AuthorTopic: Religionís smart-people problem: The shaky foundations of absolute faith  (Read 71834 times)

Offline Ashvin

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Re: Religionís smart-people problem: The shaky foundations of absolute faith
« Reply #15 on: January 11, 2015, 06:55:36 PM »
Should you believe in a God? Not according to most academic philosophers. A comprehensive survey revealed that only about 14 percent of English speaking professional philosophers are theists.  As for what little religious belief remains among their colleagues, most professional philosophers regard it as a strange aberration among otherwise intelligent people. Among scientists the situation is much the same. Surveys of the members of the National Academy of Sciences, composed of the most prestigious scientists in the world, show that religious belief among them is practically nonexistent, about 7 percent.

Now nothing definitely follows about the truth of a belief from what the majority of philosophers or scientists think. But such facts might cause believers discomfort. There has been a dramatic change in the last few centuries in the proportion of believers among the highly educated in the Western world. In the European Middle Ages belief in a God was ubiquitous, while today it is rare among the intelligentsia. This change occurred primarily because of the rise of modern science and a consensus among philosophers that arguments for the existence of gods, souls, afterlife and the like were unconvincing. Still, despite the view of professional philosophers and world-class scientists, religious beliefs have a universal appeal. What explains this?

Yeah, the article should really go on to explain in detail how these surveys were conducted. Because, listening to religious philosophers and theologians who detail their arguments meticulously, on the face of it, the latest developments in philosophy, history and science are all leaning towards a spiritual rather than materialist worldview. So perhaps we don't need any "explanation" for why belief in God is waning away among the "intelligentsia"... because...IT'S NOT. And the explanation for why its still so prevalent among most people in the world... well, because its impossible for most people to escape this most obvious reality throughout all of human history.
« Last Edit: January 11, 2015, 06:59:09 PM by Ashvin »

Offline RE

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Re: Religionís smart-people problem: The shaky foundations of absolute faith
« Reply #16 on: January 11, 2015, 07:05:18 PM »
Yeah, the article should really go on to explain in detail how these surveys were conducted. Because, listening to religious philosophers and theologians who detail their arguments meticulously, on the face of it, the latest developments in philosophy, history and science are all leaning towards a spiritual rather than materialist worldview. So perhaps we don't need any "explanation" for why belief in God is waning away among the "intelligentsia"... because...IT'S NOT. And the explanation for why its still so prevalent among most people in the world... well, because its impossible for most people to escape this most obvious reality throughout all of human history.

WATSON!  YOU'RE ALIVE!

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Offline Ashvin

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Re: Religionís smart-people problem: The shaky foundations of absolute faith
« Reply #17 on: January 12, 2015, 02:59:49 PM »
WATSON!  YOU'RE ALIVE!

Nice 2 C U.  :icon_sunny:

RE

Thanks. Most people (and online forums) don't have an interest for philosophical or theological discussion, so you can always count on me to drop in here every once in awhile.

Offline knarf

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Why the Christian God is Impossible
« Reply #18 on: January 12, 2015, 03:16:16 PM »
by Chad Docterman

Introduction
 
    Christians consider the existence of their God to be an obvious truth that no sane man could deny. I strongly disagree with this assumption not only because evidence for the existence of this presumably ubiquitous yet invisible God is lacking, but because the very nature Christians attribute to this God is self-contradictory.
 

Proving a Universal Negative
 
    It is taken for granted by Christians, as well as many atheists, that a universal negative cannot be proven. In this case, that universal negative is the statement that the Christian God does not exist. One would have to have omniscience, they say, in order to prove that anything does not exist. I disagree with this position, however, because omniscience is not needed in order to prove that a thing whose nature is a self-contradiction cannot, and therefore does not exist.
 
    I do not need a complete knowledge of the universe to prove to you that cubic spheres do not exist. Such objects have mutually-exclusive attributes which would render their existence impossible. For example, a cube, by definition, has 8 corners, while a sphere has none. These properties are completely incompatible: they cannot be held simultaneously by the same object. It is my intent to show that the supposed properties of the Christian God Yahweh, like those of a cubic sphere, are incompatible, and by so doing, to show Yahweh's existence to be an impossibility.
 

Defining YHWH
 
    Before we can discuss the existence of a thing, we must define it. Christians have endowed their God with all of the following attributes: He is eternal, all-powerful, and created everything. He created all the laws of nature and can change anything by an act of will. He is all-good, all-loving, and perfectly just. He is a personal God who experiences all of the emotions a human does. He is all-knowing. He sees everything past and future.
God's creation was originally perfect, but humans, by disobeying him, brought imperfection into the world. Humans are evil and sinful, and must suffer in this world because of their sinfulness. God gives humans the opportunity to accept forgiveness for their sin, and all who do will be rewarded with eternal bliss in heaven, but while they are on earth, they must suffer for his sake. All humans who choose not to accept this forgiveness must go to hell and be tormented for eternity.
 
    One Bible verse which Christians are fond of quoting says that atheists are fools. I intend to show that the above concepts of God are completely incompatible and so reveal the impossibility of all of them being true. Who is the fool? The fool is the one who believes impossible things and calls them divine mysteries.
 

Perfection Seeks Even More Perfection
 
    What did God do during that eternity before he created everything? If God was all that existed back then, what disturbed the eternal equilibrium and compelled him to create? Was he bored? Was he lonely? God is supposed to be perfect. If something is perfect, it is complete--it needs nothing else. We humans engage in activities because we are pursuing that elusive perfection, because there is disequilibrium caused by a difference between what we are and what we want to be. If God is perfect, there can be no disequilibrium. There is nothing he needs, nothing he desires, and nothing he must or will do. A God who is perfect does nothing except exist. A perfect creator God is impossible.
 

Perfection Begets Imperfection
 
    But, for the sake of argument, let's continue. Let us suppose that this perfect God did create the universe. Humans were the crown of his creation, since they were created in God's image and have the ability to make decisions. However, these humans spoiled the original perfection by choosing to disobey God.
 
    What!? If something is perfect, nothing imperfect can come from it. Someone once said that bad fruit cannot come from a good tree, and yet this "perfect" God created a "perfect" universe which was rendered imperfect by the "perfect" humans. The ultimate source of imperfection is God. What is perfect cannot become imperfect, so humans must have been created imperfect. What is perfect cannot create anything imperfect, so God must be imperfect to have created these imperfect humans. A perfect God who creates imperfect humans is impossible.
 

The Freewill Argument
 
    The Christians' objection to this argument involves freewill. They say that a being must have freewill to be happy. The omnibenevolent God did not wish to create robots, so he gave humans freewill to enable them to experience love and happiness. But the humans used this freewill to choose evil, and introduced imperfection into God's originally perfect universe. God had no control over this decision, so the blame for our imperfect universe is on the humans, not God.
 
    Here is why the argument is weak. First, if God is omnipotent, then the assumption that freewill is necessary for happiness is false. If God could make it a rule that only beings with freewill may experience happiness, then he could just as easily have made it a rule that only robots may experience happiness. The latter option is clearly superior, since perfect robots will never make decisions which could render them or their creator unhappy, whereas beings with freewill could. A perfect and omnipotent God who creates beings capable of ruining their own happiness is impossible.
 
    Second, even if we were to allow the necessity of freewill for happiness, God could have created humans with freewill who did not have the ability to choose evil, but to choose between several good options.
Third, God supposedly has freewill, and yet he does not make imperfect decisions. If humans are miniature images of God, our decisions should likewise be perfect. Also, the occupants of heaven, who presumably must have freewill to be happy, will never use that freewill to make imperfect decisions. Why would the originally perfect humans do differently?
 
    The point remains: the presence of imperfections in the universe disproves the supposed perfection of its creator.
 

All-good God Knowingly Creates Future Suffering
 
    God is omniscient. When he created the universe, he saw the sufferings which humans would endure as a result of the sin of those original humans. He heard the screams of the damned. Surely he would have known that it would have been better for those humans to never have been born (in fact, the Bible says this very thing), and surely this all-compassionate deity would have foregone the creation of a universe destined to imperfection in which many of the humans were doomed to eternal suffering. A perfectly compassionate being who creates beings which he knows are doomed to suffer is impossible.
 

Infinite Punishment for Finite Sins
 
    God is perfectly just, and yet he sentences the imperfect humans he created to infinite suffering in hell for finite sins. Clearly, a limited offense does not warrant unlimited punishment. God's sentencing of the imperfect humans to an eternity in hell for a mere mortal lifetime of sin is infinitely more unjust than this punishment. The absurd injustice of this infinite punishment is even greater when we consider that the ultimate source of human imperfection is the God who created them. A perfectly just God who sentences his imperfect creation to infinite punishment for finite sins is impossible.
 

Belief More Important Than Action
 
    Consider all of the people who live in the remote regions of the world who have never even heard the "gospel" of Jesus Christ. Consider the people who have naturally adhered to the religion of their parents and nation as they had been taught to do since birth. If we are to believe the Christians, all of these people will perish in the eternal fire for not believing in Jesus. It does not matter how just, kind, and generous they have been with their fellow humans during their lifetime: if they do not accept the gospel of Jesus, they are condemned. No just God would ever judge a man by his beliefs rather than his actions.
 

Perfection's Imperfect Revelation
 
    The Bible is supposedly God's perfect Word. It contains instructions to humankind for avoiding the eternal fires of hell. How wonderful and kind of this God to provide us with this means of overcoming the problems for which he is ultimately responsible! The all-powerful God could have, by a mere act of will, eliminated all of the problems we humans must endure, but instead, in his infinite wisdom, he has opted to offer this indecipherable amalgam of books which is the Bible as a means for avoiding the hell which he has prepared for us. The perfect God has decided to reveal his wishes in this imperfect work, written in the imperfect language of imperfect man, translated, copied, interpreted, voted on, and related by imperfect man.
 
    No two men will ever agree what this perfect word of God is supposed to mean, since much of it is either self- contradictory, or obscured by enigmatic symbols. And yet the perfect God expects us imperfect humans to understand this paradoxical riddle using the imperfect minds with which he has equipped us. Surely the all-wise and all-powerful God would have known that it would have been better to reveal his perfect will directly to each of us, rather than to allow it to be debased and perverted by the imperfect language and botched interpretations of man.
 

Contradictory Justice
 
    One need look to no source other than the Bible to discover its imperfections, for it contradicts itself and thus exposes its own imperfection. It contradicts itself on matters of justice, for the same just God who assures his people that sons shall not be punished for the sins of their fathers turns around and destroys an entire household for the sin of one man (he had stolen some of Yahweh's war loot). It was this same Yahweh who afflicted thousands of his innocent people with plague and death to punish their evil king David for taking a census (?!). It was this same Yahweh who allowed the humans to slaughter his son because the perfect Yahweh had botched his own creation. Consider how many have been stoned, burned, slaughtered, raped, and enslaved because of Yahweh's skewed sense of justice. The blood of innocent babies is on the perfect, just, compassionate hands of Yahweh.
 

Contradictory History
 
    The Bible contradicts itself on matters of history. A person who reads and compares the contents of the Bible will be confused about exactly who Esau's wives were, whether Timnah was a concubine or a son, and whether Jesus' earthly lineage is through Solomon or his brother Nathan. These are but a few of hundreds of documented historical contradictions. If the Bible cannot confirm itself in mundane earthly matters, how are we to trust it on moral and spiritual matters?
 

Unfulfilled Prophecy
 
    The Bible misinterprets its own prophecies. Read Isaiah 7 and compare it to Matthew 1 to find but one of many misinterpreted prophecies of which Christians are either passively or willfully ignorant. The fulfillment of prophecy in the Bible is cited as proof of its divine inspiration, and yet here is but one major example of a prophecy whose intended meaning has been and continues to be twisted to support subsequent absurd and false doctrines. There are no ends to which the credulous will not go to support their feeble beliefs in the face of compelling evidence against them.
 
    The Bible is imperfect. It only takes one imperfection to destroy the supposed perfection of this alleged Word of God. Many have been found. A perfect God who reveals his perfect will in an imperfect book is impossible.
 

The Omniscient Changes the Future
 
    A God who knows the future is powerless to change it. An omniscient God who is all-powerful and freewilled is impossible.
 

The Omniscient is Surprised
 
    A God who knows everything cannot have emotions. The Bible says that God experiences all of the emotions of humans, including anger, sadness, and happiness. We humans experience emotions as a result of new knowledge. A man who had formerly been ignorant of his wife's infidelity will experience the emotions of anger and sadness only after he has learned what had previously been hidden. In contrast, the omniscient God is ignorant of nothing. Nothing is hidden from him, nothing new may be revealed to him, so there is no gained knowledge to which he may emotively react.
 
    We humans experience anger and frustration when something is wrong which we cannot fix. The perfect, omnipotent God, however, can fix anything. Humans experience longing for things we lack. The perfect God lacks nothing. An omniscient, omnipotent, and perfect God who experiences emotion is impossible.
 

The Conclusion of the matter
 
    I have offered arguments for the impossibility, and thus the non- existence, of the Christian God Yahweh. No reasonable and freethinking individual can accept the existence of a being whose nature is so contradictory as that of Yahweh, the "perfect" creator of our imperfect universe. The existence of Yahweh is as impossible as the existence of cubic spheres or invisible pink unicorns.
 
    Should any Christian who reads this persist in defending these impossibilities through means of "divine transcendence" and "faith," and should any Christian continue to call me an atheist fool, I will be forced to invoke the wrath of the Invisible Pink Unicorn:
 
"You are a fool for denying the existence of the IPU. You have rejected true faith and have relied on your feeble powers of human reason and thus arrogantly denied the existence of Her Divine Transcendence, and so are you condemned."
 
    If such arguments are good enough for Yahweh, they are good enough for Her Invisible Pinkness.
As for me and my house, we shall choose reality.

I will not debate this article, please debate with the author at the following url

http://www.evilbible.com/Impossible.htm

my practice for 25 years has been described by Huang Po as stated in these short videos

http://www.doomsteaddiner.net/forum/index.php/topic,3445.0.html
« Last Edit: January 12, 2015, 03:44:42 PM by knarf »
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Offline Eddie

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Re: Religionís smart-people problem: The shaky foundations of absolute faith
« Reply #19 on: January 12, 2015, 03:59:55 PM »
Invisible unicorns are clear, like the Invisible Man. You can only see their outline when they run through the falling snow, or something like that.

Pink unicorns are not clear. They are pink, much like Pink Elephants.

In order to prove this, I suggest that you just TRY to think of an invisible pink unicorn. Can't  do it. See, there it is, indelibly etched onto your visual cortex, pink as a baby's butt. Hardly invisible.

The truth is that you can't really visualize an invisible ANYTHING. That's the real elephant in the room.

Jesus loves you, knarf. So does Krishna, and the Buddha. Get used to it. You're going to meet them soon enough. They like your style, and they want you to shred with Jimi H. on your guitar.
What makes the desert beautiful is that somewhere it hides a well.

Offline knarf

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Re: Religionís smart-people problem: The shaky foundations of absolute faith
« Reply #20 on: January 12, 2015, 04:24:47 PM »
Invisible unicorns are clear, like the Invisible Man. You can only see their outline when they run through the falling snow, or something like that.

Pink unicorns are not clear. They are pink, much like Pink Elephants.

In order to prove this, I suggest that you just TRY to think of an invisible pink unicorn. Can't  do it. See, there it is, indelibly etched onto your visual cortex, pink as a baby's butt. Hardly invisible.

The truth is that you can't really visualize an invisible ANYTHING. That's the real elephant in the room.

Jesus loves you, knarf. So does Krishna, and the Buddha. Get used to it. You're going to meet them soon enough. They like your style, and they want you to shred with Jimi H. on your guitar.

I do not use any of time here on earth trying to believe in the "INVISIBLE". If there is life after death, so be it, I do as little harm as possible, hope that keeps me from burning in eternal hell. :)
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Offline Eddie

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Re: Religionís smart-people problem: The shaky foundations of absolute faith
« Reply #21 on: January 12, 2015, 04:30:44 PM »
That burning stuff is a mistranslation of the ancient scriptures. Hell is really an eternal hunting trip with Dick Cheney.
What makes the desert beautiful is that somewhere it hides a well.

Offline agelbert

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Re: Religionís smart-people problem: The shaky foundations of absolute faith
« Reply #22 on: January 12, 2015, 06:15:52 PM »
Knarf said,
Quote
I do as little harm as possible, hope that keeps me from burning in eternal hell. :)

Well said. The God I believe in is rather clear on the fact that words don't mean jack shit if they are not accompanied by actions. Chris Hedges has gone on at length on this particular issue of corrupt church officials throughout history. But those who worship WORDS over ACTIONS will always talk their "book" (i.e. interpret the bible in a way that suits them) so to speak.  :emthdown:

Not only do actions speak louder than words, words have no meaning without consequent actions.

Dime con quiťn andas, y te dirť quiťn eres (Tell me who your friends are, and I'll tell you who you are.)



Leges         Sine    Moribus      Vanae   
Faith,
if it has not works, is dead, being alone.

Offline Ashvin

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Re: Why the Christian God is Impossible
« Reply #23 on: January 12, 2015, 06:32:07 PM »
Perfection Seeks Even More Perfection
 
    What did God do during that eternity before he created everything? If God was all that existed back then, what disturbed the eternal equilibrium and compelled him to create? Was he bored? Was he lonely? God is supposed to be perfect. If something is perfect, it is complete--it needs nothing else. We humans engage in activities because we are pursuing that elusive perfection, because there is disequilibrium caused by a difference between what we are and what we want to be. If God is perfect, there can be no disequilibrium. There is nothing he needs, nothing he desires, and nothing he must or will do. A God who is perfect does nothing except exist. A perfect creator God is impossible.

Very weird way of defining perfection. A perfectly loving being (or beings) would certainly want to share that love with others. The perfect state does not limit what this being can or cannot do, but rather what the being is willing to do.
 

Quote
Perfection Begets Imperfection
 
    But, for the sake of argument, let's continue. Let us suppose that this perfect God did create the universe. Humans were the crown of his creation, since they were created in God's image and have the ability to make decisions. However, these humans spoiled the original perfection by choosing to disobey God.
 
    What!? If something is perfect, nothing imperfect can come from it. Someone once said that bad fruit cannot come from a good tree, and yet this "perfect" God created a "perfect" universe which was rendered imperfect by the "perfect" humans. The ultimate source of imperfection is God. What is perfect cannot become imperfect, so humans must have been created imperfect. What is perfect cannot create anything imperfect, so God must be imperfect to have created these imperfect humans. A perfect God who creates imperfect humans is impossible.

Uh, why? It seems very reasonable that a perfectly benevolent God could create creatures who are not perfectly benevolent in their decisions.
 

Quote
The Freewill Argument
 
    The Christians' objection to this argument involves freewill. They say that a being must have freewill to be happy. The omnibenevolent God did not wish to create robots, so he gave humans freewill to enable them to experience love and happiness. But the humans used this freewill to choose evil, and introduced imperfection into God's originally perfect universe. God had no control over this decision, so the blame for our imperfect universe is on the humans, not God.
 
    Here is why the argument is weak. First, if God is omnipotent, then the assumption that freewill is necessary for happiness is false. If God could make it a rule that only beings with freewill may experience happiness, then he could just as easily have made it a rule that only robots may experience happiness. The latter option is clearly superior, since perfect robots will never make decisions which could render them or their creator unhappy, whereas beings with freewill could. A perfect and omnipotent God who creates beings capable of ruining their own happiness is impossible.

Who says that free will is necessary for happiness? That's not traditional Christian dogma at all. Free will is necessary for learning, growth, maturity and selfless virtue. THAT is what our Creator wanted to emphasize, not our individual "happiness" (unlike the materialists).

Quote
Second, even if we were to allow the necessity of freewill for happiness, God could have created humans with freewill who did not have the ability to choose evil, but to choose between several good options.
Third, God supposedly has freewill, and yet he does not make imperfect decisions. If humans are miniature images of God, our decisions should likewise be perfect. Also, the occupants of heaven, who presumably must have freewill to be happy, will never use that freewill to make imperfect decisions. Why would the originally perfect humans do differently?
 
    The point remains: the presence of imperfections in the universe disproves the supposed perfection of its creator.

A human being who cannot choose evil does not actually have "free will" in any meaningful sense. We can be made in the image of God and yet not be Gods ourselves. Again, the author reveals ignorance about Christian theology when he equates free will with "happiness", as if God's moral standard is just for his creatures to be happy 24/7.
 

Quote
All-good God Knowingly Creates Future Suffering
 
    God is omniscient. When he created the universe, he saw the sufferings which humans would endure as a result of the sin of those original humans. He heard the screams of the damned. Surely he would have known that it would have been better for those humans to never have been born (in fact, the Bible says this very thing), and surely this all-compassionate deity would have foregone the creation of a universe destined to imperfection in which many of the humans were doomed to eternal suffering. A perfectly compassionate being who creates beings which he knows are doomed to suffer is impossible.

This is the problem of evil, and while it is not easy to address, it is by no means an argument which renders a perfectly compassionate being "impossible". One thing to consider is that, in God's omniscient wisdom, the selfless virtue which stems from our free will could easily outweigh the suffering which results from it. There are many other "theodicies" which try to resolve this problem with cumulative arguments.
 

Quote
Infinite Punishment for Finite Sins
 
    God is perfectly just, and yet he sentences the imperfect humans he created to infinite suffering in hell for finite sins. Clearly, a limited offense does not warrant unlimited punishment. God's sentencing of the imperfect humans to an eternity in hell for a mere mortal lifetime of sin is infinitely more unjust than this punishment. The absurd injustice of this infinite punishment is even greater when we consider that the ultimate source of human imperfection is the God who created them. A perfectly just God who sentences his imperfect creation to infinite punishment for finite sins is impossible.

First, this depends on whether you believe the punishment promised by scripture is eternal conscious torment or eternal destruction/death (annihilation). There is much ongoing debate on this issue within the Church and academia, so anyone using only one argument to declare something "impossible" is clearly unaware of such a debate.
 
Second, we have no reason to think that those who commit "finite sins" during their lifetime, without any sort of repentance, would cease to continue committing such sins into eternity, thus making their eternal punishment proportional to their eternal sin.

The main point being, these blanket conclusions of "impossibility" are unwarranted and intellectually absurd.

Quote
Belief More Important Than Action
 
    Consider all of the people who live in the remote regions of the world who have never even heard the "gospel" of Jesus Christ. Consider the people who have naturally adhered to the religion of their parents and nation as they had been taught to do since birth. If we are to believe the Christians, all of these people will perish in the eternal fire for not believing in Jesus. It does not matter how just, kind, and generous they have been with their fellow humans during their lifetime: if they do not accept the gospel of Jesus, they are condemned. No just God would ever judge a man by his beliefs rather than his actions.

This is simply not true. There is no requirement that all people hear the exact same gospel as contained in the NT to repent of their sins and accept Jesus as savior. So the idea that the Christian God "judges a man by his beliefs" and not his actions is wrong.
 

Quote
Perfection's Imperfect Revelation
 
    The Bible is supposedly God's perfect Word. It contains instructions to humankind for avoiding the eternal fires of hell. How wonderful and kind of this God to provide us with this means of overcoming the problems for which he is ultimately responsible! The all-powerful God could have, by a mere act of will, eliminated all of the problems we humans must endure, but instead, in his infinite wisdom, he has opted to offer this indecipherable amalgam of books which is the Bible as a means for avoiding the hell which he has prepared for us. The perfect God has decided to reveal his wishes in this imperfect work, written in the imperfect language of imperfect man, translated, copied, interpreted, voted on, and related by imperfect man.
 
    No two men will ever agree what this perfect word of God is supposed to mean, since much of it is either self- contradictory, or obscured by enigmatic symbols. And yet the perfect God expects us imperfect humans to understand this paradoxical riddle using the imperfect minds with which he has equipped us. Surely the all-wise and all-powerful God would have known that it would have been better to reveal his perfect will directly to each of us, rather than to allow it to be debased and perverted by the imperfect language and botched interpretations of man.

This objection gets thrown around a lot, but it's much harder to tease out from the critics what exactly is unclear or self-contradictory in Biblical revelation. When they do manage to present some examples of these "inconsistencies" or "contradictions", there are plenty of responses for why they are mistaken.
 

Quote
Contradictory History
 
    The Bible contradicts itself on matters of history. A person who reads and compares the contents of the Bible will be confused about exactly who Esau's wives were, whether Timnah was a concubine or a son, and whether Jesus' earthly lineage is through Solomon or his brother Nathan. These are but a few of hundreds of documented historical contradictions. If the Bible cannot confirm itself in mundane earthly matters, how are we to trust it on moral and spiritual matters?

Again, anyone willing to put some effort into researching these alleged contradictions will realize they are either a) not contradictions at all or b) simply different perspectives from different writers with different goals.
 

Quote
Unfulfilled Prophecy
 
    The Bible misinterprets its own prophecies. Read Isaiah 7 and compare it to Matthew 1 to find but one of many misinterpreted prophecies of which Christians are either passively or willfully ignorant. The fulfillment of prophecy in the Bible is cited as proof of its divine inspiration, and yet here is but one major example of a prophecy whose intended meaning has been and continues to be twisted to support subsequent absurd and false doctrines. There are no ends to which the credulous will not go to support their feeble beliefs in the face of compelling evidence against them.
 
    The Bible is imperfect. It only takes one imperfection to destroy the supposed perfection of this alleged Word of God. Many have been found. A perfect God who reveals his perfect will in an imperfect book is impossible.

This author never ceases to deal in generalities rather than provide specific examples of "unfulfilled" prophecies. This is a tactic to avoid dealing with the abundant SPECIFIC responses to such an objection.
 

Quote
The Omniscient is Surprised
 
    A God who knows everything cannot have emotions. The Bible says that God experiences all of the emotions of humans, including anger, sadness, and happiness. We humans experience emotions as a result of new knowledge. A man who had formerly been ignorant of his wife's infidelity will experience the emotions of anger and sadness only after he has learned what had previously been hidden. In contrast, the omniscient God is ignorant of nothing. Nothing is hidden from him, nothing new may be revealed to him, so there is no gained knowledge to which he may emotively react.
 
    We humans experience anger and frustration when something is wrong which we cannot fix. The perfect, omnipotent God, however, can fix anything. Humans experience longing for things we lack. The perfect God lacks nothing. An omniscient, omnipotent, and perfect God who experiences emotion is impossible.

This make no sense. I can think of plenty of examples where humans react emotively to knowledge they already have. Perhaps God's "emotional reactions" are not exactly comparably to ours, but there is no reason why a perfect God cannot experience emotion. In fact, a perfect God MUST experience emotion in some way.
 
Quite frankly, these are elementary school atheist objections to the theistic worldview, and they reflect someone who has put so much blind faith in materialism that they cannot keep an open mind towards any alternative. There is no point debating the author of this article, because I'm positive the author would not dare to have a substantive point for point debate, preferring instead to rest comfortably in the intellectually lazy positions described above.

Offline jdwheeler42

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Re: Why the Christian God is Impossible
« Reply #24 on: January 12, 2015, 07:30:57 PM »
Again, the author reveals ignorance about Christian theology when he equates free will with "happiness", as if God's moral standard is just for his creatures to be happy 24/7.
Forget theology.

Forget morality.

Forget even logic.

Would you really want to be happy 24/7?

And if your answer is yes, then why aren't you taking pills for that?  Because they are illegal?  Too expensive?  Have too many side effects?  Would you seriously take a pill that made you happy all the time if it were safe, cheap, and legal?  Because I know I surely wouldn't.

And if you wouldn't choose it for yourself, why should God choose it for you?
Making pigs fly is easy... that is, of course, after you have built the catapult....

Offline jdwheeler42

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Re: Religionís smart-people problem: The shaky foundations of absolute faith
« Reply #25 on: January 12, 2015, 07:34:01 PM »
That burning stuff is a mistranslation of the ancient scriptures. Hell is really an eternal hunting trip with Dick Cheney.
Move over, Dante, I think that is the most bone-chilling depiction of Hell I have ever heard....
Making pigs fly is easy... that is, of course, after you have built the catapult....

Offline RE

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Re: Why the Christian God is Impossible
« Reply #26 on: January 12, 2015, 10:10:58 PM »
We must have been through at least half of these reasons a dozen or more times already.

The deal is, it doesn't HAVE to make Logical Sense for a Christian to believe any of the theology here.  It's a FAITH.

You can't be God & Human at the same time any more than you can be Pink & Invisible at the same time.  These are mutually exclusive concepts.  What Christians do to resolve these problems is make up new definitions that satisfy them as answers in their belief system.  They don't make sense to anyone who does not believe in Christianity, but they make sense to Christians.

Also, IMHO making an argument that because Christianity doesn't make sense, this then proves there is no God is downright stupid.  You have to make absolutely BULLETPROOF arguments for how the Origin of the Universe, the Origin of Life and the Origin of Sentience comes about without some Intelligent Design behind it, and there are no such bulletproof arguments because you can't know what came before the Big Bang, and at least to date you can't show how life or sentience begins without intelligent design.  Even if Craig Vetter or Ray Kurzweil managed to create life or a sentient computer, THEY would be the Intelligent Designers of that.

Atheism is as Faith based as Theism is.  It makes the tacit assumption that because you can't PROVE the Existence of God, then God must not exist.  Theism makes the contrapositive claim, which is that since you can't PROVE the non-existence of God, then God does Exist.  Nobody can ever "win" this debate on this side of the Great Divide.  You take on the belief system one way or the other based on what makes CFS to you, based on your observations of the Universe, from your PoV.

RE
« Last Edit: January 12, 2015, 10:15:17 PM by RE »
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Offline Ashvin

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Re: Why the Christian God is Impossible
« Reply #27 on: January 13, 2015, 02:08:53 AM »
Quote from: jdwheeler42 link=topic=3845.msg64093#msg64093

Would you really want to be happy 24/7?

And if your answer is yes, then why aren't you taking pills for that?  Because they are illegal?  Too expensive?  Have too many side effects?  Would you seriously take a pill that made you happy all the time if it were safe, cheap, and legal?  Because I know I surely wouldn't.

And if you wouldn't choose it for yourself, why should God choose it for you?

Well I think we do have a "natural" instinct to seek out what makes us happy short-term, and many people would choose to take that happy pill you describe. I would certainly be tempted. But that's the point... God chose to give us free will so that we could resist temptation and sacrifice personal pleasure for higher virtues when the opportunities present themselves.

Offline Ashvin

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Re: Why the Christian God is Impossible
« Reply #28 on: January 13, 2015, 02:28:02 AM »
We must have been through at least half of these reasons a dozen or more times already.

The deal is, it doesn't HAVE to make Logical Sense for a Christian to believe any of the theology here.  It's a FAITH.

You can't be God & Human at the same time any more than you can be Pink & Invisible at the same time.  These are mutually exclusive concepts. 

Yeah, we have. I find it quite ridiculous for people to unequivocally claim something "can't" be or is "impossible", especially when that has been the subject of ongoing philosophical debate for thousands of years. It's much more reasonable to claim that these concepts are difficult to understand or reconcile. 

Quote
What Christians do to resolve these problems is make up new definitions that satisfy them as answers in their belief system.  They don't make sense to anyone who does not believe in Christianity, but they make sense to Christians.

Then how do you account for people who are gradually convinced of Christian truths based on the responses to these objections? Most academically-oriented ministries these days are geared to interact with atheists and agnostics.

Quote
Atheism is as Faith based as Theism is.  It makes the tacit assumption that because you can't PROVE the Existence of God, then God must not exist.  Theism makes the contrapositive claim, which is that since you can't PROVE the non-existence of God, then God does Exist.

I don't think either of them make either of those claims. Atheism claims that, based on the evidence accessible to us, the balance of probabilities makes it very unlikely God exists. Some of them only count empirical data as "evidence", while others are willing to take into account things like human experience. Theists claim the opposite and usually draw "evidence" from a wide variety of sources. Faith is what takes us from "very (un)likely" to being absolutely convinced one way or the other.

Quote
Nobody can ever "win" this debate on this side of the Great Divide.  You take on the belief system one way or the other based on what makes CFS to you, based on your observations of the Universe, from your PoV.

RE

That's kind of true for ALL debates, right? If no one can "win" the deflation-hyperinflation debate before it actually happens, then we shouldn't be surprised that metaphysical debates also continue to rage on. That doesn't mean all worldview commitments are equally likely to be true.
« Last Edit: January 13, 2015, 02:33:45 AM by Ashvin »

Offline RE

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Re: Why the Christian God is Impossible
« Reply #29 on: January 13, 2015, 02:38:11 AM »
Then how do you account for people who are gradually convinced of Christian truths based on the responses to these objections? Most academically-oriented ministries these days are geared to interact with atheists and agnostics.

About the same way you account for people who go Apostate, and reject Christian "Truths" over time, even after having them drummed into their heads from birth.  Experience changes people over time, and where you sit in the dominant culture also makes a difference as what you choose to believe, or even CAN believe safely at any period of time where you live.

Quote
Quote
Atheism is as Faith based as Theism is.  It makes the tacit assumption that because you can't PROVE the Existence of God, then God must not exist.  Theism makes the contrapositive claim, which is that since you can't PROVE the non-existence of God, then God does Exist.

I don't think either of them make either of those claims. Atheism claims that, based on the evidence accessible to us, the balance of probabilities makes it very unlikely God exists. Some of them only count empirical data as "evidence", while others are willing to take into account things like human experience. Theists claim the opposite and usually draw "evidence" from a wide variety of sources. Faith is what takes us from "very (un)likely" to being absolutely convinced one way or the other.

A distinction without a difference.

RE
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