Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Connecting the dots

Many years ago, a group of friends and I came across one of the most spectacular sights I’ve ever seen. It was early morning in a school yard, and we stood in awe before a tree that was completely covered and surrounded by long fingers of ice that reached out in delicate and beautiful curves. The sight was enhanced by the early sunrise; the ice almost glowed in the orange light. One my friends looked in wonder at the tree and said: "God worked here last night".

I fully appreciate my friend’s sentiment. In my Christian years, it was hard to stand before such natural beauty and not ascribe it in some way to the workings of a higher power. But now, many years later, I realise how much my thinking has changed.

Was god involved in creating that ice tree, somehow? It was winter, and the temperature the night before had dropped below freezing. Under that specific tree, the school groundswoman had left the water sprayer on for a couple of hours during the night by accident. The conditions were just right for the spraying water to pattern itself as layers of ice onto the tree's leaves and branches. When you analyse the chain of cause and effect, when you connect the dots from 'tree with no ice' to 'tree with ice', there only seems to be natural processes involved.

Rainbows, waterfalls, sunsets, snowflakes. We know, without having to appeal to the supernatural, how these things arise in nature. What reason would there be to invoke a god, then?


Often, when eager Christians learn that I'm an atheist, one of the first things they often do - in some attempt to win me over - is to appeal to beautiful vistas in nature as evidence for god. They assert a dot called god, a supernatural link that somehow enables a 'tree with no ice' to turn into a 'tree with ice'. I'm often perplexed when I listen to them, left wondering if there is something that I'm constantly missing. How can I accept that a supernatural force is the cause of a rainbow when a person making that claim cannot demonstrate or tell me where in the process of 'rainbow formation' the supernatural is involved. Can you see why this seems like such a silly argument to me?

I also stood in awe in front of that beautiful ice tree. But for me natural beauty is enhanced by understanding how something like that really comes into being. The god answer only cheapens the experience because with the god answer I learn nothing new; it doesn't act as a springboard for further understanding. Instead, I prefer to take the time and effort to connect the dots. The answers I arrive at are far more satisfying that way; the universe far more interesting.

31 comments:

Shirley said...

When you are at peace with your choice of belief, there is no need for you to be perplexed with those of us who have a belief different than yours. I'm not perplexed with your post here that attempts to "win me over" to your belief of no God. And you are correct in saying there is nothing new to learn about God; His truth stays the same, day after day it never changes ... but it is His truth that changes me constantly for the good ... now that I've learned to connect the dots. There was a time when I believed it was my job to get people like you to believe as people like myself believe. Now I understand His truth serves to change me into His likeness, it offers me life after death and to be at peace and not perplexed with people like you, no matter what you believe :)

Kevin Parry said...

Hi Shirley

In this post I'm not saying that I'm perplexed by the fact that Christians believe in a god or that they believe God has a creative role in natural world. I'm perplexed in their belief that their 'sunsets are evidence of God' argument is a persuasive argument, otherwise they wouldn't use it.

I'm also not suggesting at all that Christians are silly; I'm saying that this specific argument doesn't make any sense to me. I have very close Christian friends - who would probably beat me in a debate any day - who probably agree with me that this not a good argument, and they would not use it. But I find it a very common knee-jerk reaction that some Christians have when they learn I'm an atheist. They say something like: "how can you not believe in a God when you see a beautiful sunset?", or something like that . . .

Thanks for your feedback, Shirley.

Dr. Kold_Kadavr_flatliner, M.D. said...

I agree with Shirr, dude. If God doesn’t exist, why do you hate Him so much?? How can you hate someone who, in your eyes, doesn’t exist?? Strange. Satan is your God …yet, you prooo’bly doubt he exists anyway. What you don’t know is he controls your mind as he fills it with a lie --- Why don’t you follow us Home to Heaven Above if you‘re gonna croak as I am? How long do we have to enjoy this finite existence? 77ish, measly years? Compared to the length and breadth of eternity, 77ish years is like a dropOwater, a nanometer, in the whole, bloody, universe!! …quickly evaporating into nthn… Why don’t we have a BIG-ol, roxx-our-holy-soxx, party-hardy celebrating our resurrection for many eons? Heaven TOTALLY kicks-ass for eternity. PS see ‘P/C, unsanitized’ and feed-the-poor. Thank you proFUSEly, for the wick is running out on U.S. _thewarningsecondcoming.com_

Kevin Parry said...

If God doesn't exist, why do I hate him so much? Good question. First, I don't "hate" God, simply because I don't believe he exists. I guess what you are really trying to ask is why am I spending do much energy writing about something that I don't believe exists?

The reason isn't God at all. I'm not worried about God. Rather, I'm worried about his followers. People are very real, and there are fundamentalists of various shades and from different religions who believe they have the right to impose their beliefs on others, to dictate how everyone on this planet should live. When powerful religious bodies lobby to change laws in order to force others to live by their religious precepts (even when these precepts cause great harm), or when they lobby to limit the freedoms of others (especially the freedoms of woman), I get very worried. And so should you.

I don't care about God. But I do care about the incredible damage that religious fundamentalism can cause.

Luis said...

'Why don’t you follow us Home to Heaven Above if you‘re gonna croak as I am?'

Speaking for myself, I find the notion of believing in something because of the possible reward in heaven too patronising to my intelligence. I would hope that if a God did exist, he/she/it wouldn't reward his creatures on the basis of a cynical cost-benefit calculation. And if such a being did exist, I would want nothing to do with it.

'Compared to the length and breadth of eternity, 77ish years is like a dropOwater, a nanometer, in the whole, bloody, universe!!'

Where did you get the idea that you can even fathom eternity and decide that it would be a good thing to live that long? It seems, at some level, that you're profoundly dissatisfied with the very notion of your mere, Earthly humanity, so you want to graduate to becoming God yourself. But in doing so, you first want to grovel at his feet, imagining this to be an honourable exercise. Your stance seems to be involve a curious blend of narcissism juxtaposed against humility, a yearning for transcendence coupled with a willingness to denigrate and downplay your Earthly status (as though it were some trivial or even revolting thing).

'Heaven TOTALLY kicks-ass for eternity.'

This is necessarily false, for the following reason: some people near and dear to you will inevitably NOT make it to heaven. They will languish in Hell. And they, too, will experience eternity. Can you really have a non-stop party (whatever that means) knowing that those you love are damned to eternal misery? That would be its own special type of hell to me.

BC500 said...

Kevin in reply to your 12/10/2012 21:14 post…
First, let us run to your real concern, which are people who abuse a belief in God to control others. It sounds like you are referring to the powerful religious bodies that oppress people, especially women, in the Islamic dominated countries?

How is it that people who do a poor job of describing, explaining and justifying the God they say they believe in make the real God not exist?

Kevin Parry said...

Hi BC500

How is it that people who do a poor job of describing, explaining and justifying the God they say they believe in make the real God not exist?

It doesn't make God not exist; it simply doesn't give me any reason to believe that such a god exists. If someone can't explain their position or justify their claim, then there is no way to know if the claim is true. It would be pretty reckless and irresponsible to just simply believe what they say. The prudent thing to do would be to withold belief until good reasons for belief are presented.

Kevin Parry said...

Kevin wrote:
And so should you

Dr Kold, I've reread my response to you and I want to apologise for this comment. I have no right to demand that you should think or believe in a certain way. I get passionate sometimes, and as a result my comments can be a tad abrasive :-) No offense was intended, and I hope none was taken.

Anonymous said...

I just read this today Kevin - on New Year's eve. An old dead spruce tree in my front yard was covered in hoarfrost yesterday morning, and it was beautiful. Like you, I understood the relationship between the moisture in the air, the temperature, the lims of the tree - and I have never felt the need of invoking the exisitence of any kind of deity to appreciate such things. I just discovered your blog, but plan to start reading it (and the comments) as time allows. Happy New Year Kevin!!!

Anonymous said...

Dear Kevin

I am 15 years old. I had to read your blog as part of my schooling. I confess that some of the things I read here has staggered me and made me think. But I cannot agree with you.

Relating to your question why the Bibles differ so much in the translation, I have an answer.

When the books were first written, which was a long time ago, people made copies of them to send out to other parts of the world. The people who received them, then made copies. What happened was that one, two or however many, people copied incorrectly. As more copies were made from the faulty copy, more mistakes crept in. Thus we have the mistakes that we have in the Bible today. However, when we say that the Bible is without fault and perfect, it does not mean that there are no grammar and copy mistakes. What we mean is that what God wanted to say was right and perfect and there is no fault with it. If you look in the different versions in the Bible, the verses may sound different but they all come down to the same meaning.

I also read in your blog that you say that you were a true Christian but then decided to turn away and you "lost" your faith. I beg to disagree. The Bible, if you believe it to be the final authority, says in Romans 8:38-39

For I am persuaded that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

That means that if you are a true believer that nothing can take God’s love from us. You are never able to loose your salvation. My observation is then, either you are a true Christian, but you have drifted away from God and his arms. That is possible, but you still don’t loose your salvation. If you are truly God’s child, then His Holy Spirit will push you to come back to His arms. He wants you as His child. He wants you back. But unfortunately, what it sounds like is that you grew up in a Christian family, went to church, believed with your head everything but, you were not saved. From what it sounds like also the church you went to was not Biblically sound.

Anonymous said...

Continuation Same writer 15 years

I do not want to come over judgmental or anything, but I would be a hypocrite if I read what you wrote and did not give a defense for my faith. Unfortunately there are a lot of churches and cults out there that are theologically not sound and are deceiving people. People like the Jehovah’s Witnesses, who deny that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. Then there are people out there that believe in signs and tongues and they are also false prophets. My concern is that you attended a church that was not sound, and therefore the dots did not add up.

Maybe you are right. Maybe after death there is nothing, you pass out of existence in nothingness. Maybe there is no God. If that is true then we of all people are most to be pitied. But what if it is true? What if there is a God? What if he is one day going to judge the whole earth and its inhabitants? I for one would not want to stand before him and say that I knew the truth but chose not to follow it.

At the start of the world, Adam sinned. His pride cause the fall of all mankind. Therefore God had to discipline them and cast them out of the Garden of Eden. As consequence as well, he cursed the earth. One thing you must realize about God is that, yes, he is a loving God and He cares for us, in a way that none of us deserves. However, what most people forget is that God is not just a loving God. He is a holy, and just God. Holy means that He is separated from sin, that He cannot, even in the smallest way, tolerate any sin. Therefore God has to Judge us and punish us for our sin. It says in the Bible that God originally created the Lake of Fire for Satan and his servants, but since mankind became corrupted that we were to share the same punishment because we are in rebellion against God. At the end of time, God will remove all of his servants from the earth and the seven years of tribulation will start. This will happen in the twinkling of an eye. The world will be thrown into chaos and at that time the AntiChrist will appear. He will offer peace and many will believe him. Unfortunately, for those who had heard the truth of Christ but had not believed or had been false about their faith, their last chance had left. It says in 2 Thessalonians 2:11-12:

For this reason God will send a deluding influence so that they will believe what is false, in order that they all may be judged who did not believe the truth but took pleasure in wickedness.

The Scripture is clear that those who knew the truth will be forever lost. They will be unable to come to Christ. I know no greater horror than being left behind, knowing the truth and yet knowing that I am sentenced to eternal damnation in hell.

Anonymous said...

Same writer continuation, was too long too put in one comment 15 years old.

You said in your blog as well, that what is the use of giving thanks to God for food that you and other people provided for yourself. I do not claim to know all the answers, for I am but young. However I do know this. God gave you the intelligence that you use to be able to work for the money he gave you. He created the animals and the plants, and upholds them. He changes the seasons and provides the resources needed. We cannot see God for He is Spirit. Yes, icicles form from sprayers and cold temperatures, but no icicles would have formed if God had not controlled the weather and let it happen. Yes, medicine helps us to get better, but if God willed it otherwise, we could never be healthy, if God did not allow the medicine to work.

On evolution, I cannot make many comments for I do not study it. I do deny that things are evolving. But the way they evolve are important. Plants become adapted to a certain environment, thus “evolving”. Animals change “evolving” to become better adapted to a certain environment. What I did pick up from evolutionists, is the fact that it may not sound so, but they are trying to rule out the possibility that there is a creator, to rule out the fact that there is a creator. They want there to be no God, so that they would be free to do what they want to do. Again, I don’t know the inner workings of evolution, but I do know this. God is there even though we can’t see him.

God had a plan from the beginning of time. He allowed Stan to tempt Eve and He let them fall. God planned to send Jesus Christ into the world, so that His glory may magnified. Here is a pure simple truth; God is most concerned for His own glory. It sounds selfish and human, but you must remember God s Holy. There is only one thing in the whole world that God cannot do and tat is to sin. If God sinned, He would not be God any more. With our feeble minds we cannot comprehend or even begin to understand Him. All we can do is place our trust and faith on Him, even if we can’t see Him, and hope in the truth of what we believe.

All that I have written here won’t change your mind the slightest bit if God does not want it to happen. I know for a fact that faith defies all logic and all science. If you try to analyze it, it makes no sense. The only thing that makes sense is Jesus Christ and Him crucified. If you truly believe that God will change your heart, and reveal to you the fallacy of your ways. All mankind is steeped in sin, stubborn and refusing the only way to God. God can change your life and it is a beautiful thing to behold.

A brilliant man once said:

Indeed the Jews ask for signs and the Greeks search for wisdom, but we preach Christ and Him crucified, to Jews a stumbling block and to Gentiles foolishness. For the word of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to those who are being saved it is the power of God.

That man was Paul the Apostle.

Luis said...

Hi, I'd like to address some of your points if I may, 15 year old blogger.

You said: 'But what if it is true? What if there is a God? What if he is one day going to judge the whole earth and its inhabitants? I for one would not want to stand before him and say that I knew the truth but chose not to follow it.'

Here, you seem to automatically equivocate 'God' with 'my God'. In actuality, the question 'what if there is a God?' should conjure in you a multitude of choices. I'm not saying you're not aware of this or that you haven't considered any of the other choices, but when you say to a non-believer 'What if there is a God?', the question lacks resonance, since they'll still be thinking 'Okay, but which of the thousands of gods, and why? And how deeply have YOU, in fact, looked? Is your own assessment based on reason or on fear?'

Secondly, your words convey a sense of anxiety; they convey a sense that the motivating factor for you are the consequences you'd face if you were to be judged by God but came up short. You need to understand that, while this may motivate you, it more often than not fails to even tickle in the atheist any dread sense of alarm, let alone a motivation to believe 'just in case'. Believing just in case seems, in fact, to be a rather patronising motivator, 'an insult', as Christopher Hitchens said, 'to our deepest integrity' (he was talking about religion's use of threats to motivate good behaviour, but it applies here too). A God that prescribed such monstrous punishment is surely a sign that something is deeply wrong with that God or with the conception of that God. In short, belief under compulsion isn't sincere belief; it's extorted belief, dependent upon the fear it invokes in you and the anticipation that it will provoke you to engage in a cynical cost-benefit calculation.

But if you find the wager compelling in the realm of theology, why not also in other areas of life? Would you want to have society run based on something like it? I dare say you wouldn't, given that it would lead to the type of credulity leading to examples like the following. Suppose that I claimed, in such a society in which the wager was the guiding principle of what claims to take seriously and live by, that I'd found the cure to cancer. The only catch is, the person who wants it would need to have sex with me (did I also mention that this cure only works for females aged between 20-40?). Now, on something like Pascal's Wager, I could claim that the only logical choice would to for multitudes of cancerous women to have sex with me. After all, they have nothing to lose if they're wrong (we can even sign a contract saying that the sex will involve two types of contraceptives), and potentially everything to gain. Would anyone want to live in a society in which this sort of thing was easy to do?

Someone would then correctly rebut me and say 'But you haven't shown them any REASONS why what you're saying about a cure should be taken seriously in the first place.' That's true. And now note the similarity with belief in God: in my creepy sex example, I wasn't offering any proof or evidence of the efficacy of my supposed cancer cure. I was just issuing platitudes. In the case of God, it's exactly the same: there's the threat of what will happen to you if you don't go along with it, a promise that something good will come of it if you do...and that's it. In fact, one might say that the God example is even worse: whereas people would eventually pick on my defrauding the women, one is already dead and unable to engage in recrimination in the case of an afterlife.

Luis said...

Ultimately, it should drive the theist, at the very least, to avoid putting all his eggs in one basket, for many faiths speak of deities who have harsh punishments for non-believers. Certainly, it suggests that the theist, if he himself takes the wager seriously, should not pontificate to others about its supposed endorsement of his own faith. Would you want to stand before the judgement of Allah, knowing that you knew the truth but failed to practise Islam? If not, then I suggest you become a Muslim. You said 'Maybe there is no God'. Once you've allowed yourself that crevice of doubt, it should be followed to its logical conclusion if it's to mean anything at all: maybe you're worshipping the wrong God.

Here's an alternative wager you should consider: 'What if I'm dedicating a large part of my life to believing in and honouring a false doctrine that has - indeed, needs - as one of its motivating factors a threat of damnation in the face of disbelief? I will have lived a large part of my life honouring a lie. If I eschew this doctrine, on the other hand, I get to see life and the universe in a more mature and developed way, and I almost certainly won't have to suffer for it, given the intrinsic silliness and implausibility of having to choose on a basis of punishment.'

Luis said...

'What we mean is that what God wanted to say was right and perfect and there is no fault with it. If you look in the different versions in the Bible, the verses may sound different but they all come down to the same meaning.'

You have no way of knowing that, other than by assuming it (in which case it's a mere belief, not something falling within the rubric of knowledge). It is curious that of the multitudinous interpretations of the Bible, there are as many claims of 'infallibility' emanating from these different interpretations. That's evidence that all of them have something wrong and are therefore not infallible, rather than that even one of them is infallible.

Think, also, of the monstrous implication of 'being saved'. If the way to do that is to open your heart to God by doing such and such, there will be many others who have failed to do these things. However, those people may be near and dear to you. Being 'saved' would necessarily, in other words, entail being wrenched from many people you love and care about. It would be no definition of heaven if I knew, for example, that someone who I held in high regard was going to suffer for all eternity and that there was nothing at all I could do about it. That would be closer to a definition of hell.

Luis said...

'At the start of the world, Adam sinned. His pride cause the fall of all mankind.'

This guilt-by-association thinking is a barbaric throw-back that humanity has painfully but steadily learned to grow out of. I'm sorry to say, but many of the morals taught in the Bible are not much more evolved than what someone could glean from a Taliban commander.

We have learned, for example, to look down upon many things that the Bible either condoned or accepted as being the natural order of things: scapegoating, slavery, the literal ownership of children by their parents, heresy being punishable by death, the practise of making the guilt of rape ambiguous if a woman fails to scream loudly enough, the obsession with female virginity, the dominance of a man over his wife, the pathological hatred of homosexuals. Guilt by association is very much to be lumped among these things. When we hear or see these things, we don't universally condemn them, or try to stop them, but we do realise why they're utterly incompatible with a rational, humane society. We come to see how inadequate the Bible is as a moral guide.

Apart from being morally dubious, the Adam and Eve myth is also logically unmotivated: it supposes that an immoral act is somehow hereditary. This take might have been good enough for folk who lived without the benefit of science, but we have much less of an excuse to take these stories seriously, let alone literally, as you seem to be doing. This is yet another reason why citing the Bible to us is uninspiring. We know what the Bible says, and precisely because of that, precisely because it contradicts so much of what humanity has learned through its application of reason and investigation, we reject it. In fact, I have to admit that I'm rather mystified as to why you think that the Adam and Eve myth could find a sympathetic audience in an atheist, given that the story is so thoroughly and embarrassingly at odds with modern science.

Luis said...

'Holy means that He is separated from sin, that He cannot, even in the smallest way, tolerate any sin.'

All totalitarian doctrines rely on unreasonable and impossible-to-meet targets of piety. They are guaranteed - indeed, designed to be guaranteed - to lead people to fail to live up to them. How else can one make sense of lust, and yet the railing against lust? One sees this at play in domestic violence situations: the abusive father, for example, will be on the look out for any transgression whatsoever that his poor wife might engage in; failing that, he will up the ante and introduce some arbitrary new rule (the rule itself is unimportant; the inevitable effect is what matters), with the crucial feature that the person it is meant for will inevitably, from the sheer strain of having to juggle so many factors at the same time, will cock up. A master-slave relationship rests upon unfulfillable rules. God, as master, invents rules that he knows perfectly well his flawed, compulsive, desirous human creatures will at some point fail to live up to. Then he cracks down on everyone. I fail to regard this as anything other than repulsive.

'Therefore God has to Judge us and punish us for our sin.'

How, then, is his 'love' for us different to Saddam Hussein's loving embrace of the Iraqi people?

'I know no greater horror than being left behind, knowing the truth and yet knowing that I am sentenced to eternal damnation in hell.'

A greater horror would seem to be a being who designs the universe in this way, and then torments his creations because they weren't good enough for him.

Luis said...

'He created the animals and the plants, and upholds them. He changes the seasons and provides the resources needed. We cannot see God for He is Spirit.'

Then how do you know he does such things? Every time we actually look, we find only natural processes at work. No spirits are involved. Everything we see is the result of matter being converted into different configurations, by processes that are now, in outline, understood fairly well.

'They want there to be no God, so that they would be free to do what they want to do.'

No, that isn't even remotely the case. The fact of the matter is, (and it might sound harsh of me to say it) the reason a lot of people reject the Bible is because its claims are utterly ridiculous in light of modern science. One can't literally believe in Genesis and still claim to take science seriously. These things are mutually and necessarily incompatible. It's true, of course, that many people who reject the Bible also have a different moral outlook to the people who wrote it, but that's emphatically not the same thing as what you're implying.

'God is most concerned for His own glory. It sounds selfish and human, but you must remember God s Holy.'

That's just the same as saying that what's selfish and human is holy.

'All we can do is place our trust and faith on Him'

In other words, eschew out critical faculties, discard our rationality, and blindly obey. That sounds like a pretty miserable existence to me.

tony c said...

I went camping once when younger and we found it hilarious - even though we were all pretty much atheist - to rile the most scientific minded of our bunch by referring to the beauty of sunsets or the stars as proof of God. It was funny because (I guess he would probably be diagnosed as Aspergers today) he had no tolerance for wooliness in his thinking. God, we were assholes.
But overall a great camp.

Anonymous said...

Reply Luis

I read your points. I am also afraid I cannot agree with you. I will try to be gentle but please bear with me if I sound condeming.

"That's just the same as saying that what's selfish and human is holy."

It is not the same. Our minds are limited to the fact that we cannot understand God perfectly because our minds are tainted by sin. We look at God through our own style of glasses and make decisions which then basically means that we say, "I am God. I know better."

We say, He is unfair to judge based on one man's sin. He is unloving because He sends people to hell. He is unjust because He does not condone what is good and right in our eyes. He is like any other God. and so forth.... I have a question for you, Luis. And I want you to think very carefully.

Consider your life as it is now. Do you lie? Do you get angry? Do you become greedy? Do you covet what other people have? If so... how would you have done any better than Adam did at the start of the world? Looking back we say, "Oh, but I wouldn't have done THAT!"

What you forget is that you do wrong things. And looking back at your mistakes I might say, "Oh, but I wouldn't have done THAT!" when I probably make the same mistakes every day.

Anonymous said...

I do not have all the answers. God himself wrote to the Israelites

"The secret things belong to the Lord"

And that is as true today as it was back then. All of the other religions that I know of state this... Do good and maybe your good will out way your bad and you will go to paradise.

True Christianity is the total opposite. God says that even our good works are like filthy rags. Tossed in the wind. The only way we can be clean before him is through a sacrifice. And the only pure and unblemished sacrifice for our sins was Jesus Christ. No one else would suffice. What does that say of God's love for us in that while we were yet sinners, He sent is only beloved Son to die on a cross, the most humiliating death possible, for our sins. Christ was flogged, nailed to a cross of wood. He died and rose again the third day, and offer me and every person out there the hope of being a child of God.

I will agree with you that it is hard to obey God. Hard to follow in Jesus' footsteps. But the joy of listening to what Christ says, the joy of having a personal relationship with God, the peace of knowing that I am never alone no matter the trouble, is worth missing out on what this world has to offer.

I didn't mean to sound doubting. I was trying to get to a point and I don't think I did very well.

In the end like I said before:

All that I have written here won’t change your mind the slightest bit if God does not want it to happen. I know for a fact that faith defies all logic and all science. If you try to analyze it, it makes no sense. The only thing that makes sense is Jesus Christ and Him crucified. If you truly believe that God will change your heart, and reveal to you the fallacy of your ways. All mankind is steeped in sin, stubborn and refusing the only way to God. God can change your life and it is a beautiful thing to behold.It's your choice how you will live your life. But For me... I will serve Christ till the day I die.

Luis said...

-- That's just the same as saying that what's selfish and human is holy. --

''It is not the same. Our minds are limited to the fact that we cannot understand God perfectly because our minds are tainted by sin.''

''Sin'' is just a word you're using to describe behaviour that, when done by humans, is ''bad'' (against God) but when done by God is ''beyond our knowledge'' (but still ''good'' because God did it). This adds absiolutely nothing to the moral content of these terms, only a pigeon-holing exercise in which you're connecting actions to whether they're done by God and others to whether they're done by people. At the end, you're still left holding an empty bag.


''We look at God through our own style of glasses''

Well, if that's a problem, how then can you come to the determinaiton that God is good (in any sense more meaningful than ''What God does is automatically good because God does it'') if you yourself are using this ''style of glasses''?


''and make decisions which then basically means that we say, "I am God. I know better."

Since you're not using any criteria to judge God's actions one way or another (i.e. everything he's purported to have done, you approve of, because of your self-admittedly limited ''style of glasses'') how do you judge against people making moral decisions? I hope you realise that you're arguing against morality, not for it.


''Consider your life as it is now. Do you lie? Do you get angry? Do you become greedy? Do you covet what other people have? If so... how would you have done any better than Adam did at the start of the world?''

You've now admitted that God is wrong to punish his creations, since if even Adam sinned, it would mean that we're 'inherently' sinful, and this sin was a feature of God's design.

''What you forget is that you do wrong things. And looking back at your mistakes I might say, "Oh, but I wouldn't have done THAT!" when I probably make the same mistakes every day.''

This has nothing to do with judging God's actions. Surely, atrocities like flooding the entire planet, ordering the rape and pillage of nationals disloyal to you, and the gruesome spectacle of kin-sacrifice rank more highly than wanting to bang your neighbour's wife.

Luis said...

''It is not the same. Our minds are limited to the fact that we cannot understand God perfectly because our minds are tainted by sin. We look at God through our own style of glasses''

You contradicted yourself. You say that we're 'limited' by our 'style of glasses', and yet you think you can determine that God represents 'good' by using that same style of glasses. Again, you're engaging an an exercise where you simply pigeon-hole actions into 'good' and 'bad' based simply and solely on whether they're performed by God or by people. You're saying nothing whatsoever about the content of those actions beyond that.


''and make decisions which then basically means that we say, "I am God. I know better."''

You haven't shown why moral decisions are a problem on your view of ''our own style of glasses'', since, being a human full of ''sin'', you yourself are unqualified to judge one way or the other.


''Consider your life as it is now. Do you lie? Do you get angry? Do you become greedy? Do you covet what other people have? If so... how would you have done any better than Adam did at the start of the world?

You've now admitted that God is inconsistent and hypocritical when he punishes his creation, since even Adam, who you hold up as a sort of Platonic human, sinned. Christians are always talking about how humans are by their nature sinful. If they're by their nature sinful, then sin isn't a choice but a permanent condition of our existence, which means that, if you believe that God created us, then he also created us with sin. And yet you think it's just that he punishes us.


''What you forget is that you
do wrong things. And looking back at your mistakes I might say, "Oh, but I wouldn't have done THAT!" when I probably make the same mistakes every day.''


The thing is, my mistakes every day don't include genocide, ordering my armies to rape and pillage the nations that are disloyal to me, and kin-sacrifice.

Luis said...

''I do not have all the answers. God himself wrote to the Israelites

"The secret things belong to the Lord"''


Which would mean that Christianity, by your admission, is a poor way of arriving at the answers to moral questions given that the answers are ''secrets''.


''True Christianity is the total opposite. God says that even our good works are like filthy rags.''

Now you've truly admitted that your worldview has nothing at all to do with morality.

''Tossed in the wind. The only way we can be clean before him is through a sacrifice.''

But you already admitted that you're a sinner, which means you can't be 'clean' before him.


''And the only pure and unblemished sacrifice for our sins was Jesus Christ. No one else would suffice. What does that say of God's love for us in that while we were yet sinners, He sent is only beloved Son to die on a cross, the most humiliating death possible, for our sins.''

Except that he didn't permanently die. And if God was sated by his son's ''death'', why did he continue to allow evil to exist in the world after that point? Why not just life the burden of sin from humanity and end all evil thereafter? I fail to see how allowing women to have their breasts sliced off in the Congo or Uzbek dissidents being boiled alive adds anything of value. I guess that God's tolerance of evil is yet another sign that he has nothing to do with morality.


''Christ was flogged, nailed to a cross of wood. He died and rose again the third day, and offer me and every person out there the hope of being a child of God.''

That's what every religion offers.


''But the joy of listening to what Christ says, the joy of having a personal relationship with God, the peace of knowing that I am never alone no matter the trouble, is worth missing out on what this world has to offer.''

That's so incredibly sad, coming from a young person. Those who hate life, as you apparently do (sorry to sound blunt, but this is how you're coming across. Maybe I've misunderstood you), end up having very little to contribute to it. If you're only concerned with how to reach God in the afterlife, what value can you attach to life? Wouldn't this outlook just make you the greatest sinner?

Luis said...

''All that I have written here won’t change your mind the slightest bit if God does not want it to happen.''

Another contradiction: that God gave us the 'chance' to be one of his children, and yet that he wouldn't want me to be brought closer to him. Does this make sense to you?


''I know for a fact that faith defies all logic and all science. If you try to analyze it, it makes no sense. The only thing that makes sense is Jesus Christ and Him crucified.''

Actually, that also doesn't make sense, as I explained earlier, and as you yourself suggested just a few sentences ago when you said ''if God does not want it to happen.'' So he sacrifices his son for humanity's sins, but then he doesn't want your words to move me? This definitely defies logic.


''If you truly believe that God will change your heart, and reveal to you the fallacy of your ways.''

This contradicts your earlier point that you 'don't have all the answers' and that they are 'secrets'. Indeed, you offered up nothing beyond ''God does it, so it's okay.'' That's not an answer to anything; it's the refusal to provide an answer.

''All mankind is steeped in sin, stubborn and refusing the only way to God.''

Well, no, unless you're the only Christian.

''God can change your life and it is a beautiful thing to behold.''

Contradicted by your statement ''is worth missing out on what this world has to offer.'' First you denigrate life, then you speak of it being ''enhanced'' by a relationship with God. Which is it?

Anonymous said...

Luis

I do not denigrate life. I don't hate life. While I am here, my goal is to live to God's glory. My life is enhanced. So whatever I do, I do to the fullest of my capability.

I didn't mean that God doesn't want you. He loves you and wants to come to Him. A very difficult thing to understand is election. I don't fully understand it, and your arguments make life very difficult.

And God doesn't order evil things to happen, rape, murder and those things. Not now. In Israel's day He ordered the Canaanites destruction, first of all because they were a cursed people. Noah cursed Ham's son Canaan, therefore cursing the nations that came from him. Secondly God did it to protect the line of His Seed, so that the Canaanites would not intermarry. That is why He was always so angry when they disobeyed, intermarrying, and not driving the people out. He punished them like a father punishes his son, to turn them back to Him.

God doesn't tolerate sin. He gives us over to what our hearts desire. What you also forget is that it is not just God and His angels out there. Satan is also very real and he and his demons are actively at work in this world. God is allowing the evil in the world even after Christ's death so that the full amount of gentiles can come to him. Also, There are some prophecies need to be fulfilled. 70 prophetic weeks were prophesied for Israel. Only 69 have passed. The last week is the seven years of tribulation which God will use to bring His chosen people back finally and forever to Him. Remember it is not a cosmic battle between good and evil. It is Satan trying to be God and God is simply fulfilling the plan he had before he even created the earth.

Ultimately what I wanted to say is my best argument, my finest words, my wisest discussions, cannot change your heart. The Bible is my foundation and if you don't accept the Bible as the final authority, then it won't matter what I say. In the end, I can't change your mind or your heart, Only God and His Word can do that, but God leaves you with the choice. On the moment you don't want to believe, don't want God in your life. So He simply allows you to live with your decision and to bear the consequences of your actions.What pains me is that trying to reason with you, I try to bring you to Christ in my own power and I cannot do that.

It's your choice, your life, and your consequences, be they good or bad in the end.

Luis said...

'I didn't mean that God doesn't want you. He loves you and wants to come to Him.'

A father who loves his children would make it easy for them to find him, rather than requiring them to make a leap of faith. Surely a supreme being can do much better than the faulty, sketchy method of narrating an ancient book originating in the most backward regions of the planet and then expecting his children to drop to their knees in agreement. You yourself admitted that there's no evidence for God. Why then should anyone take seriously a 'father' who acts in so elusive and error-prone a manner?

'And God doesn't order evil things to happen, rape, murder and those things. Not now. In Israel's day He ordered the Canaanites destruction, first of all because they were a cursed people. Noah cursed Ham's son Canaan, therefore cursing the nations that came from him. Secondly God did it to protect the line of His Seed, so that the Canaanites would not intermarry. That is why He was always so angry when they disobeyed, intermarrying, and not driving the people out. He punished them like a father punishes his son, to turn them back to Him.'

This is silly and vacuous. You're trying to convince me that a father engages in torture and rape to 'turn' his children back to him. That's admittedly a rather odd claim.

'God is allowing the evil in the world even after Christ's death so that the full amount of gentiles can come to him.'

Sorry to be rude, and no disrespect to you as a person, but you actually believe this drivel? And you just said that Satan is out there turning people AWAY from God. How can God get the 'maximum' amout of anyone with Satan turning them away? Do you not stop to consider these most elementary contradictions in what you say? Do you feel that you have no obligation to do so?

Sorry, but so far, you've only spouted a bunch of stories.

'Ultimately what I wanted to say is my best argument, my finest words, my wisest discussions, cannot change your heart.'

No 'arguments' have been provided. I'm still waiting for you to tell me how any of this stuff makes any sense.

'What pains me is that trying to reason with you, I try to bring you to Christ in my own power and I cannot do that.'

Again, no 'reason' seems forthcoming. You've only cited scripture and various images. You've not even begun to reason your way to an argument. You need to understand that citing scripture to atheists is a complete and utter waste of time, especially when the stories under perview are patently contradictory, barbaric and/or absurd.

Steve Finnell said...

DENYING THE WORDS OF GOD THE FATHER!

When men deny the truth found in the Scriptures; they are denying the words of God the Father. When men deny the truth spoken by Jesus; they are denying the words of God the Father. When men deny the doctrine of the apostles; they are denying the words of God the Father.

All Scripture is the word of God the Father.

2 Timothy 3:16 All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness,(NKJV)

All that Jesus spoke was from God the Father.

John 12:49-50 "For I have not spoken on My own authority; but the Father who sent Me gave Me a command, what I should say and what I should speak. 50 "And I know that His command is everlasting life. Therefore, whatever I speak, just as the Father has told Me, so I speak."(NKJV)

All of the apostles doctrine was from God the Father. Why was that? Because Jesus taught the apostles and all of the words of Jesus were from God the Father.

John 14:26 "But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you.(NKJV)

John 16:13-14 "However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come. 14 "He will glorify Me, for He will take of what is Mine and declare it to you.

All the teaching from the Holy Spirit came from Jesus and all the words of Jesus came from God the Father.

There are no Scriptures that declare that church creed books, (catechisms) or any other extra-Biblical writings are that of God the Father. Remember; all Scripture is inspired by God. Creed books are not Scripture. No extra-Biblical writing is Scripture.

HOW DO MEN DENY THE WORDS OF GOD THE FATHER?

1. When men claim there is more than one God; they are denying the words of God the Father.

Ephesians 4:6 one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.(NKJV)

2. When men declare that Jesus did not say water baptism precedes salvation; they are denying the words of God the Father.

Mark 16:16 "He who believes and is baptized will be saved...(NKJV)

3. When men say that Christians cannot fall from grace; they denying the words of God the Father.

Galatians 5:4 You have become estranged from Christ, you who attempt to be justified by law; you have fallen from grace.(NKJV)

All Scripture is inspired by God the Father.

YOU ARE INVITED TO FOLLOW MY CHRISTIAN BLOG: You can can find it by a google search, steve finnell a christian view.








Michael said...

The religion of Hill Evidencism is only based on evidence and logic: http://hill-evidencism.blogspot.com/.

Discerning the World said...

Perhaps you should extend your dots to the time when God made summer and winter. The Psalmist says:

"Thou hast set all the borders of the earth: thou hast made summer and winter." (Psalm 74:17).

Wow! Think of that. If it hadn't been winter and below freezing, the woman could have left the sprayer on until the cows come home and nothing, zilch, nada would have happened. As you can see, it wasn't the woman who accidentally left the spray on that made the beauty you saw.

This reminds me of what Paul says in Romans.

For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness;

Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them.

For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:

Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.

Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, (Romans 1:18-22)

Tessa Woods said...

This is a lovely post. I too am a former christian, and I couldn't have put it better. Please continue to write! Hopefully more people will be encouraged to find out how something really comes to be. Because it is far more beautiful. All the best :)