I'm really sorry about botching the quoting. I wasn't aware of the preview which will be a big help. I've now read everything I can about it and hope to have it down.
It does take a bit of practice. Keep working on it, you'll get it eventually.
Is there a "reverse quote" button? Like a button I can push like the quote button, but in reverses the "quote" and the "end quote" text?
You'll notice that there are several formatting buttons when you compose a post, such as "bold", "italic", and so on. One thing you can do is to select a section of text in your post, then click the pertinent formatting button to apply that type of format to the entire section you've selected. "Quote" is one of the buttons. So there's no "reverse quote" button or anything like that per se, but there are some ways in which the quoting level can be handled at least partly automatically.
Most of the regulars here have not always been atheists; most of them are former Christians. When they felt their faith starting to fade, they were highly alarmed and did not want to lose it. They desperately prayed and prayed and prayed, frantically begging Yahweh to give them strength or some kind of a sign or something to help them continue believing him. Yahweh did not answer them. It's a big part of the reason that they're atheists now. What do you think about that? First of all I love the genuine nature of your question.
I don't know how to emphasize this enough. Christian is such a loose term. There are very few Christian catholics, mormons, jehovah witnesses, etc... A person is not a Christian until they've been Born Again as Jesus said. They are not Born Again until they've been in dwelt with the Holy Spirit as I and millions of others have and everyone could.
As an atheist myself, I don't consider it my place to tell Catholics, Mormons, or anyone else that they're not "real Christians". If someone tells me that he is a Christian, I consider myself ethically bound to take him at his word. Apart from the intellectual implications of an atheist deciding who is or isn't a member of a class that he himself says he doesn't belong to, it's just plain rude. (By way of comparison, I've had Christians openly tell me that I'm not a "real atheist", so I can tell you from experience that it is highly offensive.)
Also, are you familiar with the logical fallacy known as a "No True Scotsman" argument? Because it sounds to me like you're committing it here. If you're not, you might want to review it.
I'm very skeptical of anyone who claims to have been a Christian as I've previously described, and now claims not to be. The reason for this is that you can't unbelieve something that you yourself have physically experienced and have known to be true. You can't have a relationship with someone and then say you didn't or believe you didn't. The Holy Spirit is a tangible presence in a true Christian's life, not something that someone can change their mind about or forget.
And this one is definitely
a "No True Scotsman". And, again, I'd caution you about whom you say this to, regardless of whether it's a fallacy or not. If you say it to most of the regulars here, they're probably going to think that you're belittling the pain they experienced as a part of losing their faith, and they won't take kindly to it. Kind of like, "Oh, your wife cheated on you and ran off with the mailman, taking your life savings with you, huh? Well, then, you weren't really married in the first place, I guess. A real wife wouldn't do that to her husband."
There's plenty of people who've tasted that Truth, and while they know it's real, have decided to push God away for a myriad of reasons. They appear as atheists but they're really just mad or disappointed with a faultless God. I'm not directing this to anyone in particular.
Maybe there are such people, I don't know; if so, I don't believe I've met any. I do know that you won't find any such people here at WWGHA.
Also there could be people in the group you've described that had a different timetable then God. There are people who have the wrong understanding of God's attributes and of the Bible and in turn their expectations of God are faulty. Others just didn't have the trust they needed to wait for God or to know that we should never go upon our own understanding.
If Yahweh knew that these people would become atheists if they didn't receive some kind of a sign or something within a certain timeframe, and he did not give these people a sign, then their atheism is Yahweh's fault. How could it be otherwise?
It's important to remember that their story isn't over.
He doesn't care if you believe in Him, He cares if you believe in His Son Jesus Christ and that you believe that He sent Him to die for our sins. He cares, bc this is the only way He can have a personal, loving and intimate relationship with His creation.
Neither is yours. ;-)
2. I'm not trying to convince anyone and God doesn't care if you believe or not.
Obviously he does care, considering what he does with people who don't believe. I have no interest in "Doctor Who" at all, so if someone says that Tom Baker was not the best doctor, I'm not inclined to soak that person in gasoline and throw a lit match on him. Actually, it's hard for me to imagine doing that to anyone at all, but if I did, you can bet it would be for something I care about a hell of a lot. No pun intended.
If you say that whether he can have a relationship with us is dependent on our own beliefs, you are denying his omnipotence. Are you willing to do that?
And yes He is very offended, as would anyone, when His creation, which He owes nothing
He may not be obligated to give us anything (though I find that debatable), but he absolutely does have an obligation to refrain from certain actions directed toward us. He is obliged, for example, not to set anyone on fire -- and he is failing to uphold his obligation.
He does care a lot about us, that's why He's set up this perfect formula called the Gospel.
How does that follow?
I'm not going to bog this thread down in the mountains of evidence that exists for the resurrection, God existing or any of the other evidences that support Christianity.
That's because, as far as the claims of the bible go, most of them have no support at all, and some of them are flatly falsifiable -- examples of the latter, for example, I've already given (e.g., we know that there was no exodus because if such an exodus occurred, there would be certain types of archaeological evidence , and such evidence isn't present even in minuscule amounts, let alone the overwhelming amounts that should be there).
The reason for this is that as I said earlier no one will be able to convince someone of God other than God Himself. I can't convince someone to have a realtionship with someone or to love someone. It's never about evidence it's about where a person's heart is.
But, again: in order to have a relationship with someone, you must have not the smallest doubt that the individual in question actually exists. (Have you ever been in love with someone whose existence you were uncertain of?) That being the case, if Yahweh wants to have a relationship with me, he first has to stop playing hide-and-seek with me.
God has no interest in proving Himself to someone who isn't interested in a relationship with Him. Who isn't desperately seeking Him through His Son Jesus Christ.
You've got hold of a chicken-and-egg scenario here: by this explanation, the only way anyone can become a Christian is if they're already a Christian. Doesn't make a heck of a lot of sense.
Just saying that a lack of evidence of something doesn't mean it isn't true.
And, again, so what? Did anyone make this claim? If they did, then obviously, they're wrong.
However, the flip side of the coin is that, just as lack of evidence doesn't mean something isn't true, it also doesn't mean that it is worth considering whether it is true. Sagan's "The Dragon in my Garage", for example.
You have to understand that that Christians don't have faith in a thing or a concept, they have faith in the person of Jesus Christ.
Oh, believe me, the regulars here understand that very well.
It's no different then having faith or believing in your dad when he tells you he's going to do something or that he did something.
Actually, it's worlds different in that the existence of your dad cannot reasonably be doubted without going the route of the Cartesian Demon. The existence of Yahweh, however, is another matter.
Another question to ask yourself is what kind of proof would you expect from God?
How about some kind of a healing miracle that cannot be explained by natural processes? Like, say, an amputee spontaneously and miraculously getting his leg back?
The Bible is filled with exactly what you are asking for.
Right, and as I've said: the bible is not evidence, the bible is the claim. Where is your evidence
Also as I've said if He did that right in front of you, you may believe but would you love Him and His Son?
To be honest, probably not. Yahweh is a torturer and mass murderer whose kill count was not exceeded by any human being until the Twentieth Century (if, indeed, even then). As I've said before, it's just barely possible that you could convince me of Yahweh's existence. Love him? Never. He's the pinnacle of imperious tyranny. Now, if he wants to try to convince me that he is different from how he is described in the bible, that might be another matter.
Would you repent of your sins and ask Him for forgiveness?
My first question would be to ask him how I wronged him. I do apologize to people I have harmed, but what with him being omnipotent and all, it's kind of hard for me to conceive of how it would even be possible for me to harm him.
Also he tried that with Jews in the Old Testament and it didn't work.
Doing overt things like that not only makes God into a novelty act but also would cheapen the relationship that developed.
Again, so? If he wants a relationship with me, isn't it better that it be a cheap one than none at all?
This would negate our free will. So would Him healing amputees right in front of us.
It's important to understand that the demonically deceived powers that be have a vested interest in keeping the truth about Jesus Christ from you.
Considering that Christ is omnipotent, it shouldn't matter, should it? It isn't possible to fight someone who is all-powerful. I mean, if I fill a balloon with water and shoot it point-blank with a .44 Magnum, what are the odds that the balloon is not going to burst? The odds of winning a fight with Jesus should be even slimmer than that, shouldn't they?
Ah, the "God plays hide and seek so we can have free will" argument. Do you have any idea how bad this argument is? I don't think you do. Greta Christina explains it probably better than anyone else could.
“God can’t reveal himself to us clearly,” this argument goes, “because he wants us to have free will. We have to be free to believe in him or not. If he revealed his presence to us, we’d be forced to believe in him — and our free will is a precious gift. It’s what makes us God’s unique creation.”
It’s a really, really bad argument.
I’m going to dismantle it today.
Imagine you’re on a jury. You’re asked to decide whether something is or is not real, whether it did or did not happen: whether the accused stole the diamonds, or set fire to their warehouse for the insurance, or shot a man in Reno just to watch him die. The prosecution doesn’t offer much evidence at the trial — it’s all circumstantial at best, third-hand hearsay at worst, with excessive appeals to emotion and fear, and arguments based on faulty logic. So you decide to acquit.
And then, after you’ve reached your verdict, you’re told there’s a videotape, clearly showing the accused committing the crime.
You’re baffled. You’re outraged. You confront the prosecutor in the hallway, and ask, “Why didn’t you show us this evidence at the trial? Why show it to us now — when it’s too late to do anything about it?”
And the prosecutor replies, “Because you had to be free to decide for yourself. If we gave you that videotape, it would have made your choice too obvious. Free will is a precious gift, a crucial component of the justice system — and in order for the jury to have free will, we can’t make the right verdict too obvious. That would have forced your hand.”
Would you nod your head sagely in agreement? Would you think that was a sound and reasonable explanation?
Or would you think they were out of their gourd?
And if you’d think this was a ridiculous and outrageous explanation from the prosecutor — then why on earth would you think it’s a good argument when it comes to God?
The "free will" argument is backwards. Having less information doesn't enhance our freedom of choice, it's exactly the opposite: the more information we have about any particular matter, the more likely we are to make a wise (and correct) decision. So by hiding from us, Yahweh isn't respecting
our free will, he's actually interfering
There's no convincing people to have a personal relationship with God.
Actually, there could be, it's just that what skeptics would need to have such a relationship, believers are unable to provide. For starters, you would have to prove that Yahweh exists, since it is not possible to even contemplate having a relationship with someone if you don't even know whether that person exists. That, all by itself, is a tall order.
Having convinced someone of the existence of Yahweh, the next step would be to convince that person that Yahweh is not a complete fucking asshole. Most rational and healthy people would not wish to have a relationship with a mass murderer of any kind, for example, and Yahweh, as portrayed in the bible, most certainly is one. (Fun experiment for you, by the way... try going thru the bible sometime and adding up all the people that Yahweh slaughters. Then, for comparison, add up the total number of people killed by Satan. It's an eye-opening exercise.)
You're right believers are unable to provide this proof, no one is able to provide this proof. God is the only One who can prove Himself to anyone and it's that way by His perfect design. The only way God will be proved to anyone is if they humble themselves before Jesus Christ, ask Him for forgiveness, say you're sorry for pushing Him away all those years and thank Him for not giving up on you.
Proof shouldn't even be necessary before contemplating a relationship. In fact, the concept is pretty ridiculous because it puts the whole thing backwards, as I've already said. If you were contemplating marrying a woman, would you be asking for proof that she exists? Of course not, because it's the other way around: if you were contemplating marrying a woman, it would be (in part) because you were already convinced that she existed -- in fact, just having that explained to you should show you how ridiculous it would be for it to be any other way.
It isn't possible to consider having a relationship with Yahweh -- or with anyone else -- unless you are first completely satisfied as to the existence of that person. And if, as you say, Yahweh's existence cannot be demonstrated by anyone but Yahweh, well, then, my being an atheist is completely his fault.
I do sincerely want to know the truth about Christ. If I'm wrong about his not existing, I seriously want to know that -- I absolutely hate being wrong about anything, and if Christ exists and is omniscient, then he knows that. So why am I still an atheist? He knows full well that he would have my approval to correct my error.
I can tell by tone of your questions that you're genuine.
Thank you for acknowledging that. You'd be surprised how many people deny it.
Because it's not enough for you to WANT to be wrong.
I don't think anyone wants to be wrong about anything. I suspect I may have a more intense hatred of it than most, but I doubt that anybody, for example, loads a gun and points it at his own head, preparing to pull the trigger, knowing that the gun will kill him but "hoping that he's wrong" about the gun going off when he fires it.
You have to admit you're wrong.
And when proven wrong, I am perfectly willing to do so. Yahweh doesn't seem interested in showing me the error of my ways, though.
Go to church a couple times. Read the Bible with an open mind.
Most of us here have been to church more than a "couple times". And most of us have read the bible in full, more than once and in more than one translation. For many of us, it's why we're atheists now.
As I said it's not about reading the Bible or about going to church.
Actually, you did say it was about reading the bible or going to church, but whatever.
Its about the state of your heart and mind when you do those things. If you're truly searching for truth, you'll find it.
You're right, I have found it: Yahweh does not exist.
No one can prove that the Bible isn't true
Actually, there are quite a few things in the bible that are known to be false. The exodus, for example, never happened. Neither did the flood. The human race is not descended from two human beings. Snakes and donkeys cannot talk.
I could bog this thread down with a bunch of links but I wont. The reality is that nothing in the Bible has been proven false.
Many things in the bible have been proven false. I just gave a few examples. There are many others as well.
Many proclaimed atheists are very mad at God. I knew that when I was one.
I find that rather doubtful. I would need to know specifics, but I imagine that, more likely, they were angry at people who called themselves followers of Yahweh because of the things that those people say and do.
Nope they're mad at a faultless, blameless God.
If Yahweh is omnipotent, then everything
is his fault, but that aside: if there's anyone who's "angry at god", whichever god you're talking about, then they are, by definition, not atheists. You cannot be angry at someone whom you do not believe exists, therefore, if you are angry at god, you are not an atheist. It would be like saying that you're a bachelor who's angry at his wife. It's simply not possible.
Also being angry at people that believe in a fairy tale is very weird.
Not when you take a look at what those fairy-tale believers do based on their beliefs.
If we lived in a nation where 75% of the so-called "adult" population believed in the Easter Bunny; if several million of those people were wealthy and influential, and determined to pass laws based on Easter Bunny-ism that affected everyone, even the non-Easter Bunnyists...
If every other street corner in the nation had a temple for people to meet to worship him, and if radio and television was flooded with people preaching the Good News of the Easter Bunny (free candy, if only you believe!)...
If those temples were given tax exemptions, at the cost of higher taxes for everyone else...
If the minority who lacked belief in the Easter Bunny had to struggle with hiding that lack of belief for fear that disclosing their apostasy would result in their property being vandalized, their families ostracizing them, their careers and even their personal safety put at risk...
If that minority were routinely told to move to another country were non-Easter Bunnyism was welcome...
If custody battles in divorce cases were routinely decided in favor of Easter Bunnyists, with the judge explicitly saying that his decision was because non-Easter Bunnyism was "not in the child's best interests"...
If anyone openly admitting to non-Easter Bunnyism lacked even the smallest chance of being elected to any public office much above the position of dogcatcher...
If those disbelieving in the Easter Bunny were determined in public opinion polls to be almost as untrusted as rapists...
If teenagers admitting to their parents that they were not Easter Bunnyists faced the very real risk of being kicked out of their own homes, even if they had not yet reached the age of majority...
If the well-funded Easter Bunny majority was constantly trying to inject Easter Bunnyism into public education disguised as "science", while simultaneously working just as hard to have real science excluded from the curriculum...
If all that, and far, far more, were true...
...then we'd be pretty angry at Easter Bunnyists as well.
Can you understand why?
EDIT: Forgot to source the Greta Christina quote and link to full article:http://freethoughtblogs.com/greta/2010/08/11/why-does-god-play-hide-and-seek/