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 Post Post subject: Re: Atheist Q/A (because everyone else has one)
Posted: Thu Sep 13, 2012 4:08 pm 
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jasonjannajerryjohn wrote:

I do agree that it is hard to believe in the God of the Bible given all the morally wrong things he does and allows to happen. But no, just because it's hard to believe something doesn't mean it doesn't exist. God could exist and be evil just as much as he could exist and be good. That's not the reason i reject the assertion nor do I think is it a good reason to reject the belief in God.


I wasn't going to say anything in here, but this intrigued me. What does the God of the Bible do that is morally wrong?

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 Post Post subject: Re: Atheist Q/A (because everyone else has one)
Posted: Fri Sep 14, 2012 12:28 pm 
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Guess? Which things do you think, given your reading of the Bible, may be descriptions of morally wrong actions ascribed to a deity?

(also, second question, have you *read* the whole Bible?)


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 Post Post subject: Re: Atheist Q/A (because everyone else has one)
Posted: Fri Sep 14, 2012 3:30 pm 
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Is it wrong, when you've made a law, and entire nations habitually and continuously and grossly break that law, for you to wipe those nations out? God never breaks His own law, because that would be against His nature. He creates morality, so how could He possibly be immoral?


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 Post Post subject: Re: Atheist Q/A (because everyone else has one)
Posted: Fri Sep 14, 2012 3:59 pm 
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jasonjannajerryjohn wrote:
Astronomer wrote:
I'm unsure how that answered my question. That seems directed toward creationism being taught in the classroom. I'm asking about Intelligent Design. Many scientists find that it is nearly impossible for life to spring from nothing, so obviously some sort of intelligent design was necessary. What is your opinion of something/someone starting life's evolution?


Well as Rand pointed out, ID is, historically and logically, creationism repackaged but trying to take all the religious words out of it. It was an attempt to make it seem less religious in nature, even though it really still is religious. As for origins of life, I'm not exactly qualified to talk about that. How life can come from non-life. But even if we don't know how it works, that's no reason to automatically conclude that something or someone started the process. Not knowing right now simply means we don't know right now. There's no reason to jump in and say something started that process any more than there is to say that I don't know how computers work therefore magic.


I agree that to say "I don't know how computers work therefore magic must exist." but I also wouldn't say it makes little sense to say "I don't know how computers work, therefore they must have appeared out of nothing."

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 Post Post subject: Re: Atheist Q/A (because everyone else has one)
Posted: Fri Sep 14, 2012 7:42 pm 
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Firstly, Happy Birthday, Christian! (sorry I missed yours, Ayn Rand)

Guess Who, I will answer your second question first. Yes, I have read the entire Bible, exempting Psalms 123-145, which I doubt pertain to the subject at hand.

I second what Christian said. God created morality, we have no basis to accuse Him of breaking it, considering that we cannot hold to His standard. I would also like to point out a few instances in the Bible which seem to work against the idea that God could be morally wrong.

The first one to come to mind was the story of Rahab, the prostitute. According to God's standard, she had sinned, and fallen completely short of His perfection. She was living a life that was unbearable to Him. When the two spies sent by Moses came to the city, she hid them from their pursers, and helped them to escape. The spies, according to God's will, promised to spare her, and everyone in her household. Not only was she and those in her house spared, but she became an ancestor of King David, of whom Jesus Christ was descended. Not only did God forgive her exempting her from destruction, He made her part of the bloodline for His Son.

The next example I thought of was that of Noah, and his family. We are told that humanity had become such a monstrosity that God wished He had never created us. He wiped out all of the human race, saving only Noah and his family, because they were the only ones attempting to live by His standard.

Then there is Lot, and his wife and daughters. God sent angels to lead them from destruction. After they were instructed not to look back, Lot's wife did, and was turned to a pillar of salt. I will come back to this momentarily.

My point here is that man sinned, defiled God's name, and turned against every part of God's standard. We deserved, and still deserve, death. We violated the rules for life, and therefore do not deserve to partake in it. God cannot live with sin, it is the opposite, or absence of His perfect being. So, after generations of horrible abominations, God wiped out those who mocked and hated everything He stood for. We see this many times throughout history. However, He exempted, and blessed, those who held true to the standard. They sure were not perfect, but they gave God the very best that they had, and He not only recognized that, but exempted them from the destruction of those around them.

Also, like Christian pointed out, God created morality. He is our standard to follow, and anyone not in accordance with that is immoral. We are the ones who are immoral. He could not possibly be.

One more thing to linger on, not as a stooping blow, but as a legitimate question. What morality does natural selection have to offer?

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 Post Post subject: Re: Atheist Q/A (because everyone else has one)
Posted: Sat Sep 15, 2012 6:37 am 
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T.S. (myself) wrote:
One more thing to linger on, not as a stooping blow, but as a legitimate question. What morality does natural selection have to offer?

Oh, how did I not think to point that out? Yes, QuadJ, how can you claim that God committing immoral actions, when you have no moral standard to stand on, other than your own intuition, and possibly the general consensus of some section of society?


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 Post Post subject: Re: Atheist Q/A (because everyone else has one)
Posted: Sat Sep 15, 2012 10:39 am 
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Astronomer wrote:
I agree that to say "I don't know how computers work therefore magic must exist." but I also wouldn't say it makes little sense to say "I don't know how computers work, therefore they must have appeared out of nothing."


Evolution doesn't even come close to saying "they must have appeared out of nothing." Actually "God must have appeared out of nothing," is the best answer I get from "Where did God come from?" It's ironic that those who do believe God just shows up out of nowhere accuse me of thinking evolution works like that. Computers are also not products of evolution. They are created by human beings. So you couldn't see one naturally come about.

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T.S. (myself) wrote:
One more thing to linger on, not as a stooping blow, but as a legitimate question. What morality does natural selection have to offer?

Oh, how did I not think to point that out? Yes, QuadJ, how can you claim that God committing immoral actions, when you have no moral standard to stand on, other than your own intuition, and possibly the general consensus of some section of society?


Evolution has little to say on morality. Evolution is simply a process that happens. It is not a philosophy of how the world should work. It simply is. Like gravity. Gravity isn't a philosophy any more than evolution is. And I'll quote myself on morality:

jasonjannajerryjohn wrote:
Astronomer wrote:
What is your opinion of murderers? If we define morality for ourselves, then are murderers not merely saying that morality is whatever they wish? Since you define only your own morality, would it be wrong to impose such a morality on others?


I was also wondering when this one would show up, thank you for pointing it out. For this one we have to make a very important distinction between morality and law. I would also like to point out that thus far I haven't said anything to indicate that I wouldn't believe in an absolute morality. Though it is true that I don't, I don't think there is some morality floating around out there that we all have to conform to.

On the one hand, morality is a set of ideas one how we think people should and should not behave. These rules are slightly different for every society, but many rules (no murdering and no incest) are nearly universal for societies throughout history. Morality is a product of our evolution. We evolved in groups, and our morality focuses on groups. We think it's important to have friendships and be polite and courteous. Not murdering or raping someone (at least in your group) is also relatively important. These are things that we feel strongly on because of that evolutionary instinct to protect our own group. Whenever we form our own morality on other things, however, we have to decide what we think is important as the basis for it. For most moralities is is based on treating our fellow human beings better. Some moralities are based on protecting this planet we live on from harm.

When it comes to law, however, that is a different story. Countries generally feel the need to protect their citizens from harm, both from harm from fellow citizens and harm from foreigners. Doing so is fairly essential to keeping order and maintaining a government at all and preventing widespread anarchy. Thus laws are maintained that further those goals: preventing harm of citizens and maintaining order. Most laws are based on these goals.

As for whether it is right or wrong to do so, I would say yes, as per my own morality. I believe it is important to protect and support our fellow human being because we're all in the same boat here. We all live on this planet and we all want to make a better life for ourselves and posterity. I do believe that laws should be in place. And it's kind of selfish as well, but I want laws kept in place to protect me from having anything bad happen to me.


And a follow up:

jasonjannajerryjohn wrote:
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Quote:
For most moralities is is based on treating our fellow human beings better. Some moralities are based on protecting this planet we live on from harm.

You say this is an evolutionary trait but wouldn't it make more sense for humans to evolve to say that while everyone within your group/tribe is to be treated with respect anyone outside is fair game? Globalism and Nationalism are fairly recent developments and not evolutionary, therefore why treat others better or protect our planet? I mean obviously murder and rape is extreme but why not go around stealing from others if we can get away with it? Evolution is about traits that help the individual survive right? So why would we evolve general niceties?


Yes, you're absolutely correct. I thought I had made that distinction clear with a parenthesis, but I must be mistaken. We have evolved to protect our own groups/tribes for sure and don't particularly feel as much of that protection towards people in other groups. This is why you have nationalism and patriotism. This is why you have such bi-partisan politics in the US- well the democrats say this is what we should vote for (take your pick- abortion, gay marriage, global warming, and numerous others) so we have to vote against it. This is why you have religious lines- these people believe the wrong thing so are going to hell. And numerous other hard and soft divisions.

You are correct, globalism is a fairly recent trend, I'd say within the last two-three hundred years. We are gradually becoming more inclined towards protecting everyone because we're becoming more and more dependent on everyone in the world. The world really is becoming a smaller place. We can talk to people across the world on video screens and with IM instantly. We depend on everyone in the world for products as well. We have seen morality evolving, undergoing this gradual shift from "barbarians on the outside" to "white man's burden" to "globalization" and what we have today. We've started to realize that people on the outside of our groups are people too, just like us.

Environmentalism is also a recent evolution in morality because the earth has been threatened like never before within the last two hundred years. The industrial revolution and the rise of the corporation has made the pollution go up with harmful effects to the environment. Global warming has become a recent issue thinks to our industrial efforts. Thus morality has changed and evolved to fit the time.

Morality is not the same for ever, it evolves just like everything else as humans evolve. This is one mistake I see ID advocates who think evolution is a lie make many times over. I made it myself a couple times. They think that evolution was just something that happened and than didn't happen anymore. But the fact is that evolution is something that happens all the time. It's a gradual process. We can observe it happen. Humans have made it happen throughout history.

You also have to realize that humans have undergone massive evolution just from the start of the period of recorded history. We can't see a lot of it (though we can look at the constantly breaking world records in sports) but we see the products of it. We've changed significantly since we first started writing stuff down along with our culture and morality. Evolution is also different now because we keep people alive who wouldn't survive and reproduce on their own. It's no longer about survival for the most part.

Stealing hurts those in the community and it doesn't really help you survive any better because you pee off the person you stole from and all his friends. You could end up creating new groups that way.

Yes, evolution is about traits that not only help you to survive, but also to reproduce. Those are the two most basic instincts: survival and sex. We evolve "general niceties," as you put it, because it helps us better get along in groups. We are better able to survive amongst the group and, more importantly, find a potential mate.


As for can we judge God by our own moral standards? I think so. If God created those moral standards in the first place, he should be held to them. Maybe to God, genocide is a morally good thing. Ok. But that doesn't mean we should think that genocide is morally right. If God thinks that (and he existed, a really big if), he should be opposed not worshiped. Would any of us think it would be a good idea to worship anyone who thought genocide was morally right? Hitler? Stalin?

God does many horrible horrible things in the Bible, not least of which is multiple genocides. You really think an entire group of people are horribly horribly evil that God has to destroy all of them? You really think that would happen in real life? That's not the way the real world works, I'm sorry to tell you. If you do think that's the way the world works, you've clearly never been out into the real world and talked to people. You've been watching to many movies.

As for morally wrong things God does, here's just a couple. There are many so I'm not going to list them all, just some obvious ones. Of course there's the obvious mass genocides of men, women, children, and even animals, but there's more:

From the very beginning God created the world. He is all powerful and all knowing so he always knows what is going to happen and has power enough to prevent it. Thinking within the bounds of traditional Christian thought: if God didn't create evil, he knew it was going to exist. He knew Satan would create it. Therefore he is indirectly responsible for all the bad things that happen because he created Satan and knew that Satan was going to create evil. At the very least he did nothing while evil ran rampant. And non-interference is generally considered to be morally wrong. If you see someone hungry and dying on the street and do nothing, it's generally considered morally wrong. It is also a crime as far as medicine goes. If you have a cure for cancer, for example, and don't give that cure to someone who has cancer, you can be arrested. So in the beginning God was responsible for, if not outright creating evil, standing back and doing nothing as it was created.

And of course God created the tree of the knowledge of good and evil which is what caused a lot of the downfall mess in the first place. If he really wanted creation to remain perfect, he never would have put it there in the first place. Especially since he knew that Adam and Eve would eat from it from the beginning. And causing the entire world to be filled with horrible horrible things just because of one little disobedience? That's what we call disproportionate retribution. It would be like executing someone for stealing a loaf of bread.

There's the flood. Killing off probably hundreds of millions of people, probably more depending on how many people you think were alive in the story, is, again, genocide. Do I even need to point out what's wrong with this story? Again, the real world doesn't work like it's described in the book. That sort of absolutely evil thing only ever happens in stories. It certainly shouldn't be a story commonly told to children. It always disturbed me as a kid both for all the people that were killed and all the other animals that were also killed that weren't on the ark.

Than there's the Egyptian plagues. In that story, God "hardens Pharaoh's heart" so even if Pharaoh was receptive to what Moses was saying, he wouldn't be able to because God wanted to make an example out of him and all of Egypt. Apparently. We don't know, in the context of the story, what Pharaoh really would have wanted because God kept him from saying what he really felt. And of course this leads to God killing all the firstborn presumably to make an example out of Pharaoh and all of Egypt. He kills people who's only crime is being Egyptian. Thus God is rather racist.

There's also the traditional doctrine of hell, which of course I don't really need to say anything about since it's been lambasted so much already. But I will go ahead and say that eternal torture is a bit of a disproportionate retribution don't you think? Don't you think that after awhile it wouldn't make sense for God to allow people to continue to be tortured? And eternally tortured for what? There's about 2.3 Billion Christians in this world. But say about half of those are really Christians since I know how conservatives like to say that "those who claim to be Christian aren't really Christians!" Ok. So we'll say that only half of those who claim to be Christians are really Christians. Those are the only ones who will go to heaven. That's about 1.15 Billion people in the world right now. Even without taking into account the trillions of people who have already lived, that's about 5.85 billion people who will be tortured forever after death. Most of those people are simply going to be tortured forever after death because they didn't say a little prayer of acceptance or feel or say or do the right thing to get into heaven. You really think that's morally acceptable?

There is, of course, so much more, but I'll leave it there. Basically the point is that if the Bible was written by a completely morally right God or even just inspired by God, it wouldn't make any sense for this kind of stuff to be there as actions of a perfect God. You would expect him to be the baron of some sort of morality, not the horrible mass murdering psychopath that he is in these stories. If God really exists and thinks that genocide is a good thing we should oppose him, not join his side.

Of course none of this is a good reason to not believe that God exists. If God existed and was the way these stories make him out to be than we should oppose him, of course. Unless you're only trying to save yourself from going to hell. Opposing a God with absolute power is a bit of a bad idea when you think about it. Reasons to not believe God exist are otherwise in this thread and I won't go into them here again.

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 Post Post subject: Re: Atheist Q/A (because everyone else has one)
Posted: Sat Sep 15, 2012 11:50 am 
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jasonjannajerryjohn wrote:
Astronomer wrote:
I agree that to say "I don't know how computers work therefore magic must exist." but I also wouldn't say it makes little sense to say "I don't know how computers work, therefore they must have appeared out of nothing."


Evolution doesn't even come close to saying "they must have appeared out of nothing." Actually "God must have appeared out of nothing," is the best answer I get from "Where did God come from?" It's ironic that those who do believe God just shows up out of nowhere accuse me of thinking evolution works like that. Computers are also not products of evolution. They are created by human beings. So you couldn't see one naturally come about.



So, you agree the something had to have either:
a.) appeared out of nowhere
or
b.) been there for all eternity?

Whether it's matter that had always been there, or God, you agree that something had to have been there/come from nothing...

Am I correct in assuming that?

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 Post Post subject: Re: Atheist Q/A (because everyone else has one)
Posted: Sat Sep 15, 2012 3:47 pm 
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jasonjannajerryjohn wrote:
As for can we judge God by our own moral standards? I think so. If God created those moral standards in the first place, he should be held to them. Maybe to God, genocide is a morally good thing. Ok. But that doesn't mean we should think that genocide is morally right. If God thinks that (and he existed, a really big if), he should be opposed not worshiped. Would any of us think it would be a good idea to worship anyone who thought genocide was morally right? Hitler? Stalin?

God does many horrible horrible things in the Bible, not least of which is multiple genocides. You really think an entire group of people are horribly horribly evil that God has to destroy all of them? You really think that would happen in real life? That's not the way the real world works, I'm sorry to tell you. If you do think that's the way the world works, you've clearly never been out into the real world and talked to people. You've been watching to many movies.

Yes, I do really think that. God hates sin. That's in His nature. He cannot stand it. That's just the way He is. We all deserve to be wiped out like that. It is only because of His mercy that we are still here. Those mass genocides were partially a warning to the children of Israel and to other nations of what could happen to them if they disobeyed Him.
jasonjannajerryjohn wrote:
From the very beginning God created the world. He is all powerful and all knowing so he always knows what is going to happen and has power enough to prevent it. Thinking within the bounds of traditional Christian thought: if God didn't create evil, he knew it was going to exist. He knew Satan would create it. Therefore he is indirectly responsible for all the bad things that happen because he created Satan and knew that Satan was going to create evil. At the very least he did nothing while evil ran rampant. And non-interference is generally considered to be morally wrong. If you see someone hungry and dying on the street and do nothing, it's generally considered morally wrong. It is also a crime as far as medicine goes. If you have a cure for cancer, for example, and don't give that cure to someone who has cancer, you can be arrested. So in the beginning God was responsible for, if not outright creating evil, standing back and doing nothing as it was created.

Nobody created evil. Evil is not an entity. It is the absence of good. God created mutable perfect beings. Satan was a perfect being, but his flawless state was changeable. He chose to oppose God and become prideful and sin. Then, he proceeded to deceive Adam and Eve and they, in their mutable perfect state, also chose to sin. God allowed this to happen in order that He might be a Savior. If no one ever sinned, there would be no one for Him to saved. God is most glorified in the salvation of sinners. In order to save sinners, there have to be sinners in need of saving. Thus, He allowed the Fall, in order that He might accomplish His greater purpose of saving those whom He chooses to save.

jasonjannajerryjohn wrote:
And of course God created the tree of the knowledge of good and evil which is what caused a lot of the downfall mess in the first place. If he really wanted creation to remain perfect, he never would have put it there in the first place. Especially since he knew that Adam and Eve would eat from it from the beginning. And causing the entire world to be filled with horrible horrible things just because of one little disobedience? That's what we call disproportionate retribution. It would be like executing someone for stealing a loaf of bread.

God created the tree of the knowledge of good and evil that He might give His creation a chance to obey or disobey Him. When Adam and Eve sinned, they spat in the face of the One Who had given them life and all good things. He only asked one thing of them--that they obey this one command, and they disobeyed! They offended God's holy character, which cannot stand the presence of sin. Therefore, He threw them out of the garden and made life hard for them. He could have killed them on the spot. In fact, He said He was going to kill them on the spot; but in His mercy, He made their punishment living in a cursed world filled with sin and death and destruction and suffering. It wasn't disproportionate retribution. It was mercy.

jasonjannajerryjohn wrote:
There's the flood. Killing off probably hundreds of millions of people, probably more depending on how many people you think were alive in the story, is, again, genocide. Do I even need to point out what's wrong with this story? Again, the real world doesn't work like it's described in the book. That sort of absolutely evil thing only ever happens in stories. It certainly shouldn't be a story commonly told to children. It always disturbed me as a kid both for all the people that were killed and all the other animals that were also killed that weren't on the ark.

Again, all of those people deserved the punishment they got--just as we do. In fact, they were particularly sinful, so much so that God regretted ever creating them. So it was perfectly just for Him to deal out the punishment that has been prescribed for sin from the very beginning: death. As for the animals, I'm not entirely sure why God chose to destroy them as well. Obviously, it was a by-product of destroying the entire world. And He didn't totally cut off the animal race, since He did allow for all of the different kinds to have representatives on the earth for the future multiplication of their kinds on the renewed earth.

jasonjannajerryjohn wrote:
Than there's the Egyptian plagues. In that story, God "hardens Pharaoh's heart" so even if Pharaoh was receptive to what Moses was saying, he wouldn't be able to because God wanted to make an example out of him and all of Egypt. Apparently. We don't know, in the context of the story, what Pharaoh really would have wanted because God kept him from saying what he really felt. And of course this leads to God killing all the firstborn presumably to make an example out of Pharaoh and all of Egypt. He kills people who's only crime is being Egyptian. Thus God is rather racist.

Pharoah could not be receptive to Moses' commands without God's grace. It is a fundamental consequence of the Fall that no human is innately able to observe the commandments of God. If Pharaoh had followed God's orders, it would only have been because God allowed him to. As a result of the Fall, we are all slaves to sin and totally captive to its will, so we cannot obey God's will, unless He changes our hearts.

The Egyptians' only crime was not being Egyptian. They, like the rest of the human race, committed sins against God all day every day, with their idolatry, their blasphemy, their sexual immorality, their deceit, their discontentment, and any other sins they committed. They were not innocent. Therefore, God remained just in afflicting them.

jasonjannajerryjohn wrote:
There's also the traditional doctrine of hell, which of course I don't really need to say anything about since it's been lambasted so much already. But I will go ahead and say that eternal torture is a bit of a disproportionate retribution don't you think? Don't you think that after awhile it wouldn't make sense for God to allow people to continue to be tortured? And eternally tortured for what? There's about 2.3 Billion Christians in this world. But say about half of those are really Christians since I know how conservatives like to say that "those who claim to be Christian aren't really Christians!" Ok. So we'll say that only half of those who claim to be Christians are really Christians. Those are the only ones who will go to heaven. That's about 1.15 Billion people in the world right now. Even without taking into account the trillions of people who have already lived, that's about 5.85 billion people who will be tortured forever after death. Most of those people are simply going to be tortured forever after death because they didn't say a little prayer of acceptance or feel or say or do the right thing to get into heaven. You really think that's morally acceptable?

First of all, yes, it's morally acceptable because God does it. ;) But your understanding of why people go to Hell is flawed. People don't go to Hell because they didn't trust in Christ or repent of their sins. They go to Hell because they sinned. Hell is not for Christ-rejectors. It is for sinners. All the billions of people who go to Hell and will go to Hell in the future deserve it, as do all of us who go to Heaven. We don't go to Heaven because we're better people. We go to Heaven because although we're just as bad as everyone else, God decided to have mercy on us and forgive us of all our sins, even though we were totally undeserving.

jasonjannajerryjohn wrote:
There is, of course, so much more, but I'll leave it there. Basically the point is that if the Bible was written by a completely morally right God or even just inspired by God, it wouldn't make any sense for this kind of stuff to be there as actions of a perfect God. You would expect him to be the baron of some sort of morality, not the horrible mass murdering psychopath that he is in these stories. If God really exists and thinks that genocide is a good thing we should oppose him, not join his side.

God doesn't think genocide is a good thing. He didn't commit genocide. He used His people to deal out His justice against sin. Genocide is killing for an unjust reason. He never kills for an unjust reason. He is totally blameless in all of His actions, even when He chooses to withold his mercy and deal out His wrath on sinners who are totally deserving of it. He is never obligated to display His mercy--but He is always obligated to display His justice.


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 Post Post subject: Re: Atheist Q/A (because everyone else has one)
Posted: Sat Sep 15, 2012 6:33 pm 
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Christian A. wrote:
Yes, I do really think that. God hates sin. That's in His nature. He cannot stand it. That's just the way He is. We all deserve to be wiped out like that. It is only because of His mercy that we are still here. Those mass genocides were partially a warning to the children of Israel and to other nations of what could happen to them if they disobeyed Him.


So genocide is ok if God says it's ok. In fact, you should assist in those genocides if God says so.

Christian A. wrote:
Nobody created evil. Evil is not an entity. It is the absence of good. God created mutable perfect beings. Satan was a perfect being, but his flawless state was changeable. He chose to oppose God and become prideful and sin. Then, he proceeded to deceive Adam and Eve and they, in their mutable perfect state, also chose to sin. God allowed this to happen in order that He might be a Savior. If no one ever sinned, there would be no one for Him to saved. God is most glorified in the salvation of sinners. In order to save sinners, there have to be sinners in need of saving. Thus, He allowed the Fall, in order that He might accomplish His greater purpose of saving those whom He chooses to save.


So God is an ego-maniac who puts glory to himself above everything else.

Christian A. wrote:
God created the tree of the knowledge of good and evil that He might give His creation a chance to obey or disobey Him. When Adam and Eve sinned, they spat in the face of the One Who had given them life and all good things. He only asked one thing of them--that they obey this one command, and they disobeyed! They offended God's holy character, which cannot stand the presence of sin. Therefore, He threw them out of the garden and made life hard for them. He could have killed them on the spot. In fact, He said He was going to kill them on the spot; but in His mercy, He made their punishment living in a cursed world filled with sin and death and destruction and suffering. It wasn't disproportionate retribution. It was mercy.


I don't see how you can not see this as disproportionate retribution. It's a brilliant analogy for religion's efforts to get people to not question things. The tree is the tree of "knowledge of good and evil." Religion, religious beliefs, and religious leaders don't want you to question. It's a great analogy. If I didn't know better, I'd say it was written as a cautionary tale against religion.

Christian A. wrote:
Again, all of those people deserved the punishment they got--just as we do. In fact, they were particularly sinful, so much so that God regretted ever creating them. So it was perfectly just for Him to deal out the punishment that has been prescribed for sin from the very beginning: death. As for the animals, I'm not entirely sure why God chose to destroy them as well. Obviously, it was a by-product of destroying the entire world. And He didn't totally cut off the animal race, since He did allow for all of the different kinds to have representatives on the earth for the future multiplication of their kinds on the renewed earth.


Again, genocide is ok if God thinks people are horrible.

Christian A. wrote:
Pharoah could not be receptive to Moses' commands without God's grace. It is a fundamental consequence of the Fall that no human is innately able to observe the commandments of God. If Pharaoh had followed God's orders, it would only have been because God allowed him to. As a result of the Fall, we are all slaves to sin and totally captive to its will, so we cannot obey God's will, unless He changes our hearts.


Thus the Egyptians had no hand in the matter. It was all on God for wiping out their first born and the other nasty, but less serious, plagues.

Christian A. wrote:
The Egyptians' only crime was not being Egyptian. They, like the rest of the human race, committed sins against God all day every day, with their idolatry, their blasphemy, their sexual immorality, their deceit, their discontentment, and any other sins they committed. They were not innocent. Therefore, God remained just in afflicting them.


Idolatry and blasphemy are relative. They were worshiping the gods they had worshiped for hundreds of years. What if someone accused you of worshiping the wrong God, one you've been worshiping for hundreds of years (presumably given your apologetics and likely conservative religious beliefs)? And than they killed you for doing so?

The Egyptian's who's only crime was being Egyptian would have been the ones who were barely old enough to say or do anything. Those who would be killed just because they happened to have been born Egyptian.


Christian A. wrote:
First of all, yes, it's morally acceptable because God does it. ;) But your understanding of why people go to Hell is flawed. People don't go to Hell because they didn't trust in Christ or repent of their sins. They go to Hell because they sinned. Hell is not for Christ-rejectors. It is for sinners. All the billions of people who go to Hell and will go to Hell in the future deserve it, as do all of us who go to Heaven. We don't go to Heaven because we're better people. We go to Heaven because although we're just as bad as everyone else, God decided to have mercy on us and forgive us of all our sins, even though we were totally undeserving.


Oh, I know the traditional doctrine. I believed it for years. I am speaking, of course, of the belief that you have to accept said mercy in a ritualistic fashion before you can be let into heaven. God doesn't just free you of that "sin" with Jesus's death. No. No. No. That would mean that you don't have to believe any particular religious beliefs and we can't have that. That's not the way religious beliefs work in society.

Christian A. wrote:
God doesn't think genocide is a good thing. He didn't commit genocide. He used His people to deal out His justice against sin. Genocide is killing for an unjust reason. He never kills for an unjust reason. He is totally blameless in all of His actions, even when He chooses to withold his mercy and deal out His wrath on sinners who are totally deserving of it. He is never obligated to display His mercy--but He is always obligated to display His justice.


Your arguments honestly sound like they come straight out of the standard brainwashing technique book. Convince the population that the leader can not possibly do anything wrong. And if the leader does something wrong, it's not really wrong, it's for some greater purpose. If people get killed by the leader, they must have deserved it. This was the Nazi belief in WW2 era Germany. Jews and many other minorities deserve to die because they are horrible horrible people. Same thing with numerous other genocides throughout history.

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a.) appeared out of nowhere
or
b.) been there for all eternity?

Whether it's matter that had always been there, or God, you agree that something had to have been there/come from nothing...

Am I correct in assuming that?


Yes. But I'm hardly an expert or someone that you could talk to about how it works. I was merely pointing out that it doesn't make any sense for those who believe in ID and creationism to tell those who don't that God is needed because the universe couldn't have just started on it's own when they don't apply that same rule to God. It's not consistent so doesn't work as an argument. If you want to say that God created the universe than you have to show where God came from.

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 Post Post subject: Re: Atheist Q/A (because everyone else has one)
Posted: Sun Sep 16, 2012 2:25 pm 
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I think your logic doesn't quite work there (on saying that God existing out of nothing is equal with the universe existing out of nothing). If (I use 'if' for your sake) God created the universe, then he is outside of the law of physics. He exists outside of all the laws of physics, therefore he does not have to conform to them. That is why he can perform miracles.
Of course, I could say the same of morality, but on that point God specifically says he is on one side. God is good by his own proclamation, and creates morality based off of himself. God never forces someone to do the right thing. He gives the option and, once they make their decision, lets them live with the consequences. With Adam and Eve, God created the tree so they would have a choice. He didn't want robots (which he would have if they had no choice: they would be merely slaves to his will, or robots). Once Adam and Eve made that choice, God allowed them to live with the consequences: sin. Yet, he didn't want them to stay in such a state! He enacted a plan to bring them a way out of sin: Jesus. (Of course, Jesus or even the law didn't come around for a while, but Noah did good in God's sight, so obviously the people of that time knew what they should be doing.)
Mentioning of Noah brings up to your other point: God couldn't be good and kill everyone on earth at that time (except Noah and his family). Yet, you have read your Bible, so you know that Noah took many years to make the ark. I think it is safe to assume (if it doesn't mention explicitly in the text, which I'm can't remember whether it does or doesn't) that Noah told the people all about what was coming. Since there were probably only a few people then compared to now, I think we can assume that everyone heard. If not directly, then through word of mouth. Also, Noah was building a giant boat, so people would have gathered to see the 'crazy' man.
For the Egyptians, there is not as much of a problem, for God didn't kill everyone, but merely a few. Still, that proposes a problem. Yet, it is easily overcome if we look at the text. For the first several plagues, who hardened his heart? The text says 'Pharaoh,'not God. God hardened his heart later, but only after Pharaoh had done it already. Also, with the great plagues, even Pharaoh's own magicians admitted God must have done this. Still, Pharaoh did not want to believe, so he hardened his heart. For the last plague, when God killed the children, there was a way out! If Pharaoh, or even a regular Egyptian, would have put the blood on their doorpost, the angel would not have killed them. I think such a thing as the Israelite people all putting blood on their doorpost would have gotten attention. If the Egyptian's would have believed, they surely had a chance to save their children.
I hope that made sense and helped to answer some of your questions.

jasonjannajerryjohn wrote:
Evolution doesn't even come close to saying "they must have appeared out of nothing." Actually "God must have appeared out of nothing," is the best answer I get from "Where did God come from?" It's ironic that those who do believe God just shows up out of nowhere accuse me of thinking evolution works like that. Computers are also not products of evolution. They are created by human beings. So you couldn't see one naturally come about.

Why bring Human Beings into the picture? Just because I don't know how computers could come about on their own doesn't mean I should assume that something created them.

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 Post Post subject: Re: Atheist Q/A (because everyone else has one)
Posted: Sun Sep 16, 2012 4:30 pm 
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jasonjannajerryjohn wrote:
God does many horrible horrible things in the Bible, not least of which is multiple genocides. You really think an entire group of people are horribly horribly evil that God has to destroy all of them? You really think that would happen in real life? That's not the way the real world works, I'm sorry to tell you. If you do think that's the way the world works, you've clearly never been out into the real world and talked to people. You've been watching to many movies.

As for morally wrong things God does, here's just a couple. There are many so I'm not going to list them all, just some obvious ones. Of course there's the obvious mass genocides of men, women, children, and even animals, but there's more:

From the very beginning God created the world. He is all powerful and all knowing so he always knows what is going to happen and has power enough to prevent it. Thinking within the bounds of traditional Christian thought: if God didn't create evil, he knew it was going to exist. He knew Satan would create it. Therefore he is indirectly responsible for all the bad things that happen because he created Satan and knew that Satan was going to create evil. At the very least he did nothing while evil ran rampant. And non-interference is generally considered to be morally wrong. If you see someone hungry and dying on the street and do nothing, it's generally considered morally wrong. It is also a crime as far as medicine goes. If you have a cure for cancer, for example, and don't give that cure to someone who has cancer, you can be arrested. So in the beginning God was responsible for, if not outright creating evil, standing back and doing nothing as it was created.


What exactly do you propose as prevention of evil? God could have a) created us without free will, making us robots, or b) eliminated every evil person before they were born. Evil prevention would be a little like telling a toddler "I have a feeling you will be bad today, so I will just keep you in your room until tomorrow". Also, like Christian replied, evil is not bad, it is the absence of good. Thus, evil was not created, it is a perversion of what was created. I would like to mention that God is by no means withholding a cure for us. In fact, He has provided the Cure.

jasonjannajerryjohn wrote:
And of course God created the tree of the knowledge of good and evil which is what caused a lot of the downfall mess in the first place. If he really wanted creation to remain perfect, he never would have put it there in the first place. Especially since he knew that Adam and Eve would eat from it from the beginning. And causing the entire world to be filled with horrible horrible things just because of one little disobedience? That's what we call disproportionate retribution. It would be like executing someone for stealing a loaf of bread.


Oh, He definitely wanted creation to remain perfect. However, He did not want us to be choice-less. And as C.S. Lewis speculated in his Space Trilogy series, God gets pleasure from our obedience, and perhaps He has given us some commands for the pure joy of our fulfilling His purpose.

As for the disproportionate retribution, God gave us one specific command. "Do not eat from the tree in the center of the garden." How hard would this have been to obey? God gave us perfection in paradise, with one rule. As an example, my family used to go through something similar when my sister was little. My dad would say something like "We have one hour before we leave to get ice cream. But, your room is a mess, and you need to clean it up before we go. As soon as you finish, then we can go. If you choose to stall and delay, then we will have to stay back so you can finish it." My sister would complain about how that was completely unfair, and how she shouldn't have to stay back with Mom if she didn't finish. My dad would reply with something along the lines of "Well, you won't need to stay back if you spend less time worrying about it, and more time cleaning up." My point here is that there would have been no need for the punishment if we had kept God's command. It wouldn't have taken that much effort. I might also have to disagree slightly about God instilling the curse. I don't believe he created evil things, I think He simply left us to a world with sin, the result of our decision. It is a horrible punishment, but very just. All God did was leave us to the consequence of our choice. He basically said "That was your choice. Fine. I still love you, and will get you out of this mess eventually, but until then, you have to deal with the results of the decision you made." I don't see how you could get any more just than this.

jasonjannajerryjohn wrote:
There's the flood. Killing off probably hundreds of millions of people, probably more depending on how many people you think were alive in the story, is, again, genocide. Do I even need to point out what's wrong with this story? Again, the real world doesn't work like it's described in the book. That sort of absolutely evil thing only ever happens in stories. It certainly shouldn't be a story commonly told to children. It always disturbed me as a kid both for all the people that were killed and all the other animals that were also killed that weren't on the ark.


Well, it should disturb us. It was never meant to be a lighthearted tale for us to enjoy. Books in the Bible never are. Rather, it was meant to document what happened, leaving us with the reminder of how God punishes evil and rewards good. I disagree with you referring to this as genocide. Look at it this way.

God gave us life, and a set of conditions to keep it.
We broke the conditions.
God may now take His life back.

Fortunately for us, God is a lot more merciful than He could be. He could have just killed Adam and Eve on the spot, but instead He left them to their choice, and offered them a path, albeit tough, to get back into His presence.

jasonjannajerryjohn wrote:
Than there's the Egyptian plagues. In that story, God "hardens Pharaoh's heart" so even if Pharaoh was receptive to what Moses was saying, he wouldn't be able to because God wanted to make an example out of him and all of Egypt. Apparently. We don't know, in the context of the story, what Pharaoh really would have wanted because God kept him from saying what he really felt. And of course this leads to God killing all the firstborn presumably to make an example out of Pharaoh and all of Egypt. He kills people who's only crime is being Egyptian. Thus God is rather racist.


You left out the part where the Egyptians enslave an entire nation, forcing them to do menial labor, and killing the male firstborn of their children to make them weak.

jasonjannajerryjohn wrote:
There's also the traditional doctrine of hell, which of course I don't really need to say anything about since it's been lambasted so much already. But I will go ahead and say that eternal torture is a bit of a disproportionate retribution don't you think? Don't you think that after awhile it wouldn't make sense for God to allow people to continue to be tortured? And eternally tortured for what? There's about 2.3 Billion Christians in this world. But say about half of those are really Christians since I know how conservatives like to say that "those who claim to be Christian aren't really Christians!" Ok. So we'll say that only half of those who claim to be Christians are really Christians. Those are the only ones who will go to heaven. That's about 1.15 Billion people in the world right now. Even without taking into account the trillions of people who have already lived, that's about 5.85 billion people who will be tortured forever after death. Most of those people are simply going to be tortured forever after death because they didn't say a little prayer of acceptance or feel or say or do the right thing to get into heaven. You really think that's morally acceptable?


Well, God has warned humanity, and given us plenty of opportunities to come back into His awaiting arms. I would also like to point out that, although I have no idea what hell would be like, hell is the complete absence of God. C.S. Lewis speculated (I use this term because he considers it speculation) that Hell is the fulfillment of all our earthly desires. Hell will be nothing but ourselves for all eternity. Horrible, yes. Unjust, no.

* I didn't have any time to go back and see what I had written, so if I said something really screwy, it was either a typo or something I didn't think through. And sorry, Quad-J, that I didn't make all the text of yours orange.

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 Post Post subject: Re: Atheist Q/A (because everyone else has one)
Posted: Mon Sep 17, 2012 12:24 pm 
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jasonjannajerryjohn wrote:

From the very beginning God created the world. He is all powerful and all knowing so he always knows what is going to happen and has power enough to prevent it. Thinking within the bounds of traditional Christian thought: if God didn't create evil, he knew it was going to exist. He knew Satan would create it. Therefore he is indirectly responsible for all the bad things that happen because he created Satan and knew that Satan was going to create evil. At the very least he did nothing while evil ran rampant. And non-interference is generally considered to be morally wrong. If you see someone hungry and dying on the street and do nothing, it's generally considered morally wrong. It is also a crime as far as medicine goes. If you have a cure for cancer, for example, and don't give that cure to someone who has cancer, you can be arrested. So in the beginning God was responsible for, if not outright creating evil, standing back and doing nothing as it was created.


He didn't create evil. When He created us, he gave us the free will to choose to obey Him. If he didn't give us that ability, we would be autonomous robots (if i'm using the term correctly, point being, we wouldn't be anybody). Man has an inherent nature in him to give homage and worship to someone higher than him. God gave us the ability to choose to obey him. It's kind of like saying this: "the internet gives us the ability to do all sorts of bad things, therefore, the internet should not exist." The internet didn't create the bad things, it's what people did to the internet. God didn't create evil, He allowed man to choose, which is loving man, not hating man.

I probably could've stated that a little more coherently, but that's just a thought when I was in school. :)

Another thought: If an atheist says their is no God, who rules the mind of the atheist?

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 Post Post subject: Re: Atheist Q/A (because everyone else has one)
Posted: Mon Sep 17, 2012 2:38 pm 
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jasonjannajerryjohn wrote:
Yes. But I'm hardly an expert or someone that you could talk to about how it works. I was merely pointing out that it doesn't make any sense for those who believe in ID and creationism to tell those who don't that God is needed because the universe couldn't have just started on it's own when they don't apply that same rule to God. It's not consistent so doesn't work as an argument. If you want to say that God created the universe than you have to show where God came from.

Ok, if you say we have to say where God came from, then, if you're going to say "The Big Bang created the universe," you'll have to say where all that matter and energy came from.
The laws of thermo-dynamics state that energy cannot be created, nor destroyed, etc.
They also state that matter cannot be created, nor destroyed.
So, where did all the energy and mass come from?

As one who believes in God, I believe that, because God had the ability to make the laws of Thermo-dynamics, he also has the ability to break the laws of thermo-dynamics (ie. create matter and energy).

Do you believe, as an atheist, that the nature of physics (ie. the principles that keep the universe running) was different at the beginning?

If so, what caused it to change?

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 Post Post subject: Re: Atheist Q/A (because everyone else has one)
Posted: Mon Nov 05, 2012 4:22 pm 
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~JCGJ~ wrote:
As one who believes in God, I believe that, because God had the ability to make the laws of Thermo-dynamics, he also has the ability to break the laws of thermo-dynamics (ie. create matter and energy).


Why would a god create such intricate, complex unbreakable laws that are hard-coded into every strand of the universe if he only intended to break them?

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 Post Post subject: Re: Atheist Q/A (because everyone else has one)
Posted: Mon Nov 05, 2012 5:52 pm 
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really, people who are apologizing for your story of god... if those actions were done by anyone NOT god, will you grant that they are evil? Some of the most horrible, horrible evil EVER?

Then, for sure, your ENTIRE MORAL SYSTEM, is simply "who did it?" and if the answer is "the one with the most power to do it, than it's good" than you have NO RIGHT to come tell me, an atheist, that I have a poor ethical system.

Because my system isn't blatant pandering to power, regardless of how that power is used. My ethics would never suck up to a bully. My ethics don't care *who* does something, so much as *what* was done.

I've met Christians who have coherent, respectable moral systems. But of all the people who have the most vacant, empty moral systems, they've pretty much entirely been Christian, and tend to be yelling most loudly it's us atheists who have no morals, simply because we don't bow to their bully, which is the *sum total* of their ethical system. SUM TOTAL. There is literally NOTHING in their definition of good, or bad, except, "is who ordered/ did it the most powerful?"


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 Post Post subject: Re: Atheist Q/A (because everyone else has one)
Posted: Fri Aug 23, 2013 6:53 pm 
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You say that morals are evolutionary and cultural. Does that mean that anything could become right, even if it was totally wrong today?

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Posted: Sat Aug 24, 2013 6:07 pm 
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Morals are inherently evolutionary, yes. They firstly come from our selfish core, i.e. survive and reproduce, which than subtly transfers into protect the society itself because there's survival in numbers. One person on their own is going to have a harder time surviving than a huge group of people with morals to protect each other.

Does that mean that anything can become moral? No, it doesn't. Morality, like everything else, evolves. And evolution is not random. Morality will not suddenly transform into KILL THE NON-BELIEVERS. It has to slowly transform over time.

As for what is "right" and "wrong," that is of course relative. Relative to individuals and societies. There is the larger group morality and than there are individuals in that society whose morality is to a certain extent flexible but is only flexible in terms of the society's larger morality. If their morality runs contrary to society they get shunned. Groups like the KKK are a good example of this. Their morality is so deviant from society that they are seen as ridiculous and shunned.

As for myself, I'm an egalitarian. That is I think everyone is equal. Equality of opportunity. Everyone should have the same opportunities as everyone else. No one should be denied opportunities because of something they can't help like gender or race.

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 Post Post subject: Re: Atheist Q/A (because everyone else has one)
Posted: Sat Aug 24, 2013 7:56 pm 
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If our core evolutionary trait is to reproduce then how do you explain homosexual tendencies? Wouldn't that go against that trait?

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Posted: Sun Aug 25, 2013 6:01 am 
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Homosexual tendencies are a bit of an oddity. We see animals of all types, not just humans, engaging in homosexuality. Scientists aren't sure exactly what causes homosexuality though they're pretty sure it's not just one single gene. It's a combination of genes acting in tandem. One idea is that genes that allow for increased female sexuality causes male homosexuality and vice versa. Than there's the younger brother thing. The more elder brothers a male has, the more likely he is to be homosexual.

There are other oddities that run counter to survive and reproduce like people born without the ability to feel pain so it might be something similar.

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