I shall try to continue out discussion, as effectively as possible, and edit out any of my characteristic elements of style.
I think that you might think you are being rational and honest in presenting your views; however, I hold some doubts about that. I’m sure you have seen my sig line where I quote you admitting that you are certain that you and other liberal Christians rationalize to a far greater extent than you’re prepared to admit to anyone, including yourselves. That rings (to me at least) of someone who is at least somewhat consciously and willfully deceiving themselves, or at least is aware that they are subconsciously deceiving themselves. Either way I think the best solution for a person doing such is to find out where they are rationalizing and then stop doing it. Perhaps you have tried but it isn’t obvious from where I sit.
Apart from that issue, is that even if you do think you are being rational and honest in your views, it is worth questioning whether you are a good judge of what is rational. After all, you are the poster that told this board that you thought you had recognized the second coming of Christ alive today:
And you are the poster that tried to convince members of the straight dope that you have telepathic powers:
Perhaps you are right on both counts, but the evidence you gave is far insufficient for the claims you made. Many people would question judgment and rationality, if perhaps not the honesty, of others holding similar views.
I really don’t think that is why I irritate you. Perhaps I am wrong, but I truly think it is that historically I had been persistent in my criticism, when other atheists who have debated you had not been. That, and (what I perceive as) the fact that you do a very good job of making a poor theological argument sound very palatable to those not gifted with the best reasoning skills, and I do a better than average job of revealing that regardless of how well you dress up a poor argument, it is still a poor argument. The two combined, along with my familiarity with the bible, I think you find most disconcerting.
We have been through all this before, discussing it at great length…
…and as such I do not wish to have the exact same discussion over again. However, I think if you go back and reread some of our former correspondence, make an effort not to “rationalize” as you admit you are prone to do, you will see it very clear that Jesus said a lot of things that you do not agree with. You will also notice yourself going to great lengths to avoid admitting as much.
All three synoptics quote Jesus saying many things you do not agree with, and if said by somebody today, you would think they were quite hateful. Supporting evidence of this is that you have gone out of your way to state that Jesus did not mean much of what he said.
Sure he does; however, it is not always clear when he is doing so, nor are the messages behind a given metaphor or parable clear. However, when Jesus talks of eternal life and being one with the creator of the universe, I would think, if anything, that is highly likely to be a hyperbole or a metaphor, but since you like that talk (confirmational bias) you accept it, while waving off all talk of drinking poison or furnaces of fire.
Also, if Jesus were indeed one and the same as the omniscient creator of the universe, and he truly wanted to save as many people as possible, he would have had both the forsight and the motivation to communicate in such a way that his will was 100% unambiguous to his followers, both present and future.
While I think that is irrational I suppose that is your prerogative. However, when you say such, I think you should make it clear that you do not believe in the god of the bible and particularly not of the god described by Jesus in the very gospels you tout.
If not torment, as Jesus described it, then what do you think unbelievers should end up regretting? Also, why is it so wrong to refuse a relationship with something?
You are aware that Jesus does not describe himself of letting people go to hell but rather says he will send forth his angels to cast people there?
To make you metaphor match Jesus’ description of hell in the bible, the parent then goes on to kill/torture/torment/punish (take your pick) their child for an eternity, giving their child no chance to learn their lesson. My addition to the analogy does make it more accurate with the recorded words of Jesus, does it not?
You are assuming human free will, which does fly in the face the god’s sovranty over all things, as well as specific New Testament verses in Roman, Ephesians and elsewhere.
P.S. Did I break any rules there Tom?