Wednesday, 24 February 2010

Why Won't god Heal Amputees?


I'm sure that everyone here is aware and familiar with the website named in the post title, right? If not, please check it out.

Now, I happen to think it's a very good question. If you listen to some Xians, however, it's a stupid question to ask (12th comment in and later). Apparently, it's so stupid that the person who asks only deserves mockery and scorn. This is not the first time that I've run into this sentiment either.

But why? I've yet to hear a response as to why it's a dumb question. This is especially true when some Xians boast of the miraculous results of their faith healings. From remission of cancer to cures for disease - even to lengthening of limbs (this blogger has routinely claimed as much as well as other outlandish claims) - god supposedly heals people. If god can make limbs grow longer, what's to stop god from making limbs regrow? But, apparently it's easier to heap scorn upon someone else for daring to ask the question than to examine one's own theology to see if there are any issue with it. One might have to face up to the possibility that one's theology doesn't make sense.

103 comments:

ethinethin said...

Considering there are faith healers who go around claiming that they have raised the dead, I imagine there might be a couple who have claimed to have regrown limbs.

Of course, their claims are not supported by any tangible evidence. Once you get into requiring evidence for stuff like that, they fall back on the "god can't be tested" stuff.

It is a perfectly legitimate question, though. There are passages in the bible that claim that faith can do anything. You would think theists would appreciate unambiguous situations like amputees or people with trisomy 21 (Trig Palin), but in the back of their minds, even they know that such conditions will never be spontaneously healed.

They can't bet on a losing hand, so they come up with excuses for folding.

Goyo said...

This to me has always been total proof that faith healing doesn't occur. Especially since so many other animals possess the ability to regrow limbs. Should be easy for god to do it.

tinkbell13 said...

I know the answer- YOU READY!!!! Because there is no God.

Of course, Christians always give their usual bullshit- because we all have our tests, part of God's plans, blah, blah, blah. Perhaps a better way of working to save amputees is if they give their donation money that they give weekly to church to scientific research, we might actually be able to engineer an antibiotic that is effective enough to stop gangrene. Or, just ask the Catholic church to give a small portion as part of its restitution process.

Compassionate Heathen said...

Insanely, I was just chatting to a Christian friend on Facebook who stated directly to me that she and her friends prayed over an amputee at a mall the previous day and watched the limb regrow before their very eyes. She's not an evil person, but it's hard to take her seriously....

ethinethin said...

she and her friends prayed over an amputee at a mall the previous day and watched the limb regrow before their very eyes

If this really happened, why didn't they take video of it and publicize it from coast to coast? Wouldn't Christians want to take such strong evidence and expose it to the world to convert as many people as possible?

I would hope your friend was just joshing you and isn't really that deluded.

Anonymous said...

Why won't god heal Amputees?

I am going to assume that it is the God of the Bible you are talking about.

Do you see any of the Apostles alive today? Why did God let them die? Some say that Saint Paul was decapitated.

Here you are obsessing about a limb, being an unbeliever.

Have you not read this verse:

And if thy foot offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter halt into life, than having two feet to be cast into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched: Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched.
(Mark 9:45-46)

Christianity is NOT about saving of the flesh but the Soul.

And what shall I more say? for the time would fail me to tell of Gedeon, and of Barak, and of Samson, and of Jephthae; of David also, and Samuel, and of the prophets: Who through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, Quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, waxed valiant in fight, turned to flight the armies of the aliens. Women received their dead raised to life again: and others were tortured, not accepting deliverance; that they might obtain a better resurrection: And others had trial of cruel mockings and scourgings, yea, moreover of bonds and imprisonment: They were stoned, they were sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain with the sword: they wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins; being destitute, afflicted, tormented; (Of whom the world was not worthy:) they wandered in deserts, and in mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth. And these all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise: God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect. (Hebrews 11:32-40)

Suffice said...

It is obvious that people who ask this question is not looking for an answer but only to frustrate believers.

To proof this point, I played a game at this website's forum (http://whywontgodhealamputees.com/) to give them a taste of their own medicine.

I have saved the transcript of this forum for your reading. It can be downloaded at: http://www.box.net/shared/mhmn4jel2z

Praise the Lord!

GCT said...

Anon,
"Do you see any of the Apostles alive today? Why did God let them die? Some say that Saint Paul was decapitated.

Here you are obsessing about a limb, being an unbeliever."

So, your defense of one type of suffering is to point out that god allows much worse suffering?

"And if thy foot offend thee, cut it off..."

Now you will claim that their limbs were offensive and that they are better off without them because those limbs they lost would lead them into hell?

"Christianity is NOT about saving of the flesh but the Soul."

So, the ends justify the means? god allows suffering because a select few people will get to go to heaven afterwards? Do you even know how monstrous that is?

Suffice,
"It is obvious that people who ask this question is not looking for an answer but only to frustrate believers."

It's frustrating to believers because believers don't have any answers. But, I genuinely would like an answer to the problem of evil. Problem is that there's none forthcoming. Complaining that the problem exists and is brought up is not a substitute for solving it.

"I have saved the transcript of this forum for your reading. It can be downloaded at: http://www.box.net/shared/mhmn4jel2z"

Unfortunately I can't look at it now, but why do you not link to the actual discussion at the forum?

Goyo said...

Anonymous and Suffice: thank you for giving us the affirmation that the scriptures don't really mean what they say...that your lives as xtians are no different than any other person's on the earth...exactly what I said.
Thanks.

Anonymous said...

GCT said...
It's frustrating to believers because believers don't have any answers. But, I genuinely would like an answer to the problem of evil. Problem is that there's none forthcoming. Complaining that the problem exists and is brought up is not a substitute for solving it.

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

Christians don't understand about evil? We don't understand suffering?

That is a new one.

The cause of Evil and suffering is SIN, which separated us from God. The solution is Jesus Christ.

Isaiah 59:1-2 (KJV) Behold, the LORD'S hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear: But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear.

Praise the Lord!

Tigerboy said...

So, Anonymous, God created a race of humans who are "sinful", and then he gets pissed at the very tendency toward "sin" that was his own creation?

God created a race of humans who have free will, in order that he can exact revenge against those who exercise that free will in ways he doesn't like?

Does that sound like the strategy of a stable mind?

It doesn't sound much like free will, either!

It also sounds a bit like pulling the wings off a fly in order to see what it will do. Nasty.

It always amazes me that so many people wish to prostrate themselves before this sadomasochistic dictator fantasy.

Millions and millions of people actually seem to derive COMFORT from this absolutist, authoritarian nightmare.

I prefer a bit of "Do unto others as you would have others do unto you" and "Live and let live" . . . and then getting on with the business of enjoying the single, wonderful, finite life at hand.

Goyo said...

Anonymous: Allow me to translate that verse from Isaiah: "I could restore your missing limb if I wanted to, but since you are gay, I won't."

GCT said...

Anon,
"Christians don't understand about evil? We don't understand suffering?

That is a new one."

That's not even remotely what I said. On the contrary, Xians understand evil and suffering quite well. What I said was that Xians don't have an answer for evil and suffering. And, I suspect that many Xians realize that.

"The cause of Evil and suffering is SIN, which separated us from God. The solution is Jesus Christ."

Which doesn't account for natural evil or the ability for people to commit evil on others. Further, why would god allow this evil to begin with when he could have prevented it? Xians don't have answers to such questions. What you have is a realization that evil exists and a half-baked "solution" as to why we shouldn't worry about it (cause Jesus is going to save us from it) that doesn't actually address the disconnect between a supposedly omni-benevolent god and the realization of all the abject suffering that really does occur.

Anonymous said...

Dear God,
Please excuse GCT for being a donkey. He's smart, and thinks he knows everything including your will. GCT is really just scared that one day he will meet you and have to explain why he's leading your sheep away, and I feel he's a bit lonely too.
Thank you,
Me

ethinethin said...

Nice, anonymous. Rather than address the issue, insult both GCT and your God (well, at least I'd consider a false prayer to be blasphemous -- if it was a real prayer, it should have been said in private - Matthew 6:6).

The sin of man does not account for natural evil. I think that is a rather astute observation.

Tyler said...

Dear Cod,
Please excuse Anonymous for being a moron. He thinks he knows everything including your will. Anonymous is really just scared that one day he won't have to meet you and explain why he, on your behalf, constantly ran unarmed into battles of wits.
Thank you,
Me

annonymous2 said...

I used to come around frequently, but its been about a year or longer. As a former christian who still struggles with indoctrination, I'm glad I popped back in - I needed a little mental clarity to help settle my mind in my current battle with "god".

Although I haven't seen it here before, I would imagine that these scripture references have been referred to before; however, since "evil" has been mentioned in this thread, I'd like to point out that "god" himself created it. Issaih 45:7. Amos 3:6. Lamentations 3:38.

But then again, there is that creation story in Genesis that clearly states that "god" created everything in the universe.

Ditto on what Tigerboy said. Sin is evil and god created it. So if you just can't bring yourself to following a god who left us here with nothing but a book filled with inconsistency and contradiction, you get rewarded with an eternity in hell (but then again, i guess you could choose "free will" and get your "get out of jail, free" card). Gee thanks god! I'd rather you not have created me.

Tigerboy said...

annonymous2:

I really empathize with you.

The religious propaganda that so many people learn at their mother's knee becomes a life-long struggle with coming to terms with reality.

Let me reassure you. It is a fear-based fiction. It lacks basic logic. It's not true.

Religious propaganda is used by the powerful to control those with less power.

The legend of Santa Claus is so instructive, because it is a much simpler version of the exact same idea. Santa Claus is "God for children."

Santa Claus is a mixture of kindness and authority.

Santa watches us all the time. He judges children to be "good" or "bad."

"Good" children get treats and toys.

"Bad" children get coal (or, in some countries, they get beaten with a switch).

Heaven or Hell.

And, how do parents use this story? To control their children's behavior. "You better be good, or Santa will bring you coal!"

Santa is the "God" story in a form that children can understand. Children usually figure out that it's bullshit.

As we get older, the authoritarian man with the long gray beard becomes much more ominous. He uses the coal to ROAST the children for eternity.

Please accept my condolences that you were taught these evil, vicious lies.

Congratulations on working your way through the propaganda and arriving at the truth.

Trust me, both Santa Claus and God are bullshit.

Ross said...

I believe that God can and does heal, but when He does, it's to glorify himself, and not to make travelling healing evangelists look good. I won't go into details, but issues of suffering and illness are close to my heart.

Here's a blog I wrote on one of your countrymen.

http://roscoeland.blogspot.com/2007/08/spiritual-snakeoil.html

And if thy foot offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter halt into life, than having two feet to be cast into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched: Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched.
(Mark 9:45-46)

I'm not sure if you're being serious here, but Jesus isn't advocating self-mutilation here. He was using hyperbole to emphasise how seriously sin needs to be treated.

GCT said...

Ross,
"I believe that God can and does heal, but when He does, it's to glorify himself..."

A couple things here:
1) Doesn't that sound a bit egocentric? I mean, why does god need to glorify himself? And, why would it not bring glory to god to regrow limbs?
2) Isn't that a bit convenient? When someone is healed, then you can claim that it was god. If someone doesn't heal, then you can claim that it wouldn't have glorified god. Unfortunately, spontaneous remission of diseases happens with the same regularity as chance, so it's even more convenient for god, isn't it? And, we know that some things (like regrowing limbs) that simply do not happen even with chance are not also not part of god's self-glorifying plan, even though he does have the power to heal those types of wounds.

"I'm not sure if you're being serious here, but Jesus isn't advocating self-mutilation here."

Where are you getting that from? Who here said that Jesus was advocating self-mutilation? Of course, many people (Xians) have taken those passages that way throughout history, so who am I to say they are wrong?

Tyler said...

Ross: I'm not sure if you're being serious here, but Jesus isn't advocating self-mutilation here. He was using hyperbole to emphasise how seriously sin needs to be treated.

Seriously, can this standard apply to all of the Jesus character's teachings? Why or why not?

In other words, why is it okay to claim hyperbole in the instances where the Jesus character advocated self mutilation, but, presumably, not in instances of the Jesus character advocated, say, eternal torture?

Anonymous said...

I just want to say something about the two main questions at hand, "Why won't God heal amputees?" and "Why is this a stupid question?"

To answer the last question first, it's not stupid in the sense that it's perfectly reasonable to ask the question and want a good answer. It's a fair question. On the other hand, it's a stupid question in the same sense "Can God make a rock so big He can't lift it?" is. The two questions are fundamentally similar. First of all, they're both based on assumptions that people make about God: He's omniscient, omnipotent, omnibenevolent, etc., etc. While there are verses in the Bible that indicate God knows all and can do most anything, the above terms are words man invented to describe God. The "Can God make a . . ." question implies that, since God can do anything, He should be able to a)make a rock so big He can't lift it and b) lift it anyway. The two contradict each other, therefore trapping God. But the truth is, God can only do anything THAT CAN BE DONE. Since, by neccesity, each statement negates the other, there is no Being in any conceivable universe that can accomplish such a task. This doesn't disprove God, it just shows that God can't do every thing that skeptics would ask of Him.
Similarly, "Why won't God heal amputees?" is asking God to jump through a man-made hoop of fire. The critical difference is, healing amputees is, presumbably, within God's abilities.
When I first saw the question, I thought the answer was obvious. God won't heal amputees because it goes against the laws of nature He put in place. It's like asking God to let you live forever or never grow older (while on this earth). Losing limbs is part of the human existence.
As my science professor said, "God usually works through rules that He ordained. [A] miracle [is] when God sets aside His 'rules' and does something ‘outside’ of them." Most Christians are in agreement that God doesn't work miracles as often as He used to. The last period in which miracles were common place (according to Christian theology) was during the ministry of Jesus, in which the deaf, dumb, and blind were healed and in which the dead were raised. The Gospels (Christians believe) recorded these events so that future generations would believe Christ's authority. Since then, most Christians don't expect miracles to be common place.
Now, atheists could argue that God is cruel for having the abilities to heal amputees and refusing to do so. I'll just say, again, this is people expecting God to conform to THEIR definition of "omnibenevolent."
Christians believe that it is in God's ability to heal amputees, and for all I know, He may have. You say He never has because you haven't heard of an incident in which He has. I'm sure you haven't gone back and looked through all the archives of all the world's newspapers and every hospital's records to verify there is no record of such an incident. Even if you did, it wouldn't prove without a doubt such an incident had never taken place. And even if such an incident had never taken place, it wouldn't prove without a doubt God doesn't exist. God is under no obligation to prove Himself to those who don't (or won't) believe in Him.

People are bound to claim I'm "making excuses for God." I don't believe God needs me to make excuses for Him. This is my attempt to answer your question. Take it or leave it. (That last statements rhetorical, BTW.)

GCT said...

Anon,

That's because you are making excuses for god.

When you compare this to the heavy rock question, you're comparing apples and oranges. You're quite right in saying that the heavy rock question is unfair, because it is a logical contradiction. Healing amputate limbs is not. And, you should remember that Xians are often advocates of prayer having a healing effect, and some go as far as to claim that god is performing miraculous healings of illnesses, etc. Yet, nowhere do we see any evidence of a single amputated limb regrowing. Not a single one.

Further, it's not a case of my definition of "omnibenevolent" since there is an accepted definition. If you wish to claim that god does not follow this definition, then we need a new word to describe god's attributes, but I can't allow you or any other Xian to pull a bait and switch - to claim that god is omnibenevolent when you mean something else, hoping that people will associate what you really mean with the definition that is accepted. This is logically fallacious.

So, your whole entire comment boils down to a couple of ideas:
A) god won't do what we want him to do - which requires a redefinition of omnibenevolence
B) "You don't know that god hasn't healed an amputee in the past" - which raises the obvious question of why it would be so well hidden, and why god would be unwilling to do so again.

Realistically, you've not given a single answer to the questions that you claimed you would answer. I agree that you tried to give an answer as to why it is a supposedly stupid question, but you based it entirely on a false comparison and then went with the Book of Job answer. I find this wholly unsatisfying.

"God is under no obligation to prove Himself to those who don't (or won't) believe in Him."

Just a comment on this - you are dead wrong. If god created me and will then send me to hell for not being his friend, then it is a moral imperative for him to show himself to me and do his part to try and establish a relationship and engender belief from me. To do anything else is simply monstrous and morally outrageous.

Tyler said...

Anon: God won't heal amputees because it goes against the laws of nature He put in place.

Limb regeneration does not go against the laws of nature, you imbecile.

Anonymous said...

I am confused why his blog space now reads "I Love Jesus" I am sort of confused by this? Did someone hack his computer?

GCT said...

Mr. X did it. His ways are not our ways and he works in mysterious ways.

Unonymous said...

"Mr. X did it. His ways are not our ways and he works in mysterious ways."

GCT,
Would Mr. X be your right hand, not knowing what your left hand is doing?

GCT said...

Ah, no. Mr. X started this blog.

Unonymous said...

So... apparently Mr. X didn't hate Jesus enough to put his own effort into the blog, but you were willing and able, so you took it over. Is that right?

GCT said...

No one here actually hates Jesus, seeing as how he's a fictional character.

I just blogged is all. The intent was not to "take over."

Unonymous said...

GCT,
It sounds as though Mr. X is there with you. Why did she/he decide to blow off the blog in the first place? Changing the name of the blog would seem to indicate a continued interest at some level.

Why so mysterious, X?

GCT said...

Really? In just 2 clicks, you can get to Mr. X's profile and see that he's from NY, while I happen to be from Boston. I mean, it would only take you a miniscule amount of research on this, yet instead you're engaging in some pretty sophomoric level psychoanalysis?

Unonymous said...

Just trying to understand the basis for the name change on the blog. Apparently, you and X both have access to the blog to edit the content. You could change the name back if you wanted, yet you haven't. Why not?

Tigerboy said...

Unonymous:

Are you suggesting some sort of nefarious goings-on? A conspiracy theory?

Mr. X and GCT both contribute to this blog. Pretty simple.

Mr. X didn't "blow off" anything. I've seen his writings here, and fairly recently.

What's your point?

Unonymous said...

"Are you suggesting some sort of nefarious goings-on? A conspiracy theory?"

No. Nothing that exciting.

GCT seems to take the blog seriously, yet has nothing to say about changing the name of the blog to the opposite extreme.

It just seems odd to me that he chooses to deflect the question (Mr. X did it) or ignore it.

Why not just change it back?

Arguing against Christianity with a blog title "Why I Love Jesus" seems like a mixed message at best and maybe one that isn't meant to be taken seriously.

GCT said...

"GCT seems to take the blog seriously, yet has nothing to say about changing the name of the blog to the opposite extreme."

Which entirely fits the history of this blog if anyone's been following along. It's not that big a deal. What matters most is the content of the arguments...content that you seem to not be able to argue against.

"It just seems odd to me that he chooses to deflect the question (Mr. X did it) or ignore it."

I told you the truth, which is neither deflecting nor ignoring.

"Arguing against Christianity with a blog title "Why I Love Jesus" seems like a mixed message at best and maybe one that isn't meant to be taken seriously."

Maybe this all shouldn't be taken seriously. Maybe it's farcical in the extreme that we even have to argue about whether there's some sky daddy in the sky who is clearly contradictory. Why does anyone take the Xian myth seriously or any of the other theistic myths?

Unonymous said...

So why don't you change the name of the blog back to "Why I Hate Jesus?"

Tigerboy said...

GCT asks:

"Maybe this all shouldn't be taken seriously. Maybe it's farcical in the extreme that we even have to argue about whether there's some sky daddy . . . "

"Why does anyone take the Xian myth seriously or any of the other theistic myths?"

Notice that no one spends a lot of time agonizing over whether to describe themselves as "atheist" vs. "agnostic" regarding the non-existence of "Apollo," or "Loki, the Mischief-Maker."

Once again, one cannot PROVE the nonexistence of anything. One cannot PROVE that there are no fairies in the garden.

The vast majority of people not only do not believe in "Loki, the Mischief-Maker," they would find it completely unnecessary to describe themselves as "Loki-agnostics."

We are all "Loki-atheists."

By calling the monotheistic God only "God," by celebrating His "mystery," by downplaying His pettiness, His blood-thirst, His personality, the Magnum Mysterium appeals to our nebulous sense of awe and wonder, but He can never be pinned down.

There is obviously some aspect to our makeup, some aspect of our brain, that turns feelings of awe and wonder into creation stories about omni-max beings.

It's all perfectly natural and normal. We've always done it. It doesn't make "The Great and Powerful OZ" a real being.

Just because life scares us, it doesn't mean that "Shiva, Destroyer of Worlds" actually exists.

Creating a fiction about a very specific personality, with a name, makes it easier to discard, to outgrow.

A nebulous, mysterious "God" is harder for the masses to discount. He becomes the answer to all things for which we have no answer.

Many unscrupulous people, throughout the ages, have used the human trait to create supernatural stories to amass for themselves great power, money, and influence.

GCT, I'm sure you must have already seen this quote:

“Religion is regarded by the common people as true, by the wise as false, and by the rulers as useful."

-Seneca, Roman Philosopher, 1st century

Convincing foolish people that they can live forever is extraordinarily profitable. The very foundation of organized religion is unscrupulous, greedy and dishonest.

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Unonymous said...

GCT,
Whatever the reason is for the blog name change (and your decision to keep it and not change it back), I think it is a good thing. I hope it's a preview of more good things to come for you and your blog.

Tigerboy said...

Unonymous is hoping for converts!

Unonymous said...

Jesus did say He would send His message to the ends of the earth. This blog would seem to be an unlikely place to see it, but it looks like it has arrived.

Tigerboy said...

Praise him, brother! Testify!

You do realize that the whole "convert the world" aspects of Islam and Christianity are among monotheism's most obnoxious features, and the basis and justification for "holy wars."

You get that, right?

Islamic terrorism is a direct result of the obsession with converting the infidels.

Religion does not foster "Live, and let live."

It fosters: "You will believe as I do, or die."

ethinethin said...

"Jesus did say He would send His message to the ends of the earth. This blog would seem to be an unlikely place to see it, but it looks like it has arrived."

It's a fact that you're not the first to proselytize on this blog and I would be willing to bet the farm that you're not the last. I've heard "the word" so many times, but I never receive what would convince me to accept it as truth. If you want to convert me (I'm sorry, "save" me), give me compelling evidence that your God exists. Until you address this fundamental issue, any "gospel" or "word" or "truth" you try to dispense is meaningless to me.

Compelling evidence is all I'm asking for, not personal testimonies, unverifiable miracle stories, and threats of hell.

Unonymous said...

ethinethin,

“It's a fact that you're not the first to proselytize on this blog”

Actually, I’m not proselytizing. According to GCT, it was Mr. X who made the change from hating Jesus to loving Jesus. I was curious myself as to the basis of that change, but good luck trying to find out what that is all about.

What is the compelling evidence for the existence of God?

You tell me. For you, what would constitute compelling evidence that God exists?

A verifiable miracle? How do you verify a miracle?

Personal testimonies don’t cut it. What if something happens to you that is compelling evidence to you alone, but would seem like a worthless personal testimony to someone else? Does it count? If you are the only one who find the “evidence” compelling, can you then dismiss it, or is it only compelling if Really Smart People (like you and me) find it compelling?

If there was such a thing as compelling evidence, how would you know it when you saw it?

Tigerboy said...

Unonymous says:
"If you are the only one who find the “evidence” compelling, can you then dismiss it, or is it only compelling if Really Smart People (like you and me) find it compelling?"

This question is fascinating. Not because it asks something profound about the nature of the universe, but rather, because of the possible revelation of political agenda.

There is a curious attitude among the Sarah Palin/Tea Party crowd that "Really Smart People" are not to be trusted.

I recognize that the writer says: "Really Smart People (like you and me)", suggesting he/she is including him/herself in the group.

However, I stand by my belief that the capitalizing of "Really Smart People" suggests a group apart. A group of "others."

The Tea Party is all about distrusting "others."

"Let's take our country back!" From whom, exactly?

Setting up an "Us versus Them" dichotomy is very religious in nature, it is the foundation for racism, and it is, also, a tactic to grab political power.

I believe the Tea Party to be a fundamentally racist group, and I believe religion to be very similar to racism, in it's "Us versus Them" world view.

Distrust of the "Really Smart People," those "East Coast Elites," I find fascinating. Since when did being "intelligent" become equal with "not to be trusted?"

It is because "intelligence" fucks with the stupidity of "taking things on faith." Mess with my Jesus delusions and you must be a person "of the Devil."

The Scientific Method does not have political bias. The Scientific Method does not have an anti-religious agenda. It merely reveals what it finds to be true. Objectively true.

A person who finds the Scientific Method to be inherently "untrustworthy" is revealing the existence of their own bias, the existence of their own agenda.

Unonymous said...

Tigerboy,
I guess if I'm not in your tribe you figure I must be in your enemies' tribe. Sorry, the Tea Party is not my tribe. If you read any politics into my comment I think you missed the point (but it's still a good opportunity to indulge in a tribalistic rant).

Tigerboy said...

Unonymous:

I am not claiming a tribe. In fact, I wrote something rather against that mentality.

Neither am I assigning you to a tribe. My comments were not addressed to you, in particular, at all.

I made some general comments about the political and religious attitudes that distrust "Really Smart People."

Do you distrust "Really Smart People?"

Evil_Jake said...

Tigerboy,

I agree with many of the things you say on here, and you seem to be pretty well educated too. However, I don't think it's fair for you to conflate everyone involved in the Tea Party affairs as racist or ignorant. To be fair, I'm coming from the perspective of an ex-Xian/Republican, who now considers himself an agnostic, Libertarian.

Your contention that the Tea Parties are about distrusting people is technically correct, albeit misleading. More specifically, it's about distrusting our government, which is a wise thing.

If you look back in light of a historical context, you would have to agree that governments on a whole have never had the peoples' best interest at heart. One could throw out all sorts of examples here of failed social regimes built on communism, socialism, Marxism, Nazism, Sharia Law, etc., were they so inclined. Nevertheless, the meat and potatoes of the issue has remained unchanged since the earliest recorded examples of human social contrivances, and that is the human element.

Call it human nature, sin, survivalism, whatever. The basic human impulse of lust for power and authority (the desire to become more “fit”, as it were) is ironically the same justification you give to “unscrupulous” people for the purposes of using religion to take advantage of people. Certainly politicians are not above using perceived or actual power and authority to further their own gains at the expense of those they rule.

So the Tea Parties are actually a reflection of intelligent people with a healthy knowledge of history, if anything. Really, the antithesis of what you are implying here.

I find it ironic as well, that you repetitively chastise Tea Party people as having an “us versus them” mentality, while you unabashedly elevate yourself above, and attack the intelligence of, Sarah Palin supporters, Christians, Tea Party goers, and creationists (did I leave any out?).

I like you Tigerboy, but I just think you've failed to see the irony that your position is in fact also revealing the existence of YOUR own bias, and YOUR own agenda.

Tigerboy said...

Evil_Jake

I was expressing my opinion. I am not making claims to know things which I do not.

My opinion is that the Tea Party is not merely a manifestation of distrust of the government. That is the "party line."

I don't believe it.

My opinion is that the nebulous, ill-defined tenets of the Tea Party SEEM TO ME to have great appeal for people who SEEM TO ME to be enthusiastically racist.

--Evil_ Jake: "I find it ironic as well, that you repetitively chastise Tea Party people as having an “us versus them” mentality, while you unabashedly elevate yourself above, and attack the intelligence of, Sarah Palin supporters, Christians, Tea Party goers, and creationists (did I leave any out?)."

In the writing to which you refer, I NEVER ONCE addressed the level of intelligence of any of those people. Read it again. I said there is an attitude amongst the supporters of Sarah Palin and the Tea Party that distrusts "Really Smart People."

I made no comment calling into question anyone's intelligence. I made no comment calling into question Sarah Palin's intelligence. I didn't attack anybody. I merely posed the question:

"Since when did being "intelligent" become equal with "not to be trusted?"

I am not creating an argument that places Tea Partiers in some sort of opposition with "Really Smart People." I'm not calling anyone stupid. I'm asking why THEY seem to be of an opinion that creates that opposition. Why do they distrust extraordinary intelligence? I am questioning their attitude about great intelligence. I am not claiming they don't have any.

If I WERE to call into question the intelligence of the extremely pious, which I did not do in the writing to which you refer, well, that's an entirely different matter.

People who claim certainty about things that no one can know, they deserve, and should expect, ridicule.

I do not claim to know things which I do not. Never have.

Any "Us versus Them" mentality that I have is reserved for those who promote hatred of their fellow man. Religion and racism fall squarely into that category. They both represent xenophobia, based on unsubstantiated information.

Tigerboy said...

Evil_Jake,

We could argue all day about the evils of government.

I certainly agree with the notion that one should look on any government, or any political leader, with a healthy dose of skepticism.

Power corrupts, and absolute power . . . etc.

That is why placing power in the hands "of the people" is a good idea. Representative, democratically-elected government is a much better idea than the alternatives.

There are plenty of unscrupulous, power-hungry people within all forms of government, within all forms of religion, within all forms of business, within all forms of ANY human endeavor. People can be total shits, no question!!

But, imperfect as it may be, government is necessary. We need some form of governance. Distrusting everything to do with all types of government will not maintain your bridges, or staff your police departments, or protect the environment.

The world will not run.

The world would run MUCH BETTER, we'd all enjoy greater security, we'd all stand a much better chance of handing off a stable, peaceful world to our children and our grandchildren, if we stopped arguing about the divinity of Jesus, about who is the Tenth Imam, and admitted to each other that religion is bullshit.

You and I can argue about which is better, small government, or big government.

But, we need government.

We don't need religion.
We'd be much better off without religion.

Government MIXED with religion is a HORRIBLE IDEA.

Sarah Palin (or any other religious zealot) with her finger on the Big Red Button is a HORRIBLE IDEA.

Religious certainty does not lead to peaceful relationships with the neighbors.

Evil_Jake said...

Fair enough, it's your opinion and you have a right to it. However, I think a bit of research will reveal to you that these Tea Party folks are not simply Sarah Palin supporters, nor do they cling to one specific party line.

In fact, there are many, many people in this country from liberal to libertarian, who have opened their eyes to see beyond the party lines, and recognize that Bush, Obama, and McCain, are all variants of the same problem. All three of them have helped to destroy this country, and all the silly squabbling we do in this country over who is better, is simply ignoring the fact that all of them are the problem to begin with. It's simply a case of nobody (or very few) questioning the paradigm, but rather nitpicking about the details.

The problem becomes one of a rather large scale ad hominem attack really. Politics is a game of favorites and emotions, and is hardly subject to logical discourse.

Your contention that the tenets of the Tea Party are “nebulous” or “ill-defined” puzzles me. Surely the capitalization of the name should invoke historical context for those who know a thing or two about the events surrounding the Revolutionary War. Surely the signs that rave about over taxation and government spending should be a clue; the Colonial age garb perhaps?


What is this fascination with less-than subtle hints and accusations of racism toward those who are not on the left? I'm not left, and I'm not right (politically speaking for you witty folks), but I'm also not racist for having beliefs or ideals that oppose those that happen to be shared by a preponderance of the populous, regardless of color. Dictionary.com defines racism as follows:

“a belief or doctrine that inherent differences among the various human races determine cultural or individual achievement, usually involving the idea that one's own race is superior and has the right to rule others.”

As an individual who has been a Republican, Conservative, Baptist, and Christian, at varying extremes, I can certainly attest first-hand that a majority of the people in these factions are not racist, and do not condone, nor exhibit racist tendencies. Now, I know that racism comes in many different flavors, some more blatant, some less, but what exactly is it that has caused you to draw a correlation between Tea Party goers (if not all non-liberals) and racism?

Tigerboy, you and I know very well that grammatical context certainly leaves room for derogatory connotations that don't require specific statements of purpose or intent. Certainly you have never (to my knowledge) said that Palin supporters et al are stupid, or unintelligent. However, one could easily surmise based on the context and mood of your post that you bear disdain for the intelligence of these people. Perhaps I'm just reading too much into your posts though.

Also, I think that your confusion over perceived “intelligence”, or pseudo-intellectualism, and actual intelligence, based on logical reasoning, is at the heart of the problem. “Really Smart People” seems to me to be a smarmy swat at pseudo-intellectuals, rather than an admission of superior intellect.

More than likely though, and more to the point, it is probably an attempt to expose the hypocrisy of left-leaning pseudo-intellectuals who use perceived intellectual status based on political standing to construct an “us versus them” mentality among the populous. This is perspective here, not necessarily my present thought process or beliefs

Evil_Jake said...

Now, this is an interesting statement you just made:

“People who claim certainty about things that no one can know, they deserve, and should expect, ridicule.”

My first reaction is that of an ex-Christian, Young Earth Creationist. See, I debated people of this mentality (atheist, evolutionists) for years, and this is the quintessential “us versus them” mentality. I mean, if I took the time, I could easily dissect this statement to show the sheer hypocrisy of it at face value, but I'm rather curious to know what exactly someone of your obviously enlightened state, actually believes. Are you atheist, agnostic, theistic evolutionist, what are you?

“I do not claim to know things which I do not. Never have.”

See, I don't even know you, and I have trouble believing that one. Superficially, you might think that you're in the clear here, but can you honestly say that you have “never” once said something such as “I just know the Yankees are gonna win the World Series”, or “I just know it's gonna be sunny today, after all those days of rain.” Certainly the mother whose son disappeared several years ago, who is still desperately searching for him, when she says “I just know he's alive, I just know it”, deserves ridicule based on your logic.

Not only that, but now you appear to be the arbiter of what people can actually know and not know. Just how is it that you know what others can and cannot know? Obviously since you are ridiculing people for claiming to know something you do not, you must yourself already know everything then, right? See Tigerboy, this is an elitist mentality, and you've got to stop looking at people in this “us versus them” light.

It's nice of you to drop religion into the category of things that “promote hatred of their fellow man”, but all you've managed to do here is label an entire people group (most of the world's population actually) based on your own disbelief. Not really worth dissecting, but I like the part about xenophobia. Surely you would like the opportunity to support your argument as to why anybody who believes something you don't is apparently racist, hateful, and unreasonably afraid of the world, right?

Evil_Jake said...

Government is necessary, true. Beyond that, the differences between healthy skepticism, activism, and revolution, are based upon how MUCH government asserts its authority over the people, and the tolerance of the people to withstand encroachment on their liberties. The current climate of Tea Party fever is simply an activist approach, responding to the governments' encroachment of civil liberties.

The part that I don't understand, is that you don't seem to hold this sort of contempt for others on the opposite side of the aisle. I mean, you seem like an intelligent guy, so I would think it would be fairly obvious that electing a black man into the White House for no reason other than his skin color, would be the epitome of racism. Yes, we want to elevate you to the highest, most prestigious position of authority in the known world, because we feel bad about slavery. I mean, judging people by the color of their skin rather than the content of their character goes against everything civil rights legends like Martin Luther King Jr. believed in.

And I suppose you turn a blind eye to things such as Million Man March, NAACP, BET, United Negro College Fun, and all of the hundreds of other organizations that unabashedly create an atmosphere of “us versus them”? You probably didn't even flinch when you found out Obama attended a racist church for 20 years of his life either, did you?

That concludes my rant about racism, for now.

But it's not about simply distrusting authority for the sake of distrusting authority (in reference to governance), but rather, having a healthy skepticism of people, like you previously alluded to. In fact, the more power they wield, the more we should be skeptical of them. Your quote from Lord Acton on power should suffice here for the sake of brevity.


“The world would run MUCH BETTER, we'd all enjoy greater security, we'd all stand a much better chance of handing off a stable, peaceful world to our children and our grandchildren, if we stopped arguing about the divinity of Jesus, about who is the Tenth Imam, and admitted to each other that religion is bullshit.”

So, what you are proposing here is that people should stop looking for the answers to unanswered questions about our origins, the meaning of life, and the conundrum of death? Or in fact, are you proposing that these questions have already been answered, and that religious people are simply too daft and deluded to realize it?

I'm curious as to which it is, because it reminds me of what you said earlier about ridiculing people who “know” things they cannot know, and implies that you know something that these people do not. Or is it less of a generalization about religious people, and more pointedly about Xians, Fundies, or Bible Thumpers?

I think though what it is, is that fundamentally you have characterized “religion” and “religious people” as a negative stereotype, regardless of what the content of the belief actually entails. What you fail to realize though, is that really, your lack of religion is nothing more than a religion of naturalism, atheism, or perhaps solipsism, set apart as “non-religious” by your own definition. Belief in nothing is still a belief. It's just easier if you set apart people who believe differently than you as a group that you can easily denigrate I guess; in this case, religious people fit the bill.

And just to clarify, I do think there are plenty of religions out there that are bat-shit crazy, and probably should be ridiculed. But I think it is a little more than elitist to label over half the world's population as dangerous zealots, simply because they believe differently than you.

Evil_Jake said...

*Fund

Sorry, proofreading only gets you so far...

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

Evil_Jake said:
---"Your contention that the tenets of the Tea Party are “nebulous” or “ill-defined” puzzles me. Surely the capitalization of the name should invoke historical context for those who know a thing or two about the events surrounding the Revolutionary War. Surely the signs that rave about over taxation and government spending should be a clue; the Colonial age garb perhaps?"

Yes, I understand that TEA people don't want to pay their taxes. Capitalization of three letters is not a party platform. I understand they wish to invoke "the events surrounding the Revolutionary War." Again, not a platform.

"Colonial age garb perhaps?" Are you serious? This is all very vague. The wearing of costumes is not a platform. I understand they don't like taxes, or the government. As I said, nebulous. Fuzzy.

It is this very ill-defined distrust of everything, this vague statement that we need to "take our country back" that appeals to xenophobes. It appeals to the element who longs for the "good old days" of the undeniable white power structure. Segregation. And I've been saying that since long before Rand Paul's famous appearance on the Rachel Maddow Show.

Evil_Jake said:
---"As an individual who has been a Republican, Conservative, Baptist, and Christian, at varying extremes, I can certainly attest first-hand that a majority of the people in these factions are not racist, and do not condone, nor exhibit racist tendencies."

Wow! You are witnessing for a boatload of people, brother! No racists to be found within "a majority" of Republicans, Conservatives, Baptists, or various extremes of Christians! Phew, that is a whole lot of people! I guess racism only exists in the ghetto!

Tigerboy said...

Evil_Jake said:
---"Also, I think that your confusion over perceived “intelligence”, or pseudo-intellectualism, and actual intelligence, based on logical reasoning, is at the heart of the problem. “Really Smart People” seems to me to be a smarmy swat at pseudo-intellectuals, rather than an admission of superior intellect."

I did not introduce the phrase "Really Smart People" to this thread. That was "Unonymous." We would have to ask him/her what was meant by that phrase. I merely picked up on it. I have frequently heard people question the trustworthiness of "those East Coast elites." I have heard Sarah Palin do this.

I do NOT think anyone is taking a "smarmy swat at pseudo-intellectuals." "East Coast elites" is a direct reference to the high number of ivy league universities on the East Coast. The high number of "true intellectuals." I think that people who depend on the Scientific Method for their information and world view are very threatening to people who depend upon Jesus for their power, influence, livelihood, and emotional security.

Tigerboy said...

---Tigerboy said: "People who claim certainty about things that no one can know, they deserve, and should expect, ridicule.”

---and Evil_Jake responded: "My first reaction is that of an ex-Christian, Young Earth Creationist. See, I debated people of this mentality (atheist, evolutionists) for years, and this is the quintessential “us versus them” mentality. I mean, if I took the time, I could easily dissect this statement to show the sheer hypocrisy of it at face value, but I'm rather curious to know what exactly someone of your obviously enlightened state, actually believes. Are you atheist, agnostic, theistic evolutionist, what are you?"

The cold, hard facts are: There is ZERO concrete evidence for the existence of a deity. ZERO. You would like me to define myself in terms that relate to belief in mythology.

I cannot have certainty about the existence, or non-existence, of something for which there is not a scrap of evidence.

Neither can anyone else.

If I cannot have certainty, some people will tell me I MUST describe myself as an agnostic. I do not disagree with that. I do not claim absolute certainty that there is no God.

I also cannot claim absolute certainty that there are no fairies living in my garden. I cannot prove they are not there. I don't spend a lot of time worrying about whether I should describe myself as a fairy-agnostic, or a fairy-atheist. I simply don't believe in garden fairies.

There is no evidence for either fairies, or gods. I'm quite comfortable with my judgment that neither fairies, nor gods, are logical, or even remotely likely. If I discover concrete evidence to the contrary, I'm perfectly willing to adjust my assessment of the situation.

Anyone who claims to be CERTAIN that there are fairies in their garden should expect a bit of ridicule.

Is it possible to discover the existence of something for which there had, previously, been no evidence? Sure! That's the great thing about science. It looks at new evidence and examines it objectively.

Religion does the opposite. Religion rejects new evidence.

People who claim to KNOW things, things for which there is ZERO evidence, are being foolish. We do not need to be held hostage by foolish philosophies for which there is no evidence.

If Jesus would like to book an appearance on Oprah Winfrey, I'm more than willing to tune-in and watch the show.

I don't split hairs over who's an atheist, and who's an agnostic. I have made a judgment call that gods and fairies are really unlikely. The Keebler Elves are really unlikely, too. I'm petty sure those cookies do not come from a "hollow tree." I think they come from some sort of bakery, or factory. I'm more than willing to adjust any of my judgments, based on any new information.

Until then, I'm quite comfortable merely saying that I don't believe that gods are logical or at all likely. "Atheist" is the word that most people recognize as describing a person who doesn't believe in God. Describing myself as an atheist does not put me in the same category of "religious certainty" as someone who claims to know that Jesus was born to a virgin, rose from the dead, and flew up to heaven. That person is making claims to "know" things that contradict what an OVERWHELMING consensus of humanity recognize to be "true" about this world. Virgins don't give birth. People don't come back to life after they die. Carpenters do not subvert the laws of gravity.

Show me some evidence. I don't see taking things "on faith" as noble. I see it as foolish. I'm comfortable with the term "atheist." If you insist on calling me an "agnostic," I won't dispute your claim.

GCT said...

I'm not going to weigh in on the political discussion right now, but I do want to discuss this statement:

"What you fail to realize though, is that really, your lack of religion is nothing more than a religion of naturalism, atheism, or perhaps solipsism, set apart as “non-religious” by your own definition. Belief in nothing is still a belief."

Sorry, but no. Atheism is not a religion. It is also not necessarily a "Belief in nothing," nor would a "Belief in nothing" necessarily entail a positive belief.

If atheism is a religion, then not-collecting stamps is a hobby.

If disbelief in gods entails a positive belief, then all criminals should be considered guilty until they can prove otherwise. The positive statement that there is a god is what needs defending and is the positive belief. If I note that no theist has yet to provide evidence for their belief and hence, do not believe as they do, then I have not presented a positive belief system.

Tigerboy said...

Evil_Jake said:

---"And just to clarify, I do think there are plenty of religions out there that are bat-shit crazy, and probably should be ridiculed. But I think it is a little more than elitist to label over half the world's population as dangerous zealots, simply because they believe differently than you."

Learning one's worldview from apocalyptic religious texts has been quite amply demonstrated to lead to dangerous behavior.

Where did the 911 hijackers come up with the idea that flying airplanes into buildings was a good idea?

Where did the Westboro Baptist Church get the idea that homosexuals should be killed?

Why is there, right now, a woman, in Iran, about to be buried in the ground, up to her waist, and stoned to death for adultery? There is, and her sentence could be carried out at any time.

Sorry, if my criticism of these behaviors sounds "elitist."

Certainty about God, a being for which there is ZERO EVIDENCE, and certainty about religion, a subject about which NO ONE CAN POSSIBLY BE CERTAIN, is very, very, very dangerous.

It leads to hatred and war.

It threatens the security of the planet we share.

It leads to xenophobia, distrust of our fellow man, and violence.

It MUST be criticized.

Tigerboy said...

GCT is so right.

Atheism is NOT a religion. It is NOT merely a different form of faith.

Tarot card reading is a form of fortune-telling.

Tea leaf reading is a form of fortune-telling.

Crystal ball gazing is a form of fortune-telling.

Astrology is a form of fortune-telling.

Belief that these activities are ridiculous and have no validity is NOT another form of fortune-telling.

Atheism is not another form of unsubstantiated belief, like religion. It is what the concrete evidence supports.

Show me some real evidence. I will happily change my beliefs.

Unonymous said...

Tigerboy,

“Really Smart People “ in my post was intended to represent a group of people that one holds in high regard because they are intelligent, educated and “get it.” They are people that you like to think would hold you in high regard because you are also intelligent, educated and “get it,” just like them. They can affect the way you think because you seek their approval and want their respect.

If one is a scientist (and I think I remember ethinethine saying he is a scientist in some previous post), your group of Really Smart People would likely include scientists. I was making the point that ethinethine might at some point get evidence for the existence of God, but it might not be something that would go over well in his group of “Really Smart People.” What should he do? Should he discount his own personal experience because there is no way prove it to the Really Smart People through the scientific method? Maybe he should. After all, one can deceive one’s self right? So if you can’t trust yourself, how could one ever know if God exists or not?

How about a verifiable miracle? If you can “verify” a miracle, then you must have a scientific means of distinguishing between a natural event and one that God initiated. Ethinethin implied that he might he was open to the possibility of the existence of God if you could verify a miracle, but this is a contradiction of terms. One can’t verify the existence of God through a miracle if there is no scientific standard to apply (God derived event vs. non-God derived event). I think he meant to say that there is no way to produce evidence for the existence of God, so he is really not open to the possibility after all.

Tigerboy- “Show me some real evidence. I will happily change my beliefs.”

Would you? Perhaps, like ethinethin, you are you just saying that there could never be evidence for the existence of God, and you are happy to believe that.

Evil_Jake said...

I somewhat agree with you Unonymous. It is easy to forget that everyone has bias about events that transpired in the past. Most times, we can't even agree upon issues of the present, in the present, or even the recent past, and with every bit of solitary evidence there is at our disposal many times.

This is simply the nature of humanity. So to sit there and say that we KNOW something, with an arrogant self-assuredness, about events that transpired before anybody alive was there to see it, especially if there is no written record of it, is, well, for lack of a better word, arrogant. That goes for Xians, Muslims, and Atheists alike!

Oh, GCT and Tigerboy (or whoever), admittedly I am a bit schizophrenic (I find myself arguing both for and against Xianity) when it comes to arguing, but coming from a Xian past and being agnostic now, I'd gladly answer any real questions you feel you have not received a satisfying answer for from Xians. Or try my best anyways.

Cheers

Tigerboy said...

So, Evil_Jake, just to be clear, your position is that many years ago, before anyone alive today was there to see it, snakes could speak in English words, human beings could fly, and dead people sometimes got up out of their graves and walked around?

And, you consider it completely "arrogant" to question any of these things?

Tigerboy said...

“Show me some real evidence. I will happily change my beliefs.”

Unonymous said:
"Would you? Perhaps, like ethinethin, you are you just saying that there could never be evidence for the existence of God, and you are happy to believe that."

I'm saying, in the sum total of human experience, there has never been a scrap of evidence for the existence of a deity that did not have a rational, scientific explanation, or wasn't a complete lie.

Something is only miraculous until it's properly and objectively explained. Funny, as the Scientific Method grew, the miracles ceased.

I'm sorry you are so eager to believe lies.
I am not.

Evil_Jake said...

Tigerboy said...
“So, Evil_Jake, just to be clear, your position is that many years ago, before anyone alive today was there to see it, snakes could speak in English words, human beings could fly, and dead people sometimes got up out of their graves and walked around?

And, you consider it completely "arrogant" to question any of these things?”

Nope, not what I said Tigerboy. Read it again. What I said, was to claim that you KNOW what happened prior to mankind's' written accounts of history (and really even before you gained consciousness on this planet), with an arrogant sense of self-assuredness, or even to claim that the written history you ascribe to (the bible, et al) is the only possible explanation of our mysterious origins, then yes, that makes you arrogant. Simply questioning someone's beliefs on this subject is perfectly fine, and I think should be encouraged actually.

But to answer your question, no, I do not necessarily believe many of the accounts you mentioned, such as the Garden of Eden, etc. Which is why I have described myself previously as agnostic, although I do like to play Devil's Advocate a lot, so I apologize for the confusion. I do believe the bible has historical significance though and should not simply just be thrown in the rubbish bin.

“Something is only miraculous until it's properly and objectively explained. Funny, as the Scientific Method grew, the miracles ceased.”

See, I do agree with this statement, which is kind of why I stopped believing that the bible was telling the whole story. I mean, no single miracle has been witnessed objectively by anyone alive today, that I know of (Xians, any you know of?). Realistically, God has no limitations, and never said anything about not answering prayers that are impossible, or supernatural, that I know of. In fact, Jesus was adamant about the power of prayer and how man can move mountains and such, and is mentioned numerous times throughout the New Testament.

How can we be expected to believe that something which was possible, and obviously desirable for Jesus to do, as recently as 2000 years ago (like 2 days ago for God, right Xians?) in fact, is now simply too much trouble for him? Why are we putting limitations on an infinite god, which can do literally anything it wants?

Does Jesus not have time to appear before us, even briefly, and reassure us in these chaotic an controversial times? How about just an audible answer to my prayers? Not even after 20, 30, 40 years of praying? Not one audible conversation, sentence, or word (was that voice in my head God? Xians would say yes here)? All I want is for Jesus to call me on the phone, or come sit down with me and have a little chat, and say something similar to this:

“Sorry my Dad created you evil, with a natural tendency to do the wrong thing, and then just left you with a very esoteric instruction plan (which will be interpreted differently by everyone who reads it) full of confusing historical rhetoric in a context that doesn't apply to you. but I love you, and everything will be alright!”

Tigerboy said...

Evil_Jake,

If that's what you're waiting for, you're going to have a VERY long wait.

There are certain things that I need to count on, as I go about my day. Certain features of reality that I need. One of them is gravity. When I stepped out my door, yesterday morning, gravity was keeping everything right where I expected to find it.

My confidence in that which is real tells me that gravity works the same way today, as it did yesterday, as it did for people in the Bronze Age, and way before then.

"Knowing" that I can count on gravity is important to me. It helps me understand the circumstances in which I find myself.

If knowing that no Bronze Age carpenter could fly makes me arrogant, I guess I'm okay with being arrogant.

Unonymous said...

Tigerboy,

Like you, I am a firm believer in gravity. My faith in gravity seems justified. Each day I can count on gravity to be there, like it was yesterday. I don’t have to convince myself each day that gravity exists. I have a practical understanding of gravity based on my experience, but I also know that my understanding is superficial at best.

For example, I don’t really understand how the gravitational force between the mass of my body and the star Betelgeuse changes instantaneously as a result of me walking down the stairs to get the mail. I can’t seem to get a simple explanation as to why this should be so. My physics text tell me that this is true, but there doesn’t seem to be any satisfying explanation of this particular property of gravity to be had presently, at least not one that will reaffirm my belief on a daily basis.

What about the properties of Bronze Age carpenters? The Bible says that one particular Bronze Age carpenter changed something between myself and a God that I can’t see. Like you, I didn’t find the explanations of the unique properties of this Bronze Age carpenter to be very satisfying. There seemed to be general agreement among the Really Smart People that I hang with that this Bronze Age carpenter stuff was a pack of lies that only weak-minded Not Very Smart people would find believable.

The only part of the story that has that gravity-kind-of-feel to it is the bit about sin. Even though most Really Smart People know that the concept of sin is just a lie made up by religions to control people, there does seem to be something innate about human behavior that looks an awful lot like this sin thing that this Bronze Age carpenter kept talking about.

Tigerboy said...

Hey, Unonymous, I am so much in agreement with the notion that we should treat each other better.

Caring for my fellow man, trying to see a situation from the other guy"s point of view, realizing that we are all in this together, even loving my neighbor in the same way as I might love my family, or myself (we are all family, on some level), are all fantastic ideas.

There are perfectly good reasons to engage in these cooperative behaviors. Helping your fellow man is an excellent survival strategy.

Our brain rewards us with endorphins, when we help people. It feels good. We don't just help people because it feels good to do so, but our brain DOES encourage and reward these behaviors. It's crucial to raising our children, to our survival as a species. We help each other. We have empathy for one another. Our highly-developed sense of empathy is one of the reasons we're so successful.

"Sin" is any violation of the morality contract we all innately (though somewhat differently and imperfectly) understand. We know when one of our fellows treats another in a way that feels wrong. We long for a perfect arbiter of right and wrong. But, it's just us. We each judge things somewhat differently.

We understand the circumstances in which we find ourselves so, so, so much better, now. Making 21st century judgments through 1st century lenses really distorts things, in a VERY dangerous way.

Cooperation, empathy, a sense of fair play, are some of our most important survival tools.

Stories about talking snakes are not required.

Tigerboy said...

In fact, stories about talking snakes are much more of a problem than it would seem.

You, and all Xtians, might tell yourselves, oh, we ignore the really obvious bullshit, that's just metaphor, or whatever, but therein lies the major problem.

Teaching generation after generation of children that there is GREAT TRUTH in a book that celebrates slavery, demonizes homosexuals, tells us that women are property, and has MAJOR obsessions with virginity and animal sacrifice, is a huge problem.

It doesn't help us down that road toward love and cooperation.

Let's investigate the real reasons why we should treat each other ethically, not spread more fear of divine retribution.

There are too many fundamentalists with pipe bombs who are all too happy to send evil-doers to Hell. You may have learned to ignore the scary stuff, but for lots of people, that's what they learn.

1st century obsessions with sex do not help us get along in a 21st world. In fact, it may bring about the end of that world.

Tigerboy said...

I hate it when I post a mistake. :(
What I meant to say:

1st century obsessions about sex do not help us get along in a 21st century world. In fact, they may bring about the end of that world.

GCT said...

Unon,
"Like you, I am a firm believer in gravity. My faith in gravity seems justified."

Let's not go down the path of trying to equivocate with the word "faith."

You have a justified belief in gravity, because we have tons of evidence that it's a real phenomenon. Although we may not know every jot and tittle about it, it doesn't mean that it's all wrong or that it is a "faith" position.

Faith is what you have when you believe in something despite a lack of evidence. You don't have faith in gravity, but you do have faith in god. There's an important distinction there.

Evil_Jake said...

I somewhat agree with you Tigerboy about Xians neglecting to embrace the more dramatic parts of the bible that deal with death and bloodshed, but there's a caveat.

The whole “caring for my fellow man” bit you just laid out is rife with excuses that you are making for a meaningless process like evolution. Now, I'm not saying that the bible is necessarily everything it claims to be, or everything Xians claim it is (which are usually two different things ironically enough), but at least as you pointed out, it is honest about the more graphic history behind it.

Remember that evolution is based upon the principle of “survival of the fittest”; survival and reproduction are all that are important. And even that is stretching it, really. Because an uncaused, random process has no blueprints or benchmarks for how to run, much less any included ethical or moral codes. Any ethical or “empathetic” actions toward other organisms are purely coincidental, unless they specifically lead to survival in a given circumstance.

Your contention that helping people caused empathy to arise because it “feels good” is purely speculation. Most often times it turns out it is what is deemed wrong, illegal, or immoral by society that makes us “feel good”, rather than helping others. In any case, by what standard would you judge what is right and wrong if you followed the guidelines set by evolution, as shown in Darwin's Origin of the Species?

Let's use an example and then get your take on it:



Two cities are at war on opposite sides of the river Tigris(boy), City A and B. They have been at war for many years without cease. City A is a bunch of alpha-dog males, Spartan type warriors, each with a beautiful goddess of a wife, one more beautiful than the next. The men are physical specimens, and the women are as intelligent as they are gorgeous.

City B, however, is full of slobs; fat, lazy, wine drinking slobs. Their “women” consists of one 57 year old toothless hermaphrodite, a 400 lb behemoth named Ruth (who copulation is physically impossible with anymore), and a guy named Steve who would rather you call him Hilda. But, the thing is, these fat bastards are incredibly smart, and have won a majority of the battles with their amazing strategies alone.

Let's just say that you are the supreme chancellor of City B, and your men come up to you one day after a long, arduous battle and say: “We captured all of City A's women and children, and we want to know what you want us to do with them.”

Now, this is where it gets tricky, see. You must decide what to do, without using the empathetic argument you laid on us earlier, but instead make a decision based on the evolutionary tenet of survival, as well as what would “feel good”.

The right choice in this instance, would be to rape the women, kill the children, and spawn the master race. You might even get more pleasure out of raping some of the children, so might as well do that too. As long as the girl is able to conceive, she is useful for propagation purposes, no?

Am I wrong here? What does an atheistic evolutionist have to say about this choice? And don't try arguing against the bible or god here, I just want a defense of “evolutionary morality” (did I just make that up?) over the more common, and ever more gruesome, "plain old evolution".

Unonymous said...

Tigerboy,

"Cooperation, empathy, a sense of fair play, are some of our most important survival tools."

"Helping your fellow man is an excellent survival strategy."It's crucial to raising our children, to our survival as a species. We help each other. We have empathy for one another. Our highly-developed sense of empathy is one of the reasons we're so successful."

I've heard this before, but it has always struck me as being counterintuitive with respect to basic evolutionary theory. It actually sounds a bit like evolution apologetics.

I have to go with Evil_Jake on this one. I don't think we have yet evolved to love our neighbors as ourselves.

Tigerboy said...

You don't think parents naturally nurture and love their children?

You don't think we have a natural tendency to seek compassionate friends and lovers with which to spend our lives?

Why do you love your siblings more than other kids? (Even when you all get older and they piss you off,you still love them forever.)

Why do you feel bad when you see a homeless man?

Empathy.

Why do people get their dogs and cats at shelters?

Empathy.

Why do people set a percentage of their income aside for charity?

Why do I let a stranger know that he has dropped his wallet in the street?

Why do I hold the door open for an old woman whom I have never met, nor will ever meet again?

Empathy.

I know that showing concern for strangers is the way that I would wish to be treated. We have a social contract to help each other.

How often do you hear "what goes around, comes around?"

Why to you hold the subway door, when you see someone running for it?

Why do you get angry when you see someone mistreated, or robbed?

Empathy.

Why do people serving on a jury care so much about getting their facts straight and seeing justice served?

Why does the community band together to search for a missing child?

When we see others in need of help, we help each other.

When we are in need, we expect help.

Just because evolution has no sentiment, it doesn't change the fact that the world operates by it.

Empathy is how we help each other deal with the fact that we live in a cold, uncaring world (environment).

Hurricanes don't care about you. The Red Cross is people who help you after you are hit by one.

Earthquakes have no sympathy for you. Your neighbors have sympathy for you.

Evolution is merely the mechanism by which some life survives, and some life doesn't.

Empathy is why we humans help each other survive.

Tigerboy said...

No virgin birth required.

Tigerboy said...

(Evolution is the process by which life CHANGES when some survives and some doesn't. I want to be accurate.)

Tigerboy said...

It should read:

Natural Selection is merely the mechanism by which some life survives, and some life doesn't.

Empathy is why we humans help each other to survive.

No virgin birth required.

GCT said...

Re: evolution...

It's not a random process. Natural selection is not random.

Also, how do all other social animals survive? Humans are not the only social animal out there.

Tyler said...

So, what Jake and Unon are saying comes down to this: "If we didn't believe there were some extra-human law giver, we would be out stealing and raping and murdering our ways through life."

And therein lies somewhat of a rub - as ridiculous and repulsive as religion is, it does keep some sociopaths in line. Of course, the sociopathy religion inspires cancels out even that bittersweet morsel countless times over.

Evil_Jake said...

That's just fine and great Tyler, but your bitter soliloquies aside, what does that have to do with the question I raised? Perhaps if you focused less on insulting people, and more on the point that those people are trying to make, we might have some kind of a civil discourse on this board. You should follow GCT's example.

Perhaps you missed the part where I said that I'm agnostic though, so I forgive you.

Evil_Jake said...

GCT said...

"Re: evolution...

It's not a random process. Natural selection is not random.

Also, how do all other social animals survive? Humans are not the only social animal out there."


Actually, in point of fact, it is random. Random is the antithesis of planned. The dictionary defines random as this:

“without definite aim, purpose, method, or adherence to a prior arrangement”

Natural selection is nothing more than a preservative reaction to environmental and biological factors. Evolution proposes that chemicals haphazardly arranged themselves and the traits that were selected for based solely on their survival and reproductive value in a given environment. If this process had aim, or purpose, that would imply intent, and thus intelligence.

Logically then, seemingly superfluous aspects of nature such as beauty, music, love, selflessness, sacrifice, etc., must become apologetic points of contention with atheistic evolutionists. Just look at the extent of the just-so stories that have been piling up here in defense of “moralistic evolution”.

Evil_Jake said...

Tigerboy,

I could just as easily answer all of those questions with "because the bible tells me to", with just as much veracity.

Of course you will point to the counter-intuitive lessons of genocide, yada, yada, yada. But then you will realize that evolution faces those very same paradoxes (remember "moralistic evolution"?).

The point is this: you have your story about how evolution brought about morality, and Xians, Muslims, et al, have theirs.

GCT said...

Jake,
"Actually, in point of fact, it is random. Random is the antithesis of planned."

Evolution is unplanned, but not random:

Question 7

Talk origins

"Just look at the extent of the just-so stories that have been piling up here in defense of “moralistic evolution”."

Just-so stories? Point of fact, we have examples! Here's a short thing I wrote about it yet there's more you can find. Social animals have developed moral systems in order to survive - it's well demonstrated.

"The point is this: you have your story about how evolution brought about morality, and Xians, Muslims, et al, have theirs."

Except one has evidence and all the rest don't. That's a key concept behind all of this. Of course I'm going with the idea that has evidence for it above all the other unevidenced mythologies out there.

Tigerboy said...

----Evil_Jake:"The point is this: you have your story about how evolution brought about morality, and Xians, Muslims, et al, have theirs."

Mine is not a story. Social behaviors are well-observed. Evolution is not a story. It is well-observed. My explanation for morality requires nothing magical. It requires nothing supernatural.

Any rational person can observe cooperative behaviors. No rational person observed Mohammed mount his winged white horse and fly to heaven.

Tyler said...

Evil_Jake said...

That's just fine and great Tyler... what does that have to do with the question I raised?


Which question, exactly?

Evil Jake wrote: Perhaps you missed the part where I said that I'm agnostic though...

As if that precludes your being a moron...

Evil_Jake said...

GCT said...
--- “Just-so stories? Point of fact, we have examples! Here's a short thing I wrote about it yet there's more you can find. Social animals have developed moral systems in order to survive - it's well demonstrated.”

You are simply begging the question here GCT. The speculation is that animals (outside of humans) even have “moral systems” to begin with, rather than simply the perception of moral behavior. How are we to know whether an animal acts a certain way out of instinct, or out of moral character and selflessness?

You then use this speculation to prove that they evolved out of necessity for survival. It's circular reasoning. I could just as easily say that humans have moral systems, which god instilled in them in order to survive.

Neither are “well demonstrated”, by the way. You cannot “demonstrate” that animals developed something over millions, thousands, or even hundreds of years, because it is simply not possible to do.

Tigerboy said...
--- “Mine is not a story. Social behaviors are well-observed. Evolution is not a story. It is well-observed. My explanation for morality requires nothing magical. It requires nothing supernatural.

Any rational person can observe cooperative behaviors. No rational person observed Mohammed mount his winged white horse and fly to heaven.”

Once again, this is begging the question. More like a question begging epithet, really. What we observe is that morality exists. The process by which it arrived here is purely speculative, however. And I'm not sure if you are using equivocation to try and lump me in with Muslims or not, but I'm fairly certain I mentioned nothing of the supernatural.

Tyler said...
--- “Which question, exactly?”

How about the one where I described a whole scenario with two cities, stated the inevitable outcome of an evolutionary mentality, and then asked for an atheistic evolutionist's take on it? (9th July, last paragraph)

“As if that precludes your being a moron...”

Typical Tyler; nothing to contribute but hate...

Tyler said...

Evil Jake wrote: Tyler said...
--- “Which question, exactly?”


How about the one where I described a whole scenario with two cities, stated the inevitable outcome of an evolutionary mentality, and then asked for an atheistic evolutionist's take on it? (9th July, last paragraph)


What's this "inevitable outcome of an evolutionary mentality" bullshit?

And what makes you think empathy isn't part and parcel of morality, to the point that you think you can actually demand those answering your asinine question cannot include empathy in the response?

Evil Jake wrote: “As if that precludes your being a moron...”

Typical Tyler; nothing to contribute but hate...


Pointing out that you're a moron is no more hateful than pointing out that water is wet.

GCT said...

Jake,
You seem to be confused about the subject, especially in regards to what constitutes evidence vs. conclusions.

What we observe is evidence, plain and simple. We observe that animals act in moral ways, we see social interaction. I don't think anyone can look at the example of a monkey that goes on a hunger strike to keep another monkey from receiving painful shocks as anything other than a moral choice.

Still, these are the things we observe and we have to explain them somehow. We have one explanation that fits with the evidence, is well supported in other areas of science, and fits all the evidence we have. We call that explanation "evolution."

Now, you can claim that it all came from god, but the problem is that your claim doesn't quite fit with the evidence.

We don't have evidence that this god exists. We don't have evidence that this god puts morals into people. Etc. OTOH, we do have evidence that evolution happens - so much evidence that it's about as proven as anything gets in science!

There are even cases where we do have evidence and it just doesn't jibe with the goddidit story - the animal studies fit that bill quite nicely.

This isn't begging the question, it's not circular, it's noting the evidence and seeing how it fits the theory. We see that in one case, we have a well supported theory that fits the evidence, and in the other we have a story that doesn't explain or fit the evidence. It's clear the evolution is the best and only explanation we have.

Tigerboy said...

Jake, you seem confused about the meaning of the word "supernatural," too.

---Jake said: " . . . I'm not sure if you are using equivocation to try and lump me in with Muslims or not, but I'm fairly certain I mentioned nothing of the supernatural."

I didn't "lump you in" with anybody. You are the one who brought up Islam.

---Jake said: " . . . you have your story . . . and Xians, Muslims, et al, have theirs."

I just used one of the religions you mentioned.

I do think, however, that it might be a good exercise for you to try to remember your initial reaction to my mention of "Mohammed and his flying horse." I bet you were way more willing to dismiss the flying horse as foolish, than if I had used an example of "Jesus walking on water."

They are equally foolish.

As far as you bringing up the supernatural, last time I checked, all gods and goddesses, all garden fairies and magic elves, all talking snakes and flying horses, and all carpenters who can walk on water are supernatural beings. They all have abilities above and beyond the natural world.

Jesus (the one you want to appear to you to discuss why his Dad made you evil) is quite supernatural. As the Wilson sisters were well-known to sing:

"Try to understand. Try to understand."
"He's a magic man, mama!"

Timbo said...

I think this is a great question. It is one many Christians struggle to answer but I've recently written an article addressing the answer to it. you can check it out http://christian-apologetics.tk/why-wont-god-heal-amputees/

GCT said...

I'm underwhelmed. The idea that god doesn't heal amputees because people don't have enough faith is rather shoddy argumentation for a number of reasons.

Tigerboy said...

Timbo's article says:

---- " . . . we see so many sicknesses and even injuries healed miraculously, yet we are at least unaware of amputee healings is because it’s a faith issue."

and

---"The Atheist has likely never been witness to a miraculous healing or work of God, and when evidence is provided to him of one will often seek a scientific explanation. If none can be found it will often be labeled as a 'fluke . . .”

Seriously?

No. I would not label it a "fluke." I would label it a fraud. A simple fraud that victimizes the mentally simple.

We witness sickness and injuries healed by-means-of-faith all the time?!! Yeah, right!! Does anyone with beyond a fourth grade education still believe in that obvious sham? It's as transparently fake as professional wrestling!!

Good hygiene, good nutrition, and a good immune system heal people. Proper medicine, proper therapy, and a proper diagnosis from an appropriate, educated medical practitioner heals people.

Doctors and nurses heal people.

Money-begging televangelists? No.

God doesn't "heal amputees" because that is not something easily faked, nor is it subject to a self-delusional placebo effect.

Faith healings are blatant deceptions. They have the same credibility as carnival side shows!

I understand that faith depends on a certain amount of stupidity and gullibility, but are you really fostering an argument that starts from a position that ASSUMES the legitimacy of faith healings?

Try again.

LogicalBible said...

Amputees: An Intro to Logic.

Symbolic Logic and the If-Then Conditional.

If P, THEN Q.

P -> Q

28 But IF I cast out devils by the Spirit of God (P), THEN the kingdom of God is come unto you. (Q)

43 Therefore say I unto you, The kingdom of God shall be taken from you (~Q).

Therefore, Christ is NOT casting out devils by the Spirit of God. (~P)

P -> Q
~Q
Therefore, ~P

VALID REASONING

His Apostles were temporarily under the same directive:

9 And HEAL the sick that are therein, and say unto them, The kingdom of God is come nigh unto you.

INQUIRY: IF God should heal amputees today, THEN logically conclude that the Kingdom of God is among "us" "today"...

If you can not, then the claim that God should is invalid.

LogicalBible said...

Amputees: An Intro to Logic.

Symbolic Logic and the If-Then Conditional.

If P, THEN Q.

P -> Q

28 But IF I cast out devils by the Spirit of God (P), THEN the kingdom of God is come unto you. (Q)

43 Therefore say I unto you, The kingdom of God shall be taken from you (~Q).

Therefore, Christ is NOT casting out devils by the Spirit of God. (~P)

P -> Q
~Q
Therefore, ~P

VALID REASONING

His Apostles were temporarily under the same directive:

9 And HEAL the sick that are therein, and say unto them, The kingdom of God is come nigh unto you.

INQUIRY: IF God should heal amputees today, THEN logically conclude that the Kingdom of God is among "us" "today"...

If you can not, then the claim that God should is invalid.

Tigerboy said...

I really don't have any idea what you are going on about.

But, if we are trying to prove something with logic, can I safely assume that P and Q are representative of some concepts that can be demonstrated?

In other words, are we talking about P and Q that represent some true statements about reality?

I understand that P and Q are symbolic, but are they symbolic of fairies and unicorns? Or, are they symbolic of something that learned people and the peer-review process would find credible?

Because, if P=Cast out devils by the Spirit of God, and Q=THEN the Kingdom of God is come to you, it doesn't sound like valid reasoning. It sounds like the presupposition of a big load of bullshit.

GCT said...

So, let me get this straight:

If god were to heal amputees, then it would mean that the kingdom of god is among us today.

So, let's examine that. Apparently, it only holds for amputees for some reason? Why is that? god can heal all kinds of maladies (according to reports from believers) up to and including cancer, but not amputees, because healing amputees would indicate that the "kingdom of god is among us today" but the rest of those don't?

But, guess what? There's even bigger problems with your "logic" because in the story you cite, Jesus does cast out demons (cast out demons, not heal lost limbs). IOW, the condition that you cite of "The kingdom of god shall be taken from you," has already occurred. You can't very well claim that it can not occur when in the story you cite it does occur.

The condition (Q) also is from 9 chapters later and is completely disconnected from the given (P). It's Jesus going on one of his rants and damning those who don't simply fall down and worship at his feet. It has nothing at all to do with your given P statement. It's almost like you chose some similar words, put them together, claimed that it put us atheists in our place, then condescendingly and smugly tried to lecture us all on logic. You've failed to even pass the test of simple intellectual honesty (I notice you didn't mention where the Bible verses came from, except by the verse number, which is highly dishonest of you) and you've failed to pass the rudimentary basics of logic. I'm afraid that you are under-qualified to be giving out lessons on the use of logical statements.

Jessica Friday said...

Seek the truth and you will find it.Seek it impartially or partially but truly seek it. I once had a friend an addict by the age of like 12 heroine real nasty stuff, we were 16, of course he didn't believe in God, I don't know if he does now, but he told me the story of how he knew God didn't exist. He said when he was 14, he had overdosed, see his dad was a truck driver, and had went on a run, wasn't going to be back for 2 weeks or so. He was OD'ing on the floor in his kitchen and with his dying breath he prayed, God if you exist save me, with his last bit of strength, he reached for the counter, but apparently he didn't hit the counter he hit the stove top, which was on, and that was his answer from God, his hand burned to hell. His dad came home right then and rushed him to the hospital. And that's why he knows God doesn't exist. I started to laugh hysterically. He a hardcore bassist, revealing this bit of his life to me was aghast at my .. hmm.. what’s the word.. ass-ness. when I stopped laughing at him, i was like. How funny, You were so busy focused on the fact that your hand got burned in your answer from God you never even stopped to think that right after you prayed your dad who wasn't supposed to be home for 2 weeks randomly came home right as you were going to die. and I'm no doctor, but perhaps the shock from the burn saved your life. Who knows but I think that so much of the time, in my own life, which was born into a pretty crummy circumstance of my own. For my friend chris (real story) and in my own personal life, more often then not, when i'm getting hit, it's hard even for me to see the forest through the trees. the hardest part about knowing God, is trusting him. I think because I, and we live in a world were so few people are trustworthy, maybe yall have had good homes with people who love you, and hate Jesus together, which if it makes you happy I can't even argue with you, but I didn't. But i suppose, and this is what I remind myself time and time again, and what God reminds me of, is that he never promised that this world that we choose for ourselves as a people, would be easy. Actually if you look into any aspects of TRUE Christianity,(I have, I’ve been to the temples that Christians refusing to give up their beliefs hid in, carving out small spots for their faith, on the walls of ancient Egypt not 1100 years ago, but more like 400ad. I saw the paintings thousands of years old where their family, their friends were being tortured, murdered because they believed something, but that's not new for Christians not then and not now. Nero used to light his parties by covering Christians in tar and setting them on fire. Even Jesus whom you hate, no matter what you believe secular literature poignates irrevocably that he was a man, Even the Son of God, whom we worship, was scoured, whipped, beaten , had nails driven into his flesh, betrayed by his dearest friends, then died. Our religion has never been one of grandeur, Jesus spoke of his disciples like me, and everyone else who has heeded his voice when he spoke to us, that to follow him, that we would have to bear our own crosses. Not actually the best ploy to get members i suppose, but he was right. The only thing that God does promise is that, He will be there with us, in the midst of our pain, to comfort us, to keep us, to give us peace, to guide and to love us.

Jessica Friday said...

So don't every forget each and every one of you. That someone is there, who will always have your back, who will never let you down, even if he doesn't all the time do what we think he should do, or what we would do, or least of all what we want him or think he should do.
one last thing then I will Go, and leave you guys to your peace. There were these three guys once, who lived in a foreign country, and they were hardcore asskickers in this foreign country. They were so baddass that one of the big guys whose job he felt was being threatened by their presence devised a scheme to get them all killed. See he knew that these three men, were believers in 1 God, and that they would never cease believing in him, or worshiping him as he commanded, so he convinced the King to make a mandate that no other being was to be worshipped except the king. And the King who had originally really liked these three guys sent out an edict that by death anyone caught worshiping anything else would be put to death by fire. these three kept praying to their God, the threatened Guy, got wind, and presented the three before the King, the king furious at the three who wouldn't recognize his greatness and ignored his commandment sentenced them to death by fire. They turned up the furnace 3 times the level, it burned up the guy who did the turning up, like a leaf. the three men sat on the edge and said one thing. Our God, the GOd of Abraham Isaac and Jacob can save us. But. Even if he doesn't, we will never serve your images that you have set up." Into the furnace they went, and out of the furnace they came, not a hair on their head singed, A loud cry came as to who was the 4th man in the furnace with them, Theologians agree that man was more then likely Jesus. And I don't know about you, but respecting a man who is willing not to fight and kill, but to die for his beliefs is a human courtesy, and considering -accepting that person at your back that has you, that instills such love and such faith that even if you go into the furnace you trust him with more then your flesh and blood. Love that your willing to risk for, that so many people around this world have. NOT ANGER OR HATE OR VENGENCE, but LOVE, To be willing to Die FOR LOVE, as thousands of Christians are doing around the world today, right now. All I say is respect goes a long way for anyone with faith that strong, and that nobel, no matter what in. My God in Jesus said once, "do not fear what can kill flesh and blood but leaves the soul, but fear that which destroys body and soul" We are all better then this. and the lucky thing is that same man inspired us to know, that his love- nothing can separate us from, not death nor life, nor sickness, nor imprisonment, not height nor depth, not even if you or me make our beds in hell, he is there in the midst to protect and call us to him. It's just up to us what version of the truth we want to hear, a burned hand, or a saved life, a sneer or a salvation. :O)

GCT said...

If you wish to speak of what is true, then it is incumbent upon you to present some actual evidence. The plural of anecdote is not data. There is not a single scrap of evidence for your god or any other. Not one. There are not contemporary sources to corroborate that Jesus existed, let alone that he did and said all the things attributed to him in the gospels. You've got a lot of 'splainin' to do.

Secondly, Xians (at least in this country and most of the world) are not persecuted. You are not a martyr. No one is oppressing you because of your Xianity. In fact, it is Xians who are trying to hold everyone else down, who cry "persecution" when they don't get to have special privileges that no one else gets. And, let's not talk about Xian "love," because that idea is less than worthless. Is it Xian love that drives Xians to hate gays, women, atheists, etc? If that is love, then the word no longer has any meaning.

Finally, why does god not heal amputees? That's the question that was posed in the OP and that no one can answer. god would certainly have the power to do so, and it would help those people, but he does not do so. In fact, we see a dearth of miracles in the world, especially as our knowledge of how the world works grows - god's role seems to shrink every single day as if the gap that god can hide in is disappearing.