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Christianity &Islam &Judaism Thomas on 08 Mar 2012 12:26 am

How can apparently intelligent theists be so ridiculous?

In this God Squad article, which was published in hundreds of newspapers in the United States, you can see an apparently intelligent theist twisting and turning to try to explain his imaginary God:

God Squad: God gave us an imperfect world

The author (Rabbi Marc Gellman) is trying to explain why a supposedly perfect, loving, omniscient God would create a world filled with so much suffering, terror, disease and heartache. The author’s answer is:

Our complicity in evil is the result of a God-given gift of free will, which is both good and also necessary for moral responsibility. If God stopped all evil, we’d have no incentive to do good. These are obvious truths and I still remain perplexed why so many people find the problem of evil so recondite.

When challenged on this point, the author elaborates:

If God constantly intervened in history, we human beings would quickly get the message that there was no need for us to exercise our courage and wisdom to help reduce evil in the world. We’d become passive observers of the moral fate of humanity, rather than active participants in its improvement. Obviously this is why we’re granted free will by a good and powerful God.

This is the place where every theist looks completely ridiculous, for three reasons.

First, there is this statement: “If God constantly intervened in history…” By making this statement, the theist automatically eliminates the possibility of answered prayers and any other interaction by God with the material universe. An answered prayer is an intervention by God. Therefore, if you believe that God gives humans free will, then you must also believe that God never interacts with the known universe. Of course if God never interacts with the known universe, that is the same as being irrelevant.

“Now wait one minute!” says the theist. “The fact that God never interacts with the universe (which I do not believe – God does answer prayers!) does not mean that God is irrelevant! God also created the infinite bliss of heaven and the eternal torment of hell!” The problem with heaven is that it runs straight into this statement by Gellman: “If God stopped all evil, we’d have no incentive to do good.” Wait, isn’t heaven supposed to be a place devoid of evil? If God can create one place devoid of evil, why didn’t he create earth that way too?

The third problem is that most theists also believe in God’s plan. They pull out Bible verses like these:

Jeremiah 29:11: “I know what I have planned for you,” says the Lord. “I have good plans for you. I don’t plan to hurt you. I plan to give you hope and a good future.”

Even the God Squad, just a few months ago, wrote this:

Reader’s guilt is unnecessary

It is hard to let someone go whom you love dearly. But death is part of God’s plan, and the time of death is totally in God’s hands.

What? How can we have free will if God has a plan for us and totally controls things like time of death? This of course is an absolutely ridiculous position. Not to mention the fact that, once again, prayers of intercession would be pointless.

The only way for an intelligent person to be a theist is to completely disengage his or her brain and, in the process, look both ridiculous and stupid. So why do theists do it? How do they do it?

See also:

87 Responses to “How can apparently intelligent theists be so ridiculous?”

  1. on 08 Mar 2012 at 2:22 pm 1.Anonymous said …

    Bravo!

    Why would anyone believe in something so ridiculous and impossible? I dont know.

  2. on 08 Mar 2012 at 2:39 pm 2.Dez said …

    A great question but quite explainable and not difficult for God.

    http://www.methodistcorner.net/2010/06/29/c-s-lewis-gods-sovereignty-vs-human-free-will/

  3. on 08 Mar 2012 at 2:46 pm 3.Lou (DFW) said …

    Why?

    1. Most people are born into a particular religion that “brainwashes” them to believe certain things.

    2. Most people, even intelligent people, cannot accept the fact that there’s no real purpose and reason to the universe, and thus their pointless lives that will end in death relatively soon.

  4. on 08 Mar 2012 at 2:54 pm 4.Anonymous said …

    Re: 2. Dez:

    Lewis says:

    Why, then, did God give them free will? Because free will, though it makes evil possible, is also the only thing that makes possible any love or goodness or joy worth having. A world of automata-of creatures that worked like machines-would hardly be worth creating. The happiness which God designs for His higher creatures is that happiness of being freely, voluntarily united to Him and to each other… And for that they must be free” (Mere, 47-48).

    Lewis has just declared that heaven is impossible – heaven must be devoid of “any love or goodness or joy worth having.”

  5. on 08 Mar 2012 at 5:32 pm 5.Dez said …

    “Lewis has just declared that heaven is impossible – heaven must be devoid of “any love or goodness or joy worth having.””

    You think so Anony? How so?

  6. on 08 Mar 2012 at 6:15 pm 6.Joe said …

    I have two major problems (not mentioned here yet) with the argument that there is evil in the world because God wanted to give free will to humans.

    1. The human capacity to freely make rational, mature, unbiased decisions is greatly limited. (There is loads of research on the limits of human decision-making, so I will not go into the details here.)
    Now if God decided to create humans with limited decision-making capabilities, why didn’t he limit these a bit further?
    He could have created human beings who would never make the decision to kill other human beings, just for a start.
    This would not have limited humans much further than they already are, but would have prevented loads of suffering from happening.
    (In return, to ensure a sufficient amount of free will, God could have taken away some limits that humans currently have, such that the overall ability of human beings to make free decisions would have remained the same. The freedom of humans to make decisions is greatly restricted by the way in which humans grow up, for example. Simply because the way in which you are raised makes you not see certain alternatives and options available when making decisions. If God had improved on this aspect of human decision-making, humans would enjoy much greater freedom.)

    2. There is loads of evil on this planet that does not go back to human decisions. Such as suffering caused by volcanoes, earthquakes and tsunamis. Why on earth did God put human beings on a planet that is so dangerous? Most planets in the solar system do not have earthquakes, volcanoes and tsunamis. So why couldn’t God create Earth in the same way?

    In sum: even if there were some truth in the evil-because-of-free-will argument, it would still not explain why God did not create a better world.

  7. on 08 Mar 2012 at 8:46 pm 7.Lou (DFW) said …

    6.Joe said …

    “In sum: even if there were some truth in the evil-because-of-free-will argument, it would still not explain why God did not create a better world.”

    Of course it doesn’t, because the entire idea that there’s a creator/god is nonsense. The free will argument is just another theist rationalization for their delusion.

  8. on 08 Mar 2012 at 10:13 pm 8.Dez said …

    “Most planets in the solar system do not have earthquakes, volcanoes and tsunamis. So why couldn’t God create Earth in the same way?”

    Wow, I hope you are not serious. This is astronomy 101. We are in the perfect location tucked away in the Milky way. I was going to present other questions but then saw no need.

    http://geology.com/articles/active-volcanoes-solar-system.shtml

  9. on 08 Mar 2012 at 11:00 pm 9.Anonymous said …

    5.Dez said …

    “Lewis has just declared that heaven is impossible – heaven must be devoid of “any love or goodness or joy worth having.””

    You think so Anony? How so?

    Lewis says, “Because free will, though it makes evil possible, is also the only thing that makes possible any love or goodness or joy worth having.”

    Heaven is supposed to be free of evil. Therefore it must be free of free will. Therefore heaven must be devoid of “any love or goodness or joy worth having.”

  10. on 08 Mar 2012 at 11:37 pm 10.Dez said …

    “Heaven is supposed to be free of evil. Therefore it must be free of free will. Therefore heaven must be devoid of “any love or goodness or joy worth having.”

    So you think heaven is just another creation? Is it possible the laws in this universe don’t apply to an afterlife?

  11. on 09 Mar 2012 at 12:08 am 11.Anonymous said …

    10.Dez said …

    Your statement sounds like standard religious delusion. Either heaven contains evil or it does not. If it does, it violates the definition of heaven. If it does not, it is devoid of love and goodness.

  12. on 09 Mar 2012 at 12:14 am 12.alex said …

    “Is it possible the laws in this universe don’t apply to an afterlife?”

    …possible, but afterlife is a fantasy and highly improbable. depressing? is that why you keep hanging on to your afterlife?

    how do i prove it’s highly improbable? uhhm, there’s no proof? no virgins, no white robes, etc.

  13. on 09 Mar 2012 at 12:42 am 13.DPK said …

    Dez, let’s not forget, your god supposedly created heaven, and it is perfect. Yet, despite that, several angels apparently weren’t very happy there and rebelled against god. Why would that be? If you are perfectly happy in a perfect place, why would you rebel and need to be kicked out.
    Now, since you brought up the subject, let’s think about some of the problems about heaven.
    First.. god is eternal, he existed forever? Did heaven exist forever, or did he create it at some point? If he created it, why would he do that, after an infinite time being perfect, what changed to make him “need” a heaven?
    Next, heaven is populated by all manner of heavenly hosts, choirs of angels, saints, etc., in a quasi military hierarchy, with different “ranks” of angels often sent to do god’s work. Why does he need them? Did he create them, or are they eternal too? I they are eternal. like god, then that puts a huge hole in your whole “first cause” argument. If he created them, why? Especially since he knew that many of them would rebel against him, cause a war (really? a war in a perfect place like heaven?) and then, instead of just destroying them, why did he cast them out and continue to be evil?
    It doesn’t really make any sense, does it? For being a perfect being, god seems to have a real history of making things that don’t turn out so well. Perhaps he is just one of a whole race of gods, and ours is like the pot-head, chronic fuck-up of gods. That might make sense. But a perfect being who just decided, after an ETERNITY of being a perfect being in a perfect existence to just totally screw things for no reason… well, that’s a quaint legend, but more than just a little silly.

  14. on 09 Mar 2012 at 1:24 am 14.Dez said …

    “It doesn’t really make any sense, does it?”

    My delusions aside, how does not completely understanding heaven and/or God make it untrue?

    Then, why would you expect a deity to act and think as a man? Looking at out history, if he did act and think as man, wouldn’t that be a better reason to have doubts?

  15. on 09 Mar 2012 at 1:52 am 15.DPK said …

    You assume that the default position is that it is true, and no amount of pointing out the absurdity of it makes it untrue.
    The fact is, there is absolutely no reason to believe any of it is true, and as you admit, if you do assume it is true, then you are faced with a seemingly endless list of absurdities for which your only answer is that it is not possible to understand.
    There is a much simpler, more logical explanation that not only resolves all the problems, but requires no mental gymnastics or suspension of common sense to accept. There are no gods, there is no heaven, there is no afterlife. This life is all you get, when it’s over it’s over. You don’t get another one because you wish real hard.

  16. on 09 Mar 2012 at 2:35 am 16.Slapnuts McGee said …

    Ah yes, free will given from god. “Believe in me and do what I say or I will punish you forever!” Yup, sounds pretty free to me!

  17. on 09 Mar 2012 at 2:45 am 17.alex said …

    “how does not completely understanding heaven and/or God make it untrue?”

    Think Ireland with pots of gold and treasure. I don’t understand the area well, but Leprechauns are legit. I saw one on tv. His name is Tattoo or something, on the show “Fantasy Island”.

  18. on 09 Mar 2012 at 3:00 am 18.alex said …

    “Believe in me and do what I say or I will punish you forever!”

    ….so all you “New Guinea” villagers, don’t even bother. You’ve never heard of the xtian god, therefore, straight to hell! Stupid people, that’s what you get for picking the wrong country to live in.

  19. on 09 Mar 2012 at 3:38 am 19.DPK said …

    “There are no gods, there is no heaven, there is no afterlife. This life is all you get, when it’s over it’s over”

    You don’t say? I don’t have a default position, but I did ask how not grasping Heaven proves your point? It sounds like your new position is now “because said so”?

    Do you agree with the guilt by association fallacy? Leprechauns don’t exist therefore god does not?

  20. on 09 Mar 2012 at 3:43 am 20.Slapnuts McGee said …

    Yes. And god was the one who put them there! But there was purpose to that too, right? Everything god does has a purpose! It says so in the good book! It can’t be wrong! Everything in the bible is true!

  21. on 09 Mar 2012 at 3:54 am 21.DPK said …

    19… why are you masquerading as me??

    I did not say that “not grasping heaven proves my point.” Please don’t put words in my mouth. I said the idea of heaven, hell, and Satan does not make any sense in conjunction with the idea of an eternal supreme being.
    I can’t help but notice that you do not offer anything in the way of rebuttal or even an attempt at a rational explanation. So, is that all you got? “I don’t understand it but that doesn’t mean it isn’t true? Sad.

  22. on 09 Mar 2012 at 10:21 am 22.Joe said …

    Re #8: i have read the text you linked. And why is it now that God couldn’t create a planet without earthquakes, volcanoes and tsunamis?

  23. on 09 Mar 2012 at 12:20 pm 23.Dez said …

    Sorry DPK, I put my address to you in the wrong box.

    Now you said “heaven, hell, and Satan does not make any sense in conjunction with the idea of an eternal supreme being.”

    That still seems to be your rationale for why they do not exist. Many here continue to use guilt by association with the leprechauns and such.

    It would seem heaven, hell and a deity make much sense. A place for the evil, a place for the good and a supreme judge. Society has a similar hierarchy so they paradigm is not far-fetched..

  24. on 09 Mar 2012 at 2:28 pm 24.Lou (DFW) said …

    22.Dez said …

    “That still seems to be your rationale for why they do not exist. Many here continue to use guilt by association with the leprechauns and such.”

    You are either incredibly dense or you are intentionally misrepresenting what he and other wrote. The “rationale” for their non-existence is that there isn’t any evidence for them.

    “It would seem heaven, hell and a deity make much sense.”

    Except that they don’t.

    “A place for the evil, a place for the good and a supreme judge. Society has a similar hierarchy so they paradigm is not far-fetched.”

    That’s simply more theist rationalization for their fairy tale. [Human] “society” is composed of irrational, illogical, mortal beings. It is in no way similar to fairy tale stories of an almighty all-knowing, omnipotent father/creator/god who loves his “children.” Furthermore, in “society,” such a maniacal god would have his “children” taken from him and would he would put in a “place for the evil”

  25. on 09 Mar 2012 at 4:41 pm 25.Delicatessen said …

    I believe, Mr. Slapnuts, what you’re looking for is “God’s Free Will Deli,” which I think I first read on a comments thread on here.

    God’s Free Will Deli:
    Come right in and have any sandwich you want. We have loads to choose from, and you’re welcome to pick whichever. Just let me tell you, though, if you don’t pick a ham sandwich, I’m going to slap you in the nuts.

    Free will, a la God. Taken care of.

  26. on 09 Mar 2012 at 5:24 pm 26.DPK said …

    “That still seems to be your rationale for why they do not exist. Many here continue to use guilt by association with the leprechauns and such.”

    I don’t need a “rationale” for why they don’t exist, anymore than I need a “rationale” for why the moon isn’t made of green cheese. Until you provide some reason to think that such a place actually exists, there is no reason to provide a “rationale” for why it doesn’t. This seems to be a difficult concept for you to understand. The analogy with leprechauns, fairies, Santa, et. at. IS a valid one. All are constructs of human imagination, and all require evidence to be accepted. In absence of that evidence, the default position is they do not exist, despite your claims to the contrary.

    It would seem heaven, hell and a deity make much sense. A place for the evil, a place for the good and a supreme judge. Society has a similar hierarchy so they paradigm is not far-fetched..”

    The social hierarchy is a human construct, so it would make sense that humans would imagine a similar construct in their god legends. But the universe cares not a wit about human constructs. There are no good or evil electrons… the physical forces that govern the universe are not good or bad, they simply are. There are no “evil” planetary systems. The fact that the idea of a heaven “seems to make sense” is irrelevant. The concept of an afterlife was dreamed up by primitive people as a way to deal with the fear of death and the loss of loved ones. It has no basis in reality and there is no reason to think that consciousness survives the death of the brain and nervous system within which it functions.

  27. on 09 Mar 2012 at 9:18 pm 27.TruthOrFiction said …

    As you can see, God responds to his believers in severe situations in “His imperfect world.”

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KwnpOqz0NqE

    Ridiculous.

  28. on 09 Mar 2012 at 9:48 pm 28.Anonymous said …

    14 Dez
    “Then, why would you expect a deity to act and think as a man?”

    I would not! I DO not!
    The problem IS in god’s acting and behaving that are typically human, not divine at all: imperfection (destroying of his own deeds), anger, jealousy, revange, hate, slavery, wars, destruction, …

    WHY is your god so very human – like?

  29. on 09 Mar 2012 at 10:55 pm 29.alex said …

    “WHY is your god so very human – like?”

    god isn’t. god lives outside the universe and initiated the big bang. god doesn’t know about the earth and the people in it because it’s too miniscule and inconsequential. i’m not sure god even knows about the earth. using god skills, objects in the universe are propelled at ever increasing speeds until god stops. because of the big bang, unstable stars send random radiation all over the place, some of which hits the earth and causes gene altering mutation resulting in species variation.

    how’s that?

  30. on 10 Mar 2012 at 12:46 am 30.Anonymous said …

    Parody? Hope so, but it’s often impossible to distinguish between theist rationalizations and nonsensical babbling.

  31. on 10 Mar 2012 at 7:21 am 31.Severin said …

    Sorry, #27 is Severin.

  32. on 10 Mar 2012 at 7:23 am 32.Severin said …

    # 28

    Maybe so, but where are human religions then?
    They do not fit the picture.

  33. on 10 Mar 2012 at 8:36 pm 33.Tom said …

    “The analogy with leprechauns, fairies, Santa, et. at. IS a valid one.”

    No, this a logical fallacy as practiced by the atheist community. They never see the validity of logic but this fallacy is recognized as illogical.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Association_fallacy

    The other popular fallacy practiced by the community is Atheists Invocation by science. The invoking of science vindicating whatever claim they happen to be making.

  34. on 10 Mar 2012 at 11:44 pm 34.DPK said …

    Tom, you obviously don’t understand the difference between an analogy and a logic argument. An analogy does not claim that BECAUSE leprechauns do not exist, therefore it follows that gods do not exist. An analogy merely points out similarities between similar ideas from which one can make inferences. It is not presented as a logical “proof” in the mathematical sense, so your claim that it is a logical fallacy is meaningless.
    Yet again, another silly diversion away from the very logical conclusion that you have no evidence to support the idea that gods actually exist. Until you can provide that, you are just pissing into the wind.
    D

  35. on 10 Mar 2012 at 11:54 pm 35.TomCat (F-14) said …

    #33 Tom said:
    “The other popular fallacy practiced by the community is Atheists Invocation by science. The invoking of science vindicating whatever claim they happen to be making.”

    Um, this isn’t a logical fallacy. How would it be worded if it were? Hmm…

    Maybe: “Consider a proposition P with possible explanations A and B, themselves incompatible. If A is demonstrated to support P with falsifiable, predictive descriptions that match obtained evidence and data to a high degree, it doesn’t discount that explanation B might also explain P, regardless of whether or not B is falsifiable, predictive, or in agreement with data”?

    Maybe it’s “…it doesn’t discount that A is supported entirely by B even though B is not falsifiable, predictive, or in any clear way related to A, P, or any relevant data” instead?

    Maybe it’s just bullshit, but the reason we don’t call this a fallacy is known as Ockham’s Razor.

    Perhaps, since I believe in the best in people, you are trying to hint at “correlation does not imply causation,” but that’s certainly not what’s going on once science provides falsifiable, predictive models in good agreement with data along with a theoretical framework to justifiably explain those models.

    DPK (#34) is right: a total dodge.

  36. on 11 Mar 2012 at 12:44 am 36.Tom said …

    Shouldn’t that be F/A 14-Tomcat? Anyhow, since I too like to believe the best in people, Tomcat let us put it to the test, shall we?

    Manmade climate change

    Spontaneous generation

    Expanding Earth

    Phrenolgy

    The Static Universe

    You get the point?

    Pointing to science/scientist/scientism and claiming truth is a fallacy.

  37. on 11 Mar 2012 at 1:54 am 37.ReligionIsStupid said …

    “You get the point?”

    What I got was that you are going to continue to post red-herrings and diversions, rationalize and special-plead away anything that doesn’t agree with your preconception, avoid posting anything to back up or even clarify your position, and generally carry on in the style and manner of our recently MIA sock-puppet / trolls.

    Perhaps you could change that and explain to us about these “truths” and “undeniable” aspects of your god that you’ve mentioned elsewhere?

    Please start by telling us which god you worship, Anu king of gods perhaps?

  38. on 11 Mar 2012 at 2:25 pm 38.Lou (DFW) said …

    36.Tom said …

    “Shouldn’t that be F/A 14-Tomcat?”

    Why?

  39. on 11 Mar 2012 at 4:25 pm 39.F-in-A-14-Tomcat said …

    38.Lou (DFW) said …

    ’36.Tom said …

    “Shouldn’t that be F/A 14-Tomcat?”

    Why?’

    Because dudes like Tom seek to use ad hominems, like pointing out meaningless errors in detail, to try to undermine the arguments of their opponents. Don’t spell anything wrong around him. He’ll use that as “proof” that God saves us from global warming.

  40. on 11 Mar 2012 at 5:13 pm 40.Slapnuts McGee said …

    I got a few good laughs out of this conversation thread, most from the “God’s Deli” post. Good times!

  41. on 11 Mar 2012 at 5:25 pm 41.A said …

    Great take Tom. You made valid points, they focus on a F-14.

  42. on 11 Mar 2012 at 7:08 pm 42.Lou (DFW) said …

    41.A said …

    “Great take Tom. You made valid points, they focus on a F-14.”

    Actually it was Tom who focused on the F-14 when he wrote “Shouldn’t that be F/A 14-Tomcat?”

  43. on 12 Mar 2012 at 12:43 pm 43.Dr. P said …

    I’m “Dr. P”, the guy who initially challenged Gellman on the Problem of Evil. He chose to wander off into the free will conundrum… ignoring my point that by doing nothing god becomes evil. In other words by doing nothing to stop the holocaust god becomes as evil as Hitler.

    His final thought to me was perhaps the most chilling of all. He hoped that my mind would become like the mind of god… if you read my original challenge to him at the posted website, it can only mean that I would then be able to sit calmly in a room and watch a fallen chest of drawers slowly suffocate a toddler, and think that I’d done nothing wrong.

    Ai Yi Yi!

    Dr. P

  44. on 12 Mar 2012 at 5:43 pm 44.Anonymous said …

    Dr. P, You are something of a celebrity – congratulations for trying to talk sense into him.

    The religious have a disgusting mindset, believing that their all-loving god is looking after THEM and answering THEIR prayers while letting thousands of children die every day. How can they stand a being so horrible?

  45. on 14 Mar 2012 at 10:19 am 45.Matthew Chance said …

    Evil has been a perplexing contradiction to most people’s conception of God for quite some time, especially in modernity. It doesn’t seem that a good God would allow pain and suffering to exists, furthermore, it seems that the story in Christianity of the fall of man was a set up. In my eyes, Adam and Eve were as new borns. If God didn’t intend for us to fall, then why stick a forbidden tree in the center of the garden and allow the craftiest of all creatures to come in an tempt them. It seems inevitable that we fell.

    Although the concern I am reading in these blogs have validity, I am baffled at the ignorance. If God designed the earth to be a playpin, then I would expect him to round the edges and put up the child safety locks on all the dangerous stuff. Unfortunately, he did not. He designed it as a sort of reference that he could guide us through to teach us the value of His laws. He wanted to show us why we should be compassionate, discerning, helpful, trustworthy, good stewards and stewardesses; what do you think He and Adam walked and talked about in the garden? The weather?

    Have you ever learned something amazing, and wanted to teach someone else? Essentially, this is what God was doing. He wanted to teach us about truth, beauty, love, and creation. We chose to learn through the school of hardknox, thus stepping out from under the safety of the school of the Lord’s guidance.

    He sent His son, so that we would be able to have the Holy Spirit live inside us and guide us in all our ways. If we do this, then the pain is just as much a part of the learning process as the pleasure. If we recognize that we are a canvas, and allow Him to paint on us, then we become less and less concerned with the discomfort of cold wet paint and more so with the beauty of the art being created within us.

    God is definitely not imaginary, and most of these post sound like they come from a place of pain or ignorance. You can complain about the curriculum and not show up for class, or you can ask the teacher for help and pass the hardest of test. We all know what grades each scenario will produce.
    When we chose sin, we chose

  46. on 14 Mar 2012 at 8:14 pm 46.Probably Chance said …

    45.Matthew Chance said …

    “If God didn’t intend for us to fall, then why stick a forbidden tree in the center of the garden and allow the craftiest of all creatures to come in an tempt them. It seems inevitable that we fell”

    What does that say about your God, if it’s true? Also, prove such a garden, tree, and talking snake, and thus a fall, existed before talking about them like they are facts.

    “He [God] designed it [the world] as a sort of reference that he could guide us through to teach us the value of His laws.”

    Claim is invalid without proving God exists and created the world (not the same thing). Two claims to prove here before this gets off the ground, bucko.

    “what do you think He and Adam walked and talked about in the garden? The weather?”

    Claim is invalid until God, Adam, and the garden are substantiated.

    “Have you ever learned something amazing, and wanted to teach someone else? Essentially, this is what God was doing. He wanted to teach us about truth, beauty, love, and creation.”

    Claim is invalid until God’s existence is established. Carry on with that please.

    “He sent His son, so that we would be able to have the Holy Spirit live inside us and guide us in all our ways.”

    Lots to establish here before this carries weight: God exists, Jesus was God’s son, God sent his son in Jesus, there is a Holy Spirit, the Holy Spirit can interact with or guide us. Empty b.s. until you can establish all of those things.

    “God is definitely not imaginary,”

    Um, prove it?

    “When we chose sin,…”

    Define sin without God. Since God isn’t substantiated, God cannot be used to define sin. But sin is defined only in terms of God.

    You’ve got your work cut out for you Chance. Lots to establish, not by authority or bald statement, before any of that lovely set of analogies holds any weight. Glad to see you’re thinking, though.

  47. on 15 Mar 2012 at 12:18 am 47.Matthew Chance said …

    Sin is anything that produces a negative effect in your heart or the heart of another. And nothing is substantiated, so enjoy your light show we call reality.

  48. on 15 Mar 2012 at 12:20 am 48.Matthew Chance said …

    Prove He is imaginary without a theory. My belief is older, and well established so the burden of proof is on you.

  49. on 15 Mar 2012 at 12:22 am 49.Matthew Chance said …

    Analogies are meant to explain that which cannot be substantiated. Do you believe in love?

  50. on 15 Mar 2012 at 12:34 am 50.Probably Chance said …

    48.Matthew Chance said …

    “Prove He is imaginary without a theory. My belief is older, and well established so the burden of proof is on you.”

    That isn’t how this works. The burden of proof is not on whoever has the newer hypothesis, it lies on the person making a positive claim. In this instance
    1. God exists: this is a positive claim that needs to be proved.
    2. God does not exist: this requires no proof as it is a negative claim. This is my position. I didn’t personally claim that God is imaginary, to be clear, just that God is not substantiated.
    3. God is imaginary: This is the logical consequence of 2 since the idea exists. Until 1 is proved, there is only the default of 2 which leads automatically to 3.

  51. on 15 Mar 2012 at 1:31 am 51.Matthew Chance said …

    Blinded by logic, there are other ways of knowing. Intellectual, spiritual, emotional, and physical knowledge all must be balanced to find truth. To me, you are making the positive claim. Saying God does not exists implies a positive claim of the existence of a random universe.

  52. on 15 Mar 2012 at 1:33 am 52.Matthew Chance said …

    Logic can be molded around the will, that is why I don’t trust it as the sole and final authority on Trith, it is limited to the dimension of time and space.

  53. on 15 Mar 2012 at 1:47 am 53.Probably Chance said …

    No one has to answer you because you don’t know what constitutes a positive claim and what doesn’t.

  54. on 15 Mar 2012 at 2:22 am 54.ReligionIsStupid said …

    “Blinded by logic, there are other ways of knowing”

    Nonsense. This is just the kind of shit that people make up to avoid admitting that they don’t have any proof for their asinine claims. Where’s your proof that these “other ways of knowing” produce anything other than fucked up excuses?

  55. on 15 Mar 2012 at 5:45 am 55.Severin said …

    47 M. Ch.
    “Sin is anything that produces a negative effect in your heart or the heart of another. „

    Then why the consent sex, both homo and hetero, are concerned as sins in all Christian denominations?
    They bring nothing but joy to participants and typically no heart to anyone.

  56. on 15 Mar 2012 at 5:53 am 56.Severin said …

    48 M. Ch.
    “My belief is older, and well established so the burden of proof is on you.”

    I believe in Ra. Ra is my god.

    My belief is older and better established so the burden of proof is on you.

  57. on 15 Mar 2012 at 5:59 am 57.Severin said …

    56 Severin

    “Then why the consent sex, both homo and hetero, are concerned as sins in all Christian denominations?”

    Considered, not concerned, sorry!

  58. on 15 Mar 2012 at 11:13 am 58.Matt said …

    I can’t argue I can only present my beliefs. There is no proof, there is only rational interpretations of evidence, which is in the eye of the beholder. So you think I’m a religious nut, I think you have a misconception. Nothing but change in perspective will change that for either of us.

    Homosexuality is a sin because it produces a negative effect in the structure of family, thus harming future generations. A child has a psychological need for a mother and a father, a dad can’t breast-feed.

    I’m sorry for voicing opposition on this blog, but I wanted to make sure all sides on this issue were portrayed accurately. It seemed pretty one-sided.

  59. on 15 Mar 2012 at 11:16 am 59.Matt said …

    The family statement applies to free sex heterosexually as well. Sexual intercourse produces a psychological attachment between the two participants. Marriage is designed to protect the heart from becoming attached to too many partners and dispersing its capacity for intimacy.

  60. on 15 Mar 2012 at 11:20 am 60.Matt said …

    I’m done here. I’ve accomplished my purpose, if this blog only recognizes logic as its only metric then I cannot participate. This is like trying to play guitar hero on mute.

  61. on 15 Mar 2012 at 11:46 am 61.ReligionIsStupid said …

    “There is no proof…”

    That’s because your god is imaginary. Look back at your posts. All you’ve done is whine, complain, and claim to have proof that your god exists. When pressed you’ve retreated to claiming that he can’t be proved. You fail.

    “if this blog only recognizes logic as its only metric then I cannot participate”

    Matt, it’s probably a good thing that you’ve found out that in the real world delusion doesn’t count as evidence.

  62. on 15 Mar 2012 at 1:11 pm 62.Lou (DFW) said …

    58.Matt said …

    “A child has a psychological need for a mother and a father, a dad can’t breast-feed.”

    Then why do men have nipples? Intelligent Design?

  63. on 15 Mar 2012 at 1:18 pm 63.Lou (DFW) said …

    60.Matt said …

    “I’ve accomplished my purpose…”

    The only thing you accomplished is to make a fool of yourself.

    “…if this blog only recognizes logic as its only metric…”

    It doesn’t. It also recognizes evidence that can be substantiated by the scientific method. You have not provided such evidence.

    “…then I cannot participate.”

    If your participation only includes illogical, nonsensical rambling of a religious nut, then who cares?

    “This is like trying to play guitar hero on mute.”

    How old are you? Perhaps you should stick to playing video games because you aren’t good at adult conversation.

  64. on 15 Mar 2012 at 1:24 pm 64.Lou (DFW) said …

    59.Matt said …

    “Sexual intercourse produces a psychological attachment between the two participants.”

    You’ve obviously never had sex.

    “Marriage is designed to protect the heart from becoming attached…”

    Marriage is, at best, a financial contract.

    “..to too many partners…”

    Married people cheat. Why doesn’t marriage work? How many is “too many?” How many children can a mother love?

    “…and dispersing its capacity for intimacy.”

    Again, you’ve obviously never had sex.

  65. on 15 Mar 2012 at 1:26 pm 65.Lou (DFW) said …

    58.Matt said …

    “I’m sorry for voicing opposition on this blog, but I wanted to make sure all sides on this issue were portrayed accurately. It seemed pretty one-sided.”

    There IS only one side to present – that god exists. But theists here NEVER, EVER provide evidence for their imaginary god. The ONLY thing they ever present is belief.

  66. on 15 Mar 2012 at 1:32 pm 66.Lou (DFW) said …

    “49.Matthew Chance said …

    “Analogies are meant to explain that which cannot be substantiated. Do you believe in love?”

    With your analogy are you claiming that god exists only to the same extent that love exists – yes or no?

  67. on 15 Mar 2012 at 3:08 pm 67.Prob said …

    58.Matt said …

    “I can’t argue I can only present my beliefs. There is no proof, there is only rational interpretations of evidence, which is in the eye of the beholder. So you think I’m a religious nut, I think you have a misconception. Nothing but change in perspective will change that for either of us.”

    Hmm… I read something about this at some point or another…
    “The good thing about science is that it’s true whether or not you believe in it.”
    ? Neil deGrasse Tyson

    Now… that means a change of perspective might lead you toward seeing things our way, which seems to be in accord with what we *observe* in the universe, whether we like or or not, whether we believe it or not. A change in perspective on our parts might lead us toward seeing things your way, but that requires changing to a perspective that is only true when you believe it. Hmm…

    What does Mr. Tyson (a big-shot astrophysicist) say about these things? Pretty much the same thing most people who look at the evidence say:
    “The more I learn about the universe, the less convinced I am that there’s any sort of benevolent force that has anything to do with it, at all.” AND “God is an ever receding pocket of? scientific ignorance.”
    ? Neil deGrasse Tyson

    Not to appeal to authority to prove my case. Rather it is to substantiate the conclusion that people who look at the universe *independently of a particularly belief system* tend to come to.

  68. on 15 Mar 2012 at 6:41 pm 68.Matt said …

    I can’t reason with you guys if you are that far out of touch with your humanity. You guys had a mother, you guys know a dude wouldn’t have made a great mother. You know there is more to love than science, and if you don’t you haven’t experienced it.

    I could write a program that encompasses all of your logic, it’s that narrow. Wisdom is separate from science and knowledge. It is intuition based on a developed character which is what the Bible aims to help an individual develop so that their intuition will be in line with the Lord’s will, thus manifesting as the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

    I agree with you that many Christians don’t know what they believe, and blindly follow their inherited beliefs, but I assure you I have been both devout and in doubt. I’ve searched my soul and science and literature, and it all converges in Christianity. I’ve authored a book of my journey to belief, “Chasing Dreams”, it just hit Amazon.

    I have nothing else to offer to you guys, but I hope you all find what you are looking for.
    I’m truly blessed to have my ability to articulate my beliefs refined by your sharp minds. It is important to me that I am able to recognize and understand opposing viewpoints and objections to Christianity today.

    I’m only 21, so I haven’t quite got enough knowledge or experience to answer some of your objections. I’m just a human being like you trying to figure it all out. Maybe I took on too much of a victim mentality here, but understand that I feel outnumbered in this forum. Thank you for your insight and objections.

    If I come up with any hard “evidence”, this will be the first place I post it.

    Untill then,

    Arrivederci

  69. on 15 Mar 2012 at 6:42 pm 69.Matt said …

    “The greater our knowledge increases, the greater our ignorance unfolds.”
    - John F. Kennedy

  70. on 15 Mar 2012 at 7:48 pm 70.Jesus Vs. Religion said …

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1IAhDGYlpqY&feature=youtube_gdata_player

    Just watch it and enlighten me, I believe we are talking about two different belief systems when we say Christianity in this blog.

  71. on 15 Mar 2012 at 10:08 pm 71.Real Talk said …

    If you guys are genuinely concerned with my “delusion”, check out my blog and respond intelligently.

    http://whereliberalideologymeetsreality.wordpress.com/

  72. on 16 Mar 2012 at 3:20 am 72.Prob. said …

    68.Matt said …

    “I could write a program that encompasses all of your logic, it’s that narrow. Wisdom is separate from science and knowledge.”

    Dude, I’m a mathematician. A real, for legit published mathematician with a fancy doctorate in the subject and everything. People have been trying to write proof-doing programs for a while now. They’re not doing so well.

    In short, my logic > computer logic >> any program you can write.

    As you keep getting told: stop trying to be clever because you’re not.

  73. on 16 Mar 2012 at 3:22 am 73.Prob. said …

    70.Jesus Vs. Religion said …

    “http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1IAhDGYlpqY&feature=youtube_gdata_player

    Just watch it and enlighten me, I believe we are talking about two different belief systems when we say Christianity in this blog.”

    You’re more delusional than usual if you think you can say you’re a believer in Jesus that isn’t a member of the religion(s) known as Christianity. This video is a shitty marketing ploy trying to sell religion to kids that now see religion as a bad word. It’s as disingenuous and ridiculous as the state of (YEE-HAW!) Texas taking the word “capitalism” out of their history and economics textbooks and replacing it with “free-enterprise” because capitalism has negative undertones to it since the free-marketers have utterly raped the public with it since Reagan gave them the keys to that Corvette in the early and mid 1980s.

    Consider yourself enlightened… and more delusional and self-righteous than average.

  74. on 16 Mar 2012 at 3:53 am 74.ReligionIsStupid said …

    “Jesus Vs. Religion”, well, yes it was well-produced but that wasn’t really the question.

    Bethke (dude in the video) is a member of the fundamentalist Mars Hill Mega-church. Saying it’s not a religion sounds suspiciously like the “it’s a relationship” line and is, as above, simply marketing. In the end, it’s based on accepting Jesus as god and belief in the bible. That’s religion. The only way you could try to say it wasn’t a religion would be to declare it to be a cult.

    Now, help us out here. How exactly does the video provide evidence for the existence of these imaginary gods?

  75. on 16 Mar 2012 at 4:18 am 75.Lou (DFW) said …

    68.Matt said …

    “Untill then,

    Arrivederci”

    But you avoided answering a simple question:

    66.Lou (DFW) said …

    “49.Matthew Chance said …

    “Analogies are meant to explain that which cannot be substantiated. Do you believe in love?”

    With your analogy are you claiming that god exists only to the same extent that love exists – yes or no?

  76. on 29 Apr 2012 at 7:15 am 76.John said …

    … and because we are so smart and understand everything, God can’t be real. I even put out a HUGE God butterfly net and nothing was captured. So there you go.

    Here’s what really happened.

    Once upon a time a long time ago, there was a big bang and everything popped into existence. Don’t worry about what was prior to the big bang, just know it happened and it did so without any god and we know that for sure.

    And fast forwarding a little bit (in universe terms), either a slimy goop was hit by lightning cause life, aliens planted life, or life jumped off the back of crystals. Again never mind how, because we can’t really prove any of it, but it happened.

    So after life was kick-started, it started replicating and during that replication, mistakes happened called mutations. Some of those mutations were bad but some were good. We kept the good ones and dropped the bad ones. (never mind the math don’t add up, it flies in the face of entropy, co-opting is bankrupt, and that there really isn’t a mechanism to drive this process: it just did).

    This process created, er, developed a code more complicated than anything we’ve ever been able to reproduce, but we know it was random over time. After all, what else is there? Eventually, consciousness evolved as well. Lifeless matter to conscious life… how wonderful.

    So billions of years later, miraculous, er, scientific changes started to happen; scales turning to feathers, cold-blooded reptiles turned warm-blooded, and we evolved from bi-pedal primates. Don’t pay attention to the genetic evidence. We are getting closer everyday.

    Now today, we are evolved. We are cultured. We aren’t violent like our ancestors. Now we know good from evil and right from wrong even though in evolution those terms shouldn’t exist. Sure evolution is not a process of getting better over time, it just happened to work out that way. Sure with evolution there are no master plans, life just worked out. There is no ultimate moral code: Rape, murder, love, sacrifice, loyalty, and genocide are all the same in the end. We just contrived delineations.

    I know we don’t really have the transitional fossils, the cell is vastly more complicated than we thought, but we will figure it out in time. I mean, now, we even think there were multiverses to give us the extra time we need.

    So here we are at the pinnacle of natural evolutionary processes. We are now gods of knowledge and have put away the silly thought of god for something much more reasonable. Let’s build an alter to ourselves and proclaim our freedom from the tyranny of a mythical god.

    Let’s kills babies, uh, fetuses and use their bodies for research. Let’s approve all sexual behavior as good, let’s call adulteries affairs because it sounds better, and let’s mock anyone that doesn’t agree.

    Science now must exclude certain conclusions for we are infinitely smart and know without a doubt god isn’t real. We are liberated from the shackles of God. WE ARE FREE!

    Let’s listen to the sermons of Dawkins and Hitchens. After all, this isn’t indoctrination, this is TRUTH. We aren’t just spouting out what we hear, we clearly understand what’s going on. We are too smart into buying goods that are bankrupt.

  77. on 29 Apr 2012 at 8:34 am 77.Lou(DFW) said …

    76.John said …

    “Here’s what really happened.”

    Let’s assume that what you wrote is true.

    Now, please post your evidence for your imaginary god before you are caught and placed back inside your padded cell.

  78. on 29 Apr 2012 at 4:44 pm 78.DPK said …

    John 76 Translated:

    “The Earth isn’t spherical… you can see for yourself it’s flat.”

    “Thunder and lighting? What could possibly cause such a thing besides angry gods? Electricity? No evidence any such thing exists…”

    “Plate tectonics? Geothermal dynamics? What a bunch of bs.. no evidence that continents move… Volcano gods and earthquake gods do all that!”

    “Tiny, tiny living things that you can’t even see make you sick?… What a ridiculous idea. Demons make you sick.”

    “Everything is made of of tiny things called atoms that are made of almost entirely empty space! Preposterous! If that were true.. and you can’t prove it is… then we should be able to walk through walls.”

    “Time is relative? Hahaha… the idea that time can pass at different rates is unprovable and silly. God sets the passage of time.”

    “Quantum mechanics! The idea that particles even smaller than atoms can just pop in and out of existence and be in 2 places at the same time is absurd. If you believe that I’ve got some ’500 million year old dinosaur bones’ to sell you (wink wink).”

    “Look, everything you need to know is already right here in the 4 thousand year old book written by prophets who were far wiser than any… scientist!!”

  79. on 29 Apr 2012 at 5:42 pm 79.John said …

    77. Information children. Information. That is a good starter for proof. I will bet on a causal agent for information over the spontaneous generation theory any day.

    It’s a good thing you guys don’t apply you rules to your own ideas.

    78. Your perceptions are so far in left field with the faith you need to put down your coloring books and grab a book by Hugh Ross. See me again when you are done.

  80. on 29 Apr 2012 at 5:52 pm 80.Severin said …

    76 John
    I have a few questions for you and I kindly expect you to answer them to enlighten me:

    When exactly (or approximately), stating from today back, god created universe? 6000 years? 13.7 billion years? Something in between?

    How did god create universe? By popping it from nothing? By creating trillions upon trillions primary particles, gave them law of physics, then let them to further “evolve” according to those laws?

    How and when did god create first life? Was it a cell, something much simpler than a cell, or all species ever existed were created in the same second (including dinos)?

    Pleas don’t let us uninformed!

  81. on 29 Apr 2012 at 5:59 pm 81.Severin said …

    76 John
    “Let’s kills babies, uh, fetuses and use their bodies for research.”

    Who is responsible for “killing” 20% or more of fetuses that start their lives in mother’s bowel, then “die” in spontaneous abortion (miscarriage)?

    Pls. see

  82. on 29 Apr 2012 at 6:00 pm 82.Severin said …

    76 John
    Please see http://www.hopexchange.com/Statistics.htm and many other statistical data.

  83. on 29 Apr 2012 at 6:30 pm 83.Godless Monkey said …

    We’ll have to wait for John’s answers until after he refers to his xtian apologetics books, DVDs and podcasts. He’s probably reviewing Kirk Cameron and Banana Man for just the extra ummmph of inspiration just one more time.

  84. on 29 Apr 2012 at 10:34 pm 84.John said …

    80: Good questions. I would defer this answer to Mr. Hugh Ross. Start with “A Matter of Days”. I am not a young earth creationist. It’s often a camp ID people get thrown into. I am not sure why, but I think it probably has to do with atheists reading “what we believe in cliff note format” and jumping on Ken Ham. I don’t really blame you guys because you don’t believe in God and think its a waste of time to learn something irrelevant, so you just read Kirk Cameron’s crap and think we are all like that. This is also apparent by the childlike articles on the website where I found this BLOG.

    FYI: Hugh Ross presents a testable model as well. Dig in.

    83: Not a Kirk Cameron kind of guy. Sorry. He’s a young earth creationist too. I look forward to hearing from you after you read the cliff notes from Hugh Ross, then allowing your atheistic evangelists to tell you what to say. I hope you will think for yourself, but I am not that optimistic.

    Godless Monkey, just a quick note, you are much more valuable than your moniker implies. You are a unique individual with meaning and I am glad to have the opportunity to discuss these issues with you and Severin.

  85. on 30 Apr 2012 at 12:11 am 85.Godless Monkey said …

    John, don’t fret; I know my value :) Just because I don’t believe in your god does not mean I live an empty, meaningless existence :)

    No disrespect, but as I stated earlier, even if evolution (which seems to me to be the crux of why you believe most are/or become atheists) proves to be a giant pile of horseshit (doubtful), that, in and of itself, is not the reason I am an atheist. So I will pass on reading your Mr. Ross.

    Yes, we all have value in our particulars and but one life to live, which makes me very appreciative that I even had this opportunity to be an observer :)

  86. on 30 Apr 2012 at 12:34 am 86.John said …

    Godless… glad to hear it. :)

    No disrespect on my end. I can understand your position a little better now.

    I want to go wherever the evidence takes me. The problem is not getting so darn hung up on a worldview that you miss some real good points. This weekend, I decided to jump into this website and see what happens.

    By the way, I hammered you pretty hard in another article. I just read it again, and I could have been a little gentler. My apologies.

    Oh yeah, please don’t put me in the same boat as Kirk Cameron.

  87. on 30 Apr 2012 at 2:48 am 87.Lou (DFW) said …

    86.John said …

    “Oh yeah, please don’t put me in the same boat as Kirk Cameron.”

    Sorry, but no matter how much you deny it, you ARE on the same boat as Cameron and every other religious nut-job. You may be in a cabin on a different deck, but you’re all on the same boat. Your belief has the same basis as does his. The only difference is the matter of fanaticism and stupidity to which you take it.

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