Author Topic: Why are YOU going to hell?  (Read 593 times)

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Offline 12 Monkeys

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Re: Why are YOU going to hell?
« Reply #29 on: May 15, 2017, 12:31:45 PM »
The get out of fire,I believe in Jesus and I sin but it's ok because..... Jesus is getting fucking old.
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Offline wheels5894

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Re: Why are YOU going to hell?
« Reply #30 on: May 15, 2017, 02:35:01 PM »
I hate to add complexity to a straightforward thread, but the question of how one gets to heaven comes up time and time again in the gospels but each time it is different.

For example, John 3:16 just requires belief to get to heaven - though the talk of god's only son suggests Jesus's deity so anyone no believing in his deity might be out. Then again, Matthew 27:31ff seems to insist that it was doing the various things mentioned for the people in need that would decide if you got into heaven - hence it was not just belief but works. It was Rome that taught the latter, that good works start earning a place in heaven. Luther, at the Reformation,  saw it is as faith that got one to heaven - the good works might follow on but it was the faith that did it. There rae plenty of other examples but this shows the two side quite well,

So the problem for the Christian is knowing if what he has done is the right thing to gain heaven so Christians tend to accept what they are taught by their churches - but the churches could still have it wrong as the bible, as usual, is rather non-committal. We had this problem trying to define the One True Christian. In this context, though, we can consider is non-believers might get in front of the believers in the race for heaven. Mat 27:31ff certainly seems to suggest this could be the case if the non-Christians behave better then Christians in looking after the people in trouble. It is a great shame we can't know if Mother Theresa or Christopher Hitchens made it to heaven?


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)

Offline YouCantHandleTheTruth

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Re: Why are YOU going to hell?
« Reply #31 on: May 15, 2017, 02:48:27 PM »
So the problem for the Christian is knowing if what he has done is the right thing to gain heaven so Christians tend to accept what they are taught by their churches - but the churches could still have it wrong as the bible, as usual, is rather non-committal.

That's right.  The question I always have is at what point does it truly dawn on churchgoers that different churches are teaching different things?  I seriously doubt under the age of 10 that will hit home.  But when does it really happen?  Even with adults, I'm not sure they really give that much consideration, because most churches tend to stick inside their own community.  If there's a church function, you'll see them invite non-believers/agnostics/etc. to the functions, brought in by current church members.  But are they really saying "OK United Baptist Church, you're also invited as well!  We have a massive soccer field where everyone can meet, etc."  I've never seen that.  Imagine a stricter church inviting everyone from a much more liberal Presbyterian church (accepting of gays) to a big picnic.  It would never happen - they might work in conjunction among their pastors on big-ticket items like mission work, but I don't think they'd want to invite debate among the congregation members.  Not at the churches I attended anyways.  You always saw the exact same people at the events, all church members, and if there was anyone new it was "Oh he must be a non-believer."
« Last Edit: May 15, 2017, 02:51:03 PM by YouCantHandleTheTruth »

Offline ButterFlavoredPam

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Re: Why are YOU going to hell?
« Reply #32 on: May 15, 2017, 10:28:42 PM »
I am gong to hell because, if I'm being honest with myself,  I was NEVER truly saved.  I was pressured and frightened into going forward at church around the age of 12.  My father was a deacon and all of his deacon friend's kids had gone forward.  My parents applied increasing pressure until I was convinced that, should anything happen to me, I would be tortured forever.  I don't think that counts as a true commitment and so the doctrine of "once saved, always saved" does not apply to me.
“In dark ages people are best guided by religion, as in a pitch-black night a blind man is the best guide; he knows the roads and paths better than a man who can see. When daylight comes, however, it is foolish to use blind, old men as guides.”
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Online Nudawn11

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Re: Why are YOU going to hell?
« Reply #33 on: May 17, 2017, 07:58:48 AM »
Well dont be disheartened. ;D
We all are going to hell, if you follow Christianity you go to hells of other religion and vice versa.

& surprising that this commandment is comming from someone who himself falls in the definition of bastard. ;)
I have noticed even people who claim everything is predestined, and that we can do nothing to change it, look before they cross the road. - Stephen Hawking

Offline wheels5894

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Re: Why are YOU going to hell?
« Reply #34 on: May 17, 2017, 08:27:35 AM »
Isn't it the 'other religions' idea the one that kills all the religions? As you say, Nudawn, everyone is going to some hell or other due to conflicting ideas in the various religions - something that ought to make any theist notice that there may be a serious problem with all religions!
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)

Online Nudawn11

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Re: Why are YOU going to hell?
« Reply #35 on: May 17, 2017, 09:16:43 AM »
Isn't it the 'other religions' idea the one that kills all the religions? As you say, Nudawn, everyone is going to some hell or other due to conflicting ideas in the various religions - something that ought to make any theist notice that there may be a serious problem with all religions!

Agree on the philosophical content of your statement; I am yet to hear any theists debate on it. For you, me and most in this forum this dilemma does not exist.
on a lighter side:
Just because I say "mine is the one true religion" doesn't negate the fact that there are 3000 other religion/sects that believe the same. 
But you made me realize that it is even worse than "hell of other religion"  8) 8)
Heaven of one religion is probably nothing but hell of one of the other religions. so who cares where I go. :-\
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Offline wheels5894

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Re: Why are YOU going to hell?
« Reply #36 on: May 17, 2017, 09:19:04 AM »
Fear not, Nudawn, we aren't really going anywhere. It is all wishful thinking (heaven that is). We will just fall asleep and never get woken again,
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)

Offline stuffin

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Re: Why are YOU going to hell?
« Reply #37 on: May 17, 2017, 12:48:07 PM »
I hate to add complexity to a straightforward thread, but the question of how one gets to heaven comes up time and time again in the gospels but each time it is different.


You seem to take pleasure in doing these things, plus you continuously challenge The Teachings. You have been labeled a troublemaker around here, so it looks like hell for you.
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Offline jdawg70

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Re: Why are YOU going to hell?
« Reply #38 on: May 17, 2017, 03:25:03 PM »
So the problem for the Christian is knowing if what he has done is the right thing to gain heaven so Christians tend to accept what they are taught by their churches - but the churches could still have it wrong as the bible, as usual, is rather non-committal.

The larger problem for some Christians is knowledge of this heaven/hell business period.

I actually can't really understand why humanity would need to be informed about the existence of heaven or hell.  I do not see the point.  Certainly in some cases I can see providing that information as being in direct opposition to the desires and goals of god.  For example, it is said by some that god wants people to freely and genuinely love him - that is, to love him out of genuine love and not out of desire for reward (i.e. heaven) or to avoid punishment (i.e. hell).  Besides making it very possible for people to want to turn to god for the purposes of reward or to avoid punishment, what does informing people about heaven/hell actually accomplish?
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Offline YouCantHandleTheTruth

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Re: Why are YOU going to hell?
« Reply #39 on: May 17, 2017, 05:52:26 PM »
So the problem for the Christian is knowing if what he has done is the right thing to gain heaven so Christians tend to accept what they are taught by their churches - but the churches could still have it wrong as the bible, as usual, is rather non-committal.

The larger problem for some Christians is knowledge of this heaven/hell business period.

I actually can't really understand why humanity would need to be informed about the existence of heaven or hell.  I do not see the point.  Certainly in some cases I can see providing that information as being in direct opposition to the desires and goals of god.  For example, it is said by some that god wants people to freely and genuinely love him - that is, to love him out of genuine love and not out of desire for reward (i.e. heaven) or to avoid punishment (i.e. hell).  Besides making it very possible for people to want to turn to god for the purposes of reward or to avoid punishment, what does informing people about heaven/hell actually accomplish?

Outside of scaring billions of people into adopting Pascal's Wager?  I can't really think of anything.  The extremes are so striking too - the ultimate reward of heaven (for eternity) or the ultimate punishment of hell (for eternity).  It honestly sounds like something a kid would make up to scare another kid.

Offline 12 Monkeys

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Re: Why are YOU going to hell?
« Reply #40 on: May 17, 2017, 10:10:57 PM »
So the problem for the Christian is knowing if what he has done is the right thing to gain heaven so Christians tend to accept what they are taught by their churches - but the churches could still have it wrong as the bible, as usual, is rather non-committal.

The larger problem for some Christians is knowledge of this heaven/hell business period.

I actually can't really understand why humanity would need to be informed about the existence of heaven or hell.  I do not see the point.  Certainly in some cases I can see providing that information as being in direct opposition to the desires and goals of god.  For example, it is said by some that god wants people to freely and genuinely love him - that is, to love him out of genuine love and not out of desire for reward (i.e. heaven) or to avoid punishment (i.e. hell).  Besides making it very possible for people to want to turn to god for the purposes of reward or to avoid punishment, what does informing people about heaven/hell actually accomplish?
the larger problem as i see it is that Christian followers dont actually follow the tennants and teachings of Christ and sin as if there were no penalty or even a risk of hell as punishment. If you can sin with little or no risk because you have a belief in something,but dont live a life of service to your "Lord" and to the meek how can you be considered worthy of the reward of heaven?
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Offline wheels5894

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Re: Why are YOU going to hell?
« Reply #41 on: May 18, 2017, 04:42:38 AM »
Good point, 12! Christians often don't do what their teaching indicate they should.


A good example is the divorce rate which, I gather, is much higher in the Christian community in the USA than in the atheist community. Divorce is often preceded by adultery - a crime condemned in the bible in the same sentence as homosexuality and both involve stoning to death. Now some will say that, well, they weren't True ChristiansTM but surely that is not the only view. Surely, sometimes, Christians ignore some of their teaching as to do what they want despite knowing that they future in their next life is at risk. For Catholics this is not a problem though. Off to confession and everything is wiped out and one is ready for another week of... well, anything you like as confession on Saturday will wipe everything again.


Christianity makes it all too easy as confession - either to a priest or during a service or at home with 'god' - simply wipes the lot so there is no incentive to do the right thing. I suppose that's how the scandal of the Catholic priests (and other denominations come to that) was able to run as confession wipes the offence away. How different for th non-religious. We have to live with our mistakes and can only try to put right the harm we may have done to others.
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)

Offline velkyn

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Re: Why are YOU going to hell?
« Reply #42 on: May 18, 2017, 07:29:10 AM »
Good point, 12! Christians often don't do what their teaching indicate they should.


A good example is the divorce rate which, I gather, is much higher in the Christian community in the USA than in the atheist community. Divorce is often preceded by adultery - a crime condemned in the bible in the same sentence as homosexuality and both involve stoning to death. Now some will say that, well, they weren't True ChristiansTM but surely that is not the only view. Surely, sometimes, Christians ignore some of their teaching as to do what they want despite knowing that they future in their next life is at risk. For Catholics this is not a problem though. Off to confession and everything is wiped out and one is ready for another week of... well, anything you like as confession on Saturday will wipe everything again.


Christianity makes it all too easy as confession - either to a priest or during a service or at home with 'god' - simply wipes the lot so there is no incentive to do the right thing. I suppose that's how the scandal of the Catholic priests (and other denominations come to that) was able to run as confession wipes the offence away. How different for th non-religious. We have to live with our mistakes and can only try to put right the harm we may have done to others.

heh  and it's always interesting when a Christian claims an atheist assumes that this god is just a "vending machine" when that's exactly how Christians treat their god.
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Offline stuffin

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Re: Why are YOU going to hell?
« Reply #43 on: May 18, 2017, 08:16:51 AM »
Good point, 12! Christians often don't do what their teaching indicate they should.


A good example is the divorce rate which, I gather, is much higher in the Christian community in the USA than in the atheist community. Divorce is often preceded by adultery - a crime condemned in the bible in the same sentence as homosexuality and both involve stoning to death. Now some will say that, well, they weren't True ChristiansTM but surely that is not the only view. Surely, sometimes, Christians ignore some of their teaching as to do what they want despite knowing that they future in their next life is at risk. For Catholics this is not a problem though. Off to confession and everything is wiped out and one is ready for another week of... well, anything you like as confession on Saturday will wipe everything again.


Christianity makes it all too easy as confession - either to a priest or during a service or at home with 'god' - simply wipes the lot so there is no incentive to do the right thing. I suppose that's how the scandal of the Catholic priests (and other denominations come to that) was able to run as confession wipes the offence away. How different for th non-religious. We have to live with our mistakes and can only try to put right the harm we may have done to others.

heh  and it's always interesting when a Christian claims an atheist assumes that this god is just a "vending machine" when that's exactly how Christians treat their god.

All I could think about was the collection plates versus insert coin/bills here.
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Offline jdawg70

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Re: Why are YOU going to hell?
« Reply #44 on: May 18, 2017, 08:30:11 AM »
the larger problem as i see it is that Christian followers dont actually follow the tennants and teachings of Christ and sin as if there were no penalty or even a risk of hell as punishment. If you can sin with little or no risk because you have a belief in something,but dont live a life of service to your "Lord" and to the meek how can you be considered worthy of the reward of heaven?
For some Christians the whole mess of being worthy of reward is something that ought not be considered at all.  Again, for them, you are supposed to be doing these good things like loving and obeying god out of genuine, pure desire to do so.  It is supposed to not be motivated by petty human notions like "reward" or "fear of punishment" or what not, but out of some pure transcendent freely chosen decision to simply obey god.  Given that, I cannot figure out why humanity would be given any awareness of something like 'everlasting life in heaven as a reward' or 'everlasting unpleasantness in hell as punishment'.  If the existence of everlasting life in heaven or everlasting unpleasantness in hell is something that humanity has discovered independent of divine revelation (e.g. we figured out those places and eternal circumstances exist without god telling us so), well, I'd like anyone who subscribes to such a notion to explain how that was done.  You know, replication and peer review and what not.

Unless god expects the possibility of reward or punishment to factor into our decision making process in terms of whether or not to do the whole Christian thing, I do not understand why such information is provided in the first place.

A thought experiment - how would the bible read if one were to remove any references to the afterlife?  No mention of everlasting life, no mention of being one in being with the father, no mention of hellfire.  Would Christianity still be at all compelling[1]?
 1. For those who feel compelled by it, obviously.
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Offline wheels5894

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Re: Why are YOU going to hell?
« Reply #45 on: May 18, 2017, 09:36:53 AM »
You mention what I forgot, Dawg, the reward and punishment. They represent the difference between the Christian / Muslim and the atheist since the atheist may do the right things but only for their own reward whilst the theists are looking for something serious in a life they believe in coming.


Of course there is always the rewards on the way - on the punishment. In some denominations / religions, disagreeing with the handed down doctrine or behaving in an unapproved way can get one thrown out of the religion leading to loss of friends, family etc. or even being killed. Doing and believing the right thing (according the the religion concerned) is certainly weighted in favour of avoiding punishment in this life as well as the supposed next.


There do seem to be a lot of rewards and anti-rewards for the theist! Maybe the atheist life where one is stuck with doing the right thing just because it is the right thing is altogether a simpler way to live.
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)

Offline YouCantHandleTheTruth

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Re: Why are YOU going to hell?
« Reply #46 on: May 18, 2017, 11:48:40 AM »
So the problem for the Christian is knowing if what he has done is the right thing to gain heaven so Christians tend to accept what they are taught by their churches - but the churches could still have it wrong as the bible, as usual, is rather non-committal.

The larger problem for some Christians is knowledge of this heaven/hell business period.

I actually can't really understand why humanity would need to be informed about the existence of heaven or hell.  I do not see the point.  Certainly in some cases I can see providing that information as being in direct opposition to the desires and goals of god.  For example, it is said by some that god wants people to freely and genuinely love him - that is, to love him out of genuine love and not out of desire for reward (i.e. heaven) or to avoid punishment (i.e. hell).  Besides making it very possible for people to want to turn to god for the purposes of reward or to avoid punishment, what does informing people about heaven/hell actually accomplish?
the larger problem as i see it is that Christian followers dont actually follow the tennants and teachings of Christ and sin as if there were no penalty or even a risk of hell as punishment. If you can sin with little or no risk because you have a belief in something,but dont live a life of service to your "Lord" and to the meek how can you be considered worthy of the reward of heaven?

So true, this is the problem with faith as the only requirement.  What choice did the writers of the Bible really have though?  If it's faith and works, then so many are eliminated from heaven right from the start and get too discouraged, and continue behaving horribly.  If they have hope, then maybe three's a chance of them behaving better - at least for awhile.  Then when they rape or kill someone again, they can ask for forgiveness again and maybe behave well for another year or so. 

Even serial killers might, just might, be showing similar patterns.  Many have a cooling off period (like BTK).  It might not just be a fear of getting caught - there may be genuine remorse.

Offline wheels5894

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Re: Why are YOU going to hell?
« Reply #47 on: May 18, 2017, 12:16:13 PM »
Of course it was possible to make this work better by delaying baptism until one's death bed. Constantine, among many people is the past did this and ensured that after baptism they did not commit further sins - given they had little time to live - and entered heaven despite having a dreadful life of killing and various sins.


This only works if one knows on will not die unexpectedly without time to find a priest. Otherwise.... well, hell awaits!
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)

Offline Anfauglir

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Re: Why are YOU going to hell?
« Reply #48 on: May 19, 2017, 05:30:10 AM »
There do seem to be a lot of rewards and anti-rewards for the theist! Maybe the atheist life where one is stuck with doing the right thing just because it is the right thing is altogether a simpler way to live.

It does however fit with Yahweh's original plan for mankind, and the world.  Remember, he created Man in a state where he had no conception of right or wrong, where the only rule was "do as your god says (and don't try to think or rationalise it)".  Given a populace with literally no moral judgement, a system of (preferably immediate) rewards and punishments - or perhaps better described as "positive and negative consequences" may well be the best way to go.

Consider the command "NEVER scraunch a varmosim!"  We are in the same state of being unable to make a moral distinction as to whether this is a "good" or "bad" commandment, albeit in this case because we don't understand the words used.  Is it a good thing not to scrauch them, or bad?  Does scraucnhing hurt them?  Or does it make them happy?  We don't know, we can't tell, but we can assume that some people will obey and some may disobey.  In such a circumstance, we can't render a moralistic judgement on them (since they did not make such a judgement in the first place), but what we can do is render positive or negative consequences - Pavlovian reinforcement, perhaps - to promote the desired behaviours.

Like I say, given Yahweh's desired state for man, positive/negative reinforcement for actions could well be considered an appropriate response.

The problem of course is that now Man DOES have that moral judgement.  Reinforcement (should) not be required for someone who is moral - the moral Christian should have no need of any reinforcement or judgement, they should live automatically in the "right" way without any duress being placed on them....exactly how the moral atheist lives, in fact. 

Perhaps the problem is that Yahweh is immortal.  His time-perception is so different to ours that he has not yet realised that his originally devised system of reinforcement is no longer necessary following the Fall.  Hey - he lost track of the world between Adam and Noah, for starters: maybe he just looks away for (for him) the blink of an eye, and when he turns back everything has gone to hell?
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Offline wheels5894

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Re: Why are YOU going to hell?
« Reply #49 on: May 19, 2017, 05:50:08 AM »
I'm not quite sure I agree with you on this one, Anfauglir. Given that this supposed god has a plan and does not change his mind, then he knew from the beginning that A and E would eat the fruit and thus get thrown out of the garden. More importantly, he would have known that they would learn right from wrong by the very act of eating the fruit. Si I rather think we have to assume that he expected humans would know right from wrong.

Now it is quite true that people are expected to follow the rules and, especially, follow his commands - you know, everyday ones like kill everyone in that town or something. However, the written down set of commands in the Torah - 613 of them - seem perfectish for the time they were written but they appear to be rather lacking in foresight. For example, lighting lamps is forbidden on Shabbath as it is work. Modern day Jews settle for calling switching on or off lights as work but it is not remotely the same amount of work as lighting lamps 3,000 years ago - and opening a door is more work! So we have the state that this god's rules leave people somewhat stranded and so it must be the case that he expected them to decide on right or wrong... according to the principles of the Torah rules.

As to whether this god is good or evil is up for debate. The problem is that he is assumed to be good and incapable of doing bad things though theists fail to notice that this then limits he omni-potential by ruling out many action he could, otherwise, take.
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)

Offline Anfauglir

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Re: Why are YOU going to hell?
« Reply #50 on: May 19, 2017, 07:13:11 AM »
.....the written down set of commands in the Torah - 613 of them - seem perfectish for the time they were written but they appear to be rather lacking in foresight....

Perhaps it all DOES come back to the fact that Yahweh is immortal, and simply working on a scale too vast for the flickering lives of humanity to register?  Perhaps he dictated the command in the Torah, intending for them to apply for a couple thousand years while he tended to galaxy 4, but got distracted momentarily by a supernova or three, and when he returned....whoops!  Eight millennia have gone by!  And all his rules that he totally intended to update have now got WAY out of date.

It assumes of course that Yahweh is bound by time (or at least prefers to be) - a reasonable assumption since a god that wants a certain thing to happen could simply go back in time and change things - he could have popped back in time a week or so and stamped on the Serpent, for example - so accidentally leaving us for a few thousands years could lead to just a shrug and an "oh well, lets see what happens". 

Sometimes I feel that theists think too small about their god.  The assumption that Man is the primary concern of this god, and that this is the one and only universe, seems somewhat small.  A GOD god.....well, this could be the 4,238,115th universe he is running through, each time setting the starting parameters just a little different, because.....well, why ascribe human functions to god?  Even the theist will retreat from that into the "mysterious ways" argument when pressed, so to start from the premise of "god's will=right" explains a whole lot that "god=good" simply contradicts. 

A GOD would be so far removed from us, that the analogy of the ant farm in the house of one of our SIMs in a computer game we play on the phone for half an hour a week when we can be bothered, may STILL not adequately reflect the gap between god and man.  With infinite universes to experience, it makes far more sense that we are a trivial alternative option in a lengthy....experiment?  game?....than the sole concern of a god which - by ascribing human motives and characteristics to - just cheapens and reduces the actuality of what it would mean to truly be a GOD.

Perhaps we are simply just the smartphone App that Yahweh uses to kill a couple of minutes whenever we is standing in line at the Celestial Post Office.....mindlessly diverting for a few moments but forgotten as soon as the front of the line is reached?
Just because you've always done it that way doesn't mean it's not incredibly stupid.
Why is it so hard for believers to answer a direct question?

Offline wheels5894

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Re: Why are YOU going to hell?
« Reply #51 on: May 19, 2017, 09:20:08 AM »
Well, at the super-cosmic scale this would appear to be quite an idea so let's add a bit to it.


Somewhere, in his bedroom, is a teenage boy. This is way more technological society than today. He has running on his computing system the latest game, 'God of Universes'. He downloads it onto his machine, types his details in and the program starts. His first job is to create a new universe... a few keystrokes later, a new universe starts expanding onto his wall sized screen and he starts watching the expansion of the universe. A pop-up tells him he was his first badge, 'First Universe Created'.


Bored watching, he starts a few more universes though several don't expand and pop back out of existence. He sets up warning flags so that the system will tell him when intelligent life evolves. Just then, his mother calls him for his dinner so he leaves the games running and hurries down for his meal. When he gets back, there is a flag telling him people have developed in his first universe so he zooms into the world in question and finds some people wandering in a desert. Feeling rather bossy, he drops some stone tablets to them with some rules on. By then, though, it is bedtime so he leaves the game running and settle down for the night.


Next morning he see that things have got out fo hand so he pauses the games so he can get off to school. When he gets back he see another universe has formed intelligent life so he has to see to them. For them, he gives them a system to ask him questions and he answers them for some time before bedtime..... Of course, universe 1 is having its own problems but have had to 'make it up as they go along' with the priests claiming to have had instructions but in reality they made it up.




Ok, anyone can see where this is going, We and the universe are just a simulation - a very complicated one needing computing power we could not dream of. This is still considered a possible explanation of our universe and certainly is not one that could easily be ruled out. Naturally, if this is the case, the 'god' could really be a teenage boy and not an omni everything god, though he would be able to control reality by turning off the computer.


Finally, if anyone has not seen them, Darkmatter's videos, 'Power Corrupts' are well worth a watch.
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)