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Old 02-28-2009, 06:45 AM
Weston Weston is offline
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25 things which make it hard for me to believe in God

I think it would be nice if I could believe in God but the following things make it really hard. For the purposes of this threda 'God' is typically christian. that means he's omnipotent, omniscient, omnibenevolent, omnipresent, and that heaven and hell are real places and you need faith AND good works to get into heaven. I know a lot ofg Christians don't belive in this God but a lot MORE Christians do, so that's why we're going to go with this definition.

Also, we're going to discuss the basics of the Christian story. That is, the idea that God sent Jesus to redeem our sins and that Jesu was cricified, rose after 3 days and all of that.


Here's 25 things that make it hard for me to belkieve in this:
  • Why did God sacrifice Himself to Himself to change a rule He made Himself?

  • Why, if we are the warm, fuzzy centre of all creation, is the universe so incredibly massive? I mean, have you ever seen a pictrre of the known universe? I saw one on astronomy picture of the day. Its unbelievable! There's something like 40 billion galaxies, each with about 100 billion stars. And that's only the stuff we know about! It seems so arrogant to bvelieve that of all that, there's oinly one species on one planet in one solar system in one galaxy that actually matters.

  • Why did God take so long to tell us about himself? Richard Dawkins thinks our species is 250,000 years old. God only came along 3000 years ago(ish). What was he doing the other 247,000 years why we were killing eachother over caves and stuff? And why, if the message of God was so important, did it take about 1500 years for the Chinese to hear about it? Doesnt it make more sense that the Christian God was the product of a messianic middle east cult and there was nothing "divine" about it?

  • The trinity doesnt make any sense., I mean none AT ALL. Words mean things and this whole"God exists in three Persons and one substance" thing just makes no sense. There is literally no logic to that senence.

  • Terminally ill kids.

  • No miracles nowadays. God never had a problem meddling in peoples lives before. Why has he suddenly got quiet at just the same time our species has figured out hoiw to record and analyse things?

  • If Heaven is perfect happiness, and Hell is the opposite, how can a mother be happy in heaven if her son is sent to hell? If we're changed THAT MUCH bny going into heaven mightn't we as well be dead?

  • The concept of eternal punishmnt is unjust. Even Hitler doesn't deserve eternal punishment.

  • The 'one size fits all' concept of hell as a punishment is very unjust. Why should a law abiding atheist and Hitler get the same punishment? Remember, the majority of Christians should (if they follow their doctrine properly) believe that faith is essentia;l to be saved.

  • Why does god require we worship him? He's supposed to love us, right? Well, I love my cat but I don't demand he worships me even though I am (I like to think) a superior being.

  • The concept of heaven is one of eternal worship of GOd. Wouldn't that get boring after the first hundred billion trillion years? Its all very well saying that heaven by definition ius always blissful but you have no way of saying why that may be, given wha the Bible actually says about it. Your just saying "God will fix it when you get there".

  • The Bible contradicts itself all over the place. I trust i don't need to cite this.

  • The Bible contains nothing that couldnt have been written by a man or woman living in 1st century palestine.

  • God doesn't answer prayers. No matter what subjective experiences you may have had, studies have been done which prove this.

  • The gospels were written 70-100 years after Jesus died. Thats plenty of time for hearsay and conjecture to creep into the story even if the basics were true.

  • The creation myth has been debunked. If genesis is untrue, God had much less reason to send down Jesus because there was no such thing as original sin.

  • There are LOADS of logical problems with the Christian idea that God is omniscient, omnipotent, and omnibenevolent. If God is omniscient that means he must know everythng, including everything man knows. That means he must know lust and envy. If God knows lust and envy, He must have feelings of lust and envy. THat means he's not perfect. The idea of a perfect God is self defeating.

  • Another logical problem with the idea of a perfect God is that, because a perfect being knows absolutely everything, God can't have free will. God knows his choices in advance.

  • There is as much hard empirical evidence for the existence of God as there is for the ecistence of the flying spagetti monster. Seriously. If God does exist then there is absolutely no difference between our universe and a universe where he doesn't exist.

  • There are still people in the world who haven't heard of Jesus. If Jesus's message is so important, why has God let this happen?

  • Christians say the universe is finely tuned to support life and that is evidence that God exists and created the universe for us. But our planet is the only one we know that supports life and even earth is a very dangerous place with its earthquakes and volcanos and tsunamis and hurricanes and tornadoes and ice ages dangerous diseases. Why would God create such an inhospitable planet for us?

  • If God created everything, that means he also created smallpox, which has killed more people in the 20th century than all the 20th century dicatorships combined and multiplied by a hundred.

  • If God gives us free will to suffer that means that God must want us to suffer. THat means God approves of suffering generally.

  • Why won't God heal amputees? I mean, when Christians talk about God saving or curing someone, there's always a natural explanation. Why doesn't God ever do anything which cant be easily explained in natural ways?

  • Terminally ill kids. That one bears repeating.

That's about all I can come up with. I'm sure smart people who've studied this could come up with loads more. I dont want to offend anyone. This post is the product of an existential crisis. I really do want these questions answered so I can have a chance to believe.
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  #2  
Old 02-28-2009, 07:59 AM
Der Trihs Der Trihs is offline
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Originally Posted by Weston View Post
I really do want these questions answered so I can have a chance to believe.
There's no rational reason to believe, regardless of your desire to. Since you've pointed out all these reasons why the God you want to worship doesn't exist, why not simply give up on the idea ? Wouldn't you rather be right, instead of believing a pretty lie ?

Last edited by Der Trihs; 02-28-2009 at 07:59 AM..
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Old 02-28-2009, 08:07 AM
Weston Weston is offline
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Originally Posted by Der Trihs
There's no rational reason to believe, regardless of your desire to. Since you've pointed out all these reasons why the God you want to worship doesn't exist, why not simply give up on the idea ? Wouldn't you rather be right, instead of believing a pretty lie ?
I'm still faintly holding onto the possibility that it might not be a lie and that there might be something wrong with all the reasons I put in my OP. This is like the last chance I give religion before I commit to being an atheist. I'm hoping I can get some straight answers because no-one else has ever been abl;e to give me any.
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Old 02-28-2009, 08:17 AM
gonzomax gonzomax is offline
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Originally Posted by Weston View Post
I'm still faintly holding onto the possibility that it might not be a lie and that there might be something wrong with all the reasons I put in my OP. This is like the last chance I give religion before I commit to being an atheist. I'm hoping I can get some straight answers because no-one else has ever been abl;e to give me any.
There aren't any. Belief requires a rejection of logic and evidence. Belief for beliefs sake. The difficulty of facing that this is all you get. If you are born with an illness and have a painful debilitating life, that is your lot. It is all probabilities , a game of chance. Some are born lucky and have advantages. Some are born under difficult circumstances and have a rough road to follow.
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Old 02-28-2009, 08:52 AM
DrCube DrCube is offline
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The simple fact that you question religion means you aren't religious material.

I'm talking big questions here, not "Does Jesus want me to be a ballerina or a rock star?"

For example: "The trinity doesnt make any sense., I mean none AT ALL." That's true. It will never make any sense. As you say, it is completely illogical.

Religious people aren't allowed to say "That makes no sense, therefore it is bullshit." They have to say "That makes no sense. There's God for you, always being mysterious! Praise Jesus!!" If you can't do the latter, and swallow down about a hundred more nonsensical beliefs before breakfast, then religion is not for you.
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Old 02-28-2009, 08:54 AM
Q.E.D. Q.E.D. is offline
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You had me at number 1.
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  #7  
Old 02-28-2009, 09:30 AM
panache45 panache45 is online now
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Originally Posted by Weston View Post
I think it would be nice if I could believe in God . . .
Nice? I don't know anyone who believes in God because it's nice.
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Old 02-28-2009, 09:42 AM
The Hamster King The Hamster King is offline
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Here's my argument for atheism:

Different religions teach wildly contradictory things. They can't all be true. Therefore most religions must be wrong about most of what they teach.

But if most religions are wrong about most of what they teach, revelation is a flawed epistemology. Whatever the true nature of reality is, using spiritual means to discover is a recipe for error.
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Old 02-28-2009, 10:00 AM
razncain razncain is offline
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Originally Posted by Weston View Post
I'm still faintly holding onto the possibility that it might not be a lie and that there might be something wrong with all the reasons I put in my OP. This is like the last chance I give religion before I commit to being an atheist. I'm hoping I can get some straight answers because no-one else has ever been able to give me any.
Okay, I can help. Starting with this:

Quote:
No miracles nowadays. God never had a problem meddling in peoples lives before. Why has he suddenly got quiet at just the same time our species has figured out how to record and analyse things?
Not so, miracles of biblical proportions are occurring even today. Are you ready for this? Hereís Benny Hinn at work, showing what he can do with his faith, just let the bodies hit the floor, that someone else set to rock music. Pretty impressive stuff, eh?

Want more? This group of believers, follow the ending in Mark, by picking up deadly snakes and drinking poisons.

If neither of these impresses you, well thenÖ.did you at least like the music in both links?

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Old 02-28-2009, 10:20 AM
Fantome Fantome is offline
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Originally Posted by Weston View Post
I'm still faintly holding onto the possibility that it might not be a lie and that there might be something wrong with all the reasons I put in my OP.
You don't have to let go of that possibility or any other to be labeled an atheist.

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Originally Posted by Weston View Post
This is like the last chance I give religion before I commit to being an atheist.
Atheism isn't something you commit to. Are you without belief now even though you still hold the belief that there is a possibility you're wrong? If the answer is yes, then you're already an atheist. If you are with belief, then you're going about things the wrong way by asking for responses to your 25 reasons. Even if you heard godly reasons for kids suffering, a good explanation for the trinity, etc. that make sense to you, those wouldn't be good reasons to believe any gods actually exist. Maybe you could share with us what it is that keeps you believing and we can discuss that.

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Originally Posted by Weston View Post
I'm hoping I can get some straight answers because no-one else has ever been abl;e to give me any.
I've been listening to theist family members, friends, folks on message boards, etc. for decades and the more I hear, the more I'm convinced I'll never hear one single piece of rational reasoning for believing in God/gods.
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Old 02-28-2009, 10:35 AM
DrCube DrCube is offline
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Originally Posted by Fantome View Post
I've been listening to theist family members, friends, folks on message boards, etc. for decades and the more I hear, the more I'm convinced I'll never hear one single piece of rational reasoning for believing in God/gods.
The evidence is all around you! Look with your eyes! It's also in your heart! GOD loves you and your miserable, wretched soul. Don't take my word for it, it's in the BIBLE. HE wants you to believe! You just have to open your mind up to HIM and HE will answer all your questions. Besides, GOD is so wonderful!!

Is any of this unimpeachable logic getting through to you, yet, sinner? Or are you just being stereotypically atheist and closed-minded, refusing to see the light?
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Old 02-28-2009, 10:39 AM
Fantome Fantome is offline
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Okay, that did it. Hallelujah!
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Old 02-28-2009, 10:49 AM
TooSchoolforCool TooSchoolforCool is offline
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I'll respond to a few of these points. I should say that, in general, I think it's important to note that even if you limit yourself to Christian thought, many of your objections are assuming particular theological ideas that are not universal to Christianity (like, say, the true purpose of prayer, or biblical inerrancy). So while they might well point to a flaw in a particular theological concept, a Christian apologist could quite rightly argue that they do not completely rule out even Christianity entirely.

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Originally Posted by Weston View Post
[*] Why did God sacrifice Himself to Himself to change a rule He made Himself?
I don't understand this idea either. I can see how the idea of this story might have had some vaguely poetic appeal to people, especially those accustomed to paganite ideas of blood sacrifice and so forth, where gods might have been creatures of great generative power, but not perfect or _literally_ all powerful (even if people might praise them by saying so). But it really does seem radically out of place with the modern theological concept of a very abstract and absolute, all powerful being.

Of course, as you note, you're only talking about the Christian God here. The actual concept of "God" could mean almost literally anything at all, including an intelligent all powerful being who has nothing at all to do with the Christian story or theology.


Quote:
[*] Why, if we are the warm, fuzzy centre of all creation, is the universe so incredibly massive? I mean, have you ever seen a pictrre of the known universe? I saw one on astronomy picture of the day. Its unbelievable! There's something like 40 billion galaxies, each with about 100 billion stars. And that's only the stuff we know about! It seems so arrogant to bvelieve that of all that, there's oinly one species on one planet in one solar system in one galaxy that actually matters.
Were I an apologist, I would point here right at your statement that you find it "unbelievable." Wouldn't that (i.e. your sense of wonder and amazement) be at least a surface reason for an all powerful God to do something neat to try and impress you, specifically, while at the same time trying to make you feel humbled as well?


Quote:
[*] The trinity doesnt make any sense., I mean none AT ALL. Words mean things and this whole"God exists in three Persons and one substance" thing just makes no sense. There is literally no logic to that senence.
I'm not a huge fan of the logical positivists, but you have to admit that they were on to something when they objected to the use of nigh unintelligible language like this. A lot of people, including even believers, have referred to the Trinity as a sort of "loyalty test." You can't possibly understand what it's trying to imply, but saying that you believe it any way is a sign of your faith.


Quote:
[*] Terminally ill kids.
The common apologist response to this one always boils down to some variation of "suffering, even pointless suffering, doesn't really matter. It's all a big joke... or, alternatively, all instructive for the REAL people who'll exist afterwards to benefit and learn from." In short, I think most theodicy boils down to basically rejecting the true reality and immorality of suffering, per se.

Quote:
[*] No miracles nowadays. God never had a problem meddling in peoples lives before. Why has he suddenly got quiet at just the same time our species has figured out hoiw to record and analyse things?
Funny that, yes. Again, we have this tension between something that made sense to ancient peoples and their concept of God, but seems very bizarre in light of the modern, very abstract concept. People in those days seemed to have plenty of, say, free will to choose good or bad even when God was zooming around with them in a whirlwind. So what's the big deal exactly?

And even a hint from God that sperm and eggs existed and worked roughly the way we much later learned they did would, however you come down on the abortion question, have helped people make better decisions about what was a moral or immoral way to prevent pregnancy and birth.


Quote:
[*] The concept of eternal punishmnt is unjust. Even Hitler doesn't deserve eternal punishment.
I take an even more radical point of view. If life is over, and Hitler cannot hurt anyone anymore, nor can anyone else, Hitler doesn't deserve any punishment at all. He should certainly be shown the error of his ways in asmuch as possible. But what's the point of simply torturing someone at that point? Heal hurts, don't pointlessly create more.


Quote:
[*] God doesn't answer prayers. No matter what subjective experiences you may have had, studies have been done which prove this.
Note that not all believers think that prayer is really FOR asking God to do things to help them out. For many people, prayer is simply meant to be a powerful act of communion with their God and contemplating of the divine, not a metaphysical vending machine.

Quote:
[*] Another logical problem with the idea of a perfect God is that, because a perfect being knows absolutely everything, God can't have free will. God knows his choices in advance.
I'm never sure what it even means to say that a being has free will or not. Beings make choices. We can ask what the process is by which they make choices. Asking whether or not this process is "free" is sort of like an incomplete thought. Free from...er... what, specifically? The answer of people defending free will as a concept always seems to want to be "free from... er... itself" which makes no sense to me.

Quote:
[*] There are still people in the world who haven't heard of Jesus. If Jesus's message is so important, why has God let this happen?
Hah. The real question the Christian God might be said to ask is, why are YOU, faithful Christian, letting it happen?
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Old 02-28-2009, 11:08 AM
razncain razncain is offline
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Don't do it!

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Weston-There are still people in this world who havenít heard of Jesus. If Jesusí message is so important, why had God let this happen?

TooSchoolforCool--Hah. The real question the Christian God might be said to ask is, why are YOU, faithful Christian, letting it happen?
Donít do it! Just keep your mouth shut! You'll save more that way!

From the wisdom of Annie Dillard who won a Pulitzer Prize for Pilgrim at Tinker Creek in 1975.

Quote:
Eskimo:: If I did not know about God and sin, would I go to hell?

Priest: No, not if you did not know.

Eskimo:Then why did you tell me?
I'm certainly doing what I can.

razncain
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Old 02-28-2009, 11:16 AM
TooSchoolforCool TooSchoolforCool is offline
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Nice.
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Old 02-28-2009, 11:33 AM
razncain razncain is offline
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Originally Posted by TooSchoolforCool View Post
Nice.
I thought you and others would like it. It's one of my favorite quotes.

I think it would be pretty cool if others started proselytizing Christians and telling them how many more they would save if they would just leave their missionaries back home.

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Old 02-28-2009, 11:36 AM
WhyNot WhyNot is online now
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Originally Posted by DrCube View Post
The simple fact that you question religion means you aren't religious material.
Bullshit. I question religion - mine and others - at least once a day. Literally. I question, I muse, I contemplate, I wonder...and I'm one of the more religious/spiritual people I know 9/10 of the time. Anyone who doesn't want you to question is a cult leader, not a religious person. Religion/spirituality is, to me, the very act of questioning.

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Originally Posted by Weston View Post
I think it would be nice if I could believe in God but the following things make it really hard. For the purposes of this threda 'God' is typically christian. that means he's omnipotent, omniscient, omnibenevolent, omnipresent, and that heaven and hell are real places and you need faith AND good works to get into heaven. I know a lot ofg Christians don't belive in this God but a lot MORE Christians do, so that's why we're going to go with this definition.
Why why why why why? Why throw out God with the Christians? I'm not saying you have to accept God, just that that's akin to saying, "For the purposes of this thread, chosing an apprentice works like it does on Trump's show. Here's the problems I have with Trump's show: he's abusive, demeaning and a big old doody head, and his apprentice-wannabes are backstabbing troglodytes who are more interested in their own welfare than in really learning from him. Why should I chose an apprentice?"

Quote:
[*] Why did God sacrifice Himself to Himself to change a rule He made Himself?
Christian answer: so that people would understand the severity of the consequences of their actions. It was a wake up call. Think of the impact it would have if every legislator who voted for war had a child who was a soldier on the ground. It would A) make them think twice and B) make other people realize that they really, truly did believe the course of action was necessary, because they have something very valuable at stake.

My answer: Christ was one of many solar death gods, created when people realized that stuff that dies in the fall (like grain) is reborn again in the spring because of the power of the sun.

Quote:
[*] Why, if we are the warm, fuzzy centre of all creation, is the universe so incredibly massive? I mean, have you ever seen a pictrre of the known universe? I saw one on astronomy picture of the day. Its unbelievable! There's something like 40 billion galaxies, each with about 100 billion stars. And that's only the stuff we know about! It seems so arrogant to bvelieve that of all that, there's oinly one species on one planet in one solar system in one galaxy that actually matters.
My answer: God specifically says in the Bible that he's not the only God - that there are others, and he's jealous of them. I have no problem with the concept of a Venusian god and a Betelguesian god and a Sol god. (Although, really, I think that God is one Divine force that's more or less a mad scientist. Life probably does exist on other planets because they're like other playgrounds for God to play in, too. Or other petrie dishes, to avoid mixing the metaphor.)

Quote:
[*] Why did God take so long to tell us about himself? Richard Dawkins thinks our species is 250,000 years old. God only came along 3000 years ago(ish). What was he doing the other 247,000 years why we were killing eachother over caves and stuff? And why, if the message of God was so important, did it take about 1500 years for the Chinese to hear about it? Doesnt it make more sense that the Christian God was the product of a messianic middle east cult and there was nothing "divine" about it?
Christianity is the protduct of a messianic middle east cult, yes. God/dess/es was Divine before there was Christ.
Quote:
[*] The trinity doesnt make any sense., I mean none AT ALL. Words mean things and this whole"God exists in three Persons and one substance" thing just makes no sense. There is literally no logic to that senence.
Oh, come now, this is too easy. My husband calls me Sweetie and my kids call me Mom and my Doper friends call me WhyNot. Sweetie, Mom and WhyNot are all the same person, but we're different identities at the same time. If you start calling me Sweetie, you're talking to wrong person, even though it's me.
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[*] Terminally ill kids.
Why must life be fun? Who promised that?
Quote:
[*] No miracles nowadays. God never had a problem meddling in peoples lives before. Why has he suddenly got quiet at just the same time our species has figured out hoiw to record and analyse things?
I think, like buildings and art, that 90% of miracles are crap. That is, they're tiny and personal and won't mean a thing if I share mine with you; they won't be written down anywhere to last. The really big ones, the ones worthy of being made public, are few and far between. I strongly suspect that many millennia of big miracles passed on orally were compressed into the few hundred years covered by the Bible.
Quote:
[*] If Heaven is perfect happiness, and Hell is the opposite, how can a mother be happy in heaven if her son is sent to hell? If we're changed THAT MUCH bny going into heaven mightn't we as well be dead?
[*] The concept of eternal punishmnt is unjust. Even Hitler doesn't deserve eternal punishment.
[*] The 'one size fits all' concept of hell as a punishment is very unjust. Why should a law abiding atheist and Hitler get the same punishment? Remember, the majority of Christians should (if they follow their doctrine properly) believe that faith is essentia;l to be saved.
I don't believe in hell, so I can't help you here. Sorry.
Quote:
[*] Why does god require we worship him? He's supposed to love us, right? Well, I love my cat but I don't demand he worships me even though I am (I like to think) a superior being.
S/he doesn't. But you might find that your life is improved if/when you worship. I do. I can't promise anything for anyone else, of course.
Quote:
[*] The concept of heaven is one of eternal worship of GOd. Wouldn't that get boring after the first hundred billion trillion years? Its all very well saying that heaven by definition ius always blissful but you have no way of saying why that may be, given wha the Bible actually says about it. Your just saying "God will fix it when you get there".
That's not my concept of heaven, so I can't explain it. My concept of heaven is a timeless pausing point where I temporarily regain my Divine sense of perspective and choose what games I'd like to play and lessons I'd like to take in my next incarnation. There's also opportunity there to make bonds and agreements with other souls to help me and accept my help during their next lifetime. (Of course, the separateness of these souls is merely illusory, we're all one at this stage.)
Quote:
[*] The Bible contradicts itself all over the place. I trust i don't need to cite this.
[*] The Bible contains nothing that couldnt have been written by a man or woman living in 1st century palestine.
Right. 'Cause it was written by people, not God.
Quote:
[*] God doesn't answer prayers. No matter what subjective experiences you may have had, studies have been done which prove this.
Ok, it's trite, but I think it's true: "God answers every prayer. Sometimes the answer is, 'no.'" You just have to listen.
Quote:
[*] The gospels were written 70-100 years after Jesus died. Thats plenty of time for hearsay and conjecture to creep into the story even if the basics were true.
Yep, you're right.
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[*] The creation myth has been debunked. If genesis is untrue, God had much less reason to send down Jesus because there was no such thing as original sin.
Back to Sunday school for you. Jesus didn't remove Original Sin. That one's still going strong, and has nothing to do with the Garden of Eden (Original Sin is that your parents had sex to conceive you. You are stained with your father's spunk.) Jesus' sacrifice removed the taint of people-doing-bad-stuff sin that had tainted humanity beyond reclamation by ordinary means.
Quote:
[*] There are LOADS of logical problems with the Christian idea that God is omniscient, omnipotent, and omnibenevolent. If God is omniscient that means he must know everythng, including everything man knows. That means he must know lust and envy. If God knows lust and envy, He must have feelings of lust and envy. THat means he's not perfect. The idea of a perfect God is self defeating.
[*] Another logical problem with the idea of a perfect God is that, because a perfect being knows absolutely everything, God can't have free will. God knows his choices in advance.
Yep, you're right.

Quote:
[*] There is as much hard empirical evidence for the existence of God as there is for the ecistence of the flying spagetti monster. Seriously. If God does exist then there is absolutely no difference between our universe and a universe where he doesn't exist.
Yep, right again. Doesn't matter. Live your life as makes you and people around you happy and then you'll die. That's it. Saint or martyr or Joe the Plumber, you die, we stand around your grave for 15 minutes weeping and wailing, and then we'll go to lunch.

But, as I said before, some people are many happy or find their lives run more smoothly if they practice some sort of religion. You may or may not. I do.
Quote:
[*] There are still people in the world who haven't heard of Jesus. If Jesus's message is so important, why has God let this happen?
'Cause it's not. People conflate their will with the will of God all the time. News at 11.
Quote:
[*] Christians say the universe is finely tuned to support life and that is evidence that God exists and created the universe for us. But our planet is the only one we know that supports life and even earth is a very dangerous place with its earthquakes and volcanos and tsunamis and hurricanes and tornadoes and ice ages dangerous diseases. Why would God create such an inhospitable planet for us?

[*] If God created everything, that means he also created smallpox, which has killed more people in the 20th century than all the 20th century dicatorships combined and multiplied by a hundred.

[*] If God gives us free will to suffer that means that God must want us to suffer. THat means God approves of suffering generally.

[*] Why won't God heal amputees? I mean, when Christians talk about God saving or curing someone, there's always a natural explanation. Why doesn't God ever do anything which cant be easily explained in natural ways?

[*] Terminally ill kids. That one bears repeating.
Again, who said life was supposed to be fun, or easy, or pleasant? Not God, that's for sure. And, much as I find lazing around in bliss a nice thing to do, it does begin to pall after a week or so. (As you yourself say of heaven, remember.) Challenge and even suffering bear out their own rewards. Otherwise, why would people chose to be marathon runners, or teach in inner city schools or parent children?

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That's about all I can come up with. I'm sure smart people who've studied this could come up with loads more. I dont want to offend anyone. This post is the product of an existential crisis. I really do want these questions answered so I can have a chance to believe.[
I believe you. And I strongly suggest you check out some other religions - namely, based on what you've said here, Buddhism - before deciding that the whole concept of religion is not for you. I can well believe Christianity isn't, but something else may be.

WhyNot,
(Sometimes Agnostic, but not today) Eclectic Neopagan
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  #18  
Old 02-28-2009, 11:53 AM
smiling bandit smiling bandit is offline
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I think it would be nice if I could believe in God but the following things make it really hard.
Well, I'm gonna help you out. You possibly piced the wrong place to ask these questions. if you really want to talk about it, find a well-educated pastor and ask him about it. Here you will find the arrogantly ignorant unbelievers, who hate the very idea that someone might see something they do not. You will get no serious answers from them, only mockery and hate.

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Why did God sacrifice Himself to Himself to change a rule He made Himself?
Well, Christians somewhat disagree on this. We know "Why" he did it: to savemankind from sin and death. We don't know exactly why he did in that manner. It was his choice and not ours.

What I can say is this: God has a dynamic but eternal nature. He is real, and like all real things his reality puts certain limits. He must be good, and is good, and is goodness itself. He can't do evil, and he can't pass up doing good just because someone else might not like it. He has all the power in the universe, but even with mortal men, having lots of power can be a great burden.

What Christians all agree on is that nomatter how we think or understand what he did, it worked. Some would say he paid a moral debt, others that he satisfied the demands of justice, still others that by becoming a pure sacrifice he broke open the prison of this world for us. But that's not the thing we believe: that's a theory of how the thing worked. But we do know why he did it: he loves us utterly.

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Why, if we are the warm, fuzzy centre of all creation, is the universe so incredibly massive? I mean, have you ever seen a pictrre of the known universe? I saw one on astronomy picture of the day. Its unbelievable! There's something like 40 billion galaxies, each with about 100 billion stars. And that's only the stuff we know about! It seems so arrogant to bvelieve that of all that, there's oinly one species on one planet in one solar system in one galaxy that actually matters.
So what? Should we feel small because of the size of the cosmos? We need not go nearly that far. We are small compared to the earth or the sun, or even a single small sea. But since when did size ever matter morally? Are large men simply better than small ones?

Now, a Christian, if he is thinking, ought not to say that we are the only thing that matters. There may be some other creatures out there somewhere. Or maybe not. It's not for us to say. God created the universe - Nature itself - for his own reasons, maybe even just on a whim.

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Why did God take so long to tell us about himself? Richard Dawkins thinks our species is 250,000 years old. God only came along 3000 years ago(ish). What was he doing the other 247,000 years why we were killing eachother over caves and stuff? And why, if the message of God was so important, did it take about 1500 years for the Chinese to hear about it? Doesnt it make more sense that the Christian God was the product of a messianic middle east cult and there was nothing "divine" about it?
God only came along 3000 years ago, huh? Are you sure about that? Many widely-scattered peoples across the world will, if asked, mention a single ur-diety, something far more removed than their local understanding. They often don't even worship that God, and they definitely don't understand him, but they know of him.

God takes his own time. I don't think he blames anyone for not knowing his name or face yet - they will come to know it someday. Why would you think a few hundred eins a big barrier to him? Humanity may continue to live for eons or millions of years hence, and will continue to truly live forever.

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The trinity doesnt make any sense., I mean none AT ALL. Words mean things and this whole"God exists in three Persons and one substance" thing just makes no sense. There is literally no logic to that senence.
Why not? It's God we're talking about here. This a creature which is primal, eternal, incomprehensible. And also which we believe was born as a man, right around 33-someodd B.C. And which also came down itself upon humans around 3 AD and continues to do so to this day.

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Terminally ill kids.
And what? We believe that another power, a power of sin and death, which rejected God and his gifts and now claims this world, made sin and death. Or rather, corrupted good things into sin and death. We are engaged in fighting that power. Now, it is true that God has been known to send his faithful into suffering, and even encourages them to rejoice in the suffering. He often sends the one who please him best into the hardest and longest suffering.

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No miracles nowadays. God never had a problem meddling in peoples lives before. Why has he suddenly got quiet at just the same time our species has figured out hoiw to record and analyse things?
No miracles? Oh, I don't believe that. But God is not a trick-performing pony to prance around for your amusement. He comes and goes when he pleases, as he pleases, and communicates as he wishes.

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If Heaven is perfect happiness, and Hell is the opposite, how can a mother be happy in heaven if her son is sent to hell? If we're changed THAT MUCH bny going into heaven mightn't we as well be dead?
There are no husbands or wives in heaven, and no mothers, exactly. Everyone shall have as free a chance to go there as they can have, and no one is barred. People speak of Heaven having a gate, but it does not. Hell has gates, and they are barred from the inside.

The Hell-bound are those who refuse any kind of goodness. Their suffering is their own: their punishment is to be cut off from doing any more harm to others. And they will have everything they want.

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The concept of eternal punishmnt is unjust. Even Hitler doesn't deserve eternal punishment.
I might come close to agreeing, but I think you misunderstand the nature of the "punishment". If you won't come to God, who is goodness and the source of all good things, there's nothing else for you. You can't have anythig good - not pleasure, not fun, not exhilaration, not quiet - nothing good at all. There is only one price of goodness, and that's goodness itself. It's a price so terrible that the noblest stoic might have shuddered in horror at it, but one so light that stoic men have broken down and wept at how easily they were given it.

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The 'one size fits all' concept of hell as a punishment is very unjust. Why should a law abiding atheist and Hitler get the same punishment? Remember, the majority of Christians should (if they follow their doctrine properly) believe that faith is essentia;l to be saved.
God is not fooled by externals. Is Hitler in Hell? Well, I think it probable, but I don't know, and it's not up to me. It may be that he was saved somehow. We can pray for it, even, and the salvation of all sinners. It may be that in the end no one will be lost to damnation. We don't know, but God certainly thinks it could happen.

But your salvaation is between you and God, and no one else. Other people may help you on the road. Satan will try to lure you away. But in the end, no one can make you go anywhere else.

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Why does god require we worship him? He's supposed to love us, right? Well, I love my cat but I don't demand he worships me even though I am (I like to think) a superior being.
Our worship of God is not something he demands as a right, but something he asks, in roder that he might instruct us. We worship now only with a dim and hazy light. We are ignorant fools trying dimly to realize something bright and eternal and glorious. But one day we will worship in Light and Truth. And we will need no encouragement, because our whole existence - every breath, thought, and action, will be in accordance with God's will.

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The concept of heaven is one of eternal worship of GOd. Wouldn't that get boring after the first hundred billion trillion years? Its all very well saying that heaven by definition ius always blissful but you have no way of saying why that may be, given wha the Bible actually says about it. Your just saying "God will fix it when you get there".
Of course he will fix is - or rather, fix us, because we are broken. But note what we are told. There are feasts everlasting. There is gold and silver a-plenty. yet we are also told (and it is implied) that we shall have real and valuable work to do. We shall even be given power and authority and shall rule something, somehow. We are told that we cannot now even imagine it, but we are given things to suggest it. That's simply what the thing says.

Secondly, most Christians agree that this thing we call "time", though not an illusion, is a passing thing for us. God lives outside it, and we will one day join him. This whole world will join him.

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The Bible contradicts itself all over the place. I trust i don't need to cite this.
The Bibkle is the Bible. It is the best source we have now. But no book, not it if it were a trillion miles long with pages the size of planets, could encompass God's glory. The Bible is intended for everyone. It has elements of poetry, myth, philosphy, history, and mystery. You may not be intended to understand all of it.

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The Bible contains nothing that couldnt have been written by a man or woman living in 1st century palestine.
And? It is a collection to edify Christians with the fundamentals we understand. It is no more and no less than this. My religion put it together, at a known date and time and with some argument over the matter.

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God doesn't answer prayers. No matter what subjective experiences you may have had, studies have been done which prove this.
He answered mine, quite personally and undeniably. I was rather shocked at the time, too. But what did you expect? That he would come at your beck and call like a servant?

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The gospels were written 70-100 years after Jesus died. Thats plenty of time for hearsay and conjecture to creep into the story even if the basics were true.
Then ignore the Gospels, if you like. Of course, you would then be ignoring the letters of a man who saw and knew miracles, and the oral stories of people who went off and endured privation and want and fear and died in order to follow Jesus, and the fact that many others saw and performed miracles, too. But yes, I'm sure a century is more than enough for people to decide to add a dozen miracles to every page, even though the Apostles had recently passed away and the some of the first Disciples were still living. Of course, a man who believed that would have little to believe in any history.

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The creation myth has been debunked. If genesis is untrue, God had much less reason to send down Jesus because there was no such thing as original sin.
Now that's getting rather thin. Genesis may be descriptive rather than literal, or may be parts of both. To then leap to saying that there is no Original Sin because Genesis was written by people trying to understand what started it all is a pretty poor bit of logic.

I would say that Genesis is probably not true, but was an attempt to comprehend how things started and why sin exists.

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There are LOADS of logical problems with the Christian idea that God is omniscient, omnipotent, and omnibenevolent. If God is omniscient that means he must know everythng, including everything man knows. That means he must know lust and envy. If God knows lust and envy, He must have feelings of lust and envy. THat means he's not perfect. The idea of a perfect God is self defeating.
Frankly, I think you haven't given this any thought at all, and are conflating words.

Secondly, he came down as a man, probably in part to show that we need not be afraid. He knew the desire for women; he probably wanted to have an easier, happier life not ending in execution. He knew all of these things... and did not falter. Just as we are called upon not to falter. To experience desire or want is not the same as to Sin, though it could become so.

Secondly, there is a difference between experiencing something and knowing it firsthand.

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Another logical problem with the idea of a perfect God is that, because a perfect being knows absolutely everything, God can't have free will. God knows his choices in advance.
God doesn't do anything in advance. He does it right now. No time, remember? And you are making a fundamental mistake of assuming that knwoing something is the same as doing it. I know I will go out now and have Mexican. But that is not the same thing as choosing to do it.

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There is as much hard empirical evidence for the existence of God as there is for the ecistence of the flying spagetti monster. Seriously. If God does exist then there is absolutely no difference between our universe and a universe where he doesn't exist.
If God didn't exist, we would never have been, so I can't really agree there. You are assuming what you set out to prove.

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There are still people in the world who haven't heard of Jesus. If Jesus's message is so important, why has God let this happen?
Why do you let it happen? This is a thing that God entrusted into our hands.

But regardless, God is not fooled by externals.

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Christians say the universe is finely tuned to support life and that is evidence that God exists and created the universe for us. But our planet is the only one we know that supports life and even earth is a very dangerous place with its earthquakes and volcanos and tsunamis and hurricanes and tornadoes and ice ages dangerous diseases. Why would God create such an inhospitable planet for us?
Well, I can't agree that the planet is finely tuned to support us. I would have to argue that it was supposed to be, but that things went wrong becaue of Satan's betrayal. Of course, God did know Satan would do it, but God loved even him. Satan will hae his way now... but the hour is coming when that will no longer be so.

Second, there are safe places on the earth. You do not wish to live in them.

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If God gives us free will to suffer that means that God must want us to suffer. THat means God approves of suffering generally.
When you were young, your parents might have told you one day that they wouldn't pick up your toys. Now, they wanted you to have a clean room, I bet. But you didn't pick up your toys, did you. They had to make a choice between a greater good (that you would grow and learn to pick up after yourself) and a lesser (a clean room). And eventually, you probably learned somewhat to have both.

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Why won't God heal amputees? I mean, when Christians talk about God saving or curing someone, there's always a natural explanation. Why doesn't God ever do anything which cant be easily explained in natural ways?
There's never a natural explanation for God curing someone of leprosy, or demonic possession. It's not exactly stated, but given the number of lepers Jesus healed, well, they would have had sores and even lost extremities.

Second, I tend to think that once you've lost a limb, it's pretty done gone ahead of you. Don't worry, you'll get it back.

Mate, perhaps you're starting from the wrong end. I'm not asking you to believe. Not yet. But perhas you are thinking you're a mite smarter than any of us are, and maybe you haven't really considere things carefully. Christianity is not a faith; it is the whole world. And in point of fact, the plain matter is that no Christian is going to be able to answer all the questions you might have. But you ought, if you are serious, to try to educate yourself on the matter first and question it second.
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  #19  
Old 02-28-2009, 11:54 AM
razncain razncain is offline
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Originally Posted by WhyNot View Post
Back to Sunday school for you. Jesus didn't remove Original Sin. That one's still going strong, and has nothing to do with the Garden of Eden (Original Sin is that your parents had sex to conceive you. You are stained with your father's spunk.) Jesus' sacrifice removed the taint of people-doing-bad-stuff sin that had tainted humanity beyond reclamation by ordinary means.

You mistook what Weston wrote. He put in the qualifier if Genesis is untrue, there is no need for Original Sin. And the Original Sin in the Garden of Eden wasnít what you claim it to be either. It wasnít having sex, it was being disobedient on what fruit to eat from the tree.

razncain
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  #20  
Old 02-28-2009, 01:24 PM
Linty Fresh Linty Fresh is offline
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Several things led me to de-convert to atheism, none of them personal, but what started it for me was learning about the Holocaust in school and seeing documentaries featuring Holocaust survivors. Sidney Hook, my favorite philosopher of all time, called the Holocaust the 20th century argument against the existence of God, and I'd have to agree. A god that turned his back on six million of his followers could not possibly be the God featured in the Bible. Simply could not be.

Christians and Jews alike try to explain away the Holocaust, but their arguments fall flat. God chose not to intervene? But he intervened in the Bible all the time on behalf of his faithful, and those six million certainly were faithful, despite what other apologists might maintain in their less noble moments. The Holocaust was the fault of man? But is God not stronger than man? It all comes back to a fundamental disconnect between what we read in the Bible and what we see in real life. Other things on your list helped steer me fully into atheism, but it was that episode in history that marked the beginning of the journey.

I don't interfere in others' faith. I figure that if it helps them make sense of things, so much the better, and as long as they keep it away from the legislature, I'm fine with it. I'm even willing to listen to the occasional prostelytizer, but if he catches me in the wrong mood, I'm more than happy to make him back his faith up, and I've been following religious debate long enough so that it's not a very comfortable time for him.
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  #21  
Old 02-28-2009, 01:32 PM
The Flying Dutchman The Flying Dutchman is offline
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I think it would be nice if I could believe in God but the following things make it really hard. ...That's about all I can come up with. I'm sure smart people who've studied this could come up with loads more. I dont want to offend anyone. This post is the product of an existential crisis. I really do want these questions answered so I can have a chance to believe.
That is a looooong post.

Tell me, why, you an athiest, do you so desparately want to believe in God? What's the upside ?
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  #22  
Old 02-28-2009, 03:32 PM
Procrustus Procrustus is offline
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Originally Posted by smiling bandit View Post
Well, I'm gonna help you out. You possibly picked the wrong place to ask these questions.
This I agree with. If the OP was really looking for ways to understand religion and is honestly seeking some reason to find god, a place populated by intelligent non believers is not a good bet. (or as smiling bandit calls us "arrogantly ignorant unbelievers.")


The entire rest of the post has done more to confirm my conviction that there is no god than all of Sam Harris' and Christopher Hitchens' writings I have ever read. "feasts everlasting. . . . gold and silver a-plenty." oh my.
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  #23  
Old 02-28-2009, 03:59 PM
razncain razncain is offline
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smiling bandit youíre probably sending more to Hell with these kind of illogical answers. Jehovah/Yahweh/God says to get back out there and make believers out of all of Ďem or heíll have your ass in a slinger.
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It's God we're talking about here. This a creature which is primal, eternal, incomprehensible.
If God is incomprehensible as you claim, why are you speaking as if you know something about Him? To date there are over 30,000 different sects of just Protestantism alone, with many as long-winded as you speaking on behalf of what many consider to be an incomprehensible God.
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You possibly piced the wrong place to ask these questions. if you really want to talk about it, find a well-educated pastor and ask him about it.
Finding one might be difficult. Chances are if the pastor is well-educated, he probably educated himself right out of his faith. This happens all the time. Schools such as Harvard, Yale, Princeton and others started out as conservative Christian seminaries, but wouldnít be considered that today. You keep on recruiting the best students, and hiring the brightest professors, there soon wonít be much left of that ole time religion.

Also evidence gathered from clergyman in the more mainline liberal Protestant groups in CA many years back also showed half of them having serious personal doubts about the existence of God, and only one-third believed in the divinity of Jesus. So, more than likely youíre probably not going to get a straight answer from many of them in the pulpit or in a church setting. Canít blame Ďem really. They have a lot at stake including their livelihood, and supporting their family.
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Here you will find the arrogantly ignorant unbelievers, who hate the very idea that someone might see something they do not. You will get no serious answers from them, only mockery and hate.
Sounds like the hate is coming from you. Here itís a level playing field, and I canít think of a better place for him to bring out such questions; although I agree to keep Ďem on the farm, one mustní come here. Your tone is more than a bit arrogant and your answers are sort of the ones that probably wouldnít even work on a child, must less an adult. Absurd answers deserve mockery, so no surprise if some follow suit with that. Most Bible believers realize that book is often filled with ridiculous things that one should believe, so it shouldnít be any surprise there either if one holds these up to the light of ridicule as well.
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Well, Christians somewhat disagree on this. We know "Why" he did it: to savemankind from sin and death. We don't know exactly why he did in that manner. It was his choice and not ours.
What exactly did work? The majority of the world still isnít buying into this con, including some that profess to be Christians, and itís absurd to think if God hadnít killed Himself or his Son temporarily (pick one or both, most believers do), that the world would have come to an end. Also, St. Irenaeus a early church father writing a short time after the Gospels are written thinks the Gospels are heresy in regards to Jesusí early death.

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God has a dynamic but eternal nature. He is real, and like all real things his reality puts certain limits. He must be good, and is good, and is goodness itself. He can't do evil, and he can't pass up doing good just because someone else might not like it.
If the God youíre describing is the one laid out in the Bible, what would happen if one were to try to emulate his behavior? They would either be locked up, or committed to an insane asylum.

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No miracles? Oh, I don't believe that. But God is not a trick-performing pony to prance around for your amusement. He comes and goes when he pleases, as he pleases, and communicates as he wishes.
Translation: I believe in miracles although they donít really occur, and I will never have one scintilla of evidence for them; never be able to demonstrate one either now or in the future, however, I like to think they occur because Iíve read in a book that said they did. Ergo, wishful thinking appeals to me more than critical thinking.
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The Bibkle is the Bible. It is the best source we have now. But no book, not it if it were a trillion miles long with pages the size of planets, could encompass God's glory. The Bible is intended for everyone. It has elements of poetry, myth, philosphy, history, and mystery.
And donít forget that to add plenty of foolishness to save them so that they might believe, says St. Paul.
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Frankly, I think you haven't given this any thought at all, and are conflating words.
Perhaps some are thinking the same of you. I certainly am.

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But perhas you are thinking you're a mite smarter than any of us are, and maybe you haven't really considere things carefully. Christianity is not a faith; it is the whole world. And in point of fact, the plain matter is that no Christian is going to be able to answer all the questions you might have. But you ought, if you are serious, to try to educate yourself on the matter first and question it second.
Education will hinder not help in your religious belief system. This has been brought out in many studies of where higher education tends to not get Ďem back on the farm again. Also 93% of scientists at the prestigious and distinguished NAS (National Academy of Sciences)are agnostic or atheist, and depending on which brand of Christianity you adhere too, more than likely they will all be damned for their intellect.

You, OTOH, need not worry.

razncain
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  #24  
Old 02-28-2009, 04:03 PM
monstro monstro is offline
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Originally Posted by The Flying Dutchman View Post
That is a looooong post.

Tell me, why, you an athiest, do you so desparately want to believe in God? What's the upside ?
As someone who wants to believe but finds it close to impossible, I think I can answer this.

When I'm not feeling well or I'm going through hard times, the first words of comfort that people offer are often religious in nature. Put it in God's hands. Let God handle it. Ask God to help you. You can do all things in Christ that strengthens you. The Lord doesn't give you anything you can't handle. If I was a believer, these words would actually comfort me rather than piss me off. It would be wonderful to have a supreme being full of love and compassion, who knows your every wish, and would never let anything bad happen to you. Who wouldn't want to have such an entity in their corner?

Also, socially speaking, it's easier to believe. My parents are very devout. When they aren't at the casino, they're at church. I like having philosophical discussions with them, but as such as they mention God and Jesus, my brain turns off. I hate that. I'd also like to tell my mother about my mental health issues, but she's unable to divorce the mind from the soul. Jesus can't fix her arthritis or her diabetes, but apparently he can cure me of depression. As long as I ask him to.

If I could just flip a switch and turn myself into a believer, I would. Even though I'd be irrational and delusional, maybe I'd be a happier and hopeful person.

Last edited by monstro; 02-28-2009 at 04:03 PM..
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  #25  
Old 02-28-2009, 04:04 PM
Gary "Wombat" Robson Gary "Wombat" Robson is offline
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Not so, miracles of biblical proportions are occurring even today. Are you ready for this? Hereís Benny Hinn at work, showing what he can do with his faith, just let the bodies hit the floor, that someone else set to rock music. Pretty impressive stuff, eh?
What the *hell* is going on in that video?
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  #26  
Old 02-28-2009, 04:24 PM
TooSchoolforCool TooSchoolforCool is offline
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What Christians all agree on is that nomatter how we think or understand what he did, it worked. Some would say he paid a moral debt, others that he satisfied the demands of justice, still others that by becoming a pure sacrifice he broke open the prison of this world for us. But that's not the thing we believe: that's a theory of how the thing worked. But we do know why he did it: he loves us utterly.
By this logic, or rather, by this lack of logic, the story could involve a bunch of animated vegetables hitting each other with fish, and God made THAT happen because he loves us utterly and this somehow brings us salvation.

If you can't explain the theory, then you have nothing but blind faith that the act in question has anything to do with anything. And if that's the case, fine, but it's silly to present something like the crucifixion as if it were any sort of argument for or against some moral belief or duty or understanding of how the world works.
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  #27  
Old 02-28-2009, 04:28 PM
Bryan Ekers Bryan Ekers is offline
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Originally Posted by Procrustus View Post
This I agree with. If the OP was really looking for ways to understand religion and is honestly seeking some reason to find god, a place populated by intelligent non believers is not a good bet. (or as smiling bandit calls us "arrogantly ignorant unbelievers.")
A charismatic salesman/preacher is a far better bet if the OP wants someone to talk him into belief.
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  #28  
Old 02-28-2009, 04:30 PM
DrCube DrCube is offline
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And I strongly suggest you check out some other religions - namely, based on what you've said here, Buddhism - before deciding that the whole concept of religion is not for you. I can well believe Christianity isn't, but something else may be.
"And our special today is a Zen Buddhism: a light, airy religion that is easy on the cerebrum and won't tax your credulity. If a heftier, meatier religion is your style, we offer Islam, complete with 5 daily prayers, foreign languages, pilgrimages, and misogyny. For those with a funny bone, we also offer the classic Old Time Religion: Rural American Protestantism, awash in a spicy glaze of fire and brimstone, with a touch of snake handling and faith healing for that real "Old Time" feel.

As always, we advise against making a rash decision. Take your time, go over the menu. We offer over a thousand current -- and many more historical -- religions, from the high tech Scientology and Heaven's Gate, to the more Luddite, such as Mennonites and Jainism. If you have any questions, your server will be with you shortly. If you're a rock star, don't forget to try the sampler platter!"
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  #29  
Old 02-28-2009, 04:56 PM
Der Trihs Der Trihs is offline
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Originally Posted by smiling bandit View Post
Here you will find the arrogantly ignorant unbelievers, who hate the very idea that someone might see something they do not.
No; we simply don't believe you aare seeing anything real. And you have no evidence to back up your claims. If there's arrogance here, it's the beleivers who declare that what they want to believe MUST be true regardless of evidence or logic.

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Originally Posted by smiling bandit View Post
Well, Christians somewhat disagree on this. We know "Why" he did it: to savemankind from sin and death. We don't know exactly why he did in that manner. It was his choice and not ours.
That's simply illogical. Given that the one condemning us was HIM, God could have just stopped.

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Originally Posted by smiling bandit View Post
There's never a natural explanation for God curing someone of leprosy, or demonic possession.
Sure there is. "It didn't happen."

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Originally Posted by smiling bandit View Post
Terminally ill kids.
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And what? We believe that another power, a power of sin and death, which rejected God and his gifts and now claims this world, made sin and death. Or rather, corrupted good things into sin and death. We are engaged in fighting that power. Now, it is true that God has been known to send his faithful into suffering, and even encourages them to rejoice in the suffering. He often sends the one who please him best into the hardest and longest suffering.
Congratulations; you've helps underline why I would despise your God even if he existed. And demonstrated the sociopathy of Christianity; "Terminally ill kids ? So What ?! "

I mean it's not like an omnipotent being could cure cancer.
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  #30  
Old 02-28-2009, 05:16 PM
glee glee is offline
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I think it would be nice if I could believe in God but the following things make it really hard.
...
Also, we're going to discuss the basics of the Christian story. That is, the idea that God sent Jesus to redeem our sins and that Jesu was cricified, rose after 3 days and all of that.
Although you make fair points, the big two are:

- Judaism (which shares the Old Testament with Christianity) states that Jesus is not the Messiah. So at least one of these two religions is completely wrong - and also they never discuss it nor provide any reason to choose between them.

- the only 'evidence' that Jesus rose from the dead is the claims in the four Gospels. But the verses covering the discovery of the empty tomb and then meeting the risen Jesus are full of contradictions. And if Jesus didn't arise, there's nothing to worship.
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  #31  
Old 02-28-2009, 06:32 PM
WhyNot WhyNot is online now
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"And our special today is a Zen Buddhism: a light, airy religion that is easy on the cerebrum and won't tax your credulity. If a heftier, meatier religion is your style, we offer Islam, complete with 5 daily prayers, foreign languages, pilgrimages, and misogyny. For those with a funny bone, we also offer the classic Old Time Religion: Rural American Protestantism, awash in a spicy glaze of fire and brimstone, with a touch of snake handling and faith healing for that real "Old Time" feel.

As always, we advise against making a rash decision. Take your time, go over the menu. We offer over a thousand current -- and many more historical -- religions, from the high tech Scientology and Heaven's Gate, to the more Luddite, such as Mennonites and Jainism. If you have any questions, your server will be with you shortly. If you're a rock star, don't forget to try the sampler platter!"
[singsong]Sounds like someone's a UUer! [/ss]
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  #32  
Old 02-28-2009, 09:17 PM
Locrian Locrian is offline
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Once you can think of one reason, you're on the path to true righteousness.

I'm willing to bet that your list of 25 took about 30 minutes or less.
Why should we stop there? We should build this list. Use it as a distribution flyer.
Let belivers read it and decide. With a big enough list, any beliver can find one list item that truly hits home, making them question the validity of their personal belief system.
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  #33  
Old 02-28-2009, 09:42 PM
Vox Imperatoris Vox Imperatoris is offline
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Originally Posted by The Flying Dutchman View Post
That is a looooong post.

Tell me, why, you an athiest, do you so desparately want to believe in God? What's the upside ?
I can't answer for him, but the answer is pretty obvious for why I would want to believeóI want to live forever.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Weston View Post
Why, if we are the warm, fuzzy centre of all creation, is the universe so incredibly massive? I mean, have you ever seen a pictrre of the known universe? I saw one on astronomy picture of the day. Its unbelievable! There's something like 40 billion galaxies, each with about 100 billion stars. And that's only the stuff we know about! It seems so arrogant to bvelieve that of all that, there's oinly one species on one planet in one solar system in one galaxy that actually matters.
I don't have a problem with most of your points, but I've never liked this argument. Why shouldn't it be massive? It's not arrogant to say that it all belongs to us until someone else comes along to tell us otherwise. All that space is just more for humanity to one day conquer.

Valete,
Vox Imperatoris
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  #34  
Old 02-28-2009, 10:04 PM
Lust4Life Lust4Life is offline
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I think that the solution as to whether there is a god and if so what is its nature will be found within the laws of physics,Quantum and otherwise,when we know a hell of a lot more about them then we know today.

If the minute electrical charges and chemical processes within our bodies produce life and sentience then surely the incredible energies,atomic reactions and the other properties in our awesomely large local universe alone might be capable of producing immensly powerful entities that as far as we on Earth are concerned are godlike if not actually gods.

This doesn't mean that their thinking processes and concerns are even remotely to do with humanity which could be just an irrelevancy in the greater scope of an infinite,eternal,multidimensional multiverse.(Which wouldn't actually need a creator having always existed and always will exist)

But we wouldn't be able to understand more then a minute amount of any plan of gods if there is such a thing. .
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  #35  
Old 02-28-2009, 10:16 PM
don't ask don't ask is offline
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Well I am an ordained minister of the Universal Life Church and I must say that the OP has once again confirmed my disbelief in the existence of God. Thank whatever for that.
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  #36  
Old 02-28-2009, 11:05 PM
jsgoddess jsgoddess is offline
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He often sends the one who please him best into the hardest and longest suffering.
Nothing says love like homebaked cookies and torture.
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  #37  
Old 02-28-2009, 11:28 PM
Grumman Grumman is offline
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Nothing says love like homebaked cookies and torture.
I thought the torture was outsourced?
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  #38  
Old 02-28-2009, 11:48 PM
Cisco Cisco is offline
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I can't believe that some of you don't understand why he wants to believe. As an atheist, I would exchange everything I've ever worked for in my entire life for a genuine belief in god. Who doesn't want eternal bliss to look forward to? I'd be a lot happier if I thought I was going to see my grandpa again when this was all over.
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  #39  
Old 03-01-2009, 12:40 AM
Lust4Life Lust4Life is offline
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I can't believe that some of you don't understand why he wants to believe. As an atheist, I would exchange everything I've ever worked for in my entire life for a genuine belief in god. Who doesn't want eternal bliss to look forward to? I'd be a lot happier if I thought I was going to see my grandpa again when this was all over.
With you on that one all the way mate.
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  #40  
Old 03-01-2009, 12:51 AM
Sage Rat Sage Rat is offline
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I can't believe that some of you don't understand why he wants to believe. As an atheist, I would exchange everything I've ever worked for in my entire life for a genuine belief in god. Who doesn't want eternal bliss to look forward to? I'd be a lot happier if I thought I was going to see my grandpa again when this was all over.
Actually Christianity promises an eternity of contemplating God's greatness.

Grandpa might very well be burning in Hell, after all. Seeing as there's all the various sins we all accept on a daily basis of which we are unrepentant, that we're all going to Hell generation after generation seems plausible.

- Lending money
- Acceptance of homosexuals
- Oral sex
- Anal sex
- Masturbation
- Contraceptives
- Abortion
- Swearing
- Speaking the name of the Lord (God, Yawheh, Jesus, etc.) (10 commandments!)
- Women ceasing being the property of her husband
- Children ceasing being the property of their father (Partially in the 10 commandments)
- People ceasing being the property of anyone
- Worshiping the cross and other idols (10 commandments!)
- Working on Sunday (10 commandments!)
- Etc.

People can't even follow the basic ten rules!

Last edited by Sage Rat; 03-01-2009 at 12:53 AM..
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  #41  
Old 03-01-2009, 02:48 AM
clairobscur clairobscur is offline
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[*] If God is omniscient that means he must know everythng, including everything man knows. That means he must know lust and envy. If God knows lust and envy, He must have feelings of lust and envy. THat means he's not perfect. The idea of a perfect God is self defeating.

[*] Another logical problem with the idea of a perfect God is that, because a perfect being knows absolutely everything, God can't have free will. God knows his choices in advance.
Just to mention I had never envisioned those two issues.
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  #42  
Old 03-01-2009, 04:06 AM
Sage Rat Sage Rat is offline
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Originally Posted by smiling bandit View Post
God only came along 3000 years ago, huh? Are you sure about that? Many widely-scattered peoples across the world will, if asked, mention a single ur-diety, something far more removed than their local understanding. They often don't even worship that God, and they definitely don't understand him, but they know of him.
And these people also believed in Thor and Amaterasu and the great Bear Spirit and so on. And yet Christianity would tell us that these people just made all these things up.

Quote:
No miracles? Oh, I don't believe that. But God is not a trick-performing pony to prance around for your amusement. He comes and goes when he pleases, as he pleases, and communicates as he wishes.
And yet God claims that he is the sole deity with power on Earth and the proof of his power is the record of the miracles performed by him. And even though that is so, the major figures of almost every religion performed miracles, and even several of their followers. I personally knew a Sikh guy who claimed to be able to float in the air while doing his Yogic meditations. That's modern day, not 2000 years ago.

Quote:
God is not fooled by externals. Is Hitler in Hell? Well, I think it probable, but I don't know, and it's not up to me. It may be that he was saved somehow. We can pray for it, even, and the salvation of all sinners. It may be that in the end no one will be lost to damnation. We don't know, but God certainly thinks it could happen.
I'll just point out that Hitler wasn't alone in hating Jews. The Jewish people were popularly persecuted in Europe for thousands of years based on Christian doctrine. The Holocaust is directly related to those beliefs.

The upshot of it was that hatred of the Jews was overturned and Israel returned to them.

But so pretty much God tortured his promised people for ~1950 years because they killed His son and didn't convert to Christianity. And then randomly, even though they had neither apologized for killing Jesus nor converted to Christianity, He decided that he may as well kill a few million and let them go free again? This doesn't make a lot of sense as any sort of plan. Or did he just get impatient in converting them?

Quote:
Our worship of God is not something he demands as a right, but something he asks, in roder that he might instruct us. We worship now only with a dim and hazy light. We are ignorant fools trying dimly to realize something bright and eternal and glorious. But one day we will worship in Light and Truth. And we will need no encouragement, because our whole existence - every breath, thought, and action, will be in accordance with God's will.
Amazing how I've heard similarly heart felt and head-in-the-clouds statements from people of many religions.

Quote:
He answered [my prayer], quite personally and undeniably. I was rather shocked at the time, too. But what did you expect? That he would come at your beck and call like a servant?
So theoretically, people who follow Christianity and pray for certain goodies to come to them will be happier and living in better circumstances than heathen?

Quote:
Well, I can't agree that the planet is finely tuned to support us. I would have to argue that it was supposed to be, but that things went wrong becaue of Satan's betrayal. Of course, God did know Satan would do it, but God loved even him. Satan will hae his way now... but the hour is coming when that will no longer be so.
Satan and his betrayal is from extra-biblical sources, most principally The Divine Comedy and Paradise Lost (though based on a tradition of stories that snowballed into a complete legend as time went on.) Nearly every purported reference to "Satan" in the Old Testament is a reference to any one of several deities in local pantheons (including the Jewish pantheon, of which Yahweh had been a mere storm god, until he got a promotion.)

References to "Satan" in the New Testament are vague repeats of the names that had existed in the Old Testament, untied to one another, and show a lack of understanding of what these names had meant in times previous.

Pretty much the only clear reference to a "Satan"-like character is the one in Job, and that's hardly the Satan of modern day and seems pretty clearly written in as a necessary character to tell the fable in a moralistic way.

Almost definitely, the character came from the Demiurge character in Gnosticism and the text of the Bible was retconned to support the Satanic character, ascribing any scary sounding name or action to Him.
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  #43  
Old 03-01-2009, 06:45 AM
cosmosdan cosmosdan is offline
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"And our special today is a Zen Buddhism: a light, airy religion that is easy on the cerebrum and won't tax your credulity. If a heftier, meatier religion is your style, we offer Islam, complete with 5 daily prayers, foreign languages, pilgrimages, and misogyny. For those with a funny bone, we also offer the classic Old Time Religion: Rural American Protestantism, awash in a spicy glaze of fire and brimstone, with a touch of snake handling and faith healing for that real "Old Time" feel.

As always, we advise against making a rash decision. Take your time, go over the menu. We offer over a thousand current -- and many more historical -- religions, from the high tech Scientology and Heaven's Gate, to the more Luddite, such as Mennonites and Jainism. If you have any questions, your server will be with you shortly. If you're a rock star, don't forget to try the sampler platter!"
Well done
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  #44  
Old 03-01-2009, 07:05 AM
newcrasher newcrasher is offline
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I just want to say I spent 20 minutes composing a brilliant treatise that was, dare I say, inspired. It explained the existance of God, the supremacy of Christianity, and would have saved the soul of even the most wretched atheist on the SDMB.

I don't know where it went. My only explanation is that God decided you were not ready to hear the truth.
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  #45  
Old 03-01-2009, 08:24 AM
robertliguori robertliguori is offline
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What the *hell* is going on in that video?
I reiterate the demand to know what the fargling zurgle is going on.
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  #46  
Old 03-01-2009, 08:32 AM
gonzomax gonzomax is offline
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I can't answer for him, but the answer is pretty obvious for why I would want to believeóI want to live forever.



I don't have a problem with most of your points, but I've never liked this argument. Why shouldn't it be massive? It's not arrogant to say that it all belongs to us until someone else comes along to tell us otherwise. All that space is just more for humanity to one day conquer.

Valete,
Vox Imperatoris
The size is not the point. The concept that a god who built a universe with billions and billions of planets boners up when people on this flyspeck in space, get on their knees to him. The ego to think we are that important stuns me. It involves a huge sense of self importance.
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  #47  
Old 03-01-2009, 09:58 AM
cosmosdan cosmosdan is offline
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I think it would be nice if I could believe in God but the following things make it really hard. For the purposes of this threda 'God' is typically christian. that means he's omnipotent, omniscient, omnibenevolent, omnipresent, and that heaven and hell are real places and you need faith AND good works to get into heaven. I know a lot ofg Christians don't belive in this God but a lot MORE Christians do, so that's why we're going to go with this definition.
I find this to be contradictory when taken with the last statement claiming you'd like a chance to believe. If that's the case why limit yourself to the Christian version. If God exists, Christianity, like other religions, are merely trying to understand and describe something beyond our ability to grasp. We may use human comparisons and traits to try and bring the unfathomable a bit closer to a reality we identify with but I wouldn't take any of that to literally. Assume that organized religion are filled with man made traditions and the Truth, if there is an ultimate Truth, is something they and others are seeking. Be honest with yourself and if there are things about a particular religion you find unacceptable reject those details and form your own concept of what God means to you. It may overlap with other believers in some areas but not in others. Nothing wrong with that. As someone from a Christian background who no longer calls himself a Christian I'll offer a perspective on the points.
Quote:
Also, we're going to discuss the basics of the Christian story. That is, the idea that God sent Jesus to redeem our sins and that Jesu was cricified, rose after 3 days and all of that.


Here's 25 things that make it hard for me to belkieve in this:
  • Why did God sacrifice Himself to Himself to change a rule He made Himself?
  • He didn't. Not in the way Christians present it. Jesus is the way by example.


    Quote:
  • Why, if we are the warm, fuzzy centre of all creation, is the universe so incredibly massive? I mean, have you ever seen a pictrre of the known universe? I saw one on astronomy picture of the day. Its unbelievable! There's something like 40 billion galaxies, each with about 100 billion stars. And that's only the stuff we know about! It seems so arrogant to bvelieve that of all that, there's oinly one species on one planet in one solar system in one galaxy that actually matters.
  • Who claims that? We don't know what might be going on on other planets. How relevant is this to our day to day choices here?


    Quote:
  • Why did God take so long to tell us about himself? Richard Dawkins thinks our species is 250,000 years old. God only came along 3000 years ago(ish). What was he doing the other 247,000 years why we were killing eachother over caves and stuff? And why, if the message of God was so important, did it take about 1500 years for the Chinese to hear about it? Doesnt it make more sense that the Christian God was the product of a messianic middle east cult and there was nothing "divine" about it?
  • I doubt questions about time are relevant when pondering the timeless. Each culture was searching for answers the same as the Jews. What they learned and how they packaged it doesn't indicate God wasn't present. Buddha taught similar things to Jesus 600 years earlier.


    Quote:
  • The trinity doesnt make any sense., I mean none AT ALL. Words mean things and this whole"God exists in three Persons and one substance" thing just makes no sense. There is literally no logic to that senence.
  • Then reject it. It's man's doctrine.

    Quote:
  • Terminally ill kids.
  • the level of human suffering is one of the hardest things to reconcile with belief in a benevolent God. I can't explain it. I do believe that we can do more and be more committed to relieving that suffering. Perhaps in pursuit of that goal we might find an answer.

    Quote:
  • No miracles nowadays. God never had a problem meddling in peoples lives before. Why has he suddenly got quiet at just the same time our species has figured out hoiw to record and analyse things?
  • No need to accept the instantaneous miracles of Biblical lore. The principles of the power of consciousness to accomplish things are present and still being explored.
    Quote:
  • If Heaven is perfect happiness, and Hell is the opposite, how can a mother be happy in heaven if her son is sent to hell? If we're changed THAT MUCH bny going into heaven mightn't we as well be dead?
  • Again, man made doctrine. No need to accept it. Personally I believe in consequences for choices that over time steer our future choices. As a parent I know it hurts when kids make bad choices but you learn to accept it and try figure out how to be there to support them without enabling more bad choices.

    Quote:
  • The concept of eternal punishmnt is unjust. Even Hitler doesn't deserve eternal punishment.
  • Then maybe there isn't any. If there is something after this life reincarnation as a growth process makes more sense to me. According to my reading many early Christians accepted reincarnation. The fact that the "official" state sanctioned church rejected it hundreds of years after Jesus doesn't mean much.

    Quote:
  • The 'one size fits all' concept of hell as a punishment is very unjust. Why should a law abiding atheist and Hitler get the same punishment? Remember, the majority of Christians should (if they follow their doctrine properly) believe that faith is essentia;l to be saved.
  • It seemed that way to me too. How could a man like Gandhi , who lived a life of service to others and seeking the truth be sent to hell while a morally questionable Christian gets heaven simply for accepting Jesus. In reading the NT I find other interpretations more reasonable.
    A God who sees into the hearts and minds of mankind and sees our true intent and "judges" us accordingly regardless of any religious labels or doctrines.


    Quote:
  • Why does god require we worship him? He's supposed to love us, right? Well, I love my cat but I don't demand he worships me even though I am (I like to think) a superior being.
  • Worship is not required. You could say my kids worshiped me when they were infants and toddlers but I didn't require their worship. The goal was to teach them and help them to become my peers. I think the mistake is trying to make God a separate all powerful being in control of the universe. I prefer the concept that we and the universe are all connected in a way we have yet to understand. The Oneness of mankind taught by religion is a hint at that. The goal is not to appease or please God, but to awaken to the reality of that connection and live accordingly. We can use metaphors and icons to help us get there but we needn't cling to them.

    Quote:
  • The concept of heaven is one of eternal worship of GOd. Wouldn't that get boring after the first hundred billion trillion years? Its all very well saying that heaven by definition ius always blissful but you have no way of saying why that may be, given wha the Bible actually says about it. Your just saying "God will fix it when you get there".
  • I've wondered about that. It does sound boring. Perhaps we have work to do on other worlds or after a break we start the process over again. I guess we'll find out, or won't, when the time comes.
    Quote:
  • The Bible contradicts itself all over the place. I trust i don't need to cite this.
  • It's a book written, translated, and handled by men like any other "holy" book. It's a source of ideas and concepts about God. Interpretation of those ideas takes place inside the individual. There's no need to embrace any other person's interpretation over your own.

    Quote:
  • The Bible contains nothing that couldnt have been written by a man or woman living in 1st century palestine.
  • Well duh! ;-}


    Quote:
  • God doesn't answer prayers. No matter what subjective experiences you may have had, studies have been done which prove this.
  • I'm not sure any study could prove that. Prayer, meditation, or whatever name you give it, is an exercise of our consciousness. I'm not sure how we can predict the outcome with any accuracy.

    Quote:
  • The gospels were written 70-100 years after Jesus died. Thats plenty of time for hearsay and conjecture to creep into the story even if the basics were true.
  • Exactly right. All the evidence indicates that's what happened. That's why I reject the Bible as the Word of God. That doesn't require becoming an atheist.

    Quote:
  • The creation myth has been debunked. If genesis is untrue, God had much less reason to send down Jesus because there was no such thing as original sin.
  • How about just as a teacher and an example?

    Quote:
  • There are LOADS of logical problems with the Christian idea that God is omniscient, omnipotent, and omnibenevolent. If God is omniscient that means he must know everythng, including everything man knows. That means he must know lust and envy. If God knows lust and envy, He must have feelings of lust and envy. THat means he's not perfect. The idea of a perfect God is self defeating.
  • The idea that this chain of logic holds up is self defeating.


    Quote:
  • Another logical problem with the idea of a perfect God is that, because a perfect being knows absolutely everything, God can't have free will. God knows his choices in advance.
  • I find this logic to fail as well. Why assume a perfect God must have free will?

    Quote:
  • There is as much hard empirical evidence for the existence of God as there is for the ecistence of the flying spagetti monster. Seriously. If God does exist then there is absolutely no difference between our universe and a universe where he doesn't exist.
  • Well, except that if God is the sustainer of the universe then a universe can't exist without God. A lack of empirical evidence could mean no God, or it could mean we just aren't there yet.

    Quote:
  • There are still people in the world who haven't heard of Jesus. If Jesus's message is so important, why has God let this happen?
  • Because Jesus is the way by example rather than personally. There are other examples. People might follow the example of Christ in principle without ever having heard of JC

    Quote:
  • Christians say the universe is finely tuned to support life and that is evidence that God exists and created the universe for us. But our planet is the only one we know that supports life and even earth is a very dangerous place with its earthquakes and volcanos and tsunamis and hurricanes and tornadoes and ice ages dangerous diseases. Why would God create such an inhospitable planet for us?
  • Duality.

    Quote:
  • If God created everything, that means he also created smallpox, which has killed more people in the 20th century than all the 20th century dicatorships combined and multiplied by a hundred.

  • If God gives us free will to suffer that means that God must want us to suffer. THat means God approves of suffering generally.
  • I think this falls under suffering which I've already addressed.


    Quote:
  • Why won't God heal amputees? I mean, when Christians talk about God saving or curing someone, there's always a natural explanation. Why doesn't God ever do anything which cant be easily explained in natural ways?
  • I reject the miracles of the NT as factual. I do believe the power of our own consciousness can do amazing things that we've only begun to explore and understand. I don't buy into faith healers but I think our state of mind has a lot to do with healing.

    Quote:
  • Terminally ill kids. That one bears repeating.
Quote:
That's about all I can come up with. I'm sure smart people who've studied this could come up with loads more. I dont want to offend anyone. This post is the product of an existential crisis. I really do want these questions answered so I can have a chance to believe.
Good luck
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  #48  
Old 03-01-2009, 01:16 PM
gonzomax gonzomax is offline
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God existed, made all things and then died. We are on our own now.
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  #49  
Old 03-01-2009, 02:34 PM
focusonz focusonz is offline
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God existed, made all things and then died. We are on our own now.
Seeking advice on Believing in God from these bunch of spiritless souls is like "throwing pearls before swine"

You can't rationalize a belief nor can a belief be rationalized away, but yet it is form work, your scaffolding, the foundation on which your uniqueness is built. Believe whatever you want and yes maybe need . If a belief gives you comfort and happiness and fulfillment and purpose and motivation then that sounds like a good thing and if that belief also teaches an ethics of behavior that is charitable, forgiving, virtuous, and watchful of the devil then that is the bonus in believing in the God as is taught mostly these days by the majority of Christian sects.

Be ever diligent, however, in believing in those corporeal things that can and must be rationalized. Apply fervent and diligent thought for therein lies the devil. Believe in God! Belief in everything else requires close scrutiny. Many issues of our day have been elevated to a belief. Global warming, socialism, Obama, liberalism and even yes the non-existence of God are all beliefs and all are the work of the devil.

If your belief is strong enough then the pearl that is you will pass right through the swine and will be untarnished by its putrid bile juices.

Hallelujah.

PS A lot of these posters are socialists and believe in state control of everything including state control of what you believe. They are though police and propagandists of the worst kind. Lord Bless and Keep them away from me!
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  #50  
Old 03-01-2009, 02:42 PM
jsgoddess jsgoddess is offline
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Originally Posted by focusonz View Post
If your belief is strong enough then the pearl that is you will pass right through the swine and will be untarnished by its putrid bile juices.

Hallelujah.
Nathan Poe, is that you?
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