So Fran, going to be intellectually honest and concede your defeat re: the debate-thread you left hanging?
I have no problem debating Kcrady and Anfauglir... but not in this forum... never again. I couldn't even say anything during the beginning stages of the debate with them, without the moderators in here getting in the way. And that was in the beginning stages. Can you imagine what it would have been like further on down the line? It would have been impossible. Nope, that's not for me. All I wanted was a drama free debate with Kcrady and Anfauglir.
But when I saw that things were degenerating into a circus, I just threw up my hands and walked away. I'm not on here to play games.
Well, Fran, things here only degenerated into a circus when you donned a clown suit, hopped up on the trapeze, and started doing amazing twirls and backflips to avoid answering Anfauglir's question, then proceeded to ride around on the back of an elephant in an effort to evade the moderators' attempts to re-focus the debate, and finally, cornered, failing to fend them off with the whip and chair, stuck your head in the moderation system's mouth, so to speak, daring it to bite down.
If either Kcrady or Anfauglir would like to debate in private email, I have no problems with that. But I will never again allow the moderators in here to twist things into a sideshow.
I don't really see any value in a secret debate. While I would like to debate that topic with a worthy opponent, a zero-accountability playing field does not appeal to me, especially since you've demonstrated an extraordinary capacity for evasion combined with a willingness to simply run away when the going gets tough. If there was some other forum, Christian or otherwise, that would permit me a level playing field to present my arguments, I'd consider that. But I would expect a greater degree of integrity from you, especially if it was a Christian forum.
First of all, it is difficult to take you or your question seriously when we can see from your own [actions] that there is good reason to doubt that you are sincerely interested in your own question or in having a serious and rational discourse.
And so, i wouldn't waste my time with someone who is not serious or sincere about having a rational conversation. Instead, in the case that there are sincere people who might be looking for real answers and who might be reading this... it is for them that I will answer your question. Not for you since we can all see (from your [actions]) that you don't care and are not serious or sincere about wanting to know the answer. This is for those that are sincere and looking for answers.
(substitutions in brackets mine)
To understand what makes Jesus' sacrifice and REAL PHYSICAL DEATH on the cross so remarkable, you first have to understand the huge gulf that exists between God and man. This has nothing to do with the amount of pain or how long Jesus had suffered on the cross, but it has all to do with who Jesus is.
You said that you would probably give your life to save humanity... but would you give your life to save ants or cockroaches or tapeworms? I dont' think so. You see, since you yourself are a human being, you have a natural inborn, built-in, biological, and emotional connection with other human beings. But you don't have any such connection with ants or cockroaches or tapeworms.
And although no comparison can be perfect, I think the gulf between God and man is VASTLY more so, than between man and ants, cockroaches, or tapeworms. Even atheists who trumpet evolution will say that when humans lay down their life for others, they are merely acting on some evolutionary impulse to keep the human species going. Dawkins will even call this motivation a type of "selfish gene".
And what about when parents lay down their life for their children? Well, even animals will do this. And so while we are humbled and amazed when a human does lay down their life for others, we can find biological and emotional and even evolutionary reasons for such actions.
But this is completely absent in the case with Christ. What we see (the Christians that is) is God sacrificing His own begotten Son for HUMANS... not for fellow Gods. Even King David (in the OT) was amazed that God would be willing to love us and pay attention to puny little humans like us... and he records it in Psalms. "Who are we that You (God) would be mindful of us (humans)?"
How do we "know" this is true about Yahweh? It's written in an anthology whose authors claimed (or had claimed on their behalf by later ecclesiastical councils of Rabbis or Bishops) that they were writing on Yahweh's behalf, as his official spokespersons. In other words, their writings are in some sense directed ("inspired") by Yahweh. The Biblical authors then, are representing themselves as Yahweh's press secretaries, or being represented as such by the aforementioned ecclesiastical councils.
Even if we try to be maximally generous and grant that the Biblical authors are, in fact writing as directed by an incorporeal intelligence and this intelligence fully endorses what they wrote
--so that we might imagine that after the last verse of the Book of Revelation there's a little clip in a Big Booming Voice that says, "I'm Yahweh, and I approve this message"--we still only have Yahweh's word that any of its descriptions of him are accurate.
And that's being generous. In reality, we only have the authors'
word--and the word of the aforementioned ecclesiastical bodies who had the power to manipulate the texts in their own interests. Given that the claim to be an Official Spokesman for the King of the Universe (either on the part of the original authors, or the ecclesiastical bodies) automatically conveys a great deal of real, temporal power over any community of people who believes the claim, we have every reason not to simply take Biblical teachings about Yahweh--in particular those that boast of how huge and infinitely splendid he is--uncritically at face value.
The books of the Bible are not, and make no pretense of being, unbiased sources. They are advocacy of claims that, if believed, yield significant temporal power on Earth to Yahweh (if he exists) and/or clergy who represent themselves as his de facto Earth-based courtiers. In short, the Bible should be read with the kind of skepticism we would reserve for a politician's campaign literature, or a government-run newspaper in North Korea. That the Bible says
Yahweh is incomparably greater than us is not in itself proof that this is so.
One quick and easy way to test such claims is to apply a very simple principle we use all the time in daily life: Actions Speak Louder Than Words. Since the Bible is a pro-Yahweh biased source, we can assume that it would not slanderously impute false and/or unflattering actions to Yahweh. Applying the "Criterion of Embarrassment,"
we can test Yawheh's portrayed actions in the Bible against Biblical and theological attempts to elevate Yahweh's status and see if the latter hold up.
Anyway... this only part of the backstory. The other part of backstory is the belief (among Christians) that God is, by definition, complete... and therefore God does not need anything. The moment God needs something, then that would mean He is not complete... and so that would mean that He is lacking in something, and therefore He would not be God.
And so God, being complete and not needing anything... does not need humans at all. I mean after all, what on earth would God need humans for if He already is complete? Well the fact is (according to Christian beliefs which serves as the backstory and context here) God does not need humans at all.
And here's where the wheels fall off. To test the claim that Yahweh does not need human worship, we need simply observe how he's portrayed behaving when worship isn't forthcoming. He acts like a cornered animal. He seethes with wrath, threatening the most horrible imaginable punishments to those who fail to worship him. "For the LORD
your god is a jealous god, his name is Jealous." Jealous of what? Other gods/goddesses receiving worship instead of him. Other deities who ostensibly don't even exist
Now, if it was true that Yahweh did not need anything, human worship and obedience in particular, such jealousy is inexplicable. If he was incomparably greater than human beings in every way, eternal, immortal, etc. there would be no reason for him to become furiously jealous of non-existent entities humans make up
! The very idea of an omnimax
Being seeking to boss humans around (telling them that certain parts of the manlybits have to be removed, not to eat pork and shellfish, not to make clothes of blended fibers and so forth, then repealing those sorts of rules but keeping other rules specifically regulating how human genitals may be used, etc.)--and exploding with vicious wrath when obedience isn't forthcoming--is self-refuting. He would have nothing to gain from human obedience and worship, and nothing to lose from the lack thereof.
Yahweh's portrayed behavior indicates that he needs human obedience and worship very, very badly, and will resort to threats of eternal torture in order to get it. For Yahweh's allegedly "inspired" spokespersons to attribute such things as jealousy and literally infinite cruelty to him as proclamations from his own mouth (or whatever he has in place of a mouth, being incorporeal...), as well as portraying him acting that way (e.g. genocide in the Hebrew Scriptures, throwing people into the Lake of Fire in the Book of Revelation) fulfills the Criterion of Embarrassment. Biblical authors, presumably intending to impress people with Yahweh's goodness and perfection, would not impute such things to him if they did not reflect his actual nature--or their
nature, and need for the obedience of other human beings.
Let us take a moment to consider the question of why someone might need or want human worship and obedience. What is it for
? An all-powerful Being who could create a hundred billion galaxies with a thought, would have no use for it whatsoever. If we look at all the other beings we know of who seek unconditional obedience
and/or worship (either worship of themselves, or of ostensibly imaginary deities with them as spokesmen for the Divine), the reason for it is self-evident. That's where their power comes from.
A king, dictator, or High Priest can only live in splendor, have palaces or pyramids built for his glory, order armies to march, have his enemies killed or tortured, etc. if he has access to human obedience. Without it, he's just one person no more powerful than any other. An Emperor can survive having a kid point out that he's got no clothes. He can just have the kid hung in a gibbet from the palace walls. The real threat he faces is for anyone to dispute that the naked guy ought to be regarded as an "Emperor" and obeyed as such.
In Yahweh's case, we have no evidence that he has any power whatsoever apart from human obedience, even as much strength as a single man.
Whatever Yahweh might be--whether he is an egregore
or an infectious meme or something else--he clearly needs human obedience if he wants to have any cathedrals or temples or dungeons or crusading armies built on his behalf. Likewise for those human beings who would put themselves in the place of courtiers and representatives of the King of the Cosmos and receive obedience in his stead.
Yahweh's portrayed actions in the Bible prove, beyond doubt that he is not complete or powerful without human worship and obedience, and therefore, by your definition, "He would not be God" i.e., not an omnimax.
Now think about that for a moment. If God does not need us at all, then it is incredibly remarkable if He would be willing to sacrifice His only begotten Son (Jesus the God Incarnate) for humans that He does not need the first place!!!
Indeed. What you're ignoring here is that the Blood Sacrifice
of Jesus is part of a whole-system that is inconsistent with the claim that Yahweh/Jesus does not need humans. A central point of Christian doctrine is that the Blood Sacrifice
of Jesus is the only
way of "salvation" from "sin." There is no other way
that Yahweh can forgive "sins" and allow someone into the blissful eternity he promises. Omnipotence, by definition, cannot
be constrained to a single option. Therefore, either Yahweh chose
to make the Blood Sacrifice
by torture of an (ostensibly) innocent virgin followed by ritual cannibalism of the virgin's flesh and blood the only way to enter into a positive relationship with him and avoid everlasting torment, or this rather Satanic mechanism was imposed on him by "rules" not of his making.
If the latter, then he is not omnipotent, since other forces ("sin," "Satan," some un-chosen element of his own nature that makes this a requirement, etc.) can constrain him. If the former, then he is not omnibenevolent. In either case, he is not "God" as defined by traditional monotheistic theology.
Jesus' prayer in the Garden of Gesthemane--assuming he meant it sincerely and not as some sort of esoteric kabuki theater--lends weight to the view that the whole Blood Sacrifice
thing is a matter of choice, rather than inviolable cosmological rules. For Jesus to pray asking that "this cup" of blood be taken from him assumes that there's a choice involved. If Yahweh had no choice in the matter for whatever reason, it makes no sense for Jesus to beseech him to change his mind! Thus, "the other side of the Cross" is that Yahweh wanted
the whole gruesome Mel Gibson spectacle of torture and Blood Sacrifice
and would accept no substitute.
Christians may want to view the Cross as a symbol of Yahweh's great love, but it's also a symbol of his great hate
and bloodthirsty savagery. Note that Jesus did not have the option of dying painlessly from an aneurysm or a quick run-over by a chariot. It's all about the blood, the blood, the blood
. Now, consider the enormous moral inversion that's necessary in order to become a Christian: you have to be willing to profit
from the torture-sacrifice of an innocent virgin, willing to eat his flesh and drink his blood, to wash yourself in his blood so that, like a vampire, you can gain immortality.
What could possibly be the motivation for a God to sacrifice His only Begotten Son on the cross when He doesn't need humans and when the gulf between God and humans is so incredibly vast? Love. It's that simple. If God is love, as Christians maintain (part of the backtory here), then what are a couple of the characteristics of love? Unselfishness and sacrifice.
Again, you're ignoring the whole-system. Who demanded Blood Sacrifice
, made it a requirement
for "salvation?" Yahweh. Who decrees that the punishment for not accepting the vampiric gift is everlasting torture? Yahweh. Whose atavistic bloodlust has to be sated in order for "salvation" to take place? Yahweh's. And if Jesus = Yahweh, then it's his
bloodlust and lust for power that's being sated. Just as a vampire creates a new vampire by biting a person and having that person drink their blood (and, in some versions of the vampire myth, gaining control of the new vampire thereby), Count Jesus feeds his blood to his followers, making them vampires in his image.
Furthermore, as this magnificent post by DTE
shows, there is much Biblical evidence that Jesus went to the Cross for his own glory
, rather than any demonstration of self-sacrificial love.