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Austin Cline

Christian Conceptions of God: Can God be Judged? (Book Notes: The Atheists Debater's Handbook)

By April 6, 2006

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When responding to various skeptical objections to theism, like the Argument from Evil, it's common for theists to insist that we cannot 'judge' God. Because God is so much greater than we are, it's inappropriate for us to try to use our puny human reason to evaluate whether God's actions or plans are good. Do theists understand the implications of this position, though? The Atheists Debater's Handbook

In The Atheists Debaterís Handbook, B.C. Johnson writes:

[N]o Christian can afford to claim that we cannot judge God. If God creates the rules by which behavior must be judged and if the rules do not bind their Creator, then there is nothing that is improper for God. Therefore, when God promises that Christians will go to heaven and atheists will go to hell, there is no reason to believe that he will not break his promise and send Christians to hell and atheists to heaven. In fact, it is just as likely that he will break his promise as it is that he will not.

What possible grounds could the Christian have for maintaining that God will keep the promise in question? Godís love for Christians? But we could not call him unloving if he sent ChristIans to hell, for this would be to judge God. Could we say that God will keep his promise because he is honorable? But again, if God broke his promises we could not judge him to be dishonorable, for that too would be a judgment.

If, then, we must hold that whatever God does is the right thing, then we have no way of knowing what he will do. The Christian who insists that we cannot judge God is also adhering (although inadvertently) to the belief that Christians will go to heaven is just a guess, and anyone elseís guess is just as good. If Christians are right and we cannot judge God, then Christianity is in serious trouble. It is not a religion but, in fact, only a self-confessed haphazard guess.
[emphasis added]

The truth is, believers canít avoid making any sort of judgments about God. A complete avoidance of judgments would reduce religious language to little more than neutral observations and this wouldnít attract anyoneís long-term interest or loyalty. Religious language and ritual is full of judgments, not only about the world generally but also about what God has planned for it.

So, if believers say that we cannot judge God, they donít meant it in precisely that manner: they donít and wonít act like they believe it and they donít accept the implications of such a position. At most, they merely mean that we canít judge God in this way and in these circumstances. Itís a very limited assertion that amounts to a form of special pleading: itís OK to ďjudgeĒ God when you say good things, but not when you say bad things.

 

Read More Book Notes from the Book Reviews on this site.

Comments
February 21, 2007 at 11:52 am
(1) Steve J says:

This fails to understand that Christians maintain that the Bible is God’s revelation and He has revealed certain aspects of His nature. To claim truth based on what He reveals about Himslef is not “judging” it is simply acknowledging what a Chrstian would hold as absolute truth. God reveals that He is consistant in His eternal judgement concerning who will and will not go to Heaven or Hell. He also claims that He will be true to these promises. What a Christian is presupposing is that God will be true to these statements He has made. It is a faith proposition based on believing the Bible is His revealed word. What the athiest/agnostic is doing is claiming their moral superiority in determining what is god or loving or appropriate. This is a complete misunderstanding of the Christian position and their presuppositions. By what authority does the athiest or agnositic even discuss what would be moral, loving, or appropriate? Their argument hinges on a corporate and cultural understanding of these truths that smply will not work.
1. Not every culture will agree on what is moral, loving, or appropriate.
2. These words have no meaning apart from a proper definition which cannot be arrived at by culture but must have an authority, for the agnostic/atheist they become this authority and why would they demand we should all submit our understanding of these terms to their concept of them.
In absence of a source of authority they have made themselves the authority. They are asking us to perceive them as god, while denying a real God.

February 21, 2007 at 12:19 pm
(2) Austin Cline says:

This fails to understand that Christians maintain that the Bible is God’s revelation and He has revealed certain aspects of His nature.

This assumes, first, that the information is accurate and, second, that the information has been understood correctly.

To claim truth based on what He reveals about Himslef is not “judging” it is simply acknowledging what a Chrstian would hold as absolute truth.

It’s a judgment to conclude that this alleged “truth” is indeed true.

God reveals that He is consistant in His eternal judgement concerning who will and will not go to Heaven or Hell. He also claims that He will be true to these promises. What a Christian is presupposing is that God will be true to these statements He has made.

That’s a moral judgment.

What the athiest/agnostic is doing is claiming their moral superiority in determining what is god or loving or appropriate.

Atheists are simply contrasting their judgments against theists’ claims and judgments.

By what authority does the athiest or agnositic even discuss what would be moral, loving, or appropriate?

Empathy, experience, and reason. These are far superior to merely obeying orders.

Their argument hinges on a corporate and cultural understanding of these truths that smply will not work.

Christians’ arguments hinge on a corporate and cultural understanding of their allegedly universal “truths” they cherry pick out of their Bible.

In absence of a source of authority they have made themselves the authority. They are asking us to perceive them as god, while denying a real God.

This assumes that the only valid “authority” is a god, which is not true. In the end, we must all determine four ourselves what is good, loving, or appropriate. Some of us are willing and able to take responsibility for our decisions, judgements, and actions; others are unwilling or unable to do so and thus foist the responsibility off onto ancient books, superstitions, religious leaders, or alleged deities and claim that they are just “following orders.”

February 21, 2007 at 3:15 pm
(3) Steve J says:

This assumes, first, that the information is accurate and, second, that the information has been understood correctly.

1. Yes. That is why it is a
presupposition. Both sides are presupposing.

Itís a judgment to conclude that this alleged ďtruthĒ is indeed true.

2. Yes again. But the issue was judging God not an epistimelogical judgment on the nature of the knowability of truth.

Thatís a moral judgment.

3. It is not a moral judgment to acquiesce to a stated proposition. i.e. it is not a moral judgment to believe my math teacher that says 2+2=4. I know an atheist would say these are not known facts. My point is again, there is a presuppositional framework at play here.

Atheists are simply contrasting their judgments against theistsí claims and judgments.

4. Yes

Empathy, experience, and reason. These are far superior to merely obeying orders.

5. We are not discussing obedience are what may or may not be superior. To claim the ability by ones own empathy, experience, and reason to understand morality simply won’t work. One only needs to consider that this lends itself to ultimate subjectivity so that what is moral, loving, and appropriate are held in bondage to each individual. So that the greatest of crimes or the most heinous of abuses can be defended by that individuals understanding of morality, love, and appropriateness. Again, you have basically agreed that people are being called to dpend upon the atheist for clarification or direction on moral issues.

Christiansí arguments hinge on a corporate and cultural understanding of their allegedly universal ďtruthsĒ they cherry pick out of their Bible.

6. This is an ad hominam attack that degrades your argument.

This assumes that the only valid ďauthorityĒ is a god, which is not true. In the end, we must all determine four ourselves what is good, loving, or appropriate. Some of us are willing and able to take responsibility for our decisions, judgements, and actions; others are unwilling or unable to do so and thus foist the responsibility off onto ancient books, superstitions, religious leaders, or alleged deities and claim that they are just ďfollowing orders.Ē

7. And others claim to be the sole authority for determining responsibility and commit horrible things. This is not a proof one way or the other. One could murder and say “to me it is morally acceptable and good” or one could say “God told me to”. Both (presuming it would be morally wrong) are unacceptable. The discussion goes to judging God which is to say a person has some moral base to make judgments upon. You are making moral judgments based on your experience, empathy, and reason and are probably a “good” person. But what of those who have had horredous experiences, fel no empathy or cannot reason. You would still expect them to abide in general by what you perceive as moral. And when you do that you are attempting to be their authority. You don’t really want someone to come and harm you and say it was good (I know I don’t want someone to do that to me and say it was good)we would both want to tell them their actions are morally unacceptable and to do that we must have some authority to do so. That may make what I am saying clearer . . . or not:-)

February 21, 2007 at 3:48 pm
(4) Austin Cline says:

Both sides are presupposing.

It’s not a “presupposition” to simply not accept an unsupported claim.

But the issue was judging God not an epistimelogical judgment on the nature of the knowability of truth.

The two are connected here because the judgment in question is whether one is being told the truth by, according to believers, God.

It is not a moral judgment to acquiesce to a stated proposition. i.e. it is not a moral judgment to believe my math teacher that says 2+2=4.

It’s a moral judgment to judge that your math teacher wouldn’t lie to you.

We are not discussing obedience are what may or may not be superior.

The theistic morality in question reduces to obedience, so that’s what we are discussing.

Again, you have basically agreed that people are being called to dpend upon the atheist for clarification or direction on moral issues.

No, people are called upon to depend upon themselves, atheist or theist.

This is an ad hominam attack that degrades your argument.

It’s niether an ad hominem nor an attack. It’s not an ad hominem because it’s not about the person; it’s not an attack because it’s not even a criticism. It’s simply a fact of life that Christians a corporate and cultural understanding of their Bible. Because of this, the “truths” are not as universal as they claim (thus they are “alleged”). Furthermore, their culturally-bound understanding requries emphasizing some things over others – thus the “cherry picking.”

And others claim to be the sole authority for determining responsibility and commit horrible things.

This doesn’t appear to have any relation to anything I wrote.

The discussion goes to judging God which is to say a person has some moral base to make judgments upon.

This Christians do when they say that God is good.

February 21, 2007 at 5:55 pm
(5) Steve J says:

Itís not a ďpresuppositionĒ to simply not accept an unsupported claim.

- It is a presupposition for it is assuming that the claim that scripture is God’s word is unsupported and that God exists and would communicate is unknowable. The point is that the quote cited attempts to define God in a scriptural way (I say this because it is directly aimed at Christianity) and then deny other claims of scripture that God does not change, is true to His word, and has set the only imovable standard for His own justice. Again, the Chrisian is presupposing the veracity of the statements made by scripture. This is not “moral judgment” this is an assumption of a fact that underlies an understanding of who God is . . . a presuppostion. A presuppostion is not a judgment. A judgment would be attempting by some other objective means the right of God to function as He claims He will. You can believe these claims or not. But you must begin with a presuppostion of the Bible one way or the other.

The two are connected here because the judgment in question is whether one is being told the truth by, according to believers, God.

- This question then is basically what I just cited. If God exists, and if He communicates with mankind, is that communication the Bible? That is an entirely different “judgment” than whether or not God ought to function in a certain manner.

Itís a moral judgment to judge that your math teacher wouldnít lie to you.

- It is not a moral judgment to give credence to fact. The sky is blue and grass is green. You don’t have to judge me morally to know these things. This is why it again goes to a presuppostion of whether or not what is revealed in the Bible is truth or not. You presuppose it is not, I presuppose it is. Neither is neutral.

The theistic morality in question reduces to obedience, so thatís what we are discussing.

- I agree that ultimately this discussion can only go to the practical outworking of a persons life. However, if people should dtermine on their own what is moral, ethical, and loving the atheist will be left at a loss for even making a judgment on right and wrong for there are far too many examples of people doing that which is right in their own estimation and the harm this results in causing. At the end of the day, you will want some general standard and that standard must go beyond individual determination or soceity breaks down.

Itís niether an ad hominem nor an attack. Itís not an ad hominem because itís not about the person; itís not an attack because itís not even a criticism. Itís simply a fact of life that Christians a corporate and cultural understanding of their Bible. Because of this, the ďtruthsĒ are not as universal as they claim (thus they are ďallegedĒ). Furthermore, their culturally-bound understanding requries emphasizing some things over others – thus the ďcherry picking.Ē

- It is personal because it accuses me of ignoring difficult concepts to strengthen my argument which would be dishonest at best and manipulative at worst. It is an attack because it generalizes and degrades. But this is beside the point. My desire is to continue this discussion in the absence of overtly condescending comments.

This doesnít appear to have any relation to anything I wrote.

- The relation is that your system of individuals determining their own right and wrong leads to anarchy and destruction. On what basis do we judge Hitler, the Crusaders, the Spanish Inquisition, or the attempt at Communistic conquest with the loss of many lives and terrible crimes. Were they not simply doing that which they thought was moral, loving, and appropriate? Your system can’t deal with these real issues of life because they have done what you advocate any of us can do.

This Christians do when they say that God is good.

- Again, God is good because He claims to be good. I have no ability to even determine what is good apart from being informed by someone or something at some time.

February 21, 2007 at 6:19 pm
(6) Austin Cline says:

It is a presupposition for it is assuming that the claim that scripture is God’s word is unsupported and that God exists and would communicate is unknowable.

Until you support the claim, it stands as unsupported.

The point is that the quote cited attempts to define God in a scriptural way (I say this because it is directly aimed at Christianity) and then deny other claims of scripture that God does not change, is true to His word, and has set the only imovable standard for His own justice.

The quote points out that the reader must believe that the god allegedly speaking is good and trustworthy – in other words, the reader must make a moral judgment.

It is personal because it accuses me of ignoring difficult concepts to strengthen my argument which would be dishonest at best and manipulative at worst. It is an attack because it generalizes and degrades.

My statements do neither. It is a fact that Christian arguments hinge on a corporate and cultural understanding of their Bible, traditions, and doctrines. That is neither personal nor an attack. It is a fact that Christians emphasize certain passages, traditions, and doctrines over others. That is neither personal nor an attack.

My desire is to continue this discussion in the absence of overtly condescending comments.

If my pointing out simple truths is going to be interpreted as personal attacks, then I’m afraid that we’re at an impasse.

The relation is that your system of individuals determining their own right and wrong leads to anarchy and destruction.

Individuals do decide right and worn already, without anarchy and destruction always following.

Again, God is good because He claims to be good.

Believing this requires, among many assumptions, a moral judgment about the trustworthiness of this alleged gode.

I have no ability to even determine what is good apart from being informed by someone or something at some time.

Arguing that “god is good because god claims to be good” is a circular – and thus invalid – argument.

February 23, 2007 at 10:11 am
(7) Steve J says:

Thanks again for the interaction. I’ve had some pressing issues that prevented the continuation for the past few days.

Until you support the claim, it stands as unsupported.
- What support would be deemed acceptable?

The quote points out that the reader must believe that the god allegedly speaking is good and trustworthy – in other words, the reader must make a moral judgment.
- This goes to the underlying presupposition as to 1. the existence or non-existence of God 2. the reality of that god communicating 3. the revelation of fact by this deity. It is not a moral judgment if an immoral person states a fact or a known liar speaks truth. We are simply citing that at minimum in that moment they have stated truth because it is an absolute.

My statements do neither. It is a fact that Christian arguments hinge on a corporate and cultural understanding of their Bible, traditions, and doctrines. That is neither personal nor an attack. It is a fact that Christians emphasize certain passages, traditions, and doctrines over others. That is neither personal nor an attack.
- It is your opinion that Christian arguments are based on a corporate and cultural understanding unless of course you are referencing the normal literary practice of understanding an ancient text in the light of its readers which would be the truth whether it were the Bible or not. If that is what you are referencing then this would only be a testimony to biblical scholarship for it would show consistancy in their scholarship. Of course, I doubt this is what you are saying but instead are attempting to make a bold statement that all Christians (including myslef, whom you do not know) are simplistic in their approach to what they view as God’s word and intellectually dishonest which are rather brash claims with no foundation. You cannot possibly defend such bold and widesweeping statements. They may get you “amens” from the atheist crowd but reveal a bias.

Individuals do decide right and worn already, without anarchy and destruction always following.
- Really??? Are you claiming that your own concept of right and wrong has not been influenced by, informed, and guided by your culture, soceity, and training? Think about this, you have already stated this would not be the case by claiming an understanding of moral issues based on experience. But, everyone in this world has varying experiences which if left to their own would result in quite a different view of right and wrong from your own. This being the case, we must look at the logical conclusion of your statements concerning these things which would lead invaribly to destruction. All I would have to do is cite one example of an individual or group attempting to determine their own right and wrong which would be in stark contrast to your own to manifst that therw would be the need for a corproate standard which would then disprove your claim for the ability of each to make their own determination.

Arguing that ďgod is good because god claims to be goodĒ is a circular – and thus invalid – argument.
- Claiming there is no God, so His Bible is not His Word, so we can’t “trust” the Bible, which proves there is no God, is also circular and invalid. This is why there must be an origination. So, we muust ask what proof would be deemed reliable or valid. This is intellectual honesty.

February 23, 2007 at 1:37 pm
(8) Austin Cline says:

- What support would be deemed acceptable?

Depends on the precisely claim in question.

This goes to the underlying presupposition as to 1. the existence or non-existence of God 2. the reality of that god communicating 3. the revelation of fact by this deity.

None of this entails that the deity in question is trustworthy. To believe anyone is trustworthy is to make a moral judgment.

I doubt this is what you are saying but instead are attempting to make a bold statement that all Christians (including myslef, whom you do not know) are simplistic in their approach to what they view as God’s word and intellectually dishonest which are rather brash claims with no foundation.

It is not “simplistic” to be heavily influenced by culture.

Individuals do decide right and worn already, without anarchy and destruction always following.

- Really???

Yes, and that’s not a claim that moral decisions are not influence by culture, society, history, etc.

Claiming there is no God, so His Bible is not His Word, so we can’t “trust” the Bible, which proves there is no God, is also circular and invalid.

I have never made this argument.

February 25, 2007 at 5:41 pm
(9) Steve J says:

Depends on the precisely claim in question.

- The claim in question has been that “It is a presupposition for it is assuming that the claim that scripture is Godís word is unsupported and that God exists and would communicate is unknowable.

Until you support the claim, it stands as unsupported.”

It is not ďsimplisticĒ to be heavily influenced by culture.

- You are still making a claim which you cannot support. To what degree could you measure this influence? Additonally in your next reply you admit influence by the culture in the formation fo your own morals. So, what makes you different?

Yes, and thatís not a claim that moral decisions are not influence by culture, society, history, etc.
- Then how do you differentiate betwen what you would call “obedience” in christians which you mocked with your own “obedience” to your culturally based, soceity influenced, and history guided morality?

I have never made this argument.
-Your qouted source is attempting to make this arguement.

February 25, 2007 at 6:10 pm
(10) Austin Cline says:

The claim in question has been that “It is a presupposition for it is assuming that the claim that scripture is Godís word is unsupported and that God exists and would communicate is unknowable.

Really? I wasn’t discussing that at all.

You are still making a claim which you cannot support. To what degree could you measure this influence?

By noting parallel claims, changes, attitudes, etc.

Additonally in your next reply you admit influence by the culture in the formation fo your own morals. So, what makes you different?

I didn’t say I was different ó you still seem to be laboring under the mistaken notion that being influenced by culture is a bad thing.

Then how do you differentiate betwen what you would call “obedience” in christians which you mocked with your own “obedience” to your culturally based, soceity influenced, and history guided morality?

I don’t believe that I am obligated to obey any orders that might conceivably be issued by a society.

Your qouted source is attempting to make this arguement.

Strange, but I haven’t detected it. Perhaps you should support this assertion.

February 26, 2007 at 10:47 pm
(11) Steve J says:

Austin,

I have appreciated the discussion thus far, however, I do not understand what you are doing here. In this last exchange you have ignored the obvious flow of thought and discussion. There is no need for me to rehash it all when it is available before you. We have been discussing the validity of the Bible and the nature of knowing if it is truth or not. To claim we have not been discussing this is to ignore the obvious. You did claim a level of superiority in determining your morals over and against the determinations of Christians and now you claim that you did not say you are different on this very matter. You have contradicted yourself in this. You claim to not feel obligated to obey commands of society yet claim your morals have been at least influenced if not determined in part by them. This is in fact a form of obedience. Your quoted source claims an attempted definition of God from the Bible then denies wholesale the claims made by God in the Bible and uses his denial of those claims as proof against the definition of God. This is horrendous logic and invalid argumentation. It obviously assumes a denial of the Bible which goes to a circular form of reasoning. Austin, consider this thread. There is much here that would go to debating but not dealing with how this really affects peoples lives. Philosophy without application is schoolyard drivel. Our philosophical beliefs and attempts at metaphysical understanding must be conducted with intellectual honesty.

February 27, 2007 at 7:41 am
(12) Austin Cline says:

We have been discussing the validity of the Bible and the nature of knowing if it is truth or not. To claim we have not been discussing this is to ignore the obvious.

That isn’t the topic of the post here, and that’s what I am discussing. If you are trying to discuss something else, you should post to the forum.

You did claim a level of superiority in determining your morals over and against the determinations of Christians and now you claim that you did not say you are different on this very matter.

Actually, I deny that obeying orders is a method for determining morals in the first place; what I said I was no different in is the fact that we are all influenced by culture. These are not contradictory because being influenced by culture is not the same as obedience to orders.

You claim to not feel obligated to obey commands of society yet claim your morals have been at least influenced if not determined in part by them. This is in fact a form of obedience.

Being influenced by someone or something is not the same as mere obedience, except perhaps with the most tendentious of definitions ó and in the context of rank sophistry.

Your quoted source claims an attempted definition of God from the Bible then denies wholesale the claims made by God in the Bible and uses his denial of those claims as proof against the definition of God.

I don’t see this. Please support this claim, if you can. You’ve made quite a few claims which you haven’t even tried to support thus far.

Philosophy without application is schoolyard drivel.

I think that describes most all of theology. Nothing you’ve written thus far here has any practical application.

Our philosophical beliefs and attempts at metaphysical understanding must be conducted with intellectual honesty.

I agree, but thus far I haven’t found anything you have written to have any application, usefulness, or value. Your very first post is almost entirely empty of content ó it’s just a series of claims with a loose connection to the post you are responding to. You seem to be very good at hand waving, but not much else. If you have anything substantive to write that is relevant to this post, feel free to respond with it.

February 28, 2007 at 7:29 pm
(13) Mike S. says:

Theist Steve J. maintains that:
“What a Christian is presupposing is that God will be true to these statements He has made. It is a faith proposition based on believing the Bible is His revealed word. What the athiest [sic]/agnostic is doing is claiming their moral superiority in determining what is god [sic] or loving or appropriate. This is a complete misunderstanding of the Christian
position and their presuppositions. By what authority does the athiest [sic] or agnositic [sic] even discuss what would be moral, loving, or appropriate?”

Regarding the establishment of moral precepts Steve J maintains:
“In absence of a source of authority they [atheists, agnostics] have made themselves the authority. They are asking us to perceive them as god, while denying a real God.”

We need not dwell on what this implies about the myth of Adam and Eve eating of the fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil in the Garden of Eden. We can only conclude that Steve J. believes people are unable to perceive any difference between what is right and what is wrong without recourse to the Bible. This, despite the abundant historical evidence demonstrating that the exact opposite is true. There is also the matter of contradictory moral values expressed in the Bible, a matter judiciously avoided by Austin Cline, since it is a matter outside the subject under discussion.

Steve J. assumes that morality is derived from authority and that a human being is incapable of determining what is morally right without recourse to an authority. He perceives that a person taking a moral stand without recourse to his chosen authority “is claiming their moral superiority in determining what is god [sic, probably means "good"] or loving or appropriate.” In other words, despite ample historical evidence of morality in human society prior to the Bible’s existence, Steve J. claims that no such morality was valid, despite the fact that the Bible reflects this morality.

Steve J. exhibits the Christian propensity to put words into their opponents’ mouths and to ascribe motivation to those who disagree with them. Instead of clearly stating what the atheist claims (that God and the Bible are not the sole source of moral truth) and arguing against that, he ascribes to the atheist an action, i.e. that of having “made themselves the authority. They are asking us to perceive them as god, while denying a real God.”

In point of fact, Austin Cline makes no such statement and has made no demand on how the reader should perceive him. Again, Mr. Cline displays considerable restraint in avoiding the subject of dogma as a critical determinant of morals (e.g., the dogma that the Bible is the word of God).

From this point the exchange loses any coherence as a discussion, a conversation, about morality. Instead, Steve J. uses it as a platform to project the belief that the Bible is inerrant, God’s word, eternal, etc. Clearly, he disposes of any appearance of attempting to debate the issue and simply continues to state his reliance on the Bible.
“This is why it again goes to a presuppostion [sic] of whether or not what is revealed in the Bible is truth or not. You presuppose it is not, I presuppose it is.

Neither is neutral.” He chides. However, that is not at all the issue. What he claims to be “revealed in the Bible” are ideas and precepts that were propounded historically well before the existence of the Bible. In that sense, they cannot be “divine revelation.”
But the issue is not the truth of the Bible, but the ability of a human being to determine for him or herself the difference between right and wrong. To maintain that the Bible is the sole authority on the matter, the only way to determine right from wrong, is to ignore many obvious facts. Even today there are people who have never read the Bible who believe killing others is morally wrong, who believe that stealing is morally wrong, who believe that lying is morally wrong. Are their decisions wrong simply because they do not hang their hope for a happy afterlife on a belief in Jesus’ self-sacrifice? Is that the only way to be morally right? If so, then dogma, not morality, is the determinant.

March 12, 2007 at 8:09 pm
(14) Ronald says:

It is difficult for me to follow the debates of you intellectuals as I only was schooled thru the 8 grades. As for myself, before I could make any judgments about God,I would first need to know 4 things. 1. How tall is he? 2. What is his color? 3. What is his shape? 4.How much does he weigh? I am ignorant of these things. When I discover these things, I will be in a better position to make some judgements.

March 27, 2007 at 2:55 pm
(15) Steve J says:

I thought I was done . . . and yet, I am back :-)

“We can only conclude that Steve J. believes people are unable to perceive any difference between what is right and what is wrong without recourse to the Bible.”

This is quite a leap! I certainly do not believe this. What I am driving at is simply this: To claim ultimate individuality in determining a set of morals would have been ridiculous. I was questing to see if this was Austin’s claim as he had alluded to in his first reply. He later clarify’s that there is a reliance on things other than his individuality. This is where Austin attempts to make a distinction between influence by soceity and obedience. He needs to do this because he has mocked obedience. I did not think it necessary at the time to point out that the fact that what he is calling influence is a form of obedience. I did not ask his opinion of specific issues like pedophelia, rape, polygamy, torture, and murder which are all documentable aspects of other cultures and thus the people in said cultures are being “influenced” that these are correct. So, to claim individuality in determiniing morality and to lay and moral judgement against these actions is hypocrytical for you must grant them the right to be “influenced” by their own individuality. So then, by what authority would an athiest / agnostic claim moral superiority? First, it was Austin’s own empathy, experience, and reason. Then it was some sort of moral code that is influenced by culture. But it still rests with him.

“Steve J. exhibits the Christian propensity to put words into their opponentsí mouths and to ascribe motivation to those who disagree with them. Instead of clearly stating what the atheist claims (that God and the Bible are not the sole source of moral truth) and arguing against that, he ascribes to the atheist an action, i.e. that of having ďmade themselves the authority. They are asking us to perceive them as god, while denying a real God.Ē

Actually, what I am doing is showing that Austin’s argmentation when put to the test falls apart. What other conclusion may be drawn from his premise? I did not argue that the Bible is the sole source of moral truth ahem . . . putting words in others mouths??? I am asking what is the source of moral truth for the atheist and manifesting that it does not work practically. You cannot enjoy the benfits of a governed society (ie authority) and mock obedience. You cannot claim individuality in determining morality even that which is influenced by our governed soceity and claim moral authority over anyone or any action.

March 27, 2007 at 3:34 pm
(16) Austin Cline says:

I thought I was done . . .

Is this because you never intended to support your assertions and claims?

I did not think it necessary at the time to point out that the fact that what he is calling influence is a form of obedience.

No, you don’t need to “point it out” ó it’s an assertion you are making which you need to support.

First, it was Austin’s own empathy, experience, and reason. Then it was some sort of moral code that is influenced by culture.

My experiences are influenced by my cultures. Are yours not?

What I am doing is showing that Austin’s argmentation when put to the test falls apart.

Really? Let me know when you start.

March 27, 2007 at 5:06 pm
(17) Steve J says:

Austin, do you follow the will of anyone else in regards to morality?

March 27, 2007 at 5:34 pm
(18) Austin Cline says:

Austin, do you follow the will of anyone else in regards to morality?

I don’t know enough about what you mean to answer your question – and since you have so many outstanding questions yourself, I’m also not inclined to answer your question

March 27, 2007 at 11:00 pm
(19) Steve J says:

So, bartering eh :-) ?

The only legitimate question I can find is “my experiences are influenced by my cultures. Are yours not?”

Yes mine are. Everyone’s are. This is basic.

Are there other questions you seek for me to answer?

So, again I ask . . .
Austin, do you (not everyone else but, you alone) follow the will (submit or obey)of anyone else (your family, government, soceity, etc.)in regards to morality (distinguishing between right and wrong)?

March 28, 2007 at 6:20 am
(20) Austin Cline says:

The only legitimate question I can find is ďmy experiences are influenced by my cultures. Are yours not?Ē Yes mine are. Everyoneís are. This is basic.

In that case, it’s illegitimate to act as though the two are entirely separate issues.

However, that is not the only question put to you ó you forgot all the points where you have refuse to support your assertions.

March 29, 2007 at 2:58 pm
(21) Steve J says:

Austin,

If you look at the first two lines of #6 and then #7 you will note how one thought developed in this discussion. I simply ask you what proofs would you accept in regards to God exisitng and communicating. You have never answered this question. The first real question in the stream by the way.

You request that I support the assertion that the author is using bad logic and poor argumentation in attempting to make his point. I’ll try to show here why I believe this is the case again. Please give this some thought.

1. Author says “God. If God creates the rules by which behavior must be judged” This is using the Bible to attempt to define at least a manifestation of God in that He has set out a firm code for the judgment of behaviour.

2.Author says “and if the rules do not bind their Creator”. The author has now made an illogical assumption. He has presumed that A.The “rules” do not bind God. B.If a person does not judge God then the “rules” do not bind Him. This is now a departure from how the Bible continues to describe God. If the author wishes to stay intellectually honest he must utilize his source in all of its defining and not “cherry-pick” for his arguement. The Bible explains the infallibility, truthfulness, love, and justice of God.

3. Author says “What possible grounds could the Christian have for maintaining that God will keep the promise in question? Godís love for Christians?” This is a straw man and not a Biblical basis for this belief.

4.These fallacies lead to an inaccurate conclusion “If, then, we must hold that whatever God does is the right thing, then we have no way of knowing what he will do.”

This would be the same as if I made the arguement (which I am for illustrative purposes only) Atheists claim that morality can be determined by their reason, experience, and empathy and expect us to trust that if all of soceity were thus engaged as opposed to being bound by obedience to dogmatism we would all be better off. Since the mentally deficient, horribly abused, and otherwise afflicted cannot share in the same development of empathy, reason, and experience the Atheist cares only for the well adjusted and “normal” among us. So the atheist would prefer all others to be eliminated.

I borrowed part of your statements to define you, took it to address something your definition was not attempting to discuss and caried it to an illogical and riduculous conclusion.

Now, I don’t understand what you mean when you say that “itís illegitimate to act as though the two are entirely separate issues.” Do you mean culture and experience are the same? Do you mean that you really are obedient to the mandates of your soceity but this is the same as influence? Please clarify.

March 29, 2007 at 3:25 pm
(22) Austin Cline says:

You request that I support the assertion that the author is using bad logic and poor argumentation in attempting to make his point.

I’ve asked you to support quite a few of your assertions.

2.Author says “and if the rules do not bind their Creator”. The author has now made an illogical assumption. He has presumed that A.The “rules” do not bind God.

It’s called a “hypothetical.”

If the author wishes to stay intellectually honest he must utilize his source in all of its defining and not “cherry-pick” for his arguement. The Bible explains the infallibility, truthfulness, love, and justice of God.

This presumes either the accuracy of human reporting, or the truthfulness of God.

3. Author says “What possible grounds could the Christian have for maintaining that God will keep the promise in question? Godís love for Christians?” This is a straw man and not a Biblical basis for this belief.

It’s a question, not an argument, and thus not a straw man.

4.These fallacies lead to an inaccurate conclusion “If, then, we must hold that whatever God does is the right thing, then we have no way of knowing what he will do.”

You are, of course, welcome to provide a case for the idea that God can do the wrong thing.

Now, I don’t understand what you mean when you say that “itís illegitimate to act as though the two are entirely separate issues.” Do you mean culture and experience are the same?

The two categories, “entirely separate” and “the same,” are not the only ones which exist. Saying that two things are “not entirely separate” does not entail that they “are the same.” The reason why they are “not entirely separate” is the simple fact that everyone’s experiences occur in some context, and the most common context is their culture. Moreover, a person’s understanding of their experiences is greatly mediated by their culture.

Obviously, context is not the same as obedience.

July 23, 2007 at 11:17 am
(23) Charleita Weeden says:

OMG You guys are freaking nuts this so called “GOD” DOES NOT EXIST!!
he is a figment of everyones imagination
you give praise to someone you dont even know!!! how can you give thanks to someone else for your hard work!!!!!! come on give me a break send me to hell i still wouldn’t care or believe

June 1, 2008 at 10:45 pm
(24) Nate Mullikin says:

I followed the thread and drew out what I hope to be the base arguments. Atheists use “empathy, experience and reason” to determine morality. Theists are required to suspend empathy, experience and reason on orders from God/Allah. Whatever God orders must be obeyed, because whatever God orders is situationally moral. As the situation changes, so does the morality. That is why is was morally correct for the Mosaic era Israelites to commit genocide against the Canaanites, but the pope says it is morally wrong for a preemptive war in Iraq. The ultimate goal of the faithful phalanx is divining the mind of God in a given situation and/or finding the most convincing prophet, not in simply doing what is right. To quote a hymn from my childhood,

“Onward Christian soldiers, marching as to war, with the cross of Jesus, going on before…”

July 13, 2008 at 8:56 pm
(25) Carl Johnson says:

“Whatever God orders must be obeyed, because whatever God orders is situationally moral.”

Yet God ordered many things in the old testament that people choose not to follow today. Paul said many things about woman not being able to teach, some say this was only Paul’s opinion yet god said every word in the bible was inspired by him. And if god is so great why would he allow contradictions to be in his bible, if he is omnipresent, then he knew what the bible would say.

“because whatever God orders is situationally moral.”

But how does anyone know what this god is ordering, some may say god tells them to do this or that but what if they were lying, you would not know this, better yet if god is so great why would he now reveals these lies. No one can be sure what this god of yours is ordering if his orders amongst people contradict themselves.

ďOnward Christian soldiers, marching as to war, with the cross of Jesus, going on beforeÖĒ

Nice hymn but soliders are people who follow orders from someone they can see or here. There have been many cases when people thought they were hearing from god but were really lying or deluding themselves. Another issues is prophets and pastors claim to hear from god but what if they are lying, you would not know this and this is possible. Better yet if god is so important then why does he not tell everyone the true way rather than having us human biengs argue over such issues as the existance of god.

August 25, 2008 at 3:55 pm
(26) Kenneth says:

Again, a Christian has attempted to use the bible as proof of a god and their God’s superiority. When will they learn that Jesus was born, raised and died a Jew. He never renounced his faith. His teachings were Jewish. The Torah was never meant for non Jews. It was to be taught by word of mouth from a Jewish teacher to a Jewish student or students. The Torah was and is a collection of parables for remembering Jewish history and rules to guide daily life. It has deeper meanings, but that is off topic. Roman “Christians” usurped the Jewish teachings and traditions. Most non Jews don’t have the desire or education necessary to understand the Torah. The new testament is by Christians that don’t follow the hundreds of rules necessary to earn the Jewish covenant with a Jewish god. Why does this Christian feel entitled to use Jewish wisdom as his own. He hasn’t earned it. He doesn’t have the knowledge to carry on this discussion. What are the Jewish teachings of “raising the dead”? What is the Jewish meaning of “son of God”. Before he uses the Torah he should know Jesus isn’t the Jewish messiah. He should be aware that Jews accept that there are now “errors” of translation by non Jews in the Torah. This Christian appears to lack critical thinking and has just enough knowledge to be annoying. A trait found in too many people of faith today. I don’t have any problems with a person of any faith or their faith. I admire educated people of all faiths and atheists. I do have problems with those that show up to a battle of wits and knowledge, unarmed. I have no stake in this debate! I am just a humble, interested Roman Catholic observer. I do have one question of my own. If the Christian God or any god is so great, why does S/He need tax exempt status?

October 15, 2008 at 11:17 pm
(27) Jake S says:

For not believing in God you atheists sure like to talk about it

November 19, 2008 at 12:41 am
(28) scott says:

jesus loves you all and does not reject anyone who will believe in him, God is judge. our pride makes us think that we can question him, but he does everything out of love even if we don’t understand it..i pray that he will touch your heart to understand his love.. God bless

December 10, 2008 at 12:25 pm
(29) Castle Woods says:

Kenneth:

You seem to be confused over the authorship of the New Testament. It was written by Jews. Jews very familiar with Jewish tradition, law, and theology. With the exception of Luke, who was a gentile proselyte of the Jewish faith, the whole of the New Testament is Jewish in authorship. Paul, a Pharisee, would have known Jewish law and tradition better than most Jews before or since. In fact, he would have had to know the entire Torah by memory in order to even be a Pharisee. In the gospels and the epistles there are hundreds of references back to the old testament, betraying an in depth understanding of the law and Jewish history.

Your arguement seems to either deny or ignore this fact.

April 25, 2009 at 4:13 pm
(30) elvis lewis says:

god never promise heaven to no man if you look at john 3: 13 you will see it say on man has ascend up to heaven unless he is from there.every one who dies go to the hell which is translated from 4 different words

June 23, 2009 at 2:28 am
(31) Don says:

god DOES exist. Atheists are sad to no see this. God does not exist because bible says he does but because you can FEEL him. I FEEl his prescence in my daily life. I do not believe in God just because of thebible but because of the RESULTS. God is good and i obey god because of morality, because he has proven that he will provide. i hear his voice and KNOW he is real. God bless you and may you hear his voice and know this. Atheists have no peace, no truth. With Jesus, KNOW Peace, KNOW truth. Thank you.

June 23, 2009 at 2:43 am
(32) Anthony V says:

Okayy, Don. Have fun with your imaginary friend. :P And I thought there was supposed to be rational discussion here. Christians being rational. Pssht. That’s a good one.

June 23, 2009 at 6:22 am
(33) Austin Cline says:

god DOES exist.

Prove it.

Atheists are sad to no see this. God does not exist because bible says he does but because you can FEEL him.

Sorry, I don’t.

I FEEl his prescence in my daily life.

Other people have claimed to feel other gods, spirits, beings. Why are you any more credible?

I do not believe in God just because of thebible but because of the RESULTS.

If results are what counts, you should rely on science rather than superstition.

i hear his voice and KNOW he is real.

Hearing voices is a sign of mental illness.

January 29, 2011 at 4:49 am
(34) Merlin says:

*Hearing voices is a sign of mental illness.*

Or that your ears are in verra fine working order. :D

June 24, 2009 at 6:13 pm
(35) Nathaniel says:

I didn’t read the comments made by others, so if I am repeating what has already been stated I apologize.

Your position is flawed from your first point. You state:

If God creates the rules by which behavior must be judged and if the rules do not bind their Creator, then there is nothing that is improper for God.

God doesn’t create the rules… he is the rules. Therefore he can not act improperly, because he can not operate outside his nature. Just as I can not decide to one day stop being human… he can not stop being those things that make him God. God is truth, righteous, just, faithful, holy, etc…. So, he expects us to be truthful, righteous, just, faithful, holy, etc….

You also assume that God breaks his promises:

In fact, it is just as likely that he will break his promise as it is that he will not.

God has shown through the bible that he keeps his promises. He promised a Messiah and he brought it to humanity through Jesus. He promised Abraham that he would be the father of many nations. All Semitic people according to the bible are descendants of Abraham. God promised the people Israel a home of their own. Israel still exists today. The numerous promises that were fulfilled by God is proof that God follows through. There’s no pattern of arbitrary decisions made by God. So, for you to say that God would act arbitrarily is wrong. The grounds that Christians have that God will maintain his word is through his interactions with humanity thought time which has been documented in the bible.

You also assume that God breaks his promises:

In fact, it is just as likely that he will break his promise as it is that he will not.

God has shown through the bible that he keeps his promises. He promised a Messiah and he brought it to humanity through Jesus. He promised Abraham that he would be the father of many nations. All Semitic people according to the bible are descendants of Abraham. God promised the people Israel a home of their own. Israel still exists today. The numerous promises that were fulfilled by God is proof that God follows through. There’s no pattern of arbitrary decisions made by God. So, for you to say that God would act arbitrarily is wrong. The grounds that Christians have that God will maintain his word is through his interactions with humanity thought time which has been documented in the bible.

Thanks.

June 24, 2009 at 7:02 pm
(36) Austin Cline says:

God doesn’t create the rules… he is the rules.

So, God isn’t a person?

Therefore he can not act improperly, because he can not operate outside his nature.

And that “nature” need not include what we traditionally consider “good.” It might include things we consider “evil.”

You also assume that God breaks his promises:

1. That’s a quote of the book’s author, not my own words.

2. It’s a conclusion that breaking promises is just as likely as keeping them. If you disagree with the conclusion, you need to demonstrate errors in the reasoning behind it.

June 25, 2009 at 1:50 pm
(37) Nathaniel says:

Is God a person? No, God is a being who transcends personhood.

God’s nature does not include evil. Why do you say that God’s nature can include things we consider evil? If we consider something to be evil does that make it evil?

I believe I demonstrated that God does not break his promises through the examples that I gave of promises kept. Can you demonstrate to me how it is a conclusion that God is likely to break his promises just as he is likely to keep them?

This is really interesting thank for responding.

June 25, 2009 at 2:52 pm
(38) Austin Cline says:

Is God a person? †No, God is a being who transcends personhood.

If your god is a being, it can’t be “rules.”

God’s nature does not include evil. †

It wouldn’t be evil from the perspective of your god. But, either way you are free to support this claim if you can.

Why do you say that God’s nature can include things we consider evil? †

Since your god isn’t limited to our human notions of good and evil, there’s no reason why something we regard as evil wouldn’t be part of your god’s “good” nature.

If we consider something to be evil does that make it evil? †

Not if your god sets the standards.

I believe I demonstrated that God does not break his promises through the examples that I gave of promises kept. †

Really? So you really think that examples of keeping promises in the past means, necessarily, that it’s impossible for promises to be broken in the future? I’d love to see you explain how one implies the other.

Can you demonstrate to me how it is a conclusion that God is likely to break his promises just as he is likely to keep them? †

Simple: having done something in the past doesn’t guarantee that it cannot happen differently in the future. Yes, the Bible depicts your god as keeping promises, but this doesn’t mean that other promises can’t be broken in the future. Since this god is the arbiter to which no independent standards can be applied, there is nothing stopping it from breaking promises and calling that “good.” You can’t deny that it’s good because that would be judging this god.

June 26, 2009 at 3:44 pm
(39) Nathaniel says:

In response to:

Really? So you really think that examples of keeping promises in the past means, necessarily, that itís impossible for promises to be broken in the future? Iíd love to see you explain how one implies the other.

If God has proven himself to keep promises then it is a fact not an opinion (judgment) that he keeps his promises.

Godís nature is what keeps him from breaking his promises. If his nature is to be faithful and true then how can he go against his nature? Can something or someone go against their nature? So when he says through the bible that ďwhoever believes in him (Jesus) shall not perish, but have everlasting life.Ē He has to hold to that promise, thus Christians are assured they will go to heaven and not hell.

June 26, 2009 at 4:38 pm
(40) Austin Cline says:

If God has proven himself to keep promises then it is a fact not an opinion (judgment) that he keeps his promises.

No, it’s only proof that he is capable of keeping promises, not that he is incapable of breaking promises.

Godís nature is what keeps him from breaking his promises. †

Feel free to demonstrate that this is the case.

June 26, 2009 at 5:54 pm
(41) Nathaniel says:

If God has demonstrated a pattern of keeping promises, then there is no reason for us to assume, believe, fear, or conjecture that he won’t.

The definition of nature is: the inherent character or basic constitution of a person or thing (Merriam Webster Dictionary). The definition of a pattern is: a reliable sample of traits, acts, tendencies, or other observable characteristics of a person, group, or institution (Merriam Webster Dictionary).

Thus God’s pattern (observable characteristic) of keeping promises is a part of his nature.

So, I ask you again. Can someone or something go against his/her or its nature?

June 26, 2009 at 6:20 pm
(42) Austin Cline says:

If God has demonstrated a pattern of keeping promises, then there is no reason for us to assume, believe, fear, or conjecture that he wonít.

Maybe you don’t feel such a necessity, but that’s not a counter-argument to the point in question.

Thus Godís pattern (observable characteristic) of keeping promises is a part of his nature.

So you see a pattern and assume that this indicates an unchanging nature that can’t be broken ó which means you’re assuming that something is absolutely impossible merely because you haven’t seen it before. If that’s all your argument amounts to, then you don’t really have an argument against the possibility of God not fulfilling promises.

Just to be clear: “X isn’t possible because I haven’t seen it” isn’t an argument against X being possible, and that is indeed your argument so long as you claim “X is God’s nature because that’s the tendency we’ve observed.”

So, I ask you again. Can someone or something go against his/her or its nature?

There’s nothing whatsoever in the definition of “nature” which you cited which makes going against one’s nature impossible. Or even unlikely. A reliable sample of one’s behavior might show a strong tendency towards honesty, but that doesn’t exclude dishonest acts in the past or future.

June 28, 2009 at 1:11 pm
(43) Nathaniel says:

You said, ďMaybe you donít feel such a necessity, but thatís not a counter-argument to the point in question.Ē

My point wasnít based on feelings. It was a cognitive conclusion one comes to by observing Godís established pattern. Fear is the only emotion that I included in that statement.

My position hasnít been that X isnít possible because I havenít seen it. The positions that I have been presenting is that Godís nature is the opposite of X, that X isnĎt possible for God because God canĎt be X, and finally that Godís nature is also constant.

I know that if I drop a ball outside my window that itĎs going to fall. As you and I know, not once will that ball fly or float, because there are constants in the universe (i.e. gravity). We canít say just because we havenít seen the ball fly or float that it isnít a possibility. Gravity is unchanging, so the ball will always fall. God has shown himself to keep promises, thus he can not break a promise because he is unchanging (constant).

June 28, 2009 at 1:39 pm
(44) Austin Cline says:

You said, ďMaybe you donít feel such a necessity, but thatís not a counter-argument to the point in question.Ē

My point wasnít based on feelings. †It was a cognitive conclusion one comes to by observing Godís established pattern. †

And as I already pointed out, it’s not logically valid to conclude that it’s impossible for a promise to be broken merely because it hasnít happened yet.

My position hasnít been that X isnít possible because I havenít seen it. †

Then stop offering that argument.

The positions that I have been presenting is that Godís nature is the opposite of X,

And the only basis for saying this is the fact that you haven’t seen X. This is why your argument reduces to “I haven’t seen it yet, therefore it can’t happen.”

I know that if I drop a ball outside my window that itĎs going to fall. †

And the reason why you know that is more than just “I havenít seen it happen otherwise yet.”

God has shown himself to keep promises, thus he can not break a promise because he is unchanging (constant).

Now you have introduced a new premise to your argument: God is unchanging. Feel free to support this premise, if you can.

July 3, 2009 at 3:17 pm
(45) Todd says:

Is it solipsistic in here or is it just me?

July 3, 2009 at 10:25 pm
(46) Zayla says:

Every once in a while when I’m reading something like this back and forth, as much as I respect Austin, he drives me crazy.

I know it is not his nature, which is to his credit and my failure, but I just want him to say “Because you’re a stupid as a brick and I can’t keep repeating myself, and everything you’re saying is sh*t for brains dumb anyway, and you’re stating the best case for atheism by simply existing.”

But that’s just me, once in a while.

July 4, 2009 at 3:34 am
(47) Tom Edgar says:

O K Zayla. Steal my thunder again.

Once again. If these superstitious fairy story believers can tell this octogenarian, who has travelled the world, what their material, replicable, verifiable evidence is for their Gods existence I am more that willing to listen.
NOBODY has ever responded to this repeated request. Philosophical profundities and twisting terminology doesn’t shed any light on the plausibility, or otherwise, of the existence of any of the Gods including the multiple Judeo/Christian ones. Yep!! multiple. Genesis.

July 4, 2009 at 7:58 am
(48) Pete W says:

Nathaniel says: God doesnít create the rulesÖ he is the rules. Therefore he can not act improperly, because he can not operate outside his nature.

Condoleezza Rice says: When the President Does It, That Means It is Not Illegal.

Nuff said!

July 4, 2009 at 4:34 pm
(49) MAS2009 says:

Why does religious belief have such an extensive suppressive effect, on those infected, to limit engagement of the mental abilities that evolution has instilled in the species?

All human mental constructs should be judged, and those lacking merit (theism) promptly discarded.

July 6, 2009 at 1:16 pm
(50) Morgan-LynnGriggs Lamberth [skeptic griggsy] says:

Austin, again,theists beg the question! One commits that here in assuming that God’s nature is good in order to overcome the dilemma that the Euthyphro presents.
Notice that the media never talk about an atheist mass murderer or an atheist mother who kills her children!
And it doth no good to bleat that people need the rewards of Heaven or the wrath of God to be good! Such puerility about people! How many people think about Him when they act anyway?
Oh, if evolution be true, why are Ann Coulter and Duane Gish still around? Such atavistic thinkers!
Faith doth that to people!
Fr. Griggs rocks!
naturalist griggsy, rationalist griggsy, sceptique griggsy, esceptico griggsy world wide as Googling doth show.
‘Life is its own validation and reward and ultimate purpose.”

July 7, 2009 at 3:33 pm
(51) Nathaniel says:

Itís funny how atheists belittle the magnitude of God into just merely fairy tales. It makes it easier for you all to reject God when you make God satiric. I can point out the ridiculousness of evolution. Whatís more ridiculous? To believe in a creator that created humanity or to believe we were created by rain and lighting? To believe everything we observe that has life comes from life, so how does something come from nothing? If reptiles evolved the ability to fly without feathers then why evolve feathers for flight? What came first the chicken or the egg? I mean come on. Donít you see that you do believe in the one thing you rejectÖ god. Your god is time, and with enough time anything is possible. It takes a lot of faith to believe in evolution.

Hereís a fairy tale. Once upon a time there was nothing, then a by itself, nothing became something. Then a lot of time passed and there was more stuff. More time passed and these things we call planets formed. On this one planet water magically appeared (either by comets or some other reason) weíre not sure yet, but weíll figure it out. It was so hot that the water didnít totally evaporate, but it turned to rain. The rain fell and fell on this planet for a very long time. There was a lot of lighting and stuff in the air, so after a lot of time passed, there was life. A lot more time passed, and all praise be to time, we are here today. The end.

July 7, 2009 at 4:13 pm
(52) Austin Cline says:

Itís funny how atheists belittle the magnitude of God into just merely fairy tales. †

Feel free to demonstrate the difference.

I can point out the ridiculousness of evolution. †

First, I challenge you to demonstrate that you actually understand what evolution is ó evolution as it’s studied by real scientists rather than the lies spread about evolution by Christians.

If reptiles evolved the ability to fly without feathers then why evolve feathers for flight? †

Because feathers make for better flight.

It takes a lot of faith to believe in evolution.

Prove it.

July 7, 2009 at 5:46 pm
(53) Nathaniel says:

Evolution is the process by which life changes from simple to complex organisms. So, I understand the theory.

Evolution is not scientific, because you canít reproduce it. The very fact that it can not be reproduced goes against the very scientific method itself (experimentation/testing). If it can not be reproduced then it is not science, and if it is not science then it is faith. Faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. You can not see life evolve. Also, a big step of faith in evolution is spontaneous generation. To believe in the theory of evolution you also have to believe that life just happened to come into existence out of non life. Thatís a big leap of faith.

Iíve noticed you have a favorite phrase ďprove it.Ē Itís a shame you donít practice what you preach. In our exchanges you never once provided proof that God is capable of breaking a promise. You never provided one example of a promise not kept. Yet you claim ďItís a conclusion that breaking promises is just as likely as keeping them.Ē Itís a conclusion based on what?

July 7, 2009 at 6:47 pm
(54) Austin Cline says:

Evolution is the process by which life changes from simple to complex organisms. †So, I understand the theory. †

The development of more complex organisms is one of the consequences of evolution, not what evolution “is”. Your statement is rather like saying that “combustion is the production of smoke.” It’s true that combustion produces smoke (often), but that’s not what combustion “is.”

So no, you don’t understand either what the theory of evolution is or the process of evolution is. Indeed, you don’t even seem to understand that there is a distinction.

Evolution, the fact, is the change in allele frequency in a population over time. Any change in allele frequency is evolution. How and why this happens is what the theory of evolution tries to explain.

Do you understand this? If not, don’t bother reading further because you won’t understand anything else either.

Evolution is not scientific, because you canít reproduce it. †

By that “logic,” plate tectonics is not scientific because we can’t reproduce the innards of the earth. By that “logic,” stellar astronomy isn’t scientific because we can’t reproduce innards of a star.

Even if we were to accept that “logic,” however, your conclusion is still wrong because evolution can be observed and reproduced.

The very fact that it can not be reproduced goes against the very scientific method itself (experimentation/testing).

You don’t understand science any better than you understand evolution. The scientific method does not require that one be able to reproduce everything in a lab; all that’s required is that the implications of one’s ideas be tested against observations. Sometimes those observations are produced in the lab. Sometimes those observations are made in the field. Observations used to test evolution occur in both contexts.

If it can not be reproduced then it is not science, and if it is not science then it is faith. †

So, everything that isn’t science is “faith”? By what reasoning did you arrive at this nonsense?

You can not see life evolve. †

Prove it.

Also, a big step of faith in evolution is spontaneous generation. †

This is another demonstration that you don’t “understand the theory” of evolution: the origin of life isn’t part of evolutionary theory.

Iíve noticed you have a favorite phrase ďprove it.Ē †

That’s because Christians like yourself have a habit of making grandiose assertions which I know they cannot support.

For example, you’ve been challenged to support assertions and thus far you have refused. I don’t think you should bother commenting further unless and until you are able and willing to support your assertions; continued refusal to abide by such a basic and important principle will result in you losing your posting privileges.

Itís a shame you donít practice what you preach. †

Feel free to ask for proof of any empirical assertions I have made.

In our exchanges you never once provided proof that God is capable of breaking a promise. †

You have thus far repeated a number of popular lies about evolution and I have tried to assume that you have simply not known any better, rather than that you have engaged in deliberate deception. Here, however, you are deliberately misrepresenting me and that can’t be ignored.

The issue in question is not an assertion that your god is capable of breaking promises, but rather that your assumption that your god will not and cannot break promises is ill-founded. If you were to actually engage the position of the original author instead of deceitfully trying to attribute separate and new assertions to me, you might figure that out.

Yet you claim ďItís a conclusion that breaking promises is just as likely as keeping them.Ē †Itís a conclusion based on what?

Did you forget the quoted position of the original author, or did you just never bother to read it?

Hit the “page up” key until you reach the top of the page. When you get there, look for the text in italics. That’s the material quoted from the original author’s book. This italicized text explains the basis for his conclusion.

After you’ve read it a couple of times, feel free to ask questions about the bits you don’t understand ó but don’t waste time posting again unless and until you have actually read it and tried to think about it a little bit.

July 10, 2009 at 3:19 pm
(55) Todd says:

“Evolution is the process by which life changes from simple to complex organisms. So, I understand the theory.”

i doubt that.

“Evolution is not scientific, because you canít reproduce it.”

If you want to reproduce evidence of evolution, reproduce. Each organism is an experiment in evolution. You might be a step backward.

You should look into what scientific method and what scientific theories are before you bandy the terms about.

“You can not see life evolve.”

Look at a house cat. There’s life evolving. The only way to “see” evolution in the way you describe is immortality, but even then you’d make up some excuse for it not being evolution. There’s plenty of evolution going on. It might help you to look up what evolution IS before talking about it.

“Also, a big step of faith in evolution is spontaneous generation.”

Evolution does not address abiogenesis. Pick a topic and stick with it. The phrase spontaneous generation does not mean what you think it means. It was a theory to explain why a pile of food “sprouts” mold and maggots. They didn’t know about microbes and spores and other things they couldn’t yet perceive. But that’s what science does… it keeps looking, it keeps asking. Faith does not. Creationism does not (attempt) to explain the facts. Evolution does a far better job of explaining things. It’s the basis of modern medicine! No more antibiotics for you until you catch up to the Age of Reason.

“To believe in the theory of evolution you also have to believe that life just happened to come into existence out of non life.”

i don’t believe that. i accept that as the most consistent and usefully predictive model of reality. Science isn’t about belief.

As for abiogenesis, you’re making a huge and baseless assumption. You’re assuming it’s impossible (without some divine spark). If you had a process that had a 1 in 1,000,000,000 chance of sparking life… and you had 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 places to try it over gibbijillions of years, the odds are actually pretty good. Experiments show that a “primordial soup” + lightning = amino acids.

Chemicals know what to do w/o instruction. Just as two magnets will try to meet and align. Carbon and Hydrogen will combine without intervention.

What baffles me about some Christians is that they reject evolution solely because the Bible said so. Evolution and your god are NOT mutually exclusive. Just pretend that it was your god that set the whole thing in motion. Your god invented valances that make elements form molecules. Just stop pretending that life is unchanging just because a book written by Bronze Age men who knew bugger all about science said so.

“Thatís a big leap of faith.”

Is it a leap of faith when you get in a plane? Or do you attribute that to your god as well?

July 10, 2009 at 8:26 pm
(56) AtheistGeophysicistBob says:

Steve J (3). I hope your teacher did not tell you that 2 + 2 = 4 is always true. Your about 10th grade physics teacher would say “Not if you are adding velocities.” Example: velocities are in miles/ second, and a and b represent the same number. The sum of 2a + 2b approaches 4ab, as 2b approaches 0. The sum of 2a + 2b approaches 2a, as 2b approaches 186,000.

July 10, 2009 at 9:28 pm
(57) AtheistGeophysicistBob says:

My comment (55). I should have said, are adding velocities “of objects moving in a straight line at constant speed”. I should have edited more carefully!

July 11, 2009 at 12:26 am
(58) AtheistGeophysicistBob says:

I made an 8th grade algebra error in (55). Only a moron would say the sum of 2a + 2b approahes 4ab; everv high school student knows the sum of 2a + 2b is 2(a + b). The general equation is Aa + Bb = (A + B)/2 x (a + b), correct? The sum of 2a + 2b approaches 2(a + b)as 2b approaches 0.

July 11, 2009 at 1:44 pm
(59) Jim K says:

AtheistGeophysicistBob;

I’m not understanding your general equation. When I multiply out the right side I get Aa + Bb =? (A + B)/2 x (a + b) = (Aa + Ab + Ba + Bb)/2. Unless I make some unstated assumptions, I don’t get the equality.

Please help. ††

July 11, 2009 at 4:35 pm
(60) AtheistGeophysicistBob says:

Jim K (58). I was working late last night; what is your excuse? With no assumptions, your formula and mine are identical; I just simplified mine. Plug in the following numbers. A=5, B=8, a=3, b=2 The correct answer is 31. Your and my formula both give 32.5 as the answer. Both formulas only give the correct answer when A = B. I am going to try to determine what we are doing incorrectly. I like puzzles.

July 11, 2009 at 10:14 pm
(61) AtheistGeophysicistBob says:

I was trying to simplify adding velocities of objects traveling in a straight line at constant velocit yrelativistically, and have failed miserably.
I won’t go through the derivation, but this is the adding of velocities from the Lawrence-FitzGerald Transformation

(u + v)/1 + uv/c^2 u and v are velocities, c is the velocity of light.

This equation gives the correct velocity when adding lowest to highest velocities. It is rather obvious that the relativistic correction is trivial for most purposes until the sum of the velocities approaches 1/2 the velocity of light.

July 12, 2009 at 1:09 pm
(62) sornord says:

Nathaniel very simply does not know what he’s talking about. More of the usual products of a sub-standard science knowledge.

July 12, 2009 at 2:12 pm
(63) AtheistGeophysicistBob says:

sonord (61). I agree. Sub-standard or devoid of.

July 13, 2009 at 5:29 pm
(64) Drew says:

Austin, I think the christard above makes a good point, and one I agree with: you use “prove it” too much.

It’s valid. It’s appropriate. Yet it’s often ineffective, because the person you’re dealing with doesn’t know how to prove things, so the impossible is being asked for.

Bluntness is often miscontrued by the receiver as rudeness, so I’d also recommend sweetening the tone a bit. I know this because I’m too blunt too often, and it backfires.

If I may, I’d suggest instead that you ask the person to prove their assumption, but also give them a counter-example where doing so isn’t too time consuming. For example, above this was written:

Nathaniel: You can not see life evolve.

Austin: Prove it.

In this case, reference to an article which shows observable evolution might be a better reply, because it cannot be dismissed as easily. Or reference to the numerous animals and plants which humans have domesticated over the past several thousand years would also be useful. No, it won’t turn Nathaniel into an atheist. But it is only through increments, and only after he leaves this site, that he will modify any views.

I hope that I have made my point clearly. If harm reduction of theists is our goal, we have to accept that there are several different goals, which will be different depending on the person we are talking to. For those whose logic and debating skills are weak, overwhelming them will not create growth, but rejection of asking other questions in the future. It will probably also confirm any personal animus they have against atheists. I say this all in FULL awareness of how difficult it must be to retain patience in what you do. Cheers.

July 13, 2009 at 6:19 pm
(65) Austin Cline says:

Austin, I think the christard above makes a good point, and one I agree with: you use “prove it” too much.

Frankly, I think it isn’t used often enough. People get away far too much with making claims they don’t understand and couldn’t possibly begin to support.

It’s valid. It’s appropriate. Yet it’s often ineffective, because the person you’re dealing with doesn’t know how to prove things, so the impossible is being asked for.

That’s only an explanation for why it’s ineffective if I actually expected to get proof in response to my request. In fact, I don’t because I know they can’t prove – or support – what they are saying. It is the recognition of this fact that I am seeking.

Bluntness is often miscontrued by the receiver as rudeness, so I’d also recommend sweetening the tone a bit.

I frankly don’t have time to be more than blunt unless and until the other person demonstrates an ability to go beyond making claims they don’t understand, can’t explain, and don’t know how to support.

If anyone feels that their animus towards atheists is “confirmed” simply because they insist on support or proof for their claims, then there was never really any hope of reaching them in the first place. Saying “prove it” or “Please support this claim” to a person who chooses to come here chooses to post assertions isn’t rude. Blunt, but not rude.

If I may, I’d suggest instead that you ask the person to prove their assumption, but also give them a counter-example where doing so isn’t too time consuming.

I’ve tried that. Unfortunately, I rarely encounter anyone with enough knowledge to understand and appreciate the counterexample – at least where science is concerned. So the conversation becomes an effort to figure out where to start explaining basic biology, physics, and/or chemistry to them. And then I’d have to start with that explanation, going into detail about every step of a science necessary to explain and justify a counterexample which they were never going to accept anyway because nothing that challenges or disagrees with their religious ideology was ever going to be accepted no matter what the evidence.

So I have learned, through painful experience, that I just can’t waste my time that way. It’s easier to stick to the absolute bare minimum because that separates the wheat from the chaff ó people who understand an argument from those who don’t; people who understand evidence from those who don’t; etc. That absolute minimum is requests for support, evidence, and/or proof. Those who try may be worth dealing with in more detail; those who don’t, even after many claims and requests, simply weren’t worth more effort. That’s my conclusion from my experiences dealing with such people online since 1998.

If you’ve had better luck, I’m envious.

July 13, 2009 at 9:05 pm
(66) AtheistGeophysicistBob says:

Austin (64). I agree completely with you. That is why I made no attempt to correct the incredibly erroneous geology in “The Grand Canyon Proves Creationism”; just mentioned some comments that amused me.

Some people are in the category “He who knows not, and knows he knows not, is a student; teach him”. It seems like all the Xtians that comment on this site are in the category “He who knows not, and knows not that he knows not, is a fool; avoid him”; author Anonymous in both cases.

July 13, 2009 at 11:53 pm
(67) mikec says:

Nathaniel: You can not see life evolve.

Peter and Rosemary Grant, married Professors Emeritus at Princeton University, have been observing the evolution of Galapagos Finches since 1973, and publishing their finds.

Over their years of observation and reporting, these finches have adapted to changes in their food sources and environment. Depending on the availability and behavior of insects they eat, these finches beak’s have become longer, shorter, wider, deeper, etc, to adapt to the current feeding situation. Some have even been seen to revert back to earlier configurations, matching the changes in the food supply.

That’s almost 40 years of observed, repeated examples of evolution. For me, that offers a lot more truth than the claims of some 4 to 6 thousand year old book written by people with no understanding of science or the natural world.

I would also direct you to the Smithsonian Institution’s Natural History museum. There you can see for yourself the undeniable fact that giraffes (just a for instance, there’s plenty of others) didn’t always have long necks. When their food supply was threatened by competition, they adapted over a fairly short amount of time, they beat out their competition by being able to eat what the others couldn’t reach.

Human beings have an appendix which is “a derivative of the end of the phylogenetically primitive herbivorous caecum found in our primate ancestors. The human appendix has lost a major and previously essential function, namely cellulose digestion.” (Goodman et al. 1998; Shoshani 1996)

We also have a coccyx (you know, the “tail bone” it hurts so much to fall on), which is the remnant of a lost tail that helped with balance and mobility. As a matter of fact, “All mammals have a tail at one point in their development; in humans, it is present for a period of 4 weeks, during stages 14 to 22 of human embryogenesis.” Saraga-Babić M, Lehtonen E, Svajger A, Wartiovaara J (1994). “Morphological and immunohistochemical characteristics of axial structures in the transitory human tail”. Ann. Anat. 176 (3): 277Ė86. It doesn’t continue to grow (except in some rare cases) because we no longer need it.

The same goes for “wisdom” teeth. You can see in museums that humans used to have much larger and stronger jaws, used for chewing foliage and nuts. As our diets have changed (by things such as tool use and cooking), so have our jaws.

Please explain to me why (if “god” intelligently created us “as-is”, and we never change), “god” included these useless organs? Why did “He” design our bodies so UN-intelligently? Why would an intelligent designer put the drainage holes of our sinuses ON TOP?

July 14, 2009 at 11:21 am
(68) AtheistGeophysicistBob says:

mikec (66). It is my opinion that Creationists know as much about human (or any) biology, as they do about geology.

July 15, 2009 at 10:00 am
(69) fauxrs says:

Mike(66) Its also my opinion when Cdesign Propentsists say you cant see evolution they specifically mean speciation where a Reptile on monday is a tree-dwelling mammal on wednesday. They will often tell you that micro-evolution is just fine but will not except that micro-evolution driven over millenia equals macro evolution.

And the default answer to your last question invariably is “We cannot possibly expect to understand God’s ways”

July 21, 2009 at 9:30 am
(70) Tim G. says:

From what I observe by all these comments by refusing-to-support-their-assertions (for lack of a better word) creationists, is the lack of understanding of the article above. It took me several reads to fully understand the implications of saying “God can’t be judged” and not understanding the consequences by what was up there, so I’m sure it’s not exactly the easiest stuff to comprehend for others either. These theists pretty much wasted their and everyone elses time, except for the fact that discussing philosophy and religion is engaging; though for the atheist, not quite so, considering the ridiculousness.

August 8, 2009 at 7:55 pm
(71) Mike Crawford says:

Intellectual Masturbation has got to be sinful by any standard. I wish I had some paper towels for you to clean yourself up Austin. The question is: am I saying that because I believe in God and all those that believe in God must be irrational and make personal attacks on Atheists, or am I saying it because you truly are ridiculously ignorant, pedantic, immature, and possibly slightly retarded.

The measure of a man’s belief is tested at the moment of his impending death. My hope for you is that your intellectual pride won’t be as valuable to you then as the Truth.

Jesus Loves You!!!

August 8, 2009 at 8:33 pm
(72) Austin Cline says:

Intellectual Masturbation has got to be sinful by any standard. †I wish I had some paper towels for you to clean yourself up Austin.

Maybe you shouldn’t use them all up yourself, then.

The question is: am I saying that because I believe in God and all those that believe in God must be irrational and make personal attacks on Atheists, or am I saying it because you truly are ridiculously ignorant, pedantic, immature, and possibly slightly retarded.

Anyone saying the latter is guilty of the former; so either way you are saying the former. A significant sign of this are several clear facts: you refuse to address any of the points made above, you refuse to support any of your claims, and you refuse to even try to construct a clear, coherent argument.

Thus all you have available to you are personal attacks ó and poor ones, at that.

The measure of a man’s belief is tested at the moment of his impending death. †

No. A measure of a person’s belief is whether they are willing to live ó i.e., actually act and behave ó in accordance with what they say the believe. For example, many Christians claim to follow a religion of peace and love but refuse to express any peace or love to people who don’t agree with their religion; instead, they resort to pathetic, puerile attacks.

My hope for you is that your intellectual pride won’t be as valuable to you then as the Truth.

As opposed to Christians like yourself for whom the distinction between Pride and Truth has completely disappeared?

Jesus Loves You!!!

Hopefully Jesus’ love is nothing like Christians’ love, because I’d rather to the target of honest, open hatred than the lying, hypocritical “love” of Christians like yourself.

August 23, 2009 at 1:47 pm
(73) DaveInLV says:

To answer Ronald’s very pertinent question (#14) about God’s shape and color, it was answered when a couple of astronauts met with God and found that she was black!

As for whether He/She can be judged, it was answered centuries ago by the Persian philosopher Omar Khayyam:

Oh, Thou who didst with pitfall and with gin
Beset the road I was to wander in
Thou shall not with Predestination round
Enmesh me and impute my fall to sin?

Oh, Thou who Man of baser earth didst make
And with Eden didst devise the snake
For all the sin wherewith the face of Man
Is blackened, Man’s forgiveness give – and take!

November 4, 2009 at 10:04 pm
(74) FMF says:

I find the line in your article “Because God is so much greater than we are, it’s inappropriate for us to try to use our puny human reason to evaluate.” kind of funny. How there can ever be the introduction of “reason” into a religious debate amuses me.

This is the trap that many atheists fall into.

December 30, 2009 at 5:25 pm
(75) Blake Kidney says:

If God creates the rules by which behavior must be judged and if the rules do not bind their Creator, then there is nothing that is improper for God.

This would be true if God did not have a particular nature or being. God is bound by His own being/nature. For example, God is love. Therefore, God is bound by love. It is improper for God to be unloving. However, God will never be unloving for God is love, and God cannot contradict Himself.

What possible grounds could the Christian have for maintaining that God will keep the promise in question?

Indeed, this is what faith is really all about. God makes a promise and we believe Him. Faith is not about believing in the existence of God, rather, faith is trusting in God. When we trust God, we trust that He will be true to His promises.

It is not a religion but, in fact, only a self-confessed haphazard guess.

What is religion?

Faith is not a “self-confessed haphazard guess.” Indeed, if the argument presented is true, then all things are “haphazard guesses.” At this moment, I am sitting at a computer typing. How do I know the monitor won’t blow up and severely hurt me? How do I know the building won’t collapse over my head? How do I know the earth won’t spin off it’s axis? I don’t know. I have faith. I trust these things won’t happen. Why? Is this haphazard? Not at all.

I have faith because I have evidence. I called out to Jesus and He answered. He has proven true in my life. He has been faithful to all His promises. This is not haphazard. My faith grows daily as I grow closer in friendship with God. It’s just like any other relationship. You grow together or you grow apart. We grow together with God over time and learn to trust Him more. However, we cannot know God if haven’t sought Him and found Him.

January 5, 2010 at 11:54 am
(76) Ricochet says:

Quite a few posts were linked to promises “never broken”.
Well, quite a few are to be found in the Bible.

Ezekiel 29:20
I have given him [Nebuchadnezzar] the land of Egypt as his recompense for which he has laboured, because they worked for me, says the Lord God.

Nebuchadnezzar never conquered Egypt: he should fill a reclamation.

Still on the matter of Egypt, in Ezekiel, in chapter 29, there is a very curious prophecy of doom for Egypt which failed to materialize.

A simple Google on “broken promises in bible” will point to many instructive web pages.

March 26, 2010 at 12:59 pm
(77) Deacon Verter says:

Can the Christian make a list of acts that God would never do to people? Yes? Then he is judging God. No? Then he must admit that his god might do anything: lie, cheat, steal, murder etc. To judge God is to evaluate God. If God can’t be evaluated then God can’t be evaluated to be good.

June 15, 2010 at 2:56 am
(78) Sean says:

Why can’t we all just get along? ;o)

Why do you all care what others believe?
Stay true to yourself. If you belive then belive.
If you dont… then dont.

Im an athiest living in a religous house. I keep my belives to myself and i tell the belivers around me to do the same.

(English is my second language)

No arguments here btw :o ) amused though.

June 15, 2010 at 6:37 am
(79) Austin Cline says:

Why do you all care what others believe?

Because beliefs control actions and actions matter.

Im an athiest living in a religous house. I keep my belives to myself and i tell the belivers around me to do the same.

The problem is, most religious believers don’t just keep all their beliefs to themselves. They try to inject their beliefs into politics, culture, conversation, etc.

In fact, religious believers have been doing this for millennia and all atheists are doing today is publicly objecting. So shouldn’t this sort of objection of yours be directed first and foremost at the believers not at atheists??

August 3, 2010 at 3:30 pm
(80) michael says:

an intelligent atheist is a perfect example of 2 Timothy 3:7.

If you want proof of God, read the Bible. All you have to offer are weighty intellectual piles of refuse. If you do not feel God, that is your own fault.

August 3, 2010 at 7:20 pm
(81) Austin Cline says:

If you want proof of God, read the Bible.

I’ve read it. I haven’t seen any proof.

All you have to offer are weighty intellectual piles of refuse.

So, everything outside the Bible is refuse?

If you do not feel God, that is your own fault.

So, I’m capable of thwarting the will of your god? Wow, I must be a god then.

January 23, 2011 at 9:20 pm
(82) nancy says:

A. Cline,
I loved all of your comments and found them very interesting.
“So I’m capable of thwarting the will of your god? Wow, I must be a god then” I found this comment the most amusing. Could you prove how you assume to know the will of God? Your intelligence astounds me. I’m a believer and still havnt been able to figure that one out. Appears to me you think yourself a god. The intelligent comments really impressed me on here and to be truthful I am completly ignorant about evolution and not good at math at all so it would be helpful if you could describe how an instinctual monkey who seemed content in the forest, jungle or whatever suddenly developed intelligence and decided to build cities and computers? Why would a monkey chop all the trees to his own habitat? Wouldn’t he have adapted to it even better instead of destroying it? I say this because I don’t believe in the monkey became a human theory no matter how ignorant I seem to be. Basically id like to understand your theory of how monkeys dna suddenly created “intelligent” genes it could pass to its offspring if technology appears to be the opposite of the natural world. I also found amusing how your comment of “so I’m capable of thwarting the will of your god? Wow, I must be a god then” seems to contradict your entire argument for atheism. We believers obey our just, benevolent, Almighty God and you are your own authority when it comes to right and wrong. Are you attempting to say you believe in god who you describe as yourself? Which appears to convey the idea that you are not a true atheist and you do in fact believe in a different definition of god?? Nonetheless a god? Continuing with this amusement id like to know when you will write your own bible so everyone can gain insight of your great intelligence and wisdom. You seem to understand absolutly everything about the universe despite the fact you didn’t create it or weren’t there when it was created.
To me that is not only amusing but ridiculous. The only thing you seem to thwart is your own argument

January 24, 2011 at 6:41 am
(83) Austin Cline says:

“So I’m capable of thwarting the will of your god? Wow, I must be a god then” I found this comment the most amusing. Could you prove how you assume to know the will of God?

I never claimed to know the will of any gods. If you pay attention to the context, you’ll recognize that it’s the other person making this claim; specifically, they are claiming that their god wants me to feel it and the only thing preventing their god from being successful is me.

Your intelligence astounds me. I’m a believer and still havnt been able to figure that one out.

Really? Strange that basic context would escape you.

I am completly ignorant about evolution and not good at math at all so it would be helpful if you could describe how an instinctual monkey who seemed content in the forest, jungle or whatever suddenly developed intelligence and decided to build cities and computers?

That’s not how evolution works – but, as you admitted, you’re completely ignorant of it. You can cure ignorance through education.

I say this because I don’t believe in the monkey became a human theory no matter how ignorant I seem to be.

Admitting to ignorance basically means that your inability to believe is entirely your fault and problem.

Basically id like to understand your theory of how monkeys dna suddenly created “intelligent” genes it could pass to its offspring if technology appears to be the opposite of the natural world.

Genes aren’t intelligent. Technology isn’t “opposite” of anything.

I also found amusing how your comment of “so I’m capable of thwarting the will of your god? Wow, I must be a god then” seems to contradict your entire argument for atheism.

Apparently, sarcasm is also something you’re ignorant of.

Continuing with this amusement id like to know when you will write your own bible so everyone can gain insight of your great intelligence and wisdom.

Well, everyone except those so incredibly ignorant that even basic English forms escape them.

To me that is not only amusing but ridiculous. The only thing you seem to thwart is your own argument

I’m sure that seems to be the case to people ignorant of basic science and basic English. But of course, such people have absolutely no coherent, reliable connection to reality so their conclusions should be dismissed.

January 27, 2011 at 11:32 pm
(84) nancy says:

Excuse me, can you prove that I actually do not understand the concept of sarcasm? I can tell that your own ignorance blinded you from realizing that my own entire argument’s main point was sarcastic unless you really believe I think you are a god. I dont know whether to laugh or be offended. What’s interesting is that you remain ignorant of your own comment and excuse yourself by claiming my whole argument is ignorant. I don’t need you to repeat to me what it is I’m ignorant about as iv already stated in my last comment. I am aware of the fact. Your redundancy isn’t very intelligent. Unlike you the comments I write are coherent and I believe I use sarcasm in an appropriate manner that doesn’t aid in the contradiction of my argument. Let me apologize for using ignorant words like “intelligent genes” I didn’t mean to offend your intelligence by communicating with you in that way…ill go ahead and study evolution for about 10 years for your sake and then get back to you with the appropriate terminology LOL. I guess you have no idea what I’m talking about. Next time ill try to express myself more clearly. I’m only curious… is your comment of “admitting to ignorance basically means that your inability to believe is entirely your fault and problem” a way to say that believing in evolution is simply a matter of good education therefore all believers in God are ignorant? You are disturbingly bold if that’s what you mean

January 28, 2011 at 7:16 am
(85) Austin Cline says:

Technology may not be opposite of anything but computers don’t grow on trees. only someone who has the capability to reason and has intelligence can create those machines. From which of our gorilla ancestors do you suppose we inherited that intelligence??

Computers are tools and other primates have created tools as well. We inherited the ability to create tools and expanded on it.

There is no logical way you can say you assume to thwart the will of God and then claim ignorance of His will.

And I didn’t make any such claim. Once again pay closer attention to what was written.

Your statements have proven to be unusual and irrational.

Not to anyone who knows how to read them.

How embarrasing for someone who claims me to be extremely ignorant.

Yet you do not express any embarrassment for some reason.

Excuse me, can you prove that I actually do not understand the concept of sarcasm?

You haven’t recognized its use above.

ill go ahead and study evolution for about 10 years

It would be a start.

I guess you have no idea what I’m talking about.

That’s the first correct statement you’ve made.

I’m only curious… is your comment of “admitting to ignorance basically means that your inability to believe is entirely your fault and problem” a way to say that believing in evolution is simply a matter of good education therefore all believers in God are ignorant?

Just as ignorant as people who deny Plate Tectonics or Heliocentrism.

Oh, and not all “believers in God” deny evolution. That’s because not all of them are ignorant.

You are disturbingly bold if that’s what you mean

No, just educated.

January 27, 2011 at 11:52 pm
(86) nancy says:

I’m sorry that with all of my ignorance I have to claim and prove you to be incoherent. There is no logical way you can say you assume to thwart the will of God and then claim ignorance of His will. If you do not know His will what would make you think you can thwart it? As a result simply claiming you can thwart Gods will gives the impression that you have information as to what it is. Your statements have proven to be unusual and irrational. How embarrasing for someone who claims me to be extremely ignorant. The most interesting thing is you make sarcastic claims that undermine your own argument. How very unintelligent

January 28, 2011 at 12:07 am
(87) nancy says:

Technology may not be opposite of anything but computers don’t grow on trees. only someone who has the capability to reason and has intelligence can create those machines. From which of our gorilla ancestors do you suppose we inherited that intelligence??

January 28, 2011 at 3:49 pm
(88) John C says:

Whenever these creationists deny evolution, I think it would help if Austin, or others contributing to the thread, would do more than say “prove(support) your claim”. Sometimes they seek some proof/support of evolution from us, instead.

I offer three topics, without explanation for the moment, but if anyone asks about them I will briefly describe them and provide a link or two:

1. The Lenski experiment with E. Coli showing its evolution over more than 20 years. Still in progress at U of Michigan.

2. Tiktaakik: a dramatic transitional fossil(among thousands).

3. Chromosone #2: showing overwhelmingly the fusion of 2 chromosomes in the ape line into chromosone #2 in the human line.

Tell the creationists briefly of stuff like this, and then to reduce the risk of never-ending threads following red herrings, simply say to their red herrings: “I’ve shown you evidence, now you show why all the scientists are wrong when they say these things”. Puts the onus on them and permits the rest of us(including Austin) to move on.

Whole idea predicated on the presumption that they deserve more than “support your statement”, in the form of something concrete to deal with.

Good website, Austin. Cheers.

January 29, 2011 at 9:25 am
(89) Austin Cline says:

Sometimes they seek some proof/support of evolution from us, instead.

Do they? I’ve yet to encounter one who really does seek proof – all I’ve encountered is people seeking confirmation of their own religious ideology.

Let’s assume that they do seek proof; I think that it goes without saying that they only way scientific proof would be compelling to them is they if they have some understanding of both science and logical argument. Insisting that they provide some scientific backing for their own claims is one way to tell whether and to what degree that might be true in their case.

I offer three topics, without explanation for the moment, but if anyone asks about them I will briefly describe them and provide a link or two:

Have you ever actually used these in the discussions you describe and, if so, have they ever actually accomplished anything?

It’s all well and good to say that people “deserve” substantive, scientific proof of evolution, but if there’s no evidence that providing it actually accomplishes anything, then doesn’t that undermine your position? Indeed, wouldn’t that suggest that your position is more a matter of faith than logic?

January 30, 2011 at 10:43 pm
(90) John C says:

.(I am attempting here to insert line breaks with the spacebar. My apologies in advance if this attempt to work arround the auto-arrange function results in a mishmash)

…….I think that it goes without saying that they only way scientific proof would be compelling to them is they if they have some understanding of both science and logical argument………
True However if the attempt (to offer evidence) will open their minds, even if only a little, to the value of questioning/experiment/evidence/inference, and how(at least in the case of evolution) that points to difficulty with the idea that the Bible is “God’s word”, then in a website such as yours, which supports critical thinking over dogma, I think that is sufficient to justify making the attempt. It also has the virtue of actually offering something substantive into the discussion, something more compassionate than the challenges to “prove it”. Those “prove it” challenges are valid, but can be seen as abrupt, and defensive. As well offering evidence creates an easy platform for challenge: ie requiring them now to refute the evidence by bona fide reasoning. or reference to respected scientific research. The fact that that they won’t be able to do that may open their minds a bit. Accomplishes much the same as your “prove it/support it” demands, but in a more compassionate way. If no change happens, their minds remain closed, nothing is lost, but the attempt has been made.

January 30, 2011 at 10:46 pm
(91) John C says:

.(continuation of above reply)………..Have you ever actually used these(Lenski, Tiktaalik, Chromosome #2) in the discussions you describe………

Yes
………….and, if so, have they ever actually accomplished anything? ………

My main accomplishment has been that a more open discussion has sometimes resulted. I hate shouting matches from entrenched positions. If offering some evidence moderates things a little, creates more civility and makes them consider science as done by researchers rather than as portrayed in Genesis(or elsewhere in the Bible), then I’m all for it. If their minds remain closed, I see the attempt as nothing lost.

………….It’s all well and good to say that people “deserve” substantive, scientific proof of evolution, but if there’s no evidence that providing it actually accomplishes anything, then doesn’t that undermine your position? Indeed, wouldn’t that suggest that your position is more a matter of faith than logic
There is some accomplishment, I believe(as noted above). The only faith I see here is the faith in the value of being intellectually honest enough to let the evidence determine things, rather than shouting at them(even if we’re right and they’re wrong). One of my favorite expressions is German: “Die Stimme der Vernunft is leise.” (“The voice of reason is soft.”)

Again keep up the good work of promoting critical thinking. Cheers.

January 28, 2011 at 5:23 pm
(92) nancy says:

“That’s the first correct statement you’ve made”
Since you clearly admit you have no idea what I’m talking about I’m going to do you the favor of rephrasing my point of view. In my first comment I mentioned that technology appears to be the opposite of the natural world. What I meant to say by this was that instincts are stored in dna and passed from parent to offspring. Some learning is acquired by influences in the environment and I was contrasting instincts stored in dna to intelligence. There are many definitions of intelligence and experts still havnt agreed on the most appropriate. One definition is “a very general mental capability that among other things involves the ability to reason, plan, solve problems, think abstractly, comprehend complex ideas, learn quickly, and learn from experience. It is not merely book learning, a narrow academic skill, or test taking smarts, rather, it reflects a broader and deeper capability for comprehending our surroundings “catching on”, “making sense” of things or “figuring out” what to do.

January 28, 2011 at 10:12 pm
(93) Austin Cline says:

John had u ever given any thought to the possibility of God creating what you call evolution?

Is there any reason to? Can you provide any such reason?

In my first comment I mentioned that technology appears to be the opposite of the natural world. What I meant to say by this was that instincts are stored in dna and passed from parent to offspring. Some learning is acquired by influences in the environment and I was contrasting instincts stored in dna to intelligence.

Since you admit that “intelligence” isn’t well defined, how can you contrast it with anything and still make sense? Add to that the fact that “instinct” can be difficult to define and you have a recipe for disaster: that “contrast” will basically say whatever you want it to say based on how you choose to define the words.

Is a bird song “instinct” or “nurture”? Birds sing instinctually, but many have to learn their songs and the same species will have different songs in different places. Communication of any sort is instinctual in humans but language has to be learned. Things like fair play and decency appear to be instinctual in humans but the details of morality have to be learned.

Genetics is too complex and the brain – especially in primates and humans – is too plastic to draw a sharp line between nature/instinct and nurture/technology. Both work together to produce a final product. There are definite genetic predispositions to things like depression and diabetes, but environment and lifestyle play an indispensable role as well.

And the effects of particular genes can change because of the environment. There’s a gene that codes for the enzyme mono-amine oxidase (MAO). This enzyme breaks down neurotransmitters like serotonin. It doesn’t do much, but it’s vital. One variant of the gene is linked to antisocial behavior in boys – but only if they had an abusive childhood as well. Another variant is linked to high rates of fraud, but only in people who associate with others who commit crimes and frauds. The gene doesn’t “cause” crime or fraud, but it seems to help if in the right environment.

And those are only the links between one gene and the environment – there are lots of variations in effects when in the presence of other genes. The complexity of relationships here goes up exponentially.

One of the definitions of nature is ‚Äúthe natural world as it exists without human beings‚ÄĚ

That’s what people mean when they want to “go back to nature” or “experience nature” in contrast to the city or suburbs. You need to pay attention to the context of where definitions are used or not used. That definition wouldn’t be used in any biology class.

For evolution to be true we would have to be a part of the natural world wouldn’t we?

We are.

January 28, 2011 at 5:53 pm
(94) nancy says:

There are so many types of intelligence such as intelligence of what an organism is biologically driven to do or in the case of artificial intelligence the machine has been programmed and set up to act a certain way. Its called “intelligence” but I’m talking about something completly different. I’m referring to a distinct type of intelligence. An ability to create your own machine or even your own mind. Change the world for your own purpose or create technology that causes massive changes and transformations in the world. Intelligence that asks what is useful for my purposes? And developing high technologies to achieve complex purposes. Nature vs nurture could be contrasted in a similar way. Nature refers to the characteristics you are born with and nurture refers to the development of the organism and what it learns. I had the view these concepts were opposites. One of the definitions of nature is “the natural world as it exists without human beings” it begs the question of why that distinction is made. Another definition is “persons character” which would mean the character you are born with. I’m concerned with intelligence vs instinct and how the definition of nature states the natural world is individual from human beings and why we get this special treatment in relation to the natural world.
For evolution to be true we would have to be a part of the natural world wouldn’t we?

January 28, 2011 at 6:09 pm
(95) nancy says:

John had u ever given any thought to the possibility of God creating what you call evolution? I don’t understand why atheists seem to think that God is an idiot who doesn’t understand biology, chemistry, medicine and so on. The only difference is that believers in God recognize they may see an ocean when God sees a drop of water. We don’t deny science. We believe God is the greatest Scientist, Biologist, Chemist, Doctor, Mathematician, and Astronomer. By the way since this is what the blog is about Judge as well. We glorify God for His works. We don’t deny them or replace them as God.

January 29, 2011 at 2:08 am
(96) John says:

John had u ever given any thought to the possibility of God creating what you call evolution?

Yes.

I donít understand why atheists seem to think that God is an idiot who doesnít understand biology, chemistry, medicine and so on.

I don’t think of God in terms of idiocy. I’m just not convinced he exists.

We donít deny science.

If you don’t accept evolution, or believe the earth is 6000 yrs old, or distrust radiocarbon dating, or don’t believe plate tectonocs, or oppose stem cell research, you do deny science. There are many other beliefs you may have which oppose science as well.

We believe God is the greatest Scientist, Biologist, Chemist, Doctor, Mathematician, and Astronomer. By the way since this is what the blog is about Judge as well. We glorify God for His works. We donít deny them or replace them as God.

Those beliefs are unsupported. It is ok to believe unsupported things provided you don’t try to force those beliefs on others or compel them to be taught in the school system.

January 29, 2011 at 1:55 pm
(97) John C says:

(prev reply came out all as 1 block of text. Am attempting to insert line breaks-for clarity- to same reply. If this doesn’t work I guess I need to find technical support)

John had u ever given any thought to the possibility of God creating what you call evolution?

Yes.

I donít understand why atheists seem to think that God is an idiot who doesnít understand biology, chemistry, medicine and so on.

I don’t think of God in terms of idiocy. I’m just not convinced he exists. We donít deny science.

If you don’t accept evolution, or believe the earth is 6000 yrs old, or distrust radiocarbon dating, or don’t believe plate tectonocs, or oppose stem cell research, you do deny science. There are many other beliefs you may have which oppose science as well.

We believe God is the greatest Scientist, Biologist, Chemist, Doctor, Mathematician, and Astronomer. By the way since this is what the blog is about Judge as well. We glorify God for His works. We donít deny them or replace them as God.

Those beliefs are unsupported. It is ok to believe unsupported things provided you don’t try to force those beliefs on others or compel them to be taught in the school system.

January 28, 2011 at 9:15 pm
(98) nancy says:

“And I didn’t make such a claim. Once again pay closer attention to what was written.”
You mention in your other comment that michael was the one claiming to know the will of God. You responded to his statement of “if you do not feel God that is your own fault” he was writing that it was your own fault that you didn’t feel God because you refused to. Nowhere there does michael claim to know Gods will. Seems that you “assumed” that Gods will is for you to feel Him and you somehow suppose God needs this from you. God is God. He doesn’t need your approval to be Supreme Being. He simply is. Your disbelief doesn’t make Him any less powerful. You said it yourself ” so I’m capable of thwarting the will of your God?” You claimed He was michaels God so what would Michaels God obligation be for you to feel Him? He’s not your God so why would He reveal Himself to you?

January 28, 2011 at 9:37 pm
(99) nancy says:

“You havnt recognized its use above”
You obviosly don’t recognize your own ignorance when you assume things people don’t say, that someone is claiming to know the will of God so that is not proof of me not understanding the concept of sarcasm. As iv alredy said but have to repeat to certain ignorant people, my first comment was entirely sarcastic so your ignorance is the only thing that isn’t being recognized.
“Not to anyone who knows how to read them”
Prove this by explaining how michaels statement of “if you do not feel God that is your own fault” becomes a claim of knowing Gods will which is your excuse for mentioning it.

January 28, 2011 at 9:50 pm
(100) Austin Cline says:

You mention in your other comment that michael was the one claiming to know the will of God.

That’s right.

You responded to his statement of “if you do not feel God that is your own fault” he was writing that it was your own fault that you didn’t feel God because you refused to. Nowhere there does michael claim to know Gods will.

Yes, he is. If it’s my fault, then it can’t be God’s fault. The only way it could be God’s fault is if God didn’t want it. Ergo, God must want it. Ergo, he’s claiming to know that God wants it.

Seems that you “assumed” that Gods will is for you to feel Him

No, it’s the only possible option.

He’s not your God so why would He reveal Himself to you?

If this god doesn’t reveal itself, then that’s the reason I don’t feel it. If that’s the reason I don’t feel it, then this god is the one responsible – which means that it’s not my fault for not feeling it.

Me being at fault and this god not revealing itself are mutually exclusive. Only one can be true. It’s simple logic.

You obviosly don’t recognize your own ignorance when you assume things people don’t say, that someone is claiming to know the will of God so that is not proof of me not understanding the concept of sarcasm.

That’s not the sarcasm you missed. By missing it again, you only prove that what I wrote is true.

Prove this by explaining how michaels statement of “if you do not feel God that is your own fault” becomes a claim of knowing Gods will which is your excuse for mentioning it.

Already done. If it’s my fault, then Michael must know that this God is not at fault. Which means that this God must have tried. Trying is the only way to not be at fault.

Again, simple logic. You might want to ask yourself why you couldn’t comprehend it.

January 29, 2011 at 11:06 pm
(101) nancy says:

“Yes he is. If its my fault, then it can’t be Gods fault. The only way it could be Gods fault is if God didn’t want it. God must want it. He’s claiming to know that God wants it”
Your basing Christian God conclusions on a non-Christian premise. Yes its your fault that you don’t feel God. But God Himself has something to do with that. Think about it this way. You didn’t choose who your parents are, what moral or secular concepts they would teach you or peers you would meet and be influenced by. Some experiences in our lives are completly unpredictable. That’s where nurture comes in right? There’s a reason you are austin, I am nancy, john is john and merlin is there. God uses everyone for His purposes but you don’t know what that purpose is. Do you realize we believe God uses everyone? Not only that. We believe God can get good out of something that is bad. JesusChrist came to earth knowing He would be crucified and He used that for His purpose of our salvation. That’s one major example and the main focus of Christianity. Noone except God knew that before it happened though.
You are an atheist and I’m a Christian. Just because your an atheist doesn’t mean your always right and just because I’m a christian doesn’t mean I’m always right. Therefore you can open my eyes to something I never realized even though I will continue to be christian because even though we disagree on that I could learn something valuable from you that will help me in my life. That’s why christians will say “were not attacking science” science is helpful and useful for many things. That’s recognizable

January 30, 2011 at 10:02 am
(102) Austin Cline says:

You need an open mind to understand recognizing evil can be a motivation to do something against it.

So, is there evil in heaven? If not, then it’s possible to not have evil.

Your basing Christian God conclusions on a non-Christian premise.

My conclusion is based on basic logic. So, you reject basic logic?

Yes its your fault that you don’t feel God. But God Himself has something to do with that.

Then it’s not my fault.

Do you realize we believe God uses everyone?

Treating people as tools rather than as individual human beings is something a sociopath does.

January 29, 2011 at 11:34 pm
(103) nancy says:

Of course God uses even bad people for His purposes. But don’t jump to conclusions God does not command people to do evil. You need an open mind to understand recognizing evil can be a motivation to do something against it. “Cut out the cancer before it takes over” what good would it do for us all to have the exact same circumstances in our lives? That would be like artificial intelligence. Just programmed for the same stuff. We wouldn’t be Beings. Its inevitable to realize some circumstances in your life were not controlled by you therefore by the God you don’t believe in. Here’s the question are your circumstances an excuse to not believe in God? you might say “its easy for you to believe in God because your mom told you to pray when you were 8 years old” so I had “luck” and was programmed to. But don’t feel unlucky or discriminated. There are people who are told “you should kill someone in gods name to go to heaven!” And if they believe it and do it, its still their fault for having done something wrong. And there are so many things people can say and just because its your dad or brother won’t make you believe it. Its not necesarily what your told its about your life experiences. Not only fixed circumstances destined by God.

January 30, 2011 at 12:25 am
(104) nancy says:

Everyones special and loved by God. Not everyones circumstances will be the same though. The process of believing in God I think is personal and somewhat complicated. So u can’t say ” God wants me to feel Him and His will stops here with my refusal” nope your not that powerful. Even though your an atheist I believe Gods will is being done. Basically human decisions aren’t going to thwart Gods will. Its not like He looks at His planner and says “ooh things aren’t going as planned. Let’s get this situation back on track” he simply says “oh look at this retard. He’s a bad person. If this happens it will benefit this other person so this other thing can happen as planned” or “oh he’s thinking this and has very good intentions. I’m gona place him here so he can do this at precisely the right time” the will of God sounds pretty complicated hugh? Maybe that’s why I havnt been able to figure out what it is! So michael said it was your fault and you concluded it can’t be Gods fault and that michael claimed to know Gods will. No not really. Michael says its your fault and my opinion is that’s possible but your conclusion of it not being Gods fault is most likely flawed because if you had grown up in different circumstances you might believe in God today. The point is there’s a reason you didn’t have those circumstances known only by God but its not an excuse for not believing. Here’s a hint: I don’t know Gods will but its never going to be a reason for you to reject Him. Pay attention a REASON for you to reject Him. He has quite a lot to do with the circumstances in your life and that can influence why you are an athiest now. Pay attention INFLUENCE not force you into being athiest. Its still up to you and can’t put the blame on God although you were influenced by the circumstances in this manner.

January 30, 2011 at 9:59 am
(105) Austin Cline says:

Its like saying “my brothers a murderer so I have to be a murderer too”

How so?

the influence may be there but its not an adequate excuse

“Influence” doesn’t play any sort of role here.

Its not logical for you to say God isn’t powerful and I can thwart His will because I shouldn’t be able to think for myself and make my own decisions about things.

Making decisions doesn’t play any role here. It’s only about “feeling” a god – that’s not a decision. According to Michael, the reason why I haven’t “felt” this god is entirely my fault. So if this god desired that I feel it, then I thwarted its will. Simple logic.

Gods reason is justifiable for why He has chosen it to be that way which has influenced you.

Prove it.

So u can’t say ” God wants me to feel Him and His will stops here with my refusal” nope your not that powerful.

Nor have I said any such thing.

Basically human decisions aren’t going to thwart Gods will.

So when Michael said that it’s my fault that I don’t “feel” your god, he was wrong. It’s not my fault. It’s exactly what your god wants.

If so, then you should have been arguing with Michael all this time, not with me.

he simply says “oh look at this retard. He’s a bad person.”

What a “loving” god. I can do without that sort of love, than you very much. It explains a lot about Christians, though.

Michael says its your fault and my opinion is that’s possible but your conclusion of it not being Gods fault is most likely flawed because

If it’s my fault then it can’t be God’s fault. Ergo, if this god wanted it to happen then it’s my fault that it didn’t happen. So either this god wanted it to happen and I prevented it from happening or this god never wanted it to happen at all. Those are the only options.

Here’s a hint: I don’t know Gods will but its never going to be a reason for you to reject Him.

I’d have to have a reason to think that your god exists before I “reject” it. Otherwise, I no more “reject” your god than I “reject” Apollo, Odin, or Darth Vader.

January 30, 2011 at 12:58 am
(106) nancy says:

Its like saying “my brothers a murderer so I have to be a murderer too” the influence may be there but its not an adequate excuse because only we are responsible for our behavior, actions, and beliefs. This is common sense. Its not logical for you to say God isn’t powerful and I can thwart His will because I shouldn’t be able to think for myself and make my own decisions about things. You don’t control certain circumstances in your life. You are a unique individual and if we remember that God is justice, we are accountable! You don’t know Gods purpose of why you have been “nurtured” this way. There’s a reason and its not an excuse. Gods reason is justifiable for why He has chosen it to be that way which has influenced you. God didn’t teach you atheism. You alone came to that conclusion. The real problem is your inability to have recognized Him. As iv said before God doesn’t need your approval and acceptance to continue with His plans. God recognizes the good that can be achieved in any situation. Your rejection of God doesnt stop Him from doing what He wants.

January 30, 2011 at 2:06 pm
(107) James says:

All of this arguing, circular reasoning, etc. can be boiled down to this:

Christianity removes the ability to reason.

In other words:

Once a person” buys-in” to Christianity, the person’s mind is hijacked. Christianity is called a “mind virus” by some, and I can see why.

Having even as much as a rational conversation with a Christian is impossible.

If you’ll notice, Christians can’t argue their way out of a wet paper bag, because their “arguments” always fall back on the assumption that god exists, etc. Even though they can’t prove it. Their minds have been reprogrammed and no longer work properly.

So, trying to reason with a Christian is just a waste of time. I no longer try to talk to them. These days I just warn them to leave me alone or I’ll have to call the police.

January 30, 2011 at 2:33 pm
(108) nancy says:

“Me being at fault and this God not revealing itself are mutually exclusive only one can be true”
What a shame you can say that when God came personally as JesusChrist

January 30, 2011 at 4:06 pm
(109) Austin Cline says:

What a shame you can say that when God came personally as JesusChrist

That’s what some people claim.

so what’s so ironic about God creating what you call evolution?

I didn’t say anything about “irony,” so why bring it up?

I asked for reasons to think your god “created” evolution. Apparently, you can’t provide any.

That’s why in the comment I posted I described the intelligence I was talking about. Its funny you overlooked it since it was one of the most important ideas I was trying to get across and based my argument on that.

Maybe you missed what I wrote about picking and choosing definitions like that: that “contrast” will basically say whatever you want it to say based on how you choose to define the words.

You said that “instinct” and “intelligence” aren’t well defined and I’m contrasting the definitions I have in mind. I can clearly see a difference

Of course you can. You pick your own definitions and manage to achieve a “contrast” that only ends up saying whatever you wanted to hear.

May 17, 2011 at 7:20 am
(110) forrest says:

Then why didn’t he just pray to himself if he was god? And is he not quoted as saying, ‘anything I have done, you can do and better?’ If that is true, he obviously did not beleive himself to be god.

January 30, 2011 at 2:41 pm
(111) nancy says:

“Is there any reason to? Can you provide any such reason?”

John claims us to be creationists. That’s because we believe God is the Creator so what’s so ironic about God creating what you call evolution?

January 30, 2011 at 3:45 pm
(112) nancy says:

“Since you admit that ‘intelligence’ isn’t well defined, how can you contrast it with anything and still make sense?”
That’s why in the comment I posted I described the intelligence I was talking about. Its funny you overlooked it since it was one of the most important ideas I was trying to get across and based my argument on that. What is your definition of instinct? I have the idea its a natural impulse arising from the information found in the genetic code. You said that “instinct” and “intelligence” aren’t well defined and I’m contrasting the definitions I have in mind. I can clearly see a difference

January 30, 2011 at 4:32 pm
(113) nancy says:

“We are”
The origin of a piece of paper is a tree but you might agree its not a part of the natural world. Everything that’s made in this world is created with the worlds elements. The reason its most likely not part of the natural world is because the natural world has no need for it and it doesn’t cooperate with the natural world. If you put a pen or computer in the jungle where there are no humans will nature recognize its value and use it? We create these things through our intelligence right? We are developers. We make paper out of wood right? For some reason we appear to be acting in a similar way as a pen or computer set in the natural world. We don’t cooperate with it. On the contrary we threaten the natural environment in many ways including pollution, deforestation, and disasters such as oil spills. Humans have contributed to the extinction of many plants and animals. We are known for disrupting the natural biology of ecosystems. This cannot make sense to be part of the natural world and not cooperate with it. Monkeys don’t have to worry about any of this because they are not disrupting the natural environment. Why do we act this way?

January 30, 2011 at 5:33 pm
(114) Austin Cline says:

The reason its most likely not part of the natural world is because the natural world has no need for it and it doesn’t cooperate with the natural world.

The fact that it was created by people has nothing to do with it.

For some reason we appear to be acting in a similar way as a pen or computer set in the natural world.

According to whom?

Monkeys don’t have to worry about any of this because they are not disrupting the natural environment.

According to whom?

January 30, 2011 at 6:10 pm
(115) nancy says:

“How so”
Your brother is hypothetically a murderer. (You didn’t control that circumstance) you might think you were ‘unlucky’ to have a brother that would have a bad influence on you and say “it was his bad influence that has caused me to acquire my own behavior” that’s an excuse on your part. Yet if you say “my brother is doing terrible things he shouldn’t and I don’t want to follow his example” would be another way of reacting to your brothers behavior. Do you see how it is a decision you make based on your own reaction about how your brother is acting? Likewise if my mom would have told me to pray as a child and I would have thought to myself “praying is boring and I want to play with my dolls instead” my mothers influence wouldn’t have achieved much. Whatever your reaction only you will be responsible for your decision. circumstances are a major factor that can influence us and I believe there’s a divine purpose for it. For your life also

January 30, 2011 at 7:57 pm
(116) Austin Cline says:

So then you believe if you had other circumstances in your life you would still be athiest?

That isn’t relevant to what Michael said.

Do you not decide which are your beliefs?

No. Beliefs aren’t acts of will or choices. I can no more “choose” to believe in a god than I can “choose” to believe that I can flap my arms to fly. Given what I am aware of, my beliefs follow.

One day you just woke up and said “I believe in evolution!”

No. That’s a good example of how beliefs aren’t choices because my acceptance of evolution is simply a consequence of what I know.

Have you “felt” evolution?

No.

You are clearly denying your own intelligence.

No, but your arrogance and your inability to comprehend basic logic makes me question yours.

Do you see how it is a decision you make based on your own reaction about how your brother is acting?

I don’t see how it’s remotely relevant to what I wrote.

January 30, 2011 at 6:22 pm
(117) nancy says:

“Influence doesn’t play any sort of role here”
So then you believe if you had other circumstances in your life you would still be athiest?
” making decisions doesn’t play any role here. Its only about feeling a god. That’s not a decision”
Do you not decide which are your beliefs? One day you just woke up and said “I believe in evolution!” Have you “felt” evolution? You are clearly denying your own intelligence. By the way what does “feeling” God mean to you?

January 30, 2011 at 6:39 pm
(118) nancy says:

‘If this God desired that I feel it then I thwarted His will”
You are not thwarting Gods will. You are making a decision that does not affect Gods will. There is nothing you can “give” God that He needs. Quite the opposite you do need salvation. But that is a christian belief. He would like you to have faith but that is for your own benefit. I will discuss more of this later

January 30, 2011 at 7:53 pm
(119) Austin Cline says:

You are not thwarting Gods will.

Then it can’t be my fault.

You are making a decision that does not affect Gods will.

What decision is that, precisely?

January 31, 2011 at 1:06 am
(120) nancy says:

“Prove it”
Gods purposes are good and His will can’t be thwarted. That’s the reason it is justifiable. I don’t know how you may have been influenced in your life but I believe there’s a meaning for the circumstances God has put in your life. I don’t know what God wants to achieve with and in your life. My belief is there’s a divine purpose for your life.
“Nor hav I said any such thing”
No you havnt said it exactly like that but that’s the impression I get from your comments about what your trying to say.
” so when michael said that its my fault that I don’t “feel” your God he was wrong. Its exactly what your God wants”
Your statements here are too strict. Iv tried to make you aware of this but you accuse me of not understanding your logic and you keep getting confused saying there’s only 1 option to your claims about “the” or “your” situation. We can argue forever but may never know what purpose God has in mind for your situation but for now if your more comfortable with this conclusion and that’s how you understand and “feel” about it. If this is your logic for the moment it is “okay”. We can talk about it later in more detail. Perhaps its not completly your fault because we don’t know Gods purpose of what He’s doing in your life but this doesn’t mean God is to blame. Iv told you before Gods will is never going to be a reason for you to reject Him. How do I know that? Because He came and sacrificed Himself for our salvation. Is that a hint? Let me tell you something else…

January 31, 2011 at 5:52 am
(121) Austin Cline says:

Gods purposes are good and His will can’t be thwarted.

That’s not proof.

No you havnt said it exactly like that

So you admit you’re attributing to me things you know I haven’t said. That’s lying.

Your statements here are too strict.

Logic is strict.

Perhaps its not completly your fault because we don’t know Gods purpose of what He’s doing in your life but this doesn’t mean God is to blame.

Either your god bears the responsibility because it’s due to your god’s actions and your god’s will or not.

January 31, 2011 at 3:03 am
(122) nancy says:

“Which means that this God must have tried. Trying is the only way to not be at fault”
Trying is not what God does. He’s going along with His plan. Part of it was to die on the cross for you. If you don’t want to recognize that Gods not going to “try” for you. He’s doing exactly what He wants. Trying to blame God is not logical because God didn’t teach you atheism.God does what He wants neither does He force anyone to believe in Him. You are accountable. Quit trying to excuse yourself and be a mature, responsible person..that’s why God gave us intelligence. Not only that. When He rose from the dead He sent us the Holy Spirit. We already know what God generally wants from us. We can usually tell what is right and wrong because Gods Spirit is with us.

January 31, 2011 at 5:49 am
(123) Austin Cline says:

He’s doing exactly what He wants.

So I must not be at fault.

January 31, 2011 at 3:46 pm
(124) nancy says:

” id have to have a reason to think that your God exists before I reject it. Otherwise I no more reject your God than I reject apollo, odin, or darth vader”
If I don’t believe or acknowledge pagan “gods” and believe in only God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit I recognize I reject those “gods” though they don’t exist because somebody out there acknowledges them as gods. Were not talking about frankenstein or a unicorn. The Bible is acknowledged as truth to many people just like evolution is acknowledged as truth to many people. Strange you would be ignorant to the fact its inevitable to make a decision about the Bible. You either acknowledge it as truth and the word of God and therefore believe in it or you reject the Bible as not being truth. Its that simple. Nothing confusing there. Interesting conclusion though. Seems like your blinded of the existence of the Bible and history of JesusChrist. Its ok to respect other beliefs but id still have to say I reject those “gods”

January 31, 2011 at 7:58 pm
(125) Austin Cline says:

The Bible is acknowledged as truth to many people just like evolution is acknowledged as truth to many people.

Only evolution is a proven fact. That the Bible is believed by people is no more relevant than the fact that the Quran is believed by people.

Strange you would be ignorant to the fact its inevitable to make a decision about the Bible.

As much as I “have to make a decision about the Quran.” Your position is merely begging the question because it assumes the truth of your Bible.

You don’t seem to “get” the fact that I don’t share your assumptions and presuppositions regarding your religion.

January 31, 2011 at 5:19 pm
(126) nancy says:

“So is there evil in heaven? If not then its possible to not have evil”
Yes I assume your right but that’s not the case because God reigns in heaven and any evil is expulsed. His Kingdom has NOT YET come to earth. Meaning even angels can become corrupted. God does not rule the earth, the devil does
“My conclusion is based on basic logic. So you reject basic logic?
Probably in the same way you reject human intelligence. By the way if you reject human intelligence how is it possible for you to have logic?

January 31, 2011 at 7:54 pm
(127) Austin Cline says:

Probably in the same way you reject human intelligence.

There you go again, attributing to me something that’s the product of your imagination. Is it easier to hold these conversations with yourself than with real people, or what exactly is the cause behind this bizarre behavior of yours?

January 31, 2011 at 5:58 pm
(128) nancy says:

“Treating people as tools rather than as individual human beings is something a sociopath does.”
Your wrong. When I say “use” you take it in a bad,abusive, or manipulative way. Everyone has to work for God. He created us with the purpose to serve Him and your ideology isn’t going to thwart His plan. You say its wrong for God to use us as “tools”. So then its wrong for you to have a career? You are being a “tool” for some purpose. That’s how you earn a living. Your looking at it in a bad way but God isn’t going to use someone to do evil. Those are decisions made independently by people. You know what? The sun performs its function, ecosystems perform their function, but you want to sit down and say “God now you stop. Stop it. You stop using me” He’s not being a sociopath. It means He’s a very productive, very busy God. He’s happy and He enjoys what He does and just because your mad about it isn’t going to upset God. JesusChrist gave us the perfect example. He came to serve people and not be served. (Though He’s God) and we also have to serve others. You should be thankful that you do have a purpose and your life does have meaning. I believe it does

January 31, 2011 at 6:35 pm
(129) nancy says:

If God were manipulating anyone (as you assumed it) we wouldn’t be able to make our own decisions. That’s what you have been complaining about. That you can so God must not be allpowerfull. I’m sorry to tell you that in my opinion that’s retarded. If we couldn’t make our own decisions then it would be wrong that God would be manipulative. He respects us so much actually that He let’s us have our own mind and works behind the scenes without forcing anyone to believe in Him so He does treat us as individual human beings as a matter of fact. Here’s a religious concept: He plants a seed, “nurtures” it and expects some fruit. Yes EXPECTS. So what “fruits” are you giving God? I don’t know what it is. But if you havnt started giving “fruit” you will have to sooner or later no matter what you decide to do with yourself. Let me just say that if you don’t produce “fruit” you got yourself a big problem and what it means is your a bad person unwilling to cooperate with God. Absolutly useless. Therefore retarded. God didn’t manipulate you. He waited for what was expected and wasn’t there. He will still use you even though you didn’t produce anything but your own evil will be your destruction. And if you think God is unloving because of this just remember this: if God is love, He must be justice. If God is justice, He must be merciful. If God is merciful, He must be demanding and if God is demanding, He must be a king. All of this is strictly my own interpretation. So you are noone to call God a sociopath. God is responsible and does justice. He doesn’t control us like puppets.

January 31, 2011 at 7:46 pm
(130) Austin Cline says:

If christians believe God created the universe then that obviosly means He created everything in the universe and established all its laws and processes.

That also isn’t a reason to believe your claim. If you have no reasons, you should at least say so.

I suppose that also means you have a bias of christians being delusional because you won’t take anything I say seriously, is that the case austin?

There’s absolutely no connection whatsoever between what I wrote and your response here. What I wrote holds true regardless of who’s involved: Christian, Muslim, Buddhist, atheist, etc.

If there’s any reason to think you’re delusional, it’s not because you’re Christian but rather because you keep attributing random, unrelated ideas to me that are coming entirely out of your imagination.

Is that a fair way of treating christians as individual human beings you sociopath??

I treat everyone as an individual and I don’t accuse them of being a sociopath like you do.

If God were manipulating anyone (as you assumed it) we wouldn’t be able to make our own decisions.

I make no such assumptions. That’s just your imagination again.

That’s what you have been complaining about. That you can so God must not be allpowerfull. I’m sorry to tell you that in my opinion that’s retarded.

Well, it’s something that only you have been talking about so you’re only calling your own ideas retarded.

All of this is strictly my own interpretation.

No, imagination. It’s all your imagination. You make up things, attribute them to me, then pretend that there is something wrong with me for holding such ridiculous views. It’s childish.

January 31, 2011 at 7:52 pm
(131) Austin Cline says:

“Treating people as tools rather than as individual human beings is something a sociopath does.”

Your wrong. When I say “use” you take it in a bad,abusive, or manipulative way.

I “take it” in exactly the way I described. Try addressing what I’ve actually written instead of making up things, addressing them, and pretending that you’re talking to anyone but yourself.

If you really could address what I actually wrote, you’d address whether it’s good or bad to treat people as tools rather than as individual human beings.

Everyone has to work for God. He created us with the purpose to serve Him and your ideology isn’t going to thwart His plan.

God doesn’t “manipulate,” but we’re created solely to “serve.”

You say its wrong for God to use us as “tools”.

Feel free to show how the definition of “tool” doesn’t apply, if you can.

So then its wrong for you to have a career? You are being a “tool” for some purpose.

You don’t seem to comprehend the difference between a person voluntarily seeking some goal and that same person being used as a tool by someone else for a goal.

just because your mad about it isn’t going to upset God.

If you’re going to insist on attributing to me things like “anger” with respect to your god, I’m not going to waste my time with you anymore. And you’ll be banned from posting further comments. Just how old are you, anyway?

You don’t seem to “get” the fact that I regard your god as nothing more than fiction. I can’t be any more “angry” at your god than I can at Apollo. Or Darth Vader.

You should be thankful that you do have a purpose and your life does have meaning.

I am. I thank the people who actually exist and who give my life meaning. I don’t thank non-existent fairy tale figures.

January 31, 2011 at 7:13 pm
(132) nancy says:

” I asked for reasons to think your God created evolution. Apparently you can’t provide any”
If christians believe God created the universe then that obviosly means He created everything in the universe and established all its laws and processes. Talking about evolution doesn’t change a christians belief about God. Get over it already
“You can pick your own definitions and manage to achieve a contrast that only ends up saying whatever you want to hear”
I suppose that also means you have a bias of christians being delusional because you won’t take anything I say seriously, is that the case austin? Let’s be honest with each other. Is that a fair way of treating christians as individual human beings you sociopath??

February 1, 2011 at 1:57 am
(133) nancy says:

“If you could address what I actually wrote you’d address whether its good or bad to treat people as tools rather than as individual human beings”
What I really should have done was not address it at all since you were the only one who said God was treating people as tools. That was something you invented or assumed

February 1, 2011 at 1:04 pm
(134) Austin Cline says:

What I really should have done was not address it at all since you were the only one who said God was treating people as tools. That was something you invented or assumed.

One more time: I don’t believe in any gods so I don’t believe that your god treats anyone as anything. My statement is something called in English a “hypothetical,” which means that it’s predicated on taking certain premises for granted – like the idea that using people for some end of yours rather than of theirs mean using them as a tool. You could, if you wanted, actually address that premise but perhaps that would be asking too much.

I really shouldn’t even be talking so much about God. Your the one who loves to do that even though you don’t believe.

No, I talk about the claims people make about their gods. And I wouldn’t do that if they didn’t keep coming around making claims.

February 1, 2011 at 2:37 am
(135) nancy says:

“If your going to insist on attributing to me things like “anger” with respect to your God I’m not going to waste my time with you anymore and you’ll be banned from posting further comments. Just how old are you anyway?”
Ok I owe you an apology about that and shouldn’t have said it. Anyway I know you can’t get mad at a God you don’t believe in. Believers have felt emotions towards God and believers sometimes make mistakes. This has been a personal conclusion that I shouldn’t even have shared with you (nothing personal. It has nothing to do with you) I know its a disrespect to you and even to my own God and you don’t need to put up with that. Now I feel bad and embarrassed. I really shouldn’t even be talking so much about God. Your the one who loves to do that even though you don’t believe. I need a break. Get back to you later if God wills. Now I DO feel retarded. Thanks a lot austin. I shouldn’t even have started doing this. I don’t know what’s wrong with me. I’m gona need some time to meditate about this with God. Too much talk about God can be emotionally draining. Iv written too much I don’t even know what to write anymore. Sorry for the bizarreness. I shouldn’t be doing this. People like me sometimes needs to talk to a therapist. I’m only human. God is sometimes a personal subject but you are an atheist not a spiritual counselor and you do have every right to be uncomfortable with this. Ill participate about some of your comments at some other time. I have stuff to think and reflect about in the meantime. I’m 23 yrs old

February 1, 2011 at 6:41 pm
(136) nancy says:

“You could if you wanted actually address that premise but perhaps that would be asking to much”
It is not too much I assure you. As a matter of fact I have quite a lot more to say but am somewhat overwhelmed and got too emtional to continue at this point. I am being disrespectful to you because i am not respecting you as an athiest, pushing you into a position that does not concern or affect you, and as you’ve stated talking too much about personal experience that doesn’t even concern this debate. It has been extremely revealing and I can only share this moment with God at this time. Once I can compose myself ill be willing to continue the debate.

February 6, 2011 at 7:57 pm
(137) nancy says:

“That isn’t relevant to what michael said”
I’m not discussing what michael said right now. You said “influence doesn’t play any role” in why you are the person you are today. Can you prove it?
“No. That’s a good example of how beliefs aren’t choices because my acceptance of evolution is simply a consequence of what I know”
Who taught you what you know? Were you simply born knowing everything you do about evolution?
“I don’t see how its remotely relevant to what I wrote”
Yes it is relevant. Your saying “influence doesn’t play any role” in the decisions you make. I am saying influence is not necessarily an excuse for behavior because it depends on our reaction to it like I described in the case of your hypothetical brother. The point is whichever the case of how we react the circumstances in my life have influenced me to be christian and the circumstances in your life have influenced you to be athiest. Do you agree on that? In other words there is no reason someone who was brought up as an athiest couldn’t decide to be christian or convert to christianity and someone brought up as a christian couldn’t decide to be atheist or convert to atheism despite the circumstances. It is entirely up to us. Nonetheless influence has something to do with our decisions simply because of personal reactions.
“So you admit your attributing to me things you know I haven’t said. That’s lying”
No. Not lying. I’m explaining to you that God may desire that you accept Him but if you don’t it won’t thwart His will. You have clearly said “so if this god desired that I feel it, then I thwarted its will”

February 6, 2011 at 8:11 pm
(138) Austin Cline says:

I’m not discussing what michael said right now.

I am, and I’m not moving on to something new until that topic is resolved.

You said “influence doesn’t play any role” in why you are the person you are today.

No, I didn’t. I’ll thank you not to lie about what I’ve written.

“No. That’s a good example of how beliefs aren’t choices because my acceptance of evolution is simply a consequence of what I know”

Who taught you what you know?

If this isn’t relevant to what Michael wrote, what’s the point of it?

Yes it is relevant. Your saying “influence doesn’t play any role” in the decisions you make.

No, I’m not. Do note that this is not only the second lie about what I’ve said, but it’s a different lie about the exact same thing. Not only do you lie but you can’t even keep your lies consistent.

“So you admit your attributing to me things you know I haven’t said. That’s lying”

No. Not lying.

If you know I haven’t said it, but attribute it to me anyway, then you are attributing to me something you know is false. That’s a lie. You won’t be permitted to continue posting here anymore unless you stop lying, retract your lies, and apologize for lying in the first place. Liars simply won’t be tolerated because the thwart the very point of serious, adult conversation.

I’m explaining to you that God may desire that you accept Him but if you don’t it won’t thwart His will.

It is if I’m responsible for me not accepting this god. If this god wants some event to occur and I’m responsible for it not occurring, then by definition I have thwarted it. That’s the definition of thwart: to prevent form accomplishing some purpose.

February 25, 2011 at 3:43 pm
(139) nancy says:

Austin, I sent more comments before these 2 apologies that I would like posted and I don’t see them. Iv already retracted and apologized for my lies so I do expect that. You don’t have to post the comment I sent that says why do you call me a liar, or where I complain about forrests comment. Besides those 2 comments I would like to see the other ones I sent on the blog please

February 7, 2011 at 5:14 am
(140) forrest says:

While I am a theist, I mostly end up siding with Austin Cline on the great majority of the postings. I would never in my life hang around a mysogynistic, disfunctional father figure; let alone one that would rape a fourteen year old girl, then dump her her and the child and then later make him take the rap for everyone elses sins and having him brutally murdered? Heck no! I also would be even less likely to worship said person. Would YOU bake your children for eternity very slowly becaused they misbehaved? Yet there is not only a willingness to to worship a being like that, but to get others to believe it as well?

Any god like that is not worthy of being worshipped by anyone. And if it really is true…? You should at least have the guts to take the rap for your own crimes and not put them on Jesus who you claim to love.

Wouldn’t that be like the hypocrisy he always claimed to hate?

February 10, 2011 at 5:10 am
(141) forrest says:

As to the title of this blog… ‘can god be judged?’

It is my opinion that not only can he/she/it be judged, but that it is impossible not to, upon being aware of the topic; whether that judgement be positive or negative. The very topic compels an opinion.

I personally find the entire divinity topic to be extremely interesting; regardless of the truth or untruth concerning a creator existence either in or out of control. If you believe in a deity of any sort, I think it is necessary to apply a scientific elimination approach to arrive at the remaining evidence. Just claiming that god is this or that god is like that without proof is an extremely unexamined approach.

Most of the older literature concerning divinity is not in the major accepted works. More of these ancient texts are being discovered all of the time. Many are sharp contrast philosphically. Many parts of the king james version of the christian bible were removed in the early twentieth century. There is a good reason for that. If you have read them you may know what I mean.

I always wonder when someone is so positive that they KNOW all the answers, if they have bothered to consume any thoughts on the subject other than their narrow conceptions will allow. If your god gave you a brain, is it not then a sin not to use it to its fullest potential? To question everything? Especially ones own beliefs.

February 24, 2011 at 2:30 pm
(142) nancy says:

“No. I didn’t. Ill thank you not to lie about what iv written”
“No I’m not. Do note that this is not only the second lie about what iv said but its a different lie about the exact same thing. Not only do you lie but you can’t even keep your lies consistent”
“If you know I haven’t said it but attribute it to me anyway then you are attributing to me something you know is false. That’s a lie.”
“Nor have I said any such thing”
I will stop lying and attributing things to you I know you haven’t said. Note this will also mean you have to be clear about your ideas. I do hope I won’t need to break it down for you to the most basic level. I retract all of my lies and apologize for lying.

February 24, 2011 at 2:56 pm
(143) nancy says:

“One more time: I don’t believe in any gods so I don’t believe that your God treats anyone as anything”
I’m going to try to get me and you out of these misunderstandings or (me or you). Were talking about my God. The christian God. The God you don’t believe in. I understand that. I didn’t actually say you believed my God treated anyone as anything. Your arguments force me to correct you on my christian ideas about God (my God). Ill do my best to not confuse you about this. And ill do you the favor of not disrespecting your atheist beliefs by implying you are saying my God treats people a certain way. Ill do my best to discuss this with you in the respectful, appropriate manner you expect and use adequate expressions and terms. I am truly sorry about my inability to discuss my point of view effectively.

February 25, 2011 at 4:13 pm
(144) nancy says:

” I insist that someone trying to present an argument for the existence of a god only present an argument that they find important and compelling”
Good advice. What iv mainly felt iv needed to do is explain the facts about the christian God I believe in. I can’t debate about the existence of my God when I continuosly have to reply to false arguments concerning atheist conceptions of a God they don’t believe in. First I have to actually explain who my God Is so that the debate is accurate and makes sense. I realize that all of this is nonsense to you and respect your belief but this nonsense is the God I believe in. I’m not talking about any other he/she/it. If I’m going to debate the existence of my God, austin needs to know the facts about the God I believe in so he can make accurate and not false claims.

February 25, 2011 at 7:21 pm
(145) Austin Cline says:

What iv mainly felt iv needed to do is explain the facts about the christian God I believe in.

Calling them “facts” presumes your god exists.

I can’t debate about the existence of my God when I continuosly have to reply to false arguments concerning atheist conceptions of a God they don’t believe in.

They aren’t “false” conceptions if they are conceptions held by believers. At most, they are simply not conceptions you happen to agree with. That’s not false, but merely misapplied.

If I’m going to debate the existence of my God, austin needs to know the facts about the God I believe in so he can make accurate and not false claims.

Please point to where I have made false claims or retract the implication that I have.

February 25, 2011 at 7:35 pm
(146) nancy says:

“Such that the failure of the argument would force them to atleast reconsider something of their belief ”
I have reconsidered something, actually MANY things since Ive been posting on here thanks
“Unless you know your dealing with someone who actually cares about evidence ”
I do care about evidence, trust me. I won’t go into too much detail but evolution has not been sufficient evidence for me just as the Bible hasn’t been adequate evidence for you.

February 25, 2011 at 7:46 pm
(147) Austin Cline says:

I do care about evidence, trust me. I won’t go into too much detail but evolution has not been sufficient evidence for me

OK, explain what science courses you have taken and biology books you have read. Which forms of evidence have you evaluated and found wanting? I’m sure you’ve studied the subject, otherwise how could you develop an informed and intelligent opinion on it?

February 25, 2011 at 8:04 pm
(148) nancy says:

“They were deleted as I told you they would be”
When did you tell me that? You wrote this remember?
“If you know I haven’t said it but attribute it to me anyway then you are attributing to me something you know is false. That’s a lie. You won’t be permitted to continue posting here anymore unless you stop lying, retract your lies, and apologize for lying in the first place. Liars simply won’t be tolerated ”
Nowhere in that comment do you say my comments would be deleted. I understood I wouldn’t be permitted to continue posting. That’s a huge difference!

February 26, 2011 at 11:25 am
(149) Austin Cline says:

Nowhere in that comment do you say my comments would be deleted. I understood I wouldn’t be permitted to continue posting. That’s a huge difference!

What did you think would happen to your comments?

February 26, 2011 at 12:11 am
(150) nancy says:

“If your God gave you a brain is it not then a sin not to use it to its fullest potential? To question everything? Especially ones own beliefs ”
You have a good point about this. Surprisingly so I’m guessing you may have some …hope. I do question a lot of thing’s especially my own beliefs. Maybe it appears I have the opposite idea but I wouldn’t be discussing so much with Austin if this weren’t true don’t you think? I’m not a preacher and not really trying to convince anyone to believe in God so I have to admit I’m being extremely selfish on this blog but I don’t think in a bad way. I’m sort of analytical and the entire point of me debating here has a lot to do with questioning stuff,religion, my beliefs,my point of view, Austin, and atheism but I believe my faith is very steadfast and unswerving. What I’d really like to know is if you use your brain to its fullest potential? Your first comment makes me think otherwise. Do you question everything? Especially your own beliefs?

February 26, 2011 at 11:29 am
(151) Austin Cline says:

Maybe it appears I have the opposite idea but I wouldn’t be discussing so much with Austin if this weren’t true don’t you think?

Not necessarily. Some people discuss things as part of an effort to validate what they already believe.

Actions matter more than words. If, for example, a clear logical fallacy is pointed out in some position do you accept that and reconsider the position or do you try to construct post hoc excuses and rationalizations? The former demonstrates a willingness to question and revise; the latter demonstrates the opposite.

I believe my faith is very steadfast and unswerving.

You can’t commit to being “steadfast and unswerving” in your faith and simultaneous commit to skeptical questioning of that faith. Skeptical questioning requires a willingness to reconsider, revise, alter, change, etc.

Do you question everything? Especially your own beliefs?

Most of what I currently believe is the product of exactly that.

February 26, 2011 at 12:30 am
(152) nancy says:

“While I am a theist ….it is my opinion that not only can he/she /it be judged ….”
Your a theist so I would guess you know if your God is a he/she or it.which one? I’m curious

Well interestingly if I compared you with Austin I’d also end up siding with Austin Cline instead of you. Atleast he doesn’t insult and disrespect a God he doesn’t believe in. Before I go any further if I may ask are you a Jew or what is your religion? So I can understand you a bit better

February 26, 2011 at 11:35 am
(153) Austin Cline says:

Your a theist so I would guess you know if your God is a he/she or it.which one? I’m curious

Not every theist believes that their god has a gender. Strictly speaking, Christians probably shouldn’t either – after all, without penis, testicles, and other male reproductive organs, and/or the appropriate chromosomes, how can their god possibly qualify as “male”?

Atleast he doesn’t insult and disrespect a God he doesn’t believe in.

An atheist can disrespect an idea or conception of a god without believing that that god exists in reality. It does, after all, at least exist as an idea in someone’s mind. You can disrespect an idea. You can respect a person’s opinion that that idea is “true” (or perhaps “real” would be more accurate in this context). The same is true of theists when it comes to the gods other people believe in.

March 1, 2011 at 7:09 am
(154) forrest says:

If I were to create a sculpture of myself, it could never understand me because it is less dimensional than I am; even though I made it. Almost all religions anthropomorphize god/gods. They do such because that is the limit to their ability to understand something that is too difficult for them to grasp.

Humans have imaginations as well as the need to find meaning in randomness, and so we create lifelong fantasies to fill the boredom and monotony, as well as to blunt the pain of existence. If we are not sufficiently capable of creating our own fantasies, we often latch onto the ones that are already packaged and available for consumption.

God need not be a being at all, let alone male or female. And one need not be a jewish/christian/muslim/buddhist/wiccan/etc. to believe in a higher power.

And why would I have respect for a god that I don’t believe in?

February 26, 2011 at 2:41 pm
(155) nancy says:

“Some people discuss things as part of an effort to validate what they already believe”
validate! Excuse me Austin but when I tell you that evolution has not been sufficient evidence for me I MEAN it. I mean do you debate because you want to validate evolution? You seem to hold the irrational belief that you have the last word on everything. Just what makes you think talking with you would help me validate my faith? Come on! I’m not an expert on evolution or science but even if I were what makes you think that would make me question the word of God? Listen the Bible isn’t a science book! It doesn’t compete with science. What history may have proven is that sometimes people also religious people believe or might have an idea about how God created everything but I don’t believe God has revealed that to us. Just because the Bible is God’s word doesn’t mean He wanted to explain to us all of His works. It serves another purpose. Something God thinks is MUCH more important than your science that He obviously knew we would have the intelligence to study in detail. As a matter of fact He gave Adam the job to do so. He told him to study the animals and give them names afterwards Adam realized the difference between the animals and himself and knew they weren’t the best companions for him. That was when God gave Adam, Eve. (Genesis 2:18-23) A bunch of nonsense! But this is God’s word not ‘austins way of understanding the universe’ take into account that the author of Genesis didn’t have all of the scientific terminology to explain creation as today and I would believe Genesis would appear to seem like nonsense and fiction.

February 26, 2011 at 8:23 pm
(156) Austin Cline says:

Excuse me Austin but when I tell you that evolution has not been sufficient evidence for me I MEAN it.

And I’m waiting for your explanation.

I mean do you debate because you want to validate evolution?

No, I’m just curious as to whether you have and intelligent and informed conclusion on the matter.

You seem to hold the irrational belief that you have the last word on everything.

Feel free to show how.

Just what makes you think talking with you would help me validate my faith?

Curious that you would assume I was talking about you. Just how insecure are you?

Come on! I’m not an expert on evolution or science

Yet you consider yourself expert enough to reject the science in question.

It serves another purpose.

Prove it.

God wants us to understand something He thinks is more important than how you understand the world.

Prove it.

You need to stop thinking

Like you have?

your intelligence replaces God’s word because only God can give us what we truly need.

So… you’ve given up on using intelligence?

February 26, 2011 at 2:55 pm
(157) nancy says:

God wants us to understand something He thinks is more important than how you understand the world. It probably has a lot to do with knowing God and having a relationship with Him. I know it isn’t necessary to say this as it is very obvious but ill say it anyway
You need to stop thinking your intelligence replaces God’s word because only God can give us what we truly need. You understand the universe so well. OK good for you! But we LIVE in this universe.did YOU understand the universe before it was created?

March 21, 2011 at 3:08 am
(158) forrest says:

The universe was in existence before my earliest conscious memory. That is also true of anyone who ever wrote a book or sentence. It was written by someone less educated than a modern 3rd grader if it is an ancient text. If you want to base the purpose for your existence solely on that, have at it. But; your arguments have very little to do with my response. Did you skip over the parts that you did not understand? You might be doing a disservice to your cause by not just remaining silent.

Would god like that? Only YOU can be the judge of that.

February 26, 2011 at 3:11 pm
(159) nancy says:

“If for example a clear logical fallacy is pointed out in some position do you reconsider the position or do you try to construct post hockey excuses and rationalizations? ”
We will get there Austin if you allow me. It would be my pleasure to find out if you really know as much as you claim to.
“Most of what I currently believe is the product of exactly that.”
I know you do Austin. I was asking Forrest. That was Forrest s quote

February 26, 2011 at 4:02 pm
(160) nancy says:

“An atheist can disrespect an idea or conception of a God without believing that that God exists in reality. It does after all atleast exist as an idea in someone else’s mind. ”
Of course but does it make sense to? What do I achieve by saying a unicorn doesn’t know how to fly well or it’s wings aren’t made out of feathers, their made out of gold? Your just adding on to the nonsense. It is simply an attack to decieve others about their beliefs. As the snake decieved Eve in Eden.
If your daughter holds a Barbie doll in her hand and says “she’s pretty “will you say “no! That Barbie dolls a whore! And she’s also stupid because she was born in Mexico and all Mexicans are stupid!” Your daughter will most likely get upset and start crying. So what your actually doing is deliberately hurting her feelings. Why would you do that? You could instead say “the Barbie doll is pretty but she’s not real and real women might look different than her ” right? That would make sense. Attacking something or someone who isn’t real is an attack on people who are real. So if none of this is real why so much hate? That’s a real problem don’t you think? And you know what? I have nothing to say about false gods except that. Their false. And. I’m a theist so your claim of “the same is true of theists when it comes to the gods other people believe in” is false. Evil I believe, is created in our own mind. I think that’s a rational statement. Instead of attacking a unicorn you would explain to your daughter that unicorns are not actually real and found in stories only. Of course as a Christian I know the devil exists. That he’s real but he was created a good angel and became that. He’s not God

February 26, 2011 at 8:19 pm
(161) Austin Cline says:

Of course but does it make sense to?

It can.

What do I achieve by saying a unicorn doesn’t know how to fly well or it’s wings aren’t made out of feathers, their made out of gold?

That bears no resemblance to anything I’ve seen any atheist say.

Your just adding on to the nonsense.

The only nonsense here lies in your words.

It is simply an attack to decieve others about their beliefs.

Prove it.

If your daughter holds a Barbie doll in her hand and says “she’s pretty “will you say “no! That Barbie dolls a whore! And she’s also stupid because she was born in Mexico and all Mexicans are stupid!” Your daughter will most likely get upset and start crying. So what your actually doing is deliberately hurting her feelings. Why would you do that?

You’re not my daughter, so where’s the analogy?

Attacking something or someone who isn’t real is an attack on people who are real.

No, you’re complaining about criticism of an idea or an opinion. Criticism of opinions is not criticism of people; those who think it is have on confidence in their opinions and are too insecure to be sharing their ideas with others.

So if none of this is real why so much hate?

What hate?

That’s a real problem don’t you think?

No, poor reasoning skills is the problem here.

And you know what? I have nothing to say about false gods except that. Their false. And. I’m a theist so your claim of “the same is true of theists when it comes to the gods other people believe in” is false.

Did I say “every” theist? No. Like I said: poor reasoning skills is the problem here.

February 26, 2011 at 4:34 pm
(162) nancy says:

“What did you think would happen to your comments? ”
You should have atleast said so. Do you think I would have continued sending comments if I wasn’t planning to apologize and retract what I said to your satisfaction?
I only. THOUGHT what it was you wrote. I’m taking this debate seriously and you simply delete comments people try to post on here. You should be embarrassed. Shows how much respect you have for what you do. Your not even able to seriously consider comments that your sent. That’s not a fair debate. You gave me the choice to retract and apologize for my lies and you should have known I would possibly do it and would obviously want the comments I sent posted. Your not very considerate

February 26, 2011 at 8:14 pm
(163) Austin Cline says:

Do you think I would have continued sending comments if I wasn’t planning to apologize and retract what I said to your satisfaction?

Yes. People do it all the time.

I’m taking this debate seriously and you simply delete comments people try to post on here. You should be embarrassed.

I can’t be embarrassed at deleting the comments of someone who was told the conditions of having the privilege to post then not meeting those conditions.

Shows how much respect you have for what you do.

So much respect that I uphold the conditions I set.

Your not even able to seriously consider comments that your sent.

If they don’t meet the conditions set down, no. Why would I?

You gave me the choice to retract and apologize for my lies and you should have known I would possibly do it

When you started sending comments not meeting the prescribed conditions, why would I assume that you’d change your mind?

Your not very considerate

Your not retracting your lies is what was inconsiderate. Not keeping your comments when you didn’t isn’t inconsiderate. It was entirely your responsibility to meet the conditions you read, not mine to assume you would. I can only act on what I see you doing, not on what you might do at some point in the future. I’m not a mind reader.

February 26, 2011 at 5:01 pm
(164) nancy says:

And as for reconsidering, Ive.already commented that I have in many ways. Austin read it again I guess

February 27, 2011 at 12:48 am
(165) nancy says:

“Your not my daughter so where’s the analogy? ”
I’m nowhere in it. The Barbie doll is what’s not real, in this case God. Your daughter could be the Bible or any beliefs already established by believers because she said “she’s pretty ” as her dad your correcting her by basically saying that what she thinks is nice is actually horrible and the point is your disrespecting what isn’t even real (as you feel about my God) so it completely doesn’t make any sense. Your hurting Christian beliefs by causing confusion. The Barbie doll can’t be a whore because she’s not alive. She could have never been born anywhere whether in Mexico or Germany. Attacking the faith of believers by disrespecting their views cannot make sense if your an atheist. The only thing that would make sense is to clarify that something or someone is not actually real

February 27, 2011 at 1:07 am
(166) nancy says:

“No your complaining about criticism of an idea or an opinion ”
No you don’t understanding a word I’m saying. I said attacking as in disrespecting. I am not complaining about criticism of an idea or an opinion. I’m not so insecure as to confuse criticism with an attack. I’m not intimidated by intellectuals. Disrespecting is this :I believe in God. You don’t. Yet you tell me that if for example I believe my God is powerful, you say “that’s not true your God is actually weak ” your changing it. A criticism would be “only weak people believe in God because they can’t care for themselves ” that makes sense because you know I’m real but attacking a God you don’t believe in is disrespectful to my beliefs. Its like if I say a unicorns wings are made out of feathers and you correct me by saying “no,not true a unicorns wings are made out of gold ” OK so what unicorn are you talking about if your positive it doesn’t exist? !

February 27, 2011 at 1:34 am
(167) nancy says:

“What hate? ”
You said that “an atheist can disrespect an idea or conception of a God without believing that that God exists in reality ”
I see disrespect as a form of hate. What do you see disrespect as? A form of love?
“And I’m waiting for your explanation ”
I have so many points I don’t even know where to start (yawn) your the expert Austin. Where do you suggest I start?
“No I’m just curious as to whether you have an intelligent and informed opinion on the matter ”
Yes and your so intelligent you care so much about my own supposed intelligence ….(yawn )
“Feel free to show how ”
Don’t act smart with me. You ask questions I’m sure you don’t believe yourself! If your telling me people like me discuss things “as part of an effort to validate what they already believe “your assuming that could be my case by discussing this with you as if you have the answers and the evidence. My faith is the answer! And I’m only trying to understand it better! You don’t come close to my beliefs! So don’t think a discussion is what I need to validate them.

February 27, 2011 at 1:52 am
(168) nancy says:

“Curious that you would assume I was talking about you. Just how insecure are you? ”
I’m a theist and you have clearly stated people like me sometimes try to discuss these topics with people like you in order to validate our beliefs and if your not talking about me…do me the favor of not bringing it up as if you were! I’m not insecure but your perversion is startling. Don’t EVEN go there. What kind of a person are you to assume something like that from any Christian! So now Austins the answer not Jesus …

February 27, 2011 at 2:12 am
(169) nancy says:

“Yet you consider yourself expert enough to reject the science in question ”
Yes your right. Let me take a deep breath because this will be a lot and since your so curious I’m going to satisfy your curiosity but later because all of this questioning has made me sleepy .
“So you’ve given up on using intelligence? ”
Your not understanding! I never said I wouldn’t use the intelligence that God gave us. I said our intelligence specifically your intelligence does not replace God’s word what part of THAT do you not understand? Our intelligence is one thing. God’s word is another. One doesn’t replace the other. God gave us both intelligence and His word.

February 27, 2011 at 2:18 am
(170) nancy says:

“No poor reasoning skills is the problem here ”
And I’m sure your talking about yours
“Did I say every theist? ”
The word theist is in a very broad category. You should have said “most theists “

February 27, 2011 at 10:53 am
(171) Austin Cline says:

I’m nowhere in it.

Then it’s not a valid analogy. Try a new one.

I said attacking as in disrespecting.

Disrespect isn’t an attack; otherwise, you’re demanding respect for an opinion and that’s not a reasonable demand. Your opinions don’t deserve automatic respect from everyone you encounter.

Disrespecting is this :I believe in God. You don’t. Yet you tell me that if for example I believe my God is powerful, you say “that’s not true your God is actually weak “

It’s a standard form of criticism to argue “If the thing you allege is true we should find X, but what we find is Y, so if this thing exists it must actually have different characteristics from what you propose.” That’s not disrespect, it’s basic logical reasoning.

Thus when a person proposes that some god with characteristic X exists, it’s reasonable to examine the word to determine whether the evidence is consistent with X or perhaps something else, like Y. If it’s more consistent with Y, it’s reasonable to offer the counter-argument that “if your god exists, it’s more likely to be Y than X, given what we see around us.”

Once again, that’s not “disrespect,” that’s basic logical reasoning.

I see disrespect as a form of hate. What do you see disrespect as? A form of love?

It’s neither. You have no basis for expecting anyone to respect any opinion you hold or idea you have.

Where do you suggest I start?

Try providing the explanation I requested.

I’m also still waiting to learn whether you have an informed and intelligent conclusion on evolution. Your refusal to explain what you know about it and what you have learned about it suggests insecurity on your part.

My faith is the answer!

So far it only looks like an excuse, since you continually refuse to support or justify any of your assertions.

I’m not insecure…

Then why do you behave like one who is?

Your not understanding! I never said I wouldn’t use the intelligence that God gave us.

Yet you don’t seem to value it, otherwise why criticize when someone uses it?

The word theist is in a very broad category. You should have said “most theists “

No, because if you stop to read the context I was clearly describing what a person can do. It’s inherent in the concept of “can” that not everyone does it and not everyone who does it will do it all the time.

If I say “people can be mean,” an adult speaker of English will know that I’m not describing the behavior of all people all the time. If I say “Christians can be mean,” an adult speaker of English will know that I’m not describing all Christians all the time.

When I wrote “the same is true of theists,” the words “the same” are a reference to several statements describing what an atheist “can” do. Ergo, it is a statement of what theists “can” do. Ergo, it is not a statement of what all theists do all the time.

February 28, 2011 at 12:33 am
(172) nancy says:

“I can only act on what I see you doing not on what you might do at some point in the future ”
The first thing I did after you asked me to apologize for my lies was exactly that. I apologized immediately and you know it very well
“Then it’s not a valid analogy. Try another one ”
Prove that an analogy can’t be valid if I’m not in it. There are many analogies that can be valid even though Nancy is not in it.

February 28, 2011 at 12:58 am
(173) nancy says:

“Disrespect is not an attack otherwise your demanding respect for an opinion and that’s not a reasonable demand ”
If my opinion happened to be that your mother is a slut or any other disrespectful word instead of this one,then you wouldn’t consider it an attack? Sorry but that’s what I understand from what your saying. I think this is a perfectly valid example and sorry for pointing it out this way. I don’t mean to confront you in this way, but it’s inevitable to make this understandable to you. I chose something you could take personally for better effect
If you have a good opinion of your mother. I obviously wouldn’t be respecting your opinion.
“If your God exists it’s more likely to be y than. X given what we see around us ”
Break this down for me. Especially “given what we see around us” I’m completely lost.

February 28, 2011 at 1:13 am
(174) nancy says:

“Your refusal to explain ”
“Continually refuse to support or justify ”
What a liar. I said I WOULD explain. I think you need to re-read my comments since your missing very important points I’m making. So are you now timing my response as if I owed you it by some sort of deadline? I don’t have to do it. As a matter of fact I’m kind of lazy to as you might have noticed but I assure you I will.
“Then why do you behave like one who is insecure? ”
Prove I’ve behaved like one who is insecure

February 28, 2011 at 2:09 am
(175) nancy says:

“”The same is true of theists when it comes to the gods other people believe in”
I did make a mistake in my claim. Thanks for correcting me Austin. I’m not really a theist.I’m monotheistic. My fault
“Yet you don’t seem to value it”
Because I’ve repeatedly told you it’s not sufficient evidence for me to believe it and will explain why….

February 28, 2011 at 3:45 am
(176) nancy says:

“And I’m waiting for your explanation ”
I don’t really know what you want me to explain. OK where do I start ….ummm oh yes! From the beginning until I reach the end I suppose. OK… okay
As much as I love the dictionary I haven’t bothered to look up the definition for evolution because I certainly feel it will confuse me more than I’m already confused on the subject. I don’t understand the concept of evolution. I believe organisms adapt to their environments but I don’t believe a monkey became a human.
Without having to get into bird beaks, tadpoles, and e. Coli i believe organisms grow and can be transformed by adaptation or life cycle such as can be easily seen by a caterpillar that makes a cocoon and then transforms into a butterfly. It became something completely different but is the natural life cycle of the caterpillar. An evolutionist would say “it’s not a miracle! It can be rationally explained by evolution! ” it was an insect and suddenly transformed into a butterfly so I don’t know if that’s evolution but don’t care because I do not see it that way because it regularly happens in the caterpillars life cycle and didn’t take thousands of years to happen. So if evolution happens only after thousands of years in order for life to be the way it is now how do you explain a caterpillar that suddenly becomes a butterfly? Is that a miracle ? Evolution? Or what else would you call it? Or how else would you rationally explain it as evolution has done so well? You can’t ignore the fact that it developed wings after being an insect

February 28, 2011 at 4:02 am
(177) nancy says:

I believe God enabled the caterpillar to transform because that is how the organism matures. Does the human sperm mean we were a fish before we became human? I mean we obviously had a tail and could swim but I see it as the development of the fetus and a work of God created by His intelligence. I don’t believe I was a fish first when I was a sperm as evolution might interpret. I believe that the way we reproduce,become fetuses and grow and mature is a process established by God so I must admit I do not have a clue about what evolution IS, MEANS and attempts to CLAIM. I don’t see it. This is the beginning of my explanation. I have many other ideas on the subject

February 28, 2011 at 6:45 am
(178) Austin Cline says:

Prove that an analogy can’t be valid if I’m not in it.

If you’re not in it in some metaphorical or analogous sense, it’s not making an analogy to your situation.

If my opinion happened to be that your mother is a slut or any other disrespectful word instead of this one,then you wouldn’t consider it an attack?

No, it wouldn’t. You’d have to express it in order for it to qualify as an attack.

And I never said that an expressed opinion couldn’t be an attack. I said that not respecting an opinion is not an attack

Are you sincerely incapable of comprehending the difference between expressing an opinion and not respecting an opinion?

For any given opinion which you might hold on any given subject, there have to be millions and millions of people out there who do not happen to respect it. According to you, that means they are all attacking you. So you must feel that you are constantly under attack by millions of people.

And yet you insist that you aren’t at all insecure.

Sorry but that’s what I understand from what your saying.

I believe you.

If you have a good opinion of your mother. I obviously wouldn’t be respecting your opinion.

And you’re more than welcome to not respect any random opinion of mine. I don’t demand that you respect any, much less every, opinion I hold.

“If your God exists it’s more likely to be y than. X given what we see around us ”

Break this down for me.

I just did, in an extremely simple form.

What a liar. I said I WOULD explain.

Actions speak louder than words and the fact is that you haven’t, despite multiple opportunities and multiple comments on other matters.

And let’s go back to what you originally said… First, you said you wouldn’t go into much detail (February 25, 2011 at 7:35 pm). When challenged you go on about “God’s word” and not being and expert but don’t even hint that you might explain further (February 26, 2011 at 2:41 pm). Then you ask me to tell you where you should start explaining your own position, though with a “yawn” indicating a lack of sincerity or serious interest. Only now, do you make any indication that you ‘would” explain.

Prove I’ve behaved like one who is insecure

One sign of insecurity is treating criticism of an opinion like a person attack. A confident, secure person doesn’t care if others disagree with them; on the contrary they welcome disagreement and criticism because that’s the best means for improving one’s opinions. You, in contrast, object when people don’t immediately and automatically respect every random opinion you happen to hold and express. That’s simply not the behavior of a secure person.

An insecure person immediately assumes that critical statements must be made about them personally. It is insecurity because they secretly imagine that everyone is attacking them and, what’s more, that those attacks are justified. A secure person wouldn’t immediately assume that a comment about how some people behave was a personal comment about them, but that’s just what you did.

I’m not really a theist.I’m monotheistic. My fault

Indeed. Monotheism is a form of theism. Every monotheist is a theist.

Because I’ve repeatedly told you it’s not sufficient evidence for me to believe it and will explain why….

This is supposed to be a response to my comment that you don’t seem to value intelligence and it bears no relationship whatsoever to what I wrote. How very ironic.

As much as I love the dictionary I haven’t bothered to look up the definition for evolution because I certainly feel it will confuse me more than I’m already confused on the subject.

So you insist that there isn’t sufficient evidence for evolution, but you don’t actually know what evolution is.

I don’t understand the concept of evolution.

Do you insist that there isn’t sufficient evidence for evolution, but you don’t understand what evolution is.

Remember when I said that I was curious about whether you had an informed conclusion on this subject?

I believe organisms adapt to their environments

That’s evolution when the adaptation occurs on a genetic level.

An evolutionist would say “it’s not a miracle! It can be rationally explained by evolution! ” it was an insect and suddenly transformed into a butterfly

1. It isn’t random.

2. A butterfly is an insect.

so I don’t know if that’s evolution but don’t care because I do not see it that way

So even if something really is evolution, you don’t care – you’re just going to deny it because it contradicts what you already believe.

You claimed that you “care about evidence,” but person who cares about evidence will adjust their beliefs to match the evidence. They don’t look at evidence and say “I don’t care.”

Remember when I pointed out skeptical questioning is incompatible with being “steadfast and unswerving” in faith? This is why.

because it regularly happens in the caterpillars life cycle and didn’t take thousands of years to happen.

Evolution doesn’t require thousands of years.

So if evolution happens only after thousands of years in order for life to be the way it is now how do you explain a caterpillar that suddenly becomes a butterfly?

A caterpillar becoming a butterfly isn’t evolution, but the caterpillar did evolve to make that transformation.

You can’t ignore the fact that it developed wings after being an insect

A caterpillar is an insect. A butterfly is an insect. A moth is an insect. Some insects have wings, some don’t. Some insects have wings only during certain stages of life.

The caterpillar is simply the larval form of butterflies and moths. A larva is a juvenile form between eggs and adulthood. Although the analogy is weak, it might help to think of the larva as being a bit like an advanced fetus. It’s the same species, but not yet fully developed.

I see it as the development of the fetus and a work of God created by His intelligence.

And the problem is that no matter what evidence you see, you’ll deny it in favor of holding on to this belief. You won’t even extend the effort to look up the word “evolution” in the dictionary lest it sway you from your faith, much less learn about the science of evolution.

When you said there wasn’t sufficient evidence for evolution you weren’t being truthful. For such a statement to be honest and truthful, you would have to have actually looked at the evidence, understood the evidence, understood evolutionary theory itself, and then concluded that the evidence wasn’t enough to support claims made about evolution.

You’ve done none of this. You don’t have any idea what evolution even is, much less what sort of evidence exists for it. You don’t reject evolution because there’s insufficient evidence for it, you reject evolution because you think it contradicts your religious ideology. In your own words, you don’t have a clue as to what evolution is. You don’t care what sort of evidence exists for evolution because you prefer your religious ideology.

None of this is the least bit compatible with skeptical questioning. It’s only compatible with blind faith and narrow-minded dogmatism.

March 21, 2011 at 3:34 am
(179) forrest says:

That is so true!

February 28, 2011 at 8:55 pm
(180) nancy says:

“If your not in it in some metaphorical or analogical sense it’s not making an analogy to your situation ”
And whos talking about me? The reason I began this discussion with you was because of pure indignation. This whole time I thought we were talking about God. I don’t understand what your belief of my “situation ” is.
“No it wouldn’t. You’d have to express it in order for it to qualify as an attack ”
My example is something called a hypothetical. Austin. I understand that hypothetical questioning is used in mathematics for many theories about the universe. I think my example is valid enough to be considered

February 28, 2011 at 9:10 pm
(181) Austin Cline says:

And whos talking about me?

I thought you were trying to describe an analogy to explain how you see things – thus an analogy that involves you and your perspective. If that’s not the case, then your analogy was completely incomprehensible and I have no idea what you were trying to describe.

My example is something called a hypothetical. Austin.

Yes, I know it is. And in your hypothetical, you described an opinion you hypothetically held. An opinion does not have to be expressed in order to be held. You only described hypothetical opinion, not a hypothetical statement.

Thus my response: merely holding an opinion cannot be an attack, no matter what that opinion is. To be an attack, it would at least have to be expressed.

But I note that you blithely ignored the next part of my response: even if expressed, that hypothetical opinion would not be an attack.

March 1, 2011 at 1:15 am
(182) nancy says:

“Are you sincerely incapable of comprehending the difference between expressing an opinion and not respecting an opinion? ”
I’m communicating with you on the internet and expressing to you my hypothetical idea because I don’t know your mother so obviously couldn’t have an opinion about her (unless I acted foolish out of disrespect or hate toward you and that is not MY case )
“So you must feel that you are constantly under attack by millions of people ”
That is your own assumption because I’ve never said any such thing. As a matter of fact my belief is exactly the opposite. Romans 8:31 “what then shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us who can be against us?” Or as I prefer to say in Spanish : there’s a saying that goes. “Si Dios esta con nosotros quien podra estar contra nosotros? “The church may be attacked but Jesus said clearly in Matthew 16:18 “and I tell you that you are Peter and on this rock I will build my church and the gates of Hades will not overcome it”

March 1, 2011 at 1:31 am
(183) nancy says:

“And yet you insist that you aren’t at all insecure ”
Yes I do insist. I may sometimes be emotional and passionate in my faith but it’s not insecurity ….
“And your more than welcome to not respect any random opinion of mine ”
I’m glad you realize it because I’m going to take the liberty of not arguing about any supposed insecurity you believe I feel because it simply doesn’t make any sense to pay attention to such nonsense.
“I just did in.an extremely simple form ”
Well I don’t have this “simple ” x, y, z mentality that appears to make everything so “logical “, “rational “, and unquestionably “the truth ” so DO me the favor of breaking it down for me and provide me your “answers ” I’m dying to know. I want to know what you have to say about it.

March 1, 2011 at 1:44 am
(184) nancy says:

“And let’s go back to what you originally said ”
Criticizing what you think is my lack of substance in my claims means nothing to me. You should be thankful I’m providing you with an explanation because I could have very well chosen not to.I have no obligation to do so.I was never trying to convince anyone or myself about anything
“Only now do you make any indication that you would explain ”
On February 27, 2011 @ 2:12 a.m my comment was “….since your so curious I’m going to satisfy your curiosity but later ….” and made it before your comment on the same day at 10:53 a.m
If you would have paid attention to my comment perhaps you would have understood what I was talking about.

March 1, 2011 at 2:03 am
(185) nancy says:

“Every monotheistic is a theist ”
But it’s a different classification
“This is supposed to be a response to my comment that you don’t seem to value intelligence and bears no relationship ….”
Why don’t you explain to me why it is you think I don’t seem to value intelligence so I can give you a satisfying answer
“But you don’t actually know what evolution is”
That’s how confusing it is.
“Remember I said that I was curious about whether you had an informed conclusion on this subject? ”
If it makes any difference, I’ll look up the definition today but doubt it will help me understand the concept

March 1, 2011 at 2:35 am
(186) nancy says:

“A caterpillar is an insect. A butterfly is an insect ”
“A bit like an advanced fetus. It’s the same species, but not yet fully developed ”
I’m glad that you pointed this out. A caterpillar is a larvae not yet fully developed into a butterfly. The larvae and the caterpillar are the same species just like human sperm has not fully developed into a baby and the human sperm and baby are the same species also
A tribe that lives in the jungle adapts to the jungle and a person who lives in the city adapts to the city. Couldn’t this mean that although a long time ago humans didn’t look exactly like we do today their species would still have been human, not ape transformed into human? I would think it’s plausible.
“A caterpillar.becoming a butterfly isn’t evolution but the caterpillar did evolve to make the transformation ”
What is the difference between evolution and the transformations in the life cycles of organisms that resulted from it? What specific changes in physical appearance or what amount of time is necessary to cause the distinction? How can physical changes.prove that a species has become a different one and not simply the same species adapting to its environment ? And out of curiosity does the discovery of modern technology make us more human than 1000 years ago or will these discoveries cause us to become a different species that is not homo sapien?

March 1, 2011 at 2:58 am
(187) nancy says:

“You won’t even extend the effort to look up the word “evolution ” in the dictionary lest it sway you from your faith much less learn about the science of evolution ”
I have learned about the science of evolution
On February 26 2011 2:41 p.m I said “I’m not an expert on evolution or science but even if I were what makes you think that would make me question the word of God? ”
So I think that makes your claim false
“And then concluded that the evidence wasn’t enough to support claims made about evolution ”
I haven’t made it to that point in my explanation yet but I will later.
“You reject evolution because you think it contradicts your religious ideology ”
Ideology …do you know what my religious ideology is?

March 1, 2011 at 5:37 am
(188) Austin Cline says:

so DO me the favor of breaking it down for me and provide me your “answers ”

I did.

Criticizing what you think is my lack of substance in my claims means nothing to me.

The lack of substance in your statements is fairly obvious.

You should be thankful I’m providing you with an explanation because I could have very well chosen not to.I have no obligation to do so.

If you lack any sense of ethical or intellectual responsibility, yes.

But it’s a different classification

No, every monotheist is a theist.

That’s how confusing it is.

No, it’s not. It’s fairly simple – but you would have to study it a little.

like human sperm has not fully developed into a baby and the human sperm and baby are the same species also

Sperm is not a species, it’s a cell.

A tribe that lives in the jungle adapts to the jungle and a person who lives in the city adapts to the city.

That’s not biological evolution.

What is the difference between evolution and the transformations in the life cycles of organisms that resulted from it?

Evolution is a change in genetic information, not outward form.

And out of curiosity does the discovery of modern technology make us more human than 1000 years ago or will these discoveries cause us to become a different species that is not homo sapien?

No to both.

I have learned about the science of evolution

Every question you ask reveals complete and total ignorance of the subject. You don’t even know the definition, never mind the science. I have to conclude that you’re lying again.

Good bye.

July 1, 2011 at 4:51 am
(189) Linda says:

Of course people can judge God, as in evaluate, but they cannot judge God in a judicial way, as in a court of law (judge God guilty for a crime and sentence God to punishment).

But since God is the Creator and we are the creatures, that makes us accountable to God, and since God is a moral being God must and will judge us.

July 1, 2011 at 7:14 am
(190) Austin Cline says:

But since God is the Creator and we are the creatures, that makes us accountable to God, and since God is a moral being God must and will judge us.

Unaccountable power is corrupt power and corrupt power is not a power we have any moral obligation to submit to.

January 28, 2012 at 12:30 am
(191) Jack says:

I think that Steve has a point. Essentially Christians believe that the way that we can know who God is and what He will do is through the Bible, God’s Word. If you want to be truly objective about this sort of thing you have to ask yourself; what harm would come from a person studying the Bible? At worst he may be overbearing in his attempts to convert others to Christianity. He’ll have a good sense of moral judgement, though.

January 28, 2012 at 1:13 am
(192) Jack says:

My first comment refers to the quote about God not being bound by his own rules. The one thing that you have to understand is that it is central to any sort of Deist theology to believe that God (whoever he may be) is good. So, really, we can’t say that there is no reason for Him to break His promise, as much as there is every reason that he will keep His promise. If He is good, as almost any Deist would believe, then there is absolutely no reason why he would break his promise.
The second thing that I would like to say is that I don’t believe that it’s fair to call the belief in a God a haphazard guess. Supposing that this is true, though, how is Atheism (or Agnosticism, whichever you prefer) any better? Thinking logically and critically, how can Atheism be qualified over any religion? Athesim is a belief that Man is the greatest thing there is out there. That Man is equivalent God, since he is the highest being in existence. But the crucial question that you have to ask is that if there is no God- who is almost always assumed to be more intelligent than human beings- no God to set moral boundaries, who’s to say that killing is wrong?
While it may be true that there are some extremists who kill innocent people in the name of whatever god they worship, this is an extreme minority. If anything I’ve heard is true about religions, most only encourages people to be good to one another, not to steal, not to kill and other such things. They set moral boundaries.

January 28, 2012 at 1:18 am
(193) Jack says:

If Christianity is a haphazard guess, it is one that has stood the test of time. About two thousand years.

January 28, 2012 at 8:45 am
(194) Austin Cline says:

I think that Steve has a point.

Then why don’t you address the many questions and challenges that he ignored?

I think that Steve has a point. Essentially Christians believe that the way that we can know who God is and what He will do is through the Bible, God’s Word.

And the Bible contains stories of God instructing believers to commit murder and genocide.

what harm would come from a person studying the Bible? At worst he may be overbearing in his attempts to convert others to Christianity. He’ll have a good sense of moral judgement, though.

Right, because all Christians have always had good moral judgment. Just look at the Crusades, the Salem Witch Trials, and the Holocaust.

The one thing that you have to understand is that it is central to any sort of Deist theology to believe that God (whoever he may be) is good.

Not ever god that humans have believed in have been good. There is no a priori reason to assume that a god must be good. Christians simply assert it without providing any reason to accept it.

So, really, we can’t say that there is no reason for Him to break His promise

The only “reason” it an assumption that Christians insist we must make. That’s not a real reason, though.

If He is good, as almost any Deist would believe, then there is absolutely no reason why he would break his promise.

This assume that, in ever situation, keeping a promise is good. Since God works in mysterious ways, you can’t assume that there won’t be cases where breaking a promise is good.

The second thing that I would like to say is that I don’t believe that it’s fair to call the belief in a God a haphazard guess.

I didn’t. You should read a bit more carefully: the haphazard guess is the idea that Christians go to heaven.

Thinking logically and critically, how can Atheism be qualified over any religion?

False comparison, since atheism isn’t any sort of belief system. You need to compare atheism and theism, not atheism and religions.

Athesim is a belief that Man is the greatest thing there is out there. That Man is equivalent God, since he is the highest being in existence.

No, it’s not. You’re ignorance of atheism is nothing short of astounding.

But the crucial question that you have to ask is that if there is no God- who is almost always assumed to be more intelligent than human beings- no God to set moral boundaries, who’s to say that killing is wrong?

We are. Since the killing involves us, we shouldn’t need anyone or anything else to make that determination. If you can’t make that determination and need to be told it by a god, then when you don’t kill you aren’t actually being moral. You’re just following orders.

If Christianity is a haphazard guess, it is one that has stood the test of time. About two thousand years.

Right, through force of arms, war, persecution, torture, and even genocide.

February 3, 2012 at 6:57 pm
(195) Grandpa_In_The_East says:

Jack says “If Christianity is a haphazard guess, it is one that has stood the test of time.”

So has syphilis, another disease of the brain, but I wouldn’t give it a “G” Rating.

Grandpa

February 4, 2012 at 6:44 pm
(196) OZAtheist says:

Jack says –

“Athesim is a belief that Man is the greatest thing there is out there. That Man is equivalent God, since he is the highest being in existence.”

I assume you are talking about atheism Jack although your spelling is creative. If Athesim is something else altogether then I confess I haven’t heard of it and have no knowledge of its maxims. If it is atheism you are referring to then the definition you give is unique and somewhat wide of the mark.

As an atheist I don’t consider my species to be necessarily: “the greatest thing there is out there”. I am quite comfortable with the idea that there may be other intelligent species on other planets that may have superior intellect to man, (some of our fundies do not set the bar too high unfortunately).

As the true definition of atheism is the absence of belief in a god or gods, then to think that we believe ourselves to be gods, as you suggest, is somewhat nonsensical. We get used to hearing this kind of sloppy reasoning from fundies however.

May 12, 2012 at 6:05 pm
(197) Lesa says:

The lack of reasoning skills of apologists in these debates never ceases to amaze me. There are too many examples in this topic for me to point them all out, but I couldn’t help but laugh at some of the quotes Nancy was attributing to Austin.

Where Austin said this:

If, for example, a clear logical fallacy is pointed out in some position do you accept that and reconsider the position or do you try to construct post hoc excuses and rationalizations?

Nancy quoted him as saying this:

If for example a clear logical fallacy is pointed out in some position do you reconsider the position or do you try to construct post hockey excuses and rationalizations?

Post hockey? Really? How can she argue against something when she doesn’t even understand what she’s arguing against? If she knew what “post hoc” meant, she wouldn’t have quoted it as “post hockey”. This mentality, of course, extends into her sheer arrogance in believing she can argue against evolution when she has admitted herself that she doesn’t know anything about it.

Note to anyone who tries to engage in these debates: You need to understand what you’re talking about before you can even attempt to prove or disprove it. To anyone with a rational mind, you just look like someone who is trying to prove that 2+2=5 by merely asserting over and over that it’s true!

Back to the misquoting, Nancy also missed the part about accepting that something’s a fallacy when it’s clear that it’s a fallacy. This person doesn’t even know how to copy and paste, much less have a rudimentary grasp of reading comprehension, so why should we expect her to know the difference between “baseless assertions” like the ones she made here and “conclusions based on strong evidence and solid reasoning”?

To be continued, due to character limits…

May 12, 2012 at 6:07 pm
(198) Lesa says:

(part 2…)

“God exists” is an assumption without any solid evidence to back it up.

“Evolution occurs” is something we know to be a factual statement because we see it happen every time a life is born, whether it’s a human life or any other life. Do you look exactly like your parents? No, of course not. This is because your genes are not an exact replica of their genes, which is exactly what evolution is.

“The theory of evolution” deals with explaining the mechanisms behind evolution, which include mutation, natural selection, and other processes.

“Mutation” does NOT mean “deformity.” Some mutations are bad, some are good, and some (probably most) are neutral. Further, most mutations are so unnoticeable, they can only be detected through a DNA test.

Now, none of this has to do with the topic of the article, but I felt compelled to point out some of this stuff because of the comments that were made here.

May 12, 2012 at 6:07 pm
(199) Lesa says:

(3rd and final part…)

To get back on topic, I agree with the general premise of the article, and see it in relation to Euthyphro’s dilemma, which was written about 300 years before Jesus is said to have lived.

In Plato’s dialogue titled “Euthyphro,” Socrates asks Euthyphro, “Is the pious loved by the gods because it is pious, or is it pious because it is loved by the gods?”

Socrates was talking about the Greek gods here, but the same applies to the Judeo Christian god. Does God call something good because He defines it as good, or does he just know it’s good? If He defines what is good, then “good” is just arbitrary to God’s whims, and genocide and slavery are good because he ordered it in the Old Testament. If the latter, then God doesn’t define what is good, therefore he is not the sole authority on what is good.

Christians, do you agree with your God’s decision to order the slaughter of whole villages, including the children and elderly? Do you agree with your God’s decision to not only allow slavery, but to also tell slave owners they could beat their slaves within an inch of their lives? If you believe it was moral for God to do this, then why do you believe it was moral? If you believe killing children and keeping/beating slaves is immoral, then why? Note: if you agree or disagree with God’s decisions in these matters, then you are making a moral judgment about God.

For the record, I do not believe this “God” exists, and am only basing this on the way “He” is portrayed in the book you claim is “God’s Word”.

May 18, 2012 at 10:42 pm
(200) J.B. says:

(first part)

Lesa,

I just stumbled across this article quite by accident and saw your last post from a few days ago. You asked some questions of Christians and being one, I thought I would take a stab (just fyi I’m not entering the debate about making moral judgments about God, I’m just answering your questions directly). For the record, my thoughts don’t reflect every Christian out there but I’ve read the Bible and have studied it more than most so I’ll just call it my semi-informed opinion based on what I’ve learned in the Scriptures…

Yes, it’s very true that God ordered the death of a lot of people in the Old Testament. I think a question that should be asked is, why did God order the death of these people. I think the answer is rather simple : any transgression of God’s law is payable on death, and as all people have transgressed, so all people are worthy of death.

As Christians, we believe we are created beings that owe our Creator (God) a life of perfect conformity to His will. His will (what he commands) is a reflection of His character, and so any violation (large or small) of his commands is high reason against our Creator, to whom we owe our existence, our very being, and our obedience as creatures. We are, in a very real sense, in a covenant relationship with God as his creatures whereby we owe God our obedience and if we fail, He has deemed the proper sanction under this covenant as death.

May 18, 2012 at 10:43 pm
(201) JB says:

(second part)

Therefore, while I honestly don’t have an easy time reading the stories of the deaths that God orders in the Old Testament, I understand them as a picture of God’s wrath against transgressions and the appropriate penalty he has assigned for them under this covenant we are all under as creatures. What’s worse, the Bible explains that we were created in God’s image and in His likeness, so our treason is all the more treacherous, given that we were originally made to be like Him.

Hopefully this helps explain why Christians, while probably not being completely at ease with the deaths ordered by God in the Old Testament, understand them and believe that God is justified in doing what He did.

If I may go on a slight tangent, I’m honestly a Christian because I know that I have rebelled against my Creator, owe him perfect conformity to his laws, and have not fulfilled my end of the creation covenant if you will. This is exactly why Jesus was necessary, as he lived that perfect life of obedience that I owe God in my place and also took the penalty that I deserve (death) upon himself on the cross. He’s a vicarious Savior that I receive by faith. That’s my understanding of Biblical Christianity and hopefully, if nothing else, that will give some insight into what we believe.

Thank you for giving you thoughts on this issue prior to my jumping in, you are thoughtful and thorough, I appreciate them and if you have any further thoughts I would enjoy hearing them.

May 26, 2012 at 9:00 pm
(202) OZAtheist says:

B.C. Johnson writing: “Therefore, when God promises that Christians will go to heaven and atheists will go to hell, there is no reason to believe that he will not break his promise and send Christians to hell and atheists to heaven.” Has given me an idea which may have some merit.

I have previously pondered the question of God’s purpose in making the universe, and man, and concluded that it was all done, so that he could get some worthy souls to spend eternity with him. As it is impossible for him, (I have always been at a loss as to why), to just make some perfect souls from scratch, he has to make a big lot and send them to planet Earth where he can weed out the duds.

Upon reflection, after reading Johnson’s words, it occurs to me that the ones he wants for company may not be the grovelling sycophants but the rebellious atheists who can engage him in interesting debate.

May 27, 2012 at 6:54 am
(203) Grandpa In The East says:

JB said:

“For the record, my thoughts donít reflect every Christian out there but
“Iíve read the Bible and have studied it more than most so Iíll just call it my semi-informed opinion based on what Iíve learned in the ScripturesÖ”

If you are interested, you will probably learn how much you have learned if you will take the ffrf Bible Quiz:

http://ffrf.org/legacy/quiz/bquiz.php

The average ape will score 14 out of 50 questions correctly ,randomly pushing buttons. See what your score will be. The average is 15 correct out of 50 questions.

Grandpa

May 28, 2012 at 6:42 pm
(204) OZAtheist says:

Yes, it is a fun quiz Grandpa. I managed to score a mere 34 because I gave God/Jesus credit for being more humane than they actually are, when answering a number of the questions.

It is amazing when you look at something like this, how people can really believe this book is the word of God. A god that is all good and just no less.

January 31, 2013 at 4:16 pm
(205) billybob says:

Good quiz, Grandpa. I hit “a” for all the questions and scored 11; thereby proving that the answer distribution was not quite random (would have been 12.5 if random, roughly).

Now, Old J.B. left some interesting remarks:

“Hopefully this helps explain why Christians, while probably not being completely at ease with the deaths ordered by God in the Old Testament, understand them and believe that God is justified in doing what He did.”

This attitude, along with a nascent interest in girls, prodded my exit from Conformation @ age 13. When one acquires critical thinking skills it becomes terribly difficult to accept that death for disobedience is a normal human moral.

But that is why I’ve reached the conclusion that a belief in a supernatural being, whilst normal for prepubescent boys and girls, has its cachet passed by with the advent of critical thinking – thankfully available to all of us (statistically speaking). It may be argued that here is a cogent example of evolution at work, but I’ll leave that to others.

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