Author Topic: oohhh look still more stuff from Josiah Ministries  (Read 663 times)

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Offline Hatter23

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oohhh look still more stuff from Josiah Ministries
« on: June 16, 2014, 08:31:50 PM »

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Yesterday, I spoke of the Blog for WWGHA totally messing up Christian doctrine.  Mere rabbit trails compared to what the author really wants us to answer for him.

Thomas is asking for a theodicy that makes sense of the events of the last few years:

    How can anyone love a “God” who allows hundreds of thousands of people to die in a tsunami, or dozens of people to get shot innocently in a movie theater? What parent would allow you siblings to die while they looked on laughing.

Semantically, Thomas is actually asking for a personal reason Christians can love a God that passively allows tragedy to occur.  But I’m going to interpret him charitably here, assuming Thomas is asking for a theodicy: a logically argued resolution to the problem of evil in a world run by an omnipotent, omniscient God who could end evil but doesn’t.

Infinite wisdom, as the author of the target piece argues, isn’t really all that satisfying.  Neither is the related “mystery” of God.

I’ve never really been that big a fan of the “free will defense,” since the Bible shows God quashing free will.  However, the instances of God upholding free will vastly outnumber the instances of him preventing sin.  So I think that free will, while not the answer, is a component of the bigger picture.

Greater good isn’t all that great by itself.   Strobel’s Case for Faith has a great analogy about a bear trap.  Suppose a bear is caught in a trap and you decide to free it.  You can’t possibly do so without causing the animal more pain than he’s in, and there’s no possible way to explain to the animal that his increased pain will actually lead to total freedom.  And so he’ll lash out at you while you try to free him in a misplaced effort to defend himself.

We lash out at God for people dying in tsunamis and for innocents getting shot in a movie theater.  But what if all this is just part of the ultimate plan designed to free us from this bear trap?  What if the pains we see and the suffering we endure are really leading up to the day when none of this pain and strife will be necessary?  When the metaphorical hunter finally releases our leg and we can scamper pain-free into the woods?

I don’t think it’s the whole picture, but I think that the greater good defense has some merit to it.

This means I see merit to both free will and the greater good.  And I think a synthesis of the two is the answer to all questions related to theodicy.  Which leads me toward something I might call the Education Defense for Evil — it is necessary to have evil in this world to reveal God’s full character (wrath, love, and mercy), bring full glory to God at the culmination of history, and to reveal our own nature.

Evil serves a purpose (greater good) without being God’s purpose (free will).

I confess that while I’ve thought about this for a while now, I have little in the way of previous theodicy by any great thinker to back it up.  The idea needs more development, but it is something I foresee I will be writing and researching more in the future.  This seemed as good a time as any to introduce it, since I could scarcely criticize Thomas from WWGHA in the previous post without actually answering the one conundrum that was worthwhile.

Notice how it dances around the question. It is a just an quite sophisticated version of "mysterious ways"

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If one is going to criticize the viewpoint of another, then one had best understand the opposing view thoroughly.  As an example, you will note that I do not enter into Creationism/Evolution/ID debates.  I don’t know enough about the three camps to participate intelligently, save for being able to articulate the difference between pure Creationism and ID.

Over at the Blog for WWGHA, in response to this article from a Christian pastor, Thomas opines:

    It’s the “infinite wisdom” rationalization. God is too huge and awesome for pipsqueak humans to understand. Never mind that Christians claim to understand God all the time, for example by demanding that homosexuals be discriminated against or even stoned to death, or that foreskins need to be cut off baby’s penises, etc. Christians claim knowledge of all sorts of God’s thoughts, but strangely, the explanation for the atrocities and horrors that we see every day are just too complicated. (source)

It’s simply absurd to suggest that anyone is being inconsistent to say that we know some things about God, but not other things.  It is absolutely possible to say you know a person, but not understand everything that they do.

With God, some of his commands are clear, while others aren’t.  But to suggest I’m inconsistent when I say that we humans aren’t going to understand some things about God while being able to understand other things is asinine.

Second, let’s set two things straight with the Christian (mis)treatment of homosexuals.  We are not “denying” anyone the right to marry.  The very makeup of marriage excludes homosexuals.  It is a divinely ordered institution of a man joining to a woman, and they become one flesh.  Polygamy isn’t specifically prohibited in this fashion, but men can’t marry men and women can’t marry women under this paradigm.

It would be like me saying “My goal is to be the next Pope.”  I’m not a practicing Catholic; therefore I’m excluded from consideration for that office.

Or, if I tried to win a Hispanic scholarship.  I’m white.  I can’t win a scholarship oriented to Hispanic students.  It defies the intent of the scholarship and the rules of those who created it and put up the money.

Marriage is a joining of a man to a woman.  Period.  We can’t deny someone a right that does not exist.

On a personal note to the blog author:  Thomas, please find me a Christian who, in the last 20 years, actually called for a gay man to be stoned to death.  If you can’t, then please withdraw that ridiculous claim.

On the foreskin question, Christians actually were not circumcised.  Christians are exempt from all practices under the Jewish law.  Paul makes it explicit:

    For circumcision indeed is of value if you obey the law, but if you break the law, your circumcision becomes uncircumcision.So, if a man who is uncircumcised keeps the precepts of the law, will not his uncircumcision be regarded as circumcision? Then he who is physically uncircumcised but keeps the law will condemn you who have the written code and circumcision but break the law. For no one is a Jew who is merely one outwardly, nor is circumcision outward and physical.But a Jew is one inwardly, and circumcision is a matter of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the letter. His praise is not from man but from God. (Rom 2:25-29)

Though there is a clear advantage to circumcision in knowing the oracles of God (Rom 3:2), one shouldn’t seek it:

    Only let each person lead the life that the Lord has assigned to him, and to which God has called him. This is my rule in all the churches. Was anyone at the time of his call already circumcised? Let him not seek to remove the marks of circumcision. Was anyone at the time of his call uncircumcised? Let him not seek circumcision. For neither circumcision counts for anything nor uncircumcision, but keeping the commandments of God. Each one should remain in the condition in which he was called. (1 Cor 7:17-20)

What if someone does get circumcised despite the warning?  Then:

    . . . Christ will be of no advantage to you. I testify again to every man who accepts circumcision that he is obligated to keep the whole law. You are severed from Christ, you who would be justified by the law; you have fallen away from grace. For through the Spirit, by faith, we ourselves eagerly wait for the hope of righteousness. For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision counts for anything, but only faith working through love. (Gal 5:2-6)

Circumcision is not a Christian phenomenon.

Okay, now that we’re done with rabbit trails, is there actually an argument or an indictment here worth answering?

Sort of.  We’ll talk tomorrow.

Yes we aren't denying homosexuals to marry...it because we want to define marriage in a way that denies homosexuals to marry...my eyes are rolling at that one. This one cannot get it through his thick skull as soon as you define marriage through theological means...that means you are defining it for the followers of your cosmology.
« Last Edit: June 16, 2014, 08:38:55 PM by Hatter23 »
An Omnipowerful God needed to sacrifice himself to himself (but only for a long weekend) in order to avert his own wrath against his own creations who he made in a manner knowing that they weren't going to live up to his standards.

And you should feel guilty for this. Give me money.

Offline veraponz

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Re: oohhh look still more stuff from Josiah Ministries
« Reply #1 on: June 24, 2014, 02:01:17 AM »
I wanted to know something, I want to know.

Offline Tevesbristle

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Re: oohhh look still more stuff from Josiah Ministries
« Reply #2 on: July 01, 2015, 02:44:28 AM »
How can I get more information.

Offline Nam

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Re: oohhh look still more stuff from Josiah Ministries
« Reply #3 on: July 01, 2015, 05:26:19 AM »
How can I get more information.

What you should be asking: how can I stop necroing topics?

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Offline kcrady

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Re: oohhh look still more stuff from Josiah Ministries
« Reply #4 on: July 01, 2015, 06:15:33 AM »
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Semantically, Thomas is actually asking for a personal reason Christians can love a God that passively allows tragedy to occur.  But I’m going to interpret him charitably here, assuming Thomas is asking for a theodicy: a logically argued resolution to the problem of evil in a world run by an omnipotent, omniscient God who could end evil but doesn’t.

Interesting omission here: Theodicy is only an issue if one tries to claim that Yahweh is infinitely good, as well as possessing the other "omni-" attributes.  If he's malevolent or indifferent, the question never comes up.  The author here rephrases the issue to "how can Christians love a god that could end evil but doesn't."  Well, that's easy: they're just kissing the ass of (imagined) power.  Anything Yahweh does is fine with them, as long as they get to believe they're on his good side (and he won't do any of the really horrible stuff to them, plus *~HEAVEN~*), and they can attribute their prejudices and power-lusts onto him while representing themselves as his messengers and courtiers.  Megalomania by proxy.

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Infinite wisdom, as the author of the target piece argues, isn’t really all that satisfying.  Neither is the related “mystery” of God.

I’ve never really been that big a fan of the “free will defense,” since the Bible shows God quashing free will.  However, the instances of God upholding free will vastly outnumber the instances of him preventing sin.  So I think that free will, while not the answer, is a component of the bigger picture.

If "free will" is not a principle--something that Yahweh must permit because reasons--then it can't excuse the existence of any particular evil.  If Yahweh can quash free will in this or that arbitrary case, then he could have quashed free will to prevent Hitler and Stalin from going into politics.  That he didn't becomes a choice he made.  It cannot be said, "Yahweh had to allow the Holocaust and World War Two because Free Will" if he actually had the option of quashing free will whenever he wanted to.  Thus, the "free will defense" defends nothing.

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Greater good isn’t all that great by itself.   Strobel’s Case for Faith has a great analogy about a bear trap.  Suppose a bear is caught in a trap and you decide to free it.  You can’t possibly do so without causing the animal more pain than he’s in, and there’s no possible way to explain to the animal that his increased pain will actually lead to total freedom.  And so he’ll lash out at you while you try to free him in a misplaced effort to defend himself.

We lash out at God for people dying in tsunamis and for innocents getting shot in a movie theater.  But what if all this is just part of the ultimate plan designed to free us from this bear trap?  What if the pains we see and the suffering we endure are really leading up to the day when none of this pain and strife will be necessary?  When the metaphorical hunter finally releases our leg and we can scamper pain-free into the woods?

Um...OK, but what if you had the power to make the bear trap disappear by snapping your fingers?  What if you could talk to bears and have them understand you perfectly?  What if you could magically numb the bear's pain, or were invulnerable to the bear's claws?  What if you had infinite infallible foresight, so that you could go and remove the trap before the bear ever steps in it?  What if you have all those abilities, and don't use them--then get mad at the bear for lashing out at you and decide to set it on fire instead of releasing it from the trap?  Are you still a good person?

If Yahweh is an omnimax with perfect, infallible foresight, and he created this Cosmos and the spirit realm and all the spirit beings, etc., etc., all in accordance with his flawlessly-executed designs, then he controls all the parameters.  There's no way to give him plausible deniability unless you start taking things out of his control.  "He didn't know, or if he did, there was nothing he could do about it, he's innocent!"  Christians love bragging up Yahweh's dialed-to-infinity super-attributes too much to ever make admissions like that.

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I don’t think it’s the whole picture, but I think that the greater good defense has some merit to it.

This means I see merit to both free will and the greater good.  And I think a synthesis of the two is the answer to all questions related to theodicy.  Which leads me toward something I might call the Education Defense for Evil — it is necessary to have evil in this world to reveal God’s full character (wrath, love, and mercy), bring full glory to God at the culmination of history, and to reveal our own nature.

Really?  Really?!  You actually want to go there?  Okaaaay...

So what have we learned about Yahweh today, class?  First and foremost, he's a glory hog.  If children dying of smallpox gives him glory, he'll make sure it happens.  His motivations are entirely selfish (get glory, "reveal his character," i.e. show off).  Notice that the first personality attribute he needs to exhibit is his wrath.  In other words, a world where Yahweh has no excuse to get angry and hurt other beings is not a world Yahweh wants.  Yahweh cannot feel genuine moral outrage at "sin," because he needs it to exist, so he can "reveal" what a badass he is when he's angry.  But he can't heal amputees because that would reveal--ow, my head hurts.

Of course this means his "love" and "mercy" are just as fake as his "morality."  Having created beings for such selfish and petty aims as self-glorification and flaunting himself (while also remaining perfectly hidden--it probably gives him glory or something, I guess), he's clearly not acting in genuine love or mercy for them.  Yahweh doesn't get to invent childhood leukemia "for his glory," then preen around saying he loves, loves, loves the little children, and he's ever so merciful because at least they eventually die.

Oh, and by the way, the "Mysterious Ways" defense is out.  You don't get to say, "The Holocaust and guinea worms boring through flesh and parasitic wasp larvae tearing their way out of the bodies of living caterpillars like alien chest-bursters reveals Yahweh's character" and then wheel around and say, "Ooooh, he's sooo mysteeeeeerious <spooky hand gesture> that he and his deeds are beyond human ken!"  "Revealed" means revealed.

OK then, so the suffering of humans and animals--all of it, no matter how horrible, plus the everlasting torture of countless billions of people in Hell--is there to reveal Yahweh's character.  What does that say about him?
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Offline wheels5894

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Re: oohhh look still more stuff from Josiah Ministries
« Reply #5 on: July 01, 2015, 06:39:03 AM »
Isn't this straightforward? This god dude wants people to worship him - to show him how great he is. He's obviously very lonely where he is and he needs worship to get up his spirits. Sin is doing anything that is not worshiping him and making his life better.

Of course, there are times when there are no enough people doing the worshiping and he gets morose and starts hurting things - kill a few thousand of Ebola, drop an asteroid over Eastern Europe or maybe some serious lightning over the UK. Just the usual thing s a morose god does. Of course, there are fewer and fewer people doing the worshiping in the UK and Western Europe so no doubt that's why he is causing Global Warming - just to get at those nasty non-worshiping Europeans!
No testimony is sufficient to establish a miracle, unless the testimony be of such that its falshood would be more miraculous than the facts it endeavours to establish. (David Hume)