How God Screwed Up Morality

How God Screwed Up Morality August 6, 2019

You know when you’re at the coffee shop and ask for the bathroom key, how it comes attached to a huge soup ladle or block of wood? Why would an ordinary key need an enormous, clunky keychain?

It’s so you don’t put it in your pocket or purse and forget to return it.

This idea of mistake-proofing has been around for 60 years within Japanese manufacturing, where it’s called poka-yoke. We can apply this idea to Christian morality, where it’s glaringly absent.

How poka-yoke works

Suppose you’re on an assembly line, manually putting keyboards together. There are 101 keys on a standard keyboard, and each one needs a spring. Take a spring, put it in a keycap, and pop it into the keyboard. Then repeat, over and over. It’s neither a difficult nor an error-prone process, but if you forget a spring for just one keycap out of a thousand, that’s 10% of your keyboards that are broken.

Solution: use a scale to weigh out 101 springs. If you’re done with a keyboard but there are springs left over, you know immediately that you’ve made a mistake. That keyboard gets fixed.

  • Consider the home thermostat. Industrial designer Henry Dreyfuss noticed that the traditional rectangular thermostat was often mounted not perfectly level. And there it would sit on the wall for all to see for decades, crooked. Solution: the iconic round thermostat, which can’t be crooked.
  • Consider laying glue for floor tiles. It takes experience to know just how much glue to apply. Solution: a trowel with a serrated edge applies just the right amount.
  • Consider the (now obsolete) 3.5-inch floppy disk. When inserting it into the drive, there are four edges to stick in first, and you can turn it upside down to get four more ways. That’s seven ways to do it wrong, except that it only goes in one way. You simply can’t put it in wrong. Punch cards (even more obsolete) have a similar problem—what if one of the cards in the stack is upside down or backwards? With the top-left corner cut off, any deviant is obvious.

Morality according to Epicurus

In the Christian story, God places moral requirements on humans, but he doesn’t give them sufficient tools to get there. Rewarding people for being good is what the other religions do, and Christians learn that their own pathetic efforts at moral perfection are insufficient. If they want what Christianity offers, they must get there by faith.

God could’ve made us morally perfect. Or given humans the wisdom to navigate life in a morally perfect way. Or just forgiven our moral errors (like we do).

Apparently, none of those options caught on as God evolved over the centuries. Instead, God is like an evil scientist who puts mice in a maze and delivers, not cheese or a mild shock, but eternal bliss or torment.

Consider the famous critique of the Problem of Evil from third-century BCE Greek philosopher Epicurus.

Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then he is not omnipotent.
Is he able, but not willing? Then he is malevolent.
Is he both able and willing? Then why is there evil?
Is he neither able nor willing? Then why call him God?

Epicurus takes a common-sense approach to God and morality. If God exists, he would give us the tools to reach any goal he might reasonably assign. Is moral perfection a goal? That’s not a problem with perfect wisdom. With perfect wisdom, you could choose to do evil, but who would want to when the morally perfect route is both obvious and compelling? The sensible god of Epicurus would’ve given us that. If we can make things foolproof (like a ladle as a keychain), so can God, and if God created morality, he would’ve made it foolproof. (More on morality here and here.)

The Christian response is that we are fallible people with imperfect brains and incomplete knowledge. Who are we to judge God? But this is the Hypothetical God fallacy, which assumes God first and then decides how we must respond. This is backwards. Instead, we look at the evidence and ask ourselves if God even exists.

It’s not looking good.

In the believer’s mind, God can do anything,
but in reality he can’t even say Hi.
— seen on internet

.

(This is an update of a post that originally appeared 7/13/15.)

Image from Paul VanDerWerf, CC license

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  • Grimlock

    Nice!

  • Lex Lata

    On a related note, I was recently pondering how poorly the Bible communicates what, in theory, is the most important set of instructions a person can get.

    A good chunk of my job involves helping people deal with complicated, often obscure legal requirements. Accordingly, I’m mindful about communicating for comprehensibility, to the best of my ability. Keep things simple. Use clear language. Don’t write 100 words when 10 would do. Define terms as needed. Avoid contradictions and lapses in logic.

    The Bible? Not so much. Uses vague language. Employs cryptic metaphors. Veers into lengthy digressions of questionable relevance. Unconcerned with continuity, discrepancies, contradictions, etc. (Hence the proliferation of denominations over the centuries.)

    And of course when a reader misunderstands something I’ve written, it’s my responsibility to answer questions and clarify. When someone doesn’t understand God’s instructions, in contrast, they get set on fire for eternity.

    • You know that course that law schools often have about this topic, how to write clearly? I think that was the 8am class that God always skipped.

      • Lex Lata

        You shall not put the Lord your God to the test, especially if it’s the bar exam.

        (Incidentally, I live about fifteen minutes away from the Spoonbridge and Cherry. Got a kick out of the photo.)

    • NS Alito

      The Bible does convey some messages. With the discussions of the recent mass shootings, it occurred to me that the solution to most problems in the Bible is killing.

      There are a few non-killing cases, though, like the rapist paying compensation to the father of the girl and/or marrying her.

  • Rudy R

    The Christian response is that we are fallible people with imperfect brains and incomplete knowledge. Who are we to judge God?

    Christians ARE judging god, because they deem him as good. Their fallible, imperfect brains may be misjudging Satan as the bad guy.

    • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

      Good point.

      Funny how xtians only care about judging ‘god’ when it’s not effusive praise.

  • skl

    Instead, we look at the evidence and ask ourselves if God
    even exists. It’s not looking good.

    Part of the evidence of god’s existence is that it’s talked about so
    frequently, especially here.

    • ThaneOfDrones

      Bigfoot gets talked about a lot too. Not evidence of its existence.

      • And astrology. And Harry Potter. And Allah.

      • Cozmo the Magician

        ELVIS is STILL talked about.. he must still be around.

        • He pumped my gas just last week.

        • Greg G.

          He served me a steak while singing Love Me Tender.

    • Lex Lata

      Part of the evidence for Thor’s existence is that he’s talked about so frequently.

      • Wisdom, Justice, Love

        Santa Claus must exist. He’s on many people’s tongue.

        • Meepestos

          So must Hera; my making sacrificial cakes for her has paid off. How else could my marriage and finances be so sound ; )

        • Wisdom, Justice, Love

          I obvious that you put thought and Effort into you marriage and finances did something to obey/please Hera.

        • Meepestos

          It wasn’t the Greek Honey Yogurt Cheesecake?

        • Wisdom, Justice, Love

          That does sound good.

        • Meepestos

          The key is to use real Greek yogurt and Greek thyme honey.

        • Greg G.

          Don’t forget to say “Yasou!”

        • Meepestos

          And “kali orexeh”.

      • Heck, I’ve seen the movie!

        • Greg G.

          Wasn’t it a documentary?

    • guerillasurgeon

      If Christians didn’t try to push their god on us so much, we probably wouldn’t talk about it at all. I mean I almost never talk about Buddha, or any of the Hindu gods because I don’t usually find their proselytisers on my front doorstep, or outside the local mall. Never had anyone come up to me and say “I’d like to talk to you about the Lord Krishna.” But Christians can’t seem to get round the idea that the state of my spiritual welfare is none of their damn business.

      • Wisdom, Justice, Love

        And they’re not pushing it in schools and courthouses. Christians want to introduce God into all public discourse then get hurt when people don’t completely acquiesce.

        • Not skl, though. He’s not religion, doncha know.

        • Wisdom, Justice, Love

          Haven’t looked over the posts. But let me guess:
          I’m not religious although I’m fervently defending believe in god.
          If skl was Christian the phrase “bearing false witness” would ring a bell.

        • Wisdom, Justice, Love

          Just saw the baseball one above. Dumb.

      • “Dear Lord, please protect me from your followers.”

      • Quinsha

        I actually did have someone come up to me in a parking lot to talk to me about the Lord Krishna. Told him that I would pay double for the book that he was trying to sell if he used the extra money to go buy something to eat. I saw him in a McDonalds getting a hamburger. It is my understanding that they put those poor teens in the hot parking lots in the summer with nothing more in their stomach than a small bowl of oatmeal for the whole day. 🙁

        Edit: Spelling

        • guerillasurgeon

          My God, a Hare Krishna – I haven’t seen one of those in 20+ years. I thought they died out – deservedly so.

        • Quinsha

          It was about 20 year ago that this happened.

        • MR

          A few weeks ago I had some guy in a parking lot wish me a “blessed day.” What 30-something says that to a stranger in passing? I clutched my purse and hurried to my car.

        • Greg G.

          You mean it wasn’t at the end of the “I live in Townthirtymilesfromhere and I need $5 to get some gas to drive home” grift?

        • MR

          It was more like spiritual rape.

        • MR

          Yes! That.

        • Quinsha

          Probably some sort of Christian, Pagans tend to say “blessed be”.

        • MR

          At that age it’s a level of indoctrination that’s scary.

    • Rudy R

      And yet another logical fallacy.

    • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

      Star Trek, The Avengers, Harry Potter, etc. are discussed a lot more, by more people who aren’t likely to be suffering from a monomania.

      do you have some point with that comment?

      • Wisdom, Justice, Love

        I think the point is obvious:
        Dunning-Kreuger can make people think they are intellectually clever.

      • Cozmo the Magician

        Right? And as if people do not talk about OTHER god’s… Did Zeus, Mars,Aphrodite exist when people talked about them? By this twit’s logic the FSM is totes real today. Else why would people talk about His Noodlyness?

        • His Noodlyness (sauce be upon him)

          FTFY

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          Schism Time!

          Tomato sauce, dairy-based sauce, or garlic & oil?

          😉

        • It has been revealed to me, through divine revelation, that his is a meat tomato sauce, with a little sweetness and garlic.

    • Meepestos

      That would be evidence of the concept, not the god.

    • Cozmo the Magician

      Lots of people talk about my imaginary invisible pet dragon Fluffy. Nice to know that Fluffy exists outside of my imagination. I feel sooooo MUCH better.

      • skl

        Show me the multitude of websites and blogs devoted to the existence or non-existence of your imaginary invisible pet dragon Fluffy.

        • Cozmo the Magician

          Oh… so it is QUANTITY of discussion that matters not QUALITY. Reality by mob rule. What a world that would be.

        • I can show the multitude of websites and blogs devoted to astrology. Does that count? Or perhaps homeopathy?

        • skl

          I can show the multitude of websites and
          blogs devoted to astrology. Does that count?

          Yes. As evidence, as I said.

          Not as proof, of course.

        • Michael Newsham

          As evidence people like such things and even believe in them, not that they are real. There are many websites devoted to Harry Potter./

        • skl

          But probably zero websites seriously
          devoted to denying (or supporting) the reality of Harry
          Potter.

        • I’m not sure what you’re saying. You’re saying that common sense tells us that Harry Potter is not real? Yes, I agree. Let’s now apply that thinking to Christianity.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Ya bunch of bastards…it’s Sherlock Holmes…what a bunch of ignorant fuckwits?

        • Greg G.

          Claims are not evidence!

        • skl

          Claims are not evidence!

          Yes, they are.
          https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/evidence

        • Pofarmer

          did you actually read that link?

        • Greg G.

          You are playing word games by conflating the definition of legal evidence with how it is being used in this discussion.

        • Ignorant Amos

          The weasel is lower than a snakes belly.

        • skl

          You are playing word games by conflating the definition of legal evidence with how it is being used in this discussion.

          I am the one who started this discussion (thread). I will use the M-W definition of “evidence”. If you want to use something else, you’re free to join a different discussion.

        • Greg G.

          I will use the M-W definition of “evidence”.

          That’s fine but dictionaries have multiple definitions for a word so you are limited by the context to which definition you use. You said:

          Part of the evidence of god’s existence is that it’s talked about so
          frequently, especially here.

          The evidence for God that is “talked about so frequently” is not the legal definition, “especially here”.

          If you are using an unusual definition of a word for a specific context, you are playing word games. But you were not using that meaning of the word when you started the thread, you started playing word games when your stupidity was exposed and then you took your stupidity to a higher level.

        • skl

          The evidence for God that is “talked about so frequently” is not the legal definition, “especially here”.

          You are especially wrong here.
          – Claims are evidence.

          – Christianity is founded entirely on claims of the witnessing
          of supernatural events.

          – These claims are “talked about so frequently”
          on this and many other websites.

          If Bob S. would like to add something at this point, maybe I’ll say more. But you and I are finished on this.

        • Greg G.

          Christianity is founded entirely on claims of the witnessing of supernatural events

          But that is just evidence that Christianity is made up fiction. The gospel miracles are copt-cats of the miracles of Elijah, Elisha, Hermes, and Vespasian, to name a few.

          But you and I are finished on this.

          I can see why you’d like to abandon the conversation. Even you know your argument has collapsed.

        • [skl:] you and I are finished on this.

          Oops! Someone’s in the doghouse!

        • I claim that the Purple People from Pluto are real.

          Given that evidence, how close am I to a plausible case for my favorite aliens? Maybe 10 or 20 percent?

        • Ignorant Amos

          Haven’t you got better investment of yer time? Just pished up two in the morning here asking aking?

        • Greg G.

          I claim that the Purple People from Pluto are real.

          Now you’ve done it. You have given away the secret hiding place of the Purple People. Now they will be preyed upon by the Flying Purple People Eater.

        • Would more sites devoted to astrology mean that you’d evaluate it as more likely? How about the new surge in Flat Eartherism–is that making you doubt the shape of the earth?

        • skl

          Would more sites devoted to astrology mean
          that you’d evaluate it as more likely? How about the new surge in Flat
          Eartherism–is that making you doubt the shape of the earth?

          No. As I said earlier, the magnitude of
          the multitude is not determinative of the truth, but
          it is a gauge of the amount of evidence
          (and argument), pro and con.

        • That last sentence sounded like it contradicted itself. If that wasn’t your intention, maybe rephrase.

        • skl

          No contradiction.
          Plenty of pro-Christianity websites, plenty of
          con-Christianity websites.

        • eric

          I’m a fan of your magnitude and multitude argument.

          2.1 billion Chrisitans vs. ~7 billion people who accept science? I guess science is right according to magnitude and multitude. And according to science, there’s no soul. No magic. No miracles.

        • skl

          I guess you didn’t actually read my “magnitude and multitude argument”.

        • NS Alito

          How many people do you think would be Christians today if, for many centuries, anybody who denied it would be shunned, tortured or executed?

        • skl

          How many people do you think would be
          Christians today if, for many centuries, anybody who denied it would be shunned, tortured or executed?

          You seem to be asking a hypothetical question but I’m not clear
          on what it is.

          What does appear to be clear is that in
          the early centuries of the church many Christians were shunned, tortured or executed for not denying it. But the church membership grew nevertheless.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          What does appear to be clear is that in the early centuries of the church many Christians were shunned

          THEN it became the STATE religion and started persecuting everybody ELSE like mad.

          YOUR KIND seem to want to neglect that fact.

        • LastManOnEarth

          Not as quickly as Mormonism.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Or Islam.

        • Ignorant Amos

          What does appear to be clear is that in the early centuries of the church many Christians were shunned, tortured or executed for not denying it. But the church membership grew nevertheless.

          Nah, you’ve bought the propaganda ya Muppet.

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

          That’s not to say there was no persecution, just not to the extent that it would curtail its growth.

          There was more persecution of Christians by different flavours of Christians in the first centuries of Christianity.

          “Is it conceivable that Gnostic Christianity could have eventually won out in this struggle for dominance? Certainly, the proto-orthodox leaders felt the pressure of these groups otherwise, we would be hard-pressed to explain the massive expenditure of time and energy devoted to rooting out the Gnostic heretics, spurning their views, maligning their persons, destroying their writings, eliminating their influence. And one can certainly see why the Gnostic views won a following. Here were Christian groups that were fearless in their denunciation of our material existence: This world is not just fallen it is inherently evil, a cosmic catastrophe it is a place to be escaped, not enjoyed. It may seem acceptable on one level simply to say that humans have corrupted it. You can account for war and oppression and injustice simply by pointing the finger at someone else. But the suffering of this world is far deeper than that: droughts that bring massive starvation, unstoppable floods, volcanoes that devastate entire populations, rampant disease, pain that wracks the body, infirmity, death. The Gnostics took the suffering of this world seriously, and they turned their backs on it. This, they argued, cannot be laid at the feet of God.

          Christianity was far more diverse, the battle lines were far more blurred, the infighting was far more intense than we could have known to depend just on Eusebius and the classical view of the relationship of orthodoxy and heresy.”

          https://www.deliriumsrealm.com/books/lost-christianities/

          But the church membership grew nevertheless.

          Yeah, as has been pointed out, Mormonism grew at a comparative rate to Christianity, while under persecution.

          Christianity only exploded when in the 4th century, it went from intermittently being state persecuted, to becoming the state persecutor.

          In the view of many historians, the Constantinian shift turned Christianity from a persecuted into a persecuting religion.

          They’ve been persecuting one group or another ever since.

          The rest, as we say, is history.

        • Pofarmer

          What
          appear to be clear is that in
          the early centuries of the church many Christians were shunned, tortured or executed for
          denying it. But the church membership grew nevertheless.

          You’ve been repeatedly corrected on this. It’s starting to look more than a little dishonest.

        • Ignorant Amos

          You’ve been repeatedly corrected on this. It’s starting to look more than a little dishonest.

          Which on top of dishonest, also makes him very stupid too.

        • Greg G.

          Are a “multitude of websites and blogs” a standard for determining the existence of something? There are multitudes of websites and blogs on Bigfoot and Flat Earth, but the evidence is against them.

          There is a “multitude of websites and blogs” about Allah and Hindu gods and many other religions. They all cannot be correct. None of them have actual evidence.

          I remember when there was no internet so no websites and no blogs about anything. I could have sworn those things around me were real.

          People can put up websites easily even when they cannot support their beliefs. Some of these beliefs are detrimental to society. Let’s applaud the websites that refute the bullshit.

        • skl

          Are a “multitude of websites and blogs” a standard for determining the existence of something?

          There are multitudes of websites and blogs on
          Bigfoot and Flat Earth, but the evidence is against them.

          But there are far more about Christianity.
          The magnitude of the multitude is not determinative of the truth, but it is a gauge of the amount of evidence (and
          argument), pro and con.

        • NS Alito

          There are more websites about astrology than about the usefulness of heart surgery. Does that mean that there is more evidence for astrology than there is evidence of the usefulness of heart surgery?

        • Ignorant Amos

          But there are far more about Christianity.

          Which Christianity?

          But let’s take people actually writing about Jesus.

          25 Most Written About Famous People of All-Time

          1. William Shakespeare (1564-1616), English dramatist, poet 161

          2. Dante (1265-1321), Italian Poet 67

          3. Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832), German poet 61

          4. Miguel de Cervantes (1547-1616), Spanish novelist 56

          5. Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865), American president 43

          6. Charles Dickens (1812-1870), English novelist 38

          7. Martin Luther (1483-1546), German religious reformer 36

          8. Nikolai Lenin (1870-1924), Russian Communist leader 35

          9. Aleksandr Pushkin (1799-1837), Russian poet 33

          10. Robert Burns (1759-1796), Scottish poet 31

          11. Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827), German composer 30

          11. Mohammed (570-632), Arabian religious prophet 30

          13. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791), Austrian composer 27

          13. Napoleon Bonaparte (1769-1821), French emperor 27

          15. The Virgin Mary, mother of Jesus 24

          15. Johann von Schiller (1759-1805), German poet, playwright 24

          17. Leo Tolstoi (1828-1910), Russian novelist 23

          18. Adam Mickiewicz (1798-1855), Polish poet 22

          18. Walt Whitman (1819-1892), American poet 22

          20. Luiz Vaz de Camoes (1524-1580), Portuguese poet 21

          21. Aristotle (384-322 B.C.), Greek philosopher 19

          21. Samuel Johnson (1709-1784), English lexicographer, critic 19

          21. George Washington (1732-1799), American president 19

          24. Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790), American statesman, scientist, philosopher 18

          24. Petrarch (1304-1374), Italian poet 18

          (In case you’re curious, Jesus ranked 51st, with 12 bibliographies.)

          And since the topic is myth, the Cinderella myth goes back to ancient Egypt.

          At May 2012, Sherlock Holmes wins the title for most portrayed literary human character in film & TV at 254.

          However, Sherlock is not the overall most portrayed literary character in film. That title belongs to the non-human character Dracula, who has been portrayed in 272 films.

          None of this is evidence of anything other than popularity, and an argument from popularity is a fallacy.

        • Phil

          Aw, I thought the fact that porn sites outnumber all other topics meant it is what the gods want for us. Damn, I was going to tithe and everyfing.

        • Ignorant Amos

          A Google search of the word “porn” got me 1,430,000,000 hits.

          A Google search of the word “Jesus” got me 1,410,000,000 hits.

          Porn wins.

          Bless-ed be the porn…praise be…under his chapseye!

        • Phil

          I admire your dedication to searching for the truth!

    • LastManOnEarth

      You should spend some time on a Harry Potter fan forum.

  • ThaneOfDrones

    Why the photo from the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden?
    linky

    • I wrote about a bathroom key with a giant spoon keychain. It’s a giant spoon.

  • skl

    If God exists, he would give us the tools to reach any
    goal he might reasonably assign. Is moral perfection a goal? That’s not a
    problem with perfect wisdom. With perfect wisdom, you could choose to
    do evil, but who would want to when the morally perfect route is both obvious
    and compelling? The sensible god of Epicurus would’ve given us that. If we can
    make things foolproof (like a ladle as a keychain), so can God, and if God
    created morality, he would’ve made it foolproof.

    I don’t know if that holds.

    Analogously, Major League Baseball exists and professional players do
    have the tools to bat 1.000. It’s the goal of everyone at the plate. And countless
    times hitters have gone, say, 4-for-4 in a given game. Of course, no one has come anywhere close to perfect for an entire season.
    Yet despite this obvious and foreknown fact, the MLB and its players continue
    to operate year after year. And certain All Stars are inducted into the “heaven”
    of the Hall of Fame.

    So maybe the MLB and its players don’t exist and no one watches their games.

    • Dus10

      We don’t have the tools, that’s the point. If god was concerned about it we would have been given the tools, ya tool.

    • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

      MLB is a competition, where both sides strive to defeat each other.

      Are you trying to claim your ‘god’ is *competing* against humanity?

      If so, why would such a being deserve worship, even if its existence could be demonstrated?

      • why would such a being deserve worship

        Maybe you just worship him so that he won’t burn you in hell. It’s not that he deserves worship but that being a sycophant will be the most healthful position to take.

        skl has some good insights on this. Perhaps he can comment.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          Pretty sure I’m on skl’s bliocklist 🙂

        • Lucky bastard.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Am Spartacus…but I’ll reply to his fuckwittery all the same…especially on a slow day.

        • Quinsha

          He’s on my blocklist. I am having fun reading half a conversation.

    • Wisdom, Justice, Love

      A number of broadcasters, people at MLB as well as people that have attended games in person and worked games as concession, parking, etc. have the PROOF that the games indeed exist. Have you heard of Nielsen Ratings?

      • Ah, yes, but churches and Christians prove that God exists!

        Oh, wait a minute …

        • Wisdom, Justice, Love

          Exactly. Maybe the thing millions of people watch and can attest to watching doesn’t exist. But the thing NO ONE has personally observed and we know about through speculation, hearsay and conjecture must exist because people discuss it.

          Deep down these Christians have to know these arguments are a paper tiger.

    • smrnda

      I thought that in the stats driven age, players want to be better than the ‘Replacement Level Player’ who is a statistical construction used to evaluate when a player costs more than a hypothetical replacement?

    • eric

      Your analogy fails because hitters can’t omnipotently deal with pitchers. God, however, can omnipotently deal with any interference to his plan. Or can’t he? Does he simply choose not to? You have not escaped Epicurus at all.

      • skl

        Your analogy fails because hitters can’t
        omnipotently deal with pitchers.

        I don’t know about that. I gave the example earlier of many
        hitters having gone 4-for-4 against pitchers in a given game. And on the flip side, certainly you’ve heard of pitchers throwing “Perfect Games”.

        My main point, I think, is that although perfection may be
        possible, it is not necessary for existence.

        • eric

          The bible doesn’t talk about God wanting to give us only what is necessary for existence. It talks about God wanting us to obey his laws. It talks about God wanting everyone to believe. It talks about God wanting everyone to turn the other cheek and treat others as we would have them treat us. It talks about God wanting people to forsake wealth, forsake family, and follow him.

          And based on human behavior, he really hasn’t given the vast majority of us the psychological tools to do these things. We fail at his goals. Constantly. Our failure is in fact a cornerstone of Christianity. But Bob’s point still holds; our failure is not necessary given an omnipotent designer. It’s a fixable flaw. And my point still holds, which is that even if perfect moral behavior would be impossible, a lot better moral behavior by everyone is certainly possible. We know this to be true, since human moral behavior shows a distribution, and so we can simply point at the high end of the distribution and say “since some people have that, why didn’t God give everyone that?” There’s no way to argue it’s impossible, because we see examples of it. There’s no way to argue it takes away free will, unless you want to claim good humans lack free will. There’s no cogent reason not to give humanity’s observed best inclinations to all humans.

        • skl

          But Bob’s point still holds; our failure is not necessary given an omnipotent designer. It’s a fixable flaw. And my point still holds, which is that even if perfect moral behavior would be impossible, a lot better moral behavior by everyone is certainly possible.

          Your point, and what you apparently think is Bob’s
          point, appears to be that because people aren’t born as perfect “saints” already in the perfection of “heaven”, then their perfect god could not exist.

          I disagree.

    • ThaneOfDrones

      Baseball exists and professional players have the tools to bat 1.000. It’s the goal of everyone at the plate.

      The catcher is at the plate, and it’s not his goal. The umpire is at the plate, and it’s not his goal. So it is the goal of only 1 out of 3 people at the plate that the batter hit 1.000.

    • Greg G.

      It’s the goal of everyone at the plate.

      Not really. Batters are trying to make solid contact and just hope the ball is not hit at a fielder.

      Some batters are trying to advance a runner. In today’s game, some batters are trying to drive in runs, not just to get a hit. The defense will shift because the batter is trying to put the ball in play in hopes of getting extra bases. If the batter just wanted a hit, he could hit away from the shift, but his goal is to drive in runs so trying for extra base hits are his game.

      Baseball is becoming a homerun or strikeout game.

  • eric

    To be fair, Plato (Euthyphro dilemma) and Epicurus are B.C. philosophers, so the failure of foolproofing and other logical dilemmas are a general argument against various conceptions of God…to include the Jesus-form-of-Yahweh, but not to exclusively address Him.

  • JBSchmidt

    ” If God exists, he would give us the tools to reach any goal he might reasonably assign.”

    How do you know he doesn’t? The consensus of Christian theologians is that while we live in a broken world with sinful people, God’s goal is still accomplished.

    • Greg G.

      ” If God exists, he would give us the tools to reach any goal he might reasonably assign.”

      How do you know he doesn’t?

      You said, “we live in a broken world with sinful people”. That should prove to you that no god thingy is providing sufficient tools for very many people. Either the god thingy is only willing to provide tools to gullible people or gullible people will believe most anything without the need for those imaginary tools.

      God’s goal is still accomplished.

      Jesus’ prayer in John 17:20-23 was that the whole world would come to believe due to the unity of belief among those who believe. That never happened. Less than a third of the world is even nominally Christian and they are divided among more than 45,000 denominations.

      If Jesus can’t get a prayer that important answered, why would you pray in his name? He is the biggest prayer failure in the history of the world.

      • JBSchmidt

        “That should prove to you that no god thingy is providing sufficient tools for very many people.”

        Your conflating God’s goals and people doing what they believe their own goals are. People who believe the Bible makes God out to be a genie have no understanding of Christian doctrine. That would includes the thieves using the prosperity gospel. God is using the broken world and sinful people to achieve his goal.

        That is not the what Jesus is praying. He is speaking of those that will believe in Him though the Gospel. Christians world wide are united by faith through the Gospel to Christ and the Father. Regardless of denomination, if they have faith in Christ as their savior, they are with him. Nowhere in that prayer does it say that he wanted the entire world to be Christian.

        • (edited)

          People who believe the Bible makes God out to be a genie have no understanding of Christian doctrine

          And those people who focus on Christian doctrine haven’t taken Jesus’s statements in the gospels to heart. He makes clear that God (or Jesus) is indeed a genie.

        • JBSchmidt

          “He makes clear that God (or Jesus) is indeed a genie.”

          That is the consensus of Christian theologians. So I am sure you will hold to your word, ” I’m happy to accept the consensus of theologians’ views on their own doctrine.”

        • Greg G.

          Why are you misquoting Bob? He said nothing like what you quoted him as saying and your response shows that you don’t comprehend English very well.

        • JBSchmidt

          I will take your apology at any time.

          http://disq.us/p/23jel8y

        • Greg G.

          You didn’t reply to that comment and what you quoted is not on that page. After three or four “Load more comments”, I found one comment with “makes clear that”. You sent me on a wild goose chase. You have displayed another level of you dishonesty.

        • JBSchmidt

          Blame it on Patheos, I took the link directly from the comment. Here is the entire comment. Then you can apologize for claiming I misquoted and for calling me dishonest.

          I will acknowledge I had an extra word in the above that did not have the meaning I wanted.

          ————————————————————-

          Bob Seidensticker Mod JBSchmidt • a day ago
          “Why don’t you let the experts figure this out? You suck at it.”
          I’ll remember that you decide to impart your take on Christian doctrine.
          Why would that be difficult for me? I’m happy to accept the consensus of theologians’ views on their own doctrine.

          “Your beliefs are unfalsifiable.”
          As are yours.
          Wrong again. When the scientific consensus changes, what do you think Bob “I always accept the scientific consensus” Seidensticker is going to do?

          Do some research into why secular scientists have problems with both Darwin and RNA World Hypothesis.
          Who cares? When the consensus changes, I’ll change. How much more honest to the facts can I be?

          Maybe you should hang out somewhere besides the ICR or Disco Institute.

          “say that evolution is the best explanation we got.”
          Again untrue. You know very little of your belief. There is an every increasing group of SECULAR scientist seeing that complete failure of Darwinian Evolution.
          And yet the consensus remains that evolution is the best explanation we got. Oops–you’re wrong again.

          Tip: this “the sky is falling on the Neo-Darwinian Project” has been the Creationists’ line for 30 years. Ain’t happened yet. I’m almost thinking that it won’t happen at all.

          You illustrate the problem with your position. I think all the rest of us can see it, but you can’t. Let me help you out: that’s twice now that you’ve said that secular scientists are increasingly thinking X. And if I pushed back, I’m sure you’ve got a handful of quotes that make that argument.

          But that’s what you say when you’ve lost the argument. When you’ve won the argument, you instead say that the consensus of biologists say that evolution is a complete failure and you cite consensus scientific sources that say that. You got nothin’ until that point.

          I choose to not base my doctrine on blind faith.
          Oh, no. Of course you don’t. Sure, sure—I believe you.

          1
          •Reply•Share ›

        • Greg G.

          I will acknowledge I had an extra word in the above that did not have the meaning I wanted.

          I did two word searches:
            1. “He makes clear that God”
            2. “is indeed a genie”

          Neither is in the post you pasted. Don’t blame Patheos for your own ineptitude.

        • Jesus does indeed make clear that God/Jesus is a genie. “Ask and ye shall receive,” and all that.

          Why bring up Christian theologians?

        • Greg G.

          Why bring up Christian theologians?

          Theologians have to come up with excuses for Jesus being the worst genie ever.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          Why bring up Christian theologians?

          Trying to add up enough zeros to get to one, donchaknow.

        • JBSchmidt

          “Why bring up Christian theologians??”

          You said you would respect their consensus.

          “Ask and ye shall receive,”

          It doesn’t ‘ye shall receive what you want when you want it’. Consensus of theological scholars is that using biblical context it is clear that God will provide what we need when we need it. Further, the larger truth within those passages, you pulled the quote from, is regarding being humble, praying with confidence and being persistent.

        • “Why bring up Christian theologians??”
          You said you would respect their consensus.

          And their consensus is that Jesus did, indeed, say “Ask and ye shall receive.”

          It doesn’t ‘ye shall receive what you want when you want it’.

          No? I think it does.

          Consensus of theological scholars is that using biblical context it is clear that God will provide what we need when we need it.

          But it doesn’t say that. Jesus talks about what prayer will do in, I believe, 6 places. Yeah, I realize that prayer doesn’t work that way. But that’s what Jesus says.

        • Ignorant Amos

          See, the thing is, theology is as much a nonsense as the texts it addresses.

          And the fudgery trying to explain the nonsense away never ceases to amaze…

          The verse presents prayer as certain to be answered, and the following verses explain why this is. This of course cannot mean that every demand made of God will be met in full. Fowler notes that in Matthew 6:5-13 Jesus has already laid out some rules for proper prayer. These verses thus cannot apply to all prayer, but only those who truly seek God. Christian theology has long tried to address the issue of prayers that seem unanswered. One notion is that God only gives good gifts. Even if you ask for something that will harm you, he will not provide it. Thus a prayer for wealth may not be answered, as such wealth may damage one’s spiritual soul.

          In Matthew 6:8 Jesus also states that prayer is not necessary as God knows what a person needs even before they ask him. Fowler feels that while prayer is not useful to God, it is useful to humans. If we do not have to toil through continuous prayer before receiving God’s grace we will grow soft. ~Fowler, Harold. The Gospel of Matthew: Volume One. Joplin: College Press, 1968

          Bwaaahahahaha!

          Of course the meaning has changed depending on which flavour of the Christian cult and during which period of the cults history one lived.

          A third view, rejected by almost all scholars, is that these verses are outlining a specific religious ritual involving asking, seeking, and knocking, and that the verse is not a metaphor at all. Luz notes that this alternate interpretation was central to Gnosticism, and this was one of the defining verses of that branch of Christianity. To Gnostics the continuous seeking for the hidden God was a central part of their faith. By contrast most other Christian groups describe believers as those who have found God, not those who are still seeking. The verse is elaborated upon by saying 92 in the Gospel of Thomas.

          The fact remains, regardless of what theologians believe the text to mean, the run-of-the-mill-Christian praying from the pews or bedside, believes it means something else…a la a genie answering a wish…and in spite of what you say, there are plenty of the gullible out there who believe they have been answered.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          “It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his paycheck depends on him NOT understanding it.”

          — H. L. Mencken (for all his flaws, the man had a way with words)

        • Greg G.

          Your conflating God’s goals and people doing what they believe their own goals are.

          Nobody has any idea what God’s goals are, they only imagine such a things. The Gospel of John said what Jesus prayed. Did John lie? Probably because it reads like fiction. But you have nothing better to go on. If you believe John, then you must realize that Jesus was the biggest prayer failure ever. You are doing nothing but blame shifting the Jesus failure.

          That is not the what Jesus is praying. He is speaking of those that will believe in Him though the Gospel.

          It is still a failure.

          Here is what it says:

          John 17:20-23 (NRSV)20 “I ask not only on behalf of these, but also on behalf of those who will believe in me through their word, 21 that they may all be one. As you, Father, are in me and I am in you, may they also be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. 22 The glory that you have given me I have given them, so that they may be one, as we are one, 23 I in them and you in me, that they may become completely one, so that the world may know that you have sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.

          Christians world wide are united by faith through the Gospel to Christ and the Father.

          Jesus prayed that the believers would believe in unity and that would get the rest of the world to know that God sent him. But the whole world does not believe it so it is still a failure.

          Nowhere in that prayer does it say that he wanted the entire world to be Christian.

          Verse 21: “so that the world may believe that you have sent me.”
          Verse 23: “so that the world may know that you have sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.”

          That sounds a lot like John’s major theses:

          John 3:16 (NRSV)16 “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life.

          Maybe you will get to explain to your god thingy what the Bible means.

        • JBSchmidt

          Everything you posted is wrong. You have some pull quotes and no knowledge. If you aren’t going to be honest with Bible usage at least google a couple of commentaries before you post again.

        • Greg G.

          Do you know of any commentaries that omit the apologetics?

          It is pretty clear that Jesus prayed that however many believers there were, if they believed in unity, it would lead to the rest of the world believing. If the believers did not believe in unity, then the prayer fails. If the believers believed in unity (as you claimed), and it did not result in the whole world coming to know, it failed that way. The only way the prayer is not a failure is if the whole world came to believe that God sent Jesus and that it all came from the unity of belief of the believers. Since the first part is a failure, the prayer is a failure.

          If a Jesus prayer failed, you should discount what the Bible says about prayer and then all the other prayer failures make sense so you don’t have to pretend God is saying “not yet” or “wait”.

        • Jennny

          Yup, ‘The Week of Prayer For X-tian Unity’ proudly boasts it has existed since 1908 and takes place every January. So I couldn’t help laughing when a x-tian told me she was organising the event in June, because the churches here all have elderly congregations – and fewer than 20 people in most cases. These folk didn’t like coming out in winter weather, so she moved it to summer…..so wanted to ask if her god was delaying that glorious unity he promised until the sun shone and the evenings were light!

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          So they can’t even ‘pray for unity’ IN unity?

          Oh, the irony 😉

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          Oh, so you’re pulling the ‘context’ card then, you reprobate?

          DEMONSTRATE how the context would change the content of the verses quoted, then…of course, you *can’t*, because if you *could* you’d be gleefully doing so…so you simply try to ’69shoot the messenger’ with vaguely disapproving verbiage.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          Your conflating God’s goals

          What is this supposed ‘god(s)’ so-called ‘goals’?

          Be specific, provide evidence (your ‘bible’ doesn’t count as it’s so self-contradictory that it’s a joke), or recant.

        • Re: “Nowhere in that prayer does it say that he wanted the entire world to be Christian.” 

          That may be true, but elsewhere it’s reported he had, in fact, instructed his followers to spread Christianity to everyone: 

          And Jesus came up and spoke to [the Eleven], saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” (Mt 28:18-20

          This gospel passage is so well-known, it has its own name: the Great Commission

    • Damien Priestly

      If there is a God and we are broken — it’s God that did the breaking. But neither is true…no evidence for a God; brokenness and sin are guilt trips — it is the way Christians lie to children…

      …There would be no Christianity — if Christians only tried to convince adults that they are broken and sinful, if they tried that, Christians would get laughed out of the room !!

      • JBSchmidt

        “…There would be no Christianity — if Christians only tried to convince adults that they are broken and sinful, if they tried that, Christians would get laughed out of the room !!”

        Except, that’s how Christianity started and it is how mission work is done. How sure are you that you haven’t been indoctrinated?

        • Is that your final answer? You’re saying that Christianity would carry on just fine with no childhood indoctrination? If Christianity participation were an adult activity–like driving or voting–you’re saying that there would be negligible drop in membership 50 years afterwards?

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          Uh, do you mean “wouldn’t”, here?

          Not sure, I’m confused.

        • I think I did it right (though my comments are often sloppy, I’ll admit).

          JBS is apparently saying that without childhood indoctrination, Christianity would carry along fine. I’m certain that it wouldn’t.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          Okay…I withdraw my confusion 😉

        • JBSchmidt

          “You’re saying that Christianity would carry on just fine with no childhood indoctrination?”

          You are changing context of my statement.

        • You could clarify. Do I need to ask the right way?

        • JBSchmidt

          I was responding to the claim that Christianity would not exist if it could not indoctrinate children. I responded with the fact that Christianity began through the conversion of adults. Thus proving the comment inaccurate.

          You are attempting to imply that my words were making a statement about current times.

          Further the implication is that Christian children are incapable of reasoning through their own beliefs as they mature is as equally a false statement as implying that your children will grow up to be atheist due to your indoctrination.

          The truth is children of Christians grow up to be Christians. Children of non-Christians grow up to be Christians and vice versa. Adults who are non-Christians become Christians and vice versa. All by their own reasoning.

          To address your question directly, should parents choose the impossible task of not imparting their own beliefs on their children, we would not have more atheists. We would have a more even spread of various beliefs. However, the course of human history always shows the preference toward a higher power, not atheism. Even today, the majority of ‘nones’ are some sort of spiritual, not atheist.

        • I was responding to the claim that Christianity would not exist if it could not indoctrinate children. I responded with the fact that Christianity began through the conversion of adults. Thus proving the comment inaccurate.

          Proving it inaccurate? Well, that’s an interesting challenge. Since we’re repeating ourselves, I’ll repeat my challenge: imagine that Christianity was adults only. You could participate, but you had to be an adult. Now tell me: what do you think this new policy would do to the membership after a couple of generations?

          You are attempting to imply that my words were making a statement about current times.

          Yes, I was saying that. Was that not your point? Were you saying, “Well, y’know that the church in its first years was just adults joining in, but I’m just chewing the fat here. I’m saying nothing about current times”? If so, then I did misunderstand.

          The truth is children of Christians grow up to be Christians. Children of non-Christians grow up to be Christians and vice versa. Adults who are non-Christians become Christians and vice versa. All by their own reasoning.

          What are you saying? Take children raised as Christian, Mormon, and Muslim. What will they likely be when they’re adults?

          It’s almost like you’re saying that the Christian god is the only real god, and it doesn’t matter how they’re raised, they’ll all become Christian because Christianity is the only actual religion. The others are pretend. Is that it?

          However, the course of human history always shows the preference toward a higher power, not atheism.

          Over the course of human history, most people have been not-Christian.

          If your point is some sort of mere theism, believers in the supernatural can’t even agree on the number of gods.

        • JBSchmidt

          “but I’m just chewing the fat here.”

          I didn’t realize I needed to address the previous comment that Christian couldn’t spread without indoctrination (when it was adults that carried it throughout the middle east after Christ died) and also address the question you would ask in a future comment.

          “It’s almost like you’re saying that the Christian god is the only real god”

          You have a talent for pulling a quote and crafting an argument that doesn’t exist. If you read it again, you will see that I left the door open for kids or adults to move from Christianity to whatever, by their own reasoning. I didn’t realize that I needed to identify every world belief in the before and after.

          “If your point is some sort of mere theism, believers in the supernatural can’t even agree on the number of gods.”

          Yep, however, my point stands. Adults, if they receive no instruction as children, will not reason toward atheism. Which is the point atheist try to make.

        • the previous comment that Christian couldn’t spread without indoctrination

          Not what I said.

          This is, what, the third time I’ve asked you to talk through the consequences of your thought experiment. Apparently, too devastating a retort.

        • JBSchmidt

          “Not what I said”

          No kidding. You jumped into a thread where I responded to a comment not yours. Then you took my words out of context and asked a separate question.

          Either way I have addressed your point. But I will repeat it again.

          If it were possible to raise children without imprinting on them any beliefs until they were adults at which point they reasoned a belief system for themselves, the outcome would be fewer Christians. I acknowledged that prior. However, based on human history, there would be far few atheist. The increase, as were are seeing with the ‘nones’, would come in the form of vague spirituality, mysticism or paganism. Christianity would not drop off as far as atheists hope when they ask that question. The proof of that is the missionary work done by the early Christians and through out history.

          Not sure what more I can add.

        • epeeist

          Adults, if they receive no instruction as children, will not reason toward atheism.

          Says you. I don’t suppose it is worth asking you to justify this since you never do with any of your claims.

          Now I can accept that in the past, when society was much more religious than it is now, then one would be unlikely to “reason toward[s] atheism. However there is no longer the social pressure to be religious and it is perfectly acceptable in many societies to be non-religious. In which case it would seem to be perfectly plausible that one could reason oneself towards atheism.

          How would we check my contention? If it is correct then in societies where there is less social pressure to be religious then a) there would be a fall in the percentage of those who are religious b) those who are religious or who were brought up in a religion would be less likely to stay in the religion c) those who are non-religious or were not brought up in a religion would be less likely to convert to a religion.

          Now I can only speak for the situation in the UK, so here are some figures from the 28th British Social Attitudes Survey. I suggest you look at table 12.2 in particular.

          Oh, and just to be clear, I am not saying that “no religion” is synonymous with “atheist”.

        • Phil

          ” will not reason toward atheism” that is a really daft statement. Atheism is just non-belief in any supernatural god. So what you were in fact saying that children starting with no belief wouldn’t reason to non-belief! Just doesn’t make sense. Belief in anything supernatural would be an irrelevance and would have to be taught.

          Besides if what you are asserting were even slightly true, religions in the UK wouldn’t be pouring all their resources into setting up faith schools because attendance at churches is nose-diving. They would pour the money into getting bums on pews.

        • Ignorant Amos

          I was responding to the claim that Christianity would not exist if it could not indoctrinate children. I responded with the fact that Christianity began through the conversion of adults. Thus proving the comment inaccurate.

          How do you know?

          How do you know the mental age of the first converts?

          When you think of “adults” converting to other religions or cults, don’t you think to yerself, “how ta feck can someone of that age be so stupid?”

          https://slideplayer.com/slide/9764371/31/images/17/Degrees+of+Feeblemindedness.jpg

          Except, that’s how Christianity started…

          Nobody knows how Christianity got started. We know that when it got a foothold, it used the carrot and stick method…and the fist.

          … and it is how mission work is done.

          Mission work takes advantage of the uneducated and childlike mentality of its victims. That’s why it is so prevalent in third world ill educated communities.

          You musta missed all the comments that have shown that the trend in most first world countries is towards irreligion, no?

          Further the implication is that Christian children are incapable of reasoning through their own beliefs as they mature…

          Oh some do, but you fail to recognise what childhood indoctrination means. Hardly surprising.

          https://journeyfree.org/childhood-religious-indoctrination/

          Childhood indoctrination isn’t Christian or even religion specific.

          …is as equally a false statement as implying that your children will grow up to be atheist due to your indoctrination.

          And back into your retardness we go. And showing your ignorance of the word indoctrination, again. Here…indoctrination…the process of teaching a person or group to accept a set of beliefs uncritically.

          Not being subjected to some woo-woo nonsense or another, is not indoctrination ya cretin. Both my children are irreligious and don’t have a god belief, because they weren’t subjected to a particular version of the nonsense in any intense way in their home life.

          The truth is children of Christians grow up to be Christians.

          Yeah, that’s the point.

          Children of non-Christians grow up to be Christians and vice versa.

          No one is claiming otherwise, but the numbers and the reasons are your problem.

          Adults who are non-Christians become Christians and vice versa.

          Again, no one is claiming otherwise, but the numbers and the reasons are your problem.

          All by their own reasoning.

          And then we sink back to retardation again.

          To address your question directly, should parents choose the impossible task of not imparting their own beliefs on their children, we would not have more atheists.

          You don’t half talk some shite. What’s impossible about it? And yes, we would have more atheists ya numbnuts. It is demonstrable that children brought up in less religious environments and given the choice, are less religious. That’s why more than 50% of the UK are non-religious and it’s growing.

          We would have a more even spread of various beliefs and none.

          FTFY. You don’t see that happening in this internet age>

          However, the course of human history always shows the preference toward a higher power, not atheism.

          Yep, through indoctrination of the less educated for the reason of exploitation by a bunch of charlatans, but you’re too dumb to get it.

          Even today, the majority of ‘nones’ are some sort of spiritual, not atheist.

          Another loada pish. Why don’t you use Google, it can be your friend.

          In the first instance, you don’t seem to understand what *SBNR means, nor atheist for that matter. Being “spiritual” doesn’t necessarily mean believing in a higher power, being religiously unaffiliated, nor can’t be an atheist.

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

          Secondly, your sentence is factually incorrect…or another attempt at a lie. Even in the US the terms are vague, but your assertion is flawed.

          According to a study conducted by Pew Research Center in 2012, the number of Americans who do not identify with any religion has increased from 15% in 2007 to 20% in 2012, and this number continues to grow. One fifth of the US public and a third of adults under the age of 30 are reportedly unaffiliated with any religion but identify as being spiritual in some way. Of these religiously unaffiliated Americans, 37% classify themselves as spiritual but not religious, while 68% say they do believe in God, and 58% feel a deep connection to the Earth.

          The figures in the UK are a lot worse for ya.

          Still, am happy enough with the trend as it is, going forward.

          Read and weep about this Christian source…

          https://www.pcnbritain.org.uk/blog/post/spiritual_but_not_religious

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          Beautiful!

          I *Iove* a good fisk in the morning…it smells like…VICTORY!!!

          😉

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          Except, that’s how Christianity started and it is how mission work is done.

          Except, that’s how Christianity the KKK started and it is how mission work is done.

          Except, that’s how Christianity the Nazis started and it is how mission work is done.

          Except, that’s how Christianity the Rwandan Genocide started and it is how mission work is done.

          Except, that’s how Christianity the Lord’s Resistance Army started and it is how mission work is done.

          Except, that’s how Christianity the Inquisition started and it is how mission work is done.

          When something is *bad*, claiming that we’ve *always* done it this way is NO excuse…it’s not even a bad excuse, but NO excuse.

        • Jim Dailey

          You are the best!

        • NS Alito
    • Jennny

      With extreme reluctance, I began to go through a process of deconversion after 50yrs of fervent faith – you know the ‘proper sort’, bible-believing evangelicalism. The accomplishment of ”god’s goal” now really puzzled me. Here in most of Wales, the church is dying…and some of us were working our socks off in evangelism, only to see less and less return, numbers dwindling. I asked ‘god’ why, we’d all do ANYTHING to reverse that…he only had to show us the right way, and at whatever the personal cost, we’d have done it in obedience to him. But study the bible, fast together or yell at the ceiling for hours…and nothing happened. This god, I decided, who told me to run missions and get converts seemed to be working against us when he promised ‘a great harvest of souls.’…..I knew then that he didn’t ”help” accomplish his goal…because he doesn’t exist.

      • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

        FWIW, fasting can be useful for other things…I do a little bit of it, and combined with light exercise, it’s shaving off the pounds I’ve been lugging for several decades now 🙂

      • Ficino

        sort of OT, but has the fall-off of church attendance damaged the Welsh singing traditions?

        • Jennny

          Older folk love to go to Male Voice Choir concerts. Some dying churches try a ‘Songs of Praise’ evening to get bums back on pews…another failed evangelistic ploy usually, with just a few extra folk going for the sentiment and entertainment. But like everything else, I think younger spend free time on social media. The only time we heard our late neighbour’s voice when we were indoors was when there was a half-hour of welsh hymn singing on TV weekly, he sang his heart out very loudly. Like most folk, he was steeped in chapel-going and gave up some years ago…but the sentiment remained. My BIL hasn’t been to church for 50yrs, but it’s the old well-known rousing welsh hymns he sings as he mows the lawn or in the shower!

        • adelaidedupont

          I wondered if the young ones use Musical.ly for their singing needs?

    • ThaneOfDrones

      The consensus of Christian theologians is…

      In other news, five out of five homeopaths agree that homeopathy is not quackery.

      • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

        Isn’t that *six* out of five homeopaths?

        😉

        • epeeist

          Nah, you need to reduce the number of homoeopaths, that way the conclusion is that much stronger.

        • Phil

          So no homeopaths believe it so making it incredibly potent.

        • Greg G.

          All homeopaths believe in homeopathy, which means it isn’t effective, and they are skeptical of modern medicine, which means modern medicine is effective. Homeopathy and medicine agree on something!

    • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

      How do you know he doesn’t?

      Evidence. Any *real* ‘creator’ who made things that ‘failed’ so often and were so easy to drive out of ‘proper’ performance would be roundly derided.

    • Jack the Sandwichmaker

      And yet Christians are still telling us we need to change and find some way of believing in God.
      Why? Why should we try to thwart God’s goal?

    • Michael Neville

      In 1938-1945 the Holocaust killed six million Jews and 12 to 14 million others. Looks like your god is falling down on the job preventing evil. Except for the fact that, according to your propaganda, your god is a sadistic bully who kills people just because he can. 18 to 20 million dead just gives your god a big chubby in his jeans.

    • Joe

      What do Christian theologians know about the real world?

      • Love it!

      • Ignorant Amos

        That’s a photo of Richard Dawkins when he debated with that dickhead William Lame Craig.

    • Kodie

      The consensus of Christian theologians is a circle jerk.

  • NS Alito

    Pharmaceutical names are confusing enough, but it’s hard to come up with a system for naming that can handle all the possible variations. That’s not true of instructions. Here’s how one prescription tube says “Use on skin only; keep out of eyes”:

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/99822e99db0aa9e838267be2f5de210cbdb4d9b799a5e44165c0b4aaf85d0861.jpg

    • Michael Murray

      Yes. Important to put your glasses on first thing in the morning before reaching for the toothpaste tube …

      • Michael Neville

        The Preparation H tube looks very similar.

      • NS Alito

        I put my skin stuff in my Minions lunch box.

  • Jack the Sandwichmaker

    That’s seven ways to do it wrong, except that it only goes in one way.

    It’s like the USB plug. There are two ways it could go in, but only one of them will fit. And you can be sure you’ll get it wrong the first two times.

    • ThaneOfDrones

      USB-C will convert you.

      • Jack the Sandwichmaker

        I’ve got one of those ports on my laptop. But have only found ONE device which uses it, and it was an ssd enclosure that I only needed to use once to copy data from a previous drive.

        • Michael Murray

          You need an Apple laptop. Mine has only 4 USB-C ports and I had to buy 3 adapters to use existing stuff. Apple adapters of course are gold plated inside and out and priced accordingly.

        • Jack the Sandwichmaker

          Hopefully by the time I need a new laptop usb-c will be a more common connector

      • Wisdom, Justice, Love

        Uh oh. I sense a scare. Who knew USB-C was part of the LGBTQ Sinister Agenda. Trying to get all up in people’s ports!
        Live and learn. /s

  • RichardSRussell

    The 2008 book Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth, and Happiness, by Cass Sunstein and Richard Thaler, describes how people can be nudged into doing things the clever way or the safe way or the cheap way depending on how things are presented to them. As Wikipedia describes it, “The authors refer to influencing behaviour without coercion as libertarian paternalism and the influencers as choice architects.” An illustration of how it works is summarized thus: “People are more likely to choose a particular option if it is the default option. For example, … a greater number of consumers chose the renewable energy option for electricity when it was offered as the default option.”

  • Michael Murray

    Airlines do poka-yoke (great name). On landing a pin goes into the undercarriage to stop it retracting if someone pulls the wrong lever in the cockpit. To make sure it gets removed before takeoff it is tied to a few metres of bright material and the ground crew have to remove it and physically show the strip of material to the pilot who looks out the window. Here is a picture of the one I use on my Gulfstream (joke)

    https://www.aerospecialties.com/aviation-ground-support-equipment-gse-products/towbar-head-equipment/downlock-pin-gulfstream-g2-g550-main-landing-gear/

    • Michael Neville

      Submarines to poka-yoke as well. Submariners invented checklists long before aviators started using them. For instance, getting rid of trash while submerged is an exercise involving three people in two separate locations talking to each other over sound-powered phones. The Chief of the Watch in the Control Room is running the evolution and spends most of his time reading step-by-step instructions to the people in the TDU (Trash Disposal Unit, basically a long, vertical tube with lids at each end) Room. The next instruction is not given until there is a positive response that the last instruction has been carried out. The checklist is plastic laminated and both the Chief of the Watch and the TDU operators mark off each step as done with a grease pencil. Getting rid of half-a-ton of garbage can take an hour or more.

      Every submariner has a story about Sans or Sanitary Tanks. The toilets dump into the Sans and they’re emptied by pressurizing the tank with air and blowing the contents either to sea (when outside the 12 mile limit) or to holding tanks or sewers when in port. Flushing a toilet when the Sanitary Tank is pressurized can get rather exciting and quite messy. Most Sans stories concern the results of opening the toilet valve with Sans pressurized.

      My Sans story is different from most peoples’. I was the Below Decks Watch, the guy who empties the Sans in port. I had the midwatch (0000-0400) and San1 was full. There a hose running from our outlet deck valve (just aft of the sail) to a valve on the tender’s main deck (submarine tenders are repair and supply ships for submarines). I did my valve lineup per the checklist, pressurized the tank, opened the tank discharge valve, and was waiting for the tank to empty (took about five minutes). The tank had been blowing for about 20 seconds when there was an announcement over the 1MC (General Ship’s Announcing Circuit): “Secure blowing sanitaries.” There were only three places on board that submarine where a 1MC announcement could be made, the Control Room, Maneuvering (engineering control station), and Topside. I doubted that Maneuvering would make the announcement, they probably didn’t know I was blowing Sans. I shut the discharge valve and went to the Control Room. Nobody was there. So I climbed up the sail ladder and stuck my head out of the hatch. The Duty Officer and Topside Petty Officer were looking at the side of the tender which was covered with sewage. The hose had split and sprayed the tender’s hull and main deck.

      After getting cleanup underway on the tender, the tender’s Duty Officer came down to the sub and he was not happy. He and my Duty Officer went to the discharge station and checked the tank’s pressure gauge. It was reading 18 psi and the checklist said not to pressurize over 20 psi. I was off the hook.

      Later that morning there was a critique held by the Squadron Commodore (since two separate ships were involved, the next higher command ran the critique). As one of the players in the fiasco, I was present. The hose came from the tender and the tender’s Captain asked who was responsible for the hose. Deck Division said it belonged to Auxiliary Machinery Division, Auxiliary Machinery said it belonged to Deck, as a result, nobody was responsible for pressure testing it or the half-dozen other similar hoses. The Captain asked who owned the space where the hoses were stored. “Deck.” “Okay, Deck, put the hoses on your maintenance schedule and get them tested.”

      • Michael Murray

        Nice story. Are you still a submariner ?

        • Ignorant Amos

          SNCO….a chief petty officer…retired…civvy street accountant.

        • Michael Neville

          I retired from the Navy over 25 years ago,

      • Phil

        “sound-powered phones” Is there any other type?

        • Michael Neville

          Cell phones run off of batteries. Land-line phones have the signal boosted by electrically powered amplifiers. Sound-powered phones are literally powered by the person talking into the mouth piece. The phones are plugged into jacks placed all over the ship but are independent of any other power source. There’s just the phones, jacks, and wires connecting the jacks.

          World War II sailor wearing sound-powered phone apparatus.

          https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/7/7a/SoundPoweredTelephone.png/220px-SoundPoweredTelephone.png

        • Phil

          Hmm, used to do that as a kid. Connect two speakers together. It was very faint.

        • Michael Neville

          Speakers aren’t designed to work as phones.

        • Phil Rimmer

          They are pretty good these days with neodymium magnets. Those speakers used on the latest cell phones are astonishing. Use a collecting cone and speech can generate quite a lot of power.

      • epicurus

        Ever hear about the uboat toilet disaster?
        https://youtu.be/Pfr0nsh0Ghc

  • 3vil5triker .

    On a related note, your fellow Patheos blogger over at the Catholic channel, Mark Shea, is doing multi-part primer on Catholic Social Teaching starting here: I thought it might be a good idea to do a little refresher on Catholic Social Doctrine.

    Obviously, as atheists we’re going to disagree with much of the framing, which is centered around God, Jesus and scripture, but from a practical application standpoint there is a lot of overlap with Democratic Socialism or even Humanism. If nothing else, it could serve as a useful reference to offer a substantial critique of Catholic doctrine beyond apologetics, and perhaps more importantly given our current political context, call them out when they fail to live up to their own standards.

    For what its worth, I think Mark is somebody who argues and presents his ideas in good faith. It probably helps that he’s not hyper-focused on apologetics.

    • I’ve responded to one of Mark’s blog posts that I thought was shrill and poorly thought out.
      https://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined/2016/01/response-to-an-angry-christian-2/

      But that’s an interesting point. It is fascinating hearing social policy from some Christians that sounds pretty easy to get behind. If you look at the social movement around 1900, Christians were behind some excellent work–child labor laws, prison reform, mental health reform, women’s rights, and more.

      • 3vil5triker .

        I’m not sure how much or how strongly he still holds to those views. I haven’t engaged as much with his earlier work, but I think he’s mellowed out considerably towards atheists, specially now in the age of Trump; he will often find common ground with atheists on matters of social and economic justice while many of his fellow Catholics seem to have failed Basic Empathy 101.

        Also, in recent posts where he talks about the Argument from Design, he acknowledges the flaws from some of its variants and tries to avoid hanging his hat on anything resembling a “God of the Gaps” argument. The impression I get is that now he would be perfectly fine with viewing morality as a naturally evolving trait, but we’d have to ask him directly to know for sure.

        But this all ties into something I said in an earlier post: things that are real don’t remain stuck within the narrow confines of religion. Those ideas have real world implications, so they can be tested, refined and expanded upon. In other words, they become secular, so people from all persuasions can get behind them.

        • I’m delighted to find Christian bloggers about whom I can acknowledge good points. I have not run across Mark’s posts much, and maybe that’s because, as you say, he’s turned away from apologetics.

  • Cozmo the Magician

    I received an email back from support.god@bill.pearly.gates.org.

    Yes in fact we DO have a toolkit. Unfortunately the directory is hidden.and you need admin mode to access. And the .exe is wrapped inside a password protected RAR that is write only. Other than that… Yeah, we have the tools.

    • Michael Neville

      The manual is marked “Incredibly Secret–Burn Before Reading”.

      • Cozmo the Magician

        and is printed on white paper with white ink.

  • RichardSRussell

    You know, Bob, you could probably headline each post with “How God Screwed Up ______” and plug in a different noun 3 times a week for the next decade.

    • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

      On ‘The Atheist Experience’, Don Baker has been running a ‘Failures of Christianity’ series for at least a decade now, maybe 6 times a year as he co-hosts, FWIW.

  • Ignorant Amos

    A code DaVinci would be proud of.

  • Gord O’Mitey

    Hi, it’s yer lovin’ Almighty Lord Gord here, eh.

    Now y’all better pay attention. Lookit, Ah created the whole feckin’ Universe, eh. An’ Ah breathed the spark of life inter inanimate matter, eh. So why the feck do Ah hafta create morality, eh? Y’all know ’bout that guy Moses an’ his tablets, eh. It’s all in My book of books, the Bible. Now, Moses was a pesky fella, an’ he climbed Mount Sinai ter come botherin’ Us ’bout some feckin’ rules he wanted fer his tribesmen. So ter git rid of the fecker, Ah gave him ten rules fer y’all ter foller, eh. So, if ten commandments wus good ’nuff fer Moses, then they’re feckin’ good ’nuff fer y’all, eh.

    An’ yer all know whut Ah do when Ah git pissed with yer behaviour, eh. Ah smite y’all, like Ah did with the feckin’ Noachian Flood. Ah don’t need no feckin’ lectures on morality, eh.