9 Responses to Christian Hell (2 of 3)

9 Responses to Christian Hell (2 of 3) February 5, 2018

Let’s continue with a critique of the Christian idea of hell. I responded to William Lane Craig’s justification for hell here, and the first three responses to hell are here.

4. Substitutionary atonement

Substitutionary atonement (the punishment of Jesus substitutes for the punishment we deserve) is another way in which God is out of step with a modern sense of justice.

Christianity tells us that we’re bad. In fact, we’re so bad that we can never deserve heaven, no matter what good we do in our miserable little lives. But lucky for us, Jesus took on our sins-to-be in a Bronze-Age-style human sacrifice, satisfying God’s justifiable rage. Now we’re washed clean and can deserve heaven, but more questions arise. Why was Jesus an afterthought in God’s perfect plan? Shouldn’t Jesus have been there from the beginning? How can an all-wise and all-loving god get angry at imperfect beings’ imperfections? How can an omniscient god be angry at something that he foresaw before he even started the project?

But those questions are a tangent. Think of how wrong substitutionary atonement would be for Western justice. In cases where the justice system discovers that the wrong person was imprisoned for a crime, no one says, “Well, someone received punishment, and that’s all that matters.”


See also: Criticizing the Logic of the Atonement


5. Free will

Apologist Norm Geisler argued that atheists wouldn’t like a world with God as a cosmic nanny, always clearing any dangers from the path ahead. Atheists are outraged when God lets people die from injustice, he says, but what if God gave them their wish? The murderer’s bullet would turn to butter, the wall would turn into water just before the car crashed into it, and so on. There would be no moral consequences and no chance for moral development in such a world where free will is constrained to permit only good actions.

But our free will is already constrained. I can’t read minds, I can’t fly, I can’t see x-rays, I don’t have telekinetic killing power, and I don’t have laser eyes. Nevertheless, I muddle along despite all these constraints on my free will. There’s no evidence that a loving god carefully tuned the traits of our reality to give us a just-right Goldilocks world where we have some character-building challenge but not too much. Instead, this is just one more Christian attempt to paper over the lack of evidence for God.

You’d think that Christians would find the opportunity to show evidence for God, but here as with similar issues, Christian apologists are only eager to rationalize away the lack of evidence.

“What about here?” we ask. “Shouldn’t we see evidence of God here?”

“No,” the Christian replies, “there again things look just like there’s no God at all.”

And let’s not imagine God as a champion of free will. When God permits the murderer or rapist free will to carry out their actions, that imposes on the free will of the victims.

God as the champion of free will? Tell that to the person who is locked in hell against his will. The Bible itself tells of God deliberately trampling people’s free will.

  • He hardened Pharaoh’s heart so that he wouldn’t yield to Moses (Exodus 9:12), and he hardened the hearts of the Jewish opponents of Jesus so that they wouldn’t believe (John 12:37–40).
  • “God has mercy on whom he wants to have mercy, and he hardens whom he wants to harden” (Romans 9:18).
  • “The Lord foils the plans of the nations; he thwarts the purposes of the peoples” (Psalms 33:10).
  • “For it was the LORD himself who hardened their hearts to wage war against Israel, so that he might destroy them totally, exterminating them without mercy, as the LORD had commanded Moses” (Joshua 11:20).

6. What’s the point of life on earth?

As explored in part 1, we know that our world isn’t the greatest possible world. Heaven is far better, so why didn’t God skip a step and make us in heaven? Or if life on earth is like heaven except without the wisdom to use free will, God could just give us that wisdom.

Earth as a winnowing test is a ridiculous notion. God already knows who’s naughty and who’s nice, and he could avoid making bad people in the first place. Sure, one could handwave that the good people only get that way because of the existence of the bad ones, but (1) there’s no reason to imagine that (this is the Hypothetical God Fallacy), and (2) again, God could’ve just made us in heaven and avoided creating earth.

7. God is a poor teacher

Jesus told his followers to choose the narrow road, because most people would take the broad road to destruction (Matthew 7:13–14).

Is God so bad a teacher that most of his students fail? Many human teachers pass all of their students. You’d think that an omniscient and omnipotent teacher would do a better job.

8. God’s responsibility

If everything happens according to God’s plan, then God makes most of humanity knowing that they’re destined for hell. This doctrine of predestination is made explicit in Calvinism. While the opposite view of Arminianism rejects predestination, it’s hard to imagine an omniscient God who is nevertheless surprised and saddened when anyone is sent to hell.

Concluded with one final arguments on the illogic of hell in part 3.

Talking with theists about religion sometimes—
and by sometimes I mean almost always—
feels like “Groundhog Day,”
a painful and monotonous slog
that simply travels the same territory over and over and over.
Godless Mama

Acknowledgment: this post has been informed by the excellent Reasonable Doubts podcast (episode rd39 @37:50 – 50:30).

Image via gags9999, CC license

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • Glad2BGodless

    I love Reasonable Doubts.

    • Glad2BGodless

      My favorite part of RD is the spooky voice they use to introduce the segment on counter-apologetics.

      “Hide your faith from the light of reason!”

    • It was my favorite podcast!

  • Kevin K

    Of course, the notion of hell disproves the notion that Adam and Eve were demonstrating “free will” in the Terrarium Garden of Eden. Because Yahweh makes hell at the same time he makes heaven, which means that he knew from the beginning of time — even before he made mud-man and rib-woman — that he was going to populate it with people who did not display sufficiently strong belief in his baby boy (or whatever else theists think sends people there, like mowing the lawn on Sunday or masturbating).

    Therefore, A&E had no choice but to eat the IQ-raising sin-fruit. The snake was probably Yahweh in disguise, making sure his plan didn’t get messed up. Without the IQ-raising sin-fruit, hell would be a waste of godly effort.

    • Raging Bee

      Yabbut he didn’t actually TELL anyone about Hell until Jesus came along.

    • Raging Bee

      Is that perchance the same “IQ-raising sin-fruit” that’s making doctors furious?

      • Kevin K

        No, you’re thinking of “Tide Pods”.

        • Raging Bee

          No, I’m pretty sure Tide Pods aren’t advertized in click-bait pop-up ads on Patheos and Salon.

        • Kevin K

          Ha! Well, since I use Ad-Block, I wouldn’t know about that. Nine ads blocked on this page alone.

      • Kevin K

        FWIW: I know of no fruit that would make a doctor furious. And I know a lot of doctors and have eaten a lot of fruit, some in their presence. Not once have I made a doctor furious by eating fruit.

        What I wonder is why anyone would think otherwise? Especially to actually click on an ad like that to find out what fruit they’re talking about. Pro’ly acai berries or some such — which are pretty much just expensive blueberries as far as health benefits.

    • jamesparson

      That would be an interesting plot twist.

      • Kevin K

        You could create an entire counter-myth. Yahweh puts the IQ-raising sin fruit in the terrarium garden, knowing that A&E will eventually eat it, but then Satan in Yahweh’s disguise tells them not to eat it or they’ll die, which makes Yahweh have to have a counter-strategy of appearing as a cunning, talking snake, because unless they eat the sin-fruit, the whole hell thing goes to itself in a handbasket.

        • jamesparson

          This could be worked into a screenplay.

        • Tony D’Arcy

          With Jack the Scrumper as the villain ?

        • RichardSRussell

          In fact, what you describe has already been done — brilliantly, memorably — by Harlan Ellison in his novelet “The Deathbird”, usually available anthologized with several other compelling works under the collective title Deathbird Stories.

          Note: Ellison’s Deathbird should not be confused with Cal’syee Neramani-Summers, a fictional supervillainess appearing in Marvel comic books as an adversary of the X-Men.

        • Kevin K

          Nothing new under the sun. I guess I won’t be writing that best seller, after all. Have to settle for writing about non-small cell lung cancer. Which is where I’m pointing my cursor right now.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          DarkMatter2525 did a video of it, in fact.

    • Mopsy Pontner

      What’s that quote about god disappearing in a puff of logic?

      • TheNuszAbides

        “Oh dear,” says God, “I hadn’t thought of that,” and promptly vanishes in a puff of logic.

        • Greg G.

          I think therefore I am.

    • Otto

      Well the mythology I was taught was that Hell was created when Satan took up opposition to God. I guess I understood this to happen pre-Adam and Eve.

      • Kevin K

        But why send human souls there, then?

      • TheMountainHumanist

        And I think that is only found in the non-bible Book of Enoch

        • Otto

          Catholics don’t need Biblical verification silly…;)

    • Nowhere is it said when hell was made. Still, some Calvinists agree. We are his creatures, they’d claim, and so God can do whatever he will. One wonders why however. Just to entertain himself?

      • Kevin K

        Calvin’s god is a mean sumbitch.

        • True, as Calvin himself was. Probably not coincidental.

        • Kevin K

          Yeah, read a history of Calvin’s Geneva…very scary times.

          Of course, I’m currently reading a history of spies in Elizabethan England. Wow. That’s some serious shit, too.

          Traitors were hung until almost dead, then taken down to be disemboweled while still alive (so they could be shown their own guts), and then drawn and quartered, with their head and limbs sent to be put on display around the kingdom as warnings to others.

          Elizabethan England was hardcore.

        • Yes, indeed.

          That punishment was actually old even by her time. She just executed more people as traitors.

        • TheNuszAbides

          what’s the title? does John Dee figure much? always been fascinated by his reported/speculated shenanigans.

          Elizabethan England was hardcore.

          what’s that meme about women having to work twice as hard for posterity to consider them half as effective?

      • Jack Baynes

        A slaveowner’s slaves are his creatures. He can do with them whatever he will.
        That doesn’t mean the slaves are wrong to think their owner is an evil man, and fight to escape or revolt at any chance they get.

        • I know, and some explicitly describe us as God’s slaves. They would say this is different though as God is all-knowing and all-good. How he’s “good” though is… unclear.

    • TheMountainHumanist

      Hell is an interesting concept….there are four words rendered as hell in English translations and they have differing meanings.

      1. Sheol – Jewish underworld…it’s just kind of a gray place where shades live.
      2. Hades – Greek underworld….depicted in various ways across many texts.
      3. Gehenna – Hebrews underworld that is more like what we think of hell now – based on a valley outside Jerusalem where child sacrifice allegedly too place. Jesus describes it as a burning place “where the worm never dies”
      4. Tarturus – described as an underworld where bad angels dwell (based on a meaner Greek version of Hades).

      As far as the lake of fire…interesting…in Revelation “The Book of Revelation, written some time in the last half of the first century AD, has five verses that mention a “lake of fire”” And in one….Hades is tossed into the lake..weird. Probably comes from Platonic idea.

      So, if the Bible can;t even decide what hell is..why worry with it?

      • Kevin K

        True that. For me, it was never an issue, since I don’t think I ever really believed that such a place existed. But for others, it was (and perhaps remains) a big deal.

        You see plenty of ex-fundamentalists here who have a very difficult time with it … and they declare that often it’s the last scab that needs to be picked before they discard religion altogether.

  • Sam D

    So many of these could be resolved just by getting rid of the omnis. To which some people, such as Epicurus, might respond “Then why worship god?” but why worship an omnigod in the first place? It’s not like they need it. And why not worship a god who is merely multipotent, multiscient, multipresent, and multibenevolent? Other than the fact that there’s no evidence for one, which is a different argument.

    • Kevin K

      That’s true. Why the Christians keep insisting on these omni-properties for Yahweh in the face of the clear and compelling evidence against their propositions is something I’ve often wondered about.

      Of course, the Calvinists will declare that Yahweh is omni-benevolent, but is under no obligation to save everyone … which makes a complete hash of the prefix “omni”. But, hey Calvin, you do you.

      • Because they don’t want a less than perfect god, the logical problems be damned. Good for us, since it shows them up.

      • Giauz Ragnarock

        They worship power. Remember, ‘1984’ was not written in a vaccum.

        • Kevin K

          Nor Dante’s Inferno…

    • Geoff

      Ultrapotent, ultrascient, ultrapresent, and ultrabenevolent.

      It is weird, given the hoops they normally jump through to justify contradictions in the bible, that they don’t just concede that their god has limitations. I suspect it has something to do with not wanting to undermine his status as number one super daddy.

    • eric

      Personally I think the concept of worship is going the way of kowtowing, prostration, etc. before a king or lord. We don’t have a lot of use for kings any more, or any sort of person that we need to show such absolute subservience to (at least not voluntarily). In the modern world, we prefer more mature, cooperative, collaborative, or even collegial relationships with our leaders. The occasional bow and “your honor” is fine, but anything significantly more seems kind of weird (at least to me).

      You see this change in a lot of religions too; Christianity now asks you to have a ‘personal relationship’ with God. He’s your best friend. Imagine anything like that being touted in the 6th century – you’d have been be burned for blasphemy!

      Worship is just another holdover from stone age concepts of (having a) Lord. God is seen as the ultimate Lord, and so deserves the ultimate form of stone age subservience. But as we grow out of stone age notions of lords altogether, the concept of worship seems almost pointless.

  • katiehippie

    I agree there is no point to this life on earth if there is a heaven. Why do we need moral development in heaven?

    • Kevin K

      You’d only need it if there were a threat of you being kicked out of heaven for being insufficiently … subservient. Which makes heaven a BDSM club with no safewords.

      • katiehippie

        I doubt they do anything that fun in heaven.

        • quinsha

          Depends on who is having the fun. I doubt that any humans are having fun.

        • Kevin K

          Masochist to sadist: Beat me.
          Sadist to masochist: No.

        • Maybe you’re thinking of summer camp pranks? I’m sure they’d be frowned upon.

        • katiehippie

          The only summer camp I went to (once) was religious and it was as dull as ditch water.

      • RichardSRussell

        Why, whatever do you speak of? We’re just plain folk here in Wisconsin, where B&D means “blowing and drifting” and S&M means “sausage and mushroom”.

        • Kevin K

          Oh hon…no…

  • skl

    This hell stuff is one hell of a subject. It may be the be all and end all of atheists’ rejection of christianity.

    To explore this hypothesis, here’s a hypothetical scenario:
    Let’s say that somehow the bible was “proven” true, shown to
    be accurate beyond any reasonable doubt. So, Moses really parted the Red Sea,
    Jesus really rose from the dead, etc.
    Even if this were the case, I’m wondering if an atheist would
    still reject Christianity because of his anger about hell.

    • Geoff

      I don’t think that’s something we need to worry about.

      There is simply no way it could be demonstrated that Jesus rose from the dead. Which is why belief in its occurrence is an odd criterion for admission to heaven.

      If it could be proved that god existed, and he was the Christian god, it would make the existence of hell more likely.

      Atheists aren’t angry about hell.

      • Glad2BGodless

        There are plenty of Christians who don’t believe hell is a real place.

        I’m not sure why skl thinks our view on it matters one way or the other, and he’s so far avoided explaining himself.

        Odd that he appears to want to obscure his position rather than declare it.

      • Kevin K

        I’ve often said that threatening an atheist with hell is like threatening them with an invisible pillow fight. It’s completely toothless.

        The people who believe it in are to be pitied for wallowing in such obvious nonsense.

    • Mopsy Pontner

      I can’t speak for anyone but myself. I’m an atheist because I don’t believe any god exists. I think the bible is folk stories, and I think life after death is a human invention, because the idea of simply not being – is scary.
      But if you were to provide me with skeptic-proof scientific evidence of hell, and the rest of it, I wouldn’t be an atheist, would I, and I’d be silly to reject something, which was true, just because I didn’t like it.

      • Before you get too deep into a conversation with skl, know that he declares he’s an atheist but seems to have a very pro-Christian angle to his questions. He’s a little disconcerting.

        • Clint W. (Thought2Much)

          The really funny part is that skl seems to think he’s doing a good job of pretending to not be a Christian. He’s like a guy wearing one of those horse head masks hanging out in a field with a bunch of real horses, and he’s got himself convinced that he looks like an actual horse and that there’s no reason the other horses shouldn’t think he’s a horse.

        • Glad2BGodless

          Ha! That’s true!

        • Glad2BGodless

          I guess he’s just horsin’ around.

        • grasshopper

          He thinks he is Thomas Equinus?

        • Clint W. (Thought2Much)

          Unless he thinks he’s being manestream.

        • Glad2BGodless

          He talks as if he doesn’t realize that plenty of theists reject the idea of hell.

        • Susan

          seems to have a very pro-Christian angle to his questions.

          Nicely understated.

    • se habla espol

      I would reject the christianities because of the evil that is ascribed to your gods by the Wholly Babble. The idea of a hell, with no certain way of avoiding it, is just ne of many evils.
      Also, if the Wholly Babble were demonstrably true, then Aristotelian logic fails, and thus every bit of understanding that’s based on it, even tangentially, is at best suspect.

    • Anri

      I would certainly hope I would have the courage to refuse to worship the Protection Racket deity, but I can’t guarantee I would – pain frightens me and might very well override my higher judgment.
      My question to a theist would be: would their god want such a convert?

      • Susan

        would their god want such a convert?

        It’s been a huge part of its conversion strategy since the beginning.

        I think the answer would be yes.

        What kind of being would want such a convert? is a better question.

        • Anri

          It is indeed a much better question. One that goes oddly unanswered.

        • TheNuszAbides

          even Thomists are willing to abstractify only so far …

    • Can you give me a parallel? Maybe it’s like everybody knows that gravity exists, but some people just squeeze their eyes shut and stamp their little feet and say, “No it doesn’t, no it doesn’t, no it doesn’t!”

      Is that what atheists would be like?

      • skl

        I have no idea what you mean.

        • Raging Bee

          Yeah, that’s kind of our point.

        • BlackMamba44

          You know exactly what he means, liar.

        • Clint W. (Thought2Much)

          “I have no idea what you mean.”

          Yes. We’ve all noticed this. Over and over again.

    • Clint W. (Thought2Much)

      You do realize there’s a difference between accepting that a thing is real and accepting that it is good, don’t you? If your god (don’t even try to give me your “But I’m not a Christian!” bullshit) were to show us that everything in the Bible were true, then I would still reject Christianity on the grounds that God has been mistreating humanity for thousands of years.

    • Doubting Thomas

      It depends what you mean by reject.

      I would accept it as true. I would worship god because I want to spend an eternity somewhere other than a BBQ.

      I would not accept that god is good. I could worship the evil god just to cover my ass.

      The good thing is that we can be absolutely sure that the god of the Bible is just mythology with staying power, so your hypothetical will never become reality.

      • Clint W. (Thought2Much)

        “I could worship the evil god just to cover my ass.”

        I would contend that pretending to worship such a being for eternity would be just as much of a hell as the eternal BBQ.

        • Doubting Thomas

          I doubt it. I got a really bad sunburn once and it was no fun at all. On the other hand, I fake being friendly as part of my job. I’ve got heaven covered.

        • Doubting Thomas

          I also think it depends on how the eternal BBQ smells. Does it smell like a slow roasted pork butt or like burnt human hair. It’s an important detail to consider.

        • Raging Bee

          I would concur, and add that this particular God is just too hateful, irrational, capricious and manipulative to trust anyway, so worshipping it has almost no chance of actually getting you any favors from it. All you’d do is give up your integrity and honor, and damn near everything else worthwhile about yourself, with very little chance of any return at all, let alone a return worth the price.

        • Doubting Thomas

          Yes, but part of the hypothetical is that the Bible is true. Therefore it’s taken for granted that following the rules would get you into heaven.

        • Raging Bee

          Which rules, and whose interpretation thereof?

        • Doubting Thomas

          I was just speaking in general and not really caring about the theological details.

        • Raging Bee

          Yeah, but, as they say, the Devil is in the theological details.

    • eric

      Glad to see you’ve dropped the act and are now referring to “atheists” as a group separate from yourself.

      Personally I’d probably require evidence of hell before accepting such a place. Evidence of a god alone wouldn’t do it, because there are many religions that could be consistent with. There are, similarly, many sects of Christianity a Christian God would be consistent with. And since all these various sects and religions have different teachings about the afterlife, evidence of a God doesn’t tell you which afterlife exists.

      • skl

        “Glad to see you’ve dropped the act and are
        now referring to “atheists” as a group separate from yourself.”

        There was no act for me to drop. I don’t think of myself as an atheist and I don’t believe I’ve ever said I was an atheist. I’ve said I’m nonreligious and a skeptic.

        “Personally I’d probably require evidence of hell before accepting such a place.”

        You seem to be saying that even if we were certain that Jesus actually said all that the bible records him as saying about hell, and that Jesus likewise actually performed all those miracles and physically rose from the dead, you would require more evidence of the existence of hell. Jesus’ word wouldn’t suffice.

        • Otto

          You have said you are not a Christian. Do you reject Jesus as God?

        • Glad2BGodless

          I prophesy that he will not give you a straight answer to that simple question.

        • Otto

          I didn’t expect he would when I asked it. John 18:13-27 and all.

        • Glad2BGodless

          Right. The existence of hell is a claim. It would require persuasive evidence before I would be justified in accepting the claim.

        • skl

          So even if all the bible was shown to be true, you would not
          accept Christianity.

        • What does “accept Christianity” mean? You mean, if you showed me the Bible was true, would I agree that the Bible was true? Well, yeah. Obviously.

          But if you’re asking if I’d worship God, not unless I had to to avoid hell. Have you read the Old Testament? That guy is a bastard.

        • Glad2BGodless

          Yeah, it would be as if that creepy kid from the Twilight Zone turned out to be real. I am sure I would do my best to grin and bear it. I wouldn’t want to get wished out to the cornfield.

        • Otto

          ‘Good Boy Anthony!!’

        • Glad2BGodless

          “If the Bible were shown to be true” is so broad and vague that it is practically meaningless.

          For that matter, so is “Christianity” The majority of self-identified Christians reject some aspect of other versions of Christianity — hence the many denominations and internecine quarrels.

          My previous reply stands as originally given.

        • Susan

          So even if all the bible was shown to be true, you would not
          accept Christianity.

          Get back to us when it is. And then be clearer about your question. See what we have to say then.

        • Glad2BGodless

          You’ve spent quite a bit of attention on this point. Do you think it is an important one? If so, what is important about it? If not, why do you give it your attention?

        • skl

          “You’ve spent quite a bit of attention on this point. Do you
          think it is an important one? If so, what is important about it? If not, why do you give it your attention?”

          Because it was interesting to me.
          Apparently it was of some interest to others here, too, because my original post started a thread that’s over a hundred comments long.

        • Susan

          Apparently it was of some interest to others here, too, because my original post started a thread that’s over a hundred comments long.

          When people ask silly questions on the internet, there are bound to be lots of responses containing answers that should have been obvious to the person who asked.

          That does not make it a particularly interesting question. Just comment bait.

          But you know that. You’ve used this strategy many times before and then patted yourself on the back for all the attention you get.

          You ignore the substance of the responses (as always). You obviously have no interest in the answers.

        • Glad2BGodless

          I believe it was Bob’s post that started the thread.

          Is your question interesting to you because you think it’s an important one?

        • skl

          I was talking about the sub-thread, the thread indented under my original post.

          I don’t know if my “question” is an important one.
          But it’s an interesting one, at least to me and others here.

        • Glad2BGodless

          Sorry, I read your words instead of your mind.

          Your question might be interesting, if it were coherent. Sone of the people who responded to you are just trying to get you to say what you meant.

          Why did you put the word question in scare quotes? Do you disagree that you asked a question?

        • yeah? How can it be interesting if you’re interpreting it in your own secret way? You have no data to collate.

        • skl

          “yeah? How can it be interesting…”

          Ask the other people in the sub-thread.

        • I’m asking you. And you don’t have an answer.

        • skl

          Apparently you haven’t read through the sub-thread. If you had, you’d have seen that I answered at least once or twice that I found it interesting that people would choose a path that they knew would put them in hell.

        • Kodie

          What the fuck imaginary bullshit are you fucking talking about, moron?

        • Kodie

          I don’t see anyone else in the subthread to ask. It’s your fucking imagination that makes up other people who are secret theists like you are.

        • Kodie

          You and who else?

        • Kodie

          You care how many comments you get or the quality of them? It’s quite obvious to me you don’t care about quality at all.

        • BlackMamba44

          Because skl (Sea K. Lion) likes to JAQ off.

        • Glad2BGodless

          Sure looks that way.

        • Kodie

          What of the bible is true?

        • Kodie

          Waiting for that to fucking happen. Meanwhile, why do you think that would happen?

        • Do you have a god belief? If not, you’re an atheist.

          Of course, you could still think of yourself as nonreligious, a skeptic, a freethinker, an agnostic, and lots of other things.

        • skl

          “Do you have a god belief? If not, you’re an atheist.”

          I think everyone has a “god belief”, as in ‘a belief about god.’

          Some have a “god belief” that god definitely does not exist.
          Some have a “god belief” that god may exist.
          Some have a “god belief” that god definitely does exist.

          I suppose I’m in that middle group.

        • Susan

          I think everyone has a “unicorn” belief.

          Some have a “unicorn belief” that unicorns definitely do not exist.
          Some have a “unicorn belief” that unicorns may exist.
          Some have a “unicorn belief” that unicorns definitely do exist.

          Would the second one put a person in “that middle group”? Is that the position of a “skeptic”?

          I don’t fall into any of your forced categories. I am an ignostic.

          There are countless gods. Yahwehjesus is a combination of outrageous and incoherent claims, none of which are supported by evidence.

          A “skeptic” would acknowledge that, especially if it’s been pointed out countless times to them before (talking about you,skl)

          You’re not a skeptic.

        • epeeist

          I think everyone has a “god belief”, as in ‘a belief about god.’

          That’s nice, you can of course justify this?

          As it is I personally have a “lack of belief” when it comes to gods of any kind.

        • Raging Bee

          Actually, non-belief in God isn’t really a “belief,” it’s more of a conclusion.

          And quite frankly, I don’t believe your “I’m in that middle group” schtick for a second. You sound like a religious apologist, pretending not to have a belief in order to avoid having to defend your beliefs, so you can keep on forcing others to defend theirs. You’re a fraud in the same league as Kirthropologist, who is obviously using the same schtick to pretend to be a skeptic demanding that atheists — but not theists — prove their claims.

        • eric

          You seem to be saying that even if we were certain that Jesus actually said all that the bible records him as saying about hell, and that Jesus likewise actually performed all those miracles and physically rose from the dead, you would require more evidence of the existence of hell. Jesus’ word wouldn’t suffice.

          No, that’s much more than you originally stated. Your original statement was one miracle, such as Moses parting the red sea. And I replied that that wouldn’t do it because such miracles could be consistent with many different theologies. For example, Moses parting the red sea is consistent with Judaism, and Judaism has no hell. So there would be no way to tell from the confirmation of that one miracle whether there is a hell or not. In fact, if we had incontrovertible proof of just that one miracle, I’d lay odds on Judaism over Christianity, since confirmation of the Torah absent any similar confirmation of the NT is IMO more consistent with Judaism than it is with Christianity.

          Now you’ve changed the scenario and asked, if I had incontrovertible proof of the all the claims in the bible – New Testament plus Old – were true, would that do it. My answer to that is: I guess so. There’s always the outside chance of a trickster God pretending to be Jesus, but given enough extraordinary evidence that was most readily explained by the Bible being true, I’d probably accept that the bible was true over trickster God. But like many of the other respondents on this forum, convincing me it is true is different from convincing me the set-up is good.

        • skl

          “No, that’s much more than you originally stated. Your original statement was one miracle, such as Moses parting the red sea.”

          No, my original statement was

          “Let’s say that somehow the bible was “proven” true, shown to be accurate beyond any reasonable doubt. So, Moses really parted the Red Sea, Jesus really rose from the dead, etc.

          Now you’ve changed the scenario and asked, if I had incontrovertible proof of the all the claims in the bible – New Testament plus Old – were true, would that do it.”

          I’ve not changed the scenario. See directly above.

        • eric

          Ah yes, I see that now. I didn’t read your OP fully. Well, you have my answer in that case.

        • Glad2BGodless

          There is no such thing as “the Bible.” Rather, there are many Bibles, and Christians cannot universally agree about what belongs inside them, nor which ones are legitimate.

        • Kodie

          Yeah, LET’S PRETEND.

        • Kevin K

          Now you’ve changed the scenario and asked, if I had incontrovertible proof of the all the claims in the bible – New Testament plus Old…

          In that scenario, my money’s on aliens…just sayin’.

        • Jack Baynes

          If it’s good enough for Giorgio Tsoukalos, it’s good enough for me.

        • TheNuszAbides

          yep, annunaki yarns have infinitely more naturalistic explanatory power.

        • Kodie

          No, fuck you, you’re a Christian pretending.

      • Right. The existence of a god doesn’t even tell us that an afterlife exists.

        If there is a god, my money is on a god no one has thought up yet. The ones we see today look very invented.

        • In some ways they look evolved, with stuff that’s kludged together and left over from older versions.

      • Glad2BGodless

        C’mon. You knew he wouldn’t really drop the act.

      • Clint W. (Thought2Much)

        “Glad to see you’ve dropped the act and are now referring to “atheists” as a group separate from yourself.”

        He’s quite good at trolling, but even the best trolls slip up once in a while and divulge their true nature.

    • Raging Bee

      It may be the be all and end all of atheists’ rejection of christianity.

      It isn’t — but it sure as hades doesn’t help.

      • Glad2BGodless

        Where the hell is Hades?

        • Raging Bee

          Right past Heck?

        • Illithid

          Which is where Gosh darns people who are naughty.

        • Jack Baynes

          Hard times. He got laid off by Zeus and is now working at McDonalds.

        • Glad2BGodless

          So, basically the same as before?

    • Raging Bee

      Also, give us a call when you actually see an atheist getting proof that the Bible is true, so we can test your hypothetical. We’ll wait…

      • Kevin K

        I’m holding my breath on that one…

    • GalapagosPete

      No, even if I were to be convinced that the events occurred as written I would not know *how* they occurred, so I would not become a Christian.

      For that matter, if I became convinced that the Judeo-Christian god existed I would still not worship it in any way. Nor would a truly superior, ethical being desire worship.

    • Otto

      I would believe it was true…I would not be a Christian. It would still be a immoral concept.

      So why do you reject Christianity?

      • skl

        I think you’re the third person so far who’s said you’d still
        reject christianity because of hell.

        “So why do you reject Christianity?”

        I don’t reject Christianity. Nor have I accepted it.

        • Otto

          At one point I believed in Christianity even with the concept of Hell. I ended up rejecting Christianity not because of Hell in particular, but because Christian concept of God as Love and Hell are not compatible, and other internally inconsistent teachings within the worldview. It was not one thing, it was many.

          If you don’t accept Christianity as true I agree it does not mean you necessarily reject it as false, but you still do not accept it as true. Why not?

        • Susan

          Nor have I accepted it.

          Why don’t you accept it?

        • Glad2BGodless

          Good luck getting a straight answer on that one.

        • Joe

          Possibly because he’s a liar, but likely he’s one of these wannabe philosopher types who have convinced themselves that the agnostic/centrist position of making no claims is the intellectually superior one.

          Reminds me of another poster, kir/spiritual anthropologist, who does exactly the same thing. If you don’t doubt everything, you aren’t doing it right, in their opinion.

        • Susan

          “The Christian says there is a god, the atheist says there is no god*, I’m smarter than both.”

          You mean this guy?

          No. I’ve met lots of those guys. They don’t usually go through the carousel of apologetics arguments. They just avoid thinking about what is they’re agnostic about.

          skl shows up using christian apologetics but pretends not to be a christian,which protects him from having to defend them, but allows him to keep setting the trap lines.

          A strange little batch of those showed up in the last year. skl seems to be the only one still commenting here.

          The fake Socratic method. I don’t remember stories of Socrates ignoring the answers he was given in response to his questions.

          =====

          Edit: 33 minutes later to fix link

        • Jack Baynes

          I’m not sure what he thinks the trap lines are in this case.
          Seems to think he’s won by showing that we don’t subscribe to his “might makes right” ethics.

        • Susan

          Seems to think he’s won by showing that we don’t subscribe to his “might makes right” ethics

          He’s just baiting. That’s all he’s ever done.

          @Joe has an interesting theory that I hadn’t considered.

          https://disqus.com/home/discussion/crossexamined/9_responses_to_christian_hell_2_of_3/#comment-3747699361

          Not saying it’s right. Just that it fits.

          But so does pure trolling. And cowardly apologist.

          All of which fall under the umbrella of not being an honest interlocutor.

        • Joe

          Reading the latest comments, I have an alternative hypothesis that he’s a Christian blogger fishing for atheist quotes to mine. If he can get atheists to say they’d reject Jesus even if he was the son of God, then he can use that for the basis of an atheist-bashing piece.

          This is all speculation, but I have seen this before, and it’s not out of the bounds of possibility given how these types act online.

        • Susan

          I have an alternative hypothesis that he’s a Christian blogger fishing for atheist quotes to mine. If he can get atheists to say they’d reject Jesus even if he was the son of God, then he can use that for the basis of an atheist-bashing piece.

          Fascinating. I hadn’t thought of that.

          I have seen this before.

          I haven’t Or if I have, maybe I didn’t recognize it.

          Is there no depth to which they will not sink?

          it’s not out of the bounds of possibility given how these types act online.

          It’s hard not to become cynical.

          As Kodie has said more than once, “Send us an honest christian.”

          =====

          Edit: 7 minutes later to replace wrong quote with Joe’s quote. My cat walked on the laptop while I was responding to Joe and our latest Thomistic catholic.

          He (the cat) also deleted a perfectly good paragraph in my reply to OLTC that I can’t bother to retype.

        • Jack Baynes

          “If you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice.”

        • Greg G.

          Your typing that gave me a Rush.

        • JustAnotherAtheist2

          Where did he say “because of hell” in his comment?

          Are you a Christian?

        • Raging Bee

          In other words, you’re waffling and pretending to be undecided, so you can avoid responsibility for explaining or backing up any claims of your own. That seems to be a thing with apologists these days.

        • BlackMamba44

          Liar.

        • Joe

          OK, we kindly ask that you take a position from now on, because this kind of non-specific JAQing off is actually quite dishonest and wastes peoples’s time.

        • TheNuszAbides

          well, even “my personal jury is still out” would be a reasonable position IF skl backed it up with, y’know, reasons as opposed to their usual dithering and ball-dropping.

        • Clint W. (Thought2Much)

          Otto:

          I would believe it was true…I would not be a Christian. It would still be a immoral concept.

          So why do you reject Christianity?

          skl:

          I think you’re the third person so far who’s said you’d still reject christianity because of hell.

          Funny, only one of these people mentioned hell. Hint: it was the one who’s a duplicitous weasel that likes to JAQ off.

        • TheMountainHumanist

          Can I be the 21st?

        • Kodie

          skl, you’re fucking full of shit. I reject Christianity because it’s not only a fucking myth, but because of the stupid fucking idiots who attempt to support Christianity so very poorly. Do you reject Christianity because of the terrible arguments or because you’re trying to blend in and pretend you’e an atheist?

    • Glad2BGodless

      Even if it could be shown that Moses parted the Red Sea and Jesus rose from the dead, the existence of hell is a separate claim that would require evidence.

      It isn’t anger that causes me to think the Christian hell does not exist. It is the failure of Christians to meet the burden of evidence for their claim.

    • Joe

      I’m wondering if an atheist would
      still reject Christianity because of his anger about hell.

      There’s plenty more valid reasons to reject Christianity aside from Hell.

      The real question is why aren’t people who believe these things angry about Hell?

      • Otto

        To some extent they are. My brother is a Lutheran, he asked me why I gave up being a Christian and I said I just can’t believe God would reward and punish people based on what they believe. He said he didn’t either. I said ‘but that is what the Lutheran Church teaches’. He took the stance that it is just one way to experience God and that there are many others. I didn’t have the heart to go into how all the other beliefs about God are directly in opposition to each other. He wants to think that they are all just facets of the same thing. I think there are a whole lot of Christians in this country that feel somewhat similar.

        • Jack Baynes

          He took the stance that it is just one way to experience God and that there are many others.

          If that’s true, and he disagrees with the Lutheran Church, why does he stay with the Lutheran Church?

        • Otto

          It is probably what he is comfortable with, it is a pretty liberal church overall but still closer to what he grew up with.

        • Jack Baynes

          Though I suppose, realizing that my own church (Lutheran, as it was), probably wasn’t completely right, that none of them could be, then assuming that God could not care TOO much about the little differences, was all a part of my drift away from the church.

        • Søren Kongstad

          I was never truly a believer, but I remember once in my early teens experiencing cognitive dissonance. I could not resolve it so I consciously decided just to not care about what was true, but just accept what I thought would be best.

          I no longer remember what caused my cognitive dissonance, but my decision to give up caring about truth, somehow set me free to, at least, start examining my beliefs, and as such this set me on the path to care about philosophy, and how to think good 🙂 Not that can brag about getting that much better at it for the following 30 years.

        • TheNuszAbides

          this sounds familiar. i was not particularly curious or creative as a child, quite gullible and passive and submissive. after high school i lost interest in church and gained interest in philosophy, but i had never been an accomplished student and lacked any real rigor in my thinking for another couple of decades. waffled between panentheism and pantheism in my 20s, made the transition to igtheism in my 30s.

        • Glad2BGodless

          When I was a Christian, I couldn’t help noticing that in exchanges with atheists, the big brains on my side of the fence always had these terrible, feeble arguments, and generally seemed quite comfortable being dishonest. “Why is our side always so lame?” I wondered again and again. Eventually I realized my question had an obvious answer.

        • I wonder that this observation isn’t more widespread. I guess most Christians just don’t want to go there.

        • Otto

          I don’t think most Christians have any idea what the atheist/skeptic positions on the issues are or how badly Christian apologists deal with them. I know I had never heard them. What amazed me was, in a general sense, the basis for many of my doubts when Christian were questions that had been asked for hundreds of years and longer, but for all I knew I was the only one who had these questions (they were not as refined admittedly). If I would have heard even one debate between a atheist like Hitchens, Dillahunty or someone similar I think I would have jumped ship far sooner than I did. I also think many Christians are terrified of losing their faith and avoid things they know that might cause them problems.

        • Perhaps another example of how the internet allows people to research things on their own and learn that the emperor has no clothes.

        • Doubting Thomas

          Most Christians only hear from their side. It’s tough to see how bad your side stinks when you’ve been wallowing in shit forever.

          Edit: Yeah, what Otto said.

        • Clint W. (Thought2Much)

          That was HUGE factor in my deconversion.

        • TheMountainHumanist

          I think for a lot of people..the core beliefs are not a deal breaker if they have strong social connections.

          A lot of mainline Protestants ignore the “bad stuff” and end up being almost secular organizations that often provide solid social ties and do some good…kind of like a Rotary with a but of symbolic myth thrown in.

      • TheNuszAbides

        The real question is why aren’t people who believe these things angry about Hell?

        mindless authoritarianism? Stockholm syndrome?

    • Jack Baynes

      Let’s say that somehow the bible was “proven” true, shown to

      First you have to answer, which parts of the Bible are proven true. It can’t be ALL the Bible, since that would be logically impossible.

      Then it’s a question of, do you make a futile stand against an evil God or hope that sucking up to him will give you lenience.

      • Glad2BGodless

        I’d hope that sucking up would get me some lenience. The Christian god seems churlish but bends easily when flattered.

        • Kevin K

          For an all-knowing god, he does appear to be quite flummoxed by people pretending to like him, doesn’t he?

    • Bravo Sierra

      Let me re-word your question a bit: Assuming your hypothetical is true, and your creator was a cruel and sadistic tyrant, would you reject him?

      • skl

        I guess I’d try to get on its good side.

        • BlackMamba44

          What good side? This creator is a cruel and sadistic tyrant. What good side? How would you know it has a good side?

          EDIT: What if it has no good side?

        • skl

          The bible I think says the god has a good side, too (e.g. love, forgiveness, eternal heavenly reward).

        • Venavis

          Just like most abusers. Promise good times, then be a complete asshole instead and claim its the other person’s fault.

        • BlackMamba44

          I thought you were answering Bravo Sierra’s question:

          Assuming your hypothetical is true, and your creator was a cruel and sadistic tyrant, would you reject him?

          What good side?

        • skl

          Already answered.

        • BlackMamba44

          Where?

        • Kodie

          The bible is written by idiots.

        • He is a bastard, isn’t he?

        • skl

          He seems to be both a savage and a savior.

        • Venavis

          Have you ever actually read the bible?

        • And the fact that the Bible describes God in both ways means that … ?

        • skl

          … that it’s an extreme god.

        • Wrong. It means that the Bible is an unreliable, manmade book not inspired by a deity. It’s just a collection of mythology that is no more accurate than the Hindu vedas or the Scientology story.

        • skl

          Perhaps you also think that manic-depressives and
          schizophrenics are ‘manmade mythology.’

        • Bob Jase

          God is a manic depressive schizophrenic, well that explains everything.

          But why worship a mad god?

        • TheMountainHumanist

          Because Cthulu wills it.

        • skl

          “But why worship a mad god?”

          Perhaps because its god and you’re not.

        • Bob Jase

          Do you worship everything that can kick the shit out of you?

        • Clint W. (Thought2Much)

          A god that’s worth worshiping wouldn’t demand it. A god would demand worship wouldn’t be worthy of it.

        • Jack Baynes

          At least you’re an honest toadie.

        • Bravo Sierra

          Re: “I guess I’d try to get on its good side.”

          Okay. As a child, were you also the type that tried to befriend bullies so that you didn’t get beat up, too?

        • TheMountainHumanist

          The Grover Dill to the Celestial Scut Farkis?

    • sandy

      How often to you beat your wife?

      • Joe

        Trick question!

        Nobody would marry somebody like that.

    • Anat

      If the Christian deity existed I would want nothing to do with him because he is evil according to my standards.

      • skl

        I think you’re the fourth person so far who’s said you’d still reject christianity because of hell.

        • Anat

          Not just hell. The general immorality of the character of Christian deity. Even without hell. Please learn to read people’s responses to you and stop reading through your assumptions.

        • Doubting Thomas

          Do you think a god that tortures people for eternity is worthy of praise?

        • skl

          I think you’re the fifth person so far who’s said you’d still reject christianity because of hell.

        • Doubting Thomas

          I think you need to read better. Show me where I said I would reject Christianity.

          I also think you should try to answer questions posed to you. Others, including myself, have been nice enough to answer yours.

          Care to try again?

        • skl

          I thought you were siding with Anat (“If the Christian deity existed I would want nothing to do with him because he is evil according to my standards.”).

          My mistake.

        • Doubting Thomas

          No problem.

          Care to answer my original question?

          Do you think a god that tortures people for eternity is worthy of praise?

        • skl

          I guess I’d praise it if it granted me happy ever after in heaven.

        • Jack Baynes

          So as long as you get yours you don’t care about anyone else?
          And you think God will reward you for that attitude.
          Another strike against God.

        • TheNuszAbides

          well, if there’s nothing we can do about the hypothetical omnityrant, then self-interest would seem to be the de facto Objective Morality.

          of course, that doesn’t address the question of how we *know* whether or not there’s anything we can do about the hypothetical omnityrant … though with the fairly consistent assumption that Rebellion must be Punished (oh, kyriarchy), either there is an arguable significance to resistance, or the ultimate meaning of life imposed by omnityrant is that any decisions beyond one-or-two-dimensional “free will” are themselves meaningless (but exist anyway, because Mysteriousness?).

        • Doubting Thomas

          So the fact that god was torturing people is irrelevant. As long as you get yours, you think he’s praise worthy. I don’t think that reflects well on you.

        • skl

          Maybe the people in heaven are in fact the baddies, and
          those in hell are the goodies.

        • Doubting Thomas

          So you think “baddies” deserve to be tortured forever?

          The more you try to defend this the worse you look. I think people would respect you more if you just admit that the idea of hell and the god of Christianity are immoral and indefensible.

        • skl

          “The more you try to defend this the worse you look.”

          I’m not defending anything.
          I’m just saying what I’ve said many other times on these
          blogs. I’m stating a fact that I think everyone (Christian or otherwise) could agree to:
          The god of the bible is an extreme being – extremely beneficent
          and extremely punitive.

        • Doubting Thomas

          Maybe the people in heaven are in fact the baddies, and
          those in hell are the goodies.

          So the above wasn’t a defense of hell?

          You’re either disingenuous or dumb. You should stop with the “I’m not a Christian, but I play one on the internet” ploy. It’s transparent and ridiculous.

        • skl

          I think it best we end our conversation.

        • Clint W. (Thought2Much)

          All you have to do to end the conversations here is… shut up. Nobody here is reaching out to you and asking for your opinion. They are only responding to the stupid stuff you type here.

        • TheNuszAbides

          “extremely beneficent” isn’t at all in evidence unless you swallow the inescapably-nonsensical yarn about how profound a sacrifice The Crucifixion(TM) was.

        • BlackMamba44
        • Glad2BGodless

          This kind of mistake can be avoided by quoting people instead of speaking for them

        • Glad2BGodless

          Citation needed.

        • JustAnotherAtheist2

          I think you’re the first person in this thread to keep misrepresenting people’s posts to make a tired and irrelevant point.

          What exactly are you trying to say with this bizarre repetition?

        • skl

          “What exactly are you trying to say with this bizarre repetition?”

          I’m just keeping an informal count of those here who I think answered my hypothetical affirmatively. I believe there are six people so far. Interesting.

        • Glad2BGodless

          Citation needed.

        • skl

          Read the thread.

          Sorry, read the sub-thread under my OP.

        • Glad2BGodless

          So, you’re just making up numbers?

        • JustAnotherAtheist2

          Do informal counts generally include willful misrepresenting the views of others?

          Are you going to explain why you find it interesting? Are you saying you would unabashedly worship someone who tortures others merely because that person has unique abilities?

        • skl

          “Are you going to explain why you find it interesting?”

          I just do.
          I find human behavior interesting. I find questions about the nature of evil interesting.

          Perhaps you’ll tell me why you’re so interested in me.
          I’m not sure how many times you’ve responded to me here. Maybe I’ll start an informal count later.

        • JustAnotherAtheist2

          Perhaps you’ll tell me why you’re so interested in me.

          LOL! I sincerely hope this is some kind of joke and you aren’t as stupid as this comment indicates.

          just do.
          I find human behavior interesting. I find questions about the nature of evil interesting.

          Mere curiosity, huh? Then why lie to inflate the total? And I noticed that you didn’t answer the question, would you worship a torturing god if the miracles of the bible were true?

        • Glad2BGodless

          So your own assessment is that there is nothing about your thesis that ought to interest anyone but you?

        • skl

          “So your own assessment is that there is nothing about your thesis that ought to interest anyone but you?”

          Again, I think my thesis is of interest to many others here besides me. See how many comments are in the sub-thread under my original post. They’re probably well over 200. (While you do so you can find the citations you keep asking for!)

        • Glad2BGodless

          But you can’t give a reason why you or anyone else ought to be interested.

          I don’t see the citations. Your refusal to provide them makes it clear you don’t see them, either.

        • skl

          Do word searches on “first”, “second”, “third”, “fourth”, “fifth”, and “sixth”.

        • Clint W. (Thought2Much)

          What, you mean the ones where you claimed that people said “because of hell” when they didn’t mention hell at all? Asshole.

        • Glad2BGodless

          You take a long time to say you can’t do it.

        • Susan

          Do word searches on “first”, “second”, “third”, “fourth”, “fifth”, and “sixth”.

          You never stop being a disingenuous weasel, do you skl? I remember you doing this sort of things months ago when I (like poor Otto and others are doing now) was trying to have a respectful discussion with you. Finally, I could come to no other conclusion than you were intentionally being a disingenuous asshole and suggested that

          So, you blocked me You were and still are a useless waste of comment space. Your schtick never changes.

          What motivates you to behave like this?

        • Otto

          I did to. I am a glutton for punishment…;)

        • BlackMamba44

          And just in case you still have Susan blocked, I’ll repost:

          Susan: “You never stop being a disingenuous weasel, do you skl? I remember you doing this sort of things months ago when I (like poor Otto and others are doing now) was trying to have a respectful discussion with you. Finally, I could come to no other conclusion than you were intentionally being a disingenuous asshole and suggested that

          So, you blocked me You were and still are a useless waste of comment space. Your schtick never changes.

          What motivates you to behave like this?”

        • skl

          “And just in case you still have Susan blocked, I’ll repost:
          Susan: “You never stop being a disingenuous weasel…disingenuous
          asshole… useless waste of comment space.””

          I don’t block anyone.

          Goodbye, BlackMamba44.

        • BlackMamba44

          Why are you saying goodbye?

          I’m guessing you don’t see Susan’s comments? Why? Did you block her? If you do see her posts, the least you can do is acknowledge them. I mean, after all, you showed up here.

          EDIT: Since you don’t block anyone then I can comment and you will still see what I post. And I will assume that you saw Susan’s post calling you a “disingenuous weasel…disingenuous asshole…useless waste of comment space…”

          Since you don’t block anyone…

        • Susan

          Why are you saying goodbye?

          What he means is he’s blocked you. He didn’t even say it directly.
          (Ooh… he luvs his innuendo, clever little parsnip.)

          My condolences. From this point on, you won’t be able to partake in the valuable and enlightening process that comes from engaging with Sea K. Lion directly.

          His tactic is to hog up comment space, dominate the conversation by saying very silly things, getting lots of reactions, avoid taking responsibility for the exchange, and when you finally call him out for being a disingenuous weasel, he punishes you by blocking you.

          It’s supposed to be your private hell on earth.

          A taste of what’s to come from his imaginary Uberlord.

        • BlackMamba44

          I feel so tortured right now.

        • Kodie

          So you’re the asshole reason why I got behind in my reading? I saw the post had over 500 comments and gave up several times. Is the whole thing just your shit?

        • Glad2BGodless

          Which six? Let’s see the relevant quotes.

        • Interesting how? Since only you can understand your original question, I see no valid data at all, either to us or to you.

          What objective observer thinks that the Christian concept of hell (a moving target, I’ll admit) is ethical, sensible, reasonable, etc.?

        • TheMountainHumanist

          you may want to stop thinking if it leads you to so many errors.

        • Clint W. (Thought2Much)

          “you may want to stop thinking…”

          I know. He’s obviously not very good at it.

        • TheNuszAbides

          if skl is less clever than they think they are, the claims of skepticism are hamstrung by bad habits &or poor practice.

          if skl’s motives are more inscrutable than they’ve generally been credited for – e.g. they’re playing some kind of “this is the logical extension of [atheism &or skepticism] and I’m making them look bad [or ‘holding up a mirror’ or whatever]” game – then they’re too dry/incompetent for even their target audience (judging, admittedly superficially, by the consistent lack of any upvotes even when uncritical tools abound BTL).

          {edited five or six times to cohere, and grammar bugs}

        • Kodie

          If Christianity were true, who could reject it? I really don’t understand, I mean, I don’t reject hurricanes exist and earthquakes and cancer. I don’t reject those things because I don’t like them. But I still don’t like them. You’re a dishonest putz.

        • Kevin K

          Not to mention the fact that spending an eternity in heaven doing nothing but praising the god in question seems like … well … torture to me.

        • TheNuszAbides

          seriously, how is it qualitatively any different than the fabled lotus-eater community?

        • And you still haven’t explained what you mean.

          Are you saying you’d gladly worship the sadistic bastard from the Old Testament? Or that you’d do your best to pretend and blend in, just to avoid Daddy’s belt? Or that if the Bible were proven to be true, you’d accept that the Bible was true?

        • Kevin K

          What if only the OT was proven true? Does that mean all that bacon you’ve eaten over the years is sending you straight to … well, not hell, but wherever it is dead Jews go? We’d all be triple screwed, because I haven’t made a burnt offering in … well … not since the last time I burned the roast.

        • skl

          “Are you saying you’d gladly worship the sadistic bastard from the Old Testament?”

          I don’t think that’s accurate. I think the god of the bible is supposed to be the same in both the old and the new testaments.

          “Or that you’d do your best to pretend and blend in, just to avoid Daddy’s belt”

          I’m not sure. I suppose so. Although I’m not sure if christian theology would say you can go to heaven strictly out of fear
          of avoiding punishment (i.e. without loving god).

          “Or that if the Bible were proven to be true,
          you’d accept that the Bible was true?”

          That’s a given in the hypothetical. What’s interesting is that some would reject the god of the bible even if it were true.
          Kind of like the bible’s satan, I guess.

        • Glad2BGodless

          Supposed to be the same according to whom?

        • skl

          According to the people who believe in the bible (i.e. old+new testaments).

        • Glad2BGodless

          So, the people who suppose it is the same god suppose it is the same god? Insightful.

          By the same token, the people who suppose it is not the same god suppose it is not the same. That would include the people who wrote the Old Testament, which is the majority of the Bible. So their input ought to count for something.

        • skl

          It is what it is.

        • Glad2BGodless

          Giving up? If I had to defend your position, I would give up, too.

        • Venavis

          “What’s interesting is that some would reject the god of the bible even if it were true.”

          Yes, that’s because unlike you, we’ve READ the damn thing. If it’s true, that is all the more reason to reject the god of the bible.

          Why would we follow someone who murdered a child because they were annoyed at the kid’s father?
          Why would we follow someone who orders people slaughtered because they have an interracial marriage?

          If the bible were true, good and decent people should rise the fuck up against it’s so-called god.

        • skl

          If I haven’t already, I’ll count you among the half-dozen or more who have answered my hypothetical in the affirmative.

        • Glad2BGodless

          Citation needed.

        • Venavis

          So it’s not an inability to read, it’s just you JAQing off.

          I notice you didn’t answer the questions.

          Why would we follow someone who murdered a child because they were annoyed at the kid’s father?
          Why would we follow someone who orders people slaughtered because they have an interracial marriage?

          Have you actually read the bible?

        • Jack Baynes

          I don’t think that’s accurate. I think the god of the bible is supposed to be the same in both the old and the new testaments.

          They claim that, then try to dismiss everything God was supposed to have done in the Old Testament.

          Ok, so amend it to “The sadistic bastard from the Bible”

        • Glad2BGodless

          What’s interesting about the fact that some people would reject the god of the Bible?

        • skl

          “What’s interesting about the fact that some people would
          reject the god of the Bible?”

          It’s not really that.

          It’s that some people would reject the god of the bible even
          if they knew it was true.

        • Glad2BGodless

          Again, what is it about that that strikes you as interesting?

        • Jack Baynes

          skl can’t imagine someone not bowing to the biggest bully on the block.

        • skl

          It’s interesting to me because such people would be freely choosing to go to hell.

        • Glad2BGodless

          Why is that interesting?

        • skl

          I’ll let you come up with some guesses.

        • Glad2BGodless

          So you don’t actually have any reasons. I suspected as much.

        • Jack Baynes

          I’m not going to freely go to hell. If your evil God wants me to go to hell for not kissing his ass he’ll have to send me there.

        • Glad2BGodless

          Right. I would be freely choosing to go to hell in the same sense that I might freely choose to give a mugger my wallet.

        • Jack Baynes

          According to skl, that mugger has a gun and you don’t, so He’s good.

        • Venavis

          Define hell, because to be blunt – bowing to the will of such a tyrant as this ‘god’ bloke is hell.

        • Bob Jase

          That’s where Yahweh was so brilliant – there is no ‘Heaven’ only a Hell, its just marketed to make people think there’s a choice. Either way you lose.

        • skl

          That sounds like something satan might have said.

        • TheMountainHumanist

          How have you been able to determine that satan exists or says anything about anything?

        • skl

          Just going by what I heard the bible or bible believers say.

        • TheMountainHumanist

          Yep…that seems to be the source…(of course the bible is all over the place as to what Satan is)

          Ironically…most of what Christians think they know of Satan comes from the non-biblical books like Enoch and Tobit.

          Going by what I heard the Reg Veda and Hindus say…seems that Vishnu is a blue skinned god who sometimes fights battles.

        • Philmonomer

          It’s interesting to me because such people would be freely choosing to go to hell.

          And yet, a stock Christian argument (which I hear over and over again), is that God chooses to remain hidden (or not show himself more fully) in order not to violate people’s free will. If he actually showed up, people would be “forced” to believe in Him (and, presumably, become followers of Him—although as Bob S. pointed out, the two are not the same thing).

        • It’s that some people would reject the god of the bible even
          if they knew it was true.

          What part of “he’s an asshole” do you not understand?

        • They say it’s the same god, and yet the theology is different. It’s almost like ordinary men wrote a developing story, and compilers had to make sense of disparate books to try to cobble together a more-or-less consistent canon. A tough job, I’m sure.

          I’m not sure if christian theology would say you can go to heaven strictly out of fear of avoiding punishment (i.e. without loving god).

          Yes, valid point. If you’re just pretending, God presumably can tell. He won’t let you into the Good Place® in that case.

          That’s a given in the hypothetical.

          Right. You do see that this is almost a tautology and therefore says nothing interesting, right?

          What’s interesting is that some would reject the god of the bible even if it were true.

          And we’ve come full circle, without you telling us what this means. If there truly is an asshole god, as described in the OT, what’s surprising about rejecting him?? This seems to surprise you, and yet it should be laudable by anyone who understands the issue.

        • skl

          “If there truly is an asshole god, as described in the OT,
          what’s surprising about rejecting him?? This seems to surprise you, and yet it should be laudable by anyone who understands the issue.”

          Maybe I’m surprised that many are surprised that the bible
          says many are going to hell.

        • Is this a non sequitur or am I missing your point completely?

        • skl

          I think the latter.

        • TheNuszAbides

          nope, absolutely the former unless/until you back it up, which of course would be out of character.

        • TheNuszAbides

          many are surprised that the bible says many are going to hell

          cite or stfu already. and no, i don’t care that this is threadnecro. it’s exceptionally ridiculous even coming from you.

        • TheMountainHumanist

          ” think the god of the bible is supposed to be the same in both the old and the new testaments.”

          So both gods condone slavery….nice.

        • TheNuszAbides

          I’m not sure if christian theology would say

          for a sensible test of what you are even basing your comments on, try making a list of what you imagine “christian theology” wouldn’t say. how much shall we bet that you (or anyone else) can’t come up with anything other than humdrum deepities and question-begging?

          What’s interesting is that some would reject the god of the bible even if it were true. Kind of like the bible’s satan, I guess.

          apparently in your skeptical vigilance you still haven’t stumbled over Joy of Satan.

        • Glad2BGodless

          Just to be clear, I would do my level best to pretend and blend in. I would fold like Superman on laundry day.

        • Kevin K

          Don’t let Pascal hear you say that!

        • TheMountainHumanist

          well we get to capture, keep and beat up slaves..so maybe there’s something to this book…right?

        • And we get to keep all the virgin women.

          It’s a sweet gig, being part of God’s Chosen … unless you’re the wrong gender or wrong tribe or have a physical imperfection or have Moabites in your lineage or do work on the Sabbath or …

        • TheMountainHumanist

          “I vant to buy your wimen…the wife…the girl…sell me your children” Jake Blues

        • Otto

          I think a number of people have said there is far more to it than just rejecting Christianity because of hell and you have ignored every one of them, including me. Why is that?

        • skl

          The hypothetical says that the bible is true.
          In the ‘rejection because of hell’ we could include all the bible
          behaviors you consider hellish.

        • Jack Baynes

          Why not just say “rejection because of God’s evil”?

        • skl

          Essentially the same thing.

        • Venavis

          If the bible were true, I would reject its god because of this:

          http://www.skepticsannotatedbible.com/cruelty/long.html

          And this:

          http://www.skepticsannotatedbible.com/inj/long.html

          And this:

          http://www.skepticsannotatedbible.com/int/long.html

          And frankly, also because of this:

          http://www.skepticsannotatedbible.com/abs/long.html

          Are you stating that you follow god despite all that? What does that say about you?

        • skl

          What it says about you is that you think you’re better than it.

        • Raging Bee

          Yes, we’re ALL better than the abusive, capricious, manipulative, vindictive, savage little god you worship (even as you pretend not to worship him — guess you’re not real proud of your beliefs, are you?).

        • Better than the god of the Old Testament? Sure. Who isn’t?

        • Venavis

          Alright, since you’ve displayed an unwillingness to actually read posts or answer questions as well as a distinct lack of intellectual honesty, I’m just going to go ahead and add you to my block list instead of wasting any more of my time.

        • BlackMamba44

          I know I’m better than that asshole god could ever hope to be.

        • TheMountainHumanist

          My morals are better than Bible morals….I have no problem with that.

        • Otto

          Most of us would reject Christianity as ethical. I do not see that as a surprise. I don’t see how ethically Hell could ever be seen as anything but an immoral concept. Do you have an argument as to why it should or could be seen otherwise?

        • skl

          “Most of us would reject Christianity as ethical…
          I don’t see how ethically Hell could ever be seen as
          anything but an immoral concept. Do you have an argument as to why it should or could be seen otherwise?”

          No I do not. Hell would not be justifiable according to my ethics.

          But my difference of opinion on ethics is worth approximately zero. And so is yours.

          Because ethics can vary from person to person. More importantly,
          I think that, ultimately, Might Makes Right, that is, Might Makes the Way It’s Going To Be.

          Whether you like it or not.

        • Jack Baynes

          Well, you ethics appear to be, “Bow down to the biggest bully around in order to save my skin”, so you’re right that your ethics are worth zero.

        • skl

          And so are yours.

        • Venavis

          Bullshit.

        • Glad2BGodless

          Difference of opinion with whom?

        • skl

          Anyone else.

        • Glad2BGodless

          If differences of opinion are worth zero, why do you seek the opinions of others?

        • skl

          To see how far from reality they are.

        • Glad2BGodless

          If their value is zero, how are you measuring that?

        • skl

          By comparing their real value (zero) to their
          self-deluded unreal value (something “positive”).

        • Glad2BGodless

          OK. Let’s see you do that.

        • skl

          Done.

        • Glad2BGodless

          Just because you quit a job doesn’t mean you did the job.

        • BlackMamba44

          To see how far from reality they are.

          You consider yourself an authority on that?

          Really? Ms. Sea K. Lion, JAQ.

        • Otto

          Might may make the way it is going to be but that doesn’t make it right. This is the point we are trying to get across and you are being obtuse. Our opinions are really the only thing we own, you may feel yours aren’t worth anything but don’t include me in that thought.

        • skl

          “Might may make the way it is going to be but that doesn’t
          make it right.”

          Well now could be the perfect time for you, Otto, to tell us
          infallibly what is right for all time and for all people.

        • Otto

          I didn’t make that claim. I made a statement that what is right is not determined by how mighty someone or something is. Apparently you think power does speak to how ethical something is. Following your logic, if a person broke into your house and gained control over you and your family he would be ethical at the point he had power over you. I am sorry you do not see that as a problem.

        • skl

          “I didn’t make that claim. I made a statement that what
          is right is not determined by how mighty someone or something is.”

          But that’s just a statement. Doesn’t make it “right”.

        • Otto

          You are correct. Now it is something we can make a case for. Philosophers and people that study ethics determined a long time ago that power is not a basis for what is right. I happen to agree with them and I can make my case why…as I did in my analogy. You of course are welcome to provide an argument refuting that. I am all ears.

        • skl

          “Philosophers and people that study ethics determined a long
          time ago that power is not a basis for what is right. I happen to agree with them and I can make my case why…as I did in my analogy.”

          Those particular philosophers and particular studiers of
          ethics and you are just people with opinions about what is “right.” Whether everyone agrees with you or no one agrees with you, doesn’t make it “right”. It just makes it something everyone or no one agrees on.

          Your analogy – “if a person broke into your house and gained
          control over you and your family he would be ethical at the
          point he had power over you. I am sorry you do not see that as a problem” – is no different than that of one lion attacking another’s den and killing its cubs. Happens all the time. Perhaps you’d protest that the attacking lion is being unethical.

          I hope you can run faster than him.

        • Otto

          Now you have switched back to ‘what is’ and not about ethics. Yes if God existed he could squash me like a bug. That wouldn’t make him any less of a monster.

          Am I told that the Lion loves me? Is the Lion all powerful? This conversation either seems to be way over your head, or you have decided that you are so loath to admit you are wrong so as to continue it dishonestly.

        • skl

          “This conversation either seems to be way over your head, or you have
          decided that you are so loath to admit you are wrong so as to continue
          it dishonestly.”

          Neither.
          But you can quit this conversation at any time.

        • Clint W. (Thought2Much)

          “WAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHH!!!!!! WHY ARE YOU BEING SO MEAN TO ME WHEN I TYPE STUPID THINGS???? STOP TALKING TO ME UNLESS YOU CAN AGREE WITH THE DUMB THINGS I SAY!!!!!”

        • Otto

          C’mon skl, do you really not understand the difference between a Lion that has to eat and the Christian God who is all powerful and has no need of anything torturing people? Can you at least attempt to be honest in the discussion?

        • skl

          “C’mon skl, do you really not understand the difference
          between a Lion that has to eat and the Christian God…”

          From what I recall, the attacking lion does not kill the
          cubs to eat them.

        • Otto

          Regardless, you are still skirting the issue. Either defend the idea that power is a basis for morality or admit it isn’t.

        • skl

          “Regardless, you are still skirting the issue. Either defend
          the idea that power is a basis for morality or admit it isn’t.”

          Maybe after you defend the idea that the lion
          killing the cubs is immoral/unethical.

        • Otto

          I don’t have to because it has nothing to do with the issue.

          Either defend the idea that power is a basis for morality or admit it isn’t.

        • Susan

          Can you at least attempt to be honest in the discussion?

          Hi Otto. No. That’s not going to happen. He has never been motivated to do so.

          He’s been doing this sort of thing for a long time.

        • Otto

          I know…I keep thinking a leopard can change his spots. Silly me.

        • Jack Baynes

          I guess God is now just an animal acting on instincts.

        • BlackMamba44

          “More importantly, I think that, ultimately, Might Makes Right, that is, Might Makes the Way It’s Going To Be. Whether you like it or not.”

          With all that random capitalization, you just told on yourself. From here on out, anytime you call yourself a skeptic, I’m going to call you out as a liar. In fact, I’m going to bookmark this comment and link to the comment and quote it every time I see you claim you are a skeptic and/or non-religious.

        • TheMountainHumanist

          Then YOUR ethics apply to YOU and only YOU.

          “Might Makes Right, that is, Might Makes the Way It’s Going To Be.”

          Then you better hope you live in a society where you are the mightiest.

        • Jack Baynes

          So it was Morally Right for a slaveowner to beat his slaves in antebellum America?

        • skl

          No Moral Right or Moral Wrong about it.

          Just one mighty person doing what he wanted, until someone mightier stopped him.

        • Raging Bee

          Yeah, we could include all those actions, if we wanted to let you move your own poorly-placed goalposts.

        • Glad2BGodless

          Citation needed.

    • RichardSRussell

      To explore this analogy, here’s a comparable scenario:

      Let’s say that somehow the story of Al Capone were “proven” true, shown to be accurate beyond any reasonable doubt. So, ol’ Scarface really ordered the Saint Valentine’s Day massacre, poisoned lots of people with bathtub gin, laundered money, bribed public officials, evaded his income taxes, etc.

      Even if this were the case, I’m wondering if a capitalist would still admire his crimes because he made a lot of money doing it.

      • Raging Bee

        Capitalists like Trump sure as hell would. And do.

      • skl

        Capitalists are not by definition criminals,
        nor admirers of criminals.

        • RichardSRussell

          Not “by definition”, no. But it’s still a valid question, right? If the one thing that rings your chimes more than anything else is the ability to make a lot of money, you’d be willing to overlook how you went about it, wouldn’t you? Because that’s essentially the same question you’re asking about the fear of hell: “Is it really, really, really that important to you?”

        • skl

          “But it’s still a valid question, right? If the one thing that rings your chimes more than anything else is the ability to make a lot of money, you’d be willing to overlook how you went about it, wouldn’t you?”

          No, I would not.

        • eric

          Hey, you might actuallly be getting it!

          So if the one thing that rings your chimes more than anything else is the ability to get into heaven, you’d be willing to overlook how God made it happen, wouldn’t you?

          No, we would not.

        • skl

          “Hey, you might actuallly be getting it!”

          Maybe not.

          In my hypothetical, the god decides which chimes ring true. I’d probably go with their sound.

        • Jack Baynes

          That wasn’t the hypothetical you put forth. Moving goalposts again?

        • skl

          “That wasn’t the hypothetical you put forth. Moving goalposts again?”

          No. And no moving of goal posts.
          I think you’d find that the bible says ‘god decides which
          chimes ring true’, so to speak.

    • Pofarmer

      Most people who deconvert will tell you fear of hell was one of the last things to go.

    • JustAnotherAtheist2

      Forgive me for invoking Goodwin’s Law, but your question is about as senseless as asking if a proper demonstration of Hitler’s existence and actions would be enough to make me accept Nazism.

      Of course not, why would it?

      • Raging Bee

        At least your hypothetical is testable, because Hitler was proven to have existed. skl’s isn’t, which makes it the bluff that keeps on bluffing. Sort of like arrogantly shouting “You wouldn’t be able to handle proof of God’s existence!”

      • Great response! Frank Turek (the other Cross Examined guy) has used the argument skl brings up. Turek plays games with the fact that the question has two interpretations: “If I proved to you that Christianity were true … (1) would you believe it?” and “… (2) would you accept Jesus?” When the atheist responds No (to interpretation 2), Turek pretends that it’s a response to interpretation 1 and then blathers on about how intransigent atheists are–they have the evidence but they admit that they still wouldn’t accept it, so their celebration of evidence is BS, and on and on.

        • Glad2BGodless

          What I adore about Frank Turek is that he never utters an original thought. Like so many apologists, the best thing he has going for him is a good haircut and an accommodating audience. He steals from every apologist who came ahead of him, and yet millions of Christians treat him like the incarnation of Socrates. I love talking to theists who make the mistake of taking Frank Turek seriously.

        • The Christian apologists’ secret weapon: confidence. Doesn’t have to be justified confidence, but just giving that confident air seems to be all that’s needed (largely because that’s all that’s wanted by the flock).

        • Ficino

          Multiple upvote. I believe that the confidence and self-presentation of the speaker plays a huge role in the success of that speaker’s attempts to spread the message. It’s almost like a Little Rascals episode where Spanky yells, “Hey kids, I’ve got an idea!” and the rest all go racing after him w/ no idea what the idea is. Or Bluto’s road trip and eventual getting the girl.

        • Kevin K

          Confidence and a deep baritone voice … you never hear a soprano at the pulpit. (And yes, I’m counting Joyce Meyer in among that crowd.)

        • JustAnotherAtheist2

          One of the most charismatic preachers I’ve encountered had a strangely high pitched voice. It was immediately disorienting but he was so smooth and polished a speaker (and sincere, I should add, a genuinely terrific guy) that it only took a few minutes to get past it.

        • Kevin K

          Ha! Exception that proves the rule.

        • Glad2BGodless

          Abe Lincoln is supposed to have had a high pitched voice.

        • Glad2BGodless

          For entertainment, I try to figure out to what degree they are taken in by their own con. At this point I am inclined to see most of them as maximally cynical grifters, purely interested in fleecing the marks.

        • Doubting Thomas

          Which option is worse:
          -Grifters fleecing marks
          or
          -Dumb enough to believe their own shtick?

          I guess thinking about it, option 1 is worse, but neither option is a good one.

        • TheNuszAbides

          usually the only difference will be in how they ‘martyr’ themselves in the face of opposition – option-1s will have to be dishonest about it whereas option-2s merely have a choice of whether to be humble about it. but i agree option 1 is basically worse, since they are by definition capable of active manipulation based on more realistic calculations, whereas the latter are mostly just ‘fellow tools’ with something like a knack for public speaking.

        • TheNuszAbides

          of course, confidence/charisma will consistently persuade any audience that isn’t already in the habit of questioning assumptions/axioms/premisses, analyzing rhetoric, etc.

        • TheMountainHumanist

          and smart guy glasses.

        • Kevin K

          If you say “sure, if you can prove the bible/Christianity is ‘true’, I’ll believe it,” then what happens? They start quoting the freaking BIBLE!!

          Um, hello…if we believe in what the bible says, we would not be having this discussion!

        • JustAnotherAtheist2

          Hey Bob, am I the only one who has lost full access to comments on the Patheos site?

        • Greg G.

          What do you mean by “full access”? You obviously have some access. The site redesign messed up some things.

          If you want “Recent Comments”, try http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined/recent-comments/

          You can save the source HTML from that page to your computer and alter it to remove the Patheos stuff while leaving the Disqus stuff, and changing “crossexamined” to “friendlyatheist”, for example.

        • JustAnotherAtheist2

          I’m posting via disqus, not Patheos. No Patheos page lists comments for me.

          Bob suggested I clear my cache, so I’m going to try that not.

        • Patheos (or Disqus?) was screwed up for a while. Should be OK now. If not, your browser has cached the bad view of the pages. I cleared 24 hours of my cache (I’m using Chrome), and that fixed it.

          https://www.technipages.com/google-chrome-clear-cache

        • JustAnotherAtheist2

          Thanks, that did the trick.

        • JustAnotherAtheist2

          Much appreciated.

      • skl

        No widely-accepted writing I know of has Hitler performing
        miracles and rising from the dead.

        • BlackMamba44

          Holy shit. READING COMPREHENSION!!

        • eric

          Yeah no kidding. Does he actually not get the point, or does he get it but prefer to appear stupid rather than answer it directly?

          I don’t even know what’s troubling about it. Loads of other respondents on this thread have said basically the same thing.

        • Glad2BGodless

          He doesn’t know, either. He argues like someone who is afraid to be clear. You have to wonder about a person who doesn’t really want to state their case.

        • JustAnotherAtheist2

          You mean like you and the miraculous goal post shifting?

        • skl

          I don’t know what you mean.

          (And I think you meant Godwin’s Law, not Goodwin’s.)

        • JustAnotherAtheist2

          Do you grasp the distinction between accepting that a document accurately states historical facts and accepting the dogmatic belief system(s) people construct with it?

        • skl

          “Do you grasp the distinction between accepting that a document accurately states historical facts and accepting the dogmatic belief system(s) people construct with it?”

          I think so.

          But if a dogmatic belief system is in agreement with historical facts or is logically derived from historical facts, then the dogma could carry as much weight as the historical facts.

        • JustAnotherAtheist2

          I think so.

          Given the rest of your comment, you don’t.

        • Raging Bee

          Okay, just shoot us an email when you find a dogmatic belief system that’s in agreement with historical facts or is logically derived from historical facts,and we’ll have something to talk about.

        • TheMountainHumanist

          So given that Islam is to some degree a dogmatic belief system and in agreement with some historical facts or is logically derived from historical facts..it must be true…

        • skl

          Depends on the historical facts and on whether the dogma is
          in thorough agreement with and/or logically derived from those facts.

        • TheMountainHumanist

          indeed……and since we know crackers and bad wine turn into human flesh and blood….they must be right 🙂

        • Joe

          Give it a century. Maybe somebody will write about it then.

        • Otto

          Do you believe Jesus actually performed miracles and rose from the dead?

        • skl

          No. I just stated a fact –
          that no widely-accepted writing I know of has Hitler performing miracles and rising from the dead, while other widely-accepted
          writing has Jesus performing miracles and rising from the dead.

        • Glad2BGodless

          How many people would have to accept it before you consider it widely accepted?

        • skl

          “How many people would have to accept it before you consider
          it widely accepted?”

          I don’t know exactly.
          But the number for the latter is supposedly a couple billion today.

        • Glad2BGodless

          If you don’t know exactly, give your best approximation.

          Also, supposed by whom?

        • skl

          “If you don’t know exactly, give your best approximation.”

          I don’t know approximately either.

          “Also, supposed by whom?”

          Some people. Like
          http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2017/04/05/christians-remain-worlds-largest-religious-group-but-they-are-declining-in-europe/

        • Glad2BGodless

          If you don’t know the number even approximately, how do you know the number isn’t zero?

          How many of these two billion accept that Jesus performed miracles and rose from the dead? I don’t see where Pew addresses that, and that is the point you seek to support.

        • skl

          “How many of these two billion accept that Jesus performed
          miracles and rose from the dead? I don’t see where Pew addresses that, and that is the point you seek to support.”

          If those two billion do not accept that Jesus performed miracles and rose from the dead, then they wouldn’t be Christians,
          as far as I know. And Pew Research would need to clean up its act.

        • Glad2BGodless

          It’s impossible to be a Christian unless you accept the miracle claims? Are you sure about that? Can you show that all Christians believe the miracle claims have to be taken literally?

        • skl

          “It’s impossible to be a Christian unless you accept the
          miracle claims? Are you sure about that? Can you show that all Christians believe the miracle claims have to be taken literally?”

          Well, if that’s true of Christians, and
          Glad2BGodless also doesn’t accept the miracle claims (but maybe likes some of the things Jesus says and dismisses
          other things Jesus says), then,
          you might be a Christian, too!

        • Glad2BGodless

          Entirely possible, depending.

        • BlackMamba44

          If those two billion do not accept that Jesus performed miracles and rose from the dead, then they wouldn’t be Christians,
          as far as I know.

          Sure, they would, if they say they are. There are 45,000 denominations of Christian and rising. If you think they wouldn’t be, then you don’t know much.

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

        • Otto

          Whether some writing has people that believe it or not is beside the point. The point JAA2 was trying to get at with you was if some person in history could be shown to have actual supernatural powers would that make concepts that said person espouse ethical? The ‘fact’ that you threw out was a red herring that had nothing to do with his question. The way you responded made it sound like if you believed such a person had supernatural powers that it might make a difference as to the concepts they were promoting were something you could accept as ethical…does that make a difference?

        • skl

          “The point JAA2 was trying to get at with you was if some
          person in history could be shown to have actual supernatural powers, would that make concepts that said person espouse therefore ethical?”

          If that person had supernatural powers – as in power over
          nature and above nature, as in creator of nature and of the universe – then I would tend to think its ethics were THE ethics.

          But that’s just me.

        • Glad2BGodless

          What is the connection between supernatural power and ethics?

        • skl

          “What is the connection between supernatural power and ethics?”

          I don’t know what more there is to say.
          Maybe it’s like the connection between a supernatural power and the nature it created.

        • Glad2BGodless

          So, you can’t actually show a connection? You want to just assume one?

        • Jack Baynes

          It’s like skl would say that a god could order his followers to murder their children to show loyalty and that would be a moral command because He’s bigger than us.

        • Joe

          He’s sounding more and more like an evangelical Christian with every post.

        • Otto

          In this discussion that is just you. If you are going to defer your ethics to someone more powerful you castrate your own moral agency, i.e. you make yourself amoral, and you do so for a very bad reason. To each his own I guess.

        • skl

          And now could be the perfect time for you, Otto, to tell us
          infallibly what is “ethics”, “moral”, and “bad” for all time
          and for all people.

        • Otto

          That isn’t what I said and you are being dishonest in claiming I did. Isn’t honesty important in your ethics? It is in mine.

        • Susan

          But that’s just me.

          Yep.

        • Glad2BGodless

          So you don’t believe Jesus performed miracles, and you don’t believe he rose from the dead. See, skl, we have common ground!

        • Right–an irrelevant fact.

          Just for a change of pace, you could respond to the original point. Just a thought.

        • What BlackMamba said.

          Do you really not understand the point that JAA2 is making? We can explain it to you if you truly don’t get it. But if you’re just trying to change the subject, hoping we won’t notice … we noticed.

        • skl

          What skl said to JAA2 about 30 minutes ago.

        • Glad2BGodless

          If it was in writing and a lot of people accepted it, would that make it likely that Hitler performed miracles and rose from the dead?

        • skl

          “If it was in writing and a lot of people accepted it, would
          that make it likely that Hitler performed miracles and rose from the dead?”

          No. It would just be some evidence for it.

        • Glad2BGodless

          How would that be evidence?

        • skl

          Perhaps you don’t understand the differences among
          – Proof,
          – Evidence beyond any reasonable doubt,
          – Compelling evidence, and
          – Evidence.

          But I think you probably do.

          They all involve evidence.

        • Glad2BGodless

          It looks as if you understand that it’s not actually evidence and you want to cut your losses. Probably your best move, but still weak.

        • Otto

          Whether people believe something is not evidence for anything except that they believe it. It says nothing about the proposition being actually true.

        • Glad2BGodless

          Yeah, but if they write it down it…is? For reasons?

        • Jack Baynes

          Can I show you my evidence for a man from Krypton who can fly?

        • Glad2BGodless

          Maybe. Is it in writing?

        • skl

          If a crime has been committed and someone tells the police
          that he heard Otto did it, that someone’s testimony will likely be entered as evidence.

          The someone may or may not have actually heard this about Otto.
          Even if the someone did hear that Otto did it, maybe Otto actually
          didn’t do it.
          But it’s evidence, and the police will follow up on it.
          And maybe that evidence will lead to more evidence that
          shows Otto really didn’t do it.
          Or not.

          Different levels of evidence.

        • Otto

          >>>”If a crime has been committed and someone tells the police
          that he heard Otto did it, that someone’s testimony will likely be entered as evidence.”

          First that is not necessarily true. Second, such a person would have to have first hand knowledge for their belief to hold any kind of weight. None of the billions of people who believe the Bible today have first hand knowledge. How many people believe it today makes exactly zero difference as to the proposition being discussed.

          >>>” But it’s evidence, and the police will follow up on it.”

          No it is not evidence, it is a claim. The police will follow up with it to determine whether it could be evidence. Even if they think it was evidence such information would have to go to the prosecuting attorney and they may decide it is not evidence, and even if the prosecution thinks it is evidence a judge will have to decide if it is legally admissible evidence. At the point some person makes an accusation to the police it is nothing more than a claim. There isn’t a person in the legal or criminal justice field that would call a report made to the police evidence in and of itself. You literally don’t know what you are talking about.

        • skl

          “You literally don’t know what you are talking about.”

          So sue me.

        • Otto

          Being ignorant about something doesn’t make you civilly liable.

        • Joe

          More’s the pity.

        • TheMountainHumanist

          And forensic evidence would be stronger still. If no Otto DNA was found and Otto and others could even provide an alibi, your witness would have little impact.

        • TheMountainHumanist

          But yet many religions attribute many such powers to their god figures as well…riddle me that.

      • TheNuszAbides

        Forgive me for invoking Goodwin’s Law,

        a total waste of ones and zeroes. the rest of your comment is perfectly useful without bringing up Godwin’s law, and mentioning Hitler/Nazis isn’t “invoking” anything other than Hitler/Nazis. however, adding the first six words was invoking Godwin’s law, rendering the whole phrase some kind of pointless inverted meta-.
        all the law ever stated was that the likelihood of [comparison with Nazis] increases as an online argument continues. ‘forgiveness’ is entirely irrelevant to your actual comment and its context.

        indirectly (as expounded by Godwin himself) the law is about how online comment culture’s outrage/hyperbole/oneupmanship lends itself to fatuous comparisons with Nazis et al. … but yet again, there’s no call for ‘forgiveness’, since the actual statement you make is adequately on-point.

        Godwin’s law has been plagued for years with erroneous interpretations or extensions like “if you bring up Nazis in an argument, you lose” or “mentioning any Nazi is an inherently dubious tactic”. please don’t feed that. at best it’s just nodding at a widely-misunderstood in-joke. at worst it’s a superstitious ‘pre-emptive’ gesture. bring up corollaries all you want, but label them accurately – please don’t imagine that anyone ever has a reason to apologize for ‘invoking’ the simple snarky math that Godwin actually posited, explained, and owned.

        • JustAnotherAtheist2

          I must confess that my understanding of Godwin’s Law was as simplistic as you chastised. Thanks for the correction.

        • TheNuszAbides

          sorry if the rant was verbose – i should probably work out a more concise and less prickly edition – but my trust that it can sink in for fellow skeptics overrides my usual self-censorship. 😀

    • Jack Baynes

      How about a counter question. If it were prove beyond a reasonable doubt that there was no God and the fantastic stories of the Bible never happened, but you still be too scared to admit that the idea of hell is unjust?

      • Raging Bee

        I’ll take nine hours and counting of crickets as meaning “yes.”

        • Glad2BGodless

          Did you not see his list, where he used the word “evidence” multiple times? Did you not see his running total of people he for some reason refuses to quote, but who definitely said something that he’s counting?

          There are none so blind as those who will not see.

        • Raging Bee

          Can I take all that as meaning “yes” too?

    • Raging Bee

      I’m going to forget all the self-contradictory shit that’s in the Bible, which would make it literally impossible to prove ALL OF IT to be true, just long enough to answer your question as follows: if the Bible were “proven true,” we’d probably accept that it’s true — and that would lead inevitably to the conclusion that our Creator-God is so vindictive and insane that there’s no use trying to appease him, THEREFORE we’ll all go to Hell no matter what we did in our lives, so it really wouldn’t matter whether or not we “accept Christianity.”

      Please note that “proven true” =/= “proven right.”

      • Kevin K

        Of course, the odds of either happening at this point in the proceedings are about the same as me getting a call to play center field for the Yankees.

      • skl

        “… if the Bible were “proven true,” we’d probably accept that it’s true — and that would lead inevitably to the conclusion that our Creator-God is so vindictive and insane that there’s no use trying to appease him, THEREFORE we’ll all go to Hell no matter what we did in our lives, so it really wouldn’t matter whether or not we “accept Christianity.””

        But the bible doesn’t say that everyone is going to hell.

        • Raging Bee

          We know that. We also know it doesn’t give any specific, reliable guide to how God decides who goes up and who goes down.

          And that brings us to the important question you still have yet to answer: which interpretation of the Bible is being proven true in your hypothetical? There’s THOUSANDS of those, and lots of differences between them, so this question will have a pretty noticeable effect on how we’d actually respond to a proof of any of them.

        • Kevin K

          Heh. For that matter, why the Christian bible at all, and not the Gitas or the Egyptian Book of the Dead or the Book of Mormon or Dianetics? There are dozens and dozens of holy books that are not the Christian bible; how does one choose among all of them, each claiming to be the one-inerrant Truth™.

        • skl

          “We know that.”

          If you know that the bible doesn’t say that everyone is going to hell, then I don’t understand why you wrote that “Creator-God is so vindictive and insane that there’s no use trying to appease him, THEREFORE we’ll all go to Hell no matter what we did in our lives”.

          “We also know it doesn’t give any specific, reliable guide to how God decides who goes up and who goes down.”

          I think bible believers would disagree.

          “And that brings us to the important question you still have yet to answer: which interpretation of the Bible is being proven true in your hypothetical?”

          I guess you’d have to pick one. Because if you started picking a little from each of many different interpretations, then it would be each picker’s interpretation, and so you’d be in the same unsatisfactory position.

          I suppose I’d pick the interpretation of whoever put the bible together to begin with.

        • Raging Bee

          I wrote that because nobody has any way of knowing how to appease an insane and abusive God, so nobody really has a reliable shot at Heaven, and given this insane and capricious nature, there’s little chance that any promise of Heaven will be fulfilled.

          I think bible believers would disagree.

          I KNOW they disagree on this point — with each other.

          I suppose I’d pick the interpretation of whoever put the bible together to begin with.

          That would be many different authors, at different times, with other people (both religious and political leaders), even later on, deciding which writings to compile into “The Holy Bible,” and why. So again, you still haven’t answered the question: whose interpretation are you going with?

        • skl

          “So again, you still haven’t answered the
          question: whose interpretation are you going with?”

          Again I’ll answer:
          I suppose I’d pick the interpretation of whoever put the bible together to begin with.

          Not the interpretation of the authors of the books contained in the bible, but the interpretation of whoever put the books of the bible together as “the bible”.

        • Raging Bee

          So you’re saying the politicians and religious leaders who got together to make a deal about which books to include in the Bible are more important to you than the people who actually wrote those books, shortly after the events they described happened? That’s your final answer? Do you even know who those political and religious deal-makers were? Go ahead, tell us who they were, and what, specifically, their interpretation of the Bible was.

        • skl

          “Do you even know who those political and religious
          deal-makers were?”

          Perhaps you will tell me.

        • Raging Bee

          So you say you’ll go with a certain group’s interpretation of the Bible, without showing any signs of knowing who they were? That tells me all I need to know about you.

        • skl

          I don’t care or know very much about the bible. I just know
          that, in terms of its interpretation, I’d go with the people who put it
          together.

        • Raging Bee

          Yeah, you definitely don’t know much about the Bible, if you think that’s a sensible way to approach it.

        • Joe

          There’s no reason for there to be an actual heaven, you’re right.

          The promise alone seems good enough for most people.

    • It’s hardly the be all and end all. As to your question however, yes it would be difficult to a God that created hell. I have a problem with such evil. Oh well, I’m funny that way.

    • Venavis

      That’s a null hypothesis because the bible contradicts itself repeatedly.

      But, let’s pretend just for one moment that yes, the god of the babble exists.

      I reject him because he is an immoral, unethical, vicious, and cruel tyrant. Hell is only one factor in that particular assessment.

      • skl

        I think you’re the sixth person so far who’s said you’d still reject christianity because of hell.

        • Jack Baynes

          What’s your point?
          That atheists at least like to claim they’ll take a moral stand in the face of God?

        • Glad2BGodless

          If he knew what his point was, he would have made it by now.

        • Venavis

          Literacy really isn’t your strong point, is it?

          I reject christianity because of its god.

        • Glad2BGodless

          Citation needed.

        • BlackMamba44

          Liar. She said that hell is only one factor. So, no, not “because of hell”.

    • Zeropoint

      I’ve answered this question before. Here’s what I said:

      In Norse mythology, our world is said to end in a great battle between the forces of good and evil. All the major and minor good gods, and all the virtuous dead (for Viking values of “virtuous”) are prophesied to ride into that final battle together . . . and lose. It is expected that all these heroes will meet their final end, and that the world as we know it will be destroyed. So why do they ride out? Because this is a battle with a very clear Right side and a very clear Wrong side, and to fight and die for the Right is the greatest achievement that the people of that culture could conceive.

      If Yaweh, the God of Abraham, were proven to exist as depicted in the Bible, I can only hope that I could honor the memory of my Norse ancestors by opposing him in life and death. I might be weak enough to cower before him and beg for mercy, but this would not be the right choice, merely the expedient one. The Yaweh of the Bible is a moral monster.

    • TheMountainHumanist

      I would say — event if Christianity is true..I will have nothing to do with it for many reasons..condoning slavery, condoning ethnic cleansing, homophobia. etc. And..hell.

    • Kodie

      Why would we say that?

    • Kodie

      In case you haven’t, after two weeks, gotten the message, most people here think you’re fucking full of shit. Time for you to come clean about your beliefs, constant suspect of theism.

  • Tony D’Arcy

    Since we are into the realms of fantasy and heaven has only room for 144,000, from the tribes of Israel, how does Satan accommodate the latest arrivals, and keep his fiery lake up to temperature at the same time ?

    Ah ! Just ignore the laws of physics, and carry on torturing forever ! Maybe hell is like Hilbert’s Grand Hotel with an infinite number of rooms, but always the possibility of adding yet another room for the new guest ? Or even an infinite number of new guests ?

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=faQBrAQ87l4

    • Tony D’Arcy

      You can check out any time you like, but you can never leave !

    • Chuck Johnson

      The answer to this paradox is simple.
      Whether you are a mathematician, philosopher, or theologian, you should not treat infinity as if it is actually a number.
      If you do, your calculations and your philosophies will be false.

      • Glad2BGodless

        But… but… actual infinity… mumble mumble… Boltzmann Brains… mumble…

    • RichardSRussell

      There’s another joke that’s been available for decades about a physics final asking whether hell is exothermic or endothermic, which the hero of the story aces by claiming that hell must have frozen over recently because he slept with the frosty virgin sophomore just last night.

  • RichardSRussell

    Is God so bad a teacher that most of his students fail? Many human teachers pass all of their students. You’d think that an omniscient and omnipotent teacher would do a better job.

    The following is not original with me, but I keep it on hand for occasions like this. Item #15 is relevant to the above.

    16 Reasons Why God Never Received Tenure at the University

    1. He had only one major publication.

    2. And it was in Hebrew.

    3. And it had no references.

    4. And it was not published in a refereed journal.

    5. And some even doubted that he wrote it himself.

    6. It may be true that he created the world, but what has he done since then?

    7. His cooperative efforts have been quite limited.

    8. The scientific community has had a very rough time trying to replicate his results.

    9. He never applied to the Ethics Board for permission to use human subjects.

    10. When 1 experiment went awry, he tried to cover it up by drowning the subjects.

    11. When subjects did not behave as predicted, he often punished them, or just deleted them from the sample.

    12. He rarely came to class: He just told students to read the book.

    13. He has his son teach the class.

    14. He expelled his first 2 students for learning too much.

    15. Although there were only 10 requirements, most students failed his tests.

    16. His office hours were infrequent and usually held on a mountaintop.

  • Raging Bee

    Jesus told his followers to choose the
    narrow road, because most people would take the broad road to
    destruction (Matthew 7:13–14).

    So God is a crappy road-planner, who can’t even specify a highway route that gets as many people as possible to where he (allegedly) wants them all to go, or come up with a decent set of easily-understood signs to follow. So now his son has to amend what little directions daddy gave, and say, in effect, “I’m sorry, my dad’s getting on a bit, just ignore what he said and follow this back road, the one us locals use all the time…”

    • JustAnotherAtheist2

      Yes, not only did god offer confusing signs, but his most prominent road leads in the wrong direction!

      In the name of free will, I’m sure.

      • Raging Bee

        The path to free will leads through deception? Sure, just like the best way from DC to New York is via Miami.

  • epicurus

    I wonder what Geisler thinks of parents who infringe on their two year old’s free will by stopping him from trying to pull the ears off the family pet, or the teacher who stops the school yard bully from punching the daylights out of his latest much smaller victim

    • Doubting Thomas

      I wonder if Geisler would infringe upon the free will of a murderer or rapist who attacked someone Geisler cared about and try to stop them or would he follow god’s example and put the free will of evil people above everyone else?

  • Jan S

    On de “experience on earth” bit: the omniscient god wouldn’t require bad people to provide experience for good people, as she could use philosophical zombies instead of those bad people. No need to send any soul to hell, simply not put a soul into any being that will turn out “bad” (ENTIRELY according to the big plan that she set out, and already knows the result of…)

    • Raging Bee

      I sometimes get the feeling a lot of those religious apologists don’t really think other people outside their circle are real anyway. When you believe in a personal God, EVERYTHING is about you, and EVERYONE ELSE is there to help your God show his love for you. If your God wants you to kick a drug habit, he’ll have no problem staging a horrific gang war, with dozens of good cops and MS-13 thugs killing each other in front of you if necessary, just to scare you straight. God has a Plan for us all, as they say in “Constantine.”

      • epeeist

        I sometimes get the feeling a lot of those religious apologists don’t really think other people outside their circle are real anyway

        I get the feeling that they don’t read anything outside of apologetics. Certainly everything they present that is not do with the existence or properties of their god or dogma is framed in terms of apologetics and rarely, if ever, refers to primary articles, books or papers.

  • The problem is, many would just say “Well, modern morality is wrong”. God is above us and our judgment they think.

    • Glad2BGodless

      Wouldn’t they have to rely on their judgement to come to that conclusion?

      • Otto

        They would. That is the dirty secret they don’t want to talk about.

      • I think some claim he has revealed it to them. Of course that has even worse problems there.

        • Jack Baynes

          And then they judged that whoever revealed it to them was good.

        • Yep. Even better, they assume that performing miracles proves what these messengers say is true. Yet even if people did have superpowers, they could lie, be deluded etc. Just like the spiritualist assume ghosts can’t lie. Why not? The living can.

    • Kevin K

      It always amazes me when people use this argument — because on the one hand, they’re saying “god is far above us”, and on the other hand, they know exactly what it wants. Especially with regard to the use of a person’s sexual apparatus.

      Of course, begging the question of “which god” and “what morality”. I much prefer the Church of England’s “cake or death” morality over that of ISIS; but that’s just me.

      • I suppose they could say that we know some things, but not everything. Good luck justifying it though.

    • Jack Baynes

      God may not care how we judge his actions, but surely we can judge for ourselves whether his actions are good for us.

      • They think not. We’re too weak and sinful for that.

    • TheMountainHumanist

      What does modernity have to do with the efficacy of morality?
      Never mind…you are using a for instance

  • RichardSRussell

    As I’ve noted before, Christians can easily bail out of this conundrum by just backing off their claim that Yahweh is all-loving. “Yeah, he can be a real jerk sometimes, so better watch it, buddy!” Nothing inconsistent with that kind of attitude and the existence of Hell. But, for some reason, they just can’t bring themselves to acknowledge his dickishness, despite tons and tons of evidence for it, starting with the omnicide that their own fan magazine describes in Genesis Chapters 6–9 and going on and on and on thereafter.

    • Jack Baynes

      And they could even say, “But Jesus is a much nicer guy, who sacrificed himself to calm Dad down”, but then they had to invent the Trinity and ruin it

      • excogitatoris

        Except this only applies to the Protestant concept of hell which is inherently flawed.

        • Otto

          Which conception isn’t?

        • excogitatoris

          The original Catholic conception. In other words, the original christian one.

        • Clint W. (Thought2Much)

          Oh, sure. That version of the concept makes perfect sense.

          You realize that you’re talking to non-believers, many of whom have left the Catholic church, and not prospective Christians, right?

        • excogitatoris

          Principle of charity my dear friend. Of course I understand that. It does not mean that you are not wrong and I should not point it out. Furthermore, I would argue that many of you that left the “Catholic Church” failed to understand what you were part of to begin with, as most Catholics do not understand their faith. To Catholics hell is a result of your actions. Put simply, there are things that are inherently good for our nature, or the kind of thing we are, and there are things which actively hurt our nature. If a person decides to take cocaine and then overdoses you would not be surprised at the natural consequence which follows, namely death. Hell is very much the same way.

        • Clint W. (Thought2Much)

          Ah, I see. The argument from “You just did Christianity wrong.” Since you’re that kind of jerk, I’ll just put you on my block list now. Bye!

        • excogitatoris

          Ah, yes an ad hominem and then blocking me truly a world class intellect you have there!

        • Otto

          It’s not an ad hominem when he addressed the issue and then called you a jerk. Now if he just called you a jerk without addressing the issue I would agree.

        • excogitatoris

          Except, my dear friend he did not address the issue. He just used superfluous words and failed to address my point. Many pseudocatholics claim to be Catholic and yet are pro abortion which is by definition impossible. By the way for an ad hominem not to be an ad hominem one must justify their personal attack. For example, despite my reply which addresses your points if I now insulted you it would by definition be an ad hominem.

        • Otto

          Sure he did, he pointed out you just used the excuse ‘You just did Christianity wrong’…which you did. It is a shitty and dishonest tactic.

        • excogitatoris

          Except, that is a blatant straw man. Sigh, I really do not have time for this tonight so this will be my last post. Let’s be clear I created composite argument that cannot be so simply reduced to a couple buzz words as you so desire. I stated 1. Just because you were Catholic in the past does not inherently mean you are right now and vice versa simply because you have experienced Catholicism. 2. Many people who claim to be Catholic are not really Catholic by definition and so I find it perfectly PROBABLE that many of you who left the Catholic church were not properly educated in your faith and therefore failed, by no fault of your own, to understand the tenets of your faith and what you were a part of. In other words I argued, in response to I was Catholic therefore I know everything there is to know about Catholicism, that I find it unlikely that when you were a Catholic you understood the full extent of your faith and naturally I doubt that has changed since.3. I further argued the definition of to Catholics is a natural result of your actions. Put simply, there are things that are inherently good for our nature, or the kind of thing we are, and there are things which actively hurt our nature. 4. I then provided a real world example. If a person decides to take cocaine and then overdoses you would not be surprised at the natural consequence which follows, namely death. Hell is very much the same way. So you are utilizing one massive straw man which to use your own words is “shitty and dishonest”.

        • Otto

          No, you used the blatant straw man by saying most any Catholic who left the Church did it wrong…that is just being an asshole. If you don’t have time leave, this site will be better off. 1. Just because a person left Catholicism does not mean they did it wrong. 2. If you have a problem with people in your own Church not ‘doing it right’ take it up with them, it is not our problem. Whether you find it probable or not, is not the issue. Your argument boils down to a ‘no true Scotsman’ fallacy and is really shitty, arrogant and condescending, kindly fuck off. I don’t think any of you ‘completely understand’ Catholicism, it is a muddled mess and is internally inconsistent. 3. Demonstrate the Catholic Church has an inside track to ‘things that are inherently good for our nature’. It is just a condescending claim that is never demonstrated to be true. The best people at ‘being Catholic’ can’t even get the basics right including your hot mess of a Pope. If a person gets raped and looks to the Church for help, is disowned and marginalized and then ends up killing themselves, that is also a natural consequence. Yes I know the Church teaches that people end up in hell of their own accord, it is bullshit. If a being is all powerful any situation is ultimately their responsibility, period.

        • Susan

          1. Just because you were Catholic in the past does not inherently mean you are right now and vice versa simply because you have experienced Catholicism.

          They claim us in their numbers because they sprinkled water on our heads when we were babies.

          Many people who claim to be Catholic are not really Catholic by definition

          How many people would you estimate are catholic by definition?

          I find it perfectly PROBABLE that many of you who left the Catholic church were not properly educated in your faith and therefore failed,

          And I find it perfectly LIKELY that many of us who left the RCC did so because it is unable to support its claims. There is no reason to believe an immaterial deity exists, no reason to believe it is Yahwehjesus, no reason to believe any of the claims the RCC makes, and further exploration of the catechism leads to nothing but more circular arguments. It is an endless rabbit hole that eventually becomes pointless to pursue.

          There is no reason to believe a hell exists. The latest version of catholic hell is neither interesting nor persuasive.

        • Pofarmer

          The first time they pull the no true scotsman crap they should just be booted. It’s pointless.

        • Susan

          The first time they pull the no true scotsman crap, they should just be booted.

          I can see the value (sometimes) of making sure we’re attacking real catholic teachings.

          That most catholics don’t understand real catholic teachings (have not been catechized properly, which includes, priests, nuns, deacons and pew potatoes) and are still counted in their numbers when it’s useful, is a problem

          Also, that when we go to the catechism to be “properly catechized”, it’s no better supported than the strawmen they worry about. (See, the Mary is not “worshipped” conflict. Just language games.)

          That their last ditch attempt, the barbed wire at the edge of the compound, is A/T metaphysics is a frickin’ nightmare. Call that out and we haven’t read it “properly”.

          All to support the claim of a mediocre god claim that is just standard hoodoo.

          So, I’m afraid I’ve run out of patience for the accusation of not being “properly catechized”.

          It’s the same strategy that mormons, scientologists, and various groups of muslims use.

          I get tired of the guessing game.

          There are all kinds of unacceptable ways to reject Yahwehjesus but, as our friend (Mike) Sample1 has pointed out for a very long time, there are no wrong ways to accept it.

        • Neo

          “Just because you were Catholic in the past does not inherently mean you are right now and vice versa simply because you have experienced Catholicism.”

          “Many people who claim to be Catholic are not really Catholic by definition…”

          Susan, um, I’m reading his posts above, and I don’t know about excogitatoris, something’s fishy.

          I’m Catholic, and there’s a lot of what excogitatoris is throwing down that doesn’t jive with me. I was taught, being Catholic can be accomplished by desire, and it’s kinda like the default religion, the one true church, and somehow we are all attached to it, and therefore, Catholic one degree or intensity – it’s also been said, “once a Catholic always a Catholic” after somebody is baptized. Maybe, I’m misreading his posts above, but, I believe he’s fallen off the rails, is it possible, excogitatoris isn’t Catholic?

        • Susan

          I’m Catholic, and there’s a lot of what excogitatoris is throwing down that doesn’t jive with me

          I see that a lot among catholics.

          I believe he’s fallen off the rails, is it possible, excogitatoris isn’t Catholic?

          Do you mean he’s just pretending to be catholic? References to Thomas Aquinas and people not being “properly catechized” are familiar catholic jingles.

          Maybe he’s just not properly catechized.

          Unless he’s just an internet troll pretending to be catholic, which doesn’t seem likely, if you look at his commenting history.

        • Michael Neville

          it’s kinda like the default religion, the one true church, and somehow
          we are all attached to it, and therefore, Catholic one degree or
          intensity

          There are Muslim clerics who claim everyone is a Muslim but some people are ignorant or in denial. Why are these clerics wrong and the Catholic teachings right?

        • Greg G.

          Buddhists say that there are many paths to Enlightenment so other religions are just different paths. They also think their path, with the Eight-fold Ways and such, is the most direct.

        • Michael Neville

          What Clint pointed out was your use of the No True Scotsman fallacy. He was quite correct in doing so when you claimed “You just did Christianity wrong”. Only an ignorant person or a dishonest debater uses logical fallacies. Which are you, ignorant or dishonest?

        • Jack Baynes

          And who created a universe in which Hell is the natural consequence of sin?

        • Otto

          Furthermore, I would argue that many of you that left the “Catholic Church” failed to understand what you were part of to begin with, as most Catholics do not understand their faith.

          Well after being educated by the Catholic Church for 12 years if I didn’t understand the faith who’s fault do you think that was exactly?

          Put simply, there are things that are inherently good for our nature, or the kind of thing we are, and there are things which actively hurt our nature.

          I would have to say the nature of kids being raped by Priests and then having the Church cover that up worldwide actively hurt my continuation in the Catholic Church. It was certainly a natural consequence…for some of us.

        • excogitatoris

          1. The church is made up of human beings who will naturally fail. If everyone on the planet failed to teach you and even hid from you Newton’s Second law it would not make it any less true. The truth is independent of the failings of humans to teach or not teach. I believe there are many individuals within the Church who have failed to properly catechize their children. My family has had a very hard time with representatives of the Church in the past in regards to my youngest brother. This has made maintaining our faith at times difficult and significantly damaged the faith of the younger ones. However, again this does not make the truth untrue simply because it has bad representatives.
          2. Second verse same as the first. Furthermore, the probability of being molested by a Catholic Priest is significantly smaller than say a boy scout leader or a teacher. But, you are right we it is very disappointing…it still does not change the truth value. Additionally, you are using a genetic fallacy here. Which is a material fallacy.
          3. You are misusing the term nature here. It is a formal philosophical term and is not to be brandied around with reckless abandon. Words have meaning, especially in certain contexts.

          Post Scriptum
          I need to get back to work as I have Lab Reports to finish and finish grading in addition to a quantum test in the morning. So I will take my leave.

        • Otto

          1. The Church failed, i.e. the Church cannot be trusted. The Church cannot and does not demonstrate any of the ‘truth’ it teaches. The Church claims to have a direct line to Objective morality and that is demonstrably false.
          2. I really don’t care about the probability, any group will have bad apples. The problem is the RCC as an organization acted and continues to act immorally from top to bottom…and you support them.
          3. Yeah, the Church demonstrably gets what is ‘natural’ wrong all the time…nothing new there. But regardless my use of the term was intentional.

          See ya

        • I haven’t researched the rate of molestation in churches, Boy Scout troops, and schools. (If anyone has reliable stats, share them.) But you’re right that the real crime is that the church bureaucracy tried to cover it up and prevent rooting out the bad apples, unlike how it works with schools or Boy Scouts.

        • Michael Neville

          It may be that the probability of being molested by a Catholic priest is marginally and insignificantly smaller than being molested by other people. However teachers and Boy Scout leaders don’t belong to an organization with a formal policy of supporting and protecting child molesters like the Catholic Church does.

        • Susan

          Furthermore, the probability of being molested by a Catholic Priest is significantly smaller than say a boy scout leader or a teacher

          Then provide the citations that support that claim

          it still does not change the truth value

          Sure But that doesn’t mean there is a truth value.

          You are misusing the term nature. It is a formal philosophical term

          It is also a word used in normal discourse. If you are appealing to “natural philosophy”, make that clear.

          Natural philosophy or philosophy of nature (from Latin philosophia naturalis) was the philosophical study of nature and the physical universe that was dominant before the development of modern science. It is considered to be the precursor of natural science.

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

          Is this what you mean?

        • Jack Baynes

          Well, I’ll give you the that the Catholics have relations to one of the original Christian branches.
          You know there was more than one type of Christian even before the Reformation? Or the Great Schism. Or the Bible.

        • Otto

          No, I have to disagree, the Catholic conception is a pile of shit too.

        • Clint W. (Thought2Much)

          You just didn’t understand Catholicism correctly, then.

        • Jack Baynes

          No, it would help fix the Catholic version, too.
          Catholics still need Jesus to earn their forgiveness, right?

          And Catholics would benefit from not having to claim that they worship the monster of the Old Testament (Or at least that Monster “got better”)

        • Doubting Thomas

          The best part of any concept of hell is that it’s just that….a concept. It’s an evil concept invented by ignorants, but it’s still just a concept.

  • Jack Baynes

    Yes, exactly it WAS God who created the universe so that sin sends people to hell. And Catholics need Jesus as much as Protestants in order to make look like less of an asshole for doing so.

    • excogitatoris

      You are really good at ignoring what is written and instead creating a straw man. They say never do what you are good at without getting paid. Maybe you should pursue a career at info wars.

      • Jack Baynes

        If somewhere in that wall of text you said that someone else made the rules, feel free to point it out.

        • excogitatoris

          I pointed out that there could be no other rules for the kind of thing you are. On top of an immense amount of other stuff. But, you know you could engage in proper discourse and actually read what your opponent wrote.

        • Jack Baynes

          There could be no other rules? Why? Because God said so. If God not want people to be eternally separated from him for picking up sticks on Saturday or swearing at their parents, then they wouldn’t be. Even if he didn’t commit suicide first.

      • Greg G.

        I am replying here because when I tried to reply to the other post, I got a message that said, “You cannot reply to a post that is not active.”

        Try this formulation of the Problem of Evil. If there is no suffering of some kind, it is hard to make the case that something is evil, so let’s concentrate on the suffering angle as it is well understood and undeniably exists.

        If suffering serves some purpose, then it is logically possible for that purpose to be achieved. The weakest definition of omnipotence is the ability to do anything that is logically possible to do. So if an omnipotent being can do that logically possible thing without the suffering. If suffering can do something that God cannot do, the God is not omnipotent. If God can do that logically possible thing, then it is unnecessary for the suffering. Therefore, all suffering is unnecessary.

        If an omnipotent being allows unnecessary suffering, then the being is indifferent or sadistic. Either way, omnibenevolence is ruled out.

        The existence of suffering proves that there is no being that is both omnipotent and omnibenevolent.

        It does not rule out omnipotent assholes. It does not rule out omnibenevolent beings, either, as I had a good dog that seemed to be omnibenevolent. But my dog wasn’t a god

        If your god is not omnibenevolent, why worship it? If it is not omnipotent, why pretend it is a god?

        • (The original post was categorized as spam [Disqus having fun with us?] but that’s fixed now.)

  • Otto

    If your God is real I would have chosen not to exist, therefore God would have violated my free will at the onset.

  • yahoo.com

    Seems to me that these articles are written by a few very unhappy who deep inside their souls just can’t fathom the Holiness of a God that created the Universe and desires no one to be lost and go to hell but to surrender his eternal soul to Jesus Christ the LORD and Savior to all who believe upon Him. I just can not fathom anyone rejecting the offer of eternal life with God in His Glory! But that’s just me!

    • Otto

      Well some of us wouldn’t treat our worst enemy the way you think God does. I cannot fathom anyone thinking if they just believe the right things that they will be rewarded and anybody who doesn’t should be tortured. To each his own.

    • Doubting Thomas

      can’t fathom the Holiness of a God that created the Universe and desires no one to be lost and go to hell

      I can’t fathom an omniscient, omnipotent being that has something happen that it doesn’t want to happen. I can’t fathom it because it’s contradictory.

    • As another commenter mentioned, the God of the Bible is a pretty bad person, based on his actions in the Old Testament. Who’d want to worship that guy, except through fear?

      The first issue, though, is that there’s no good reason to imagine that God exists. Do you have any good arguments for God?

    • Greg G.

      It seems to me that believers who assume atheists are unhappy are inherently worried that faith is is a waste of brains and unbelievers underscore that fact.

    • Jack Baynes

      Blashphemer!
      How DARE you imply that we, mere pitiful humans have ANY choice in the matter. Some of us will be saved and go to heaven and some of us will be go to hell as God wills it. God will make that choice, not us. It’s DISGUSTING that you think that we can choose to go to God if God does not will it.

      I feel confident in knowing that you are obviously going to hell for your repulsive arrogance.
      Of course, it’s not so bad. I’m clearly not elect either. It’s good to know there’s nothing I can do about it.

      • Kevin K

        Calvinist.

    • Kevin K

      I can’t imagine why anyone wouldn’t want to have their thetans cleared! I mean, who wants their body to be populated by the souls of dead aliens!! But that’s just me!!!

      …..

      When you can answer that question of Scientology, then you’ll have the answer to your own question.

    • Damien Priestly

      Is this really your first comment in four years and sixth comment ever? Or is “yahoo.com” just another avatar?

    • Michael Neville

      Just another drive-by troll, bringing da word o’ gawd to the benighted heathens and apostates. Nothing to see here.

    • Giauz Ragnarock

      Give in to the happiness of
      THE LINGUINI, may his balls ever be meaty!

      ~}@°°@{~

    • eric

      Care to buy my invisible, immaterial unicorn for twenty dollars? It’s a unicorn!!!! And only twenty dollars!!!!

      • Greg G.

        I’ll buy two, a male and a female. I plan to breed them in my yard. By this time next year, I will be rich, fit, tanned, and at the beach.

        PS: How do you tell which gender they are if they are invis… OooOOoooh.

    • Raging Bee

      If your God “desires no one to be lost and go to hell,” then why did he create Hell in the first place?

  • Greg G.

    Second reply attempt at this post.

    Try this formulation of the Problem of Evil. If there is no suffering of some kind, it is hard to make the case that something is evil, so let’s concentrate on the suffering angle as it is well understood and undeniably exists.

    If suffering serves some purpose, then it is logically possible for that purpose to be achieved. The weakest definition of omnipotence is the ability to do anything that is logically possible to do. So if an omnipotent being can do that logically possible thing without the suffering. If suffering can do something that God cannot do, the God is not omnipotent. If God can do that logically possible thing, then it is unnecessary for the suffering. Therefore, all suffering is unnecessary.

    If an omnipotent being allows unnecessary suffering, then the being is indifferent or sadistic. Either way, omnibenevolence is ruled out.

    The existence of suffering proves that there is no being that is both omnipotent and omnibenevolent.

    It does not rule out omnipotent assholes. It does not rule out omnibenevolent beings, either, as I had a good dog that seemed to be omnibenevolent. But my dog wasn’t a god

    If your god is not omnibenevolent, why worship it? If it is not omnipotent, why pretend it is a god?