Hi kaziglu bey,
And if your son were to describe those conversations would he see them in the same way you do? I assume he’s pretty bright, but he probably doesn’t understand why you do all the things you do and he probably sees your interactions from a different perspective.
This is likely true. Of course his perception of it is different than mine, how could it not be? The difference is that my son actually has the opportunity to ask questions and get immediate feedback. I'm also not in a position that I have to justify all of the heinous acts committed by God. Nor is my son being threatened with eternal suffering if he does not immediately and unquestioningly accept what I say. I encourage him to ask questions to be sure that he understands what is going on. He is pretty bright, and I think that challenging him a bit in reasonable ways (and not by ordering him to kill someone to show his obedience). He has a remarkably strong grasp of language for his age, a good vocabulary, and even has a pretty sharp wit to him already. He's able to see through a lot of BS, and has a skeptical and inquiring mind. He trusts me and listens to me, and I rarely have any behavioral issues with him. He gets compliments from people all of the time as to how well mannered, polite and well spoken he is. He often thinks of others, and is willing to share things and help others out without any thought for himself. All of this without the threats and violence that God uses. All without even having a belief in God forced upon him, or being taught that religion is necessary for morality and good.
Two other things to think about. . . If I want my kids to really learn something, then I’ll let them try it their way, figure out the problems with it and then talk them through a better way. Also, I allowed my son when he was 2 to “act out” in ways that were unacceptable at 15. We see these kinds of things in the Bible, but on a grander scale.
There's quite a difference between tolerating a two year old tantrum vs a 15 year old tantrum, and ordering people to throw a tantrum, ad even having tantrums yourself (God) and ORDERING the “2 year old” Israelites to do horrible and atrocious things. Please tell me how a two year old throwing a fit because they can't get a toy on the trip to the store today is equivalent to the Israelites following God's orders to slay the Amalekites. The parent may put up with the tantrum, but they certainly haven't commanded their 2 year old to have a tantrum. Whereas God routinely demands death, rape, destruction and violence. He's nnot just putting up with it. He is saying that it is a necessary part of his plan. “A 2 year old throwing tantrums” is not a necessary part of a trip to the store. This is not a minor difference. It also does not serve to explain why God, as the loving father figure, didn't do more to help cure them of their ignorance and need for violence, instead of encouraging these behaviors to thrive.
Look at what you say again and tell me that’s not contradictory. If you are not all powerful, all seeing or all knowing, then how are you at all qualified to judge someone who is?
Seeing as when Adam and Eve allegedly ate from the tree, they gained knowledge of Good and Evil, to such an extent that God actually fears that if they eat from the tree of life, they will become all powerful. If I, as an allegedly descendent of Adam, are possessed of such knowledge, I think I am perfectly right to judge God.
Additionally, if God says that you shouldn't kill, this would presumably be because God thinks that killing is immoral. Yet it is his choice method of dealing with everything. His own personal creation irretrievably screwed up? Kill em ALL, except some really old drunk and his family. That means, that given all of the options available to an Omnimax God, God CHOOSES the ones that he himself deems as evil. I don't see how that could ever be misconstrued as Good or Loving or moral. I am not questioning God's judgment, in a sense anyways, I am only asking that he reserve the same (or more strict, considering the vast power difference) judgment for his own actions. A father doesn't tell his son that killing is wrong, and then take him to the mall with a gun and start shooting people and putting a gun in the son's hand and telling him to kill people too. I think it's only fair to expect at least the same from “God the Father”. If we can't reserve similar judgment for God as we would any father, then you should refrain from using the analogy or making any such comparison altogether.
Let’s use the father analogy again (even though I am far from perfect). Suppose I am truly a good and loving father and I tell my 2 year old son that he can’t have something he wants or that he has to do something in a particular way different than the way he wants. How is he qualified to judge my parenting? He’s not and the distance between God and us is infinitely farther than between my son and me.
If your parenting is far from perfect, who is he NOT to judge your parenting? Though you could certainly be in the right, suppose you say “Let's go outside and play”and he screams “NO!!!” and tell him not to contradict you. The problem is that you are facing away from the window, and looking towards it, and he can see the bear wandering around outside. I realize that is a rather extreme and unlikely example, but lets extend the God as Father analogy, if you commanded your son to kill people, and told him that it was his destiny to do so, and that he would take their land and their women my any means of violence necessary, would you expect him to do that without question? That is what God the Father asked his “2 year old children” to do. Again, if we can not reserve the same judgment for God as we would for a good father, then don't use the analogy.
Are you talking about Jesus? I thought you understood Catholic teaching. Please at least argue against an accurate representation of the Catholic teaching.
I'll admit that I am a little lost. I'm quite sure that the Catholic Church teaches that God sent his only son to die for us. I really am not sure how I am missing the mark there.
Hmm, let’s not rehash where we’ve already been. Please look at the bottom of this post again. It was a violent and brutal world in ways that are foreign to us. You can’t judge that world by our standards. That’s like judging my 2 year old by the standards of a 20 year old.
I can if the standards are set and commanded by God. His 2 year old people behaved exactly the way he told them to behave. If Jesus is God version 2.0, why not have another update? It's been a few thousand years, just like before. God told his two year old children to kill people, to take their land, to rape their women. It's not a random standard, it's a standard that God set, and a standard that the Church has stubbornly refused to abandon. Sure, Pope John Paul II made a whole bunch of apologies for the reprehensible behavior of the Church over the millenia, but the problem is, they were saying the whole time that they knew God's will and was acting it out, and violently punished and oppressed anyone who dared to question their authority. Why would any thinking person think that now, all of a sudden, after having gotten it wrong since Constantine, they suddenly really are in tune with God's will? The Catholic Church got a lot of things wrong over a long period of time, and continue to get things wrong, even today (like, telling people in Africa,, where millions are infected with AIDS, that condom use increases the risk of AIDS). That was from the current dictator of Vatican City. To quote Stephen Fry:”What is the point of the Catholic Church if it says “Well we couldn't know any better because nobody else did”. THEN WHAT ARE YOU FOR!?!?!?” Note that a lot of the evil things that the Catholic Church did, like burning people alive for being “witches” or “heretics” or torturing and killing people in other ways, as well as slavery, maltreatment of women, killing infidels, conquering the Americas, was all down to the teachings of the Bible and it was certainly used as justification for all of these things, which the Church supported in God's name.
First off, the story of Job (which is a literary composition and not meant as a transcript of historical events and conversations) does not violate the idea of the covenant. If Job were an Israelite, (cf Ez 14:14, 20) then he would fall under the covenant (which covenant by the way? Maybe you’re talking about the Davidic covenant? I'll assume so.), but the covenant does not address the situation of Job one way or another.
I have examined the link you posted. It asserts, as you do, that it is not meant to be taken as a literal account of any historical event. I have to ask, on what basis is this assertion made? At what point in Job does it say “Disclaimer: This story is meant as a metaphor only, and is not meant to be taken literally?” If it does not say that, how do we establish that it is so? I can see the problem you pose, and I concede that Job is not an Israelite, and so had no covenant with God, but I think that this poses a bigger problem, in that someone who has not even entered into a covenant with God, and is not among his chosen people, would be considered by God himself to be “perfect and upright, and one that feared God, and eschewed evil” as well as “this man was the greatest of all the men of the east”. A man more perfect, righteous, and dutiful in his worship of God than any of God's personally chosen people? And this is the guy that God decides to mess with, just so he might have the possibility of undeserved praise? Guess you're damned if you do, damned if you don't. I really don't think that demonstrates a loving father either. I wouldn't kill the rest of my son's family just to see if he will would still like me after the fact.
On the other hand, the story of Job does go along with what we’ve been discussing above. Job teaches the Israelites about the suffering of innocent people when their thinking was the opposite, i.e. that if a person suffers it was because they sinned. Yes, God does say that he can do “whatever he wants” (as you put it) because he is God who created everything. It’s the lesson that you and I are discussing.
So, in other words, God is entirely free to do evil stuff, and get away with it, because, hey, he's God, man. If he feels like using you for a guinea pig in one of his cruel experiments, yay God!
“The lesson is that even the just may suffer here, and their sufferings are a test of their fidelity. They shall be rewarded in the end. Man’s finite mind cannot probe the depths of the divine omniscience that governs the world. The problems we encounter can be solved by a broader and deeper awareness of God’s power, presence and wisdom.” (New American Bible)
Just people may indeed suffer, but that doesn't mean that we should cause or permit it that to happen, which is precisely what God did.
My own experience.
I am not going to tell you about your experiences, suffice to say that the reason being obvious, I can't know anything about them. However, I think that given specifically that nature, you ought to realize that “your experience” is not a very useful tool to me or anyone besides you in determining the validity of the claim “God is love”. You seem to want me to take your experience entirely on faith that it means what you think it means, and you should know that I just can't really do that.
Ignoring the particular spin you put on the story, I agree that (in a different way than you describe) what the Bible says God wants does in some ways change from the Old Testament to the New, and even from the beginning of the Old Testament to the end. You say it’s because God changes. I say it’s because the people changed and God’s interaction with them changed accordingly. Just as my 2 year old becomes a man and my relationship with him changes.
But as I've said before, the 2 year old children were only doing what God told them to do. It wasn't just God putting up with their behavior because they didn't know any better. He told them to do it. Again, this is not a minor distinction.
We spent quite a while in this thread discussing free will. I don’t want to re-hash what we’ve done. We have free will and I gave clear explanations of why. So far people ignore the explanations and find something else to bring up. I’m sure they didn’t do it to purposefully avoid the topic. That’s just how people are here. Except for some individuals there’s no interest in actually debating a topic to come to a conclusion or at least a mutual understanding. People just want to argue. I could say the sky was blue and they’d argue the point. See the other posts here about Genesis and science, as an example. If you want to go back to those earlier posts about free will and start this conversation from there, we can do that.
I think you are slightly confused as to what I am saying. I am referring to Eph.1:4-5 "He hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: Having predestined us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will." Based on this, free will is pretty meaningless, since those who were to be called to him were predestined before the foundation of the world. It is a bold, but unambiguous statement. Naturally, I'm guessing that means that it should not be taken literally.
If that’s what the Bible was actually saying, then yes, that would be a very strong issue for me. But the Bible is not like the “Wrath of the Titans.” God does not punish out of spite or envy, he punishes us for disobeying him.
What of the “two year old” people in the OT who were punished by God? I thought he was more tolerant back then and was only going along with the standards of the day? Should a loving father punish a 2 year old as severely as God does for disobedience, when they couldn't have known any better?
He has many, many reasons to wipe us off the face of the earth and start over because of our recurring disobedience against him, both as a race and as individuals.
I think you are missing the point though. Why is that that violence, as in “wiping us off the face of the earth” an acceptable punishment for beings who were created by God and expected to follow standards that God himself can't live up to? If God thinks that killing is bad enough to be one of his Big 10 Commandments, why is it his preferred method for dealing with disobedience? Furthermore, if this God as a Father figure is one that we should try to live up to, why is it that killing is not your preferred method of dealing with disobedience?
However, each time he corrects us and builds us up again.
Except for when he did destroy nearly everyone and everything. But I guess that the cruel euphemism “corrects us and build us up again” makes it easier to justify God's cruelty and vengefulness.
He even goes so far as to come to earth himself to make things right.
With a human sacrifice. Really not surprising, considering the Viking Berserker level of blood lust displayed by God. Only through more unnecessary suffering and death can God “make things right”.
I realize our previous conversation was over two months (my fault) so staying with the conversation is tough. I have to go back and look at six different posts to catch up with what each piece of this post is referring to! We’ve been over this one before. The last place we left this was me asking why Mt 5:21-22 (posted here) doesn’t cover “any form of violence”. You then said here “Not being angry with someone does not mean ‘don’t rape them’.”
However, if rape is an act of violence, as you agree, and the verse from Matthew takes “Thou shall not kill” even to the level of not being angry with one’s brother, then that commandment does cover rape. Frankly, I’m not sure why you’re still arguing this.
Because it certainly didn't mean that in the OT. God's children in the OT are ordered to kill, rape and steal. I have a hard time accepting that is what it means, when in the context of when the commandment was actually given, that was clearly not what it meant. If we do better than that now, it's because we have turned away from God's teachings, from his commands to kill nonbelievers, and take their virgins as war booty. If morality comes from God, which I am guessing you would probably assert that it does, then it shouldn't be changing depending on what PEOPLE think is right and wrong. God established rules beginning in the OT, and only through the enlightenment and secular/scientific advances have we been able to rise above the primitive drudgery of the Bible.
Anyone know why my footnote shows up here ^^^^ instead of at the bottom of the post? Is it because it’s so long?
I am afraid I don't have an answer for that one, never incurred such a problem before myself.
You know, one of these days I’d like to do a bit of reverse role-playing. I would play the atheist role and someone else play the Catholic role. I’ll bet that no one I’ve met yet could convincingly play the Catholic role. Not because they disagree with it – I disagree with the atheist role, but can do it convincingly – but because no one so far has shown that they know the Catholic position. Albeto has come the closest on a couple of things, but even that was off the mark.
Again I admit that I am not sure what you mean. IF you could please point out to me what part of Catholic teaching I am getting wrong, I would be happy to correct myself, however I am going based on what I learned at the RC church I was raised in. If it somehow deviates from the norm, I am not aware of it, seeing as it is not some fringe, schismatic Catholic Church, but part of an official diocese.
Hmmm, can we stay on topic? If you’re tired of the topic or something, just say that. Honestly, chasing others all around is only fun for a while.
Completely lost as to how Jesus, Jewish people or God would be off topic in a conversation about Christianity.
Again, you’re going off topic. Let me just say that God’s promises were thought of in a worldly way, but he meant them in a greater way. They were looking for someone to save them from their earthly oppressors and give them a promised land on earth.
Yes, that is precisely what God promised them, and indeed destined them to, in the OT. The OT doesn't mention a thing about what you say next.
He was sending someone to save them from their eternal oppressors (sin and death) and give them a promised land for eternity. It’s not God that changes, it’s us.
No, because suddenly a violent exit from this life is not Good enough, and Jesus has to come to give us the wonderful opportunity of eternal suffering. Just as God liked the idea of undeserved praise for himself, he had to make that undeserved praise never ending, or else eternal suffering and pain and torment. Are these the choices a loving father gives his children?
I don’t want to go on with these many, many topics in each post, especially if we’re re-hashing old points. You’re very good to talk to, but they take way too long. I realize I am to blame as well. However, I don’t want to do it going forward. I’ll let you pick one to respond to and we’ll go forward with that.
Just one? Couldn't do it sorry, especially since I read through and replied to everything before I read this last part
I think it is suffice to say that there are a few things (the ones I suspect that you think we are re-hashing) that I just simply disagree with you about, and you with me, and I am not sure that such a point will be reconciled, so we should each assume that the opponent holds that position.