What if the God of the Bible is real?

Hello all. I’ve posted before in GQ, but I’m new to GD.
Anyway… I was browsing the internet and I came across an interesting question for atheists: “What if you’re wrong and the God of the Bible is real?” I thought about how I’d answer the question. Never mind that the evidence and thought that would logically lead one to think otherwise; this is a hypothetical question.
The Bible we have today is not totally self-consistent and therefore cannot be inerrant. Furthermore, I would expect that over thousands of years and hundreds of generations with many telling and retellings, translations and mistranslations, summarizations and elaborations, not to mention deliberate revisions, additions and omissions that the truth would be diluted somewhat if not lost completely.
A god that is consistent with the Bible would certainly not be the typical omnipresent, omnipotent, omni-benevolent, omniscient being that most Christians have in mind. I think both of us would be surprised.

It’s not clear to me whether you’re challenging atheists with Pascal’s Wager, or challenging Christians with the inconsistency of their source text. I think you’re doing both.

See you guys in hell. :frowning:

Then I would have a whole lot of questions for this God. For example:

  1. If you really created the universe in six days, why did you fake the evidence for a universe that is billions of years old?
  2. Why did you tell us that a rabbit chews its cud when it doesn’t?
  3. What is your justification for the genocide of innocent Amelekite infants sucking at the breast of their mothers?
  4. Why did you have to impregnate a young, innocent, unmarried Jewish girl to give birth to your son?
  5. Why couldn’t the inspired writers of your gospels get their story straight?
  6. How can you justify an eternal torment in hell?

And on, and on, and on…

What if pigs had wings? If I found that either of those were true, I’d be thrilled. New knowledge is always fascinating.

That all depends on a) what evidence is presented that such a deity is real; b) what the deity itself has to say about how literally the various texts of the Bible should be taken; c) whether the deity insists that I worship it or not, and whether punishment is threatened for failure to worship it. IOW, without further information, impossible to answer.

Someone once said that if the existence of God could be proven, it would be the end of religion. It might be a good trade-off.

Which Bible, The Hebrew Bible or the Christian Bible? Which conception of God? The wargod Yahweh with his genocidal demands or the NT God of Love?

If the fundy God of Hate was real, I’d have to give him the beat down he’s got coming to him. If some more abstract God of Love was real, I’d have lots and lots of questions-- not necessarily challenges but just everything I’d ever wondered about.

This question is very typical of the sort of thing theists hope to convert people with. It may work against a teenager who decided not to believe in God because their parents do, but it isn’t really all that threatening or thought-provoking.

Transitionality immediately observed that the question is a form of Pascal’s Wager. The idea is that it’s ‘safer’ to believe in God than not to, ‘just in case’ God exists.

Pascal’s Wager is, I think, one of the least valid arguments for belief. Here’s some flaws:

  1. Believing in the wrong god. The Wager assumes that the god in which one is considering belief may or may not exist, but that all other gods certainly do not – which is impossible to know. Therefore, one must also ask oneself, “What if the Allah of the Koran is real?”, “What if the Zeus of Hesiod’s Theogony is real?”, and so on for all gods yet described by humans – and all other possible and unknown gods. If you choose to believe in a god, you must also choose to believe in the right god.

  2. Being punished for believing in the wrong god. The consequences of being wrong by believing in a different god than the real one might be greater for believing in no god at all.

  3. Grace. If a God or gods exists, he/she/it may be willing to forgive unbelievers. It’s possible (see 2) that forgiveness may not be extended to believers in certain other gods. For example, a loving, graceful God may forgive atheists but punish believers who practiced human or animal sacrifice.

  4. Insincerity. If God rewards only true believers, then someone who arrived at the decision to believe in God because of Pascal’s Wager would not be rewarded, because their belief arose from an attempt at self-protection rather than true faith.

  5. Increased quality and/or length of life due to lack or presence of faith. Pascal’s Wager assumes that belief in God is an effortless process that does not change the course of one’s life. In reality, lack of belief may improve the quality of one’s life – you get more free time on Sundays (or Fridays or Saturdays or whatever), for one. You might also be less inclined to do dangerous things (fight in an unjust war, for example) if you don’t believe in an afterlife. It could also be argued that faith improves one’s quality of life via a sense of comfort afforded by belief, but, in reality, nonbelief can be affirming and comforting as well.

That’s a few of the issues. There’s more at http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/theism/wager.html (bias warning: non-theist site).

So, in response to the question in the title: see #1.

And if he’s real, then I think my first question would be why he created so much evidence against his existence (errancies in the Bible, the hypocrisy of many believers, DNA sequences, fossils, and innumerable other pieces of evidence pointing to evolution as the origin of life, etc.). If it’s all just to test my faith and find true believers, why did he give me a mind that is more inclined to believe in the truth of objective physical evidence rather than ancient texts? And why did he permit science and technology to become so successful at improving our world if they were leading it away from the Truth?

If God was omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent, his existence would be so obvious doubt would be impossible.
Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then he is not omnipotent.
Is he able, but not willing? Then he is malevolent.
Is he both able and willing? Then whence cometh evil?
Is he neither able nor willing? Then why call him God? (Epicurus)

I’m disappointed. This is not going where I hoped it would go. Did anyone bother to read the OP? What I meant to ask was, “Even if we were to assume that the ancient source was true, could we reasonably expect to learn anything from the vastly different modern version of the Bible?”
I say that it’s impossible to extract the original message and therefore the Bible is useless to tell us anything about God. The same logic could be applied to other ancient texts.
I hoped to spark an intelligent debate, but instead I get sarcasm. I’m sorry I made this post now. I’ll go back to lurking.


The problem is likely that those who believe in God already have a concept of what he is like. Those who don’t believe in God find the hypothetical situation to be so far fetched as to be meaningless. Maybe you should try to probe the nature of God or some specific atribute of him in debate rather than the enormously hypothetical situation you posed. Good luck.

The gist of the modern version of the Bible is not meaningfully different from what it must have been like in the original.

Old man in the sky makes man in his own image, tricks him into falling from grace by giving him a companion whom he knows (by way of omniscience) will disobey him, then continues to kill, maim and otherwise hurt his beloved creations in new, original and bloodthirsty ways, while claiming to be forgiving, loving, benevolent, and all that ooey gooey stuff.

And oh, while all this happens, he creates heaven and earth and everything on earth, including natural disasters, cancer, and Tori Spelling.

Really, it’s all very consistent and a thrilling read.

Or, conversely, the compassionate God of the Book of Jonah, or the infinitely vindictive God of Luke 12:5 and Revelation 14:9-11?

First off, I think that a great many of the clergy who are rooted in reality would agree with your first point, “it’s a guidebook not a textbook”. I also fail to see the sarcasm that you refer to, I see valid points and questions generated by your post. They mean to inform, not criticize. Lastly, do not be sorry that you made this post. Learn from the way that people misconstrued your post, and benifit from it. Lurking gives you less than half of the knowledge you might obtain if you asked questions that meant something to you.

There is no such thing as a stupid question. Unless it has already been answered here, or is easily answered by a quick Google search. That is all.

This is exactly it!
Even for an agnostic who doesn’t belive in shit, it contains a lot of good ideas. As a history book it’s of course useless.

So are:

How to Be Your Dog’s Best Friend: The Classic Training Manual for Dog Owners

How To Pick Up Beautiful Women In Nightclubs or Any Other Place: Secrets Every Man Should Know


It’s Potty Time

All in all, the Bible’s doesn’t have quite as many good ideas and isn’t quite as good reading as the above.

*It’s Potty Time * is a video, what did you read? The cover?
And it was better than the bible?

Okay, Juan…I think I know what you were looking for in the OP. I’ll take a stab at it.

If the biblical god was the real McCoy, I wouldn’t change my opinion of him, because he doesn’t seem like a very nice guy to me. He’s manipulative and misleading. He’s sadistic. He doesn’t use his powers for good, i.e., pain and suffering for all of mankind.

Once we knew he existed, we’d all have to believe in him, so everyone would automatically go to heaven and live for eternity, so that part wouldn’t be an issue. But I still wouldn’t like him.

Well I’d feel a right charlie then, wouldn’t I?

Thankfully, I’m 99.999 recurring % sure that He isn’t, so I’ll just have to wait until I snuff it to find out (or find out that He isn’t, but one of the thousands of other deitites is).

That is, if the Rapture doesn’t get me first…