Author Topic: Why is Satan invisible like God?  (Read 15769 times)

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Offline no nwo

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Re: Why is Satan invisible like God?
« Reply #232 on: October 01, 2011, 07:20:58 PM »
It's because Satan is nothing more than an excuse. People just use Religion to either act insane, or just act like they believe.
 
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« Last Edit: October 01, 2011, 08:53:44 PM by Ambassador Pony »

Offline velkyn

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Re: Why is Satan invisible like God?
« Reply #233 on: October 03, 2011, 09:47:47 AM »
I am also waiting on velkyn's response for our discussion. She may have missed my question among the other posts.
I admit that I’ve been purposefully avoiding you, for I feel like Michael Douglas to your Glenn Close a la Fatal Attraction. I do sincerely hope you’ve been well since we’ve last talked, and, in particular, that the flooding has not hurt you.
Okay, that’s a little creepy.  But thanks for your concern.  I’m lucky that I made sure to buy a house above the flood plain of the Susquehanna River.  Science for the win!
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You and I have talked before about the big picture and reading the parts of the Bible in the context of the whole and in the context of history. You say that you do read the Bible this way and I’m glad you do. Let’s talk about that bigger context in order to answer your question.
Indeed we have talked before about your bible and reading it in context. 
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First, let’s clarify what we’re talking about. The immediate question is about two parts of the Bible that seem to contradict. One part from Isaiah 10 declares woe to those in power who use their power to do evil.
  Yep, it sure does. This should be impossible considering what Paul claims in Romans.
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1 Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. 2 Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. 3 For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and you will be commended. 4 For the one in authority is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for rulers do not bear the sword for no reason. They are God’s servants, agents of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer. 5 Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also as a matter of conscience.  6 This is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are God’s servants, who give their full time to governing. 7 Give to everyone what you owe them: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor.
  If all authorities are in place by god’s will, and no one should ever be afraid of them from what they do, then how is it that these authorities can ever be guilty of using their power to do evil?  There should never be any unjust statutes, etc if God actually does what Paul claims.     
We also have requirement for obedieance to those god puts in power here in 1 Peter
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13 Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every human authority: whether to the emperor, as the supreme authority, 14 or to governors, who are sent by him to punish those who do wrong and to commend those who do right. 15 For it is God’s will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish people. 16 Live as free people, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as God’s slaves. 17 Show proper respect to everyone, love the family of believers, fear God, honor the emperor.
 
Of course, Peter is also claimed to have said
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Acts 5:  29 Peter and the other apostles replied: “We must obey God rather than human beings!
which is convenient when they want to do something against these human beings that are purportedly put into power by their god.  The verse you mention from Matthew can work too, claiming people must follow men who claim that they have a divine authority.  And of course, JC’s admonition to render unto Caesar could be seen in this context too. 

But to get back to my question.  You claimed the following
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True peace and happiness come when everyone “walks without blame, doing what is right, speaking truth from the heart.” When everyone truthfully believes “Woe to those who enact unjust statutes and who write oppressive decrees, depriving the needy of judgment and robbing [the] people’s poor of their rights, making widows their plunder, and orphans their prey!”
This seems to assume that your god is the only source of what is “right” and what is “true”.  However, Christians differ on what they claim is right and true per their god, all interpreting the bible to fit what their personal ideas of those terms are and all sure that they have divine backup for very human desires.  My question was how do you know that your version of what you wish God to have really meant is the right one and how can you prove it?  In that your god does nothing to those who supposedly break its laws, I see no way that you can prove it and that your beliefs are just as based on your own desires as any theists. In the bible, we have a god that actively smites people, does miracles, etc. Now, in this era, we have none of that.  One would think that after killing a man for just keeping his box up right and demonstrating his power with a water soaked altar, your god could do something about his own priests’ actions. 




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Offline screwtape

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Re: Why is Satan invisible like God?
« Reply #234 on: October 03, 2011, 02:32:18 PM »
I actually made that connection in the post with the definition. I understand that you do not view sin as I do. Fair enough. My statements are based on the deposit of faith. The definitions of sin and salvation confirm the connection that I made. As a former churchgoing Catholic, I’m surprised that wasn’t clear to you.

Do you want to go back to any of the other comments or questions?

My understanding of sin is defying god's rules.  That could be as socially destructive as killing someone.  Or it could be as ridiculously trivial as masturbating or eating the wrong food on the wrong day.  Nevertheless, that was what I was told god wanted.

My understanding of salvation was that was the forgiveness of sins.  The fruits of that mechanism do not pay off while we live.  It only paid off after I died if I was good/ lucky/ penetant enough.  And if that is the case, then the greater good in this life is utterly irrelevant.  Science, medicine, technology, comfort, easing the suffering of others, helping the sick and poor, all that is a pointless waste of time.  Because it is all a temporary condition and quite brief in the greater scheme of things.  I'm pretty sure there are more than a couple NT verses affirming that idea.

Now, maybe I'm wrong in that understanding.  It has been decades since I took CCD with Sister Joann.  But that is what I recall.

It seems to me that the greater good we are each talking about are completely different things.  And if that is the case, then let's get on the same page here.  If the greater good we are talking about is in the afterlife, and if we assume a xian context, then I agree.  But that assumes the truth of the xian narrative at the beginning.  That's not really a conversation though, is it? 

However, my point was on this side of death and with a plain reading of scripture, neither god nor salvation have increased the greater good.  Forgiveness of sins does not actually make anyone a better person.  It does not cause anyone to stop sinning.  It does not actually feed the hungry, cure the sick, or free the oppressed.  That is the connection I was asking for.  Salvation --> ? --> greater good.  I don't see it.  At best, I see complete indifference to what I consider the greater good.  At worst, I see the god of the bible actively making life more miserable, making knowledge less available, and dividing people.

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Offline SimpleCaveman

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Re: Why is Satan invisible like God?
« Reply #235 on: October 16, 2011, 05:25:23 PM »
Hello albeto,

Thank you for the response. I apologize for not getting back to you before. At first I wanted to wait for pianodwarf out of respect for him. Then other things just got in the way. They were very cool things, but I won’t go into them. They seem to upset people. I hope to respond quicker going forward. However, one of the things we’re doing is making a movie (a 30 minute spoof on Minority Report. Great movie. Have you seen it?) And the editing and such takes a lot of time.

I’m going to respond to your three posts in this one, quoting pieces of it for reference. I ask you and others that read this response to refer to the original text. Quoting only parts of your post is requested in the guidelines, but it can cause misunderstandings of context.

Fact: IT STILL DOESN'T MAKE IT EXCUSABLE.
You may not have realized the context of my statement. The blogger’s point was that if this happened in sports or schools we’d leave. The author clearly implies that shuttling is only happening in the Catholic Church and it’s not true. And it is harmful to the larger problem of protecting our children to pretend it’s not. She is either being dishonest or is a hack. Which is it for you? Are you interested more in the truth or in attacking the Church?

Fact: The Cloyne Report from Ireland shows evidence to the contrary.
Show me the evidence and let’s go through it.

… that until there is exposure to the public (and even then), are these policies designed and administered. 
I don’t disagree that there were problems with the way it was handled. I am not defending the poor response whether in the past or in the future. However, I do claim that hindsight is 20/20. The point is that there are stronger policies – in some cases stronger than outside the Church. You referenced them yourself, so I don’t think you are disagreeing with that.

Fact: It doesn't change the reality that you are aligned with a body of believers who genuinely believed (and advocated both publicly and privately) that these things could be prayed away and the suffering of innocent children would somehow be redemptive to the suffering of all by uniting to the suffering of christ.
Yes, of course we believe that prayer is efficacious and suffering is redemptive. And, if true, they are very critical parts to solving the problem! However, the important thing for the discussion is that they are not the only course of positive action taken now or then. I hope you read the John Jay report. If you do, you’ll know that spiritual acts were not the only positive response.

When you teach your RCIA class you instruct the next generation to ignore these upsetting facts and distract themselves with the emotionally rewarding experience of believing the eucharist is really the body and blood, soul and divinity of christ himself. 
This is exactly the opposite of what we teach in RCIA. We teach the truth given by Jesus Christ and we teach that violating that truth is sin, which can lead a person to Hell. I have even discussed the abuses in this context. If the priests followed what was taught in RCIA, then they wouldn’t have done what they did.

Why not use those ideas you find valuable and virtuous in the faith and apply them without this organization?  Why not advocate peace and patience and selfless giving to those in need without the fantasy story of a supernatural being that increasingly is becoming understood as more idealistic and mystical than factual?
It is only by violating the teachings of this organization that these problems came about. An interesting characteristic I see by posters in this forum is the unbalanced method of generalization with regards to the Church. Something negative is automatically assumed to apply everywhere and always in the Church, while something positive is an exception. I hope it’s not done on purpose.

The Roman Catholic Church claims to be the bride of christ itself.  The bishop of Rome is understood to be the vicar of christ, that is, christ works supernaturally vicariously through him.  Of all institutions in the world, of all human beings alive, surely the vicar of christ himself would have understood that shuttling and ignoring and blaming the victims isn't actual charity. 
Believe it or not, I agree with everything you say. The implication, however, that Pope Benedict did not understand is false. I addressed that in the previous posts.

If the church of christ has any supernatural effect at all, there would have been no sexual abuse!  …
I’m not sure whom you’re arguing with. In no way did I say that these events were justifiable or excusable. In fact, I was very clear about the opposite. As before, I agree with (in this case some of) what you say. In my opinion a priest who follows the guidance of the Holy Spirit would sooner throw their body on the sword. It seems clear to me that the priests were not following the guidance of the Holy Spirit. In their weakness they were using their free will to disobey God. Do you believe that we have free will?

You are missing the point.  There shouldn't have to BE a policy of ANY KIND if priests are truly acting vicariously for christ in their roles as ministers of the sacraments.
Very good! We agree on this point. Unfortunately, people sin. Even priests, bishops and popes sin. Even the star of this thread, Lucifer the greatest of angels, sinned. Because we are weak and we use our free will to sin, the policies are needed.

So now we know the sacraments really aren't of any use.  Confession, the eucharist - no effect. …
You make conclusions that are not based on my statements and actually contradict your previous logic. The sacraments are of immense use. If the priests who committed these heinous crimes really lived the sacraments, then they would not have done what they did. The sacraments teach the opposite of what they did. They were living a dual life, so to speak, without integrity. Their hidden behavior was not in line with the sacraments they celebrated.

But you are.  You are trying to claim that the abuses weren't *that* bad, all things considered.  You're trying to demote the crime to acceptable levels.
No. In no way am I making those claims or demoting anything.

Let me summarize our discussion.

We agree that if all priests followed the teachings of the Church and the guidance of the Holy Spirit, then there would be no need for policies. We agree that what the priests did is very wrong. We agree that shuttling priests is wrong, even then, but particularly now in light of the current understanding of the problem. We agree that any priest who abuses anyone must be brought to justice.

You claim that the crimes of the priests means that there is no supernatural component to the faith and here’s where we disagree. All it means, as you rightly point out, is that the priests are not living up to their vocation. If I have cancer, it means that the tumors should be cut out. It doesn’t mean that I should be killed.

Offline Add Homonym

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Re: Why is Satan invisible like God?
« Reply #236 on: October 16, 2011, 09:36:53 PM »
Do you believe that we have free will?

Only in conversations that don't involve hell. But essentially quantum physics is pointing us to ideas that ALL options are explored by the universe, in which case "free will" would be the percentage of "universes" which explore your supposedly free decision, vs those which had your unfree decision. If you were perfect and you made the same free-will choice in 100% of universes, then you could be said to have free will. However, a slight lapse in resolve would see some components of you exploring the wrong decision, and God would know that you sinned in [say] 5% of universes. You could be said to have 95% percent free-will in this decision; assuming that your free-will is that part of you that wants to do the right thing. However, if free will means going against what God is bludgeoning you into doing, then you would have only 5% free will.

Quantum Mechanics complicated any notion of free will.

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Very good! We agree on this point. Unfortunately, people sin. Even priests, bishops and popes sin. Even the star of this thread, Lucifer the greatest of angels, sinned. Because we are weak and we use our free will to sin, the policies are needed.

Satan is the star of this thread. Lucifer is the planet Venus. The Bible really gives no back-story on Satan, and whether he sinned. That comes from apocrypha, which as a Catholic, you probably are an expert on. If Satan did sin, then it was certainly not due to any lack of knowledge of God. Here, down on Earth, in real world, we have no facts, except a corny book, full of dubious stories and lame prophecy that never checks out, and a God who likes hiding, to make Satan's job easy. In this world, it is easy to have "free will" [as you call it], because God hides all the time, and sends tsunamis to nuclear reactors.

If a priest actually believed in God and Hell, rather than just mouthed the words and took the salary, would he still root small boys?

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Offline SimpleCaveman

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Re: Why is Satan invisible like God?
« Reply #237 on: October 16, 2011, 09:51:12 PM »
Hi velkyn,

Sorry for the delay. I don’t like to treat my friends this way. Not had much choice, though.

Okay, that’s a little creepy.  But thanks for your concern. 
Sorry. Didn’t mean to be creepy. Just remembering what you’ve said in one of our previous conversations.

Science for the win!
:) Not sure I’d call that science, but okay.

But to get back to my question. 
Oh. You had two different questions in that post. It was the second one (as below) that you wanted to discuss? The other was a non sequitur? You spent a lot of time on it, if so.

This [ quote] seems to assume that your god is the only source of what is “right” and what is “true”.
Actually, it doesn’t. I could have used quotes from other books to make the point. But let me try to understand your point? Are you saying that you disagree with the point I was making in the quote? Do you mean to say that walking without blame, doing what is right, speaking truth from the heart are not ways to give us a better society? Are you saying that unjust statutes and oppressive decrees are good for us? Depriving the needy of judgment and robbing [the] people’s poor of their rights, making widows their plunder and orphans their prey are all actions that rob us of true peace and happiness?

Yes, of course I know you don’t mean that. You’re just looking for a way to insert a new argument about True Christians and such. Let’s skip both of these and stick with (one of!) the ongoing subjects. You know how little time I have for the discussions. When those are done, we can come back to one of these.

Offline albeto

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Re: Why is Satan invisible like God?
« Reply #238 on: October 16, 2011, 10:33:11 PM »
Hello albeto,

Thank you for the response. I apologize for not getting back to you before. At first I wanted to wait for pianodwarf out of respect for him. Then other things just got in the way. They were very cool things, but I won’t go into them. They seem to upset people. I hope to respond quicker going forward. However, one of the things we’re doing is making a movie (a 30 minute spoof on Minority Report. Great movie. Have you seen it?) And the editing and such takes a lot of time.

Sounds like a fun project.  No need to apologize, this is just a friendly conversation, not a job with deadlines.  ;-)

I’m going to respond to your three posts in this one, quoting pieces of it for reference. I ask you and others that read this response to refer to the original text. Quoting only parts of your post is requested in the guidelines, but it can cause misunderstandings of context.

No worries.  If I misunderstand you I'll await your correction patiently. 

You may not have realized the context of my statement. The blogger’s point was that if this happened in sports or schools we’d leave. The author clearly implies that shuttling is only happening in the Catholic Church and it’s not true. And it is harmful to the larger problem of protecting our children to pretend it’s not. She is either being dishonest or is a hack. Which is it for you? Are you interested more in the truth or in attacking the Church?

As I recall, there were a lot of links in your posts.  Would you mind refreshing my memory with the particular blogger to which you are referring?  Just shooting from the hip here, I'd suspect that because this shuttling does happen in schools and people don't leave, it's not such a good analogy.  I agree with you this behavior is not exclusive to the Catholic Church and if I recall correctly, the statistical probability of unwanted sexual attention is higher in public schools than in churches, and minimally higher in protestant churches than Catholics.  (ETA: here was the source of my knowledge a few years ago but I don't know where to find the report now) The problem I have isn't that sexual abuse happens proportionately more outside the Catholic Church, it's that it happens within the Catholic Church at all, and to cover up these abuses is horrifying to the children and their families.  It lacks the kind of compassion and charity that the Catholic Church advocates and considers itself to personify. 

Show me the evidence and let’s go through it.

Are you asking to go through the entire report?  I'm not sure that's practical.  Is there some aspect that you wish to focus on instead? 

I don’t disagree that there were problems with the way it was handled. I am not defending the poor response whether in the past or in the future. However, I do claim that hindsight is 20/20. The point is that there are stronger policies – in some cases stronger than outside the Church. You referenced them yourself, so I don’t think you are disagreeing with that.

I think you are defending the poor response by distracting one's attention to other poor responses in hopes of making the Catholic response sound typical and therefore not so poor in comparison.  I recognize the 20/20 quality of hindsight but this is the Vicar of Christ we're talking about.  It seems to me that for countless boys and girls and teens, the gates of Hell did in fact prevail and not only did they prevail, they were protected and given silent and secret license to do whatever impulsive desire came to the person in control.  Organizations like schools don't claim to be the Bride of Christ, they don't claim to have supernatural ability to know truth and morals and have access to God's grace to combat such spiritual attacks.  Comparisons are therefore completely irrelevant imo. 

Yes, of course we believe that prayer is efficacious and suffering is redemptive. And, if true, they are very critical parts to solving the problem! However, the important thing for the discussion is that they are not the only course of positive action taken now or then. I hope you read the John Jay report. If you do, you’ll know that spiritual acts were not the only positive response.

The events suggest prayer and redemptive suffering show no effect on the behavior or priests at all.  The only effective measure has been public rebuke and humiliation.   If evil is attracted to the Catholic Church (as I was taught, after all, Satan only goes after the "real" threat), then it would be safest for everyone to avoid the RCC at all costs.   But then again, since school districts report the same problem, maybe Satan doesn't really care one way or another, he's just happy to spread evil.  Which raises the question, why does the Vicar of Christ have no more power than the superintendent of the NYC school districts in combating the evil of sexual abuse? 

This is exactly the opposite of what we teach in RCIA. We teach the truth given by Jesus Christ and we teach that violating that truth is sin, which can lead a person to Hell. I have even discussed the abuses in this context. If the priests followed what was taught in RCIA, then they wouldn’t have done what they did.

Pope John Paul II supported the cover-ups.  Simply by aiding those who continually molested children he would have been guilty of mortal sin by the very understanding of the RCC itself (CCC 1857; for our non Catholic friends this reference states, "For a sin to be mortal, three conditions must together be met: 'Mortal sin is sin whose object is grave matter and which is also committed with full knowledge and deliberate consent.'").  If JPII didn't follow these teachings, what does that mean about the Church and the men who run it?  When I was Catholic, I would have defended this by suggesting regardless of the individual sins of any one pope, the teachings of the beliefs surrounding the sacraments have never been changed (except they have).  However, there simply is no viable support to suggest they do in fact elicit God's grace.  It is taken on faith alone, faith in lieu of reason.  In opposition to reason even. 

  The distraction I mention doesn't refer to the idea there are men in the Church that defy the teaching of the Church, the distraction I mention is the discrepancy between being a representative of God and the Church's systematic excuses regarding a history of wrongdoing.  Today it's sexual abuse.  Last century it was support of the Nazi Party in Germany.  Previous centuries saw prejudice against women, Jews, Muslims, homosexuals, protestants, Africans and Native Americans in such degrees that should have anyone with a rudimentary sense of morals scratching their heads wondering why God's own Church would be the home to such immoral behavior, much less defender and advocate of such immoral beliefs.   

It is only by violating the teachings of this organization that these problems came about.

Human behavior is far more complex than lessons can guide.  Sexual impulses are instinctive and can be very strong in any individual.  Deviant sexual behavior is hidden with an urgency that only the guilty can know.  Various bishops covered these abuses up, consistently, systematically, bishops who don't share the same sexual impulses by all accounts.  The pope himself defended and supported this action.  This isn't about ignoring teaching, this is about embarrassment, humiliation and avoiding public scandal.  This is about thinking that prayer and the sacraments are needed regardless of the fact they didn't prevent these events in the first place. 

An interesting characteristic I see by posters in this forum is the unbalanced method of generalization with regards to the Church. Something negative is automatically assumed to apply everywhere and always in the Church, while something positive is an exception. I hope it’s not done on purpose.

I can't comment on that.  I'm not familiar with this but I will keep an eye out to prevent this in my own posts. 

I’m not sure whom you’re arguing with. In no way did I say that these events were justifiable or excusable. In fact, I was very clear about the opposite. As before, I agree with (in this case some of) what you say. In my opinion a priest who follows the guidance of the Holy Spirit would sooner throw their body on the sword. It seems clear to me that the priests were not following the guidance of the Holy Spirit. In their weakness they were using their free will to disobey God. Do you believe that we have free will?

I believe you did justify them to the extent that you justified them as being no worse than other molesters, and that no "real" [spiritually filled, faithful] priest would ever do such a thing.  It's nothing more than the No True Scotsman fallacy suited for this problem. 

Neurologically, the idea of free will is a misnomer.  It's a theological concept that has no place in the knowledge of the physiological workings of human behavior.  No, I do not believe there is such a thing as free will in the sense I understood it as a Christian.  In the sense that humans are able to make choices and overcome base, primitive impulses then I would agree, but in the choices of overcoming these primitive impulses I think we are no more "free" than various subjective experiences and opportunities allow.

Very good! We agree on this point. Unfortunately, people sin. Even priests, bishops and popes sin. Even the star of this thread, Lucifer the greatest of angels, sinned. Because we are weak and we use our free will to sin, the policies are needed.

The concept of "sin" is a misnomer as well.  Behaviors that were once considered moral and normal are taught to be immoral now and behaviors that were once considered immoral are now taught to be moral.  This isn't reasonable for a god who is the source of perfect moral knowledge, a source that does not change in time. 

You make conclusions that are not based on my statements and actually contradict your previous logic. The sacraments are of immense use. If the priests who committed these heinous crimes really lived the sacraments, then they would not have done what they did. The sacraments teach the opposite of what they did. They were living a dual life, so to speak, without integrity. Their hidden behavior was not in line with the sacraments they celebrated.

This is another example of your appeal to the No True Scotsman idea.  In essence you're saying no true Catholic would do these things and yet do them they have.  Furthermore, it's special pleading to suggest that this sin be the one that disqualifies one from being a "true Catholic" while others are allowed to remain. 

No. In no way am I making those claims or demoting anything.

Let me summarize our discussion.

We agree that if all priests followed the teachings of the Church and the guidance of the Holy Spirit, then there would be no need for policies. We agree that what the priests did is very wrong. We agree that shuttling priests is wrong, even then, but particularly now in light of the current understanding of the problem. We agree that any priest who abuses anyone must be brought to justice.

You claim that the crimes of the priests means that there is no supernatural component to the faith and here’s where we disagree. All it means, as you rightly point out, is that the priests are not living up to their vocation. If I have cancer, it means that the tumors should be cut out. It doesn’t mean that I should be killed.

I do not agree with you on these matters.  If the spiritual reality you understand to exist actually existed, this wouldn't be a problem, not even taking into consideration the concept of free will.  A truly moral god wouldn't be a party to such evil, it simply wouldn't be in his character.  It does, however, work to explain why bad things happen to good people in the absence of knowledge we have today, knowledge that explains human behavior in the same way it explains natural disasters. 

Offline SimpleCaveman

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Re: Why is Satan invisible like God?
« Reply #239 on: October 16, 2011, 10:56:37 PM »
Hi screwtape,

Hope you’ve been well. I apologize for the delay in getting back to you. I know you don’t take it as disrespect, but I still feel bad about it. I don’t know how all of you can post so much.

It seems to me that the greater good we are each talking about are completely different things.  And if that is the case, then let's get on the same page here.
Oh, now you want to get on the same page. ;) No worries. I understand the difficulties with how long and drug out the discussion has become caused by my absence.

If the greater good we are talking about is in the afterlife, and if we assume a xian context, then I agree. 
Good. Thanks.

My understanding of sin is defying god's rules. … My understanding of salvation was that was the forgiveness of sins. The fruits of that mechanism do not pay off while we live.
Not bad. You must have been a good student. However, I would not say that the fruits are only in the next life. Assuming a Catholic context (I can’t speak for other Christian denominations in general), then there are fruits in this life. Baptized people (any Trinitarian baptism) receive the Holy Spirit. They receive the Gifts of the Holy Spirit (later strengthened at Confirmation) which are Fear of the Lord, Reverence, Fortitude, Knowledge, Counsel, Understanding and Wisdom. These gifts certainly contribute to the greater good in this life.

The person can also receive the fruits of the Holy Spirit. Some of them are listed in Galations as "… charity, joy, peace, patience, benignity, goodness, longanimity, mildness, faith, modesty, continency, chastity." (Galatians 5:22-23) Again, these certainly – well, in my opinion – contribute to the greater good in this life.

If a person sins, then they are cut off from the grace of God (particularly mortal sins) and they cannot exercise the gifts or receive the fruits. With this context, forgiveness of sins helps us to become better people and more able to do God’s will.

And if that is the case, then the greater good in this life is utterly irrelevant.  Science, medicine, technology, comfort, easing the suffering of others, helping the sick and poor, all that is a pointless waste of time.
Hmm, maybe you weren’t such a good student. Or maybe Sister Joann wasn’t such a good teacher. :) Easing the suffering of others, helping the sick and poor, feeding the hungry, etc are all very relevant. Yes, this life is a brief, temporary condition and suffering is necessary for our salvation. But that’s how I am to view my suffering not the suffering of others.

On the contrary, I am to lay down my life for others! The parable of the Good Samaritan (Lk 10:25-37) is all about taking care of others, even strangers, without counting the cost. The parable of The Sheep and the Goats (Mt 25:31-46) is very clear that those who get into heaven will be the ones who gave the hungry something to eat, gave the thirsty something to drink, invited the strange in, clothed the naked, looked after the sick and visited those in prison. If you don’t do these things, then you go the other place. Even the Old Testament, which is so disdained in this forum, is rife with God’s commands of this sort. Dt 24:13-22; Lv 19:10-18; Ex 22:20-22; and Is 58:6-7 are only some examples.

I hope this helps.

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Re: Why is Satan invisible like God?
« Reply #240 on: October 16, 2011, 11:16:03 PM »
Even the Old Testament, which is so disdained in this forum, is rife with God’s commands of this sort. Dt 24:13-22; Lv 19:10-18; Ex 22:20-22; and Is 58:6-7 are only some examples.

* NOTE : But, these commandments were to further the state of Israel, not judge whether a person went to a non-existent "other place".
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Re: Why is Satan invisible like God?
« Reply #241 on: October 17, 2011, 09:03:03 AM »
Not bad. You must have been a good student. However, I would not say that the fruits are only in the next life. Assuming a Catholic context (I can’t speak for other Christian denominations in general), then there are fruits in this life. Baptized people (any Trinitarian baptism) receive the Holy Spirit. They receive the Gifts of the Holy Spirit (later strengthened at Confirmation) which are Fear of the Lord, Reverence, Fortitude, Knowledge, Counsel, Understanding and Wisdom. These gifts certainly contribute to the greater good in this life.

Those things are pretend, though.  At best, psycho-somatic placebo effects. And they are quantifiable.  According to that theory, people who confess and take communion should have an easier time not repeating their sins.  They should be perpetually getting wiser, becomming nicer, better people.  But they really don't, do they?  At least, I never found that to be the case.  Do you find yourself confessing the same sins over and over and over?  I sure did.  And I can tell you this, I had every intention of ceasing them, I just couldn't do it. 

Maybe my first few communions I felt all tingly and alive with the spirit.  But that had more to do with it being a rite of passage into adulthood and my own expectations and superstitions.  That feeling wore off shortly after church and over time, I stopped getting tingly altogether.  Did the holy spirit lose potency?  Did I develop a tolerance to it? 

I can see where repeating these rituals would reinforce/ maintain belief and cause people to have "fear of the lord" and reverence.  But knowledge?  I never gained any real knowledge.  What knowledge have you received from communion?  How about counsel or widsom?  I call bullshit on that.  If anything, I gained SPAG, which of course, requires no superstitious hocus pocus.


The person can also receive the fruits of the Holy Spirit. Some of them are listed in Galations as "… charity, joy, peace, patience, benignity, goodness, longanimity, mildness, faith, modesty, continency, chastity." (Galatians 5:22-23) Again, these certainly – well, in my opinion – contribute to the greater good in this life.

Ha!  I read "mildness" as "mindless" and thought, "what the ...?"

So anyway, in my experience, that's all bullshit.  You are saying that taking communion makes you a better person.  That is a testable theory.  If it is true, then xians should be better people, and the more communion they take, the better they should be.  Do you have evidence to support this?  In my experience, that is not so.  They are the same dickheads as everyone else, and in many cases worse.  I think if you are a good person, you will be good with or without the mystical rituals. Same for bad people.

Here is my anecdote on the matter.  There was a guy named Steve in my CCD class.  To put it bluntly, he was a fucking asshole.  There was nothing nice or compassionate or pleasant about him.  He was stupid, cruel and a bully.  I would have no qualms about pushing him down a long, steep flight of stairs.  Nevertheless, we were confirmed together and I saw him in church most Sundays.  He would take communion like everyone else.  Yet, he never improved.  As he got older, he got worse and eventually had a reputation for abusing his girlfriends. Maybe he wasn't sincere.  Maybe he was not truly repentant.  But if that is so, then it seems to me the mechanism that makes people "better" is the act of introspection and the will to be a better person.  And that requires no supernatural hocus pocus.

You can test that theory too.  You can make a secular prayer.  It will draw your attention to things like being patient, considerate, compassionate, only, with no mention of gods or ghosts or begging the universe to forgive your horrid, disgusting faults.  See how that works relative to the superstitious stuff.  Stephen Covey, a religious kook in his own right, calls that the act of first creation.  You imagine who you want to be, what traits and values you think are important, and then do not do things that contradict them.  Just like you would have a blueprint for a building, this is your plan for the future you.  And I think it works well enough.  No Iron Age deities required.

It seems telling to me that the holy spirit only works on people who don't need it, but on the unrepentant assholes, it is completely ineffective.  You would think it would be the other way around.  Instead it is exactly like medicine that only works on the healthy and has no effect on the sick.  Is it really medicine or is it just snake oil?

Hmm, maybe you weren’t such a good student. Or maybe Sister Joann wasn’t such a good teacher. :) Easing the suffering of others, helping the sick and poor, feeding the hungry, etc are all very relevant. Yes, this life is a brief, temporary condition and suffering is necessary for our salvation. But that’s how I am to view my suffering not the suffering of others.

Not in the greater scheme of things.  What is a mere 75 years compared to eternity?  It is nothing.  And even within the church helping others is an optional add-on.  There is not compulsion.  Otherwise it would be a sin to not help.  And there is no such sin.  Good thing too.  You would have to confess as sin every moment of your life that you were not helping others.  Have you ever confessed that?  "Bless me father for I have sinned. I have spend the entire last week without helping the sick or poor."  Of course not.  How much would be enough?  One hour a week?  What about the other 167 hours?  Take out sleep.  That leaves 111 available hours to help those in need.  Even if you spent a full 40 hours a week doing just that, there would still be 72 sinful hours not aiding the needy.   It would paralyze you.  Life would cease.  The world would become a gloomy martyr fest where there could be no happiness apart from death.  Sounds kind of like the last time the RCC was in charge, doesn't it? 

The parable of The Sheep and the Goats (Mt 25:31-46) is very clear that those who get into heaven will be the ones who gave the hungry something to eat, gave the thirsty something to drink, invited the strange in, clothed the naked, looked after the sick and visited those in prison.

That's hardly practical these days.  When was the last time you invited a homeless man into your house?  If the answer is "never", as I suspect it is, then you do not actually believe this stuff.  You are just parroting it because you think it proves your point.  If the answer is "last week", then that proves my point that life is irrelevant under catholic doctrine.  Anyone who would invite a stranger in off the street has no regard for his safety or the safety of his family.  Which to my mind, would be the bigger sin.


To get back to my original post to you, it appears you agree that god has not helped in any concrete way.  He has given us no useful knowledge or skills and only deals with attitudes, and subtly at that.
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Offline velkyn

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Re: Why is Satan invisible like God?
« Reply #242 on: October 19, 2011, 04:35:40 PM »
:) Not sure I’d call that science, but okay.
Then you’d be showing your ignorance.  Geology is based on the scientific method.  We know what floods do and what evidence they leave on the landscape.  I know how repetitive floods cut the landscape depending on the local landforms.  Anyone who knows this can look at any topographic map and know exactly where the floods will go.  This also allows me to say that any nonsense about a global flood claimed in the bible is totally ridiculous.   
Your response is quite expected.  Of course you ignore the first part of my post.  Is it or is not rather impossible for your god to have given all power to those in power and then those people misuse it?  Can we trust your bible or can we not? 
And no, the second question isn’t a ‘non-sequiteur’.   Here we go:
Quote
Huh, so when JC and the NT say to obey anyone in power since God put them there and influenced how they made the laws, it's wrong to do so?
Ready to answer this yet?

Quote
and please do demonstrate how you know what your god "really" means when it comes to what the "truth" is and what "right" is. Because when you do, I'll show you just as many other TrueChristianstm who disagree with you and who have just as much "evidence" as you do that they are the only "right" ones, which is none.
  I’m allowing you to focus, SC.  I do expect an answer to both.  I have yet to see any.

 
Quote
Actually, it doesn’t. I could have used quotes from other books to make the point. But let me try to understand your point? Are you saying that you disagree with the point I was making in the quote? Do you mean to say that walking without blame, doing what is right, speaking truth from the heart are not ways to give us a better society? Are you saying that unjust statutes and oppressive decrees are good for us? Depriving the needy of judgment and robbing [the] people’s poor of their rights, making widows their plunder and orphans their prey are all actions that rob us of true peace and happiness?
but you didn’t use a quote from another book did you?  You are pulling all of these from your bible.  And you have yet to answer my question, how do you know your God really means when it says what is “truth” and “right”?  We have Christian after Christian claiming that their version is the only “right’ version and that they and only they know what God “really” meant, just like you.  I don’t believe that you were only making the point that doing what is good and right would make a better society.   I know that you were trying to claim that doing what *you* think is “true” and “right’ would make a better society.  I’m not an idiot, SC, don’t try to treat me like one.  That’s the point of my posts, I want you to show me how you know what is “true” and “right”, how that we should assume your god is any kind of “font” of this.  Especially when it allows innocents to be harmed by what are ostensibly its representatives on earth. 

Quote
Yes, of course I know you don’t mean that. You’re just looking for a way to insert a new argument about True Christians and such. Let’s skip both of these and stick with (one of!) the ongoing subjects. You know how little time I have for the discussions. When those are done, we can come back to one of these.
Ah, so why did you ask other than to whine about how dare I ask you hard questions about your religion that supposedly is so true and so right?  Poor thing, can’t answer questions so you waste time with posts like this rather than just an answer.  The time that suddenly you have no little time for.  Oh SC, it’s so pathetic on how transparent theists are. 
Now, I’m still wondering about a few things:
I’m still wondering why your God does nothing, SC. Per your supposed holy book, your god took great offense if people did something that he didn’t like. He killed people for merely trying to keep his magic box upright when the wagon carrying it lurched. How is it your god can’t do a thing against these abusive priests before they harm someone? JC says that just the thought is sin enough for this god to act. So why aren’t they being acted upon to keep others from suffering?


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Re: Why is Satan invisible like God?
« Reply #243 on: October 22, 2011, 07:43:38 PM »
Hi velkyn,

Then you’d be showing your ignorance.  Geology is based on the scientific method. 
I only meant that we don’t need a degree to tell us that floods happen in certain places. That’s basic. We’ve known that since before we even had the scientific method.

Your response is quite expected.  Of course you ignore the first part of my post.
“of course”? Were you having a bad day or did I upset you? I’m sorry if I did. It’s not “of course”. Your other post went quite a bit into the question of authority, but then you said “But to get back to my question.” I interpreted that to mean that the question you were getting back to was the more important one. Please forgive my misunderstanding.

By the way, you also said. . .
I’m not an idiot, SC, don’t try to treat me like one.
I regret if something came across that way. I may get frustrated with you, but I would not intentionally treat you like an idiot.

You had two topics in the first post.
Huh, so when JC and the NT say to obey anyone in power since God put them there and influenced how they made the laws, it's wrong to do so? 

and please do demonstrate how you know what your god "really" means when it comes to what the "truth" is and what "right" is. 
and you added a third in this post.
Now, I’m still wondering about a few things: . . .
I’m going to address these one at a time. If any others are added, then you can put them in the queue. We should probably start creating new threads.

Quote
Huh, so when JC and the NT say to obey anyone in power since God put them there and influenced how they made the laws, it's wrong to do so?
Ready to answer this yet?
Sure. First, yes, the Bible does tell us that we are to obey authority, since authority comes from God. You mentioned Romans 13 and 1 Peter 2 and those are good examples. As well we have Ecclesiastes 8:2-5, Eccliesiastes 10:4, Proverbs 24:21, 1 Timothy 6:1-2, and others. We can also look at what Jesus, the Apostles, St. Paul, the Church Fathers and the early Christians did to see the truth of this. God sets up human authority because we are better off with authority than without it.

The Bible also says how authorities are to rule.
Quote from: Psalms 72:1-4
A Psalm for Solomon. Give the king thy judgments, O God, and thy righteousness unto the king's son. He shall judge thy people with righteousness, and thy poor with judgment. The mountains shall bring peace to the people, and the little hills, by righteousness. He shall judge the poor of the people, he shall save the children of the needy, and shall break in pieces the oppressor.
Quote from: 1 Peter 2: 14
Or unto governors, as unto them that are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers, and for the praise of them that do well.
or 1 Chronicles 22:13 where David tells his son Solomon “Then you will prosper, if you are careful to observe the statutes and the ordinances which the LORD commanded Moses concerning Israel.”

But not all follow God’s commands. We see this, for example, with King Nebuchadnezzar, King Saul, and King Solomon. And what happens to them when they disobey God?
Quote from: Daniel 5:18-20
O thou king, the most high God gave Nebuchadnezzar thy father a kingdom, and majesty, and glory, and honor: And for the majesty that he gave him, all people, nations, and languages, trembled and feared before him: whom he would he slew; and whom he would he kept alive; and whom he would he set up; and whom he would he put down. But when his heart was lifted up, and his mind hardened in pride, he was deposed from his kingly throne, and they took his glory from him:
Quote from: 1 Samuel 13:13-14
Samuel said to Saul, “You have acted foolishly; you have not kept the commandment of the LORD your God, which He commanded you, for now the LORD would have established your kingdom over Israel forever. But now your kingdom shall not endure. The LORD has sought out for Himself a man after His own heart, and the LORD has appointed him as ruler over His people, because you have not kept what the LORD commanded you.”
Quote from: 1 Kings 11:11
So the LORD said to Solomon, “Because you have done this, and you have not kept My covenant and My statutes, which I have commanded you, I will surely tear the kingdom from you, and will give it to your servant.
That is the meaning of the quote I gave
Quote from: Isaiah 10:1-4
Woe to those who enact unjust statutes and who write oppressive decrees, depriving the needy of judgment and robbing [the] people’s poor of their rights, making widows their plunder, and orphans their prey!
It is God who is speaking. As he gives rulers authority, he also takes it away. “And he changeth the times and the seasons: he removeth kings, and setteth up kings” Daniel 2:21.

Your question is how does that relate to Romans 13:1. Individuals are to submit to authority as St. Paul says. As a side note, that’s not limited to the individuals. As we saw above, kings are to submit to authority as well. If they do not obey God, then they get deposed. St. Paul also says that we are to submit to each other. “And be subject to one another in the fear of Christ” (Ephesians 5:21). In all walks of life, we are to maintain due subordination to those in authority. However, he goes on to enjoin those in authority to use it in a proper manner and gives solemn injunctions that there should be no abuse of power.

You ask the question
If all authorities are in place by god’s will, and no one should ever be afraid of them from what they do, then how is it that these authorities can ever be guilty of using their power to do evil?  There should never be any unjust statutes, etc if God actually does what Paul claims.     
I hope the answer is clear from above. God gives them the authority, but they have to use that authority according to the will of God. If they choose not to, then, yes, there can be unjust statutes and such.

We might ask the question do we submit to authority in all matters? To answer that we can look to what we see in the Bible. In the Old Testament Daniel, Shadrach, Meschach and Abednego give us a good example (Daniel 3:8-30). King Nebuchadnezzar required them to worship the golden image. This was against God’s commandments and so they refused. They still treated the governing authorities with respect though, disobeying for a specific reason and not in a general way. The same is true of Peter and John. You pointed out what they said. . .
Of course, Peter is also claimed to have said
Quote
Acts 5:  29 Peter and the other apostles replied: “We must obey God rather than human beings!
However, in general they still submitted to the authority, for example when they went quietly to jail right before this quote. It was only when the Pharisees commanded them to disobey a command from God that they make the statement above.

You make the point
And of course, JC’s admonition to render unto Caesar could be seen in this context too. 
and here’s where we see that it’s appropriate. The full context of what Jesus says is, of course, “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” (Mark 12:17) Christians do not submit to the authorities in matters that contradict God’s commandments. That’s one reason there are so many, many martyrs throughout history. Even when we don’t submit, such as to a command to denounce God or worship images or people, we do so by turning the other cheek.

I hope that answers your questions, velkyn. Have a terrific day!

Offline SimpleCaveman

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Re: Why is Satan invisible like God?
« Reply #244 on: October 22, 2011, 08:17:09 PM »
Hi albeto,

Let me answer some of your comments.

As I recall, there were a lot of links in your posts.  Would you mind refreshing my memory with the particular blogger to which you are referring? 
The one that started this particular sub-thread. pianodwarf pointed me to the blog here. (Please note that when going to the website some of the advertisements and peripheral material may be objectionable to some.)

The problem I have . . . [is] that it happens within the Catholic Church at all, and to cover up these abuses is horrifying to the children and their families.
I agree completely. And, I would think, so does the rest of the Catholic Church.

Are you asking to go through the entire report?  I'm not sure that's practical.  Is there some aspect that you wish to focus on instead? 
Maybe it’s not practical, but I’m surprised we have to do that. You claimed that the Cloyne Report from Ireland shows evidence that the problem of shuttling is an institution-wide policy. Do you know that because you read the report or because you’re taking someone else’s word? If it’s because you read the report, then you can focus on the parts that support your statement. If it’s because you’re taking someone else’s word, then did they give references to the particular parts in the report that support this claim?

It seems to me that for countless boys and girls and teens, the gates of Hell did in fact prevail and not only did they prevail, they were protected and given silent and secret license to do whatever impulsive desire came to the person in control.  Organizations like schools don't claim to be the Bride of Christ, they don't claim to have supernatural ability to know truth and morals and have access to God's grace to combat such spiritual attacks.  Comparisons are therefore completely irrelevant imo. 
I agree completely. The Church should hold itself to the highest standard, higher than any other institution. The people of God are called to be holy as God is holy. At the same time, the Church is a human institution and it is imperfect. (This is not a defense of or lessening of the sins. Christ stopped the crowd from stoning the woman, but he told her to sin no more.) The problem is that some in the Church forgot that higher standard, particularly after Vatican II, and lived more by the relativism of the world. The bishops gave in to modernity by seeking psychological evaluations and treatment for the offenders rather than fully implementing the Codes of Canon Law from 1917. If those codes had been implemented, the shuttling would not have happened. However, many mental health professionals believed that a sexual predator could be reformed with proper treatment and the bishops listened to this instead. Clearly they were wrong. Even after Pope John Paul II promulgated the 1983 Code, which affirmed the importance of the church’s penal order in dealing with cases of sexual abuse of minors by clergy, and society shifted away from psychological response to punitive response, bishops still failed to provide a just legal process when dealing with accusations.

I think you are defending the poor response by distracting one's attention to other poor responses in hopes of making the Catholic response sound typical and therefore not so poor in comparison. 
I regret if that’s the way it came across, since that was not my intention at all. I wanted to point out the horrible irony of the blogger’s question (in the link above). She asks a biased question based on untrue premises that do immense harm to the greater problem. Yes, let’s bring to light the abuses by priests, but let’s not hide the abuses by others and allow them to continue. What is more important? The truth or attacking the Church?

The events suggest prayer and redemptive suffering show no effect on the behavior or priests at all.  The only effective measure has been public rebuke and humiliation.   
It shouldn’t have taken that for the Church to “clean house,” but it’s good that it happened. So you agree that actions other than prayer were also taken and are being taken today?

Pope John Paul II supported the cover-ups. Simply by aiding those who continually molested children . . .
I have not seen authoritative evidence that Pope John Paul II purposefully aided priests who continued to molest children. Can you point me to that?

Neurologically, the idea of free will is a misnomer.  It's a theological concept that has no place in the knowledge of the physiological workings of human behavior.  . . . In the sense that humans are able to make choices and overcome base, primitive impulses then I would agree, but in the choices of overcoming these primitive impulses I think we are no more "free" than various subjective experiences and opportunities allow.
I’m sorry. I’m confused. You say no, but yes, but no. If you don’t want to get into what you mean by free will, that’s fine, but I can tell you that I don’t get into what you mean by free will.

This is another example of your appeal to the No True Scotsman idea.  In essence you're saying no true Catholic would do these things and yet do them they have.  Furthermore, it's special pleading to suggest that this sin be the one that disqualifies one from being a "true Catholic" while others are allowed to remain. 
Again I’m confused. I’ll bet there’s a club with t-shirts. :) I’m not saying that the priests who did these things are not Catholics. I’m saying that they were not following the teachings of the Catholic Church. They “broke the law,” so to speak. I don’t see how the No True Scotsman idea isn’t relevant here.

If the spiritual reality you understand to exist actually existed, this wouldn't be a problem, not even taking into consideration the concept of free will.  A truly moral god wouldn't be a party to such evil, it simply wouldn't be in his character.
Let me restate what you’re saying to see if I understand. If God existed then he wouldn’t let the priests molest anyone. It doesn’t matter that they have free will. God would have controlled them so that they couldn’t have done it. Is that correct?

I look forward to continuing the conversation. Have a terrific day.


Offline SimpleCaveman

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Re: Why is Satan invisible like God?
« Reply #245 on: October 22, 2011, 08:35:07 PM »
Hi screwtape,

How’s it going? (When I started writing this it was) Cold and wet here. My favorite time. :-\
According to that theory, people who confess and take communion should have an easier time not repeating their sins.  They should be perpetually getting wiser, becomming nicer, better people.  But they really don't, do they?  At least, I never found that to be the case.  Do you find yourself confessing the same sins over and over and over?  I sure did.  And I can tell you this, I had every intention of ceasing them, I just couldn't do it. 
Yes, people who confess and take communion can have an easier time not repeating their sins. That’s certainly the case in my life. It’s like weightlifting, though, and the will is the muscle. If you keep using the same weights over and over you’ll be only so strong, but you won’t get stronger. We have to continually go deeper in our relationship with God.

You say that it’s not good to keep confessing the same sins over and over? Would you like to have new sins to confess? :) If a person doesn’t go to confession and communion, then they will likely do that. (not you of course) Our will is less able to avoid sin. In fact, our attraction to sins gets stronger.

To some of your other points, yes, we do seem to be able to become deadened to the wonder of the Eucharist. I agree some people seem to be very casual about receiving. However, the Eucharist is not magical or fascist in its effects on people. We have to cooperate with grace. Another analogy is dating. As albeto pointed out, we will be the bride of Christ in Heaven and this time on Earth is like dating. When we date, we don’t just go out to dinner and eat. We talk to our date and get to know them. We also spend time with them outside of dinner. If a person, like Steve, only eats without spending any time getting to know Christ, then it will be very difficult, even impossible, to become like Christ.

But knowledge?  I never gained any real knowledge.  What knowledge have you received from communion?
Knowledge is a gift from the Holy Spirit (I suppose through communion, too), but it’s fed and exercised by study and meditation. The Sacraments are sources of grace, but we don’t live only in the Sacraments. We take them to the rest of the world in order to make the rest of the world better.

Ha!  I read "mildness" as "mindless" and thought, "what the ...?"
:)

It seems telling to me that the holy spirit only works on people who don't need it, but on the unrepentant assholes, it is completely ineffective.  You would think it would be the other way around. 
Interesting point. However, there’s no one who doesn’t need the Holy Spirit. If it seems like someone doesn’t need it today, it’s because they relied on the Holy Spirit yesterday.

Not in the greater scheme of things.  What is a mere 75 years compared to eternity?  It is nothing.  And even within the church helping others is an optional add-on.  . . .

That's hardly practical these days.  When was the last time you invited a homeless man into your house?
You say that the Corporal Works of Mercy as the Church calls them (along with the Spiritual Works of Mercy) are optional, and to prove your point you downplay teachings that prove otherwise. C’mon, you are better than that. The Gospels are filled with examples of the importance of doing good for others, the rest of the New Testament and Old Testament, too. The Church has many, many religious orders whose purpose is to feed the hungry, clothe the naked and so on. Not to mention Catholic Charities, Catholic Family Services, Catholic Campaign for Human Development, Domestic Social Development, and many other programs. And yes, I do perform the corporal works of mercy whenever I can. No, I don’t bring homeless people into my home. We do have a homeless shelter and we support it, though.

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Re: Why is Satan invisible like God?
« Reply #246 on: October 22, 2011, 08:52:49 PM »
screwtape, mi amigo,

I thought I’d separate this out into another post.

To get back to my original post to you, it appears you agree that god has not helped in any concrete way.  He has given us no useful knowledge or skills and only deals with attitudes, and subtly at that.
Sure, we can do that. No, I don’t agree. In fact, the opposite is true. Every good thing we have comes from God.
  • God made us with amazing reason and intelligence. It’s this that allows us to investigate the world around us, create things, solve advanced problems, etc.
  • God made the universe intelligible to our minds. There is nothing, without God, that says that the universe has to be something we can understand. If it wasn’t, then we wouldn’t get very far, scientifically speaking.
  • God makes each individual person and gives them gifts that they are to use for the good of humanity. God gave Einstein his genius, Picasso his creativity, Alexander the Great his military strategy, etc.
Your original post wants to look at the Bible in ways that it wasn’t made for. The Bible is concerned with salvation history. The “rules and demands” he transmits are to advance our salvation, and salvation is far more important than whether we have a new iPod or not. Your example of the Tower of Babel falls under that same mistake. Assuming that what the Catholic Church teaches is true, and assuming that the Tower of Babel literally happened that way, then the salvation of the people whose pride and arrogance were turning them against God was more important than their ability to build tall buildings.

I agree that from your perspective you are correct. There is no salvation, so greater knowledge is what’s important. There is no God and the Bible is the only place that tries to tell us about Him, and if it’s not in the Bible, then it’s not being claimed as happening. Given that perspective, sure, there is no “evidence” that God has helped us in any concrete way, though that perspective doesn’t change the way to read the Bible. And even with that perspective, it’s clear that the Bible teaches differently, not to mention the group from which the canon came.

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Offline screwtape

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Re: Why is Satan invisible like God?
« Reply #247 on: October 23, 2011, 08:32:16 AM »
You say that it’s not good to keep confessing the same sins over and over?

No.  I used communion as a test for your hypothesis that the holy spirit does anything for people. One of the test elements was, if the hs actually does what you said it did - sins diminish, etc.  In my experience, it utterly failed that test.

In fact, our attraction to sins gets stronger.

In fact?  Let's not go crazy and say things we cannot back up.  Do not speak for everyone, alright?  I have been speaking in terms of my experiences where I do not have data.  My attraction to sin has stayed at the same level it has always been at.

However, the Eucharist is not magical or fascist in its effects on people.

Oh no no no no no no no.  You don't get to say that.  To you, it is magical. Holy spirit, remember?  Gives people wisdom, knowledge, compassion, patience, and 7 essential vitamins.  No no, sir.  That right there is magic.  I know you don't like calling it magic, because that has pagan overtones.  But these are supernatural effects from supernatural entities you are talking about.  Or, in common terms, magic.  It is no different from a magical potion.  You take it and it gives temporary supernatural enhancements, like protection from demons and common sense.

...we will be the bride of Christ in Heaven ...

That's so gay.  Are you looking forward to being a bride?  What if it turns out to be more like being jesus' bitch in prison?  He makes you wear lipstick and toss his salad.  Ew.  And then he sells you to the holy ghost for a pack of smokes?

Knowledge is a gift from the Holy Spirit

begs the question.

, but it’s fed and exercised by study and meditation.

Ah, kind of like, prayer and an aspirin make headaches go away?  Or prayer plus stitches stop bleeding?  Or... well, you get the picture. 


Interesting point. However, there’s no one who doesn’t need the Holy Spirit.

Ahem?  I've been Holy spirit free for over 20 years. Never been better. 

Also, begs the question.


You say that the Corporal Works of Mercy as the Church calls them (along with the Spiritual Works of Mercy) are optional, and to prove your point you downplay teachings that prove otherwise. C’mon, you are better than that.

I did not down play anything.  I explained catholicism as I was taught.  Actual works of charity were... not looming large.  Problems like, how to pay for the roof repairs in the church or whether of not I was "abusing myself" while thinking about a particular cheerleader loomed larger.

The Gospels are filled with examples of the importance of doing good for others, the rest of the New Testament and Old Testament, too.

Sure, but that would be cherry picking to say that was what it was all about.  It is also chock full of examples of slaughter, incest and generally shitty people (all of whom were yhwh's chosen) who were selfish shits that destroyed friends and enemies. If we were to cherry pick those points, then the theme of the bible would be very different.

The Church has many, many religious orders whose purpose is to feed the hungry, clothe the naked and so on.

Irrelevant.  We are not talking about the rcc organization.  There was no rcc for, what was it, 3 centuries after jesus H died?  We are talking about personal acts like baby jesus would have wanted.

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Offline screwtape

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Re: Why is Satan invisible like God?
« Reply #248 on: October 23, 2011, 08:47:48 AM »
Every good thing we have comes from God.
  • God made us with amazing reason and intelligence. It’s this that allows us to investigate the world around us, create things, solve advanced problems, etc.

begs the question

  • God made the universe intelligible to our minds. There is nothing, without God, that says that the universe has to be something we can understand. If it wasn’t, then we wouldn’t get very far, scientifically speaking.

begs the question

  • God makes each individual person and gives them gifts that they are to use for the good of humanity. God gave Einstein his genius, Picasso his creativity, Alexander the Great his military strategy, etc.

begs the question.

Your original post wants to look at the Bible in ways that it wasn’t made for. The Bible is concerned with salvation history. The “rules and demands” he transmits are to advance our salvation, and salvation is far more important than whether we have a new iPod or not.

You keep diminishing the importance of technology.  You make it sound frivolous.  As if I am talking about mere contrivances and distractions.  Yet if you consider technology as things like indoor plumbing, sewage treatment plants, vaccines, x-ray photographs, concrete, insulation, plows, fertilizer, antibiotics.  These are things that are not baubles or novelties.  They save lives.  They vastly reduce human suffering. This was that I was talking about at the outset when I said "the greater good". 

At the beginning of this conversation I defied you to live in a cave without modern technology for a month to illustrate the point.  Maybe this is a product of stretching this conversation out over a three month period. Or maybe it is a product of you being disingenuous.  Either way, maybe it would be better to

Your example of the Tower of Babel...

Yeah, well, there is more than one way to look at that story.   And if you read that story again, you might see they had every right to be proud.  They figured it out on their own.  And you might also see it had nothing to do with arrogance.  It was about yhwh's fear of losing hegemony over them. Or if they didn't figure it out on their own, and the whole thing was the holy spook's idea, then the hs was working against yhwh. 


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Offline Add Homonym

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Re: Why is Satan invisible like God?
« Reply #249 on: October 23, 2011, 09:27:10 AM »

Sure, we can do that. No, I don’t agree. In fact, the opposite is true. Every good thing we have comes from God.
  • God made us with amazing reason and intelligence. It’s this that allows us to investigate the world around us, create things, solve advanced problems, etc.
  • God made the universe intelligible to our minds. There is nothing, without God, that says that the universe has to be something we can understand. If it wasn’t, then we wouldn’t get very far, scientifically speaking.
  • God makes each individual person and gives them gifts that they are to use for the good of humanity. God gave Einstein his genius, Picasso his creativity, Alexander the Great his military strategy, etc.
Your original post wants to look at the Bible in ways that it wasn’t made for. The Bible is concerned with salvation history. The “rules and demands” he transmits are to advance our salvation, and salvation is far more important than whether we have a new iPod or not. Your example of the Tower of Babel falls under that same mistake. Assuming that what the Catholic Church teaches is true, and assuming that the Tower of Babel literally happened that way, then the salvation of the people whose pride and arrogance were turning them against God was more important than their ability to build tall buildings.


It's like watching a tennis game of Ray Charles against Stevie Wonder.

Every good thing we have comes from God.  -> Every bad thing we have also comes from God.
God made us with amazing reason and intelligence. -> And we used it to deduce that the Bible was a protection racket.
If it wasn’t, then we wouldn’t get very far, scientifically speaking. -> We also couldn't eat.
God gave Einstein his genius -> Pol Pot his penis.


BTW, the Tower story is just another creation myth, attempting to explain the evolution of language, and very poorly. God has the same attitude as when he locked off the Tree of Life from humans. He seems very insecure, if a few peasants with bricks scare him.
Humans, in general, don't waste any opportunity to be unfathomably stupid - Dr Cynical.

Offline ungod

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Re: Why is Satan invisible like God?
« Reply #250 on: October 23, 2011, 05:05:02 PM »
Because they are both imaginary. Duh!
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Offline SimpleCaveman

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Re: Why is Satan invisible like God?
« Reply #251 on: October 24, 2011, 07:18:40 AM »
Good Morning screwtape,

Has it been three months? Wow, thank you for your patience.

No.  I used communion as a test for your hypothesis that the holy spirit does anything for people. One of the test elements was, if the hs actually does what you said it did - sins diminish, etc.  In my experience, it utterly failed that test.
Yes, you made that point. And I responded to it. However, I was surprised to see that you barely addressed the relevant points.

I have been speaking in terms of my experiences where I do not have data. My attraction to sin has stayed at the same level it has always been at.
Point taken. I’m very glad to hear that. How do you know it’s not because of grace?

However, the Eucharist is not magical or fascist in its effects on people.
Oh no no no no no no no.  You don't get to say that.  To you, it is magical. Holy spirit, remember?  Gives people wisdom, knowledge, compassion, patience, and 7 essential vitamins.  No no, sir.  That right there is magic.
Technically, it’s a miracle, which comes from God, and not magic, which doesn’t. But that’s not the point. You didn’t address the point.

Knowledge is a gift from the Holy Spirit
begs the question.
Fair enough. I didn’t intend it that way, but I can see how it came out that way. Let’s back up and get more technical then. (By the way, I see this as explaining what something is rather than begging the question.) The Gift of Knowledge is a perfection of the human mind that disposes us to follow the impulses of the Holy Spirit when we judge human or created things in relation to God. When operative it is concerned with differentiating between what is and is not consistent with Faith. You had said “What knowledge have you received from communion?” If I have received any the Gift of Knowledge, it would be that kind.

Ahem?  I've been Holy spirit free for over 20 years.
Prove it.

I did not down play anything.  I explained catholicism as I was taught.
Fair enough. I hope you have the courage to question whether there were gaps in what you were taught, in what you learned, or what you remember.

The Gospels are filled with examples of the importance of doing good for others, the rest of the New Testament and Old Testament, too.
Sure, but that would be cherry picking to say that was what it was all about.  It is also chock full of examples of slaughter, incest and generally shitty people (all of whom were yhwh's chosen) who were selfish shits that destroyed friends and enemies. If we were to cherry pick those points, then the theme of the bible would be very different.
And, in general, what happens to those “shitty people? It’s not good, even when they were God’s chosen. No, the message of the Bible is overwhelmingly one of doing good for others. And as the Bible goes on, that is as the Jews mature as a people, that message gets even clearer. Until we get to the time of Jesus and His message is overwhelmingly clear. That’s the whole point of the discussion from which you branched us.

The Church has many, many religious orders whose purpose is to feed the hungry, clothe the naked and so on.
Irrelevant.  We are not talking about the rcc organization.  There was no rcc for, what was it, 3 centuries after jesus H died?  We are talking about personal acts like baby jesus would have wanted.
No, it’s not irrelevant for two reasons. You said earlier. . .
However, my point was on this side of death and with a plain reading of scripture, neither god nor salvation have increased the greater good. 
The first reason is that one way that God has increased the greater good is through the programs of the Catholic Church, which was begun by Christ in the Apostles and continues to this day from them. You can’t say show me where God has increased the greater good and then ignore the programs that act in His name. (And this doesn’t even address the immense good done by other Christian denominations.)

The second reason is that the programs which do these wonderful things are carried out by individual people committing “personal acts like baby jesus would have wanted.” These individuals sacrifice themselves for the sake of others because Christ told us to.

However, if you want to limit the discussion to “reading of scripture,” then we I have no qualms about doing so.

Offline SimpleCaveman

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Re: Why is Satan invisible like God?
« Reply #252 on: October 24, 2011, 07:21:48 AM »
begs the question
. . .
begs the question
. . .
begs the question.
Did you learn a new phrase? Seriously, how can I tell you what I believe or what the Church teaches without making statements that “assume” what the Church teaches is true? Let me restate it another, more pedantic way and see if that helps.

First, we assume that the God of the Bible exists. You said. . .
To get back to my original post to you, it appears you agree that god has not helped in any concrete way.  He has given us no useful knowledge or skills and only deals with attitudes, and subtly at that.
I do not agree with your statement. The Bible teaches us that God has given us the foundation upon which technology and science are built. Here are three points, based on the Bible and reason, that support that statement.
  • God made us with amazing reason and intelligence. It’s this that allows us to investigate the world around us, create things, solve advanced problems, etc.
  • God made the universe intelligible to our minds. There is nothing, without God, that says that the universe has to be something we can understand. If it wasn’t, then we wouldn’t get very far, scientifically speaking.
  • God makes each individual person and gives them gifts that they are to use for the good of humanity. God gave Einstein his genius, Picasso his creativity, Alexander the Great his military strategy, etc.

Do you disagree that these points are based on the Bible and reason, assuming the God of the Bible exists?
Do you disagree that without these three things science and technology would not be possible?

You keep diminishing the importance of technology.  You make it sound frivolous.  As if I am talking about mere contrivances and distractions.
Relatively speaking yes, I do. As St. Paul said, “I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord.” On the other hand, assuming technology’s right place in the order of things, then YES! I agree with you completely. Science and technology are wonderful things  that do contribute to our greater good.

But isn’t science and technology amoral? While they can do wonderful things, can’t they be used to do evil, too? Hasn’t that happened all throughout history? Isn’t it more accurate to say something like “Science and technology can greatly contribute to the greater good when they are used by people and societies who are good. Science and technology can bring about evil when they are used by people who are not good, or when they are used without an understanding of their power or side effects.”

Your example of the Tower of Babel...
Yeah, well, there is more than one way to look at that story.
Sure. There’s at least the atheist way and the theist way. :)

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Offline Hatter23

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Re: Why is Satan invisible like God?
« Reply #253 on: October 24, 2011, 07:42:13 AM »
begs the question
. . .
begs the question
. . .
begs the question.
Did you learn a new phrase? Seriously, how can I tell you what I believe or what the Church teaches without making statements that “assume” what the Church teaches is true? Let me restate it another, more pedantic way and see if that helps.

First, we assume that the God of the Bible exists. You said. . .


That's the definition of begs the question. So, no, it doesn't help. You just begged the question a whole lot more.



An Omnipowerful God needed to sacrifice himself to himself (but only for a long weekend) in order to avert his own wrath against his own creations who he made in a manner knowing that they weren't going to live up to his standards.

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Re: Why is Satan invisible like God?
« Reply #254 on: October 24, 2011, 02:40:54 PM »
I only meant that we don’t need a degree to tell us that floods happen in certain places. That’s basic. We’ve known that since before we even had the scientific method.
Well, your “we” is demonstrably wrong since there are plenty of people who are that ignorant to refuse to believe that floods do occur in some places (witness those who build on flood plains and then complain when the gov’t doesn’t’ help them since they didn’t know what they were doing), and those who are sure a global flood happened and haven’t any evidence. 

Quote
Huh, so when JC and the NT say to obey anyone in power since God put them there and influenced how they made the laws, it's wrong to do so?
Ready to answer this yet?
Quote
Sure. First, yes, the Bible does tell us that we are to obey authority, since authority comes from God. You mentioned Romans 13 and 1 Peter 2 and those are good examples. As well we have Ecclesiastes 8:2-5, Eccliesiastes 10:4, Proverbs 24:21, 1 Timothy 6:1-2, and others. We can also look at what Jesus, the Apostles, St. Paul, the Church Fathers and the early Christians did to see the truth of this. God sets up human authority because we are better off with authority than without it.
Really?  Show this to be true.

and yes, the bible does says how authorities are to rule.  Which poses a bit of a problem.  Does God know what people will do or not when he chooses them to rule?  If he does, then why does he choose quite a few bastards?  If he doesn’t, how is this god what he’s claimed to be, omniscient and omnipotent?   Is god an idiot, picking people who fail at what he supposedly informs them how to do something?

Quote
Your question is how does that relate to Romans 13:1. Individuals are to submit to authority as St. Paul says. As a side note, that’s not limited to the individuals. As we saw above, kings are to submit to authority as well. If they do not obey God, then they get deposed. St. Paul also says that we are to submit to each other. “And be subject to one another in the fear of Christ” (Ephesians 5:21). In all walks of life, we are to maintain due subordination to those in authority. However, he goes on to enjoin those in authority to use it in a proper manner and gives solemn injunctions that there should be no abuse of power.
And funny how some despots grow to ripe old age and simply die.  Nothing with God getting them there.  Now, will you fall back on the ol’  “but but the afterlife…”?  I find that to be one more salve to a theist who wants to delude themselves into thinking that their god actually does exist.

The problem I have with Romans 13 is that it seems to assume that those in authority know what they are doing and tells believers that they should assume this too.  It comes down to the “divine right of kings”, obey the king since God put the king there.  If God didn’t like what the king was doing, *surely* he’d do something. But God does nothing, and we have pogroms, etc.  This god of yours supposedly kills men for just daring to touch its magic box and it can’t get around to dramatically smiting someone like Hitler, long before millions are dead?  Or killing priests who harm children?  We have JC saying that even thinking about something “bad” is just as bad as the committal.  Where is your god deposing them long before anyone is actually harmed?

No, there is nothing clear from your answer.  It’s just more excuses.  You want to have your cake and eat it too, to have a god that puts *all* authorities into power but not have a god that knows what these people will do or that actually does anything about the power abused.

And it is exactly my point that your bible contradicts itself when it says obey all authority since God put it there and then says “no don’t”.   It can’t be both ways.  Respect does not mean obedience and that’s exactly what Romans 13 requires.  It also requires absolute obedience, and not some quibbling “specific reason”.  You do add a lot to your bible, SC.  There is a chain of command that the bible claims to be in place:

God give power to:
authorities e.g. kings, etc: use this power to rule
average person who are to obey totally since they have nothing to fear from the authorities that this god *appointed*. 

Unless you want to claim that God didn’t know what he was doing when appointing them?  Does this fit better with what you believe?

It also amuses me that you want to claim that “in general” they obeyed.  Which is it, SC?  Obey those who God puts in power over you or not?  Does God appoint people who he would have to know will tell people to supposed disobey the commandments?  And which commandments?  Are Christians now martyrs since they simply “turn the other cheek” and don’t murder homosexuals, those who work on the Sabbath, adulterers, etc, like they should?  Or is it dependent on what commandments the Christian in question has decided that God “really” meant? 
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Offline SimpleCaveman

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Re: Why is Satan invisible like God?
« Reply #255 on: October 24, 2011, 06:04:23 PM »
Hi Hatter23,

First, we assume that the God of the Bible exists. You said. . .
That's the definition of begs the question. So, no, it doesn't help. You just begged the question a whole lot more.
Thanks for trying to help. Unfortunately, you’re missing some of the info. It’s hard to know what’s going on in these discussions if you don’t follow it all the way back.

screwtape had started this part of the discussion with
However, using the Israelites as an example, God guides humanity toward the greater good.
Let me focus on this for a minute.  I'd like to know why you would say this, other than "someone else told you".  I do not see this claim as being even remotely supported by evidence. 
So, you can see we were discussing the question of how or whether God guides humanity toward a greater good, particularly based on what we see in the Bible. So, if we don’t assume that the God of the Bible exists, then there really isn’t anything to talk about.

I hope that clears up the confusion.

Offline SimpleCaveman

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Re: Why is Satan invisible like God?
« Reply #256 on: October 24, 2011, 06:56:48 PM »
Well, your “we” is demonstrably wrong since there are plenty of people who are that ignorant
Just because there are ignorant people doesn’t mean we need science to tell us they’re wrong. The First Law of Thermodynamics tells us about the movement of heat from a higher temperature object to a lower temperature object, but we don’t need it to know that fire burns us when we touch it. And c’mon, I had a smiley face when I said it anyway. Give it a rest now.

Quote
Sure. First, yes, the Bible does tell us that we are to obey authority, since authority comes from God. You mentioned Romans 13 and 1 Peter 2 and those are good examples. As well we have Ecclesiastes 8:2-5, Eccliesiastes 10:4, Proverbs 24:21, 1 Timothy 6:1-2, and others. We can also look at what Jesus, the Apostles, St. Paul, the Church Fathers and the early Christians did to see the truth of this. God sets up human authority because we are better off with authority than without it.
Really?  Show this to be true.
I’m assuming you mean the last sentence. No. You can ignore it and focus on the rest. It doesn’t need to be shown for the logic to follow.

Does God know what people will do or not when he chooses them to rule?  If he does, then why does he choose quite a few bastards? 
Hold on. St. Paul says that we are to obey “authority,” because authority comes from God. Notice what I’m saying. It’s the institution that God set in place, not necessarily the individual people. To say that God put Hitler in power, for example, is ridiculous. That’s an important point because a lot of your comments are based on that. It’s like how the Constitutional Congress put in place the office of President, but don’t put any people in the office. At the same time, I’m not saying that God doesn’t put anyone in power, nor does it mean that He doesn’t use even bad rulers to do good things. I hope that clears the confusion.

Where is your god deposing them long before anyone is actually harmed?
Very good question. I don’t know.

It also amuses me that you want to claim that “in general” they obeyed.  Which is it, SC?  Obey those who God puts in power over you or not? 
I don’t understand why it’s black or white, obey totally or not at all. I made the distinction, and you referenced it too. We obey the commands of men when they don’t contradict the commands of God.

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Re: Why is Satan invisible like God?
« Reply #257 on: October 25, 2011, 09:04:12 AM »
Just because there are ignorant people doesn’t mean we need science to tell us they’re wrong. The First Law of Thermodynamics tells us about the movement of heat from a higher temperature object to a lower temperature object, but we don’t need it to know that fire burns us when we touch it. And c’mon, I had a smiley face when I said it anyway. Give it a rest now.
What a snarky little thing to say, but sadly expected. &)  I do love when you do this, SC.  Yes, we do need science.  That’s what’s being used even if you don’t wish to admit it, the observation and analysis, looking for repeatable events.  We have people who can’t evidently comprehend that considering their actions.  You have yet to support your claim, and I don’t care how many smiley faces you put on a claim, it still needs support.
Quote
I’m assuming you mean the last sentence. No. You can ignore it and focus on the rest. It doesn’t need to be shown for the logic to follow.
Nice dodge, but I call bullshit.  You make the claim, you are expected to support it.  It’s cute to watch you make claims and then when called on them, you won’t support them, making vague appeals to “logic”. If there is support and logic to this claim, you should have no trouble showing it.   
Does God know what people will do or not when he chooses them to rule?  If he does, then why does he choose quite a few bastards? 
Quote
Hold on. St. Paul says that we are to obey “authority,” because authority comes from God. Notice what I’m saying. It’s the institution that God set in place, not necessarily the individual people. To say that God put Hitler in power, for example, is ridiculous. That’s an important point because a lot of your comments are based on that. It’s like how the Constitutional Congress put in place the office of President, but don’t put any people in the office. At the same time, I’m not saying that God doesn’t put anyone in power, nor does it mean that He doesn’t use even bad rulers to do good things. I hope that clears the confusion.
Nope, it doesn’t. Your bible claims this:
Quote
Romans 13: 1 Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. 2 Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. 3 For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and you will be commended. 4 For the one in authority is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for rulers do not bear the sword for no reason. They are God’s servants, agents of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer. 5 Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also as a matter of conscience.
  I see no exceptions for Hitler, or Stalin or Pol Pot, etc.  Read the bold, SC, and tell me what it says.  It says “authorities” nothing about any “institution”. It indicates people. If it didn’t, and said “Let everyone be subject to the governing authority”, then I might grant that you had a point. It doesn’t and you don’t. You’ve made up more things about your bible, how not surprising, ignoring what it says when it shows your religion to be ridiculous, just like every other Christian.  And your analogy fails since again, the verse says “the authorities” nothing about any “institution” again.  You make baseless assumptions, ignoring the actual words.  It’s so funny that Christians like you think we should believe you have any “truth”, making it as you go along as you do.

I do love how you want your cake and eat it too.  Oh, you want to claim that God doesn’t put authorities in power, except when you do. :D  And ah, that usual claim that God uses evil for “good”.  Yep, it was sooooo good that millions of people were killed.  Glad to know you think that, SC.  I’m sure you’ll respond indignantly that you didn’t mean that at all.  Which makes me ask, since you claimed that God can supposed “use” evil for good, what’s the good that comes from genocide and death?  Or is this yet one more “exception” to your claims? 
Where is your god deposing them long before anyone is actually harmed?
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Very good question. I don’t know.
  That’s rather convenient, isn’t it?  You claim to know all sorts of things but when it comes down to why your supposedly omnipotent, omniscient, omnibenevolent god can’t help innocent people, you throw up your hands and say “gee, I don’t know”, but keep believing that this god exists and that it fulfills those properties.  It’s funny how humans, like me and you are so much more good than this god. 

It also amuses me that you want to claim that “in general” they obeyed.  Which is it, SC?  Obey those who God puts in power over you or not? 
I don’t understand why it’s black or white, obey totally or not at all. I made the distinction, and you referenced it too. We obey the commands of men when they don’t contradict the commands of God.
[/quote]
Because one either follows God’s commands or not.  However, since we have contradiction after contradiction, what are those commands, SC?  Do we follow authorities or not?  Does God know what he’s doing or not?  Which laws does God “really” mean for us to still follow?  Can you tell me and not have your list contradict the next Christian down the line? 
"There is no use in arguing with a man who can multiply anything by the square root of minus 1" - Pirates of Venus, ERB

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Offline albeto

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Re: Why is Satan invisible like God?
« Reply #258 on: October 25, 2011, 04:14:08 PM »
Maybe it’s not practical, but I’m surprised we have to do that. You claimed that the Cloyne Report from Ireland shows evidence that the problem of shuttling is an institution-wide policy. Do you know that because you read the report or because you’re taking someone else’s word? If it’s because you read the report, then you can focus on the parts that support your statement. If it’s because you’re taking someone else’s word, then did they give references to the particular parts in the report that support this claim?

If you're interested you can start with Appendix 1 (found on page 347 of the report itself). 

I agree completely. The Church should hold itself to the highest standard, higher than any other institution. The people of God are called to be holy as God is holy.

Which assumes the person for whom the holy spirit has resided would become noticeably more "holy" than one for whom the holy spirit has yet to be invited.  There is no support for this idea, however.

At the same time, the Church is a human institution and it is imperfect.

What is the reason for being obedient to authority if human organizations are imperfect and humans themselves can and do "sin"?  I don't mean practically speaking (obviously, organization works when people do their part), I mean metaphysically, spiritually, what is the practical reason when any authority may or may not be obedient to the holy spirit itself? 

(This is not a defense of or lessening of the sins. Christ stopped the crowd from stoning the woman, but he told her to sin no more.)

Of course it is.  You're now appealing to the idea that people can and do make mistakes, monumental ones even, even if they are devoutly faithful to the god of the church.  On one hand you suggest that people are encouraged to become holy (and I recall from my own catholic days that the church teaches people are offered grace to help with this), on the other hand you suggest that no one is exempt from defying good and doing bad.  So which is it?  The church helps the individual through the sacraments which are the sign and instrument of god's grace, or the church offers the sacraments but the individual still has the same ability to defy that which is good to another and attend to their own gratification?  The instruments of god's grace either work or they don't.  Observations shows they have no functional effect.  Experiments conclude this.  The only thing left is to argue about the merits of these sacraments theologically but that only works when one assumes there is meritorious effect to the sacraments (or faith or the holy spirit or any element of the religion).  In other words, even without begging the question, the argument still relies on   special pleading. 

Let me explain what I mean by special pleading.  You suggest that the christian religion has a functional effect on an individual.  This effect can be accepted or denied ("free will"), but the effect is there for one who chooses.  At the same time, however, you insist that we keep in mind this "free will" concept that will at any time render the functional effect impotent.  Either it works or it doesn't but if you suggest it works and then plead for an exemption ("sin"), that's what I mean by special pleading.  Either way you're starting from the perspective that there is a mystical god who does exist outside our reality but can influence our reality and awaits our invitation to do so.  Even assuming this to be true, the logic falls apart with the special pleading.  I don't mean to harp on the Cloyne Report or the problem of predatory priests, but the point is, if there is a supernatural element to the religion, it would either be apparent or it would not.  If it's not, then there is no functional difference between it an no supernatural element.  Because it makes more sense logically to suggest there is no supernatural element involved, the burden of proof is on the one who claims a supernatural element in the first place (that would be you, friend).  The only way to prove this is to eliminate the assumption that your religious beliefs have merit and show how they do. 

The problem is that some in the Church forgot that higher standard, particularly after Vatican II, and lived more by the relativism of the world. The bishops gave in to modernity by seeking psychological evaluations and treatment for the offenders rather than fully implementing the Codes of Canon Law from 1917. If those codes had been implemented, the shuttling would not have happened. However, many mental health professionals believed that a sexual predator could be reformed with proper treatment and the bishops listened to this instead. Clearly they were wrong. Even after Pope John Paul II promulgated the 1983 Code, which affirmed the importance of the church’s penal order in dealing with cases of sexual abuse of minors by clergy, and society shifted away from psychological response to punitive response, bishops still failed to provide a just legal process when dealing with accusations.

This isn't the problem at all and the bishops gave in to modernity because that's what the scientific community suggested at the time.  For the same reason the bishops "gave in to modernity" by allowing schools to teach evolution as a scientific fact.  The church has not been opposed to scientific discovery since they learned their lesson with Galileo.  Again, if the holy spirit existed to maintain the integrity of the church, these things would have been no matter for an omnipotent god, even while protecting the concept of "free will" and "sin."

What is more important? The truth or attacking the Church?

The church cannot defend itself against the truth, that's why it feels like an attack. 

It shouldn’t have taken that for the Church to “clean house,” but it’s good that it happened. So you agree that actions other than prayer were also taken and are being taken today?

Yes, other actions are being used.  History shows prayer and the sacraments have no functional effect, practical solutions are the only way to resolve practical problems. 

I have not seen authoritative evidence that Pope John Paul II purposefully aided priests who continued to molest children. Can you point me to that?

I'm thinking specifically of the incident in which Pope John Paul II  circulated a letter advocating silence:

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“I congratulate you for not denouncing a priest to the civil administration,” Cardinal Castrillón wrote to Bishop Pierre Pican, who was convicted in France for failing to report sex crimes against children. “You have acted well, and I am pleased to have a colleague in the episcopate who, in the eyes of history and of all other bishops in the world, preferred prison to denouncing his son and priest.”

The cardinal compounded the controversy last week when he said at a conference in Spain that Pope John Paul II had authorized the letter and told him to send it to bishops around the world.

The source is here, but you can find more information in the following articles: 1,2,3,4,5,.

I’m sorry. I’m confused. You say no, but yes, but no. If you don’t want to get into what you mean by free will, that’s fine, but I can tell you that I don’t get into what you mean by free will.

Sorry for the confusion.  By "free will" I don't agree with you that human behavior is actually "free" in the way in which I suppose you mean it to be; the way in which the church teaches.  Instead, I believe behavior is limited to specific choices that depend on internal physics (chemical and neurological mechanics of the organ of the brain) as well as personal experiences.  My child with an autistic spectrum disorder is no more "free" to "choose" to be "good" when solving a problem because his neurology compounds many problem-solving skills.  Of course he is quite able to learn, but without offering multiple experiences in which his problem solving skills are rewarded for complying with our ideal solutions.  You may say this is an exception to the rule but I propose this is the typical way in which humans learn, he simply has a developmental disorder which makes it problematic only because he cannot be expected to solve problems like those of his chronological peers.  People with developmental disorders develop these problem solving skills out of sync with their chronological peers (people with Asperger's generally have the benefit of excellent problem solving skills in the realm of science and math, explaining why they can be brilliant in one area and completely ADD in another).  A child growing up in an abusive home has particular experiences from which to draw, limiting the "choice" to solve problems in such as way as to not create new problems.  And really, that's what "sin" is - the idea that someone's behavior has created a problem for someone else. 

Again I’m confused. I’ll bet there’s a club with t-shirts. :) I’m not saying that the priests who did these things are not Catholics. I’m saying that they were not following the teachings of the Catholic Church. They “broke the law,” so to speak. I don’t see how the No True Scotsman idea isn’t relevant here.

Because part of the catholic faith advocates the idea that the sacraments as well as personal behavior invoke a supernatural effect and this supernatural effect is absent. 

Let me restate what you’re saying to see if I understand. If God existed then he wouldn’t let the priests molest anyone. It doesn’t matter that they have free will. God would have controlled them so that they couldn’t have done it. Is that correct?

I don't think the concept of controlling an individual would be consistent with catholic theology, however, god manipulating the environment such that a child's safety would be ensured is consistent, imo.  God is understood to manipulate the environment all the time, from saving one person's life to making the sun dance for the sake of thousands of people at a time. 

I look forward to continuing the conversation. Have a terrific day.

Thank you, I shall try.  I'm fighting a head cold with a low grade fever so if my post makes no sense I apologize.  I'm too tired to edit it now.  My bad, I know. 

Offline screwtape

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Re: Why is Satan invisible like God?
« Reply #259 on: October 26, 2011, 09:05:24 AM »
Yes, you made that point. And I responded to it. However, I was surprised to see that you barely addressed the relevant points.

I've re-read your post to which I was responding.  It appears I did not address the following:
  • people who confess and take communion can have an easier time not repeating their sins
  • We have to continually go deeper in our relationship with God
  • If a person doesn’t go to confession and communion, then they will likely do that.
  • yes, we do seem to be able to become deadened to the wonder of the Eucharist

I did not think they were major points that needed addressing, but since you seem interested, I will. 

You qualified on the communion thing, saying it "can"make it easier.  I do not disagree with that.  But that does not make the that there is anything mystical or supernatural going on.  It is just as easily explained by the placebo effect.  Or the fact that you have a weekly reminder and focus for introspection and self improvement.  If the latter, I do not think that is a bad habit, though I have always found the idea of telling a virgin in a booth all my shortcomings to be...weird. I am not sure if it was a post to you where I talked about my secular prayer, but it is along the same idea.

A deeper relationship with god.  I do not know what that means.  I do not know how to become more intimate with something that is completely alien, inscrutable, silent and allegedly lives "outside time and space".  When I was a believer, I prayed and prayed and never got a sense of god's presence.  One night was praying[1] and I thought "no one is listening to me.  No one is hearing my prayers.  I am on my knees talking to myself.  I am an idiot."  If god was present in my life, he kept it completely hidden from me.  In other words, there was no relationship.  I did not have a partner.  Because of that, I was a deist for a year or three.

No confession = repeat sin or do new sins?  I am not sure which you mean here.  It seems related to the first point I addressed.

Eucharist tolerance.  I'm not sure what to say.  We seem to agree, though we disagree on cause.

If there was anything I missed, let me know.

Point taken. I’m very glad to hear that. How do you know it’s not because of grace?

Why would I think it was?  I've not been to confession or eaten jesus in over 20 years. When I was practicing, it was impressed on me that a weekly dose of jesus was absolutely imperative.  If my last communion has been holding me over this long, then it is less like heroin -where I need a weekly fix - and more like a tetanus shot - a booster that is only necessary every couple of decades.

Plus, I have failed in the first, most important commandment - not only do I not love yhwh, not only do I not believe yhwh exists, I believe that if the bible is accurate, he's not a very nice guy and does not live up to his own morals.  I would not worship such a god.  I would say that is one strong indicator that the holy spirit has failed me.


Technically, it’s a miracle, which comes from God, and not magic, which doesn’t.

Same thing, different source.  Hocus pocus is hocus pocus, whether the guy doing it is wearing a pentagram, and ankh or a cross.

But that’s not the point. You didn’t address the point.

Was the point this: "We have to cooperate with grace."?  I thought that was addressed when I said "kind of like prayer plus aspirin cures a headache".   Or am I confusing posts? 
 

The Gift of Knowledge is a perfection of the human mind

I don't know what "perfection of the human mind" means.

when we judge human or created things in relation to God.

I don't understand what that means.

When operative it is concerned with differentiating between what is and is not consistent with Faith.

That sounds a lot like fizixgeek's "small quiet voice".  He's a mormon and he believes that the holy spirit talks to people who pray.  It is one of their doctrines that every white man is a prophet of varying ability.  So according to him, the HS guides him like Spider Sense or The Force.  His problem, as well as yours, is when two people who are both pious and more or less indistinguishable to an outsider, come to different conclusions via the HS. 

When I was practicing, I came to the conclusion that the OT was unreliable and not to be taken too seriously.  I decided this because of the Eden story, Noah's flood, Jonah, etc.  All the old stories that sound like Mother Goose.  And, if I recall rightly, that is also in line with the Vatican's teaching.  That is, Genesis etc are not to be taken too literally.  Catholics are not biblical literalists or inerrantists.  However, my sweet old Granny is a literalist.  Even when I explained to her why she shouldn't be, and that the Smirking Pope[2] agreed with me, she was recalcitrant.

How is that possible?  We both confessed and took communion.  We were both ostensibly full of the holy spirit which would have helped guide us to the right conclusion.  Yet we came to a radically different conclusions on a matter of faith.

That is just one example between two people.  I bet if you sampled catholics across the country you would get radically different ideas on just about every topic of faith.  I don't even know how many of the catholics from Mexico and Central America are considered catholic.  They are practically polytheistic pagans.  Are they not guided by the HS?

You had said “What knowledge have you received from communion?” If I have received any the Gift of Knowledge, it would be that kind.

I don't think I could fairly respond to this since I said above I don't really understand what you are trying to say.

Prove it.

I talked about it a bit above when talking about grace.  But I am not sure why I should have to prove something like that.  I have no reason to believe in the HS in the first place.  But, I'll make a deal, you prove you are not under the control of invisible goblins who dwell behind traffic signs, and I will prove I am holy spirit free.

I hope you have the courage to question whether there were gaps in what you were taught, in what you learned, or what you remember.

Of course.  I'm a scientist.  I must have the humility to say "I don't know it all" to call myself that.  I am sure that even when I was practicing I didn't know it all and some of what I thought I knew was wrong. 

And, in general, what happens to those “shitty people?

They were often rewarded. 

Abraham, who was willing to murder his son[3], who constantly screwed over pharoahs - rewarded.
Jacob, who was a pathological con-man, who screwed over his brother and father in law[4]- rewarded.
Joseph's brothers, who sold him into slavery - rewarded.
David, who was as big a scumbag as you will ever find - rewarded.
 
No, the message of the Bible is overwhelmingly one of doing good for others.

I disagree.  That is the most minor of themes in the OT.  It is all about how the jews are yhwh's darlings  despite their constant infidelity and wickedness.  In fact, the major recurring theme of the OT is that Others exist only as a prop for the jews.  They are either there to be defeated, thus demonstrating yhwh's goodness and glory, or they are there as tools of yhwh to punish the chronically impious jews. There is never a point where the hebrews are commanded to make friends with a non-jewish neighbor.  yhwh was not a universal god. 

And as the Bible goes on, that is as the Jews mature as a people, that message gets even clearer.

I don't see it.  In the book The Evolution of God, the author, Wright, talks about how and why religions changed.  Islam began similar to xianity.  Mohammed preached peace and patience and to accept ridicule and to shower your enemies with love.  But that was when he was a powerless outcast.  Once he got power he was all about beheading the infidels.  In other words, his ideology was formed by the situation on the ground.   

The religion changed to suit the geopolitics.  Judaism got "better" because the people had a different set of needs due to different social and political circumstances.  They behaved like blood thirsty barbarians because they were trying to be a conquoring nation.  When their kingdom was crushed, their temple burned, it humbled them.  They had to adapt to being exiles. This was real politik, not holy spirit.  And I feel confident in saying that because xianity and islam followed the same predictable paths. 

Slavery in this country was not abolished because of a united xian effort.  Rather, xianity was a tool for either side and once one side won out, xianity followed.  Even today we see religion following society, not leading it.  Gays will eventually have full civil rights in this country.  But right now religion is on the fence, but mostly for the status quo.  Once the fight is over, mainstream xianity will change to accomodate the social reality.

If you believe in natural explanations at all, you will see there is no holy spirit required.  Not only that, but because religion is not at the vanguard of all these social changes, it can be noted that if the HS had anything to do with these moral improvements, it did so by avoiding the most religious people.  Fundadmentalists are by definition against change.

Until we get to the time of Jesus and His message is overwhelmingly clear. That’s the whole point of the discussion from which you branched us.

I am not a NT expert.  I gave up on religion when I learned what an obvious fraud the OT was.  If the OT was garbage, and the NT was built on it, then it too was garbage even if it said some nice things.  From what I have read of the NT, jesus is an inconsistent character who said different things, none of them particularly original or new.  In fact, the basic idea of "love your neighbor" stems from the golden rule, which dates back to Hammurabi (1780 BCE) or even Egypt (2040 BCE), both of which predate judaism.

If you are going to claim that the holy spirit move the babylonians and egyptians to come up with that, before anyone had even thought up a "holy spirit", well, you've got a tough row to hoe to convince me.

The first reason is that one way that God has increased the greater good is through the programs of the Catholic Church,

But you originally cited the bible as the document of how god lead people to the greater good.  My point was, the bible does not show that.  The bible is chock full of examples of yhwh intentionally undermining my idea of the greater good.

You can’t say show me where God has increased the greater good and then ignore the programs that act in His name.

I think I can for two reasons.  First, the bible as evidence was part of the original point of discussion. Second, "done in his name" is tacit admission that it was not "done by him".  If people do the work but god gets the credit, where does that stop?  Is it only for actions you consider good?  Because it seems to me that if you want to say god is moving people to do x, y, z good things, then you have to show me how you know he is not also motivating a, b, c horrifically bad things.

However, if you want to limit the discussion to “reading of scripture,” then we I have no qualms about doing so.

I think that is probably the way to go since that was the original conversation.

Personally though, I think we've gone about as far with this as we can.  I've made my point, given examples and argued it as best I can.  You aren't buying it.  I don't know what more can be said. 
 1. for what I cannot remember, but most likely for a sign.  I was always looking for signs.
 2. john paul 2
 3. and probably did, in earlier versions of the story
 4. just for starters
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Offline screwtape

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Re: Why is Satan invisible like God?
« Reply #260 on: October 26, 2011, 09:57:46 AM »
I do not agree with your statement. The Bible teaches us that God has given us the foundation upon which technology and science are built. Here are three points, based on the Bible and reason, that support that statement.
  • God made us with amazing reason and intelligence. It’s this that allows us to investigate the world around us, create things, solve advanced problems, etc.

It depends what you mean by "made us".  I do not see god as making people.  I see people being made through mundane biological processes that follow natural laws.  If for the sake of the conversation we are assuming god made the prototypes - Eve and Adam - then I would disagree that god made us with amazing reason and intelligence to investigate the world and solve problems.  yhwh made them to be obedient, not independent thinkers or morally self-guided.  In Eden there would have been no problems to solve, nothing to investigate.  Problems to be solved did not arise until yhwh kicked them out.  Investigation - ie asking questions - was not on yhwh's agenda for them and probably would have led to the toughest question - "why?"

  • God made the universe intelligible to our minds. There is nothing, without God, that says that the universe has to be something we can understand. If it wasn’t, then we wouldn’t get very far, scientifically speaking.

That does not establish as fact your claim that "goddidit".  Maybe we don't understand it.  I often think that is the case.  And if we are sticking with scripture, it is apparently agnostic on this topic.

  • God makes each individual person and gives them gifts that they are to use for the good of humanity. God gave Einstein his genius, Picasso his creativity, Alexander the Great his military strategy, etc.

Going back to the first point (and my previous post), I obviously object to this point.  If you are saying god controls everything, makes all things happen, then science is out the window.  There is a philosophical school in islam that took over the whole religion.  It said trying to do science was not just pointless, but heretical, because everything is controlled by god.  It said because that was so, it could change at any moment at his whim. 

I reject this philosophy.  I believe we are the way we are because of genetics and experience.  Even when I was practicing I did not believe god meddled in those things.  I could hit a baseball because my DNA created a body that had good eyesight, the ability to track fast moving objects, good eye-hand coordination and a skeleto-muscular system that could handle a bat.  Plus, I practiced like crazy. No god involved.  Why would he be?  I have to say, I absolutely hate it when I see athletes give "glory to god" when the score a touchdown or hit a home run.  As if god gives a rat's ass about you and your stupid game.

If you are the way you are - have the "gifts" you have - because god is selecting which sperm and egg cells are paired, then you reject any kind of adherence to what we call scientific laws. It means you think - as the ancient hebrew priests did - that you can determine the will of god by rolling a die[1] or casting lots, because those actions are not governed by physics or psychology, but by the hand of god.

The bible is conflicted on this matter. In some cases it does say that god is the great conductor of the universe.  Yet it also requires free will, which is not possible if we are just meat puppets. That is because the bible was written by men who did not have our understanding of science or philosophy.  It is terribly out dated in that regard.

Do you disagree that these points are based on the Bible and reason, assuming the God of the Bible exists?

yes.  I think even assuming biblegod, it is sufficiently confused on these matters to return a verdict of "not decided".

Do you disagree that without these three things science and technology would not be possible?

no.

Relatively speaking yes, I do. As St. Paul said, “I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord.” On the other hand, assuming technology’s right place in the order of things, then YES! I agree with you completely. Science and technology are wonderful things  that do contribute to our greater good.

Well, that's progress, I guess.

But isn’t science and technology amoral?

I am of mixed mind on that.  On one hand I say "yeah, so what?"

On the other, secular humanism is based in science.  So, kind of no. 

Though, technology, certainly is amoral.

Isn’t it more accurate to say something like “Science and technology can greatly contribute to the greater good when they are used by people and societies who are good. Science and technology can bring about evil when they are used by people who are not good, or when they are used without an understanding of their power or side effects.”

I agree with that.
 1. or Thummim and Urim
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