When Christians Treat God Like a Baby

When Christians Treat God Like a Baby April 7, 2016

infantilizing GodI’ve recently found myself a grandfather for the first time, and I’m relearning what it’s like to deal with a baby. I find that I treat my granddaughter, now five months old, a bit like I treat my dog. Neither understands English very well, but they can understand tone. She grabs her toy? “What a smart girl!” She rolls over? “What a clever girl!” She bites Piglet’s nose? “What a talented girl!” She burped, she pooped, she has a wet diaper? “What a good girl!”

This is surprisingly analogous to how many Christians treat God. You get what you wanted in prayer? “Thank you, God!” You didn’t get what you wanted in prayer? “Thank you, God!” God isn’t smart enough or tough enough to handle constructive feedback. Christians aren’t supposed to say, “God, the next time you think it’d be fun to give a five-year-old leukemia, get back on your meds and think again.”

God is either giving you great stuff or teaching you important lessons, and no matter what happens, God gets the credit. God is praised, regardless—whether you get the perfect parking space when you were late or God deals out some tough love by not giving you that promotion, he can’t lose. When bad things happen, God’s never blamed. That’s man’s fault. Even natural disasters are recast as part of God’s marvelous, inscrutable plan. And when bad things happen to someone, they endured the ordeal only with God’s support.

Empty and groundless platitudes like “God doesn’t give you more than you can handle” or “God must’ve needed another angel” or “Everything happens for a reason” litter the internet like the walls in a sampler museum. Doubt is discouraged, and faith (in the sense of belief despite poor evidence) is put forward as a great virtue.

God is always perfect and infallible, especially when you conclude that before you start. There is even the weighty discipline of theodicy to add somber scholarly support to this claim. Christians give all the other supernatural beliefs (unicorns, Xenu, Zeus) a skeptical eye, but their god can only handle baby food. And just like a baby, he’s never called to account, never has to clean up his messes, never has to explain himself or follow adult rules. God doesn’t even need good evidence that he exists.

Religion is the diaper of humanity’s childhood;

It’s OK to grow out of it.
— PZ Myers

Gods are children’s blankets
that get carried over into adulthood.
— James Randi

Image credit: Christian Haugen, flickr, CC

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  • Lex Lata

    Cmon, babies and God have nothing in common. Infants demand constant attention, throw epic tantrums, interfere with your sex life . . . . Wait a sec.

  • L.Long

    That is one observation I made while reading the buyBull. Gawd acts like a spoilt 5yr old, and always throwing a tantrum!! And if you read deeper into the jewish traditions you also find that he had a wife he treated like crap. So even later he acts like a good ol’boy who is at a 5yr old level mentally.

  • epicurus

    “God doesn’t give you more than you can handle,” because if He did, you would be what? Sadder? Happier? More depressed? Less depressed? What more could God have allowed to be done to Job that he couldn’t handle?

    • RichardSRussell

      God doesn’t give you more than you can handle.

      A sentiment directed only at those still alive to hear it. Most of whom, beset as they are by ill fortune, are probably inclined to say “Fuck off, asshole!”

      • Mother Teresa actually admitted that when she told a patient that her pain was just Jesus hugging her, the woman asked her to tell Jesus to stop hugging.

        • Giauz Ragnarock

          A similar story involved a man being told Jesus was kissing him. I could be wrong but I have to wonder if it is like the “Ghandi” quote that get’s parroted all the time. The stories may just be something sort of like an event in the crappy care of Teresa.

        • What’s the Gandhi quote?

          I found the Mother Teresa quote (it wasn’t about hugging but about kissing). She said this in 1994:

          One day I met a lady who was dying of cancer in a most terrible condition. And I told her, I say, “You know, this terrible pain is only the kiss of Jesus–a sign that you have come so close to Jesus on the cross that he can kiss you.” And she joined her hands together and said, “Mother Teresa, please tell Jesus to stop kissing me.”

          It’s like someone telling you that you’re a jerk and then you tell everyone about the anecdote as if it’s cute, not realizing what this actually says about you.

        • Giauz Ragnarock

          The “Ghandi” quote is of course: “I like your Christ, but I do not like your Christians. They are so unlike your Christ.” It was kind of sort of like something he said as recorded in a book about him. I assume the quote you found is actually to the best of our knowledge a story she actually told (but we both found or half-remembered derivative stories).

        • Ah, yes. I’m familiar with that quote.

          I believe that quote is an authentic Teresa quote.

        • TheNuszAbides

          i enjoyed him saying “I am a Muslim and a Hindu and a Christian and a Jew and so are all of you” back in my days of limp relativism, but didn’t take a more cynical reading until the last year or so.

  • Tony D’Arcy

    Thank you God for the Ebola virus ! Malaria, Typhoid, HIV, oh and that one that eats out your eye, – the Stephen Fry river blindness worm, Influenza, cancers of all kinds, heart disease, diabetes, and of course all those “natural” disasters ! Don’t worry God, we have faith that You are the One who caused all these wonders. Halleyulah !

    • Michael Neville

      It’s called the Guinea Worm.
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dh5x6dv4LHo

      • Tony D’Arcy

        It didn’t play, but thumbs up anyway. I must admit to liking MP as well ! No-one expects the Spanish Inquisition !

    • epicurus

      I love your avatar!!

  • Michael Neville

    When bad things happen, God’s never blamed. That’s man’s fault.

    Some apologists like William Lane Craig claim that even if God does something which would be universally condemned if anyone else did it, it’s good because God only does good things.

    • T-Paine

      William Lane Craig would say anything to stay employed.

  • Jim Jones

    When Jews treat god like a fool.

    Eruv.

    • Yes, God will surely be tricked by loopholes.

      • Greg G.

        I see what you did there.

        • So will their god. Puny mortals, thinking they can fool the all-seeing using just a rope line.

        • Greg G.

          They are stringing him along. God won’t like that.

        • God is not mocked. How can they think simply obeying the letter of the law without the spirit works? This seems to be a very old tradition in Judaism however.

        • Greg G.

          “God is not mocked” is from Galatians so the Jews wouldn’t pay attention to it. I think the idea is that God would admire their ingenuity.

        • I guess so.

  • Myna Alexanderson

    It is the attachment to a story of a god (or gods), and religion’s need to define (and control) the assumption of a deity who pays attention and therefore holds an investment, when it is really only ourselves (humankind) who have the investment…in the story. The story hides from our view, makes some desperate sense of, the savage reality that affects all life on this planet, not just our own.

    I don’t see the existence of the universe as either upholding or negating some conscious force. I simply don’t know (nor do I feel it matters), but do know that religious ego wars only serve to increase the suffering that is already inherent to life. Religion is a relic of the far past. Let sleeping gods lie. Stop implanting god stories in the children and trying to force those same tales on adults. Humankind needs to get over its primitive propensity or the wounds caused by religion, and its god mirrors, will never heal.

  • KarlUdy

    I don’t deny that some Christians treat God like that. But I don’t think you can conclude that this is what Christianity teaches God is like. Read the Psalms – there’s an awful lot of protesting what God is doing or not doing.

    • Greg G.

      Psalms was written long before Christianity. Christianity teaches to start praying with “Our Heavenly Father, hallowed be Thy name.” Instead of “Amen,” prayers may as well end with “goochy, goochy, goo.”

      • KarlUdy

        Yes, the Psalms were written long before Christianity. They were affirmed though (with the rest of the Old Testament) as God-breathed Scripture. And this from the very beginning of Christianity.

        • Greg G.

          There are also writings that were referenced and cited in the New Testament at the very beginning of Christianity that were not affirmed and some are lost to history. There are also disagreements over which books are included.

          John 7:38 (NRSV)and let the one who believes in me drink. As the scripture has said, ‘Out of the believer’s heart shall flow rivers of living water.’”

          Which scripture? Joshua 10:13 and 2 Samuel 1:18 reference the Book of Jasher. 2 Chronicles 9:29 cites the Book of Nathan the Prophet, the Prophecy of Ahijah the Shilonite, and the Visions of Iddo the Seer. Maybe John was quoting one of them.

          Matthew 2:23 says Jesus moved to Nazareth to fulfill a prophecy that “He shall be called a Nazarene.” Was Matthew misquoting Judges 13:7, did Matthew make it up, or did God mis-breathe it?

          The “God-breathed” part seems imaginary.

        • KarlUdy

          Red herring. The Psalms are clearly included in Christian Scripture and so what they say is relevant. Discussions about where the border between Scripture and not Scripture lies don’t affect Psalms at all.

        • Greg G.

          Many religions have old writings. They all are considered sacred by the followers, but that doesn’t mean they are all inspired by a deities. The inconsistencies show that the books of the Bible are not considered to be important by a deity.

          Oh, I forgot to bring up Enoch. Let’s not forget the missing information in earlier letters to the Corinthians that Paul felt inspired to mention.

        • KarlUdy

          Still bringing up red herrings?

          Bob posted about Christians’ attitudes to God. The Psalms are clear evidence that Christian Scripture does not teach that Christians must have such an attitude.

          The book of Enoch or any other “lost” Scriptures don’t speak to the matter at all. Why bring them up?

        • Greg G.

          I showed that the Lord’s Prayer starts with something like “You have a pretty name. Yes, you do, Yes, you do.” That means that Christianity would be doing what Bob said from the beginning. The fact that they also borrowed Jewish scripture so sometimes Christians were not treating God like a baby is beside the point.

          Then you brought up “God-breathed” so I am pointing out that claim doesn’t hold up either. The Bible itself says it is not reliable.

          Jeremiah 8:8 (NRSV)How can you say, “We are wise,    and the law [torah] of the Lord is with us,”when, in fact, the false pen of the scribes    has made it into a lie?

          If scripture were God-breathed and the gospels are scripture, then Christianity would have begun with Jesus who taught the first followers to start off with praising God to build up his self-esteem.

        • Susan

          Still bringing up red herrings?

          Darn it, Karl. You made a big fuss about Psalms and when I respectfully and directly asked you questions about it, you disappeared.

          Why?

          Every time I take one of your comments seriously and attempt to discuss it with you, you disappear.

          You then reappear occasionally as though those attempted discussions never took place and disappear when your latest comment is engaged.

          I’m sure I’m not the only one but I can only speak for myself. You made a big fuss about Psalms showing an exception to Bob’s summary of rationalizations that christians provide to maintain their pre-determined conclusion.

          I took your point seriously and asked you to elaborate. Sort of like when I asked you about Adam and Eve. Adam and Eve is foundational to the christian model, wouldn’t you agree? It’s not a trick question. It’s a reasonable and respectful one and you completely ignored it. Why?

          It’s not just me I’ve seen you do this with but I can only whine on my own behalf.

          It’s frustrating, Karl.

        • KarlUdy

          Why did I disappear? I’m on the road. I do travel from time to time with work, but don’t feel bad about it, think of it instead as a chance to read the other 145 Psalms 😉

          I’m not sure I made such a big fuss about the Psalms. I mentioned them as an example of communication to God that did not uniformly reflect Bob’s characterization.

          Greg seemed to either want to question the Psalms inclusion in the Christian canon, or demand attention for obscure texts that are not included. He has no ground to stand on in the first, and the second is irrelevant.

          As to your two points …

          1) If you’re not prepared to read the relevant texts, don’t complain about not finding the answers. 3% doesn’t seem like much of an effort.

          2) If your complaint is that you think the Psalms might be too theistic, feel free to write your own. After all, even Steve Martin says atheists don’t have no songs.

        • Susan

          Why did I disappear? I’m on the road.

          It’s the internet, Karl. I don’t expect immediate responses from anyone. I asked why you disappear when someone asks you a relevant question and when you reappear, you proceed as though it was never asked.

          I’m not sure I made such a big fuss about the Psalms. I mentioned them as an example of communication to God that did not uniformly reflect Bob’s characterization.

          Exactly. And I asked you to direct us to an example that doesn’t. It’s a perfectly reasonable request. YOU brought it up.

          If you’re not prepared to read the relevant texts, don’t complain about not finding the answers. 3% doesn’t seem like much of an effort.

          If you’re not prepared to show that there are relevant texts to support your point, then I’m afraid I’ve wasted too much of my life accepting reading assignments from theists that lead nowhere.

          If your complaint is that you think the Psalms might be too theistic

          My complaint is that you’ve claimed that Psalms contains examples of christian thinking that escapes the list of rationalizations that Bob summarized. You won’t show us where. The first 5 weren’t promising as they confirmed Bob’s points. If there is “relevant” material you would like us to address, please link it.

        • KarlUdy

          Do not be surprised if I doubt your sincerity when you read the first 5 Psalms and give up when you could find examples of what I am talking about in Psalm 6.

          Particularly good examples can also be found in Psalms 10, 13, 22 and 38. And that’s just a start.

        • Susan

          Do not be surprised if I doubt your sincerity when you read the first 5 Psalms and give up

          Do not be surprised when you handwave toward a book in your literature when someone asks you to directly link to the material that supports the point you think needs to be made, that I will respectfully ask you to follow up. That’s how discussion works.

          you could find examples of what I am talking about in Psalm 6.

          Thank you for fulfilling what is an ordinary request in adult discussion.

          Here is the King James Version. If you prefer another version, please link to it, that we might address it.

          6 O Lord, rebuke me not in thine anger, neither chasten me in thy hot displeasure.

          2 Have mercy upon me, O Lord; for I am weak: O Lord, heal me; for my bones are vexed.

          3 My soul is also sore vexed: but thou, O Lord, how long?

          4 Return, O Lord, deliver my soul: oh save me for thy mercies’ sake.

          5 For in death there is no remembrance of thee: in the grave who shall give thee thanks?

          6 I am weary with my groaning; all the night make I my bed to swim; I water my couch with my tears.

          7 Mine eye is consumed because of grief; it waxeth old because of all mine enemies.

          8 Depart from me, all ye workers of iniquity; for the Lord hath heard the voice of my weeping.

          9 The Lord hath heard my supplication; the Lord will receive my prayer.

          10 Let all mine enemies be ashamed and sore vexed: let them return and be ashamed suddenly.

          How does this escape Bob’s analysis of christian rationalizations?

          Again, it’s a respectful and honest question. I ask you because I don’t think you’re a troll. That is, I have some hope that I can address you directly as a human being.

        • KarlUdy

          The simplest is v3 which in other translations is rendered “My soul is in deep anguish. How long, Lord, how long?”

          In other words, the psalmist is saying to God, when are you going to hurry up and do something about my situation?

          A clear example to the contrary of how Bob says Christians treat God.

        • Susan

          When bad things happen, God’s never blamed. That’s man’s fault. Even natural disasters are recast as part of God’s marvelous, inscrutable plan. And when bad things happen to someone, they endured the ordeal only with God’s support.

          Psalm 1-6: (Let me know if you prefer another translation)

          6 O Lord, rebuke me not in thine anger, neither chasten me in thy hot displeasure.

          2 Have mercy upon me, O Lord; for I am weak: O Lord, heal me; for my bones are vexed.

          3 My soul is also sore vexed: but thou, O Lord, how long?

          4 Return, O Lord, deliver my soul: oh save me for thy mercies’ sake.

          5 For in death there is no remembrance of thee: in the grave who shall give thee thanks?

          6 I am weary with my groaning; all the night make I my bed to swim; I water my couch with my tears.

          You don’t seriously want to remove vs. 3 from context when you chastised me for only rereading up to 5, do you?

          How does Psalm 6: 1-6 make a difference?

        • KarlUdy

          Let me paraphrase for you what the Psalmist is saying. The King James is a fine poetic translation, but most of us don’t talk like that so it can be easy to miss the meaning …

          1 God, don’t deal with me harshly or with anger.
          2 Be gentle with me because I’m suffering
          3 I’m in agony, when are you going to do something?
          4 Come and save me from my trouble because you’re supposed to be merciful
          5 I can’t praise you when I’m dead, can I?
          6 I am worn out from crying

          Do you really think this is treating God with kid gloves and making sure nothing is said that might offend him?

        • Susan

          Do you really think this is treating God with kid gloves and making sure nothing is said that might offend him?

          That falls under the umbrella rationalizations that Bob listed, the ones against which you claimed (without linking to specific examples) Psalms railed.

          No one said “God” might not be offended. You explicitly stated that something in Psalms didn’t use the short list of rationalizations that Bob listed. The ones that assume “God” exists and that “God is good” without justification.

          After much arm-pulling, you finally chose a single verse from ALL the Psalms you insisted I read before my honest question could be taken seriously. A single verse out of context.

          In context or out of context, it doesn’t escape Bob’s list.

          Bob did not say an imaginary deity might not find it offensive.

          He said (among other things) that no matter how offensive the evidence is, when dealing with people who assume the existence of their deity, they will find a rationalization for that deity’s existence and goodness.

          You claimed that Psalms undermined Bob’s claim but we are 6 verses in (and it was like pulling teeth to get you to follow up on your statement and even then, you chose a single verse out of context and under pressure and shifted the goalposts).

          The first six full Psalms only support Bob’s point.

        • KarlUdy

          I was replying to Bob’s claim that “God isn’t smart enough or tough enough to handle constructive feedback.”

          I said that Psalms have many examples of people protesting God’s actions or inaction. I did not ever explicitly say anything about a list of rationalizations that Bob gave. You’re barking up the wrong tree.

          “How long, Lord how long?” is a perfect example of someone protesting God’s inaction.

          I didn’t insist you read ALL the Psalms, (although it wouldn’t do you any harm) but I did think you might get further than 3% before giving up and saying you can’t find anything.

          The verse I quoted was not out of context. I have not shifted the goalposts. I gave an example of protest in a Psalm and you try to make out that I made a completely different claim from what I actually made.

        • Susan

          I was replying to Bob’s claim that “God isn’t smart enough or tough enough to handle constructive feedback.”

          And moved on from there to list all the rationalizations that christians make when it comes to beginning with their conclusion. That is, all the rationalizations they make in that pursuit. You claimed Psalms was an exception and I brought up Bob’s list of rationalizations from the article.

          You evaded that and suggested that I hadn’t read enough of Psalms to see that you might have a point. When finally pressed to follow up on your point, you chose specific verses out of context, none of which in or out of context, give examples of anything but rationalizing your initial assumption.

          The verse I quoted was not out of context.

          What context is it in? Bob S. did not say you couldn’t protest. He provided a list of rationalizations that christians make when some of them inevitably protest the nature of things.

          Nothing in the article said that christians couldn’t protest. Nor did anyone here.

          The point is that all natural protest is handwaved away with special pleading and terrible rationalizations.

          You were mistaken if you thought Bob was saying that christians weren’t allowed to protest.

          That just makes me think you didn’t read a brief article while you insisted I reread a non-specific percentage of Psalms greater than 3 to prove your point that christians were allowed to protest, something that isn’t disputed here.

          It’s the fact that those protests must be met with a short list of rationalizations, none of which are reasonable.

          Psalms just adds fuel to Bob S.’s fire.

        • KarlUdy

          “Nothing in the article said that christians couldn’t protest.”

          “God isn’t smart enough or tough enough to handle constructive feedback. ”

          “When bad things happen, God’s never blamed. ”

          “And just like a baby, he’s never called to account, never has to clean up his messes, never has to explain himself or follow adult rules.”

          These are what I was responding to. Did we read the same article?

        • Susan

          Did we read the same article?

          I’m asking you the same question.

          As Bob went on to further develop his point with the list of rationalizations that theists use in the face of the cognitive dissonance with which reality provides them… as I listed those rationalizations MORE than once and asked how Psalms escaped them… as I was chastised for not reading enough Psalms, rather than provided with links to the Psalms that addressed Bob’s arching point, the one I asked you to address… I worry that you didn’t read the whole article.

          I read the whole article. I assumed you did and addressed you as though that might be the case. With appropriate links to the point about airtight rationalizations.

        • KarlUdy

          As I read Bob’s article I read that his main point was that Christians treat God like people generally treat a baby. And I understood he was arguing that to be evidenced by Christians always responding to God with nice, positive comments, no matter what, and always giving God’s actions a pass.

          If you think that is an unfair or inaccurate reading of Bob’s post then so be it.

          My point is that the Psalms do not show people interacting with God in that way.

        • Susan

          I understood he was arguing that to be evidenced by Christians always responding to God with nice, positive comments, no matter what, and always giving God’s actions a pass.

          But no. And I blockquoted more than once his main point which is that no matter what awful evidence and logic christians are faced with, they have a rationalization which leads back to the conclusion they must assume.

          When bad things happen, God’s never blamed. That’s *man’s* fault. Even natural disasters are recast as part of God’s marvelous, inscrutable plan. And when bad things happen to someone, they endured the ordeal only with God’s support.</blockquote

          I asked you to show how Psalms escaped the main point in a short article.
          Your response was to tell me I needed to read Psalms again and when pressedto the extent that you had to show what Psalms had to do with the main point about rationalization and special pleading in the face of evidence… you pretended that Bob's main point hadn't been made in the article and that you hadn't been directly and repeatedly asked how Psalms escaped it.

          You're doing all Bob's work for him.

        • KarlUdy

          That was his main point?

          I would have thought he would title his post differently then.

          Sorry. I think you are mistaken.

        • Susan

          That was his main point?

          I would have thought he would title his post differently then.

          I addressed you repeatedly in the hope that you were someone who might have read the article, not just the headline. Super ironic, isn’t it that you didn’t approve of my percentage of rereading Psalms based on your handwaving?

          I asked you specifically about the rationalizations that are perpetuated in Psalms and how Psalms was an exception to the special pleading.

          More than once. You brought Psalms up as an exception to what I assumed was the main claim of rationalization.

          But it doesn’t seem to be one.

        • KarlUdy

          I did read the article. I read in para 1 Bob talk about babies. I read in para 2 Bob draw the analogy between how we treat babies and how he says Christians must treat God. I read in para 3 where he says Christians must praise God regardless. And then I read in the summary para 5 how he returns to the baby analogy to point out how he thinks Christians never question God’s actions.

          And that matched with Bob titling the article “When Christians treat God like a baby”

          And so I pointed out that Psalms didn’t fit that pattern. And then you get your knickers in a twist because you read 5 out of 150 Psalms (about 1-2 pages) and can’t find what I’m talking about.

          And then demand I explain a list of rationalizations (a grand list of two – the third one is not a rationalization) of which I have already answered one (the psalmist thinks God should have acted sooner), and the other is not particularly relevant to Psalms (the cause of natural disasters is not a major theme of Psalms – or even a minor theme.)

          As I said before. I think you are mistaken.

        • MNb

          You wrote:
          “Christians always responding to God ”

          The title does not contain the word “always”. It contains “when”, which actually means not always.
          You’re not getting smarter, Karl. Does apologetics affect your cognitive skills as well?

        • KarlUdy

          MNb,
          I did not say his title said that. I said that he argued his point to be evidenced by Christians “always” responding to God in a certain way. Which was an argument I discerned from his uses of “never”, as well as his use of a merism.

          Susan doesn’t need your help in misreading what I wrote. She seems to be able to do that well enough on her own.

        • MNb

          And now you start lying?

          “I did not say his title said that”
          I did not say you said his title said that. I said that “I would have thought ….” is totally misplaced.

          You wrote: “Christians always responding to God”
          combined with “I would have thought he would title his post differently then.”
          Perhaps I misread you. Such things happen all the time, especially on internet. Then your formulations were lacking. But hey, recognizing that would mean taking responsibility for your own deeds and an important aspect of christianity is exactly to shift it.

          The title doesn’t contain the word “always”, hence does not contain an argument for BobS saying ‘christians “always” responding god in a certain way’ hence your “would have thought” sucks badly.

          Instead you should have produced a quote from BobS that actually does say that.

        • Susan

          I said that he argued his point to be evidenced by Christians “always” responding to God in a certain way.

          What certain way is that? Did you miss Bob’s point about the five-year-old with leukemia? Of course christians will lament because life is so inconsistent with christian claims. I read the article again to attempt to imagine how you might see it but you were so vague about how Psalms escaped Bob’s point that it took me a while to figure out what you were getting at.

          The point of the article seems to be that no matter what happens, the response must be “Good God. Well done.” Do you allow yourself to come up with any other conclusion? Christian explanations seem to be special pleading all the way.

          Susan doesn’t need your help in misreading what I wrote. She seems to be able to do that well enough on her own.

          I’m doing the best I can. I don’t consider you a troll,.Sadly, hardly any christians show up here and most of them are trolls. What troubles me most is that some of those trolls might not even be christians. They might just recognize it’s a good subject to troll. I don’t assume all christians are trolls.

          I’m trying to engage you honestly and if you think I misunderstand something, please show that my misunderstanding is real.

          If you want to blame my “misunderstanding” on me alone, I’m afraid I can’t stop you.

        • KarlUdy

          The point of the article seems to be that no matter what happens, the response must be “Good God. Well done.”

          I actually agree with you about this.

          My point is that when psalmists write things like:
          “Why Lord, do you stand far off? Why do you hide yourself in times of trouble?” (Ps 10:1)
          “”How long Lord? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me?” (Ps 13:1)
          “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from saving me, so far from my cries of anguish? My God I cry out by day and you do not answer, by night but I find no rest.” (Ps 22:1, 2)
          ” O God, why have you rejected us forever? Why does your anger smolder against the sheep of your pasture?” (Ps 74:1)

          that these are nothing like “Good God. Well done.” and so that Bob is wrong in saying that Christians must respond to God in the way he says.

        • Susan

          Psalm 10:1

          16The Lord is King for ever and ever;
          the nations will perish from his land.
          17You, Lord, hear the desire of the afflicted;
          you encourage them, and you listen to their cry,
          18defending the fatherless and the oppressed,
          so that mere earthly mortals
          will never again strike terror.

          Yahweh is a peach as always.

          Isolating a single verse from the Psalm doesn’t address the point of the article.

          The point of the article is that no matter what happens (babies with cancer, for instance) the answer is always that “God” is good.

          Why does that baby have cancer? “God” has a plan. And it’s a good plan because “God” is good.

          Psalm 10 doesn’t escape that.

        • adam

          “God” is good…..

        • KarlUdy

          The point of the article is that no matter what happens (babies with cancer, for instance) the answer is always that “God” is good.

          I disagree. And this is different to what you said earlier:

          The point of the article seems to be that no matter what happens, the response must be “Good God. Well done.”

          It is an orthodox Christian belief that God is good. To expect that Scripture or Christian teaching would conclude otherwise is to expect Christianity to not be Christianity.

          However, you said earlier that you understood the point of Bob’s article to not be whether Christianity affirms God as good or not, but instead, whether Christians can respond to God with any response less than unstinting praise of his actions.

          One verse of complaint is enough. That there are several verses reinforces that Christians are allowed to complain to God, even about what God does.

        • Susan

          I disagree. And this is different to what you said earlier:

          Hi Karl, Thank you for responding

          What do you think I said earlier?

          I thought I said that Bob’s list of rationalizations weren’t escaped by Psalms. I asked you to link to the Psalms you thought escaped them. You accused me of not reading enough Psalms. I read through 5 of them but that wasn’t enough. They all supported Bob’s point.

          You linked to single verses, none of which lead back to complete Psalms that didn’t just arbitrarily revert to the claim that Yahweh was a peach because… well… Yahweh is a peach.

          It is an orthodox Christian belief that God is good

          It is every kind of “christian” belief that “God” is “good.

          Which is why Bob’s short list of rationalizations is the point, the one I blockquoted

          Based on what? Well, it depends on what the christian means by God and what the christian means by good,

          So, what do you mean by the first word? What do you mean by the second word?

          Bob pointed out that no matter what the situation, there is a tidy list of rationalizations that begin with the conclusion that “God is good.”

          And he gave a short list of rationalizations.

          I thought you thought there was a reasonable exception to those rationalizations in Psalms.

          I asked you where.

          Every Psalm I read bolsters Bob’s point.

        • KarlUdy

          I quoted what you said earlier.

          There is a clear difference.

          I agree with one of your statements about what the point of the article was, but not the other.

          My comment to Bob’s article was related to that understanding of Bob’s article.

          If you say that:

          The point of the article seems to be that no matter what happens, the response must be “Good God. Well done.”

          then we are arguing opposite sides of the same issue.

          If instead you say:

          The point of the article is that no matter what happens (babies with cancer, for instance) the answer is always that “God” is good.

          Then I think you have misread the article, and your criticisms of my comments are misplaced

        • Susan

          I quoted what you said earlier.

          Four days ago, I asked you to respond to this, what seemed to be the main point of the article. The article doesn’t suggest that christians can’t complain, just that no matter what the complaint, they must return to the conclusion that “God is good” and there is a short but pretty comprehensive list of the rationalizations required to do so.

          When bad things happen, God’s never blamed. That’s man’s fault. Even natural disasters are recast as part of God’s marvelous, inscrutable plan. And when bad things happen to someone, they endured the ordeal only with God’s support.

          I asked you how Psalms escaped that.

          I quoted what you said earlier.

          You quoted what I said a day ago as though the main point is that Psalms doesn’t do what Bob says it does. Which is to rationalize when asked what justification there is for “God” or “God is good”.

          Psalms is no exception. Bob didn’t say christians can’t or don’t complain. Just that they have to go back to the conclusion they are taught to begin with.

          It’s very simple. If you prefer to think that the article says that christians can’t provisionally complain or wonder, then I give.

          Doubt is allowed as long as you go back to the conclusion you began with that “God is good”.

          Beginning with your conclusion is the only answer no matter what reality reflects back.

          Can “God” be “bad”?

          Five-year-olds with leukemia don’t get a voice?

        • Susan

          (Ps 13:1)

          5But I trust in your unfailing love;
          my heart rejoices in your salvation.
          6I will sing the Lord’s praise,
          for he has been good to me.

          (Ps 22:1,2)

          26The poor will eat and be satisfied;
          those who seek the Lord will praise him—
          may your hearts live forever!
          27All the ends of the earth
          will remember and turn to the Lord,
          and all the families of the nations
          will bow down before him,
          28for dominion belongs to the Lord
          and he rules over the nations.
          29All the rich of the earth will feast and worship;
          all who go down to the dust will kneel before him—
          those who cannot keep themselves alive.
          30Posterity will serve him;
          future generations will be told about the Lord.
          31They will proclaim his righteousness,
          declaring to a people yet unborn:
          He has done it!

        • A polite asking of your tormentor how much longer isn’t the same as the example I gave that you rejected (“God, the next time you think it’d be fun to give a five-year-old leukemia, get back on your meds and think again”).

          I’m looking more for the “God, you can take this cancer and shove it up your ass.” Where is that in Psalms?

        • KarlUdy

          Try Psalm 10:1 “Why Lord do you stand far off? Why do you hide yourself in times of trouble?”

          Not as dramatic as you put it, but definitely telling God they think he should be acting differently.

        • We know how this plays out. That’s the way it happened with Job. He calls God to account, and God calls him names and bludgeons him into submission. Job considers himself lucky that he wasn’t incinerated.

          Learn from Job. You’ll get the same treatment.

        • KarlUdy

          So your original post was saying Christians can’t ever be critical of God. I point out an example in the Psalms.

          And you bring up Job. Job calls God to explain his actions. God doesn’t. Instead God comes to meet Job and then blesses Job.

          It would be quite a good result to learn from Job and get the response he received from God for protesting about God’s actions.

        • God says to Job, “What part of ‘I am God’ do you not understand, bitch?” I see a dark side to that relationship.

          If you’re saying that Job was lucky he didn’t get incinerated for his impudence, I agree.

          #StockholdSyndrome

        • KarlUdy

          I don’t think you’re reading the story accurately. God after speaking to Job says to his friends “I am angry with you because you have not spoken the truth about me as my servant Job has”

          God was angry with Job’s friends for speaking in the platitudes of the day (God never lets bad things happen to good people, etc).

          Job asked God for a theodicy but God doesn’t give theodicies. He gave Job something far better instead.

          If you want to insinuate that Job treated God like a hostage experiencing Stockholm Syndrome treats their captors I must disagree. A better analogy is how a child relates to their parents.

        • God after speaking to Job says to his friends “I am angry with you because you have not spoken the truth about me as my servant Job has”

          Right. Job was flawless. That’s difficult to square with the modern Christian claim, don’t you agree?

          God was angry with Job’s friends for speaking in the platitudes of the day (God never lets bad things happen to good people, etc).

          Not really. The platitude that God was pushing back against was, “If bad stuff is happening to you, it must be because you did something bad.” In fact, Job hadn’t. Job was without error.

          The other difficult thing for modern Christians is that the whole thing was just God messing with Job because he could.

          Job asked God for a theodicy but God doe sn’t give theodicies. He gave Job something far better instead.

          Tough love?

          If you want to insinuate that Job treated God like a hostage experiencing Stockholm Syndrome treats their captors I must disagree. A better analogy is how a child relates to their parents.

          When a parent screws over their children for no good reason (not even to improve the child), the authorities are called in. We call that “bad parenting.”

          Job/God does indeed sound like captive/captor (better: abused wife/abusive husband). God does whatever the heck he wants and slaps Job down when he tries to stand up for himself.

        • A clear example to the contrary of how Bob says Christians treat God.

          The psalmist wasn’t a Christian. And he’s making a lament.

        • Andrea Fitzgerald

          The buybull is clear evidence that the buybull is correct. Circular reasoning KarlUdy.

        • MNb

          Does this mean you’re OK with your god ordering genocides? Just asking, for the moment I don’t desire exploring this path.

        • MNb

          As expected no answer to my question underneath. Does quite unvalidate your point.

    • Protesting? Or is it lamenting?

      • KarlUdy

        Protest is an element of the lament Psalms

        • Can you point out a few of the best examples? All that comes to mind for me would be more lament than protest.

        • KarlUdy

          Psalm 10:1; Psalm 13:1, 2; Psalm 22:1, 2; Psalm 74:1

        • Susan
        • Like I said, these are laments, not protests. My point was that modern Christians aren’t supposed to complain to God about the conditions he has imposed on them. Complaining isn’t a standard mode of communication with God within Christianity like praise is.

        • KarlUdy

          All of the examples I gave are where the psalmist complains about God not doing anything to help (Why do you stand far off? Will you forget me forever?) or dealing with them harshly (Why does your anger smolder against the sheep of your pasture?)

          This is different from some of the other lament Psalms such as Psalm 69 where the Psalmist’s trouble is not attributed to God at all.

    • Susan

      Read the Psalms

      I’m not going to read all the Psalms to see your point. I’ve just read through 5 of them and so far, everything is the fault of humans and Yahweh is just fantastic. Please link to the material you would like us to review.

      Also, are there christians who protest and then come up with anything but the conclusion that Yahwehjesus is all good? That is, that don’t use these rationalizations that Bob mentioned in the article?

      When bad things happen, God’s never blamed. That’s man’s fault. Even natural disasters are recast as part of God’s marvelous, inscrutable plan. And when bad things happen to someone, they endured the ordeal only with God’s support.

  • Scooter

    Bob, I see you’re trying your hand at writing comedy now! You must be getting short on material. But let me comment on just your final sentence, “God doesn’t even need good evidence that he exists.” In consideration of your topic on God and children, (you see that I’m trying to redeem your post) apologist Greg Koukl answers his 8 year old daughter’s question, “How do we know God is true?” His answer is simple but thoughtful. He explains that nothing technical would do so he simply points out that God is the best explanation for the way things are. For adults of course this means reality the way it is, that for example, objective morality is an undeniable feature of the world. That’s why people complain so readily about the problem of evil. There can only be a real problem of evil if real morality has been violated. Transcendent moral laws require a transcendent moral lawgiver, it seems. Make-me-up morality simply will not do. God is the best explanation for the way things are. With your recent posts on the resurrection you mentioned all sorts of theories about the empty tomb but the best theory for an empty tomb is the resurrection. Koukl points out that Christianity as a world view has superior explanatory power. Christian theism can make sense of morality. It can explain the cause of the Big Bang. It can account for the “appearance” (as Dawkins states) of design. Christianity can also provide the reason why humans are both beautiful and broken being made in the image of God, but we’re also fallen. And it has the answer to this brokenness: the consolation of true forgiveness. Now as I think of it the only close Biblical connection to baby food is the admonition that Paul gives to Christians to no longer drink the milk of the Word but to move on to the meat of the word.

    • Greg G.

      Sure, that’s a great answer for a not too inquisitive 8 year old, but it can explain anything, even if they are not true:

      Q: Why is the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter equal to three?
      A: God.

      Science explains things as they are and why they are that way and not another. With God as the explanation, the only answer “because.”

    • Max Doubt

      “For adults of course this means reality the way it is, that for example, objective morality is an undeniable feature of the world.”

      If you’re claiming that some sort of objective morality exists, consider your claim rejected. As with claims about the alleged existence of gods, there is no objective evidence to support any such claims.

      “That’s why people complain so readily about the problem of evil. There can only be a real problem of evil if real morality has been violated. Transcendent moral laws require a transcendent moral lawgiver, it seems.”

      Of course you haven’t demonstrated the premise to be true or even valid, so your conclusion may be summarily rejected.

      “Make-me-up morality simply will not do. God is the best explanation for the way things are.”

      That is not true as long as there is no objective evidence to support any claims that any gods even exist.

      “With your recent posts on the resurrection you mentioned all sorts of theories about the empty tomb but the best theory for an empty tomb is the resurrection. Koukl points out that Christianity as a world view has superior explanatory power. Christian theism can make sense of morality.”

      Evolution makes plenty good sense of morality, and doesn’t require postulating unevidenced invisible beings and acts of magic.

      “It can explain the cause of the Big Bang. It can account for the “appearance” (as Dawkins states) of design. Christianity can also provide the reason why humans are both beautiful and broken being made in the image of God, but we’re also fallen.”

      You may see yourself as a piece of shit, and far be it from me to argue your self image. For you to try to dilute your self esteem problem by spreading it all around is a shitty way for you to treat the rest of humanity. Your self esteem issues belong to you alone. If you have trouble with that, you might consider spending some quality time with a qualified mental health professional.

      “And it has the answer to this brokenness: the consolation of true forgiveness. Now as I think of it the only close Biblical connection to baby food is the admonition that Paul gives to Christians to no longer drink the milk of the Word but to move on to the meat of the word.”

      Preach it, brother Scooter. And get some help for that problem you have with the brokenness thing, will ya? It’d do you a world of good.

    • God is the best explanation for the way things are

      How can it be the best explanation, let alone an explanation when there is basically zero evidence for it?

      Objective morality? I see no evidence that it exists. Show me.

      the best theory for an empty tomb is the resurrection

      We don’t have an empty tomb; we have a story with an empty tomb as a story element. Show that it’s history.

      Does it work that way with other religions? That the best explanation for their supernatural claims is that they are true? Or are you skeptical, quick to find natural explanation for miracles and claims in the other guy’s religion?

      It can explain the cause of the Big Bang.

      ?? A child can explain the Big Bang! Of course, the explanation will have no evidence behind it and won’t be worth consideration, but if you simply get excited about explanations, they are in abundance.

      I see nothing that needs God as an explanation.

    • The problem of evil doesn’t require that “real morality” (whatever that may mean) existed. It simply claims an inconsistency with the nature of God as posited by Christians-i.e. if he is all good, why does evil exist?

    • MNb

      “he simply points out that God is the best explanation for the way things are”
      Yeah – like our natural reality being both consistent (scientific laws) and being both inconsistent (miracles). Your statement, not mine.

      “objective morality is an undeniable feature of the world.”
      BWAHAHAHAHA!
      My dear Scoot, if your god grounds objective morality your statement is self-defeating. God is a subject and hence can only ground subjective morality.

      “That’s why people complain so readily about the problem of evil.”
      Eh no. They don’t. Atheists just point out that naturalism provides a better explanation for evil than your god.

      “Koukl points out that Christianity as a world view has superior explanatory power.”
      Yeah. Herman Philipse points out that christianity hasn’t any explanatory power at all. And HP understands what he writes about, Koukl doesn’t.

      “Christian theism can make sense of morality. It can explain the cause of the Big Bang.”
      Since when postulates christian theism a gambling god?

      “the best theory for an empty tomb is the resurrection.”
      Gone over that already. You totally failed to show that that theory is better than any random naturalistic explanation.
      Basically: god explains empty tombs. God also explains non-empty tombs. Hence god explains exactly nothing.

      • Scooter

        “god explains exactly nothing.” Actually a god with a small “g” is a false god and I can agree with you. The real God with a capital “G” can explain everything. Note the following quote:

        “A well-known scientist, a very decorated scientist named Herbert Spencer died in 1903. In his scientific career he had become noted for one great discovery, it was a categorical contribution that he made. He discovered that all reality, all reality, all that exists in the universe can be contained in five categories: time, force, action, space and matter. Herbert Spencer said everything that exists, exists in one of those categories: time, force, action, space and matter. Nothing exists outside of those categories. That was a very astute discovery and didn’t come until the nineteenth century. Now think about that. Spencer even listed them in that order: time, force, action, space and matter. That is a logical sequence. And then with that in your mind, listen to Genesis 1:1. “In the beginning [that’s time], God [that’s force] created [that’s action] the heavens [that’s space] and the earth [that’s matter].” In the first verse of the Bible God said plainly what man didn’t catalog until the nineteenth century. Everything that could be said about everything that exists is said in that first verse.” –John MacArthur

        • ?? A child can explain everything! The question is, is that explanation worth believing in? Where’s the evidence that it makes sense?

          Your explanation is just theology. That’s not evidence.

        • Scooter

          Just theology, not evidence?
          Let’s consider this quote from an esteemed scientist.

          “For the scientist who has lived by his faith in the power of reason, the story ends like a bad dream. He has scaled the mountains of ignorance; he is about to conquer the highest peak; as he pulls himself over the final rock, he is greeted by a band of theologians who have been sitting there for centuries.” –Robert Jastrow, a confirmed agnostic, and founder of NASA’s Goddard institute for Space Studies

        • I’m not convinced by your “confirmed agnostic.” We’ve learned nothing from the Bible. At best, we have people like this, playing games with the facts, taking what science has taught us and then falsely retrojecting that back into the Bible.

          I’ll believe that when you show me things that we learned about reality from the Bible first and only later confirmed by science. You’re forced to do it the other way.

        • Scooter

          Let me throw a few quotes at you which should make one think at the very least.

          “We’re not asking people to believe what the Bible says about God, just “because it says so.” No. We want people to believe the Bible because of the wealth of good evidence that has demonstrated the Bible to be trustworthy…hundreds of fulfilled prophecies…thousands of archaeological discoveries…numerous details in the Bible that have been corroborated by extrabiblical historical sources, and so on.” –Charlie H. Campbell

          “After more than two centuries of facing the heaviest scientific guns that could be brought to bear, the Bible has survived—and is perhaps the better for the siege. Even on the critics’ own terms—historical fact—the Scriptures seem more acceptable now than they did when the rationalists began the attack.” –TIME Magazine, December 30, 1974.

          “I must say, that having for many years made the evidences of Christianity the subject of close study, the result has been a firm and increasing conviction of the authenticity and plenary [complete] inspiration of the Bible. It is indeed the Word of God.” –Simon Greenleaf, (1783-1853), Founder of Harvard Law School

          “The evidence for the truthfulness and historicity of the Bible continues to mount up as never before. Just when skepticism seems to be making the most noise, we are being flooded with an overwhelming amount of real, hard evidences that demand a verdict opposite to what skeptics…are clamoring for in their current worldviews and life views.” –Walter C. Kaiser,The Popular Handbook of Archaeology and the Bible, p. 13.

          “Today there survives more than 25,0000 partial and complete, ancient handwritten manuscript copies of the New Testament. These hand written manuscripts have allowed scholars and textual critics to go back and verify that the Bible we have in our possession today is the same Bible that the early church possessed 2,000 years ago.” –Charlie H. Campbell

        • Tony D’Arcy

          And the evidence for a 6020 year old Earth is ? Seeing as your scholars are so erudite and honest, – not a difficult question.

        • Susan

          which should make one think at the very least.

          What do you think copy-pasting a stream of unsupported blathering by apologists is going to accomplish?

          What should it make me think about?

        • Scooter

          “What do you think copy-pasting a stream of unsupported blathering by apologists is going to accomplish?”

          Well, obviously not much to a mind that is closed like a prison door.

        • Greg G.

          Her mind is not closed like a prison door. Her mind is open to evidence. Try that.

        • Max Doubt

          “Her mind is not closed like a prison door. Her mind is open to evidence. Try that.”

          Tick tock, tick tock. Waiting. Waiting. Christians are pretty good at wussing out when the rubber meets the road. Scooter is just another in a long line of god believing children who learned the lies and is well practiced at willfully ignore reality.

        • Greg G.

          They are trained to ignore the cognitive dissonance between what the preacher says and what their eyes tell them.

        • Susan

          obviously not much to a mind that is closed like a prison door.

          My mind is closed because I am not convinced by your copy-pasting of quotes from apologists? Quotes that consist of unsupported assertion after unsupported assertion?

          I asked you an honest question and rather than answer it, you accuse me of having a closed mind.

          Oh well. It was worth a try.

        • Max Doubt

          “Well, obviously not much to a mind that is closed like a prison door.”

          Let’s see whose mind you’re talking about, shall we? There is no objective evidence to support any claims that any gods are something other than figments of individuals’ imaginations. That is true as far as we know, and as far as you know, too. Do you have the balls and honesty to agree with that so far? Remember, if you disagree you will be responsible for providing the objective evidence. Good with that?

        • MNb

          Of course our minds are closed to bullshit like you produce. That’s because we have a reliable method, while you don’t. You’re not even capable of finding out whether our natural reality is consistent or not. It switches from being consistent to being inconsistent according to what suits you best.

        • Max Doubt

          “Well, obviously not much to a mind that is closed like a prison door.”

          Did you run away? Did it get a little too tough in here for you? Can’t bring yourself to be honest, can you?

        • Andrea Fitzgerald

          Exactly!

        • We want people to believe the Bible because of the wealth of good evidence that has demonstrated the Bible to be trustworthy

          I’ve gone through many such claims. All weak.

          hundreds of fulfilled prophecies

          BS. Go read my posts about Is. 7, Is. 53, Ps. 22, and Daniel.

          thousands of archaeological discoveries

          Uh, yeah. The Bible refers to a city named Jerusalem and—whaddya know?!—there actually is such a city! That people lived in Palestine long ago isn’t the issue. The archaeology does nothing to confirm the supernatural claims.

          After more than two centuries of facing the heaviest scientific guns that could be brought to bear, the Bible has survived—and is perhaps the better for the siege

          Laughably wrong. If this one is important to you, we could go into more depth.

          Today there survives more than 25,0000 partial and complete, ancient handwritten manuscript copies of the New Testament.

          Responded to here: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined/2013/11/25000-new-testament-manuscripts-big-deal/

        • Zeta

          .hundreds of fulfilled prophecies…thousands of archaeological
          discoveries…numerous details in the Bible that have been corroborated
          by extrabiblical historical sources, and so on.

          Please provide actual examples of what you consider as fulfilled prophesies, archaeological discoveries, etc. No use making empty and grandiose claims.

        • MNb

          I paraphrase:
          “Moses is a myth.”
          Israel Finkelstein, the archeologist who dug the entire Sinai, from 2001 on.
          That last Campbell quote I can largely agree with. Unfortunately for you it does nothing for the credibility of the Bible regarding all the supernatural claims.

        • Zeta

          You have regurgitated many unsubstantiated claims and unconvincing and useless quotes from apologists. When readers here challenged you on those issues, you seem to have either evaded the issues or chosen not to answer them at all. Why bother to post them if you are unable to defend them? You think you can convince anybody by merely parroting non-sense.

        • Andrea Fitzgerald

          You are merely regurgitating what others have said. You need to defend your position with cold hard facts.

        • Tony D’Arcy

          Evidently Scooter doesn’t get the humour of the quote he cites. At the risk of spoiling the joke, let me just suggest that whatever science discovers, religion will always claim it to be God’s work ? 100 years ago no-one had ever heard of the “fine tuning” argument for God’s existence. Nope, it took pure hard science to discover the known constants of nature. At that point the theologians could then say : Yeah God !” Scooter, like his religion approach the world back asswards.

        • Zeta

          You seem to love quoting from others. Two quotes on theology for you:

          “Theology is never any help; it is searching in a dark cellar at midnight for a black cat that isn’t there. Theologians can persuade themselves of anything.”
          ― Robert A. Heinlein

          “For centuries, theologians have been explaining the unknowable in terms of the-not-worth-knowing.”
          – H. L. Mencken

        • MNb

          Another appeal to authority. That’s all Scoot has got – as the creacrapper he is he is not capable of thinking for himself.

        • Pofarmer

          Uhm, the full quote actually gets at what he means .

          “At this moment it seems as though science will never be able to raise the curtain on the mystery of creation. For the scientist who has lived by his faith in the power of reason, the story ends like a bad dream. He has scaled the mountains of ignorance; he is about to conquer the highest peak; as he pulls himself over the final rock, he is greeted by a band of theologians who have been sitting there for centuries.”

        • Susan

          Actually a god with a small “g” is a false god

          Yahwehjesus is one of countless deities that humans have believed in. Sticking a capital “G” on the front of “god” doesn’t make your deity a special god. It’s just another god.

          The real God… can explain everything.

          “Yahwehjesus did it.” is not an explanation. It’s a claim that requires an explanation.

        • Tony D’Arcy

          Bugger me ! Herbert Spencer is your new source of knowledge ? Back to the library Scooter ! A lot has happened in biology since Herbert Spencer.

        • Zeta

          time, force, action, space and matter.” are the usual stuff every physicist studies. Did Spencer prove that “everything that exists, exists in one of those categories“? Since this is said to be a “great discovery”, care to give some evidence that it is demonstrably true? A claim cannot be considered a “discovery” unless it is supported by strong evidence.

          BTW, since you believe that your god exists (so your god belongs to the class of “everything that exists”), how does your god fit into Spencer’s categories?

        • MNb

          Come on, Zeta, give Scoot some credit. For religious tools like scoot – he’s a creacrapper – it is a “great discovery” indeed. For any 16 year old kid with some basic knowledge of physics it isn’t.

        • Zeta

          Yeah, in Genesis, your god created a flat Earth covered by a solid dome and the Sun moves around the Earth. How incredibly, ludicrously wrong for a supposed creator of the Universe!

        • Eh, the dude was old and forgetful.

        • MNb

          “The real God ….”
          Ah, the No Real God fallacy ….
          Followed by an appeal to authority.
          Of course that well known scientist was mainly decoreated by John MacArthur himself. What Spencer contributed to physics – and that’s what time, force, action (understood as movement), space and matter belong to – is less than what I did, namely exactly zilch. What Spencer did contribute though is the pseudoscience called social darwinism. Yup – you rely for your views on someone who laid the foundation for eugenics.
          Scoot, are you ridiculous.

    • 90Lew90

      Ga-ga. Googoo. He points out that God is the best explanation for the way things are in answer to the question “How do we know God is true”? That’s “simple” but it’s far from “thoughtful”. The thoughtful answer would have been to say, “We don’t know God is true. We’re asked to take that on faith. Problem of evil? Well, that’s just nature, ‘red in tooth and claw’.”

      Christian theism has “superior explanatory power”? Come on man! Is this a joke? The “appearance” of design directly contradicts the Christian claim of actual design, backed up by a lot of evidence which debunks the claim of actual design. Design has been inferred. The whole point of Darwinism is that it’s been a mistake to infer it. I don’t know how you people manage to bend this stuff in your heads to make out that you were right all along when the facts of these matters diametrically oppose your prior claims.

      “Christianity can also provide the reason why humans are both beautiful and broken.” No, it can’t “provide the reason”. For a start, you’re taking it as a given that “humans are both beautiful and broken”. Objectively speaking, what does that even mean?! It’s meaningless flim-flam. What Christianity does is to proffer a story for which there is no evidential basis about humans’ place in the world which has turned out latterly to have been very wrong indeed. It’s flight of fancy.

      It’s a good story but so are The Odyssey and The Iliad. However the idea that Patroclus wore Achilles’s armour to go out into a fight that the two of them eventually died in is more plausible than Jesus’s resurrection just because his tomb was empty and some guilt-ridden epileptic had a “vision” of him on a dusty old road. I mean, grow up!

      • Scooter

        Well, help me grow up. Explain what you hold to rather than simply knocking every point I’ve made.

        • 90Lew90

          No, respond to the points where I’ve knocked you, and then we can move on. We’re not talking about what I believe here, but to give you a chance on this one, I’m not entirely sure what I believe.

        • Max Doubt

          “Well, help me grow up.”

          Will that result in the same willful ignorance you’ve used to dismiss all the other attempts people here have made to help you grow up?

    • RichardSRussell

      … the best theory for an empty tomb is the resurrection.

      Really, no point reading anything more after that.

      • Scooter

        “The Old Testament contains over 300 references to the Messiah that were fulfilled in Jesus Christ. Computations using the science of probability on just 8 of these prophecies show the chance that someone could have fulfilled all 8 prophecies is 10 (to the 17th power), or 1 in 100 quadrillion.” –Fritz Ridenour, So What’s the Difference?, p. 28.

        Richard, perhaps you should keep on reading, you might learn a few things.

        • RichardSRussell

          Further evidence that there was no point reading anything more after that.

        • Tony D’Arcy

          So when will amputees grow back new limbs ? (As promised in your holy book ) So far never. Oh and Jesus said He would be back within a generation…. 2000 years ago ! Another dud prophesy Scooter.

        • Greg G.

          The gospels are fiction written to match up with the Old Testament verses. Many of the so-called prophecies were not actually prophecies, the author just wrote something and called it such. The chances for that type of prophecy fulfillment is 100%.

        • L.Long

          So but no again! The was no Messiah according to the OT laws, ask any jew!! The messiah part is as imaginary as is jesus. Not that it matters as the Messiah is also a fairy tale.

        • Michael Neville

          The Jewish messiah was a human political and military leader who was going to throw the Romans out of Israel. It wasn’t until the 3rd Century that Christians started claiming their Jesus was a messiah. Jews, then and now, either disagree or laugh and disagree.

        • Perhaps your source should study up more on the “science of probability.” I destroy that pathetic argument here.

    • Tony D’Arcy

      So Scooter you are OK with Noah’s flood wiping out most life on Earth as “objective morality” ? I am not. Your God is a homicidal bastard. But then as you don’t point out, boiling the likes of me in a lake of fire for eternity doesn’t show any “forgiveness” for not believing in the Jewish carpenter who made the universe. Presumably He must have used wood ? — About as wooden as your thinking Scooter.

    • L.Long

      Sorry but dead wrong!!! Morals are the actions and thought YOU find are important. When some one gawd or who ever says do this OR ELSE!!! That is totalitarian law that is enforced on you whether you agree or not. Since you have NO PROOF that the BS in the buyBull is the word of gawd (even if it exists) then the commands our of those that wrote the silly crap. And since you have NO proof that even the reward or punishment is true, then even in the so called commands there is no real power. So all morals come down to what you think is best and then stick to it…hopefully!

    • Michael Neville

      Transcendent moral laws require a transcendent moral lawgiver, it seems.

      The obvious rebuttal to this bit of drivel is that no moral laws are
      transcendent. For that matter most laws have nothing to do with morality. Thus we eliminate the need for a transcendent law giver, since such a thing is an absurdity.

      He explains that nothing technical would do so he simply points out that God is the best explanation for the way things are.

      Nothing like a good argument from ignorance and incredulity to “prove” gawd exists.

      objective morality is an undeniable feature of the world.

      Morality isn’t objective. If it was, then you wouldn’t have one group of Christians claiming that homosexuality is immoral and another group of Christians saying it’s moral.

      That’s why people complain so readily about the problem of evil. There can only be a real problem of evil if real morality has been violated.

      The problem with this bit of idiocy is that “evil” is undefined. For instance you may think genocide is evil yet your god has no problem with it. But according to the bullshit you’re trying to sell your god is absolutely good. So is genocide evil or not?

      Koukl points out that Christianity as a world view has superior explanatory power

      Funny, that’s what Muslims say about their world view. Many Hindus and Buddhists claim the same thing about theirs as well. Just because some guy has an unsubstantiated opinion doesn’t mean we should pay any attention to it.

      It can explain the cause of the Big Bang.

      God of the Gaps raises its head. Cosmologists can’t describe what happened less than 1×10^-43 seconds after the Big Bang. That’s an awfully tiny gap to squeeze your god into.

      Christianity can also provide the reason why humans are both beautiful and broken being made in the image of God, but we’re also fallen.

      So does every other religion as well as psychology. Personally I’ll go with psychology because it has evidence and logic behind it, unlike the musings of theologians.

  • I seem to recall a cartoon once with a tombstone that had “God gave him more than he could handle” on it. As you said in the debate Bob, it’s like atheists have to be the ones who point out what an omnipotent god means.

    • 90Lew90

      Side note, but I’ve always loved the epitaph the English comedian and poet, Spike Milligan, chose for his gravestone: “I told you I was ill.”

  • busterggi

    Yes but the baby will soon be toilet trained while god never has been.

    • The quip “hope springs eternal” comes to mind, but that sounds unrealistic.

  • RichardSRussell

    Christian “thinking”:
    (1) “God” is the secret agent responsible for everything I like.
    (2) “Satan” is the secret agent responsible for everything I dislike.

    Thus the family whose picnic was ruined by rain figures Satan made it rain, while right on the other side of the fence the farmer who was grateful for it chalks it up to God. See how this works?

    • KarlUdy

      I’m sorry that you have this strange idea that Christians think Satan is the cause of rain at a picnic. I don’t know any Christians like that.
      And anyway, God causes it to rain on the just and the unjust alike.

      • RichardSRussell

        I reflect on my college girlfriend, who on one occasion refused to walk into a head shop with me because she was convinced that Satan’s power was stronger in the store and he would take advantage of her unwary entry therein to seduce her away from her lord and savior. She really said this to me.

        I’ve known other Christians who firmly believe that Satan is a real presence in the world and is always working to corrupt the innocent and bring woe to the faithful. I know this because they say so.

        Maybe you don’t personally know any Christians like that, but that doesn’t mean that they don’t exist, as you will see if you just google “power of Satan on earth”.

        BTW, your assumption that it’s God who causes rain at all (let alone on whom) is utterly laffable and with no foundation in fact. Like belief in Satan’s power, it’s 100% opinion, totally unsupported by any evidence whatsoever.

      • MNb

        “this strange idea”
        Yes, apologetics seems to have a negative influence on cognitive skills.
        Plus arrogance of course. Your particular version of christianity is not the standard for all followers of Jesus.

      • Paper Kites

        Strange superstition thinks other superstition is strange, news at 11:00.

  • Sheila Warner

    I remember parroting the “natural disasters/disease/famine, etc. exist because we live in a fallen world” explanation. Now I shake my head at my delusion. Where is the evidence for the existence of a previous, perfect world? God put an angel with a flaming sword to keep mankind out of the Garden of Eden, so it must be a real place where a real human couple lived. Where is this place? Did God ultimately let it go bad, just like the rest of the world? Such nonsensical thinking all through my adult years. Even after I accepted evolution, I still believed that God did it. Yea, without evidence. It took years of studying where the Bible came from, as well as personal experiences like the ones you describe, to knock all of the nonsense out of me.

    • Is there any hope? One answer is that there is none for the Christian with the closed mind. Maybe there are a lot of avenues, each with a miniscule chance of jarring someone out of their Christian rut–sarcasm, humor, ridicule, scientific wonders, … ?

      • Sheila Warner

        For me, reality did not match my experiences. Right now I believe the most hope out there is in challenging Progressive Christians. They seem to be able to strip away the cultural biases out of the Bible, not reading it literally. If they are presented with more evidence of the unreliability of the Gospels, they may conclude a god isn’t necessary, and just cut out the middle man. Then they can realize the potential in being humanist. IMHO.

        • Unfortunately, the progressive Christians are reasonable in social areas, also. So while they’re likeliest to become atheists, they’re not really all that problematic as Christians to begin with.

        • MNb

          Now if progressive christians would drop their misplaced loyalty and start criticizing the bigots iso taking issue with atheists there might be some serious progress. I don’t mind playing the role of the bad guy if that makes progressive christianity more attractive to bigots.

        • Right. This is Sam Harris’s problem of the concentric circles. In the center circle are the most extreme (and fewest) believers. Outside that is a ring of less extreme, more sensible people who defend those in the inner ring–“they have rights” or “stop hassling them; they’re only practicing their religion in the way that they see best” etc.

          And finally you have thoughtful, harmless Christians in the outer ring who defend those more inner than themselves.

          Still, encouraging Christians to move to toward the outer ring (or even off the carousel) is good. You’re playing an important, evil part in the great play that is life.

        • adam

          “Still, encouraging Christians to move to toward the outer ring (or even off the carousel) is good.”

          Off the carousel is preferred.

        • adam

          ” they’re not really all that problematic as Christians to begin with.”

          Except that their support of the bible as divine gives support to all the whack jobs who “believe” that it’s ‘god’ tells them what to do.

    • MNb

      It’s somewhat ironical that “we live in a fallen world” actually makes sense as soon as you got rid of all the superstition you mentioned – if “fallen” means “imperfect”.

  • Kathleen

    What annoys me most about the God gets credit is that it discounts where the credit actually belongs. I have a devout friend who, thanks to modern obstetrics, survived her third, fourth, and FIFTH pregnancies and deliveries. She, of course, gives most of the credit to God because she wanted a VBAC that numerous doctors told her was riskier and they wouldn’t do. When she found one who WOULD let her try, it was ‘God.’ When she and the baby survived, it was God. When her second son was born six weeks early with breathing problems – God (not the doctors or NICU or technology) that kept him alive and breathing. He now plays soccer and uses an inhaler – all thanks to ‘God.’

    • MNb

      It’s totally degrading. The complement is “everything that’s wrong, blame Homo Sapiens.”

    • The example that comes to mind for me was seeing a woman interviewed maybe 6 months or a year after Katrina. She’d lost everything in New Orleans and had a trailer, new clothes, and a job (in Houston, I think?).

      Anyway, she does the “Thank you, Jesus!” thing. Does she not know who gave her all that stuff? Does she not thank the government agencies and/or the charities who donated money or material to her? Jesus obviously couldn’t have been bothered to get up off the couch to help her.

      • Max Doubt

        “Jesus obviously couldn’t have been bothered to get up off the couch to help her.”

        Or even to deflect the hurricane to a less populated region. I mean jeez, how hard can it be for an all powerful being to bump a hurricane over a state or two?

        • Or even cap all hurricanes at category 1. And all earthquakes at magnitude 6.

        • MNb

          I’m a modest guy. Warning a week before would already be great.

  • Great article. As well… it’s probably been already, said, but I’ll say it: That’s unfair to babies.

    Babies, after all, don’t actively and deliberately kill people. Order the rape of people. Seek to destroy people’s property (sure, your little girl might spit up on a nice dress– Ugh!– but she didn’t actually ‘mean it’).

    Biblical God is more like the Joker. Darkseid. Ultron. General Zod. Something not just dystopian in a petty way but also vindictive, cruel, joking, and snarky like a petulant teenager.

  • TheNuszAbides

    great quotes once again!