Simple starter: What's your one biggest problem believing the gospel?

gottheflu
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Simple starter: What's your one biggest problem believing the gospel?

I'm a Christian asking, What's your one biggest problem believing the gospel?  I know it's really hard for most of you to boil it down to one particular objection, but I'm starting with this question to begin a focused conversation.  Perhaps this would make you go back to the first objection to Christianity that you really thought "stuck" and then led to other defeaters.  Or perhaps it's just what you've been thinking is the most significant argument that makes Christianity untenable.  (Unkind posts will be ignored.)


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Well, I can tell you that

Well, I can tell you that there are lots of things that I have problems with here. I used to be huge into the matter so I have a clue on the matter. However, I have also studied the matter well past that.

 

You want one simple bit? What time of day did the crucifixion take place?

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Biggest reason for not believing?

gottheflu wrote:
I'm a Christian asking, What's your one biggest problem believing the gospel?

I would consider that the complete lack of any scientific evidence for the religious claims being made. If you have no evidence for your claims, I won't take them seriously.

"This may shock you, but not everything in the bible is true." The only true statement ever to be uttered by Jean Chauvinism, sociopathic emotional terrorist.
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to AI Gene

AI Gene . . . Do you always get caught up in such things when people tell you stories?


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Wow. This is a really hard

Wow. This is a really hard question. My one biggest problem with the Gospel. Could it be that God waited until he was infinity years old to create the universe, when he always knew that he would inevitably do so? That it was done in six days not so long ago, disagreeing with an ocean of scientific evidence? That God is morally inferior to my dog, who is not appeased by genocide, but somehow the standard bearer of goodness? That God seems helpless to change events that he feels strongly enough to damn people to Hell over, but is supposedly omnipotent? That God is supposedly omniscient, but is supposed to react with anger and surprise when his laws are broken? That God's original plan was thwarted by a talking snake that he created knowing it would do so? I mean, how can it be that his plans were thwarted when he always knew they would be? That God has a plan for me other than what he supposedly knew I would do when he created me? That the sacrifice of God's only son appeased his own wrath? I mean seriously- that God was so merciful that he had to appease his own wrath by sacrificing his own son? This makes no sense. That God had to employ a flood to kill people when he created them out of sheer will, when he could have simply made the sinners stop sinning with sheer will? I mean, why did he create them if he knew he would regret it? That God had to test followers like Abraham when he already knew the result? That Jesus was sent "to restore the law" but violates Old Testament laws like keeping the Sabbath?

 

This all sounds like just the sort of nonsense that would have been made up and believed by primitive, less evolved people thousands of years ago.

 

It would have been much easier to answer the question what don't I have a problem with.


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to B166ER

B166ER, thanks for a concise, understandable objection.   But of course it's pretty broad.  So please clarify.  Surely you agree that some things in the gospels have historicity?  Including the fact there was a teacher in Palestine around 2000 years back named Jesus, he had some followers, etc.  So are you just asserting that the religious claims within the gospel lack sufficient evidence?  If this is what you are saying, how do does someone differentiate between religious claims being made in the gospel from the non- religious?


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to chnd

Thanks chnd.  Yes, it appears to be hard for you to boil it down to one problem. It's that way for a lot of people!  But is it possible for you to narrow it down to one for the sake of discussion?  Thanks for jumping in here!

 


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What is your biggest problem

What is your biggest problem believing that Beowulf really killed a monster, the monster's mother, and a dragon?


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to ksmb

Hi KSMB. 

So I guess you're saying that the historical value of the gospels is the same as Beowulf?  Do we know for sure whether Beowulf was written with the intention of passing on historical truth?  But the gospels, whether true or not, were clearly written with such intentions.  (Unless the writers were deliberately trying to fool their readers.)  So are you not comparing apples with oranges?


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Personally, I just never

Personally, I just never really saw the point in believing the gospel, or any other religious text.


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Do you mean what is my best

Do you mean what is my best argument for why it isn't true, or why I think it is a bad book to live by?

 

For the former:  It makes supernatural and magical claims that are not verifiable.  I don't believe magic claims from ancient societies without some sort of proof.

 

If the latter, then my central gripe is that it teaches that morality is objective, and that morality has been static since the bronze age.  Since bronze age morality is barbaric I consider the religion a giant boat anchor on the human race.  Not to mention that it teaches humans to regard themselves as worthless scum who can only be saved from their own evil by being gullible sycophants.

Everything makes more sense now that I've stopped believing.


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Okay, okay

I guess if I had to pick only one, I would say the part about the talking snake thwarting his plan when this was all known when he was planning to begin with. God knew that the talking snake would thwart his plan before he made the plan, so that had to be the plan, didn't it?

 

By the way, the issues that led to my initial parting with Christianity when I was twelve no longer stand out to me as the most glaring issues, but I'll go ahead and tell you it was determinism and the problem of evil. If God knows exactly what's going to happen already, then it must be that it will happen that way with necessity. Therefore he created people just to damn them all to Hell. He wasn't waiting around for them to make choices before he decided their fate. He decided to damn them before he created them. I considered this to be more evil than any crime a human being was capable of committing with limited power, and certainly unwarranted by the choices of those misfortunate human beings. This being the case, I could no longer convince myself that I loved God. In fact I hated him. So I became a theistic Satanist. So I decided I hated God before I decided he probably didn't exist. But this thought process is in no way representative of why I am an atheist today.

 

Today, we can stipulate for the sake of argument, that I have a problem with the talking snake issue outlined above.


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gottheflu wrote:Hi KSMB. So

gottheflu wrote:
Hi KSMB. 

So I guess you're saying that the historical value of the gospels is the same as Beowulf?  Do we know for sure whether Beowulf was written with the intention of passing on historical truth?  But the gospels, whether true or not, were clearly written with such intentions.  (Unless the writers were deliberately trying to fool their readers.)  So are you not comparing apples with oranges?

Hi,

First of all, you weren't asking what the intent of the gospel writers were (which btw, you can only guess at, you don't even know who they were). You were asking why we don't believe it. From that angle, Beowulf and the gospels have the same problems. Fantastic claims (an apocalyptic Jew is the Son of God and is raised from the dead vs a Swedish hero battles monsters and dragons) set in a real world setting (1st century Palestine vs 5th century Denmark) written by anonymous authors. So no, I am comparing legend to legend. Neither have any evidence going for it, so why do you believe in the gospels and not Beowulf? He fought a dragon!


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gottheflu wrote:Including

gottheflu wrote:

Including the fact there was a teacher in Palestine around 2000 years back named Jesus, he had some followers, etc.

You know of contemporary historical evidence for Jesus? Within his life time or right afterwards there were written records detailing his existence? The gospels were written 30-90ish years after his death and were written from oral records. Other historical evidence is even more loosely connected to Jesus and largely unimpressive. There are the disputed writings of Josephus mentioning Jesus. But they were probably forged by Christians in order to make it seem as though there was early evidence for Jesus. And the forgers did not even correctly mimic Josephus's style of writing. Unfortunately, there were obvious forgeries of historical evidence for Jesus.

Is this the record we are working off of? An oral record that was written down decades later and an early Christian forgery trying to manufacture evidence?

If you have contemporary historical evidence for Jesus, please point it out to us. I refuse to trust oral records that were eventually written down. And I suspect that you would reject such sketchy records too if they came from any other religion. There is simply no method of judging their fidelity other than cross-referencing them and hoping that later writers acting in bad faith didn't use the earlier writings as a guide to make sure they are all consistent. And if we compare them to each other, there are contradictions. Can you see why someone such as myself is so unimpressed with the New Testament? Why on earth would I accept that as historical fact? I should hope that our standards of evidence are a little higher than that.

"You say that it is your custom to burn widows. Very well. We also have a custom: when men burn a woman alive, we tie a rope around their necks and we hang them. Build your funeral pyre; beside it, my carpenters will build a gallows. You may follow your custom. And then we will follow ours."
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to mellestad

Hi Mellestad.  Thanks for the reply.

Let's look at "the former." Because, after all, if the gospels can be believed as true, then it should probably follow that it (or the Bible) is a good book to live by. 

And let's set aside the terms "supernatural" or "magic" for now.  (It could take too long to even agree as to what those terms mean.)  Surely you don't mean that the main point of the gospel is "not verifable."  Because is it not conceivable that the resurrection of Jesus can be verified (to some degree or another) or falsified (to some degree or another)?


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gottheflu wrote:Hi

gottheflu wrote:

Hi Mellestad.  Thanks for the reply.

Let's look at "the former." Because, after all, if the gospels can be believed as true, then it should probably follow that it (or the Bible) is a good book to live by. 

And let's set aside the terms "supernatural" or "magic" for now.  (It could take too long to even agree as to what those terms mean.)  Surely you don't mean that the main point of the gospel is "not verifable."  Because is it not conceivable that the resurrection of Jesus can be verified (to some degree or another) or falsified (to some degree or another)?

 

Your book talks explicitly about magic, I am most certainly not going to set aside those terms.  Jesus does David Blaine and Harry Potter stuff every other page in the NT...it is central to Christian theism.

 

I've never heard of a theist who showed a method to falsify the resurrection.  I've never heard of a scenario that Christian theists wouldn't wiggle out of.  How do you use science to convince someone to disbelieve when they think magic is the root cause of their faith, especially since the magic happened 2,000 years ago?  Theists can't even prove Jesus existed, much less that his dad/other self was a necromancer.

 

If you have a version of theism that is scientifically falsifiable I would be eager to hear about it.

Everything makes more sense now that I've stopped believing.


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gottheflu wrote:AI Gene . .

gottheflu wrote:
AI Gene . . . Do you always get caught up in such things when people tell you stories?

 

Well, that is a straw man fallacy. You asked for one problem and I gave you one problem. You did not provide an answer to my query.

 

In all honesty, I did not expect you to answer it because the matter admits of no answer. This is a point where the synoptic gospels fail to be synoptic. I figured you to be a drive by poster.

 

Since you are still here, let me say that I suspect that the bishops at Nicaea probably had more important stuff to worry about. In fact, that is one thing that we know quite well about the early church. The main issue on the table was what is known as “christology”.

 

Was Jesus the coolest dude who had ever lived on the planet? Many Christians believed exactly that.

 

Was Jesus the creator of the universe and just happened to look like a dude? Many Christians believed that.

 

Was Jesus a dude and god a spirit who temporarily got inside of the dude? I am not interested in belaboring the point but how does it make sense that Jesus said on the cross “my god, my god why have you forsaken me?” and “into your hands I commend my spirit”?

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Answers in Gene Simmons

Answers in Gene Simmons wrote:

Was Jesus a dude and god a spirit who temporarily got inside of the dude? I am not interested in belaboring the point but how does it make sense that Jesus said on the cross “my god, my god why have you forsaken me?” and “into your hands I commend my spirit”?

 

 

I always thought their explanations of his desperate cries of betrayal were weak, considering his supposed nature.  The son of God would never say that, especially if he embodied omniscience.

Everything makes more sense now that I've stopped believing.


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to chnd

Thanks for narrowing something down, chnd.  These two issues are strongly related, aren't they?  (I'll just say parenthetically that the problem of evil, or POE, [and the determinism it might entail] seems to be the most difficult objection that Christians try to answer.  I take it very seriously.  And I'm sure that no answer to it can even begin to stick if there is no belief in "the afterlife."  If this world is all there is, then there is no hope in making a workable theistic defense in light of the POE.  But hopefully we can put that aside for now.)

Let's also not get into whether snakes have ever really talked.  That's not the main point behind your objection.  Also, just to clarify, don't you mean to say that "God knew that the talking snake would thwart his plan before he executed (instead of "made" ) the plan."?  If this is an accurate correction, then what do you see as the problem?  As parents who know with reasonable certainty that their children will be tempted by bad people people ("snakes" ) in their lives, don't parents still release them to live their lives and be tempted?  Of course Christians say that God knew before creation that humans would certainly capitulate to temptation; a certain knowledge that most parents can't share with God.  This was part of his plan that he allowed to unfold.  How else could God create humans as creatures of free will?  Do you think he should not have created humans with free will?  Should he not have created humans at all, knowing their free will would lead to rebellion?  Are you saying it was not worth it?

 

 

 


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 6,000 year-old earth. 

 6,000 year-old earth. 


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OK, no talking snakes. Got

OK, no talking snakes. Got that.

 

Was Cain a motherfucker?

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 The one biggest problem I

 

The one biggest problem I have with the Gospels is they are multiple choice accounts which indicates IMHO they were legends and stories told just as today. Additionally, the point that writers who lived in Judea took no notice of him indicates the Gospels are legends adapted into storytelling. Generally Christians will make the Josephus claim as a writer living at the time of Jesus which isn't true as he came after as did the Gospels. A writer called Justus of Tiberias a contemporary of Josephus and his enemy wrote 2 major works on the Jewish wars as well as a history of the Jews. He wrote nothing of Jesus. He was from Galilee the general area attributed to Jesus' power base and it's very strange he didn't notice the Jesus movement. There are dozens of writers in the 1st century and no one noticed the development going on in Judea. They did however notice Apollonius of Tyana who was reported to have performed thousands of miracles and was well documented. The Church tried unsuccessfully to eradicate as much as possible about him.

There are other problems as well such as the Pauline distortion of Jewish Messianic prophecies into the morphed beliefs you hold today. Jesus does not fit into the prophecies held by his own religion for perhaps 500 to 1000 years. Jews reject him for good reason as he fails to meet what was prophesied.

In regards to the Bible in general, specifically the Hebrew scriptures they as a basis to your belief provide a foundation in myths, legends, and storytelling incorporating many of the myths of other cultures. The basis to your beliefs has fictional distortion and fantasy which causes the entire belief structure to fail.

You can pick any of these criticisms to expand.

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gottheflu wrote:Thanks for

gottheflu wrote:

Thanks for narrowing something down, chnd.  These two issues are strongly related, aren't they?  (I'll just say parenthetically that the problem of evil, or POE, [and the determinism it might entail] seems to be the most difficult objection that Christians try to answer.  I take it very seriously.  And I'm sure that no answer to it can even begin to stick if there is no belief in "the afterlife."  If this world is all there is, then there is no hope in making a workable theistic defense in light of the POE.  But hopefully we can put that aside for now.)

I've heard that argued before, that the afterlife balances the scales of justice. However, I think that no matter how much injustice is suffered in our finite lives, the real injustice doesn't even begin until Hell. There is no crime or misgiving that warrants infinite punishment. The sin of disbelieving in God does not outshine the sin of standing idly by while I suffer. Not to mention standing idly by for all eternity. Any human being who is tortured in Hell will eventually repent, if he believes his sin is the condition of his suffering. The mere manifestation of God would correct anyone's disbelief. God's non-intervention in the process of Hell is the greatest wrongdoing I can conceive (unless you add more people to the infinite suffering). Certainly no human crime can compare. Not the slaughter of every man, woman, and child alive today. What should be the punishment for this? A million years of Hell? A trillion years? If you still cannot forgive this man after trillions of trillions of aeons have passed, after a googleplex of inestimably long aeons have passed, you are not merely evil, you are without moral intuitions of any kind. Not to mention those who simply weren't convinced of the existence of God by stories, or even firsthand miracles for that matter. Maybe non-believers just don't get it. Maybe we are all wrong. So God wouldn't even wiggle his ears to end my infinite suffering? He never would? 

 

The Problem of Evil isn't resolved by the afterlife. It is made infinitely worse.

 

gottheflu wrote:

Let's also not get into whether snakes have ever really talked.  That's not the main point behind your objection.  Also, just to clarify, don't you mean to say that "God knew that the talking snake would thwart his plan before he executed (instead of "made" ) the plan."?  If this is an accurate correction, then what do you see as the problem?  As parents who know with reasonable certainty that their children will be tempted by bad people people ("snakes" ) in their lives, don't parents still release them to live their lives and be tempted?  Of course Christians say that God knew before creation that humans would certainly capitulate to temptation; a certain knowledge that most parents can't share with God.  This was part of his plan that he allowed to unfold.  How else could God create humans as creatures of free will?  Do you think he should not have created humans with free will?  Should he not have created humans at all, knowing their free will would lead to rebellion?  Are you saying it was not worth it?

 

I am not objecting to the allegation that a snake talked, although I admit that the mere mention of it sounds like an objection.

 

And no. If God is omniscient, and has always been omniscient, he would have known about the talking snake not just before he executed his plan, not just when he was making his plan, but infinitely long ago.

 

Actually, he wouldn't have made a plan at all. He would always have known what his plan would be. So it would never have been made. It would always have been his plan. But my point is that the snake couldn't thwart a plan that he was always a part of. And he couldn't have been disconsidered by the plan.

 

I'm not saying that it was wrong for God to create Adam and Eve because he knew they would disobey him. I'm saying that it would be incorrect to assert that God had a different plan for us than what has conspired because his plans must take into account what he knows.


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gottheflu wrote: B166ER,

gottheflu wrote:
B166ER, thanks for a concise, understandable objection.   But of course it's pretty broad.  So please clarify.  Surely you agree that some things in the gospels have historicity?  Including the fact there was a teacher in Palestine around 2000 years back named Jesus, he had some followers, etc.

Again, I base any beliefs I have on the evidence I am privy too. Are you saying that there is ANY real evidence that a man named Jesus even lived? I haven't seen any. If the man was real and actually did the things he is claimed to have done, there would be writings about him and the movement. None have been found.

My other biggest objections to the claims of the "gospels" are three things:

1. The idea of eternal life after death. Really? Death leads to eternal life? I don't think so.

2. The horrible genocidal actions commanded by the deity and claimed to be based on some "objective" morality.

3. Magic. I never believed in real wizards, witches, demons and spirits, so the religious people claiming them to be real never got much serious respect from me.

Now, as a believer in the text, what evidence have you been shown which led you to your religion? Or did you require none?

"This may shock you, but not everything in the bible is true." The only true statement ever to be uttered by Jean Chauvinism, sociopathic emotional terrorist.
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God allowed me to come into

God allowed me to come into this world...

“A meritocratic society is one in which inequalities of wealth and social position solely reflect the unequal distribution of merit or skills amongst human beings, or are based upon factors beyond human control, for example luck or chance. Such a society is socially just because individuals are judged not by their gender, the colour of their skin or their religion, but according to their talents and willingness to work, or on what Martin Luther King called 'the content of their character'. By extension, social equality is unjust because it treats unequal individuals equally.” "Political Ideologies" by Andrew Heywood (2003)


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gottheflu wrote:Thanks for

gottheflu wrote:

Thanks for narrowing something down, chnd.  These two issues are strongly related, aren't they?  (I'll just say parenthetically that the problem of evil, or POE, [and the determinism it might entail] seems to be the most difficult objection that Christians try to answer.  I take it very seriously.  And I'm sure that no answer to it can even begin to stick if there is no belief in "the afterlife."  If this world is all there is, then there is no hope in making a workable theistic defense in light of the POE.  But hopefully we can put that aside for now.)

Let's also not get into whether snakes have ever really talked.  That's not the main point behind your objection.  Also, just to clarify, don't you mean to say that "God knew that the talking snake would thwart his plan before he executed (instead of "made" ) the plan."?  If this is an accurate correction, then what do you see as the problem?  As parents who know with reasonable certainty that their children will be tempted by bad people people ("snakes" ) in their lives, don't parents still release them to live their lives and be tempted?  Of course Christians say that God knew before creation that humans would certainly capitulate to temptation; a certain knowledge that most parents can't share with God.  This was part of his plan that he allowed to unfold.  How else could God create humans as creatures of free will?  Do you think he should not have created humans with free will?  Should he not have created humans at all, knowing their free will would lead to rebellion?  Are you saying it was not worth it? 

Ah, let people make their own mistakes, let them have free will.

 

Like the mother who sold her five year old daughter to a man who raped and killed the little girl.  I can not figure out what kind of loving parent would allow those kind of atrocities in the name of letting your child learn from their own mistakes.  You know, when one of my infant sons reached for the hot pot of boiling water on the stove, I led them away and got them interested in something a little less dangerous.  I don't think CPS would have bought the story that they were scalded from head to toe because I was letting them learn from their own mistakes.  Your god seems to me to be damned careless and unloving.

 

Though my first memory of serious problems with church teachings was learning of Mahatma Ghandi.  I was about 12 and attending Foursquare Gospel.  According to them, Ghandi was definitely going to hell.  Why?  Not only was he Hindu, but he also specifically rejected christianity.  When asked by a christian missionary, "Would you like to be forgiven your sins?"  Ghandi replied, "I would rather learn to live without sin."  And for this he was going to hell.  At 12, I couldn't accept this, and I still can't today.

-- I feel so much better since I stopped trying to believe.

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gottheflu wrote:  (If this

gottheflu wrote:

  (If this world is all there is, then there is no hope in making a workable theistic defense in light of the POE.  But hopefully we can put that aside for now.)

It's interesting how you keep asking us to put certain things aside.

Nobody I know was brainwashed into being an atheist.

Why Believe?


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A rat is more compassionate

A rat is more compassionate than a god who never ever in an endless amount of time would end the suffering of the innocent damned, when no effort whatsoever would be required, not the most miniscule amount of effort. Nothing but the will to end their suffering.  


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sorry gottheflu, I know we

sorry gottheflu, I know we were going to go in a different direction there for a second. But this objection about Hell came so naturally. You can take your pick really. We can talk about the omniscient planner problem, or the indifferent deity problem, whichever you prefer.


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Cosmic Parental Abandonment

Quote:
As parents who know with reasonable certainty that their children will be tempted by bad people people ("snakes" ) in their lives, don't parents still release them to live their lives and be tempted? Of course Christians say that God knew before creation that humans would certainly capitulate to temptation; a certain knowledge that most parents can't share with God. This was part of his plan that he allowed to unfold. How else could God create humans as creatures of free will? Do you think he should not have created humans with free will? Should he not have created humans at all, knowing their free will would lead to rebellion? Are you saying it was not worth it?

Ah the Parent Analogy. This analogy, frankly, is quite poor, due to several important differences between parents and god, the first of which being what I will address;

God is Omnipotent, Parents are not.

Parents literally cannot stop their children from experiencing pain or being tempted.  Even Attempting this can possibly severely damage their children.  God, however, can, and I don't care what you try to say to argue that he cannot, if god is omnipotent, He Can, by Definition. If there is anything god cannot do, no matter how logically unintuitive, he is not omnipotent, by Definition.

You ask how else god could create creatures with free will? Simple, god could redefine free will, god could redefine logic, god could have done, literally, anything differently. God could have created humans in such a way that they were never tempted, never did evil, never hurt anything, and everything progressed perfectly, even while giving them free will.

If he somehow could not do the above, then he is not omnipotent, by definition, end of discussion.

So, what is my big problem? I would say one of my many big problems is that the bible and Christians drop Omnis on their god like no tomorrow and never even stop to consider what those Omnis would, by their own definition, logically entail.
 

When you say it like that you make it sound so Sinister...


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gottheflu wrote:What's your

gottheflu wrote:
What's your one biggest problem believing the gospel?

Hmmm, only one.

Aright, original sin is internally inconsistent.

 

Our revels now are ended. These our actors, | As I foretold you, were all spirits, and | Are melted into air, into thin air; | And, like the baseless fabric of this vision, | The cloud-capped towers, the gorgeous palaces, | The solemn temples, the great globe itself, - Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve, | And, like this insubstantial pageant faded, | Leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff | As dreams are made on, and our little life | Is rounded with a sleep. - Shakespeare


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Well, I have to go out on a

Well, I have to go out on a limb here. However, I think that gottheflu came here under the delusion that we would be a soft target for his theistic crap fest. Really, I think that he is one of those people who thinks that he is so automatically right that everyone else only has to hear three or four words and they will automatically know just how right he is.

 

Since then, he has come to know that he does not have the skills to deal with real adults.

 

Today being Sunday, I would guess that he went back to pastor and did the whole

 

WAAAAAH!!! I did not magically win! Thing. Then pastor patted him on the head and said something about how we are in league with the devil.

 

He will not be back.

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Never ever did I say enything about free, I said "free."

=


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gottheflu wrote:I'm a

gottheflu wrote:

I'm a Christian asking, What's your one biggest problem believing the gospel?  I know it's really hard for most of you to boil it down to one particular objection, but I'm starting with this question to begin a focused conversation.  Perhaps this would make you go back to the first objection to Christianity that you really thought "stuck" and then led to other defeaters.  Or perhaps it's just what you've been thinking is the most significant argument that makes Christianity untenable.  (Unkind posts will be ignored.)

If you're talking about just the New Testament, I suppose the 'virgin' birth. I suppose if you can swallow that one, it becomes pretty easy to swallow the rest of the books. This was obviously borrowed from other Middle Easter myths. It also demonstrates these books were written by sexually repressed people for the sexually repressed.

“Religion is regarded by the common people as true, by the wise as false, and by the rulers as useful.” Seneca


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  If were talking about the

  If were talking about the gospels and the story of Jesus and not all the real garbage in the old testament I'd say the thing that pisses me off the most is how it tries to paint the picture that Jesus/God is loving and humble and great and kind.  He's the kinda guy who will give a peasant the shirt of his back.  But it also paints the picture of Jesus/God being vengeful, coming with the sword, laying people down in great battles, all this war general like imagery.  These 2 characters are inconsistent.  Whatever your take is (Jesus is God's son, Jesus is God etc...wwwhatever)  the 2 ways the devine is portrayed in the bible just doesn't add up,  unless ofcourse the god of Abraham is a complete skitzophrenic.  I find it creepy and disturbing, and highly alarming they lase the underlining (Join or die by the sword of god/jesus) moral of the story with this pippy upbeat story of Jesus who is/is like god and is seemingly nice, but also has a temper, a 1track agenda, and apparently is coming back with the sword.  Its like the all to polite mob boss smiling at you, using all kinds of vague eliptical speech to anwser your questions explaining to you you'll be just fine, if you do what he says and trust him. 

  Theirs nothing I hate more than someone who is fake, and the god of Abraham (and his son) are either 2 faced fakies, or they are skitzos.  So ya, acting like your really nice while thinking (if you dont agree I shall kill you, and in some casses burn you for eternity) pisses me the f**k off! ALOTE!!! 

 

 


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NoMoreCrazyPeople,To be

NoMoreCrazyPeople,

To be fair, we all understand what characterization is today thanks to modern schooling. Back then the different authors of the NT had different agendas and different ideas about how they wanted to portray Jesus. They were a bit inconsistent. Which means he is schitzo or they are fictional authors who don't have their stories straight and contradict one another (both in characterization and in describing events).

I think we can all guess which option atheists are likely to select. What I wonder is how someone rationalizes away this problem if they believe that the NT was influenced by God to be divine and factual. And if they don't think that God had anything to do with the writing and compiling of the NT, then why do they believe in it at all? Ugh, this hurts my head. I need to stop trying to think like a theist.

"You say that it is your custom to burn widows. Very well. We also have a custom: when men burn a woman alive, we tie a rope around their necks and we hang them. Build your funeral pyre; beside it, my carpenters will build a gallows. You may follow your custom. And then we will follow ours."
British General Charles Napier while in India


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I don't believe the Bible

I don't believe the Bible because scientific evidence has falsified it's claims many times. Since Jesus endorses the old testament that makes him wrong and obviously not a supernatural being. The gospel writings themselves are inconsistent. The authors do not identify themselves or tell us where they received their information. If you want me to accept an extraordinary claim you're gonna have to do better than that.

 


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Jormungander wrote: To be

Jormungander wrote:

 

To be fair, we all understand what characterization is today thanks to modern schooling. Back then the different authors of the NT had different agendas and different ideas about how they wanted to portray Jesus. They were a bit inconsistent. Which means he is schitzo or they are fictional authors who don't have their stories straight and contradict one another (both in characterization and in describing events).

I'm not talking about the inconsistencies in the gospel accounts of Jesus, i'm talking about them in comparison to how he/god are portrayed elsewhere.  The Jesus of the gospels is not the same Jesus as the one returning with the sword in revelation, if it is the same character he has a split personality.  And if Jesus is some "extension" of the god of Abraham they together have strange multiple personalites or are fake and say one thing and do another, act one way but are another.  Thats why the gospels annoy me so much, they try to paint this mostly pippy picture, when the rest of the bible clearly describes the devine as a violent wacko, the god of Abrahams like an abusive father that always says he loves you after he beats you. 

Jormungander wrote:

I think we can all guess which option atheists are likely to select. What I wonder is how someone rationalizes away this problem if they believe that the NT was influenced by God to be divine and factual. And if they don't think that God had anything to do with the writing and compiling of the NT, then why do they believe in it at all? Ugh, this hurts my head. I need to stop trying to think like a theist.

Smoke a joint!  Good for headaches.


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NoMoreCrazyPeople wrote:I'm

NoMoreCrazyPeople wrote:

I'm not talking about the inconsistencies in the gospel accounts of Jesus, i'm talking about them in comparison to how he/god are portrayed elsewhere.

I got that you were comparing NT Jesus to OT YHWH. I'm saying that within the NT alone we can find characterization problems with Jesus. Both within the NT and comparing the NT to the OT, there are some serious characterization problems. For people like you and I who have a modern education, this is easy to point out. Back in antiquity when people were almost all illiterate, this probably didn't seem so obvious. Maybe back then this all seemed very profound. But now days, even the tiniest bit of literary analysis raises massive red flags. That's true if we only focus on the NT and it is blindingly obvious (as you correctly pointed out) if we compare god's opinions in the NT to those he held in the OT.

See Matthew 5:18 to negate the standard apologetic argument against what I just wrote.

 

NoMoreCrazyPeople wrote:

when the rest of the bible clearly describes the devine as a violent wacko

I had three different real life discussions with three Christians about this. In the OT YHWH demands that we smash Samaritan baby heads on the rocks and that we tear open Samaritan pregnant women. In the NT Jesus has the parable of the good Samaritan and is friendly to the Samaritan woman by the well even though others hate her. Did god fundamentally change his opinion on Samaritans or did various authors with incompatible goals write these various books and they lack consistency because of that? The three members of the Korean Campus Crusade for Christ that I spoke to had no answer to that question. In each case it ended the conversation to bring up the fact that God demands that we tear open pregnant Samaritan women in one book, and his human form defends the Samaritans against hate in another.

This makes so much sense from a literary perspective (different authors with incompatible goals). I can not imagine it making any sense whatsoever from a theological perspective.

 

NoMoreCrazyPeople wrote:

Smoke a joint!  Good for headaches.

I hate the idea of smoking something. But, I am a Californian, so maybe in a few months that will be even more legal than it is now. Should I succumb to the stereotype of the pot smoking college kid? Meh, I'll have a drink. My good friends Cabernet and Scotch will solve this problem.

"You say that it is your custom to burn widows. Very well. We also have a custom: when men burn a woman alive, we tie a rope around their necks and we hang them. Build your funeral pyre; beside it, my carpenters will build a gallows. You may follow your custom. And then we will follow ours."
British General Charles Napier while in India


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gottheflu wrote:I'm a

gottheflu wrote:

I'm a Christian asking, What's your one biggest problem believing the gospel?  I know it's really hard for most of you to boil it down to one particular objection, but I'm starting with this question to begin a focused conversation.  Perhaps this would make you go back to the first objection to Christianity that you really thought "stuck" and then led to other defeaters.  Or perhaps it's just what you've been thinking is the most significant argument that makes Christianity untenable.  (Unkind posts will be ignored.)

 

Well, the most significant argument I have that makes Christianity untenable is that Christianity lacks evidence to defend its claims. Based on the evidence that Christianity is able to produce, it is equally as likely to be true as Greek Mythology, or almost any other story about magic which includes some references to reality.

edit: My objection appears to be nearly identical to the one that KSMB presented.

 

I don't understand why the Christians I meet find it so confusing that I care about the fact that they are wasting huge amounts of time and resources playing with their imaginary friend. Even non-confrontational religion hurts atheists because we live in a society which is constantly wasting resources and rejecting rational thinking.


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 The thing that did it for

 The thing that did it for me was when i was shown that the moral system advocated by the bible could only have come from man specifically the hebrew slave. It is a weak moral system that is a response to oppression. It advocates being weak and humble because making meekness the "good" is the only way the weak can gain power. When i first read this, it was like a lightning bolt hit me. Only the weak could advocate loving thy enemy and ignoring injustices against them. Once the bible was shown to be man made, God quickly became another man made construction. After I saw the gospels for what they really are, further investigation led me to conclude that christianity was false and then that any sort of personal god is false etc. 

Religion destroys everything that is good about life

I Am My God

The absence of evidence IS evidence of absence


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It always surprises

me to find that christian theists call historicity on the gospels and seriously believe they are actual accounts of real events. The tone of the OP was one that suggested a serious expectation we would have no drama accepting jesus was a real guy who wandered about healing warts or something. In fact the gospels were written in a foreign land, in a foreign language from 50 to 100 years after the events occurred, by nobody knows who. It's like claiming you recall a conversation omar bradley had during the D-Day landings when you were not there - and then saying he performed miracles. 

If I have a single problem with the gospels it's that they are utter bullshit. Historical accounts don't prove supernatural events that no one has ever, ever, ever observed before as being possible in this particular reality. Believe whatever crazy shit you want, christian theists, but for fuck's sake - be brave enough to admit you believe because you want to believe and not because it makes sense. 

 

 

"Experiments are the only means of knowledge at our disposal. The rest is poetry, imagination." Max Planck


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Whatthedeuce wrote:Well, the

Whatthedeuce wrote:
Well, the most significant argument I have that makes Christianity untenable is that Christianity lacks evidence to defend its claims. Based on the evidence that Christianity is able to produce, it is equally as likely to be true as Greek Mythology, or almost any other story about magic which includes some references to reality.

edit: My objection appears to be nearly identical to the one that KSMB presented.

And the objection I have, as well.

The reason I don't accept the Bible as true, is because then I'd have to accept the Koran as true, and the Bhagavad Gita, and even the Tao.

I just can't believe so many contradictory things in one day.

"Yes, I seriously believe that consciousness is a product of a natural process. I find that the neuroscientists, psychologists, and philosophers who proceed from that premise are the ones who are actually making useful contributions to our understanding of the mind." - PZ Myers


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Well, Gottheflu has got his

Well, Gottheflu has got his work cut out for him now. He still won't have to do as much narrowing down as we did.


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I have to say the

I have to say the mythological stories used in the gospel are similar to other mythological stories at the time, the contradictions or inaccuracies in the gospels (and the rest of the bible) as well as the lack of scientific evidence to back up any claims made in the gospels.


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My biggest problem with it

My biggest problem with it is that if people had never heard of this book or it's god then this gopel and the god it portrays wouldn't be a problem at all.

But it gets pushed on everyone, generally at a young age. If you had never heard of this "gospel" would you know about this "god"?

Faith is the word but next to that snugged up closely "lie's" the want.
"By simple common sense I don't believe in god, in none."-Charlie Chaplin


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Yep, Rob

robj101 wrote:

My biggest problem with it is that if people had never heard of this book or it's god then this gopel and the god it portrays wouldn't be a problem at all.

But it gets pushed on everyone, generally at a young age. If you had never heard of this "gospel" would you know about this "god"?

 

The overwhelmingly geographical nature of faith strongly supports a cultural element to the world's religions.

"Experiments are the only means of knowledge at our disposal. The rest is poetry, imagination." Max Planck


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Actually  I dont think the

Actually  I dont think the problem is the gospel itself but rather  none of the church actually follow the gosepl -  For instance instead of Love thy neighbour etc.  its all about "gay marraige is wrong  abortion is wrong  premarital sex is wrong etc.

 

   having said that though the whole story is a bit far fetched -  God is so might and powerfull and nailing his son on the cross was the best he could come up with


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badpanda84 wrote:Actually 

badpanda84 wrote:

Actually  I dont think the problem is the gospel itself but rather  none of the church actually follow the gosepl -  For instance instead of Love thy neighbour etc.  its all about "gay marraige is wrong  abortion is wrong  premarital sex is wrong etc.

 

   having said that though the whole story is a bit far fetched -  God is so might and powerfull and nailing his son on the cross was the best he could come up with

 

To be fair, the Bible isn't exactly crystal clear.  It is confusing and full of contradictions, and that makes it tough to understand. Even the scholars who study the Bible for a lifetime don't agree on what the heck it is actually saying...so I don't expect the average church goer to have a decent handle on anything.

Everything makes more sense now that I've stopped believing.


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reply to chnd

Hi chnd.  Apologies for taking a whole week before getting back to this.  Been a busy week, but I'll try to do better if I haven't lost your interest already.  A lot of demanding thoughts you've made, but I'll touch on a few and see if things distill into one or two more specific arguments.

The Christian doctrine of hell and eternal punishment, I admit, is poorly understood and defended by most Christians.  I can understand why many like yourself see it as an injustice by God.  Just to clarify, I don't think it's accurate to assume that hell comes as a result of "disbelieving in God," like you say.  It actually comes as a result of merely sinning (aka disobeying or rebelling) against God.  Or we can say that it happens because people break his law--any law of his.  I can see why initially this might not help my argument because you could complain that the mediocrity of telling a lie earns the same punishment as mass murder.  I think the only way that we Christians can therefore claim the legitimacy of hell, with all its horrendous weight, is to understand it in light of the One who is sinned against.  The eternal nature of hell is only fitting because of the limitless nature of God who is sinned against.  He is the only entity in existence that is perfectly, eternally, immeasurably holy.  Holiness (or sanctity) is something that we may have lost an understanding of in modern times.  So the short answer is, if God is infinitely holy, any afront against him must fittingly have infinite repercusions.  I think the doctrine of hell is hard to understand because we don't understand or respect God's holiness, and this is chiefly because we perpetually cloud our undersanding of such things because we are sinners.

I'm not so sure that any manifestation of God would correct everyone's disbelief, as you assume.  Sure, it might convince everyone of his existence, but, of course, the Bible teaches that he's after a lot more than intellectual belief.  The Bible teaches that he actually does make his moral law perceived in everyone's heart, that they are aware by some kind of intuition that the cosmos is here by personal design, and that they all know they must answer to this Designer.  However, we distort this "sense of the divine" by continuing in sin.

Logically speaking, I'm not sure how God, if his nature and our nature are both truly according to Scripture, could make full-fledged "appearance" to any of us that would be completely immune to skepticism.  Are you so sure that if God made a full appearance to you--if that's even logically possible--that you would automatically believe?  Or you might say that at least God should show enough of himself to you that he knows will convince you that he's real.  But would this not be a determinism?  If God did this now before every free will creature, would it not weaken or even make a mockery of their free will?  I think that the option of disbelief must logically be left on the table in order to save our free will.  And free will is a fundamental aspect of what make us human (and makes us in the image of God, also).

After your explanation of the snake not being able to thwart God's plan conceivably, and that God's plan was never "made" but eternally existing in his mind, I don't think I have a major disagreement.  But if this is being used to argue for a determinism of the world that undermines free will, I guess I'd have to ask you to unpack that a little more if you're interested in discussing.  Otherwise, I don't believe that God's perfect knowledge of factuals and counterfactuals and how he orchestrates the decisions of free will creatures demands determinism.

With no ambiguity this time, I'll say that I believe that the snake really talked, because, hermeneutically, that's what the Genesis writer is intending to convey.  If that's hard for anyone to believe, then the story of the passion of Christ will be even more difficult.


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putting aside

geirj.  Yes, in order to have beneficial conversations, it's perfectly legitimate to ask to put most things brought up aside and try to agree on how to focus the converstation.  That's how people talk.


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gottheflu wrote:So the short

gottheflu wrote:

So the short answer is, if God is infinitely holy, any afront against him must fittingly have infinite repercusions.

You are describing a God of infinite malevolence. Blaming his infinite malevolence on his infinite holiness doesn't make that any better. It makes one wonder what twisted definition of 'holiness' is being used.

 

gottheflu wrote:

If God did this now before every free will creature, would it not weaken or even make a mockery of their free will?  I think that the option of disbelief must logically be left on the table in order to save our free will.

No, it would not. Having evidence to support your claims does not in the tiniest way lessen your free will. And if God did reveal himself, there would still be plenty of disbelief. Many religious people would denounce the revelation as being false. According to Christians, God did reveal himself in the form of Jesus Christ, yet many people refused to believe. And he sure as hell didn't care about people's free will in the OT. Unambiguously clear evidence of his existence was available then. Did he just not care about free will every time he revealed himself or performed an undeniable miracle? Has his opinion on free will radically changed recently?

And really, no amount of after the fact rationalization will make up for lacking evidence to support your claims.

 

gottheflu wrote:

The Bible teaches that he actually does make his moral law perceived in everyone's heart, that they are aware by some kind of intuition that the cosmos is here by personal design, and that they all know they must answer to this Designer.  However, we distort this "sense of the divine" by continuing in sin.

But for any of us to care about that, we would first have to believe in the accuracy of the Bible. If a Muslim came to you and said "according to the Koran this or that proposition is correct," you would not believe him because you don't already believe that the Koran is an accurate book.

 

gottheflu wrote:

After your explanation of the snake not being able to thwart God's plan conceivably, and that God's plan was never "made" but eternally existing in his mind, I don't think I have a major disagreement.  But if this is being used to argue for a determinism of the world that undermines free will, I guess I'd have to ask you to unpack that a little more if you're interested in discussing.  Otherwise, I don't believe that God's perfect knowledge of factuals and counterfactuals and how he orchestrates the decisions of free will creatures demands determinism.

Centuries of Christian theologians disagree with you on this. If God is omniscient, then he must know in advance all that will happen. So before the universe was created, He knew which people would go to hell and which would not. If you disagree with that, then you are denying God's omniscience. Are you really denouncing the last few centuries of Christian thought on salvation and predestination?

"You say that it is your custom to burn widows. Very well. We also have a custom: when men burn a woman alive, we tie a rope around their necks and we hang them. Build your funeral pyre; beside it, my carpenters will build a gallows. You may follow your custom. And then we will follow ours."
British General Charles Napier while in India