The Raving Theist

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God Squad Review CXXXVI (Interfaith Marriage; Predestination)

August 1, 2005 | 22 Comments

Are the misanthropes who regularly comment at The Raving Atheist as mentally and emotionally crippled as the people who write The God Squad for advice? Not by a long shot, judging by the two letters to this week’s column. The scary thing is that both readers think that their psychotic ramblings pose perfectly sensible concerns. The first question is from a jackass who believes that superstition should trump every form of human relationship:

I’m Jewish and my girlfriend is Christian. We’ve dated on and off (due to arguments) for the past seven years and she’s now pregnant. We were planning to go our separate ways just before we found this out. Our main reason for not getting married has been because neither of us wants to change religions. My concern is that my family keeps a kosher house, and if we get married, my girlfriend will not want to be as strict about it. I also want to become more religious later in life. What problems do you foresee if we do get married? I also want to have more children, but with her they will not be Jewish. I don’t believe in Jesus or anything about Christianity. This baby will not be raised Jewish, and I feel I will not have the special bond with the child that my girlfriend will. I do love my girlfriend, but should I still marry her?

He wants to become more religious? Sure seems crazy enough to me. Rejects the Jesus crap as ridiculous, but thinks God is obsessed with what goes on in the kitchen. Oh, and doesn’t think he could bond with his own child unless he’s the one to drive it insane, and is about to dump someone he “loves” over this nonsense. Not that he actually takes it all that seriously now; he’s just planning to step up the madness “later in life” and wants to make sure the delusions will take center stage. Even the Squad seems taken for a loop:

Now, let’s get this straight: You’re “living in sin,” you’ve impregnated your girlfriend, and you’re worried that she won’t keep kosher?

So it seems the guy overlooked that God hates fornicators and their bastard children more than people who eat shrimp. But I bet the Squad will regret trivializing Kosher law next time they’re touting the “spiritual importance” of making sure that crispy thing next to your eggs wasn’t once running around on cloven hooves. In this case, however, it turns out that the couple’s problem has nothing to do with religion at all:

First off, you and your girlfriend desperately need counseling to determine if your arguments have been due to the natural growing pains of true love, or incompatibility and selfishness that would surely doom any marriage.

Growing pains/incompatibility and selfishness? Is that all the the guy was talking about? Let’s read his letter again (Squad, pay attention to what’s in fucking boldfaced and underlined):

I’m Jewish and my girlfriend is Christian. We’ve dated on and off (due to arguments) for the past seven years and she’s now pregnant. We were planning to go our separate ways just before we found this out. Our main reason for not getting married has been because neither of us wants to change religions. My concern is that my family keeps a kosher house, and if we get married, my girlfriend will not want to be as strict about it. I also want to become more religious later in life. What problems do you foresee if we do get married? I also want to have more children, but with her they will not be Jewish. I don’t believe in Jesus or anything about Christianity. This baby will not be raised Jewish, and I feel I will not have the special bond with the child that my girlfriend will. I do love my girlfriend, but should I still marry her?

Actually, I’m pretty sure the Squad got it the first time around. They’ve answered plenty of question from interfaith couples whose relationship is being destroyed by ancient fairy tales, and usually the solution is to dump love in favor of faith. This time, however, the response has something to do with a reform Jewish synagogue. The answer is confused enough that perhaps they had help writing it from the guy who wrote the next letter:

I’m a 53-year-old divorced man with six children. I’ve been raising these kids by myself for almost nine years. Their mother wants nothing to do with them. I do believe in God and that he sent his son to die for our sins, but I struggle with my faith. I have health concerns and am constantly worried about dying. I also have a question: The Bible says that God knew us even before we were born. If God knows us before we are born, he would know if we were going to go to heaven. How could such a God create someone and send him to hell?

What a sad, sad, jumble. I got six kids the bitch left us God killed Jesus for ours sins and I’m dying so answer my riddle about predestination.. The Squad fights fire with fire:

Just as you were asked to sacrifice for them when their mother left, so you can understand the power of the Christian belief that God sent Jesus to die for our sins. He wanted to show the depth of his love for us, as you’re trying to do with your children.

Yeah, but God didn’t sacrifice for Jesus, he sacrificed Jesus. Maybe the guy should just slaughter his offspring to atone for the sins of their mother. And as to the brain-teaser about omniscience:

To say that God knows us even before we are born does not mean God forces us to do anything, or that God has predestined our fate. On the contrary, God encourages us to choose life over death, virtue over sin and hope over despair.

To say that an all-knowing being knows us pretty much implies that he knows all about us. Certainly, if we mindlessly accept this odd notion that he knows us “before we are born,” it’s not such a leap of logic to assume he knows what happens “after we die.” And notwithstanding that we’re “encouraged” to choose life over death (except when killing our only begotten sons), we all die whether we choose it or not. Once that happens, I have to assume that it’s God who “forces” us to go to heaven or hell.

Comments

22 Responses to “God Squad Review CXXXVI (Interfaith Marriage; Predestination)”

  1. Striver
    August 1st, 2005 @ 1:01 am

    I don’t know, I’ve wondered about whether I should put up with a religious woman for a wife. It’s harder to find atheist women, so you end up having to settle for the chicks who are into bullshit “buddhism” or mysticism, which is really just a cowardly way of not being a full atheist.

    Women are more tied to their peer groups so it’s harder to find them being willing to abandon their church or whatnot even if they don’t believe it.

    So far I’ve held off on getting too involved with highly religious women but I’m not getting any younger.

  2. Mijae
    August 1st, 2005 @ 3:04 am

    Augh! Don’t settle, at least not for a religious nut, it’s not worth it! Maybe just try debating like crazy with any woman you do meet who’s still pseudo-religious. If it just pisses her off and she dumps you, you’re better off anyway. But if she can take the heat and debate back and get started to thinking about it… you might uncover an atheist chick after all.

  3. glenstonecottage
    August 1st, 2005 @ 6:27 am

    Toledo Blade expose: local cops turned a blind eye to years of sex abuse by priests

    http://toledoblade.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20050731/NEWS08/507310305

  4. hermesten
    August 1st, 2005 @ 9:59 am

    Striver, I agree with Mijae –don’t “settle” for anyone, religious or not. There are women out there who were brought up to believe in God but are indifferent –even hostlie– to religion. I know because I married a believer who, at times, has been even more hostile to religion than me, and my son is dating one who is indifferent –and we live in the Bible Belt. Lots of women out there are smart enough to see religion for the bullshit it is, even if they believe in God.

  5. Lucy Muff
    August 1st, 2005 @ 3:24 pm

    The answer is obvious. When the baby starts walking get a bible and a jewish book and put them at opposite end of room. Then whichever baby goes to first, that is how to raise the child. That way, if JEsus is rejected it will be by the baby and so the eternal damnation is on them. Hebrew nation hot dogs are good, but not as good as love of jesus and eternity in heaven with god

  6. lucy Muff
    August 1st, 2005 @ 3:25 pm

    The answer is obvious. When the baby starts walking get a bible and a jewish book and put them at opposite end of room. Then whichever baby goes to first, that is how to raise the child. That way, if JEsus is rejected it will be by the baby and so the eternal damnation is on them. Hebrew nation hot dogs are good, but not as good as love of jesus and eternity in heaven with god

  7. Jason Malloy
    August 1st, 2005 @ 9:05 pm

    The Squad says: “You also could come to see this baby as a sign of your love and a living challenge to overcome your petty differences, marry and make your marriage work.”

    Apparently the “petty difference” the squad is referring to is their preferred religion!:

    “We know many Christian parents who’ve converted to Judaism (and Jews who have converted to Christianity) so that their children could be raised in a home with a single religion”

    The God Squad have such a bizzare religious world-view; they think both parents are being immature for not flipping a coin and converting. The content of the religious belief doesn’t even matter to the Squad, as long as its made-up shit in a suit its better than secular humanism, which doesn’t even *try* to justify itself with supernatural stories. If the squad really wants to be ecumenical they should take an atheist on board and then they can be even less of an “advice” column then they are now.

    . . . By the way I was disappointed that no James Doohan cartoons were ever posted. Where’s my St. Peter as Scottie comic?

  8. qedpro
    August 1st, 2005 @ 11:08 pm

    I think there’s less to this guy than you give him credit for. He doesn’t give a shit about religion, he just wants kosher meals.

  9. simon
    August 2nd, 2005 @ 10:15 am

    congratulate him.
    He’s putting meals ahead of religion, that is and advancement.

  10. Suvendra Dutta
    August 2nd, 2005 @ 2:29 pm

    Actually it is possible to combine free will and complete knowledge of the future. Physicists have dabbled with this when trying to imagine faster than light travel (which implies time travel). Kip Thorn has written some on this. Basically the notion is to look at things as a boundary value problem rather than an initial value problem. We take decisions which effect the final result. But the beginning, end and the middle all take into account every step we will take, so its taken care of anyways. So although God knows we will go to hell, it is our actions which is taking us there. So the problem then is that God “allows” us to go to hell rather then “forces” us. But that has an easy way around (used in most Orthodox religions). Just replace Divinity with Divine law and all is well. You don’t follow the law, you sin. Conversely you follow the law, all is kosher.

  11. hermesten
    August 2nd, 2005 @ 3:51 pm

    You can fudge the meaning of words all you want, but God either knows or He doesn’t. You’re just talking about taking a different path to the same destination; and since God is the “Creator,” He created the “system,” and He created all the “paths” as well as the endpoints. No amount of mental masturbation can change the fact that if there is a God who created this fucked up mess we call humanity, He, God, is the one responsible for it, and therefore, all the evil, as well as all the good. And if we are denied the possiblity that God is ignorant, stupid, or incompetent, we are left with the conclusion that He is viscious, perverse, and evil.

  12. Vernichten
    August 2nd, 2005 @ 3:55 pm

    If the beginning takes into account every step we will take, that’s the same as predestination.

  13. Dave
    August 2nd, 2005 @ 4:41 pm

    see, God knows everything NOW, just not what’s going to happen…. nahh.

    I guess the solution is for them both to convert to Islam.

    Re: Striver’s problem. I have an atheist mate and she’s great! The problem with former religious types is that they relapse. I know a guy whose girlfriend had been brought up Mormon. She had already left the church when they met. She insisted that she didn’t believe that crap. They got married. While she was pregnant, all of a sudden, the switch flipped (like one of those unwitting sabateur human clone Cylons in the new Battlestar Galactica) and she became a true believin’ Mormon once again. So, so he’s stuck with a crazy-ass religio freak mother. I don’t know if they got divorced or what, but him and his kid now have a whole plateful of shit that they didn’t sign up for.

  14. Dave
    August 2nd, 2005 @ 4:41 pm

    see, God knows everything NOW, just not what’s going to happen…. nahh.

    I guess the solution is for them both to convert to Islam.

    Re: Striver’s problem. I have an atheist mate and she’s great! The problem with former religious types is that they relapse. I know a guy whose girlfriend had been brought up Mormon. She had already left the church when they met. She insisted that she didn’t believe that crap. They got married. While she was pregnant, all of a sudden, the switch flipped (like one of those unwitting sabateur human clone Cylons in the new Battlestar Galactica) and she became a true believin’ Mormon once again. So, so he’s stuck with a crazy-ass religio freak mother. I don’t know if they got divorced or what, but him and his kid now have a whole plateful of shit that they didn’t sign up for.

  15. Dave
    August 2nd, 2005 @ 4:42 pm

    sorry for the double post.

  16. Dave
    August 2nd, 2005 @ 4:51 pm

    and that’s stuck with a crazy-ass religio freak mother of their child. not his own mother. (I guess preview really is there for a reason besides giving haloscan an extra chance to eat my comment.)

  17. qedpro
    August 2nd, 2005 @ 7:36 pm

    Its pretty easy to spot someone saying/thinking they are an atheist when they’re really not. I’ve found that most of what is said on this site isn’t understood by a fundy. I’ve never met a religious person who actually understands the implications of what they believe.
    No true atheist would ever convert back.

    yes i know no true scotsman……. that’s why i said it.

  18. Mookie
    August 2nd, 2005 @ 9:31 pm

    I agree, once you go atheist, you never go back.

  19. Daniel
    August 2nd, 2005 @ 11:19 pm

    What about me? I was raised atheist, so I have nothing to relapse into. But my fiancee was raised Catholic (even though she’s quite indifferent now). If we ever have kids I still have to deal with all the guilt she’ll put on the child (no matter what, Catholics never get rid of their guilt–they even feel guilty for not having enough guilt).

  20. simbol
    August 3rd, 2005 @ 1:42 am

    suvendra

    “Actually it is possible to combine free will and complete knowledge of the future.”

    Without discussing the implied assumption (omniscience) I can agree with that. It’s not illogical. It is more or less that giving a formula 1 car to a kid 14 years old; you know he almost certainly will kill himself. Of course he is the one to decide if running at 40 or 200 MPH.

    “So the problem then is that God “allows” us to go to hell rather than “forces” us. But that has an easy way around (used in most Orthodox religions). Just replace Divinity with Divine law and all is well.

    Here I don’t agree because you forgot another necessary implied assumption: God is perfect. Since some people go to hell, or the law is wrong or the people who go to hell is wrong. So a perfect being committed at least an error, he made a bad law or he made a bad people, so how can it be perfect?.

    Finally, once god has violated his “perfection” clause, he must confront his omnibenevolence clause. It seems not very fair that people who go to hell, foot the bill of the wrongdoing of god. If the people go to hell, god is at the same time unfair and not omnibenevolent because omnibenevolence must preclude hell because omnibenevolence is logically contradictory with eternal punishment since, whatever the sin be, it can be pardoned if the necessary forms are filled (confession, repent,etc). This mean that no sin by itself, deserves eternal punisment but the missing of some administrative steps; so unless god be an obstinate burocrat this shouldn’t cause eternal damnation. Of course I assume god is not a lawyer because for them procedures are very important. Even the imperfect and not omibenevolent humans put a limit on punishment. From the viewpoint of a believer, Death penalty must be better than life imprisonment if you repent timely.You will be with your god quickly. If the sentence is life imprisonement, there is a limit to punishment. Could it be possible that imperfect men be more benevolent that judeo-christian god?.

  21. DamnRight
    August 5th, 2005 @ 8:00 am

    When my wife & I got married, we were both dyed-in-the-wool Christians…
    … 16 years of marriage later, I finally worked through all the BS & firmly established I was atheist…
    … we have managed to make it work (2 yrs now) by not discussing it… she simply does not engage me in conversation about religion… & since I hate in-your-face Christians, I am not an in-your-face atheist (unless you goad me into it)…
    … in many ways, I believe it’s harder on her than on me… I think she’s wasting her time, energy & money on really stupid crap… but, she thinks I’m going to Hell for all eternity (hmmm, maybe that’s why she gets that little smile on her face every now & again)…
    … anyway, now I golf, watch TV, cut the grass or hang out with the boys at the WingHouse while she dutifully goes to church & prays for my soul…
    … I at least understand where she’s at, since I was a very committed Christian for 40+ years (damn, it really pisses me off that it took me so long to break the shackles of that damned religion)…
    … it’s possible we can make it work because there are no kids involved… but, it certainly adds an additional stress to the marriage & we all know there’s enough stresses there already…
    … in actuality, my wife isn’t the problem… I have brothers, sisters, mom, dad, in-laws who constantly bombard me with religious crap… they’re just waiting for me to get sick or lose my job, or have financial ruin so they can establish that God cares I’m an atheist… problem is, they’re struggling with a ton more health & financial problems than me… hmmm, maybe God is an atheist…
    … anyway, like most things in life, if we give each other the space to “do our own thing”, we can live quite peaceably…

  22. John C. Randolph
    August 10th, 2005 @ 3:25 pm

    You know, there’s a word in Yiddish for a guy like this, and the word is ‘putz’.

    He’s putting his supersition ahead of his relationships with living, feeling human beings, including his own child! If I were his Rabbi, I’d slap him silly.

    -jcr

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