The Atheist Prayer Experiment Begins

Today’s the big day! It’s the beginning of my 40-day trial by prayer.

I’m to pray for two to three minutes per day as sincerely as convenient and ask God to reveal himself to me. I’m to watch for signs of God’s presence in daily life. For more on this experiment, read my earlier post.

The experiment is in response to a 2010 paper “Praying to Stop Being an Atheist” in the International Journal for Philosophy of Religion. I’d like to pull out from this long paper a few ideas that need critique.

Author T. J. Mawson notes the critique of other scholars of his work: “Mawson’s words are beyond parody.” I wasn’t very impressed with the arguments myself, as you’ll see, but I do appreciate an author who can be that honest and self-deprecating!

From the abstract:

In this paper, I argue that atheists who:

(1) think that the issue of God’s existence or non-existence is an important one;

(2) assign a greater than negligible probability to God’s existence; and

(3) are not in possession of a plausible argument for scepticism about the truth-directedness of uttering such prayers in their own cases,

are under a prima facie obligation to pray to God that He stop them being atheists.

Note the similarity between this argument and Pascal’s Wager. Pascal said that betting on God’s existence is the smart bet—if you win, you get bliss in heaven, and there’s not much downside if you lose. But if you bet against God and lose, you get an eternity in hell, and if you win, you can’t even say, “I told you so.”

One way Pascal’s Wager fails is that it ignores how it applies to the challenger as well as the person challenged. The same is true here. Mawson says that atheists ought to pray to an undefined god that they don’t (yet) believe in, but by the same logic, Christians should also pray to god(s) that they don’t yet believe in. This doesn’t negate his argument but says that it applies to him as much as to any atheist.

Now, on to the paper. It claims that atheists praying for God to help them is as reasonable as shouting “Is anyone there?” in a certain dark room. Some say that a wise and helpful old man lives in this dark room, though some say that this claim is false.

I disagree that these are equally reasonable things. Dark rooms and old men are things we’re all familiar with. “There’s a wise old man in this room” many not be a true statement, but it certainly can’t be dismissed out of hand. By contrast, “There’s a supernatural being who created the universe” is implausible on its face.

And if this is supposed to be an analog to religion, why imagine just one room? All gods aren’t sought in the same way. We should imagine many different rooms and perhaps different protocols to represent the wide variety of gods that Mankind conceives.

Mawson assumes that the wise old man is willing to reveal himself. And here again we have a difficulty, since Christians are quick to explain away God’s hiddenness by saying that God might not reveal himself. The simple God hypothesis has expanded to claim that God exists and he desperately wants a relationship with each of us … but he may remain silent despite our pleas. We’re told that God has his own good reasons for remaining hidden (reasons we can’t understand), but how far do we want to go to support this God hypothesis in the face of contradicting evidence? At what point does it go from honest rational inquiry, to support for preconceived beliefs with an unfalsifiable hypothesis?

I will comment more on the paper as the prayer experiment continues, but I’ll wrap up here with an anecdote that the paper concludes with. Atheist Bertrand Russell was asked, “What if you die and find yourself in front of God after all?” Russell said that he would tell God that he hadn’t provided enough evidence for his existence. Mawson imagines God responding, “Well, you didn’t ask me for any, did you?”

And we’re back to the Alice-in-Wonderland God who desperately wants a relationship with us, who knows that our not believing in him will send us to hell, and who knows that he looks indistinguishable from the thousands of other gods that humanity has invented but refuses to do anything to simply make his existence plain.

As a brief aside, let me comment on the Unbelievable podcast that is hosting this experiment. Their approach—praiseworthy, it seems to me—is typically to bring together a Christian and a non-Christian to discuss their different views. The non-Christian might be a Muslim or an atheist. The discussion might be evolution vs. Creationism. Sometimes they have two Christians with two different theological views. What it’s not is simply a sermon to tell the flock what to believe about some aspect of life or Christianity.

Why is this not the model for other podcasts? Reasonable Faith, Stand to Reason, Apologetics.com, Please Convince Me and most other Christian podcasts: I’m talking to you.

Last week I took my third acid trip.
This time I saw God.
Otherwise, it was nothing.
— Paul Krassner

Photo credit: Wikimedia

About Bob Seidensticker
  • Sufiya

    The great Hindu saint Ramakrishna was approached by a scientist in great distress. So much so that he wanted to pray, but could not do so, as ‘there was no proof for the existence of God.”

    Ramakrishna advised him :Then pray thus:” If You exist, then listen to this my prayer”.

    A week later the man came back and threw himself at Ramakrishna’s feet, weeping and crying out in joy: “You have saved me!”

    • RichardSRussell

      And you got this all on tape, right? With timestamp and everything?

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

      How could the scientist be eager to pray but simultaneously have no reason to pray?

    • FaithIsCheap

      A large Irish pipe-smoker McSweeny was approached by a German bratwurst-smith with an awfully large appetite. So large that he swore he could eat a whole swimming stadium of leprechaun but he could not eat some, as ‘there is no proof of the existence of leprechauns as there is for sausages.’

      McSweeny advised him :Then run around singing this : “If you leprechauns decide to show, Hy diddly hy diddly hy diddly-oh, My appetite will cease to grow, Hy diddly hy diddly hy diddly-oh!”

      A week later (6 days plus one of resting his voice) the german sausage meister jumped onto the Irish man and cried out with a huge grin (and miniature bones stuck in his teeth) “YOU FED ME!!!”

      See, Sufiya….. I can do it, too. Nice story but i’ll stick with mine.

  • Sufiya

    Actually, if you want to communicate with God, you have to be able to speak a common language. After taking up the study of Hebrew and Sanskrit any lingering doubts I ever had on the existence of Deity rapidly disappeared.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

      God speaks Hebrew and Sanskrit?

      Why would studying these languages/religions do anything but show you that people have been inventing religions for millennia?

  • Soul Collector

    Maybe he reamains hidden because it is too late for you to build a relationship with him.You have become seared in depravity, in your ways of speaking out against God. They are no other gods, that say seek me and ye shall find. There is only one who says that and that is the Christian God.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

      Yes, the Christian god is different from all the others, but by the same logic, so are all the others. Picking out one unique quality that the Christians claim about their god is meaningless.

      As for “seek and ye shall find,” tell that to the Christians with the waning faith. Some tell stories of their pleading for months with God to show himself. All they got was crickets.

      So much for seeking and finding.

      • John Wilson

        All the other ‘gods’ are Satan and his angels. Sure, you will get an answer when you pray to them. But you will be deceived into hell. Jesus is the Way the truth and the life

        • Dys

          So…the fact that you super-duper believe what you’re saying is true is all you’ve really got going for you.

          Fortunately, conviction of belief doesn’t translate into truth, and there’s no reason to take you seriously.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          You’re ignoring the point. There are millions of ex-Christians who, as their faith waned, pleaded with God to reveal himself to them and bolster their faith. He gave them nothing.

          Either he doesn’t care if they lose their faith and go to hell, or he doesn’t exist.

        • Dez

          And santa wont bring me toys if I am a bad girl. Yawn

        • MNb

          If I pray to your god and to Jesus I will be deceived into Heaven, which isn’t any better. Better not to pray at all.

        • adam

          “All the other ‘gods’ are Satan and his angels.”

    • Dez

      LOL. Yeah I don’t believe in god(s) because the 10 year old me was depraved. Some of us never drank the kool aid.

  • Soul Collector

    There is only one God who says He is the living God and beside him there is no other.There is also only one God who says seek me and ye shall find. Now if you want to find a god,go get a stick and worship it and there you go a stick as your god.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

      Why imagine that your god is the right one and the thousand other attempts at defining the supernatural are wrong? Maybe Xenu or Zeus or Quetzalcoatl is the right one.

      • John Wilson

        Because they are all demons. Jesus is the way the truth and the life.

        • Dys

          Jesus died quite a long time ago…he’s not leading anyone anywhere any more. Any claim to the contrary is the wishful thinking of religious dogma.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          The other gods are demons? Maybe they’re just pretend, and people make up stuff. In that case, you must wonder if your supernatural belief isn’t just more of the same.

          But if there are demons out there, perhaps it’s you who’s been seduced. You say you’ve heard a good story? That’s just what a demon would tell, right?

        • adam

          ” Jesus is the way the truth and the life.”

          Then his ‘truth’ sucks.

        • adam

          “Because they are all demons.”

  • Soul Collector

    God does give signs. Its just up to the one seeking to see them.

    • Dys

      In other words, you have to delude yourself that you’re receiving signs from God first.

  • Soul Collector

    God does give signs its just up to the one seeking to actually see them.

  • Soul Collector

    What i think is so stupid is that if you pray to a God and sing to a God than how do you not see that there is a God. That goes for gods aswell. But as you know there is only one God who claims to be the only God and living God. The most ancient God.The God of christians.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

      Your theology isn’t convincing. Give us arguments that show that the Christian supernatural claims are correct.

  • Soul Collector

    Sounds retarded. Where is the scriptures of that jug of milk?

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

      What’s your point? That supernatural claims that are written down must be true? If I write down scripture for the jug of milk, will you be convinced? And if not, how is Christianity better?

    • RichardSRussell

      It is retarded! But just as effective as anything you get out of the scriptures. What does that tell you about them?

  • John Wilson

    God is not your slave or your next door neighbor that He will show up at your request. He is the creator of the universe and the Master of all. HE DESERVES RESPECT INFINITE TIMES THAN YOUR LOCAL PRESIDENT. Will your human president come to meet you at your request just like that ?? How dare we mere infinitely lowly sinful creatures demand such an outrageous request ??

    You have to go in humbleness, acknowledge that you are a sinner, and in BROKENNESS and sincerity of heart. WE ARE ALL SINNERS. SIN BLINDS US FROM GOD AND TO TRULY KNOW HIM AND HAVE A RELATIONSHIP WITH HIM.

    Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God. Matthew 5:8.

    First acknowledge truly from the bottom of your heart that you are a sinner and in need of a Savior and be cleaned by the blood of Jesus to become PURE IN HEART. Repent of your sins. Then you will begin to see (meaning – experience) God and his presence. God knows your heart and intention and you cant fool around. Based on your genuine humbleness and open mind he will reveal himself to you. Asking God (the creator of the universe) to reveal himself arrogantly shows your pride. God will not answer any requests based on pride because he hates pride.

    Can you make lemonade before cutting the lemon and then squeezing, adding water and doing the NECESSARY PROCEDURES ?? Can you make Sulphuric acid by mixing Water and salt ??? THERE INVOLVES A PROPER PROCEDURE AND STEPS FOR DOING CERTAIN THINGS.

    Even if you stand head-side down without eating for years together, HE WILL NEVER REVEAL HIMSELF UNLESS YOU FOLLOW THE PROCEDURE,

    God may take months and even years until HE FINDS THAT (this is important …. not when you think you are ready) your heart is ready with sincerity, humbleness and brokenness for himself to reveal to you. God is not a cosmic genie like the Aladdin’s lamp to just pop up at the rub of the lamp. That just shows you have a completely wrong view of God.

    • Dys

      In short, we have to believe before we get evidence. Sounds like a scam to me, especially since it’s pretty much a foregone conclusion that you won’t be able to substantiate any of the religious claims you’re making with anything other than bible quotes.

      The honest takeaway is that there probably aren’t any gods at all, including the specific version of the Abrahamic deity you subscribe to.

      • John Wilson

        Nobody told you to believe before evidence. All you need is an open mind to seek the truth and a sincere and deep child-like hunger to know God and if he exists.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          That’s what believers in all religions say. How do I tell the false ones from the true one(s)?

        • John Wilson

          You shall know them by their fruits……. says the Bible

          You will recognize them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? (ESV) Matthew 7:16.

          The fruits of the spirit are :

          But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering (patience), gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, self-control: against such there is no law. Galatians 5:23.

          Jesus said a good tree cannot produce a bad fruit and vice versa (as an allegory). If a person claim to be a Christian and do Un-Christian activities then they are not producing the fruits of the salvation of Christ. True Christian will not be hypocrites by their own choice. The true ones do not sin and break the law of God. This is the first step in knowing a true one.

          Second is the validity of the religion itself … Each religion claims its truth but are fundamentally different from each other. We have to consider and see the ‘fruits’ of each of the Proponents of each of the religion. Compare Jesus to Mohammed, Krishna, and all others as such.

          Let us have a test of the ‘fruits’ of the proponents …………

          We can see Jesus to be holy and lived and sacrificed his life exclusively for downtrodden people. He could have married many wives and captured an empire and lived a selfish life like a king, given his power. He condemned the selfish aristocracy of his day and rebuked their sins. He lived a selfless life … He sacrificed his entire life for the poor, needy and healed all their diseases and afflictions. He gave them hope and wiped all their tears. He challenged the ‘arrogant’ religious people of his times the pharisees and the Sadducees who were exploiting the poor people of their day. He fed the hungry and clothed the poor. He taught about righteousness, holiness, love, sacrifice, forgiveness and all other virtues and lived as a perfect example to his own teaching (which many people today never do). He became a servant-master and taught humbleness by washing the feet of his own disciples. He loved little children and used them to teach about the kingdom of God. The guards (officers) who came to arrest him testified of his message of love and compassion

          “We have never heard anyone speak like this!” the guards responded. John 7:46.

          He loved the people and cried with compassion when he saw the multitude coming up to him to hear his message and their needs. He gave hope to the ‘fearsome’ by saying ‘do not fear’. He healed all kind of sickness from poor people who did not have money to go to a doctor. He lived, ate and mingled with common people in a pragmatic way and walked with people from all walks of life and never did anything with an Us-them attitude. He forgave the person who even betrayed him. He prayed for the forgiveness of the people who crucified him. He was even ‘certified’ by pilate the roman general saying ‘I do not find any fault in him’ on his trial. He patiently endured all the false allegations and the bruises and the beatings. He did this all for us. He showed his most precious wonderful love on the cross for us. Finally he died and took the penalty of all our sins and rose again and lives with us as holy spirit for evermore.

          Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;but emptied Himself, taking the form of a servant, being made in human likeness. Philippians 2:6,7

          Though he had all the powers and was God himself in flesh, he humbled himself as a servant and served people and washed their feet.

          Now tell me who else exhibits the fruits of holiness, righteousness, selflessness, love, kindness, forgiving people, praying for enemies, endurance of persecution, servant-master leadership, Eternal God humbled himself to man, meekness and all other virtuous qualities mentioned in the bible ??

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          You’re going to quote from the Bible to show that the Bible is the right one? I don’t think that’s how it works.

          We can see Jesus to be holy and lived and sacrificed his life exclusively for downtrodden people.

          Jesus invented hell. Not cool. And look at his dad—he was an unhinged maniac in the Old Testament.

          No, the Bible isn’t a beautiful book of love.

        • John Wilson

          Yes you are right … he is a unhinged maniac to sinners .. even that is a ‘soft word’ in comparison to how he hates sinners. He is more than a (imagine the most abusive word(s)) when it comes to sin and disobeying his commandments. He hates sinners (the criminals, from his point of view who disobeyed him by rebellion) vehemently, He has showed his love by dying for your sins and you are in rebellion to that .. is like a crime against God.

          There is nothing called free lunch. Everything you do in this world will have consequences, either here or in the afterlife. “You will reap what you sow” says the bible. Sin will have its consequences definitely 100 % whether you like it or not or believe it or not.

          Yes Hell was created for Satan and his angels. Humans need not go there. That is why Jesus came to rescue us from hell.

          No…, who said Bible is a beautiful book of love ?? It is a book of love only for people who obey God and his commandments and accept his salvation, in short only for his children who choose to accept him. For other rebellious people its a book of wrath and condemnation.

        • adam

          “Yes you are right … he is a unhinged maniac to sinners ..”

          To ANY rational empathetic human being

        • John Wilson

          Yes, if somebody continues to commits crimes against you and that which you cannot compromise on no accounts and also IN SPITE OF REPEATED WARNINGS AND CHANCES you give them, you invariably have no other option than to punish them.

          If you call that cruel, then so be it. It is perfectly justified.

        • adam

          So disbelief is a ‘crime’ that deserves eternal torture.

          Yes, we understand the CRUELY of both YOU and YOUR ‘god’

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          [God] is a unhinged maniac to sinners .. even that is a ‘soft word’ in comparison to how he hates sinners.

          They’re imperfect because God made them that way! And then he’s furious at them for behaving the way he made them? Your religion isn’t even internally consistent.

          If he hates sinners, one wonders why he killed millions or sinners in the Flood but kept alive 8 sinners to repopulate the world with more sinners. I think God needs to think through his plans a little more.

          He has showed his love by dying for your sins

          Dying? Is Jesus dead now? If not, I don’t see what the big deal is.

          There is nothing called free lunch. Everything you do in this world will have consequences, either here or in the afterlife.

          Not really. You demand justice for all the bad stuff that’s done. Problem is, we can easily imagine Hitler falling to the ground, repenting, and accepting Jesus into his heart (he had a Catholic upbringing, after all) just before he died. He’s probably in heaven right now, giving back rubs to Jesus.

          So much for perfect justice.

          That is why Jesus came to rescue us from hell.

          And Romans 5:19 makes clear that, just like we didn’t opt in to Adam’s sin, we don’t need to opt in to Jesus’s sacrifice. We’re all good.

          For other rebellious people its a book of wrath and condemnation.

          It never bothers you that ordinary people are more loving and forgiving that your god?

        • John Wilson

          “They’re imperfect because God made them that way! And then he’s furious at them for behaving the way he made them? Your religion isn’t even internally consistent.
          If he hates sinners, one wonders why he killed millions or sinners in the Flood but kept alive 8 sinners to repopulate the world with more sinners. I think God needs to think through his plans a little more.”

          A world without free will is meaningless and just robotic
          repeatition of things. The reason you are asking question and ‘reasoning’ itself shows there is free will. Cows, goats never ask questions or reason because they lack free will. You can never truly enjoy anything in such a robotic world. You will just be programmed to eat, taste, and love and do routines without meaning. Such an existance has no meaning. So, God created a world with free will for human beings. A being with free will should also be placed in a world where there will be free choices to make
          between good and bad, otherwise, still there will be no free will for the being.

          Free will always have a choice. Satan was already trying to thwart God’s plan and waiting for an opportunity and Adam lost it by heeding to his words.Adam’s responsibility as a created being is to obey God like a child (he was more mature than a child … of course… he should
          know better) without question. When a doctor says a patient not to eat something which will be harmful for his health and warned him, the duty of the patient should be to simply obey and does not necessarily need to have any ‘reasons’ from the doctor. God has million reasons (which he doesn’t chose to reveal) to have all the
          trees planted in the garden for his pleasure and autonomy and it doesn’t matter. A truly free garden will (in fact, should) have all kinds of trees including good and bad. Its only the obedience to authority (not choosing good or bad tree) that matters here.

          Adam’s duty is to obey regardless and Adam clearly failed God’s test in his free choice in-spite of God’s warning to obey his words. There were so many other beautiful fruit trees in the garden from which God allowed him to eat. Why didn’t Adam choose from those ?? Why did he choose form tree of good and evil ??? GOD CLEARLY GAVE OTHER CHOICES TO EAT ONLY FROM OTHER TREES. It clearly shows his ‘own’ choice and not God’s choice and thereby disobedience. God clearly cannot be blamed here. He gave all the warning and also asked him to eat from other fruit trees than from the tree of knowledge. Adam failed the test of obedience to authority

          “Dying? Is Jesus dead now? If not, I don’t see what the big deal is.”

          He was dead and rose from the dead and now alive.

          “Not really. You demand justice for all the bad stuff that’s done. Problem is, we can easily imagine Hitler falling to the ground, repenting, and accepting Jesus into his heart (he had a Catholic upbringing, after all) just before he died. He’s probably in heaven right now, giving back rubs to Jesus.”

          Yes, its the creators choice. If the creator wishes to forgive him, then it will not be a crime. If I choose to forgive a person doing crime against me, then there is no need for punishment, even though the person has done something morally wrong. It is my decision in my case. So finally its up to the creator whether he will punish, based on his autonomy. Hitler didn’t choose the salvation provided by God, so yes he will be punished.

          “And Romans 5:19 makes clear that, just like we didn’t opt in to Adam’s sin, we don’t need to opt in to Jesus’s sacrifice. We’re all good.”

          We are all sinners by Adam. We all carry those ‘spoiled’ genes of Adam eating the fruit of the tree for ever as humans. So from the creators perspective only the atonement provided by him suffices. So we cannot be good on our own.

          “It never bothers you that ordinary people are more loving and forgiving that your god?”

          Biblical love is conditional. God’s love doesn’t extend to sin in anyway. He is holy. So you cant expect him to behave like human beings who might be Ok with all the filthiness and just ‘adjust’ to it. Human beings are not holy and are expected to follow God and imitate his holiness.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          A world without free will is meaningless and just robotic repeatition of things.

          So God is the champion of free will? Tell that to the rape victim who got her free will violated. God could’ve stepped in but didn’t bother.

          Here’s an idea: give people the wisdom to use their free will properly. Won’t it work like that in heaven?

          Adam’s responsibility as a created being is to obey God like a child (he was more mature than a child … of course… he should know better) without question.

          No—Adam was just like a child. He hadn’t yet eaten the fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, remember? He simply didn’t know.

          And why should Adam’s sin affect me?

          God has million reasons (which he doesn’t chose to reveal) to have all the trees planted in the garden for his pleasure and autonomy and it doesn’t matter.

          I’ll figure that God has reasons that are beyond me when I know that God exists. Your reasoning is backwards.

          GOD CLEARLY GAVE OTHER CHOICES TO EAT ONLY FROM OTHER TREES. It clearly shows his ‘own’ choice and not God’s choice and thereby disobedience. God clearly cannot be blamed here.

          It’s like putting a razor blade tree in the back yard and telling your 2-year-old to stay away. Was God just new to childproofing? If a tree is dangerous, don’t put it there!

          He was dead and rose from the dead and now alive.

          One wonders at all the fuss. He was “dead” for a day and a half. Big sacrifice.

          Yes, its the creators choice. If the creator wishes to forgive him, then it will not be a crime.

          So much for perfect justice for every crime, eh?

          We are all sinners by Adam. We all carry those ‘spoiled’ genes of Adam eating the fruit of the tree for ever as humans.

          And that makes sense to you? What’s next—I’m going to be guilty of a crime you commit?

          Biblical love is conditional. God’s love doesn’t extend to sin in anyway. He is holy. So you cant expect him to behave like human beings who might be Ok with all the filthiness and just ‘adjust’ to it.

          But he does! You accept Jesus into your heart, and all your sins are forgiven! So God is able to forgive, you’ve just got to say the magic words first.

          And once again, we have ordinary, fallible humans forgiving while God won’t—not without the magic words.

        • MNb

          “A world without free will is meaningless and just robotic repeatition of things.”
          Will you have free will in Heaven and hence have the choice to do evil things? If yes, what’s the difference with life on Earth? If no, why do you think it an eternal pleasure to exist eternally as a robotic repetition of things (I suppose that thing is mindlessly chanting “praise the lord”).

        • adam

          “Jesus said a good tree cannot produce a bad fruit and vice versa (as an allegory).”

          Perfect evidence of a bad ‘god’:

          YOU worshiping the creator of EVIL….

          BAD FRUITS

        • John Wilson

          Yes, a truly free world will have both good and evil. Yes, God allowed evil in the world because of the curse of the fall which was done by Adam.

          Here as per Isaiah 45:7, evil doesn’t mean some crafty intention against somebody and God doing some kind of sin. ‘evil’ is an old english KJV translation and from the context it really means ‘Disaster or other plagues as a punishment for sin’.

          Yes he is definitely evil to the sinners who reject his commandments and good to the people who love and obey his commandments.

        • adam

          “Here as per Isaiah 45:7, evil doesn’t mean some crafty intention against
          somebody and God doing some kind of sin. ‘evil’ is an old english KJV
          translation and from the context it really means ‘Disaster or other
          plagues as a punishment for sin’.”

          How cruel can you be John?
          Can you be as cruel as your ‘god’

        • adam
        • adam

          “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering
          (patience), gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, self-control: against
          such there is no law. Galatians 5:23.”

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/a739c44e531cc2a1c8020ed886a9ac0b160015226e3fc3c8b29f6b45672f0706.jpg

        • adam

          “deep child-like hunger to know God and if he exists.”

          THAT is the problem with childish superstitions and beliefs..
          You NEED to be IGNORANT like a child to be TRICKED into believing in IMAGINARY beings.

        • John Wilson

          So .. you mean that I am ignorant ?? Childish ?? All the intelligent Christians who work in knowledge industries like science and research ?? Do you think I don’t know what I’m doing in following Jesus Christ ?? Do you think I did not receive so many blessings from my Lord Jesus Christ to ‘blindly’ follow ?? Do you think that I’m (or the others) that foolish to do something without benefits ??? Do you think I have not done the cost-benefit analysis in following my beloved Lord Jesus Christ ?? Please don’t pass blanket statements …… before knowing what each people are upto.

        • Dys

          Please don’t pass blanket statements …… before knowing what each people are upto.

          The amount of hypocrisy you committed with this one statement is staggering. What’s funny (and sad) is that you probably don’t even see it.

        • adam

          I think it is easier to fool a child, and those who desire to be childish.

          ” Do you think I don’t know what I’m doing in following Jesus Christ ??”

          Yes, I think that.
          Here is what I think happens: https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/0475458f4fd52f3b0b86eb714433ff8ab751ac1d0bddf2f25c23e130ca9d13db.jpg

        • John Wilson

          That’s just your silly opinion in ignorance of the majestic creator of the universe. I don’t have to subscribe to that foolish philosophy 0.0001%.

        • adam

          ” I don’t have to subscribe to that foolish philosophy 0.0001%.”

          And yet you participate 100%

          and WHAT ‘majestic creator of the universe” are you talking about, you’ve FAILED to demonstrate that this ‘god’ of yours is anything but IMAGINARY….

        • Dys

          John, all you’ve got to offer is your own personal theology. What you can’t seem to grasp is that you continue to fail miserably at demonstrating why anyone in their right mind should believe you.

        • John Wilson

          Personal theology ?? I don’t have any right to offer my personal theology. I just base myself out of the theology that God chose to reveal out of his word the Bible.

        • Dys

          In other words, all you actually have is your own opinion, based on your own personal beliefs. Which can be (and probably are) just as silly as you accused Adam’s of being.

        • Dys

          Nobody told you to believe before evidence.

          Except that’s precisely what you proposed was necessary. It’s why your “just look around for evidence” assertion is just an empty bumper sticker slogan – if you don’t presuppose God exists, it’s perfectly clear that it doesn’t hold up at all.

          All you need is an open mind

          I’m still waiting for the day when the apologists around here manage to avoid the vacuousness of “you’re just close-minded”

          a sincere and deep child-like hunger to know God and if he exists.

          You’ve put the cart before the horse. You can’t know God before determining whether he exists or not. I’ve got an open mind, yet I still don’t see any evidence for God. Your test is a complete failure. Try something else.

        • John Wilson

          “Except that’s precisely what you proposed was necessary. It’s why your “just look around for evidence” assertion is just an empty bumper sticker slogan – if you don’t presuppose God exists, it’s perfectly clear that it doesn’t hold up at all.”

          Everything that exists as creature in this world is an open advertisement of a creator. YOU AND ME ARE WALKING ADVERTISEMENTS OF HIS CREATION. All the creation cries creator! creator! ………. Now its our duty as a reasonable being to find out why we came here (meaning -why we exist) and what is the purpose of the creator who has created us and where we are going (what is the creator’s plan behind all this ‘investment’) … doing this with an open sincere heart will lead you to the FIRST STEP in knowing the creator.

          “I’m still waiting for the day when the apologists around here manage to avoid the vacuousness of “you’re just close-minded”

          Close minded because you are not willing to see around what I mentioned above. That’s the first step in knowing the creator.

          “You’ve put the cart before the horse. You can’t know God before determining whether he exists or not. I’ve got an open mind, yet I still don’t see any evidence for God. Your test is a complete failure. Try something else.”

          Lets open our mind to realize the first step mentioned above and then we can go further…..

        • Dys

          So your response was to admit that I’m completely correct in my assessment of your position. Thanks for that. The problem is that your position isn’t reasonable, and relies on presupposing God exists. But if you don’t presuppose that God exists, the silliness of your attempt at an argument is immediately apparent.

          YOU AND ME ARE WALKING ADVERTISEMENTS OF HIS CREATION. All the creation cries creator! creator!

          The only thing this testifies to is that you don’t have any idea how the whole notion of evidence works. Humans existing are evidence that humans exist. They don’t magically become evidence for God unless you presuppose a God created them in the first place. Your argument is nothing more than circular logic – it’s irrational and unreasonable.

          Lets open our mind to realize the first step mentioned above and then we can go further…..

          You’re not talking about being open-minded at all. You’re talking about religious indoctrination and gullibility. Just a tip for your future conversations however – you don’t get to just declare people as being close minded when they reject the assertions you haven’t managed to defend in any meaningful way.

          Since all you’ve offered is “I super-duper believe this is true”, other people rejecting it is not a sign that they’re close minded. It’s a sign that they’re not gullible. You should try and learn the difference.

          As it stands, it seems you’d be more comfortable with mindless preaching rather than apologetics.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          And do you take the same approach with Islam? Do approach it with a childlike hunger to know Allah? Or any of the other thousand religions in the world?

          If not, why not? Why should the atheist be the one to step out in faith? How about you?

        • John Wilson

          “And do you take the same approach with Islam? Do approach it with a childlike hunger to know Allah? Or any of the other thousand religions in the world?

          If not, why not? Why should the atheist be the one to step out in faith? How about you?”

          Try all the religion for yourself .. Nobody is stopping you.. I personally have verified all the claims of all other religion and their ‘fruits’, did a comparative study and found them inadequate or wanting. So I found Christianity to be more rational and true than all those other religion. The case of Jesus Christ if compelling beyond all other ‘gods’.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          If I may speak frankly, my guess is that this is just rationalization after the fact. You’re a Christian, so you just convince yourself that the other religions don’t stand up to Christianity. The result is that you demand that I embrace Christianity in a way that you don’t do yourself. You’re not consistent.

          I accept things only through evidence. Show me the evidence.

        • MNb

          God send himself disguised as his son and sacrificed himself to himself to save mankind from himself and his wrath.
          Yeah, totally rational.
          I need Adam for one of his nice pictures.

        • John Wilson

          I already said that investigating the founder of Islam, his history and his views and comparing him with Jesus Christ was found to be inadequate and wanting compared to the selfless, sacrificial, holy life of Jesus who exhibited humbleness, meekness and forgiveness as a perfect example. So Christ stands out as the truth and fulfilled his claims that he is the way, the truth and the life by living it.

          So, of course others are false religions based on Satan. A truly free world will also have falsity masquerading as truth. We have to investigate compare and find the truth.

        • MNb

          What was your method? How did you establish the reliability of that method?
          How do humbleness, meekness and forgiveness lead to the conclusion of spiritual truth?

          1. Plus Jesus was not humble. Claiming that you’re the son of god is exactly the opposite of humbleness.
          2. Plus he didn’t fulfill his claims. He promised that he would return during the lifetime of his apostles. We still are waiting.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          A perfect god is able to live a perfect life? Why should that be remarkable or even noteworthy?

          Is this meek Jesus the same one who said, “if you don’t have a sword, sell your cloak and buy one”?

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

      God is not your slave or your next door neighbor that He will show up at your request.

      God loves us more than we love ourselves. He’s not going to bother making himself known? Of course he will … if he exists, of course.

      • John Wilson

        “God loves us more than we love ourselves.”

        God loves us but our hearts are sinful with pride, arrogance (intellectual and others) and our hearts are far away from God (spiritually speaking). Sin blinds our eyes and takes us far away from God. Satan and sin is the god of this world preventing us from knowing God and his love. Its like the radio signal which already exists and trying to reach us but we haven’t tuned to it.

        “He’s not going to bother making himself known? Of course he will … if he exists, of course.”

        May be he is trying to reach you through me … I don’t know. There can be different ways that God chooses to reveal himself. He may not, based our expectations like skywriting, apparition etc which is childish. He may choose to reveal himself sometimes through his Word, the Bible, through his Children, through visions, dreams or various other means. Sometimes it could be a gentle ‘touch’ in our heart. That’s how he choose to operate. We can’t ‘force’ him to reveal by any of our expected ways. And most importantly God sees our heart. We can fool another human being but God knows our heart whether we are sincere with an open heart with true deep hunger to know him. When our heart is perfectly ‘tuned’ he will reveal himself to us.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          You want it both ways. You want a god who loves us to pieces, desperately wants to have a relationship with us, and has the power to do so … but when he doesn’t his apologists like you are quick to say that he might have his own good reasons for being shy.

          God looks identical to not-a-god. Which one is likelier?

        • John Wilson

          A person who breaks open a house and enters forcefully is a thief or a murderer. God doesn’t break open the door of your heart or anyone else.. He is not an intruder. God is a gentleman who gently persuades people of his love (sometimes through his Children) and enters their heart out of their own willingness… It is totally your choice to respond or reject it. He uses various means to reveal himself even through the ones we may least expect or trivialize ….

        • Dys

          In other words, all you’ve got is Mysterious Ways as a pathetic excuse for divine hiddenness…well, that and bad metaphors.

        • John Wilson

          God chose certain things to be revealed to us (which we need the most as humans). Lets begin to be faithful to whatever that’s been revealed to us. All others are beyond human scope and not worth bothering.

        • Dys

          *Sigh* Apparently basic reasoning is beyond your ability. We don’t presuppose your God exists. So your assertion that we need to be faithful to something that you can’t reasonably demonstrate has happened is ludicrous on its face.

        • John Wilson

          We have enough evidence that something cannot come from nothing by itself. Nobody has ever observed such a phenomenon anywhere. So that pre-supposes an transcendent, intelligent creator who chose to create long ago in history and the evidence being you and me and also this universe.

        • Dys

          We have enough evidence that something cannot come from nothing by itself.

          Please demonstrate that there was ever nothing.

          So that pre-supposes an transcendent, intelligent creator who chose to create long ago in history and the evidence being you and me and also this universe.

          Go look up what a non-sequitur is, because you’re failing miserably at basic logic.

        • MNb

          “Nobody has ever observed such a phenomenon anywhere.”

          http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0969806X0500263X

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          So don’t bother with using science to learn new stuff? Seems to me that science is the one with the track record. Religion has taught us nothing about reality.

        • John Wilson

          No, I love science and in fact there are many God believing Christians in the scientific world. Science is not bad and it was God who created science and also by giving us the brain and the reasoning capacity to do good science. Science can only answer the things of the material world but, Bible talks about the creator himself, who is transcendent and who created this material world, his purpose and his intention and his relationship with his creatures.

          We are just wary of the bad science which tries to remove the creator out of the equation.

          There are truths of different category. Science works on the material truths which involve matter, energy etc. whereas religion speaks about the spiritual truths that are unseen but true and can be experienced.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Science can only answer the things of the material world but, Bible talks about the creator himself, who is transcendent and who created this material world, his purpose and his intention and his relationship with his creatures.

          Science delivers. When science says something, we have reason to believe that it works (consider the science behind the electricity, computer, and internet that allows us to communicate).

          Religion handwaves claims but can’t even get its story straight. Christianity says one thing, Hinduism another, Islam yet another, so even within religion there is no consensus. And, of course, there is no evidence to believe what religion claims.

        • John Wilson

          “Science delivers. When science says something, we have reason to believe that it works (consider the science behind the electricity, computer, and internet that allows us to communicate).Religion handwaves claims but can’t even get its story straight. Christianity says one thing, Hinduism another, Islam yet another, so even within religion there is no consensus. And, of course, there is no evidence to believe what religion claims.”

          True science has its own power. But supernatural power is beyond science and it has created you and me out of nothing.
          I have had miracles in my life and also seen many other miracles in other believers lives as exactly mentioned in the New testament performed by Jesus and his apostles 2000 yrs ago. That itself is sufficient for me to believe in Christ.

          Good observation on religions … So religions that fundamentally contradict each other in their views cannot all be the same. Somebody has to be at false. There can be only one absolute truth. Jesus also claimed that he is the way, the truth and the life. I personally investigated the founders of the religions, their claims, examined their lives and their teachings and found them inadequate or wanting compared to the selfless, holy, sacrificial life of Jesus Christ who lived what he preached and set up an example of humbleness, meekness and forgiveness.

        • MNb

          “Somebody has to be at false.”
          Or they all are false.

          “Jesus also claimed that he is the way.”
          How can you show me this is a spiritual truth and not a spiritual untruth?

          “I personally investigated”
          How? By sucking on your big fat thumb?

          “selfless, holy, sacrificial life of Jesus Christ”
          How did you establish that Jesus’ life was holy?
          How does selflessness and self-sacrifice lead to the conclusion of a spiritual truth iso a spiritual untruth?

          “who lived what he preached and set up an example of humbleness, meekness and forgiveness.”
          Claiming that you’re the son of god is the summum of arrogance.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          True science has its own power. But supernatural power is beyond science and it has created you and me out of nothing.

          Empty claims. You give no evidence for your supernatural claims, so you might as well not bother. Why should I believe them?

          So religions that fundamentally contradict each other in their views cannot all be the same. Somebody has to be at false.

          Or they’re all false.

          There can be only one absolute truth.

          Here’s one: religion makes empty claims. I need evidence.

        • MNb

          “I love science”
          Only those who reject huge chunks of science make that claim, so this doesn’t speak in your favour at all.

          BobS wrote: “Religion has taught us nothing about reality.”
          You wrote: “Bible talks about the creator himself”

          Let’s test this.

          You claim that Jesus rose from the death.
          Muslims claim Jesus didn’t, but that Mohammed rode the sky on his horse Buraq.
          Cannibals from Papua Guinea claim that they take over the intelligence and wisdom from their victims by eating their brains. You probably reject this.

          These claims all are based on religion.

          Now how do you decide which claim is correct and which ones are incorrect? What’s your method? How do you establish its reliability? In general:

          “religion speaks about the spiritual truths”
          How do you separate spiritual truths from spiritual untruths?

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          That’s not at all the issue, and I wonder why you’re not getting it.

          Yes, it’s sweet that God is a gentleman, but that’s step 2. Step 1 is figuring out whether this dude even exists.

          The evidence says No.

        • John Wilson

          You have contradicted yourself there. Why do you seek for somebody whom you already know and ‘certain’ and also ‘concluded’ does not exist ?? then why do you think he will show up to you ?

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Where did I say that I was certain that God doesn’t exist?

          I also am not certain that Bigfoot doesn’t exist … but that’s where the evidence points.

        • John Wilson

          Big foot could exist (you or I do not know or prove) … But given the evidence of the world that we exist, which was created from nothing and the origin of sin, moral values and free-will and other things that exist, it is more rational and compatible with the existence of God and his interaction through history in this fallen world (even until this day) as mentioned in the Bible than that of the fictional ‘magical’ stories and existence of a big foot.?

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Bigfoot isn’t that big a deal. The gorilla is another example of a large mammal that wasn’t known to Western science until the 1800s, I believe. Yet another large cryptid would be quite surprising but hardly unprecedented.

          God, on the other hand would be. We have zero examples of the supernatural.

        • John Wilson

          You have to move out of your comfort zone to see ‘examples’ of supernatural world over. there are soo many occurring in many peoples lives. I myself had been healed from Kidney trouble miraculously with just prayer and zero medicine. You have to meet me and ask my friends and parents to know about it. I have personally seen many people after being rejected by doctors being healed.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          I’m happy for your health improvement, but your anecdote means nothing to me, I’m afraid. I need it vetted by experts.

          “I was healed!” claims are common … but no one ever seems motivated to take it to the next step by finding skeptical doctors or scientists and getting them on your side.

        • MNb

          Yeah, if you presuppose something like god everything is more rational and compatible with the existence of your god etc. Unfortunately for you it’s a circular argument.

        • adam

          “A person who breaks open a house and enters forcefully is a thief or a murderer. ”

          Speaking of murderers:

        • John Wilson

          God hates sin and sinful people vehemently and will definitely destroy them. Nothing wrong in punishing criminals with capital punishment or other forms of punishment. Killing a criminal is not murder.

        • Dys

          Killing a criminal is not murder.

          Do you need it explained to you why this is stupid, or can you figure it out for yourself?

        • John Wilson

          So, please call all the murderers and criminals who are sentenced to capital punishment in the US and provide them asylum at your home.

          Also, somebody who rapes your daughter and kills your wife should be enjoying a vacation in Hawaii and never be punished until he dies and go free ??

        • Dys

          So, please call all the murderers and criminals who are sentenced to capital punishment in the US and provide them asylum at your home.

          Do you bother reading your own responses before clicking ‘Post’? Because they rarely have anything to do with what you’re responding to. Your comprehension skills are terrible, and your answers fall into the “not even wrong” category. You’re so far off base that it appears you’re involved in a completely different conversation than the one everyone else is actually having.

          Killing a criminal can most definitely be classified as murder. Please explain how this magically means they shouldn’t be punished, or that I somehow want criminals living in my house. Because it doesn’t make any sense to me, nor should it to anyone else with basic reading skills.

          Here, I’ll try to help you out…what do you call the situation where a convicted inmate kills another convicted inmate in prison?

        • MNb

          BWAHAHAHAHA!
          Excellent false dichotomy. Hey John, civilized countries – which coincidentally (?) are less influenced by your brand of christianity – have abandoned the death penalty a long time ago. Guess what? Murder rates are significantly lower.
          And no – the murderers in those countries don’t get vacations in Hawaii.

        • John Wilson

          “Excellent false dichotomy. Hey John, civilized countries – which coincidentally (?) are less influenced by your brand of christianity – have abandoned the death penalty a long time ago. Guess what? Murder rates are significantly lower.
          And no – the murderers in those countries don’t get vacations in Hawaii.”

          Christianity has nothing to do with murders and civilization. Christianity is not about countries either or anything to do with this world or people living in a ‘Christian’ country. It is a way to go to heaven based on the salvation and the commandments provided by the creator of heaven. So if somebody fails to adhere to those standards he/she is not a christian by definition.

        • MNb

          “Christianity has nothing to do with murders and civilization.”
          No? Then you’re OK with gay marriage and legalized abortion, I suppose. They are all about civilization.

          “Christianity is not about countries either.”
          Excellent! Shall we cooperate to push christianity entirely out of politics? Politics is all about countries, this world and the people living withing those countries.

          “So if somebody fails to adhere to those standards he/she is not a christian by definition.”
          And the concept of sin implies that nobody is capable to adhere to those standards by definition, so there never has been a christian by definition. You’re not a christian either.

        • adam

          “Nothing wrong in punishing criminals with capital punishment or other forms of punishment. Killing a criminal is not murder.”

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          That’s debatable. What’s not debatable is that God’s asymmetric punishment–infinite punishment in hell for finite crimes here on earth–makes God the worst criminal ever.

        • John Wilson

          But he is giving eternal pleasures in heaven for loving him, accepting his salvation and just being good for a few years ? How is that reasonable ? So by saying unfair, you are depriving millions who wants to live eternally and enjoy the pleasures of heaven by obeying his commands in this short life. Now, you are acting like the criminal by not allowing people who deserve into heaven.

          Sin has to be punished either in this life or thereafter. If not, there is no difference between Mother Teresa and Hitler and really no incentive for doing good. People can do terrible bad crimes and just get away painlessly by just suicide.

          Cause will have an effect even if it is delayed due to God being patient. Sin is the ‘infection’ of the holy things which needs to be quarantined away and burnt from the presence of Holy God in heaven.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          But he is giving eternal pleasures in heaven for loving him, accepting his salvation and just being good for a few years ?

          What’s your point—that infinite heaven make up for terrible conditions here on earth?

          Let’s explore that. Say we’re talking and I get mad and punch you in the nose. Then I realize that I overstepped, so I offer you a million dollars to make it right. You accept, and that’s that.

          Here’s the question: was it still morally wrong for me to punch you?

          you are acting like the criminal by not allowing people who deserve into heaven.

          God creating hell so that imperfect people could be tortured forever is infinite punishment for finite crime. That’s just what early Iron Age people would come up with.

          To us, however, that’s hideous.

          Sin has to be punished either in this life or thereafter.

          Hitler wept a silent prayer as he accepted Jesus into his heart just before he killed himself. He’s up in heaven right now, giving Jesus back rubs.

          Where’s your perfect justice now?

          really no incentive for doing good.

          One gets into heaven by grace, not by doing good. So no, you have no incentive for doing good.

          Humanists who know that this life on earth is the only one they’ve got have plenty of incentive for doing good.

        • MR

          What’s your point—that infinite heaven make up for terrible conditions here on earth?

          Oh, see the rant I just posted!

          God creating hell so that imperfect people could be tortured forever is infinite punishment for finite crime.

          Don’t forget that he created them knowing this would be their fate and that none of them asked to be created. What a douche.

        • Susan

          he created them knowing this would be their fate and that none of them asked to be created

          Don’t forget hundreds of millions of years of nervous systems. Don’t forget the claim that an omnipotent, omniscient, omnibenevolent agent created cycles of immense suffering for hundreds and hundreds of millions of years in which humans don’t stand out particularly except to ourselves…

          What about forest fires and baby chipmunks? What about bats and fungus? What about prehistoric fleas?

          Oh Noez! Does that mean the universe isn’t all about SteveK or Fabio or John Wilson? Noooooooooooooooo!!!!!!

          If there’s no god, then why would tthose guys exist?

          It doesn’t make sense.

        • John Wilson

          “Don’t forget hundreds of millions of years of nervous systems. Don’t forget the claim that an omnipotent, omniscient, omnibenevolent agent created cycles of immense suffering for hundreds and hundreds of millions of years in which humans don’t stand out particularly except to ourselves…
          What about forest fires and baby chipmunks? What about bats and fungus? What about prehistoric fleas?
          Oh Noez! Does that mean the universe isn’t all about SteveK or Fabio or John Wilson? Noooooooooooooooo!!!!!!
          If there’s no god, then why would tthose guys exist?
          It doesn’t make sense.”

          Yes, suffering came because of Adam’s disobedience. Please see my reply to MnB. this universe is winding down(entropy). God is not going to ‘renovate’ this broken world. Instead he has a ‘rescue’ mission to heaven ‘the better place’ through Jesus Christ.

          Many forest fires are good says ecologists. All the evil and suffering is because of the curse of sin. We don’t have to worry about baby chipmunks while we have a lot to worry about human children. they don’t have self awareness anyway and don’t have a soul to go to heaven. so bothering for chipmunks will be a waste of time. Lets worry about human children who has a soul and the potential to go to heaven. God is not bothered about chipmunks anyway, rather he is worried about the humans which he made in his image.

        • Susan

          I don’t know what to say, John.

          Why do you believe all this stuff?

          Everyone knows that suffering came into the world because Pandora opened that damned box.

        • Dys

          It’s the warm fuzzies…it’s always the warm fuzzies in the end.

        • Susan

          It’s disturbing how cold-blooded their warm fuzzies often look and sound from the outside.

        • Dys

          It’s Gizmo and Gremlins.

        • MR

          Man, it just gets weird the degree that Christians can justify their horrors.

        • MNb

          Yeah, save me from christian love ….

        • Dys

          Yes, suffering came because of Adam’s disobedience.

          So, in your twisted view, suffering exists because one guy fucked up with God. And so God immorally set up a system where everyone is now in the same boat despite having absolutely nothing to do with the original transgression.

          Humans have figured out that people shouldn’t be punished for the actions of others. Why hasn’t God?

        • MR

          Ha! So much for all those Sunday school pictures of those cuddly animals on Noah’s boatsie-boatsie. The lion and lamb lying side by side? Sheer propaganda, I guess. Lies from beginning to end.

        • MR

          And think of the untold suffering by all those millions of animals every single day at the hands of (claws and beaks of) predators. What have they done to deserve that? Did Adam-Bambi and Bambi-Eve disobey God, too, that their offspring have to die horrible deaths every day ripped apart and having their own intestines eaten in front of them as they take their last dying breaths? Sorry to be so graphic, but is this really the sign of a loving God?

          Not even I believe God could be that cruel.

          For God so loved the world that he causes innocent animals suffer horribly every day for no good reason.—JohnW 3:16b

        • John Wilson

          “Oh, see the rant I just posted!”

          Please read reply to Bob.

          “Don’t forget that he created them knowing this would be their fate and that none of them asked to be created. What a douche.”

          God created human beings to freely partake in his joy, love and peace which he already enjoys forever. Existence (and there by partaking of God’s goodness) is better than non-existence and also God wanted to have a loving relationship with his children and that is the sole purpose of creation. God cannot be blamed on that good motive of wanting and thereby creating human beings to partake in his goodness and glory.

          A world without free will is meaningless and just robotic repeatition of things. The reason you are asking question and ‘reasoning’ itself shows there is free will. Cows, goats never ask questions or reason because they lack free will. You can never truly enjoy anything in such a robotic world. You will just be programmed to eat, taste, and love and do routines without meaning. Such an existance has no meaning. So, God created a world with free will for human beings. A being with free will should also be placed in a world where there will be free choices to make between good and bad, otherwise, still there will be no free will for the being.

          Free will always have a choice. Satan was already trying to thwart God’s plan and waiting for an opportunity and Adam lost it by heeding to his words.

          Adam’s responsibility as a created being is to obey God like a child (he was more mature than a child … of course… he should know better) without question. When a doctor says a patient not to eat something which will be harmful for his health and warned him, the duty of the patient should be to simply obey and does not necessarily need to have any ‘reasons’ from the doctor. God has million reasons (which he doesn’t chose to reveal) to have all the trees planted in the garden for his pleasure and autonomy and it doesn’t matter. A truly free garden will (in fact, should) have all kinds of trees including good and bad. Its only the obedience to authority (not choosing good or bad tree) that matters here.

          Adam’s duty is to obey regardless and Adam clearly failed God’s test in his free choice in-spite of God’s warning to obey his words. There were so many other beautiful fruit trees in the garden from which God allowed him to eat. Why didn’t Adam choose from those ?? Why did he choose form tree of good and evil ??? GOD CLEARLY GAVE OTHER CHOICES TO EAT ONLY FROM OTHER TREES. It clearly shows his ‘own’ choice and not God’s choice and thereby disobedience. God clearly cannot be blamed here. He gave all the warning and also asked him to eat from other fruit trees than from the tree of knowledge. Adam failed the test of obedience to authority

        • MR

          Of course God can be blamed. He knew in advance he was creating them for eternal torment, yet he did it anyway. Worse, he created the vast majority of mankind for eternal torment.

          Those are not the actions of a loving God.

          Mankind’s fault for eating an apple? Really? For disobedience? Oh, my! That’s like your child being disobedient to you so you hire thugs to kidnap her and lock her away in a basement somewhere and torture her for the rest of her life. That’s a shitty father right there.

          On the other hand, if you see this as a myth, a story made by men, things kind of fall into place. That you believe it to be real indicates just how naive you are.

          For God so loved the world that he created the vast majority of mankind against their will knowing he was sending them to eternal torment. —JohnW 3:16

        • John Wilson

          “What’s your point—that infinite heaven make up for terrible conditions here on earth?
          Let’s explore that. Say we’re talking and I get mad and punch you in the nose. Then I realize that I overstepped, so I offer you a million dollars to make it right. You accept, and that’s that.
          Here’s the question: was it still morally wrong for me to punch you?”

          Yes, .. People take years of training and hardship to win Olympic gold medals. Years of sacrifice and training to win Guinness record. To get into famous universities you have to clear rigorous entrance exams and prove yourself. So yes, this world is a testing ground for us to be purified, develop character and make us worthy to be in heaven with God. It is about being with the holy God with love peace and joy for ever. So, yes the tests will be rigorous.

          It was God who defined the moral laws and it is his and if he wishes to forgive somebody because they have received the salvation offer given by him it is up to him and his autonomy. Heaven is created by God and it is for people who accept his salvation. Every sin and immorality is ultimately committed against the creator EVEN THOUGH IT IS SOMETIMES BETWEEN TWO HUMANS. So, if the perpetrator and the victims both accept the salvation offer by God, then both will be in heaven. So if Hitler and his victims both were saved then both of them will be in heaven. BOTH ARE GIVEN EQUAL OPPORTUNITY, So ultimately, the ‘morally wrong’ doesn’t matter for entry into heaven as long as they accept salvation and forgiven. Eternal life is what finally matters than the short temporal existence in this earth.

          “God creating hell so that imperfect people could be tortured forever is infinite punishment for finite crime. That’s just what early Iron Age people would come up with.To us, however, that’s hideous.”

          Its nothing to do with Iron age. Cause will have an effect even in Information age. Sin will have consequences. Just because we invented technology and our thinking has changed and we have manipulated the earth and made artificial conveniences doesn’t mean that sin will go unpunished. It will still be as per the original design of the universe.

          “Hitler wept a silent prayer as he accepted Jesus into his heart just before he killed himself. He’s up in heaven right now, giving Jesus back rubs.”

          Possible. Its the discretion of the creator based on his authority and autonomy and the acceptance of his PRICELESS SALVATION. If Hitler has taken such a great offer, he is smart and of course he deserves it. Smart people deserve good things.

          “One gets into heaven by grace, not by doing good. So no, you have no incentive for doing good.
          Humanists who know that this life on earth is the only one they’ve got have plenty of incentive for doing good.”

          One doesn’t go to heaven by grace but by the acceptance of the offer of salvation. Only salvation is by grace and heaven is not by grace. One should accept the offer of salvation of Christ’s atonement. Rejecting God and thereby his salvation is the biggest sin of infinite value in comparison to all the other sins.

        • MNb

          “It was God who defined the moral laws”
          Ah – slavery is wrong is not a moral law according to you. Got it.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          this world is a testing ground for us to be purified, develop character and make us worthy to be in heaven with God. It is about being with the holy God with love peace and joy for ever. So, yes the tests will be rigorous.

          God’s a pretty poor teacher if he graduates only a small number of students.

          It was God who defined the moral laws and it is his and if he wishes to forgive somebody because they have received the salvation offer given by him it is up to him and his autonomy.

          Right—the lesson of Job. God can do whatever the hell he wants to because he can. What fun! Can I worship this maniac, too?

          So if Hitler and his victims both were saved then both of them will be in heaven.

          That’s a big if. Hitler was raised Christian, and many in the concentration camps were Jews. They’re not getting into heaven.

          Pretty ironic when Hitler is playing canasta with Jesus in heaven while his victims broast in hell forever.

          Also ironic when you remember that Yahweh was originally the god of his chosen people, the Jews. Now he only cares about the Christians. Weird.

          BOTH ARE GIVEN EQUAL OPPORTUNITY

          Most religious people are simply mirrors of their environment. A baby in America is likely to grow up Christian, and one in Pakistan will grow up Muslim. If Christianity is the right way, then no, people do not have equal opportunity.

          Its nothing to do with Iron age.

          Iron Age people think that slavery is fine and genocide is just. Modern people don’t. See the difference?

          Its the discretion of the creator based on his authority and autonomy and the acceptance of his PRICELESS SALVATION. If Hitler has taken such a great offer, he is smart and of course he deserves it.

          Since we agree, don’t bother telling me about God’s perfect justice, where all crimes are accounted for.

          Rejecting God and thereby his salvation is the biggest sin of infinite value in comparison to all the other sins.

          Ironic, isn’t it? God gives us a big brain, and when we use it to question the evidence for his evidence, we get punished.

          That puzzle will help amuse me when I’m burning in hell. Spare a thought for me once in a while while you’re up in heaven, OK?

        • MNb

          “he is giving eternal pleasures in heaven for loving him”
          Eternal pleasures are getting boring quickly. If you have to eat your favourite food every single day, how long will it take you to dislike it?

          “and really no incentive for doing good”
          If anything shows how miserable christianity is it is this. You do good ‘cuz god, not because humanity. Thanks though for confirming that you don’t pray for me because you want to do good for my sake – you pray for me because you want to do good for god’s sake. It makes your claim that you love me void.

          “People can do terrible bad crimes and just get away painlessly by just suicide.”
          Yes, life is unfair, as the baby learned whose ball was snatched away by a dog.
          Now what’s your option? Rudolf Höss, responsible for killing 1,5 million jews in Auschwitz, converted just before he died, put his fate in the hands of your living Jesus and hence now according to you enjoys the eternal pleasures in Heaven. His jewish victims at the other hand are screwed. I suppose one of those eternal pleasures Höss enjoys is laughing at those victims.
          So much for divine justice.

    • MNb

      “You have to go …..”
      Why? I don’t feel any urge to go to my president either.

      “Then you will begin to see (meaning – experience) God”
      Ah – believe in god then you will experience god so that you can believe in god.

      “Can you make Sulphuric acid by mixing Water and salt ???”
      Oh? Is your god the result of a chemical reaction?

      “God may take months and even years”
      In my case rather centuries …..

      • John Wilson

        “Why? I don’t feel any urge to go to my president either.”

        The discussion here is about God meeting us according to Bob. You not going to president is a different discussion.

        “Ah – believe in God then you will experience Gd so that you can believe in God.”

        You don’t have to believe to begin with as a true seeker. But you should also be ready to seek for God with an unbiased mind. When you choose to disbelieve ‘adamantly’ (maybe based on your existing theories in your mind) and shut your door willfully with a biased mind, why would you expect God to twist your mind to make you believe ?? God is a gentleman and has given us free choice and will never force somebody into believing in him. If you seek him truly with all your heart and humbleness then he will definitely reveal himself. He will choose to reveal himself based on his terms and conditions and not yours.

        “In my case rather centuries …..”

        yes, if you live for centuries until your heart is ready.
        He will wait till your heart is ready, unbiased and with true hunger to know him. Only then he will reveal personally. He has already revealed himself in the book of nature sufficiently for his existence.

        • MNb

          “The discussion here is about God meeting us according to Bob. You not going to president is a different discussion.”
          No, it isn’t. You see, just like BobS asks from your god, if the president needs him for whatever reason the president will make very sure he’ll find him. Your god doesn’t – he either doesn’t care or he doesn’t exist.

          “You don’t have to believe to begin with as a true seeker.”
          Ah, the No True Seeker fallacy.

          “But you should also be ready to seek for God with an unbiased mind.”
          Ah, but I did as a kid and a teen. I learned the Lord’s Prayer (thought it was cool), sang in a church choir (fun!), played one of the three magis on stage (more sweet memories). But to save you the effort – you will call me a No True Seeker.

          “He will choose to reveal himself based on his terms and conditions and not yours.”
          And one of those terms is a biased heart or you’re No True Seeker. Got it.

          “He has already revealed himself in the book of nature sufficiently for his existence.”

          Thanks for confirming that you need a biased heart – with my unbiased mind I found nothing about any god in the book of nature.

        • John Wilson

          “No, it isn’t. You see, just like BobS asks from your god, if the president needs him for whatever reason the president will make very sure he’ll find him. Your god doesn’t – he either doesn’t care or he doesn’t exist.”

          So .. you are not a seeker then with closed mind .. I mean not a true seeker who wants to know the truth. May be you just want to argue and make to look religious people stupid. May be God knows your intention of your heart and he doesn’t reveal because of your wicked heart that just want to argue and make people look bad and doesn’t really want to know the truth. God will never reveal himself to such people.

          “Ah, the No True Seeker fallacy.”

          And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart. Jeremiah 29:13. The person who does this is called a ‘true seeker’. Others are just …time-pass and want to argue and make people look believers stupid with no true intention to know about God.

          “Ah, but I did as a kid and a teen. I learned the Lord’s Prayer (thought it was cool), sang in a church choir (fun!), played one of the three magis on stage (more sweet memories). But to save you the effort – you will call me a No True Seeker.”

          I agree that you did so many ‘rituals’ …… that’s just religion, no use at all ..

          Were you convicted of sin and saved by living God Jesus Christ ??

          “And one of those terms is a biased heart or you’re No True Seeker. Got it.”

          You probably don’t need to ‘seek’ now (from God’s POV) because may be God is using me to convey the truth and speak directly to your heart. Its now only to accept or reject the truth. Remember, God can choose to reveal himself and his truth through one of his Children.

          “Thanks for confirming that you need a biased heart – with my unbiased mind I found nothing about any god in the book of nature.”

          That’s because your spiritual eyes are blinded by Satan to see the truth of God’s creation by some man-made and Satan inspired theories and which you have knowingly or unknowingly subscribed to and want to cling to.

        • adam

          “And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart. Jeremiah 29:13”

        • John Wilson

          Yes, we are also slaves to Christ in a spiritual sense. Christ purchased us from this sinful world by shedding his precious blood and has bought us with a price.

          For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s. 1 Cor. 6:20.

          For the one who was a slave when called to faith in the Lord is the Lord’s freed person; similarly, the one who was free when called is Christ’s slave. 1 Cor 7:22.

          The old testament is a shadow or ‘type’ for the spiritual things in new testament. Yes everybody owned slaves in those times including atheists of that time. It was a cultural phenomenon to own slaves due to complete huge labor demand unlike the modern machinery which makes job easier for us. Both the parties were very happy with the contract (from the cultural perspective of that time) and were willingly doing their job. Win-win situation for both parties rather than the laborers dying of starvation and poverty.

        • adam

          “It was a cultural phenomenon to own slaves due to complete huge labor
          demand unlike the modern machinery which makes job easier for us.”

          And so YOUR ‘god’ condones slavery, the ownership of other human beings AS PROPERTY.

          “Both the parties were very happy with the contract (from the cultural perspective of that time) and were willingly doing their job.”

          LIAR

          “and were willingly doing their job.”

          It’s not a JOB if they are owned like property

          Besides why would they need BEATINGS is they were willingly ‘doing their job’?

        • John Wilson

          “And so YOUR ‘god’ condones slavery, the ownership of other human beings AS PROPERTY.”

          Yes his labor is an asset worth as a property and he has sold himself to labor so yes. Nothing wrong with that. It was Ok in those times (we cant compare it with modern times) and people were willing to become slaves to save themselves from debt and poverty.

          Also, Old testament is not perfect and God allowed some pre-existing human customs without making major changes, which people would not have understood anyway. Old testament cultural laws were only a temporary solution. If you try to explain modern slavery laws it wouldn’t make sense to those uneducated people. God had to wait until the right time and also the perfect spiritual laws of the new testament arrives through Jesus Christ.

          Anyway, nobody is following those cultural laws anymore because God has made the new covenant under Jesus Christ. So it is irrelevant now.

        • Dys

          Slavery in the OT was not indentured servitude John – that’s what dishonest slavery apologists try to pass it off as.

        • MNb

          “we cant compare it with modern times”
          Because gods morals have changed?

          “because God has made the new covenant under Jesus Christ.”

          Which also contains Matth. 5:18.

        • John Wilson

          “because God has made the new covenant under Jesus Christ.”

          Cultural laws are defined by God for the specific times and are temporary. It can change. But spiritual and relationship laws that define human beings as how they ought to be and it will be forever as long as humans exist.

        • MNb

          So Jesus came to change some tittles and iotas indeed and Mattheus was wrong in 5:18.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Anyway, nobody is following those cultural laws anymore because God has made the new covenant under Jesus Christ. So it is irrelevant now.

          Irrelevant? So then all that Old Testament stuff against homosexuality is also gone?

        • John Wilson

          “Irrelevant? So then all that Old Testament stuff against homosexuality is also gone?”

          There are cultural laws, Spiritual laws, relationship laws etc in the bible. Cultural laws are temporary and is specific for the times. But spiritual and relationship laws that define human beings as how they ought to be and it will be forever as long as humans exist. So, no Homosexuality will still be a sin.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Nice save! I was afraid that I couldn’t hate fags anymore. Thanks for making clear that that’s A-OK from God’s standpoint.

        • adam

          “Anyway, nobody is following those cultural laws anymore because God has made the new covenant under Jesus Christ.”

          And yes, we understand how you are ‘good’ with slavery.

          A cruel god makes a cruel man.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          You embarrass yourself, my friend. Old Testament slavery was just like New World slavery.

          No, not win-win.

        • John Wilson

          Old testament slavery was completely different in many ways than the New World slavery. God gave special laws in protection of slaves for the Hebrews though there were harsh and cruel masters during those times.

          Yes, it was a win-win for both the people at those times only because there was no other alternatives. Otherwise all the slaves would perish. That was the best they could come up with during those times due to the high demand for labor.

          Yes, God allowed slavery based on the existing culture. However, he did not say THOU SHALT OWN SLAVES. It was a human custom existing at the time and God will not magically change the culture and the ignorance of the people of the times. God chooses to work through progressive revelation. Humanity itself was like in an ‘infancy’ stage spiritually at those times. Even if God had revealed them ‘ higher spiritual laws’ it wouldn’t have made sense to them. The old testament was not perfect, and was only a temporary solution until the new spiritual laws would arrive millennium later during Jesus time. God had to wait for the perfect time to give the NEW TESTAMENT, the perfect law.

        • Dys

          Yes, it was a win-win for both the people at those times only because there was no other alternatives.

          Slavery apologists are laughably bad. There were no alternatives…God couldn’t command them to not take slaves? Or to treat conquered people as actual human beings instead of property? Your imagination is pathetically limited if you can’t conjure up any alternatives.

          God had to wait for the perfect time to give the NEW TESTAMENT, the perfect law.

          So God is limited and not omnipotent at all.

        • John Wilson

          “Slavery apologists are laughably bad. There were no alternatives…God couldn’t command them to not take slaves? Or to treat conquered people as actual human beings instead of property? Your imagination is pathetically limited if you can’t conjure up any alternatives.”

          I don’t think slavery is a right way of doing things from the modern perspective. But given the dire circumstances of the times, and people were willing to be slaves instead of being dead and being poor, I don’t think it is a bad option either for those times. It is not a sin in anyway. It was just an inconvenience due to the dire circumstances of the time.

          As I already said, God works through human flaws over time instead of magically changing it instantly. God could have sent Jesus immediately after the fall of Adam and rescued everyone immediately (one of the alternative). then there is no point in having time as an entity … everything will be done in a day. It is silly if the entire universe was created only for a day and God finishes everything in a day. GOD WORKS THROUGH TIME, through human weakness and until the appointed time when the true and complete revelation comes. It came when Jesus came in the New testament. From a cosmic perspective, 1000’s of years just seem very small in God’s eyes than ours, him being the infinite creator. Old testament was only a temporary solution and it is not perfect.

          “So God is limited and not omnipotent at all.”

          Omnipotence doesn’t mean magically doing things in a day with haste and correct everything. Only humans have such narrow view. It is also about respecting the free will of human beings and also doing things in time. God does things with long suffering (means patiently).

        • Dys

          But given the dire circumstances of the times, and people were willing to be slaves instead of being dead and being poor

          John, stop pretending that slavery in the OT was just indentured servitude. It’s incredibly dishonest.

          For the rest, you’re basically just going with the standard Mysterious Ways™ excuse for getting around obvious deficiencies in theology. It’s the perfect escape clause, but it doesn’t deserve to be taken seriously.

          Omnipotence doesn’t mean magically doing things in a day with haste and correct everything.

          No kidding. However, you said God HAD to wait…which implies an obvious restriction on his power.

        • MNb

          “Old testament slavery was completely different in many ways than the New World slavery.”
          Let me grant you this. Do you advocate introducing that type of OT slavery in our modern society again?

          “God allowed slavery based on the existing culture.”
          Ah – gods ideas about what’s right and wrong depends on human culture. So much for the eternal morals of your god.

          “However, he did not say THOU SHALT OWN SLAVES.”
          He did not say “THOU SHALL SET SLAVES FREE WHENEVER THEY EXPRESS THAT WISH” either. Nor did Jesus.

          “it wouldn’t have made sense to them.”

          Oh yes, it would. Cyrus the Great set slaves free – ao the captivated jews.

          http://www.persepolis.nu/persepolis-cyrus.htm

        • John Wilson

          Please see my previous response to Bob on this topic

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Old testament slavery was completely different in many ways than the New World slavery.

          I disagree. They were almost identical. I’ve written more here.

          Yes, it was a win-win for both the people at those times only because there was no other alternatives.

          God couldn’t think up alternatives? I have higher standards for the omniscient creator of the universe than you, apparently.

          he did not say THOU SHALT OWN SLAVES.

          Correct! If the Bible couldn’t get the most basic moral question right, one wonders what good it is.

          Humanity itself was like in an ‘infancy’ stage spiritually at those times.

          Oh, please. When Moses came down with the 10 Commandments, did cops hand out warnings for the first few generations so people could get a hang of them? Nope—it was the death penalty for most of them immediately.

          There were no training wheels. If God knew that slavery was wrong, he could’ve demanded that it be stopped immediately.

          God had to wait for the perfect time to give the NEW TESTAMENT, the perfect law.

          Oh, I see. So it’s the New Testament that has the laws against slavery then?

        • John Wilson

          I don’t think slavery is a right way of doing things from the modern perspective. But given the dire circumstances of the times, and people were willing to be slaves instead of being dead and being poor, I don’t think it is a bad option either for those times. It is not a sin in anyway. It was just an inconvenience due to the dire circumstances of the time.

          “God couldn’t think up alternatives? I have higher standards for the omniscient creator of the universe than you, apparently.”

          As I already said, God works through human flaws over time instead of magically changing it instantly. God could have sent Jesus immediately after the fall of Adam and rescued everyone immediately (one of the alternative). then there is no point in having time as an entity … everything will be done in a day. It is silly if the entire universe was created only for a day and God finishes everything in a day. GOD WORKS THROUGH TIME, through human weakness and until the appointed time when the true and complete revelation comes. It came when Jesus came in the New testament. Old testament was only a temporary solution and it is not perfect.

          “Oh, please. When Moses came down with the 10 Commandments, did cops hand out warnings for the first few generations so people could get a hang of them? Nope—it was the death penalty for most of them immediately.”

          When I was a child, my parents punished me and did not give me reasons for many things and I would not have understood all the reasons at the time for my age. I thought my parents were Monsters with that little brain. I never did realize that they did it for my good at that age. My duty invariably as a child is to obey my parents irrespective of my ‘reason’ and I don’t necessarily need one for that age. I should know that they will only think good of me and that’s all I need to know. If I don’t obey, then they will have to punish me.

          But when I became older, I had many of the reasons not to misbehave and I don’t need to obey based on ‘fear’ of my parents or their whacking but out of love.

          “Oh, I see. So it’s the New Testament that has the laws against slavery then?”

          Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. Matthew 22:39.

          Everyone hating his brother is a murderer; and you know that any murderer does not have eternal life abiding in him. 1 John 3:15.

          Jesus washed the feet of his disciples showing his humbleness and also said,

          The person who is greatest among you must be your servant. Matthew 23:11. thus showing servant leadership.

        • MNb

          “I don’t think slavery is a right way of doing things from the modern perspective.”
          Thanks for confirming that god’s morals do change.

          “my parents punished me and did not give me reasons for many things.”

          Then you have bad parents. When I punished my son – or punish my pupils – I always tell them why. And I never punish(ed) them harder than strictly necessary for correcting their behaviour. In fact it’s my habit to withdraw my punishment as soon as I’m convinced that the kid will change his/her behaviour. Guess what? The vast majority of my pupils enormously appreciate me for this attitude.
          Thanks for providing another reason not to become a christian.

          You didn’t address

          He did not say “THOU SHALL SET SLAVES FREE WHENEVER THEY EXPRESS THAT WISH” either. Nor did Jesus.

          nor that it would have made sense to them to tell them to set slaves free, because there are precedents.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          I don’t think slavery is a right way of doing things from the modern perspective. But given the dire circumstances of the times, and people were willing to be slaves instead of being dead and being poor, I don’t think it is a bad option either for those times. It is not a sin in anyway. It was just an inconvenience due to the dire circumstances of the time.

          Dire conditions? Oh, if only there were an omnipotent, loving god available to change things for the better …

          You’ve ignored the main point: biblical slavery and American slavery were pretty much identical. It’s all in that post—did you read it?

          As I already said, God works through human flaws over time instead of magically changing it instantly.

          What human flaws? Bad economic conditions? How about God provide good rains and improved seed characteristics so that there were good harvests and everyone was employed?

          God is wringing his hands at the institution of biblical slavery, unable to do anything? Unable to demand, “Hey, guys—new rule: no slaves”? What kind of a wimp do you worship?

          God could have sent Jesus immediately after the fall of Adam and rescued everyone immediately (one of the alternative). then there is no point in having time as an entity … everything will be done in a day. It is silly if the entire universe was created only for a day and God finishes everything in a day.

          Yeah—mythology. What are you gonna do? It’s a long, tedious story when the answer, like Dorothy’s ruby slippers, was there all along. Whatever state God wanted, he could just create.

          But no, he’s got to create many people, knowing that the majority will be tortured forever. I can’t imagine a teacher with this poor a record being kept by a school district. Good thing God doesn’t have a boss.

          Old testament was only a temporary solution and it is not perfect.

          Show me where it says that in the Old Testament. This is just armchair quarterbacking from the vantage point of the New Testament.

          When I was a child, my parents punished me and did not give me reasons for many things and I would not have understood all the reasons at the time for my age.

          Lucky you weren’t judged by God’s standards. Punishment would’ve been stoning to death.

          My duty invariably as a child is to obey my parents irrespective of my ‘reason’ and I don’t necessarily need one for that age.

          So the Israelites were like children? No, I think an adult Israelite could’ve understood anything you can. Teleport a baby from that period to now, and it would grow up able to learn morality just like you.

          There is no justification for one set of moral rules today and a set with training wheels back then. (Especially when there was the opposite of training wheels, and the penalty was often death.)

          “Oh, I see. So it’s the New Testament that has the laws against slavery then?”

          Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. Matthew 22:39.

          Now you’re insulting me. The New Testament has nothing making clear that slavery is wrong. An Edomite or Midianite slave for life was no “neighbor”—that term applies only to fellow Jews. Read your Bible.

          John, these arguments of yours are weak. You really need to think if the pablum your pastor feeds you is reasonable.

        • Dys

          You probably don’t need to ‘seek’ now (from God’s POV) because may be God is using me to convey the truth and speak directly to your heart.

          So God sent us a pompous blowhard to do a piss poor job of proselytizing? Try coming up with a reason for us to believe you first…if all you can do is spout theology, you’re not going to accomplish anything.

          some man-made and Satan inspired theories and which you have knowingly or unknowingly subscribed to and want to cling to.

          Translation: John doesn’t like (or understand) science that contradict his preferred pre-scientific religious texts.

        • John Wilson

          “So God sent us a pompous blowhard to do a piss poor job of proselytizing? Try coming up with a reason for us to believe you first…if all you can do is spout theology, you’re not going to accomplish anything.”

          Thank you brother for the abuse .. I still love you. Jesus loves you too.

          Reason is to follow the 1st step in knowing about the creator. Please refer to my comments above.

          “Translation: John doesn’t like (or understand) science that contradict his preferred pre-scientific religious texts.”

          That’s a presumption by you not even knowing me or anything about my knowledge.

        • Dys

          Thank you brother for the abuse

          Not so much abuse as an informed opinion. I sincerely hope you don’t think you’re doing a good job here. Your presentation and attempts at constructing an argument have been laughably bad.

          You’re better evidence that an omnipotent God doesn’t exist than anything else, because an omnipotent God should be able to send someone that can make the perfect argument to convince me, instead of some random guy who just keeps spouting his religious beliefs but can’t defend them.

          I still love you. Jesus loves you too.

          Considering you don’t know me, no, you don’t. And considering Jesus, if he did actually exist, is long since dead, he’s no longer capable of loving anyone, because he doesn’t exist any more.

          Reason is to follow the 1st step in knowing about the creator.

          No, no, no. You keep talking about reason and logic, but you continue to make it abundantly clear that you have no conception about how they actually work. First, you demonstrate that a creator exists. You don’t get to assume it a priori, which is precisely what you’re doing.

          That’s a presumption by you not even knowing me or anything about my knowledge.

          I can only assume you were referring to evolutionary biology, and perhaps cosmology, as they tend to be the favourite targets of ignorant creationists who would prefer to believe in magic instead of accepting science.

        • John Wilson

          “Not so much abuse as an informed opinion. I sincerely hope you don’t think you’re doing a good job here. Your presentation and attempts at constructing an argument have been laughably bad.
          You’re better evidence that an omnipotent God doesn’t exist than anything else, because an omnipotent God should be able to send someone that can make the perfect argument to convince me, instead of some random guy who just keeps spouting his religious beliefs but can’t defend them.”

          You have used appeal to aggression/ridicule and so I just thanked you for the abusive language. Omnipotence doesn’t mean that he will do everything magically. He might use weak humans to convey a superior message. Shooting the messenger doesn’t prove anything.

          The evidence is the Bible and the personal experience of God in my life and others and it is sufficient enough reason for me.

          “Considering you don’t know me, no, you don’t. And considering Jesus, if he did actually exist, is long since dead, he’s no longer capable of loving anyone, because he doesn’t exist any more.”

          I don’t mean the one-on-one personal love formed by acquaintance, but it is the general Christian love which applies to all people. Jesus not existing is only your opinion and if you are still certain you will have to provide proof.

          “No, no, no. You keep talking about reason and logic, but you continue to make it abundantly clear that you have no conception about how they actually work. First, you demonstrate that a creator exists. You don’t get to assume it a priori, which is precisely what you’re doing.”

          A sensible, intelligent, and ‘logical’ person should ask the big questions like why am I here, what is the purpose and also looking at the natural world, should wonder at its creator and his plan behind all the ‘investment’. That is the first step in knowing about the creator.

          “I can only assume you were referring to evolutionary biology, and perhaps cosmology, as they tend to be the favourite targets of ignorant creationists who would prefer to believe in magic instead of accepting science.”

          Something cannot come out of nothing by chance. An intelligent creator is definitely needed to create the laws, and set things up. It is not magic, but a planned act of creation.

        • Dys

          The evidence is the Bible

          No, it’s not. The Bible is the claim.

          and the personal experience of God in my life and others and it is sufficient enough reason for me.

          Personal revelation is necessarily limited to the person claiming to have received it. In other words, your personal experiences are not evidence to me.

          Jesus not existing is only your opinion and if you are still certain you will have to provide proof.

          No actually, the burden of proof would be on you to demonstrate that he still exists. I’m reasonably certain, as are most people, that people die after a limited amount of time. The claim that Jesus somehow bucked that trend is an extraordinary claim that needs to be substantiated. But it isn’t – you just have faith.

          A sensible, intelligent, and ‘logical’ person should ask the big
          questions like why am I here, what is the purpose and also looking at
          the natural world, should wonder at its creator and his plan behind all
          the ‘investment’. That is the first step in knowing about the creator.

          Well, you’re half right. The problem remains as I stated – you jump immediately to assuming there’s a creator before asking whether it’s reasonable to do so.

          Something cannot come out of nothing by chance. An intelligent creator
          is definitely needed to create the laws, and set things up. It is not
          magic, but a planned act of creation.

          You keep making assertions, without bothering to back them up. Show me there was ever a nothing. Show me there’s a creator making these things. Because all you’re really accomplishing is telling a fantasy story about a magical wizard creating a universe. You don’t get to just assert these things and expect to be taken seriously. It sounds like you’ve put all of about 5 minutes of thought into your personal beliefs.

        • John Wilson

          “No, it’s not. The Bible is the claim.”

          Bible is historical evidence. Hope you understood the difference between the claim and recorded events.

          “Personal revelation is necessarily limited to the person claiming to have received it. In other words, your personal experiences are not evidence to me.”

          there are so many such believers who have similar personal experiences like me with God interacting to them exactly like mentioned in the New Testament 2000 yrs ago. So, there is definitely an objective part to it.

          “No actually, the burden of proof would be on you to demonstrate that he still exists. I’m reasonably certain, as are most people, that people die after a limited amount of time. The claim that Jesus somehow bucked that trend is an extraordinary claim that needs to be substantiated. But it isn’t – you just have faith.”

          I can,… only through his interactions in my life and other believers. I cannot show you a photograph of Jesus because he is a spirit and he chooses to work in a different way than like a human with a body. I cannot show you a transcendental reality by a human vocation, I therefore take it by faith based on the evidences of his work in my life and the scriptures.

          “Well, you’re half right. The problem remains as I stated – you jump immediately to assuming there’s a creator before asking whether it’s reasonable to do so.”

          So many evidences like scriptures, personal revelations to individuals, experiences in believers lives, logical arguments in natural theology point to a creator. So it is our duty to investigate it unbiased.

          “You keep making assertions, without bothering to back them up. Show me there was ever a nothing. Show me there’s a creator making these things. Because all you’re really accomplishing is telling a fantasy story about a magical wizard creating a universe. You don’t get to just assert these things and expect to be taken seriously. It sounds like you’ve put all of about 5 minutes of thought into your personal beliefs.”

          Not just assertions. I say it based on the evidences in the scriptures and practical experiences with God’s work in my life and other believers. I would encourage you to investigate it and find the truth .. just like I did it long ago. I may not have all the reasons but still have enough and sufficient reasons to follow God.

        • Dys

          Bible is historical evidence. Hope you understood the difference between the claim and recorded events.

          Treating the bible as recorded history is largely a mistake, because it’s not a history book. So you’re still wrong – you don’t just get to assert that everything in the bible is historically accurate. For one, that’s sheer gullibility, and secondly, we know it’s wrong. There was never a global flood, there was never only two people giving rise to the human race, the census to get Mary and Joseph to Bethlehem didn’t happen (and Roman census didn’t work that way anyway)…there’s a long list of issues.

          I can,… only through his interactions in my life and other believers

          Then you can’t.

          So many evidences like scriptures, personal revelations to individuals, experiences in believers lives, logical arguments in natural theology point to a creator.

          The scriptures are merely evidence of what other people believed. It’s comparable to historical fiction. As I’ve already said, the bible is the claim. I’ve pointed out the issues with personal revelations and experiences already, and the logical arguments all have flaws in their premises. They have counter arguments.

          So it is our duty to investigate it unbiased

          HA HA HA….you don’t actually think you’re being an objective and unbiased investigator, do you?

          I say it based on the evidences in the scriptures and practical experiences with God’s work in my life and other believers.

          Your evidence in the scriptures is based on your own undiscerning willingness to believe whatever they say. And personal revelations are insufficient to act as evidence for other people. Your experiences are not my experiences, and there’s no reason why I should accept your explanations for them.

          I would encourage you to investigate it and find the truth

          I did. And I discovered the numerous flaws, contradictions, and irrationality of religious belief. That, coupled with a number of other things, led me to the perfectly reasonable conclusion that there’s probably no god.

        • MNb

          “Bible is historical evidence.”
          Yes, but not for god.

          “there are so many such believers who have similar personal experiences like me”
          None of them independent. So unsurprisingly there are so many believers which have personal spiritual experiences totally different from yours that this is a meaningless observation.

          “I cannot show you a photograph of Jesus because he is a spirit.”
          Ah …. spirits are not alive, so you are nicely contradicting yourself.

          “I cannot show you a transcendental reality by a human vocation,”
          Life is only a meaningful concept in our non-transcendental reality. Thanks for confirming that Jesus is dead – I was only talking about that non-transcendental reality.

          “I therefore take it by faith based on the evidences”
          And once again you show you don’t understand what the word evidence means. Faith is by definition not based on evidence and logic. You are thoroughly confused or just dishonest. For the time being my bet is confused.

        • MNb

          “A sensible, intelligent, and ‘logical’ person should ask the big questions …”
          A sensible, intelligent, and ‘logical’ person should wonder if those big questions are really that big or perhaps are the wrong ones. I personally think the latter, because answering those questions you think so big never leads anywhere. The correct questions begin with “how come”.
          See what I mean? You’re questions are biased and you call anyone who points out that they are incorrect a No True Seeker. You are the one with the closed mind, not us.

          “Something cannot come out of nothing by chance.”

          Sure it can. See electron-positron pair production.

        • John Wilson

          “perhaps are the wrong ones.”

          ‘perhaps’ ? … So, no certainty there. So there is a possibility that you can still ask the big questions being intelligent.

          “You’re questions are biased and you call anyone who points out that they are incorrect a No True Seeker.”

          No.. During the seeking phase, no body calls anybody who is still seeking to have fulfilled the seeking itself. so only after the conclusion of the seeking is what is subject to interpretation and discussion, whether he has actually seeken the right thing.

          “Sure it can. See electron-positron pair production.”

          No. It only talks about the energy interaction and that if one exists the other should also exist. It is just a prediction. It still has to answer how one of those came into being from nothing. Still it has to explain how intelligence came into being using those fundamental particles in to the macro universe.

        • MNb

          “So, no certainty there.”
          Of course I recognize at beforehand that possibility. See, I have an open mind – you are the one with a closed mind.

          “During the seeking phase”
          one must first establish which the correct questions are, the “why” or the “how come” questions. The first problem is that “why” questions imply the answer – a purpose called god – at beforehand. As long as you haven’t addressed that problem the seeking cannot continue – if you have an open mind, which you have not.

          “It is just a prediction.”
          Wrong. It has been observed.

          “It still has to answer how one of those came into being from nothing.”
          Spontaneously according to principles of probabilism – specifically quantum fluctuations.

          “Still it has to explain how intelligence came into being using those fundamental particles in to the macro universe.”
          That’s correct, but still electron-positron pair production shows that something can come from nothing, so you were simply wrong.

        • Harvey

          Electron-Positron pair production comes from the energy inherent in a vacuum. Vacuum these days doesn’t mean “nothing” as energy isn’t nothing and is equivalent to matter as in e=mc2.
          Perhaps, though at this point highly hypothetical (and less so over time as telescope technology advances), the multiverse concept may be a better example, where universes had no beginning but have been, instead, always here and merely change in form over time.
          Science has, so far, not progressed to the point where it can show that something comes from nothing. In fact, so far, that concept would violate the principle of conservation of energy. The multiverse idea would fit in with this principle very well.

        • MNb

          “Electron-Positron pair production comes from the energy inherent in a vacuum”
          Correct. Fact remains that the transition from energy to positron-electron pair remains uncaused.
          It’s also quite likely that the total energy of our Universe equals zero. That’s why this

          “In fact, so far, that concept would violate the principle of conservation of energy.”
          is incorrect. The concept of something coming from nothing doesn’t violate that principle as long as the total amount of energy remains zero. As nearly all galaxies move away from each other, ie opposite to the direction of gravity, this results in an enormous amount of negative energy. That’s why the total energy in our Universe very well may be zero indeed.

          “all our beliefs and even our observations are, ultimately, subjective”
          Go tell the victims of the nuclear bombs in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, August 1945, that their observations what happened to them were subjective. Go tell them that if they simply did not hold the beliefs involved that what happened to them was not really real. Go tell them it’s their problem if they can’t accept that you refuse to take over their subjective beliefs. Go tell them that the nuclear bombs worked for them, but not for you. Go tell them that that situation remains as long as they don’t change their beliefs.
          I wish you good luck.

        • Harvey

          I’m not sure about electron-positron production being uncaused or caused but, for now, the known random nature of particle behavior, electron-positron production but one example, is enough to affect useful physics. We may determine an underlying mechanism that may help to illuminate cause but, for now, any cause is not absolutely known even though there are some interesting ideas.

          Even one’s death, no matter how, is experienced in an entirely subjective way since our senses are filtered through the brain, so, yes death is an objective reality but not so its experience, which is one reason why people react to their impending death in various ways.

          I don’t mean “subjective” as real or not, I simply mean filtered through our interpretive brain via its many layers of consciousness, etc. So, with that meaning, one would never state that just because something is subjective it isn’t “real” but what is “real” or not is often difficult to fully grasp as it’s often filtered information. One would have to define objective reality as one would define the results of using a scientific method, and that is the best sense of objective reality we may be able of.

        • MNb

          What you’re sure or unsure of regarding electron-positron pair production is totally irrelevant given your lack of credentials in physics.

          “the known random nature of particle behavior,”
          Wrong. That behaviour is not random. It’s probabilistic. That’s not the same at all.

          “We may determine an underlying mechanism that may help to illuminate cause”

          http://www.logicallyfallacious.com/index.php/logical-fallacies/41-appeal-to-possibility

          “but, for now, any cause is not absolutely known even though there are some interesting ideas.”
          You don’t make sense. Science never knows anything absolutely and neither claims to do so.

          “I simply mean filtered through our interpretive brain via its many layers of consciousness, etc”
          That’s not what you wrote in your previous comment. There you wrote that every belief is ultimately subjective and that that somehow was relevant for the god-question. You’re shifting the goal posts.
          Still I’d like you to explain, when you jump from a tower, what in “Harvey is falling downward and not upward” exactly is filtered. As many an apologist you excel in abstract statements that seem reasonable at first sight, until someone applies it to a concrete case (like nuclear bombs and jumping from towers) – for which reason you prefer to remain abstract.
          That method sucks badly, because you lose all relevance for actual reality.

        • Harvey

          Your method of communication prefers agitated argument rather than cooler discourse. OK, your choice. It just sounds a bit close to trolling, combined with good points. No need to comment, just my observation and opinion, whether you care or not.

          You don’t know anything about my credentials in physics and, either way, it’s the subject that I address that is at issue, regardless of your perceived notions about qualifications. Enough on that for now.

          As for random vs. probability, a random variable is a set function where the domain is comprised of the elements of a sample space on which a probability function has been defined and whose range is the set of real numbers.

          One who is not well aware of measure theory may have the opinion that a random variable must be probabilistic. But according to measure theory, a random variable need not be probabilistic, while a probabilistic variable is necessarily random by definition. So, whatever your opinion on that issue, one can easily substitute random for probabilistic, especially in terms of the aspects of both my point and this online conversation.

          Either way, did you get my drift? I don’t think so as you didn’t address the actual point I was trying to make and, instead, got stuck on technicalities that serve more for minutia and less for what I was trying to communicate.

          I wasn’t “shifting the goal post” but, rather simply trying to clarify my previous statement as it was apparent that you misunderstood what I was trying to tell you. I’ll take the blame for not being clear enough, something that improves with time as one determines how to state things so that the reader can understand what is being stated.

          What is being filtered when falling “down” from a tower is what your senses perceive via the conclusions drawn by your brain. I don’t think I need to be technical here, in terms of biology, yes?

          While falling from the towers you’d feel weightless. If not for your eyes and skin, etc., your experience would be like other similar experiences: you may think you’re in orbit or in some high speed elevator, etc. Your brain perceives what its biological sensors are telling it and is interpreted based on memory, experience, etc. That perception is therefore subjective, that is, filtered through your interpretive brain via its many layers of consciousness, etc. If you were in orbit, the feeling of falling would be the same and, in fact, you would be falling but the ground below you is curving away as to prevent impact. Still, it takes some getting used to until your preconceived, learned responses are more in line with objective reality. In other words, it takes time to learn to accept being in orbit.

          Whether this “method” sucks badly depends on the results of “reality”. Fact is, there are times when “reality” gets in the way of subjective truths and, yes, life suffers as a result. But my point is that that is how it actually works with people. Even scientists have their subjective biases and this fact of life may be part of what it is to be human, or alive…good or otherwise.

          Have I been less abstract, or am I still infected as such?

          Yes, nothing is absolutely known in science, in the sense that it could remain unchangeable but when I used that term I meant to say that certain things are well known to the point that one commits to a highly reasonable certainty, a theory as opposed to a hypothesis. OK? Yea, I moved the goal post here but, again, I doubt if you’d find reasonable cause to question the speed of light in a vacuum, in our universe, yes?.. or Quantum Theory as it pertains to the Uncertainty Principal…or would you? :)

          This has to do with the god question because the variety of conclusions drawn from each person’s experience is highly based on subjectively obtained experience, not necessarily on scientifically derived theory. As such, their belief in a god is really true, for them, and so God exists in their respective realities. Worse, the subject of belief is slippery enough, due to this subjective reality buttressed with preferred “facts”, that objective truths aren’t as effective as one would ordinarily think to dissuade the belief.

        • MNb

          “Your method of communication …..”
          Thanks for kicking in an open door.

          “You don’t know anything about my credentials in physics”
          I can read your comments.

          “it’s the subject that I address that is at issue”
          The issue you brought up was what you was or was not sure of. I reacted to it. Don’t like it? Then don’t write it.

          “a random variable is a set function where the domain is comprised of the elements of a sample space on which a probability function has been defined and whose range is the set of real numbers.”
          That’s not exactly the same as randomness in nature. That means an equal distribution of probability – ie exactly 0,5 in case of two possibilities, 0,333… in case of three etc. And that’s what you wrote. Nature is probabilistic, not random.

          “whatever your opinion on that issue”
          It’s not my opinion. But good to read you don’t make that layman mistake.”you didn’t address the actual point I was trying to make”
          Well, I’m not exactly infallible, so it’s perfectly possible I didn’t get it. The blame game (“your explanation is bad” vs. “I didn’t read it well”) doesn’t interest me, so I suggest you to try again.

          “rather simply trying to clarify my previous statement ”
          You failed.”What is being filtered when falling “down” from a tower is what your senses perceive via the conclusions drawn by your brain.”Yes, and? Before being filtered you’re falling downward. After being filtered you’re still falling downward. Or not?

          “I don’t think I need to be technical here, in terms of biology, yes?”
          Subsequently you do it anyway …..

          “While falling from the towers you’d feel weightless.”
          Actually you are weightless, because there is no supporting plane (that’s how weight is defined). Indeed when in orbit you’d feel exactly the same. But when falling we observe a bit more than just what we feel, something you carefully neglect. And it doesn’t answer the question I asked above. Before being filtered you’re falling downward. After being filtered you’re still falling downward. Or not?

          “Have I been less abstract”
          Only because I asked you concrete questions.
          It’s quite simple. You clamed that “everything we believe is ultimately subjective”. I gave two examples which I think have shown this is wrong. All kind of stuff we believe may be ultimately subjective, but not everything. Getting “technical in terms of biology” doesn’t change by any means what happened when the nuclear bombs dropped and what happens when we jump off a tower. That’s my point and you haven’t shown otherwise.

          “I meant to say that certain things are well known to the point that one commits to a highly reasonable certainty.”
          I already thought so. Then the question becomes: how do you determine the level of that “highly reasonable certainty”? Just saying “I’m not sure” is not exactly credible.

          “you’d find reasonable cause to question the speed of light in a vacuum, in our universe, yes?.. or Quantum Theory as it pertains to the Uncertainty Principal.”
          It’s reasonable to question everything and anything. What matters is the method we use. Your “everything we believe is ultimately subjective” is particularly useless here and your “I’m not sure” perhaps even less.

          “the variety of conclusions drawn from each person’s experience is highly based on subjectively obtained experience”
          Agreed. I’m not an exception. Does that release us from the obligation to try to design a method to address the question that does not use such experiences, but instead totally neglects them? Or at least to try to find out if such a method is possible?

          “that objective truths aren’t as effective as one would ordinarily think to dissuade the belief.”
          Ah, but I’m not interested in that purpose. My female counterpart is a muslima (though less practising than a few years ago). She thinks what I’m doing on this blog very silly. I won’t contradict her.

          When someone claims his (not so often a her) belief is rationally grounded or worse, supported by science, I think it highly entertaining (and yes, that’s where my pseudo-trolling comes in) to undermine that. As I also have a sense of fair play I try to show that my atheism is rationally grounded indeed, when requested. I mean – if I shoot down god-arguments I should give apologists the opportunity to shoot down mine, I think.

        • Harvey

          I don’t think that any example exists where something (matter for instance) comes from nothing (true emptiness, including vacuum energy). Instead, it changes form.

        • adam

          “Reason is to follow the 1st step in knowing about the creator. “

        • John Wilson

          That’s Benjamin franklins opinion. I would rather trust and follow Jesus who created Benjamin Franklin itself.

        • Pofarmer

          Ah, circular question begging. A theist specialty.

        • MNb

          “Jesus loves you too.”
          Have you missed the news? Jesus has been dead for almost 2000 years. Dead people don’t love.

          “Reason is to follow the 1st step in knowing about the creator.”

          Yeah, you have made that quite clear. That 1st step is switching off your brain.

        • John Wilson

          “Have you missed the news? Jesus has been dead for almost 2000 years. Dead people don’t love.”

          Ha ha .. good joke .. Jesus rose from the dead and Jesus is still alive and very much doing his work among his people. People are still being healed, enjoy his love, peace and joy and are being blessed everyday world over. You just have to step out of your comfort zone to see it. I myself is a personal witness of his works in my life.

          “Yeah, you have made that quite clear. That 1st step is switching off your brain.”

          That’s your opinion. I never switched off my brain … I have a reasonable faith and have sufficient evidence of God both historically from the Bible and in my present life which he does so many things just like it is mentioned 2000 yrs ago in the new testament and performed by Jesus and his apostles.

        • MNb

          “Jesus rose from the dead”
          Yeah and Santa Claus rides his sleigh through the air.

          “and Jesus is still alive”
          See above. Can you give me his address, phone number and email address? I’d like to have a chat with him.

          “I myself is a personal witness”
          Yeah – and I myself are a personal witness for invisible fairies tending the flowers in my garden, so that they blossom more beautifully.
          Oh – and Michael Jackson has been spotted too!

          “I have a reasonable faith”
          Since you entered this blog we have been waiting for you to show that reasonability; thus far in vain.

          “and have sufficient evidence”
          Ah, but you already have shown that you don’t know what evidence means. Evidence consists of empirical data observed with our five senses. Hence the Bible doesn’t provide evidence for your god; it only provides evidence for what people thought and/or did 2000 – 2600 years ago.
          Now if you can give me the address, phone number and/or email address of that Jesus guy who according to you is still alive that would be a nice first step.

        • MNb

          “So .. you are not ….. a true seeker who wants to know the truth.”
          Repeating the No True Seeker Fallacy only shows that you are the one with the closed mind. Jer 19:13 does nothing to remedy it.

          “he doesn’t reveal because of your wicked heart”
          Ah – the other lame excuse. God doesn’t react because I am evil. Apparently you don’t care much about Matth. 7:1.

          “that’s just religion, no use at all ..”
          BWAHAHAHAHA! See that you are the one with the closed mind? It’s an illustration of my mind as a kid, but you already reject it as “not good enough”.

          “Were you convicted of sin and saved by living God Jesus Christ ??”
          Why would I if your god didn’t care if I believed as a kid and as a teen?

          “your spiritual eyes are blinded by Satan”

          Thank you so much. This was what I was waiting for: the closed fundie bigot mind par excellence. If the outcome is not what you desire I’m No True Seeker who is Blinded by Satan. The outcome of seeking god is predetermined for you.
          An open mind by definition means the outcome of the quest not being predetermined.
          Prediction: you’re are a homophobic and a creationist, perhaps even think that the Earth is 6000 years old. Other views are impossible in your narrow mind.

        • adam

          “God doesn’t react because I am evil.”

          And where does evil come from according to ‘god’?

        • John Wilson

          Here evil doesn’t mean some crafty intention against somebody and God doing some kind of sin. ‘evil’ is an old english KJV translation and from the context it really means ‘Disaster or other plagues as a punishment for sin’.

          Yes he is definitely evil to the sinners who reject his commandments and good to the people who love and obey his commandments.

        • adam

          “Here evil doesn’t mean some crafty intention against somebody and God doing some kind of sin.”

          It absolutely does.

        • John Wilson

          I have already replied on the ‘slaves’. Too busy to repeat.

        • John Wilson

          “Repeating the No True Seeker Fallacy only shows that you are the one with the closed mind. Jer 19:13 does nothing to remedy it.”

          True seeker fallacy does not apply here. Say Christ and Christianity and all its principles represent set X and if somebody (including me) with all their practicing principles as set Y, if set Y doesn’t intersect with set X, its not Christian. Just being born in a Christian country or having Christian name or claiming to be a Christian does not make one a Christian. Adding/subtracting one major ingredient to Coca Cola doesn’t make it Coca cola anymore.

          “Ah – the other lame excuse. God doesn’t react because I am evil. Apparently you don’t care much about Matth. 7:1.”

          Sorry for being personal. The point is All people are sinners and have fallen short of the glory of God. Man in his natural state does not know God. i.e. an Atheist.

          “Why would I if your god didn’t care if I believed as a kid and as a teen?”

          The question again is Were you saved and convicted of sin as a teenager or kid ?? If not this is the time for you. God cares about you now.

          “Thank you so much. This was what I was waiting for: the closed fundie bigot mind par excellence. If the outcome is not what you desire I’m No True Seeker who is Blinded by Satan. The outcome of seeking god is predetermined for you.An open mind by definition means the outcome of the quest not being predetermined.
          Prediction: you’re are a homophobic and a creationist, perhaps even think that the Earth is 6000 years old. Other views are impossible in your narrow mind.”

          Thank you from my end too for all the false allegations. God bless you for all that (I’m told to love and pray for my enemies). I have already explained the true seeker fallacy and that it does not apply here. Open mind simply means without any ‘atheistic’ bias or any other bias but truly seeking to know God from the bottom of the heart.

          Yes I hate homosexual sin commanded by God in the bible. Bible doesn’t say earth is 6000 yrs old anywhere. Please show me any verse that says so ??

        • MNb

          “Say Christ and Christianity and all its principles represent set X.”
          Christ doesn’t represent anything because it’s a meaningless concept.

          “if set Y doesn’t intersect with set X, its not Christian.”
          Correct – but he/she still might be christian. If you only call those people christians who always and everywhere act like perfect christians then nobody is a christian. Moreover you make christianity self-refuting, because the concept of sin by definition means that christians are not capable of always and everywhere act like perfect christians.
          You admit this yourself with

          “The point is All people are sinners”

          Plus all this is simply irrelevant. You talk about christians; I’m not and never have been. I’ve even never been baptized.

          The True Seeker is not a christian yet – like me as a kid and teen. The True Seeker who already is a christian doesn’t need to seek anymore, because he/she already has Found.
          So you pulled off the No True Seeker Fallacy indeed. You call me a No True Seeker just because the result of my Seeking was not what you desparately want it to me; can’t admit that True Seeking might result in unbelief and hence have to blame me. It’s a classic example of the No True Seeker Fallacy.

          “Open mind simply means without any ‘atheistic’ bias or any other bias”
          See how you contradict yourself? As a kid and teen I was not an atheist yet. As a kid I didn’t know yet what atheism was and as a teen I was an agnost – ie I hadn’t made my mind up. In fact it were two christian teens (from Youth for Christ) who opened my eyes for the first problem with christianity (the anonement doctrine), but it was not enough to call myself an atheist.

          “but truly seeking to know God from the bottom of the heart.”
          Thanks for showing that your meaning of “seeking” is in fact the biased one. Before you can seek to know any god you first must be convinced there is one. Like I wrote as a kid and teen I have considered the possibility seriously several times; I already told you that I had learned the Lord’s Prayer. From his side – only silence.

          “Yes I hate homosexual sin commanded by God in the bible.”
          That’s what I mean with homophobe. Thanks. If you hate homosexual sin you hate gays, simply because their sexual preference is an integral part of who they are. The lame excuse “I hate the sin, not the sinner” is exactly that – a lame excuse. You want to make them suffer ‘cuz god. That’s an act of hate.

          “(I’m told to love and pray for my enemies).”
          Only one sentence and there are so many things wrong with it ….
          1. I’m not your enemy.
          2. You don’t know me, so saying that you love me means nothing to me either.
          3. But if you cared for me indeed you would not pray for me, because I don’t appreciate it by any means. At best it leaves me indifferent. Every time you pray for me it’s an expression of narcissism – you don’t love me, you only love yourself. Praying makes a positive difference for you, not for me. It only makes you feel good. That’s why some people call it mental masturbation. Indeed you could as well say that you masturbate while thinking of me.
          But go ahead. I wish you a nice spiritual hard on every time you pray for me.

          “Bible doesn’t say earth is 6000 yrs old anywhere. Please show me any verse that says so ??”
          Why would I? It was a prediction. I don’t mind if my predictions turn out to be wrong. That’s what they are predictions for. So how old is the Universe according to you?
          Just curious – I always like to know whom I deal with.

        • John Wilson

          “Christ doesn’t represent anything because it’s a meaningless concept.”

          Christ I meant the life of Christ, who Christians’ ought to emulate.

          “Correct – but he/she still might be christian. If you only call those people christians who always and everywhere act like perfect christians then nobody is a christian. Moreover you make christianity self-refuting, because the concept of sin by definition means that christians are not capable of always and everywhere act like perfect christians.

          You admit this yourself with”

          Yes, everybody including me are all on the way to become Christ-like so nobody has become a true complete Christian yet. We are all in various degrees of becoming true Christians. Nothing wrong in that. The point here is that there is a standard and Christ, his commandments and his sinless life is the standard. So true seeker fallacy does not apply since there is a definite standard and we have to comply to it as Christians.

          Some standards are the like the foundations, like the pillars of Christianity, which defines Christianity without which one cannot be a Christian like Salvation, non-Adulterer etc. If somebody has violated a basic pillar of Christianity (like Hitler or even Catholic priests, pope or pastors) and committed unchristian acts like murder .. how can he still be called a Christian ?? If Obama commits a heinous crime against the laws of the constitution (the Standard) and overwhelmingly proved beyond doubt, will you still continue to call him a president and honor him ??

          “Plus all this is simply irrelevant. You talk about christians; I’m not and never have been. I’ve even never been baptized.
          The True Seeker is not a christian yet – like me as a kid and teen. The True Seeker who already is a christian doesn’t need to seek anymore, because he/she already has Found.
          So you pulled off the No True Seeker Fallacy indeed. You call me a No True Seeker just because the result of my Seeking was not what you desparately want it to me; can’t admit that True Seeking might result in unbelief and hence have to blame me. It’s a classic example of the No True Seeker Fallacy.”

          Yes a true seeker is just seeking and he is not yet a Christian like your example as a kid. But you have also shown that the so-called ‘christians’ acting bad. So how do you know they were ‘true seekers’ or have become matured Christians in the first place ?? Ideally speaking, matured, fully committed Christians who have grown fully in Christ will choose not to do anything against their biblical commitment.
          In spite of it, If one chooses to rebel against his own commitment to Christianity and its principles and continue to do anti-Christian things, should we still call them Christians ?? What about some Atheists who have converted to Christianity or or other atheists who committed crimes and destroyed churches in the name of atheism ?? Doesn’t your true seeker fallacy apply to them too ?? What do you tell about these deviant people from your own camp ??

          “That’s what I mean with homophobe. Thanks. If you hate homosexual sin you hate gays, simply because their sexual preference is an integral part of who they are. The lame excuse “I hate the sin, not the sinner” is exactly that – a lame excuse. You want to make them suffer ‘cuz god. That’s an act of hate.”

          Yes, whatever you label it. Yes, I hate homosexuals 100% according to the Bible. I hate the sin and the sinner who rebelliously chooses to continue in the sin. I can love them enough to the extent to just try to help them out of the eternal wrath in hell by warning them of the danger. That’s about the only love I can give.

          “Thanks for showing that your meaning of “seeking” is in fact the biased one. Before you can seek to know any god you first must be convinced there is one. Like I wrote as a kid and teen I have considered the possibility seriously several times; I already told you that I had learned the Lord’s Prayer. From his side – only silence.”

          Yes every intelligent, sensible human has to ask this question, … after seeing the natural world and himself as a being in it and why and what is the purpose behind all this. This is the first step to know that there is a creator and there is a purpose. Then one should ask these questions to the people who have already asked these questions before you and found an answer. this is called being a true seeker. In your case, you just were following your parents religion without truly knowing God or his salvation. Your church also might not have told you what it is to be saved and how to know God and have a relationship with him. there are many lukewarm churches who doesn’t even know what they are doing.

          “Only one sentence and there are so many things wrong with it ….1. I’m not your enemy.
          2. You don’t know me, so saying that you love me means nothing to me either.
          3. But if you cared for me indeed you would not pray for me, because I don’t appreciate it by any means. At best it leaves me indifferent. Every time you pray for me it’s an expression of narcissism – you don’t love me, you only love yourself. Praying makes a positive difference for you, not for me. It only makes you feel good. That’s why some people call it mental masturbation. Indeed you could as well say that you masturbate while thinking of me.
          But go ahead. I wish you a nice spiritual hard on every time you pray for me.”

          I agree that you are not my ‘direct’ enemy. But, based on your comments I could figure out that you are an enemy of my friend Jesus Christ, which invariably makes you an enemy of mine logically. I don’t know you personally on the one-on-one love. But I love you or any other human being with a general love as a Christian. It applies to person x or y and it doesn’t matter. Praying or not praying for anybody is my free choice and nobody has any rights to say anything about it. I pray because I want people to experience the salvation and escape the wrath of God. I do it because It makes me feel good ?? ha ha .. come on … I have so many other selfish things to do and my own life … I only do it because its Christ’s command to reach out to lost people and my love and respect for his command.

          “”Bible doesn’t say earth is 6000 yrs old anywhere. Please show me any verse that says so ??”Why would I? It was a prediction. I don’t mind if my predictions turn out to be wrong. That’s what they are predictions for. So how old is the Universe according to you?
          Just curious – I always like to know whom I deal with.”

          I believe God created the heavens and the earth long before human habitation as per Genesis 1:1 and it was being subjected to fallen angels and possibly other creatures for a long period of time. Later he changed/modified the earth for human habitation by the subsequent creation in Genesis.

        • MNb

          “Christ I meant the life of Christ, who Christians’ ought to emulate.”
          The guy was called Jesus of Nazareth. Christ means something like Son of God, which is meaningless.

          “So true seeker fallacy does not apply since there is a definite standard and we have to comply to it as Christians.”
          Reformulating your error does nothing to remedy it. You only call those people “true seeker” who accept that standard at beforehand, which means that it’s predetermined what they will find. That’s still the No True Seeker Fallacy.

          “That’s about the only love I can give.”
          My compliment for your honesty.

          “after seeing the natural world and himself as a being in it and why and what is the purpose behind all this.”
          Done so. My conclusion: there is no purpose at all. Anyone who thinks so is self-delusional and tries to gain some selfimportance. That specifically includes you.

          “this is called being a true seeker. In your case, you just were following your parents religion without truly knowing God or his salvation. Your church also might not have told you what it is to be saved”
          BWAHAHAHAHA!
          Ah, nothing smells as sweet as christian arrogance. You don’t know me at all and still think you can explain my past!
          I have never been member of any church, silly. I have never even been baptized. My father has been Dutch Reformed for a few years before he deconverted. My stepfather was catholic – even studied at a seminary – before he deconverted. I don’t really know what my mother believed, because I never discussed the issue with her.
          I learned the catholic version of the Lord’s Prayer because I thought it cool, when I was a child. Nobody urged me, nobody spoke negatively about it. It was just me.

          “there are many lukewarm churches”
          Oh? Your god needs the help of active, vibrant churches? He can’t do the job of filling me with the Holy Spirit on his own? How pathetic.

          “I could figure out that you are an enemy of my friend Jesus Christ.”
          BWAHAHAHAHA!
          Jesus has been dead for 2000 years. Dead people aren’t my enemies. They can’t do me wrong anymore.

          “nobody has any rights to say anything about it.”
          Oh yes, on this blog BobS gives me the right to say what I think of you praying for me. I am happy ro repeat it – and just like I cannot prevent you from praying for me you cannot prevent me from wishing you a nice spiritual boner when you do so.

          “I only do it because …. my love and respect for his command.”
          Ie to make you feel good. Thanks for confirming.

          “I believe God …..”

          and still don’t care about evidence. Got it.

        • John Wilson

          “The guy was called Jesus of Nazareth. Christ means something like Son of God, which is meaningless.”

          Christ means messiah. Jesus of Nazareth perfectly fits the messianic prophecies of the old testament.

          “Reformulating your error does nothing to remedy it. You only call those people “true seeker” who accept that standard at beforehand, which means that it’s predetermined what they will find. That’s still the No True Seeker Fallacy.”

          Yes, only the people who at least follow all the basic foundations can be called Christians and not default by being born in a Christian family or just calling oneself Christian by not following the basic tenets. Atheism by definition is unbelief in God and it is the foundation of atheism. If a person was an atheist and then goes to believe in God an breaking a fundamental tenet, will you still call him an atheist ?? True seeker applies to you too dear friend.

          “Ah, nothing smells as sweet as christian arrogance. You don’t know me at all and still think you can explain my past!I have never been member of any church, silly. I have never even been baptized. My father has been Dutch Reformed for a few years before he deconverted. My stepfather was catholic – even studied at a seminary – before he deconverted. I don’t really know what my mother believed, because I never discussed the issue with her.I learned the catholic version of the Lord’s Prayer because I thought it cool, when I was a child. Nobody urged me, nobody spoke negatively about it. It was just me.”

          Its not arrogance, rather its called the definition of a Christian. You yourself has said that you were not part of a church, and never baptized etc. These are the fundamental tenets which define oneself as a Christian. Then how did you call yourself a Christian in the first place ?? Being born in a Christian family doesn’t make one a Christian.

          “Oh? Your god needs the help of active, vibrant churches? He can’t do the job of filling me with the Holy Spirit on his own? How pathetic.”

          Yes, God uses humans to propagate his message. YOU CAN FIND IT THROUGHOUT THE BIBLE, GOD USING PROPHETS AND BELIEVERS TO DO THE WORK. If God does everything then what work does humans have in the role of the kingdom of God. They would invariably become lazy and useless. So it is a team work of both God and human duty.

          “Jesus has been dead for 2000 years. Dead people aren’t my enemies. They can’t do me wrong anymore.”

          Jesus is alive. Please read the scriptures.

          “Oh yes, on this blog BobS gives me the right to say what I think of you praying for me. I am happy ro repeat it – and just like I cannot prevent you from praying for me you cannot prevent me from wishing you a nice spiritual boner when you do so.”

          Yes… you can have all the rights to the extent of even killing me or use abusive language against me. But you, as my brother and co-being in the creation of God, I would still pray for you even until my last breath or drop of blood and that is my right as a Christian.

          “Ie to make you feel good. Thanks for confirming.”

          Yes, if following the eternal commands of God makes me feel good, SO BE IT. I don’t have to lose anything.

          “and still don’t care about evidence. Got it.”

          Plenty of evidence from both natural theology and the historical records from the scriptures of the Bible and also from the lives of Believers and how God continues to do things in their lives.

        • MNb

          “Christ means messiah.”
          And messiah is a meaningless concept. Thanks for confirming.

          “If a person was an atheist and then goes to believe in God an breaking a fundamental tenet, will you still call him an atheist ?”
          Irrelevant question. Until I was 23 or so I was neither an atheist nor a christian. Still you call me a No True Seeker because of one and only one reason: you dislike the outcome of my “spirititual” quest. No matter how much you wriggle, it remaisn the No True Seeker fallacy.

          “Jesus is alive. Please read the scriptures.”
          OK. Can you tell me his address, his email address and his telephone number? I’d like to have a chat with him.
          No? Then he isn’t alive in any meaningful way.

          “you can have all the rights to the extent of even killing me”
          No. Killing you is against the law where I live.

          “as my brother and co-being in the creation of God,”
          I am not. You’re a liar.

          “I would still pray for you even until my last breath or drop of blood and that is my right as a Christian.”
          I never denied that. That you think it necessary to repeat this confirms it’s nothing but mental masturbation.

          “Plenty of evidence from both natural theology and the historical records from the scriptures of the Bible and also from the lives of Believers and how God continues to do things in their lives.”

          BWAHAHAHAHA!
          So you don’t know what the word evidence means either.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Bible doesn’t say earth is 6000 yrs old anywhere.

          Do the math. The Bible is pretty clear.

        • John Wilson

          That was after the creation of Adam. Also we may not know exactly if it is 6000 yrs just by our ‘calculation’ because the bible doesn’t explicitly state 6000 yrs. Earth was long ago created before man and it was subject to angels. Between Genesis 1:1 and 2 there is a long time gap which God would have used for something else or other creations like dinosaurs which the Bible is not clear about.

          When Genesis 1:22 says that the earth became without form and void, it means that God would have destroyed the previous earth and then create a new one. Yes, there was a total renovation after Genesis 1:2 of the earth and then the subsequent creation of man and other things in the garden takes place. And so after the creation of man in the garden, it might be around 6000-10000 yrs probably. The bible is only clear on that part.

        • Dys

          Humanity is older than any of the biblical calculations…at least 200,000 years old.

          And there’s the pesky fact that Adam and Eve didn’t exist, and humanity didn’t originate from just two people, but that’s a whole different discussion.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Earth was long ago created before man

          I think you’ll find that it was just 6 days.

  • Dez

    Yeah I did my own experiment with prayer when I was young. I learned then that praying is just talking to yourself and now I use it as a tool to work problems out for myself.

  • Vijay Kumar

    God is as much powerful check in google