Wednesday, 2 June 2010

Urgent Message: Riddles to Follow


If your house were burning down around you and I was trying to inform you of that to save your life, which would be the most effective way of communicating that to you?

1. Should I tell you directly, "Your house is on fire! You've got to get out now!"

or

2. Should I say something like, "jyot hnhus jsk jskjfa najkhei nkhand laliike laieh akjsk fjksjks jeisjg kjstj sljeijasn andksi," and then inform you that, "The string of gibberish is actually a code that looks foolish only to those who haven't been granted the magic decoder ring, and given that ring, you'll know the truth of what I'm saying."

Most rational people would say that approach 1 is the best one to use. Xians, OTOH, should claim that approach 2 is the best to use.

You see, god really, really, really wants us all to be saved, so he writes a book about it. But, the book looks like foolishness to all those who don't already believe, which is a gift bestowed by...wait for it...god. So, god has to hand you the magic decoder ring in order to read his own book and make heads or tails of it (or at least not see it for the contradiction ridden and superstitious mythology it is), although he really wants all of us to understand and be saved from the fire. It's method number 2. Seeing as how Xians believe that god is perfect, they must believe that this method is the perfect method to use to get across such important life or death matters.

Me, I see it as a huge logical failing on god's part if he were to exist, and on the part of the Xian myth.

87 comments:

ethinethin said...

This makes sense to me, but I believe Calvinists would say exactly what you're saying as evidence that their philosophy is right. Unless I have severely misunderstood Calvinism, I believe it is the doctrine that there are only certain people who will ever be saved (and that those who are not worthy of J's grace will never be able to receive it). It's a particularly nasty and divisive philosophy, completely unsupported by the gospels, but nevertheless it would explain why some people have no trouble believing and why others will never believe.

Personally, I prefer anthropology to explain the exclusiveness of religions. Since this exclusiveness is seen in virtually every documented culture throughout history, entirely independent of cultural religion, it's safe to say that people's "understanding" of their religion has more to do with cultural bias from their upbringing, society, and education than it has to do with any kind of divine power.

Tyler said...

ethinethin: [Calvinism as I understand it is] a particularly nasty and divisive philosophy, completely unsupported by the gospels...

Actually, it's not unsupported, in so far as there being, as you said, "certain people who will ever be saved."

In 'the gospels' (assuming you're referring to Matthew, Mark, Luke and John) - Matthew 22:14 "For many are called, but few [are] chosen," et al.

Elsewhere in the new testicle, however, are unambiguously clear verses in support of calvinism - the belief that our eternal fates were predordained/predestined - Acts 13:48, Romans 8:29 & 30, Ephesians 1:4 & 5, Jude verse 4...

symphonyofdissent said...

It's tragic that this is the way people understand conversation with God. I believe emphatically that God communicated with us through prayer in a simply and plain fashion that even a child could understand. Prayer is a type of spiritual language that like any other must be practiced.

Tyler said...

symphonyofdissent: It's tragic that this is the way people understand conversation with God.

There is no god.

symphonyofdissent: I believe emphatically that God communicated with us through prayer in a simply[sic] and plain fashion that even a child could understand.

Rarely do imaginary friends communicate in a fashion that confuses children.

symphonyofdissent: Prayer is a type of spiritual language that like any other must be practiced.

If this "god" of yours communicates simply and plainly, in ways children - who aren't practiced at much of anything - could understand, why would understanding it require any practice at all?

You're not making any sense.

GCT said...

Symphonyofdissent (what an ironic name...what are you dissenting from?),

You'll note that one must be given the magic decoder ring before one can receive messages in prayers too it would seem. You've completely missed the point and not addressed it.

Also, it should be noted that different people hear god in their prayers differently - why should that be? In fact, studies have shown that god always seems to agree with the people supposedly speaking to him, not the other way round. And, that's problematic, because it shows that either people are making it up, god is confusing them, or god can't keep his story straight.

Tigerboy said...

I vote for "people are making it up." It's the only choice with any evidence in its favor.

Which one do you vote for, Symphony?

You believe in God, so you've got some logic issues. It's got be either: "god is confusing them" or "god can't keep his story straight."

Let's assume that Symphony believes that God is OmniMax (all-powerful). Safe assumption? So, "god can't keep is story straight" is out.

Symphony's choice has gotta be: "god is confusing them."

Ipso facto, God is malicious! He wants failure.

Roasting those intentionally confused victims on a spit is SO MUCH FUN!

Harold Ennulat said...

I am not aware that God has said the Bible is a book from God... people have, including biblical writers and even Jesus himself affirms the Old Testament at least.

The Bible is what it is, not what people want it to be... that goes for Christians as well as Atheists. I think what some Christians say about the Bible or what the Atheist might have learned is unduly influencing what they think the Bible should be. We need to look at this book and figure what it actually is... from there I think we can get a clearer picture of how we are to live our lives. While there is mystery and not everything is understood, the basics seem pretty clear when (for example) it says "God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son, that whoever believes in him will not perish but have everlasting life"

Tigerboy said...

Harold Ennulat:
---"The Bible is what it is, not what people want it to be... that goes for Christians as well as Atheists."

What are you claiming it is? To what are you referring, when you say "that goes for Christians as well as Atheists?" What goes for Christians and Atheists?

---"I think what some Christians say about the Bible or what the Atheist might have learned is unduly influencing what they think the Bible should be."

Again, I'm not sure what you are saying. What are you claiming the Bible "should be?"

---"We need to look at this book and figure what it actually is... from there I think we can get a clearer picture of how we are to live our lives."

Why should we (anyone) use this apocalyptic book, written by ignorant Bronze Age goat herders, to get a "clearer picture of how we are to live our lives?"

Tigerboy said...

Harold Ennulat:
---"I am not aware that God has said the Bible is a book from God... people have, including biblical writers and even Jesus himself affirms the Old Testament at least."

So, God never claimed divine authorship of the Bible, but Jesus did?

Do you have all of God's interviews on VHS?

How's this difference of opinion, between God and Jesus, working out in this monotheistic religion of yours?

Does the goddess Virgin Mary have anything to say about it? The Holy Spirit?

I count at least 4 distinct holy personalities, to whom people pray, in this monotheistic religion.

Tyler said...

Harold Ennulat: We need to look at this book and figure what it actually is...

Actually, by and large, it's a book of iron age superstitious nonsense.

Harold Ennulat: ... from there I think we can get a clearer picture of how we are to live our lives.

You need a book to tell you how to live your life?

How silly.

Tigerboy said...

Tyler:

You are right.

"Iron Age" is more accurate than "Bronze Age."

GCT said...

Harold,
"I am not aware that God has said the Bible is a book from God... people have, including biblical writers and even Jesus himself affirms the Old Testament at least."

If it's not from god, then what utility is there in it? It is the foundational manuscript for at least 2 religions and the purported way to know who this god character is. What can you possibly say about this god and what would you even claim you can believe about this god if it's all made up by humans? IOW, if the Bible is what you use to believe in this god because it is the supposed evidence that this god exists (being penned by him and all) then you've lost any reason to believe in this god.

"The Bible is what it is, not what people want it to be... that goes for Christians as well as Atheists."

Yes, it's a barbaric and outdated book.

"I think what some Christians say about the Bible or what the Atheist might have learned is unduly influencing what they think the Bible should be."

What I've "learned" about it has a lot to do with actually reading it and seeing the barbarity for myself. I don't need people to teach me that the acts of god are vindictive and cruel.

"We need to look at this book and figure what it actually is... from there I think we can get a clearer picture of how we are to live our lives."

I have to agree with others here. If it's not from god, then why should I take the advice of iron age peoples?

"While there is mystery and not everything is understood, the basics seem pretty clear when (for example) it says "God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son, that whoever believes in him will not perish but have everlasting life""

I don't find that to be clear at all. How does that demonstrate god's love? How does killing a supposed innocent somehow absolve anyone of anything? Etc. This scheme of "salvation" makes no sense, nor does the whole entire idea of salvation. Perhaps you have the decoder ring, but apparently I don't, and that's the whole point. god has not given me the decoder ring and will then torture me eternally for it, thus contradicting the whole "loving" thing.

GCT said...

For some reason my comment appeared 4 times. I deleted the superfluous ones.

Unonymous said...

GCT,
Maybe it’s not that you don’t have the decoder, but that you don’t like the message. The Bible identifies sin as the problem… your problem, my problem, everybody’s problem. If you don’t see a problem, the solution to the problem (salvation) is meaningless.

Tyler said...

Unon:The Bible identifies sin as the problem… your problem, my problem, everybody’s problem. If you don’t see a problem, the solution to the problem (salvation) is meaningless.

Sin is an offense against a (particular) god.

Far as can be reasonably surmised, there is no such thing as a god.

Therefore, sin is meaningless.

Therefore, salvation is meaningless (both because it's not possible to offend an entity that doesn't exist, and, well, because when you die there's no you to save. Duh.).

GCT said...

Unon,
"Maybe it’s not that you don’t have the decoder, but that you don’t like the message."

Nope, it's really both. I think the message is foolish, and that because - I'm told - that I don't have the faith that god needs to provide to me.

Besides, it's obviously confusing if you Xians can't even come to a consensus of what it means.

"The Bible identifies sin as the problem… your problem, my problem, everybody’s problem."

And, it's immoral and unfair the way god has chosen to apply it to humans and then blame us for being sinful. Then, the punishment is draconian to boot.

"If you don’t see a problem, the solution to the problem (salvation) is meaningless."

I see a problem with the Bible. I see a problem with a system where I'm supposed to get it, but only if god allows me to get it, and further that I'll be punished if god doesn't allow me to get it.

Tigerboy said...

Unonymous:

What Tyler and GCT have said is logical. It makes sense. It is supported by the observable evidence.

Your worldview (that one should spend one's life trying to placate an all-powerful, invisible personality) seems infantile. It's such obvious wishful thinking. Infantile fear-of-death response.

My position is that anyone who thinks they would enjoy living for ETERNITY doesn't really have a good understanding of the concept of ETERNITY.

However, just because you THINK you would want to live forever, it doesn't make it logical, or true.

Not only is there no evidence for God, there's no evidence that ANYTHING exists eternally. Nothing in the observable universe exists, unchanged, forever.

Pray all you wish. But you, everybody, and everything around you, will, at some point, cease to be.

Sorry that makes you want to "Cry for Mommy!"

That's EXACTLY what your prayers amount to. Cries for Mommy. "I want an all-powerful personality to give me hugs!!" "I want Daddy to punish Bobby for taking my Power Rangers!" "Death isn't fair!!!"

Somebody needs a "time-out."

Sorry. Mommy is just a person. Daddy is just a person. They're gonna move to Scottsdale. They will require medication for osteoporosis and hypertension. All-powerful personalities cease to be, too.

We're all gonna die. Actually, on a cosmic time-scale, it's gonna happen VERY shortly. That event will be the end of your life. Just deal with it.

I suggest you enjoy your life, now. Life is pretty cool.

Obsessing about eternity is so childish. It's totally fear-based. Get over it.

Unonymous said...

GCT,

What strikes me about your response is that it focuses on the unfairness of God in dealing with sin rather than questioning the actual existence of sin. Tyler took the easy shot-- There is no God, therefore there is no sin. Tigerboy had another--Lighten up. Don’t worry about it.

Why take the narrow path that questions the fairness of God in regards to sin, implicitly acknowledging the existence of both? This sounds more like a Christian who is having a hard time with the book of Job rather than an atheist.

Is there such a thing as sin or not? Is sin just a backward idea that a bunch of Bronze Age/Iron Age sheepherders came up with out of boredom, or do we all really have a problem like the Bible says?

Tyler said...

Unon: ... rather than questioning the actual existence of sin.

I questioned the actual existence of sin, Bubba.

Unon: Tyler took the easy shot--

By questioning the actual existence of sin... which is what you're now claiming the issue is, right? Should be easy to address an easy shot, right?

Unon: There is no God, therefore there is no sin.

If there is no god (which there quite apparently isn't), there's no such thing as sin. Can't have the second without the first. That's "questioning the actual existence of sin," you moron.

Too bad you don't have any evidence for your god. Then you wouldn't have to run around whining like a little bitch when someone beats you to your own argument with no more mental effort than it takes to add 2 and 2.

Tigerboy said...

Unonymous is defending a philosophy that says that a majority of all the people on Earth DESERVE to be sent to a place where they will be tortured--even though there's not a scrap of evidence for the existence of such a place--and, not just tortured, but tortured for ETERNITY . . .

but, I need to:

"Lighten up. Don't worry about it."

Amazing. Truly amazing.

Unonymous said...

Tigerboy,

"Amazing. Truly amazing."

Well, sort of. It’s amazing that you somehow got this completely backwards. I was summarizing your position on sin, not mine. Why would I advise you to not worry about sin if (as the Bible instructs) sin the real problem?

Tigerboy said...

Where were you summarizing my position on "sin?"

Where, in this entire thread, did I even USE the word "sin?" I don't think I did.

My position on "sin" is that it is a figment of your very rich fantasy life.

As far as I can tell, the only words that you even addressed to me were:

"Lighten up. Don't worry about it."

I did NOT think that this referred to anybody's position on "sin." I assumed it referred to me calling your apocalypse fantasies "infantile."

NEVER for a second did I think you were advising me not to worry about "sin." I understand that advising people to worry about "sin" is one of your favorite pastimes.

That anyone could defend this apocalyptic horse shit, and then tell a rational person to "lighten up," I find it amazing! I got it backwards? I was never talking about "sin" in the first place. I was talking about dangerous, jihadist, Christian arrogance.

"Sin" is your obsession, not mine.

GCT said...

Tyler and Tiger,
I think both of you misunderstood Unon's comment. I'd suggest you both go back and read it more carefully.

Unon,
"Why take the narrow path that questions the fairness of God in regards to sin, implicitly acknowledging the existence of both?"

Do I really have to have a disclaimer in front of every single comment where I argue that if the Xian view is correct, then shizz is all effed up and contradictory? Or, will there always be Xians (you're not the first) who either can't or won't understand such grammatical and rhetorical argument structures and say things like:

"This sounds more like a Christian who is having a hard time with the book of Job rather than an atheist."

"Is there such a thing as sin or not?"

No, there most probably isn't, because sin is defined as offense against god - an entity that most probably does not exist. That's not the point. The point is that the Xian concept of sin, where it comes from, etc. is contradictory to the attributes of god and doesn't make sense. The point of this particular post is that it supposedly only doesn't make sense to those who have not been bestowed with the magic decoder ring from god, and further that god will punish us for not being given the magic decoder ring.

Tigerboy said...

GCT:
I was not addressing any specific comment by the Christian. I addressed his/her WORLDVIEW, IN GENERAL TERMS.

My initial comment to Unonymous started with:

---"Your worldview (that one should spend one's life trying to placate an all-powerful, invisible personality) seems infantile. It's such obvious wishful thinking."

I proceeded to discuss the wishful nature of belief in God-IN GENERAL TERMS.

I never commented on, nor do I have the slightest interest in, the Unonymous theory on "sin." His/her theories about the number of angels that can dance on the point of a needle do not interest me either.

My comments were entirely GENERAL about his/her infantile, mythology-based worldview.

My comments were not even all that pertinent to the OP! They were GENERAL comments about a Christian worldview.

He/she tells me to "lighten up," and all the sudden he/she is claiming to be summarizing "my position on sin," a subject I did NOT bring up, and telling me I got it backwards!

Unonymous:
Don't try to summarize ANYTHING I say, Christian. Religion is not the only thing you get totally wrong.

GCT said...

Tiger,
That's the point. Unon didn't tell you to lighten up. Unon was saying that your comment to him/her could be distilled down to "Lighten up."

Although I agree that Unon misread your comment, I think you returned the favor. That's all I'm saying. I'm just playing grammar police a bit I suppose.

Unonymous said...

GCT,

Suppose you were given the magic decoder ring by God. He decided to give it to you after all.

You haven’t actually used it yet, but you are thinking about giving it a go. If you put it on your finger, you will find out the truth. Put the ring on and you will see that the Gospel was true after all. You will see that there is such a thing as sin, and it is separating you from God. You will understand why there is salvation. You will understand what Jesus did.

Do you put the ring on?

If you do, you will find the truth. However, from where you stand now it seems like a poor substitute for what you were expecting to be truth. Should you go for it and see if your objections to this God can be reconciled, or do you figure you were right all along and tell God to take his ring and shove it?

GCT said...

I would put it on, of course. I'm more interested in truth than in fiction.

Of course, why we should need a magic decoder ring at all would have to be explained in such a way that made sense. What Jesus supposedly did would have to be explained in a way that made sense. Why sin is so important that it would cause an omni-max being that is unhurt by it (by definition of being omni-max) to fly into rages and condemn people to eternal torment would have to be explained. Why god is such an absentee landlord would have to be explained. Why god commits genocide in the Bible would have to be explained. Why god stands idly by while people suffer and die on Earth would have to be explained. And on and on the list goes.

Tigerboy said...

I have always taken the position that those who value a scientific point of view, and those who value a secular point of view, are usually quite willing to admit when they are wrong. (Much more so than the religious, who will doggedly defend the wrong answer.)

With that in mind, I will happily admit that I jumped to a mistaken conclusion about what the Christian was saying. (The Christian did not make it particularly clear what he/she was saying. And the Christian made it worse, not clearer, by stating that he/she was summarizing MY position on sin, a topic I had not addressed.)

That being said, I admit to misinterpreting what the Christian meant, and I apologize. I'm sorry I got testy. I was wrong.

Unonymous, you should feel free to explore the legitimate topic of sin. I will not interrupt your discussion of all the ways in which we offend the children of Zeus.

However, I will ponder the following questions, quietly, and to myself:

"What if the garden fairies are real? What if they offer to harvest the glowing lily? Could I learn all their special flower secrets? Should I plant the glowing seeds?"

"What if the Keebler Elves offer to show me their hollow tree? What if they offer to teach me all their elvish recipes? Would I consider eating the magic cookies?"

"How can I determine the formula for calculating the precise number of angels that can dance on the point of a needle?"

Unonymous said...

GCT,

The list of questions gets to be quite long doesn’t it? I have all the same questions and more. What is the deal with faith? Why faith? What does get God get out of faith? Why the Bible? Why would the creator of the universe choose to communicate through a book? Why don’t all these questions get answered immediately, in full, when one places their faith in Jesus?

Why the decoder ring? What you refer to as the decoder ring could probably be best described in scripture as Grace, a gift from God. Why is salvation a result of Grace? It would seem a whole lot better idea if you gave salvation to the top performers, those who demonstrate the greatest moral “fitness.” Instead it is given out as a freebie to a bunch of losers who do nothing to earn it at all. They just ask for it, acknowledging the existence of a God who is able to give it. How fair is that?

If I was running this show there wouldn’t be all these loose ends hanging about. I could do way better than this.

On the other hand, maybe not. My Unonymous-centered universe has not always met my perceived performance specifications. It seems to have inherent flaws that resemble those described (as sin) in the Bible, leading me to suspect that there might be some truth to the Bible after all.

GCT said...

First of all, bravo to Tigerboy.

Unon,
"I have all the same questions and more."

If you have all the same questions, how do you rightly believe in a god that has attributes that contradict the empirical evidence we have?

"Why the decoder ring? What you refer to as the decoder ring could probably be best described in scripture as Grace, a gift from God."

Um, yeah, that's what I've been saying, and you should really look at the 2nd to last paragraph in the OP.

"Instead it is given out as a freebie to a bunch of losers who do nothing to earn it at all. They just ask for it, acknowledging the existence of a God who is able to give it. How fair is that?"

It's not, for the reasons I've already pointed out.

"I could do way better than this."

Actually, I bet you could.

"My Unonymous-centered universe has not always met my perceived performance specifications."

By this I take it that you feel god's perceived performance specifications have been met? So, god's plan of how many people would be tortured for eternity in hell has so far been met? Good to know.

"It seems to have inherent flaws that resemble those described (as sin) in the Bible, leading me to suspect that there might be some truth to the Bible after all."

So, the Bible says humans are fallible and that means that there's some truth to it? Consider me underwhelmed. Many books talk about the human condition, because it's pretty obvious that sometimes people do bad things. It's not anything that should make someone sit up and take notice.

Tigerboy said...

GCT said:
---"So, the Bible says humans are fallible and that means that there's some truth to it? Consider me underwhelmed. Many books talk about the human condition, because it's pretty obvious that sometimes people do bad things."

And people did bad things LONG before the Bible was written.

People have committed acts that offended their fellow humans since way back into the mists of time. We always have. We always will.

Some have greater talent for cooperative social behaviors than others.

Some willingly violate the rules of cooperative society.

Some EAGERLY violate those rules. (There can be great profit in violating generally understood rules.)

Primates, living in social groups, have always had individuals who were willing to kill, or steal, to get what they wanted, and social groups have always found ways to punish and ostracize their fellows. Again, since way back into the mists of time.

All social groups have social rules. We all understand the social rules.

Some violate the social rules.

Society reacts negatively.

This scenario has played out for as long as we primates have lived in social groups. A very, very, very long time. Offending the social group existed long before the writing of the Bible.

The fact that there are descriptions of "sin" (maladaptive social behavior) in the Bible, and those descriptions seem to match with observable, modern human behaviors, it doesn't validate the Bible as divine.

These behaviors are innate to the human condition.

It's what humans do.

The Bible attempted to codify moral and immoral behaviors that already existed, and which continue to exist.

When this book says that murder is wrong, it doesn't mean that particular determination came from a divine personality. It came from the social group. Obviously.

We humans easily recognize that which offends the group. (Trust me, we know. Our very survival, as individuals, depends on our understanding of that which offends the group. Any school child understands that which offends the group.)

Some live in great fear of offending the group.

Some are willing to risk it. (If they are caught, they will be punished, or ostracized. But, some don't get caught.)

Walk into a liquor store with a gun, and you might end up walking into a jail cell. Or, you might end up walking home with a paper bag full of tens and twenties.

Some take the risk. Some are smarter than that.

Cheat on your girlfriend, and you might end up losing your girlfriend. Or, you might end up with two girlfriends.

Some take the risk. Some are smarter than that.

Participating in society is a good idea. Following the rules of your social group is a good idea. You have a much better chance that things will turn out well for you, if you keep yourself in the good graces of your fellows.

WE HUMANS wrote a book that tried to codify good and bad behavior. Several books. (Lots of books, actually.) Much of what is written in those morality books is REALLY outdated!

We are much better at social justice, today.

Judging 21st century maladaptive social behavior, by 1st century books, is dangerous.

The Bible talking about negative social behaviors doesn't confirm the concept of "sin." It confirms the concept that negative social behavior was a problem in the Iron Age.

Just as it was long before that.

Just as it continues to be, today.

The Bible talking about negative social behaviors doesn't confirm the concept of "sin." It confirms that, 2000 years ago, this was a topic about which some people decided to write.

The social group gets very ANGRY at maladaptive social behaviors. The social group will PUNISH maladaptive social behaviors.

Society. The social group. Not God.

Tyler said...

(No, GCT, I didn't misunderstand. Just taking a different route to the same destination.)

Unon: My Unonymous-centered universe has not always met my perceived performance specifications. It seems to have inherent flaws that resemble those described (as sin) in the Bible, leading me to suspect that there might be some truth to the Bible after all.

Of course there is "some truth" to the bible. There is "some truth" to Dianetics and Spiderman comics too. Doesn't mean Xenu or wall climbing superheros exist.

Unonymous said...

GCT,

"If you have all the same questions, how do you rightly believe in a god that has attributes that contradict the empirical evidence we have?"

I actually believe that God has the attributes that the Bible speaks of. He doesn’t have them because his actions prove that he has them. He simply has them. If you assume that God has these attributes, then apparent contradictions in the Bible reflect a lack of information at some level, either in our understanding of God or the situation.

Why would anyone choose to believe that God has these attributes in the first place? That is a decoder ring issue. If you accept the gift of Grace, you will know. You will experience God’s attributes firsthand. If you don’t, you will never know.

Tigerboy said...

The Christian said:

"If you accept the gift of Grace, you will know. You will experience God’s attributes firsthand. If you don’t, you will never know."

Not true. You cannot make statements like this.

Religion is making claims about the nature of the universe. These claims are either TRUE, or they're NOT.

Regardless of whether, or not, one "accepts" any gifts of "Grace" (whoever she is), the true nature of the universe exists. It is there to be discovered.

The universe doesn't exist in one way for believers, and another way for skeptics.

The physical universe, and everything in it, exists in some form of durable reality. We may not fully understand it, but the ability to understand it, the ability to explain the reality of the universe must exist.

The universe does not change according to your individual point of view, versus my individual point of view.

Therefore, you cannot say what someone else "will" or "will not" come to know. Or, how they will come to obtain that knowledge.

If "Grace" is something that exists only for those who accept it's validity, and it does NOT exist for doubters, how is it different from hallucination?

Unonymous said...

Tigerboy,

I think you may have misunderstood my comments once again.

The Grace of God allows one to experience the attributes of God. It does not change the nature of the universe.

Tigerboy said...

Unonymous:

The "attributes of God" (assuming for the sake of argument that they were to exist) would be available for discovery by the scientific method. No?

You are claiming that they exist as a feature of durable reality, correct?

Tigerboy said...

In other words, if Heaven and Hell exist, as a feature of durable reality, (assuming such a spaceship could be constructed) could we go there?

Could we go there, with, or without, a belief in the divinity of Jesus? Why, or why not?

If the salient feature is belief, belief in the face of a total lack of concrete evidence, how is it different from hallucination?

GCT said...

Unon,
"I actually believe that God has the attributes that the Bible speaks of. He doesn’t have them because his actions prove that he has them."

Actually, the attributes that god supposedly has (from the Bible) are contradictory and contradictory to his actions in the Bible itself. You can't very well claim that actions don't matter in showing god's attributes and his actions can certainly disprove certain attributes - which they do if the Bible is true.

"If you assume that God has these attributes, then apparent contradictions in the Bible reflect a lack of information at some level, either in our understanding of God or the situation."

Garbage in, garbage out? IOW, if you make bad assumptions that aren't supported, you come to bad conclusions. I could also uncharitably say that your statement here really means, "It doesn't matter what you say or what is rational or what we can empirically show or anything else. My beliefs are inviolate."

"If you accept the gift of Grace, you will know."

You mean if god gives me the knowledge to interpret things. It has nothing to do with acceptance of something from god. If you are claiming that it's simply acceptance and god offers it to everyone, then that's demonstrably false.

"You will experience God’s attributes firsthand. If you don’t, you will never know."

And I will be tortured in hell forever for simply having a lack of knowledge, not for being immoral. Once again, we see that Xianity has nothing to do with morality.

Tigerboy said...

I need to know whether you feel the "attributes of God" are discoverable by the scientific method.

Or, is faith the one and only path?

Because, if the "attributes of God" are a true and durable feature of the physical universe, they would be discoverable by objective methods.

Unless God prevented it . . .

Unless God was actively misleading us . . .

(Which, given the whole Hell situation, would be evil.)

And, it also suggests that the only true sin is the objective pursuit of knowledge.

Are we back to Adam and Eve?

Knowledge is evil?

Any thoughts?

Tyler said...

Unon: The Grace of God allows one to experience the attributes of God.

The Grace of Grayskull allows one to experience the Power of Grayskull.

Unonymous said...

GCT,

"Actually, the attributes that god supposedly has (from the Bible) are contradictory and contradictory to his actions in the Bible itself. You can't very well claim that actions don't matter in showing god's attributes and his actions can certainly disprove certain attributes - which they do if the Bible is true."

OK let’s assume the Bible is true and then see if it has internal inconsistencies. We have to first assume that God has the attributes specified by Bible. If we choose to selectively disregard that particular truth when evaluating the rest of the Bible, we can choose some parts to be true and not others. We can even judge God’s actions as if He were a man (untrue according to the Bible) if we choose, and find all kinds examples where He is not acting like God. Of course, in doing this we are no longer making the initial assumption that the Bible is true (because to do we would have to assume God’s attributes to be true).

You have nailed it with the point about garbage in-garbage out. If you make bad assumptions about God you will definitely come to bad conclusions. I could also uncharitably say that your statement here really means, "It doesn't matter what the bible says about god. My beliefs are inviolate. I have already judged your god to be vastly inferior to myself so I don’t need to bother with him.”

This is where Grace is comes in. Grace is where God intervenes in your normal process of putting garbage in your mind when you are thinking about Him. It’s God’s response to your request to know the truth and to experience his attributes firsthand.

Tyler said...

Unon: If you make bad assumptions about God you will definitely come to bad conclusions.

I love the smell of irony in the morning.

Tigerboy said...

Right. Just because you cannot explain something, it doesn't mean the answer is: "Magic happened!"

I trust that which can be demonstrated, BY objective parties, that which can be demonstrated, TO objective parties. Peer Review.

If the "attributes of God" are a true, durable feature of the Universe, they would be discoverable by objective, scientific methods.

Convincing the audience that there is only one way to look at something is a magician's deception. "You must watch this trick ONLY as I tell you to watch it. You must trust the results to be as I say they are."

Truth can be discovered by objective methods. One doesn't need to make a "leap of faith" to discover something real.

If you accept the delusion of Grace, you will THINK you know. You will BELIEVE you have experienced God’s attributes firsthand. Despite logic. Despite what the evidence shows.

The only way to reconcile the concept of an all-powerful God, and an inability to discover him through objective methods (the inability to discover Him without a "leap of faith"), is if he is actively hiding the truth from objective inquiry.

That would make Him quite evil. That would be a God who is telling us lies.

If one must make that "leap of faith," that is to say, if one must believe something that runs contrary to objective demonstration, in order to discover the true nature of the universe, the one in charge is trying to keep the truth a secret. He wants you to fail in your quest. He has stacked the deck against you. He wants you tortured.

Jesus cannot be the exclusive path to truth. Truth is objective.

Unonymous, your "gift of Grace" is a shell game. You only "know" where the bean is if you are willing to be fooled.

GCT said...

Unon,
"OK let’s assume the Bible is true and then see if it has internal inconsistencies."

Why would I make that assumption? It's a bad assumption. A better one would be to make no assumption of the truth or validity of the Bible and evaluating it from a neutral standpoint.

"We have to first assume that God has the attributes specified by Bible."

No, we don't. We can look at the claims made by the Bible and then compare them to other claims made by the Bible in order to check for internal consistency, but it does not require us to assume it is correct first. Remember, GIGO.

"If we choose to selectively disregard that particular truth when evaluating the rest of the Bible, we can choose some parts to be true and not others."

We don't choose, we evaluate whether parts are true or not. When the Bible contradicts itself, then we must determine that one part can not be true.

"We can even judge God’s actions as if He were a man (untrue according to the Bible) if we choose, and find all kinds examples where He is not acting like God."

But, according to Xians, there exists an absolute morality, so there should be a criteria that applies to both man and god. If we judge god by that criteria...

"Of course, in doing this we are no longer making the initial assumption that the Bible is true (because to do we would have to assume God’s attributes to be true)."

And, this is why I mentioned GIGO. If you make an unfounded assumption, then you are much more likely to turn around and toss out the bad data that doesn't conform to your assumption. For instance, if you assume that god is good then you see instances of god committing genocide, you end up rationalizing away the genocide.

"You have nailed it with the point about garbage in-garbage out."

Thank you, and hopefully you will understand that your assumptions are unfounded.

"I could also uncharitably say that your statement here really means, "It doesn't matter what the bible says about god. My beliefs are inviolate. I have already judged your god to be vastly inferior to myself so I don’t need to bother with him.”"

Except that would be untrue, for many reasons, but firstly because I've always been very willing to say that if a theist can present compelling evidence for god, I'll believe.

"This is where Grace is comes in. Grace is where God intervenes in your normal process of putting garbage in your mind when you are thinking about Him."

And, this proves my point that I brought up in the OP. You seem to be agreeing with me here.

"It’s God’s response to your request to know the truth and to experience his attributes firsthand."

Except that we know that god doesn't always answer affirmatively - it's demonstrably shown.

Evil_Jake said...

Tigerboy said...
"And, it also suggests that the only true sin is the objective pursuit of knowledge."

This is a great point TB. I've tried to reconcile this myself, and just cannot seem to wrap my head around it.

As you mentioned, it clearly states in the bible that man was not intended to discover knowledge of "good and evil", and in fact, because they were created to be perfect, and forever living (no death had entered the world), god was disturbed by the idea that they may gain knowledge, and perhaps become a threat to him or his godship.

the irony of this, is that he either sent, or passively allowed, the most attractive, cunning, intelligent being next to himself, lucifer, to tempt them into doing exactly what he initially feared they would do on their own.

questions arise here as to why this "tree" of knowledge existed in the first place; why place adam and eve in a position where they would be tempted, and then allow a con-man to go in and further confuse them? it's as if he wanted them to eat from it.

furthermore, because adam and eve had no concept of good or evil anyways (until they ate the fruit), how could they be punished for something they were tricked into doing, of which they had no concept or frame of reference for (good or evil)?

Fat Bastard said...

Jesus lied when he said,

And I tell you, ask and you will receive; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives; and the one who seeks, finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. (Luke 11:9-13 NAB)



And whatever you ask in my name, I will do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask anything of me in my name, I will do it. (John 14:13-14 NAB)



If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask for whatever you want and it will be done for you. (John 15:7 NAB)

Fat Bastard said...

When I ask Christers about why god won't end human suffering in spite of the fact that he says he answers all prayers about all those smug delusional liars can say is, "sometimes the answer is no." which contradicts scripture.

I want there to be a god but not the vile evil god of Abraham. In the meantime I curse god just in case he exists because there is so much suffering in the world.

I prayed today and I asked god to end disease. He didn't do it.

I envy people with "faith". I so wish I could be that blissfully ignorant.

I have two blogs. One is called Medical Holocaust. Then I think about the maladies the higher beings endure it's hard to imagine anything but a malevolent god.

I bash God in case he is real.

Anonymous said...

As an ex Christian let me say this: get out now, before your brain turns to complete pudding and your life is ruined. Get out NOw!
Sign me
Wish I had rejected Jesus sooner

jeffweiss said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
xyzzy said...

WOW. it amazes me that grown adults never make it past the 1st grade mentally when it comes to religion.

Let me get this straight, Adam and Eve ate a piece of fruit. This enraged god so much that all mankind for all times, is born a sinner and doomed to hell. Does this really truly make sense in your small and simple religious minds ? Talk about holding a grudge too long and misdirecting it at others. Does this really sound like an all loving, benevolent being ?

A being, who created man in "his image". Boy, those ancient goat herders really were full of themselves. So, somewhere up in the sky is a magical mystery man with 2 arms, 2 legs, back hair and a bald spot ... just hanging out listening to (and ignoring) people's prayers.

lmao. I had this figured out when I was about 7.

Fatman said...

@ xyzzy,

You're judging people too harshly. Back in the day when monotheistic religions were born, people were extremely primitive, uneducated and just plain dumb. Think something like one literate person ( so not particularly smart, just capable of reading and writing) per 100 people or something. They knew nothing about even the most basic physics, chemistry or biology and simple stuff fascinated them to no end. Among these dull, undeveloped minds, belief in a single, or even multiple powers was completely understandable. Lightning strikes - God is angry; wheat grows - God loves us, etc., etc.

Some people are still stuck in that primitive, idiotic mode today. Despite all the evidence to the contrary, they will continue to believe in the Angry God = Lighting, Pleased God = Rain and Good Harvest.

You do not laugh at mentally or physically handicapped people (or I hope you don't) - don't mock the religulous either. Much :)

David Edward Oliver said...

"Why did top banner change? Did owner of this website convert to Christianity?"

Anonymous said...

I am starting to see an arogance in someone saying there is no God or even there is no evidence for God when the Bible screams evidence. One may not like the evidence, but it is evidence. Atheists try to dismiss this evidence as being from backward "iron age" people. However in this thread alone I am seeing that Christians even today are seen as being ignorant. Why? Because they believe there is a God. So I ask what makes you so sure that you are right and Christians are wrong? It seems to me that you prefer to be your own God. I'm thinking that may be the true nature of Sin... when we want to be our own God, to run our own life, and either pretend like there is not God, or ignore him when it's inconvenient.

john said...

This only makes sense if it is taken for granted that god exists. This is an enormous presumption because there is not one iota of proof. Don't tell me he must exist because millions believe it. Millions use to believe the world was flat, it is not. Belief is not fact and there is not one single fact to support the existence of god.

Tyler said...

Anon: I am starting to see an arogance[sic] in someone saying there is no God...

That's no more arrogant than saying there is no Santa Claus.


Anon: ... or even there is no evidence for God when the Bible screams evidence.

The bible no more screams evidence for a god than Marvel Comics scream evidence for Spiderman.

Tigerboy said...

"The bible no more screams evidence for a god than Marvel Comics screams evidence for Spiderman."

I love that.

Excellent.

It answers the preacher and puts things in proper perspective so efficiently.

Anonymous said...

Tyler said...
"That's no more arrogant than saying there is no Santa Claus.

The bible no more screams evidence for a god than Marvel Comics scream evidence for Spiderman".

Except everyone agrees there is no Santa Claus. Is it fair to compare a comic book with a history book?

My point was that the atheist argument is arrogant because it inherently claims a special kind of knowledge about Gods non-existance. How can you know this? Dismissing the Bible as a comic book misses the point. The Bible shows Gods work in history over a period of some 2000 years from what I can tell. The claims are ingredible. Of course anyone would be skeptical, however smart people, intelligent people have believed as well as have not believed. I was hearing that because the Bible was written by ignorant people, that anyone beleiving the Gospel messge must be ignorant. That just isn't the case.

Thanks for the spelling correction.

RECt





19 December 2010 12:24

Tigerboy said...

So, you're totally onboard with Zeus turning himself into a big SWAN that flew down from Mount Olympus and raped the human woman, Leda?

And their child, Apollo, grew up to be a GOD who drives his FIERY CHARIOT across the sky each day from East to West? That's all true, right? We look up in the sky and see the fiery chariot? Correct?

The "history" books say so! It must be true.

Or, is it only the stories that were told to YOU in YOUR youth that count as "history?"

There is not one splinter of physical evidence of the existence of a preacher/carpenter named Jesus of Nazareth.

There is no objective record of such a person being crucified by the Romans. He only exists in the big storybook. A storybook that was written generations later.

Even then, Saint Paul (you know, the guy who invented Christianity!) writes of the life of Jesus (his birth, life, death and resurrection) ONLY as having taken place in the "spiritual realm." Jesus was probably only a myth for Paul, which makes him a myth for Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, too.

This preacher/carpenter who attracted the attention of "multitudes" is not mentioned by one single objective, contemporaneous historian. Not one.

He's a myth.

Maybe the myth was based on a real guy.

Maybe not.

But the magical works attributed to the guy are obvious fabrications. Lies. They are not even close to being credible, because the very same lies--THE EXACT SAME STORIES--had previously been told about lots of other "divine" hero/figures.

Obvious fable-making.

Are you still trying to get the Apollo-driving-the-fiery-chariot thing to work? No?

(Again, it's in the "history" books!)

I guess we've sort of figured out that the Sun is a STAR, and NOT a fiery chariot. Oh well. It was a good story at the time.

Actually, there are some other good stories, too. Like, talking snakes. And virgin births. Those never happened, either. Snakes don't talk to people. Sorry.

When people are ready, willing, and EAGER to believe obvious fabrications--lies with an obvious agenda--well, such people should expect a bit of ridicule.

That's not called "arrogance."

That's called "rational thinking." It's how intelligent people figure out what's true about the world.

GCT said...

Anon, (RECt?)
"Except everyone agrees there is no Santa Claus. Is it fair to compare a comic book with a history book?"

Well, yeah. The Bible is not a history book. It is a book of stories told and passed down and fabricated, etc. There's scant evidence to support many of the accounts of the OT (like the Exodus which simply didn't happen) and the accounts in the NT of Jesus (if he even existed) are not reliable.

"My point was that the atheist argument is arrogant because it inherently claims a special kind of knowledge about Gods non-existance."

On the contrary, the atheist is saying, "Where is the reason to believe." It is the Xian (and other believers) who claims to have special knowledge.

"How can you know this?"

The lack of evidence precludes me from rationally believing in a god, and even speaks against it in many cases.

"Dismissing the Bible as a comic book misses the point. The Bible shows Gods work in history over a period of some 2000 years from what I can tell."

No, it really doesn't as I've talked about above.

"The claims are ingredible."

Correct, they are non-credible.

"Of course anyone would be skeptical, however smart people, intelligent people have believed as well as have not believed."

In all manners of religion no less, not just Xianity - I'm failing to see your point as I don't recall anyone (except maybe one person) claiming that all Xians are ignorant.

Tigerboy said...

Sorry, I got my "history" books mixed up.

The rape of LEDA (by the Swan) was the parentage of Helen of Troy, who, despite being human and having a human mother, HATCHED FROM A SWAN EGG! Cool!

LETO was the mother Apollo and Artemis.

ZEUS was the father of all three (Apollo, Artemis, and Helen of Troy), pissing off his wife, Hera!

Hera was so angry about Zeus's infidelity with Leto that she declared that Leto was forbidden from birthing the twins on solid ground. So, Leto had to give birth on an island, since we all know that islands float, not being attached to the ocean floor! Interesting!

Those religious "history" books never get anything wrong.

Tigerboy said...

Let's not forget about Zeus, himself, giving birth to his own daughter!

ATHENA burst out of her daddy Zeus's skull (sounds a bit like the movie "Alien") already dressed in full battle armor!!

Who could question the historical veracity of something like that?

Tyler said...

Anon: Except everyone agrees there is no Santa Claus.

Except for everyone who believes in Santa Claus.


Anon: Is it fair to compare a comic book with a history book?

The bible is no more a history book than a Spiderman comic.


Anon:My point was that the atheist argument is arrogant because it inherently claims a special kind of knowledge about Gods non-existance.

"The atheist argument" can be summed up thus: I don't believe in any gods because I see no evidence for any gods.

This is not a "special claim to knowledge." It's a lack of belief and/or disbelief; the same lack of belief/disbelief you yourself have regarding all of the gods you don't believe in.


Anon: The Bible shows Gods work in history over a period of some 2000 years from what I can tell.

Likewise: "Marvel Comics show Spiderman's work in history over a period of decades from what I can tell."


Anon: ... however smart people, intelligent people have believed...

Even smart people can have stupid beliefs. This is not evidence for a god.


Anon: ... anyone beleiving[sic] the Gospel messge[sic] must be ignorant. That just isn't the case.

Belief that the bible (or a Spiderman comic)demonstrates either profound ignorance, profound cognitive dissonance, or an utter lack of the ability to think logically.

There are no other options.

Anonymous said...

There is too much here to comment on everything here, so let much pick up a typical comment from Tyler:

Tyler: "Belief that the bible (or a Spiderman comic) demonstrates either profound ignorance, profound cognitive dissonance, or an utter lack of the ability to think logically".

Knowing myself and comparing it to your comments makes me wonder the same thing.... only about you!

There is just no way to continue a discussion if you cannot tell at least some difference between a comic book and an ancient text that clearly is set in history and has been used for thousands of years in matters of faith and practice by millions.

How do you deal with any other ancient text? Is it also comparable to a Spider Man comic and so just some form of entertainment?

This forum is a good place to share ideas, but there just is no substitute for a face to face discussion unfortunately to really understand where you are coming from. From my perspective it seems like you are not willing to engage this with any kind of reason you live the rest of your life by.

How do you know something is true or not? How do we know anything? Do we have to know everything to be able to function in this world? How do we know we really exist? The best answer as been "I Think, therefore I Am", is still less then satisfying. And yet we don't stop living our lives pretty much as we want.

What is the purpose of living at all? How can we say that life is good without a belief in some kind of higher power?

Atheists call this "wishful thinking". Theist I think would call it something like "a built in instinct" that there is something more than ourselves at work in the universe.

As for evidence and proof: Logically one cannot prove Jesus or Julius Caesar, or any historic person. Proof requires a repeatability that is not possible when dealing with historical events. Determining if someone existed in history we look to the available evidence and draw conclusions even if they are tentative....

I hear it said the Bible is not evidence. That kind of a comment is a failure to recognize what evidence is. You may not accept the bible as good evidence but to say it is not evidence is just being unwilling to deal with belief in God at all. If that is the case, just say so. That would perhaps be more honest.

The decoder ring may simply be a willingness to examine the evidence and apply the same "rules" to the game as you likely do for the rest of your life.

RECt
___________________________________

Is it possible to set up an account on this Blog site so I don't have to be so "Anonymous"?

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

Ooops!

My apologies for posting 4 times. I thought it wasn't working when it said "your changes will be lost"

I would delete the extra comments, but I'm not seeing that this is possible.

Tigerboy said...

RECt:

Just because a real lot of people believe something, it doesn't make it more true. Everyone used to believe the Earth to be flat.

It wasn't true.

Everybody used to see schizophrenia, or autism, or manic episodes as demonic possession. It wasn't true. And, it wasn't a helpful diagnosis. It turned out there were much better therapies besides waving candles and incense.

Knowing the truth of a situation is better.

Ancient religious texts (in a similar way to the flat-Earth thing) were based on the scientific knowledge of the time, that is, virtually ZERO science at all.

Bad information. Really bad information.

We know SO MUCH more, now (about how the Earth and the rest of the Universe operates), that reading the writings of these ancients (who are breathtakingly ignorant by today's standards) and applying their worldview and philosophies to our 21st century lives, is, itself, really foolish and ignorant.

And dangerous. Very dangerous. Religious fundamentalism threatens the peace and stability of our planet in profound ways.

Tyler said...

Anon: There is just no way to continue a discussion if you cannot tell at least some difference between a comic book and an ancient text that clearly is set in history and has been used for thousands of years in matters of faith and practice by millions.

First, one difference between the bible and a Spiderman comic is that in the bible, the despicable villain gets away.

Second, enough with this "set in history" bullshit. As historical texts go, the bible's no more reliable than, well, a Spiderman comic. This has been demonstrated time and time and time again.

Third, the bible is not thousands of years old.

And fourth, if being practiced by millions of people is evidence that something is true, then you've got the words of quite a few gods (and goddesses) you'd better start worrying about, kiddo.


Anon: How do you deal with any other ancient text?

Same way I deal with the bible.


Anon: From my perspective it seems like you are not willing to engage this with any kind of reason you live the rest of your life by.

On the contrary, it is you who is quite apparently operating under a double standard here. To wit:


Anon: I hear it said the Bible is not evidence.

If, as you claim, the bible is evidence for the existence of the god it speaks of, then every other religious text is evidence for the existence of the gods (and goddesses) they speak of.

Are you willing to acknowledge this? If you're not, you're operating under the double standard you've falsely accused me of using.


Anon: You may not accept the bible as good evidence but to say it is not evidence is just being unwilling to deal with belief in God at all. If that is the case, just say so. That would perhaps be more honest.

You may not accept the koran as good evidence but to say it is not evidence is just being unwilling to deal with the belief in allah at all. If that is the case, just say so. That would definitely be more honest.


Anon:What is the purpose of living at all?

As a sentient being with relatively complex cognitive abilities, you have the privilege of being able to choose a purpose above and beyond what you are genetically programmed to do, which in a nutshell is to pass on your genes by any means possible. Past that, it's all on you.

It's just a tad ironic that the purpose you've chosen for yourself requires virtually no cognitive ability at all. You have chosen to reduce yourself to the intellectual equivalent of an ant, mindlessly going about its day capable of accomplishing little more than the tasks he's been genetically programmed to accomplish; notable difference being that you mindlessly follow the bible.


Anon: How can we say that life is good without a belief in some kind of higher power?

How can you say life is good when the higher power you believe in has condemned most people to a life of eternal torture?

Tyler said...
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Tyler said...
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Tigerboy said...

----Anon: How do you deal with any other ancient text?

----Tyler: Same way I deal with the bible.

There is a difference between an objective historical text and an historical text with an obvious agenda.

As they say: "History is written by the victors," so, one could make the point that there is a bias to all history.

However, just like the difference between religion and scientific enquiry, one can discern when a particular work is making an effort to be objective, or is pushing an agenda (religious, or otherwise) in a very obvious way.

There are historical texts that can be viewed as attempting to be objective.

The Bible and The Quran do not fall into this category. Not even close. They have an obvious bias. They do not qualify as "history books." Neither do the Twelve Labors of Hercules. All of these texts are parables. Allegorical.

Myth making.

They actually have a GREAT DEAL in common with Spiderman. Spiderman, Superman, Bruce Wayne, Buffy the Vampire-Slayer. These all tell parables.

Life has overwhelming difficulties, but honesty and good intentions will triumph over evil.

Allegory.

Richard said...

(Aps for the multi-posts. Was getting error messages; can't delete 'em...)

GCT said...

RECt and Tyler,
I went ahead and deleted the multi-posts (sorry for taking so long, I was on holiday). If you object, just let me know, I can restore, although I don't see a point as they were identical comments simply being reposted. I don't know what the error was either.

RECt,
You can sign up for a google account in order to log in and comment as yourself.

"There is just no way to continue a discussion if you cannot tell at least some difference between a comic book and an ancient text that clearly is set in history and has been used for thousands of years in matters of faith and practice by millions."

As others have pointed out, this would be true of many other religious texts that you seem to have no problem rejecting. Also, we know that the Bible is not a reliable historical text. Some parts do record actual letters (in the NT) but we don't know who exactly wrote them in all cases, etc. Still, this doesn't prove that the supernatural events happened anymore than it proves that Mohammed flew away on a winged horse.

"How do you know something is true or not? How do we know anything?"

We don't and can't know anything to 100% certainty, but we can get close enough. We do that using science. I'm unaware of any other tool that humankind can use for this purpose.

"Do we have to know everything to be able to function in this world?"

No, and I don't see how that is relevant.

"What is the purpose of living at all?"

We make our own purpose.

"How can we say that life is good without a belief in some kind of higher power?"

Because we make a biased decision based on our knowledge and experience and decide that life is good...for us. I'm not sure that life is always good, else some people would not want to commit suicide.

"Theist I think would call it something like "a built in instinct" that there is something more than ourselves at work in the universe."

Feelings are no substitute for evidence.

"I hear it said the Bible is not evidence. That kind of a comment is a failure to recognize what evidence is."

I would disagree. In order for something to count as evidence towards a proposition, there must be some way to causally and logically link the two together.

"You may not accept the bible as good evidence but to say it is not evidence is just being unwilling to deal with belief in God at all."

Again, I disagree. What logical and causal link do we have to connect the writings of some ancient scribes to the idea of there being something beyond this world?

"The decoder ring may simply be a willingness to examine the evidence and apply the same "rules" to the game as you likely do for the rest of your life."

What evidence would that be, and how is it different than the evidence that any other religion presents?

GCT said...

Wow, really not sure what's happening on blogger's comment system. I posted once and it showed up three times (I deleted the extraneous ones.) I apologize for the inconveniences here.

Anonymous said...

For somebody who doesn't believe in God, you sure do give Him a lot of air time.

GCT said...

Only because so many other people do. If other people could understand that it's all a myth or at least just keep it to themselves, then there'd be no need.

konstance upton said...

when you feel the holy spirit. you will belive. when you wake up oneday and things in life changed out of the blue and have this purity and sense of peace about you spirit that everything is in your favor, nothing will stand in your way you won't have "doubt" or question anymore. I used to not believe. I now know that he is there. And I have book that has all the famous names including einstein that prove he was real. but that bible i have has a scientific explaination for why its true at the end of everyone and they are offical. He will wait. because he is patient. I pray that your heart is softened in the name of jesus. and just to be i saw it like this that made me believe, since we are handed so much hate and lust, and pure evil in this world why not seek something better anyway? instead of laying silent and just sulking in doubt and spending your time talking about someone who died for you isn't real? I am judging you by no means. simply saying that that little tiny leap of faith has changed my entire life. you have no idea. when you feel the holyghost enter your body and you can't explain whats happening to you but its complete extacy, you will then know. And no not the drug. iv never done it. If anything, you should be opened minded that maybe this man did exsist. bc as long as you have the "doubt" the devil is loving to play with you. and your life will be a living hell and you will live in the question of "WHY" but take the other road and you will laugh at the thought you used to feel that way. He has transformed me in so many OBVIOUS ways. he is good. I promise you. you are worthy to revceive his grace. bc you ask him to forgive you of you old ways and say that one prayer and accept him as you own personal savior and be the seed that stays rooted, and you will see amazing changes. including your outlook on people the world how you are blessed how you have this "undescibed" passion for others. just try it - i promise you it will be worth the ego and the committment to not belive. i hope what i have said will maybe let you see, its such a small task for such a big reward. and this is from someone who used to think just like you. i took that small leap of faith and I have never looked back. when you notice the change. your question of belief will be no longer. have a very blessed night. and i rebuke all negative attributes to you life, mentally and physically in the name of our lord and savior, jesus christ! amen. just think about it. you don't have to come back with all the reasons why im wrong. bc nothing will ever take this away, i am just trying to be a good person and open a door for someone who has no hands. goodnight ethinethin.

GCT said...

"when you feel the holy spirit. you will belive."

So, you agree with the OP - that's good.

"And I have book that has all the famous names including einstein that prove he was real."

Einstein the atheist? OK.

"but that bible i have has a scientific explaination for why its true at the end of everyone and they are offical."

The Bible that says bats are birds, the Exodus happened, the universe began in 6 days, etc. is now scientifically true? That's news to all of us I'm sure.

"since we are handed so much hate and lust, and pure evil in this world why not seek something better anyway?"

That's what I'm doing. I don't need dogmatic faith and tribalism to stand in the way of treating people fairly and lovingly. It's religious folk that seem most intent on denying equal rights and waging wars over who has the bigger god.

"instead of laying silent and just sulking in doubt and spending your time talking about someone who died for you isn't real?"

So, which is it? Am I laying silent or am I talking about it?

"If anything, you should be opened minded that maybe this man did exsist. bc as long as you have the "doubt" the devil is loving to play with you."

IOW, believe as I do, or you aren't open minded. Sorry, but skepticism is the open-minded position.

"and your life will be a living hell"

Sorry, I didn't realize that my life was so bad - thanks for pointing it out.

"He has transformed me in so many OBVIOUS ways."

For instance? And you know it was Jesus/Yahweh/Allah/Ganesh how?

"he is good. I promise you."

When he's not committing wholesale genocide or commanding rape and slavery?

"you are worthy to revceive his grace."

Contrary to Xian teaching?

"just try it - i promise you it will be worth the ego and the committment to not belive."

I don't have that commitment, unless you mean the commitment to reality.

"i hope what i have said will maybe let you see, its such a small task for such a big reward."

Unless Allah is really pissed at you right now for misascribing his gift to you.

"you don't have to come back with all the reasons why im wrong. bc nothing will ever take this away..."

But I'm the one who is not open-minded? Perhaps you should be the one to "just think about it."

Tigerboy said...

Obviously, you still care about these issues.

I respectfully inquire:

Why no new posts?

Are you just taking a break?

Are you finished?

If the latter, please know that I will miss reading what you have to say. I admire any atheist who knows the logic, and knows the Bible, and can argue both, as well as you do.

You're very good.

I'm just curious: Have you been frustrated by a certain one-sidedness to the discussion? (Too few theists being scared off by an abundance of aggressive atheists? I assumed the title change might be related to this subject.)

I am willing to refrain from commenting, if that helps you.

GCT said...

Here's what happened. The day after this post I had a pretty bad sporting accident where I completely tore my ACL and broke a lot of cartilege in my knee. The blog went to the back burner as I worked to find a doctor that could correctly figure out what was wrong and then fix it. Then came 2 different surgeries followed by months of rehab. I'm still working on trying to get fit. In that, I kind of lost the momentum of blogging, which was already lagging a little bit.

I've had a few ideas that have come up in that time but haven't really had the impetus to commit them to writing. But, I should probably start up again soon.

I greatly appreciate what you've said though Tigerboy and I would not and will not ask you to curtail your comments. Thank you.

Tigerboy said...

Oh, my gosh!
I am so sorry to hear about your accident!
That sucks!

Listen, I didn't mean to pressure you. If the blog becomes too much of an obligation, then it's not fun for you, and you aren't really into it. No pressure.

I hope you find the medical help you need. Have a full and speedy recovery. Seriously. Best wishes.

Come back to the blog whenever you really want to.

Here's a video that you might find entertaining. I'm certainly not coming to the same conclusion that the speaker came to. He's selling his own bill of goods.

But, the video IS highly entertaining.

Tigerboy said...

Get Well Soon!

GCT said...

Thx Tigerboy, I greatly appreciate the well-wishes.

Anonymous said...

I don't shun you for anyway that you feel. sheesh you had to blog about it though I feel it should have been between us. But from the bottom of my heart I wish you the very best in all that you do and hope life bring you nothing but happiness and prosperity. lots of love. xo

GCT said...

Between whom? Who is "us?"