The Raving Theist

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Rebels Without a God

September 23, 2005 | 165 Comments

My crucifixion was in progress in the comment section of Think Christian. So I decided it was time to pull out some of the nails. After noting it was indeed possible and rational to deny the existence of god, I pointed that they all did exactly the same thing:

[One] problem with your blanket attack on atheism is the fact that you are all yourselves atheists with respect to every god but your own. Unless you

Comments

165 Responses to “Rebels Without a God”

  1. DawnsDone
    September 23rd, 2005 @ 9:01 am

    If he’s not debating, because he “doesn’t do that but only prays” what is he doing with his arguments?

  2. Phil
    September 23rd, 2005 @ 9:16 am

    “You are a liar and do not really believe the things you say you do. For some reason, this statement offends you.” Oh, brother.

  3. franky
    September 23rd, 2005 @ 10:01 am

    Does anyone else see the irony in the statement that Phil quoted? Come on…it’s just so ironic.

  4. SMR
    September 23rd, 2005 @ 10:09 am

    Oh how I love theists using the word proof.

    To be clear, there is neither proof for or against God or any other deity for that matter.

    So there is nothing that prooves thier god is “the god” and nothing that prooves everyone elses to be right or wrong yet they use that exact argument as proof that thier god exists since you cannot proove that others do.

    They also use the same rhetoric on things like evolution from monkey to humans. True we do not have concrete, undeniable proof, but you don’t have concrete proof that God exists either, so what makes you right? Thing is that evolution will eventually be 100% concrete set in stone prooved but God existance never will. I get a little giggle though lately that some are willing to admit that evolution is possible if you throw in that it was gods will and call it intelligent design.

    I got 20 identical cans of soda. They have exactly the same chemical mixture and the exact same amount of fluid atom for atom. One of them has magical powers. Proove me wrong. All hail the soda can 3rd from the left.

  5. SMR
    September 23rd, 2005 @ 10:10 am

    Oh how I love theists using the word proof.

    To be clear, there is neither proof for or against God or any other deity for that matter.

    So there is nothing that prooves thier god is “the god” and nothing that prooves everyone elses to be right or wrong yet they use that exact argument as proof that thier god exists since you cannot proove that others do.

    They also use the same rhetoric on things like evolution from monkey to humans. True we do not have concrete, undeniable proof, but you don’t have concrete proof that God exists either, so what makes you right? Thing is that evolution will eventually be 100% concrete set in stone prooved but God existance never will. I get a little giggle though lately that some are willing to admit that evolution is possible if you throw in that it was gods will and call it intelligent design.

    I got 20 identical cans of soda. They have exactly the same chemical mixture and the exact same amount of fluid atom for atom. One of them has magical powers. Proove me wrong. All hail the soda can 3rd from the left.

  6. SMR
    September 23rd, 2005 @ 10:13 am

    oops, sorry about that… had a cafine buzz kicking in ;)

  7. Steve G.
    September 23rd, 2005 @ 10:45 am

    TRA:

    In you initial comment there, you said the following…

    The definitions of God (and there are many) which are self-contradictory are disprovable without an exploration of the universe. You don

  8. a different tim
    September 23rd, 2005 @ 10:48 am

    Oh dear

    Looked through the link.
    None of them seem to even attempt to address RA’s logical arguments against God. One of them even hoists himself on his own petard by mentioning Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny….for which there is precisely as much proof as there is for God (more in the case of santa, my parents never did admit to delivering those presents). Nor do they address the other line of atheism (Bertrand Russell’s claim that OK, you can’t disprove God, but then nor can you disprove the existence of a blue china teapot orbiting the sun – which he made to show that untestable factual propositions that don’t explain anything anre unworthy of belief).

    Yes, we are all a bit intense over this issue, but then it isn’t really surprising given that the world seems to be drifting into the hands of theocrats hell-bent on rolling back the enlightenment.

  9. a different tim
    September 23rd, 2005 @ 10:52 am

    Posted that on their site as well. I do not relaly expect a coherent reply, or any meaningful discussion. Maybe Steve G feels this way herre…..

  10. The Raving Atheist
    September 23rd, 2005 @ 11:00 am

    Steve G.

    I accept that paradoxes can and do exists as a matter of fact. What if I allow for the possibility of the existence of a square circle? You could say that this

  11. Steve G.
    September 23rd, 2005 @ 11:12 am

    You’ll have to explain more clearly and slowly becuase of my denseness. I can’t see how my words can be construed as saying there is not a God. I didn’t say I accepted all paradoxes. I said that I acceped that paradoxes exist. The paradox(es) that I was referring to were not that God exists and does not exist (if that’s what you are suggesting), but your statement that he can’t exists because the definitions contain paradoxes. The paradoxical (is that a word?) concept exists, but that doesn’t mean I endorse that particular one.

  12. AK
    September 23rd, 2005 @ 11:28 am

    Steve G., you should investigate the reasons for your belief. How old were you when you started believing? Who or what made you believe? The Bible? Your parents? Your friends and extended family?

    Was it based on objective evidence or the trust of your loved ones?

  13. Joe
    September 23rd, 2005 @ 11:32 am

    First of all you cannot prove a negative, and neither should we have to. If I tell you that I converse with a 10 ft. rabbit that is obssessed with colored chicken embryos, you would not be forced to prove the inexistence of said rabbit. I would be called on to prove the existence of the afore mentioned rabbit. Atheists do not have to ‘prove’ that god (under any definition) does not exist. It responsiblity is on the people claiming the existance of this character. There has been, is not, and never shall be ‘proof’ of god (hence the term faith). As Christopher Hitchens said: “”What can be asserted without evidence can also be dismissed without evidence.”

    Secondly, if humans lack the ability to define god or understand his ‘plan.’ Why do people worship it? Perhaps god doesn’t want to be worshipped. People will say, we are following the teachings of the bible. Well the bible was written by people about an entity that you (Steve G) have all ready stated people cannot fathom. How can people write a book about an entity that they can not fathom?

  14. Steve G.
    September 23rd, 2005 @ 11:53 am

    Steve G., you should investigate the reasons for your belief.

    I have. I realize that many here think we all accept faith blindly and with no thought or investigatin. But I assure, it’s not always the case.

    How old were you when you started believing?

    about 30

    Who or what made you believe? The Bible? Your parents? Your friends and extended family?

    A lifelong unrelenting pursuit of the truth. My parents actually had the opposite effect of mostly driving me from belief for a myriad of reasons.

  15. The Raving Atheist
    September 23rd, 2005 @ 11:54 am

    I can’t see how my words can be construed as saying there is not a God.
    What if I allow for the possibility of the existence of a square circle? You could say that this

  16. Steve G.
    September 23rd, 2005 @ 12:06 pm

    First of all you cannot prove a negative, and neither should we have to
    That

  17. Joe
    September 23rd, 2005 @ 12:13 pm

    So let me get this straight…………..we cannot define or understand god. We have no proof of god. But you are still searching for a better understanding of god. How are you gathering info to better understand the entity that we cannot understand nor produce proof of its existence.

    Oh, I remember, when it comes to god theists have it easy………….make up what ever you want. Because if your gonna make up an imaginary friend you might as well go hog wild.

  18. Joe
    September 23rd, 2005 @ 12:17 pm

    Oh, as for quantum physics…………you develop mathematical proof of god’s existence and submit that proof to the mathematic community for a peer review…………then I will accept the possiblity of gods existence. Until then shut your pie whole.

  19. Steve G.
    September 23rd, 2005 @ 12:20 pm

    You can’t see how your words “there is a god” can be construed as saying “there is not a god.” What if I allow for the possibility of the existence of a universe where god = no god? You could say this “seems” contradictory, and you can’t conceptualize it. That’s far different than saying a thing cannot be, isn’t it?
    Hence, you cannot exclude the possibility that you mean and say exactly the opposite of what you do.

    Ah, so you think that when I say that I accept the possibility of a particular paradox, by implication I accept any and all paradoxes as valid. I think I

  20. The Raving Atheist
    September 23rd, 2005 @ 12:28 pm

    I think I

  21. Steve G.
    September 23rd, 2005 @ 12:37 pm

    Yes. I believe and I don’t believe, and so do you. OK with me, we both win. ;-)

    But putting aside the issue of paradoxes for a moment isn’t it still true that you pointing out an inadequacy in the explanation, definition, or description of God falls far short of actually disproving God

  22. The Raving Atheist
    September 23rd, 2005 @ 12:44 pm

    If the definition of a god includes a paradox or contradiction, it proves the non-existence of that particular god. My general position is that virtually every definition of the word “god” contains at least one such contradiction, and that the gods whose definitions are internally consistent are either (1) disprovable through science or (2) meaningless.

    And no, I reject all paradoxes. No theory based upon one can be true. No exceptions.

  23. Steve G.
    September 23rd, 2005 @ 12:51 pm

    No theory based upon one can be true. No exceptions.

    That seems a rather objective and dogmatic claim. On what is it based?

  24. Dada Saves
    September 23rd, 2005 @ 12:59 pm

    Here’s the level of commentary over at Xian Net:

    “One cannot make the argument that there is no God if there is indeed no God simply because if there is indeed no God then no one would know it let alone name Him God.”

  25. The Raving Atheist
    September 23rd, 2005 @ 1:03 pm

    I’m an objective dogmatist. I believe in truth, and that truth is not falsehood. A paradox is something that denies the distinction. It is by its nature false.

    You cannot give a single counter-example of a theory based upon a paradox or contradiction that is true. You will never be able to show me a square circle, or an instance where 1 + 1 = 5 (without some silly word-game). In fact, the validity of every argument you make will depend on your own careful avoidance of paradox. For example, you would never argue that “God exists because 1 + 1 = 7″ or “God exists because Satan is not evil.”

    In short, it is based on the fact that (1) no paradox has ever been shown to be true, ever (2) you will not now or ever give me a counter-example, (3) a paradox by definition is false, (4) you cannot even conceive of a paradox being true.

  26. a different tim
    September 23rd, 2005 @ 1:06 pm

    “No theory based upon one can be true. No exceptions.

    That seems a rather objective and dogmatic claim. On what is it based?”

    If I may take up the cudgel here for a moment…it’s based on rather clear logical grounds. Something cannot be X and not-X at the same time. This is a generally accepted point of logic. It is objective in the same way that mathematics is objective.

  27. Steve G.
    September 23rd, 2005 @ 1:13 pm

    I believe in truth, and that truth is not falsehood.

    But this places a value on truth. On what is that value based? Personal preference? You just keep kicking the can down the road by refererring to something higher. On what basis can you objectively claim that truth is valuable, meaningful or preferable. You are just playing a game of substituting the ultimately meaningless concept of truth for God.

  28. jb
    September 23rd, 2005 @ 1:21 pm

    Question for TRA-

    Do you deny the pagan proofs of the existence of God, such as the one made by Aristotle in the eigth book of the Physics or is it specifically the Christian conception of God that you object to? The pagan proofs of God proceed from natural principles. All they prove is that there cannot be an infinite series of causes but the nature of causation requires that there be some first cause. The first cause of all things is what is called “God.” The one God. Not Zeus, not Apollo, not leprechauns but the primary mover, if you will. The ancient philosophers laughed and derided popular mythologies far more than Christians ever have and yet in their most hidden and most guarded teachings they argued for the existence of a highest ordering principle.

    Socrates, if you remember, was accused of threatening pagan traditions when all he was really trying to do was distinguish between quaint mythologies and the powers that govern creation.

  29. The Raving Atheist
    September 23rd, 2005 @ 1:27 pm

    But this places a value on truth.

    No it doesn’t. If by “value” you mean some sort of moral significance, not all truths have value. 1 + 1 = 2 is morally neutral. The true proposition “I see a cigarette butt in the street near the curb” is morally neutral. In neither case is my acceptance of the truth personal preference. It is impossible to conceive of 1 + 1 not equalling 2. The proposition about the cigarette but is true not because I have a personal preference but because I see it there and it is there.

    I do not claim that the truth is necessarily preferable. I will one day die and the earth will be sucked into the sun. It’s an unpleasant truth, but a truth nontheless. Perhaps I would be happier believing insane lies. Perhaps I would be better off believing that an elephant headed-god just deposited $1,000,000,000 in my bank account, maybe I should start writing checks based on that deposit. If the police come, I shall pretend they are joyous circus clowns coming to take me on a seahorse ride.

  30. Kate B.
    September 23rd, 2005 @ 1:29 pm

    “Something cannot be X and not-X at the same time. This is a generally accepted point of logic.”

    Actually, the way I’ve heard the Principle of Non-Contradiction put is that something cannot be X and not-X at the same time and in the same way. That may make a difference is distinugishing apparent paradox from true paradox. SOmething cannot be circular and square at the same time in the same way. The Vitruvian Man is inscribed differently in the circle and the square; he fits the proportions of the circle and the square, but in different ways.

    If that helps.

  31. The Raving Atheist
    September 23rd, 2005 @ 1:32 pm

    JB,

    I addressed the first cause argument here and here and elsewhere if you plug “first cause” into this blog’s search function.

  32. Steve G.
    September 23rd, 2005 @ 1:33 pm

    adt:
    If I may take up the cudgel here for a moment…it’s based on rather clear logical grounds. Something cannot be X and not-X at the same time. This is a generally accepted point of logic. It is objective in the same way that mathematics is objective.

    OK, so then what are the paradoxes that are claimed. I may be missing it, but is God claimed to be x and not-x? Is God claimed to be Omnipresent and non-Omnipresent, or rather is God claimed to be things that are different Omnipresent and Omnipotent which seem to be contradictory, but are actually not in the form of x and not-x, but rather x and y, and then it’s assumed that y somehow implies not-x, so God can’t be x and y. This seems to be the form of objection I usually see. But isn’t the assumption that y is implies not-x unprovable with regad to the characteristics of God that are usually objected too? Could you give me a more concrete example than x and not-x as it applies to the claims regarding God?

  33. jahrta
    September 23rd, 2005 @ 1:43 pm

    Steve G

    refer to my other post pertaining to questions (yet to be answered) about the nature of “god” and the dubious value of worshipping such an entity if he actually existed. here is that post:

    hmm…i know you meant it as a little quip, but do you believe that god really has a plan?

    I know this is off-topic, but…

    Do you believe god has the power to prevent horrible things from happening to people? Do you think that when horrible things happen it’s god’s fault? It would follow theistic reason that if your god is all powerful and all knowing, and can make anything happen (or not happen) that anything and everything that happens is either directly or indirectly his will. that being the case, then what part of his plan was served by the holocaust, 9/11, the tsunami, katrina, the black plague, aids, et al?

    actually, I’d rather not hear an answer to this because we’ve been carrying on a civil conversation up to this point and I think we should keep it that way. I’ve heard some theists posit that even the holocaust was part of god’s plan, and i’ve torn them fresh ones. I’ll put forth the following: Any being who could rightfully carry the title of “god” and wield the power which that title implies, yet still allow any of those things to have happened either through direct action or through an apathetic disinterest in preventing them from happening is completely unworthy of praise or worship. If god existed he would be held accountable for crimes against humanity.

    Here’s the acid test, Steve. If god existed, one need only sift casually through the history of mankind, even using the bible itself to create the following hypothesis – namely, that he is either 1.) incapable of addressing the physical needs of mankind to keep them safe from just a few of the horrors listed above (making him less than omnipotent, and thus, not truly “god”), 2.) disinterested in helping us in the first place (making him anything but compassionate and loving, in stark contrast to everything xians tell us he is supposed to be), or 3.)wants us to suffer (which carries the same connotation as point number 2, only with a more sinister implication). I suppose there’s a 4th option, but it operates outside of the above proposal – and that would be that god simply doesn’t exist.

    It’s a good thing god doesn’t exist – if he did he’d have a LOT to answer for.

  34. The Raving Atheist
    September 23rd, 2005 @ 1:45 pm

    (1) I may be missing it, but is God claimed to be x and not-x?

    It depends on the theologian. The most fundamentalist ones assert something close to this, saying that God could make Himself exist and not exist at once, make 1 + 1 = 5, or make a rock so heavy He couldn’t lift it, and then lift it. There was quite a long, idiotic thread at Brad Delong’s blog a couple years back (see here for background) full of people defending a God who could do such things. I examined the motives behind such reasoning here. I think the mainstream theologians these days start with the premise that god is limited by logic, and can only do things that are logically possible (i.e. conceivable).

    (2) it’s assumed that y somehow implies not-x, so God can’t be x and y. This seems to be the form of objection I usually see.

    That’s primarily the form I deal with. The non-exhaustive list of contradictions in my Basic Assumptions contains the most common examples.

  35. Steve G.
    September 23rd, 2005 @ 1:50 pm

    No it doesn’t. If by “value” you mean some sort of moral significance, not all truths have value. 1 + 1 = 2 is morally neutral. The true proposition “I see a cigarette butt in the street near the curb” is morally neutral. In neither case is my acceptance of the truth personal preference. It is impossible to conceive of 1 + 1 not equalling 2. The proposition about the cigarette but is true not because I have a personal preference but because I see it there and it is there.
    OK, that

  36. a different tim
    September 23rd, 2005 @ 1:54 pm

    Hey, you were saying you believed and disbelieved at the same time, and that this was OK.

    Me, I don’t rely on TRA’s a priori disproofs for exactly this kind of reason. A priori logic is easy to screw up, and I’ve seen lots of people convinced of the existence/non existence of God, both following what seems to be clear logic (Aristotle as an example). I think that whole approach to finding truth is flawed. In fact, Godel seeems to demonstrate this mathematically.

    I’m an empiricist. Empiricism is rational, but not a pure logical system. I follow Russell’s “blue china treapot” argument (post 8 above) and my position on values, including the value of truth, as related to factual claims (something you rightly say atheists should pay more attention to) is stated as clearly as I can in post 221 of the “voice of theism” thread (go from para 2. It’s way too long and tedious to post here again).

    By the way, where’s my robot? you said you were praying for it. Does the fact of its non arrival count as evidence against the existence of God?

  37. JB
    September 23rd, 2005 @ 1:59 pm

    Thanks for that. I’ll consider your objections and hopefully get back to you.

  38. Steve G.
    September 23rd, 2005 @ 1:59 pm

    Hey, you were saying you believed and disbelieved at the same time, and that this was OK.

    I forgot the little winky eyed guy that implies it’s a joke. ;-)

    By the way, where’s my robot? you said you were praying for it. Does the fact of its non arrival count as evidence against the existence of God?

    No. That was before you told me you were going to squash me with it. I put a stop delivery on it after that.

  39. a different tim
    September 23rd, 2005 @ 2:04 pm

    Ahhhh, c’mon. What’s a little stomped-to-death-by-a-giant-robot between friends?

    Besides, you guys get an afterlife. You can’t grudge us our fun in this one.

  40. Dave
    September 23rd, 2005 @ 2:12 pm

    this is probably thrown out here a lot, but the God of the Bible seems to be a device for controlling people, much as abusive fathers and husbands do:

    see the following:

    a god of suspect praise

  41. The Raving Atheist
    September 23rd, 2005 @ 2:12 pm

    My basic moral premises are that sustainable, non-hazardous pleasure is good, and that unnecessary, unjustifiable pain is bad. Ultimately it all comes down to what hurts or doesn’t hurt. If you deliberately slam a car door on my fingers it’s”bad” because it hurts. If you scratch my back (not too hard) it is good, because it does not hurt. My choice to label the door slamming bad and the scratching good is not artibrary, and is based on exactly the same sort of direct experience as seeing the cigarette butt.

  42. franky
    September 23rd, 2005 @ 2:14 pm

    TRA,
    Yea, but you know where that is gonna lead them to mention though right? “Well, what if some guy thought that killing felt good” Should he be allowed to kill”
    What would your response to that be?

  43. franky
    September 23rd, 2005 @ 2:15 pm

    TRA,
    Yea, but you know where that is gonna lead them to mention though right? “Well, what if some guy thought that killing felt good” Should he be allowed to kill”
    What would your response to that be?

  44. franky
    September 23rd, 2005 @ 2:16 pm

    sorry bout the double-post, had some kind of server error

  45. The Raving Atheist
    September 23rd, 2005 @ 2:17 pm

    Frank,

    The qualifications “sustainable, non-hazardous” and “unjustifiable” meet those objections.

  46. franky
    September 23rd, 2005 @ 2:17 pm

    Sweet…and it’s franky, there is some other frank that post on here who is a theist, I’m the atheist one ;)

  47. The Raving Atheist
    September 23rd, 2005 @ 2:28 pm

    You mean you weren’t being frank with me?

  48. Steve G.
    September 23rd, 2005 @ 2:29 pm

    Holy crap! I don

  49. Steve G.
    September 23rd, 2005 @ 2:43 pm

    My basic moral premises are that sustainable, non-hazardous pleasure is good, and that unnecessary, unjustifiable pain is bad. Ultimately it all comes down to what hurts or doesn’t hurt. If you deliberately slam a car door on my fingers it’s”bad” because it hurts. If you scratch my back (not too hard) it is good, because it does not hurt. My choice to label the door slamming bad and the scratching good is not artibrary, and is based on exactly the same sort of direct experience as seeing the cigarette butt.

    It most certainly is arbitrary once it’s taken outside of yourself. It

  50. Lurker
    September 23rd, 2005 @ 2:45 pm

    TRA said:
    “You cannot give a single counter-example of a theory based upon a paradox or contradiction that is true. “

    How about the infinite set of numbers that contain only the even integers being less than the infinite set of all integers? Both sets consist of a limitless/endless elements, yet one is 1/2 the size of the other. Paradox of truth?

    If that doesn’t float your boat, try some of these

  51. Anonymous
    September 23rd, 2005 @ 3:20 pm

    It seems the word infinite precludes disparate values. It isn’t true that one is half the other. They both retain infinite status. I believe the requirement was a true paradox.

    Quoth the dictionary:
    “…some infinite sets are smaller than others, but they are no less infinite.”

  52. The Raving Atheist
    September 23rd, 2005 @ 3:22 pm

    It most certainly is arbitrary once it’s taken outside of yourself. It

  53. St. Teabag
    September 23rd, 2005 @ 3:25 pm

    Lurker, that is not a paradox. You obviously do not have much education in mathematics.

    http://mathworld.wolfram.com/Aleph-0.html

  54. franky
    September 23rd, 2005 @ 3:27 pm

    Why should god have a plan? Why would he have a plan if he already knows precisely what decision I have made and what decision I’m going to make. Is that free will? Is that omniscience? Come one Steve.

  55. franky
    September 23rd, 2005 @ 3:32 pm

    It

  56. Steve G.
    September 23rd, 2005 @ 3:33 pm

    There’s a minority that goes around self-flagellating in sackcloth and ashes, but I don’t know if it was the atheists that started that practice.

    Regardless, the minority proves that it

  57. jahrta
    September 23rd, 2005 @ 3:54 pm

    “You guys must be really desperate for theist to argue with.”

    In a sense we have been desperate – it isn’t too often we’re graced with an articulate and inquisitive theist, so when the opportunity presents itself we all pile on in good form.

    “I

  58. The Raving Atheist
    September 23rd, 2005 @ 3:55 pm

    So you think we have equally crappy foundations to make our moral claims. OK, I

  59. Tenspace
    September 23rd, 2005 @ 4:00 pm

    After reading the comments at Think Christian… comments like this: hi GOD BLESS ALL THE CHRISTIANS OUT THERE

  60. The Raving Atheist
    September 23rd, 2005 @ 4:10 pm

    Tenspace,

    Jazlin’s faith offers him protection from witch attacks. Your atheism would offer him nothing of value.

    Keep in mind that that lady was hiding all sorts of stuff in there. If it wasn’t wicked stuff, it would be out in the open, and she wouldn’t be walking down the stairs but backwards.

  61. Steve G.
    September 23rd, 2005 @ 4:20 pm

    You’re smarter than you give yourself credit for being, which is one of the reasons we’re trying so hard to help you see why we view theistic beliefs as not just silly, but ultimately counter-productive to human development.

    I appreciate the comment, but I fear that I may be a bit impervious to any such attempts for two reasons. 1) I

  62. Lurker
    September 23rd, 2005 @ 4:31 pm

    Oh my! Who opened the forum cage door and let Teabag out?

    Take the infinity cardinal concept and morph it over into theism. If we can have an infinite set of numbers – infinite in quantity but not containing every number then it seems we can have an omnipotent god – infinite in power but not containing the ability to do everything. Omnibenevolent god – infinite in goodness but not containing the ability to do everything (by way of omnipotence).

    In other words it’s a game of symantics and not a real paradox or contradiction. The apparant contradiction of an omnipotent/omniscient/omnibenevolent god does not result in a real contradiction.

  63. St. Teabag
    September 23rd, 2005 @ 4:43 pm

    Lurker what the fuck are you talking about? Your absurd analogy is is essentially a statement equivalent to “I am Lurker, and I do not iunderstand what the word omnipotent means”.

    I assume that you do understand what the word assclown means, based on the number of times it must have been said to you.

  64. franky
    September 23rd, 2005 @ 4:45 pm

    I think what he’s basically saying is that since we can have a mathematical paradox, we can also have a paradoxical god! Wow, that has really convinced me…that both are man-made (math and god that is)

  65. Rob
    September 23rd, 2005 @ 4:53 pm

    Franky, god might be man-made, but mathematics definitely isn’t. There were 9 (or 10) planets long before we existed. We may have invented how we express mathematics, but mathematics has always been there.

  66. franky
    September 23rd, 2005 @ 4:56 pm

    We may have invented how we express mathematics, but mathematics has always been there
    Right…so the way we decided to express an infinite set of numbers was also man-made, what’s your point?

  67. Anonymous
    September 23rd, 2005 @ 4:58 pm

    Lurker:

    Again quoth the dictionary:
    Infinite:
    “Having no boundaries or limits.”

    Power:
    “The ability or capacity to perform or act effectively.”

    Together:
    “Having no boundaries or limits” in “the ability or capacity to perform or act effectively.”

    I could easily be wrong, but when you try to place a mathematical equation into a real world application I think it’s called isomorphing. You’re isomorphing the wrong quality. Infinite means without end, Boundary-less. If god’s powers are infinite, they are without boundaries.

    If god’s power does have boundaries, do you know what they might be, (other than the power to convince me, apparently)?

    And how did omnibenevolent sneak in there? Not everything he made and does is good, right?

  68. Bruce
    September 23rd, 2005 @ 5:05 pm

    I find it sad, yet funny, how the entire atheist argument is founded upon the assumption that

  69. Lurker
    September 23rd, 2005 @ 5:17 pm

    Infinite means without end, Boundary-less. If god’s powers are infinite, they are without boundaries.

    Some sets are both infinite and bounded (all positive numbers are bounded by zero)

    If god’s power does have boundaries, do you know what they might be, (other than the power to convince me, apparently)?

    I don’t claim to know, just claim that infinite and bounded can co-exist in math concepts so why not allow this when it comes to god concepts.

  70. PaladinOfChrist
    September 23rd, 2005 @ 5:49 pm

    First of all, Evangelical Christians don’t hold a high oppinion of themselves. In fact the very core of our beliefs is that mankind is depraved, perverted, and incapable of attaining perfection. You all are going to laugh at this but, God created mankind for His own glory. I do not find predestination to be a paradox, although there are a few paradoxes that can’t be answered. That’s why it takes faith. The Bible itself says that it takes faith like a little child to find the truth. So our own religeon supports the idea that “smart” people will not believe. Not saying “smart” people won’t believe, but simply that it is harder for them because of their knowledge. Back to predestination, even if God did predestine us to make a decision, we are accountable for it, because we did it. Now even if you won’t follow my God, the one true God, it is foolish to not follow any God. Existance is testimony to God’s existance. If there was no God there would be no right or wrong. Don’t feed me that bull about if it feels could or causes suffering. If there is no God then I can murder innocent children and think nothing of it. It is evil due to the existance of God. We weren’t made for pleasure, but rather for God’s glory. Christianianity isn’t pleasurable. Which also provides testiment to it bearing the truth. If millions will follow something knowing that it brings them pain, it shows that it carries something beyond the surface of human pleasure. Alas I’m done rambling because I doubt any of you care what I have to say. lol I hope you find God, because he loves you.

  71. Anonymous
    September 23rd, 2005 @ 6:16 pm

    It looks like someone needs to send an angry letter to the people who make up the words in the dictionary.

    Lurker, what do you know about god and how do you know it?

  72. Lurker
    September 23rd, 2005 @ 6:27 pm

    Dictionaries are good, but don’t let them be the final authority in all cases. I assume you’re not being sarcastic, implying that my ‘bounded infinity’ response was not logical or accurate.

    I know about god by logical reasoning, by scientific discoveries, by philosophical reasoning and by living life in general.

  73. Rob
    September 23rd, 2005 @ 6:38 pm

    > First of all, Evangelical Christians don’t hold a high oppinion of themselves. In fact the very core of our beliefs is that mankind is depraved, perverted, and incapable of attaining perfection.

    Ouch, its a wonder you can get a date with that sort of self-esteem.

    >You all are going to laugh at this but, God created mankind for His own glory.

    Yep, what an ego he has… did a lousy job too, considering what you said above…

    >I do not find predestination to be a paradox, although there are a few paradoxes that can’t be answered.

    Ever hear of Newcombe’s Paradox?

    >That’s why it takes faith. The Bible itself says that it takes faith like a little child to find the truth. So our own religeon supports the idea that “smart” people will not believe. Not saying “smart” people won’t believe, but simply that it is harder for them because of their knowledge.

    Faith is just an excuse not to use reason.

    > Back to predestination, even if God did predestine us to make a decision, we are accountable for it, because we did it.

    No, because god has the power to prevent us from doing it and if our actions harm other people than its not just us he’s responsible, but them.

    > Now even if you won’t follow my God, the one true God, it is foolish to not follow any God.

    Not really, it wouldn’t do any good to worship the wrong one.

    > If there was no God there would be no right or wrong. Don’t feed me that bull about if it feels could or causes suffering. If there is no God then I can murder innocent children and think nothing of it. It is evil due to the existance of God. We weren’t made for pleasure, but rather for God’s glory.

    I’m sorry, but I’m going to have to feed you that “bull”. We do good, not because of what happens in the afterlife but because of what happens in this life .Are you familiar with the prisoner’s dilemma? It can be mathematicaly proven that cooperative behavior is in the long run more beneficial to lawbreaking behavior.

    >Christianianity isn’t pleasurable. Which also provides testiment to it bearing the truth.

    Funny how you can say anything about it and claim it verifies its truthfulness. If it was pleasurable, couldn’t you also say it provides testament?

    >If millions will follow something knowing that it brings them pain, it shows that it carries something beyond the surface of human pleasure. Alas I’m done rambling because I doubt any of you care what I have to say. lol I hope you find God, because he loves you.

    And yet he made us “depraved, perverted, and incapable of attaining perfection!” He’s got one strange idea of love. Why don’t you let Steve G and Lurker handle this discussion…. at least they aren’t preachy about it.

  74. rob
    September 23rd, 2005 @ 6:42 pm

    Oops, made a slight typo.

    It can be mathematicaly proven that cooperative behavior is in the long run more beneficial than lawbreaking behavior.

    Obviously, I don’t mean “more beneficial to lawbreaking behavior”, thats just silly.

  75. Anonymous
    September 23rd, 2005 @ 6:44 pm

    Lurker said:
    “I know about god by logical reasoning, by scientific discoveries, by philosophical reasoning and by living life in general.”

    Many atheists use this same method to dismiss the idea of god.

    How do you know what god wants? Do you have a logical, scientific or philosophical process for this?

    I was kind of kidding about the dictionary, but it is the authority on definitions. I can’t think of a better authority for them, offhand.

  76. St. Teabag
    September 23rd, 2005 @ 6:54 pm

    Rob, you are right, but it only works if everyone co-operates for the common good. If most people do but a few work for their own benefit they do much much better than everyone else. A bit like how corporate America has a special lisence to fuck all taxpayers, and they do very well indeed out of it.

    http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/game-theory/

  77. Steve G.
    September 23rd, 2005 @ 7:24 pm

    TRA,
    From your swipe about value, I think you misunderstand what I mean by that. I don’t mean value as in an insurance policy or protection from evil or any such nonsense. I am talking about the practical value of ordering my life. My faith has taught me more about being a kind, loving and selfless human to my wife and children than non-belief ever did. What I mean is that despite the claims of some superiority in this very practical, human based, real world area, I’ve found no such evidence that you have some secret to offer that is lacking. To the contrary, the ‘philosophy’ of Catholicism in regards to human dignity is light years ahead of anything I’ve seen argue here.

  78. Christian Theist
    September 23rd, 2005 @ 9:04 pm

    Concerning the problem of faith, see here.

    Concerning the problem of evil, see here.

    Any responses to these articles are more than welcome on my blog.

  79. The Raving Atheist
    September 23rd, 2005 @ 9:05 pm

    Steve,

    (1) A philosophy that says that arbitrarily picking and choosing among paradoxes to achieve happiness is the way to go can hardly condemn as “nonsense” a philosophy that defines value as protection from evil.

    (2) What makes your faith distinctly Catholic is not loving your family, which I do and presumably most of the people here do. What makes it Catholic is the admittedly arbitrary belief in a divine square-circle that killed itself/its son on a cross, an act which somehow wiped away the sins of everyone on earth (provided they believe that story), even people who never did anything bad but are considered sinful because some snake once tricked a woman into eating an apple. I can’t imagine how anyone could derive a consistent value system from that. If anything, it should instruct you to help others by killing yourself, or building a time machine and giving the apple back to the snake or something like that, which clearly wouldn’t be impossible if you’re operating at that level of fantasy. And I’m not really sure what you mean by “this very practical human based, real world area,” unless you’re distinguishing from some crazy, unreal realm. But if your orders are coming from that realm, you should also be paying attention to the needs of the millions of angels and seraphim that might need your love, instead of being so parochial and spending it all on your family.

    I could very easily start spouting Hindu myths and credit every kind thing I do to some animal-headed deity. I could claim that every good thing I do for my family is for that god, and every “seemingly” bad thing is to make sure the god treats them nice when they die (or help the elephant-angels). The superiority of my current philosophy is that it puts me in a position to criticize that sort of philosophy. Yours doesn’t.

  80. Steve G.
    September 23rd, 2005 @ 11:14 pm

    TRA,
    You should do yourself a favor, and pick up a Catholic Catechism so you will know what you are talking about in that regard. I don’t mean that in a condescending way, and I wouldn’t expect that such a reading would convince to believe anything. But your silly, oversimplified caricatures of Catholic understanding are just inane. I would think an honest intelligent atheist would at least want to know the understanding of the beleifs he’s discussing as the source understands it before raving on it. But maybe just hoisting up the caricature and whacking away at it is more fun.

    The superiority of my current philosophy is that it puts me in a position to criticize that sort of philosophy.

    Based soley on your arbitray and subjective belief that there is a consensus (as if that is a valuable thing in and of itself) in your pleasure/pain principle. Nice, your arbitray philosophy (simply because you believe it to be more grounded) allows you to criticize all other suppossedly arbitrary philosphies. But my suppossedly arbitrary philosphy can’t do the same. That makes tons of sense.

  81. The Raving Atheist
    September 23rd, 2005 @ 11:25 pm

    Steve,

    Let’s break it down so I know exactly what you’re denying regarding Catholic beliefs. Do Catholics believe:

    (1) That Jesus Christ was specifically sent by God to die on the Cross?
    (2) That the reason Christ was sent was to suffer and die for human sins?
    (3) That a belief that Christ died for our sins is either required or helpful for a person to achieve salvation?
    (4) That the reason we have sin is that we were born with it, due to the fall of man in the Garden of Eden?
    (5) That from these beliefs, certain moral principles for the conduct of our life on earth can be derived?

    What, exactly, have I misunderstood? Did I leave out an elephant or something?

    There’s nothing remotely arbitrary about my pleasure/pain principle. Go out on the street and start smacking people in the head with crowbars, or just spit in their faces, and see how long you last. Or try being nice to them and causing them happiness and pleasure, and see what happens.

    Or, you can

    (A) Tell them about Christ crucified and see if they can deduce from that how to behave.
    (B) Tell them about Ganesh the elephant-headed god and see if they can deduce from Him how to behave.

    At least explain to me why (A) is less arbitrary than (B), and why both of those are superior to my pain/pleasure proposal.

  82. Anonymous
    September 23rd, 2005 @ 11:44 pm

    TRA said:
    “What, exactly, have I misunderstood? Did I leave out an elephant or something?”

    Transubstantiation comes to mind

  83. The Uncredible Hallq
    September 23rd, 2005 @ 11:49 pm

    James Randi believs in psychic powers

    I don’t know of anyone spending time arguing against leprechauns, but plenty of people do spend their time arguing about other sorts of nonsense that people believe: astrology, alien visitations, psychic powers, homeopathy, etc. By this logic, James …

  84. Sportin' Life
    September 24th, 2005 @ 1:42 am

    I don’t claim to know, just claim that infinite and bounded can co-exist in math concepts so why not allow this when it comes to god concepts.

    Theoretical math is just about the most precise, specific, well-defined, and rigorous human thoughtproduct there is. “Theology” on the other hand is an arbitrary collection of contradictory, vague, apologetically-motivated assertions. There really is no basis at all for making analogies from one to the other.

  85. Sportin' Life
    September 24th, 2005 @ 1:42 am

    I don’t claim to know, just claim that infinite and bounded can co-exist in math concepts so why not allow this when it comes to god concepts.

    Theoretical math is just about the most precise, specific, well-defined, and rigorous human thoughtproduct there is. “Theology” on the other hand is an arbitrary collection of contradictory, vague, apologetically-motivated assertions. There really is no basis at all for making analogies from one to the other.

  86. Sportin' Life
    September 24th, 2005 @ 1:42 am

    I don’t claim to know, just claim that infinite and bounded can co-exist in math concepts so why not allow this when it comes to god concepts.

    Theoretical math is just about the most precise, specific, well-defined, and rigorous human thoughtproduct there is. “Theology” on the other hand is an arbitrary collection of contradictory, vague, apologetically-motivated assertions. There really is no basis at all for making analogies from one to the other.

  87. Sportin' Life
    September 24th, 2005 @ 1:42 am

    I don’t claim to know, just claim that infinite and bounded can co-exist in math concepts so why not allow this when it comes to god concepts.

    Theoretical math is just about the most precise, specific, well-defined, and rigorous human thoughtproduct there is. “Theology” on the other hand is an arbitrary collection of contradictory, vague, apologetically-motivated assertions. There really is no basis at all for making analogies from one to the other.

  88. PaladinOfChrist
    September 24th, 2005 @ 1:55 am

    First of all I’m not “preachy.” Second so much for you guys bing friendly. Third, I’m sure you’re all college graduates and i just turned 14 so… don’t feel all big and bad mocking me. With that through.

    > First of all, Evangelical Christians don’t hold a high oppinion of themselves. In fact the very core of our beliefs is that mankind is depraved, perverted, and incapable of attaining perfection.

    Ouch, its a wonder you can get a date with that sort of self-esteem.

    I think you’re being sarcastic or else you meant can’t…

    >You all are going to laugh at this but, God created mankind for His own glory.

    Yep, what an ego he has… did a lousy job too, considering what you said above…

    If you were perfect you’d have a so called ego too. Considering you already do…

    >I do not find predestination to be a paradox, although there are a few paradoxes that can’t be answered.

    Ever hear of Newcombe’s Paradox?

    Yes, I have, I disagree with it.

    >That’s why it takes faith. The Bible itself says that it takes faith like a little child to find the truth. So our own religeon supports the idea that “smart” people will not believe. Not saying “smart” people won’t believe, but simply that it is harder for them because of their knowledge.

    Faith is just an excuse not to use reason.

    No, actually it’s called wisdom but whatever…

    > Back to predestination, even if God did predestine us to make a decision, we are accountable for it, because we did it.

    No, because god has the power to prevent us from doing it and if our actions harm other people than its not just us he’s responsible, but them.

    We simply disagree on who’d be at fault, so no sense arguing here.

    > Now even if you won’t follow my God, the one true God, it is foolish to not follow any God.

    Not really, it wouldn’t do any good to worship the wrong one.

    lol, good point, all I might though was it only makes sense that there is a God…

    > If there was no God there would be no right or wrong. Don’t feed me that bull about if it feels could or causes suffering. If there is no God then I can murder innocent children and think nothing of it. It is evil due to the existance of God. We weren’t made for pleasure, but rather for God’s glory.

    I’m sorry, but I’m going to have to feed you that “bull”. We do good, not because of what happens in the afterlife but because of what happens in this life .Are you familiar with the prisoner’s dilemma? It can be mathematicaly proven that cooperative behavior is in the long run more beneficial to lawbreaking behavior.

    But there shouldn’t be a jail if there is no right or wrong…

    >Christianianity isn’t pleasurable. Which also provides testiment to it bearing the truth.

    Funny how you can say anything about it and claim it verifies its truthfulness. If it was pleasurable, couldn’t you also say it provides testament?

    No I wouldn’t but ok, I guess you know my thoughts better than myself…

    >If millions will follow something knowing that it brings them pain, it shows that it carries something beyond the surface of human pleasure. Alas I’m done rambling because I doubt any of you care what I have to say. lol I hope you find God, because he loves you.

    And yet he made us “depraved, perverted, and incapable of attaining perfection!” He’s got one strange idea of love. Why don’t you let Steve G and Lurker handle this discussion…. at least they aren’t preachy about it.

    Umm, he didn’t make us that way. He made us perfect but we rejected him and he cursed the earth.

    Gees, Steve, you could say something to my defense. lol

  89. PaladinOgChrist
    September 24th, 2005 @ 2:07 am

    Second so much for you guys bing friendly.

    being*

    lol, good point, all I might though was it only makes sense that there is a God…

    meant*

    sorry about that

  90. Mijae
    September 24th, 2005 @ 3:28 am

    I’m a bit late for this part of the discussion, but Steve mentioned that in God’s after-the-fact reactions to evil events to make good out of it, he works “through” us. Theists use this phrase quite often to let God still get credit for the good things that humans do themselves (while being able to dodge the credit for the bad things). If God working “through” us to make good things happen doesn’t mean that God is controlling us and interfering with our free will anyway, what does it mean?

  91. Matt van Voorthuijsen
    September 24th, 2005 @ 4:05 am

    There is a comment that I posted at http://www.thinkchristian.net/?p=297 which some of you, particularly the Raving Atheist, might be interested in.

    While I’m here, I have something to say about choosing the wrong God. If there is more than one God to choose from the differences would be either too insignificant for our choice to matter (such as Jesus vs. the Father vs. the Holy Spirit) or too great for them to have a meaningful coexistence as Gods. Therefore don’t have to worry about choosing the wrong one. What makes more of a difference is: what do we believe about the one God if there is one, and will we choose to trust, serve, and obey him as our father?

    But what we believe about him effects neither the reality of his existence (or non-existence), nor any of his attributes, nor his decision to (or not to) love and discipline us as his children.

    I think the biggest hole in the “Basic Assumptions” is the assumption that God has to be universally benevolent in order to be God. He does not have to be, and based on my reading of the Bible combined with my personal experience, I don’t believe that he is. I believe that there are some whom he has chosen to love, and there are others whom he has chosen not to. A good example of the unloved is Satan and his demons. It is clear to me that they are not loved by God.

    Those who have been chosen for love are harder to identify. Often they are the ones who seem and feel like they are the most unloved.

    Hebrews 11 describes their suffering:
    (see http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=hebrews%2011&version=31 for conext)
    36Some faced jeers and flogging, while still others were chained and put in prison. 37They were stoned[f]; they were sawed in two; they were put to death by the sword. They went about in sheepskins and goatskins, destitute, persecuted and mistreated— 38the world was not worthy of them. They wandered in deserts and mountains, and in caves and holes in the ground.

    Why is there suffering in the world if God has the power to stop it? If God loves us he uses our suffering as a form of discipline. If he does not love us the reason for our suffering is even more clear. The tricky thing is that we have no way of knowing which one it really is. All we can do is hope that he does love us, and live according to that hope. I believe that if we will love him it is because he has first loved us.

    1 John 4:19
    We love because he first loved us.
    (http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?book_id=69&chapter=4&version=31&context=chapter)

    But God by his nature does not need anything from us. Therefore the only way we can love him back is by passing his love on to others. If we have no desire to do that, it may be that we are not one of those whom he loves, but we might just need some more discipline.

    Of course if God does not exist our only hope is our own human efforts. I can’t speak for everyone, but the way my life has been, I’m better off putting my hope in God with the ways I’ve managed to screw things up.

    In Christ–who is called the Way, the Truth, and the Life,
    Matt van Voorthuijsen

  92. Jean-Paul Fastidious
    September 24th, 2005 @ 6:05 am

    As is usually the case, I didn’t get here until there was already 80-some comments, so any point I would have made has probably already been made, but I’m too lazy to slog through all of the above to find out.

    Anyway, I’ll just comment on this from the post:

    Most atheists are lying to us and themselves when they say they do not believe in God. Deep down, they do, but they are rebelling (For some reason, this comment offends many of them deeply).

    …and point out the comment I made here last Sunday, as the above is an almost cartoonish example of what I was talking about in the second paragraph.

    And also this from R.C. in the Think Christian comments:

    There is no

  93. a different tim
    September 24th, 2005 @ 8:51 am

    Been away talking to some mathematicians of my acquaintance…..

    The word is:
    “Infinity” it seems is a shorthand for “keeps on going”. It is not a number in itself. As far as I can see all of the “paradoxes” involving infinity evaporate if you keep this in mind. There is also no problem with it being bounded at one, or even both ends – the set of proper fractions less than one is also infinite. Infinity and boundedness (is that a word?) have little to do with each other. You can also have “finite yet unbound” sets. the circumference of a circle springs to mind.

    Right, on with the show…..

  94. Anonymous
    September 24th, 2005 @ 9:07 am

    Stop it adt, your cavalier destruction of paradoxes makes baby Jesus cry.

    Matt van V said:
    “Those who have been chosen for love are harder to identify. Often they are the ones who seem and feel like they are the most unloved.”

    You are amazing! Please teach me how to identify those who have been chosen for love.

  95. a different tim
    September 24th, 2005 @ 9:23 am

    According to Matt van V (who also posted some pretty strange stuff on the thinkXian site) it should be those who look and feel like the most unloved.

    That’ll be Marilyn Manson fans and other goths then. they certainly look onloved to me. The lyrics indicate they feel unloved as well.

    A surprising choice for those chosen to do God’s holy work, you may think, but who am I to argue.

  96. Steve G.
    September 24th, 2005 @ 10:33 am

    TRA,
    First off, sorry if my last comment was unnecessarily snarky. It was late, I was tired, yada, yada, yada.

    I actually didn

  97. Steve G.
    September 24th, 2005 @ 10:39 am

    As far as the arbitrary nature of your principle

  98. PaladinOfChrist
    September 24th, 2005 @ 12:05 pm

    Matt was trying to say that to love God he must first love you. He’s referring to Christian predestination. Also what I meant was that existance itself proves the existance of a God. Not that the ohter religeons such as islam and so forth are true. They aren’t. But they still are able to see the existance of a God. Whereas I worship the true God. As far as unloved, this scripture should explain what he meant. Alright the Apostle Paul is talking to the early church which is facing persecution. He tels them that if there was no aftre life then Christians should be pitied above all men. Basically you’re right, we have hope in life after this. We know the truth because God revealed it to us.

  99. a different tim
    September 24th, 2005 @ 12:44 pm

    “existence itself proves the existence of a God”
    Obviously we don’t think so. Can we have the full syllogism please?

    “not that the other religions such as Islam and so forth are true”
    Why not? You say you’ve had a revelation, they say they’ve had a revelation. There’s what could be interpreted as a fairly impressive prophecy about the state of Israel and the Palestinian question in the Koran, if you’re up for prophecy as proof (and have Palestinian rather than Israeli sympathies, of course). Check it out: Sura 17 verses 4-6.

    “I worship the true God”
    It’s the SAME GOD!!!
    “Allah” is just a title meaning “the compassionate one”.
    That’s why the Muslims take the Tanach and the New Testament as sacred, although not definitive, texts.

  100. PaladinOfChrst
    September 24th, 2005 @ 1:05 pm

    Only unbelievers say it is the same God. The different religeons don’t cuz we know about the contradictons. Also as far as prophecy, Israel was prophecied to fall in the Bible as well.

  101. PaladinOfChrst
    September 24th, 2005 @ 1:06 pm

    Only unbelievers say it is the same God. The different religeons don’t cuz we know about the contradictons. Also as far as prophecy, Israel was prophecied to fall in the Bible as well.

  102. Paladin
    September 24th, 2005 @ 1:24 pm

    Sorry about that, my computer messed up.

  103. Mookie
    September 24th, 2005 @ 1:42 pm

    theism – the belief in a god

    a-theism – the lack of belief (in a god)

    Everyone is born ignorant of the concept of supernatural entities, therefore they are born atheists. Brainwashing in later life can cause them to become theists, or, like me, maybe they are not subjected to religion, and so remain atheists. If you were born in isolation on the moon, and raised by robots without any knowledge of religion and human customs on earth, you would be atheist. The very IDEA of a god would not be known to you; you could not even consider the answer to a question that has never been asked. To get someone to believe this idea, you would need to provide proof. What ends up happening in most cases, is the person is young and gullible, led by emotions and trust in the parental units into believing in god(s). This is not proof, its just brainwashing.

    I am not atheist in response to the question

  104. simbol
    September 24th, 2005 @ 1:53 pm

    “Even read purely as story, the death and resurrection is a powerful story of the hero God who is willing to sacrifice him for those he loves.”

    It is not.

    1)He didn’t truly die. It’s not only that He resurrected, it also that he is part of the triune who is immortal, so how can He die? Can we speak properly of resurrection if the guy didn’t die?

    2) Since he didn’t die, there was no sacrifice.

    3)Since no human died in these events, and god can’t be and was not affected, it seems to be there was no retribution for the original sin, what may be points to the fact that possibly there was not such original sin.

    4) Since there was no real sacrifice made by god (how could it possibly happen if god is invulnerable, and the least in a human way?), Christ’s death is not proof of god’s love.

    5)On the contrary, there are enough proofs that god hates humans (see katrina and rita) for unknown reasons, but it’s known that some parents hate their siblings.

    6)Since god hates us, and given the Noah’s precedent, it would be reasonable He wanted to destroy us, as he did when Noah.

    7) Since he can destroy us and have the motive (hate), it is suspicious that this have not happened.

    8)There are some possible reasons: god is not vindictive, or we are in the death row, or it doesn’t matter to god, or we are not sinful, or god doesn’t exists,

    9)Noah case proves god is vindictive and that bad behavior matters. We are a sinful species. There is not reason for god to have a death row.

    10) My conclusion, then, is that god doesn’t exists and that He is vindictive.

    Tim, you can be sure the logic construction is impeccable. The fact that all ends in a contradiction is not my fault, at least not deliberated.

  105. a different tim
    September 24th, 2005 @ 2:19 pm

    Simbol – yup, logic seems fine to me. The contradiction is what you get when you take the bible as a premise.

    Paladin – “only unbelievers say it’s the same God”.
    Not strictly true (I could point you to theists who are aware of it) but more to the point, this is an atheist site. We ARE unbelievers.

    “Israel was prophecied to fall in the bible as well”. Uh huh. the Koran also prophecies that it will come back, as it has, as great tyrants, which from a muslim point of view they are. Also more to the point, I wasn’t (for a change) knocking the bible, but pointing to the possibility that from a theist point of view, it could be either (or both. The contradictions between them are no greater than their internal contradictions).

    I also notice that you have made no attempt to demonstrate your assertion that “existence itself proves the existence of God”. You said “proves”. I’d like to see that proof please. If you start using words like “prove” I don’t expect a bunch of evasions, flannel about faith or revelation, or a string of non sequiturs. So, starting from existence, prove God.

    In your own time……

    See, this illustrates the problem we have with religion.
    1) You make bald assertions without even attempting to back them up (Steve G excepted).
    2) You assert, without any logic or evidence, that your brand of religion is superior to all the other, indistinguishable to outsiders, brands of religion.
    3) You appear unfamiliar with fairly basic rules of rational argument (again, Steve G excepted).
    4) You aren’t even prepared to admit this. At least the “duh, it’s faith” guy put his cards on the table.

  106. PaladinOfChrist
    September 24th, 2005 @ 4:22 pm

    I pretty much did say tha ittakes faith… like a little child. So if you look at my past posts you’ll see that. Now that “my cards are on the table” I’ll give you “proof.” But first I have this to say. You say that until proven otherwise, God does not exist. Ok we’ll use that method. Until proven otherwise, evolution does not exist. So right now using your method we can’t have a belief because there is no solid proof in front of us. Therefore using your method any belief over the origins of existance takes faith. Now for your proof. Of the faiths that are proposed here, evolution or creation(in any religeon not just mine), the only logical one is creation. Spontaneous Generation has been proven scientifically impossible. So through process of elimination, I have given you your proof. So until you come up with a theory that makes sense and is scientifically possible, unlike evolution, I’ll get you some more “proof.”

  107. Anonymous
    September 24th, 2005 @ 4:43 pm

    Paladin said:
    “Spontaneous Generation has been proven scientifically impossible.”

    I’m not sure that’s provably impossible, given that it might require millions of years for complex patterns resembling early life to form. You can recreate a lot of conditions in a lab, but the passage of millions of years isn’t currently one of them.

    Can you empirically deny that everything that happens seems to happen because of what happened before it?

  108. PaladinOfChrist
    September 24th, 2005 @ 4:54 pm

    Are you referring to cause and effect?

  109. PaladinOfChrist
    September 24th, 2005 @ 5:08 pm

    I can’t disprove cause and effect if that’s what you mean. Not sure how this is relevant…?

  110. PaladinOfChrist
    September 24th, 2005 @ 5:15 pm

    God is the cause and everything is the effect. God existed before anything else so God is the first cause. However God is not at fault for evil because I could give someone a some money and they could buy a gun and shoot someone. This effect started with my action of giving the money but I am not at fault for the loss of life.

  111. Anonymous
    September 24th, 2005 @ 5:53 pm

    If everything happens because of what happens before it…

    It would mean that if god was/is the first cause, there is no reason whatsoever that he needs to take a hand in anything afterwards. In fact, he can’t. If he changes something, that means he himself has changed, either his mind or his plan, and that means he can’t be perfect and unchanging. It also makes him more than first cause, since he’s an on-going cause.

    If he set everything into motion and everything that happened after that was/is caused by that first cause, then everything happens the only way it can, based on what happened before it.

    It also precludes free will, since everything you think or do is caused by what happened before it, which you have agreed you can not disprove, and indeed even stated that god is this first cause.
    If this is true, then god causes you to think and do every single thing you think and do.

    And finally,
    “God is the cause and everything is the effect.” followed by “However God is not at fault for evil…”.
    These statements are directly contradictory. Or else he caused evil and he’s also not at fault for it.
    If you knew a person was going to buy a gun and shoot someone, as god would know, and you give him money anyway, wouldn’t you be at least partially at fault?

  112. June
    September 24th, 2005 @ 5:58 pm

    Didn’t Plato or St. Augustine say it?
    God is perfect.
    Perfection requires existence.
    Therefore God exists.

  113. paladinOfChrist
    September 24th, 2005 @ 5:59 pm

    If you knew a person was going to buy a gun and shoot someone, as god would know, and you give him money anyway, wouldn’t you be at least partially at fault?

    No, if that isn’t your intent then no.

    It also precludes free will,

    I don’t believe in free will so no problem there.

    God is an ongoing cause. But he is also the first cause. So that doesn’t make Him imperfect.

  114. PaladinOfChrist
    September 24th, 2005 @ 6:01 pm

    Didn’t Plato or St. Augustine say it?
    God is perfect.
    Perfection requires existence.
    Therefore God exists.

    I know you’re agreeing with me but that didn’t make much sense. At least not to me but I’m no Plato. lol

  115. Anonymous
    September 24th, 2005 @ 6:14 pm

    “I don’t believe in free will so no problem there.”

    Awesome. Common ground. And conflict.

    If you think that there is no free will, then god picks and chooses who gets rewarded and who gets punished based on conditions that he himself brought about.
    Why pick you and not me? If I have no free will, how can I possibly get in god’s good graces? If I can’t, I was born damned. Is that fair or benevolent?

  116. PaladinofChrist
    September 24th, 2005 @ 6:26 pm

    That doesn’t disprove my belief, it simply proves that you hate my God. He was, he is, he will be, we have no right to question His authority. Besides, mankind has some strange defenitions of “fair.” He was the first cause which caused you to not believe at this very moment, but he isn’t at fault, that just isn’t sound logic.

  117. Anonymous
    September 24th, 2005 @ 6:47 pm

    If an omnipotent god exists, and I’m damned, and I have no free will, who is at fault for my damning?

    Paladin said:
    “That doesn’t disprove my belief, it simply proves that you hate my God. He was, he is, he will be, we have no right to question His authority.”

    Hmm, unusual leap here. Regarding god, I can’t really hate an unprovable god, only the behavior of his adherents. I can’t understand how anything I’ve ever said in my entire life, let alone on these comment pages, could possibly be used as proof that I hate god.

    The fact that you have no right to question his authority is fine, just don’t get any funny ideas about whether or not I have a right to question his authority.

    “Besides, mankind has some strange defenitions of “fair.””

    Since humans make up the definitions of words, I’m not sure how the human definition of fair can be strange. Strange compared to what?

  118. simbol
    September 24th, 2005 @ 6:48 pm

    Paladin

    I strongly support you.

    In fact I have a Theory. This one.

    It’s a fact that chimpanzees and humans share 98 %of their DNA. This lead me to two possible scenarios:

    1) Chimpanzees have a 98% probability of having a soul, where humans have 100% or 2) Chimpanzees have a soul whose quality is 98% of humans.

    In any case, human soul is superior, or the probabilities for men are superior to those of the chimp. Thus the controversy with evolutionists is settled and won by us without the shameful surrender made by Catholics accepting evolution.

    This Theory leads in the second scenario (98% Quality) to the concept of “Lesser soul”. In this case the chimps have a soul lesser in quality than the human one. But since it is a soul, it is entitled to go to heaven and it demands that heaven be organized accordingly. So we would have a heaven with two departments: full souls and lesser souls. The second department must be divided in sub departments for taking into account that other beings exists. For example, carrots shares 50% of the DNA with humans. I don’t know what is the case for the bacteria but I think they and the carrots are also entitled to heaven even when this second heaven will be obviously of lesser quality than the first one.

    Of course, a full development of this theory entails a lot of work but very interesting. We will have to deal with some problems like this: Do we need a different yardstick given the fact that DNA doesn’t consider behavior? Some humans souls maybe are lesser souls when conduct is considered. And some other are better than average humans. It is my view that people like Torquemada, Savonarola, Loyola, Calvin and Luther must be taken on average as a yardstick of the best souls. Of course there is a lot of work for mathematician for working this problem out. Once we have the yardstick and a good classification, I dare to prognosticate some humans will be grouped with chimpanzees, and others like RA and Tim, with the bacteria. I suppose that Stalin, Hitler and Mao will be with snakes.

    I think “lesser souls theory” (LST) will be a hit. It is better than ID because cannot be attacked by evolutionists (LST uses DNA as a reference); resolve the insurmountable problem that hell poses in relation with omnibenevolence, because using LST you don’t need hell; and permit dispatch easily problems like abortion or homosexuality. This is because these sins will never be comitted by full souls and will be left to lesser souls.

    LST will be received enthusiastically by a lot of people of certain country that use to say that their president is a Chimp. While this is not true, they for themselves will classify their president this way and will be happy.

    The only problem I have with this heory, for the time being, is that I don’t know for sure how I will be classified. I expect to be with Pope Alexander VI.

    This is a very rough draft of LST. I invite you to share the work and the credits.

  119. Born Again
    September 24th, 2005 @ 8:06 pm

    The same day Jesus was resurrected he was seen by at least 500 people. The trouble with trying to disprove God is the fact that you cannot. But know this .Whether or not you believe in him does not change the fact that he hung on an old rugged cross and died for your sins. He (God) loves you and you cannot change this except when you die if you do not know him you will forever burn in a devils hell.
    Praying for you. Born again

  120. Rob
    September 24th, 2005 @ 8:15 pm

    >The same day Jesus was resurrected he was seen by at least 500 people.

    500 fictional people. There’s virtually no evidence of Jesus from the time that he supposedly lived. Some historic characters cited in the bible such as Pontius Pilate act completely out of character from how they acted in other historical documents.

  121. Lurker
    September 24th, 2005 @ 9:04 pm

    I see Steve’s post #93 has so far gone unanswered. Anyone want to take that one?

    Will you admit that your preference to not murder, rape, steal, etc. is only a product of culture and hence just as meaningless as prefering cake over ice cream or chinese food over italian? Or will you say there is objective truth in these matters?

    If there is no objective truth in the above then I want to ask why should I even care? Saying it’s obvious that rape is wrong for whatever reason is the same as saying it’s obvious that eating chocolate ice cream is wrong (over vanilla).

    Assume that god exists. If there is no objective good/bad then it doesn’t matter if god appears good to you or not – god just prefers things differently. God is a product of his heavenly culture.

    The only way atheists have a leg to stand on when it comes to complaints about god’s behavior is to admit to an objective moral code of right/wrong. Without it, their complaints are nothing more than statements of preference.

  122. PaladinOfChrist
    September 24th, 2005 @ 9:31 pm

    Simbol, thanks for your support, but I think your theory is a bit out there… I don’t know if animals have a soul, but to compare them to mankind is disgraceful. We were made in God’s image.

    The same day Jesus was resurrected he was seen by at least 500 people. The trouble with trying to disprove God is the fact that you cannot. But know this .Whether or not you believe in him does not change the fact that he hung on an old rugged cross and died for your sins. He (God) loves you and you cannot change this except when you die if you do not know him you will forever burn in a devils hell.
    Praying for you. Born again

    Amen brother.

    Lurker, you’re right, without God good and evil have no existance and since it is clear they do exist, there must be a God. Also God is the standard of good. He defines good, not any man, angel, demon, or animal’s oppinion of good. He is the very state of perfection.

    Anonymous, the Bible says that if someone denies God he hates Him. If you love your wife are you going to going around saying she doesn’t exist? As far as fair, I meant the defenition varies. Everyone doesn’t agree on what is fair, like you and I for example.

  123. Anonymous
    September 24th, 2005 @ 9:46 pm

    Lurker said:
    “Will you admit that your preference to not murder, rape, steal, etc. is only a product of culture and hence just as meaningless as prefering cake over ice cream or chinese food over italian? Or will you say there is objective truth in these matters?”

    I am an atheist, and I believe that there is no way to know objective truth, nothing is good or bad, I can morally equivocate anything if it means achievement of any of my goals, etc.

    I subjectively prefer my freedom to any other goal or value because it’s that thing, freedom, that allows me to value other things. Most believers, apparently, do not prefer their (or my) freedom over any other goal or value if they truly believe in an all-important god. Since my freedom is not as important to them as their god, they will be forever in conflict with me and my freedom. I prefer to be as free as I can be, and that precludes others committing rape, murder etc. on me or my loved ones. And I, knowing that the freer everyone else is the freer I am, do not do these things either.

    Lurker also said:
    “God is a product of his heavenly culture.”

    Your god is created and/or shaped? He is caused by something? That seems way out there for those who believe he is the beginning and end.

    Lurker also said:
    “The only way atheists have a leg to stand on when it comes to complaints about god’s behavior is to admit to an objective moral code of right/wrong. Without it, their complaints are nothing more than statements of preference.”

    I don’t complain about an unprovable god’s behavior. I complain about the behavior of his benighted believers.

  124. PaladinOfChrist
    September 24th, 2005 @ 9:48 pm

    *sarcasm*Simbol, thanks for your support*sarcasm*

  125. Anonymous
    September 24th, 2005 @ 9:52 pm

    “Anonymous, the Bible says that if someone denies God he hates Him. If you love your wife are you going to going around saying she doesn’t exist? As far as fair, I meant the defenition varies. Everyone doesn’t agree on what is fair, like you and I for example.”

    Hahaha. You can’t “prove” anything with the bible without the a priori belief that it’s inerrant!
    Even if I hated my wife I wouldn’t go around saying she didn’t exist. Do I hate Santa because I deny he exists?

    I am using the on-line dictionary for definitions. If you are making up your own definitions then words don’t mean anything, really.

  126. PaladinOfChrist
    September 24th, 2005 @ 9:58 pm

    Well I really can’t make a point about hate I guess since you don’t believe the existance of God. So that doesn’t really work on you… lol. So forget I ever said hate.

  127. a different tim
    September 25th, 2005 @ 3:16 pm

    Sorry…I’ve been unable to get on to the site due to “bandwidth restrictions”. So I’ve been having a discussion with the good folks at thinXian. no real luck. So this is a bit late. If a guy called James posts here, try to be polite – he at least attempted to engege in rational debate.

    Paladin. Evolution is, strictly speaking, a theory about the development of life from its simplest forms to more complex ones, not a theory of origins. Darwin is quite explicit on this. As a theory of development, it is testable and has repeatedly been tested, and passed those tests.

    As far as origin goes, I would have to say “I don’t know” – it is pretty unlikely that fossils will be preserved from that long ago (although there are microfossils from 31/2 billion years ago, shortly after the earth cooled down). I have to say that spontaneous generation is impossible in the sense of fully fledged life forms springing from the dust, but not impossible in the form of simple replicators, say RNA, in suitable conditions. It may be very unlikely, but remember that of all the planets in the universe, there is only one as far as we know with life. This unlikely event therefore needs only to have happened once in all those planets to explain what we see. When you consider this, the odds shorten somewhat.

    There are several possible mechanisms using only natural processes by which life could have arisen, but it is not really possible to say which one actually took place, and of course the real mechanism may be one we have not thought of yet.

    There is, however, only one theory which not only requires natural processes but also requires a whole different order of being including supernatural creator more complex than the life it is supposed to have originated, and refuses to say anything of that being’s origins. That is the God theory, and by Ockham’s razor it therefore has to be the first to go.

    Remember, the “God of the gaps” – invoking divine powers to explain what science has not found answers for yet – is bad theology as well as bad science. What will you do if someone is able to generate life from simple ingredients? Give up your belief? somehow I doubt it. So your argument obviously was not what convinced you – why then should it convince me?

    Hope this answers your question.

  128. Lurker
    September 25th, 2005 @ 5:48 pm

    Anonymous said:
    I am an atheist, and I believe that there is no way to know objective truth, nothing is good or bad, I can morally equivocate anything if it means achievement of any of my goals, etc.

    Then why do you live your life as if you have some understanding of objective truth? I assume you’re arguing for the atheist postion here. On what basis if there is no objective truth? Seems irrational at best.

    “God is a product of his heavenly culture.”

    This statement was part of my hypothetical “god exists”. Doesn’t matter which god. The problem doesn’t go away.

    I don’t complain about an unprovable god’s behavior. I complain about the behavior of his benighted believers.

    Without objective moral truth your complaints are nothing more than preference. Instead of asking a person to justify their preference for beef over chicken, you’re asking them to justify their behavior over behavior that you deem “good”.

    Anyone else?

  129. Anonymous
    September 25th, 2005 @ 10:14 pm

    Lurker said:
    “Then why do you live your life as if you have some understanding of objective truth?”

    I live my life how I must, since I don’t believe in free-will or choice. I specifically said we can’t know objective truth.

    Lurker also said:
    “Without objective moral truth your complaints are nothing more than preference.”

    Here is a comment from my previous post:
    “I subjectively prefer my freedom to any other goal or value because it’s that thing, freedom, that allows me to value other things.”

    Please note that I said “I subjectively prefer”. This should clear up your apparent confusion regarding my beliefs. Since I stated that we can’t know objective truth, then all of your subjective beliefs are “preferences” too. They’re just “preferences” that will eventually get in the way of my “preferences”, while my “preferences”, which include being left alone and leaving others alone, don’t include interfering with your “preferences”.

    Do you prefer to be free, or do you prefer not to be free? Are you comparing a choice between beef and chicken to the choice between freedom and no freedom?

    Lurker also said:
    “you’re asking them to justify their behavior over behavior that you deem “good”.”

    Look, I’m willing to give people the benefit of the doubt regarding arguments, but I expect them to at least read what they’re responding to. Here is another quote from my post:
    “nothing is good or bad”.

    Could I have been clearer on this point? I believe that nothing is objectively good or bad. You seem to be arguing that I have no right to say what is right and what is wrong, well, I’m not saying it.

    Lurker said:
    “God is a product of his heavenly culture.”

    And Lurker then said:
    “This statement was part of my hypothetical “god exists”. Doesn’t matter which god. The problem doesn’t go away.”

    Is your god, the one you believe in, a product of his heavenly environment? Did heaven create your god? What problem isn’t going away, exactly?

    Anyone else? Someone who reads the dictionary? Please tell me this isn’t all the theists have.

  130. Lurker
    September 25th, 2005 @ 11:04 pm

    First you admit you have nothing but subjective preferences and then say to theists ‘is this all you have’?

    I don’t admit to the same thing you do so I don’t have the problem you do. I see humanity subjectively interpreting an objective morality. I can’t prove it, but I can make a decent circumstantial case for it based on human history. I admit that I could be wrong, but at least I’m not saying “I’ve got nothing” like you’re saying. You’re admitting defeat before entering the courtroom and that’s not a good position to be in.

  131. CMDR
    September 25th, 2005 @ 11:36 pm

    How can you argue/debate in something/someone you don’t believe in? If you spend your entire life saying there is no God, you’ve spent your entire life saying what you think you didn’t believe in but to argue this is null and void. If I’m standing in the road and I say there is no bus, that’s fine…but that doesn’t change the fact that there truly is one there, even though we choose not to see it. Don’t you think this website is full of people not arguing against a Diety but against themselves, looking for other intellegent conversation to fuel their own flame…it’s like an addiction, you can say you want to quit and even try, but doing it is the hard part. How can you claim there is no God when you offer no alternative?

  132. Paul
    September 26th, 2005 @ 12:08 am

    CMDR, we are not debating with the thing we don’t believe in, we are debating with the people who believe in the thing we don’t believe in.

    I don’t spend my entire life saying there is no God, just a small portion of it. I am dedicated to logic and clear thinking, and this is one way in which I express that dedication.

    I am not arguing against myself, whatever that means.

    The lack of something doesn’t rely on the presence of something else.

  133. simbol
    September 26th, 2005 @ 12:22 am

    Paladin

    “Simbol, thanks for your support, but I think your theory is a bit out there… ”

    I’m surprised that a believer comes to an atheist site expecting support. Obviously he can expect good manners. Good manners doesn’t exclude sarcasm if this is done without personal insults and if the opponent have given basis for that.

    I think you gave basis to my sarcasm when you wrote:

    “So until you come up with a theory that makes sense and is scientifically possible, unlike evolution, I’ll get you some more “proof.””

    No informed and intellectually honest person can dispatch easily evolution telling that it is not scientifically possible or that it doesn’t make sense. A superficial perusal of internet could tell you the same that Tim did in his post 123 and much more. I’m not telling you are intellectually dishonest, only that you seems to be not very well informed.

    If I were a believer, it would be very illustrative for me the stance of the catholic church on evolution because it comes from a non-atheist source.

    In my opinion, if big bang and evolution becomes successfully completed (if that were possible), this won’t be a final answer accepted by theism. Believers will always sustain the existence of a spiritual realm where nature is irrelevant. In fact this is the position of the catholic church. I can understand that because a godless universe is a sad and barren landscape for too many people. But I’m afraid that’s the way it is.

    My apologies if I was rough.

  134. Lurker
    September 26th, 2005 @ 2:40 am

    How can you argue/debate in something/someone you don’t believe in?

    I assume this was directed at me. If you’re talking about god, I’m not – at least not now. I’m talking about objective morality with or without god.

    If you don’t believe in that then there’s not a whole lot to say other than you (atheists in general) seem to spend a whole lot of your time arguing the equivalent of how vanilla ice cream is ruining society or eating vanilla is wrong. And that’s what I find strange considering how you tout yourselves as “Brights”.

  135. Anonymous
    September 26th, 2005 @ 7:02 am

    “First you admit you have nothing but subjective preferences and then say to theists ‘is this all you have’?”

    No, I admit that all ANYONE has is subjective preferences. Theists’ preferences get in my way. Mine don’t get in their way.

    Lurker, you won’t answer most questions and you are immune to new information. At least a lamp lights up when someone turns its knob.

  136. CMDR
    September 26th, 2005 @ 8:13 am

    Lurker, I was not aiming any remarks directly at you, but more or less to everyone here at this website. And I’m not an athiest. I do believe in God. Here’s another question: If there is no God, period., what is there? Science is manmade, it doesn’t work. There has to be something that makes your heart beat AND when it stops beating, then what? Athiests obviously worship themselves when they say there is no God.

    Simbol, about evolution…it will never be successfully completed. It’s interesting in the time so-called scientists CAN’T complete it…they run into too many obstacles that cannot be explained. For instance, all humans born today are completely human. They are in no part monkey or orangutan or whatever. But we still have monkeys and gorillas and apes, etc. If evolution were complete, the old species would no longer exist. The key only fits this way.

    I’m not crying and begging for attention here, but as one that does believe in God (obviously, I’m biased) it is very difficult NOT to believe in a Diety. If anyone has a definate FROM EXPERIENCE answer to what happens after you die, I would hear it, although I don’t expect to get any logical answers, seeing as your fingers are still moving.

  137. Paul
    September 26th, 2005 @ 8:26 am

    CDMR: how much DNA do you think humans share with other primates?

    Old species still exist because they are well adapted to specific ecological niche they occupy. New species adapt to new ecological niches or find another way to adapt to the same one.

    “If there is no God, period., what is there?” Who knows? In any event, because we may not be able to answer a question (like your question I quote) is no reason for any particular answer (your god).

  138. Steve G.
    September 26th, 2005 @ 10:24 am

    Vern,
    Do you prefer to be free, or do you prefer not to be free? Are you comparing a choice between beef and chicken to the choice between freedom and no freedom?

    Yes. If no objective good or bad exists, when everything is boiled down, that’s what the choice between freedom and lack of freedom is, just a preference. You’ve already granted that. Just because one feels that the preference regarding freedom is more significant than the choice of entrees doesn’t make it so. Objectively speaking, under the ground rules you’ve established, it is no more significant.

    In addition, even the term freedom is so ambiguous as to seem to not in and of itself warrant the attempt at placing it as a standard. What is freedom? I suspect we

  139. Lurker
    September 26th, 2005 @ 11:36 am

    Way to hammer the point Steve.

    From now on when atheists lay claim to anything being right/wrong/good/bad I think we make them prove their observations are anything more than preferences based on culture, etc.

    It seems most fail to realize they need objective morality in order to make their case, yet their atheism prevents them from that. If they admit to an objective morality then they’ve got to deal with that can of worms.

    It’s a nice Catch-22.

  140. hermesten
    September 26th, 2005 @ 11:42 am

    Question: how much DNA do you think humans share with other primates?

    Answer: 96-98%

    CMDR: “Science is manmade, it doesn’t work.”

    It works at my house where I have electricity, electronic devices, internal combustion engines, and drugs that keep me from an early grave. None of these things came from studying the Bible, believing in God, being religious, or going to church. All came only by overcoming the primitive superstitions of religious belief.

  141. Anonymous
    September 26th, 2005 @ 12:04 pm

    These are good points, Steve G. It’s unfortunate that there is such a dearth of theists who can mount an articulate debate.

    If we can both subjectively agree that the maximum freedom is required for every other pursuit, than we have something to start with.

    However, I’ll take a page from your book of posts and state that the subject of maximum freedom is beyond the scope of this particular forum. I can only point you to the work “On Liberty”, by John Stuart Mill. There is, in my subjective opinion, a way of working out a fair system of freedom. I am unwilling to dedicate the time and energy to outline exactly what that is, but if we can’t agree that freedom is required to execute other goals, however meaningless they are, then we have nothing to start from.

    “However, you

  142. Anonymous
    September 26th, 2005 @ 12:10 pm

    I forgot to mention, Steve G., that you must have missed my question (even though you quoted it):
    Do you prefer to be free, or do you prefer not to be free?

  143. Anonymous
    September 26th, 2005 @ 12:38 pm

    “From now on when atheists lay claim to anything being right/wrong/good/bad I think we make them prove their observations are anything more than preferences based on culture, etc.”

    Way to build a straw man Lurker. I haven’t said anything was right/wrong/good/bad at all. In fact, I’ve said just the opposite, repeatedly. When YOU finally acknowledged that I hadn’t made an objective judgment call, you declared victory!

    You’ve misquoted me throughout the thread, claimed I’ve made assertions that I haven’t, attacked ideas that I haven’t mentioned, and ignored questions. You’re an awesome debater! Either that or you’re really an atheist trying to make theists look foolish. Either way, good job!

  144. Steve G.
    September 26th, 2005 @ 12:47 pm

    However, I’ll take a page from your book of posts and state that the subject of maximum freedom is beyond the scope of this particular forum.
    Fair enough.
    Hahaha. We all use convenient definitions, don’t we? It helps everyone sleep at night.
    I had to try * he said with big s-eating grin on face*

    This is an issue that you have already beaten into the ground. Unborn babies, zygotes, blastocytes, call them what you will, they are not more entitled to freedom and good health than I. We disagree about the disposition of unborns, but I don’t want to decide for you. You want to decide for me.
    You want to decide for the unborn though. In any event, my intent was honestly not to open another debate on abortion, it was only illustrative. And

  145. Steve G.
    September 26th, 2005 @ 12:49 pm

    Lurker:
    It seems most fail to realize they need objective morality in order to make their case, yet their atheism prevents them from that. If they admit to an objective morality then they’ve got to deal with that can of worms.

    It’s a nice Catch-22.

    Thanks. I agree. It’s one of several crucial issues that literally forced me to reject atheism.

  146. Steve G.
    September 26th, 2005 @ 12:53 pm

    P.S. Vernichten excepted from that catch-22 since indeed as he indicated, he’s admitted that there is no objective morality.

  147. Steve G.
    September 26th, 2005 @ 12:56 pm

    I forgot to mention, Steve G., that you must have missed my question (even though you quoted it):
    Do you prefer to be free, or do you prefer not to be free?

    I addressed it in stateing that I can answer it without knowing exactly what you mean by freedom. If forced to answer, I’d have to say I prefer freedom, but certainly not above all else.

  148. Steve G.
    September 26th, 2005 @ 12:59 pm

    ugh! my proofreading skill suck. can should be can’t in the first sentence.

  149. Anonymous
    September 26th, 2005 @ 1:03 pm

  150. Steve G.
    September 26th, 2005 @ 1:15 pm

    Yeesh! I am blushing.

    Question for you. Don’t you think the doppleganger is gone now and it’s safe to reasssume your true identity?

    Now, I am probably about to step in it big time, but why do you think me a moral relativist?

  151. jahrta
    September 26th, 2005 @ 1:31 pm

    “First of all, Evangelical Christians don’t hold a high oppinion of themselves.”

    Well, atheists don’t have a very high opinion of them either, POC

  152. Anonymous
    September 26th, 2005 @ 1:32 pm

    We both agree that there is no behavior that guarantees hell.

  153. Lurker
    September 26th, 2005 @ 1:39 pm

    Anonymous,
    Sorry if I sounded like I was attacking you personally. I wasn’t really speaking directly to you for most of my ‘objective good/bad’ discussion – just using your comments as an opportunity to expose the irrational/illogical thinking I’ve encountered here at TRA dozens of times. For them my arguments are not strawmen.

    In the future, I’m sure you will get into a discussion of what is best for humanity or what is deemed moral/immoral behavior. I hope you will remember your response here and stay true to your beliefs.

  154. Anonymous
    September 26th, 2005 @ 1:44 pm

    I realize that I too have mixed your comments with others. But I will not stay true to my beliefs, because I am always learning and changing.

  155. Steve G.
    September 26th, 2005 @ 2:06 pm

    We both agree that there is no behavior that guarantees hell.

    Ahhh, from our last discussion. I am still dogged by my inability to explain myself on this last time. Since you indicated at one point that you are somewhat familiar with Catholic teaching, I’d like to submit this…

    EENS

    …which addresses theissue of salvation for those outside the church. It doesn’t perfectly address the issue from the perspective we discussed, but it is close enough that I beleive it will shed some light. It explains my own understanding quite well. The essential from the article is this…

    For it makes the common sense point that, on the one hand, there is no salvation outside the Church, yet, on the other hand, we puny mortals do not know where “outside” is.

    The bottom line is not that I don’t believe anyone will got to hell. It’s rather that I am in no position to determine the essence of a particular person in question. If I say that an utter rejection of God would do the trick, I am not sure that even the person claiming the utter rejection is actually doing what they say. If a person claims atheism, but lives an utterly exemplary life (even by Catholic standards), could that indicate to me that the person indeed hasn’t rejected the God’s truth of love and selflessness despite what their tongue professes? I have to ask if that external rejecton reflects the internal essence of who that person is. I simply can’t judge that.

    If a person goes on a murdering rampage, externally, it might ‘appear’ to some worthy of hell. But if I later found out that the person suffered from fetal alcholol syndrome, lived in foster homes and was regularly viciously beaten, was addicted to heroine since before birth, suffered severe mental illness, etc., etc., etc. you get the point. Then I might pause and say, is this person truly culpable for what they’d done? I only hedge to give you a formula for salvation because 1) I recognize that any real justice requires that there are subjective circumstances that need to be accounted for in the judgement and 2) becuase I trust in the abundant mercy of God more then nearly anything else.

    To say that I believe an item is objectively immoral, but recognize that assigning culpability for the actual act committed seems rather common sense to me. Even the flawed human legal codes do the same, no?

  156. Anonymous
    September 26th, 2005 @ 2:24 pm

    Steve G.
    “Even the flawed human legal codes do the same, no?”

    They claim to.

    I said this:
    “We both agree that there is no behavior that guarantees hell.”

    See, I was using semantics to exploit what I see as a weakness in your argument. You can’t be convinced that someone is going to hell, even if they demonstrate what you consider monstrously evil behavior right before your eyes. You can equivocate even the most heinous behavior to allow for a blissful afterlife. There is no behavior that you yourself can engage in that will unequivocally damn you.
    I fully understand the Catholic concept of “despair” (not quoting you). Belief in an individual’s unavoidable damnation, regardless of his apparent behavior, is wrong for you, and that’s moral equivocation in my opinion. There will always be a possible reason why they should or shouldn’t be admitted to heaven. Even the concept of purgatory is a form of equivocating.

  157. Steve G.
    September 26th, 2005 @ 2:41 pm

    There is no behavior that you yourself can engage in that will unequivocally damn you.

    I am just not convinced that this equates to moral relativism. It seems we may be talking instead about two different issues. We are talking about setting up a moral code (and in that I believe there are objective moral truths), and separately about administering justice for that code. This certainly doesn’t stop me from saying the X is wrong. It only stops me from saying unequivically that the person committing X is fully culpable for their actions. I may be splitting hairs, but they seem like different issues to me.

    Let me use the example I did last time once again. If the legal system says that murder is wrong. That’s an objective claim to a certain moral stricture (at least within that closed system). If the post-partum mother who is out of her mind suffering from a hormonally induced severe depression is shown mercy for killing her young child, does that mean the law on the books is no longer in effect? All things being equal there are objective moral truths (in my view). The problem is that all things aren’t equal.

    Even the concept of purgatory is a form of equivocating.

    I am not sure I agree with this either. The person in puratory is already by definition ‘saved’. No on in purgatory will end up in hell, everyone in purgatory will end up in heaven.

  158. probligo
    September 26th, 2005 @ 9:10 pm

    I confess, I have not read ALL of the 152 comments before this, but this looks like a challenge…

    Let me use the example I did last time once again. If the legal system says that murder is wrong. That’s an objective claim to a certain moral stricture (at least within that closed system). If the post-partum mother who is out of her mind suffering from a hormonally induced severe depression is shown mercy for killing her young child, does that mean the law on the books is no longer in effect? All things being equal there are objective moral truths (in my view). The problem is that all things aren’t equal.

    Is it moral relativism to suggest that a system of justice must always be imposed with mercy? I do not believe so. It shows that man is able to judge with compassion, from Solomon on downward.

    It is perhaps of some significance that (from my experience at least) those who promote the application of the law without mercy are often those with the strongest religious beliefs.

    ____________________________________

    As for my thoughts on the original question – “I got plenty of disproofs of God, but there are none for Satan”; that in my mind is as simple as looking in a mirror.

    If a religion includes a representation or personification of evil, then that representation exists only through belief. Belief in a god that promotes a mirror of evil, promotes the belief in that evil.

    So, as (for me at least) there is no god in which to believe, there is no Satan either.

    “There is no evil but that which men do… there is no goodness either.”

  159. Steve G.
    September 27th, 2005 @ 9:06 am

    probligo
    Is it moral relativism to suggest that a system of justice must always be imposed with mercy? I do not believe so. It shows that man is able to judge with compassion, from Solomon on downward.

    You have to read the previous few comments to put this in context. It was I (the theist) who was argueing that beleiving in God’s mercy does not make me a moral relativist and using a human example to illustrate. The charge was that because I was unwilling to say that any particular act automatically puts one in hell, I was being a moral relativist.

    It is perhaps of some significance that (from my experience at least) those who promote the application of the law without mercy are often those with the strongest religious beliefs.

    I am not sure of the significance as mercy is one of the rather fundamental teachings of Christianity and any fair reading of the NT makes that clear. If someone is advocating for application of law sans mercy, I would want to argue with them that they were outside the bounds of traditional orthodox Christianity. I personally don’t know many Christians who are unmerciful in the way you describe (though I am sure they exist).

  160. probligo
    September 27th, 2005 @ 5:17 pm

    Steve, I guess too that it is a matter of perspective.

    Is the death penalty “merciful justice”? I say not. How many Christian Americans say “yes”.

  161. Steve G.
    September 27th, 2005 @ 8:35 pm

    As a Catholic who is oppossed to the death penalty I don’t have a disagreement with you there.

  162. jahrta
    September 28th, 2005 @ 1:35 pm

    I don’t know about the rest of you, but as an atheist I’m all for the death penalty for violent criminals, especially for repeat offenders. I read somewhere that it costs somewhere in the vicinity of 60 thousand dollars a year to keep a man in prison, after everything has been taken into consideration. It’s been shown through various studies that the VAST majority of violent offenders go right back to the life they left behind when they get out of jail. This may be the result of socio-economic factors, or simply because the repeat offenders are simply prone to this type of behavior. I’ve heard it said many times that no one receives “rehabilitation” in prison – that it’s little more than a way to round up the bad apples and separate them from the rest of society (and I’m ok with that). My reason for backing the death penalty has very little to do with “an eye for eye” as much as it is a reasoned examination of what the other options might be: either pay into the system each year to keep this waste of life alive and kicking in a state of the art facility with 3 square meals a day, cable tv and exercise equipment, or simply end the experiment and remove him from the equation entirely. I favor it not only for the cold monetary implications, but also because it ensures that the violent criminal will not be able to do this again in the future if he ever gets parole.
    Now, this isn’t to say that I think ALL violent criminals should get the death penalty. Obviously, there are varying degrees of criminal action and the punishment should fit the crime – but that’s where 99% of people differ: “at what point does the state have the obligation to end someone’s life to protect the rest of society from said individual?”

    I know there are people who oppose capital punishment if for no other reason than the fact that some people wind up in prison under trumped-up charges, or because a defense lawyer fumbles a case. This isn’t as much an argument against capital punishment as it is an indictment of the criminal justice/law system, and I recognize it as a major problem as well.

    What it all boils down to is a matter of reaching a concensus, but that’s easier said than done, especially in a country where so many people believe in invisible sky daddies.

  163. MBains
    September 28th, 2005 @ 3:59 pm

    Awesome interview with Steve G, RA.

    I have a fundamental (hehe) disagreement with you though. Your posit 1 + 1 = 2 is morally neutral should read is morally absolute. If the truth isn’t moral, then what is?

    OK, gotta read more of this thread.

  164. JQ
    September 30th, 2005 @ 12:52 pm

    As a born again Christian, I’m going to say something here that will probably upset a good number of my Christian brethren. The truth is, many Christians don’t know any better why they believe what they believe than any other Joe Shmoe out there. And most of us have probably surfed enough messageboards and read enough blogs and comments to know that there are plenty of Joe Shmoes that don’t know diddly. Christians can be just as biased, prejudiced, and illogical in their arguments as anyone. It’s sad, but true. And as Jesus said, “Know the truth and the truth will set you free.”

    (That’s not to say that I think everyone at ThinkChristian.net fits into that category. I’m just making the point that you can very well have right beliefs backed by wrong reasoning.)

  165. PaladinOfChrist
    October 7th, 2005 @ 9:13 pm

    While you say that no “heinous” crime will damn you, this being true, the only thing that can save you is faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. While sin is not the judge, a true Christian will slowly and progressively turn away from sin and become better and better until their death. Not to say that they won’t fail, but none the less they will improve. Steve G, I think you’re Catholic, I can’t remember from earlier posts and I don’t feel like reading through the whole thread again, but I do not agree with Catholic doctrine. I don’t see how a Christian can form a religeon outside the Bible. Catholics teach, correct me if I’m wrong, that you don’t have to be a Christian you just have to do good works, right? But that is so unbiblical. I don’t even believe all “Christians”, notice the quotes, will go to heaven. It takes more than just professing that you believe in the truth of scripture, it takes repentence and devotion to Christ. It is absurd for a professing “Christian” to say anything else.

    As for all the atheists on here who like to talk about internal contradictions: You must believe in God, no matter what god, in order to have any evidence behind objective claims. Atheism is not neutral as many claim. Like in schools, it is taught that there is no God, since this doesn’t endorse a religeon, but it does! There is no such thing as neutral, atheism IS a religeon, whether you like it or not. The absence of God in schools therefore endorses a religeon and is bias. But atheism has nothing to back up its objective claims. And abortian, that is objective to the child or whatever unsensitive, inhuman name you want to assign the precious child. You are being objective in killing that child for it infringes on that childs freedom, as for me I say screw freedom and do what’s right. But you can’t say that, and thus have a constant internal contradiction. If mankind denies the existance of God then they are fools. Your knowledge doesn’t make your wisdom grow, merely your foolish pride.

    As for those who ask whether we like freedom or slavery: I’ll do whichever is right. If God commands me to be a slave I’ll be a slave. For his decrees are the defenition of right/good.

    As for JQ:
    As a born again Christian, I’m going to say something here that will probably upset a good number of my Christian brethren. The truth is, many Christians don’t know any better why they believe what they believe than any other Joe Shmoe out there. And most of us have probably surfed enough messageboards and read enough blogs and comments to know that there are plenty of Joe Shmoes that don’t know diddly. Christians can be just as biased, prejudiced, and illogical in their arguments as anyone. It’s sad, but true. And as Jesus said, “Know the truth and the truth will set you free.”

    (That’s not to say that I think everyone at ThinkChristian.net fits into that category. I’m just making the point that you can very well have right beliefs backed by wrong reasoning.)

    Yes it’s sad that there are born again/evangelical/true Christians out there(whichever of those terms you want to use) that don’t know what they believe, don’t know why they believe it, and don’t know how to defend it. We are to give our lives to Christ, not think of religeon as a sideshow for Sunday mornings.

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