Lion IRC A Question

Watcher
atheist
Posts: 2326
Joined: 2007-07-10
User is offlineOffline
Lion IRC A Question

Everyone who is hitting this thread from the Recent Posts feature, please note this is in the Kill Them With Kindness section of the forum.

Lion, I have a mental exercize that I would like to speak with you about.  Now I used to be a Southern Baptist before I deconverted and I do not know which denomination you are in, so there will be undoubtably differences between my former theological beliefs and yours.  I will try to keep this rather generalized to minimize differences in those beliefs.

My question to  you is:  Would you do it this way if you were God?  And please don't just respond either on here, or in your own mind, that you cannot know the mind of God.  For that is simply a way to shut down all thought processes.  I hope you are courageous enough to actually think this through.

So let me explain my question.

I'm a pretty good, decent person.  And I believe you are too.

I'm in my mid-30's, married with children, work in a white collar job.

I've never killed, raped, molested, or beaten up anyone.  I have never broken into a home or stolen a vehicle.  I've never robbed a store or an employer.  I've never been arrested or charged with any felonies.

I love my little girls and kiss and hug them all the time, help them with their homework, tuck them in at night.  I've never cheated on my wife of 9 years or abused her.  I flatter her all the time and am very, very, very close with her.  So much so that often we have to pull ourselves away from each other to keep from ignoring the children.

I assume that you are of a similar set of moral beliefs and predilections.

So, let's examine the basic tenets of how God set everything up.

Go created the Universe, Heaven, and Hell.  If you sin, you go to Hell for all eternity.  God sent His one and only Son to die on the Cross so no one has to go to Hell as long as they accept that sacrifice.  And Christianity focuses on that sacrifice as the ultimate symbol of how loving and kind God is.

But what about this?

Hell is a really bad place.  And if you go there, you are there forever and forever.  A billion years will not shorten your stay at all.

Now we would all like to believe that the monsters of our society suffer some great punishment after they die.  But what about people like me?  What about some little baby born in Saudi Arabia in some little village that will be raised in Islam?  99% of the people in that country are Muslims.

The only time that person is likely to first be told about Christianity is from the derisive statements of his parents and community members.  If he is a good person and wants to be a fine upstanding member of his village he will probably never doubt Islam.  He will die believing in Allah.

But he was a good person right?  Doesn't matter, he never accepted the sacrifice of Jesus Christ.

So, let me ask you this.  If you were God, and you loved humanity like your own children, would you create Hell?  God created Hell.  God decided that if you didn't do certain things or did do certain things you would suffer horrible forever.  The Loving God decided this was a good idea.

Would you do it like that?   I sure wouldn't.  If I was hung up on setting up Earth and humanity's existence on it as a test, I would make it where my devoted followers would come up to Heaven afterwards, and the non-followers would just blink out of existence when they died.

Why would a loving God set up such a horrible and complete overkill of such a punishment as Hell?  Even for people that were truly good and kind and just happened to not believe in the Bible but in another religion or no religion at all?

Would you do it this way if you were God?

 

"I am an atheist, thank God." -Oriana Fallaci


Lion IRC
Theist
Lion IRC's picture
Posts: 158
Joined: 2011-03-16
User is offlineOffline
Watcher asks...Were there any good people before Jesus' Gospel?

Hi Watcher,


I think your (wonderful) post hinges entirely on the (or a) definition of the concept of hell. Mine could be different to yours. (Doors locked from the inside. Willful voluntary separation from a God you hated anyway. Eternal flames that somehow aren’t even hot enough to actually incinerate anything to ashes – not even wheat chaff.) 
 

You seem to acknowledge that the "monsters of our society" ought to be punished. I agree.

 

It would be a glaring injustice if God didnt differentiate between right and wrong.
 

But if someone asked you WHY they ought to be punished or WHO ought to punish them or even, who gets to decide WHAT constitutes monstrosity then I imagine you would revert to some form of higher authority which - by necessity - would have the POWER to exercise and enforce that authority.
 

I can comfortably answer "if you were God" hypotheticals. There's no need to be courageous. It's not blasphemous. I'm not afraid to tell God what I think. I'm certainly not afraid to tell you. On the contrary, I'm glad when atheists invite me to respond. (That way I dont get bombarded by Mods accusing me of trolling, preaching, being inflammatory, avoiding the question...etc.)
 

If I were God, here's how I would arrange the heaven and hell thingy. NOTE : Everything is predicated on me being the Senior Admin/Moderator and owner of the Forum we call our universe. So logically I DO get to make the rules and I CAN enforce those rules. (Thats reasonable isnt it?)
 

1. Nobody would be forced to go to heaven if they didnt want to. Not even Christopher Hitchens.


2. Nobody would be punished for something they didnt deliberately/knowingly do wrong.


3. People would have time to honestly repent if they truly wanted to - there would be no..."Gotcha slippin' saints" and no..."quick, Wormwood, he's considering repenting and accepting God's love. Dont let him."
3a People would not have forever to keep sinning/repenting/sinning/repenting/sinning in secula seculorum. Sooner or later you have to pay your money and make your choice.


4. People would be judged according to their works - including the heartfelt motivation for their works. Some billionaires might be philanthropists. Others might have good PR advisors and taxation lawyers.  


5. I would try to keep the rules as simple as possible. 613 rules MAXIMUM. 10 would be better. 2 for those simple folks called Christians. Love your neighbors. Love the person who gave you your neighbors, trees, oceans, BACON & BEER.
 
You see the thing is, a person who has never killed, raped, molested, or beaten up anyone, never broken into a home or stolen a vehicle, never maliciously vandalized the environment, never robbed a store or an employer, never been arrested or charged with any felonies, never betrayed their spouse and/or their children by the act of lying and cheating which some people call by its proper name - adultery...


...such a person who is so ethically disposed to act in such a righteous way cannot, in my opinion, have any objection to the saving message of Jesus Christ - a message which isn't directed at people who are well but at those who need a physician.

 


Lion IRC
Theist
Lion IRC's picture
Posts: 158
Joined: 2011-03-16
User is offlineOffline
Avoiding the answer

Are you the same Watcher with 1 post at rationalskepticism.org?

I got 2300 posts over there and I still get accused of being evasive.

Sometimes its a case, not of avoiding the question, but of avoiding the answer you dont like.


Watcher
atheist
Posts: 2326
Joined: 2007-07-10
User is offlineOffline
Lion IRC wrote:Are you the

Lion IRC wrote:

Are you the same Watcher with 1 post at rationalskepticism.org?

Yes, that is me.  I only signed up there to offer my condolences to all the guys from Dawkins' old forum that so rudely and suddenly lost their stomping ground.  I had been banned months before from Dawkins forum after only 3 posts but I usually don't hold grudges.  I just don't have it in me.  I can't hold a grudge to save my life.

Lion IRC wrote:

I think your (wonderful) post hinges entirely on the (or a) definition of the concept of hell. Mine could be different to yours. (Doors locked from the inside. Willful voluntary separation from a God you hated anyway. Eternal flames that somehow aren’t even hot enough to actually incinerate anything to ashes – not even wheat chaff.)

This is always the problem.  We need to communicate about exactly how you think the salvation/heaven/hell stuff works.  Can you describe your beliefs about these three things to me so I can see where you are coming from?

Lion IRC wrote:

You seem to acknowledge that the "monsters of our society" ought to be punished. I agree.

No quite.  So many monsters, such as Stalin, never pay in their lifetime for all the massive horror they commit.  I acknowledge that it feels good to believe they get punished for it in some way after death.   But that's all it is.  Something that makes people feel good to believe in. Too bad that it's not true.

Lion IRC wrote:

But if someone asked you WHY they ought to be punished or WHO ought to punish them or even, who gets to decide WHAT constitutes monstrosity then I imagine you would revert to some form of higher authority which - by necessity - would have the POWER to exercise and enforce that authority.

No, I couldn't revert to some form of higher authority.  There isn't such an authority, in my opinion, that we can appeal to.

My view is this.  I am a big enthusiest about human evolution, about the fact that we are simply another animal, great apes to be more precise, and most importantly in this case we are social animals.  We depend on each other to be a useful and helpful member of the group.

Anyone that murders, robs, beats, thieves from the group is a detriment to our society.  Stalin caused millions of his fellow great apes to die.  Therefore he is a monster.  That's all that matters.

If you work against what is good for society as a whole you are a criminal and should be punished.

Lion IRC wrote:

...such a person who is so ethically disposed to act in such a righteous way cannot, in my opinion, have any objection to the saving message of Jesus Christ - a message which isn't directed at people who are well but at those who need a physician.

I'm not opposed to the message of Jesus Christ.  A lot of atheists admire the overall example of the Christ figure.  I simply can not believe that it's real.

I'm not opposed to the concept of a god.  Just like I'm not opposed to the concept of leprachauns.  I simply do not believe either to exist based on anything I can find either through evidence or logic.

 

"I am an atheist, thank God." -Oriana Fallaci


Lion IRC
Theist
Lion IRC's picture
Posts: 158
Joined: 2011-03-16
User is offlineOffline
Monsters, aliens, primates and Stalin.

 

The salvation/heaven/hell stuff.

I think I gave a fairly orthodox view (points 1 to 5) of where I’m coming from insofar as heaven and hell. I would have thought the “salvation” part was logical. Seatbelts, Lighthouses, throwing someone a life jacket, forum Moderators warning people before they get banned, etc etc. 

Prevention is better than the cure, but the cure is better than dying of the disease. And “the disease” in this case, is the unusual temptation people with free will have to challenge authority instead of cooperating with the inevitable. But if you don’t accept that a Creator of the  forum we call Universe has the right to Moderate it and warn people or ban them – if you assert that such Authority does not exist – then that is your (God-given) prerogative.

I know you would like to nail down specifics but I don’t know any theology which is able to “communicate about exactly how” the afterlife/eschatology works. Most, freely and comfortably, admit that there is still much to learn. Too much perhaps. When Christians, for example, talk about God’s mysterious ways and aren’t able to elaborate in specific detail to the ‘nth degree, about what happened before Genesis 1:1 or what will happen after Revelation 22:21 they aren’t being evasive. They are stating the bleeding obvious. Even the folk at CERN must realise that “uncertainty” is reality not metaphysics.

 

The monsters of our society.

Sorry if I misunderstood you to think punishment of evil monsters was a principle which “ought” to exist in any space/time reality not just here in this immediate terrestrial “lifetime.” It seems we disagree on that.  (2+2=5?)

If you reject the possibility of a Higher Being, an afterlife, karma-like justice, etc. then your objection isn’t about an unjust God – it’s about what you perceive to be bad theology which exists, (solely, according to you,) in the minds of your fellow humans. Now maybe you misunderstand or misinterpret your fellow human’s theology because of poor communication or maybe you understand it perfectly. But your PERSONAL dislike of one human primate’s theology is nullified by their PERSONAL dislike of your theology – atheism/atheology. (See Michel Onfray - Traité d'Athéologie)

In the no-god hypothesis, it’s a nil-all-draw when two humans are arguing about theism because theism is, itself, a natural evolutionary meme. The atheist who speculates on the absence of God(s) is still, nonetheless stuck with the ACTUAL real existence of theism in the minds of their fellow primates. What are you gonna do? They think you’re wrong. You think they are wrong. They say there IS evidence. You say there isn’t. The best you can ever achieve is a nil-all-draw because, as the atheist, you don’t have a Higher Authority to whom you can appeal – and you admit it.

If its “not true” as you assert, then the higher authority still exists but only temporarily, and only in the form of “might = right” among competing terrestrial species – one of which is called homo sapiens. If aliens (Higher Beings) arrived here via a wormhole, our terrestrial primate (atheist) morality would very quickly be abandoned as we found ourselves subordinate to their authority – willingly or otherwise.  If you worked against what they thought was “good for society as a whole you are a criminal and should be punished.” Do I understand you correctly?


Watcher
atheist
Posts: 2326
Joined: 2007-07-10
User is offlineOffline
Lion IRC wrote:The

Lion IRC wrote:

The salvation/heaven/hell stuff.

I think I gave a fairly orthodox view (points 1 to 5) of where I’m coming from insofar as heaven and hell. I would have thought the “salvation” part was logical. Seatbelts, Lighthouses, throwing someone a life jacket, forum Moderators warning people before they get banned, etc etc. 

*sighs*  You were saying what you would do if you were god.  Look, you believe in what the bible says and all that right?

Ok, let me give you an example and you respond in the same manner.

Question:  How does Salvation/Heaven/Hell work?

Answer:  Based on the religion I was raised in Heaven is a really good place with God and Angels and no death and whatnot.  Hell is really bad place with Satan and demons and eternal torment. 

Salvation works like this.  All humans are sinners and are going to hell unless they accept Jesus' sacrifice.

So it doesn't matter if you are a good person if you don't believe that Jesus was the son of God and died on the cross for your sins.  You still go to hell for an eternity and it sucks really bad.

Now you go.  Succinct and to the point.

Lion IRC wrote:
The monsters of our society.

Sorry if I misunderstood you to think punishment of evil monsters was a principle which “ought” to exist in any space/time reality not just here in this immediate terrestrial “lifetime.” It seems we disagree on that.  (2+2=5?)

What?  I'm talking about the Christian tendency to believe that people we call "evil" weren't Christians, weren't saved, and after death are burning in hell.

I don't believe in an afterlife so they just die.  That's it.  Stalin just died.  He's not suffering some kind of cosmic punishment currently.  Just gone.

Lion IRC wrote:

If you reject the possibility of a Higher Being, an afterlife, karma-like justice, etc. then your objection isn’t about an unjust God – it’s about what you perceive to be bad theology which exists, (solely, according to you,) in the minds of your fellow humans. Now maybe you misunderstand or misinterpret your fellow human’s theology because of poor communication or maybe you understand it perfectly. But your PERSONAL dislike of one human primate’s theology is nullified by their PERSONAL dislike of your theology – atheism/atheology. (See Michel Onfray - Traité d'Athéologie)

Atheism isn't a theology, it's a lack of a theology.  I don't have a theology or belief in a god so the term for that is atheist.

Lion IRC wrote:

In the no-god hypothesis, it’s a nil-all-draw when two humans are arguing about theism because theism is, itself, a natural evolutionary meme. The atheist who speculates on the absence of God(s) is still, nonetheless stuck with the ACTUAL real existence of theism in the minds of their fellow primates. What are you gonna do? They think you’re wrong. You think they are wrong. They say there IS evidence. You say there isn’t. The best you can ever achieve is a nil-all-draw because, as the atheist, you don’t have a Higher Authority to whom you can appeal – and you admit it.

That's because there isn't any evidence.  None.  All they can come up with is personal revelation, appeal to emotions, or wishful thinking.  They can't provide any evidence.  If one religion could come up with evidence no other religion would exist. Because they would be the only one with proof.  Heck, I wouldn't not believe in god.  But there isn't.  So we have a multitude of beliefs.

Lion IRC wrote:

If its “not true” as you assert, then the higher authority still exists but only temporarily, and only in the form of “might = right” among competing terrestrial species – one of which is called homo sapiens. If aliens (Higher Beings) arrived here via a wormhole, our terrestrial primate (atheist) morality would very quickly be abandoned as we found ourselves subordinate to their authority – willingly or otherwise.  If you worked against what they thought was “good for society as a whole you are a criminal and should be punished.” Do I understand you correctly?

No, I wouldn't do whatever an alien overlord society thought was best for their alien society.  I work for Homo sapiens.  My species.  If an alien species took us over I would do whatever I could to overthrow them for the good of my species.

I don't operate on another species' rules.  And I would never agree with what their rules were unless they benefitted my species.

"I am an atheist, thank God." -Oriana Fallaci


Lion IRC
Theist
Lion IRC's picture
Posts: 158
Joined: 2011-03-16
User is offlineOffline
"I got a new world in my

"I got a new world in my view
On my journey I pursue
I said I’m running, running for the city
I got the new world in my view..

...So let us humble ourselves dear ones
Get ready for the new world
...Prepare yourself ..."

New World In My View - King Britt 2005
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_fM6qmBlLpc


jcgadfly
SuperfanBronze Member
Posts: 6789
Joined: 2006-07-18
User is offlineOffline
 If God differentiated

 If God differentiated between right and wrong at a level beyond "Whatever I say is wrong for you to do is right when I do it" I'd have less of a problem.

the Bible is full of instances of him doing what he told humans was wrong..

"I do this real moron thing, and it's called thinking. And apparently I'm not a very good American because I like to form my own opinions."
— George Carlin


Joker
atheist
Joker's picture
Posts: 180
Joined: 2010-07-23
User is offlineOffline
My first thought about what

My first thought about what I'd do as a deity made me think of when I tried playing Black and White back in the day... I would probably try to show people that I did exist, though I couldn't make an eternal torture chamber, there's no way that I could allow that. My best thing would probably be that a person who committed truly atrocious crimes would have to relive what they did to others until they were truly sorry and understood the horror of what they had done. Aside from that, I would probably try to provide genuine useful knowledge to followers as well, scientific principles though I have no bloody clue how I'd do it properly without it possibly getting misinterpreted. I'd probably focus more on social justice and less on people privacy...aside from that I haven't a bloody clue, I don't really think about being a god.

 

Ok, maybe I'd also make it a world with superheroes and the like...(geeky side)