Monday, September 1, 2008

Eternal Love Effectuates Eternal Good

God’s love is the foundation of which flows His goodness. Jesus said that loving God and loving people as we love ourselves are the greatest commandments that keep all others. When we are properly related to God and in proper loving relationships with people we treat them the way they ought to be treated. We live the way we ought to, because we love. When one person loves another properly they are good to them. A loving Father is good to his children. Even in rendering punishment upon a child, he is good for he punishes because He loves the child. Real love includes being able to render correction, rebuke, or punishment.


God is good, because God loves. His goodness is an extension of His love. God’s attributes are eternal. Were they not eternal, He would not be God for God’s nature must be complete in and of Himself: self evidently. If God depended upon anything outside of Himself, He would not be God. Love is actualized through relationships not in isolation. We don’t actualize loving someone when we are not in relationship with that person. To know the love of a parent for a child, you must have a child in which you love as a parent loves a child. To know romantic love you must have an object of that love. Therefore for Him to love, He had to love before He created. He didn’t begin to love once He created the world. He always loved. He always was a personal God. That’s why the doctrine of the Trinity is so essential. For God to love mankind, He had to first love interpersonally the Son of God. Who is begotten of God versus created by God. For God to be a personal God, He had to be interpersonal eternally versus gaining His personal nature with reference to creation. Once again, every attribute of God must be eternal. God loves because He eternally loves the Son and the Son eternally loves the Father. God is the ultimate Father to mankind because He gains His fatherly identity through His relationship with the Son. The Holy Spirit is the agent of His love which binds the Father and the Son and who is given to each person who is in relationship with the Father through Jesus. Jesus said that the greatest act of love is to lay down your life for your friend. Jesus, while we were yet sinners, laid down His life for man. Jesus was purposed to do this before the creation of the world. Before we sinned, He was still going to lay down His life to bring mankind into holiness that is only found in God. Man was made dependent upon God. But the only way we could attain holiness is through God providing that to us by an extension of His grace to us which comes through His greatest act of love and that is sacrificing Himself for us. We were not made equal to God for the created cannot be equal to the Creator, thus to be brought into His holiness He had to elevate us by grace through His supreme act of love which is in Christ work on the cross. Jesus coming to give His life for man was not God’s back up plan because mankind messed everything up. It was still purposed to be. However, when man sinned, Jesus’ sacrifice included His forgiving us our sins.


The doctrine of the Trinity is essential to the existence of God. If God were not a Trinitarian Being He could not be, for a being to have an identity, he has it relationally to another. If God was this cosmic static entity with no persons of the Trinity He could not be self-evident. He gains identity from Himself because He is a personal being. Thus any religion that posits a non-Trinitarian God cannot theologically support the existence of that God. Moreover polytheism fails to be a foundational system of belief for each of the many gods would have to be finite for you cannot have more than one all powerful God. It isn’t logically possible. Thus multiplicity of gods lends itself to finiteness of gods and that is not an adequate foundation for they would not be eternal.


In conclusion, God, being perfect, loves perfectly and eternally and all ethics and morality derive from the goodness that flows from His love. This is why Jesus said the greatest commandments are to love God and love your neighbor and that the second hinges on the first. When we learn how to love God and to experience His love and compassion for us we are enabled to love our neighbor the way we ought. This is why I have repeatedly advocated that morality is not about following the letter of the law, but about the fulfillment of the law which is love. When we are filled up with God’s love we can love others the way we ought to and we do good by them as a byproduct of that relationship with God.


God loves mankind and His love is actualized and experienced through the Holy Spirit who draws all men unto Himself. God is loving us even when we rebel against Him. All the consequences for sin is to bring about our restoration unto Him. It is all for our good even when it doesn’t feel so good at the time. Hebrews 12:11 “No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.” Even when God is allowing us to reap the consequences of our unrighteousness it is for our redemption.


The end product of a community of people who live lives of love is a beautiful picture. John Lenon asked the world to imagine a world with no religion. In reality, we need to imagine a world where God’s love is known by people and lived out through people. A world of people who live like Jesus lived would indeed produce a utopia. Imagine just a city of people who are living like Jesus. There would be no crime. The jails would be empty. There would be no hate. People would treat each other with kindness. They would always do good for their fellow man. God is calling us to such a way of living and it is possible through Christ.


However, there will always be those who will refuse to live as a part of the Kingdom of God. So even as this community of believers matures into this society built on love those outside of this society will be living lives in opposition to this reality. Hence the world will become darker and darker (more vile and destructive) and the church community brighter and brighter (more pure and glorified) until the day Christ comes for His Bride the Church.

98 comments:

Anonymous said...

I assume this is your attempt at answering the question, "How do you know god is good," right? Thanks for trying, but you've only made things worse in a way. Now, at best, you've substituted one question for another, and that is, how do you know that god loves us? The evidence (if we can believe the Bible) speaks against it in that god sends people to hell, etc. More on that later.

Another problem is that even if god loves us it does not logically necessitate that god is good. Even if you could show that god does indeed love every human, he could also have a race of slave aliens that he treats rather cruelly and hence he would not be a good god, for just one example of why this doesn't logically follow - it's called a non sequitor.

You do make a logically coherent argument when you talk about god's eternality and the fact that he would have had to plan for Jesus to die for us before the universe was created, but this doesn't do for you what you thought it would. In fact, it argues against you. You've just admitted to a determined system whereby god set up the universe to run a certain way. Hence, you've just destroyed your own argument for free will. We can't have free will or else things would not happen as god has foreseen them from before creation!

"The doctrine of the Trinity is essential to the existence of God. If God were not a Trinitarian Being He could not be, for a being to have an identity, he has it relationally to another."

This is another non-sequitor. A perfect single being need not have a counter-part in order to have identity, nor does that counter-part need to be in the form of the trinity. In fact, it strains logic to contend that god has to have three personalities in order to have identity since it is still one entity. And, why three? Why not 2 or 5 or 1000? There's no logical reason for any of this.

"Moreover polytheism fails to be a foundational system of belief for each of the many gods would have to be finite for you cannot have more than one all powerful God. It isn’t logically possible. Thus multiplicity of gods lends itself to finiteness of gods and that is not an adequate foundation for they would not be eternal."

This is more non-sequitor. If you can conceive of one un-caused cause being god, there's no reason to believe that there aren't multiple un-caused causes, hence multiple gods. And, no, they need not be finite. Further, there's no logical necessity that this un-caused cause be omnipotent, nor that two omnipotent beings can not co-exist.

"All the consequences for sin is to bring about our restoration unto Him."

Which is why he sends people to hell, right? So they can be restored?

"This is why I have repeatedly advocated that morality is not about following the letter of the law, but about the fulfillment of the law which is love."

Yet again, this is not the system that god has set up, and this brings me back to the point of whether god loves us or not. god has set up a system where you love him or you go to hell. He is saying, in effect, love me or perish. How would you feel if your husband came to you and said, "I think you should do the dishes because you love me, and if you don't, I'll divorce you." You might do the dishes because you do love your husband and you don't want to lose him, so from your standpoint you are obeying out of love, but from the standpoint of your husband and the system he has set up, he's not set up a system that is based on love, but on ultimatums. This is exactly what god has done. So, you might be obeying god because you love god, but god certainly does not love you if he is willing to send you to hell for not pleasing him. And, it still remains to be answered how a loving god could create hell in the first place and how that god could send people there to be tortured for all eternity. And, I would advise you against trying to use the free will defense since you've already argued against it by setting up a determined system - which really makes things worse right? This means that god determined certain people to go to hell from the start! This is not loving, nor just.

Karla said...

You hear everything I say in light of what you already believe about God--Beliefs that are not in keeping with Christianity.

Love doesn't do things to get something in return. If I did the dishes for my husband so that he would take me out to a movie I would not be doing it for love. I would be doing it for a selfish reason or as an exchange of services. Not for love.

Jesus died for mankind to give to mankind not to force mankind to do something. His work on the cross freed mankind from the law of sin and death. God makes man heirs with Christ, giving us authority, power, victory, life, righteousness etc. All freely given, freely bestowed to us. Living a life with Christ is to our benefit not because it keeps us from hell, but because it is the fullness of life to which we were born for. It is the very best thing for us. God has made very way possible for us to live that life because He sacrificially loves us. And because of that very love He does not force us to serve Him and live in His splendor. He lets us choose to live our way which is separate from His righteousness and that way does have destructive results. He has done every possible thing, but force us to live in His eternal Kingdom. Even the earthy consequences of sin are to help us turn away from that to Him. I don't know how you can't see that as Love? I don't know how to make it more clear.

Just because God set forth before time began that He would give Jesus to bring about our righteousness even if we did not fall does not mean He made us fall. We are created and we are dependent upon our Creator and Jesus is the way we are elevated by grace from creation to heirs with Christ who is uncreated. Thus, I have not destroyed my free-will argument.

"Even if you could show that god does indeed love every human, he could also have a race of slave aliens that he treats rather cruelly and hence he would not be a good god"

It does seem that your main contention with the Christian God is that you find Him unloving and not good. If you refuse any possibility of Him being loving and good, I'm not sure any argument will work for you. I'm not sure it's intellectual proof that you want, I think it's experiential proof you desire and that's a good thing to want. You need to know from God Himself that He loves you and that He is worthy of your trust. I can't provide that for you. I am praying for you. I will keep talking about it as long as you want to, and time permits, but I think what you need is a supernatural encounter with God that wraps you in His love.

Anonymous said...

"Love doesn't do things to get something in return."

My point exactly, nor does love say, "Do this or else." That is what god says to us. You can try and spin it anyway you want, but the bottom line is that god is saying, "Love me or go to hell."

"I don't know how you can't see that as Love?"

And I don't know how you can. Holding the threat of eternal torture over us is love? You've got a crazy notion of what love is. Even if we decided not to follow god and it is solely, 100% our fault, it is still not loving for him to allow us to go to hell - or really to have set up the system whereby we would end up in hell!

"Just because God set forth before time began that He would give Jesus to bring about our righteousness even if we did not fall does not mean He made us fall."

Yes, actually it does. A) If we did not fall, then there would be no need for Jesus. B) You are not seeing the entire argument. god foresaw all that would happen before he created the universe, including all of your thoughts and actions. When he created the universe, all of your thougths and actions were set in stone, else he would not be omniscient. Taken another way, if god saw that you would do X, then created the universe and you did Y instead, then god would be in error and not omniscient and not perfect. Therefore, you have to do X, else god is not omni-max. Since you have to do X, you don't actually have a choice in the matter. Hence, your argument destroys free will.

"If you refuse any possibility of Him being loving and good, I'm not sure any argument will work for you."

I fail to see you making any arguments that he is loving or good, so I'm not sure what I'm supposed to accept. Like I asked, how do you know that god is loving/good? I've given counter arguments as to why god could not be good/loving, and so far you've fallen back on the free will defense which you've also refuted with your own argument to god's omni-max nature. If you are asking me to be in a state of cognitive dissonance, that ain't gonna happen. You have to actually defend your arguments if you want me to take them seriously.

Karla said...

God is not saying love me or go to hell. He is saying I am loving you and you can have that love freely or you can refuse that love and live for yourself. The former path leads to life and the latter to death. Would you rather He take those people who do not love Him and do not want Him and make them live with Him for eternity? Or would you say that He ought to make all men love Him by force? That would not be love either.

Before sin entered the picture man still needed Jesus to be holy. I don't know how it would have all played out if man had not sinned. However, I do know that man cannot get to God without God providing the way for we are created and finite and He is uncreated, Holy, and infinite. He created us to elevate us by His grace to gain holiness and live in a love relationship with Him. Jesus was still going to officiate that through giving His life for man--the perfect act of love. However, man sinned and separated us further from God, but redemption was already set in place for the work done on the cross by Christ redeems us as well as elevates us to partake in righteousness.

God has proven His love to mankind through Jesus. If Jesus is God the Son and if He did die for our sins and resurrect victorious over death, then this is the grandest demonstration of love in the history of the universe. Jesus, being perfect, giving His life for humanity.

God has given the way out of our destruction and He has given us the One who empowers us to live a life of love and a life of supernatural authority upon the earth. Refusing His grace is not God's fault, it's mans. His love burns strong for us and He knows it is His love that completes us. When we live outside it we bring destruction on ourselves for we are outside of truth. We cannot blame that on God. Nor can we blame the consequences of that on God.

Anonymous said...

"God is not saying love me or go to hell."

Yes, he is. Else there would not be a hell.

"He is saying I am loving you and you can have that love freely or you can refuse that love and live for yourself. The former path leads to life and the latter to death."

And needless eternal torture.

"Would you rather He take those people who do not love Him and do not want Him and make them live with Him for eternity? Or would you say that He ought to make all men love Him by force? That would not be love either."

But, doesn't god know what is best for us? Wouldn't it be best for us to be transformed so that we do want to be in heaven instead of being eternally tortured? So, to answer your question, yes, a thousand times yes, it would be much better for us all to go to heaven. It is infinitely unjust for even one person to go to hell (I've already made that argument). Besides, I think we already established that no one is actively choosing to be tortured for eternity. This is a red herring.

"Before sin entered the picture man still needed Jesus to be holy."

Then you have to conclude that god made unholy beings. Why would an infinitely good god make unholy beings? Why would an infinitely good god make beings that are by default headed for hell due to their unholiness?

"He created us to elevate us by His grace to gain holiness and live in a love relationship with Him."

And, why would a perfect being do any of this? Why did god feel a need to create us at all if he is perfect?

"God has proven His love to mankind through Jesus. If Jesus is God the Son and if He did die for our sins and resurrect victorious over death, then this is the grandest demonstration of love in the history of the universe. Jesus, being perfect, giving His life for humanity."

How does this demonstrate love? Jesus obviously didn't die, he had no reason to worry as part of god, etc. So, what sacrifice was really made? And to whom? Why did god demand a sacrifice from us anyway? Why did god demand a sacrifice for us being created imperfectly? Is it our fault that we were created that way? No, of course not. This is not love, this is an exercise in blaming the victim. god, in essence, said to us, "How dare you guys be created by me imperfectly, but since I'm such a nice guy I'll do something completely ineffectual that doesn't actually solve anything and then still send you to hell if you don't love me...oh and BTW, it's ALL YOUR FAULT YOU HORRIBLE HUMANS." This is not love.

Besides, what does Jesus dying for us accomplish? Even if Jesus were sinless (he most certainly was not if you believe the Bible, considering that he grew angry at people - which he said was tantamount to murder, he continuously insulted the pharisees, he made one woman say that she is less than a dog before he would help her, he fashioned a whip at one point and threatened others with physical harm, etc.) But, let's say that Jesus was blameless. How does it meet justice to kill and torment a perfectly innocent person for other people's deeds? Why would an infinitely just and good god do this or require it? Again, this is neither justice nor love. And, at the end of it all, we still go to hell if we don't do what god wants. How is that any different from the time BEFORE Jesus "died for our sins?"

"His love burns strong for us and He knows it is His love that completes us."

Again, how do you know this? You are basing it on an event that you can't verify in the life/death/resurrection of Jesus for one. For another, you can't adequately show that this action was done for love, so you are simply assuming that this proves god's love, but it doesn't. When you couple this with the fact that you can't use free will and that god still sends us to hell even though we don't have free will, how can you claim that that is love?

To help you with the free will thing, let me use a thought experiment that I got from a friend of mine. Do you think that god could write a book right now that would chronicle every thought, feeling, action, etc. that you will have for the rest of your life in the most minute detail? If you answer no, then god is not omni-max. So, I assume your answer is yes. Imagine that god does write this book and then gives it to you. Do you think that you would be able to do anything other than what was in that book? If you answer yes, then god is not omni-max. If you answer no, then you don't have free will.

Karla said...

To answer your last question first. God's knowing the every detail of my life from birth to eternity does not mean He caused it to be that way. He knows my choices, it doesn't mean He makes them for me.

Do you know the Old Testament account of Abraham and Isaac? God told Abraham to sacrifice His Son, knowing full well He would provide a substitute for that sacrifice. God was showing man that He is not desiring to sacrifice man, but to provide a substitute to bear the consequences of our sin. He provided the lamb to Abraham. He provided Jesus the Lamb that was slain for us. He knew the requirement for sin before we sinned and He knew that He would provide that for us freely so that we don't owe that debt to sin. We don't have to pay the price for our sin. He shows us there is a price and then He pays it for us. He showed us His love through Jesus sacrifice. Had we not been made aware of sin and the consequences of sin we would not know we needed Christ. All the events of the Old Testament were pointing to the coming Christ and the all the events of the New are pointing back to His coming and onward to the joining of the Church with Christ.

God has freely made the way to Him. And He has made that way known through many ways. There will be no person who has not had the opportunity to know Him. Every single person who ever lived can enter His eternal Kingdom and live with Him eternally. All will have that opportunity one way or another. We send ourselves to our destruction when we refuse His love. Yes God knows who will accept Him or reject Him, but like I said He doesn't force either upon us.

Karla said...

BTW, God created us because of His love and not because of need. He didn't need to create us for if He needed to, He would be lacking--not complete in Himself--and not God. He desired to create a people to have communion with Him and to delight in His love. He has the nature of a Father since He is a Father eternally in relationship with the Son. He delights to show us that Father's love as well, making us heirs with Christ and one with Him. However, for that oneness to come about it has to be brought about through His love for mankind. Sacrificial love is the greatest of all love. It's not selfish. It's selfless. It's for the other. It's not for one's own needs, but for the other. Jesus demonstrated this when He laid down His life for us. I don't pretend to know what it would have all looked like if man did not fall, but as God did not cause are fall, but permitted it to be, He is not to blame for it. And it didn't throw a wrench in His plan for our oneness with His Son. A sacrifice was needed to bring it about and the sacrifice included the forgiveness of sin. It's a beautiful reality.

Anonymous said...

Karla,
"To answer your last question first. God's knowing the every detail of my life from birth to eternity does not mean He caused it to be that way. He knows my choices, it doesn't mean He makes them for me."

Actually, it does. When god created the universe, he knew you would do X. If he had created the universe differently you would do Y instead. But, he didn't. So, from the time he created it, you were determined to do X. Take the book example: you go to a restaurant and you open the book to see what god says you are going to order. god's book says that you will order the steak. You think to yourself, "Well, I'll show him by ordering the chicken." Do you think that you could actually order the chicken? If yes, the god is not omniscient (and not omni-max). If no, then you have been compelled to order the steak, even with the extra information that you've gained from reading the book.

"Do you know the Old Testament account of Abraham and Isaac? God told Abraham to sacrifice His Son, knowing full well He would provide a substitute for that sacrifice."

Yes, and I find the story to be damnable. Why would god put someone he loved through the torment of thinking about having to sacrifice his own son? If you have kids, can you imagine the mental torment that Abraham must have been going through that god inflicted upon him?

And, why would god even need to do this? Didn't god already know the outcome due to his omniscience? So, why the need to test Abraham at all? This is not a good story for god.

"God was showing man that He is not desiring to sacrifice man, but to provide a substitute to bear the consequences of our sin."

And, instead of simply telling us about it, he put Abraham through all that mental torture. Nice guy that god of yours. And, why does god demand sacrifices anyway? That seems a bit bloodthirsty for a supposedly all-loving god, doesn't it? And, why would a god that loves us demand sacrifices? Wouldn't you find it off-putting if your husband demanded that you verify your love for him by killing another animal?

" He shows us there is a price and then He pays it for us."

OK, so sin is bad, so in order to pay the price for it we're going to do the worst thing we can think of - murder an innocent man - and that makes it better somehow? C'mon.

"Had we not been made aware of sin and the consequences of sin we would not know we needed Christ."

Again, god made us this way! If we are unable to understand sin without experiencing it, then it is because god made us with that flaw. god could have made beings that would understand evil without actually having to go out and commit it, but he did not for some stupid reason? C'mon.

"God has freely made the way to Him."

No, actually he hasn't. We have to believe that Jesus somehow died for our sins contrary to our natures (according to Xians) and despite the fact that no evidence exists for this. So what, you say. Well, now I have to believe in god and Jesus in order to accept this great thing, right? OK, how does one do that? If you think it's like flipping a switch, I suggest you try and believe in Thor for a week and tell me how it goes. Xians still claim that we need god to step in and do something to help us. That obviously does not happen, hence god bears at least the responsibility to fulfill his end of the bargain and when he does not, he is at least to blame for that part of it when we go to hell. How you can't see that I will never understand.

"There will be no person who has not had the opportunity to know Him."

Evidence please? K thx.

"Yes God knows who will accept Him or reject Him, but like I said He doesn't force either upon us."

And yet you can't overcome the logic of the fact that an omni-max god necessarily determined the set of your thoughts/feelings/actions/etc. from the time of the creation of the universe and created them to happen, nor can you answer the book question. Yet, you continue to assert, uncritically, that you and I both have free will and that god is omni-max even though it is logically impossible. Nor have you answered the challenges about why god made us set for hell, why it was just for god to visit punishment on all of us for actions that happened before we were born, etc.

"BTW, God created us because of His love and not because of need. He didn't need to create us for if He needed to, He would be lacking--not complete in Himself--and not God. He desired to create a people to have communion with Him and to delight in His love."

If he desired, it is because he lacked. You don't desire things that you don't lack. Therefore, he is not perfect. Why would a perfect being desire anything? Or, put another way, at some point god desired to create humans, before that he didn't (else he would have created them then). Therefore, at that point god changed. Was he perfect before? If he was, then he had to be less perfect afterwards. Was he perfect after his desire? Then he was not perfect before and the act of desiring with it's infinite scale means that he can't be perfect now. Either way, god is not perfect.

"Sacrificial love is the greatest of all love. It's not selfish. It's selfless."

Except in this case where god is the one that demanded a sacrifice of himself in order to save humans that he created to be less than the standards that he decided to hold us to.

"I don't pretend to know what it would have all looked like if man did not fall, but as God did not cause are fall, but permitted it to be, He is not to blame for it."

If god is omni-max, nothing can happen that god did not cause.

"A sacrifice was needed to bring it about and the sacrifice included the forgiveness of sin. It's a beautiful reality."

Really? The barbaric act of killing someone is beautiful?

I see you glossed over all the problems that you had with your assertions regarding the trinity, etc.

Rogue Mind said...

I'm interested to know what the two of you, Karla and anonymous, think Hell is. What do you think hell is like. You're talking a lot about it but I don't know if you two have the same view on it. Do you think it's demons stabbing people with pitchforks? Eternal fires were you burn but never die? Constant physical pain? or is it something else, like a complete lack of any hope, a lack or purpose and meaning, knowing there was something you were meant for and that would make you whole but you'll never have it because you chose otherwise?

Is hell a physical or spiritual place or is it a state of being? What are your thoughts and why/where did your ideas come from about it?

Anonymous said...

The Bible describes hell as a place of torture with a lake of fire, lots of wailing and gnashing of teeth. In short, it's a place where god puts people to torture them for not obeying him.

Even if you wish to contend that it's where god puts us when we choose not to be with him, it's still unpalatable. If you love someone and they choose not to be with you, do you torture them? Of course not. How can you possibly torture someone you supposedly love? You can't. The existence of hell is prima facie evidence that god is neither loving nor just nor good.

Rogue Mind said...

@anonymous
please use a source and reference it. if you're using the Bible, quote it from there and show the verse you are reading from if there's something in specific. The Bible is a book that needs to be studied and interpreted, if it didn't need interpretation than there wouldn't be so many divisions in the church.

Anonymous said...

I'll have to find the sources, which will have to wait for when I have time. I know at least one of the gospel authors (I believe it was Matthew) describes the lake of fire and the gnashing of teeth and wailing.

Karla said...

rogue mind,

The Bible describes Hell as "gloomy dungeons" 2 Peter 2:3 and "a place of torment" Luke 16:23 as well as a "fire that never goes out" Mark 9:43

However, Hell/Hades is only a waiting place before the judgment at the end of time when death and Hell/Hades are cast into the Lake of Fire Rev 20:14-15

I believe it to be an extension of an earthly reality. For Christians are already seated in heavenly places with Christ before we physically enter heaven. I think living separate from God is already a hellish state of being the more distant you are from His truth the more destructive it is to you because you need Him like you need air to breath. Eternal death is the result of living death on earth. Eternal life is the result of living in His life on earth. I think, it's the more real equivalent of what is already going on in a person on earth.

Anonymous said...

Here's some references from this source:

http://www.religioustolerance.org/hel_bibl.htm

Matthew 13:42: "And shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth."

Matt 25:41: "Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels." This passage relates to Jesus' judgment of all the world.

Mark 9:43-48: And if thy hand offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter into life maimed, than having two hands to go into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched." The reference to fire is repeated three more times in the passage for emphasis.

Luke 16:24: "And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame." This is a plea described as coming from an inhabitant of Hell.

Revelation 20:13-15: "...hell delivered up the dead which were in them...And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire."

Revelation 21:8: "But the fearful, and unbelieving ... shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone." Brimstone is sulphur. In order for sulphur to form a lake, it must be molten. Thus, its temperature must be at or below 444.6 °C or 832 °F.

Anonymous said...

More of god's "love":

"But I will forewarn you whom ye shall fear: Fear him, which after he hath killed hath power to cast into hell; yea, I say unto you, Fear him."

—Luke 12:5


"Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it."

—Matthew 7:13-14

"He hath blinded their eyes, and hardened their heart; that they should not see with their eyes, nor understand with their heart, and be converted, and I should heal them."

—John 12:40


I love how this god who supposedly wants so much for us to have free will hardens our hearts so that we can not see. Or, how Jesus likes to talk in parables so that people WON'T understand him, because if he talks straight then more people will learn and go to heaven and he won't get to torture as many people in hell. And, why should we fear a god that is supposedly omni-benevolent? Because the Bible plainly tells us that this god puts us in hell, not that we choose it.

Anonymous said...

For your edification:

http://www.ebonmusings.org/atheism/infinitepunishment.html

Rogue Mind said...

Wow, i'm really glad I asked this question and heard your response. I don't know if i would have ever probed the issue more deeply if it hadn't been challenged. The religioustolerence site you referenced had an interesting website that it referenced. I couldn't find where they used information from that website, but I checked it out myself. The site was:
http://what-the-hell-is-hell.com

i have to get going to work, so i haven't finished reading very much, but i want to point you to this particular page about Jesus' teachings on hell.
http://www.tentmaker.org/articles/jesusteachingonhell.html

the first link leads to this one if you click on the "hell" image. i'd recommend clicking on the "peaceful" image as well, it's a short read.

i'm not a fan of just pointing to articles and saying "go read this, then you'll get my point." i would much rather summarize it and present it, but I don't have the time at the moment. but it's a *very* interesting read and lines up with what I presently believe about hell. i'd also like to present a view of heaven, later on.

the truth is found when you seek it. not all people are challenged enough or care enough to seek farther than what seems to be right in front of them. i'm thankful for both karla and anonymous for these discussions.

and i feel like i'm finding glass in the sand.

Karla said...

Free Will

Karla said...

rogue mind, thank you for your contribution. I skimmed the site you linked. I have to say I haven't given much thought about the nature of hell, because I've never been concerned about it personally. I have also never seen being a Christian as a response of fear to the tormented alternative. I have never "preached" that kind of a thing.

anonymous,

Re: God's love and desire for our redemption

John 3:16-17 "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him."

Peter 3:9 "The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance."

Anonymous said...

Karla,
That carm site basically just re-iterates what you've already said and what I've already argued against. It doesn't take into account the arguments that I presented!

"God knows the future of what the free will creatures choose. Free will does not stop becoming free because God knows what will happen."

Which is exactly what you said and I countered that. Please go back and see my counter-argument - I'm not going to re-type it.

"Furthermore, if God knows all things and knows what we are going to choose, then by definition, we are still making the choice; after all, the argument says that God knows what "we are going to choose.""

I find it funny when apologists make semantic arguments that clearly, consciously, and intentionally misinterpret the argument at hand simply to try and win a point in an obviously intellectually dishonest way, such as this one.

"The complaint of those who say that if God knows what we are going to do then we don't have "real" freedom is logically stating that God's foreknowledge of an event somehow limits the event and the choice of the individual. The complaint implies that there is an action by God upon a person that negates His freedom to choose. It would be up to the complainer to establish some logical connection between what God knows what will happen and the mind of the one who makes a choice so that the mind of the person making the choice no longer is making a choice. It seems that the critics are saying that the choice-maker is affected by God's knowledge to such an extent that his freedom is lost. If that is the case, then can they prove this logically? If not, then how can they maintain their position?""

god's foreknowledge does limit our choices to none because of the purported omni-max nature of god. When god created all of us, it set all of our "choices" in stone, thereby making it impossible for us to deviate from those "choices" in any way, meaning we really don't have a choice. That is the logical connection. NOTHING CAN HAPPEN IN THIS UNIVERSE EXCEPT WHAT IS PLANNED, CREATED, AND CARRIED OUT BY god IF god IS OMNI-MAX. This is plain and simple logic.

"God's love and desire for our redemption..."

So it says, but it also says that god created hell, etc. So, we have competing accounts of what god wants for us, right? Which will you believe? I think you have to take both of them as being what god is telling you. So, if someone tells you that they love you and then in all seriousness tells you that they want to torture you in hell for all eternity, I think you would decide that this person is either mistaken or lying when they claim their love for you. Correct? Why is it any different with god.

Further, this brings up a bigger point. Why do you feel able to ignore the pieces of the Bible that don't fit with what you wish god to be? How do you decide which parts are correct and which parts are not correct, and how does this square with your incorrect assertion that the Bible is in no way contradictory? I think you and I have just shown that it is contradictory. So, how do you wade through the contradictions to find the truth? This is another one of those questions that you can add to the list, like how you know god loves you or how you know god is good.

You'll no doubt accuse me of cherry picking the Bible as well, but as you will note I just dealt with those passages and you just read it (before you got to this point in my comment) so you really have no complaint here, do you? You'll probably still make the complaint, however. Just know that if you do, you're simply not being intellectually honest.

Karla said...

See this Link.

Hell

Anonymous said...

BTW Karla,
Why can you not deal with or answer the simple yes/no questions I posed in my example of god writing the book about your life?

Anonymous said...

Karla,
Was your Hell link supposed to augment your argument? The link I posted already dealt with all those issues and pretty decisively, especially since your link depending completely on Bible quotes. It did, however, use your tactic of simply asserting that god is good/just, so I can see why you liked it. But, it's just as lazy for them to sipmly assert and not be able to back it up as it is for you to do the same.

Karla said...

anonymous, I believe the entire Bible to the infallible inspired Word of God written through men and handed down correctly to each generation. I believe that Scripture interprets Scripture. I don't decide what to accept and not accept. I accept all of the Bible as true.

I reject your assessment that you have defeated my arguments regarding free will or God's love and goodness. However, I will accept that I am not answering your questions to your satisfaction. Part of that is because you don't like the truth, and part because I am still learning to present it in a clear manner. Some of your questions I don't know the answers to and I believe your questions to be good ones that I am thinking about and researching.

My walk with God is secure in experientially knowing Him as well as intellectually being certain of His existence, love, and truth. Nothing will shake that confidence.

I don't expect you to blindly accept what I am saying as truth. Maybe what I've said will aid your journey, maybe it won't. If your inquiries are because you love truth and desire to know it then I think you will find it and you will not be disappointed when you do. If, however, you just want to be skeptical of all things and not really seeking any of it out as possibly true then I'm not sure I could ever say or do anything that would illuminate the truth to you.

I do greatly appreciate your conversation with me and your challenging me with questions.

There are others more highly educated and qualified to handle these questions than I. I have recommended books to you before regarding evidence for Christianity and maybe if you really want answers and are truly interested in finding out if Christianity is true you would check out some of the books on my list at the bottom of my blogspot.

I'm sorry, I really don't know what else to say at this point regarding the topics we have been discussing. . .

Karla said...

"Why can you not deal with or answer the simple yes/no questions I posed in my example of god writing the book about your life?"

Because your example is faulty.

Karla said...

anonymous,

Let me ask you this. Are you discussing these things with me because

a) you want to examine the truth of the Christian Worldview

b) you are positive it's not true and wish to convince me that it's not

c) you are keeping an open mind about what is and isn't true and are simply asking questions in your journey for understanding


If it's not a - c please explain your interest in having this conversation if you wouldn't mind

Anonymous said...

Karla,
"Because your example is faulty."

If my example of the book is faulty, please point out how. Can god write such a book, yes or no? If he did, could you do anything that is not written in the book, yes or no?

Anonymous said...

Karla,
"anonymous, I believe the entire Bible to the infallible inspired Word of God written through men and handed down correctly to each generation. I believe that Scripture interprets Scripture. I don't decide what to accept and not accept. I accept all of the Bible as true."

Well, that's a silly position to hold (pardon me for saying so) because you've just contradicted various passages with your quote. Therefore, you are accepting certain passages as true and others as not true. You can't simultaneously only take the good parts and also claim that you take all the Bible as true. Either god is good and the parts where he orders genocide and such didn't happen, or it is all inerrant and god can't possibly be good.

"I reject your assessment that you have defeated my arguments regarding free will or God's love and goodness."

Then tell me how it is logically possible for us to have free will. You can't just assert it. I submit to you that the book example shows clearly why we can't have free will with an omni-max god, as does the logic behind the situation of omni-max-ness and its incompatibility with free will. Do you deny that god knew all that would ever happen before he created the universe and that when he created the universe it had to happen in just that way? If you deny that, then god is not omni-max and you could possibly have free will. If you don't deny it, then how is it possible for you to have free will when all your thoughts/actions/feelings were pre-determined at the point of creation?

I also submit that it is logically impossible for anything to happen that is not caused and planned by an omni-max god if an omni-max god exists. This is trivial. If anything were to occur that is outside of this god's cause, then that god quite simply is not omni-max. That you can't actually contemplate the sheer magnitude of omni-max-ness is not my problem, it is your's.

"Part of that is because you don't like the truth..."

Thank you for calling me a liar or at least someone who wants to be lied to? Yet, the funny thing is that this undermines your own argument! If god is so great and loving and so forth, why wouldn't I want to know about the "truth" of god and why wouldn't I want to be saved and go to heaven? If it is simply my nature, then god is responsible for making humans of the nature that we resist god, thus ending up in our existence in hell. You can't have it both ways!

"My walk with God is secure in experientially knowing Him as well as intellectually being certain of His existence, love, and truth. Nothing will shake that confidence."

Thank you for admitting that you are NOT open minded, that you aren't actually examining your beliefs, etc. Doesn't this mean that you were lying when you told me that you were actually considering my points? All you were actually doing is trying to proselytize.

"I don't expect you to blindly accept what I am saying as truth."

Considering that you aren't basing your arguments in logic and aren't backing up your arguments and aren't answering my probing questions, it's not evident that you aren't asking me to accept your words strictly by faith.

"If your inquiries are because you love truth and desire to know it then I think you will find it and you will not be disappointed when you do."

I find this statement rather ironic from someone who is, in essence, saying, "Don't bother me with logic, facts, evidence, etc. because I've already made up my mind and nothing you can say or do will ever shake that." You don't see the contradiction there?

"If, however, you just want to be skeptical of all things and not really seeking any of it out as possibly true then I'm not sure I could ever say or do anything that would illuminate the truth to you."

I simply AM skeptical of all things, which is why I demand evidence. Why do you not also demand evidence?

"There are others more highly educated and qualified to handle these questions than I."

Like who? What makes their made-up just-so stories any better than yours?

"I have recommended books to you before regarding evidence for Christianity and maybe if you really want answers and are truly interested in finding out if Christianity is true you would check out some of the books on my list at the bottom of my blogspot."

You mean like the links that I followed to the audio broadcasts that I ripped to shreds? Strobel is awful.

"I'm sorry, I really don't know what else to say at this point regarding the topics we have been discussing. . ."

You've been more than illuminating in this last comment.

Anonymous said...

Karla,
"Let me ask you this. Are you discussing these things with me because..."

I'm discussing because I hoped you were an honest apologist that might be willing to engage in honest debate and actually try to tackle some hard questions. Instead, you've admitted that you are not open to anything, you simply deny anything that you haven't already accepted as fact even if it is logically impossible, etc.

Anonymous said...

Here's another hypothetical that you will ignore:

Suppose I throw you off of a boat and into the water so that you are drowning. Now, let's say that I toss you a life preserver. Does that make me good for saving you or would you be upset that I put you in that situation?

Now, suppose that as god I create you and make you flawed in such a way that you can not live up to my expectations and are therefore bound for hell (drowning). I now have Jesus sacrificed for you (throw you a life preserver). Does that make me good for saving you or would you be upset that I put you in that situation?

Take your time, I fully expect that your only answer to this will be: "But god loves us and he sacrificed himself for us," which completely misses the point of the whole exercise.

Anonymous said...

Here's another way of looking at the free will issue. From your link:

"For example, I know that my child will choose to eat chocolate cake over a bowl full of stinking dead mice. If I were to set them both before my child, it is safe to say she will not eat the dead mice. Knowing this is not taking away the freedom of my child since she is freely choosing one over the other."

I agree. If the child has free will, then having a good idea what the child will decide does not impinge on the child's free will. Of course, the child could come back and say, "I'd rather have neither since I'm not hungry right now." That would make the parent incorrect in their assessment of what the child would do. The parent can not say with 100% certitude what the child will decide to do, and that's key. In order to have 100% certitude, the parent would have to have foreknowledge of what the child chooses. In order to have that, the child must no longer has any choice in the matter once this foreknowledge is gained, or else the predictive power of the parent is not 100%. Now, if you let the child know that the parent has predicted X, you have changed the equation and given more information to the child with which to decide from. If the child still can not choose anything except what the parent has foreseen, then the child certainly has no choice but to do what was foreseen.

If god foresaw all before the universe was created, and it matters now what extra information he might give to us (like the book) then free will is impossible.

Brooke said...

Anonymous,
I definitely think an honest debate could not hurt anything. However, instead of debating your comments come across like heated attacks. I definitely think that you are looking for truth, which is why you are looking to debate about it in the first place. You must understand though that nothing is acheived in animosity.

I would like to discuss your last question. You basically asked why God would throw us into a bad situation, then say this is the only way out. Take it or die. Your point of view in asking the question reveals that you feel like God has thrown us into this horrible situation called life. Then expects us to take him as our Savior. In that light, who would take Jesus?

Allow me to propose a different light to your question. What if God did not throw us in the water, but He actually got in the water with us and has been swimming right beside us the whole time trying to help us to swim. Only every time He reaches out to us to teach us to swim we just say how rotten it was for Him to put us in the water in the first place. His purpose in putting us in the water was not that we might drown, but that we might swim. So when we reject Him, we reject his purpose for us, and we end up drowning.

My main thought in this, is if you are asking that I consider that God is not good, then I ask that you consider that God is good. If you would ask that I consider that God has left us on this earth as a terrible curse and then sentenced us to hell as a punishment, then I ask you to consider that God has put us on earth as a gift and has invited us to be his children and offered us a way out. Thanks so much!

Innovative Defense said...

Nice blog entry. I have recently posted one on the topic of "Sin: What Is It?" Feel free everyone to check it out.

I will make some side notes here:

I think providing scriptural references on your site may be beneficial to the reader, that way what you say is able to "seen" supported in scripture.

I have just made that change, as it seems to be more effective. I have even made "live links" to the verses I have summarized in my writing.

Mike said...

Hi folks, new participant here. Interesting discussion.

May I point out some potential faulty assumptions?

1) That this is an either/or discussion. If God is really God, then free will and pre-destination can occupy the same space.

2) That he can be "fully" understood by mere humans and our ridiculous reasoning processes.

3) That there is only one right answer - there are probably many, complex, multi-level possibilities here that could be discussed for centuries - oh, and they have been... :)

4) And that this particular discussion is going to really get anywhere - I appreciate Karla's energy and investment in trying to address these questions, however I would advocate that if the two kingdoms are real (and I beleive they are) its only natural that there will be folks showing up in these blogs that will never get it, because it has to be acquired by faith - which is a spiritual principle not easily understood by the secular human mind...

The following scripture has always fascinated me with regard to this type of discussion - and it took me awhile to figure out why the Lord would put these two opposing thoughts side by side - he is God after all...

Proverbs 26:4,5 says
4 Answer not a fool according to his folly, Lest thou also be like unto him.
5 Answer a fool according to his folly, Lest he be wise in his own conceit.

Seems odd to have these two thoughts virtually side by side in the Bible - seems contradictory, or maybe not, just mysterious..? If he really is God, then his thoughts are way above ours, so...?

Hey, thanks for letting me play along... MM

Karla said...

anonymous,

C.S. Lewis puts it best when he said, "there can be many opinions about a matter until you know the answer and then there can be only one."

I think what you desire for an "honest apologist" is one who is still open to the many opinions. However, apologia is the Greek word for defense. One who gives a defense for X, in this case Christianity. So by being upfront that I am a student of apologetics then I am being honest that I am about defending Christianity as truth and I am honest that I believe it to be true or else I wouldn't be defending it. I am still learning about how to give answers and how to help people understand that Christ is the Answer and the Truth. I am by no means a seasoned apologist. I am learning. I am learning even by your questions. I make no claims to know all the answers. But I know that Christ is the Answer. I take all of your questions seriously even if I am not yet equipped to answer them in a way that would be helpful to you. For that lack, I am sorry.

I agree with Brooke's response to your analogy. It is a good answer.

As for the "book" there is no "book" of the future written down in stone of what each human will do. Just because God is unlimited in presence and thus knows all things does not mean He effectuates His will to cause those things to be a certain way.

And as for my statement being contradictory of accepting the entire Bible as true. It isn't for I do accept the entire Bible as infallible and the Word of God as revealed to and written by many human authors. Furthermore, God's actions and decrees and the Old Testament do not make Him lacking in goodness. It is precisely because of His goodness that those things had to happen for He is the good Judge and even His judgements are good even when they are unpleasant to mankind.

Karla said...

Mike, thanks for joining us. I hear your caution, but I am seeking to answer the questions anonymous has not only for anonymous who deserves good answers but for all readers who may come upon this blog and for my own learning experience.

You are right, God by His very nature is all wise and we are not and we have to realize that we won't always know why things are a certain way. We can trust in Him anyway, just like a child trust an earthly father who swats his hand when he puts it to close to the stove. The child won't understand the danger the father protects him from until he is old enough to understand the danger of a stove.

Anonymous said...

Um, I posted a response to Brooke. Is my comment stuck in a spam filter or something?

Anonymous said...

Mike,
"1) That this is an either/or discussion. If God is really God, then free will and pre-destination can occupy the same space."

Um, no. They are diametrically opposed things. If your actions are determined, then you can not have free will.

"2) That he can be "fully" understood by mere humans and our ridiculous reasoning processes."

If you don't think we can understand god, fair enough, but you lose the ability to say that god is good.

"3) That there is only one right answer - there are probably many, complex, multi-level possibilities here that could be discussed for centuries - oh, and they have been... :)"

I love when Xians resort to relativism in order to defend absolutist views.

"4) And that this particular discussion is going to really get anywhere - I appreciate Karla's energy and investment in trying to address these questions, however I would advocate that if the two kingdoms are real (and I beleive they are) its only natural that there will be folks showing up in these blogs that will never get it, because it has to be acquired by faith - which is a spiritual principle not easily understood by the secular human mind..."

This is a non sequitor. Why, exactly, does it make sense that if there is an omni-max god that desires us to love him that there are people that would not believe in this deity? In fact, that's quite the counter-intuitive statement. And, why would it make sense that the existence of this god would have to be taken on faith, especially since you assert this god wants us to know him? The conclusions you have drawn do not necessarily logically follow from your assumptions, hence they are non sequitors.

"The following scripture has always fascinated me with regard to this type of discussion - and it took me awhile to figure out why the Lord would put these two opposing thoughts side by side - he is God after all...

Proverbs 26:4,5 says
4 Answer not a fool according to his folly, Lest thou also be like unto him.
5 Answer a fool according to his folly, Lest he be wise in his own conceit."

So, which of us are you calling a fool? And, you do know what Jesus says about calling people a fool don't you? C'mon, it's in the sermon on the mount I believe, so you should know it.

Anonymous said...

Brooke,
I had a long reply to you not make it through for some reason, so I will attempt to re-create it.

"You must understand though that nothing is acheived in animosity."

I have no animosity towards you or Karla or anyone else here. I do have animosity towards some of the tactics being employed by Karla, but towards her. Please don't mistake passion for animosity.

"You basically asked why God would throw us into a bad situation, then say this is the only way out. Take it or die. Your point of view in asking the question reveals that you feel like God has thrown us into this horrible situation called life. Then expects us to take him as our Savior. In that light, who would take Jesus?"

Which is my point, exactly. So, let's see if god put us into a bad situation, shall we? Do you agree that we are born into sin? Do you agree that we are in need of salvation? Do you agree that we can not get to heaven of our own volition? If the answer is yes to all of that, then we can proceed. I think the answer will be yes to all those, so I will move on anyway.

So, through no fault of your own, you are headed for hell unless god comes and saves you, correct? And, why are you headed for hell? I think the only conclusion that one can come to here is because god has created us that way and that god has set up the rules. Certainly we did not set up the rules. The only being with the ability to do that is god. So, god has indeed put us in the situation that is analogous to drowning. He created us with a sinful nature that will cause us to go to hell unless we catch the life preserver that he throws, if he throws it. This means that god HAS placed us in the water to drown.

"Allow me to propose a different light to your question. What if God did not throw us in the water, but He actually got in the water with us and has been swimming right beside us the whole time trying to help us to swim."

If god did not throw us into the water, then who did? If you claim that it is our own actions, then you have to answer the objections above. Specifically, you should tell me what it is that I did at the moment of my birth that made me be a sinner. Another issue, if you want to try and scapegoat Adam and Eve, that you should address is whether it is just for god to punish all of us for the sins of Adam and Eve.

"His purpose in putting us in the water was not that we might drown, but that we might swim."

Riddle me this then. If you were teaching a child to swim and you had foreknowledge that the child would drown, would you throw the child into the water anyway? I should certainly hope not. In fact, I would hope that you would be horrified that anyone might even contemplate it. Yet, isn't that what god has done here? He had foreknowledge that some would drown and go to hell, yet he threw them in the water anyway.

"My main thought in this, is if you are asking that I consider that God is not good, then I ask that you consider that God is good."

No problem. Simply present some evidence that god is good and/or tell me how you know that god is good. You certainly can't point to the Bible as that doesn't paint god in a favorable light. Think genocide, war, rape, etc. So, what evidence do you have that god is good?

"If you would ask that I consider that God has left us on this earth as a terrible curse and then sentenced us to hell as a punishment, then I ask you to consider that God has put us on earth as a gift and has invited us to be his children and offered us a way out."

Can we make a dichotomy here? There are two types of people, those who go to heaven and those who go to hell, correct? Let's deal with those bound for heaven first.

If one is bound for heaven, then this place most certainly is a curse. One has to feel pain, suffering, etc., and every moment here is another moment apart from eternal happiness and god. If you claim that we need to suffer in order to know good, I will point to heaven and ask, "Is there suffering in heaven?" If you say no, then I will merely point out that your assertion that we need to suffer in order to feel goodness is false, as heaven would be the counter-argument.

If one is bound for hell, then this life is a curse. It would be far better to never have existed than to endure eternal torture.

And, let's just throw the problem of evil in there for good measure, shall we? People do suffer on this planet. Many, many people starve and die horrible deaths every day. Others linger and suffer from years of AIDS or cancer or malnutrition, etc. The world is not a pretty place for many of its human inhabitants. Why would an omni-benevolent god create such a place or allow such suffering to occur needlessly? If you had it in your power to wipe out starvation for all humans and make their lives better, wouldn't you do it? It would take nothing more than a thought from god in order to make that happen, yet he does nothing. Does this seem like a good god to you?

Anonymous said...

Karla,
"C.S. Lewis puts it best when he said, "there can be many opinions about a matter until you know the answer and then there can be only one.""

OK....I'm not sure where you are going with this because you can't demonstrate that you have the right answer, nor can you be sure of it yourself. You believe that you have the right answer, but you don't know that you do.

"I think what you desire for an "honest apologist" is one who is still open to the many opinions."

Um, no. By honest I mean someone who will actually engage in honest debate. That means actually engaging the arguments and taking them on in a logical and rational fashion. That means not simply repeating oneself ad nauseum and acting like repetition somehow refutes the objections raised. That would be a good start at least.

"So by being upfront that I am a student of apologetics then I am being honest that I am about defending Christianity as truth and I am honest that I believe it to be true or else I wouldn't be defending it."

You should be careful. You are welcome to defend what you think is true and what you can logically deduce and evidentially back up, and you are free to think that Xianity is logically defensible, etc. What you are not free to do is to beg the question and assume your conclusion and also claim that you are intellectually honest. If you come to the table knowing that Xianity is true when you can't possibly know that and only seeking to convert a heathen, then you are not being intellectually honest.

" I am still learning about how to give answers and how to help people understand that Christ is the Answer and the Truth."

And you seem unable to countenance that this might not be so. So, you've assume your conclusion and now you seek to fit the facts and evidence around your preconceived answer.

"I make no claims to know all the answers. But I know that Christ is the Answer."

Nice contradiction...make up your mind.

"I take all of your questions seriously even if I am not yet equipped to answer them in a way that would be helpful to you. For that lack, I am sorry."

You're not even sorry about the right thing!

"I agree with Brooke's response to your analogy. It is a good answer."

You are free to respond to my answer to it. I think it lacked in some serious ways. For instance the fact that god necessarily has put us in the water by virtue of being omni-max, etc.

"As for the "book" there is no "book" of the future written down in stone of what each human will do. Just because God is unlimited in presence and thus knows all things does not mean He effectuates His will to cause those things to be a certain way."

Why do you avoid such easy yes/no answers? I didn't ask you if there was a book, I asked if god could write a book that would detail your life to the most minute detail. Can he, yes or no? If you read that book, could you do anything that wasn't written in it, yes or no? You can continue to dance around the questions, but it just displays your lack of intellectual honesty.

And, BTW, you are simply asserting again. Tell me how it is logically possible for us to have free will and for god to be omni-max. I've given numerous arguments to explain the point to you and you continue to simply assert that it's possible. Well, tell me how.

"And as for my statement being contradictory of accepting the entire Bible as true. It isn't for I do accept the entire Bible as infallible and the Word of God as revealed to and written by many human authors. "

Then explain how so many things are wrong, the many contradictions, etc. You can start by clarifying the contradictory passages that have been posted on this very thread.

"Furthermore, God's actions and decrees and the Old Testament do not make Him lacking in goodness."

OK, then tell me how genocide is a good action. We can start with that one. Or, if you prefer, you can tell me how it was a good action for god to judge all of us guilty for the "sins" of Adam and Eve. I note that you've never answered that question...you haven't even attempted to.

"It is precisely because of His goodness that those things had to happen for He is the good Judge and even His judgements are good even when they are unpleasant to mankind."

This is called begging the question. You start with your conclusion, namely that god is good, and then you use that to rationalize away the contrary evidence. god commits genocide, but since you've already decided that god is good, then you must now rationalize that god's genocide is good. Ouch, that's not an enviable place to be in. Have at it. Oh, and stop telling me what god has to do, because an omni-max being doesn't have to do anything. If you claim that god had to wipe out all those people, then I will claim that god could have simply changed their hearts instead, and it would have been a better result. You will insist that that would damage their free will (of which you can't even logically show that we have, and I've made counter-arguments) but I will point out that god made himself appear to others and changed or hardened many other people's hearts, so your argument is not holding water. So, please, please tell me how wiping out an entire people is good.

Mike said...

Hi folks,

Sorry for the long following post. Karla, I didn't mean to appear to be negative, I appreciate what you're doing here and I was more trying to encourage you rather than sound a caution. Keep up the fight girl, this is good stuff!!!

Anonymous, I wasn't calling anybody a fool - just showing that even in the Bible two opposing thoughts are presented side by side, its not the only place in the Bible where this occurs - it gives us a glimpse into the reality that it is possible. Just used those scriptures to try and illustrate that point. Sorry it sounded like I was calling anybody a fool - but to your point, Jesus did warn us about who we call a fool - then in many places all over the Bible called many fools - again illustrating my point that seemingly opposing ideas are both right - its not relativism - its proof that we may not all be as smart as we think we are...

The secular logic- minded mindset (boy that was a mouthful) cannot reconcile that two opposing forces can exist in one space easily can they? Kind of freaks the brain out - and doesn't work well in computers either... ;) However, the science of physics offers a glimpse into the principles of creation and postures that theoretically it is possible within nature as well - which is a sort of reflection of the spirit dimension...

However, that is exactly what it is with regard to God. Free will and predestination do occupy the same space - they are both just as true as the other. Just like good and evil can occupy the same space, just like sorrow and joy, and on and on and on.

For the record, God is neither good nor evil - he is God. We were never intentioned to know good or evil, but made our choice to know them over knowing God, in the garden - I know its a hard concept to grasp, it must be grasped by the spirit, not by the natural mind. He exists outside of that argument, and right in the middle of it simultaneously - that is what makes him God and us mere mortals...

You will never truly know or understand these truths until you submit yourself to him and invest the time and effort to get to know him and the principles that he established in all of his creation.

Ask him for yourself, he will answer you. He is just as alive as he was before Calvary's cross and is more than able to defend himself and has on hundreds of thousands of occasions throughout recorded history personally met with some people face to face.

I dare you to challenge him to a personal one on one and see what happens... ;)

If he really is alive like we claim, and he really is God like we claim, then let him defend himself - I know I'm pulling an Elijah move - but, hey why not... This could be fun.

Now, where you are right and I agree with you on some points - the Christian church is woefully unprepared to answer some questions - we have not done a very good job addressing them, not even me.

So with that said, may I offer my humble input for consideration?

As someone who has experienced the full effect of multiple real, no kidding tragedies, I could argue that unless you've actually experienced the sting of, and heart wrenching devastation of real tragedy, one is somewhat unqualified to address the subject.

When my oldest son was tragically killed, then the ensuing cover up and court cases dragged us through the whole tragedy over and over again, we were tested to our very limits. When this was shortly followed by the death of my wife's father, the loss of my job (fired because I spoke up against the evil I was experiencing), and the breakup of my 20 years worth of marriage, I could certainly argue that I had a great reason to get angry with God and turn away from him.

Truth is, through it all, I found myself being drawn even closer to a loving God. My wife would testify of the same experience.

Anonymous, the life that we lead here is truly only temporary. Nobody here in the Earth will escape death. It happens to us all. So what happens next?

Nobody that I've been able to find in the whole Earth (and believe me, I've searched high and low in my agony) was able to soothe my pain but the Lord. Very few really understood what I went through, but he did. He lost his first born son by death as well. The fact that Jesus was raised from the dead gives me hope that my son is with him.

On the second day after my son's death, I was in a hotel room in Houma, LA waiting for the coroner to release his body to me. All alone, 1000 miles from home, and having had a personal relationship with the Lord for over 20 years, a lot of questions were raging through my mind. In the midst of all that, the room filled with the glory of his wonderful presence and he spoke to me, very clearly. It was in that moment that I realized that my son was with him, in the most beautiful of places and that he was safe and that I would see him again. He revealed things to me that only he would've known, things that were hidden deep in the heart of my son. He encouraged me and let me know that suffering and difficulty had a purpose that was eternal, not temporary. Temporary pain would produce eternal fruit.

I could go on, but I think I've made the point. You and I are but mere mortals. We will never truly understand the fullness of who he is, because he is endless - or why he does/allows what he does all the time, but he invites all of us to get to know him more, and upon accepting that invitation, our understanding is opened up like you can't imagine. The beauty of his holiness is revealed to us and things begin to start making more sense.

The idea that you or I can understand with our Earthly mindset concepts and principles that exist in a completely different dimension (the spirit world) and that those principles and concepts override the laws of nature here in the Earth is hard to grasp. It must be grasped by faith - you must believe it first, then you experience it - sounds opposite of what we experience here in the Earth.

The realities presented in the Bible describe spiritual principles that we cannot escape, no matter how hard we try; like

Proverbs 23:7 For as a man thinketh in his heart, so is he:

The principle is that whatever one truly believes (not what he thinks he believes) it will govern his whole life. If you truly believe that the Lord Jesus Christ is truly evil, you will respond to that belief.

That is why the Bible says that one must "believe" with their hearts that Jesus is Lord.

Romans 10:9-11 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. 10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. 11 For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.

Without taking that step, all the logic in the world won't get you or anybody else closer to truly understanding any of this - it simply isn't possible - it is only possible if he reveals it to you and that my friend is an act of the divine...

Tragedies, evil etc., merely make us all consider our own mortality and force to us to ask ourselves, what is really important in this lifetime? Where do you go or who do you turn to when tragedy strikes? The Tree of the knowledge of 'Good' AND 'Evil' had the power to unleash all this in the Earth, welcome to it... ;) It won't stop until all of this has been wiped out and made new - that is what we are facing. There have been many evils things wiped off the planet, even though you mentioned that you would like to see malaria and others, hey maybe in time it will.

I purposely didn't put a whole lot of scripture references - didn't want to bore you with something you don't believe in anyways.

I have a personal relationship with a living God. I spend time with him everyday, I talk with him, he talks with me, we spend time together and nurture our relationship. I got to know him after I made a personal commitment at the age of 21 to submit my life to him and by spending untold hours searching his word and trying to understand him. Its an investment in seeking the truth. I figured, hey, if eternity and the spirit world is real, I better set aside some time to discover what its all about - its more important than my college education, and all my experiences in life - because it has eternal implications. As I invested my time into this relationship, I began to understand all the questions that you are currently posing to us. Now, I had to go through many difficult experiences to gain some of that knowledge so be careful what you ask for...

We may or may not really be able to help you, but he can. My suggestion, instead of being angry with him, why don't you spend some time getting to know him, then you can get all your questions answered. He is not afraid of you or your questions. My opinion is that he would welcome them and you with open arms. He is the light of the world, he is not hiding in a dark corner somewhere hoping people like you won't find him or dare to ask him hard questions. He thrives on that kind of stuff... Let me know if you are interested in taking the next step and I'll be glad to tell you how you can initiate a personal relationship with him and start your lifelong journey finding answers to your most difficult questions. He is the only one that has those answers... Thanks man... MM

Karla said...

Mike, thank you for your heartfelt response and willingness to share about the tragedy in your life. Without God there would be no hope in the midst of suffering. Your story reminds of of a recent interview I heard of Steven Curtis Chapman (the Christian music artist) he recently lost his 5 year old daughter when she was accidentally hit by a car driven by his son. He sat in the emergency room as her life was slipping away and God spoke to him and told him she was coming into eternity with him. Chapman, knowing God was in this moment even in the midst of the pain, and he spoke to the emergency room doctors and spoke to them of Jesus Christ. He asked them to take note of this moment--that they were standing at the door of eternity that was opening to receive his precious daughter. He something spiritual and real was happening in that room at that moment as he shared the gospel with the staff. He was told later that the strong atheist doctor called in to the hospital the next day to take the week off to sift through what he had observed that day in the emergency room. He said he needed time to reflect on those moments. Something happened that tragic but peaceful moment that shattered this doctor's atheism and he could not even return to work. Later Steven Curtis Chapman returned to his home and found drawing his daughter had done just before the accident. One side of the paper was an incomplete flower and the other was a butterfly with the word "see" the first word she had ever written besides mom or dad. God was showing him through his daughters drawing that she was complete with Him in eternity.

Even in the midst of great tragedy He is the one who brings joy and meaning to our lives.

Mike, one last thing, you said God is not either good or evil. That's not possible. Scripture clearly says He is good. (Nahum 1:7, Psalm 145: 8-9) Even in judgment He is good, perfect, righteous, and holy.

Anonymous said...

Mike,
"Jesus did warn us about who we call a fool - then in many places all over the Bible called many fools - again illustrating my point that seemingly opposing ideas are both right - its not relativism - its proof that we may not all be as smart as we think we are..."

Um, actually that's called hypocrisy.

"However, the science of physics offers a glimpse into the principles of creation and postures that theoretically it is possible within nature as well - which is a sort of reflection of the spirit dimension..."

Sorry, but science does not support your god, nor a spirit, nor prayer, etc.

"However, that is exactly what it is with regard to God. Free will and predestination do occupy the same space - they are both just as true as the other. Just like good and evil can occupy the same space, just like sorrow and joy, and on and on and on."

This is nothing but contradictory double-speak. If your life is determined, then by logic and reason you do not have free choice. You don't get to simply, uncritically, and unevidentially posit that black is also white.

"For the record, God is neither good nor evil - he is God."

Really? Karla keeps telling me that god is good, infinitely so. So, which of you is right?

"We were never intentioned to know good or evil, but made our choice to know them over knowing God, in the garden - I know its a hard concept to grasp, it must be grasped by the spirit, not by the natural mind."

An uninformed "choice" to be sure, which could not have actually been a choice due to determinism. But, anyway, I guess you are saying that the moral of the story is ignorance is bliss. I reject that. There is nothing inherently bad or immoral about knowledge.

"You will never truly know or understand these truths until you submit yourself to him and invest the time and effort to get to know him and the principles that he established in all of his creation."

I hope that after you read this you'll feel very silly about saying what you just said. I used to be a Xian and believed in god, as did many, many atheists. IOW, your assertions is demonstrably false.

"I dare you to challenge him to a personal one on one and see what happens... ;)"

OK, here goes...god, you are an immoral, evil entity, and I challenge you to meet me face to face to explain yourself or to smite me. At least show yourself to me. Since you claim I have free will, I freely will (choose) to want to have you appear to me so that I don't have to wonder if you exist.

"If he really is alive like we claim, and he really is God like we claim, then let him defend himself - I know I'm pulling an Elijah move - but, hey why not... This could be fun."

IOW, you are abrogating your responsibilities to defend your own assertions.

"As someone who has experienced the full effect of multiple real, no kidding tragedies, I could argue that unless you've actually experienced the sting of, and heart wrenching devastation of real tragedy, one is somewhat unqualified to address the subject."

This is utter BS. You are actually going to say that I can't empathize with my fellow humans, I can't abhor the position that god has put them in or that he does nothing to help them unless I too am starving or dying of some horrible disease? With that logic, I claim that you can't argue against me unless you too are atheist. Hopefully you can see how ridiculous your assertion is.

"Truth is, through it all, I found myself being drawn even closer to a loving God. My wife would testify of the same experience."

I'm truly sorry for your losses and I'm sorry that god put you through all that. He does not love you. No god could put someone through that out of love.

"Anonymous, the life that we lead here is truly only temporary. Nobody here in the Earth will escape death. It happens to us all. So what happens next?"

As far as we know, nothing happens next. We have no evidence of a soul, no evidence of an afterlife, no evidence of a god or a cosmic purpose, etc. And, if we did, then you should answer the objections that I raised for both those going to heaven and those going to hell.

"Nobody that I've been able to find in the whole Earth (and believe me, I've searched high and low in my agony) was able to soothe my pain but the Lord. Very few really understood what I went through, but he did. He lost his first born son by death as well. The fact that Jesus was raised from the dead gives me hope that my son is with him."

Not to make light of anything, but Dumbo could fly the whole time, even without his magic charm. You can't even prove that there is a god, let alone that this god helped you in any way.

"I could go on, but I think I've made the point."

No, actually you haven't. Others claim that Allah talks to them. Some people claim the CIA is talking to them. Some claim that aliens are talking to them. What makes your experience more real than theirs?

"You and I are but mere mortals. We will never truly understand the fullness of who he is, because he is endless - or why he does/allows what he does all the time, but he invites all of us to get to know him more, and upon accepting that invitation, our understanding is opened up like you can't imagine. The beauty of his holiness is revealed to us and things begin to start making more sense."

Funny how you admit that we can't understand him, and then go on to tell me all about him as if you do understand him. If you can't understand him, then how do you know that he's good, that he has your interests at heart, that he loves you, etc? You just admitted that you don't know all that, yet you are taking it for granted.

"It must be grasped by faith - you must believe it first, then you experience it - sounds opposite of what we experience here in the Earth."

Why does god rely on irrationality and illogic?

"The principle is that whatever one truly believes (not what he thinks he believes) it will govern his whole life. If you truly believe that the Lord Jesus Christ is truly evil, you will respond to that belief."

I generally think that people who commit genocide are evil. So, why is god not evil for committing genocide? You've already admitted that you can't understand god and you can't say that he's good, so how can you possibly defend god's actions here?

"The Tree of the knowledge of 'Good' AND 'Evil' had the power to unleash all this in the Earth, welcome to it... ;)"

And, why did god create that tree that would allow people to go to hell? This is an evil act. You can't escape the conclusion, no matter how much you contradict yourself.

"There have been many evils things wiped off the planet, even though you mentioned that you would like to see malaria and others, hey maybe in time it will."

Most diseases that are basically wiped off the planet were wiped off because of humans, logic, reason, and science, not because of god. In fact, some diseases like Polio regain footholds from time to time because believers claim that god tells them not to take innoculations against those diseases. IOW, god is actually keeping those diseases alive!

"I have a personal relationship with a living God."

How do you know that? What evidence do you have? And, why does this god not have a personal relationship with all people?

"As I invested my time into this relationship, I began to understand all the questions that you are currently posing to us."

Then, perhaps you'll be so kind as to answer some of those questions. The first one you tried to answer what rather uncompelling. I made a logical argument as to why free will is contradictory to the notion of an omni-max god and your response was simply to admit that it is contradictory but that it somehow exists anyway. I hope you realize why I find this uncompelling. I've also asked you quite a few questions in this comment as well as pointing out some problems with your assertions. Perhaps you will answer those? Karla doesn't like to answer questions.

"Now, I had to go through many difficult experiences to gain some of that knowledge so be careful what you ask for..."

Why would that be necessary? Why does god have to resort to putting us in tough situations that invariably invoke emotional responses?

"We may or may not really be able to help you, but he can."

Considering that you admit that you can't understand him, how do you know that he desires to help me or you?

" My suggestion, instead of being angry with him, why don't you spend some time getting to know him, then you can get all your questions answered."

How is it logically possible for me to be angry at something that doesn't exist? No my friend, I'm not angry at god, it's impossible. I think god belief is illogical and irrational and I've made arguments to that effect - arguments that are going unrefuted and unchallenged.

"My opinion is that he would welcome them and you with open arms."

Again, this is demonstrably false as many people have deconverted from Xianity.

"He is the light of the world, he is not hiding in a dark corner somewhere hoping people like you won't find him or dare to ask him hard questions."

Then, why did Jesus say that he purposefully speaks in parables in order to confuse people and keep them away from the "truth?"

"Let me know if you are interested in taking the next step and I'll be glad to tell you how you can initiate a personal relationship with him and start your lifelong journey finding answers to your most difficult questions."

Let me guess, you have some magical prayer that you want me to say, right?

Oh, and I challenged god to meet with me earlier in this comment and he still has not appeared. Guess you were wrong about that one.

Anonymous said...

Karla,
"Without God there would be no hope in the midst of suffering."

What hope does god provide? Do you honestly think that people can only hope if there is a god? Is the hope that you will reunite with these people after death? How do you know that will happen? Considering that Jesus says that most people will be in hell, the chances are that at least one person you know and are close to will end up in hell. Do you think you could be happy in heaven knowing that that person is suffering eternal torment in hell? What about your hope for meeting up with that person in the afterlife? That hope will surely be dashed as the person is burning in the "lake of fire" for all of eternity, being tortured and tormented for all of time to come, forever and ever. Do you really think that you will be happy knowing that?

So, Karla, will you take the easy road that Mike took and simply declare that black is both black and white, or will you answer the questions about the book that god could write for you. Don't worry, take your time. I'll be gone for a few days anyway, so I will not be able to read or answer comments. Just remember, it's yes/no questions, so it shouldn't be that hard. Oh, and maybe you can explain why god would throw us into the water to drown and why that is good. Oh, and maybe you can explain why genocide is good. And, here's a new one for ya:

You claim that the Bible is god's inerrant word and that you believe every bit of it, right? So, did god create the universe in 6 days? All the evidence we have points to a universe that is about 14.5 billion years old that formed from a big bang event. That's now how god's publisher puts it though, so who is right? Did god get it wrong in his book, or did he get it right and in the process create a universe with all kinds of false evidence to lead us astray?

Anonymous said...

Oh, one last thing for Mike before I go.

You're asking me to accept that god talks to you and all that, right? Well, god has also told shrub to attack Iraq and has told mothers to kill their children, etc. Why should I not also accept these things? I mean, there are examples of this sort of stuff in the Bible, right? god does from time to time ask people to sacrifice their children and make war.

And, for Karla,
While you are defending genocide seeing as how it must be good since it came from god, you might want to also defend hell and eternal torture. Since god is good, then you have to believe that it is good when god sends people to hell and tortures them for eternity. Please, please defend that when you defend genocide. I'm eagerly awaiting your moral justification for these actions.

Innovative Defense said...

Dear anonymous,

Science can no more prove or disprove the Christian God. Science is the study of observable natural things.
God is not natural. The Christian belief is that God is supernatural, and created the natural world.

Science can not disprove the natural world, it has no capability to do so.

Innovative Defense said...

Also anonymous,

Why is it wrong to kill babies? Because it is immoral? If you think it is wrong to kill children, then are you pro-choice or pro-life.

Watch this video about an atheist that believes the Bible is "immoral/violent." Its a youtube video, only a few minutes long..but worth the investment.

Watch Here

JayBird said...

Karla,

I believe that this is your best post I've read yet. Very good...and theological!

Lord bless you!

Jay

JayBird said...

"Since god is good, then you have to believe that it is good when god sends people to hell and tortures them for eternity."

Isn't it good when a judge sentences a criminal to a lengthy prison sentence? Or do you believe that it is good when the judge lets the criminal off the hook?
God punishes because He is a good judge.
Why does He punish eternally? Because He is holy...something secular humanism often conveniently forgets about God. The problem isn't what we steal or what lie we tell, the problem is WHO it offends, this is why the punishment is so great...because He is great.
Nevertheless, the choice is ours. We don't have to spend eternally in a conscious, eternal, punishment. Our judge is so great that He also our redeemer who has Paid our fine...accept this free gift.

Karla said...

Thanks Jaybird for your kind words of encouragement.

Karla said...

anonymous, I am all for open exchange of ideas, questions, conversations etc. However, I do not wish to argue and I feel this conversation has digressed to arguing and I don't wish to continue in that manner. The others that have joined this conversation can continue to try and dialog with you, but I think at least on this comment thread I am going to say very little from this point out. If there is something I think that I can help explain better as I study the questions you have asked I will make a new post concerning it and answer questions at that time. I'm always writing so there will be new post forthcoming soon. Feel free to continue to visit and voice your questions as long as we can keep it to a civil dialog.

Anonymous said...

innovative defense,
"Science can no more prove or disprove the Christian God."

Sort-of true. The most common conceptions of the Xian god are contradictory (i.e. omnipotence and omniscience, etc.) From that standpoint one can make a logical disproof of god and there's actually quite a bit of literature in philosophy journals that does just this - disproves many conceptions of god. If you are interested, you could read, "The Impossibility of god."

As far as science goes, it is not concerned with the supernatural as you say, so in a way it does not prove or dispove god. When natural claims about god and his actions are made, however, these can be proven or disproven. Take the genesis account, for instance. The genesis account of the start of the universe is a positive claim about a natural event. We can test the validity of such claims. In fact, we have, and what god tells us happened in genesis is not what we find.

Either way, I fail to see the relevance here or what you hope to gain with this argument.

"Why is it wrong to kill babies?"

It is wrong because we place value on human lives. Why does your god do it?

"If you think it is wrong to kill children, then are you pro-choice or pro-life."

I am pro-choice. We can get into a discussion about abortion and abortion rights, but again I fail to see the relevance here, unless you wish to discuss justice and fairness. It is another mark of the injustice of god that some fetuses are aborted while other become people that get to live until a ripe old age. If those aborted fetuses go to hell, then it is patently unfair. If they go to heaven, then it is unfair to the person who lives a long life. In either case, god is unfair and unjust.

"Watch this video about an atheist that believes the Bible is "immoral/violent." Its a youtube video, only a few minutes long..but worth the investment."

I can not watch this video right now, but I will come back and watch it when I can.

Anonymous said...

jaybird,
"Isn't it good when a judge sentences a criminal to a lengthy prison sentence?"

That's quite a bit different from sentencing a criminal to an infinite sentence of eternal torture. The length/severity of the sentence should be matched to the crime committed. It would not be good to sentence someone to 50 years in jail for jaywalking, for instance. When god sentences finite beings to hell for eternity, then this is infinitely unjust.

"God punishes because He is a good judge."

How do you know that?

"Why does He punish eternally? Because He is holy...something secular humanism often conveniently forgets about God."

And, I contend that he can not be holy if he is so unjust. I am incapable of committing an offense of eternal magnitude. To be punished for eternity is a gross injustice of infinite scope.

"The problem isn't what we steal or what lie we tell, the problem is WHO it offends, this is why the punishment is so great...because He is great."

I reject this argument as well. The first problem with it is that god is a perfect, infinite being. How is it even possible for me to do damage to this being? In order for a crime to be committed against someone, that someone has to suffer damages in some way, which is plainly impossible for a perfect, omni-max entity.

Second, this is a misapplication of justice and wholly incorrect. It is a fact that capital punishment is more often on the table when the victim was white than when the victim was black. Would you say that this if fair or equitable or just? I certainly do not think so. But, that's just what your argument is - that we can and should make our decisions based on aspects of the victim. Should we punish someone who robs a poor family more or less than someone who robs a rich family? I say that the crime is determined by what was done, not who it was done to.

"Nevertheless, the choice is ours. We don't have to spend eternally in a conscious, eternal, punishment."

I've already discussed this ad nauseum, so if you care to read over my previous comments, please feel free.

Anonymous said...

Karla,
"anonymous, I am all for open exchange of ideas, questions, conversations etc. However, I do not wish to argue and I feel this conversation has digressed to arguing and I don't wish to continue in that manner."

It's your blog, but I feel like you are simply running away from the tough questions. I've asked you multiple times many questions that you continually duck and dodge, and then when I continue to ask I'm somehow seen as "arguing?" This, to me, seems like nothing more than an attempt to run from the questions, like the question of the book that god could write. I asked you, simply and directly, multiple times to answer some yes/no questions and you have continually failed to do so. If this is what constitutes "arguing" then I don't know how I am supposed to ask anything.

Further, I find it particularly ironic that you are chiding me about an "open exchange of ideas" considering that you yourself have admitted to not being open to ideas other than your own.

"Feel free to continue to visit and voice your questions as long as we can keep it to a civil dialog."

I fail to see what's uncivil about my dialog. I have not called anyone a name nor used any derogatory terms. I have not used ad hominem attacks (unlike others that have commented against me). I've kept my arguments on topic as much as possible and kept my questions as direct as possible. I've answered questions directed at me and tried in multiple ways to explain my positions. If you think my comments have some sort of "tone" to them that you find objectionable, that's not my fault. There is no "tone" beyond a passion for the topic that I admit to readily. If you are reading anything into my comments that simply isn't there, then frankly that's something for you to work out, not my failing.

Or, perhaps you are upset that I'm pointing out when I feel that you are being intellectually dishonest? Well, then you should examine your tactics or point out how I am wrong. I don't make that charge lightly, and I give reasons for it when I do. If my reasoning is in error, it does not take very long to say that it is in error and correct my misperceptions.

Karla said...

anonymous,

I'm not running away from anything. I am studying, researching, thinking, and praying about the questions you raise. I do not know at this time how to answer them in a way that is satisfactory to you. Some of your questions are based off faulty premises and I don't know how to show you that because you don't believe me. I see no reason to continue to repeat myself when what I am saying doesn't make sense to you. Apparently I am unprepared for your questions and so I am taking time to look into the answers and respond in a post at a later time. Maybe within days. I don't know yet. However, I do know that I have greatly appreciated your questions and your dialog. It has been an open exchange of ideas because you have been open to me about the matters that bother you about my worldview that you see as insurmountable to accepting it. I wouldn't expect you to accept it without being able to find answers to those matters. I have been open with you about what I believe and how that answers the big questions of the world even though you don't think the answers adequate. Neither do I think your answers adequate. But I think we agree that truth exist and we can seek it out and find answers. . .

I am not offended by anything you have said. I do feel you have gotten a little frustrated and maybe irritated with me and that's okay. And I take the responsibility for that. I am learning. I'm not an experienced apologist. Other than some myspace blogging this is my first step out into the greater cyberspace world to discuss these things with people. And you are one of the first that have taken the time to discuss them with me.

I think when I said I don't want to argue. I felt that I was feeling argumentative and did not want to proceed in that mentality so I wanted to take a step back for I want to first and foremost treat you with the utmost of respect and kindness and to speak clearly about what I believe is the truth. I would rather say nothing at all then become argumentative. That helps no one.

To recap, your predominate questions are:

1) How could a loving God allow people to suffer in hell?

2) If God knows everything how could he not be responsible or the causing agent for everything that happens?

3) How could God be good in light of the Old Testament actions of God?

4) Why couldn't He just create us in perfection instead of allowing us to sin and set us on this course where Jesus is the only redemption?


Is that an adequate reiteration of your main questions?

Anonymous said...

Karla,
"I'm not running away from anything."

Then why do you not answer my simple yes/no questions?

"Some of your questions are based off faulty premises and I don't know how to show you that because you don't believe me."

What faulty premise could there possibly be behind asking a yes/no question about god's ability to do something and what your ability would be based on that?

"I see no reason to continue to repeat myself when what I am saying doesn't make sense to you."

It would hardly be repetitious for you to answer the questions, considering that you have not yet answered the questions.

"Apparently I am unprepared for your questions and so I am taking time to look into the answers and respond in a post at a later time."

OK, this is an honest admission and I respect and thank you for that.

"Is that an adequate reiteration of your main questions?"

It's close. May I make some editorial changes?

"1) How could a loving God allow people to suffer in hell?"

I would add to this as such: Why would a loving god create hell in the first place?

"2) If God knows everything how could he not be responsible or the causing agent for everything that happens?"

I think we should say that if god is omni-max, not just omniscient. Of course, I have made the argument that true omniscience is only attainable through deterministic means, but I think it's cleaner to stick to omni-max.

"3) How could God be good in light of the Old Testament actions of God?"

And in the light of the other objections that I've brought up, like natural evil, his treatment of us, whether inherited sin is just, etc.

"4) Why couldn't He just create us in perfection instead of allowing us to sin and set us on this course where Jesus is the only redemption?"

Or at least create beings that inherently want to do good, give us a fair chance to be moral and live up to expectations, not place expectations on us that are unattainable, etc.

I would also add number 5:
How do you know what it is that you think you know? How do you know that god is good? How do you know that god is just? How do you know that god loves us all? How do you know that god exists? Etc. This may be the most important question in the bunch.

Anonymous said...

jaybird,
To add to our discussion, what crime exactly are we being charged with that merits eternal torture?

Innovative Defense said...

Anonymous,

Evolution is not "fact" its the closest fact that non-believers have come up with to show that we don't need God. It is still a theory (Macro-evolution, that is). No one will ever be 100% sure, because we weren't there. You have your faith in only science as I have mine in God and science that is actual "fact."

Pro-choice is essentially in favor of killing babies. To fully understand what I mean, watch this 5 minute dialogue between an atheist and apologist on the subject of killing babies and abortion. Its a very good one. Please watch and let me know what you think.

Abortion and Killing Babies Video

Anonymous said...

innovative defense,
"Evolution is not "fact" its the closest fact that non-believers have come up with to show that we don't need God."

Actually, evolution is both fact and theory, as theories are built on facts. And, it's not just non-believers, but some believers as well have accepted that it is the best and only account we have for the diversity of life we have on this planet.

"No one will ever be 100% sure, because we weren't there."

We can't ever be 100% sure of anything. I mean, we could all be boltzmann brains living in jars with electrical signals stimulating our synapses, right? We can, however, be reasonably and rationally sure of certain things. And, one does not have to "be there" in order to do this. Natural events leave evidence behind, and by studying that evidence we can ascertain what happened, how it happened, when it happened, etc.

Besides, if you use the "you weren't there" defense, what's to stop me from claiming the same thing about your beliefs?

"You have your faith in only science as I have mine in God and science that is actual "fact.""

My acceptance of science is not based on faith, but on the evidence that we have - the empirical, verifiable, repeatable evidence that science obtains by following a method that has been proven to work. How can you possibly even try to equate that to your faith? Your faith is built upon logical fallacy, non-verifiable, non-empirical, non-repeatable assertions and does NOT have a track record of success.

"Pro-choice is essentially in favor of killing babies."

Thank you for making a strawman of my argument. In order to assert this, however, you have to show that fetuses are human babies with all the attendant rights that come along with that, as well as why those rights trump the rights of the female who has to carry the fetus to term. I think this discussion is way off topic, however, and not really relevant to the issues at hand.

"To fully understand what I mean, watch this 5 minute dialogue between an atheist and apologist on the subject of killing babies and abortion. Its a very good one. Please watch and let me know what you think."

Is this the same video as before?

I promise I will watch your video when I have a chance to do so. I can't watch it right now, and I may not be able to get to it until Wednesday evening due to conflicts with having guests in town, etc. I do promise to watch it, however.

Karla said...

Let's save evolution and abortion for other forums, if possible. Both are off topic to this thread.

JayBird said...

"That's quite a bit different from sentencing a criminal to an infinite sentence of eternal torture."

It is clear that you applied American civil law to the judgment of God, because of this you fail to see how God applies His judgment.


""God punishes because He is a good judge."

How do you know that?"

It is evident that God's judgments are fair and just. He gives infinite life to those who deserve reward. This is a great commendation for being seen as unoffensive. However, for those who offend Him infinitely His fierce wrath is given as punishment. There is only one sin that sends a person to eternal punishment, disbelief.

"And, I contend that he can not be holy if he is so unjust."

He is holy and therefore is just. Since God loves that which is holy, He hates that which is unholy and sinful.

"How is it even possible for me to do damage to this being?"

God is created humans for His glory. He wanted to be in a relationship with us. God is a person, He has personality, Intellect, emotion, will, self-perception, self-direction. God is offended by sin, it is Him we sin against.

"I say that the crime is determined by what was done, not who it was done to."

It is wholly incorrect? I don't believe your example stands. It is determined by who it is done to in many cases, sexual assault to an adult as opposed to a child? Again you are applying American civil law, as you know it, and holding God to this standard.

"I've already discussed this ad nauseum, so if you care to read over my previous comments, please feel free."

I'm sure i've heard it before...

Innovative Defense said...

Every thread gets off topic. I let anyone bring up any topic on my thread and then decide to address that topic in my next blog entry.

Not everything stays on topic lol =... if it did, we would never get anywhere with new ideas.

Anonymous said...

Jaybird,
"It is clear that you applied American civil law to the judgment of God, because of this you fail to see how God applies His judgment."

So, are you arguing that infinite punishment for finite crimes is just? Why?

"It is evident that God's judgments are fair and just."

What is the evidence then?

"He gives infinite life to those who deserve reward. This is a great commendation for being seen as unoffensive. However, for those who offend Him infinitely His fierce wrath is given as punishment."

How can a finite being "offend" god infinitely? What do you mean by "offend"? And, just because he rewards some people while punishing others doesn't necessarily make him just. Tyrants reward their friends and punish their enemies as well.

"There is only one sin that sends a person to eternal punishment, disbelief."

So, not believing in god is worthy of eternal torture as punishment? What exactly is immoral or criminal about disbelief? Isn't it a judgement of fact? IOW, you claim that god is judging us on how well we can interpret facts and evidence (which he doesn't clearly present to us BTW) instead of on moral issues. This would be akin to the courts saying that one should be punished not according to whether one broke the law, but whether one believed the law existed. So, instead of punishing a murderer for killing, they would let him off the hook so long as he believed that there was a law against murder. Does this make sense to you?

"He is holy and therefore is just."

How do you know he is holy?

"Since God loves that which is holy, He hates that which is unholy and sinful."

This is begging the question. You have to first show that god is holy before you make pronouncements about how his holiness shapes his character.

"God is created humans for His glory."

If a human did such things, you would rightly call that person vain, immoral, etc. Yet, when god does it, it's somehow seen as good? Besides, why does a perfect being desire glory? Wouldn't a perfect being already have maximum glory, such that the creation of humans would do nothing to increase that glory?

"He wanted to be in a relationship with us."

If god wants to be in a relationship with us, then he is incompetent. He certainly has the power to show himself to us, but does not do so. So, either he doesn't actually desire it or he doesn't have the power.

"God is offended by sin, it is Him we sin against."

How do I sin against god if I do something immoral, like lie to a friend? How does this actually damage god? In criminal and civil cases, in order to gain judgement you have to show that some harm has been done. How is it possible for a finite being to harm god? Your "answer" to this question never actually addressed the question.

"It is wholly incorrect? I don't believe your example stands. It is determined by who it is done to in many cases, sexual assault to an adult as opposed to a child?"

OK, good point. OTOH, we have separate statutes for sexual assault against children or other adults. So, assaulting one child is the same as assaulting another child for the most part. And, of course we take into account the circumstances of the case. The main point stands, however. You don't think it is just to put people on death row more often for killing a white person than for killing a black person, do you?

"Again you are applying American civil law, as you know it, and holding God to this standard."

Actually, I'm using my own standards of justice and morality (taken from objective standards and societal standards) and using well known (objective) standards of reason and logic, and why shouldn't I? The American justice system is not perfect (as the example of white vs. black punishment attests) but by seeing where we are going wrong and by seeing that god is making the same mistake, I can draw parallels and point out this problem with god's morality/justice. IOW, if I know that X is wrong, why can't I say that god is wrong for doing X?

"I'm sure i've heard it before..."

Yet, I'm still waiting for a cogent defense of your position from anyone. If you'd like to take on the drowning example, please feel free.

Karla said...

"Every thread gets off topic. I let anyone bring up any topic on my thread and then decide to address that topic in my next blog entry.

Not everything stays on topic lol =... if it did, we would never get anywhere with new ideas."

Inovative, my reasoning is that if the foundation isn't agreed upon moving on to other topics isn't helpful. If you are talking to someone who doesn't believe God exist and that humans have intrinsic value from God then trying to have a discussion about abortion is putting the cart before the horse. I just don't want to get confusing in one thread on multiple topics that do not relate to first principals of thought.

Anonymous said...

Karla,
"If you are talking to someone who doesn't believe God exist and that humans have intrinsic value from God..."

I'm still waiting for an explanation of how humans gain intrinsic value from god.

Anonymous said...

innovative defense,
Your video made me laugh. If Karla has an abortion thread, perhaps we can discuss it then.

Innovative Defense said...

Non-believers that comment on here an argue have no intention of understanding, but pushing their own agenda. I have already dealt with many in my short time on here. One topic will never be completely "agreed" upon when you talk to a non-believer, unless they become a believer, which is far from the case with anonymous. No offense at all to anyone, but it is the truth, and I think sometimes we forget that when we have these discussions, we both have our presuppositions, which means we will both come to opposite conclusions.

Also, every post on here so far has not been "on topic" with what your original entry was, I was only asking a question that is of importance, and anonymous can message me on my page to further that conversation if he is willing.

Again, I am not trying to argue, I am just stating a point of interest. These blogs are for discussion, not conversion. Only God can put it on someone's heart to choose Him.

God Bless =)

Anonymous said...

innovative defense,
"Non-believers that comment on here an argue have no intention of understanding, but pushing their own agenda."

Let me ask you a question: do you think it is possible that god does not exist?

"No offense at all to anyone, but it is the truth, and I think sometimes we forget that when we have these discussions, we both have our presuppositions, which means we will both come to opposite conclusions."

What presuppositions do I have?

Innovative Defense said...

I am open towards the idea of God not existing. Do I believe that is the case, no. Why? Because I have seen both enough evidence for God: historically, archaeologically, and personally. Has anyone shown proof for the non-existence of the Christian God, no. They only disagree with what God did, and try to prove him wrong because they don't believe God is fair enough to their own standards.

Your presuppositions are: There is no God. Therefore you asking others to "prove" their is a God, you must become open minded to the evidence, which so far you have either disregarded or not seen. I am not sure on this point, but you may have the presupposition that Evolution is fact, completely and irrefutable. That also plays a large role in you understanding the Christian God.

Karla said...

Inovative, no problem. I appreciate your involvement in the discussion. I do, however, believe I too have an agenda I am pushing so I do not fault anonymous for pushing atheism. I am upfront that I believe in Christ and it is Him that I am sharing in all I do.

I do think that in every heart their is a need for knowing God and that even if someone's questions are not sincere that God can minister through the answers. My job is to answer every question I can as best I can, His job is to work in one's spirit by His Spirit.

Innovative Defense said...

That is very true Karla, and I am so glad God has also given you the patience to listen to other's point of view to expand their knowledge of who God really is. Same goes to Mike, God Bless him as well. I hope you two continue to stay in touch in all of each other's blogs!

Anonymous said...

innovative defense,
"I am open towards the idea of God not existing."

That's a rather stark admission that most Xians are not willing to make. Kudos to you.

"Do I believe that is the case, no."

Of course not. I'd be surprised if you were arguing for god and didn't believe god existed.

"Because I have seen both enough evidence for God: historically, archaeologically, and personally."

What evidence?

"Has anyone shown proof for the non-existence of the Christian God, no."

1) Why should one have to disprove the Xian god? It is up to the believer to prove that the Xian god exists, not for the non-believer to disprove the Xian god. If you believe otherwise, then I think you should believe in Allah until you can disprove his existence. Add to that list the FSM, Thor, Zeus, etc.

2) That said, certain attributes attributed to the Xian god are contradictory and prove that the Xian god, as conceptualized by most Xians, can not exist. I have presented some of these proofs here on this very blog. You can see many others in the book, "The Impossibility of god." Among those are the disproof of an absolutely just god due to the inherent unfairness afforded to people based on the lengths of our lives. Another is the inherent contradiction between omniscience and omnipotence. Another is the inherent contradiction between god being perfect and also creating a universe. Etc.

"They only disagree with what God did, and try to prove him wrong because they don't believe God is fair enough to their own standards."

I would say that god is not fair enough to any standards, and that is shown by some of my arguments above, like causing people to drown, free will vs. determinism, etc. And, many of the proofs I mention and have used do not depend on simply disagreeing with god's actions, but on the inherent contradictions of god's supposed attributes.

"Your presuppositions are: There is no God."

This is not a presupposition. You have asserted that there is a god, based on a presupposition of there being a god. I have disagreed with you due to the lack of evidence for your presupposition. You can not show to me that your presupposition is true, so I do not accept it. This does not mean that I have made a presupposition of my own. IOW, rejecting your presuppositions does not entail a presupposition of my own. If that were so, then you have the presuppositions that Allah does not exist, that Zeus does not exist, etc.

"Therefore you asking others to "prove" their is a God..."

And this is as it should be. You are making a positive claim, therefore the onus is on you to support that claim.

"...you must become open minded..."

I am very open minded. I'm open to evidence if you have any.

"...to the evidence, which so far you have either disregarded or not seen."

What evidence do you claim I am disregarding and how does it constitute evidence for your specific assertions?

"I am not sure on this point, but you may have the presupposition that Evolution is fact, completely and irrefutable."

You would be incorrect. Evolution is based on facts and I accept evolution as the best (and only) explanation for the diversity and development of life on this planet, but that is surely not a presupposition. It is a conclusion based on the mountains of evidence for evolution. This evidence is literally overwhelming with more evidence being published all the time.

"That also plays a large role in you understanding the Christian God."

What role would that be? Do you think that the evidence for evolution is wrong? Why would god create us in one way and then leave tons of evidence behind that would lead us away from the actual explanation? This does not sound like the actions of a rational, sane god that wants us to understand him, believe in him, etc.

Karla said...

Anonymous, pop atheist such as Dawkins have come up with the idea that if you posit the existence of something you have the entire burden of proof to prove it and the atheist positing nothing has nothing to defend. This is not true to that extent.

Atheist insist that the only thing that exist is the natural world, and that it got here through a random explosion of gases that formed planets and eventually life spawned from non-life and from the first cells grew plant and animal life which eventually evolved into complex human beings that have abandoned instinctual animalistic way of life for a civilized reasonable life. That we developed right and wrong for ourselves because we know right and wrong so we must be the author of that knowledge since there is no-one besides us and we then make ourselves as gods and the rulers of ourselves ascribing value to whom we will according to what is best for the survival of society. This is a whole lot that is "something" and not "nothing" that needs proving and has not been proven. It is a worldview that requires a great deal of faith and a great deal of accepting what is not known and a great deal of elevating humanity to the role of gods. That worldview most certainly needs an greater apologetic than does Christianity for it is not substantiated by logic or science.

I have been answering your questions. How about you defending your worldview and how you overcome the law of entropy to gain complex organisms such as the life on earth who have a moral understanding and a desire for justice?

Anonymous said...

Karla,
"Anonymous, pop atheist such as Dawkins have come up with the idea that if you posit the existence of something you have the entire burden of proof to prove it and the atheist positing nothing has nothing to defend."

If anyone ever accuses you of murder and claims that it is up to you to prove that you didn't do it, would you object?

"Atheist insist that the only thing that exist is the natural world, and that it got here through a random explosion of gases that formed planets and eventually life spawned from non-life and from the first cells grew plant and animal life which eventually evolved into complex human beings that have abandoned instinctual animalistic way of life for a civilized reasonable life."

Thanks for the straw man, but I'm quite capable of forming my own arguments. The atheist position is actually that there is no logical or rational reason to believe in a god that has not been proven and has no evidence in its favor.

"This is a whole lot that is "something" and not "nothing" that needs proving and has not been proven."

The best evidence we have comes from natural sources. We have no evidence at all of any supernatural sources or phenomena. I know that you claim to have such evidence, but it does not hold up under any scientific scrutiny. Still, the atheist position, regardless of anything else, simply says that the theist has assumed a burden of proof and has not fulfilled it, hence it is irrational to believe in the theist's position.

"It is a worldview that requires a great deal of faith and a great deal of accepting what is not known and a great deal of elevating humanity to the role of gods."

I'm sorry, but there is no faith required for my position - you are simply incorrect. What faith is required to simply say, "I don't believe in god because no gods have been shown to exist?" What faith is necessary to examine the evidence and accept that evolution is the best explanation we have, but leave it open for change as new evidence becomes available? This is not a faith position.

"That worldview most certainly needs an greater apologetic than does Christianity for it is not substantiated by logic or science."

This is simply a bizarre assertion on your part. The reason we accept things like evolution and cosmology is because they are based on logic and science. They are science. The reason that we reject the theistic position is because it is not based on logic or science. You are simply projecting here. Hence, I don't need any apologetic to defend my position, as my position is the only logical and rational one to take.

"I have been answering your questions."

No, you haven't. It is not an acceptable answer to say that god is good because god loves, because that is a non sequitor. Simply because god might love some or all of us doesn't logically necessitate that god is good, nor can you show that god does love us. In fact, the evidence shows that god does not love us, considering his willingness to put us in hell.

It's also not an answer to my questions to say that you know god exists simply because you know. Should I go on?

"How about you defending your worldview and how you overcome the law of entropy to gain complex organisms such as the life on earth who have a moral understanding and a desire for justice?"

Is this a serious question? Can we break it down to smaller questions please, because asking how the universe came to be as it is in such large chunks is pretty daunting. Let me start by addressing the "Law of entropy." By this, I assume you mean the second law of thermodynamics, correct?

The second law states that entropy in a closed system will inexoribly increase. The common creationist position is that this means that evolution must be wrong because it somehow violate this law. This is incorrect, however, because local decreases in entropy are possible, and the Earth is not a closed system. To show the first, imagine that you clean your house and throw the trash in the yard. If the system is the house, then in the house the entropy has decreased, at the expense of an increased entropy in the yard. To show the second, we only need look up. The sun supplies energy to this system, meaning that we do have an energy flow in and out, hence it is not a closed system.

If you have other questions, I will do my best to answer, but please make them manageable in size.

Innovative Defense said...

Very good wording, "evolution is based on facts." I would agree that the theory of evolution is based on facts, but it also involves a lot of "theoretical notions" such as macro evolution. Micro-evolution is observable, but on the other hand, macro-evolution is not. The fossils evolutionists "claim" show macro-evolution are very highly debatable, and no clear and perfect conclusion about these fossils can be claimed for either side.

While I have asked professors why we can not observe "macroevolution" their response is always, "It happens to slow, microevolution piles up to create macro-evolution essentially."

I have studied this idea, not completely in depth, but more of on the surface level and have found that the genetic code "limits" microevolution. This means that no features that aren't already present in a creatures DNA can ever be produced by natural selection.

While I was studying biogenesis and theory of how life began on earth, I found out it limits that "only life can create new life," I found that the theory of abiogenesis has erupted, which has also not been proven to be able to "fact." The Urey-Miller experiment has been proven to be inaccurate, as it tested an atmosphere that was not accurate to the atmosphere of the earth in that era. Also, the product of that experiment could only lead to one thing, "embalming fluid," which was all that was produced by that experiment, not life.

Evolution is not the only explanation for how the world became to be this diverse. God is also an alternative explanation. One thing I find very disturbing is that there is an evolution society going around to all public schools and universities making sure teachers do not allow for "God" to be an alternative to evolution. There are making us believe what they want us to believe, which seems to be "limiting" our free will to choose what to believe on our own. Before long, we will only believe what others tell us, and not what the facts actually are.

For evidence, check out my blog. I have links to many pages about questions to Christianity. They are all on the right side, along with that I have created a custom search engine with google to search for the Christian perspective on topics.

Grace,

Jeremy

Anonymous said...

innovative defense,
"I would agree that the theory of evolution is based on facts, but it also involves a lot of "theoretical notions" such as macro evolution. Micro-evolution is observable, but on the other hand, macro-evolution is not."

"Macro-evolution" is just the accumulation of micro-evolutionary changes. And, it is observable. We have seen bacteria gain the ability to eat nylon, for instance.

"The fossils evolutionists "claim" show macro-evolution are very highly debatable, and no clear and perfect conclusion about these fossils can be claimed for either side."

There's not much debate, except from creationists that deny evolution. Tiktallik is an excellent example. This was a great victory for science. Scientists using evolution were able to pinpoint the time and location of a fossil that should be there. They looked for it where they thought they would find it, and they found it. It's a fossil that clearly shows a link between sea and land creatures. This isn't the only example. Look at the complete lines we have for horses or whales. Look at the compelling evidence we've found in our own DNA that shows how a chromosomal fusion event lead from apes to us. There's tons of evidence for macro-evolution. You're just not accepting it.

"While I have asked professors why we can not observe "macroevolution" their response is always, "It happens to slow, microevolution piles up to create macro-evolution essentially." "

And, for the most part this is true. The events that have occurred, however, so leave behind traces, like the afore mentioned chromosomal fusion that lead to us splitting off from apes. This is incredibly compelling evidence.

"I have studied this idea, not completely in depth, but more of on the surface level and have found that the genetic code "limits" microevolution. This means that no features that aren't already present in a creatures DNA can ever be produced by natural selection."

That's not true at all. How did you come to that conclusion? In a population of thousands, where each code will experience up to hundreds of mutations per generation, the changes can and do add up to large scale changes. When you include sexual reproduction and the variations that it involves in taking DNA from both sets of parents, the amount of variation that can occur goes up.

"While I was studying biogenesis and theory of how life began on earth, I found out it limits that "only life can create new life," I found that the theory of abiogenesis has erupted, which has also not been proven to be able to "fact." The Urey-Miller experiment has been proven to be inaccurate, as it tested an atmosphere that was not accurate to the atmosphere of the earth in that era."

You do realize that the theories of (a)biogenesis and evolution are separate, correct? Even if god planted the first life forms, evolution explains what happened from there on out.

That said, you are misrepresenting the criticisms of the Miller-Urey experiment. Yes, the criticism is that the early atmosphere may very well have been different, but the fact remains that they did find life from from non-life, meaning your first sentence is completely wrong. Further, it's been suggested that the early atmosphere might have been more conducive than that used by Miller and Urey, meaning they were able to produce life in even harder environs. Finally, Miller went on to do many more experiments with different conditions, most of which produced life.

"Also, the product of that experiment could only lead to one thing, "embalming fluid," which was all that was produced by that experiment, not life."

No, it lead to the organic building blocks of life self-organizing into organic compounds, which is the very definition of life.

"Evolution is not the only explanation for how the world became to be this diverse."

Actually, it is. It is the only competing theory out there, because no other theory enjoys any sort of evidential support.

"God is also an alternative explanation."

Not really. "goddidit" is not at all descriptive, gives us no insight into how anything happened, is based on zero evidence, just moves the unknown to another level, and actually raises more questions. Plus, the reported way in which "goddidit" is actually in contradiction to the evidence we do have. Besides, if you are going to include "goddidit" then you should also include all other religiously inspired creation stories.

"One thing I find very disturbing is that there is an evolution society going around to all public schools and universities making sure teachers do not allow for "God" to be an alternative to evolution."

There's a lot of very compelling reasons for that. 1 - the Supreme Court has ruled that it is a violation of our first amendment rights to freedom of religion to foist certain religious thoughts on our students. 2 - it is not scientific, and has no place in science to say, "goddidit." 3 - If you include the Xian god as an alternative, then you would be forced to allow all gods as alternatives. I understand that you might want your children to be taught by the teacher that god created all life, but would you be similarly happy if they came home telling you that the teacher said that the great sun god created all life and that it was true because teacher said so?

"There are making us believe what they want us to believe, which seems to be "limiting" our free will to choose what to believe on our own."

Your problem seems to be that you don't accept reality; you'll have to take that up with the universe and nature. Remember that it does not bend to your will, however, no matter how much you want it to. I also don't have the power to change the physical evidence, physical evidence that you use BTW. Evolutionary theory has helped produce the medicines that you use when you are sick (or at least that others that you know/love/care about use).

"For evidence, check out my blog."

For evidence of what? Please don't send me on a blind link chase.

Karla said...

Two things anonymous. One, I was not attempting a strawman, that is my view of your view and it may be incorrect, that's why I need you or another atheist to paint a correct view of what the atheist position is. The same as I would expect for an atheist to want a Christian to paint a correct view of their worldview instead of having Dawkins posit one to attack that is decidedly not Christian. If I am making the same mistake, I do so from ignorance that I am trying to correct. If don't have a good handle on your worldview I can't address it adequately and I really do want to adequately know your worldview. When Ravi Zacharias wrote a book countering Buddhism, he went to India and had some bonafied Buddhist monks read it to make sure he was fair in his handling of their worldview before putting it to print. They tweaked it a little and he made the corrections and then it was published.

I think we can go much further in understanding each other (atheists and Christians in general) if we tried this.

Secondly, why is it that science is the measuring stick of all knowledge? If we can't know it scientifically then it doesn't exist sounds very limited. I agree that things should be soundly logical, but not that all things should be scientifically proven.

Anonymous said...

Karla,
"One, I was not attempting a strawman, that is my view of your view and it may be incorrect, that's why I need you or another atheist to paint a correct view of what the atheist position is."

Not to be rude or snide, but I didn't see any question marks. Thus, I assumed that you were making a statement about what I (dis)believe. I accept that that was not your intent. So, ask away. What would you like to know?

"The same as I would expect for an atheist to want a Christian to paint a correct view of their worldview instead of having Dawkins posit one to attack that is decidedly not Christian."

There are, of course, limits to that, however. You don't get to posit logically contradictory statements and have them free from criticism or question - just as my views should not be held as free from criticism or question.

"I think we can go much further in understanding each other (atheists and Christians in general) if we tried this."

Agreed. I do happen to have an advantage over you though in that I was raised as a Xian, so I do happen to know Xianity better than any other religion. You, however, were not raised as an atheist I assume.

"Secondly, why is it that science is the measuring stick of all knowledge?"

Because it works. We don't have any other method for reliably obtaining knowledge - not that I know of anyway. Please correct me if I am wrong.

"If we can't know it scientifically then it doesn't exist sounds very limited."

It is limited and no one is claiming that. What we are claiming though is that you can't simply make things up in the absence of evidence. If we can't determine something scientifically, it's much better to say, "I don't know," than to say, "goddidit."

"I agree that things should be soundly logical, but not that all things should be scientifically proven."

There may very well be things outside of the realm of science that we will never know about. But, how does one find out about them? That's the problem.

Karla said...

“Not to be rude or snide, but I didn't see any question marks. Thus, I assumed that you were making a statement about what I (dis)believe. I accept that that was not your intent. So, ask away. What would you like to know?”

No problem, I was just giving a quick run down of what I thought atheism maintained, I know it was by no means complete or detailed. I am trying to glean from atheist what they do in fact believe. That is why I have spent time in atheist discussion boards, and read atheist blog sites, etc.

I want to know the foundational atheist worldview. Why are we here? How did we get here? Why does good and evil exist? How do we know the difference between them? How do you know there is no God? Why do you think the world doesn’t need God? Why do we have needs that there is no fulfillment for? Where did the idea of religion come from? Do you have a blog site where you discuss these matters?

”There are, of course, limits to that, however. You don't get to posit logically contradictory statements and have them free from criticism or question - just as my views should not be held as free from criticism or question.”

Exactly. Here is what I am saying say person A believes XYZ and person B thinks person A believes ABC well when person A who believes DGF tries to explain DGF to B thinking B believes ABC he encounters great difficultly because he doesn’t understand B actually believes XYZ. Now that doesn’t mean that XYZ and DGF are free from inquiry, but how can you adequately inquire into something that you can’t define correctly? There is a limit to the questions I can ask a Buddhist if I don’t know what a Buddhist believes, for when he answers I hear them through what I think he believes instead of what he is actually saying. So until I get to know the Buddhist believes more intimately to an extent the Buddhist agrees that I understand his philosophy I can’t begin to critique it adequately. So I ask for atheist to get to know what Christians believe adequately and then critique it. Postmodernism says it cannot be defined. So anytime anyone says it is X and attempts to critique X the postmodern replies you can’t critique X because X isn’t what “pomo” is about. So the critic asks for a definition and the “pomo” person says there isn’t any it’s too fluid for definition, thus evading critique. I am allowing for Christianity to be properly understood and then critiqued and then I ask for atheist to posit their worldview and all it to be critiqued. From there we can look at two complete worldviews as best as possible from differing worldviews and see which really does match up with reality. Islam won’t stand for this critique. Postmodernism won’t stand for this critique. Christianity says go ahead and critique and examine and seek out if it is true.


”Agreed. I do happen to have an advantage over you though in that I was raised as a Xian, so I do happen to know Xianity better than any other religion. You, however, were not raised as an atheist I assume.”

I’ve met many a believer that has a relationship with God and could not give an unbeliever any solid answers about why they believe what they believe. Or even why you can’t say I believe something “because I was raised that way.” Or “it’s true because I believe it.” Or “I like to believe it.” All are inadequate and illogical pronouncements regarding the nature of truth. I see that you realize all those types of response are hogwash and you want real truth. You don’t want to be deceived. You don’t want a pat answer. You want it straight and you want it to make sense. I really admire that. I just hope we can get past your skepticism to the truth. I was raised in church, but there came a time where I exchanged believing because my mom taught me that way, to believing because I know it is true and I choose to serve Jesus whom I know lives in me since I was a small child and first invited Him in. I know that He is my strength. Since that time I have investigated the intellectual side of the truth in depth and continue to do so. The more I study the more I praise God as I see His truth.


”Because it (science) works. We don't have any other method for reliably obtaining knowledge - not that I know of anyway. Please correct me if I am wrong.”

How did people know anything before the scientific method was written? People had a lot of knowledge that science is now showing to be accurate before there were any test tubes or such things. How did they come about it? Could it have been revealed to them? Or were all pre-science people completely ignorant? This heavy reliance on science only came in the modernist era. It’s relatively new to the world. How’d man get along before that? Do you realize how many scientists of old were Christians or at least Deists? Even today many scientists are Christians? Francis Collins, the human genome project guy is a Christian.

”It is limited and no one is claiming that. What we are claiming though is that you can't simply make things up in the absence of evidence. If we can't determine something scientifically, it's much better to say, "I don't know," than to say, "goddidit."”

No you can’t make things up in the absence of evidence. However, scientific evidence is not all there is. Philosophy, logic, reason, and experience are evidences as well. BTW, how could we have made up the idea of God if He didn’t exist? How could all societies make up worship and spirituality if there wasn’t any? What purpose would that serve if there was no God? If we evolved that way, why would a need arise that had no fulfillment?


(I probably won't get another chance to respond until tomorrow-- but I don't get on the computer much on the weekend.)

Anonymous said...

Karla,
"I want to know the foundational atheist worldview. "

I'll do my best to answer.

"Why are we here?"

There is no cosmic purpose for our existence. The why that we have for our personal lives is the one that we create. We only have one life to live, so we should live it in such a way as to maximize happiness and not waste it pining away hoping for an afterlife that we have no evidence for.

"How did we get here?"

Through the self-organization of organic materials that eventually became all the life on this planet through the process of evolution.

"Why does good and evil exist?"

Good and evil are mental constructs of our human cultures. Is it evil for a predator to kill and eat its prey?

"How do we know the difference between them?"

Through our culture and cultural history as well as our evolutionary history. We've defined these terms to mean something specific and we can check to see if actions meet those definitions.

"How do you know there is no God?"

I don't know 100% that there is no god, but I do know that there's no evidence for god - nothing that stands up to scrutiny. I also know that all arguments for god necessarily rely on logical fallacy (begging the question, circular logic, non sequitors, etc.) I also know that some conceptions of god (like most Xian ones) are logically contradictory, making that god impossible.

"Why do you think the world doesn’t need God?"

Why do we need god? Throughout our history we have fought over god so many times that perhaps we would fight less if we all knew that this life is all we have and that working together can solve things much better than praying to different gods and then fighting over it.

"Why do we have needs that there is no fulfillment for?"

Because that's the nature of being alive. All animals experience this, and some die because of it, just like humans do. I would be more inclined to believe that an all-loving, perfect god exists if we didn't have unfulfilled needs.

"Where did the idea of religion come from?"

Fear of death. Fear of the unknown. The well known propensity to look for patterns and find them even when they aren't there. It may also have been a survival trait for early clans as it promoted clan unity.

"Do you have a blog site where you discuss these matters?"

Yes. I read daylight atheism a lot. Ebonmuse focuses a lot on positive atheism, which I think you would enjoy more than a site that simply debunks religion. Atheist revolution (a site hosted by vjack) is also a good site.

I'll have to tend to the rest of your post later.

Anonymous said...

Karla,
"Christianity says go ahead and critique and examine and seek out if it is true."

That's not my experience at all. What I've found is that this is merely lip service. Most Xians I encounter will get upset when their religion is questioned and offended. They will also get very defensive.

"I’ve met many a believer that has a relationship with God and could not give an unbeliever any solid answers about why they believe what they believe."

No offense Karla, but I would put you in that camp as well based on your inability to tell me how you know what you know.

"I just hope we can get past your skepticism to the truth."

Implicit in that statement is your admission that you somehow feel that you know the truth. This creates a situation whereby you hold some secret answer and puts my in a situation whereby I am wrong until I agree with you. Yet, the reality of it is that you may be wrong or maybe both of us are wrong (as well as the possibility that you are right).

"How did people know anything before the scientific method was written?"

By using the scientific method. Just because a procedure is not written down doesn't mean that one can't follow it. People have been following the scientific method and slight variations of it for as long as we know.

"People had a lot of knowledge that science is now showing to be accurate before there were any test tubes or such things."

Like what, and how did they "know" it? It's one thing to make a guess and happen to be right, it's another to actually know something.

"How did they come about it? Could it have been revealed to them?"

Perhaps, but how would you know? Is revelation reliable, verifiable, etc? Does revelation have a good track record of success? Actually, I can answer that last one, and the answer is, "No."

"Or were all pre-science people completely ignorant?"

Considering that science has been around for a long time, who are you talking about? In a sense, however, yes, people were ignorant to the things that are discovered after they've already died. Ignorance simply means that they didn't have the knowledge that we have. In terms of quantum mechanics and particle physics, people just 100 years ago or more certainly were ignorant to these things.

"This heavy reliance on science only came in the modernist era."

That's not true at all. Do you think that the ancient hunter-gatherers prayed to a god to show them which berries to eat, or how to build a spear?

"How’d man get along before that?"

By using scientific principles.

"Do you realize how many scientists of old were Christians or at least Deists? Even today many scientists are Christians? Francis Collins, the human genome project guy is a Christian."

Yes, I do realize, and nowhere did I say that science can only be done by atheists. Anyone can follow the process. But, I bet if you asked Collins how often he makes discoveries based on revelation vs. based on using scientific principles, he'd tell you that it's all based on scientific principles. That's the point. Anyone can do it, and what we find is that it works regardless of who is doing it because it does not rely on revelation. When Xian scientists tried to rely on revelation, we got "experiments" trying to prove how many angels could dance on the head of a pin.

"No you can’t make things up in the absence of evidence. However, scientific evidence is not all there is. Philosophy, logic, reason, and experience are evidences as well."

What else is there? Philosophy, logic, and reason are certainly not evidence. They can be used to formulate proofs (which are separate from evidence) but they are not evidence, per se. Experience is not really evidence either, except when one uses that experience as part of the larger scientific method.

"BTW, how could we have made up the idea of God if He didn’t exist?"

How did someone come up with the idea of the celestial teapot if it doesn't exist? I guess it must, right?

"How could all societies make up worship and spirituality if there wasn’t any? What purpose would that serve if there was no God?"

The easy answer is group cohesion.

"If we evolved that way, why would a need arise that had no fulfillment?"

I don't understand this question, please clarify.

Karla said...

I don't understand why it's so incredulous to claim to know something is true? Don't atheist claim that atheism is true and that they know it is?

Isn't it more logical to base truth on something outside our own knowing? That we know because God is and has revealed Himself versus we know because we have made our own mental capacity as absolute? This is why postmodernism is on the rise. Modernist put forth that the man is the measure of all things and found man not to be such a good measure. Postmoderns won't put such faith in man and say that there is no measure -- it's all good. I reject both ism's for knowledge can neither be based on the standard of man nor is there an ambiguous reality of "community truth."

However, if God is the absolute measure of all things we do not need to elevate the modern man as modernism did, nor devalue truth all together as postmodernism does. And we can know it, because He reveals it.

I only see the three options. God being the standard of truth. Man being the standard of truth. Or there is no truth.

Do you see another option?

Anonymous said...

Karla,
"I don't understand why it's so incredulous to claim to know something is true? Don't atheist claim that atheism is true and that they know it is?"

It's incredulous when you don't have evidence to back it up. And, no, I don't claim to know for sure that atheism is true. I claim that atheism is the rational position and the best inference from the evidence we have available.

"Isn't it more logical to base truth on something outside our own knowing?"

No. If that were the case, you could base it on any fanciful thing you could think of and say that it's somehow true. There would be (and is) no way of telling your truth from another truth.

"That we know because God is and has revealed Himself versus we know because we have made our own mental capacity as absolute?"

We don't know that god is or has revealed himself, and maybe that is due to our mental capacity, but so be it. How do we go beyond our mental capacity with any sort of accuracy?

"I reject both ism's for knowledge can neither be based on the standard of man nor is there an ambiguous reality of "community truth.""

I too reject those in that we can find objective truths based on the evidence and the reality of the universe, without appealing to externalities that we can't have any hope of understanding or knowing are real.

"However, if God is the absolute measure of all things we do not need to elevate the modern man as modernism did, nor devalue truth all together as postmodernism does. And we can know it, because He reveals it."

How can we ever know that what is "revealed" was really revealed or came from the god that you suppose it came from? There are many, many competing gods out there and all of their claims could be correct, or none could, or some combination of that. To arbitrarily pick one out of the group seems rather suspect.

"Do you see another option?"

Yes. Truth is the reality of the universe.

Karla said...

"Truth is the reality of the universe."

Please explain.

Anonymous said...

Karla,
I think this whole "standard of truth" stuff also needs explaining. I think we need to define our terms. What I'm speaking of is that whatever is, is. I think you would agree with that. Now, how we interpret what is, is another story, correct? It seems as though you see two ways to interpret, either god tells us what truth is, or we decide what truth is. My suggestion would be to look at the actual universe to decide what truth is. Of course, the difficulty in all of this is that it will always be filtered through us. All interpretations of facts, data, etc. are open to interpretation. That's why it is so important to make sure those facts and data are repeatable, verifiable, etc. This serves to remove biases that can be injected by humans and serves to help us sort out what really is true from what is not. The religious method does not do this, so even if truth did come from god, I don't know how you would ever know that is the case.

Karla said...

Truth is what is. I agree. It literally means "that which is." Can we know what is, or can we only know what we think is? Can what we think ever line up with what is? If we make our thinking the standard of how to judge what is then we make ourselves to be an autonomous authority of truth. We know ourselves that science can show us one thing and fifty years later show us we were wrong. Science did not then show us what is true, it only showed us what we could figure out ourselves and later we learned more and ruled out the first and we have no idea if even later we will rule out the second assertion and replace it with a third. So our knowledge is not infinite. It is not a good standard to use to know things. I would question science with greater skepticism than I would truth that comes directly from God. We know things referentially. We need a self-referential standard to know anything for certain. Ontology has to precede epistemology. We can't know something if there isn't a self-referential being who always is to build all knowing upon. Even if we deny that foundation we still have the ability to know and reason because He gave us that ability to think about our world. To ponder. To reason. To consider.

If He is and we are connected to Hi who is we can see things more clearly then if we live in opposition to that reality.

Anonymous said...

"Can we know what is, or can we only know what we think is?"

To some extent, I say we can only know what we think is. For all we know, we could be in the Matrix. We can't know anything to 100%. That said, it's reasonable to accept things to enough certainty to say that we "know" them, but that certainty must come from some evidential basis.

"Can what we think ever line up with what is?"

I don't see why not.

"If we make our thinking the standard of how to judge what is then we make ourselves to be an autonomous authority of truth."

Which is why we use verifiability and testability (i.e. science) as a provisional doorway to truth.

"We know ourselves that science can show us one thing and fifty years later show us we were wrong. Science did not then show us what is true, it only showed us what we could figure out ourselves and later we learned more and ruled out the first and we have no idea if even later we will rule out the second assertion and replace it with a third."

Science is not perfect and we are not always right the first time. How did we learn we were wrong, however, and make the corrections? In every case it was science that self-corrected, because the method works towards giving us a better understanding of the real world. This is actually one of the strengths of science, not a weakness!

What's the alternative? Revelation doesn't bring us closer to truth, it leads to schism in human groups with no real understanding of what is true and what isn't.

"So our knowledge is not infinite. It is not a good standard to use to know things."

This is a bit of a bait and switch you're doing here. Our knowledge isn't infinite, but that has nothing to do with science or its ability to discern truth.

"I would question science with greater skepticism than I would truth that comes directly from God."

So would I if I could somehow know that god exists, somehow know that god is honest in his revelation, somehow know that this revelation actually comes from god and is accurate, etc. How can you possibly know any of this, however? How do you discern between the claims made by one person who claims they've had a revelation and another?

"We can't know something if there isn't a self-referential being who always is to build all knowing upon."

This is a tenuous assertion that you can't possibly back up. If the universe has no god, are you really going to contend that we can't know anything about it? In fact, I can make the opposite argument quite easily. With a personal god, that performs miracles, we can't know anything about the universe, because what we think we know is always subject to provisional change based on the whims of this deity.

"Even if we deny that foundation we still have the ability to know and reason because He gave us that ability to think about our world."

And, this is completely unevidenced. Let's say that you found out tomorrow that god does not exist, and yet here we are. Would you all of a sudden decide that you had no morals, that you could not reason, etc? Your assertion is begging the question.

"If He is and we are connected to Hi who is we can see things more clearly then if we live in opposition to that reality."

Maybe. That assumes that god desires this, that he's honest, etc.

Karla said...

You seem to project our own failings onto God. Because we can be dishonest, selfish, unloving, etc. that God shouldn't be trusted either. I don't understand this way of thinking.

For me to think of what the world would be like if there was no God would be difficult because I don't think that there would be a world in the first place if it were not for Him. So I'm not sure I can posit all that much about what a world would look like without Him. However, if evolution were true and we follow that line of thinking we would be evolving from non-rational matter and thus would never gain rationality. Because it takes rationality to produce rationality. Reason comes from reason, not non-reason. Good comes from Good not from amoralness which would be the case if there was no God. Animals live in an amoral reality. They can kill and live for their own survival with no right and wrong and justice. If a cougar takes down an antelope for food the antelope family doesn't go seek retribution from the cougar.

Anonymous said...

Karla,
"You seem to project our own failings onto God. Because we can be dishonest, selfish, unloving, etc. that God shouldn't be trusted either. I don't understand this way of thinking."

Should I be offended? No, instead I'll simply ask you to back this up. Where have I done this?

"For me to think of what the world would be like if there was no God would be difficult because I don't think that there would be a world in the first place if it were not for Him. So I'm not sure I can posit all that much about what a world would look like without Him."

Well, if god does not exist, I'm sure it would look exactly like it does now. That's the point.

"However, if evolution were true and we follow that line of thinking we would be evolving from non-rational matter and thus would never gain rationality."

If evolution is true? Evolution is based on truths, facts, that we can be as sure of as anything else. There are still gaps in our knowledge and still unknowns to be ferreted out, but it's not a debate as to whether evolution happened or not. There is no viable alternative at the moment.

And, rationality is not a substance or an externality zaps into existence when given from on high. Your statement, therefore, is absurd. We evolved, and we evolved as rational beings, get over it.

"Reason comes from reason, not non-reason."

Then why is your god necessarily irrational?

"Good comes from Good not from amoralness which would be the case if there was no God."

Really? Good only comes from good? Then, you must think that it is good when people go to hell.

"They can kill and live for their own survival with no right and wrong and justice. If a cougar takes down an antelope for food the antelope family doesn't go seek retribution from the cougar."

And how is this helping your argument in the least?

Karla said...

"Well, if god does not exist, I'm sure it would look exactly like it does now. That's the point."

How can you be sure/certain of that?

Anonymous said...

Because it's my thought experiment.

If you woke up tomorrow and learned that god does not exist, would the world somehow become different? Of course not. Yet, we live in a world where it's quite possible that god does not exist (overwhelmingly probable really), so it's not inconceivable that this world is the way it is without god. In fact, it's quite conceivable.

Karla said...

"Because it's my thought experiment."

What?

"If you woke up tomorrow and learned that god does not exist, would the world somehow become different?"

That would be impossible to wake up and find He doesn't exist.


"Of course not. Yet, we live in a world where it's quite possible that god does not exist"

I don't live in this make believe world where God doesn't exist. I live in reality where He does exist.

"(overwhelmingly probable really), so it's not inconceivable that this world is the way it is without god. In fact, it's quite conceivable."

So since you think it is improbable for Him to exist then the way the world is the way it would be because it's inconceivable to you that He is behind it all?

So you automatically look for a naturalist answer and disregard any supernatural explanations and miracles. You believe there must be a natural answer even if it hasn't been discovered because to think it could be otherwise blows your worldview out of the water.

Whereas I believe there are things that happen that I see a natural reason like I took an aleve and my headache subsided and I can see miracles where I suddenly was instantly healed. I'm not so limited in thinking that it had to have natural explanation.

Anonymous said...

Karla,
"What?"

Nevermind.

"So since you think it is improbable for Him to exist then the way the world is the way it would be because it's inconceivable to you that He is behind it all?"

No, I'm saying that we live here, in this world, this reality. Whether god is here or not is not proven, so god may or may not exist. If we learned tomorrow that god does not exist, it would not mean the universe would blink out of existence.

"So you automatically look for a naturalist answer and disregard any supernatural explanations and miracles."

We have to look for natural answers because we have no way of looking for supernatural answers. Only if we exhaust every single possible natural answer can we begin to think of supernatural answers, since we can't give direct evidence for the supernatural.

"I'm not so limited in thinking that it had to have natural explanation."

It's a limit that we must have, else anything that we have difficulty explaining could be god...or Allah, or the FSM, or invisible, pink unicorns, or the celestial teapot, etc. We can't differentiate between these claims once we leave the realm of nature, hence all of them are just as rational if goddidit is rational.

"That would be impossible to wake up and find He doesn't exist.

...

I don't live in this make believe world where God doesn't exist. I live in reality where He does exist."

Now, you are claiming to be infallible. But, since you claim only one entity is infallible (god) in order to be consistent you are claiming that you are god. Nice work. By saying that you can not possibly be wrong, you are claiming that you have infallible knowledge of the type that only god can have according to you. So, you've just elevated yourself to the level of god with your own argument. Isn't that what theists criticize atheists for?

Another thing you've done here is shown me that you are not interested in an open discussion (once again) and that you are not rational. You're only interested in proselytizing. You've already decided what is true and that you can not be wrong about that, so you've blithely been throwing away all counter arguments as irrelevant or obviously wrong since they don't jive with what you already know infallibly. This is intellectually dishonest and shows that you have never taken a single word of mine seriously, even though you claim to have done so. It also means that even though I've pointed out numerous contradictions in your arguments, you will continue to make them and assert that they are not contradictory. This is in evidence in many threads where you have refused to answer direct yes/no questions and instead opted to try cheap rhetorical tactics. Simply put, you've shown yourself to be the opposite of how you presented yourself when I first arrived here. If you are offended by this, so be it, but I'm highly offended that you would disrespect another thinking person in the way that you have. It's shameful and inexcusable and almost as bad as what Mike has done if not as bad. Why do so many apologists have to resort to such tactics? I think you both have some soul-searching to do to clean up your acts.

Karla said...

To know a negative you have to know all things. You can't know there is no God because you can't know all things. To know a positive you only have to know that and not all things. So I don't claim omniscience.

As for my honesty. I have been upfront and honest with you from the start that I know that Jesus is the way and I am 100% confident of that based on much evidence and experience. I have this blogspot because 1) I want to help others come to know that truth 2) because I love to write and 3) because I want to dialog with people and learn about others worldviews not for my sake, but for theirs.

I am not shopping for a new belief system. Everything I say is from the Christian worldview. I think it to be the only one that is logical, reasonable, and true.

If you don't like that you don't have to continue conversing with me. I have told you you are more than welcome to ask critical questions and I will answer as best I know how respectfully, but you will not dislodge me from my devotion to God, nothing can. I am completely honest about that and have been so from the start.

Anonymous said...

"To know a positive you only have to know that and not all things. So I don't claim omniscience."

Except you are claiming to know it and be completely unable to be wrong or mistaken about it. Dress it up all you want, but you are claiming infallibility. I find this to be highly contradictory to your own stated beliefs.

"As for my honesty. I have been upfront and honest with you from the start that I know that Jesus is the way and I am 100% confident of that based on much evidence and experience."

You also said that you wanted to converse and debate and that you will willing to be intellectually honest. That's false. You don't want to converse, you want to proselytize and convert. You don't want to debate, you want uncritical acceptance of whatever you say. And, you aren't intellectually honest, because you don't actually consider my questions as worthy nor do you actually look at my arguments. All you do is dismiss them out of hand and wave them away, while feebly presenting contradictory stories and avoiding any real, tough questions that you obviously have no answer for. If your god exists, you do him a grave disservice.

"I think it to be the only one that is logical, reasonable, and true."

Of course you do, we don't hold beliefs that we think are false. But, you are not intellectually honest enough to actually examine your beliefs. You aren't intellectually honest enough to admit that you might not be correct in those beliefs. You're not intellectually honest enough to even consider the thoughts of anyone but yourself or any arguments that don't come from your self-centered, egotistical, specific interpretations of the Bible, which you can't defend.

Karla said...

It's amazing to me that to make a truth claim can be so offensive. I guess you expect everyone to be uncertain about everything all the time. Oops that would be certainty that we ought to be uncertain. Can't have that, so I guess we can be certain about somethings.

Really, why persist with me? If you are seeking real answers you've come to the right place, if you want to proselytize atheism to me, you've come to the wrong place. I welcome questions. I analyze what I believe within a certain foundation of which truth is based. You and I don't share that foundation which makes this conversation difficult.

If are aren't interested in what I offer please don't feel you have to keep up this conversation. You are welcome to leave and welcome to stay the choice is yours. Just know I am always going to be speaking from the Christian worldview for there is nothing else solid enough on which to base knowledge.

Anonymous said...

"It's amazing to me that to make a truth claim can be so offensive."

Once again you show your intellectual dishonesty and a lack of integrity. I've already repudiated this notion, but what does it matter, you're not listening to what I say anyway, even though you claim you are (which is lying BTW).

"I guess you expect everyone to be uncertain about everything all the time."

No, I expect people to conduct themselves like rational beings with intellectual honesty, two things that you've shown you can not do.

"Oops that would be certainty that we ought to be uncertain. Can't have that, so I guess we can be certain about somethings."

Yeah, that might have been a good argument in like 5th grade, but as an adult I would expect better.

"If you are seeking real answers you've come to the right place..."

There are no answers to anything here. How many questions have you dodged that I've repeatedly asked? I've lost count, but it's got to be over 20 by now. And, it's not like I've asked for detailed analyses most of the time. No, they've been simple yes/no questions that you've refused to answer. There are no answers here, only your opinions, which you claim are infallible.

"...if you want to proselytize atheism to me, you've come to the wrong place."

Nice bit of projection.

"I analyze what I believe within a certain foundation of which truth is based. You and I don't share that foundation which makes this conversation difficult."

You're right about this. I value honesty, evidence, facts, etc. You value words that make you feel good over substance.

"If are aren't interested in what I offer please don't feel you have to keep up this conversation."

I am most certainly no longer interested in the lies, obfuscations, projections, and self-centered, egotistical inanity that you offer. I was hoping to find an honest apologist, but like so many others you have nothing to offer except denial of reality, bad arguments, and a lack of an ability to think rationally or use logic, which results in you trying to coerce me into your beliefs by using cheap rhetorical tricks, telling me simply to believe you, and insisting on a one way conversation whereby I'm wrong about everything until I agree with you. Like I said, you should be embarrassed.

Karla said...

I'm sorry you see it that way. I have never been dishonest with you. I have shared the truth and given an apologetic for it. Our conversation has not been comprehensive of all truth, but we have talked about the existence of God and the nature of morality primarily. I don't believe myself to be infallible. I just believe God to be infallible and His Word to be infallible. I don't know all things and I don't know everythin that I do know perfectly. I am always growing towards truth and if I find myself to be going left or right of truth I correct my heading. I emphatically believe there is truth and non-truth and that we can know the difference.

Logic is logic no matter how simple or complex. My point was only that we can be certain about things and that's not intellectual dishonesty to be certain. Something happens when you know God that nothing can disuade you from for you know that you know.

I wish you the best in your search. And I am sorry I have not been able to help you. I really do appreciate your time in conversing with me and your passion to find answers. I just hope that when you find them you will latch on to the truth.