Criticizing the Logic of the Atonement (2 of 2)

Criticizing the Logic of the Atonement (2 of 2) August 8, 2016

The Christian atonement is the reconciliation of humans to God through the death of Jesus. Let’s conclude our analysis of a discussion between Christian apologist Greg Koukl and skeptic Frances (part 1 here).

Some get heaven … and some don’t

Frances gave as an example twin children who each did the same bad thing. It would be unfair to punish one but not the other. Even if the punishment were appropriate, that doesn’t excuse the dissimilar treatment.

Koukl responded that grace is offered to everyone, “and some turn it down.”

Nope—it’s not an option for me. God’s “grace” has a belief component, and one can’t just believe in something. Belief happens when one has sufficient evidence. I don’t have sufficient evidence of the Christian god, so I can’t believe. (Try believing in leprechauns or fairies if you think that determination will compensate for a lack of evidence.)

Do we all start the race from the same starting line?

Frances asked about people who have never heard the Christian message. Is it fair to send them to hell?

Koukl said that if they haven’t heard the gospel message, they are still guilty before God, and God is justified in punishing them. Paul says that evidence for God is obvious: “Since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse” (Romans 1:20). Koukl concludes, “If they reject the Father, how is the Father any further obligated to tell them more about himself—for example, the Son—when they’ve already rejected the most general of revelations?”

The Bible can be a dangerous book, and he who lives by Bible quotes sometimes dies by Bible quotes. Just four chapters later in the same book, Paul also says, “For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous” (Romans 5:19). That is, there is symmetry between Adam getting all of us into our fallen state and Jesus getting us out (again, all of us). In neither situation do we opt in; we’re included whether we like it or not. That means no faith requirement for getting the saving grace of Jesus, which defeats Koukl’s statement that grace is offered to everyone, but “some turn it down.” Nope, we’re saved whether we like it or not.

But back to this point: Koukl takes one verse from Romans and concludes that no one has an excuse, and God’s demands are therefore correct. As he made clear in part 1, Koukl wants to evaluate Christian claims from a Christian worldview—and, unsurprisingly, things make some sense given that viewpoint. But without the unearned presupposition that the Bible is correct, the Christian claim that non-Christians have plenty of evidence for God doesn’t work.

Attack on the atheist position on justice

Koukl got the last word, and with it he waxed unlearnèd. For good measure, he attacked the atheist position on justice and morality: “I don’t see outside of God how there can be any sense of justice at all.”

Then you’ve omitted your most powerful argument, Greg. Show us how the existence of justice here on earth demands God. I see just the opposite. Justice here—at least our imperfect attempt at it—shows that God isn’t necessary at all. The dictionary says nothing about a need for God in its definition of “justice.”

Next, Koukl wonders how atheism can ground the idea of objective morality, which is the only kind of morality we’ve been talking about.

Nope. If Koukl wants objective morality (“moral values that are valid and binding whether anybody believes in them or not,” according to William Lane Craig), he’ll have to show that it exists and that it’s reliably accessible by humans. I’ve seen this tired trick a dozen times—referring to objective morality with appeals to common sense (or nothing, in this case) without doing the hard work of showing that it actually exists. Try again.

And finally, Koukl pontificates that you don’t get morality from mere molecules in motion.

Look up “emergent properties,” Greg. A single molecule of water doesn’t have the properties of fluidity or wetness or pH. Those properties emerge once you have trillions of molecules. Similarly, a single brain cell doesn’t think 10–11 times as fast as a whole human brain with 1011 cells; it doesn’t think at all! Only when you have a critical mass of these things do the emergent properties emerge.

Am I just missing Koukl’s deeper analysis of these topics? Or is he so insulated from or unconcerned about the wider discussion that he has no interest in responding to outside critiques?

Final thoughts

Koukl is like a visitor from Planet Christianity who is telling us how things work there. That’s nice, but we’re here. There is a default idea of justice, and it’s embodied in our justice system. It doesn’t much matter how things work on Greg’s planet, but here, penalties must be fair and you must serve your own punishment. Incredibly, Koukl surely knows and supports this idea of justice. In his own mind, he must know that the Christian claims of substitutionary atonement contradict Western justice. The word “justice” by itself means the Western kind, not the Christian kind.

It’s hard to imagine how Koukl thinks that the outline of his worldview does anything to justify his incompatible version of justice, and I wonder why he even bothers with the justification. It would be simpler to say, “The Christian worldview is correct” and leave it there. That argument would stand on no poorer a foundation.

More on Greg Koukl’s answers to skeptics’ questions:

See also:

Some say that ignorance is bliss,
but it’s only bliss for the ignorant.
— Ricky Gervais

Image credit: U.S. Army, flickr, CC

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  • RichardSRussell

    The lunatic ravings of Greg Koukl are so outlandish that most people, upon encountering them, probably just shrug and move on, thinking that nobody could possibly be so naive or gullible as to fall for them. Sadly, not the case, so an analysis like Bob’s here would certainly offer a valuable service if only the poor dupes most in need of it would ever run across it or take the time to read it.

    • Koukl, like many of the successful, evangelical apologists speaks well and comes across as a decent, thoughtful person. Maybe that’s why I keep being surprised when the bullshit comes out.

  • Sophia Sadek

    There is a story of a Druid who argued with Patrick about the state of Irish heroes who died before Jesus was even born. Patrick claimed that the heroes were suffering eternal torment for failing to worship Jesus even though they never heard of the guy. The Druid said that was a bit unfair given that they had a reputation for doing things that Jesus admired such as defending widows and orphans.

    • Michael

      There’s another story that I recall about this pagan king converting to Christianity. While in the baptismal bath (they did full-body immersion then) he asked the priest where his dead relatives were. The priest said “In hell.” (seems like a dumb guy, to say that right then). So the king stepped out, saying he’d join them.

  • raylampert

    The men who wrote the gospels and the rest of the New Testament seemed to have varying ideas about the significance of the crucifixion and resurrection stories. But none of them (that I can see) seemed to actually support the Penal Substitution argument. None of the gospel writers recorded Jesus as saying that he was taking humanity’s punishment, and Paul seemed to believe that Jesus was a spiritual being whose death and resurrection occurred in the divine realm.

    It’s really bizarre, I think, that this doctrine found its way into Christianity with virtually no support from scripture at all. Also, if you read the gospels carefully, the resurrection doesn’t seem to be considered a physical event. Jesus’s body is said to have vanished, but the raised Jesus acts more like Obi-Wan Kenobi’s ghost than someone who was literally raised from the dead.

    • MNb

      “It’s really bizarre”
      Not really. Paulus’ theology made proto-christianty accessible to non-jews. Practical politics quite often trumps noble principles like demanding “support from scripture”.

    • Mister Two

      Since I still go to church (long story), I actually heard this briefly mentioned in a sermon recently. The preacher’s a pretty smart guy and I don’t mind listening to him. (Twice recently he’s mentioned the “prophecy” in Isaiah of the “virgin” birth and how it was actually fulfilled right there in Isaiah. He’s so close to getting it, I think!) Anyway, he mentioned “the righteous for the unrighteous” in passing (I Pet. 3:18) and said he could spend 45 minutes on it. I emailed him to suggest that perhaps he should, as it made no logical sense.

      His answer: “I’m not sure we have to be able to explain why Jesus’ sacrifice satisfied God’s demand for justice where sin is concerned. He bore our curse. His death was propitiation. He was the perfect sacrifice, unblemished in every respect…the perfect for the imperfect. God tells us that this satisfies His justice and repairs the barrier between man and God caused by sin. This may be like the incarnation itself…almost impossible to explain how that worked but a fact nonetheless. God says this payment was adequate and it has no rival in scope from His descent; His incarnation; His perfection; His rejection & suffering; His conquering of death. Not sure that this answers the question but the best I have presently.”

      And, really, that’s what I expected him to say. I only emailed him to try to introduce doubt in his mind. Maybe 10 years from now that seed will grow.

      • raylampert

        It occurred to me a while ago that if Jesus was both human and divine, then his death couldn’t possibly satisfy any of the Jewish god’s requirements because Jewish law forbids human sacrifice, and crucifixion by Roman authorities is not a legitimate method of performing a sacrifice. On the flip side, since he allegedly came back to life, there was no sacrifice at all. Plus, Jesus is never recorded as saying that his death paid for anybody’s sins. Over and over, the gospels have him saying that if you want to be forgiven, you just need to repent and ask for forgiveness. (Not that I believe the gospels are accurate anyway, but you’d think somebody would have read the damn things.)

        Personally, I’m more in line with Richard Carrier’s thesis that the gospels were written as an allegory and that there never was a flesh and blood Jesus of Nazareth in the first place.

        • Another puzzle: a sacrifice has to be delivered to the god(s). The way you do that is by burning it–the value of the sacrifice goes up to heaven in the smoke.

          But Jesus wasn’t burned. Whoops.

        • Herald Newman

          Jesus could always have come back in the middle ages and committed heresy. 🙂

        • raylampert

          Nope. But they do say that he floated up into space, so maybe he just cut out the middle man?

        • Michael

          Yes, it’s pretty obvious (at least to me) that Jesus was just crucified by the Romans and then they had to explain it. I think that’s a plausible explanation anyway.

      • Otto

        “He was the perfect sacrifice, unblemished in every respect…the perfect for the imperfect.”

        Why is it that now that I am no longer a Christian this reminds me of sacrificing a virgin to a Volcano?

      • It’s nice to hear of a pastor who thinks about the prophecy claims before spouting them. Maybe as a next step he could step back from his rationalization for the crucifixion to see that the whole thing doesn’t make sense in the 21st century. He might say that it made sense in the 1st century, but this is supposed to be a timeless book, able to reach people at all times.

      • Pofarmer

        Uhm. Jesus was perfect and unblemished because he was God. Hypo static Union and all that. He was perfect because he couldn’t have been any other way. Makes my head hurt.

  • Michael Neville

    So an all-loving god will punish people for eternity for not believing in him, even people who never heard of this god? What an asshole Koukl’s god is. A god that sadistic and evil doesn’t deserve my belief.

    • adam

      “What an asshole Koukl’s god is.”

      You mean what an asshole Kouki is.

      • Michael Neville

        That too.

  • Michael Neville

    Paul says that evidence for God is obvious: “Since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse” (Romans 1:20).

    Paul sounds exactly like the used-car salesman who told me: “You want to buy this car.” It turned out I didn’t want to.

    • Michael

      Yep, so obvious that different people had thousands of wholly different god concepts (not to mention gods), plus none. Of course, they’re just in denial no doubt, according to him.

  • Otto

    “Koukl responded that grace is offered to everyone, “and some turn it down.””

    If someone turns up and offers me a car, and they have a car to offer I can reject it.

    If someone turns up and offers me a car, but there is no valid reason to think they actually have a car to give, I didn’t turn it down… I decided they were off their rocker and my “no thanks” was just a polite response rather than saying ‘you are nuttier than squirrel droppings’.

  • MR

    A single molecule of water doesn’t have the properties of fluidity or wetness or pH. Those properties emerge once you have trillions of molecules.

    Related: How A Wave Is Unlike An Armadillo

    • T-Paine

      That reminds me about the issue of complexity. Apologists inadvertently assume simplicity when talking about the complexity of this or that. For what isn’t complexity than compound simplicity?

      Take this sand structure:
      http://a.abcnews.com/images/Lifestyle/GTY_tallest_sand_castle_sk_141113_16x9_992.jpg

      It is intricate and complex. The seeming absurdity is not the complexity and orderliness of this structure, but the structure was made of some thing so simple as grains of sand:
      https://tombrezsny.files.wordpress.com/2012/09/thats-315-times-the-number-of-grains-of-sand-in-the-world.jpg

      • T-Paine
      • MR

        And this reminds me of an apologist who’s principal argument was that he could look out his window at a famous communication tower and in that structure he saw such complexity that that the hand of God (presumably he meant through the hand of man) must be in it.

        Yet that complexity, as you note, is nothing more than compound simplicity. The engineering skills required to build an engineering wonder can be traced back step by step to the first moment a child placed one rock on top of another. What are the pyramids, after all, but stone upon stone?

        Trial and error, observation of physics, knowledge and skill passed down generation to generation. Man didn’t sit down and conceive in a moment of divine inspiration how to build the Space Needle or the Eiffel Tower. We can trace the engineering history back one simple step by simple step. We don’t need to evoke a God.

        The same with the building blocks of life. So complex, so perfect! Yet all built one step at a time from simple basic blocks over unfathomable lengths of time. The ultimate Lego set. No God Required.

        • Michael Neville

          You have to remember that many of these creationists also believe the entire universe is around six thousand years old.

        • MR

          The specific gentleman I’m referring to was all but a deist. He was fine with deep time, even evolution, but was convinced the CN Tower was evidence for a god.

        • Michael Neville

          …was convinced the CN Tower was evidence for a god.

          Now that’s just plain silly. Everyone knows that the Canadian evidence for gods is Tim Hortons.

    • MNb

      A good combination of philosophy and physics, so I like it.

      “If a wave is a disturbance moving through a medium, then what about lightwaves?”
      This is not hard to answer. A wave is a disturbance moving through spacetime. If the particles involved (like watermolecules) have restmass we can talk about a medium. If not (like photons for light) then there is no medium.
      The big fun is that the armadillo also consists of elementary particles – and hence is the result of lots of waves superposed …..

      • Michael Neville

        Thank you for explaining the difference between water waves and light waves. I knew that Michelson and Morley disproved the existence of the luminiferous aether but I never knew how light waves could still be waves in a vacuum.

  • Myna A.

    The Bible can be a dangerous book

    I would go as far as to say it is also a diabolical book, able to protect itself through its own contradictions and threats of damnation, and there are terrified minds, such as Koukl’s, that will attempt to take it to the most outrageous heights in order to argue away (or to ease) the fear. The Christian apologist’s argument always reeks of the human ego and as such is always straining against the bit for control. Hold that bible in your hand, and you speak for the god living in your own head.

    • MNb

      Most holy books are diabolical. That includes the writings of Marx and Lenin.

      • Michael

        They didn’t claim the ability to pursue you into the grave at least. So when Christians bring up Stalin, Mao etc. I think “They just pale in comparison with the god you believe in”.

        • MNb

          “They didn’t claim the ability to pursue you into the grave at least.”

          They tried to wipe some folks from memory.

          http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-4tG7lmTJtFQ/TlDzfy3P7lI/AAAAAAAAMBI/JCL05Gs927U/s1600/STALIN_RETOUCHED_PHOTO.jpg

        • MR

          Point us to the backstory on this, MNb.

        • Michael Neville

          It was quite common during Stalinist times that if a person became a non-person then they were erased from pictures. In MNb’s pictures, the first shows Nikolai Ivanovich Yezhov, who was head of the NKVD (Secret Police) from 1936 to 1938 during the Great Purge. He was later arrested, tortured, confessed to anti-Communist activities, and shot. He became a non-person and the photograph showing him with Stalin and Molotov was edited to remove Yezhov.

        • MR

          Thanks!

        • Argus

          Stalin invented Photoshop

        • Michael

          That’s true. It’s where Orwell got the “memory hole” idea from Nineteen Eighty Four.

        • Myna A.

          It’s very godlike, in the Abrahamic sense, to wipe out any and all persons and things which displease you or disrupt/threaten your power. If you take away the poetry that worked its way into the bible, what is really left but the model for a Marxist or Leninist philosophy in social structure?

          If you did the Jefferson experiment, but with the OT rather than the NT, and cut out all reference to the supernatural in those texts, maybe replace it with 20th century warfare, what you have is the model for totalitarianism…the power that knows all, sees all, regulates/enslaves all on pain of slaughter and wiping out the memory of opposition to oppression.

          The OT, like totalitarianism, whether secular or theocratic, is really an illustration of how dark things can go in suppressing the human spirit/potential given the ambition of those with dangerous enough egos. Atonement, in the NT sense, is really only a submission to appeasing the god of the OT and a denial of one’s own humanity, and the equal denial of the mind’s ability to reason and freely exercise basic needs of expression and pursuit.

          The Abrahamic religions cater to the godlike ego of their adherents, giving it permission to seek power through aggression…giving it the self-righteous status it feels it deserves. What Michael said about the religions claiming a power to pursue beyond the grave gives them just enough edge to keep the oppression ticking.

        • Argus

          Seems like a Red herring Fallacy to me. What do the acts or writings of 19th/20th Century historical figures have to do with a discussion about religious books or Christian theology?

        • MNb

          Seems like a Strawman Fallacy to me. Where did I claim those acts had anything to do with that discussion?
          I reacted to

          “They didn’t claim the ability to pursue you into the grave at least.”
          Wiping a character from memory seems a form of pursuit into the grave to me.
          The rest is your interpretation, not mine.
          My interpretation is “there are some similarities” (Myna mentioned several underneath) and “there are some differences”. Good luck catching red herrings in this pond.

      • Argus

        Holy: “dedicated or consecrated to God or a religious purpose; sacred.”

        Given that…..neither Marxist nor Leninist content could be considered holy by any rational standard.

      • Without Malice

        Marx got almost everything right about the failures of the capitalist system, but his cure for those ills was as bad as the disease. And it cannot be denied that many of the ideas that sprang from the socialist agenda have been put in use by nearly all modern nations and are, for the most part, what keeps revolutionaries at bay.

      • Rob Ward

        It’s great that your atheist morality can decide what is diabolical or not. It’s great how particles in motion can evolve to make objective moral claims as you have. It’s great how your claim of diabolical is true objectively (well, you make it appear that way by not saying that t is your subjective opinion) while denying that even God could not make morality objective. #soFunny

        • Greg G.

          We have human morality. People can figure out reality without religion though religion can mess it up.

        • Rudy R

          You do realize that the brain couldn’t function without “particles in motion,” right?

        • MNb

          The funniest and greatest thing though is the way you fuck a strawman. Unfortunately I’m not active on these pages anymore (your great comment only triggered an exception) so I’ll leave it at that.

        • MR

          Schade :S

    • Argus

      My only point of disagreement is that it is an intentionally diabolical book. What I mean is that it is a collection of additive myths and legends and polemics that, while the writers probably never saw them as diabolical, they nonetheless ended up as such when they were stitched together.

      Make no mistake – of course — such books in their final form is all about one group controlling their masses.

  • Michael

    Actually, the very fact that a traditional Christian “justice” is so different from this is strong evidence against this claim of a common-sense notion everyone agrees upon. This doesn’t absolutely disprove objective morality exists. It does mean that particular argument is poor however.

  • Kodie

    Here’s the idea of atonement I’ve come up with. I mean, the sense of justice I have is that when someone does something wrong to me, they should have consequences, and consequences would be consistent in perfect justice. I’m not talking about the legal system which codifies laws and attempts to be systematic in the procedures and sentences. We know even in that system, it’s relatively common for guilty people to go free because they did not meet the preponderance of evidence beyond the shadow of a doubt, and a consensus of 12 jurors, peers, amateurs, subject to the emotional arguments of the prosecution and the defense, arguing amongst themselves in isolation of any influence of an actual law expert.

    In the real world, when someone does something wrong to me, not necessarily illegal, I don’t think it’s uncommon for people to wish they meet with justice. They get caught, they get fired, they crash their car. I don’t see the punishment not fitting the crime, either. I don’t see, for example, the driver of the pickup truck that almost smashed into my car while I was waiting at a red light, who then passed me on the left to make a right turn at over 50mph in a 30, on a “no right on red” getting cancer or going home to find his dog died. He should wrap his truck around a pole. He’s bad and he should feel bad. I see selfish, self-absorbed humans basically taking their safety for granted when they should meet with a wake-up call at the very least. But they don’t. Not even a ticket. He’s a bully, and even when I went around the block again to look for a spot, he was blocking the way, and taunted me. What a fucking douche, so I think, pure perfect justice would consequence assholes like that who love to impose themselves on others and prove their ego. But it doesn’t. It really seldom does! But no actual accident occurred, so he’s not punished with anything, and I would be punished as an innocent in that situation if he had hit me. Not perfect justice at all!

    Anyway, the idea of a god “seeing that” and dealing with it his way, that has to satisfy most people. That asshole isn’t going to get a ticket, he can likely go a lifetime without accident, scaring and taunting people all the way, and nothing bad may ever happen to him. The idea of god punishing the bad people anyway is how religious people deal with justice.

    But the they realize they aren’t perfect either. Before Jesus, it was like oh shit, I’m born a sinner, and there’s nothing I can do to appeal to god, the best I can do is burn animals and grovel and follow the arbitrary rules neurotically. Then Jesus gave a back door option. Admit you’re not perfect, but as long as you love Jesus, you don’t have to be a good person. Now, I see people who are ok, trying to be good people, but I mostly see people as self-absorbed animals who aren’t only social – they’re socially competitive. I see a lot of teachings of Jesus as comfort to losers, and some advice on how to get along better, but in case you can’t, Jesus can still save you. I feel like just knowing that Jesus is in their corner gives a lot of ordinary people the confidence to go about and be bullies in their lives, break social contracts, and not worry. If you’re like an ordinary person who thinks god will keep tabs on asshole behavior and punish accordingly, you don’t have to worry about yourself, you can forgive yourself, god will forgive you, and you can do anything you want.

    The perfect justice, after all, is that those who wrong you will certainly be punished by god eventually, if not on earth in our legal systems, but as long as I don’t get caught, I didn’t really do anything wrong, I had a good reason, I am not a terrible person, and Jesus loves me.

  • Jack Baynes

    Koukl’s quote from Romans to prove the existence of God misses the point. Even if the existence of God is obvious, the existence of Jesus and his offer of atonement is not.

  • Rudy R

    And finally, Koukl pontificates that you don’t get morality from mere molecules in motion.

    BobS, if you haven’t already, I highly recommend you read The Big Picture, by Sean Carroll. The book is mostly devoted to explaining emergent properties in physics and his explanation of “poetic naturalism”. I’m sure it would give you plenty of blog material.

    • Myna A.

      There is a blog here on Patheos (http://www.patheos.com/blogs/sacrednaturalism/ ) which follows somewhat in this vein. The site presents a variety of authors and is an interesting read.

      Here’s a link to Sean Carroll’s site for any who are interested: https://www.preposterousuniverse.com/poetic-naturalism/

    • Thanks!

    • Rob Ward

      Emergence does not and cannot *ground* morality. Atheists miss this point over and over and over again LOL.

      • epeeist

        Emergence does not and cannot *ground* morality.

        Neither does “god”.

      • Rudy R

        I never said emergence grounds morality. Humans do.

        • epeeist

          Humans do.

          In the sense that “grounding” means to provide a certain base then human’s don’t. However while there is no way that we can provide grounding without god there is no way that Rob Ward can provide grounding with his putative god either.

        • MR

          ‘Grounding’ is one of those silly made up Christian concepts that has no grounding in reality.

        • Kodie

          They are afraid if morality is not grounded, it can change literally day to day, minute to minute, and people can get away with murder any time they feel like saying “well he needed to die, according to me” as a defense. We can just change trends in morality, like legalizing abortion or marijuana or gambling, or outlawing slavery or requiring everyone who works with children to submit to scrutiny over their sex offender status and criminal background, and not just giving some people a trust pass (like I just found out parents – usually moms – don’t chaperone on overnight school trips anymore).

          All of these rules are changing way too fast and always because people start a movement to change standards and traditions and customs. That means nothing is established!!!!!!!! Holy crap, anything goes and it makes me feel not safe!!!!

        • epeeist

          They are afraid if morality is not grounded, it can change literally day to day

          And that’s because they invoke their usual false dichotomy/straw man, i.e. if their god doesn’t provide a ground then the only other possibility is that we each do our own individual thing. They ignore things like inter-subjective or universal agreements as to what is moral and what is not.

        • Kodie

          I also think it’s the fixation they have that should a disagreement come up, like abortion or marriage equality, that they should be able to beat us over the head with whatever the bible says and not what we think. Religion is nothing but the organization of a certain subjective morality. The whole point of religion is to use a superior figurehead to determine the law so the other guys can’t win and use another way, another law, a difference of opinion, etc. What they just fail at is recognizing their opinion is based on a fantasy in a book from thousands of years ago that just so happens to have a few things most people would agree about, regardless of deities and dictators speaking on the deity’s behalf. It’s still subjective with the imaginary “grounding” built into it to suppress alternate views.

        • epeeist

          ‘Grounding’ is one of those silly made up Christian concepts that has no grounding in reality.

          Nah, it’s one of those concepts that they stole from philosophy.

        • MR

          The way they use it, it’s like they’re talking about magic. And God is the source of the magic. It’s simply human behavior. You might as well ask, what is my desire to take a shit grounded in.

        • Rob Ward

          Atheism does not and cannot ground morality.

          In atheism, we are just particles. Complex molecules following physical laws. Morality is an illusion. Even your atheist priests like Dawkins and Michael Ruse agree with this.

          The Christian God does provide the basis for morality, but trying to convince any open minded atheist LOL of this would indeed be a miracle.

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OxiAikEk2vU

        • Pofarmer

          Sorry, you’re gonna have to demonstrate this objective morality, whihc, objective means it’s available and the same for everybody. Right?

        • You say that objective morality exists? Then show us!

        • Rudy R

          Dude, you’re just another hit-and-run Christian troll, who thinks atheists will see the light after you grace them with retreaded theistic arguments. Dawkins an atheist priest? Where do you come up with shit like that? You’re loving minister? For the record, I think Dawkins is a brilliant biologist, but I don’t give a damn about his opinions on the god question. And biologists, theist or atheist, don’t know how the first life was created on Earth, and neither do you.
          Incidentally, where did you learn that morality is grounded by a Christian god? Voice in your head? The Bible?

      • (1) And you can? Your assertion that you’ve got it covered means nothing. Show us that this God exists, and then your argument begins to make sense.

        (2) What need is there to “ground” morality? Morality is simply the evaluation of the rightness/wrongness of our interactions with other living things. And if you claim objective morality (moral truths that are right or wrong whether or not there are people here to appreciate them), give us evidence for this remarkable claim. (Tip: look up “right” and “wrong” and “morality” in the dictionary and see of there’s an objective anything there.)

        • Rob Ward

          1. What evidence would convince you Bob? Try to be honest with yourself and think of 3 things that would actually really convince you, and try to keep away from the usual atheist stupid like messages in the sky. Seriously, what would falsify your atheism, or is it like much of evolutionism which also cannot be falsified?

          2. Particles cannot give you right and wrong Bob, and that is what you are under atheism. You are atoms in thermal motion that are following physical laws. Yet you think that you can think LOL. Yeah, that concerned Darwin also. The fact that you wrote what you did means that you really don’t get the other side’s argument re objective morality. I guess it helps to be on the side of The God Delusion, a book that atheist philosopher Michael Ruse said made him embarrassed to be an atheist.

        • 1. What evidence would convince you Bob? Try to be honest with yourself and think of 3 things that would actually really convince you, and try to keep away from the usual atheist stupid like messages in the sky.

          That is indeed a stupid idea. Far better would be a crowd-sourced revelation, where everyone is given the same simple, unambiguous, coherent message at the same moment. We could all compare notes.

          That wouldn’t rule out superintelligent aliens, but it’d be far more evidence than we have at the moment.

          Seriously, what would falsify your atheism, or is it like much of evolutionism which also cannot be falsified?

          What’s “evolutionism” and why do you think it can’t be falsified?

          2. Particles cannot give you right and wrong Bob, and that is what you are under atheism.

          A single water molecule doesn’t have fluidity. A single brain cell can’t think. Fluidity and thinking are emergent phenomena that you get when you have large numbers of these.

          I notice that you refused to take up my dictionary challenge. If you’re afraid of telling us what you’ve learned by looking up those words, at least be honest with yourself.

          Yeah, that concerned Darwin also.

          No one cares what Darwin wrote (except for Creationists, of course). Darwin’s writings are in the History of Science bin. And that’s not today’s topic.

          The fact that you wrote what you did means that you really don’t get the other side’s argument re objective morality.

          You are correct! That means either that I haven’t had it explained to me so that I can understand it or that it doesn’t exist. I’m going to go with the latter.

          There’s your challenge. Show me.

          I guess it helps to be on the side of The God Delusion, a book that atheist philosopher Michael Ruse said made him embarrassed to be an atheist.

          Fun! Go discuss that with Michael Ruse then.

          I thought the book was pretty good, but I read it a long time ago. If you have a particular issue that you think is fundamental, bring it up.

        • Pofarmer

          You can’t falsify atheism, that doesn’t even make sense. But you could prove your God exists

        • Greg G.

          1. What evidence would convince you Bob? Try to be honest with yourself and think of 3 things that would actually really convince you

          1. An omniscient being would know what it would take to convince me.
          2. An omnipotent being would be able to convince me.
          3. A benevolent being who wanted to me to know it existed would have done so already.

          2. Particles cannot give you right and wrong Bob, and that is what you are under atheism.

          We know what is right and wrong already. Atheism is an opinion on the evidence for a god or gods. Mathematics can’t teach you right and wrong, either. Mathematics and atheism are not about that. Religion can teach you that wrong things are right. Watch out for that. The Bible is fine with slavery and that rape victims should marry their rapist.

  • Nemo

    Except that many Calvinists would argue that salvation is not for everyone, it is only for the elect. Everyone else was created so that Yahweh could masturbate to their torture in Hell. I mean, uh, mysterious ways justice and all that. Yeah.

  • Rob Ward

    Exactly wrong. You wrote:

    “Just four chapters later in the same book, Paul also says, “For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous” (Romans 5:19). That is, there is symmetry between Adam getting all of us into our fallen state and Jesus getting us out (again, all of us).”

    But what the text above does NOT say is “all” — it says “many”.

    • Michael Neville

      So who were the people which were not made sinners? Be specific and support your claim.

    • Greg G.

      But Romans 3:23 says, “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”

    • What the text says is that the debt was paid. Period. No need for anything else from those faithful–no acts of faith, no confession of belief, and so on. Original sin is now ancient history.