bible, nor upon god. It is your job to fairly and accurately determine which people are which so that you can make a truthful analysis.

Your paragraph about Jephtha. The bible records much history. No scholarly historian, christian or not, will interpret the bible as you are trying to do. The account of Jephtha is clearly history - not an editorial.

Well, you brought up dozens of issues, and I'm aware we will disagree over some, but I hope I've made clear that many if not all of your assumptions about me are not true. Until we clear this up, I do not want to proceed into other matters.

Thanks for hearing me through.

Hugo said...

Workaround may have been a bad choice of words, word gymnastics was better, nowhere does relativity say "this theory is correct because these bodies do not attract each other but they actually want to attract each other because this book says they want to"

Your definition of a "true christian" so all that stuff about knowing them by the fruit is moot?
It is possible that there actually are no real Christians?
Jesus Christ may just not know anyone?
Or do you actually claim to know what Jesus Christ is going to say in the future?

The bible records much history. No scholarly historian, christian or not, will interpret the bible as you are trying to do. The account of Jephtha is clearly history - not an editorial.
So if it is history then god approves of human sacrifice.
God gave Jephtha what he wanted and accepted his daughter's sacrifice for it.
imho you'd better say it is not history that is a story about keeping vows, still wrong but at least your god did not (according to you) actually let a young girl be killed by her father!
Now I know that you find human sacrifice (probably any sacrifice) utterly bad so you cannot defend that paragraph but, and this is completely strange to us atheists, you must find some way to accept it anyway and defend it in its entirety, why?

apomate said...

Hi Hugo,

True, my "definition" is not strictly speaking a definition. What I described is the only way we will ultimately know for certain who is a true christian and who is not. There are many definitions, some even opposed to others, (see wikipedia - though it does not cite references, the section under "Christian" entitled "Who is a christian" is reasonably correct and gives examples).

I'm trying to define the term as god and the bible would do it, rather than just taking a definition from the dictionary, or from one of many churches. Perhaps a better "classical" definition would come from John 1:11-12 (NASB) "11 He [Jesus Christ] came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. 12 Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God--"

So that a christian is one who "receives him, ...[and] believes in his name."

But of course, "receive" and "believe" must be clearly understood. I do not think simply saying, "I believe you and I receive you" in a mechanical way is what John is saying. The "receiving and believing" must be clearly evidenced by changes that occur in the persons attitudes, and values as a result. "Receive" means a lot more than receiving a letter in the mail. It might be more like "received" as used in a sentence like: "They received the child into their home for adoption." THIS kind of receiving implies a commitment - a lifetime commitment. Does this (verse 12 of John 1) seem like a possible "definition?"

---

Your comment that "god approves of human sacrifice" is based on assumptions that are not stated in the passage. We do not know that the vow moved god to give Jephtha a victory. (I rather suspect Jephtha would have been victorious even without having made any vow - but that also is just a guess - the passage does not say.) We also do not know God's opinion of Jephtha's action. Nothing is said, so we cannot make a conclusion one way or the other. All we know is what happened, and we are not told anything about the morality of what Jephtha did.

But your words say something to the effect that god either lets or does not let the young girl be killed. Are you saying that because god does not prevent some bad thing from happening that he therefore must approve of that bad thing? And do you intend to blame god for all things that happen by giving the argument that god "let" these things happen, so he's to blame?

To put it in different words let me just ask, "If a thief intentionally kills a person because this person refused to hand over his wallet, then would you say that god approves of this crime, or that god is to blame?"

Hugo said...

So nobody knows what makes a real christian there are oodles of often conflicting definitions so anybody can just arbitrarily decide that so and so is not a christian.
How convenient.

---
you're again assuming that I believe in your god, I only go by what you, others and your books tell me what your or their god does. For me we are discussing an almost completely fictional book (with a few real historical references does not make the bible true, Spiderman books also speak of New York and sometimes even real events, it does not make Spiderman real! I can discuss things about Spiderman too, that is how you should see my discussions about the stories in the Bible)

Dragging my words into the real world do you no good, for me your god does not exists, it is you who claim that he also exists outside of the book and has the same powers in the real world as in the book.

Now, does the story of Jephtha not say that he made a vow with god and that the promise was delivered by god and that the conditions for the vow were executed for god?
That is all that we have, and indeed, the story does not say that god approved, however god did not act against and in other stories god did act against so the god in that book does not appear unable to act and other stories suggest that nothing happens without his knowledge so yes it seems your god approves or does not care about human sacrifice done in his name and if you accept that he exists outside of the fantasy world then yes it appears that he approves or does not care about human (or animal) suffering.

You are also adding a lot meaning and are making a lot of claims to and about this story.
On what grounds are you making your claims?
On what evidence are you adding words and meaning to your trustworthy book?

As for your last line, I'd say the thief was an evil person and I'd hope he gets arrested and punished (which does not always happen)
You however could even accept that he goes to your heaven if you think he honestly repents....

apomate said...

Well, you are again paraphrasing my words to say things that I have not said nor desire to say.

I suggested a definition and asked your opinion, and you only say, "how convenient."

Surely you must understand that I know you don't believe in god! I have never suggested you believe in god. I DO assume you are willing to talk about the concept of god without believing in god.

You ask for my grounds -- they are clearly stated. That which is my opinion is identified as such and does not come from the bible. That which is not opinion is based obviously on the bible content, or upon scholarly methods used in all universities in the US for proper understanding of all literature.

I have added no words to the bible. If you can show me the words you are thinking about I will gladly clear it up for you.

Now, based on your paragraph about the biblical account of Jephtha, it appears to me that your position is this: If god does not take action to stop some event, then that proves that god approves of that event.

Is THIS an accurate understanding of your position?

1c028b70-b4f6-11e3-ada4-000bcdca4d7a said...

fussing and concern trolling over "murderous bastards in history"

says "people who believe in God are mentally unstable....broken and irrational."


A N D T H E N


contends that the time is fast approaching when he and his comrades will be "entitled to lock [us] up if [our] thoughts or actions are considered by the majority to be a danger to society"

.....the mental and moral deficit here is stark.