Friday, April 17, 2009

The EvilBible.com Project, Part 1 - Murder in the Bible

I was recently contacted by Mariano of AtheismIsDead with the proposal of correcting evilbible.com in conjunction with a group of bloggers. Sounded like fun, so here we are.
See also the other posts so far in the series:
-Atheism, the Bible, Rape, EvilBible.com and Dan Barker, part 1 of 6
-The Impossibility of God, Part I: Prolegomena

My contribution to the project begins with the page Murder in the Bible.
Obviously, a site named EvilBible intends to discuss moral value judgments. And the author is apparently an atheist. Thus it comes as little surprise how the author (apparently a woman named Chris "Ali Baba" Thiefe) casts the issue in objecting to alleged murders that take place in the Bible.

After reading much on this site, it becomes readily apparent that most or even virtually all of the complaints against the Bible are emotionally-driven. No effort is made to ground an atheistic theory of morality that could enable someone to apply a meaningful label of "good" or "evil" to an action or thought. It really seems that EB.com is more like a (crappy, selective, and poorly-done) information service than a serious attempt to build a case against the Bible. In that, it is not any different from several dozen other antitheistic websites out there.

One example is when EB says:
In much of the Bible, especially the Old Testament, there are laws that command that people be killed for absurd reasons

Is the definition of "absurd" given anywhere on the page? No.
On the home page? No.
On the About EvilBible.com page? No.
It's just simply absurd; no other explanation is apparently required. So...am I supposed to be impressed or distressed b/c Ali Baba thinks the reasons are absurd? You know what they say about naked assertions.
How about the definition of "murder"? That would seem to be a good place to start. Yet no attempt is made to define even that. This is pretty shoddy, pretty clumsy. I suppose one is free to make up one's own definition. Fortunately, I've got one - Murder is the unjustified taking of human life. As every man, woman, and child is sinful and bears the guilt of the sin of Adam, all are subject to the death penalty. This includes the various peoples of Canaan, whom God commanded the OT Hebrews to put to death after hundreds of years of giving them time to repent of their perversions. This includes the millions of babies that die every year in the womb (re: Sam Harris' correct and yet wrongheaded and amazingly morally blind assertion that God is the greatest living abortionist). God is fully justified in putting anyone to death at any time thru any manner or agency He chooses.
Absent an argument to the contrary, EB.com's assertion that the Bible commends murder is already defeated. And as the archives of this blog alone will attest, even if EB.com's authors were to muster an argument for their definitions of absurd and murder, etc, the chances are pretty good that said argument would be seriously faulty and arbitrary.
Finally, how often does EB.com offer the context of these passages? Hint: It rhymes with "never", revealing that EB.com is merely an exercise in intellectual dishonesty. After all, Ali Baba herself, on her own webpages, says: "I...say...cursed be he...who...does not...murder...people." What more proof of Ali Baba's guilt do we need? I'll call the police.

Now, just for the purpose of piling more dirt on EB.com's face, let me take their points one by one and offer more explanation. I will also offer corrected subtitles where helpful and relevant.

Under 1) Capital Punishment Crimes, EB.com gives us a list of, well, crimes for which the death penalty is prescribed.
I suppose EB.com is against the death penalty? We are not told, but the point is that each one of these offenses is a violation of the law of the land. And it's not just these reasons that warrant the death penalty, you know. Murder was also a capital crime in OT Israel. I don't, however, see that mentioned in this list of "absurd" reasons for capital punishment. Why? Presumably EB.com considers 1st-degree murder a justifiable reason for the state's putting someone to death, but I'm just guessing b/c we are not told.
EB.com here is meddling in the affairs of another country, calling it names such as "absurd". EB.com is guilty of anachronistic judgment, committing the thoughtcrime of temporalethnocentrism. One wonders whether EB.com supports the US' actions in Iraq and Afghanistan, where one country is meddling in the laws of another.
The one exception in this section is Romans 1:24-32, with the subtitle "Infidels and Gays Should Die". EB.com is apparently totally unaware of the difference between DEscriptive and PREscriptive text. In this case, the text is DEscribing what is happening to certain members of unrepentant humanity due to God's judgment on them. There is no "Go and do this or that" type of command here. Further, the death penalty mentioned here is not loss of one's physical life but rather an emphasis on their state of spiritual death (which is, incidentally, a much more serious condition than physical death). A better subtitle - "Infidels and Gays Will Die, Unless They Repent, Just Like All Other Sinners."


Under 2) God's Murders for Stupid Reasons:
"Kill Brats" - Once again, EB.com displays ignorance that this is a historical acct, not a prescriptive set of commands. These "children" were actually more like a gang of teenagers, who were threatening Elisha the prophet, shouting in effect, "Elijah went up with you to the mountain and didn't come back. Why don't you go on back too and not come back?" They are wishing death upon a servant of God, rebelling against God's authority on Earth. Finally *God* sends the bears, not Elisha. A better subtitle - "God Kills Rebellious Teen Gang Who Had Committed Assault".

"God Kills the Curious" - The Ark had just been returned to Israel from enemy captivity, and Israelites knew or should have known the law for the treatment of the Ark. They broke the law and thus committed a capital crime, and their punishment showed that God takes reverence of Him very seriously. Does Ali Baba think ignorance of the law is a good excuse for breaking it?
This blasphemous action followed worship: "The people chopped up the wood of the cart and sacrificed the cows as a burnt offering to the LORD." v. 14. Indeed they should have known better, and they learned their lesson - The people mourned because of the heavy blow the LORD had dealt them, 20 and the men of Beth Shemesh asked, "Who can stand in the presence of the LORD, this holy God? To whom will the ark go up from here?" v. 20. A better subtitle - "God Kills the Sinfully Curious Blasphemers".

"Killed by a Lion" - I've always found the "school of prophets" and unnamed "men of God" and prophets wandering around Israel and Judah during the times of 1 Samuel - 2 Kings pretty fascinating, but the OT doesn't give a lot of info about their identity or grouping or anything. However, why assume this is an absurd reason? Why not consider that these 2 guys very possibly knew each other and/or that prophets were generally known? Why disobey the voice of a prophet, which was tantamount to disobeying the very voice of God? Murdering someone else is disobedience to the Law, which came directly from God - so the instructions of a prophet.

"Killing the Good Samaritan" - God had given very specific instructions on how to transport the Ark of the Covenant - carried by men with poles, a reverent procession, etc. These men had forgotten the holiness of God and were transporting the Ark on an oxcart, and when it was in danger of tipping over (b/c it wasn't carried by men as God had instructed), God decided to let His displeasure with the disobedience be known. A better subtitle - "God Punishes the Disobedient to Reiterate His Holiness".


Under 3) Murdering Children:
Most of these items are prophecies of the coming Babylonian destruction of Judah, if I'm not mistaken. The Babylonians were the tool God used to punish Judah for its 100s of years of extreme disobedience and blasphemy and idolatry, much like He had used Joshua-era Israel to punish Canaan for the same thing. Read Samuel, Kings and Chronicles with the heart of a Christian and you'll find yourself amazed at God's patience, that He let things go on like that for so very long. Of course, if He had intervened quickly, Ali Baba would no doubt be complaining that God didn't give them a chance to set things right. There's no pleasing people like EB.com's authors.

"God Kills all the First Born of Egypt" - Perhaps Ali Baba missed the preceding events, the 400 years of brutal slavery, the unwillingness to let Israel worship God despite pleas for simple humanity's sake as well as 9 supernatural plagues, etc.
Further, God expressly said that He wanted to humble mighty and mightily-blasphemous Egypt under His hand to glorify His name to everyone who would hear of these events. In doing so, He explicitly put the smackdown on Egyptian pagan (and false) deities - the river god, the sun god, fertility god, etc, not to mention the considered-divine Pharaoh.

"God Will Kill the Children of Sinners" - A warning of God's chastening punishment if Israel were to go astray from their covenant with God. Now, I love my children, so it's really kind of amazing to me that Israel would so easily neglect her covenant with God. Sin is a powerful and horrible thing.


Under 4) Miscellaneous Murders:
"More of Samson's Murders" - Israel and Philistia were at war. Does Ali Baba object to war, I guess?
"The Angel of Death" - Israel and Assyria were at war. People were starving inside Jerusalem b/c of the siege of the army camped outside its wall. Ali Baba wouldn't know this, however, b/c I can't believe that she actually did read this psg.

"Peter Kills Two People" - I missed where the text says, "And Peter swung his sword and decapitated Ananias." These people had sold their property and given what they claimed was the full price to the church, thus lying, probably in order to gain a good reputation. This is the first sin in the church of Jesus Christ, and God showed how seriously He takes sin by putting them to death when they continued unrepentant in their sin. And let us remember that, if they truly had faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, they were taken immediately to Heaven - not a bad fate. If not, they were sinful interlopers in the Body of Christ, a serious offense. A better subtitle - "God Kills Two People in the Act of Sin to Protect His Church".

"Mass Murder" - God had given the Canaanites 100s of years to repent of their sin and idolatry and His patience eventually reached its limit.
Further, it's not like this is a problem under an evolutionary atheistic worldview! The Amalekites did lose the battle - obviously they were not sufficiently fit to survive in this cruel, nasty, brutish world. Sometimes unfit and backwards civilisations die off. Why is a moral problem for ascribing blame when it's a people group that does the killing, versus a slower, more gradual process as, say, the Anasazi or Cro-Magnon man or something? I don't see Ali Baba blaming Mammy Nature or Papa Darwin for murder.

"Kill Your Neighbors" - Neighbors who had been encamped at the foot of a mountain covered by the cloud of glory from the Lord, and they were making a golden calf and then engaging in an orgy while Moses was at the peak. Sometimes you need extreme measures to get people's attention.

"Kill the Family of Sinners" - Achan had explicitly disobeyed the direct command of God not to take any booty from Jericho. This cost Israel several dozen lives and a military defeat.

"Kill Followers of Other Religions", "Murder" - Idolatry was a capital offense in OT Israel. This is the death penalty.

"Kill All of Babylon" - A prophecy of God's sending Persia to punish Babylon for its idolatry, evil, and bloodthirsty actions. See comments about the Amalekites above.

"Micah Kills a Whole Town" - Ali Baba says, "(Note that God approves of this slaughter in verse 6.)".
V 6 - The priest answered them, "Go in peace. Your journey has the LORD's approval."
Yes, their journey had the Lord's approval. I missed where in the text their subsequent violent actions had the Lord's approval. Maybe EB.com could cite said approval in its 2nd edition.


So, the whole of the page examined, and not even one psg stands up to even elementary scrutiny. An exercise in futility, really, but it's hard to believe that the author is putting forth a serious effort. However, given the caliber of Internet atheist commenters I've seen in places even as well-known as ERV, I guess it shouldn't surprise me that much.

84 comments:

Marcus McElhaney said...

Hey, man. This is great! I really your enjoyed post. I'm linking it to my blog and adding my comments on Murder.

Matt said...
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Matt said...

Rhology,

Nice post and critique of the various badly mishandled Biblical examples. It's refreshing to see a devastating point-by-point refutation of someone's mishandling of Scripture, especially when they are trying to use Scripture to impugn the character of God.

However, at some point, I think that we should go one step beyond saying that all men are sinners and deserving of death, to stating that it is a wonder that any of us have lived past our first breath out of the womb. The atheistic presupposition is that man is good and that God is unjust to take his life (through whatever means). The Biblical position is that as sinful human beings, we are all deserving of death. Given this, why hasn't God taken our lives already?

Thus, if we insist on pressing this antithesis, instead of merely trying to defend God against charges of evil and injustice (and stopping there), we then seek to understand and explain His mercy and His apparent delay of justice upon us. Not only does this leave the atheist totally without grounds to accuse God of injustice (on Biblical grounds), this also leads naturally into the Gospel.

So, I guess what I'm trying to say is that it's good (and necessary) to show that the atheist is unfounded in accusing God of injustice. However, I don't think that we've done all that we can if we stop here, having won the defensive battle, and not having taken the offense. I think, to be glorifying to God, we need to take the next step and ask why God hasn't executed His judgment upon us already, and when we do that, not only do we see God as merely not evil, but we also see Him as infinitely merciful, loving, and good. Furthermore, we see His justice and mercy combined at the cross, so that God is both fully just and infinitely merciful in forgiving us of our sins. I don't know of any better way to glorify God while refuting the pretensions of unbelievers, with respect to issues of God's justice, goodness, and morality.

Anyway, this is not to take anything away from a great post - just some food for thought for future treatments of this and similar issues. What do you think?

Leslie said...

"I missed where the text says, 'And Peter swung his sword and decapitated Ananias.'lol! That would probably strike fear in some hearts, though perhaps for different reasons. It might have made Paul think twice about confronting Peter later on...

captain howdy said...

"God Kills all the First Born of Egypt" - Perhaps Ali Baba missed the preceding events, the 400 years of brutal slavery, the unwillingness to let Israel worship God despite pleas for simple humanity's sake as well as 9 supernatural plagues, etc.~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Ah, I get it now. It's OK to kill thousands of small children if their parents are obnoxious enough--is that it?


Or maybe killing children is morally acceptable if they're Egyptian children? I mean, the 400 years of slavery, the plagues and all the other excuses you list--those horrible things were the fault of the firstborn children, is that it?



Your religion says that killing children sometimes--frequently--isn't evil. What a charming religion you have there!

Rhology said...

Capt howdy,

See Matt's comment above yours.

NAL said...

Matt:

... we see God as merely not evil, but we also see Him as infinitely merciful, loving, and good.

And what is your basis for judging God? How do you define merciful, loving, and good such that you can judge God by those definitions?

Rhology said...

We take God's character as the very definition of those things. God has revealed that's how He is.

NAL said...

So, you're using God's character as the definition to judge God's character.

Premise: God's character is the definition of good.
Conclusion: God is good.

Begging the question.

Rhology said...

I've never denied that.
Now give me your alternative for defining "good" and "bad".

Damion said...

Does EvilBible deal with the death penalty for witches? Seems relevant in these times of pagan and wiccan revival movements...

Damion said...

"The atheistic presupposition is that man is good and that God is unjust to take his life..."

I cannot speak for atheists, generally, but I don't know any that think of it this way. Surely none of them would believe that "God is..." anything at all.

Rather, we would say it is odd to extend the "loving heavenly father" metaphor to those who are smote down wholesale. If an actual father did this to his children, the very last word we would think to apply would be "loving."

Matt said...

NAL,

Here are my definition of those three terms:

Merciful: Not giving us what we deserve (i.e. eternal torment in hell)
Loving: Giving up His own Son to redeem wicked sinners who hate and reject Him
Good: Not only not giving us what we do deserve, but granting us the greatest good we could have, which is to have eternal fellowship with Him, and to see and delight in His glory. In a common sense, giving us all (even unbelievers) temporal benefits, such as life, sustenance, etc.

Now, you can call these definitions by any terms that you want. All I'm saying is that when we look at the situation (as Scripture reveals), wrath is what we deserve from God, and mercy, love, and goodness (by whatever names you choose to call them) are what we get from Him instead. With respect to "good" and "evil" in this specific context, I was using the somewhat-emotional definition of "evil" as inflicting unjustified pain and suffering upon someone, and "good" as granting someone unjustified bliss and happiness, when in fact they deserve pain and suffering, and I don't know of anyone who would deny that "evil" and "good" include these ideas. Using God's self-revelation as a guide, we see that God is not only not evil, but infinitely good (since He has given us infinite bliss and happiness (partially in this life, but fully in the life to come) that we don't deserve, and not given us the infinite pain and suffering that we do deserve). Hence, the statements I made in the comment.

Matt said...

Damion,

I cannot speak for atheists, generally, but I don't know any that think of it this way. Surely none of them would believe that "God is..." anything at all.I would argue that this is irrelevant to my comment for two reasons. First, holding to Rom. 1:18-21, I don't believe that there are truly any atheists, properly considered, as all men have a knowledge of God. We all naturally suppress it, and those who genuinely believe that there is no God are those who have succeeded in deceiving themselves to deny what they know to be true. However, I would argue that subconsciously, the atheistic arguments are still against God, as He is known to every man, though the atheist may delude himself in this regard. Now, I don't expect you to accept this view, but it is consistent with my presuppositions, which is why I included it in my comment. Secondly, even if Rom. 1:18-21 is not true, for the sake of argument, the conclusion that I was stating could still be framed as "If the God of the Bible exists, then He is not only not evil, but rather infinitely good." So, I don't see the relevance of this objection.

Rather, we would say it is odd to extend the "loving heavenly father" metaphor to those who are smote down wholesale. If an actual father did this to his children, the very last word we would think to apply would be "loving."I already addressed this implicitly in my original comment. This objection doesn't take into account the fact that we all deserve to be "smote down wholesale", and that it is just for Him to do so, and unjust for Him not to do so. The fact that God sent His only Son to be smitten Himself, in our place, to redeem those who believe in Him, who themselves deserved to be smitten, demonstrates God's love for us: "For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will hardly die for a righteous man; though perhaps for the good man someone would dare even to die. But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us" (Rom 5:6-8).

Damion said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Damion said...

The conclusion that I was stating could still be framed as "If the God of the Bible exists, then He is not only not evil, but rather infinitely good."
I am sorry but the phrase "infinitely good" does not make any sense to me, as I have never thought of good as something admitting of quantification, various utilitarian and economic theories notwithstanding. Assuming though, that you mean perfectly good, it remains to be seen in what sense genocidal holy war may be deemed perfectly good.

This objection doesn't take into account the fact that we all deserve to be "smote down wholesale", and that it is just for Him to do so, and unjust for Him not to do so.

I was not asking whether divinely ordained mass killings are just but rather whether they should be called loving in the usual sense of the term. You have piqued my curiosity though. Where is it written that it would be unjust for the deity to allow people to live without being murdered en masse (e.g. by marauding tribesmen who believe they are chosen of god) ?

The fact that God sent His only Son to be smitten Himself, in our place, to redeem those who believe in Him, who themselves deserved to be smitten, demonstrates God's love for us...
If you are arguing that these actions retroactively make any previously ordained mass-murders into an act of fatherly love, well, that seems like an abuse of the English language. When we say someone is a "loving father" we may mean a great many things, but we do not mean someone who slaughters his children wholesale, even when they are sinful. It is fair to say that no loving father would do this unless absolutely necessary for some greater good.

Of course, I would willingly grant you this point if you would go so far as to claim that every heathen smote down in the wholesale genocides of the TANAKH were thereby brought into the eternal bliss of paradise on account of the very redemptive act you describe. If that were really the case, I suppose it would in some sense render their suffering and death relatively trivial in the overall scheme of things. If you are arguing for such a universalist view of atonement, please, accept my apologies.

Paul C said...

The problem with all these apologetics is that they require words in the English language to not mean what they actually mean. "Good", for example, becomes "anything that God does", regardless of whether it is commonly understood to be good or not. The Monopolist Christian asks (repeatedly, ad nauseum) what the non-monopolist definition of good is, and constructs elaborate fictions around their own definitions. These fictions are a failed attempt to obscure the central problem they face - that there is a non-monopolist definition of good, and that definition doesn't fit the actions of his god. Ah, but that must mean that the actual definition of good (or loving, or just, or any of those other words) must be wrong! You might have heard of this before - Orwell called it Newspeak, and the underlying intention behind this monopolist version is the same as the one seen in 1984.

It's not "atheists" that are you worst enemies, guys - it's the dictionary, closely followed by yourselves, as Rhology's recent appearance on McGrath's blog illustrates.

Rhology said...

in what sense genocidal holy war may be deemed perfectly good.B/c God decreed that it be done.
This is an external critique from you. What is your alternative moral theory by which we can judge good and bad?


but rather whether they should be called loving in the usual sense of the term.I'd probably agree with you there, though in a nuanced way.
The Bible mentions that God also hates rebellious unbelievers. He loves them and gives common grace, but He also hates them for their wickedness. So yeah, this action wasn't only b/c of love, but I don't think anyone's claiming it was.
Of course, given that degree of reward in Heaven and degree of punishment in Hell are proportional in some sense to conduct during one's life, it was merciful to end their lives before they could store up yet more condemnation for themselves.


Where is it written that it would be unjust for the deity to allow people to live without being murdered en masse (e.g. by marauding tribesmen who believe they are chosen of god) ?It wouldn't be unjust. Such happens all the time. That doesn't mean that it wasn't just for God to go ahead and end these lives early. But again, I object to the term "Murder" - you need to define it and give us a framework that accts for such.


When we say someone is a "loving father" we may mean a great many things, but we do not mean someone who slaughters his children wholesaleBiblically, rebellious unblvrs like these (and you) are not God's "children" per se. They are His CREATION, yeah, and they are also His enemies.


It is fair to say that no loving father would do this unless absolutely necessary for some greater good. WL Craig says this all the time - you don't know (and neither do I, I simply trust God for it) whether God has in mind some greater good, or what it could be. It is highly presumptuous of you to assume He doesn't w/o benefit of equal foresight to Him and/or an argument to that effect.


every heathen smote down in the wholesale genocides of the TANAKH were thereby brought into the eternal bliss of paradise on account of the very redemptive act you describe.that is of course not our position.


Paul C,
The unbiased reader will note that Matt and I are very careful about defining our terms, especially since that plays such an integral part of our arguments.

Matt said...

I am sorry but the phrase "infinitely good" does not make any sense to me, as I have never thought of good as something admitting of quantification, various utilitarian and economic theories notwithstanding.I was using the term in the sense that I explained in my reply to NAL: With respect to "good" and "evil" in this specific context, I was using the somewhat-emotional definition of "evil" as inflicting unjustified pain and suffering upon someone, and "good" as granting someone unjustified bliss and happiness, when in fact they deserve pain and suffering, and I don't know of anyone who would deny that "evil" and "good" include these ideas. Using God's self-revelation as a guide, we see that God is not only not evil, but infinitely good (since He has given us infinite bliss and happiness (partially in this life, but fully in the life to come) that we don't deserve, and not given us the infinite pain and suffering that we do deserve). Hence, the statements I made in the comment.It is true that God is perfectly good, but I would put that in the sense of it being one of His ontological attributes, and that He embodies goodness, and is thus perfect in it. With respect to this context, I was speaking of "good" and "evil" in terms of unwarranted blessings bestowed and unjustified harm inflicted (and these things can be quantified). You can assign any label to these concepts that you want, but I would contend that in common language we often use those terms in this sense.


I was not asking whether divinely ordained mass killings are just but rather whether they should be called loving in the usual sense of the termI'm not saying that the killings are loving, w.r.t. the people killed, per se. What I was getting at is that the fact that the people killed were indeed given time on earth to live, to enjoy various temporal blessings, to turn from their wickedness, etc., was indeed a loving act, something that was indeed undeserved. With the fact that all humans deserve eternal torment in hell, anything short of this is a blessing, given from a loving God, whose providential love and kindness is demonstrated in his temporal forbearance with sinners. Thus, the fact that God takes a life at a certain age points to and demonstrates the providential love that He bestowed upon that person in allowing them to live to that age, and giving them innumerable blessings which they did not deserve in the life that they were allowed to live.


Where is it written that it would be unjust for the deity to allow people to live without being murdered en masse (e.g. by marauding tribesmen who believe they are chosen of god)? As you state it, nowhere. However, that's not what I was saying, either. All men are sinners, and thus all men deserve to die (Rom. 3:23,6:23, Gen. 2:16-17, also see here). Thus, for God to be just, He cannot let sin go unpunished. However, there is no prescribed method by which the sinner must die, as your comment seems to suggest. So, it matters not what manner a sinner dies in, be it by natural causes, or by the sword in a mass slaughter. But this is at the heart of the Gospel, in that God sent His Son to take on human nature, and be punished for the sins of those who deserved to be condemned. And thus, having taken their punishment in their stead, He was raised to life, and now intercedes for those for whom He has died, which it why it is written that Christ "was delivered up for our trespasses and raised for our justification" (Rom. 4:25).


If you are arguing that these actions retroactively make any previously ordained mass-murders into an act of fatherly love, well, that seems like an abuse of the English language.Not at all. God is both merciful and just, but no Christian will say that God is being merciful in condemning a sinner to hell. But God is merciful, as He forgives the sins of those who repent and believe in Christ, and gives many unrepentant nonbelievers ample opportunity to turn from their wickedness. Just because God is merciful does not mean that God has to be merciful equally to all, for "I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion" (Rom 9:15). In the same way, because God shows different kinds of love to different people (providential love to all, bestowing temporal blessings that are undeserved, and particular, redemptive love to elect, by redeeming them in Christ) does not make God unloving. He is free to exercise His attributes however He chooses, "As it is written, 'Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.' What shall we say then? Is there injustice on God's part? By no means! For he says to Moses, 'I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion'"(Rom 9:13-15). Thus, the taking of a life in judgment is not loving to that person, per se, but it does not make God unloving either, since He is free to decide how He will express His attributes.


You can maintain a false idea of love if you want, but this is the God of Scripture, and Scripture says that "God is love" (1 Jn. 4:8). However, I would go further and claim that your analogy of a "father slaughtering his children wholesale" does not apply to God's situation, for the simple fact that earthly fathers have neither right nor justification to put their children to death (except for certain special conditions, such as self-defense, etc.). On the other hand, God is bound by His justice to punish sin. In letting sinners live, He displays His goodness and providential love. In sending His Son to save sinners and be punished in their stead, God demonstrates His special, saving love to His elect. Yet, love does not cancel out justice, and justice does not cancel out love. God embodies both, but He is free to decide how to express His attributes. Personally, I don't see what ground or basis you have to criticize God in this regard.


Finally, I would second what Rhology said about applying the "loving father" metaphor to God w.r.t. unbelievers - using Scriptural terminology, people are only brought into God's "family" through faith in Christ (Eph. 1:5, Jn. 1:12-13, Rom. 8:15, Gal. 4:6), at which time God becomes their father in something like the familial sense that you allude to. But even then, judging what our heavenly Father does with His family by what earthly fathers do with theirs is erroneous, because it ignores the differences between God and man, Creator and creature, and Lord and servant.

Damion said...

B/c God decreed that it be done.
Do you really think that this what native speakers of English usually mean when they use the word “good” (in the context of moral choice) and if not, should you not consider using another term altogether if you hope to be readily understood?

This is an external critique from you.
Not really. It is really more of a pedantic point of order regarding the best use of the language as a means of clearly communicating your ideas.

Of course, given that degree of reward in Heaven and degree of punishment in Hell are proportional in some sense to conduct during one's life...
Just out of curiosity, where is that written outside of Dante?
I object to the term "Murder" - you need to define it and give us a framework...
I’d be perfectly content to go with the definition of “murder” used throughout English-speaking common-law nations (e.g. the usage codified at Oklahoma Statutes §21-701.7).

Biblically, rebellious unbelievers like these (and you) are not God's "children" ... they are His enemies. So you would agree with me that the widely-used “loving heavenly father” metaphor is misapplied whenever it is extended beyond those already worship the God of Abraham?

...you don't know (and neither do I, I simply trust God for it) whether God has in mind some greater good, or what it could be.
Would it be fair to say that there is no degree of evil, suffering, and unbelief in the world which would allow you to infer that there are no real gods desirous of banishing such things as these from the world?

Rhology said...

Damion,

I'm less interested in what Joe Blow means when he says "good" than in a more rigorous and precise definition of it, to be honest. Wouldn't you agree?


It is really more of a pedantic point of orderI don't think you've examined sufficiently the power of presuppositions in the life of humans.


where is that written outside of Dante?Good question.
On degree of punishment -
Luke 12:42And (AT)the Lord said, "(AU)Who then is the faithful and sensible (AV)steward, whom his master will put in charge of his servants, to give them their rations at the proper time?

43"Blessed is that (AW)slave whom his master finds so doing when he comes.

44"Truly I say to you that he will put him in charge of all his possessions.

45"But if that slave says in his heart, 'My master will be a long time in coming,' and begins to beat the slaves, both men and women, and to eat and drink and get drunk;

46the master of that slave will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he does not know, and will cut him in pieces, and assign him a place with the unbelievers.

47"And that slave who knew his master's will and did not get ready or act in accord with his will, will (AX)receive many lashes,

48but the one who did not (AY)know it, and committed deeds worthy of a flogging, will receive but few (AZ)From everyone who has been given much, much will be required; and to whom they entrusted much, of him they will ask all the more.


On degree of reward -
1 Cor 3:9For we are God's (P)fellow workers; you are God's (Q)field, God's (R)building.

10According to (S)the grace of God which was given to me, like a wise master builder (T)I laid a foundation, and (U)another is building on it. But each man must be careful how he builds on it.

11For no man can lay a (V)foundation other than the one which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.

12Now if any man builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw,

13(W)each man's work will become evident; for (X)the day will show it because it is to be revealed with fire, and the fire itself will test the quality of each man's work.

14If any man's work which he has built on it remains, he will (Y)receive a reward.

15If any man's work is burned up, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet (Z)so as through fire.


There are probably others.


Oklahoma statuteIt says: A. A person commits murder in the first degree when that person unlawfully and with malice aforethought causes the death of another human being.

I don't have a big problem with that. It fits my own definition just fine.


“loving heavenly father” metaphor is misapplied Yes.
With the qualification that well-meaning Christians use such language often in evangelism...I don't think it's a good idea, but it's not a terrible one. If that person does repent and believe, God WILL BE the best and most loving father imaginable and then some. The converse is also true - don't repent and He is a terrifying enemy.


Would it be fair to say that there is no degree of evil, ...these from the world?Yes, that would be fair to say, and that's what I said here.
My epistemology is not based on experience, since such a structure is obviously fatally flawed. I require a system that would actually make sense of suffering and evil. If atheism is true, there is no evil. Suffering is just part of the natural order and holds no meaning. Pain is just a different sort of chemical reaction in the brain. It's not evil.
Further, whether pain is good or bad is meaningless in atheism - whether one lives a life of joy or a life of suffering, both end up dead in a period of time that is less than insignificant in the scale of human existence, let alone the geologic scale, let alone the galactic or universal scale.

Paul C said...

The unbiased reader will note that Matt and I are very careful about defining our terms, especially since that plays such an integral part of our arguments.That's of little use to the "unbiased reader" who find that the words you use bear little resemblance to how the words are actually used. It might even lead them to believe that you're making up new definitions of those words purely in order to support your argument. Heaven forbid!

Damion said...

It is true that God is perfectly good, but I would put that in the sense of it being one of His ontological attributes, and that He embodies goodness, and is thus perfect in it.

When we speak of a person having the quality of “goodness” we usually someone who acts so as to create states of affairs which we consider good, such as the “infinite bliss and happiness” which you mentioned above. However, it seems to me that on your theological premises, God would still be perfectly good if only one person (say, um, Enoch) enjoyed infinite bliss while billions were consigned to the “infinite pain and suffering” that you believe we all so richly deserve. In your scheme, billions of souls suffering eternally counts for exactly nothing in the overall calculus of good and evil in the universe. This is not merely counterintuitive, it is so far from the usual meaning of “goodness” in the English language that it may be more aptly described in terms of its antonyms. You need to either start making up new terms or perhaps resort to Greek.

On a bit of a side note, you’ve set yourself up for an interesting variation on the Euthyphro. Does God acts in good ways because He embodies goodness, or does He embody goodness because he acts in good ways? IOW, what precisely do you mean when you say that goodness is an ontological attribute?

With respect to this context, I was speaking of "good" and "evil" in terms of unwarranted blessings bestowed and unjustified harm inflicted (and these things can be quantified). You can assign any label to these concepts that you want, but I would contend that in common language we often use those terms in this sense.

In common language, we do indeed talk about unjustified harm, but on your terms no conceivable amount of harm (even the eternal harm of billions of souls) is unjustified so long as it is divinely ordained. Can you think of any harm which is unjustified, and in what sense is it so?

However, there is no prescribed method by which the sinner must die, as your comment seems to suggest. So, it matters not what manner a sinner dies in, be it by natural causes, or by the sword in a mass slaughter.

Would it be fair to conclude that on these premises it is only wrong to murder because God specifically forbade it?

But this is at the heart of the Gospel, in that God sent His Son to take on human nature, and be punished for the sins of those who deserved to be condemned. And thus, having taken their punishment in their stead...

So, you would say God just had to punish someone because He is perfectly just, so much so that ordinary outright forgiveness is logically impossible for Him. However, while justice (as we usually use the term) requires that the punishment for a given criminal fit his own crimes, God’s justice allows Him a loophole -- punish an innocent volunteer instead of the guilty party. Once again, it seems, you’ve run so far afoul or ordinary usage that you would actually be better off using antonyms. By way of analogy, if we put an innocent young volunteer to death in the place of a murderous criminal, we could call that “injustice” or else a “travesty of justice.”

God is both merciful and just, but no Christian will say that God is being merciful in condemning a sinner to hell.

Is God also being unjust in allowing sinners into heaven? If so, would it be accurate to say that you understand God to be justly unmerciful to *most* people, and unjustly merciful to a chosen few?

God...gives many unrepentant nonbelievers ample opportunity to turn from their wickedness.

If they are non-believers, then by definition they *cannot* turn to God since they do not know God is really there. You may call such an opportunity “ample” if you like, but it seems to me you are faulting us unbelievers for failing to open a hidden door.

I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion...

This sounds to me quite alarmingly arbitrary. Suppose an hypothetical God who had mercy and compassion to all humans. Would such a being be more perfect in any way than one who capriciously allots mercy for some and justice for others?

You can maintain a false idea of love if you want, but this is the God of Scripture, and Scripture says that "God is love"

If I believed the Scriptures were coherent and correct, we’d not be arguing these points. I understand that you believe God is loving, but would not the hypothetical deity (affirmed by universalists) be far more loving than the one that you believe in?

I don't see what ground or basis you have to criticize God in this regard.

AFAIK - I am criticizing God but merely a man-made concept. Specifically, I am criticizing the idea that a *loving* being might allow for infinite pain and suffering of its beloved. There may be a way out of this criticism, by claiming that God simply does not love the damned (i.e. most of humanity). But in this case you must give up on Anselm, because it becomes trivially easy to conceive of a greater being than the one you claim to worship.

Damion said...

Correction - I am *NOT* criticizing God but merely a man-made concept...

Rhology said...

we consider good, such as the “infinite bliss and happiness” We might indeed usually speak of it that way, but that's not what I'm after here. On atheism, does it make sense that ANYthing be called good? Whether it makes sense doesn't necessarily touch on whether people will believe it, as I'm sure you'd agree. Proof is not the same as persuasion.


on your theological premises, God would still be perfectly good if only one person (say, um, Enoch) enjoyed infinite blissYou are right. Further, God would be perfectly good if NOONE enjoyed infinite bliss.
Compared with how it really is, one could say that He'd have shown less mercy and compassion that way, but one would not have a useful or reasonable way to judge that, or to judge God as wrong.


billions of souls suffering eternally counts for exactly nothing in the overall calculus of good and evil in the universeNo, I wouldn't say that. That's not a good thing, not at all. It's so distasteful and wrong, in fact, that it cost Jesus Christ His very life.


Does God acts in good ways because He embodies goodness, or does He embody goodness because he acts in good ways?It's the former.


what precisely do you mean when you say that goodness is an ontological attribute? I can't guarantee that my language is the most strictly correct and proper, philosophically speaking. What I'm trying to say is that God has revealed Himself as being good and there is every reason to trust Him. Further, there is no viable alternative for defining good in any useful way.


but on your terms no conceivable amount of harm (even the eternal harm of billions of souls) is unjustified so long as it is divinely ordained. Can you think of any harm which is unjustified, and in what sense is it so?Former sentence is correct. For one thing, as I said before, we don't know the full plan of God and so have insuff information to judge. On atheism, I don't see any way to ground "justification", so that's another problem.
You asked for "any harm", in general, so I'd say that any and all evil committed by a created being, be it human or angel, would be unjustified harm. Sorry if that's not what you were asking for - elucidate the question and I'll be happy to respond to it.


it is only wrong to murder because God specifically forbade it?I would say that, yes.
As I understand natural law theology (which is not all that well), I think a proponent thereof would disagree and say that it's also forbidden by natural law. I am not sufficiently versed in that to say either way.


you would say God just had to punish someone because He is perfectly just, so much so that ordinary outright forgiveness is logically impossible for HimI guess you could say that, yes. The way that the law and justice are set up, wrongdoing must be punished.


justice (as we usually use the term) requires that the punishment for a given criminal fit his own crimes, God’s justice allows Him a loophole -- punish an innocent volunteer instead of the guilty partyOh, I guess that wording, while a bit irreverent, fits, yes. The alternative is that, indeed, every criminal pay for his crimes, and his crimes are of infinite evil b/c they offend an infinitely holy God's holy law. God does not tolerate impurity in His presence, so we'd all be doomed forever to separation from Him. The only "candidate" for acting as substitute for mankind is God Himself.


Once again, it seems, you’ve run so far afoul or ordinary usage that you would actually be better off using antonyms.And that would be a problem if I cared much about "ordinary usage". We do not judge God by man, but rather man by God.


Is God also being unjust in allowing sinners into heaven?This is an excellent question, and speaks to the untruth of Islam. It's a major chink in the Islamic armor - Allah allows some sinful people into Paradise and the virgins and all that. And on what basis? Allah just --poof-- forgives the offenders.
The God of the Bible does no such thing. Take me as an example. All the times I've lied, been unjustifiably angry, looked with lust at a pretty girl, etc, these things have been fully punished. All the just punishment has been poured out on Christ on the Cross. My sin has been reckoned/imputed to Him and His perfect righteousness has been reckoned/imputed to me. Think of it as swapping bank accounts. At the Cross, I told Jesus I was sorry for all the 50% APR credit card debt I'd racked up and meant it. I asked Him for His Swiss bank acct containing €100 million. He agreed and did the switch.
Sounds crazy, right? To me too, but that's the reality. Christianity is too good to be true, only it really is true.
For those who reject the bank acct swap, they justly go to "debtor's prison". For those who accept the acct swap, they justly receive the money, since the guy who receives the bad debt has the resources to pay it. It's just that He's generous enough to share His incredible wealth with whomever might ask.


If they are non-believers, then by definition they *cannot* turn to God since they do not know God is really there.God says that they DO know He exists - Romans 1:18-22. Further, that His law is written on their hearts, so that they have no excuse - Romans 2:10-15.
OTOH, it's true that they can't turn to God. For a person to turn to God, it requires a supernatural work on His part in their life.


I understand that you believe God is loving, but would not the hypothetical deity (affirmed by universalists) be far more loving than the one that you believe in?How loving is it to refuse to punish all the evil done in the world? To arrive in Heaven and find an unrepentant Hitler, Stalin, and Pol Pot hanging out on the clouds with you? Especially since your last thought was "curse Hitler" as the SS guards threw the switch to flood your shower stall with sarin gas?
To arrive in Heaven and find the man who just finished raping and messily murdering you and your family there beside you?
I think this series of articles is very useful and illustrative of my meaning, for real.


I am *NOT* criticizing God but merely a man-made concept...Fair enough, but you really do need to incorporate the idea of internal vs external critique into your argument. From my end, your viewpoint is man-made, and TGOTB really does exist.
So I ask myself - can atheism provide any grounding for making such moral critiques as I find here? So far I've not seen one, but I could be surprised someday.


But in this case you must give up on Anselm, because it becomes trivially easy to conceive of a greater being than the one you claim to worship.Oh, that's a very interesting thought, actually!
I'll have to chew on that for a while, but I think you may very well have a great point WRT Anselm's ontological argument...

Peace,
Rhology

Paul said...

"The alternative is that, indeed, every criminal pay for his crimes, and his crimes are of infinite evil b/c they offend an infinitely holy God's holy law."

This argument makes no sense. Why are crimes infinitely evil? Does that mean that you think that killing 9 million undesirables is the equivalent of committing adultery? Because once again, people are not going to take you seriously if you try to make that argument.

And also, you've not made an argument that criminals must pay for their crimes in the first place, or that somebody else can pay for their crimes, or that - oh, forget it. These arguments are so full of holes that we'll be here for the rest of our lives.

Anonymous said...

"God had given the Canaanites 100s of years to repent of their sin and idolatry and His patience eventually reached its limit."

So God is not infinitely patient, then?

That's interesting, because I can conceive of a being with all the attributes of God, but who is also infinitely patient.

Oh, the irony.

Rhology said...

Why are crimes infinitely evil? Well, they're violations of God's infinite holiness.
One sin is enough to render you imperfect; no one can enter God's presence imperfect.


Does that mean that you think that killing 9 million undesirables is the equivalent of committing adultery?Well, each is enough to land you in Hell. However, the Bible also explains that some sins are worse than others, earning a "hotter" place in Hell, if you will.


you've not made an argument that criminals must pay for their crimes in the first place, or that somebody else can pay for their crimes, or that - oh, forget it.God said so, that's why.
Now, what is your alternative?


So God is not infinitely patient, then?No, He's not, though often in today's evanjellyfish churches, He is said to be. It's wrong, though.


because I can conceive of a being with all the attributes of God, but who is also infinitely patient.Really? Hmm, how does He dispense justice on evildoers, then?

Paul C said...

"One sin is enough to render you imperfect; no one can enter God's presence imperfect."

That answer doesn't explain why they're "infinitely evil", or even what "infinitely evil" means.

"However, the Bible also explains that some sins are worse than others, earning a "hotter" place in Hell, if you will."

So some crimes are more infinitely evil than other crimes? Please choose one assertion or the other, because you can't have both.

"No, He's not, though often in today's evanjellyfish churches, He is said to be. It's wrong, though."

Prove that a) they're wrong and you're right, and b) give me an independent metric to tell the difference.

"Really? Hmm, how does He dispense justice on evildoers, then?"

In exactly the same way as your God, but with more patience. Infinite patience doesn't mean no justice.

Rhology said...

Of course, I don't know why some being of your human conception should matter, but just for fun...

Please inform me how a being that otherwise fits the description of the God of the Bible, with "infinite" patience, would get around at some point to exercising justice.
When would He do it? How? To whom?
How do you know?
What does "infinite patience" mean?

Paul C said...

Please inform me how a being that otherwise fits the description of the God of the Bible, with "infinite" patience, would get around at some point to exercising justice.Because having infinite patience does not mean the same thing as not applying justice. So this God - a greater being than your God in terms of conception - would still apply justice, but would have more patience while doing it.

Unless you can magically redefine the words "patience" and "justice" to mean something different than they actually have. Which I have no doubt that you'll try and do.

What does "infinite patience" mean?More patience than your version of God, therefore a greater being. Just concede, Rhology, it's getting embarrassing and this point isn't required to defend your faith.

But no, you'll never concede. The sin of pride, ladies and gentleman, in all its glory.

Rhology said...

"Infinite" does not mean merely "more", Paul C.

Paul C said...

""Infinite" does not mean merely "more", Paul C."

Since it is more patience than your definition of God, one of the meanings of infinite patience is in fact more than your definition of God. I never said that it was the sole meaning.

It is however good to see that you are reduced to pedantry, since as usual this signifies that your original argument has been completely demolished and you have nothing else to fall back on.

Rhology said...

And quibbling about a hypothetical "god" from an anonymous commenter about the meaning of infinite patience is crucial to my point in the post?

Rhology said...

Further, please recall that *I* never claimed God had infinite patience. Read the interaction again.

Paul C said...

Still trying to evade not just this point, but the other points made previously, the standard tactic of the presuppositionalist.

Spirit Slain said...

Hey I'm finishing up my response to this as well. i don't know if they added a few more or what, but there are more on evilbible than have been responded to here.

Anonymous said...

Damion - incredible work. Your patient, civil rationality turned Rhology's ... incredible ... worldview inside-out for me to see, tentacles and all.

Rhology - I am absolutely astounded at what you wrote in response to Damion's last post. For a while I got angry, but in the end I was just amazed at the ... Lovecraftian horror of the mental universe you claim to see yourself as inhabiting. I would literally never have imagined that ... supernatural beliefs hallowed by tradition could lead such twisted corridors to develop in a person's mind: I admit I tend to have an unconscious belief that christians are just nice, mild mannered, kind people who claim to believe silly things as an excuse to have potluck dinners, but you - and millions like you - continue to prove me wrong, in ways that only the internet could allow.

Here's my spin on what you said to Damion - probably irrelevant to any readers of either camp, but I just want to make sure you get a different emotional slant on the phrasing of your statements, in case you ever drop this religion thing and forget the ... amazingness ... of what you *really* once thought. Maybe it will help you to empathise with nonbelievers:

>on your theological premises, God would still be perfectly good if only one person (say, um, Enoch) enjoyed infinite blissYou are right. Further, God would be perfectly good if NOONE enjoyed infinite bliss. Compared with how it really is, one could say that He'd have shown less mercy and compassion that way, but one would not have a useful or reasonable way to judge that, or to judge God as wrong.

You believe you live in a universe where consigning sentient beings to conscious torture for infinite billions of years is just as good or bad as consigning them to any other fate, if the mysterious controlling intelligence behind the scenes ordains it as such.

>billions of souls suffering eternally counts for exactly nothing in the overall calculus of good and evil in the universeNo, I wouldn't say that. That's not a good thing, not at all. It's so distasteful and wrong, in fact, that it cost Jesus Christ His very life.

You believe this mysterious controlling intelligence's response to the going-to-be-infinite suffering of some of his creations, and the incipient commencement of others', was A) to allow those who were in the process of experiencing infinite torture to continue suffering it forever, while B) inflicting even *greater* suffering on itself.

>All the just punishment has been poured out on Christ on the Cross.

This controlling intelligence is so much more important than its subjects that 3 days of crucifixion for it (or its offspring, or however you separate the two) counts for more on the league table of pain than eternities of same for any or all of its subjects.

Maximum Awesome said...

>Does God acts in good ways because He embodies goodness, or does He embody goodness because he acts in good ways?It's the former.
> can atheism provide any grounding for making such moral critiques as I find here? So far I've not seen one

Any act performed by this controlling intelligence is, axiomatically, the best way said intelligence could have acted.

This proposition literally cannot be disproven: an infinite number of holocausts, for infinity, undertaken by said intelligence, would by definition be part of its plan and therefore "good": if said intelligence commanded that bringing water to a Canaanite child crawling through the desert with third degree burns was a worse crime than murder, and punished it accordingly, this would also be "good". Further, there is no alternate definition of good, nor any possibility of formulating one.

>How loving is it to refuse to punish all the evil done in the world? To arrive in Heaven and find an unrepentant Hitler, Stalin, and Pol Pot hanging out on the clouds with you? Especially since your last thought was "curse Hitler" as the SS guards threw the switch to flood your shower stall with sarin gas?

I personally found this answer separated you from myself to the greatest degree: even leaving aside all question of what this controlling intelligence may or may not think, you personally would rather leave the possibility of eternal damnation open for well-intentioned but skeptical people than let Hitler off the hook.

You are also content with the prospect of this controlling intelligence causing far (infinitely) more suffering than Hitler ever did or could - if this were to occur, you would still describe the intelligence as "infinitely loving".

To rephrase that: you find the actions of Hitler/Stalin/Pol Pot objectionable enough to justify the existence of infinite suffering, but you would be perfectly happy to categorise their actions as "good" if performed by your controlling intelligence.

Or their actions a billion times over.

>If they are non-believers, then by definition they *cannot* turn to God since they do not know God is really there.God says that they DO know He exists - Romans 1:18-22. Further, that His law is written on their hearts, so that they have no excuse - Romans 2:10-15.
OTOH, it's true that they can't turn to God. For a person to turn to God, it requires a supernatural work on His part in their life.

>(juxtaposing two of your own quotes) they have no excuse ... OTOH, it's true that they can't turn to God.

I don't really know what you believe on this subject.


>it becomes trivially easy to conceive of a greater being than the one you claim to worship.Oh, that's a very interesting thought, actually!

Is this really the first time that's occurred to you?

Maximum Awesome said...

I was going to conclude with something huffy, snide and hyperbolic about how your idea of a controlling intelligence better befits your idea of its traditional opponent, but that would be inflammatory and solidify your opposition to those not convinced by your set of beliefs.

It would also be gilding the lily, re: the depth of my desire to distance myself from your understanding of morality. The evilbible site seems much more lenient on the morality of believers than your post.

But I will say that I would, unequivocally, "forgive" Hitler, Stalin and Pol Pot if it meant freeing billions of sentient beings from infinite torment: "hell", I'd forgive them to save my cat from infinite torment. I would probably forgive them after 50 years at most, if that.

I would absolutely kill them to *stop* them, but once they've been rendered harmless ... would you hunt down an SS officer living in south america, chain him in your basement and slowly rip off his flesh over many years, calling the alternative "not very loving"? Do you know how long "infinity" is? Galaxies rise and fall, infinitely many times. Nobody deserves that, no matter which shadowy alien entity mysteriously claims to have ordained it.

I can't overstate my horror at your stated beliefs. If you believe what you claim to believe, we have far less in common than I would have guessed.

Rhology said...

Anonymous/Max Awesome,

Most all what you've written is moralistic pontifications.
Where is your Pope of Morality Badge? Who says you get to (in modern parlance) shove your morals down others' throats?

A few other things just to help you understand:

This controlling intelligence is so much more important than its subjects that 3 days of crucifixion for it (or its offspring, or however you separate the two) counts for more on the league table of pain than eternities of same for any or all of its subjects.

Not "it", Him.
And no, the important thing about the Cross is not the pain but rather the propitiation, the atonement, the value of it. The Cross was the focus of all of history up to that point and it is the central fulcrum for history since.


Is this really the first time that's occurred to you?

Oh, I suppose, maybe, but keep in mind that this was about 2 1/2 years ago. I wouldn't answer the same way today. I'd simply ask Damion (again) to give me a standard by which we can know what is better and worse.


I can't overstate my horror at your stated beliefs.

That is because you have not yet embraced the horror of that to which your own position reduces - utter nihilistic solipsism. The unexamined complaints of shallow thinkers don't bother me much, I have to say.

Maximum Awesome said...

>The unexamined complaints of shallow thinkers don't bother me much, I have to say.

I'm a shallow thinker, but you'd never thought that your infinite latitude for your entity's behaviour was a little lax until somebody pointed it out?

>That is because you have not yet embraced the horror of that to which your own position reduces - utter nihilistic solipsism.

Right - because, since I'm not your kind of christian, I'm a nihilist.

Because those are the only two schools of philosophical thought in the world.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_schools_of_philosophy

>the important thing about the Cross is not the pain but rather the propitiation, the atonement

Which is why it would have worked just as well if it had been a bubble bath.

Maximum Awesome said...

>Where is your Pope of Morality Badge?

Based on what you've said above, you don't have a sense of morality at all - just a sense of obedience to the laws you attritube to your entity.

And since you've admitted that your entity has demanded genocide in the past, a serious question: what process would you use to verify a change of policy from your entity regarding genocide?

What is your Burning Bush Standard? What would it take to convince you the entity really wanted you to go back to committing genocide, or rape, or punitive torture?

How would you feel about it?

Rhology said...

you'd never thought that your infinite latitude for your entity's behaviour was a little lax until somebody pointed it out?

Let's take a look here.
What do you think my response to this will be?

It will have two parts.
1) My response as a Christian
2) My reminder to you that you're a nihilist, and a question to you.

Go for it!


Which is why it would have worked just as well if it had been a bubble bath.

Oh, bubble baths are known to kill?


you don't have a sense of morality at all - just a sense of obedience to the laws you attritube to your entity.

???
Laws DEFINE morality. You SHOULD do this. You SHOULDN'T do that.
Without responsibility and obligation and ought-ness, there is no morality, just discussions of preference.
You prefer ice cream, I prefer broccoli. You prefer to rape little girls, I prefer to feed them and educate them.


what process would you use to verify a change of policy from your entity regarding genocide?

If you're asking about now, there is no process. God has revealed that that kind of action is in the past only.

what process would you use to tell me why genocide is reprehensible, given that you're a nihilist?

Maximum Awesome said...

>Oh, bubble baths are known to kill?
You're on record that the "atonement" didn't have to involve pain: you never said it had to kill.

But OK - how about a quick beheading?

Transitioning from being a supernatural entity, to riding in a body for a while, to being painlessly kicked off said body back to heaven doesn't seem like much of an atonement: more like somebody realising they got on the wrong bus after a few stops.

>My reminder to you that you're a nihilist ... given that you're a nihilist?

I don't remember saying I was a nihilist. Why do you think I sent you that wikipedia link? Reducing all options to with me/against me is literally as shallow as it's possible to get.

>Without obligation, there is no morality, just discussions of preference

I didn't say obligation wasn't *necessary* - I said I was surprised that you've stated that it's *sufficient*.

Either your "moral system" is the result of your entity throwing darts at a list while blindfolded - in which case you very well might be raping little girls while I abstain - or there are reasons for some actions being "better" than others that can be arrived at independently, in which case we don't need your entity - or any of the other entities that have and will continue to fail to unite all humanity - allah, yahweh, zoroaster.

Rhology said...

Hello MA,

You seem to be asking why Christ suffered so much instead of just dying.
Thing is, if we're thinking that way, might as well question why Christ didn't simply appear as a man for one second, get beheaded for two seconds, and then resurrect one second later. Reasonable question, I suppose. A few reactions to it.
Even the 4-second theory doesn't help us out. We could just ask "why not quicker? Why did He have to suffer all 3 of those seconds?"
Christ's earthly life was not only for the purpose of an atoning death. He lived a whole, full life and taught many and healed many. His teachings remain for us, to educate and sanctify us.
He suffered in the way He did for multiple reasons.
-To fulfill prophecy that He would suffer.
-So that His resurrection would be that much more impressive - He was beaten to a pulp such that His friends couldn't even recognise Him. Yet when He rose again, He rose in total victory over death; the man who had been so brutally disfigured just 3 days before now stood before them in radiant health.
-To set an example for us:
Hebrews 12:let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
3 For consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.


-To help us remember that this world is not our home. Romans 8:18
For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us.

-And thus to know true joy, which is not found in circumstances but rather in Jesus, though we cling to our comforts.
1 Peter 4:19
Therefore, those also who suffer according to the will of God shall entrust their souls to a faithful Creator in doing what is right.


-To show how bad sin really is. It is so bad that it caused the horrible death of the perfect Man, God's own Son.
Hebrews 2:9
But we do see Him who was made for a little while lower than the angels, namely, Jesus, because of the suffering of death crowned with glory and honor, so that by the grace of God He might taste death for everyone.

-To help us and help us remember that He has been tempted like we have:
Hebrews 2:18
For since He Himself was tempted in that which He has suffered, He is able to come to the aid of those who are tempted.

-To set us an example of obedience to God even through suffering.
Hebrews 5:8
Although He was a Son, He learned obedience from the things which He suffered.
1 Peter 2:21
For you have been called for this purpose, since Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps,


That's a decent list for now.



Right - because, since I'm not your kind of christian, I'm a nihilist.

Oops, I misunderstood you, sorry.
Please let me know what you really believe.
And let me know why nihilism is not really true. How do you know?


I didn't say obligation wasn't *necessary* - I said I was surprised that you've stated that it's *sufficient*.

Why?


Either your "moral system" is the result of your entity throwing darts at a list while blindfolded

No, He chose it based on His nature and character. He could not have chosen otherwise.


there are reasons for some actions being "better" than others that can be arrived at independently,

False dilemma - I've told you the solution just now.
But you seem to think that, from your view, this latter choice is the way it is. If that is the case, how do you know the reasons that some actions are better than others? Why did you put "better" in quotes?

Maximum Awesome said...

>Oops, I misunderstood you, sorry.
Please let me know what you really believe.

If I absolutely have to state allegiance to some group, I guess "possibilian" works: it's a bit cutesy, but - as I understand it - it consists of the admission that we don't currently have enough data to make definitive statements on ultimate questions, coupled with the explicit maintenance of an open mind regarding any possible future evidence, or even possible future theories.

http://www.possibilian.com/
***
Your list of the reasons for Jesus' suffering works as well as any list drawn from a source I don't consider authoritative could - the thing is, I only brought up the subject because you said this:
>And no, the important thing about the Cross is not the pain but rather the propitiation, the atonement, the value of it.
So OK - I'll accept that your understanding is that his suffering was necessary, but not "the important thing". But - here's my problem, and maybe what I should have said in the first place - "the important thing" about his atonement here is still that it is *scapegoat human sacrifice*.
Any person that did that would be reprehensible - but somehow it's good when god does it.
And this brings me to the reason I started posting here - your reply to Damion. I mainly had two problems with it:
1) You seemed to be asserting that the various commandments that constitute morality have no intelligible relationship with each other: there is no underlying principle that can connect these scraps of memorisable commands into a comprehensible system. There is no possibility of a Unified Theory of Morality. By its very nature, this subject is not amenable to rational inquiry, nor could it ever be.
2) God can do whatever he wants. He is not beholden to human morality. He can behave in a manner befitting of Satan, Hitler and Ted Bundy combined, and still call himself infinitely good. He can both allow and cause infinite suffering for any reason he pleases. There is no referee beyond him. His freedom is total.
The overall vision of the world you seemed to paint for me *was*, in fact, simply nihilism - with the concomitant lack of reasons for "good" and "bad": the only addition you had made to nihilism, as far as I could see, was the far-more-horrifying introduction of the possibility of an infinity of suffering if we guess wrong about the nature of our situation, and an infinitely powerful, infinitely free agent (I said "entity" because the way you described said agent didn't sound like any god I've ever heard of) roaming through the universe, plucking living souls out of life and burning them forever as it felt like it.
I was going to post some quotes to back up my understanding, but I'll just refer you to your own post and invite you to tell me if I've misinterpreted. I realise it's trivially obvious you'll take issue with some of my phrasing, and I'm sorry if my snide tone has derailed the possibility of an ongoing civil discussion, but I was trying to get across the emotional flavour of my reaction.

Maximum Awesome said...

Now, as to the first problem I've listed: I do in fact think that what are referred to as "morally good" things must have something in common beyond being contained in a list.

You have established that you don't think god just put morality together at random:

>No, He chose it based on His nature and character. He could not have chosen otherwise.

- so there must be some underlying principle there, right?

So why can't we work out the underlying principle ourselves, without presupposing some entity to unite all the disparate scraps of commandments for us?

Let's try.

Maybe it's the golden rule: do unto others, etc. The problem with this is, what if I'm a suicidal masochist? I can't just beat people to death because I want to be beaten to death myself.

So let's try "consenting adults are free to do what they want, so long as it doesn't limit the freedom of other consenting adults." This neatly rules out genocide, rape, slavery, murder, torture, and child molestation - among other things.

You can say this precept has no basis except feasibility, usefulness, enforceability, and popularity: and I can reply that that set of traits is more likely to unite the world than any one religion such as islam, judaism, christianity, zoroastrianism, etc.

Strictly speaking, I wouldn't accept the lack of basis, though: I think the idea that morality is the study of how people can best "get along": taking issue with the vagueness of "get along" seems as arbitrary as taking issue with the basis of medicine being "health".

Morality/ethics deals with how to organise people with respect to each other in such a way that they don't make each other uncomfortable (with "uncomfortable" here meaning everything from public urination to genocide) and can unite to form something larger than themselves: fitting them together into a "society" that works, like puzzle pieces.

Morality is civilisational/social hygiene, or medicine.

I'm not saying these secular moral concepts are perfect - they're evolving. I skimmed through some of your other posts and (to paraphrase you - sorry if I'm mistaken) you said something about morality being people's imperfect understanding, which evolves over time, and ethics being the permanent principles of why some things are right/wrong, which don't evolve. Leaving aside the fact that I can't find a dictionary that supports that, I broadly agree with the idea that humanity's understanding of how to behave together develops over time: but I think this development is based on the *uncovering of underlying principles* of why some things are good and bad - the "ethics" you describe.

But this progressive development of better ways of relating to each other can't happen if we cling to inflexible definitions that don't admit of rational inquiry. The statement "because god did it" is a conversation stopper: every believer in every kind of god can make it equally, and those of us who aren't convinced by any system have no means to sort between them.

Maximum Awesome said...

*edit:
Strictly speaking, I wouldn't accept the lack of basis, though: I think morality is the study of how people can best "get along":

Rhology said...

Please see here, Maximum Awesome.

Chase200mph said...

Chase200mph
LMAO! So justifications and apologies for murder, rape and selling your disobedient children as sex slaves is both just and moral….because god works in mysterious ways….right? This proves evil bible wrong? Personally I would go out and get yourself a GED before blogging such nonsense. The bible is an evil book, written by evil men who claimed the word belongs to some god that has failed to place even one piece of evidence on this planet as to his existence….and subsequently, whose followers have murdered over 50 million in his name… yup, how silly of anyone believing the bible is evil…..it makes 1127 references of whom to hate and murder, 110 of love. Grow up already!

Chase200mph said...

LMAO! So justifications and apologies for murder, rape and selling your disobedient children as sex slaves is both just and moral….because god works in mysterious ways….right? This proves evil bible wrong? Personally I would go out and get yourself a GED before blogging such nonsense. The bible is an evil book, written by evil men who claimed the word belongs to some god that has failed to place even one piece of evidence on this planet as to his existence….and subsequently, whose followers have murdered over 50 million in his name… yup, how silly of anyone believing the bible is evil…..it makes 1127 references of whom to hate and murder, 110 of love. Grow up already!

Chase200mph said...

LMAO! So justifications and apologies for murder, rape and selling your disobedient children as sex slaves is both just and moral….because god works in mysterious ways….right? This proves evil bible wrong? Personally I would go out and get yourself a GED before blogging such nonsense. The bible is an evil book, written by evil men who claimed the word belongs to some god that has failed to place even one piece of evidence on this planet as to his existence….and subsequently, whose followers have murdered over 50 million in his name… yup, how silly of anyone believing the bible is evil…..it makes 1127 references of whom to hate and murder, 110 of love. Grow up already!

Rhology said...

Answered here.

paulson said...

a god that murders thousands of innocent animals so he can smell its death aroma as its put in the old testament, is no god i wanna serve. go vegan everybody!

Rhology said...

I know you don't want to serve Him, but that has nothing to do with whether He exists or whether you are in fact obligated to serve Him.

Also, where do you get off saying "murder". How do you know what the proper definition of that word is?

Aetherfang said...

In reply to the link you posted as a response to max's comment earlier, it makes me intensely curious why you referred to Hitler as a murderer, given your earlier stated beliefs concerning murder. Certainly I consider him one, but according to your earlier stated beliefs, he wouldn't be. After all, he was killing JEWS, not CHRISTIANS. In the new testament, it is repeatedly stated that the old covenant is null and void and only the new covenant with Jesus applies, so all of those Jews that rejected Christ were under the same death penalty you stated earlier, and Hitler would be sitting in a place of honor in heaven, rather than burning in hell for the atrocities committed

Rhology said...

given your earlier stated beliefs concerning murder.

I'm sorry if I wasn't clear. I don't know what you're referring to, though. Could you please specify?


After all, he was killing JEWS, not CHRISTIANS.

Well, he killed plenty of Christians too, but a Jew is a human being created in the image of God, and killing a human without justification is murder, no matter what ethnicity or creed.


In the new testament, it is repeatedly stated that the old covenant is null and void

I'm sorry, I must strongly disagree with that.
Jesus instead strongly affirmed that, for example "until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass from the Law until all is accomplished" (Matthew 5:18).
The book of Hebrews discusses the Law's relationship to New Covenant quite a lot, but it's definitely not "null and void".


all of those Jews that rejected Christ were under the same death penalty you stated earlier

Yes, those that reject Jesus are under a SPIRITUAL death penalty, and God will decide when their PHYSICAL death will occur. But that's the thing - outside of execution after conviction of capital crimes, accident, self-defense, and some war, God considers all killing as murder. ALL unrepentant evildoers will bear their own sin.

Aetherfang said...

I apologize for not quoting earlier, here it is

"How about the definition of "murder"? That would seem to be a good place to start. Yet no attempt is made to define even that. This is pretty shoddy, pretty clumsy. I suppose one is free to make up one's own definition. Fortunately, I've got one - Murder is the unjustified taking of human life. As every man, woman, and child is sinful and bears the guilt of the sin of Adam, all are subject to the death penalty. This includes the various peoples of Canaan, whom God commanded the OT Hebrews to put to death after hundreds of years of giving them time to repent of their perversions. This includes the millions of babies that die every year in the womb (re: Sam Harris' correct and yet wrongheaded and amazingly morally blind assertion that God is the greatest living abortionist). God is fully justified in putting anyone to death at any time thru any manner or agency He chooses."

I dislike even moreso that you include children in that, as how can a child of say one or two possibly be able to make a choice such as accepting Christ as a savior? Are you saying that babies that die burn in hell forever because your deity decided not to let them live long enough to understand that choice?

As for my assertion that it is null and void, it mostly comes from Heb 8:13 "By calling this covenant “new,” he has made the first one obsolete; and what is obsolete and outdated will soon disappear." and similar passages.

Aetherfang said...

While I'm here, I'd like to toss out how ludicrous the idea of a perfect creator of completely flawed creations is. Slightly of the topic of murder, but I feel it is pertinent, so I'll deliver it in the form of a parable for you to pick at.
Say for example that I have a car factory, and through whatever negotiations I've made, I have a monopoly on the business, but I have to provide everyone with a free car. The first one rolls off the production line to a lucky customer and runs great for a little bit until bam!, a defect in the car causes a horrendous crash. It's fine, I tell everyone it was operator error, the person just didn't know how to drive it right. Another hundred cars roll off the line and in every case the same thing happens. People get upset and come to me, saying "How is it that every single one of your cars crashes? Surely you'll change your explanation now?" In reply, I show them my own personal vehicle and tell them that it works perfectly fine when I drive it, so it's obvious that everyone except for me is simply a terrible driver and is wrecking my perfect cars. However, since they're so desperate for a solution, I offer them a deal. All they have to do is work for me in my PR department, spreading the word of how absolutely wonderful I am, with a perfect company that is unmatched by anyone else and in some undisclosed future time I'll let em have the keys to mine. After all, I have an eternal stock of them.

Thank you for your time

Rhology said...

A child of one or two can't accept Christ as Savior, that's true. They are nevertheless under wrath as sinners - see Romans 5.
That doesn't mean that those who die as young children go to Hell. Some might, all might, or none might. It's a matter of some controversy, but I'd recommend MacArthur's "Safe In the Arms of God" if that topic interests you. There's some other material out there that has brought me to ~90% convinced that those who die as young children go in fact to Heaven, the Lord Jesus having had mercy on them and giving them the gift of saving faith before death.


"By calling this covenant “new,” he has made the first one obsolete; and what is obsolete and outdated will soon disappear."

Yes, and we have to take ALL of those verses together to figure out a consistently biblical position on the matter, including the one I quoted from Jesus.
As it turns out, the author of Hebrews is referring to a few things:
1) the utility of the sacrificial system to take away sins (not the entire Law), since the final and all-encompassing sacrifice of the very Lamb of God has been made
2) the availability of that system; he seems to be foreshadowing the destruction of the temple in 70 AD
3) the extent of that system; it could never take away sins. It was merely a placeholder until the planned time for the Lamb of God to come.

As for your analogy, it is flawed.
What if the Creator decided to plan it all out such that there would be those abuses and problems and defects, because He was going to come and set it all aright and make it all into a gloriously redeemed and beautiful End State, being that much better because it was brought out of such a pitiable state before His intervention? To prove to the owners of the cars that they were hopeless on their own?
Also, this:
I offer them a deal. All they have to do is work for me in my PR department, spreading the word of how absolutely wonderful I am

is much more reminiscent of the doctrine of Jehovah's Witnesses. It's not particularly relevant to Biblical Christianity. The "deal" Jesus offers is His own life, tortured to death, in order to ransom mine, and the benefit is given as a gift on the basis of faith, not "spreading the word" or some such obligation.

Aetherfang said...

I may check that book out at some point just to see what it says, but for now I'll just have to respond to you. Now, correct me if I'm wrong, but you're saying that Jesus can just give salvation to people whether they believe in him or not, he just only chooses to make that choice in the case of babies? Hey, that sounds like a pretty decent option, does he go ahead and do that for people who have never heard of him as well, so that they also don't go to hell without a proper chance to believe?

Now for the covenant part, it's not completely clear to me. Are you saying that those who still follow the law of moses are still okay, even if they don't follow Christ? Perhaps they still just go to the "bosom of Abraham" instead of heaven? And as for taking away the entire Law, it does very clearly state that Christians are no longer under the Law, just wasn't particularly clear to me on non-Christians.

As for your interpretation of my analogy, basically what you're asking there is "What if the creator decided to purposefully design things so horrible that billions would suffer for it, then swoop in later with an alternative so that he looks like a hero?" and my response is "How can you even suggest such a horrible possibility while maintaining the stance that he is perfectly good? He sabotages mankind just because he's afraid of the possibility that they may become independant and not sing his praises all day?"

As for the last part, I do apologize that it was somewhat vague at the end. Basically the premise for that was on the basis of faith. Faith is belief in something that can't be proven, and in order for it to be sustained, you have to reinforce it, at least occasionally. This is of course normally done through fellowship with other believers, helping to keep any doubts at bay by the mere fact that they also experience the faith. However, it is also often times reinforced by doing exactly what you are doing now, forming rationalizations in response to people who do not believe, aiding in your belief that your faith is special because you have to work to defend it.
As for Jesus offering his life to save yours, it's really not particularly impressive for someone to offer his life knowing that he would be resurrected afterwards. And three whole days of suffering, knowing that he was going to spend an eternity with daddy in paradise afterwards? That's the equivalent of a kid forced to rake the yard on a chilly day before coming back in to play videogames. The fact that it had the possibility of saving a bunch of other people from an eternity of torture is just a bonus. If he actually had to pay for everyone's sins and burn in hell for eternity in their place, then it truly would have been a noble sacrifice, but luckily his dad wouldn't require that.

Rhology said...

Jesus can just give salvation to people whether they believe in him or not

Actually, it's more like this: He gives salvation to people who don't believe in Him, and then they believe in Him because their eyes have been opened to the truth.
As for young children, it may be that He gives them the gift of faith. There is nothing in the Scripture to rule out something like that.


does he go ahead and do that for people who have never heard of him as well, so that they also don't go to hell without a proper chance to believe?

I presume you mean adult people. No, He does not do that.
Everyone knows God exists but in sin suppress that knowledge, even though God has made it clear to all people through the fact that an intricately designed and vast creation exists and the fact that we feel guilt over wrongdoing.



Are you saying that those who still follow the law of moses are still okay, even if they don't follow Christ?

No, not at all. Remember how Hebrews 8 said that it was passing away and was obsolete?
The only way anyone has ever been saved is through faith in God's Messiah, whether before He came or after. Carrying out the sacrificial system was OBEDIENCE in the Old Testament time, and carrying out the law of Christ is OBEDIENCE in post-Jesus times like now. But to continue to do the sacrificial system would be to ignore the fact that Messiah has come already and would dishonor God and show that we probably don't have saving faith to start with.



Perhaps they still just go to the "bosom of Abraham" instead of heaven?

No, the bosom of Abraham was probably the place where OT believers went after death, a pleasant place but only temporary. It may or may not be equivalent to "Paradise", but even Paradise is temporary. When God finishes everything up, the New Jerusalem, a physical, material location, will be the eternal state.



And as for taking away the entire Law, it does very clearly state that Christians are no longer under the Law, just wasn't particularly clear to me on non-Christians.

Right, and what that means is manifold, but here are a few elements:
-We are no longer under THE CURSE OF the Law, because the Law only condemns b/c we only disobey it. Jesus has taken our punishment for breaking the Law and so we are free from what the Law demands as a result of disobedience, which is Hell, punishment.
-We are not to engage in the sacrificial system as discussed above.



How can you even suggest such a horrible possibility while maintaining the stance that he is perfectly good?

This is where you need to justify your moral judgment.
By what standard precisely do you know that this is "horrible"? How do you know this standard is correct and true?
See, I entirely deny it's horrible. If God planned it out, it's actually good by definition because God Himself is the very definition of good.



He sabotages mankind just because he's afraid of the possibility that they may become independant and not sing his praises all day?"

He's not afraid. And "sabotage" is tendentious and suggests that there is some pre-existing better template that He messed up. That's not so, however - He created man and planned it all out. His plan is perfect.
And it's also not that we simply don't sing His praises all day. It's that we rampantly spit in His face and break His law all the time. All the horrors of interpersonal relations in this world - slums, oppression, slavery, abortion, abuse, murder, rape, domination - are due to our sin.



Faith is belief in something that can't be proven

I don't agree with that definition, actually, as regards, say, faith in the God of the Bible. His existence has been proven by numerous powerful arguments, and the counterarguments are pitifully weak. In fact, He is the very precondition for the existence and intelligibility of argument itself!



Rhology said...


This is of course normally done through fellowship with other believers

This is not a correct view of the "reinforcement" you speak of. It's not that we are trying to maintain an illusion. If it were, our arguments would be lame, but instead it's atheistic arguments that are lame.
Rather, we are tempted by that which is more immediately visible and tangible, by our sin, by our desires, by this world, etc. The fellowship of the believers is to encourage each other to look consistently to what we know is true rather than forget that truth and give ourselves over to sin all the time.




it is also often times reinforced by doing exactly what you are doing now, forming rationalizations in response to people who do not believe, aiding in your belief that your faith is special because you have to work to defend it.

I will happily grant that these things are true of liberal "Christians", and I suspect that liberal "Christians" form the majority of your experience.



it's really not particularly impressive for someone to offer his life knowing that he would be resurrected afterwards.

OK. I mean, I'm sad to hear you don't think it's impressive, and I doubt you could bring up a better example of self-sacrifice, given that Jesus deserved only worship and glorification all the time from everyone for eternity and yet took upon Himself humanity so as to ransom people who hated Him.
But if it doesn't impress you, that doesn't mean anything. It just means that you're a sinful unrepentant blasphemer. I fear for you; when God calls you to account for this sin, it will be fearful judgment. Please, repent. There is still time.



And three whole days of suffering, knowing that he was going to spend an eternity with daddy in paradise afterwards?

Not three days of suffering. Three days DEAD. He suffered before dying.



That's the equivalent of a kid forced to rake the yard on a chilly day before coming back in to play videogames.

OK, I'm sorry to hear you're unwilling to engage this topic seriously.



If he actually had to pay for everyone's sins and burn in hell for eternity in their place, then it truly would have been a noble sacrifice, but luckily his dad wouldn't require that.

I'm sure God wishes He'd only thought of that before sending Jesus. Darn it!

Aetherfang said...

I assure that I take this topic very seriously, as the excuses you've developed to justify the actions of child-killers hinge on the concept of sin and how no matter how perfectly a person chooses to live their life, no matter if every choice they make is against sin, they are still doomed to hell for a choice that they didn't make. Of course, I'm not completely sure why you are holding this point, as Jesus never said anything at all confirming inherited sin and the OT flips back and forth concerning it(exodus 34 and ezekial 18 for examples). The only reason I can see for you defending them in this (other than if you personally enjoy the thought of killing kids and are just waiting in hope for your god to give the command, which I do not ascribe to you) is that if they did not have inherited sin, then killing them was murder(at least according to god's own law, perhaps not according to the law of the Israelites) rather than executing them for the death penalty as you stated, and is therefore god ordering them to sin. As for my sense of morality upon which I base my claims, while it is not quite as easy as blindly following any instruction given by a spiritual entity as delivered to you by a book written by men centuries and millenia ago, but I feel it is a superior tool(and yes that is merely an opinion, but it has been supported by everything I've experienced) It revolves around doing my very best to understand the sentients around me and to minimize the harm I do to them. A "good" act would be something that aids another person, enriches their life, etc while an "evil" act would be deliberately harming someone or, through your refusal to attempt to understand them, harm them in ignorance. This is why I don't get angry at a Christian for attempting to convert me(or "helping me to regain my faith" as it's usually put) because, though I think they are completely misguided, the fact that they truly believe that I am in danger of something and they go out of their way to attempt to save me from it is something I see as a good act. Does this mean I'm good all the time? No, sometimes my understanding is not up to the task, and someone comes to harm even though I did my best to avoid it. However, like with all mistakes, these become a teaching tool with which to improve my understanding in the future so I will not do the harm. That you can sit there and tell me that if your god commanded you to run through the streets skewering children on a sword as they beg for their lives as he's done in the past and you would both do it and see nothing wrong with it because nothing he commands could ever be wrong absolutely terrifies me.

Aetherfang said...

I apologize for the grammar errors and missing words that made my last post slightly difficult to read. If you were attempting to strike a nerve, you very much succeeded.

Rhology said...

Don't worry about typos. I don't. :-)

I have made no excuses for child-killing.
No human is justified in doing so. God is justified in whatever He does. Neither is an excuse.

How do you know that child-killing is a bad thing? Just your opinion?
Don't say "society". Plenty of societies, including perhaps more than any other except maybe modern Russia, have engaged in child killing. Also, right is not determined by majority opinion.
Don't say "I was raised that way"; you might have been raised wrong.
Don't say "I intuit it"; your intuition might be wrong.
Don't say "well, don't you know it's wrong?"; I depend on Jesus to tell me what's right and wrong. I'm asking YOU.

So what is it?



Jesus never said anything at all confirming inherited sin

1) Sure He did. Luke 18:19 - "no one is good except God alone."
2) Jesus is responsible for the rest of Scripture besides the words He spoke during His earthly ministry, and Romans 5 makes this teaching pretty clear.




the OT flips back and forth concerning it(exodus 34 and ezekial 18 for examples)

Could you please specify what you're referring to in Ex 34?
The Ezek 18 passage is to be understood by the fact that the Israelites in Ezek's time were unjustly complaining that God brings punishment on generations past the original sinners - see verse 2.
God corrects that and points out there's plenty of sin to go around.
Jeremiah 16:10-12 express the same.



if they did not have inherited sin, then killing them was murder

If you're talking about God, really, since God is by definition the foundation of all good, He can't murder. He can't sin.
But if it were unjustifiable for God to kill someone, He wouldn't do it. But since all are guilty of sin, He can kill anyone He wants whenever. It's because of mercy that any of us live a single day.

But it's quite different for fellow human beings, so if I've mistaken your meaning, please let me know.


I feel it is a superior tool

So? I feel mine is better. How can we know which of us is correct?



yes that is merely an opinion, but it has been supported by everything I've experienced

1) So? I feel mine has been supported by everything I've experienced. How can we know which of us is correct?
2) You seem to be committing the naturalistic fallacy. Just b/c you like things or you've survived or thrived to this point or stuff has lined up in your eyes doesn't mean anything about whether your position is correct.

So you haven't answered the question yet. I invite you to try again.

Rhology said...


It revolves around doing my very best to understand the sentients around me and to minimize the harm I do to them

How do you know minimising harm is correct?
Don't say "society". Plenty of societies have engaged in harming others. Also, right is not determined by majority opinion.
Don't say "I was raised that way"; you might have been raised wrong.
Don't say "I intuit it"; your intuition might be wrong.
Don't say "well, don't you know it's wrong?"; I depend on Jesus to tell me what's right and wrong. I'm asking YOU.


A "good" act would be something that aids another person, enriches their life, etc while an "evil" act would be deliberately harming someone or, through your refusal to attempt to understand them, harm them in ignorance

This is your mere opinion. I didn't ask you WHAT your position was. I asked you how you know it's right.



Does this mean I'm good all the time?

In your view, is there any justice for wrongdoing?
Will the times you've done wrong come to account?



absolutely terrifies me.

Look, I don't mean to be crass here, but so what?
1) On my worldview, you're terrified b/c you're a sinner and a rebel against God, with no reason for this terror.
2) On YOUR worldview, I don't see any reason to have any respect for some individual's terror either. Maybe you could enlighten me.

Rhology said...

Oops, meant to say
"Plenty of societies, including *this one* perhaps more than any other except maybe modern Russia, have engaged in child killing."

Aetherfang said...

Thanks for your understanding. Now, for the philosophy, I didn't say anything about society, as that would give no grounds for it, since the israelite society at that time was all about rolling around and killing everyone around them at the time. That you say you depend on Jesus to tell you what is right strikes me as darkly funny, because it was the atrocities in the OT (most specifically Jericho since I first learned of that in a children's song in sunday school) conflicting with everything I had learned of Jesus' words plus the feelings in my heart about it(where supposedly the Law was written) that caused the first steps down the path to losing my faith in the first place. How you can distinguish between when god is telling you to follow a commandment like Do Not Kill and when he wants you to do just the opposite such as in the example listed above when he provides no rationale behind the commands is beyond me, especially since he seemed to lose the ability to communicate with real words sometime around the time that the Word became flesh, but I'll move on.

1) Sure He did. Luke 18:19 - "no one is good except God alone."


I find it interesting that you take this passage and give me half of it, something you were accusing evilbible.com of doing earlier. The full verse is "Why do you call me good?" Jesus answered. "No one is good--except God alone.", so if you're using that as Jesus' claim for inherited sin, then he's saying he has it as well.
I'll give you that the Romans passage does seem to give some support of it, though it only specifically says that those from Adam to Moses(when the Law was formed) were killed by sin that they didn't commit.

I have made no excuses for child-killing.
No human is justified in doing so. God is justified in whatever He does. Neither is an excuse.


The fact that you say God did the killing and that he used men as tools does not in any way remove the bloody swords from their hands. You don't claim that Adam and Eve were justified for their sin just because they were Satan's tools, so how can you claim that the Israelites were justified in their killing because they were god's tools?

Aetherfang said...

How do you know minimising harm is correct?
Now, since I've never read a passage in the bible that states "Thou shall not drink drain cleaner for on that day you shall surely die", I'm going to have to assume that you, too, can learn some things that are not "directly from the mouth of God", since you still seem to be alive. So, by asking how I could know this, the flip-side being "how do I know that maximizing harm is incorrect", I have to conclude that you're just being purposefully obstinate. But, since my method is based on trying to understand what constitutes as harm, I'll try and give you some of the ways I determine what is detrimental.
Now, correct me if I'm wrong, but I'm going to take your question as not asking how I know that the harm done to the other person is detrimental, but how I can say that it is wrong for me to cause that harm? Just as simple things can be easily deduced about a single person using the empirical method(for example, if you get cut, you'll bleed; If you bleed too much, you'll die), with broader understanding, you can see how things can affect a larger sample of humanity. It can sometimes be a difficult task to find all the factors involved(and for more complex things it's impossible at this current time as we don't have enough data for it) but it gives you a good standard to measure by. A murderer kills someone because they just didn't like them, for example-this means that they've shortened the life of that person(not a bad thing in your book since they either get sent early to their reward or they deserved what they got, but certainly a bad thing from the viewpoint of someone who looks at visible facts). Also, the family and friends of the victim have to deal with the grief caused by this act, the hole in their life where this person was, the general worsening of their lives caused by this person not being around, possibly supporting them, or merely giving the affection that is almost as important to humans as food and drink, cutting short the potential that this person could have contributed very meaningfully to the rest of humanity. A rapist causes emotional pain to the victim often times for the rest of their life, and if there is a child as the result of it, the child, too has to deal with it at some point, not having a loving biological father, possibly wondering if they have some of the same flaws in them, etc. If a large sample of humanity did these things instead of a small one, it's very easy to extrapolate the damage it could cause to society as a whole.

Aetherfang said...

Now, with your view on those who believe in evolution, you might be asking "So what? If the stronger person overpowers the weaker, doesn't that improve the breed according to Darwin?" As a response to that, I have to ask you what, exactly are the attributes that have been most effective for the human race? If size and strength were the most beneficial, why aren't elephants the primary beings on earth? If it's ferocity, there are many animals, such as the wolverine, that are far more fierce than we. So, it can be conjectured that the attributes that set us apart that have increased our power level the most are
a)a greater intelligence, coupled with a memory that allows us to understand past mistakes and try to improve upon them, as well as create new tools
b)the ability to work together in larger groups than any other animal, based on groupings developed by that intelligence and
c)the ability to communicate in a complex form(language) which greatly facilitates both of the above.
All of these things together has resulted in an increase in our power level(mostly through technology) which has increased our choices. People have not always made beneficial choices with the choices available, but the choices are there.
One of the ideas that facilitates (B) the most, is the idea that all other humans are worthy of life and that they should be allowed to live that life as long as they are not preventing others to do the same.
You can find whether something is wrong or not by dissecting a decision and comparing the choices made as opposed to the choices available due to someone's power level. This is why if the OT was merely a historical account of the birth of a nation, then depending on certain data it doesn't fully provide one way or another, there could be mitigating circumstances that would transform the attack of Jericho from an atrocity to a tragedy. If the Israelites were attempting to just live in the area, trying to farm and such and were faced with attacks from that city and so had to fight back in order to ensure their survival, then attacking it was necessary, provoked by the city's lack of respect for their lives. The next step, where they slaughtered the noncombatants of the city certainly seems excessive, but perhaps, the technology level for food production being so low back then, you could make an argument that they simply couldn't support the noncombatants without all the strong men that were supporting them and so, faced with the option of everyone starving or the deaths of those who, while not committing the attacks stood by and let them happen, chose the terrible option of necessity as they saw it and, rather than casting them out to starve to death, put them to a quick death(this is stretching it, but one could make an argument). However, when one introduces an omnipotent god to the occasion, all these things break down. With unlimited power, he could have easily chosen a different course for them. Maybe, just maybe, the first step would still be a necessary one, as these men had chosen to kill his people, but when it came to the noncombatants, this didn't apply. Perhaps you could say that the older folks would never accept Him and He couldn't accept them into the tribe because of it(though this shows a real lack of faith in himself that he couldn't convert them from their supposedly fake gods to an allegedly real one), but when it comes to the young children, there is absolutely no reason for that choice. If it would have been too many people to survive off of labor alone, He could send manna to supplement their works. Also, in the attack itself, if He was really serious about not wanting humans to kill each other, why would he then purposely use them as a tool for it when He had so many other options available to Him? Sorry for length, I hope you didn't fall asleep halfway through it, it's very hard to sum up more than a decade of rationale into a few paragraphs

Rhology said...

That you say you depend on Jesus to tell you what is right strikes me as darkly funny, because it was the atrocities in the OT

You say "atrocities", but you need to give us a good reason to think you have any moral knowledge of any kind.
As it happens, what God commands is good by definition. They weren't atrocities. They were judgment.



conflicting with everything I had learned of Jesus' words

That's because you only knew SOME of His words.



plus the feelings in my heart about it(where supposedly the Law was written)

The feelings in your heart are merely feelings. What makes you think they hold any authority or bearing on what is morally true?
And as far as the law being written on your heart, you've taken that saying out of context. Romans 2:12-15 is where that is discussed, and it is communicating that the law is written on hearts such that we know we have done wrong and feel guilt. It is supposed to lead us to seek for God and His Savior, and yet it deepens our guilt that we don't seek Him. Thus the law being written on our hearts and the fact that we show it is written there by feeling and expressing guilt and making up false religion to deal with that guilt is actually more evidence of our wickedness.



the first steps down the path to losing my faith in the first place.

You had at best a woefully incomplete faith, so no big loss there.
You are responsible for repenting of ALL of your sin and placing ALL of your trust in Jesus. What we've seen so far here demonstrates that your faith is in yourself and your own baseless moral judgments. You'd rather gripe at God than throw yourself at His feet for mercy and forgiveness.
Please, repent.



How you can distinguish between when god is telling you to follow a commandment like Do Not Kill and when he wants you to do just the opposite such as in the example listed above when he provides no rationale behind the commands is beyond me

Then just ask.
It's not "Do not kill"; it's "do not murder". Murder = unjustified and intentional taking of human life.
But when God tells you to exercise HIs judgment on people, that's not murder. It's actually a good thing.
It doesn't matter whether you like it or not. Just who are you to talk back to your Creator? And how do you know you're right in your moral intuitions, again?



especially since he seemed to lose the ability to communicate with real words sometime around the time that the Word became flesh, but I'll move on.

The Bible is really, really long. That's a pretty lengthy communication, and the Bible contains "real words", in case you've forgotten.
Words like "Jesus", "sin", "the", "went", "money", "life", "death", "God"... those are real. What are you talking about?



I find it interesting that you take (Lk 18:19) and give me half of it, something you were accusing evilbible.com of doing earlier.

Untrue. You're just missing what I'm communicating b/c you have a shallow understanding of the text.
Jesus didn't say He's not good. He's inviting the rich young ruler to consider well his words about Jesus. If no one is good but God...and Jesus is good...Jesus is God.
As it happens, Jesus *IS INDEED* God, so of course He's good. He wants the r.y.r. to come to his own conclusion.

Rhology said...



I'll give you that the Romans passage does seem to give some support of it, though it only specifically says that those from Adam to Moses(when the Law was formed) were killed by sin that they didn't commit.

1) Sort of. They inherited death b/c the sin of Adam was IMPUTED to them (much like the righteousness of Jesus is IMPUTED to the repentant).
2) The passage doesn't say why they were "killed". It says it was sufficient to condemn each of us to death. We also ratify that imputation of sin by our own sin, which we commit every day.



The fact that you say God did the killing and that he used men as tools does not in any way remove the bloody swords from their hands

Shrug. I wasn't trying to remove bloody swords from their hands. What is your meaning?



You don't claim that Adam and Eve were justified for their sin just because they were Satan's tools

Huh? They weren't Satan's tools. They chose to listen to Satan and not God. They chose to sin, all by themselves.



how can you claim that the Israelites were justified in their killing because they were god's tools?

Despite the bad premise to your question, let me help you understand.
They were commanded, straight up, by God to do those killings. It would have been evil to refuse to kill whom He had commanded they kill. Of course they had the chance to choose not to do it, and if they had, they would have been punished somehow.
They were justified in doing it b/c whatever God says is good by definition. He said "kill those people", and that made the action a good thing.

You won't like it, but again, that doesn't matter. You're not the Pope of Morality. You don't have authority to judge God or anyone else. You don't know whether your moral intuitions are correct. You're all by yourself. You have nothing.
Submit your likes and preferences to God, because what God says is actually, truly good.

Rhology said...

you, too, can learn some things that are not "directly from the mouth of God

Of course one can learn things that are not in the Bible. You misunderstand my meaning.


since my method is based on trying to understand what constitutes as harm,

No no no, that's not what I asked you.
I asked you this: How do you know minimising harm is correct?

That's not the same as "what constitutes harm?" Not even close.



you can see how things can affect a larger sample of humanity.

This is true. So what? Effects can be good or bad.



but certainly a bad thing from the viewpoint of someone who looks at visible facts)

Don't ASSERT it. SHOW it. PROVE it. From your worldview.



the family and friends of the victim have to deal with the grief caused by this act, the hole in their life where this person was

Don't ASSERT that grief is bad. SHOW it. PROVE it. From your worldview.



the general worsening of their lives caused by this person not being around

Now you're begging the question. You need to SHOW that their lives are worse. How do you know what is better/worse and good/bad?



A rapist causes emotional pain to the victim often times for the rest of their life

Yes, of course, and if Jesus is Lord, rape is one of the most evil things possible.
But on YOUR worldview, I want you to SHOW rape is evil. Don't ASSERT it. SHOW it. PROVE it.



it's very easy to extrapolate the damage it could cause to society as a whole.

Don't ASSERT that you know what damage is, or that damage is bad. SHOW it. PROVE it.

Rhology said...

I have to ask you what, exactly are the attributes that have been most effective for the human race?

Using the word "effective" begs the question in two ways.
1) Assumes that you know toward which goal we SHOULD be moving.
2) Assumes that you know that being effective is good.

But I want you not to ASSERT these things, but rather to SHOW, to PROVE, them.


If size and strength were the most beneficial, why aren't elephants the primary beings on earth?

So shallow!
1) Using the word "beneficial" begs the question in two ways.
a. Assumes that you know toward which goal we SHOULD be moving.
b. Assumes that you know that being beneficial to survival is good.
But I want you not to ASSERT these things, but rather to SHOW, to PROVE, them.
2) What does "primary" mean? Who decides who or what is primary? By what standard? SHOULD someone attempt to be primary? How do you know?
Don't ASSERT it. SHOW it. PROVE it.



is the idea that all other humans are worthy of life and that they should be allowed to live that life as long as they are not preventing others to do the same.

But who says that idea is actually correct? So what if it generally extends humans' lives when more humans share the idea? How do you know that human life length is a standard for good?
Don't ASSERT it. SHOW it. PROVE it.



If the Israelites were attempting to just live in the area, trying to farm and such and were faced with attacks from that city and so had to fight back in order to ensure their survival, then attacking it was necessary

I'm so glad you stopped by to share your moral pontifications. Everything is so much clearer since you shared your assertions on morality. Maybe you should work up your thoughts into a book and publish it so that everyone in the world can benefit from your keen insights and we could achieve Utopia for real.



The next step, where they slaughtered the noncombatants of the city certainly seems excessive

Did you know that when you're in the desert and you look far away, the reflections of sunlight on the horizon make it SEEM that there's a pool of water there?
Did you know that when I tell my three year old son not to touch the hot stove, my injunction SEEMS unjust to him?

Tell me, please, why I should care how it SEEMS to you.



With unlimited power, he could have easily chosen a different course for them

Probably. But since the course He chose was actually good, why would He do something different?
Don't ASSERT it. SHOW it. PROVE it.



when it comes to the young children, there is absolutely no reason for that choice

Don't ASSERT it. SHOW it. PROVE it.
As a matter of fact, the children were sinners and God chose to put them to death. Probably they went to eternal bliss with Him in Heaven and were spared a life growing up among pagan idolaters, learning how to maximise their evil in their earthly life and stacking more and more condemnation upon themselves.

Rhology said...



if He was really serious about not wanting humans to kill each other, why would he then purposely use them as a tool for it when He had so many other options available to Him?

He obviously ISN'T serious about not wanting humans to kill each other.
He IS, however, serious about not wanting humans to MURDER each other. But since the example of, say, Jericho, isn't murder...




He could send manna to supplement their works

Probably. But since the course He chose was actually good, why would He do something different?
Don't ASSERT it. SHOW it. PROVE it.

You know, this type of argument can go in any direction. Anything you don't like, God "could have" done better. You cut your pinky. God COULD HAVE stopped you, or healed your pinky instantly. Ergo, God is actually not worth believing in. Airtight logic!

You'll never be satisfied with anything God does because He didn't do what you wanted Him to, and He didn't consult you before proceeding.
That's the problem here - you're not God. You actually commit logical fallacy upon logical fallacy (specifically, the naturalistic fallacy, deriving OUGHTs from IS all over the place without justification) and yet you want God to do what you want Him to. You want to be God.
But you're not God. You're a tiny, ignorant, sinful and rebellious windbag who dares to tell your Creator that He's doing a lousy job. What you need to do is repent of your sin and submit your affections and opinions to Him. He knows far better everything about everything than you could hope to know about anything.



it's very hard to sum up more than a decade of rationale into a few paragraphs

True, but it would have been far better if you had attempted to answer my questions.

Aetherfang said...

I DID answer all of your questions. The fact that you choose to reply to all my answers with the same hysterical one-liner that applies equally to every last thing in the bible and everything you've said including your ASSERTION that there is a god and that he is the definition of good does not in any way make them less valid.

You are constantly attacking feelings, saying they are completely worthless in knowing what is right or wrong, and yet you've now repeatedly asserted that the FEELINGS of guilt over wrongdoing are part of the proof that god exists.

Did you know that when I tell my three year old son not to touch the hot stove, my injunction SEEMS unjust to him?

This I'd like to know more about. Do you, when your son asks why, merely say "Because I told you not to, so listen to me or else be punished"? like your bible spits out morality? Or do you, instead, try to give him a reason, even if he may not understand it i.e. "Because it's hot, and it could hurt you." If the former is your response to him for everything you tell him, be prepared for him to be very rebellious later on, because it's very likely. And if by some chance he doesn't rebel and continues to follow your words to the letter for the rest of his life, I certainly hope you remember to modify the rules later on when he grows up. It could be very hard for him to get around if he can't cross the street, for example, and very lonely if he refuses to talk to strangers into his adulthood.

the general worsening of their lives caused by this person not being around

Now you're begging the question. You need to SHOW that their lives are worse. How do you know what is better/worse and good/bad?


Next you're going to ask me to show and prove my assertion that I'm currently sitting down. I know the lives of the majority of these people left behind are worse due to their personal testimony. If you for some reason don't think this to be the case, the proof is right there for you to learn from anyone who has experienced such a thing.

Aetherfang said...

Huh? They weren't Satan's tools. They chose to listen to Satan and not God. They chose to sin, all by themselves.

Here's the problem with the whole scenario, and why the choice was a setup from the beginning. Before they ate of the tree, they had absolutely no way of telling good from bad. They had no knowledge of deception, nor could it even be said that they knew that listening to god was a "good" thing and listening to the serpent was a "bad" thing. Though he warned them that they would be doomed to die if they ate the fruit, somebody that innocent surely wouldn't have any reasonable grasp on what "dying" is, especially since it had never happened to anyone in their experience. He never bothered to warn them that a creature in his supposedly perfect creation was out to ruin them and that anything it said should be ignored, and the serpent using the argument that they would be like god was just perfect, since god was the only thing they had that could be likened to a father, and a something common to a huge portion of young children is that they want to be just like one or both of their parents when they grow up(though they often times outgrow this fairly quickly). Now the only two possible reasons that Eve, a DIRECT CREATION of god, could be so gullible as to fall for the serpent's tricks are the same two possible reasons that the snake would try the tricks in the first place. Either
a)God made a mistake in his creation.
or
b)God wanted it to be that way

So, which is it? Is it A, in which case he's not perfect as claimed, or is it B, in which case it's extremely petty of him to punish his creations for doing exactly as he intended them to do, and by you worshipping him out of fear of that punishment, you're no better than those that serve under tyrannical dictators who, come to think about it, also usually have their own propaganda that puts them as the definition for what is always right.

Rhology said...

the same hysterical one-liner that applies equally to every last thing in the bible

You're totally missing the point.
IF MY WORDLVIEW IS TRUE then citing God's command in the Bible is actually the very highest authority and must be obeyed and it is actually truly correct and right.

When I ask you to SHOW, not ASSERT, that your moral judgments have any bearing on anyone else IF **YOUR** WORLDVIEW IS TRUE, I'm not asking you anything about the Bible. I'm saying that you are living inconsistently with your worldview and that your worldview actually leads to absurdity, and I'm asking you to show me a good reason to think that is incorrect.

And "Give me evidence, an argument" is hardly "hysterical". Give me a break.


including your ASSERTION that there is a god

I haven't asserted it. I've offered many, many arguments. Check my sidebar under GOOD ARGUMENTS FOR THEISM.

Look, it's cute and all that you also know the definition of "assert" and can use it in a sentence, but you need to take care not to make yourself look foolish in the things you say.



You are constantly attacking feelings, saying they are completely worthless in knowing what is right or wrong

Well, um, you believe they are worthless for that purpose too.
Watch, I'll prove it.

I FEEL THAT EVERYTHING YOU HOLD DEAR IS WRONG.

So... do my feelings have worth? Do they somehow instantiate the reality that everything you hold dear is indeed wrong?



and yet you've now repeatedly asserted that the FEELINGS of guilt over wrongdoing are part of the proof that god exists.

No, I didn't use them as proof. Read my comment again.
Although you'd do well to consider whether the fact that everyone feels guilt for wrongdoing is consistent with YOUR worldview. I'd argue it is not. Prove me wrong. (Show it, don't merely assert it, BTW.)



Do you, when your son asks why, merely say "Because I told you not to, so listen to me or else be punished"? like your bible spits out morality?

Shrug. You're pretty unfamiliar with the Bible to think that's what it says about the commands. You're expressing a very shallow view.
And no, I tell him not to touch it b/c it's hot and it'll burn him. If he continues to try, I continue to stop him and after the 4th or 5th warning I might indeed resort to simple statements of my own authority to justify the command, yes. Much like God in the Bible.
He tells us many things about why to follow His commands, including but not limited to:
-it leads to spiritual death
-it ruptures our relationship with our kind Creator
-it hurts other people
-it is actually the wrong thing to do
-it leads to more and more sin, more and more susceptibility to other evil temptations

and on and on.
Look, if you don't know much about the Bible, just say so.
Clearly, you don't. Don't act like you can instruct anyone on its teachings. Instead, you need to ASK what it says.


Rhology said...


be prepared for him to be very rebellious later on,

OK, yeah, I suppose. And that's because he is a rebel sinner by nature.
But on YOUR WORLDVIEW, why would we expect this rebellious attitude? Rebellion against more experienced, more knowledgeable people is hardly conducive to furthering one's chances of survival. A Darwinian framework doesn't support this fact of rebellion. What a surprise.




Next you're going to ask me to show and prove my assertion that I'm currently sitting down.

LOL. I'm gonna use this next time you ask me to provide you a reason to believe God exists.
You want ME to give you more than an assertion He exists, but you won't return the favor. You're not getting this.





I know the lives of the majority of these people left behind are worse due to their personal testimony.

Wrong. You know that the lives of the majority of these people left behind are ***ENJOYED LESS*** due to their personal testimony.
But you need to SHOW, not merely ASSERT, that minimising harm = good.
Again, don't tell me feelings. Tell me ARGUMENTS.

Rhology said...

Before they ate of the tree, they had absolutely no way of telling good from bad.

False. God told them not to.



nor could it even be said that they knew that listening to god was a "good" thing and listening to the serpent was a "bad" thing.

False. God told them not to. This isn't rocket science. All you have to do is read the narrative. Do you need a link to it or something?



Though he warned them that they would be doomed to die if they ate the fruit

Right.
I sorta think that it's pretty clear that dying as a consequence of violating the command is pretty obvious.
Eve even recognised that fact when she told Satan what God had said. She knew the consequence would be unsavory.




He never bothered to warn them that a creature in his supposedly perfect creation was out to ruin them

1) How do you know that?
2) Why would He have to? What's wrong with Him stating the obvious command and leave it at that? Go on, correct God. I'm sure He's been impatiently waiting for it.



a)God made a mistake in his creation.
or
b)God wanted it to be that way


It's Option B. He wanted it to be that way.



B, in which case it's extremely petty of him to punish his creations for doing exactly as he intended them to do

Prove it.
Give me a good reason to think you have any idea what you're talking about with respect to moral questions.
Do you mean that YOU FEEL it's petty? Why should anyone care about what you feel?


by you worshipping him out of fear of that punishment

More ignorance.
I don't worship Him out of fear of punishment. I love Him and worship Him because He is totally worthy of it and it is literally the best thing I could possibly do.



you're no better than those that serve under tyrannical dictators

1) It is true I am no better than those others you mention. I am in a better situation only because of God's unmerited favor.
2) God is not a tyrannical dictator. What you have in mind is an evil man. God is neither evil nor a man. So that part of the analogy is totally backwards.




usually have their own propaganda that puts them as the definition for what is always right.

So? Those arguments are easily defeated, just as I have easily defeated your terrible arguments that, as best as I can tell, make your feelings the determining factor of morality.

Greg said...

In attempting to justify the mass slaughter of Canaanites by God's direct order, you wrote: "..it's not like this is a problem under an evolutionary atheistic worldview! The Amalekites did lose the battle - obviously they were not sufficiently fit to survive in this cruel, nasty, brutish world. Sometimes unfit and backwards civilisations die off. Why is a moral problem for ascribing blame when it's a people group that does the killing, versus a slower, more gradual process as, say, the Anasazi or Cro-Magnon man or something? I don't see Ali Baba blaming Mammy Nature or Papa Darwin for murder."

I can't believe you accuse EB of ignoring important aspects of an issues, when you do it in spaces here. Your analogy fails miserably because the scores of mass slaughters in the Old Textament were not simply cases of one trip battling another for their own reasons or causes, but FROM THE DIRECT ORDER OF GOD HIMSELF! That is what I and millions of other people find so troubling with these verses, in addition to the fact that it was not just soldiers that God wanted killed, but every man, woman, child, and animal. How did the CHILDREN and BABIES deserve to be hacked to pieces? Your repeated references to having over 100 years to repent does not address that at all. Not only did none of the children have 100 years to repent, the toddlers and babies and animals did nothing to deserve being brutally massacred, under God's order no less (if you believe the Bible). Earlier you claimed that original sin made everyone deserving of death. First, rather than justify these dispicable acts, it only adds another example of inherent unfairness in the Bible, making make every human (even babies) cursed from the act of one supposed man (Adam). Second, even if in your eyes everyone is thus deserving of death, it does not mean everyone, is deserving being brutally hacked to pieces, especially when it comes to children and babies. IF you think so, I think you are sick, along with anyone else that tries to justify it. Let's bring it closer to home. If you were a soldier in the Israelite army, and your superior told you to go and hack to death every man, woman, and child in such and such town, would you go do it? Or would you question the sanity of the leader, or whether God really would order such a barbaric and cruel thing? If you said you'd go hack the children to pieces, you're beyond sick, your perverted and cold as ice. No feeling human would go and hack babies apart, and think it is God's will. Greg

Rhology said...

Yes, I've never denied God ordered many of those actions.
The children and babies deserved it b/c they were born sinners. You may not like it, and that's fine. You may even think I'm sick b/c my view is different than yours, which means you're intolerant and closed-minded. But beyond all that, show me why it's WRONG. Give me your objective standard for judging such things morally objectionable. Tell me WHY you object.

Why is it unfair that original sin taints every person, since it's also not fair that Jesus Christ died in the place of sinners, the righteous for the unrighteous? If people are so virtuous, why don't we just stop sinning? It's b/c we love our sin.

If you were a soldier in the Israelite army, and your superior told you to go and hack to death every man, woman, and child in such and such town, would you go do it?

I don't know. I'd need more information before I could answer that question.
The most fundamental thing to answer is: Did God tell us as a nation that we need to do that? Who lives in that town?
I might indeed question it; I'd want to have assurance God ordered it. But make no mistake - if He did order it, I am obligated to obey, and if I disobey, I am in the wrong, and I am sinning.


No feeling human would go and hack babies apart, and think it is God's will.

How do you know that? What if God said "It is My will that you go and hack those babies apart that live in Amalek"? Then I'd not only THINK it was God's will, I'd KNOW it.