-Snip- A story that could have had a happier ending if he had just given the new kids on the planet a chance to mature and kept the frickin' snake out of the garden.
seems to me A and E had it pretty good...living in perfection and instructed to not eat from just one specific tree. It's not as though they were being asked to suck lemons 24/7 whilst surrounded by good things which were forbidden.
Do you not see that in your own behaviour? I know I do. Just want that little bit more.
Okay, now this is where it becomes very hard to have a conversation. Anything that your god does is okay by you, because you do not have a the temerity to question him. Hence when I question him, you let yourself off scott free by saying we can't do that because he's god. And that satisfies you. While driving me up the wall.
As an atheist, constantly perplexed by the beliefs of religion, attitudes like this are hard to swallow. But of course my perspective is very different than yours. I assume that there is no god, and hence questioning motives is actually a device to help me figure out why people would make up such a story. You, on the other hand, fully accepting the story as true, are in no position to question anything about your god. This makes conversation difficult.
This is not a problem with a solution. We can of course simply accept each other's POV and say the heck with it, but both of us are participating in a forum dedicated to just such topics. And when nothing gives on either side, the only course of action readily available is angry rhetoric, terse words and lots of all-caps yelling.
Well, I hope there are alternatives, but it isn't going to be easy. But I'll try.
I know you don't like questioning your god, but I cannot hear the Adam and Eve story without questioning the motives of your god. I of course don't think he exists in the first place, but if he does, WTF was he thinking?
He's omnipotent. He knows what will happen.
He creates two humans who have no life experience, no experience with the concept of right vs. wrong, two humans who are presumably naive about everything (Adam was probably spending most of his time trying to figure out why god insisted that he name all the animals so quickly. Eve was probably trying to figure out why she was only going to be mentioned four times in the story, and a bit jealous about getting second billing.) And in the midst of their confusion they were saddled with the task of making one decision. And they blew it.
So now here we are, supposedly 6-10,000 years later and you're a big time sinner. Not because you ate all the cookies and didn't share with your siblings, not because you sped on your motorcycle, not because you hit on some guy's wife, but because many thousands of years ago two neophytes broke the only rule on the planet, and condemned you and every other human on the planet to a life as a poor wretch. That has to sing "Amazing Grace" on a regular basis as a constant reminder of that flaw.
Does any christian ever put themselves in Adam and Eve's barefoot non-shoes and ask if they would have behaved differently? Since the bible doesn't say how long the two were galavanting around the garden before biting the big one, I've no way of knowing if it was three days or three years. I googled it, and the best guess I could find was "not very long".
Imagine yourself as Adam. At the end of the first week. You're trying to remember which critter was the platypus and trying to recall what it was you did that caused Eve to get all sweet and stuff a couple of nights ago because whatever that was that you two did together was great. You are nowhere near used to being a human, and are really really trying to figure out what is going on. Then god shows up and says "by the way, don't eat of that tree right over there…"
The only negatives you have experience with at that point is stubbing your toe and getting rebuffed by Eve because she had something called a "headache", whatever that was. But the word "don't" wasn't really in your vocabulary because there wasn't a need for it (not counting Eve). And yet you were tasked with the job of paying really really close attention to that thing that god said that didn't seem to apply to your reality all that well because well, you didn't know sh*t about anything yet. Except that somewhere out there in the bushes was a platypus and you still weren't sure which furry thing it was.
Then Eve, very conveniently a female, does the wrong dirty deed. Adam says to himself "Crap, why didn't I tell god a sheep was just fine as my helpmate instead of picking this chick?" But then, in hopes of getting laid a second time, he says what the heck and eats of the tree as well.
And for this you suffer.
And your god knew it would happen. He had to. He's god. And he didn't change a single detail, a single requirement, a single thing. He let it happen, then got mad. To be more accurate, he made it happen, then got mad.
And you're impressed. I just don't get it.
None of this affects me. I'm bad because Pandora let evil out of the box. What a stupid bitch. It's all her fault. But don't hang this original sin thing on me. It's a silly story.
Do you know why people are bad. Because for some silly reason, not every human being on earth will do exactly what you want them to do. That is the source of evil. And what is evil to you is different than what is evil to me because my expectations are different that yours. And while we both certainly agree that man who skilled 85 kids and adults at a summer camp in Norway last summer was evil, we may not agree on other things. I may not like people who drive 20 miles per hour over the speed limit and think them as evil. You might drive 20 miles an hour over the speed limit and think idiots who drive slow are evil. So in some cases, it is absolute. In other cases relative. But we humans create and endure evil because we are not all of one mind. Not because of some atypical, bellybuttonless pairing of proto-humans.
Your book has men in fish bellies, the feeding of many with small amounts of food... -Snip-.
All of these events demonstrate the great themes of the bible, that God is great and cannot tolerate sin but is also merciful and loves His creation. Of course, it's the not being able to tolerate sin which gets folk hot under the collar, because they refuse to concede that they might possibly need to account to somebody like God.
I am a little confused about something. You are not free to judge your god, yet you judge him to be loving. Or more properly, you judge his statement that he loves you to be accurate without requiring any corroborating information. And you call this an absolute. Or use it as an absolute. He is automatically incredible, and we're automatically sinners, and yet a twain shall meet, sometime, whenever he feels like it, and you're cool with that.
But just to be clear. I do not refuse to concede that I might possibly need to account to somebody like a god. There is nothing to concede too. I behave in generally acceptable ways because I like being a good human being and prefer being appreciated over being an a**hole. My atheism doesn't have a thing to do with rejecting or otherwise denying a god that I secretly or otherwise think actually exists.
Admittedly, if he does exist I think he's a dork on his good days and a full fledged expletive on his bad ones. But since I'm as sure as I'm allowed to be that he doesn't, it's not an issue. I'm not impressed with the minds that made him up and touted him as top dog though. What arrogant pricks.
Can you see why there are those of us who, seeing no direct evidence of a god and see direct parallels between the christian stories and the non-christian stories of a thousand civilizations might not give the tale the weight you do?
Sort of PP. There are of course many variables in everybodies exposure to the bible and to the world generally. My brother takes great pleasure in pointing out to me that if I had been born in China chances are i wouldn't be a Christian. And he may well be right....but I don't see how it changes the way i look at things now. I believe God is real, and the fact that others apparently don't has never been compelling to me, although it does sadden me.
It doesn't make sense to me in the sense that God states quite clearly in Romans that men are without excuse when it comes to their attitude to God. I do find that difficult to reconcile with those who flat out claim they have simply never once had even the slightest feeling that God is the real deal.
Mind you, that sort of 'never even had an inkling' type of atheist seems to be pretty rare. On these boards you seem to be one of the few who might fit in that category.
As per romans, men are without excuse when it comes to their attitude towards god.
I don't have an attitude towards god because he doesn't exist. I do have an attitude towards christians who believe he does. It is not necessarily unfriendly or mean, but lets just say I'm not impressed. I dismiss your god just as easily as I dismiss the hindu god loki or the Pueblo god awonawilona. How you too can dismiss loki and awonawilona, and still see your own as real will confound me til the day I die. But no longer. I don't want you to worry about me after that.
Can you understand that those of us who have experienced life sans god are not any worse off. Can you understand that in my half a century as an atheist I have suffered no major horrible events while many dozens of my christian friends and aquaintences have had to endure or died because of a huge assortment of tragedies. If there isn't at least some tiny hint of an advantage in being christian, where is the appeal?
Christianity differes from every other faith in that regard. It doesn't say that being a Christian in this lifetime gets you any special privilges, in fact it really says the opposite.
-Snip_ (trying to shorten this response a bit. I'm only responding to this one part.)
Obviously other christians have told me otherwise. You are at least being honest by not promising something that can't be delivered. That is appreciated. You will suffer just a little less though, because your response kept me from going off into soliloquy land on the subject. See, aren't you happier already?
I chalk the differences in peoples lives, the good and the tragic, to the luck of the draw, not the beliefs of the person whose children died or died a painful death of bone cancer. I am undoubtably due for my own death, and it might be quick or might be as bad or worse than any I have witnessed. But I've gone an awfully long time doing just fine for a sinner.
I don't want to belabour the point or be accused of a Pascal wager point of view, but the 62 odd years you have lived is kind of not much in the context of eternity.
If eternity were relevant to my life, you would be right. But it is a non-issue. The me that is typing this now isn't even that old. Virtually all of my cells are replaced every seven years, so the living being I am right now isn't the same one that would have typed messages to a different you seven years ago. And the memories in my mind are inaccurate all over the place, just like everyone else's. So the me that I value is mostly a figment of my temporary imagination, and even if this body appears to last longer than another seven years, this particular me won't be there to enjoy it.
Lets just say I'm not feeling particularly intelligently designed right about now.
Because what he has done up to this point is obviously pretty ineffective. Because it hasn't touched me.
It has, you know the gospel message, although I encourage you to read all the NT as well. You choose to not beleive it, for a variety of reasons, but that doesn't make the message ineffective. It makes you free to make decisiosn and accountable for them.
I also know the message of some obscure Siberian group's origin story. I forget the details, because they were all in a college paper I wrote 40 years ago, but it involved seven worlds stack atop one another, and was really pretty cool. But it was no more real to me than your story. One that I cannot reconcile with reality in any way, shape or form.
the Greek god dionysus was born on December 25th of a virgin mother and was a great teacher and then was killed, and he rose from the dead. Over a thousand years before your jesus. Is your god so omnipotent that he forget to be original? Maybe he didn't notice the story of Eqypt's horus, who was born 3,000 years earlier to a mother named Meri, and who's stepfather was Jo-Seph. And his birth was heralded by a star.
This is called a pattern. A cultural meme that survived thousands of years. A common thread. A myth. A myth that is completely understandable given the source. A myth that should be just as easily dismissed as the stories of the Bushmen in Africa, who say we used to live underground with the lord of all life, kaang.
-Snip- For as flawed as we humans are as a group, as individuals there are very few amongst us who would actually drown the entire planet just because we f**ked up and did it wrong the first time. And you can't say that about your sky guy.You can't point to any universal moral to judge God against. You can look at the things God has done and judge them as evil, or you can try thinking more carefully about why He has done them and what that means on a personal level. And then reflect on the message of the cross.
I don't need a universal moral standard. I just use my own. The one that not only would never harm another human, but that would like to help every person on the planet have a better life. Lacking the power to accomplish that, I have to settle for not causing more harm to come to others, and let it go at that. Were I a god, however...
The why's of what I would consider evil, as done by your god, are of no import to me. The events didn't happen. So what I'm judging is the humans that are able to accept the tales as true, and who hold them sacred. There is no evidence for a world-wide flood, but we have plenty of evidence that many think that it was a wonderful event, important to all of mankind. And it is that attitude, that veneration, that troubles me, not the mythical event itself. I don't get sad when I see someone die in a TV show or movie, because I know it's not real. If 40% of the world's population went into actual mourning every time it happened, I'd worry. And I worry about the effect of having so many people believe so many myths and acting as if each story is true.
The tooth fairy and Santa area cute stories that are, in time, revealed to be false. But everybody is okay with that because it's a little game we play with children. Religion isn't a game. At times it is deadly serious. And people tend not to outgrow it. It's never cute in the first place, and it serves no purpose other than to distort reality for every follower of every kind of religion.
Hence we disagree.