God was schizophrenic, now dead.

Actually, in my personal opinion, there is no god; at least not the Judeo-Christian variety.

But I’m going through some heavy philosophical thinking of my own this weekend, and I remember that I was given a copy of the old testament by my synagogue, the day of my confirmation. So I pulled it off the shelf, dusted it off (literally), and paged through some of it.

Sentence 4 of Genesis (King James Bible version here reads, right after God created light) “And God saw that it was good.”

Wait. God didn’t know before that light was good?

Isn’t God omniscient? (cite)

So right there, within the first five sentences of the bible, is something of a contradiction. But OK, maybe something…got lost throughout time. Let’s look at more modern things.

God used to talk to people, didn’t he? He talked to Moses, he talked to Abraham, he talked to Joseph (I believe), he talked to Noah, he talked to Jonah. God, it seems, did a good deal of talking back then.

What happened? Why does no one talk to him anymore? No more prophets, no more burning bushes. Where is, exactly, this ‘omniscient’ diety? Perhaps he’s in a “secure location” with Dick Cheney? Or…is he dead? Or…something else? Perhaps simply non-existant?

Obligatory note: I’m not trying to offend anyone with this. I won’t say I’m not trying to prove that the Judeo-Christian concept of ‘god’ is highly flawed and illogical, because I do think that, and if there is a ‘God’ out there, the one I was raised with, I’ve got some choice words for him/her/it. But offending people is not my objective here.

Knowing something is good and seeing that it is good are two totally different concepts. There is no contradiction there (I won’t venture for other locations).

As for God talking to people, there are many who say that He talks to them. Many preachers believe that they were called by God to the ministry. On campus here we have a guy who preaches to the crowds outside of one of the buildings. He proclaims loudly and often that he was changed when God spoke to him one day.

Working from a New Testament perspective, one could also point out Christ’s warning that miracles wouldn’t be accepted by the populace at large. He frequently performed them right in front of folk, who still tried to chalk it up to heresy. I mean, they killed the guy for it.

I’m also reminded of David Hume’s (I THINK it was Hume) argument that mankind is inherently incapable of recognizing a miracle when he sees one. I.e., the stars and planets above could perfectly spell out the words “God exists,” and we still wouldn’t be able to differentiate between a true miracle and a cosmic phenomenon that just happened to be a bunch of star spelling out “God exists.”

In other words, God could manifest himself, but it’s speculative to say that it would achieve a whole lot.

Anthropomorphism. Big word I know. As for God speaking, I have seen many things that show that God still speaks.

^^ God still speaks, to those willing to listen.

True, though He’s nowhere near as demonstrative nowadays as he was to, say, Moses. I know it’s sinfully prideful but dammit, I want a burning bush. Or a fleece untouched by dew; I’d settle for that.

As to the OP, the line about God seeing that His creation was good is a message to the believers, IMHO. We know God’s opinion on creation; He thought it was good. The world isn’t inherently evil (as the Gnostics believed, for example, though they also believed that the OT God was really Satan in disguise so they at least had internal consistency). You could get the same effect by writing “and God knew that it was good” or “and God believed that is was good”.

Sorta like putting His stamp of approval on it, I’d say.

'Course it could have said:

“And God declared it satisfactory.”
"And God said, ‘It’ll do’. "
“And God saw it was great, really fantastic!”
Seriously, though. You’re quibbling over the word? Perhaps if you’d study the import of “good” in the Bible, you’d recognize that this was no lukewarm appraisal, but God accepting the creation as deserving of His approval.

Actually, I think the words are important. If you’d read the whole passage, you’ll see that the only thing really good was man.

Well, obviously he isn’t doing things anymore because he was never there in the first place. 3000 years ago, people just chalked up anything odd that happened to god’s work. They were alot more gullible back then too, and believed alot of these stories. After all, they lived in a world that was largely unexplainable to them, so they were ready to believe alot of things that we’d be very skeptical about now.

Suppose I came running up to you and said I saw a man raised from the dead, or walk across water, or some such nonsense. Surely you wouldn’t actually believe me?? Of course not. That’s because we now know that those things don’t happen.

If I told you I was hearing god’s voice speak to me and tell me specific things, surely you wouldn’t believe me then? No, you’d send me away to the asylum, because you’d know I was a nut. Even the Christians would think I was a nut.

Now, these sort of things might very well be believed in the Third World, but would be largely dismissed here in the West. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised to find out that people in the Third World are still making such claims and being taken seriously. This is because we have been educated, and they are too busy trying to eek out survival to even learn to read.

As more things are known, the realm assigned to god diminishes. Many people today claim to believe in divine intervention, but when they tell you their personal “miracle” story it usually ends up being something like Archie Bunker’s tale of leaning over to ask Stretch Cunningham for some mustard and therefore fortuitously avoiding being crushed by a falling object. People today who claim to hear the voice of god usually describe it in terms that make him little more than a cosmic version of Jiminy Cricket, a little subconscious nudge this way or that – surely a far cry from hearing detailed construction plans giving the dimensions in cubits for a boat to be built.

When we look at belief in divine intervention, god has always been a “god of the gaps”. Unfortunately for god, he’s running out of gaps. There won’t be any left soon, and then we can finally put the whole idea to rest.

Rex- now say you said that, and were willing to die for your belief, would I then believe you? What if you were willing to be say…nailed to a cross upside down for your belief that you saw someone walk on water, are you asking if then I’d believe you? Ok, now what if I saw someone standing in front of a crowd of people, and say God wants to heal someone with a pain, and he points to a place right below the knee? What if three people came up, and then he said the initials of the people were PD, and one of them had those initials? What if it was written down before and the speaker shows the piece of paper in his hands? Sure, all made up…couldn’t really happen, so therefore it can’t really happen. And I’m accused of circular reasoning sometimes. And yes, mine is an Archie Bunker tale, although I had already made the appointment with Dr. Sweeting the specialist who told me there was a procedure they used to put someone to sleep and crack their neck so I could get full motion, or almost full motion back due to a MVA which I also received a compression fracture of my T11. And when a miracle happened that healed that, in a way that was amazing, and allowed me full motion of my neck again…oh wait, this doesn’t happen. Silly me…:smack:

But the question isn’t whether or not you would believe it if it happened to you-the question is, would you believe it if it happened to a total stranger and this total stranger asked you to believe her on her say-so alone?


If I saw someone willing to be hung upside down on a cross defending his belief that he saw someone walk on water, I would think one of two things:

A) He is not only insane, he is seriously deranged, or
B) He does in fact believe he saw such a thing, but was deluded by a clever trick

Now, we ourselves are not even if such a good position as that. We are in a position where we must decide if we believe someone who heard it from someone else, who heard it from someone else, who heard it from someone else that a man was willing to die for his belief that he saw a miracle. We’re a half-dozen steps removed from miracle itself, and just one step fewer from those who actually claimed to see that miracle.

As for your other anecdotes, someone talented at "cold reading, such as John Edward, could easily duplicate those feats. And there’s nothing supernatural going on there. Pain in the knees is common, and if I were standing in front of a group of people seeking to be healed, it’s pretty much guaranteed that one of them will have knee pain. So I point to my knee and someone cries out, “That’s where my pain is!!” and then I single him out as the one I was speaking of, thus validating my guess by applying it to the specific person. The trick with the initials could be done as “hot reading”, using plants in the audience or hidden microphones to find out specific information about people before hand. He then gets passed this information, and has the initials ready before they even walk up. Alternately, a magician could probably accomplish this through sleight of hand.

Tricks of this sort are seen being employed by Steve Martin’s character in Leap of Faith, as a travelling revival leader who uses his position to act as a scam artist. Any person you saw doing those things, I’m sorry to say, was probably trying to scam you.

There is no proof that anyone was nailed upside down on a crossfor seeing somebody else walk on water. That’s a third century legend about Peter of very dubious authenticity (the New Testament does not mention Peter’s death). It’s highly doubtful that Peter’s execution (if it occurred at all and if Peter even existed) was voluntary.

People believe very strongly and would be willing to die for other beliefs as well. If A Hindu was willing to die for his belief that he had spoken to Krishna, would that convince you that Krishna was real. You seem to have the illusion that “miracles” are exclusive to your religion. They are not.

Diogenes, I never said miracles are exclusive, nor do I believe they are. My whole point was that it’s not a matter of being stupid to believe in miracles, contrary to what Rex thinks.

Of course…it can’t really happen because it can’t really happen.

Oh please. Pointing out that cold reading explains psychic phenomena is hardly novel or closed-minded. It’s just common sense to note that these allegedly supernatural feats can be accomplished by people who claim no special powers.

Right. Thanks, Marley23.

My point was to demonstrate that there do exist natural explanations for these events, which in that context are better described as tricks than miracles or supernatural occurances.

Now it’s true, if we grant the possibility of the supernatural then some of those things could be real miracles while other instances are not, but given that they can be done as simple tricks they don’t make for good evidence of the supernatural. If you saw such an occurance, knowing that it could be produced by a trick, you would want some independant reason to believe that this particular occurance was genuine.

Good evidence for belief in the supernatural, divine intervention, faith healing, etc., would be something that cannot be replicated by a simple trick.

Was Dr. Sweeting a chiropractor by any chance? In this day and age, many of the miracles claims fall in the medical category. A person is cured of cancer, arthritis is gone, bad backs are no more. The list is long. It’s amazing that for just about every ailment or disease, there is someone claiming they were cured of it through some miraculous intervention. Of course, you don’t ever hear of any amputee’s growing their limbs back. Nosirre, because that would be a real miracle, indeed, if such a claim could be authenticated. Instead we are stuck with all of the others. :o I think of Ben Franklin when I hear of them: “There are no greater liars than quacks, except for their patients.”


And if you keep reading a few chapters later, you’ll find that God repented that he had even made man. So if man is good, why would he repent for having made him, and being omniscient shouldn’t he have seen this coming? :smack:


I think we are seeing the difference in reasoning abilty between the theists and the rationalists. A theists sees David Blaine perform a “miracle” and with total cedulity in its authenticity she/he becomes a Blainetologist. A rationalist sees a “miracle” and discovers how it was performed.

Well, if an authentic miracle happened, let’s see some evidence. Have you presented the before and after X-rays to a competent medical authority?

I would put my money on it that it was a chiropractor that was sought out, and we all know what the vast majority of the medical community thinks of these people. It’s a well known occurrence, that a great deal of the ailments that people go to a chiropractor for, if given enough time, will heal on its own. Not that miracles aren’t claimed through other medical professions; although some groups have been looking for one authentic case and has yet to establish one. But with patients that seek out chiropractors, there were really nothing wrong with a large number of them the first place, that a few weeks of rest wouldn’t heal.