If it's OK, once I have replied to this post of yours and also the most recent from PP, I would like to limit my participation in the thread to my 'challenge' with KB.
I appreciate that you'll want to respond to whatever I post right now, as will PP, but I'm happy for you both to have the final word in this thread.
if the mod's feel it's more appropriate for the challenge with KB to be moved to the debate forum I'm happy with that.
Can you envision a single action that God could take that would counter your belief that God is great?
No. I believe God has the absolute right to do with His creation as He pleases. I further believe that He has demonstrated conclusively that He loves His creation more than we could ever love anything. It is our failure to recognise that we are not the kings of this world that causes us to look upon some of God's actions with distaste.
Or are you so brainwashed to think that everything God does is good, that even things like.... oh, I don't know... killing every living thing on the planet, is still evidence that God is great?
You're brainwashed into believing that nothing is greater than you or mankind or even this planet. You've swallowed the same lie that Adam and Eve swallowed and that all mankind has swallowed ever since. The splendour and majesty of God, His power and His love are plain to see for those who choose to see it, but for those with no desire to submit to God these things are hidden.
It's a massive hurdle to overcome, this idea that we are the be all and end all of the universe. I know it is. But it can be overcome, and you don't need to throw reason out the door to do so. Quite the opposite as far as I'm concerned.
Do you really think that is why some people don't believe in God? Because they don't want to be accountable?
Absolutely. That's not to say that you aren't all very sincere in your acceptance of the varioius scientific disciplines which attempt to demostrate the universe either always existed or somehow created itself, but at the heart of every non-christian I know personally ( many ) is a very strong dislike of being told that certain things which they want to do are not acceptable to God. It's absolutely a rebellion against constraint. I read most of the threads on here and have read a lot of older ones. Impartial discussion of the evidence against God is absolutely dwarfed by constant discussion of how you can't stand the son of a bitch.
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.
That's a very egocentric view of things, magicmiles. "I believe in my God and it's sad that you don't." Why does it sadden you? Are you sad because you like to believe in God and think we are missing out on something? Or are you sad because you think we will be punished for it? Either way, don't be. NOT believing in God is better than believing, and the fact that you think we are deserving of some sort of punishment because we don't believe in the same fairy tale as you is flat out insulting.
I'm sad because I know that by refusing to be reconciled to God you will indeed suffer the consequenses for that. If I see someone about to be eaten by a shark which they don't happen to see swimming towards them, the tragedy is not lessened by the ignorance of the victim. It would be insulting if I held myself out to be better or more deserving of salvation that anyone else. I don't, because I'm not.
This is exactly the problem with you though, and also an injunction on the entire Christian world view... There are probably thousands of facts that aren't very compelling to you. Yet facts are the things by which we usually base our judgment on truth versus untruth, aren't they? I think that alone is the major difference between the atheist and the theist. An atheist will look at the fact that there are literally billions of people who believe in thousands of different religions, all professing the same level of confidence in their beliefs, and find that compelling. That's the sad part. You live with your eyes closed to the relevancy of facts.
I don't ignore facts, but I do place a greater importance on the reality I experience than on what certain scientific disciplines tell me I should experience. As in, the scientific world will tell me that the world does not have a creator, with the natural consequence of that being I should not experience anything to counter that. But I do. Everything I see about humanity and the world around me screams "God" and when i read the bible I read truth. It's what I experience. It simply isn't possible for me to demostarte such a personal experience, all I can do is convey it in words.
Short list of facts about the NT that you probably don't find compelling...
1. People don't rise from the dead after 3 days.
2. People lie sometimes when they write stuff down.
3. We don't know who actually wrote the gospel accounts.
4. There is no contemporary evidence that Jesus existed at all.
5. The 4 (Mat, Mark, Luke, John) stories are very different in the way they portray Jesus.
6. There is no evidence for any of the miracles Jesus supposedly performed.
7. We have no original writings of any of the gospel stories.
8. Dreams and visions are usually considered poor ways of determining the truth about the universe (unless it's in a movie).
You are correct. I don't find them compelling. Christian apologists can defend against those objections better than me. I have no doubt you're familiar with, and reject, those defences.
Jeff, I know I have left a large chunk of your post, but I have to move on to other responses now. I hope you understand and are OK with me possibly taking up some of these things further at a different time and in different threads