25 things which make it hard for me to believe in God

Just to mention I had never envisioned those two issues.

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.

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.

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?

:dubious: Amazing how I’ve heard similarly heart felt and head-in-the-clouds statements from people of many religions.

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?

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.

Well done

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.

I reiterate the demand to know what the fargling zurgle is going on.

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.

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: [ul]

[li] Why did God sacrifice Himself to Himself to change a rule He made Himself?[/li][/QUOTE]
He didn’t. Not in the way Christians present it. Jesus is the way by example.

[QUOTE]
[li] 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. [/li][/QUOTE]
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]
[li] 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?[/li][/QUOTE]
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]
[li] 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. [/li][/QUOTE]

Then reject it. It’s man’s doctrine.

[QUOTE]
[li] Terminally ill kids.[/li][/QUOTE]
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.

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]
[li] 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?[/li][/QUOTE]
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]

[li] The concept of eternal punishmnt is unjust. Even Hitler doesn’t deserve eternal punishment. [/li][/QUOTE]
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]

[li] 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.[/li][/QUOTE]
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.

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]
[li] 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”.[/li][/QUOTE]
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]

[li] The Bible contradicts itself all over the place. I trust i don’t need to cite this.[/li][/QUOTE]
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]

[li] The Bible contains nothing that couldnt have been written by a man or woman living in 1st century palestine. [/li][/QUOTE]
Well duh! ;-}

[QUOTE]
[li] God doesn’t answer prayers. No matter what subjective experiences you may have had, studies have been done which prove this. [/li][/QUOTE]
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]

[li] 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.[/li][/QUOTE]
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]

[li] 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.[/li][/QUOTE]
How about just as a teacher and an example?

[QUOTE]

[li] 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.[/li][/QUOTE]
The idea that this chain of logic holds up is self defeating.

[QUOTE]
[li] 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.[/li][/QUOTE]
I find this logic to fail as well. Why assume a perfect God must have free will?

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]
[li] 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?[/li][/QUOTE]
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]

[li] 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?[/li][/QUOTE]
Duality.

[QUOTE]

[li] 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. [/li][li] If God gives us free will to suffer that means that God must want us to suffer. THat means God approves of suffering generally. [/li][/QUOTE]
I think this falls under suffering which I’ve already addressed.

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.

Good luck

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!

Nathan Poe, is that you?

You’ve never heard of the laying on of hands?

Is Barack Obama the Antichrist!? :eek:

Welp, you’ve convinced me. Socialists! I never. Socialists are teh evil. Therefore God exists. QED.

Well, yeah, but I thought laying on of hands was faith healing. You know, touch the forehead and cure the lame and blind and all that. This dude is pushing people to the ground and smacking people and generally acting like a dancer pretending to be a martial artist. If I was looking for the blessing of God, I wouldn’t expect to be slapped around and knocked down.

I’m a tongues-speaking Assemblies of God member & even I’ll say, for the most part, “mass hypnosis”/power-of-suggestion.

  • Spiritless souls? Not nice. I firmly believe in Humanity. Because I don’t believe in fiction, that makes me spiritless?

  • "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." - See, dopers, don’t you hate it when a good sentence turns to mush? This is a good and noble assumption… until you include the devil. You cop out.
    By your argument I can say that religion is the work of the devil.

  • "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." Belief in ANYTHING requires close scrutiny, especially religion. Your religion tells me when it’s okay to stone my children.

  • “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.” My belief in naturalistic views of the world is the pearl, you are the swine. Your religion, your scaffolding, your belief system will only allow you to choke on the pearl, hence you are the swine.

  • “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!” - Did you mean tough police or thought police? Either way, I am certainly not a socialist. I actually CARE about what you think. The more who DO think like you-- everything is god, period now watch me put my fingers in my ears and refuse to listen to reason because god told us to-- is clearly the death of civilization.

Honestly, the way you pretend to think-- maybe religious thought police is good. you profess your faith, get an ID card as “Believer” and you don’t get guns, fertilizer, and we’ll deny internet service of any kind, plus limit cable access to TBN and let you work only in a church. Thinking like you have is in no way good to society. Please start a commune, just do it near the Holy Land so you can really see how not holy it ever will be.

My answer : Good one!

My dark side/religious answer: Oh, my of Course, yes!

As Satan left god’s presence :“My skin turns black and my bones burn” - Job 30:30
See? See? All the proof we need! Pass that ammunishen, brother! Stack 'em, rack 'em and toe tag 'em! Let Jesus sort 'em out!

Czarcasm - do I get a prize?

I too, wanted to say thanks for this creative and well done post. It was very much enjoyed by everybody in this household.

razncain :slight_smile:

Just shows what the power of suggestion will do, and many people will act accordingly as to how they think they are supposed to act. It’s similar to people responding to what a hypnotist tells them; all are acting on the power of suggestion. Knowing certain people in my own group, I know how to get some going by just suggesting certain things. I think if we all start thinking about it, we know of such people or perhaps one may think of themselves like this too. It’s not that difficult for the power of suggestion to work. You’ll find people want to please, and if they know what is expected of them, the vast majority is all too willing to cooperate. And the more you can get to go along, the better the effect. Even compliments we hear every day can be subtle forms of the power of suggestion.

On a grander scale such as what Benny Hinn or others doing such an act, pretty much just about each and everyone of us could duplicate such a thing with a little bit of help from a few friends, and maybe to help things along even plant a few shills although that part isn’t really necessary. The rest of the group is sure to follow.

Religion, if taken in moderation, probably isn’t such a bad thing. Most of us enjoy a good escape. Sometimes these organized delusions may get out of hand.

As others have pointed out most know what is behind people wanting to believe in God. They want eternal life for themselves and for loved ones, so if one is willing to sell them such a story, and if one is capable of letting their logic take a backseat, our emotions of how we feel about something of wanting it so bad, can sometimes get to us. Some are more easily influenced than others, and want to be taken down this road. There is a popular Latin phrase that when interpreted states: Man wants to be deceived: so, deceive him. I’ve had conversations with plenty of believers, in person and on bulletin boards, to where quite a few told me that even if they were wrong, they wouldn’t want to know about it. They said their lives were happy, and so what if they believed. Again, all fine and dandy with me, as long as they don’t get too carried away with it.

The power of suggestion isn’t as strong when believers find skeptics around. It affects their faith or mood, and some will throw everything at you including the kitchen sink no matter how nice you are when expressing such an opinion that is so contrary to theirs.

If it wasn’t for death, I seriously doubt religion would have ever been invented. I’m reminded of these words of Robert Ingersoll when he was asked to speak at a child’s grave, and him commenting that he would rather live and love where death is king than have eternal life where love is not. Another life is naught, unless we know and love again the ones who love us here. Imagine a world in which we didn’t die. Would compassion leave us?

razncain

Weston:
Permit me to reorganize the OP into groups of problems. Many of these issues have been discussed on this board dozens of times (though it’s always a good day to discuss the problem of evil! :slight_smile: )

Theological nit-picking, which can be addressed by theologians.
1… Why did God sacrifice Himself to Himself to change a rule He made Himself?

Not part of the Bible:
2… The trinity doesn’t 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 sentence.
3… 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 essential to be saved.
4… 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.

The ancient’s ignorance of science. The Jesus Seminar provides an example of academically informed theism.
5… Why, if we are the warm, fuzzy centre of all creation, is the universe so incredibly massive? I mean, have you ever seen a picture 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 believe that of all that, there’s only one species on one planet in one solar system in one galaxy that actually matters.
6… The Bible contains nothing that couldn’t have been written by a man or woman living in 1st century Palestine.
7… 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 each other 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? Doesn’t it make more sense that the Christian God was the product of a messianic middle east cult and there was nothing “divine” about it?
8… 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 analyze things?
9… The gospels were written 70-100 years after Jesus died. That’s plenty of time for hearsay and conjecture to creep into the story even if the basics were true.
10… The Bible contradicts itself all over the place. I trust i don’t need to cite this.

The problem of evil/ the omni triangle (you get to choose 2 or a space in the middle)
11… Terminally ill kids.
12… Terminally ill kids. That one bears repeating.
13… 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 everything, 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.
14… 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.
15… 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 volcanoes and tsunamis and hurricanes and tornadoes and ice ages dangerous diseases. Why would God create such an inhospitable planet for us?
16… If God created everything, that means he also created smallpox, which has killed more people in the 20th century than all the 20th century dictatorships combined and multiplied by a hundred.
17… If God gives us free will to suffer that means that God must want us to suffer. That means God approves of suffering generally.
18… 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 can’t be easily explained in natural ways?

Can be easily handled by fundamentalists
19… The concept of eternal punishment is unjust. Even Hitler doesn’t deserve eternal punishment.

Epistemological issues and agnosticism
20… There is as much hard empirical evidence for the existence of God as there is for the existence of the flying spaghetti monster. Seriously. If God does exist then there is absolutely no difference between our universe and a universe where he doesn’t exist.

Christian theological issues, but not theistic issues
21… 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?
22… 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.
23… 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 what the Bible actually says about it. Your just saying “God will fix it when you get there”.

**Religious issues, but not theistic ones, per se **
24… God doesn’t answer prayers. No matter what subjective experiences you may have had, studies have been done which prove this.

Other
25… 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?