Another Person Who Doesn’t Know Christian Theology Mangling Genesis to Bash With


I see this all too often, especially in my email discussion group – someone with the barest of shallow or skewed knowledge about Biblical narratives attempting to use it to bash Christians with.

It’s amazing, really, how lazy some people are when it comes to reading through all three chapters at the beginning of the Bible detailing the Creation and Fall of mankind before going off on some wild, unhinged rant.

So, often enough, I try to correct it.

I’m not sure of the full context of the following – whether it is Ayn Rand’s own views, or merely the views of a character in the book (John Galt himself I suspect), or Brad DeLong’s own understanding of the nature of man before the Fall (and by the way, not all Christians are fiscal Conservatives, and vice versa) – but I’m providing the mainstream correction for this gross misinterpretation/misinformation nonetheless.

(But is there really anything wrong with emulating the best parts that we admire in a person, while rejecting what we don’t agree with? After all, I don’t see Obamessiah worshipers who long to be like their idol carrying around teleprompters wherever they go. Snark!)

So here it is, a snippet from Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged, via Brad DeLong’s Grasping Reality with Both Hands, ostensibly used to chide Conservative Wingnuts: John Galt Is Not a Christian.

What is the nature of the guilt that your teachers call his Original Sin? What are the evils man acquired when he fell from a state they consider perfection? Their myth declares that he ate the fruit of the tree of knowledge — he acquired a mind and became a rational being. It was the knowledge of good and evil — he became a moral being. He was sentenced to earn his bread by his labor — he became a productive being. He was sentenced to experience desire — he acquired the capacity of sexual enjoyment. The evils for which they damn him are reason, morality, creativeness, joy — all the cardinal values of his existence. It is not his vices that their myth of man’s fall is designed to explain and condemn, it is not his errors they they hold as his guilt, but the essence of his nature as man. Whatever he was — that robot, in the Garden of Eden, who existed without mind, without values, without labor, without love — he was not man…

Here are the counters for each of the fallacies I noted:

1) Their myth declares that he ate the fruit of the tree of knowledge — he acquired a mind and became a rational being.

Adam and Eve had rational minds and the ability to make independent decisions before the Original Sin. How could the serpent manipulate Eve’s logic to trick her into eating the fruit, if she had none to begin with?

Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?” – Genesis 3:1

What the Fall accomplished was to make mankind clever in his own mind – a self-assured smarty pants, but in no way wise.

2) It was the knowledge of good and evil — he became a moral being.

The fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil did not merely grant the ability to distinguish between right and wrong. It was the presumptuousness of being the authority that decides what is right and what is wrong, i.e. replacing God.

As the serpent said to Eve: “Your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” – Genesis 3:5

What the Fall accomplished was to make mankind wholly immoral – by raising himself over and rejecting God as the definer of ethics and morality (sound familiar, moral relativists?)

3) He was sentenced to earn his bread by his labor — he became a productive being.

Adam was already given the responsibility to work the earth before the Fall.

The LORD God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it. – Genesis 2:15

The difference after the Fall is that his labour would now involve toil and trouble.

Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat of it all the days of your life. It will produce thorns and thistles for you, and you will eat the plants of the field. By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food. – Genesis 3:17-19

What the Fall accomplished was to actually decrease mankind’s productivity! What do you have to say to that, John Galt?

Also compare what Jesus Christ did for the majority of his lifetime on Earth, as quoted by I cannot now remember who: The sanctity of work is this: That God came to this world, and made furniture.

4) He was sentenced to experience desire — he acquired the capacity of sexual enjoyment.

Once again, casual (read: shallow and childish) readers get confused by the parts about being naked and probably are misinformed by wild conjectures that the original sin was sex. (Philip Pullman is guilty of this as well.)

Reproduction, and by extension procreation and just plain sex, were instituted by God Himself as something pure and holy long before the Fall:

God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. – Genesis 1:28

For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh. The man and his wife were both naked, and they felt no shame. – Genesis 2:24-25

Question: Do you feel shameful and abashed when naked in front of your spouse? Well, neither did Adam and Eve. They were also unabashed to be naked in front of God, who after all created them in all their anatomically detailed glory.

So why did Adam and Eve cover themselves up after they had sinned?

Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves. Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the LORD God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the LORD God among the trees of the garden. But the LORD God called to the man, “Where are you?” He answered, “I heard you in the garden,and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid.” – Genesis 3:7-10

It was because they no longer had the full trust and intimacy with God that they had enjoyed before.

It is only sexual contact outside marriage that is sinful. Please update your Medieval Era datafiles with the latest patch before attempting to play Bible Critic Online.

5) Whatever he was — that robot, in the Garden of Eden, who existed without mind, without values, without labor, without love — he was not man…

Typical. Citing the temptation of the Forbidden Fruit, and later on in the same rant lamenting mankind’s ‘lack of free will’. Do tell me how ‘robots’ which can only follow pre-programmed orders can decide to disobey a direct order not to eat the forbidden fruit.

The irony here is that the very existence of the Forbidden Fruit in the Garden of Eden is due to the need for a way that mankind can actively choose to disobey God.

Imagine if God had said, “Hey man and woman! Y’all are free to disobey Me with your free will I’m giving you and all, hear? ‘Cept that, I won’t give you any way to actually do it. Have fun now!”

The end result of that would be like something explored in Ultimate Fantastic Four.

Just for the information of the uninitiated, free will is a HUGE thing in most Christian denominations. It’s so big, that God let Adam and Eve reject Him and His ways. It’s so big, that God still lets billions of people reject His last chance offer of reconciliation through Jesus Christ instead of using His omnipotent power to force everyone to be saved and join Him in heaven – despite the fact that God “wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth” (1 Timothy 2:3-4).

CONCLUSION:

To paraphrase the passage from Atlas Shrugged: In the Garden of Eden, he existed with mind, with values, with labor, with love — he was man.

Man had a different nature once – you only have to imagine humanity with all the good qualities we see today, but none of the bad ones, and you’d be able to grasp just what kind of utopian society Eden and the future redeemed world must be like.

It’d be like the result of Marxism if people weren’t naturally selfish b*stards, i.e. actually successful!

And yes, the early Christians in Acts were technically Socialists and even Communists…

All the believers were together and had everything in common. Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need. – Acts 2:44-45

From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs, eh? But as you can see, each of them gave up their personal possessions for the Greater Good willingly and without coercion.

And they worshiped the perfect God of all creation, not some self-aggrandizing, man-is-god, original-sin, utterly and predictably fallible diktat-ors.

That is how a church can raise $19 million in one day from 22,000 people… And also why people are balking at the Tax Raiser in Chief’s mandatory redistribution of wealth.

If Conservatives and Christians are presented with a cause they can believe in, you don’t have to twist their arms – the giving will flow all on its own.

After all… Conservatives outgive Liberals when it comes to charity, while top rich Democrats routinely avoid paying the very taxes they want to impose on us hapless proles. Which is perhaps why President Obama sees fit to discourage charitable donations by reducing their tax deduction.

UPDATE: Well, this piece about Ayn Rand explains it.

——————————————-

See also related at The Golden Compass – Attacking A Misportrayal of Christianity (And How to Refute the Attacks).


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39 Responses to “Another Person Who Doesn’t Know Christian Theology Mangling Genesis to Bash With”

  1. Evelyn Says:

    Enjoy reading your site. Glad that someone is out there correcting the wrong perception of those so call liberalist.

  2. peng Says:

    Excellent rebuttal!

  3. Brian Says:

    If man was not a robot then, he certainly is now, for you assert there is no escaping the results of the Fall. We have no choice over Original Sin.

  4. Jamie Says:

    Brian: Ever heard of salvation through Jesus Christ?

    Man does have a choice on whether he escapes Original Sin or not. whether he chooses to believe that the choice is the choice to take is another matter.

  5. Scott Thong Says:

    Brian, that’s like saying we have no choice over our genetic makeup – whether we are male or female, tall or short, Caucasian or Negroid.

    Sin is in our DNA (see The Sin Theory of Evolution), but that simply means we have a predisposition towards sinning. We each have full control over whether or not we sin in every situation we encounter.

  6. GodKillzYou Says:

    I find several problems with this thesis.

    I believe the proper term we could use to describe Adam and Eve in the garden would be innocent. Innocent in knowledge of things such as good and evil. This is spoken to perfectly in Genesis 2:17, where God says to Adam…

    17 But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.

    Even the name of the tree betrays the fault of the myth. The tree of the knowledge of good and evil. To say that Adam and Eve knew better than to heed the serpent’s words is short-sighted.

    As for your second point, you seem to be putting words in Adam & Eve’s mouths, or thoughts in their minds, as it were.

    The fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil did not merely grant the ability to distinguish between right and wrong. It was the presumptuousness of being the authority that decides what is right and what is wrong, i.e. replacing God.

    There was no presumption in this story. I liken it to a young child burning himself on the stove because his parents never told him that the stove was hot… or, only told him when he was 3 months old, incapable of understanding language, and having never mentioned it again when they could understand.

    God intentionally created Adam and Eve without knowledge of right and wrong, good and evil and held them responsible for it.

    Also, I don’t see the relevance of point 3. We still come back to the point that Adam was cursed for not understanding the difference between right and wrong, the state in which he was created.

    The bottom line is that it all boils down to making excuses for God not giving Adam & Even the insight to realize that the serpent was lying. Lies would not be in the vocabulary of someone who was innocent and unaware of the ways of beings such as the evil serpent.

    I’d sum it up by saying that you’d have to convince me that creating ignorant people like Adam & Eve, and holding them accountable for that ignorance is a just act by a perfect and holy God that is capable of anything.

    And I don’t want to hear that God is perfect and that we could never live up to those standards, because in that case, he should have never created people in the first place. Set us up just to knock us down. Sounds pretty sadistic to me.

  7. Scott Thong Says:

    1) You helpfully provide the illustration of a child who is not warned that a stove is hot, then proceeds to burn himself on it, thus making it the fault of the parents.

    Yet this does not match the Genesis account, where as you are aware God clearly warns Adam in Genesis 2:16-17 :

    And the LORD God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die.”

    Eve then demonstrates her awareness of this command when she speaks in Genesis 3:2-3 :

    The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, but God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.’ “

    Thus it is clear that even if Eve did not have any understanding of the concept of death, she understood that God had told them not to touch the forbidden fruit.

    Thus the illustration of parents who warned the child when that child could not understand does not hold either – Adam and Eve surely understood language, as Genesis records them speaking.

    A more accurate illustration would be a child who has never experienced painful hotness being warned by his parents not to touch the stove because it is hot.

    But like Adam and Eve, the experential understanding of the nature of the danger should not even be a factor, as the person of authority and the person who most loves them already instructed them not to do something.

    It would actually make little difference if God had instead said “for when you eat of it you will surely get a rash/not be happy/dance the macarena.” The important thing is the instruction not to proceed – as one could argue that a warning about any negative thing would not be understood, as nothing bad existed in Eden.

    Or do you wish to argue that Adam and Eve could speak and communicate intelligibly, but had no understanding of the word “No”?

    (If you instead compared God to irresponsible parents who purposely left a burning stove in the middle of the playpen where the child could easily reach it, that would be a sounder line of argument. I would then use a different line of defense, of course.)

    ————————————–

    2)On your argument that Adam and Eve did not understand lies, perhaps you are right and they did not know that individuals can intentionally tells untruths in order to achieve an ulterior motive.

    But surely they could immediately notice the disparity between what God said and what the serpent said? God said ‘Bad, don’t eat’ and the serpent said ‘Good, do eat’. Surely Adam and Eve would have realized that both could not be true at the same time? That someone must have been – assuming they did not understanding what lies were – flat out wrong?

    They were innocent, but surely they were not wholly unintelligent and illogical. Even a child can recognize the disparity (and take advantage of it) when mum says no ice cream, but dad said yes 5 minutes ago.

    ————————————–

    3)I continue to hold to my idea of Adam and Eve presuming to be the authority – for just as with the child, what drives them to disobey the authority figure? The child decides that he knows better and he should be the boss of himself, and mum and dad only forbid him from eating a entire tub of ice-cream because they are mean and don’t want him to enjoy a good thing.

    Did it not cross Adam and Eve’s minds that it would be exciting and good if they could decide for themselves what to eat or not to eat?

    ————————————–

    PS.And lest one think that God was unfairly harsh, the ‘punishment’ meted out to Adam and Eve is closer to the ‘unavoidable result’ of touching red hot metal than you think – as I conjecture, sin automatically acted as a mutagenic agent throughout the world that corrupted perfect creation to incorporate pain, death, and combative biological features (e.g. thorns, poison, claws).

    (But then, I similarly argue that the eternal damnation of being separated from God in hell is also an unavoidable end result, and not just an arbitrary decision by God.)

    ——————————————

    PPS. Just a query: Any reason why aren’t you arguing along the more common lines of “God is omnipotent and omniscient, so He is to blame for making Adam and Eve sin”?

  8. Were the Early Christians Communists? « BUUUUURRRRNING HOT Says:

    […] (This post is an extension of something I briefly noted in a post on Genesis-bashing.) […]

  9. Ron Says:

    I’m not sure which amazes me more: belief in talking snakes, or the defense of ideologies based on that belief.

  10. jubal Says:

    I don’t know about you, the snake says, but if I were in your shoes — here’s how I would see it:
    http://www.aish.com/jl/etb/48961421.html

  11. niqed Says:

    HE has bigger problems
    http://gulfnews.com/news/gulf/uae/crime/man-claims-fiancee-hid-beard-under-niqab-1.580722

  12. niqed Says:

    “I’m not sure which amazes me more: belief in talking snakes..”

    http://sassywire.wordpress.com/2010/02/12/lame-duck-teaches-disabled-plymouth-boy-to-walk/

  13. Scott Says:

    “5) Whatever he was — that robot, in the Garden of Eden, who existed without mind, without values, without labor, without love — he was not man…

    “Typical. Citing the temptation of the Forbidden Fruit, and later on in the same rant lamenting mankind’s ‘lack of free will’. Do tell me how ‘robots’ which can only follow pre-programmed orders can decide to disobey a direct order not to eat the forbidden fruit.

    The irony here is that the very existence of the Forbidden Fruit in the Garden of Eden is due to the need for a way that mankind can actively choose to disobey God.

    Imagine if God had said, ‘Hey man and woman! Y’all are free to disobey Me with your free will I’m giving you and all, hear? ‘Cept that, I won’t give you any way to actually do it. Have fun now!’

    Just for the information of the uninitiated, free will is a HUGE thing in most Christian denominations. It’s so big, that God let Adam and Eve reject Him and His ways. It’s so big, that God still lets billions of people reject His last chance offer of reconciliation through Jesus Christ instead of using His omnipotent power to force everyone to be saved and join Him in heaven – despite the fact that God ‘wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth’ (1 Timothy 2:3-4).”

    This argument is completely ridiculous. Free will, by its very definition, cannot be GIVEN. It amazes me how Christians nitpick stuff like this and miss the bigger picture completely. The fallacies of Genesis permeate the entire Bible, even to the point of Jesus’ alleged death and resurrection, which, when considering that there was no “original sin” to be atoned for, just goes to show the brutal, bloodthirsty, an immoral nature of even the New Testamant.

    Sure, respond with some retort about how I’m the one misinterpreting the Bible. But then, at least I understand that the Bible, like all sacred texts of all religions, is the product of man, not “god.”

  14. Simon Thong Says:

    Scott Says:
    February 22, 11 at 5:53 am
    Sure, respond with some retort about how I’m the one misinterpreting the Bible. But then, at least I understand that the Bible, like all sacred texts of all religions, is the product of man, not “god.”

    This Scott is obviously NOT Scott thong. Hasn’t his eloquence nor his penetrative mind.

    “at least I understand…”: that’s not much of an understanding.

    And why can’t free will be given? Explain. Don’t just mouth off.

  15. Zack T Says:

    And why can’t free will be given? Explain. Don’t just mouth off. ~Simon Thong

    Yes, I agree. Why can’t free will be given to humans by their Creator?
    Please explain, ‘Scott’.

  16. Scott Says:

    Free will either exists or it doesn’t. It can’t be given to you. If something is forced upon you, including free will, then it isn’t free will. A choice between damnation and eternity with god is not free will; it’s coercion. If god existed, why would s/he need to be so cagey? How can s/he give us a rational mind and the expect us to accept something without evidence? There are no words of god, only words of man, unless we’re to believe that god is the most petty, insecure, vindictive, homicidal, infanticidal, homophobic, xenophobic, being in the universe.

  17. Simon Thong Says:

    You’re just playing around with words. You’re also showing your petty bias even though you seem to think that you sound learned and intellectual. A waste of time and space.

  18. Scott Thong Says:

    Free will either exists or it doesn’t. It can’t be given to you. If something is forced upon you, including free will, then it isn’t free will. – Scott

    What the…

    So let me get this straight.

    According to your logic, if you are not given the chance to CHOOSE between Free Will and Not Free Will, Free Will is being forced on you and is therefore actually Not Free Will.

    But wait, it gets better!

    In order to CHOOSE between two things, we would need… Free Will! Therefore, being given the chance to CHOOSE between Free Will and Not Free Will is already Not Free Will!

    You logic is too super! Mah brayn explud!

  19. Zack T Says:

    The fact that you have a choice is already prove of free will.

    And God never created us so that He could give us a choice between eternal paradise or eternal damnation..
    He first created man perfect and in a perfect world.. but He made it possible for man to disobey (with just ONE rule, mind you), in order that man would choose the right thing and obey (otherwise, he’d be a robot and no free will, or any possibility of practicing that free will).
    To disobey Him is not due to God’s fault, but the man’s very own.

    So, God didn’t create us to have these two options in the first place… By default, man was in eternal paradise… and would’ve remained there if the man did not choose to disobey.

    So yeah, it’s not God who’s the one that setup the two available options for us in the first place… What He does setup for us, as free-willed beings, is either to freely choose to love Him or reject Him…

  20. Joe the Plumber Says:

    I’m still waiting for some concrete proof that heaven, hell and this petty, unjust, cruel, narcissistic, tyrannical, barbaric, megalomaniac of a god actually exist.

    And of course it’s not free will when you’re forced to play a game according to someone else’s rules.

    What’s the difference between these two scenarios?

    Imaginary god: Love and obey me or I’ll kill you and send you to a place of eternal torment.

    Stalker: Love and obey me or I’ll torture and kill you.

    And here’s the religious apologist’s argument recast

    The doubter says:

    “I could never follow Stalin. He puts people in the Gulag.”

    That is what doubters tell themselves to rationalize their rejection of
    Stalin. But the truth is that Stalin does not send anyone to the Gulag.
    It is those who have hardened their hearts against him who send
    themselves to the Gulag through their bourgoise attitudes and
    counterrevolutionary actions. This was not Stalin’s plan at all. He
    truly wants everyone to go the Worker’s Paradise. And it grieves him
    that so many harden their hearts against him. But he will not force
    anyone into the Worker’s Paradise against their wishes, he respects
    their free will.

    So if you don’t want to go to the Gulag, just open your heart to the
    love of Stalin. And stop resisting him.

    http://groups.google.com/group/talk.origins/msg/a452cb8d34a6ffe4

  21. Scott Thong Says:

    All right Joe, if you want ‘proof of God’, first we need to have some clarification.

    What would you accept as conclusive evidence that convinces you of the existence of God?

    This is not a diversionary or stalling tactic. Each individual’s level of reasonable doubt is different.

    For example, a series of highly unlikely ‘coincidences’ in my life linked to specific prayers are enough to convince me that God is real. Answered prayer has been the convicting factor in many a conversion. But of course, some people would probably be unlikely to find that convincing at all.

    For others, a personal ‘encounter’ with God is enough. For yet others, the historical corroboration of the Bible is enough.

    On the other end of the scale, you have those who could be confronted with God in burning glory – yet dismiss it as a hallucination, UFO encounter, Punk’d prank, anything but God provign His existence. And we have actual atheist commentors who have stated that if every sick and crippled child in the world were suddenly healed, he would give thought to the idea of God existing.

    So we would really first need to know WHAT you would accept as ‘proof of God’.

    ————————–

    On your gulag analogy for hell, it falls short. Here are a few of mine for comparison. See if you can spot the main difference from your analogy:

    https://scottthong.wordpress.com/2008/08/07/real-life-metaphors-for-hell/

  22. Joe the Plumber Says:

    “What would you accept as conclusive evidence that convinces you of the existence of God?”

    Well, since you claim that answered prayer is the convincing factor for your conversion, let’s go with that.

    Gather as many devout believers as you wish (I’ll even let you choose who those people are) and pray fervently for any or all of the following to occur:

    1) an end to world hunger
    2) an end to all human conflict and strife
    3) an end to all disease
    4) a regeneration of limbs for all paraplegics and quadriplegics
    5) the complete and sudden rehabilitation of all drug addicts, and alcoholics
    6) the immediate and untimely death of all brutal dictators

    If theistic claims that with god all things are possible is true this should be a piece of cake.

    And the concluding paragraph in your “real life metaphors” doesn’t address free will and amounts to little more that special pleading: Hell exists ’cause a dusty old book written by ancient anonymous authors says so. Where’s the real evidence?

  23. Simon Thong Says:

    Joe the Plumber seems to think that he is important enough to have all his 6 wishes fulfilled to get him to believe. Nope. He’s just another human being, as important as another but not more important.

    I wouldn’t bother. He’ll find out when the time comes whether there is God or not: when his time is up.

  24. Joe the Plumber Says:

    I’m beginning to think that Simon Thong is either a sock puppet, a meat puppet or Scott Thong’s transformation from Dr. Jekyll to Mr. Hyde.

    You asked a question and I responded.

  25. Scott Thong Says:

    Gather as many devout believers as you wish (I’ll even let you choose who those people are) and pray fervently for any or all of the following to occur:

    Maybe God will read your comment and respond: http://knowyourmeme.com/memes/challenge-accepted

    Because…

    If theistic claims that with god all things are possible is true this should be a piece of cake.

    Is an inaccurate assumption. The Bible gives specific guidelines and specifics regarding prayer.

    http://www.everystudent.com/wires/prayers.html

    And the concluding paragraph in your “real life metaphors” doesn’t address free will – Joe the Plumber

    Actually, it does – but just like in real life, free will does not equate to absolute control of reality. That is why no one complains ‘gravity is coercing my free will to levitate’ when they jump off a building, fall ten stories and die.

    I’m beginning to think that Simon Thong is either a sock puppet, a meat puppet or Scott Thong’s transformation from Dr. Jekyll to Mr. Hyde.

    You asked a question and I responded.

    And you asked, and I responded – regardless and independent of what Simon comments.

  26. Zack T Says:

    God has never did anything that would constitute a transformation on a worldwide scale just immediate snapping His fingers or something; if He did, He would’ve used that same power to just convert everyone to be Christians and be done with it.

    And plus, what’s the point He does that? To convince only one man, Joe, that He exists? Then what about every other atheist in the world? Would they contribute it to God’s work? No? Then that’d give them all the more reason to reject God because of this sudden incident.

    It’d be better that God uses His people (His faithful followers) by giving them inspiration/guidance to love their neighbor and help those who are in need… while spreading the testimony of His love for them so that they have hope not only in this world, but of the perfect world that is to come after this one.
    With the hope of the coming paradise in the presence of the Holy God, one would then never count themselves unfortunate no matter what happens to them in this world.

  27. Joe the Plumber Says:

    “Maybe God will read your comment and respond”

    Christians claim their god is omniscient and knows mens’ thoughts before they are even born. Why would he need to read my comment? More importantly, what kind of benevolent deity would idly sit back and watch his creation suffer for several millennium?

    “The Bible gives specific guidelines and specifics regarding prayer.”

    So your god chooses not to intervene because his petitioners in prayer don’t have the ‘right’ kind of relationship with it, or because they don’t believe fervently enough (even though I specifically stated the prayer requests should come from devout believers of your own choosing; people like yourself who claim that they’ve already had success extracting special requests from their god), or because their desires simply don’t mesh with his own (implying that for reasons unknown to us your god prefers to let innocent people suffer through debilitating illness, hunger, natural disaster, repressive dictatorships, or some combination thereof). Have I covered all the convenient excuses?

    “…but just like in real life, free will does not equate to absolute control of reality.”

    As I mentioned before, (and I note you never addressed the god vs. stalker example) there can be no free will when one entity imposes its will upon another. You’re stuck with a theistic dichotomy: God’s will vs. free will. Make a choice. It’s either one or the other; they can’t both exist simultaneously.

    “That is why no one complains ‘gravity is coercing my free will to levitate’ when they jump off a building, fall ten stories and die.”

    That’s probably because lifeless corpses can’t complain. Besides, even if they could, they’d have no reason to, because they were doing it wrong. We defy gravity every time we ride an elevator, fly an airplane, cross a bridge, walk a flight of stairs, step on a ladder, climb a rope, go bungee jumping, or fly a kite.

  28. Joe the Plumber Says:

    “God has never did anything that would constitute a transformation on a worldwide scale just immediate snapping His fingers or something; if He did, He would’ve used that same power to just convert everyone to be Christians and be done with it.”

    Which forces the question: Why not?

    “And plus, what’s the point He does that? To convince only one man, Joe, that He exists? Then what about every other atheist in the world? Would they contribute it to God’s work? No? Then that’d give them all the more reason to reject God because of this sudden incident.”

    I think if each and every one of the items I listed suddenly transpired on a worldwide scale, it would convince even the most hardened skeptic.

    Plus I’m surprised at your lack of faith in the almighty god of gods, Zack. I thought we’re talking about the most powerful entity in the universe: the lord of lords, the ruler of rulers, the alpha and the omega, the mighty of the mightiest, the big Kahuna, the one ring to rule them all. Are you doubting its ability to turn disbelief into belief?

    “It’d be better that God uses His people (His faithful followers) by giving them inspiration/guidance to love their neighbor and help those who are in need… while spreading the testimony of His love for them so that they have hope not only in this world, but of the perfect world that is to come after this one.”

    Inspiration and comfort is a better way? Let me put it this way: if you found yourself on the pavement writhing in agony after a hit and run accident, which paramedic would you prefer to have in attendance: the one who says “It’ll be okay Zack, you can pull through this. The excruciating pain and bleeding will eventually subside on their own and you’ll reach a peaceful state of unconsciousness. Here’s a fluffy pillow and warm blanky to keep you comfortable”… or the one who administers powerful pain killers and begins treating your wounds?

    “With the hope of the coming paradise in the presence of the Holy God, one would then never count themselves unfortunate no matter what happens to them in this world.”

    Whatever floats your boat. I can’t fathom wanting to spend even one second with the monster described in the “holy” books of Judeo-Christendom and Islam… even if I were convinced such a being existed.

  29. Simon Thong Says:

    Joe the Plumber Says:
    February 23, 11 at 1:24 pm

    I’m beginning to think that Simon Thong is either a sock puppet, a meat puppet or Scott Thong’s transformation from Dr. Jekyll to Mr. Hyde.

    You’re so thick and so full of yourself that you could even consider such a possibility.

    Let me repeat. While you have breath and life, you can be arrogant and closed-minded. For how long? Were you there when God formed the world? Who are you but another person, just as useless yet just as precious in God’s eyes? You are precious enough for him to send his son to die for you. Yet, you are just that, one minute being.

  30. Scott Thong Says:

    Christians claim their god is omniscient and knows mens’ thoughts before they are even born. Why would he need to read my comment?

    I was using a figure of speech, but you’re free to harp on it for amusement value.

    More importantly, what kind of benevolent deity would idly sit back and watch his creation suffer for several millennium?

    On the problem of suffering in this world, there is roughly 2000 years worth of answers from Christians queried on this age old question. Here’s my take on one way respond:

    https://scottthong.wordpress.com/2006/12/23/red-alert-style-alternate-history-and-gods-wisdom/

    Have I covered all the convenient excuses?

    You left out contradictory requests – what if Jack and Mack, both super holy guys, both pray for Susie’s sole hand in marriage? God’s supposed to grant both of their requests based on your narrow definition? Simply put, the naive secular idea of prayer and divine answers is simply untenable.

    God’s will vs. free will. Make a choice. It’s either one or the other; they can’t both exist simultaneously.

    False dilemma logical fallacy – God free will decision can be to let humanity have free will. What, a parent has never let their kid choose what flavor ice cream they want? That both sides practising free will right there.

    We defy gravity every time we ride an elevator, fly an airplane, cross a bridge, walk a flight of stairs, step on a ladder, climb a rope, go bungee jumping, or fly a kite.

    Nice snark attempt, but the force of gravity continues to act on us in all the above scenarios. In the airplane’s case, it is merely offset by the force of lift.

    What I’m getting at is that just as being pulled down after each jump is a natural consequence, being in hell (defined as where God is not) is a natural consequence of not wanting to be with God. Seriously, what alternative do you propose? Or do you suggest Eastern philosophy where something can be both yes and no at once?

  31. Zack T Says:

    Which forces the question: Why not? ~Joe

    The age old question, “Why did God not just make everyone Christians, or believe in Him?”

    Then, if He ever had that in mind, He’d be better off creating ‘robots’; pre-programmed to do all He wants without any question, without any rebelling attitude, without any mind of their own.

    Whereas you might love a family of robots that obey your every command… God rathers His creations choose by their own free will to love Him.
    Plus, unlike you, who would force your opinions unto others without any consideration, God is all-loving and will never force anyone at anytime to love or accept Him. If you continue to reject Him, that’s your own free-willed choice, and not governed/influenced by God in any way.

    And, just as children suffer the consequences of pretending to be Superman and jumping off a high place, naturally the consequence of rejecting God is to end up where God is not present, aka hell.
    Since you don’t want to be with God, why would He force you to be in the presence of Him? How loving! He’s still complying to what YOU want!

    I think if each and every one of the items I listed suddenly transpired on a worldwide scale, it would convince even the most hardened skeptic. ~Joe

    No way… the recent consecutive events of death of large group of animals (e.g. fish, birds) within a short period of time and around the world, and no one ever attributed less than 2 possible causes of such events.. Instead, all sorts of possible causes were suggested for each location of these events.

    In the same way, “even the most hardened skeptics” will still find ways to explain these miracles…
    Skeptics wouldn’t even admit the incredible preservation of the Old Testament by the Jews for thousands of years up until now or the amazing preservation of the New Testament since the 1st Century onwards, despite the fact that the best well-preserved non-Christian ancient text is Homer’s Illiad with only less than twenty manuscripts, and the earliest manuscript is over a hundred years after Homer’s lifetime; compared to the over-twenty-thousands of ancient manuscripts of the New Testament, with the earliest manuscripts being within a few decades or even lesser after Jesus’ time on Earth.

    Plus I’m surprised at your lack of faith in the almighty god of gods, Zack. ~Joe

    Yes, I don’t. Cause I don’t worship the almighty god of gods…. I worship the One and Only God, YHWH; who was, who is and who is to come.

    And it’s interesting how this discussion is going… someone who doesn’t believe in God (and not familiar with the bible at all) telling us believers of God what God is supposed to be.
    And yet, this same atheist would probably never allow a creationist (despite his/her knowledge about evolution) to dictate how evolution is supposed to be.

    Oh well..

  32. Joe the Plumber Says:

    “On the problem of suffering in this world, there is roughly 2000 years worth of answers from Christians queried on this age old question.”

    Answers that fail to satisfactorily address the question. Humor me for a moment: If you were in a situation to help someone who’s drowning (at no risk to yourself), would you exercise that power or take the same hands-off approach? Careful how you answer, because there’ll be a follow-up question.

    “Here’s my take on one way respond:”

    Answered on that thread.

    “False dilemma logical fallacy – God free will decision can be to let humanity have free will.”

    You mean like the inquisitors free will gave accused women the ‘free will’ to confess being witches? Or the IRS ‘free will’ grants US citizens the ‘free will’ to pay ‘voluntary’ taxes?

    “What, a parent has never let their kid choose what flavor ice cream they want? That both sides practising free will right there.”

    Except parents don’t usually condemn their children to sadistic torture for choosing the wrong flavor, or opting to get a popsicle instead.

    “What I’m getting at is that just as being pulled down after each jump is a natural consequence, being in hell (defined as where God is not) is a natural consequence of not wanting to be with God.”

    First off, most Christians I know define hell as an everlasting place of torment (fire and brimstone, wailing, gnashing of teeth), not just a timeout room away from god. But even using your definition, if your god is everywhere (as Christians also like to claim) then how can he separate himself from this hell he’s crated?

    Second, if your god has the power to do anything it desires, why would it bother making defective creatures who rebel against him? In fact, why would it even demand to be worshiped? What purpose does it serve? Only insecure minds require constant flattery.

    “Seriously, what alternative do you propose?”

    Well for starters, how about a god who actually spends some time with his creation, the way a parent spends time with his kids. Then maybe they could ask questions and get direct answers rather than relying on the distilled interpretations of 2000-year-old texts.

  33. Joe the Plumber Says:

    “Then, if He ever had that in mind, He’d be better off creating ‘robots’; pre-programmed to do all He wants without any question, without any rebelling attitude, without any mind of their own.”

    Somehow, I managed to raise two loving and obedient children into adulthood without resorting to violence or threats of violence. Maybe your god needs some parenting lessons.

    “Skeptics wouldn’t even admit the incredible preservation of the Old Testament by the Jews for thousands of years up until now or the amazing preservation of the New Testament since the 1st Century onwards, despite the fact that the best well-preserved non-Christian ancient text is Homer’s Illiad with only less than twenty manuscripts, and the earliest manuscript is over a hundred years after Homer’s lifetime; compared to the over-twenty-thousands of ancient manuscripts of the New Testament, with the earliest manuscripts being within a few decades or even lesser after Jesus’ time on Earth.”

    Well-preserved texts are just that: well-preserved texts. Their longevity in no way corroborates the miraculous events contained therein. Otherwise you would have to grant the same consideration to even older manuscripts reporting miraculous events.

    “Yes, I don’t. Cause I don’t worship the almighty god of gods…. I worship the One and Only God, YHWH; who was, who is and who is to come.”

    Semantics aside, you show no faith in your god’s ability to sway humanity into belief.

    “And it’s interesting how this discussion is going… someone who doesn’t believe in God (and not familiar with the bible at all) telling us believers of God what God is supposed to be.”

    Oh, I’m quite familiar with the text… I’m just not blinded into accepting the dogma infused by years of religious indoctrination. If I had a dollar for every person’s interpretation of what god is supposed to be, I’d be a rich man.

    “And yet, this same atheist would probably never allow a creationist (despite his/her knowledge about evolution) to dictate how evolution is supposed to be.”

    In my experience, the creationist’s knowledge of evolution is about on par with biblical knowledge: zero.

  34. Zack T Says:

    Ah well… Guess I am not smart enough to outwit Joe.
    The healthy doesn’t need the Physician, but the sick and broken.

    Keep up your ‘good’ work then, Joe.
    May my Lord have mercy on you.

  35. Joe the Plumber Says:

    “May my Lord have mercy on you.”

    Ha! The Christian’s subtle way of telling someone off when he can’t defend his position with reason.

    Translation: “Phuck you. I hope you burn in hell you godless basterd [sic]”

  36. Zack T Says:

    Or I could just be genuinely saying “May the Lord have mercy on you.” =)

  37. Zack T Says:

    Or I could just be genuinely saying “May the Lord have mercy on you”
    just as Jesus plead to God to have mercy on the people crucifying Him. =)

    Luke 23:34
    And Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”

  38. Scott Thong Says:

    Now now Zack, every projecting, cynic knows that everyone else in the world is as full of bitterness and saccharine-disguised venom as them. Your alleged blessing must be really full of velvet-covered daggers. For shame, Zack. Why can’t you be more like those peaceful leftwing protestors who merely stomp women and burn down Starbucks? /sarc

  39. Simon Thong Says:

    Joe the Plumber Says:
    February 23, 11 at 7:42 pm
    Somehow, I managed to raise two loving and obedient children into adulthood without resorting to violence or threats of violence. Maybe your god needs some parenting lessons.

    Loving and obedient children? Like father like son?

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