Of course people from the beginning of time have wrestled with these issues. That's exactly what one would expect from people who were created in the image of God to do. Even if they don't know God.
Now, I don't make a "leap".
But...you just did. Can you see it? You say that "wrestling with these issues" is an anticipated consequence of people being "created in the image of [your particular] God," but offer no indication of how you got from Point A to Point Bible, much less any actual chain of evidence that locates the hypothesis you chose over countless others.
We can observe, daily, the presence of curiosity in animals (cats, dogs, etc.) that are not, in any mainstream version of Christian theology, "created in the image of God." Most Christian theologians would tell us that Yahweh already knows everything, so it is metaphysically impossible
for him to be curious or wrestle with a difficult question. Therefore, there is no information content in the phrase "created in the image of God" that can lead to anticipating that humans would be curious and wrestle with philosophical questions.
Since curiosity is a trait we share with other animals, it's easy to assert that this is an anticipated consequence of naturalistic evolution. Or we could say it's because our bodies and Ka's were fashioned by Khnum
, who created us to live in accordance with the principles of Ma'at
(truth and the proper cosmic order; also personified as a goddess). Or...pretty much every single religion and philosophy ever invented.
The reasons that I gave were just a beginning. I don't leap from the existential concept to.... American Protestantism.
You may not see yourself doing it because "the Bible is true" is just one of those "everybody knows that!
" things to you, so that you're not able to genuinely step outside of your world-view long enough to look at it the way an outsider would. Like a fish that never notices the presence of water. If you'd been born in New Delhi, then the truth of Hinduism would be equally "obvious." You would have no more expectation that the answers would be found in a Jewish book than you currently have of finding them in the Vedas.
First is accepting the idea that we are more than just an accident. And more than just a physical creature destined for the dust without a soul or something else, whatever that might be.
This is no better a reason to believe in Yahweh than "But I don't want
there to be a big boss in the sky who has rules for what I can do with my genitals!" is a good reason to dis
believe in him.
This is motivated cognition
--enshrining some particular desire (whether it be for "immortality, meaning, and purpose" or "free love" or "I wanna have psychic powers and talk to aliens" or something else) as a bias, then setting out to make the facts of reality conform. It should be obvious that this is not a good way to find out what reality is actually like.
After at least considering that possibility, a person can enter into a journey of discovering what that something else could be.
Again, this methodology is completely bass-ackwards. First we set out on our journey of discovery--employing methods for discovering facts and identifying errors and biases
we find out what possibilities are worthy of consideration (i.e., probable), and which ones aren't.
That you don't see a reason for God to create people........well the bible says that God loves His creation. Maybe that's a good enough reason. As parents and people with family, we should be able to relate to that.
When we talk about love, in particular, parental love, the word is supposed to mean something
. It is fairly easy to specify a set of behaviors that identify an individual as a loving parent. It is also fairly easy to specify behaviors that qualify as "abusive" or "neglectful." In other words, we can tell, by observation
, whether or not a given person is a loving parent. We have governmental departments set up to do this in order to protect children from abuse and neglect.
So, if you're wanting to claim that Yahweh is a loving parent, then you're making a testable claim.
In a nutshell: loving parents look out for
their children, and act
within the extent of their knowledge and abilities to protect them. Children with loving parents never wonder if said parents exist
We all know that Yahweh doesn't behave
as a loving parent. If he did, you wouldn't have to use motivated cognition to uphold your belief in him. You could just say, "Remember when he stopped that Hitler guy from trying to kill all the Jews and start a war that would have killed tens of millions of people?" or "Remember when he stopped those airliners from colliding with the World Trade Center?" Now of course you've got all kinds of theological reasons for why Yahweh never actually does
anything, or so much as shows up to give any of the children he "loves" a hug or a shoulder to cry on. But the more you apply those, the more you tear down the claim that he can be understood as being a "loving parent" in any meaningful sense of the term. The problem you have is that Yahweh doesn't exhibit any kind of behavior pattern at all
out in the real world. Sure, he does stuff in stories in books, but then, so does Harry Potter.
The Bible says that God knew you from the beginning of the earth. That He created you for a reason. If God is who He says He is, and does love His creation, then people who know Him will WANT to bow down and sing His praises. He doesn't force anyone to do that.
Are you sure?
For it is written,
“As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to me,
and every tongue shall give praise to God.”
Romans 14:11, New Revised Standard Version
And she gave birth to a son, a male child, who is to rule all the nations with a rod of iron. But her child was snatched away and taken to God and to his throne;
--Revelation 12:5, NRSV
From his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations, and he will rule[a] them with a rod of iron; he will tread the wine press of the fury of the wrath of God the Almighty. On his robe and on his thigh he has a name inscribed, “King of kings and Lord of lords.”
For someone who professes to "believe in" the Bible, you don't seem all that familiar with it. I wish that all the nice, ethical, modern Christians who want to go around saying, "Oh no, God isn't mean!
He doesn't ever bully anyone into worshiping him or torture them in Hell for doing something else for their lives! He just wants to hand out big huggy bunches of love and welcome everyone into the Democracy of Heaven!" would have the integrity to hold a new Church Council and go through the Bible with a red pen lining out all the horrible barbaric crap to produce a text as nice as they are. While you're at it, maybe you can clear out the "begats" and some of those laborious descriptions of altars and tables and washing-bowls for animal sacrifices. Then you'd have room to put in more relevant stuff like, oh, I dunno, Martin Luther King's Letter From a Birmingham Jail
Re: the issues of good and evil: Good and evil are definitions of standards. We would have to get into the problem of where our standards come from. Are they floating or fixed?
About noon the next day, as they were on their journey and approaching the city, Peter went up on the roof to pray. He became hungry and wanted something to eat; and while it was being prepared, he fell into a trance. He saw the heaven opened and something like a large sheet coming down, being lowered to the ground by its four corners. In it were all kinds of four-footed creatures and reptiles and birds of the air. Then he heard a voice saying, “Get up, Peter; kill and eat.” But Peter said, “By no means, Lord; for I have never eaten anything that is profane or unclean.” The voice said to him again, a second time, “What God has made clean, you must not call profane.” This happened three times, and the thing was suddenly taken up to heaven.
--Acts 10:9-16, NRSV
Floating, right? Right?
I see that good and evil exist and it causes me to look for a good/evil standard and reason why. The bible answers those questions. I know other "holy books" claim answers too. Yes, I've read many of them but not all. That doesn't mean that landing on just the right truth was a coincidence. I don't see this as a choice as much as I see it as God's leading me and giving me reasons to believe at the same time.
And everybody else's gods and goddesses "led them" to believe in their religions, right? I'm sure many if not most would say that sort of thing. As an outsider without any deities leading me around, why should I not consider their claims as valid as yours?
Burning forever may be a metaphorical explaination of hell.
Or it may not. There's lots of Christians who exhibit absolute certainty in the truth of "literal," "metaphorical" and "meh, that was primitive people talking, God has lead us on from there" views and various admixtures thereof. Which ought to be a clue that the methodology
of Christianity doesn't work
when it comes to seeking truth and identifying error.
Forever seperation from God is probably one thing that christians can agree upon regarding this subject. That it burns like an unquenchable fire because the person will never have satifaction in their existance, always searching and never able to experience relationship, contentment, always blaming God for even being in hell, will certainly be a part of that eternal existance. But hey, at least God is giving the person what they wanted right? Seperation from Himself. A lot atheists say that even if the God of the bible were true, they wouldn't want to be with Him. A loving God, I suppose, gives them what they want in the end.
We are all
perfectly, 100% hermetically sealed off and "separate from" Yahweh. If it were otherwise, this Forum would not exist, you wouldn't be being asked for evidence for him (and you wouldn't be so completely unable to provide it) any more than you're asked for evidence that the Sun exists. You live in the same godless universe we do.
Welcome to "Hell," I guess.