4 Steps Christians Must Take Before Responding to the Problem of Evil (2 of 2)

4 Steps Christians Must Take Before Responding to the Problem of Evil (2 of 2) March 28, 2019

In part 1, we looked at the Problem of Evil, which is a powerful attack on Christianity. Christians often respond by saying that God is unjudgeable by mere humans. That fails in a number of ways, but that’s not the point of these two posts. Rather, I want to insist that Christians delay their God-is-unjudgeable argument until they’ve taken four steps that lay the groundwork necessary to support such a claim.

The first step is to admit that the Problem of Evil makes God look like a sociopath.

2. You say that God has his reasons? Like what?

There’s a second necessary step before we can consider rationalizations for God’s apparent immorality. Don’t just tell me that God could have a good reason for a child dying of leukemia or a parent killed in an accident or 100,000 dead from a tsunami, tell me what those reasons are (or could be). Give it your best shot and sketch out something plausible. If you’re embarrassed by the result—maybe it makes God look petty or immoral or not particularly omnipotent—you need to own that.

3. Are you confident that “God” even exists?

The third step is showing that trust in this God is justified. Here’s what we must avoid: an elaborate “God’s ways are not our ways” kind of argument that merely concludes that we can’t rule out God belief. Okay, but “You can’t rule out God” is no more compelling than “You can’t rule out Zeus” (or Quetzalcoatl or Xenu or the Flying Spaghetti Monster). Now that we’ve not ruled out pretty much everything, the Christian must show that God is likely.

This is another variation on the Hypothetical God Fallacy: “Well, if God exists (and is omnipotent and all-good), then he must have good reasons for evil.” Is there any reason to accept that if-clause?

If it’s plausible, like “If you wake up with chest pains,” then what follows is something that might be relevant in the real world. If it’s not plausible, like “If you wake up in Wonderland,” then what follows is irrelevant. It has no bearing on the world we live in.

Which one is “If God exists”? Our Christian opponent must show that there is a good reason to believe that this God exists so that “God could have his reasons” isn’t built on fantasy.

4. Why would God allow suffering?

The idea of the Christian god has a lot of baggage, so let’s simplify things and just imagine the Greatest Possible Being (GPB). Would the GPB allow suffering?

The GPB would be omnipotent and morally perfect and would therefore prevent all unnecessary suffering. Any necessary suffering must achieve some goal, and this goal must be logically possible to achieve. Since the omnipotent GPB could do every logically possible thing, it could achieve every such goal itself, which means that achieving those goals through suffering would be unnecessary. Given the choice, the GPB would obviously opt for achieving its goals without suffering. Therefore, a world ruled by a GPB would have no suffering.

(This is a bit dense. I’ve also made this argument slightly differently, if you want a different take.)

If God is a GPB, then he, too, would achieve his goals without suffering.

Conclusion

Next time you argue the Problem of Evil, look for responses of the form, “God’s ways aren’t our ways” or “We imperfect humans can’t judge God.” Those responses skip over four steps that the Christian must address first.

  1. Acknowledge that, even if they’re hoping that God isn’t a sociopath, he certainly looks like one. Our world is full of unevenly distributed pain and hardship. In addition, God’s actions in the Old Testament make him look as cuddly as Genghis Khan.
  2. Make a plausible (even if embarrassing) list of any reasons God could have to kill innocent people, either individually or in the hundreds of thousands.
  3. Show that trust in this god is justified. There has to be a real being, not just mythology, to be the god who has these incomprehensible reasons for evil in the world.
  4. Show that either God is not a Greatest Possible Being or that a GPB would be obliged to allow suffering.

The Bible can be made to say that God operates on moral principles that are incompatible with those that make sense to humans, but it can also be made to say the opposite. Christians take a path through the Bible’s doctrine, picking up a piece here and ignoring a piece there to create their concept of God.

The point of insisting on these steps is to force Christians to pause and see what they’re cobbling together. Like Dr. Frankenstein, you must face your Creature. Have you created a god, or have you created a fallen angel?

We stopped looking for monsters under our bed
when we realized that they were inside us.
— Charles Darwin

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  • If “God’s ways are not our ways”, as apologists like repeating time and again, why bother at all?

    We’d never understand him, let alone love him – the Bible being, at that point, the flawed chronicle of the most epic fail ever.

    • nevbig

      he the potter we the clay .

      • Last I checked, clay did not appear to be sentient.

        A god that would deliberately create beings capable of feeling pain is automatically responsible in perpetuity for any pain they feel, if the god could have prevented the suffering.

        In the same way that you would be held criminally responsible for harming your own offspring, gods are likewise responsible. The “Potter defense” is just a feeble excuse used by people who are too cowardly to confront the fact that they worship an evil god.

        • nevbig

          most people r a few briks short of a load .. .the fleshly man cannot unnerstan the spirit of god .

        • (hands nevbig three more bricks to make the load bigger)

        • Greg G.

          nevbig looks at an empty glass and can’t decide whether it is half full or half empty so he throws bricks in it.

        • nevbig

          I,m drunk .

        • Greg G.

          I,m drunk .

          That doesn’t seem to be your major malfunction. You will sober up eventually but will you ever smarten up?

        • nevbig

          der yer noe eny very old atheists ferastreja

        • Greg G.

          Why don’t you go argue with a “STOP AHEAD” sign for calling you “a stupid head”?

        • (runs post through gibberish-to-English translator)

          Well, my late dad (who died at 96) was a non-believer. I’m getting old myself, age 61 currently.

        • nevbig

          I will shake the nations and the desirables of all nations shall come and I will fill this house with glory ….and u will meet your father

        • Random, unsubstantiated supernatural claims. Don’t expect many accolades.

        • nevbig

          a sound out of the temple ..it is the sound of jah repaying what is deserved to his enemies .

        • Greg G.

          Cue Simon and Garfunkel with The Sounds of Silence.

        • nevbig

          harts afore smarts

        • Greg G.

          ad nauseum

        • nevbig

          ee noes latin too .

        • Greg G.

          manducare stercore!

        • harts afore smarts

          I know you well enough to infer that you misspelled “farts.”

        • nevbig

          It is not fer mwn to direct his own steps .

        • Could at least pretend that English is your first language? And also bring interesting, meaningful arguments?

        • nevbig

          trownced ..speek to subject

        • lkasvia bnzl kd/ k/vadfvn lkfva fvv afdoijadfv afdv

        • Greg G.

          Touché.

        • nevbig

          mine better but your other fluff is as Solomon described .

        • nevbig

          even u can translate and make intelligent reply .

        • Translate? Translate what? There are no diamonds in this dung hill, it’s all shit.

        • nevbig

          still lkin fer intelligence

        • nevbig

          cowards avoid the topic .

        • Look in the mirror, coward.

        • nevbig

          avoid the topic .

        • Greg G.

          Nope.

        • nevbig

          u hav herd of the third world ..it was prophecied by Christ .

        • Any moron can prophesy the obvious. As a god, Jesus could’ve done the difficult part by doing something about it. And yet he did as much as an imaginary being would–nothing.

        • nevbig

          rubbish …u need a teacher bout god not doin enythin

        • Greg G.

          You are teaching us how religion rots the mind.

        • nevbig

          blind leedin blind

        • Kodie

          You need a teacher to learn how to spell and make coherent sentences. Is your teachermom drunk?

        • nevbig

          u agree on the descent of man

        • Joe

          I’ve already met my father. He helped raise me alongside my mother.

        • nevbig

          you will meet agin in paradise earth .

        • nevbig

          u will meet agin in paradise earth

        • Joe

          I’ll see them next year when we go on holiday together.

        • nevbig

          got u mixed up wit other commenter …but there is a long term reckoning

        • Joe

          No there isn’t.

        • Hey! Someone got into your Disqus account and has been posting bullshit as you.

          Better change that password, pal.

        • nevbig

          reed solomon

        • nevbig

          other comments sent .

        • WTF are you talking about? Your comment doesn’t have anything to do with what I said. Are you stoned, or something? (That’s a serious question, by the way: Are you posting while drunk or high?)

        • nevbig

          my recent reolies don’t show …but I tell you you will be on paradise earth and unite with yer parents

        • I do *not* believe that. Not at all. I believe that the only part of me that will survive is any work I manage to do on Earth.

          And what if I don’t actually want to be reunited with my parents, or with some ex-friend or ex-spouse, or a cat that I used to have 40 years ago? If I’m unfortunate enough to get stuck with eternal life, I do not want to be trapped on Earth with people I used to know. I would much rather explore the universe. (First stop: Orion M42 nebula!)

        • nevbig

          onparadise god will more than compensate all victims of evil ..minds eyes will be open

        • Why do you keep on babbling the same silly mythology over and over again? I don’t believe you, and you don’t believe me when I tell you “No, that’s not going to happen.” You’re wasting your time here.

        • nevbig

          wot is truth

        • Truth is “The way things are, whether or not you believe it.”

        • Kodie

          You can’t face reality, so you latch onto a fantasy that you never die and go away forever. Do you really want to live in your parents’ basement in heaven?

        • You’re a dyslexic fortune cookie. How lucky for us that you’re here.

        • nevbig

          reed Solomon

        • I think Solomon has some competition in the “wisest man in the world” category!

        • Kodie

          Stop saying words like “fleshly”.

        • Can he use “bigly”?

        • Kodie

          I think if that might be someone’s last name, like Weinschitz, sure, or if they are writing a limerick about someone named Quigley, but otherwise, not.

        • nevbig

          u r his subject .

        • I cannot be the subject of a fictional being.

      • Greg G.

        The potter who blames the clay for how he made it.

        • A potter gets to choose the materials and the tools and the method of working the clay. Only an extremely incompetent and stupid artisan would blame things that he himself decided to use.

        • Kuno

          A bad artisan always blames the tools.

        • nevbig

          rubbish .

        • Greg G.

          I apologize for ruining your point. Correction: I gloat for ruining your point.

        • nevbig

          der yer noe eny very old atheists

        • Greg G.

          It looks like you spelled “atheists” correctly by accident.

        • It just occurred to me that your moniker might be a plea for help. Have you tried Viagra? With a little self-confidence, perhaps you can stop being useless here and move on.

        • nevbig

          I will shake the nations and the desirables of all nations shell come in and I will fill this house with glory ..

        • you will fill this house with glory? Wow–you must’ve taken a lot of that Viagra.

        • nevbig

          and prophecies u cannot recognize .

        • Kodie

          DER YER NOE ENY krishtens hoo ken spel????

        • Now, you see that? It’s adorable when anyone does it!

      • At least the clay cannot suffer, nor does the potter expect it to love him.

        • nevbig

          noe yer place .

        • Greg G.

          Think it through.

        • nevbig

          we r subjects of our creator .

        • Kodie

          You are a delusional slave to your cult.

      • Discordia

        So, when an architect designs and builds a building that falls down, is it the fault of the building or the clown that built it? Who gets taken to court, the building or the builder?

        • nevbig

          most people r a few briks short of a load ..the fleshly man cannot unnerstan the spirit of god

        • Discordia

          Then who are YOU to say what God thinks or what God wants?

        • nevbig

          he speaks to u thro his chosen prophets and apostles

        • Joe

          How do you know who they are?

        • Greg G.

          The voices in his head tell him, the same voices that tell him how to spell.

        • nevbig

          intelligent recognition …keep to the subject .

        • nevbig

          intelligent recognition

        • Joe

          What’s that?

        • Greg G.

          Wishful thinking and confirmation bias.

        • Greg G.

          There are so many chosen prophets and apostles who will gladly tell you their god thingy talks to them and is telling them what to tell you.

          God deserves a Rolls Royce! And He wants me to drive it for Him! So send me all of your money or your children will die horribly.

        • nevbig

          true xstns not fooled by profligerates

        • Greg G.

          Define “true xstns”. Define “profligerates”. While you are at it, define any other words you are misusing or misspelling.

        • nevbig

          true xstns r those who can liv by gospel standards ..

        • Greg G.

          There’s your problem. You are trying to type with bagpipes.

          All Christians think they are True Christians. Catholics think they are going to heaven and Protestants are wrong while Baptists think the Catholics are hellbound

          Matthew 7:21-23 (ESV)21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ 23 And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’

          So you can never be sure.

          Were there no True Christians before the gospels were written?

          What about Epistle standards? In Galatians 5:14, Paul said that the whole law is summed up by “love your neighbor as yourself”, a quote of Leviticus 19:18 LXX. James 2:8-11 also quotes Leviticus 19:18 LXX and says that is a good start but if you don’t follow the whole law, you will be murdering and committing adultery. Paul responds to that in Romans 13:8-10 by saying that if you love, you will not murder, commit adultery, steal or covet, so it fulfills the law and he quotes Leviticus 19:18 LXX again.

          In Galatians 3:6-9. Paul quotes Genesis 15:6 LXX to argue that Abraham was reckoned righteous by his belief. James James 2:21-23 argues that works are required, which means following the law and doing good. James also quotes Genesis 15:6 LXX but argues that Abraham was reckoned righteous when he bound Isaac to the altar. In Romans 4:1-3, Paul asks whether Abraham was justified before or after he was circumcised. In Romans 4:10-12, Paul says it was before the circumcision, which of course was before Isaac was born. Paul also quotes Genesis 15:6 LXX verbatim as James did but a little different that he quoted it in Galatians.

          Here are a few other things you might need to consider:

          •Having Been Baptized
          ◦Matthew 28:19
          ◦Mark 16:15-16
          ◦John 3:5
          ◦Acts 2:38
          ◦Acts 2:41
          ◦Acts 8:36
          ◦Acts 22:16
          ◦Romans 6:3-4
          ◦Galatians 3:27
          ◦Colossians 2:12
          ◦Titus 3:5
          ◦1 Peter 3:21

          •Repenting of past Sins
          ◦Matthew 19:27-30
          ◦Mark 10:28-30
          ◦Luke 9:59-62

          •Trusting Jesus as Their Lord and Savior
          ◦Romans 3:28
          ◦Romans 5:18-19
          ◦Romans 10:9-13
          ◦1 Corinthians 15:21-23
          ◦Ephesians 2:8-9

          •Believing That Jesus Is the Son of God
          ◦John 3:15-16
          ◦John 3:18
          ◦John 3:36
          ◦John 6:47
          ◦John 8:24
          ◦John 11:25-26
          ◦John 12:48
          ◦John 20:31

          •Remaining with Jesus
          ◦John 15:4-6

          •Believing That Jesus Was Resurrected
          ◦John 11:25-26

          •Hearing Jesus’ Word and Believing in God
          ◦John 5:24

          •Doing Good Works
          ◦Matthew 25:31-46
          ◦Luke 10:25-27
          ◦John 5:28-29

          •Following Church Rituals and Sacraments
          ◦Galatians 3:23-26
          ◦Romans 10:18

          •Avoiding Certain Specific Behaviors.
          ◦Romans 1:29-31
          ◦Romans 13:13
          ◦1 Corinthians 5:10-11
          ◦1 Corinthians 6:9-10
          ◦2 Corinthians 12:20-21
          ◦Galatians 5:19-21

          This is just a start. I made no effort to be complete.

        • nevbig

          off yer rocker from egghed to pinhed

        • Greg G.

          You should try to read the Bible for comprehension sometime. Read it in parallel passages so the differences stand out while the are fresh in your alleged mind.

        • nevbig

          who,s translation der yer prefer .

        • Greg G.

          I prefer modern translations, especially those with footnotes and cross references. I do not expect them to be completely correct. The NIV has nice footnotes and cross references but their translation is often driven by theology, for example (Thus, some Christians call it the Not Inspired Version). I also go to the Greek concordances where there are discrepancies in translation to see how the word is used elsewhere in the Bible and other Greek literature.

          When you read a chapter a day, you don’t have the details in your mind, only a vague impression that feels like the parallel you are reading two or three weeks later. When you read parallel passages together, you get a whole different impression of the stories.

        • Kodie

          If true Christians can’t spell worth a damn and can’t speak coherently, and sound like idiots, why would a good god try to communicate LIKE THAT? Please NOE YER PLACE. You are a fucking moron who can’t grasp the topic, you are repeating your drivel like a compliant slave to a cult. Give a reason why we should listen to you for instruction or advice? If god knows all, he would know morons like you aren’t the best way to communicate his message, YET HERE YOU ARE THINKING fictional world salvation depends on you. Why doesn’t god tell me? Why use people at all, much less fucking idiots?

        • nevbig

          boo hoo hoo ..there,s a sound out of the templeit is the sound of jah repaying whatis deserved to his enemies .

        • Greg G.

          You present yet another example of religion rot of the brain.

        • Kodie

          You’re incoherently blathering on about a fictional book.

        • nevbig

          yer blatherings are those of a man whose minds eyes r closed ..

        • nevbig

          yer minds eyes blind

        • Greg G.

          Oh, great. Another criminally misspelled, vapid deepity. So what if her mind’s eyes are blind? Why don’t you tell Kodie how to see what you imply that there is to see? Why not described what she is missing? Why not just answer her questions?

          It is not Kodie who has blind mind’s eyes, it is you. Your answers would be the same religious idiocy that has failed for thousands of years and it is you who does not see that.

          If you want to sow your religious ideas, you need to shovel more than fertilizer.

        • nevbig

          obfuscation

        • Greg G.

          You seem to have accidentally spelled a word correctly but, unless you are describing your own posts, you are using it incorrectly.

        • nevbig

          correct ..but cant see wot I commented on .

        • Greg G.

          but cant see wot I commented on

          Try quoting what you are replying to and saying something coherent.

        • Wait, huh? Is that “obfuscation” spelled correctly or some other word adorably misspelled?

          Your village idiot persona is slipping.

        • nevbig

          fergit spelling ..git ter the subject .

        • nevbig

          yep u show pin.hed response .

        • nevbig

          u need a bible teacher .

        • Greg G.

          Nobody has ever needed a Bible teacher. It’s a book of myth, fiction, and spin doctoring.

        • Kodie

          You seem to be just a gullible religious fool. If god is real, why send an idiot like you to tell us? Is it your spring break from homeschool? Teachermom let you on the internet without blocking sites?

        • nevbig

          gd is revealed by his chosen ones

        • Greg G.

          There you go with that “chosen ones” crap again.

          Matthew 7:21-23 (ESV)21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ 23 And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’

          If people cast out demons and do mighty works in the name of God, how do they do not reveal God? If they reveal God, are they not chosen?

          nevbig: Lord, Lord, did I not drop the vowels in your name, and cast out trite tripe on the internet in your name, and do many misspelled words in your name?

          And then will Jesus declare to him, “I never knew you; depart from me, you typer of inanity.”

        • nevbig

          his eyes rove the world to see who,se heart is complete toward him .

        • Greg G.

          But you won’t know if your heart is complete enough toward him until it’s too late.

          Even if your heart is complete, it may turn out that you were not supposed to be gullible enough to make your heart complete without evidence. You may find that God hates sycophants.

        • nevbig

          yes god is te decider

        • Greg G.

          yes god is te decider

          If the decider is not just, it doesn’t matter what you do or believe.

          If the decider is just, it would provide sufficient evidence for all to believe, not fallacies that only the gullible would fall for.

          If the decider doesn’t respect honest doubt over reliance on baseless faith, it is not just.

          Do you believe in Noah’s Flood? Atheists don’t accuse the decider of that Do you believe a just decider would sanction slavery? Atheist don’t accuse the decider of that, either. A decider that decided to do those things would not be just.

          All that is left for you is the possibility of eternity with an unjust decider.

        • nevbig

          HE cannot be unjust

        • Greg G.

          You are pretending your imagination is real. A decider who requires belief without sufficient evidence cannot be anything but unjust. Your belief in such a decider is inherently irrational.

          You should at least try to appear rational in public or just stay in your crazy religious bubble.

        • nevbig

          u need a teacher of minds eyes .

        • Greg G.

          You need to accept reality.

        • nevbig

          as prophecied these are the days of noah .

        • Greg G.

          Yeah, yeah, yeah. It has been the end times for two thousand years. You have should have caught on by now that prophecy is fiction and retro-fitted coincidence.

        • nevbig

          a day is as little as 1000 yrs to the immortal .

        • Greg G.

          Now you ate changing your story. It’s not the days of Noah, it’s thousands of years from the days of Noah. You are making no sense.

        • nevbig

          yer,ve red sum bible….these end times r like those that noah livd thro .

        • Greg G.

          Have you been seeing Nephilim? What are you drinking?

        • nevbig

          did u clame to noe eny prophecies .

        • Greg G.

          did u clame to noe eny prophecies .

          Prophecies are the pretensions of a childish mind.

          My favorite Bible prophecy story is Mark’s version of Jesus being tried when he is being slapped around and ordered to “Prophesy!” while his prophecy of Peter’s denials is being fulfilled. It is remarkable how hard it is for believers to see the irony in that story.

        • nevbig

          his majesty had no need to reply to sinners after the ministry he performed

        • Greg G.

          his majesty had no need to reply to sinners after the ministry he performed

          The irony sails over your head, too.

          Mark was clearly writing to Romans after the war. In Mark 11:12-21, Jesus gets mad at a fig tree, then gets mad at the temple in Jerusalem. Later, the disciples notice that the fig tree has withered. Mark’s readers would get the analogy about the temple/city being destroyed because Jesus got mad at it.

          Mark introduced Bartimaeus and explained that his name meant “son of Timaeus”. He had Jesus begin his Gethsemane prayer with “Abba, Father”. Then when he introduces Barabbas, his readers know that there are two prisoners called “Son of the Father”. One is killed for sins and the other is released into the wilderness, just like the Yom Kippur ritual with the scapegoat, found in Leviticus 16:5-22.

          Mark was a skilled writer who could create interesting scenarios. Compare that with the silly stuff Matthew wrote.

          There was a prophecy about being in the belly of the earth for three days and three nights (Matthew 12:40). The gospel standards have him in the ground no more than two nights, one day, and possibly slivers of two days.

          Matthew says zombies crawled out of their graves when Jesus died. The Jews thought the disciples would steal the body and claim that Jesus rose from the dead so they requested guards when the disciples hadn’t figured that part out yet. Why didn’t anybody notice the open graves and smelly people wandering around the graveyard? Why didn’t Matthew just say the guards were there because of the empty graves and were to prevent grave robbing?

          Matthew cratered the gospel standards for story-telling post-Mark.

        • nevbig

          I aint digging out a correction to yer misuderstandin …keep yer ees open fer a reel teacher .

        • Greg G.

          So what is your purpose and intent? Anything more than mental masturbation?

        • You’re right–you are certainly not a teacher, “reel” or otherwise.

        • nevbig

          you or god can remove yer blindfold .

        • Greg G.

          There is no blindfold and there is no god. You have been gaslighted.

        • God promised that he would never recreate the times Noah lived through! See Gen. 9:11.

          Embarrassing when the atheist has to correct you on Bible lore, isn’t it?

        • nevbig

          yep yer a pinhed …god will not flood the earth ..but xst warns u that people will be like u before the tribulation …and earlier u were dismissive of prophecies .

        • Greg G.

          Isn’t God a shithead in Genesis 9:11-17. “I will make a covenant with all forms of life that I will not destroy the world with a flood ever again.” What a twisted POS!

        • nevbig

          u hav opinion on god of Israel .. ut not the Israel of god .

        • Greg G.

          My opinion of said god thingy is similar to any other fictional creation.

        • Another incisive comment.

          What’s your point about prophecies? I’ve seen no evidence of any Christian prophecy coming true. Are you saying something else?

        • nevbig

          these days r like the days of noah…people refuse to accept god,s word .

        • epeeist

          these days r like the days of noah..

          Your cunt of a god supposedly killed 99.999996% of the world’s population during Noah’s flood with the rest of the biosphere as collateral damage.

          Your god is a fucking moral monster.

        • nevbig

          ep these r days lke noah and the almighty knows how to deal with us ..don’t complain ..learn repentance .

        • epeeist

          these r days lke noah and the almighty knows how to deal with us

          Repent? Why should I repent, it’s your fucking omnicidal god that needs to repent.

        • nevbig

          u or god can remove yer blindfold…or consequences .

        • epeeist

          or consequences

          It always comes down to the threat doesn’t it, worship me or suffer eternal torment.

          Even if your god existed I wouldn’t soil myself by worshipping such a “petty, unjust, unforgiving control-freak; a vindictive, bloodthirsty ethnic cleanser; a misogynistic, homophobic, racist, infanticidal, genocidal, filicidal, pestilential, megalomaniacal, sadomasochistic, capriciously malevolent bully.”

          As far as I am concerned your god can go fuck itself.

        • nevbig

          noe yer maker

        • Greg G.

          You are left with empty threats. You may as well go away now.

        • nevbig

          see previous .or later .

        • Greg G.

          You had plenty of chances to say something compelling. Instead, you went with imaginary threats. You lost.

        • nevbig

          ugh too coarse to deel wit .

        • epeeist

          ugh too coarse to deel wit .

          You worship a god who drowned the whole world slaughtering millions of people as well as numerous other atrocities and you are worried about a few Anglo-Saxon words. Why aren’t I fucking well surprised.

        • nevbig

          noah a preacher of riteousness took 40 yrs to bild the ark ..the atheist scoffers cry fer help wen abandoned .

        • Greg G.

          Oh, stop telling lies. Noah is a myth. The myth doesn’t say how long it took to build the mythical ark.

        • nevbig

          sad fer u …noah was rewarded .

        • epeeist

          noah was rewarded .

          So he was, but what about the millions of other people that your cunt of a god slaughtered.

          And you worship this omnicidal maniac?

        • nevbig

          noah preacher of riteousness ..nobody cared ..40yrs to bild an ark ..nobody cared …now they cry bout bein abandoned …this is our future .

        • Greg G.

          Noah didn’t exist.

        • nevbig

          noah a preacher of rituesness nd 40 yrs bilt an ark …nobody cared nd atheists cry ed when the were abandoned .

        • Greg G.

          It’s a fairy tale.

        • Greg G.

          There were no days of Noah. That is a myth stolen from the mythology of older cultures.

          If the word of your god thingy is based on false mythology, then it is not the word of a god thingy worthy of being taken seriously.

        • nevbig

          u or god can remove yer blindfold or consequences .

        • Greg G.

          You discredited yourself when you brought up Noah. Now you are issuing threats. Religious threats don’t work on atheists. It’s like saying that Santa will bring you a lump of coal.

          Bring evidence or stay home.

        • nevbig

          ,all larn .

        • Greg G.

          You are a typical know-nothing Christian with no evidence to show but loves to spew fake threats.

        • nevbig

          see above .

        • nevbig

          not talkin bout me …juss sayin gods ways .

        • Greg G.

          You are talking about your imaginary god thingy and I showed that those imaginary ways are nothing but your own wishful thinking.

          There are a hundred things around me that I accept are real. My standard of evidence is not impossible to meet, quite easy, in fact. Why do you avoid talking about evidence for your god thingy?

        • nevbig

          his sign is those who liv gospel standards .

        • Greg G.

          Were there no Christians before the gospels were written? Which standards? They are made up.

        • nevbig

          from the beginning of his ministry the gospel was being declared and taught by his disciples .

        • Greg G.

          Which standards? Why so vague?

        • nevbig

          that’s the vaguest response ive seen .

        • Greg G.

          that’s the vaguest response ive seen .

          I said that my standards for accepting reality are not hard to meet. Then you started hand-waving “gospel standards” without defining what you are talking about. I asked for clarification and got more hand-waving.

          You have either gone off on Word Association Wednesday or suffered a further mental breakdown.

        • nevbig

          if u r anti.gospel I guessed u hav seen some of the standards .

        • Greg G.

          I have read all of the gospels so I have seen what is in them. I still don’t know what you call a “standard”.

          What are the standards you are referring to? Do you not know? Is it just something you keep hearing in church but have been afraid to ask what the grown-ups are talking about?

        • nevbig

          yer blind .

        • Greg G.

          You claimed there were “gospel standards” but you can’t define them, explain them, nor even list a few examples

          You have no standing for casting aspersions at anybody.

        • nevbig

          u blind to mount sermon d parables .

        • Greg G.

          OT Yahweh just let you die for the things you actually did. In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus introduces eternal punishment for thought crimes. Reading Ezekiel 23, with descriptions of fondling women’s breasts and men hung like horses, might stir lust and get you condemned forever.

          Do you ever think through the implications of the parables. See the Jesus parable at Luke 12:42-50, which not only endorses slavery, but justifies beating a slave for not being trained. Is that what you call “gospel standards?”

          Read Matthew 22:1-14. It’s about a powerful man, analogous to God in the parable, who throws a party that nobody wants to attend. One guy who came anyway gets tied up and thrown into the darkness because he wasn’t in fancy clothes.

          Try reading the gospels in the frame of mind of a kind person. It can be horrifying. Read it for comprehension, not for inspiration. Think it through and fight through the cognitive dissonance that will try to shut down your thought processes before you see what is being said.

        • nevbig

          ? u a rabbi ? leafy fig tree like xstn/saduccee no fruit/virtue …xst foretold of 3rd world people orefer mafia/Barabbas to holiness …the culture today is like those of noah .

        • Greg G.

          leafy fig tree like xstn/saduccee no fruit/virtue

          Do you know why there were no figs on the fig tree? Because it wasn’t fig season. It says that in that passage.

          Then you become unintelligible.

          the culture today is like those of noah .

          Noah didn’t exist. There was no giant flood. You went from unintelligible to completely bonkers. Religion rots minds.

        • nevbig

          only u or god can remove yer blindfold .

        • nevbig

          u or god can remove yer blindfold

        • nevbig

          u or god can remove yer blindfold .

        • Greg G.

          You have nothing left to say nor credibility.

        • nevbig

          atheists ded in the water .

        • Greg G.

          Same as theists.

        • Truly, truly I say unto you: that sounds like just the thing Jesus would say.

      • When the potter gives away his creation or sells it, it’s not his anymore. Similarly, when God gives life to something/somebody (let’s assume God exists), that life isn’t his to take back anymore.

        God seems to have a hard time seeing the difference between a rock and a rabbit. There’s no “just cuz I can” excuse to killing things.

        • nevbig

          we r his subjects

        • Is that supposed to be a convincing argument? Try again.

        • nevbig

          u r subject of the society that u choose

        • Look in the mirror, Chester. You’re spouting off religious nonsense based on your environment.

        • nevbig

          even atheists will share paradise earth

        • Greg G.

          What is your evidence for that claim? Warm fuzzies are not evidence. Wishful thoughts are not evidence.

        • nevbig

          gospel .

        • Greg G.

          “Gospel” means “good news” but it does not necessarily mean “true news”. Evidence, man, evidence. You are obviously lacking that.

        • You are obviously lacking that.

          And perhaps much more.

        • nevbig

          o me heart

  • Otto No Collusion Goat

    Darwin never said that.

    • Apparently the quote is from a poet named Jordyn Berner.

  • RichardSRussell

    “God’s ways are not our ways”, indeed. Our ways are lots better! Too bad God doesn’t seem to be capable of learning from us. Guess that’s a side effect of all that arrogance, huh?

    • NS Alito

      I do like Matt Dillhunty’s simple proof before Bible-thumpers that he can easily make a book better than the Bible: While they may expect him to come up with his own commandments, he says just take all existing references to slavery out of the Bible and use that.

      Um, he said it betterer than I put it.

    • TheBookOfDavid

      Isn’t it about time to stop coddling our gods, and expect them to produce honest work?

  • epicurus

    The devil can seem like the good guy, or at least the lesser bad, in comparison.

    • I Came To Bring The Paine

      Yeah that’s funny. I’ve read the Old Testament and I don’t recall the Devil being involved in all that killing…

      • epicurus

        The character flaws he has that make the devil evil all seem to be possessed by the god of the Old Testament.

        • Kuno

          Someone should write a story where what we call the devil is actually god and the real devil had someone write the bible in his favour.

        • Damian Byrne

          On a board I used to frequent, I called a Christian out on that. She literally claimed to be involved in a cosmic war of good vs evil. Okay, says I, so…have you read what this Satan feller has written, gotten his side of the argument? Nope. All she’s read is the Bible. At which point I’ve told her that essentially, all she’s done is read one side’s propaganda. It may be true or it may not be true, but if that’s all she’s read, then she doesn’t have the full picture.

          Imagine being an American general during World War II, and saying to yourself, you have no need to read any Nazi literature. Sure, you can still think the Nazis as evil, but you won’t understand them, how they think, why they believe the things they believe.

      • Kuno

        He did kill Job’s family, but it was with God’s permission. And they are pretty chummy with each other in that tale…

        • Cynthia

          Christianity came along after the influence of Zoroastrianism, which introduced dualism (good force vs. evil force). Satan isn’t an independent force of evil in the Hebrew Bible.

    • Kuno

      It’s a bit strange that in most other myths the person giving humans knowledge of good and evil/free will/fire/etc. is characterized as good while in Christianity he is supposed to be the bad guy. Prometheus for example was also punished for giving humans fire, but it is clear that Zeus was a prick for doing so.

    • Kodie

      I’ve written in the past that the figure known as god is rageful because he is less popular than the devil. I can’t remember exactly how I put it before, but god’s invitation to heaven sounds more like a desperate party invitation vs. the devil. Everything we know about hell is propaganda from the bible, isn’t it? I’m pretty sure we don’t go anywhere when we die. Christians are suck-ups who can’t say anything negative about their captor, or else they go to the place he says is eternal torture and pain, compared to what. If you say god in the bible did a bad thing, Christian warp that into something good. They are paranoid to say god is anything but good. But the attraction to heaven sounds like god and the devil had a party on the same day, and god had to lie about how terrible the other party was to make his lame party seem good by comparison. There really is no “devil bible”, so how do we know what hell is like? Christians and other religions perpetuate false claims about atheism, so it only follows that claims of heaven and hell are also false.

      It’s marketing. Only a fool says there is no god = “don’t be a fool, believe in god!” to the insecure about being seen a fool, and this works a lot in the US. My experience is mostly that people are Christians but tolerant of the field of other religions – as long as you believe in a god, you are worthy of respect. This much may not be true all over the US, where Christianity is more predominant. As far as my experience goes, you are still ridiculed or worse if you say “there is no god,” which is what theists overwhelmingly say that atheists believe. Most of everything that you hear that atheists think is filtered through theist propaganda designed to keep theists from escaping the trap. We are constantly battling myths that theists believe because they’ve been told. So if there were a heaven or a hell, what substance in evidence supports the conditions of either place or the qualifications for entering either?

  • eric

    Your GPB argument is similar to the “why not make Earth like Heaven?” argument. I.e., if evil or suffering is a philosophically necessary outcome of free will, then in heaven, it must either be the case that (a) there is suffering, or (b) saved souls don’t have free will. Any Christian theology which rejects these and claims that heaven is a place of free willed saved souls never experiencing suffering or evil, implies and must accept that God could have made Earth like that too – but didn’t.

    • Kodie

      Besides the neurological or otherwise reasons out of free will, I mean what is that? I often think of alternate outcomes of various situations I am in, and feel as though I have free will to do “the right thing”. A lot is tradition and custom, and a lot feels situational. There is a fight or flight reaction. If I am upset, is it my free will that causes me to swallow my complaints and let things be terrible? Why am I sometimes the only one who complains about anything? Why does doing that seem crazy? Is seeming crazy the only thing holding everyone else back from saying something when they are conditioned to mind their own business and put up with subpar conditions?

      I mean, what is free will counted as? If I am at an intersection at a red light, and pedestrians are crossing the crosswalk, exactly what concept is keeping me from putting my foot on the gas? I feel like there are more than one primary reason one might choose not to do it.

      1. It’s wrong!
      2. Public safety is my responsibility.

      3. Red light means stop. Green light means keep texting until someone honks.

      4. I don’t feel like running people over… today.

      5. Jail is probably not a good fit for my lifestyle. Paying more for insurance definitely isn’t.

      There might be more ideas that people have while waiting at a red light with a crosswalk. I occasionally think I could do something terrible if I wanted to, but I don’t want to. I kind of think it’s important as a driver to consider how much power I have to fuck up several people at once, so I am not barely holding back violent inclinations to harm. I think some drivers might take the responsibility less seriously than others, without anyone having inclination to harm pedestrians or bicyclists, so I think it is healthy to take a moment once in a while to consider how damaging you have the ability to be or not so you drive with more care. So we can talk about waiting at a red light and briefly considering whether or not to run over a pedestrian, we can dial it back to regular driving habits, the difference between constantly realizing you are wielding a potentially dangerous weapon, and pedestrians can be wild pieces of shit stepping carelessly or thoughtlessly in the street who still don’t deserve to die, or impatient and lucky assholes who assume every road condition is going to remain predictable, with no different drivers or pedestrians, or who don’t know pedestrians always have the right of way. The middle road here is, the oncoming driver allowing pedestrians to cross at a crosswalk while you are yet approaching, and have not yet noticed the oncoming driver has stopped or that there are humans walking in the street.

      Basically free will seems to be, I don’t want to hit them, but I wouldn’t want to be held responsible for their stupid decisions if I did. If I don’t see them in time, I don’t have free will to choose not to hit them, right? If there is a heaven, there are people, and if there are people, there are differences in how to deal with traffic lights and signs. Yellow means fast, yield means ignore, one way occasionally means go the wrong way, etc. I really can’t imagine getting along in heaven if either I still have to put up with selfish assholes, or the pleasure of rushing and cutting people off has to be curtailed, unless those people all go to hell? Ignoring traffic laws and endangering others would be a crime if there is a victim and/or a cop witnessing the violation. Much of the time, nothing bad happens, but it’s a matter of free will – take over or fall behind, basically. Would these chronic traffic sign violators go to hell even if they never had an accident, thankfully, or should they be in heaven and what will that be like for people in heaven that aren’t like that? Heaven isn’t a practical concept at all.

  • ThaneOfDrones

    Don’t just tell me that God has a good reason for a
    child dying of leukemia or a parent killed in an accident or 100,000
    dead from a tsunami, tell me what those reasons are (or could be).

    This is a tricky path for the theist who chooses it. They could try something like “But that sick child might have grown up to be another Hitler.” But the obvious response to that is that God did nothing to prevent the original Hitler.

    • Cozmo the Magician

      BINGO!

      Looking at ALL of the evil pricks that god did absolutely nothing to stop just shows that he either just doesn’t give a flying fork or he does not exist.

      • ThaneOfDrones

        Or maybe both.

    • Michael Murray

      God has give them an opportunity to share in the suffering of Jesus. Or alternatively an opportunity to show how much we love each other by providing support.

      Failing that. The Fall. 🙁

      • Lark62

        Free will. Never forget the “free will” that a child has to die painfully from cancer.

    • And every child dying from disease would’ve been another Hitler? Hard to believe.

      • Greg G.

        Then why didn’t God give baby Hitler that disease?

  • Jim Jones

    We stopped looking for monsters under our bed when we realized that they were inside us.
    — Charles Darwin

    Indeed. ‘God’ is the ego projection of the self believer in the supposed being – with added super powers.

    • Grimlock

      Okay, so, that quote seemed… I dunno, it didn’t quite seem to fit Darwin. So I googled it, and I found two (wildly divergent) sources: Charles Darwin and the Joker.

      I leave it as an exercise for the reader to decide to whom they prefer to make the attribution.

  • NS Alito

    Okay, but “You can’t rule out God” is no more compelling than “You can’t rule out Zeus” (or Quetzalcoatl or Xenu or the Flying Spaghetti Monster).

    FWIW, not ruling out Huitzilopochtli is my go-to example for any Pascal’s Wager argument.

    • I Came To Bring The Paine

      It’s funny. They don’t want you to rule out God when it comes to disbelief, but they want you to rule out God when lumping him in with all the other gods worshiped.

    • I always forget that dude! My bad.

  • nevbig

    god is perfect…perfect adam failed god thro selfish temptation ..god promised a ransom sacrifice that would pay fer the loss of paradise and redeem mankind from evil and satan the liar woud be destroyed ..

    • Greg G.

      A failed Adam was not perfect which proves his creator was not perfect.

      Now you can realize it was a fairy tale.

      • nevbig

        all creatures born free satan and adam had choices .

        • nevbig

          reed yer bible ..ye all need teechers .

        • epeeist

          ye all need teechers

          Given your spelling and grammar this would seem to be especially true for you.

          But why should we pay any attention to your Big Boy’s Book of Fables, there is no reason to suppose it to be true.

        • Dus10

          It never fails to amaze me that people who cannot get something as mundane as spelling and grammar correct think we should listen to them on important things. How you convey your message is important. If you come across as an idiot on something so small, how can i trust your judgement on other things?

        • Greg G.

          Could be a Russian agent looking for semi-literate people to manipulate ahead of the next national election.

        • nevbig

          the meek inherit the earth .

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          1 meter wide by 2 meters long and deep.

        • nevbig

          the meek inherit the earth

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          1 meter wide by 2 meters long and deep.

          Again

        • nevbig

          pijin inglis gets attenshun ..yer bible reedin needs guidance .

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          Nope.

          ‘Bible’ reading needs to take the book at face value.

          YOUR KIND are simply too terrified to do so.

        • Lark62

          Nope, your ignorant statements would get attention regardless. Around here, trolls are referred to as chew toys and we find them to be rather amusing.

          Your spelling merely makes you look stupid and poorly educated.

        • nevbig

          the meek inherit the earth .

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          1 meter wide by 2 meters long and deep.

          new theme…

        • Or a bunch of ashes dumped in a hole in the ground.

        • Lark62

          1. The meek will be rewarded.

          2. And claiming to know what a deity thinks and/or claiming to speak for a deity is the antithesis of meek.

          3. Thus, Nevbig is screwed.

        • nevbig

          god,s word is thro his prophets ..my word will not return to me without results .

        • Are you getting the results you had hoped for when you came here?

        • nevbig

          all seeds of opinion ….

        • Lark62

          You are a self declared spokesman for an omniscient deity, and yet ramble about how great it is to be meek.

          And you cannot spot the raging hypocrisy.

        • Meek? Well, that apparently does not include you.

        • nevbig

          correct .

        • nevbig

          correct .

        • epeeist

          pijin inglis gets attenshun .

          Ah, so you are an attention whore. Thanks, but I am not really into pig wrestling.

        • nevbig

          another cry fer help

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          Why do you project?

        • Michael Neville

          Illiterate ramblings get derision and the ignoramus who wrote them is seen as an idiot.

        • nevbig

          get to the subject .

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          We have, repeatedly.

          YOU refuse to provide evidence.

        • nevbig

          pijin inglis fer u ..faith comes from the word heard

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          Nope, faith comes from gullibility or terror of being wrong.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          We DID read our ‘bible’s…THAT is *why* we’re atheists.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          So your supposed ‘god’ is such a fuckup that it can’t ‘create’ perfect creatures?

          Or is it such a lazy asshole that it *won’t*?

        • nevbig

          yer vocab is a cry fer help

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          Your projection would be pathetic if you weren’t such an offensive nonentity.

        • Lark62

          “Adam” proves your god is an incompetent, mother fucking screw up. (Literally, if the NT is to be believed. God knocked up Mary, who gave birth to God. He fucked his own mother.) Your make believe deity can’t even create one human that acts like it wants

          Of course, none of it is to be believed. It’s all myth.
          Every bit. Your religion consists entirely of memes and concepts stolen from other religious beliefs in the region, and then dumbed down.

          Virgin births.
          Random miracles.
          Can’t stay dead.

          All of it was heard before.

        • nevbig

          yer vocab is a cry fer help .

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          Projection on your part.

        • NO, HEWBT’s vocabulary is giving your mythology the respect it deserves — zero.

        • Lark62

          My vocabulary is clear, to the point, and expresses what I mean

          If you don’t like the truth, leave.

        • WCB

          If God is truly omniscient, knowing the future in all details, and create everything, including the Universe, from any possible initial state of creation God chooses, God will know how that Universe unfolds in all detail. The Universe then is determinate, hard determinate at that. And by definition there can be no free will in any such Universe.

        • nevbig

          he does not choose to see future details…he watches to see who,s heart is complete towards him …he has a future fer victims that willmore than compensate them fer an suffering .

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          Who made YOU an authority on what your ‘god’ decides?

          Don’t get me wrong, I realize it’s just in your head, but c’mon, try for a little *consistency*??

        • nevbig

          how he operates is in the word thro his prophets .

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          I call bullshit.

          Show me *evidence*, not just *arguments*.

        • Somehow I don’t think you’re capable of reading the minds of people, let alone the minds of gods. It’s more likely you’re just making stuff up to “explain” the parts of your religion that don’t make sense.

        • nevbig

          his word is thro his chosen prophets

        • Your alleged god, which is almost certainly imaginary, has no “word” and has no prophets and cannot choose anything at all.

          That said, if I were looking for a prophet, you wouldn’t even get an interview.

        • nevbig

          bible lit is convincing ..as jesus quotes .

        • Greg G.

          Everything seems convincing to the gullible.

        • I do not find the Bible convincing at all. It is not admissible as evidence for its supernatural claims, it’s historically inaccurate, and the morality described in it is simply vile.

        • nevbig

          atheists will be in paradise earth .

        • I was talking about the Bible being unconvincing. What are you talking about?

        • Greg G.

          A continuous conversation is beyond his capability. That would require reading upthread and holding more than one thought at a time.

        • OK, now that’s just unfair to ask him so tricky a question.

        • nevbig

          red eny gud buks layteley

        • Currently working through Cautio Criminalis by Friedrich Spee von Langenfeld, and The Backyard Astronomer’s Guide by Terence Dickinson and Alan Dyer.

        • nevbig

          xcellent …gospel good too

        • No, the gospels are very badly written. They don’t even agree with one another, not even the three synoptic gospels.

        • Greg G.

          Yes, but I haven’t read any good posts from you, ever.

        • nevbig

          I never made personal claims ..I trust gods chosen ones .

        • And I believe your god is a fiction and has no “chosen ones” at all.

        • nevbig

          sad fer you

        • No, I’m quite satisfied with my perspective.

        • nevbig

          yooor choice

        • No, I cannot choose to believe or disbelieve. I simply find the Bible stories too silly to take seriously.

        • For his next trick, nevbig will demonstrate how it’s done by choosing to believe in leprechauns.

        • nevbig

          who can write like the prophets …the hand of jahwill certainly be made knownto his servants but he willdenounce his enemies .

        • Greg G.

          Mark 13:22 Young’s Literal Translation
          for there shall rise false Christs and false prophets, and they shall give signs and wonders, to seduce, if possible, also the chosen;

          You are seduced.

        • The Bible stories are still too silly to take seriously.

        • nevbig

          faith comes from the word heard .

        • I am incapable of religious faith of any kind, literally unable to neurologically and psychologically suspend disbelief. I’ve been this way all my life. I do not expect this to change.

        • nevbig

          satan blinds the minds eyes .

        • Satan is a fictional character.

        • nevbig

          satan told god that a man would do enythin to save his skin …job and jesus proved him a liar .

        • Greg G.

          That was in a fictional story. Satan is at the beginning and the end but disappears in the middle. Those bits appear to be added onto an older story.

        • nevbig

          afeared of truth

        • Greg G.

          Nope..

        • I say again: Satan is a fictional character.

          You seem to be having a lot of trouble understanding disbelief. We don’t believe the same things that you do, and no matter how much you talk about them, that’s not likely to change.

        • nevbig

          fear of truth .

        • Look in the mirror. I don’t think you’re capable of confronting the fact that your beliefs might not be true. All your god has to do to convince me that it’s real is to show up physically and talk to me, and so far it hasn’t done so.

        • nevbig

          he spekes to you thro the gospel

        • No, the Gospels are just a bunch of stories and do not “speak” to me at all. I do not believe that the events in the gospels actually happened.

        • nevbig

          wot future prospects fer humanists ..

        • Greg G.

          We don’t have to kiss God’s ass for eternity.

          Suppose you get to live every life of every creature and all the possible variations of each. After you have done them all a few trillion times each, you still have eternity to go. It would get tedious.

          We accept a finite existence so that every minute has some finite significance to us. Every minute of your life is a prelude to a hope for an eternal life but the appreciation of it is squandered as it doesn’t measure up to what you imagine.

          Our lives divide the eternity before from the eternity after.

        • nevbig

          fluff .

        • Greg G.

          You believe in Super Santa Claus.

        • Same as for everyone. Life and then death.

        • nevbig

          then resurrection fer redeemed mankind

        • No one — and I do mean no one, including you — will ever be resurrected. When you die, nevbig, you are dead forever and your prayers will not save you.

        • nevbig

          memorial tombs will be opened

        • Very unlikely and not believable.

        • Greg G.

          You trust your imaginary god’s imaginary chosen ones.

        • Greg G.

          Even the chosen ones are seduced.

        • nevbig

          somewhere I sed I made no claim to be a prophet ..his word is thro his chosen ones and recognized by intelligent beings .

        • Your god has no prophets — only people who claim to be its prophets.

        • Greg G.

          somewhere I sed I made no claim to be a prophet ..his word is thro his chosen ones and recognized by intelligent beings .

          Look! Only two poorly spelled words! Can you do conventional capitalization and punctuation, too? Why not just drop the contrived ignorance?

        • nevbig

          stik to the subject ..even atheists will share paradise earth

        • Greg G.

          Only one misspelled word and that was only wrong by one letter. April Fools Day is over. You can drop the charade.

        • nevbig

          pijin inglis fun fer attenshun

        • Greg G.

          I suppose an attention whore who is a buffoon needs some gimmick.

        • Wow–and multilingual, too. What a treat to have you here.

        • nevbig

          red eny gud buks leytley

        • kin yoo stopp beeng a moorun

        • nevbig

          muttylingual nt eesy fer yer …cant see wot humanists can offer v gospel

        • Stop writing gibberish. If you have something useful to say, do so.

        • nevbig

          anser the kwestshun

        • nevbig

          no mines better rn yoors

        • Golly, how did we get by for so long without a court jester? Truly, I say that you’re adding immensely to the discourse.

        • nevbig

          why my replies not show on this page

        • nevbig

          pokin round these pages to fit reply is a pain .

        • Looks to me like they’re appearing fine.

          Why would you care? Your comments are just a word salad put into a blender. You add nothing to the conversation. Are you just here to invite abuse?

        • nevbig

          god reveals his mind in scripture .

        • No, scripture is written by people and is limited to what those people know or believe. That’s why you have silly things in the Bible like floods that never happened, and giant dragons knocking stars out of the sky with their tails.

        • nevbig

          god chooses who will speak in his name.. illustrations are fer the anointed .

        • The history of human culture is full of people who have claimed to speak for a god, but there is no evidence that any of those people were ever in contact with a real god. It’s easy to make claims that cannot be tested.

      • WCB

        Since Adam had not eaten the fruit of the Tree Of Knowledge Of Good And Evil, Adam and Eve had no knowledge of good and evil. No more knowledge of such things than a jelly fish. Adam then would have happily commuted any evil, not recognizing it as such. He would have happliy committed murder, rape, assault and theft and worse, had their been anybody around to rape kill or assault. Now the question is, why did God want to keep Adam and Eve ignorant and mortal? Good luck getting an answer that makes sense from all the sophisticate theologians.

        • Greg G.

          Good luck getting an answer that makes sense from all the sophisticate theologians.

          Don’t think I haven’t asked. Maybe one of them will get back to me today or tomorrow. Maybe.

        • nevbig

          I sed u need teechers

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          And you’re projecting again.

        • Greg G.

          ITYM
          teechers = brainwashers

        • I Came To Bring The Paine

          If I’m not mistaken, many Jews interpret the Genesis episode as an ascension and not a fall, since gaining knowledge of good and evil is what separates humans from the rest of the animal kingdom.

        • nevbig

          no ..animals liv by instinct .. humans by gods words .

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          Nope.

          Try again.

          Most people who have ever lived never knew word one about your myth.

        • nevbig

          I sed u need teechers .

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          Projection on your part.

          again.

        • May I gently suggest that you learn how to spell before you try to teach?

        • nevbig

          pijin inglis fun …hart afore smart .

        • This is as good a time as any to quote Danger Mouse, the World’s Greatest Secret Agent:

          Look, friend — I speak 34 languages fluently, but gibberish isn’t one of them.

        • Seen on the internet:

          I have neither the time nor the crayons to explain it to you.

        • Phil Baldwin

          Oh crumbs DM!

        • Penfold, shush.

        • nevbig

          loosen up

        • Shut the fuck up. You do *not* get to dictate *my* language, you deluded little bastard.

      • nevbig

        perfect man can be selfish given free spirit as satan .

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          Self-contradiction seems to be your thing.

        • Kit Hadley-Day

          that’s possibly the quickest i have ever seen a theist wreck their own argument, it’s impressive on some levels.

        • If “perfect man can be selfish,” then there’s nothing wrong with selfishness. 😀

      • nevbig

        the perfect man had free will and a conscience fer selfishness .as did satan .

        • Greg G.

          God could have put Jesus in the Garden of Eden instead of Adam. Then there would be no problem and no regrets from God.

          The story is a fairy tale. It never happened.

        • nevbig

          man is biological creation ..xst is spirit being .

    • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

      dafuq?

      Poe, or are you really that incoherent?

      • nevbig

        reed yer bible ..wots yoor opinion of yer future .

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          Oh, so you really ARE that incoherent.

          My future? I’ll live, I’ll die, my mind (the *me* that is a moving pattern of electricity and chemicals in my brain) will cease to exist, and the rest of me will be worm food.

          You’re claiming something else?

          If so, bring evidence.

        • nevbig

          god,s word and prophecy will convince the heart .

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          So you *can’t*…

          Why not just say so?

        • Doubting Thomas

          Ohhhhmmmmmmmmm…….I foresee a conversation with a nutjob in his near future,,,,,Ohhhmmmmmmmmm
          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/b4e3be75d80af4dfae6cb31384bd12691d5fc95b5022a06c0e5ecdc65056e4fc.jpg

        • nevbig

          any bod hav valued opinion on their future

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          Already covered, below.

          And YOUR KIND still bring no evidence of your terror that you’re trying to instill into us (spitefully, I might add…)

        • nevbig

          xst surrendered his perfect life ..the ransome so that u can xperience life on paradise earth .

        • Greg G.

          Recently, you were saying that a thousand years is like a day to the Lord so Jesus would have surrendered only 33/1000 of a day, which is about 47 minutes.

        • nevbig

          xst surrendered his perfect life …the ransome ..so that u can experience paradise earth .

      • Susan

        Poe, or are you reall that incoherent?

        Possibly a Russian bot.

    • Cool story, bro. Needs more dragons.

      • nevbig

        xst surrendered his perfect life ..the ransome ..so that u can xperience life on paradise earth .

        • I reject the “ransom” unconditionally and eternally. I do *not*, under any circumstances in any possible timeline in any possible universe, consent to someone dying in my place.

          Not even some fictional git from the eastern Mediterranean who hated fig trees, slaughtered a farmer’s pig herd, insulted a foreign woman by likening her to a dog, dissed his own ma, and had his disciples commit Grand Theft Ass and Colt so that he could ride into Jerusalem. “Perfect life”? No. The Jesus of the Gospels was a whiny little b@stard. Read the Bible again, and pay attention this time around.

        • nevbig

          one day you will be desperate fer a ransome .

        • One day you will simply be deceased and never know that your faith is gone.

        • epeeist

          one day you will be desperate fer a ransome .

          And there it is folks, eventually it comes down to the threat.

          But given the actions of this cunt of a god this is hardly surprising.

        • nevbig

          godrewards

          wards the good slave ..thrones in heven wit xst .

        • Sweet! I wanna be a good slave.

        • Greg G.

          You have to sit under the throne to kiss God’s omnipresent ass for eternity.

        • nevbig

          best slaves sit at the kings table .

        • Greg G.

          The best slaves are slaves.

        • epeeist

          godrewards

          wards the good slave ..thrones in heven wit xst .

          But your god is going to send two thirds of the world’s population to hell merely because they belong to other religions (or to none). As I said your cunt of a god is fucking evil.

        • nevbig

          too coarse fer consideration ..but god reeds harts like those of noahs day

        • Greg G.

          Why would God need fairy tale hearts?

        • epeeist

          too coarse fer consideration

          Me: Your cunt of a god drowned 99.999996% of the world’s population.

          You: You said a naughty word.

          Glad to see where your priorities lie.

          As for my “naughty words”, at least that is the limit of my transgressions. Your god seems to have no problem murdering people, encouraging people to murder other people, isn’t bothered about being associated with gang rape and incest…

        • 😀

        • nevbig

          foul people xhibit cry fer help

        • Greg G.

          People who worship a murderous imaginary god thingy but object to “coarse” words are foul.

          …theology is merely voluntary separation from reality.
            –I Came To Bring The Paine

        • Got evidence?

        • nevbig

          scoffers nd athests were wailing wen the ark floated away boo hoo hoo

        • nvbig got nuthn but threts. Sic yer meen big brothr on me?

        • Greg G.

          The ark is not evidence, it’s a fairy tale.

        • nevbig

          scoffers and atheists were wailing wen the ark floated away ..boobhoo hoo .

        • Greg G.

          You are off with the fairies.

        • Kodie

          Your expression is like the ravings of lunatics. What ark? What the childish bullshit are you even talking about?

          Does your TEACHERMOM know you’re on the internet?

        • nevbig

          n u
          noe nuttin

        • Greg G.

          Kodie hit a nerve.

        • Taking a death sentence for someone else has no place in human justice. Makes no sense.

        • Never made sense to me either, Bob. It’s utterly baffling to me why anyone at all thinks it’s a good thing, unless they’ve been so emotionally beaten down by the “filthy rags” indoctrination that they need that flimsy thread of hope to pull themselves out of the abyss.

        • Kodie

          Just think how easily they are touched by the gesture that is so much more than any one of them would do for even their own personal loved one. Someone else died 2000 years ago so that I don’t have to feel bad about being myself, in the ways that (predominantly Christian society) has influenced them to feel inferior, then comes along to salvationate them with Jesus!

        • Kodie

          That was a bonehead idea. How does that even work?

        • nevbig

          a thread of he bible message ..the lamb of god was sacrificed so that the ransome was paid that men could liv on the paradise earth forfeited by adam .

        • Greg G.

          She asked you to explain how it worked but you offer a made-up story based on a fairy tale.

          Paul called Jesus the “paschal lamb”, aka the Passover lamb. But the Passover lamb is not a sin offering. It represents the lamb’s blood put on the doorways so the angle of death didn’t kill indiscriminately.

          Mark made up a story of the crucifixion being at the time of the Passover, likely because of Paul’s “paschal lamb” comment. Mark explains the name “Bartimaeus” so that his readers understand that “Bar” means “son of”. Then he has Jesus open his Gethsemane prayer with “Abba, Father” (also stolen from Paul) so that his readers know that “abba” means “father”.

          When Barabbas is introduced, Mark’s readers understand that there are two people called “Son of the Father”, one is killed for the sins of the people and one is released into the wilderness, which is the scapegoat ritual from Leviticus 16:5-22. However, that is Yom Kippur (Atonement Day) which is five lunar cycles after the Passover.

          That is analogous to the leprosy remedy of a house (most likely mold) (Leviticus 14:33-53) which is scraped off, then a priest brings two matching birds, one is killed, its blood is sprinkled on the other bird, which is released into the wilderness. The blood is supposed to be a magic conduit that carries the problem away. But it’s not like that magic was reliable. The final remedy if the mold returned was to tear down the house and build elsewhere.

        • Pofarmer

          https://www.academia.edu/38953504/Why_Jesus_Most_Probably_Never_Existed_Ehrmans_Double_Standards

          Narve Strand points out something interesting.

          Barrabbas was indeed “Son of the Father” But Jesus was called the “Son of Man.” The let the Son of the Father go, and killed the Son of Man.

          Or maybe I saw it somewhere else. Gotta go to work, dang it.

        • Greg G.

          That’s a good article but I didn’t see the Barabbas argument.

          In Mark 14:62 at his trial, Jesus does say the is the Son of Man (also in Mark 13:26) and would sit at the right hand of power (Psalm 110:1, 5) and would be coming with the clouds (Daniel 7:13) and the high priest flipped out when he said that.

          But Jesus referred to God as “Father” in the Gethsemane prayer, too.

          It is the Gospel of John that really plays up Jesus being the son and God the father.

        • Pofarmer
        • MR

          I remember when I still considered myself Christian reading the Bartimaeus story and being struck by how it was such an obvious analogy. That is, not a story of an actual event. We were also studying the gospels side by side and as I recall the details of the story were different depending on which gospel you were reading. The cracks were already forming.

        • nevbig

          ow can u be so werdy an miss the mark ..ye need a reel teacher .

        • Greg G.

          Provide evidence instead of fairy tales.

          You are getting evidence that the story is fiction and how it was created.

        • Kodie

          No, stupid. It is a primitive concept of justice that actually has no effect. You turn your devotion to your imaginary friend, and away from other people, because now you are in love with the fantasy that you are cured of a disease of being born that they told you you had. How much money have you already given them? God decided to do something “nice” for everyone, by waiting several generations for his son to be “born” and then preach, and then die, because that’s how you get to be “saved”. It’s a really dumb idea. I thought god was smarter than that!

        • Tell him I said thanks.

    • Are you a Poe? Are you a zombie? Are you being held against your will?

      Blink twice if I’m getting warm.

      • wtfwjtd

        Well, it *is* almost Easter, after all…maybe Zombie Jesus© is trying to tell us something from beyond the grave…

      • nevbig

        my post is truth

        • Greg G.

          my post is truth

          Why would you think that? You do not have evidence to support that claim. You not have a sound argument to support your claim. All you have is a warm, fuzzy feeling that every other religious nut has for their own religious guess.

        • nevbig

          the bible tells u so

        • Greg G.

          The Bible is but a warm, fuzzy feeling. You have nothing but wishful thoughts. You are kidding yourself.

        • That’s what the Muslims say. (And the Scientologists, and the Mormons, and all the rest.)

        • nevbig

          nd the true livin god will be out .

      • nevbig

        xst surrendered his life as a ransome so that u can xperience paradise earth .

        • yer fumfering englis iz adorabl

        • nevbig

          oh the pinhed is larnin .

        • Greg G.

          Have you ever wondered how the Swedish Chef would translate his text?

  • skl

    The point of insisting on these steps is
    to force Christians to pause and see what they’re cobbling together.

    I’d bet that anti-Christians have made these points to
    Christians in just about every one of the last 2000 years.

    • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

      And xtians STILL aren’t listening.

      For a long time, xtianity had the secular power to ignore such valid criticism.

      That power is goine, so xtianity is digging its own grave.

      • Pofarmer

        More. Faster.

      • eric

        The amount of historical time is almost irrelevant, as It’s not like any specific person went through 2,000 years of not-listening. People live for 60-100 years or so. If a person living in 1919 or 1819 or 1719 couldn’t be convinced that the theodicy argument was a problem over their lifetime, then it’s utterly unsurprising that a person living in 2019 won’t be convinced that theodicy is a problem over their lifetime also, given that all those lifetimes are approximately the same (at least within a factor of 2). And guess what? An evangelical in 2119 will likely also not see the problem of theodicy for what it is, at least for the 60-120 years they have on Earth.

        This is not to say it’s not worth trying, however. The fact that I may not make a statistical dent in total # of believers is irrelevant to the question of whether i think it’s worth having a deep philosophical discussion about religion with my neighbor. Moreover, trends like what we see in Europe show that it’s certainly possible for such ongoing discussions to have a net effect, even if at the individual level we can’t see an impact today, with person X.

        I tend to think that our long-term success is more related to making these arguments more public, more socially acceptable, a greater part of the general consensus (i.e. that it’s normal and acceptable to question religious claims), rather than winning individual arguments. I don’t care if Alice and Bob and Charlie aren’t convinced, if us having that discussion in public convinces Denise and Ethan and Gina that there’s nothing odd or socially unaccepable about being a none, or telling other people they’re a non-christian who finds problems with suffering.

      • I Came To Bring The Paine

        For a long time, xtianity had the secular power to ignore prosecute those who spoke such valid criticism.

        Fixed it for you. 😉

    • Greg G.

      I’d bet that anti-Christians have made these points to
      Christians in just about every one of the last 2000 years.

      Except for the centuries when Christians considered such utterances to be blasphemy and applied the death penalty. Then there were the centuries when criticizing the Christianity of the day would result in being black-balled from employment or house arrest.

      • skl

        Maybe in those centuries, only Christians were making those points, at least to themselves. That is, they probably have always pondered those points, whether an anti-Christian makes them or not.

        • Greg G.

          They did and they usually kept those thoughts private.

          I think it was Richard Friedman in Who Wrote the Bible who wrote about someone about a thousand years ago who had written that the account of Moses death in the Bible would mean Moses didn’t write it. Another priest wrote, “Only a fool would say that Moses didn’t write Exodus because Exodus says…” He repeated that about a half dozen times to mention several other instances that do not make sense if Moses wrote Exodus, but he couched it in terms of “only a fool would say”. He clearly didn’t meant that it was a foolish conclusion, only that it was foolish to say it because of the consequences from those who didn’t want to consider it.

        • skl

          Or even before there were Christians.
          For example, from Psalm 10:
          “Why dost thou stand afar off, O LORD?
          Why dost thou hide thyself in times of trouble?”

        • Greg G.

          Right, and Psalm 77 is lamenting that God doesn’t do the mighty miracles he did in the past.

          Psalm 77:1-15 (NRSV)1 I cry aloud to God,    aloud to God, that he may hear me.2 In the day of my trouble I seek the Lord;    in the night my hand is stretched out without wearying;    my soul refuses to be comforted.3 I think of God, and I moan;    I meditate, and my spirit faints. Selah4 You keep my eyelids from closing;    I am so troubled that I cannot speak.5 I consider the days of old,    and remember the years of long ago.6 I commune with my heart in the night;    I meditate and search my spirit:7 “Will the Lord spurn forever,    and never again be favorable?8 Has his steadfast love ceased forever?    Are his promises at an end for all time?9 Has God forgotten to be gracious?    Has he in anger shut up his compassion?” Selah10 And I say, “It is my grief    that the right hand of the Most High has changed.”11 I will call to mind the deeds of the Lord;    I will remember your wonders of old.12 I will meditate on all your work,    and muse on your mighty deeds.13 Your way, O God, is holy.    What god is so great as our God?14 You are the God who works wonders;    you have displayed your might among the peoples.15 With your strong arm you redeemed your people,    the descendants of Jacob and Joseph. Selah

          Ecclesiastes was probably written by an atheist with a few verses added so they could include it in the OT.

        • nevbig

          cry of the penitent .

        • Greg G.

          It is the cry of someone who realized the miracles of God that he heard of from the distant past, did not happen at the present. They didn’t happen in the past, either, as he was reading fairy tales.

        • Lark62

          That’s an easy one. OLordy Yahweh-Jesus “stands far off” for the same reason Zeus, Quetzalcoatl, Gandalf and Dumbledore “stand far off.”

          It is freakin make believe.

        • Pofarmer

          Speaking of Moses. The Evangelical Fuckwit at the funeral I attended last night went on and on about the “Prayer of Moses” that’s in Psalms something or other that was certainly, genuinely, written by Moses himself. M’kay. First I’d ever heard of that one. The nice thing about being religious is that you can just make up whatever shit you like.

        • Michael Neville

          Psalm 90 is attributed to Moses, which would make it the oldest psalm. It has the well-known comment about the life of Man being “four score and ten” (KJV).

        • Greg G.

          It has the well-known comment about the life of Man being “four score and ten” (KJV).

          And it was written by a 120 year old man who said he was the most humble person who ever lived.

        • Michael Neville

          Moses was very proud of his humility.

        • Discordia

          Maybe Moses DID write about his death because he was a zombie!! Or maybe a lich….

      • MR

        Actually that blackballing still goes on. It doesn’t even have to be atheist vs. theist, you could simply be the wrong kind of theist and be blackballed, constitution be damned.

    • I bet not. I’ve never seen it, for example.

  • JustAnotherAtheist2

    This is a bit dense.

    It’s not that dense.

  • Grimlock

    Hey folks,

    A bit of a PA from me. As many of the regulars here know I have been an atheist for a while. What you don’t know is that I have not been as convinced of this as it might have appeared. In a sense, I’ve been trying to convince myself.

    Long story short, I’ve been slowly sliding towards a more agnostic, deistic, and finally theistic standpoint. I don’t identify as a Christian, but I have started seeking the company of like-minded folks, which has meant a fairly liberal Christian congregation. (Yet I still find the songs rather awkward.)

    The causes are twofold. Some of the arguments made by Christians do indeed resemble Swiss cheese, yet others I ultimately find compelling. Particularly a version of the Thomistic cosmological argument, Plantinga’s Evolutionary Argument Against Naturalism, and a variant of the arguments for God’s existence from moral realism.

    The other factor, in addition to the arguments themselves, has been the intellectual openness and willingness to dialogue demonstrated by certain Christians. A particular hat tip in this regard goes to a certain Catholic blogger. (Whom I did not appreciate at the time, and so got banned, and so cannot express my change of view directly.)

    I intend to keep hanging out at this blog, intending to challenge myself with opposing viewpoints. But my own standpoint will be more obviously theistic. I look forward to many more fruitful discussions!

    As a last note, @Bob, would you be willing to let me write a guest post outlining the reasons for my change of stance in more detail? We could have a nice back and forth about it.

    Grim

    • Susan

      others I ultimately find compelling. Particularly a version of the Thomistic cosmological argument, Plantinga’s Evolutionary Argument Against Naturalism, and a variant of the arguments for God’s existence from moral realism.

      Upvoted because I’m fascinated by what compels you. Not because I am compelled.

      Also because I hope Bob accepts your guest post (I’m guessing very strongly that he will, but won’t hold him to my very strong guess.)

      which has meant a fairly liberal Christian congregation. (Yet I still find the songs rather awkward.)

      That literally made me laugh out loud. Thanks for that.

      Long story short, I’ve been slowly sliding towards a more agnostic, deistic, and finally theistic standpoint. I don’t identify as a Christian

      What sort of deity do you believe exists and why?

      I intend to keep hanging out at this blog

      Thank goodness. And thank you.

      I doubt I would be the only one who would miss your participation.

      • Grimlock

        What sort of deity do you believe exists and why?

        The kind that only exists on April 1st, and is non-existent the rest of the year.

        (Sorry.)

        I doubt I would be the only one who would miss your participation.

        Thank you for that. It’s much appreciated!

    • Hmm. Not what I expected, but everyone’s journey is different.

      Yes, contact me (see About page) and let’s talk about what such a blog post would cover. It sounds intriguing. A thoughtful defense of Christianity is pretty rare. Be sure to check out my posts on cosmological argument(s) and Plantinga’s EAAN to make sure your argument goes beyond what I’ve said.

      • Susan

        A thoughtful defense of Christianity is pretty rare.

        To be clear, Grimlock outright stated that he has slid toward a “theistic” standpoint but that he doesn’t identify as christian.

        I would like to know what he means, why he has slid there and why those arguments have won him over.

        • (I assume you’ve seen that he admitted that he made us poissons d’Avril?)

        • Susan

          (I assume you’ve seen that he admitted that he made us poissons d’Avril?)

          I did. He got me, the little brat. 😐

          I didn’t even notice it was April 1st yesterday.

        • Greg G.

          Patheos is weird today. Most of the posts come up with nothing but an invitation to subscribe to a newsletter.

          Regarding a question I saw in the Recent Comments but cannot get to open, the Comment Policy is just above where you post to an article rather than a previous comment. It says:

          Cross Examined Comment Policy

          All welcome. Please stay on topic. Civility is preferred, though frank comments are allowed.

          You can do a quick word search from the browser – usually Ctrl+F will open a box you can paste or type the words.

        • Patheos had just a temporary problem, I hope?

        • Greg G.

          It’s working now. It wasn’t before I took a shower but was afterward. I will add that to my troubleshooting procedure.

        • Kodie

          And you are the resident Poe detector! I thought it was a hilarious joke, but I got fooled.

      • Grimlock

        So, ahem, April Fools?

        (I have to admit I thought I went a bit over the top with the reference to a certain Catholic blogger.)

        I really like the way you responded here, and I think it speaks volumes that you’d be open to have such a guest post. It was tempting to drag it out a bit longer to see how well I could steelman some apologetic arguments…

        • ildi

          Unfortunately, I’m humorless when it comes to pranks :/

        • Greg G.

          I am shocked! Shocked, I tell you!

          Good one.

        • You got me. It did seem to be a very strange request coming from such thoughtful fingers.

          The earliest April Fools joke I remember falling for was a Scientific American brief topic decades ago. It talked about recreating mammoths from 20,000yo frozen cells. Ever since, I’ve had a passion for that story becoming a reality.

        • Greg G.

          It talked about recreating mammoths from 20,000yo frozen cells.

          I heard they are doing that with mammoth eggs they found frozen in a nest.

        • Grimlock

          Oh man, that would be so ridiculously awesome!

  • JBSchmidt

    2) The problem with your point is that there are examples of good coming from tragedy. God gives us life and each day is a blessing. If death were the ultimate end, your points might be valid. However, the Bible is clear that we are merely visitors on this broken rock. You can choose to accept that or not. However, to assert Christian philosophy is wrong because your beliefs fail to match up is more of a you problem.

    3) Another recycled point. The existence of God is not based on a single argument or can defeated by a single point. Again because your world view fails to accept that and builds humanities existence on a different philosophy, doesn’t make you right and the Christians wrong. There are plenty of questions you can’t prove within your own. As an example, produce for me a replicating cell, created by random chemical processes without the direct guidance of a scientist? Yes, that point is recycled and yes you have volumes of text that point to plausibility; yet, you have no direct replicable evidence. Not unlike the Christian who can’t directly show you his God, but has volumes of plausible evidence for a God.

    4) “Since the omnipotent GPB could do every logically possible thing, it could achieve every such goal itself, which means that achieving those goals through suffering would be unnecessary.”

    What is suffering? You only defined the extremes. Does that include a child not getting what he/she wants for Christmas? How about my boss not giving me the day off I wanted? How about a woman that can’t physically have children, is that included? You stubbed your toe, is that suffering?

    Further, let’s suppose my child is failing his classes in high school. All his teachers say he understands the material, but doesn’t complete the daily assignments and thus gets zero credit and is tanking his grade. I, in response, take away his connection to the outside world (free time, cell phone, xbox, etc.) until he corrects his ways. Some parents, in their parenting strategy, would find that to be unnecessary suffering. Arguing that if he understands the material, it is the teachers fault for not adapting to my son’s learning style. Who is right? Should God intervene on behalf of the teacher, parent or child?

    Conclusion:
    1-This lacks any understanding of Christian beliefs.
    2-Define innocent. All have done wrong against God, thus none are innocent.
    3-In order to show that God is real, one must be open to seeing it.
    4-This is a straw man argument.

    “The Bible can be made to say that God operates on moral principles that are incompatible with those that make sense to humans”

    That should read, “makes sense to my philosophy”. The Christian humans see how God operates and understand.

    “Christians take a path through the Bible’s doctrine, picking up a piece here and ignoring a piece there to create their concept of God.”

    Again, wrong. See 2000 years of Christian work.

    “see what they’re cobbling together.”

    Hi pot this is kettle.

    • Greg G.

      The problem with your point is that there are examples of good coming from tragedy.

      Humans can make good come from tragedy. Our existence depends on it. The problem for the theist is whether God can achieve the same good without the tragedy. If not, then tragedy can do something that is logically possible to do that God cannot do. Allowing unnecessary tragedy is allowing unnecessary suffering which makes God not loving, possibly even sadistic. And eternal rewards for gullible people is arbitrary.

      The existence of God is not based on a single argument or can defeated by a single point.

      There are no amount of arguments that show the existence of God but the existence of suffering does eliminate the possibility of a being that is both omnipotent and omnibenevolent. If there was an omnibenevolent being, there would be no preventable unnecessary suffering. If there was an omnipotent being, no suffering would be necessary and no unnecessary suffering would be unpreventable.

      What is suffering? You only defined the extremes.

      So what? Extreme suffering is more than enough to eliminate the omnipotent benevolence. Even minor suffering is unnecessary and sufficient to eliminate your god thingy.

      1-This lacks any understanding of Christian beliefs.

      Actually your response lacks understanding of Christian beliefs. There are thousands of different denominations due to differences in Christian beliefs. But none of them are willing to accept that God might be a sadistic bastard who allows unnecessary suffering that he could prevent as easily as not preventing it.

      The Christian humans see how God operates and understand.

      No, they don’t. We have heard “God works in mysterious ways” too many times.

      Again, wrong. See 2000 years of Christian work.

      That proves Bob’s point. You ignore the unnecessary suffering so you can say God is good. You can’t present an argument or a series of arguments that show God exists. The cumulative effect of hundreds of failed arguments for God leans to the non-existence of God.

    • 2) The problem with your point is that there are examples of good coming from tragedy.

      Of course there are. But now you’re speaking like a naturalist. We don’t need to bend over backwards to find a spot for our deity in the evidence of life.

      If death were the ultimate end, your points might be valid.

      OK, then show us that there’s life after death.

      However, the Bible is clear that we are merely visitors on this broken rock. You can choose to accept that or not.

      Not really. I believe based on evidence. I can’t “just believe” stuff. It doesn’t work that way.

      However, to assert Christian philosophy is wrong because your beliefs fail to match up is more of a you problem.

      The burden of proof rests on your shoulders, pal.

      because your world view fails to accept that

      Give me a reason to believe otherwise.

      yes you have volumes of text that point to plausibility; yet, you have no direct replicable evidence.

      We haven’t replicated the Big Bang (which is probably a good thing). And yet that’s where the evidence points. You don’t like the scientific consensus? Yet again, the burden of proof is yours to show otherwise.

      Not unlike the Christian who can’t directly show you his God, but has volumes of plausible evidence for a God.

      Show us these volumes.

      You only defined the extremes. Does that include a child not getting what he/she wants for Christmas?

      Sure, we could ignore the main point and go off into the weeds, but since that would be stupid, let’s not. Focus on the main question first.

      The Christian humans see how God operates and understand.

      Then you’re just the guy. I recently wrote a post about a 4-step process Christians must follow before they give the “God could have reasons we just don’t understand” response. You should read it and give us your responses.

      “Christians take a path through the Bible’s doctrine, picking up a piece here and ignoring a piece there to create their concept of God.”
      Again, wrong. See 2000 years of Christian work.

      You mean the 2000 years that’s produced myriads of flavors of Christianity? Sure, I’m aware of that, but I don’t see how that helps. For starters, there are loads of denominations that say you’re doing it wrong and are hell bound. Bon voyage.

      “see what they’re cobbling together.”
      Hi pot this is kettle.

      Look up “burden of proof.”

      • JBSchmidt

        “We don’t need to bend over backwards to find a spot for our deity in the evidence of life.”

        If something is good and something is bad, you either have an authority that established a standard for one or the other, or, it is completely subjective to the parties involved. If it’s the latter, then there isn’t one outcome that is worse than the other. As an example, the Neah landslide was only bad to those in that tribe; however, it could have been a good thing to another tribe looking to take advantage of the resources. Mass death on Earth is no better or worse than the death of a star. The only difference is the subjective emotional attribute you have given it. In the end, can you show me the constant authority by which you can determine an event is good/evil? Outside of what you feel?

        “We haven’t replicated the Big Bang”

        So you believe it based on plausible evidence, not direct evidence. You have faith in it’s plausibility even though you can’t see it or demonstrate it to a non-believer. Only faith can lead you to accept the big bang and any plausible explanation of what was before. If you have direct evidence of why/how the big bang happened, please share.

        “The burden of proof rests on your shoulders”

        Sure, I’ll do your research for you.

        “For starters, there are loads of denominations that say you’re doing it wrong and are hell bound.”

        Good thing science has been in complete agreement on all things since we started investigating the universe.

        “Look up “burden of proof.”

        Stop gas lighting and putting up strawman arguments. If you reject Christian philosophy, fine. However, writing arguments assuming that work doesn’t exist is simply preaching to your choir and not engaging in discussion. It is more about silencing discussion. Is there a Christian whose philosophy and beliefs you have acknowledged as credible or plausible?

        • the Neah landslide was only bad to those in that tribe; however, it could have been a good thing to another tribe looking to take advantage of the resources.

          Remind me sometime to teach you how an omnipotent god could achieve the gains without the premature death and suffering.

          Mass death on Earth is no better or worse than the death of a star. The only difference is the subjective emotional attribute you have given it.

          Just me? Or do you care about human suffering?

          can you show me the constant authority by which you can determine an event is good/evil? Outside of what you feel?

          You mean show you an outside authority? Nope. And neither can you?

          So you believe it based on plausible evidence, not direct evidence.

          I accept the Big Bang because it’s the scientific consensus. If you want to imagine subtle differences in categories of evidence, you can discuss that with the experts.

          You have faith in it’s plausibility even though you can’t see it or demonstrate it to a non-believer.

          1. I don’t judge the evidence. That’s what I have scientists for.

          2. I don’t have faith in anything, though perhaps we should define “faith.”

          Only faith can lead you to accept the big bang and any plausible explanation of what was before.

          I trust the consensus of scientists. Science has earned that trust.

          If you have direct evidence of why/how the big bang happened, please share.

          If you have direct evidence of God or Jesus, please share.

          “The burden of proof rests on your shoulders”
          Sure, I’ll do your research for you.

          I would’ve thought it’d be your research, since it undergirds your ridiculous claim.

          “For starters, there are loads of denominations that say you’re doing it wrong and are hell bound.”
          Good thing science has been in complete agreement on all things since we started investigating the universe.

          Good thing science has a phenomenal (though not perfect) record of teaching us about reality. And what a shame that the omniscience Creator of the Universe® hasn’t taught us one thing about reality. Maybe you ought to consider backing another horse.

          “Look up “burden of proof.”
          Stop gas lighting and putting up strawman arguments.

          Perhaps you’ve forgotten who’s making the remarkable claim. If you refuse to provide evidence, just make it clear that you can’t support your argument.

          If you reject Christian philosophy, fine. However, writing arguments assuming that work

          No, I’m pretty sure I’m assuming nothing Christian in my work.

          Is there a Christian whose philosophy and beliefs you have acknowledged as credible or plausible?

          Uh . . . Ken Miller is a Catholic biologist. He does good work. Francis Collins was head of the Human Genome Project and now head of the NIH. He also does good work. Newton, Copernicus, and many others were Christian.

          But perhaps I misunderstand your question.

        • JBSchmidt

          My thought process in determining a Christian God vs Secularism:

          Morally:

          You and I assume a thing/event is good or evil. In order to do so we need an objective standard. That standard needs to be outside of me if I wish to apply it to something not directly involving me. If I am not directly involved/affected by a landslide, without an outside objective version of good/evil; I may have an emotional response but I can’t say it was good or bad. Yet, we all do, why? Because historically, the vast population of earth has held the same general idea of good/evil. In general, murder, theft, adultery, property destruction and lying have all been seen as negative aspects (evil) in humanity. So much so, that aside from cultural distinctions, societies that were built on different continents came into being on that structure. This leads me to believe that good/evil exist apart from the human. Something beyond the created universe has imposed good/evil on it. I have chosen to accept that because the alternative does not make sense. That being, random interactions of animals, done in a self serving manner created the selfless moral backbone to society that we all adhere to and that sprang up virtually identically in disconnected parts of the world. If that is so and I choose to accept it, I am slave to my condition and don’t have free will. Why should I, a more intelligent being, be held to the standards created 10’s of thousands of years ago?

          Importance of Life:

          Building on the previous point, what obligation do I have to care for my neighbor? If morality is just an engrained instinct bred from the need of early man to build a society, what makes my neighbors life special that I should adhere to this? Whether my neighbor dies, or an entire Native American village is wiped out, it has no bearing on the course of the universe. In the end life means nothing and to protect a life not my own (or that of my genetic offspring) is a poor use of resources on my part. Sure, maybe you could argue that goes around comes around, but what does that matter. Is it an assumption that some universal force such as karma will balance everything out? Karma doesn’t exist, therefore, my chances of living a full and happy life are equal if I am complete a-hole or a saint. The only thing keeping me inline is the morality of humans that lived a at the dawn of time. I am enslaved to their thought and from what we know their thoughts were largely driven by a belief in a god. However, the idea of an outside objection distinction of good/evil works well humanity being created by an intelligent designer. Something that gives value to life. If life has value beyond my own determination, then my neighbors life has equal value. Now good/evil when applied to human life has value, not because of what some subjective determination of a primitive human, but because human value comes from outside ourselves.

          Christian God:

          Having come to the conclusion that good/evil must objectively exist and knowing that in order to apply it, human life must have objective value; I believe the Christian God best fits the world I see and history we have. What you see as a sociopath, I see as just. All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. None of us deserves the grace we have been given. Man’s sin corrupted the world and as such we live with the consequences. God doesn’t send evil things, nor is he a passive bystander. I could sit and bitch to my creator, whine that my life should be better and demand he solve all my problems. Or, knowing that his grace put me on this planet and his son’s salvation saves me from it; I put my faith in him. That regardless of what happens I will either do his work here on earth or be with him in the life after.

          Secularism (your turn):

          Much of your complaint stems from a subjective notion of morality/good/evil. I have laid out my reasoning for having objective notions of all three. Based on your beliefs, explain why anyone’s death/suffering should have any bearing on my life? Further, based on your beliefs, how can you categorize something as good/evil? In my previous post, why is the landslide evil if it opened up resources to another tribe? I guess those suffocating under mud might find it evil, but the next tribe would have seen it as a blessing. Explain why you get to call it evil?

        • epeeist

          You and I assume a thing/event is good or evil. In order to do so we need an objective standard.

          Do we? Or do we need to agree, inter-subjectively, that certain acts in our society count as good or evil?

          In general, murder, theft, adultery, property destruction and lying have all been seen as negative aspects

          Indeed, so much so that we might consider these to be universal ideas. However, universal is not the same as objective.

          I believe the Christian God best fits the world I see and history we have.

          Which would imply that only the morals that stem from your god are valid. Which would therefore mean that those from other religions or none who hold different precepts cannot be acting morally. Well done, you have just accused some two thirds of the world’s population of not being moral agents.

        • You and I assume a thing/event is good or evil. In order to do so we need an objective standard.

          Nope. I never claim objective morality, nor do I need it. Look up “morality” in the dictionary, and you’ll see no claims of objectivity there, either.

          You say that objective moral truths exist and that we humans can reliably access them? I await the evidence.

          historically, the vast population of earth has held the same general idea of good/evil.

          We’re all the same species, so it’s no surprise that we have a shared sense of morality.

          Something beyond the created universe has imposed good/evil on it. I have chosen to accept that because the alternative does not make sense.

          What of our world is unexplainable without objective morality? I think the regular kind explains things just fine.

          Why should I, a more intelligent being, be held to the standards created 10’s of thousands of years ago?

          You mean like the Bronze Age morality of the Old Testament? Yes, why indeed?

          Whether my neighbor dies, or an entire Native American village is wiped out, it has no bearing on the course of the universe. In the end life means nothing and to protect a life not my own (or that of my genetic offspring) is a poor use of resources on my part.

          And yet you, like all the atheists, are horrified at others’ suffering. No need for a supernatural explanation for that. But then if you need to imagine something supernatural to keep you from murdering, well, I guess it’s good for all of us that you have your Christian beliefs.

          my chances of living a full and happy life are equal if I am complete a-hole or a saint.

          Said the man who’d never lived in an interdependent society before. Join Western society and you’ll soon find out how hilariously wrong-headed that is.

          If life has value beyond my own determination, then my neighbors life has equal value.

          As your daughter’s? I’m sure that’s not how you operate.

          I believe the Christian God best fits the world I see and history we have.

          Show me what about our world is unexplainable without assuming God. I can think of nothing.

          What you see as a sociopath, I see as just.

          Yeah? If the Old Testament was written about me instead of God, you would not call me just. Maybe in some places, but the genocide ain’t so good. Neither is the support for slavery.

          None of us deserves the grace we have been given.

          What a fun religion! “Dear God, I’m a worthless worm. Please step on me.” Yeah, I want a piece of that.

          That warped attitude makes me wonder what common ground we have.

          Man’s sin corrupted the world and as such we live with the consequences.

          Poor God! He wanted to create a nice world, and the experiment just slipped through his fingers and turns to shit. If only he were omnipotent! Ah, well—not to be.

          God doesn’t send evil things

          Except the Flood?

          Based on your beliefs, explain why anyone’s death/suffering should have any bearing on my life?

          You’re a human. We’re a social animal. Evolution tuned us to have morality as a result (most of us, anyway).

          why is the landslide evil if it opened up resources to another tribe?

          Why is omnipotence so hard for Christians to understand? God could’ve given someone resources without taking them from the other tribe.

        • JBSchmidt

          Awesome, more gas lighting. Also for the second time you incorrectly reference the narrative of the flood. Have you even read it? Beyond the gas lighting, it is hard for me to respond when you are arguing against quotes from my post taken out of context.

          “Evolution tuned us to have morality”

          Right the evolution of the gaps. If you need a answer for how something is, insert evolution. Have they been able to repeat this process as proof or do you simply go on blind trust?

          Evolution is amazing and does so much of its work behind closed doors. How did we get multi-cellular organisms?…….#evolution. How did the evolution produce the cambrian explosion?……..#evolution When/how did sexual reproduction get dropped into the genetic pipeline?……#evolution This is where you place your complete trust and confidence (that’s the dictionary explanation of faith)? Even when you look at the last 100 years and realize the evolution has only been used to progress evolutionary biology and not the recent of scientific innovation. I don’t even think Christians insert God into that many gaps.

        • Awesome, more gas lighting.

          Awesome, more slander. Tip: look up “gaslighting,” and then explain how I’ve been doing that.

          Also for the second time you incorrectly reference the narrative of the flood.

          There’s a problem? Then explain it.

          Right the evolution of the gaps. If you need a answer for how something is, insert evolution. Have they been able to repeat this process as proof or do you simply go on blind trust?

          We’re social animals and so have morality, and this perplexes you? Explain why. And, of course I must ask the obligatory question: are you an evolution denier?

          Evolution is amazing and does so much of its work behind closed doors. How did we get multi-cellular organisms?

          We’ve been over this—I have scientists. They’re paid a lot. They produce the goods. Evolution makes baby Jesus cry? Then take it up with the biologists.

          This is where you place your complete trust and confidence (that’s the dictionary explanation of faith)?

          Wrong again. I have no use for faith. I trust science, because science has earned that trust. Contrast that with Christians’ claims, which have zero evidence behind them.

          Even when you look at the last 100 years and realize the evolution has only been used to progress evolutionary biology and not the recent of scientific innovation. I don’t even think Christians insert God into that many gaps.

          That’s big talk from someone who puts his trust in gods, which have taught us nothing new about reality. Science on the other hand, has taught us much. If you don’t believe me, reply to this comment using God and not science/technology.

          And BTW, your silence on objective morality is deafening. Does that mean you have no way to support your claims for it?

        • nevbig

          faith moooves mountaaaiins .

        • Greg G.

          But don’t you have to have a mustard seed’s amount of faith for it to work? If any two Christians had that much faith, they could make a fortune in major construction without the need for earth moving equipment and labor.

        • nevbig

          not spiritual .

        • Greg G.

          Stop pretending to be then.

        • JBSchmidt

          Regarding the flood. You made two incorrect statements. 1) God destroyed everything. I am sure that is generalized statement, but it is important in context. God saved a handful of people and animals. Not everything. 2) an assumption that God’s actions were evil in the flood. If you read the Biblical narrative it states, “that every inclination of the thoughts of the human heart was only evil all the time.” God’s grace saved those that weren’t evil and punished the rest. Sounds just not evil.

          Regrading objective morality and a sense of right/wrong. Based on your beliefs, your version of right and wrong is nothing more than a series of random neuron interaction that happened to create the morality you accept. At any point in history it could have been altered and a completely different morality could exist and be equally as valid as the one you accept. Those processes aren’t good or evil, as such an outcome of those processes are incapable of distinguishing good/evil as it has no basis to assert one over the other. Now maybe do to local culture, you find yourself clutching your pearls in response to a specific event; that is not morality. If human interaction over time (sprinkled with evolution dust) is the driving force behind this, all of humanities actions are equally acceptable as the processes that created slavery vs firefighters are equally valid.

          Seeing that humanity came up with the same general code of conduct, it requires an objective morality. A basis for our sense of right vs wrong must exist beyond us to set our standard. That fits inline with my belief of a God.

          Regarding gaslighting. You have consistently taken phrases/partial phrases out of context, then argued them. Attempting to prove me wrong by creating an illusion.

        • epeeist

          Regarding the flood. You made two incorrect statements. 1) God destroyed everything. I am sure that is generalized statement, but it is important in context. God saved a handful of people and animals.

          Wow, so your god only killed 99.999996% of the world’s population with about the same level of animals as collateral damage. How magnanimous your god is.

          Seeing that humanity came up with the same general code of conduct, it requires an objective morality.

          So you keep asserting, but you seem to be incapable of justifying this assertion.

        • Greg G.

          If you read the Biblical narrative it states, “that every inclination of the thoughts of the human heart was only evil all the time.” God’s grace saved those that weren’t evil and punished the rest. Sounds just not evil.

          Being omniscient, God knew what he was triggering by making Adam in the Garden of Eden instead of just putting Jesus in the Garden of Eden, so you cannot get around the responsibility of evil. Humans turned out the way God made them without a fail-safe.

          Second, drowning all those creatures is evil when they could have died peacefully in their sleep and accomplished the same thing. The God of your fairy tale did not choose the lesser evil.

        • You made two incorrect statements.

          Please point to these statements. All I can find are “Except the Flood?”

          If you read the Biblical narrative it states, “that every inclination of the thoughts of the human heart was only evil all the time.”

          Whose fault was that? God’s omnipotent and omniscient, remember? If his experiment went awry, put the blame where it belongs.

          Based on your beliefs, your version of right and wrong is nothing more than a series of random neuron interaction that happened to create the morality you accept.

          Evolution isn’t random.

          At any point in history it could have been altered and a completely different morality could exist and be equally as valid as the one you accept.

          I vaguely agree. If I were a bear, I’d have a different sense of the correct actions to take in various situations. Or a squirrel, or a Spartan, or a Klingon. Ditto for you.

          Those processes aren’t good or evil, as such an outcome of those processes are incapable of distinguishing good/evil as it has no basis to assert one over the other. Now maybe do to local culture, you find yourself clutching your pearls in response to a specific event; that is not morality.

          “Morality” is a word. We have things called “dictionaries” that define what words mean. If there’s an objective component to morality, show me in the dictionary. If it’s not there, then retract your claim.

          And when challenged to demonstrate objective morality, don’t whine about how you don’t understand mine; demonstrate it. Take a few moral issues and show us the resolutions for them that are (1) objective and (2) reliably accessible by humans.

          Seeing that humanity came up with the same general code of conduct, it requires an objective morality. A basis for our sense of right vs wrong must exist beyond us to set our standard.

          Or maybe we’re all the same species, and that explains our similar view on morality.

          Regarding gaslighting. You have consistently taken phrases/partial phrases out of context, then argued them. Attempting to prove me wrong by creating an illusion.

          Your arguments make little sense (example: your handwaving about morality). If I misunderstand you, then correct me. I’m doing the best I can with what you give me. No, I have not been trying to get you to question reality or your own sanity.

        • Greg G.

          No, I have not been trying to get you to question reality or your own sanity.

          That echoes in my mind with a Charles Boyer accent.

        • Pofarmer

          Seeing that humanity came up with the same general code of conduct,

          Actually, humanity has the same “general code of conduct” as pretty much all mammals.

          it
          requires an objective morality

          Not really. Evolution is a sufficient basis. Try reading “Braintrust” by Churchland.

          . A basis for our sense of right vs wrong
          must exist beyond us to set our standard.

          Ockhams razor applies here.

          That fits inline with my
          belief of a God.

          I doubt if there’s anything that you can’t cram inline with your belief in God.

        • Cynthia

          I found this piece, from a religious POV, on the problem of trying to explain and justify why bad thing s happen: https://www.chabad.org/library/article_cdo/aid/64888/jewish/The-Rebbe-on-the-Holocaust.htm

          Thoughts?

        • Phil Baldwin

          “Only faith can lead you to accept the big bang and any plausible explanation”
          Nope there are repeatable observations of an expanding universe by different methods, radio astronomy, optical astronomy etc, all agreeing with each other from all around the world. These repeatable observations show that there was a point of origing some 13-15 Billion years ago.
          There are repeatable observations about the power of prayer too. It shows it doesn’t work.
          Yay! scientific method.

        • epeeist

          So you believe it based on plausible evidence, not direct evidence.

          This is one I have posted before on the predictions from the Big Bang theory:

          The current best explanation for the formation of the universe is the ΛCDM version of the Big Bang theory. If this is correct then then:

          1. At anything but the smallest but the smallest scales the universe should be homogeneous, this indeed is what we find.

          2. We should see galaxies moving away from us at a speed proportional to their distance, this indeed is what we see.

          3. Primordial nucleosynthesis should lead to an archaic element distribution consisting of hydrogen and helium, with a trace of deuterium, lithium and beryllium. This is what we observe.

          4. A universe formed in a hot big bang should have a black body thermal spectrum. This, to an extraordinary degree of precision, is what we observe.

          5. Because the initial universe was small enough for quantum effects to apply we should see fluctuations in the thermal spectrum (the CMBR), this indeed is what observe.

          6. For objects which vary in brightness and are distant from us we shouldexpect to seem time dilation effects. We can observe this in type 1supernovae.

          There is more (Tolman tests, Sachs-Wolfe and Sunyaev-Zel’dovich effects) but this will do for now.

          Good thing science has been in complete agreement on all things since we started investigating the universe.

          Oh look, over there, squirrels.

          The thing is, science doesn’t make no pretence to absolute truth, it simply provides the current best explanation for particular sets of phenomena.

    • Joe

      The problem with your point is that there are examples of good coming from tragedy

      There are also many more examples of good coming from good. So tragedy is not at all necessary to produce good.

    • Damian Byrne

      “The problem with your point is that there are examples of good coming
      from tragedy. God gives us life and each day is a blessing.”

      Okay, I’ll shoot. My father raped at least two of my sisters. Please tell me the good that came from this tragedy. Please tell me why your god, whom I can only presume you think is all-knowing and all powerful, saw what was happening, before, after and while it was happening, and did nothing to stop it. Any other human, if they saw it happening, would have intervened. They would have called the cops, the cops would have arrested my father etc. Please tell me why your god did NOTHING, why your god doing NOTHING to prevent the rapes is good, but if cops had done something, that can only have been evil?

      • Cynthia

        I think that proves my point that trying to explain and justify why horrible things happen is just fucking evil. (Sorry if my language is salty, but I have no more diplomatic way to put it.)

        We SHOULD be upset and horrified when shit like that happens! Pretending that it somehow isn’t so bad is awful. Pretending that a victim must have somehow deserved it just makes things worse. If someone really wants to be religious, stop focusing on your ego and showing that you can be smart enough to win a debate with a hard question. You don’t know the answer, nobody does, so STFU. You don’t need to defend God. You need to do what you are supposed to do, which means being compassionate when dealing with victims and ensuring that they receive justice and doing what it takes to stop sexual abuse.

    • Kodie

      2) The problem with your point is that there are examples of good coming from tragedy. God gives us life and each day is a blessing. If death were the ultimate end, your points might be valid. However, the Bible is clear that we are merely visitors on this broken rock. You can choose to accept that or not. However, to assert Christian philosophy is wrong because your beliefs fail to match up is more of a you problem.

      Tragedy is not a successful formula for good. Lots and lots more tragedy can come from tragedy. Tragedy can come from good. I was pondering this the other day – I think people might love tragedy too much. We love to think of anecdotal examples of good things that came from tragedy. I mean, after a tragedy, it’s what people look for. They don’t want to be sad thinking everything is sad. This isn’t a cure for the tragedy itself, it’s just a way for witnesses to feel better, even if they didn’t do anything good. They saw someone else act good, and it so-called “restores their faith in humanity, and it would feel troubling if we didn’t see humans coming to aid. We don’t see all the outcomes, we like to think people get the help they need and heal all better and nobody falls through the cracks or is so traumatized that it ruins their lives. What if some child is kidnapped and missing forever with no solution. It happens a lot. This isn’t a “closure” situation, not to minimize parents of murdered children, but once you know the ending, you hope the jury finds the responsible bastard guilty, the rest you can do is keep living, and tell me what made the whole murder worth any good thing that only possibly happened, but the unhealing wound of a missing child you hope will be found alive and worry what is happening to them every day – what good is that for?

      The community comes together to comb the woods with you and pass out flyers, maybe, and bring you casseroles, maybe, but what can we expect them to keep doing for you? Light candles and litter your porch with teddy bears? Is it so heartwarming for people, some people, to come out and support you in tragedy? How can they talk to you if you are preoccupied with the same sad frustration, can you go back to work, can anything be normal, can you have fun, do you go on permanent disability, might the bank foreclose on your house because you can’t work, or will the community help you with your mortgage too, so you can keep the child’s bedroom the same, and what if they escape and don’t know where you live because you had to move? Imagine what that must be like, and tell me what good comes out of these tragedies. At best, maybe some wealthy sponsor buys your house for you so you don’t have to move. Is that a good deed, is that morality, is that generosity? Was it worth the tragedy to get that outcome? Maybe you are so motivated to create a foundation that attempts to help children be safe from kidnappers or helps families of missing children somehow, was the tragedy worth it. I have an idea – let’s create such a foundation anyway. Why does something tragic have to happen for people to “honor” their loved one by creating a foundation to help people?

      People seem to love tragedy though.

      3) Another recycled point. The existence of God is not based on a single argument or can defeated by a single point. Again because your world view fails to accept that and builds humanities existence on a different philosophy, doesn’t make you right and the Christians wrong. There are plenty of questions you can’t prove within your own. As an example, produce for me a replicating cell, created by random chemical processes without the direct guidance of a scientist? Yes, that point is recycled and yes you have volumes of text that point to plausibility; yet, you have no direct replicable evidence. Not unlike the Christian who can’t directly show you his God, but has volumes of plausible evidence for a God.

      All the arguments for god are like patches, but not enough patches. You have a blanket with 20 holes and you have enough fabric to make 5 patches. In order to patch hole #6, you have to take a patch from one of the first 5 holes you patched. And none of the patches are evidence, they are weaselly little “think-ums”. The easily impressed theist goes “wow” when they hear any of these arguments. They can ignore 15 holes in their blanket if they feel really good about 1-5 decent patches that are so warm and fuzzy. It’s like, holy shit, the bible makes no fucking sense, but holy shit, something cannot come from NOTHING!!! HOLY SHIT!!! They don’t give it a lot of thought, just assume that means the Christian god is correct. They don’t even follow “something cannot come from nothing” to the enormous variety of advertised gods. Like, none of y’all are gonna come here with a good argument for Islam, but instead come up with very atheistic arguments that Islam doesn’t pass the test for truth. You have a blind spot for Christianity where you can spot the errors in another religion, and also cannot thoughtfully account for the prominence of Islam. I mean, of course you reject Judaism because they were not convinced of Jesus! They’re like atheists for Jesus – the story about the miraculous resurrection just doesn’t pass the test.

      What is suffering? You only defined the extremes. Does that include a child not getting what he/she wants for Christmas? How about my boss not giving me the day off I wanted? How about a woman that can’t physically have children, is that included? You stubbed your toe, is that suffering?

      Yes, all of that is suffering. Your excuses for why GOD allows suffering do not comfort anyone. Why does god allow extreme suffering also. There is a reason for suffering, and that is, we are sensate creatures living on a planet and cannot see the future.

      Further, let’s suppose my child is failing his classes in high school. All his teachers say he understands the material, but doesn’t complete the daily assignments and thus gets zero credit and is tanking his grade. I, in response, take away his connection to the outside world (free time, cell phone, xbox, etc.) until he corrects his ways. Some parents, in their parenting strategy, would find that to be unnecessary suffering. Arguing that if he understands the material, it is the teachers fault for not adapting to my son’s learning style. Who is right? Should God intervene on behalf of the teacher, parent or child?

      According to my observation of Christians, you would pray for god to intervene so something would reconcile here rather than make the effort yourself to find out what the block is. You love to think depriving your child of fun stuff will force him to apply himself, but have you ruled out any learning disabilities or other blocks to optimal performance? You are quick to switch the blame to the teacher. Yes, as a person who was such a student, removing enjoyable distractions is one of those kind of “blessings” you parental types don’t understand. There is always something on tv, even when there is nothing on tv. There is always something you can do that’s more interesting than homework. I didn’t have a tv in my room, or anything like computers or smart phones, and depriving me of all that stuff because I’m old and that stuff didn’t exist didn’t cause suffering. I would think the professional educator would have a better idea to advise your parenting in the area other than marking bad grades and telling you “your kid isn’t doing the work” and letting you decide taking away their favorite distractions would be the ideal motivator. Furthermore, your kid knows they aren’t getting the work done, but cannot help finding literally anything they can pass the time with other than confronting their homework that they aren’t doing. Your kid knows they will get bad grades and you’ll be mad and take away more privileges, that they might not get into college or succeed in life, but you’re not really trying to see things from their perspective. You’re just trying to motivate them by applying a little harmless pain in order to avoid getting to know your child or helping them find methods to keep on track. If your suggestion is that’s not the teacher’s job, isn’t it your job? Like I said, Christians try the pain method, it doesn’t work, then pray.

  • Cynthia

    While I appreciate the purpose of it from the POV of logical argument, from a human POV I still cringe at #2.

    The problem is that far, far too many people attempt to justify evil or explain why bad things happen to good people. (A lot of this comes from religious people, but others do it too, because the idea that bad things happen to good people is scary and people want to reassure themselves that it won’t happen to them.). Some of these folks will convince themselves. In the process, they will also act like absolute assholes to people in pain. They will truly believe that illness is a sign that God is punishing you, or that you thoughts aren’t right. They will be convinced that a good, hardworking person would never experience poverty. They will tell people that the suffering is for their own good, when what the person really needs is compassion.

    I come from people who have wrestled longer and harder with the question of evil than almost everyone else, and the one religious answer that didn’t leave me horrified was that we don’t know, we can’t know, it isn’t our role to explain or justify God, and if we try, we will get it wrong and cause tremendous pain and harm. Our role is to be moved by compassion for our fellow human beings and do what we can to comfort them and make things better.

    • Jeremy

      That’s all well and good, and I agree with how you view our role, but we’re talking about a maximally good being, in whose image we are supposedly made. His nature is the source of all morality and the standard by which all of our actions (and even thoughts) are judged. If this is the case, how can our “role” be diametrically opposed to his? His role is apparently to allow suffering for reasons he withholds and our role is to prevent or relieve such suffering. His role involves elevating free will to a level that it constrains his actions, while we would be judged as evil (by the standard of his nature, remember) for doing the same. How can the same nature be the source for conflicting/opposing actions in any given situation?

      • Cynthia

        For clarification – I know that this is a site to critically analyze Christianity but I don’t personally come from a Christian background. I’ve learned that I sometimes have very different views of similar sounding concepts, so I want to avoid any confusion.

        Anyway….there are different views of God throughout various parts of the Bible, even with The Hebrew Bible/OT. One theme is the idea that God is ultimately unknowable. There is the metaphor of Moses seeing God’s back but not face, and the Book of Job is essentially saying that human beings don’t have a clue about why things happen and can’t judge.

        So….I’m not sure that morality is necessarily about being like God. Like certain attributes, like love or mercy or justice? Sure. But if someone genuinely believes that God exists across all space and time and is the ultimate force behind everything – well, that’s such a big concept that it would be impossible for any human to really understand. So, religion is essentially going to be an exercise in simplifying and dumbing it down and forming a model that humans can related to, and that model is necessarily going to be inadequate and incomplete.

        So, I see that morality is about being the best human that you can be. You can’t really apply it to either the animal kingdom or God/laws of the universe, or weird shit results.

        We are supposed to love life. We are supposed to be compassionate. That is our role, and when we deviate from that, bad stuff happens. We also know that everybody will eventually die, so there will be suffering and heartbreak. It’s not the role of humans to justify that or to inflict it ourselves, even if it is part of how the world needs to function.

        Sometimes, roles can conflict but still have a purpose. Predators and prey are both necessary components of a healthy ecosystem. Lawyers on both sides of a case are needed to achieve justice. I don’t know if this is an idea found in Christianity or not, but it is in my tradition.

        I do think that everyone, Christian or not, would benefit from avoiding any attempts to “explain” suffering or God’s will, because that seems to cause only harm to people in pain.

    • Damian Byrne

      ” They will truly believe that illness is a sign that God is punishing you, or that you thoughts aren’t right.”
      There’s one asshat I debated on a website I was a member of for years. He said that Earth is a prison planet, that literally everybody on Earth is here because they were sentenced here for not trusting in God when God, in a pre-conception spiritual realm, came knocking asking each of us to marry him (but he didn’t provide proof, because the big G doesn’t want to interfere with our free will: imagine someone saying hey marry me, I’m a prince, but I’m not going to give you evidence of my royalty). Anything horrible befalling someone here on Earth is justice, no matter how bad, horrible, vicious or painful.

      • imagine someone saying hey marry me, I’m a prince, but I’m not going to give you evidence of my royalty existence

        FTFY

  • doYouEvenReason

    I never understood Greatest Possible Being arguments. It is an infinite progress which is the exact same problem as an infinite regress. You can never reach it and therefore it doesn’t exist. It can’t exist by definition.

    • Grimlock

      Two of Bob’s recent posts dealt with the modal ontological argument, which relies on the idea of a greatest conceivable being. I’m guessing that’s one of the arguments that you had in mind? I highly recommend those posts if you wanna understand one of those arguments.

    • I assume the argument, “the universe can’t be infinitely old because if it were, we’d never get to here” argument is different because it talks about a progression (time). With a GPB, there’s no progression; they just posit the maximum all at once.

      Or perhaps there’s a similarity that I’m missing.

      • nevbig

        big head