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Posted

Ok. This thread is doing the the exact same thing as the Pascal's Wager Thread. We are bashing each others beliefs when really we should just be learning and asking questions. It is not necessary to turn every thread into a big debate in which we are destroying each other simply because we don't all have the same beliefs. This thread was not meant for that. We need to be open minded when people state their opinions. Instead of going on about how wrong they are and listing the reasons why, we should read what they have to say with an open mind. Some people are close minded and refuse what others have to say.

You're partly right and partly wrong.

You're right that we should be more tolerant of differences of beliefs, that they're not really based on rational grounds, that we should welcome difference and be more tolerant of new ideas and thoughts. We could do better by asking others what they think and why they think so, and offer speculation. More to the point: we are not our ideas. We are not our beliefs. We are individuals first with our own passions and perspectives and should be respected as individuals, rather than dismissed as a member of a group.

But you're wrong to call analysis and critique as bashing. This is a philosophically oriented site where no idea is worth its salt unless it has survived scrutiny and investigation. Uncritical ideas will be exposed. Dogmas will not be accepted without adequate warrant or justification. Moreover, it is arrogant to join a site and tell people what to do as if one already had all the answers and the regulars are to play passive sheep and accept the answers.

It is better to discuss ideas while at the same time avoiding from identifying with them and take disagreement or criticism personally.

Who's with me? :mrgreen:

I can't fully agree with you. I never called analysis and critique bashing. What I was really trying to say, is that sometimes we take those things to far which results in bashing.

Analyze all you want, but analyzing is not pointing out every single flaw and expecting someone with far less experience in this then you to come up with an answer that is at your level.

I understand you point, however, sometimes we take things too far.

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Posted (edited)

I can't fully agree with you. I never called analysis and critique bashing. What I was really trying to say, is that sometimes we take those things to far which results in bashing.

That's a funny use of the word "bashing."

I see bashing as verbal abuse, as in engaging in ad hominems when u attack the person instead of the ideas.

Analysis is and should be strictly about the ideas themselves. This is an idea oriented site. If u think over analysis is bashing then perhaps this is the wrong place to be?

I agree if someone asks for an analysis then a reasonable amount of analysis is called for. But to maintain decorum and respect, we should refrain from analyzing our psychological reasons for believing something. That would constitute as bashing IMO, even if it's true. Because it's uncalled for and none of us AFAIK are psychoanalysts. :)

Also, if anyone thinks he or she has the answers he or she should expect a fair amount of discussion.

Mind you, this site gets know-it-alls quite often, and the newbie is going through the same identical steps:

Join up. Declare special knowledge. Receive questions. Fail to answer them adequately. Slink off with tail between the legs.

Repeat.

:doh:

Edited by The Heretic

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Posted

Ok. Maybe I did misuse bashing, but I am sure you got what I meant. I also don't think we should be the cause of people slinking with their tail between their legs.

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Posted (edited)

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:

I think you are referring to the trinity (trinity - three in one)

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,

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?

#544

Alright, characteristics of God;

Triune. God has three aspects. Father, Son an Holy Spirit. However, all of these aspects are part of one Being.

Holy; God has no sin, no defect in character or action.

Just; God is the giver of life, He is the creator of all, and He is the final Judge.

Loving; He created humans to have relationship with Him, and to relate with one another.

Merciful/ benevolent; God only wishes what is best for Humankind. Despite any apparent evidence otherwise, this is the case.

All knowing; 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.

Omnipotent; God is all powerful, He created all things, and has mastery over them.

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

Seeing as God is ageless and timeless, the birthday concept falls a bit flat, but I think it is possible.

Also, I already stated that I am nowhere near a theologian or apologist or any of that. In truth this is an exercise for me to build my mental capacity.

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.

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."

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."

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

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."
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.

#547

Edited by maddog

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Posted

From the Book of Genesis:

And they heard the voice of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God amongst the trees of the garden.

And the LORD God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou?

Bold-face mine.

Oh, well! So much for omniscience! Unless God is lying about not knowing where Adam is, in which case: so much for moral perfection!

From Isaiah 45:7

"I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things".

Bold-face mine.

Oh, well! So much for man being responsible for evil in the world!

This is taken from your own Bible, Alexander.

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Posted

BTW, I am eager to view these other sources you have relating to non-Christian proofs of Jeus's divinity. I feel confidant in presuming that it won't be more Tacitus or Suetonius, but is it stuff from early Roman historians, or perhaps you have some Greek or possibly even Jewish sources?

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Posted

@Dave I am glad to see that you want to learn more. I only wish everyone else would be as willing to learn something new.

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Posted

@Dave I am glad to see that you want to learn more.

DaveT is clearly baiting. Do not be fooled.

I only wish everyone else would be as willing to learn something new.

Ditto. In fact, I have plenty of ideas nobody has ever heard of before.

It's just too bad that some people think we've never heard of Apologetics 100 like a hundred times already and feel obligated to preach at us and not expect anything except "Yessir massa, Yessir."

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Posted

No actually, I really don't think someone who didn't believe in Christ would have reported His resurrection. If you were trying to quell a bunch of people who were getting upset over the death of a man they viewed as a public enemy, would you say he'd come back to life?

Well, no way to prove much of anything then is there? Do we have some other source of the miracles besides the Bible? Are other stories from the past (like Mithra that match Jesus's story in many ways) true because they are written down? What makes something a myth and what makes it true? Obviously not just writing it down.

If Plato's works weren't true, then we would know about it.

I don't understand that answer. Written down in a book does not mean it is true. My point is that somebody else could have written Plato's work and he could have just been a figment of somebody's imagination.

No it wouldn't change the works or the information. yes the Bible was written by many people over many years; does this negate it as a historical source? I don't believe so.

I never said it negated anything as a historical source. But it doesn't mean the entire book is true either.

The Bible wasn't chosen out of other manuscripts, it was recreated out of manuscripts of itself from preceding years. Yes, it was found alongside other works; this also happens in a library. We wouldn't combine a bunch of documents not pertaining to the same subject right?

You misunderstand. Within manuscripts that they took that were all written together and were part of the Bible at one point in time. They removed books. My question is, why? Was that God's will that after a while some books were removed? King James did a lot of editing. :)

None thread related note, but I suspect you might like to understand things.

I am not a Christian, but was one for many years. What set me on the path away was reading the Bible when I was 12. Instead of following the Bible study plan, I read it straight through. That was a disturbing read. The old testament is a rough ride.

What I didn't understand until later, was how misogynistic the new testament is. Women are property, there is no getting around it (and yes, I have known smart women, who are Christians and don't like that, but are still Christians).

For me, the death and hatred in the old testament combined with the misogynistic new testament is enough for me not to want to follow the Bible at all.

Plus, almost nobody follows everything in the Bible anyway. Maybe it had its time and we moved on? We used it, then come up with our own ideas? That would be dismissing God though wouldn't it?

Shouldn't people now, as they did in the past, write new passages in the Bible? Update it to modern standards? Get rid of pieces that really don't work today?

But it wouldn't work today would it? Would you trust _anybody_ to make changes to the Bible? Strikes an interesting perspective doesn't it? We should have pious enough people today that should be able to add to the Bible, add more books, show more miracles. I suspect we don't.

-Scott

So.... History. We have wars, rape, murder, etc. in secular history yes? does that mean that we should leave history be? In the days of the old testament, war was everywhere. You can't just look at the bible and say, oh those people were killing, so obviously they are evil. Back in the feudal era in England/France/Spain, similar events were common. Of course reading the Old Testament as a young child would be unsettling; your mind wasn't mature enough to handle and understand the context.

Women as property? Did you not understand Jesus when He said ALL mankind was created equally? That within that equality is a balance between roles? Give me ONE clear example from the New testament where women are treated as property.

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Posted (edited)

Finally, it isn't about getting it all right, about being perfect. Jesus calls us to serve Him. God knows we are flawed, and set up the rules to make us see that keeping all of them all the time is impossible; he uses the law to point to the law-giver. To Jesus, the man who kept EVERY law in Jewish tradition, and did away with it, instituted a new law under Himself for those who believed.

And no, in fact, to add to the Bible is ludicrous. The Bible does not need recreating, or re editing. It is complete and whole. To add more would actually wreck it, because it is a recording of God's love for us, from creation to salvation. If people wish to add ideas to the Bible, they write separate books as part of a theological library.

Edited by Alexander Hawthorne

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Posted

Steer the thread in that direction, Heretic, :yes: it will only benefit the thread, which as of now is nothing more than the same lame apologetics discredited ad nauseum.

A speculative philosophy of religion is a practice that refrains from dissolving into theology or become an instrument for theological purposes.

Since theological thought is contaminated by its commitments to religious superstition and metaphysical transcendence, the theologization of philosophy provides support for God, liturgy & the church. Instead of such radical orthodoxy, I recommend a renewed approach to modernity that maintains the flame of the new, one that learns from the postmodern critics, but refrains from backsliding into the traps of crude materialism or wan fideism. The door to theology is closed and another door is opened towards a better understanding of the philosophy of religion as a speculative philosophical discipline.

To do so, Deleuze's account of the "liberation and automutation" of religion offers a model that emphasizes modernity, secularity & speculative philosophy. Modernity is the significance of the early modern period for philosophical thinking about God (e.g., Spinoza's Ethics). Secularity is reformulated as understanding the modern as secular only to the degree of its emergence from a deep-seated Judeo-Christian heritage. A secularism lies in every religious tradition, not just merely the post-Christian version.

Speculative philosophy investigates the radical immanence of Francois Laruelle's non-philosophy, and its possibilities of a non-theology for a truly secular philosophy of religion that refrains from the seduction of traditional materials of religion.

These ideas are contained within the After the Postsecular & the Postmodern anthology, ed. Anthony Paul Smith & Daniel Whistler.

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Posted

DavidM;

Have you ever asked a question knowing fully well the answer? that is what God is doing. He wishes for Adam to be honest, to have Adam realize what has taken place through asking him a series of questions. It wasn't that God didn't know; He wanted Adam to be honest with himself, to understand what he had done.

And also, try this perspective; a study of Isaiah 45, by CARM. (Christian apologetics and research ministries)

First of all, the Hebrew word for evil, "rah," is used in many different ways in the Bible. In the KJV Bible it occurs 663 times. 431 times it is translated as "evil." The other 232 times it is translated as "wicked," "bad," "hurt," "harm," "ill," "sorrow," "mischief," "displeased," "adversity," "affliction," "trouble," "calamity," "grievous," "misery," and "trouble." So we can see that the word does not require that it be translated as "evil." This is why different Bibles translate this verse differently. It is translated as "calamity" by the NASB and NKJV; "disaster" by the NIV; and "woe" by the RSV.

Second, the context of the verse is speaking of natural phenomena.

"I am the Lord, and there is no other; Besides Me there is no God. I will gird you, though you have not known Me; 6That men may know from the rising to the setting of the sun That there is no one besides Me. I am the Lord, and there is no other, 7The One forming light and creating darkness, Causing well-being and creating calamity; I am the Lord who does all these," (
).

Notice that the context of the verse is dealing with who God is, that it is God who speaks of natural phenomena (sun, light, dark), and it is God who is able to cause "well-being" as well as "calamity." Contextually, this verse is dealing with natural disasters and human comfort issues. It is not speaking of moral evil; rather, it is dealing with calamity, distress, etc. This is consistent with other scriptures. For example,

  • "And the Lord said to him, "Who has made man’s mouth? Or who makes him dumb or deaf, or seeing or blind? Is it not I, the Lord?" (Exodus 4:11 ).
  • "Shall a trumpet be blown in the city, and the people not be afraid? shall there be evil in a city, and the LORD hath not done it?" (Amos 3:6 ).

Also, take note that Isaiah is presenting contrasts. He speaks of "light" and "darkness," "well being" and "calamity." The word "well-being" in the Hebrew is the word for 'peace,' "Shalome." So, in the context, we are seeing two sets of opposites: Light and dark, peace and non-peace, or well being and calamity. The "evil" that is spoken of is not ontological evil, but the evil experienced by people in the form of calamity.

Thank you for actually giving me something that made me search, something challenging that wasn't placed in a rude manner, buta manner that called me to gain higher understanding.

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Posted (edited)

Also, many questions posted may not be answered forthright, as I am not omniscient, and must actually do the work to study and find suitable answers for the questions put forward.

i have a few questions of my own.

If any of you is an Atheist, how would you interpret the existence of morality? Where does it come from, and what purpose does it serve? What use have we for creating relationships outside of our partners? Why did we decide that monogamy was preferable to polygamy, and who decided to make this into law? Finally, explain the creation of the universe through whatever filter you prefer.

maddog, I am guessing you're going to go to the whole idea of God sending people to hell as grounds for His apparent self contradiction? If so, refer to my posts to DavidM on said topic. as far as your questions go, I agree to a point. If an aspect of God as defined by humans is erring, it does not necessarily show God to be dis proven; rather that ones perception of God is skewed. So, what did you have in mind as to a question or what have you?

Edited by Alexander Hawthorne

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Posted (edited)

i have a few questions of my own.

If any of you is an Atheist, how would you interpret the existence of morality? Where does it come from, and what purpose does it serve? What use have we for creating relationships outside of our partners? Why did we decide that monogamy was preferable to polygamy, and who decided to make this into law? Finally, explain the creation of the universe through whatever filter you prefer.

Short answers:

how would you interpret the existence of morality? Where does it come from, and what purpose does it serve?

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.

What use have we for creating relationships outside of our partners?

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.

Why did we decide that monogamy was preferable to polygamy, and who decided to make this into law?

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.

Finally, explain the creation of the universe through whatever filter you prefer.

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.

maddog, I am guessing you're going to go to the whole idea of God sending people to hell as grounds for His apparent self contradiction? If so, refer to my posts to DavidM on said topic.

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.

as far as your questions go, I agree to a point. If an aspect of God as defined by humans is erring, it does not necessarily show God to be dis proven; rather that ones perception of God is skewed. So, what did you have in mind as to a question or what have you?

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:

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."

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."

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

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.

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."

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.

#549

Edited by maddog

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So.... History. We have wars, rape, murder, etc. in secular history yes? does that mean that we should leave history be? In the days of the old testament, war was everywhere. You can't just look at the bible and say, oh those people were killing, so obviously they are evil. Back in the feudal era in England/France/Spain, similar events were common. Of course reading the Old Testament as a young child would be unsettling; your mind wasn't mature enough to handle and understand the context.

But surely you don't believe that a genocide or some other act of evil in the Bible can be justified by the fact that genocides have happened in other times and places, do you?

Can you help us to understand the context of the genocide of the Amelekites? Of the law in Deuteronomy 21 that orders the people to take a "stubborn and rebellious son" outside the city and stone him to death? Or the other law in Deuteronomy that if there are people in a city who do not believe in God, they must all be killed (including children), the animals slaughtered, the city utterly destroyed, and the fields salted so nothing may grow there again?

How would you justify such acts and orders, which seem to be rather evil to me?

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But surely you don't believe that a genocide or some other act of evil in the Bible can be justified by the fact that genocides have happened in other times and places, do you?

Can you help us to understand the context of the genocide of the Amelekites? Of the law in Deuteronomy 21 that orders the people to take a "stubborn and rebellious son" outside the city and stone him to death? Or the other law in Deuteronomy that if there are people in a city who do not believe in God, they must all be killed (including children), the animals slaughtered, the city utterly destroyed, and the fields salted so nothing may grow there again?

How would you justify such acts and orders, which seem to be rather evil to me?

Perhaps, in this context, one might wish to read Raymond D. Bradley’s article, The Meaning of Life: Reflections on God, Immortality, and Free Will

From the article:

These gods deserve the oblivion to which thinking men and women have consigned them.

So does the God of our much vaunted Judeo-Christian tradition. After all, this is the God who, according to the Old Testament, is said to have drowned every member of the human race, not just wicked men and women, but innocent children, suckling infants, and the unborn, with the sole exceptions of the drunkard, Noah, and his incestuous family.[2] This is the God who himself slaughters hundreds of thousands, if not millions, by means of his angels, serpents, hailstones, windstorm, earthquake, fire, and plague.[3] This is a God who: gives 32,000 Midianite virgins to the soldiers who had killed their families;[4] allows his hero, Jephthah, to demonstrate his devotion by sacrificing his daughter "as a burnt offering";[5] punishes the Babylonians by having "their little ones ... dashed to pieces before their eyes ... and their wives ravished";[6] declares "I will cause them [members of his own chosen people] to eat the flesh of their sons and the flesh of their daughters, and they shall eat everyone the flesh of his friend";[7] and commands His chosen people to slay "both man and woman, infant and suckling" in thirty-one kingdoms while directing the Israelites in their policy of ethnic cleansing of the land that orthodox Jews now call Greater Israel.[8] And this is the very same God[9] who, in the New Testament, repeatedly promises eternal torment in the fires of Hell[10] for all those--the majority of the human race--who haven't believed in Jesus (an obscure figure whose dates of birth and death no one knows and whose historical status may fairly be likened to that of Hercules, Mithra, King Arthur or William Tell).[11]

That is some loving God you’ve got there, Alexander! Morally perfect, indeed!

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So.... History. We have wars, rape, murder, etc. in secular history yes? does that mean that we should leave history be? In the days of the old testament, war was everywhere. You can't just look at the bible and say, oh those people were killing, so obviously they are evil. Back in the feudal era in England/France/Spain, similar events were common. Of course reading the Old Testament as a young child would be unsettling; your mind wasn't mature enough to handle and understand the context.

Not sure where you are going with this. It seems that you justify God telling people to do things that are hurtful and comparing it to other history where people are hurtful. I don't like either, but I don't like people using God as an excuse to hurt, and I don't like people who don't use it to hurt. Either are horrible things.

The difference is that the Bible, by many, is considered a way to get your morals, a way to live your life. As I have stated before, people ignore the parts of the Bible they don't like, why?

Reading the Bible now disturbs me more than it did then. Then, I took it to heart and tried all I could not to act in a way that would anger God. With good reason.

Women as property? Did you not understand Jesus when He said ALL mankind was created equally? That within that equality is a balance between roles? Give me ONE clear example from the New testament where women are treated as property.

So we can agree it is rampant in the old testament? Finding quotes there is easy.

The entire new testament, to me, has either women as saints, harlots or basically invisible (Revelations especially, that darn Jezebel is what I can think of of the top of my head)

I would have to read the entire thing again, but Peter 3 is a good example.

What is obvious when you read it, is the new testament is entirely men focused. Even today, women are not treated as equals in the work force, in their medical care, etc.

This isn't something that comes out and says "you are my property", this is something where you read and realize that women are for the most part marginalized and should submit to the master of the house. The men provide, the women just wait around to be told what to do.

Because of changes in our society in the past 100 years, women have gained a lot of ground, but they aren't there yet. Why are they marginalized in society to this day? It is a question we should all ask ourselves. Shouldn't it be obvious that women are equals and that they should have always been treated as such since Jesus said so? Why is it only in the last 100 years women were allowed to vote? Look at this history of divorce, quite telling.

Society changes things for the better sometimes. In terms of women there has been a lot of changes. If you went back 1000 years, even a hundred, people's interpretation of what the Bible says about women would be totally different.

I am very glad of those changes.

/unrelated but interesting to me, I was just reading that they are changing (some) bibles to include gender inclusive language. I guess it just depends on what version you are reading now.

-Scott

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If any of you is an Atheist, how would you interpret the existence of morality?

From us, or dealings with other people, our gradual gaining of consciousness which made us understand our mortality and how it affects our views on life.

Where does it come from, and what purpose does it serve?

It comes from us. We define it, we act upon it. We have shaped our world to fit what most people consider a way of treating people and events in some sort of moral fashion. That is one of the philosophical questions that may never get answered. :)

What use have we for creating relationships outside of our partners?

We are a social creature. Most people crave companionship. Touching is of vital importance to our sanity. We could probably get away with just staying with a "partner" as that fulfills much of what people need. Outside of that, we can mentally challenge ourselves more easily and have love and charity to give and receive.

Why did we decide that monogamy was preferable to polygamy, and who decided to make this into law?

Women probably thought it was a good idea! :-D As you may or may not know, women are the thing, what they want they get. When she isn't happy you aren't happy! My opinion beyond humor is that it is what women wanted, because it gave them more rights as a person instead of being in a harem and treated as property or as a lower class citizen.

Finally, explain the creation of the universe through whatever filter you prefer.

There are many scientific postulates on the beginning of the universe. The most popular so far is the Big Bang theory. I remember reading Victor Stenger saying that all of the matter in the universe could be packed into a single proton (the math works).

From my perspective, I have to trust what the math and science and physics reveal. I have studied it as much as my brain can understand, but it is all very complicated. I don't pretend to understand it all, and I have to trust people to give me that information. It makes more sense to me (as much as I can understand), and has a deeper meaning, then just saying "God did it." To me, that is too easy an answer. When I hear "things are too complicated in nature, God must have created it." It just falls flat to my ears and makes no sense.

Trying to figure out how something works, how it could possibly have happened, garners much more interest to me than just giving up and saying "too complex, God." You can be impressed by what you think God did, or you can study how things work and come up with an explanation of your own.

Evolution is very complicated, but is also a simple concept. So people dismiss it as having flaws, thus it must be untrue, or not valid.

No scientific theory is 100%. Somebody, some day, could come in and blow that theory out of the water with new information. I say, FANTASTIC! That is so interesting, what a learning experience, happy to see it happen. Change my world view and I am impressed.

But to me, unfortunately to many, God offers none of this for me. I have stabled him to the "doesn't exist" folder in my brain, thus none of it makes any sense to me anymore. I understand it, I understand where people come from in wanting that and I don't have a problem with it or somebody else having a loving and wonderful God to experience. To me, there is nothing there.

The world makes far more sense if you remove the God Equation, people make more sense, relationships make more sense. People act in exactly the way you would expect of people. Their motivations make sense, their desires make sense, why they do things make sense.

When you get outside of what is considered "normal" things do break down though. A sociopath can do all sorts of weird things, but filtered through the emotionally lacking pit, you can figure things out for the most part.

So, one question I get from religious people is that it is bleak to be an atheist, your outlook is that there is nothing after death and that what is the point of life if there isn't a God there of some sort.

You are right, it is difficult. You realize that the universe is an unforgiving place. It doesn't care if you exist or not, it isn't here for your pleasure or displeasure, it is just here.

"That is so sad" I hear, but because you live in the same universe I do, I feel that it is just a fantasy that makes you feel better about how horrible things are.

Think about it this way. Except for natural disasters, we have created all of the crap we deal with every day. All of the wars (which are about resources almost always to interject!) all of the people dying from starvation, all the people living in poverty. That is all our problem. It is easily solved if we didn't care so much about money.

To help ourselves, to help the entire planet, we won't do it because we care more about money than anything

We will eventually kill ourselves off because of our greed and carelessness over the planet we live on. The planet it not here for us to pillage until destruction. It isn't here for any reason, but if we do that, we destroy ourselves and the future for everybody. Our limited vision of the future will kill us.

-Scott

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So.... History. We have wars, rape, murder, etc. in secular history yes? does that mean that we should leave history be? In the days of the old testament, war was everywhere. You can't just look at the bible and say, oh those people were killing, so obviously they are evil. Back in the feudal era in England/France/Spain, similar events were common. Of course reading the Old Testament as a young child would be unsettling; your mind wasn't mature enough to handle and understand the context.

Not sure where you are going with this. It seems that you justify God telling people to do things that are hurtful and comparing it to other history where people are hurtful. I don't like either, but I don't like people using God as an excuse to hurt, and I don't like people who don't use it to hurt. Either are horrible things.

The difference is that the Bible, by many, is considered a way to get your morals, a way to live your life. As I have stated before, people ignore the parts of the Bible they don't like, why?

Reading the Bible now disturbs me more than it did then. Then, I took it to heart and tried all I could not to act in a way that would anger God. With good reason.

Women as property? Did you not understand Jesus when He said ALL mankind was created equally? That within that equality is a balance between roles? Give me ONE clear example from the New testament where women are treated as property.

So we can agree it is rampant in the old testament? Finding quotes there is easy.

The entire new testament, to me, has either women as saints, harlots or basically invisible (Revelations especially, that darn Jezebel is what I can think of of the top of my head)

I would have to read the entire thing again, but Peter 3 is a good example.

What is obvious when you read it, is the new testament is entirely men focused. Even today, women are not treated as equals in the work force, in their medical care, etc.

This isn't something that comes out and says "you are my property", this is something where you read and realize that women are for the most part marginalized and should submit to the master of the house. The men provide, the women just wait around to be told what to do.

Because of changes in our society in the past 100 years, women have gained a lot of ground, but they aren't there yet. Why are they marginalized in society to this day? It is a question we should all ask ourselves. Shouldn't it be obvious that women are equals and that they should have always been treated as such since Jesus said so? Why is it only in the last 100 years women were allowed to vote? Look at this history of divorce, quite telling.

Society changes things for the better sometimes. In terms of women there has been a lot of changes. If you went back 1000 years, even a hundred, people's interpretation of what the Bible says about women would be totally different.

I am very glad of those changes.

/unrelated but interesting to me, I was just reading that they are changing (some) bibles to include gender inclusive language. I guess it just depends on what version you are reading now.

-Scott

The main reason I don't agree with these statements is this;

In Matthew, right off the bat, In Jesus' genealogy, there are four women who are cited as ancestors of Jesus. In a time where yes, women worldwide, not just to Jews, but all mankind, were considered unequal, Matthew lists not only one, but four women as having claim to Jesus' lineage. This is an example of how Jesus coming to earth changes the status quo.

also, here is 1 Peter 3 to consider as a whole.

1 Peter 3

1 Wives, in the same way submit yourselves to your own husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives, 2 when they see the purity and reverence of your lives. 3 Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. 4 Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.5 For this is the way the holy women of the past who put their hope in God used to adorn themselves. They submitted themselves to their own husbands, 6 like Sarah, who obeyed Abraham and called him her lord. You are her daughters if you do what is right and do not give way to fear.

7 Husbands, in the same way be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect as the weaker partner and as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life, so that nothing will hinder your prayers.

Suffering for Doing Good

8 Finally, all of you, be like-minded, be sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate and humble. 9 Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult. On the contrary, repay evil with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing. 10 For,

“Whoever would love life

and see good days

must keep their tongue from evil

and their lips from deceitful speech.

11 They must turn from evil and do good;

they must seek peace and pursue it.

12 For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous

and his ears are attentive to their prayer,

but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.”[a]

13 Who is going to harm you if you are eager to do good? 14 But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. “Do not fear their threats[b]; do not be frightened.”[c] 15 But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, 16 keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander. 17 For it is better, if it is God’s will, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil. 18 For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive in the Spirit. 19 After being made alive,[d] he went and made proclamation to the imprisoned spirits— 20 to those who were disobedient long ago when God waited patiently in the days of Noah while the ark was being built. In it only a few people, eight in all, were saved through water, 21 and this water symbolizes baptism that now saves you also—not the removal of dirt from the body but the pledge of a clear conscience toward God.[e] It saves you by the resurrection of Jesus Christ, 22 who has gone into heaven and is at God’s right hand—with angels, authorities and powers in submission to him.

In this passage, Jesus is not commanding women to be mousy, weak willed servants, He is encouraging them to live their lives in such a humility that their husbands marvel that they could be so incredible. This way, any man who doubts would be won over by the woman's obedience; not to the man, but to the Word of God, because that is really the obedience she has. Now of course, this does not mean endure any form of abuse or torment, but simply to live their lives in respect.

Weaker in the sense of "weaker partner" does not refer to any quality of intellect or spirit or what have you, but literally to the physical difference between genders. Jesus is telling men to be gentle, because women are simply not made the same way as men. Note also that the passage says, "Heirs with you to eternal life" not "under you" or "because of you" Equal value is placed on both sexes.

As to what I was trying to say about war in the Bible. God called the ancestors of what is now the Jewish race to Himself, and promised them they would be a people, and that their descendant would be the Saviour of the world. Now, in Biblical times, war was rampant. Everywhere, killing was a part of life. yes there were other peoples apart from the Hebrews who could have been saved. However, something that was way too common in those days was Moloch/Molek sacrifice. The pagan God Moloch was the "god" to whom all the nations would sacrifice their children to. The Lord told the nations not to do this through His prophets, yet they persisted. In that time, Gentiles( peoples of non Jewish descent) had no way of sacrificing animals to repent their sins. Now this is a difficult topic I'm going to get into, but I'll try anyway. Sin is defined as anything morally unconscionable. Lying, stealing, disrespect, murder(not killing, murder), rape, sacrificing of humans or animals to the pagan gods, etc. etc. basically, anything that is not allowed today is sin.(apart from disrespect, because in the Law given by God to the Hebrew people, honouring/respecting one's parents was included.) So, the Hebrews were given the Law, and they were told that to break this law came with penalty of death. And it did so, even inside the Hebrew community. People were punished according to the severity of their sin. And the Hebrew nation told other nations of the time to repent and turn to God. When those nations refused, God would use armies to enact the penalty of sin. The biggest reasons for a nation to be punished under the old Law were adultery, sacrifice of humans, etc. These were "big" sins, and only these were punished severely with armies (E.g the Amalekites, who sacrificed thousands of children to Moloch).

This is my understanding of the matter of God commanding the death of different nations, even to the last man.

Now, I have realized something that gives me pause. I have portrayed my belief of God slightly off.

I apologize for this, it actually got past me a while back and went unchecked until now.

I believe that I have given you the impression God is INFINITELY merciful. If this is so, please disregard that. God is merciful yes, but He can not be so forever, else indeed, He would not be displaying mercy in allowing those in Hell to remain there. here is another piece which explains in more detail the whole Amalekite killing idea as basis for the immorality of god. Please take the time to read it, and I hope it clears up the whole mercy/justice issue. I hold to the opinions given, and once again apologize for the error.

I realize this will be a lot of reading, but well worth it to clear up even one question. This applies to all of you following the posts here, so please. For the full, redirect here; christianthinktank.com/rbutcher1.html

the first section I will post here;

"Does the bible actually portray God as “infinitely merciful and just” and at the same time as a genocidal deity, contradicting itself at a deep, moral level?

Although this is not the heart of the writer's argument, let me note first:

1. The portrayal of the biblical god is not actually 'infinitely merciful and just deity' as if these were axes on a graph, but rather that God delights more in mercy than in judgment. His basic preferences are away from judgment (e.g., "Say to them, ‘As I live!’ declares the Lord GOD, ‘I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that the wicked turn from his way and live. Turn back, turn back from your evil ways! Why then will you die, O house of Israel?’" Ex 33.11). His responses are asymmetrical: His compassion is to "a thousand generations", but his moral outrage extends only to the immediate household ("to the third generation"). Judgment is called His "strange, alien work" in Isaiah 28.21; His 'familiar' work is providing 'regular' environments for community life and experience, without massive divine interventions. We are supposed to develop our selves and characters by internal decisions to choose the good and to honor one another and to play our part in the development of others. His normal operating procedure is to build reward/loss consequences into our consciousness and into the workings of basic interpersonal relationships (from which we construct second-order social roles), and then let us get on with living. Even when relationships get bad, He normally allows the 'system' to try and correct it (e.g., peer pressure, legal systems, internal emotional pushbacks). Even in biblical history surrounding Israel (God's most overt/visible historical actions), the amount of judgmental intervention is tiny compared to what perhaps might have been expected on the Assyrians, for example, and the biblical record is filled with cries of the innocent asking "why don't you do something about these malicious oppressors, God?!" It was part of the task of the previous piece to demonstrate that the invention in THIS case was not unjustified, although quite unique.

2. And, as for God being a 'genocidal deity', the biblical events described do not seem to match what we think of by that term today. Even in the little section on the Amalekites, the description of the situation doesn't even come close to what we consider 'genocide' today. Most (but not all) things considered genocide today involve groups internal to the country in question, and they were either killed outright by their own government (sometimes slowly through torture and abuse) or deported to a place of sure-to-kill-them environment. Academic definitions of genocide exclude combat deaths and noncombatants that die as a by-product of military action. It generally denotes the deliberate killing of someone solely because of their indelible group membership (indelible is the term used for race, ethnicity, nationality etc.--that characteristics that are 'indelible'). [For one of the major authorities on this subject, see the work of R.J. Rummel at www2.hawaii.edu/~rummel.]

Consider some of the better-known cases:

1. The government of the Ottoman Empire
deported
two-thirds or more of its estimated 1-1.8M Armenian citizens during WWI. They were forced into the deserts of present-day Syria, and most died due slowly to starvation and dehydration. This was
an internal group
that was forced out of the country into the desert to die.
2. The Nazi genocidal actions against the Jews, the Roma, etc. were also initially targeted
at internal people
.
3. During WW2, the government of Croatia killed an estimated 200-350K of
its internal Serbian citizens
.
4. Pol Pot's Khmer Rouge regime in Cambodia
killed 31% of its own population
, apprx 2 million people (although some of this would be considered 'democide' and based on 'delible' characteristics such as political alignment, instead of 'genocide' proper).
5. In Rwanda, between 500k-1M of the Tutsi ethnic group (
all internal
) were killed by the Hutu ethnic group (fighting had been going on between them for some time).

Notice how extremely different these are from the case of the Amalekites:

1. They are NOT an internal group
2. They are NOT a minority group
3. Amalekites are NOT targeted because of their Amalekite-ness (since they were welcome as immigrants in Israel)
4. They are never under the government control of Israel.
5. They are not pursed and hunted in other countries for extermination.

Some scholars identify 4 types of genocide (Frank Chalk and Kurt Jonassohn, cited by Helen Fein, in Encarta s.v. "Genocide"):

1.
Ideological
--where social homogeneity is sought, through 'ethnic cleansing' of internal 'pollutants'. This would include examples of the Nazi Holocaust, Armenian massacres, and the Cambodian purges. The Amalekite battle has no similarities to this, since these people were not internal 'dirt' that needed cleaning from within Israel. [in fact, the internal Amalekites were not affected at all, apparently. They are certainly not mentioned/singled out, like a genocidal propagandistic document would do.]
2.
Retributive
--is "undertaken to eliminate a real or potential threat", but again, these are "most likely to occur when one group dominates another group and fears its rebellion or when the other group actually rebels." The example given is that of the Hutu/Tutsi conflict in Rwanda. Again, this would not fit our case, since the Amalekites are NOT a part of Israel, or even under its control--for a 'rebellion' to be feared. The Amalekites had always been the aggressors against Israel, and Israel finally responded to this history.
3.
Developmental
is where genocide is undertaken for economic gain. The case in Paraguay in the 60's-70's where they deported/killed an estimated half of the native Indian population, to allow for the expansion of logging and cattle-raising enterprises in the nation's interior, would be an example. This doesn't fit our case either--the desert was not a lucrative resource at all, the puny belongings of the nomadic Amalekites (apart from their plunder of other peoples, of course) would not justify such a military action, and the Israelites were forbidden to prosper off the 'booty' anyway!
4.
Despotic
-- is intended to "spread terror among real or potential enemies". Examples of this are Ugandan presidents Idi Amin and Milton Obote, who killed hundreds of thousands of (internal) Ugandans who opposed their power. Again, this is internal power abuse, and not at all similar to our case.

What this means--although it would not bear on the main ethical sensitivity here--is that it is historically inaccurate to label this military action as 'genocidal'. (This is still the case, EVEN IF one ONLY is talking about the killing of the families of the warriors. There are none of the defining elements of genocide--as the term is used by experts--present in the accounts of this initiative.) Let's be clear on this--I am not exploring how to "justify a genocide", because in the first place, it is NOT genocide. [interestingly, the only case we have in the bible of something approaching genocide is in the book of Esther. Haman, a prominent official, develops a plot in which the internal people will be allowed to attack, kill, and plunder the internal Jews in the nation. This is very close to genocide, and it is quite ironic that Haman is called an Agagite, and said to be an Amalekite by Josephus in Ant. 11.209.]

3. Philosophically speaking, we would not actually be able to get all the way to "contradiction" with this line of argument anyway. If we succeeded in the argument, we might get to "manic-depressive" or "schizoid" or "insane" or "fickle", but "contradictory" doesn't fit well into discussions of personal characteristics. My mother was angry at me, compassionate toward me, intimidated by me, amused at me--all at the same time on MANY occasions in my adolescent years, but her existence is not 'contradictory' at all. The argument/discussion below develops a moral judgment on God's behavior as perceived negatively. This might render God immoral, and therefore inconsistent with His portrayed character, but it would not yield non-existence in that process very easily.

To actually create a logical contradiction here, we would have to prove that God (1) clearly did something clearly unjust in this action, and as a consequence, (2) we could never find a reason no matter how long we thought about it, that would provide some justification for this action.

Just saying that it seems "always unjust to kill a child" is not enough—we would have to show that even the cases in normal human experience in which someone has to do this (e.g. the horrible, but all too frequent, situation in which a father is forced to decide in the labor room of a hospital between the life of his child OR the life of his wife...many/most bio-medical ethics experts will side with killing the child, to save the life of the mother/wife) the actions of the father would be "unjust" as well. For, if we even allow ONE EXCEPTION to this "always unjust" statement, we open up the possibility that whatever ethical principle allowed that exception MIGHT ALSO BE operative in other/this case, and we also open upthe possibility that there may be other principles that would allow such an action (e.g. mercy killing--refugees that kill their own small children to keep them from being tortured, enslaved, mutilated, and/or then killed horribly by their tormentors).

What this means is that an individual’s personal moral intuitions, if they run counter to moral intuitions of other experts and peers, may need further analysis and qualification, before they could function plausibly in constructing a logical argument of God's non-existence.

In other words, the argument that I THINK someone might make about this might look like the following:

1. The biblical God CANNOT commit any unjust act (Authority: theological tradition)
2. God ordered the killing of children (Authority: biblical text)
3. The killing of children can never be a 'just' act, regardless of competing ethical demands in a given situation. (Authority: someone’s personal moral intuition)
4. God, therefore , ordered an 'unjust act'. (authority: substitution of terms)
5. The ordering of an 'unjust act' is itself an 'unjust act' (authority: not sure--this is somewhat controversial in ethical theory, but I will grant it here for the purposes of illustration)
6. The biblical God, therefore, committed an unjust act. (authority: substitution of terms)
7. Therefore, the biblical God CAN commit an unjust act. (authority: from the actual to the possible)

And at this point we would have a clear logical contradiction between statement #1 and #7, and presumably could conclude that that God could not exist (since our concept of this God contained a 'hard contradiction').

But notice the problem--the whole thing stands or falls on the accuracy of the personal moral intuition in Step 3. It there is no reason to believe it applies WITHOUT EXCEPTION, then our attempt at constructing a hard contradiction this way fails. I have already mentioned one case in which exceptional circumstances are generally considered by experts to apply (i.e., the labor room), and one other case that has a high degree of probability for being another (i.e., the refugee camp), and there might be more that could be advanced (some of which I will offer below). This, of course, puts the ball back in the individual’s court to do one of two things: (1) show that these exceptions do NOT hold--and that the father who chooses to terminate the baby's life, so that his wife doesn't die has committed a horrible, unjustified, and culpable crime at the level of deliberate murder; or (2) show that although there ARE legitimate exceptions, there could not be any valid exceptions that would be operative in our biblical case.

But in any event, someone would still have much, much work to do, to be able to even offer the 'it is a contradiction' position as an argument. Without such work, this objection is simple assertion, unsubstantiated opinion (e.g, 'hunch'?), or emotional statement.

Now, let me hasten to add that I am NOT trying to get us to abandon that moral intuition at all!! Our moral intuitions are very, very important (IMO) for our personal and community life. Our moral intuitions form the basis of personal conscience and the basis for intersubjectively "agreed on" community ethics (and consequent legal codes and social mores). And, I am not suggesting that this particular moral intuition is "wrong" or inaccurate at all. Most of our moral intuitions are "statistically reliable guides." In other words, they apply in most 'normal' situations. And, I might add, this also applied to the biblical testament world: God was outraged at Egypt's infanticide, at Canaanite and Israelite child sacrifice, and at the abandonment of unwanted newborns in the desert by wandering nomadic tribes (cf. Ezek 16). This is a legitimate rule, and it is that fact that creates the tension for morally sensitive people in this passage.

What I AM SUGGESTING, however, is that it is not the only moral rule or moral consideration that applies here (and/or in the cases I mentioned above), and that before applying it so absolutely to this biblical case, someone may need to apply the same level of skepticism they have about historical documents to their own moral beliefs first. Further refinement of the implications of the moral insight and real analysis of the situation (actual or hypothetical) needs to be undertaken to see to what extent it applies to this specific case.

But let's get into the meat of the issue…"

the rest can be found at the link inb4 this really long post. anyway, that's about all I have for you on those issues Scotty.

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Also, as I stated earlier, this isn't about proving Christianity right or wrong. I'm trying to reach out to people seeking answers to Christianity. At first, I deviated into the whole proving Christianity segue, but I'm going back to the original statement I made. I'm done with trying to prove Christianity because no one here is going to accept it if they don't want to. So if you're on this thread to prove or disprove Christianity, please find another thread. thank you for your time and comments. Also, yes I'm only 16 so if you feel successful for finding a question I couldn't clearly define, congratulations! You stumped a neophyte in the fields of Theology, Logic, and Philosophy! Go feel good about yourself and challenge someone more mature in understanding than I.

Unfortunately, if you were not prepared to support your apologetic with evidence, arguments, and logic, then you should not have posted it. You invited questions, and we are in the process of showing what's wrong with the apologetic. Actually I haven't even begun to do that, though I already did most of it in the original Pascal's Wager thread.

The problem is you have a message which is passed down to you from others message-bearers, and you are expected to pass the message on to the next message bearers, as in a kind of metaphysical relay race. This is like kids in madrassas being made to memorize the koran. What you (and they) are positively not prepared to do, and not encouraged to do, is to subject your apologetic to critical analysis. Once that is done, it melts like dew in the sun.

All people who are philosophers or thinkers question all messages or ideas, whether from science or literature or philosophy or religion. That is what we do here, and what we will continue to do. If you're not prepared for that, then don't blame us. Look to the beam in your own eye.

Saying that we are not going to accept something "if we don't want to" is a nice bit of projection. All rational people will tentatively and defeasibly accept well-supported arguments and persuasive evidence, always aware that better arguments and later evidence might cause us to reassess our original stance. In the case of your apologetic, nothing is argumentatively persuasive and the evidence is nil. So we don't accept it for that reason, not because "we don't want to."

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I may get back to you later Alexander, but just kinda tired of this. Always the runaround.

-Scott

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i have a few questions of my own.

If any of you is an Atheist, how would you interpret the existence of morality? Where does it come from, and what purpose does it serve? What use have we for creating relationships outside of our partners? Why did we decide that monogamy was preferable to polygamy, and who decided to make this into law? Finally, explain the creation of the universe through whatever filter you prefer.

Short answers:

how would you interpret the existence of morality? Where does it come from, and what purpose does it serve?

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.

What use have we for creating relationships outside of our partners?

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.

Why did we decide that monogamy was preferable to polygamy, and who decided to make this into law?

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.

Finally, explain the creation of the universe through whatever filter you prefer.

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.

maddog, I am guessing you're going to go to the whole idea of God sending people to hell as grounds for His apparent self contradiction? If so, refer to my posts to DavidM on said topic.

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.

as far as your questions go, I agree to a point. If an aspect of God as defined by humans is erring, it does not necessarily show God to be dis proven; rather that ones perception of God is skewed. So, what did you have in mind as to a question or what have you?

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:

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."

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."

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

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.

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."

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.

#549

Just does imply moral, and I can't think of a time when God has been "unfair", so yes fairness as well. Justice is when the right thing is done, regardless of consequence.

Loving. I mean that God loves, as a feeling, and is loving towards us in His actions. he feels passionately about His creation and longs to be with us.

Omnipresent. yes,, beginning to end, everywhere all the time and all that. Now, I posit that God existed outside of time because Time has a beginning, and if God exists withing that beginning, He is not eternal, and he was created, which does away with Hid omnipotence. I believe that God has existed since before the beginning of time, which is a physical, quantitative property. In fact, God created everything, and that includes time. Does this clarify these definitions more for you?

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What the hell, now we've got miles of spam defending genocide?

I say the time has come to call a halt to this bullshit. This is not what TGL is about.

Loving. I mean that God loves, as a feeling, and is loving towards us in His actions. he feels passionately about His creation and longs to be with us.

Yeah, like when he orders women raped, children's heads bashed to smithereens against rocks and when he kills everyone on earth except the odious Noah and his little clan.

LOL

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@Scotty,

no worries man! I actually agree. Because we are conversing via internet, it degrades the dialogue, and gets very boring and tedious. Please, take all the time you need/ want.

@ DavidM.

Also, as I stated earlier, this isn't about proving Christianity right or wrong. I'm trying to reach out to people seeking answers to Christianity. At first, I deviated into the whole proving Christianity segue, but I'm going back to the original statement I made. I'm done with trying to prove Christianity because no one here is going to accept it if they don't want to. So if you're on this thread to prove or disprove Christianity, please find another thread. thank you for your time and comments. Also, yes I'm only 16 so if you feel successful for finding a question I couldn't clearly define, congratulations! You stumped a neophyte in the fields of Theology, Logic, and Philosophy! Go feel good about yourself and challenge someone more mature in understanding than I.
Unfortunately, if you were not prepared to support your apologetic with evidence, arguments, and logic, then you should not have posted it. You invited questions, and we are in the process of showing what's wrong with the apologetic. Actually I haven't even begun to do that, though I already did most of it in the original Pascal's Wager thread. The problem is you have a message which is passed down to you from others message-bearers, and you are expected to pass the message on to the next message bearers, as in a kind of metaphysical relay race. This is like kids in madrassas being made to memorize the koran. What you (and they) are positively not prepared to do, and not encouraged to do, is to subject your apologetic to critical analysis. Once that is done, it melts like dew in the sun. All people who are philosophers or thinkers question all messages or ideas, whether from science or literature or philosophy or religion. That is what we do here, and what we will continue to do. If you're not prepared for that, then don't blame us. Look to the beam in your own eye. Saying that we are not going to accept something "if we don't want to" is a nice bit of projection. All rational people will tentatively and defeasibly accept well-supported arguments and persuasive evidence, always aware that better arguments and later evidence might cause us to reassess our original stance. In the case of your apologetic, nothing is argumentatively persuasive and the evidence is nil. So we don't accept it for that reason, not because "we don't want to."

Actually, since becoming a Christian (yes in fact I was not a Christian my whole life) I have been positively encouraged to ask difficult questions. However, I haven't found evidence for Evolution to be convincing enough. Now, I understand that I'm not philosophical, and I'm not using language that really gets across to someone who is used to debate, and you've heard it all before a thousand times and given yourself the same answer to the same question countless times, thus becoming desensitized to the very idea of a God, but that doesn't mean I am not presenting something of a good case. i've come up with feasible answers for several questions. yes lots of them have not been answered, but if I asked you to explain the Sil Lum Dao form for beginners in Wing Chun Kung Fu, you'd likely have a hard time. My point with that is, I'm JUST beginning this past year and a half to really get into discovering the deeper matters of philosophy and theology and whatnot, whereas it's likely you all have been out of College or University for a time now, and have armed yourselves to the teeth with all the info about your worldview you need to "defraud" anything I have claimed so far. So I'm asking you to have a lot of patience. there re areas of thought I can not begin to dabble in due to my being so inexperienced, much like if you were to agree to it, I could lap you when it comes to different topics in Wing Chun or Lau Gar or the making of Katana in 16 century japan. These are things I have done far longer than actually done deep study on Theology etc.

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