Why I am an Agnostic: The Bible as a Domain of Knowledge


"In my walk with God, I thought I found him but I was wrong. If he were there I would have found him, unless he were hiding."

I present this diagram and explanation because I have seen several times Believers lamenting that they just want to see how an atheist thinks. While I don't consider myself an Atheist, I definitely have properties of one, so the label fits well enough for practical purposes. I can't speak for everyone but this is how I think. Johns Book review and follow on Article gave me the impetus I needed to come to grips with an idea that had been bubbling on my back burner for a while. I had alluded to it several times in articles and comments but had never made it coherent. It was an internal thought process that I had never tried to put into words or explain before. Hopefully this will show, contrary to claims from believers, that I do not want god to be a trick pony, and that there is evidence that would convince me of his existence and why it is not reasonable for me to commit to the Idea of a god.

If we say that the Bible represents a domain of Knowledge (A) and it contains knowledge that we can perceive (B) as well as knowledge that we can't perceive, then there is a portion of the knowledge of A and B that we can validate. If we set about a process of validation then the parts that we cannot validate or are shown to be false will fall outside our sphere of commitment (C). As we validate, invalidate or find inconclusive, our sphere of commitment will move either inside or outside the Domain of A. There will come a time when the sphere or commitment falls far enough outside the Domain of A that the person cannot reasonably commit to the domain of A. This depends on the acceptance of the types of evidence that the person is willing to commit to. In my case, the kind of evidence that I require prevents my sphere from moving towards A. I think my requirement for evidence is pretty simple. I want a god to be non-ambiguous and/or irrefutable. Not that I want it to make me a robot, but I do want it to present its case or evidence so that it would be unreasonable for me not to accept it. I have to say that my walk with god was a lot like a walk with chance. That idea occurred to me while I was praying one day.

Now this raises the question, if I am wrong, is god justified in sending me to hell. He has the burden of proof. Compared to a god I am stupid, worthless and weak. I should be easy to convince.

Here is how to say it in a more nerdy way. It is a reprint from a comment I made in Johns follow on article.

In an inquiry, when an argument from ignorance has investigated a domain looking for a true proposition and does not find one, then the argument from ignorance turns into an argument from knowledge.
The more you search through a knowledge base, the more you know about it until you know enough about it to say whether a given proposition is true or not.

- If I had an older brother I would know about it. Robert C. Moore calls this type of reasoning Autoepistemic Reasoning.
- I did not find my dog in my house, if he were in my house, I would have found him.

Another way to say it is as follows.
D is a domain of knowledge, K is a knowledge base in D.
It has not been established that all true propositions in D are contained in K.
A is a special type of proposition such that if A were true, A would normally or usually be expected to be in K.
A is in D.
A is not in K.
For all A in D, A is either true or false.
Therefore it is plausible to presume that A is false (subject to further investigations in D).
Walton, Douglas N. 1996. Arguments from Ignorance. Pennsylvania State University Press. P.149.

29 comments:

Anonymous said...

Lee, I confess ignorance - I don't understand this - especially the statement, "I did not find my dog in the house, if he were in my house, I would have found him."

My dog is particularly clever (remember, he's the one that can leap on top of one of my SUV's and likes to pose there).

So the above referenced comment seems presumptuous that I would be an expert seeker, when in fact, I may not be as clever as my dog (that is humbling to admit, but unfortunately, true! :-)

Relationally speaking, looking for a dog involves both the ability of the dog to be discovered or hidden and the ability of the person looking to find him.

I trust you'll alert me if I am on the wrong track, okay?

In regards to faith, we are supposed to think for ourselves - that's in the bible somewhere but it also just makes for more interesting interactions to relate to independent thinkers. Nonbelief for me was a necessary state in order for me to process a lot of input that I had adopted that was no longer life giving for me.

I have grown to be grateful for the practice of mutual mercy between humankind - not a very common practice.
Thanks! Anon 1035

Lee Randolph said...

Hi Anon 1035,
Nice to hear from you again.
You are on the right track and the 'expert seeker' is the weak spot in the argument.
To be an expert seeker, you would have to be 'qualified' enough to be able to look through the domain at all propositions.
But these analogies were only meant to explain this concept of the knowledge base and when the argument from ignorance becomes an argument from knowledge.

To say that god doesn't exist because I can't comprehend it would be an example of an argument from ignorance. In the same way it would be an argument from ignorance that life must involve a god because life is too complex not to. Well, this could be a circular argument too, but in any case hopefully you get the point.

What I meant was that if the thought occurred to me or if someone told me that I had an older brother, I have the means to find out within a reasonable doubt if I had a brother. I have my experience and I have my parents to ask.

In the case of the Dog, if I wondered if my dog was in my house or someone told me he was, then I can look through the house and determine within a reasonable doubt if the dog was in the house.

In the case that the dog would hide from me in the house, then it has made the commitment not to come to me (probably because he thinks its time to clean his ears!).
In the case that he is on the SUV that would be evidence that I was right and he is not in my house. But the question, and the claim, was only, if he is in the house.

Every time I look in a room or in closet or cabinet and I do not find my dog, I have positive knowledge that he wasn't in the room, closet or cabinet. Once I have positive knowledge that the proposition that "maybe he is in the closet" is false, I can scratch it off the list of my domain of knowledge or list of possibilities and move on. There will come a point when I have not checked places like on top of the bathroom cabinet or in the pill bottles, but it would not be reasonable to do so since it is not likely that is where he would be.

Basically all I am saying with the diagram is that, once I made the commitment to dig in a be a Christian, I reasoned that the only way anyone knows anything about Jesus, and God was through the Bible. If the Bible didn't exist, all one could say is "I believe there is a god because the world is too complex to have happened on its own". At that point you could attribute it to the 'spirit of the wind' or Brahma, Shiva and Vishnu. The bible is your domain of knowledge about god, and it makes claims.

One claim it makes is that god wants to have a relationship with us, and he forgives us of our sins. Since that is the case it doesn't follow that he would hide from a seeker, expert or not. This supports the weak spot in my argument. Since I may not be an expert seeker, but I seek anyway as well as I am able, then if the other participant is interested in being found, then they should stop hiding or accept the fact hat the seeker will eventually stop seeking. At that point, the hiding participant is not justified in punishing the seeker because the hider has not met the obligation to be found at some point.

Hope this helps.

Jarrod said...

I enjoyed the post, and it touches on stuff I've been thinking about.

I just want to ask something. How do you respond to the whole "But the non-believer hasn't actually searched the whole house" line? This seems like the Christian's psychological claim against non-believers: non-believers say Christians are deluded, and Christians say non-believers haven't looked for God in the right way.

It's something I want to say, in fact. Risking continuing the analogy in a way that's just plain false - Let's say the dog is in the house in a certain room which is behind a door that doesn't appear like all the other doors. Because of very specific ideas of what proper doors look like, the searcher doesn't ever go into this room, and he's left after his search with the impression that there is no dog in the house. But really, the searcher didn't find the dog because the searcher had misplaced confidence in his ability to discern proper doors.

It seems old-hat when I lay it out like that, but I'm curious about what you think. In real life, the issue is not at all as clear-cut as houses and doors. All the same, how do you respond to claims that non-believers haven't found God because they haven't searched correctly?

John W. Loftus said...

The truth is that if God exists and wants to hide himself from us, then we cannot find him no matter how hard we try.

But with threats of hell if we don't find him, it makes a mockery out of a perfectly loving God, if this is the case.

I find the whole scenerio to be a cruel hide and seek game where the lucky ones who were born into Christian cultures down through the centuries had a great chance of finding him, whereas those who weren't so lucky, don't have much of a chance at all.

Lee Randolph said...

Hi Jarrod,
my response to the christian is pretty much what John said, and what I told anon1035. That if the bible is right and god wants a relationship with us, then he has an obligation to do his part, which I assert is to make a commitment and not be so ambiguous and cut a 'seeker' some slack. Its like I said, If he were there, I would have found him, and no one can reasonably dispute that.

Lee Randolph said...

Hi Jarrod,
I forgot something.

In my mind, I have studied the bible enough and learned enough about the world that in my eyes the bible is discredited. Does it make sense that all the stuff I can't understand is true and MOST of the stuff that I can understand is false or questionable? God or no god, the bible is a mess, I can show it is a mess, and I don't trust it.
One mans mess is another mans treasure.

Anonymous said...

Hi Lee! It's good to talk to you again too. I was sad that I posted yesterday - I didn't see Dagood's post about the moment of silence until afterward. I'm on a pretty strict news diet so I appreciate the awareness here.

I'm also sad if someone has placed the burden of faith or lack of on a seeker's abilities - "nonbelievers haven't found God because they haven't searched correctly." Ouch! Not exactly the good news! If I were to paraphrase that statement, it would sound more like the "Badpel" - "you aren't good enough to find God". That claim is from human nature, not divine.(there are lots of little insidious corruptions of the gospel message, most often, relgious people make the message sound like, "I don't really like you, but maybe I can fix you up so I can like you." Another Ouch!)

I think that is an example of pride and some practice religion in such a way that it insidiously undermines the value of the display God offered in the life of Jesus and pride also seeks to devalue people as well.

Lee, I too have shared your opinion of the Bible before - pretty messy! But what I didn't realize is that a lot of Jesus's words were prophetic about the difference between God's way and Man's way. Once I realized that it was safe to be contrite and humbled before God, that He really didn't want to condemn me or hold a grudge against me, I started to heal and from that standpoint (which happened outside of a church setting) I was able to revisit the bible and began to see the truth in it. There are both divine and human natures portrayed there. My biggest crime was putting too much weight on the words and actions of people who did not know how to love in faith and had me living in the wrong house (no wonder I kept losing my dog in there! :-) ).

Lee, if it weren't for scripture, do you think you would have a better chance of believing in a loving God? I trust you'll help me if I'm wrong here, but I don't think the first followers of Jesus could have had bibles like we have nowadays.

I better get going for now - hope to talk to you again soon!
Anon 1035

Jarrod said...

"Does it make sense that all the stuff I can't understand is true and MOST of the stuff that I can understand is false or questionable?"

That seems nicely said. I can't comment more at this time, but I'll keep thinking about it. Thanks, both, for the responses.

Lee Randolph said...

Hi anon 1035,
I didn’t have the time I wanted to tighten this up, but here’s what I have to give.

Lee, if it weren't for scripture, do you think you would have a better chance of believing in a loving God?
No because at that point it becomes an opinion and a feeling.
I trust you'll help me if I'm wrong here, but I don't think the first followers of Jesus could have had bibles like we have nowadays.
they had the Jewish scriptures of which Jesus thought moses wrote the first five books. He said so. But he was wrong. How does that happen?

I have a discussion similar to this one with chris in the Bible as truth thread. Maybe you guys might want to team up on me in there because what I am going to say to you is pretty much what I am going to say to him.

I did believe in a loving god. Then, when I realized that scripture was not internally consistent, I then became an apologist to try to figure it out, studied the lexicons, the apologetics literature, the weak arguments, in some cases outright misrepresentation of data, I wondered why it was so ambiguous, why it wasn’t more clear, why the prophecies were not more detailed, specific,etc, etc, etc. My biggest puzzle was the following.

If god helped write the various scriptures, how could they not agree on so many things? If the Holy Spirit exists, how could it not preserve the integrity of scripture. The only way I could see that happening is if god didn’t have any thing to do with it, but in my Christian days that was not a option. I thought to myself I must have a misunderstanding.

Once I started to relax my inerrency posture, sliding into the less fundamental posture, I couldn’t rationalize it. I thought it was extremely dishonest to have to overlook things and decide what is metaphorical and what is not. At that point it is a subjective task and the truth depends on the observer. One verse means one thing to one Christian and another verse means another to another Christian. To me an obvious indicator that Christianity is wrong is the fact that there are catholics and protestants and so many divisions in them. Ever had an argument with a Christian over ‘once saved always saved’, ‘is baptism necessary to get into heaven’, ‘infant baptism’, ‘do suicides go to hell’, ‘is there a pergutory’, etc, etc, etc,

So without the bible whats left? Experience. Feelings of spirituality.
Without the Bible there is no way to know the characteristics of the entity that is supposedly causing these ‘experiences’ a person is having. It could be the ‘wind spirit’ or one of the Hindu gods for all you know.

Compare that to the scientific method / critical thinking which is the same here as it is in Iran, or China or India or England. I wouldn’t be surprised if there are more people committed to using the scientific method or critical thinking than any religion. You can use the scientific method in addition to religion. It can live together (in some cases) in the same head as a Christian, muslim, hindu and Buddhist. It is a philosophy that demonstrates how useful it is everyday, there is no doubt that you have a good chance at getting at the truth using the scientific method whether you are looking for your car keys, your dog, or you are looking for the beginning of the universe. It makes predictions about things that are found to be correct. It adds value to life. It extends life. It adds comfort to the sick and weak. It gives opportunity to the disabled. In a lot of ways it does what Christianity is supposed to do. The only spirit in it is enthusiasm for learning, to improve things and sound reasoning. That’s human spirit. To me ‘spirit’ is another word for enthusiasm.
Are there truths to be discovered using Christianity? A Truth that is open to interpretation is not really a truth is it? Its an opinion.

Anonymous said...

Hi Lee!

Thanks so much for the thoughtful response.

I used to also be a nonbeliever and I used to place hope in the human spirit, but it left a bit of a schismatic perspective - I would constantly be trying to weigh how humanity could be both so good while simultaneously witnessing the evils of the world come through us. How does one reconcile such a dichotomy without denying the truth?

Jesus said to eat His body and drink His blood - people were offended because they knew He was referring to us as cannibalistic - but so often, on emotional and mental and spiritual levels, that is exactly the truth. Sure, most of us do not resort to gunning down people when we are repeatedly abused, but it doesn't change the fact that murderers most likely were murdered spiritually, emotionally and mentally before ever picking up a weapon to kill.

Now, Lee, I don't know about you, but whenever I've humbled myself to another, with an admission of guilt, that can be extremely risky business - not edifying at all! Admission of guilt or contrition can be exploited by those who like to "lord" over other people and keep a record of wrongs to manipulate and overpower those in their time of weakness. NOt so with God - the power of God is that when I came to Him in contrition and guilt, He met me with the fattened calf banquet.

I agree that many people are opinionated and arrogant about it (that is a suffering all of its own!) but that is different than faith and conviction. You mentioned that all that is left beyond scripture is experience and spiritual feelings - why do you relegate that to a position of "only"?! Those are the very ingredients of life and not for devaluing..

Lee, I appreciate your patience and kindnesses in responding - I do value your writings and the time you invest in doing so. Thanks!

Anon 1035

Anonymous said...

Lee, I forgot to insert something about how Jesus said to eat His body and drink His blood - how many times does religion change the message to "pretend to be good in front of God and then turn and mistreat your fellow man?" That is a corruption of the gospel!! Jesus intended for us to bring our most base and honest feelings to Him so that we can receive healing and not be tempted to turn and mistreat ourselves and others. That is the good news - that God is not offended by us but knows how we can be tempted to mistreat one another. He sees us as weak children but we try to pretend that we're strong because we're afraid He'll treat us like other people do.

That's enough for now - thanks again!

Anon 1035

Lee Randolph said...

Hi anon 1035,
I don't know what else to say. My position is that I don't trust the bible and I don't trust feelings or experience that cannot be validated. Obviously I advocate this view. In the case of picking an mp3 player, non-validated feelings and experience are not a big deal, but living a life based on it is a big deal. I'm afraid I don't have anything more to add and I suggest we will just have to agree to disagree.

Anonymous said...

Okay, Lee, but I sure wish I could be a better conveyor of God's love - I'm sorry!

Anon 1035

Lee Randolph said...

Don't be sorry,
You've done a great job. I look forward to talking to you where ever you show up!

Anonymous said...

Lee, after I wrote, "I'm sorry" I thought of something - does that make me an apologist?? :-)
Anon 1035

Lee Randolph said...

Why yes I think it does!

live-n-grace said...

I must have to say that was a good discussion between you two.

Another important thing:
somebody above said something like: "Only the lucky ones are saved"

In some ways that is true. I always find myself looking back and saying how lucky I was to find God, and to be born in a Christian family. I wonder where I would be at now without God, and that makes me thank him all the more. The most important thing is, though: "Why do any of us deserve to be saved?" God has no reason to save us, except because of his love, grace, compassion, and mercy he made a way for us to be saved.

I also loved how Anon 1035 said:
Admission of guilt or contrition can be exploited by those who like to "lord" over other people and keep a record of wrongs to manipulate and overpower those in their time of weakness. NOt so with God - the power of God is that when I came to Him in contrition and guilt, He met me with the fattened calf banquet.

He will remember our sins no more!

Lee Randolph said...

Hi live-n-grace,
thanks for the kind words. I enjoyed the conversation as well. It reassures me that I am not wasting my time when I see someone say something like you said.

But one more thing, when you say that you are lucky to find god, and other people aren't. Isn't that odd? On the contrary, you guys must have been chosen for some reason, while a guy like me searched to the point of obsession and came up with squat.

I warn you, that when you start accepting 'luck' and 'chance' into your Christian view, you have loosened a thread that may just be your undoing.

It occured to me in prayer one day that my walk with god was a lot like a walk with luck.

Anonymous said...

Hi Lee and live-n!

Freedom and luck are two different things - luck is random and unpredictable while freedom is spontaneous and rooted in trust. (I used to view free spirited people as those who would leave others feeling abandoned and rejected but in truth, that sort of "freedom" really is just a manifestation of fear of intimacy). God is a free spirit but rooted in love for us, who doesn't abandon us, but if He leaves us, it is to create a future for us - kind of like a loving father who goes off to work, but you know and trust that he is coming back. There are some (shepherds) who go along with Christ to construct the Kingdom of heaven. I know it's difficult to understand when there are not a lot of people who demonstrate this.

Thanks so much!

live-n-grace said...

Hi Lee,

I think you misunderstood me about the luck thing. Of course it isn't a iny miny miney moe (spelling?) idea. There just isn't a word a phrase that I find could fit in their. If you look back and substitute grateful for lucky, you will see what I was trying to get to. It's also like this: Galatians 6:
"May I never boast in anything except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world."

"On the contrary, you guys must have been chosen for some reason, while a guy like me searched to the point of obsession and came up with squat."

You don't have to look far to find the truth and love.
Psalm 8:
"From the lips of children and infants you have ordained praise because of your enemies, to silence the foe and the avenger."

Even children can understand God, much more than a lot of people. This shows that it is not something to be in need to search of. Rather:
Revelations 3:
"Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me."

Jesus wants to be with you, and in this sense in your heart. He is knocking at the door.

Finally and most importantly, 2 Corinthians 4:

3And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. 4The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. 5For we do not preach ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus' sake. 6For God, who said, "Let light shine out of darkness," made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.

Lee Randolph said...

Even children can understand God, much more than a lot of people. This shows that it is not something to be in need to search of.
I guess Jesus was wrong and you are right?.
Matthew 7:7-8 - Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened. (NIV)

Matthew 6:33 - But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. (NIV)

a quick trip around the internet searching for 'seek and ye shall find'

here is a devotional that talks about seeking for god
http://daily.presbycan.ca/devotions/2004/04-11-18.html

here are 'practical steps in your search for god'
http://www.iamnext.com/spirituality/searchgod.html

Someone should straighten them out.

Jesus wants to be with you, and in this sense in your heart. He is knocking at the door.
If it was Jesus, and it was real, how is it that after a while it seemed I was wrong. How is it that a god can be so ambiguous and make itself appear so similar to chance and so 'invisible' (non-present), so indistinguishable from wishful thinking that I started to doubt? When he saw it happening didn't he have a moral obligation in this relationship to do something?

3And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. 4The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.
So does this mean that god has blinded me? Then how do you account for the fact that I 'Went Blind' from being a believer? What is the mechanism for that? It seems the mechanism was that when I took it in and didn't question it, it was all right. When I didn't know what the bible said and didn't know there were inconsistencies it was all right. Once I started comparing parts of it to each other it started conflicting with itself and did not reflect what is true about the world, for example four legged winged creatures, etc. The more I studied the bible the less I believed it. There is a saying "one way to become and atheist is to read the bible". This was true for me. So now that I am an unbeliever, I should never get a second chance. But aren't there atheists that have converted? How does that happen? Aren't there believers that became atheists and then decided they were wrong and went back to being a believer? How does that happen?

5For we do not preach ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus' sake. 6For God, who said, "Let light shine out of darkness," made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.
But we know that Jesus predicted he would come back before his apostles died and it didn't happen. And we know that he believed that Moses wrote the Pentateuch and we know that can't be true.
So why should I believe Jesus? He doesn’t have a very good batting average for a god. For a human yes, but a god no, or do I have a misconception?

Lee Randolph said...

Hi live-in-grace,
I forgot something that I wanted some clarification for from you.
Even children can understand God, much more than a lot of people. This shows that it is not something to be in need to search of.
The mind of a child is cognitively unsophisticated compared to an adult.
Here is a link that discusses it
http://www.childdevelopmentinfo.com/development/piaget.shtml
So what is it about children that makes them so perceptive about god?

Anonymous said...

Hi Lee! When I read your last comment, I saw the answer to the question you posed: "so what is it about children that makes them so perceptive about god?"

And then you said,"The mind of a child is cognitively unsophisticated compared to an adult."

That is is - their innocence, their helplessness and neediness - their genuine and authentic expression - their lack of pretense - their willingness to accept and embrace - their trust.

That in essence, is faith, but unless pointed toward and connected to a loving parent, can be abused and corrupted.

Good to talk to you again, Lee!

Anon 1035

live-n-grace said...

First off, there is a HUGE difference between seeking God and looking for the truth. You need to seek God dail, to talk with him, and pray, but you don't have to look and study very far to find the truth.

Just a clarification question, did you ever truly ask Jesus into your heart?

Also, "the god of this age" is satan. He has blinded you and the light of the gospel is invisible to you. However, Jesus is still there, knocking, waiting, wanting to save you.

Also, if you read that section, you will realize it says those who have seen these things, this generation that has seen these things, will not pass away. The apostles never saw those things, but everyday it becomes more apparent.

Yes, the child brain is unsophisticated. That was my point. The truth of God is so very simple that a child can understand it. I understood when I was a child, that Jesus died for me and I believed in him. That's it. Another way to say it is faith, as Anon 1035 said. While there are some men who say: God creator of the universe and all things, and I who deny you, why dont YOU come to ME so that I can decide if you're real. Show ME something.

He gave his son for us, so that we might become his righteousness, and not only find pleasure here, but eternal pleasures at his right hand.

Lee Randolph said...

Hi anon 1035 and live-in-grace.

Anon1035 said: That is is - their innocence, their helplessness and neediness - their genuine and authentic expression - their lack of pretense - their willingness to accept and embrace - their trust. That in essence, is faith, but unless pointed toward and connected to a loving parent, can be abused and corrupted.

live-in-grace said: Yes, the child brain is unsophisticated. That was my point. The truth of God is so very simple that a child can understand it. I understood when I was a child, that Jesus died for me and I believed in him. That's it. Another way to say it is faith, as Anon 1035 said.

Have you committed to a child-like faith? Is that what matt 18:2-4 says to do?
It was easy to get you to believe in santa clause wasn’t' it? Easter bunny? Things under your bed, in your closet, in the dark? Once you got older you figured out that there was nothing to it. No evidence for any of it. Children are very egocentric. Children don't have the ability to think well. It develops as their brains develop. As their brains develop, their ability to reason develops and gets more sophisticated, able to handle more information and think in more abstract ways. Able to 'get outside the box' of being egocentric. I would think this is what a god would want, for us not to be egocentric. I would think that if god is true It would be able to withstand scrutiny in a kind of no-brainer way even better as we get outside that egocentric box. Instead it appears that if you don't have a lot of information or can't manipulate a lot of information in your head, it is easier to believe. Is this a natural process or supernatural? Is it nature or satan? Is " the god of this age" a euphemism for 'reason'? Am I blinded by the fact that I did research and investigated claims and looked for corroboration, made an honest search for the truth instead of ignoring information and 'pushing my I believe button'?

I think the truth should stand up to scrutiny. The truth does stand up to scrutiny. If it doesn't, its not the truth is it? The world is not flat, there are no sea monsters, there are no canals on mars, insanity is not caused by spirits, blood-letting is not a cure, etc, etc, etc…

I think it is dishonest to not question and look for verification but to believe dogmatically. That kind of thinking doesn't work in the real world, so why should god set up his infrastructure that way? It is a very poor infrastructure for a belief system, and not worthy of a god. There must be some other explanation.

Also, the whole reward system is very egocentric. How can a person honestly say they love god and are doing the right thing out of love for god when they know that if they don't they are going to hell?

If I were god I would have said that you don't get anything but the self satisfaction of knowing that you are helping your fellow man, then we'll see how many people love me. Not many I'll bet, but those that do will be the cream of the crop because they do it out of love for me, because its what I want, not 'eternal pleasures at gods right hand' and then, when they die, comes the big surprise, eternal pleasures at my right hand'.


First off, there is a HUGE difference between seeking God and looking for the truth. You need to seek God dail, to talk with him, and pray, but you don't have to look and study very far to find the truth.
If you don't consider something very much, you run the danger of ignoring qualifications that make a thing true. You run the danger of not considering all possibilities and coming to a hasty conclusion.

Just a clarification question, did you ever truly ask Jesus into your heart?
yes, and asked him to get rid of the doubts. To show me what was going wrong, ultimately, one day while praying, I got the idea that I was praying to luck. That was a shock. I knew it was me thinking that, but I wondered why god wasn't doing more to answer my questions. He was letting me get away. It was that he didn't seem to be participating in our relationship. Just to be clear, that doesn't mean miracles, that means participating in a relationship. Kind of like we are doing. If I stopped responding, you would eventually stop looking for it to happen. Not that I'm god, but surely you get the point. At least I did respond. You didn't expect my response because someone told you I would, you got it from the beginning. you don’t' expect miracles from me, just a few words every now and then when you are looking for them.

Also, "the god of this age" is satan. He has blinded you and the light of the gospel is invisible to you. However, Jesus is still there, knocking, waiting, wanting to save you.
you got me there I was way off on that one. But would you say that 'the god of this age' could be a euphemism for 'reason'?

Also, if you read that section, you will realize it says those who have seen these things, this generation that has seen these things, will not pass away. The apostles never saw those things, but everyday it becomes more apparent.
Lets see what it says:
"Truly I say to you, there are some of those who are standing here

who shall not taste death until they see the Son of Man coming in

His kingdom.” (NASB) Matt. 16:28.

"…those who are standing here…." That just sounds like he's talking about the people around him. In fact a quick google search for Matthew 16:28, brings up a lot of apologia saying that the 'transfiguration' took care of this prophecy. I'd call that a 'bait and switch' or a failed prophecy, in either case it certainly is a dilemma.

http://www.middletownbiblechurch.org/proph/matt16.htm

http://www.preteristarchive.com/CriticalArticles/grimes-bill_ca_03.html

this christian guy (following) agrees with me but he doesn’t say that it was the transfiguration and he avoids saying that it was failed prophecy.
http://hellbusters.8m.com/prophecy/DP/criticaltext.html

Its funny to see the pages that contradict each other. Where is that holy spirit when you need it? This 'truth' certainly doesn't hold up to scrutiny even between Christians.


While there are some men who say: God creator of the universe and all things, and I who deny you, why dont YOU come to ME so that I can decide if you're real. Show ME something.
When you guys say this kind of stuff you are really saying that we apostates didn't try hard enough. You are not qualified to judge, in fact unless I am mistaken, you are not supposed to. You are coming to a conclusion without considering enough information. Its that darned belief (like-a-child) system again.

Lee Randolph said...

Hi again,
I forgot an important point I wanted to make.
Since a child like belief goes away as the brain gets more sophisticated, it seems apparent that that the child like belief is a result of a lack of cognitive ability.

It doesn't seem prudent to want to hang on to that for a couple of reasons.

When one limits the amount of information one has to consider, one cannot come to a well considered conclusion. The effect is that it limits ones 'free will'. As I understand it, 'free will' is important in determining if we go to hell or not. Therefore, I think that belief like a child contradicts the idea of 'free will' as a necessary condition to get saved.

Another is that in the real world, that kind of thing opens one up to fraud.

Anonymous said...

wow, Hi Lee! Just an awareness alert, but those bold letters are really impressive. How does one go about doing that?

About Santa and the Easter Bunny - now who on Earth can be entrusted with those guys except for little kids? Certainly not Madison Avenue or adults! Good grief! I know that believing in them was a good exercise of the creative area of my brain which of course, helps me to function better in my everyday life - :-)

Now, I do not advocate a system of asceticism (even though it may be a perfectly good fit for some people) nor would I criticize or stigmatize a life or a God that is rewarding (although I once did at one time). The truth is, when you look at most peoples' lives, we do seek gratification and reward - that is not punishable. God softened my heart so that the reward became just as you said - in loving Him and loving people, even if there is rejection or ridicule or reproach. It's connected - if you love God, then you respect what He loves, which is people. A lot of times people who do charitable and edifying acts towards others get punished or rejected as their payment. That is why faith keeps me fully alive and from perishing.

It sounds as though you really want or wanted a tangible demonstration of God's voice - would you really be willing to convey to others God's message to you if He did that? Do you fully understand what you are/were desiring???

BTW, thanks for your responses, Lee. I feel protective of you guys, but I am obviously no influence here and am not inclined towards scriptural/theological debate. I am most likely causing some here to dislike the notion of God even more so am retiring from writing here - you are more than welcome to drop by and visit anytime to exchange dog stories or just plain chat at beautifularethefeet.blogspot.com.

Thanks again so much!

Anon 1035

Lee Randolph said...

Hi anon 1035,

wow, Hi Lee! Just an awareness alert, but those bold letters are really impressive. How does one go about doing that?
I can’t show you in the text because it would get hidden by the browser, but what you can do is use ‘less than’ and ‘greater than’ symbols. I’ll show you but I’ll replace the less than and greater than symbols with LT and GT. When you enclose a lower case I between the LT and GT it makes it italic. When you use a lower case b enclosed in the LT and GT it makes it bold.
Example follows.
LTiGT this would be italic if I were using the symbols properly. Notice the forward slash preceding the lower case ‘i’ in the ending ‘tag’. LT/iGT
LTbGT and this would be in bold if I were using the symbols properly. LT/bGT


It sounds as though you really want or wanted a tangible demonstration of God's voice - would you really be willing to convey to others God's message to you if He did that? Do you fully understand what you are/were desiring???
Why not. Gods all powerful, timeless, everywhere, would it really be lot of effort for him to talk to us all? And before someone says it would take away our freewill, it wouldn’t because we would still have the ability to choose to worship him in the same way we would have the ability to choose to rescue puppies in a trash can. The puppies don’t take away our free will either, we do it because we choose to, because it is the right thing to do.

I appreciate your responses too. I promise when I drop by, I’ll behave!
Take care.

Benny said...

Anon 1035,

You are one of the most compassionate and respectable theists here. The conversations here need more participants like you, not less. I hope you will change your mind and stick around!