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responding to a picture that kenji chan posted, i wrote this :-

god is able but not willing to prevent evil.

that does not make him malevolent.

that makes him loving. because to love somebody is to trust them to make the right choices.

god trusts us. god loves us. he therefore allows us to be excposed to evil so that we may grow stronger.

people with closed minds will always come up with such things to attack others beliefs.

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And most of them never look at it from the perspective of a parent and what it means to allow your children to have free will. Or even the perspective of what it must be like to have to choose between the good of one child over another.

Though I think everyone is entitled to their opinion, belief in a higher power is a matter of faith. But like your reply showed in contrast to the Atheist argument Ryuki is that people often exclude any reasoning that does not agree with their chosen belief. Essentially for those Atheist's who choose to attack the belief in god often fail to realize that their arguments are equally based on belief and moral judgment.

People in general tend to play the blame game, rarely would you see any argument that puts our responsibility as beings with free will into context of such arguments. It's either all part of god's master plan for some goal beyond our comprehension or there is no god and our existence is meaningless.

Of course reasonable people will see that the most revelant part of such discussion boils down to what it means to be human and the gray areas that entales. But often the arguments presented are not by the reasonable but the activists who want to push their point of view as being the correct view.

Things I like to always keep in mind are...

1) Free Will, and what it means to us and how it applies to the shaping of our reality.

2) Perception, what is good and what is bad is a matter of perspective and not absolutes.

3) Wisdom and Knowledge are not always the same thing, yet are often treated as the same thing as our perceptions distorts the reality. Realizing this does not prevent the distortion but helps make you aware of it.

4) There are things we simply don't know but as a matter of practicality we must often make decisions based on little more than faith, but what works for one does not necessary work for others.

5) Responsibility is yet another aspect of our reality that goes hand in hand with free will, but is often treated as being separate.

Though these things won't alter our beliefs, they will help keep things in perspective and help prevent a belief becoming a dogma.

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post-1-1227193672_thumb.jpg

responding to a picture that kenji chan posted, i wrote this :-

god is able but not willing to prevent evil.

that does not make him malevolent.

that makes him loving. because to love somebody is to trust them to make the right choices.

god trusts us. god loves us. he therefore allows us to be excposed to evil so that we may grow stronger.

people with closed minds will always come up with such things to attack others beliefs.

I think the attack is more from the idea of unpreventable bad things. Like a good woman/man, making a good life for themselves and family. They get cancer and wither away and die. No fault of their own, just a random bad thing. Could have God saved this pure person? I think the "attack" of faith isn't an attack on God, its more an attack on the mass of shallow followers that preach the word of a all loving God then turn around and show such intolerance for other types of lifestyles and beliefs. I think its a good thing to have faith, as long as it is not used to think they are better then others, a fault of many religious types....not just Christians. I personally don't have it, but I no longer attack it as I did in my younger years. I think that came from folks "preaching" their ideas to me, even if I did ask to hear them.

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I think the "attack" of faith isn't an attack on God, its more an attack on the mass of shallow followers that preach the word of a all loving God then turn around and show such intolerance for other types of lifestyles and beliefs. I think its a good thing to have faith, as long as it is not used to think they are better then others, a fault of many religious types...

if thats the case then these guys would be heathens (with no belief in religion) and they would be attacking those that worship in a certain way, rather than an aethist who doesnt believe in ' GOD' at all.

i get your point though, some religious people think they are good and actions are justified just becaus they are 'religious' even though their behaviour may not reflect that, some use the religion as an exscuse or a get out of jail card for acting like an idiot or moron. some however are good and live their lives within the boundaries of their beliefs and are good people and those are the ones who get something out of religion its their thing its their structure and explanation for exsistence.

religions are structures with basic beliefs and morals with added extra bits.

i dont believe the extra bits are necessary, so i class myself as a heathen, but never an atheist. i beleieve in the god of all exsistence but not a specific man named god.

Edited by Eether
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if thats the case then these guys would be heathens (with no belief in religion) and they would be attacking those that worship in a certain way, rather than an aethist who doesnt believe in ' GOD' at all.

My comment is more to what Ryuki said, to give my opinion on why people seem to attack God and those who believe in him:

people with closed minds will always come up with such things to attack others beliefs.

Not to the atheist subject.

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i dont believe the extra bits are necessary, so i class myself as a heathen, but never an atheist. i beleieve in the god of all exsistence but not a specific man named god.

You're hardly alone in that regard Eether, I for one believe in god (for my own reasons from events in my life) but I do not believe in religion.

I think the "attack" of faith isn't an attack on God, its more an attack on the mass of shallow followers that preach the word of a all loving God then turn around and show such intolerance for other types of lifestyles and beliefs.

The danger is many would assume the intolerance is just from the religious but atheists can be just as intolerant, if you ever heard of the term militant atheist?

There is also the backlash from people who feel like they are being judged, like during the present gay protesting in the US there have been such events as burning of crosses, taking an old woman's crucifix and stomping on it in front of her, yelling for the religious to leave the country, burning bibles in front of churches, physical attacks on church goers, etc.

Intolerance goes both ways, and often we forget where the middle ground is and instead wind up at the extremes. Unfortunately attacking beliefs often involves attacking the believer as well.

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My belief on the subject is rather lax and incoherent with other beliefs. For one, People choose to have faith because they have nothing else they can do. Instead of resigning to despair, people choose to have hope that at least in the worst times of their life, there is something that they can look up to, much like a comfort zone.

Also, there are faithful religious groups that have so strong a faith, that when something good happens to them they say "It is God's Will", and if something terrible happens to them they would say "God works in mysterious ways".

People attack faith because they they do not agree with how they think and would want to force their own beliefs to others. Much is similar to other facts that are being attacked.

I openly admit that I don't believe in god, but I tell you, I am very afraid of him. (confusing huh? Like the mystery of the Holy Trinity) Which is why I respect the people who have their own beliefs and do not force my opinions on them. (I was raised as a catholic by the way)

That picture about atheism does not come to me as an attack, but more of a joke in philosophy of the faithful. It's there to put a test to see who are the devout and those whose belief are forced unto them.

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I do like your last paragraph durendal.

It makes me feel rather content, almost like a compliment because it means that I am sure in my own faith that i can say my own opinion so surely.

although people would likely mistake my meaning anyway. because the words i use very often don't comply with others definitions.

they are true, and however others interpret those words is most likely true as well, it's just different perspectives.

I'm not religious. I believe god exhists. I do not believe that god rules over us. i do however believe that god is almighty and his will be done.

and his will be done when our will be done. as it is stated in the bible. although not many people take notice of that part.

anyhow...

:mrgreen: enough of that...

I want to respond to lyphforse.

i see what you say there. that they are not attacking the concept of god or god himself , but the zealotry and the people who take words literally?

the blind followers. because as durendal suggested, those who are sure of their own mind will not be attacked by it, they will simply shrug it off.

i guess that what this also says is not that they are attacking god, actually perhaps they are simply defending their own right to not believe. they are outlyig their own logic in defence of themselves.

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This is one of the few topics that you can use a simpson episode "She of Little Faith."

Homer and Bart build a model rocket together but lose control of it as it burns down the church. Without any money for repairs, the church decides to sell out to corporate sponsors: mainly Mr. Burns. Lisa is appalled by the shameless display of billboards and corporate monikers emblazoned on the church walls and finally decides to simply quit the church for good. She decides to test out new religions and finally happens upon a Buddhist temple.

Lisa becomes enamored with the easy-going approach to enlightenment and decides to take Buddhism as her new religion. Her family, worried about her soul, try to bring her back to Christianity by subtly dropping Christian innuendo. Lisa realizes that Buddhism allows for the celebration of all holidays and finally comes back to her family to celebrate and simply pay "lip-service" to the church with the help of Richard Gere.

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There is absolutely no difference between a god that never does anything and a god that does not exist.

Ryuki, your 'answer' to the Epicurean riddle is as impotent as any that has any been offered to it.

edit: Okay, been able to think this over for a few hours and I am still pissed off.

Let's examine your original comment on the riddle.

"god is able but not willing to prevent evil.

that does not make him malevolent."

An all-powerful being creates a species with a built-in tendency to do evil, but takes zero responsibility. And that is not evil?

"that makes him loving. because to love somebody is to trust them to make the right choices."

God supposedly made us. He designed us down to the last atom. Every single system, every last organelle in a human body was allegedly designed by God. That means he knew exactly how a human being would act and react in any given situation. So... he knew people would not make the right choices.

Didn't he know? He didn't? How is that possible? And assuming it is possible, does that not make God incredibly irresponsible? And therefore, once again culpable.

"god trusts us. god loves us. he therefore allows us to be excposed to evil so that we may grow stronger. "

Stronger - to what end? To be able to endure even more evil?

If he wanted us to be stronger, why did he not make us stronger to begin with?

Are you implying that he wanted to observe the process of us getting stronger - because he was bored or something? Is that what human suffering is about? Entertainment?

Your response is meaningless rhetoric.

Edited by Salkafar
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Salkafar, your post reminds me and how I started to view god at one point, it's all the implausible contradictions and hypocrisy that pushed me away from catholicism and single faiths in general. I was pretty angry at both the people around me with their forcing of beliefs on me. I try to operate by some degree of logic, and God and Christianity and many others or illogical. Going to a church and getting hurt and attacked by some of the kids who take part of the ceremonies insulted me and their duty. I think the defining moment was when I was getting punched and abused by the older boy scouts outside of the church and no one stopped them, not my parents, not the priest, none of the adults or the other people, and instead they just forced me to march down the street later holding a candle minutes after all this and chewed me out. That got me questioning all the inconsistencies I read and experienced from the bible. And to think, I actualy considered becoming a priest as a kid before that! Not anymore folks!

These contradictory flaws though that you pointed out are from the Christian god. The traditional Hebrew version of God wasn't not an all benevolent god, no, he actually enjoyed punishing the wicked and reigning destruction down on his enemies servants (other gods). It's not often quoted or even pointed out because... well it makes God seem pretty much more human then all mighty, and not much better then other gods.

Then came Christianity as it spread through Rome, and the religion changed in part to the peoples and religions of other cultures it replaced. God for example took in qualities of the god Endovelicus who had a widespread pagan religion through out Rome and persisted until the 1300's. Meanwhile Satan was created to both take away blame from god's flaws and shortcomings in the Hebrew books, while also using the figure to villainize other opposing pagan gods. Thus you can blame Christianity, and even Muhammadans (they distorted many things even further) for the conflicting traits that God is described with.

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salkafar, i respect your beliefs whatever they may be, but i would ask that you not belittle my statements. if you want me to expend on anything, you may ask me about it but if you belittle any more statements by anybody I will take disciplinary action against you because that is unacceptible.

I understand that you are upset as you stated you were pissed off, but you still need to be civil.

I already said that most people won't understand what i say in hte exact way that i mean it but it applies to those who believe a similar thing.

once again, if you want me to elaborate, you may ask civilly.

There is absolutely no difference between a god that never does anything and a god that does not exist.

Ryuki, your 'answer' to the Epicurean riddle is as impotent as any that has any been offered to it.

edit: Okay, been able to think this over for a few hours and I am still pissed off.

Let's examine your original comment on the riddle.

"god is able but not willing to prevent evil.

that does not make him malevolent."

An all-powerful being creates a species with a built-in tendency to do evil, but takes zero responsibility. And that is not evil?

we could go into defining evil and a whole other complex discussion but I do nt want to get into it, let us just say that true "evil" is a very difficult thing to find.

god created us with freedom. freedom to choose how we behave and react. I could make reference to 1984 and equilibrium for this.

also the thing about responsibility.. well god is within us all. we are him and he is us. and how could you say he doesn't take responsibility? he came to earth in mortal form and completely sacrfice himself to forgive our sins. you call that not taking responsibility? the act of jesus dying upon the cross was precisely taking responsibility. that's what it was all about.

"that makes him loving. because to love somebody is to trust them to make the right choices."

God supposedly made us. He designed us down to the last atom. Every single system, every last organelle in a human body was allegedly designed by God. That means he knew exactly how a human being would act and react in any given situation. So... he knew people would not make the right choices.

Didn't he know? He didn't? How is that possible? And assuming it is possible, does that not make God incredibly irresponsible? And therefore, once again culpable.

god knew. it was his plan how we would turn out. that's why he put the tree of knowledge in hte garden of eden. if he didn't want us to turn out this way, why would he put it there? it would be an exercise in futility. and by the way, there are no 'right choices' there are simply different ones. right and wrong is all relative. or is the word i am looking for 'subjective', well i hope you know what i mean anyway.

at this stage i feel compelled to point out that i am using teh metaphors of teh bible for this, fully intending them to be taken as metaphor. I could go into the whole theology, but that would make this thread too big and messy

"god trusts us. god loves us. he therefore allows us to be excposed to evil so that we may grow stronger. "

Stronger - to what end? To be able to endure even more evil?

If he wanted us to be stronger, why did he not make us stronger to begin with?

Are you implying that he wanted to observe the process of us getting stronger - because he was bored or something? Is that what human suffering is about? Entertainment?

Your response is meaningless rhetoric.

when you have children, can you make your children stronger to begin with? no, they learn by experience. this is all about teh meaning of life. the point to weach of our lives is to learn. it's what we do, since we are born to the day we die, we learn. experience. life is to live, to experience. all these phrases and sayings mean the same thing. and to love is to want that person to experience momre and learn more. to grow, to become better.

humanity thrives on passing o knowledge, we strive to better ourselves.

since god is within us all, as we learn, god learns.

your arguments seem to be based upon god as a ruler, some other entity separate from us, but i believe i said in my earlier post that is not the case.

let me give you this metaphor. whan a person trains their body, they lift heavy weights. they work hard and they punish their muscles. they cause massive amounts of damage to their body in order to become stronger. in order to become better.

people constantly punish themselves to become better. to create soemthing you have to detroy something else. that is the way of teh universe.

that is not evil or malevolent or vindictive, that is life.

besides, peoples suffering is only self created. but not many people can accept that so i understand if you want to disagree with that.

Ryokan, a Zen master, lived the simplest kind of life in a little hut at the foot of a mountain. One evening a thief visited the hut only to discover there was nothing in it to steal.

Ryokan returned and caught him. “You may have come a long way to visit me,” he told the prowler, “and you shoud not return empty handed. Please take my clothes as a gift.”

The thief was bewildered. He took the clothes and slunk away.

Ryokan sat naked, watching the moon. “Poor fellow, ” he mused, “I wish I could give him this beautiful moon.”

edited: I changed my caps to italics, because i don't want it to look like i am shouting. just to accentuate those specific parts.

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(edit: > This was posted before seeing Ryuki's reply)

There is absolutely no difference between a god that never does anything and a god that does not exist.

Ryuki, your 'answer' to the Epicurean riddle is as impotent as any that has any been offered to it.

Not the point, it illustrated that the original statement was equally impotent because both views are based on belief. You can not prove what is unknown!

edit: Okay, been able to think this over for a few hours and I am still pissed off.

Consider, you're getting mad just because someone has a different view than yours. You're just portraying yourself as being intolerant. Is that what you really want?

An all-powerful being creates a species with a built-in tendency to do evil, but takes zero responsibility. And that is not evil?

No because your statement is incomplete, we're a species that has both the capacity for creation and destruction. Without both we could not have free will!

Didn't he know? He didn't? How is that possible? And assuming it is possible, does that not make God incredibly irresponsible? And therefore, once again culpable.

Again, free will. This doesn't make god any more culpable than your parents for letting you make your own choices in life.

This is just playing the blame game. Unless you don't believe in free will then this argument is pointless.

Stronger - to what end? To be able to endure even more evil?

So there is no good in life as well?

This goes back to the old light and dark, good and evil argument. You can't have one without the other, everything in the universe seeks balance!

It's like asking why we're sentient? Without the ability to experience and make choices we could never learn or even think.

If he wanted us to be stronger, why did he not make us stronger to begin with?

Just my opinion but wouldn't that defeat the purpose in creation? What would be the point if we just go to the finish line and not experience anything along the way?

Your response is meaningless rhetoric.

I hope you don't really believe that but like I said before everyone is entitled to their opinion. I just hope people can understand that other people have theirs as well and as far as faith goes logic can be applied both ways.

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I am only getting angrier and therefore shall refrain from looking at this thread from now on.

that's probably a good idea then.

I am sorry to hear that this kind of thing can make you so angry. I hope you can be happier in the future.

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A shame really, I was hoping to see more of your views, though I do also suggest anger management...

Yeah free will means having the ability to do both right and wrong and make your own choices in that matter. An Angel doesn't have that ability, they just follow orders and can't disobey (which conflicts with the whole idea of Satan actually gaining a will of his own.) What god has failed to do was guide humanity away from it. Also, I find god to be pretty horrible in how he deals with humanity as a whole, instead of attempting to save sinners he either has them killed or sent to hell. If there are too many sinners, rather then go through the effort of reforming them, he decides to cause a flood, kill them and almost all other land animals on earth, and then lets us repopulate the world as a fresh start... also, he seems to terrorize people into submission instead of using kindness and ideals to win them over... that doesn't really sound so benevolent, just compare God's actions to the messages about him, if anything he's like an omnipotent politician with public image, but is actually pretty petty at heart.

Also, I find it interesting that we have a concept of good and evil, it didn't exist in most cultures and religions up until Christianity introduced Satan.

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vguyver you brought up some wonderful thoughts and i really enjoy hte challenge of it.

well you see the mass floods etc was all before jesus died on hte cross.

all that really nasty stuff was different ways of dealing with people.

people have gone through different ways of dealing with other people. there used to be capital punishment in the uk. this kind of punishment has gotten less and less and law systems are finding more and more ways of mending the offenders rather than killing them or locking them away.

when god came to earth in human form, he learned about the trobles in hte human heart and realised that we weren't defective, we are still learning all the time. I guess when he made the flood, he thought that those sinners were beyond help? but then jesus died to forgive all our sins.

I think that the heaven and hell thing is totally misunderstood.

people say that if you sin, you go to hell for all eternity, but i think that is utter crap. this is where i vehemently disagree with some christian followings.

in fact, the fact that jesus died on hte cross means that even if you sin, if you repent the sin will be forgiven. so in actuality, nobody should ever go to hell. all sins will be forgiven all you have to do is seek that forgiveness. in other words, if you feel bad about it then you are forgiven in hte eyes of god. because to repent you don't need to tell a prist. god is everywhere. he knows your emotions so the moment you feel sorry about an action, it is forgiven.

the thing about going to hell, or dwelling in hell, is basically if you keep doing bad things, the pain that grows inside will be hell. because at the end of the day, when we die, it seems silly in my view to imagine going to some place where there is lots of fire. let's be honest, if you keep getting burned with fire, sooner or later you'll become numb to it.

i'm not sure why you suggest that god terrorises people into submission.

i don't see any evidence of gods terrorism.

and i would think that god uses kindness and ideals... but god doesn't need to win anyone over. god is within everyones heart. god is the good feeling you get when you do things right. and i don't mean other peoples idea of right, I mean when you do soemthing right for yourself.. that is when god is with you, guiding you on the right path. helping you.

this sounds to me that you are perhaps referring to god as the immaterial idol created by some christianity?

because to be honest, I actually did not feel comfortable using teh word "god" for a long time. because that word represented that abstract incorporeal idol.

but as i formulated my ideas more, I came to realise that my idea was best described by that word. at least in a way that i can explain to others. it's in our culture i guess. I could use 'kami' or 'allah' or some other word.. or 'the universe'...

it just seems easier to use these words to explain but I don't want you to think that i am supporting christianity completely.

I agree with some of teh ideas, completely disagree with a lot of others.

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Oh, the terrorize thing is because, well people who didn't believe in God in the first testament ended up having their cities burned down by him, meteors crash about on their homes, women turned to stone for looking back on the chaos, disobeying his commands means punishment... so god tells me to go tell a bunch of people that he's gonna kill them unless they worship him, I refuse... so he gets me stuck inside a whales stomach when I ran away from the decree.

Then there are the commands by God to the israelites to kill every man, woman, and child, take there land, but not their belongings... It was an early genocide in gods name! This type of thing was typical in the old world, but the israelites were by far the most brutal when it came to it. At least most other cultures took captives, to wipe out dozens of cities, towns, and villages over a 100 years of war is pretty horrific. O_o

Now I'm not trying to say Jews did this, no this came before even the Jews came to be, but it did take place just after moses and Egypt, and the 40 years of wondering. So please don't get the wrong idea folks and call me some Nazi sympathizer. I'm actually describing things I read in the bible, and historical readings like "Great People of he Bible and how they lived"

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Uh, are we arguing the judao-christian beliefs only? . . . Cause there was many other flood myths from other religions and even different versions of the judao-christian version.

And the bible wasn't the origin of Christianity, just a byproduct that was created centuries after the death of Christ. There are significant differences between the old and new testament and as the dead sea scrolls show a lot of other stories were left out of the bible.

The bible itself has suffered through some mistranslations since its inception, like the reed sea becoming the red sea, and of course the people who wrote those stories lived very different lives from what we experience now.

Parabols can be drawn from other mythology, Hercules for example by modern standards could be viewed as almost a monster but by the morals of the time period his story was written he was a hero.

So I think we should take care not to take literal interpretations from the bible or any other ancient text, since our view is distorted by our modern sensibilities.

Anyway, I think we can basically summarize by simply comparing god's supposed actions to that of a parent, keeping in mind that god isn't concerned with our bodies but rather our souls, which throws out pretty much all the physical arguments.

The biggest hurdle though is free will, without giving us a choice then we can't have free will. But with choice comes the responsibility for those choices. (Trust me I'm summarizing about three pages of arguments here :mrgreen: you really don't want to see my original draft :badgrin: )

Also consider how we were back then, how would you teach ethics to a caveman? . . . Which goes to what Ryuki has stated in how god has been perceived has changed over time, as we ourselves have changed. Everyone should remember such debates as this one is as much about our nature as trying to figure out god's.

Btw, Angel's historically aren't as simple as the present church depicts them but we can have a pretty long discussion on them alone. Like the significance of the existence of Nephilim (Half Human Angels born from human mothers) for example and how they were depicted in old testament verus new. Never mind the original sources for the concepts of Angels and Demons is very different from what we think of them now.

What god has failed to do was guide humanity away from it.

Uh, wouldn't we all be dead sinners and among the damned if that was the case? Last I checked humanity was still going and like some would say it ain't over till the fat lady sings. :mrgreen:

That's the problem with free will, without interfering with free will there isn't much that can be done other than tell us what the rules are and leave the choice to us whether we follow those rules or not.

Just like the law, if someone breaks the law it doesn't mean the law failed but rather simply that someone has chosen to break the law. The law only fails if it isn't enforced, but god's law has hell as the ultimately penalty.

Also, I find god to be pretty horrible in how he deals with humanity as a whole, instead of attempting to save sinners he either has them killed or sent to hell.

Hmm, so what do you think purgatory is for?

Only those who can't be redeemed go straight to hell, but even they are given hope of eventually getting out of hell during the final end of days, which in part explains why many ultimately see god as hope.

Though of course the above is all derived from the standpoint of the religious text and those who believe, for the atheist it just illustrates the logical reasoning why people who do believe view god as ultimately positive. You don't have to believe to understand the viewpoint, though of course it does help relate. :mrgreen:

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Jesus through the eyes of an Atheist:

It is usually assumed that God must know right from wrong, because he is immortal and omnipotent. However, I would argue that such power and immortality mean that God cannot possibly know right from wrong.

God would have no concept of dealing with equals, since he is unique, omnipotent, and unchallenged. Human morality, on the other hand, is entirely about dealing with others as equals. It's about concepts such as mercy and reciprocity and fairness, the need for which an omnipotent God would not understand because he has no direct knowledge of weakness or suffering or fear. If we were to return to the "heavenly father" analogy, ask yourself what kind of father a man would be if he had never gone through childhood himself.

Such a father would be incapable of understanding his children, and he would be a terrible father (perhaps even as bad as the Old Testament God). If you were to continue with this heretical line of thought, then the only way for the father to understand his children would be to experience childhood. It would therefore follow that Jesus was the agent through which God sought to experience humanity. Jesus was born and raised as a human being. He absorbed the moral teachings of neighbouring human societies of the time, and then incorporated them into a new understanding of humanity and morality that God could never have discerned on his own. Jesus understood what God could not, because he knew what it meant to be weak, and mortal. In other words, he knew what it meant to walk a mile in another man's shoes.

But that wasn't enough; he also had to know the depths of evil. He had to find out first-hand about the pain of torture so that he could comprehend suffering, which an unfeeling God had mercilessly inflicted upon countless previous generations. And on the cross, he finally understood fear of death, which was yet another concept that would have been utterly alien to an immortal God. It would have been the ultimate test, and the ultimate learning experience. And when Jesus cried out on the cross that God had "forsaken" him, he would have been hoping that perhaps he wouldn't have to see this through to its bitter end. But that wasn't to be the case. He had to understand mortality and death, so he could understand first-hand what God had inflicted upon humanity. And when he finally died, he became a proxy agent for God's repentance, in atonement not for humanity's sins against God, but for God's sins against humanity. If you interpret his story this way, then it becomes obvious that we didn't have to learn morality from God; God had to learn morality from us!

Of course, that is only an alternate possible interpretation of the Jesus myth, and your mileage may vary. However, the alternative is simply not reconcilable with the historical facts. Every single one of Jesus' teachings was echoed in other cultures around the world at the time (or long before). If he had to bring this knowledge to us, then how can this be explained? Moreover, how can the improved morality of the New Testament be explained if it had no source other than the exact same God who was supposedly all-knowing and morally perfect since the dawn of time?

Even if you accept that the stories of the Bible actually happened, the doctrine of the heavenly origins of morality makes no sense whatsoever. God had no basis for morality other than his desire for self-aggrandizement, which is a truly horrendous basis for a system of morality. He lacked equals or weaknesses and he could not experience death, so he could not comprehend the human condition, nor could he determine what would lead to a truly just and humane society. He even demonstrated this lack of comprehension on numerous occasions, when the behaviour of humans so confused him that he flew into a homicidal or even genocidal rage out of sheer frustration at their failure to mindlessly obey him. Even if you accept the existence of God and the validity of Biblical stories regarding his actions, it is quite easy to see that far from giving us morality, God needed us to teach him morality.

It's something to think about, at least. Personally, I think it's a more plausible interpretation.

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It is a good analysis, though not the only way to view it. Mainly that argument assumes god has to gain knowledge like we do by experience, which would basically imply that god isn't omnipotent.

For example if god is truly omnipotent then god would already know what it is like to walk in another's shoes, all is really needed is for god to recall our memories like god's own. Like the saying that god is everywhere and everything.

A good example is the quandary posed by the balance of the universe, many physicists compare it to akin as if the universe at its birth looked into the future of its eventual end and gave birth to the balance we see now.

Course how much traction that view gets is determined by whether you think there is an ultimate purpose to existence or not.

Another view is that we are each a piece of god and when we go to heaven we return to the whole, which is god. But that is similar to the atheist analysis in that god would learn as we learn. It also means there really isn't a hell other than being away from god. Like the difference between light and darkness in which darkness is just the absence of the light.

Course yet another view is god hasn't done anything since creation and we're just blaming god for everything regardless, going back to the free will thing to the extreme that god just created the universe and is waiting for us to evolve to the point we can contact god. Course this view doesn't sit well with people who think there should be a master plan and a specific purpose for our existence beyond existence itself.

Well I'll leave it at that before I cover every possible view and start posting more mega posts :mrgreen:

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I decided to pick at Judea-christian views because that is what most of us can relate to, if you want I can tear into Islam, Hindu, and Buddhist thinking as well, but I'd rather not.

Also there are different ways of influencing people without disrupting free will. If God ordains a purpose for us, then why doesn't he give us paths that would knowingly allow less evil to exist in the world. He's supposed to know everything in the universe, but can't bloody figure out how to better help humanity without flooding the earth...? not working for me, nope. Some people say we need evil in the world for God to be good, or allow free will. I'm not sure if that's true, about the free will part, but having evil just so God can look better in our eyes disturbs me.

Oh, and when I talk about God smiting us humans left and right, doesn't that also effect our souls according to some beliefs. If we are sinners, then God sent them to hell after killing them, and thus cost them salvation. Also, does he have the right to allow our souls to suffer for eternity when he can save our souls now? A God like that sounds more like one who made man out of boredom to entertain him as Time passes instead of any love. It's like a human playing civilization.

As for angels, they were based off the spirits and gods of other cultures, in essence angels were more like Chimera's then anything. I hate the chibi looking Cherubs because originally they were depicted in a much more cooler light, they are gods mightiest angels, the elite near god angels, and they were turned into wing babies... so uncool.

Also there are some things i noticed that atheists hate about religious groups like. "Don't try to think, God is beyond your knowledge, just go with what we tell you. Oh don't question it, it's heresy and you'll be sent to hell. If God didn't want us to question him, then we really wouldn't have both free will nor the capability to learn and change. Just look at poor moses. Moses was punished for disobeying God's instructions. God had instructed him to "speak" to the rock, but instead he hit it, twice to get water. God punished him, and Aaron (For not stopping moses from hitting the rock a second time.) and not only disobeying a command, but for practically ruining a good opportunity to awe his worshipers. Pretty harsh, especially Aaran who really didn't commit a wrong in the first place. The punishment was for niether to ever step foot on the holy land... Wait, wasn't god supposed to be capable of unqual forgiveness? It seemed like an honest msitake to me.

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Interesting, so you believe God needs to be perceived as good? Doesn't that go in the face of the old testament?

Consider, good and evil are human concepts that applies to us more than anything else because you can't be good or evil without choice. And we should also point out that most religions have a loop hole given in the form of last rights. Basically right up to the point of death you can ask god's forgiveness and it will be given. So people who go to hell basically put themselves there by being unrepentant, otherwise they would have been sent to purgatory instead of hell and eventually been able to go to heaven once they had paid for their sins.

As for influencing, again I make the comparison to laws. Simply put without interfering with free will how is it possible to stop people from making their own mistakes?

I put to you that it isn't possible. Just like how we have laws and regulations for our society, but simply knowing them and knowing the consequence of breaking those laws doesn't stop people from making the wrong decisions. Really, if that was possible then we wouldn't have any crime.

As long as free will is a factor there is nothing god could do to save your soul if you don't want to be saved. All god can do is leave the door open for you.

Really, I never understood why some people could accept the idea that we have free will but not the responsibility that goes along with it. Even for atheists, who have no deity to blame, this is sometimes a problem. But perhaps it's part of our human faults that we seek external things to blame.

It is also your choice but I don't believe you are puting the events, like the great flood, into perspective. There were things besides sinners that god had destroyed for example.

Not to mention we should remember the original meanings of the biblical words we keep throwing around like hell.

Sheol

Hebrew, Jewish, and therefore one of the primary sources of Christian mythology.

“Sheol" is a Hebrew word used for the abode of the dead. It is thought of as a place situated below the ground (e.g. Ezek. 31:15), a place of darkness, silence and forgetfulness (Job 10:21; Ps. 94:17, 88:12). Although the dead in sheol are apparently cut off from God (Ps. 88:3-5), he is not absent (Ps. 139:8), and is able to deliver souls from sheol (Ps. 16:10). It is sometimes translated as "hell"; however, it is not seen as a place of eternal punishment, and its use in the New Testament (e.g. Matt. 16:18; Acts 2:27) suggests a meaning relating simply to the power of death.”

Origin of the Christian Hell

Jesus Mysteries

[Of hell] "The more enlightened sages of the Mysteries viewed such horrors as merely stories to encourage better moral behavior. Plutarch calls the terrors of the Underworld an 'improving myth'. The Christian philosopher Origen likewise argued that the literal terrors of hell were false, but they ought to be publicized in order to scare simpler believers"

[...]

"Origen, however, was posthumously condemned by the Roman Catholic Church as a heretic for his compassionate belief that all souls would eventually be redeemed. The Roman Church required all Christians to believe that some souls would suffer in hell forever, while the faithful would enjoy eternal salvation. This is the one doctrine on the afterlife which Celsus regards as distinctively Christian. He writes:

'Now it will be wondered how men so desperate in their beliefs can persuade others to join their ranks. The Christians use sundry methods of persuasion, and invent a number of terrifying incentives. Above all, they have concocted an absolutely offensive doctrine of everlasting punishment and rewards, exceeding anything the philosophers (who have never denied the punishment of the unrighteous of the reward of the blessed) could have imagined' "

Point being it's good to keep some historical perspective because ultimately, even among the faithful, we must remember the bible was written by people and not god. The ideals and concepts may indeed be directly from god but we must remember the message was received and interpreted by people with very different values to what we have now.

To them it may very well have taken mass destruction to get the point across. Humans can be extremely stubborn after all. Even today there are many instance in which people have to die before anything gets done to fix it. To blame god for this would only ignore the responsibility we have to our own choices.

Like the point I made about Hercules and how the greeks considered him a hero. But if we read the original story he would come off as something very different from our perspective.

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Also there are different ways of influencing people without disrupting free will. If God ordains a purpose for us, then why doesn't he give us paths that would knowingly allow less evil to exist in the world. He's supposed to know everything in the universe, but can't bloody figure out how to better help humanity without flooding the earth...? not working for me, nope. Some people say we need evil in the world for God to be good, or allow free will. I'm not sure if that's true, about the free will part, but having evil just so God can look better in our eyes disturbs me.

we do have paths to follow.

I already said in an earlier post but you may have missed it.

god helps us to make the right choices for us by comforting us when we are on the right path. the good feeling you get in your heart when you are doing the right thing for yourself is god's approval.

the problem is, there is so much fear in people that they often cannot follow the right path due to the fear and they never feel that joy.

I wonder why you keep concentrating on things from millenia ago that have fallen to myth, but the thing is, even if god knew everything then, it doesn't mean that he could change people's thoughts.. it doesn't mean that there was any good answer to the problem.

let's compare to modern day medicine. dentistry to be precise. if a tooth is rotten does teh dentist mend the tooth? no, he drills at it and stuff metal in there or even pulls the whole thing out. does that mean the dentist doesn't know how to do his job? no, he has access to all the information that is currently available.

of course yes if he was omnipotent, he could just mend the tooth. god could have just mended the hmans brains and made them good. but that would be interfering with free will. it wouldn't achieve anything.

I don't believe god killed all these people because they wouldn't worship god or do what he wanted. let's look at the flood another way and what noah did.

noah was told to build a huge boat. he did so. he was told to put the animals on hte boat. he did so. the other humans could have looked on and thought.. what is that guy doing. either he is crazy or he knows something we don't.

they had every chance to build their own boat to be prepared. it was their own free will that killed them, not god. god told noah. the information was given.

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I keep looking at the older texts because the more recent concepts by Christians and Islam's have altered the current perception of God. I think the current perception is the least likely version of the real God (if there is one) and thus I tend to follow the Hebrew's version of him (while still following the concepts of Jesus who I admire, or at least the concept of his message).

Also, the new text's in the holy bible don't deal as much with God, instead they focus on other people like Christ, John, Joseph, and others. Followed by the fate of humanity and the end of the world.

Besides, what better way to get an idea of getting an idea of God's true nature then through his past actions? So I think there is some merit in focusing it,. If you want me to drop the matter then I will if you would like to focus on some other concept here. In the meanwhile...

As for the free will, it's not what I'm targeting, and God as an almighty being with infinite knowledge should be more then capable of dealing with none believers then the methods he displayed. If he had more men like Jesus appear to bring out the good in people, he may of been able to reform humanity without bringing such waste to the world. God didn't just wipe out humanity in the flood, but plants and animals, and much of other life not brought into the Arc. He warned humanity to follow him or be destroyed through the words of his prophets, but these men didn't listen. Noah did, but then he told Noah to build ships, and not the rest of the humanity because he planned on killing all but Noah and those close to him.

What bothers me about the above is that God is preached as all forgiving these days, but didn't have the patience for these wicked. I thought it was stated that all men, and even Satan can be forgiven and reach salvation. So why why didn't he make the effort? Now don't tell me he warned humans or gave them proper preparation. He didn't, sending a single man into town and telling everyone they are going to die isn't really effective or practical. It didn't work ever in thousands of years of the history of his followers, and yet he insisted in doing it. Sending a single guy out to make such claims would be looked at as a madman. Maybe if he sent in a talking angel, or even a lobotomized monkey things would of been more effective because of the miracle factor. He pulled the same stunt with the Assyrians, the Babylonians, the Romans. All of them warned, and each time people meant not to worship him would suffer his wrath according to texts for not worshiping him. God is stated as a jealous god, and it's so apparent that all he wants is effection, but if ignored he makes you suffer.

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