Saturday, February 24, 2007

Get Right With Jesus Or Get Left In Hell

No, don't worry, I didn't suddenly turn into a Christian.

This morning, I drove in my mom's car to her doctor's office to drop off a list of prescriptions that my mom needs. As I was pulling into an empty spot in the parking lot, I noticed a bumpersticker on the back of the car I was parking next to on my left.

The bumpersticker read "GET RIGHT WITH JESUS OR GET LEFT IN HELL". Needless to say, I did not take to kindly to such a message. I am ashamed to admit it, but I did have a momentarily strong desire to spit on the windshield of this car, but reason got the better part of me. After I had gone into the office to drop off the prescription list I decided that I would respond by writing a brief note.

I looked in the glove compartment of my mom's car and found a small note pad. I wrote something along the lines of "While I support a person's right to believe or not believe in religion, the bumpersticker on the back of your car is arrogant and offensive." I then stuck the note underneath one of the windshield wipers.

I do not expect that the owner of the car will be swayed in any way by my note, but I felt obliged to call this person out in some way on the bumpersticker.

Of course, as an atheist, I do not believe in the existence of some place in the afterlife called Hell. What bothered me about the message is that it contributes to a climate of intolerance and is divisive. If someone wants to have a bumperstcker that reads JESUS SAVES or KNOW JESUS KNOW PEACE, I fully support their right even if I disagree with the sentiment. But a bumpersticker that reads GET RIGHT WITH JESUS OR GET LEFT IN HELL sends a message that people who do not worship Jesus are of lesser value.

233 comments:

1 – 200 of 233   Newer›   Newest»
jackkcaj said...

Offensive I agree...but consider for a moment if it were true. Some people find the description of partial birth abortion to be offensive, but not telling the truth doesn't change the fact. Where in history has being sensitive to people and hiding them from the truth changed the truth? Perhaps people should not tell me I'm going to die because I find that offensive...guess what....it won't keep me from dying, will it? I think the person with the bumber sticker is trying to warn people of what they truly believe to be the truth and not something they made up to offend some unsuspecting atheist some day.

CactusFreek said...

I agree with the bumper sticker, being one of those church going christians an' all. But that sticker is pretty "in your face" and i don't think that i could put one of them on my car. It is interesting that it effected you, a person who doesn't believe in the God stuff, to such an extent that you felt the need to leave a note. Perhaps just a tiny piece inside you was offended by the prospect of the sticker telling you a home truth? You may not believe in God, but he believes in you :o)

Tommy said...

Hello Christian visitors.

The thing is there is no place called hell where we go in the afterlife if we don't "get right with Jesus".

It is not that a "tiny piece" inside of me felt that the sticker was telling the truth. It is rather that it was such an ignorant message that as I wrote in my post, contributes to a climate of intolerance.

I see bumper stickers all the time that read "My Boss Is A Jewish Carpenter". I'm cool with that, because it is a positive message of belief on the part of the believer. Sporting a bumper sticker telling people that they are going to hell if they do not believe what the owner of that car believes is a negative message that seeks to trumpet that person's smug sense of superiority.

Just because I am an atheist, I would never have a bumper sticker on my car that reads "There Is No God" because I know it would cause offense to people who believe in God.

BTW, since I have never seen either of you commenting here before and you both posted your comments minutes apart a short time after I put up this post, I would be interested to know how you find my rather obscure blog.

Kind regards,

TK

Naomi said...

I believe you've been trolled by fundies, TK, and that you've seen the last of them. The cowards have perfected the "drive-by sliming--and/or Pascal's Wager threats", which is based on the gangsta "drive-by shootings" model.

BTW, have ever noticed that atheists' bumper stickers are much more clever, as a rule, than xian's? Their pedestrian humor (no jesus, no peace) is not too bad--for a sixth-grade mentality. And irony is over their heads totally!

Your posts (this one and the very excellent "Where My Values Come From") make me think. And I think being an atheist is a "good thing"!

Stardust said...

Perhaps just a tiny piece inside you was offended by the prospect of the sticker telling you a home truth?

cactusfreek - Would a tiny piece inside YOU be offended by the prospect of a bumper sticker telling you a home truth saying "god does not exist except in the imaginations of humans?"

Stardust said...

You may not believe in God, but he believes in you

First you must prove that your god exists, without using a book written by humans.

Stardust said...

Perhaps people should not tell me I'm going to die because I find that offensive

Jackcaj - Humans know we are going to die. It's a proven fact of life. We can dig up the bones of our dead ancestors as evidence. When we are dead, we are dead. How can anything of nature be offensive? But realistically, there isn't anything we can do about it, so why pretend it isn't going to happen...which is what religion teaches you...the delusion that you are going to somehow escape the inevitable.

No one has come back from heaven and presented themselves to the world. (Jesus, strangely is said to have only showed himself to those who were his "groupies"...why not present himself to the whole city of Rome? Because the story is a MYTH.) These supernatural delusions are always at the "personal" level by brainwashed people who sit in church week after week and listen to a human being at a pulpit who usually has less of a proper education that most in the congregation.

I think the person with the bumber sticker is trying to warn people of what they truly believe to be the truth and not something they made up to offend some unsuspecting atheist some day.

I think the only reason people put these bumper stickers on their cars is to make themselves feel like they are important and better than anyone else. If I was a god I would be sickened by the self-righteous bastards and not want them anywhere near me. If there was such a place as heaven, I sure would not want to be there with all the asshats who will be kissing the butt of their god 24-7 while their loved ones scream in flames. That who scenerio is ABSURD...HUMAN IMAGINATION. Because humans have an imaginative sadistic side...this is your way to feel superior and good about YOURSELF. No one is interested in a religion where there is nothing in it for the SELF.

Atheists leaving notes are trying to do a good thing by trying to stop the division and hatred that religion causes. The bumper sticker tommy saw is DIVISIVE.

You are only xian because most likely that is how you were brought up, or because it is the religion of the majority of people where you live. Therefore, how do you know that the religion that you follow is the "true" religion (I am going to have to write this all out somewhere and save it so I can just copy and paste it since I have to write it so MANY times!) If you were born in Iraq, you would almost certainly be a Shiite, Sunni or Kurdish Muslim. If you were born in Ireland you probably would be Irish Catholic. If you were born in Japan you most likely would be Buddhist. If you were born a Native American you might be raised with tribal beliefs. If you were born in Sweden there is a big chance you would be an atheist/agnostic. If you were born in Haiti you might practice VooDoo. Humans are quite imagitive and diverse.

Xians who evangelize their religion and plaster bumper stickers with hateful messages on bumber stickers are obnoxious. What if we drove around with bumper stickers that say "Xians are DELUSIONAL and they should be locked up in loonie bins?" My bet is I would find more than a note on the windshield of my car. By telling an atheist or those who believe differently than you that they are going to hell is arrogant and extremely rude, intolerant and inconsiderate.

Trissa said...

You know what I think speaks volumes: A jesus fish on the back of a lexus, bmw or mercedes.

Lynda said...

I suppose if you take the bumper sticker message as a criticism rather than advice you might feel like the message demeans you somehow or shows intolerance. I kind of see such a statement like a poster telling me my teeth will fall out if I don't brush them or "if you don't wear a condom you'll wear a coffin" kind of advice. The desire may be to just warn against something that the xian sees as very real. I pity the poor fellow who lives his life believing that he has to satisfy some mythical character, but he needs to "warn" others or he'll not sleep at night. Very sad.
You might also look at it as a message to other Christians, not atheists. They're the folks who believe in hell so they're the ones who should take notice and perhaps follow the sticker's suggestion.

As an atheist I just figure it does not apply to me. Ha ha. My husband has a set of business cards that read: "Get out of Hell free" with the email address of the Freedom From Religion Foundation. One of those under the windshield wiper would seem appropriate.

Stardust said...

As an atheist I just figure it does not apply to me.

lynda, that is the best way to look at it. I LOVE the business card idea! LOL!

Tommy said...

I can't imagine that Jews would be particularly thrilled by it either.

Tommy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
CactusFreek said...

Hi again Tommy,
I found this blog by doing a blog search for "Jesus", and your blog popped up. But if someone is on the Blogger home page when you update your blog, it appears on the blog scroll And the "obscure" blogs are the best :o)
I wouldn't be offended by a sticker that reads, "There is no God" because i know there is.

Stardust, No, a tiny bit in me wouldn't be offended, because i know beyond a shadow of a doubt that there is a God who created everything natural, including my imagination :o)
And i don't need to "prove" that God exsists. He doesn't need me to stand for him, or answer for him. Look around you, is all that really an accident? How's that air you are breathing? Oh wait, you can't see it, so is it really there?
You seem really angry and you don't need to be.You seem to be concerned about the self rightous side of religion, and i agree with you. A singing group called DC Talk say at the beginning of one of their song - What if i stumble, "The greatest cause of aethiesm today, is christianity" [A christian band] and i agree. I was living in a youth shelter when i met the first guy that ever preached to me. He'd sing God's praises in one breath and shoot up speed in the next.I wasn't interested in hearing his crap in the slightest!
The second time someone had a go at preaching to me, he was very self rightious and i could feel him "i'm so much better than you" attitude from a mile off! To this day, i'm sure he fancies himself as a God himself! But in amoungst the dribble he was saying to me, a thread of it made sense.
And over time i guess something in me wanting to know more about this God, This crotch to lean on, and i found him & i'll never look back. He showed me stuff that isn't written in that book, but the book backs it up all the way. I guess that's why it's called faith.
I don't think i'm better than anyone else, or better off than anyone else. I believe that our relationship with God is very personal, and i'm no better than Ted Bundy or the homeless guy next door who curses every five minutes.
We were all created equal.And he loves us equaly.I have a lot of questions for him after i die, but for now i trust that he is who he says he is. And i'll try to follow his exsample.And dam, if that's a crotch, bring it on!

The Merchant of Menace said...

Stardust,

Surely neither jakkcaj nor cactusfreek could object to a bumper-sticker declaiming...

"Xians are DELUSIONAL and they should be locked up in loonie bins?"

...as all it would be saying was THE TRUTH, and them being such champions of truth and all(NOT!)

The intellectually dishonest/severely challenged like jakkcaj and cactusfreek bandy around words like 'truth' and 'belief' as if they are validly applicable to their ignorant superstitious claims that this so-called 'god' of theirs exists, whilst they are completely ignorant/impervious to the fact that (a) their version of 'god' is not the only one, and (b) no-one, over the millennia has ever been able to produce ANY credible evidence that ANY 'god' whatsoever exists, or has ever done so!

In short, they are just poor sad dysfunctional people who need religion as a crutch to give some meaning to their pathetic little lives...

...or, as you succinctly put it:

"Xians are DELUSIONAL and they should be locked up in loonie bins?"

The Merchant of Menace said...

...because i know beyond a shadow of a doubt that there is a God who created everything natural, including my imagination :o)
And i don't need to "prove" that God exsists. He doesn't need me to stand for him, or answer for him. Look around you, is all that really an accident? How's that air you are breathing? Oh wait, you can't see it, so is it really there?


I'll leave it to others to waste their time attempting to refute this puerile drivel, but if anyone needs evidence that cactusfreek's beliefs are de facto delusional and clinically indistinguishable from psychosis, the poster's own words should be sufficient

jackkcaj said...

I too found this post while doing a search on the word 'Jesus'. Funny that the bumper sticker is talked about as insensitive and offensive but then such things are said about the CHRISTians here: 'drive by sliming, 'fundies', 'cowards', '6th grade mentalities', 'self-righteous bastards', 'dulusional', 'should be locked up in loonie bins', 'intellectually dishonest/severely challenged', 'poor sad dysfunctional people', 'pathetic little lives'... I think some people might view those comments as offensive, insensitive, and non-tolerant (I don't - I'm used to it). As you said Stardust about comments from some Christians: "By telling an atheist or those who believe differently than you that they are going to hell is arrogant and extremely rude, intolerant and inconsiderate." I think the same can be said about some words directed toward Christians, don't you? --especially when lumping ALL of them into ONE basket.


I really don't see myself as a coward Naomi, but this is not unusual though...Christians are persecuted throughout the world. A lot of it is deserved however. Christians ARE often pompous, self-righteous, Holier-than-thou, arrogant, ignorant, insensitive, mean, liars, deceivers, judgemental, theives and on and on and on. No wonder SOME give ALL a bad name. Jesus had the same problem. He told the people of his day that he was the Son of God. He was persecuted, hated, and eventually killed for his beliefs...and that was from the 'religious' people...forget the atheists. I don't think the atheists of that day cared one way or the other as long as he didn't preach to them. Religious people often make me sick to my stomach. If they practiced living what the Bible instructs, they wouldn't have a need to plaster bumper stickers like that on their cars....if they modeled what they believed, if they lived what they believed, their example might be enought to interest people of who this "Jesus" really was. I try to live by example, not by condemnation, self-righteousness, or being judgemental. The God I serve says "Judge not lest ye be judged"...I follow, God can do the judging. If anyone ends up in hell it will be God's decision, not mine. If everyone ends up in heaven, that will be God's decision as well and I for one wouldn't be happier. His scripture says otherwise, but I didn't inspire it, I just read it.

I do believe there is an eternal spot waiting for everyone and that there was a creator of the Universe. Is Jesus real and am I really that stupid to believe it? Well, 40 years of doing it God's way (the Bible's way) has given me proof that it is real. I can't convince anyone of it because it's been the experience in life of trusting and following God that has produced the evidence in my life.

I actually enjoyed reading the posts from Tommy and Stardust because you seem like reasonable, decent people with a view that simply is different than mine and you voice it with reason and respect. (By the way Stardust, Jesus revealed himself to more than 400 people when he was raised from the dead..not just his groupies). I feel you have every right to breathe, exist, and have your opionions the same as me. Trust me...I AM NOT ANY better than you guys. We are equal...period. Actually, I'm sure in a lot of ways you are better than me...perhaps more honest, more decent, more caring. I'm about as far from perfect as a human being can be.

As far as proving God's existence:
"First you must prove that your god exists, without using a book written by humans.", I don't wish to prove to you God's existence now or never, because I can't. God says the Bible came to us through men with God's inspriration (in other words, the words the men wrote were instructed by God's Spirit through those men...what is written is what God wanted written...no errors, no guesses, no opinions, no enhancements...God's Word). God says in his word that as far as believing him, man is without excuse because creation itself (a fly's eye, the brain, emotions, magnetism, DNA, the trees, butterflys, etc. etc. etc.) is so complex and amazing that it cries out for a creator. Romans 1:20 says "For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse."

I agree with you Stardust that if I had lived in a different spot in the world, my belief system would probably be different, but consider the possibility that all the world religions could be man made and thereby wrong (sincere, but wrong). After all, if I had lived in the days of Columbus, I would have fully believed that the world was flat. It really didn't matter what I would have believed though because it wasn't flat. I happen to know it's round. If I tell that to someone who thinks it's flat, I'm not being self-righteous or insensitive...just stating what I know to be the truth (or in someone else's view -- what I believe). You could say my comments were 'drive by sliming, I was a'fundy', a 'coward', I had a '6th grade mentality', I was a 'self-righteous bastard', 'dulusional', and I 'should be locked up in loonie bin', 'intellectually dishonest/severely challenged', and a 'poor sad dysfunctional person', with a 'pathetic little live'. You could even kill me to shut me up for saying it, but after I was dead, the world would continue to be round. Even if other people said it was rectangular, a trapezoid, a pyrimid, or a polygon....the world was round, is round, and will always be round. Do you find it somewhat amazing how some people who cry 'insensitive' and 'intolerance' turn around and use some of the most hate filled insensitive and intolerant words themselves. Watch...someone will hate me for saying that and let lose on more insensitive and intolerant words....never fails.

Consider the possibility that the teachings of Jesus are real and it is only through him that one can know God and that through Jesus, one can spend eternity with God. IF it is real...IF....persecuting Christians will never make it untrue. The Bible says Jesus is the only way. I repeat it because I believe it with all my soul. God says narrow is the gate that leads to salvation. He also says Jesus is the gate. I don't repeat it to offend anyone, I honestly believe it. God tells me not to water it down, but to tell the truth. If I ran out of a burning house, I would talk about it, but not because I thought I was better or smarter than someone who was trapped inside and had died. THAT would be cruel and insensitive, but not just the fact that I told someone I was alive because of the choice I made to get out. I have made a choice to believe in God, His Son, and His word. I feel fortunate to have something I don't deserve, but I certainly don't think I'm better or smarter than someone who hasn't....just very, very lucky to have found what I honestly believe is the truth.

How do I know my belief can be right and others not? I don't know that others are not, but I do know that what the Bible has promised me if I follow it has came true...I've lived it...my family has lived it...I know peace and harmony. Nothing else in my life has ever provided that. My faith has a saviour that says I don't need to be good enough, Jesus died on the cross as a sacrifice. Me be self-righteous?? ...are you kidding me? I was given a gift because I would never have measured up on my own. Who am I to condemn anyone else when I am so flawed (and continue to be a jerk and sin). This "Jesus" paid it all...I can continue to make mistakes but still receive his gift. It's like when I was a kid...I got to vacation with my parents but I didn't drive...I only had to sit there (even when I was a brat) to get to the same destination without driving myself. Ok..dumb analogy.


Scripture says some will believe, others will refuse. I apoligize to all atheists for the Christian idiots of the world because they continue to push people away from God instead of living lives of love and being examples by doing instead of saying. You may believe I'm just saying this, but I really do love atheists...I believe whether you ever believe it or not, God created you, he loves you, and wants you to spend eternity with him. That potentially makes you my brother or sister...that's why I sincerely love you (and will NEVER be offended by what you say about me or my beliefs).

Naomi -- I'm not a coward...it's just that return visits often come across as the first (non-wanted and non-welcome), but your comment lured me back. I'll continue to post if you want to hear what I think and believe.

Lastly --- I swear NEVER to be stupid enough to post a bumper sticker such as the one we've been talking about.

jp

BaconEating AtheistJew said...

Hey Jack, I realize you know the earth isn't flat, and you probably accept the fact that the sun doesn't revolve around the earth. How old is the earth and do you believe in evolution (that man evolved from something else)?

And yes, all the religions in the world and their Gods are wrong, including yours. I know Catholic, Jews, Baptists, and Muslims who speak of knowing the truth as passionately as you. The point is that if you were adopted at an early age by devout Muslims, you would be praying to Allah 5 times a day today, and Allah would be the TRUTH you've experienced for the past 40 years.

Phronk said...

I'm a bit torn about my opinion here. Sure, the sticker is tacky and offensive. But it's also just an experession of this person's belief. It's a slightly more extreme version of the "Darwin" fish that a lot of nonbelievers put on their cars.

Then again, there needs to be some limit. A bumper sticker saying "Black people are inferior" would not be acceptable. But what about "people who believe in God are wasting their lives"? Would that be ok?

I dunno.

I guess we need both freedoms - the freedom to express out beliefs, and also the freedom to complain when people (and their bumpers) are being dicks about doing so. So good for you for speaking up.

vjack said...

Good for you! I can't tell you the number of times I've started to leave a note only to realize I didn't have any paper. Driving around with this sort of bumper sticker is really no different from driving around with a "fuck you" sticker.

Tommy said...

Hi Phronk. Thanks for visiting and commenting. If Dani were here, I am pretty sure I know what she would say: "Jesus is intolerant of sinners and nonbelievers Tommy! Your eternal soul is on the line! Repent before it is too late!"

Anyway, I understand your points, but I still feel the bumper sticker crossed the line. Not just for atheists, but Jews and Hindus too. Hicksville, the town where this office is located, has a large Indian population. And I felt I was fully within my rights to put this person on notice that it was not an acceptable message.

I have no problem with people believing that Jesus was the son of the creator of the universe and that following his teachings. Religion is fine with me when the believer applies it to him or herself. It is when they have to annoy the rest of us to get them to believe as we do.

Cactus and Jack, thank you for your comments and while I personally try to avoid insults, the difference between an offensive bumper sticker and insulting comments on a blog is, as you probably know, that the bumper sticker on the car is out there in plain daylight for all to see whether they want to see it or not, whereas a blog is a place you have to actively seek out and visit.

As I have written elsewhere, what I find bizarre and therefore unacceptable about Christianity is the idea that our time on this Earth is merely a proving ground so that some supreme being can decide which of us spend an afterlife in some paradise and which spend it in a place of eternal suffering. Sort of like an extended American Idol contest, except instead of being insulted by Simon Cowell, the rejects are tortured.

I am a flawed human being, I accept that. But I do have good values to guide me, and I believe on balance that I am a good person and am a benefit, however small and immeasurable, to the world. I do find it absurd to think that I am in need of "saving" or that I have an immortal soul that is in peril because some supreme being cares more about whether or not I choose to believe that a man who may or may not have lived some two millenia ago is really that supreme being's son rather than on how I conducted myself as a person.

While I found the bumper sticker that inspired this post to be offensive, I also think it is rather pathetic. Because ultimately that is all that religions have to fall back on, the threat of eternal damnation if you do not believe. For me, that about says it all.

Tommy said...

Sorry, meant "get them to believe as they do".

Tommy said...

Hi Vjack! Funny, I was thinking of the same analogy.

BaconEating AtheistJew said...

Tommy, I am into free speech, but not hate speech. I tend to agree with you that this crosses the line.

There would be no question if the bumper sticker instead of saying "GET RIGHT WITH JESUS OR GET LEFT IN HELL"
said JEWS ARE GOING TO HELL or MUSLIMS ARE GOING TO HELL, that it would definitely be consired hate speech....but that is exactly what it says, just in a more deceptive way.

I'm not even going to use ATHEISTS ARE GOING TO HELL as an example, because we know that isn't considered hate speech in 2007:)

What do you feel about a bumper sticker that says "Jesus Never Existed" or "Christians are living a lie" ?

Bumper stickers based on truth shouldn't be considered hate speech IMO. The thing is that to a Xtian, many believe in the bumper sticker even though most people with at least half a brain knows it to be false.

Stardust said...

Look around you, is all that really an accident? How's that air you are breathing? Oh wait, you can't see it, so is it really there?
You seem really angry and you don't need to be.


cactusfreak - What you wrote is the same excuses given in sermons that I listened to when I was a xian, and I used to think about the very same things you ask when I was young. "God did it" was a very simple answer and provided an excuse instead of doing the hard work of research and exploration.

The air we breath can be broken down into percentages of various components. Here is some reading for you. Earth's atmosphere Just because you cannot explain how things came to be doesn't automatically default to "god did it".

And when atheists explain themselves, then why do xians always say we are angry? My sister is a Baptist and she uses the term "angry" alot and seem to be obsessed with the word. Yet, she is one of the most "touchy" high-strung people I know...(I love her very much and we are very close, and she claims to have undaunting faith in her god, yet she is never at peace with that.)

I am a very happy and pleasant person much of the time, and very positive as well (so I am told by those who know me) but I guess you could say I am angry when xians so piously believe they are better than those who do not accept their beliefs, and they are not. This attitude is indeed divisive.

Stardust said...

cactusfreek - After the link to the Atmosphere link, I meant to ask you what components is your god made of? We know that human bodies contain most of the elements are stars. We can examine the components of everything we find, even air.

Stardust said...

I have a lot of questions for him after i die,

cactusfreek - If you ahve a connection with your god, why don't you just ask him now and get the answers you want?

Another question...how do you think this god keeps track of millions and millions of people at a "personal" level? When you all get to heaven do you get into a big long line like you do to shake hands with the pastor after a Sunday morning church service? ;)

Stardust said...

By telling an atheist or those who believe differently than you that they are going to hell is arrogant and extremely rude, intolerant and inconsiderate." I think the same can be said about some words directed toward Christians, don't you?

jackkcaj - The point is, that we are discussing on an atheist site, and we do not plaster these things on the backs of our cars, we do not knock on your door telling you that you are wrong. I, for one, do not troll xian blogs and tell everyone there that they are wrong and my way is the TRUTH (though I believe it is).

I have had xians knock on my door of my PRIVATE residence asking me what church I belong to and if I know Jeebus many times in my life AND if I knew where I was going when I died...many, many many timees over the years. When I was a xian and informed these folks that I had my own church they asked "which one?" How bold! I was told by these arrogant folks that I was of the wrong version of xianity!

When is the last time you saw a bumper sticker that said xians are fools? You don't even see that many Darwin fish or atheist symbols because of fear that our cars will be vandalized...which does indeed happen, especially in the south. I lived in Arkansas for two years when my husband was in the air force and down in the south you are at risk of bodily injury if you let it be known openly that you are an atheist.

And you xians wonder why we are "angry."

This is a free country and a SECULAR country. You are free to believe what you want, but you do not believe that everyone is free to come to conclusions that are different from your own.

BigTex71 said...

I am new here and have been reading through the archives the past few days (and the comments.) I have to admit that this jakkcaj person has a VERY similar message and writing style of SableChicken. Coincidence? Maybe. Maybe not.

I do find that bumper sticker to be offensive. And I agree with you, Tommy, on your points about positive messages about Jeebus. I take no offense to them. I actually feel sorry for those people... delusional.

OT: Tommy, have you ever thought of a post examining the huge numbers of highly intelligent people are mostly atheists, yet most undereducated people are Xian? I found this very interesting. I found this while researching my new 'truths' I found in atheism.

Tommy said...

Well howdy Tex! Thank you for visiting and commenting.

I have been wondering where Sable's been. She has not updated her blog nor commented on Dani's site lately. My first inclination were that jackkcaj and cactusfreak were the same person because their posts were minutes apart.

If one or both of them are Sable, I don't see why she should feel the need to post under another name. I did not ban her from commenting here.

As for posting about the intelligence levels of atheists versus Christians, it has not occured to me. I am sure there are many Christians who are much smarter than I am and have had a more positive impact on the world than I can ever hope to.

Of course, if someone insists on believing that the Book of Genesis is literally true, then they are either stupid or they are wilfully ineducable and obtuse at least with respect to that particular subject.

Stardust said...

(tommy, could you delete my other two comments, I kept making mistakes...can't type today.)

Bigtex wrote: I have to admit that this jakkcaj person has a VERY similar message and writing style of SableChicken. Coincidence? Maybe. Maybe not.

So someone else knows about sable tricking people by using aliases when posting comments. She used multiple aliases at GifS, and tricked me once on my blog using "anonymous" to post. (I should have known better by then.) She usually seems to disappear while playing games with other names, but jackkaj has a website link (though only two posts so could be a fake one as a few trolls have), so I don't know. I usually know when she is sniffing around by looking for Ukiah California in my sitemeter, then I know it's her. ;)

Stardust said...

examining the huge numbers of highly intelligent people are mostly atheists, yet most undereducated people are Xian?

I don't think this is true. If you say most undereducated people are xians, and 86% of our country is xian...then are most of the people in this country stupid? No, I don't believe so. Most people are of an average education and average intelligence.

Being atheist doesn't necessarily make one an intellectual or genius just because they lack religious beliefs, and having religious beliefs doesn't necessarily make one an idiot (and doesn't necessarily give a person "god-given" genius either). I think it's more of an environmental thing and how much a family values education.

I do think that uneducated or undereducated people are more susceptible to superstitious beliefs. But, on the other hand I know a couple of really close-minded, idiotic atheists.

This would be an interesting topic to research.

Terra said...

Tex,

I won't purport to be able to verify your statement about high IQ=atheism, although I do believe it to be true, from personal experience.

However, I had a related thought the other day. You know how most believers are so adamantly opposed to the theory of evolution? I realized this could be a direct effect of not understanding evolution. If your understanding of evolution is "we came from monkeys" then sure, that's a bit of a stretch. I don't think I would believe that statement, if that constituted my understanding of it. However, when you really try to understand the concept (and it's really not that hard to understand) the "truth" that it is most likely the simplest (and thusly the correct) theory of how we came to be becomes clear.

I have a science degree and I've always been interested in science. For people in my esoteric circle, it's hard for us to understand how anyone could fail to "get" evolution. For people who don't have the same level of scientific knowledge, well, let's just say I can't really see it from their point of view.

I've heard a lot of atheists say that they were once religious but that when they really started studying and questioning their religion, they realized it was a load of crap. Perhaps it all does boil down to intelligence/ level of education.

Trissa said...

I agree with Terra. Education is really the key. I grew up in a conservative Christian home and while my parents never really stood in the way of my learning about evolution, the church certainly did. I was told so many untruths about evolution and was a bit shocked when I learned about macro evolution in a anthropology class. It made tremendous sense.

BigTex71 said...

I think education level is a much better way of putting it. I am not quite as good as many of you at posting in a precise manner of what I am trying to convey.
I read somewhere (I will try to find the links) that there have been studies that show that of the top 2% (or 5%) of intellectuals (based on IQ I think)- 98% of them are atheist. The other 98% of the population polled, only 5% were atheist. I'm sure those may not be the exact numbers, but they were similar. It was very interesting to me. Like I said, I will try to find the links and post them here.

Tommy said...

And therein lies the problem Tex. It will always be easy for politicians to win the votes of the less educated by bashing those educated elites who think they are a bunch of know-it-alls who deny God and time hallowed traditions.

Sable Chicken said...

Hello Tommy...and Stardust too,
I just thought I would visit my old stumping grounds to read up on what all the smart people are up to. I wasn't even going to say any thing...but you guys make me feel so loved and missed that I thought that the only right thing to do is to say "Hi" while I was here.
;)
Hey what do you feel about those bumperstickers of little boys peeing on different things. Do you consider that to contribute to a climate of intolerance? Ever put a note on one of those vehicles?

Tommy said...

Hi Sable.

I have never seen stickers showing boys peeing on things. I have seen stickers I thought were in poor taste that read "MY SON CAN BEAT UP YOUR HONOR STUDENT". How immature can a grown-up get?

Another sticker I saw that ticked me off once showed a Confederate battle flag and the words "FIGHTING TERRORISM SINCE 1861". As a white man, I can only imagine how incensed an African-American would be by such a sticker, especially if he or she had ancestors who were tormented by the KKK, were lynched, or just generally treated like crap in the South before the civil rights movement.

We all see bumper stickers that are offensive from time to time, though often both my vehicle and the other vehicle are driving down the road, so it's not like I am going to race after that vehicle just to display my displeasure.

I reacted as I did to the GET RIGHT WITH JESUS sticker because I was parked next to it and I had the opportunity to leave a little note.

Sable Chicken said...

Well I am surprized that you have never seen the peeing boy bumper-sticker...well its more of a window sticker. I guess the west coast is just more redneck then the east coast. I saw at least 3 peeing boys today. That is nothing new, but...

It's very strange that I have not been around for a while and stopped by on this post, and today just as I was coming home, I saw the very first FSM bumper-sticker on a car. Don't worry, I didn't feel the need to stop and write a note or anything...but it did give me a sick feeling if that does anything for you.

Tommy said...

And what does FSM mean?

Tommy said...

Oh wait, it just hit me, Flying Spaghetti Monster, right?

Stardust said...

sable, this is a rare occasion that we agree on something. I can't stand how they took cute little Calvin from Calvin & Hobbs and made him pee on everything. I have seen these stickers always on a redneck's pick-up truck, and these stickers have him peeing on Chevy symbols, Dodge symbols, company logos, and all kinds of things. (It all started with Ford pick-up truck drivers having the Calvin kid peeing on the Chevy symbol (or vice versa).

The Flying Spaghetti Monster is funny.

As for tommy's note, if someone puts a sticker on their car saying something mean for all the public to read, it's inviting a "rebuttal". Lucky tommy is a nice guy and only left a note. Someone else might destroy the car if it ticked them off enough.

Stardust said...

Sable...does this make you feel better? :-)

Sable Chicken said...

Thanks Stardust that did make me feel better, I would love to see the "peeing in the wind boy" on some ones car. That's funny, but I would still never put something like that on my car. It reminds me of this guy that I saw spitting chew out his window. The wind would catch it and slap it against the door of his white pickup truck, totally gross and funny at the same time.

Now as far as The Flying Spaghetti Monster being funny. It's just mocking and belittling of something that already exists. Nothing really new, like the Darwin fish it is not designed to stand on it's own unique claims but is instead designed to mock Christian beliefs just like FSM. It is a message that says being an atheist is about mocking other peoples belief.

"Someone else might destroy the car if it ticked them off enough."
OK...about a month ago I did see a truck driving down the street with three big keyed Xs scratched into each side of the paint. The only bumper-sticker on it was a Christian fish symbal. Should I make a connection? If an atheist that is not as restrained as Tommy feels upset over a bumper sticker, what holds them back from destroying someones car...if they think they can get away with it? Really now, I know the arguement ..."I feel sorry for anyone that needs a god to keep them a good person"...but how would a Christian justify keying a car? I don't think that they can and if they truely love God they would have to also justify this action to God. You can say well God can just forgive them....true..but that would take repentense on the part of the vandal.

jackkcaj said...

Tommy -- You bring up a great point...that the bumper sticker on the car is out there in plain daylight for all to see whether they want to see it or not, whereas a blog is a place you have to actively seek out and visit. There is a world of difference between the two.

Stardust -- You said, "The point is, that we are discussing on an atheist site, and we do not plaster these things on the backs of our cars, we do not knock on your door telling you that you are wrong." You know what? You are exactly right...that too is a great point. I'm kind of in here treading on your turf and I really do apologize if I have said anything that came across as insensitive....WAS NOT the intention. One thing is certain, following God, his scripture, and trying (I fail miserably a lot of the time) to lead my life and raise my family HIS way has produced a very tight, close family (4 kids, 19 - 39 years of age) that is full of love and joy. I did it God's way and the result was exactly as he said it would be. I can't NOT talk about what I've witnessed...even if people tell me I'm wrong. Talking to xeists makes me feel as if I were standing outside in a snow storm in my underwear freezing to death and being told that I'm hot and too stupid to know it. Well, I'm the one in the cold freezing...I'm experiencing it so I can't listen too deeply to someone who's inside and warm telling me I should be also. I know what I've seen, I know what I've heard...and I can't know anything different.

The sad thing about this life of ours? There appears to be more than sufficient amounts of bashing laying all over the place in our world. The Southerners hate the Northerners and vice-versa. But focus on the Southerners and you find that some of the Southern men hate the women and vice-versa. But focus on just the men and you find that the rich men hate the poor men and vice-versa. But focus on the rich and you find the rich intelligent hate the rich ignorant and vice-versa. But focus on the intelligent and you find the intelligent thin hate the intelligent fat and vice-versa. But focus on the thin and you find the thin gays hate the thin straights and vice-versa. It's endless...as we hate and eliminate, we only downsize to do it all over again with a different vengence and new mixture (you find the fat rich hating the Southern gays and the ignorant men hate the thin Southern women.

Love and hate are opposites...so then are all of us, eventually. You will always have something you hate and something you love...and lots of people on both sides of every fence.

Well...here in your midst is at least ONE Christian who does not hate atheists. I really don't. I respect you all (regardless of the words used toward me now or in the future). I do understand why anger is so easily stirred up with you as I am well aware of the Christian jerks...lots of them attend where I go to church. People are just people before they become Christians, so once you become a Christian you don't change immediately..you still are human and do stupid things. Being Christlike is a lifelong journey and it takes patience in getting there.

I am neither cactusfreek or SableChicken...sounds like SableChicken is not well liked so I'm guessing my 'writing style' is irritating? Sorry about that. I live in Denver, I don't where the other two are from. This is the first blog I've posted to in over 5 years, so I'm not someone else you may have recently communicated with. Yes, that blog is mine and I was posting it because I have ADD and was going to see how many other adults struggle with it like I do. You can see I barely got it started and then got wrapped up with other things and never finished the beginning...a classic trait of someone with ADD...really bad about not finishing jobs. I assure you I'm not pretending to be me while I'm someone else. I think maybe that's why atheists are generally so smart...they question everything and figure everyone is trying to trick them. That's good though because if you question God long enough, it's just possible your efforts to debunk CHRISTians will lead you to him. After all, if the Bible is a hoax, it should be riddled with holes and errors. Folks have been trying, for nearly 2,000 years to prove it wrong, but lo and behold, here's the world strewn with millions of people who believe in Jesus Christ and that he was indeed the son of the Living God.

It's interesting that a former atheist changed my life and pointed me to God...that being John Clayton, a retired physics, chemistry major and earth science professor. I first read an article from him when he was a full bonifide atheist...talk about someone intelligent. You should see what he has to say about topics that have came up in all the posts ( www.doesgodexist.com ). He used to hang with Madeliene O'Hare's clan. He began to write a book "All of the Stupidity of the Bible" and it was in his research that he drew some amazing conclusions. Worth looking at. He will either make a lot of sense or not...but at any length, it's quite interesting and you certainly would have to put him near the top of the intelligence pool.

jp

jackkcaj said...

Oh, and this...another link to where he says what changed his line of thinking is here: http://www.doesgodexist.com/AboutClayton/PastLife.html

Stardust said...

OK...about a month ago I did see a truck driving down the street with three big keyed Xs scratched into each side of the paint.The only bumper-sticker on it was a Christian fish symbal.

That just happened to my husband's brand new shiny car and he has NO stickers on his car.

but how would a Christian justify keying a car?

Xians do things like drag black people by the back of their pick up till their heads fall off like they did that poor guy in Texas. Madelyn Murray Ohare, head of American Atheists and her family ended up being murdered and chopped up and buried on a Texas ranch.

Stardust said...

O meant, Madelyn Murray O'Hair (I had Ohare airport on the brain)

Stardust said...

and raise my family HIS way has produced a very tight, close family (4 kids, 19 - 39 years of age) that is full of love and joy.

And I raised three great kids to adulthood without god beliefs and we are a VERY close-knit family and my kids have better morals than the kids I went to youth group with at a large church when I was a teenager. I have known more xian kids to get in trouble with the law, got themselves pregant and weren't married, drug problems, depression and all sorts of problems than I ever saw any of our secular friends. If a parent is a good parent, the kids will turn out well, with or without god beliefs.

Stardust said...

I am neither cactusfreek or SableChicken...sounds like SableChicken is not well liked so I'm guessing my 'writing style' is irritating? Sorry about that. I live in Denver, I don't where the other two are from. This is the first blog I've posted to in over 5 years, so I'm not someone else you may have recently communicated with. Yes, that blog is mine and I was posting it because I have ADD and was going to see how many other adults struggle with it like I do.

strange how you show up when sable does ;)

How come god doesn't cure you of your ADD? Seems like xians have so many problems, but do not really have the faith to be healed, as it says in the bible that you really will be healed if you have faith the size of a mustard seed. Why is that you all still have so many afflictions? (I already know what your response will be, though.)

Stardust said...

jackkcaj - Here's a link for you about Biblical Family Values

Most xians don't really read their bible to know the "family values" that are really contained there, thank human goodness.

jackkcaj said...

How come god doesn't cure you of your ADD? Seems like xians have so many problems, but do not
really have the faith to be healed, as it says in the bible that you really will be healed if you have faith the size of a mustard seed. Why is that you all still have so many afflictions? (I already know what your response will be, though.)


Stardust -- Well now, you are being pretty god like yourself already knowing what my response will be. So....what is it?

Stardust said...

Well now, you are being pretty god like yourself already knowing what my response will be. So....what is it?

I was a xian for more than three decades...I could be wrong in your case, but the most likely answer would be "it is not our way to question the will of god" or "god has a reason", or something along that order.

The question remains, why won't god heal you? Sometimes people get better without explanation and it is considered a "miracle". However, why won't god heal amputees? That has never been claimed to have happened.

Tommy said...

Back on the topic of bumperstickers, I did have this idea for a provocational art experiment. The idea was to leave a car in a parking lot of a shopping center or other heavily frequented place and have bumperstickers on it that were offensive or in poor taste. I don't mean offensive in the sense of attacking other people, but more passive type offensive statements, like "I HATE MY CHILDREN*" or "JESUS DOESN'T LOVE ME". I thought it would be fun to film people as they went up to the car and left notes or spat on the windshield, and then take pictures of the notes they left.

* For the record, I love my children very much, though they can bring out the ogre in me when they make a mess or start fighting each other.

Stardust said...

tommy, I found a bumper sticker that I might just buy! LOL

Go Fish!

Tommy said...

Cool!

I also considered having the "JESUS DOESN'T LOVE ME" bumpersticker made up for distribution. It would definitely provoke a reaction from people, but at the same time it is not attacking Christians for their faith.

Sable Chicken said...

Stardust
Madelyn Murray O'Hair was such a evil hard core atheist that she would hire UNrepentive criminals, I think some of them were even murderers. These are the people that kidnapped her and stole her money, killed her and chopped up her body. She was a very bad woman and associated with bad people. The kinds of people that killed her are the same kind that would drag black people behind cars. For crying out loud! Stardust do you really the believe the things you type? "Xians-did-it" Why don't you just make that into a bumpersticker and see how much ha-has and giggles you get from that!
I wonder when someone is going to make a movie out of her life story...she was named the most hated woman in America.

"but how would a Christian justify keying a car?"
THEY CAN'T

and as far as healing ADD or dyslexia...we look at the blessing of having these things, why would an "xian" what to ask God to remove a blessing?

(poor you Stardust, I bet the ADD and dyslexic school kids drove you nutts....)
;)

Sable Chicken said...

Stardust, the "Go Fish" Bumper-sticker doesn't make any sense. Only the Christian religion claims the fish as a symbal of Jesus Christ teachings. Maybe you can explain this one...I'm slow.

Sable Chicken said...

Tommy
"It would definitely provoke a reaction from people"

Why is it you would want to provoke a reaction? You feel the need to tell Christians that you are an atheist? Sometimes I really don't get it....are you out to ruin someone elses good thing. God doesn't love you?...you have a nice family beautiful healthy kids and a hard working wife...how has God been so un-loving on YOU?

Tommy said...

God doesn't love me because God does not exist Sable. There are people in this world much more deserving of happiness and good fortune than I. If I have a beautiful wife and children, a house and all that, it is a result of choices I have made and being a responsible person. By comparison, as you may recall from reading my What About Bob? series, my brother is where he is in life as a result of his irresponsible actions.

Stardust said...

(poor you Stardust, I bet the ADD and dyslexic school kids drove you nutts....)

Sable,

As a matter of fact, sable, kids with challenges do NOT drive me nuts. Not only have I worked with children who have learning disabillities, I have worked with kids who have psychological problems, come from broken homes and are in the midst of terrible divorce battles, and worse. I am a very compassionate teacher and am also very patient, and kids with varying "challenges" seem to know that I do care very much for them, and all of my students have loved me. Even the troubled ones.

sable said: and as far as healing ADD or dyslexia...we look at the blessing of having these things, why would an "xian" what to ask God to remove a blessing?

See, you make up your own reasons for not being healed. "God wants me to suffer...it's a blessing!" If it's such a "blessing" then why do so many of you exploit your "blessings" to get attention and to have "pity prayer parties" about? You don't go around saying "I have dyslexia!! I am so very blessed!" That is just another excuse because you know that things are not going to magically change via a prayer to your invisible friend. It's absurd to think that an all-powerful guy in the sky is going around handing out "blessings" to each and every of the BILLIONS AND BILLIONS of INDIVIDUALS, and keeping track of it all, past, present and future. Just think about the absurdity of that...all those people...dead, alive and not born yet. PLUS keeping track of a universe which is so very vast. THINK.

You have a false belief about atheists that you just refuse to shake because they don't share your belief in a certain denomination of fundamentalist xianity. The world is much bigger than you all realize. Accepting people's differences instead of condemning them for them will make for a much better world...and will help yourself to live more peacefully, also.

The message on the bumper sticker tommy wrote about is quite arrogant. I would just like to ask these people just who the hell they think they are that they feel they are so superior?

I can imagine if there was a god that he would be just as sickened by the self-righteous as he would be of the murderers.

But as tommy says, there is no god...so it's up to us. It's always up to humans. Humans have to make their own thing happen or nothing happens. Sit in a room and pray your heart out and she will not get well until you get up and take her to a human being who can treat her with medicine created via SCIENCE.

Jason said...

I would like to address my unreasonably long comment to everyone who reads this, but specifically, to the following:

Stardust, Merchant of Menace, and Big Tex

Allow me to preface my comment by saying that all of you who read this will be tempted to assume that I have nothing better to do. Please rest assured that you are absolutely right. I express my utmost gratitude towards Tommy for providing such a wonderful distraction. Now, onto my comment!

Hello Stardust, Merchant of Menace, and Big Tex – I hope this comment finds you doing well.

Stardust:

“First you must prove your god exists, without using a book written by humans.”

Although I’m certain that much of what you believe is derived from books written by humans as well, I do understand your point. However, to suggest that the burden of proof is primarily on the shoulders of the theist to prove God’s existence is a misguided one. In fact, to prove “a negative proof” is much more difficult than asserting a “positive proof.” Consider it this way: Which is more difficult - to prove there is a man in Texas named Alex, or to prove there is no such person in all of Texas named Alex? To affirm the latter would mean that you have exhausted all of your resources and have investigated every possible dimension of the Universe, or in this case, Texas, thus, affirming your position. You may say, “Well you can’t empirically prove there is a God!” You’re absolutely right. However, to arrive at your conclusion with absolute certainty, you would need a level of faith as well.

Another assumption in your statement is the idea that anything worth believing must be proved. This is known in philosophical circles as, “Clifford’s Principle,” essentially stating that everything that we choose to believe must be empirically proven or the derivation/result of experimentation. However, what experimentation and empirical evidence do you have to believe your own assumption of what true belief is? In other words, “Clifford’s Principle” does not pass its own test. You may say it’s intuitive to believe that principle; but if intuition is our foundation, where will that get us – for I believe, just as Einstein concluded, that it is intuitive to affirm that all the intricacies of our universe is nothing short of the work of God.


“I meant to ask you, what components is your God made of?”

Theists will affirm that God is not palpable. He is an infinite being that is immaterial, not consisting of matter. You may ask why I would believe something I cannot see. To which I respond, see famous assertions regarding patter of wind or the previous paragraphs.

“When was the last time you saw a bumper sticker that said Xians are fools?”

The only reason I quote this is because we often have this idea that a world view should be maintained because those who espouse live it out successfully. I am not saying that that is what you believe. However, I have heard many atheists say that they have left the church as a result of hypocrisy. I believe that it was Augustine of Hippo who said, “Do not judge a philosophy by its abuse.” In other words, we may find many horrible Christians; just as, we may find many horrible atheists (see Joseph Stalin). All I am suggesting is that we accept or reject a philosophy based on its validity, not its representation.

Merchant of Menace:

“No one, over the millennia has ever been able to produce ANY credible evidence that ANY god whatsoever exists, or has ever done so.”

Regarding the assumption that what we believe must be empirically proven, read my comment to Stardust. Next, I would wonder what your sources are regarding theistic beliefs. There are a lot of educated men and women who have contributed to the discussion of whether or not God exists. Personally, I have found their discussion intellectually compelling and believe that we are within our epistemic rights to arrive at our conclusions.

“In short, they are just poor sad dysfunctional people who need religion as a crutch…”

If this is an argument, I can just as well say that atheists use their atheistic beliefs as a reason for living immorally since there is no God who will hold them accountable. I can say they deny objective moral values so that no one can call them immoral – for how can we affirm what is immoral if we don’t have an objective standard to measure it by? Now, where will that reasoning take us?

Big Tex:

Regarding your comment about the stats you found concerning educated theists and atheists. I am curious of not only your source, but where the random sample was taken, what the variables were, and what the margin of error was. I can say that I read an article stating that 100% of women surveyed found men to be disgusting. However, what does that mean if the article was found in “Lesbian Weekly,” and was conducted by its subscribers?

To everyone who was discussing science:

Although there is a lot of criticism towards theism and the supposed lack of scientific verification, I propose that atheism can also be fundamentally unverifiable. Consider the following:

Atheists have claimed that theism isn’t scientific, therefore should not be espoused. However, when asking an atheist what they believe to be the origin of all things, they may respond by saying “The Big Bang.” If you ask an informed atheist what preceded that, many of them will say “A Solid Singularity.” If you ask them to expound further as to what a singularity is, they will tell you that it is the point at which all of the laws of physics break down. Therefore, technically, their starting point isn’t scientific either. You can read more about this in Ravi Zacharias’ “Jesus Among Other Gods.”

Regarding Evolution, I am not one of those people who want the theory of evolution to be taken out of textbooks. In fact, I think it is a good thing for it to be there. After all, it is only a theory. However, when discussing evolution, I believe all of what we know should be stated, even the controversies. For example, stating the fact that it is still only a theory, mentioning the Cambrian Explosion or sudden eruption of fossil records of fully grown animals, and the fact that claims of things being millions of years old is only an educated guess, for Carbon Dating does not measure beyond 60,000 years, if that.

There are things that evolution cannot explain, such as, objective moral values. Sorry Tommy, this is to everyone else but you. As Mr. Zacharias has asserted, how can we go from an amoral, impersonal first cause, and through a non-moral process, become moral and personal while still denying that there is a transcendent objective moral law? As even Richard Dawkins asserted, isn’t it interesting how the heart of evolution is survival of the fittest? Yet, where did we get this desire to lay down our lives and consider it a noble thing? Isn’t the idea of self-sacrifice an evolutionary blunder that should be rejecting immediately? I would consider such a belief, that self-sacrifice is noble, to be an objective value. However, from an evolutionary standpoint, things have value insofar as humans attribute value to it. With this in mind, how can we at all consider that objective and expect others to act selflessly, or “morally” at all? Once again, sorry Tommy, this is to everyone else but you.

Regarding the Famous Jesus Fish and what the logo means:

The Greek word for Fish is “ixthus.” This was an acronym and secret saying of persecuted Christians in the early church. The acronym was literally,

“Jesus Christ, God’s Son, Savior.”

The Greek letters were, iota (first letter of the word Jesus), chi (first letter of the word Christ), theta (first letter of the word God), upsilon (first letter of the word Son), and sigma (first letter of the word Savior). Of course, unless you know early Church History or Greek, it really is not much of an evangelistic tool.

Well friends, I appreciate the discussion. I understand that this is a blog of an atheist and theists have some how infiltrated it. For that, Tommy, I apologize. If you are unwilling, I will get lost. As always, I’m glad we can do this in civility.

Now, more discussion about...bumperstickers!

Jason

Jason said...

I would like to applogize for any grammatical errors in my comment. Unfortunately, my excitement about such topics exposed my inability to write clearly. I would appreciate it if you would use your imagination and make my comment more coherent than it is. Thank you.

Stardust said...

Although I’m certain that much of what you believe is derived from books written by humans as well, I do understand your point. However, to suggest that the burden of proof is primarily on the shoulders of the theist to prove God’s existence is a misguided one.

Jason -- That is your opinion and what most theists say because they know that they cannot prove the existence of your god, and this god who you claim to be able to do anything, does not show himself to anyone...it's all the word of mouth from human beings who have varying beliefs of what this god is and what he/she/it is capable of. Humans determine this god's characteristics, and his whims and fancies. God is a figment of human imagination. There is not a trace of evidence for this god. Have you studied world mythologies and world religions? Human beings are quite creative, and inventive.

I must go somewhere now, but will be back to address your other points later.

Jason said...

Hey Stardust,

The point of the comment you addressed was that atheists’ task to affirm that there is absolutely no God in the Universe is just as rigorous, if not more rigorous. If someone were to say, “There is a man named Alex in Texas,” you may respond to that positive proof by saying, “Prove it!” Now, is it inconceivable for someone to say to those who say, “There is no man in all of Texas named Alex, and you have no proof!” to be asked to prove their certainty as well? The claim that “that’s what theists say” is just as compelling as if I were to say that “that’s just what all atheists say when encountering this problem.” It doesn’t further your position. It appears that you make many conclusions without offering as many premises, such as, “God is a figment of human imagination.” Here is another, “Humans determine this god’s characteristics, and his whims and fancies.” Wonderful conclusion, might I add, but what is the premise?

Regarding the fact that God does not “appear” to anyone:

Although I cannot speak for God, I would assume that if God were to appear to everyone, it would negate our will or freedom. He actually admires faith. This does not mean that God does not ever appear to anyone. God indeed has appeared to people in order that they may take the message to an unbelieving world. However, I assume that even if He appeared to me, you would not believe me if I told you, unless He appeared to you. In that case God would have to appear to everyone, meaning, their will, once again, may be negated. So, what’s the big deal, you may ask? What makes the concept of “love” so special is that it implicitly requires freedom. If someone is to force another to “love” or compel them to “love” beyond their control, the quality or value of that love is depreciated.

Back to the statement:

“Humans determine this god’s characteristics, and his whims and fancies.”

I wonder what else humans determine. Here’s a question, do humans also determine what is right and wrong, moral and immoral? If so, do you find that the atrocities committed by humankind in human history, and the feelings you experience when thinking about them, are nothing more than a figment of your own imagination and human determination? If someone disagrees as to whether those atrocities are really atrocious at all, would you maintain that those people are wrong – if so, would you refer to a humanly determined imaginative subjective moral law to disprove them? I understand that you said you would address the other points I made in my previous comment when you returned; please address this one as well. (By the way, the existence of Objective Moral Values is a major reason why I believe in God – in fact, I take it as compelling evidence. This is in response to your statement regarding whether or not there is evidence to believe in God).

My next statement is in reference to a comment you made regarding how God can deal with billions of people simultaneously. The erroneous assumption that we see here when considering the theistic perspective is that we assume that God is bound by time. The truth is, God is not bound by time. What does that mean? It means that since time is a non-spatial continuum whereby we have irreversible successive events, God does not have a past, present, or a future – instead has a constant present. He holds all of reality, simultaneously. There are different ways of explaining this, especially in Medieval Philosopher, Boethius’ “Consolation of Philosophy.” Unless you want me to elaborate, I don’t see it as absolutely pertinent to the discussion.

It is crucial to understand that God transcends time and operates in a completely different dimension. I will appropriate C.S. Lewis’ analogy of how God may do this from a different dimension. You can read more of this in “Mere Christianity.” Consider it this way:

Imagine that I am an author who is writing a story about someone named John. The first two lines that I write will be “John woke up. John sat up in his bed immediately afterwards.” Now, let’s say I write the first line, “John woke up.” I then decide to go for a walk and think about the character, John. While having lunch, I decide what I will do with John, as well as work on other characters in the story. Having done all of this, I then proceed to write the second statement, “John sat up in his bed immediately afterwards.” Now, although only a moment has passed in John’s life, since I am not bound by his “time” nor operate from the same dimension, I am able to, as you may say, “multi-task.” Let’s remember that this is only an analogy and that all analogies eventually fall apart. Otherwise, they would be the very thing we are discussing. This does not mean that God is some sort of dictator determining our lives. If you are tempted to respond in that way, please understand that this is only an analogy. I hope this has shed light on the issue. I have stated this only to show that some of the things you may suggest are inexplicable in even the rudimentary ways is one that is misguided.

Now, how about some premises as to why you believe what you believe. I appreciate the discussion. I hope you are doing well.

Jason

Jason said...

One Clarification:

In the comment regarding "God's time" - I meant to say, "God does not have a past or a future." I hope that helps.

Stardust said...

Another assumption in your statement is the idea that anything worth believing must be proved. This is known in philosophical circles as, “Clifford’s Principle,” essentially stating that everything that we choose to believe must be empirically proven or the derivation/result of experimentation.

Jason, When xians proseltyze in order to convince others to convert to their sky daddy beliefs, then proof is necessary. It is always the xians proseltyzing to others, not the other way around. We are just asking you to prove it. You cannot except to say it is a "feeling" or what is "in your heart." That proves nothing. A child sincerely believes in Santa Claus until one day he realizes that it is Mom and Dad or guardian giving them presents. As an atheist, I know that it is other humans who help me, or can hurt me...not some entity from some other person's imagination.

Jason said...

Hey Stardust,

Having no life, I have already read your comment. I never thought that an "apologetic" would convert someone to a faith. This was not an attempt to move someone's heart. I was only trying to appeal to the "head." The response was to those who presuppose that all religious faith is implausible and lacks validity, logically inexplicable in even rudimentary ways.

Stardust said...

Although I cannot speak for God, I would assume that if God were to appear to everyone, it would negate our will or freedom. He actually admires faith.

If there are only two choices...follow your god or suffer eternal punishment, what kind of "free will" is that?

By you saying that your god admires faith is you giving god characteristics and opinions again. How do you know these things?

I hope this has shed light on the issue. I have stated this only to show that some of the things you may suggest are inexplicable in even the rudimentary ways is one that is misguided.

Why do you consider yourself to be an "expert" and have you ever considered that it is YOU who might be "misguided"?

Stardust said...

Jason, to sum it up, I look around at the billions of suffering children in the world and know there is no god to help them. I saw an advertisement for a children welfare fund last night and these little children in Africa had flies crawling all over their faces, in their eyes, up into their noses and in their ears. They suffer from the most horrible diseases. They can pray their hearts out to a silent god...nothing will change unless humans come to the rescue.

What about all the children of "believers" who are beat and abused sexually and other violent ways who cry out to a silent god to help them? What about all the children who are neglected and dying of a terminal disease? What about Siamese twins and children born with two heads...four legs, etc?

I was one of those children who prayed to god night after night to help me breath because I suffered terribly from incurable asthma...silence. I was raised in a home where corporal punishment was extreme..and I prayed that I would not be beat...silence.
Then I looked at those pretty people who say they have been "blessed" by god and wonder what I did that was so wrong to make god hate me. I realized later that there was no god doing stuff to me or ignoring me. I grew up...and now know that we all as humans have ups and downs, some are more well off than others because of choices made by humans in charge...or lack of action by humans in charge...and war, poverty...etc. It's all a matter of chance what we are born into and how hard we as humans want to work to get out of our situations...or at least try to.


I look at nature and there are too, too many "accidents" for there to be any "intelligent designer". Nature gets messed up because biology is not perfect all the time.

I think we could go round and round here and you will not convince me of anything, nor I you. We all have to figure it out on our own. If religion brings you comfort, that is your right to believe in that stuff...but some of us do believe it, nor do we need it.

Stardust said...

Back to the subject of bumper stickers...here is a good one for Jason.
;D

Stardust said...

tommy and all...Merchant of Menace (The Old Git) is having computer problems and hope he will be up and running again before too long.

Stardust said...

It is crucial to understand that God transcends time and operates in a completely different dimension.

Where exactly would this dimension be located, pray tell? LOL!
This is just one of those made-up answers...xians and god botherers are quite good at invention of reasons to justify lack of evidence for the existence of a god.

I am NOT making this up...My ex-sister-in-law truly believes in garden gnomes that leave magic marbles in her garden. Is it up to her to prove it, or for you to prove that they don't exist?

Jason said...

Hey Stardust,

It is I again.

"There are two choicess...what kind of free will is that?"

It is "free" in that you are "free" to choose. Having more options doesn't make anyone me any more free. Does someone who can only choose between coffee or water have less freedom than someone who can choose coffee, water, or sprite? In that case, I am deprived of freedom since I am not in a restaurant right now. If only I had more than just tap water and coffee. Please excuse the mundane analogy.

What I meant by calling your assumption misguided is that I inferred that you did not think anyone could explain God's actions logically rudimentary way. Since I provided a way, though never claiming to dismiss all doubt, I proved the assumption to be false.

Regarding where I know things such as God's desires, etc:

The grounds upon which I stand is fundamentally scripture. I emphasize "fundamentally" because I do use the world around me also to arrive at what I believe about God - see objective moral values. You may say, isn't that faith? I would say, "absolutely." However, as I have illustrated, though perhaps unsuccessfully in previous comments, atheists must in some way have faith as well. When you say "there is absolutely no God." I can say, as you did, "how do you know these things?"

Once again, if someone were to say to you after your attempt to disprove there is a god, "what is your proof?" Would you not have to provide some sort of explanation that dismisses all doubts? All I am saying is that I am not trying to move your heart right now - just showing that it can be understandable. Now, asking me to prove whether there is a dimension is like me asking you to prove that the "Big Bang" is undeniably the origin of all things; yet, I'm sure you believe it. Once again, the assumption that all that we believe must be statistically verifiable and proven by means of experimentation is, in and of itself, a belief that is arrived to without statistically verifiable information and experimentation. Is it intuitive? Sure, but if that's what we are using, I think it's intuitive to believe in a God in such an intricate universe. Where will that really get us?

I am sorry that you have endured everything that you have. I will by no means, insensitively oversimplify your experiences by giving you some sort of "Christian Greeting Card." I realize that even if I were to attempt to do so, pain trumps reason. I can come up with the most logical experiences as to why humans experience what we do, and yet it won't matter when we think of the pain. As some have suggested, no one when breaking a leg wants to hear about calcium counts. What we really want is a pain-killer, and not necessarily theories of the cure.

The person I blame for all of the injustice in third world contries is the Christian Church. We are "His Hands and His Feet." From my interpretation of scripture, God always uses humans as agents to accomplish His heart. Your blame should not be on God; rather, the likes of me.

I will say, however, that evil in the world may allude to the existence of God. For how can we call something wrong if we don't have a good standard by which we measure it? The question then is, where do we find this objective standard? Is all of the world's suffering, even our own compassion, a mere human concoction and stricly biological? So incompassionate people who fight the biological instinct to be compassionate is no more morally accountable than holding their urine - a biological instinct. Are those atrocities that stir our emotions really only figments of our own imagination? I think you and I would both agree, that they are not.

I think a world with moral decay was not God's intention. The question that arises then is, "then why did all of this happen, why even create us?"

First, I would say that a world that is able to love is a world that is free - to be moral or immoral. I believe this morally decadent world is the result of sin. Okay, so knowing there would be sin, "why would He do it?" I think the possibility of good in one outweighs all of the evil in the world - even the possibility to love. From a human perspective, this shouldn't be too difficult to understand. Consider it this way:

In a morally decadent world with suffering, why do we choose to have children? Aren't the chances of someone becoming a devil with such depravity on the internet, televisions, and schools much more greater than them becoming, if you will entertain me for a second, "a saint?" Yet, we still choose to have children. It's not that we say, "let's be fruitful and multiply to perpetuate the human race." Rather, it's almost as if we want to see "our own reflection." We believe, for some reason, that it's still worth it.

Regarding whether I consider myself an expert:

I apologize if I have come off as arrogant. That was never my intention, nor do I think that if I were to have such a belief, that it would be warranted. I hope you're doing well.

Jason

Tommy said...

Reading Jason's most recent comments, I am reminded of an episode of 'Cheers'. Fans of the show may remember that Norm ended up setting up his own house painting business. In this particular episode, he ends up hiring a couple of guys to work for him that he meets at the bar.

But when it is time for the new guys to actually do work, Norm finds himself unable to motivate them. While they like Norm as a guy to drink beer with, they do not respect him as a boss. So what Norm does to get them to work is to invent a boss over him named Kreitzer who is and loud and abusive slavedriver of a supervisor. The guys working for Norm never actually meet Kreitzer, but when they are waiting outside of the office, they hear Norm getting yelled at by him. But it is really Norm pretending to be Kreitzer who is doing the yelling.

The God of the Bible is like Norm's Kreitzer, a deity invented by Jewish priests to impose a sense of cohesion on a confederation of semi-nomadic tribesmen.

As Stardust already touched on, Jason's Alex in Texas analogy fails. While one cannot prove there is no one named Alex, we are also not being asked to believe certain things or perform certain actions because someone tells us that this is what Alex wants from us. If someone told me that a man I never met before named Alex does not want me to eat cheeseburgers because it is against Alex's laws, I would want some conclusive demonstration that Alex really exists and that he is someone I need to respect and follow.

Furthermore, as just about any atheist will tell you, we accept that we cannot disprove the existence of a supreme being. But one can make a very good case through the study of science, history, and the use of logic and reason, that the God of the Bible is no more real than Zeus or Thor. To posit that there might be a god or a supreme being does not mean that the god of the Bible therefore exists by default.

Jason said...

Hey Tommy,

It's great to speak with you again. Christians often become criticized for not having warranted beliefs. All I am saying is that even if we took the initiative to "convert" someone, the claim that our beliefs are not warranted would only cause us to ask, are "yours" warranted. You may say, sure - look at science, logical, and reason. However, I don't think that anything I have mentioned is really implausible on a logical level. In fact, I have attempted to demonstrate on that unreasonably long post, to Stardust, Big Tex, and Merchant Menace, that atheists also start at a place that isn't scientific - "A Solid Singularity."

I'd hate to start this discussion again, but on what level could we ever tell anyone to behave in any way, say, Hitler? Wouldn't it only be a humanly determined suggestion to tell him to not do what he is doing? As you said, we don't need a God to tell us what we ought to do. Yet, we don't need the opinion of humans either. His opinion was probably just as good as yours. If you disagree, what's the basis? I know we talked about this, but I don't think you gave an explanation that dismissed doubts. You can say, perhaps nothing I say will. That's not true. If you provide an explanation as to why we ought to be moral, while still suggesting there is no objective standard, and claim that all should abide by it - then I will concede.

Anxiously awaiting your thoughts,

Jason

Jason said...

In other words -

I could pose the question like this:

Why can't we be selfish and not care about perpetuating the human race? Am I wrong morally for deciding to kill millions of people? If so, how is that wrong on a moral level? I understand that it may be wrong methodically - but how morally?

Stardust said...

t is "free" in that you are "free" to choose. Having more options doesn't make anyone me any more free. Does someone who can only choose between coffee or water have less freedom than someone who can choose coffee, water, or sprite?

Free will is being able to have the freedom to accept god or choose not to...but being threatened with harm is not giving one a choice. It is manipulation via threats of violence. If it truly was free will, and if god is indeed love, then a god would allow his creations to leave and go their own way even if it made him sad. To want to torture people for eternity does not sound like a very loving and compassionate "father." Your god is as evil as Cronos who ate his offspring.

Stardust said...

All I am saying is that even if we took the initiative to "convert" someone, the claim that our beliefs are not warranted would only cause us to ask, are "yours" warranted.

Atheists are not the ones who go around proseltyzing...we just want xians to accept that there are differences and leave people alone. You are on a mission to "borg" everyone.

The atheist says, "resistance is NOT futile"...again, we don't need your beliefs.

Jason said...

Hey Stardust,

I find that having no life has assisted me on this endeavor.

I can't speak for all Christians, yet I do respect people's perspectives. I find this to be a place where we can discuss different ideas - that is essentially why I am here.

If you read my initial comment carefully, you would have seen that I said that burden of proof is not primarily on the theist. It does not mean that we don't have to give explanation. What I am saying is that in such a discussion, the assertion that there is no God is a claim that should be warranted - however, this does not mean I find your beliefs to be unwarranted. The statement was made against the assumption that to believe something you must have evidence. I first showed that belief, in and of itself, is held without evidence. Second, why believe "the Big Bang Theory?" Your reasons for arriving at that conclusion doesn't dismiss all doubts. Theists will not say that we leave no room to doubt - otherwise, we would no longer need faith.

"Being threatened with harm is not giving one a choice."

I don't understand how consequences for our decisions negates someone's freedom. Can a criminal say, "I'm not free because you said you would put me in jail for the rest of my life if I killed someone!"

You may ask how a loving God could send someone to Hell. In order to understand this, we would do well to recognize that God's love does not negate His justice. I understand that since your idea of people being tormented can fuel emotions, logical explanation as to why hell was the punishment will not satisfy. I can appeal to the idea of His goodness and how He cannot tolerate evil, but I doubt that will suffice. You will ask, why would He create all of this - to which I respond, see my previous comment.

You say our God would be just as evil as one who ate his creation. Yet, how can you call something evil if you don't have a standard of good to measure it by? Once again, you have not answered that question. You have not explained where this desire to be compassionate comes from - is it only biological? If so, is a person who does not show compassion to a child regarded as the same who fights another biological instinct - a person who holds their urine?

I don't think anyone should ever claim that atheists don't have values. I think that is very far from the truth. The only problem is, atheists seem to suggest there are no objective values. If they affirm they are objective, they cannot explain from a naturalistic standpoint of how they obtained these objective moral values. From an evolutionary standpoint, things have value insofar as humans attribute value to it. There is no difference in the fact that we have attributed value to gold, and we have attributed value to loving our children as well - all a human concoction that holds no absolute value. If it does, how so?

It appears that there is this desperate attempt to affirm that there are no objective values, and yet this idea that all should maintain our subjective values. In fact, we actually abhor people like Hitler, who do not. Interesting.

Jason

Jason said...

To Tommy and Stardust,

You say Christians impose our beliefs in order to have people behave in a certain way. Are you not imposing your beliefs and world view upon Hitler when you expect him to behave in a certain way? Let's make sure the rules apply to all.

Stardust said...

You say Christians impose our beliefs in order to have people behave in a certain way. Are you not imposing your beliefs and world view upon Hitler when you expect him to behave in a certain way? Let's make sure the rules apply to all.

There is basically not much different between the some manipulative xians and the manipulative Hitler. Many fundamentalists, if not controlled by LAWS would do things (as history has shown) like witch burnings, stonings, and all sorts of awful things their religious leaders might demand if they were free to do whatever. Lucky for us we have laws to protect us from those dangers.

When we uphold laws in order to protect society, that is different from trying to impose goofy sky daddy beliefs. Stopping a monster like Hitler from anhillating millions and millions of people is protecting the rights of individuals to live in peace and safety. Hitler was a monster, and a great danger to the well-being of others.

I cannot believe I even have to explain that to a thinking adult.

Jason said...

Hey Stardust,

I apologize, although I appreciate the fact that you do affirm that I am a "thinking adult." Such flattery, really, is not necessary.

I would like to suggest that atheists have also committed such indecencies (See Joseph Stalin). Once again, we don't judge a philosophy by it's abuse.

You can say "rights are worth protecting, or society is worth protecting," but what I am asking is what is it that gives you that belief? What I mean by objective morals is this:

Values, such as cherishing children, that remain true and worth maintaining regardless of the culture, time, and personal opinion. When I ask are your values objective, I'm asking do your values transcend time, culture, and personal opinion - such as, cherishing children? You may think it is obvious to believe they are objective, but consider the implications.

If you say they are objective, my question will be, "where did you get your OBJECTIVE values from?" (I wasn't shouting, but emphasizing). I understand atheists have values - but can you call them objective? If so, how? The question no one seems to answer is:


From an evolutionary ethical standpoint,

How does an amoral impersonal first cause (the first cell, human, caveman, whatever you want to call him, that has no idea of rigth and wrong and has no desire to have relationship), through a non-moral process (a process that has no divine intervention of imputing morals upon it/him/her), become moral and personal (have a concept of right and wrong and praise self-sacrifice although it fights their evolutionary instinct), and still affirm there are no transcendent objective moral values (that "someone in the sky" has told us written on our hearts what is right and wrong)?

As I mentioned earlier, if you say it's biological to care - then isn't it also biological to hold my urine? Is there a difference between choosing to fight the biological instinct of loving a child and the biological instinct of urinating?

If you say it's evolution that has given us our morals, see previous question. Then, ask yourself, how is it that when everything in evolution suggests survival of the fittest, all of a sudden, someone decides to fight that urge and lay down their life for someone, and we affirm it as good? If you say, they did it so that society can survive, that first presupposes that society is objectively worth preserving. Second, if it is only a method by which something is preserved, then if someone, like Hitler fights that desire, do we attack his method, or morale?

I hope you understand the implications of what I ask and how you answer. I'm asking, where do you get your sense of compassion for the children you see suffering? Before you say evolution or biology, see my comment. I hope you're doing well.

The one who has an inability to understand as a thinking adult,

Jason

Stardust said...

I find that having no life has assisted me on this endeavor.

Why don't you have a life? Jesus isn't helping you much with that. My point is, YOU have to go make it happen for yourself. No sky daddy is going to do it for you. I do have a life, and blogging is my hobby. I am also a writer, amateur astromoner, artist, mother, wife, daughter, love traveling, photography...life is wonderful and so many, many things to live a full life. And I don't even need jeebus to see all the wonder of the world around me. I feel sad for you, it must frustrate those who might care about you.

I don't understand how consequences for our decisions negates someone's freedom. Can a criminal say, "I'm not free because you said you would put me in jail for the rest of my life if I killed someone!"

There are only two choices for the xians...believe or die. That is not free will. I am not talking about murderers and criminals. Most people xianity condemns to hell are good people who have done no wrongs to anyone. I have not killed anyone, my atheist children have not killed or harmed anyone, therefore, to think that humans who merely have other beliefs are condemned to an awful eternal punishment is absurd. If my children choose not to communicate or acknowledge me anymore would I want them to suffer eternal damnation because they didn't stick around and kiss my ass? No...of course not. I love them UNCONDITIONALLY...forever...and never, ever wish them any harm what-so-ever.

The choice not to choose god without harm, even when one is a good person and has never harmed a fly, is not available according to the xian viewpoint. Therefore, that is not free will.

You say our God would be just as evil as one who ate his creation. Yet, how can you call something evil if you don't have a standard of good to measure it by? Once again, you have not answered that question. You have not explained where this desire to be compassionate comes from - is it only biological?

The standard comes from human goodness, the will of the species to protect each other for the survival of that species. Humans made up myths and religions in order to convey how they should behave toward one another in order to live in peace. Of course, there are those who want power, and control...and that is where the problems come in and cause disruption and discord. I will let tommy elaborate, he is better at explaining about morals and where they come from than I am. He has written about it a few times on this blog already.

You keep bringing up the same things over and over, leading us around in circles. It was a good discussion the first time, and now we are back on the Merry-Go-Round for another ride.

Stardust said...

I would like to suggest that atheists have also committed such indecencies (See Joseph Stalin). Once again, we don't judge a philosophy by it's abuse.

But we can read the bible and see just how your god orders unimaginable atrocities like killing of firstborn sons, drowing a whole planet of people, stoning people for things like loving someone else. It's all right there in your "holy" texts.

Tommy said...

I should think that this discussion is more appropriate for my post "Where My Values Come From". I left a reply to Jason there to which he had not left a response.

Jason said...

Hey Stardust,

I keep bringing up the same issue because the fundamental issue is not addressed.

First, when I say I have no life, I do not mean I don't love life. I do apologize if that is what I meant. Honestly, I was just being stupid. The truth is, I have a lot of papers and reading to do - yet find this more interesting.

You keep saying that having consequences for our actions negate our will. As if, having two choices means we have no choice. Do you see where that is fundamentally illogical? As I mentioned, the explanation as to why a "hell" exists will not satisfy anyone's emotions. Therefore, I will drop it.

You say,

"the standard comes from human goodness"

I apologize, for this may be my inability to understand, but aren't you dodging the question? I essentially ask, where does our idea of goodness come from? You answer, from human goodness. So, either you are assuming that we are inherently good, if so, why do some deviate from this "goodness," or are suggesting that humans have made it up - which means that no one is obligated to follow someone's opinion. I think it's a great idea that Tommy elaborates. I do appreciate the comment, however.

It was fun while it lasted,

Jason

Stardust said...

I hope you understand the implications of what I ask and how you answer. I'm asking, where do you get your sense of compassion for the children you see suffering?

I hope you understand the implications that you are trying to make human morals and goodness fit into your god beliefs. Again, one does not need god beliefs in order to be good. Most people in Sweden are atheists, yet their crime rate is much lower than it is here where xianity is the majority belief. They are better to each other there because they are a peace-loving people without a warmonger religion teaching them to hate those who are different.

I learned compassion from my parents, my grandparents and loving family...we all treat others how we are taught...or if we are treated badly and learn that we don't like being treated badly.

I know people who could give two shits about those kids in Africa...and they are professed xians.

Do unto others as you would have them do unto you is what most humans believe. For those who are "anti-social" there are jails and the gallows and more xians and god believers have gone to jail and the gallows than atheists.

Tommy said...

Regarding the canard that atheism leads to Stalinism, I would only ask those who raise such an argument to look at the Scandinavian countries, where secularism is strong. I don't see any gulags in that country.

With the USSR, CCCP and other totalitarian states, what you had were one party states that committed atrocities so that the party could maintain its monopoly on power. Churches, as well as other political parties, unions, and other group that existed outside of the party structure either had to be controlled or destroyed.

Secularists and atheists in America are not looking to take away freedom of religious belief. They just want to see a reduction in its power in the public square. If I was really hostile to religion per se, then I would be vandalizing churches and synagogues on a regular basis. But I don't, because that would be stupid and immature.

Jason said...

To Stardust,

If we can't affirm that there are transcendent objective morals, how can we even enter the arena of Who theists affirm as the most Transcendent of them all, God? I am willing to discuss the goodness of God. However, let us first affirm that we can only call something bad, (what you perceive as God's actions), if we have a standard of good to measure it by.

To Tommy,

I did not respond only because I thought you didn't want to talk about it anymore. Trust me, it took every fiber of my being not to respond. I was going to respond on two levels.

1) How you found humans to have intrinsic value - my question was, where does that come from and do all humans have to have the same value?

2) Regarding homosexuals - it appears that since there is no real danger in everyone acting the same way, you find that we shouldn't reject it, insofar as they don't engage in promiscuous relationships. However, is this the basis for which something is rejected? One person lying does not stop civilization, nor does one person committing a crime. Therefore is right and wrong based on utility? Why do we make certain exceptions?

I hope you both are doing well.

Jason

Jason said...

Stardust,

I am not trying to make you fit into my belief of a God. I am only asking a fundamental philosophical question that seems to be dodged.

You say, from your parents. Where do they get it from? Other parents have given their children values of racism. What makes your parents' values right, and other's wrong? What is the basis for that? I'm trying desperately to make you see my question. I'm not even trying to get you answer in a way I please. At this point, I'm only trying to get you see the question.

To Tommy,

I think both of you have failed to see that my appropriation of Stalin was to show that there will be people who hold beliefs and will be monsters. I quoted Augustine who said, "don't judge a philosophy by its abuse." I agree that we all should have the right to believe what we do. This is an arena of ideas, that is the only reason why I'm respond. I am not in some way trying to force anyone to believe what I do. You ask for logical reasons as to why I believe what I do. I'm only asking for the same.

Tommy said...

Yeah, but Jason, you have to have a reason for arguing that a homosexual act is inherently wrong. Without religion, you have no basis to call homosexuality intrinsically wrong if you are talking about two consenting adults of the same gender engaging in a homosexual act. Lying, when done with malice, is an act of deception that is meant to harm or defraud another person. So comparing the two is more than just comparing apples and oranges, it is comparing apples and soccer balls.

Stardust said...

I am willing to discuss the goodness of God.

You are discussing with atheists...
we do not believe in the existence of god, gods, goddesses. You are not hearing us.

I am not trying to make you fit into my belief of a God.

No, you are trying to make the world and morality fit into your own personal god beliefs.

Where do they get it from? Other parents have given their children values of racism. What makes your parents' values right, and other's wrong? What is the basis for that? I'm trying desperately to make you see my question.

Jason, it has been learned down through the passage of time. Humans have learned what they need to do to coexist in peace and harmony and for the betterment of civilization.
The basis for that is not something that is black and white, nor written in stone. There are no permanent rules written by some sky daddy...via the imaginations of humans.

Maybe instead of trying desperately to make us see YOUR point, why not try reading and try understanding what we are writing here.

Is there going to be a quiz when you are done here with us? Geesh! If you know all the answers, tell us clearly and precisely what you believe they are.

Jason said...

Hey Tommy,

First one would wonder how defrauding or harming another person is wrong from an evolutionary naturalistic worldview.

Do you see what is happening? You want to say that all of our values are subjective, in that humans attribute values to things considering there is nothing that transcends us, not even morality. Then, you make a statement that implies that we should not be hurt or defrauded. You can either affirm that this is true because there is an objective standard that transcends us that tells us how we ought to act. Or, you can say that defrauding or hurting doesn't further civilization, so the issue is no longer moral, rather method. What if someone decides their heinous acts will further civilization? The only way you can call it objectively immoral, transcending time, culture, and opinion is if you have an objective moral to judge it against. Otherwise, it's not a matter of good or bad, rather foolish method. If we say it was only method, Hitler didn't have bad morale, rather bad method.

Second, I brought up homosexuality because, at the time, it appeared that you held to a strict Utilitarian perspective. Since you clarified in you later post, that you aren't a strict one, then I remove the question. If someone wanted to suggest that it is immoral, they would only have to believe in objective moral values and be a utilitarian.

Jason said...

To Stardust,

I am not trying to make the world fit into my personal beliefs. I apologize for not making that clear enough in my previous post.

You say compassion was passed on from time, but who was the first caveman, or first cause, to become compassionate and how did that happen? As I mentioned earlier, if every instinct in us is towards survival of the fittest, where in the world did this desire to self-sacrifice, or selflessness, come from?

You say there are no "permanent rules." Since that is true, may I abuse a baby? You can say that it is wrong to hurt anyone, regardless of age. However, how did that rule receive such permanence? You can say, well it will help civilization remain. Then I ask, where did this idea that civilization is worth maintaining is a good idea come from? You then say, realizing that we needed each other to survive, we helped each other. Then I would first say, our reasons for being kind is really selfish in that we are only helping because we want to fundamentally survive, not because it is good in and of itself to be kind. You may say well it started that way, and now we know better. Then I ask again, how is it that we can affirm that it is truly better even, irrespective of its consequences?

Once again, I said I only want you to see my question - not necessarily my point.

I'm glad to have had this conversation with myself as to what you may say=).

I hope you're doing well.

Jason

Stardust said...

Where do they get it from? Other parents have given their children values of racism. What makes your parents' values right, and other's wrong?

If a child's parents are racist they will either follow in their parents' racist ways, or they will see how it harms others and reject racism. Many god believers never get beyond racism.

Where do many xians get their racist beliefs?

Stardust said...

You say there are no "permanent rules." Since that is true, may I abuse a baby?

jason, you are not reading a damn thing I say.

I explained myself to you repeatedly, tommy has explained things to you...you are having a conversation with yourself because you are only considering what it is that you want to say, not what you want to hear.

No, it is not ok to kill babies. If you don't understand why by now, then that is the reason we have laws that simplify things for you...

hurt someone, go to jail
kill someone, government kills you

treat people with respect and consideration, then we can live in peace and harmony

It doesn't matter where you might think it all comes from. It's how society is set up to protect the rights of all people within that society.

Jason said...

Hello Stardust,

Please know the following:

1) I don't expect everyone to believe what I believe. I am only hear to discuss.
2) I do not think Christians are perfect, nor do I think Atheists are. There will be Christian racists just as much as Atheistic racists. My question is where do "humans" get their objective values? This question doesn't only apply to theists, it applies to atheists as well.
3) I will never judge a philosophy by its abuse. I will not let my reasons for not being an atheist be because I met a mean or racist atheist. As I have stated, we don't judge a philosophy by its abuse. Therefore, our question isn't necessarily where do Christians get their racism - for people of all philosophies have racists; rather, it is where do humans get their idea that racism is wrong? If you say, it is wrong to hurt others - I ask again - why have you, your parents, grandparents, great grandparents, skip millions of years, cavemen received this idea that it is good to do well to others? Once again, if you say it helped civilization, that is why - then you say it is only good because it is effective, not because it holds intrinsic value.

Stardust said...

I hope you're doing well.

This is getting to be a bit old and robotic sounding.

Jason said...

To Stardust,

Laws presuppose an objective value - that individuals are worth cherishing.

You say it doesn't matter where you think it all came from? Hmm, all of a sudden we are maintaining beliefs whereby the existence of it need not be proved.

I understand that I have an ability to communicate effectively. I am hoping that Tommy is able to see what I am asking. I know we disagree on this, but can you help me out here, Tommy?

Jason said...

What I meant to say:

I understand that I have an INABILITY to communicate. I really mean this in that much of what I ask is very abstract and philosophically loaded. This is not that you are unable to understand it. It only means that I am unable to communicate it in an effective way.

Insert robotic statement of choice,

Jason

Jason said...

To Stardust,

"To hurt some: Jail"
"Kill someone: Government kills you"

What if I responded to that with,

"How unfair!" "Just because I don't adhere to your ideas of justice and what is good, you are going to give me only two options? Follow what you believe is just or die?! That means I have no freedom!"

Jason said...

Stardust,

I realize you may say that not all atheists hurt people and yet go to hell if they don't believe. If you hurt someone, you should go to jail or die. Once again, I hope Tommy helps me hear, the question is that where do you get the understanding of why one is just and the other is injust? Why should I adhere to anyone's justice at all? Okay, please don't answer that. I was just stating the question again.

Can't think of anything witty to say,

Jason

Tommy said...

Jason, its benefits made it intrinsically valuable to us to develop sanctions against murder or other acts that harm people. That's all there is too it. If you feel you need to believe that not committing murder is an objective moral value because the god of the Bible told Moses "thou shalt not kill," then bully for you man. It boggles me that you keep flogging this. I never wake up in the morning and think "Well, I know I don't want to be murdered, but WHY can't I go out and kill someone or stick my cock up somebody's infant daughter?" It honestly does not occur to me.

We can't go back to caveman times and ask them why they thought it was wrong to commit murder. We can offer possible explanations. Again, as I told you in the other thread, early hunter-gatherers needed to cooperate in order to survice. Ugluk realizes he shouldn't kill Magluk over some trivial argument because he needs Magluk's help to kill the animal that will provide food for Ugluk, his wife and his kids. Humans learned (well enough of them did to carry on the human race) that restraining one's basest impulses and deferring gratification was the key to surviving and prospering.

Again, I know that answer will not satisfy you, but it works for me. I am not going to engage you anymore on this topic, and I would ask my other guests to do the same. However, you are more than welcome to comment on other topics here as they come up.

I certainly welcome new voices here and especially ones that are critical of me as long as they are reasoned and intelligent. I never intended for my blog to be just an echo chamber.

Regards,

Tom

P.S. Please stop anxiously awaiting my thoughts. I am really not worth it.

Sable Chicken said...

Stardust, I think what Jason is saying about our own choices and the 'Free will" that God has given us is true. You say you understand the consequences and the consequences are not swaying your decision....see you really do have free will.

also I just wanted to say that it takes a lot of imagenation to say that you can understand how the Big Bang happened and know just what happened within micro-seconds after it happened...yet God's ability to keep track of everyone and thing is beyond a beginning of your understanding?

and to Jason, I like your writing style...but I think you need to take a peepee brake once in the while... it's not so healthy to hold it so long.
;)

Jason said...

Hey Tommy,

I don't wake up thinking about what is right or wrong - in fact I think it is written on my heart. You said something becomes intrinsically valuable, but that raises questions - only for the fact that for it to be intrinsic, it holds value in and of itself. According to your statement about hunters, it was only espoused because of its effectiveness, therefore became valuable in and of itself? Okay, once again, I realize this an extremely abstract discussion. I apologize for all of my comments. I promise this, I will drop it. You can respond, answer, raise questions, comment, make fun of my mother, but I will not respond regarding this topic. I do appreciate your patience.

Jason

Sable Chicken said...

Tommy
Back to your bumper-sticker thing.
If you put a bumper-sticker on your car that says "Jesus doesn't love you." the reason for doing it is so that you can talk (evangelize) your atheist views to Christians that fall into your set up. Just like those other Christians that googled the word "Jesus" and found an atheist blog sporting His name.
Am I right?

so here we are

Tommy said...

Jason, btw, click on my Battlestar Galactica link in my Why Is Humanity Worth Saving" post. The cute looking Asian chick in the video is a human looking Cylon and she explains why the Cylons decided to try to exterminate humanity. I thought it might interest you.

Tommy said...

yes, but Sable, it was just something I pondered. Not something I actually decided to carry out. We all consider doing things at times but after weighing the pros and cons, decide it is not worth it.

I did see a bumpersticker today I thought was rather cute, and you might like it to. It read:

JUST ANOTHER DOPELESS HOPE FIEND

Sable Chicken said...

JUST ANOTHER DOPELESS HOPE FIEND

Ok .....?

Tommy said...

It's a play on the saying "hopeless dope fiend", a person who is hopelessly addicted to drugs. This bumpersticker is about a person who is drug free and addicted to hope. I for one would have thought you would have liked that.

Stardust said...

tommy, this one cracked me up. Sean at GifS would have been roaring with laughter. :-D

(Sable...it's a joke...so don't get your feathers ruffled.)

Tommy said...

I sorta like the one that reads DON'T PRAY IN MY SCHOOL AND I WON'T THINK IN YOUR CHURCH.

However, personally I would modify it to read DON'T MANDATE PRAYER IN MY SCHOOL AND I WON'T THINK IN YOUR CHURCH. If students want to murmur a few prayers in study hall before a final exam, I have no problem with that.

Dani said...
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Dani said...

Ok - I haven't read through all 112 comments so maybe my point has already been addressed....

But isn't a bit intolerant of you to criticize what this bumper sticker said?

What is so "offensive" to you as an atheist?

I mean, what do you have to worry about anyway if this life is all that there is?

We have some bumper stickers on our cars that say "Government Schools Destroy Children's Minds" and "Abortion is Murder" -- Would that offend you too?

Often times the TRUTH is offensive whether you like it or not!

P.S. Here are a couple other great bumper stickers:

=> Friends Don't Let Friends Be HOMOS

=> ELIMINATE PERVERSITY

Sorry, I had to throw that in for laughs!

Stardust said...

Dani, the two bumper stickers you posted are very cruel and promote bigotry and hatred.

Stardust said...

"Abortion is Murder" -- Would that offend you too?

nature (or your god, whatever you want to call it) aborts babies much more often than humans abort their own.

I lost one baby just after delivery at the 9th month of pregnancy. I truly wanted that child. I miscarried another at 4 months, a little boy...I truly wanted that child. My middle son's twin died in the womb. I really wanted both babies to survive. I prayed to a silent god all three times.

I know you will say it's ok for your god to murder babies, but not people...the usual justification for your god beliefs.

But I do know now that there is no god, shit happens, I had bad doctors, then went to good doctors and had three healthy children.

You people need to start cleaning up your own lives and take care of your own imperfect selves instead of going around juding others. If I was a god I would be sickened by you.

That's all I have to say to you, Dani.

Tommy said...

Dani, you probably skipped one of my posts that addresses the points you raise.

But to reiterate what I mentioned above, it is not just a Christian/Atheist thing. Where I live there are also many Jews as well as Hindu immigrants from India. The sticker does not offend me because in the sense that I do not believe in the existence of hell. It is a divisive message to all who are not Christians.

On the other hand, I would not say that such a bumper sticker should be illegal. If you want to have the stickers on your car that you suggested above, then you should have every right to. And I or anyone else who disapproves of those messages are within our rights to express their displeasure within the law.

On a more humorous note, one of my favorite t-shirts that I saw when I was in high school asked "What would happen if the everyone in the world farted at the same time?" and it showed a picture of the Earth burned to a crisp.

James said...

Jason & Tommy

I found the conversation between you two really interesting. From what I understand:

Tommy, you believe that good morals are good not because something is telling us it's good but good because we say it's good...and we say it's good because it furthers civilization/it helps us to survive. Our ancient ancestors saw it was good for themselves to help each other out and be good to each and over a course of thousands/millions of years it turned into good morals and not because some god said "because I said so..."

Jason, you believe that good morals are good because there is something good in it and NOT just because we say it's "good because it furthers society/it helps us to survive"...because then Hitler (if he was still alive)could argue his action (to further his society/and help his people survive) wasn't wrong. He could answer "hey, I was just trying to further my society and help my people survive" (but thankfully he's dead and can't say that) Therefore, there's more to saying something is good than just "...because it helps me to survive"

I liked both of the points of offered and I thank both of you for a good, respectful conversation. It honestly made me think. I'm somewhat saddened that this particular discussion will end but look forward to more debates by the both of you. Jason...please stop writing such long replies...my brain can't take that much =)

Stardust:

You say xians are hypocrites because they spread hate (because of their divisiness) but yet on this blog your posts are the only ones filled with insult after insult. Maybe it takes an expert hypocrite to spot hypocrites. You answer a lot of Jason's questions with insults and never quite answer the question, and the answers you do give are pretty weak. You say xians are emotional and don't think and yet, so far from what I've read, you've been emotional and don't think. For the sake of athiests everywhere...let tommy do the speaking.

Biju said...

Tommy,

I believe you are contradicting yourself. You first say that values are subjective but then you state that all humans must adhere to your standard of "preserving human life" which at that point becomes an objective value.

I understand what Jason is saying but it seems as if everyone on this blog does not comprehend his point. You tell Jason that Christians can't impose there values on everyone else and yet you expect everyone to adhere to your objective (you seem to think its subjective) value of preserving society on others.

How would you argue your point to an aethist serving under Hitler. You would tell him that killing others is wrong. He would use your argument that how dare you impose your value system on me. My values tell me that preserving my Arayan race is ideal. Its all subjective. What is truth to him is what he lives his life by and he has met your criteria of preserving his race.

By pure definition subjective means "taking place within the mind and modified by individual bias". For example, at my place of employment my promotion was purely subjective. My coworker and I would do the same amount of work, however, he would get better promotions than me because it was purely based on my manager's decision (subjective). There is a new policy in which guidelines are set in which if I meet certain criteria I can be promoted. Now there is an objective standard by which I can obtain my promotion regardless of my manager's bias.

Therefore you can say all you want that preserving human life is ideal, but since you have stated that this value is subjective then that is just relative. It bears no meaning to the next person unless there is an objective moral value.

Tommy said:

"Jason, its benefits made it intrinsically valuable to us to develop sanctions against murder or other acts that harm people. "

Once again this statement is contradictory. By pure definition intrinsic means belonging to a thing by its very nature. Something cannot be made intrinsically valuable. It must have been created or existed like that.
Something cannot turn into intrinsically valuable. We can discover that something was intrinsically valuable all along such as babies, however, Jason point was how do you arrive at that discovery.

I hope you understand the reason he brings to the table subjective vs. objective values. It is of the utmost importance.

Tommy said...

Hi James.

Your summary of my viewpoint is essentially accurate.

As I wrote in the Where I Get My Values From post that appears below this one, we derive our values from the wisdom and knowledge that the human race has accumulated over time. As the Chinese philosopher Mo Tzu that I quoted espoused, when we care about others as we care about ourselves, it is a benefit to society. Thus, if we tolerate genocide in another country, we are contributing to a degraded moral climate that can spread like a cancer elsewhere. So Hitler can try to justify his actions as benefitting mankind all he wanted to, but it is clear they did not, and any rational and decent human being, whether theist or atheist, would feel compelled to oppose him or anyone like him. While I understand the argument Jason was trying to make, to me it amounted to no more than philosophical handwringing that has no practical bearing on the world. It is sort of like the old argument about how many angels can fit on the head of a pin. Who cares? People are not free to harm others and then try to argue that society oppresses them if they are prohibited from raping infants. Our morals evolved over time to develop a consensus that such acts are wrong. 500 years from now, our descendants might consider certain things to be intrinsically moral that are beyond the pale of our acceptance or even our imagination now.

Stardust said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Tommy said...

Biju, who said that atheists were serving under Hitler? Germans identified themselves as Christians and their culture was steeped in anti-semitism before Hitler ever walked onto the world stage. So regardless of whether Hitler was an atheist, the country he ruled was not.

I am not imposing my personal views on anybody. My value system is one that I adhere to for myself. As I argued in the thread of the post where this whole debate started with Jason, he and I probably share many of the same values. We differ as to how we arrive at those values. Both Jason and I agree that life should be valued, so where the fuck do you get this stupid notion that I am trying to force my belief system on you?

We collectively as humans have a consensus that murder or rape is wrong. So again, where do you come off saying that I am demanding that the world accept my view that murder is wrong? The consensus already is that murder is wrong!

Stardust said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Stardust said...

Austin Cline has an excellent article on the topic of (no not bumper stickers), but titled Axiological Arguments from Morals and Values.

Excerpt:
It is not true that all humans have a moral conscience — some are, for example, diagnosed without it and are labeled sociopaths or psychopaths. They appear to be at least somewhat aberrant, and so it could be granted that some sort of moral conscience is universal among healthy humans. This does not mean, though, that the existence of a moral god is the best explanation.

It can be argued, for example, that our moral conscience was evolutionarily selected for, especially in light of animal behavior which is suggestive of a rudimentary “moral conscience.” Chimpanzees exhibit what appears to be fear and shame when they do something that violates the rules of their group. Should we conclude that chimpanzees fear God? Or is it more likely that such feelings are natural in social animals?

Another popular version of the Moral Argument, though not common with professional theologians, is the idea that if people did not believe in a god they would not have any reason to be moral. This does not make the existence of a god more probable but it is supposed to offer a practical reason to believe in God.

The factual premise that better morality is a consequence of theism is doubtful at best. There is no good evidence for it and abundant evidence to the contrary: that theism is irrelevant to morality at best. There is no data that atheists commit more violent crimes than do theists and countries with more theists do not have higher crime rates than countries where the population is more atheistic. Even if it were true that theism made one more moral, that is no reason to actually think that a god more likely exists than not. The mere fact that a belief is useful on practical grounds has no bearing on it being factual.

Stardust said...

And a good video by Jake at ask the atheist.com.

YouTube video:Where do atheists get their morals from?

Biju said...

Tommy,

I apologize if I made you angry. That was not my intention. I respect your intelligence and am thankful for your creative line of thought. If anything I type comes across as insulting, that is not my intent. Please do not interpret any of my statements below as such.

People claim that the US is a Christian nation and yet we have atheist such as yourself here. Therefore, it is not too far fetched to believe that there was one atheist serving under hitler. Either way my question was hypothetical.

You say the burden of proof is on Jason to prove there is a God because Christians go around touting that there is one. I think this is a false notion. Christians say there is a God and with conviction. Atheists say there is no God with conviction. These are two different theories. You did not arrive at your conclusion because of Christianity, otherwise, Christians made you. It is true if a Christian says, there is a God, then he must prove that there is one.

Likewise if an aethists believes there is no God then he must prove there is none. That is like saying if a scientist (we'll call him scientist A) goes against the grain and says that he does not believe that gravity is equal to 9.8 m/s. Then when you ask him to prove his hypothesis, he responds by saying "well everyone else says gravity is equal to 9.8 m/s^2 and therefore everyone else must prove it is not. If scientist A believes that gravity is not 9.8, then he must prove it. Don't make a statement and expect others to prove it. The burden of proof is on you.

Therefore, if you say there is no God, then prove it. You speak of science. Newton's second law states "Every object in a state of uniform motion tends to remain in that state of motion unless an external force is applied to it." Now we know that our system is not in a state of rest. I would like to know how we were set in motion to begin with?

Tommy said...

Biju, I don't have to prove that god or gods do not exist because I am not trying to make you into an atheist. If you want me to be a Christian, then you have the burden of proving to me why I should be. If I was trying to get you to turn away from Christianity, then the burden would be on me to explain using the preponderance of the evidence that the god of the Bible likely does not exist.

I am not a scientist, so I cannot argue effectively about the motions of the planets and stuff like that. However, apropos of your question, the other night on C-Span's Book TV, they featured Neil DeGrasse Tyson of the Hayden Planetarium in NYC. In talking about the intelligent design argument, he pointed out that the idea that certain things could only be accounted for by God goes back thousands of years. Tyson discussed how brilliant men during past times would finally come to the end of their powers in being able to explain why certain things worked the way they did. He specifially mentioned Newton, who invented calculus to explain why the planets had elliptical orbits. But Newtown noted that the planets tugged on each other and could not explain why the planets did not all fly off into space. So he decided that God was keeping the planets stable. The, Tyson tells the audience, over a century later, a French scientist comes up with a formula that determines that the planets tug on each other is only minor and they actually cancel each other out.

The point of all that is that which we cannot explain today and for whom it is tempting for some to attribute to the hand of god, others in the future will be able to come up with the explanation.

I will have to take a break from this blog for the rest of the day as I am at work. As Donald Sutherland said in 'Animal House', "I'm serious! This is my job you know!"

bypasser said...

Tommy and Jason..the both of you are excellent debaters
Stardust..i dont know why you even bother commenting on these issues because a)you dont know what you are saying bc you dont understand the questions or what you are even arguing about b)you have not uttered an intelligent syllable in any of your posts
Tommy and Stardust...if the points that Jason makes are "philosophical handwringings" ,it is just easy to brush off the issue and not answer it because you either dont know how to answer it..or you know that you can't give an intelligent answer for that (i am not saying you are not intelligent bc Tommy, you have definitely been more than intelligent with your comments)
as a non-bias reader of this blog..the only one that has made points and have backed up everything he said as well as answered every question raised to him intelligently was Jason.. to everyone else..
there's no sense in getting angry and using foul mouthed language just because you cant defend your beliefs and points of view

Dani said...

Wow - this is an interesting conversation taking place.

I just want to add to the morality argument since I just wrote about it recently. (I'm sure this may have been addressed already, but here is goes anyway):

The Moral argument begins with the fact that all people recognize some moral code (that some things are right, and some things are wrong). Every time we argue over right and wrong we appeal to a higher law that we assume everyone is aware of, holds to, and is not free to arbitrarily change. Right and wrong imply a higher standard or law, and law requires a lawgiver. Because the Moral Law transcends humanity, this universal law requires a universal lawgiver. This, it is argued, is God.

Atheism provides no basis for morality, no hope, and no meaning for life. While this does not disprove atheism by itself, if the logical outworking of a belief system fails to account for what we instinctively know to be true it ought to be discarded. Without God there would be no objective basis for morality, no life, and no reason to live it. Yet all these things do exist, and so does God. Thus, the moral argument for the existence of God.

Read more here => What is the Moral argument for the existence of God?

---------------

In response to what Stardust said - nature (or your god, whatever you want to call it) aborts babies much more often than humans abort their own.

I beg to differ. Over 46 MILLION babies are aborted each year around the world by humans.

The loss of your children is devastating and tragic, and I cannot even begin to imagine the amount of grief you experienced. Going through such trauma would explain why you are so extremely bitter and hostile towards God, but you have to know that it is not God's will for innocent children to die. Like you said, sometimes shit just happens. Maybe if you actually believed in God He would hear your prayers?

Stardust said...

The loss of your children is devastating and tragic, and I cannot even begin to imagine the amount of grief you experienced. Going through such trauma would explain why you are so extremely bitter and hostile towards God, but you have to know that it is not God's will for innocent children to die.

Dani, you didn't know me back then or how strong my beliefs were when I was young.

My loss of belief came long after these incidents happened to me. As for your statement that it is not god's will for innocent children to die, just read your bible and there it is how your god orders the deaths of infants. Some xians feel that god did "take" my babies...I have been told that by a couple of very religious people. It's whatever version of xianity you want to make up for yourselves.

I am at peace now with the loss of my children, and no, I am not angry at an imaginary being for my losses. But I am angry at the doctors who were neglectful in my care that caused my problems. The iscarriage was due to doctors doing a shotty job of taking care of me after the loss of our first child. There is really a lot of doctor issues that are too long and personal to get into here.

Actually, what led me to realize there is no god is from going back to the university to get my Bachelors and then my Masters and studying anthropology, astronomy, world mythologies, Bible as Literature in a Social Context, World religions, sociology, Psychology (I minored in psychology), art history, Biology etc. Also what has helped me to realize xianity was not true is to have more than 40 penfriends from 25 different countries and at one time I had 80...I know people from all walks of life, from all kinds of belief systems and traditions and where people are born has a lot to do with what they believe.

I can to atheism from education, investigation and self-examination over a period of several years. My decision to reject god beliefs did not happen because I did not get something I wanted.

P.S. Why aren't you concerned with the millions of children who die around the world every day from hunger, abuse and neglect? If you are so concerned, why not spend your time speaking out about those issues of those children who will die without help if you are on a mission to save babies?

Stardust said...

That should say "I came to atheism from education, investigation "

Stardust said...

tommy - I see the trolls have found you. LOL! You are being bombarded...well, you wanted discussion! LOL!

as a non-bias reader of this blog..the only one that has made points and have backed up everything he said as well as answered every question raised to him intelligently was Jason..

I have seen this many times before, I think that you have a troll pretending to be multiple people in order to create agreement for himself/herself.

Stardust said...

Question for Dani (we are off on all kinds of tangents on a post thread about bumper stickers...but that happens sometimes at most blogs)...

I am not for abortion for myself and my own children have said they would never consider one for themselves, but they realize their responsibility if they do have a child unexpectedly, and they have the education and financial means to raise up a child properly.

No one has come up with a feasible solution of what to do with 46 million aborted babies if women are forced to have them. Who will raise them lovingly and provide for them in a way that they need to be cared for and loved? You might be able to force a woman to have a child, but you cannot force a woman to love the child or care for it properly. Then what happens to the child? They are abused, starve, neglected, and often die anyway.

Africa is a perfect example of what happens with uncontrolled pregnancies, and babies who cannot be provided for...they suffer and often die agonizing deaths from disease and starvation and many, if not most never make it beyond early childhood. I don't know the stats on that offhand, but I know the infant and child mortality rates in poverty stricken areas are too high.

It's an extremely complex problem, and forcing women to keep having babies is only going to compound the problem.

Biju said...

Stardust said:

"tommy - I see the trolls have found you. LOL! You are being bombarded...well, you wanted discussion! LOL!

as a non-bias reader of this blog..the only one that has made points and have backed up everything he said as well as answered every question raised to him intelligently was Jason..

I have seen this many times before, I think that you have a troll pretending to be multiple people in order to create agreement for himself/herself."

I am guessing that you are assuming that Jason is posting as other people to validate his statements. From what I read, he doesn't need others or for himself to make imaginary names to support his arguments. His statements can stand on their own because they are fundamentally sound.

Secondly, Tommy would be able to identify if it was Jason because most blogs allow you to see from what I.P. address or at least state that a person is commenting from so he could easily cast away your baseless accusations. Too bad you don't have any Information Technology training because that could have helped a little. However, based on what I have read from your posts, I doubt if it would have helped any.

You have proved that you can have a degree but no education. Please leave the talking to Tommy because his statements actually hold some weight.

bypasser said...

Stardust:

"I have seen this many times before, I think that you have a troll pretending to be multiple people in order to create agreement for himself/herself."


This being Tommy's blog, he can check to see if the commentors are the same people simply by looking at their IP addresses.
But thanks again for verifying what I initially stated about you:

a)you dont know what you are saying bc you dont understand the questions or what you are even arguing about
b)you have not uttered an intelligent syllable in any of your posts

Stardust said...

Too bad you don't have any Information Technology training because that could have helped a little.

For your information, I do understand Information Technology and have helped Tommy and others with questions concerning their blogs. I was a computer graphic artist for 15 years before changing fields but still do much at home. You have no idea about me or what I know. I must have written something that really riled you up.

I do have sitemeter on my blog and as a moderator at God is for Suckers, I do know how to find an IP address of readers, also town, service provider, etc. (My observation is that you trolls with no blog links of your own all came here at one time. Coincidence?)

(You haven't stated exactly what you find at fault in my responses to jason.)

Biju said...

Stardust,

Everyone on this blog debates in a peaceful manner. As someone else stated earlier, you are the only one hurling insults whenever you have nothing else to think of.

Everyone who is not an atheist is a troll? Just because someone does not agree with you 100% of the time does not make them a troll. I find it interesting that when left with nothing else you have to call names. Therefore, others like myself are responding to your negative tones.

You can learn something from Tommy. The way he handles himself with class.

You stated "(My observation is that you trolls with no blog links of your own all came here at one time. Coincidence?)"

Geez...I don't know...It's called the world wide web and apparently everyone in the whole world can access it. There is another weird coincidence. Whenever I tune my radio to 104.9 it grabs these frequencies from the air that apparently everyone is able to acquire and listen to. It's like magic. No wait...What a coincidence !!!

Sorry for the sarcasm. I hope to return this to a peaceful debate.

Stardust said...

Everyone on this blog debates in a peaceful manner.

biju - Perhaps you should re-read the entire comment thread...especially the posts by naomi, lynda, merchant of menace, atheist jew, sable chicken, big tex, bypasser and yours.

I think you just have a beef with me for whatever reason.

bypasser said...

(You haven't stated exactly what you find at fault in my responses to jason.)

Stardust:
You failed to answer any question posed to you by Jason regarding many things, the main one being objective morals and have come back with childish answers which may be sufficient for you, but for the real thinkers of the group, still leads us back to ground zero. I do not want to go back on the numerous posts of the both of you going back and forth on these issues. All I know is that a third person, James, had to come in to make things simpler for you and you still have not come back with anything of substance.
I will no longer be posting regarding this issue and will continue to be bypasser because I enjoy these debates for my personal knowledge. The only reason for my initial post was because I was frustrated that the theist point of view was not getting across to you.

So with that...Toodles!

Stardust said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Stardust said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Stardust said...

you failed to answer any question posed to you by Jason regarding many things, the main one being objective morals

biju/bypasser -- This is untrue. Re-read through the thread and you will see. I in fact provided a link to an excellent Austin Cline article that addresses the issue of Objective moralism. Sorry you chose not to read that. If you do wish to read it, the link is in an above comment.

I do not want to go back on the numerous posts of the both of you going back and forth on these issues. All I know is that a third person, James, had to come in to make things simpler for you and you still have not come back with anything of substance.

biju/bypasser - Why not go back and re-read? I did. When you say we have not come up with anything of substance, you mean we didn't come up with anything that would ever meet your satisfaction.

Tommy said...

Alright, thought I would chime in here for a moment.

Wrote Dani: "Atheism provides no basis for morality, no hope, and no meaning for life."

Dani, all atheism is is a disbelief in the existence of a supreme being. Atheism is not supposed to provide you with anything. My values come from the knowledge and wisdom that the human race has accumulated throughout recorded history, as I wrote in my post "Where My Values Come From".

My sense of hope simply comes from my optimistic nature. Interestingly, I became more optimistic after I became an atheist than before because when I was a Christian, I was always praying to God to give me strength or give me this or that. As an atheist, I put myself in the driver's seat and told myself, if I want to achieve this goal, what strategy can I devise or what changes can I make to achieve the goal. Today I am married to a beautiful wife, I have two beautiful and healthy children, I have a house, and we make enough money to pay our bills and then some. Life is tough at times, but we persevere through it.

James/Biju/Bypasser: I don't have a sitemeter, as I am not that advanced yet with this blogging stuff. But I can tell by reading your comments that you are one and the same. Please pick one identity to post under and stick to it. I may not have a sitemeter, but I do have the ability to delete comments. Consider that a gentle warning, because, as you have kindly noted, I have class.

Regards,

T.

Biju said...

Tommy,

I have no idea who James or bypasser are. I implore you to utilize the sitmeter and you will see that you're assumptions are false.

Tommy said...

I hope they are Biju. While Stardust is a lady who can handle herself, it seemed more than coincidental that several posters in a short period of time were complimentary of me while denigrating of her and while I do appreciate the kind words directed towards me, it did strike me as a little odd.

I have prided myself on maintaining an open comments policy here at Exercise in Futility, though there was one point where I was sorely tempted to go to comments moderation.

This blog is not meant to be an ego exercise for me but as a way of putting out there what I think and why and seeing what others have to say about it. While I of course reject Christianity, I am not about saying that Christians are stupid or anything like that. Heck, I was once a Christian (if you believe that Catholics are Christians) and I was not stupid then.

I have to head out of hear for home now, so everyone please play nicely in my playground this evening.

Cheers,

T.

Jason said...

Hey Tommy, Stardust, Biju/James/Bypasser,

Although I decided I would not respond for some time, I must confess that I found the suspense of what everyone else was thinking/discussing to be excruciating. Therefore, I decided to satisfy my inquiry, and have been following two seconds after I made that decision.

I would never consider myself as duplicitous, nor would want anyone else to arrive to that conclusion either. However, I also find it really coincidental that three people, who are not members of this blog, all responded when I decided not to say anything. In fact, I even thought, "Is that me?" (I'm only joking - please do not take his seriously. For contrary to popular opinion, I am not insane).

However, I will not be so presumptuous as to assume that Stardust was referring to me when she suggested that someone was parading around under multiple aliases - for she never mentioned anyone's name. Having said that, I would understand if people thought it was me - for such a suggestion would certainly be warranted, although we have varying writing styles. Nevertheless, to be quite honest, I could care less=).

In order to show that I have nothing to hide and have no problem respectfully voicing my opinion, except when in that same respect am asked to drop a topic, I will provide a link letting everyone know who I am. Kinda feels like the unveiling of Batman right? Okay, maybe more like Mighty Mouse. At any rate, I am a musician and I will use this opportunity to not only illustrate the fact that I have nothing to hide, but also to provide a shameful plug:

http://www.myspace.com/jasonjamesmusic

Tommy:

I just finished watching that link you posted. This was the first time I had even seen a clip of the show and seems really interesting. However, for some reason, I was not able to watch past 3 minutes, even though it said the clip was 7 minutes long. I found the initial statements by the asian lady, not sure what her name is, to be very thought-provoking. The question itself of why humans are worth preserving reminded me of something I read by Voltaire regarding our desire to desperately hold onto our lives no matter how tumultuous life may be.

"A hundred times I wished to kill myself, but my love of life persisted. This ridiculous weakness is perhaps one of the most fatal of our faults. For what could be more stupid than to go on carrying a burden that we always long to lay down? To loathe, and yet cling to, existence? In short, to cherish the serpent that devours us, until it has eaten our hearts?"

Although I would never align myself with this idea, or much of Voltaire's ideas for that matter, the link you provided reminded me of that statement. And...now I have run out of things to say.

Insert robotic/witty statement,

Jason

P.S. Biju/James/Bypasser - please say something after reading this; lest your magical disappearance provides the allusion that we are all the same. Say anything. I don't care what it is. You can say, "How now brown cow?" Just please say something. Thank you.

Jason said...

To Biju/Bypasser/James,

I do apologize for not mentioning this in my earlier comment. I certainly appreciate what you have said regarding my comments. If you are theists, which I presume you are, I know you weren't defending me as much as what we may affirm to be true. Once again, I appreciate the fact that all of us, even with dissenting opinions, have such an arena to discuss these topics.

Your alter-ego,

Jason

Sable Chicken said...

Oh my...can't we just all get along?
Hey Stardust did that atheist guy on youTube say our morals come from the Golden Rule...which is from the Bible, and the Bible goes back to the beginning.

Stardust said...

Hey Stardust did that atheist guy on youTube say our morals come from the Golden Rule...which is from the Bible, and the Bible goes back to the beginning.

sable, humans wrote the bible. If you want to believe it was god inspired, there is nothing wrong with that, but I do not believe a god is necessary in order for humans to have morals and respect for one another.

I believe that humans just wrote what they already knew they had to do in order for a civilized society to exist. Just like the writings of Confucious, and in other religious and philosophical texts, humans came up with guidlines to live by. Humans invent religions for things they do not understand. Humans use their religions and mythologies to teach important societal rules, principles and ideologies that are needed for members of a society to peacefully co-exist. There is no divine entity telling anyone this, it has been learned.

BigTex71 said...

If 'God' knows all that is, was, and will ever be... why is it that we have an Old Testament and a New Testament? Why didn't he get it right the first time? This has always confused me.

The 'God' of the Old Testament is a mean and primitive God. But in the New Testament he gets to be a more loving and forgiving God. Why? Why did he change his views? (Because those MEN in charge decided the Old Testament was way too harsh?)

And why not get a "New, Improved Testament" that is even more up-to-date to coincide with the many issues we face nowadays? (Isn't that what happened with the New Testament?) I'll tell you why: because then most people know that the Bible was not God's word and that someone or some group of people wrote it to guide and/or manipulate the followers to do what they think is the right way.

Jason, SableChicken, other Theists: Do you believe that Pat Robertson has conversations with God like he professes? I think he is nuts. If someone said they wrote a new Bible that was inspired by God... how many people would believe them? Not many in my opinion. So why do you believe in the New Testament or the Old Testament? I feel there is no way someone can believe both were 'written' (inspired) by the same God- as they are two totally different Gods.

How now brown cow?

BigTex71 said...

Another question for the theists:

I always loved to ask this question in Sunday School: Which came first, Adam and Eve or the caveman?

If you say Adam and Eve, did they look like Neanderthal man?

bypasser said...

I am only posting in response to Jason's request to ensure we are not the same person.
Toodles!

Stardust said...

I am only posting in response to Jason's request to ensure we are not the same person.

bypasser & all, maybe you aren't all the same people, but unless you have a link to your website, or unless tommy had a sitemeter, that is impossible to know for certain that you are not the same person.

bypasser said...

I'm sorry that I dont have a myspace account or a webpage of my own..I browse the internet when I get a chance at work and thats that.

Stardust said...

tommy - After checking my own sitemeter, I had a visitor who linked from here at Exercise in Futility yesterday evening around the same time Jason posted here, and this visitor is from Boston, Massachusetts, which is where Jason James is from. Therefore this leads me to believe that Jason is legit, unless he is posting under the other three names but looking at his well-written myspace website, I don't think he would do that. He seems too intelligent for those kind of kid games.

But I still believe that bypasser/james/biju (and maybe sable playing her name games again -- I said maybe) all 4 of those could very well be the same person since the writing style is very similar and they all seem to appear around the same time.

Jason said...

Hey Bigtex,

Even in the fact that you posed the question, you assumed for a moment that God existed. “Assuming God exists, why did He…?” Therefore, when attempting to answer this question, I kindly ask that you assume, for the moment, that God exists.

I apologize if I don’t understand your first question. Are you asking why God didn’t provide one book if He had exhaustive knowledge – knowledge of all that would be?

If that is your question, I think I may be able to propose an answer. Allow me to preface my answer with the following:

Accounts of Alexander the Great were only written 500 years after he died; yet we take it as fact. With a person as prominent as Julius Caesar, we only have one thing written on him. However, with the person of Jesus Christ, not only were things written within 30 years after His death, but we have literally thousands of documents written on him. So, when you hear about multiple “gospels, tombs, and documents” about Jesus, it only proves His impact. If you want to know the basis for rejecting or accepting texts/evidence, I can elaborate. If not, just know that there is no person in all of human history that has had the same impact as the person of Jesus Christ. Now, you may think the impact was negative – and you are within your rights to believe what you want. However, as C.S. Lewis suggests in Mere Christianity, He has only given us two options. We often hear about how people consider Jesus a “good teacher.” The truth is, Christ has not given us that option. This was someone who went around forgiving people’s sins when He wasn’t a party involved. Imagine if I forgave you for a fight you and your friends engaged in. This would have been the most absurd thing human ears would ever hear. He talked about how He was before Abraham and equated Himself with God. Now, when arriving to a conclusion about Him, we either spit in His face and call Him a madman for the things He said – or fall at His feet and worship Him. Let us not bring any of this nonsense about Him being a Good Teacher only, for He has not given us that option. It’s like calling David Koresh of Waco, a good teacher.

Since your question is in regards to why God didn’t just provide a comprehensive text in someone’s lap is probably for the sake of believability/credibility. Allow me to explain:

When you have religions, such as Islam, where they say one person received infallible inspiration from God, and that document is the only source of truth, most people say, “yeah right.” Imagine if I came to you and said, I am the last prophet and this is a book from God – I should not be surprised if you didn’t believe me. Now, consider the Bible. You have 66 books of multiple authors, written over the span of centuries, agreeing on 95% of what they say, and are without contradiction on the fundamental principles of Christianity. That is astounding. To have all of those eye-witnesses, experiences, authors, perspectives, from people who probably have no idea that their letters will be placed together, 66 books, over a span of over 1,000 years, to hold together the way it does – it truly is remarkable.

We may also do well to know that when God inspires, He does so without negating our humanity. There is a passage of text in the gospels where Jesus asks Peter who Peter thinks He is (Matt. 16). Peter responds by declaring Jesus as the Messiah, God’s Son. After this declaration, Jesus tells Peter that God is the One who has inspired him to see that. A few verses later, when Jesus is talking about His impending suffering and death, Peter rebukes Him – to which Jesus also rebukes Peter. The question that comes to mind then is, “In a world and time where everyone was wondering who this Jesus was, I thought Peter was inspired and had it figured out.” However, as I stated, when God inspires, He does so without negating our humanity. Early Jewish conception of the Messiah was someone who would liberate them from Government. When Peter is listening to Jesus talk about death, Peter can’t understand what that will accomplish if Jesus is their liberator. Peter was thinking about Roman liberation and not liberation from sin and death. Part of being a good interpreter of the text is discerning what is cultural and what absolute truth is. As you may tell by the many denominations in Christianity, we have dissenting opinions on this. However, we all stand firm on the fact that Jesus is the only way truth and life. We are saved by the grace of God alone.

Now, you may ask, “why would God worry about negating our humanity?” As I stated in an earlier comment, if God reveals Himself in all of His glory and splendor, not only would there be no faith, but who could resist Him? Implicit in the claim of love is freedom. If someone forces you to love or compels you beyond your control, it depreciates and lessens the value of that love. What makes love so beautiful is that the person, who is doing the loving, has freely chosen to do so.

Throughout scripture we will see that the culture of people is not negated. God will not arbitrarily impose His will upon ours, thus enabling our freedom and ability to love.

Your second question was in regards to the idea of why there seems to be two different representations of God in the Bible.

The idea that we have two different “Gods” is misguided from a Christian perspective. The New Testament contains books that primarily deal with the church; therefore, it should not be surprising if we don’t often see God’s wrath on sin. The Old Testament, however, is dealing with the sin of a nation over a span of 1,000 years. Therefore, we should not be surprised if we see God executing judgment. The reason you don’t see God in the same light is for the reason I mentioned, the New Testament does not deal with the constant sin of a nation – rather, it lays the foundation for the church. For our understanding, we should know that Jesus has satisfied God’s just wrath against sin; and if we only believe in Him, His perfection will cover our imperfection - and we will be saved.

Regarding the Adam, Eve, Caveman question:

I hope you do know that those pictures of “an evolving man” that you saw in school when learning about the theory of evolution, is only a drawing. There is no proof for such a person. In fact, I find it astounding how many people who affirm evolution have no understanding of its controversies – such as “The Cambrian Explosion” – or the missing links – or even the fact that there is no proof whatsoever, no not one, that a whale and a bat share the same ancestor. Even in regards to the origin of all things, the fact that most scientists believe the Universe had an origin. Science also affirms that something is either in a state of rest or is set in motion. Science will also say that what preceded the Bing Bang was a singularity – the point at which the laws of physics break down – thus making the starting point of the evolutionist just as unscientific. Science will also say this:

Regarding “the human enzyme (the building block of the gene, which is the building block of the cell) –

“The Possibility of the human enzyme coming together by random chance, said a professor of mathematics in Cardiff in Wales, the possibility is 1 in 10 to the power of 40,000 – more than the number of atoms in this Universe.” (from a talk by Ravi Zacharias). The possibility is virtually zero.

Lee Strobel, Journalist and author of Case for Creator, stated it this way –

“Now, whenever we see a written message, we know it has an intelligent source. If we see a book, if we see a newspaper, if we see a computer code, we know that kind of information has an intelligent source. It's logical to say that the kind of chemical alphabet that spells out the assembly directions in DNA also has an intelligent source. So if you're walking down a beach and you see ripples in the sand, you can logically conclude that was done by the action of the waves. But if you walk down the beach and you see "John Loves Mary" written in the sand with a heart around it and an arrow through it, you wouldn't presume the action of the waves created that information. Why? Because nature can produce patterns but it can't produce information. DNA is the most efficient information storage system in the universe. One teaspoon of pure DNA can hold all of the assembly instructions for every protein in all of the 1,000 million species of animals that have ever existed in the planet and have room left over for all the information of every book ever published.”

I state this only because we so often talk about evolution when completely unaware of its controversies and even the fact that an astounding number of scientists are rejecting the theory because there is too much evidence against it. You can read more about this in Lee Strobel’s “Case for Creator.” It is in the first few chapters.

The reason I say all of this is because it amazes me how human beings will see multiple people respond on a blog and come to the conclusion that it can’t be a coincidence; yet, when looking at the complexity of human beings and the universe itself, and the chances of such a thing is of astronomical proportions – we are certain it had to be a coincidence. I am not trying to impose my views – just stating them as everyone else has. We are all within our rights to believe whatever we want. Thank you for the discussion. I hope I have helped answer some of your questions. If not, let me know – and I’ll try my best at another attempt.

Your Theistic Friend,

Jason

Tommy said...

Jason, I'm going to have to pull rank here and tell you that if you want to post longwinded comments like your last one that you should start your own blog and invite us to visit and respond to what you have to say.

You are welcome to comment here, but try to keep it limited to three paragraphs or so. Your last comment was way too long.

Thank you for your cooperation.

Jason said...

Hey Tommy,

I apologize for the long comment. I have thought about starting my own blog; but interestingly enough, I don't think I'd have anything to say - to everyone's shock/relief, I'm sure. I'll definitely keep it to a maximum of three paragraphs.

Jason

Tommy said...

Because I am on my lunch break at work and it is near its end, so I only have a moment to rattle out a few responses to the substance of what Jason wrote.

The books of the Bible were not written over the course of a thousand years. Much of the OT was compiled between 550 B.C. and 100 B.C. The authors of the Gospels, who are unknown to us, were obviously familiar with the books of the OT, so there should be no surprise that there are references or allusions to the OT in the Gospels.

With respect to the historical reliability of the Gospels, we do not know who wrote them. As any historian will tell you, ancient sources are often imperfect and biased. The authors of the Gospels had agendas in writing and disseminating the texts, they had audiences in mind and so forth.

Interestingly, on my train ride to work this morning, I was reading a book about the Roman Emperor Nero. Allow me to quote a paragraph:

"Ancient historians typically invented speeches for their characters, not with any intention to deceive, but because it was a traditional part of the genre in an age where verbatim reporting, except of occasional brief aphorisms, was virtually unknown. It was a tradition started by the Greeks and which the Romans...simply followed as a matter of course. They used the skills derived from their training in rhetoric to express in their own style the gist of what an orator had tried to convey, without troubling about word-for-word accuracy. Tacitus, convinced of Nero's guilt and wanting to make his story more credible, saw nothing wrong in presenting his readers with a dramatic set-piece -involving Locusta and some animals on which she tried out her range of poisons - which must be more a tribute to his knowledge than to his knowledge of this particular historical event."

You see this sort of fanciful inventions in the Gospels. In Luke, there is a mention of John in the womb leaping for joy when his mom comes near to Mary carrying the unborn Jesus. Every pregnant woman finds themselves getting kicked by their unborn children. Heck, my son kicked my wife a lot when he was in the womb. A fetus, let alone a 6 month infant, is incapable of standing on their feet, so the idea that a fetus can "leap for joy" in a womb is ridiculous.

Tommy said...

Or you can at least break down your comments by the point you are making.

Tommy said...

Your examples of Alexander and Julius Caesar have been debunked many times Jason. There is correspondence between people who knew Caesar personally. One can study archaeological evidence to support the campaigns of Julius Caesar and Alexander. We know the generals who served under Alexander who founded successor states out of the wreckage of his empire such as Ptolemy in Egypt and Seleucus Nicator in Syria.

My break is over now, so I have to cut this off abruptly I regret. Will try to pick up tonight or maybe even start a new post if the time allows.

We know much more about the lives of Alexander and Julius Caesar than Jesus. With the latter, we are given fanciful stories surrounding his birth and lineage, a few snapshots of his early years and then fast forward he is preaching for a short period of time before allegedly being executed and resurrected from the dead.

Jason said...

Hey Tommy,

I want to make this clarification.

There are archaeological findings in Egypt that bear inscriptions discussing a great nation that once inhabited their land, which we would learn would be Israel. Therefore, although the books may have been compiled between 550 B.C. and 100 B.C., it doesn’t mean it was written during that time. Just as the books of the New Testament were compiled after the 2nd Century, yet our earliest texts date back to the 1st Century.

“…we do not know who wrote them. As any historian will tell you, ancient stories are often imperfect and biased.”

Actually, this is not entirely true. Although we don’t have texts saying, “Written by, published by,” we do have credible sources that tell who the authors are. The reason we find them to be credible is because the people that quote the texts, not only tell us who the author was, but also lived in the same century or shortly afterwards. Nevertheless, the fact that these authors, who had no idea that their writings would be compiled, whose writings agree without contradiction on the fundamental principles of Christianity, is astounding. You are right in that they had an audience in mind – often, letters to a church – which only asserts that they weren’t trying to make a “fool-proof” book. Interestingly enough, it stands as that regarding the fundamental principles of Christianity.

Final paragraph –

You are right in that they had an oral tradition in those days. Let us also remember how well a Jew would be able to commit things to memory. The oral tradition, and these letters that were in circulation, were committed to memory. They did not have a Bible. The fact that this was an oral tradition and that doctrine was formed based on the rise of heresy, only points to the fact that the oral tradition was consistent. For, how can we stand against heresy if there is dissent, and if people within the tradition have multiple “stories?”

Jason

Jason said...

Hey Tommy,

We may know things about Alexander the Great, but nothing was written until 500 years later - so much for credibility. Regarding the statement that we have more written on Caesar and our friend Alex than Jesus, that is simply not true. In my discipline, we are often look at historical accounts and ancient texts. You may have learned that by my explanation of the "Jesus Fish." As you said, I look forward to resuming this conversation with you.

Jason said...

Okay,

I just realized how stupid "the explanation of the Jesus Fish" statment sounded. I apologize for that. I suppose there is no way of proving that this is my discipline. As I have mentioned before, I really am not duplicitous. Well, I have a feeling that that won't be enough=).

In Honesty,

Jason

Sable Chicken said...

Tommy I have seen ultra sound pictures of a baby in the womb, before the baby got too big and had no room, and the baby was really leaping for joy! I am not jokeing. It looked like the baby was having fun. So whether or not you think it was a figure of speech...it is also possible.

James said...

I don't see why I'm put in the same category as Biju or Bypasser. I never said I was a theist. In fact, I thought my comment gave equal weight to both Tommy and James while at the same time commenting sarcastically on Stardust. There are things that Tommy says that challenge me as well as things Jason say that challenge me, and more recently Biju.

I live in Cleveland, TN 8 months out of the year(yes there is a Cleveland in TN)and in Philadelphia, PA 4 months out of the year but I have no clue how to prove it nor do I care to.

I want to get in on the bandwagon though so..umm...I think Naomi, Stardust, Merchant of Menace and...big tex are all the same people! How bout them apples? (I really don't think that...just wanted to get in on the fun).

I don't care to comment frequently because I have papers and exams and a body to shape for spring break but when I do get to read, it's cognitively stimulating.

Stardust said...

I think you just gave your little game away, "James"

James writes: "I never said I was a theist. In fact, I thought my comment gave equal weight to both Tommy and James while at the same time commenting sarcastically on Stardust."

Why would you, "James" write that you gave "equal weight to Tommy and James" if YOU are James? hmmmmm

Sable Chicken said...

Stardust
I was thinking that you were getting paranoid...but you make a good point. But really now...WHO cares, I think that you are so paranoid and dislike "xian trolls" so much that you think everyone is the same person. It is a big internet there could be more than 3 "xians".
Stardust by the way it so flames me to be called a "xian troll" and you KNOW IT. so anyway, I assume that I am not on your friend list of 80 people you have mapped out.
;)
YOu through around your "Lion Feed" bumper-sticker and than you wonder why CHRISTians don't have blogs....it's because they are smarter than me.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vgb8n1u3NcU&mode=related&search=

I have a video that I would like to share
Sorry for my rant

Stardust said...

Sable, that was a nice video, I like Enya's music. I am not going to get into a big debate with you about ID and "god did it" again. If you want to believe that, that is up to you. You know my views already. No sense arguing about it anymore.

It is interesting how humans find patterns of things they have seen before when looking at something else. When I was a little girl (and even do this now) I see patterns like human faces, monsters, etc in wood paneling, prints in cloth, rock formations and such. My husband finds images in the clouds such as horses running, eagles flying, etc. That was his big pastime when he was in the military as a young man -- he would watch the clouds and look for images.

We find things all the time that resemble things we have seen before. However, whatever way we look at it, the universe is awesomely beautiful.

BigTex71 said...

Jason,

I don't understand how you can state that there is no evidence of 'caveman'. Many fossils have been found of human (or human-like if you prefer) remains from times before when most theist scholars believe Adam and Eve would have been alive. Do you literally believe in the Adam and Eve story? What about Noah's Ark? Tommy had a post on this if I remember correctly.

As far as your explanation of the Old Testament vs New Testament: even if the NT is talking about the 'church' of God, now He seems to be all forgiving. But in the OT he is vindictive and comes across as somewhat evil. That makes no sense to me. And please don't try to say the Jeebus' death made God forgiving. Please.

You also stated some stuff about how God doesn't reveal himself because it would not allow free will. That's a major copout. We could still have free will if He were to reveal himself. What about the Bhuddists, Muslims, etc? Wouldn't that help 'save' these 'poor souls' who have no belief in the allmighty Jeebus?

What is your take on life in the galaxy besides just on Earth? What will you think if intelligent life is found on another planet? According to most Theists (from what I have gathered) is there is no other life out there. But then there is the copout that God created all the planets and He created other life besides here. Well why didn't he then tell us this in the Bible?

I don't mean to sound condescending in any way. These are just some questions I have.

Sable Chicken said...

BigTex71
Here is the thing, who do you think you are fooling? With your statement.

"I don't mean to sound condescending in any way. These are just some questions I have."

You are 35 years old man-child and you say things like "allmighty Jeebus?" Aren't you cute. You want answers and you want them right now!

It is time like right now that I feel like punks like you are doing your damnest to bring about God's wrath on the whole word. You add nothing but blasphemous lies and confussion to a hurting world. Yet God is still slow to anger.

BigTex71 said...

Sable,

Yes, I want answers and I want them now! I want the answers to make sense to me and be enough to show me the real truth- whether it is if God exists or not. I have prayed and prayed back when I was a devout Xian and NEVER got ANY answers to my prayers. What am I supposed to think? I think there is no God. So far I haven't been struck down... though I continually ask for it because that would be proof enough for me.

But... NOTHING!

So I am on a truth finding mission and so far all the evidence I have found points to there not being a God. If you believe there is, then good for you! I WANT there to be a God. I WANT there to be an afterlife. I WANT something to pray to that will actually give me SOME kind of response. But all of my conclusions have pointed me to there being no God.

If you can't deal with that (on an ATHEIST BLOG by the way), then maybe you should move along to the Xian blogs. I appreciate Jason and his intellectual approach to the discussion. But you are so blinded by your 'faith', I don't believe you have anything to contribute here.

bypasser said...

Stardust:
I wanted to leave a comment on ur blog to let u see where i was from but you dont accept commentors that do not have a blog, so I am telling you that I am in NYC..and will look at your blog shortly after I post this so you can stop thinking we are all the same person!
If James wants to do the same then maybe we can put these allegations to rest!

Jason said...

Hey Bigtex,

I never said we don’t have remains of people who have existed; rather, we have no evidence for that “evolving man.” As I mentioned in an earlier comment, when it comes to dating, carbon dating can only measure up to 60,000 years, if that. Everything you hear about things being “millions of years old” is nothing more than an educated guess.

I do believe in a literal Adam and Eve. I also believe in the actual Noah story. Nothing has disproved it, so why wouldn’t I? The assumption here is that these stories sound “unlikely,” or that “I do not have enough evidence to believe those claims.” It is normally questioned on these levels: likelihood and science/evidence.

Now, if we are going to be consistent, I have illustrated how the “likelihood” of a Universe or the human enzyme coming into existence by random is 1 in 10 to the power of 40,000 – more than the number of atoms in the Universe (Professor of Mathematics in Cardiff, Wales) – yet, evolutionists believe with certainty that it was a coincidence, though there is nothing more “unlikely.” As I have stated earlier, regarding evidence, scientists say that what precedes the Big Bang is a singularity – the point where the laws of physics break down; thus, providing the evolutionist with the same grounds that cannot be measured by science. Something else I pointed out earlier, even in the fact that if animals have evolved over millions of years, one could ask why we have no evidence whatsoever, through millions of years, of a bat and a whale sharing the same ancestor – no, not one.

The assumption is, “How can theists place their faith in lack of evidence?” However, it appears that that is what the atheist is forced to do as well.

I will attempt to address your other questions shortly.

Jason

Jason said...

Hey Bigtex,

Regarding the question “God’s Personality” –

I don’t know why you think what I said is a copout. Please keep in mind that these men who are writing these letters have no idea that their letters would be compiled. So when we read about Paul’s letter to the church in Rome, he probably isn’t thinking, “I have to provide an analysis of God that reveals every aspect of God’s personality.” He is dealing with issues that are specific to Rome. It’s like if I took a few of your emails to someone you love and said, “See this reveals nothing about Bigtex being angry – therefore, he never gets angry.” As stated earlier, the Old Testament frequently discusses God’s dealing with nation/worldwide sin. The New Testament, however, are “emails” to churches, written without knowing that they would be compiled as Scripture.

I know you found the discussion of God’s desire to respect our will to be a copout. I must say, I simply disagree. I don’t know how anyone would be able to resist a God who reveals Himself in His glory and splendor. When He revealed Himself in a way that no one would desire Him, we rejected Him. Remember, implicit in the claim of love is freedom. What makes love so beautiful is that is that the person who does the “loving” freely chooses to do so.

No answer I give, regarding your unanswered prayers, will satisfy you. I have mentioned earlier, when addressing questions that stem from painful experiences, people don’t want a cure, they want a painkiller. It’s almost as if in those moments, they don’t need a propositional answer as much as a Relational one. Although I cannot give an answer as to why your prayers weren’t answered in the way you expected, I do know that someone who believes in God must be willing to submit to His wisdom and goodness. I am not a Christian because every one of my prayers has been answered – in fact, many things in life didn’t turn out the way I expected. It isn’t “results” that hold me to my faith; rather, it is redemption. Every philosophy and world view will affirm the moral depravity of human beings – that something is wrong. It is that depravity that He has redeemed us from. The center upon which my life hinges is not a shifting hope for something – rather, it is upon the unchanging nature of Someone. The Cross stands as the ultimate expression of His undying and unfailing love. Will there ever be uncertainty? Absolutely. But uncertainty is the grounds upon which faith is born.

Regarding life on other planets –

I certainly have no problem believing that there is life on other planets. However, when asserting that, I would ask some questions. Is sin a capability? If so, does Christ’s life atone for them as well? You know - things like that. I find it interesting that you would raise this question. We are willing to entertain the idea that there is “intelligent life” outside of our world, except if that Intelligence is God. I appreciate your questions Bigtex. I hope I have shed some light on the issues.

Seeking with you,

Jason

Biju said...

Hey BigTex,

I am a Christian and have no problems hiding that from anyone on this blog. You have brought up very good questions some of which I have never thought about myself. I actually was looking forward to Jason's reply probably just as much as you.

I understand what Jason is saying concerning the OT and NT. The audience, circumstances and situations were completely different.

One fine day my two year old was acting every bit of the "terrible twos". If someone would have been watching us that day, they would see my wife and I continuously giving timeouts, lecturing, disciplining and etc. Now if someone were to describe my wife and I on that day, they would say we were completely hateful. That are actions are line with being hateful people or parents. However, you must understand that my judgment/discipline for my child were out of love and not hate. I discipline because I want what is best for my child.

My two year old was good yesterday so I heaped praise upon my child. I rewarded my child when I saw something positive such as cleaning up the toys and etc. Now my demeanor has not changed. I am still acting out of love. It is just in one instance I was disciplining out of love and the other instance I was rewarding out of love.

Now this is only an analogy and was the best I could think of. I think in the OT we see God's judgment but from my perspective it was out of love. It was him disciplining a nation in sin. His demeanor in the NT seems to have changed but it really hasn't. He is still acting out of love.

Two different times and set of circumstances.

Biju said...

I apologize for the grammatical errors. I was in a rush and did not have time to double check it.

Stardust said...

I wanted to leave a comment on ur blog to let u see where i was from but you dont accept commentors that do not have a blog, so I am telling you that I am in NYC.

bypasser/biju/james/jason....whoever you guy/guys/gal/gals are ....I really don't care anymore.

Biju said...

I just want to clarify one thing. I did not give the example of rewarding and disciplining my child as a reason for why we experience pain in our life. I cannot speak for God. I know there are have been painful experiences in my life and there have been many selfish prayers I threw up to God. In hindsight, I am thankful that he does not say yes to every prayer I've asked. Sometimes No is a legitimate answer even though I didn't like to hear it at the time.

My point was to illustrate that you can't take the old Testament and say "What a hateful God" and then look at the New Testament and say "What a loving God". We must look at the complete picture and understand the context of who, why and what was being written at the time.

That was my point. Not to give an explanation for our pain.

Biju said...

Once again...Sorry for the grammatical errors.

All doubts would be erased with a sitemeter and finally silence people who have nothing else to say.

BigTex71 said...

Jason,

I am surprised that you believe the Noah story is accurate. Have you ever thought about the impossibilities of the story? Tommy has some good blogs on this story if you look at the end of November in the blog. I also have read about how DNA evidence is incriminating against the Noah story. This information is found by other far more knowledgeable than me, so I hate to paraphrase. You really should look it up sometime.

This topic (Noah) entered my quest for truth a few years back. I went to several priests (I was raised Catholic) and posed the question of Noah and if it was literal. After discussion of all the scientific evidence against the story they all came to the conclusion that it was a parable and not literal. WOW, that really started my agnosticism motor.

I hate to keep rambling about the Noah story, since there is so much information already out there debunking it... I'm sure I would not do the subject justice.

BigTex71 said...

Biju,

Thanks for your attempt. But that really just makes me think "What an evil God." If the Old Testament is still an accurate portrayal of God that was not superseded by the New Testament, now I have moved several notches MORE towards atheism. I guess I was trying to give myself hope that the evil God of the Old Testament was an old, outdated story.

BigTex71 said...

Jason,

God is the perfect being, correct? All-knowing? Then He would have known that his creation of Man would be a failure... but he cannot fail because he is the perfect being. He would have known that free will would be the thing that makes Man sin. I just think that free will is the ultimate cop out, because how else would Xians explain their way out of the catch-22 of the perfect being NOT being perfect.

I look forward to you exhaustively lengthy replies. :)

James said...

"Why would you, "James" write that you gave "equal weight to Tommy and James" if YOU are James? hmmmm"

Oh wow. You caught me Stardust. I am Jason...no wait...I am Bypasser. No wait, I'm lying guys. I'm going to reveal my identity right now...I'm Stardust! I'm actually a christian posing as an athiest posing as a christian posing as an athiest posing as a hypocritical athiest. You caught me...or wait...I mean...I caught myself.

Seriously though, it was a mis-type. Jason's name is (according to his myspace) Jason James (he has two first names)...my name is None-of-your-business ("of-your" is my middle name)...but I use the name James as my alias. I promise to proof read my text in the future stardust.

James said...

"bypasser/biju/james/jason....whoever you guy/guys/gal/gals are ....I really don't care anymore."

Stardust/Naomi/lynda/trista...whoever you gals/guys/aliens/half-human, half-robot/ are...I don't care anymore either

James said...

Sable Chicken, you're like the christian version of Stardust.

Jason said...

Hey Bigtex,

Anytime you hear someone say “scholars say” be very cautious. Often times when someone says that, it may be that there is a great consensus among prominent scholars. Other times, it may be a handful of scholars that are looking to publish a book. This is sad but true.

There are times when people come out with “new discoveries” and will name a scientist or scholar who agrees when the vast majority of them will disagree. This applies to everything. For example, I’m sure you have heard about the Gospel of Thomas. I remember when people first started talking about it, as if it was a “new discovery.” People were wondering if it caused problems for Christianity. However, among historians and scholars of Biblical studies, there was no doubt that it was pseudepigrapha (false writings). Not only was the text dated to be written in the late 2nd century, authorship was obviously not Thomas or anyone who lived close to the time of Christ, the letter was not in circulation among the church, no outside sources affirmed its credibility. Although historians and scholars knew of this, the general public did not because a handful of scholars wanted some attention. This was the case with the Gospel of Judas and the “new tomb of Jesus.”

To my knowledge, at least in the years that I’ve been studying, there is no consensus that the Flood did not happen. I have not read credible academic sources by scholars that suggest such. Now, it may not always be a majority verses a minority. Sometimes it is split. Either way, a split consensus is still not conclusive. As far as I’m concerned, the flood still happened. Now, if you want to discuss believing things despite the unlikelihood, see my earlier comment regarding the formation of the human enzyme and universe. I’ll address your other comments in a moment.

Be back after these messages,

Jason

Jason said...

Hey Bigtex,

The question of why God would create knowing that there would be a risk of people sinning is something I addressed earlier. I don’t see how believing in “free-will” is a copout. Just because humans are morally flawed and have abused their freedom does not mean God is imperfect. I don’t see the logical association. You said, “He would have known that free-will is what made them sin.” Yet, He would also know that it would be free will that enables them to love. Do you think a man should deprive his wife of freedom just so that they may have “the perfect marriage?” I suppose if he did, the value of that love would be depreciated – in fact, it wouldn’t be love at all. God saw that a world where people have the freedom to choose to love was the best possible world.

This also has a lot to do with the fact that we don’t fully understand how “one good” or “one who chooses to love” outweighs all the evil in the world. The analogy I gave earlier is about how we make similar decisions. When having children, we choose to bring a child into a morally decadent world where the odds of the child being a devil are much greater than the odds of the child becoming good. We choose to bring a child that will be completely free to obey or disobey. Knowing there is even the slightest chance that that child will be miserable, depressed, lonely, or suicidal, we still choose to have children. It’s not that we get married and think, “let us be fruitful and multiply so that the human race will continue.” Rather, it’s almost as if we want to see our own reflection, or “image” – a product of our love. When having children, it’s almost as if the thought of the child flourishing as a human being is greater than the fears that the child won’t.

Many people object here and say, “That’s different. I don’t know my child’s future. God knows our future and still decided to make us.” This is why I said we don’t know how valuable “one good” is in God’s eyes. We are certainly not as objective as Him. If you had foreknowledge that your child would be depressed, lonely, and miserable – you may decide not to have the child. However, what if you knew that through that child, your grandchild would have come up with the cure to cancer or aids? Would you still have the child? When considering that “one good” outweighs the evils of this world, we can begin to see how the righteousness of One covered the sins of all who ever lived, is living, and will ever live.

I’ll be right back and address your final comment,

Jason

Jason said...

Hey Bigtex,

I know that you have problems with how you perceive the Old Testament to have portrayed God. Now, I can offer a number of things that people have said, such as:

1) We have to understand that the writers were writing under a certain theology and were attributing everything to God.
2) The reason God’s commands sound harsh is because we don’t understand sin the way that God does. We also don’t know of all the moral depravity of other nations. We now know that the people of Canaan were cannibalistic. If we had more insight, it would make sense.

However, not only am I not going to provide those 2 things as solutions, I’m not going to be an advocate of any other explanation – for I don’t think that is the heart of the problem. Once again, I don’t think you are looking for a propositional answer. I think you just have trouble believing that God would be “evil” regardless of whether you saw it in a book or in everyday life. You essentially bring up an interesting form of “the problem of evil” – “How can God allow evil or be so evil? There can’t be such a God.”

Now, I will use what apologists like C.S. Lewis and Ravi Zacharias have said to address this issue. I submit to you that when you use “God is evil” as a reason to deny His existence, your argument self-destructs. Allow me to explain:

You can’t call a line “crooked” unless you know what a “straight” line looks like. If I was drawing a line and you called it “crooked,” that would only imply that you have an understanding of what a “straight” line looks like. If someone were to deny that there is a standard “straight line,” that would mean that there is no such thing as a “crooked” line either. How can we suggest that a line is crooked unless we know what a straight one looks like?

Then some say “What is straight is relative to our time and context. One of these days, crooked lines may be called straight and straight lines may really be called crooked.”

That would mean that if we have any criticism against the line, it is only relative to our time and perspective. The things we think are “crooked” (evil) of God may one day be considered “straight” (good). Or, the things that God did that we thought were “crooked” (evil) back in the Old Testament were actually “straight” (good) in their time. You see what we have done? We essentially end up saying that there is no absolute thing as a “straight” line (good). And if there is no such thing as “straight” (good), there is no measure by which we can call something “crooked” (evil). And if there is no such thing as crooked (evil), what are we criticizing God of?

The question then is, “Can I believe in straight lines or an absolute standard of good without God?” I don’t see how one logically can. Normally atheists are evolutionary moralists – suggesting that what we call straight or good may be crooked or evil years from now. Although I am not an atheist and would hate to speak on behalf of them, I presume that the reason that they do this is because from a naturalistic perspective, we are all the products of an explosion. There is nothing that transcends us – no moral law, good, or standard of “what a straight line looks like.” We are the masters of our own destiny – creators of all that we see, even morality. We are the ones who determine what a straight line (morality) looks like. Therefore, there is no absolute transcending standard of good (straight), which means there is no standard by which we can call something evil (crooked), which means we have no valid critique against God.

Once again, I appreciate your questions. I hope I have provided some clarity on the issue.

Seeking with you,

Jason

Sable Chicken said...

Oh no...sweet sassy....
I'm like the christian version of Stardust?
...that is really bad.
I'm sorry, I think that I have been reading atheist blogs for so long, I think that I may have gotten stuck in a rut, and landed into a ditch. I'm sorry that I have been in a piss poor mood lately. The atheist persective of how things should be is just depressing me. I actually stoped reading Tommy's blog for a while, not because of Tommy but because I just think I have had an over exposure to blasphemy. Tommy's blog has really been not to bad, in that way. When BigTex asked questions worthy of answers, but does it in a way that insults and blasphemes...it is a hallmark of the same thing I have seen over and over again. But Jason is doing a great job.

BigTex says that he has asked God to show him a miraculous sign. I did that too, and God didn't answer me in a way I wanted Him to. So I decided that the only way to get what I wanted out of life was to become an atheist and forget about God. You see I wanted the kind of sign that was really cool, or something that I could tell others about and they would have no doubt. But I did not have any idea about what I was really asking God.

So BigTex, out of the blue on my way to great worldly success, God struck me down. And He did it in a way that was personal and very elaborate. Like dominos. If events happen that are like dominos, three, four or five in a row. I can convince myself that it was pure chance that things happened the way they did. But it something else when there are maybe 30 or more things that are set up to create a great fall within days of one another.

Let me use the movie The Wizard of Oz, as an analogy for what I am trying to explain. My life was picked up, dropped down, striped away from me. Than almost as miraculously it was all put back into place...as if it was just a bad dream, but it was real ! The thing is I could never really talk about the events that happened to me with any of my friends or family, because they played a part of it and wished it would have never happened.
Anyway I had changed completely, but I had to pretend for everyone else sake that it was no big deal. I wanted for the first time in my life to understand the Bible, this desire was put in me by God...I have no other way of explaining this desire.
So anyway if you look up what the Bible says about asking for a miraculous sign, Jesus is very clear about what kind of people ask for a miraculous sign. They are wicked and adulterous. That was a real shocker the first time I read that, because I was not wicked or adulterous by human standard. Jesus also said, that no sign would be giving but the sign of the prophet Jonah. That seemed pretty clear to me, because the whole dominos event seemed just as unlikely as being kept alive in a belly of a big fish.

Anyway my personal testamony is nothing, the whole story points to Jesus Christ and what He did for us. BigTex I hope you are able to see the signs of Gods presents.

I better stop before Tommy puts me on comment restriction.

(sorry about the poor spelling and all......)

BigTex71 said...

Jason,
Well, I know what my personal view of good and evil is. I will admit that most of my values and beliefs of good and evil came from my Catholic upbringing. But I have a major problem with God not following his own commandments. One major case in point: God murdered the entire population of earth except one man, his wife, and two kids (if you believe the Noah story.) Were Noah and family the ONLY good people on the face of the planet? I have a hard time believing that to be the case. And even so, THOU SHALL NOT KILL. WTF.

There are several other instances, but this is one of my most extreme examples. BTW, DNA evidence shows that there is no possible way that the different DNA types found in modern man could be traced back to one strand from Noah and his wife (remember that his children would have his DNA.)

I am interested in how you explain different races of people if we all came from Noah (or Adam and Eve even.) Some people claim being in different climates and regions caused the differences. I would say that COULD be possible, but would take millions of years for the species to change like that... that is not something that would happen overnight.

Tommy- I am sorry that I am causing all these extra posts here. Maybe Jason will start his own blog and I will go there to ask him further questions, as I do find his conversation somewhat stimulating. You two are both excellent debaters/discussionists.

Tommy said...

It's alright Bigtex. Regarding your Noah question, see my post "The Tell of Us All" in my December archive about the National Geographic's Genographic Project.

It's been hard to find time to do new posts lately. I have a couple in mind for this week. I actually started on one, but when I did a little checking up, I found that the columnist whom I was relying on did not tell the full story. You will see what I mean soon.

Jason said...

Hey Bigtex,

Regarding DNA, let us remember that there were people who lived before Noah and his wife. Their DNA also came from people who lived before them. Now, if your critique is how two people like Adam and Eve can be the source of all the different types of DNA, we would do well to remember that no two of us have exactly the same kind of DNA. This would provide room for variation. Let us also remember that people were living to see their 900th birthday. So, when we talk about having time for nuances and change, one person’s lifetime alone could cover nearly a thousand years.

The long lives of individuals are something that we should keep in mind when discussing the rise of different races. As mentioned earlier, most people would not die before seeing half a millennium. Although nothing is conclusive, I can offer what some have suggested would be the origin of the different races. Now, there are primarily three classifications of races – in no specific order, of course: Caucasian, Negro, and Mongol. Some have suggested that it started with Shem, Ham, and Japheth who settled in different parts of the land. However, I don’t know if a Christian is in trouble if he/she doesn’t align him/herself with this view. There could have been variations in people’s attributes before Noah. The Bible isn’t specific about it. As you suggested, that is not something that would probably happen overnight. I don’t see why theists would feel compelled to disagree either.

Regarding “Thou shall not kill” –

When studying theology, you normally begin with an introduction that discusses theological language and how everything we know of God is an analogy. In my earlier comment, I had discussed how we cannot fully comprehend the gravity of sin in God’s eyes – for perhaps no analogy can quite grasp it. Although we can see the effects of sin, a morally decadent world, we still fall short of fully understanding it. Often times we wonder what the big deal is. This has a lot to do with the disparity between our thinking and God’s. There is a great chasm of understanding – perhaps much like a dog and his owner.

I have a little Jack Russell named Diesel. There have been numerous occasions where I would be typing something important at 2am on my laptop; and he would come and he hit the power strip, causing me to lose all of my work before I could save it. I normally get up and scream, “Diesel!!!” As you would assume, he goes into a corner and tucks his tail – for he knows that he just did something wrong. Now, although he knows that he just made some sort of mistake, he really has no idea what he has just done – nor will he ever understand the gravity of his action. I imagine that’s how it is with us sometimes as we vastly oversimplify our sins. We tuck our tails and experience our guilt while I imagine God saying – “You have no idea what you have just done.”

We know that He is the exemplification of perfection and cannot look upon sin. Therefore, in his justice, He acts. God is no guiltier of murder than a judge who sentences someone to death. Murder is a malicious act that is done with ulterior motives. God acts from a disposition of justice. The place where we get a glimpse of the gravity of sin in God’s eyes is not when God is decreeing justice in the Old Testament; rather, it is when we see Christ on the Cross. What speaks volumes to me about the severity of our sin is not when I see wars in the Old Testament; rather, it is when I see the depth of His sacrifice and how He would stop at no cost to reconcile us to Himself.

I’ll be back to address your final comment,

Jason

Jason said...

Hey Bigtex,

You raised a question about Noah being the only “righteous” person in all of the land. I don’t have difficulty believing that all of the people in Noah’s time were sinful. What I have trouble believing is when someone suggests that Noah was without sin. Now, if there is something that the Bible is clear about regarding human history, it is the fact that all have fallen short of God’s glory (Rom. 3:23). Noah, nor anyone else, would be an exception to this. We know that the only way someone can be righteous in God’s eyes is through faith – for “even our righteousness is like filthy rags to the Lord” (Isa. 64). We know that Abraham was counted as righteous because of His faith. People in the Bible are far from perfect. When they believe, they wear the righteousness of God. That is why no one can be saved in their own merit. It is only by the grace of God through faith. For anyone who believes in their heart and confesses with their mouth, they shall be saved. It is not some strict adherence to the law – for that would only make us a “Pharisee.” It is coming just as we are, admitting our need for a Savior, and receiving His gift of grace through faith.

Although I don’t mind discussing how things can be explained in a rational or naturalistic way, I want to make sure we don’t move away from faith. You don’t need to call on scientists and scholars to say, “We have no scientific evidence proving there was a flood.” If that is what you want to do, there are several other cases – the Bible even talks about a talking donkey. You can skip the flood and go right to saying, “Nothing in science has indicated that a donkey can speak intelligently.” That is why I’m suggesting that when reading His word, there will be an element of faith. However, this does not have to be misguided faith – it is faith rooted in the power and nature of God.

The reason I wanted to show how the argument, “God is evil/unjust; therefore, there is no God,” as one that self-destructs is because if we establish that there is a God, then we can discuss the Bible within that understanding and framework. Someone once said, “If I can believe in the beginning God, I can believe whatever else it has to say.” Establishing that there is a God will help us in better understanding His word. As I mentioned last night, if we don’t affirm an absolute good (straight), there is no such thing as evil (crooked), which means we really aren’t criticizing God of anything valid. You stated that you obtained your ideas of “good and evil” from your Catholic heritage. The question you have to answer is whether or not your moral values are absolute - if there is such a thing as a standard good (straight). From an atheistic naturalistic perspective, the only way we would obtain an absolute moral law of how we ought to live, is if it was part of the debris when the Big Bang occurred. Since most of them do not affirm that, they suggest that morals evolve – what is straight or good today may be crooked or evil later. What is crooked or evil today, may be straight or good years from now. As I stated last night, from a naturalistic perspective, we are the products of an explosion, the creators of our own destiny, and the makers of what we call morality. From that perspective, there can be no absolute good (straight), which means that we cannot call anything crooked (evil), which means we have no valid critique against God. If we can affirm this, then we can move on to what His word says.

As always, seeking with you,

Jason

P.S. Tommy, I apologize to you as well, for allowing us to comment so much on your blog. However, I do appreciate your willingness to let us discuss these topics.

Jason said...

To anyone who can help,

I finally decided that I would stop being so rude as to fill Tommy's blog with my ideas. I want to start a blog, but do not know exactly what I have to do. Any direction will be greatly appreciated. Once again, I apologize Tommy. Thank you for the thought-provoking discussions.

Jason

Tommy said...

Jason, just click on create blog. It will walk you through the steps of setting up an account and creating your blog. If you run into any difficulties, I am sure Jesus will help you get through the experience. Good luck.

Jason said...

It is official. I have my own blog - now if only I can think of something to say. Thanks for your assistance, Tommy. To my atheist friends, please feel free to make me regret my decision to start a blog=). My address:

uponfurtherexamination.blogspot.com

To Tommy,

I was going to wait for an explosion to create my account, but realized it would take intelligence=). It's been real.

Jason

James said...

Wow. That was a great end. I personally haven't concluded on anything but from those debates it seems, to me anyways, Jason sorta kinda got the edge. I know that'll get some people angry. It was an amazing debate though and I hope I get to see more.

BigTex71 said...

James,
I wouldn't call it a debate. I had questions, Jason provided his views of the answers. He brought up thinking points, but not all of them are valid to me. I am sure I will be getting mileage out of my keyboard upon visiting his blog in the future.

I still think it is murder, though. Think of all the innocent people put to death because either they were brought up in the way they were, or never heard of the Adam and Eve story and others because there was no bible back then. It sounds as though we were on our own with no literature of God(since I am sure most could not read or write anyway.)

I believe our morals as a whole have increased since the days of the Old Testament, and New Testament. We as a people keep learning and educating ourselves. This brings about new morals. The Old Testamnet talked of treating women badly and having slaves, etc. Why didn't God say back then that it was wrong to treat others in that way. Shouldn't it have reiterated the fact to treat others (even women or slaves) as you would want to be treated? I am sure there are many, many other instancess similar to this in the Old Testament.

So doea God REALLY want us to treat women like that? Does he REALLY want us to have slaves? I think not! Or I guess I am seriously whacked in the head and feel I am therefore a superior being than God. Wait... I am being stuck down as I type...


NOT!

Still seeking the truth...

Tommy said...

Well James, my life hardly revolves around whether a total stranger thinks I won or lost a debate with someone. But thank you for your comments.

About ten years ago, I was involved with the Tibetan rights movement. The last rally I attended was here in NYC outside of a building where the Chinese official Zhu Rongji was making an appearance. Just a few feet away from the northern end of where we were cordoned, there were a handful of pro-Chinese government demonstrators. Oddly, I don't recall any of them being Asian, one perhaps, and they were mostly white with maybe one black. I heard from someone they were Larouchies. I was surprised to hear that there still were any of them left.

Anyway, several of the Tibetan men congregated at the end of the cordon near where these pro-China demonstrators were, and started shouting at them and taunting them. Within less than half and hour, the pro-China demonstrators packed up and went away. Then I saw one of the Tibetan men, a short and stocky fellow, start jumping up and down for joy shouting "WE WON! WE WON!"

As I was watching this man revelling in his "victory", I felt like asking him "What exactly did you "win"? China still occupies Tibet and your fellow Tibetans still suffer under the occupation. You didn't win anything."

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