More Questions for Christians

Atheists.org suggested a few questions for Christians to answer. Here they are below with some additional ones:
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If God is all-powerful, why did he take 6 days to create the universe, resting on the 7th? Why didn't he just snap his proverbial fingers and create everything all at once, and not need rest afterwards? Doesn't sound so all-powerful to me.
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If God knows the future, why does he make mistakes? He should have known he would regret the flood, and that Sodom and Gomorrah would be full of sinners, etc.
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Why does God need to be "served", and why can't we do it from heaven?
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Yes, we have free will, but God already knows who will sin, who will accept Him, etc, for all eternity (if he has perfect knowledge of the future). Why then, are we here? Why not just send our souls to Heaven or Hell, depending on what he knows we'll do?
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Why does God care if he is praised? He is this all-knowing, super being, why does he care if we mere humans give him credit for creating the universe?
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How can you justify the fact that this merciful, loving god is sending all non-Christians to Hell, no matter how good they are? Even those from before Christ was born went to hell. However, terrible people, including Hitler and Jeffrey Dahmer, could go to Heaven if they repented before death.
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Why does this wonderful, forgiving God hold Adam's sin over all our heads? Why must we all pay for this by being permanent sinners? If God was so pissed, why didn't he just kill Adam and Eve and start over? Again, this is God's choice, so they're going to have to explain why God CHOOSES to hold this incredible grudge.
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Where did God come from? How did he get created? Why is it a valid argument to say that He "always existed,” but an invalid argument to say the same thing about matter and energy?
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Was Eve perfect?
If yes, then why did she sin?
If no, then why did God create imperfection?
"Free will" is irrelevant. If she freely chose to sin, then WHY did she do that? If it was in her "nature" to make a bad choice, then who gave her that "nature"? If her nature was corrupted by Satan, then who made Satan's nature?
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If a choice we make (assuming free will versus predestination) has eternal consequences, and if God is fair, why isn't the choice we make made crystal clear, with no doubts as to what it is that God wants us to choose from?
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Why did God order the slaughter of "infants and sucklings" or "children and infants" in 1 Sam 15:3?
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If God is perfect and omniscient, why would God even want to create anything, was God lonely? Discontent? If time itself is tied to the universe, as all of Einstein's theories and modern science confirm, then God was in a sort of perfect stasis, and so God decided to disrupt this perfect stasis with an imperfect creation?
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Since God is the one who decided the "rules", and decided the "punishment" (blood) and supposedly provided the "atonement", isn't this sort of like "it's His mess and He had to clean up after Himself"?
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Why does God not reveal Himself and/or His desire for us and/or His purpose for us, more clearly? If your pastor answers, "free will," point out that it is NOT the same thing to say "I know that God exists" and "I know what God wants" as to say, "I choose to follow God, and do what He wants". (The hiddenness of God problem)
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If there are millions of people really thinking they are worshipping God and following Him and loving Him, but they're worshipping the wrong God or worshipping Him the wrong way, why doesn't God tell them, in their hours of prayer and worship of false gods?
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24 comments:

Paul Manata said...

"SINCE GOD DID NOT CREATE THE WORLD IN ONE SECOND, THEREFORE HE COULD NOT HAVE (I.E., HE'S NOT ALL-POWERFUL)"

Can anyone say, "modal fallacy?"

I mean, I didn't eat Cocoa Puffs this morning, therefore I did not have the ability to do so.

What I wonder is why his fellow self-debunkers did not call him on the carpet for such poor reasoning?

You know if we put up such shoddy reasoning we would have not heard the end of it.

Well, I know the answer. I've said it before and I'll say it again: Most atheists do not really care about reason and rationality. They are not the defenders of reason that they pretend to be. They only use rules of good reasoning when it suits them to beat up the Christians, but when they argue those rules don't get applied to themselve's.

Why would those who pretend to care about reason and logic (ex-believer and dagoods, e.g.,) not call Loftus on the carpet?

Well, because he might feel stupid and reconvert. Then they might loose a convert. Keeping "church members" is more important that keeping intellectual respectability, I guess.

Daniel said...

Paul,

Did you miss all the others?

In this case, I think the emphasis was upon, "why does an all-powerful Being need to rest?" not, "since this Being took time to create, it couldn't have created immediately!"

Forget that question -- how stupid is your God, who creates plants and has "days" before the sun is created (kind of a cold and lightless place for plants, eh?)

Silly creation myth, like all the others

DagoodS said...

Sorry about that, Paul Manata. Didn’t know it was my week to police and monitor John W. Loftus on reason and logic. I thought this week was my turn to monitor his spelling, and ex-believer was to police his punctuation. Brother Danny was the one that was supposed to watch his reason and logic. I may have the schedule mixed up, though, and if it was my turn, then I apologize!

Seriously, why not address the questions themselves? I find that in answering such questions, we can reveal and determine possible weaknesses and issues, and delve further into why these weaknesses exist. In my opinion, the question was focused more on the mythological nature of the Genesis creation story, and how it conformed to the humans that wrote it—specifically a Jewish promulgation of the concept of Sabbath.

Imagine what a creation myth would look like if written by Africans. Or Chinese. Or a person in 300 B.C.E., or 1000 C.E. A creation myth started today would include a Big Bang, billions of years, the development of atmosphere, the evolution of animals, and the appearance of the moon. Simply put—creation myths reflect the technology, advancement, and knowledge of the society that manufactures them.

The more study performed in this area, the more it looks like another human endeavor.

Paul Manata said...

Clearly the emphasis was on the all powerful portion.

Oh, and "rest" must mean what "rest" means when humans "rest." Or, "the ball is at rest" must mean that it is tired and so needs to recoup physically? Oh, so when women have a bridal shower they must all get wet and clean?

So, my interpretation made John look silly, yours made you look silly. Obviously a non-physical being, who is all-powerful, does not need to "rest" in the the sense of the word that you need to when you get tired.

As far as your other question, I already answered such nonsense. But, I understand why you want to get off the one I started with.

dagoods,

Just pointing out inconsistencies.

You want more? Bro danny and yourself can't even agree on what the question was getting at, but you want *us* Christians to answer them?? You have vague questions that both of you don't even agree as to what their asking, but we're supposed to answer them!

And, as far as "creation myth" goes. Well, do a study and you'll see that the biblical view is not like any other.

Most creation stories have order comming from chaos (such as your myth). Most have an impersonal being turning in to the personal. Most teach a philosophy of process and becomming (like the greeks, for example).

Ours is utterly unique, yours is not. Evolutionism is just like all the other fairy tales.

Daniel said...

Paul,

You must have gotten me good. Now, before you give me another rational equivalent of a bukkake, please, sir, have mercy on my poor stupid soul, and answer this syllogism/question:

i) God rested on the seventh day
ii) God tells us to rest on the seventh day because God rested on the seventh day, and we're created in God's image
iii) The way that God tells us to rest is to refrain from working
iv) Thus, the way that God rested was to refrain from working
v) Exo 31:17 makes it clear that God "ceased from labor, and was refreshed" (NIV)
vi) When mankind ceases from labor, (rests), he is physically, emotionally, and mentally refreshed

Sorry Pauly, but it's your turn to eat the mushy biscuit.

Isa 40:28 and Psa 121:3-4 of course contradict this, but that's pretty typical nonsense from the goat-herding Bronze age peoples that the stuff was written by

Daniel said...

Sorry, I meant that the passage I quoted was NASB, not NIV. Young's LT says:
between Me and the sons of Israel it [is] a sign -- to the age; for six days Jehovah made the heavens and the earth, and in the seventh day He hath ceased, and is refreshed.'

If you want every possible translation imaginable, see here

In that source, the Hebrew word naphash, used for "refreshed", is defined as:
naphash (naw-fash') to breathe; passively, to be breathed upon, i.e. (figuratively) refreshed (as if by a current of air) -- (be) refresh selves (-ed).

About the "fairy tale" of "evolutionism", of course, it is much more innately believable that chaos and disorder (and pain and suffering and etc.) came from a eternal, omnipotent, omnibenevolent, perfect Being [who f***ed up] than that the 2nd Law, explained by a physicist (not someone whose mouth goes agape when you ask them, "Is the universe a closed system?"), is in fact a scientific law.

Did you ever take a physics course, much? They probably would've told you that your creation myth is a little off in the order of things:
sea before land?
sea before atmosphere?
light before stars?
plants before stars?
days before stars?
starfish before earthworms?
trees before land animals?
mankind before thorny plants?
land plants before sea creatures?
birds before reptiles?
whales before land animals?
fruit trees before other plants?
mankind before disease-causing germs?
flowering plants before insects?
flying insects preceding land insects?

Sure...in your little Bible study, where reality is disallowed. And where infinitely good creatures fire up universes with devils and damnation.

DagoodS said...

Paul Manata, don’t stop pointing out inconsistencies. It is what sharpens our own skills, and gives us access to more knowledge. But who has the time to point out every (regardless of belief) time someone does not use reason or logic as we see fit? I did not read John W. Loftus’ question as you did, so I would not have pointed it out as a logical contradiction, even if so inclined.

That’s the FUN of questions, Paul Manata! There is no one way to phrase a question and one way to respond. John W. Loftus may be headed in one direction, Brother Danny may read something else, I may see something else—welcome to the wonderful world of differing humans.

How boring it would be, if we only had one defined position in what a question must be “getting at.” Instead we can explore, and re-phrase, and re-question, and extrapolate, and learn and think and see what areas in which we agree and what areas in which we disagree, and what areas are persuasive and what are not.

I sincerely hope that every contributor on this blog views questions in a different manner. Because if we don’t, some of us become unnecessary. Christians that respond may be YEC’s, OEC’s, Gap theorists, allegorists, literalists, evolutionists, and some I am sure that I missed. That is the point of the questions, open up dialogue and discuss the “why’s” of what Christianity presents us.

For example, are you saying God literally rested, or is that an allegory? If it “resting” is an allegory, what is your methodology of determining what is allegory and what is not in Genesis 1-3?

Join the party! Take a shot at one of the questions, give a response, and let’s look at it. Rather than mince around complaining about what others should or should not be doing—dive in!

I agree that the Biblical account of creation is unique. In fact, ALL Creation accounts have their various idioms and intricacies that qualifies them as unique. “Unique,” of course does not equal “correct.” Heaven’s Gate had a unique perspective of the Hale-Bopp Comet. Tragically, the fact it was unique did not make it correct.

As Brother Danny has pointed out, the Biblical account has its problems in order, as well as astronomical (as in astronomy, not size) inaccuracies. It is just one of many creation myths. Give some reasons as to why it is any more accurate than any other, as compared to what science has told us regarding the formation of the earth. Or do you believe that where science and the Bible disagree, the Bible must be correct, and science incorrect?

VanTilsGhost said...

I'm curious why Paul disappears whenever these topics start delving into 'real world' discussions rather than 'philisophical' ones?

Does not the God that imparts wisdom want to use Paul as the mouthpiece of his Words? Is it not Paul's self-proclaimed job to "shut the mouths" of the unbelievers?

If he can't answer basic questions about the 'real world,' and only likes to play little philisophical word games, what good is he?

(yes Paul, tell me why I am wrong to use the phrase 'real world,' and also explain to me how philosophy brought about the computer you're typing on. Yes, that darn science comes in handy sometimes, doesn't it?)

John W. Loftus said...

Manata:
"SINCE GOD DID NOT CREATE THE WORLD IN ONE SECOND, THEREFORE HE COULD NOT HAVE (I.E., HE'S NOT ALL-POWERFUL)"

Paul, you need a crtical thinking class, or a basic level hermeneutical class that would help you understand what someone is saying.

While this particular question wasn't mine, here it is again:

Why didn't he just snap his proverbial fingers and create everything all at once, and not need rest afterwards?

Why didn't he? Why bother? Let's say you were omnipotent. Why not snap your fingers and create it all? Why not? Give me a reason why you wouldn't? Where's all of that power God supposedly has? And why did God need to rest afterward? Why? Why would an omnipotent God need to rest?

And if you were describing the act of creation to people, instantaneous creation would reveal an omnipotent God, wouldn't it? But this depiction does not.

The fact is Genesis 1 is a mythical description of creation borrowed from the surrounding peoples who all had them.

There are Sumerian, Babylonian, Egyptian, and Levantine creation myths. Compare the Babylonian creation epic (Enuma Elish) with Genesis 1. According to Gordon Wenham in his commentary on Genesis 1-15, Genesis could not have been put into final literary form before 1250 B.C. (the events all had to have occurred first; i.e. Jacob’s death in Egypt, and the Exodus). Yet, this Babylonia epic, along with the Atrahasis epic, the Adapa myth, and Sumerian flood story, were known in the ancient world and dated about 1600 B.C. or earlier.

Paul Manata said...

VTG,

I'll answer your question if you can answer me why John Loftus refuses to have a public debate with me, in the "real world?"

Maybe it's because I have a life and cannot stay around and spend it debating for hours.

maybe because I know that evidence is determined by presuppositions and, therefore, we *must* deal with the philosophical first.

I also note that you contrasted "philosophy" with the "real world." So, I take it that you think philosophy is not "real-worldy." The problem is that is was a philosophical statement about the "real world." So, you end up looking dumb, like always.

Also, why act as if I hate science? I just hate how you define and deify it. There's a difference.

D.M. said...

Is the point of the Bible to be an EXACT historical account (some Chrsitians would say so) or a theological treatise (others would also say yes to this)? I think not. Rather, I think that it is a testimonial, given in the best words the authors had.

To answer your post: God's rest is not a reflection upon what God needed to do or could or could not do but rather an modeling of how we should live our lives (NT does this with the life of Christ). Also, God has always known what would happen, he put the wheels in motion to make it necessary that Christ be sacrificed and us to accept Him for our salvation. How is it possible for me to prove that? Because it is the only way it could have happened because it is the only way it did happen. How can you prove He didn't know? Some verses given about God from a human perspective? I think my argument includes all of history while yours focuses only on a very small percentage of divinely inspired texts.

John W. Loftus said...

Manata, You're either willfully ignorant or a liar.

Go back to Tripupblog and see where I had accepted your debate proposition.

And once you find where I accepted it, come back here and apologize.

DagoodS said...

D.M. Rose, I would agree—to solely limit oneself to any paradigm is dangerous work. Even “testimonial.” Some was specifically written to be myth (Creation) some written to be history (Exodus) some written to be prophetic, some poetry and some testimonial. Each book is written with different intentions, to speak of the Bible as a “whole” is problematic and unrealistic. (Even various portions of various books are written with differing intentions.)

The creation story was a myth. You are free to extrapolate out any principle you desire, including modeling how we should rest. I enjoy reading Jewish discussions on their writings, and how they can dig out so much. We could also take the principle of doing things one step at a time. Or not trying to complete a project in a hurry. Or make sure we do things in order. Or even that how the world came into being is not important, but THAT it did is.

All of which are good lessons. But once we determine that this creation myth, out of all the others, is “divine” in some way, shape or form—questions arise. If all God wanted to do was model resting—why not get the order correct? Why not extend it over eons? Why not reflect what science informs us occurred? It does not impact the model any, and would reduce our skepticism. Writing a myth that reflects the knowledge of the time (say 1000 BCE) and is contradicted by current science makes it look less divine. If the model was the sole import, there is no reason not to impress the skeptic with the accuracy as well.

Why would God have to “put the wheels in motion”? Is there a certain order that must occur? What is limiting God to follow that order? God could have saved humanity through Christ immediately after Eve’s bite. Yet instead we see various authors putting together their concepts about God, fitting in their particular society of the moment that eventually homogenizes into a variety of religious beliefs, including some varieties termed “Christian.” Not very divine-looking, is it?

You appear to take the story of Jesus as historical. Why can’t that, equally be testimonial? Where do you make the break between history and testimony?

To be honest, saying “Because it is the only way it could have happened is because it is the only way it did happen” is not very convincing. Are you saying God was limited in doing it, in that particular, precise order, and we are all, God including, automations revolving in our paths to a specified tune we can neither modify or eliminate? That the Midianite women HAD to have baby boys, so that the Hebrews could kill that baby one day later (and his mother) and that very birth/capture/death was necessary for Jesus to provide salvation?

Funny, Jesus was counting captured gold as those deaths were happening. Apparently that gold was more important to his salvation mission. THAT part, sadly, hasn’t changed much.

Paul Manata said...

Oh, Loftus, did you do that weeks after I posted something? I thought you might try to do something like that.

Anyway, so you accepted the challenge. gOOD. Email me at presuppositionalist_70 AT YA WHO DOT COM. aND i WILL SET UP THE DETAILS.


~Paul

p.s. oh, Van Til's Ghost,

Why did Loftus and Brother Danny not respond to Steve's answer to them? Is it funny how they always run from debate when real matters are discussed?

p.p.s. check this out. Here are the guidlines for this blog. They are taken from Loftus' own words:

We will respond to the posts we choose to respond to if we have the time. But please don’t assume that because we didn't respond to a post that it means anything at all. We read all of the comments, even those on the archived posts of old.

When it comes to posts we disagree with, don't assume that if we haven’t responded that we won’t, or that if we don’t respond that we can’t, or that if we can’t respond that our opponents are right.



hmmmm, so they get to not respond when they want to and I must respond to everything? More atheist double standards.

p.p.p.s. John, don't forget to email me...

btw, check out my debate with your fellow-debunker:
http://audio.northcitychurch.com/Manata_Sansone_Debate.html

VanTilsGhost said...

Young Mister Manata said:

VTG,

I'll answer your question if you can answer me why John Loftus refuses to have a public debate with me, in the "real world?"


As noted in these comments, John didn't refuse. Wrong again, Paul. Although, I will admit, you based your notion on incomplete information. Are you willing to learn and change your comments based on new information you've gathered? I hope so. If so, are you open to doing this in the 'real world' when it comes to topics that we (as humans) have incomplete information on?

Maybe it's because I have a life and cannot stay around and spend it debating for hours.

Perhaps. But its a definite pattern I've noticed with you...avoiding questions that deal with 'real world' issues, and trying to bring everything into your mind-loop presup "arguments." This isn't the first time you've avoided trying to answer criticisms directly...I don't think you can....so you hope to draw the conversation into the meaningless mental masturbation of TAG.

maybe because I know that evidence is determined by presuppositions and, therefore, we *must* deal with the philosophical first.

Why *must* we? Why *must* we examine evidence in a way that conforms to the simple-minded scibblings of bronze-age dirt farmers? Why *must* we throw away what we can clearly see, learn, and know by using our own reason, and conform it to centuries old ideas that were formed with INCOMPLETE INFORMATION? (as you've illustrated so nicely above...it isn't helpful to make grand decisions based on lack of info)

I also note that you contrasted "philosophy" with the "real world." So, I take it that you think philosophy is not "real-worldy." The problem is that is was a philosophical statement about the "real world." So, you end up looking dumb, like always.

I disagree Paul. Mental masturbation with TAG doesn't make anyone end up "looking dumb," except for the person that is stuck in its 'vicious circle' and bleats out the same tired responses to every inquiry that threatens its simplistic presuppositions.

Also, why act as if I hate science? I just hate how you define and deify it. There's a difference.

You LOVE science if you can make it conform to your bronze-age dirt farming view of the world. You don't seem to love it quite so much when it points out the absurdity of your positions. I'm not sure what you mean by 'deify' when it comes to science. Do I also 'deify' math by applying its constructs to the real world around me?

John W. Loftus said...

Paul, I accepted the proposition the day I saw it, and I believe it was a day or two later than you posted it. However, if you want to debate TAG do so with exbeliever. He's interested in that. Are you?

Paul Manata said...

I told you what the topic was. So, you accepted that topic. Now, will you email me and we can set up the details?

Paul Manata said...

VTG:

Mere name-calling and emotive language will not disuade me.

I did not use TAG when I said,

" also note that you contrasted "philosophy" with the "real world." So, I take it that you think philosophy is not "real-worldy." The problem is that is was a philosophical statement about the "real world." So, you end up looking dumb, like always."

That's an internal critique of what you said. You still look silly.

VanTilsGhost said...

Paul,

As do you, my friend, as do you.

Go lock yourself in a room for 6 months and read some new books...advice you like to give out. :)

I have hope for you...the more you read, the more chance you'll let go of your clumsy beliefs.

Perhaps you can prove to me how you know that the Jesus of the Bible was not simply an advanced alien creature that wow'd the primitives of the day? That is a possibility, and unless you can prove otherwise, I think it makes more sense than what you propose about his divinity.

Regards!

Paul Manata said...

VTG:

Great response! Again you come in, huff and puff, act bad (but like a Michael Jackson bad), and then run away.

Prove it to you, okay:

Jesus was the God-man.

Aliens are not God-men.

Therefore Jesus was not an alien.

There, that was a deductive proof.

Now, quid pro quo. Fair is fair, right?

How does one "prove things" within your worldview?

Obviously I need to know, and my question is prior to yours, since you may think one proves things by having pink fairies whisper sweet nothings in to your ear. If I could not have said fairies whisper in said ear, then I would not have "proven" it, according to you. So, if you could be so kind as to lay out what you accept as proof, i.e., your proof-theory. And, as an added bonus, maybe you could prove your theory of proof.

thanks buddy.

VanTilsGhost said...

Young Mr Manata said:

Jesus was the God-man.

this needs to be established, not simply asserted.

Aliens are not God-men.

How do you know? What do you know about aliens? There are many 'god' concepts, and yours is not the correct one by default. Pleaes defend.

Therefore Jesus was not an alien.

Sorry, your points were lacking, so your conclusion falls flat. Nice try though!

Paul Manata said...

Oh, so you're afraid to answer my question. That's what I thought. Same ole kid as always.

Now, let me help you look stupid again.

You said to prove how *I* know. I don;t need to establish those premises to myself. You didn;t ask me to show how *YOU* know.

Anyway, why didn't you answer my questions. Why fear the big dumb theist?

Furthermore, let's say I *proved* premise one. Then you'll ask me to prove all the premises in that argument. Then once I did you'll ask me to prove the premises in that argument.

Moreover, how can I "prove it" to you until you tell me what you take as proof.

Anyway, let the world see that the theist is not afraid to defend premises and engage in debate. it is always the weak-minded atheist (how come you always run when real world issues come up?)

Jesus was the God man because the One who can never lie, or be mistaken, or err, told me.

Aliens are not God-men is proven by definition. In my worldview an alien cannot be a God, by definition. So, you'd need to define what you mean by alien and God-man.

Regarding my conclusion: Well, it was a valid argument and so the conclusion follows. We can debate the premises but no logician in the world would say my conclusion falls flat because I did't prove the premises, and then prove those premises, ad infinitum. Especially since you asked how *I* knew that Jesus was not an alien no logican would say the conclusion fell flat since I didn;t need those premises proven.

Anyway, nice try. Btw, will you start paying me for all these free lessons in how to debate?

buh-bye now.

VanTilsGhost said...

Young Manata said:

You said to prove how *I* know. I don;t need to establish those premises to myself. You didn;t ask me to show how *YOU* know.

That's funny. How could you possibly *know* how somebody else *knows* something? Nice little mind-loop you're living in. Sounds like if I ask the Buddhist how he *knows* something, or the lunatic in the asylum. So, you're right up there with the pyscho in how he *knows* the voices are talking to him.

Furthermore, let's say I *proved* premise one. Then you'll ask me to prove all the premises in that argument. Then once I did you'll ask me to prove the premises in that argument.


Your deductive argument "follows," but the conclusion is useless, because your premises are lame. Using this powerful form of argument, I can simply say:

1. Jesus likes butt-sex
2. Gay men like butt-sex
3. Jesus is a gay man

Powerful, eh?

Jesus was the God man because the One who can never lie, or be mistaken, or err, told me.

The voices! Or maybe you read it in a book, written by men. That make mistakes. Like show up in said book.

Aliens are not God-men is proven by definition. In my worldview an alien cannot be a God, by definition. So, you'd need to define what you mean by alien and God-man.

Your worldview is based on a book written by men, with incomplete information. Just as you illustrated early in these series of comments, you make errors based on incomplete information. Therefore, your worldview, and the definitions therein are not "binding" on all men. Your book says as much about aliens as it does about microbes. Powerful.

Regarding my conclusion: Well, it was a valid argument and so the conclusion follows.

Valid form, weak premises, meaningless conclusion.

My boy, its been fun studying you from afar these past few months. I've yet to "reap the whirlwind," but I do know better than to let you get me in a "rear naked choke hold." You jibber and flounder around, feeding your need to argue, and your justification of "shutting the mouths of the unbelievers" is a thinly veiled excuse...you're just feeding the anger that you thought you'd left behind when joining your current cult. Keep up the good work! You're doing far more to solidify 'unbelief' in people than 'sharing the good news.'

Paul Manata said...

"1. Jesus likes butt-sex
2. Gay men like butt-sex
3. Jesus is a gay man"

VTG, this argument commits the fallacy of undistributed middle. It wasn't even valid. Thanks for playing.