Saturday, 10 October 2009

Truth vs. Safety?


The Bible is not a nice book. Beyond all the atrocities of the old testament (rape, slavery, genocide, misogyny, war, murder, animal sacrifice) the new testament is supposedly better. Yet, what we find is not much in the way of condoning the old testament and the addition of hell, the idea that we are all deserving of infinite torture, and human/god sacrifice.

Yet, most modern Xians today will say that the Bible is a wonderful book, filled with peace and love and all kinds of great moral lessons. I can only surmise that they are selectively reading both in which passages they read and how they interpret them (as there's no good way to spin genocide and those other things listed above). So, we are left with a serious disconnect between what people believe their holy book is about and what it's really about.

Well, maybe I've got it all wrong, right? Maybe it's all about peace and love and all that. Surely Xians have been peaceful and loving due to their Bible for the last 2000 years, right? Well, no, that's not right. It's only recently that this idea of the Bible as being a book about peace and love has been in fashion. Certainly early Xians didn't think this way, nor did Xians who participated in such things as the Crusades, Witch trials, the Inquisition, or even those Xians who participate in today's organizations like the KKK or any other white power movement. For them, the Bible could only be said to be about peace and love once you're done eradicating all non-Xians.

Still, many Xians do hold this new view of a more peaceful scripture and presumably a subset of them will act more peacefully due to it. We've seen what rampant hate among a Xian majority can wreak in terms of havoc, and while we still see problems from the Xian majority trying to unduly influence others, this idea of a peaceful Xianity seems to have a dampening effect. So, my question is, should we embrace this and push more Xians to act in accordance with peace, or should we lay out the evil that is contained within the Bible and proclaim the truth?

I can see benefits to both sides. As I talked about above, a more secure lifestyle for non-Xians is a desired goal, and if Xians think that their religion should allow for this, it would be beneficial to us not to stop them. Of course, the downside is that the irrationality of the belief system will be seen as even more acceptable and more congruent with morality, which would be a serious drawback for actual morality.

On the flip side of things, truth is its own reward. We should be truthful and honest, and help Xians see how vile and evil their beliefs/scriptures really are. Yes, if some Xians succumb to that and actually become more vile and evil, it will be detrimental, but I happen to believe that other Xians may wake up and see their religion for what it is. They may throw off the shackles of irrational and outdated thoughts and help us to drag ourselves out of immorality and irrationality.

62 comments:

Anonymous said...

...or you could just go on with your life. Who made you the moral police anyway? You're worse than the Christians.

Modusoperandi said...

Anonymous: No he's not. I don't see him supporting Prop 8. I don't see him talking about how "...we're definitely in the End Times now." I don't see him promoting ignorance in sex-ed class.

Robert Madewell said...

You know. I have no problem with christians who only use the obviously good verses in the bible. It says something about our (i.e. humans) innate ability to be moral and to know what is good or bad for humanity in general. It's not a perfect skill, but it seems that we have that ability. It also proves that most christians are actually more moral than their own holy book.

The problem I have is with the christians who claim that the bible is 100% inerrant (i.e. fundamentalists), but still pick and choose the obvious moral verse and throw out the evil ones. I guess I'd like to see them admit that, but they won't.

I've said it a million times:
Even fundamentalists are cafeteria christians, they just refuse to admit it.

Leo said...

Modus, he's doing the same thing, just different issues.

GCT said...

Leo and Anon,
How you guys can decide that I'm trying to be the moral police or something because I'm talking about a specific moral dilemma that I have and that atheists face is beyond me. So, I'm going to ask you to define your assertions and defend them (back them up).

The Gay Species said...

Every time I see your abbreviation:

Xianity

I read

Xanax.

Both are "downers."

Tracy said...

One of the things I like about living in America is that we are each allowed to pursue our religion, or declaration of no religion, as we desire.

Although I recognize that many Christians try to push their faith and values onto others - I do not. Faith is the most important aspect of my life, and if someone is interested in what I believe and why, I'm always more than happy to have that discussion. But I do not try to make others think the same way I do. Yes, Christianity does proclaim itself as THE truth and does teach about eternally being in the presence of God forever in Heaven or eternally being banished from the presence of God in Hell - but people are free to think such thoughts are wrong, vile or whatever else they choose to think.

As far as how Christians choose to vote; that's part of our American system. We all get to vote. Sometimes things turn out the way I voted, sometimes they do not. When they do not, I do not attack those who opposed my viewpoint. I'm being very specific in how I word this because I can not speak for all of Christianity any more than you can speak for all Atheists or Agnostics or any other group with which you may identify. I can speak for myself.

The Rambling Taoist said...

I love the poster!!

B.J. said...

yes... the Biblical text does contain accounts of vile acts, seemingly "unjust" events, and many other confusing things. but what makes you think the Bible tells us to emulate these vile things? on the contrary, the major thesis is to NOT do those things.

yes, some of the "good" characters did these vile things, but again, nowhere does it say that we should be like them in those senses.

the fact is, in the text itself, the only thing anyone could convict God of is jealousy and anger. and that is where we use our own predetermined ideas of "justice" to interpret.

GCT said...

BJ,
"yes... the Biblical text does contain accounts of vile acts, seemingly "unjust" events, and many other confusing things."

I'm not at all confused by finding genocide to be evil.

"but what makes you think the Bible tells us to emulate these vile things? on the contrary, the major thesis is to NOT do those things."

I disagree strongly. god commands his followers to do these things, and we all know that god desires obedience over all else. If god commanded you to do something heinous, would you do it? If you believe the Bible is instructive on this matter, you would.

"the fact is, in the text itself, the only thing anyone could convict God of is jealousy and anger."

I strongly disagree with this too, unless you are claiming that the Bible is unreliable in its historic claims. god flooded the world and killed every living thing save 2 of every "kind" and the worst we can say about that is that he was jealous or angry? No, I'm sorry, but that is genocide/murder, etc. god commanded the Israelis to wipe out whole civilizations. If person A hires or commands person B to kill person C, person A is also guilty of murder. When god commands his chosen people to rape the women that they conquer, then he is guilty of more than just jealousy or anger. To try and couch this in terms of petty human emotions does a serious disservice to those who are killed by god's actions.

"and that is where we use our own predetermined ideas of "justice" to interpret."

Careful that you don't define out your ability to claim that god is good at the same time. That blade cuts both ways. If you want to claim that god's ways are higher than our's, so that we can't convict god of wrong-doing, then how can we convict god of right-doing? The best we'd be able to say is that it's a mystery to us whether god acts in a moral sense or not. If you think you can judge that god is good, then you can also take into account god's evil actions and judge him accordingly.

B.J. said...

(GCT) "I'm not at all confused by finding genocide to be evil." --> okay, well i will give you that. i am very confused about the command about the Cherem that God ordained for the wandering Jews to destroy everything in Canaan. to be honest, i would say that if I was not confused about that then something would be terribly wrong with me.
however that is not something God has commanded since and has actually stated things otherwise against murder. but i can see how you are confused by many Christians glossing over this issue.

"If person A hires or commands person B to kill person C, person A is also guilty of murder." --> i see your point. very confusing.
but because God acts in anger and jealousy does not remove the fact that he is Good - or slow to anger. you may see it as murderous rage, but after hundreds of years of disobedience and sin then it might not be the same category of human murderous feelings -- it might be the will for them to no longer sin. yes i can see how from your perspective it seems like murder, but God is not man. life is not a right (as to God), it is a gift - if God wills the removal of life to stop the grief being caused to him. THIS IS NOT HOW I FEEL ABOUT HUMANS - i, in no way, find it my right to remove the lives of others. i am not God.

HatesJesusChrap said...

i was a "follower" of jesus for over 40 years. and because of blind "faith", i continued to follow even though i continued to experience a lack of truth, verification, or enforcement of those grand things i read about in the bible or heard in church.

but i finally said enough is enough. instead of closing my eyes to my experiences and what i saw in this world, i recognized that some of those things that GCT has mentioned were real (i'm confirming some of what GCT has said, not saying that he said them and I said "oh yea").

i have found that the ugly side of god is very real; i have seen virtually nothing of the great love he supposedly freely gives without reciprocity. in fact, i have seen that if you piss god off, he will fuck you over and that the only way to get his love is if you submit to him no matter how badly he shits on you (hmmm. sound familiar? what do they say about how captures who have been in captivity for a long while eventually try to bound with their capturer).

god is a ruthless fucking dick who i wish we didn't have to deal with.

ethinethin said...

i, in no way, find it my right to remove the lives of others. i am not God.

What if god commands it of you?

B.J. said...

"What if god commands it of you?"
--> it depends... i seriously doubt that God would ever do that this day and age. seeing how murder is something he commands against i KNOW he would not command that. however, i could see God using a human as an instrument of justice and in that sense i do not know what i would do exactly. it depends on the situation really.
i do not think God supports vigilantes but instead supports the law of the land and the flow that it governs. so the case is really something that i doubt would ever come up.
technically this Cherem, or genocide, that was a fore mentioned was an act of justice. specifically this concept is seen in Genesis 15:16 where it speaks that "the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet full" - and until that point the promised land could not be taken over yet.

B.J. said...

(jesushateschrap) "i have found that the ugly side of god is very real; i have seen virtually nothing of the great love he supposedly freely gives without reciprocity." --->
i am unsure of your position on His existence. are you just being sarcastic?
secondarily, you are partly correct in a sense. God owes humanity nothing; including love or attention for that matter. yes, it is something that is frequently written everywhere "JESUS LOVES YOU" - and it is true. but that is PART of his character.
i can understand your reaction because we were created with emotions and feelings, but as creations themselves we really have no right to demand anything. if God is as evil as you say, then so what? He is God -- although i disagree with you whole-heartily.
i personally am very aware of God's jealous and angry side (or ugly side as you put it) but that does not refute his goodness.

Modusoperandi said...

HatesJesusChrap: But luckily God's imaginary, right?

BJ: Ref Canaan. God's supposed to be omnimax, right? Does that, much like the Flood (fiction) or Eden (also fiction), really sound like something someone who both knows what's going to happen and has the power to do anything would do, or does it sound more like what people, as products of their time, would do in the same situation?

B.J. said...

(Modus) --> Yes, God is all those "omni..." things. but i do not try to conjure "facts" up like some of my fellow Christians do. i do not have God's mind or know His motivations for every one of His actions. so what may seem backwards to our logic may have logic behind it that has not been afforded to us at this time.

ethinethin said...

it depends...

Which means possibly yes, which seems like a slippery slope to hold a position on to me. He might command you to kill, and you'd have to obey.

When you get those "seriously messed up people" out there who go on killing rampages (like that guy with the homemade tank, or the many who kill abortion doctors) and then claim it was god commanding them, well, sure. It probably wasn't really god commanding them, but they really believed it was, and look what happened.

i seriously doubt that God would ever do that this day and age. seeing how murder is something he commands against i KNOW he would not command that.

He commanded against it in Exodus and then went on to command in favor of it to his chosen people throughout many of the books that followed.

He also said he'd never wipe out humanity again after the flood, but then went on to destroy several cities directly (S & G) and dozens others indirectly by commanding the israelites to conquer them.

The god of your bible is anything but consistent.

Tyler said...

B.J. yes... the Biblical text does contain accounts of vile acts, seemingly "unjust" events, and many other confusing things. but what makes you think the Bible tells us to emulate these vile things?

Uhm... the bible? God? Jesus? Stop me when I get off track...

B.J. said...

(ethinethin) --> i agree, it is a slippery slope. fortunately it is only a very, very unlikely hypothetical. but i can see your concern when there exists a large amount of other religious extremists.

"The god of your bible is anything but consistent." --> i disagree. the God of my Bible is multi-faceted. and the difference in the Cherem proclaimed on Canaan and the "do not murder" in the Ten Commandments is that the Cherem was not murder.

how is it not murder? it is the same thing when the executioner used the guillotine or when the person flicks the switch on the electric chair. it is the execution of justice.

how is it justice? that's where you and i probably disagree... it is justice because these people had sinned against God and man and deserved to be eradicated. yes, you can ask why God did not spare them in His love and grace, but I do not know the answer why.

GCT said...

BJ,
"to be honest, i would say that if I was not confused about that then something would be terribly wrong with me."

I'm not confused...is there something wrong with me? I don't think you should be confused about this either. It seems rather cut and dried.

"however that is not something God has commanded since and has actually stated things otherwise against murder."

Later on, you claim it was "justice" instead of "murder" anyway, so why make this distinction here? And, how do you know god has not commanded it? During the Crusades, was that not a command from god to re-claim the holy land? Did Joan of Arc not receive divine commands to go to war? How about the Inquisition or the witch trials? How about modern people who hear commands from god to kill their children due to demon possession or somesuch?

"but i can see how you are confused by many Christians glossing over this issue."

I'm not confused. I see quite clearly that most people don't want to deal with this rather stark fact: god has committed genocide.

"but because God acts in anger and jealousy does not remove the fact that he is Good - or slow to anger."

The fact that he commits genocide is a good indicator that god is not good.

"you may see it as murderous rage, but after hundreds of years of disobedience and sin then it might not be the same category of human murderous feelings -- it might be the will for them to no longer sin."

The stated reason for wiping out the Amalekites is that he's angry at something Amalek did generations ago (Amalek isn't even still alive). So, god is slow to anger, but once he does become angry he wipes out entire peoples for the sins of one of them? I don't see how this is any defence.

"yes i can see how from your perspective it seems like murder, but God is not man. life is not a right (as to God), it is a gift - if God wills the removal of life to stop the grief being caused to him."

By this logic, parents gift life to children and can take it away whenever they want. Of course, this is ludicrous. By creating us, god has taken on a moral responsibility to us. Additionally, your stance is morally relativistic.

"God owes humanity nothing; including love or attention for that matter. yes, it is something that is frequently written everywhere "JESUS LOVES YOU" - and it is true. but that is PART of his character."

Even if god does not owe us love, he can't very well claim that he loves us and then treat us like dirt. It's like the abusive spouse that beats the crap out of their spouse and claims that they still love the person ('it's their fault, they made me do it!')

"if God is as evil as you say, then so what? He is God"

Might does not make right, and we should denounce and stand up to immorality when we see it.

"so what may seem backwards to our logic may have logic behind it that has not been afforded to us at this time."

If you are going to use this defense, then you will have to abandon the ability to claim that god is good. You can't claim that we don't have enough information to convict god of wrong-doing, but that we have enough to convict him of right-doing. It's either one or the other, but you can't have it both ways. Either we can say that god is good or evil, or we don't have enough information to know either way.

B.J. said...

(GCT) --> good points...

"Either we can say that god is good or evil, or we don't have enough information to know either way."
--> i can agree with this for you.

"Might does not make right, and we should denounce and stand up to immorality when we see it."
--> i am sorry that i do not have more time to respond to the whole, but this will sum it up... we cannot subject God to man's standard. you can say he does not exist (and still be wrong in my opinion [but that's not my point], but at least be have a foundation and basis for it). might does not make right, you are correct... but that is not the reason why He is right. He is God and has created the moral structure, to denounce the being that knows about the structure He set up way better than anyone else seems kind of bizarre to me. and i am not even thinking about the "you'll be smitten, so you should not question Him," but who are we to question GOD?

but you, as an atheist, can ask these questions... i know...

Tyler said...

B.J.: we cannot subject God to man's standard.

Yet every time you talk about your god, that's exactly what you do.

B.J. said...

(Tyler) "Yet every time you talk about your god, that's exactly what you do." -->
are we that obtuse? i guess it is an attempt to make me a hypocrite? to talk about something does not mean you subject or project-upon someone or something else. it is talking. when we deduce and analyze what has been written it is not subjecting anything on God. yes, i have my opinions, but i know that they are just that. what is, is. my perception does not change the reality that exists.
i do, on the other hand, attempt to be as educated and critical as i logically can to know as best the reality of our situation.

ethinethin said...

i guess it is an attempt to make me a hypocrite?

You've made yourself a hypocrite by agreeing with GCT's statement "Either we can say that god is good or evil, or we don't have enough information to know either way." and then contradicting yourself with the next paragraph (trying to have it both ways).

Modusoperandi said...

B.J. "He is God and has created the moral structure..."
But is what is moral commanded by God because it is moral, or is it moral because it is commanded by God?

B.J. said...

ethinethin --> look again... i said i can agree with this "for you"

i am not having it both ways... i simply respect GCT's position. i figured people would appreciate respect. but if it is impossible for you to accept respect from someone you disagree with or if that makes me seem like a hypocrite i am not quite sure what to do.

i have an opinion so i say it, and i can listen and say "that sounds logical to me..." and not make it my belief

B.J. said...

(Modus) "But is what is moral commanded by God because it is moral, or is it moral because it is commanded by God?" -->
well seeing how this is "still an object of theological and philosophical debate" as you read below... you and i only have our opinions to vocalize.
however, i believe that it is both. i am not quite sure you can separate it.

Tyler said...

B.J.:i guess it is an attempt to make me a hypocrite?

You're doing just fine on your own.

B.J. said...

(Tyler) --> good one...

Anonymous said...

Tyler seldom brings anything of value to the discussion. He simply insults and waits for a chance to insult again. Not sure it's worth taking the time to type up something that doesn't contribute to the discussion.

GCT said...

BJ,
"i am not having it both ways..."

Yes, you are. There's no "for you" about it. You simply can't only allow arguments for god's goodness and dismiss all arguments for god's evil by claiming ignorance of god's ways.

"He is God and has created the moral structure, to denounce the being that knows about the structure He set up way better than anyone else seems kind of bizarre to me."

What seems kind of bizarre is the moral relativity that you seem to be endorsing here. So, it is moral for god to command rape, genocide, slavery, etc? Do you really feel like this is defensible?

B.J. said...

(GCT) "Yes, you are. There's no "for you" about it. You simply can't only allow arguments for god's goodness and dismiss all arguments for god's evil by claiming ignorance of god's ways." ---> i think you have misunderstood. i see your logic - that does not mean i accept it. when i understood what you were thinking i wanted to show you that i respected you.

"Do you really feel like this is defensible?" --> well with all of the information that i have, it is hard to defend. i will give you that. however there is faith that fills in these blanks where logic does not necessarily make sense. i am not quite sure where you have gotten his commands for rape and slavery, but i am sure you have the address.
on the other hand, you are assuming that the actions of the Israelites were all condoned by God. from what i have understood the only thing that fits into your argument is the Cherem with Canaan.

Modusoperandi said...

B.J. "i am not quite sure where you have gotten his commands for rape..."
Deut21:10-14, to start.

"...and slavery..."
Try Exodus. It's riddled with the limits and who of slavery.

"...but i am sure you have the address."
We do. It's not the first time that someone has noticed that the biblical God acts like a semi-nomadic tribalal head from the early iron-age stuck in the crossroads of empires with one hell of a chip on his shoulder.

Anonymous said...

Arranged marriages were the norm back then. However, God commanded the men to honor their wives and to sacrifice for them as Christ sacrificed for the church. A man following God's word may take a wife of those in captivity, but he was to take her and give her a place of honor. Rape is never commanded.

Exodus does have many things about slavery. However it does not condone slavery. It simply tells those already enslaved to respect their masters and treat them well. Just because it was wrong for them to be taken as slaves, does not give them license to do evil things to their master. If they would submit, and do as God commanded, He could bring them out of that captivity peacefully and use them for future good works.

GCT said...

BJ,
"i think you have misunderstood. i see your logic - that does not mean i accept it."

Then, please show me how it is in error.

"when i understood what you were thinking i wanted to show you that i respected you."

I thought you were agreeing until you cleared it up in your comment about "for you." Either way, logic is not something that is "for you" or "for someone." These are subjective terms, but logic deals with objectivity. Also, you don't need to sugar-coat things or placate me as a sign of respect - in fact, I don't see things that way (not to sound harsh or anything). Respectful discourse is done through dealing with issues in an honest, truthful way (not saying that you are being dishonest or untruthful).

"however there is faith that fills in these blanks where logic does not necessarily make sense."

A faith the seems to be begging the question. When someone challenges you to defend the statement that god is good, you can't simply claim that all the evil bits either don't matter, don't count, or are beyond our comprehension as support of your idea that god is good.

"on the other hand, you are assuming that the actions of the Israelites were all condoned by God."

Commanded is the more appropriate word, since god did command these things.

"from what i have understood the only thing that fits into your argument is the Cherem with Canaan."

Um, and the Amalekites, the Hittites, the global flood, etc.

Anon,
"Arranged marriages were the norm back then. However, God commanded the men to honor their wives and to sacrifice for them as Christ sacrificed for the church. A man following God's word may take a wife of those in captivity, but he was to take her and give her a place of honor. Rape is never commanded."

Last I checked, Deuteronomy came well before Jesus, so god's commands as written by Paul came just a little bit late to save those women whose families were slaughtered in front of them and then taken as captive to be raped then or raped later as forced brides. (Oh, and you forgot the part about Paul telling wives to obey their husbands in all things just before he talks about the husbandly duties.)

"Exodus does have many things about slavery. However it does not condone slavery. It simply tells those already enslaved to respect their masters and treat them well. Just because it was wrong for them to be taken as slaves, does not give them license to do evil things to their master. If they would submit, and do as God commanded, He could bring them out of that captivity peacefully and use them for future good works."

What's weird is that god says, "Don't do this, don't do that, oh but with slavery trade and buy them in this fashion," and we're supposed to assume that he forgot to say not to do it? And, the verses about slaves submitting to their masters is once again in the NT (IIRC, please cite verses if I don't). But, still in the NT we see no prohibition on slavery, no denunciation of it, no condemning of it. It seems that god does condone slavery, as virtually all churches held up until the Civil War and even afterwards.

Anonymous said...

Yes, those verses are in the New Testament, however, what makes you think they were new commandments. Not every single statement by God is included in the Bible. It is many times said that God had commanded this or that, but we don't have that particular statement documented beforehand.

Look at the sacrifices offered by Cain and Abel. It's obvious that beforehand they had been told what a proper sacrifice was, however, we don't have that documented either.

Tyler said...

Anon: Tyler seldom brings anything of value to the discussion.

There's some irony for ya.



Anon: He simply insults and waits for a chance to insult again.

Yeah, you're right. That's all I do. The main parts of my posts you ignore because you're an intellectual chickenshit really are just figments of my imagination.

Oh, and the fact that you insult the entire human race with your vile superstition, just waiting for a chance to do it again, is just a figment of my imagination as well.

I'm sorry. I'll just bend over and kiss your ass from now on.

GCT said...

Anon,
That sounds just a bit too convenient, doesn't it? Especially since we don't need to do make such dodgy assumptions, we simply need to read the Bible itself. Women are to be subservient to men, as the Bible explicitly says. Sorry, but pulling the one verse out of context that might support your modern ideas of female equality isn't going to cut it.

Anonymous said...

One verse? There are many places where men are told to honor women.

Yes, women are to be in subjection to men. However, the man in return is to treat that woman with respect.

Anonymous said...

Tyler, judging by your posts on here, you are one angry human being. I ignore your posts because, as I said, and you now proved, you are incapable of a respectful discussion. You place so much garbage talk around your argument I'm not willing to sift through it all. If you want me to answer your questions, I'll gladly do it, but you must treat me with respect. Otherwise, I will just completely ignore any and all posts you make. You should be glad I'm even here posting in this discussion. I feel I would be well within my responsibility as a Christian to move on and forget you ever existed.

Modusoperandi said...

Anonymous "Arranged marriages were the norm back then."
I'd hardly call butchering a girl's family then taking her as your bride (if she pleases you) as an "arranged marriage".

"However it does not condone slavery."
Yes. Yes it does. It says "do this".

"It simply tells those already enslaved to respect their masters and treat them well."
And the relationship is reciprocal, hence:
Exd21:20-1 And if a man smite his servant, or his maid, with a rod, and he die under his hand; he shall be surely punished.
Notwithstanding, if he continue a day or two, he shall not be punished: for he is his money. (of course, in Exodus 21:26-7 He tells you to let them go if you knock out an eye or a tooth, so that's something, I guess).

"Just because it was wrong for them to be taken as slaves, does not give them license to do evil things to their master."
And that's why the Tanakh is full of "ye shall", because God's not condoning it? How about Joshua9:23? "Now therefore ye are cursed, and there shall none of you be freed from being bondmen, and hewers of wood and drawers of water for the house of my God." How about Gen24:35? How about...?

"If they would submit, and do as God commanded, He could bring them out of that captivity peacefully and use them for future good works."
...except for the non-Hebrew slaves who were their master's property in perpetuity (and their kids and their kids and...)

Tyler said...

Anon: Tyler, judging by your posts on here, you are one angry human being.

No, I'm just blunt.



Anon: I ignore your posts...

You're not ignoring my posts. You're ignoring questions in my posts, and you're doing it inconsistently.



Anon: ... because, as I said, and you now proved, you are incapable of a respectful discussion.

No, you ignore the hard questions because you don't have any answers for them.

And you don't deserve any respect, what with your parading around of that disgusting superstition you align yourself with.



Anon: You place so much garbage talk around your argument I'm not willing to sift through it all.

You're willing to "sift through it all" when you think you've got a solid response to something I've said. Nonetheless...

"But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and [be] ready always to [give] an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:"

Obey your bible, hypocrite...



Anon: If you want me to answer your questions, I'll gladly do it, but you must treat me with respect.

I'll treat you with the respect you earn, which is none as long as you define yourself by an ideology that disrespects me and the rest of humanity, yourself included.



Anon: Otherwise, I will just completely ignore any and all posts you make.

Coward.



Anon: You should be glad I'm even here posting in this discussion.

Yeah, I'm fuckin' giddy that you're running around promoting a superstition that condemns most people to eternal torture.



Anon: I feel I would be well within my responsibility as a Christian to move on and forget you ever existed.

You're responsible for answering my questions with meekness and fear. So saith your imaginary friend.

B.J. said...

oh goodness... to much to write about... and in just a few hours!

(GCT) i do not have time, although i wish i did, to answer every point, i apologize. however it is possible to see how you could come to that conclusion logically - thus the "for you" - and not agree with you. i guess you could say the "error" of your logic is not having my experiences and faith, if you can call it an error. i would have to say that is why i do not believe what you do. i am being truthful and not trying to pat your back, i simply do not know how to communicate in effective terms (or without being ridiculed by certain bystanders) - so i say "i understand that.." or "i agree in this for you"... or "that makes sense". if you would rather me act like some of our friends in here and swing expletives and anger at you i guess i could change my strategy.

As for when i say the "Cherem" or "Canaan" from what I have understood it includes the region where the Hittites and Amelikites and etc. like that. i could of course be wrong though...

"When someone challenges you to defend the statement that god is good, you can't simply claim that all the evil bits either don't matter, don't count, or are beyond our comprehension as support of your idea that god is good." ---> in other words, i agree with this statement. us Christians like to hang out at qualification station. haha. God is good, just, loving, and righteous -- and i stand firm on it.

you do bring up good points, though, just not enough to shake my foundations.

Tyler said...

B.J.: ... my foundations.

What foundations?

B.J. said...

(Tyler) "What foundations?"--> yeah i know, my house is currently a pier and beam...

GCT said...

Anon,
"Yes, women are to be in subjection to men. However, the man in return is to treat that woman with respect."

Sorry, but it matters not whether the men are to treat women nicely or not when it explicitly says that women must be subordinate. It's like saying that men should treat their dogs with respect. Women are property in the Bible (story of Lot is instructive here).

BJ,
"i guess you could say the "error" of your logic is not having my experiences and faith, if you can call it an error."

Experience has nothing to do with logic, and faith is as far from it as one can get. Are you seriously contending that you can judge that god is good, but that you don't have enough information to judge that god is evil? I'm sorry, but all the experience in the world and all the faith in the world doesn't make that logically correct.

"i am being truthful and not trying to pat your back, i simply do not know how to communicate in effective terms..."

Evidence and logic are good ways. Why do you believe that you are correct? What actual reasons do you have?

"if you would rather me act like some of our friends in here and swing expletives and anger at you i guess i could change my strategy."

We both know that's not what I said. But, I do find it to be a hinderance when your comments read as if you agree with me when you don't.

"As for when i say the "Cherem" or "Canaan" from what I have understood it includes the region where the Hittites and Amelikites and etc. like that. i could of course be wrong though..."

I like to make sure to lay it out, because it's not a one-off, isolated incident. god continually ordered genocide, over and over.

"God is good, just, loving, and righteous -- and i stand firm on it."

Based on what? So far, all I've seen is faith that he's good, throwing out the evil bits that he's done, and claiming that only the good bits count. Actually, I've seen very few good bits, come to think of it.

"you do bring up good points, though, just not enough to shake my foundations."

Why are your foundations set up so that god is defaulted to "good?" Do you extend the same idea to Allah? Is Allah good until someone can prove otherwise?

B.J. said...

(GCT) "Experience has nothing to do with logic, and faith is as far from it as one can get." --> i totally disagree. logic is intrinsically linked with perception when it is controlled by a human. the equation goes like this:
(perception of A) + (perception of B) = hypothesis of reality of A & B's interaction.
we can say that "we KNOW that A is this" but no matter what it is always based off of sensory experience. therefore, because every person is different and has different experiences and emotions logic is not static.

for instance, if someone is unaware of electricity and does not realize that the power has been turned off in their home and attempts to turn on the television - they use logic and press "on" with the remote control. it is logical that it will turn on in their experience, however we know today that televisions require electricity. regardless, this person still used logic.

that is, unless you are assuming there is a logic that is static, say help by a different kind of being that does not depend on such sensory experiences.

-----------

"Evidence and logic are good ways. Why do you believe that you are correct? What actual reasons do you have?" --> the meaty question... i was wondering when we would get to it... i consider myself one of the more logical people that i know. so everything that i depend on is, in some way, tested and tried.

i have looked at the world with the presupposition since being a child that there is the possibility of some unseen quality to the world, much like that of bacteria and gases, but different at the same time. without this presupposition (or the open-mindedness to hear it) it is useless to hear me perspective. that is, if you are only able to quantify and deal with things that you see and nothing else.

what you may link to emotional episodes and coincidences i see as way too frequent and consistent to be labeled as such. the simple moral compass of believers and non believers seems to be too much of a stretch for evolution. in addition to that, the presence of evil in the world and the moves that it makes against good continually support my views. (in the base, chemical driven world there is no such thing as real good or evil -- only labels).

as for what i know of God, i know it through the Scripture. He has yet to contradict anything He has shown Himself to be. you may vehemently disagree, but the arguments you have presented are incomplete to drive the point home. in the face of pain, suffering, disease, divorce, rape, murder, genocide, war, etc etc. God is still good. humans have created this and it is not God's responsibility to clean up our mess (however horrid it is). the fact is, God has enabled me to be content in these worse conditions. no, i have not gotten my arm chopped off or my family eradicated, and hopefully that will never happen because that is horrible. BUT if it does happen in my life God still has taken care of me, because the number one need of any human is to experience fellowship with Him. i just hope that i will be able to see past the blood, broken bones, death, and tears to remember it. like the story of Job... he never knew why, and still did not get an answer from God why everything happened to him -- the fact is, God is not subject to us to explain His justness - but we are subject to Him.

B.J. said...

mind you... i understand that all of these things and more can be explained away just as i can explain away all of your things.

it comes down to a logical balance (based on my experiences) of which has the least explanations or the least weighty explanations.

as for atheism, i think this is the least reliable, but that is my opinion. the things that you have been arguing only would lead me to another form of theism.

Tyler said...

B.J.: (Tyler) "What foundations?"--> yeah i know, my house is currently a pier and beam...
[...]
i consider myself one of the more logical people that i know.


Isn't cognitive dissonance fun!



B.J.: as for atheism, i think this is the least reliable...

So, your lack of belief in the countless gods you lack belief in isn't reliable? Interesting...

GCT said...

BJ,
"logic is intrinsically linked with perception when it is controlled by a human."

I disagree completely, and I think you are confusing concepts as evidenced by your example of the tv and electricity. When we are talking about logic in terms of rational arguments, it is in no way subjective. The rules that we have instituted are valid descriptors of the way the universe works (objective observations of reality). They are not dependent on subjective experience or faith in any way. When someone begs the question, it doesn't matter whether I have experience of them doing it or not.

So, when you claim that you can judge god as good but not be able to judge god at all when the question of his evil comes about, you are guilty of bad argumentation regardless of your experience or faith.

"that is, unless you are assuming there is a logic that is static, say help by a different kind of being that does not depend on such sensory experiences."

No, it's empirical.

"i have looked at the world with the presupposition since being a child that there is the possibility of some unseen quality to the world, much like that of bacteria and gases, but different at the same time."

I agree that there's a possibility that some god exists, which is not a presupposition BTW. I would say that you go one step further and presuppose that a god does exist and you are simply choosing one of the many possible ones. This, is a presupposition and it colors all of your thinking in an un-necessary way. If you were to simply stick to the idea that one may exist or may not, you would be a lot closer to rationality.

"that is, if you are only able to quantify and deal with things that you see and nothing else."

I would say that we need empirical evidence or a good, logical and rational argument. We can't physically see electricity, but we can measure its effects and give evidence that it exists, for instance. Do you have anything for your god that would come close to this?

"what you may link to emotional episodes and coincidences i see as way too frequent and consistent to be labeled as such."

Much like people who always think their horoscope is true?

"the simple moral compass of believers and non believers seems to be too much of a stretch for evolution. in addition to that, the presence of evil in the world and the moves that it makes against good continually support my views."

Why is it that you get to claim both the existence of morality and evil as evidence for your god? Why, it almost seems as if anything and everything could be and is evidence for your god? Either way, we see morality in other animals, it's actually pretty simple to see it as having an evolutionary component. And, if you want to count evil as evidence for your god, then you'll have to admit that your god creates it. I'll spare you from that though, and simply point out that I see no logical chain to connect evil to your god, so you'll have to flesh that out more.

GCT said...

Comment to BJ continued...

"as for what i know of God, i know it through the Scripture."

Whose interpretation?

"He has yet to contradict anything He has shown Himself to be. you may vehemently disagree, but the arguments you have presented are incomplete to drive the point home."

What you seem to be saying here is that because he seems nice to you, that means that he's good regardless of rapes and genocides he's committed.

"in the face of pain, suffering, disease, divorce, rape, murder, genocide, war, etc etc. God is still good."

This sounds like special pleading as you would not say the same about any other entity.

"humans have created this and it is not God's responsibility to clean up our mess..."

How are humans responsible for god's actions in commanding genocide and rape?

"no, i have not gotten my arm chopped off or my family eradicated, and hopefully that will never happen because that is horrible."

Exactly, it's horrible, and it's what god ordered according to your Bible. Think how you would feel if it was you and your family being erradicated by this supposedly good god. Do you think that Muslims believe as you do? Would you call Allah merciful and good if a Muslim terrorist came to your house and beheaded your family in front of you and then did the same to you on Allah's orders? They would claim that Allah is good, just as you are claiming that Yahweh is good.

"he never knew why, and still did not get an answer from God why everything happened to him -- the fact is, God is not subject to us to explain His justness - but we are subject to Him."

He did get an answer of sorts, which is the same one you are using here, that might makes right and that god is above morality and therefore can do whatever he wants. You're a moral relativist as it turns out.

"mind you... i understand that all of these things and more can be explained away just as i can explain away all of your things."

I'd like to take you up on that.

"as for atheism, i think this is the least reliable, but that is my opinion."

Really? Are you aware of the concept of the burden of proof? Theism holds the burden of proof and in the absence of meeting that burden, which no religion has yet done, the rational position is to hold to atheism (i.e. the position of disbelief in god or gods). What you are saying here is about the same as saying that one should believe in leprechauns unless you can disprove them.

"the things that you have been arguing only would lead me to another form of theism."

Well, this particular argument is not aimed at arguing against all gods, as an evil god could still exist. For arguments against other gods you'll have to peruse other posts. It's not my responsibility, however, to disprove your god.

B.J. said...

(GCT) --> good points. i do think that agnosticism is much more founded because regardless of the burden of proof, when something is not proven it does not go into the rejection pile but instead the "i do not know".

as for everything you said, i struggle with the idea of the Cherem, it is something i cannot quite explain. i trust God though because of His work in my life (of the perceived work He has done at least).

but to answer your questions further is that I do not know if my view is correct. it could be totally wrong. however i believe i am educated enough to make a good estimate to determine the reality of the situation. that does not make me infallible of course. i am a Christian because it makes the most sense to me. atheism does not work for me, agnosticism does not work for me, polytheism does not work for me. but the knowledge that i have been given through the Bible and experience as living as a Christian is reliable in all previous trials and tests in my life.

Tyler said...

B.J.: i do think that agnosticism is much more founded...

Agnosticism is not mutually exclusive to atheism or theism. Agnosticism, as you go on to recognize, is a knowledge claim. Theism/atheism are claims of belief. Hence, there are agnostic theists (you, who claims no knowledge of a god, but claim to believe in the existence of a god), and agnostic atheists (who claim no knowledge of the lack of a god, but claim a lack of belief in the existence of any gods).

But this is all ultimately just red herring semantic mental masturbation.


B.J.: ...because regardless of the burden of proof, when something is not proven it does not go into the rejection pile but instead the "i do not know".

That all depends on what's being claimed. If you claim to have a hundred dollar bill in your front pocket, that claim can be thrown right on the rejection pile if you turn out an empty pocket.

B.J.: but to answer your questions further is that I do not know if my view is correct. it could be totally wrong.

So too with the atheist. An atheist cannot know (empirically) that there is no god (like one can empirically know that there's no hundred dollar bill in your pocket). But that's not a problem for the atheist, as he's not claiming a position of (empirical) knowledge.

(That said, one can know, logically, that a particular god doesn't exist by the nature of the claims made about that god; i.e. an omnimax god, which is a logical impossibility.)

B.J.: however i believe i am educated enough to make a good estimate to determine the reality of the situation.

The reality of the situation is that there's no evidence for any of the countless gods ever proposed to exist, yours included.

B.J.: i am a Christian because it makes the most sense to me.

No, it doesn't, which is why you have to spend so much time making ridiculous excuses for why it doesn't make sense.

B.J.: atheism does not work for me...

Your lack of belief in the countless gods you lack belief in apparently does work for you.

B.J.: agnosticism does not work for me... but the knowledge that i have been given through the Bible...

Do ya see the contradiction there?

B.J.: ... and experience as living as a Christian is reliable in all previous trials and tests in my life.

Trials and tests such as...? That's a bold claim, and demands examples.

Further, how do you make sense of the claim that, say, islam works for a muslim in the same way as you claim christianity works for you? Does that mean allah exists?

Or, hell, let's get really kooky here: How do you make sense of someone's claim that, say, the hacked off rabbit's foot they carry around on a keychain is 'reliable in all previous trials and tests in my life'? After all, this person at least irrefutably has a hacked off rabbit's foot on a keychain, which is more evidence than you have for your god.

You produce a sensible answer to those questions and your claim that christianity makes the most sense to you might have some merit. Short of that, it clearly doesn't make a bit of sense to you, other than as a means to ease your fear of the non-existent monster under your bed.

Gods - nightlights for grownups.

B.J. said...

(Tyler) --> interesting points, nice to hear...

the lovely thing about belief is that it does not require full and indisputable proof, in everyone's perspective this holds true. of course i have wholes where my logic fails - but i believe that the holes are filled nonetheless.

i do not spend time producing excuses to defend my faith, it is self-defensible for the most part. in this arena it is different of course - i come and see what you guys are talking about about because i enjoy the conversation, unlike maybe some of my cohorts who may seem to try and "convert" you - that is not my intention. it is to stretch my brain and learn more. however i have dealt with most every one of the questions that you have posed prior to coming to this forum.

as for the trials and tests that you say "demand examples," it involves miraculous healing, miraculous safety, a blessing of contentment in most every circumstance, seeing the benefits in a sin-free lifestyle to a sin-filled lifestyle (and living them both), and prophecy being filled so far in history.

these are the more "tangible" features of my faith. yes, they can be seen as a "crazy person's" interpretation, i can give you that. but all i have is my perception to relay to you.

Anonymous said...

GCT said, "I agree that there's a possibility that some god exists"

And here I thought he was a lost cause.

Modusoperandi said...

Anonymous "And here I thought he was a lost cause."
I can't speak for him, but it probably comes, in part, from an inability to prove a negative. There's always the possibility, for instance, that my matter could fall through the matter of this chair right now. The probability, however, is low. I'll believe it when I see it. I'll also need a new chair. And probably a new ass.

Besides, yours knocked Himself out of the running around the time Lyell noticed that things were much older than the Lord said they were. It all went downhill for that version of Him after that, requiring revised interpretations of Holy Scripture (with each new generation as sure of their interpretation as the previous one was of theirs). Then that doofus Darwin forced (most) Christians to God 2.2. Evo-psych is slowly pushing Him to 2.3, what with the evolution of morality, visible in other creatures, more so in our closer relatives (a little bit in, say, dogs, with more in Indian elephants and dolphins, more still in gorillas and chimps). By version 2.7, I'm assuming that He won't have anything to do at all, what with all His duties filled by the natural world in a manner that looks exactly the same as though He wasn't there at all.
Then He finally gets to retire.

Tyler said...

B.J.: (Tyler) --> interesting points, nice to hear...

the lovely thing about belief is that it does not require full and indisputable proof...


And you directly go on to claim you're not making excuses for your faith.

Comical.

B.J.: of course i have wholes where my logic fails -

Heh...

Yeah, your logic fails, wholly.

B.J.:but i believe that the holes are filled nonetheless.

Yes, they are. They're filled with superstitious bullshit. That's not logical.

i do not spend time producing excuses to defend my faith...

In fact, that's all you do.

B.J.: it is self-defensible for the most part.

It is indefensibly ridiculous.

B.J.:in this arena it is different of course - i come and see what you guys are talking about about because i enjoy the conversation...

What, exactly, do you enjoy about it?

B.J.: unlike maybe some of my cohorts who may seem to try and "convert" you - that is not my intention.

Sure it is. Why else would you go to such lengths to convince people you're not full of shit?

B.J.:it is to stretch my brain and learn more.

And what have you learned?

B.J.:however i have dealt with most every one of the questions that you have posed prior to coming to this forum.

In other words, you have no sensible answers to the questions I posed.

B.J.:as for the trials and tests that you say "demand examples," it involves miraculous healing, miraculous safety...

Bullshit.

... a blessing of contentment in most every circumstance, seeing the benefits in a sin-free lifestyle to a sin-filled lifestyle (and living them both)...

So, you're actually contending that one can live both a sinful and a sin free lifestyle simultaneously.

Batshit crazy...

B.J.: ... and prophecy being filled so far in history.

Amusingly enough, prophecy indicates that you're a blasphemer for worshiping Jesus, and are hence headed for an eternity of oblivion.

B.J.: these are the more "tangible" features of my faith. yes, they can be seen as a "crazy person's" interpretation, i can give you that. but all i have is my perception to relay to you.

Those are "tangible" features of the fact that your perception is highly delusional.

B.J. said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
B.J. said...

(Tyler) --> for a second there i thought that you had some sense in you and i was treating you like a reasonable human being. ah well. please continue to quote each individual sentence and comment with your ill-supported views. i will abstain from your style though.

and no, i am not here to convert you... i am learning how to face any sort of hard questions so my students might be able to be helped when questions come to them. i work with the willing... but like i said, so far, nothing has challenged me from what i have already discovered as challenging in my own personal time and studies.

and yes, i know you see me as delusional, which is a possibility (i do not think that is the case). however, you ask - so i answer... when i answer truthfully - you ridicule.

GCT said...

BJ,
Are you agnostic about the existence of Zeus, Allah, or leprechauns, just to name a few examples or do you disbelieve in them?

"as for everything you said, i struggle with the idea of the Cherem, it is something i cannot quite explain. i trust God though because of His work in my life (of the perceived work He has done at least)."

First off, you can't claim that nothing has been brought up that you can't answer and also claim that the idea of god's genocide is something you struggle with. Secondly, if a serial killer is personally nice to you, does that make that person a nice person or good?

"the lovely thing about belief is that it does not require full and indisputable proof, in everyone's perspective this holds true. of course i have wholes where my logic fails - but i believe that the holes are filled nonetheless."

Belief does require evidence, however. If it were not that way, I would comment that you should also believe in faeries, unicorns, etc. And, simply believing that the holes will be filled does not constitute that the holes are filled.

Tyler said...

B.J.: (Tyler) --> for a second there i thought that you had some sense in you and i was treating you like a reasonable human being.

I'm curious... when you run into a sensible, reasonable human being, how can you tell?

B.J.: ah well. please continue to quote each individual sentence and comment with your ill-supported views.

Ah well, keep ignoring individual responses which demonstrate your individual ideas are ill-supported while spewing unsubstantiated claims like those stating my views are ill-supported.

B.J.:i will abstain from your style though.

"My style" is taking ideas apart piece by piece to see if they make sense, which you've obviously been abstaining from for a long time now.

B.J.: and no, i am not here to convert you...

In which case, you're disobeying two direct commands from your imaginary friend.

B.J.: i am learning how to face any sort of hard questions...

You don't answer the hard questions. That's not facing them, that's ignoring them, you dolt.

B.J.: ... so my students might be able to be helped when questions come to them.

If your students are that susceptible to the intellectual cowardice of willful ignorance you display, you're not going to have to teach them anything.

B.J.: i work with the willing...

Which simply means you work with people who are willing to swallow your disgusting, superstitious bullshit.

B.J.: but like i said, so far, nothing has challenged me from what i have already discovered as challenging in my own personal time and studies.

It's easy to say nothing challenges you when you ignore everything that challenges you.

B.J.: and yes, i know you see me as delusional which is a possibility (i do not think that is the case)...

You're textbook delusional, whether or not I see you that way; whether or not you're willing to acknowledge it.

B.J.: however, you ask - so i answer...

The list of questions you don't answer is growing with every post you submit, liar.

B.J.: when i answer truthfully - you ridicule.

When you do answer, your answers are truthfully ridiculous.