Friday, September 25, 2009

Does God Exist?

Here is video where someone is claiming that God is evil because He made everything, including evil. To see a "supposed" reply from Albert Einstein, watch the following.
A must see.

69 comments:

  1. Hey Dan, I really like that! :) Way to go Einstein!!

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  2. Pity it's fake. Never let facts get in the way of good glurge.

    http://www.snopes.com/religion/einstein.asp

    We all know Einstein as at best a deist.

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  3. Hey ya BT,

    Oh ok, if you are right about it being fake...my apologies (I still need to check the link properly).

    I know Einstein was a deist...definitely not atheist from my understanding.
    Still, I thought the video's message was clever, it was still worth putting up.

    Smart kid :)

    cheers,

    Dan

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  4. Da Bomb,

    Aren't you disgusted that creationists can do this kind of misleading videos? Einstein never did this. No professor ever teaches that "God is evil". You have to be way too naive to believe that this did happen. Never in all my chool days did I hear any teacher try and say anything about God being evil. That is not a clever kid. It is obviously a deceiving creationist add.

    As of the argument. I have heard this piece of crappy rhetoric many times. Never attributed to Einstein (which was much more honest), but rather as cartoons, or as supposed answers to claims that if God exists then God is evil, since it would have created evil.

    As for the argument, it is utterly stupid. Evil is as much the absence of good as good is the absence of evil. In other words, I could claim that the kid got it wrong, that good is the absence of evil and thus God, if it existed, would be evil, and you cannot show me otherwise. Try it yourself. If you cannot see the problem, try to prove which is correct, try to prove which would be the absence of which ...

    G.E.

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  5. Hum,

    Then if the kid said "absence of God" (I have read and heard "absence of good" in those other cartoons and stories), then God would have to be able to be present in slight amounts to give us degrees of goodness or of evilness. You have to agree that not everything is obviously evil, nor obviously good. So, is God as light? You supply Godishness in little bits that we can study but its absence (evilness) cannot be studied?

    Wow, it is so obviously ridiculous that I cannot believe you bought it.

    G.E.

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  6. I don't think there is anything 'creationist' about it.

    And the people who made weren't necessarily lying or deliberately being dishonest. They could have been quite genuine.

    Just no one thought to actually check. It's one of those 'too good to be true' things, so lets not look to closely.

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  7. Da Bomb,

    In your poll you ask:

    A question for atheist friends, do you want (not believe) God to exist? In other words, do you want to have a purpose to life outside of ourselves?

    Why do you think we cannot have a purpose outside of ourselves if there is not a God?

    I was not able to answer because both things are not the same.

    G.E.

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  8. BT,

    I don't think there is anything 'creationist' about it.

    Hell yes there is.

    G.E.

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  9. BT,

    I agree with you, what is there about creationists in this?

    It is talking about good and evil. I might as well say..."Photosynthesis your replies are so chaosist" :) I don't know who really authored this...haven't checked.

    The principle being brought about in this clip is simply that God did not create evil. He created a good world that had the opportunity to be evil...which is the absence of the original good in the good world God had made.

    Some people actually claim that God is evil because He made us evil, which is simply shifting the blame (some of the time) for our own actions.

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  10. Why do you think we cannot have a purpose outside of ourselves if there is not a God?

    I'll rephrase it for you.

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  11. If we define "evil" in terms of pain and suffering, then "good" is the absence of evil. Thus, God would have to have created evil. Not good.

    God creating evil is obviously a way to show how bizarre beliefs in omni-benevolent Gods are irrational given what we see in reality in terms of pain and suffering.

    The excuse given in this video is obviously creationist. It is obviously the "battle" between believers justifying their beliefs versus those who attempt to showing them the problems in their belief system. That this video is an attempt at protecting such beliefs, at giving them "credence", by showing an "intelligent" answer given by a "brilliant" kid, is way too obvious.

    G.E.

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  13. Finally,

    If this is not creationist propaganda, then why did your titled it "Does God exist?"

    G.E.

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  14. I don't think theist & creationist are directly interchangeable.

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  15. Now that is n interesting euphemism, referring to an outright fraud as "clever."
    That seems to be the hallmark of creationist thinking.

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  16. That seems to be the hallmark of creationist thinking.

    See what I mean? AT least I am not alone ...

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  17. FinEsse (Esther),

    Is that illustrations one of yours? If so, it is truly nice.

    G.E.

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  18. OT, but just to prove I wasn't completely crazy.

    I was watching an old DonExodus2 video and during it he talks about being a Christian. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L6Mi16NCUkA

    So I wasn't completely insane there.

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  19. hey Froggie,

    It seems you have returned for the third time to reason with the so called unreasonable!? LOL. Welcome back.

    Now that is n interesting euphemism, referring to an outright fraud as "clever."
    That seems to be the hallmark of creationist thinking.


    If it is a so called fraud then so be it. I was referring to the message being clever. If you cannot see the difference then I do wonder if you have something prejudice against all creationists.
    Now that doesn't sound very atheist-like? does it?
    Usually it is the creationists that are accused of blurring lines by the atheists.

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  20. Who said that God is "omni-benevolent"?
    The bible doesn't portray Him that way.

    The bible reveals Him to be totally righteous, just and holy - not totally benevolent.

    He is in no way benevolent to those who persist in unrighteousness and injustice.

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  21. He is in no way benevolent to those who persist in unrighteousness and injustice.

    Quite true Onesimus,

    John 3:16 should be taken in context.

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  22. The bible reveals Him to be totally righteous, just and holy - not totally benevolent.

    Whatever, it remains that God would have to have created evil, good would still be the absence of evil, rather than evil be the absence of good.

    It is still irrational to believe that such a God exists, that it would be "righteous and holy."

    I would also have to ask what exactly do righteous and holy mean.

    If righteous means it is a "just" God, how would it be just? Is justice is defined by God, then, if it existed, there would be no way for it not to be "righteous." After all, this God defines righteousness. Thus, a purely evil God would still be "righteous." After all, it defines righteousness itself. No way around. In other words, righteousness is circular and inescapable for a God to be "righteous." (Whatever I say is right. Thus I am righteous. Sure.)

    If holy means godly, then this is circular and useless, because there is no way of disproving "holiness" of what defines holiness itself. For all I know God, if existing, could be the most awful monster ever, and still be "holy." Unless the definition is something else. (I am God, thus holy. Right again.)

    So, those two terms lead you nowhere. God rules, whether evil or good, it rules and you shut up. This is what your believe your God is.

    G.E.

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  23. It is still irrational to believe that such a God exists, that it would be "righteous and holy

    Huh? If God is good, He judges all. The people that He judges are those who create evil...that is choose to go against God's law.

    If righteous means it is a "just" God, how would it be just? Is justice is defined by God, then, if it existed, there would be no way for it not to be "righteous."

    Exactly, God is just, He is the first cause. His laws are righteous and holy...such as the ten commandments. Is there anything evil about them?

    So, those two terms lead you nowhere. God rules, whether evil or good, it rules and you shut up. This is what your believe your God is.


    God rules and is good. He made man to know good, and when I recognise good...I see it in God.

    A question:

    How can you define good and evil without a standard to measure to? Is it your own circluar standard that you measure yourself to? (Relativism?)

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  24. Da Bomb,

    You missed the whole point. Please read it and understand it. All you did was confirm what I said. I will not repeat. I rather answer your question:

    How can you define good and evil without a standard to measure to? Is it your own circluar standard that you measure yourself to? (Relativism?)

    1. Wouldn't defining "good and evil" by "God's standard" be relative to God?

    2. If good is whatever God says, then if God decided for rape to be good would it be good?

    3. If it is "impossible" for God to decide that rape is fine (forgetting completely the contradictions in the Bible): Does it mean that goodness is despite or beyond God?

    4. If "good" is part of "God's nature." How is that not circular?

    5. Could it be that the "standard" has much more to do with pain, suffering, and survival? With harm?

    6. Do you think that defining "evil" in terms of pain, suffering, and survival would be "subjective"?

    7. Do you truly think that we need a god to know what pain, suffering, and survival mean?

    8. Do you really think that "standards" cannot change as our progress alleviate our pains and sufferings and allow us to avoid inflicting them onto others?

    9. Do you really think we need a god to understand this?

    10. Do you seriously think that the Bible contains a constant and uniform standard?

    This "morality" card is ridiculous (to put it mildly). It shows Christians to be so depraved, that without someone telling them what is right and wrong, they would not recognize it. Pain, suffering, survival. Are these concepts so hard to grasp? Those are the keys to our "morality." They are as universal as can be. A species that did not take those into account would go extinct. It goes to reason that our morals were key in our survival, in our ability to cooperate and strive. Those species who could not have the minimum "morals" perished. It is all too obvious.

    G.E.

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  25. Da Bomb,

    See what you are saying!

    Huh? If God is good, He judges all. The people that He judges are those who create evil...that is choose to go against God's law.

    So, you are saying that whatever is against God's law is evil. Not that evil is in and of itself. Thus, even if God were the most depraved monster, it would still be "good" according to your reasoning. It would still be "evil" to do the opposite of "his law."

    This is what I am saying. Either you can admit that good and evil are despite any gods, or these are completely relative to those gods whims, and thus it is silly to try and say that "God created good, and evil is the absence of good." Why? because then "good" means nothing more than whatever the one with the power says.

    "Righteous" and "Holy" would not mean anything either. (I doubt "holy" means anything no matter what.)

    G.E.

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  27. photosynthesis said...
    So, those two terms lead you nowhere. God rules, whether evil or good, it rules and you shut up. This is what your believe your God is.

    G.E.
    ------

    If God exists (and I belive He does) then HE sets the required standards for His creation. He made it, so He has the right to do whatever He likes with that creation.

    Refusing to recognise Him and His authority would do nothing to diminish the reality of that authority.
    People cover their eyes and block their ears and pretend He isn't there and it makes no difference at all to His reality.

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  28. Onesimus,

    People cover their eyes and block their ears and pretend He isn't there and it makes no difference at all to His reality.

    That you can't imagine that there is no gods does not mean I should be forced to think and perceive exactly as you do. I do not see such thing whatsoever, and I am not pretending, nor blocking anything. It does not make any sense for there to be a god.

    In your other statement:

    If God exists (and I belive He does) then HE sets the required standards for His creation. He made it, so He has the right to do whatever He likes with that creation.

    Then do not qualify your believed god as "righteous and holy." It is nonsensical. If anything is whatever your god says because it is "his" right, then "he" cannot but be "righteous and holy" because that is what "he" decides it to be and thus is meaningless.

    You just confirmed what I said. Your believed god could be the worst [possible monster, and you would be fine with it.

    So, do not come and tell me that I am a "relativist", or that God is "good", or that I cannot define "good and evil". Without a "standard." I know you did not. But if you try it I will remind you that you are the first relativist here.

    I could not care less if there was a god creator of everything even me. If it defined harm as "good" and "righteous." I would rebel against it. Even if fruitless. You however, would bend your knees (this is exactly what you implied.)

    G.E.

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  29. GE said:
    You just confirmed what I said. Your believed god could be the worst [possible monster, and you would be fine with it.

    ---

    It's not a matter of being fine with it.
    There would be nothing I could do about it. If such a god existed I would be a victim of its intentions whether I was fine with those intentions or not.
    But scripture does not reveal God to be that "worst possible monster".

    GE continued:
    I could not care less if there was a god creator of everything even me. If it defined harm as "good" and "righteous." I would rebel against it. Even if fruitless. You however, would bend your knees (this is exactly what you implied.)
    ---

    No I would not bend the knee to a God who defined harm as "good" and "righteous" - that is why I am not a Calvinist.
    That is not the God revealed in scripture.

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  30. I never dodged your point G.E.

    God sets the standards, I don't deny that. You seem to be all worried about Him being a monster, but that isn't the case because He isn't. Yes He is judge and will judge which will result in punishment but judges with a good standard.

    I think you dodged my question a little. You touched on it about standards changing and evil is whatever results in pain it sounds like.

    I'll make a new post out of this topic.

    How do you define evil

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  31. Onesimus,

    then we reached one understanding:

    Good and evil are despite any gods.

    Now, mind you. This does not mean there is no god(s) (I use lowercase because I am referring to generic gods, not trying to insult your beliefs). It just means that "standards" are not dependent on "him", "it", "them".

    G.E.

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  32. Da Bomb,

    I am not worried about any gods being monsters. I am worried about your insistence that moral standards can only exist with gods to dictate them and the implication that, then, the "standard" is whatever the boss says. It worries me because that means you are bound to accept even harmful rules. This necessarily means there will be victims of idiotic rules which might have looked fine long time ago, but now we see the harm they can inflict. This has happened before and will continue. This is, I think, one of the biggest problems with religions. They think they have the ultimate standard for morality and everything should conform to that.

    G.E.

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  33. photosynthesis said...
    Onesimus,

    then we reached one understanding:

    Good and evil are despite any gods.
    ----------------

    GE,
    There is only one God and He has revealed His Character and His ways through the scriptures and through His Son.
    HE has made known His standard and it is by that standard that good and evil are determined.

    He also place within mankind an understanding of good and evil (conscience), however mankind has made a practice of suppressing God's revealed truth and setting his own standards. Scripture states that God gives those people over to the lusts and wickedness they desire.

    Your earlier statement about rebelling against a god who called "harm good and righteous" is based on an assumption of that outcome being a hypotheitical possibility.
    It does not take into account the TRUE God who HAS been revealed to mankind - a God who clearly does not call harm good and righteous.

    He created a moral universe in which ALL evil and evil acts will be put to account.

    What does God consider evil and what does He consider good? He has has made that known through His Son.
    Get to know Jesus and you will get to know God and what He is like.

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  34. Onesimus,

    I appreciate your concern. Truly. But there is nothing you can do. God does not make sense.

    Here a question:

    a God who clearly does not call harm good and righteous.

    Exactly, which means harm is evil in and of itself. No need for any gods for us to know that.

    Whether there are many other "laws" in the Bible, their morality is questionable and will remain questionable. At times those rules have meant killing harmless individuals. If you cannot see the wickedness in that, well, that is what makes me worry about religiosity ...

    As of me. I guess God failed to give me to lust and wickedness. I among the most boring "God deniers" you can find (in that respect).

    G.E.

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  35. GE said:
    Exactly, which means harm is evil in and of itself. No need for any gods for us to know that.

    ---
    But who determines what “harm” is – do we use Hitler’s definition? Or a similar dictator?
    Or if you require a less extreme example do we defer to an abortionists definition or a “right to lifer”?
    Or do we look at the company CEO who sees no harm in accepting a multimillion dollar salary while his workers struggle on minimum pay?
    Or maybe the employee who sees no harm in helping himself to a few “fringe benefits” from his work place?
    --------------------

    GE said:
    Whether there are many other "laws" in the Bible, their morality is questionable and will remain questionable. At times those rules have meant killing harmless individuals. If you cannot see the wickedness in that, well, that is what makes me worry about religiosity ...
    ---

    And what would those cases be?
    Who are those “harmless individuals” who were killed? Would it be those “harmless individuals” from a culture that sacrificed their children to their idols?
    The only example I can think of to which you would be referring are the Canaanites when the children of Israel came out of Egypt. Yet a reading of scripture will show that God gave them over 400 years to turn from the evil they were committing before he sent Israel in to claim their land.
    ---
    GE said:
    As of me. I guess God failed to give me to lust and wickedness. I among the most boring "God deniers" you can find (in that respect).

    ---
    Well it seems like Jesus has an equal – the only other person in history to be perfect. Just be careful of how you go or you might find yourself nailed to a cross one day. Now I know that comment may sound a bit snide – but that wasn’t my intention. I’m sure you would not claim perfection, but in effect that is exactly what your statement above IS expressing and again it highlights the relativity of morality when God’s standards are rejected.
    Again, whose subjective standard is acceptable? Yours? Mine? Hitler’s? The majority view of the fickle and easily swayed?

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  36. Onesimus,

    Again, whose subjective standard is acceptable? Yours? Mine? Hitler’s? The majority view of the fickle and easily swayed?

    I hear you. Good point.


    I am not worried about any gods being monsters. I am worried about your insistence that moral standards can only exist with gods to dictate them and the implication that, then, the "standard" is whatever the boss says. It worries me because that means you are bound to accept even harmful rules.

    Who said I would accept an evil god? When I refer to "God", I mean the Christian God. (sorry if I am not clear).

    If I refer to any god (even evil ones) as first cause then obviously he will judge us and hold us to his standard even though I would not follow the evil god...clear?

    I am insisting that without the Christian God then there is no absolute way to absolutely determine His good morals...on which most of our western society are based (but obviously those morals are distorted today).

    I say that "moldable" morals can exist without God, but they simply would have no basis to be "set" morals...which worries me.

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  37. Da Bomb said:
    “I say that "moldable" morals can exist without God, but they simply would have no basis to be "set" morals...which worries me.”
    --

    Yes, I think both of us would agree that “morals” can exist without God and it’s the reliability of "morality" that is at question.

    Who is the final arbiter of that morality and which side of that morality do I find myself falling?
    In Hitler’s Germany it is likely that many of us would have fallen on the wrong side of the “morality” by which that state was run.
    It has been implied that the idea of “harm” is at the centre of what is moral or not – but again, who defines and applies the concept of “harm”?
    Do we leave it up to the dictator who thinks a certain race is harmful to his nations best interests and that the only way to remove that harmful influence is to send them to death camps?
    Like wise do we leave it up to a society who thinks the presence of a foetus in her womb is a harmful threat to a woman’s future plans and lifestyle?

    And YES, it is the God of the bible to whom we are referring, not a hypothetical “any god” who may or may not be trustworthy.

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  38. Onesimus and Daniel,

    How dumb do you have to be to continue Hitlerizing my position?

    Hitler might have decided on his own, and with no basis in reality, that Jews were harmful, and decided too that the best course of action was to eliminate them from the face of the Earth. Now, tell me guys, How did it go for him in the end? Did everybody just sat down there not caring what he was doing? Did every attacked nation stay put and so be it? Or did the attacked perceive the pain, suffering, lack of survival, unfairness and defended themselves?

    Did other nations perceive the injustices?

    Do you really think that without any gods the injustice would not have been perceived? If so, you are worse than Hitler himself.

    Now, tell me how is it possible for you to continue Hitlerizing my points. Are you that desperate to quickly dismiss an argument that proves that gods are unnecessary for morals?

    I never said it was easy to define morals on the basis of harm. But it is objective, and it is obvious without any gods that on these bases we can see what Hitler was.

    G.E.

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  39. Onesimus and DaBomb,

    By the "standards" such as "even the slightest angry thought is murder to the eyes of God", I am evil.

    By the way I go on with my life, I am fine.

    I consider that standard itself evil and as "demonic" as it can be. It is a way to keep you down and needy of that "God" for salvation. It is a way of harming your mind and your healthy relationship with yourself. It is a way of negating your internal growth. It destroys you from the inside out because instead of finding out what your instincts and reactions mean, you just make them into "sins" and "wickedness," thus negating you to understand your nature and improve upon it.

    Since you guys "love" Hitler, here is one for you: God "standards" negate you a way of distinguishing Hitler from someone who has a bad temper.

    Keep your crazy beliefs. I am quite well and improving without them. I had to clean up my mind of years of indoctrination. I still carry some of that crap in the form of prejudices. But at least I know I am wrong on them and I know that when I get to confront myself I will be able to decide without imposing a stupid rule from stone-age men on top of, and instead of, my ability to reason.

    G.E.

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  40. Daniel,

    I am insisting that without the Christian God then there is no absolute way to absolutely determine His good morals...

    But I do not care about the "good morals" of a fictitious being, so who cares.

    on which most of our western society are based

    While the same basic "morals" exist in other religions and civilizations, and that they derive from harm, suffering, and such, is inescapable. That the "complete code" in western civilizations are derived from Christian versions of what "God" thinks to be moral, which includes the basic stuff, I cannot negate, that would be hypocritical. But that we have grown up and can now see the crap for what it is, and the good stuff too, is evident in the way we are actually improving towards better morals than those of Christianity. So, yes, morals in our society were derived mostly from Christianity, who took at least part of them from other civilizations. yet, many "rules" are better be eliminated.

    (but obviously those morals are distorted today).

    I leave that for you to think about. I would go for the thousands of problems with the moralities of the Bible (there are many, not "just one and unchanged"), and the problems with how they have interpreted and imposed. But I rather not. I rather try and see if you can gain some respect for my position without me having to argue whether the Bible is evil or not.

    G.E.

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  41. I meant:

    I would go for the thousands of problems with the moralities of the Bible (there are many moralities in it, not "just one and unchanged"),

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  42. G.E.

    But I do not care about the "good morals" of a fictitious being, so who cares.

    You should care because you are talking to someone who believes in them and in Him. Many of what you would call "good morals" come from the God of the Bible.

    By the "standards" such as "even the slightest angry thought is murder to the eyes of God", I am evil.

    Where does the Bible say the slightest angry thought?
    I know it says to be angry and do not sin. Eph 4:26.
    and
    Mt 5:22 "But I say unto you, that whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment;"

    Since you guys "love" Hitler

    When did we say we loved Hitler?

    cheers

    DB

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  43. GE said: Hitler might have decided on his own, and with no basis in reality, that Jews were harmful, and decided too that the best course of action was to eliminate them from the face of the Earth.
    ------

    And did Hitler personally murder every one of those 6 million jews - not to mention the millions of others?

    Of course not. Therefore it was NOT Hitler "on his own".

    I also gave other examples less extreme than Hitler and I did not “hitlerize” your position. I clearly stated that the idea of “harm” just like human “morality” is subjective and variable. It sways to and for to suit those in power.

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  44. Onesimus says:

    And did Hitler personally murder every one of those 6 million jews - not to mention the millions of others?

    Of course not. Therefore it was NOT Hitler "on his own".


    No, Hitler got a lot of help. From Christians.

    Of course you will say right away that those helping Hitler were not "true" Christians. But who are you, or is anyone, to say exactly who is or is not a "true" Christian? There are around thirty thousand different Christian sects, each of which has its own interpretation of what it means to be a Christians. Any claim that Christianity has "absolute" or "objective" morals is wishful thinking. Unfortunately, or perhaps fortunately, you believers still have to make hard decisions, you will inevitably disagree with your fellow believers sometimes, and Scripture will not always tell you what to do. Welcome to the club.

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  45. Just because some "christians" misinterpret the Bible or more accurately...make it say what they want it to say, does not mean God's rules are not absolute.
    God will judge.

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  46. Hitler had no help from disciples of Jesus Christ.

    Your comments above are a good example of why I rarely consider myself to be a "Christian". It is an overused, overrated term that is far removed from its original usage.

    I am a follower of Jesus, not the follower of a religion named "Christianity".

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  47. Just because some "christians" misinterpret the Bible or more accurately...make it say what they want it to say, does not mean God's rules are not absolute.
    God will judge.


    Good: God will judge. As I said, I can't prove that God does not have absolute morals (although if the Bible is God's word, the meaning of "absolute" is stretched taut to the snapping point). But because here on Earth, as you admit, there's a lot of disagreement about exactly what the Bible means, the term "absolute" (or "objective") morality is meaningless.

    Hitler had no help from disciples of Jesus Christ.

    Your comments above are a good example of why I rarely consider myself to be a "Christian". It is an overused, overrated term that is far removed from its original usage.

    I am a follower of Jesus, not the follower of a religion named "Christianity".


    So all those people who called themselves Christians were simply mistaken- according to you. What about Mormons? Unitarians? Postmillenarians? Jehovah's Witnesses? Catholics? Eastern Orthodox? Jews? Snake handlers? Do you know which are "true" Christians, in every case? No you don't, nor does anyone else, except God if He exists. Since we don't have access to Christian objective morality, even if it exists, then to talk of Christians having an objective basis for their morals, and atheists a subjective basis, is simply false.

    As I said: no one agrees exactly on what is moral in every situation, but there's enough agreement on basics to build societies that work: not all the time, but they got us where we are today, for better and for worse. If we want to improve them, then we have to work together to find common ground, with love and reason.

    cheers from unseasonably warm Vienna, zilch

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  48. zilch said:
    "So all those people who called themselves Christians were simply mistaken- according to you."

    That is nothing like what I said or even implied.
    I rarely apply the term 'Christian" to myself because I see that the word has lost it original meaning.
    When qualifying descriptions are required ("born again" Christian for example) to distinguish what kind of "Christian" a person is then it's clear that there's a problem with the language being used.

    True Christians are those who put their trust in Jesus and His ways. That is not such a hard thing to determine. Most of the confusion and disagreement under the "Christian" umbrella arises when people want the benefits provided by Jesus while also wanting to do things their own way instead of His.

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  49. Da Bomb, Onesimus- you still haven't addressed my claim: Christian morality is not objective, because the Bible can be interpreted in many different ways, and no one knows which way is correct (if any). Of course, most Christians claim they know the "right" meaning of Scriptural injunctions, but as far as I can see, there's no way of knowing who is right (if anyone).

    So please tell me: what is "objective" about a system of morals no one can agree on, and with no way of knowing who's right?

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  50. There are some so called christians who claim that homosexuality is alright...yet God claims straight forward that it is WRONG.

    NOT ALL CHRISTIANS are true followers of the WAY.

    God is the base for morality, He wrote the Bible. When people misinterpret the Bible, it does not change what the Bible says or change what God thinks nor does it change the fact that the Bible (God's rules) is objective.

    God leaves gray areas up to what our conscience tells us (Romans 14) and what his Holy Spirit teaches us...we are on a walk.

    BUT, there are clearer guidelines which tell us what is right and wrong eg:
    1 Corinthians 69:9 "Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites,
    10 nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God."

    If you cannot aim for a bulls eye then how can you tell how near the bulls eye you are?

    What is the absolute universal bulls eye for the human race if there is no God/Judge? Who decides?

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  51. Da Bomb: you still have not addressed my point. How can you call the morals of the Bible "objective" when you can't tell me exactly what they mean? Sorry, I don't see any "bull's eye" in Scripture, but just a bunch of rules and strictures that are all subject to interpretation- just like any other set of laws, be they religious or secular. No objectivity there, unless you can tell me, for instance, exactly what "thou shalt not kill" means, and prove that you have the "right" meaning.

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  52. When people see the bible as a book of morals they have missed the point.

    The bible gives us a revelation of God. It shows us who He is, what He is like and what His intentions are. That revelation is given through a historical record of real life situations. Of real life interaction between God and His creation. His revelation is not given as a doctrinal text.

    A relationship with God is not a relationship with a book. The issue you point out about the variety of interpretations of what the bible says is a very valid point - but it merely highlights a wrong focus. A focus on a book instead of the Creator revealed through that book.

    Unfortunately not many turn to the bible for the revelation God gives. Instead most will sit back and let their church or their ministers tell them what God is like and what to believe.

    Most of what passes for Christanity today is human tradition passed on through church teaching to people who haven't searched the scriptures for themselves. Who haven't trusted the Holy Spirit (God Himself) to teach them from those scriptures.

    Therefore the understanding of most people is based on what they have been told that the bible says.

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  53. Onesimus, you say:

    When people see the bible as a book of morals they have missed the point.

    The bible gives us a revelation of God. It shows us who He is, what He is like and what His intentions are. That revelation is given through a historical record of real life situations. Of real life interaction between God and His creation. His revelation is not given as a doctrinal text.


    So you would agree that the Bible is not a source of objective morals? That's the only point I was trying to make here, since this is something Christians often harague atheists with: Christians claim that they have an objective source of morals, and that atheists have none, so atheists are not in a position to say anything whatsoever about morals. Sound familiar?

    As far as my understanding of the Bible goes: I am the first to admit that I'm no Bible scholar, but I have read it several times through, in several versions, and so far, God has not spoken to me. In fact, the better I know the Bible, the less I'm inclined to think that it could possibly be the word of an omnimax God, since it has so many contradictions, errors of fact, and outright unfairness and cruelty ordered from on high. But I'm keeping an open mind.

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  54. Hey Zilch,

    Thank you for keeping an open mind. I hope you really meant it.

    I don't want to put words in Onesimus's mouth but I would like to point out what my understanding of what he was saying.

    His revelation is not given as a doctrinal text.

    A relationship with God is not a relationship with a book. The issue you point out about the variety of interpretations of what the bible says is a very valid point - but it merely highlights a wrong focus. A focus on a book instead of the Creator revealed through that book.


    I think these two statements by him are quite true.
    The way I see it, God did not give us a book of "chapter 1: God", "chapter 2: Jesus" Chapter 3: Holy Spirit" etc.
    God gave us a book of life...that is, a revelation of Him through His actions etc. Through this we can know Him and know why He does things.
    Follow?

    For example, some atheists point out how God was happy with Lot giving his daughters over to the men in the city to protect some visitors. But because the Bible says it happened does not make what he did as God's will!
    Nor was it God's will for the man in Judges to make a vow to sacrifice the first thing out of his house!
    It is a book of LIFE...dumb mistakes by sinful people.

    You may think it has many contradictions, but we must look at the context and the picture that these stories paint to get the FULL account. Compare scripture to see what God is saying, doing and why He is doing it.

    I bet you could grab a statement I make and make it contradict something else I have said. Unless you are listening to what I am saying as a whole, you will obviously see all these so called contradictions.

    For example, here is an obvious contradiction:

    Proverbs 26:4
    "4 ¶ Do not answer a fool according to his folly, Lest you also be like him.
    5 Answer a fool according to his folly, Lest he be wise in his own eyes."

    LOL.
    One verse right after another. But if you look at what the author is trying to say...then you may understand the meaning of what is said.

    I could be wrong but I assume the meaning of this passage is that the author is trying to say that there is a time and a place for correcting fools.

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  55. Daniel: I do try to keep an open mind, but not so open that my brain falls out, as they say.

    When I think of contradictions in the Bible, I'm not thinking of things like the Proverbs verses that you quote, but rather, say, the two Genesis accounts, with their different orders of Creation, or the different accounts in the four Gospels of who was at the empty tomb. I realize that there is a vast apologetic literature "explaining" these discrepancies, but the contradictions remain contradictions.

    Errors of fact are obvious: the wrong order of Creation (in both accounts!), bats being birds, hyraxes chewing their cud, etc. ad infinitum.

    For God's cruelty, you can just go to 1 Samuel 15. I've yet to hear an apologetic for God ordering the death of all those babies better than "they will all go to Heaven anyway", which of course can be used to justify any atrocity, or "it was better than just leaving them in the desert to starve after killing their parents". Can you come up with something that makes God look any better than a war criminal here?

    In any case: what you are saying now, that in order to understand God's message, we have to consider the entire Bible in context, is something very different than saying that the Bible is a source of objective morals. You claim that atheists have no absolute moral standards, and that Christians do. But you have not shown me that any of the standards in the Bible are any more "absolute" or "objective" than any other set of laws or morals, secular or religious.

    cheers from rainy Vienna, zilch

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  56. Zilch said:
    As far as my understanding of the Bible goes: I am the first to admit that I'm no Bible scholar, but I have read it several times through, in several versions, and so far, God has not spoken to me. In fact, the better I know the Bible, the less I'm inclined to think that it could possibly be the word of an omnimax God, since it has so many contradictions, errors of fact, and outright unfairness and cruelty ordered from on high. But I'm keeping an open mind.
    ----------------



    The matter of contradictions in the gospel is one of the very things that gives LEGITIMACY to the gospel accounts.

    They are EYEWITNESS accounts each addressed to very different readers.

    Firstly no four eyewitnesses to an actual event would describe that event in the same way. There would also be a difference in the “facts” presented (ie who was present at the time). Any account from multiple witnesses that is identical in all aspects would be a very suspect account with the witnesses most likely colluding to smooth out their testimony.

    Secondly each gospel was written for a different readership. Some were written for believers, some were written to non-believers. Matthew was written for Jews; Luke was addressed to a Gentile. Each was written to emphasise a different aspect of the life of Jesus in a way that was relevant to its intended readership and to address particular issues at the time of writing.

    The Bible was not a God-dictated book. It is a collection of books written by different men under different circumstances for different purposes. Rather than being contradictory there is a remarkable consistency throughout. Yes there are some “factual” differences between books like the gospels, but are they anything of real significance?

    The bible is an account of God’s relationship with mankind written by men.

    It is not God’s autobiography (God did not dictate it word for word).
    It is not an UNauthorised biography in which the human authors had full control of what was written.
    I see it as more like an AUTHORISED biography in which men wrote about God and His relationship with mankind, but God had final editorial control and authority over what would be included. However that control did not overrule the personalities and styles of the individual writers.

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  57. Well written Onesimus...

    When I think of contradictions in the Bible, I'm not thinking of things like the Proverbs verses that you quote, but rather, say, the two Genesis accounts, with their different orders of Creation, or the different accounts in the four Gospels of who was at the empty tomb. I realize that there is a vast apologetic literature "explaining" these discrepancies, but the contradictions remain contradictions.

    Errors of fact are obvious: the wrong order of Creation (in both accounts!)


    I know what you mean by contradictions. Here is another one. One gospel account says that one thief got saved on the cross and another says they mocked Jesus.
    Which is right?
    Obviously it the story is in between the lines. Such as, they both mocked Jesus first but one became convinced Jesus was the Son of God and repented. Different angles same story.

    Now, if these seem so obvious to contradict, and if the New Testament is a big hoax created by power hungry people, then I would have done a much better job of making them agree more.

    Therefore, it is greater evidence FOR the gospels being real then if they all agreed exactly. They all match the big picture but focus/record different details.

    I hope to do a post about Genesis and old earth views. I have heard very reasonable explanations for the creation accounts. If you want to make them contradictions and not look for possible answers then that is your domain. That is how truths are found...through asking questions.

    I suppose you mean 1 Samuel 15:2 "Thus says the LORD of hosts: ‘I will punish Amalek for what he did to Israel, how he ambushed him on the way when he came up from Egypt.
    3 ‘Now go and attack Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have, and do not spare them. But kill both man and woman, infant and nursing child, ox and sheep, camel and donkey.’"

    I actually probably don't have and answer but
    once again, it depends how you look at it and how the context of the Bible views it. This is how we can know who God is and why He does what He does.

    So, why did God kill the infants? The previous verse states why. It is because of the sins of the people as a whole.
    This is a rule throughout history, groups of people take responsibility for their group's sin. Israel was punished and sent to Babylon, yet God fearing people got sent there such as Daniel, Ezekiel etc.

    The reason for deaths and bad things happening is the fact that WE all deserve to be punished as mankind as a whole. None of us should be here. It is only by God's grace that man is still here.
    Every terrible thing that happens here such as infant death etc is because of our sin as mankind as a whole. God brought judgement on them as a people.
    Kind of like this phrase,
    "Not all suffering is caused directly by sin, but all suffering is the cause of sin"
    Follow?

    I think the problem with mankind is that we don't see sin as really that terrible. But to God...He can't live with it. We humans go for second best, but God wants the best.
    We are the problem and we are responsible as a people for evil in general...but also we are responsible individually for our OWN actions.

    There is universal sin, and individual sin.

    Well, I really hope that may help. Sorry if I may have left you totally confused, but continue to seek God! (I haven't checked what I have written over again, I just wrote down my thoughts one at a time)

    cheers

    Dan

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  58. Da Bomb: thanks for your nicely stated reply. I have to say, however, that you haven't told me anything I haven't heard before. Probably my criticisms of the Bible aren't new to you either, for that matter.

    In any case, I am not convinced. If the Bible has internal discrepancies, it might indeed be because of differing eyewitness accounts- and probably this does explain some of the discrepancies, for instance in the case of differing numbers of soldiers (I forget where this is). But discrepancies can also arise from a fictional story being retold and evolving into slightly different versions. This happens all the time with, for instance, children's rhymes.

    And as far as 1 Samuel 15 goes, all I can say is, that if a human being did what God did, he would be considered a war criminal. So if one says the God is "good", they must mean something very different from what I or most people mean by "good". By my human standards, which are the only standards I can judge by, TGOTB is by turns nice and nasty, reasonable and capricious. I can easily imagine a God who is nicer, and more just, than the Biblical God.

    But when it comes down to it, all of this doesn't really matter, because I simply don't see any evidence for God's existence, and plenty of evidence that people make up gods all the time. So I will stick to the simpler explanation for now: there is no God.

    cheers from wintry Vienna, zilch

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  59. Zilch said:
    “if a human being did what God did, he would be considered a war criminal”

    There is one major difference: God CREATED the human. Like any creator He has the right to scrap those parts of His work that are not conforming to His expected standards. We don’t like to allow God to have that kind of freedom to deal with His creation because we recognise our own vulnerability should WE not meet His standard of perfection.
    Israel was commanded to destroy those people because those people were a moral threat to Israel. And that threat was realised when Israel began to worship the idols of the people that they DIDN’T destroy. When Israel disobeyed God’s command they eventually suffered for it by drifting away from the worship of the one true God.
    We react against those drastic and harsh commands of God because in our proud humanity we think of ourselves as something special. “How dare God deal with mankind in that way? Who does He think He is?” – Er, well, He’s the one who created us and He has TOTAL rights over the things He has created. It is only through His patience and grace that He hasn’t wiped us all out. But instead He came to earth Himself, taking on human form and took the harsh penalty that WE deserved upon Himself, so that we could have a way out of our sinful and disobedient mess that mars the perfection that the perfect God expects of man created in His image.

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  60. Da Bomb said:
    "I think the problem with mankind is that we don't see sin as really that terrible."
    --

    That's exactly right - and in particular we don't consider OURSELVES as being sinners who are offensive to God.

    We see ourselves as basically good people who have the potential to do bad things. We also tend to think that as long as the good things outnumber the bad things we're basically decent people.

    Compared to other people we may very well be very "moral" in the world's view. But our terms of comparison should not be against other men, they need to be against the standard set by our creator.

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  61. Hey again guys,

    But discrepancies can also arise from a fictional story being retold and evolving into slightly different versions. This happens all the time with, for instance, children's rhymes.

    Yes, but to compare the gospels with children's rhymes is not an accurate comparison. Who would die for children's rhymes? Who could possibly make up such a huge story such as the life of Jesus Christ (In the centre of the Roman empire period)...and match Him with Old Testament testimonies...even write His own lineage! and not be found out? His own brothers believed He was God!

    NE way.
    I consider all this evidence of Him.
    Testimonies and more testimonies. God is alive and working today...keep seeking Him Zilch.

    But when it comes down to it, all of this doesn't really matter, because I simply don't see any evidence for God's existence, and plenty of evidence that people make up gods all the time. So I will stick to the simpler explanation for now: there is no God.

    To me, the simpler explanation for our universe is that it is designed, rather than an accident.
    However regarding morality and theology, yes it is more complex.

    cheers,

    Dan

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  62. and match Him with Old Testament testimonies

    "testimonies" should be prophecies.

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  63. If you don't want to follow Zilch's recommendation and watch the appropriate episode of the Atheist Experience where Tracie Harris discusses in depth the 'die for a lie' idea, she put her write up on the blog

    http://atheistexperience.blogspot.com/2009/09/why-martyrs.html

    It's very big.

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  64. Thanks for the link, BathTub. While I agree with Tracie that there may be ulterior motives for claiming to believe what one knows to be a lie, I suspect that it's more common to die for a belief that one sincerely holds. But that does nothing to prove that the belief is true; otherwise one would have to say, for instance, that all the Bahá'í's who have died for their faith prove that Baha'u'llah was a prophet of God, or that all the Branch Davidians who were gunned down at Waco prove that David Koresh was a prophet. That argument just doesn't wash: people have proven, time and again, that they are willing to die for ideas that are simply wrong, or ideals that are wrongheaded.

    Onesimus, you say:

    Compared to other people we may very well be very "moral" in the world's view. But our terms of comparison should not be against other men, they need to be against the standard set by our creator.

    This is only true if you've already accepted the existence of God. As I said, though, I don't see any evidence that God exists, so I can only go by my human morals. And by my human morals, TGOTB is a war criminal. What would you say to someone who saved a pregnant dog from being run over, but when her puppies were born, put half of them to death with torture? God is infinitely worse than this, and there's no way, based on my evolution and culture given morality, that I can condone this.

    cheers from decidedly chilly Vienna, zilch.

    P.S. Let me know if any of you are in town, or in the SF Bay Area most summers, and lunch is on me.

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  65. Da Bomb said:
    "His own brothers believed He was God!"
    ------

    Prior to His death and resurrection they were not believers and considered that He was deluded.
    What a difference it makes to see your crucified and entombed brother alive again after such a cruel death.

    An experience like that would certainly wake you up to a truth worth dying for.

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  66. Onesimus says:

    What a difference it makes to see your crucified and entombed brother alive again after such a cruel death.

    An experience like that would certainly wake you up to a truth worth dying for.


    An experience like that would certainly wake me up, too. But I've not had such an experience, and just reading about it in the Bible doesn't convince me that anyone else had that experience, either. Why should I, or anyone else, believe this story?

    cheers from wintry Vienna, zilch

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