George Washington Couldn’t Tell a Lie … But God Can

George Washington Couldn’t Tell a Lie … But God Can April 21, 2018

Not that we need the confirmation, but the Bible makes clear that lying is bad. The ninth Commandment says so. Yahweh detests lying lips (Proverbs 12:22), and lying makes his top-seven list of things that he hates (Prov. 6:16–19).

And, not surprisingly, God doesn’t lie himself.

God is not human, that he should lie, not a human being, that he should change his mind (Numbers 23:19).

It is impossible for God to lie (Hebrews 6:18).

But that’s just what a liar would say, isn’t it? Let’s see what the Good Book admits about God lying.

What about justified lies?

The classic example of a justified lie is lying to Nazis about the Jews hiding in the attic. The Bible shows this kind of lie when Rahab lied about hidden Israelite spies (Joshua 2:4–5) or when the Israelite midwives lied to protect the male babies from Pharaoh (Exodus 1:19). Humans must lie in such situations because they aren’t omnipotent. Rahab couldn’t teleport the spies to safety, and the midwives couldn’t protect the babies like Superman.

God has no such excuse.

God lies in Garden of Eden story

We can’t even get out of the Creation story without seeing God lie. God says to Adam, “You must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die” (Genesis 2:17). Adam doesn’t, and he lives to be 930 years old.

The rationalization that “die” only meant that Adam and Eve had been immortal before eating the fruit won’t work. Remember that God had to exile them from the Garden so they wouldn’t eat from the Tree of Life. (More on the immediacy of death from the fruit here.)

God lies to Ahab

Israel and Judah allied to fight the country of Aram across the Jordan River in 1 Kings 22. King Ahab of Israel consulted his 400 prophets and was assured of success. Prophet Micaiah was the sole holdout, but his prophecy turned out to be correct—the battle was lost and Ahab was killed. How then had the 400 other prophets gotten it completely wrong? Micaiah tells us that Yahweh wanted Ahab to die and authorized a spirit to cause the prophets to lie to lure him into the battle.

New Testament lying

Remember how God hardened Pharaoh’s heart to prevent him from doing the right thing (Exodus 9:12)? We see the same thing in the New Testament. 2 Thessalonians predicts that “the lawless one” will deceive during the end times. To people caught by the lie, “God sends them a powerful delusion so that they will believe the lie and so that all will be condemned who have not believed the truth but have delighted in wickedness” (2 Thess. 2:11–12).

We see something similar when Paul describes God’s frustration at the people who don’t get it. “God [gives] them over in the sinful desires of their hearts” (Romans 1:24).

The Jewish opponents of Jesus saw his miracles. They didn’t believe, not because the evidence was poor or because they didn’t understand or because they were stubborn. No, they didn’t believe because God deliberately hardened their hearts (John 12:37–40). John says, “He has blinded their eyes and hardened their hearts, so they can neither see with their eyes, nor understand with their hearts.”

But why harden the hearts of bad people? Were they going to do bad things on their own accord or not?

Jesus lying

Jesus was wrong when he predicted an imminent end: “Truly I tell you, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened” (Matthew 24:34). The end of the world obviously didn’t happen in the first century.

Christian apologists try to argue that it wasn’t exactly the end of the world but something else that was predicted. But Jesus makes clear what “all these things” that would soon come to pass. He’s predicting a galactic apocalypse: “the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from the sky, and the heavenly bodies will be shaken.” There’s no chance we would’ve missed that one.

This may not be a deliberate lie like we saw from God but rather a false statement, but the result is the same when it comes from an omniscient being.

God is untrustworthy

In a recent post, I noted that God bragged that he had deliberately given his people bad laws:

So I gave them other statutes that were not good and laws through which they could not live; I defiled them through their gifts—the sacrifice of every firstborn—that I might fill them with horror so they would know that I am the Lord (Ezekiel 20:25–6).

Since God has lied to us in the past, what’s to stop him from doing it again? Which of God’s current laws is also a deliberately bad law? That’s the problem when you lie—now we can’t trust you about anything.

He hardened hearts to steer people away from the right path. He demanded that Abraham sacrifice Isaac and then revealed that it was a ruse. Sure, an all-powerful god can do whatever that he wants, but this god has shown himself to be untrustworthy.

Am I an atheist because God hardened my heart? If so, why do I deserve hell when it was God’s doing? And for the Christians celebrating that they’re going to heaven, how can they trust God about that whole salvation thing? Maybe God lied about that, too.

Christian apologists will try to spin the story to salvage some credibility for God, but what can this guy do and be declared immoral? If he’s simply moral by definition, then the claim is meaningless.

Ignorance isn’t just what you don’t know;
it’s also what you won’t know
— Aron Ra

.

(This is an update of a post that originally appeared 8/11/14.)

Wikimedia / Image public domain

 

"Here is a sample of the reasoning ability of one of the world's leading apologists. ..."

8 Reasons to Reject C. S. ..."
"The Church Fathers were almost unanimous in their opinion that the earth was flat. Here ..."

8 Reasons to Reject C. S. ..."
"Indeed, kooks arguing with kooks about scripture.This isn't my first dance in the park on ..."

8 Reasons to Reject C. S. ..."
"Kent Hovind sounded almost smart when he was referring to the evidence that the planet ..."

8 Reasons to Reject C. S. ..."

Browse Our Archives

Follow Us!


TRENDING AT PATHEOS Nonreligious
What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • LeekSoup

    I once heard a presentation on how much Yahweh/ Jesus were like “trickster gods” like Loki and Coyote. Y&J were equally unpredictable.

    • Interesting. I would’ve thought that a trickster god would only make sense in a pantheon so that you have a balance. But, to go down that path, maybe Yahweh’s pseudo-monotheistic status gets a fun balance by giving him schizophrenia.

      • LeekSoup

        Well, Yahweh most likely started out in a pantheon, so…..

  • It really makes no sense that god would be held to the same standard as a human. Even children are held to different standards than adults, and that’s within the human species. I mean, the bible is problematic for many reasons, but god holding itself to a different standard really isn’t one of those issues.

    • Aram

      be that as it may, based on how god’s portrayed in the bible, he’s clearly not worthy of worship.

      • Okay, but that’s a different line of discussion.

        • Aram

          Is it? The entire point of this post seems to be discussing how the Christian god is nothing special. Perhaps I’m not entirely sure what you’re bigger point is.

        • The argument in this case was a supposed contradiction in how god acts vs how it wants us to act, but we don’t have children act the way we, as adults act.

        • Kodie

          You mean how parents are mean and cruel and tell children not to be mean and cruel?

        • Like parents tell their kids not to drink, but have a glass of wine with dinner? You mean like parents don’t let their kids go out by themselves, even though the parents go out by themselves?

          > Do you think god is your parents now?

          I don’t believe in a god. I am pointing out the argument used in this article is not reasonable.

        • Kodie

          Are we infants? The article depicts god acting in ways he suggests not to act, for our own sake, but it’s ok when he does it, why? Can you tell us why, other than he’s our parents?

        • MEB

          You can’t be serious. So God says, “Do as I say,” not “Do as I do,” as in “You better not lie! But I can lie whenever I want.”? (Are we talking about the all-good Yahweh here, or a narcissist god like Zeus?) So if God’s ways are different than our ways, are they higher or lower than our ways?

        • We tell our children not to drink or smoke. We don’t let our children drive around in cars. We don’t let our children sign contracts without our permission. If you think that this god thing should act the same as the way it tells us to act, shouldn’t we allow our children to act as we act?

          > (Are we talking about the all-good Yahweh here, or a narcissist god like Zeus?) So if God’s ways are different than our ways, are they higher or lower than our ways?

          I’m sorry; but I didn’t start this discussion. The author of the article did. Maybe you should ask the author for clarification as to what god thing is being addressed.

        • Michael Neville

          Nice cop-out. You say “…that’s a different line of discussion” and, when someone asks you a question you whine “I didn’t start this discussion.” If you don’t want to discuss something then do us all a favor and shut up about it instead of writing a post.

        • Well, I didn’t start the discussion, and the argument made in this article was about this god thing acting differently than it tells humans to act. I’m pointing out that we do the same thing with our children. Now, I don’t believe in god things. I’m just commenting on this discussion. I’m guessing we’re talking about a creator god, maybe the Christian god, but if you really want to know what god thing was originally addressed, you have to ask the author.

          Now, you tell me. Should we let children act the same way that we let other adults act? If not, why should this god thing act the same way as humans are told to act?

        • Aram

          Your ‘intentionally being obtuse’ act is noted. Of course Bob is talking about the Christian god in this post. That’s as clear as your obfuscation.
          Further, your analogy falls apart after just a fart’s worth of thought. Can you manage it?

        • > Further, your analogy falls apart after just a fart’s worth of thought. Can you manage it?

          Why should this god thing act the way it tells humans to act, when we don’t even let our children act the way we act?

        • Aram

          So, the obtuseness isn’t intentional. You actually believe you’re saying something deep. Schade!

        • I am asking you a question. Why should we expect these god things to act in the way these god things supposedly tell humans to act? Honestly, this article, and many of the comments, are just mental masturbation used to further strengthen your belief that there are no gods; at least that’s what they seem to be.

        • Aram

          Oh yes, you’re JAQing off is quite clear. For starters, you waltz in here acting like you just have no idea what god could possibly be getting discussed here – meaning you’re either a moron or a liar. Then you double-down on ‘gods not human, human is human, we kids to god, how can judge’ etc, which isn’t a discussion or a question. It’s just you saying what you think about judging gods in general. Great, that’s nice. You’re contributing nothing to the topic and completely ignoring the clearly stated ‘god’ being taken apart here: Namely, the Christian one that Christians continually harp is all-loving, all-knowing, never fucks his children over – and yet the post outlines how this god does indeed do just that. And so, in short, you come across as an especially stunted five-year-old. And if it isn’t intentional, I’d suggest you seriously take a good hard think on how you appear to others and why is it that so many find your ramblings pointless to no end beyond the most obvious of thought patterns. Then, when you’re ready to have a discussion beyond ‘it’s the ass that holds up the trousers’ come on back and actually say something interesting.

        • Brian Curtis

          His contribution to every topic is always the same: Ignoring the subject and shifting the focus to himself and his under-appreciated brilliance.

        • Aram

          A quick look at his webpage told me all I needed to know. Anyone who thinks an intriguing ‘end argument’ is, ‘Gods are by definition not human and therefore we can’t judge them,’ is not exactly playing with a full deck.

        • Kodie

          All the ideas about god are written by people, who desperately need to feel there is an authority over all people, i.e. you want authority over me via your imaginary friend. If you or someone like you makes claims that god is good, and we are all adults, god is illustrated by adults who rationalize his authority, i.e., the fictional character who will come to kick your butt if you, a fucking adult, don’t behave. That’s you, protecting your abuser.

        • Kodie

          Are you a child?

        • Kit Hadley-Day

          I hate to accuse people of being childish but this ones actions would not be tolerated in my children, i clearly hold them to a higher standard than he holds himself. He must be a god

        • we do the same thing with our children

          You’re right, but then we aren’t perfect. God (at some stage of his development, anyway) was.

          Your point is on stronger ground if you’re referring to Yahweh early in the story where he was just an overgrown human, not perfect. Perhaps that’s where you were going?

        • > You’re right, but then we aren’t perfect. God (at some stage of his development, anyway) was.

          Okay; how does that mean that god should act the same way it expects humans to act?

          > Your point is on stronger ground if you’re referring to Yahweh early in the story where he was just an overgrown human, not perfect. Perhaps that’s where you were going?

          I am questioning assertions. I hold no position on how god should act.

        • Kodie

          Christians claim god is perfect, and then he isn’t. That’s on you, not us or the author of the OP.

        • You have made a series of replies, without waiting for me to respond. You are spamming. You’re basically like an idiot who won’t shut up and wait for someone to respond to you. Flagged and blocked.

        • Kodie

          What the fuck is your problem? You have made a series of posts and I just arrived at a thread and responding to your idiotic posts! Go ahead and try to blame me for wanting to show you up!

          You’re a fucking moron.

        • Michael Neville

          I see spamming is yet another concept you have trouble understanding. If you don’t want to answer Kodie then you don’t have to, but she was not spamming you.

        • Aram

          Bist du behindert? Writing replies on Disqus is how this whole online commenting thing works. Other people don’t know what you’re doing, how long you’re going to be in the shitter, who you’re harassing in real life, etc. Hence, one replies to various comments on a thread, and then when finished one waits for you to wipe and reply. This isn’t a complex concept, you bloody numpty.

        • Writing replies is fine. But imagine that you were talking to someone, and someone else butted in, and continued to speak, without even waiting for you to reply to them. I get that you don’t understand the difference between a discussion and a shit ton of posts being spewed without interest in hearing what the other person has to say though.

        • Greg G.

          But imagine that you were talking to someone, and someone else butted in, and continued to speak, without even waiting for you to reply to them.

          This is a public forum. It is designed so people can comment. It is like a peanut gallery.

        • Aram

          Pot kettle black. You’ve managed to say exactly one thing since you dumped on in here, yet have repeated it incessantly. Your five-year-old thought process has been noted and your simpleton point understood. Now you’re just restating it like a behinderter Affe.

        • Pofarmer

          Honestly, we know what you’re going to say. It’s not that interesting.

        • Kit Hadley-Day

          but this is not a spoken medium so you have plenty of time to read and consider your posts, if you have nothing to say in response to a comment then don’t.

        • Greg G.

          I don’t think she was replying to the same post over and over. She replied to a series of posts you made. They were different conversations. That is pretty normal. You make a lot of posts, you get a lot of replies.

        • I never said it was to the same post. It was numerous posts, in a short period of time, without waiting for a response.

        • Pofarmer

          That’s what we call Normal.

        • Greg G.

          I did notice after I posted that there was one post that she responded twice but that happens sometimes. She responded once to most of them. That’s how these forums work. There are several parallel conversations.

          You are free to respond or to not respond. Blocking someone means you don’t see their responses to you, it does not prevent them from responding. To everyone else it looks like you chose not to respond.

        • Kodie

          You made a lot of posts in one day, and I responded to several of them when I logged in. Do you have a severe problem with how this works?

        • Kit Hadley-Day

          Clearly does as he just blocked me for the same reason, Snowflakes are going to snowflake i suppose

        • Kit Hadley-Day

          that’s what happens when people find a thread going of in multiple directions.

        • Brian Curtis

          Exactly. If Christians were discussing this weird alien being they’d heard about and how its behavior was impossible to understand ‘by human standards,’ that would be one thing.

          But they’re demanding that everyone treat this being as omni-benevolent, i.e., perfectly good and wise in human terms–enough so that humans should be expected to worship it, even with their human-centric understanding of good and evil. And that makes all the difference. If such a being is not ‘good’ in human terms, than no one can reasonably expect humans to revere it as good. Period.

        • Kodie

          Do you think god is your parents now?

        • Michael Neville

          So what’s your evidence that your god is superior to humans? Considering that each and every god ever conceived, and this includes your pet deity, was the result of human imagination, how can any god be greater than humans?

        • Uh, I don’t believe in a god. If you notice, I haven’t even said that you are wrong. I am just saying that your arguments are trash.

        • Kodie

          You call yourself an anthropologist? For shame! You don’t know how to do anything.

        • Michael Neville

          I was confused by you making common Christian apologists’ arguments so I assumed you were a Christian. As for trashy arguments, have you had a look at yours? Kodie was pointing out how bad they were and, instead of justifying your arguments, you called her a spammer and blocked her. That’s really impressive.

        • I did not make an argument. I dismissed the claims made here. I just don’t buy your arguments. I’m sorry that you can’t understand the difference.

        • Venavis

          Someone that has gone all in on the special pleading fallacy has no right to call the arguments of others ‘trash’. Everything about your stance is based on logical fallacies. You are making circular arguments and creating strawmen. You are also being incredibly inconsistent, which is yet more evidence that you are a Christian pretending to be an atheist because you think you can ‘gotcha’ atheists with this act.

          https://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Special_pleading
          https://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Circular_reasoning
          https://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Ad_hoc
          https://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Moving_the_goalposts
          https://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Straw_man

          Come back when you are willing to argue in good faith and actually address points raised instead of trying to strawman them away. Also, honesty would be nice, cause uh, we’ve seen your kind before, the ‘atheist who only argues in support of god’. It’s an old shtick, it’s tiresome, and it’s about as good a disguise as a drawing a mustache on with a blue marker.

        • Kodie

          Adults are fuck-ups all the time. Do you think just because adults are parents that they are good examples? The god of the bible is written as someone who is, like, just stop hounding me, ok? I have a terrible hangover, which you should never, ever have!

    • Otto

      But children are one day going to be adults and make those decisions too. Is God raising us to also be gods? If not your analogy of parent/child doesn’t really fly.

      • Who knows? But why should this god thing be held to the same standard it sets for humans? You admit that humans and gods are different, yes?

        • Otto

          Yes, humans exist.

          And what standards should be used to judge god?

        • > Yes, humans exist.

          Are you suggesting that you know that gods do not exist?

          > And what standards should be used to judge god?

          Dunno. Again, I’m just saying that I don’t buy the argument made in this article or by the people here. I don’t see why we should hold this god thing to the same standard to which it holds humans. Can you explain why we should, as that seems to be the claim being made here.

        • Otto

          I am suggesting we have empirical evidence humans exist and we don’t have that for god. Everything points to the god concept being invented by humans, if that is the case could we then be justified in using human standards to judge a human concept?

          >>>”I don’t see why we should hold this god thing to the same standard to which it holds humans.”

          Again what standard should we use? All we have is a human standard. When god is judged to have done something good are we not using a human standard to come to that conclusion? Should we take no opinion at all in regards to the behavior of god?

        • > if that is the case could we then be justified in using human standards to judge a human concept?

          I don’t see why. Science is a human concept too. Even for fictional characters it kind of seems odd to judge them for their origin rather than their properties. For instance, I yell at fellow D&D players who play neutral to good characters and yet act as if they had evil alignment.

          > Again what standard should we use?

          I don’t know, but I don’t see why we should treat this god thing by human standards, since even if it is fictional, it is not human.

          > Should we take no opinion at all in regards to the behavior of god?

          You can hold whatever position you want, but every claim suffers burden of proof.

        • Otto

          >>>”I don’t know, but I don’t see why we should treat this god thing by human standards”

          I don’t think we have any choice but to use a human standard. Even if we create a special standard we are doing so from a human point of view. When people praise god for all the wonderful things he supposedly does are we not using a human standard to do so? Do you tell people that praise god for the wonderful things they think he does not to use a human standard? Wouldn’t that be equally as important, or does the ‘human standard’ argument only hold water if the opinion is negative?

          >>>”You can hold whatever position you want, but every claim suffers burden of proof.”

          That didn’t address the question.

        • > I don’t think we have any choice but to use a human standard.

          Why? We don’t even treat all species or all real and fictional characters by those standards.

          > That didn’t address the question.

          It is the best answer that I can provide to you.

        • Otto

          >>>”Why? We don’t even treat all species or all real and fictional characters by those standards.”

          Sure we do, any standard we use is a human standard. We may create a special standard but it still human in origin; it still comes from a human perspective.

          Are you going to answer this question…’does the ‘human standard’ argument only hold water if the opinion is negative?’

        • > Sure we do, any standard we use is a human standard.

          Really? So we charge a bear with rape because it didn’t ask the other bear for consent before having sex?

          > We may create a special standard but it still human in origin; it still comes from a human perspective.

          But that’s not what’s suggested here. It is being suggested that a god should act in the same way as it tells humans to act. Why should it?

          > Are you going to answer this question…’does the ‘human standard’ argument only hold water if the opinion is negative?’

          Huh?

        • Otto

          No we don’t charge the bear with rape. We assume the bears deal with inter social problems themselves. When bears intrude into human areas how do we treat them though? If a bear kills a human don’t we then kill the bear? Isn’t doing so using a human standard?

          >>>”It is being suggested that a god should act in the same way as it tells humans to act.”

          The same reason we kill a bear for killing a human…it has then intruded into our area and we have to deal with it because its actions have direct consequences on us.

          >>>”Huh?”

          Again….I am pointing out that people like yourself only use the human standard argument if the standard being used comes to a negative conclusion regarding god. If the conclusion is positive nobody ever complains that we are using a human standard…isn’t that a bit inconsistent?

        • > No we don’t charge the bear with rape.

          Then you admit that we do not expect all beings to act the way that humans are expected to act.

          > The same reason we kill a bear for killing a human…it has then intruded into our area and we have to deal with it because its actions have direct consequences on us.

          But you just stated that we do not expect a bear to act the way we act.

          > Again….I am pointing out that people like yourself only use the human standard argument if the standard being used comes to a negative conclusion regarding god.

          People like me? What kind of people are those? How do you know I only apply this kid of reasoning in negative cases? Also, I’m not even really saying that you’re wrong. I’m just not buying your claims.

        • Otto

          >>>”But you just stated that we do not expect a bear to act the way we act.”

          But the expectations that we do use are still from a human perspective.

          >>>”People like me? What kind of people are those? How do you know I only apply this kid of reasoning in negative cases?…I’m just not buying your claims.”

          Show me a comment post where you questioned someones assertion of positive opinions about god by criticizing them for using a human standard. I am certainly not buying yours.

        • > But the expectations that we do use are still from a human perspective.

          Okay, but we do not expect them to act the way humans are expected to act.

          > Show me a comment post where you questioned someones assertion of positive opinions about god by criticizing them for using a human standard. I am certainly not buying yours.

          I’m not sure how that question helps your claim. First off, what do you mean by people like me?

        • Otto

          >>>”Okay, but we do not expect them to act the way humans are expected to act.”

          Yes, we have less expectations that a bear will act ethically and morally…because we figure they don’t have as much capability as a human. So shouldn’t we expect god to act more morally? Shouldn’t our expectation of god be greater than what we expect from a human?

          >>>”First off, what do you mean by people like me?”

          I mean people that bring up this line of argument that humans should not judge god by our standards.

          >>>”I’m not sure how that question helps your claim.”

          My claim is that you are being inconsistent in your criticism regarding this issue.

        • > Yes, we have less expectations that a bear will act ethically and morally…

          You’re impressing human, and in fact western, morality onto a bear? Who says that a bear ever acts immorally?

          > Yes, we have less expectations that a bear will act ethically and morally…

          I never said that they shouldn’t. I am asking you for justification for your claim that it should be.

          > My claim is that you are being inconsistent in your criticism regarding this issue.

          Based on what evidence?

        • Otto

          >>>”Who says that a bear ever acts immorally?”

          Are you saying animals don’t ever act with basic morality, i.e. a sense of fairness, etc.?

          >>>”Based on what evidence?”

          Based on the fact that not once have I ever seen anyone take issue with someone judging god in a positive sense. No one ever seems to accuse someone of using human standards when some positive opinion about god is expressed. Do you go onto Christian, Hindu or Islamic sites and point a finger at them by stating they are using human standards to view god in a positive light?

        • > Are you saying animals don’t ever act with basic morality, i.e. a sense of fairness, etc.?

          I am saying that I am not familiar with a source of universal objective morality. You are applying western morality to non-humans.

          > Based on the fact that not once have I ever seen anyone take issue with someone judging god in a positive sense.

          Could you give an example of what you mean by judging god in a positive sense, from a human point of view?

          > Do you go onto Christian, Hindu or Islamic sites and point a finger at them by stating they are using human standards to view god in a positive light?

          I generally don’t go onto Christian, Hindu, or Islamic sites. Why would I?

        • Otto

          >>>”I am saying that I am not familiar with a source of universal objective morality. You are applying western morality to non-humans.”

          What human morality are you applying, eastern?

          “Could you give an example of what you mean by judging god in a positive sense, from a human point of view?”

          Go to any Christian blog on Patheos that talks about all the wonderful things God does…shouldn’t be hard to find.

          >>>”I generally don’t go onto Christian, Hindu, or Islamic sites. Why would I?”

          Apparently to tell them they are using human standards for their conclusions. You seem to think it is a bad idea.

        • Kodie

          The god described in this article acts extremely human. You just hold it above its own standards, which are dictated to humans as though we are expected to achieve that hypocritical standard ourselves. Get with the fucking program. The bible is written by humans and god isn’t written any way except by a human perspective, as behaving as a human, exacting revenge (fantasy) for some humans, or giving them the pretend authority they want to conquer some other people. Please explain why you think god gets a pass. He’s a fanfic fantasy.

        • Kit Hadley-Day

          we hold them to a lower standard, as they are not as capable of higher rational thought. Like children. Subsequently a more rational. more understanding creature should be held to a higher standard.

        • Kodie

          Because humans have a limited concept, unless this being is its abuser. If god is fictional, the author wanted to take liberties it can’t as a human, and just abuse its authority as a god. How loving that is!

        • Greg G.

          Are you suggesting that you know that gods do not exist?

          It depends on how “god” is defined. I have heard that some South American tribe considers a species of tree frog to be a god. I consider them to be tree frogs. There are people who are stronger, smarter, more caring than I am, but I do not consider them to be gods.

          If a being is not omnipotent and omnibenevolent, I wouldn’t call them gods. If a being is more powerful than me but less than omnipotent, it is just another being, perhaps more powerful than one of those humans I mentioned. If it is not omnibenevolent, then it is not worthy of the label of a god. It is either an indifferent being or a sadistic being.

          But we know that sentient being suffer. The suffering is either necessary or unnecessary. If it doesn’t serve a purpose that can be achieved no other way, then the suffering is unnecessary. If it achieves some purpose, then it is logically possible to achieve that purpose. If it is logically possible to achieve that purpose, then the omnipotent being can achieve the purpose with or without suffering, so the suffering is unnecessary.

          So all suffering is unnecessary. If an omnipotent being permits unnecessary suffering, it is either indifferent or it is sadistic. In either case, it is not omnibenevolent.

          So, there is nothing that exists that is omnipotent and omnibenevolent, so there is nothing worthy of being called a god.

        • > If a being is not omnipotent and omnibenevolent, I wouldn’t call them gods.

          Hmm. I’m not sure I buy that definition. It’s far too restrictive and is essentially limited to Christian and Islamic beliefs, and even then maybe not all of them, as there are different views on what is reasonably considered to be omnipotence.

          > If it is logically possible to achieve that purpose, then the omnipotent being can achieve the purpose with or without suffering, so the suffering is unnecessary.

          I’m not sure I buy that argument. Are we talking about an omnipotent being in the sense that it can do absolutely anything, for example make a box that it can’t lift?

          > So, there is nothing that exists that is omnipotent and omnibenevolent, so there is nothing worthy of being called a god.

          Yes; good job. You can parrot the problem of evil. But let’s see what you mean by “omnipotence” before moving forward.

        • Greg G.

          Hmm. I’m not sure I buy that definition. It’s far too restrictive and is essentially limited to Christian and Islamic beliefs, and even then maybe not all of them, as there are different views on what is reasonably considered to be omnipotence.

          Where would you draw the line between a god and a not-a-god. Being a immaterial only qualifies it as an immaterial being. Being more powerful than a human doesn’t qualify as a god. Otherwise, Mr. Spock would qualify. A thousand times more powerful? Would the being a thousand times more powerful than that consider it a god?

          Another religion’s imaginary non-existent beings would not qualify as gods. They would just be more powerful beings than humans. If they have a mean streak, they aren’t worthy of the label.

          I’m not sure I buy that argument. Are we talking about an omnipotent being in the sense that it can do absolutely anything, for example make a box that it can’t lift?

          I am using the weakest possible definition of omnipotence: The ability to do what is logically possible to do. But my argument still holds against any being that is sufficiently powerful to do any suffering can do, even if there are other logically possible things it cannot do. That wouldn’t fit my definition of a god but it is proven that no being that is sufficiently powerful to accomplish any purpose suffering can do and is omnibenevolent exists.

        • > Where would you draw the line between a god and a not-a-god.

          Hard to say, but my working “definition” of a god is a being with agency, which is not held to at least one of the fundamental laws of nature to which humans are bound.

          According to you, the Greek gods are not gods, nor are the Hindu gods, the Kami aren’t either. Really only the Christian and Muslim god qualifies as far as I know. That’s a very limited definition.

          > Another religion’s imaginary non-existent beings would not qualify as gods. They would just be more powerful beings than humans. If they have a mean streak, they aren’t worthy of the label.

          And here’s the crux of it. Your religious belief that there are no gods, etc.

          And your argument might not work with weak omnipotence, etc. Tell me, which is less benevolent, not allowing something to exist, or allowing it to exist with temporary suffering? Can you show that it is possible to prevent suffering and be omnibenevolent?

        • Greg G.

          The Greek gods aren’t as powerful as genies. Hermes was fast but he had to run to get from one place to another.

          Vishnu is said to dream the world into existence. But a world with unnecessary suffering is nightmared into existence.

          And here’s the crux of it. Your religious belief that there are no gods, etc.

          If a lifeform evolved on another planet with more intelligence, a more durable body, and has developed technologies we can’t begin to imagine, it is still just an evolved species, not a god. How are we supposed to distinguish one of these dudes from a god? I think you have to set the bar beyond what is apparently attainable by a being from another planet. The definition should not be limited by cultures that imagined gods as drama queens.

          Can you show that it is possible to prevent suffering and be omnibenevolent?

          A dentist can prevent suffering with a logically possible shot of novocaine and without being omnibenevolent.

          An omnipotent being could do a billion logically possible miracles per nanosecond for every sentient being to prevent suffering as easily as not doing them and a unlimited number of times more whether it is omnibenevolent or not, though if it was omnibenevolent, it would do them.

        • TheNuszAbides

          The definition should not be limited by cultures that imagined gods as drama queens.

          #featurequotenominee

        • Kodie

          Sorry, no, your working definition of god is any being that can willfully abuse adult humans any time he wants to.

        • Kit Hadley-Day

          so your definition of a god is any supernatural entity,

          fine, now establish that there is anything that operates outside the realm of the natural world. a single example of something that is not effected by the fundamental laws of nature. because if you can’t your definition is just as useless as any other untestable definition of something.

          also if we, as humans, ever manage to break the light barrier, do we become gods?

        • Kit Hadley-Day

          So define a god then. Lets get on with actually agreeing the terms of this discussion

        • Since you have decided to write a string of replies, without waiting for me to respond, and while ignoring my responses, I have flagged your posts as spam and have blocked you.

          Now, before I go, let me point out that you are so stupid that you made an argument against your own claim.

          > children are held to a lower standard as there understanding and decision making ability are limited compared to adults, given an omnimax god makes the difference between adults and children look insignificant of course he should be held to a higher standard

          We’re talking about two different things here, in a way. By “lower standard” we expect less from children, but we also demand more. We do not let children make as many decisions as we make, because they have less of a capacity to understand and make decisions, as compared to adults: the greater the capacity to understand and make decisions, the more decisions someone is allowed to make. That is your argument, not mine. You also claim that the omnimax god’s capacity to understand and to make decisions is worlds beyond our own capacity.

          Therefore, by your own argument, you are suggesting that what the omnimax god is allowed to do, the decisions it can make, should be worlds beyond what we are allowed to do. Maybe you should spend more time thinking and less time talking.

        • Kit Hadley-Day

          You will not be able to read this, but i for any other readers. This self righteous arse refuses to engage preferring to fail to understand how forums work and crying spam. To reply to his ‘closing comment’ on my comment. If he could be bothered to actually read responses he would see that i dealt with his issue. He is strawmanning my argument, but that seems par for the course for this supposed ‘Anthropologist’. We still judge children, but we allow more lee way, hence greater understanding leasd to less lee way in judgement, not more. and unless he thinks that someone stating they have more knowledge is justification for any from of moral wrong his argument is fundamentally flawed. Do we just accept that stance form our leaders? this twit would be a authoritarians dream subject.

        • Kit Hadley-Day

          we have as much evidence for god as we do for dragons, so i assume that one is as likely as the other, I do not set up dragon traps and i don’t waste my time praying, Given your statement i am assuming your house must be littered with dragon, leprechaun and big foot traps.

        • al kimeea

          Are you suggesting that you know that gods do not exist?

          Well, I do know people have claimed they do exist for a long time before I came along. The BuyBull isn’t convincing without the sword. And TRADITION!!!!

        • Okay, are you suggesting that you know that gods do not exist?

        • al kimeea

          Tell us of one that has been shown to exist.

        • I don’t think that any do. It was claimed that none do, and I am responding to that claim.

        • al kimeea

          R u suggesting that you know that gods do not exist?

        • Nope.

        • al kimeea

          TSA – I don’t think that any do.

        • Okay, but the claim was that none do. That claim suffers burden of proof.

        • al kimeea

          Unburden yourself…

        • I made no claim about existence or nonexistence. Otto did. You defended him. You two suffer burden of proof.

        • Kodie

          You are high-strung, rude, demanding, and delusional! What a combo. Are you sure you’re not a Christian, because I didn’t see Otto make a positive claim about god’s nonexistence. Seems like you just want to pick fights over nothing.

        • Pofarmer

          They could be all that and be tolerable. What’s really the worst is straw manning other peoples arguments or twisting them into something they didn’t say, which seems to be constant. Either they don’t get it, which is excusable, except they seem to be immune to correction, or they are dishonest.

        • al kimeea

          TSA – I don’t think that any do.

          ‘any’ refers to gods

          ‘do’ refers to exist

          you make no claim?

          sounds like you & Otto are sympatico

        • Venavis

          You remember that part in the bible about humans being made in god’s image? I mean, we all know it’s actually the other way around, but the point stands.

          You did actually read the entire bible before chiming in to try defending it, right?

        • > You did actually read the entire bible before chiming in to try defending it, right?

          I am not defending the bible, nor do I believe that the bible is a representation of reality. As to your other question: https://disqus.com/home/discussion/crossexamined/george_washington_couldnt_tell_a_lie_but_god_can_85/#comment-3866884624

        • Venavis

          I see no answer to the other question in that post. Want to try again?

        • I’m not sure that something created in our likeness should be expected to act in the same way that we do. Let’s take for example Isaac Asimov’s “Three Laws of Robotics.”

          Even though these robot things are largely created in our image, we do not expect them to act in the same way that we act.

        • Venavis

          Okay –

          1) You should try actually reading the Asimov books before trying to use them to make a point

          2) You still haven’t addressed the point. Want to try again?

        • 1) I have.
          2) I addressed your point. I gave an example of things made in something else’s image, held to a different standard.

          Now, if you think this god thing should be held to the same standard as its supposed creations, justify your claim. I don’t buy it. I’m not saying you’re wrong; I am saying that your position is unjustified.

        • Venavis

          1) If you had, you’d know why the example doesn’t work. Robots weren’t ‘made in humans image’, that’s kind of what the three laws are. You have ‘looking like’ and ‘made in the image of’ confused. The uncanny-valley not human-ness of robots is kind of the entire point of half the series.

          2) So, uh, no, you didn’t address the point. Want to try again?

          I already justified the claim. Provided a link and everything. I’ll even provide it for you again – https://www.logicallyfallacious.com/tools/lp/Bo/LogicalFallacies/163/Special-Pleading

          If you want to base your entire stance on a logical fallacy, please, be my guest. You can be as wrong as you want to be, my friend.

        • > Robots weren’t ‘made in humans image’, that’s kind of what the three laws are.

          Except that they were. They were made to think and act, and even look, more or less like us. The three laws are just for our own protection.

          > I already justified the claim. Provided a link and everything. But if you want to base your entire stance on a logical fallacy…

          Buddy, all I am saying is that I don’t buy your argument. I don’t see any reason why a god should have to act the same way as it tells humans to act. You have not justified your position. I am not even saying that your position is wrong. I am just asking you to defend it reasonably.

        • Venavis

          —Except that they were. They were made to think and act, and even look, more or less like us. The three laws are just for our own protection.—

          You really should read the books, cause if you had, you’d know the fact that they don’t think and act like us was kind of the plot.

          —Buddy, all I am saying is that I don’t buy your argument. I don’t see any reason why a god should have to act the same way as it tells humans to act. You have not justified your position. I am not even saying that your position is wrong. I am just asking you to defend it reasonably.—

          You should probably look at that link at some point. Maybe try addressing it.

          Here it is again -https://www.logicallyfallacious.com/tools/lp/Bo/LogicalFallacies/163/Special-Pleading

        • Kit Hadley-Day

          some one who uses the ‘do as i say, not as i do’ philosophy is a hypocrite. so we are back to jerk god, which most atheists would agree is more likely than omnimax god

        • Well, I already responded to your initial post. Maybe if you spent less time shitting on this thread and more time waiting for a reply so we can actually have a discussion…

    • Ummm, how do you deal with:

      Now this I say and testify in the Lord, that you must no longer walk as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their minds. They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of heart. They have become callous and have given themselves up to sensuality, greedy to practice every kind of impurity. But that is not the way you learned Christ!— assuming that you have heard about him and were taught in him, as the truth is in Jesus, to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.

      Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. (Ephesians 4:17–24,5:1–2)

      ? After all, the context of the OP is Christianity, so we’re not talking just any old deity.

    • Venavis

      Holding god to a different standard than the one god supposedly set is called the ‘special pleading fallacy’. https://www.logicallyfallacious.com/tools/lp/Bo/LogicalFallacies/163/Special-Pleading

      It’s a logical fallacy. That’s why it’s an issue.

        • Venavis

          Nothing in that post addresses or counters the point I raised. Want to try again?

      • Ficino

        No it’s not! God is special!!

      • JustAnotherAtheist2

        In fairness, if you presume that god has sufficient reasons for behaving differently then it can be a valid rebuttla.

        The real problem here is that, once you start dabbling in baseless assumptions, all options are open. TSA assumes god’s apparently harmful actions have good intent, I presume god’s apparently kind actions have harmful intent. How do we determine who is right?

        It’s amusing that the only way to preserve god’s goodness is to make any assessment of goodness impossible.

        • Venavis

          But that presumption is also a logical fallacy. More than one, actually.

        • JustAnotherAtheist2

          No, it isn’t, it’s just unfounded. Logical fallacies have specific application and this really isn’t one of them. To whit:

          P1: All elephants are pink.
          P2: Bessy is an elephant.
          C: Bessy is pink.

          This syllogism is neither invalid or fallacious. It’s unsound because the first premise is false, but the logic is fine.

          We’re on the same side here, I’m just being pedantic because a theist who knows philosophy will focus on the misuse of terms and ignore the larger point.

        • Venavis

          You know, there is a way to handle the urge to be pedantic. Every time it starts to happen, dump boiling hot water on your crouch. Problem will go away quickly.

        • JustAnotherAtheist2

          Ha! In this case, pedantry is warranted. There is a sizable gap between validity and soundness, and conflating the two does nothing but open you up to unnecessary distractions from the topic at hand.

        • Venavis

          No, it really isn’t. If you are confused about the difference between a formal and an informal logical fallacy, please feel free to look it up, but the ‘fallacy of presumption’ is listed as a fallacy for a reason, plus it isn’t the only fallacy at play in the line of ‘reasoning’ you suggested. I already provided links to several others.

          But please, continue being an unnecessary distraction from the topic at hand, cause uh, free speech and shit, but this is the last time I’ll be responding to you on this.

        • JustAnotherAtheist2

          I’m fully aware of the distinction, thanks.

          Given your oddly sensitive reaction to a bit of helpful (albeit unsolicited) advice, you are correct that my time is better spent elsewhere. Enjoy your day.

        • JustAnotherAtheist2

          For my own benefit I double checked… and it didn’t take long to find sources that used the terms in your manner. It isn’t how I learned it, but it appears that your usages are acceptable. My apologies.

        • Venavis

          Apology accepted.

          And for the record, that was why I was ‘oddly sensitive’ (also, don’t do the ‘gee, why are you being so sensitive’ routine, that’s an asshole move). Having someone chime in to offer unsolicited pedantic advice is irritating and rude on its own and really never helpful or meant to be helpful. It’s especially annoying, however, when their nitpicking is wrong or a gray area/matter of opinion.

        • JustAnotherAtheist2

          I was admittedly put off, though I think you could admit to being so as well. The fault for the tone isn’t entirely mine, IMO.

          unsolicited pedantic advice is irritating and rude on its own and really never helpful or meant to be helpful.

          Whether it is irritating and rude is your assessment to make, but I can assure you that it was made with helpful intent. Given that I encounter people regularly who distinguish between validity and soundness, I still think my pedantry had value… but I was wrong before so it is certainly possible I’m wrong again.

        • Venavis

          Dude, you chimed in to do the very thing you claimed to want to avoid. I’m not going to go down this rabbit hole with you.

          My tone is borderline hostile and completely unappreciative of waste of time pseudo-intellectual ego-wanking pedantry, as it is intended to discourage such behavior. The only thing that keeps what you are doing from being mansplaining is the fact that I’m not female. Knock it off.

        • JustAnotherAtheist2

          My tone is unnecessarily hostile

          FTFY.

          Knock it off.

          “Knock it off”? Holy shit dude, get over yourself.

          Generally speaking, the appropriate response to someone admitting error is to not be an asshole about it. Your replies indicate that this is too much for you, so I guess we are done here.

        • Venavis

          Your error wasn’t failing to understand that there are both formal and informal errors of logic or being mistaken about the presumption fallacy.

          Your error was chiming in to nitpick and ‘splain the issue in the first place when such was clearly unwarranted and added nothing to the discussion. Since you haven’t admitted to that error and clearly aren’t the slightest bit apologetic about it, clearly there is nothing ‘unnecessary’ about my hostility.

          Yeah, I guess we are done.

        • Greg G.

          About 15 years ago on the talk.origins Usenet group, Steven J. opened a post with “If we want to be pedantic (and who doesn’t?)…” I still use that line occasionally.

    • RichardSRussell

      god holding itself to a different standard really isn’t one of those issues

      Well, laying aside the whole issue of hypocrisy on the subject of truth-telling, let me cut right straight to my own problem. I think it’s a bad idea to lie, and I personally fault this “God” character for doing it when he really had no good reason to. This hardly makes him either a moral exemplar or a source of moral wisdom.

      • So it’s always wrong to lie?

        • RichardSRussell

          That’s what Sam Harris contends in his little book Lying. I think he overstates the case. But see my qualifier “when he really had no good reason to”.

        • I’m not sure I buy that. Why is lying always wrong?

        • RichardSRussell

          I’m not the one who contends that it is. But I find the case that Sam Harris makes for the proposition intriguing. If you’d like to see his reasoning laid out at length, you should obtain a copy of his book and read it for yourself.

        • Harris has published a total of three scientific papers and is not a philosopher of science and has not published on the topic of systematic review or any other related field. He is not an expert on the topic, and therefore citation of his position is not a valid appeal to authority. Quite frankly, he’s not even a very good scientist, especially when his results are not in line with his beliefs.

        • Greg G.

          Rejecting the Harris’ argument because he is not an expert on the topic is an ad hominem.

        • You haven’t provided his argument. You cited him. I can’t speak to his argument until after I read the material. If you want to pick up this discussion after I have time to waste on his sh*t, then okay.

        • Greg G.

          You cited him.

          Check the names above the posts.

        • RichardSRussell

          You admit that you haven’t read any of his book, but you’re already sure it’s “sh*t”, eh? Now there’s the kind of open-mindedness I suspected was lurking behind that facade of reasonableness.

        • I’ve read a lot of his material. He’s mainly focused on promoting Religious Rejectionism. Just because I haven’t read Lying doesn’t mean I haven’t read other material by him.

        • This is tangential, but Sam Harris recently had on a guy (AJ Jacobs, I believe) who talked about trying out “radical honesty.” This is a philosophy where, not only do you never tell white lies, but you also report to everyone around pretty much everything your mind is telling you. So if you’re thinking that you’d like to have sex with the person you just met, you say that. Out loud. So that they can hear. Or that their clothes don’t suit them or that they smell or that their partner is much hotter than they are or whatever.

          I was very much unconvinced about the idea, and so was Jacobs, but it’s a fascinating thought experiment.

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Radical_Honesty
          https://samharris.org/podcasts/110-change-artist/

        • sandy

          Reminds me of George Constanza when he did and said the opposite of what he normally would do or say. Worked for him!

        • Doubting Thomas

          I think he quickly amended the experiment to exclude the overtly sexual comments when he realized he would quickly end up getting a restraining order from most everyone, females especially, he interacted with if all his thoughts were verbalized.

        • I may not have absorbed all that was in Harris’s podcast on this, and I haven’t read further. But the whole thing seems like a stillborn idea to me. Great for a thought experiment–What would happen if we did this and/or why would this be a terrible idea?–but I’m not sure there would be any benefit to actually conducting the experiment for real.

          Have you studied more on the subject?

        • TheNuszAbides

          the concept had a proponent in a supporting character in the series Lie To Me. unfortunately the writing was not exceptional enough to make the radical position particularly thought-provoking or story-driving. (or they were saving the good stuff for a future that the production didn’t survive to show us.)

          which reminds me that several years back i heard about a book on something like ‘radical transparency’, basically an argument against privacy as we know it, but which i’ve been unable to rediscover a reference to.

        • Greg G.

          I liked that show. I think the networks hack my DVR to see what I am recording to decide what to cancel.

        • TheNuszAbides

          I enjoyed the performances [IME Tim Roth never disappoints], but in hindsight there wasn’t nearly enough running start for me to appreciate the story arc[s].

        • Venavis

          Why don’t you address the point raised instead of putting up a strawman?

        • A straw man is a weaker argument used in place of a proper argument, in an attempt to satisfy the other party without actually satisfying burden of proof. It was claimed that it was always wrong to lie. I did not make a claim; I asked a question, so it is not a straw man.

        • Venavis

          — It was claimed that it was always wrong to lie—

          Nope, it wasn’t. This is entirely your strawman.

        • Kit Hadley-Day

          what is it with reading comprehension and god defenders

        • Brian Curtis

          There’s simple ignorance, and then there’s willful and proactive blocking of unwelcome knowledge. Religious apologists have openly declared their stance, and we should expect nothing else from them.

        • Kit Hadley-Day

          Quite, active stupidity is depressing to watch, even sadder in people who give every impression of being quite smart, they are just hobbling themselves so they don’t have to face some unpleasant truths

    • Damien Priestly

      Actually, any God should be held to an even higher standard…So the asshole God of the Bible is even worse than we thought !!

      • > Actually, any God should be held to an even higher standard…

        Why?

        • Kodie

          Because he’s BETTER than everyone else????????

        • al kimeea

          How does an often described perfect being do anything us puny humans might consider immoral? And yet The Holey Book is replete with examples of just that. Imagine the best person possible, and this thing is supposed to be better by doing things that would disqualify any person from being the best…

        • Kodie

          Your example is drinking, which kids shouldn’t do and a lot of adults can’t handle either. The example in the article is lying, which is bad if you do it, but ok if god does it, according to you.

          Most adults know it’s necessary to lie on occasion, but children have not only a propensity to not lie (at all or convincingly), they are punished when they learn how to lie because of this stupid religious commandment. For human children, understanding the difference between what someone says and what is true is essential to their development! They cannot become competent adults if they do not understand or recognize that what someone says isn’t necessarily true, and achieve this comprehension through practice.

          But what’s god’s excuse? Why does he have to lie? Is it because humans have their hand up his butt and he’s a puppet for their thoughts?

        • Damien Priestly

          If real, and with more power than humans, comes more responsibility.

          One can argue for/against a malevolent God…but that is an argument that the God concept is arbitrary…so actually another argument against a God concept.

        • > If real, and with more power than humans, comes more responsibility.

          Perhaps, but that doesn’t mean that such a thing cannot do things that we are not allowed to do. Cops have more power and responsibility, but they can do things we can’t, like break the speed limit.

        • Damien Priestly

          Cops are not our creators, instead we create police departments for cops to serve us. Obviously religious people don’t think we created God (even though people have always invented gods) — and cops should be held to a higher ethical standard.

          But yes, there is no reason God can’t be an asshole, William Lane Craig would never use that argument…because it’s a great argument against objective morality coming from revelation. This is why teaching kids about an all powerful God with powers to send you to heaven/hell – is essentially abusive.

        • Otto

          I called in a cop for tailgating and reckless driving while he was on duty. He got in a pretty decent amount of trouble, as he should have. He was held to a higher standard, is that wrong?

        • Greg G.

          That must have been extreme tailgating and reckless driving for the autopilot to report it.

        • Otto

          It was ridiculous. Cop was driving behind someone going 25 mph. The cop was following less than 5 feet behind and revving his engine and lunging, apparently to get the person to go faster. The cop didn’t turn on his lights or anything, he acted like a complete asshole, then when he did get around the person he drove fast and careless, still not turning on his lights. When I turned him in I said he was either in an emergency and didn’t turn on his lights properly, or he wasn’t and his driving was completely unsafe, either way he was wrong.

        • Okay, but I’ve seen cops go well above the speed limit. You know as well as I do that they have the authority to violate the speed limit, in order to do their job. We’re not cops. We can’t choose to ever violate the speed limit.

        • Otto

          Sure we can, you haven’t heard of a cop not arresting someone or giving them a ticket because the citizen was dealing with an emergency that warranted breaking the speed limit? Happens all the time.

        • Joe

          That’s cops, who have a defined code of practice, set by humans.

          How do we know a god has an authority to do anything?

        • Joe

          So God should be held to a lower standard?

        • I dunno. Why should it be held to a higher standard?

        • Joe

          Why should imaginary beings be held to any standard, if you’re going to continually be facetious?

        • > Why should imaginary beings be held to any standard, if you’re going to continually be facetious?

          Do you know that all these god things are imaginary? And if you think they are and they shouldn’t be held to any standard, then you’re just engaging in mental masturbation by discussing this topic.

        • Joe

          Do you know that all these god things are imaginary?

          Do you know they aren’t?

          And if you think they are and they shouldn’t be held to any standard, then you’re just engaging in mental masturbation by discussing this topic.

          The irony here is off the scale.

        • Venavis

          Stop sealioning. All it does is make it clear to everyone you’ve got the mental maturity of a six year old.

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sea_lioning

        • Kit Hadley-Day

          children are held to a lower standard as there understanding and decision making ability are limited compared to adults, given an omnimax god makes the difference between adults and children look insignificant of course he should be held to a higher standard

        • So what you’re saying is that because a child has less of a capacity to understand and make decisions, it is not allowed to do things that adults are allowed to do, with their greater capacity to understand and make decisions?

        • Kit Hadley-Day

          Yes, but the the proviso is that there understanding is more limited, given any god worthy of the tittle must have a greater understanding than adults then they should be held to a higher standard. Or do you think that people with more understanding should be held to a lower standard? it is possible that someone who knows more understanding may be able to justify being immoral by appealing to the bigger picture but they are still subject to being judged against the moral standard, they may just be excused.

    • Lark62

      God is make believe.

      Every human culture, big and little, creates a moral structure. These moral structures are not fixed, they change and adapt.

      The idea that there is just one perfect morality for all places and all times is patently false. Just look around. Morality is constantly in flux.

      We can only judge by the morality we’ve got. We condemn slavery and Nazi atrocities. Future generations may well condemn us for factory farming, over fishing and animal cruelty.

      We can judge the deities created and worshipped by other humans. The deity described in the bible is repugnant. We can judge other humans for choosing to worship such a deity.

      • You’re getting off point here. The issue is the idea that these god things should act the way humans are expected to act. However, and I assume you’re talking about a Christian-like god, can you show me that they are only make believe? I don’t believe that a god exists, but you seem quite confident that none do.

        • Lark62

          The issue is that humans have created an imaginary friend, given that imaginary friend certain qualities, and called those qualities admirable.

          Let’s say a child created an imaginary friend. Then the child said the imaginary friend is right to think people should be killed for not believing in it and worshiping it.

          I would conclude that child needs immediate mental health treatment.

          The deity described in the bible is silly. This deity is obviously the wet dream of the tribal, warlike society that invented it. The biblical deity is fiction. Likewise all other deities that have been worshipped by mankind. They are products of the cultures that created them and change as the culture changes.

          As for whether there is a supernatural being that has never been seen, felt, heard or experienced by humans, so what? Until it is seen, felt, heard or experienced, it really doesn’t much matter. Given that there is no evidence whatsoever for such a being (or beings), I’m comfortable with continuing to conclude there are no deities.

        • > The issue is that humans have created an imaginary friend, given that imaginary friend certain qualities, and called those qualities admirable.

          Yes, you keep reiterating your religious belief that there are no gods. By all means, please cite reasonable evidence justifying your claim. Now, I don’t believe that gods are real, but your belief that they are not is a bit problematic, and your claim that these god things are not real is something that needs to be justified.

          > I’m comfortable with continuing to conclude there are no deities.

          Right, faith. Got it.

        • Lark62

          Yeppers. Just like your conclusion that there is no Tooth Fairy is just “faith.” Perhaps you can provide the “reasonable evidence” for your conclusion that there is no Tooth Fairy.

          After that, provide your “reasonable evidence” that Zeus is make believe.

          Then, provide your “reasonable evidence” that there are no unicorns.

          Then, provide your “reasonable evidence” that Quetzalcoatl is make believe.

          Then, provide your “reasonable evidence” that there are no extraterrestrial tea pots.

          Then, provide your “reasonable evidence” that there are no leprechauns.

          Etc. Etc. Etc.

          Let me know when you are done providing “reasonable evidence” that every imaginary being and thing since the dawn of man is in fact make believe.

          Oh? Is that not how it works? Perhaps, it is the person making the claim who must provide the evidence. What a concept, huh.. Meanwhile, the rest of humanity gets to say “I see no evidence that your imaginary friend exists. Show me your evidence or piss off.”

          And so I say to you, again: “I see no evidence that your imaginary friend exists. Show me your evidence or piss off.”

        • > Yeppers. Just like your conclusion that there is no Tooth Fairy is just “faith.” Perhaps you can provide the “reasonable evidence” for your conclusion that there is no Tooth Fairy.

          Please cite where I said that there was no tooth fairy? What are the properties of this tooth fairy? Is it defined as being bound to the laws of nature that bind us?

        • Lark62

          My apologies. I merely assumed that seeing how you can write in complete sentences, you have graduated kindergarten and do not believe in the Tooth Fairy. My bad. I guess one should never assume.

          Make sure to tell her that the going rate is $5 per tooth (cavity free).

          The burden of proof still lies with the party that makes an assertion that “this supernatural being exists.”

          Until then, the rest of us can continue to say “Show me evidence that this supernatural being exists or piss off.”

        • al kimeea

          TSA – I don’t think that any (gods) do (exist).

          enlighten all and sundry of the bestest way to reach that conclusion

        • al kimeea

          TSA – I don’t think that any (gods) do (exist) .

          Show us why you think all gods are make believe…

        • > Show us why you think all gods are make believe…

          I don’t.

          > enlighten all and sundry of the bestest way to reach that conclusion

          It’s not a conclusion. Are you really not able to understand the difference between believing that there are no gods and simply lacking a belief that there is a god?

        • al kimeea

          What is it then? ‘Cause you think no gods exist. How did you come to think that?

        • I do not think that no gods exist.

          I do not think that gods exist either.

          Clearly you cannot understand. …i’m sorry.

        • al kimeea

          yes. yes you are.

          TSA – I don’t think that any (gods) do (exist) .

        • > TSA – I don’t think that any (gods) do (exist) .

          That’s correct. That’s different from thinking that there are no gods. Now, apparently you’re even dumber than I thought, as you cannot understand the difference. So good day.

        • al kimeea

          You – There are not any gods.

          Otto – There are no gods.

          So, so different only one suffers a burden. Yeah OK.

          You – I do not think that gods exist either.

          That is = gods do not exist vs no gods exist; both plural & existing not. Yet different.

          The thing of it is, is if there were some compeling information from those who have been telling us how loving & peaceful their deities are for a very long time, you might have something.

          There isn’t. There ain’t likely to be either, with the track records for faiths and their claims.

        • > You – There are not any gods.

          No; I never said that there weren’t any god. I said that I do not believe that there are any gods.

          Tell me, do you know the difference between believing that there are no gods and simply not believing that there are any? Are you really so stupid that you can’t tell the difference?

        • al kimeea

          You – I do not think that gods exist either.

          You again – No; I never said that there weren’t any god(s)

          Really?

          You – I don’t think that any (gods) do (exist) . – Correct you say.

          Yet – There are not any gods. – isn’t

          You – the difference between believing that there are no gods and simply not believing that there are any?

          In any of these instances, the number of existing gods is none. Semantics doesn’t negate the implication of thinking that gods do not exist. There aren’t any being the most obvious one.

          Besides, not my burden. Or yours.

        • You – I do not think that gods exist either.

          You again – No; I never said that there weren’t any god(s)

          Really?

          Yes. Really. I do not believe that there are any gods, NOR DO I BELIEVE THAT THERE AREN’T ANY. I guess you really cannot grasp the idea of simply not holding a position on whether there are any gods, in general. You seem to have the need to take a position.

          > In any of these instances, the number of existing gods is none.

          > Besides, not my burden. Or yours.

          You made it your burden, by making a claim that there aren’t any gods.

        • TheMarsCydonia

          Yes. Really. I do not believe that there are any gods, NOR DO I BELIEVE THAT THERE AREN’T ANY. I guess you really cannot grasp the idea of simply not holding a position on whether there are any gods, in general.

          Perhaps your position is difficult to grasp because it is, at the very least in apperance, to be illogical?

          The concept of a married bachelor usually makes little sense to most people, for obvious reasons.

        • al kimeea

          How many gods are there?

        • I don’t know.

        • al kimeea

          What’s so compelling about the religious claims that lead you to this conclusion?

        • How many decision problems in NP are not in P?

        • al kimeea

          ya, that’s how religion rolls

          Don’t remember anything like that in The Holey BuyBull or from Sunday School

        • Cool. Now answer the question. How many decision problems in NP are not in P? I’ve been answering your questions. Now it’s your turn.

        • ildi

          42

        • Do you understand that there’s a difference between believing that there aren’t any gods and simply lacking a belief in gods?

        • Kodie

          You’re another condescending arrogant turd telling everyone what we already know. Now shove it.

        • ildi

          In a pragmatic sense I don’t think there is; sure, you may hold yourself open to the possibility that there are gods when you’re arguing on a blog, but on a day-to-day basis you probably function on a non-god-basis.

        • Well, cognitively it’s not the same. Your brain responds differently.

        • ildi

          How so?

        • al kimeea

          You know, that’s the 1st thing that came to mind when finally finished the holey text. Not utter surprise at the continued influence of a book on adults where the ‘perfect’ central character rapes a woman to create a version of himself to sacrifice to himself to save us from something he created within us.

          Not to mention all the other niceties & incongruities of LOVEY, the jealous deity.

          If decision problems are relevant to Jebus, they are relevant to any wackaloon idea.

          Psychics are fooling everyone using a technique most anyone can learn and are notoriously inaccurate in their abilities under scrutiny. Decision problem?

          Aliens? Probably. Here? Very, very doubtful. We could be an alien kid’s ant farm. Decision problem?

          Ghosts, goblins, leprechauns, witches, moxibustion, homeopathy, healing touch, therapeutic touch…

          Like deities, all these other things claim to inhabit a realm beyond this mortal coil.

          Like a guy who claims he can heal because he was sitting by the pool one day and found he could make clouds grow and disappear with his mind. Not making that up. Jebus’ story is in that class.

        • I get that you want to profess your religion to me, but I’m not interested.

        • al kimeea

          C’est what?

        • Greg G.

          Like a guy who claims he can heal because he was sitting by the pool one day and found he could make clouds grow and disappear with his mind.

          My mental powers can cause the sun to rise and to set but only at certain times of the day.

        • al kimeea

          Genuflecting…

        • martin_exp(pi*sqrt(163))

          his original question

          “How many decision problems in P are also in NP, and vise versa?”

          has a trivial answer: countably infinite many. there are countably infinite many possible decision problems in P and every decision problem in P is also in NP, so there are infinitely many decision problems in P which are also in NP (and countably infinite many in NP which are also in P).

        • al kimeea

          and trivial relevance, for all its infinite infinities, to letting Baby Jebus into your heart to save you from what he will do to you if you don’t.

          Thanks for the explanation. I started reading the Wiki, but there’s no relation to the finite religions and their often ridiculous claims for their deities we have. Wiki says it’s an unsolvable computer science problem as well.

          So? Jebus had a bad weekend for the sins his Dadself gave us. Or the angel Gabe gave the 411 to Mo

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/e217da34ba475eeae9530157fc9920d04d6ec57210a8fc2f3a3c3fee4f3d7a04.jpg

          P? NP? WTF? imho

        • Let me ask you a question. How many decision problems in P are also in NP, and vise versa?

        • al kimeea

          Oh? Sounds like you’ve concluded that no gods exist, which is no different than believing there’s no god. You even thought about it.

          You don’t think there’s one single, solitary deity of any kind. Why? Just because? An atheist without yarbles?

          BTW, I didn’t support Otto. I referred to those who have been claiming deities for 1000s of years have failed to meet their burden of proof, including xianity’s Holey BuyBull, along with Norse equivalents etc.

          Given the myriad of claims and millennia involved, I’ll not hold my breath for this burden to be met…

          To my satisfaction. Mine, mine aaaalll mine!!!

          Not unreasonable, looking at the history of faiths in charge.

        • > Sounds like you’ve concluded that no gods exist

          Nope.

        • Raging Bee

          So you don’t think all gods are make-believe. Got any evidence to show which ones are real?

    • al kimeea

      It’s the main issue and you’re arguing by analogy using things that aren’t perfectly loving deities in every way. So much so, these deities embody the very words ‘love’ & ‘perfection’.

      I let Jebus into my heart. Then I read his story.

      I said, “Jesus? We need to have a wee chat.”

      Haven’t heard a thing in 47 years.

    • TheMarsCydonia

      Why do you claim it makes no sense for the God described in the bible to be compared to standards we hold men to?

      You still leave me confused at what it is that motivates you to comment here.

  • Michael Neville

    God is not human, that he should lie, not a human being, that he should change his mind (Numbers 23:19).

    Balaam, the prophet with the talking ass, is summoned by Balak, king of the Moabites, but God tells Balaam not to go. Balak again summons Balaam and this time he’s ordered by God to see Balak. So Balaam sits his ass on his ass (sorry, couldn’t resist) and heads over to Moab. Along the way Balaam’s ass sees “an angel of the Lord” barring the way with a sword and, reasonably stops. Balaam beats the ass who tells him, “Hey, asshole, there’s a big angelic mofo with a big honking sword blocking the way” (or words to that effect). But why is the mofo with the sword there? Because God changed his mind again and doesn’t want Balaam to visit Balak. So Balaam finally notices the mofo and says, “Okay, angel, I’ll be heading home again” but the angel replies, “Never mind, continue to Moab and see Balak.” (See Numbers 22:2-35)

    So Ol’ Yahweh does change his mind.

  • skl

    “Christian apologists will try to spin the story to salvage some credibility for God, but
    what can this guy do and be declared immoral?”

    Nothing, because there is no such thing as “immoral”. There is only what the powerful
    deem unacceptable.

    “If he’s simply moral by definition, then the claim is meaningless.”

    The only “meaningful” thing is power and what power allows or disallows.

    • Max Doubt

      “Nothing, because there is no such thing as “immoral”. There is only what the powerful deem unacceptable. […] The only “meaningful” thing is power and what power allows or disallows.”

      Sounds like you have some severe insecurity issues. If you’d like to do something about that problem, let us know what city you’re in, and some of us here will be glad to help you locate some qualified counseling for that.

      • skl

        Let me know when you find a civilization or society whose
        laws are not backed up ultimately by the threat of force. By
        the force possessed by those in power.

        • Otto

          Let us know when any of that has to do with morality.

        • Pofarmer

          If skl isn’t a Chrstian sock, it seems almost hopelessly confused, and rather unwilling to learn.

        • Otto

          And if he is a Christian sock, it would have to be some weird flavor.

        • Kodie

          Blueberry ranch sriracha frog.

        • Otto

          Ugh…yikes!

        • Greg G.

          Ếch. Not a judgement, just Vietnamese for “frog”. Good to know if you have to order off a menu in Saigon.

        • Kodie

          I forget that people eat frogs. After all, it was the conflict in The Muppet Movie.

        • Max Doubt

          “Blueberry ranch sriracha frog.”

          Would that be more of an indica strain, or more sativa?

        • Kodie

          It’s just a bunch of flavors I don’t like, all together.

        • Joe

          I posted a while back that I’m not sure if they’re a Christian-deist or an extreme biblical literalist. Two polar opposites, but the blank slate of their mind doesn’t allow much introspection.

        • Kit Hadley-Day

          but you seem to be missing the point, you can be forced to act in a certain way, that does not make the act moral. And there are plenty of moral actions that are not dictated by force, It would immoral for me to lie to my friends, there is no law against lying, so i am under no threat if i choose to do so.

        • skl

          You seem to be missing the point. There is no such thing as “moral.”

        • Greg G.

          There is no objective morality but there are subjective moralities. I have one.

        • skl

          “There is no objective morality but there are subjective
          moralities. I have one.”

          And I’d bet yours is better than mine, in your eyes.

        • Greg G.

          Of course. Plus, I am the only person who can live up to it.

        • I don’t know how you do it!

        • I’d bet yours is better than mine, in your eyes.

          How could it possibly be any other way?

        • Kit Hadley-Day

          that response makes no sense, you can argue about what is moral, where morals come from and how they are formed and change, but you can’t just deny they exist. Thats just a flat denial of reality

        • skl

          You can use “good” instead of “moral”, if you prefer.

        • Kit Hadley-Day

          it’s not down to what i prefer, it’s fundamental to the argument you are making, moral and good are not the same thing. We where talking about morals, if you want to shift to talking about what is good then it is whole different conversation.

        • skl

          “it’s not down to what i prefer…”

          Yes it is. Everyone has their idea of what is “moral”. But not everyone agrees on the what. The what is whatever you prefer.

          But power determines what preferences will be tolerated.

        • Kit Hadley-Day

          you asked me to swap the word good for the word moral in your previous post, words have meanings, you can’t just swap them mid thought and continue on like nothing has happened.
          The fact that morality is a consensus does not mean that it is non existent, it just means it is subject to change, yes people can view what is moral differently, and that is only an issue when those morals come into conflict, at which point an arbiter steps in and settles the affair, or the individuals just avoid the point of contention, it’s how society functions.
          From the way you write you sound like some form of radical anarchist, is that how you see yourself?

        • skl

          “The fact that morality is a consensus…”

          Almost sounds as though you’d prefer to make “morality” and “consensus” synonymous. But of course, they are not.

          And “consensus” matters only to the extent that power or the
          power structure allows consensus to matter. For instance, consensus (e.g. of the people) may matter little, if at all, in a dictatorship. In another example, a consensus may matter very much, yet be determined by just one person – in black robes (e.g. Supreme Court).

          “From the way you write you sound like some form of radical
          anarchist, is that how you see yourself?”

          No. I see myself as a realist.

        • Kit Hadley-Day

          How does suggesting that morality is a consensus in anyway make them synonymous? you where the one who was suggesting that ‘good’ and ‘moral’ where synonymous earlier so i suspect you don’t really know what that word means. As i have said before, words have meanings, if you don’t use them in the commonly understood way there is no way to have a meaningful conversation, we will have to define nearly every term as we come to it to make sure we both understand what we are talking about.

          The whole point is that our power structure (democracy) allows fro consensus morality, oligarchy or tyranny are the ones where only a few people opinion matter, while the powerful have more sway they are still beholden to the power structure that allows them to be powerful.

          The supreme court is a specific example of where it is recognised that everything needs checks and balances, even the consensus of the people. In order to avoid the tyranny of the masses there must be some way to stop laws being passed that remove rights from those who don’t have the political power to protect themselves. it’s almost like the framers of the constitution where aware of the dangers of mob rule and tyranny.

          Realist is not a political position, which is what i asked you about, I am interested in knowing where you see yourself on the political spectrum, i am also a realist, as in i believe the world is real and the supernatural is not. Politically i am economically conservative and socially left wing, but as i live in the UK that is a fairly typical stance to take.

          Please understand i don’t totally disagree with your core idea which seems to be that power tends to use ‘morality’ as a way to control the masses, the church has been doing this for millennia, but that is an example of an abuse of the process. If only the will of the powerful was all that mattered we would never have got democracy, as the powerful would never have allowed it. There are plenty of examples of moral outrage being the trigger to the downfall of the powerful, the French revolution would be one example and the (hopeful) downfall of trump being another.

        • skl

          “As i have said before, words have meanings,
          if you don’t use them in the commonly understood way there is no way to have a meaningful conversation, we will have to define nearly every term as we come to it to make sure we both understand what we are talking about.”

          We’ll probably disagree on what “meaningful” is, too.

          Good bye.

        • Kit Hadley-Day

          Given that word play seems to replace argumentation in your world we probably would. I have generally found that at the point people start this kind of nonsense they have realised they have lost the argument but lack the common decency to bow out gracefully. May i suggest that next time you post you bring an argument not a bizarro world dictionary,

        • Pofarmer

          laws and morals aren’t the same thing.

        • skl

          There is no such thing as “morals.”

        • Pofarmer

          Do tell.

        • Lark62

          Enforcing laws =/= letting the powerful do whatever they like.

    • Kodie

      You’re seriously some motherfucking sick fuck of a Christian. Please admit it to us, if not, your therapist.

    • Michael Neville

      So the concepts of empathy and altruism mean nothing to you. How about sociopathy?

      • skl

        Empathy may mean something to the empathetic, and sociopathy
        may mean something to the sociopath. But there is no good or bad in either
        case. The empathetic like empathy, and the sociopaths like sociopathy.

        • Michael Neville

          So I was right, empathy and sociopathy don’t mean anything to you.

        • skl

          I know what both mean. But they don’t “mean” anything.

        • Michael Neville

          Not to you they don’t. You Christian apologists often suffer from a lack of understanding.

    • Joe

      I see you still refuse to listen and learn.

    • eric

      Look, over here! Ignore that God is immoral by the bible’s own teaching! Pretend his hypocrisy is only judged by other people’s subjective morality!

    • Kit Hadley-Day

      Wow, extreme might makes right, that’s a bold stance

      • skl

        No. Might makes “right”, where “right” is ‘The way it’s going to be.’

        • Kit Hadley-Day

          But no one can ever force you to do anything. Short of actually hacking your brain and removing your free will you can always just refuse. You have to live with the consequences of those actions but you still have the ability to non comply. People have died, and watched all they love be destroyed over the principal of not giving in to might, it’s almost like they where making a moral decision.

        • skl

          I agree.

          As you said, “People have died”. You just failed to add that the powerful killed them, and the powerful (and those complying with the powerful) lived on.

        • Kit Hadley-Day

          But you where claiming that there is no such thing as morality, because power always dictates action, so i don’t understand why you need to qualify your agreement with my point.
          Not all people killed by the power structure are innocent, which is what you seem to be implying. I am glad to stand behind a power structure that will empower it’s operatives to kill to defend the lives of other citizens, or do you think that mad gunmen should be allowed to rampage so as not force them to comply with a morality they don’t agree with? Laws are backed by force, and, we like to think, that laws are based on a moral code that is for the betterment of society. now that can be subverted by corruption and personal agendas but over time it generally works out that way.
          And i think you need to consider your definition of powerful as well, it is not just the ‘powerful’ that can enforce there will through overt threat. unless the ability to do that is your definition of powerful, a toddler with a gun can demand things, and possible get what they want, but would you describe them as powerful?

        • skl

          Your response includes words such as “morality”, “innocent”,
          “mad”, “betterment”.

          These are all subjective, temporal things. Power
          may be temporal, but it is objective. Power determines the way it’s going to be. That’s just the way of the world, the way of evolution.

        • Kit Hadley-Day

          Just because something is subjective does not mean that it can just be discounted, it means that over the long term these things may change but in the short term they are still sufficiently robust to be used as yard sticks, particularly when you are talking about things reached by consensus. It used to be immoral to have sex before marriage, now it is accepted, that changed over time but none the less at one point there was a clear moral message and now there is a different one.
          You really need to define power, you use it like the religious use god, as a catch all term that you think means you don’t need to explain your arguments. I have asked you to define what you mean when you use the word power or powerful, that would be really helpful in understanding the point you are making.
          If you think evolution is to do with the most powerful then you don’t understand evolution, it has to do with fitness, not strength.
          Having addressed your concerns about subjectivity could you go back and now actually read and answer the points i raised?

        • skl

          “Just because something is subjective does not mean that it
          can just be discounted…”

          I agree. Certain subjective positions, namely those of the powerful,
          will not be discounted. Others may be.

          “You really need to define power… I have asked you to define what you mean when you use the word power or powerful…”

          As I stated earlier, power is that which determines the way
          it’s going to be. I could add that power could be descibed, in short, as the ability to punish. In Russia, Putin is power; in North Korea, Kim Jong-un is power, etc.

          “If you think evolution is to do with the most powerful then you don’t
          understand evolution, it has to do with fitness, not strength.”

          There is no “moral” in evolution, there is only what is, what survives and what doesn’t. The survivors might be described as the fit, and the fit might be described as those that survive. The fit, the survivors, the “powerful.”

        • Kit Hadley-Day

          You could try responding the points i am making rather than indulging in ‘clever’ word play. try looking at my previous comment again and seeing if you can actually address the point that subjective just means capable of changing rather than non existent.
          You are equivocating, hence the need to actually define words. You are using powerful in one sense to mean, has the force of arms to get their way, and, in another sense, winner in the game of evolution. These are radically different concepts.
          The lack of morality on evolution is neither here not there. there is no morality in any natural process. i am genuinely confused as to why evolution has even entered a conversation about morals.
          Well if you honestly believe that all society exists only at the whim of the powerful then there is little more to be said, most of us believe we have moved beyond barbarian feudalism but apparently that’s where you think we are. The whole point to democracy is that the ‘power’ you are so keen on is invested in the people and their representatives. there are checks and balances, even on the powerful. unless you think drug cartels and warlords are the pinnacle of societal success.

        • skl

          “there is no morality in any natural process.”

          So in your view morality is unnatural or supernatural.

        • Kit Hadley-Day

          So out of a number of points raised in a post, you decide word games is the thing you want to respond with, i am not sure if that is more funny or sad,

          Morals are an emergent property that comes from societal living, they are clearly natural as everything that actually happens is natural there is no such thing as the supernatural outside of story books, By natural process i was referring to events that occur without human interaction, so evolution, earthquakes and the like.

        • skl

          “there is no such thing as the supernatural
          outside of story books”

          The supernatural was in people’s heads before
          it was in any books. Same as morality.
          Morality is whatever you’d like to do. But
          power determines what you’ll be allowed to do.

        • epeeist

          The supernatural was in people’s heads before it was in any books.

          As were the ideas that the sun went around the earth and that diseases were caused by demons.

        • Kit Hadley-Day

          Again, you decide to pick up on semantics rather than actually address the point. So you don’t actually have any answers then.
          ‘Morality is whatever you’d like to do. But
          power determines what you’ll be allowed to do.’
          i thought morality didn’t exist? that has been the thesis of your argument since the start, and now you happily admit yes it does but you can be forced to act in an immoral way through coercion, well done for stating the blindingly obvious, either you literally can’t remember what you where talking about just a few posts ago or i assume this is your way of trying to claim victory by completely capitulating on your point.

        • skl

          “i thought morality didn’t exist? that has been the thesis
          of your argument since the start, and now you happily admit yes it does but you can be forced to act in an immoral way through coercion…”

          Perhaps it’s just two letters – “im” – that are the cause of
          your unnecessary consternation.

          Perhaps it would be clearer for you if you went back
          to the start
          – to my first comment on this blog’s thread made ten days ago:

          Author: “Christian apologists will try to spin the story to
          salvage some credibility for God, but what can this guy do and be declared immoral?”

          Me: “Nothing, because there is no such thing as “immoral”.
          There is only what the powerful deem unacceptable.”

        • Kit Hadley-Day

          More semantics, if there is morality there is, by definition, immorality, either you reject both or neither, it is a logical impossibility to have one with out the other. unless you are going to start redefining words in common usage. Which kind of defeats the purpose of language

          Repeating the ridiculous statement that started this thread is more than a little redundant. Try making a point.

        • skl

          Lastly, the truth is that
          my “moral” may be your “immoral”, and
          your “moral” may be my “immoral”.
          And so, “moral” = “immoral”, depending.

          This conversation has been a waste of time.

          Good bye.

        • Kit Hadley-Day

          Yes it’s almost like they are subjective, like was said right back at the start, This conversation has been as waste of your time because you don’t read or understand what other people are saying, i have quite enjoyed watching you try to dance out of just accepting that your position is untenable., I

      • Jack Baynes, Sandwichmaker

        That’s our little coward

    • Lark62

      Wow.

      Yes, there are people who believe whatever the powerful can get away with is moral. But that remains a disgusting world view.

      • skl

        “Yes, there are people who believe whatever the powerful can
        get away with is moral. But that remains a disgusting world view.”

        You seem to be missing the point. There is no such thing as “moral.”

        And “disgusting” is just an emotional, subjective term.

        • Lark62

          There is such a thing as moral.

          Morality exists.

          True, there is no such thing as absolute morality.

          But humans create moral structures. Every human culture has a morality. Morality is the collective agreement on what behaviors would make society work best. And in our striving to make society function well, we judge the morality of other cultures.

          My emotions are mine.

        • skl

          “True, there is no such thing as absolute morality.”

          So it seems.
          There is only power – those with the power to determine which subjective morality will be enforced.

        • Max Doubt

          “There is only power – those with the power to determine which subjective morality will be enforced.”

          Have you connected with any mental health professionals who might be able to help you with that insecurity problem of yours?

        • skl

          Maybe I’ll look into that,
          after you let me know when you find a civilization or society whose laws are not backed up ultimately by the threat of force. By the force possessed by those in power.

        • Greg G.

          Cited by Ignorant Amos:

          https://disqus.com/home/discussion/crossexamined/the_bible_story_reboots_have_you_noticed_2_of_2/#comment-3868579668

          Daniel Everett states that one of the strongest Pirahã values is no coercion; you simply don’t tell other people what to do. There appears to be no social hierarchy; the Pirahã have no formal leaders.

        • skl

          “There appears to be no social hierarchy; the Pirahã have no
          formal leaders.”

          They also apparently have no laws.
          But I asked for a civilization or society whose laws
          are not backed up ultimately by the threat of force.

        • Greg G.

          Your request was not for a society with laws, it was for a society whose laws were not backed by threat of force. Every law they have is not backed by threat of force. They have zero laws backed by threat of force.

        • skl

          Tell me about the laws the Piraha have.

        • Greg G.

          I did. You have them memorized already. They have zero laws. They have morals, though. One of them is that one shouldn’t tell someone else what to do.

        • skl

          “They have zero laws.”

          I understood you to mean they have laws, just none that are backed by force (“Every law they have is not backed by threat of force.”).

        • There is only power – those with the power to determine which subjective morality will be enforced.

          You realize if this is true of the current social group, they won’t acknowledge it unless you are sufficiently unable to destabilize them, right? (From what I’ve seen, I suspect it can be exhilarating to declare the pure dominance of power over another; having no personal experience nor having studied it, take that with a grain of salt.) Who is going to admit the following:

          For one way of framing my contention that morality is not what it once was is just to say that to a large degree people now think, talk, and act as if emotivism were true, no matter what their avowed theoretical standpoint might be. Emotivism has become embodied in our culture.

              What is the key to the social content of emotivism? It is the fact that emotivism entails the obliteration of any genuine distinction between manipulative and non-manipulative social relations. Consider the contrast between, for example, Kantian ethics and emotivism on this point. For Kant—and a parallel point could be made about many earlier moral philosophers—the difference between a human relationship uninformed by morality and one so informed is precisely the difference between one in which each person treats the other primarily as a means to his or her ends and one in which each treats the other as an end. To treat someone else as an end is to offer them what I take to be good reasons for acting in one way rather than another, but to leave it to them to evaluate those reasons. It is to be unwilling to influence another except by reasons which that other he or she judges to be good. It is to appeal to impersonal criteria of the validity of which each rational agent must be his or her own judge. By contrast, to treat someone else as a means is to seek to make him or her an instrument of my purposes by adducing whatever influences or considerations will in fact be effective on this or that occasion. The generalizations of the sociology and psychology of persuasion are what I shall need to guide me, not the standards of a normative rationality. (After Virtue, 22–24)

          ? Because After Virtue is well-respected (24,000 ‘citations’), it cannot just be dismissed as stupid; by anyone remotely intellectually honest there is a felt need to rationally engage it lest the one dismissing be thereby dismissed. However, it can be ignored and it can be argued that you just don’t understand what MacIntyre is saying. (example) What I suggest you do is examine what MacIntyre says in the next few pages. He asks what an emotivist society would look like and one of the manifestations is as follows:

          William Gass has suggested that it was a principal concern of Henry James to examine the consequences of the obliteration of this distinction in the lives of a particular kind of rich European in The Portrait of a Lady (Gass 1971, pp. 181–90), that the novel turns out to be an investigation, in Gass’s words, ‘of what it means to be a consumer of persons, and of what it means to be a person consumed’. The metaphor of consumption acquires its appropriateness from the milieu; James is concerned with rich aesthetes whose interest is to fend off the kind of boredom that is so characteristic of modern leisure by contriving behavior in others that will be responsive to their wishes, that will feed their sated appetites. (After Virtue, 24)

          The person suggesting that maybe emotivism is flawed becomes a plaything. The slang ‘peach’ gets at this:

          urban dictionary: peach
          to move a peach (core removed) over something or someone, usually repeatedly and for pleasure.

          To understand the parenthetical, I suggest the following:

          K: He wants us to hunt for one single post so he can deny his intent, but his intent is not needed. His effect on this blog should suffice.

          One way to cruelly play with other people—really, to emotionally abuse them for one’s own benefit—is to take their words and reinterpret according to an intent which renders oneself and/or one’s social group superior to the target. Now we need another element:

          Proposition 1: Power defines reality    Power concerns itself with defining reality rather than with discovering what reality “really” is. This is the single most important characteristic of the rationality of power, that is, of the strategies and tactics employed by power in relation to rationality. Defining reality by defining rationality is a principle means by which power exerts itself. This is not to imply that power seeks out rationality and knowledge because rationality and knowledge are power. Rather, power defines what counts as rationality and knowledge and thereby what counts as reality. The evidence of the Aalborg case confirms a basic Nietzschean insight: interpretation is not only commentary, as is often the view in academic settings, “interpretation is itself a means of becoming master of something”—in the case master of the Aalborg Project—and “all subduing and becoming master involves a fresh interpretation.”[4] Power does not limit itself, however, to simply defining a given interpretation or view of reality, nor does power entail only the power to render a given reality authoritative. Rather, power defines, and creates, concrete physical, economic, ecological, and social realities. (Rationality and Power: Democracy in Practice, 227)

          Interpretation is indeed a way of becoming master; if enough of the social group agrees on an interpretation, it can pretty well impose it on the victim. If the victim objects, one can accuse him/her of “playing the victim” or “being a martyr”. Either one of these claims is in principle unfalsifiable by the target. Edit: I should have included “insecurity problem” and the whole list of mental disorders that you can be armchair-diagnosed with. This is also in principle unfalsifiable.

          What remains to be done among such a group? Well, characterizing them, acting as perfectly as you can manage (because your errors always count more than theirs—including orders of magnitude worse), and then very carefully, calling them out on hypocrisy and inconsistency. Always do what you say you will and state it narrowly enough to avoid vicious misinterpretation. (example, acknowledgment, from you) At least I have found all of this to be exceedingly difficult, partly because of the one/​few vs. many dynamic. But there is also asymmetry which is very hard to establish; I think Alinsky gets at some of it:

          1. “Power is not only what you have but what the enemy thinks you have.”
          2. “Never go outside the expertise of your people.”
          3. “Whenever possible go outside the expertise of the enemy.”
          4. “Make the enemy live up to its own book of rules.”
          5. “Ridicule is man’s most potent weapon.”
          6. “A good tactic is one your people enjoy.”
          7. “A tactic that drags on too long becomes a drag.”
          8. “Keep the pressure on.”
          9. “The threat is usually more terrifying than the thing itself.”
          10. “The major premise for tactics is the development of operations that will maintain a constant pressure upon the opposition.”
          11. “If you push a negative hard and deep enough it will break through into its counterside”
          12. “The price of a successful attack is a constructive alternative.”
          13. “Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it.”
          (Rules for Radicals)

          I don’t see how the above can possibly be considered “intellectually honest” but you and I both know that this kind of politics is about power, not about truth or morality. It was kind of Alinsky to lay this stuff out in the open for folks like you and me.

          Anyhow, what’s next (actually, I might thwart it by predicting) is for a herd of independent minds to group you and me into the same bucket because we might possibly agree on something. So … sorry for that I guess, because I’m pretty sure my rap is worse than yours.

        • skl

          I didn’t read most of your response.
          I’ll just this this much –
          Yours was about the least nasty/sarcastic response I’ve received in a long time here. In fact, it didn’t appear to be nasty/sarcastic at all.

          For that, I thank you.

        • Yeah it was long, but it was an attempt to decode a pretty complex social dynamic that is founded on deception. It can be largely subconscious/​forgotten deception:

          Our basic thesis—that we are strategically blind to key aspects of our motives—has been around in some form or another for millennia. It’s been put forward not only by poets, playwrights, and philosophers, but also by countless wise old souls, at least when you catch them in private and in the right sort of mood. And yet the thesis still seems to us neglected in scholarly writings; you can read a mountain of books and still miss it. (The Elephant in the Brain, ix)

          Morality that is a façade for power is deception. And the trick is you can’t always just call out deception for what it is, unless you’re an innocent little child and can say the emperor has no clothes. That might be worth some pondering. (I’ve only begun to start understanding it. I have been told multiple times before that I’m “too transparent”.)

    • Brian Curtis

      So, if you have no understanding of morality, you have nothing to offer on this topic. Why are you commenting?

      • skl

        I have no understanding of something (i.e. morality) that doesn’t exist. That’s fair.

        • Brian Curtis

          And yet, you’re still talking. After conceding that you have nothing to offer on this topic. You can stop now.

  • RichardSRussell

    True believers have for centuries engaged in child rape, torture, mayhem, murder, and genocide, all for the greater glory of the Biblical God. What on Earth makes anyone think their consciences would bother them so much that they’d draw the line at mere lying, cheating, stealing, plagiarism, and forgery?

    • Kit Hadley-Day

      any minute now along will be one of the drones to tell you that all those people where clearly not true christians.

      • Jack Baynes, Sandwichmaker

        Sad that God has always allowed his churches to be dominated by fake Christians.

  • Kit Hadley-Day

    it would appear that The Spiritual Anthropologist is incapable of dealing with the forum format of conversation, he is blocking anyone who responds to him on a comment by comment basis rather than actually engaging with them. I would strongly suggest that no one post anything further to him as he seems to think he is allowed to control the conversation in a way that allows him to ignore comments. Please comment below if you got one of his self righteous posts telling you why he is blocking you but still wants to get in the last word first. Displaying all the grace of a T-Rex on roller skates.

    • Pofarmer

      Must be a Gary whittengen(sp) disciple. Or a sock.

      • TheNuszAbides

        no way, TSA is far more canny and way less tedious than GW. sadly those ‘qualities’ end up being a frequent waste of ones and zeroes barking up the wrong contrarian tree in a way that triggers half of the responses to be barking up a wrong tree (e.g. the all-too-typical-human “you’re disputing something here, so you must be arguing in favor of the opposite”).

    • Kevin K

      I got him to block me permanently by telling him to “go fuck yourself with a rusty porcupine”. I suggest you do the same, then block him so you won’t be bothered.

      • Kit Hadley-Day

        i guess that would do it, He says he has already blocked me, which is fine by me as he seemed to be talking mostly rubbish. Must be nice to want to live i your own little echo chamber.

        • Kevin K

          He likes to hear himself talk. (Not that I couldn’t be accused of the same thing — but at least I’m snarky about it.)

        • Kit Hadley-Day

          i believe the word is waffle

        • Kevin K

          I love the term bafflegab. He’s a bafflegabbing windbag who has zero understanding of the subject matter he spews about.

          You know what the best part of this is? We can talk about him all we like and he’ll never see it. Delicious irony, don’t you think?

        • Joe

          I pegged his alter ego, kir, as a pure contrarian. Somebody who has to take a position different to the mainstreams of opinion because they think it’s the most intellectually superior position. He also has a weird grasp of philosophy combined with an staggering lack of self-awareness. I only respond to prod them occasionally.

        • Kevin K

          It’s the same person…right? Sock account?

        • Joe

          Yes. They’ve eventually admitted it.

        • Greg G.

          I think TSA was playing the Devil’s Advocate, not making any claims, just pointless needling (SWIDT?).

        • Kevin K

          JAQing off. Slagging. Tediously repeating the same tired, tired, tired PRATTs. That’s his MO. I’m quite sure that my life is much improved by not having to slog through the mush that comes out of his alleged “brain”.

    • al kimeea

      He’s coming from a P NP angle, relevance be damned and the history of finite religious claims ignored…

      • Kit Hadley-Day

        I am not familiar with P NP, and a quick google is no more enlightening lots of comp sci, maths and logic i don’t understand, could you explain what you mean please? Not arguing, just ignorant

        • al kimeea

          TSA thinks the following is germaine to deity claims:

          “How many decision problems in P are also in NP, and vise versa?”

          martin_exp – kindly provided this answer:

          (it)has a trivial answer: countably infinite many. there are countably infinite many possible decision problems in P and every decision problem in P is also in NP, so there are infinitely many decision problems in P which are also in NP (and countably infinite many in NP which are also in P).

          Shirley you see how religious claims are irrevocably chained to P NP? 😉

        • Kit Hadley-Day

          thank you for your response
          I don’t understand what the P NP dilemma is, again i am not in anyway disagreeing with you, i can’t i don’t understand the point being made. i was hoping you could explain it to me. basically what is P what is NP and what relates them?

        • al kimeea

          I honestly don’t see the connection either. Maybe TSA believes this ‘dilemma’ is why his position regarding deities is the bestest ever – that being “i don’t know”.

        • martin_exp(pi*sqrt(163))

          it’s called the “P vs NP problem” (sometimes also “P = NP problem” or “P != NP” problem). P and NP are complexity classes of decision problems. decisions problems are problems with a yes/no answer. then the question is for which decision problems exist a polynomial-time algorithm (P and NP are about the time complexity of algorithms). if there is such polynomial-time algorithm for a decision problem, then it is in P. NP is a bit more difficult to explain (NP = “nondeterministic polynomial time” not “nonpolynomial”, btw).

          the only proven relationship between the two is P < NP and the "P vs NP problem" is to prove that there is a decision problem in NP which is not in P (or not), if P != NP or P = NP. helpful in this regard is the notion of NP-complete problems, NPC (again, an explanation is a bit technical). if only one known NP-complete problem is also in P, then we'd know that P = NP, and if one could prove that a NP-complete problem is *not* in P, then P is a proper subset of NP (and P != NP). this is what TSA changed his question to:

          "How many decision problems in NP are not in P?"

          it's slightly odd that he asked for "how many". there are only two options: countably infinite or zero.

        • al kimeea

          From P stands for polynomial time. NP stands for non-deterministic polynomial time. Definitions: Polynomial time means
          that the complexity of the algorithm is O(n^k), where n is the size of
          your data (e. g. number of elements in a list to be sorted), and k is a
          constant.

          NP is the set of all problems that can be solved in polynomial time on a nondeterministic Turing machine (NDTM). Because deterministic TMs are a subset of NDTMs, P is a subset of NP.

          So, it’s quite clear how this is intrinsic to Jebus’ bad weekend for our sins that Daddyself gave us…

        • It’s about computational difficulty, IIRC.

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NP-completeness

        • Kit Hadley-Day

          cheers

  • Kevin K

    So, again in the interests of not feeding the trolls, I have something to say about the OP. (Kinda gonna keep doing that, if you don’t mind, rather than fall prey to the thread-jacking.)

    I think the god Yahweh seems to be a viciously vindictive sort; and contra the Christian claims is hardly the kindly grandpa who magically pulls quarters out of your ears. If you look at Yahweh through that filter, then everything in the OT makes sense. Yahweh is the war god of the Jewish people, aiding them in battle against all enemies, which includes anyone who isn’t … well … Jewish. Of course, it makes the NT completely illogical — suddenly this god Yahweh is concerned about the fate of all humans? Nonsensical. So, in that context — a viciously vindictive god — lying is completely in character. Machiavellian — the ends justify the means, and if that means a lie, then a lie is what will happen.

    I also think that the “lie” told by Jesus about everything happening in that generation was less a lie (which is a known untruth) as it is a falsehood (which could be either known or unknown). The people who created this Jesus character thought that the world was coming to an end — literally and really. I’m sure they were quite surprised when it didn’t happen that way. You can’t really count that as a “lie”. They were wrong. A mistaken belief can’t necessarily be counted as a “lie”.

  • martin_exp(pi*sqrt(163))

    “One of themselves, even a prophet of their own, said, the Cretians are alway liars, evil beasts, slow bellies. This witness is true. Wherefore rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith;” – titus 1:12-13 (wikipedia: epimenides paradox)

    • Greg G.

      I knew a Christian who had a terrific sense of humor but was very serious about the Bible. He couldn’t see the humor in that and seemed a bit offended that I did.

  • John MacDonald

    I would add Jesus lied when he told his family that he wasn’t going to the feast, but then went “in secret.” (John 7:8-10). I explore “Noble/Justified Lies” and the Christian tradition in a blog post here: http://palpatinesway.blogspot.ca/2018/03/examining-easter-peering-behind-veil-of.html

    • I’m partway through The Encyclopedia of Biblical Errancy. Quite good. Lots of contradictions that were new to me.

    • That’s a long post. Can you summarize?

      • John MacDonald

        Sure. The Pre Pauline Corinthian Creed is our earliest account of “faith” in the resurrection appearances of the risen Jesus. They claimed a visual (“ophthe” in Greek – Paul says “Have I not seen Jesus our Lord?”) experience of Jesus. The creed/poetry says:

        “That Christ died for our sins
        in accordance with the scriptures.
        and that he was buried;

        That he was raised on the third day
        in accordance with the scriptures,
        and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve.”

        The traditional secular interpretation of this phenomenon is that Cephas and the gang were hallucinating. However, another possibility is that they were lying about these visual experiences in order to help create a better world (a cause they may have been willing to die for). In outlining this second possibility, Dr. Richard Carrier says:

        “[As Carrier says, a noble lie is a perfectly reasonable cause that someone might be willing to die for.] Carrier writes: “Of course, a case can be made for the apostles dying even for a hoax: all they needed was to believe that the teachings attached to their fabricated claim would make the world a better place, and that making the world a better place was worth dying for. Even godless Marxists voluntarily died by the millions for such a motive. So the notion that no one would, is simply false.”

        Nietzsche comments that “Paul simply shifted the centre of gravity of that whole life to a place behind this existence in the LIE of the ‘risen’ Jesus (Nietzsche, Anti Christ, Chapter 42).’ ” My blog post tries to establish a historical context in which such a “Noble Lie” about experiencing the risen Jesus might be possible.

        I conclude that, for a secular person, the “Hallucination” theory is possible, and so is the “Noble Lie” possibility. We simply don’t know. There was hallucinating going on in the early church, but that doesn’t mean the founders had such experiences just because they claimed so.

        • The “who would die for a lie?” challenge is weak because the evidence supporting the idea of martyred disciples is quite distant from the events. Not particularly reliable.

        • John MacDonald

          Yep. In the blog post I also quote from a post of yours in 2015. I’ll share it here in case any readers missed it:

          “Now consider the other way a story could be a lie. Can someone die for something that they know is false? Sure—consider captured soldiers or spies who maintain a false story to their deaths…Robert Price gives the example of the second-century philosopher Proteus Peregrinus, “a charlatan prophet, [who] immolated himself because he could not resist such a grandstanding opportunity.” … The 19th-century Millerites, while not faced with loss of life, were faced with their own difficult challenge. They were a Christian sect that expected the end of the world on a particular day in 1844. Many made themselves right with God by selling all their possessions. When Jesus didn’t show up as expected, this event became known as the Great Disappointment… So the thousands of members of this sect who had very clearly backed the wrong horse walked away poorer but wiser, right? Of course not—some couldn’t admit the lie to themselves and doubled down on prophetic religion, and the Seventh-Day Adventist church was one result. Though no one died for a lie, they drastically rearranged their lives for what they had been given ample evidence was a lie…[And there’s] Joseph Smith and Mormonism…The most significant example of someone who died for a lie might be Joseph Smith. Not surprisingly, I don’t accept the Mormon claim that the angel Moroni showed Smith a set of golden plates that he translated from “reformed Egyptian” into English using a seer stone. Rather, I think he was a treasure hunter and con man who either took advantage of or was caught up in the Second Great Awakening and created a new religion…Mormonism was the invention of one man, and that man died for it. Of course, it’s possible that Joseph Smith gradually came to believe his own PR. But either way, he died for what he should’ve known was a lie, exactly what Christians deny is possible….Compare Joseph Smith with the supposedly martyred apostles. Modern apologists would have us believe that the apostles (1) saw the earliest days of the Christian church and so were in a position to know whether the gospel story was correct or not, (2) were killed because of their faith, and (3) never recanted…Bingo—that’s Joseph Smith. He (1) knew all details of the founding of the Mormon religion, (2) was killed in the middle of religious controversies brought on by his faith, and (3) never recanted.” See http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined/2015/01/who-would-die-for-a-lie-another-weak-christian-argument-2-of-2/#UhfDGmOLvr5cYFHm.99

        • Greg G.

          John, if you are the John MacDonald who I remember you from talk.origins about a baker’s dozen years ago, you recommended Bart Ehrman and Burton Mack to me.

          I read that as “according to the scriptures” that they saw it in the scriptures. They would get “died” from Isaiah 53:5, “for sins” from Isaiah 53:12. “was buried” from Isaiah 53:9, and “raised on the third day” from Hosea 6:2. They were reading the scriptures using midrash to gain new insights and began to see the Suffering Servant metaphor as a “the revelation of the mystery that was kept secret for long ages but is now disclosed.” Ephesians 3 may well reflect the thinking of many Jews who expected the Lord to come during their generation, because the mystery was hidden to previous generations but was revealed to their generation.

          When Paul spoke of the coming of the Lord, he used the first person plural for those who would be alive at the time, and the third person for the dead, so he thought he and his readers would be alive. Josephus tells us in Jewish Wars 6.5.2 that a false prophet told those defending Jerusalem to the end to wait for deliverance from God. In Jewish Wars 6.5.4, he tells us about how the Jews went to war with the Romans because of the prophecy of a governor coming from their country, but Josephus turned it to a prophecy about Vespasian to save his own skin and it paid off.

          So it was a popular belief in mid-first century Judea that the Messiah was about to come. The proto-Christians just imagined that it would be the resurrected Suffering Servant.

          The epistles only speak of Jesus in terms of Old Testament quotes and allusions, save the forged 1 Timothy that used Luke and the forged 2 Peter that used Matthew.

        • John MacDonald

          The visions of the resurrected Jesus reported in Paul were things they claim to have “visually seen (ophthe),” first by Cephas, then by the 12. Then he “was seen” (same verb again, ophthe) by almost 500 followers; thereafter by James (Jesus’ brother); and then finally “by all the apostles” (1 Cor 15:5-7). “Last of all,” Paul concludes this passage, Christ appeared to him (ophthe again, v 8; cf 9:1: “Have I not ‘seen’ Jesus our lord?”).

          I am not questioning that the New Testament writers were engaged in mimesis (imitatio in Latin, imitation – what Price calls haggadic midrash), just that there is a sense in which we could impeach the claim that they were actually having these visions. Perhaps they were lying.

  • TheNuszAbides

    Am I an atheist because God hardened my heart? If so, why do I deserve hell when it was God’s doing?

    how else are hardcore Calvinist shitheels going to get all smug about our Ultimate Sour Grapes?

    And for the Christians celebrating that they’re going to heaven, how can they trust God about that whole salvation thing?

    by eluding Shaken Faith, duh.