Is God Afraid of Us?

Congratulations to Dagoods, this particular post was named post of the week by Atheist Blogs Aggrogated

Since God(s) are made up by humans, we cannot help but continue to see traces of that humanity in them. We become angry, and since God is, to some extent, just a “bigger” human, He becomes angry. We have favorites—God has favorites; we regret actions—God regrets actions, and so on.

Further, God is seen at the Ultimate authority. Some type of “Super-Government” in which He has the power to create, destroy, render judgments, punish and reward on His terms. Yet even “Super-Governments” have their limits. One of which is usurpation. What if the people governed over rebel? What if they remove the authority of the government by virtue of removing the body over which the government exercises authority? It is not much of a King on a one-person island.

As human governors, we fear the rebellion of the people in providing either too much autonomy or too much knowledge. And in the Christian God created by the human authors of the Bible, we see tastes of a God that, just like a “super-human” has a tinge of fear of the very people over which He governs.

What is God afraid of?


Starting with the basics. According to the Christian paradigm we are created creatures. And, by virtue of being created, are less than the Creator itself. But can a Creator instill or create something of which He has no knowledge, no information, no ability Himself to perform?

Could God create “fear” without having the ability to understand what it is to be “afraid”? We are informed that perfect love removes fear. (1 John 4:18) Presumably, the very essence of the Christian God is love. (1 John. 4:8) If God has always existed, and has always been love itself, then He never had a situation in which he removed any fear, including his own, or anything else’s. Fear could not have entered the equation in the first place.

If love and fear are mutually exclusive, and God has always been and God has always been love, then He could never have experienced fear. So, in a twist of the Logical Problem of Evil, we are faced with the Logical Problem of Fear. Where does fear come from in the creature, if the creator has no knowledge, and no experience of it?

The better explanation is that God, at the least, has the ability to be afraid. The next question is whether he has ever exercised that ability. Again, no way for us to know (as He can mask such a fear in the use of power) but since humans wrote the book, we can see their own belief that such an entity would have fear.

Starting at the beginning with the Garden of Eden. We all know the story. Adam and Eve screw up the whole system, eat fruit from the wrong tree. After the cursing, the clothing and the casting, God becomes “concerned” (shall we say) about the Tree of Life. He does not want humans to eat from it and live forever.

So what does He do? He places an angel to watch the Garden itself, and places a flaming sword to guard the Tree of Life. (Gen. 3:24) Now God (being God) could have done a great many things with the Tree of Life. He created it, he can destroy it. (How many times have we seen THAT in the argument on sovereignty of God?) He could have placed it on the Planet Pluto. He could have removed it to Heaven. He could have taken it to the 25th dimension.

But for some unknown reason, he leaves it here. We have all seen the fantastic video of this flaming sword. What? You haven’t seen it? Oh, that’s right. We can’t FIND the Garden of Eden! Why would God have to place an angel and a flaming sword to protect something we cannot even find?

Apparently, in God’s ability to foresee the future, someday humans will have the means and wherewithal to actually arrive at the Garden Gate. (Imagine “Indiana Jones” music in the background.) Only to be denied access to the tree by this sword. There is something about humans eating of a tree God cannot eliminate that causes fear in God. The best solution he could come up with is preventative defense.

Oddly enough, the Christian worldview maintains that we will resurrect and live forever either in Heaven or Hell. So we WILL live forever. Just not on our terms, but on God’s. The Creator of the Universe has to use miraculous power just to keep humans at bay.

Moving to the Tower of Babel. All the humans in the entire world decide to build a city and a tower whose top is in the heavens. (Gen. 11:4) Remember that at the time Genesis was written, common belief was that there as a hard shell about the earth, and that “heaven,” if one built long enough and tall enough, would be attainable. We (and of course God would as well) realize that engineering prohibits buildings of too tall height (not enough strength) and such a project would be eventually, necessarily, abandoned.

God, in order to speed up the discontinuance of this project, scrambles all of the people’s languages. (Gen. 11:7) Now all types of explanations have been provided for why God would do that. Claims that humans were trying to be like God, or it was futile or they were too proud. The problem with every explanation is that God says why He confused their languages, and it is not any of these reasons.

It is because the humans are acting with one purpose, have one language, and God realizes (with His wonderful foresight) that anything they set their mind to doing, they will accomplish. (Gen. 11:6) God does not want this to happen. What is God afraid the humans will do? They are building. They are acting with one purpose. They have one goal.

NOW is the perfect time to introduce yourself, institute a one-world religion, and be done with it! Instead, there is something about this like-minded purpose that forces God to put back on his “creative” work clothes, and enter human minds to create language.

Again, we see God afraid of what the humans are doing, and using his awesome power to thwart it.

It becomes enlightening to read the stories of the Tanakh from the aspect of God using power because he is afraid of what the humans can do. It is what every human institution of power has done since the beginning of time. Why would a God have to do it?

Look at the story of Lot’s wife. We know it. God rains down fire and brimstone on Sodom and Gomorrah. (Gen. 19:24) The angels had warned Lot and his family to not look back. (Gen. 19:17) Lot’s wife looks back and turns into a Pillar of Salt. (Gen. 19:26) Why? It was not a natural occurrence. We know that seeing burning brimstone does not cause one to turn into salt. It was a miracle of some sort. Arguably a punishment.

Why would God care if they looked back? Notice that at this point, they are no longer fleeing, but are safe in the city of Zoar. They have no need of hurry, nor fear of slowing the process by looking back. Besides, the angel had informed them God couldn’t start the fire until they were safe. (Gen. 19:22) A leisurely walk would have been sufficient!

God says he is going to blow up a city, but doesn’t want you to look. What is he afraid you will see? Oh, I have heard the arguments. “She was longing to go back to the city.” Let’s see….she was watching at least two cities totally consumed by raining fire, people dying, stench overwhelming, and she was longing to go back there? Riiiiggghht. Just like everybody wants to run back in a burning building!

Did she have pity on the people? More than God did, apparently. Did she wonder what happened to her sons-in-law? Or her other daughters? (Who were the sons-in-law married to? Virgins?) God is telling Lot and his wife he is killing their relatives, but don’t look. What was God afraid they would see?

Or look at Joshua’s genocide. God commands the Hebrews to wipe out various tribes, lest the tribe’s rituals and abominations persuade the Israelites to turn from God.

Wait a minute, wait a minute, wait a minute. Specifically to show how powerful he was, God had just wiped Egypt off the map. He had parted the Reed Sea for at least a month to allow them to pass. He has rained food down on them for forty years to feed them. He parted the Jordan for another month to let them pass. The Hebrews had witnessed the walls of an entire city fall for no other reason than trumpet sound.

Yet God thinks this is not enough? How much power must God expend to keep these people in line? On the one hand we have the inconceivable entity with phenomenal cosmic power, and on the other, a petulant boy-king that displays temper tantrums of terrible terror when He doesn’t get his way! Why is God so afraid that people will forget Him?

Oh, I remember. Because God is sovereign and he has the “right” to act belligerently toward humans. Is it belligerence or bluster? Is it offense or fear?

I generally hate parent/child analogies with God, as they are always incomplete. As a parent, I do not have the abilities a god would have. Saying that, I am sure to use one.

When my daughter was about two, I sent her to her room as punishment. I remember she crossed her arms, deliberately planted her feet, obtained the most defiant tone she could muster, and said, “No!” It struck me as quite humorous. I outweigh her easily by 140 pounds, I am more than twice her height; I can out-run her, out-reach her, and out-muscle her in any way feasible.

Sure she was testing the waters, clashing wills, and seeing what she could get away with. She was a two-year-old. I could easily pick her up and transport her wherever I desire, and there was nothing, physically, she could do about it. That is what made her statement amusing.

Even more so with the Christian God concept. He could wipe us all off the face of the earth and start over. (Came close, once.) He could destroy the Universe as an experiment-gone-bad. He could not only kill me, He could make every atom in my body disappear, and remove my very existence from the memory of every person that ever lived.

Or, if one prefers, he could torture me forever. With all this power, why would God even care what one measly human does? Or a whole group? Wouldn’t God, with all his restrained power, find human antic’s equally amusing? Oh, you can tell me how God hates sin. The same God that created me with the maturity to restrain myself cannot exercise the same compassion?

Only a bully uses harmful power to remind people of their existence.

Ah, but what about Jesus, right? We have the switch of knowledge, and the switch of what human’s focused on in the First Century, resulting in a switch of the type of God humans write about. Jesus was different—HE didn’t use this awesome power to instill fear. He used love.

No, Jesus/God was not afraid of defiance, like Yahweh/God. He was afraid of intelligence.

Jesus gives the parable of the seeds. Mark 4:1-20. After telling the parable to the crowd, a few of those following him asked about the parable. They did not understand it. (Mark 4:10,13) Jesus makes a curious statement:

“To you it has been given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God; but to those who are outside, all things come in parables, so that 'Seeing they may see and not perceive, And hearing they may hear and not understand; Lest they should turn, And their sins be forgiven them.'” (Mark 4:11-12) (emphasis added)

Jesus then goes on and does for his followers what he would NOT do for the crowd-at-large, and explain directly what he is talking about, so they could understand. Jesus very clearly is stating that he is talking in the muddled terms of parables, because if he talked directly, they would actually turn to God and their sins be forgiven.

The ramifications of this statement are astounding. As God, Jesus would know intimately the depth of human intelligence. He created it. Don’t just read that, but reflect on that. He would know, literally to the word what a person understood. The right word at the right moment would provide brilliant illumination; the wrong word would cause continual confusion. The author of Mark even points out how apt Jesus was at determining how others were thinking. (Mark 2:8)

Having watched the course of history of humans he Created, Jesus would be extremely astute as to the reaction of humans upon gaining this information. This is the same entity that was concerned about human’s purpose and single-mindedness at the Tower of Babel, and realized that only drastic creative measures could intervene in human willfulness.

So in this story, Jesus has gauged his crowd, knows how exactly to speak to them, and deliberately chooses to not provide understanding! In fact, he even emphasizes that if he had, they would turn to God and their sins would be forgiven! His motivation is clear that he has no intention of allowing this to happen!

We are often informed that due to limited human capability, we are unable to fathom a God. I get that, and it certainly makes sense. But here we have a story of a God that CAN communicate a concept, and recognizes that humans can understand this concept, and then deliberately and decisively chooses to not communicate that concept. This has nothing to do with human inability to understand, but rather God’s refusal to communicate.

Why would a God not want a human to understand? Especially as the God is well-aware that such understanding would make the person turn to a God and have their sins forgiven. Isn’t this what the Christian God wants? What is it about humans understanding and God forgiving them that Jesus could not let happen? What was Jesus afraid of? Would God have punished him for doing a bad thing?

Or the request for a sign. In Mark 8:11-12 we have a brief interlude where Pharisees ask for a sign, and Jesus says that this generation will not be given a sign. Again, we are faced with a situation in which Jesus recognizes that humans would understand, and a determined choice is made to not communicate it.

Matthew and Luke modify this to indicate the reason the sign was not given was that it was an evil generation. (Mt. 12:39; Luke 11:29) (They also indicate that there would be a sign, the only one being the sign of Jonah. Of course the humorous bit is that Jesus had just bemoaned cities for not repenting when they had seen all the mighty works He had performed. (Mt. 11:21; Luke 10:13) Was he performing signs or not? And then John has the audacity to have Jesus performing signs all over the place! (John 2:11, 4:48, 20:30))

So Jesus would not perform a sign (or performed a sign, depending on what chapters one reads) for an evil generation. Or that just generation. Jesus of the New Testament refused to use power, because the people would understand. But the Jesus of the Tanakh would use power because the people did not understand and were acting evil! Something changed as to what Jesus was afraid of!

How curious. People of the Tanakh were evil—in comes Jesus with signs, miracles and punishments in order to get them back in line. People of the First Century were evil--Jesus refuses to perform signs, because they might get back in line. What changed?

I, of course, would contend that what changed were the authors. The authors of the Tanakh were focusing on a God that dealt with communities, and used power to bring them back into line. The authors of the New Testament focused on a different God, which dealt with individuals, and used persuasion to bring them into line. The God of the Tanakh would be afraid of what he used—power, the God of the New Testament would be afraid of what he used—persuasion.

It looks to me that there is something this God of Christianity fears I will find out. Wonder what it is?

22 comments:

Kaffinator said...

Hi Dagood,

It does not follow that since fear exists, God necessarily experiences fear. To understand why, you must look carefully at what fear is. It is the anticipation of a negative event over which you do not have control. That last part is important. In a situation where you feel you have complete control, you do not fear. The same height that would utterly terrify me will simply invigorate a skilled mountain climber who knows his techniques and equipment.

To create a universe where fear is possible, God need only create conscious creatures, with a limited span of control, in a universe where negative events are possible.

> Could God create “fear” without having the ability to understand what it is to be “afraid”? We are informed that perfect love removes fear. (1 John 4:18)

How does perfect love remove fear? Christians do not have control of everything, but we do have reason to put complete trust and confidence in He who does have control. We have no fear of judgment because we have God’s assurance through Christ that we are clean before him. Outside of Christ there is no such assurance, and either fear or ignorance will reign instead.

Your examples from Genesis only demonstrate a God who works through human history to effect certain changes to accomplish certain ends. This does not necessitate fear on God’s part unless there was some uncertainty that he would not accomplish what he set out to do. And nothing in scripture indicates God has any such uncertainty.

> When my daughter was about two, I sent her to her room as punishment. I remember she crossed her arms, deliberately planted her feet, obtained the most defiant tone she could muster, and said, “No!” It struck me as quite humorous.

I have a two year old and as a parent I feel a lot of emotions in that kind moment. It’s humorous for the reasons you mentioned. I also feel sad for her because I know she is going to lose the battle and one way or another she is going to feel hurt by that. I feel happy for her because she is going to get what she needs to grow and thrive: clear boundaries. Through it all I love her because she is my child.

> With all this power, why would God even care what one measly human does? Or a whole group? Wouldn’t God, with all his restrained power, find human antic’s equally amusing? Oh, you can tell me how God hates sin. The same God that created me with the maturity to restrain myself cannot exercise the same compassion? … Only a bully uses harmful power to remind people of their existence.

I don’t know that God doesn’t find us amusing. But like the two year old, clear boundaries are necessary, along with consequences for stepping outside of them. To do otherwise is to raise a brat, not a child. When I’m doing discipline right I’m not bullying, I’m teaching and training.

If you choose to reject God, you have no grounds to complain that he is not treating you like his child. Because you yourself say that you are not his.

> No, Jesus/God was not afraid of defiance, like Yahweh/God. He was afraid of intelligence.

I’m not going to get into Mark 4:11 except to say that there is no shadow of a hint of Jesus expressing fear of anything here.

> This has nothing to do with human inability to understand, but rather God’s refusal to communicate.

The question is not whether God communicates. He does. Nor is it whether you have the capacity to understand. You do. The question is if you are actually going to listen. If you don’t want to, again you have no grounds for complaint.

> Or the request for a sign. In Mark 8:11-12 we have a brief interlude where Pharisees ask for a sign, and Jesus says that this generation will not be given a sign.

Only because Jesus knows that a magic trick will not convince them of anything because their hearts are already hardened against him. That’s the whole point of what Jesus is saying in Matthew 11:20-24, which you referenced.

> I, of course, would contend that what changed were the authors. The authors of the Tanakh were focusing on a God that dealt with communities, and used power to bring them back into line. The authors of the New Testament focused on a different God, which dealt with individuals, and used persuasion to bring them into line. The God of the Tanakh would be afraid of what he used—power, the God of the New Testament would be afraid of what he used—persuasion.

That’s a clever, but, well, ad-hoc :-) explanation that doesn’t even account for the data. The OT records numerous interactions between God and specific individuals and the NT records numerous interactions between God and communities (churches). In the OT, God is constantly using persuasion through the prophets to bring his followers back into covenant with him, and in the NT, God promises hellfire and judgment. And in neither collection can we find a single verse that indicates that God fears anything whatsoever.

Blu_Matt said...

"...in neither collection can we find a single verse that indicates that God fears anything whatsoever."

Genesis 3:3-10 could give an answer to this:

In summary, god told A+E not to eat the fruit, otherwise they'd die. The serpent said that they wouldn't die, would have their eyes opened and be able to differentiate between good and evil. They ate, and didn't die: god lied. They also had their eyes opened and learned what good and evil was: the serpent told the truth.

This is a prime example of god lying and using a FUD tactic to get what he wants: to prevent A+E knowing the difference between good and evil.

What possible reason could this god have to place this restriction upon them, except in fear of what they'd begin to understand?

It wasn't for their own welfare (they didn't die, despite the promise/warning). They were punished instead.

I won't argue the semantics or validity of the commandment - not to eat from the tree - itself; it's the blatent lie and appeal to fear that is the key point here.

What else can one conclude, other than god was looking after it's own self-interests, which it must have considered threatened. If there was no threat, then there was no need to lie about the tree.

Daniel said...

I think Gen 3:22-24 reveals the real internal inconsistency in the story, as was amply demonstrated here. Did man acquire the "knowledge of good and evil" AS the Fall? If so, then we can safely say, "man had no knowledge of good and evil before eating the fruit". But if this is true, man didn't "know" that it was "evil" to go ahead and eat it, yet man knew God didn't want them to eat it, so man didn't "know" that disobeying God was "evil". This story is silly on so many levels, including God's fear that man "has now become like Us...let's stop him from also being able to live forever"

Some try to say that man's acquisition of "knowledge of good and evil" was that he had now experienced good and evil. But to say that implies that man "became like Us" = God has experienced good and EVIL

How is this possible? The whole story is ludicrous. Man's punishment was for developing the ability to assess the rightness or wrongness of an action? I want to write more about this soon.

DagoodS said...

Kaffinator –

Using your definition of fear—“anticipation of a negative event over which you do not control.” Go back in the time machine, prior to creation. When there was just God. What “negative event” could God conceive of? Is there the potential for God to have a “negative event”? If so, what is it, and how would we know if it happened? Further, is there anything out of God’s control? If not, then it would be inconceivable for God to understand the concept of lack of control. God could not comprehend fear to create it.

Take the “fear of the unknown.” There is nothing God does not know, and therefore he is unable to create a creature that has “unknown.” We, as humans, understand the concept of not knowing everything. We learn something every day, hopefully. We realize that we will never know everything, either. So if WE created something, it is only understandable, the only conceptual item we create is also something that does not know everything.

But in creating a God, humans decided to use a broad brush and state, “God knows everything” without understanding the ramifications of creation. WE understand knowing less than everything. God does not have a clue what that is like.

In order to create “fear” God would have to conceptualize the idea of loss of control. Then conceptualize the inability to do anything about it. Then conceptualize a resulting negative event. To conceptualize it, “Loss of control, inability and negativity” must pre-exist. (Either within God, or exterior, we can discuss later.)

Now, how do you prove that God could only conceptualize these things, but not actualize them? In other words, God, by Herculean effort can think up fear, but not have it?

We can’t. If you like any of the Cosmological arguments, we can trace fear back to the initial cause-that being God. The only place fear could originate is in a God that has the ability to be afraid.

To be honest, I never did figure out how “perfect love casts out fear.” But that is not my problem—any person that holds the Bible as authoritative from God has to explain it—not me. All I can do is take it on its face. Again, this contradicts the concept of a God even having the concept of fear, let alone creating it. Problem for the person claiming there is a God who cannot fear, yet fear in the world.

No fear of judgment? Doesn’t Rev. 21:8 make you stay up at night? God lists eight distinct people that will be getting the toss into the Lake of Fire. Unbelievers (me) are only one of the eight groups. Have you ever lied, Kaffinator? Ever? Guess what? If you have, you are in another one of the eight groups that will be frying.

You could call me “outside of Christ” yet I have no fear of judgment. Why should I? Prove there is one, outside of presupposition. You have no fear of crossing the River Styx, true? Because you do not believe such a river exists. I have just as much fear of appearing before Christ, because I am equally convinced no such judgment would happen. (Obviously, if I did I would be a Christian!)

And if there is a God, Kaffinator, regardless of which one, I still do not fear Judgment. I did the best I could with the tools available to me. If I get punishment for it, then there is nothing more I could have done.

If fear can ONLY be God’s uncertainty that he cannot set out what he intends to accomplish, I presume you do not hold to any free will?

I did notice that you did not address any of the examples of Genesis. Why did God place a flaming sword at the Tree? Why did God scramble the languages? Why did God turn Lot’s wife into salt? Taking the stories on face value, God gives reasons (not so clear with Lot’s wife.) They speak of fear. Explain why there are not, while maintaining what is written in the story.

If Jesus wasn’t afraid in Mark 4, why not explain it to the crowd so they understood? Kaffinator, it had nothing to do with the people listening—it had to do with Jesus explaining.

Look, he says a parable to two groups—the crowd and the followers. BOTH groups did not understand. When alone with Jesus, the followers ask an explanation. Jesus very explicitly states why he did not give the crowd group the explanation. I bolded it: “Lets they should turn, and their sins be forgiven.”

If you claim it is a hardening of the heart, then Jesus’ followers’ hearts were equally hard. Because they listened and didn’t understand, either! I agree I have the capacity to understand. Even Jesus indicates the crowd had the capacity to understand. He specifically states he talks in parables to keep them from turning and having their sins forgiven.

How can the blame be on the listener, if Jesus indicates he is the one that is controlling the situation?

Where does it say that a “magic trick” would not convince them? In fact, didn’t Jesus directly indicate a “magic trick” WOULD convince them—that being the sign of Jonah? In John 4:48 Jesus says that the ONLY way that seems to convince these people were signs.

You can do better than this. Don’t rely on what you have been taught, or heard or gleaned through the grapevine. Read it! Look it up! Think on it. One Gospel (and Paul) say no sign, two Gospels say one sign, and John says plenty of signs. By 3 to 2, “magic tricks” would be convincing, apparently.

You do not have to take my explanation of God treating people in a communal fashion in the Tanakh, and individuals in the New Testament. (Although I would encourage you to pick up this study. Quite interesting. Common explanation for the differences between the two Gods. And yes, God DOES overall treat people in a communal sense. Note the punishment for David’s census. Not on David as a person, but )

What’s your explanation? Why the sudden reversal on signs? Why the change in communication styles?

I agree that there are no verses that explicitly state God was afraid of anything. (‘Course there is no single verse that claims the Trinity exists, either.) I doubt there are any official decrees that state Saddam Hussein is afraid of anything. Dictatorial Power does not allow the demonstration of fear.

The humans that created God imagined a “super-power” that was not afraid. It is only in review and study that we see the natural inclination of having a God act like a human that we see the very human attribute of fear demonstrated.

Blu_Matt said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Steve said...

They ate, and didn't die: god lied. They also had their eyes opened and learned what good and evil was: the serpent told the truth.

It wasn't for their own welfare (they didn't die, despite the promise/warning). They were punished instead.


So Adam and Eve are alive? Wow! I didn't know that. Blu Matt you have truly debunked the whole Fall of Man thing! This site is cool!

Daniel said...

Steve,

Perhaps you missed the conditional "in the day you eat thereof"...thing.

Best,
D

DagoodS said...

steve,

God said to Adam, “…in the day you eat of the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, you shall surely die.” (Gen. 2:17) They didn’t die that day God was not accurate, at the least. Oh, Christian apologists will say that Adam died spiritually but that is reading into the text something that is not there. Might as well say that since “day” in Genesis 1 could be a long, long period time, “day” in Gen 2 could equally be a long, long period of time.

No matter what the problem, always a solution. Well, except the fact that it looks so much like a human resolution to a human-made problem.

Oddly enough, later on God says that if Adam had eaten fruit from the Tree of Life, he would have lived forever. (Gen. 3:22) Life was dependant on the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil in one part, and on the Tree of life in another.

And as to the serpent—did it tell the truth or not? If it did, then it was punished for telling the truth. If it did not, then it lied. Which brings us to the next question, is lying a sin? If yes, then humans did not introduce sin into the world, snakes did. If not, then God can lie. What else has God lied about?

Anonymous said...

Of course "in the day" must mean "the 24-hour period in which these events occured." Especially after Genesis 2:4 says: "This is the account of the heavens and the earth when they were created, in the day that the LORD God made earth and heaven."

Thus, "in the day" couldn't possibly be a Hebrew idiom meaning an undefined "when" instead of "the 24 hour period around an action."

Naturally, pointing out the use of the term "in the day" just 13 verses before God's pronouncement of "in the day you eat it you shall die" is not looking at the context, applying good hermanutics, and actually understanding the text as it was written.

It is nothing more than a human resolution to a human-made problem.

Kaffinator said...

Hi Dagood,

Pleased to continue the conversation.

> There is nothing God does not know, and therefore he is unable to create a creature that has “unknown.”

That is a giant unsubstantiated leap. Even a human artist can create that which is not identical himself. Christians hold that God can create creatures with different qualities than he has (such as his creation of a creature with the capacity to sin).

> But in creating a God, humans decided to use a broad brush and state, “God knows everything” without understanding the ramifications of creation. WE understand knowing less than everything. God does not have a clue what that is like.

Think about what you are saying. You say humans created a God that has a quality we do not have (in this case, omniscience). But you also say that the God spoken of by Christianity cannot do the same. I think your humanist bias is corrupting your argument.

> To be honest, I never did figure out how “perfect love casts out fear.” But that is not my problem—any person that holds the Bible as authoritative from God has to explain it—not me.

I tried to describe it above. Basically because I have trust in a God who is perfect, almighty, and has adopted me as his son, I have no reason to live in anticipation of negative consequences. Even though some temporarily negative ones will occur I have peace in the fact that God’s long-term picture is good.

> Again, this contradicts the concept of a God even having the concept of fear, let alone creating it. Problem for the person claiming there is a God who cannot fear, yet fear in the world.

I don’t think you have demonstrated a problem. I assert along with every other Christian that has ever lived that God is not limited to creating only carbon copies of himself. Where you got the idea that he was limited in this way, I can only guess.

> No fear of judgment? Doesn’t Rev. 21:8 make you stay up at night? […] Have you ever lied, Kaffinator? Ever? Guess what? If you have, you are in another one of the eight groups that will be frying.

Rev 21 also indicates that those whose names are written in the book of life will be spared.

> You could call me “outside of Christ” yet I have no fear of judgment. Why should I? Prove there is one, outside of presupposition.

In time, all men will be supplied ample proof. For now, I affirm that there are such things as right and wrong; and that wrong shall be punished and right rewarded. If you do not affirm this you believe the universe is entirely amoral and I do not envy you or those close to you if you ever start behaving in concert with your beliefs.

> You have no fear of crossing the River Styx, true? Because you do not believe such a river exists.

Yes, it does exist, in the sense that the River Styx represents the journey of the disembodied soul into the afterlife. If I had not Christ then that journey would terrify me. Tell me honestly, are you afraid of death?

> And if there is a God, Kaffinator, regardless of which one, I still do not fear Judgment. I did the best I could with the tools available to me. If I get punishment for it, then there is nothing more I could have done.

Well in a sense you are right, there is no human effort you can expend in order to avoid punishment. There is no height of human wisdom that you can reach to earn God’s favor. Human “tools” are not enough to rescue you from the curse of sin.

>I did notice that you did not address any of the examples of Genesis. […] They speak of fear. Explain why there are not, while maintaining what is written in the story.

No they do not speak of fear, and yes I did address them. Perhaps you missed it while reading my response. Look for the paragraph beginning “Your examples from Genesis […]”.

> Jesus wasn’t afraid in Mark 4, why not explain it to the crowd so they understood? Kaffinator, it had nothing to do with the people listening—it had to do with Jesus explaining.

I looked up commentaries on this passage but didn’t find much. And the reason for this statement doesn’t immediately strike me so I may not be much help. The whole point of Jesus ministry was to save people. For some reason it was not fitting at that time that those multitudes hear the entire message. Regardless of how we explain the passage, it clearly has nothing to do with fear.

> One Gospel (and Paul) say no sign, two Gospels say one sign, and John says plenty of signs. By 3 to 2, “magic tricks” would be convincing, apparently.

This is an interesting topic but waaaay far afield of the question of fear. Forgive me that I lack the time to get into it in depth.

> You do not have to take my explanation of God treating people in a communal fashion in the Tanakh, and individuals in the New Testament. (Although I would encourage you to pick up this study. Quite interesting. Common explanation for the differences between the two Gods. And yes, God DOES overall treat people in a communal sense. Note the punishment for David’s census. Not on David as a person, but )

Do you really want me to tick off the counterexamples? Are you really saying that God never deals with individuals as individuals in the OT?

> What’s your explanation? Why the sudden reversal on signs? Why the change in communication styles?

My explanation is that you are seeing only what you wish to see. Signs happened in the OT and in the NT. They had about the same effect: confirming the faith of those who believe, but not really convincing anybody long-term. I don’t see that communication styles really changed that much either. There are words of encouragement, words of condemnation, words of hope, words of lament, words of praise, throughout both the OT and NT. You are selectively ignoring that which is inconvenient to your explanation.

> The humans that created God imagined a “super-power” that was not afraid.

Impossible, by your own logic. How can we create or even imagine something that is unlike us? If God can’t, we certainly can’t.

> It is only in review and study that we see the natural inclination of having a God act like a human that we see the very human attribute of fear demonstrated.

No. What we see is that you readily pervert what the Bible teaches about God in order to set up false contradictions in order to dismiss him. But I can’t really blame you for this. You must dismiss him, or you would have cause to fear his righteous judgment. Makes me wonder if this thread is really about God's fear, or someone else's? :-)

Blu_Matt said...

Kaffinator said...

"How can we create or even imagine something that is unlike us? If God can’t, we certainly can’t."

Simple really. I can create an invisible pink unicorn with golden hooves and bringy shiny eyes. Oh, and a nice tail. It's also got a matching invisible pink filofax (with gold trim) made of ether to keep all of it's appointments in, because it has a shocking memory for names and faces. But it's impervious to bullets and lasers and name-calling. Oh, and its tail is exactly 370.21 megaparsecs long. Prove that I haven't. It's easy to use one's imagination - making stuff up and writing it down isn't difficult. Hell, even children can do it!

This also contradicts your previous statement "Christians hold that God can create creatures with different qualities than he has (such as his creation of a creature with the capacity to sin)." Nice.

"You are selectively ignoring that which is inconvenient to your explanation."

Hardly. By the standards of your own believe system, your godheads have been fairly conspicuous by their absence in the last couple of thousand years. It's like the blonde one from Abba, except that when people didn't take heed of her unreasonable demands she didn't start killing thousands of people.

"In time, all men will be supplied ample proof."

What's with this "in time" cop-out? Isn't the world ready for more 'truth'? I thought that there wasn't any need for proof, at least for you of that ilk. For what reason is this proof forthcoming? Who needs it? By then, according to your creed - it's already too late for those that don't believe, and all those who've blindly followed the prescribed bronze-age scribblings have already been sucked up by the cosmic vacuum cleaner. Proof at that point is, well, pointless. Give me one reason why now isn't an appropriate time. It'd stop a hell of a lot of the crap happening in the world today, especially the stuff done in the name of your (and other) gods.

"Rev 21 also indicates that those whose names are written in the book of life will be spared."

If you cared to read your book, you'd notice that this clause is a condition of the first, not a separate scoretab that invalidates it. You'd be on the book only if you'd managed to sneak past the auditing in the first clause of the verse. "Indicates" isn't any kind of excuse to me, and I'm sure your god has far harsher criteria than I do.

"If you do not affirm this you believe the universe is entirely amoral and I do not envy you or those close to you if you ever start behaving in concert with your beliefs."

Now this is just messed up. Amoral is not the same as immoral. The universe is amoral (ie without morals), neither good nor bad, vague nor extreme. Do you take issue with the fact that a toaster or a block of cheese or your car or your underwear is amoral? If so, you'd better give up the christianity and take up animism.

That the universe itself has no morality doesn't stop me, nor anyone else, having one. In fact, I have a morality despite the universe: I impose a system of order and consequence on my own life. As with most christian apologist equivalents, you've made the mistake of presuming that a divinely attributed morality is all that can exist. While that's where yours comes from (and that's another topic worthy of separate discussion), mine is self determined and closely matches what's commonly called the Golden Rule. My morality is measured by my behaviour, as is yours. Mine, however, is judged by me, not by a god.

"What we see is that you readily pervert what the Bible teaches about God in order to set up false contradictions in order to dismiss him."

To be frank, what we (atheists) tend to read into the bible is that which is literally there, as this forms the basis for the only evidence of the existence of the christian god - interpretation is moot as this is nothing more than fanciful opinion. And any argument from authority (ie. because a bishop or vicar or pope says that such-and-such is the "official" line) based on such interpretations holds no water with us and is just as invalid.

We have no axe to grind in terms of promoting any particular interpretation (as opposed to, say, catholics and protestants) as it's usually the case that any point we make is from reading the bible directly and literally and drawing the obvious, logical conclusions based on the 'evidence' therein, including the inconsistencies. Anyone who claims to be a christian and denies these blatent and obvious inconsistencies in the bible either is ignorant of what's actually in there - probably having never read it, or only cherry-picked the 'good bits', or has a version edited to support their own beliefs.

"You must dismiss him, or you would have cause to fear his righteous judgment."

Even if your god turned up on Larry King with shining lights and bells aplenty, I wouldn't fear its judgement any more that I do at present: I think your god is a sick, twisted, evil and murderous piece of filth, and would expect nothing less of it.

Kaffinator said...

> I think your god is a sick, twisted, evil and murderous piece of filth, and would expect nothing less of it.

What exactly were you hoping to achieve, Matt, with a post (interrupting the fine discussion I was having with DagoodS) full of inflammatory diatribe like this against the God I worship, the scriptures I regard as His word, and my understanding of the either? You certainly can’t be looking for discussion on the questions. Are you hoping to get some kind of a rise out of me? Are you merely grandstanding, like someone who finds an open mic and can’t help but talk into it? Maybe you’re trying to cause hurt in response to some hurt you feel has been done to you in the name of Christianity? Or simply working off some aggression after a date that went poorly. Who knows. All I can say is, it’s evident that a response of any kind to the points you do raise is likely to be covered up with more of the same emotional response, which gives me rather poor odds of making any positive contribution to your understanding, or receiving any meaningful contribution from the discussion myself.

So with respect I will bow out of any kind of response to you besides this post. Please don’t think I’m trying to dodge issues. I’m simply trying to save time—both yours and mine—which would be wasted on a pointless endeavor.

Blu_Matt said...

"What exactly were you hoping to achieve, Matt, with a post (interrupting the fine discussion I was having with DagoodS) full of inflammatory diatribe like this against the God I worship, the scriptures I regard as His word, and my understanding of the either?"

The only thing that I made mention of that could or should have been considered "inflammatory diatribe" would have been my personal opinion of the god as described in a book that you hold dear. However, this was nothing against you: I have respect for you as a person, I just don't have respect for the dogma of your faith, and my last statement was an (admittedly accidentally inflammatory) expression of that. I hope you can separate the two.

I understand that as the last statement on my reply is probably the main thing that annoyed/upset, but I hope you took the time to read my other contributions to your own reply.

In answer to your positing as to why I may have said such a thing, no, none of the reasons that you could presume are those that caused me to write what I did. I was refuting your reply to dagoods, arguing (in the true sense, not in simply nay-saying) anything you had to say - you had some points that I didn't necessarily reply to as I either a) don't have enough information, b) don't have an opinion, c) disagree but not wish to make a point of it, or d) share your opinion. This is, and always will be, an emotive topic - on both sides. I wasn't trying to cause you personally hurt, and hope you can understand that this was not an ad hominem directed at you.

Of course, this is a public forum for discussion, and I've put my own arguments for the topic at hand into the ring. I'm also at liberty to reply to any other comment, should I choose. If the site owner/moderator thinks that my comment is inappropriate, that's up to them - they can delete it should they choose.

Please see it from my view, if you can: as far as I'm concerned, this is just another character in a book, and any opinion I have is based on the content of the book it appears in. This has nothing to do with you.

It's your prerogative to 'ignore' me if you so choose, I believe in free-speech and opinion. I'll respect your attitude and not reply to you directly any further should you so choose.

Peace.

Rich said...

DagoodS says:
God said to Adam, “…in the day you eat of the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, you shall surely die.” (Gen. 2:17) They didn’t die that day God was not accurate, at the least. Oh, Christian apologists will say that Adam died spiritually but that is reading into the text something that is not there. Might as well say that since “day” in Genesis 1 could be a long, long period time, “day” in Gen 2 could equally be a long, long period of time.

No matter what the problem, always a solution. Well, except the fact that it looks so much like a human resolution to a human-made problem.

There actually could be two explinations to this and you pointed both out already. 1) Gods time reckening is different then ours and his day is longer, 1000 of our years is one of his days. Adam was said to have lived 900+ years sa that he did surely die "in the day of" eating the fruit. Admittedly that sounds rediculous and I don't really think that was implied here.
2) Sprirual death or be out of Gods presence has some evience in the bible writtings. God walked and talked directly with adam and eve up until the fall. After the fall they converse through prayer. So while some may not like the Spriritual death answer it is actually the correct answer.

The serpent did as he always does, he tells half truths that sound logical so they must be right. God did not lie but the serpant did.

DagoodS said...

Kaffinator,

I apologize for the break in the conversation. I find my weekends very busy at the moment, and appreciate your forbearing with me on a late response.

I will try and explain what it means for God to have created fear must mean that He has the capability of being afraid. Kind of a hard thing to wrap one’s hands around. (I know because it is hard to explain.)

The difference between a human artist “creating” and a God is two-fold:

1) First, whatever the artist creates must first exist, even if only in their mind;
2) A human cannot create. While we can paint an invisible pink unicorn (for example) we cannot will one into existence—God can.

Go back before creation of anything—the universe, time, logic, angels. When there was only a God. Everything that existed consisted completely of God. There was nothing outside of God, for which God to compare himself. God knew everything that was ever to exist. For God to conceptualize it, it must have been part of him.

It could not come from outside of him. For God to conceptualize “lack of control” (using your definition of fear) then within God (since there is not thing else) the possibility (whether it came into fruition or not) of “lack of control” must exist. Same with a “negative event.” The only way that fear could spring into existence from the only creature in existence, is to come from the creature itself.

As humans, we understand “scale of knowledge.” I guarantee there are things you know, that I do not. You have “more” on that particular scale. I also realize that I could study, learn, and perhaps eventually learn as much as you in that area, or even surpass you. We look around and gauge all the time as to things some know more, and some know less.

We understand that we can purposely avail ourselves to “know less.” What I know about tax law, for example, you could write on a thumbnail. I deliberately “choose” to not know tax law. We can even forget things we once know. Perhaps voluntarily, if it was a bad situation.

God does not have that ability. God cannot “know less.” If he is all-knowing, prior to creation, the concept of “knowing less” would not even be conceivable. (Warning: if you say he CAN voluntarily “know less” this brings fear MORE in to play, because God could not know, and hence lose control, of a future event.)

We have some of the same limitation. Look in your hand. You can hold something. You can hold a LOT of something, or less or even nothing at all. The one thing you cannot hold is “less than nothing.” There is no such thing. Your mind literally cannot conceive of it. It would be the same with God. If there was no such thing as a negative event for him, and he could never have lose of control, then prior to creation he would have no clue as to how to make something with loss of control, or a negative event. At the least it would have to be possible.

And if it is possible, that opens our eyes to a whole new world with God.

If that doesn’t explain it, write it off to bad communication on my part, and move on. :-)

And humans create things that don’t exist all the time. A God, that is the singularity, if you will, is incapable of creating something that he didn’t conceive of first.

I got the idea of God being limited by looking about me. Can you God sin? Does he have that capability? I can. Can I do more than God? Can your God get “caught off guard”? I can. Can your God laugh at a surprise ending? Can he be tickled? Can he trip? I can do all those things. If God can’t, where did I get the ability from? If God can, then why can’t he fear?

As to Rev. 21, Blu_Matt beat me to it. In order to get in the Book of life, one cannot be one of the eight groups of Rev. 21:8. Rev. 20:12 places the Great White Throne Judgment as being one of works. Within your worldview you have more to fear about death than I do.

Kaffinator, be apprised. I do act as if the universe is non-moral. The Universe could care less whether I help little old ladies cross the street or push them down. However, I also recognize that since the Universe is not going to take care of humanity, I had better give a damn about what direction we take. We are on our own, here. Therefore, I WILL help little old ladies, because some day I will be a little old man, and will need help myself. And if not, then perhaps by example, others will start to care about other humans, and we will have more peace, less war, and a better world.

Am I afraid of death? I will do my best to avoid it! Honestly never been faced with the prospect, but given your definition of “fear,” I would certainly consider it a negative event over which I will have no control—so, yes, in that sense, I fear it.

The problem with the idea that I cannot earn God’s favor, is that you really don’t know. As pointed out, according to Rev. 21:8, if you have lied, you don’t have God’s favor, either. For all we know, the Aztecs got it right, and due to you and I not engaging in human sacrifice, neither of us will have God’s favor!

Mark 4. You say it for some reason it was not fitting for Jesus to provide the entire message to the crowd. But then you immediately follow it up with—“but it was not fear.” If you don’t know the reason, you can’t say you do.

In observing people, I see that when they are afraid, they are less than forthright. They do not want a “negative occurrence” to happen. Jesus was less than forthright. It is very possible, therefore, that he was afraid.

You respond with “I don’t know the reason” Jesus was not forthright. Which is more persuasive, “I don’t know” or “acting in accord with what we observe everyday”?

You convolute the word “create.” When I say humans “create” something, it is an idea, a picture, a concept. We can “create” monkeys flying out of our butts. Doesn’t make it happen. When God “creates” he actually brings into existence.

We, as humans, observe that some people know more than others. Doesn’t take a rocket scientist to come up with the idea of something that knows “everything”—the ultimate knowledge bank. For the sole existing creature, though, to come up with the idea of “knowing less” it must come from within itself, and have the capability to conceptualize “knowing less.” This, an all-knowing God cannot do.

And Kaffinator. I really do not intend to pervert the Bible. Quite the opposite. I enjoy studying it, and viewing it through a variety of spectacles. Including Judaism, fundamentalism, literature, liberalism, and anybody else that wants to step up to the plate. The difference between you and me, is that I am not tied to a dogma. I do not have to fit the Bible into any particular doctrinal belief, and all verses must bend to my will to fit that belief.

Makes the study a whole lot more enjoyable. But I can see why, in a more open view of the Bible, you would think my views are “perversions.” Stating, though the reasons as “I don’t know” does not really progress us on our way.

For example, you response to why did God scramble the languages, place a flaming sword, and turn Lot’s wife to salt. You provided a ”how” by stating this is how God interacts with humans. Yes, I know. I am looking for a ”why” as to why God would do this, if he was not afraid.

Blu_Matt said...

Perhaps a simpler explanation can be found in the first commandment...

Kaffinator said...

Hi Dagood,

No problem about the delay. Just remember, though, it won’t be long before this whole topic drops into blog obscurity, especially if Loftus finds yet another contributor who posts a bunch of weird stuff in two days and then disappears forever.

To recap your argument:

P1) God cannot experience either lack of control or lack of knowledge;
P2) That which one does not personally experience, one cannot conceive of;
P3) That which one cannot conceive of, one cannot create;
C1) Therefore, God could not have fashioned creatures with lack of control or knowledge

I agree with P1 and P3. But your support for P2 is lacking. I still don’t think you have any grounds for limiting God in that way. As you would agree, humans in the arts and sciences regularly conceive of that which we do not presently experience. Sure, my human mind has trouble grasping the notion of a handful of “less than nothing”. My human mind also has problems grasping general relativity, or a four-dimensional tesseract, or any of a number of other abstract concepts. But it simply does not follow that the infinite mind of God would have any trouble with such concepts.

> I got the idea of God being limited by looking about me. Can you God sin? Does he have that capability? I can. Can I do more than God?

In that respect, you can “do more than God”. You can behave in a self-destructive manner. You can act unjustly. You can lie. You can become deluded. You can do more in any respect that makes less of you in the end. God cannot act in such ways, as they are inconsistent with his nature.

> As to Rev. 21, Blu_Matt beat me to it. In order to get in the Book of life, one cannot be one of the eight groups of Rev. 21:8. Rev. 20:12 places the Great White Throne Judgment as being one of works. Within your worldview you have more to fear about death than I do.

My eternal security is rooted in the righteousness of Christ. As God accepts his own Son, he accepts me, along with anyone else who he calls. Perhaps he is calling you, too.

> However, I also recognize that since the Universe is not going to take care of humanity, I had better give a damn about what direction we take.

Wait, I thought you believed the Universe created us through undirected processes? So basically, It has taken care of us thus far. At what point did The Universe hand you the reigns?

> Therefore, I WILL help little old ladies, because some day I will be a little old man, and will need help myself. And if not, then perhaps by example, others will start to care about other humans, and we will have more peace, less war, and a better world.

Ah, such altruistic idealism. Now, I can hardly speak against helping old ladies. But I wonder if you realize that your approach differs from Karl Marx’s only in technique. He thought the world would be better off if the workers owned the means of production and shared everything equally. That went well. Or, that your approach differs from Adolf Hitler’s only in its definition of who exactly should be considered “human” and therefore who exactly should inherit a “better world”. Another raging success. How do you know you aren’t similarly benefiting humanity?

> In observing people, I see that when they are afraid, they are less than forthright. They do not want a “negative occurrence” to happen. Jesus was less than forthright. It is very possible, therefore, that he was afraid.

P1) When people are afraid they sometimes obscure the truth
P2) Jesus obscured the truth
C1) Jesus was possibly afraid

That is just really tenuous reasoning. But because it suited your thesis you went ahead and assumed that’s what Mark 4 is teaching. You are not interpreting the scripture, you are writing in what is convenient to you to make your point. Not that Christians never do this, but that doesn’t make the practice any less wrong as a means of understanding what was written.

> And Kaffinator. I really do not intend to pervert the Bible. Quite the opposite. I enjoy studying it, and viewing it through a variety of spectacles. Including Judaism, fundamentalism, literature, liberalism, and anybody else that wants to step up to the plate. The difference between you and me, is that I am not tied to a dogma. I do not have to fit the Bible into any particular doctrinal belief, and all verses must bend to my will to fit that belief.

I too can look at the Bible from other points of view as a mental exercise. If you can do this, I commend you, it is a useful skill. But do not give me this hogwash that you are not tied to a dogma. You believe God does not exist. Correspondingly you believe the Bible, and all notions about God, are human products. Instead, because of the dogma you have adopted, you seek to find hints all over the place suggesting God is afraid of something (which even you admit is not actually taught anywhere) just so you can set up a logical contradiction in the nature of God. Don’t feel bad though, lots and lots of people seem to take the same “Bible-as-silly-putty” approach.

> But I can see why, in a more open view of the Bible, you would think my views are “perversions.” Stating, though the reasons as “I don’t know” does not really progress us on our way.

Well, perhaps “perversions” was the wrong term. “Highly dubious insertions” might capture my complaint better :-). And, I apologize not to have a ready explanation of the Mark 4 passage. Perhaps one day I will have a better understanding and can help you out. For now I see it as something of a rarity and not a passage to build a whole fear-based theology out of.

> For example, you response to why did God scramble the languages, place a flaming sword, and turn Lot’s wife to salt. You provided a ”how” by stating this is how God interacts with humans. Yes, I know. I am looking for a ”why” as to why God would do this, if he was not afraid.

If someone takes a course of action in order to bring about desired results, this does not necessarily imply fear. And if almighty God has every confidence that his purposes will be accomplished, he has no reason to fear, because no other outcome is within the realm of possibility.

paul said...

Kaffinator,
"if almighty God has every confidence that his purposes will be accomplished, he has no reason to fear, because not other outcome is within the realm of possibility."

Looking at the bigger picture, wouldn't that mean, for instance, that the majority of the human population spending eternity in hell is his purpose(majority because for some reason "the way is narrow and hard and few find it"). So, it was his purpose for sin and suffering (and the resultant eternal hell) to come into the world, because had it not been his intent, "no other outcome is within the realm of possibility," thus we would have a God who can fear?

DagoodS said...

Kaffinator,

I’m not so quick on “P1’s” and “P2’s” so bear with me. I would frame it (trying again) as follows:

P1: At one time God was the sole entity in existence.
P2: Everything that existed must have been within God.
P3: For God to conceive it, the possibility must exist.
P4: For God to create it another entity, it must first be conceivable by God.

(There is more to P4 that I should stretch out, if you prefer.)

C1: Everything in creation, the possibility in God must exist.

Nowhere have I ever stated that God must experience it. Just have the capability to experience it. Whether God HAS or HAS NOT experienced it, we cannot verify!

You may disagree with P3, but are you claiming that God can conceive, but not actualize, the impossible? And then create this thing He cannot possibly do, in a created? How does that work?

So, still sticking with the “P’s”

P6: If God created humans with the possibility of fear, then God must have the possibility of fear.
P7: We cannot know if God’s fear has ever been actualized.
C2: We do not know if God has fear or not.

The only thing I can do is read the stories of the various people that proposed a God concept, and see if, what I would call “fear” in a human, is present in this story.

I may have tenuous reasoning behind why the examples I gave—the flaming sword, the scramble of languages, Jesus’ refusal to explain to the crowd—as examples of God being afraid, but you have given no reasons whatsoever, other than “God is what God is.” What I see is a God, created by humans, with the unsurprising human characteristic of fear. Your alternative boils down to “Nu-uh.”

You appear to want your cake and eat it too. You think God “cares” for us, because you see humans that care for each other. Since the created care, the creator must as well. You think God has a purpose, because humans act with purpose. Since the created have purpose, the creator must as well. You think there are moral laws, because you see humans that prefer morality over immorality. Since the created strive for morality, the creator must as well.

But when I point the spotlight on “fear” and, using the exact same pattern, say the created has fear, the creator must as well; you throw it in reverse and exclaim it is not possible. No reason why, mind you, just not possible. Unfortunately, there is no way for you to verify this claim. None. If God WAS afraid, and hid that in acts of power, it would look exactly like the God of the Bible.

You are correct that I am only one step away from a Karl Marx or Adolph Hitler. Correspondingly, I am equally only one step away from a Jesus Christ, or Gandhi. See, we are all human, and make choices. One or two steps in either direction, and a whole different outlook. I do not have the audacity to claim a moral system based upon a God that other humans told me about. I am stuck attempting to persuade other humans why they should, or should not do something for humanity’s sake, not from some mandate from some human shouting how they have the ear of God.

Think about the humor of this situation. I can talk against slavery. I can attempt, and cajole, and argue against the inhuman treatment of others, and why slavery is wrong. Christian’s can’t. The Bible is quite clear slavery is acceptable. If Christians want the mandate from God regarding morality, they are stuck with the total picture. And part of that being slavery is, at the least, non-moral.

In the choices of life I make, I can become a Josef Stalin, or an Abraham Lincoln. No matter how they twist and turn, a Christian is stuck perpetually at the level of a slave-trader.

But do not give me this hogwash that you are not tied to a dogma. You believe God does not exist. Correspondingly you believe the Bible, and all notions about God, are human products.

Wrong order, my friend. On this blog I am solely about debunking evangelical Christianity. Hence a great deal of discussion focuses around the Bible, so I could understand why this would be portrayed.

I am convinced by the evidence that the Bible is a human product, and therefore the God of Christianity does not exist. But that does not, in any way, shape or form, eliminate a God from existing. I talk about THAT part of atheism elsewhere. Not here.

Here is the perpetual problem, Kaffinator. I once thought the Bible was divine. I could not imagine anyone believing it more than I. I became convinced by the presentation of evidence, and the inability to refute that evidence persuasively, that it was not.

Having been willing to change from considering it divine to not, I see no reason why I could not change back. Just show me the evidence. Demonstrate that this Book is divine. Demonstrate that the God of Christianity stands out from all the other Gods that have come and gone over the years.

All you have said, to my questions about what God was afraid of at the Tower of Babel is “God is not afraid.” You have yet to say the why as to why God scrambled the languages. To your credit, you honestly admit that Mark 4 is problematic, and you do not have a solution. But that does not make the verses go away. Worse, if Jesus was being enigmatic face to face, He could equally have done so when inspiring the written word.

These are problems that lack a persuasive answer from the Christian.

If I AM tied to a dogma, it is this—I can only believe that which I am convinced is true. Yes, I am convinced the Bible is a human product. Show me I am wrong. Persuade me. You have God, the creator, the sole divine creature in the Universe on your side. All I have is my human brain. You should trounce me in such a debate!

Yet what I see are two humans discussing what other humans made-up, using equally human abilities. Nothing divine about it.

Kaffinator said...

Hi Dagood,

> P2: Everything that existed must have been within God.

No, no, no. This is called “pantheism”. Christians have always asserted that God’s divine nature is distinct from creation.

> I may have tenuous reasoning behind why the examples I gave—the flaming sword, the scramble of languages, Jesus’ refusal to explain to the crowd—as examples of God being afraid, but you have given no reasons whatsoever, other than “God is what God is.” What I see is a God, created by humans, with the unsurprising human characteristic of fear. Your alternative boils down to “Nu-uh.”

You see God taking specific actions and attribute this to fear. When you see a guy buying a newspaper do you attribute his actions to fear? When you see a lady walk her dog, do you conclude she does so out of fear? There is no need to invoke fear when a free agent wills something to occur to achieve a desired end. Fear happens when the free agent does not feel assured of a positive outcome and I have repeatedly argued that we have no reason to think that God is not completely assured of the outcome. If you think this is a non-response then I guess we’re done because I have nothing more to add.

> Think about the humor of this situation. I can talk against slavery. I can talk against slavery. I can attempt, and cajole, and argue against the inhuman treatment of others, and why slavery is wrong. […] No matter how they twist and turn, a Christian is stuck perpetually at the level of a slave-trader.

First, I think there are forms of slavery which are morally acceptable. For example, we regularly require convicted felons to work for unbelievably low wages. In effect they are slaves.

Second, you cannot really argue against slavery unless you appeal to a higher standard of right and wrong to which we both assent. Otherwise you are merely expressing your opinion; you might as well argue for the immorality of strawberry ice cream.

Thirdly, to say that Christians cannot rely on Biblical precepts to argue against racially motivated oppression demonstrates a remarkable ignorance of both scripture and history. If you want to learn about abolition, look up William Wilberforce sometime.

> Having been willing to change from considering [the Bible] divine to not, I see no reason why I could not change back. Just show me the evidence. Demonstrate that this Book is divine. Demonstrate that the God of Christianity stands out from all the other Gods that have come and gone over the years.

Whether one can prove to a skeptic that the Bible is divine, or the Christian God true, are much bigger issues. Interesting ones, too, but lack of time prevents me from attempting to attempt such a tour de force here. Perhaps in the future. I wish you well, Dagood.

DagoodS said...

Kaffinator,

That is why I should NEVER use “P’s” Every single one was pre-creation. Not pantheism, but a moment in time (prior to time) when God alone existed. Sorry for the confusion.

When I see a man buying a newspaper I do not attribute it to fear. When I see a man buying a newspaper so that someone else does not buy it I begin to question. When I see a man place a flaming sword in front of a newspaper, for the specified stated purpose that he does not want others to read it, I justifiably wonder if there is fear.

When I see a man tear up a newspaper, because he thinks if the people read there is “nothing they could not accomplish once they set their mind to it” I wonder why he doesn’t want people to accomplish things, and wonder if it is fear.

When I see a man deliberately mis-read the newspapers to others, to prevent them from a benefit, I most certainly attribute that to fear. Why wouldn’t the man want others to benefit?

You still have not given us a reason as to why God won’t let us read the newspaper, why God tore up the newspaper, nor why God deliberately failed to provide all the information in the newspaper.

All you say is that God was to achieve a “desired end” without telling us what that end was. Because you don’t know. I say that humans made up the stories because they unwittingly projected their own fear into the story of God.

I wish you well, too, Kaffinator. Good discussion.

Anonymous said...

Obviously Jesus and God fears, that humans will find out that Jesus AND God are actually evil, nit humans!

I've considred this long time, and i've made conclusion that God dosn't want that humanity will know truth.

Truth being that God isn't loving, merciful, parental God at all, but murderous, bloodthirsty, sadistic killer who's greatest delight is slaughter and bloodshed.

Of course, we have Old Testament, so why would God want to secure that knowledge?

I don't know.

But i know, that God should take new name:

Khorne.