Jehovah's Many Failures

Robert IngersollHere is a quote by my favorite agnostic, Robert Ingersoll, how in the Bible the god Jehovah fails over and over again.

I realize it’s long, but it’s worth your attention.

He created the world, the hosts of heaven, a man and woman — placed them in a garden. Then the serpent deceived them, and they were cast out and made to earn their bread.

Jehovah had been thwarted.

Then he tried again. He went on for about sixteen hundred years trying to civilize the people.

No schools, no churches, no Bible, no tracts — nobody taught to read or write. No Ten Commandments. The people grew worse and worse, until the merciful Jehovah sent the flood and drowned all the people except Noah and his family, eight in all.

Then he started again, and changed their diet. At first Adam and Eve were vegetarians. After the flood Jehovah said: “Every moving thing that liveth shall be meat for you”  snakes and buzzards.

Then he failed again, and at the Tower of Babel he dispersed and scattered the people.

Finding that he could not succeed with all the people, he thought he would try a few, so he selected Abraham and his descendants.

Again he failed, and his chosen people were captured by the Egyptians and enslaved for four hundred years.

Then he tried again — rescued them from Pharaoh and started for Palestine. He changed their diet, allowing them to eat only the beasts that parted the hoof and chewed the cud.

Again he failed. The people hated him, and preferred the slavery of Egypt to the freedom of Jehovah. So he kept them wandering until nearly all who came from Egypt had died. Then he tried again — took them into Palestine and had them governed by Judges.

This, too, was a failure — no schools, no Bible. Then he tried kings, and the kings were mostly idolaters.

Then the chosen people were conquered and carried into captivity by the Babylonians.

Another failure.

Then they returned, and Jehovah tried prophets — howlers and wailers — but the people grew worse and worse. No schools, no sciences, no arts, no commerce.

Then Jehovah took upon himself flesh, was born of a woman, and lived among the people that he had been trying to civilize for several thousand years. Then these people, following the law that Jehovah had given them in the wilderness, charged this Jehovah-man — this Christ — with blasphemy; tried, convicted and killed him.

Jehovah had failed again.

Then he deserted the Jews and turned his attention to the rest of the world.

And now the Jews, deserted by Jehovah, persecuted by Christians, are the most prosperous people on the earth.

Again has Jehovah failed.

—Robert Ingersoll, “The Truth About the Holy Bible

  • http://bakjewelas.blogspot.com bakjewelas

    How about thinking in the other way?

    We have failed God

    • Janet Greene

      How did we do that exactly? We weren’t even born yet.

  • Devysciple

    You mean, us puny little humans who were created in the image of an omnipotent and omniscient Sky Daddy, failed God?!

    Come on, how likely is that?! ;-)

  • http://ungodlycynic.blogspot.com/ Larro

    Ingersoll is awesome. I’d like to get some more writings by him.

  • http://twitter.com/johnjac johnjac

    I tend to agree with bakjewelas, that we (mankind) continue to fail God. And if God is omniscient and we are not (does anyone here claim to be omniscient) than we can not judge if God has failed or not.

    Here is an analogy to explain how we can’t judge failure. A young son of a Firefighter who died while saving 100′s of lives may feel that is dad failed him. The son lost everything he knew about the situation, his dad. Of course this is a failure to him based on his limited knowledge.

    On the other hand, the all the survivors and their families would see the firefighting dad as a huge success and honor him.

    So you can’t claim both ‘God is omniscient’ and ‘God failed’ if you don’t also claim to be omniscient. If you are omniscient give me call because I could use a good stock broker right now :)

    • Janet Greene

      Even my small, insignificant mind can see that a murderous and jealous god who will put most of his creation in hell is not worth worshipping, even if he did exist. See Daniel Florien’s article “might doesn’t make right”.

  • http://metroblog.blogspot.com Metro

    @johnjac

    Complex, but still Pascal’s Wager. The Bible makes claims to omniscience on God’s part. Therefor either the Bible is false or purely metaphorical, or God is omniscient, and thus a failure.
    My take? No god, no fail.

    As to whether he’s failed or not … In the six thousand to six billion years since the creation of the Earth, has there been a single moment when all the world dwelt together in peace and acknowledged the Lord God Jehovah as promulgated in a single Holy Text?

    Or do you believe that this loving god really actually wants to damn the majority of us to Hell? Of course, since He created Hell he must have had some nefarious purpose in mind for it–the eternal torture of people (who by his standards are little more than kittens making a mess on the floor) seems entirely god-worthy.

    If you believe in a benevolent god, it seems to me that you must believe: God Fail.

  • http://twitter.com/johnjac johnjac

    If God is omniscience and you are not, then can you concede that the true definition of success has to be within his realm of knowledge, but outside yours?

    Like all analogies the son of a firefighter analogy does fail at some point. The intent was to convey the idea that definitions of success depends on the scope of your knowledge.

    If you don’t believe in God, yes this isn’t an issue for you, but don’t claim the God you don’t believe in has failed somehow. Maybe your idea of what a god is, has failed if the bible is true. But my idea of what God is hasn’t, or a least I have no basis to Judge his failure or not.

    Still looking for a stock broker,
    johnjac

  • http://twitter.com/johnjac johnjac

    sorry that 1st line should read “If God is omniscience and you are not, then can you concede that the true definition of success has to be within his realm of knowledge, but COULD BE outside yours?

  • http://twitter.com/johnjac johnjac

    @Elliott

    That isn’t my argument at all. In fact I’m (currently) not even arguing that God does exist. I saying don’t blame God for being both omniscience and a failure. It is at least possible that an omniscience God knows something you don’t, and that knowledge would define his acts are successes.

    Me: This argument is flawed

    You: Yeah but I don’t believe in God so HA!

    Me: What?

  • claidheamh mor

    This is so good! Where to start?

    “No schools, no churches, no Bible, no tracts — nobody taught to read or write.”

    I love it! Do you know what the words “pagan” and “heathen” – those words usually hurled as invective – mean? “Pagan” comes from Latin “pagannus” meaning “country-dweller”. “Heathen” means “dweller on the heath”.

    Both words mean someone who lives in the country, outside of the villages and city centers, and — outside of easy reach of being sucked in by the church!

    ““Every moving thing that liveth shall be meat for you”

    Why so few vegetarian Christians? Vegetarians come from all walks of life, but so few from xianity. You would think that as one of the world’s religion traditions, it would supposedly have care and concern for life, disregarding for a moment the wholesale slaughter of people and animals in the bible.

    But Christians remind me of the episode of “The Simpsons” in which Lisa becomes a vegetarian. It depicts a food chart with a silhouette of Homer Simpson, pinnacle of creation, at its very center. Along arrows pointing toward his mouth, is every imaginable critter: walking, crawling, flying, swimming, floating, and slithering it way straight into the place for which all were created: Homers maw.

    • http://twitter.com/johnjac johnjac

      Maybe my word-smithing fell short here. I’m not saying he is redefining the word ‘success.’ I’m saying from his omniscient view of all time he is able to way the total good and the total bad and make the right choice.

      More then that, He is able to see all possible outcomes from all possible choices. (If he has all power, all knowledge and all time why not) When He makes a choice he is in a place like no other being to know that he has made the right one.

      So you are right it is a slippery slope to say God redefines words.

      • http://twitter.com/johnjac johnjac

        What makes someone independent? There is a catch-22 here.

        If the story of the resurrection is true, and someone believed it to be true and wrote about it, does there belief in something true make them no longer independent?

        I believe Luke investigated the resurrection with eye witnesses, believed it to be true and wrote about it.

        IF the resurrection is true how would Luke be independent?

  • Elemenope

    Something to point out in this whole omniscience fooferah:

    Humans do have access to at least one entire class of information that God, as normally defined, is incapable of having.

    Humans are capable of fictional subjunction. wintermute above in fact did exactly that with this:

    “I do not believe in Gandalf, either, and I know exactly what he wanted to achieve. I can evaluate the motives and characters of literary characters just fine, thanks.”

    But God, as traditionally defined, is inerrant and omniscient, which means He knows the set of all statements that are true, and does not and can not have knowledge that is false. This does not prevent Him from making statements *about* fiction: God could form and know the truth of a statement like “Gandalf is a character in a book written in English.” But what He can’t do is make statements *within* fiction *about* fiction, because that requires Him to make a statement as true that cannot be true because it is predicated on a statement He knows to be false. So he can’t make a statement about “Gandalf’s mind” or “Gandalf’s motivation” becuase these are inferred statements about false objects.

    Humans, because of their subjectivity, are capable of treating fiction and reality as isomorphic. We can “know” statements about the internal logic of fictional constructs, even though they are fictional. This is only possible because humans have the capacity to temporarily forget that the objects of their speculation are not real. God, if he is omniscient and inerrant, is not capable of the requisite forgetfulness or “suspension of disbelief” as it were to form meaningful sentences about them.

  • http://www.davewyman.com Dave

    >I saying don’t blame God for being both omniscience and a failure. It is at least possible that an omniscience God knows something you don’t, and that knowledge would define his acts are successes.<

    Fine, johnjac. But then YOU can’t have it both ways, too. God can’t both reveal himself in the Christian Bible and also hide himself away, when what he reveals is obviously self-contradictory.

    This is what humans know: What the god of the Christian bible reveals is clearly contradictory. If such a god exists, i.e. one who works in a way/s we can’t understand, then there’s no point in trying to follow/understand/believe in such a god.

    • http://twitter.com/johnjac johnjac

      #1, I don’t think anything about her question suggests ‘no consequences’

      #2 Again you are saying you know better then an all knowing God. (you argument rest on him being all knowing God. God is only guilty of being evil if he knows better). If you would like to rephrase your argument such that God doesn’t know better, I’m willing to listen.

      Also nothing is Heather’s question states Hell is somewhere God sends people as punishment. It suggest that you choose to live without God. And don’t say God hasn’t tried to reach you. Maybe God is trying to reach you right now through my post on this blog.

      I’m not saying God is using me, but he could be.

  • claidheamh mor

    @Dave: But then YOU can’t have it both ways, too. God can’t both reveal himself in the Christian Bible and also hide himself away, when what he reveals is obviously self-contradictory.

    But self-contradiction is the heart and core of the bible!

    And what is this man telling you that God is unknowable by man? How would he know?

  • http://thebeattitude.com theBEattitude

    I love the last few lines. As soon as god’s focus went to the rest of the world, his chosen people finally prospered.

  • http://twitter.com/johnjac johnjac

    Exactly. I never claimed my faith was ‘reasonable’ Nor would I want it to be. I love the idea that my God and an ‘unreasonable’ about love mercy and grace for me. Because I need every ounce of love mercy and grace I can get.

    But that is just me.

    • Elemenope

      Humans are experiential creatures, first and foremost. As such, proofs of the nature you are talking about rapidly fall off in usefulness the further one gets from the actual event. After all, deciding whether to believe in a God or not is a *big* choice; depending on the existential breaks, perhaps the single *biggest* choice that can confront a human being.

      Since we are experiential beings, we tend to trust and rely on what we have experienced first hand. Lacking that (if impossible for whatever reason) next best is the second-hand account of a person we think to be credible and who is known to us personally. Absent *that*, we tend to defer to a person who is credentialed in some way independently so that there is some justification for believing that they are credible witnesses even if we do not know them.

      And the problem gets worse as time passes. We might trust a second-hand report of a person we consider trustworthy. But what about a third-hand report about that report? Or a fourth? What if the fourth link was not alive when the second-hand report was generated? What if they never met the person whose report they believe they are faithfully transmitting?

      It would not be a stretch to say that what many Atheists want is for someone to demonstrate to *them* conclusively, experientially, some compelling evidence of a supernatural phenomena. We all know from experience what a game of Telephone can do to even a simple and unimportant message. Imagine if it were the basis for the biggest decision of your life? Given that. it’s not so much to ask for some personal attention.

      • http://twitter.com/johnjac johnjac

        I’ve got my life-jacket on :)

        God hasn’t ‘ran away’ completely. Only (exactly) far enough that you can keep your freewill.

        Not only that he left you bread crumbs so you can find him if you wanted to. (your conscious, creation, your reason, the Bible).

        You can follow the bread crumbs, eat them, stay where you are. It is up to you. You’ve got free will.

  • The GAVEL

    Jehovahs’ Defense: OVERRULED!

    Jehovah’s Failure: SUSTAINED!

    Jehovah is found “Guilty” as charged.

  • http://progressatallcost.blogspot.com/ markbey

    @ johnjac

    “I don’t find that most people are incapable of understanding, but are however unwilling.”

    mark: Please answer my question, you brought up the example of a child. It is a fact that your god creates us limited without the ability to understand many things.

    Now on the other hand your god allows more than one religion to exist calling itself the word of god.

    It is also a fact that your god drowned thousands of babies during the flood.

    If I were to drown a baby or if I had the ability to stop a baby from drowning but didnt no one would think of me as a loving or a good person.

    So my problem is your god does things we (humans) consider evil and unfair but yet christians claim the very god is good.

    If your god really wanted me to understand how drowing babies is a good thing then maybe he should have made me a little smarter. Dont you think so.

  • Bystander, non-believer.

    “Exactly. I never claimed my faith was ‘reasonable’ Nor would I want it to be. ”
    Sounds like a darn right masochist.

    • http://bakjewelas.blogspot.com bakjewelas

      This is just my immature thinking

      Jesus did show everything to us
      Maybe we have everything to know about him.
      But what about the Holy Father and the Holy Spirit? Do we have full understanding of them too?

    • http://twitter.com/johnjac johnjac

      If you want indisputable proof you give up freewill. It seems that God wants us to have freewill because I have it. I don’t know how else to put it.

  • http://www.davewyman.com Dave

    johnjac wrote:

    >I admit there are some things I ‘know’ about God that can’t be logically reasoned or empirically tested.Everything we know and see right now and can see in the past has had a cause.<

    Not really. We can see at least some of the Universe, and in fact we don’t see a cause for it. Why are you overlooking that essential fact? You’ve contradicted yourself, and you can’t see it.

    What about things we can’t see? We can’t see the Big Bang itself. We can’t see what happened “before” the Big Bang. You assume, though, that the Universe was created by something that you admit can’t be logically reasoned or empirically tested, something you call God.

    For you, the idea of a god, which can’t be logically reasoned, is a better answer than, “I don’t know.”

    • http://twitter.com/johnjac johnjac

      Jesus spoke of both of the Holy Father and the Holy Spirit. You either believe Jesus was a Lier, a Fool, or the Messiah. Your choice.

  • http://www.davewyman.com Dave

    >I couldn’t wait until I completely 100% understood God before I took the leap of faith believe I completely 100% understood God before I took the leap of faith believe in him (history has taught me no one lives long enough to do this). So I’ve made my decision.<

    Christians, though, believe that the disciples didn’t believe god had come back from the dead until they’d seen him in person. They needed to 100% completely understand that their god stood before them after he had died on the cross.

    The disciples – who never existed – had to physically see/touch their god to believe he was alive after he died. Yet you are much more willing to suspend your disbelief in the supernatural, in order to believe something – on faith – that the disciples couldn’t believe.

  • http://www.humjah.com Heather

    I’m not going to change anyone’s mind, but that’s not my intent. I’m also not going to continue this discussion past this point (I’ll let my poor non-spelling husband johnjac do that).

    What if your understanding of Hell, based on the traditional understanding of Hell, is wrong?

    Think about this: What if God really exists, and is really as good as Christians claim He is? (Stop arguing why He isn’t for a minute; this exercise is meant to discuss a different understanding of Hell). He could create us such that we have no choice but to love Him, but then we’re little better than mindless automatons, or dogs that He’s trained… and what sort of existence is that? No, He wanted thinking, rational beings… but for us to be able to choose to love Him, we had to be able to choose NOT to love Him. We had to be able to reject Him, as many of you have. The ability to deny Him had to exist, or love was meaningless.
    But: if God is as good as we claim Him to be, then who, when they encountered that after death, would choose anything but eternity with Him? If God is as good and loving as Christians claim, then when you come to know Him, you love Him… much as I came to love my husband once I came to know him (but couldn’t love him until I knew he existed).
    So… up until our death, we have choice. We can accept Him or reject Him. But at death, we’re faced with the truth (again, this is all assuming as fact that the God that Christians proclaim is THE God and is good and loving), and choice is stripped away. We love Him because the truth leaves us no other option.
    But what happened to that choice we made before… the one that rejected Him? If revelation of truth leaves no option but love, then what happens to rejection?
    What if Hell is God honoring your choice to reject Him? What if Hell is not God damning you, casting you out, but God allowing you to make the decision to reject Him? What if Hell is eternity, having seen the truth, that God is everything that Christians said He was, realizing at last that you made the wrong choice… and God doesn’t force you to change the decision you made before you died?

    I don’t know if that’s Hell. Like I said… ultimately, I’m not the one who will change anyone’s mind. If you’re convinced that God is malicious and petty and small, then my concept of Him as magnificent and large and loving isn’t going to change your mind. I’d just like to remind you that the wisest men and women in the world were once convinced that the smallest particle in the world was an atom, and that fire was an element. Maybe, just maybe, everything you’re so certain you know is wrong.

    Ask yourself this: If you’re right, and I’m wrong… what do you have to lose? But if I’m right, and you’re wrong… well… what happens then?

    • http://twitter.com/johnjac johnjac

      Honestly mistaken that he was the Son of God, I would think that would fall under ‘fool’

      Wouldn’t it be foolish to be that mistaken, even ‘honestly’?

    • cello

      Well John C says Jesus is living inside him, that he has been joined with Christ. And I don’t actually think he is foolish. The language Jesus’ uses can mean a lot of metaphorical things wrt God that wouldn’t make him foolish but both mistaken and misunderstood.

      • Elemenope

        It’s a broader argument in that it articulates one horn of a dilemma that I’ve been elucidating (mostly on other threads).

        To the extent that a God has moral structures consonant with human expectations, God has failed to create a decent universe.

        To the extent that a God does *not* have moral structures consonant with human expectations, it is unclear that humans should care that the universe is perfect in God’s eyes, because humans are the ones who have to live in that universe.

        The two are in irreducible tension. No matter how you construct a God concept, he comes up either inept (and thus unworthy of worship) or morally alien (and thus unworthy of worship).

  • http://twitter.com/johnjac johnjac

    @Bill

    RE: 9/11 Hijackers

    Sorry this is incorrect. They died for something they believed to be true (Hijacking planes and killing themselves and everyone else would earn the favor with Allah)

    If they were real historical figures and they didn’t see the resurrected Christ, then disciples on the other hand could have denied Christ and lived. Instead they chose to die for something for they KNEW was a lie.

    That is hard to believe. I’m open to other examples of people dying for something they know is a lie.

  • http://www.davewyman.com Dave

    > think there is a great deal of historical evidence for the life if Christ.Just because you can’t call George Washington to rise from the dead and stand before you at your beck and call, doesn’t mean you can’t believe that history proves him to be a real person.<

    We have eyewitness accounts about the reality of Geo Washington. They are in the form of newspaper accounts, historical books that detail aspects of his life, the letters of people who new him, including the British officers who fought against him, etc., etc., etc.

    History does prove Washington was a real person. History fails to do so utterly in the case of Jesus.

    But if you have something to offer as evidence, please do so, johnjac. It’s odd, though, that you claim there is “evidence” when you also admit that you believe on faith alone.

  • http://www.davewyman.com Dave

    >God [snip] could build a universe where everything is forced to love and worship him. But he desires something more.<

    You’ve told us, johnjac, that you don’t understand your god. Suddenly you come up with a idea to explain what appear to be your god’s shortcomings.

    If you don’t understand your god, if your god doesn’t make sense to you, then you should stop explaining the idiotic concept of an omniscient god to the rest of us. Because this doesn’t put you in a good light. It shows that you are willing to believe contradictory concepts.

    “I don’t understand God.”

    “I do understand God.”

    • http://twitter.com/johnjac johnjac

      So you think that IF an all-powerful god did exist, then the one thing he couldn’t do would chose to what extent he used his power. He would be forced to do everything with his full force?

      I’m saying that an all-powerful God can do as he pleases ( he has freewill) so he chooses what he does and how he does it.

      Also it seems to me that if God does exist, then he must desire for me to have freewill, because it seems that I and everyone around me has it. I do not know why God chose for life to be this way, but he did.

      If freewill is important to God, for what ever his reasons are, then he must not give us indisputable evidence. Doing so would remove freewill.

      I can imagine some reason as to why this is, but that would just be conjecture on my part.

  • http://www.davewyman.com Dave

    johnjac wrote:

    >Freewill means he can’t fully reveal himself to us (Faced with indisputable proof we’d be unable to dispute)<

    No. God fully revealed himself in the person of Jesus Christ. And he offered indisputable proof to his disciples when he appeared before them, days after his crucifixion and death.

    It doesn’t appear you read your bible and/or given it any deep thought.

    Everything will begin to make sense when you realize you believe in a character that can only exist, in imagination, in the minds of humans.

    • http://twitter.com/johnjac johnjac

      This is the argument that everyone seems to be getting wrong on this site.

      You are setting up a straw man of a god, that is all-powerful that does bad things. These things are only bad things if he is also all-knowing (He HAS to know the better thing to do to be held guilty for his actions).

      So now you’ve got an all-powerful, all-knowing God that has done somethings. No you, little oh you, on the 3rd rock from some random star, somehow know better then this all-knowing god you have set up for us.

      I find it unlikely that you know better then an all-knowing god. But I don’t know you all that well. Maybe we should get together for a drink something and I can get to know you better.

  • Elemenope

    Honestly mistaken that he was the Son of God, I would think that would fall under ‘fool’

    Wouldn’t it be foolish to be that mistaken, even ‘honestly’?

    I think it would depend a great deal on why he came to believe it, don’t you? If he believed it because he thought it might be kinda cool, or because a voice in his head told him so, or if there were an occasional suggestive coincidence that could be stretched to fit prophecy, yeah that would be foolish.

    But what if the situation was one in which after due and serious consideration (like, say, you took forty days and trotted off into the wilderness in order to think things through) you came to a rational conclusion that, yep, you were actually the Son of God, but turned out to be wrong, would you be a fool? I think not.

    Newton had good reason and ample evidence to believe that space and time were absolute and separate quantities. Turns out Einstein used a stronger argument and more evidence to prove him wrong some hundreds of years later. Doesn’t make Newton a fool for having those mistaken beliefs, does it?

    It is possible to be “honestly mistaken” about even some serious whoppers, crucial notions about how the world works and our place in it; we humans make mistakes of that kind all the time. We can be mistaken about the source of our own thoughts and lack psychological self-mastery. We can be mistaken about teh character of our relationships with others, perceptions of their true opinions. We can be mistaken about our notions of matter, perspective, time, and the fine structure of the universe. None of these mistakes necessarily implies that one is foolish.

    I see nothing that precludes a smart guy from being in a situation where all signs point to “Son of God” and him believing it and it turning out to simply be wrong because something else outside of his frame of experience was going on instead.

  • Sunny Day

    “I bet if someone showed up to your doorstep claiming to be the resurrected Christ, you would find a reason not to believe. ”

    Please, tell me more of what your god can’t do. I find it so interesting that such a powerful critter can be so weak whenever you deem it necessary.

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  • http://twitter.com/johnjac johnjac

    @Elemenope

    I will be honest with you. I have wondered the same thing about Matt 27. Really.

    But here is the conclusion I’ve come to. That there are many miraculous signs that are recorded in all four gospels. There are some that are only recorded in only 1 or 2. If my standard for belief is that all four gospel have record of every miracle, then that standard isn’t met.

    If all four gospels matched exactly everyone one would say it was really just 1 account written 4 times. When they don’t match exactly, some people complain about inconsistencies.

    For me that isn’t a deal breaker. For you it might be. I just have a hard time ignoring all the rest of the evidence because I don’t have multiple accounts of this one story that is otherwise unbelievable.

    Also keep in mind that for anything to written once is rare (mass literacy is a modern thing). Also for that account to be available to us today is also very rare, most documents parish. I’m just saying that it maybe other accounts were written but didn’t survive overtime like Matthew’s account. (just maybe)

  • http://twitter.com/johnjac johnjac

    @cello

    I agree that the words and phrasing that Christians use are confusing, not easily understood.

    But if the remarkable claims of Christianity are true, it wouldn’t be all to shocking that words would fail to describe it accurately.

  • http://twitter.com/johnjac johnjac

    @Daniel Florien

    I am aware of this authorship and dates of the gospels. I also know that many of the disciples were fisherman not scholars.

    Alas, poor Luke can’t win for losing. He is a 3rd party investigator of these account, interviewing eye witnesses. If he believes he can’t be trusted because he is a believer, if he doesn’t believe the account he either doesn’t write it down or does write it down and proves the skeptics right.

    Paul and his letters is who I lean on more. Some of these letters were written before the gospels. And Paul learn this from someone and was good friends with Luke (see above).

    SOMETHING happened around 30 A.D. A lot of evidence points to real Jesus. If that isn’t what happen, please show me that evidence. Show me what really happened.

  • http://twitter.com/johnjac johnjac

    @ cello

    Re: Eternal Hawaii

    IF you believe that God is the source of all love, then living Eternity without him wouldn’t be such a great thing.

    I realized you don’t believe in God so this doesn’t mean much to you. I just don’t want to live in Eternity with out love, but that is just me.

  • http://twitter.com/johnjac johnjac

    @wintermute

    Re: God Reveled

    I did make a mistake God did reveal himself to the Jews. Sorry.

    As for the rest of of your list, please pray tell, what accounts do they have of God living among men? If I’m still wrong, I want to know and I won’t use this argument again.

  • L. Jerome

    Reading some of comments on “apology” etc., I can’t help but think of the foolish discussions I find myself in about the USAs genocide of Native Americans and Africans and the enslavement and murder of millions of people.

    It’s embarrassing how many people make concessions and excuses in the same manner they were trained to make excuses for their god. As if in the past these things were not as bad…as if slavery, rape, or murder was once just fine. I’m assuming the people being enslaved, raped, and murdered didn’t think so. I think the screamed and cried and lamented their existence.

    I also like to think there were a few around at that time that were sickened and horrified by what was going on – that they could recognize that humanity was behaving barbarically; I like to think those few dreamed of better days ahead and schemed of how to accomplish them.

  • http://twitter.com/johnjac johnjac

    @Daniel Florien

    Why did the Jew and Roman’s need proof? Because they had an uprising on their hands. A new religion that challenged all authority on earth. One person producing the body, or prosecuting someone who stole the body would have been plenty squash most of the believers at the time. But we have no record of that.

    The life of Jesus is the most documented life of time. Because a people group with an oral tradition to 20 or so years to start writing it on paper isn’t all that surprising.

    Plus this is well within the life time of eyewitnesses. All the power of the Jews and the Romans, couldn’t write down on bit of contradictory evidence to put down this rebellion?

    Do you believe Alexander the Great was real? His earliest bio was written 400 years after his death. Do you think the Greeks were able to keep most of the facts straight for 400 years before witting it down? I think a few Jews could keep their facts together for 20~70 years.

    Writing something down with 20 years of the date is a “News flash EXTRA EXTRA read all about it” of its day.

  • Roger

    Bottom line, johnjac: produce evidence and proof of the existence of your deity. Remember the story in the Hebrew Bible (or, as you call it, the Old Testament) of Elijah challenging the prophets of Baal to prove the existence of Baal? So I challenge you; if your “god” exists, then let this god reveal itself to humankind right here, right frakkin’ NOW.

  • http://twitter.com/johnjac johnjac

    @cello

    Re:Freewill with Hell is no gift

    Maybe the gift of Heaven is so great that it is worth the risk. An all-knowing god would know.

    But that is just my guess. I have nothing to back that up.

  • http://twitter.com/johnjac johnjac

    @ Roger

    Re: Put up or Shut up

    What is the default (God or no God)? If what I believe is the default, that there is a God, then I could ask the same of you. Put up or shut up. Prove to me there is no God.

    See we all play ‘mental gymnastics’ I don’t believe anyone fully reasons their way to God. So I have had no aspirations to convince anyone here. I’ve got a closing post I’m about to do, then I’ve got to get back to my day job.

  • http://twitter.com/johnjac johnjac

    @ Everyone Here

    Re: Iron Sharpens Iron.

    Thanks for the most enjoyable time. I’ve really had a blast. That to everyone who sparred with me.

    I’ve had no aspirations I would change anyone’s mind. But I do think it is a good exercise for everyone to be challenged in the beliefs from time to time, both me and you.

    Thanks to @danielflorien for hosting the website and allow all comers to join into the debate. Great job Daniel on the blog and twitter stream.

    Btw, if any of you are on twitter. I would love to follow you. Keep me sharp. I’m twitter.com/johnjac

    Thanks again everyone, but I’ve got to get back to my day job.

  • http://www.davewyman.com Dave

    >Thanks again everyone, but I’ve got to get back to my day job.<

    johnjac had no sense of pacing.

  • http://www.slim-blondje.com/eng Pascalle

    How can i fail something i don’t believe in?

  • Elemenope

    If that’s the case, then we were designed poorly (e.g. inadequate to the task presented). Guess whose fault that is.

  • Proto

    How exactly does that make sense? I mean, that might pass as a lame Russian reversal, but I cannot fathom how we failed our so-called ‘intelligent designer’.

  • amon

    What you’re suggesting is a false dichotomy;

    God claims to be omniscient, omnipresent and omnipotent – conditions which would necessarily make it impossible for him to ‘fail’ at anything.

    The fact that he repeatedly does fail to achieve his stated aims is evidence that he is a fictional character created by an unsophisticated bronze age people

    Whereas I only claim to be tall, charming and good-looking, conditions which necessarily make my failings cute and adorable (:

  • claidheamh mor

    bakjewelas

    How about thinking in the other way?

    We have failed God

    *snort*

  • http://www.girlchild.wordpress.com mrsmarshall

    How can we fail him if “God never gives us more than we can handle” or “there is a reason for everything”. I know those aren’t scriptural or anything, but Christians LOVE to say that crap when something unpopular happens.

    Just more examples of the way the actual scriptures don’t always support the evangelical point of view.

  • Mike

    @Larro
    This should keep you busy for a while. The complete works of Ingersol online.

  • Elemenope

    God claims to be omniscient, omnipresent and omnipotent – conditions which would necessarily make it impossible for him to ‘fail’ at anything.

    Not for nothing, but humans claim that God claims to be omniscient, omnipresent and omnipotent. Personally, if there were a God, I would think that given these results He would be a bit more circumspect with the exorbitant claims. :)

  • http://wmute.livejournal.com wintermute

    So you can’t claim both ‘God is omniscient’ and ‘God failed’ if you don’t also claim to be omniscient.

    Yes you can. You don’t need to know everything about the universe to make that judgement, but only one specific thing: What was god trying to achieve?

    If we assume that god’s stated aims listed in the bible are actually his real aims, then we can easily judge whether or not he succeeded in bringing those aims about. For example, 1 Kings tells the story of how god lied to King Ahab with the aim of having him destroyed by an invading army. In this, he was successful. On the other hand, Isaiah 23 tells of how god aims to destroy the city of Tyre so completely that its stones will never be found; in this he has failed. But, to be fair, it’s only been 3,000 years.

    In the story of Noah, it’s explicitly stated that the aim of the deluge was to wipe out all evil (including evil babies, and puppies). If we make the wild assumption that god does not habitually lie about what he wants to happen, do we really need to know every last detail about the universe in order to judge whether or not this was successful? I’m pretty sure most Christians believe that, even after the flood, there is still sin and evil.

  • cello

    I don’t think your firefighter example works because the dad was a failure in one aspect, he died when his son still needed him. That he saved so many lives and was a success in many other ways does not erase that one failure.

    Now, that said, I tend to agree with you that an omnisceint and omnipotent God couldn’t fail because the world would be exactly how God wanted it to be – murders, abortions, floods and all. So also, I don’t think we failed this God either. Everything must be exactly how God wants it to be if God is truly all these all powerful and all knowing things. By that definition, the world and creation couldn’t be any other way but exactly the way God wants.

    Now, why the Bible God – if that is indeed THE God – laments at his own creations, I don’t know. It’s not like he couldn’t change it in a flash. Maybe the Bible God just likes to whine. Or maybe the Bible God isn’t really the one, ya’know.

  • http://progressatallcost.blogspot.com/ markbey

    “I tend to agree with bakjewelas, that we (mankind) continue to fail God.”

    mark: But didnt your god know this was gonna happen long before he created mankind and the earth.

    If we continue to fail god then perhaps god should have designed us differently.

  • Reginald Selkirk

    Here is an analogy to explain how we can’t judge failure. A young son of a Firefighter who died while saving 100’s of lives may feel that is dad failed him.

    You failed at analogy. The firefighter died from the effects of a fire. Please explain how this could happen to Mr. Omnipotent.

    You are trying to say, “it doesn’t make sense to us, but…” Stop before the but. Admit that it just doesn’t make sense. We will respect you more.

  • John C

    No “sky-God” at least not in Christianity. Thats not at all what Christ taught, actually quite the opposite. Hint hint…you dont have to look far.

    The sky is falling

  • Brian

    Thank you for introducing me to Robert Green Ingersoll. As a non-american, I wasn’t aware of this great thinker.

  • http://wmute.livejournal.com wintermute

    If we assume that the bible does not accurately record what god wants, then yes. We have no basis for knowing whether or not god is a success or a failure.

    Most Christians, however, seem to believe that the bible is an accurate record or god’s desires, making it an excellent point against which to measure his success.

    To be honest I don’t see that know being able to tell if god is capable of causing his will to be enacted is all that superior to knowing that he has succeeded at some specific things, while failing at others.

  • http://www.elliottcallahan.com/blog Elliott

    I hate this argument.

    “You don’t know, because you aren’t omniscient, ” is such a cop out.

    It boils down to a childish game of “god is smarter than you times a million, no, a million plus one…a million times infinity plus infinity.”

    Yeah, let’s regress to a point where no one can even form a rational thought anymore, because YOU have an overactive imagination. To me, this debate looks as follows:

    You: There is an invisible unicorn in my room, and you can’t tell it’s there.

    Me: Well, I could see the indentations in the carpet that its hooves make.

    You: No, because it’s weightless.

    Me: But you could bump into it, and then you would feel it.

    You: No, it occupies no space in our dimension.

    Me: Fuck this, you’re an idiot.

    You: Ha ha, I proved the unicorn exists.

  • http://wmute.livejournal.com wintermute

    *that not being able to tell, sorry.

    It seems to be catching ;)

  • cello

    Hmm…does the OT Bible ever actually say God is omnipotent and omniscient? I guess I always assumed it said that but maybe the Bible never really claims that God is those things. That would be kinda funny actually. The first omni realated stuff that I remember doesn’t happen until Jesus, who mostly just said stuff like with God all things are possible. That’s not an exact omniscient claim. Plus there are those reference to other God’s in the OT (the “we” reference in Genesis).

  • Roger

    Because we didn’t love him and pet him, and ego stroke him and name him George enough.

  • Roger

    Hee. But Elemenope, Gawd put it in our minds to conceive of him as omnipresent and omnipotent…so if he *isn’t*, then that’s a case of deceptive advertising (kind of like the first date with the sleazy guy who claims to be a Wall Street insider with a yacht and a house in the Hamptons, but actually is a pizza delivery guy who lives with his mom.)

  • http://wmute.livejournal.com wintermute

    Some of the threads in the bible assume an omniscient and omnipotent god; others most certainly don’t.

    Read http://www.georgeleonard.com/yahweh.html – it might not be “true”, but it’s certainly compelling (to me, at least).

  • http://www.elliottcallahan.com/blog Elliott

    I read something really interesting about that whole “we” thing.

    We all know that a good majority of the stories in the bible have parallels in other polytheistic religions, and the reason may be that the Judeo-Christian religion was originally polytheistic as well, but someone later came along and scrubbed the stories clean of reference to other gods.

    So many of the Old Testament stories make sense if that’s the case. God wasn’t “failing” all the time, he was interacting with other gods. When one god decided he’d had enough of humanity, Jehovah snuck out to tell Noah to build an ark behind the other gods’ backs. And so on, and so forth.

    There may be a few extant references to Yahweh’s buddies in the bible today, either because they were missed by the mysterious editor, or because the text that contained them was taken from an older source.

  • Reginald Selkirk

    Hmm…does the OT Bible ever actually say God is omnipotent and omniscient?

    It is the God of the philosophers who is allegedly omnipontent, omniscient and omnibenevolent. If non-philosophers would admit that their God is not the God of the philosophers, the discussion would have more clarity. The God of the Old Testament is already thoroughly disproven,

  • reckoner71

    Well said.

    But we’re still operating from a definition of a god that amounts to little more than a warm feeling and emotional appeal. How can we begin to judge the success or failure rate of something that has not be properly defined and agreed upon, or even shown to be real in the first place?

    Apologists live for the noise (and there is SO much noise in the Bible), because as the argument drags out and the tangents become completely irrelevant, it’s an opportunity to preach.

    Believers: define and show actual evidence for your god, and then we can all study and debate its shortcomings as a celestial landlord.

  • reckoner71

    Carl Sagen, FTW.

  • claidheamh mor

    Agreed.
    (“You don’t know, because you aren’t omniscient, ” is such a cop out.)

    Here’s another way the xians spouting that one are shooting themselves int he foot:

    If God is sooo, just waaayyy, SO impossible for man to conceive of, can’t be, no way, he’s just so powerful, ineffable and incomprehensible, we cannot possibly know him:

    and the xian telling you this is a “man”, then he is telling you something about which, by definition, he cannot know, because man cannot know it.

    Ask the man telling you God is something that man can’t know; “How the hell do you know?”

    (he’s being an arrogant ass, huh?)

  • claidheamh mor

    I get it about the unicorn argument, but it doesn’t take away from the fact I have a personal relationship with Jesus.

    I know you can’t see him or his face, or hear his voice, but I know him in my heart. It’s something you feel.

    He told me he’s getting bored with Grace, and wants out of that relationship.

    He also told me that John C gets disability payments, and doesn’t have to work, and sits at home and posts on this blog all day and all evening, because he is medically certified as developmentally disabled, having slight to moderate retardation, and is incapable of thinking outside of his single-track mental tape loop, and Jesus wants nothing to do with him and finds him embarrassing.

  • Devysciple

    Well, as this “God” supposedly is omnipresent, I let you have it that it’s not in the sky exclusively. On the other hand, however, this “God” is said to reside in a place called “Heaven”, thus usually connected to being upwards, as opposed to this “Lucifer” guy that allegedly dwells in the nether regions of this world…

    And the assumption that the sky is falling does not bother me in any particular way. I guess getting hit on the head by an abstract concept won’t hurt that much ;-)

  • cello

    Heh, I have never heard the theory that the original Bible God was an adolescent. The character development of “God” is so flimsy though it is hard for me to buy his argument. He could assert the Bible God is a seventy year old with Alzheimers and it would be equally believable to me.

  • http://wmute.livejournal.com wintermute

    it seems pretty unequivocal that early Judaism was henotheistic; that is, that they acknowledged the existence of other gods, but only worshipped one.

  • http://www.elliottcallahan.com/blog Elliott

    @wintermute

    Wow, I checked out that link you provided.

    Yahweh was a member of a pantheon, and his father was the main god ‘El.’

    At some point, Yahweh told the Jews that he was El, and that they should only worship him. Sounds a bit like Jesus: “I’m the son of god, no wait! I am god, so I’m my own father!”

  • http://progressatallcost.blogspot.com/ markbey

    I make this point my self all of the time. Quite often I have asked for an explanation for the god of the bible giving instructions on how to sale ones daughter into slavery and still be moral.

    The holy rollers reply with god works in ways that our finite mind cant understand. My response is always if god wants us to understand him then exactly why does the smartest and most wise bieng in the universe work in ways that are forieng to mans understanding.

    Or to put it more simply if god wants man to figure out something or understand something about him (god) then he should have made us smarter in the first place.

    Because the infinitly wise god knew that we would get confused.

  • http://wmute.livejournal.com wintermute

    You’re arguing that we cannot know what god wants to achieve, or how successful he is. is that really what you believe?

  • http://www.elliottcallahan.com/blog Elliott

    From two of your posts:

    If God is omniscience and you are not…

    I saying don’t blame God for being both omniscience and a failure…

    ‘Omniscient’ is an adjective, like ‘patient.’

    ‘Omniscience’ is a noun, like ‘patience.’

  • reckoner71

    The modern-day apologies are as numerous as the historical fear tactics and torture methods.

    But the goal is/was always the same: keep people from asking questions and expecting plausible answers.

  • http://mixingtracks.blogspot.com professoryackle

    Indeed. If god/jehovah is omnipotent + omni-everything, you’d-a think he could get it right. But the results speak otherwise. So OK, if his half-assed results indicate that he ain’t the main man, what does that mean, then? That jehovah is some guy in a lab who tries a few experiments but gets stuff wrong? That seems fair enough to me, but why should I believe In Jehovah over Dave or Pete, who work in the same lab and get half their experiments wrong too?

    all Hail Dave, bow down…

  • http://progressatallcost.blogspot.com/ markbey

    “But my idea of what God is hasn’t, or a least I have no basis to Judge his failure or not.”

    mark: What exactly is your idea of what god is?

  • Elemenope

    johnjac –

    It is logically possible that God would have standards of success which are incomprehensible to humans. The question really becomes, if that were to be the case why would those standards of success matter to humans?

    After all, from the admittedly limited point-of-view of humans, the universe sucks in many, many ways. But humans are the ones who have to live in it, are they not? Why does God’s appraisal of the conditions of the universe matter when humans are the ones who have to live with its reality?

    If you wish to avoid a Euthyphro dilemma of nasty proportions you are basically forced to concede that the morality of the conditions of a creature set by another being which does not share them must either be rooted independently of the being, or is itself morally relative. Which makes God either kind of a jerk, or totally useless for determining or providing anything about the meaning, ethics, or valuation of subjective existence in this here universe. (Or both.)

    Your supposition unfortunately boxes God into a position where it’s better if humans ignore what He has to say, because none of it is applicable to us.

  • MilitantAtheist

    If God is omniscience and you are not, then can you concede that the true definition of success has to be within his realm of knowledge, but outside yours?

    I don’t think you want to start saying that god can redefine words. That means that he could also be redefining important words like “omniscient,” “heaven,” and “benevolent.” Then you end up with a stupid god who sends you to a fiery furnace for eternity instead of some cloud palace.

  • Question-I-thority

    If God is omniscience and you are not, then can you concede that the true definition of success has to be within his realm of knowledge, but outside yours?

    I would like to be the first to welcome you to agnosticism.

    By your above argument, you will have to give up trying to understand or interpret the bible since you are not omniscienct and can never be sure of “his” knowledge.

  • http://twitter.com/johnjac johnjac

    I’m saying you might not know.

    Now, I’m asking you “Do you know what God wants to achieve? or Do you not believe in a god?” I don’t you can have it both ways.

    I’m saying “I do believe in God and I do not know everything he wants to achieve”

  • http://twitter.com/johnjac johnjac

    Sorry spelling isn’t a strong skill of mine, so I overly depend on copy and paste.

    Thanks for the correction. I can copy and paste with certainty now.

  • http://wmute.livejournal.com wintermute

    Now, I’m asking you “Do you know what God wants to achieve? or Do you not believe in a god?” I don’t you can have it both ways.

    I do not believe in a god. However, I do not believe in Gandalf, either, and I know exactly what he wanted to achieve. I can evaluate the motives and characters of literary characters just fine, thanks.

    I’m saying “I do believe in God and I do not know everything he wants to achieve”

    So, you do know some things that god wants to achieve? Presumably, you’re capable of noticing whether or not these things were achieved, right? If they were, we can call it “success”; and if they weren’t, we can call it “failure”.

    I agree that where you’re ignorant of god’s aims, you can’t declare that he succeeded or failed, but if it’s possible for you to know what he wants, then it’s also possible to know if he succeeded or failed, right?

  • http://wmute.livejournal.com wintermute

    Have you tried using Firefox? That way, you get a spellchecker in the text box.

  • reckoner71

    The kick is up… and… IT’S GOOD!

  • http://twitter.com/johnjac johnjac

    Gandalf isn’t held up to the standard of omniscient and perfection.

    Also you can guess Gandalf’s intentions, but only his creator (Tolkien) could come close to knowing them with any certainty.

    You can guess at God’s intentions, but only he knows what they truly are. So your guesses MAYBE wrong.

    If you guesses MAYBE wrong, then this argument does nothing to disprove God.

    So based on this argument set forth by Ingersoll doesn’t disprove God, but does give those who don’t (or don’t want to) believe in the God of the bible more reasons.

  • http://wmute.livejournal.com wintermute

    Gandalf isn’t held up to the standard of omniscient and perfection.

    Also you can guess Gandalf’s intentions, but only his creator (Tolkien) could come close to knowing them with any certainty.

    True, Tolkien was not an omnipotent being, capable of writing a perfectly understandable text, if he so chose. The bible’s author, or so I am led to believe, does not have that failing.

    If god is truly omnipotent, then the fact that we cannot discern his motives from the book he wrote to tell us what his motives were is because he is deliberately misleading us.

    Is god an incompetent author, or a deceptive one?

    You can guess at God’s intentions, but only he knows what they truly are. So your guesses MAYBE wrong.

    So, when you said “I do not know everything he wants to achieve”, you actually meant “I do not know anything he wants to achieve”?

    If you guesses MAYBE wrong, then this argument does nothing to disprove God.

    Was I supposed to be trying to disprove god? It would have been polite to mention that at the start.

    The point is that most Christians make specific claims for gods desires, either from the bible, or because god hates the same people they do. And, given these pronouncements, we can clearly see that god has frequently failed to do what they claim he wants to.

    This doesn’t prove that god doesn’t exist (he might be a trickster, or not very powerful, for example), but it does put the lie to one specific combination of attributes that he’s often given: Omnipotence and at least partial compressibility.

    If you don’t believe that god is even partially comprehensible then that avoids that particular trap. But if you don’t know (and can’t know) what god’s aims or intentions are, why do you think it’s a good idea to follow him?

  • cello

    These comments are needlessly personal about another poster – even it was meant to be a joke – it was crass.

  • John C

    He loves the broken, the misfits, the downtrodden, the broken-hearted. He just loves.

  • Elemenope

    I disagree, and can’t possibly bring myself to endorse a statement that equates in any way torturers and murderers with those who simply argue for a proposition (and who, by the way, managed in the process to invent/discover many of the argumentative and logical tools we all use everyday).

    There will *always* be good arguments and bad arguments for any given proposition. What matters is the motivation behind the argument and the freedom of the interlocutor to question, and then either accept or reject what is being argued.

  • Elemenope

    Sorry if that sounded harsh, but I’ve been getting more sensitive to moral equivalency these days. Don’t know why.

  • http://wmute.livejournal.com wintermute

    claidheamh mor’s point, as he has explained elsewhere is that these statements are no less “true” (and also no less “false”) than the typical “I know Jesus loves me because I feel it in my heart” that is supposed to be convincing evidence for god.

    It may not be the most politic way of making the point, but it does get attention.

  • claidheamh mor

    I wanted you to know: I don’t have any personal knowledge of John C, and being an advocate of privacy, am against disclosing personal information about people. I also don’t believe in making fun of disable people.

    It is a picture I have formed of of him. my construct.

    And I do, and will, criticize behavior, someone’s ACTIONS.

    People are responsible for their actions. I have found his ridiculous, hence the post.

  • Elemenope

    LOL. To be fair, there are ways to respond to the argument I just outlined that aren’t completely ridiculous.

    Christian apologists get doubly screwed because most of the more reasonable replies get screwed up something fierce by the assertion of Jesus as God.

  • http://twitter.com/johnjac johnjac

    I do believe in God, and I believe that I am incapable of fully understand him (her/it).

    I do not want a God that I can understand, for (as smart as I am ;0 ) that being limited to my understanding would be far too limiting. *I do understand that is my desire not an argument*

  • http://progressatallcost.blogspot.com/ markbey

    ” If such a god exists, i.e. one who works in a way/s we can’t understand, then there’s no point in trying to follow/understand/believe in such a god.”

    mark: Exactly the point I always make. If an all powerful god exist and wants me to find him then why allow any message about any other god concept to exist.

    Why would god make claims that obviously do not pan out. Why tell me to pray and then not answer my prayers is that a good way to convert folks.

    If praying to the christian god worked then the results gotten from those prayers would do more to sale the christian concept of god than the bible ever could.

  • http://twitter.com/johnjac johnjac

    It doesn’t make sense.

    All analogies fail at some point.

    “But tortoise would never race a hare, that doesn’t make any sense”

    “A scorpion would never ride on the back of a frog, that doesn’t make any sense”

  • http://wmute.livejournal.com wintermute

    I do believe in God, and I believe that I am incapable of fully understand him (her/it).

    Now you’re back to saying that you can partially understand god. Is this correct? In the areas where you do understand god, you’d be able to judge the degree of success he’s had, right?

    Earlier you said that ‘You can guess at God’s intentions, but only he knows what they truly are. So your guesses MAYBE wrong”, strongly implying that you were incapable of knowing anything about god. Sure, you can makes guesses, but what is to say that your guesses are accurate? How do you know that god’s ultimate aim isn’t to make everyone an atheist?

    Either it’s possible to know something about god, or it is not. Please pick an option, and stick with it.

  • http://progressatallcost.blogspot.com/ markbey

    @ johnjac

    “I do not want a God that I can understand, for (as smart as I am ;0 ) that being limited to my understanding would be far too limiting.”

    mark: Why should anyone worship a god they cant understand.

    Also if you (christians) claim that god is love, good ect based on the bible (gods word) saying so. then why is god doing all of these things that most humans (including christians) consider evil such as drowning thousands of babiles during the flood.

    Or more simply asked, why would god tell us hes good, then act in ways we (human biengs) dont consider good and then not give us the ability to figure out why when he drowns babies during the flood its a good thing.

  • claidheamh mor

    johnjac

    I do believe in God, and I believe that I am incapable of fully understand him (her/it).

    I do not want a God that I can understand, for (as smart as I am ;0 ) that being limited to my understanding would be far too limiting. *I do understand that is my desire not an argument*

    That’s why this website is called “Unreasonable Faith”!

  • http://twitter.com/johnjac johnjac

    Why do parents ever let their kids make their own decisions? The parents are more experienced and more knowledgeable then the child, and are more likely to make the right decision more often.

    Sure there is division of labor, that it isn’t practical for a parent make all their own decisions and those of their child. I’m guessing though there is something more. The parent wants the child to learn, to grow.

    God is the same he could build a universe where everything is forced to love and worship him. But he desires something more.

    But this is a element of faith for me. I chose to believe this. And I don’t expect any thing I say will convince anyone to believe the same. I’m just distracting myself from work today for some reason.

  • http://twitter.com/johnjac johnjac

    I guess there are two levels or definitions of ‘know’ I can know things through empirical evidence and logical reasoning. ( I know gravity makes things fall to the ground, and I know they will always fall to the ground )

    I can also know things through my experiences, but can not be empirically tested or fully reasoned logically. ( I know my family loves me).

    The 2nd ‘know’ can’t be tested, may sometimes seems to be false (sometimes they hurt me), but it never changes that I ‘know’ it.

    So there somethings I can logically know about God (He is the 1st cause/ the un-caused cause) and other thing just ‘know’ by faith (He loves me)

    But any God great enough to create this universe full of many things I don’t know or understand, must be greater then my knowledge can fathom.

  • http://twitter.com/johnjac johnjac

    I know you are unlikely to know how to do brain surgery. I don’t need to know how to do brain surgery to know that you don’t know how to do it either.

    I don’t claim to fully know God. And I admit there are some things I ‘know’ about God that can’t be logically reasoned or empirically tested. I’m not asking anyone to make that change in faith. (see my note on ‘know’ above)

  • http://www.elliottcallahan.com/blog Elliott

    Why do parents ever let their kids make their own decisions?

    With god, we aren’t talking about a parent letting a child experiment and take risks.

    With god, we are talking about someone who ostensibly crafted the dangers that could befall his children. He’s omniscient/omnipotent, remember?

    The parent wants the child to learn, to grow.

    Yes. Your parents want what’s best for you, even if it means growing away from them. But if you grow away from god, he will make you suffer for all eternity.

    But he desires something more.

    His desires seem to me to be akin to those of a child who puts a snail in the middle of a maze of salt, and expects it to find the right way out.

  • Roger

    I choose not to infantilize myself and declare fealty to a pernicious, capricious entity (God, Krishna, whothefuckever) who plays a celestial game of hide-and-go-seek because he/she/it *claims* to “know” what’s best for me. If–IF–this entity exists and is supposedly rational (and has a rationality that supercedes ours), fair and loving, it needs to make itself unequivocally known to ALL humanity.

    “But he desires something more.”

    What, pray tell, is this “something more”? Why be so frakkin’ mysterious? Reveal yourself and end all the useless speculation and pseudo-intellectual circle-jerking?

  • http://progressatallcost.blogspot.com/ markbey

    @ johnjac

    “God is the same he could build a universe where everything is forced to love and worship him. But he desires something more.

    But this is a element of faith for me. I chose to believe this. And I don’t expect any thing I say will convince anyone to believe the same. I’m just distracting myself from work today for some reason.”

    mark: Yeah but know parent would ask a child to bake a cake using a recipe from the encyclopedia britanica and then send thier child to hell forever because they used the wrong recipe from the wrong encyclopedia.

    If the child baked a cake using the 1972 version of the encyclopedia but you really wanted a cake from the 1973 version then the fault would fall back on the parent because you didnt tell the child which encyclopedia to use.

    Your god allows more than one god concept to understand, a lot of those different god concept have that retarded clause that claim those who do not believe in thier flavor of truth will burn in hell.

    Your god is asking me to believe in him but so are a lot of other gods I have no way of knowing whether or not I should follow islamic or christian beliefs in god becaue both religions claim they are gods word and my punishment for not following gods word is eternal torment.

    No parent would would ask thier child to bake a cake using the encyclopedia and then when the child bakes the wrong cake because of 2 different recipes then turn around and give the child the worst whoppin of all time.

    Lastly please explain which religion I should put my faith in when picking the wrong one will land me in hell. Forever.

    P.S If your god wanted me to wade through his incoherent message then why make me so incappable of understanding his ways.

  • claidheamh mor

    Yes, johnjac, you are rejecting not only Allah, but Odin, Chthulhu, and The Flying Spaghetti Monster.

    There are written records that prove the existence of all of them, at least as much as Yahweh and Jesus.

    I find you a closed-minded, narrow atheist.

  • Roger

    The very existence of any supernatural deity isn’t logically reasoned or empirically tested.

  • http://progressatallcost.blogspot.com/ markbey

    @ johnjac

    “I don’t claim to fully know God. And I admit there are some things I ‘know’ about God that can’t be logically reasoned or empirically tested.”

    mark: So will you admit that some things you dont know about god are things that others could possible know.

    If your answer to the above question is yes then how do you know that the TRUE god is represented through christianity.

    Meaning if you dont know everthing about god then perhaps christianity is false and Islam is the correct way to find god.

  • Sunny Day

    “I know you are unlikely to know how to do brain surgery.”

    When a thiest starts talking about how unlikely something is, and tries to use it to make a point. I know that the hamster is dead and the wheel is just spinning along by inertia.

  • http://twitter.com/johnjac johnjac

    You can chose to believe that. I tend to think there is at lest a good argument to be made for an uncaused cause. Everything we know and see right now and can see in the past has had a cause. But unless time extends infinitely backwards (and science seems to suggest it doesn’t) then there had to be the 1st cause that didn’t have a cause itself.

    I call that cause God. Now what I choose to call it is a matter of faith.

  • http://twitter.com/johnjac johnjac

    I don’t find that most people are incapable of understanding, but are however unwilling.

    I sounds like you are smart intelligent person and I think could understand enough to ‘know’* God.

    *see my 2nd definition of ‘know’

    Many things make people unwilling. I was unwilling myself for a while.

    If you chose not to understand, or don’t think you can. I can’t help you and I won’t try. That is your choice to make.

  • http://www.elliottcallahan.com/blog Elliott

    @ johnjac

    Why are you unwilling to ‘know’ Allah?

  • http://progressatallcost.blogspot.com/ markbey

    @ johnjac

    “Exactly. I never claimed my faith was ‘reasonable’ Nor would I want it to be. ”

    mark: If your faith is not reasonable then how are those looking for god to know when they have found him.

    Perhaps when you think you have found god and are on your way to salvation you are not. Perhaps if your god was more reasonable thier wouldnt be thousands of other concepts of god.

  • http://www.elliottcallahan.com/blog Elliott

    Why? Why wouldn’t you want reasonable faith? A god you could see and touch? That’s what you’re waiting for, isn’t it? To walk with god?

  • Ty

    “Because I need every ounce of love mercy and grace I can get. ”

    No, I bet you don’t. You’ve just been brainwashed into believing that man is a sinful and imperfect creature, incapable of being worthy on his own.

    It’s one of the great crimes perpetrated by religion. And it reads like a supernatural abusive relationship.

    “Why do you make god hurt you like that? He only hurts you because he loves you so much.”

    I wouldn’t put up with that shit from a human, why put up with it from someone who can’t even be bothered to show up?

  • http://wmute.livejournal.com wintermute

    I can also know things through my experiences, but can not be empirically tested or fully reasoned logically. ( I know my family loves me).

    How do you “know” that your family loves you? Are you really telling me that you can’t think of any evidence to back up the claim?

    You “know” because they act in a way consistent with them loving you. They buy you presents, remember your birthday, help you when you need it…

    This is something for which you have empirical evidence. That provides a logical reason to accept the premise.

    You know who accepts that their family loves them on faith alone, without any evidence? People in abusive relationships, that’s who.

  • Roger

    Seriously? The first cause argument? If you’re going to present a “first cause” argument, then you have to acknowledge that “God” could also have been caused.

    Furthermore, even IF there was something that wasn’t caused, what would make that God? What if it’s just hot, dense matter? Is that God? Not by your presentations–you claim that “God” is some entity that cares for you, loves you (even if it’s a right bastard to the people next door to you) and other such nonsense.

    Finally, back to the first cause argument–that’s all it is: an argument for something that could possibly be considered God. What I said is there’s not one shred of logical, empirical evidence for a supernatural deity who “cares” for humankind. That ain’t about faith–that’s about presenting rock-solid evidence and proof, not mystical ramblebabble about an infantile hope.

  • MilitantAtheist

    You’re analogy failed at what it was trying to prove. Your examples of analogies are actually fables, which, incidentally, is exactly what your sky-god is.

  • MilitantAtheist

    and all FSM’s people said “rAmen!”

  • John C

    The only thing He is guilty of is loving the guilty…us.

    Mercy triumphs over judgment.

  • http://twitter.com/johnjac johnjac

    I can not tell you why bad things happen to good or innocent people. Sorry. I also can’t tell you why good things happen happen to bad or guilty people.

    I am glad it isn’t up to me to determine who is innocent and who guilty.

    Why did God flood the earth including babies, I really don’t know. I have learned that it isn’t realistic for me to think I can Judge God. If he exists (and I believe he does) he is obviously much more powerful and knowledgeable then I am. I will have to defer to His judgment.

    This is what the whole book of Job is about. Poor Job was a righteous man and he lost everything. Poor Job’s children who were killed for seeming unknown reasons. God tells us in this book, that Job had no standing to Judge his creator God.

    This answer was/is sufficient for me. I’m sure it won’t be for you. Sorry. I don’t know what else to tell you. I know I couldn’t wait until I completely 100% understood God before I took the leap of faith believe in him (history has taught me no one lives long enough to do this). So I’ve made my decision.

    I wish I had a better answer, but I don’t. Sorry.

  • http://twitter.com/johnjac johnjac

    No, I know I’ve done an unreasonably amount of bad things in my life. I also know that I can’t travel back in time and do it again right. I’ve also haven’t found a reasonable scale that showed me my good out weighed my bad.

    If I can’t undo the unreasonably amount of wrong I’ve done in my life, I would needed unreasonable amount of mercy grace and love.

    I need an unreasonable faith because if I were to judge myself reasonably I would find myself guilty beyond repair.

    I’m not a masochist, just the opposite. I’m in desperate need of love. Luckily for me I found a God who could meet my need.

  • Elemenope

    The things valuable or meaningful to humans are not all amenable to reason.

  • http://twitter.com/johnjac johnjac

    The autopsy of the Firefighter isn’t at issue. The point of the analogy was that the amount of knowledge a person has will affect if they see an act as a failure or as a success. The child has limited knowledge of the situation, sees a failure. The survivors have a greater knowledge of the situation and see a success.

    On a literary note, I think fables are forms of analogies. To learn the lesson of the fable I’m to put myself in the story and the character (hare, scorpion) become my analog in the story. But that is beyond the scope of this blog.

  • http://twitter.com/johnjac johnjac

    Maybe I’ve been brainwashed.

    Maybe you’ve been brainwashed.

    The brainwashed rarely know they’ve been brainwashed.

    I don’t feel sinful, I feel clean. Any church that leaves you feeling sinful has failed.

    I don’t feel that God hurts me, I feel comforted by him. I if any church makes you feel like God is out to hurt you they have failed.

    Who says God hasn’t shown up? I think there is a great deal of historical evidence for the life if Christ. Just because you can’t call George Washington to rise from the dead and stand before you at your beck and call, doesn’t mean you can’t believe that history proves him to be a real person.

    If God were real, and he were to show himself to you in is fullness, could you still deny him? I don’t think you could.

    God has given us freewill (WHY? I don’t know) But if God were real it would be in the best position to know if we needed freewill. The Bible is fairly clear (and day to day life seems to indicate) God desires for us to have freewill (otherwise why have I been commenting on this blog when I should have been working, oops).

    If God wants us to have freewill, then he can’t fully reveal himself to us. If he did we’ve no choice but to believe.

    I don’t know why God gave us freewill, but I’m glad he did. :)

  • http://unreasonablefaith.com Daniel Florien

    Summary: Pascal’s Wager.

    Rebuttal: Why trust your god over any others? Why not Allah? If you are wrong about your god, and Allah is god, you go to hell. You can use that argument for any belief.

  • Elemenope

    God’s powers of rational and/or emotional persuasion would, one assumes, be infinite. So, given a long enough time-line, it is logical to assume that all finite souls could eventually be non-coercively persuaded that chilling out with God for eternity is the way to go.

    Which then raises the question of why it is important for people to believe in God *while alive*.

    If you’re right, and I’m wrong… what do you have to lose?

    Intellectual integrity, existential truth, lost time (which, if existence is temporally finite, would be a priceless loss).

    But if I’m right, and you’re wrong… well… what happens then?

    This is where Pascal’s Wager really gets dicey, because if God exists a great deal depends on His character and methodology. Most conceptions of God that are not small, petty, and/or contemptible are ultimately non-coercively universalist, and so the answer to this question is “nothing at all”, since eventually we’d all end up being in His Grace. If on the other hand God *is* small, petty, and/or otherwise contemptible, I’m not about to jump on his bandwagon, no matter what the consequences.

  • http://billpost.blogspot.com/ Bill

    “I don’t know if that’s Hell.”

    Well at least you admit that this is nothing but speculation. But I’ll play along.

    “What if Hell is God honoring your choice to reject Him? What if Hell is not God damning you, casting you out, but God allowing you to make the decision to reject Him? What if Hell is eternity, having seen the truth, that God is everything that Christians said He was, realizing at last that you made the wrong choice… and God doesn’t force you to change the decision you made before you died?”

    If this is true it means one of two things:

    1. Hell has no consequence, and I get to go on for eternity being perfectly happy as I am now; or

    2. The pain of knowing that I made the wrong choice is terrible (and this is where I suspect you were going with this). If that’s true, then god is punishing me for eternity anyway and we are back to him being incredibly cruel. You have just put a new face on the same old hell.

    Either way not very compeling arguments.

    FYI – Pascal’s wager isn’t likely to convince very many people here.

  • Question-I-thority

    Ask yourself this: If you’re right, and I’m wrong… what do you have to lose? But if I’m right, and you’re wrong… well… what happens then?

    Well it means that even tho I don’t believe the mumbojumbo at all I have to try really, really hard to believe it and when I don’t I am forced to lie to God in a desperate attempt to please Him so I don’t send myself to hell all because He set it up that way. That’s what happens.

    If a god actually set this mess up (so that He could have people love Him and Him them) then he is the most heinious and selfish being ever imagined.

  • http://twitter.com/johnjac johnjac

    Sorry, my odd sense of humor, made me think of the Charlie the Unicorn youtube video
    clip from: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MegT6TNm3mE

    Again, your argument rest on God being omni-everything, and YOU, little oh you, a spec of dust in the grand scheme of things (like us all) know better them him/she/it.

    IF God is omni-everything, then he would know every possible outcome from every possible choice. He could choose the best choice for the best possible outcome.

    I don’t think you, Dave or Pete, would have ability to do that.

  • Elemenope

    I have to say I’ve always been a Thomas fan. There was a Lost episode a few weeks ago that nailed perfectly how interesting a character he really was. Believed hard, and was ready to sacrifice for the cause, but grounded his belief ultimately on empirical confirmation (I need to touch the holes with my fingers, Jesus!).

    It’s worth pointing out that in the story, Jesus could have told him to buzz off, but instead invited Thomas to confirm his claims with his fingers and eyes. Jesus didn’t want no fools!

  • http://twitter.com/johnjac johnjac

    If I were totally selfish I would say that my belief requires nothing of me other then I believe (or chose God has Heather put it). Also Heather’s question isn’t posed to Muslims, but to posters on this blog (who are most likely atheist or agnostic).

    I’ll be honest I’m most likely Christian because I was luck enough to be born in the US. Why, I’m so lucky I don’t know.

    I sometimes pay the mental games, of I were somehow born elsewhere, but still manage to be the same person, would I still be a Christian. I really don’t know.

    A Muslim couldn’t ask me the same question because we both believe in our choices in this life affect our afterlife. In Heather’s question an Atheist has nothing to lose by choosing to believe. A Christian answering the question from a Muslim risks much more by putting their possible ‘Haven’ on the line.

    This is not a apologetic question to prove the existence of God, but a personal question every atheist / agnostic would do themselves a favor by asking. Again why not ask yourself the question? What do you have to lose?

  • http://twitter.com/johnjac johnjac

    That’s your choice. At lest you asked yourself the question.

  • http://twitter.com/johnjac johnjac

    Also I’m not trying to convince anyone, with Pascal’s Wager, or otherwise.

    I’m just enjoying this conversation very much. If no one is convinced by my arguments, I’m ok with that. I’ve had fun no matter what.

    Thanks Everyone for the most enjoyable day.

  • http://billpost.blogspot.com/ Bill

    “I don’t feel sinful, I feel clean. Any church that leaves you feeling sinful has failed.

    I don’t feel that God hurts me, I feel comforted by him. I if any church makes you feel like God is out to hurt you they have failed.”

    I “feel” that warm chocolate chip cookies are comforting. That doesn’t provide a basis to believe that warm chcolate chip cookies are the creator of everything.

    “Who says God hasn’t shown up?”

    I do – please prove me wrong.

    “I think there is a great deal of historical evidence for the life if Christ. Just because you can’t call George Washington to rise from the dead and stand before you at your beck and call, doesn’t mean you can’t believe that history proves him to be a real person.”

    Even if you are right, and Jesus was a historical figure (a point I’m not sold on), how does his historical existence prove his divinity?

    “If God wants us to have freewill, then he can’t fully reveal himself to us. If he did we’ve no choice but to believe.”

    Again with the free will argument. If this is true, your god is incredibly cruel. He gives man free will knowing (because he’s all knowing) that man will make choices that displease him, and then punishes man for eternity because of those choices.

  • Question-I-thority

    JohnJac, you seriously need to do some research into certainty bias and the ‘feeling of knowing’.

  • Question-I-thority

    God has given us freewill

    You have a tsunami headed your way. It’s coming from discoveries made in neuroscience.

    Beyond that, I assume that God’s supposed hiding-so-as-not-to-overwhelm-our-choice-to-love-him-or-not is consistent with His love. If so, his love is nothing like our love. When my children were born I was never tempted to run away to Fiji so they might freely love me. Same on my wedding night. Humans have the ability to modulate the power differential with each other. Why can’t God, especially when He does modulate His Presence over and over in your holy book.

  • http://twitter.com/johnjac johnjac

    I never said my feelings prove anything

    IF Jesus and the disciples was a historical figures, then Jesus was NOT resurrected then the disciples were willing to die for something they knew was a lie. Many people are willing to give up a lot for something they know is lie, but I don’t know of anyone who is willing die for something they know is a lie. That is convincing evidence for his divinity for me.

    Again you are making this argument that says an unknowing God doesn’t know best, and you do.

    If you think you know better then an all knowing God, I can’t help you.

  • http://billpost.blogspot.com/ Bill

    That’s a pretty simple argument. Assuming historical status for the disciples, it’s equally likely that they believed in the divinity of jesus without the resurrection, and were willing to die for it. (See 9/11 hijackers as examples)

    I don’t follow your argument about an “unknowing god”

    I think that an “all knowing god” would know that I need proof to believe in him, and provide it if my belief really mattered.

  • Elemenope

    Thanks Everyone for the most enjoyable day.

    You’re welcome. :)

  • http://billpost.blogspot.com/ Bill

    1. The purpose of redifining hell wasn’t to make it seem less terrible that the devils with pitchforks version? My point here is that just existing knowing I was wrong about god doesn’t strike me as bad at all absent some kind of accompanying punishment. Just going on knowing I was wrong seems fine.

    2. Ok let’s try this again. God creates man knowing he will make choices that displease him – man makes those choices – god punishes man for all eternity. In what universe is that not small and cruel? I’m working this off your assumption that he is all knwoing.

    If not for punishment, then why does your god send people to hell?

    Look – god can’t try to reach me because he doesn’t exist. He can’t try to reach me any more than the smurfs can. My discussion with you strictly goes to the question of why anyone would want to worship a god that is so small and mean.

  • http://progressatallcost.blogspot.com/ markbey

    at johnjack

    …Also nothing is Heather’s question states Hell is somewhere God sends people as punishment. It suggest that you choose to live without God. And don’t say God hasn’t tried to reach you. Maybe God is trying to reach you right now through my post on this blog. ….

    mark…. you still refuse to address the fact that your god allows a lot of confusion on this planet about exactly how to live with him. should i live with him in a christian style. or muslim, hindum thor yada yada yada.

    your saying that maybe your version of how to get to heaven is the correct one but you are not the only one making that claim. on top of that you wont even tell us how to know why a muslim, christian, jew yada yada yadas personal invisible experience in knowing god is not as valid as yours.

    exactly how do you know that thor dosent expect you and all of your loved ones to believe in him. how do you know that thor wont send you and everyone you love most to hell for believing in the christian god.

  • http://billpost.blogspot.com/ Bill

    Are you just ignoring what I say. Let’s try again.

    1. No resurrection.

    2. Disciples belive in the divinity of jesus even without resurrection.

    3. disciples willing to die because of divinity of jesus.

  • http://twitter.com/johnjac johnjac

    #1 Ok I can understand why you don’t believe in the resurrection. Nothing you’ve seen in your life could even give you reason to believe someone could rise from the dead. (back to this later)

    #2 Ok what is your bias for believing this? Is your only basis for believing #2 your #1, or do you have any historical evidence for someone of the time writing they disproved Jesus’s resurrection by producing the body?

    Ok back to #1. If God exits and he wanted to prove his existence (as everyone here seems to egger to see) wouldn’t he do something so extraordinary that would be far beyond anything you are likely to see in your life time.

    If I’m putting words in your mouth, let me know.

  • http://progressatallcost.blogspot.com/ markbey

    at johnjac

    ….This answer was/is sufficient for me. I’m sure it won’t be for you. Sorry. I don’t know what else to tell you. I know I couldn’t wait until I completely 100% understood God before I took the leap of faith believe in him (history has taught me no one lives long enough to do this). So I’ve made my decision.’ …

    mark; look my friend you are the one that is living by and sharing a message that makes certain claims. these are things i have heard you and other christians saying about god and the word of god.

    god is love
    god is good
    god wants us to follow his word
    if you dont follow his word you will burn in hell forever
    the bible is deffinately gods word
    god wants us to understand his word
    we should follow gods word and try to live like jesus
    god is all knowing

    then when i ask you if this is true then why would god

    create us flawed

    ask us to live up to a standard that no man has ever lived up to or can live up then punish us for not living up to that standard

    allow thousands of other religions to exist then punish us severely and eternally if we pick the wrong religion.

    allow some countries to have laws that dictate death by beheadings to folks who would change to chrisitianity.

    allow so many different sects in christianity to have competiting claims of truth over who goes to hell and heaven.

    why the hell would he allow so many competing versions of scripture to exist in the first place if only one version of scripture will get you to heaven.

    if you cant give a reason why god is love and god is good then will you please stop claiming those things about god.

    lets be honest if anyone one of us had a supervisor like god we would hate his guts. for everything good he takes credit for it for every bad is our fault.

    but even though he made us flawed, limited and emotinal biengs god is never at fault for anything bad that happens even tsnamis.

    is thier anyone who would want to work for a supervisor like god.

  • http://twitter.com/johnjac johnjac

    The purpose wasn’t to redefine Hell as something more palatable, but to get you rethink how people end up in Hell.

    Maybe God doesn’t send people to Hell, but people, by their choices, choose to go to live without God.

    That God desires that no go to Hell, but live with him.

    For some reason God has given us freewill. Freewill means he can’t fully reveal himself to us (Faced with indisputable proof we’d be unable to dispute) Freewill also means we are free to choose to live without him.

    This is my best understanding. Why things have to work this way I don’t know.

  • http://wmute.livejournal.com wintermute

    That God desires that no go to Hell, but live with him.

    For some reason God has given us freewill. Freewill means he can’t fully reveal himself to us (Faced with indisputable proof we’d be unable to dispute)

    Moses, Adam, Abraham, Jesus, Noah, and almost everyone else mentioned in the OT were pitiable automata with no free will? Why did God treat them so poorly as to deliberately remove their free will?

    Or, to put it another way: I know my wife exists. I don’t think that obliges me to worship her as the Creator of all Things.

    Freewill also means we are free to choose to live without him.

    But, if I understand correctly, it does not mean that we are free to choose not to live. I have a choice of an eternity of tedium singing songs about how great god is, or an eternity being tortured for not wanting the first option.

    When I die, I sincerely hope that I simply cease to exist, as I am incapable of imagining any existence that would be eternally bearable*. Will your god honour that choice, or will he force me to exist despite my explicit wishes?

    *And if my emotions are tweaked, so that I don’t get bored after a hundred trillion years, then I won’t be me.

  • cello

    Yeah, God created the eternal hell so one can’t say it is only about our choices – God set up the alleged rules to begin with. There is no reason God couldn’t have created an eternal Hawaii instead of an eternal hell for anyone who didn’t want to hang out with him in heaven. There are alot of possibilities he could have went with besides eternal torment. That was all *God’s* choice.

  • Roger

    If you were born somewhere else, you’d’ve been indoctrinated into whatever religious tradition was native to your place of birth, and you’d probably speak about whatever your religion would be the way you glorify Christianity here.

    And what would I have to lose by “worshipping” an imaginary sky friend? Years of life worrying about whether or not I was making said imaginary sky friend happy because I didn’t tithe, years of life spent in some building on some arbitrary day singing hymns to its nonexistent ass, and years of life attempting to come up with ridiculous answers in silly attempts to defend its existence. If the imaginary sky friend to whom you’ve pledged your fealty is omnipotent, then it needs to get off its lazy tuchas and stop letting its human minions defend it. It needs to unequivocally reveal itself NOW.

  • http://twitter.com/johnjac johnjac

    $17 bucks seems so little to spend to find historical evidence
    http://tinyurl.com/cqef4r

    Also while is the New Testament discounted as historical evidence for the life of Christ.

    You can’t say it was written for the writers benefit. All the writers (save apostle John) died for their beliefs. John was exiled to an island.

    Few doubt the existence of Plato or Socrates despite their main historical reference being Plato’s own work stating his own world view.

  • http://twitter.com/johnjac johnjac

    Also I never said I believe in faith alone. There is evidence, but at some point faith will come into play into anyone’s world view.

  • http://twitter.com/johnjac johnjac

    I don’t fully understand God. I don’t haven’t enough time enough time in my life to wait for my understanding to grow to 100%.

    I do understand somethings about God. But my belief in him isn’t reliant on 100% understanding. That is where faith comes into play.

  • http://unreasonablefaith.com Daniel Florien

    You’re pointing to Josephus as historical evidence for Jesus? Are you serious?

    You do realize that Josephus wrote that in 94 AD, right? As in a couple GENERATIONS after Jesus died? Josephus wasn’t even BORN until after Jesus’ claimed death.

    If you’re going to come here and tell us we are wrong, you should try not to insult our intelligence with basic fallacies.

    To prove the existence of someone, you need a reliable eyewitness. You point to Josephus — which you are right, is one of the earliest non-Christian sources mentioning Jesus.

    But Josephus wasn’t an eyewitnesses. He just says there are people who believe some guy named Jesus was the messiah. Well, duh. Mark had already been written, as well as some of the Pauline letters. Josephus doesn’t really help anybody there.

    Josephus’ sentence does not constitute historical evidence for Jesus’ existence. It just means someone said that other people said people long ago said he existed.

    Now, it may be true. But it’s not good evidence. Personally I think Jesus could have existed. But if you think there is “good evidence” for it, you’ve been listening to too many Sunday School lectures and not studying enough history.

    * * *

    If you want to show evidence for Jesus’ existence — we’re not even talking about evidence for anything crazy like a virgin birth or resurrection — we’re talking about basic existence. Show us one source during Jesus’ lifetime.

    Just one.

    Hmm? Nothing?

    Isn’t it interesting that there is not even one source to corroborate his existence? All the tens of thousands of people who followed him around watching him do miracles? No Jewish records, no Roman records… no nothing.

    So where is all this evidence for Jesus’ existence?

    The best you can point to is something written 60 years after Jesus’ death? Don’t you find that a little strange that you can believe something so strongly, and yet you have no evidence for it?

    * * *

    There is a signed statement that Mormon leaders saw the golden tablets from heaven. It is in Smith’s lifetime. We know Smith existed, there is lots of contemporary evidence. We have signed statements saying they saw tablets. And yet you probably don’t believe Smith really had those tablets written in Reformed Egyptian, do you? I know I don’t. But how? It has FAR more evidence than even the existence of Jesus!

  • Elemenope

    I doubt the existence of Socrates as he is portrayed in the Platonic dialogues.

    Let’s be clear: arguing that there wasn’t some guy named Socrates in Athens is like arguing there wasn’t some guy named Jesus in Judaea, and that’s not what I mean by doubting the existence of *Socrates* or I imagine what Dave means by doubting the existence of *Jesus*.

    What is meant by their actual identities is the sum of their expressed thoughts, actions, and idiosyncratic properties that together suggest a contiguous unique personality.

    There is next-to-no evidence that there was a guy named Socrates in Athens who was half as sharp intellectually (or quite as much of a pompous annoying jerk) as the guy who had words stuffed in his mouth by Plato, as is there next-to-no evidence that there was a guy called Jesus who did any of the stuff claimed in the NT.

    The key is independent reports of things that people who weren’t involved with the events ought to have noticed and would be significant enough to write down. The Romans (and for that matter, the Greeks) were fastidious record-keepers, so it’s not like if some of this stuff was happening there wasn’t gonna be someone who would mention it at least in passing!

  • Question-I-thority

    You can’t say it was written for the writers benefit. All the writers (save apostle John) died for their beliefs. John was exiled to an island.

    Two points:

    1. This claim is certainly made all the time but again where is the historical evidence to support it? For instance, we are to assume that John of Revelation is the same as John of the Gospel but the historical and textual criticism makes this hightly improbable.

    2. People die all the time for wacky ideas. Think suicide bombers or Branch Davidians to name two. Your explainations of human motivation are unreasonably narrow.

  • http://twitter.com/johnjac johnjac

    I am lucky to be born in the US. I my religion might be different if I were born else.

    However, I do believe that there is historical evidence for the resurrection of Christ. That is why I feel my religion is the right one.

    Christianity is the only religion I know of that dares to make the claim that everyone here seems to be begging for. Christianity claims that God did revel himself to man kind.

    Now most people on this site will discount the greatest evidence for this revelation, the Bible. They seem to discount it on the silly notion that they people believe what they were writing about. Since they believe in resurrection (God reveling himself to us) they must be nuts and can’t be trusted. But what if the resurrection is true? Then the writers couldn’t win.

    Every wants God to revel himself to them, but they somehow thing they deserve a personal revelation.

  • http://wmute.livejournal.com wintermute

    Christianity is the only religion I know of that dares to make the claim that everyone here seems to be begging for. Christianity claims that God did revel himself to man kind.

    Islam, Judaism, Hinduism, Mormonism, Baha’i and Scientology all explicitly make the same claim. I think what you meant was “Christianity is the only religion I know of”.

  • http://twitter.com/johnjac johnjac

    I was aware of the dates of Josephus.

    Why is everyone so quick to discount the N.T. as complete fiction?

    To believe that Jesus didn’t exist, a good reason for the sudden rise of Christianity would be nice.

    Paul letters were written before Josephus but he learned the Christian way from someone. Paul (Saul) and Luke would have been a great position to investigate the claims of the resurrection. I can’t see why Paul would have chosen the life he had if he knew the claims to be false.

  • http://twitter.com/johnjac johnjac

    History seems to indicate that Joseph Smith had something. What that was, and was he skilled to translate it is a different issue. That is where my issue lies.

  • Question-I-thority

    Daniel, there is significant question among scholars whether Josephus even made the comment about christianity. It is quite possible the statement is a redaction added later by a believer. I have read that Josephus was considered a “leading light” up until about the 10th century so it may have been an attempt to “get him on our side”. I have also heard from a scholar that there were about 30 writings of Josephus and we have about 33 of them!!

  • http://twitter.com/johnjac johnjac

    I don’t disagree. If I were born else where I may NOT be a Christian. I’m lucky.

    If God doesn’t exist then what does it matter what you spend your life doing, live it up have fun.
    But if God does exist what you spend your life doing does matter. (you can still have fun too)

  • http://www.davewyman.com Dave

    >You either believe Jesus was a Lier, a Fool, or the Messiah. Your choice.<

    I don’t start w/ the assumption there was a Jesus, as you do. So Jesus was neither a liar, a fool, or messiah. He was a wasn’t.

  • Elemenope

    Or just ‘honestly mistaken’. Or ‘misunderstood’. Lewis never really goes into those, and for good reason: they’re devastating to his trilemma of false choice.

  • LRA

    OMG, I can’t believe you played the Liar, Loser, or Lord card.

    Standard Sunday school apologetics, but not well thought out. These aren’t the only options, you know!

  • http://avertyoureye.blogspot.com/ Teleprompter

    Or the reports of his life were exaggerated, and then new layers of myth were added to the basic biography over time.

    Nuance tends to kill false trichotomies, doesn’t it?

  • http://twitter.com/johnjac johnjac

    See my above post about Josephus, Paul and Luke. But you can chose not to believe. Like I been saying God gave us freewill.

  • http://www.davewyman.com Dave

    >If you want indisputable proof you give up freewill.<

    Therefore, by johnjac’s reasoning, the disciples gave up freewill when Jesus proved indisputably both his resurrection and godliness by appearing before them.

    But nowhere does the Xtian bible claim that freewill and proof of god’s existence are incompatible – only in johnjac’s mind.

  • http://twitter.com/johnjac johnjac

    I never said the resurrected Christ was indisputable. I bet if someone showed up to your doorstep claiming to be the resurrected Christ, you would find a reason not to believe.

    The disciples had many options not to believe
    What I can think of quickly 1) They were some how intoxicated 2) Some looks very much like Jesus

    We even have record of some people not even recognizing Jesus.

    indisputable means without any dispute.

  • Elemenope

    I bet if someone showed up to your doorstep claiming to be the resurrected Christ, you would find a reason not to believe.

    Standards are rarely absolute, since humans are keenly aware of our own sensory fallibility and susceptibility to illusion, but are also keenly aware of the *necessity* to often make do with something far short of indisputable proof.

    As I said on a thread the other day, a few parlor tricks (of the water-to-Merlot and/or raise-a-dead-cat variety) would probably be enough for me to not seriously challenge it further, on the practical basis that it seems unlikely that anyone who was powerful enough to do that sort of stuff would take time out of their busy day to try to fool around with little ol’ me unless they were, in fact, God. If on the other hand the guy with the parlor tricks then proceeded to order me to do something against my moral nature, I’d still tell him to bugger off; believing that a God exists in no way makes a person necessarily obey such an entity.

  • http://www.davewyman.com Dave

    >I never said the resurrected Christ was indisputable. I bet if someone showed up to your doorstep claiming to be the resurrected Christ, you would find a reason not to believe.The disciples had many options not to believe
    What I can think of quickly 1) They were some how intoxicated 2) Some looks very much like Jesus

    >We even have record of some people not even recognizing Jesus.<

    Yes – the disciples – by the way, they are, like Christ, non-existent except as characters in stories – witnessed Christ’s crucifixion, witnessed his death. Therefore they HAD indisputable proof, when he appeared before them, proof that he was resurrected and was god.

    And they all believed him then. (That’s unlike me, for I didn’t see Christ, didn’t see his death or believe in his resurrection – I wasn’t there. So if someone showed up at my door claiming to be Christ, I’d know better.)

  • Elemenope

    The story in Matthew 27 (verse 51-53) is one such incident, where it describes damage to the Temple, a minor earthquake, and not a few dead people rising from the grave and walking around in plain sight of other folk.

    That’s the sort of stuff that would be hard to miss. That’s the sort of stuff that if they happen to witness it, it is not crazy to believe that *several* would write it down.

    What I mean by “independent” in this case is that you would not have to be familiar with the putative drama of Jesus or have any investment in it in order to find these events (Temple damage, earthquake, dead people trotting around) sufficiently interesting enough to note.

  • Question-I-thority

    As well as being honestly mistaken, Jesus could have been “honestly lying” in the political sense or even in a personal selfish and deceitful sense (think about all the Elmer Gantry and Joseph Smith types or the culture warriors or the pastor who has to suppress his exploration of critical biblical issues). He could have had a mental illness as well. There are a number of ways to appear foolish. C.S. Lewis (and the others who use this argument as I did when I was a christian) are setting up three artifical catagories and claiming that his divinity is the most likely explaination so it must be, can only be, without considering probability (let alone the underlying assumption that their choice is most likely) The Truth.

    And then, finally, as others have pointed out we really cannot adjuticate with any authority in what ways the historical Jesus resembled the Jesus of the Bible or if he even exited at all.

  • http://twitter.com/johnjac johnjac

    I would think that when is first attempt at preforming a miracle and that miracle failed, a sane person would stop believing at that point. But that is just me.

    We’ll consider that hair split then. And this being disputable evidence for you. Good news is this is another example of your freewill. Bad new is, as the Grail Knight says in Indiana Jones ” you chose poorly”

    When I come across someone claiming to be the Messiah, I’ll make sure they get the medical help they need.

    (I hope my dry humor comes across in text form, I’m not meaning to offend)

  • Question-I-thority

    I can’t see why Paul would have chosen the life he had if he knew the claims to be false.

    Do you really think it is unusual that a young man with much training but possibly little prospects might jump on a new bandwagon and then have to face up to that decision as the years go by? Is this not a trope of of the human condition? Once someone makes a radical decision it is not hard at all to see how he/she has to suppress doubt and ‘go for it’. And people make radical decisions all the time for a host of conscious and unconsious ‘reasons’, just ask Tom Cruise. It is my experience that some people (maybe even most people) will do anything to defend their life choices even when the choices were unreasonable, duplicious uninformed or silly.

  • http://unreasonablefaith.com Daniel Florien

    I think you need to learn about other religions. Every religion has these kinds of claims. People die for their beliefs. There are claims of the supernatural. It takes off for no apparent reason. Etc.

    These are traits of most religious mass movements — and if you remove the supernatural part, all mass movements.

    Also nobody is discounting the entire NT as complete fiction. But if you knew the history of the gospels, you shouldn’t trust them either. They were written LONG after Jesus death. They were not written by eyewitnesses.

    Do you trust the Koran when it says Muhammad ascended into heaven? Why would Muslims be so wiling to die for those beliefs even soon after it supposedly happened? If you don’t believe the Koran, which we have more evidence for, why believe the Bible?

  • Elemenope

    I’m not meaning to offend

    It’s pretty hard to offend me, so don’t worry about that. :)

    When I come across someone claiming to be the Messiah, I’ll make sure they get the medical help they need.

    I think it was Dostoyevsky who pointed out that if Jesus (in all his savioriffic goodness) were to appear today, *Christians* much less anyone else, would not be capable of recognizing him, and would be as likely to kill him or throw him in a nutty bin.

    Hence, my relatively conservative policy is so long as he isn’t setting himself or the house on fire, a guy can believe pretty much whatever he wants about himself, and it’s not my place to judge. When the guy starts getting some serious followers who, y’know, vote and stuff, then I might take an interest in the veracity of his claims.

  • http://twitter.com/johnjac johnjac

    With all the scholars that claim Jesus never exited at all, I would think the burden of proof is now on them. They need to have a reason for the rise of Christianity that is backed up archaeology. If Jesus didn’t exist then there must be a truly amazing story as to the origins of Christianity. I would love to hear this story and see the evidence they have to back it up.

    It is difficult to deny that something ‘extra’ ordinary happened around 30 A.D. Let’s look that evidence and find out.

    Without evidence then the “Jesus never existed” claim is just another fairytale.

  • http://twitter.com/johnjac johnjac

    I’ve never claimed to be un-biased. I hope you don’t make that claim either.

  • http://ucellucciasara.wordpress.com Sara

    “Without evidence then the “Jesus never existed” claim is just another fairytale.”

    Oh, so now you need evidence to believe something. That’s a bit of a change, no?

  • http://twitter.com/johnjac johnjac

    I don’t disagree. Hey we agree on something WOOT!

  • http://twitter.com/johnjac johnjac

    No, I’ve always needed evidence to believe. It is only by evidence I’m able to sort though all the ‘fairytales’ and pick the one that is most likely to be true.

    I’m saying the Majority of historians believe that Jesus was a real person.

    If other scholars disagree, the put of the evidence. The story of a Jesus-less Christianity has to be a thrilling story that would beat any Dan Brown novel. I would love to read that story, and see that evidence.

    Everybody on this sight is hung up on the evidence of God, but some here are willing to accept that Jesus never existed on faith.

  • Elemenope

    The notion that we have free will is by no means a settled question, but assuming we do, the only way to rationalize the way things are is the path you are taking; namely, saying that things are the way they are because God values something more highly (like free choice) over the prevention of suffering. It’s Leibniz’s “this is the best of all possible worlds” argument, which is not as silly as it sounds on first glance, for certain.

    But, it really strains the bounds of credibility *because* while it is not metaphysically impossible that this is the best of all possible worlds that sustains the values that God chooses to value, it is vanishingly improbable that this is the best of all possible worlds that sustains values that *humans* could possibly care about. And if those two value sets diverge wildly, it is very unclear why it would be reasonable for humans to care what God values.

    Let’s say an alien appeared to us tomorrow, and said that it would be possible to grant every human everlasting life, but in order to do so, one unwilling person must be sacrificed. The alien may try to soothe over the moral implications by claiming that everything will work out alright in the end, but we know that it doesn’t work out for the guy who gets sacrificed! It is a bargain that we should reject, if we have moral integrity, and we should not care that the alien is offering something truly valuable, nor should we care that everything works out for everyone else in the end *even if that turns out to be provably true*. Because the benefits, no matter how sweet, or the goal, no matter how guaranteed, cannot justify murder.

    Any deity who is willing to make that moral abrogation by creating a universe in which many have to suffer and die, on the basis that it will all work out in the end, is not a deity fit to be worshiped *even if everything He claims is true*, because what he values justifies murder and we cannot do the same; it is fundamentally incompatible with a sane human value structure.

  • Sunny Day

    “If freewill is important to God, for what ever his reasons are, then he must not give us indisputable evidence. Doing so would remove freewill.”

    Wow, you know what god wants, and just when you needed god to be weak, it is, funny how that works out.

  • cello

    I am unclear – is this argument specifically looking at the Christian god and its concept of vicarious atonement or is it a broader argument for any and all gods?

    If God valued free will and free will only (free will of both nature and man) and required nothing in return for it would this not meet the requirement of “best of all possible worlds”?

  • http://twitter.com/johnjac johnjac

    You are making a lot of moral judgments in your argument. I ask you where do you get your morals? Or where do morals at all come from?

    How do we know anything is good or bad? How do we know murder is wrong?

    You are setting up moral judgments then holding a image of God up to that standard? Why do you get to choose the moral standard?

  • Elemenope

    Nah, I don’t get hung up on the whole “gospels don’t agree!!!” thing. It by itself wouldn’t be a deal-breaker, though it does present some other problems (like the claim of spiritual authorship).

    No, for me it is that even if these were mostly reliable accounts, they are at *best* second-hand (and most scholarship indicates that if they are reports of anything that actually happened, they are at best third-hand).

    That just doesn’t meet my (even fairly low) standards for “message whose content determines the most important existential choice in my life”.

  • cello

    This isn’t exactly what I meant but I suppose it’s close. Something could feel real for the individual expressing those feelings but it not be true. For you, if a Muslim said he was certain the Quran was true, that he believed it in his heart – I bet you could identify with those feelings of believing in something – but you wouldn’t actually believe the Quran was true.

  • http://unreasonablefaith.com Daniel Florien

    1) Where does Luke say he interviewed eyewitnesses? As far as I know, he makes no such claim. He is merely a compiler. I could have overlooked that, though, so if he explicitly states this please let me know.

    2) If you lean on Paul and his letters, how come he knows NOTHING about the life of Jesus, other than his death & resurrection?

    3) You say “a lot of evidence points to real Jesus.” You still haven’t given us any of this supposed evidence yet. What’s the earliest reference to Jesus from even biased sources? As far as I know, that would be Paul, who I think pretty much created Christianity, at ~50AD.

    So am I right to say your best evidence of Jesus existence is the fanatic Paul writing around 50AD, who was not an eyewitness?

  • Elemenope

    You are setting up moral judgments then holding a image of God up to that standard? Why do you get to choose the moral standard?

    Well, I don’t, but let me put it another way. It *seems* like all reasonable moral structures that humans can get behind have to include a prohibition against murder, especially when such a murder is motivated by a consequentialist trade-off. If someone were to come up with a moral structure where that was not true but still generally acceptable for humans, I’d be all ears.

    The problem then of course becomes that (nearly) every religion itself incorporates such a provision *directly* into its rules. There is, IIRC, a commandment that says “thou shalt not murder”, so at least the Jews and the Christians are covered on this. It is impossible to reconcile a human morality, one putatively suggested by God, no less, that is compatible with a Godly “best of all possible worlds because it works out in the end” value structure.

  • http://twitter.com/johnjac johnjac

    #1 In Luke 1:1-3. He said the narrative was handed down to ‘us’ (I’m assuming us includes him) from eyewitnesses, and he carefully investigated everything from the very first.

    #2 I would say that is the most important part. And don’t mix ‘know’ with ‘didn’t write about’ So you are saying since Paul didn’t write a 5th ’2nd hand’ gospel you discredit him. Wouldn’t you discredit him if he did like you do Luke?

    #3 I’m saying SOMETHING happened ~30 A.D. And is a passable story of a Jesus and his followers.

    I’m guessing your passable story is that Paul made it all up, and died knowing knowing made it all up when he could have re-canted and lived.

    I would love to see more evidence of how Paul made it up. ~20 year of the Death of Jesus some eyewitness were still alive. Someone could have came along and disproved Paul. But we have no record of that, unless I’m missing something.

  • http://twitter.com/johnjac johnjac

    @ Elemenope.

    I could restate my argument, but I think we are getting to the point on this thread where we are about to go into circles.

    You reasoning isn’t totally unreasonable and I can understand why you feel this way. I just don’t agree.

    Thanks for the spar

  • http://unreasonablefaith.com Daniel Florien

    1) You are right, Luke does mention eyewitnesses. Though he says “just as those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses…” which seems to me he is referring that there were eyewitnesses, not that he interviewed them. But I can see why you would think that, and it could be so. He doesn’t give specifics.

    2) Why wouldn’t Paul write anything about the life of Jesus if he knew about it? I suppose he could have just not mentioned it, but it seems unlikely to me.

    3) I’m not saying Paul made it ALL up. Some scholars do think that, but I’m not really convinced. That’s why I believe that a rabbi did exist and had some followers. I don’t think he did anything supernatural any more than I think Muhammad or Joseph Smith did, but the story of early Christianity makes more sense to me with a real person. But I realize he may have not existed at all and it’s not something I’d argue too much about.

    If you want to look at someone who “disproves” Paul see the Jews. Supposedly this all happened right there with thousands of eyewitnesses, yet they say it didn’t happen. The fact that there is nobody during Jesus time that says he existed much less did anything amazing, and we can find NOTHING until decades after he died seems to me that the Historical Jesus wasn’t all that amazing, but what his follows made him into was amazing.

    But as you probably know, it is impossible to disprove something. I can claim that 60 years ago, my Uncle was God incarnate and did miracles and rose from the grave, talked to hundreds of people, and ascended into heaven. It would be impossible to prove me wrong.

  • http://wmute.livejournal.com wintermute

    I just don’t want to live in Eternity with out love

    And I just don’t want to live in eternity. Apparently, your god won’t let me freely make that choice though. Why does he care so little about what I want?

  • http://wmute.livejournal.com wintermute

    Well, most of them (Judaism, Christianity, Islam and Baha’i) all use the same stories of the Old Testament. If Christianity is “special” because it makes these unique claims, then so are the others.

    Hinduism makes many claims of the gods living amongst men: Look at Rama, for example.

    Scientology claims that Xenu brought the alien criminals that would become our souls to Earth in a fleet of space-going DC-8′s.

  • http://twitter.com/johnjac johnjac

    It is a shame the Jews didn’t write down what their proof against the resurrection was. Poor us.

    I do understand you can’t 100% disprove anything. I just saying that you have a great conspiracy theory going here on the cover up of who the real Jesus is.

    Like all conspiracy theories they are hard to disprove to the believers of the theory. I can’t convince some people we really landed on the moon. Why? Because there is always someone powerful enough in their mind to cover up the truth. Then every truth becomes a cover up that proves their belief.

    But I’m sure you feel the same about me.

  • http://twitter.com/johnjac johnjac

    He doesn’t care as much about your wants as He cares about your needs, like any good parent.

  • http://twitter.com/johnjac johnjac

    I’m researching Rama Rajya per wikipedia
    “Beyond the Ramayana, the eleven thousand years of Rama’s rule over the earth represent to millions of modern Indians a time and age when God as a man ruled the world. There was perfect justice and freedom, peace and prosperity.”

    Interesting….

  • http://wmute.livejournal.com wintermute

    It is a shame the Jews didn’t write down what their proof against the resurrection was. Poor us.

    Really? You think it’s odd that we don’t have any documents that say “no-one was raised from the dead today”?

    If the resurrection didn’t happen, then why would anyone bother to make note of the fact?

    On the other hand, if it did happen, why did no-one mention it until a quarter-century later? Why did none of the Greek or Roman chroniclers who wrote about a dozen other miracle workers in the area at the time ever note that someone had come back from the dead? Or even that people claimed that someone came back from the dead? Far more trivial claims were routinely recorded; why not this massive, astounding, awe-inspiring claim?

    And why is the story of Jesus’ life so similar to that of other godmen popular in the area? Why did Justin Martyr, in the 2nd Century, feel the need to claim that these earlier stories had been planted by the devil in advance so as to think that Jesus was no different from Mithras, Attis or Osiris? It makes sense if Jesus was simply the same stories re-framed in Judaic terms, but I have problems understanding why this should be the case if Jesus really did do all the things the earlier characters are merely claimed to have done…

  • http://unreasonablefaith.com Daniel Florien

    They don’t need proof AGAINST the resurrection. There needs to be proof FOR it.

    Supposedly Jesus was walking around. That’s damn good evidence. Unfortunately, if it was true, nobody wrote anything about it until long after. So we have no way of knowing.

    But it’s a very extraordinary claim — and it doesn’t have decent evidence, much less the extraordinary evidence it would take for me to believe it.

    Honestly, I’m surprised you are so ready to believe something with so little evidence. Especially since you reject so many religions that have better evidence.

    To me that shows its about culture, experience, and emotions — not evidence.

  • cello

    Not according to what you wrote earlier. If he only cared about our needs, free will wouldn’t be part of the equation. Free will is all about our wants, not our needs – if we indeed need God. God lets us reject him according to our wants.

  • http://wmute.livejournal.com wintermute

    Then why is there starvation and disease? If god is so concerned with what we need that he’s willing to override free will for it, why can’t he ensure that everyone has all the food they need?

    And, seriously, if after a hundred trillion years I’m bouncing-off-the-walls insane with boredom (because, really, eternity is a long time), what does it mean to say I need to keep on existing against my own better judgement?

  • http://twitter.com/johnjac johnjac

    Would you rather live in a illogical world where indisputable = disputable some how?

  • http://unreasonablefaith.com Daniel Florien

    I think you’ll find johnjac’s god thinks just like he does. ;)

  • http://wmute.livejournal.com wintermute

    Having indisputable evidence of a thing does not remove my free will. I have indisputable evidence of the chair that I am sitting in. How does that make me less free than if I wasn’t sure it was really there?

    True, I wouldn’t be free to not believe that god existed, but I’d still be free to choose to worship him; in fact, I’d be able to make a properly informed decision about whether or not I wanted to do so. This knowledge would increase my free will with regards to whether or not I chose to become a Christian.

    As it stands, how can I choose whether or not I want to spend eternity with someone I’ve never met. What if I change my mind after the first day?

  • http://wmute.livejournal.com wintermute

    Why did the Jew and Roman’s need proof? Because they had an uprising on their hands. A new religion that challenged all authority on earth.

    An uprising that no Roman or Jew seems to have been worth mentioning. The earliest the Romans seem to have noticed Christianity was in 115AD, at which point producing a body wouldn’t have done much good.

    Do you believe Alexander the Great was real? His earliest bio was written 400 years after his death. Do you think the Greeks were able to keep most of the facts straight for 400 years before witting it down? I think a few Jews could keep their facts together for 20~70 years.

    His earliest biography, yes. But not his earliest written mention. His death was written about within days of it happening. His military victories were the subject of dozens of letters and documents during his lifetime. We have thousands of coins bearing his name and face. True, it took hundreds of years for anyone to collate all this information into a single work, but it’s disingenuous to suggest that this is the earliest record of his life.

  • vorjack

    Alright, now you’re getting into my field.

    “The life of Jesus is the most documented life of time. ”

    Um, no. We’ve got far more about various famous Roman and Greek figures than we do about Jesus. Many of these also have the advantage of coming from various named scholars like Plutarch or Thucydides with multiple works, rather than anonymous sources like the Gospels.

    Remember, the Gospels show a very narrow range of sources. Marc is predominant, with Matthew and Luke both incorporating most of his work. Given that Marc is the oldest Gospel, we really have only one source for our investigations.

    “Because a people group with an oral tradition to 20 or so years to start writing it on paper isn’t all that surprising.”

    The only person to write about Jesus within 20 years of his crucifixion (taking as a given that this happen ~30 AD) is Paul, who seems as acknowledge that he knows Jesus only through revelation. He also seems unconcerned about the historical Jesus, quoting him only twice, both of which could have come through revelation.

    Marc is most likely writing around the time of the first Jewish revolt, around 70 AD. Even then, it’s questionable how much of this is history and how much is literature.

    “All the power of the Jews and the Romans, couldn’t write down on bit of contradictory evidence to put down this rebellion?”

    Well, there’s the Jewish tradition that Jesus’s body was moved by the gardener so that his followers wouldn’t trample the cabbages, and the followers took this as a sign that he’d been bodily resurrected.

    The rebuttal? A finger-wagging from Tertullian, “You’ll regret saying that when Jesus comes back.” Sheesh.

  • http://twitter.com/johnjac johnjac

    I’m going to assume an all-knowing God, would know why you need freewill.

    I have my theories, but they are just that theories.

  • cello

    Isn’t it pretty basic Christian theology that God gave us freewill so we could choose if we want to worship God or not? People always argue the “god doesn’t want robots” rule. Yet freewill with strings (hell) is no gift. That’s why Christians themselves end up arguing in circles over it.

    Anyway, free will just contradicts your statement about God caring about our needs more than our wants. According to Christian theology, God mostly cares about our want.

  • http://twitter.com/johnjac johnjac

    You are assuming you know better then an all-knowing that. It was that argument that brought me to the blog post in the first place. You can search for my name to see the different times I answered that question.

    Elemenope had the best argument eventually. And I think we’ve agreed to disagree.

    I don’t know why you need to live eternally. I have my theories, but I won’t share them unless you ask, because they are just guesses.

  • Question-I-thority

    And it gets even worse as we are not just expected to generally believe the accounters, but to believe the accounters have, without exception, the exact words and actions of Jesus and those around him and have such without any embellishment, recasting or reduction.

  • http://twitter.com/johnjac johnjac

    Understood on the Alexander issue.

    Keep in mind he (almost literally) teared through the known world to him, leaving his mark behind everywhere.

    Jesus never left Palestine. Harder to leave is mark the way Alexander did. Given how little physical impact he had on the world it is amazing that any information at all on the rabbi and his rag-tag group of fishermen and tax collectors. Much less we have wittings about him with 20 years and 4 full biographies within 100.

    The point of the Alexander reference that if a bio 400 years old can be correct, surely a bio 100 years old can’t be totally discounted.

  • http://twitter.com/johnjac johnjac

    God did that through Elijah’s strong faith, not the lack of faith prophets of Baal.

    Sadly my faith is that strong.

    Also are you asking for indisputable proof? If so see my comments above.

  • cello

    Well, there’s the Jewish tradition that Jesus’s body was moved by the gardener so that his followers wouldn’t trample the cabbages, and the followers took this as a sign that he’d been bodily resurrected.

    The rebuttal? A finger-wagging from Tertullian, “You’ll regret saying that when Jesus comes back.” Sheesh.

    Heh. I’ve never heard that before.

  • http://twitter.com/johnjac johnjac

    “We’ve got far more about various famous Roman and Greek figures than we do about Jesus”

    Example please?

    Do you have period sources that contradict Paul’s claims? Paul was making a ruckus in synagogues all over. Surely someone would have wrote something to say “HEY everyone, this is why Paul is wrong”

    What is the oldest source for the Jewish tradition of the gardener?

  • Roger

    I’ve read your comments. If you cannot provide indisputable proof of the existence of your deity, I am forced to conclude that it doesn’t exist. As I’m sure you’ve read many, many times, extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof.

    Further, what you’re saying is that your deity can only manifest itself through someone’s “strong faith”? To put it crudely, that’s retarded nonsense. What you’ve just done is limited your deity (which is supposedly not bound by the limitations of this universe and certainly not bound by the limitations of your “faith”) and have made its abiltity to do something contingent upon human action. So now, your god’s not omnipotent. You can’t have your theological cake and eat it too.

  • cello

    Well different strokes and all that….anyway thanks for keeping it civil johnjac. I know it’s hard to do that while addressing the many comments coming at you.

    :-)

  • http://twitter.com/johnjac johnjac

    Uh, I think you are confusing what God can do and he chooses to do.

    An omnipotent God doesn’t do everything because he can. An omnipotent God does what he wills.

    God often chooses to work through the faithful. That is his prerogative.

    God sometimes choses to work though the faithless. God. The Egyptian Pharaohs gave Joseph a high command. God gave Dreams to the Babylonian king dreams for Daniel to interrupt.

  • http://twitter.com/johnjac johnjac

    I’m really enjoying this. Thanks for the comments.

  • Roger

    Nice dodge, but it’s not an answer. What that is is a bunch of typical theistic mental gymnastics. Basically, I’m saying “put up or shut up”–either provide indisputable, incontrovertible evidence of the existence of your deity, or cease this pedantic spiritbabble.

  • http://billpost.blogspot.com/ Bill

    “An omnipotent God doesn’t do everything because he can. An omnipotent God does what he wills.”

    And if his “will” appears cruel and sadistic (disease, disaster, war) the problem lies with our perception, not with his actions?

    Now I get it, we are all god’s abused wives!

  • http://wmute.livejournal.com wintermute

    Jesus never left Palestine. Harder to leave is mark the way Alexander did. Given how little physical impact he had on the world it is amazing that any information at all on the rabbi and his rag-tag group of fishermen and tax collectors. Much less we have wittings about him with 20 years and 4 full biographies within 100.

    But you were just saying that he caused uprisings and riots that meant the Romans had a vested interest in proving that he was really dead. If no-one bothered to write that down, you have no reason to believe that it happened, and no reason to cite it as a reason for the Romans to write about how he was a fake?

    So, which was it? He caused major upset in Roman-ruled Judea, or no-one noticed his passing?

    The point of the Alexander reference that if a bio 400 years old can be correct, surely a bio 100 years old can’t be totally discounted.

    In either case, how can we know if its correct, if we don’t have contemporary records to compare it to? If all we had about Alexander was one 400-years-later biography, everyone would assume he was mere myth. But because we have so much supporting evidence from people who actually met and spoke to him, not to mention artefacts with his image on them, we can compare his biography to the historical record, and decide how accurate it is. With the Gospels, we can’t do this, not least because it’s known that Matthew and Luke based their accounts primarily on Mark, so it’s hardly surprising that they would agree.

  • http://wmute.livejournal.com wintermute

    Example please?

    How about Julius Caesar?

  • vorjack

    “Surely someone would have wrote something to say “HEY everyone, this is why Paul is wrong””

    I’m not so sure they would. We know that there were many sects of Judaism around the time, but I don’t believe we find any anti-sectarian polemics. For example, the Essene faction was very hostile to the temple priests. I imagine they could have been very politically disruptive. But I’ve never seen an anti-Essene work.

    It should also be remembered that the Roman Empire at the time was a real marketplace of ideas and religions. There were dozens, maybe hundreds, of cults operating around the Mediterranean. If Paul was visiting important cities like Corinth he must have walked past any number of temples dedicated to Isis, Demeter, Mithras and so on. The diaspora Jews that he was dealing with must have been used to religious turbulence.

    Finally, there’s the problem of preservation. You ask about the date of the Jewish tradition; we don’t know. We only hear about it when Christian authors like Justin Martyr decide to mention it. The texts we have, with few exceptions, are texts that the Church has seen fit to preserve and pass on. Not surprisingly, the Church saw very little need to preserve the writings of their opponents. We’re forced to take the scholars route and try to reconstruct what others were saying.

  • http://wmute.livejournal.com wintermute

    You are assuming you know better then an all-knowing that.

    No more than you’re assuming that god knows better than me. Besides, you’re the one asserting that god holds our free will paramount. Why is it that you get what you want, but everyone else has to make do with what they need? Is your free will so much more important than mine?

    I don’t know why you need to live eternally. I have my theories, but I won’t share them unless you ask, because they are just guesses.

    Do you know that people do need to live forever?

  • http://wmute.livejournal.com wintermute

    What is the default? Invisible, intangible dragon who lives in my garage, or no dragon?

    The burden of proof is always on the one claiming that an entity exists, not that it doesn’t exist. In most cases, that burden is easy to meet (“Look! Table!”), but just because it isn’t easy to meet doesn’t let you off the hook.

  • Roger

    You are clearly unfamiliar with the rules of logic. It is not incumbent upon me to “disprove” anything. YOU make the claim for a god, YOU have to provide the proof. So again, put up, or shut up.

    Oh, but you won’t because “you’ve got to get back to your day job.” I suppose in the meantime, your omniscient, omnipresent, omnipotent deity couldn’t come in and reveal itself to the world, could it? Do an interview on CNN, Fox, CBS, NBC, ABC and Al-Jazeera at the same time, could it?

  • Sunny Day

    “Would you rather live in a illogical world where indisputable = disputable some how?”

    You are already living in the illogical world.


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