Adam and Eve
Could a Christian please explain this paradox to me.. God is perfect. He created a perfect Universe in his image. Now, the reason we have suffering in the world today is because we live in a fallen world, meaning that once adam sinned, evil(or sin) was set loose on the world. But explain this to me.. If God is perfect and he created a perfect creation then how was sin able to find it's way to Adam's heart? Doesn't 'perfect' imply without fault? How was sin able to find it's way into adam's heart if adam was created perfectly, without flaw by the all powerful, all knowing, perfect God who doesn't make mistakes? Please enlighten me.
Religion doesn't deal with an extreme absolute. At least, not the kind of absolute you're thinking of. The only kind of absolute that religion deals with is an absolute that there already exists unanimity on (such as that there is a human condition and the human condition oftens demands some kind of satisfaction), and in addition to that, what you may see as non-unanimity is not so in the same way that objective objects can have subjective identifiers. Just because one definition of God makes sense to some but not to others doesn't mean that they aren't perceiving the same thing.
Well, actually, there exists global unanimity on the fact that there is a human condition, and on the fact that it demands satisfaction, so it's not exactly a thing common only to religious people.
Just because a definition of God makes sense to some, but not to others DOES mean that they are percieving different things. I don't know if you've noticed, but there are quite some fantastic claims: a guy coming back to life after 3 days of death, some other dude getting the law tablets directly from the creator of the whole universe, another guy gets a trip into the skies on a flying unicorn, some yoga-practising bloke gets one with everything, etc. Also, this "same thing" they are all perceiving demands the Muslims to kill all infidels, demands (or at least demanded, in the OT) the Jews to not care about the rest, so on and so forth.
Now, since this "same thing" they are perceiving gives some very interesting and conflicting orders, it can mean 2 things: either it is a malevolent god, that uses us as chess pieces in his own amusement moment, disguising himself as "omnibenevolent" or "all-loving" in order to be able to inflict even more grief onto unsuspecting humans (which, considering all the sensless destruction and killing, at least in the OT or the Koran, is a very serious possibility), or it doesn't exist, religion being simply an instrument of control invented by humans to enslave other humans, while still giving them the impression that they are free (and I need not tell you that this, too, is a very serious possibility, which seems to also be the correct one).
So... if you wish to convince me that "the god" is one, and all religions are manifestations of the same thing, you're going to have to come up with some very convincing arguments.
It's quite a leap in logic to go from "God permits a chance to sin on the part of man" to "God sins". Sin is a very broad theological topic, and the most reasonable definition of it is that sin is literally imperfection. God can't techniclly be imperfect, even though he/she/it allows man a chance to be imperfect.
So in other words, God cannot: lie, deceive, murder, order murders, side with an unrighteous party in a war, affect free will...
Either this, OR these things aren't sins... Considering I can show you Bible examples for God doing all these things, the second option remains. I'm not aware of a third option, considering your definition, so if there is one please let me know.
If these aren't sins, then the right question would be "Which actions/states on the part of man are sins?"
With all due respect to him, he's falling into a fallacy of assumption. Religion itself is so multi-layered that such a statement couldn't possibly cover all of religion, or even a specific religion. It's true that God and hell are so complex that such a broad statement as "Religion says that atheists go to hell" is false.
I see no assumption on his side. Religion is doctrine. If doctrine states that some people doing a certain thing go to hell (and most religious doctrines DO state that), that is what happens according to that religion. It's not a matter of personal interpretation, and it never was. It's not like "You can believe Janie is going to hell for serial killings, but still, in my opinion, she's not...". Doctrine states: "THIS happens" (replacing "THIS" with whatever action according to doctrine), and that means THIS actually happens. If doctrine didn't work that way, perhaps doctor Mengele could have told Hitler something like "You know, Adolf, perhaps we shouldn't put the Jews in the concentration camps, perhaps we should take Americans... they make much better test subjects, and there's plenty of them to choose from. That's my opinion, at least."
You kind of proved my point about hell or the afterlife being complex. What you see as different opinions categorized by denomination is really each denomination's own humble perspective on an ultimate reality. What you see as disagreements and contradictions aren't really. The afterlife is no where near as technical as you are trying to make it out to be.
"each denomination's own humble perspective..." - dude, it's my eternity at stake... I don't want "humble perspectives", I want truth! I couldn't give a greater rat's posterior on the opinions of Priest X or Cardinal Y, or even Pope Z, what I want to know is the truth: what is there in the afterlife, is there any differentiation, on what basis does it apply and what happens next.
It's quite obvious to everyone that no religion or denomination has the slightest clue about what the afterlife is. But at least admit it, stop giving out all the crap of heaven and hell, fiery pits of torture and 72 virgins!
And if the disagreements and contradictions aren't really, then what are they? Certainly if one states: "all of different faith will go to hell, no exceptions" (Muslims) and another one states: "not all of different faith will go to hell" (some Christian denominations), they cannot both be right. So what are they?
I can tell you that your belief that 95% of Earth non-atheist population disagreeing with me is wrong in a sense, but that's not exactly true. You're not wrong because that's just your perspective.
OK, perhaps that's an exagerated percentage.
Still, I'll give you an example, Muslims: don't believe, don't prey 5 times a day, you go to hell. Simple as that. Why should I believe you, who states differently? What do you have to convince me more than the Muslim doctrine?
Inquisition - "The flames are all long gone, but the pain lingers on..."
You make a pretty big assumption when you say "According to most theist religions, let's say Christianity, I will be going to hell because I do not believe in God". I don't think it works that way because, as you pointed out, believing in or denying God is very complex. It is true that theist religions, let's say Christianity, stress that if a person does certain things, they can go to hell. But (and this is a big conjunction), even Christianity recognizes the complexities of God, believing in him/her/it, denying him/her/it, hell, and going to hell.
But doesn't the bible present everything in black and white? And don't Christians say that everything you need to know in order to serve God is in the bible? How is one supposed to follow God's will if one can not possibly understand what it is that God wants? The rules are not clear yet our eternal souls are at risk. Also, how are you supposed to know if something in the bible is meant literally or metaphorically? On top of that, there is no way to know if the bible has any validity. What overwelming evidence is there that the Bible is actually God's will(assuming he exists)?
Rather, God said creation was "very good."
And God did look upon his creation and it was good, nay it was very good.
You always make me laugh Sir Valiant. Always. Probably because I like laughing at idiocy.