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Everything posted by maddog

  1. maddog added a post in a topic 2015 NFL Week 15 Picks   

    I actually enjoyed the Lions vs. Saints, bc the Saints made a run at tying or pulling ahead at the last minute.
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  2. maddog added a post in a topic NFL 2015 Super Bowl Picks   

    I think it will be close, but Seattle will pull it out for back-to-back bowls.
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  3. maddog added a post in a topic Natalism, Ethics, and the Multiverse   

    I am not sure where to place moral obligation to alternate worlds, because there are so many forks and branches before I got here, that don't or won't include me.
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  4. maddog added a post in a topic NFL 2015 Playoffs Conference Championship Round picks   

    So, who's watching the big game on Sunday?
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  5. maddog added a post in a topic NFL 2014 Week 17 Picks   

    I read that Manzeil was placed on IR. Did he have a rookie season?

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  6. maddog added a post in a topic NFL 2014 Week 13 Picks   

    10-5, great results last week.
    My predictions are usually right on the money ... as soon as the final whistle blows!

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  7. maddog added a post in a topic Les Troyens   

    I am not particularly knowledgeable about opera, but I can say that I thoroughly enjoyed the performance.

    I especially appreciated the commentaries and behind-the-scenes looks before the performance and during the intermissions, because the people they speak to ARE knowledgeable and enhance the experience for those of us who are not in the know. I think it's quite tragic that Berlioz himself never got to see a full production of the opera (one of the tidbits they told us in the intro), although he undoubtedly experienced it internally, or how would he have been able to write it? To have that scope of imagination is genius.

    I enjoyed the story, not having read the Aeneid myself, and being familiar only with the bare bones of its plot.

    Another thing I liked about this particular production was the sets, which are once again innovative, creative, evocative, and almost a character in their own right, though perhaps not quite to the extent that the Ring sets were. That's the benefit of a top opera company; it can afford to do the elaborate mechanical designing to create such stunning sets.

    The production was long, and took over 5 hours to perform from beginning to end, but it was not tiresome. I even enjoyed the sideward glances, such as the aria of the fellow who sang in praise of the fields. It's a way to showcase the music and the dancing. I liked that it had quite a bit of dancing in it; I can appreciate the dance forms even though I don't "get it" personally.

    I was very impressed by the duets in particular, because the complexities of having two people sing two different things and have it be harmonious is just stunning. If I could have created one of the duets, I would feel like my career had been fulfilled. to have created an entire additional opera is simply beyond belief. the initial duet between Chorebus and Cassandra was very beautiful, but I think the sisters, Dido and Anna, were the best. I can't really tell you why I liked that one so much, maybe it was just the quality of the voices.

    All I have at the moment ... just brain droppings as it were.

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  8. maddog added a post in a topic Chat room on the fritz   

    I've been having trouble logging into chat also. It keeps blocking me, saying "you have been kicked from chat" How do I make that go away?

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  9. maddog added a post in a topic Questions?   

    so we will take the notions of "just" and "justice" to imply or connote fairness, and that they embody a moral quality. ok. Your modified definition no longer contains any statements concerning whether or how the characteristics of "giving life" or "creating" something have any relationship to the idea of justice or the quality or characteristic of justice or what is just. Good, because it was hard for me to see what one has to do with the other. So we now have a revised characteristic number 3, which might be restated in this fashion:
    "3. God is 'Just,' which is defined as a moral discernment based upon treating people with fairness."

    See what you think of this refinement, Alexander.

    As an aside, I might steer clear of statements such as "I can't think of a time when god has been unfair so, yes the notion of justice ascribed to god should include fairness.". It is making it sound as if you are deciding what "just" means, based on personal credulity, rather than as a result of reasoned consideration about what qualities a word like "just" or "justice" logically implies or contains.

    I am also withholding judgment for the moment about "doing what is right regardless of the consequences." I am not sure whether there mightn't be some few cases in which what the consequences are helps us determine what is right or just.

    Ok this comports fairly well with how I understand love also, I.e., it is not merely an emotional state experienced internally, but also, and perhaps more importantly, as consisting in loving actions toward another.

    This could lead us to modify characteristic no. 4:
    "4. God is 'Loving,' in that he feels love for human beings, and he is loving toward human beings in his actions."

    Ok, this part is confusing. Omnipresent is defined as in all places and at all times. Therefore god must necessarily exist within time; indeed at all times within time, would that not be so? Christian believers claim that their god acts many many many times with physical, I.e., spatial and temporal, interventions and consequences. Spatial and temporal acts and effects necessarily take place in space and time. God is clearly claimed to exist, as we know of anything which exists, in space and time. Are you now claiming otherwise? Are you claiming that god existed at all times EXCEPT the Big Bang? That would then defeat omnipresence, as there would be some time in which god did not exist.

    I am also still not clear on what you mean by "outside space and time." You neglected the critical point of "how would you know?" afaik no one has any access to or ability to perceive what conditions might have been in any context which preceded the Big Bang event. People can imagine or speculate, but no one can know anything about anything until after the Big Bang took place.

    What does it mean to "exist" outside space and time? How could anyone tell? The word "exist" in english refers to a state of being in space and in time, which is perceptible or detectible in some manner. If it is not perceptible or detectable in any way or by some means, then how is it possible to distinguish between that which does exist and that which does not exist?

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  10. maddog added a post in a topic Old Testament   

    These are classic defensive projections. No need to do that.
    If people want to discuss, they will discuss.
    For example, I believe that our Pascal's Wager discussions have shown, and I think you agree, that the Pascal's Wager comment you made is not a very good or strong argument for or toward belief in Christianity. I posed the question, all right, then, what *IS* the argument or evidence that actually convinces you? IOW, what is the BEST argument, in your view? You replied that that was "a good question," but so far have not elected to share that with us.
    You suggested in a portion of the discussion that, if Pascal's Wager has been shown not to be particularly effective, what your thoughts were about the discussion so far. You said that Romans outlined your thoughts. I'm willing to examine that with you (I posted that I would take your suggestion) if you want. But discussion is a two-way street. It takes exchange of ideas, some back and forth, willingness to engage.

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  11. maddog added a post in a topic Pascal's Wager -- a re-invitation to Alvira   

    We always have the choice to bring it back to topic; indeed, at several points I have related what has been said to the Pascal's Wager formulation. I'll take your recommendation, and appreciate your further reply.

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  12. maddog added a post in a topic Pascal's Wager -- a re-invitation to Alvira   

    That's a shame, as the invitation of the thread was primarily to you. Do you have any further thoughts or reflections, as a result of the thread discussion so far, on the C.S. Lewis version of Pascal's Wager, that it's good to be a believer, because then you are "safe"?

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  13. maddog added a post in a topic Pascal's Wager -- a re-invitation to Alvira   


    I think that is a little inconsistent. If God WANTS something to happen, then "it is God's will" isn't it? If God "allows" something to happen then that must be the way he wants/wills it, isn't that right? Anything that God "allows" is an exercise of God's power to do/not do, to happen/prevent. Human beings only have "free will" if God WANTS (i.e., "wills") them to have it.

    So, in your example, God wills that Lucifer/Satan has free will. Lucifer/Satan exercises his free will, and then, you say, "this does not mean that when Satan attempted his coup, that God should have allowed it. To do so would be denying His Omnipotence ..." But God DID (according to the story) allow Satan his attempted coup. Thus, according to your statement, this denies God's omnipotence (all-powerfulness). I'm confused. Is God all-powerful or not?

    Regardless of the story (and that's all we have so far, is a story) about Lucifer/Satan, and how a limited hell was some place to put a rebelling angel, that still does not explain why there has to be a hell for human beings. Your God seems to have only one idea, only one response, to all problems, a one-size-fits-all solution to everything in the human condition. We human beings are much more creative than that. We punish sometimes, but that is when other methods fail. Our other methods include teaching, training, education, coaching, helping, mentoring, providing aid, etc. And if we were as powerful as God, we could do a lot more than we do now. We could fix mental illness, for example, which we are unable to do now. Why doesn't God?

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  14. maddog added a post in a topic Pascal's Wager -- a re-invitation to Alvira   

    That's great!

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  15. maddog added a post in a topic Pascal's Wager -- a re-invitation to Alvira   

    Alexander, it would help if you learned to format your posts, with quote tags, so that which person said what would be easier to follow.

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  16. maddog added a post in a topic Questions?   

    Short answers:

    Morality is an outgrowth of the need of human beings as social animals to get along with one another. It grows from cooperation, and as a result of the application of reason to choose those rules or behaviors which best enhance survivability and the quality of life for the most people.

    I'm not quite sure what you are getting at or what you mean by this, but in any society, there are necessarily many social ties, bonds and relationships. Only hermits don't need many relationships, but even they probably cannot be totally self-sufficient. In modern life, we are each interdependent on many others.

    The nature of permitted kinship relationships varies from society to society. I am not that conversant with sociology, anthropology and history to know how widespread the practice of multiple marriage (either 1 husband, multiple wives, or 1 wife, multiple husbands, or other numerical compositions) has been, and when or in which societies that was the norm. Polygamy seems to be described as quite common in the Bible, and some social groups still practice it today. IIRC, the Romans practiced monogamy, and so that might be expected to be the dominant arrangement in Euro-centric areas. Both ancient Judaism and modern Islam (both centered in the Middle East) seemed to commonly permit polygamy. In the USA, one salient example of polygamy, among the Mormons, persisted into the 19th c. The Mormon practice of polygamy probably delayed the admission of the Utah territory as a State, and indeed it was not admitted to the Union until after the Latter Day Saints church adopted a manifesto forbidding polygamous marriage. In 1879, the United States Supreme Court held in Reynolds v. United States (1879) 98 U.S. 145 that religious duty (Mormon religious tenet) was not a sufficient justification to avoid liability for violating a statute prohibiting bigamy (multiple marriage). Possible objections to polygamy could come from evaluating the results of polygamy as an institution in existing societies. For example, where multiple marriage is common, women may tend to have lower status and fewer rights. So opposition to polygamy could arise from principles of egalitarianism. There may be economic arguments for or against polygamous marriage, such as the cost of maintaining larger families, or the dilution of rights and benefits (e.g., rights of inheritance or right of support) among multiple spouses.

    I am not a scientist. As far as I am given to understand from the experts in physics, mathematics, and related disciplines, who study cosmology and the origins of the universe, the best explanation available today is that the universe began at an event called the "Big Bang" in which all matter and energy in space-time exploded outward from a single concentrated initial point.

    Possibly. I have asked you to clarify what you mean by "love" and "loving." Torturing people is contradictory to loving them, in the normal meaning of the words. But I'm not sure we have gotten that far in our discussion yet.

    All right. We then agree that the concept of God should not contain any contradictions. The god-concept which is contradictory is disproven, but that does not necessarily mean that all god-concepts are invalid. If the argument is to be maintained, then any contradictory god-concept which is proposed must be modified so that it is not contradictory or illogical.

    The requests for clarification in my previous post still remain:

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  17. maddog added a post in a topic Pascal's Wager -- a re-invitation to Alvira   

    That is the justificatory story, yes. It has its own problems, and it has not yet been established to be true. That remains to be discussed.

    Another item that could use further discussion is the usage of the word "sin." What that means needs greater explication; it seems to have connotations that are different from "mistake," or "wrongdoing," or "immorality," or other words in common usage. It comes up uniquely in religious discussions.

    However, leaving problems like these aside for the moment, the God you claim is all powerful, yes? If that is true, then nothing obtains, nothing exists, nothing happens that could possibly be against God's will. God can make things be any way that he wants. Therefore, the way anything is, the things that happen, what exists must be so because God wills or wants it that way. If God did not will it to be so, then it would not be so ... IF, as you appear to contend, God is ALL powerful.

    Yes. That is a serious problem. Torturing anyone for ANY duration is the antithesis of love. Torturing people for eternity is the absolute negation of love. Love and torture cannot coexist. They are logically inconsistent and incompatible.

    Yes, that's right. IF, as you seem to claim is an attribute of the proposed God, that God is all-powerful. An all-powerful God could easily eliminate hell with a thought.

    Well, I don't agree that that is true. God could make any additional choices that he wanted. A Buddhist idea, for example, is reincarnation, where a person/soul could live again in another form, to repeat the lessons of life until learned. In some versions of Judaism, I am given to understand, there is no afterlife. Death is death, and human beings who die cease to exist. If everyone is granted some kind of afterlife, that afterlife could take an innumerable variety of forms, none of which need involve torture. I think your thinking about the options available to an all-powerful God is too limited.

    Wait, why do you think that the elimination of hell would mean that "nothing we did mattered"?

    Why do you think that human beings have a "choice" as to "destiny after death" as things stand? Human beings might "choose to believe in God" (assuming for the moment that this is possible, though I have my doubts about this), and nevertheless fail in some way to do so properly. The Bible does say that even those who think that they are the elect could be wrong, and Jesus will deny them in the end. It is not possible for a human being to tell, no matter how hard they try, whether they fulfill the requirements for admission to heaven. The human being doesn't know, and thus their destiny is wholly involuntary. It is also involuntary that a person might not be able to detect, perceive, or apprehend any God, or the correct God. According to you, God is the one who "judges." Therefore, God is the one who chooses a person's destiny.

    Why is that the case? why would we not have free will to do what we think is right, just as we do now in real life?

    Why would everyone have to worship God if there were no hell? I don't understand.

    Not exactly. I can tentatively grant that someone without free will is controlled, and like a robot. But I still do not understand what the existence or non-existence of hell has to do with free will. As far as I can tell, human beings have free will, even regardless of whether God exists, much less whether heaven or hell exist. And it brings to mind another question. Do human beings who are allowed into heaven have free will?

    No worries. I think you are doing a fine job so far of carrying on the discussion.
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  18. maddog added a post in a topic Questions?   

    Thank you Alexander; at last, an answer to the question of "which God?"

    It's still an open question as to how and by what method or process it could be shown that such a God actually exists. I will be looking for the evidence for that in your next posts.

    Taking up the issues of the proposed God's characteristics (i.e., how it may be identified as God), I would like to ask the following questions:
    Do you agree that, in order for a God as so defined to be real and to exist, there should be no logical contradictions in any of these characteristics, or between one characteristic and another?

    If there is a logical contradiction, then the possible answers are (1) that particular claimed God cannot exist and/or (2) some closely analogous God might exist, with slightly different (i.e., non-contradictory) characteristics. IOW, it may not be necessary to abandon the claim altogether, but the claim would have to be modified to remove the contradiction. Would you agree that any characteristic for the claimed God which is internally contradictory should be abandoned? Would you agree that logical contradictions between more than one claimed characteristic would call for an adjustment in the definition of God?

    Here is the list of claimed characteristics, the God of Christianity as proposed by Alexander:

    1. God is "Triune;" that is, "God has three aspects. Father, Son an[d] Holy Spirit. However, all of these aspects are part of one Being."

    2. God is "Holy;" this is defined as "God has no sin, no defect in character or action."

    3. God is "Just;" this is defined as "God is the giver of life, He is the creator of all, and He is the final Judge."

    4. God is "Loving;" this is defined as "He created humans to have relationship with Him, and to relate with one another."

    5. God is "Merciful/Benevolent;" this is defined as "God only wishes what is best for Humankind. Despite any apparent evidence otherwise, this is the case."

    6: God is "Omniscient/All-knowing;" this is defined as "God is the creator of wisdom, and all knowledge and wisdom is under His grasp. he knows the thoughts and actions of everyone, and knows all the possible actions or thoughts we could have."

    7. God is "Omnipotent;" this is defined as "God is all powerful, He created all things, and has mastery over them."

    8. God is "Omnipresent;" this is defined as "God is everywhere, all the time, from beginning to end. this is because he exists outside of time."

    All right, I have some specific questions aimed at refining the ideas put forth in stating the fundamental characteristics of God.

    What do you mean by the word "just" or "justice"? is it merely a matter of being a judge? Do you import any notions of morality, or fairness, for example, into your concept of "justice" or the quality of being "just"? How do we determine what is a just course of action or just conduct or justice in the abstract? What does giving life or creating something have to do with any notion of "justice"? I am not sure I understand what you mean by the word "just."

    How do you define "love"? Is love a feeling or an action or ... ? How do you determine what is "loving" and what is not? Lots of people "have relationship" with one another, which does not seem "loving" to me. I think there must be more behind the meaning of the words "love" or "loving" which have not yet been explicitly stated.

    The first part of your statement may be preliminarily granted. What does it mean to say that anything is "outside of time"? How could you know?
    These are my preliminary requests for clarification.

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  19. maddog added a post in a topic Pascal's Wager -- a re-invitation to Alvira   

    you seemed to intimate that both were true, but regardless ... what is the analytical bridge between hell exists/does not exist, and human beings have free will/are automatons. That has not been explained.

    Not sure what you are saying or implying here. Again, there is no need to project enmity or animosity. We are having a discussion, trying our best to communicate clearly, no?

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  20. maddog added a post in a topic Pascal's Wager -- a re-invitation to Alvira   

    Fair enough; carry on.

    It's good to be aware of misogyny in language and to modify the language we use accordingly.

    First off, according to the claims of Christianity, there is NO ONE who does not live life under "gross sin." We are told that that is the foundational, natural condition of all human beings, regardless of what they may do.

    Second, you are well on your way to disproving Pascal's Wager. Pascal's Wager presents precisely the notion that one should "bet" on God and believe in God because of the hope of "not chancing Hell," or, as Alvira put it at the top of the thread, in order to be "safe." If you are right that God looks into hearts, and not just actions, then the God of Pascal's Wager would know that people taking the Wager were doing so for the wrong reasons, and so, even if people don't wait until their deathbed, any who choose based on Pascal's Wager may not be "safe" at all. Thus, as your own statement recognizes, Pascal's Wager is a bad argument, and Christians should stop using or proposing it.

    Third, you are in no position to say whether or not someone's deathbed (or earlier) conversion is or is not genuine. That's the "No True Scotsman" fallacy. You cannot tell by looking at a person, and you cannot tell by what they say or what they do whether whatever they have done acceptably meets the criteria for a "genuine" conversion. In addition, you are not entitled to change the terms of my hypothetical. My hypothetical proposed that a person who had lived an entire life of murder, rape and robbery converted at the last minute and repented. According to your doctrine, that person would be eligible for heaven, regardless of their life of crime. In fact, that is the central promise of Christianity ... no matter how grievous the sins and how depraved the sinner, it is never too late to "repent." Unless you now want to go back on God's word in this matter.

    First, there were plenty of people before Jesus who were never "told" this at all. Only the tribes of Jews were told this. There were a lot more human beings before Jesus than just the Jews.
    Second, if the "loophole" provided is sufficient for anyone who came before Jesus, then what was the need for Jesus to come?

    Third, why animal sacrifice? What exactly does that do?

    Of course God originates it. God is claimed to be the origin of everything. God could have chosen any means at his disposal -- which is UNLIMITED, as claimed by his adherents -- to solve any problem whatever. There was no necessity of creating Hell, which God did, and there is no necessity of maintaining hell, as God is claimed to do. If God wants there to be no hell, all he has to do is will it. If God hadn't created hell in the first place, there wouldn't be one. Even in the apologetic story you tell, God is the originator of hell.

    You are just making stuff up now. There is nothing incompatible between free will and the non-existence of heaven or hell or both. I am free to do what I desire now, whether heaven exists, or whether it doesn't. I am free to do what I desire now, whether hell exists or whether it doesn't. Please explain the logical connection between the non-existence of heaven and "turning humanity into a sort of Automaton with no real choice as to their actions." I'm not seeing how the one idea leads to the other. I need an analytical bridge between those concepts. Hell is posited to be a place of eternal torture. Torture of any duration is wicked, evil and wrong, and eternal torture is infinitely wicked, evil and wrong. Doing away with the evil of eternal torture does not have, as a logical consequence, the loss of human free will. Please explain how it does.

    Mental illness is not a choice.

    Really? I challenge you to do so. Keep in mind, you would need a way to convince someone else that you actually believed that fairies and ghosts are real.

    I define atheism as the lack of belief in a god-concept. It is dependent upon the god-concepts which are put forward for consideration. As to all other god-concepts that have been put forward for consideration, you lack the belief in those. Your position as to all those other god-concepts is the atheistic one: you lack belief in those gods.

    All right, although I think that there are salient points of discussion, particularly about Pascal's Wager (the thread topic) that came out of what you wrote. I invite both you and Alvira to engage further in the analysis of Pascal's Wager.
    There you go, projecting again! I have engaged with you fairly on various aspects of your claims about Christianity. You can't tell me I am not interested in the claims. I am particularly interested in whether Christianity is true, and whether there are any cogent arguments which can establish its truth.
    More projection! Please, you are invited to make your best arguments. If I or others do not find them convincing, it is not a matter of "animosity," it is a matter of evaluation of evidence by use of reason.
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  21. maddog added a post in a topic Questions?   

    Yes. Some Christians are trinitarians (three gods or three-in-one gods) and some are unitarians (only one god, no trinity, no three-in-one). It becomes difficult to see how both kinds of Christians believe in the same God under those circumstances.

    And if one of the defining characteristics of the God proposed by a particular Christian is a "three in one" type of God, then it is up to the proponent to explain, as to that single characteristic of the claimed God, how 3 = 1.

    Then there are all the other attributes and characteristics which also must be included to define that God.

    As noted,

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  22. maddog added a post in a topic Pascal's Wager -- a re-invitation to Alvira   

    So you don't have any evidence, got it. You are merely here to preach.

    Why, I should have thought that was obvious. You stated: "God does not make threats." Yet Alvira, and many others, continually make Pascal's Wager, which clearly recognizes that God is making a threat, and recommends responding to the threat by capitulation to it.

    That is a distinction without a difference. It is a threat. Believe in me or else. Oh, so you are one of those. There are plenty of passages in the Bible which threaten eternal fire, which certainly make it sound as if it is meant literally. There are some believers who recognize the immorality of eternal torture, however, so now God has been changed and the Bible has been changed to make it a kinder, gentler hell. Living without the presence of God is no different from what I experience now, which is no particular emotional or spiritual torment, certainly nothing equivalent to a metaphorical burning fiery pit. If all you are saying is that God will leave people alone (exactly how it is now), then that's no problem.
    [ETA] Tying back to Pascal's Wager as Alvira presented it: if there is no literal hell, then one is "safe" from the fiery pit whether one believes in God or whether one doesn't. Thus, Pascal's Wager provides no particular reason to believe in God. [/ETA]

    I'll also note that you plainly admit you are picking and choosing which parts of the Bible you consider literal and which you do not. What criteria are you using to determine and distinguish which parts are literal and which are not?

    And yet it is exactly this injustice that Christians argue for. If murderous political leaders "repent" on their deathbeds, even after a lifetime of hatred and genocide and murder, then God suspends the natural order of things and allows them to spend eternity with him. Would you consider it fair if someone who had raped and murdered and stolen was allowed into heaven after living unrepentant until the last second? Yet that is the Christian promise: no matter how much evil you have done your entire life, if you repent at the last second, it doesn't matter, you get into heaven. Conversely, no matter how much good a person may have done, how many people helped, or how loving the person has been, he/she is consigned to eternal torment if they didn't happen to believe or say one particular thing. That's not fair, just or merciful.
    No, that is actually what the Christians say. Robert Green Ingersoll called it "sinning on credit." It doesn't matter how bad someone has been during their lifetime, if they but repent on their deathbed then God considers that hunky dory. It's the Christians who say that God must then be merciful. It's Christians who are proposing that injustice, not I. What? women don't count?
    oh yes, and all those who lived before Jesus are just out of luck

    Yes. Please note that "mercy" is the antithesis of "justice." You can have one or the other, but you can't have both. You'll note that letting a murderer, rapist, robber into heaven does nothing to address or redress the victims of the murders, rapes, and robberies. So justice has not been done, whether God sentences the person to heaven or hell, but most certainly not if the last-minute-repentant person is then allowed into heaven.

    No. In the first place, mercy and justice are mutually exclusive. You can have one or the other but not both. In the second place, it IS a huge sacrifice to require people to sacrifice their integrity, their personality, their maturity, their independence, their liberty. It is neither just nor merciful to punish people for what they cannot help. It is neither just nor merciful to demand the impossible.

    No. All you have argued for is manifest injustice. A substitutionary human sacrifice is barbaric and evil. Accepting for the moment the argument that ALL MUST pay the price of living in hell, then justice requires that ALL MUST go to hell. There would be absolutely no one in heaven, if justice is to be served. Of course, there is no reason whatever to accept that there is a God, or a God-man Jesus, or a heaven or a hell. Those are still unproven assertions.

    Of course it is. Is your God all-powerful, or not? If he is, then he could simply do away with hell. How can anything that happens, or anything that exists, do so against God's will?

    that's the story, the preachment, of course. If what you say here is true, then you admit that your God is NOT all-powerful.

    1) See? you admit that it's a threat! 2) Of course it does ... how could it possibly be otherwise?

    Of course it can. All God has to do is say, "Hell, begone!" Unless, of course, God is not all-powerful.

    I thought everything was possible with God?

    Yet he supposedly lets plenty of sinners into heaven ... the ones who "repent." So he CAN be near sin. Plus, he supposedly, while still "fully God" made himself into a man and WAS able to be near sinful human beings. You are not making sense.

    Yes, you look at the evidence. The evidence is either compelling or it is not. If you do not find the evidence compelling, I doubt very much that you could "choose" to believe. Do you "choose" to believe in mountains, rainbows, other human beings? Could you "choose" NOT to believe in those things? No. "Faith" has nothing to do with it. Either there is evidence upon which to believe something, or there isn't. If there is no evidence for something, I doubt very much that you could "choose" to believe it anyway. Could you "choose" to believe in fairies or ghosts?

    I'll thank you not to project your misconceptions onto me. All that I have is the evidence in front of me, which consists principally of the evidence that both of us agree exists. We agree on the existence of people, trees, rocks, stars, mountains, lakes, oceans, animals, plants, etc. As to God, I ask again, what God? Please be specific in your definition of what you mean. What is the evidence that establishes the existence of any God? Again, please be specific, and delineate the criteria which allow you to determine its existence.

    You've gone about it backwards. The default position is the suspension of belief. Unless and until there is evidence to believe that something is true, then there is no reason to believe it. Thus, unless and until there is evidence for the existence of some God, then there is no reason to believe that there is one. The burden of proof is on the person who is making a positive assertion, i.e., that God exists. Those claims are subject to evaluation to determine whether there is any reason to believe they are true. If there isn't enough evidence to show that a God exists, then of necessity you are left in the position of an atheist as to that god-claim. Indeed, you yourself are in the atheist position as to all god-claims but one.

    more preaching.

    no, you are making unsubstantiated claims. Provide the evidence
    Standard apologetic to question the motives of unbelievers. Stop projecting "unwillingness to see the truth" onto others. Your efforts would be better spent in bringing forth your evidence and making your arguments, instead of questioning the motives of others. If you have evidence, bring it. First things first: Define which God you mean, and describe a workable method of determining whether any such thing exists. Please note, I have no interest in preaching, only in actual evidence.
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  23. maddog added a post in a topic Questions?   

    Some Christians believe in three gods, and some only one. Some believe that God predestines, and some do not. Some believe in the divinity of Jesus, some do not. HOWEVER, taking your claim at face value that there is one and only one Christian God, the question still stands:

    What are the defining characteristics of this God?

    corollary question: Once you have defined the God that you mean, what method do you use to demonstrate the actual existence of such a God?

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  24. maddog added a post in a topic Questions?   

    Okay, so this is the God you want to talk about, answer questions about. First question: What are the characteristics of this God, such that it is identifiable as God? What method do you use to go about determining whether a God with those specific characteristics actually existed or exists?
    As to the first part of your statement, yes, I noted as much. that is why I asked you which particular variety you hold to be true. There are hundreds if not thousands of denominations of Christianity, which make different claims, many of which are inconsistent or incompatible. Which particular Christianity do you contend is true, and how do you determine that the claims of other Christianities are not true? Underlying both questions (does God exist? which Christianity is true?) is the fundamental problem: how does one go about establishing that something is true? What process do you use?

    I'll object to this as a bait and switch. That is not the question I asked. You invited us to ask the questions, and you volunteered to answer the questions we asked. I asked about the existence of God, including your definition of the God you propose. You want to talk about Christianity, and to answer questions about Christianity, but because there are so many Christianities, as you yourself acknowledge, it is important to know which one we are talking about. That starts with the definition of which God you mean, and then what makes that particular God the Christian God.
    The rest of your wall of text about the Bible is irrelevant to these questions.

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  25. maddog added a post in a topic Pascal's Wager -- a re-invitation to Alvira   

    I was hoping you'd say that. I'd be very interested to hear what the argument and evidence is that actually causes you to believe.

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