The Raving Theist

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God Squad Review CLXII (Problem of Evil)

March 6, 2006 | 125 Comments

Why do some people get punished for murder while others go free? A reader who feels “I should not question why such things happen” nevertheless asks the Squad for an answer to the problem of evil. As it turns out, asking the question (at least to them) was probably a bad idea:

There are several traditional answers from the world’s religions regarding questions on the presence of evil. Here are some for your spiritual perusal:

There is no evil and everything you experience is not really real. It just seems real because you’re too attached to the sensory world and have not yet achieved enlightenment and freedom from suffering. This is the Buddhist answer.

The scales of justice, which can be out of whack in this world, will be made even in the world to come after our bodies die and our souls go to either heaven or hell. There, the wicked will be punished to the full extent of their evil and the good people rewarded to the full extent of their goodness. This is the Jewish and Christian answer.

Our souls are reborn into new bodies over and over again until we finally achieve release from the cycle of reincarnation. Those who live evil lives are reborn on lower and lower levels of existence . . . This is the Hindu answer.

The good thing about these answers is that God doesn’t care which one you choose, just as long as you stay in touch.

Which God, exactly, do they mean by “God” in that last sentence? Clearly, they can’t possibly be talking about the Judeo-Christian or Hindi gods, because those deities clearly do know and care about which afterlife justice system is in effect, and wish humans to know what it is so that they can adjust their behavior accordingly. In effect, the Squad is proposing the existence of a new, reefer-smoking God who likes to watch shit happen and get postcards a couple of times a year.

Comments

125 Responses to “God Squad Review CLXII (Problem of Evil)”

  1. Dada Saves
    March 6th, 2006 @ 10:07 am

    You make the existence of a new, reefer-smoking God sound like a bad thing.

  2. jahrta
    March 6th, 2006 @ 10:12 am

    jews believe in hell? that’s a new one on me

  3. Anonymous
    March 6th, 2006 @ 10:20 am

    A reefer-smoking God? That would account for a lot of weird sh*t in this universe

  4. "Q" the Enchanter
    March 6th, 2006 @ 11:32 am

    I thought Austin Powers already addressed the issue.

  5. "Q" the Enchanter
    March 6th, 2006 @ 11:32 am

    I thought Austin Powers already addressed the issue.

  6. "Q" the Enchanter
    March 6th, 2006 @ 11:32 am

    I thought Austin Powers already addressed the issue.

  7. The Cleric
    March 6th, 2006 @ 12:40 pm

    Where as I generally love your content (and agree with you a goodly deal of the time!) I want to make a comment because your last paragraph has opened the door.

    I think the possibility should be explored that it is not possible to treat each religion’s God as a monolithic entity. Whereas some in my own tradition (Christianity) would vehemently disagree with me, the “God” that you just referred to in your retort is not even one that I want to be associated with.

    I think that you are spot on in your critique, but I would want to see if you are willing to leave open the possibility that there are other experiences that render your analysis moot.

  8. Chris Treborn
    March 6th, 2006 @ 2:06 pm

    Evil is the work of man, and when we have free will we will have evil. I can’t reconcile all the horrible things in the world with my concept of a loving God (in whom I fully believe), which is why faith is important to me.

  9. Dada Saves
    March 6th, 2006 @ 2:24 pm

    You’re right ChrisT. Whose bright idea was it to give us free will, anyway?

  10. The No God Boy
    March 6th, 2006 @ 2:25 pm

    Chris,

    Believe all you want, but there IS NO GOD. That’s why there are horrible things in the world – free will and nature.

    God does not exist and I would piss on him if he did.

  11. Chris Treborn
    March 6th, 2006 @ 2:59 pm

    can a dog understand your tax return? Us trying to understand God is even more unlikely.

  12. franky
    March 6th, 2006 @ 3:22 pm

    “can a dog understand your tax return?”
    Wow Chris, that is a new one. However, you missed the fact that god creates evil as well. Says so in the bible.

  13. jahrta
    March 6th, 2006 @ 3:28 pm

    My dog creates evil too, Franky

    Why, just yesterday i picked up a big steaming pile of evil that Buttons left behind on the bath mat for me.

  14. franky
    March 6th, 2006 @ 3:29 pm

    yea, but Chris made it seem like “only” man (whew, no women, great) creates evil.

  15. Chris Treborn
    March 6th, 2006 @ 3:46 pm

    Wow. Lily was really on point concerning the quality of the atheist arguments.

    can anyonre say ad hominem?

  16. snap crafter
    March 6th, 2006 @ 3:55 pm

    Chris, you don’t know what ad hominem is do you? None of those posts attacks you, they all attack your argument, perfectly reasonable considering how inane it was.

    So I’ll pose the same question. Can you say ad hominem?

  17. franky
    March 6th, 2006 @ 4:04 pm

    Let me spell it out for you Chris:
    – your statement implied that evil is only created by man.
    – I said, you missed the fact the evil is created by god (as it says in the bible, which I’m assuming you take to be the word of god and true)
    What else am I missing?

  18. franky
    March 6th, 2006 @ 4:06 pm

    ah yes, the biblical verse:
    “I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things.”
    Isaiah 45:7

  19. SBW
    March 6th, 2006 @ 4:54 pm

    Evil is a natural consequence and a pre-requisite of free will. All things are partially defined by their opposite. Light is the opposite of dark. Morning is the opposite of night. Tall is the opposite of short. Following this line of reasoning, in order for there to be happiness you have to have something on the opposite end of the spectrum to contrast it against, namely sadness.

    In order for there to be good, there needs to be evil. If there was no such thing as evil, things would just be, they wouldn’t be good or evil.

    The practice of free will requires that as humans we have to be able to make ourselves happy and that we also have to be able to bring immense amounts of pain to ourselves. You can’t have one without the other.

  20. Thorngod
    March 6th, 2006 @ 5:06 pm

    All those things we call evil are the result of the basic nature of things: The universe is not charitable to warm protoplasmic bodies. The religious notion of Evil is a surd.

  21. Kyle
    March 6th, 2006 @ 5:08 pm

    Free will is an illusion. One’s emotions and consciousness are merely the direct, natural, and scientific result of chemical reactions of your brain all taking place within a quantum universe. Evil, as such, is just a feeling of “I dislike this a whole heck of a lot.”

    To prove ‘free will’ one must first disprove all of modern science. I know a couple of journals that would love to publish such a paper. Have at it.

  22. franky
    March 6th, 2006 @ 5:18 pm

    SBW,
    What does free-will have to do with tsunamis? Or hurricanes? Or earthquakes?

  23. SBW
    March 6th, 2006 @ 6:03 pm

    ////franky said:
    SBW,
    What does free-will have to do with tsunamis? Or hurricanes? Or earthquakes?///

    Nothing. All those things have to do with the natural world. If your asking why are there hurricanes and tsunamis that kill poor people who had no way of getting out of the way then I don’t have an exact answer for that.

    I don’t however believe that storms are mean’t to kill people, even though this is a natural consequence. It seems to me as if they are part of natures design to destoy so that out of the destruction new things can be built up. As we all know, nothing lasts forever. Living things die, buildings and other man-made objects decay, and tsunamis and other storms help the natural process of birth, growth, and inevitable destruction along.

  24. Lily
    March 6th, 2006 @ 6:36 pm

    To prove ‘free will’ one must first disprove all of modern science. I know a couple of journals that would love to publish such a paper. Have at it.

    What journals would that be? Boy’s Life? Jack and Jill?

    All joking aside, science can neither prove nor disprove free will. Science deals with the material world. Free will is not material. We will drag down any possible conversation if we muddy the waters with appeals to science in an arena in which science has no standing.

    And please, Kyle. Take a deep breath. Evil is not just a feeling of “I dislike this a whole heck of a lot.” Even if you could believe that seriously now, the first time you lose a friend to murder you will learn that your feelings involve a whole lot more than “heck, I really dislike it that you are lying dead in a pool of blood in front of me”.

  25. Choobus
    March 6th, 2006 @ 6:50 pm

    how is morning the opposite of night you fool? Even allowing for the inconsistancies arising from poetic lisence, surely day is the opposite of night. You are the opposite of a genius.

  26. Hanzl
    March 6th, 2006 @ 6:54 pm

    Whether or not science can prove or disprove free will depends on your definition of free wiil. I thought Dan Dennet had written a book about that, about how free will (or the illusion of that) is not incompatible with a fully deterministic universe. I didn’t read it though (but how many xtians have read the babble?), so correct me if I’m right.

    Hans der verrueckte atheist

  27. The No God Boy
    March 6th, 2006 @ 6:55 pm

    There is no god. No one created evil. No one created good. There just “is”. By that I mean nothing is good or bad….it’s all in the interpretation.

    A hawk that swoops down and carries off a fuzzy chick, only to pick it apart and eat it has not done something evil. Its not good or bad. It just is. Life. Nature. Survival.

    Chris likes to go to bed at night feeling that a kindly old spirit is watching over him thanks to his little prayer. Hey, if it makes you fee better….so be it.

    I went to be last night trying to figure out how to design a gravity water system that would provide a bit of generating capacity for a cabin down the hill from a large stream.

    I my case, when my life is over, I will have something to show for my sleepy thoughts. Chris won’t. He’ll just be dead and man, after all that money wasted on the church and its god, really pissed too!!!

  28. franky
    March 6th, 2006 @ 6:58 pm

    SBW,
    Nature or god? Which one is it?

    “Storms are not meant to kill people, even though it is a natural consequence”
    It’s a natural consequence but it’s not evil? Doesn’t that seem inconsistent to you?

  29. Hanzl
    March 6th, 2006 @ 7:41 pm

    What really sucks is that when religious people die, they will not realize that they have been deluded all their lives (“oh shit, there’s nothing, aaahhhh”) because they will just cease to exist like the rest of us. Is this a sick thought?

  30. Choobus
    March 6th, 2006 @ 8:05 pm

    the universe is demonstrably NOT fully deterministic, so I fail to see what value the restrictions of a deterministic universe on free will have.

  31. The No God Boy
    March 6th, 2006 @ 8:14 pm

    Hanzl,

    You got it. Thats the worst part. Behave like an ass your whole life, at the end do the forgivness thing and its off to the happy land.

    They will never know its not there. The last thought will be something like….”That light is sure getting a lot dimmer…..
    Then its just like HAL in 2001 A Space Idiocy as one by one the neuron connection are broken.

    The bastards.

    The rest of us suffer knowing the wall IS hard when we hit it.

  32. SBW
    March 6th, 2006 @ 8:39 pm

    ///franky said:
    SBW,
    Nature or god? Which one is it?///

    Nature is directly responsible but God created nature. As a theist I believe that in the beginning God created everything. Some things were directly created by God, others are a bit further away from God in the line of succession.

    For example, my grandmother gave birth to my mother who gave birth to me and then I gave birth to my daughter. You could conceivable say that my grandmother is responsible for the birth of my baby but wouldn’t it be more accurate to say that I am responsible for the birth of my daughter?

    When you think about the law of cause and effect there are always a long line of causes and a long line of effects that took place before the most recent cause and effect. Saying that the most recent effect occurred due to the most recent cause is a more logical way of explaining things.

    //”Storms are not meant to kill people, even though it is a natural consequence”
    It’s a natural consequence but it’s not evil? Doesn’t that seem inconsistent to you?///

    No it’s not inconsistent to me. I think that we have to start off by defining evil.

    1. The quality of being morally bad or wrong; wickedness.
    2. That which causes harm, misfortune, or destruction: a leader’s power to do both good and evil.
    3. Something that is a cause or source of suffering, injury, or destruction: the social evils of poverty and injustice.

    If you want to use the definition that says something is evil if it causes any harm or destruction then everyone is evil because we all have hurt someone in the past or destroyed something. I don’t believe this is the definition we are looking for.

    When you say something is evil, this implies a conscious decision to do something that people would consider wrong or harmful to others.

    Nature doesn’t care about hurting people. Tsunamis don’t care about who or what is in their way. Nature is the result of blind forces that have no morals, no care about any person or people, and thus no intention of hurting anyone. So how can a tsunami be evil?

    If there was no one on a small island when a tsunami came over it and thus no lives were lost we wouldn’t call the tsunami evil, so why is the tsunami evil if there are a thousand people on the island and they are killed? In both instances, the wave had no intention of hurting anyone.

    I think “evil” is a word like “miracle”. They both are so over used that people call things evil that should not be thought of as evil and they call things miracles that are not really miraculous.

  33. The Cleric
    March 6th, 2006 @ 8:52 pm

    You know what I’m amused by? You all completely avoided my question. Is it because you just can’t give up the straw man of a God? Is it too much for you to comprehend that there might be more than one perspective on God? You don’t want to give that up do you? You just might lose all your ammo then, huh?

    I guess you’re right – it is more fun to shoot the theists when they’re in a bucket.

  34. Choobus
    March 6th, 2006 @ 9:25 pm

    If I had access to a bucket with theists in it I would not shoot them. I would, however, taker a huge dump into it, and then invite the local hobo’s to do likewise.

    It would be like the bible, only in 3D turdovision for them. The best part is they would lopen their hearts (and mouthgs) to the incoming excrement because I would tell them aheadof time that it was a test of their faith.

  35. freddy
    March 6th, 2006 @ 10:08 pm

    SBW-
    Evil does not need to exist for people to have free will. In fact, I would say that most of the choices the average person makes everyday does not involve good vs. evil dichotomy. Small choices – chocolate or strawberry ice cream, train or bus to work, blue or red shirt, etc. Big choices – become a painter or scientist, get married or not, have children or not, stay around your hometown or move away. None of these are about good or evil, they’re just choices. Surely God could have given us this kind of free will without having evil.

    Several people have questioned whether science has an opinion on free will. I have some familiarity with the subject. I would say that though science may never have a final answer for the question of free will, there are more and more mechanistic explanations for what we usually think of as the workings of the soul. In fact, this in my opinion is one of the strongest arguments against any religion that posits some kind of ethereal soul separate from the body. Anything that is commonly thought of as “soul” – a person’s personality and memories – has been found to be affected by the functions of the brain. A person who is gentle and docile could become hostile and truculent after a brain injury. Certainly many a soap opera plot has been based on the fact that people can forget those they loved and cared for after a brain injury. This is a long-winded explanation for me saying that it’s seems likely to me that anything we would call free will is directly tied to the brain, and sometime in the near future could conceivably be controlled by electrodes implanted in the brain. If that could happen, I don’t know if it’s still free will.

  36. Eva, Mod.
    March 6th, 2006 @ 10:25 pm

    isn’t it convenient to say that a god created everything, but not the bad things? might as well say that nature has free will, and that sometimes, she just messes up.
    the old “problem of evil”…..it just does not want to go away, does it, christians? it is almost as annoying as the “bad” passages of the bible….

  37. Anthony J Fuchs
    March 6th, 2006 @ 11:17 pm

    >> What does free-will have to do with tsunamis?
    >> Or hurricanes? Or earthquakes?

    Nothing at all. Natural disasters are merely the earth’s immune system trying to clear itself of the most potent virus in the universe — Humanity.

  38. freddy
    March 7th, 2006 @ 12:20 am

    The scales of justice, which can be out of whack in this world, will be made even in the world to come after our bodies die and our souls go to either heaven or hell. There, the wicked will be punished to the full extent of their evil and the good people rewarded to the full extent of their goodness. This is the Jewish and Christian answer.
    This is a rather generous reading of the way most Christians view the way the afterlife works. In fact, I would say that the vast majority of Christians would say that a murderer who repents his sins and accepts Jesus into his life before he dies would end up in heaven while atheists who give to charity, are kind to friends and neighbors, and always help family members in need would nevertheless go to hell. For an article published in a large-circulation newspaper, this is a pretty half-assed answer to a well-researched question. Readers, God-fearing or otherwise, would have been better off just going to Wikipedia.

  39. SBW
    March 7th, 2006 @ 1:31 am

    ///Eva, Mod. said: isn’t it convenient to say that a god created everything, but not the bad things?///

    Who is saying that God created everything but not the bad things? Certainly not me. I am saying that God was the beginning of all things. If billions of years after the universe began and inumerable causes and effects you want to say everything is the fault of God then I don’t have a problem with that. I believe that it would be more accurate to attribute an effect to the most direct cause. If I stab someone I think that I should be blamed for my actions and not God for creating the universe billions of years ago.

    //Eva, Mod. said: the old “problem of evil”…..it just does not want to go away, does it, christians?//

    Speaking as a theist, I don’t see a “problem” with evil. In fact the only people I have ever seen or heard of that continue to speak of the “problem of evil” or think that the existence of evil in the universe causes some sort of conundrum are atheists.

    ///freddy said:In fact, I would say that most of the choices the average person makes everyday does not involve good vs. evil dichotomy. Small choices – chocolate or strawberry ice cream, train or bus to work, blue or red shirt, etc. Big choices – become a painter or scientist, get married or not, have children or not, stay around your hometown or move away. None of these are about good or evil, they’re just choices. Surely God could have given us this kind of free will without having evil.///

    Yes, our life could have been a series of choices between banalities but, considering what we know about human behavior and expectations, how enjoyable would that be? Many things are not just small choices that give rise to marginal feelings. Some parts of life make us feel ecstatic ( the birth of a child or our wedding day) while others bring us to the lowest depths of depression ( the death of a child or drug addiction).

    In the same way that we are able to love one another, we have to alternatively be able to cause each other pain. I don’t see a paradox being created by good-vs-evil.

    “Either God wants to abolish evil, and cannot; or he can, but does not want to. … If he wants to, but cannot, he is impotent. If he can, but does not want to, he is wicked. … If, as they say, God can abolish evil, and God really wants to do it, why is there evil in the world?” (Epicurus, as quoted in 2000 Years of Disbelief)

    Or maybe He can but doesn’t because evil has a place in a plan that is so over-arching that the human mind cannot conceive of it, although we should continue to try.

  40. Tomek
    March 7th, 2006 @ 8:29 am

    I work as a volunteer at a children’s hospital and the kids I deal with are ofen way too young to even realise the serious nature of their problems. And I don’t even work in the serious wards. All these problems are no the fault of the children. Many are born with their problems. If there is any injustice in this world that needs to rectified in some next one then God should already be burnt to a crisp.

    I honestly cannot see how someone could have a clear conscience believing and loving such a god.. not to mention trying to justify him. Unless of course, they ignore such issues consciously or unconsciously to keep their worldview coherent. This however, does not eliminate them.

    Tomek

  41. hermesten
    March 7th, 2006 @ 10:34 am

    Choobus, you’d be one righteous turd-dealing God-dude.

    “Can a dog understand your tax return.”

    Depends on the dog. But then, as surveys have shown, not even the IRS understands the tax laws. My dog does tax returns to make a little extra money. Not only that, he speaks two languages, German and English, is a fascist eating liberal, and can sniff out evil from even the most poorly wiped Christian bu-nghole.

    I love the whole “we can’t understand God” riff, even after hearing it a gazillion times from open-mouthed drooling Bible Beaters. This great “loving” God just made us too dumb to understand Him, which says a lot about the low-life mother-fu-cker. I love my dog. Loving him, I want him to understand me. If I had the power to give him understanding I would give it to him freely.

    “God,” on the otherhand, is sort of like the Bush administration, and He doesn’t want anyone questioning His “wisdom.” Just let “Him” do the math, and since He made everyone too stupid to check the Devine Calculus, they’ll just have to take his “Word” for everything. Maybe our God failed him omnipotence test.

    Still, it’s a great concept: intelligence is the measure of good and evil. To us dumb humans –well, some of us anyway– a world where children are tortured, raped, starved, murdered, and abused– is a bad thing. Turns out, we’re just too stupid to see the good in this part of God’s creation.

  42. The No God Boy
    March 7th, 2006 @ 11:04 am

    Suggesting that ther is “more than one perspective on god” is like boldly announcing that there are competing ways to understand one’s relationship with the abominable snow man.

    It’s all in your head.

    There is no god. Your “perspective” on that fact does not change it. No matter how you sift and redefine the terms to try to fit the evidence there just simply isn’t a diety.

    The bible is a story. Period.

    Understanding your relationship and having differing perspectives on something that does not exist does not, even when practiced by a lot of people, make that non-existant thing operative in this world.

  43. Thorngod
    March 7th, 2006 @ 11:09 am

    Okay, Free Will proponents, gather ’round. Let’s test your free will quotient: If you possess free will, its function is to allow you to choose “freely” between or among two or more possible objects, beliefs, courses of action, etc. Agreed? Now, on what basis do you exercise your free will? Is it not necessarily your belief (or judgement) concerning value-nonvalue, benefit-detriment, truth-untruth, etc? If this is the case, then to exercise “free will” you must enjoy “freedom of belief” (I mean mental freedom, of course, not the political concept). If you agree thus far, then here is the simple and obvious test for free will: Select any belief you hold about anything whatever. (Make it easy on yourself by choosing an innocuous belief, one uncharged with emotion.) Now, for half a second, just long enough to assure yourself that you accomplished the feat, reverse that belief. End of test. Your Free Will Quotent: Zero!

  44. Alfredo
    March 7th, 2006 @ 11:26 am

    SBW must really stand for “Stupid Black Woman”, given that she interprets the phrase “problem of evil” for people having a problem with evil.

  45. Skippy Jones
    March 7th, 2006 @ 12:42 pm

    “Who is saying that God created everything but not the bad things? Certainly not me. I am saying that God was the beginning of all things. If billions of years after the universe began….”

    sounds like SBW is becoming a deist.

  46. The No God Boy
    March 7th, 2006 @ 1:04 pm

    DId you notice what SBW said:

    “If billions of years after the universe began and inumerable causes and effects you want to say everything is the fault of God then I don’t have a problem with that.”

    This same person would probably totally deny evoloution. After all, the “inumerable causes and effects” aren’t discussed in the bible.

    What SBW fails to see is that the diests see no causes and effects. According to them, the earth and everything in it is exactly as god wanted it…..unchanging.

    There are no causes and effects.

    Screw god. Come to my house this weekend and I’ll cause and effect the bastard didn’t think of.

  47. Mister Swill
    March 7th, 2006 @ 2:58 pm

    It’s a shame that this discussion has descended into name-calling and bickering, because there are a couple of issues that are dying to be raised. These issues address The Cleric’s concern.

    First of all, does SBW believe that God is all-powerful and/or all knowing? It sounds as if she does not. (Okay, the last couple posts have now raised this issue.) An omniscient, omnipotent God would be responsible for every death caused by a tsunami: He would know, at the moment He created the universe, exactly where and when every tsunami would occur, where every person would be at the time, and that every resulting death would be part of His design. A God who merely knows a lot and is very powerful would not be directly responsible for tsunami deaths.

    Such a God is not dismissible by the logical contradictions dealt with on the basic assumptions page. If a theist were to assert that God is very similar to how he is described in the bible but that omnipotent and omniscient were hyperbole, we could not disprove him or her. We could only debate the likeliness of such a proposition. However, any theist who gives up the idea of God’s omniscience and omnipotence must consequently give up the idea of God’s infallibility. Ergo:

    • We cannot be sure that everything in the Bible (or any other “sacred” text) is accurate.
    • We cannot know which religions put forth imperfect descriptions of God and which ones are complete fabrications.
    • We cannot know what actions are God’s or be certain that God’s actions are always right.
    • The purpose for which God made us, if any, does not necessarily dictate what we must do.
    • What God defines as good and evil are matters of his opinion, and must not be the final answer in forming our definitions of right and wrong.
    • We don’t need to keep capitalizing the H in “his.”

    While I agree with a lot that the Raving Atheist has to say, it’s not the idea of God(s) that I find silly or offensive. The idea of absolutes is what trivializes law, politics, and life in general. And I find a lot of the atheists here just as hung up on absolutes as the theists.

    So, one final question for the Raving Atheist: Does all of this make me agnostic, or more of an atheist than you?

  48. Thorngod
    March 7th, 2006 @ 3:09 pm

    My verdict would tentatively be “agnostic,” but I dislike hard labels. They rarely fit very precisely. When I refer to myself as a liberal, I almost always qualify the admission in some degree. I also qualify my claim of atheism, since many assume that an atheist claims to “know” that there is no supreme being, and I can know nothing absolutely.

  49. PHLAF
    March 7th, 2006 @ 3:13 pm

    hanzl…that’s what’s so truly heinous about so many relgious types’ behavior.

    They look on this whole god/relgion thing as a get out of jail free card. No repsonsibility, no accountability – all sin is forgiven by a party trick some people a coupla thousand years ago claim to have witnessed. For some of them, they must confess their wrongdoing, but not to the actual people they harmed – they get to hide in the dark behind a screen and whisper their dirty little secrets to a completely uninvolved third party who then says the magic spell and gets them off the hook. Again, no actual responsibility, no actual accountability.

    The greatest evil in the world is perpetrated and perpetuated by those who don’t have any sense of personal responsibility and accountability. These people will never have to look on the results of their terrible deeds and answer for them – they’ll never have to put themselves in the places of the people they’ve hurt and know that they did that to a fellow human being. They just play the “Jesus died for my sins” card or the “I went to confession” card, and they blow right by the trail of human wreckage they’ve left in their wake and never look back.

    It’s really pretty sick and selfish, and it’s why there is so much “evil” in the world. You can’t expect a bunch of people who don’t even count this world to give a damn about what happens in it.

  50. SBW
    March 7th, 2006 @ 3:16 pm

    ///Thorngod said: (Make it easy on yourself by choosing an innocuous belief, one uncharged with emotion.) Now, for half a second, just long enough to assure yourself that you accomplished the feat, reverse that belief. End of test. Your Free Will Quotent: Zero!///

    Thorngod, this isn’t a test. Our beliefs, even the relatively innocuous ones, often came about through experience, or you accepted them on authority from someone you trust. If I asked you to believe, even for a moment, that there was a God, there is no way that you would be able do it. You could act the way that you believe people who believe in God act but your actions are not going to change your subconscious mind. The won’t change what you believe. Free will is no a test of our ability to make ourselves believe anything we want to believe for however long we want to believe it, it’s simply our ability to make choices based on our pre-existing beliefs.

    ///The No God Boy said: “If billions of years after the universe began and inumerable causes and effects you want to say everything is the fault of God then I don’t have a problem with that.”

    This same person would probably totally deny evoloution. After all, the “inumerable causes and effects” aren’t discussed in the bible.///

    What would cause you to assume that I would deny evolution, or that most theists would deny evolution? Last I knew, they were even teaching evolution in Catholic schools.

    //What SBW fails to see is that the diests see no causes and effects. According to them, the earth and everything in it is exactly as god wanted it…..unchanging.///

    I don’t fail to see anything. I am not a deist so I really don’t care what they believe.

  51. The No God Boy
    March 7th, 2006 @ 3:38 pm

    SBW,

    The teach evoloution in catholic schools because if they don’t the state will come along and strip the “school” from their name.

    Whether or not you accept it, the bible is presented to the world as the infallible word of god. It does not talk about changes, causes and effects. The god-guy is the cause and effect. Period.

    To suggest that a god created everything and then left it to evolve via cause and effect is a MASSIVE departure from your christian brethern.

  52. SBW
    March 7th, 2006 @ 3:40 pm

    ///Mister Swill said: First of all, does SBW believe that God is all-powerful and/or all knowing? It sounds as if she does not. ///

    Whatever happended to JUST ASKING a person a question if you wanted to know where they stood on a particular issue?

    Mister Swill, and anyone who else wants to know but doesn’t want to assume, I am not a deist. If I were a deist then I wouldn’t believe in miracles because deism doesn’t allow for a God that takes a part in creation and makes things happen. The deist would just be sitting back as an observer. I believe that God created this universe in the beginning and that He knows the end. I think of it like this. If you have a sheet of paper and then you draw a straight line using a pen on the paper from one point to any other point. The straight line stands for existence and the paper for God. God contains the beginning, the end, and every point in between. I do believe that God is all-knowing and all-powerful.

    So if you think about rape, torture, slow-painful deaths of every sort imaginable, liars, cheaters, mass-murderers, and every other gruesome act in nature, I believe that God knows about them all. Do I believe that God wants us to do these things to each other, meaning that he takes some sort of pleasure in seeing humans hurt each other? No. We have the choice not to do these things to each other and most people choose not to do them.

    I don’t know what the end plan is. I don’t know how this universe will end and I of course wasn’t here at the beginning. I don’t know exactly what part pain has to do in the grand plan but I do believe that there is a grand plan and I do believe that there is a part of us that lives on after our death from this world.

  53. SBW
    March 7th, 2006 @ 3:45 pm

    //The No God Boy said: SBW,The teach evoloution in catholic schools because if they don’t the state will come along and strip the “school” from their name.//

    Private schools have more latitude over their curriculums and do not have to teach evolution, just like if a person homeschools their children and they choose to teach them creationism the state cannot come force them to put their children in public school. Schools teach evolution because it is science.

    Whether or not you accept it, the bible is presented to the world as the infallible word of god. It does not talk about changes, causes and effects. The god-guy is the cause and effect. Period.

    To suggest that a god created everything and then left it to evolve via cause and effect is a MASSIVE departure from your christian brethern.

  54. hermesten
    March 7th, 2006 @ 4:08 pm

    Check out this nut running for governor of Texas (http://www.larrykilgore.com/Issues.html). He wants the death penalty for abortion, adultery, homosexuality, bestiality, and deadly negligence. These good ole’ Christians sure love killing people don’t they?

    These are the nuts running the Republican party. These are the same nuts who oppose abortion. A “fetus” is sacred, but they want to kill your spouse, your son, or your daughter, if they have an affair, or commit a homosexual act.

    Know these people for what they are. They want to kill people for indulging in sexual activity they don’t approve of. They think they have the right to kill your spouse for having an affair. Don’t let these lunatics call themselves “pro-life.”

    And Bible Beaters, don’t give us the New Testament reversing the old law BS. Here’s what this good Christian says on his FAQ page: “God forgave the New Testament adulterer just as He forgave Old Testament adulterers, in neither instance revoking His law. God has all authority to forgive the criminal and disregard temporal punishment. Contrariwise, Men must obey God and cannot ignore punishment.”

  55. Thorngod
    March 7th, 2006 @ 4:38 pm

    SBW, you remade my point without realizing it. All your beliefs and biases and prejudices are imposed from outside. You choose, but you “choose” what you must. There is nothing free about it.

  56. SBW
    March 7th, 2006 @ 4:51 pm

    //Thorngod said: SBW, you remade my point without realizing it. All your beliefs and biases and prejudices are imposed from outside. You choose, but you “choose” what you must. There is nothing free about it.//

    Now your using circular logic. I choose because I must but I must so therefore I choose? What is life anyways but a series of choices? Some good choices, some bad, some ill-informed, some well-researched, some important, others inconsequential.

    Free will is based on options, not the fact that I have to choose. We all have to choose something at some point or another. If there was only one option there would be no free will. The fact that we have a variety of options is why we have free will, not because we have to choose something. I could choose to lay down and die of starvation. Thats an option too.

    All of everyones beliefs come from somewhere. Babies don’t care about God or anything else but their own needs and wants. It’s just that as time goes on and we get older we start to need and want more.

  57. The No God Boy
    March 7th, 2006 @ 4:57 pm

    SBW said:

    “…if you think about rape, torture, slow-painful deaths of every sort imaginable, liars, cheaters, mass-murderers, and every other gruesome act in nature, I believe that God knows about them all….

    How nice that, in his “love” for us the heartless bastard does nothing to intervene.

    “Do I believe that God wants us to do these things to each other, meaning that he takes some sort of pleasure in seeing humans hurt each other? No.”

    I wouldn’t be so sure. Just look at all the fun had during the crusades while the faithful were doing gods work.

    “…We have the choice not to do these things to each other and most people choose not to do them…”

    Again, not so sure. Perhaps it’s gods plan. He certainly seems to have no interes in stopping it.

    There is no god.

  58. Chris Treborn
    March 7th, 2006 @ 5:09 pm

    trying to understand God is futile. God is a being beyond human comprehension and it is supremely arrogant to claim you even understand Him, let alone to criticise Him.

  59. Thorngod
    March 7th, 2006 @ 5:11 pm

    Okay, SBW, if you “choose” to, you could indeed lie down and die.
    And you do realise, I trust, that some people do! Consider the fellow whose hellbent on getting himself imprisoned and maybe even executed. Unless he’s an idiot, he knows very well that his odds of remaining free are not too good unless he changes his course. Do you really think he wants to be imprisoned, perhaps even hanged? But he will press on toward that probable fate unless some outside force, or some internal chemical change in his brain (which is outside his control) causes him to make different choices. One more thing: You, I and everyone feel we act freely. This is because we are conscious of our volitions. But the volitions are created for us (to us). They are not the result of any phantasmagorical thing called “free will.”

  60. SBW
    March 7th, 2006 @ 5:38 pm

    //The No God Boy said:How nice that, in his “love” for us the heartless bastard does nothing to intervene.///

    And if he did intervene would that make you happy? If God came down right now and solved all your problems, made your entire existence nothing but sunshine and rainbows and happiness I don’t think you would be satisfied. You would be probably be mad that God took away your right to be unhappy and then you would have a new grievance to file.

    God can’t be all bad, he allows atheists to exist.

    //Thorngod said: Do you really think he wants to be imprisoned, perhaps even hanged? But he will press on toward that probable fate unless some outside force, or some internal chemical change in his brain (which is outside his control) causes him to make different choices.//

    Perhaps he does want to be hanged. Perhaps he is tired of this life and wants to know what death feels like. Perhaps he is tired of making choices and wants to make one final choice to end his life. Can’t a person just be tired of arguing about what happens after this life and want to know for themselves? Like I said before, everything is a choice, even choosing death has to be a choice because if you don’t want to die then you can choose to live.

    //One more thing: You, I and everyone feel we act freely. This is because we are conscious of our volitions. But the volitions are created for us (to us). They are not the result of any phantasmagorical thing called “free will.”//

    I don’t think that there is anything esoteric about the notion of free will. Yes I agree that our choices are molded by our options. I wish I had the option to grow wings and fly but no matter how bad I may want to do that I can’t. I wish I had the option to die, see what happens after death (if anything), and then come back and be able to prove it. So yes, our choices are only as varied as our available options and the factors that create those options. However if we had the option to do anything and everything that our mind could conceive of then the next question would be why can’t we do those things that we can’t conceive of? The question of boundaries that contain our choices and influence our decisons doesn’t go away.

  61. SBW
    March 7th, 2006 @ 5:44 pm

    In post number 51 the following words are not my own. I copied and pasted it fom post number 49 and then didn’t respond to it. I apologize for any confusion.

    ///Whether or not you accept it, the bible is presented to the world as the infallible word of god. It does not talk about changes, causes and effects. The god-guy is the cause and effect. Period.

    To suggest that a god created everything and then left it to evolve via cause and effect is a MASSIVE departure from your christian brethern.///

  62. THE NO GOD BOY
    March 7th, 2006 @ 5:44 pm

    SBW-

    “And if he did intervene would that make you happy? If God came down right now and solved all your problems, made your entire existence nothing but sunshine and rainbows and happiness I don’t think you would be satisfied….”

    You might be right, but I am willing to give it a shot. It certainly would beat being abandoned and forced to jump from a burning office tower that has been his by a plane.

    ” You would be probably be mad that God took away your right to be unhappy and then you would have a new grievance to file.”

    No….I have never tried very hard to exercise my right to be unhappy. Were I stripped of it I would probably accept its loss.

    There is no god.

    God can’t be all bad, he allows atheists to exist.

  63. SBW
    March 7th, 2006 @ 5:53 pm

    //THE NO GOD BOY said:You might be right, but I am willing to give it a shot. It certainly would beat being abandoned and forced to jump from a burning office tower that has been his by a plane///

    And what if at this very moment those people are enjoying enjoying endless happiness, the most intense orgasms that the human mind can conceive of, and daily fellowship with God who answers all their questions……would that make up for the fact that they left this world by dying in a horrible way?

  64. The No God Boy
    March 7th, 2006 @ 6:01 pm

    Nope.

  65. The No God Boy
    March 7th, 2006 @ 6:02 pm

    Are trying to suggest that dead people get to have sex with god?

    You really are a sicko.

  66. SBW
    March 7th, 2006 @ 6:07 pm

    ///The No God Boy said: Are trying to suggest that dead people get to have sex with god?

    You really are a sicko.///

    Sheesh, only an atheist would think that I was implying they are having sex with God. :(

    I’ve heard varying interpretations of sex in heaven. Some say that we are all eunuchs and there is no sex because being in heaven is better than anything we could think of. Others say that we do have sex, but not in the way that we think of here on earth.

  67. The No God Boy
    March 7th, 2006 @ 6:08 pm

    Thats a great example.

    I should try that on my wife.

    “Dear, I’m going to burn you to death and crush your skull, but afterwards you can have your questions answered and have a good orgasm. How’s that sound?”

  68. Erik
    March 7th, 2006 @ 6:21 pm

    Chris Treborn,

    Atheists don’t criticize god per se. That is because they don’t believe that god exists, so there is nothing to criticize. What atheists do criticize is the believer’s perception of what god is. Since, by your statements, you cannot comprehend god, then how can anyone ever say anything about the nature of god, good or bad? If it is true that god is not subject to criticism, then it is equally true that god is not worthy of praise. To suggest otherwise is simply to have your cake and eat it, too.

  69. The No God Boy
    March 7th, 2006 @ 6:24 pm

    SBW said:

    “I’ve heard varying interpretations of sex in heaven. Some say that we are all eunuchs and there is no sex because being in heaven is better than anything we could think of. Others say that we do have sex, but not in the way that we think of here on earth.”

    Thats great. The only problem is how many of those “others” that you have heard this stuff from have actually ever been there and made it back.

    TRY ZERO. Name one we can interview.

    Also, since sex is a biological function designed for reproduction, are people still having children in your heaven? In heaven do dogs hump your leg differently than they do on earth, or has that behavior been corrected entirely?

    I’ve heard that in a certain tree there are the elves who use magic to make really great cookies.

    There is no god.

  70. Rob
    March 7th, 2006 @ 6:57 pm

    It amuses me how Christians say how evil is somehow a necessity for the existence of good, free will or whatever, yet they are totally comfortable stating that heaven can exist as a place without opposites, a place of good and ecstasy with no taint of pain or evil. Of course you could try stating that hell is that opposite, but then you have this nagging question about whether the ecstasy in heaven is really worth the sufferers in hell.

  71. The No God Boy
    March 7th, 2006 @ 7:07 pm

    Just like SBW I have “heard” that the real difference between this life, heaven and hell is in the food.

    Heaven is apparenly known far and wide for its salad bar which I am told is an all-you-can-eat eternal buffet style. Nothing ever runs out, it’s always the perfect temperature and they have some of the best dressings in the galaxy. Considering that heaven is for eternity god insists that everyone be on a high fiber diet so that the plumbing does not back up.

    Heaven’s desert table is second to none and, with jesus personally overseeing the selection, there is a lot to choose from. Angelfood cake is a featured item and the whipped topping for the jello is so light it practically floats away all by itself.

    Hell is quite a different matter. Foodservice is sporadic at best and consists primarily of grits, fatback and a selection of sugary childrens cereals. There is the occasional devils food cake, but it is usually stale. The worst part about hell I am told is the abdominal cramps and the utter lack of adequate plumbing facilities (apparently heaven and hell share the same feeder line and hell is connected in such a way that heaven gets most of the flow).

    Considerinig the shit that comes out of heaven and the religious on a daily basis it’s no wonder!!!

  72. Mister Swill
    March 7th, 2006 @ 7:58 pm

    SBW, my apologies for post #45. I had originally posed that as a question to you, but I re-wrote it in third person for some reason.

    Here’s the best way I’ve come up with to explain the problem of evil. Only two of the following three statements can be true:

    • God is omnipotent (everything in the universe is his doing).
    • God is omnibenevolent (everything God does is good).
    • Evil, defined as the opposite of good, exists in the universe.

    Following from that, if God is omnipotent and omnibenevolent, then we must define everything in the universe as good. Even things that we normally think of as “evil,” like the murders, rapes, and tortures that you mention. If all of this unpleasant (but good) stuff is a necessary part of God’s plan, or a goal toward which He is working, we must accept that God’s interests are different from ours, or at least the interests of our earthly forms.

    I think that my definition of omnipotence is consistent with your beliefs (“God contains the beginning, the end, and every point in between. I do believe that God is all-knowing and all-powerful.”), but some may quibble with it. I realize that we could still call God omnipotent if he has the power to control everything in the universe, but doesn’t always necessarily do so. That’s essentially what people are suggesting when they say God granted us free will. Here’s my problem with that: If God is all-knowing (omnipotence to me implies omniscience, and every theist with whom I’ve had this discussion believes He’s omniscient), then he knows the result of every action. So God knows ahead of time the outcome of every decision he makes not to intervene. How is that any different from Him controlling everything?

    Maybe Chris Treborn is right and God is beyond human comprehension. Makes me wonder why I bother listening to all the humans who try to describe Him.

  73. Mister Swill
    March 7th, 2006 @ 8:28 pm

    Oh, and as for the actual Raving Atheist post on which we’re ostensibly commenting (I know, I know, I need to get a new blog of my own), it sounds like the God Squad should convert to the Bahá’í Faith.

  74. SBW
    March 7th, 2006 @ 10:43 pm

    ///The No God Boy said: “I’ve heard varying interpretations of sex in heaven. Some say that we are all eunuchs and there is no sex because being in heaven is better than anything we could think of. Others say that we do have sex, but not in the way that we think of here on earth.”

    Thats great. The only problem is how many of those “others” that you have heard this stuff from have actually ever been there and made it back. ///

    My point was that I can’t tell you what transpires in heaven or in hell. I don’t know. I have my beliefs about what happens in the afterlife but, of course, I can’t prove it.

    ///MisterSwill said: Here’s my problem with that: If God is all-knowing (omnipotence to me implies omniscience, and every theist with whom I’ve had this discussion believes He’s omniscient), then he knows the result of every action. So God knows ahead of time the outcome of every decision he makes not to intervene. How is that any different from Him controlling everything?//

    Here is an example. I put my daughter on the ground in one corner of the room and put her favorite toy across the room in another corner. I know she loves this toy and is probably going to crawl straight towards. I know how she is going to pull herself up to the toy and I know how she plays with the toy and I know how long she likes to play with the toy. I know how everything as far as this situation is going to play out. Instead of putting her across the room from the toy I could have put her down at any point in between. I know that she could change her mind half-way across the room and want me to pick her up instead. I know everything and I could stop her from doing something at anytime by simply picking her up.

    I use this enalogy because I think I think this is our relationship with God. He knows every possibility, every outcome, every choice and will put an end to it when he wants to.

    Back to your question…..does God control everything? Yes. Because he knows all of our options, all of the consequences, and unlike us He knows how its going to end.

    Do we still have free will? Yes, because between this side of the room and that side of the room my daughter has plenty of options (even though I know them all) and we have plenty of options between now and eternity to make decisions ( even though God knows them all and knows how its all going to turn out).

    Another way I think of it is like chess. At the start of a chess game there are millions of options but a master chess player already has his moves laid out in his head. He knows what move to make based on what moves his opponent makes and as each of the players take their turns they are laying the game out over and over in their heads until the last move has been played and the game is over.

    “I just lay it out for you to play it out”-Huggy Bear in Starsky and Hutch

  75. Mister Swill
    March 8th, 2006 @ 12:23 am

    But SBW, in the example of you and your daughter, if you were God, you wouldn’t just know every option your daughter might choose, you would know exactly which option she will choose.

    You are God. SBW puts her daughter on the floor. But before she even puts her on the floor, you knew the daughter was going to crawl three feet, stop, sit up, look to her left, smile, sit there for 3.5 seconds, get an itch, scratch her face, and then start crawling again toward her toy. In fact, you knew that was going to happen before you even created the universe. In fact, the instant before you created the universe, you knew every event that would happen in every potential version of the universe you were about to create. But you also knew exactly how you would arrange all the matter of the universe, how every event would unfold, exactly what events you would and would not take direct control of, and the results of you taking or not taking control of those events. So you chose, in that first instant, to create the version of the universe in which, on a particular day on a planet called Earth, SBW’s daughter crawls three feet, stops, sits up, looks to her left, smiles, sits there for 3.5 seconds, gets an itch, scratches her face, and then starts crawling again toward her toy. And also some guy in New York rapes and suffocates a graduate student and dumps her body in Brooklyn.

    But the free will thing isn’t even my point. I don’t have to convince you that God controls everything because that’s what you said. Here’s my point:

    God controls everything in the universe. Everything God does is good. Can anything in the universe be described as “not good?”

  76. SBW
    March 8th, 2006 @ 3:40 am

    ///Mister Swill said: God controls everything in the universe. Everything God does is good. Can anything in the universe be described as “not good?”///

    Yes, there are plenty of things that are not good. The word itself is relative and depends on what you are talking about.

    Rape, murder, incest…..all of those things are horrible.

  77. severalspecies
    March 8th, 2006 @ 10:07 am

    Man, I choose not to come to this blog for a bit (or did something else choose for me?) and lo and behold I come back to some juicy lively stuff; sex and freewill!!

    I just want to pose this question to any theists out there (especially to what looks like the new punching bag of ideas, Christ Reborn, …uh sorry,… that’s Chris Treborn): Is there any freewill in heaven? (I think I posted this question somewhere else, but got no responses. Or maybe it was this blog, I just don’t remember, or maybe I’m choosing not to remember….)

    I ask this because if the problem of evil is solved by freewill and there is freewill in heaven, for what purpose is life here on earth? Just get me to heaven and I’ll choose to stay. If there is no freewill in heaven, then God just wants puppets to praise and grovel at his feet, and life here again serves no purpose. You have to choose (or maybe not, if something else chooses for you), so an answer of “I don’t know” just won’t cut it.

  78. The No God Boy
    March 8th, 2006 @ 11:05 am

    SBW said:

    “My point was that I can’t tell you what transpires in heaven or in hell. I don’t know. I have my beliefs about what happens in the afterlife but, of course, I can’t prove it.”

    Then how in the world can you go about making value judgments and imposing your ideas on others. Based on what you know there is a high likelyhood that none of it exists at all.
    I mean you seem to believe in an invisible being that lives in a place the existence of which you can’t verify.

    That makes about as much sense as me trying to book hotel reservations for a hotel I believe exists on Mars. I have no form of direct two-way contact with them, I have no tangible evidence the place exists in the first place, and no one I know has ever been there (or if they have they never came back). And yet because someone handed me a book which said “be sure to book your stay on Mars” I am insistent that this is the correct thing to do.

    Do you not see the problem with that? If I tried the Mars thing people would insist I was crazy and yet these same people are desperately trying to book their trip to heaven.

    There is no god.

  79. severalspecies
    March 8th, 2006 @ 12:26 pm

    To SBW

    You didn’t answer Mister Swill’s “God controls everything…” correctly. He gave you two conditions:

    A. God controls EVERYTHING
    B. EVERYTHING God does IS GOOD

    Question, Is there then anything (which is part of EVERYTHING) be ‘Not Good”?

  80. JUST_ANOTHER_PRIMATE
    March 8th, 2006 @ 3:01 pm

    I tell you – the gyrations, contortions, and pretzel logic that theists go through to explain evil in the world just about makes my head implode … it is simply ridiculous.

    Simply put: A naturalistic explanation for our existence fits perfectly well with what we actually observe in the world.

  81. The No God Boy
    March 8th, 2006 @ 3:06 pm

    But thats only because the invisible man wants it that way. He’s trying to trick us into not believing.

    Its a really sneaky trick to she which of us will figure out the bible is actually the greatest science manual of all time!!

  82. hermesten
    March 8th, 2006 @ 5:40 pm

    “I’ve heard varying interpretations of sex in heaven. Some say that we are all eunuchs and there is no sex because being in heaven is better than anything we could think of. Others say that we do have sex, but not in the way that we think of here on earth.”

    As they say on “The Thing”: you’ve got to be fu-ck-ing kidding me. What’s next? Speculation on whether Santa lubes his north pole before he bangs Mrs. Santa’s south equatorial hole? A biological debate about whether the Easter Bunny has noctural emissions? A discussion of fairy genetalia? Or perhaps just a revival of the debate about how many fairies will fit on the head of a pin?

  83. Mister Swill
    March 8th, 2006 @ 5:44 pm

    Here’s where we get to the heart of the matter, SBW. You said:

    “Yes, there are plenty of things that are not good. The word itself is relative and depends on what you are talking about. Rape, murder, incest…..all of those things are horrible.”

    You know something? I agree with you. I agree that the word good is relative. I’ve been arguing that point on this site with theists and atheists alike (see the comments on “Avowed”). I also agree that rape, murder, and incest (at least when power dynamics are in play) are horrible.

    But here’s the thing: If you’re right about God, then we’re both wrong about rape, murder, and incest.

    If everything in the universe is under God’s control and everything that God does is good, then everything in the universe must be good. Even things that human beings like you and I consider “not good” or “horrible” or even “evil” are, by definition, good. To put it another way, what’s good for us isn’t necessarily good for God, and vice-versa. But if you and I disagree with God and God is infallible, then guess what? We’re wrong. No two-ways about it.

    Look, I’m not saying that you or any theist ought not to believe in God. I’m just saying that maybe He isn’t perfect. Maybe He doesn’t quite control everything. Or maybe he is perfect and controls everything and we humans have no business calling anything that happens on this Earth “bad.” Just a little doubt. That’s all I ask.

    While we’re on the subject, a little doubt is all I ask of the atheists as well: Maybe your world view was not arrived at through the unadulterated use of infallible logic. Maybe your emotions have a slight effect on the way you see things. Maybe all of your knowledge, which has led you to believe what you believe, is an infinitesimal percentage of all the potential knowledge in the universe. And maybe your definitions of right and wrong are just as faith-based as those of the devout.

  84. joe in oklahoma
    March 8th, 2006 @ 9:15 pm

    not very accurate when it comes to buddhism, or judaism.

  85. Pascal's Wager
    March 9th, 2006 @ 12:13 am

    WOW, do I sense a little bit of animosity towards God in these posts? I think it is even more than usual. With all this apparent repressed emotion towards disproving the existence of a God, it makes me think you may suffer from, not ED, but GD (God Disfunction) and may need to take an atheism Viagra. Relax a little, enjoy life, and let death do the talking. Like I have stated before, I may be wrong at death, big deal, I’m worm food and fertilizer. You’re wrong at death, and you can make light of it as much as you want, but you’re in trouble. It sometimes seems that atheists have more of an issue with those who believe in God than they do with God himself. God is loving, but he can not tolerate evil. By the way, the King James Version of Isaiah 45:7 does say God created evil but according to a commentary for which I can’t take credit for, “The word translated “evil” here is the Hebrew word ra’. A better translation in modern English is “calamity” or “disaster” or “woe,” as this word is translated in this verse in more recent translations…’Evil,’ as used here, refers to evil of a physical nature (storms), not moral evil.” Anyway that is a slight tangent. As you respond to this, realize I will sit back and chuckle as I read them. Sure, there will probably be enraged attacks on my opinion and maybe even me as a person but I am confident in what I believe. I may pray, trust, and believe whole-heartedly in the God you in fact do not, but I enter this blog not to increase my self-esteem or to necessarily prove the existence of God. He exists (my belief) and does not need humanity to verify His existence. He will be fine without my opinion and my defense of Him. In closing I think this quote fits this particular post by the RA- “A man can no more diminish God’s glory by refusing to worship Him than a lunatic can put out the sun by scribbling the word, ‘darkness’ on the walls of his cell.” ~C.S. Lewis, The Problem of Pain

  86. Pascal's Wager
    March 9th, 2006 @ 12:13 am

    WOW, do I sense a little bit of animosity towards God in these posts? I think it is even more than usual. With all this apparent repressed emotion towards disproving the existence of a God, it makes me think you may suffer from, not ED, but GD (God Disfunction) and may need to take an atheism Viagra. Relax a little, enjoy life, and let death do the talking. Like I have stated before, I may be wrong at death, big deal, I’m worm food and fertilizer. You’re wrong at death, and you can make light of it as much as you want, but you’re in trouble. It sometimes seems that atheists have more of an issue with those who believe in God than they do with God himself. God is loving, but he can not tolerate evil. By the way, the King James Version of Isaiah 45:7 does say God created evil but according to a commentary for which I can’t take credit for, “The word translated “evil” here is the Hebrew word ra’. A better translation in modern English is “calamity” or “disaster” or “woe,” as this word is translated in this verse in more recent translations…’Evil,’ as used here, refers to evil of a physical nature (storms), not moral evil.” Anyway that is a slight tangent. As you respond to this, realize I will sit back and chuckle as I read them. Sure, there will probably be enraged attacks on my opinion and maybe even me as a person but I am confident in what I believe. I may pray, trust, and believe whole-heartedly in the God you in fact do not, but I enter this blog not to increase my self-esteem or to necessarily prove the existence of God. He exists (my belief) and does not need humanity to verify His existence. He will be fine without my opinion and my defense of Him. In closing I think this quote fits this particular post by the RA- “A man can no more diminish God’s glory by refusing to worship Him than a lunatic can put out the sun by scribbling the word, ‘darkness’ on the walls of his cell.” ~C.S. Lewis, The Problem of Pain

  87. Pascal's Wager
    March 9th, 2006 @ 12:13 am

    WOW, do I sense a little bit of animosity towards God in these posts? I think it is even more than usual. With all this apparent repressed emotion towards disproving the existence of a God, it makes me think you may suffer from, not ED, but GD (God Disfunction) and may need to take an atheism Viagra. Relax a little, enjoy life, and let death do the talking. Like I have stated before, I may be wrong at death, big deal, I’m worm food and fertilizer. You’re wrong at death, and you can make light of it as much as you want, but you’re in trouble. It sometimes seems that atheists have more of an issue with those who believe in God than they do with God himself. God is loving, but he can not tolerate evil. By the way, the King James Version of Isaiah 45:7 does say God created evil but according to a commentary for which I can’t take credit for, “The word translated “evil” here is the Hebrew word ra’. A better translation in modern English is “calamity” or “disaster” or “woe,” as this word is translated in this verse in more recent translations…’Evil,’ as used here, refers to evil of a physical nature (storms), not moral evil.” Anyway that is a slight tangent. As you respond to this, realize I will sit back and chuckle as I read them. Sure, there will probably be enraged attacks on my opinion and maybe even me as a person but I am confident in what I believe. I may pray, trust, and believe whole-heartedly in the God you in fact do not, but I enter this blog not to increase my self-esteem or to necessarily prove the existence of God. He exists (my belief) and does not need humanity to verify His existence. He will be fine without my opinion and my defense of Him. In closing I think this quote fits this particular post by the RA- “A man can no more diminish God’s glory by refusing to worship Him than a lunatic can put out the sun by scribbling the word, ‘darkness’ on the walls of his cell.” ~C.S. Lewis, The Problem of Pain

  88. Mister Swill
    March 9th, 2006 @ 5:37 am

    Not to be disrespectful, St. Thom, but the answers are a little easier for you than us. You’ve been dead for 732 years, so I figure you must have figured out something about the afterlife by now. Are you allowed to reveal anything about the hereafter? I’d love to know who’s your ISP.

    I’m guessing you haven’t communicated with the living since the 17th century, since you seem to believe that nobody here has heard of Pascal’s Wager or its many, many problems. I’m kind of surprised that a man who wrote as much religious philosophy as you did would fall back on such a flimsy argument to convince us of God’s existence. Don’t get me wrong; Pascal’s Wager is a cool screen name and all, but as a philosophical argument, it’s got more holes than a cheese grater.

    So, have you met God? Your post says a bunch about believing in Him, so I’m guessing you haven’t met Him face to face yet. Or, I don’t know, does He live where you (after)live? Surely you must have more knowledge of Him than we do on Earth. So what’s the answer to the problem of evil? Does God control everything in the universe? Is everything He does good? If the answer to both of those questions is “yes,” doesn’t that mean that everything in the universe — even that which we think of as evil — is good?

  89. Los Pepes
    March 9th, 2006 @ 10:00 am

    One thing that tends to get over-looked in all of this is that if you really think about it, there really is no absolute evil. We as humans ascribe the quality of “evil” to anything we believe as bad for us, the humans.

    Think about it: If someone came along and killed 3 billion people, we [the people left alive] would call it evil. Frankly, all of the other life on this planet would be thrilled to pieces because they would finally get some resources back. And the earth itself couldn’t care less… people say we are destroying the earth, when in actuality we are destroying our capacity to dwell on the earth; the earth itself doesn’t care if there is life all over it or if it’s just a radiation-covered ball of rock. To coin a phrase, “..the earth would shake us off like a bad cold…”

    I guess my point is that every single action that occurs on this planet is good for something, and bad for something else–in equal measure. Do you think the cows perceive evil the same way we do? To them, evil is a pneumatic hammer…

    I am not a vegetarian, nor am I a conservation nut; I am an atheist. It is silly for us to think that the entire idea of what is “good” and “evil” revolves around us, the humans. Like it or not, we as life forms have the same goals as every other life form on this rock– just because we happen to be at the top of the food chain right now doesn’t make a damn bit of difference.
    There are parts of planet that have never seen a human (although those places are fading fast), do you think that the life in those parts cares at all what we say about good, evil, and gods? If we all died tomorrow, they would never know we were ever even here.

  90. Thorngod
    March 9th, 2006 @ 11:32 am

    Folks–and especially to SBW, for whatever miniscule penetration it may have–notions of “Good” and “Evil” originated from interpretations of benefit and detriment, and are “objective” from the standpoint of group survival and subjective at the individual level. Religion is itself a survival mechanism, and one without which humans might never have advanced beyond australopithecus (which has nothing to do, of course, with the question of truth in religious belief). “Good,” essentially, is what pleases you. “Bad,” and it’s theological distortion “Evil,” are what you find hurtful. — And from whence, my theists, comes the notions of “God,” “Heaven,” and “Hell”? You have no evidence whatever of their reality, and the physical and intellectual circumstances of the ancient originators (actually reinterpreters, since the actual originators lived at least a million years before) should be suspect even to those of you conditioned to believe. — SBW, you have not grasped the implications of the fancy called “free will.” As Spinoza discovered in his exhaustive analysis of the concept of “God,” even God cannot possess “free will,” since he cannot contravert his own nature! — P’s Wager, you remark, “seems that atheists have more of an issue with those who believe in God than they do with God himself.” !!! Did you intend to charge the reverse? A true atheist can have no issues whatever with “God” as an esistent being. All atheist issues are with spiritualism, though statements sometimes take the form of railings against “God” (except in the cases of those who are not intellectually atheists but are merely in some sort of emotional revolt from religion). — And as to the C.S. Lewis quote, I retort: A man can no more create a god for himself by worshipping his own delusions than he can create a god for himself by worshipping his own delusions.

  91. hermesten
    March 9th, 2006 @ 12:19 pm

    “With all this apparent repressed emotion towards disproving the existence of a God, it makes me think you may suffer from, not ED, but GD (God Disfunction) and may need to take an atheism Viagra.”

    Wow, it only took 1700 years for those who disagree with you to evolve from evil to crazy. Now that’s progressive.

    It’s a good thing you guys had a 700 year head-start on Islam, or you’d be flying planes into buildings.

  92. Chris Treborn
    March 9th, 2006 @ 2:57 pm

    “Whether or not you accept it, the bible is presented to the world as the infallible word of god. It does not talk about changes, causes and effects. The god-guy is the cause and effect. Period.”

    it doesn’t matter who said this, it is still true.

  93. Thorngod
    March 9th, 2006 @ 3:55 pm

    ChrisT, DE RERUM NATURA is presented to the world as the refutation of any Prime Mover. It treats changes, causes and effects. The causes and effects are the changes. It does not matter who said this, it is still true.

  94. Chris Treborn
    March 9th, 2006 @ 4:13 pm

    thanks thorngod for providing a good argument for the existance of God. the fact that there are effects means there must be a cause, and the first cause if God.

  95. jahrta
    March 9th, 2006 @ 4:30 pm

    Hey!

    I just lost a sock in the wash. It isn’t here anywhere…wait….nope. Not here.

    God must have taken it!

    I am confident I will be reunited with it in sock heaven though

    Ramer

  96. Jahrta
    March 9th, 2006 @ 4:32 pm

    Dammit..i meant “Ramen”

    Now i’ll have to deliver 40 lashes with a wet noodle to my naked flesh in pennance to the Noodly One.

    (May He Always Come Out Al Dente)

  97. Chris Treborn
    March 9th, 2006 @ 4:35 pm

    yeah good one jahrta, the follies of man (losing a sock) leads directly to the existance of god. NOT. straw man arguments don’t really impress me.

  98. Thorngod
    March 9th, 2006 @ 5:26 pm

    ChrisT, I was’nt presenting the “De Rerum Natura” reference aswhat I took to be the ultimate nature of things. I was merely mocking your own statements. Actually, though some of us know without reasonable doubt the origin of the gods (“God” included), we do not pretend to know the utter nature of what is. Only you of the spirit faith presume to know such things.

  99. jahrta
    March 10th, 2006 @ 10:59 am

    Actually, Chris, I was trying to expose the flaws in your own logic, but you’re apparently far too gone to realize that.

    I mourn for the loss of your mind.

  100. jahrta
    March 10th, 2006 @ 11:01 am

    and although it’s off-topic, what kind of retard says “not” anymore. I thought only my mom still said that.

  101. Los Pepes
    March 10th, 2006 @ 11:26 am

    It really blows my mind when a person just accepts these goofy, non-sensical religion-based explanations. I guess what amazes me the most is that during the course of normal life, things simply must make sense.

    For example, when you start your car, it makes sense. If the car does not start, something is broken, and that makes sense. There are no magical black boxes in there that allow your car to run on voodoo power; it runs because it has an engine, and every part of that engine makes perfect sense.

    This rational can be applied to every single thing that a person encounters from the second their foot hits the floor in the morning to the second their butt hits the bed at night. If your life contains any magic black boxes, take the time to look inside the box, the contents will make perfect sense. If the math confuses you, learn the math.

    Getting back to my original point: Even after living a life where everything you take the time to understand makes perfect sense, a group of individuals than asks you to accept something that makes no sense at all, in any context!

    By doing this, you are disabling your mind. You mind is a reality-integration machine. Its purpose is to interpret to the information it receives about the world around you (via your senses), and come up with a game plan that will produce the most beneficial life situation for you. Its simple… soooo simple. And it makes sense.

    Religion is a mental illness. I’m not saying that to be mean, I’m saying it because its accurate.

  102. Thorngod
    March 10th, 2006 @ 11:46 am

    Well stated, Los Pepes. I have never seen 2 plus 2 to equal more or less than four. And I concluded many years ago that religion is indeed a primordial pandemic mental derangement.

  103. Chris Treborn
    March 11th, 2006 @ 10:52 pm

    jahrta, I bet your mother says not all the time “my son is a genius. NOT! I know he’s 35 but my son is going to move out soon and get his own place, NOT!

    Thorngod, your math skills are impressive, for an atheit! so, you have mastered 2 + 2 = 4. Can you figure out what 3+3 is now?

  104. Rob
    March 11th, 2006 @ 11:27 pm

    Is it just me or does it seem like Chris Treborn has completely lost his cool? He’s not even trying to argue against our logic now. Didn’t he state how us atheists are rude and insulting? I guess he’s become an atheist.

    Welcome to the fold, Chris Treborn!

  105. Chris Treborn
    March 12th, 2006 @ 12:18 am

    rob, I am simply responding in a manner appropriate to the unwarranted abuse I have recieved. The pattern is repeated many times: I destroy someone’s argument and then they get angry and react with crude abuse. I’ve seen the same thing happen to Lily. I guess it’s just the way you guys are.

  106. rob
    March 12th, 2006 @ 2:57 am

    Since when did you destroy our arguments, Chris Treborn? Its more like we destroy your arguments, you make some unproven accusations in denial and frustration. We take note of your lack of rationality in your so called arguments, and you write even less rationally. I’ve seen the same thing happen with Lily. I guess its just the way you guys are.

  107. Facehammer
    March 12th, 2006 @ 8:25 am

    I destroy someone’s argument

    *Roffles*

  108. Los Pepes
    March 12th, 2006 @ 10:33 am

    Chris –

    You have never come within a rifle-shot of destroying any of my arguments. As a matter of fact, you only address people that get into name-calling with you, you’ve never addressed me at all.

    Anything you say. A-N-Y-T-H-I-N-G. I will tear apart into a million small nonsensical pieces. And I will never call you a name once.

    You stay away from me because you sense that I am one who could very easily show you the lies of the 2000-year hoax. There is no difference between modern religion and the ancient practice of throwing virgins into volcanoes; they are functionally equivalent.

    I am fortunate to be an atheist. It took a long, strange turn of events to lead me down this path. I am allowed to use my head. I understand why things such crime are bad and compassion is good (because it makes sense, not because they were dictated from on high).

    The true irony of all of this is that most atheists (that I know at least) live lives that are far, far closer to the christian ideal than most christians.

    Atheists have to be honest, we have no choice, because we know we are accountable for our actions, not to a god, but to the effort that our actions has on our lives. Atheists understand that a human is a human is a human. Reality is soooo obvious, why waste all of that time and effort trying to trick yourself?

  109. jahrta
    March 12th, 2006 @ 1:32 pm

    Los Pepes…

    You waste your time and energy. Chris will never seek you out because he doesn’t want to have his faith questioned or shaken, which can only lead us to the conclusion that he came here actually expecting to convert us with his weak logic and non-arguments. Chris, assuming he isn’t a troll, will never begin to question his faith because it’s probably the one thing keeping him from going down on a .45

  110. jahrta
    March 12th, 2006 @ 1:39 pm

    Let’s see – does it really warrant a response? No, Chris, but for some reason I feel compelled to rub your nose in the feces that is your own stupidity, so…

    I am a homeowner and work in the Network Services Department of an IT firm which caters to large-name national chain store clients. I hold a Bachelor’s Degree in Fine Arts from Brandeis University, and possess an IQ in the upper 140’s. I am writing a novel which I expect to have published within the next two years, and I am anticipating the birth of my first child at the end of this year (and yes, I am happily married).

    So what was that you were saying again?

  111. Los Pepes
    March 12th, 2006 @ 7:55 pm

    I am an I.T. Specialist [Fed] with an honors degree in Computer Science, and also a homeowner. I am married, but no kids yet though, not sure about that one yet.

    I also hold certs in C++ and Visual Basic programming, have produced perhaps 6 websites, and program on Windows, Unix/Linux and IBM mainframe OS/390 platforms in about 15 languages. Also do a lot of network engineering and administration.

    Don’t know what my IQ is, do know that my Briggs-Myers type is INTP. I also can’t remember the last time I was genuinely unhappy about anything.

  112. Chris Treborn
    March 12th, 2006 @ 9:15 pm

    how sad. The fact that you want to say what your IQ is online is a pretty good sign that it’s considerably lower than you claim. Your novel that you “expect to have published n the next two years” is cute. However, maybe you should save the boasting until it actually get’s published. Let me guess, it’s about a dashing atheist who battles the “ignorance” of theists and proves that there is no god! Everyone who lives in california has an unpublished screenplay. They, like your novel, could make good toilet paper for the people of new orleans.

    so, what i was saying, jahrta, is that your online boasting is meaningless. Even if what you say is true, so what? You are still impoverished by your empty life. True life begins when you understand what Jesus is all about, and you are so far from that. This may be why you are so full of rage against me and other theists who are only trying to show you a different way.

    los peepee, who asked for your CV? Stick to coding geek.

  113. Rob
    March 13th, 2006 @ 2:37 am

    And here is the unproven accusations and name-calling. If thats what having a “full” life is about, Chris Treborn, I’m glad it remains “empty”.

  114. Mister Swill
    March 13th, 2006 @ 8:45 am

    Ladies and gentlemen, the debate we’ve all been waiting for: Chris Treborn vs. Chris Treborn!
    All quotes taken from genuine Chris Treborn Comments.

    CT: True life begins when you understand what Jesus is all about, and you are so far from that.

    CT: [C]an a dog understand your tax return? Us trying to understand God is even more unlikely.

    CT: [T]he fact that there are effects means there must be a cause, and the first cause if[sic] God.

    CT: [T]rying to understand God is futile. God is a being beyond human comprehension and it is supremely arrogant to claim you even understand Him[.]

    CT: I can’t reconcile all the horrible things in the world with my concept of a loving God (in whom I fully believe), which is why faith is important to me.

    CT: [Y]our online boasting is meaningless. Even if what you say is true, so what? You are still impoverished by your empty life.

    CT: [S]traw man arguments don’t really impress me.

    CT: I bet your mother says not all the time “my son is a genius. NOT![sic]

    CT: [C]an anyonre[sic] say ad hominem?

    CT: I am simply responding in a manner appropriate to the unwarranted abuse I have recieved. The pattern is repeated many times: I destroy someone’s argument and then they get angry and react with crude abuse.

    CT: [H]ow sad.

    CT: Everyone who lives in california has an unpublished screenplay. They…could make good toilet paper for the people of new orleans…Stick to coding geek.

    CT: Jesus[.]

  115. Los Pepes
    March 13th, 2006 @ 9:19 am

    I’m a geek, Chris, that is true. But:

    -I’m a geek that gets a geek’s paycheck, which means that I’ll probably be hiring you to trim my hedges. And I’ll laugh while you ogle over my wife.

    -I’m a great-big geek that has coughed up scarier shit than you.

    Those of us that can take care of ourselves and are confident in our abilities and beliefs do not resort to grade-school playground tactics to win arguments, and that goes for the theist and atheist alike.

  116. jahrta
    March 13th, 2006 @ 11:27 am

    Actually, Christopher, my novel is about a new breed of angel, so you’re just about wrong on all counts, but I suspect that that is something with which you have grown accustomed over the years, so much so that you’ve managed to convince yourself that defeat is victory, ignorance is bliss, and stupidity is the height of wit and satire.

  117. Facehammer
    March 13th, 2006 @ 12:31 pm

    “los peepee, who asked for your CV? Stick to coding geek.”

    What are you, 12 years old? That or you’re a troll (not that that’s a bad thing in itself – some of the most intensely amusing things I’ve ever seen came from the keyboards of internet trolls. You’re just a really sh-it one). Each time I see such a downpour of intellectual diarrhoea, I believe I’ve seen the very lowest that humanity can go. Yet every so often, people like you punch through the bottom of the barrel and start digging, and I seethe with impotent rage because I can’t nuke all life from the face of the planet.

    Oh, and don’t forget this gem in the Chris Treborn Vs Chris Treborn Showdown:
    “saying the same thing over and over won’t make it any more intelligent, or true.”

  118. jahrta
    March 13th, 2006 @ 1:30 pm

    facehammer

    I thought that nuking the planet to kill everyone who disagreed with you was the theist version of the final solution? :)

  119. Facehammer
    March 13th, 2006 @ 2:23 pm

    Who said anything about nuking it to destroy those who disagree? I would destroy this planet for producing so many people who are so unrelentingly thick. It’s not all about religion – though that is a major contributing factor – it’s that I hate being the spawn of a world where there are so many that are so stupid.

    I would happily ride in astride one of the ICBMs myself. Possibly cackling.

  120. jahrta
    March 13th, 2006 @ 4:15 pm

    Oh, don’t worry – I wasn’t being serious

    Although I like your Slim Pickens reference.

    I think that may be who Dubya modeled himself after. I wonder what Chris’s thoughts are on the chimp.

  121. SBW
    March 13th, 2006 @ 5:23 pm

    ///The No God Boy said:
    SBW said:

    “My point was that I can’t tell you what transpires in heaven or in hell. I don’t know. I have my beliefs about what happens in the afterlife but, of course, I can’t prove it.”

    Then how in the world can you go about making value judgments and imposing your ideas on others. Based on what you know there is a high likelyhood that none of it exists at all.
    I mean you seem to believe in an invisible being that lives in a place the existence of which you can’t verify.///

    What ideas have I imposed on others? Have I come here and tried to envangelize anyone? I don’t think so. I believe that there is a God and that there is an afterlife. I have reasons for my beliefs but they are too numerous and would require too much time and typing to go into on RA’s site.

    There are things that science has not explained, either because science is not yet that advanced or because they are things that are outside of the realm of conventional science.

    ///severalspecies said:
    To SBW

    You didn’t answer Mister Swill’s “God controls everything…” correctly. He gave you two conditions:

    A. God controls EVERYTHING
    B. EVERYTHING God does IS GOOD

    Question, Is there then anything (which is part of EVERYTHING) be ‘Not Good”?///

    The question in that form is non-question. Does God control everything? Yes. Is God responsible for the murder of a 3 year old child because he doesn’t stop it? No, because the person who directly murdered the child would be the one responsible.

  122. SBW
    March 13th, 2006 @ 5:44 pm

    ///Mister Swill said: But here’s the thing: If you’re right about God, then we’re both wrong about rape, murder, and incest.

    If everything in the universe is under God’s control and everything that God does is good, then everything in the universe must be good. Even things that human beings like you and I consider “not good” or “horrible” or even “evil” are, by definition, good. To put it another way, what’s good for us isn’t necessarily good for God, and vice-versa. But if you and I disagree with God and God is infallible, then guess what? We’re wrong. No two-ways about it.///

    Excellent philosophical point. I, for one, have never said that God is all good. I try to stay away from arguments about what God is or isn’t like. I don’t believe that a being that is responsible for the creation of the universe/world/whatever can be categorized by simple labels. I only have one life (that I know of) and I’m trying my hardest to live it the best way that I can.

    ///While we’re on the subject, a little doubt is all I ask of the atheists as well: Maybe your world view was not arrived at through the unadulterated use of infallible logic. Maybe your emotions have a slight effect on the way you see things. Maybe all of your knowledge, which has led you to believe what you believe, is an infinitesimal percentage of all the potential knowledge in the universe. And maybe your definitions of right and wrong are just as faith-based as those of the devout.///

    I couldn’t have said it better. I once read that humans only use a small portion of their brains abilities. If this is true there many be layers and layers of information that is just waiting to be unfolded for us as the ages pass. One can just think about how much the realm of human knowledge and experience has expanded in the last few hundred years to see that there is so much left to be discovered about this existence.

    ///hermesten said: As they say on “The Thing”: you’ve got to be fu-ck-ing kidding me. What’s next? Speculation on whether Santa lubes his north pole before he bangs Mrs. Santa’s south equatorial hole? A biological debate about whether the Easter Bunny has noctural emissions? A discussion of fairy genetalia? Or perhaps just a revival of the debate about how many fairies will fit on the head of a pin?///

    Hermesten, people regularly philosophize about things that they have not seen and probably never will. I have never seen a miracle but can point you to plenty of philosophical treatises that argue whether or not they can occur.

    Stephen Hawking and other respectible scientists create theories about alternate universes, string theory, and how life on earth began that we cannot test in a scientific manner and yet scientists and philosophers still continue to talk about them.

    Do you think that scientists ( such as Hawking) who believe that other universes are possible-which we cannot test for-are stupid?

  123. jahrta
    March 14th, 2006 @ 10:02 am

    SBW

    you have feelings for your beliefs, nothing more. We have reasons. There is a difference.

  124. jahrta
    March 14th, 2006 @ 10:04 am

    SBW – if you’re throwing a pool party for your kid and one of her friends drowns, the jury at your trial wouldn’t want to hear you say that your inaction or irresponsiblity didn’t lead to the child drowning – rather it was the water’s fault.

    It didn’t work for Tommy Lee and it wouldn’t work for you either

  125. severalspecies
    March 15th, 2006 @ 10:57 am

    SBW

    Your answer, “Does God control everything? Yes. Is God responsible for the murder of a 3 year old child because he doesn’t stop it? No, because the person who directly murdered the child would be the one responsible.” is what drives us crazy. You answered directly to the question of “Does God control EVERYTHING?” with a yes, yet you somehow forget that then the murderer who killed the 3 year old is controlled by God since God controls EVERYTHING. Or do you have a different definition of “EVERYTHING”?

    My head hurts…

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