Author Topic: Challenge: any theists encouraged to read and respond  (Read 14962 times)

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Online LoriPinkAngel

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Re: Challenge: any theists encouraged to read and respond
« Reply #116 on: July 20, 2012, 03:25:57 PM »
This appears to be a thread where everyone should just agree to disagree...

I suck at quoting from different people in the same reply so I'm not even going to try... sorry

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re: dogs laying eggs - as far as I know the only mammal that lays eggs is the duck billed platypus as in "Perry the Platypus" who is totally badass.

re:  Communicating with god (on the lighter side)

1.  There was a good ole boy named Bubba who lived in a town where there was a terrible flood occurring.  But Bubba was a man of faith and believed god would save him.  Some neighbors came to his door and told him they were evacuating & offered to take him along in their truck.  He declined, he said he knew god would save him.  As the waters rose he went up to the 2nd floor & was looking out a window.  A boat came by and the driver offered him a ride.  He declined, stating god was going to save him.  The water continued to rise and he climbed to his roof.  A helicopter came by and dropped a rope for him.  He declined, god will save me, he said.  Eventually the water overtook him and he drowned.  When he got to heaven he asked god why he didn't come and save him.  God said "I sent you a truck, a boat and a helicopter, and you refused them all, what were you waiting for, you schmuck?"

2.  There was another good ole boy named Billy who was hiking in the forest.  Suddenly he saw a huge bear rushing toward him.  He didn't want to wish harm on the bear so he prayed "god please make that bear a christian"  The bear kept coming, but when he got about 2 feet away he came to an abrupt stop, he dropped to one knee and he said "Thank you Jesus for this food I am about to eat"
It doesn't make sense to let go of something you've had for so long.  But it also doesn't make sense to hold on when there's actually nothing there.

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Re: Challenge: any theists encouraged to read and respond
« Reply #117 on: July 20, 2012, 03:57:36 PM »
This appears to be a thread where everyone should just agree to disagree...

I do not agree with that. :-)

The original point of the thread was to examine whether doing something simply because you think it's the right thing to do is more laudible/more "morally sound"/more "morally mature"/choose your adjective than doing something because of hope of heaven/fear of hell (reward/punishment).

I hold that it IS; and because it is, the concept of god is not simply irrelevant, it is counterproductive.  What I will call "true morality" comes not only from what you do, but your motivations.  If you are acting on a reward/punishment basis, you're simply doing what you're told.  If you act because of what you know is right, regardless of who is watching, THEN you are acting with a true moral code.

Calling theists on their morality is too important, IMHO, to let go.  It speaks to the heart of the publicized purpose of religion (morality) and turns it on it's head--I posit that you can't have real, true, sincere morality if you've got an invisible sky daddy keeping constant score; that's coersion, following orders, nothing more.

Unfortunately, I'm not sure how far we've gotten after 4 pages.  Lots of tangents (and tan ladies!!  HAW HAW HAW HAW).

But I will agree on one thing.  Perry does, in fact, rule.  "Curse you, Perry the Platypuuuuuuuuuuus!!!!"
It's one of the reasons I'm an atheist today.  I decided to take my religion seriously, and that's when it started to fall apart for me.
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Re: Challenge: any theists encouraged to read and respond
« Reply #118 on: July 20, 2012, 09:54:45 PM »
^^^I  think you made a really important point. If someone is doing good deeds because god said to do it, what is to stop the person from doing bad deeds if god says so? But if the person was doing good because it was helpful to people or because of the golden rule or some other ethical principle, it is unlikely that person would knowingly do something that they knew was very wrong.

We get a few theists here who admit, when pushed to the wall, that they would kill their kids or perform some other horrible act if they were absolutely sure it was god telling them to do it. Because god has this plan, see, and we puny humans don't know the plan, so killing the kids would actually be for the greater good, and on and on. Scary.

And people think atheists are dangerous and untrustworthy....you never get atheists drowning their kids because god told them to do it.
Extraordinary claims of the bible don't even have ordinary evidence.

Kids aren't paying attention most of the time in science classes so it seems silly to get worked up over ID being taught in schools.

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Re: Challenge: any theists encouraged to read and respond
« Reply #119 on: July 21, 2012, 07:29:16 AM »
I suck at quoting from different people in the same reply so I'm not even going to try... sorry

Please see the link in by sig below.  It takes you to a quoting tutorial.  It is easy to do and makes your posts easier to understand.  Please try it.  We would all appreciate the effort.  Thanks.
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Offline Mooby

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Re: Challenge: any theists encouraged to read and respond
« Reply #120 on: July 21, 2012, 11:01:05 AM »
Moob, I humbly suggest you read your posts #57, #60, and #68 on this thread.  Read them as if you asked the question you're answering, and you might begin to understand why folks are thinking that you did, in fact, claim what you are denying.
#57 and #68 directly mention coordinating by time, and #60 implies again that the issue is one of coordination rather than whether God will contact HAL.  So no, the posts support my claim that if HAL's issue is when God will contact HAL, then he has the option of being proactive.  They do not in any way, shape, or form make any claims about whether God will contact HAL.

Meanwhile, I am not responsible for supporting other members' straw men.  If other members misread my posts in light of another member's straw man, that is a shame, and I hope they can correct that error.  However, me giving legitimacy to that error by attempting to read my posts in light of it will not correct the error.  It will only perpetuate it.

I didn't even accuse you of trolling, I accused you of dodging.
My bad.

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What about people who die as atheists or belonging to another religion? Has God left it too late to save those people from eternal damnation? Said non-believers haven't had the chance to turn away from their path and be saved.
Good question.

I can't speak for other Christians, as there's some variation between denominations.  However, I agree with my own denomination's distinction between never finding God and rejecting God.

People who have never heard God's word, such as infants, isolated peoples, etc., have not had the chance to reject God, and thus they die without having made a choice to be separate from God.  Likewise, those who seek God through other religions or who haven't found God through any religion, but still follow their God-given consciences are not outright rejecting God either.  While these people might not believe in the fullness of God's gospel, they've at least made some attempt to turn towards God (even if they don't know it), and thus are not automatically doomed.

On the other hand, those who hear God's message, believe that it is real, yet turn away are indeed rejecting God.  If these people are not interested in pursuing a relationship with God, and just want God to leave them alone, He doesn't force them.  If they die in this state, then they're separated from God eternally.  For a Christian who strongly desires union with God, this would be the ultimate torture.  For someone who doesn't want God, this might not be so bad.

No, I don't know of an exact relationship meter cutoff between heaven and hell (or purgatory), and I think that thinking that way misses the point.  We're here in this life to grow in knowledge, love, and service of God and others.  Our goal should be to work towards that, regardless of where we think we might be going (or not going) after we die.  And indeed, we should avoid doing the opposite not out of fear of hell, but rather the fear of throwing our lives away and leaving a wake of destruction behind.

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There are people who start to question their faith who call out to God, but in turn get no answer.
I know.  I've been there many times.

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So it's terrible advice to tell them to ask God.
Yes, it's the worst advice possible.  But it's really the only place to start.  You're not going to find God by talking to me, or completing a logical syllogism, or reading a book, or going to church, or drawing up statistics on how much Christians have raised for charity in the past year, or eating a wafer, or speaking in tongues, or any of the hundreds of other things people pretend belief is about that have nothing to do with actual belief. 

The only way that you can find God is to find God.  And if you've looked but have had no luck, your options are either to keep looking, try a new tactic, or take a break.  And I understand fully why people take the third option: as an agnostic theist, that option is always on the horizon for me, and I've embraced it quite a few times.  I've never quite lost all my faith (yet), but there's been plenty of times when I've been close.  And only in the past few months have I come off quite a long break and started trying again.

So yeah, I don't know what to tell you with your prayers.  As I said in a previous post, there's any number of reasons the connection may have failed, one of which may very well be that God doesn't exist.  I personally don't believe that's the case, so I'm still looking.  It's up to you whether you want to do the same.

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If God established his relationship much sooner in people's lives think how much better the world could be and how little violence there would be between religions.
Ideally this is supposed to start at Baptism, with the sacrament acting as a symbol of initiation into God's church.  So the relationship is supposed to be life long.  As I said above, I don't exactly know why many relationships with God fail.  And I don't think I'll ever know, since these are personal things that are different for every person.  I can only focus on my own.

I was looking for an admission that your beliefs are demonstrably untrue.  All you need to do is say some aspect of your belief is wrong, because it obviously is.
I have yet to see the evidence that my beliefs are untrue.  Until then, I can only reserve judgement.

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But whatever it is, you should admit your model of reality is flawed.
The relationship of my model of reality to my belief in God is a bit complicated.  But suffice it to say, they are not equivalent.  Elaborating more would likely require its own tangent thread.

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Whether I expressed a true prayer or not, omnipotent god should know my thoughts and feelings.
Omnipotent God should also know your true thoughts and feelings, better than you yourself.  So if your conscious mind says, "I think I want this," and your subconscious mind says, "This is all a load of crap," an omnipotent deity would know both.  So there's uncertainty on this point.

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And as far as me not being open to friendly, omnipotent god's response, I told you, I was interested in and actively seeking god.  Your reply says, maybe I wasn't.  I cannot make you accept that I am being honest.  But if you are not going to take me at my word - which you said you would - then there is little reason for us to engage. 
I take at your word that you think you were interested.  But I can't know your inner thoughts and desires, or anything else.

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That borders on a common and higly insulting xian fallacy I have run into before.  The variant I see most is the No True Scotsman version.  Some xian says "you were never a true xian", and I ask, "how do you know", and they reply, "you're an atheist now, so obviously you could never have been".  Wheee! Around we go with the circular logic.
Not quite.  You're saying my belief that God wants a relationship with everyone is "demonstrably untrue," and you want me to "admit" this.  However, I'm pointing out the confounding variables that prevent this untruth from being demonstrated. 

You may very well have reflected on your own thoughts and experiences and satisfactorily demonstrated it to yourself, but that doesn't mean it can be demonstrated to me.  Just as some can demonstrate "I feel God in my heart" or "I hear God in my prayers and I know it's Him and not me" to themselves, but cannot possibly demonstrate it to you.

Your testimony to me is just that: your testimony.  And because of that, I have no way to know if you're telling the truth (I assume you are, though), that you observed and gathered all relevant information, that you interpreted it correctly, or that you're relaying it accurately.  Just as I have no way of knowing if someone who totally witnessed an undocumented miracle is telling the truth (though I assume that they are), have observed it properly and gathered all relevant information, interpreted it correctly, or relayed it accurately to me.  These types of evidences are just by nature much more reliable to the original observers than they are to third parties, because the third party cannot corroborate those observations.

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They have a belief - "true xians don't lose faith" or "god answers prayers" - and rather than test whether the belief is a reasonable belief by the results, they assume the belief is valid and judge the results. 
Have I done this here?  I provided my belief, when asked, in response to a question about sin.  I replied to you and openly admitted multiple possibilities for a lack of response, with God being non-existent on the list.  However, until I can safely cross off the rest of the options, I can't say that this is the only option.

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For example, the belief that god wants a relationship with everyone could be simply validated by surveying people who wanted and requested relationships with god.  If everyone who wanted one got it, it would be a reasonable belief.  But, if there was even a single miss, the belief is invalidated.  So, here I am, a catholic who invites god to a relationship, but is rebuffed.  Does that invalidate the belief?  It should.
It should if there's some positive evidence that you were rebuffed.  If being rebuffed is a conclusion from an argument from silence, then there are other possible conclusions and I mentioned in my last reply to you.

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  It means:
  • god doesn't want relationships with everyone
  • god is incapable of having relationships with at least some people (for whatever reason)
  • god does not exist
If people are indeed being rebuffed, then yes.

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But the believer would rather hold his belief.  So he keeps the belief - god wants relationships - and judges the outcome - no relationship with god - and concludes I must have been doing it wrong or I was lying.   Hurray for circular logic.
The believer admits that he simply doesn't have enough evidence to draw any conclusion, including the conclusion that God doesn't exist.

re: dogs laying eggs - as far as I know the only mammal that lays eggs is the duck billed platypus as in "Perry the Platypus" who is totally badass.
There's a second one: the echidna.

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Offline Ivellios

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Re: Challenge: any theists encouraged to read and respond
« Reply #121 on: July 21, 2012, 12:01:10 PM »
1.  There was a good ole boy named Bubba who lived in a town where there was a terrible flood occurring.  But Bubba was a man of faith and believed god would save him.  Some neighbors came to his door and told him they were evacuating & offered to take him along in their truck.  He declined, he said he knew god would save him.  As the waters rose he went up to the 2nd floor & was looking out a window.  A boat came by and the driver offered him a ride.  He declined, stating god was going to save him.  The water continued to rise and he climbed to his roof.  A helicopter came by and dropped a rope for him.  He declined, god will save me, he said.  Eventually the water overtook him and he drowned.  When he got to heaven he asked god why he didn't come and save him.  God said "I sent you a truck, a boat and a helicopter, and you refused them all, what were you waiting for, you schmuck?"

Yet it would work exactly that way in a universe that there is no god. Kinda funny for someone that is alleged "All Powerful." Would have been nice if God told him, "Hey, here's a truck I sent to save you." Plus, since God is alleged "All Knowing" he should have known what he was waiting for.

Let's say a friend says they'll pick you up at the airport, but something happens and they cannot. So they ask a friend or family member to pick you up. In this situation what would they say, "Free ride!" or, "Hey, /friend/ sent me to pick you up because they couldn't make it. I'll take you to them." Which one?

Seems like humans can't help but make God appear incompetent.

Remember how God says that the reason why we must live with evil people because, "It's impossible to kill the weeds without harming the plants?" Well, our entire Agriculture industry works because we humans can kill the weeds without harming the plants. We can out God at God's own game.
« Last Edit: July 21, 2012, 12:08:06 PM by Ivellios »

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Re: Challenge: any theists encouraged to read and respond
« Reply #122 on: July 21, 2012, 08:04:56 PM »
I was looking for an admission that your beliefs are demonstrably untrue.  All you need to do is say some aspect of your belief is wrong, because it obviously is.
I have yet to see the evidence that my beliefs are untrue.  Until then, I can only reserve judgement.

Me.  My statement.  It negates your beliefs.  What's the problem here? What would be evidence that your beliefs are untrue?

"God wants a relationship with everyone"
and
"Jesus said so"

How are those ideas negated?

Omnipotent God should also know your true thoughts and feelings, better than you yourself.  So if your conscious mind says, "I think I want this," and your subconscious mind says, "This is all a load of crap," an omnipotent deity would know both.  So there's uncertainty on this point.

Well shit, Moob.  If I think I earnestly believe in god and earnestly seek this god, yet deep down I really don't, then I don't know what to say.  I guess I am thoroughly fucked and yhwh is totally useless and an abject failure as a heavenly father and celestial friend. 

And this is exactly as I predicted.  Holding your belief to be true regardless of the evidence and assuming the results confirm your belief. 

Here is a question - if the friendly omnipotent god wants me to be his friend and the alternative is eternal torture, then who needs an unambiguous sign more than the doubter or unbeliever?  It seems to me that yhwh is preaching to the choir while ignoring the people who need him most.  So, not a god who actually wants a relationship with everyone. 

I take at your word that you think you were interested.  But I can't know your inner thoughts and desires, or anything else.

Apparently you think I cannot know the either.

Not quite.  You're saying my belief that God wants a relationship with everyone is "demonstrably untrue," and you want me to "admit" this.  However, I'm pointing out the confounding variables that prevent this untruth from being demonstrated. 

You haven't pointed out anything.

Your testimony to me is just that: your testimony.  And because of that, I have no way to know if you're telling the truth (I assume you are, though),

But you're not assuming I am.  At every step of the way you are hedging with "I cannot know your inner thoughts" and "god must have known you really thought it was a load of poo-poo".  It seems to me you are assuming I don't actually know myself what I thought and felt.

Just as I have no way of knowing if someone who totally witnessed an undocumented miracle is telling the truth

Those are categorically different.  Internal understanding versus external observation and explanation. 

 
Have I done this here?

It seems to me you have.

 
It should if there's some positive evidence that you were rebuffed.

WTF would constitute positive evidence of a negative?  If you were supposed to meet your date at a restaurant at 7:00pm and you waited until the restaurant closed at 11:00pm and she didn't show, what is the positive evidence that you were stood up?

The believer admits that he simply doesn't have enough evidence to draw any conclusion, including the conclusion that God doesn't exist.

Are you saying you also do not have enough evidence to conclude god wants a relationship with everyone?  Are you ambivalent on that point?  If so, that's fair.  If not, then you are applying a double standard.

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Offline Mooby

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Re: Challenge: any theists encouraged to read and respond
« Reply #123 on: July 21, 2012, 09:03:34 PM »
Me.  My statement.  It negates your beliefs.  What's the problem here?
The problem would be it's anecdotal, and on top of that it's internal anecdotal.  So it's the least accessible type of evidence possible.

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What would be evidence that your beliefs are untrue?
God coming out and stating the opposite would be much stronger evidence.  Or a missing chapter from the Bible that's authenticated to one of the existing canon where Jesus says something to similar effect.  Or perhaps me getting your same personal evidence for myself, though it wouldn't be as strong as the other two.  Or disproof of something higher in the chain, such as solid proof that God doesn't exist.  There's probably a few other ways that aren't coming to mind right now.

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And this is exactly as I predicted.  Holding your belief to be true regardless of the evidence and assuming the results confirm your belief.

Assuming?  I said it was a possibility I couldn't rule out.

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Here is a question - if the friendly omnipotent god wants me to be his friend and the alternative is eternal torture, then who needs an unambiguous sign more than the doubter or unbeliever?
They're certainly good candidates for one.

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Apparently you think I cannot know the either.
I don't know whether you do or not.  Again, your internal mental state, including your conscious thoughts and subconscious, are not available data to me.

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You haven't pointed out anything.
Yes, I have.  You're just ignoring anything that doesn't conform to your preexisting belief that God either doesn't exist or doesn't want a relationship with you.

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But you're not assuming I am.  At every step of the way you are hedging with "I cannot know your inner thoughts" and "god must have known you really thought it was a load of poo-poo".  It seems to me you are assuming I don't actually know myself what I thought and felt.
As I said in my last post, I assume you are telling the truth in your claims to me.  In other words, I do not think you are fabricating falsehoods to intentionally deceive me.  I don't know to what extent the things you are telling me honestly are accurate, for the reasons I listed.

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Those are categorically different.  Internal understanding versus external observation and explanation. 
What if we go back to "I feel Him in my heart," then?

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WTF would constitute positive evidence of a negative?  If you were supposed to meet your date at a restaurant at 7:00pm and you waited until the restaurant closed at 11:00pm and she didn't show, what is the positive evidence that you were stood up?
It could be a text message to a friend, or finding out she was doing something else at the time, or something similar.

But just from not seeing her, I don't know that I was stood up.  She might have been in an accident, or she might have showed up but been in a different location, or she might have gotten the date/time wrong..  Fun fact: the first time I was supposed to meet my current girlfriend, we tried to coordinate it at a mall.  We were both on the phone outside Victoria's Secret, yet neither of us could see the others.  It turned out the mall had two different Victoria's Secrets!

This is why after the date, once one re-establishes contact, they normally ask for an explanation.  If the explanation is satisfactory, the conclusion "I was stood up" is generally not reached.  If the explanation is questionable, then it's time to look further.

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Are you saying you also do not have enough evidence to conclude god wants a relationship with everyone?  Are you ambivalent on that point?  If so, that's fair.  If not, then you are applying a double standard.
Within Christianity, I conclude it.  But as far as external evidence, as I hinted above I don't have enough external evidence to conclude that God even exists, let alone specific characteristics.  That's why I'm an agnostic theist and not a gnostic one.
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Re: Challenge: any theists encouraged to read and respond
« Reply #124 on: July 22, 2012, 01:51:24 AM »
[snip] I agree with my own denomination's distinction between never finding God and rejecting God.

People who have never heard God's word, such as infants, isolated peoples, etc., have not had the chance to reject God, and thus they die without having made a choice to be separate from God.  Likewise, those who seek God through other religions or who haven't found God through any religion, but still follow their God-given consciences are not outright rejecting God either.  While these people might not believe in the fullness of God's gospel, they've at least made some attempt to turn towards God (even if they don't know it), and thus are not automatically doomed.

Okay, this is ridiculous. Let me see if I get what you are saying:

Isolated people—those who have never heard of your god—but who somehow still manage not to massacre people, and people who have their own gods and who somehow still manage to live decent lives are also off the hook. Unless a missionary shows up and spills the beans about your god.

Then, if they reject your god--because, say, they have their own gods already, thank you very much, or because they have managed to create a perfectly functional civilization so far without any knowledge of your god, or because your god sounds like a crock of sh!t--they are on the highway to hell.

People who have never heard of god have a better chance of salvation (whatever that is) than people who have heard of god and decided that it is a crock of sh!t. So why tell anyone about god?

Why even teach kids about god? Why have kids at all? It is better if a baby dies as a newborn, or even as an unborn fetus.  That way there is no possibility of them hearing about god and not believing it. If you think this way, abortion must be great. Those people who drown their kids to keep them from sinning are also on the right track.

Why are there people who have never heard of your god, this god who wants a relationship with everyone? Doesn’t it seem curious to you that god needs human missionaries to reach these isolated people?

Doesn’t it seem strange that god lets people believe in the wrong gods, letting them experience the same feelings, have the same amount of prayers answered, have the exact same kinds of miracles and healings and prophets as if they were worshipping the real one? And then he has the nerve to send them to hell for not just chucking their whole culture away when some weirdo shows up and tells them to? What kind of con game is your god pulling here?

And who are these people who know that your god exists but refuse to believe in him? Atheists are not refusing to believe. We do not believe god exists. Why do you refuse to believe in Shango? Don't you know that he exists?

Either you have a jive-a$$ gangster for a god, playing the theological equivalent of three card monte with our souls, or you are making sh!t up to paper over the blatant injustice of your belief system. Which is it?
Extraordinary claims of the bible don't even have ordinary evidence.

Kids aren't paying attention most of the time in science classes so it seems silly to get worked up over ID being taught in schools.

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Re: Challenge: any theists encouraged to read and respond
« Reply #125 on: July 22, 2012, 08:23:13 AM »
Mooby, thanks for the entertainment. I'm laughing my ass off at your responses!

It's simple enough folks: If this deity wanted a relationship with me (and I refer to my analogy that Moobs just blew off)

I WOULDN'T/SHOULDN'T HAVE TO DO ANYTHING AND THERE IS NO REASON FOR IT TO WAIT.

Oh well - these theists do provide some level of entertainment I suppose.


FYI - here's the analogy -

Steve thinks to himself "I really want a relationship with a pretty girl! I wish there were pretty girls in the office :-("

The next day a pretty girl is hired and is sitting in the next cubicle to Steve.

As the days and months roll by, Steve keeps thinking "I really want a relationship with that pretty girl!"

As a message that he wants a relationship, Steve occasionally leaves a piece of candy on her desk, but doesn't include a note with it.

After a year goes by Steve learns that the pretty girl had been dating the guy on the other side of the office. Now she's engaged to him.

Steve thinks "I wonder why that pretty girl never agreed to have a relationship with me! I waited a year and she never said a word to me! I even left candy on her desk! I wanted the relationship so bad! How is it she could not have known this?"

Offline Ivellios

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Re: Challenge: any theists encouraged to read and respond
« Reply #126 on: July 22, 2012, 09:44:25 AM »
In addendum to Hal's comment:

If Steve wants a relationship with her, isn't it His responsibility to ask? Why should she have to ask him out if He wants the relationship?


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Re: Challenge: any theists encouraged to read and respond
« Reply #127 on: July 22, 2012, 10:21:36 AM »
Quote from: HAL
FYI - here's the analogy -

Steve thinks to himself "I really want a relationship with a pretty girl! I wish there were pretty girls in the office :-("

The next day a pretty girl is hired and is sitting in the next cubicle to Steve.

As the days and months roll by, Steve keeps thinking "I really want a relationship with that pretty girl!"

As a message that he wants a relationship, Steve occasionally leaves a piece of candy on her desk, but doesn't include a note with it.

After a year goes by Steve learns that the pretty girl had been dating the guy on the other side of the office. Now she's engaged to him.

Steve thinks "I wonder why that pretty girl never agreed to have a relationship with me! I waited a year and she never said a word to me! I even left candy on her desk! I wanted the relationship so bad! How is it she could not have known this?"

I was refraining from using a human relationship analogy because in each situation I could think of, it would be unrealistic of the girl to not know the guy exists or for her to doubt his existence when people tell her about him. But in principle of forming a relationship, yes, if you want it, you take the first move, if you don't, she'll assume you're not interested. Also in this analogy, at least the girl is able to make the first move if she knows the guy fancies her and she's able to ask him about it. This simply isn't possible with God. Oh and because God wants a relationship with everyone, this would make Steve a man-whore. ;)

But my take on that situation would have been:
A guy really likes a girl and wants to have a relationship with her, but she does not know he exists, okay, somebody might have mentioned his name, but the two have never been acquainted. She's a popular girl and it's possible there's other guys out there who'd date her. It's not like from her perspective, he's the only man out there who'd suitable for her, especially as the two have never met. The guy never says anything. The girl moves further and further away from him. She takes a different life than the one she could have had with the guy and this relationship is never formed. If the guy wants the girl, he'll ask her out on a date. First contact is established, it's up to both what happens from there.
“It is difficult to understand the universe if you only study one planet” - Miyamoto Musashi
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Offline HAL

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Re: Challenge: any theists encouraged to read and respond
« Reply #128 on: July 22, 2012, 10:35:48 AM »
I was refraining from using a human relationship analogy because in each situation I could think of, it would be unrealistic of the girl to not know the guy exists or for her to doubt his existence when people tell her about him.

Right. My analogy at least has a real entity that she knows exists. It's even more laughable when you apply the analogy to Mooby's Biblegod claims though. Not only do theists claim it wants a relationship with us, we can't even get to the point we agree it exists.

So if you wanted to change my analogy, you'd make the guy invisible, sitting on Mars, wondering why this girl doesn't seek a relationship with him.  :P

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Re: Challenge: any theists encouraged to read and respond
« Reply #129 on: July 22, 2012, 11:06:38 AM »
Isolated people—those who have never heard of your god—but who somehow still manage not to massacre people, and people who have their own gods and who somehow still manage to live decent lives are also off the hook. Unless a missionary shows up and spills the beans about your god.

Then, if they reject your god--because, say, they have their own gods already, thank you very much, or because they have managed to create a perfectly functional civilization so far without any knowledge of your god, or because your god sounds like a crock of sh!t--they are on the highway to hell.

People who have never heard of god have a better chance of salvation (whatever that is) than people who have heard of god and decided that it is a crock of sh!t.
No, that's not an accurate assessment of my stance.

My stance is that God gives us free will so that we may choose to have a relationship with him.  Those who don't know enough to make the choice, or are acting on partial information, aren't punished for that.  I believe that salvation is possible for anyone in this group, though I don't know God's exact criteria for determining who's in and who's out.

Those who choose not to have a relationship with God are not forced to stay with Him.  So they get to spend eternity without union with God, which is what they chose in the first place.

The people with other gods in your example are acting based on partial information.  They don't have the full facts (or recognize the veracity of the full facts), but are (hopefully) doing the best they can with what they do know.  And by attempting to contact their own gods, they may indeed be entering into a relationship with God, but are just calling Him by a different name.

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Why even teach kids about god? Why have kids at all? It is better if a baby dies as a newborn, or even as an unborn fetus.  That way there is no possibility of them hearing about god and not believing it.
This appears to be following from the above assessment.

Teaching kids about God gives them the tools they need to make an informed decision.  Withholding the spiritual compass from someone for fear they'll go the wrong way still leaves them lost.  Instead of leaving someone on their own and hoping they'll stumble along in the right direction, isn't it better to simply lead them in the right direction?

And the flip side of what I said about non-Christians is also possible.  Before I mentioned that non-Christians might get into heaven if they follow their God-given consciences and are pointing towards Him without recognizing Him.  But if they reject that, and point away from Him, then they're rejecting that relationship.  So it's not, "If you never hear of God, you don't go to hell."  It's "If you never hear of God, you can still go to either, but you're taking your journey with fewer road signs.  Good luck!"

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Why are there people who have never heard of your god, this god who wants a relationship with everyone? Doesn’t it seem curious to you that god needs human missionaries to reach these isolated people?

Doesn’t it seem strange that god lets people believe in the wrong gods, letting them experience the same feelings, have the same amount of prayers answered, have the exact same kinds of miracles and healings and prophets as if they were worshipping the real one? And then he has the nerve to send them to hell for not just chucking their whole culture away when some weirdo shows up and tells them to? What kind of con game is your god pulling here?
I don't draw a distinction between "my god" and "wrong gods."  I believe in one God, who has been experienced by humans for thousands of years, and has been worshiped in different times and cultures according to those peoples' knowledge and understanding of Him.  So no, I'm not at all alarmed at people with answered prayers in other religious traditions--they're praying to God, too.

And no, I don't find it odd that God works through missionaries.  The Christian God is one who usually works through the universe, rather than constantly god modding.  The times He does directly intervene are the exceptions, not the rules (and even then it's often through 3rd parties such as angels or prophets).  So no, it's not particularly bothersome that God works through people to carry out His plan on a day to day basis.

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And who are these people who know that your god exists but refuse to believe in him? Atheists are not refusing to believe. We do not believe god exists. Why do you refuse to believe in Shango? Don't you know that he exists?
Noe necessarily refusing to believe.  I spoke above of rejection of the relationship--which one can do as a believer as well.  I'm thinking of someone who intentionally does things to completely sever relationships with God and others, such as committing a sin against life itself (murder.)
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Offline HAL

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Re: Challenge: any theists encouraged to read and respond
« Reply #130 on: July 22, 2012, 11:43:24 AM »
LOL - my analogy must have Mooby utterly confounded. Yay for me!

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Re: Challenge: any theists encouraged to read and respond
« Reply #131 on: July 22, 2012, 12:57:56 PM »
Mooby, you have definitely said that babies and other people who do not know about god at all are not judged the same way as people who know and decide they can't believe. If there is even a slight chance of a person someday "choosing not to believe", isn't it better for them to die as a baby? Isn't it better for people to not know about god at all?

Why doesn't god give everyone enough information to make a choice? Why do billions of people only get partial information? And I still don't get why god has to use missionaries, flawed humans who may themselves also have only partial information, to deliver his message.

This is important, because I was a JW. We were told that it was our responsibility to get god's word to everyone on the planet. If Armageddon came and we had missed anyone, they would be lost forever, and it would be our fault. That's a lot to put on a kid who feels guilty already about preferring to watch cartoons on Saturday morning instead of witnessing house to house.

Now I think, WTF? Why would an all-powerful being need a 9 year old black kid to deliver the most important message in the history of the world? If I had a life and death message to give to someone, I would do it in person, face to face, unless something was preventing me from doing it. What prevents god from delivering his message directly to everyone, clearly and in a manner that is understood?

If I could not do it myself, I would pick the most trustworthy person I could find to deliver it. Not random crazy people, children, social outcasts and fanatics. Not people who have not a clue about the language or culture they are entering. And certainly not evil people who would kill and enslave the folks they are supposed to be witnessing to. Such people would not be my messengers of choice.

But anyway. Your god is the source of all answered prayers. Okay. The Aztecs sacrificed children to the gods for rain, and got rain. That was your god, I take it. So why did the Spanish have to force the Aztecs to adopt a different religion if they were already praying to the right god?

A Vodun believer sacrifices a goat so his mother's cancer will be cured. The cancer is cured. That was also your god at work. Seems to me that person is going to believe even more strongly in Vodun now. Will they be saved?

If a Scientologist, say, John Travolta,  prays to Xenu to improve his movie career and he stars in Pulp Fiction and becomes a big star again, that means Xenu is a true god? Or that Travolta is really praying to your god but doesn't know it. Why would god reward Travolta for praying to the wrong god? Doesn't that confuse the issue and have Travolta moving in the wrong direction, towards Xenu and away from your god? Will Travolta be saved?
Extraordinary claims of the bible don't even have ordinary evidence.

Kids aren't paying attention most of the time in science classes so it seems silly to get worked up over ID being taught in schools.

Offline Samothec

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Re: Challenge: any theists encouraged to read and respond
« Reply #132 on: July 26, 2012, 03:42:59 PM »
<snip>
People who have never heard of god have a better chance of salvation (whatever that is) than people who have heard of god and decided that it is a crock of sh!t. So why tell anyone about god?
<snip>

I think you've hit it on the head here. We need to stop the missionaries from spreading the word and damning all those innocent people. The missionaries are really doing the devil's work, not god's.      ;D
Faith must trample under foot all reason, sense, and understanding. - Martin Luther

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Re: Challenge: any theists encouraged to read and respond
« Reply #133 on: July 26, 2012, 04:00:20 PM »
As fascinating as this give and take has been, I'm going to try to reign in the conversation back to my original point, and address Mooby with a question.

What about ME, specifically??

I was raised a Roman Catholic, was active in the church, contemplated priesthood in my young adulthood.  I studied history in college, and gradually lost my faith, first in the RC church, then in Xianity, then in a god who takes an active interest in our everyday lives, then in a diety altogether.

However, I believe my life has been as good as, if not better than, it was before I had faith.  I now have 2 beautiful children who I look at as my opporutnity to make the world a better place for future generations.  I try to follow the one atheist commandment: "be thou not an asshole" and I teach my kids the same (with a few more specifics and a few less cuss-words, they're both under 11!!).  I love nature and think it's an amazing, wonderful thing; my kids share this reverence (as evidenced by such anecdotes as "Hey dad, check out this bug!!  It's so cool!).  I try to teach my kids to do the right thing because it's the right thing.

I have no interest in whether there is a god/sentient creator of the universe, because as far as I can tell he/she/it has no interest in me or my life, so I simply behave the way I do because I want to do the right thing, and maybe be remembered as a positive input on this plante after I die.  In fact, I tend to snub my nose at the concept of gods, because I find the practice of religion provincial, archaic and counter-productive to "true morality."  That, and I like to be irreverant for irreverance's sake--I think anyone who is arrogant deserves a nose tweak once in a while (self included).  Aside from that, I do my best to be respectful of others' space, property, and beliefs as long as they do the same to me.

Am I going to hell?

Oh, and just to make it interesting:  I DENY THE HOLY SPIRIT.

I'd be very curious if you would include how you came to the conclusion(s) you did.  Thank you.
It's one of the reasons I'm an atheist today.  I decided to take my religion seriously, and that's when it started to fall apart for me.
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Re: Challenge: any theists encouraged to read and respond
« Reply #134 on: July 27, 2012, 02:09:50 AM »
Who the hell is going to send you to hell if there's no god?  And how can there be a hell for you to go to if there's no god? Why do you care where people who believe in god think you're going after you're dead if you know there is nothing after death? I personally don't think you deserve to go to hell if it were my decision but that's way above my paygrade and I would not presume to guess what god would decide.
It doesn't make sense to let go of something you've had for so long.  But it also doesn't make sense to hold on when there's actually nothing there.

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Re: Challenge: any theists encouraged to read and respond
« Reply #135 on: July 27, 2012, 03:56:11 AM »
I don't think its a case of him, thinking he is going to be sent hell, its the mentality behind the statement that counts, the extreme arrogance, of it "I'm better than you" and the callous nature in the belief is also extremely condescending.
We are all the same and should want the same things for us and our families, however because of such beliefs, the religious feel they have a right to postulate, and as such kill with impunity, look at their history, "believe what I believe or die." that last line kind of says it all.
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Offline Azdgari

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Re: Challenge: any theists encouraged to read and respond
« Reply #136 on: July 27, 2012, 06:09:27 AM »
Lori, if someone feels that you morally deserve to be tortured for all of eternity, then do you think that that person will treat you the same way that someone would who doesn't feel you deserve that torture?
I have not encountered any mechanical malfunctioning in my spirit.  It works every single time I need it to.

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Re: Challenge: any theists encouraged to read and respond
« Reply #137 on: July 27, 2012, 09:13:43 AM »
The problem would be it's anecdotal, and on top of that it's internal anecdotal.  So it's the least accessible type of evidence possible.

The problem with god is, that is all you are going to get.  God does not produce quantifiable, objective data.  You should know that since that is the standard xian response when atheists ask for evidence of god.  Now you are in the very weird position of demanding measureable data for god's non-relationship.  Hilarious.

As an aside, leprechauns don't produce quantifiable, objective data either.

God coming out and stating the opposite would be much stronger evidence.

Seriously?  I mean, SERIOUSLY?  When a possible explanation is there is no god, you want god to come out and say "I don't want a relationship with everyone"?  Yes, god coming out and stating anything would great for everyone involved.  But god is not in the business of coming out or stating anything at all.  God is in the mystery business.  Because you just cannot have blind faith without it.

Moob, I really expected better.   

Or a missing chapter from the Bible

How about existant verses from the bible?
proverbs 16:4
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The Lord has made all for Himself, Yes, even the wicked for the day of doom.

And then that Romans thing - vessels of wrath blah blah blah...

Assuming?  I said it was a possibility I couldn't rule out.

It seems like one of the easiest possibilities to rule out.  The possibilities are this:

1. I do not have a relationship with god because I didn't actually want one and thought I did.
This is not just insulting, but juvenile and incredibly implausible. 

I went to get an ice cream the other day and I asked for an orange sherbet.  I thought I wanted it, but deep down on some subconscious level that I was not aware of, had no control over and could not possibly understand, I didn't.  So, I got the orange sherbet and ate it. 

What difference does it make what is happening in the parts of my brain I am unaware of?  The conscious parts that are making decisions are the only ones we can be responsible for.  You are saying I have to have absolutely perfect desire on every possible level (even ones I don't know about) for a relationship with god in order for god to reciprocate. 

I thought god was just and merciful?  You make god out to be a terribly nit picky guy who has unreasonable demands.  If I were god and I existed, I'd be very insulted.

2. I do not have a relationship with god because god does not really want one.
This is a simpler explanation and one that you should accept, given the poor quality of the other choices.  Lots of xians believe this. 

3. I do not have a relationship with god because god does not really exist.
This is obviously the truth, but I think it is asking too much for you to accept that right now.

4. I actually do have a relationship with god, but I just don't know it.
This is incredibly implausible and silly, but hey, if I cannot even know what I want or don't want, why couldn't I have a relationship I was unaware of?  Heck, maybe I also have a wife and three kids in Alabama I don't know about too?


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Here is a question - if the friendly omnipotent god wants me to be his friend and the alternative is eternal torture, then who needs an unambiguous sign more than the doubter or unbeliever?
They're certainly good candidates for one.

And yet, for some reason you think god will only approach me (in the most cryptic, undectable and opaque ways) if I want him to with a perfect desire.  Hm.  Seems contradictory. 

If an omnipotent god wanted a relationship with me there is literally no way it could not happen. 

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You haven't pointed out anything.
Yes, I have.  You're just ignoring anything that doesn't conform to your preexisting belief that God either doesn't exist or doesn't want a relationship with you.

Preexisting belief?  It is preexisting in that I came to that conclusion before our conversation.  But it was not an assumption I made a priori to concluding it.  I came to that conclusion through personal experience, after seeking god and not finding him. It was not the conclusion was looking for.

It could be a text message to a friend, or finding out she was doing something else at the time, or something similar.

Does god send text messages to anyone?  Does he ring you on the telly to say he's running late?  Does god get stuck in traffic?  Does god get directions mixed up?  Did god go the the Presbyterian church on main street instead of meeting you at the Catholic church on elm?

These excuses for god you have provided are negated by omnipotence and god's stubborn refusal to make himself known in any way.


Within Christianity, I conclude it.  But as far as external evidence, as I hinted above I don't have enough external evidence to conclude that God even exists, let alone specific characteristics.  That's why I'm an agnostic theist and not a gnostic one.

This "within xianity" language sounds like obfuscation.  Imagine if someone said "within science I conclude evolution is true, but externally, I cannot say for sure".  If you meant something else, I need you to explain, because I find it to be meaningless. 

Do you believe god wants a relationship with everyone or not?  If so, you should at least admit you are doing so despite contradictory evidence.



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Re: Challenge: any theists encouraged to read and respond
« Reply #138 on: July 27, 2012, 12:13:06 PM »
Who the hell is going to send you to hell if there's no god?  And how can there be a hell for you to go to if there's no god? Why do you care where people who believe in god think you're going after you're dead if you know there is nothing after death?

That was the whole point of my creating this thread: I want theists to think about this kind of thing.  You're right--I believe hell does not exists, nor does god, so I care about this life, the only one I'm getting.  But it does matter what other people think on this topic, because it can lead to, er, problems.

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I personally don't think you deserve to go to hell if it were my decision but that's way above my paygrade and I would not presume to guess what god would decide.

Mooby has presumed as such previously in this thread (granted, at other times he's said "I don't know god's mind enough to answer," but he did lay out some pretty specific guidelines re: who's getting punished), so I'd like his take.
It's one of the reasons I'm an atheist today.  I decided to take my religion seriously, and that's when it started to fall apart for me.
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Re: Challenge: any theists encouraged to read and respond
« Reply #139 on: July 27, 2012, 12:28:01 PM »
Lori, if someone feels that you morally deserve to be tortured for all of eternity, then do you think that that person will treat you the same way that someone would who doesn't feel you deserve that torture?
That's a very good question.   I honestly think it would vary from person to person.  It would also depend on why they feel I should be tortured...  is it strictly for my failure to believe as they do or is it due to something I have done?   The character of that person would also be a factor. (I personnally doubt the character of anyone who feels they can categorically decide whether anyone else deserves damnation) Is it someone who naievly follows what others have taught them, or is it some self-righteous, hypocritic fundie prick? 
It doesn't make sense to let go of something you've had for so long.  But it also doesn't make sense to hold on when there's actually nothing there.

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Re: Challenge: any theists encouraged to read and respond
« Reply #140 on: July 27, 2012, 12:40:52 PM »
(I personnally doubt the character of anyone who feels they can categorically decide whether anyone else deserves damnation)

I have decided no one deserves eternal suffering and I feel completely justified.  Does that make you doubt my character?
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Re: Challenge: any theists encouraged to read and respond
« Reply #141 on: July 27, 2012, 01:05:23 PM »
(I personnally doubt the character of anyone who feels they can categorically decide whether anyone else deserves damnation)

I have decided no one deserves eternal suffering and I feel completely justified.  Does that make you doubt my character?

I should have used the would "that" in the place of the word "whether". I would think anyone who has read my posts would understand I would not think someone who decided no one deserves eternal suffering was of bad character. I did not think I came off as judgemental.  I doubt your character because you seem to argue for the sake of arguing.  I am using the word "doubt" meaning I am uncertain whether or not you are an asshole.
« Last Edit: July 27, 2012, 01:08:49 PM by LoriPinkAngel »
It doesn't make sense to let go of something you've had for so long.  But it also doesn't make sense to hold on when there's actually nothing there.

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Re: Challenge: any theists encouraged to read and respond
« Reply #142 on: July 27, 2012, 02:41:13 PM »
I did not think I came off as judgemental.

Maybe a little bit.

I doubt your character because you seem to argue for the sake of arguing.

I don't think I've been argumentative.  I've asked questions rather than jump to conclusions or make assumptions.  It is what we do here.  Explore each other's opinions.  Ask hypotheticals.  Be critical.  Most people are not used to that.

I am using the word "doubt" meaning I am uncertain whether or not you are an asshole.

It's okay.  I am not offended.  I would say I am not normally an asshole and I try not to be, but sometimes, despite my efforts, I am.

I am uncertain whether or not you are an asshole too.  I'm leaning toward not.  But it is too soon to say.

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Offline HAL

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Re: Challenge: any theists encouraged to read and respond
« Reply #143 on: July 27, 2012, 04:18:10 PM »
I doubt your character because you seem to argue for the sake of arguing.  I am using the word "doubt" meaning I am uncertain whether or not you are an asshole.

Have we met yet?  :)

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Re: Challenge: any theists encouraged to read and respond
« Reply #144 on: July 28, 2012, 12:26:25 AM »
My stance is that God gives us free will so that we may choose to have a relationship with him. 

I have 2 big problems with this. 

1.  If God gives me free will to choose whether or not I want to have a relationship with him, then how would I decide whether or not I want this relationship if I have no interaction with him at all?  You see, having a relationship is a 2 step process.  Step one involves actually knowing the other party exists, and step two is judging whether or not we want that relationship to take place.  You only need free will for step 2.  You don't need it for step one.  It would not violate my free choice to have a relationship with him, even if God were to pop down in my living room and talk to me for an hour.  All that would satisfy is step one in the process. So why doesn't he?  The problem with God is that neither of those two are present.  So what information should I go on in order to make my free will choice? 

2. I have to question the moral character of a person who decides they would like to have a relationship with a deity who has the power to save millions of people from the suffering they endure on this planet, yet does nothing to stop it.  Why would anyone choose anything other than a full on rebellion against such an awful being? 

Teaching kids about God gives them the tools they need to make an informed decision. 

Really?  At what age were you capable of discerning fact from fiction in terms of what your parents were telling you?   

No Mooby.  Kids go to church because parents know for a fact that if you don't get that stuff in early, they're never going to buy it.  And God forbid, they raise an atheist child who managed to shed the delusion of their parents.  It's a miracle that any of us who were raised Christian came out of it atheists. 

A child can not make an informed decision about whether or not God exists.  That's ridiculous.  It's all about the brainwash. 

Withholding the spiritual compass from someone for fear they'll go the wrong way still leaves them lost.  Instead of leaving someone on their own and hoping they'll stumble along in the right direction, isn't it better to simply lead them in the right direction?

You don't need God to be a good person.  You can steer them just fine without that. 
Whenever events that are purported to occur in our best interest are as numerous as the events that will just as soon kill us, then intent is hard, if not impossible to assert. NDT