Friday, April 25, 2008

"10 questions every intelligent Christian must answer" answered!

One day I was perusing on the Internet and I came across this video. It is titled "ten questions every intelligent Christian must answer."



An interesting video, although I have yet to graduate High School I am still a smart student and decided to take a stab at it.



The video starts out by saying the maker of the video is assuming that the person watching is an intelligent person employed in business, economics, government services, natural sciences etc. The next statement pretty much defines how much this person knows about intelligent Christians, he says;




"I would like to talk to about a rather interesting question, have you ever
thought about using your college education to think about your faith?"




He made one major false assumption, that thinking Christians avoid thinking about their faith and are encouraged not to question it. I would like to direct this person to 1 Thessalonians 5:21 which in fact tells us to test everything and not take anything in blind faith. Now the person goes on to talk about Amputees. He goes on to point out that 3 out of 4 doctors (or 75% to be exact) believe that God is doing medical miracles on earth everyday. And he also points out that Christians believe in the power of prayers.



Then he asks this question;




Why won't God heal Amputees?




Well, the answer to that question is somewhat complex, first of all he assumes that God does not cure amputees, there have been accounts though spurious of God healing people with amputated limbs. Secondly he is assuming that according to Christian theology actually states humans do deserve to have their legs grown back, and lastly he assumes that God is a divine candy machine (insert prayer and a million dollars come out!). God may have other plans for this person. Also if this person is not a Christian and doesn't believe in God then there is no reason for God to heal that person because the person doesn't even believe God can do it and neither does he want it. He states that this is a rationalization but it isn't, it is basic theology.



Also if you don't want anything to do with God and you don't give anything back and when you lose your leg you ask him to generously regrow your leg when you've ignore him all your life do you expect him to give you back your leg?



The next question is asked in the same spirit;




Why are there so many starving people in our world?




Well Because there is evil in the world, and many people are not Christian and they are not praying to ask God to help them. Also I don't think this person has heard of organizations like World Vision which are trying to feed children and the fact that the Christian Church is earnestly trying to get food, clothing, clean water, and education to them. I don't know but it seems like God is answering the prayers of those who are praying. Also the malnutrition is often because of the poor economies and poor state of many of these countries, it seems to be more our fault then God's.



Now onto the next question;




Why does God demand the deaths of so many innocent people in the bible




Um...innocent people? Lets take a quick look at the verses he cites.



Exodus 35:2 says: "Work shall be done for six days, but the seventh day shall be a holy day for you, a sabbath of rest to the Lord. Whoever does any work on it shall be put to death."



Well first of all notice that in the New Testament Jesus abrogates this law. Also this particular regulation is only for the forty years that the Israelites were in the desert, it is not enforced afterwords.



Deuteronomy 21:18-21 says: 18If a man have a stubborn and rebellious son, which will not obey the voice of his father, or the voice of his mother, and that, when they have chastened him, will not hearken unto them:
19Then shall his father and his mother lay hold on him, and bring him out unto the elders of his city, and unto the gate of his place;
20And they shall say unto the elders of his city, This our son is stubborn and rebellious, he will not obey our voice; he is a glutton, and a drunkard.
21And all the men of his city shall stone him with stones, that he die: so shalt thou put evil away from among you; and all Israel shall hear, and fear.




What kind of rebellion are they talking about? They are obviously not talking about a kindergartner who will not eat his vegetables they are talking about a juvenile delinquent who deserves the death penalty, this is not killing an innocent teenager.



Leviticus 20:13 says: If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them.



I am not ready to get into a debate on whether homosexuality is alright, my position is that it isn't right, but that does not particularly matter at this point. These were regulatory laws for Israel to keep social, moral, and economic order. If you were able to break laws and just get a slap on the wrist, more people would do it because the punishment wouldn't be so bad. If that happened there would be a break down in social order.

Also, the gay person is not innocent in this case, he has broken the law.

Deuteronomy 22:13-21 says: If any man take a wife, and go in unto her, and hate her,
14And give occasions of speech against her, and bring up an evil name upon her, and say, I took this woman, and when I came to her, I found her not a maid:
15Then shall the father of the damsel, and her mother, take and bring forth the tokens of the damsel's virginity unto the elders of the city in the gate:
16And the damsel's father shall say unto the elders, I gave my daughter unto this man to wife, and he hateth her;
17And, lo, he hath given occasions of speech against her, saying, I found not thy daughter a maid; and yet these are the tokens of my daughter's virginity. And they shall spread the cloth before the elders of the city.
18And the elders of that city shall take that man and chastise him;
19And they shall amerce him in an hundred shekels of silver, and give them unto the father of the damsel, because he hath brought up an evil name upon a virgin of Israel: and she shall be his wife; he may not put her away all his days.
20But if this thing be true, and the tokens of virginity be not found for the damsel:
21Then they shall bring out the damsel to the door of her father's house, and the men of her city shall stone her with stones that she die: because she hath wrought folly in Israel, to play the whore in her father's house: so shalt thou put evil away from among you.




Once again the author of this video is assuming the woman is innocent, and second of all these were regulatory laws for Israel to keep order, if a woman had gotten away with a slap on the wrist other women might start to think "Oh she got away with it I could cheat on my husband too." This would cause a moral and social breakdown which would be smart to avoid.

Before he goes on he says "It doesn't make any sense doesn't it? Why would God demand the death of someone over such trivial matters?" I guess I must add that cheating on your spouse is not a "trivial matter," and neither is being a teenaged menace to society, and finally that does not matter Christ has already come now it is the age of grace.

Now to the next question;

Why does the bible contain so much anti-scientific nonsense


Well, first of all, it is not a science textbook so his criticism is flawed from the start. Second of all the bible does say some things which sound scientifically accurate

Isaiah 40:22; implies earth is round because the Hebrew word for circle can be translated "sphere" (so do proverbs 8:27 and Job 26:10). Also in the same verse it implies the universe is expanding, something very few early cultures guessed.

Job 26:7 implies that earth is floating through space.

Jeremiah 33:22 says the stars are too numerous to be numbered exactly contrary to the scientific opinions of the day that there were only a few thousand stars.

Even statements in Genesis 1, such as Genesis 1:11-12 could be read to imply evolution with the statement "Let the earth bring forth" although this interpretation is somewhat unconventional.

Now to examine what he terms "nonsense;"

No the bible does not necessarily say the earth is 6,000 years old and was created in six 24 hour days. The word for day can be used to represent a long period of time and he is leaving out the fact the the date of 6,000 years is made from accumulation of the genealogies assuming there are no gaps.

The bible doesn't necessarily say there was a global flood either, the word used for mountain can mean hill, and the language used in the text can refer to a local region such as the flood plain in which Noah lived.

The story of Jonah getting swallowed by a whale was probably a miracle, there is no reason to discredit the bible on this charge.

Well about Adam being created from dust, its not nearly as ridiculous when you think of dust as coming from the soil and the fact that when an animal or human dies it is decomposed and becomes part of the soil, then the soil is used for nutrients by plants which are eaten by other animals or humans, then this animal gives birth to its offspring by using some of the food it ate. Also we are essentially made of star dust which became earth dust and then life was formed by God which led to us and so we are essentially created from dust. Either way that was probably an allegory of God creating Adam as separate from other humans (i.e. neanderthals).

He goes on to accentuate the fact that they are all nonsense. Well after looking at them closely they are not as nonsensical as they seem. Also a God might write nonsense to give us a moral or lesson, Jesus did this all the time (except they were called parables).

On to the next question;

Why is God such a huge proponent of slavery in the bible?


Well, was he? To me God seems to more tolerate it as a social construct, most societies were built on the backs of slaves back in those days. Its like today we have people with underpaid jobs who can barely support their families but they often form the backbone of the work force, a necessary evil in other words. the Judaeo-Christian God is a God of order and disrupting the backbone of the economy would have caused social disorder.

Also Back in those days slavery was no decided on the basis of your gender or ethnic group it was decided on whether you could pay the bills. Also In Israel slaves would be realised in the year of Jubilee unless they wanted to remain with their masters

Next question;

Why do bad things happen to good people?


This is a surprisingly basic question for being in the top ten killer questions to the Christian faith. God does not say he will shield good people from bad things. In fact many times he says the opposite and that Christians will go through trials and tribulations in which they would have to rely on him. he is also assuming that "good people" exist. The only way someone could truly be called a good person is if they were 100% flawless. They were never selfish, never greedy, never told a lie, never had lustful thoughts, was always respectful to his parents, never tried to tears someone down, never hated, was never materialistic. This person would have to be the pinnacle of perfection. This is impossible for a human being to attain on his or her own. This is a straw man argument, it does not threaten the faith at all.

next question;

Why don't Jesus' miracles give any evidence

This statement is misleading at best, there may not be evidence of every single miracle but there is a great amount of evidence that points towards Jesus being whom he claims to be, now to the next question;

How do we explain the fact that Jesus has never appeared to you?


This question is absurd, it presupposes the fact that Jesus would appear to you in the first place. It also presupposes that God is like a vending machine that will do whatever you want it to. Jesus does not appear to us because when we ask him that we don't really want him to we are simply taunting him and he asks us not to in Deuteronomy 6:16.

Also he is not going to appear to me unless it is part of his plan to redeem Mankind.

Now to the next question;

Why would Jesus want you to eat his body and drink his blood?


I am surprised this person would bring up this centuries old misconception. Obviously the confusion comes from the Roman Catholic belief in Transubstantiation (that the bread would become Jesus' body and the wine his blood). Being protestant I do not believe in Transubstantiation. It is probably symbolic of Jesus being our strength and our hope. He did not really mean he wanted us to drink his blood or eat his body. Its also kind of amusing that even though he doesn't even think satanism is wrong he still thinks it has negative connotations, most critics of Christianity embrace the term satanic as good.

The last three questions are quite easy, now for the last killer question! The grand fanali! The final deathblow to Christianity...

Why do Christians get divorced at the same rate as non-Christians?


Alright I apologize for the misleading preamble. I will give him credit for asking some pretty challenging questions but this one can be answered by simple logic ; even though they pray for God to guide the marriage, Christian couples still have free will, and God can help but only if they are willing to let him, and let him guide through their marriage. Unfortunately this does not at all challenge the question of the existence of God.

After looking at these ten questions I must say they have failed to defeat Christianity, or the idea of the existence of a loving God.

If have a response please post it in the comments and God bless.

52 comments:

GodCreatedBrains said...

I enjoyed your post today. I thought you did a good job addressing his questions using both facts and humor. Thank you for the time and thought you put into it.

Josh said...

And yet I'm reminded that even smart people can have dumb ideas.

You're answers were pretty inadequate, but I don't have time to write up a full response. I will focus on one thing, and that is your response to "Why are there so many starving people in our world?"

I can't watch the video, so I don't know if your response is directly do something more in the video, but I want to point out that you completely ignore the literally millions of people massacred by the jews in the old testament, usually during the conquering of their nation.

I think you missed the point in a lot of these, so I'll try to post more later.

Created Rationalist said...

Well first of all Josh I would like to thank you for your brutal uncompromising honesty. I would like to go through the other questions but since you only mentioned the one about the starving people in the world; I understand how the reason for God's purges in the old testament are an important question, but the fact that God judged literally millions of people in the old testament is not relevant to whether or not he is helping starving children in modern times. Those are two seperate questions and I would be more then happy to try to answer both. Either way I ask you to expalin exactly what was wrong with my answer to that question in your next post, thankyou.

Josh said...

oh gosh, I'm a fool!

I copied and pasted without paying close attention... I should have posted: "Why does God demand the deaths of so many innocent people in the bible"

And I was referring to the mass execution by the jews of people whose only mentionable sin is being 'not-jewish.' What did the Jericho population do to be slaughtered like animals? God didn't even give a choice to those people.

Josh said...

I'll take a closer look at this when I get a chance - hopefully later tonight.

Josh said...

Re: Amputees.

Read Matthew 18:20. There are a limited number of ways to interpret that verse, and I've heard it invoked countless times in church when praying for sick people. So try it out. Get two people together, and pray for the immediate healing of another.

When it doesn't happen, here are your options:

One or both of you weren't 'sincere'

What Jesus really meant was: "Again, I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything you ask for, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven, if he feels like it."

Or the bible got it wrong.

Or I suppose there may be another option I'm not immediately understanding.

Created Rationalist said...

Or...God had other plans, there are many examples of people in the bible who didn't get healed despite prayer because God had other plans (look up 2 Corinthians 12:7-9).

Also everything works according to God's purpose (Romans 8:28, is the only reference I could find on that statement).

God does miracles for particular reasons. Now occasionally he does personal favors but usually it is for greater purpose. A person can serve God fine without both legs (especially since now we can replace the leg).

Josh said...

You missed my point. The verse doesn't say "unless god has other plans." It's pretty unambiguous what the meaning of the verse is.

Amputees was used as an example, because the healing of one is something that is also pretty unambiguous. If you had a spontaneous regeneration of a limb, your options for explanation of that are pretty limited.

Yet, we find nothing like this. Just imagine how much the world would change is there was even one unambiguous verified miracle.

BTW, can you talk sometime specifically about what your beliefs on hell are?

Created Rationalist said...

Alright first of all, no I understand your objection but still God has the freedom to say reject our requests. All the verse says it that Jesus is among two people praying, the verse in of itself says nothing about healing, or what God will do.

Seconde of all I apologize for that bad response I was going to change it before you cam along.

third, perhaps many miracles are not actually supernatural but have natural causes that we do not yet understand.

And the question about hell is rather random, I don't remember ever bringing it up. I believe hell it if exists is a place of eternal torment where the wicked and unsaved will spend the rest of their existence. It is probably not a literal lake of fire, that is most likely a metaphore for burning anguish and dispair. What does hell have to do with faith healing?

Josh said...

I missed your response today until now.

I don't know what you're talking about by bad response on your behalf.

I am embarassed once again by my lack of rigor in posting. I should have posted Mathew 18:19 - the verse right before. it states:

Again, I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything you ask for, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven.

This is the verse that must be false, if your statement about god not answering all requests is true. It's meaning is not doubt, and it's a pretty simple thing to understand.

Miracles are defined as something that has a supernatural cause. If it has a naturalistic cause, it is not a miracle.

I brought up hell because there were allusions in your OP to the problem of evil, though it wasn't specifically mentioned. I'm willing, for the sake of argument, to say that the things we call evil in this life may be necessary for some sort of divine plan. However, if such a god exists that allows the torture of anything to all of eternity, it does not deserve worship. It is sadistic and hateful, by definition. There is usually talk about how the people 'chose to be there' but that's really baloney. No one chooses to be tortured forever and ever, unless the choice is between that and worship of a sadistic god who would allow such a thing in the first place.

Your discussion involving the 'scientific truths' revealed in the bible reeks of an 'interpretation after the fact.' If the bible actually meant these things, then why wasn't it originally interpreted in that way? It feels like you're going, 'sure we know this now, so I need to find where the bible says this,' instead of 'the bible predicted this, and lo, look what we discovered.'

Created Rationalist said...

Ok, to being

"I am embarassed once again by my lack of rigor in posting. I should have posted Mathew 18:19 - the verse right before. it states:

Again, I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything you ask for, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven.

This is the verse that must be false, if your statement about god not answering all requests is true. It's meaning is not doubt, and it's a pretty simple thing to understand."

Once again, despite that God can still say no, this has happened mny times in the bible where God says no despite prayer because it is not according to his plan, you are going in circles on this point. Also God does things for a reason better then "because he feels like it."

"Miracles are defined as something that has a supernatural cause. If it has a naturalistic cause, it is not a miracle."

Not necessarily, God can perform mircles through natural causes. The idea that miracles are always purely supernatural in origin is only one theological opinion.

"I brought up hell because there were allusions in your OP to the problem of evil, though it wasn't specifically mentioned. I'm willing, for the sake of argument, to say that the things we call evil in this life may be necessary for some sort of divine plan. However, if such a god exists that allows the torture of anything to all of eternity, it does not deserve worship. It is sadistic and hateful, by definition. There is usually talk about how the people 'chose to be there' but that's really baloney. No one chooses to be tortured forever and ever, unless the choice is between that and worship of a sadistic god who would allow such a thing in the first place."

This does not make sense, first of all you are assuming God wants to punish these people, he doesn't, he must because he is a righteous judge who must punish evil. That does not make God sadistic, that makes him just, and the fact that he went to extreme measures to justly mankind from his hllish sentence makes God worthy of worship. Also, after you said that you come off s the person who would pity hitler, do you think it is evil for God to punish a man as evil as hitler? Then again if I were to say the Christian God would even have comapassion on Hitler if he asked forgiveness you would say that kind of mercy was wrong. There is an unfortunate contradiction in that thinking

"Your discussion involving the 'scientific truths' revealed in the bible reeks of an 'interpretation after the fact.' If the bible actually meant these things, then why wasn't it originally interpreted in that way? It feels like you're going, 'sure we know this now, so I need to find where the bible says this,' instead of 'the bible predicted this, and lo, look what we discovered.'"

First of all early theologians were not searching for ways to reconcile their beliefs with science but to reconcile their theological beliefs with Greek philosophy. It was only until modern times that it was realized what these verse actually say. On the other hand being that the bible ws written by humans and God was talking down to their level you would expect them to write from their cultural understanding of things. And being that God wanted to make himself understandable, he would also speak within that person's cultural bounds (it is called phenomenological language).

Josh said...

I'm not going in circles. You are basically saying that Mathew chapter 18, verse 19 is false, and I want to be sure that you are recognizing that fact.

You're also missing the my point about hell. According to your own beliefs he was the one who saw fit 'sentence' us to an eternity of torture if we do not worship him. An infinite punishment for a finite act does not fit any known definition of 'justice' but does fit the definitions for 'sadism' and 'hate.' I'm saying we should call it as it is, and not try to spin it in some way, or change the meanings of the words so we can use them in any which way we want.

I'm not saying that some sort of punishment is not fit. If god does exist, then it may be fitting to punish certain people, especially people like Hitler. But not even hitler deserve an infinite punishment. Why not just annihilate him, if there is nothing good left in him? Why torture him forever? Certainly it's in god's powers to do so!

Perhaps for my sins, I should be tortured upon death for say... a trillion lashes, or a trillion years. Those punishments, though extreme, or not even a drop in the bucket compared to eternity. It is possibly to punish us justly, and an honest and responsible person would accept just punishment without complaint.

I will repeat myself one more time: an infinity of torture for a finite sin is not 'just.' There is no possible justification for this, and must be called by what it is: sadism and hate.

As for your rebutal regarding science in the bible, you didn't even bother to reply to what I actually said, but merely repeated what you had said before. Your idea is that basically, humans had no idea what god was talking about until scientists came along and told us.

I'm sympathetic towards Buddhism. I like many things about it, but I cringe when I hear a Buddhist claim that they had come up with the idea of multiple universes long before modern science. They have no clue, and it's nothing more than an attempt to modify their religious beliefs to match what science has to offer.

There are tons that we have yet to discover about the world. You know what I would like to hear from some religious person, in any religion? Something along these lines:

"Well, I've been studying my [insert holy book here], and am sure that the revelation it's trying to tell us is [something that's yet discovered]. It's obviously correct, but you can prove it for yourself by [description of how to scientifically prove it]."

If they turned out to be correct, that would be an incredible event - bordering on the miraculous. But we never see this! Everytime it's a re-interpretation after the fact. Once the facts are in, we can decide what this passage or that passage actually means. That's not impressive, but vacuous at best. To the nonbeliever, it reeks of dishonesty.

Created Rationalist said...

Josh, I am not saying they are wrong, that will happen but often you need to be persistant nd keep praying, you can't just pray once; God likes it when you are redundant. And often God has more subtle ways of answering those prayers (such as giving you mechanical leg). God still has the freedom to reject anything we ask him and he can do this with complete moral purity because it is only by his mercy that we get to talk to him.

It is only hate if God truly hates those people, there are some times in the bible where God says he hates someone but that is usually describing contrasts (I am not pleased with this person but I am pleased with this person) it does not mean he hates them. God does not punish them because he hates them he p-unishes them because they desrve to be punished. God gave everything and literally went through hell to redeem us from that punishment. Rejecting that gift is evil and you do deserve eternal punishment for such a crime. And since God does not enjoy it I do not see how it can possibly be sadism without twisting it.

It is true there is a lot of interpretatio involved but that does not change the fact that if fits with modern science, it isn' necessarily dishonest. It is possible for the representation of an idea not to become apparent until it is discovered to be true, for example if spanish conquistadors had discovered carvings and cave paintings of dinosaurs they would probably dismiss them as mythological until dinosaurs were discovered.

The bible was not originally interpreted to say that because originally it was not used as a source for science. Christians probably interpreted Joshua 5:10-12 after they found that Geocentrism was supported by the science of the day as well. Then it was disproven and they reinerpreted it. That verse (Isaiah 40:22)would not have made sense back when Geocentrism was a popular theory. If there had been skeptics at the time it might have been braught up as a case of the bible contradicting the science known at the time.

Created Rationalist said...

Alright Josh, before you respond I take back the bible scientific foreknowledge, argument is boubtful at best, forgive me.

GodCreatedBrains said...

About the scientific foreknowledge, science has questioned on whether the galaxies are going to keep moving apart forever or if there will be a ‘rubber band’ effect. Isaiah 34:4 says “And the heavens shall be rolled up like a scroll.” Of course, we may have to wait a while to see that one fulfilled.

Josh said...

You're doing a lot of wiggling re: Matthew 18:19

Even your explanation now would mean that verse is false. Let me summarize your points, and I'm not being facetious here, just pointing them out, as I see them:

1. You can pray, but god may or may not answer, depending on his ultimate plans.

2. You can't just pray once and expect your prayers to be answered.

3. You need to keep praying and asking over and over again, because god likes that.

4. He still may not answer you, because he's god and he can do that.

5. To take an example, If you have an amputated leg, and you ask for healing, and it doesn't happen, but you get a mechanical replacement, god is answering your prayers. Basically, at that point, any change (unless something goes from bad to worse) is attributed to god.

That's some bias there! God is responsible for the mechanical limb, but what about the torturous phantom limb pain that will continue?

And still, none of that is in line with Matthew 18:19. You've basically been contradicting the bible, or at least, that verse.

Moving on, it's things like this that really bother me about Christianity. You said:

God still has the freedom to reject anything we ask him and he can do this with complete moral purity because it is only by his mercy that we get to talk to him.

So, god created us, and being all-knowing, he knew that his original creations were going to fail. He even set it up so it would be possible for them to fail. Then, he proceded to damn not only the original perpetrators, but the entire human race for all future generations. For a while, he accepted animal sacrifices from us to show how sorry we were about this, and how much we loved him, but then changed his mind and sacrificed himself / his son so we don't have a sacrifice animals any more.

So he made something that has led to billions upon billions of people suffering, and most of them will be tortured forever and ever, because he set it up for this to happen. He could have made things any way he wanted, but he looked into the future and said, nope, this way is great. "I'll get a relatively few really nice and humble people to tell me how great I am for all of eternity, and the rest of them will be tortured by not being able to experience my greatness."

So we humans down here, in all of our suffering, pray for relief from on high, giving glory to the magnificent being that created all of this. God hears our prayers, and answers some, while with others basically says, 'nope, sorry. You're going to have to suffer some more, because it's part of my plan. You may even be tortured for all of eternity! Worship me!"

And still it's our fault for all of this, and we should be thankful that god is even giving us the opportunity to 'speak' with him in some way. We should be grateful that he sacrificed himself so we might be excused from the law he created himself.

It really bothers me that you have to have such a low opinion of humans / humanity. It bothers me when anything good happens, it's attributed to god, but when anything bad happens it's attributed to our own fallibility, or 'the devil' or 'evil.' Are not all those things ultimately a creation of god, according to Christian beliefs?

Well, I don't want to drop into full rant mode, so I'm going to stop here.

Created Rationalist said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Created Rationalist said...

No, he always answers your prayers but he has the freedom to give you an answer you don’t like.

”5. To take an example, If you have an amputated leg, and you ask for healing, and it doesn't happen, but you get a mechanical replacement, god is answering your prayers. Basically, at that point, any change (unless something goes from bad to worse) is attributed to god.”

Not necessarily, some bad things are attributed to God, and some good things are attributed to people. And ultimately everything is attributed to God.

”That's some bias there! God is responsible for the mechanical limb, but what about the torturous phantom limb pain that will continue?”

I know this answer is weak but that isn’t the pain God wishes to fix in the first place.

”And still, none of that is in line with Matthew 18:19. You've basically been contradicting the bible, or at least, that verse.”

There are exceptions to that rule even in the bible.

”Moving on, it's things like this that really bother me about Christianity. You said:

’God still has the freedom to reject anything we ask him and he can do this with complete moral purity because it is only by his mercy that we get to talk to him.’”

I am not trying to devalue humanity but if you will look at human history, we are not the most benevolent entities the planet has known; also we have all lied, cheated, stolen (in some way), hated, and thought evil things. Its not as if this pessimistic view of Man isn’t unrealistic.

“So, god created us, and being all-knowing, he knew that his original creations were going to fail.”
Not necessarily, there is a theological school of thought which states God does not know the future in the same way some have traditionally thought. Its not like God has written the entire book and all the events in history have happened. In this school of thought its more like he has written an outline of history and is fleshing it out with our lives and actions as well as the actions of nature (not that it is relevant when it comes to humans I am not with the Emerging Church).

“He even set it up so it would be possible for them to fail.”

He gave Adam and Eve free will and you can’t really give someone free will unless you give them the ability both obey and disobey even if you know that their disobedience will get them disciplined otherwise its not free will

“Then, he proceeded to damn not only the original perpetrators, but the entire human race for all future generations”

Once sin corrupted Adam, being that his children were also free moral agents it wasn’t very hard to contaminate them with a sin nature either. Any organism with free will has the ability to do both good and evil.

“ For a while, he accepted animal sacrifices from us to show how sorry we were about this, and how much we loved him, but then changed his mind and sacrificed himself / his son so we don't have to sacrifice animals any more.”

You’ve got it backwards, God gave us a way out with animal sacrifices because he loved us, the Israelites nearly hated him, and he died on the cross because the animal sacrifice was insufficient and only he was perfect to be sacrificed for the ultimate sin and because he loved so much, he made himself the ultimate sacrifice.

”So he made something that has led to billions upon billions of people suffering, and most of them will be tortured forever and ever, because he set it up for this to happen.”

Well first of all I don’t believe he set it up, second of all; all these people had free will and they chose to not follow God and they go their punishment which God is not at all overjoyed about, but he is just.

“He could have made things any way he wanted, but he looked into the future and said, nope, this way is great. "I'll get a relatively few really nice and humble people to tell me how great I am for all of eternity, and the rest of them will be tortured by not being able to experience my greatness."”

Well, it was more like “I love these people so much that I want them to have the freedom to choose me, and if they don’t I will urge them to come back but I will not intervene because I will not force them to follow me. I will show them I love them and in fact I will die for the evil they did to tell them how much I love them and I will expect absolutely nothing in return. And if they choose to walk into hell then so be it, but I will do everything I can to stop them from taking that path.”

”So we humans down here, in all of our suffering, pray for relief from on high,”

Will ultimately receive it…

“ giving glory to the magnificent being that created all of this. God hears our prayers, and answers some, while with others basically says, 'nope, sorry. You're going to have to suffer some more, because it's part of my plan. You may even be tortured for all of eternity! Worship me!"

Or he might say, “A new leg is not what you need, what you need is salvation so you can dwell with me with an even better leg.”

”And still it's our fault for all of this, and we should be thankful that god is even giving us the opportunity to 'speak' with him in some way. We should be grateful that he sacrificed himself so we might be excused from the law he created himself.”

Not quite, If you lose your leg it is not necessarily your fault. Lso although it is true God could ignore us and have every right to do so being that we seem to do that most of the time he doesn’t because he loves us terribly. If the king of a country made a law which said rape was punishable by death and his beloved only child did that crime if he is a just king he will put his son to death unless he can find a way to substitute; there is not much room around this.

”It really bothers me that you have to have such a low opinion of humans / humanity. It bothers me when anything good happens, it's attributed to god, but when anything bad happens it's attributed to our own fallibility, or 'the devil' or 'evil.' Are not all those things ultimately a creation of god, according to Christian beliefs?”

I do not hold a low opinion of humans, I hold a realistic opinion of humans. Despite our flaws what we’ve done on this plane is impressive and humans are capable of doing great altruistic and humanitarian acts, but we also have a dark side, a very dark side. Also humans unlike any other primate are capable of catching the creators attention (although technically he cought our attention). Many things both good (a person with cancer being healed) and bad (a man who cheated on his wife dying of an STD he got from his lover) are attributed to God. Ultimately, almost everything is attributed to God. However evil is the act of rebellion against God and how things are supposed to be.

”Well, I don't want to drop into full rant mode, so I'm going to stop here.”

Well I’m glad, and also sorry for the sloppy quotation, it was little hard to get right for some reason.

Josh said...

ok, so what you're saying regarding Matthew 18:19 is that the bible contradicts itself. That verse wasn't being used as a 'guideline' that would be followed, which seems to be what you want to relegate it to. It was basically and appropriately holy writ. Jesus said, if you do this, this other thing will happen. There isn't any wiggle room in that statement.

As you said, there are parts in the bible where this doesn't happen, so Jesus was lying. You can try to continue to wiggle around, but you continue to not address the basic facts of that verse. It's meaning is clear. The words themselves are not questionable.

When you say, 'There are exceptions to that rule even in the bible' you are saying there are contradictions in the bible. Do you agree with this statement? Spinning things as 'exceptions' will not get you very far and take you down a road that you probably do not want to go down.

I can address the rest of your post, but I want to get this issue out of the way first.

Created Rationalist said...

First of all it it revealed in the verse tht it has to be in his name.

Also Matthew 18:19 could be referring to sometihng completely different, notice the context in which jesus is speaking has to do with things in Heaven. It might be speaking of things which are going to happen in Heaven. Finall it is not contradiction if Jesus does not answer your prayer because if it contradicts God's plan he will say no or perhaps wait.

Now on to the more interesting topics...

Chris said...

I don't know if this topic has been closed but I wanted to explain an important point That I think was missed.

An example was given of two believers praying for someone to be miraculously healed. And that if the miracle didn't happen right away that it meant one of two things. I would like to adress the things in the order they were presented.

1. "That one of them wasn't sincere"

This is a common misunderstanding about prayer. A miracle doesn't happen, or not happen, based on the strength of someones faith. There is NO biblical standard for this. I have a ton of referneces but not alot of time so I will just reference the story and you can check me for accuracy. The story I have in mind is Lazarus. He died and was buried. Jesus came a couple of days later. At that point Lazarus' sisters came out crying and said to Jesus, "If you has only been here you could have saved him." These women had no faith at all that a miracel could happen at that time. Lazarus was dead, for a couple of days. He had no ability for faith, much less thought or anything else. Yet Jesus performed a miracle and raised him from the dead.

2. "The bible lied"
The verse referenced is Matthew 18:19. Now it isn't very wise to reference a single bible verse without looking at the verses around it, otherwise you miss the whole meaning and lose the context. Verse 20 says "If 2 or more are gathered in My name, I am there with them." So the question is - what does it mean to be in His name? It means to be in his will, or in submission to Him.

Prayer is NOT meant to be a time to give G-d your shopping lists of wants/needs and ask Him to give those things to you when you want them. When Jesus was asked, He gave us the model for prayer, I wont quote it to you but there is a very important phrase, "Your will not mine be done."

This means that when we pray, we need to submit ourselves to His will, trust that He has the perfect plan for us, even though it might not be what we had in mind.

I hope I have clarified these two common misunderstandings.

Josh said...

We could continue to go 'round and round, so I want to take a moment and jump up to the meta-conversation level.

I would just like to point out all the hoops you're having to jump through just to explain this one single verse: well, maybe this is what was meant, or maybe this other thing, et cettera.

Not even quantum mechanics in all it's strangeness is that complicated. For a religion that is supposed to be available to everyone, there sure is a lot of esoteric knowledge here.

Josh said...

I wanted to clarify my point in my previous comment. I think what the original video was trying to point out was just how much mental gymnastics you have to do to get the bible to make sense. I was pointing out that's just what you're doing. Jumping through hoops to create some sort of order out of the chaotic ramblings in the bible.

Perhaps you don't recognize it. I was a christian for most of my life until one day I started really examining everything I had to do to make my faith 'make sense,' and yet I still failed. That's when I decided I wasn't a christian.

Created Rationalist said...

The same thing happened to me, had a crisis of faith which I scrambled to get Christianity to make sense and it worked, hofully it will work for you also

Josh said...

well, my point is that it didn't work to me. I'm more used to the elegant simplicity of evolution, relativity, and other science / mathematics. I could even throw in the supreme simplicity you can get in Buddhism (though many times it is made just as complicated as Christianity). The convolutions and mental gymnastics is just too much for me.

Chris said...

Josh, I am very interested in people's views and interpretations on the bible. I find it odd that as a christian for most of your life, with an obvious mind for logic, you found the bible to be disorderly and chaotic ramblings. Could you please help me understand exactly why you mean by your statement? Some examples would be very helpfull for me seeing as you and creaditrationalist are a little out of my league. Thanks!

Josh said...

chris,

You only need to look at how many different interpretations of the bible there are to see how messed up it is. If it was clear and concise, there would only be one interpretation.

Take a look at the skeptic's annotated bible (google it - it's free online) as well.

When I read the bible, I do not see the revelations of a great source of wisdom. Granted there are portions that are really great, but you find that in any holy book! Just look at the Tao Te Ching, for example.

It's chock full of contradictions, 'moral precepts' which are horrifying to me, and other idiocy.

So much of the bible can be interpreted any which way you please, and that makes the actual meaning of it empty. When you can use it to justify anything (and it has), without an outside objective standard of truth, it's not useful at all.

Science has been used to justify nasty things that aren't in line with what science is. When that happens, though, you can always point to the evidence and say, look, here is what we actually know, and it's not this twisted interpretation.

When someone interprets the bible in an immoral way, there is nothing to point to. There is no objective standard. And that's why it cannot be trusted.

Chris said...

I understand what you are saying but I disagree. Yes the bible can be interpreted many different ways BUT there is a singluar truth to it.
Whenever we read or hear something our initial interpretation/impression is based on how we feel at that time. The real meaning can not be determined unitl we have all the facts.

I have a hard time talking about a subject unless I have some examples. Do you have any specific areas you are thinking of?

Josh said...

Chris, what do you mean by "have all the facts?" What facts are there?

The bible contradicts known history in hundreds of different ways.

1) Flood
2) Herod's death
3) Pharisees and Pilot getting along
4) Known justice practices by the Romans

There are literally thousands of purely internal contradictions in the bible - that is where the bible contradicts itself!

Here is a short list:
http://skepticsannotatedbible.com/contra/short.html

One of them that is the most obvious is the different geneologies for Jesus.

People have dedicated large amounts of time to explain these apparent condradictions, but there are no elegant answers. You have to do like what created rational has done here, and appeal to some esoteric knowledge of what the bible means. It is not self-evident.

You claim that there is a singular truth, but that is nothing more than a belief / assertion on your part. When a dispassionate reader takes a look at the bible, it rarely fares well. You look at it through the blinders of faith, which can over come much in order to protect itself.

Try this. Take a verse from the bible, or a famous story, like the 'battle' for jericho. Read it, and try to look at it completely without reference to your faith. Try imagining it as a story from someplace else, that's not in the bible. I imagine that if you did this, you would be horrified by what you read.

When you bring your faith into it, however, suddenly the mass slaughter of an entire city doesn't seem so bad.

That's very troubling. And personally, I finally realized just how messed up that is. When your faith requires the justification of some sort for mass murder, especially when that murder was ordained by the very being you're supposed to be worshiping, there is something wrong.

That realization is what made me start looking for something else. For a while, I was tempted by buddhism, and it still remains a subject I'm fond of, but eventually I stumbled upon the true knowledge provided by science, logic, and reason. I refuse to debase my intellect and compassion by believing in the christian god.

Chris said...

Ok, how about we start with Jesus’ ancestry and then you tell me your specific issues with the others you mentioned.

The question is: Who is Jesus’ grandfather?

This one is a perfect example of taking a verse or event and, without doing the appropriate research; one can come upon a very mistaken conclusion.

There are two genealogies, with two distinct purposes.
1. Matthew writes about the genealogy of Joseph
2. Luke writes about the genealogy of Mary

Matthew wrote his gospel to the Jews. He proved to them the royal lineage (through the males) necessary for the Jews to realize that Jesus is the Messiah.

Luke writes to the Gentiles. The Gentiles, or non-Jews, didn’t care about his royal lineage, so Luke traced the lineage back through the patriarchs to the very first man.

So then you would rightly ask: Why do both mention Joseph’s name?

Again with the proper research you would find that although today, it would be politically incorrect to map a woman's genealogy through her husband, however, in Luke's day, it was proper and correct. Luke follows Mary's genealogy, beginning with the name of Joseph, her husband, Heli's son-in-law (in legal terms, his son by marriage).

Does that help any?

And I wanted to point out something you said that I take exception to:

“You look at it through the blinders of faith, which can over come much in order to protect itself.”

Just because you and I can look at the same things and come up with different answers does not mean that I am wearing “blinders”. It just means that we have different points of view. If I was someone who was un-willing to look at and think about all things presented to me, then you would be correct. I welcome and am interested in different thoughts and views. Besides, I could claim that you look at it (God) through the blinders of faith (that He doesn’t exist), which can over come much in order to protect itself (from the truth that God exists). Instead I suggest that we trade questions and answers in an amicable way.

I am interested what discrepancies you find with the other four things you mentioned.

In the meantime I will study the site you mentioned.

Josh said...

Chris,

All you've done is basically asserted that it's Mary's geneology and offered up a bunch of reasons that don't stand up to actual research. I have heard this 'explanation' before, but it doesn't live up to the historical evidence.

Just look at this part of your explanation:

"Luke writes to the Gentiles. The Gentiles, or non-Jews, didn’t care about his royal lineage, so Luke traced the lineage back through the patriarchs to the very first man."

Just thinking about this for a moment and you can see that it's incorrect. The gentiles would not hold adam to be 'the very first man.' It would be meaningless to them. And why would they care anyway? Even if they held Jesus to be the 'very first man' theoretically you could trace *anyone* back to adam (if the story is to be believed). Yet another way it's a completely meaningless exercise.

But beyond all that, the geneologies are of radically different lengths - to abrahamic time. You have to come up with some more convoluted explanations to explain that.

These geneologies have problems at more levels than not just matching.

When I was struggling near the end of my faith, I looked at many, many problems with the bible. I spent hours researching them, looking at possible answers. Finally, I had to honestly admit to myself that it just wasn't working. It was a very hard admission to make, because the bible was supposed to be the perfect word of god.

Finally, you're making several other assumptions about me. I don't believe god doesn't exist. It is a foolish statement to say that god doesn't exist (unless it's said in the same manner that one might say santa clause doesn't exist), because you cannot completely prove the nonexistence of anything. I gave up my faith because what I needed to believe in in order to have faith contradicted my intellect and compassion.

And that was the point I was trying to get across. When you take faith out of the picture, something like the conquering of jericho becomes absolutely horrifying and repulsive to ever good sense we have.

Chris said...

I didn’t say that the Gentile people cared if Adam was the first man or not. No where in my statement did I say that. I was just telling you what the genealogy showed.

Yes the lineages are in varying lengths. So what? If you asked my brother and me separately for our lineage you would get two genealogies highlighting different names and of different lengths. Does that prove that one of us is lying about our heritage? You are making a mountain out of a mole-hill.

You say you spent hours researching, who did to ask to help you? I have been able to find simple and logical answers to your questions will little or no research. For someone with your intellect I would not have expected that such simple discrepancies could confuse you.

If you have other research that states the opposite of what I said about Mary’s genealogy where can I find it? If not then we have dispelled one of the contradictions you put on the table.

Chris said...

Jericho

OK let’s take God out of the story and re-tell it.

One group of people hole themselves inside of their city walls, and when the other group yelled at the wall and blew their trumpets at it then wall fell down. At this point the architect of the wall should have been killed for his shoddy work. Then the Jews ran in and killed everything. This is probably where you think it is horrible. But this was no different than anything else being done anywhere else in the world during this time. Also let’s not forget that the people in Jericho knew the mighty army was coming, they had fair warning to leave.

Now let’s leave God in the story.

The people of Jericho have heard of the Jews defeating the armies of nearby kings in miraculous ways, and undoubtedly heard of the plagues in Egypt. They decided to stay anyway, in spite of the fact that no one had been able to stand up to them before. Rahab and her family were saved because of her. If the rest of the town had surrendered they probably would have been spared, just like Rahab.

So without God there was no chance for the town to be saved. With God they had the chance to be spared but chose door #2.

Does that help at all?

Josh said...

You said:

"Luke writes to the Gentiles. The Gentiles, or non-Jews, didn’t care about his royal lineage, so Luke traced the lineage back through the patriarchs to the very first man."

This implies that Luke felt it an important exercise to do this. He was writing for the gentiles, and they needed to know this. Why else would he do so?

Here is a pretty good page talking about the many many issues surrounding the geneological problems:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Genealogy_of_Jesus

This is not to mention that the mere inclusion of the geneologies contradicts other parts of the bible (1 Tim.1:4, Tit.3:9).

The skeptics bible has more information, like this:

http://skepticsannotatedbible.com/contra/gen_ml.html

Josh said...

Chris,

Ok, you're 'explanation' of Jericho has convinced me that there is no point in continuing this conversation with you. What's more, I'm removing created rationalist from my blog subscriptions.

You said, "But this was no different than anything else being done anywhere else in the world during this time. Also let’s not forget that the people in Jericho knew the mighty army was coming, they had fair warning to leave."

So you basically say that since 'everyone else was doing it,' it's ok to accept that behavior when it's mandated by god, the same god that told us not to murder.

What's more the idiots who actually stayed in jericho died because they were too stupid to leave their homes. Didn't they understand god gave their home to these strangers who loved killing people? They should have just surrendered.

You really need to go back and reread the story anyway. You get basic facts about it incorrect. I don't care though. I'm done with this conversation.

Josh said...

Upon further reflection, I should say straight out that I'm not angry. I have studied these things extensively, though, and am not really interested in rehashing all of that. I need to move on to other things.

Chris said...

Josh, I am sorry that we couldn't debate more on this issue. I appreciated your views and input. I agree with you though, that we both should move on from this topic.

I dont understand why you would remove Created Rationalist from your blog subscriptions. If you would like for me to not respond or write youm just say so. I wont be offended.

Josh said...

oh no, it's nothing like that.

I've been talking and debating issues related to evolution /creationism and christianity / atheism for too long now. it used to be exciting for me, but not anymore.

It's just not an interesting topic to me anymore. I prefer brains, educational technology, buddhism and meditation, and other things these days.

I spent about 4 years studying the bible and creationism / evolution intensively. It seems like I've seen it all and read it all multiple times now. There isn't anything new to consider.

Chris said...

I am glad that we could part ways on good terms. Good luck on your continued studies!

Created Rationalist said...

Alright I guess its about time I stepped in again (I thought this discussion was over).

Josh simply because there are some people who disagree with your view does not mean I am like that.

Re: Jericho,

You are taking this out of the cultural context of the time. Like most Canaanite cultures these people were probably involved in human sacrifice, prostitution, etc. All these things are condemned by the bible. Also God waited for a very long time before doing this, he genuinely wanted them to come to repentance but they wouldn't have it so he disciplined them. If you take faith out it seems like a typical raid on a neighboring city be desert dwelling barbarians back in those days. Barbarians would invade a city killed most or all of the people (as well as take some of them as slaves and as wives)and horde the loot (also I would like to point out that the people were later punished for hording loot). This was often why civilizations fell and took part in the dark age between the late bronze age and early iron age. And yes it does seem primitive and barbaric when you don't understand the history behind it.

Re: genealogy,

You need to understand the history behind that too, as you remember Luke was addressing his book to a man named Theophilus (Luke 1:1-4), possibly a Greek or Roman Christian who would have been interested in where the religion came from so he would have still written the geneology. Also you must remember that the geneologies have spacious gaps (they would have to be considering that according to genetic geneology our last common human ancestor lived atleast 120,000 years ago), so their would bge some names missing. Also what Chris said about it telling of Joseph as the son-in-law of Mary's father is valid. You must remember back in those days many cultures including that of the Jews were very misogynistic.

1 Timothy 1:4 is condemning starteing unnecessary disputes over the geneology, lthouh interesting it is irrelevent to the salvation issue. Arguing about geneologies is something that the young earth creationists seem to love doing these days. That passage in Titus is referring to the same thing. I hope you will forgive Chris, he's a apparently little new to this whole apologetics issue.

I hope that clears some things up

Chris said...

CR - thank you for clarifying.

Although I am not new at this, I am out of practice. Also I am doing this at work, so I dont have the time to write all the details I want. Thank you for the constructive critisism.

Josh said...

CR,

I just can't resist one more post.

What are your goals with this website? Are you really trying to foster rational discussion? Because all I see here is a dogmatic reliance on scripture, but even then you're not getting it right. Go back and read the story of Jericho. You have completely changed it from the representation in the bible.

Just because you recognize evolution has the evidence it does doesn't mean you can automatically claim to be 'rational.' It is not reasonable to pick and choose what you want to be reasonable about.

Created Rationalist said...

Well when we are talking about the adequacy of scripture you can't resist talking about it and using it in a self-referential way.

And please explain how I completely changed it from the representation in the bible? I spoke of it from a historical context. From a historical context it sounds like a story about a riding party on Jericho that was told a little tall. It looks like a bronze age raid on a city by desert nomads. They killed all the people there. Yes when you take it out of context it sounds barbaric. That is because it is not to be taken out of context. These people were despicably evil and the women nd children took part in what the men did and so forth. It wasn't as if God was ordering the slaughtering of innocent people; They were not innocent. This parto f the bible is not to be taken out of context anymore then Christ commanding the disciples to eat his body and drink his blood, you will only end up with a garbled interpretation of a particular passage that won't make any sense.

I am not picking and choosing on what to be rational about. I am being perfectly rational on this, if you could explain exactly what you see as dogmatic reliance on scripture that would be nice.

Josh said...

CR,

You spoke in an historical context, but that is not how the story is presented in the bible. While it may have been standard operating procedure back then for different groups to slaughter everyone in other groups (something I'm don't completely agree with), this is not how the story is presented.

In this story, the people are acting in direct order of their god - the same god who just a few chapters beforehand, commanded them to not commit murder.

There is no mention of the sins of the people of Jericho, except perhaps the sin of worshiping a different god. It is mentioned several times just how terrified everyone in the city is of the jews.

There is no talk of "these people were despicably evil." There are no passages that support you giving this conclusion. This is not soddam and gomora all over again. From the way the bible reads, these were regular people, terrified of the fate they were facing.

You are a sick bastard to think the children, who could not have possibly understood what was going on, deserved to be slaughtered.

That is the sort of fucked up thinking you get when you try to justify the bible without rationality. I am absolutely stunned that you would even write that, and now I know for sure that I was correct in removing you from my feeds. You are, as some say, a theistard, through and through.

You're absolutely right. In an historical context, removing any mention of god or the supernatural, this story makes sense. Even leaving it in there, we see the same old story, ancient people justifying their actions by directions from god.

We do not see the actions of a people who are being guided by a being of omnipotence and omnibenevolence. We do not see the actions of a people with superior morals. We see ancient barbarians doing what they do best.

And apparently, you completely approve of this. Good on you. Stay far, far away from me please.

Created Rationalist said...

Yes bit is terrible that children would have to be killed, I am not saying its a good thing for the last time darn it.

And there is something you need to understand, when something contradicts God's nature it is safe to assume that these people were doing evil. The worship ceremonies they practiced involved child sacrifice and prostitution. It is safe to assume they were evil.

You go too far on this one, no I don't think the children who didn't even understand the situation deserved to die, if you think of me like that then I am stunned at such a mismeasure.

No,I am sorry Josh you go too far, I am done being nice I don't approve of the murder of innocent children in any context that is not what I said and you know that. The people who were killed were not innocent, they understood what they had done and why were being killed, and as far as the children bing killed some argue tht if you have not reached they age where you understand the difference between right and wrong you go straight to Heaven. Now before start explaining Lets get this straight
--No, no and NO!!! I do not approve of murder or genocide, very few people do, and I am by far not one of them. If you are once again ready for a calm rational discussion I will be happy to talk about it.
--No they were not innocent! The people killed knew exactly what they were doing and understood it perfectly. Its a tragedy the children had to be killed but there must have been a good reason (perhaps those children would have suffered under the Israelites and so God did them a favor, and no that doesn't sound completely right and I am limtlessly uncomfortable with that conclusion) also if children who are not accountable for their sins because they dont them go to Heaven if they die, that is a step towards solving the theodicy issue.

No I don't I don't approve of the actions of barbarians, on the other hand they going into to conquer the land and eliminated it of idol worshipers (keep in mind the worship of these idols involved child sacrifice and prosititution).

Its very hard to try to work round this issue which is already uncomfortable with someone yelling "I THINK YOUR EVIL!" Now I am willing to listen to a response.

And no only if you don't know anything bout the city does it seem barbaric, you have to take into account the people were burning their own children which is far worse.

I don't know where you come off think I gree with genocide, I don't think any taking of human life is necessary or good, I wish it coukd be avoided but it can't unfortunately, for the last time I am not the kind of person who delights in the death innocent children, get that through you head.

Until we meet again,

P.S. Don't use the f-word again, this is supposed to be a family friendly site, I'd say please but unfortunately we are past the point of being kind to eachother.

Josh said...

What conclusions am I supposed to draw when you keep claiming the following:

1) They all deserved to die, because they were despicable.

2) They participated in child sacrifice, burning their children (without any scriptural support what so ever).

3) You keep mentioning prostitution, but it was a prostitute and he family that was the sole survivor.

Please keep in mind that the jews saw no problem with child sacrifice when it was demanded by god. Sure, abraham lucked out, but that other guy in Judges wasn't nearly as lucky. He had to sacrifice his own daughter to your god.

You state over and over again that:

"These people were despicably evil and the women and children took part in what the men did and so forth"

And yet you have not cited a single verse from Joshua to support this claim. That's because no such verse is available. You making stuff up in order to justify your position. That is why I called you a theistard.

In this latest post you have started even making up reasons that could possibly justify the wholesale slaughter of children.

Are you actually reading what you're writing? What is your point? You seemingly contradict yourself repeatedly.

Either you are crazy or your are missing my point. My point is that the story of jericho does not portray that actions of a morally superior people, but the actions of barbarians. You continue to defend these people by tarnishing the people they slaughtered without any historical / biblical support.

What am I supposed to think?

Sorry about the f-word. I don't believe that some words are evil, and it appears that you do. Words are words, meant for communication, and I think I communicated my point rather well.

Take a minute. Re-read what you've written. Have I incorrectly interpreted you? You claim that you would not support genocide, and yet you've been defending that very concept, because the people who were slaughtered were 'evil.'

So is your actualy stance 'I don't support genocide unless it's commanded by god, and the people that are slaughtered are evil?'

This is what I mean when I say you're not making any sense.

Created Rationalist said...

Forgive me for sounding contradictory

First of all I am making a rather educated guess why God had Jericho destroyed, astoreth and baal were widely worshiped dieties in Canaan. Everyone in Canaan worshiped them. It was rare that a city state didn't worship them. There is no reason to assume it was not the same in Jericho.

Rahab was rescued because she repented. If the others in the city had repented they would have been saved as well.

This is what I said;
"These people were despicably evil and the women and children took part in what the men did and so forth. It wasn't as if God was ordering the slaughtering of innocent people; They were not innocent. This part of the bible is not to be taken out of context anymore then Christ commanding the disciples to eat his body and drink his blood, you will only end up with a garbled interpretation of a particular passage that won't make any sense."

I understand how that could have been interpreted to mean something it didn't.
--I was not saying innocent children who didn't understand it and were just doing it because their parents told them to are evil and deserve to die.
--I was not saying that innocent people should be killed.

I am saying that those who took part in it and knew what they were doing and knew it was wrong and did it anyway are evil.

Also God does not approve of human sacrifice (Deuteronomy 12:31).

The thing about Abraham and Isaac, God was testing his faith to see if he would give up his own son, he never intended for him to sacrifice his Isaac, this is a mute point, it doesn't have an impact at all since the sacrifice never happened.

And finally you seem to think the God of the old testament is far worse then he actually is, if Yahweh were that bad, then why didn't he just destroy Egypt for the fun of it? Why didn't he destroy the Israelites the moment they started complaining? Why didn't he kill Moses for defying him when Moses begged for the people's lives after he cought them worshiping that colden calf on Sinai? Why did he give Israel a second chance? Why did it take almost a thousand years for his patience to wear thin with the Israelites? Why didn't he destroy the generation after Joshua because they turned against him? Why did he let Abraham plead his case for Sodom and Gamorrah before he destoryed it? Why did he keep on rescuing Israel every time they were overtaken by their enemies? Why didn't he strik King Soloman dead as soon as he did something God didn't want him to do? Why did he spare Rahab, why not just kill her too? Why did he let the people continually complain in the desert? Why did he spare Abraham after Abraham disobeyed him several times and even let him have descendants? Why didn't he kill Esau? Why did God so many times acccept people's apologies and let them make their case against him?

Now to what I shall settle last;

"So is your actualy stance 'I don't support genocide unless it's commanded by god, and the people that are slaughtered are evil?'"

Its a little more complicated then that...

And about the F-word, I don't think its evil I just vulgar and doesn't need to be used, Christ commanded us not to use vulgar speech, and yes you did make your point well.

When I said that God might have been performing a mercy killing I was offering alternative answers, I am not saying I think it is a good answer.

I heard of an archeological find that in Jericho a three year old human skull was found that had been burned, I will have to check it though.

Josh said...

It's actually pretty simple: Don't kill people, especially on a massive scale.

You claim your god does not approve of child sacrifice, but what about Jephthah? Judges 11.

We could continue to talk for days on this subject, but I'm not going to do that. Once more I jump into the meta:

When I read the bible, I don't see the works of a people in contact and being guided by the almighty, even (especially) in their 'triumphs.' I see barbarians doing what barbarians do best.

When Jesus comes around a few centuries later and 'changes everything' the world is pretty much the same. What civilization we do have hasn't come from your god, but from the pagans.

Imagine how different things would have been if instead of the pagans, the supposedly morally superior god of the jews had given us a real rule of law that isn't to be violated, even under his orders? Or Democracy? Or Education? Or any number of other things that made civilization possible?

We don't see any of that, and that makes the claims of the bible suspect. We have things we know to be good, and yet the biblical god doesn't care for them at all. He behaves exactly like we would expect a barbarians to act.

You have done nothing to argument against this claim beyond 'well, that's how everyone did things back then.' If god was really a loving father, he could easily have taught us these things. He could have shown us a better ways. Instead he led his 'chosen people' in to war, exile, and worse.

These are not the actions of someone deserving of worship. This is not evidence of his existence. This is not evidence of superior morality. This is nothing - the vacuous drabbles of a people who didn't know any better, but should have, given their claims.

Josh said...

If God really created us, what kind of people will he favor in the afterlife? Those who go to great lengths to justify attrocities committed by those claiming to speak in his name? Or those who use their 'god-given' intellect, compassion, morals, and ethics to say 'no, I will not worship this perversion?'

That's what it really comes down to. When viewed dispassionately,
we know the bible doesn't represent what we know is right. Theologians go to great lengths to try to make sense of it, while others, like myself, recognize how futile this is. It simply isn't right, and instead of going through the mental gymnastics of trying to make it so, we refuse to pervert the meanings of words like 'justice,' 'love,' 'good,' and 'evil.'

And so I wonder, if god exists, which group will he favor? Those who follow what they know is right, or those who follow what seems to be wrong, but go to great lengths to try to justify it?

Created Rationalist said...

Sorry Josgh for taking so long to respond, to your first post.

"You claim your god does not approve of child sacrifice, but what about Jephthah? Judges 11."

That story is a little more complex, you may remember that he promised to sacrifice the first thing which appeared at his door to God. The moral of this story is don't make foolish promises. Also his daughter did it willingly and he killed her first, what was so evil about what the canaanites did was they burned their children alive. I am definitely not saying human sacrifice is ok, or that it should be practiced, I am simply saying its not as bad, its like burning dead bodies for burial.

"We could continue to talk for days on this subject, but I'm not going to do that. Once more I jump into the meta:"

Well that is what it seems isn't it

"When I read the bible, I don't see the works of a people in contact and being guided by the almighty, even (especially) in their 'triumphs.' I see barbarians doing what barbarians do best."

I will cover in a moment

"When Jesus comes around a few centuries later and 'changes everything' the world is pretty much the same. What civilization we do have hasn't come from your god, but from the pagans."

I'm n ot sure how to respond to this, being that most of our legal and moral theories were born out of or refined by Christian moralists such a St. Augustine and St. Francis, also William Wilberforce one of the champions of the abolution of slavery was a Dedicated Christian. So I don't see where you are getting this. True much of our philosophy and moral theory we owe to the ancient Greeks but much of it was refined and made modern by Christians. Not to mention all of the early scientists from Copernicus to James Clerk Maxwell were Christians. This really doesn't mean its true but if yu want to argue that way I have a much better leg to stand on then you do (Note; I do not mean everything originated from Christian thinkers, simply that much f our civilization is the result of Christianity).

"Imagine how different things would have been if instead of the pagans, the supposedly morally superior god of the jews had given us a real rule of law that isn't to be violated, even under his orders?"

You fail to take into account that he was trusting fallible human beings. They will disobey and they will break his law. We still have free will you know.

"Or Democracy? Or Education? Or any number of other things that made civilization possible?"

For one thing at times the Jews have been the most literate people on the planet. And again at first israel was not a monarchy it was much closer to a quasi-democratic government ruled directly by God. People were allowed to have opinions and the lot. It wasn't a democracy but it wasn't an absolute monarchy either.

"We don't see any of that, and that makes the claims of the bible suspect. We have things we know to be good, and yet the biblical god doesn't care for them at all. He behaves exactly like we would expect a barbarians to act."

Please name the "good" things God does not care for

"You have done nothing to argument against this claim beyond 'well, that's how everyone did things back then.' If god was really a loving father, he could easily have taught us these things. He could have shown us a better ways. Instead he led his 'chosen people' in to war, exile, and worse."

God could hgave done that but in the Old Testament God was not trying to establish science, he was trying to establish a kingdom by which all the world would be spiritually transformed. He was trying to get the Jews to rely on him rather then science and technology, if he had given them that, it would have been counterproductive to the purpose the Jews had on earth. God had already established people on the earth to advance science and medicine such as the Greeks, Egyptians, Asian Indians, and Chinese. The Jews were meant for the spiritual and moral advancement of mankind. Also during the conquesto f Israel God was intervening in a war. And during a war the side you are on may seem more monstrous then it actually is.

Finally God did teach the people better things and they ignored it and God had promised punishment for breaking his law. And they broke it, so God kept his promise and disciplined them.

Your other question depends on whether this is true and whether you consider this going through great mental gymnastic to reconcile it.

Created Rationalist said...

Arrgh! Sorry, I made it look like Israel in the days of the judges was a democracy. It was not, I should have pointed out this rather important fact. At that time God was ruling over them and they needed no other opinion. A democracy is necessary because no one is good enough to weild absolute power os it is better that everyone rules.

In Ancient Israel the perfect king was in charge so there was no reason for democracy.

I am not anti-democratic or a theocrat. Today a theocracy won't work because there is no way to prove whether or not they are actually appointed by God. Today a democracy is the best form of government being that no one has absolute power keeping corruption to a minimum.

Josh said...

For some reason, I was thinking you were a freshman in college, not a freshman in high school. That makes big difference in my head, as I would have not engaged in this little debate in the first place, or if I had, I would not have used the tactics that I have.

That being said, I really am going to stop posting. My final words: use the same questioning attitude that led you to believe evolution towards *everything* else as well. Rid yourself of as many preconceived notions as possible, and then dispassionately view the evidence. You may come up with radically different conclusions than I, but you're still going to turn out just fine.