Rationalizing Away the “Canaanite Problem”

Rationalizing Away the “Canaanite Problem” October 15, 2015

Greg Koukl is a polished Christian apologist, but he admitted to feeling inadequate against the problem of evil. He called the Canaanite genocide “the skeleton in our closet I didn’t want anyone to bring up.”

But not anymore. Koukl gives his analysis of the Canaanite problem, with a thorough rebuttal to the problem of evil. He concludes, “I am no longer leery of the topic.”

Unfortunately, Koukl’s cheerful new confidence is misplaced.

Bible genocideHe begins with Dawkins’ famous line, “The God of the Old Testament is arguably the most unpleasant character in all fiction.” He notes in passing,

It seems ironic that an atheist who denies the existence of objective morality can overflow so readily with moral indignation.

And I’ll ask in passing, Where’s the difficulty? Objective morality is in your mind only. Dawkins refers to the regular kind. You think that morality is objective and that we humans can access it? Show us. I’ve seen no evidence.

Koukl then lists some of the bloodthirsty passages in the Bible: God’s command that the Hebrews “utterly destroy” the tribes they will find in Canaan (Deuteronomy 7:1–5), the command that within the tribes that must be destroyed, “you shall not leave alive anything that breathes” (Deut. 20:16–18), and the command that, for the Amalekites, Israel should “put to death men and women, children and infants” (1 Samuel 15:2–3). To see one interpretation of what that looked like, see the painting above.

Tap Dancing for the Lord

First up in Koukl’s explanation is the observation that the Bible must be understood in its context. Military narratives of the time were often exaggerated, so we can’t take God’s genocidal commands literally.

That suits me, but where does that leave the Bible as an authority? I can agree that military narratives of the time aren’t necessarily reliable history, but we also know that religious narratives of the period aren’t necessarily reliable history—consider the Greek gods, Gilgamesh, the Babylonian creation myth, and so on. If the Bible’s military narratives can’t be taken literally, why think that its supernatural narratives are more reliable?

And how does Koukl know that God couldn’t have commanded genocide? Not from the Bible—because the Bible makes clear that God did—but from his own morality. He wants to shape the Bible to fit his own morality rather than let the Bible speak for itself.

Koukl’s second point: don’t worry too much about God’s demands for genocide, because, despite what the Bible actually says, the fighting must’ve been directed only at military targets and not at families.

No, the issue isn’t how faithfully the Israelites carried out God’s commands; it’s that God himself demands genocide. That the Bible is historically unreliable is secondary to its barbaric portrait of God.

Koukl concludes:

If God did not command the utter and indiscriminate destruction of men, women, and children by Joshua’s armies, but simply authorized an appropriate cleansing military action to drive out Israel’s (and God’s) enemies—then the critic’s challenge is largely resolved.

So this was just a “cleansing military action”? Later, he calls the conquest, “an exercise of capital punishment on a national scale,” and he calls the death of children “collateral damage.” Ouch—talk about unfortunate euphemisms! No surgical strikes for this ham-fisted God. He only has the nuclear option.

Sorry—genocide is genocide. And Koukl’s own Bible selections show that God wasn’t “driving out” the inhabitants but murdering them. Pointing out that the Bible is historically untrustworthy doesn’t get you out of this bind. The issue isn’t what happened, it’s what we learn of God’s personality.

Take 2

Koukl then takes another approach: the Canaanites actually deserved to die.

God was angry. Indeed, He was furious. And with good reason. Even by ancient standards, the Canaanites were a hideously nasty bunch. Their culture was grossly immoral, decadent to its roots.

Koukl lists divination, temple prostitution, homosexuality, transvestitism, and other sins, but the worst is child sacrifice. I don’t care about a god taking offense at a “sin” that hurts no one, but we’re on the same page with the child sacrifice. His source cites evidence that thousands were killed in total.

But this rationalization runs off the tracks when we consider God’s remedy to a Canaanite culture that sacrifices children: genocide. Is the irony not obvious? God has every child killed in response to their killing a few children … and then has every other person killed for good measure.

Why does God’s palette of options include nothing more refined than would occur to a king of that time? God couldn’t teleport the Canaanites elsewhere in the world? Make their women sterile 50 years earlier? Poof them out of existence? Turn them into birds? He couldn’t create some new land so the Israelites wouldn’t need to steal someone else’s? He couldn’t drown Noah’s son Ham, the patriarch of the Canaanites, to stop the problem before it started? God is looking increasingly like a literary device added to justify the story the Jews told about themselves.

And why imagine that God is all that annoyed about child sacrifice? To teach the stiff-necked Israelites who’s boss, God said:

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

That’ll teach ’em a lesson! Child sacrifice wasn’t an inconceivable horror to God but simply a tool. At one point in the Bible story, human sacrifice by a tribe is justification for their genocide. At another point, human sacrifice is just a humiliation that God himself uses to make a point.

A Plea for Consistency

Koukl finally calls atheists hypocritical when on the one hand they object to God’s brutal sense of justice in the Bible but on the other hand would demand that God act to stop awful events today. How about some consistency, atheists—do you want God to act or not?

Actually, it’s the atheists who are the consistent ones. A “good” god would not demand genocide in the Old Testament and would actively make the modern world a better place. The Sandy Hook school killings? 9/11? The Holocaust? Making God compatible with reality means that he can only be not good, nonexistent, or unjudgeable.

Conclude with part 2.

See also “Not Even Hitler Can Help This Christian Argument.”

God, Satan, angels: these were all figments of human imagination. 
From now on I could step firmly on the ground that was under my feet 
and navigate based on my own reason and self-respect. 
My moral compass was within myself, 
not in the pages of a sacred book.
— Ayaan Hirsi Ali

(This is an update of a post that originally appeared 1/7/13.)

Image credit: WikiPaintings

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • L.Long

    IF the buyBull is gawd’s word, then accept it as such! Gawd said KILL ALL because they were evil. But what is evil? Well not bowing to that specific gawd is what that gawd considers evil so KILL THEM ALL, except for young girls for sex slaves cuz ya know that’s OK.
    But I don’t even think that happened! It is a fairy tale to make a minor tribe of gawd-bots feel good. Once you show, as many have, that it is fairy tales then it comes down to just ineffective bigotry…I don’t like them cuz…

    • Supporting the Bible while being a civilized person in the West in the 21st century is a broad gap to span. I wish Christians would see that.

  • Jack Baynes

    Even if God didn’t really demand the death of all the Canaanites, and he really only ordered them driven out of their land, how is THAT justified?

    • Cuz they were really mean!

      • anne marie hovgaard

        And we want their stuff and daddy loves us best so there!

  • Charleigh Kimber

    You have no idea how happy I am just to see someone point out that “objective morality” doesn’t exist in the first place. It’s merely begging the question when they claim it, a demand that theism be automatically placed at a higher moral level before debate even occurs.

    • I’ve written many posts about it, and I never cease to marvel that the impassioned argument for objective morality never has any evidence that it actually (1) exists and (2) is reliably accessible by we humans. So what good is it?

      • Rudy R

        Has anyone ever actually tried to answer your question in how they reliably access objective morality? For me, that’s a slam dunk refutation to objective morality. Why weren’t people accessing this morality when slavery, genocide, rape, human sacrifice, etc. were universally accepted?

        • Commenters have claimed objective morality, and I’m quick to push them on it, demanding evidence. They always come back with universally agreed to examples of bad morals, not universal examples–“torturing for fun,” etc.

          And even if we accept that objective morality exists “out there” somewhere, who cares if we can’t reliably access it? And then your examples–slavery, rape, etc.–become relevant. Better: use modern examples of moral conundrums like abortion or euthanasia or SSM. Show me a resolution to the abortion issue that is (1) objectively true and (2) universally accessible. With that, they’d cut the Gordian Knot, but of course they don’t. Abortion remains difficult, with the country split.

          I don’t know if they’re too stupid to not get it or too dishonest to admit that their “objective morality” either doesn’t exist or is pointless.

          I’ve seen nothing more clever from the professional apologists.

        • MNb

          “They always come back with …..”
          For a while I have considered objective morals a la Daniel Fincke, but this is what me made reject it.

        • Unfortunately, “objective” is a fuzzy word and, depending on how you define it, objective morality might obviously exist or not. A clear definition up front is an unpleasant but necessary chore.

      • Otto

        Or (3) is actually moral.

      • Giauz Ragnarock

        Also, no god claims anything, so how are we supposed to know if a god would even think of morality as objective?

        • It would be an interesting experiment to take a Christian’s top 30 (say) beliefs about Christianity and then find the grounding for each belief. Some are clearly and unambiguously stated in the Bible, some are stated in the Bible (but other verses contradict that), and some are just tradition.

        • Giauz Ragnarock

          I don’t hear any god endorsing anything including religions and their texts. Instead Christianity and other religions say fuck the lack of any god’s opinions and listen to only we humans and the stuff we can write in books.

        • Giauz Ragnarock

          What I mean to say is that none of that matters if no god claims a religious book is accurate in depicting them. The only thing important in the Bible is that it gives no indication that said being is unavailable, dead or otherwise, so it should be able to say some things about the claims of the Bible and believers. Without the god, there’s just people demanding authority, no god needed contrary to their claims of everyone needing god.

        • TheNuszAbides

          top 30 (say) beliefs about Christianity

          i’d be fascinated to discover just how many discrete beliefs the ‘average’ Christian (or theist of any stripe) holds, or at least brings to mind within a typical year. not sure how one would go about it, even supposing a cooperative setting: “start listing individual statements of your beliefs; don’t stop until you can’t think of any more.”

    • Dan McLeod

      It gets old being told I have no morals because I’m not a christian. The argument doesn’t even make sense, and it’s laughable how the little extra I have to go around actually goes to charity unlike the people who deem me to be some heartless heathen.

  • Ron

    The expression “You can put lipstick on a pig, but it’s still a pig” comes to mind. I’m told that Koukl is one of the top guns in apologetics. When will we finally get to see him in action?

    • My appreciation for the scope of conservative apologetics is imperfect, but he seems to be high up there. He does lots of speaking engagements, and he’s had a radio gig for 20+ years.

      If you want to hear him, his podcast is Stand to Reason. Does this answer your question?

      • Ron

        Apologies. I meant that this is second-rate fare. When will he present those mind-blowing arguments that bring skeptics to their knees for Jesus?

        • Ah, yes. That is the question.

          When I bang my head against the wall in response to their weak arguments, I remind myself that I’m not the audience. The Christians want to be patted on the head and told they backed the right horse and won’t it be swell in heaven? Koukl is quick to help out.

        • Ron

          I think they’d be able to mount a more convincing argument if they acknowledged God’s anger management issues and went forward from there. Something along the lines of “Sure God’s a real dick sometimes, but look at the beautiful sunsets and adorable babies he created for our enjoyment.”

        • TheNuszAbides

          the pearls would of course be wasted on us benighted swine. thought experiment: imagine which of the target audience only get the Really Good Stuff in private session, or how. celebrities (surely Scientology wasn’t the first to come up with this tactic)? guest pass to the ‘Light Under Bushel’ section of the Vatican library?

  • MNb

    It’s one of two things. Either the Canaanite genocide reflects the context of time and place (which is my point of view) and hence the OT god is a product of that context too or the OT reflects an eternal god with objective morals, in which that genocide has a place.

    “the Canaanites actually deserved to die.”
    Yeah, blaming the victims always works. The Holocaust was justified that way as well.

  • Dan McLeod

    A rather annoyingly and surprisingly persistent person “Jazzy” who lurks around the Friendly Atheist always defends this because ‘it was a different time’.

    It’s maddening to see people justify a genocide just because their apparent god said so.

    • Is Jazzy consistent enough to say that the whole anti-gay thing was also a product of “a different time”? If we can dismiss genocide because it’s obviously barbaric (we’re applying modern sensibilities, but never mind), then we can accept same-sex marriage without making baby Jesus cry (which is always my standard for wickedness).

      • Feral Dog

        Nope.

      • Lark62

        “Objective morality” means the cherry-picked nonsense is accomplishing its objective – letting christians feel superior.

      • Thought2Much

        “Is Jazzy consistent enough to say that the whole anti-gay thing was also a product of “a different time”?”

        HA-HA-HA-HA-HA-HA!!!!!!

        Ahem.

        No.

        • busterggi

          I’ve had diarrhea that was more consistant than her remarks.

      • BlackMamba44

        What’s tragic about her is that she thinks that business owners (i.e. the cake thing) should be able to deny/discriminate against LGBT folks based on religious beliefs and she is a black woman. You try and compare this to denying black people the right to sit at a counter and she claims that it isn’t the same thing.

        She also claims that the slavery in the bible wasn’t the same thing as the slavery that was happening in the US (and other countries) a couple of hundred years ago. Also tragic to hear from a black American (I don’t like to say African American because I’m sure most of the black people in the US were born in the US making them “Americans”).

        Oh shoot. Didn’t realize how old this article is. 🙂

        • Sounds like comparing anti-same-sex marriage laws to anti-mixed-race marriage laws. The conservatives will tell you that the comparison fails.

          As for “African American,” I try to call people what they want. “African America” makes as much sense as someone calling themselves “Irish American” (or whatever) though their ancestors have been in the US for 4 generations. The trick is that not all black people in the US are African Americans; some are just Africans (a citizen of Nigeria, say).

          Racial politics are tricky.

        • TheNuszAbides

          i remember (from when Obama-for-President buzz was relatively fresh) an exceptionally coherent statement from the commentariat [paraphrased since i’ve entirely forgotten any detail of the source]: “it’s pathetic that anyone is even questioning his authenticity as an African-American – he’s one of the few humans for whom the term is perfectly accurate.”

    • Lark62

      Must you bring up her name?

      You know what’s gonna happen now.

      • Dan McLeod

        Relax, it’s like beetle juice. Gotta say it three times!

        • Ron

          I’ll “defiantly” give that suggestion a try. 😉

    • MNb

      ‘it was a different time’.

      Yup. A different time, a different god.

    • That response is common, and funny since it’s relativist-something they decry atheists for supposedly being. In fact though, atheists who criticize this are saying it’s no excuse. Who are the relativists here?

  • smrnda

    What I can’t understand is this – saying the Canaanite genocide is just another exaggerated military conquest would almost solve the problem. Some nation fought a war, wanted to make their enemies look bad, and then wanted a big win with everybody dead. But obviously that’s not going to work since it’s going to challenge the authoritative nature of the Bible central to too many Christians. Maybe there’s also a need to make it possible for the Christian god to be okay with ‘collateral damage’ so that it’s more easy to defend in the present as well.

  • The startling thing is that the defense of the Biblical genocide of the Canaanites uses the Biblical statements as if they were historical fact. “The Canaanites were sinful. The Canaanites were sexually immoral. The Canaanites practiced child sacrifice.”

    None of that’s true. There is no historical or archeological evidence suggesting child sacrifice rituals ever happened in Canaan. The “sexual immorality” may have been sacred prostitution – but every culture practiced that at the time.

    It’s taking propaganda at its word, defending the genocide (which actually may never have happened.)

    • You do have the problem of the victor writing the history (so how reliable is it?), but I did grant the child sacrifice claim because I’ve heard that independent sources (Ugaritic texts, perhaps) confirm the claim. Perhaps others have thoughts on this.

      • Lark62

        Every culture at that time probably practiced some form of infanticide. If nothing else, deformed newborns were likely left to die. How could a nomadic society with zero medical knowledge care for a newborn with serious birth defects?

        Also, the claims of child sacrifice sound more like justification than reality. Similar to Colimbus’ claims that the natives on the islands were cannibals. The fact that he was forbidden to take slaves unless they were really really degenerate, say like cannibals, is pure coincidence.

        • busterggi

          Columbus had to convert the cannibalistic natives to worshipping a god that demands deiophagy as part of it’s ritual.

        • Taneli Huuskonen

          AFAIK, it’s “theophagy”.

        • TheNuszAbides

          but without the benefits of apotheosis. truly subversive.

    • From what I’ve read, there’s no evidence for wars with the Canaanites, period. Nor is there evidence for the Exodus. It seems that the Israelites were themselves Canaanites originally, and slowly assimilated the rest over time. Not really as dramatic of course.

  • Rudy R

    If God considered the Canaanites, et al, as sinful and immoral, why did he use humans as his surrogate to commit genocide and not do the dirty deed himself? It seems the God of Abraham was a fricken coward!

    • tsig

      They had iron chariots?

  • tsig

    So to defend the bibles authenticity he first denies it’s authenticity.

    • and then doesn’t see any problem with his situation.

      • tsig

        It does seem a bit odd to start out your justification for a bible verse by telling us that we can’t take the verse as it stands because ancient records often exaggerated.

        Why have a “Word of God” if the Word is unreliable?

  • tsig

    Will no one think of the poor soldiers forced to kill women and children, they probably had nightmares for years.

    • You’re probably aware that that’s WLC’s estimation of the worst part of the genocide. The truth is, that’s just his modern spin on the data. I imagine that the Israelite soldiers in general thought it was terrific fun.

      • Pofarmer

        Well, except they are probably just part and parcel of the Moses myth.

        • myth?

        • Dys

          Yep, myth. While there’s a debate as to whether Moses actually existed or not, there’s really no reasonable doubt that the character of Moses portrayed in the Bible has been mythologized.

          Stop pretending the Bible is an incontrovertible history book and you’ll see it too.

        • thank you for that clarification. Moses existed, but his exploits might have been exaggerated – got it.

        • Dys

          Apparently you missed the part where I said that it’s debatable whether Moses existed or not. Selective reading will do that…and it can lead to what you’d consider a sin! For instance, you just lied about what I said, since I didn’t say that Moses existed.

          I’m glad I could bring this deficiency in your comprehension skills to your attention.

        • Well, when you said the myth discussion pertained to his life, I thought the “throw away” line in your comment was that whether he existed is debatable. I know it is debatable but when you argue in the alternative that he did exist then I wanted clarification that you were now arguing that what he did was mythology.
          Regarding the debate, so I may have perspective – do you also say the existence of Joseph, the baby in the family of Jacob, whose tomb was desecrated in Israel this past week, is debatable? And if so, who is participating in this crazy debate, you and who else?

        • Dys

          Your question gives the impression that you’re not actually interested in any perspective other than the strawman you’re attempting to construct.

          There’s also a serious question as to whether the tomb is the actual tomb of the biblical figure at all. But I doubt you’re interested in that, since you basically seem to prefer confusing tradition with actuality.

          And if so, who is participating in this crazy debate, you and who else?

          Speaking of which…https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joseph_%28patriarch%29#Historicity. Looks like there are plenty of scholars who have no problem pointing out that historicity is an issue with Joseph as well. Maybe the debate isn’t anywhere near as crazy as you would like to think.

          Just a friendly note for the future – try doing a minimal amount of research before fallaciously trying to dismiss issues you don’t like out of hand via mockery. You’ll be far less likely to make stupid mistakes like you did here.

        • I’m so glad I have met someone as knowledgeable as you Dys on these questions of who existed in history and who did not. It just that where I live in the world, the United States, and especially in the north east, where there is a large jewish population, there are so many people who do not question the existence of these people at all – also I believe that you better get these debates right, because the promises associated with believing and not believing are, well, to quote, Moses – choose life or choose death. – but thank you for your guidance.

        • Dys

          I’m so glad I have met someone as knowledgeable as you Dys on these questions of who existed in history and who did not.

          Apparently you’re incapable of understanding what the word ‘debate’ means…which I would think would be a detriment to your claimed profession. I didn’t say whether Moses or Joseph existed or not. I said there was legitimate debate over their historicity. And I likewise didn’t claim to be an expert. For a supposed lawyer, your reading comprehension is abysmal.

          there are so many people who do not question the existence of these people at all

          I wouldn’t expect there would be. Of course, that’s completely irrelevant as to whether those biblical characters are historical or not, so bringing it up is pointless – the number of people who believe a thing has no impact on its veracity.

          But I suspect you knew that, and are merely trying to save face after demonstrating that you didn’t have a clue as to what you were talking about concerning Joseph, his claimed tomb, and their historicity.

          also I believe that you better get these debates right, because the promises associated with believing and not believing are, well, to quote, Moses – choose life or choose death.

          Ah yes…when you get trounced on the facts, resort to false dichotomies instead. And really, pointing out the problems with your (not really) reasoning…promises of things that can’t be verified, the fact that people don’t choose their beliefs, etc. is probably a waste of time.

          The sad part is that you basically had to run away from the claim about how crazy you wanted the debate over Joseph’s historicity to be, and wound up resorting to a pathetic version of Pascal’s Wager (which is already a weak argument to begin with).

          but thank you for your guidance.

          If only you actually heeded it, instead of jumping from one stupid argument to another…

        • Kodie

          but I suspect you knew that.

          No, he doesn’t know that. That’s his “best” argument – everyone else believes it so should you.

        • Dys

          I can hope he’s not a complete idiot, can’t I?

        • MR

          Dude, c’mon, how long have you been reading his nonsense…?

        • Kodie

          You may, but it’s not what’s true.

        • MNb

          You also can hope to win a lottery without buying a ticket …

        • Pofarmer

          Hope away. He hasn’t demonstrated any different.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Now you are just insulting complete idiot’s at this point.

        • “and wound up resorting to a pathetic version of Pascal’s Wager (which is already a weak argument to begin with).”
          You know I am just quoting Moses when, in his speech to the Israelites, he said “Today, you have a decision to make, You can either choose Life or you can choose Death,” meaning whether they would adopt the Ten Commandments as their mission statement.
          Moses was the law giver of the Jews, purportedly one who spoke to God face to face, Pascal was a hack.

        • Dys

          Why do you continue to make completely irrelevant points? It doesn’t matter if you’re quoting Moses or not, the fact remains that it’s the same thing as Pascal’s Wager, and suffers from the same issues.

          Your attempt at a point goes beyond whether Moses was a historical person, it goes to whether the stories presented in the bible are likewise historically accurate. And the stories themselves aren’t adequate to support that idea.

        • “It doesn’t matter if you’re quoting Moses or not, the fact remains that it’s the same thing as Pascal’s Wager, and suffers from the same issues.”
          Dys, please correct if I am wrong, but the “wager” to which you refer was Pascal’s way of saying – see, Christians try to scare you into agreeing with them. What I am saying is that in Moses’ do this or do that option, the Israelites really would suffer a physical death – it has been proven, that all the dietary rules handed down to Moses from God, preserved them for all these many generations – go Boars Head!

        • Dys

          *Sigh*…the way you were using the quote originally was to set up a version of Pascal’s Wager. Now you’re apparently backtracking from that and insisting you really meant something else, even though it has nothing to do with what we were talking about, nor does it fit the context.

          Just stop digging the hole…it’s over.

        • Kodie

          This is why you’re a fake lawyer. You don’t recognize such an easy fallacy, and you fall for it too. Who cares if Moses lived? A lot of people are alive now and lived in the past, and you think a characterization in a storybook is a valid argument, because imaginary ultimatum.

          In your “quest” for truth, as a “lawyer,” this means you think the 12th juror should just cave in because the other 11 “do not question.” You aren’t in a courtroom to seek the truth, you are reviewing each lawyer for which one puts on the best show, like Dancing with the Stars or some fucking bullshit. The law as you describe it via analogy with your assessment of the bible is a fucking circus and you’re not a lawyer, you’re a clown.

        • Pofarmer

          Pascal’s wager again? Really?

        • Dys

          And when he realized it, he called Pascal a hack (which is a tad unfair, but Greg doesn’t really read up much before forming his opinions).

          Then he went on a bizarre tangent concerning what Moses was talking about with the quote, even though Greg was clearly re-purposing it to make Pascal’s Wager.

          It was all sorts of fun watching Greg dance around trying to avoid admitting he was making a shit argument.

        • Pofarmer

          I haven’t seen Greg make a good argument yet.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Greg, you have shown here in recent months that everyone on this site knows more than you do in just about everything discussed, including me and I’m the first to admit I don’t know an awful lot.

          You comment off the cuff and make a complete arse of yourself in doing so. Worse than that, when your failings are pointed out, you set about digging the hole your in so deep that ya can’t get out.

          You depend on a very poor “smoke and mirrors” act in your attempts to deflect the conversation tangentially when someone points out how much actual bollocks you are spewing.

          Finally, you are thee classic example of Dunning-Kruger. You really believe you are smarter than you manage, or are able, to demonstrate.

          You should submit yourself for scientific experiment. There is a whole career’s worth of scholarly papers to be extracted from your psychosis.

        • Not “Lawyer” Greg! He is always humble and considers every man his teacher.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Ya forgot yer tag.

        • I figured that with this crowd, it would be unnecessary.

          But perhaps Greg interpreted it as a compliment.

        • Ignorant Amos

          That’s the problem…this crowd seen it a mile off, but Greg will only end up quoting you at a later date as support.

          Of course, even if ya broke it down for him, he still wouldn’t get it.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Who said?….

          Surveys of ancient settlements–pottery remains and so forth–make it clear that there simply was no great influx of people around the time of the Exodus (given variously as between 1500-1200 BCE). Therefore, not the wandering, but the arrival alerts us to the fact that the biblical Exodus is not a literal depiction. In Israel at that time, there was no sudden change in the kind or the volume of pottery being made. (If people suddenly arrived after hundreds of years in Egypt, their cups and dishes would look very different from native Canaanites’.) There was no population explosion. Most archeologists conclude that the Israelites lived largely in Canaan over generations, instead of leaving and then immigrating back to Canaan. Some people tendentiously seized on my words and used them to deny that today’s Israelis have a right to their land. This is equivalent to saying, “I don’t own my house because I have lived in it forever,” rather than having moved from the next town. If the Israelites grew up among the ancient Canaanites, they have an unassailable historical claim. They have been there for longer than recorded history.

          I’ll tell you…Rabbi David Wolpe, that’s who. This one…

          David J. Wolpe (born 1958) is an author, public speaker and rabbi of Sinai Temple in Los Angeles, California. Named the most influential rabbi in America by Newsweek Magazine (2012) and one of the 50 most influential Jews in the world by the Jerusalem Post (2012), Wolpe was named one of The Forward’s 50, and one of the hundred most influential people in Los Angeles by Los Angeles Magazine. Author of seven books and a frequent television guest, Wolpe writes a weekly column in The Jewish Week.

          So when you say…

          It just that where I live in the world, the United States, and especially in the north east, where there is a large jewish population, there are so many people who do not question the existence of these people at all…

          …none of us here gives a fuck. You are a silly pants know nothing and a liar ta boot.

        • MNb

          Mokele Mbembe existed as well, but yeah, its exploits might have been exaggerated.

        • Pofarmer

          Tommy Thompson. It’s now widely accepted that Moses was a myth.

        • MNb

          Who is/was Tommy Thompson?

        • Pofarmer
        • So, your contention is that a close-knit jewish community, all decide to tell a lie to fool the world. I believe you are not only insulting the Jews but all the people who lived contemporaneous with them for being so gullible. So, yeah, you just insulted the whole world.

        • MNb

          Oh man, are you stupid. Well, I guess that an expert at self-delusion like you is not capable of recognizing that people can delude themselves.
          It’s a fact that even literate people during Antiquity were gullible. It’s a fact that people back then weren’t obsessed by separating fact from fiction like we modern people are. Apparently you are an exception – you don’t mind mixing fact and fiction either. That’s one more reason to call you a fake lawyer.
          Finally – when you insult the whole world you don’t insult anyone, simply because nobody looks bad anymore. This is why I’m happy to tell my pupils how dumb I am. Then they don’t have to be ashamed for their own dumb mistakes. I often tell how I once missed a perfect grade for a test math due to 2*3 = 5.
          But that kind of humility is wasted on you, because unchristian.

        • so you’re contention is that the “People of Antiquity” had the intelligence of 9 year olds? I mean wouldn’t they have in order to be as “gullible” as you make them out to be? Think about it – only a 9 year old would believe the myth about Santa Clause, and Moses did much, much more than Santa Clause.

        • Pofarmer

          Do you have even half an understanding of what Ancient people believed? They believed, for instance, that frogs came from mud and squirrels came from trees and flies came from rotting meat. They believed there was a dome of the heavens and that Angels carried the sun across the sky and his it behind a mountain at night. They believed that eclipses were omens and that comets and meteors were signs from God of one thing or another. They didn’t understand the world anything like most of us today.

        • adam

          ” They didn’t understand the world anything like most of us today. ”

          Although Greg and others are trying desperately to dumb down to ignorance that will allow just that.

        • MR

          I dare say Greg still believes half those things.

        • fair enough, Po, you confront my points square on the head and, in my opinion, well stated. In the comment prior, you give me the “why” the jewish community would want to perpetrate the hoax, and in this one, the “how”, they could get away with it. But, you know I have a response of my own which I offer but in a fashion as to not take away from the validity of your comments. Ok, if I was to concede there was motive to create this myth, (where there is power or wealth, there is always motive) but still your examples of what people of antiquity believed is not convincing. In the case of believing in a person that did not exist, well, number one, they might say, where is he? And, wouldn’t they indeed ask this question since this person was a person with whom they were now going to invest their lives, their family and children’s lives. And, I mean, it isn’t like their community was so immense that you could say, oh, Moses is in that tent over there, and then say no, that tent over there. You mention that there were two societies, I will grant you maybe, just maybe you could trick the other society but you couldn’t trick the whole society in which Moses inhabited. And the motive for some in the society to go along with the hoax may be plausible, but all the other people in that society? Also, the person of Moses was purported to have met so many people, covered so much territory, achieved so many feats and was credited for so many benefits wrought on the jewish people – the people hatching this plan would never have figured it would work and then finally, if you’re saying the people of antiquity were so backward, it goes against your argument when you say, oh, but this group of people, no they were smart and figured out how to pull off the biggest hoax in human history. I don’t buy it.

        • Dys

          You’ve set up a false dichotomy where Moses either had to have been real, or else a nefarious plan by tricksters to deceive the Jews. Of course you don’t buy it. But that’s not what’s being proposed.

        • A third scenario? I’m listening.

        • MR

          Not bright enough to come up with one on your own?

        • Dys

          Somehow, I highly doubt it, especially if your imagination is so paltry that you can’t come up with a perfectly reasonable one on your own. Or do you honestly believe that the creation of every myth was essentially intended as an elaborate hoax?

          Do yourself a favour and read some of Joseph Campbell’s work on mythology.

        • I must admit, I am feeling a little let down – I thought you actually had a third scenario which we could have debated. Thanks for the link to Joseph Campbell – from what I have read, I know I will find the rest of the link very interesting.

        • Dys

          I thought you actually had a third scenario which we could have debated.

          There’s more than just a third scenario…but you’re basically just doing what you always do when you say something incredibly stupid – deflect and try to change the subject. You did the same thing when you tried to play Pascal’s Wager yesterday, then you got called on it, and went off on a completely irrelevant tangent.

          I did try to ask you a question to perhaps give you some idea as to why your dichotomy is inane, but a per usual you skip things that require reflection or research.

          Myths are created for all sorts of reasons Greg – because sometimes the story is more important than whether its actually true or not. There’s scant evidence that anything like the exodus described in the bible actually happened. The historicity of a large number of characters in the bible is highly questionable. But in a religious, Jewish context, the story can tell a lesson that’s more important than its literal truth. It provides cultural touchstones that bring a sense of identity to a people.

          In short, by trying to insist that the Moses story either be literally true or a conspiracy to deceive, you’re missing the forest for the trees. You don’t understand the purpose of myth. Which is why I recommended delving into Joseph Campbell’s work. Here’s a link that goes a little further into what I mean: https://datadivine.wordpress.com/2011/02/27/science-the-4-functions-of-a-myth/

          I’ve no interest in your idiotic imitation game…watching you routinely embarrass yourself is amusing enough, although it does get a bit sad when you keep repeating the same mistakes.

        • MR

          Games are all he has. A year’s worth of games.

        • Ok, your argument that the conversation on Moses, myth or real must have a third scenario, I believe, is without merit.
          First, the fact that you can not present a third scenario is indicative that one does not exist.
          Second, your argument that many events in life run on a spectrum with one end being black, the other end being white and the area in the middle being gray, and therefore this conversation too must run on this spectrum is not true merely because you and MR desire it. My response is that not all arguments run on this spectrum, this conversation being one of them. It is merely a conversation on whether or not Moses is a myth – Pofarmer presented his best responses to my questions – as I mentioned, they are convincing to him, but not to me. If you can present another scenario that present why I should believe Moses is a myth, I am here and ready to listen, until you can provide evidence Moses was a myth, I shall believe he was real. Good night.

        • Dys

          your argument that the conversation on Moses, myth or real must have a third scenario, I believe, is without merit.

          The fact that you think that was the argument I was making is a perfect demonstration that your reading comprehension continues to be incredibly bad. As I made quite clear, you were presenting a false dichotomy, insisting that Moses had to be real or else an elaborate hoax was being perpetrated by tricksters. In other words, you attempted to characterize mythology as a scam, which is a complete misrepresentation.

          I pointed this out to you, and as I sadly predicted, you basically just ignored it because despite being relevant, it completely undermines your fallacious assertions regarding mythology. So you pretend it doesn’t exist.

          You’ve successfully ventured into ‘not even wrong’ territory.

          I shall believe he was real.

          You can believe whatever you like. I don’t know whether he was a real person or not. Neither do you. But there’s certainly insufficient evidence to support the various miracles and actions that he’s been claimed to have performed. But despite claiming to be a lawyer, I doubt you’ll let a little thing like that stop you.

        • Kodie

          Who hoaxed the ancient Greeks and Romans, or was that shit real? I don’t know why you’re so stupid, but all you have to do is think of a myth you recognize to be mythical, and then either believe whatever was said or written about it, or assert that it was totally a hoax! If you can’t think of another reason people believe false shit, you’re oblivious to reality and lacking any intelligence (but we already knew that). If you think ‘myth’ means ‘hoax’ without any evidence to back up your assertion, believing something to be true just because a lot of other fools believed it, well, we are just about (hopefully) near the bottom of your stupidity well. How do you even manage in life being as stupid as you are?

          Evolutionarily speaking, you only need to live to adulthood to procreate, and massive stupidity didn’t kill you before that. As painful as it is for the rest of us, unfortunately, stupidity as yours isn’t detrimental enough to survival.

        • MNb

          Self deception. It is a common human trait now and certainly was one back then.

        • and alive and well on this blog.

        • Dys

          Of course it is…you’re still here.

        • Me?!!! Oh, come on, Dys, just look at the last line of the Post above – “Making God compatible with reality means that he can only be not good, nonexistent, or unjudgeable.”
          It’s exactly what you were talking about with being deceptive in setting up the “only” choices –
          There are many more possible meanings; for example that we are not capable of comprehending the infinite with our finite minds – as Jack Nicholson said, “We can’t handle the truth”.
          Another words when you point at me with your one finger, there are 4 others pointing back at you!

        • Dys

          Me?!!! Oh, come on, Dys

          Yes you…I’ve been reading your comments and attempts at argument…they reek of it.

          just look at the last line of the Post above – “Making God compatible
          with reality means that he can only be not good, nonexistent, or
          unjudgeable.”

          I thought one of the tenets was that God was unjudgeable? I mean, granted, it’s obviously false, but Christians are constantly saying that nobody can judge God (while judging that he’s good). Although I agree there might be an option missing – the cliched escape hatch known as Mysterious Ways. But that’s probably contained within the ‘unjudgeable’ option.

          for example that we are not capable of comprehending the infinite with our finite minds

          This would be part and parcel of God being unjudgeable, I believe. It’s a bit of a joke, since you’re basically saying that God is incomprehensible….except for the parts you comprehend. It’s a convenient excuse to get around all those pesky contradictions and troublesome questions considering what God is supposed to be like. It’s essentially just an excuse, not a reason…a lame justification to continue relying on your presuppositions concerning God. Just assume he’s good, and make empty excuses for the stuff that doesn’t really seem to match up with that judgement. Problem solved!

          Another words when you point at me with your one finger, there are 4 others pointing back at you!

          Considering the mockery you’ve been making of your own position lately, all the fingers are pointing at you.

        • “It’s a bit of a joke,…” That’s for sure, because you are not reading the word “unjudgeable” in the context of the whole paragraph –

          “Actually, it’s the atheists who are the consistent ones. A “good” god would not demand genocide in the Old Testament and would actively make the modern world a better place. The Sandy Hook school killings? 9/11? The Holocaust? Making God compatible with reality means that he can only be not good, nonexistent, or unjudgeable”

          The author’s use of the word “unjudgeable” in this context means prevented from casting judgment on his actions – not in comprehending him, Dys, shame on you and your common tactic you use to obfuscate the truth.

          Let’s continue:
          “since you’re basically saying that God is incomprehensible….except for the parts you comprehend”
          That’s right, deary, and the concept is named Jesus. Before that God was quite mysterious, until Jesus, who revealed as much about God that could be comprehended by the human.
          Yeah, those fingers are definitely pointing in your direction.

        • Dys

          in this context means prevented from casting judgment on his actions – not in comprehending him

          Explaining things to you is like talking to a brick wall, I swear…ok, let me spell it out for you. The reason God would be unjudgeable in this context would be due to his incomprehensibility, at least according to apologists. So no, I didn’t miss the context at all. It’s just that reading comprehension isn’t your strong suit. Try to keep up.

          Dys, shame on you and your common tactic you use to obfuscate the truth.

          My common tactic is what, changing contexts? I didn’t do that, nor do I make it a habit. Methinks you’re projecting here more than a bit. Do I need to remind you of your silly Moses meandering again from the other day?

          Before that God was quite mysterious

          Except for that whole book before the rather thin by comparison NT, I suppose.

          until Jesus, who revealed as much about God that could be comprehended by the human.

          And yet Christians still routinely throw to mysterious ways to maintain their presuppositions regardless. I guess God is still pretty much just as mysterious as he ever was, regardless of your theological beliefs concerning Jesus. Must be to protect those cherished presuppositions.

          Yeah, those fingers are definitely pointing in your direction.

          Uh huh…keep telling yourself that. I hope it helps keep the embarrassment you should be feeling at bay. I eagerly await your next attempt at rationality.

        • Kodie

          Dumb people believing dumb things for dumb reasons, just like you do now!

        • MR

          Don’t let him fool you, Dys, he hasn’t been listening for the past year.

        • Ignorant Amos

          South Pacific Cargo Cult…how could people be so daft?

          I don’t buy it.

          We know Greg, but we can’t seem to be able to help you with your personal incredulity. You’ve got the mind virus of religion so bad.

          Some going though for a lawyer, even a fake one.

        • Kodie

          Adult humans are more gullible than you might realize, Greg! But that’s because you do believe in Santa CLAUS NO E.

        • MNb

          Self delusion.
          Self delusion.
          Self delusion.

          Do I have to spell out for you what self delusion means, Greg? Do I have to spell out for you that 21st Century adults are totally capable of self delusion?
          Apparently, or you wouldn’t have asked those utterly stupid questions. Because I already wrote exactly down what my contention is, stupid ignorant.

          Self delusion means believing yourself what you have made up. Nice contemporary examples of self delusion are Fleischmann and Pons on cold fusion and Benveniste on homeopathy.

          Is your content that those well educated men had the intelligence of 9 years old people, Greg? No? Then you assume they were right as well?
          No matter what you answer, you will demonstrate your utter stupidity. Good job, fake lawyer.

        • Thank you for your edification on the meaning of self delusion – but, I think I already had a handle on it, said the Catholic convinced he can actually convert one of the people on BobS’ blog.

        • Dys

          There’s also the fact that you apparently think you make good arguments.

        • not true, I believe they are great, but here is where you are really wrong, “you apparently think you make” – I do not dare take credit for them.

        • Dys

          not true, I believe they are great

          Regardless, it still supports my larger point.

          I do not dare take credit for them.

          So the questions to consider are 1) Are the arguments themselves terrible, 2) Are you terrible at presenting them, or 3) Both.

        • Oh my, I must admit, I believe you are right. I take full credit for any failures in the effectiveness of my arguments.

        • Dys

          I’m leaning towards 3 for you myself.

        • hey, no one’s perfect.

        • adam

          “hey, no one’s perfect.”

          Tell us about it:

        • adam

          “hey, no one’s perfect.”

          No shit!

        • Ignorant Amos

          Sir Arthur Conan Doyle believed in fairies Greg.

          Did he have the intellect of 9 year old?

        • adam

          “and Moses did much, much more than Santa Clause.”

          Not even close, Jesus is Santa for adults.
          And you believe in this Santa yourself

        • “This is why I’m happy to tell my pupils how dumb I am. Then they don’t have to be ashamed for their own dumb mistakes. I often tell how I once missed a perfect grade for a test math due to 2*3 = 5.”

          I understand humility, I just don’t understand this 2*3 = 5 reference.

          But, it reminds me, since it’s almost Halloween – why is 6 afraid of 7?

          7 8 9.

        • Pofarmer

          Uhm, Greg, if you actually followed some scholarship. Say, Tommy Thompson, Israel Finklestein et. Al. You would learn that the archaelogical evidence points to two socities side by side, one of which didn’t eat pork and one which did. The also apparently worshipped different dieties. The Moses myth looks to have been constructed around the time of the Babylonian exile to explain a creation story for the Israelites and give them a glorious past. Much like the mythical history of the Spartans, or Romlus and Rome, or whatever in Antiquity. It’s probably only later readers who took it literally. This is also good evidence that the same folks who made up Noah, and Moses, and Job, would also make up the charachter of Jesus.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Imagine. Who’d be so gullible?

          Like a 600 year old man built a big boat so he and his three sons, c/w their women folk, would survive for 6 months and could load a lot of animals on board, because the perfect man in the sky was going to send a world covering flood in order to wipe out his rotten mistake and in doing so, kill every living thing…but maybe not the stuff that lives under water anyway.

          How could anyone tell such an insulting fib?

          A mean, not even an eejit know fuck all lawyer would have that bare faced cheek. Would he?

        • Giauz Ragnarock

          According to god. Listen REAL hard.

        • I listened, he said don’t listen to you.

        • Giauz Ragnarock

          Then we are talking to the same god who says the Bible is a horribly scandalous myth!

        • Wait, now, I’m confused, you’re a wild-haired theist, who believes the Bible is a myth? You know what? I’m intrigued! Who are you and what exactly do you believe?

        • Giauz Ragnarock

          If we got a god talking to people, then that god is just another real person. No theism needed.

        • MNb

          That contradiction is a nice point in the Harry Potter books. The ghosts can float through walls and can’t taste food – ie they can’t interact with molecules. But they can talk – ie interact with molecules.
          The Biblical god suffers from the same problem. He is immaterial – but when he talks he is suddenly material, because sound is nothing but vibrating molecules.

        • Giauz Ragnarock

          Or our brain’s interpretation of vibrating molecules (tree falls in the woods…).

          My main point is when people talk about god in their lives, they only mention a few disparate experiences that they trump up the reputation of. There is no continuity of information passed from one person to the next as with a real person. “Jesus” only “talked” about its relationship with me but only to me and never to other people. It never talked about how it was getting along with other people in my presence either (I had to be in Church or around other believers to hear anything about that). “Jesus” never seemed to know or remember anything that was outside of me, and nothing in my mind was ever related by another believer (not only did none of us have the same “god” but none of our “gods” showed any evidence of omnicience or much personality at all).

        • Ignorant Amos

          Restraint straps are a bugger too.

          It takes me to the fair when those demons that can spin heads, cause projectile vomiting and cast priests across the room, among other ludicrous antics, nevertheless, have some difficulty with all sorts of restraints. It must be a bit of pig when a mere mortal produces a restraint or piece of string when in the presence of the Prince of Darkness, or one of his demonic sidekicks. Much more effective than some religious incantations, a crucifix, or a bottle of blessed water, for instance.

        • Ok, and you believe there is a spiritual component to the human being?

        • Giauz Ragnarock

          There is no phenomena to suggest whatever we define “spiritual” as. As Sean Carroll says in his debate with WL Craig (though concerning god not spiritual stuff in general), “It is not well defined.” (Craig was changing what he meant by god with each new talking point).

        • I’ll check out that debate, hopefully it is online somewhere, and get back to you. Thanks for the reference.

        • I’ve commented on the debate here. There’s a link to the video.

        • ty

        • Bob please provide the link to your comments on St Anselm.

        • Have I made comments on Anselm? I’ve written about his Ontological Argument here.

        • perfect, ty

        • Giauz Ragnarock

          Welcome.

        • I believe the debate did not address this question at all – whether there exists a spiritual component in the human being or within the context of the cosmos or humanity in general – consider this – your version of the cosmos is like the old computer games, Doom, Duke Nukem, where your character was alone in a world killing aliens. My version of the cosmos is like the games of today Call of Duty, Left for Dead which are connected to networks of people playing with you and against you. Which world would you rather live in?

        • Giauz Ragnarock

          The real world that has included all those videogames and has not to date had one supernatural entity speak for itself.

    • Ron

      And don’t forget the financial burden of feeding all those virgin slave girls they had to take with them.

      • TheNuszAbides

        and how their wives got all jealous, and just wouldn’t let them hear the end of it! following God’s orders is hard you guys!

    • FaithIsGlorifiedDelusion

      Billy Craig is a couple of words away from being a sympathizer of Canaanite genocide to being a Holocaust sympathizer:

      “Will no one think of the poor [S.S.] soldiers forced to kill [Jewish] women and children, they probably had nightmares for years.”

      • Which might actually be true, but no one with any conscience thinks that.

        Presumably WLC would say that the Jews didn’t deserve it, while the Canaanites did. But since God stood by in each case, I’m not sure how the celestial judgment for one is morally different from the other.

        • It’s not like most murderers don’t think God is on their side. Every German soldier there in the Nazi era wore a belt buckle emblazoned with “Gott Mit Uns”-God is with us. I imagine at least many of them believed it.

        • Kodie

          Whether or not Hitler was an actual Christian believer, isn’t it obvious he at least used Christianity as a lever to motivate people to commit atrocities? I have no doubt that Christian righteousness is a huge factor in the Holocaust, regardless of Hitler’s own actual beliefs. Those people could not tell if he was not a “true” Christian. There were so many other people and only one Hitler, how on earth do Christians think he managed to persuade them all? He should have had no success and fizzled out. Are they doing the same thing with Trump now? I’m not saying Trump will commit genocide, but let’s just try to learn from history, take a note of current events, and see how these things can bubble up with great momentum, where someone like Donald Trump, whose favorite bible verse is not from the bible, can attract support and people to mindlessly do his fucking bidding even as it most likely goes against their personal interests. Is he the leader of Christians, really? It’s only in retrospect, since I get the idea that the holocaust being what Hitler is primarily known for, the war we fought in Europe was really about land. It was relatively easy for him to get honest political support from momentum about achieving his goals, and not so much because there were people to take you to a special oven if you didn’t go with. Maybe just achieving a critical mass was enough to level the threat with everyone else, “just following orders,” but the base came from attracting through Christian righteousness.

          PBS’ NovaNext: Recovering from Hate. How an organization like the KKK attracts members (hint: it’s not about hate).

        • Hitler’s personal beliefs are hard to parse, as we have many conflicting accounts. The majority indicate he believed in a god at least, whether or not he was Christian. Regardless, as you say he certainly used Christianity, and set up his own “German Christian” movement. I read just recently how the majority of SS guards at Auschwitz identified as Catholic or Protestant, with a small number “believers in God” (deist, it seems). None identified as atheists, and in fact the SS forbid atheist members. This is quite telling for those trying to link the Nazis with atheism.

          People should not be surprised that in a country where you cannot be elected without being Christian almost everywhere, a hack like Trump will claim to be without much credibility. This is the same result that happened in the old days, when people were required to swear that they were believers in the established church-the unprincipled were happy to, and the principled refused. So you got people who happily lied in the government, while those honest enough to refuse that were kept out. Great result.

          Yes, it’s also about love. Insidious as this seems, that extreme love justified killing people to protect their people, because in their view otherwise the Jews would get them.

        • MNb

          “This is quite telling for those trying to link the Nazis with atheism.”
          Don’t take it too far though. Martin Bormann was a staunch atheist.

        • I’m not saying there were no atheist Nazis, just that the movement wasn’t atheist by definition, which some have claimed. Much the opposite, actually.

        • MNb

          I didn’t say you said so and am glad you understand the point.

        • I know you didn’t, and that’s definitely a good point to make.

        • Ignorant Amos

          The Holy See facilitated Hitler’s rise to power by ordering the only realistic opposition, The Catholic Centre Party via secret meetings with their leader, Ludwig Kaas, to capitulate and side with the Nazi’s on getting in their Enabling Act vote which gave Hitler the autonomy he craved and the rest is history as they say.

          Not to confuse the dirtbag RCC heirarchy in the Vatican with the rank and file RC German’s on the street who opposed the National Socialists to begin with.

          Into the early 1930s the German Centre Party, the German Catholic bishops, and the Catholic media had been mainly solid in their rejection of National Socialism. They denied Nazis the sacraments and church burials, and Catholic journalists excoriated National Socialism daily in Germany’s 400 Catholic newspapers. The hierarchy instructed priests to combat National Socialism at a local level whenever it attacked Christianity.

          John Cornwell, in his book, “Hitler’s Pope: The Secret History of Pius XII” makes a lot of damning assertions.

          Hitler believed that with the Centre Party members’ votes, he would get the necessary two-thirds majority. Hitler negotiated with the Centre Party’s chairman, Ludwig Kaas, a Catholic priest, finalising an agreement by 22 March. Kaas agreed to support the Act in exchange for assurances of the Centre Party’s continued existence, the protection of Catholics’ civil and religious liberties, religious schools and the retention of civil servants affiliated with the Centre Party. It has also been suggested that some members of the SPD were intimidated by the presence of the Nazi Sturmabteilung (SA) throughout the proceedings.

          Some historians, such as Klaus Scholder, have maintained that Hitler also promised to negotiate a Reichskonkordat with the Holy See, a treaty that formalised the position of the Catholic Church in Germany on a national level. Kaas was a close associate of Cardinal Pacelli, then Vatican Secretary of State (and later Pope Pius XII). Pacelli had been pursuing a German concordat as a key policy for some years but the instability of Weimar governments as well as the enmity of some parties to such a treaty rendered the project moot. The day after the Enabling Act vote, Kaas went to Rome in order to, in his own words, “investigate the possibilities for a comprehensive understanding between church and state”.

          Ludwig Kass and papal nuncio Pacelli, later Pope Pius XII, were thick as thieves.

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

        • MNb
        • I hadn’t heard that. I wonder how mainstream is this thinking among historians.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Oh it goes way before that…

          Nobiscum deus in Latin, Μεθ ημων ο Θεος (Meth imon o Theos) in Greek, С Hами Бог (S Nami Bog) in Church Slavonic, or God [is] with us in English, was a battle cry of the late Roman Empire and of the Byzantine Empire.

          The imperial Russians used it… “Съ нами Богъ!”

          And WW1 German army belt buckles had it too…

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gott_mit_uns#/media/File:WW_I_Prussian_enlisted_man%27s_belt_buckle_front.JPG

          But you are right, the Nazi’s loved it too…

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gott_mit_uns#/media/File:Coat_of_arms_of_Prussia_1933.svg

          God loves a good bit of warmongering and he doesn’t even care if he is on the wining side or not…the useless fuck.

        • I knew it was around before them. “God is on our side” has been a perennially popular slogan after all.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Yes indeed. I figured as much.

          Most sides would say something similar. So when competing football teams take a knee for prematch prayer’s for a victory, it seems like a load of wank to me. Someone ain’t winning.

      • MNb

        Your quote is not imaginary. Heinrich Himmler, Erich von dem Bach-Zelewski and Paul Blöbel (the latter during his trial at Nürnberg” have actually said so. If you like I can provide you the sources (keyword: Einsatzgruppe).

      • A lot of the SS really did get nightmares, and even killed themselves. Himmler himself talked about how they all had to put aside their sentimental feelings. It’s harder to kill people than simply hate them, and thus they started doing it with gas, distancing themselves from the actual act.

  • Lark62

    In one sense, there is a near universal morality in that members of a group are not supposed to steal from, enslave or murder other members of that group. But anyone outside the group is fair game. The OT Israelites were moral by this standard, as well as the Mafia, slave traders, christian slave owners, corporate raiders and nazis.

    By this standard, the US with illusions of Manifest Destiny glory was “moral” when it moved Native Americans to a reservation in late autumn with no food but rancid bacon and mealy flour. If 3/4 died by spring, that’s okay because they weren’t “us”. (This example relates to the Blackfeet if I remember correctly.)

    Every human culture shares this level morality.

    What matters is expanding “us” to include people with different skin tones, different languages, different nationalities and different views on god. We will not be moral until all of the earth is “us”. “My god has (is) a bigger dick than your god” will forever be a barrier to that.

    • The case of moving from this part of Montana to that part (for example) is bad enough. The Cherokee “trail of tears” move from the mountains of North Carolina to barren Oklahoma was an additional layer of insanity.

    • Diaris

      Stupid old fruit.

      • Lark62

        You got 1 out of 3. Fail.

  • busterggi

    “And how does Koukl know that God couldn’t have commanded genocide?”

    Is this the same god that drowned 99.999999999999999999999+% of all living things because he couldn’t admit he screwed up creation? The same god who had the angel of death kill all the Egyptian first born humans & animals? The same god who promises to come back and destroy all creation because he wants to remodel someday and didn’t think ahead?

    Naaaaah, that god could never condone genocide.

    • Ron

      Hey, let’s keep our terminology straight. It’s not considered genocide if a few people survive. It’s capital punishment on a national scale.

  • Otto

    Objective morality says that genocide is always wrong…except when they say it isn’t, and that is not subjective…nope…not one bit.

    “If God didn’t command the genocide…” huh? He goes on about objective morality and then subjectively pulls this out of his ass.

  • Ricky

    He pulls the Christian “age of accountability” for the death of children, a concept which can not be proved from their own Bible – its a made up concept to ease their conscience. God surely wouldn’t kill innocent children, so lets pretend he gives them a pass, even though nothing in the Bible supports such an idea.

    • primenumbers

      It also makes abortion the best thing you can do for a baby – get them straight to heaven with minimal suffering and no possibility of them rejecting Jesus at a later age and thus finding themselves in hell.

      • MNb

        Yup. That’s something I don’t get. God is omniscient, remember? And human persons get a soul at the conception, ie when sperm fertilizes an egg. Also god is totally OK with spontaneous abortion – it’s a common phenomenon. So the logical procedure is that all the deserving souls get spontaneously aborted quickly after the conception, which saves them the Vale of Tears called life. The ones who are so unfortunate to continue, like you, me and all christians around the world, apparently don’t deserve it (or we wouldn’t have made it past the first few days) and won’t got to heaven anyway.
        Hence for us the best thing to do is to live as if there is no god.
        Ain’t theology fun?

        • Kodie

          Well, imagine if abortion became the fad among the religious. Just as stupid as what they’re doing now, for Jesus.

        • Aram

          Maybe all those spontaneously aborted are the true Elect and the rest of us are fucked.

        • Ignorant Amos

          But everyone is born with sin…even though Jesus died for that sin. Hence the big hole bust to get the baby’s head splashed.

          That prick St.Augustine and his iniquitous notion of limbo thought he had it sussed for the RC flavour of the cult, but that has recently been reneged.

          Now if sin is present at the point of conception then the game really is a bogey.

          Theology is a hoot!

      • Lark62

        If a person really believed in hell, they wouldn’t have children.

        If I was told there was a 10% chance that my child would have a condition that would cause 50 years of unbearable suffering, I would get my tubes tied. There is no way I would risk bringing a child into the world to suffer.

        These loving people claim to believe that a person who doesn’t comply with some not very clear instruction will endure unbearable suffering for eternity. And they oppose abortion and birth control. They are liars or sadists. Or both.

  • The phrase “objective morality” as it is used by W.L. Craig and other apologists is a misnomer. In normal usage, defining something as objective simply means that it is judged or assessed according to an agreed-upon standard. There is nothing in the definition of “objective” that requires a “divine” standard (whatever that would be).

    An objective test is one which is graded according to clear standard – a standard created by human educators. An objective judge is one who fairly exercises the rule of law – created by humans. I have no problem with the concept of objective morality, knowing that humans are perfectly capable of creating agreed-upon standards of morality based on our own well-being. No divinity required.

    • That’s a fine definition of “objective,” though WLC defines “objective morality” as “moral values that are valid and binding whether anybody believes in them or not,” which appeals to something outside any human-created standard. That’s the definition I’ve been using because it seems most honest to what the apologists are trying to say.

      • I know. I just don’t like granting apologists the power of definition with terms as basic as “objective” and “morality”.

  • JBSchmidt

    Is there any answer Koukl could have given, other than ‘I have realized there is no god’, in which you would not have criticized him?

    Beyond that, I actually agree with what you point out about his first take. This is the problem with most Progressive Christians. They attempt to redefine the word of God so it becomes more palatable to the non-Christian world. In actuality they undercut their own position. Softening the edge of one doctrine destroys the credibility of the entire book.

    As for the take 2. Atheist attempt to implicate God as being ‘good’ using a standard they don’t actually subscribe too. Atheists expect God to fall into one of two ‘good’ camps: 1) Santa Clause. God should be giving everyone every gift they request and the lives of the people should be without pain or sorry. 2) Puppet Master. God should be forcing all people to be ‘good’, evil should be eliminated and we all exist on earth in perfect harmony.

    The Bible calls God the Father and we his children. I am going to assume you don’t use either of those two positions to parent. Why would God use them on us? Furthermore, the extent of the punishment for those who reject him is harsh and eternal. Christ is clear about that when he talks about those not getting into heaven.

    As I opened this comment, there is no answer, Biblical or otherwise that will satisfy you; except denial of God. The fact of the matter is we have a God that has been more than gracious to a planet that openly mocks him. He has shown more patience with humanity than any atheist would justify. The problem for the atheist is not that evil exists, but why hasn’t God punished more severely.

    • Dys

      You’re sorely mistaken with your interpretation of Take 2, and it seems like you’re taking the long way of using the free will defense without actually calling it that. But the fact remains that someone’s free will will get violated anyway, whether God interferes or not.

      Atheist attempt to implicate God as being ‘good’ using a standard they don’t actually subscribe too.

      Whereas theists just assert that God is good based on their personal judgements (because there’s no way around doing so). Complaining that atheists are judging God for not successfully falling into the proper ‘good’ camp is really just another attempt to use “God works in mysterious ways” as a lame escape hatch.

      Furthermore, the extent of the punishment for those who reject him is harsh and eternal.

      Hence the fact that God cannot be perfectly just and perfectly merciful. Because infinite punishment for finite transgressions is blatantly unjust.

      The fact of the matter is we have a God that has been more than gracious to a planet that openly mocks him

      No, that’s your fervent belief and personal judgement on the matter.

      The problem for the atheist is not that evil exists

      Of course that’s not a problem for the atheist.

      but why hasn’t God punished more severely.

      And this isn’t either.

      • JBSchmidt

        “Whereas theists just assert that God is good based on their personal judgements” Wrong. The words of Scripture.

        “Because infinite punishment for finite transgressions is blatantly unjust.” That is your opinion. I assume that you believe all criminals regardless of crime should be incarcerated for the least amount of time possible. Since in your world view, where there is no afterlife, the same issue exists. A lifetime punishment (infinite) is unjust for a crimes that are finite in comparison. So all lifetime sentences are unjust.

        “Hence the fact that God cannot be perfectly just and perfectly merciful. ” You must not understand how to apply either of those words. If he judges on the basis of His own promise that the faithful are saved and the unfaithful are not, it is perfectly just. The faithful are then saved by grace alone not on their own actions, which seems to be perfectly merciful.

        • adam

          “”Whereas theists just assert that God is good based on their personal judgements” Wrong. The words of Scripture.”

          Of course, you folks actually BELIEVE that EVIL is ‘good’, since you are worshiping the ‘creator of EVIL’

        • JBSchmidt

          Your memes are back. Awesome.

          If you had any understanding of the chapter 45, you would know what you have posted, in the context you wish it to be placed, is false.

        • adam

          “If you had any understanding of the chapter 45, you would know what you
          have posted, in the context you wish it to be placed, is false.”

          i DO understand and it is true.

          But being that YOU worship this creator of evil, of course you are going to TRY and justify EVIL and call it ‘good’

        • Ignorant Amos

          Who says?

        • adam

          “”Hence the fact that God cannot be perfectly just and perfectly merciful. ” You must not understand how to apply either of those words.”

          Sorry, but it is YOU who MUST NOT understand how to apply BOTH of these words.

        • Dys

          Wrong. The words of Scripture.

          No, I’m correct, because people have to judge the words of scripture as well. No matter how you try to get away from it, the fact remains that humans judge whether God is good or bad.

          That is your opinion

          Ok, so you have no concept of justice. Which makes it bizarre that you believe you’re in any way qualified to talk about it. You’ve essentially ceded the argument.

          I assume that you believe all criminals regardless of crime should be incarcerated for the least amount of time possible.

          I assume you pulled this assumption straight out of your ass?

          Since in your world view, where there is no afterlife, the same issue exists. A lifetime punishment (infinite) is unjust for a crimes that are finite in comparison. So all lifetime sentences are unjust.

          Uh, go look up what the word infinite means, and get back to me. You’re not using it properly.

          You must not understand how to apply either of those words.

          No, I actually know what the words mean, and I understand that they’re mutually exclusive. By contrast, you obviously don’t. Mercy is a suspension of justice, ergo you can’t be perfectly both.

          Go grab a dictionary and learn what words mean.

        • “Whereas theists just assert that God is good based on their personal judgements” Wrong. The words of Scripture.

          Oh, my. I do have to point this out, don’t I? “The words of scripture” are your judgements of their veracity and importance. Why your scripture but not the Bardo Thodol or the Bhagavad Gita? You have clearly made a choice here on which sources of apparent information are to be trusted.

          A lifetime punishment (infinite) is unjust for a crimes that are finite in comparison. So all lifetime sentences are unjust.

          Eh? Is a lifetime of imprisonment too much for a murderer? Seems to me like a life-long scale of justice is being generous in only imprisoning a murderer. In any event, many of us would argue for lighter sentences for many crimes and none at all for many more.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Oh, my. I do have to point this out, don’t I? “The words of scripture” are your judgements of their veracity and importance. Why your scripture but not the Bardo Thodol or the Bhagavad Gita? You have clearly made a choice here on which sources of apparent information are to be trusted.

          Well given that most Christian’s have not even read the scriptures of there own faith never mind those of other faith’s, it’s hardly surprising that they’d know fuck all about any of it.

        • Kodie

          Last I checked, lifetimes were finite, and I don’t know about how other countries do it, but no US sentence is technically infinite, although many may exceed a lifetime by far, especially if the convicted is found guilty of more than one serious crime, and the sentences are consecutive rather than simultaneous. Some states will actually off people, which is still not infinite. In states allowing capital punishment, death is a severe but finite sentence also.

        • JBSchmidt

          Kodie, I like you. Your feisty.

          I assume your world view is that there is no afterlife. You scratch out your existence on the planet then lights out. If this is the case, a lifetime prison sentence or death penalty is the equivalent of eternity. Since most crimes are finite, that is they have little to no bearing on the existence of man as a whole, a lifetime sentence or death penalty is equal, in principle, to the punishment God gives.

          That is why I assume those that feel God is wrong to punish for eternity (or the end of existence in the Christian world view), the view of lifetime imprisonment (or the end of existence in the atheist world view) must be equally as wrong.

        • Kodie

          But it’s not the equivalent of eternity. If you spend 70 years in jail and die there, your suffering, your punishment, effectively ends. You seem to think after that, there’s something else. You make a lot of assumptions based on death meaning extra life somewhere else, for eternity. I don’t like you, you’re a paranoid asshole and dishonest.

        • JBSchmidt

          Your pet names make me blush.

          “If you spend 70 years in jail and die there, your suffering, your punishment, effectively ends.”

          Why torture a prisoner for the remainder of his life? That is the equivalent. Regardless if it is 70years or eternity. You have, like God, punished that prisoner rest of his known existence.

        • Kodie

          You know, you’re not really getting this.

        • Dys

          So in JBSchmidt math, 70 years = ∞

          Your attempt at drawing an equivalence has failed spectacularly, to the point where you have to resort to extremely bad math. Your argument just doesn’t work, no matter how you try to save it. You can’t compare the finite with the infinite and pretend they’re the same.

        • The prison punishes someone for the remainder of his life, say 40 years. God tortures the same guy unmercifully for a trillion years.

          See the difference?

        • Dys

          He’s practicing making really bad false equivalences. And demonstrating that he sucks at math.

          I don’t understand why creationists insist on clinging to obviously failed arguments…well, except that they’ve all pretty much failed, so if they give up on one they’d have to give up the entire game. Maybe that’s it…

        • Barbie says, “Math is hard!”

        • Ignorant Amos

          God tortures the same guy unmercifully for a trillion years.

          Much longer than that I hear…

          “What must it be, then, to bear the manifold tortures of hell forever? Forever! For all eternity! Not for a year or an age but forever. Try to imagine the awful meaning of this. You have often seen the sand on the seashore. How fine are its tiny grains! And how many of those tiny grains go to make up the small handful which a child grasps in its play. Now imagine a mountain of that sand, a million miles high, reaching from the earth to the farthest heavens, and a million miles broad, extending to remotest space, and a million miles in thickness, and imagine such an enormous mass of countless particles of sand multiplied as often as there are leaves in the forest, drops of water in the mighty ocean, feathers on birds, scales on fish, hairs on animals, atoms in the vast expanse of air. And imagine that at the end of every million years a little bird came to that mountain and carried away in its beak a tiny grain of that sand. How many millions upon millions of centuries would pass before that bird had carried away even a square foot of that mountain, how many eons upon eons of ages before it had carried away all. Yet at the end of that immense stretch time not even one instant of eternity could be said to have ended. At the end of all those billions and trillions of years eternity would have scarcely begun. And if that mountain rose again after it had been carried all away again grain by grain, and if it so rose and sank as many times as there are stars in the sky, atoms in the air, drops of water in the sea, leaves on the trees, feathers upon birds, scales upon fish, hairs upon animals – at the end of all those innumerable risings and sinkings of that immeasurably vast mountain not even one single instant of eternity could be said to have ended; even then, at the end of such a period, after that eon of time, there mere thought of which makes our very brain reel dizzily, eternity would have scarcely begun.” ~ James Joyce

        • Yeah–that.

          I used “a trillion years” because we can get our minds around that better than “eternity.” But Joyce does a pretty good job, I must admit.

        • adam

          “Why torture a prisoner for the remainder of his life? That is the equivalent. Regardless if it is 70years or eternity.”

          ONLY in the mind of psychopath.

        • Philmonomer

          These aren’t equivalent from the perspective of the person being punished. Which is the point.

        • Ignorant Amos

          You’re a little bit thick really aren’t you?

          First of all, the two types of punishment are not equivalent whether finite or infinite, so your hypothesis is nonsense already.

          But, given that no one knows the moment of their death, someone incarcerated a day for non payment of a fine has potentially been handed an eternity sentence. See how stupid and ridiculous it sounds?

        • I assume those that feel God is wrong to punish for eternity (or the end of existence in the Christian world view), the view of lifetime imprisonment (or the end of existence in the atheist world view) must be equally as wrong.

          Eternal torture is worse than not-eternal imprisonment.

          Do you think about this stuff before you write it? I think your agenda of defending God is making you say dumb things.

          And why does God need puny little you to defend him? This reminds me of C. S. Lewis’s comment, “You don’t need to defend a Lion. You just need to let him out of his cage.” What cage? God is imprisoned and wants to tell us that he’s here, but he can’t?

        • Dys

          a lifetime sentence or death penalty is equal, in principle, to the punishment God gives

          The fact that a lifetime sentence or death penalty has an end means that, in actuality, you’re completely wrong. This is basic logic man…it’s not difficult to understand.

          Not eternal is not the same thing as eternal. It’s basically the law of noncontradiction.

        • Ron

          You’re correct. Current attitudes toward crime and punishment require some serious re-evaluation, because lifetime punishments are counterproductive to a functional society.

          See:

          Why Norway’s prison system is so successful

          Why Scandinavian Prisons Are Superior

        • Ignorant Amos

          I assume that you believe all criminals regardless of crime should be punished for the least amount of time necessary.

          FTFY.

    • MNb

      “Is there any answer Koukl could have given ….”
      I have no idea. See, it’s not my problem, it’s his.

      “Atheist attempt to implicate God as being ‘good’ using a standard they don’t actually subscribe too.”
      Wrong. I have never told you what my moral standard is, so you’re demonstrating your prejudices once again. The two “camps” you describe are strawmen – I put your god in neither. I only maintain that if your god were omni-everything he could do more than he does now.

      “The fact of the matter is we have a God”
      So you don’t know what a fact is either.

      “The problem for the atheist is not that evil exists, but why hasn’t God punished more severely.”
      The second part is utterly wrong. Assuming that there is a god the problem is why he hasn’t done more to prevent evil than he does now. Two concrete examples:

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

      Why has your god not made daddy Josef Fritzl forget to lock the door after say two weeks iso 24 frigging years? Free will doesn’t work – your god didn’t care about daughter Elisabeth’s free will either.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2011_Tōhoku_earthquake_and_tsunami

      Why didn’t your god warn the potential victims by means of a collective nightmare? That wouldn’t have violated their free will at all – rather the contrary.

      Koukl doesn’t answer these questions. You’re invited. Every single attempt to formulate a theodicy and apply it to these examples I have ever met suffer from one big problem: they are totally heartless and hence deny Jesus’ empathy for the weak and vulnerable. But perhaps you can do better?

      • JBSchmidt

        “I put your god in neither.” Movable goal posts, nice. I will safely assume that since you reject God, no answer will work.

        “I only maintain that if your god were omni-everything he could do more than he does now.” The impossible test. Good show!

        “Assuming that there is a god the problem is why he hasn’t done more to prevent evil than he does now. ” It is your standard you are using to claim what the outcome of events must be in a specific order to have a ‘good’ God. The Bible states that the goal of God is salvation. He sent his son and has promised eternity to those who believe. He never promised an end to evil, so Christian don’t expect it. In order to prove that God has contradicted his own idea of ‘good’ or isn’t omnieverything, you must prove that evil has thwarted His stated goal of bringing people to salvation.

        • adam

          ” I will safely assume that since you reject God, no answer will work.”

          No answer will work, but evidence would, I mean if you and anyone in last couple of THOUSANDS of YEARS actually had any…

        • JBSchmidt

          ‘Evidence’, cute. I am sure your standard is within the realm of possibility.

        • adam

          “‘Evidence’, cute. I am sure your standard is within the realm of possibility.”

          Of course, use the bible, it tells how its MAGIC works.

          We have the Baal fire test that the bible says demonstrates it’s ‘god’ and its’ power.

          Jesus told often how to make MAGIC work to move mountains and receive whatever you wish.

          And then you can drink poisons and handle deadly snakes without harm

          Just demonstrate that this bible MAGIC is Real, and not IMAGINARY.

        • Yahweh is more nuanced now. The god who once held the sun still in the sky for hours prefers these days to work within the margin of error in statistics.

        • adam
        • ‘Evidence’, cute. I am sure your standard is within the realm of possibility.

          Why on Earth would any rational person believe bizarre and outrageous claims without very strong evidence? And you have none whatsoever. Don’t show me your books – which I’ve read – unless you can tell me why I shouldn’t choose the Navajo myths or Norse over yours.

        • JBSchmidt

          Do you have evidence that life began from non-living material? I don’t mean Rna or simple protein structures created in the lab via reverse engineering and closed environments, because that has a creator.

        • Dys

          Someday, creationists will understand that abiogenesis is a scientific hypothesis, and is not the theory of evolution.

          Of course, they’d also have to recognize that there are no competing scientific theories to evolution, and that generally makes them sad and angry.

        • JBSchmidt

          The question still remains, how did life come about? Regardless if it is evolution, evolution can’t exist without it. Yet, that is your only proof it is possible. Moreover it is a hypothesis that stand against a scientific law.

          Does a lack of competing theories by default mean truth?

        • Kodie

          Well, since you can’t comprehend something, the only “competing” idea you have is MAGIC. Why don’t you give us the evidence for that? Or is your only “evidence” for god that science can’t show YOU, because you are the final arbiter on what’s real and not, you are smart enough and courageous enough to read about what scientists do know without any risk to your faith. NO. You think reading that stuff or talking about it is like having a gun shoved right up in your face threatening you if you don’t right now deny your faith.

          You don’t have and won’t have any evidence for god, so keep using your idiotic brain to chip away ineffectively at scientific areas you know nothing about and are not qualified to assess.

        • Dys

          The law of biogenesis put forth by Pasteur does not rule out abiogenesis. It ruled out the notion of spontaneous generation, which is not what abiogenesis describes. So no, it doesn’t stand against scientific law – that’s a creationist myth.

          Regardless if it is evolution, evolution can’t exist without it.

          Evolutionary theory isn’t a theory about the origins of life, it’s a theory of how life changes. Evolution describes how life changes regardless of how it got here.

          Yet, that is your only proof it is possible.

          You’re obviously confused about the whole thing. The theory of evolution doesn’t rely on abiogenesis. Do yourself a favour, and stop getting your information from creationist websites. They’re woefully misinformed and notoriously unreliable.

          Does a lack of competing theories by default mean truth?

          Nope. It just means that the varying methods of trying to insist “goddidit” as a viable alternative to evolution are not remotely close to being on the same level as the theory of evolution, nor do they have its explanatory power.

        • adam
        • Which scientific law does abiogenesis “violate”? There are several good hypotheses out there, and none of them propose magical processes. Certainly life in its present form does nothing magical. Large organisms grow from single cells; it’s not hard to imagine that different but analogous processes led to the first replicating protocells.

          Obviously life from non-life is possible. It’s up to you to establish that it could not have come about from natural processes, and that it must have been magic. Until then, the simplest explanation is that it came about from natural laws, but we aren’t yet sure if any of the several credible proposed hypotheses are the answer, or if it is something else. We may never know.

          You are arguing for a god of the gaps; that is, if we don’t know how something happened, it must have been God. But that means, as our knowledge grows, your proposed but unsupported-by-evidence god retreats into the shadows, snarling and snapping at the light. If you take a stance that ignorance supports your claims, you cannot in the end win hearts nor minds. My college workout buddy was a devout Christian, who earned his PhD in microbiology. He said “Science is studying how God does things.” For him, as we learn more about how the world works, we are learning more about God. But you make claims about how the world works based on ignorance (specifically an assertion of truth for a literal reading of myths), which means many or all of those claims will be proven wrong, as so many have been already.

          “God made life” is no answer. God is a fantastic proposal for which you have no supporting data, and it makes no testable predictions. You may as well say “The Matrix is programmed that way” or “My psychosis took that path” or “The computer feeding the sensory inputs into my brain floating in a tank created the life I see”. These are all conceivable, but they are useless, and none of them make any testable claims. They can’t be verified, they can’t be trusted, and there is no reason to believe any of them.

        • adam

          “Moreover it is a hypothesis that stand against a scientific law.”

          Nope but YOUR ‘god’s’ MAGIC certainly does, and in your IGNORANCE, you seem to have no problem with that.

        • Rudy R

          Why does not knowing what caused life on Earth such a convincing argument for “God did it” for theists? If science could prove that life was caused by natural means, would that convince a theist there is not a God? I think not. There would be some theists that become atheists, but most theists would just find another escape hatch to justify their belief. Or maybe it’s just a coincidence that theists look for the things science can’t answer to buttress their argument, while they ignore the mountain of evidence that science has that would make a god less probable.

        • adam

          ” Or maybe it’s just a coincidence that theists look for the things science can’t answer to buttress their argument, while they ignore the mountain of evidence that science has that would make a god less probable.”

          Without a REAL ‘God’ men CLAIM god in the gaps of knowledge, causing ‘God’ to become an ever shrinking god of the gaps.

        • Why should I bother trying to dig up this information? Evolution is the scientific consensus, and you reject that. When there is a theory of abiogenesis that is also accepted by the people who understand the evidence, you’ll just give yourself permission to reject that as well.

          You’re unconvinceable, and your position is unfalsifiable.

        • adam

          ” I am sure your standard is within the realm of possibility.”

          I guess it all boils down to what YOUR ‘god’ is capable of doing, which apparently is not even what it committed to in it’s own ‘word’

        • MNb

          God sending collective nightmares to potential victims of natural disasters is outside the realm of possibility according to you? Then your god is a pathetic loser.

        • Kodie

          Weren’t you asking for life to arise from nothing, again, outside of a lab, and for organisms to evolve quickly enough that you could watch?

          You don’t have anything like the evidence for evolution.

        • MNb

          “I will safely assume that since you reject God, no answer will work.”
          Depends on what you mean with “work”. In fact if your god did send collective nightmares to warn people for upcoming natural disasters I would accept that as evidence for a god indeed, if not necessarily yours.

          “Movable goal posts, nice.”
          Wrong again. You are the one to blame for presenting a false dichotomy, not me.
          Plus you’re lying again. I already told you in which “camp” I placed your god. I keep him there – the goal posts of that camp haven’t moved for several years.

          MNb: “I only maintain that if your god were omni-everything he could do more than he does now.”
          JBS: “The impossible test.”
          BWAHAHAHAHA!
          You’re telling us here that your god is incapable of sending collective nightmares and making daddy Fritzl forgetting to lock a door 23 years earlier!
          Excellent, JBS – you have reduced your own god to a pathetic good for nothing.

          “It is your standard”
          Of course. I explictely made that clear. However this raises the question: do you think that raping your daughter for 24 years and letting 20 000 victims killed by a natural disaster passes the moral standard of your god? No? Then my questions are valid. Yes? Then I don’t see any difference between the moral standard of your god and the one of Hitler and Stalin. It’s your god, so you tell me what it is.

          “In order to prove that God has contradicted his own idea of ‘good’ or isn’t omnieverything”
          Thanks for showing your lack of understanding. The questions I ask are not meant for proving anything about your god. They point at a problem you have to address if you want to make your view coherent. Now you refuse to answer my two questions I can conclude that you don’t care about coherence or don’t succeed to be coherent. You prefer unsurprisingly to remain detached from reality.
          Yup, the questions are meant to demonstrate something about you. Your faith is unreasonable.
          But perhaps someone else can do a better job than you and all apologists before you (during 2000 years!). I won’t hold my breath though.
          But I compliment you for not taking the heartless path, devoid of empathy, like many other apologists did.

        • Kodie

          Can you tell me more about this collective nightmare? I don’t find that convincing as you do. If you think of dreams as not having any predictive power, what changes that when other people seem to report having the same dream as you had? What if you didn’t have that dream or forgot your dream? What if only some people had a similar dream and everyone else started to say they also had that dream, and freaked out? Say then, the disaster happened, and everyone who lived claims they had a premonition in a dream, would you really believe them?

          It’s sort of, I can’t know what really happened in your dream. A bunch of people saying they had a premonition dream before the fact sound crazy, and say, just because you had a similar dream, you start packing to evacuate? After the fact, just sounds like opportunistic of some sort. Just say it was true, I still find reasons to doubt that was the case. People are suggestible, even to remember something they didn’t witness, in this case, a dream, such that everyone could make the claim, and it wouldn’t make me evacuate. On the other hand, if you live in a place that may often be hit by natural disasters, I’d also suggest people who live there would occasionally have a nightmare about it, especially, for example, the night after having seen hurricane footage on tv news, or some people who have lived through a frightening earthquake (but maybe not “the big one”). Disasters all over the globe seem to be somewhat inevitable, and depending on where you live, which kinds are most likely, and most likely earlier survived by many of the people who live there. I’d still have to chalk it up as coincidence, without knowing exactly what each person dreamed, only what they tell people they dreamed.

        • MNb

          Yes, I can tell you more.
          Say on day X a natural disaster is going to happen. God being omniscient foresees it. He also knows who the potential victims are.
          So he sends them all the same nightmare with vivid images of that disaster. What will happen? People will tell each other, notice that they have the same nightmares. Some will conclude that they better leave; others will neglect them. Then day X arrives and the first category is proven right.
          That confirms the predictive power. As according to science dreams don’t have such predictive power it’s a miracle. OK, once could be sheer coincidence. But when this happens on a statistically significant basis?

          “What if you didn’t have that dream”
          The point is that all potential victims have that dream. I’d think that an omni-everything god could pull that off. So if one person didn’t that would be utterly puzzling.

          “or forgot your dream?”
          Then free will is saved.

          “What if only some people had a similar dream and everyone else started to say they also had that dream, and freaked out?”
          Same answer – the point is that all potential victims have that dream. This scenario would be utterly puzzling.

          ” Say then, the disaster happened, and everyone who lived claims they had a premonition in a dream, would you really believe them?”
          No. Hence the period of two weeks. They have to – and I’m pretty sure sooner or later they will – have to tell about their nightmare before the disaster happens. That’s required for predictions.

          “I can’t know what really happened in your dream.”
          Correct. But doctors face the same problem when you tell him you’re in pain. Still they tend to believe you.

          “A bunch of people saying they had a premonition dream before the fact sound crazy, and say, just because you had a similar dream, you start packing to evacuate?”

          Not a dilemma. If I’m a potential victim an omni-everything god would send me the nightmare as well. If I don’t have the nightmare I’m not a potential victim and hence don’t have to pack.
          Sorry, have to run. It’s already late for school.

        • Kodie

          So what if someone had a regular nightmare? I still think dreams are not the way to go here.

        • MNb

          Then nothing. I find it hard to imagine a natural disaster with just one potential victim. If a god can give one person a predicting nightmare he can give a million people that predicting nightmare.
          The point is to show a practical way for a supposed god to decrease the amount of evil in our world without affecting free will. I agree it’s not a conclusive argument against god; I don’t use it that way. My aim is to force believers to discuss the Problem of Evil in practical terms. See, I think that theodicees that sound plausible when put in abstract terms totally fall apart when applied in a practical example.

        • Kodie

          So every time you had a nightmare, you’d have to find out if other people had it too, and how many and where, and maybe it was just a nightmare, but you screaming at people warning them and they don’t believe you that anything is going to happen. Ok, they didn’t have the nightmare, they’re not going to get hurt, or whatever. I just don’t think it’s a solid plan. So you don’t believe the guy with the nightmare, and then the thing happens, and you’re like oh shit, here take my money, what else do you know? People already think they’re psychics and have vivid dreams predicting something will happen and then it does, coincidentally, which is why I guess you say thousands of people have the same nightmare, but who do you tell your nightmares to, and how do you find out that thousands of people had the same one? Only then, you still think it’s just a dream. If you live in an earthquake area, for example, don’t you think people living through several earthquakes might occasionally have a flashback nightmare about one? It would have to be like god splits open the earth in an area not near a fault line, or brings a hurricane over landlocked areas, something weird.

          I just can’t quite wrap my head around how this would count as proof of god’s existence.

        • MNb

          Then you can replace those nightmares by another means of communication – for instance a mysterious message on all radio and TV channels. That doesn’t make any difference.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Any significantly advanced being might possibly be able to do such things, but they still wouldn’t be a god as per Clarke’s third Law.

        • TheNuszAbides

          indeed, it escaped me for several weeks that i had merely dreamed about a television report that a cure for leprosy (i.e. ‘silver bullet’ rather than relatively inconsistent vaccine) had been found, because i didn’t compare notes with anyone until the next time i saw my mother.

        • The antibiotics that treat leprosy don’t work so well? I thought that it’d been cured.

        • TheNuszAbides

          indefinite remission in many cases, absolutely. the dream was about 15 years after the WHO confirmed MDT as the most reliable treatment; nothing had actually changed. prevention is still up in the air. we could maybe try to iron out which medical professionals differentiate between ‘treatable’ and ‘curable’ in consistent/clinical contexts; it’s been drilled into my head that those terms may occasionally overlap but are non-synonymous. perhaps i’m picking nits, but it seems to me like the difference between “there’s a cure for AIDS” and “HIV is now much easier to live with”.

        • JBSchmidt

          So, since God has yet to send you a dream that you can then use to save the world, God is false. At what point does God need to send dreams in order to be considered moral? Obviously 24yrs of rape and natural disasters that kill 20k people. Does he also need to send them for minor car accidents? What about twisting your ankle while running? Maybe the paper cut you got yesterday in the office? In reality, the only way God is moral in your book is if he send a youtube link to your day tomorrow so you are able to avoid everything you find unpleasant.

          Based on that, regardless what I say, you will object in the same manner. As I stated, God’s goal and promise is not a pain free life with lots of wealth and no turbulence. The world is broken with sin. His plan is to delivery the faithful to eternity when we have completed our lives on this earth. Why did he do it that way? I don’t know. However, to claim that I, a mere mortal, understand what is the best way to organize a universe and still bring the most people to him in eternity, is arrogance and ignorance.

          I accept this faith, because no one can prove the existence of life without a creator. That being the case, the God of the Bible is the only creator that fits with the evidence we see around us.

        • Kodie

          We live on a planet and god is invented to explain things that no longer need supernatural explanations. Just keep your ignorance up. Believe something magical because you cannot comprehend reality, that’s all religion is for.

        • God desperately wants to have a relationship with us because he knows that he provides the only way to avoid hell? One wonders why he can’t be a little clearer in getting that message out. The best he can do is to have a contradictory book written centuries ago? I have higher standards for omnipotence than you, obviously.

          no one can prove the existence of life without a creator.

          The burden of proof is yours, not mine.

        • Dys

          because no one can prove the existence of life without a creator.

          And no one’s managed to prove a god exists. The fact that life exists doesn’t demonstrate that a god exists.

          That being the case, the God of the Bible is the only creator that fits with the evidence we see around us.

          This strikes me as stereotypical circular logic, where everything is proof of God just as long as you assume it is.

        • adam

          Will there be cannibalism in heaven?

          “So, since God has yet to send you a dream that you can then use to save the world, God is false. At what point does God need to send dreams in order to be onsidered moral? Obviously 24yrs of rape and natural disasters that kill 20k people. Does he also need to send them for
          minor car accidents? What about twisting your ankle while running? Maybe the paper cut you got yesterday in the office? In reality, the only way God is moral in your book is if he send a youtube link to your day tomorrow so you are able to avoid everything you find unpleasant.”

          So are these problems people with have in heaven, or is YOUR ‘god’ promising something more ‘perfect’?

          Will there be cannibalism in heaven?

        • MNb

          “since God has yet to send you a dream”
          Liar keeps on lying. I specifically wrote

          “collective nightmares”

          and MNb typically is an individual, not a collective.

          “that you can then use to save the world, God is false.”
          Another lie, but this one is probably caused by your stupidity. I didn’t write that. I wrote the reverse: if evidence like that existed I would convert. Only a stupid creationist like you will turn this into the strawman I just quoted.
          Arguing that there is no god I do in another way, without using the Problem of Evil. I’m just formulating evidence that could prove my arguments wrong. That’s how the scientific method works.
          But of course as a creacrapper you don’t understand how the scientific method works and what you understand you reject. That’s what makes your creacrap so pathetic.

          The rest of your comment is simply irrelevant, built as it is on that strawman.

          “because no one can prove the existence of life without a creator”
          The arrogance and ignorance is yours, not mine.

        • TheNuszAbides

          it’s not about saving the world (but unsurprising that you don’t demonstrate the imagination of a spectrum of possibility rather than oversimplification into Big Wow versus Zero). it’s about a collective experience (or series of them) which defies mere coincidence.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Depends on what you mean with “work”. In fact if your god did send collective nightmares to warn people for upcoming natural disasters I would accept that as evidence for a god indeed, if not necessarily yours.

          Would ya?

          I thought you were a 7 on the scale?

          Steve Zara wrote an excellent article on this subject at the old Richard Dawkins site a few years ago. Sadly, it no longer can be found there, but his argument seems to be available on a number of other blogs in various guises..

          So what do we have? An inconsistent and illogical idea of a being that has self-contradictory attributes, a being that exists in a realm of magic and wishes that come true, where rules are for the breaking, and yet with the magic indistinguishable from some technology that might exist centuries or millions of centuries in the future, and with even the truly miraculous (if such exists) shown to be impossible to verify. We also have the word games of theologians insisting we trust their propositions about the world, propositions that were absurd even before the Enlightenment.

          The inconsistencies and contradictions of theism and supernaturalism seem to have no end. And, with all this, we are supposed to concede that there is some possibility of evidence for the Abrahamic God? Seriously?

          To claim that such evidence could exist is to deny Clarke, to deny Hume, to deny the relativity of Einstein and the quantum mechanics of Heisenberg. To concede that there could be acceptable evidence for the supernatural all-powerful all-knowing, all-loving eternal deity is the opposite of reasonable.

          http://larrytanner.blogspot.co.uk/2010/10/zara-dissolves-possibility-of-god.html

          Now some will claim that it is unscientific to rule out the possibility of any evidence, but given the subject is itself unscientific and dare I say, ridiculous, I have no problem with there being no such evidence for what is itself impossible.

          BTW, Steve Zara is a scientist.

          Edit to add link.

        • MNb

          Because I’m a 7 on the scale of Dawkins I cannot formulate what would change my point of view? Peculiar.

          “To claim that such evidence could exist is to deny ……”
          Nope, that’s not the same. Zara missed an important point:

          “It doesn’t matter how beautiful your theory is, it doesn’t matter how smart you are. If it doesn’t agree with experiment, it’s wrong.”

          Richard Feynman – you may remember he was also a scientist.
          And anyone who embraces science like I do hence is intellectually obligated to formulate what kind of observation possible could show “there is no god” wrong.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Because I’m a 7 on the scale of Dawkins I cannot formulate what would change my point of view? Peculiar.

          Why peculiar? A 7 is the direct opposite of a 0, as in the likes of Ken Ham or WLC would say, nothing would change their mind.

          Richard Dawkins’ Belief Scale Scoring Rubric

          1. Strong Theist: I do not question the existence of God, I KNOW he exists.

          2. De-facto Theist: I cannot know for certain but I strongly believe in God and I live my life on the assumption that he is there.

          3. Weak Theist: I am very uncertain, but I am inclined to believe in God.

          4. Pure Agnostic: God’s existence and non-existence are exactly equiprobable.

          5. Weak Atheist: I do not know whether God exists but I’m inclined to be skeptical.

          6. De-facto Atheist: I cannot know for certain but I think God is very improbable and I live my life under the assumption that he is not there.

          7. Strong Atheist: I am 100% sure that there is no God.

          I think we have a difference of opinion on what the 7 represents, but that is okay.

          The point is, that an unfalsifiable assertion can have no evidence.

          We need to have a datum to begin with. A definition of what it is we are trying to decide what there could be any example of evidence. Steve Zara is an Igtheist atheist, a position I’d claim for myself too. Some folk call it theological non-cognitivism. Given that any attempt to define God fails, I don’t see what evidence could be presented that could not be explained away by plenty of other very fanciful explanations, they just have to be less fanciful than the more ridiculous God hypothesis.

          Multiple attestation via a premonition is easily rationalised away. Heck, the Miracle of Fatima witnessed by over 70,000 is an example of something similar.

          Anyway, I don’t want to get bogged down in splitting hairs. If you can think of anything that could convince you that God exists that could not be better explained by a slightly less extraordinary hypothesis, fair enough, I just wouldn’t put you in the 7 group, hence my query.

        • MNb

          I think we have a difference of view on what “100% sure” means. I am also 100% sure that I will fall downward when jumping off a bridge and that I was with my female counterpart tonight (we don’t live together). Must I really explain what could make me change my view on that ones?

          “Steve Zara is an Igtheist atheist”
          I am not, if only because I actively dislike complicated labels like this one. Just atheist is good enough for me.

          “The point is, that an unfalsifiable assertion can have no evidence.”
          It’s correct that god is an unfalsifiable assertion if you mean that theism doesn’t have any predictive power.. What’s more – the assertion is incoherent.
          But all that is just the product of reason, ie deduction. And no matter how solid your deduction is, it might still be wrong. That’s what Feynman’s quote expresses and what you guys ignore.
          So analogous to Herman Philipse I say: if we assume for the sake of argument that god is a coherent concept (ie god is capable of interacting with our material reality) with predictive power (ie to some extent a test is possible), what could be the evidence that falsifies “there is no god”? That’s the question I tried to answer.

          “I don’t see what evidence could be presented that could not be explained away.”
          Then I suggest to read David Hume’s On Miracles. I might be wrong of course (I always keep that possibility open, even when I call myself a 7), but collective nightmares (impossible according to science) and untracable mysterious messages on all relevant radio and TV stations on a statistically significant base seem to qualify. A lost tribe (ie one that hasn’t had contact with western civilization in the broadest meaning for at least 2000 years) with the same core story as christianity is also pretty good evidence, so it seems to me. Of course I have raised the bar very high (see Hume again), but that should not be a problem for an omni-everything god.

          “I just wouldn’t put you in the 7 group.”
          Yeah, I understand, but the fun of Dawkin’s scale is that anyone can decide for him/herself. But I won’t be offended if you prefer to call me a 6,9999999999 …..

        • adam

          ” He never promised an end to evil, so Christian don’t expect it. ”

          So there is evil in heaven?

      • TheNuszAbides

        I only maintain that if your god were omni-everything he could do more than he does now.

        if he were omni-anything, all those antique ‘eyewitnesses’ would’ve come up with far better stories in the first place.

    • adam

      “Furthermore, the extent of the punishment for those who reject him is harsh and eternal.”

    • adam

      “1) Santa Clause. God should be giving everyone every gift they request
      and the lives of the people should be without pain or sorry.”

      Isn’t this the ‘promise’ of ‘heaven’?

      But even Santa doesnt give every gift they request, and Santa doesnt claim be the source of EVIL, or PAIN like it states for women

    • RichardSRussell

      Is there any answer Koukl could have given, other than ‘I have realized there is no god’, in which you would not have criticized him?

      To what question?

    • “Is there any answer Koukl could have given, other than ‘I have realized
      there is no god’, in which you would not have criticized him?”

      I doubt it. And not because I reject such answers before, but because more intelligent and informed people, with all the time in the world (well, in their lives) have not produce persuasive arguments. This is a claim of fact about the universe which is fantastic and contrary to verifiable data. What on Earth could possibly be argued?

      You should – but will not – consider the possibility not that we are close minded, but that you are trying to argue that 2 + 2 = 5. There are no scholars smart enough to make a persuasive case for that.

      “Beyond that, I actually agree with what you point out about his first
      take. This is the problem with most Progressive Christians. They
      attempt to redefine the word of God so it becomes more palatable to the
      non-Christian world.”

      this actually speaks well for such Christians. They are bothered by the obvious evil behavior of Yahweh, and seek a way out. If they only had the courage to cut their losses, they could be free of such self-delusions. To be fair, some of them would lose their families, and I would not ask others to do this for a public display of philosophical integrity.

      “Furthermore, the extent of the punishment for those who reject him is harsh and eternal.”

      Yes. Bible believers claim that those of us who judge incorrectly based on ambiguous, incomplete, and contrary-to-reality evidence will be tortured forever, even if they are good people. This is one example of what I mean by Yahweh’s evil behavior.

      “He has shown more patience with humanity than any atheist would justify.”

      No, your imaginary god hasn’t shown patience; he shows the capricious and vicious cruelty of any bronze-age Near Eastern king. I suspect you are projecting your own frustration here. Why are we not convinced by you? Why? Well, because you aren’t saying anything convincing. You are, in fact, saying things which helped turn me away from your kind of faith (and eventually all religion) when I was 13. I would not kill a woman, for instance, for glancing over her shoulder when overcome with curiosity. But Yahweh would. (Actually probably more for disobedience.)

      • TheNuszAbides

        “… They
        attempt to redefine the word of God so it becomes more palatable to the
        non-Christian world.”

        this actually speaks well for such Christians. They are bothered by the obvious evil behavior of Yahweh, and seek a way out. If they only had the courage to cut their losses, they could be free of such self-delusions. To be fair, some of them would lose their families, and I would not ask others to do this for a public display of philosophical integrity.

        i generally favor the notion that moderates and their cherry-pickin’ ways have a more useful* approach, but even their lip service obligates them (in my book) to actively–nay, perpetually, daily (if not hourly) and adamantly–struggle against their letter-of-the-law (at least the probably-scripturally-contradicted law being remembered at a given moment) fundamentalist/literalist fellows.

        *(civilized? agreeable? ‘progressive’ does seem plenty appropriate, at least if one ‘does’ nuance, but is one of those adjectives so tainted in so many online commentary circles that i sometimes avoid it)

    • Ron

      On parenting:

      Responsible parents create safe play environments by placing hazardous items out of reach and/or locking them up to eliminate all temptations. They also monitor their children’s activities and intervene before things get out of hand. And during prolonged absences they entrust their children’s guardianship to like-minded caregivers.

      Loving parents provide guidance, teach self-discipline, offer encouragement, praise achievements, acknowledge honest efforts, and most importantly, model the behaviors they’d like their children to adopt. They set reasonable goals, communicate them clearly, and apply rules with fairness and consistency. They eschew physical punishment in favor of methods that re-enforce positive behavior.

      With that in mind, how does God stack up as a parent?

      • adam

        “With that in mind, how does God stack up as a parent?”

        Criminally horrific:

    • Is there any answer Koukl could have given, other than ‘I have realized there is no god’, in which you would not have criticized him?

      Nothing comes to mind. There was a lot to criticize in this piece by Koukl. But let me know if I’ve missed something.

      My biggest takeaway was how he missed the big issue, which is not that the genocide probably didn’t really happen that much but that God commands genocide and what this says about his morality (or lack).

      Beyond that, I actually agree with what you point out about his first take. This is the problem with most Progressive Christians. They attempt to redefine the word of God so it becomes more palatable to the non-Christian world.

      And that “non-Christian world” is the world that they live in daily. Everyone in the non-Christian world knows that genocide is wrong … so how does the Christian make sense of God’s demand of genocide? Now they’ve got to tap dance to make sense of it all (instead of just rejecting the whole book as obvious crap, which is my approach).

      Atheist attempt to implicate God as being ‘good’ using a standard they don’t actually subscribe too.

      I’m not sure what you’re saying. Atheist implicate God as not living up to the definition of “good” that we all live with every day. If you did the stuff God did (demand genocide, support slavery), you would not be “good”; therefore, neither could anyone else, including God.

      2) Puppet Master. God should be forcing all people to be ‘good’, evil should be eliminated and we all exist on earth in perfect harmony.

      This is the “but God gives us the gift of free will!” argument. I’m unimpressed. God routinely lets rape and murder victims get their free will violated. Don’t tell me God is a champion of free will.

      I am going to assume you don’t use either of those two positions to parent. Why would God use them on us?

      God is like a human father? I’m not sure that analogy applies very well. A human father who created eternal torture for the child being perfect would be a dick.

      Furthermore, the extent of the punishment for those who reject him is harsh and eternal.

      Yup! Another reason why atheists aren’t too keen on this bastard.

      Christ is clear about that when he talks about those not getting into heaven.

      Human teachers graduate most of their students, but God can’t. Looks like the “God is like a teacher” analogy fails as well.

      As I opened this comment, there is no answer, Biblical or otherwise that will satisfy you; except denial of God.

      You know me—I just follow the evidence. Show me evidence pointing to God, and I’m there.

      The fact of the matter is we have a God that has been more than gracious to a planet that openly mocks him. He has shown more patience with humanity than any atheist would justify.

      Tell him to get off the couch, come down here, and show himself to us.

      The problem for the atheist is not that evil exists, but why hasn’t God punished more severely.

      Yeah—that whole burning-in-hell-forever thing did sound a bit wishy-washy.

      • TheNuszAbides

        Everyone in the non-Christian world knows that genocide is wrong

        in the interests of being thorough, i’d be unsurprised if we could dig up a proud non-theist over at sturmfrunt or under a similar rock – though they probably treat Hegel like a prophet if they come across him.

  • SparklingMoon,

    will find in Canaan (Deuteronomy 7:1–5), the command that within the tribes that must be destroyed, “you shall not leave alive anything that breathes” (Deut. 20:16–18), and the command that, for the Amalekites, Israel should “put to death men and women, children and infants” (1 Samuel 15:2–3).
    ———————————————–
    A revealed book is superior to a man-made book because we can assume that the former will not lead us into error. God is sheer guidance. In a book revealed by Him, therefore, we may expect to find only light and truth, no darkness or error. When we examine the earlier revealed books this point of view, we find them entirely unsatisfying. The followers of the Bible regard it as a revealed book. Christians also describe it as a Book of God, and Muslims also think that it was a revelation. But it is one thing for a book to be revealed, and quite another for that book to retain intact its revealed text. No doubt, all the three peoples Jews, Christians and Muslims, agree that God spoke to the Prophets of the Bible. But they no longer believe, and external and internal evidence no longer support the view,that the record of the Old Testament as we possess it today constitutes the revelation of God as it was first revealed.

    We find that occasionally the most savage teaching is attributed to the Bible, a teaching which cannot be attributed to a Beneficent and Merciful God. ”And when the Lord thy God shall deliver them before thee ; thou shalt smite them, and utterly destroy them ; thou shalt make no covenant with them, nor shew mercy unto them.” About a vanquished enemy how cruel is this teaching. To put to death all members of the enemy after their defeat, not to enter into any understanding with them and to refuse to show any mercy to them may be the conduct of cruel earthly kings. It cannot be attributed to a Beneficent and Merciful God. Certainly such teaching must have been invented by unrelenting Jews who came after Moses and entered this teaching into the Bible and made it so foul.

    God Almighty informs clearly in the book of the Quran (that has only words of revelation) about His eternal fundamental principle for human safety. He informs that in Mosaic Law : ” [5:33] We prescribed for the children of Israel that whosoever killed a person — unless it be for killing a person or for creating disorder in the land ( to destroy a maintained peace by making a war with an intention to kill others) — it shall be as if he had killed all mankind; and whoso gave life to one, it shall be as if he had given life to all mankind. And Our Messengers came to them with clear Signs, yet even after that, many of them commit excesses in the land.

    • Dys

      Good job copy/pasting your own nonsense. The Quran is man-made, as is the Bible. Neither is inerrant, and the fact remains that it can’t be demonstrated that either is inspired.

      All you’re really doing is cherry-picking out the parts you don’t like, and blaming them on textual corruption. It’s wishful thinking…the same thing you do when claiming the Quran is all divine revelation.

      • SparklingMoon,

        (Actually I had to put on this page but mistakenly had on the other one).

        You have written: ”The Quran is man-made, as is the Bible”. The Israel prophets had revelation as prophet of Islam but difference between is that previous revelations, before the Quran, are not safe in their words of revelation but the Quran is the only revelation that is saved by God Almighty according to His promise of safety. ”Verily, We Ourselves have sent down this Exhortation, and most surely We will be its Guardian,” (Al-Hijr, 15:10)

        Secondly, when we consider what Founders of religions taught, we find that it has always been contrary to all contemporary trends. If this teaching had been in line with the tendencies of their times, it could be said that these Teachers only gave expression to those tendencies. Instead, what they taught was very different from anything they found current. A terrible controversy ensued and it seemed as though the country had been set ablaze. Yet those who chose to deny and controvert the teaching were ultimately themselves compelled to submit to it.

        Every one of them announced at the outset that his teaching would prevail and that those who might seek to destroy it would themselves be destroyed. They were without means and ill-equipped. Their teachings were contrary to firmly established beliefs and habits of thinking and provoked the fiercest opposition of their people. Yet they succeeded, and what they had foretold came to pass. Why were their prophecies and their promises fulfilled ?

        • Dys

          but the Quran is the only revelation that is saved by God Almighty according to His promise of safety

          So the Quran is the revealed word of God because the Quran says so. That’s convenient.

          it has always been contrary to all contemporary trends.

          Being contrary has nothing to do with being true.

          Yet those who chose to deny and controvert the teaching were ultimately themselves compelled to submit to it.

          Same deal as before. The popularity of an idea has no bearing on its truth value. That an initially contrarian idea became popular doesn’t mean it’s true.

          Yet they succeeded, and what they had foretold came to pass. Why were their prophecies and their promises fulfilled

          Oh boy…claimed fulfilled prophecies. Those are always fun, when they’re not incredibly generic and non-specific. Have anything particularly noteworthy on that front?

        • Philmonomer

          Why were their prophecies and their promises fulfilled ?

          You should be addressing your comments to JBSchmidt. He’s the one who believes in prophecies and their potential for fulfillment.

        • adam

          “Why were their prophecies and their promises fulfilled ?”

          Because the were not and you are lying or being deceptive.

    • adam

      “A revealed book is superior to a man-made book because we can assume that the former will not lead us into error.”

      What an idiotic statement.

      ‘revealing’ only reveals what is in that persons head while they IMAGINE an IMAGINARY ‘god’ talking to them.