When We Doubt, God Can Only Blame Himself

Applying a sound principle to God, if you take your car to an expert and the work doesn't meet your expectations, then you have doubts about the expert don't you? That's normal.

As I've said before, if god is going to buy off on being called trustworthy, Just, merciful, omnipotent and omniscient in the bible, he is compelled logically to act that way. If not then since we are rational animals and he knows that and he knows what that entails, then it is incumbent on him to act in a way that doesn't betray those labels of being Trustworthy, Just, Merciful, etc because he can reasonably expect to create doubt in us. This doubt would be a result of reasoning about him with the only facilities we have at our disposal which he provided. Therefore, if he's going to refer to himself in that way and expect us to believe him, then a reasonable expectation can be made that he would act that way.

If god acts in a way that causes us to doubt, he has no one to blame but himself because he supposedly made the architecture that makes up the 3 pounds of meat in our heads.

Is it too much to ask for someone to do what they say? Is it too much to ask that someone walk the walk instead of talk the talk? What Would Jesus Do? What did Jesus say he would do?

He didn't come back in the lifetime of the Apostles and good luck getting a prayer answered when its crunch time.

22 comments:

Michael Ejercito said...

God does answer prayers.

Just because you do not like the answer does not mean He does not answers them.

For example, when the people on American Airlines Flight 11 prayed for divine deliverance, God told them to deliver themselves.

A Skeptic said...

Michael Ejercito:

But what about John 15:7, which clearly tells us that christians will receive what they pray for?

Michael Ejercito said...

Note the exact words.

"If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you."

This is a conditional promise.

richdurrant said...

OK Lee,
once you were Christian and you had a separate set of beliefs, I'm sure not everything you believed has changed, but certainly some have. So my question is, based on earlier posts also, did you change what you believe or rediscover what you believed all along? Does that make sense?

A Skeptic said...

Yes, michael, that's a conditional promise. I'm not saying that I should have my prayers answered. It does guarantee, however, that true believers will (they meet the condition). You can't possibly tell me that every true believer gets everything that they pray for.

Lee Randolph said...

Hi Rich,
yes that makes sense. My beliefs changed. I learned that what I learned in sunday school and what my preachers told me and what the bible says are 'not exactly true'. Why do you ask?

I smell something in the wind......;-)

Scott said...

"If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you."

This is a conditional promise.


Actually, it's the Flying Spaghetti Monster who answers prayers.

Like God, he made a conditional promise, but the conditions are different.

01 He's in a good mood at the time

02 You prayer starts on an odd minute or an even minute (it changes every week and varies by time zone)

03 His 'flavor' abides in you

04 You are not unclean from eating any other canned spaghetti sauce except the Flying Spaghetti Monster's favorite brand. (If you eat some other brand of canned spaghetti sauce, you will be unclean for one day)

Lee Randolph said...

Hi Michael,
here a list of promises about prayer to refresh your memory which I got from a previous article of mine.

A. * 2 Chronicles 7:14 "If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land."

B. * Psalm 145:18,19 "The Lord is near to all who call upon Him, to all who call upon Him in truth. He will fulfill the desire of those who fear Him. He will also hear their cry and save them."

C. * Proverbs 15:8b "…The prayer of the upright is His delight."

D. * Isaiah 45:11 "Thus says the Lord, the Holy One of Israel…ask of Me of things to come concerning My sons; and concerning the work of My hands, you command Me."

E. * Isaiah 65:24 "It shall come to pass that before they call I will answer; and while they are still speaking I will hear."

F. * Jeremiah 33:3 "Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know."

G. * Mark 11:24 "Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them."

H. * John 14:13,14 "And whatever you ask in My name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask anything in My name I will do it."

I. * John 15:7 "If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire and it shall be done for you."

J. * John 16:23,24 "…Most assuredly, I say to you, whatever you ask the Father in My name He will give you…ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full."

K. * Romans 8:26 "Likewise the Spirit also helps our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered."

L. * 1 Peter 3:12 "For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and His ears are open to his prayers."

M. * 1 John 5:14,15 "Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, he hears us. And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him."

I guess we could reasonably expect prayer to be answered if the conditions were met. Since prayer doesn't seem to get answered then the conditions aren't met. That would probably mean that no one meets the condition to be SAVED either, so then christians are going to hell too.

In so many ways, God cancels himself out.

Lee Randolph said...

Hi skeptic,
I like your blog.
Good work.

richdurrant said...

Why do I ask? Well, your recent articles seem to be adding up to we don't choose what we believe and we can't control certain things, thoughts, emotions, and such, so I wondered if you actually felt like you changed your beliefs. Maybe you hadn't thought about it that deeply yet.

"I guess we could reasonably expect prayer to be answered if the conditions were met."

Sounds good and there is where our part comes in, a promise made if we meet expectations.

"That would probably mean that no one meets the condition to be SAVED either,"

And it's a big reason I question the "saved" doctrine in general because I get the impression it's a life long quest to be saved. Not just a simple accept Jesus as your savior, but keeping commandments, repenting, ect.., and in the end being judged as saved or damned.

ruraldean said...

M. * 1 John 5:14,15 "Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, he hears us. And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him."

This appears to be God's get-out clause - "According to His will". In other words, if He doesn't want to listen and respond He doesn't have to. That explains why my friend's prayers to save his dying 8 year old daughter weren't answered and I'm not a millionaire.

"Just because you do not like the answer does not mean He does not answers them."

Another Christian excuse, which effectively reduces God's prayer answering capabilities to that of pure chance.

"For example, when the people on American Airlines Flight 11 prayed for divine deliverance, God told them to deliver themselves."

In other words: "You're on your own son".

Brilliant! So the answering of prayer isn't anything like what we might logically suppose, whether you're a true believer or not - it's riddled with small print which lets God off the hook. How any thinking Christian isn't embarrassed to admit this beats me.

Kevin H said...

Lee,

Then four questions emerge.

1). How should God reveal himself?

2). How has God revealed himself?

3). How does God reveal himself?

4). What should God do if I willingly turn from what God has revealed?

Lee Randolph said...

Hi Rich,
Why do I ask? Well, your recent articles seem to be adding up to we don't choose what we believe...Maybe you hadn't thought about it that deeply yet.

My beliefs have changed, I didn't choose to change them. Just out of curiosity, did you choose to love your daughter? Could you choose not to love her? I didn't think so. That's my point. There is no doubt that beliefs change. But I am certain that we don't make a choice about what we believe, or about what we love (for example). I think that emotions are an autonomous reaction to stimulus, kind of like getting dust in your nose makes you sneeze, or [insert stimulus here] makes you feel fear, or "jump". Beliefs are an autonomous reaction to information and inferences. More or less info can change that belief.

Some have argued that we are responsible for the information that we get exposed to. True. I can choose to only expose myself tot positive information about a subject, but that is almost the definition of brainwashing, not to mention that is intellectually dishonest.

And it's a big reason I question the "saved" doctrine in general because

Your questioning of doctrine or dogma should be a red flag to you that something is not right. The book is supposed to be suitable for teaching and instruction. If there is significant doubt about it, then it obviously isn't suitable for teaching and instruction which is not consistent with truth claims about it.

Adrian said...

Michael, Michael... can you please tell me can you make the difference between an unanswered prayer and a "surprise" answer. If there's no way you can tell them apart then there is no correct answer. Including yours :)
And how can you tell the difference between a "surprise" answer from Yaweh that is acctually the right answer of Allah to a muslim prayer. Think of a sick men praying to Yaweh for stoping his pain and he's killed in a terrorist attack of a suicide bomber that prayed to Allah for 72 virgins. If there is no way to tell these gods apart (Yaweh stoping the pain and Allah offering 72 virgins) than there really isn't any kind of correct belief. Including yours :)

Kevin H said...

Some quick considerations on unanswered prayer.

First, many of the verses cited were Christ's commissioning and equipping the original disciples. They would indeed need his grace to face what was coming in the establishment of his church.

Second, a full-orbed theology on New Testament prayer does not support the simplistic genie-in-a-bottle scenario so many demand. (That scenario would indeed require Christians to unduly rationalize unanswered prayer).

Third, thank God that's the case! Several years ago I was on my face begging, BEGGING God for something I thought I had to have. In retrospect, it would have been a disaster had I gotten my way.

Finally, even Paul did not get the answer he initially wanted after praying three times God would remove a "thorn in (his) flesh".

Lee Randolph said...

hi Kevin,
1). How should God reveal himself?
clearly and distictly, kind of like we expect our teachers to show up to class to teach our kids something, but I can think of other ways that are less in your face.

2). How has God revealed himself?
not clearly and distictly enough for 70% of the world. I think thats a horrible return on investment for the almighty.

3). How does God reveal himself?
Thats a trick question isn't it? heh, heh,
He doesn't. you almost had me!

4). What should God do if I willingly turn from what God has revealed?
be more convincing. teach you in a different way. Only the mentally deficient would choose eternal punishment, and if they do, they are forgiven anyway (so i'm told), so theoretically, no one should get punished eternally.

Look, I can be convinced by my friend to buy a certain product, so I can be convinced to buy a god. It just depends on if it makes sense or not. If it don't make sense, I don't buy it. God made the architecture that decides if it makes sense or not, so if it don't make sense, he's only got himself to blame, and I'm saved anyway.

see ya in heaven.

Lee Randolph said...

Hi kevin H,
Second, a full-orbed theology on New Testament prayer does not support the simplistic genie-in-a-bottle scenario so many demand. (That scenario would indeed require Christians to unduly rationalize unanswered prayer).

that is a mis-representation, I never said anything about god doing my bidding, I and my family just wanted him to take my grandmother peacefully when she's was dying of cancer with a hole in her face choking on mucous and asking my aunt why "doesn't god take me now? I'm ready, I'm not goin no where".

Third, thank God that's the case! Several years ago I was on my face begging, BEGGING God for something I thought I had to have. In retrospect, it would have been a disaster had I gotten my way.
stipulating god is real for a moment, it is downright rude not to be more clear with someone you love more than the sparrows when it obviously means so much to them. Whats a little reassuring voice in the head to the almighty? or even an appearance. Why can't god just come down and shoot the breeze with you? It won't hurt your freewill cause you already believe.

You guys don't really believe god is real either or you'd stop making excuses for why he doesn't do the simple stuff that you know he could "but he chooses not to".

He's the freaking almighty for crying out loud, he should act like it.

I wouldn't care if god answered one prayer if he'd just come down and sit with me for a while and let me rant at him the day I lost my faith. But no, even that was too much.

If there is a god, my cats love me more than he does. At least they sat with me. I don't expect my cats to do my bidding or act like a genie in a bottle, in fact I clean up their poop out of their litterbox every day.

Scott said...

Second, a full-orbed theology on New Testament prayer does not support the simplistic genie-in-a-bottle scenario so many demand. (That scenario would indeed require Christians to unduly rationalize unanswered prayer).

But the results we see are statistically the equivalent of my facetious post made earlier.

Just as we don't know the FSM's favorite brand of canned sauce, we don't know what God's will is. In fact, God's will is often defined as beyond our comprehension.

And since God will is God's will, it would come to pass regardless of what we do.

So what is the value of prayer? God gets lonely, so he want's us to call and tell us how much we need him? It makes us feel better?

As Lee mentioned, God could at least tell us why he doesn't answer our prayers in matters of importance.

And if we can't comprehend 'why', it's for no other reason than God knowingly making us without the capacity to comprehend.

Scott said...

If God created the heavens and the earth from nothing, designed us down to the smallest detail and raised the dead, then Christians have potential access to an incredible, omnipotent resource.

If I truly believed that God existed and would answer my prayers if I met specific conditions, then I'd want to find out exactly what these requirements were and how to meet them if possible. Otherwise, I'd be missing out on a huge opportunity.

But what does it mean to have God's word "abide in us?". No one seems to know exactly what this means. If I didn't know, but thought that God could save a sick love one, then you'd be damn well sure I wouldn't rest until I figured out exactly what it does mean.

-Do I need to read the bible once a week? Twice a week ? Every Day?
-How much of an effort must I make to keep God's words? (We are all sinners and fall short)
-Will God not answer my prayers if I have outstanding sins that I've yet to ask to be forgiven?
-Must I have followed the 10 commandments for at least a week before praying?

I could go on, but I think you get the point.

While this may sound facetious, if God really does exist and he conditionally 'advertises' his assistance in the Bible, then it seems logical that he'd actually want us to take advantage of his offer. Therefore, the stipulation of having God's word "abide in us" must represent a specific, concrete condition that we can meet.

Otherwise, the chances of having our prayers answered are no better than my initial comment I made on this thread.

What about God's will? If God uses one specific situation to cause a particular outcome, could he not find some other situation to use for the same purpose? Since there are many Biblical instances of God and Jesus changing their mind, it appears that whatever part this played in God's plan, he found some other way to bring it to pass.

Again, if God makes a offer to help us in our moments of need, then there must be a concrete set of conditions in which he answers prayer. Otherwise, God is just arbitrary answering some prayers but not others. (Which just happens to match the results when we statically test the effectiveness of prayer)

But what I find puzzling is there seems to be no effort by Christians to figure out exactly what these conditions are.

Why is this? Doesn't this seem like a reasonable course of action given the potential benefits?

richdurrant said...

"My beliefs have changed, I didn't choose to change them."

I can't say anything about that, it's obvious you have come to that conclusion over time. However I don't think I can agree that we can't choose our beliefs. I spent 2 years in a different country as a missionary and I presented many different people with my beliefs and let them choose between what they already believed or change to what I believe. Some changed some didn't. I view that as their own choice and not an uncontrollable reaction to stimulus.

"Your questioning of doctrine or dogma should be a red flag to you that something is not right."

It is and it is a reason that the Mormon church is not considered Christian. Believing that we have to do things beyond lip service to Jesus being our savior for our salvation to them is heresy. Even more, having more places to be sent after death than either heaven or hell is another.

Scott B said...

I read some friendly bantering on the Amazon site regarding the book "Jesus is Dead" in which a genial "believer" mentioned the "supernatural world" and the "natural world", and it flashed before me:

There can never be communication between a natural and a supernatural world. There cannot be any link, message, or physical movement between the two, without the destruction, at that moment, of one or the other.

So does that mean no supernatural worlds exist? Indeed, according to physicists, there are countless parallel universes. So, "super" natural worlds do exist, but we never meet ourselves or, any "God" from any parallel universe, or supernatural world. We cannot. We cannot meet "God" or get -any- communication from a God, here on Earth, in the Milky Way galaxy, because the natural world and universe has nothing supernatural. Any parallel universe may contain something "god-like" but there is no method to interface. It's like identical soap bubbles floating along. Each is oblivious to the other. They might merge, but they cannot interface without losing their individuality. And the "nature" of one would become the singular "nature" of the new "one bubble". But never the supernatural coexisting with the natural. Where would one begin, and the other end?

Ancient people thought the supernatural and the natural co-existed. How else could a cloud float, while all the dust we flung skyward fell, consistently fell. How did birds seem to defy gravity, hour after hour, while we maddeningly could not defy it. And lightning: if that was not sourced in some supernatural place, well, what was it???

It was our ignorance, and a craving for an explanation that led well-meaning people to ease their anxiety by mentally constructing a supernatural realm, angels, gods, and all sorts of wonderful things. One hundred billion brain cells, and trillions of connections can create patterns, feelings, "jesus in our heart", any possible fantasy. It served people, these explanations for lightning and clouds, because they had a framework to proceed with living.

We need the "inventions of mind" no longer.

But even the might of the most complex system in the universe (our mind) cannot communicate with a supernatural world, or a supernatural god. If it were possible, the interface would be well-known.

Lee Randolph said...

Hi Rich,
I spent 2 years in a different country as a missionary and I presented many different people with my beliefs and let them choose between what they already believed or change to what I believe. Some changed some didn't. I view that as their own choice and not an uncontrollable reaction to stimulus.
What is behind their non-belief? What is behind belief? Is it a "feeling" about the truth of something?

Do you believe Sri Lanka exists? If yes why, if not, why not?

I'm betting that you haven't been to Sri Lanka. Since that is the case you base your belief on the convergence of evidence in favor of it. Now try to "not believe" in Sri Lanka. You can't. It just doesn't feel right does it?

"Your" limbic system (handles emotions) is older evolutionarily than "your" frontal cortex (executive decision making) and helps "you" come to conclusions. They compete with each other but together they help "you" reach "your" conclusions.

People in various stages of personality disorders are unable to decide for themselves. Obsessive Compulsive Disorder sufferers are often unable to decide if their fears are realistic and need to be acted upon.

So if you can make yourself believe that Sri Lanka Doesn't exist, then you've convinced me. But of course, I'll just come back and say you never really believed in the first place, or that you really believe but you are just denying the truth of it.
;-)