God is a Sadistic Egotistical Monster and I Can Show This With Just a Few Questions

The question was raised in a somewhat different context, “Did God need to create a physical universe at all?” Jason flippantly and callously responded by quipping, “Who cares? He did.” It still surprises me at the simplistic non-answers we get from some Christians. Here’s my response…

Just think for one moment, okay? Don't just spit out what you were taught to believe, which is what you do. What did God lack before creation that made him want to create in the first place? Take a moment to truly reflect on that question. I'll repeat it again so you do. What did God lack before creation that made him want to create in the first place?

I know your answer. The answer is that God lacked nothing, as in NOTHING. So what reason would cause God to want to create anything? There was no lack, no want, and no need. That which causes a reasonable person to act is a lack, either his own, or someone else's lack. And even given that God wanted to create something, anything, why did he create this particular world? These are significant questions if you'll take a moment to reflect on them, rather than spitting out proof texts and the blind faith results of your proof-texting.

Your God is supposedly a God of reason. Everything he does is reasonable. Well then, what's his reason for creating something, anything?

There can be no good reason for doing so, not even with an omniscient God, for an omniscient God must still act according to reason. Unless by his logic he can do what is illogical, or by his reason he can do that which is unreasonable, there is no reason for God to have done so.

Even if we grant that God wanted to create something, anything, why would he create this particular world? It is a huge mess. And it is likewise a non-answer to say it’s Adam and Eve’s fault.

If God foreknew this world would become a mess when he had no good reason to create anything in the first place, then why create this particular one?

What kind of world is this one? It's a world where most people wind up in hell. Why create a world like this when most people in it will be punished for an eternity? Consider what Ivan Karamazov, Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s character, said: “Tell me yourself—I challenge you: let’s assume that you were called upon to build the edifice of destiny so that men would finally be happy and would find peace and tranquility. If you knew that, in order to attain this, you would have to torture just one single creature, let’s say a little girl who beat her chest so desperately in the outhouse, and that on her unavenged tears you could build that edifice, would you agree to do it? Tell me and don’t lie!”

If there was no need to create anything, none, and if you foreknew people would suffer in this world and eventually do so for an eternity, would you create this particular world for your own glory, which is what Biblical theism asserts? Would you do so for YOUR OWN GLORY, especially when you already had all glory and there was no need to do so in the first place? Answer the question and do not lie!

Only a sadistic egotistic monster would even consider doing so.

-----------------------
Other types of similar arguments can be found in my book.

62 comments:

JUSTIN said...

Love.

God lacked someone who would love back.

Another reason to create is the same reason an artist *must* paint, or a poet *must* write. But my fuller answer is love.

You said: "It's a world where most people wind up in hell." Whether you believe that or not, it is a bold assumption, and I believe the wrong one. Mainly because the general view of hell and how to get there is based on spurious (at best) interpretations of scripture. Let me just say that a result in believing in God is not near-universal condemnation. Quite the opposite, actually. If one equates God with the Church, well, then I understand why you'd say that.

The bible states "God is Love". I admit that is a way-loaded quote. But I think (to quote the movie) "love, true love" is the answer.

And this world sucks because of a nearly infinite lack of it.

And most people, including us on this blog, could use a little more.

JUSTIN said...

Another thing:

Why would a man and woman have a baby? This terrible condition of the world and the utter lack of signs of improvement are painfully obvious to anyone. So, why bring yet another innocent, helpless life into it just to suffer?

Same answer.

christian_dude said...
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gap said...

Okay, Jason, so God did it all for "love" - grooooovey man. Love. So God created billions of little human lives knowing full well that a huge number of those millions would suffer horribly and - only a relative handful would love him back. Glad that's cleared up. Of the billions of little humans beings painted on the canvas of God's great artistic portrait countless of them have suffered a lifetime pain and loss; do you just tell them that God is an artist compelled to create? if you were in the throes of Job-like suffering and someone used your own answer to attempt to comfort you, would you buy it?

JumpingFromConclusions said...

Justin,

If God created the world and even one person went to hell, it would still make God a sadistic monster.

Also, your point about love does not stand, assuming you believe in the Trinitarian conception of God (or any other conception where God exists as more than one person).

Since God supposedly exists as more than one person, those persons had the capacity to love. In fact, they had all the love in the world. The three persons could love each other fully, and no potential human love could be combined to give more love than what they already shared.

One said...

(P1) Before creation, there was only god.

(C1) Therefore, before creation, there was only good.

(P2) After creation, (a) there was god, (b) there was good, and (c) (at some point post-creation) there was evil.

(P3) God knew that (P2) would obtain post-creation.

(C2) Therefore, in creating, god wished for a moral state to obtain that was not purely good.

(C3) Therefore, an omnibenevolant god would not create anything.

(C4) Therefore, if (C2), god is not omnibenevolent.

(C5) Therefore, if (C3), god does not exist.


Reiteration:

"If God acts for the sake of an end, then he necessarily desires something which he lacks."
- Spinoza, "Ethics," (1677) (Appendix to Part I)

"There can be no Creator, simply because his grief at the fate of his creation would be inconceivable and unendurable."
- Elias Canetti, "The Human Province," (1978)

One said...

"God created as an expression of His love."

What an utterly absurd anthropomorphization.

To think: a perfect being, complete in all his attributes and nature, feeling lonely.

Contrariwise, another bizarre expression heard from those apt to think Lee Strobel is the next Augustine:

"God created so that He would have worshippers."

Even more bizarre: God created so that he would have a cosmic cheering squad to eternally bolster his ego.

Jamie Steele said...
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John W. Loftus said...

Christian dude, no long quotations from the Bible. It wastes too much space. ;-) Likewise Jamie, no long quotes from a book, especially when it doesn't relate directly to my questions.

Jamie Steele said...

Sorry dude but how does this not relate?

Also, John I looked for your book at Barnes and Noble didn't see it. What's up with that?

And John really your view of God does not match the Bible's description of the attributes of God.

God is seen as loving, just, holy, sovereign...etc. all in one. If I could understand God I would be God.
I don't try to be God.

But if you are going to talk about the God of the Christian Bible don't mischaracterize Him.

If you think that God, whom I proudly call Father is a sadistic monster, you are welcome to that opinion and responsible for it.

And John thanks for allowing me to comment on this blog. This blog has really strengthened my faith. So thanks guys.

Nathan said...

First, a quick reply to this...

Jamie said: And John really your view of God does not match the Bible's description of the attributes of God.

That's exactly the point, as I see it. The loving and just God that is described in the Bible does not make sense in the universe that we know, which is cruel and unjust.


But here's a fun thought experiment that my brother proposed once...assume that a god exists as we could imagine him in accordance with our universe: that is, a cruel, self-obsessed asshole of a god.

Would we owe this god something just for bringing us into existence? My short answer is 'No' and I have my reasons, but what do other people think?

Jamie Steele said...

Nathan,
once again your view of God is not in the Christian Bible.

Try again

Manifesting Mini Me (MMM) said...

God is not a fascist dictator - there is grace (yes, grace) for both weeds and wheat to exist - whether they fully mature as a weed or wheat is what is determined by what is embraced inwardly. The most faithful person in the Bible to me is one of the thieves on the cross next to Y'shua who could recognize divine authority in Him while He was in His most vulnerable and destroyed state. To me, that was the greatest expression of insight and faith. I'm almost certain a fully mature weed will not mistakenly seek out the Kingdom of Heaven as a place to dwell and will not desire or recognize it - it doesn't appeal to the arrogant or proud or conceited. And God will not mistakenly lock the gates of heaven leaving an innocent person behind.

Robert said...

Justin suggested: "But my fuller answer is love."

Love is a human emotion not a metaphysical quality. It follows from the assignment of value to the love object. The hypothetical being in question is logically incapable of valuing anything as it is allegedly an eternal, infinite, perfect, indestructible, self-sufficient, self-contained, complete being which lacks nothing. If it did exist, it would not act in the interest of a goal. It would have no basis for goal-setting whatsoever. It will always be what it is, nothing can change it, nothing can harm it, nothing can threaten it, nothing can deprive it, nothing can be of any value to it. It would be incapable of valuing anything. It would be incapable of love. If the Christian God existed, it could do nothing for any action would diminish its perfection and perturb its sufficiency. (The foregoing is attributable to Dawson Bethrick of the Incinerating Presuppostionalism blog.)

YHVH cannot love, nor can it be love as love is simply a human emotion.

Jamie Steele said...

Robert,
That God is not in my Bible.

If you guys are going to talk about the God of the Christian Bible why do you constantly mischaracterize him into a god of your own making.

This was Darwin's problem and it sounds like it is yours as well.

JUSTIN said...

gap wrote:
"if you were in the throes of Job-like suffering and someone used your own answer to attempt to comfort you, would you buy it?"

Obviously I did, and do.

jfc wrote:
"assuming you believe in the trinitarian conception of God"

I don't.

one wrote:
"What an utterly absurd anthropomorphization"

Where, then, did love come from? It seems to me that if left to our own devices, humanity will give us hate, oppression, and rejection... we'd eat ourselves. Human history is rife with it, we all agree.

Robert wrote:
"Love is a human emotion not a metaphysical quality."

If love is only an emotion, then that would explain the shallowness of what we all commonly experience. But that "emotion" doesn't explain why a young, pregnant mother with cancer would forego any treatment which might save her own life so that her child might be born and have a chance at this sorry life. It doesn't explain the soldier who jumps on top of a live grenade to save the others in his platoon. It doesn't explain the gifted vascular surgeon who gives up lucrative practice in the West to work with lepers--Untouchables--in India at the literal risk of life and limb.

Should I go on? Those acts of sheer human stupidity cannot be explained by "human emotion." The insane don't even do such.

Maybe our understanding of love is screwed up?

So, can anyone explain why love, even the emotional kind, exists in such a f***ed up world? Hate and fear are a whole lot easier and self-preserving.

Emily said...

Jamie Steele:

You are a coward. Several people have given sufficient arguments for their points; this is a forum for 'debate'. Don't dismiss strong arguments with "Man. You guys need to like, see the Bible my way. Woah."

Make yourself useful and employ your intellect. Then touch your keyboard accordingly to explain how people are mis-characterizing the Biblical god, how you pull a cogent concept of god from this text, and how Darwin is guilty of this crime.

If you're going to bother with this thread, actually R E A D the comments and respond in a constructive fashion. Yeesh, you're filling space with nothing and wasting our time.

"Try again."

Steven Bently said...

A three letter word spelled g-o-d is the best answer that a man on a planet without any answers about a god can perceive with his minute brain.

He can only spell out the word g-o-d in an attempt to satisfy his lack of unknowing about a god to qualify a moniker of god to his unknowing.

To a weak minded earthling, a god must be big and powerful above all beings and this gods' M.O. must be unknowable, this thinking qualifys in his mind, that he must therefore be right about his god.

Therefore, a god must surely exist, because his god is unknowable and has met the qualifications of a god.

The ancient Bible writers wrote volumes and volumes in their vain attempt to coin the attributes of this said god, and many still attempt to discribe mans' god, but yet to no avail.

John said...

God also gets jealous - how do you explain that! actually he can even get angry - Hmm you say God is perfect? When he gets angry a lot people die sometimes.
So in the OT God murders many and in the NT god offers love & forgiveness. BTW God never changes too.

JUSTIN said...

Steven, so you have no answers? All you offer a is horrible existence with no answers as to why? What, then, motivates you to get up in the morning? What's the point?

John, how can "God is Love" be an "absurd anthropomorphization" of a human emotion, and then yet be jealous and angry, two more presumably human emotions?

Emily said...

Justin

I'm not sure hate (which seems like an irrational, deep dislike--though this may be narrow) is self preserving in a societal sense.

But, *some* fear contributes to self preservation, for obvious reasons. If fear is so terrible and plagues society, I would wager that irrationality, superstition and organized religion increase fear exponentially in human society. Sciences--physics, meteorology, psychology, economics, sociology--these things have great potential to increase understanding and decrease fear (though this is not always so). Seriously, religion promotes fear and obedience--I mean, you don't exactly sound like a fire n brimstone fascist or anything--but 'fearing' God is integral to worship.

*This* fear is supposedly a gift from God, but the vague negative 'fear'--chaos and fear of death--that supposedly exists without the Christian god, THAT's the particular human condition that requires the Christian Cure: Fear of God...

Pah. Nooooo thank you.

Robert said...

Jamie Steele: you are attempting to use logic. On the Christian worldview your alleged ruling consciousness is hypothetically capable of changing the rules at anytime within your cartoon universe. How can you be certain that when you go to the water jar to get a drink, you won't be dipping out a cup of wine instead as per John 2:1-9? You can't, nor can you be certain that YHVH did not just create you with a full set of false memories, feelings, sensations and such simply for its amusement. Under your worldview reality is not fixed; it is rather a cartoon universe. For these reasons logic does not work under Christianity. But under naturalism logic does work because existence exists. Reality is fixed. A=A and A (does not equal) ~A. To make your primacy of consciousness fallacy stick via gross question begging, you must seal logic from naturalism. Dawson Bethrick of Incinerating Presuppostionalism blog stated it well.

"On the Christian worldview, however, facts can change at the whim of the ruling consciousness, so logic will be of no avail in reliably identifying any state of affairs in the universe. To the degree that the believer relies on logic to identify facts, he is in fact borrowing from a worldview which fundamentally contradicts Christianity. At which point we can safely say: the Christian has conceded debate just by raising the issue of logic."

The only hope of the theist to demonstrate their delusion as reality lays in producing direct empirical evidence of their god. However, since the theist's supernatural fantasy is defined only as the negation of that which is natural, such evidence requires omniscient knowledge that whatever causation of whatever phenomena at question could not possibly be natural. Along these lines, it is impossible to establish the existence of any theistic or deistic god. Inductive arguments fail the Christian because to assert them require commission of the fallacy of the stolen concept.

But it is very easy to establish that such beings (gods) are impossible. Consider consciousness. It is the ability of an organism to be aware of existence. If existence does not obtain, there can be nothing to be aware of and hence no possibility of consciousness. Existence must obtain prior to any instantiation of consciousness. Consequently, YHVH or whatever you imagine as god is simply a figment. If you kick against this prick, then please inform me how John Loftus (or myself) may reliably distinguish the difference between what you imagine god to be and what it may hypothetically be? But your pboblem goes deeper than that. There are two horns to this quandary.

Your dilemma will then be to decide which horn to impale yourself upon. If you cannot describe a method whereby John Loftus or somebody else may distinguish your imagination from what your god might be, then in all probability you worship a delusion, for your god and your imagination would then be indistinguishable. If you choose the other horn and claim divine inspiration via the Holy Spirit as a method to discriminate, then you must account for the confused and mundane landscape of Christianity, for there are in excess of 14,000 religions on this planet. Christianity is only one. Amongst the Christians there are more than 33,600 sects, branches, denominations of the faith. Most of these claim to be guided, inspired, lead, or directed by the Holy Spirit, yet they hold a wide diversity of doctrines, dogmas, and religious expressions. Few can claim to share common Kerguma, Christology Soteriology, or Eschatology. Even allowing 99% of all Christian groups to be self-deluded, still there would remain more than 330 sects that no doubt would relish the chance to purge the world of heresy. There is simply no way any purposeful directive intelligence is underlying your religion. But what we do ascertain is very much what we would expect if Christianity is simply another man made religion. So stew and sulk, kick and choose, or renounce Christianity and rejoin humanity.

Evan said...

Once again the apologist pivots on a dime.

God is scrutable enough to know that he loves us all and is making houses in a magical place for us, that he has 3 parts one of whom was named Jesus and lived on earth and died to save us from the sins of a man who ate fruit from a snake.

For that, he's very scrutable.

But for anything hard to understand, God is totally inscrutable and who are we to judge he who tamed Leviathan.

The time has come for this dance to be ended. The apologist cannot turn his inscrutable creator into the scrutable savior.

If is actions as savior are understandable, his actions as creator must be EQUALLY understandable or he fails to be omnibenevolent.

There is a possible solution to the universe that includes a God.

But that solution is what John is suggesting, a God who is a sadistic, egotistical monster. Such a being is less probable (in my opinion) than a God who simply doesn't exist.

In order to save the idea of just deity, you must relegate that deity to non-existence.

Steven Carr said...

This alleged god values love so much that he ordered people to love him....

withinreason said...

actually, and correct me if i'm wrong, i don't think God ever ordered us to love him. if He ordered then we would have to. we have the other option as well. good try though

Evan said...

Withinreason are you saying that God is so easy to understand we can know whether or not he ordered us to do something?

zilch said...

Jamie says:

If you guys are going to talk about the God of the Christian Bible why do you constantly mischaracterize him into a god of your own making.

This was Darwin's problem and it sounds like it is yours as well.


So Darwin mischaracterized the God of the Bible into a god of his own making? I know Darwin's works pretty well- I'm sort of a Darwin freak- and I don't recall him saying much at all about the character of God, much less reworking Him into a god of his own making. Could you quote chapter and verse for us?

And please don't cut and paste someone else's opinion about Darwin's ideas- tell us where Darwin himself said something of the sort.

Emily said it: if you want to join in reasonable discourse, you must employ your own reason, and not just make unsupported claims.

Iconoclastically Agnostic said...

Greetings all,

First and foremost I must admit that I am perpetually sickened by the overwhelming amount of ineffectual arguments purported by both advocates for Christianity and those seeking to “debunk” it – I am not only referencing those arguments listed above, but rather the vast majority of “cases” taking center stage in the debating community. I consider myself to be a seeker of truth with a spirit of excellence, and too often I am disillusioned by the irrefutable lack of quality with which such cases are brought before truth-seeking minds. In my opinion, the present post: (God is a Sadistic Egotistical Monster and I Can Show This With Just a Few Questions), is nothing more than a pathetic, inarticulate, unqualified waste of time and space; however, I do applaud both the author of, and contributors to, this conversation – even if it is only for the sake of promoting dialogue, rather than the blind acceptance of irrational dogma.

Having said that (and I apologize for the, perhaps, superfluousness of my introduction) I will now briefly comment on one specific point regarding this posting.

“What did God lack before creation that made him want to create in the first place?”

“That which causes a reasonable person to act is a lack, either his own, or someone else's lack.”


The basis of your argument seems to be “if there is no lack, there will be no action”. I urge you, with the same ardency you possess when challenging others, to take a few moments and consider the inadequate foundation of this claim. It is not my intention to do this considering for you; therefore, I will not take the time to systematically present my points of view. I will, however, propose a question you may want to ask yourself—If there is ONE that lacks no thing, wouldn’t certain characteristics necessitate action? I suggest that without “action”, this ONE would lack much – (i.e. creative genius, display of power, a creation, etc.).

Thank you for your time,

Joshua

Ohh . . . on an amusing note – the response by Steven Bently reminded me of an ironic entangling of Dionysian apophaticism and Anselm’s ontological argument! I had a nice laugh – thanks.

escaped-mentalpatient said...

Excellent blog, i look forward to reading the rest og your posts.

Steven Bently said...

"God is not the author of confusion."

John W. Loftus said...

Iconoclastically Agnostic said…If there is ONE that lacks no thing, wouldn’t certain characteristics necessitate action? I suggest that without “action”, this ONE would lack much – (i.e. creative genius, display of power, a creation, etc.).

I know your type. I’ve seen it before. I write something almost every day and you wait to make your first comment until you see something you can pounce on which will make you superior, as if you yourself could not only write all of the things I do, but also not make this one mistake, if it is one in the first place.

First write on the breadth of topics that I do and then you can crow and beat your chest.

When I wrote what I did, I anticipated such a response. No, I did not say everything I know in that one small post. If I did, I would still be writing it today, and I suspect I would never post it because I would never be done writing it, especially since I’m continually learning. I’m sure you understand this point.

I asked myself what causes people to act, and what I wrote seemed to me to succinctly sum it up, even though it was not meant as a complete answer to why we act. If I wrote something about why we act it would include other things, like the desire to be creative, to show love to exhibit power and genius, yes. Behind these motives it just seems to me that they are all under girded by the desire to be significant. Sometimes our motives are baser such as the desire for sex (ala Freud), money (ala Marx) and power (ala Nietzsche). But again, it seems to me underneath it all is that we lack something. Having no lack at all there would be no reason to act. Now it might be argued that if we had no lack and because of this we did not act, that that itself would be a lack such that we should act. That itself implies that there is a lack not to act, which proves my point I think. If we must act, if there is a need to act, where does that need come from? If we must act, if we must be creative, if we must exhibit genius, or display our power, then that itself is a lack, in my opinion especially when trying to understand a perfect God who has no lack.

This is my point with regard to a perfect God when it comes to creating something. And there are parallel arguments when it comes to whether or not God is a free being, or whether or not God can think. The concept of God is such that I don’t believe he is a free being (when did he choose his nature, for instance?), nor do I believe such a being can think (thinking involves weighing temporal alternatives). So also I am of the opinion that the God described by theism cannot act. He certainly cannot act in time.

Now you can disagree, but you cannot say that what I wrote is “nothing more than a pathetic, inarticulate, unqualified waste of time and space,” especially when you factor in the audience I’m writing to, and I’m not writing to the professional philosopher.

Still, even if we disagree on this point, it is not necessary to my case. For I said that even if we grant that God decided to create something, anything, then why did he create this particular world? And on that score you said nothing to defeat my argument.

goprairie said...

love is many things. all are instinct based. some forms evolved to facilitate mating and some to facilitate living in a society so that the offspring could be raised to maturity successfully. dogs have a form of it. chimpanzees have many forms of it. birds do. bugs don't.

JUSTIN said...

I'll respond to Emily and then leave it be...

Emily wrote:
>>"I'm not sure hate is self preserving in a societal sense.<<

Hate is simply putting yourself and your needs in priority over another's. "I'm more important than you", for example. In that regard, no matter if it's in the context of society or as savages in the woods, it is a self-preserving maneuver.

>>But, *some* fear contributes to self preservation...<<

Agreed, but in the vast majority of people, it's pride, myself included.

>>I would wager that... organized religion increase fear exponentially in human society.<<

And you'd be right. The money and power is too great a desire to let the sheep think and live for themselves.

>>Sciences--physics, meteorology, psychology, economics, sociology--these things have great potential to increase understanding and decrease fear (though this is not always so).<<

I say their potential is never reached, because whenever a "discovery" is made, human nature is to use it to hold people in subjection or make money off of it.

>>Seriously, religion promotes fear and obedience--I mean, you don't exactly sound like a fire n brimstone fascist or anything--but 'fearing' God is integral to worship.<<

Worship, as I understand it, is the little child who, when her mommy comes home from work, runs to the door giggling with her arms outstretched ready for a hug and kiss. There's no fear there.

What commonly goes as "worship" in the religious community is nothing more than--you said it-- superstitious mantra, full of fear.

Another quote: "There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love."

>>*This* fear is supposedly a gift from God, but the vague negative 'fear'--chaos and fear of death--that supposedly exists without the Christian god, THAT's the particular human condition that requires the Christian Cure: Fear of God... Pah. Nooooo thank you.<<

I don't blame you. I've rejected that, too. What you describe IS--and most here on the blog agree--a manmade construct.

The love I talk of is not. And I can't explain it any other way.

Jamie Steele said...

Zilch said:
So Darwin mischaracterized the God of the Bible into a god of his own making? I know Darwin's works pretty well- I'm sort of a Darwin freak- and I don't recall him saying much at all about the character of God, much less reworking Him into a god of his own making. Could you quote chapter and verse for us?

"apparently these are Darwins words"
I will copy and paste his words so you will get them as it......

"Another source of conviction in the existence of God, connected with the reason, and not with the feelings, impresses me as having much more weight. This follows from the extreme difficulty or rather impossibility of conceiving this immense and wonderful universe, including man with his capacity of looking far backwards and far into futurity, as the result of blind chance or necessity. When thus reflecting I feel compelled to look to a First Cause having an intelligent mind in
some degree analogous to that of man; and I deserve to be called a Theist. This conclusion was strong in my mind about the time, as far as I can remember, when I wrote the 'Origin of Species;' and it is since that time that it has very gradually, with many fluctuations, become weaker.

This is a great quote by Darwin: "But then arises the doubt, can the mind of man, which has, as I fully believe, been developed from a mind as low as that possessed by the lowest animals, be trusted when it draws such grand conclusions?"

"I cannot pretend to throw the least light on such abstruse problems. The mystery of the beginning of all things is insoluble by us; and I for one must be content to remain an Agnostic."

Darwin's view of God in the 1800's was flawed. His main concern was this question
1)Why did God create the world?

2) How do you explain pain and suffering?
Charles Templeton had the same problem with God.

These questions as Darwin admitted are to grand for a man whom evolved from a monkey.

Iconoclastically Agnostic said...

Mr.Loftus,

Thank you for your response to mine.

“I know your type. I’ve seen it before . . .”

It is understandable that your first impression of me is such; however, I assure you that my intentions are not to pretentiously “pounce” on things that may keep me in good light.

“First write on the breadth of topics that I do . . .”

I wouldn’t consider such a feat – my very limited knowledge is lodged in the annals of Medieval Theology . . . I gladly leave that honor and responsibility to those better equipped.

Your points are well taken . . . it seems to me (assuming your ulterior motive for movement is correct – aka: base motives.) that there is a lack regardless of the presence or absence of movement. For instance, if God is “moving” in order to receive more of something (love, recognition, etc.), then what he currently has is not complete, best, full, etc. If God is not “moving” then there is a “lack” of movement, display, etc.

My intention was not to defend the existence of, or creation by, God. I simply had trouble seeing the credibility of your argument.

“Now you can disagree, but you cannot say . . .”

My comment was perhaps a bit brash – for this I apologize. I am an advocate for the propagation of truth, and, in my eyes, that involves the “debunking” of much. . .
Anyway, one of my fears is that people will be swayed and “deconverted” through unsound arguments (I am NOT implying that your views are so). Just as I am frustrated by those who ignorantly embrace Christianity, aggravation ensues from the ignorant embracing of atheism.


Thank you for your time.

John W. Loftus said...

Iconoclastically Agnostic, it's with rarity that I find someone willing to learn rather than to argue on and on about something. That's the mark of a thinker such as yourself, and I hope me too.

You said...My intention was not to defend the existence of, or creation by, God. I simply had trouble seeing the credibility of your argument.

From your name I understood that. I appreciate good thoughtful comments, and yours were good. I just appreciate polite respectuful ones better. In any case, I would argue that the theistic God cannot even be a person, much less act, based on these considerations and others as well.

Cheers.

John W. Loftus said...

Iconoclastically Agnostic said...Anyway, one of my fears is that people will be swayed and “deconverted” through unsound arguments (I am NOT implying that your views are so). Just as I am frustrated by those who ignorantly embrace Christianity, aggravation ensues from the ignorant embracing of atheism.

So understood, but I'm not so sure what it means to say this, except that you prefer that people are better educated and better thinkers, for we all hold to beliefs that cannot be defended on Harvard yard, so to speak. We hold to inconsistent beliefs and don't even know that we do, for no mortal man can know it all, nor is any man a logic machine. All I can say is that to the best of my knowledge, given my brain matter, education, and life experiences that I think I'm right. There will always be someone who has thought more deeply and is better educated than I am on some topic, even a particular one that I have spent a great deal of time on, and even if I am considered a scholar on a topic.

What are we to say about people who agree with the conculsions of our more informed opinions who are ignorant and uneducated about them? Tell them to get educated. Tell them to think deeper and show them how. But to tell people to believe the correct things because of the correct arguments is going to frustrate you the rest of your life, and is asking the near impossible for some people who just don't have the necessary brain equipment.

So, whether based on ignorance or not, shouldn't we be pleased when people agree with us? After all, they vote with us, encourage us, learn from us, and financially support our cause.

I'm sure Christians don't care much whether someone is converted by McDowell, Van Til, Craig or Geilser's writings so long as they reach the correct conclusion when they believe. For them that's the first priority even if they disagree with the other apologetical methods and reasoning...and they do.

Jason said...

John,

Okay, I won't lie: The answer to your question is "yes". If I was omnipotent, with no equal, I would create a world like this for my own glory. I admit it.

Iconoclastically Agnostic said...

“So understood, but I'm not so sure what it means to say this . . . for we all hold to beliefs that cannot be defended on Harvard yard . . .”

Yes, as you mentioned, it is my hope that people are better thinkers (or at least thinkers – perhaps that alone would be an improvement over the majority’s current condition???). I am not overly concerned with “education” . . . just, please, don’t be blind – don’t be dumb, - don’t be ignorant.
As for the second part of the pieced-together quote above, you’re right . . . unless you’re like me (Sounds funny, and yes – it was a joke). Seriously, perhaps that is why I am agnostic (rather than atheist) . . . there are very few things I believe in. I am not sure if the risk of being wrong is worth the leap of faith. Some day I might grow up.

“So, whether based on ignorance or not, shouldn't we be pleased when people agree with us?”

I’m not so sure . . . wait . . . well, actually, I think I figured it out. If one is solely looking out for the good of the people, then, of course, we would want then to believe the truth. We would also want them to understand why they believe what they believe, but that would be secondary.
On the other hand, people who are driven by jealously and bitterness are not so keen to great with open arms. Sadly, I believe I am in this second category (although I don’t think I am bitter and jealous – just not gung-ho for the good of the people). Weekly I meet people who claim to believe (or to un-believe) the same things I do; however, unlike me, years of legwork has not led them to their conclusions. It somehow cheapens my experience. Selfish is not the right word – but the first one that comes to mind.

Take a moment to think about the brief period of time following the issue of the Edict of Milan . . . the postmodern world is ripe to see atheism take center stage—to become pop culture. When that happens, I fear the influx will do as much harm to the atheistic and scientific communities as it did to the early 4th century church. Unlike McDowell, I do care about integrity.

Thanks for the stimulating conversation.

John W. Loftus said...

Iconoclastically Agnostic said... perhaps that is why I am agnostic (rather than atheist) . . . there are very few things I believe in.

There isn't much difference between an atheist and an agnostic. Robert Ingersoll said "an agnostic is an atheist and an atheist is an agnostic." An atheist denies the various religions. That's the easy part, and we all do it. But that which she affirms is done so tentatively, at least from those I know. So an atheist is an agnostic about that which she affirms to a great extent.

My claim is that a distant god is no different than none at all.

One way to look at this is in John Roth's theodicy. His view is that we must shame God into doing right, and it's calls a "theodicy of protest." He must protest the sight of a burning child in order to shame God into doing what is right.

Well, I think that theodicy is bull, but I see no reason why I cannot go beyond what he argues for in affirming atheism. I affirm atheism even if it ends up that a God exists, for I am shaming this entity for not having let us know that he exists for sure.

Jason said...

...for I am shaming this entity for not having let us know that he exists for sure.

Just a thought but I don't think God is going to be all that hurt...

Evan said...

Jason,

Are you saying you know the mind of God?

Jason said...

lol No, definitely not. I'm just going on what we do know about God and as far as I'm aware, there's no indication God feels shame due to the actions of individuals who don't believe He exists. But I could be wrong. Maybe an all-powerful, all-knowing entity can shamed by a few of the unbelieving mortal creatures it gave life to. Who knows :)

be said...

Loving god portrayed in the bible?

Name one thing in the Bible that backs that up.

I can think of the flood, Lot and the pillar of salt, numerous genocides. All support the exact opposite of what Christians claim is representative of their God.

Anyway, all Christians are heathens and infidels as the one true god is The Flying Spaghetti Monster and all true enlightened folk understand this. All hail his noodly appendage.

Jamie Steele said...

be,
Read this:
For when we were still without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. 7 For scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet perhaps for a good man someone would even dare to die. 8 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. 9 Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him.

Scott said...

God lacked someone who would love back.

So, God is an omnipotent and omniscient being that had no beginning, yet before the act of creation, he existed in utter isolation and yearned for someone who would love him in return.

How can God be perfect if his "natural" state is loneliness and the "natural" state of the universe and humanity is non existence? There seems to be something wrong with this picture.

Another reason to create is the same reason an artist *must* paint, or a poet *must* write. But my fuller answer is love.

But these are human attributes. Are we as necessary and significant as a painting or a poem created by a human being?

Why do you have to give "love" human like attributes?

And this world sucks because of a nearly infinite lack of it.

I agree. But making love some kind of sentient being that uses eternal punishment as motivation doesn't add up in my book. As they say, "the road to hell is paved with good intentions."

JUSTIN said...

scott wrote:
>>How can God be perfect if his "natural" state is loneliness and the "natural" state of the universe and humanity is non existence? There seems to be something wrong with this picture.<<

Maybe he wasn't "perfect" until he created. Maybe his purpose wasn't fulfilled until he could express himself. Maybe, I don't know.

>>But these are human attributes.<<

Which the vast majority of humans do not show. Human nature is to kill or be killed, not show love and artistic expression. Why then do some buck the trend? It seems to me that if love and creativity were truly human attributes (based in human nature) nearly everyone would do it. Mere observation of how we behave shows that to be mistaken.

>>Are we as necessary and significant as a painting or a poem created by a human being?<<

If I understand your question, I believe so, yes. More so. But we don't believe it--we think we're just a worthless clump of random cosmic dust with no purpose--and so we act accordingly.

>>Why do you have to give "love" human like attributes?<<

It's more like I give humans "love-like" attributes. Humans are not inherenty loving--history bears that out. Love comes from somewhere outside of us.

>>I agree. But making love some kind of sentient being that uses eternal punishment as motivation doesn't add up in my book. As they say, "the road to hell is paved with good intentions."<<

It doesn't add up in mine, either. Good intentions are not love. Commitment, self-denial, sacrifice, those are start to define love.

As you might imagine, I don't believe eternal punishment to be any sort of motiviation used by God (regardless of how the church and/or religionistas might use it for their purposes). Hell, in my view, is the logical result of a lack of love, not a punishment for failing to put enough money in the collection plate.

Hell is the default result of our existence. It is only this love injected into life that keeps us all from degrading into complete entropic chaos.

zilch said...

Jamie- yes, I know what Darwin said in his Autobiography- he says he was formerly a theist, believing in an intelligent First Cause, but is now an agnostic. You might say that he is mistaken. But what you said is this:

If you guys are going to talk about the God of the Christian Bible why do you constantly mischaracterize him into a god of your own making.

This was Darwin's problem and it sounds like it is yours as well.


There's a difference between being an agnostic, and "mischaracterizing" the God of the Bible into a God of your own making. Darwin had no God of his own making, at least at the end of his life, much less one that mischaracterized the God of the Bible: he said that such things could not be known.

Jamie, you quote Darwin saying:

But then arises the doubt, can the mind of man, which has, as I fully believe, been developed from a mind as low as that possessed by the lowest animals, be trusted when it draws such grand conclusions?

And then say yourself:

These questions as Darwin admitted are to grand for a man whom evolved from a monkey.

In the first place: if you think people evolved from monkeys, you should really check out TalkOrigins. People did not evolve from monkeys: we share a common ancestor.

Secondly, we must consider the context of Darwin's quote:

When thus reflecting I feel compelled to look at a first cause having an intelligent mind in some degree analogous to that of man; and I deserve to be called a theist.

This conclusion was strong in my mind about the time, as far I can remember, when I wrote the Origin of species; and it is since that time that it has very gradually with many fluctuations become weaker. But then arises the doubt -- can the mind of man, which has, as I fully believe, been developed from a mind as low as the possessed by the lowest animal, be trusted when it draws such a grand conclusions? May not these be the result of the connection between cause and effect which strikes us as a necessary one, but probably depends merely on inherited experience? Nor must we overlook the probability of the constant inculcation in a belief in God on the minds of children producing so strong and perhaps an inherited effect on their brains not yet fully developed, that it would be as difficult for them to throw off their belief in God, as for a monkey to throw off its instinctive fear and hatred of a snake.


So the "grand conclusions" that Darwin questions here are not his theory of evolution, or weakening belief in an intelligent First Cause, but rather belief in God. He is saying that while our belief in God may strike us as being "necessary", it might rather be a result of inherited and inculcated belief, and thus not "necessary". Read it again.

Btw- Darwin advances a version of the Argument from Evil here too, especially as animals are concerned. If I remember correctly, Lee Randolph has articulated the same argument here at DC.

That there is much suffering in he world no one disputes. Some have attempted to explain this in reference to man by imagining that it serves for his moral improvement. But the number of men in the world is as nothing compared with that of all other sentinent beings, and these often suffer greatly without any moral improvement. A being so powerful and so full of knowledge as a God who could create the universe, is to our finite minds omnipotent and omniscient, and it revolts our understanding to supose that his benevolence is not unbounded, for what advantage can there be in the suffering of millions of the lower animals throughout almost endless time? This very old argument from the existence of suffering against the existence of an intelligent first cause seems to me a strong one; whereas, as just remarked, the presence of much suffering agrees well with the view that all organic beings have been developed through variation and natural selection.

Scott said...

Maybe he wasn't "perfect" until he created. Maybe his purpose wasn't fulfilled until he could express himself.

Most theists would claim that God does not change and that perfection is a intrinsic property that cannot be added, removed or be dependent on external factors.

Maybe, I don't know.

I appreciate your honesty.

While I too "don't know" my lack of knowledge leads me to a different conclusion. I simply do not believe the theist's claim that God exists. Regardless of how "nice" it would be if true, there is not enough evidence for me to make the leap you've taken.

If I understand your question, I believe so, yes. More so. But we don't believe it--we think we're just a worthless clump of random cosmic dust with no purpose--and so we act accordingly.

I do not think clumps of random cosmic dust which can think, feel and love are worthless. In fact, they quite amazing if you stop and think about it. How did you come to this conclusion?

Which the vast majority of humans do not show. Human nature is to kill or be killed, not show love and artistic expression. Why then do some buck the trend? It seems to me that if love and creativity were truly human attributes (based in human nature) nearly everyone would do it. Mere observation of how we behave shows that to be mistaken.

Some people have different ways of being creative and unique. For example, I think that creating efficient and elegant software architectures is a form of creativity and has the ability to impact a very wide audience. And I enjoy creating real-time graphics and video that interacts with live music.

But I do share your observation that some people are not nearly inspired to create as others.

Personally, I think some of it has to do with the picture of the world you were presented as a child. Were you taught that you could make a difference or that you are flawed and insignificant? Is the world a place to explore and learn about or is it a dangerous place that we must be weary of and shield ourselves from.

I also think that human beings have only had the capacity to really step back and "observe" our own thoughts for 3 to 4 thousand years. As such, we are transitioning between instinctual urges that served us well in the past and a new found consciousness which can act as a clutch - allowing us to disengage from our instincts and help shape the future evolution of human beings.

It's more like I give humans "love-like" attributes. Humans are not inherenty loving--history bears that out. Love comes from somewhere outside of us.

History shows we lived in tribes with males who fought for dominance of the group. While we still have a long way to go, our outlook has changed dramatically. Men play a stronger role in raising their children. We can see how people can make a difference in others lives. We're more aware of cause and effect and have a much bigger picture to consider.

Again, I think we are essentially toddlers when it comes to understanding the interaction between our instincts and conciseness. In other words, we are not in final form. We are still changing and evolving. To think otherwise requires ignoring what we know about history and biology.

It doesn't add up in mine, either. Good intentions are not love. Commitment, self-denial, sacrifice, those are start to define love.

But I don't see why God is required. Does making love a sentient being give it more appeal?

Hell is the default result of our existence. It is only this love injected into life that keeps us all from degrading into complete entropic chaos.

Hell is creating false exceptions about our existence and trying to live up to them. Hell is a failure to see life as it is. Hell is needless suffering of our own making.

JUSTIN said...

scott wote:
>>Most theists would claim that God does not change and that perfection is a intrinsic property that cannot be added, removed or be dependent on external factors.<<

I think I see a disconnect here (not yours). Most "theists" have imparted their perspective and expectations on God--put God in a box, so to speak. Most of that is derived from very poor biblical scholarship.

Indeed, the bible describes a God who changes his mind, often. But it also describes God as "perfect", as often. Now, is that really perfect, or just who's definition of "perfect" is God?

As a result of this contradiction, instead of throwing out God as a fraud for not meeting my definition of perfect, I accept the fact that maybe my definition needs tweaking.

>>While I too "don't know" [snip] there is not enough evidence for me to make the leap you've taken.<<

I appreciate that. I don't come by faith easily or flippantly (no matter what my poor expression on the board may indicate otherwise). I am willing to accept the only evidence I believe exists--the presence of love in a loveless world.

>>I do not think clumps of random cosmic dust which can think, feel and love are worthless. In fact, they quite amazing if you stop and think about it. How did you come to this conclusion?<<

I concluded it because random clumps of cosmic dust which can think, feel and love cannot occur without outside influence. The Second Law of Thermodynamics forbids it. The universe is in a very high state of organization, thus a low state of entropy. Over 15 or so billion years of a closed system, that cannot happen without something outside the system altering it.

>>For example, I think that creating efficient and elegant software architectures is a form of creativity and has the ability to impact a very wide audience. And I enjoy creating real-time graphics and video that interacts with live music.<<

I agree you are being very creative. I don't mean to limit creativity to music or painting or other "arts". I am a civil engineer. My canvas is dirt and concrete.

>>But I do share your observation that some people are not nearly inspired to create as others.<<

What inspires you, Scott? What is the source of that inspiration? Why is the final product so ultimately satisfying?

>>Personally, I think some of it has to do with the picture of the world you were presented as a child.<<

I agree. We all have our presuppositions, learned or otherwise. I will also admit I was predisposed to believe in God because of my upbringing. Early on I saw the B.S., and it gave me reason to pause. What I noticed was that most "christians" didn't act like "Little Christs", and so I had a choice to make--disbelieve God because of his followers actions, or disbelieve his followers.

>>Were you taught that you could make a difference or that you are flawed and insignificant?<<

Both. I was taught that in spite of my flaws and insignificance, I could make a difference in the world... that my flaws and insignificance did not define my course.

>>Is the world a place to explore and learn about or is it a dangerous place that we must be weary of and shield ourselves from.<<

Again, both. I greatly enjoy astronomy (should've studied it in school, but I digress). I long for long trips in the wilderness just being a part of it. I also enjoy history and other cultures. But, I'm not so naive to forget that someday the sun will engulf the planet, the wilderness is full of bears and cougars, and that there are other people in this world who would kill me simply for my faith or my wallet. It's the risks of life that make it... well, fun.

>>I also think that human beings have only had the capacity to really step back and "observe" our own thoughts for 3 to 4 thousand years.<<

I have to disagree. I find no athropological (sic) evidence that the humans of 10,000 BC were not as intelligent or thoughtful as you or I. A lot of guessing, but the ancients had to be pretty keen to build pyramids, live in cliffs, and hunt down woolly mammoths.

>>allowing us to disengage from our instincts<<

I'm not sure disengaging instinct is a good idea. I think it may be part of our problem.

>>Men play a stronger role in raising their children. We can see how people can make a difference in others lives. We're more aware of cause and effect and have a much bigger picture to consider.<<

I don't think there is any evidence that this is any different than 5000 years ago. In more modern eras and cultures, such wasn't the case and it bred huge problems (20th Century western civ, e.g.).

>>In other words, we are not in final form. We are still changing and evolving. To think otherwise requires ignoring what we know about history and biology.<<

I don't think otherwise. I think we are "evolving" against our base tendencies to devolve.

>>But I don't see why God is required.<<

God is required to be the outside influence to the closed system. Thermodynamics demands it. "And in this house, we obey the laws of thermodynamics!!!" (my apologies for the Simpsons quote, I couldn't help it.)

>>Hell is creating false exceptions about our existence and trying to live up to them. Hell is a failure to see life as it is. Hell is needless suffering of our own making.<<

Exactly.

JUSTIN said...

Scott, I don't think I answered your question very well:

>>I do not think clumps of random cosmic dust which can think, feel and love are worthless. In fact, they quite amazing if you stop and think about it. How did you come to this conclusion?<<

I don't think we are worthless, either. Quite the contrary. But humanity in general does not act as if we think we are people of worth. The obvious are murder, slavery, rape, war, abortion... these acts indicate we don't think too highly of ourselves, that we think we are worthless. That's what I mean.

Scott said...

I don't think we are worthless, either. Quite the contrary. But humanity in general does not act as if we think we are people of worth. The obvious are murder, slavery, rape, war, abortion... these acts indicate we don't think too highly of ourselves, that we think we are worthless. That's what I mean.

So we need to invent a supernatural being to tell us this so we'll act accordingly? What does this say about your view of humanity?

I don't see fear and superstition as a reasonable answer to this problem.

JUSTIN said...

Scott wrote:
>>So we need to invent a supernatural being to tell us this so we'll act accordingly?<<

"Inventing a supernatural being" has not led to humanity treating each other any better. So no, that is not the purpose of believing in God

>>What does this say about your view of humanity?<<

Even though this question assumes I believe in God in order to change everyone, I'll answer by saying I do indeed have a dim view of humanity. There is no evidence to convince me otherwise. We treat each other horribly... there are exceptions, however.

>>I don't see fear and superstition as a reasonable answer to this problem.<<

I agree, it is not. Fear and superstition are not what I have proposed, here.

Scott said...

As a result of this contradiction, instead of throwing out God as a fraud for not meeting my definition of perfect, I accept the fact that maybe my definition needs tweaking.

But at what point does God cease to be "God" and simply become a very smart and powerful being? When does he become a force of nature that caused our universe to unfold? I'm not saying what you've identified as God does not exist, I'm simply questioning why it must be sentient and supernatural.

What inspires you, Scott? What is the source of that inspiration? Why is the final product so ultimately satisfying?

For me, the final product isn't the most satisfying part. When something is complete, I'm ready to move on to something else.

Dr. Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi has studied a wide range of creative individuals and made some interesting discoveries in this area. You can find more information here.

I appreciate that. I don't come by faith easily or flippantly (no matter what my poor expression on the board may indicate otherwise). I am willing to accept the only evidence I believe exists--the presence of love in a loveless world.

Love exists in our world. We can observe it and experience it. Why do you think people are incapable of expressing love without God?

I concluded it because random clumps of cosmic dust which can think, feel and love cannot occur without outside influence. The Second Law of Thermodynamics forbids it

While the universe is a closed system, stars such as our sun manufacture materials and provide energy which helps locally overcome entropy. When our sun dies, we'll either need to find another source of energy or die with it.

I have to disagree. I find no athropological (sic) evidence that the humans of 10,000 BC were not as intelligent or thoughtful as you or I. A lot of guessing, but the ancients had to be pretty keen to build pyramids, live in cliffs, and hunt down woolly mammoths.

I'm not referring to intelligence. I'm referring to our ability to step back and observe our thoughts, motivations and beliefs. Our ability to put ourselves in someone else's shoes. "Why do I believe in X?" "I want to do Z, but is it really the best course of action?"

I'm not sure disengaging instinct is a good idea. I think it may be part of our problem.

If you've driven a car with a manual transmission, you know the clutch is engaged more often than not. However, the ability to disengage the clutch is a critical part of retaining control over the car. Conciseness allows us to disengage our instincts and helps decide when doing so is appropriate.

I don't think there is any evidence that this is any different than 5000 years ago. In more modern eras and cultures, such wasn't the case and it bred huge problems (20th Century western civ, e.g.).

While we may have a different set of problems, this does not mean that our view of the world and the role we play in it hasn't changed significantly. Behavior that was beneficial to us in the past isn't nearly as valuable to us today. In fact it, may be a hinderance. If we've going to grow and thrive as a species, we need to take a hard look at why we do the things we do and question if are the best options for us to pursue.

God is required to be the outside influence to the closed system. Thermodynamics demands it.

As mentioned above, our sun locally counteracts entropy. However this is temporary in the grand scheme of things.

Scott said...

Scott: So we need to invent a supernatural being to tell us this so we'll act accordingly?

Justin: "Inventing a supernatural being" has not led to humanity treating each other any better. So no, that is not the purpose of believing in God

I agree that major goals of religion are not being met. Which is why I'm questioning the idea of God.

It appears that your view of God is that of a spokesmodel for love. We can't find a good enough reason to love each other, so we need some supernatural intelligence to tell us we should.

JUSTIN said...

>>I'm simply questioning why it must be sentient and supernatural.<<

Probability requires a sentient being; thermodynamics requires it supernatural.

>>Dr. Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi has studied a wide range of creative individuals and made some interesting discoveries in this area. You can find more information here.<<

Thanks, I will look into it.

>>Love exists in our world. We can observe it and experience it. Why do you think people are incapable of expressing love without God?<<

Barring the few exceptions, the world lives "godlessly". Love is not expressed in this world in any great or overwhelming amount. Some families have it, some friends have it, some individuals give it unrequited. But, for the vast majority of people, it is missing from their lives. Everywhere they look, it cannot be found. THAT is the human condition.

My question is why does even a little love exist?

My answer is that love is an infusion of "something" from outside us, outside our universe. It's foreign because it doesn't fit here, and we can't make sense of it or seem to do it ourselves.

>>While the universe is a closed system, stars such as our sun manufacture materials and provide energy which helps locally overcome entropy.<<

The entire universe is in varying levels of high order, as we we can observe. That cannot happen over the complete universe as a closed system--yet it still is. If it was "local only", we would observe a "soup" outside our local areas, not distinct structures and organization (galaxies, stars, etc.). The structure of the universe, because of the thermodynamic laws, points to an outside influence.

>>I'm referring to our ability to step back and observe our thoughts, motivations and beliefs. Our ability to put ourselves in someone else's shoes. "Why do I believe in X?" "I want to do Z, but is it really the best course of action?"<<

What makes you say the ancients of 5000+ or 10000+ years ago cannot do this?

>>Conciseness allows us to disengage our instincts and helps decide when doing so is appropriate.<<

Key word... "appropriate". Disengaging our base instincts is not always appropriate. One concern I have with "reason" is the tendency to disengage all instinct, experience, emotion, etc. for more "objective" evidence. But objectivity reasoning doesn't always tell the whole story. It lacks depth in it's striving to be correct.

>>...this does not mean that our view of the world and the role we play in it hasn't changed significantly.<<

Is our current view always the right one?

>>Behavior that was beneficial to us in the past isn't nearly as valuable to us today. In fact it, may be a hinderance.<<

Do you have an example? I would say any behavior which is a hindrance now, was a hindrance then. If there is a difference, I would have to question the perception of benefit/hindrance at one or both times.

>>If we've going to grow and thrive as a species, we need to take a hard look at why we do the things we do and question if are the best options for us to pursue.<<

If you will pardon the euphemism... AMEN! I agree.

>>It appears that your view of God is that of a spokes model for love.<<

No, the sole source of it. God is the outside influence that counters the entropy of our hearts. I don't believe love is of human origin.

>>We can't find a good enough reason to love each other, so we need some supernatural intelligence to tell us we should.<<

In and of ourselves, I don't believe humanity has the capability of love without God putting it in us.

Bob said...

Things that don't exist have no properties at all.

Is God a monster?

Do the pixies who live underneath your garden shed like peanut butter?

Robert said...

To Justin: From Robert:

Please forgive the tardiness of my following comment to this antiphonal clambake.

Maternal love is a physical brain phenomena whether you like it or not. That is because reality is not amendable to change via conscious wishes including those of your alleged god or rather your fantasy delusion of a god. Your attempt to blur the distinction between reality and your fantasy world is simply further evidence of your dependence upon the fallacy of primacy of consciousness. Consciousness cannot hold primacy over reality. No matter how much you wish YHVH to be real, it is not. No matter how much you wish Jesus to have existed, the evidence does not support that hypothesis. No matter how much you want to surrender your responsibility to live in accordance with objective reality, still you are responsible for you. No matter how much you wish these words to say something other than they do, they do not. No matter how much you want consciousness to be extant as a stand alone entity conscious only of itself, the inescapable fact remains that consciousness is the awareness of existence, and without existence there can be no awareness and hence no consciousness. Your repugnant and repulsive Christian nonsense is nothing more than an edifice of fallacies built on a foundation of primacy of consciousness.
******************************
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/02/080228100717.htm
“Maternal Love: How A Mother's Brain Responds To Her Infant”

The pertinent quote follows: “Researchers used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), a tool that enables scientists to study the function of brain circuits in people, to examine patterns of maternal brain activation. The authors asked healthy mothers to view video clips, which showed either their own infant (approximate age of 16 months) or an unknown infant in two emotional conditions -- either happy or upset/crying.

Dr. Madoka Noriuchi, senior author on the paper* explains their findings: "We found that a limited number of mother's brain areas were specifically related to maternal love, and the specific pattern of mother's response was observed for her infant's attachment behaviors evoking mother's care-taking behaviors for vigilant protectiveness."

In other words, they discovered that particular circuits in the brain, involving several regions in the cerebral cortex and limbic system, are distinctively activated when mothers distinguish the smiles and cries of their own infants from those of other infants.

The authors also found that a mother responds more strongly to the crying than the smiling of her own infant, which, according to the authors, seems "to be biologically meaningful in terms of adaptation to specific demands associated with successful infant care.".
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But none of this in anyway alleviates your responsibility to the burden of proof you bear to provide extraordinary evidence for your extraordinary and bazaar claim that a consciousness is responsible for causing existence to ontologically extantuate. How can instantiation of awareness of existence be demonstrated in a state of nothingness? How can awareness obtain when there was nothing to of which to be aware? To bear your burden of proof, you must demonstrate how a rational and properly reasoning person may distinguish the difference between what you think the answers to these question are and what you fantasize the answers to be. But this you cannot do as you do not have a valid philosophical system from which to start.

i guess i want to read said...

i am a Christian, and i want to commend you for your courage and honesty.
i am originally from India, and either/or mentality was unknown to me. Both/and is what is in the eastern philosophy, and by extension eastern religions like Hinduism, Judaism, Christianity etc
i have read a few things about early Christian teaching (first 400 years), many people then did not think of literal 7 day creation (The Genesis Debate : Three Views on the Days of Creation).
my other small point is that Apo Paul himself says that its adam and eves fault (romans 5 last part). and hence it is Christ's responsibility - as in adam all die so in Christ all will be made alive. . Romans 5:18 Yes, Adam's one sin resulted in condemnation upon everyone, even so through one act of righteousness (Jesus’ death) there resulted justification of life upon everyone.
thirdly, majority of early christian church did not believe in literal hell and believed everyone is going to have eternal bliss eventually - 1 Corinthians 15:28 When all things are subjected to Him (Jesus), then the Son (Jesus) Himself also will be subjected to the One (God the father) who subjected all things to Him, so that God may be all in all.
fourthly, many Christians throughout centuries believe that many errors are in the bible.
and i personally believe that Apo Paul teaches concepts and ideas - like justification by faith etc.
Book of James obviously disagrees with him, but i being a gentile would rather listen to Apo Paul the apostle to the gentile then James.
Unfortunately, this is not acceptable to many Christian teachers and professor etc. they say you cannot pick and choose and one ingressive axiom would destroy the system. they want coherence, systematic fail proof system.
the Lutherans recognized this and put something like this "Calvinism is consistent but unbiblical, Lutheranism is biblical but not consistent"
But i think they missed the bigger picture- Bible itself is neither consistent nor coherent.
So why do i still believe in Physical resurrection of Jesus etc.
i don't think i can give you a ...reasonable answer
anyways, i commend you again for your honesty and courage.
You are Guilt free and i am happy for you.
i think i am also guilt free more or less.
1) i believe God is love (the whole book of Ecclesiastes screams against me- It says look, look at the evidence vanity of vanities all life is vanity )
2) i believe a violent God of the old testament saved all humanity and creation violently in the most primitive fashion - crucifixion of his Son (the old testament disagrees with me- since torah specifically prohibits human sacrifice )
etc, etc.
i am unable to explain why do i still believe in God, Christ, substitutionary atonement etc etc. despite all the evidence biblically against it - because of the radical nature of disjoin between OT and NT. errors in NT too - like lies of Luke in acts narrative, did the cock crow 2 or three times etc. factual errors in Old testament etc.

my mom told me that my grand dad who was a devout hindu saw Jesus many, many times, and had visions of heaven etc. i believe her because she is my mom and i love her, and my grand dad was well respected and loved in the Christian community in india...


I also think that eastern religions should be left for eastern people like me … I don’t know how to convey this point … I guess something in me is comfortable with all this errors and contradictions in the bible. I do not know why I am comfortable to believe in Jesus etc despite all things…

I do not know why in the west there is so much animosity against religion. I mean why should there be so much blood shed??? Like crusades, inquisitions, communisms, Marxism, Nazism 2 world wars etc…

Perhaps I am not making any sense to you and I am jumping like a bunny rabbit here and there…

i cannot tell you how much i enjoyed reading the articles and posts, God bless you and may you go from truth to truth

all the best

Breckmin said...

it is good to create beings who can love and fellowship with each other. God doesn't create out of need.

Love is the greater good at the cost of evil existing. Sin/disobedience is a potential byproduct of the ability (choice) to Love.

Robert Bumbalough said...

Breckmin: See my above comment about why YHVH or THEOS cannot love. Unless you're going to define what you mean by "god" and back it up with empirical evidence from actual reality, any point you make about "god" falls to the argument from non-cognitivism.

Appeals to faith fail because knowledge cannot be obtained by faith. Naked assertions about attributes you assign to your fantasies of god(s) contrary to material existence have no power to convince because induction can only work in material existence where the law of identity and causality obtain and because consciousness is awareness of information that in turn is contingent to material existence. Postulating an ontological state other than existence fails because the metaphysical primacy of non-existence is not demonstrable. Only existence exists. Non-existence does not exist. It is then impossible to show a consciousness exists without existence or awareness or information. The god(s) are not real, but you are. Devote your life to improving yourself and those you love.

I will no longer follow this thread as it is a waste of my time.

JAMES said...

It's funny, because if you ask the devout Christian these important questions, the reply I've almost always received back, is that God is so beyond our own "limited" thinking that his reasons need not, should not, even be questioned! But if that's the case, then how is it that we are created in "His" likeness, etc.?

If God knew "love", the very first thing he'd want, is 'something else', so he could be loved and love in return (being that 'He' was initially the only thing in the universe). So can we safely say that he created us out of "His" own boredom & desire for love, then? If that is the case, then indeed, what a selfish creation this has been for 'our' God. (Note: With the human emotion of 'love', doesn't that also immediately exclude Him from the 'perfection' category?)

The aspect of when it was, exactly, that 'evil' may have come into the picture (and "why", and "how") is the one mystery that's the major crux for my own personal disbelief. (Evil came about some time after the creation of man, and before the apple in the garden, maybe?). It makes me wonder how people can still insist on their "kind and loving" God being real at all. The placing of the apple in the Garden of Eden, itself,... would have meant that God knew very well what tempting Adam and Eve would result in, yet he surely 'allowed it to happen'. So where was the "choice" in that at all?

Why create the Arch-angel Lucifer, either; when He knew what would eventually become of that(?) - "all-knowing" God that He is. Think of all the people that God killed through "His will", mainly for not believing in, and worshiping, only "Him".

How can 'any' of these things be attributed to a loving, just, and "perfect" God as the Bible declares Him to be? Maybe I've come full circle, here, for what other answer could 'one of faith' give, than to say that "His will" is not something that we as humans can even begin to comprehend? (Seems more like a big "cop-out", to me! Ahem).