Friday, January 30, 2009

The Question of God's Conduct

I have heard the questions regarding God’s conduct depicted in the Old Testament. I have reviewed various answers people have given regarding this conduct. Some argue that it was required to wipe out a people because of the severity of the sin. Child sacrifice was amongst the injustices being done by these people creating a need for God to command their destruction. Still no matter the levels of injustices it would seem to our modern mind to be an immoral response of a good God. Certainly God could provide a better solution. Of course, maybe in these instances we theorize that He ought to have removed their free will and forced the end of these vile practices. However, these responses have not satisfied me as I am sure they don’t satisfy my atheist’s readers.


I’ve explained that the situation is different before Christ then after, but I haven’t had the words to really communicate this idea properly. I will attempt to do so here, however, bear in mind that this is my first attempt to articulate this at this length and I will not stop giving the subject my attention simply because I have made a post about it.


In the Old Testament, God did not dwell in man. He related to man externally from a place of holy separation for man was contaminated with sin and God being sinless and holy would not be able to have union with man until man was redeemed. The presence of God was actually harmful in a way to man if man is in direct tangible contact with His presence for man was not yet able to bear it. We were created to live lives in union with God, to know His love and truth internally; to share in His holiness. However, sin created a new paradigm where God related truth to man externally through the Law and the Prophets. He in His justice exacted the consequences of sin and rebellion through plagues, warfare, etc. These however, are simply earthly consequences designed to protect those who were in covenant with God for the good of the propitiation of the human race. Moreover, these ways of dealing with man were last resorts; God always gave warning and allowed time for repentance. Scripture doesn’t tell us what the eternal consequences were to these people. It doesn’t tell us that the children of these people are held accountable for their parent’s actions in eternity. I doubt that they would have been. The Bible tells us when Jonah was sent to warn Nineveh that destruction was coming if they did not repent and change their ways, Nineveh repented and God spared them.


When Jesus came a paradigm shift came that all of creation had been building toward. Now redemption is in place and because that changes the situation of man, God relates to man internally. He offers to dwell in us in a love relationship where the relationship is the key to all freedom and life. Obedience to external laws is no longer the key for we don’t need that kind of thing to live a victorious life. We don’t need fear of retribution. We can experience the direct life changing love of God. We can now dwell unabated in the living God and He can now dwell within us. A major shift occurred creating this new way of God relating to man because the condition of man changed. This is why Jesus articulated that greater than any obedience to a law was loving God and loving our neighbor for all the law is fulfilled when we learn to have relationship with God and one another. We don’t need a system of rules to live by, we just need relationship with God which fulfills all that the rules were never sufficient to fulfill.


We can argue that God could have brought this about faster from the beginning, but the story needed to play out as it did for it all to work as it does. God is still the same God, but the condition of humanity has been altered. We can still choose to disregard this grace and we can subject ourselves to external realities refusing the freedom and life in Christ. God will still pursue us with His love time and again giving us ample opportunities to see the gift He has extended to us.


Another paradigm shift is on the horizon when the Lord will return for all of those who dwell in Him to bring all that we wait for into fruition. There remains much to be actualized upon the earth before His return, but it is happening throughout the world more and more as time goes on.


One can argue that none of this is fair. But where do we get our standard of fairness? How do we gage what is fair? One can argue it isn’t just. But where does justice come from? One can argue a good God would never harm anyone for any reason whatsoever, but to what do we appeal as a standard of goodness?

49 comments:

Pastor Terry said...

Great blog! You tackled a difficult subject and brought clarity. I really enjoyed your post and it will help me to better articulate this issue.

God bless you
Terry Michaels, pastor
Calvary Chapel of the Springs
www.terrymichaels.org

Anonymous said...

I could rip your post a new, wide one, based on your arguments about warnings (flood victims were warned?), your inability to answer the pork question, your inability to answer the question about whether free will is good if it leads to hell, and your egregious use of begging the question in the last paragraph coupled with your inability to support any of that and the obvious self-defeating nature of your argument...

But, instead, I'll simply ask one question:

Is it better after the Jesus paradigm shift than it was before, and will it be better still after the next supposed paradigm shift? Please think hard before you answer that.

Karla said...

Is what better exactly? I started to answer, but I think I best clarify your question first.

Anonymous said...

Is humanity better off after Jesus or before Jesus? Will humanity be better off after the next paradigm shift or before? Do these things allow humans a better chance at communion with god or having a relationship with god than before their enactment?

Karla said...

I am going to respond to you because your being calm here, but I saw your responses in the other comments and I don't understand your need for angry and emotional responses.


Life in the "new covenant" with Jesus is better than the "old covenant" Jesus bridges the separation and clears away all the things that separate us so yes it is better for humanity that Jesus came then it was before He came. Yes His second coming will be even greater.

All that happened before Christ coming was necessary for the greater to emerge so we can't have one without the other. The new is possible because the old set the stage for it.

Anonymous said...

"I am going to respond to you because your being calm here, but I saw your responses in the other comments and I don't understand your need for angry and emotional responses."

It's not angry and emotional...it's plain fact. You've presented the cave paintings before and with little effort I pointed out that they are fake. You dropped it, then re-appeared a little while later touting the same false "evidence" that you tried to use before. This is highly dishonest. If that offends you, then you should look towards your own behavior and how you purport yourself.

"Life in the "new covenant" with Jesus is better than the "old covenant" Jesus bridges the separation and clears away all the things that separate us so yes it is better for humanity that Jesus came then it was before He came. Yes His second coming will be even greater."

So, did god not love the people before Jesus as much as he supposedly loves us? And, in turn are we not as loved as the people that will come after the next change? See how easy it is to shoot holes in your supposed theology?

"All that happened before Christ coming was necessary for the greater to emerge so we can't have one without the other. The new is possible because the old set the stage for it."

I always have to chuckle when I see you using the impotence of your god as a defense for how great your god is. The fact is that none of those HAD TO HAPPEN, not if god is omni-max. The only reason those things had to happen would be because god scripted them that way when he created a determined universe. IOW, he determined that X people would die in the flood. He determined that Y people would be wiped out in genocide that he himself ordered. And, no, he didn't have to set things up that way, or else he is not omnipotent.

Karla said...

Just because you claim something isn't real doesn't mean I ought to accept your claim and stop using that line of argument. Your proclamation of what I am not allowed to claim is growing and I have no reason to follow it. Nor does it have anything to do with honesty. There are many books out there about many things and people see facts differently that doesn't make anyone dishonest unless they are purposely lying or deceiving people.

God's love didn't change, we were changed because of His love. His love is just as great as it was before creation as it is now.

God does things in the way that is best for creation. He knows best, and I trust His wisdom.

No, He didn't have to. He could have made us robots, He could have chosen to never create us. But He sees the big picture and He knows what is the best way. Some by their freedom will refuse the best way and that's not good for them. You can continue to read things through your lens that God has it ought for His creation and only has ill will towards us or you can try and see the other side.

Anonymous said...

Hi Karla, sorry I haven't been around lately. I see I've missed alot, lol.

A few examples of warnings:

The victims of Noah's flood were warned -- they had an entire century, but they only laughed, scoffed, and ridiculed.

Canaan was given 400 years to repent from thier wickedness, God told Abraham his descendants would not inherit the land for 4 centuries becuase thier "corruption did not yet warrent thier destruction"

Pharoah was given tons of warnings, but refused everytime. Many of his own people left him in the end, happily going with the Israelites when they left Egypt.

Moses told the Israelites that they were not driving out the Canaanites (and all the other "ites" living there) based on thier own specialness or deserving of the land, adding, "Certainly not! for you are a rebellious people." They were just the tool God was using to judge them, now that thier corruption warrented thier judgement.

The Israelites themselves, when they set up idols and sacrficed thier children, were warned again and again by prophets -- whom were beaten and killed for thier trouble. Only after decades of this, did God finally send his judgement.

I could give more examples, but this post is getting rather long.

Karla said...

Hi Anonymous 2, welcome back. Yes God did give ample warning before any destruction. He always leans toward life, restoration, grace, and mercy even before Christ work on the cross.

Anonymous said...

Karla,
"Just because you claim something isn't real doesn't mean I ought to accept your claim and stop using that line of argument."

I presented evidence in my favor. But, hey, it's YOUR conscience, and if you want to trot out known creationist lies, just be prepared to be called on it.

"Your proclamation of what I am not allowed to claim is growing and I have no reason to follow it."

You can claim whatever you want, but you can't do so and be honest. That's not my rule, that's simply the rule of what the words mean.

"Nor does it have anything to do with honesty."

It has everything to do with honesty. If I present an argument and you give a sound rebuttal, until and unless I can deal with that rebuttal I should refrain from putting out my argument. That's how intellectual honesty and integrity work. I should not disregard your rebuttal and continue to simply say the same disputed arguments over and over. You, apparently, think it is OK to do that.

"There are many books out there about many things and people see facts differently that doesn't make anyone dishonest unless they are purposely lying or deceiving people."

We aren't talking about those books, we are talking about you and your use of false information - information that has been shown to you as being false.

"God's love didn't change, we were changed because of His love. His love is just as great as it was before creation as it is now."

You might want to examine that thought a little bit. god provided a way to be reconciled at time t = X. At any time X-Y, we (humans) did not have that ability. god changed the way that he deals with humans and humanity. Not only does this show that god is not immutable (which is a Xian tenet due to perfect beings needing to remain perfect) but it shows that god has dealt with pre-Jesus people in a way that is clearly different from post-Jesus people.

"God does things in the way that is best for creation. He knows best, and I trust His wisdom."

How can you possibly know that? What is best for creation? How is killing untold numbers of people in the flood best for creation? How is sending tsunamis to wipe out millions of people in this day and age best for creation? How is creating a universe that is vastly unable to support life best for creation? How a million things. This is nothing more than grasping at straws.

"No, He didn't have to."

Then why do you claim that event X had to happen?

"He could have made us robots, He could have chosen to never create us."

Again, I ask you (and you will not answer) - isn't it better to have been created as robots or not at all than to end up spending eternity in torment? Would you let a child (one that you love or don't even know for that matter) go swimming if you had foreknowledge that the child would drown and it was in your capacity to stop it? Or, would you claim that the child had it coming since that child exercised her free will to go swimming?

"But He sees the big picture and He knows what is the best way."

The best way for whom or what? You've just said that he does what is best for creation, not what is best for humanity. Those two things are NOT necessarily the same.

"Some by their freedom will refuse the best way and that's not good for them."

If what is best for creation is not what is good for me, then we come to a situation where refusing IS what is best for me.

"You can continue to read things through your lens that God has it ought for His creation and only has ill will towards us or you can try and see the other side."

Au contraire, it is you that is arguing by preconception. I don't assume that god has it out for us, I simply read the documents and show you the contradictions in your logic. You are the one that is arguing that things must be a certain way simply because you assume that they are. That's why I continually ask you how you know this or that, because you can't answer those questions. It makes it plainly obvious that you are basing all of this not on evidence, but on assumption, and unsupported assumption at that. You have no way of proving that god has YOUR best interests at heart. You have no way of proving that god is doing what is best for humanity or for creation. These are things that you have simply made up with no support. I don't have to assume the opposite to point out that you have done so. Our positions are NOT equal here.

Anonymous said...

"The victims of Noah's flood were warned -- they had an entire century, but they only laughed, scoffed, and ridiculed."

Chapter and verse please where god went to all the inhabitants of the Earth and warned them that he was going to kill them in a flood.

"Canaan was given 400 years to repent from thier wickedness..."

IOW, god sat and stewed for 400 years before deciding to attack. This is just like the Amalekites who were punished for the actions of Amalek, who was long dead by the time god decided to eradicate them. But, regardless, chapter and verse please.

"Pharoah was given tons of warnings, but refused everytime."

The Bible specifically says that god hardened pharaoh's heart, thus NOT ALLOWING HIM TO HEED THE WARNINGS...so much for that not violating free will thing.

"Many of his own people left him in the end, happily going with the Israelites when they left Egypt."

Are you referring to the "rabble" or "mixed multitude"? Considering that we know this didn't actually happen, as there is no evidence of the Exodus what-so-ever where there should be, I don't see how you can claim that they were pharaoh's people or that they were happy to leave.

"Moses told the Israelites that they were not driving out the Canaanites (and all the other "ites" living there) based on thier own specialness or deserving of the land, adding, "Certainly not! for you are a rebellious people." They were just the tool God was using to judge them, now that thier corruption warrented thier judgement."

So, god employs hitmen.

"The Israelites themselves, when they set up idols and sacrficed thier children, were warned again and again by prophets -- whom were beaten and killed for thier trouble. Only after decades of this, did God finally send his judgement."

I never understood this. god has come to them and shown his presence, yet they don't believe? If there's anything about humans, it's that most of us find reasons to believe, against all evidence. Look at the cargo cults or Elvis cults and you'll see this phenomena quite clearly. This seems more like people trying to explain away why it was that there god wasn't supporting them as he was supposed to when bad things happened. They looked back and said, "Oh, it was because of X, obviously." It's like rain dances or pigeons doing dances to gain food from handlers.

Karla said...

http://www.icr.org/research/index/researchp_as_platetectonicsl/

Above is a link to an interesting article I came across on the Flood. It's not an active link but you can copy and paste it.

Anonymous said...

You do realize that ICR comes out and admits that they try to warp science to fit the Bible, right?

Karla said...

I never heard that. Their research appears scholarly.

Anonymous said...

Lots of things "appear" scholarly. AIG also appears scholarly, but they most certainly are not. When you start with your conclusions, you are not doing science, and it leads to such arguments as those for the global flood, which suffers from so many issues that it's laughable that anyone believes it - anyone who actually knows anything about science at least.

Let's take one example: where did the water come from? The only answer is that there was a flood canopy, i.e. that the water was in the atmosphere. This doesn't explain what happened to all the water *after* the flood, but let's just focus on the canopy idea. In order to keep all the water from condensing into rain, the pressure of the atmosphere and the temperature would have to be at such a high degree that human life would not be able to exist (or probably any other life on the planet). We would literally be crushed and boiled.

Anonymous said...

Here are the tenets of the ICR:

http://www.icr.org/tenets/

Does that sound scientific to you? They explicitly state their conclusions and then go looking for ways to make the facts fit those preconceived conclusions. This is NOT how science works. It's an extreme exercise in begging the question. Thinking like this leads to dubious assertions, i.e. the supposed links between Saddam Hussein and Al Qaeda or yellowcake uranium, etc.

Anonymous said...

"The victims of Noah's flood were warned -- they had an entire century, but they only laughed, scoffed, and ridiculed."

I was thinking about this some more, and I came to the conclusion that even if god did warn people...so what? What does it say about a god that tells people that he will physically kill them unless they perform his bidding? There's another word for that, and it's called "threatening." It's also called bullying, coercing, and a couple other choice words. What right does god have to take our lives from us? You might argue that he gave us our lives, so he can take it away, but that's not morally true, is it? Do we grant the same "right" to parents, to simply take the lives of their sentient, human offspring? Of course not. In fact, we find that parents bear a moral responsibility to their children, not that their children are property to be done with as they please. But, for some reason, apologists take the exact opposite track when it comes to god. Instead of maintaining that god holds a moral responsibility to us for creating us as feeling, thinking entities, apologists argue that that makes us nothing more than god's property. This is inconsistent and does not make sense from a moral standpoint.

Anonymous said...

“Chapter and verse please where god went to all the inhabitants of the Earth and warned them that he was going to kill them in a flood.”

God didn’t need to go to all the inhabitants of the Earth – people were not all over the Earth yet. Cain didn’t move that far away. So word of the crazy all man building an enormous ship in the middle of a field would certainly have spread over the course of a century.

“IOW, god sat and stewed for 400 years before deciding to attack.”

He wasn’t stewing; he was giving them time to repent:

“Do you think that I like to see wicked people die? Says the Sovereign LORD. Of course not! I want them to turn from their wicked ways and live.” – Ezekiel 18:23

“Regardless…Chapter and verse please.”

Gen 15:16 and BTW – what does IOW stand for?

“The Bible specifically says that god hardened pharaoh's heart, thus NOT ALLOWING HIM TO HEED THE WARNINGS...so much for that not violating free will thing.”

God only hardened Pharaoh’s heart after the 6th, 8th, and 9th plague.

Only after Pharaoh has seen God's miracles six times and hardened his heart six times did God harden Pharaoh's heart.

Before that, even his own magicians recognized the finger of God, but Pharaoh would not listen.

At the 7th, when warned about the hail, his own officials brought their servants and livestock in from the fields. But those who paid no attention to the word of the LORD left theirs out in the open.

Each time, Pharaoh was warned of exactly what was going to happen, before it happened, but still refused.

“They knew God, but wouldn’t worship him as God or even give him thanks. As a result their thinking became futile and their foolish hears were darkened. Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools… Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts.” Romans 1:21-24

So if one refuses to believe long enough, God will NOT override their free-will and force them to repent or believe in Him.

“Are you referring to the "rabble" or "mixed multitude"? Considering that we know this didn't actually happen, as there is no evidence of the Exodus what-so-ever where there should be, I don't see how you can claim that they were pharaoh's people or that they were happy to leave.”

I will first address the “no evidence” comment.

The creation of a reliable Chronology of Ancient Egypt is a task fraught with problems. While the overwhelming majority of Egyptologists agree on the outline and many of the details of a common chronology, disagreements either individually or in groups have resulted in a variety of dates offered for rulers and events.

This variation begins with only a few years in the Late Period, gradually growing to a decade at the beginning of the New Kingdom, and eventually to as much as a century by the start of the Old Kingdom. The reader is advised to include this factor of uncertainty with any date offered either in Wikipedia or any history of Ancient Egypt.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Egyptian_chronology

Since dates cannot be relied on, they can’t be used to disprove the following evidence that has been found.

Ipuwer’s Papyrus:

The Ipuwer Papyrus is a single surviving papyrus holding an ancient Egyptian poem, called The Admonitions of Ipuwer

Ipuwer describes Egypt as afflicted by natural disasters and in a state of chaos, a topsy-turvy world where the poor have become rich, and the rich poor, and warfare, famine and death are everywhere. One symptom of this collapse of order is the lament that servants are leaving their servitude and acting rebelliously. Because of this, and such statements as "the River is blood", some have interpreted the document as an Egyptian account of the Plagues of Egypt and the Exodus in the Old Testament of the Bible.

The dating of the original composition of the poem is disputed. The association of Ipuwer with the Exodus is generally rejected by Egyptologists… who place it later, in the reign of Ramesses II -- in spite of the fact that there is absolutely no evidence from archaeology or from any documents that Ramses II had to deal with the Ten Plagues or anything like them, or that he chased after runaway slaves.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ipuwer_Papyrus

Pottery:

From 1972-1982 the Ben-Gurion University (in Israel) conducted an extensive archaeological survey of the northern Sinai area. They documented 284 sites in northern Sinai where pottery shards and other remains of ancient occupation were found….They found that the people who lived at these sites were nomadic, wandering from place to place. They said "In most of the sites there is no evidence of solid building, and it looks as if the inhabitants lived in booths, tents, or lean-tos."

Habiru:

Ancient Near Eastern documents from the 2nd millennium contain over 250 reference to the Habiru. Since the late 19 century where the term was first noticed in Egyptian text called the “Tell el-Armarna Letters”.

The name Habiru designated a social status, not an ethnic identity. Habiru were people, who for whatever reason (famine?), had left their homeland (Canaan?) to make their way as foreigners in another land (obviously Egypt – Egyptian text).

The term designated groups who led little social prestige because of their refugee status. Habiru lived by whatever means available to them given their “outcast” status.

When the Tell el-Amarna archives were translated, some scholars eagerly equated these Apiru with the Biblical Hebrews (`BRY in the consonant-only Hebrew script). Besides the similarity of their spellings, the description of the Apiru attacking cities in Canaan seemed to fit, loosely, the Biblical account of the conquest of that land by Hebrews under Joshua or even by names with David's Hebrew rally against Saul.

Scholars pointed out similarities to Biblical accounts of "Hebrews" (i.e. `BRY (adj. form of the Hebrew word Eber) putting people under the ban as they moved along the route of the kings highway through Edom and Moab into the territory of Ammon, Aram and the Amurru and realized that those records seemed to provide independent confirmation of the invasion of Canaan by "Habiru" fighting under Joshua, Saul, and David.

Scholarly opinion remains divided on this issue, such as Carol Redmount who wrote 'Bitter Lives: Israel in and out of Egypt' in The Oxford History of the Biblical World concluded that the term "Habiru" had no common ethnic affiliations, that they spoke no common language, and that they normally led a marginal and sometimes lawless existence on the fringes of settled society.[4] She defines the various Apiru/Habiru as "a loosely defined, inferior social class composed of shifting and shifty population elements without secure ties to settled communities" who are referred to "as outlaws, mercenaries, and slaves" in ancient texts.[5]

In that vein, some modern scholars consider the Habiru to be more of a social designation than an ethnic or a tribal one. That does not, however, exclude the possibility that the Biblical Hebrews were descended from one specific group of Habiru and that with them it eventually became an ethnic name; such shifts in the meaning of names and designations are well-known elsewhere.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Habiru

So perhaps you’re right, perhaps it wasn’t actual Egyptians amongst the “rabble” but the others classified as Habiru.

“So, god employs hitmen.”

God chooses a variety of ways to employ his judgment – a flood, fiery hail (Sodom and Gomorrah) and yes, sometimes people. In Judges, he states his reason for using the Israelites so that he could teach them warfare skills (they were the children of slaves whose parents died in the wilderness) so that they could defend themselves against attacking nations.

Anonymous said...

“I never understood this. god has come to them and shown his presence, yet they don't believe? If there's anything about humans, it's that most of us find reasons to believe, against all evidence. Look at the cargo cults or Elvis cults and you'll see this phenomena quite clearly. This seems more like people trying to explain away why it was that there god wasn't supporting them as he was supposed to when bad things happened. They looked back and said, "Oh, it was because of X, obviously." It's like rain dances or pigeons doing dances to gain food from handlers.”

That’s funny that you say that, when agnostic astronomer Dr. Robert Jastrow says: It turns out that the scientist behaves the way the rest of us do when our beliefs are in conflict with the evidence. We become irritated, we pretend the conflict does not exist.”

People don’t want to believe. You don’t want to believe. You will tear up everything I’ve written here, you will pick holes in it, and give a “rational” answer as to why it is all speculation, downright absurd, etc.

Even scientists (agnostic and atheist) refuse to believe even when the evidence is overwhelming.

Dr. Robert Jastrow also stated: “Now we see how the astronomical evidence leads to a biblical view of the origin of the world. The details differ, but the essential elements in the astronomical and biblical accounts of Genesis are the same: the chain of events leading to man commenced suddenly and sharply at a definite moment in time, in a flash of light and energy.

“Astronomers now find they have painted themselves into a corner because they have proven, by their own methods, that the world began abruptly in an act of creation to which you can trace the seeds of every star, every planet, every living thing in this cosmos and on the earth. And they have found that all this happened as a product of forces they cannot hope to discover. That there are what I or anyone would call supernatural forces at work is now, I think, a scientifically proven fact.”

Arthur Eddington, General Relativity expert who finds it personally “repugnant” to need the supernatural to explain the beginning, admitted, “The beginning seems to present insuperable difficulties unless we agree to look on it as frankly supernatural.”

Robert Wilson—co-discoverer of the Radiation Afterglow, which won him a Noble Prize in Physics— observed, “Certainly there was something that set it off. Certainly, if you’re religious, I can’t think of a better theory of the origin of the universe to match with Genesis.”

George Smoot—co-discoverer of the Great Galaxy Seeds which won him a Nobel Prize as well—echoed Wilson’s assessment by saying, “There is no doubt that a parallel exists between the Big Bang as an event and the Christian notion of creation from nothing.”

Jastrow wrote, “There is a kind of religion in science . . . every effect must have its cause; there is no First Cause. . . . This religious faith of the scientist is violated by the discovery that the world had a beginning under conditions in which the known laws of physics are not valid, and as a product of forces or circumstances we cannot discover. When that happens, the scientist has lost control. If the scientist really examined the implications, he would be traumatized. As usual when faced with trauma, the mind reacts by ignoring the implications—in science this is known as “refusing to speculate.”It turns out that the scientist behaves the way the rest of us do when our beliefs are in conflict with the evidence. We become irritated, we pretend the conflict does not exist, or we paper it over with meaningless phrases.” (such as Earth came about by aliens who planted a life seed).

So why do agnostics and atheists find scientific evidence of the supernatural traumatizing?

Because to follow the evidence where it leads is to admit that since all space, time, and matter were created, the cause must be spaceless, timeless and immaterial -- God.

Dr. Jastrow admits, “For the scientist who has lived by his faith in the power of reason, the story ends like a bad dream. He has scaled the mountains of ignorance; he is about to conquer the highest peak; as he pulls himself over the final rock, he is greeted by a band of theologians who have been sitting there for centuries.”

To that end, all I can add is a quote from Nancy Gibbs: "For the truly faithful, no miracle is necessary. For those who doubt, no miracle is sufficient."

Karla said...

"I was thinking about this some more, and I came to the conclusion that even if god did warn people...so what?"

It shows he is not quick to exercise judgment. It shows his mercy, it shows his patience. It shows he isn't out to harm people, he wants to give them ample time to straighten out their ways.

"What does it say about a god that tells people that he will physically kill them unless they perform his bidding?"

These were serious issues of morality and harm to others that were being dealt with including the sacrificing of children to idols. This was not some whimsical rules of a dictator God. This was serious problems going on. Do you expect no consequence for immorality? Do you expect it to mean nothing if we go about doing things that are harmful to ourselves and others?


"There's another word for that, and it's called "threatening." It's also called bullying, coercing, and a couple other choice words. What right does god have to take our lives from us?"

He's the holy, perfect, good Judge and He's also the perfect redeemer. Righteousness is found in Him, but if rejected and we choose to live outside of that righteousness there are consequences. I don't see how this is such a hard concept for you.


"You might argue that he gave us our lives, so he can take it away, but that's not morally true, is it? Do we grant the same "right" to parents, to simply take the lives of their sentient, human offspring? Of course not. In fact, we find that parents bear a moral responsibility to their children, not that their children are property to be done with as they please."

Exactly but in these cultures that were killed off they were killing their children! Even you here say this is wrong. So was God to do nothing? Is a good God to look at unrighteous deeds and say "oh well?" Does a good parent watch as a child hits the other and not impose any consequences? The Old Testament shows us how much sin costs us and the New Testament shows that God will substitute Himself for our consequences. He was setting it all up all along. Many saw this and believed in the promise of what was coming and it was accredited to them as righteousness (see Hebrews 11). Those who lived believing the promise received the gift of righteousness just as those today who believe in Jesus who is the fulfillment of the promise.

"But, for some reason, apologists take the exact opposite track when it comes to god. Instead of maintaining that god holds a moral responsibility to us for creating us as feeling, thinking entities, apologists argue that that makes us nothing more than god's property. This is inconsistent and does not make sense from a moral standpoint."

What apologist argues that we are God's property? I've never heard this argument and I have read about every apologist out there. Why would God be held accountable by His creation? Why does this make sense? For the sake of argument, would you be opposed to being accountable to a good loving perfect holy God if such a one existed? (I know you don't accept that God is thus, but for the sake of argument would you trust a perfectly good God?)

Karla said...

Anonymous 2, good work. I would add that the area where Moses led the Hebrews is in territory where no one is allowed to explore due to current hostilities.

I have recently seen a DVD by Robert Cornuke of evidence compiled by him and others that support the Israelites having been at Mount Sinai, not the place the tourist see but the actually Mt. Sinai. There are carvings of the golden calf on the side of a stone alter. There are twelve stones circling the mountain. There is a place where a large rock is split in two with obvious water erosion. The mountain is called Mount Moses or Mount Musa by the locals. It has a fence around it and is protected by guards. Check out www.baseinstitute.com.

Anonymous said...

"God didn’t need to go to all the inhabitants of the Earth – people were not all over the Earth yet. Cain didn’t move that far away. So word of the crazy all man building an enormous ship in the middle of a field would certainly have spread over the course of a century."

In other words, you're making up stuff in order to apologize for god's actions. We know that people existed all over the world at that junction in time, so your first assertion is false to begin with.

"He wasn’t stewing; he was giving them time to repent:"

Um, doesn't god know whether one will repent or not given time? But, by waiting that long, he simply ended up visiting his wrath upon the children of the people he was initially angry at. That's morally reprehensible.

"Gen 15:16 and BTW – what does IOW stand for?"

IOW = In Other Words

I'm not seeing the significance of Gen 15:16, except that god is telling people that he's going to smite people that haven't yet been born.

"God only hardened Pharaoh’s heart after the 6th, 8th, and 9th plague.
...
Each time, Pharaoh was warned of exactly what was going to happen, before it happened, but still refused."

You don't see the problem here?!?!?

First off, you're admitting that god does interfere with the supposed free will that he supposedly hold sacrosanct. Second, you've also negated your argument that it was all Pharaoh's doing by admitting that he did try to relent and that god stopped him from doing so! If Pharaoh had relented (and if god had allowed it) would the Egyptian people have suffered as much as they did? (Incidentally, why did the Egyptian people have to suffer for Pharaoh's actions?) So, god forced Pharaoh not to relent so that he could visit more suffering and horror on the Egyptian people! Are you OK with that?

"So if one refuses to believe long enough, God will NOT override their free-will and force them to repent or believe in Him."

But, you've just admitted that god DID over-ride Pharaoh's free will.

"The dating of the original composition of the poem is disputed. The association of Ipuwer with the Exodus is generally rejected by Egyptologists… who place it later, in the reign of Ramesses II..."

And, did you actually look up the reason they do this?

I don't see what this supposed evidence is anyway. You're looking at some poem which may or may not talk about actual events and may or may not be about the events in question and deciding that they must be because you've arbitrarily decided that the Bible must be reliable. Funny thing is that there is no archaeological evidence of a mass Exodus out of Egypt at any time.

"They documented 284 sites in northern Sinai where pottery shards and other remains of ancient occupation were found….They found that the people who lived at these sites were nomadic, wandering from place to place."

And, they are remnants of small, nomadic groups, not large groups as are described in the Bible.

"God chooses a variety of ways to employ his judgment – a flood, fiery hail (Sodom and Gomorrah) and yes, sometimes people."

And, you are OK with this? Seriously? god sends out roving bands of murderers to kill people for him and that's OK with you? How is that different from a crime lord that hires someone to kill a rival?

Anonymous said...

"People don’t want to believe. You don’t want to believe. You will tear up everything I’ve written here, you will pick holes in it, and give a “rational” answer as to why it is all speculation, downright absurd, etc."

Then explain cargo cults. Explain people who think Elvis is still alive and hold him as divine. We, as humans, look for patterns in nature and tend to input them where none exist. That was the reference I made to pigeons dancing for food. We know that other animals do the same things. In experiments with pigeons, when they were given food at random times, they started to do very intricate dances in order to produce the food. They were looking for a pattern that didn't exist.

And, I rebut your arguments because they are weak and based on your preconceptions. You are engaging in a big exercise in begging the question. You can chalk it up to me simply not wanting to believe if you want, but you can't make that charge stick because you have no idea what I want or don't want in my own mind. But, let me ask you this, as someone who was raised as a Xian, do you think that I wanted to disbelieve in god the whole time until I could finally become an atheist?

"Even scientists (agnostic and atheist) refuse to believe even when the evidence is overwhelming."

What evidence is that? I'm constantly told that there is tons of evidence for god, but when I ask what it is, all I get is either crickets chirping or some horrible arguments that are rife with logical fallacy.

"Dr. Robert Jastrow also stated: “Now we see how the astronomical evidence leads to a biblical view of the origin of the world. The details differ, but the essential elements in the astronomical and biblical accounts of Genesis are the same: the chain of events leading to man commenced suddenly and sharply at a definite moment in time, in a flash of light and energy."

No it does not lead to a Biblical view of the world! Only a hatchet job on the Bible and science can produce that sort of result. It did not happen in 6 days. The evolution of man was not sudden or at a definite moment with a flash of light and energy. If these quotes are true, this person has no idea what he is talking about.

"“Astronomers now find they have painted themselves into a corner because they have proven, by their own methods, that the world began abruptly in an act of creation to which you can trace the seeds of every star, every planet, every living thing in this cosmos and on the earth. And they have found that all this happened as a product of forces they cannot hope to discover. That there are what I or anyone would call supernatural forces at work is now, I think, a scientifically proven fact.”"

And, this is more rubbish. Science has not shown that things were created instantly, quite the opposite in fact. We know that stars took billions of years to form, and that the Earth took billions of years to form from the scattered dust and debris that was swirling around the sun, caught in the gravity well that became our orbit.

"Arthur Eddington, General Relativity expert who finds it personally “repugnant” to need the supernatural to explain the beginning, admitted, “The beginning seems to present insuperable difficulties unless we agree to look on it as frankly supernatural.”"

There's no need to invoke the supernatural, especially because it doesn't actually solve anything. We don't know what happened before the big bang. We know that something was there and that it erupted in a spasm of energy that converted to matter, etc. Before that, we don't know. Saying, "goddidit" doesn't get us any closer to an answer and only opens up more questions. It also violated Occam's Razor in that you are adding a layer on that does nothing to help you explain anything, and further there's no evidence with which to add this god layer. You may as well claim Leprechauns did it or invisible, pink unicorns.

"Jastrow wrote, “There is a kind of religion in science . . . every effect must have its cause; there is no First Cause. . . . This religious faith of the scientist is violated by the discovery that the world had a beginning under conditions in which the known laws of physics are not valid, and as a product of forces or circumstances we cannot discover. When that happens, the scientist has lost control. If the scientist really examined the implications, he would be traumatized. As usual when faced with trauma, the mind reacts by ignoring the implications—in science this is known as “refusing to speculate.”It turns out that the scientist behaves the way the rest of us do when our beliefs are in conflict with the evidence. We become irritated, we pretend the conflict does not exist, or we paper it over with meaningless phrases.”"

No, that is incorrect, on multiple counts. Not only do we not hold that ever effect has a cause (quantum level effects are not always known to have causes) but his statement that the world "had a beginning" is technically not known. We count the beginning of time as that part where the universe exploded and the laws of physics soon came into play, because we measure time by the movement of light. That doesn't mean that there was nothing before this. It's true that the current laws of physics break down at t=0 and a very short time interval afterwards (talking attoseconds here probably) but so what? What does that prove?

And, equating the refusal to speculate with how others behave is completely backwards. What do you think the first cause argument for god is? It's pure speculation based on inaccurate information and presupposition. That the scientist doesn't do this is actually a good thing. And, no, there are no "beliefs" of science to be in conflict with anything. This is pure fabrication.

"So why do agnostics and atheists find scientific evidence of the supernatural traumatizing?

Because to follow the evidence where it leads is to admit that since all space, time, and matter were created, the cause must be spaceless, timeless and immaterial -- God."

I don't find it troubling in the least, because there is no evidence of the supernatural. All you've presented so far is god of the gaps reasoning.

"Dr. Jastrow admits, “For the scientist who has lived by his faith in the power of reason, the story ends like a bad dream. He has scaled the mountains of ignorance; he is about to conquer the highest peak; as he pulls himself over the final rock, he is greeted by a band of theologians who have been sitting there for centuries.”"

And, how does he determine this? What do theologians know that others don't? What knowledge is gained by theologians? Seriously. Name me one thing that we've learned about the world through theology. Just one. (And, not something along the lines that we've learned that some people are Xian and some are Muslim...I'm talking real, empirical knowledge.)

Anonymous said...

Karla,
"It shows he is not quick to exercise judgment. It shows his mercy, it shows his patience. It shows he isn't out to harm people, he wants to give them ample time to straighten out their ways."

Why shouldn't he be if he knows what the outcome will be anyway. Is he really giving you ample time if he knows that you won't succeed in doing what he wants in the time he gives you? And, when that punishment for your deeds comes after you are dead and is visited upon your children, what then?

"These were serious issues of morality and harm to others that were being dealt with including the sacrificing of children to idols."

So, instead of stopping the sacrifice of innocent children, god instead makes threats and then kills the perpetrators' children. Because having more dead children is always much better.

"This was not some whimsical rules of a dictator God."

So, you assert, but that's not how it appears when god doesn't actually do anything except exact vengeance on people way after the fact.

"Do you expect no consequence for immorality? Do you expect it to mean nothing if we go about doing things that are harmful to ourselves and others?"

I don't expect to be killed for disbelief. I don't expect to be killed for worshipping the wrong god. I don't expect to have my children killed because god is upset with me. This is what you are supporting and apologizing for.

"He's the holy, perfect, good Judge and He's also the perfect redeemer. Righteousness is found in Him, but if rejected and we choose to live outside of that righteousness there are consequences. I don't see how this is such a hard concept for you."

It's a hard concept because I don't accept your begging the question on this. god acts in decided un-good ways, and you apologize for it because it clashes with the conclusions that you've already established regardless of the evidence. You have assumed your conclusion and then you simply wave away anything and everything that doesn't fit your preconceptions. You have no evidence that god is perfect, good, etc. You have no evidence that god is righteous, except by tautological definition. In short, you have no support for your assertions and the actions of god speak louder than your assertions.

"Exactly but in these cultures that were killed off they were killing their children! Even you here say this is wrong."

Did they all kill all their children? Of course not, else the society would not have survived. I'm glad you agree with me, however, that god owes us a moral responsibility. Now, how does god fulfill that moral responsibility when he commits genocide?

"So was God to do nothing? Is a good God to look at unrighteous deeds and say "oh well?""

Again, you fall into the false dichotomy trap. You're asserting that either god could do nothing or god had to wipe out an entire people. You really don't see any other way, any middle ground here?

"What apologist argues that we are God's property? "

You've never heard the clay analogy?

"Why would God be held accountable by His creation?"

For the same reason we hold parents accountable, that you agreed with above.

"For the sake of argument, would you be opposed to being accountable to a good loving perfect holy God if such a one existed?"

I should be accountable in the same way as I'm accountable to others and that god should be accountable to us. If god existed and I killed him, then I would expect to be punished. If I merely offended him, well whatever social stigma or whatever would be apt perhaps, if there is some need for punishment for offending someone, which often there is not. Offending god, however, is not morally equal to him taking my life. god does NOT have the moral right to treat us the way the Bible describes his treatment of us. We are not simply pieces of clay that god can create pots out of and then destroy at his whim. That's the whole point of his moral responsibility to us. When he brought us into this world as thinking, feeling, sentient entities, he took on a responsibility just as a parent does from bringing a child into the world. To assert otherwise is to devalue human life and ignore morality.

Karla said...

"So, you assert, but that's not how it appears when god doesn't actually do anything except exact vengeance on people way after the fact."

Doesn't actually do anything? Did you only read the few sections of the Bible that pertained to punishment and skip the other 98%?

Did you miss the parts where He delivered Israel to safety. Where he saved Daniel from being eaten by lions, where he protected Joseph and established him in a high position in the Egyptian government and showed him how to protect the people from famine? Did you miss where God sends Jesus who heals multitudes of people and raises the dead? Did you miss where he gives his disciples power to do the same? Did you miss where he talks about forgiving people? Did you miss where Jesus gave His life for our sins? Did you miss all of that? There is much more, that's just a few of the highlights. Have you read the Psalms of all the things David praises God for over years of history with God?

You keep arguing that God should do something to help humanity, and yet you ignore what He did do, His great sacrifice. His free gift. His grace and mercy. You ignore all of this and keep setting up a false ideology about who you think him to be and it isn't grounded in Scripture. It's a misrepresentation. I know you feel strongly that you are just in your accusations. I even feel like you are putting me into a stereotype and refusing to see what I am really saying. You think you know my answers and you read my answers in context of what you already think about Christians.

Have you ever considered that your idea of good could be corrupt? That you don't have a perfect idea of good, none of us do and that the only one who could is someone who is perfect and not corrupted. You have never answered me to my satisfaction of where good comes from if there is no good God?

Anonymous said...

"Doesn't actually do anything? Did you only read the few sections of the Bible that pertained to punishment and skip the other 98%?"

Exactly, he only exacts vengeance, as I said.

"Did you miss the parts where He delivered Israel to safety."

By cruelly attacking the Egyptians?

"Where he saved Daniel from being eaten by lions..."

Point taken, god does every once in a while do something good. He also does some rather horrible things, like having bears come and maul children for making fun of a bald man. So, have you completely disregarded all the vile and evil things that god has done? Even if he does something good every once in a while, he still has done much more evil...or even if he hasn't, you can't deny that god has done some evil, which destroys your claim that god is wholly good.

"You keep arguing that God should do something to help humanity, and yet you ignore what He did do, His great sacrifice. His free gift."

I don't ignore this at all, because of a couple reasons, that you already know.

1) It's not free. You have to do something to gain it.
2) It's not a sacrifice for an immortal god to do something that doesn't really do anything to him.
3) The whole point of the exercise was that god was convincing himself to allow himself to forgive us, when he could simply forgive.
4) We are being held to an unreasonably high standard, making his judgement over us immoral.
5) The "crimes" of which we are guilty are because god has made us such that we will commit them, meaning that it is not our fault that we are destined for hell. This means that god is the one that is responsible. By sending us to hell for being born as human is immoral and evil. Why should I applaud god for only partially making up for his own moral failings, especially when he has the power and knowledge to fully set right what he has set wrong (and should never have set wrong in the first place)?

"His grace and mercy. You ignore all of this and keep setting up a false ideology about who you think him to be and it isn't grounded in Scripture."

OK, that's just a load of BS. It most certainly IS grounded in scripture. Do you claim that I made up the concept of hell out of thin air and that it has no backing in the Bible? Do you claim the same for original sin? Do you claim the genocides that god commits are not in the Bible? Please.

"It's a misrepresentation."

No, it is not. You are cherry picking the Bible and then claiming that anything that you don't cherry pick is somehow not a true part of the Bible. That is what is a misrepresentation.

"I know you feel strongly that you are just in your accusations."

Because I have logic and reason on my side. I'm making arguments not based on assuming my conclusion as you do, but based on what the actual meanings of words are, what the logical outcomes of god's actions are, etc. If any human commits genocide, I'm sure that you view that human as immoral, but when god does it you think it's great?

"I even feel like you are putting me into a stereotype and refusing to see what I am really saying."

Oh, the irony.

"You think you know my answers and you read my answers in context of what you already think about Christians. "

What answers? You simply make assertions that god is good and then ignore all the counter-points (and there are many) that disprove your assertions (and not just counter them, but disprove, because you are, in effect, making the claim that those counter-points do not exist).

"Have you ever considered that your idea of good could be corrupt?"

Have you?

Either way, it doesn't matter, because even using your concept of good (which you claim is god's) your god doesn't stack up against it. Your claim is self-defeating.

"That you don't have a perfect idea of good, none of us do and that the only one who could is someone who is perfect and not corrupted."

Again, you fall victim to the either/or (false dichotomy) fallacy. You think that either there must be an absolute good or else everything is muddled to the point of incomprehension. This is simply not the case.

"You have never answered me to my satisfaction of where good comes from if there is no good God?"

Because you disregard the answers, no matter what is said, opting instead to cling to your preconceived conclusion. Good is a concept that humans have developed. There is no intrinsic property in the universe called, "Good." We can, and do, make our own concepts of good. We can, and do, make our own objective definitions of good. Remember, objective is NOT the same as absolute (I know you get that one wrong all the time too). There is no causal connection between human constructs and god. There is no need to invoke god to explain concepts such as "good" especially when we can trace the evolutionary history of what we now call "good". Do you deny that other animals exhibit moral behavior? I've given you examples of such, so you'd be wise not to deny it. I think it is incumbent upon you to develop some reasoning as to why that should be so. Do you think that god has imbued animals with souls to allow them to exhibit morals? Or, did god program them to act in moral fashions that just happen to be traceable to humans so that we'd be fooled by the evidence when we studied it later?

Karla said...

Anonymous, are you a pacifist?

Anonymous said...

Are you changing the subject to avoid answering the tough questions yet again?

Karla said...

Nope, it's very relevant to this discussion.

Anonymous said...

I fail to see the relevancy. I've already pointed out that your god is not good independently of my personal philosophies, by using your own definitions against you.

I'm also posing questions that you are obviously avoided....again.

Karla said...

I am going to answer your questions after you answer mine. It's a question I meant to ask you long ago. Let me rephrase it for you, do you think there can be a good cause for war? A good reason to fight? Or are you a pacifist?

Anonymous said...

I agree (more or less) with the "just war" principles. Your turn.

Karla said...

Anon said “Exactly, he only exacts vengeance, as I said.”

This is not a true statement. The passages that trouble you are less than 2% of all Scripture. You are talking about thousands of years of God’s relating to man and there are only a scant few of these situations that you can point to that you believe show God to not be a good God.

You have probably figured out why I asked the question about a “just war” . . . If you, as a human who cannot see the whole picture, think there are reasons to kill that are just then why would you think that there are not good reasons for an omniscient God to do so?

Anon said “Even if he does something good every once in a while, he still has done much more evil...or even if he hasn't, you can't deny that god has done some evil, which destroys your claim that god is wholly good.”

I do not see any of His actions as evil. I see them as just and good. And I see those incidents of His judgment as few and far between and on the whole He showed more mercy than He ever showed judgment.



”No, it is not. You are cherry picking the Bible and then claiming that anything that you don't cherry pick is somehow not a true part of the Bible. That is what is a misrepresentation.”

No I accept the whole thing. I just don’t have the problems you do with accepting God’s authority as a good Judge who through Christ took off his robe and joined the guilty and took the consequence for sin for us. The work was done. There is no work that can earn us salvation and entry into His Kingdom. It’s a matter of accepting His acceptance.

You keep brining up hell. And yes it’s a real place the Bible mentions a few times. But the totality of Scripture talks about life not death. It’s all a story of how to find life not how to reap death. I don’t spend my time talking to you about hellfire. I spend it talking to you about life. I don’t desire to talk about hell, not because I want to avoid sticky issues, but because Jesus didn’t talk about it that much at all. He talked about life. He showed people love and unconditional acceptance. That’s the good news. That’s the truth.

(I will answer more of what you posted later—I have to get some work done at present, but I think I hit the key points at least for now)

CyberKitten said...

karla said: I do not see any of His actions as evil. I see them as just and good. And I see those incidents of His judgment as few and far between and on the whole He showed more mercy than He ever showed judgment.

I'm impressed..... You have *read* the Old Testement I presume? There's a *whole* lot of over-the-top killing going on there... and you honestly think he was Just in what He did?

Karla said...

Cyber, I have indeed read the whole Bible from cover to cover and I have read many portions of it probably adding up to having read it many more times. I seem to recall that you haven't read it and don't own one? So how can you say what it says?

CyberKitten said...

karla said: I seem to recall that you haven't read it and don't own one? So how can you say what it says?

Fortunately other people have read it and can point out the particularly juicy bits. Speaking of which, I'm coming to the end of a book I'll be reviewing soon. It might interest you. I'll let you know when I post the review.

I must say that if you think that God never acted in an unjust manner you must have a very odd idea of justice. For instance, how can a persons decendents be punished for something they did? Would it be just to punish you - or me - for something our great-grandparents did?

Anonymous said...

"This is not a true statement. The passages that trouble you are less than 2% of all Scripture."

I'd like to see you support that number, and I'd like to see the percentage of scripture that supports your views that god is good. Finally, I'd like to see you defend the notion that god is wholly good with ANY percentage of troubling accounts of evil-doing by god.

"You are talking about thousands of years of God’s relating to man and there are only a scant few of these situations that you can point to that you believe show God to not be a good God."

Actually, I stay away from all the times god has told people to kill others (crusades), torture others (inquisition), kill their children (various accounts), go to war (Bush, et. al.), etc. That I'm limiting the discussion to the Bible does not give you license to limit my side while not limiting your own.

"You have probably figured out why I asked the question about a “just war” . . . If you, as a human who cannot see the whole picture, think there are reasons to kill that are just then why would you think that there are not good reasons for an omniscient God to do so?"

Couple things:
1) This god should make those reasons known and should defend his actions.
2) It's hard to see why an omni-max god (how quickly you forget omnipotent and omni-benevolent when defending the warlike behavior of your god) would have to resort to war. War (even when just) is the LAST resort, not the first. To an all-powerful god, there are always more/better options.
3) Killing people for not living up to unjust standards can not rise to the level of just war.
4) Killing people that can not harm god is against the principles of just war.
5) god is supposedly not at war with us.

Should I go on?

"I do not see any of His actions as evil. I see them as just and good. And I see those incidents of His judgment as few and far between and on the whole He showed more mercy than He ever showed judgment."

Based on what exactly can you say he's shown more mercy than judgement, and what does that mean? And, how can you claim that all his judgements are good. If you are going to claim that we can't call them bad because we don't have all the information, then you surely can't turn around and claim that you have all the information you need to declare them to be good.

Also, what is good about drowning newborns? What is good about having one group of people slaughter another group of people, including, men, women, children, and livestock...oh and salting the Earth as well? On top of this, why does an omnipotent god need to resort to such barbaric ways of resolving issues/disputes?

"No I accept the whole thing."

So, you see no problem with genocide so long as god says so?

"There is no work that can earn us salvation and entry into His Kingdom. It’s a matter of accepting His acceptance."

You are contradicting yourself here.

"You keep brining up hell. And yes it’s a real place the Bible mentions a few times. But the totality of Scripture talks about life not death."

Actually, Jesus was quite clear about hell and the multitudes that would end up there. He talked about it quite a bit actually.

"I don’t desire to talk about hell, not because I want to avoid sticky issues, but because Jesus didn’t talk about it that much at all."

How convenient for you, huh? Hell is a problem for the theist, so it's a good idea for you to avoid it. But, Jesus did talk about it...in fact, he invented the idea of eternal torment according to the Bible. Underlying the whole entire message of the Bible is the threat of hell. 'Do X or else.' If you choose not to focus on it and live in self-delusion, that's your choice, but you can't deny that it is there.

"He showed people love and unconditional acceptance."

Except that he didn't. He said that it's either his way or the hellway.

Anonymous said...

"I must say that if you think that God never acted in an unjust manner you must have a very odd idea of justice. For instance, how can a persons decendents be punished for something they did? Would it be just to punish you - or me - for something our great-grandparents did?"

Good luck Cyberkitten. I've been asking that for a while now and have yet to receive an answer.

Karla said...

Cyber Kitten "Fortunately other people have read it and can point out the particularly juicy bits. Speaking of which, I'm coming to the end of a book I'll be reviewing soon. It might interest you. I'll let you know when I post the review."

And you who pride yourself on skepticism accept second hand accounts of what the Bible says instead of reading the primary document for yourself? I don't even want you to trust what I tell you it says. I want to see people, especially ones who love knowledge to read primary sources for themselves.

I'm interested about the book, let me know when you have written the review.

"I must say that if you think that God never acted in an unjust manner you must have a very odd idea of justice. For instance, how can a persons decendents be punished for something they did? Would it be just to punish you - or me - for something our great-grandparents did?"

Does not a person's choices affect the following generations? Do not we see this all the time? God is showing us by that verse how important our choices are that they effect our children and our children's children. But living rightly affects many many generations with blessings for it sows good things into the family line. It isn't a matter of punishment, but a matter of the reality of our actions that affect generations. For instance, if a father beats his son, most likely his son will grow up to beat his son and so on. But if the father raises his son right in love his son will pass that on and so on. It's so very practical.

Also as I've stated before the standard of goodness is God's nature and I know that anything He does is good. I know Him and I trust Him and His Word also proves this to me. (you should read it, I really don't want you to take my word or anyone else's about what it actually says)

How about you anonymous, you have read the whole Bible through haven't you? I wonder if Dawkins and Hitchens and Harris have? Or if they are just picking things out out of context and getting everyone riled up when they didn't do their research fully.

CyberKitten said...

karla said: And you who pride yourself on skepticism accept second hand accounts of what the Bible says instead of reading the primary document for yourself?

Not at all. They were simply quoting chapter & verse.

karla said: Does not a person's choices affect the following generations?

Yes, indeed. But should I be held responsible for decisions my great-grandfather made? Should I be punished for his transgressions? Is this your ideal of justice? Surely I should only be held responsinle for my own actions?

karla said: It isn't a matter of punishment, but a matter of the reality of our actions that affect generations.

So, when He cursed all women to suffer in childbirth because of the sin of Eve... this wasn't actually punishment but was instead... what exactly?

karla said: Also as I've stated before the standard of goodness is God's nature and I know that anything He does is good.

I think that there is *much* in the Old Testement (at least) that is less than good, don't you think? Slavery & Genocide come to mind rather too easily.... Not to mention the notorious Leviticus....

I don't normally argue Scripture because, to me at least, its like arguing over the number of twists in a unicorns horn: Is it 25 or 29? It's completely pointless because we're basically arguing over fables and myths which are essentially meaningless (or at least should be outside of academia). But I just couldn't let your comment about everything God does is good.....

Anonymous said...

"Also as I've stated before the standard of goodness is God's nature and I know that anything He does is good."

How do you know that? You just argued that we don't have enough information to determine that god's actions are bad, so it follows that we also don't have enough information to determine that god's actions are good. You can't have it both ways.

And, yes, I've read the Bible...big waste of time unless you want to be able to point out how vicious it is, how outdated it is, how full of contradiction and mythology it is, etc.

Karla said...

Cyber “Not at all. They were simply quoting chapter & verse.”

If I were to discuss The God Delusion I would need to read it first, not just repeat excerpts someone else quoted in their discussion of it. But I guess that’s just my standard of how I like to do things. I don’t think I would be fair to do a review of Dawkins book if I hadn’t read it. You and Anonymous pointed out I wasn’t doing justice to Nietzsche by quoting him without reading him. The same applies with any book, especially the Bible, I would say since it is one whole story and needs to be understood as a whole.


”Yes, indeed. But should I be held responsible for decisions my great-grandfather made? Should I be punished for his transgressions? Is this your ideal of justice? Surely I should only be held responsinle for my own actions?”

I thought I answered this in my last post. That it isn’t a matter of punishment, but of consequences.


”So, when He cursed all women to suffer in childbirth because of the sin of Eve... this wasn't actually punishment but was instead... what exactly?”

He was only speaking what had already happened. We stepped out of the protections of righteousness and into corruption and that is the natural byproduct. Yet He tells them that the God of peace will soon crush Satan. Telling them this isn’t going to last forever. He will show us the way out of this corruption. Again you miss a lot if you haven’t read at least some of the story for yourself.

karla said: Also as I've stated before the standard of goodness is God's nature and I know that anything He does is good.

”I think that there is *much* in the Old Testement (at least) that is less than good, don't you think? Slavery & Genocide come to mind rather too easily.... Not to mention the notorious Leviticus....”

The Bible recounts the history of what really happened. Slavery was a reality of corrupted man, not something that was good. God led the Israelites out of slavery. Again, what standard do you use to define “good”? You argued once that morality changes. By your standard as I understand it slavery was good and acceptable in America until it became unacceptable. I say it was always bad because God values human freedom. I have a standard to declare it always bad, you don’t seem to.

”I don't normally argue Scripture because, to me at least, its like arguing over the number of twists in a unicorns horn: Is it 25 or 29? It's completely pointless because we're basically arguing over fables and myths which are essentially meaningless (or at least should be outside of academia). But I just couldn't let your comment about everything God does is good.....”

Have you read any mythology of the ancients? I think you will find a stark difference between how the Bible reads and how fables and mythology reads. The Bible reads very much like a history, a recounting of actual events, mythology doesn’t read like that. If you compare Gilgamesh to the Biblical Flood you see a stark difference. In Gilgamesh the “ark” was a square box and it would not have been sea worthy the way it is described. In the Bible the ark’s dimensions are carefully laid out and verifiable as to it’s ability to float.

Anonymous said...

"I thought I answered this in my last post. That it isn’t a matter of punishment, but of consequences."

There's no causal link between eating an apple and pain at childbirth. If there is one, it is by god's design.

"In the Bible the ark’s dimensions are carefully laid out and verifiable as to it’s ability to float."

It's wholly unable to float with all the animals on it, and it's not big enough to house all the animals. It also is not big enough to hold the stores of food, nor does the story tell us how the predators survived.

CyberKitten said...

karla said: We stepped out of the protections of righteousness and into corruption and that is the natural byproduct.

So... *One* woman disobeyed God... and, as a consequence, *billions* of women have suffered in childbirth.....

.....and you think *this* is justice? That's the issue I'm trying to get at.

Anonymous said...

CK,
I think Karla is going for the missile defense. What I mean by that is that she's arguing that if I shoot a missile, I could kill a bunch of people who had nothing to do with anything. The consequences of my actions can lead to their pain and death.

This, however, doesn't work in this situation because of the lack of causal link. Any causal link between eating apples and pain at childbirth that you could concoct must necessarily go through the conscious act of god, so her argument fails.

Incidentally, we actually know why childbirth is painful and it's not because of some curse placed upon us by god. It's because of evolution actually. As we evolved from critters that walked on all fours to bipeds out hips did not keep up. Our hips are simply not evolved to facilitate bipedal childbirth.

Karla said...

Anon, so now your are creating my response and responding to your creation of my response. Nice. Except I wouldn't have given that response and am not sure where you got it from.

Karla said...

Cyber -- corruption of sin entered man kind through Adam and Eve and all of creation took on a fallen nature. Pain and suffering in life is part of that. But all who trust in the Lord will one day not have any pain for eternity.

Karla said...

BTW, the Bible says nothing about it being an apple.

Anonymous said...

"Anon, so now your are creating my response and responding to your creation of my response. Nice. Except I wouldn't have given that response and am not sure where you got it from."

It was my guess. If it doesn't fit, so be it. That's why I said that I think that's what you were getting at.

"Cyber -- corruption of sin entered man kind through Adam and Eve and all of creation took on a fallen nature. Pain and suffering in life is part of that."

Which is basically what I was saying, so I don't know why you are all bent out of shape over it. Because of the actions of Adam and Eve, we are all suffering, just as if they had fired a missile into a crowd causing casualties and injuries. The effects are caused by their actions and there are consequences to those actions.

So, my comments stand.

"But all who trust in the Lord will one day not have any pain for eternity."

Why do we have to wait? What is gained by it and for whom? Do you think that you can't feel pain for a loved one that ends up in hell for whatever reason? If you can't, then is it because god has forced you not to or is it because you will simply cease to care about that person? If you can, then how has pain been eliminated?