Monday, 31 August 2009

Do you Have Enough Faith?


Many apologetics have sprung up to explain away the passages in the Bible that declare that those who pray will get what they ask for - in light of the fact that this seems to not be demonstrably true. In a previous post I give the passages in question and I took on the apologetic excuse that god only answers prayers that are concurrent with his will. There are other excuses though, and one commenter continually decided to try and harp on one (even though I explicitly stated that the OP was about a different argument). I've also previously argued against other apologetics, like the argument that prayers are answered, but on god's timeline and that Jesus was only empowering the specific people he spoke to (although the latter one does not deal with this verse specifically, it's good enough for the purpose of dispelling any notions that the issue has been dealt with).

Never-the-less, I decided that perhaps I should deal with the others. So, this post will focus on the apologetic tactic of trying to interpret the phrase, "If ye have faith." This argument from the apologist focuses on the conditional phrase that is uttered in Matthew 21:21
Matthew 21:21 Jesus answered and said unto them, Verily I say unto you, If ye have faith, and doubt not, ye shall not only do this which is done to the fig tree, but also if ye shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; it shall be done. 22:22 And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive.

So, the obvious tactic here is to claim that Jesus was not incorrect, and that those prayers that are not answered are coming from people who don't have faith - which is generally interpreted to be not having enough faith or not having the right kind of faith. How convenient - and how very post hoc. This allows the Xian to claim after the fact that an "answered" prayer fit the description and a "non-answered" prayer did not. It's the same as painting a bulls-eye around an arrow that has already been shot.

Yet, it still falls apart under investigation, as no Xians claim to have 100% success rate for prayer (that I know of at least). If any do claim this, then we only need to have them pray for something immediate (like the regrowth of an amputated arm for instance) to test and see if this person can validate their success rate claim. Invariably it will fail.

Also, this is nothing more than the no true Scotsman fallacy, writ large. I can imagine someone saying, "True Xians have their prayers answered, so if a prayer is not answered, then the Xian in question is not a true Xian." It's fallacious though, no matter how you slice it. Once again, we see apologetics that fail to answer the objections brought forth.

106 comments:

Robert Madewell said...

When I was a boy, I went out to my dad's apple orchard to get an apple. It was early spring, but I figured that at least one tree had to have an apple. Right?

Well, I didn't find any apples. All there was were leaves! Leaves! How can I eat leaves? I was so angry that I got the chainsaw and cut every tree down. How dare those trees not give me any apples! My dad planted them, so I deserved an apples from those trees!

What do you guys think of this story? Read the verses before the verse in this chapter.

That really didn't happen. However, we did have apple trees.

Anonymous said...

Bob, can you not see the lesson there that God created us that our faith might "bear fruit" and if we do not, then why would he keep us here? Many a Christian has been "taken home early" because they were more of a stumbling block than a fruitful Christian.

GCT said...

Hmmm, so if you are an inept Xian that is unable to help "bear fruit" then you get to go to heaven quicker? I like it.

Anonymous said...

Actually yes. However, I remember getting sent home from school early because I wasn't obeying the rules, and my homecoming wasn't too great. I was still home, in the place I'd rather be, but didn't have the privileges others did.

GCT said...

Did that make you a sad panda?

Ted said...

Here's a slogan I saw recently on a local church marquee.

"God sends us faith so that we will believe in him."

Wow, I wonder from what scripture that was taken from?

Anonymous said...

Actually the Bible talks about people asking for an increase in faith many times. Granted, most of the time it's not just for belief, but more for full reliance and assurance God will bring us through whatever we are facing.

goyo said...

Oh yea, the old "god took him" threat. I used to believe that too. So you're in heaven, but you live in a shack? Are there ghettos in heaven? Is there punishment in heaven? Where's that in the bible?

Anonymous said...

I Corinthians 5:1-5 shows an example of someone being taken home early.

As far as "punishment" in Heaven, it is not punishment, so much as it is a lack of rewards. Research the "crowns" a Christian can obtain.

Similar to someone who graduates high school as the last in his class. He still graduated, but he doesn't have any of the honors that come with better performance.

ethinethin said...

How can eternal bliss be less eternal or less blissful? You're full of shit.

Anonymous said...

You can be happy, and still able to be happier.

GCT said...

You're missing the point of "bliss."

Anonymous said...

Bliss is not always "absolute bliss."

ethinethin said...

No... by definition of the word, bliss is perfect joy.

Anonymous said...

It's neither here nor there because the word "bliss" does not appear in the bible.

ethinethin said...

Then, pray tell, what words do appear in the bible?

Anonymous said...

12,143 different ones.

GCT said...

IOW, heaven is a place where you can be happy or not depending on how god decides to have you be...Sorta sounds like here, except in heaven you have eternity to look forward to tepid feelings.

goyo said...

So is salvation not always "absolute salvation"? How are you deciding what's what?

ethinethin said...

Anonymous is a clever cunt. I meant, what are the words in the bible used for heaven?

Anonymous christian showed ignorance of his own mythology by not answering that (easily inferred) question.

Anonymous said...

Heaven is the home of God. It is paradise. The promised land of milk and honey.

The other option is eternal Hell. Separation from God, and eternal torment in the lake of fire.

You have been told the gospel. Jesus is the Son of God. We could only go to Heaven and live in eternity with God if we are 100% righteous and without sin. Because we inevitably fail at this, God sent his son Jesus Christ to die on the cross, his shed blood making atonement for our sin, thereby making us clean again and worthy of Heaven. We have the choice of accepting this fact, or denying it. If you accept it, you will go to Heaven when you die. If you don't, you will die not only a physical death, but the second death, which the Bible tells us is eternal torment and separation from God. The choice is yours.

I will no longer play these games of semantics. As Paul did in his missionary travels, I have given you the gospel, and now, if you reject it, I will move on completely justified. I am obligated to tell you the true gospel that saves. I am no obligated to convince you if you reject it.

Tyler said...

Anon: I have given you the gospel...

Thank you, thank you, thank you!! Because, of course, before you showed up, no one here had ever heard the mindless bullshit you've been peddling.

Moron.

GCT said...

Ah, the last resort of the apologist that can't support his/her arguments. When you're beaten, resort to proselytizing.

ethinethin said...

Sad. Maybe anonymous will move on now.

jerry said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
jerry said...

jerry said...
Your love of group sex among other desires gives sense to your hatred of Jesus since He says that would be sin. Many atheist hate the God they dont believe in because He would ruin their percieved good times. Biblical morality is a thorn in the side of those who despise authority.

GCT said...

Jerry,
"Your love of group sex..."

Yup, us atheists have orgies all the time. What are you talking about?

"...among other desires gives sense to your hatred of Jesus since He says that would be sin."

So, because I have desires that Jesus doesn't like, that means that I both believe in Jesus and hate him, even though I do neither. Um, riiiiiight. And, what about the Xians who have desires and sin. Does not the Bible claim that all sin and fall short of the glory of god?

"Many atheist hate the God they dont believe in because He would ruin their percieved good times."

This is illogical. You can't hate something you don't believe in.

"Biblical morality is a thorn in the side of those who despise authority."

Biblical morality? You mean like stoning disobedient children or owning slaves or keeping women as property? I would say that Biblical morality is a thorn in the side of anyone who is actually moral. I don't despise authority. I do dislike it when people take our modern, secular values and try to co-opt them as having come from the Bible and claim that Xianity is somehow some superior form of morality.

GCT said...

BTW Jerry, you seem to be claiming that atheists believe in god but claim not to in order to be disobedient. So, what's the deal with people from other religions? Do they also believe in god, but attribute their belief to some other god in order to be disobedient?

Leo said...

"secular values" = oxymoron

Modusoperandi said...

Leo "'secular values' = oxymoron"
Leo = ignorant twat

GCT said...

Leo,
Many of the values we hold today, like equality for women and minorities, did not come from the Bible. They have come from a secular society that has engendered more freedom than theocratic societies have ever been able to muster (except maybe some pagan societies?) So, yes, secular values is an apt description. These values certainly aren't Xian, no matter how much modern Xians want to try and co-opt them and claim that they are.

Leo said...

Modusoperandi = reason for negative atheist stereotype

GCT said...

Ah, I see. Leo, you get to trot out stereotypes and trite arguments, and then when Modus calls you on it, you then get to claim more stereotypes.

Leo said...

I didn't realize that "ignorant twat" was a form of argument. Seems to me that it's childish namecalling. If you don't like my point of view, that's fine, but personal attacks are immature.

GCT said...

"I didn't realize that "ignorant twat" was a form of argument."

I didn't say it was. You need to read more carefully.

Leo said...

For someone to "call you on something" they must present something other than just hurling a random name.

GCT said...

I took it as him calling out your weak argument. Some arguments are so worn out that rebuttals are superfluous. IOW, already been there so many times that it's not worth it to have to dredge up all the same stuff simply because theists never let go of arguments, no matter how bad they are.

Tyler said...

Leo said: For someone to "call you on something" they must present something other than just hurling a random name.

As opposed to hurling a random string of characters like "'secular values' = oxymoron," huh...

Moron.

Anonymous said...

You atheists are such a loving bunch; always whining about the "stereotypical" mean atheist, and then fulfilling it each time someone speaks against your world view.

Modusoperandi said...

Anon: When someone says "'secular values' = oxymoron" that clearly means they know nothing about them and, worse, are proud of that ignorance. It's not "mean" pointing out the paucity of their knowledge. Try reading about, say, Utilitarianism (good, if a bit cold), Objectivism (*shudder*), or even the US Constitution.

Anonymous said...

Pointing something out and resorting to immature name-calling is something quite different.

Modusoperandi said...

If you come into my house and take a dump on the floor, don't be surprised if I give it back.

Leo said...

This is not your house, I stated a fact (because there are no morals without God. See your own actions here as a testimony of that.) And because you were unable to intelligently argue the point, you resorted to cheap 5th grade name-calling. Crawl back in your hole.

ethinethin said...

That is not a fact, it is a subjective observation (backed up by questionable anecdotal evidence). God doesn't even exist.

GCT said...

"I stated a fact (because there are no morals without God. See your own actions here as a testimony of that.)"

Even a cursory search for the word "Moral" on this site would turn up numerous examples where I've argued against your so-called "fact." You are simply wrong that we require god in order to have morality, and your story breaks down.

Further, even if MO were the most immoral person in the world, it would not be testimony that morals can't exist without god.

"And because you were unable to intelligently argue the point..."

I think the point was that your point wasn't intelligently argued to begin with. The canard that you brought to the table is old-hat, easily refuted, and well worn out. It's not like you've brought a devastating argument (to be fair, theists don't actually have any).

Modusoperandi said...

Leo "This is not your house..."
You're right. This isn't my house. It isn't yours, either. I'm not the one throwing buns. At worst, I'm returning them.

"(because there are no morals without God. See your own actions here as a testimony of that.)"
So what's your excuse?

"And because you were unable to intelligently argue the point, you resorted to cheap 5th grade name-calling."
It's hard to argue well against a assertion argued poorly and in bad faith.

"Crawl back in your hole."
It's quite a nice hole, I'll have you know! Look, you've made the wifeling cry! I hope you're proud of yourself, mister. Oh, great. Now the kidlings are crying, too! Jerk.

Leo said...

I pray you haven't actually reproduced.

Modusoperandi said...

Really? I keep praying for the opposite! I wonder if they cancel out, or if that results in half people stumbling on their one leg in circles in lopsided torment.
Also, you're not much for dialog, are you? You come with an insult, catch a nasty case of faux outrage when I reply in kind, ignore when I pointed you to a couple takes on secular moral philosophy, continued with the bald assertions, then mocked my terribly lazy sperm. You're not only not arguing in good faith, you aren't even arguing. Dialog takes two. I'm trying. You're not.
In short, sir, you suck at this.
There. I said it. I'm not apologizing.

Leo said...

Are we arguing? I didn't realize you started.

Modusoperandi said...

Well. I'm glad we could sort that out.

GCT said...

Leo,
Perhaps when you can back up your assertions, we could all start discussing the merits of your argument.

Leo said...

Ok

Karla said...

This is something many Christians talk about amongst themselves as to what is is really meant by the verse "if you ask for anything in my name you will receive it." I think the best thing I have heard as an explanation, while not being the only explanation, is that of the of an ambassador. If an American ambassador goes to Korea to represent America, he/she speaks with the authority of being such a representative of America. They can agree to things and provide things that relate to their power as an ambassador. Now if the Korean government says give me military weapons to help us fight a war, the ambassador may not be able to provide that because it isn't congruent with what is good for America or for Korea. He might have it in his power to do so, but he may not provide that anyway because it wouldn't be good.

When a Christian is requesting provision or help from God in the name of Jesus -- it isn't a magical formula where you have faith+"in the name of Jesus" + desired thing = desired thing. It's more like the role of the ambassador who represents the King/the Lord and what is a part of that relationship is able to be accessed at any time. With God is it always about relationship and not about working up enough faith, or being good enough, or anything like that.

GCT said...

"When a Christian is requesting provision or help from God in the name of Jesus -- it isn't a magical formula where you have faith+"in the name of Jesus" + desired thing = desired thing. It's more like the role of the ambassador who represents the King/the Lord and what is a part of that relationship is able to be accessed at any time. With God is it always about relationship and not about working up enough faith, or being good enough, or anything like that."

IOW, your solution is to throw out the wording in the Bible and claim that what is written is not what it means. How do you know that? Also, how do you know that god wants what is good for us? Fact is, you don't know either of those things and you are making excuses for the fact that a plain reading of the Bible simply doesn't make sense. Xians who fervently pray don't always get what they ask for in contradiction to what scripture says.

Leo said...

GCT, her explanation is not contradictory to anything the Bible says. You can make it sound that way by taking snippets out, similar to the way some Creationists word-mine atheist speakers. Wrong on both counts.

When you read something in the Bible, you must always take care about who is speaking, where they are, who they are speaking to, where it falls in relation to other scripture, and what the speaker has previously said to these same people.

Modusoperandi said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Modusoperandi said...

karla "Now if the Korean government says give me military weapons to help us fight a war, the ambassador may not be able to provide that because it isn't congruent with what is good for America or for Korea."
"Oh, Lord. Please cure my father's river blindness, my wife's inoperable, brain cancer and my newborn son's anencephaly (Link Warning: very real, visually unsettling and very, very sad). No? Sorry, family, God says not having those things wouldn't be good for you."

ethinethin said...

When you read something in the Bible, you must always take care about who is speaking, where they are, who they are speaking to, where it falls in relation to other scripture, and what the speaker has previously said to these same people.

Is this why you always take out different lines from different books of the bible (hell, sometimes different testaments!) and group them together to prove a point?

Anders said...

Anonymous wrote: "Because we inevitably fail at this, God sent his son Jesus Christ to die on the cross, his shed blood making atonement for our sin, thereby making us clean again and worthy of Heaven"

To all Christians:
(le-havdil) How to live in order to enable the Creator in His loving kindness to provide His kipur –atonement- is outlined in Tan’’kh ; and was also taught by the first century Ribi Yehoshua from Nazareth (the Mashiakh; the Messiah).

Read it here: http://www.netzarim.co.il

To all atheists and agnostics: A proof for the existence of a Creator is found at the blog bloganders.blogspot.com (left menu).

Anders Branderud

GCT said...

Leo,
In this case, it most certainly is not me that selectively reading the Bible. The words are pretty plain, and there's nothing in there to suggest that god does not answer prayers that aren't good for us. Karla is making that up wholesale.

GCT said...

For anyone who doesn't want to wade over to Ander's blog, he's basically arguing for the Kalam Cosmological Argument, which fails on multiple fronts.

Some things are uncaused being the first of them. Also, I find a striking problem that creationists don't ever seem to understand in that causality is a temporal thing anyway, so talking about the "cause" of the universe (which Ander's concedes is before time) is meaningless.

Leo said...

Three issues here: Who was he talking to? The disciples. He did give them the power to do things that typically only he can do, such as raising the dead, healing the sick, etc. While we are modern day disciples of Jesus, we are told that things like this and gifts of speaking and tongues will cease when Jesus has completed his time on earth.

Secondly, even if it did apply to us, can you imagine anyone asking with ZERO doubt for anything they couldn't get themselves. Zero is a very definitive amount. I believe it's possible, but that's not the only reason certain things aren't given. James clarifies the statement very well here:

James 4:2-4
2Ye lust, and have not: ye kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain: ye fight and war, yet ye have not, because ye ask not.

3Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts.

4Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.

If we ask for something simply out of our own desire, and not that we may better glorify God, he really is not obliged to give it to us.

goyo said...

Yawn, the old "it doesn't mean what it really says, but...". Tell me about that when my xtian father was in the hospital for a routine surgery, and slipped into a coma. We had the whole church ( about 500 people) praying, plus a missionary prayer chain (another 500), for him to be healed. Every prayer that I heard began with: "we know what you say in your word, god...that whatsoever we ask..." and the old: "thou art the great physician..." blah, blah.
He still died.
Oh, and I teach 5th grade. Does this count as a 5th grade comment?

Anonymous said...

Thank you for teaching our youth.

I lost my father 2 years ago. I prayed for him to get better too. He died as well. I've realized since then that,

1. I was not really a grown man until I quit leaning on my father and started making decisions on my own. While he was alive I would NEVER make an important decision without calling him first.

2. My relationship with God had never been personal. I believed because my father believed. He had faith in God and I had faith in Dad. Only after he was gone did I truly gain a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

3. My mother had the same second-hand faith. It isn't until the crutch was removed that we learned to stand on our own.

So considering that my Dad was saved, God was able to accomplish all this, plus allow Dad to finally come home to Heaven, and away from the temptations, turmoil, and sickness of this world.

I don't know your situation, but I will tell you this much. If you had that many folks praying for him, and he died anyway, there is a reason. If he was saved, it could be that either his work here was done, or his death could accomplish something important in those around him.

GCT said...

Leo,
You're leaning on the "If it be god's will" defense, which I rebutted in a previous OP and linked to. You're also trying the "Who did he talk to," line, which was also rebutted and linked to in the OP.

Lastly, god obliged himself by putting it in his Bible that he would give us answers to our prayers. He doesn't have to do so, but that just makes him a liar. You may throw out god's perfection in order to answer this conundrum, but I doubt that you really would be satisfied with that.

GCT said...

Wow, anon, how disgusting for your god. I shudder to think that he has to kill people in order to teach you a lesson.

"I don't know your situation, but I will tell you this much. If you had that many folks praying for him, and he died anyway, there is a reason. If he was saved, it could be that either his work here was done, or his death could accomplish something important in those around him."

Or it could mean that god is an evil sadist that likes to torture people for no good reason. You are begging the question with your assumption that everything must happen for reason, and further begging the question by assuming that that reason is for the best. You have no evidence, no proof that god does indeed want what is best for us. That god is just, forthright, honest, and omni-benevolent. In fact, I'm sure the victims of god's many genocides would disagree with you that your god is a swell guy.

Leo said...

"I shudder to think that he has to kill people in order to teach you a lesson."

Why would it be disturbing? He's not killing them eternally. He's allowing them to graduate to Heaven. I can't speak for anon, but I have relatives in Heaven I would never dream of pulling from paradise to bring back to this sinful world.

GCT said...

Leo,
Then Xians who are saved and going to heaven should long for death and not be opposed to abortion. Of course, that's assuming that the person in question who had to die in order to teach someone else a lesson got to go to heaven, which is a big if, isn't it?

Also, it seems rather odd that a god that is supposed to be omni-benevolent would be able to find no other way to teach a lesson than to inflict physical and/or emotional pain upon people.

Leo said...

Pain is many times a necessary teacher.

Your assumption that we should be for abortion and long for death does not follow. You see, because we love God, we desire to do his will for our lives. His will is not just for us to go to Heaven, it is for us to bring others with us. If we aborted babies, we would not be allowing them to do what God sent them here to do. I do look forward to the day I go to heaven, but what to do whatever job God has for me first.

ethinethin said...

His will is not just for us to go to Heaven, it is for us to bring others with us.

And what's a more efficient way to do that then by aborting babies (who will most likely end up in hell because of dwindling "true christianity")?

If we aborted babies, we would not be allowing them to do what God sent them here to do.

Not if they're raised catholic, mormon, or god forbid MUSLIM!

GCT said...

Leo,
"Pain is many times a necessary teacher."

If this is true (which I doubt it would be for an omni-max god) it would only be because god set the universe up that way. IOW, if pain is necessary, god made it necessary, meaning that my argument still holds.

"I do look forward to the day I go to heaven, but what to do whatever job God has for me first."

This god sounds incredibly selfish. He supposedly loves you, but he wants you to live as long as possible away from heaven and jump through hoops for him (so much for the not having to do anything to be saved idea, since I bet he'd cast you into hell if you turned around and said, "No," wouldn't he?) And, ethin is right, the best way to get people to heaven is right after their saved and before they have a chance to sin through abortion. If god wanted the maximum amount of people in heaven, he would want abortions to occur all the time to all children.

Leo said...

(so much for the not having to do anything to be saved idea, since I bet he'd cast you into hell if you turned around and said, "No," wouldn't he?)

Absolutely not. Once you accept Jesus, you are saved. Can't get rid of that if you try.

GCT said...

So, once you are saved you could go on a killing spree, be a jerk to everyone in sight, be as immoral as possible and you still get to go to heaven. Nice. I'm glad that god cares about morality...oh wait, no he doesn't.

And, as a bonus, you can commit as many abortions as possible, thus bringing more souls to heaven without jeopardizing your own! It's a win - win situation here.

ethinethin said...

And what I find amusing about that idea is that you could potentially kill hundreds and hundreds of "unsaved" people, sending them to hell for eternity... and as long as you repent and get "saved" you'll still go to heaven. Makes a lot of sense, hmm?

Leo said...

Do you really believe that someone who desires to be Christ-like would do those things? What a ridiculous proposal!

ethinethin said...

So it's not possible for someone to get saved after he's killed hundreds of non-believers, sending them to hell?

GCT said...

"Do you really believe that someone who desires to be Christ-like would do those things? What a ridiculous proposal!"

Considering the number of Xians throughout the ages that have been mass murderers, it's not ridiculous at all. Your argument is basically that god set up a system whereby he only cares about whether you believe the right thing and are saved not whether you are moral, but this is OK because for some reason you believe that anyone who is saved will act morally of their own accord, while you simultaneously hold that all humans are sinners and deserving of hell due to our natural inclination to do evil. Can you really not see the holes and contradictions in your beliefs?

Leo said...

You have so misconstrued my point that it's ridiculous. Yes, people are born sinners. However they can overcome this with help from the Holy Spirit. Once you are saved you are a "new creature."

"So it's not possible for someone to get saved after he's killed hundreds of non-believers, sending them to hell?"

Sure it is. That wasn't what I was talking about. I was saying that I doubt someone would get saved and then commit such a crime.

And if the people he killed were unbelievers, they could fall into two categories: Young enough God wouldn't hold it against them because they don't understand, or old enough they had a chance to make a profession of faith.

GCT said...

Leo,
"Yes, people are born sinners. However they can overcome this with help from the Holy Spirit. Once you are saved you are a "new creature.""

Are you saying that saved Xians don't sin?

"Sure it is. That wasn't what I was talking about. I was saying that I doubt someone would get saved and then commit such a crime."

So, god doesn't care that one has killed people, only that they believe the right thing. Afterwards, you said it yourself, once you are saved, always saved. So, what's to stop someone from sinning more?

"And if the people he killed were unbelievers, they could fall into two categories: Young enough God wouldn't hold it against them because they don't understand, or old enough they had a chance to make a profession of faith."

Ah, so humans get to be judges too now? I thought that was up to god, but apparently you believe that if a saved person kills someone it should be OK? Please don't decide to kill me.

Also, how does this stance not support abortion?

"You have so misconstrued my point that it's ridiculous."

Considering how inconsistent, twisted, and irrational it is, can you blame me? You don't get to continually posit contradictions and act like they don't exist.

ethinethin said...

And if the people he killed were unbelievers, they could fall into two categories: Young enough God wouldn't hold it against them because they don't understand, or old enough they had a chance to make a profession of faith.

I wonder where the cut-off point is. Oh wait, god drew an age line! He might yet be as clever as Dumbledore!

Tyler said...

Leo: Once you are saved you are a "new creature."

lulz

Leo said...

"Are you saying that saved Xians don't sin?"

No. I'm saying that they are capable of not sinning. They would have to choose not to at every single opportunity, and few people would ever live up to that, but it is attainable.

As for an "age of accountability" which is what ethin is referring to, it is not a set number, but rather the age at which a child knows what "sin" is, and can judge such things. Isaiah wrote about it, it is mentioned in Genesis and Deuteronomy as well, but the concept is carried throughout the Bible.

GCT said...

Leo,
"No. I'm saying that they are capable of not sinning."

So, a non-Xian is not capable of not sinning? Well, there goes free will.

"They would have to choose not to at every single opportunity, and few people would ever live up to that, but it is attainable."

So, you think that Xians are magically what? More moral? That Xians somehow have some magical force that allows them to not do bad things, but doesn't really matter because they are already saved? So, Xians can end up doing immoral things all they want, because they are saved, but they can choose not to if they want. Wow, that's pretty lame if you ask me. Why is god more concerned about being his friend than being a good person?

"As for an "age of accountability" which is what ethin is referring to, it is not a set number, but rather the age at which a child knows what "sin" is, and can judge such things."

Once again, we find the Xian position supporting abortion!

Oh, and please cite your support for it, because that whole original sin thing looms over this conversation.

Leo said...

First off, you are born with a sinful nature, not sin already on your "account" so to speak.

You cannot go to Hell because of original sin. Only because of the sin you commit by succumbing to that nature. No sin of a father is passed on to a son. His nature yes, but his actual sin, no.

I will give you a few verses supporting the position that children go to Heaven if they die in their youth. However, these in and of themselves probably would not convince me outside of the rest of the Bible. This is why it's a hotly contested point, even among protestant denominations. However, if you pay particular attention to relationships Jesus has with children, and those who are unable to decide for themselves, you will see the pattern of salvation for the simple-minded being made available.

“Assuredly, I say to you, unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven.”

“Take heed that you do not despise one of these little ones, for I say to you that in heaven their angels always see the face of My Father who is in heaven.”

“Even so it is not the will of your Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones should perish.”

Probably the most cited in defense of an age of accountability is David's words concerning his own son, "Then said his servants unto him, What thing is this that thou hast done? thou didst fast and weep for the child, while it was alive; but when the child was dead, thou didst rise and eat bread.
And he said, While the child was yet alive, I fasted and wept: for I said, Who can tell whether GOD will be gracious to me, that the child may live?
But now he is dead, wherefore should I fast? can I bring him back again? I shall go to him, but he shall not return to me."

Mind you, David was a "man after God's own heart" whose full intention was a home in Heaven. If he was going there to meet his child, we can deduce that his child was already in Heaven.

Also, in Deuteronomy, when God was saying that the rebellious Israelites would not inherit a certain land, he declared, "And the little ones that you said would be taken captive, your children who do not yet know good from bad—they will enter the land. I will give it to them and they will take possession of it.”

So God shows no punishment to the children.

Leo said...

"So, you think that Xians are magically what? More moral? That Xians somehow have some magical force that allows them to not do bad things"

BINGO! That "magical force" is not magical however, it is the Holy Spirit.

GCT said...

Leo,
"You cannot go to Hell because of original sin. Only because of the sin you commit by succumbing to that nature."

Wow, how fine can you rhetorically split a hair? Aren't you claiming that because of original sin we are unable to not sin unless we are saved? That would mean that it is due to original sin that we are bound for hell, for it causes us to sin. But, really, let's not lie to ourselves here - it's not about sin, it's about obedience and faith in god. If you believe in god, you can go to heaven, if not you go to hell, regardless of your actions.

"No sin of a father is passed on to a son. His nature yes, but his actual sin, no."

Ah, but doesn't god visit the inequities of the father unto the children of the nth generation? Or was that part not literal? I seem to recall also that god has Saul attack the Amalekites for what Amalek did hundreds of years prior.

"This is why it's a hotly contested point, even among protestant denominations."

So much for that obvious interpretation being god's interpretation.

"Therefore whoever humbles himself as this little child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven."

This passage is about submitting as children to god in order to attain a place in heaven, not saying that children automatically go to heaven. Please don't pick out one little snippet and then claim, "However, these in and of themselves probably would not convince me outside of the rest of the Bible," which makes it sound like you are taking the whole Bible into context when you obviously aren't.

"Take heed that you do not despise one of these little ones, for I say to you that in heaven their angels always see the face of My Father who is in heaven"

This also does not support you. "Their angels" refers to angels that watch over people. Please at least try to read literally.

"Even so it is not the will of your Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones should perish"

Context, context, context. The Bible also states that god wants no one to perish, but most do (camel, eye of the needle, etc.) meaning that this doesn't support you either.

Lastly, the quote from David simply means that he believes that his child went to heaven, not that all children do. You're not very good at the plain English thing, are you?

"And the little ones that you said would be taken captive, your children who do not yet know good from bad—they will enter the land. I will give it to them and they will take possession of it."

As punishment to the parents for being bad, not as free tickets to heaven for the children.

"BINGO! That "magical force" is not magical however, it is the Holy Spirit."

Yet Xians are not more moral on average than any other group. In fact, there seems to be a negative correlation between religiosity and equality of rights (which is a moral concept) in governments and nations. IOW, the more secular the nation, the better morality that nation exhibits. Sorry, but the empirical facts do not agree with your assertions, nor do you have any evidence to back them up. Also, you can't explain why non-Xians also strive to do moral deeds.

Leo said...

"If you believe in god, you can go to heaven, if not you go to hell, regardless of your actions."

This is untrue. Again, even Satan's angels believe, yet they are still in the prison of Hell.

I don't even know where to begin on your horrible comprehension of the Bible.

"Yet Xians are not more moral on average than any other group."

I would like to see your proof of this. Oh way, that's right. EVERYONE IS BIASED when it comes to this. You will more than likely never find an accurate study either way.

"Also, you can't explain why non-Xians also strive to do moral deeds."

How about to look like a better person than they are and because they feel good when they do it. Not because it's "right."

ethinethin said...

How about to look like a better person than they are and because they feel good when they do it. Not because it's "right."

Funny.. I thought that was why christians do good things. Generalization goes both ways.

Sir Douglas said...

GCT, I follow your blog weekly and though I do not often post I think that you do a good job of furthering the agenda of logic and reason.

I came across a video today that I thought would be good to share. It is very possible you have seen it before but maybe many of the followers of your blog have not. It is well worth a watch and listen.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5wV_REEdvxo&feature=player_embedded#t=606

GCT said...

Leo,
"This is untrue. Again, even Satan's angels believe, yet they are still in the prison of Hell."

Did you miss the part about "can" go to heaven, but those who disbelieve will go to hell no matter what? I mean, do you even try to read for comprehension?

"I don't even know where to begin on your horrible comprehension of the Bible."

Perhaps you can start with your horrible reading comprehension and then figure out what I actually said.

"I would like to see your proof of this. Oh way, that's right. EVERYONE IS BIASED when it comes to this. You will more than likely never find an accurate study either way."

I gave you some already, that more secular countries tend to have more equality of rights. Is this something you deny? Do you feel that repressive, religious (ah, but I repeat myself) regimes are more or less free and provide more or less equality?

"How about to look like a better person than they are and because they feel good when they do it. Not because it's "right.""

Actually, most people are generally moral because it's part of society/culture, which in turn is part of evolving as a social animal. It's why we see moral behavior in other social animals, as I recently posted about. But, hey, you can hold on to your stereotypes, but it just makes you a bigot.

GCT said...

Sir Douglas,
Thanks for stopping by again. I'll have to check out that video when I get my home computer repaired - which, incidentally, is why I haven't posted anything new lately.

Leo said...

Wow! Talk about desperation! You are claiming now that because you used the word "can" you didnt' really mean that anyone who believed went to Heaven? There's a difference between lack of comprehension (for instance, your leadfooted leaps at understanding the scriptures) and someone going back and claiming they meant something they really didn't. The more I've debated these things with you, the more I've realized that you will continue to move the goal posts, no matter how much evidence you are given. And to think, that's what you always claim the creationists do! Go back to burying your head in the sand and declaring God can't exist because you don't think he's a "good guy."

Leo said...

Oh, and I forgot...

"I gave you some already,"

And you claim their accuracy based on...?

ethinethin said...

You are claiming now that because you used the word "can" you didnt' really mean that anyone who believed went to Heaven?

He was making the distinction that only people who believe in god/jesus can go to heaven; that, by contrast, no-one who does not believe in god/jesus will go to heaven.

There was no back pedaling here, Leo, it's painfully obvious what he meant.

GCT said...

Painfully obvious, yet we are treated to Leo being smug as always and triumphant in his error. Why is it that the creationists who come here tend to be this way, where the more the bluster the more wrong they are?

"You are claiming now that because you used the word "can" you didnt' really mean that anyone who believed went to Heaven?"

As ethin pointed out, you completely missed the point of what I was saying, which is leading you to continue to argue against what you thought I said instead of what I actually said.

"There's a difference between lack of comprehension (for instance, your leadfooted leaps at understanding the scriptures) and someone going back and claiming they meant something they really didn't."

I'm beginning to think that Leo is another example of Poe, because no one can be this clueless. Leo, you've posted a couple of quotes which do not support your contentions unless you misconstrue them and take them out of context, and then you chide my understanding of the Bible? Really? And, now you're claiming that I'm moving the goal posts because you didn't actually read what I wrote?

"The more I've debated these things with you, the more I've realized that you will continue to move the goal posts, no matter how much evidence you are given."

No goal posts have been moved by me I can assure you. I don't even think you know what that means. If you give what you think is evidence in support of your position and I point out that it doesn't support you, that is not moving the goal posts. It's rebutting and refuting what you've claimed.

"And to think, that's what you always claim the creationists do!"

Yes, hyperbole is your friend. I always claim that all creationists do this...where did I do that again?

"Go back to burying your head in the sand and declaring God can't exist because you don't think he's a "good guy.""

You can't even get that right, can you? The argument that you are trying to refer to has to be one of two that I've used:
1) That if the god of the Bible is true, then this god can not exist if this god is also supposedly omni-benevolent due to all of the actions that this god has done that prove he is not.
2) The attributes of god are self-contradictory

Either way, you're misinterpreting the argument.

"And you claim their accuracy based on...?"

Based on studies done of the social programs, laws, etc of the countries in question. These are empirical things. How does one look at a law that guarantees rights for minorities (for instance) and interpret it differently based on one's view of the existence of god?

Leo said...

Jesus of course.

GCT said...

And now Leo is back to posting incomplete sentences that have nothing what-so-ever to do with anything, except in his twisted little head where what he wants to read is what was actually written.

Leo said...

Mary and Joseph too

Leo said...

Very nice. I guess I'm gonna have to register so this won't happen in the future.

GCT said...

Leo,
Are you saying that some of the above comments are not yours? If that is the case then I apologize that this has happened and I ask that the person doing it please stop. Can you point out which comments are yours? I do not have comment moderation on, so I do not have access to IP addresses, but I've been thinking about turning it on just to have the ability.

Of course, it's pretty funny that we didn't notice the difference.

Leo said...

On this thread it's only where it says "Jesus" and then "Mary and Joseph."

I haven't checked around the other threads, but it really doesn't matter. I wouldn't even bother deleting the others. Unless of course you want to check the IP's so you can ban whoever is doing it. Obviously it's someone who frequents this and Robert's blog, so it shouldn't be a long list.

GCT said...

Leo,
I did some checking into this. Here's what I found.

Since I didn't have comment moderation on, I can't go back and see any info on comments that have already gone through AFAICT.

Also, I found a page that indicates that IP addresses are not logged by Blogger anyway.

Now, it does have a way to do this through the site counter, except that I don't have the account with them. That would be the blog owner/founder Mr. X.

Bottom line, I'm at an impasse right now, unless you have any ideas. Again, I'm sorry that someone is impersonating you, and I ask that person to stop.

To the impersonator: we don't need to impersonate Xians as the Xian position should stand or fall on its own by the arguments of actual Xians. That they can't defend their theology is quite apparent and means that no assistance from you is required. We will continue to defeat their arguments straight up, without gimmicks, tricks, or tactics such as these. We should be above things like this, as we don't need it to rule the debate.

Leo said...

I have an idea, and I'm going to take advantage of it right now.

Modusoperandi said...

If that idea doesn't involve nachos, you're going to have a bunch of disappointed, nacho-less people on your hands.

Leo said...

Don't worry. Nachos will be included.

Goyo said...

Xtian commentors:
thanks for your comments reinforcing my beliefs that the "sacred scriptures" don't really mean what they say. Xtianity is always presented as such a positive force in your life, with the "trust god, he is faithful...," and "the promises of god are true...he will not forsake you".
Now you're saying that when he says "whatsoever you ask in my name..." he is not faithful and true to answer those prayers.
So much for his promises.
And the funny thing is, you're admitting it. Why don't you acknowledge your life is no different than mine.