The official RRS defeats Way of the Master thread

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The official RRS defeats Way of the Master thread

 

This is it. This is the official thread that Kelly and Sapient will try to interact with as many visitors as they can. If you are new here, welcome aboard. If viewing this from the homepage you can click the title of the thread, create an account, and post your comments. Kelly and Sapient will not have time to address all the email and would like to keep all of their exchanges public for the benefit of the readers who are curious. Soon we will have a downloadable document available right from this post that will expose as many arguments as we can expose from the ABC Nightline Face Off with Ray Comfort and Kirk Cameron. Here are the highlights of the face off from our eyes...

 

Did we make mistakes in the full debate? Yes. We stumbled on a few words, made an inaccurate point or two, and made a weak point at a moment or two. Ironically our worst points still seemed to be too much for them. So while we welcome criticism, especially constructive, please keep in mind that we feel we have a good handle on what we did wrong. We'll grow, learn, and get better. What we're really hoping for in this thread is for the actual content and discussion about gods existence to be brought into question. Challenge us to continue, and we will continue to respond to your claims. If you are a theist, please feel free to post your scientific evidence for God, leaving out the miserable arguments that Ray Comfort has already been beaten on of course. If you are having trouble finding the video on ABCs website, you can find most/all of the videos here. DIGG it.

A thread on our message board that has links to the entire unedited debate.

Other threads of interest:

Nightline Editing Bias - The Supporting Data

Gregfl starts a thread about Bashirs big blunder and the Nightline portrayal.

Some of the Christian mail coming in [YOU RESPOND] about the debate.

Pertaining to Jesus Mythicism A thorough examination of the evidence for Jesus by Rook Hawkins

A Silence That Screams - (No contemporary historical accounts for "jesus) by Todangst

Video from Rook outlining the basics of Jesus Mythicism

 

UPDATE Sapient spoke with ABC and voiced concerns leveled by many atheists in the community that the editing job for the Nightline piece gave Ray and Kirk a free pass. The most commonly voiced criticism of ABC was that it managed to show the debate as somewhat even and that there was no clear victor. This discussion was accepted only under the understanding that Ray and Kirk would prove God exists without invoking faith or the Bible. Anyone that understood the format saw that Ray and Kirk failed at their premise as soon as the proof of God became the Ten Commandments. ABC was made aware that commentary like "It was difficult to know if either side could claim victory" gave the impression that they were pandering to their largely Christian audience. While Sapient understood that this may be a wise business move, it was noted that it wasn't an accurate representation of the discussion. The Rational Response Squad brought it's "B" game and still destroyed every claim Kirk and Ray threw at them. In more positive news, we were made aware that the ABC unedited video of the debate was viewed over 160,000 times in the first 12 hours. Hopefully a few people have found the strength to overcome their god delusion.

AND THE PWNAGE CONTINUES:


THE FULL DEBATE!

 


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thaservant77 wrote: I

thaservant77 wrote:
I watched the debate on the existence of God and it seemed to me it turned out to be a debate on the existence of the God of the bible.....

Yes it did. Because Comfort kept bringing up the Bible in violation of the terms of the debate that he agreed to.

thaservant77 wrote:

as far as scientifical evidence goes in proving or disproving the existence of God there is no abosolute for either side....

It is impossible to "disprove" anything in the way that you are demanding. We also cannot disprove the existence of a pink dragon in my kitchen. The fact is that we know God does not exist with the same level of certainty that we know the sun is going to come up tomorrow.

thaservant77 wrote:

Just as brian said at one point in the debate science makes mistakes and changes......

Yes. Scientific knowledge is always growing and progressing. Religious "knowledge" on the other hand simply stagnates, becoming less and less relevant with every passing year. If we all relied on religious knowledge, we'd be just as ignorant and primitive now as we were 2000 years ago. Unfortunately, when it comes to moral and spiritual thought, this is exactly what many people have done.

thaservant77 wrote:

so there are many scientists who believe the evidence points to a creator and many who beleive the opposite......

The fact that a small minority of scientists choose not to apply their method to their spiritual beliefs in no way argues for the scientific truth of those beliefs. There are also a large number of Christian clergy who hold that you cannot arrive at belief in God via the evidence and that attempts to seek God through evidence are misdirected. Does this mean that there is no evidence for God?

thaservant77 wrote:

I am a christian.....i was never an atheist.......i dont hate atheists , i understand ur arguments and your frustration with people who believe in God at least in this country it seems to be mainly christians.....

Don't try to patronize us. Our disagreements with religion run much deeper than frustration with the actions of a few Christians.

thaservant77 wrote:

i think like ray comfort said that if u open your heart that u will see the truth....

By this you mean that if we make a decision to believe, we will believe and all evidence will appear to support our belief. This is called bias and prejudice and it is a deadly error for anyone who is interested in the objective truth. If you went to buy a car tomorrow, would you decide that the first car you saw was perfect for you before you even stepped on the lot?

thaservant77 wrote:

even the very argument of the existence of God should be proof enough that theres something instilled in us from the time we are born...

Newborns don't understand arguments and they don't believe in God. Therefore, the fact that there is an "argument" for God is in fact evidence for the opposite conclusion: that God belief is learned and in no way innate.

thaservant77 wrote:

that something the bible says is a knowledge of eternity that God placed in each mans heart, that void that nothing in our lives or in this world can fill except God alone....

I don't believe in God and there is no void in my life. I don't think it is valid to make scientific statements about what exists or doesn't exist in the natural world on the basis of whether it fits a "void" in your life. What if I felt that only the belief that there were fairies in my garden would console me and make me feel good about my life? Would that mean there are actual fairies in my garden?

thaservant77 wrote:

and i want to apologize to all of you atheists on behalf of real christians for some of the nasty comments that ppl claiming to be christian leave......

Thank you. Apology accepted.

thaservant77 wrote:

i dont agree with wat you guys do or how u try to turn ppl to atheist and encourage them to blashpeme the Holy Spirit, but were not called as christians to retaliate with hate but rather with Love......

We don't expect you to agree with it, but we appreciate your adherence to the express values of your church. Sad that so many Christians seem unable to do the same.  

 

Lazy is a word we use when someone isn't doing what we want them to do.
- Dr. Joy Brown


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thaservant77 wrote: also i

thaservant77 wrote:
also i would like to ask this question to both brian and kelly....at one point in the interview the point was made by kirk of personal experience, (which i beleive is a very valid point) , and after that brian began to refute it and said taht at one point both he and kelly were chrisitans.....well i would like to know than what made you turn away from God or lose your faith.....bcuz i find that many ppl lose faith in God at some point not mainly because of a lack of evidence of God, but more because of some type of tragedy or hurt, which causes them to begin to question God or be angry with God, or also some people just decide they would rather live for their own pleasures rather than submit to the Lord....so wat was it for you both?, and i would really appreciate it if you could be as forthright as possible i understand though if u cant because it may be too personal.....

I find that many theists believe in God because of some personal fear or weakness that has caused them to grasp desperately at any source of stability and comfort. Fear of death, or the need for comfort following the death of a loved one, seems to be a major motivation. I notice a lot of criminals and people with addiction problems tend to turn to religion in order to give their chaotic lives some structure. I also notice that people who grow up feeling unloved may grasp at the imaginary love of God as a substitute. Thaservant77, I'd really like to hear about the terrible circumstances that caused you to abandon reason and embrace delusion. But if you don't want to talk about it, I understand.

Do you feel patronized? Good. Now you know how atheists feel when theists suggest that our beliefs are based on some emotional trauma instead of reasoned reflection. 

Lazy is a word we use when someone isn't doing what we want them to do.
- Dr. Joy Brown


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thaservant77


thaservant77 wrote:
.....bcuz i find that many ppl lose faith in God at some point not mainly because of a lack of evidence of God, but more because of some type of tragedy or hurt, which causes them to begin to question God or be angry with God, or also some people just decide they would rather live for their own pleasures rather than submit to the Lord....so wat was it for you both?.....


You're making the assumption that I believe God is in control of the universe and that he somehow uses or allows tragic things to happen to people. This is not the case.

Since I see tragic accidents and events as simply random and natural occurrences, why would I be angry at God if I do not think he exists? I've come to this conclusion from simply observing the world around me, not from some particular tragic event.

As for living for my own pleasures instead of submitting to the Lord, how can I submit to someone or something that I do not believe exists?

I'd also note the presuppositions that God controls the universe or that God exists to be submitted to are necessary elements in both of your atheistic conclusions.
When I stopped believing in God as the creator and controller of everything, the side effects of that belief - that God would be somehow responsible for tragic events or that there was a supernatural will that I should submit to - disappeared. In other words, I lost my faith in the exact opposite way that you propose.

thaservant77 wrote:

i think like ray comfort said that if u open your heart that u will see the truth....even the very argument of the existence of God should be proof enough that theres something instilled in us from the time we are born...that something the bible says is a knowledge of eternity that God placed in each mans heart, that void that nothing in our lives or in this world can fill except God alone.


While I understand how you could try and use this logic to support your belief in God, man has several other inherent drives and desires, such as sex, that would also fall under this category. Do you believe that men should have sex whenever they want because their desire to do so is something "instilled in [them] from the time [they] are born?" Why should someone's desire to have a supernatural being watching over them be any different?

Would it not make sense for man to create the Bible in an attempt to control which drives should be considered "good" while other drives are "bad?" Otherwise, people would have to learn to reflect on their own thoughts and behavior. They would have to make decisions for themselves, learn from their mistakes and be responsible for their own actions.

{edited for clarity} 

We do not learn by experience, but by our capacity for experience.


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I already added a variation

I already added a variation of the below post to the "Kelly / Sapient Appreciation" thread, but after coming upon this one and seeing that the topic of "explaining the universe independently of God" has come up repeatedly, I feel it may be worth repeating myself.

My comment in the "Kelly / Sapient Appreciation" thread was that because theists believe it's incomprehensible that the Universe can be explained independently of God, a review of the scientific no-supernatural-necessary explanation might have been helpful to make the case for atheism. And that although a thorough answer is better suited for a science classroom than a live debate, here's a high-level overview that I think might have worked:

PRE-BIG BANG: Because the evidence from physics informs us that neither mass nor energy can be created or destroyed (both can only be changed), this suggests that the universe's mass & energy ("mass-energy" ) must have always existed.

THE BIG BANG: Some 13.7 billion years ago, the universe was made up of pure energy—photons and other massless or nearly massless particles, such as neutrinos—and was unimaginably dense and hot. With what we call the Big Bang, the universe began its current expansion (whether this was the universe's first expansion, or whether it has expanded and collapsed zillions of times, or whether we exist in just one of many universes, we don't know). As the universe expanded it became less dense and cool enough for electrons & protons & neutrons to hold together to form hydrogen atoms. While the universe was still fairly dense, some of the hydrogen fused into helium and trace amounts of other light elements. 

THE GALAXIES, SOLAR SYSTEMS, & PLANETS: As the universe continued to expand, matter was distributed unevenly, and heat & gravitational attraction caused hydrogen and helium gas to clump together, and the clumps formed stars and galaxies. Stars are "on fire" because the temperature and pressure in a star's core causes internal nuclear reactions as hydrogen is fused into helium. Once a star's hydrogen is used up, the helium begins fusing, and the subsequent fusions create the heavier elements, such as carbon, iron, nickel, silicon, and zinc. Once the star exhausts its fuel supply, it collapses upon itself and explodes, and the explosion itself produces additional heavy elements. The clouds of gas and dust dispersed by the exploding star eventually turn into other stars and planets.  

(Our particular star, the Sun, was formed about five billion years ago, and has about another five billion years to go before it burns out of fuel. Our planet is about four and half billion years old.) 

If anyone spots any errors, please let me know!!

Thanks,

Todd Allen Gates, author of Dialogue with a Christian Proselytizer (guest on RRS's 02-Jun-2007 show)


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thiest1 wrote: Remember

thiest1 wrote:
Remember Only those who "Seek" Find. Only those who "ask" Recieve. You do none of these things. thats why you are all so ignorant.

Now I wasn't going to comment since I am sure other (more qualified) people can... but this point just really baffles me.  Are you actually implying that all one must do to win the affection (or a favor or 2) of an all powerful God is to ask?  

I have personally begged God for things that I don't remember God getting back to me about.  Please don't pull that "God works in mysterious ways" card.  If God was in control, do you really think there would be such suffering on this planet?  If we're supposed to be learning a lesson, I think we can all agree that it isn't the most effective teaching tool.  If it is about sin, well why should b suffer based on God's inabilitiy to create something more perfect?  If God was all powerful and DIDN'T want us to sin... we wouldn't be sinning.  So I ask you.... is God extremely tiny and weak, OR is he a sadist?  We're like a little ant hill and God is a chubby 12 year old with free time and a magnifying lense.  Obviously you have some sort of direct God-line going.  You've got a great gig going since he seems to be ignoring the shit out of the rest of us.  Keep on seeking.

“The four most over-rated things in life are champagne, lobster, anal sex and picnics.”
-Christopher Hitchens

"I don't believe in God, but I'm afraid of Him."
-Gabriel Garcia Marquez


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Oh but more to the

Oh but more to the point.

This whole thread about pre-big bang and the origin of the universe is really interesting.  I think that it is important to remember, especially on the side of the theists, that even if a non-theist granted that science may never tell us conclusively what happened 13.5 billion years ago... that does not leave room for a personal God simply by default.  I'm sure this has come up hundreds of times.  The God that many people in the US profess to believe in is a God that is deeply angered by their sex lives, private thoughts, white lies, and personal feelings.  Does anyone have the latest numbers for evangelists in this country... or simply the number of people who believe in a personal God?  I think R. Dawkins mentions it in the Root of all Evil, but I only remember that it was surprisingy high.  I'll google for a minute.

PS- Has anyone actually watched the Way of the Master show?  It will blow your mind.  My favorite was the episode where they confront gay people in San Francisco.  Their claims that they do those things with sensitivity and purely from a place of "love" is such raging bullshit.   

“The four most over-rated things in life are champagne, lobster, anal sex and picnics.”
-Christopher Hitchens

"I don't believe in God, but I'm afraid of Him."
-Gabriel Garcia Marquez


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Reminds me of this little

(Oops, I 'forgot' to "quote&quotEye-wink

AReasonableLu Wrote:

We're like a little ant hill and God is a chubby 12 year old with free time and a magnifying lense. 

DUG853 Says:

Reminds me of this little gem.   LMAO

Dewey on God

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qi3YupW6JJQ


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Hahaha oh man that made my

Hahaha oh man that made my afternoon.

I love that kid.  What kind of God makes kids think when they aren't even in school?  Indeed. 

“The four most over-rated things in life are champagne, lobster, anal sex and picnics.”
-Christopher Hitchens

"I don't believe in God, but I'm afraid of Him."
-Gabriel Garcia Marquez


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> If God was in control, do

> If God was in control, do you really think there would be such suffering on this planet? Please don't pull that "God works in mysterious ways" card. 

During the debate, Ray Comfort's answer was that suffering exists because "we live in a fallen Creation." God gave Adam & Eve Free Will, and their abuse of that Free Will has been passed on: leading not only to untold generations of men having to toil for their food and untold generations of women going through agony in childbirth, but also LOTS of collateral damage: earthquakes, tsunamis, malaria, leprosy, the brutal life-feeds-on-life setup of nature, etc.

I've interviewed Christian apologists for several years, and I find that Ray's answer was only one of the seven supernatural reasons that I've heard for the existence of suffering . .. although really, the religious side has only three: (1) In the Big Picture, everything is for the best; (2) the Divine is not all-powerful; (3) the Divine is not all-good---it's just that the "everything is for the best" explanation has five subcategories [outlined below].

I happen to be preparing for an interview on a show called "The Atheist Viewpoint" (broadcast by American Atheists) and the theme of the show is "the religious explanations for evil/suffering vs. the atheistic explanation." I hope ya'll don't mind if I paste my outline here in this thread. It's a bit long (sorry) . . . but any feedback would be greatly appreciated!

Thanks,

Todd Allen Gates, author of Dialogue with a Christian Proselytizer

My one-sentence summary on the explanations on the existence of evil/suffering: there are multiple theories from the supernatural camp, all of which fail to make sense of a wide set of observations; and just one answer from the atheistic camp—and it not only makes sense out of all observations, it can accurately predict future observations.

 Okay, here's the breakdown:

THE COMPETING RELIGIOUS ANSWERS:
I. In the "Big Picture," everything is for the best, because either:
(a) Suffering is punishment for wrong-doing
(b) Suffering benefits us
(c) Suffering must exist for Greater Good of Free Will
(d) It's beyond our understanding
(e) Suffering is just an illusion
II. The Divine is not All-Powerful (and thus cannot prevent creature suffering)
III. The Divine is not All-Good (and thus does not necessarily care about creature suffering)

THE NATURALISTIC ANSWER:
The supernatural realm does not exist, and the natural world is indifferent to creature suffering.

THE TWO TESTS OF A SATISFYING ANSWER
(1) Can it accurately describe a large class of observations?
(2) Can it make predictions that agree with future observations?

DEFINITION OF LARGE CLASS OF OBSERVATIONS:
(a) Evil/suffering that people bring upon themselves,
(b) Evil/suffering that people bring upon innocent people (victims of war, slavery, child molestation, etc.)
(c) Suffering that is inherent in nature (natural disasters, disease, birth defects, the whole life-feeds-on-life setup in nature, etc.)

So . . . here we have eight different explanations for the causes of evil/suffering:

(1) Suffering is punishment for wrong-doing
(2) Suffering benefits us
(3) Suffering must exist for Greater Good of Free Will
(4) It's beyond our understanding
(5) Suffering is just an illusion
(6) the Divine is not All-Powerful (and thus cannot prevent creature suffering)
(7) the Divine is not All-Good (and thus does not necessarily care about creature suffering)
(8 ) The supernatural realm does not exist, and the natural world is indifferent to creature suffering

----and the question is "Which theory best describes a large class of observations, and can make predictions that agree with future observations?

(1) SUFFERING IS PUNISHMENT FOR WRONG-DOING
This theory holds up in limited situations, but it utterly fails when it comes to making sense of a wide set of observations: malaria, tsunami victims, antelopes being devoured alive by hyenas, etc.

The Eastern version of this theory---that suffering can be explained by Bad Karma due to your actions in a previous life---has the convenient aspect of citing "observations" that are invisible---convenient in the sense that it's difficult to "prove" this theory wrong. But the invisible aspect of the Bad Karma theory puts it in the same category as the theory that "invisible / soundless space aliens are causing evil on planet." If the premise is that they're completely undetectable, I can't disprove it … but there are countless things we can't disprove---unicorns & leprechauns and the like---but that doesn't mean there's any reason to believe in them. (Also, the Bad Karma theory has the horrific side effect of blaming the victims: shrugging off the suffering of Iraqis, Sudanese, etc. because "they must deserve it." )

(2) SUFFERING BENEFITS US
Like the first theory, this one applies in limited situations, but fails once applied to a large class of observations. It's quite difficult, for example, to see the beneficial value in the millions of children under the age of five who die from diarrhea each year.

(3) SUFFERING MUST EXIST FOR GREATER GOOD OF FREE WILL
This theory has it that "free will may lead to what we determine is 'evil,' but this is a necessary derivative of the existence of free will."

One of the many reasons this explanation is unsatisfactory is that human evil is not the cause of all suffering. Can this "God gave humans Free Will, and we often abuse the privilege, and collateral damage is an unavoidable consequence" theory explain tapeworms, or why the digger wasp lays her eggs  inside caterpillars so that her larva can feed on the caterpillar's living flesh? (Note: the wasp carefully guides her sting into the prey's central nervous system so as to paralyze but not kill it---this keeps the meat fresh.)

(4) IT'S BEYOND OUR UNDERSTANDING
This, according to some interpretations, is the message of the Book of Job: that we're just too finite to understand the Infinite Mind of the Divine.

For those who wish to defend the "we're too finite" argument, a convenient aspect is that it doesn't have to explain observations. But this "I just don't get it!" argument hardly qualifies as an explanation for evil/suffering . . . it just says "I HOPE that suffering makes sense on SOME level."

For those who point to God's whirlwind speech at the end of the Book of Job, and claim that GOD (or at least, the Judeo-Christian version of God) says that suffering is beyond human understanding, my thought is that of the following two explanations:

(a) the said-Creator of the Universe---who can do amazing feats like control the orbit of galaxies and program web-spinning know-how into baby spiders---cannot, or will not, explain suffering to humans
(b) the human author(s) who wrote the Book of Job simply couldn't figure out a coherent explanation for suffering, and concluded that "God says He won't explain it to us!"

----the latter is the more likely.

(5) THE MATERIAL WORLD IS JUST AN ILLUSION, HENCE SUFFERING, TOO, IS JUST AN ILLUSION

This theory has it that we are all at One with Divinity, and if we could free ourselves from our delusion of individual existence (through meditation & prayer & the like), our suffering would cease.

Let's apply this "the material world is an illusion" theory to a Tutsi (Rwanda) co-worker of mine who witnessed her brother being hacked apart by a gang of machete-wielding Hutus . . . I guess this means he wouldn't have been bothered had he only realized that the distinction between himself and his murderers and their machetes were a false dichotomy. And I suppose it's just as well, then, that the US took a hands-off approach to the hundreds of thousands of slaughters in Rwanda, because the entire perceived world is just an illusion anyway.

But what about the suffering of animals, such as the baby eagles that get pecked to death by their siblings (while the parents look on nonchalantly)? Do those baby eagles, too, need to gain enlightenment? Or maybe because the entire perceived world is just an illusion anyway, the animals are NOT actually suffering---they only APPEAR to suffer when we look their way, because of our own lack of enlightenment.

My own delusion of individual existence firmly in place, I suppose I'm in no place to judge this theory . . . still, applied to a wide set of observations---the Rwanda slaughters, Darfur, the Holocaust, earthquakes, sibling shark fetuses that fight each other to the death prior to coming out of their mothers' uteruses---this theory seems to stretch beyond the breaking point of believability.


(6) THE DIVINE IS NOT ALL-POWERFUL (AND THUS CANNOT PREVENT CREATURE SUFFERING)

This theory posits that the Divine WOULD stop suffering if it could, but simply isn't powerful enough. Two problems:

(a)    suffering is not just something that happens occasionally---as in earthquakes & birth defects---but is a built-in feature of nature. Much of life survives only by devouring other life forms alive: and failure to catch prey means the predators themselves suffer an agonizing death by starvation. It doesn't seem coherent to say that "Divinity would like this stopped but can't" when suffering is part of the natural world's very design.

(b)   If indeed there's a Divine Architect of the Universe, this paints an incoherent portrait of our said-Creator’s powers: mighty enough to control the orbit of the forty-million-degree stars that He molded with His own Hands, yet too weak to prevent tragedies that stem from the likes of pre-schoolers playing with matches


(7) THE DIVINE IS NOT ALL-GOOD (AND THUS DOES NOT NECESSARILY CARE ABOUT CREATURE SUFFERING)

This theory may be more coherent than any of the above theories . . . observations of the natural world certainly do suggest indifference to creature suffering. But probably the only difference between this answer and the atheist's answer (that the natural world is indifferent) is the role that this theory assigns to the Divine in the creation of the Universe and the creation of life. Divine input when it comes to the creation of life, I would argue, fails when it comes to making sense of the fossil records / evolution / etc.---but I won't go into that mile-long tangent.

(8 ) THE SUPERNATURAL REALM DOES NOT EXIST, AND THE NATURAL WORLD IS INDIFFERENT TO CREATURE SUFFERING

This theory not only explains a wide set of observations, it can also make accurate predictions. Why are there earthquakes? Answer: they're caused by the movement of the giant plates that make up the earth's crust, with no "motivation" behind the movement other than the unfeeling mechanics of heat, frictional stress, etc. Where the next earthquake will occur depends not on the morality of the local population, but on the location of fault lines.

The blind forces of nature and natural selection can likewise explain all other forms of suffering: be it disease, birth defects, animal suffering in nature, or suffering that people bring upon other people. (I could go on but I'll stop---this post is probably too long already!)


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Great post, Todd. Here's

Great post, Todd. Here's some notes:

First, a broad comment: theists will dodge all your points about animals on the grounds that animals don't count because they don't have souls and represent a lower order of consciousness. My advice would be to avoid this basket of red herrings by restricting your examples to human suffering.

Argument #1: Christians will argue that because of Original Sin, we are all wrong-doers and have coming to us whatever God decides to dish out. In fact, it is only because of his infinite mercy that we are not tortured for all time for our heinousness. 

Your response to this can be that if that is the way it is, then God made it that way. He made the rules, then he made us so that we would break them.

They will retort with the Free Will argument...

#2:  You're right, this one simply begs the question. Since the theist is making the positive claim that there is some balancing side benefit to all suffering, they bear the burden of proof to show that it is the case. It shouldn't be difficult for you to point out dozens of examples, like the early deaths of children, where they can't present a countervailing good that actually results from the suffering itself.

They will counter with the We Can't Understand argument...

#3: If we need to have free will, it is because God wanted the universe to work that way. To deny this statement is to deny God's omnipotent power to create the universe any way he wanted with any set of rules that he wanted. So God chose, out of a literally infinite number of options, to create a universe where free will was necessary and would inevitably lead to tremendous suffering. God is perfectly responsible for all suffering that has ever occured.

They will counter with the Limited God argument...

#4: Since we can't understand an omnipotent God, why do all religions pretend to? We are told that God is this and that, but not this and not that. We are told God wants various things. We are told that God has told us to worship, live our lives a certain way and give lots of money to churches. How can we know any of this if God is so perfectly inscrutable? Theists who claim that God cannot be understood are trying to have their cake and eat it too. They need to embrace that conclusion and apply it consistently across their notion of God. What are we left with? No reason to worship and no reason to act as if God exists at all.

They will counter with the assertion that we must accept the revealed Word of God out of faith. At which point you ask them why they don't accept the revealed Word of Zeus out of faith. Then brace for circularity, dodging, reassertion of already refuted points and a variety of other cheap tricks as they desperately try to avoid looking irrational, which they are if they hold beliefs based on faith.

#5:  Similar to #4, if they really think this, why don't they really embrace it and apply it in their daily life? Take a lighter out of your pocket and ask them if they would like to hold their hand in the flame for a while. When they decline, sympathize with them and note that no one, not even the proponent of the illusion argument, can actually live according to its tenets. In fact, if we really rejected materialism, we would soon die of starvation. Unless God wants us to die (in which case he's no friend), he must want us to embrace materialism to some extent. Since there is no more basic experience of the material universe than pain, we arrive at the conclusion that God must want us to experience pain as a material fact.

They might counter with the God Is Not All Good argument, though I've never actually seen a Christian willing to go there...

#6: A limited God is not the God of any of the Judeo-Christian traditions. So we are now reinventing God to try to make him make sense. If we needed any more proof that God is a man-made entity and not an actual separate being, here it is. However, for the sake of argument, let's pretend that we are actually attempting to discover something here rather than making it up as we go along.

What are the parameters of this new, limited God? What is he made of, where does he live, why does he hide from us? Why, since this being is no longer the ultimate, eternal, omnipresent moral force behind the creation of the universe, should we trust him or believe in him or worship him at all? Our parents created us and we don't worship them. If God is limited don't we have a right to ask questions and demand answers of him?

What use is a God that doesn't answer the smallest prayer here in the real world? And don't talk about the afterlife in the context of a limited God...there is no scientific theory that can describe heaven or provide a mechanism for its existence.

#7: I've never heard a Christian try this one and it certainly flies directly in the face of everything that has ever been said about God in the Judeo-Christian tradition. Very simple counter: if God is no better or worse than us, morally, why would we worship him? We can find people on earth that are almost perfectly moral, who never hurt anyone and devote their lives to helping others. Why not worship one of them?  

 

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Hi Tilberian---thanks for

Hi Tilberian---thanks for the detailed response: much appreciated!

Tilberian wrote:
Great post, Todd. Here's some notes:First, a broad comment: theists will dodge all your points about animals on the grounds that animals don't count because they don't have souls and represent a lower order of consciousness. My advice would be to avoid this basket of red herrings by restricting your examples to human suffering.

 My experience has been that apologists use the "we live in a fallen creation" rationalization to explain animal suffering---that our loving Father in Heaven does care for all His living creatures, but that man's sin has spoiled EVERYTHING. I address this issue in my book, and in this particular section, my Christian character's answers were drawn from Norman Geisler (Christian apologist) and Thomas Merton (Christian monk) . (The setting of my book: a Christian proselytizer, Chris Proselman, is trying to convince a skeptic, Scott Crates, that the Bible is God's Word. ) 

At the risk of making this yet another too-long post, I'm going to paste in an excerpt from my book on the section "Mercy in the Bible / Mercy in Nature" (pages 162-163): 

SCOTT: [snip] I’d like to record your answer on how to reconcile the Bible’s claims of God’s mercy for the innocent with the way that violent death is such an integral part of life in nature. … [snip] for I believe we can still agree with the observation that predators survive by devouring the most vulnerable members of their prey: that life feeds on life, and could not survive otherwise. How do you explain this inconsistency between our Creator’s physical handiwork, with what you say is His written work?

CHRIS: The current arrangement may seem harsh, but realize that when God created our original paradise, every creature was an herbivore. Look at Genesis 1, and read how God describes creation before Adam and Eve brought sin into the world:

 

“And to every beast of the earth, and to every bird of the air, and to everything that creeps on the earth, everything that has the breath of life, I have given every green plant for food.” And it was so.

Genesis 1:30, NRSV

 

Animals did not eat one another back then, and neither shall they when Christ returns and restores our paradise:

 

The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them.

And the cow and the bear shall feed; their young ones shall lie down together: and the lion shall eat straw like the ox.

Isaiah 11:6–7, KJV

 

SCOTT: So the snack from the Tree of Knowledge is what triggered the whole system of prey and predator, kill or be killed … and this will be overturned when Jesus returns?

CHRIS: Genesis and Isaiah make this quite clear. If Adam and Eve hadn’t sinned, all life on earth would have been a series of magnificent images of God: every life form reflecting His glory and perfection in astonishing ways. The fall is what caused the evil, disorder, corruption, and disfigurement. Human sin polluted our bodies and nature alike—but all will be restored to health in the Second Coming.

SCOTT: Following the implications of this theory all the way through, this means the carnivorous lion and leopard must once have had the digestive systems of herbivores: flat and short grinding teeth to break down plant cell walls, and intestines long enough to have time to absorb plant nutrients. And after the fall from grace turned them into meat-eaters, their teeth must have grown sharper and longer while their intestines became shorter … and given Isaiah’s prediction that the lion will be able to digest straw when paradise returns, that process will once again have to reverse itself.

And take creatures like the jawless lamprey fish—which survive by fastening their mouths to the side of a larger fish and using their sharp tongues to cut a hole in their prey to suck their blood, usually leaving the victims to bleed to death after the meal is over—I suppose their bodies, too, will be reworked to turn vegetarian.

What about the deep-sea creatures that live thousands of feet below the surface? Sunlight doesn’t reach down that far, so no plant life exists: every living thing at that level is carnivorous, and usually their mouths make up the largest parts of their bodies. If we’re to believe Genesis 1:30, their pre-sin bodies and environment must have been completely different.

Pointing to Genesis’s and Isaiah’s descriptions of a past and future wonderful world of vegans may work as a temporary solution for reconciling God’s mercy with nature’s mercilessness … but once you try to apply this theory to a wide set of observations—from the leopard to the lamprey—it starts to fall apart.

Again, I don’t wish to sound disrespectful, but this idea that “man’s sin brought about the downfall of all” seems yet another example of tortured logic: a theory stretched beyond the breaking point of believability in an attempt to accommodate every awkward fact.

CHRIS: Scott, it falls well within God’s capabilities to set up the world in any manner He wishes, so it calls for no stretch of the imagination to believe that the pre-sin and post-sin world could be completely different. Why do you think this would be “impossible” for an All-Powerful Creator?

SCOTT: My point is not that such a thing would be impossible, but only that the natural world—and this includes not only its carnivorous animals, but also its carnivorous plants—bears little resemblance to the biblical picture of a planet guided by a God who is concerned with mercy and kindness, albeit disappointed with human sin. I just find it farfetched to believe that blood-sucking lampreys and meat-eating Venus fly traps had once been peaceable, then turned into killers because of Adam and Eve’s fruit-picking folly, and will be “restored” in the Second Coming.

CHRIS: Don’t make disobedience to God sound like a trivial detail. God gave mankind the opportunity to live in His paradise, but man used his Free Will selfishly, unleashing the spiritual poison of sin. And let’s not forget the role of Satan’s enticement and confusion—for thanks to man’s eagerness to sin, Satan has been able to settle quite comfortably into this world. No small wonder that nature isn’t testimony to a planet guided solely by God!

SCOTT: I suppose the “devil must have done it” defense could partially explain things, although it leads to the tangent issue of whether the mercilessness of nature reflects that of “purposeful evil” or mere indifference to creature suffering … but let’s stay focused and move on to my next [snip]

 
Tilberian wrote:

Argument #1 [snip] Argument #5 [snip]

 Agreed! 

Tilberian wrote:
#6: A limited God is not the God of any of the Judeo-Christian traditions. So we are now reinventing God to try to make him make sense. If we needed any more proof that God is a man-made entity and not an actual separate being, here it is. However, for the sake of argument, let's pretend that we are actually attempting to discover something here rather than making it up as we go along.What are the parameters of this new, limited God? What is he made of, where does he live, why does he hide from us? Why, since this being is no longer the ultimate, eternal, omnipresent moral force behind the creation of the universe, should we trust him or believe in him or worship him at all? Our parents created us and we don't worship them. If God is limited don't we have a right to ask questions and demand answers of him?What use is a God that doesn't answer the smallest prayer here in the real world? And don't talk about the afterlife in the context of a limited God...there is no scientific theory that can describe heaven or provide a mechanism for its existence.

#7: I've never heard a Christian try this one and it certainly flies directly in the face of everything that has ever been said about God in the Judeo-Christian tradition. Very simple counter: if God is no better or worse than us, morally, why would we worship him? We can find people on earth that are almost perfectly moral, who never hurt anyone and devote their lives to helping others. Why not worship one of them?  

 

 Good points! But I should have clarified that when it comes to the following eight theories on the existence of suffering: 

(1) Suffering is punishment for wrong-doing
(2) Suffering benefits us
(3) Suffering must exist for Greater Good of Free Will
(4) It's beyond our understanding
(5) Suffering is just an illusion
(6) the Divine is not All-Powerful (and thus cannot prevent creature suffering)
(7) the Divine is not All-Good (and thus does not necessarily care about creature suffering)
(8 ) The supernatural realm does not exist, and the natural world is indifferent to creature suffering

---the Judeo-Christian approach is almost invariably limited to theories #1 through #4: all variations of the "In the Big Picture, God arranged everything for the best." (Although Rabbi Kushner's famous "When Bad Things Happen to Good People," strangely enough, fully embraces #6: that God would LIKE for people not to suffer, but just isn't powerful enough to control every little aspect of Creation. Kushner's Jewish inheritance notwithstanding, he's something of a half-hearted Deist. He seems to consider the Bible an odd mixture of God's Word and a collection of human guesswork: guesswork often guilty of wishful thinking.)

 Theory #5 is more Eastern in nature, and #6 and #7 apply more to polytheistic / traditional nature religions---but New Age spiritualists are such a mixed and unpredictable bag, they'll sometimes come up anything from 1-7.  

So while I agree that Christian fundamentalists won't try to defend theories #5-#7, I nonetheless include these theories because my larger purpose was to discuss how ALL supernatural explanations ultimately fail to explain the evil/suffering: that the atheistic perspective makes sense out of life with a clarity and coherence unmatched by any variety of theism. 

Thanks again, Tilberian, for your detailed response,

Todd Allen Gates, author of Dialogue with a Christian Proselytizer


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Hi,

Hi,

Great Job, Rational Responders:

I was really pleased at how the crowd, who sat in stern silence while Comfort stumbled through his pathetic apologetics routine, responded with applause intermittently to Sapient and Kelly. I was blown away by how incredibly stupid Comfort and Cameron are.

My one criticism is regarding the coke-can analogy. This argument is beneath response. That having been said, Sapient and Kelly handled it quite well, but I feel it would have been preferable to ignore it altogether - or, perhaps, to have referred to it in passing as 'totally idiotic' and 'not worth replying to', and the like. I'm getting irritated just typing about it.

Finally, I'd like to point out that, by referring to the bible, these two slack-jawed bible-thumping retards forfeited the debate. If that's the best the theists can do, I actually pity them a bit (and then I remember the 16+ centuries of carnage and brutality they've presided over).

 


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ToddGates wrote:Hi

ToddGates wrote:

Hi Tilberian---thanks for the detailed response: much appreciated!

Tilberian wrote:
Great post, Todd. Here's some notes:First, a broad comment: theists will dodge all your points about animals on the grounds that animals don't count because they don't have souls and represent a lower order of consciousness. My advice would be to avoid this basket of red herrings by restricting your examples to human suffering.

 My experience has been that apologists use the "we live in a fallen creation" rationalization to explain animal suffering---that our loving Father in Heaven does care for all His living creatures, but that man's sin has spoiled EVERYTHING. I address this issue in my book, and in this particular section, my Christian character's answers were drawn from Norman Geisler (Christian apologist) and Thomas Merton (Christian monk) . (The setting of my book: a Christian proselytizer, Chris Proselman, is trying to convince a skeptic, Scott Crates, that the Bible is God's Word. ) 

At the risk of making this yet another too-long post, I'm going to paste in an excerpt from my book on the section "Mercy in the Bible / Mercy in Nature" (pages 162-163): 

SCOTT: [snip] I’d like to record your answer on how to reconcile the Bible’s claims of God’s mercy for the innocent with the way that violent death is such an integral part of life in nature. … [snip] for I believe we can still agree with the observation that predators survive by devouring the most vulnerable members of their prey: that life feeds on life, and could not survive otherwise. How do you explain this inconsistency between our Creator’s physical handiwork, with what you say is His written work?

CHRIS: The current arrangement may seem harsh, but realize that when God created our original paradise, every creature was an herbivore. Look at Genesis 1, and read how God describes creation before Adam and Eve brought sin into the world:

 

“And to every beast of the earth, and to every bird of the air, and to everything that creeps on the earth, everything that has the breath of life, I have given every green plant for food.” And it was so.

Genesis 1:30, NRSV

 

Animals did not eat one another back then, and neither shall they when Christ returns and restores our paradise:

 

The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them.

And the cow and the bear shall feed; their young ones shall lie down together: and the lion shall eat straw like the ox.

Isaiah 11:6–7, KJV

 

SCOTT: So the snack from the Tree of Knowledge is what triggered the whole system of prey and predator, kill or be killed … and this will be overturned when Jesus returns?

CHRIS: Genesis and Isaiah make this quite clear. If Adam and Eve hadn’t sinned, all life on earth would have been a series of magnificent images of God: every life form reflecting His glory and perfection in astonishing ways. The fall is what caused the evil, disorder, corruption, and disfigurement. Human sin polluted our bodies and nature alike—but all will be restored to health in the Second Coming.

SCOTT: Following the implications of this theory all the way through, this means the carnivorous lion and leopard must once have had the digestive systems of herbivores: flat and short grinding teeth to break down plant cell walls, and intestines long enough to have time to absorb plant nutrients. And after the fall from grace turned them into meat-eaters, their teeth must have grown sharper and longer while their intestines became shorter … and given Isaiah’s prediction that the lion will be able to digest straw when paradise returns, that process will once again have to reverse itself.

And take creatures like the jawless lamprey fish—which survive by fastening their mouths to the side of a larger fish and using their sharp tongues to cut a hole in their prey to suck their blood, usually leaving the victims to bleed to death after the meal is over—I suppose their bodies, too, will be reworked to turn vegetarian.

What about the deep-sea creatures that live thousands of feet below the surface? Sunlight doesn’t reach down that far, so no plant life exists: every living thing at that level is carnivorous, and usually their mouths make up the largest parts of their bodies. If we’re to believe Genesis 1:30, their pre-sin bodies and environment must have been completely different.

Pointing to Genesis’s and Isaiah’s descriptions of a past and future wonderful world of vegans may work as a temporary solution for reconciling God’s mercy with nature’s mercilessness … but once you try to apply this theory to a wide set of observations—from the leopard to the lamprey—it starts to fall apart.

Again, I don’t wish to sound disrespectful, but this idea that “man’s sin brought about the downfall of all” seems yet another example of tortured logic: a theory stretched beyond the breaking point of believability in an attempt to accommodate every awkward fact.

CHRIS: Scott, it falls well within God’s capabilities to set up the world in any manner He wishes, so it calls for no stretch of the imagination to believe that the pre-sin and post-sin world could be completely different. Why do you think this would be “impossible” for an All-Powerful Creator?

SCOTT: My point is not that such a thing would be impossible, but only that the natural world—and this includes not only its carnivorous animals, but also its carnivorous plants—bears little resemblance to the biblical picture of a planet guided by a God who is concerned with mercy and kindness, albeit disappointed with human sin. I just find it farfetched to believe that blood-sucking lampreys and meat-eating Venus fly traps had once been peaceable, then turned into killers because of Adam and Eve’s fruit-picking folly, and will be “restored” in the Second Coming.

CHRIS: Don’t make disobedience to God sound like a trivial detail. God gave mankind the opportunity to live in His paradise, but man used his Free Will selfishly, unleashing the spiritual poison of sin. And let’s not forget the role of Satan’s enticement and confusion—for thanks to man’s eagerness to sin, Satan has been able to settle quite comfortably into this world. No small wonder that nature isn’t testimony to a planet guided solely by God!

SCOTT: I suppose the “devil must have done it” defense could partially explain things, although it leads to the tangent issue of whether the mercilessness of nature reflects that of “purposeful evil” or mere indifference to creature suffering … but let’s stay focused and move on to my next [snip]

Nice post.  I think the argument is valid, considering that, as 7th Day Adventists will argue, Gen. 1:21, 24 uses the same combination of words for animals, "chay nephesh" or "living soul" as is used for man in Gen. 2:7, “[the Lord] ...breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.”  In the NT, Paul seems flippant about the eating of meat, like it's not an issue, unless it grosses somebody else out.  There are other questions relative to this issue of animals receiving vicarious punishment from Eve's sin.  First, why did only some animals turn carnivorous/omnivorous, while others remained vegetarian?  Are they making a moral decision or did God curse some, but not others?  Second, the vicarious punishments of the animal kingdom many blame on the Fall seems so arbitrary.  For example, as PZ Meyers pointed out, some animals can synthesize vitamin C, while others have broken genes (humans, chimps, guinea pigs).  Also, it occurs to me that some animals share Eve's curse of a woman's pain giving birth, while others don't (e.g. fish spewing out eggs).  Why?

 

"If Adolf Hitler flew in today, they'd send a limousine anyway" -The Clash


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gatogreensleeves wrote:

gatogreensleeves wrote:

Nice post.  I think the argument is valid, considering that, as 7th Day Adventists will argue, Gen. 1:21, 24 uses the same combination of words for animals, "chay nephesh" or "living soul" as is used for man in Gen. 2:7, “[the Lord] ...breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.” 

 

 

As far as I know, the Hebrew word nephesh was used in both Genesis 2:7 (which refers to God's creation of man) and Genesis 1:24 (about God's creation of animals), and simply means “living creature.” But I also believe that any objective reading of the Bible's text will reveal that the authors of the Bible's earliest books had no belief in the afterlife: from dust we were created, and to dust we shall return. (You won't find any passages with Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, or Moses saying anything like “obey God and be rewarded in heaven” or “disobey God and be punished in hell.”) It was only much later---and due to the influence of foreign religions such as Zoroastrianism---did the Hebrew Bible start to include vague references to an afterlife (Isaiah 26:19 and Daniel 12:2): a seed which became fully developed in the New Testament.

My point being that in order to make the early parts of the Hebrew Bible match the later-adopted ideas about the afterlife, nephesh was translated as “living creature” when referring to animals, and as “living soul” when referring to humans:

  And God said, Let the earth bring forth the living creature [nephesh] after his kind, cattle, and creeping thing, and beast of the earth after his kind: and it was so.

Genesis 1:24, KJV

And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul [nephesh].

Genesis 2:7, KJV

 
gatogreensleeves wrote:
 

 There are other questions relative to this issue of animals receiving vicarious punishment from Eve's sin.  First, why did only some animals turn carnivorous/omnivorous, while others remained vegetarian?  Are they making a moral decision or did God curse some, but not others?  Second, the vicarious punishments of the animal kingdom many blame on the Fall seems so arbitrary.  For example, as PZ Meyers pointed out, some animals can synthesize vitamin C, while others have broken genes (humans, chimps, guinea pigs).  Also, it occurs to me that some animals share Eve's curse of a woman's pain giving birth, while others don't (e.g. fish spewing out eggs).  Why?

 

In reviewing various explanatory myths for the existence of suffering & evil, the tale of Adam & Eve is just not a particularly coherent one: God's All-Knowing, but gets explosive angry when He "finds out" about the disobedience; God's All-Loving, but doles out a punishment WAY out of proportion to the crime from two youngsters who didn't even know right from wrong until after the snack. The story simply doesn't hang together well ... the Greek myth of Pandora could be criticized for being equally misogynistic (after all, it too blames women for the world's woes), but at least it's coherent story-telling. (A one-sentence review for those unfamiliar with the story:  Prometheus steals fire from the gods and gives it to humans; Zeus gets pissed and arranges for Prometheus's torture; Zeus also wants revenge on man for accepting the stolen goods; Zeus summons all the other gods to create "woman" [starting with Pandora] to torture men; Zeus sends a box with all the world's evils in it to Pandora's household with a "Do Not Open" sign on it; Pandora's curiosity gets the better of her.) Anyway . . . the Pandora story doesn't contain all the logical contradictions of the Adam & Eve story: Zeus had at least a somewhat better reason to get angry (theft), and Zeus was typically explosive over petty matters and never claims to be all-loving or have ANY particular fondness for humans---his sadistic overreaction was 100% true to character.

Todd Allen Gates, author of Dialogue with a Christian Proselytizer


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Good points, Todd. Let us

Good points, Todd. Let us know how the debate goes. I'll have to pick up your book when I see it.

Damn, if atheism gets any hotter in the bookstores I'm going to have to write one myself! Wink

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Tilberian wrote: Good

Tilberian wrote:

Good points, Todd. Let us know how the debate goes. I'll have to pick up your book when I see it.

Sorry if I sound like a self-promoting bore here . . . but I just wanted to point out that if you buy my book on Amazon via the link on www.rationalresponders.com (you'll see my book on the sidebar to the left, under the title "Last Week . . ." ), Amazon kicks back some of their profit to the Rational Response Squad.

- Todd


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Could someone, like, sum up

Could someone, like, sum up the 1200 posts in this thread so I don't have to read them all to join in ... like, 20 words or less.

 

heh

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ToddGates

ToddGates wrote:
gatogreensleeves wrote:

Nice post.  I think the argument is valid, considering that, as 7th Day Adventists will argue, Gen. 1:21, 24 uses the same combination of words for animals, "chay nephesh" or "living soul" as is used for man in Gen. 2:7, “[the Lord] ...breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.” 

 

 

As far as I know, the Hebrew word nephesh was used in both Genesis 2:7 (which refers to God's creation of man) and Genesis 1:24 (about God's creation of animals), and simply means “living creature.” But I also believe that any objective reading of the Bible's text will reveal that the authors of the Bible's earliest books had no belief in the afterlife: from dust we were created, and to dust we shall return. (You won't find any passages with Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, or Moses saying anything like “obey God and be rewarded in heaven” or “disobey God and be punished in hell.”) It was only much later---and due to the influence of foreign religions such as Zoroastrianism---did the Hebrew Bible start to include vague references to an afterlife (Isaiah 26:19 and Daniel 12:2): a seed which became fully developed in the New Testament.

My point being that in order to make the early parts of the Hebrew Bible match the later-adopted ideas about the afterlife, nephesh was translated as “living creature” when referring to animals, and as “living soul” when referring to humans:

  And God said, Let the earth bring forth the living creature [nephesh] after his kind, cattle, and creeping thing, and beast of the earth after his kind: and it was so.

Genesis 1:24, KJV

And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul [nephesh].

Genesis 2:7, KJV

That's exactly right.  I just spent some time with some Jehovah's Witnesses a few hours ago, and as most of you know, they have a souped up version of their own.  My biggest contention over the many translations is: why would God leave us with ONLY the KJV for 300 years if it's innacurate?... whoops!  There's more wrong with it than vernacular.

"If Adolf Hitler flew in today, they'd send a limousine anyway" -The Clash


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Tilberian wrote: Good

Tilberian wrote:

Good points, Todd. Let us know how the debate goes. I'll have to pick up your book when I see it.

Damn, if atheism gets any hotter in the bookstores I'm going to have to write one myself! Wink

I think you would do a good job, judging by your posts.  I have been working on something for years now in my spare time.  As you know, it's grueling wading through apologist's convoluted babble. 

"If Adolf Hitler flew in today, they'd send a limousine anyway" -The Clash


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gatogreensleeves wrote: I

gatogreensleeves wrote:

I think you would do a good job, judging by your posts. I have been working on something for years now in my spare time. As you know, it's grueling wading through apologist's convoluted babble.

Thanks. I can never get started because I'm terrified of the work involved.

 

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 I read some of the

 I read some of the comments made and I couldn't resist registering. I have a few responses. Kelly asked "Who made God"? Answer: He doesn't require a creator. You have to understand, whatever BEGINS to exist requires a cause. The universe BEGAN to exist (Big Bang), therefore the universe requires a cause. God did not begin to exist and does not need a cause or creator.

 

Second, you are so wrong when you state that life ends at death. So many people throughout history have experienced the afterlife its not even funny. Obviously you are not familiar with this material. So many people have died and returned to life explaining what they experienced, and people have appeared to loved ones explaining what they are experiencing.  Eternal Mysteries Beyond the Grave, by Ponteleimon deals with several of these cases in 19th century Russia.

I feel so sorry for you people because no matter how much you protest and kick and scream, Hell exists. And there is nothing you can do about it. You are not the center of the universe. Reality does not revolve around you. There are objective truths that don't depend on your approval to be true.

The more I study nature, the more I stand amazed at the work of the Creator -- Louis Pasteur


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I think we can agree that

I think we can agree that there is no empirical data we can point to before the Big Bang (BB) event. All we can do is invoke logic, speculation, and/or faith. I claim God is the cause. Atheists want to entertain the idea that the BB might have been the result of some kind of natural cause yet unknown to us. I'll refer to this as "The Machine." (M) theory. Now, I have a few things for you to think about. First, it is important for you to know that all proposed models set forth by scientists as an explanation for a natural cause (M) before the BB event itself, have been rejected by the majority of the scientific community. Steven Hawkings has stated this himself. In other words, they do not believe  "The Machine" is a possible hypothesis. Therefore, the best evidence we have right now, points to the BB as the actual creation event. Here is an illustration for those who want to assert the "M" theory: M (Machine) = BB = Universe As stated above, the majority of scientists reject the "M" theory. Most of them believe the BB actually represents the beginning of all things. This is a very important point.Now, I have a few questions for those who want to entertain the "M" theory/ natural cause theory:1. Since there was no time or space prior to the BB (the BB produced time and space) how can "M" exist in spaceless timelesness?2. The cause of the BB whatever it might be must transcend space and time because no space or time existed yet.3. The cause of the BB must be non-temporal, changeless and immaterial since there was no time or space to be materialized in.4. It must be unchanging, unbelievably powerful, and personal ( intelligent). The only entities we know of that are immaterial and timeless are minds and abstract objects such as numbers. But numbers do not stand in causal relations. The cause must have a transcendent mind. The cause must be timeless. "M"/nature cannot exist in those conditions. The only logical/plausible solution to this question is that God is the cause, because He has a mind (which can exist in immaterial timelessness). He possess the intelligence to create such an event, and He possesses the care for His creation in that He fine tuned the universe for life. God chose to create without any antecedent determining conditions. Now, I have establised 5 points which demonstrate the cause of the BB to be:1. Alive (containing mind and intelligence) since only mind can exist in a non-temporal, spaceless and timeless form of existance.2. This cause is changeless (because change only occurs in time/space)3. This cause is all powerful.4. The cause freely chose to create without any antecedent determining conditions.5. The cause is concerned for the universe in that He created the necessary conditions for lifeWhen we add these numbers up, it points directly to God.Now, I know that no amount of evidence will pursuade most atheists simply because they don't want to believe. I don't believe in atheists. I don't believe people disbelieve in God. I believe atheism is a cop out and rebellion against the Creator because they don't want to live in a universe governed by moral laws. That's really what is boils down to. So many millions of people in history have experienced God and the transcendent. God does not exist to the atheist, but that does not mean He doesn't exist to other people and is not an objective reality. Only human arrogance would assert that what is true for them, must be true for others. People don't decide what is true. Truth is objective and does not need human approval.

The more I study nature, the more I stand amazed at the work of the Creator -- Louis Pasteur


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Apotheon wrote: I read some

Apotheon wrote:
I read some of the comments made and I couldn't resist registering. I have a few responses. Kelly asked "Who made God"? Answer: He doesn't require a creator. You have to understand, whatever BEGINS to exist requires a cause. The universe BEGAN to exist (Big Bang), therefore the universe requires a cause. God did not begin to exist and does not need a cause or creator.


You seem to suffer from the misconception that the Big Bang was the origin of all energy. Well, it wasn't. Everything was already there when the Big Bang occured.



Apotheon wrote:
Second, you are so wrong when you state that life ends at death. So many people throughout history have experienced the afterlife its not even funny. Obviously you are not familiar with this material. So many people have died and returned to life explaining what they experienced, and people have appeared to loved ones explaining what they are experiencing. Eternal Mysteries Beyond the Grave, by Ponteleimon deals with several of these cases in 19th century Russia.


The brain starts firing at random when it's close to dying; you can't tell the difference between what's real and what you're imagining. Also, there is no evidence that the ones who claim to have experienced the afterlife actually have. Heck, they might just be lying.



Apotheon wrote:
I feel so sorry for you people because no matter how much you protest and kick and scream, Hell exists. And there is nothing you can do about it. You are not the center of the universe. Reality does not revolve around you. There are objective truths that don't depend on your approval to be true.


Prove that hell exists, then.



Apotheon wrote:
Therefore, the best evidence we have right now, points to the BB as the actual creation event.


Wow. You need to read up, dude; the Big Bang theory is based on all the energy already being there–there's no creation involved.

The less faster you pedal, the more slower you go.


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Daniel wrote: You seem to

Daniel wrote:

You seem to suffer from the misconception that the Big Bang was the origin of all energy. Well, it wasn't. Everything was already there when the Big Bang occured.

 

No, you are not understanding the Big Bang. The Big Bang produced energy, empty space, time and matter. There was no space for energy to exist in until the Big Bang. If you are going to assert that energy existed prior to the Big Bang, please produce evidence. The majority of scientists today believe the Big Bang was the actual creation event of all things.


Daniel wrote:

The brain starts firing at random when it's close to dying; you can't tell the difference between what's real and what you're imagining. Also, there is no evidence that the ones who claim to have experienced the afterlife actually have. Heck, they might just be lying.[/quote)

 

No, I'm not talking about firing brains. I'm talking about people who have died, and within an hour or so after, visitng their loved ones who didn't know they were dead, and telling them good by, etc. True, the brain does fire-off when people are dying, but not when they are already dead. I'm talking about people who were brain and heart dead for long periods of time, even hours and days. They came back and described the horrors of hell and the bliss of heaven. Some people appeared to their loved ones warning them to straighten up their lives because hell is a real place. Lets say for the sake of argument that we entertain the "firing brain" theory. Even if this were true, the thoughts would not be organized as they are in most Near death experiences. They would be random.  But I'm not talking about near death experiences. I'm talking about people who were clinically dead for long periods of time.

Daniel wrote:

Prove that hell exists, then.

All I can do is give you first hand testimony.


Daniel wrote:

Wow. You need to read up, dude; the Big Bang theory is based on all the energy already being there–there's no creation involved.

I have read-up. You are the one who is uniformed. According to Steven Hawkings, the vast majority of astronomers and physicists today believe the Big Bang was the actual creation event of time, space, matter and energy.

The more I study nature, the more I stand amazed at the work of the Creator -- Louis Pasteur


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Apotheon wrote: No, you are

Apotheon wrote:
No, you are not understanding the Big Bang. The Big Bang produced energy, empty space, time and matter. There was no space for energy to exist in until the Big Bang. If you are going to assert that energy existed prior to the Big Bang, please produce evidence. The majority of scientists today believe the Big Bang was the actual creation event of all things.


That's not correct. According to the Big Bang theory, all energy was concentrated at a single point. The Big Bang theory is not about the origin of this energy, but about the universe's evolution (which isn't related to the evolution of life, I may add). Evidence is present in the form of the Big Bang theory correctly predicting various phenomena, and since the theory is based on the energy already being present when the Big Bang occurred, the correct predictions indicate that it probably was.

The less faster you pedal, the more slower you go.


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 That was alot of energy in

 That was alot of energy in that it is now expanded all over the universe. So my question to you is: where did that energy come from? Why does the universe even exist at all? Why is it fine-tuned for life? Where did consciousness come from? The universe didn't come with any explanation.

The more I study nature, the more I stand amazed at the work of the Creator -- Louis Pasteur


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Apotheon wrote: That was

Apotheon wrote:
That was alot of energy in that it is now expanded all over the universe. So my question to you is: where did that energy come from? Why does the universe even exist at all?


I don't know where the energy came from, and I don't know why the universe exists (I don't believe it has a purpose, if that's what you mean), but people are trying to figure it out.



Apotheon wrote:
Why is it fine-tuned for life?


Considering great parts of it is lethal to (our form of) life, what leads you to believe it is?
The fact that we live in it doesn't mean it's fine-tuned for life. We're simply able to take advantage of how it works–making the best out of what we have.


Apotheon wrote:
Where did consciousness come from?


It evolved. It's a clear advantage for the individual specimen to know when it needs more food, when it's hurt and things like that. The species may however still not be more successful than simpler ones, since the simple single-celled organisms have the advantage of being able to reproduce quicker.

The less faster you pedal, the more slower you go.


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 The statement "it [life]

 The statement "it [life] evolved", is not scientifically observable. You are invoking faith. And you didn't answer my question.  Where did consciousness come from? I understand the theory. But I'm looking for empiricle data.

The more I study nature, the more I stand amazed at the work of the Creator -- Louis Pasteur


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What are you saying is not

What are you saying is not observable, evolution or specifically the evolution of consciousness?

What exactly do you want empirical data about?

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Hi Apotheon: First, thanks

Hi Apotheon: First, thanks for registering---welcome!


Second, allow me to review an area in which the two of us are in agreement:


Apotheon wrote:
There are objective truths that don't depend on your approval to be true. Only human arrogance would assert that what is true for them, must be true for others. People don't decide what is true. Truth is objective and does not need human approval. You are not the center of the universe.


Agreed---truth is independent of what humans want the truth to be, and we are certainly not the center of the universe. Relative to the rest of the known universe, we exist on a pale blue dot (to borrow Carl Sagan's phrase) of an unimaginably insignificant size. And as much as we may think---and indeed, we used to---that the earth stood still as the sun & the rest of universe revolved around us, it simply is not true and never was.


Third---a minor disagreement:


Apotheon wrote:
Now, I know that no amount of evidence will persuade most atheists simply because they don't want to believe. I don't believe in atheists. I don't believe people disbelieve in God. I believe atheism is a cop out and rebellion against the Creator because they don't want to live in a universe governed by moral laws. That's really what it boils down to.


If I may rephrase you, it sounds like you're saying "Atheists KNOW somewhere deep in their hearts that they're wrong, but they rebel against God because they don't want to obey moral laws. So their childish solution is to pretend---lying to others AND themselves---that God doesn't exist.


Now, I can only speak as an atheist, not "for" atheists . . . but I can tell you that if deep in my heart---or via logic / reason / evidence or any other means---I KNEW there was a God, and one who wanted me to behave according to His instructions, I would definitely obey whatever His commands were. Not to do so would make me a total idiot (and maybe I'm an idiot in some respects, but I'd like to think I'm not a TOTAL idiot).


I mean, I don't even disregard the instructions I receive from my boss at work, and the consequences of disobedience from him are WAY less severe than what I imagine disobedience from the Creator of the Universe might bring.


So my disbelief is not based "not wanting" God, any more than your disbelief in the Hindu directions on the necessity of obeying caste rules is about "not wanting" to obey Purusha & Kali and the like.


Would you say your dismissal of Hinduism is a "copout"? Or do you disbelieve simply because all the evidence points to the conclusion that Hinduism is a cultural phenomenon: something totally man-made?


From here on, your posts discuss three separate subjects: the Big Bang, the first spark of life on earth, and hell. To keep this post a readable length, I'll limit my response to the Big Bang.


THE CRUX OF THE DISAGREEMENT:
The Theist: Where did the energy that was already present at the time of the Big Bang come from? Since "something" can't come out of "nothing," the only logical conclusion is that a Cause OUTSIDE of space & time must have started it all. The supernatural is the only logical conclusion.


The Non-Theist: the universe began its current expansion some 13.7 billion years ago---that is, the universe as we observe it today did indeed begin with the Big Bang. But whether this was the universe's first expansion, or whether it has expanded and collapsed zillions of times, or whether we exist in just one of many universes, we simply don't know. What we know from physics, however, is that neither mass nor energy can be created or destroyed (although both can be changed to different forms of mass & energy, and energy can be converted to mass, and mass to energy). Therefore, this suggests that the universe's mass & energy must have always existed.


THE NO-WIN DEADLOCK:
The Theist: the belief that mass-energy could have "always existed" is mind-boggling to the point of being nonsensical. Common-sense everyday observations tells us that everything that exists (from Paley's watch to Ray Comfort's Coke can) had a start, and a Cause to that start. Again, a Supernatural Start is the only logical conclusion.


The Non-Theist: the idea that the Big Bang's mass-energy had "always existed" is indeed mind-boggling!


But which is more plausible: that something as simple as energy could exist without a Cause, or that something as infinitely complex as a Creative Deity could exist without a cause? By positing God as a First Cause, you're only amplifying the mystery.


The power of the non-supernatural explanation is that it explains how simple matter can change to the complex universe we currently observe. With the universe's expansion, the unimaginably dense energy could begin to convert to hydrogen. Hydrogen can fuse into helium. Hydrogen & helium (+ heat and gravitational attraction) can form stars & galaxies. Stars produce denser elements, and exploding stars create other stars and planets---including the raw material for life to begin on those planets. And given billions of years, life can evolve from simple bacteria to the wonders (& horrors) that surround us today.

* * *

But I call this a "no-win deadlock" because I don't believe either side will ever be persuaded by the other. Non-theists' minds may indeed be boggled by how mass-energy could just "always exist," but see it as much much much more mind-boggling that an infinitely complex Deity could just "always exist." Theists rarely have a problem with the idea that an infinitely complex Deity could "always exist."


I don't see either side ever budging. This is why when I debate theists, I prefer to take the approach of saying "Okay, let's SAY an infinitely complex Deity was indeed behind the creation of the universe's mass-energy, and started the first spark of life. Now let's explore the reasons why you believe this Architect of the Universe and the Author of your Holy Book (be it the Bible, the Vedas, the Book of Mormon, etc.) are one-in-the-same." But that's another post.

Todd Allen Gates, author of Dialogue with a Christian Proselytizer


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Yep, deadlock.  I like to

Yep, deadlock.  I like to get the argument from ignorance over with asap and get to the more productive discussion: the theological details. 

"If Adolf Hitler flew in today, they'd send a limousine anyway" -The Clash


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 Even if the universe and

 Even if the universe and energy has always existed, it presents no problem for us. There is a school of thought championed among certain Greek Church writers that the universe is God. This is not Spinoza's concept however or pagan pantheism. They would argue that the universe and everything we know of God is a manifestation of his energies, not His essence. His essence will always be hidden from us. If the universe is eternal, then it must be a part of God because only God is eternal.

 

As for the complexity argument, it also presents no problem for us. The argument states that only that which begins to exist requires a cause. God did not begin to exist. Therefore, He does not need a cause.

 

By the way, there are still people who believe in the geocentric theory (that the Sun revolves around the earth). There is a Catholic theologian named Robert Sungenis who is willing to pay like 10,000 dollars or something for anyone who can prove heliocentrism. Apparently everyone has failed so far.

The more I study nature, the more I stand amazed at the work of the Creator -- Louis Pasteur


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Apotheon wrote: Even if the

Apotheon wrote:
Even if the universe and energy has always existed, it presents no problem for us.

It makes God as a creator superflous. 

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hello

I was just stopping by to see how the conversation was going, looks like nothing new.

Todd Gates arguments are quite laughable to me about the state of animals before and after the fall, before the fall we were in heaven, not on earth, hence the fall.

It is also humerous to me how he tries to interpret the bible literally on every word, thats just rediculous, the bible is full of anologic meaning, such as in isaiah which is what he is talking about.

Despite the detesteble ingorance of God I see on this site, I do approve of your attemps to be moral through reason and I would gladly throw it down with any so called christian who condemned you to hell for eternity, as even their own book the bible apporives of your actions as it is written.

14For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves:
15Which shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one anotherEye-wink

Even though your leader really should rethink about how it is normal to be a liar (when in fact it is normal to use discretion, not to be a liar), I do not condemn him, his own words condemn him as a liar. God does not approve of your disbelief but he certainly does approve of your yearning to be moral, and remember the bible teaches that you will only eat the fruit of your own deeds, as also is taught in the Quran.

Peace brothers.

From God, God Formed Ether, From Ether, God Formed Energy, From Energy, God Formed Matter, From Matter, God Formed Mind, From Mind, God Formed Mankind, From Mankind, God Formed God.


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thiest wrote: Todd Gates

thiest wrote:
Todd Gates arguments are quite laughable to me about the state of animals before and after the fall, before the fall we were in heaven, not on earth, hence the fall.

That's your rebuttal?  You can't even spell theist right- what makes you think anyone finds your smug arguments any more cogent than your lack of care for details in spelling?  A story about a talking snake who convinced a woman to eat evil fruit from a magic tree is not laughable?  Seriously.  Step back for a minute theist.  And do you really think that assertions such as calling something "laughable" are not easily recognizable as puerile psych tactics?  "Nothing new here"?  As if you had rebutted all the arguments in this post instead of having your ass handed to you.  I've had some great mature, intelligent conversations with intelligent theists here, but you are not one of them.  How old are you really?

Quote:
It is also humerous to me how he tries to interpret the bible literally on every word, thats just rediculous, the bible is full of anologic meaning, such as in isaiah which is what he is talking about.

And how did you discover that Eden was actually heaven in your former assertion?  By taking that literally from somewhere?  Was Eden an anologic story too?  I would like for you to tell us how and where God describes the method for determining what is metaphor and what is not.  Can you give us those verses please?

Quote:
Despite the detesteble ingorance of God I see on this site, I do approve of your attemps to be moral through reason and I would gladly throw it down with any so called christian who condemned you to hell for eternity, as even their own book the bible apporives of your actions as it is written. 14For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves: 15Which shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one anotherEye-wink Even though your leader really should rethink about how it is normal to be a liar (when in fact it is normal to use discretion, not to be a liar), I do not condemn him, his own words condemn him as a liar.

 Well that's a relief.  Is it also normal for God to send "lying spirits" (1 Kings 22:23, 2 Chron. 18:22, Ezek. 14:9, 2 Thes. 2:11)?  In the words of Ray Comfort, "What does that make you [God]?"

Quote:
God does not approve of your disbelief but he certainly does approve of your yearning to be moral, and remember the bible teaches that you will only eat the fruit of your own deeds, as also is taught in the Quran. Peace brothers.

“That the saints may enjoy their beatitude and the grace of God more abundantly they are permitted to see the punishment of the damned in hell”? -Thomas Aquinas (Summa Theologica).

"If Adolf Hitler flew in today, they'd send a limousine anyway" -The Clash


thiest
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That's your rebuttal? 

That's your rebuttal?  You can't even spell theist right- what makes you think anyone finds your smug arguments any more cogent than your lack of care for details in spelling?  A story about a talking snake who convinced a woman to eat evil fruit from a magic tree is not laughable?  Seriously.  Step back for a minute theist.  And do you really think that assertions such as calling something "laughable" are not easily recognizable as puerile psych tactics?  "Nothing new here"?  As if you had rebutted all the arguments in this post instead of having your ass handed to you.  I've had some great mature, intelligent conversations with intelligent theists here, but you are not one of them.  How old are you really?

sicne your own brain obviously does not work let me show you something about anologic meaning. lets look at the story of man in Genesis for example.

 Now the "talking snake" is a symbolic represenation of wisdom as the saying also goes "wise as serpents" This is becasue man as a free willed being did not want to live in a harmonous union with God the Father but forge out his own beliefs as it is represented by the "eating of the Fruit of Good and Evil". Genesis is a symbolic representation of the true ascpects of God the Father, as you can also see when he created man, he created him Male and Female, before he ever created woman. This shows a truth about the Nature of God, that he is both Male and Female principles that constitute a united Form, which is also menafested in the man and woman in the Physical Universe, as it is also written "the two shall become one flesh". Analogic and symbolic meaning is used througout the entire bible, mixed with history and poetry and other such writings, you are foolishly following the thoughts of the dogmatic hypocrites, and being led by the blind you surely will fall into the ditch.

And how did you discover that Eden was actually heaven in your former assertion?  By taking that literally from somewhere?  Was Eden an anologic story too?  I would like for you to tell us how and where God describes the method for determining what is metaphor and what is not.  Can you give us those verses please?

again you fooloshly assert that the bible contains all knoelwgde, seek and you will find, not :seek the bible and you will find"

you foolishly only use one mean to find truth, their are 2 sciences the science within and the science without

The science withis is called Con-Science.

The science without is called Emperical Science.

I am sorry and very saddened by the fact that you can not seem to use your Con-Science to find truth, for with one 1 of the sciences you will nevar find truth. Find out the analogic and symbolic meanings on your own Gato, for I can not seek for you, use the science within.

Well that's a relief.  Is it also normal for God to send "lying spirits" (1 Kings 22:23, 2 Chron. 18:22, Ezek. 14:9, 2 Thes. 2:11)?  In the words of Ray Comfort, "What does that make you [God]?"

I do not judge Gods actions, God judges my Actions, if you do not understand this it will be very hard for you to find any truth of God at all.

If I create a robot and program it to have artificial intelligence and then choose to destroy it becasue it is acting in a bad manner, that is within my power, it is my creation, same goes for God and you, Gato.

“That the saints may enjoy their beatitude and the grace of God more abundantly they are permitted to see the punishment of the damned in hell”? -Thomas Aquinas (Summa Theologica).

Oh please, so you belive that everything that Thomas Aquanis says is True? Why are you qutoing him, is he Jesus reincarnate? I do not care what thomas Aquainis says, I only care what I find to be True through the use of Conscience and Science. You should do the Same.

 

 

From God, God Formed Ether, From Ether, God Formed Energy, From Energy, God Formed Matter, From Matter, God Formed Mind, From Mind, God Formed Mankind, From Mankind, God Formed God.


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thiest wrote: I am sorry

thiest wrote:


I am sorry and very saddened by the fact that you can not seem to use your Con-Science to find truth, for with one 1 of the sciences you will nevar find truth. Find out the analogic and symbolic meanings on your own Gato, for I can not seek for you, use the science within.



So what of the religions and cults that we now know are baseless? People worshiped the sun as a God and even prayed to it assuming they would give them bountiful crops. When their crops were fruitful, they though the sun had heard their prayers. When their crops were thin or barren, they thought they had lost favor with the sun. Yet we now know the sun is a fiery ball of hydrogen gas which makes it rather unlikely that it could have received their prayers. What truth did their "Con-Science" reveal to them?

This is only one of many examples. In fact, there have been several religions with savior stories very similar to Jesus, thousands of years before he was to have been born.

thiest wrote:


I do not judge Gods actions, God judges my Actions, if you do not understand this it will be very hard for you to find any truth of God at all.



If we do not try to make sense out of God's actions, then how do we know the actions we perceive are really God's? If God's is all powerful and his actions are incomprehensible, they could be indistinguishable from nature. This makes it easy to find God since you could see him anywhere and everywhere you want to.

By not judging God's actions, you simply have no basis on which to claim those actions are really from God other than you "think" they are or you "want" them to be. If you claim your intuition tells you they are from God, then how do you know you're intuition is correct? If there is one true God, human intuition has a pretty poor track record of revealing himself to us as a species.

thiest wrote:


If I create a robot and programed it to have artificial intelligence and then choose to destroy it becasue it is acting in a bad manner, that is within my power, it is my creation, same goes for God and you, Gato.



If I created a robot, gave it artificial intelligence and it decided to misbehave, act violently or destroy things, I would be responsible for it's actions since I was the one who brought it into existence. Had I not created said robot, the entire situation wouldn't exist in the first place. While I could claim that my robot encountered some input or situation I hadn't expected, God has no such out since he not only created the "robot" but the entire universe it operates in, down to the laws of physics. And if God is omniscient, he would have known about the problem before the "robot" even rolled of the assembly line.

If we were designed by a God who deliberately created us from an infinite number of possibilities, then wasn't it God who put us in this situation in the first place?

And why wouldn't God fix us instead of destroying us? Is this somehow beyond his capacity? If you claim it's simply wasn't his will, this seems to reinforce the idea that God's actions can't be questioned because they are incompressible. However, an all powerful God with an incomprehensible will could be used to explain anything and everything that might occur. Anything.

For example, even though God promised he would never intentionally destroy the word by flood, this doesn't mean he has a duty to prevent a flood caused by nature or by some some "evil force". In fact, can you name one thing we could ever experience or observe that could not be within God's incomprehensible will or his power?

Without any kind of empirical evidence, how can know if we're living in universe created by God or a natural universe with no purpose?

We do not learn by experience, but by our capacity for experience.


thiest
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So what of the religions

So what of the religions and cults that we now know are baseless? People worshiped the sun as a God and even prayed to it assuming they would give them bountiful crops. When their crops were fruitful, they though the sun had heard their prayers. When their crops were thin or barren, they thought they had lost favor with the sun. Yet we now know the sun is a fiery ball of hydrogen gas which makes it rather unlikely that it could have received their prayers. What truth did their "Con-Science" reveal to them?

This is only one of many examples. In fact, there have been several religions with savior stories very similar to Jesus, thousands of years before he was to have been born.

do you see that worship of the sun is a metaphor for worship of the true God, do you see that we being in the image of God reveals truths to us? The Sun is the flaming Sword that points all ways, it is the misguider, it is the false god, becasue the Sun can do nothing on its own accord, it is subservient to the True eternal God, the Regulator of all affairs on earth. do you see brother that what you say is true, that god does indeed know what he has put before us? and this is how he tries us like a man tries Gold in a fire to make it pure, god tries us in the fire of judgement to make us pure beings, beings that purify themselves for the glory of the creator, the creator that made you who you are with all of our imperfections.

If we do not try to make sense out of God's actions, then how do we know the actions we perceive are really God's? If God's is all powerful and his actions are incomprehensible, they could be indistinguishable from nature. This makes it easy to find God since you could see him anywhere and everywhere you want to.

By not judging God's actions, you simply have no basis on which to claim those actions are really from God other than you "think" they are or you "want" them to be. If you claim your intuition tells you they are from God, then how do you know you're intuition is correct? If there is one true God, human intuition has a pretty poor track record of revealing himself to us as a species.

yes i see what you are saying, but listen brother, what i am claiming is that the nature of the universe indeed reflects the nature of God, we deem this nature to be cruel or unjust when in fact it is a nature of complete balence, god is not incomprehensible, but he is only comprehensible when we give to God the truth that he deserves, ultimate glory, because without god we are nothing, any good deed that a man can commit or do has its basis in God, it is nevar on his own will that it can be accomplished, only through god can a man do Good, becasue God is the definition of good, let me explain.

if i do a certian deed and it is deemed Good, such a give a poor man some money or some other such deed.

think, where did i get all the resources to commit such a deed? my body , my life, my money is all from God therefore i did nothing. everything i do is from God.

If I created a robot, gave it artificial intelligence and it decided to misbehave, act violently or destroy things, I would be responsible for it's actions since I was the one who brought it into existence. Had I not created said robot, the entire situation wouldn't exist in the first place. While I could claim that my robot encountered some input or situation I hadn't expected, God has no such out since he not only created the "robot" but the entire universe it operates in, down to the laws of physics. And if God is omniscient, he would have known about the problem before the "robot" even rolled of the assembly line.

If we were designed by a God who deliberately created us from an infinite number of possibilities, then wasn't it God who put us in this situation in the first place?

And why wouldn't God fix us instead of destroying us? Is this somehow beyond his capacity? If you claim it's simply wasn't his will, this seems to reinforce the idea that God's actions can't be questioned because they are incompressible. However, an all powerful God with an incomprehensible will could be used to explain anything and everything that might occur. Anything.

For example, even though God promised he would never intentionally destroy the word by flood, this doesn't mean he has a duty to prevent a flood caused by nature or by some some "evil force". In fact, can you name one thing we could ever experience or observe that could not be within God's incomprehensible will or his power?

Without any kind of empirical evidence, how can know if we're living in universe created by God or a natural universe with no purpose?

 

you are correct when you speak of God in this manner that he did indeed put in front of us all that we see, indeed even your own disbelief is from God, and it is not far from his power to make you belive in him, but why does he do this you say? for he tries you with fire as i said before, look at all that is placed in front of you, do you not have a choice to do good or Evil? you do indeed, this is the test from God to see what you choose, and what do you choose, i have not met a man in my lifetime that did not want to do good, i only meet those that are dispositioned by god to do evil, and why is this? is it a test to our own faith and belief? is it a test of our character? I do not claim any dogmatic knowledge of heaven or hell, condemntation is for God alone, no man can condemn, for no man is god, what i do see though is that people have taken for truth about religion that which is false, Jesus who i belive is a real man, taught freedom, the law of liberty, he taught to free think and find the truth, something all of you do, but you do it without God, Why? what is so illogical about God when we exist, is it not illogical for us to exist as well? indeed it is, becasue Empirical Science can nevar answer the question of why we exist, it is fruitless to seek it with emirical science, but with conscience it is possible to know and understand why we exist, you must use this science to prove that God exists within youselves.

 

i came to this website with the intention of proving you people wrong, but only from coming here have i learned that i can not do that, i can only ask you to prove yourself right, for conscience is within us, it is the knowledge within, that is where God is proven to exist, not outside of ourselves.

 

for Jesus taught

The Kingdom of God is Inside of you.

I love all of you and would truly wash your feet as a servent to show you the truth of God.

From God, God Formed Ether, From Ether, God Formed Energy, From Energy, God Formed Matter, From Matter, God Formed Mind, From Mind, God Formed Mankind, From Mankind, God Formed God.


Veils of Maya
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theist wrote: Veils of

theist wrote:
Veils of Maya wrote:

So what of the religions and cults that we now know are baseless? People worshiped the sun as a God and even prayed to it assuming they would give them bountiful crops. When their crops were fruitful, they though the sun had heard their prayers. When their crops were thin or barren, they thought they had lost favor with the sun. Yet we now know the sun is a fiery ball of hydrogen gas which makes it rather unlikely that it could have received their prayers. What truth did their "Con-Science" reveal to them?

This is only one of many examples. In fact, there have been several religions with savior stories very similar to Jesus, thousands of years before he was to have been born.


do you see that worship of the sun is a metaphor for worship of the true God, do you see that we being in the image of God reveals truths to us? The Sun is the flaming Sword that points all ways, it is the misguider, it is the false god, becasue the Sun can do nothing on its own accord, it is subservient to the True eternal God, the Regulator of all affairs on earth. do you see brother that what you say is true, that god does indeed know what he has put before us? and this is how he tries us like a man tries Gold in a fire to make it pure, god tries us in the fire of judgement to make us pure beings, beings that purify themselves for the glory of the creator, the creator that made you who you are with all of our imperfections.


How did these people benefit by worshiping the sun? It certainly wasn't a better harvest. Their prayers and sacrifices had no meaning. And if Jesus is the only way to heaven, these people are lost as they broke one of the 10 commandments.  

And what about children who die before or shortly after they are born. They cannot understand good or evil. They cannot be tested. If God's trial by fire has meaning or is necessary then these children are incomplete. Assuming they are allowed to enter heaven in the first place, are they separated from those who did experience God's trials on earth? Do they receive some kind of Good and Evil simulation that allows them to join the general population. If so, why can't we all simply do the same thing? Again, you're claim that God must test us doesn't seem to hold up under scrutiny. And if God created everything from absolutely nothing, then he explicitly chose to make a universe where we need to be tested. This would have been an arbitrary choice on his part as he is all powerful and had an infinite number of choices. He could have just as well designed us so we need to eat ice cream and cake for five days straight before we were "pure beings."

I see the worship of the sun as a physiological need for a omniscient being to watch over us.

When children are very young, they think their parents are all knowing. This has been proven in several studies. As an example, they assume that their mother would know if the contents of a cracker box was switched to cookies while she  had left the room. In other words, they think their parents are omniscient.

However, when a child gets older, they gain the ability to put themselves in someone else's shoes. They realize their parents can indeed be fooled and they become mere mortals. In the process, we loose an all knowing protector that watches over us. However, we can't see God. He cannot be observed and we are told his will is incomprehensible. As such, it's impossible for God to be quantified or proven wrong. We can't find his flaws because he is undetectable. I think this is by design since if we could observe God he would become a myth like all the other Gods before him.

theist wrote:
Veils of Maya wrote:


If we do not try to make sense out of God's actions, then how do we know the actions we perceive are really God's? If God's is all powerful and his actions are incomprehensible, they could be indistinguishable from nature. This makes it easy to find God since you could see him anywhere and everywhere you want to.

By not judging God's actions, you simply have no basis on which to claim those actions are really from God other than you "think" they are or you "want" them to be. If you claim your intuition tells you they are from God, then how do you know you're intuition is correct? If there is one true God, human intuition has a pretty poor track record of revealing himself to us as a species.


yes i see what you are saying, but listen brother, what i am claiming is that the nature of the universe indeed reflects the nature of God, we deem this nature to be cruel or unjust when in fact it is a nature of complete balence, god is not incomprehensible, but he is only comprehensible when we give to God the truth that he deserves, ultimate glory, because without god we are nothing, any good deed that a man can commit or do has its basis in God, it is nevar on his own will that it can be accomplished, only through god can a man do Good, becasue God is the definition of good, let me explain.

if i do a certian deed and it is deemed Good, such a give a poor man some money or some other such deed.

think, where did i get all the resources to commit such a deed? my body , my life, my money is all from God therefore i did nothing. everything i do is from God.



But how do you know this to be true? Perhaps your perception that God created everything is based on how you *want* the world to be instead of how it really is? Or perhaps your perception that God is somehow in control of the universe is an unexpected side effect of man using a supernatural entity to explain things we simply do not understand.

While it's up for debate if Man was inspired by God when he wrote the Bible, I think we both agree that it was man who actually put pen to paper. As such, the Bible is a claim made by men. Nature does not explicitly point to any supernatural being as the creator of the universe. There is no "inspected by Angel #5" tag on the universe nor can we see God's number show up on caller ID. I'm simply looking for some evidence to substantiate this claim. If God does exist, why did he reveal himself to us at a time when myths were common? Why did he not clearly differentiate himself from all the other religions that man invented to understand his world? Excluding past decisions, why does God allow this ambiguity to continue over 2,000 years later?

theist wrote:
Veils of Maya wrote:


If I created a robot, gave it artificial intelligence and it decided to misbehave, act violently or destroy things, I would be responsible for it's actions since I was the one who brought it into existence. Had I not created said robot, the entire situation wouldn't exist in the first place. While I could claim that my robot encountered some input or situation I hadn't expected, God has no such out since he not only created the "robot" but the entire universe it operates in, down to the laws of physics. And if God is omniscient, he would have known about the problem before the "robot" even rolled of the assembly line.

If we were designed by a God who deliberately created us from an infinite number of possibilities, then wasn't it God who put us in this situation in the first place?

And why wouldn't God fix us instead of destroying us? Is this somehow beyond his capacity? If you claim it's simply wasn't his will, this seems to reinforce the idea that God's actions can't be questioned because they are incompressible. However, an all powerful God with an incomprehensible will could be used to explain anything and everything that might occur. Anything.

For example, even though God promised he would never intentionally destroy the word by flood, this doesn't mean he has a duty to prevent a flood caused by nature or by some some "evil force". In fact, can you name one thing we could ever experience or observe that could not be within God's incomprehensible will or his power?

Without any kind of empirical evidence, how can know if we're living in universe created by God or a natural universe with no purpose?


...what i do see though is that people have taken for truth about religion that which is false, Jesus who i belive is a real man, taught freedom, the law of liberty, he taught to free think and find the truth, something all of you do, but you do it without God, Why? what is so illogical about God when we exist, is it not illogical for us to exist as well? indeed it is, becasue Empirical Science can nevar answer the question of why we exist, it is fruitless to seek it with emirical science, but with conscience it is possible to know and understand why we exist, you must use this science to prove that God exists within youselves.


So, you're saying you believe in God because that belief provides an answer to the question of why we exist? But you're limiting your search for truth to answers that imply there is a reason why we exist. What if there is no reason? Is this not just as possible? A universe created by all powerful God that has an incomprehensible will could be indistinguishable from a natural universe with no purpose. Nor nature does not explicitly point to a supernatural being that created us.

Again, we're left with you "want" to believe that God exists or you'd "like" to think we live in a universe created with a purpose. But, these are claims that simply can't be substanicated. While I'm glad this gives you peace, it certainly isn't enough for me.

theist wrote:

i came to this website with the intention of proving you people wrong, but only from coming here have i learned that i can not do that, i can only ask you to prove yourself right, for conscience is within us, it is the knowledge within, that is where God is proven to exist, not outside of ourselves.


Consciousness gives us the ability to reflect on our own thoughts and beliefs. It allows us to question that which our culture, ego and instinct presents to us as reality. As such, my consciousness gives me no reason to believe the claim that God exists.

We do not learn by experience, but by our capacity for experience.


thiest
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How did these people

How did these people benefit by worshiping the sun? It certainly wasn't a better harvest. Their prayers and sacrifices had no meaning. And if Jesus is the only way to heaven, these people are lost as they broke one of the 10 commandments.  

And what about children who die before or shortly after they are born. They cannot understand good or evil. They cannot be tested. If God's trial by fire has meaning or is necessary then these children are incomplete. Assuming they are allowed to enter heaven in the first place, are they separated from those who did experience God's trials on earth? Do they receive some kind of Good and Evil simulation that allows them to join the general population. If so, why can't we all simply do the same thing? Again, you're claim that God must test us doesn't seem to hold up under scrutiny. And if God created everything from absolutely nothing, then he explicitly chose to make a universe where we need to be tested. This would have been an arbitrary choice on his part as he is all powerful and had an infinite number of choices. He could have just as well designed us so we need to eat ice cream and cake for five days straight before we were "pure beings."

I see the worship of the sun as a physiological need for a omniscient being to watch over us.

When children are very young, they think their parents are all knowing. This has been proven in several studies. As an example, they assume that their mother would know if the contents of a cracker box was switched to cookies while she  had left the room. In other words, they think their parents are omniscient.

However, when a child gets older, they gain the ability to put themselves in someone else's shoes. They realize their parents can indeed be fooled and they become mere mortals. In the process, we loose an all knowing protector that watches over us. However, we can't see God. He cannot be observed and we are told his will is incomprehensible. As such, it's impossible for God to be quantified or proven wrong. We can't find his flaws because he is undetectable. I think this is by design since if we could observe God he would become a myth like all the other Gods before him.

You would have to speak to the people worshipping the Sun to find out what they recieved from such worship, I do not worship a creation, I worship the Creator, So I do not know what they would have Gotten out of it, to them it was the Creator, It was the physical Manifestation of the Creator, A Symbol of Greatness from the Lord of the Worlds, What has changed about this fact? The Sun is a ball of burning hydrogen, but does that change the fact that it is a Symbol from God? no it does not.

Like I said Gods will is not incomprehensible, When you place God in his proper position and humble yourself before Him then you will gain understanding and knowledge, without this aspect of humility you shall naver understand his will, I told you, Free willed beings can not just be "made pure" they have a free will do do Good or Evil, do not contradict yourself, if God automatically made us pure, we would have no Free will, you see?

God is certainly not undetectable, his creation and his forms are what we are and the universe the work of his hands is where we exist, to say God is undetectable is ignorant, Imagine a man who built a building and then left out solar system, would his ideas and aspects be lost becasue he left? could we not look at the building that he built to learn about what kind of man he was? was he intellligent, did the building fall down when the first sotrm came? did the buidling last 1000's of years like the pyramids? These questions we can answer about God through looking at the Work of His hands, therefore Humble yourself and experience the Kingdom of God through Con- Science.

But how do you know this to be true? Perhaps your perception that God created everything is based on how you *want* the world to be instead of how it really is? Or perhaps your perception that God is somehow in control of the universe is an unexpected side effect of man using a supernatural entity to explain things we simply do not understand.

How I "want" the world to be does not change a thing in this universe, everything that exists, exists wether I "want" it to or not, I seek the truth and the truth is what I find for I humble myself before the Creator of the Worlds. These things that you do not understand I do understand for God teaches me through Con-Science then I verify his teaching with Science in the natural World, the Natural Reflection of God.

While it's up for debate if Man was inspired by God when he wrote the Bible, I think we both agree that it was man who actually put pen to paper. As such, the Bible is a claim made by men. Nature does not explicitly point to any supernatural being as the creator of the universe. There is no "inspected by Angel #5" tag on the universe nor can we see God's number show up on caller ID. I'm simply looking for some evidence to substantiate this claim. If God does exist, why did he reveal himself to us at a time when myths were common? Why did he not clearly differentiate himself from all the other religions that man invented to understand his world? Excluding past decisions, why does God allow this ambiguity to continue over 2,000 years later?

God is not allowing it, the free willed beings who choose to do evil allow it, I know you do not Humble youself before God, for if you did you also would understand his will, God made us in his image and also allowed us to Be Good or Evil, now you say becasue humans choose Evil that God must not Exist, how does that work, it makes sense that God would hide in a dark cloud and watch from afar to see what his beings will do, see if their free will is a Will of Good or Evil, what do you choose? Also All religions are from God, as all Sins are wrought in God as Jesus taught, do you not see how the Logic of God travels through Time creating and morphing and teaching throgh all forms avaliable to his disposal, this Logic of God, that also is what Jesus was in the Flesh is what creates religionsa nd teaches eternal truths to Men.

So, you're saying you believe in God because that belief provides an answer to the question of why we exist? But you're limiting your search for truth to answers that imply there is a reason why we exist. What if there is no reason? Is this not just as possible? A universe created by all powerful God that has an incomprehensible will could be indistinguishable from a natural universe with no purpose. Nor nature does not explicitly point to a supernatural being that created us.

When did I say I belive in God becasue it gives me a reason, I am sorry that is just stupid, I belive in God becasue he is Real, in fact I would Say I know God exists through Science, Con-Science, here is the definition of Know, I know God exists

know1      /noʊ/ Pronunciation Key - Show Spelled Pronunciation[noh] Pronunciation Key - Show IPA Pronunciation verb, knew, known, know·ing, noun

–verb (used with object)
1.to perceive or understand as fact or truth; to apprehend clearly and with certainty: I know the situation fully.

Again, we're left with you "want" to believe that God exists or you'd "like" to think we live in a universe created with a purpose. But, these are claims that simply can't be substanicated. While I'm glad this gives you peace, it certainly isn't enough for me.

Like I said I do not belive or want God to Exist, I know he exists throgh Con-Science and Empirical Science. And you say it brings me peace? thats BS I have to see all these lost people walking around like fools , I have no Peace, only in Death will I have true Peace, when I shall be tried in the Fires of Hell and what is left after that Process, maybe their will be nothing, maybe I will remain, depending on the purity of your soul. Jesus did not Bring Peace, but a sword, for Us to Cut through the Lies of the Evil one. When you enter the kingdom of God you find peace, the it is replaced with sadness for the state of your fellow men, who are placed in a dungeon of darkness and dispair, but that is why the Logos became flesh as it is written.

 

Isaiah 42:6

“I am the Lord; I have called you in righteousness;
I will take you by the hand and keep you;
I will give you as a covenant for the people,
a light for the nations,
to open the eyes that are blind,
to bring out the prisoners from the dungeon,
from the prison those who sit in darkness.
I am the Lord; that is my name;
my glory I give to no other,

From God, God Formed Ether, From Ether, God Formed Energy, From Energy, God Formed Matter, From Matter, God Formed Mind, From Mind, God Formed Mankind, From Mankind, God Formed God.


thiest
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i didnt mean to make the

i didnt mean to make the last quote so large, it was copied and pasted and when i tried to edit it after seeing how big it showed up, it looked even bigger, not trying to yell with big letters so to speak.

From God, God Formed Ether, From Ether, God Formed Energy, From Energy, God Formed Matter, From Matter, God Formed Mind, From Mind, God Formed Mankind, From Mankind, God Formed God.


ToddGates
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thiest wrote: Todd Gates

thiest wrote:
Todd Gates arguments are quite laughable to me about the state of animals before and after the fall …
 Since my response is a bit late, let me first repeat the context of my statement. In reviewing the four most common Christian explanations for pain & suffering:

(1) Suffering is punishment for wrong-doing
(2) Suffering benefits us
(3) Suffering must exist for Greater Good of Free Will
(4) It's beyond our understanding

--- I mentioned that under the "Suffering must exist for Greater Good of Free Will" category, many Christians will say that because God gave Adam & Eve free will, and because Adam & Eve abused that free will, we now live in a "fallen Creation": the collateral damage of which includes pain & suffering even for animals.

To say that this argument is "laughable" could be taken at least two different ways:

(a)  it's laughable that I would put forth such an easily defeatable argument. If that's what you meant, my response is that I did not make this up on my own (I'm not that imaginative!)---Ray Comfort said it during the Nightline debate, Christian apologist Norman Geisler makes this argument in Lee Strobel's The Case for Faith (pages 125-126), Christian monk Thomas Merton makes this argument in his book The Seven Storey Mountain (p. 353), to name just a few. 

(b)  it's laughable that Christians use this. If that's what you meant, well, as an atheist, I won't argue! 

thiest wrote:
…before the fall we were in heaven, not on earth, hence the fall.

A unique interpretation of Genesis! And unique for good reason!! I'll say no more.

thiest wrote:
…It is also humerous to me how he tries to interpret the bible literally on every word, thats just rediculous, the bible is full of anologic meaning, such as in isaiah which is what he is talking about. .

The Bible was interpreted literally for well over a thousand years---and with no reason at the time not to do so! It wasn't until science revealed solid evidence that, contrary to biblical passages:

-          the sun does not orbit the earth (Ecclesiastes 1:5, Joshua 10:13)

-          the earth is not motionless (Psalm 93:1, 104:5)

 -          the moon does not shine its own light (Genesis 1:16)

-          the stars are not tiny (Revelation 12:4)

-          the earth is not flat (Daniel 4:11, Matthew 4:8 )

---that apologists were forced to seek refuge in the "Hey, God's speaking to us in metaphor!" escape hatch.

The problem with this escape hatch is that once it's open, all the other ancient scriptures / myths---which contain stories that reveal an equal cluelessness about the universe's layout---can slip through it as well.

If God's solar Holy Halting in Joshua 10:13 (so the Israelites could finish slaughtering the Gibeonites) is a "metaphor," what's to stop a Greek apologist from saying that the story of the sun god Helios pulling the sun across the sky from his fiery chariot is "Zeus speaking to us in metaphor." 

Of course, it’s possible that the non-Christian explanations are scientifically inaccurate because ignorant humans wrote them, while the Christian explanations are scientifically inaccurate because our Divine Architect chose to dictate the Bible metaphorically. 

But it seems far more plausible that the Bible’s description of nature reflects the limited knowledge of ancient humans because ancient humans were its sole authors. 

Todd Allen Gates, author of Dialogue with a Christian Proselytizer


thiest
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Since my response is a bit

Since my response is a bit late, let me first repeat the context of my statement. In reviewing the four most common Christian explanations for pain & suffering:

(1) Suffering is punishment for wrong-doing
(2) Suffering benefits us
(3) Suffering must exist for Greater Good of Free Will
(4) It's beyond our understanding

--- I mentioned that under the "Suffering must exist for Greater Good of Free Will" category, many Christians will say that because God gave Adam & Eve free will, and because Adam & Eve abused that free will, we now live in a "fallen Creation": the collateral damage of which includes pain & suffering even for animals.

To say that this argument is "laughable" could be taken at least two different ways:

(a)  it's laughable that I would put forth such an easily defeatable argument. If that's what you meant, my response is that I did not make this up on my own (I'm not that imaginative!)---Ray Comfort said it during the Nightline debate, Christian apologist Norman Geisler makes this argument in Lee Strobel's The Case for Faith (pages 125-126), Christian monk Thomas Merton makes this argument in his book The Seven Storey Mountain (p. 353), to name just a few. 

(b)  it's laughable that Christians use this. If that's what you meant, well, as an atheist, I won't argue! 

Suffering Is a way of knowledge, it is also a remedy of correction for free willed beings, completely within our realm of understanding Mr. Gates, do we not dish out Suffering to those we Judge to deserve it through Jail Time and Death? You act as if we do not understand what Suffering is, haha, thats a joke, We use it as a Tool of Rehabilitation and also as a Tool of Punishment, wow, the same Reason God uses it, your ignorance of Suffering is very laughable my Freind, but it seems you will only be ignorant of it if it is the Suffering Caused by the Creator of the Universe, Little it is that you understand about God.

The Bible was interpreted literally for well over a thousand years---and with no reason at the time not to do so! It wasn't until science revealed solid evidence that, contrary to biblical passages:

-          the sun does not orbit the earth (Ecclesiastes 1:5, Joshua 10:13)

-          the earth is not motionless (Psalm 93:1, 104:5)

 -          the moon does not shine its own light (Genesis 1:16)

-          the stars are not tiny (Revelation 12:4)

-          the earth is not flat (Daniel 4:11, Matthew 4:8 )

---that apologists were forced to seek refuge in the "Hey, God's speaking to us in metaphor!" escape hatch.

The problem with this escape hatch is that once it's open, all the other ancient scriptures / myths---which contain stories that reveal an equal cluelessness about the universe's layout---can slip through it as well.

If God's solar Holy Halting in Joshua 10:13 (so the Israelites could finish slaughtering the Gibeonites) is a "metaphor," what's to stop a Greek apologist from saying that the story of the sun god Helios pulling the sun across the sky from his fiery chariot is "Zeus speaking to us in metaphor." 

Of course, it’s possible that the non-Christian explanations are scientifically inaccurate because ignorant humans wrote them, while the Christian explanations are scientifically inaccurate because our Divine Architect chose to dictate the Bible metaphorically. 

But it seems far more plausible that the Bible’s description of nature reflects the limited knowledge of ancient humans because ancient humans were its sole authors. 

Todd Allen Gates, author of Dialogue with a Christian Proselytizer

So you are telling me that humans have always taken for literal the writings of the bible? Hmmmm let us look at the original Seed of religion, the Hindu Religion which is also True.

The Physical Manifestations of God are evidently belived in througout the Hindu Religion, Each animal is a differant aspect of the True God. Now let us look at the Genesis analysis again, the Snake.

Now the Chinese year of the snake is a great year why? becasue the Chinese see the snake as the Counsellers best freind, lets look at the Original Seed of Religion view of the Snake and why it was used as the Representation of the Devil in the Bible.

("Snakes are worshipped as gods even today with many women pouring milk on snake pits (despite snakes' aversion for milk). The cobra is seen on the neck of Shiva and Vishnu is depicted often as sleeping only on a 7 headed snake. There are also several temples in India solely for cobras sometimes called Nagraj (King of Snakes) and it is believed that snakes are symbols of fertility. There is a Hindu festival called Nagpanchami each year on which day snakes are venerated and prayed to&quotEye-wink

Hmmm it would seem your ignorance of symbolism and lack of undertsanding would lead me to belive you are no better than the Dogmatic Hypocrites that you denounce and act as if they are "stupid" maybe you should actully seek the truth instead of sitting around trying to prove something that is blatently false to be false, your work is mundane and pointless and your book is a joke, in my opinion Mr. Gates.

I hope you have fun literally interpreting a book that is a hidden Code of meaning for those firmly rooted in knowledge, like I said , in the end your work is a fruitless Tree of Ignorance.

As it says in the Quran.

"He it is Who has revealed the Book to you; some of its verses are decisive, they are the basis of the Book, and others are allegorical; then as for those in whose hearts there is perversity they follow the part of it which is allegorical, seeking to mislead and seeking to give it (their own) interpretation. but none knows its interpretation except Allah, and those who are firmly rooted in knowledge say: We believe in it, it is all from our Lord; and none do mind except those having understanding."

 

In my opinion you are as ignorant as those who for geopolitical reasons go to War for God, your ignorance is no bettet than theirs, making interpretation based on your own evil desires, well you will nevar gain any knowledge through this manner, your deceptive heart will lead you to an evil place indeed as it is written.

 Jeremiah 17:9 (Show me Jeremiah 17)
The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?

 

Much Love to you Mr. Gates and I hope that you seek true knowledge instead of this Dogmatic Crap that you spout as some sort of useful interpretation.

 

Peace Brother.

 

 

From God, God Formed Ether, From Ether, God Formed Energy, From Energy, God Formed Matter, From Matter, God Formed Mind, From Mind, God Formed Mankind, From Mankind, God Formed God.


Job
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A bit confused here ...

If you are a theist, please feel free to post your scientific evidence for God, leaving out the miserable arguments that Ray Comfort has already been beaten on of course.
Why would you specifically ask for "scientific" evidence for the existence of God?


thiest
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Job wrote:If you are a

Job wrote:
If you are a theist, please feel free to post your scientific evidence for God, leaving out the miserable arguments that Ray Comfort has already been beaten on of course.
Why would you specifically ask for "scientific" evidence for the existence of God?

Becasue they have a corrupt and illogical Con-Science so they want to try and prove God with Empirical Science Alone, also becasue they want to try and make fun of Empirical Evidence for God, just watch one of Sapients Shows, he even says he will take his mother to a Mental Insitiution for belieiving in God, this website is extermely Pathetic and you are lucky God has sent me here to guide you in the true direction.

Also Sapient on his show last night on stick am was saying he Knows God does not exist, please bring this proof sapient, or do you have nothing? Please bring me the logical Arguments ans Scientific Proof showing God does not Exist, you claimed it last night on your show did you not, but I guess you are just lying as this is "normal" for you, to be a liar, people who follow this man should really look itno Sapient and his ways, you really want to follow a Liar?

I am waiting Sapient for your Argument and scientific Proof that God does not Exist as you have claimed to have, Lets see if Mr. Smartypants can produce it, though we all know he can not, hes a Liar by his own admission.

But I still love you brother sapient, Turn to the truth and heal yourself of your corrupt Con-Science.

As I am a slave to God, I am your Servent, A servent to all mankind for the glory of God.

I am waiting Sapient, for the Proof, do not dissapoint your followers!

From God, God Formed Ether, From Ether, God Formed Energy, From Energy, God Formed Matter, From Matter, God Formed Mind, From Mind, God Formed Mankind, From Mankind, God Formed God.


ToddGates
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 I've always liked the

 I've always liked the expression "Seek first to Understand, then to be Understood." 

So for this post I will refrain from putting forth any of my own ideas, as for the moment I only seek to understand you. 

Looking at snippets of your post:

thiest wrote:
. . . let us look at the original Seed of religion, the Hindu Religion which is also True. [snip] Now let us look at the Genesis analysis again … [snip] Now the Chinese year of the snake is a great year … [snip] As it says in the Quran …[snip]
 

---it seems that you recognize God not just in Christianity, but in multiple religions. So in "seeking to understand" you, I ask four questions: 

(1)  Do you believe that All religions are True?

(2)  If your answer is "NO--they're not 'all' true," on what basis can we say a religion was created by man rather than inspired by God?

(3)  If your answer is YES, do you believe that a correct interpretation of symbolism and hidden codes can reconcile what some people think are contradictions between religions? (Example: Hindus appear to say there IS a caste system, Christians & Muslims appear to say there isn't; the Aztecs seem to have said the Divine wants human sacrifice, the Jainists appear to say that all life is so sacred that even gnats aren't to be harmed, etc.)

(4)  What do you think of those who identify themselves solely as Christians? Or solely as Muslims, Hindus, etc.---that is, those who believe their religion alone is from God, and the rest are just made up by people? 

In peace & understanding,

- Todd


Apotheon
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One cannot prove the

One cannot prove the existance of light to the blind.


thiest
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Sorry if you think I am

Sorry if you think I am being rude Todd, I am, and I apologize, I have been arguing with people here for a while and have grown a hard surface upon my being from it, ok, let me answer your questions.

1) Religions all will have truth to them, The truth is eternal and invisible to the human eye, therefore God must viel it with a physical substance or an Idea that mankind will understand, Muses, Shamans, Prophets and the like have all been inspired, it is up to us to discern the truth of these people, as it is taught in the bible.

Hebrews 5:14 (Show me Hebrews 5)
But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil.

Hebrews 4:12 (Show me Hebrews 4)
For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.

Romans 12:2 (Show me Romans 12)
Do not be conformed to this world,[1] but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.[2]

3) Wisdom , understanding, and knowledge can unite all peoples into a unity of goodness and free-will towards all mankind, for it is written.

And call no man your father on earth, for you have one Father, who is in heaven.

and we are all brothers, muslim, jew, hindu, aztec, indian, we are all brothers and should treat each other as such.

4) people who identify themselves solely as a chistian muslim or Jew are just not openminded enough to seek the truth of the universe, it takes a long time for people to overcome their bias and their ignorance, once you have created a world you understand you will do anything to keep it that way, you must break free of your own understanding and let God give you understanding for it is written.

Proverbs 2:6 (Show me Proverbs 2)
For the Lord gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding;

 

Now i use the bible alot becasue most people on this site are people who were christians and rejected it becasue of lack of understanding, I would use other holy books and explain the same precepts.

Listen everyone, you reject the knowledge of God based on the rediculous acts and interpretations of men, do not listen to me even, I am jsut here to show you one thing, to seek the truth on your own, and make yer own decision based upon a humbe heart and an open mind. For it is written.

1 John 2:27
<< 1 John 1 | 1 John 2 | 1 John 3 >>

27 But the anointing that you received from him abides in you, and you have no need that anyone should teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about everything, and is true, and is no lie—just as it has taught you, abide in him.

Seek the annointing.

From God, God Formed Ether, From Ether, God Formed Energy, From Energy, God Formed Matter, From Matter, God Formed Mind, From Mind, God Formed Mankind, From Mankind, God Formed God.


thiest
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Apotheon wrote: One cannot

Apotheon wrote:
One cannot prove the existance of light to the blind.

 

correst, for this is why the word of God incarnated in Jesus, for it is written.

Psalm 146:8 (Show me Psalm 146)
the Lord opens the eyes of the blind. The Lord lifts up those who are bowed down; the Lord loves the righteous

Isaiah 61:1 (Show me Isaiah 61)

The Year of the Lord's Favor
The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the poor;[1] he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound;[2]

John 9:32 (Show me John 9)
Never since the world began has it been heard that anyone opened the eyes of a man born blind.

John 10:21 (Show me John 10)
Others said, “These are not the words of one who is oppressed by a demon. Can a demon open the eyes of the blind?”

Psalm 146:8 (Show me Psalm 146)
the Lord opens the eyes of the blind. The Lord lifts up those who are bowed down; the Lord loves the righteous.

Isaiah 29:18 (Show me Isaiah 29)
In that day the deaf shall hear the words of a book, and out of their gloom and darkness the eyes of the blind shall see.

Isaiah 35:5 (Show me Isaiah 35)
Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf unstopped;

Isaiah 42:16 (Show me Isaiah 42)
And I will lead the blind in a way that they do not know, in paths that they have not known I will guide them. I will turn the darkness before them into light, the rough places into level ground. These are the things I do, and I do not forsake them.

 

Let the Lord your Creator Open your eyes, through the knowledge that came with Jesus.

From God, God Formed Ether, From Ether, God Formed Energy, From Energy, God Formed Matter, From Matter, God Formed Mind, From Mind, God Formed Mankind, From Mankind, God Formed God.


thiest
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just to calify

just to calify something.

for some reason I am used to including woman and men when I say men or brothers, I mean no disrespect to woman, they are included when I say men or brothers. for it is written,

Genesis 2:23 (Show me Genesis 2)
Then the man said, “This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.”[1]

Mark 10:8 (Show me Mark 10)
and the two shall become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two but one flesh.

From God, God Formed Ether, From Ether, God Formed Energy, From Energy, God Formed Matter, From Matter, God Formed Mind, From Mind, God Formed Mankind, From Mankind, God Formed God.