Thursday, 5 June 2008

Genetics of Sin


And god threw Adam and Eve out of the garden of Eden and proclaimed that all of their descendants will be sinful because of their bad choice. OK, that's paraphrased, but it's the gist that counts. This is a greatly immoral action on god's part, but let's skip that for a moment. This is also a rather hateful ideology, but we'll skip that for the moment as well. god creates a situation where sin is passed from parent to offspring when he throws Adam and Eve out of the garden. The mechanism that science has uncovered for this is through our genetic make-up. So, is there a sin gene?

Let's say, for a moment, there is a sin gene. Is it possible that this gene can mutate and be selected out by evolution? It's quite possible that this would be the case, although it's true that certain genes persist for long stretches of time due to their necessity (if they mutate, the organism dies). Considering that Adam and Eve would not have originally had this gene (when did god insert it?) it seems unlikely that it would be necessary for survival, so it's possible that it would be susceptible to mutation and loss or change of function.

To get even deeper into the idea, with modern genetics we might be able to locate and isolate such a gene. This would open up the possibility of us modifying it (in the future of course) in order to design humans that would be free from sin. This would make it possible to undo god's work. Wouldn't this negate the Xian concept of the need for Jesus?

19 comments:

TheNerd said...

Don't forget: the sin gene is only passed through sperm - it is not found in female eggs! Otherwise, Jesus would have had the gene passed to him from his mother.

Tigerboy said...

The very concept of "sin" is determined by the philosophy itself. There is no such thing as "sin", except as defined by religion.

There are illegal deeds, as defined by society, but "sin" is defined by religion.

Even *thinking* certain things is called sin. Are you going to remove the gene for independent thought?

This is how religion maintains its totalitarian dictatorship. It sets all the rules. And, this is why religion attracts personalities who want someone else to do all their thinking for them.

People who find thinking hard willingly relinquish their power to others who call them sinners. It's all so sadomasochistic.

Anonymous said...

I hope I'm not over-stepping. I wanted to pass this blog along because the guy talks it up but is a complete fraud. He really needs a challenge from folks like you guys.

http://jimladd.blogspot.com/

Question of Identity said...

Thought you may be interested in an e-mail from a firiend of mine that I received today - but first I suggest you image goole the word
'lamimin'.

"This is a pretty neat story and an interesting thing that few of us know. It's brief, so please read on.
A couple of days ago I was running (I use that term very loosely) on my treadmill, watching a DVD sermon by Louie Giglio...and I was BLOWN AWAY! I want to share what I learned....but I fear not being able to convey it as well as I want. I will share anyway.

He (Louie) was talking about how inconceivably BIG our God is...how He spoke the universe into being...how He breathes stars out of His mouth that are huge raging balls of fire...etc. etc. Then He went on to speak of how this star-breathing, universe creating God ALSO knitted our human bodies together with amazing detail and wonder. At this point I am LOVING it (fascinating from a medical standpoint, you know.) .....and I was remembering how I was constantly amazed during medical school as I learned more and more about God's handiwork. I remember so many times thinking....'How can ANYONE deny that a Creator did all of this???'

Louie went on to talk about how we can trust that the God who created all this, also has the power to hold it all together when things seem to be falling apart...how our loving Creator is also our sustainer.

And then I lost my breath.
And it wasn't because I was running my treadmill, either!!!
It was because he started talking about laminin.
I knew about laminin. Here is how wikipedia describes them :'Laminins are a family of proteins that are an integral part of the structural scaffolding of basement membranes in almost every animal tissue.' You see....laminins are what hold us together....LITERALLY. They are cell adhesion molecules. They are what holds one cell of our bodies to the next cell. Without them, we would literally fall apart. And I knew all this already. But what I didn't know is what laminin LOOKED LIKE.

But now I do.
And I have thought about it a thousand times since (already)....
Here is what the structure of laminin looks like...AND THIS IS NOT a 'Christian portrayal' of it....if you look up laminin in any scientific/medical piece of literature, this is what you will see...


Now tell me that our God is not amazing!!
The glue that holds us together....ALL of us....is in the shape of the cross.
Immediately Colossians 1:15-17 comes to mind.

'He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation.
For by him all things were created; things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible,
whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities;
all things were created by him and for him.
He is before all things,
and in him all things HOLD TOGETHER. '
Colossians 1:15-17


Thousands of years before the world knew anything about laminin, Paul penned those words. And now we see that from a very LITERAL standpoint, we are held together...one cell to another....by the cross.

You would never in a million years convince me that is anything other than the mark of a Creator who knew EXACTLY what laminin 'glue' would look like long before Adam even breathed his first breath!!

We praise YOU, Lord!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Anonymous said...

That's right! All these wonderfully amazing things. So it looks like a cross, so what. When women squeez their butt checks tightly with their legs close together, it looks like a cross. So god parted the seas, brought about plagues, made rock burn, but when it comes to our day-to-day lives where is his greatness.

If god is real, then he is evil. And as another contradiction of "the word", god is a "respector" of certain people. He "chose" some for "heaven" and others he didn't. He shits on the lives of some and others he blesses.

GCT said...

QOI,
Are you really that gullible? Do you really think that god put together a bunch of glue in the shape of a torture device (you do realize that that's what the cross is, right?) Unfortunately for you, there are actually many different shapes of laminin, with a cross-like shape being only one of them. Apparently there's one that looks like a swastika too, so apparently god really liked the Nazis too.

GCT said...

Oops, my bad, apparently the swastikas are in our heads, so god wanted us to have Nazis on the brain:

more on laminins

Also some more laminins

bbewgerg111083 said...

I don't think sin is a part of genetics...I think it's more of a mind set or thought. To start from the beginning, God shaped us from clay and breathed life into us; basically He created us as both physical and spiritual beings. When Adam and Eve were in the garden they enjoyed a close and personal relationship with God. And, like any relationship, there is always a way out. Since God is a loving God (I know not everyone reading this agrees with this statement, but go with me for a second), He wants a relationship with us. In order for this to happen He can't just create a bunch of robots to fulfill His will, He wants people to want and desire the things He wants and desires; kinda like boyfriend/girlfriend or husband/wife - we want our significant others to want to be with us, not just because we said so. So God created an option for Adam and Eve to chose from...they could chose to eat the forbidden fruit or they could trust that God would provide them with whatever they needed.
Enter Satan-the Deceiver, who lied and said they wouldn't die and that they'd have gain knowledge God didn't want them to have. They were intrigued (and tricked) and ate. They weren't content with what God gave them (which was everything except one type of fruit) and selfishly chose to take something that wasn't for them. Enter sin...
Sin at the most basic level is the act of selfishness. Selfishness hurts every kind relationship, including our relationship with God. The physical results of death weren't as immediate but the spiritual results were-our spirits were disconnected from God. If God created everything then life only exists with Him...without Him life cannot exist, which equals death. Since Adam and Eve were no longer spiritually connected with God, all their children were born without a connection with God, so the ability of their children to act rightly will always be tainted by selfish desires. So it's not necessarily a genetic thing (though sin affects genetics too). Now God is also a forgiving God (after all He did let Adam and Eve continue living even though He could've wiped them out) so there is a way out...it costs one life to replace the one life that was lost; in other words someone had to die to redeem the life of the other. But we can't do it ourselves because we would no longer be living and we are tainted and unworthy for sacrifice. So God put a plan in motion to make a sacrifice worthy of redeeming the people He loves so He can have a true relationship with them again. This started with animal sacrifice, but this was insufficient because a human sacrifice was needed for human sin. So God got off His throne, allowed Himself to be limited to a human body, to lead a sinless life, to be an untainted sacrifice, to take away the affects of sin so we (God and mankind) could enjoy each others company again. And by proving that He could go through life without sinning and being selfish, He proved that he could do it again and again for everyone for every sin, which is why the Bible says He died once for all sins.
Anyway that's my understanding of how sin works. Sorry this is a little lengthy, I have problems with being too thorough sometimes.

GCT said...

bbewgerg,
Your first paragraph is chock full of things that I could argue against, but I'm going to focus on the topic at hand. I will say that if god wants a relationship with us, then he has a funny way of showing it, and I don't find his penchant for genocide to be particularly loving.

"The physical results of death weren't as immediate but the spiritual results were-our spirits were disconnected from God...Since Adam and Eve were no longer spiritually connected with God, all their children were born without a connection with God, so the ability of their children to act rightly will always be tainted by selfish desires."

Since we don't have souls (no scientific evidence for them and plenty against) the only mechanism we know of to pass on conditions like this from parent to child are genetic conditions. Of course, this post was meant somewhat tongue in cheek, but the basic thought remains. If I wanted to get into it, I would point out that god is immoral and unloving for punishing Adam and Eve's children for Adam and Eve's mistakes (even though I think god was unjust for punishing A and E). What right does god have to punish me for something that I didn't do?

"Now God is also a forgiving God..."

Which is why he tortures people for eternity in hell?

"...it costs one life to replace the one life that was lost; in other words someone had to die to redeem the life of the other."

This is the opposite of being forgiving and loving. An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind. god here is insisting on that principle, that the only way that he can allow himself to forgive us for his problems is if he takes a life. In this case, the story is rather convoluted in that god decides to take his own life in order to allow himself to forgive us, which ends up being a meaningless act anyway, since god can't die and the one he has to convince is himself. IOW, if he already knew he wanted to forgive us, then it was quite unnecessary for him to go through the rigmarole of becoming Jesus and dying to convince himself of something he had already decided upon.

"So God got off His throne..."

After thousands of years and countless people ended up in hell.

"And by proving that He could go through life without sinning and being selfish, He proved that he could do it again and again for everyone for every sin, which is why the Bible says He died once for all sins."

He didn't go through life without sin, unless you think that physically whipping people (among other sins) is OK. Also, why does a perfect god need to prove anything? Who was he proving it to? If he was proving it to himself, then he's not perfect. If he was proving it to us, then the story doesn't make sense.

Lastly, I would say that you seem to be unaware of just how anti-human this story is. The story relies on us being evil and unable to be good by nature. Mankind is worthless in this scenario and it makes no sense that god would want a relationship with us (why did he want it in the first place?) Also, I should point out that this destroys the notion of free will. We don't have the free will to choose good, only evil, which means that we don't truly have free will in the sense commonly used by theists.

Clostridiophile said...

I will give you the nitwittish theological answer to your question whether the "sin gene" can mutate and be selected against during evolution: "Evolution didn't happen". Sin was "begatted" down the pre-existing lineages. It is not a "gene", but is an invisible mystery that is both invisible to the sight, the nose, and can not be tasted in the semen. I am no theologian, so I can only speculate. I imagine many a' theologian has tried to taste Sin over the ages, gargling, swishing, swapping, to no avail. I believe there is a compiled work "The Unpalatable Evil Semen" somewhere on some dusty shelves. This is, what I imagine theologians do all day. I could be wrong.

bbewgerg111083 said...

You seem to know quite a bit about the Bible...probably more than many Christians (in this supposedly Christian nation). And I admit that some of the stuff in there will probably never be figured out or proved true, but I don't think that means God doesn't exist or is a liar, mass murderer, ect. It simply means that we can't know everything...go figure. I also think that pulling out a sentence of Scripture, without applying it to the rest of Scripture makes God look like a maniac at the very least. But I've found that it helps to apply one Scripture to the rest of the Scriptures when trying to understand who God is and what He's about. That being said, I'll try to answer some of your questions as best I can.

I guess I'll start with the soul question...

"Since we don't have souls (no scientific evidence for them and plenty against) the only mechanism we know of to pass on conditions like this from parent to child are genetic conditions."

When something is scientifically studied, only its' physical properties are studied because that's all we can study. So science can't prove a soul because it is limited to physical characteristics. But that doesn't mean souls don't exist, and although science can't prove they do, it can't prove they don't, again, because it has no foundation to base it on.

"I would point out that god is immoral and unloving for punishing Adam and Eve's children for Adam and Eve's mistakes (even though I think god was unjust for punishing A and E). What right does god have to punish me for something that I didn't do?"

I'll be honest, this is the same issue a struggled with before I became I believer (and still did for a while afterwards) and it's tough to respond to, so I'll make a feeble attempt, that's definitely going to be incomplete, but this can be a year long conversation otherwise. Well, if God created everything, than He gets to dictate morality, and He should because since He created everything, He knows how all of it is supposed to work...kinda like an engineer giving the instruction manual for the new machine (I know, I know, there's a lot of holes in this, but I think with examples, so go easy on me for this one, please). So I get that we don't always like what He says, especially me, but He has our best interests in mind, like don't murder, obey your parents (cause being grounded sucks), etc. There's other laws that seem more harsh, and they are, but they are to point out the severity of giving in to sin-selfish desires. Which brings to my next point...why is God immoral for punishing someone? Don't our parents punish us when we do something wrong? They don't do it because they don't love us, but because they do. Certain things are not good for us so we are punished for them so that won't do them again. And sometimes the punishment is less harsh than the possible outcome had the behavior continued...e.g. I was caught by my parents when I was 16 driving a friend around before I was legally allowed to because my probationary period was not over. If I were caught by the police my license would've been revoked until I was 18, instead I got grounded. Anyway, morality is not for us to dictate, which I think is good, because we (mankind) don't seem to able to agree on what's right and wrong.

"Which is why he tortures people for eternity in hell?"

What do think of the gates of hell being locked from the inside? People choose to turn away from God

"In this case, the story is rather convoluted in that god decides to take his own life in order to allow himself to forgive us, which ends up being a meaningless act anyway, since god can't die and the one he has to convince is himself."

He's sacrificing Himself so that the penalty can be completed (so that our time is served) and we can be forgiven. He set up the rules at the foundations of Creation. Satan knows the rules and accuses us of being guilty for breaking them, and God has to follow the rules He made b/c he's incapable of not being true to His word, regardless of where/who the accusations are coming from. He's proving to us that He cares about us. Sacrificing something of yours for someone else is a selfless act. In this case, a part of God is now forever limited to a human form and with scars...and though He would've liked it to not have to be hung on a cross and killed (Matt.26:42), He gladly endured it (John 17).

""So God got off His throne...""

"After thousands of years and countless people ended up in hell."

Yep, I kinda think God's timing sucks too a lot of the time, but that doesn't make Him bad...or late. And not everyone before Jesus ended up in Hell. God, and I think the spiritual realm(s) exist outside of time, which I don't really understand, but that doesn't make it untrue (take the Big Bang for example). So the entirety of history takes place in an instant, but because of sin it was a long, drawn out process for us that wasn't all that great.

"He didn't go through life without sin, unless you think that physically whipping people (among other sins) is OK."

He didn't actually whip the people, just chased them with it and scared them.

"Also, why does a perfect god need to prove anything? Who was he proving it to? If he was proving it to himself, then he's not perfect. If he was proving it to us, then the story doesn't make sense."

Maybe 'prove' isn't the best word...how about 'show'? He doesn't have to prove it to Himself-He already knows, but we don't...I guess I don't understand what doesn't make sense about this. could you elaborate more?

"Lastly, I would say that you seem to be unaware of just how anti-human this story is. The story relies on us being evil and unable to be good by nature. Mankind is worthless in this scenario and it makes no sense that god would want a relationship with us (why did he want it in the first place?) Also, I should point out that this destroys the notion of free will. We don't have the free will to choose good, only evil, which means that we don't truly have free will in the sense commonly used by theists."

I am aware how anti-human it is...that's because it's from God's perspective not ours and we (God and mankind) different worldviews.
Though I didn't mean to imply that we are evil...but just that we are very good at not doing what's right and good (one glance at history shows us that). We are not evil, our actions are. But you're very right about us being worthless...we are like dishwashers that won't do dishes. As humans, especially Americans, we would simply throw it (us) out and replace it. God choses to keep the dishwasher, fix the problem, and get it(us) back to doing what we were intended to do.
Unlike a machine, we can chose-we do have free will. For example, you
chose not to follow God and He still allows you to exist. Now if He doesn't exist then it doesn't matter, but if He does then He's very gracious. The NT seems to say that if we have the Holy Spirit in us we can choose good, though it's still difficult because we are at war with our fleshly(selfish) desires, but without it, it's a lot harder but not impossible(e.g. David).
Yes, we are worthless, in our eyes, but He loves us anyway and He doesn't see us as worthless, just lost. Why does He want relationship with us so bad? I don't know...it's His nature I guess. Why do we want friends and family and significant others? It feels good to be close to someone else...maybe God feels the same way; after all we are created in His image.

GCT said...

"I imagine many a' theologian has tried to taste Sin over the ages, gargling, swishing, swapping, to no avail."

Ha ha ha. Like a couple of Catholic priests that we all know, right?

GCT said...

bbewgerg,
I almost missed your post since it popped up just before my last post.

"And I admit that some of the stuff in there will probably never be figured out or proved true, but I don't think that means God doesn't exist or is a liar, mass murderer, ect."

I agree that simply because the Bible has not been proven true doesn't mean that it is necessarily false. That said, I would point out that if the Bible is what Xians believe it to be, there should be no errors in it. So, if one portion of the Bible is found to be in error, then we can safely say that it didn't come from a perfect god.

Also, inaccuracies in the Bible don't mean god is evil, but Xians believe the Bible is the word of god and if you believe that I don't see how you can come to the conclusion that god is not evil. There are multiple genocides and mass rapes and other crimes either perpetrated by god or ordered by god. If you believe in the Bible, then you must believe god is evil.

"I also think that pulling out a sentence of Scripture, without applying it to the rest of Scripture makes God look like a maniac at the very least."

I don't see why that should be the case for a perfect being, but nevertheless, I have not done that.

"But I've found that it helps to apply one Scripture to the rest of the Scriptures when trying to understand who God is and what He's about."

The scriptures are so disparate as to make this task non-sensical in many ways. I see what you are saying, however, and yes we should look at the whole story. That said, I would argue that even if in the whole story god does some good, if he also does evil, then god is evil, or at least not omnibenevolent and all-loving.

"When something is scientifically studied, only its' physical properties are studied because that's all we can study. So science can't prove a soul because it is limited to physical characteristics. But that doesn't mean souls don't exist, and although science can't prove they do, it can't prove they don't, again, because it has no foundation to base it on."

At best you are claiming here that we have no evidence for the soul. If we have no evidence for the soul, then why believe in it? Is it rational to believe in it? If you think that it is rational, then why is it not rational to believe in invisible, pink unicorns? Both have the same amount of evidence.

"Well, if God created everything, than He gets to dictate morality..."

This runs headlong into Euthyphro's dilemma. If god decreed tomorrow that murder and rape are moral activities, then you would have to agree with him, no? Unfortunately, might does not make right, so simply because god is mighty and able to create universes does not mean that god can make whatever rules he deems to. Nor can he treat us like playthings. When god made a conscious decision to create us, he incurred a moral obligation to us, much the same as parents have moral obligations to their children. He does not have the moral right to treat our lives with contempt and creulty, yet that is what we see for many people.

"So I get that we don't always like what He says, especially me, but He has our best interests in mind, like don't murder, obey your parents (cause being grounded sucks), etc."

How do you know that he has your best interests in mind? You've simply assumed that and have based your opinion of god on that, yet we know that god is a mass murderer and will torture people in hell for eternity. Does he have their best interests in mind?

"Which brings to my next point...why is God immoral for punishing someone?"

It is not immoral, per se, to punish someone for transgressions, but with god it is different, isn't it? Certainly, I can say that hell is immoral, for eternal punishment for finite crimes is eternally unjust and immoral. For any crime, however, god is ultimately responsible. See my post on free will for a further discussion.

"Anyway, morality is not for us to dictate, which I think is good, because we (mankind) don't seem to able to agree on what's right and wrong."

We don't agree, but that's the nature of cultural evolution and how we got to the point we are at. We haven't received our morality from the Bible. If that were the case, our morality would not have changed over the last couple thousand years. Instead, we now know that it is immoral to own slaves (the Bible doesn't say this), it is immoral to treat women as second class citizens (again not according to the Bible), etc. So, in fact, we do derive our morality from humankind.

"What do think of the gates of hell being locked from the inside? People choose to turn away from God"

No one chooses torture of their own volition. See any of my multiple posts about hell.

"He's sacrificing Himself so that the penalty can be completed (so that our time is served) and we can be forgiven."

Which makes no sense, since he's sacrificing himself (not really) in order to convince himself to forgive us. I've already set down why this is ludicrous, please tell me why it isn't if you wish to defend it.

"He set up the rules at the foundations of Creation."

So, is god bound by his own rules in such a way that he's been forced into this convoluted thinking? Why didn't he see this coming with his omniscience?

"Satan knows the rules and accuses us of being guilty for breaking them, and God has to follow the rules He made b/c he's incapable of not being true to His word, regardless of where/who the accusations are coming from."

Yet, again, he didn't see it coming and take steps to stop it? He didn't know that Satan would lead us all astray and decide to stop it? He is just as guilty as any of us in this scenario, and he set up a system that is convoluted and makes no sense. Why would a perfect being set up a system that doesn't work and makes no sense?

"He's proving to us that He cares about us."

'Believe in me or be tortured for eternity.' That's caring to you?

"Sacrificing something of yours for someone else is a selfless act."

Yet, he didn't sacrifice anything, did he? Why was a sacrifice needed anyway? Why does god demand blood as some sort of atonement? What does the shedding of blood accomplish? Why is it considered selfless if it was only necessary because of the actions of god in the first place? IOW, since he set it up that it had to be that way, shouldn't it simply be considered him putting things to right after he screwed up? Finally, is it really a selfless act if he then turns around and demands of us that we jump through hoops to accept this act?

"Yep, I kinda think God's timing sucks too a lot of the time, but that doesn't make Him bad...or late."

Yes, actually it does. That god allowed countless people to die and be tortured for eternity because he couldn't be bothered to fix his mistake, even though he had the power to do so, makes him very late and very evil.

"And not everyone before Jesus ended up in Hell."

Then Jesus is rather superfluous, isn't he?

"So the entirety of history takes place in an instant, but because of sin it was a long, drawn out process for us that wasn't all that great."

Which is god's fault, for god had all the tools to stop sin, knew it was going to happen, and then punished us for him letting it happen. Adam and Eve had no knowledge of right and wrong until after they had sinned, and it didn't dawn on god that it was immoral to punish them for even though they had no way of knowing they were doing anything wrong. On top of it all, instead of god simply stopping and starting over, he decided to proceed and doomed us all for it, which is rather unjust since I'm being held accountable for things I never did. On top of all that, because he was omniscient, he knew it would happen and had to have planned for it, so this had to have happen due to his design. In short, god is culpable for the state of affairs in this world.

"He didn't actually whip the people, just chased them with it and scared them."

Maybe he didn't physically whip them (maybe he did), but he would still be guilty of assault.

"Maybe 'prove' isn't the best word...how about 'show'? He doesn't have to prove it to Himself-He already knows, but we don't...I guess I don't understand what doesn't make sense about this. could you elaborate more?"

It doesn't make sense for god to prove that he can die for sin, when he's all powerful. What he should be doing is proving he exists if he wants us to believe in him.

"I am aware how anti-human it is...that's because it's from God's perspective not ours and we (God and mankind) different worldviews."

Then god is anti-human.

"Though I didn't mean to imply that we are evil...but just that we are very good at not doing what's right and good (one glance at history shows us that). We are not evil, our actions are."

The Bible does say that we are evil, however. That is Xian dogma, and it is anti-human.

"But you're very right about us being worthless...we are like dishwashers that won't do dishes."

This is also anti-human and I'm saddened that people are taught to think this way. You aren't worthless, and you don't need a god that tells you that you are (you don't need a god to feel worth either for that matter).

"God choses to keep the dishwasher, fix the problem, and get it(us) back to doing what we were intended to do."

Yet, that's not what he does, is it? He does throw many of us out, into hell.

"Unlike a machine, we can chose-we do have free will."

Again, see my free will post. We have no free will with an omni-max god. Even if we did, it's not a truly free choice if god is withholding information from us intentionally.

"For example, you
chose not to follow God and He still allows you to exist."

You can choose to believe in Zeus for a day too, right? No, actually you can't. And, if you read the Bible, it makes the case that you also can't believe in god unless he allows you to.

"Now if He doesn't exist then it doesn't matter, but if He does then He's very gracious."

No, sorry, but that's incorrect. He brought me into existence knowing that I would disbelieve, so it's not gracious at all of him for me to be here alive. Further, why do we give him accolades for doing something that is simple, common decency. Do you kill everyone who disagrees with you? Would you say that is gracious of you?

"Yes, we are worthless, in our eyes, but He loves us anyway and He doesn't see us as worthless, just lost."

Again, I'm not worthless in my eyes, nor are you. If you think you are worthless, it is because of god's teachings that you feel that way. This is like battered spouse syndrome.

"Why does He want relationship with us so bad?"

I don't think you can show me evidence that he does want a relationship with us. In fact, I would say that it is in his power to have a relationship with us, yet I've never gotten an invitation to come over and speak to him or have tea, and he's never accepted mine or anyone else's. His actions speak louder than your beliefs.

"Why do we want friends and family and significant others?"

Because we have evolved as social animals, and as such we seek the company of others. We act in ways that put ourselves out there in the company of others. This is not how god acts. We also do this because we have needs and desires, yet god should not similarly feel these needs and desires if he is perfect. A perfect being would feel no needs or desires.

bbewgerg111083 said...

Sorry it took me so long to respond...it's been a busy week and you had some good responses, so I've had to think about them for awhile.

""I also think that pulling out a sentence of Scripture, without applying it to the rest of Scripture makes God look like a maniac at the very least.""

"I don't see why that should be the case for a perfect being, but nevertheless, I have not done that."

And

"The scriptures are so disparate as to make this task non-sensical in many ways. I see what you are saying, however, and yes we should look at the whole story. That said, I would argue that even if in the whole story god does some good, if he also does evil, then god is evil, or at least not omnibenevolent and all-loving."

The whole Bible has to be taken into consideration when looking at any one passage simply because things can be taken out of context. The entire thought may be several paragraphs long, but if someone looks at just one line without considering the rest of the explanation the point can be greatly misconstrued. It's kinda like a mosaic...there are many disparate parts when looking at the individual pieces, but when they are put together, all the pieces work together to show the same picture.

"At best you are claiming here that we have no evidence for the soul. If we have no evidence for the soul, then why believe in it? Is it rational to believe in it? If you think that it is rational, then why is it not rational to believe in invisible, pink unicorns? Both have the same amount of evidence."

I think there is evidence for the soul, I just don't think it's necessarily scientifically provable. The only example I can think of at the moment is one of my own. We have small groups at my church that we go to so we can dive more deeply into the Word and into each others lives. We meet once a week and during college it was a 'spiritual recharge' for me. I don't really know how to explain it because I didn't really feel anything super-spiritual when I went; but all I know is if I didn't go one week, the next week was much more frustrating, draining, exhausting, and I was more easily agitated. And this happened consistently when I didn't attend. Science can't explain why that occurred, but that doesn't make my experience any less real.

"This runs headlong into Euthyphro's dilemma. If god decreed tomorrow that murder and rape are moral activities, then you would have to agree with him, no? Unfortunately, might does not make right, so simply because god is mighty and able to create universes does not mean that god can make whatever rules he deems to."

I didn't mean to imply 'might makes right' and I don't see God doing that, but I return to my previous statement that if He created us doesn't it seem logical that He would know what's best for us? Can a child accurately instruct their parents on how they want to be raised? Or to give a biblical example, "You turn things upside down, as if the potter were thought to be like the clay! Shall what is formed say to him who formed it, "He did not make me"? Can the pot say of the potter, "He knows nothing"? (Isaiah 29:16) and "Does the clay say to the potter, 'What are you making?' Does your work say, 'He has no hands'?" (Isaiah 45:9).

"How do you know that he has your best interests in mind? You've simply assumed that and have based your opinion of god on that, yet we know that god is a mass murderer and will torture people in hell for eternity. Does he have their best interests in mind?"

Yes...but they chose not to follow Him and disobeyed His commands, so He had to punish them.

"Certainly, I can say that hell is immoral, for eternal punishment for finite crimes is eternally unjust and immoral. For any crime, however, god is ultimately responsible. See my post on free will for a further discussion."

Why is Hell immoral? And what makes crimes only finite? Most people are changed for the rest of their lives as a result of a crime committed against them; for some the pain never goes away.

I did read the free post as you requested. The whole free will pre-destination question is difficult but my understanding is that it's both. Take a coloring marker, for example, and put it on a 2-Dimensional (2-D) plane. In 2-D if you view the marker on the ends it makes a circle, if you look at it from the sides it makes a rectangle. Now a circle can never be a rectangle nor visa versa, but when you add the third dimension they combine in a way that forms another shape. So how can there be both free will and pre-destination? Add a dimension.

"We don't agree, but that's the nature of cultural evolution and how we got to the point we are at. We haven't received our morality from the Bible. If that were the case, our morality would not have changed over the last couple thousand years."

Morality hasn't changed...we still struggle with the same things the Romans struggled with 2,000 years ago. The pieces look different but they still paint the same picture.

"Instead, we now know that it is immoral to own slaves (the Bible doesn't say this), it is immoral to treat women as second class citizens (again not according to the Bible), etc. So, in fact, we do derive our morality from humankind."

The Bible doesn't support slavery but recognizes that people were going to own them anyway, so if you have slaves it describes how they should be treated. it also says they are to be released in the Year of Jubilee which occurred every 7 years. (Duet. 15:12-18).

Woman are considered equal in the Bible as well, but we have been given different roles. One isn't better than the other, just a different responsibility. This could take awhile to explain and I'd be happy to go into more detail if your interested, but for brevity's sake I'll leave it here.

""He's sacrificing Himself so that the penalty can be completed (so that our time is served) and we can be forgiven.""

"Which makes no sense, since he's sacrificing himself (not really) in order to convince himself to forgive us. I've already set down why this is ludicrous, please tell me why it isn't if you wish to defend it."

Maybe I'm not understanding what you mean by 'convincing himself to forgive us.' He's not convincing himself that we are forgiven or need forgiveness, he's convincing us that even though we fall short, we are still worthy enough to Him to be forgiven. Now the choice is up to us to accept whether or not we believe he has forgiven us and that all this stuff is true.

"Yet, again, he didn't see it coming and take steps to stop it? He didn't know that Satan would lead us all astray and decide to stop it? He is just as guilty as any of us in this scenario, and he set up a system that is convoluted and makes no sense. Why would a perfect being set up a system that doesn't work and makes no sense?"

He saw it coming but Satan can't just lead us away, he can only offer a different path; we decide to follow him or not. The system of choice does work because it allows those who don't want to follow God the opportunity not to. they may not like the consequences but they were fore-warned and chose to be led astray.

"Yet, he didn't sacrifice anything, did he? Why was a sacrifice needed anyway? Why does god demand blood as some sort of atonement? What does the shedding of blood accomplish? Why is it considered selfless if it was only necessary because of the actions of god in the first place? IOW, since he set it up that it had to be that way, shouldn't it simply be considered him putting things to right after he screwed up? Finally, is it really a selfless act if he then turns around and demands of us that we jump through hoops to accept this act?"

Well, yes, He did sacrifice something...he sacrificed apart of Himself that will remain forever in human form. This choice was made before Satan and the Fall but He went ahead and created us anyway because it was worth it, not for those who would turn away, but for those who would follow Him. Blood, especially in ancient times, was considered the life-force of mankind, so it takes pure blood to cancel the effects of tainted blood. That's why sacrifice was instituted.

"On top of it all, instead of god simply stopping and starting over, he decided to proceed and doomed us all for it..."

Not all of us are doomed, only those who deny the Holy Spirit, and even this isn't a once and for all thing. You can deny the Spirit for all your life, but at the end of your life if in your heart you truly accept Him the bible says you are saved and spend eternity in heaven.

"...which is rather unjust since I'm being held accountable for things I never did."

You are only held accountable for your own actions not for the ones imposed on you by others (e.g. original not your responsibility). We may live in crappy situations, but it's not our situations that we are held accountable too, it's our response to them.

"What he should be doing is proving he exists if he wants us to believe in him."

How would you like Him to reveal Himself to you? What could He do that would prove to you that He exists?

"Then god is anti-human."

He's anti-human, He's God, which may look anti-human to a humanist, but that doesn't make Him immoral or unjust, it just means there are 2 different points of view.

"The Bible does say that we are evil, however. That is Xian dogma, and it is anti-human."

Do you remember where it says that? I've read it all before (of course I haven't memorized it all) and I don't remember seeing that anywhere. In Romans it says none of us 'does' good, but that's not exactly the same as saying we're all evil.

"This is also anti-human and I'm saddened that people are taught to think this way. You aren't worthless, and you don't need a god that tells you that you are (you don't need a god to feel worth either for that matter)."

I know I'm not worthless because god says I'm not and shows me I'm not, but I definitely didn't/don't get my sense of worth from humans...making people feel worthy is not something we do well (unless your rich and good-looking).

""God choses to keep the dishwasher, fix the problem, and get it(us) back to doing what we were intended to do.""

"Yet, that's not what he does, is it? He does throw many of us out, into hell."

Oh, I don't know about that. I used to disagree with the way God does things, then He helped me out of depression. I used to hate my father but God has changed me so that now i can have the father/son relationship I didn't have growing up. My sister and I used to hate each other (more me than her) until God helped me to realize that I was responsible for much of the problem between us and led to reconcile and apologize to her and now she asks me for advice. So now I can love others the way I was intended to...yeah, He does fix the machine!

"if you read the Bible, it makes the case that you also can't believe in god unless he allows you to."

True. But if He invites you to hear what He has to say and you decide you don't like it or agree with it, is he the one preventing you from believing?

"He brought me into existence knowing that I would disbelieve, so it's not gracious at all of him for me to be here alive. Further, why do we give him accolades for doing something that is simple, common decency. Do you kill everyone who disagrees with you? Would you say that is gracious of you?"

You're still alive and still have the opportunity to acknowledge Him as Lord. He already knows what you're going to choose but He wouldn't have if He didn't give the chance to.

And no, I don't kill everyone because they disagree with me, though if God didn't exist it would make sense to do so because I couldn't trust anyone else to look out for me. And if I did who could say I was wrong? We determine our own morality anyway right? in my mind, if I didn't kill you first, then you'd kill me, so I was taking care of myself. but because I can trust God to take care of me I have something higher to answer to than my own ideals of right and wrong and it doesn't matter what happens to me or who mistreats me because my reward in heaven is guaranteed.

"I don't think you can show me evidence that he does want a relationship with us. In fact, I would say that it is in his power to have a relationship with us, yet I've never gotten an invitation to come over and speak to him or have tea, and he's never accepted mine or anyone else's. His actions speak louder than your beliefs."

You're right I can't show you He does, I could quote Dueteronomy where He says "I will be your King" and then 1 Samuel 8 where he says "they don't want me to be their King anymore" or that he wants us to "show love, not offer sacrifices and to know me more than I want burnt offerings" (Hosea 6) or how about that before Jesus only the high priest could enter the Holy of Holies where God dwelled in the temple behind a large veil (a room that could only be entered once a year) and after Jesus the veil was torn and know the Holy of Holies is open to the world, which means god made us all high priests that can come to Him whenever we want. But you've read the Bible and you've seen all this...why do you still not think He wants a relationship with you? why do you think He hasn't invited you to have a conversation? I think He's okay with being questioned...this shows that someone is seeking answers and He is the answer so this is His way in. The question is are you willing to accept the answer you find if it turns out to be Him?

"We also do this because we have needs and desires, yet god should not similarly feel these needs and desires if he is perfect. A perfect being would feel no needs or desires."

Why wouldn't a perfect being have desires? I agree that he has no needs, but having desires doesn't denote imperfection.

GCT said...

bbewgerg,
"The whole Bible has to be taken into consideration when looking at any one passage simply because things can be taken out of context."

I don't see your point in persisting with this. I agree with you that one should look at whole stories and not use quotes out of context. Again, I have not done this. I also argue that if god is omni-benevolent, then it's not enough for the balance of the Bible to tip in god's favor (BTW, it doesn't).

"I don't really know how to explain it because I didn't really feel anything super-spiritual when I went; but all I know is if I didn't go one week, the next week was much more frustrating, draining, exhausting, and I was more easily agitated. And this happened consistently when I didn't attend. Science can't explain why that occurred, but that doesn't make my experience any less real."

Actually, science can explain that. It's the same feeling that people experience after meditation. You use this group in order to exercise your mind in a relaxing way. Of course you will feel more refreshed if you have identified to yourself that this is refreshing. But, there are other ways to do that, and this does not constitute evidence for a soul.

"...but I return to my previous statement that if He created us doesn't it seem logical that He would know what's best for us?"

No, it does not necessarily follow. Even if it did, it does not necessarily mean that god is striving to do what is best for us.

"Can a child accurately instruct their parents on how they want to be raised?"

Children do give feedback to their parents; it's not a one-way street.

"Yes...but they chose not to follow Him and disobeyed His commands, so He had to punish them."

There are multiple problems with your statment. 1. Did the newborn children that were killed in Noah's flood really choose not to follow god? 2. Does anyone really choose to/not to believe in god? If you think this is so, I suggest you try and believe in Zeus for a day. 3. Why does god "have to" do anything?

"Why is Hell immoral? And what makes crimes only finite? Most people are changed for the rest of their lives as a result of a crime committed against them; for some the pain never goes away."

Hell is immoral for many resons. Torture is immoral. Eternal punishment is immoral. Punishment without the ability for atonement or rehabilitation is immoral. Etc. And, yes, our crimes are by definition finite in that our time on Earth is finite. Even if a crime changes someone's life for the rest of their life, it's still finite. Think of the most vile person that has ever walked the face of the Earth, and putting that person in hell for an eternity of torture is unjust.

"So how can there be both free will and pre-destination? Add a dimension."

My argument already took time (the next dimension) into account. god knows all outcomes before he even creates the world, so my existence is already set in stone from the time of creation.

"Morality hasn't changed...we still struggle with the same things the Romans struggled with 2,000 years ago. The pieces look different but they still paint the same picture."

It most certainly has. It used to be considered moral to own slaves, beat your children, subjugate women, etc. These things are no longer considered moral, yet all of these things are in the Bible.

"The Bible doesn't support slavery but recognizes that people were going to own them anyway, so if you have slaves it describes how they should be treated. it also says they are to be released in the Year of Jubilee which occurred every 7 years. (Duet. 15:12-18)."

This is a rather weak argument. If you are expounding on what is moral, you don't say, "Well, murder is immoral but people will do it anyway so I won't speak out against it." Also, I think you'll find that only Jewish slaves were released every 7 years. There was no obligation to release slaves they took from their conquests.

"Woman are considered equal in the Bible as well, but we have been given different roles. One isn't better than the other, just a different responsibility."

Separate but equal? We know how well that worked in the civil rights arena. The argument, however, is simply wrong. Women are the property of their menfolk in the Bible. For instance, it was not immoral for Lot to offer his two daughters up for the crowd outside his door to do whatever they wished with them because he was doing it for the two male angels.

"Maybe I'm not understanding what you mean by 'convincing himself to forgive us.' He's not convincing himself that we are forgiven or need forgiveness, he's convincing us that even though we fall short, we are still worthy enough to Him to be forgiven. Now the choice is up to us to accept whether or not we believe he has forgiven us and that all this stuff is true."

If he is going to forgive us our shortcomings (a ludicrous idea to begin with) then why go through all the pomp and circumstance of sacrificing himself so that he can forgive us when he could simply say, "I forgive you?" And, why does he need to convince us of anything? He's the one that tells us that we fall short, then he turns around to tell us that he'll forgive us, so long as we believe that he sacrificed himself in some convoluted plan in order for us to be conditionally forgiven for things we've never done.

"He saw it coming but Satan can't just lead us away, he can only offer a different path; we decide to follow him or not."

Then, at best he is guilty of negligence. He saw it coming, he had the power to stop it, he knew the outcome, and he did nothing about it. This makes god responsible. And, did Adam and Eve really have a choice? They certainly didn't make an informed choice, because while Satan was tempting them, god sat back and never gave his side of it. Further, they had no knowledge of good and evil - Satan may as well have been tempting a couple two year olds with a cookie.

"The system of choice does work because it allows those who don't want to follow God the opportunity not to. they may not like the consequences but they were fore-warned and chose to be led astray."

And yet, god does not arm us with the knowledge that we need to make an informed choice, does he? He hides from us. He deals in mystery. He never presents solid evidence that he exists, and instead favors those who believe despite the lack of evidence over those who don't or are led astray by false evidence. This is antithetical to free will. Further, if god truly desires a relationship with us, then his actions don't show it in the least.

"Well, yes, He did sacrifice something...he sacrificed apart of Himself that will remain forever in human form."

This makes no sense. How can a perfect being come to such a state? It's contradictory.

"This choice was made before Satan and the Fall but He went ahead and created us anyway because it was worth it, not for those who would turn away, but for those who would follow Him."

Worth it? Why does a perfect being need us? What did god lack in order to decide to go through all this to make it worth it? And, you do realize that this makes god imperfect, right? Again, this is contradictory.

"Blood, especially in ancient times, was considered the life-force of mankind, so it takes pure blood to cancel the effects of tainted blood. That's why sacrifice was instituted."

Yet an omnipotent being should know better. god should know that killing an innocent doesn't actually un-taint tainted blood. And, why would god be tied to ancient rituals?

"Not all of us are doomed, only those who deny the Holy Spirit, and even this isn't a once and for all thing. You can deny the Spirit for all your life, but at the end of your life if in your heart you truly accept Him the bible says you are saved and spend eternity in heaven."

The point is that we are all destined for hell unless we somehow find a way to receive god's grace. Instead of setting up a system where we are destined for heaven unless we choose differntly, he's set up a system where we will go to hell unless we can find a way to stop that from happening. Further, is it really moral to simply accept people into heaven for believing in the holy spirit? Take me vs. a Xian mass-murderer for example. I am bound for hell even though I lead a pretty good life and have never killed anyone, while the mass murderer could suddenly come to god at the end and go to heaven.

"You are only held accountable for your own actions not for the ones imposed on you by others (e.g. original not your responsibility). We may live in crappy situations, but it's not our situations that we are held accountable too, it's our response to them."

This is simply not true according to Xian doctrine. We are all born as sinners, meaning that we are guilty of sin by virtue of being born and bound for hell.

"How would you like Him to reveal Himself to you? What could He do that would prove to you that He exists?"

Yes, I would like him to reveal himself. With my free will (subject to previous discussion) I choose to want to know that god exists if he does exist. I don't want to be left in the dark - I want to make an informed decision. As for how, he could simply show himself to me or any number of things. Of course, god knows what it would take to convince me and he does not do it.

"He's anti-human, He's God, which may look anti-human to a humanist, but that doesn't make Him immoral or unjust, it just means there are 2 different points of view."

Actually, it does make him immoral and unjust. He created us, so he has a moral obligation to us which he is not fulfilling, especially not with his campaign of mental degradation.

"Do you remember where it says that? I've read it all before (of course I haven't memorized it all) and I don't remember seeing that anywhere. In Romans it says none of us 'does' good, but that's not exactly the same as saying we're all evil."

Original sin for one. Another quote (I can't remember where) has god saying that even our best deeds, actions, thoughts are like rags to god. No matter what we do, we are not good enough for god. Either way, we are sinful from birth, which leads to the inexorable conclusion that we are evil entities.

"I know I'm not worthless because god says I'm not and shows me I'm not, but I definitely didn't/don't get my sense of worth from humans...making people feel worthy is not something we do well (unless your rich and good-looking)."

god does tell you so - see the examples I gave above. The way god treats us is immoral and inhumane. I think that most Xians actually suffer from battered spouse syndrome.

"Oh, I don't know about that. I used to disagree with the way God does things, then He helped me out of depression...."

Look not to belittle your experiences, but even if he fixed the machine in your case, there are many other cases where he hasn't. Do you agree that sipmly selecting you over all others, while great for you, is unjust and immoral? (BTW, I would argue that god didn't do any of the things you credit him with, but that they all came from inside you.)

"True. But if He invites you to hear what He has to say and you decide you don't like it or agree with it, is he the one preventing you from believing?"

Yes. Again, he created me knowing exactly what it would take for me to believe and he does not provide that evidence.

"You're still alive and still have the opportunity to acknowledge Him as Lord."

No, I don't. See above.

"And no, I don't kill everyone because they disagree with me, though if God didn't exist it would make sense to do so because I couldn't trust anyone else to look out for me."

Then, you agree that god is not gracious simply for not killing those who disagree? Also, don't go down the sociopathic path here. Do you really think there's no reason for you to go on a homicidal killing spree if god doesn't exist?

"in my mind, if I didn't kill you first, then you'd kill me, so I was taking care of myself."

Except that this ignores the reality of our shared evolutionary history and the evolutionary and cultural morality that we've developed as a species.

"but because I can trust God to take care of me I have something higher to answer to than my own ideals of right and wrong and it doesn't matter what happens to me or who mistreats me because my reward in heaven is guaranteed."

Are you aware of the levels of moral thought? This sentiment you've described would fall on about the second or third level out of five. You're describing a situation where you are only moral because you feel that you need to be in order to obtain a reward in heaven. This is a pretty low form of morality.

Also, can you really trust god? What indications has he given to you that this is the case. Certainly, the Bible does not give this impression.

"But you've read the Bible and you've seen all this...why do you still not think He wants a relationship with you?"

Because he simply isn't there, whether he exists or not. If I want a relationship with someone that I value, I don't do it by hiding away from them and never letting them know that I exist, never talk to them, never do anything with them, etc. This is how god acts, even for you. Do you have any real evidence that god exists? No.

Finally, I think I should point out that I was a Xian at one point and became an atheist. I was open and receptive to him due to my upbringing (the main reason that people are whatever religion they choose) yet he didn't take the opportunity to develop any sort of relationship or show any evidence of his being.

"Why wouldn't a perfect being have desires? I agree that he has no needs, but having desires doesn't denote imperfection."

He would only feel desires if he lacked something that he wanted. You can not simply have desires for something that you already have. Therefore, god is not perfect if he feels any needs or desires.

bbewgerg111083 said...

gct,

"I don't see your point in persisting with this. I agree with you that one should look at whole stories and not use quotes out of context. Again, I have not done this."

Sorry, misunderstood what you said the first time...my bad.

"Children do give feedback to their parents; it's not a one-way street."

"There are multiple problems with your statment. 1. Did the newborn children that were killed in Noah's flood really choose not to follow god? 2. Does anyone really choose to/not to believe in god? If you think this is so, I suggest you try and believe in Zeus for a day. 3. Why does god "have to" do anything?"

The Bible says that God is preparing a new heaven and a new earth and that ALL His people will be there and worship Him. Since this life is going to pass away it's not necessarily a bad thing to die, especially as an infant. The bible doesn't say specifically, but I don't think infants end up in Hell..that's just my opinion. 2. Yes, people chose not to believe in God. I used to choose not to, or at least I disagreed with Him, and now I choose to follow Him. Belief isn't something that you turn on and off one day to the next...it has a start point and continues on. So believing in Zeus for a day doesn't make sense. 3. He has to do things because He follows through with what He says, that's what makes Him trustworthy.

"For instance, it was not immoral for Lot to offer his two daughters up for the crowd outside his door to do whatever they wished with them because he was doing it for the two male angels."

Ummm, yes it was. It was common practice to act in such ways (though it was mostly motivated by fear and selfishness-check out judges 19) in that area of the world at that time, and although the Bible doesn't spell it out in that passage, it's obvious it doesn't support that action when taking the rest of the Bible into account.

"My argument already took time (the next dimension) into account. god knows all outcomes before he even creates the world, so my existence is already set in stone from the time of creation."

Yes, as a result of the choices you made.

"If he is going to forgive us our shortcomings (a ludicrous idea to begin with) then why go through all the pomp and circumstance of sacrificing himself so that he can forgive us when he could simply say, "I forgive you?".."

Because actions are important...sacrifice shows that the things we do wrong do matter, and that there are consequences (and/or cause and effect) for our actions. Maybe it is ridiculous for Jesus to give His own life for ours, but that doesn't take away from the love displayed in that act. You can't always tell someone you love them...sometimes you have to show it.

"And, why does he need to convince us of anything?"

He WANTS to convince us; He wants us to know.

"Then, at best he is guilty of negligence. He saw it coming, he had the power to stop it, he knew the outcome, and he did nothing about it. This makes god responsible. And, did Adam and Eve really have a choice? They certainly didn't make an informed choice, because while Satan was tempting them, god sat back and never gave his side of it. Further, they had no knowledge of good and evil - Satan may as well have been tempting a couple two year olds with a cookie."

First God's guilty because He doesn't really give us a choice; now He's guilty because He let us choose...He can't really win here can He?

"And, did Adam and Eve really have a choice? They certainly didn't make an informed choice, because while Satan was tempting them, god sat back and never gave his side of it."..."And yet, god does not arm us with the knowledge that we need to make an informed choice, does he?"

Sue they did. He warned them that they would die if they ate the fruit BEFORE Satan tempted them. They choose to listen to Satan instead of God and guess what happened...they died. What God said happened and Satan was proved a liar. And we have been informed as well, it's just not the answers we want or like so we ignore them.

"He never presents solid evidence that he exists, and instead favors those who believe despite the lack of evidence over those who don't or are led astray by false evidence. This is antithetical to free will."

How exactly? We can make choices whether we have all the necessary information or not. Lack of sufficient data doesn't remove free will. I may not know the type of food my date prefers, but I can still pick any restaurant I want.

"Further, if god truly desires a relationship with us, then his actions don't show it in the least."

In the book of Hosea He told one of His prophets to marry a prostitute and have children with her to show how idolatrous the Israelites had become. And when she left, God told the prophet to go and buy back her freedom (even though she was already his) to show that God will chase after us and restore us even though we ran away.

"This makes no sense. How can a perfect being come to such a state? It's contradictory."

It doesn't make sense because science can't explain it, but that doesn't mean it's not possible. Apart of Him will exist forever as the perfect example of what it means to be truly human. It's hard to difficult to understand and hard to accept, but it's not contradictory.

"Worth it? Why does a perfect being need us? What did god lack in order to decide to go through all this to make it worth it? And, you do realize that this makes god imperfect, right? Again, this is contradictory."

He doesn't need us, nor does He lack anything. He wants us. He want to share existence with us. Again, not contradictory, just difficult to comprehend.

"Yet an omnipotent being should know better. god should know that killing an innocent doesn't actually un-taint tainted blood. And, why would god be tied to ancient rituals?"

Well He is omnipotent, He does know that the sacrifice of an innocent un-taints tainted blood because He created the system and knows how it works, and He created the rituals (which weren't ancient at the time) to point to the future coming of Jesus, who would completely fulfill the ritual requirements, and now the rituals themselves are no longer necessary since they have been fulfilled. And you can't prove that innocent blood doesn't cure tainted blood because without the Bible there's no reason to think the blood is tainted. So unless you accept what the Bible says about sin, proving there is no sin is pointless and cyclical.

"The point is that we are all destined for hell unless we somehow find a way to receive god's grace."

The way to receive it is simply to accept it. It's a free gift. (Romans 5:17; 6:23).

"Further, is it really moral to simply accept people into heaven for believing in the holy spirit? Take me vs. a Xian mass-murderer for example. I am bound for hell even though I lead a pretty good life and have never killed anyone, while the mass murderer could suddenly come to god at the end and go to heaven."

So this seems unfair to you? I understand how you feel because I've been there, but it's not about being a good person. It's about God...it's always about God and following Him and worshiping Him and doing things because of Him. Following Him may look like doing good things and being a good person, but the focus isn't the actions, it's the reason for the actions. Christ died on the Cross to show love, to display how much He cares for us. I know it seems unfair that the guy who turns to God at the least minute after a lifetime of debauchery is worthy of Heaven, but that's how God's justice works...it's never too late.

"This is simply not true according to Xian doctrine. We are all born as sinners, meaning that we are guilty of sin by virtue of being born and bound for hell."

Unless we accept Jesus.




Instead of setting up a system where we are destined for heaven unless we choose differntly, he's set up a system where we will go to hell unless we can find a way to stop that from happening."


"Actually, it does make him immoral and unjust. He created us, so he has a moral obligation to us which he is not fulfilling, especially not with his campaign of mental degradation."

How is He not fulfilling it? By not giving us the information we need, or just not the information we want to hear? Taking it back to the garden, knowing the difference between good and evil was not necessary because God was the judge of it. There's nothing saying that says He would've kept that knowledge from them either. They could've learned about it by one of 2 ways, be patient and let God teach them, or take the quick route by doing evil.

"Do you agree that sipmly selecting you over all others, while great for you, is unjust and immoral?"

If a flock of sheep have all decided to jump over a cliff and the shepard can only convince a few to not jump, is it his fault he didn't save them all? This is a limited example, the difference being God has the power, but He allows free will, so He will call out to us to prevent us from jumping but if we don't listen, whose fault is that?

"I would argue that god didn't do any of the things you credit him with, but that they all came from inside you."

I'm sure you would, but I know me better than you do and i know the cyclical argument I used to keep myself feeling worthless and can still recite it to this day, but it no longer has the effect it once did. I prayed for God to help me, and then I was better, and even when I tried to bring back the cycle and keep it going, it was broken, and I was prevented from following through each step. It may be a pure coincidence that I got better after I prayed and that everything I asked for I received, but that's a huge coincidence.

"Then, you agree that god is not gracious simply for not killing those who disagree?"

No. I wouldn't do it because I'm not able to completely defend myself against everyone, so it's fear of repercussions of others that keeps me from doing it(or at least it used to be; now it's because God is my defender). God, on the other hand, is completely undefeatable, so He can do whatever He wants to those who don't obey, but He doesn't which is why He's gracious.

"Do you really think there's no reason for you to go on a homicidal killing spree if god doesn't exist?"

It was an example...there would be no reason not to though because punishment would only be finite, nothing that was lasting.

"You're describing a situation where you are only moral because you feel that you need to be in order to obtain a reward in heaven. This is a pretty low form of morality."

It wasn't my intention to imply that if I did because I'm not moral so I can get into Heaven, I follow God and therefore, have the appearance of morality (see earlier statement).

"Also, can you really trust god? What indications has he given to you that this is the case. Certainly, the Bible does not give this impression."

I trust Him for the reasons I mentioned earlier and in previous discussions. He has shown up for me when I needed Him and I recognized that He was there. I'm sorry that not everyone does, but I give my examples of this so others may be able to recognize God in their lives as well.

"He would only feel desires if he lacked something that he wanted. You can not simply have desires for something that you already have. Therefore, god is not perfect if he feels any needs or desires."

When parents are teaching a child to role a ball, they ask for them to give it back. They could just take it and nothing is preventing them from doing so, but their desire is for the child to learn the lesson (in this case, rolling a ball). Desires are not automatically needs.

"Hell is immoral for many resons. Torture is immoral. Eternal punishment is immoral. Punishment without the ability for atonement or rehabilitation is immoral...Think of the most vile person that has ever walked the face of the Earth, and putting that person in hell for an eternity of torture is unjust."

"It most certainly has. It used to be considered moral to own slaves, beat your children, subjugate women, etc. These things are no longer considered moral, yet all of these things are in the Bible."

"This is a rather weak argument. If you are expounding on what is moral, you don't say, "Well, murder is immoral but people will do it anyway so I won't speak out against it."..."

"The way god treats us is immoral and inhumane."

"Except that this ignores the reality of our shared evolutionary history and the evolutionary and cultural morality that we've developed as a species."

I have grouped these last several statements together since they all address the issue of morality.

First of all, atonement is possible, it's just the of going about it seems to be displeasing to you. Rehabilitation is also possible and is mentioned in the Bible; it's called sanctification, or the process by which we begin to leave behind our sin nature and move towards our new life in Christ. The bible does not support slavery; again, it recognizes that it was going to exist so it addressed how they were to be treated. God told the Isrealites that He was to be there king, but if in the future they decided to make their own king, He described how that king should act. He didn't support them making their own King (1Samuel 8) but recognized it was going to happen. Moses also allowed divorce even though it was not the original intention. You can read Philemon to gain a better understanding of the Bible's view of slavery.

The part I understand the least is how you've come up with the idea that morality has evolved to some great level. You say we evolved to recognize that slavery was wrong, which is not exactly the case (at least in America). The plantation owners saw blacks as property so they didn't grant them many rights, but they feed and sheltered and took care of basic necessities because it was financially in their best interest to do so. In the North, people were free, but they worked for 14-16 hours a day, 6-7 days a week (including children) and were paid barely enough for food or shelter but not both; and if the workers died so what, plenty more where they came from. neither of these are just and moral except that one defeated the other. And this "moral evolution point" came from war.

And as our understanding of freedom and liberty has increased we have now morally "evolved" from slavery to abortion. 400 million babies have been killed as a result of legalized abortion, not to mention any children that might have come from them. This is more than has been killed in any war or genocide. This 'infanticide' is not only the greatest of all mass killings, but it's socially acceptable and moral because people should be able to disregard the consequences of the selfish decisions they make to have sex by giving in to their desires. We shouldn't have to be burdened with the unpleasant portion of our choices because it might hinder us from other things we might want to do. 'We shouldn't have to take care of the child we created...we didn't want it anyway, we just wanted to have a good time.' And somehow this seemed to make sense so now we have created legally acceptable means of properly disposing of thousands of innocent children (and you're mad when God takes them out of this world?). Is this what our morality has evolved into? Is this what it means to be pro-human and anti-God? No society in history killed their own people in this manner. And now things like partial-birth abortion are being pushed? if anything we are devolving. I think I'll stick to my 'ancient' and outdated beliefs of a God who values life and has given us wisdom passed down from generation to generation and even had it written in a book...wisdom which is still surprisingly relevant even though it's several thousand years old.

Please understand I'm not saying that you personally agree with abortion, but there are many in your camp (atheist/humanist) that do...several are close family.

GCT said...

bbewgerg,
"The Bible says that God is preparing a new heaven and a new earth and that ALL His people will be there and worship Him. Since this life is going to pass away it's not necessarily a bad thing to die, especially as an infant. The bible doesn't say specifically, but I don't think infants end up in Hell..that's just my opinion."

Why is god "preparing" it? What needs preparing and why can't an omni-max god simply get it done?

And, if infants get to go to heaven no matter what, then god is simply unjust. If it is a good thing to go to heaven, then we all would have been better off dying as infants. Yet, some get a free ride while others get to live through their lives, losing their free ride and having to earn it back. This also does not square away with original sin.

" 2. Yes, people chose not to believe in God. I used to choose not to, or at least I disagreed with Him, and now I choose to follow Him. Belief isn't something that you turn on and off one day to the next...it has a start point and continues on. So believing in Zeus for a day doesn't make sense."

You've just contradicted yourself. First you claim that we choose not to believe in god, then you claim that you can't simply turn it on and off. Which is it?

"3. He has to do things because He follows through with what He says, that's what makes Him trustworthy."

So, he's unable to lie? That makes him less than omnipotent. Also, what assurance do you have that he follows through on his word? There are instances in the Bible where this is not so. Take the garden of Eden when Adam and Eve did not die, or his prophet's promise to Saul to arrive in a specified time and he ends up being late for no apparent reason, except so that Saul can get in trouble.

"Ummm, yes it was. It was common practice to act in such ways (though it was mostly motivated by fear and selfishness-check out judges 19) in that area of the world at that time, and although the Bible doesn't spell it out in that passage, it's obvious it doesn't support that action when taking the rest of the Bible into account."

Lot was spared because he was righteous. If he was acting immorally, then he was not so righteous, but the angels in the story approve of his actions. Also, sure, take the rest of the Bible into account, but it does not support you. The Bible is a hodgepodge of misogyny.

"Yes, as a result of the choices you made."

As a result of the choices that were set in stone for me at the time of creation, by god. Face it, it's logically contradictory for free will to occur with an omni-max god. If you are willing to jettison some of god's attributes, then it may be possible to have free will.

"Because actions are important...sacrifice shows that the things we do wrong do matter, and that there are consequences (and/or cause and effect) for our actions."

What effects are there when a perfect god sacrifices himself? I would say none. And, you are missing the point. Why did god have to sacrifice himself in order to forgive us our sins? It seems that he had already decided to do so from the beginning of time, so why not simply forgive? If it is because sacrifice is so important, think about who the sacrifice was for? He did it for himself.

"Maybe it is ridiculous for Jesus to give His own life for ours, but that doesn't take away from the love displayed in that act."

There's no love displayed in that act. god is condemning us and then he does a superfluous act so that he can convince himself to forgive some of us and let the rest roast in heaven. This is not love, it's sadism, cruelty, barbarism, etc.

"He WANTS to convince us; He wants us to know."

That's funny, considering he's an absentee ruler. It's also funny considering that he should know what it would take to convince us, but he does something else. If he wants to convince us, then he has the means and ability to do so, yet that doesn't happen. The inescapable conclusion is that he doesn't want to convince us, at least not all of us.

"First God's guilty because He doesn't really give us a choice; now He's guilty because He let us choose...He can't really win here can He?"

What are you talking about? god is guilty because he didn't really give them a choice, then punished them and all of us for it. Nowhere did I say that he's guilty for giving us a choice. Will you address god's guilt now?

"Sue they did. He warned them that they would die if they ate the fruit BEFORE Satan tempted them. They choose to listen to Satan instead of God and guess what happened...they died. What God said happened and Satan was proved a liar. And we have been informed as well, it's just not the answers we want or like so we ignore them."

Actually, god was proved the liar, in that he told them they would die that very day, and yet they didn't. Anyway, before they ate of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, concepts like right and wrong had no meaning to them. They couldn't know that what they were doing was wrong, that it was wrong to disobey god. Plus, in the garden, what would they know of death? It would have made as much sense to them had god told them they would flenobarb. This is why I made the remark about 2 year olds. They had the moral equivalency of 2 year olds, and if you have kids or have ever seen kids, you know that you can't simply tell them not to do something and expect that it will stick, especially if you know that counter-forces will be working against you.

"How exactly? We can make choices whether we have all the necessary information or not. Lack of sufficient data doesn't remove free will. I may not know the type of food my date prefers, but I can still pick any restaurant I want."

It's not free will because god is withholding vital information from us, thus limiting our choices, especially the "correct" choices. To use the restaurant analogy, if you are in a new town and you are falsely told that there is only one restaurant and you have to go there, would you say that your free will was preserved when you go there instead of the other, better restaurant in town?

"In the book of Hosea He told one of His prophets to marry a prostitute and have children with her to show how idolatrous the Israelites had become. And when she left, God told the prophet to go and buy back her freedom (even though she was already his) to show that God will chase after us and restore us even though we ran away."

Yet he doesn't do any of that today for the majority of people in the world. He doesn't show himself, etc. This is not how one acts when one wants a relationship with another! You've sidestepped the argument made to you and not addressed it.

"It doesn't make sense because science can't explain it, but that doesn't mean it's not possible. Apart of Him will exist forever as the perfect example of what it means to be truly human. It's hard to difficult to understand and hard to accept, but it's not contradictory."

Yes, actually it is. A perfect being can not feel pain, etc. Therefore god is not perfect.

"He doesn't need us, nor does He lack anything. He wants us. He want to share existence with us. Again, not contradictory, just difficult to comprehend."

If he wants, then he lacked something, hence he is not perfect. By your own arguments I've shown god is not perfect.

"Well He is omnipotent, He does know that the sacrifice of an innocent un-taints tainted blood because He created the system and knows how it works, and He created the rituals (which weren't ancient at the time) to point to the future coming of Jesus, who would completely fulfill the ritual requirements, and now the rituals themselves are no longer necessary since they have been fulfilled."

And he created a barbaric system that is immoral, hence he is both not perfect and not perfectly moral.

"And you can't prove that innocent blood doesn't cure tainted blood because without the Bible there's no reason to think the blood is tainted. So unless you accept what the Bible says about sin, proving there is no sin is pointless and cyclical."

Actually, this points to the Bible being cyclical in nature. But, you are right, without the Bible, we wouldn't think that we were tainted at all, we wouldn't hold this negative, anti-human view of ourselves. We would be mentally healthier people.

"The way to receive it is simply to accept it. It's a free gift. (Romans 5:17; 6:23)."

By believing in god and that he killed himself in order to forgive us of our sins which he made us commit. Obviously, considering that not all the world is Xian, it's not as easy as it's made out to be. Also, it's not a gift if we have to do something to receive it. And, I'll note that you didn't disagree that we are destined for hell unless we do receive this gift, so god has set up a system where hell is the default. This is rather odd for a supposedly omni-benevolent being.

"So this seems unfair to you? I understand how you feel because I've been there, but it's not about being a good person. It's about God...it's always about God and following Him and worshiping Him and doing things because of Him."

Then, god is a selfish, ego maniac. He's also unjust.

"Following Him may look like doing good things and being a good person, but the focus isn't the actions, it's the reason for the actions. Christ died on the Cross to show love, to display how much He cares for us. I know it seems unfair that the guy who turns to God at the least minute after a lifetime of debauchery is worthy of Heaven, but that's how God's justice works...it's never too late."

Because it is not important to be moral or good, it's important to kiss god's ass. This is not a system of morality or justice, but a system of sycophancy.

"Unless we accept Jesus."

Again, you don't deny the central thrust of my argument, which is that we are born guilty and as sinners, which makes god unjust and not omni-benevolent.

"How is He not fulfilling it?"

By sending us to hell for his failings, and by setting a system where we will go to hell by default unless he gives us his grace.

"By not giving us the information we need, or just not the information we want to hear?"

The former, obviously.

"Taking it back to the garden, knowing the difference between good and evil was not necessary because God was the judge of it."

Wrong. With this philosophy, we should hold children, the mentally challenged, and mentally deranged people as just as guilty of crimes and their actions as fully formed adults. Do I really have to go into why we don't do this and why it's a good thing we don't? Why does god not understand this concept?

"There's nothing saying that says He would've kept that knowledge from them either. They could've learned about it by one of 2 ways, be patient and let God teach them, or take the quick route by doing evil."

But, he did keep it from them, knowing that the outcome would be what it was. Again, god is guilty. And, it seems like special pleading and contradictory to think that god could have told them at a later junction, considering that god knew there would be no later junction.

"If a flock of sheep have all decided to jump over a cliff and the shepard can only convince a few to not jump, is it his fault he didn't save them all?"

That's not what is happening here. In god's example, he pushing us over the cliff and deciding not to push a few over. And, yet you still didn't answer the question, because even if your example is right, god isn't constrained and certainly DOES have the ability to keep any sheep from jumping, yet doesn't do so.

"This is a limited example, the difference being God has the power, but He allows free will, so He will call out to us to prevent us from jumping but if we don't listen, whose fault is that?"

It's god's fault, for the many reasons I've already pointed out. First, there is no free will, so you can't count on it to solve difficult arguments against you. Second, he sets us on a path to go over the cliff. Third, he has the ability to save us all and doesn't do so. Fourth, he knows what we need to turn back and doesn't do so. Etc.

"I'm sure you would, but I know me better than you do and i know the cyclical argument I used to keep myself feeling worthless and can still recite it to this day, but it no longer has the effect it once did."

Instead you've perversely turned to a religion that tells you you are worthless? I guess that keeps it from coming internally, now it's external. Either way, I can't argue against what you specifically feel, but you can't very well use it as evidence for your position either.

"I prayed for God to help me, and then I was better, and even when I tried to bring back the cycle and keep it going, it was broken, and I was prevented from following through each step. It may be a pure coincidence that I got better after I prayed and that everything I asked for I received, but that's a huge coincidence."

What about the people that god doesn't help when they pray? Also, it's not coincidence that you would get better after prayer for a couple reasons. One is that if you saw the need for prayer, then you recognized that something was wrong and needed to be fixed, which is something you did on your own and is the most important first step. Second, by thinking that you were doing something that would help you, you ended up convincing yourself that it worked.

"No. I wouldn't do it because I'm not able to completely defend myself against everyone, so it's fear of repercussions of others that keeps me from doing it(or at least it used to be; now it's because God is my defender). God, on the other hand, is completely undefeatable, so He can do whatever He wants to those who don't obey, but He doesn't which is why He's gracious."

So, his might makes right? Because he can defend himself then he has the moral right to do whatever he wants? This is abhorrent. Sorry, but this is not a moral philosophy. god does not have license to do what he wants, nor would you if you had the power to defend yourself against all others.

"It was an example...there would be no reason not to though because punishment would only be finite, nothing that was lasting."

This would be pretty frightening if I thought that you actually believed it. Why do you think there would be no reason not to go around killing everyone? Don't you think that your evolutionary instincts would kick in? We are social animals afterall. I mean, really, do apes go around killing all other apes? Do other social animals do that? Why do you think that is? Do you think that god is instilling moral values in all other animals?

"It wasn't my intention to imply that if I did because I'm not moral so I can get into Heaven, I follow God and therefore, have the appearance of morality (see earlier statement)."

Sorry, but you seem to think that you would be fine as a mass murderer without god's existence, so the conclusion is that you don't do so because god is there. Either he will smite you for being bad, or you are trying to curry favor with him.

"I trust Him for the reasons I mentioned earlier and in previous discussions. He has shown up for me when I needed Him and I recognized that He was there. I'm sorry that not everyone does, but I give my examples of this so others may be able to recognize God in their lives as well."

He also shows up to people to tell them to kill their children. He also shows up to tell people to invade other countries for no good reason and to lie about it. He also shows up from time to time to order genocide. Yeah, that's trustworthy.

"When parents are teaching a child to role a ball, they ask for them to give it back. They could just take it and nothing is preventing them from doing so, but their desire is for the child to learn the lesson (in this case, rolling a ball). Desires are not automatically needs."

Actually, they are. The need in this case is the evolutionary need to raise children.

"I have grouped these last several statements together since they all address the issue of morality.

First of all, atonement is possible, it's just the of going about it seems to be displeasing to you. Rehabilitation is also possible and is mentioned in the Bible; it's called sanctification, or the process by which we begin to leave behind our sin nature and move towards our new life in Christ."

Neither of these is possible in hell, thus my argument stands.

"The bible does not support slavery; again, it recognizes that it was going to exist so it addressed how they were to be treated."

And it's a weak argument for the reason I stated. Also, by not speaking out against slavery, the Bible gives tacit support to it.

"Moses also allowed divorce even though it was not the original intention."

I didn't bring up divorce, but since you did, the divorce laws are set up to make women almost as property for men, especially in the NT.

"The part I understand the least is how you've come up with the idea that morality has evolved to some great level. You say we evolved to recognize that slavery was wrong, which is not exactly the case (at least in America)."

Really? Are there lots of people in this country that think slavery is A-OK?

"The plantation owners saw blacks as property so they didn't grant them many rights, but they feed and sheltered and took care of basic necessities because it was financially in their best interest to do so. In the North, people were free, but they worked for 14-16 hours a day, 6-7 days a week (including children) and were paid barely enough for food or shelter but not both; and if the workers died so what, plenty more where they came from. neither of these are just and moral except that one defeated the other. And this "moral evolution point" came from war."

No, actually it came from mostly free-thinkers who, using Enlightenment values, argued for the dignity and rights of all humans, including women and slaves.

"And as our understanding of freedom and liberty has increased we have now morally "evolved" from slavery to abortion. 400 million babies have been killed as a result of legalized abortion, not to mention any children that might have come from them."

Do you really want to go into the abortion debate here? Suffice it to say that the ability to choose is an advancement in morality, it's not at all clear that having more children is necessarily a good thing (especially when the parent can't or won't face the burden of raising the child, which is one of my arguments against god; that he's not up to his responsibilities), and the Bible even sees a difference between a born child and a developing fetus.

"...because people should be able to disregard the consequences of the selfish decisions they make to have sex by giving in to their desires."

There is nothing wrong with consensual sex between consenting parties.

"Is this what our morality has evolved into?"

Let's say you are right and this is not a step forward for morality...it still does nothing to counter my argument. Evolution is not necessarily a progression forward, but changing over time. You recognize that our morality has changed over time, hence there is an evolution happening.

"Is this what it means to be pro-human and anti-God?"

Yes and no. Yes for pro-human, because being in control of our own lives and making our own decisions is pro-human. No, it is not anti-god. This has nothing to do with being anti-god, it is simply non-god; there's a difference.

"I think I'll stick to my 'ancient' and outdated beliefs of a God who values life and has given us wisdom passed down from generation to generation and even had it written in a book...wisdom which is still surprisingly relevant even though it's several thousand years old."

If all you are looking for is wisdom, there are many sources outside of your holy book that don't advocate genocide.

Festes said...

I f we all have the sin gene lets put it to good use.We should all SIN because it goes against everything GOD teaches.Sin against GOD is good for all who truely hate JESUS and it's fun to SIN.I love to sin against JESUS and do it all the time.The SIN GENE is a little far fetched for me.We decide with our brain to SIN or not to sin.My blog will teach those who REALLY want to SIN against GOD: how to do it,types of SINS + The one SIN god will never forgive[ETERNAL SIN]Come to my blog at http://cursejesuschrist.blogspot.com

GCT said...

"We should all SIN because it goes against everything GOD teaches."

I disagree. The teachings of the Bible are not always moral. In fact, doing the moral thing sometimes would be sinful if you followed god's teachings.