To the atheists who judge God

If you can’t unilaterally set all the terms and conditions with your human authority figures — parents, teachers, employers and law enforcement — what makes you think that you will be able to sit in judgment of God? Yes, I know you say He doesn’t exist. But even in your hypothetical scenarios you assume that you’ll get to judge the creator of the universe, thus making yourself the “real” God.

And consider how you can’t even force this blogger to post your comments unless you abide by his terms. Yet you think you’ll tell the creator of the universe how things will be? Indeed.

Isaiah 29:16 You turn things upside down! Shall the potter be regarded as the clay, that the thing made should say of its maker, “He did not make me”; or the thing formed say of him who formed it, “He has no understanding”?

It is illuminating that atheists are in such deep rebellion and denial that they often can’t or won’t even acknowledge a hypothetical situation where God will judge them. (Of course, based on Romans 1 we know they are suppressing the truth in unrighteousness, but for discussion purposes let’s momentarily take their claims at face value.)

The Wendy Wright schools Richard Dawkins post keeps getting picked up on Reddit and search engines so it generates a lot of atheist traffic.* One of the commenters on the post provided a typical response to our loving warnings about Hell and how to avoid it:

And then the threats. Nice. I embrace the idea of Hell, if the alternative is an eternity of slack-jawed subservience to a petulant and insecure deity. As has been said, if all of the engineers go to hell, we’ll have it HVAC-ed in no time.

As I told him, threats are entirely legitimate and loving if the consequences are real. And make no mistake, Hell is real. If he really believed his worldview he’d never sit in judgment of anything. After all, whatever we say and do is just a product of his beloved Darwinian evolution, so what is there to judge? Why be angry at what Darwinian evolution caused? But that’s a separate topic. The issue here is that he can’t even pretend that there is an ultimate authority figure holding him accountable for his thoughts and actions.

And like many atheists, he thinks that silly jokes about air conditioning in Hell will bring him comfort. Even in his hypothetical scenario he thinks he’ll have friendly companionship and his desires fulfilled, as if he would have any influence over the conditions of Hell.

Despite their rebellion, I want them to know that if they will repent and believe in Jesus then God will forgive them just like He forgave me. They should do some serious apologetics and Bible study. I know they are afraid to, because it will mean risking that they’ll find out that they are wrong about matters of life and eternity. But I assure them that the truth is far better than the lie they are living.

It is foolish to think that you get to define whether God exists and what He must be like if He did exist. You have no such control over your flawed human authority figures, so why would you be lord over the King of Kings and Lord of Lords? Repent and believe while you still have time. Eternity is a mighty long time to suffer for your foolish pride.

God’s terms are unbelievably generous — but He sets them, not you. He was not obligated to offer any paths to forgiveness and adoption, but out of his grace and love He offered one: Jesus.

*Sometimes over 1,000 hits per day. I’m glad for that, and updated the post with links to the “minimal facts” approach to apologetics and the story of a highly intelligent woman and her conversion from atheism to Christianity. The good news is that those links get lots of hits, too.

103 thoughts on “To the atheists who judge God

  1. This post is problematic that it misunderstands, or simply forgets, a point you made at the start; atheists like myself are no more afraid of Yahweh’s hell than Allah’s “torture in the grave”, which my muslim friends are often at pains to warn me away from. I’m as unaffected by that as YOU are by the punishments of Allah prescribed in the Quran and attending hadith.

    The critique of God from a moral standpoint is, then, a matter of hypotheticals, arguendo. If there were some actual god like Allah or Yahweh, that would indeed be a despairing fact to accept for humanity, but even and especially as an accomplished fact, there are human moral principles to bring to bear on those facts.

    The reality of some unspeakably horrible eternal torment for rebels and sinners, etc., may be a reality, something this actual god (again, arguendo) has created and can send “souls” to as it wishes, but that POWER in no way supports any human moral justification for such an action. Instead, Christians (and muslims, etc.) who not only believe in the reality of such a setup, but also support it, and indeed, worship this god because of it, must resort to the debased position that god’s might makes right. That solely by virtue of this god’s ability to effect unspeakable cruelty, we must somehow deny that cruelty as cruelty.

    To illustrate this, consider a breakthrough I might make in biology/technology where I have developed a process that enables me to make sentient life forms from basic chemicals. I can and do create at will creatures that are conscious, able to communicate, have emotions, suffer, experience joy, frustration, hunger, etc., and have intense drive to survive and to seek happiness.

    I made these creatures, and I have the technology, the power to snuff any or all of these creatures out, instantly and with surety, for any reason I like. It’s a matter of pushing a button on my computer or my phone. The “might” I have in no way overrides, or even diminishes the moral claims these creatures have to living, and to seeking their own goals. I can kill them, each, any or all, at will, but that might itself does not and cannot make such actions right, in human moral terms.

    I, as their creator, understand both my plenary power over their existence, AND their inalienable moral claim to themselves, the “ownership of their person”. I can be cruel, or loving, apathetic or involved, but the moral substance of my actions, especially because of my vast power, is contingent upon their interests, balanced with my own. I’m not off the hook for any gratuitous suffering or torture I visit upon these creatures, just because I am beyond their ability to prevent it, or because I created these creatures.

    This is the moral poverty of Christianity (and Islam, and Judaism, and any other religion that denies humanity any moral interests in itself, and endorses “might makes right” abdication); this is the vestige of a much more barbaric, ignorant and anti-human era.

    Lastly, if I were to insist to these creatures I had made that they must do my bidding, or suffer unspeakable torment as punishment, and that is arrangement was “unbelievably generous”, they’d be cowards and sycophants if the did anything but curse me and decry my execrable actions. I may get to set the rules about who gets tormented and for how long, but if they are sentient, intelligent, emotional creatures, their moral convictions cannot be obviated by ability to put them through a living hell (or not).

    • Hi,

      Thanks for visiting and commenting. I think you missed the point, starting in the first paragraph. It isn’t about whether you are afraid — though you should be! — it is about whether the “If there is a God I’ll set him straight!!” themes make any sense. They don’t. If you don’t make those claims, then good for you.

      And I don’t have time to iron out your misunderstandings of the Christian worldview, but I do hope you keep studying it.

      I’ll ignore the oxymoronic claims of “moral poverty,” “barbaric, ignorant and anti-human era,” etc., given that they make no sense in an atheistic worldview.

      I will say that you make a good anti-abortion case, so kudos for that.

      • There is no thought toward “setting God straight”. If such a thing exists in our reality, and has created the universe, and some “hell” as a place of torment for humans it is displeased with, it would not occur to me to reason with such a thing or to even entertain the hope of this god changing for any reason, never mind anything I or we may do.

        I would have to take such a monster and such a place as hell as an accomplished fact.

        My acceptance of such a despairing discovery, though, would not obviate my moral principles, my concern for humanity and desire for the flourishing and happiness of humans (and all living things). My moral outrage at such a cruel being as a fact of our universe would not change god, but would rather mark my commitment to moral human ideals. It makes much sense to maintain a defiant and critical disposition toward such a good, because that is the necessary conclusion of a moral human thinking about such a monster, and its “hell” (assuming, again, for the purposes of discussion that these exist).

        Given your post, you might similarly criticize say, the members of the White Rose Resistance movement in Nazi Germany. The members of this group faced certain death, and they knew it — the key leaders were all beheaded by Hitler sometime during the war, IIRC.

        What’s the sense in that, you would ask, similarly. Hitler was practically invincible at that point. The “sense” in such resistance is to maintain one’s moral integrity, even under pain of death. This is why I say Christians are moral cowards, cowering before the fear of Yahweh’s hell, adopting all manner of abdications of the moral solidarity they are born with in a “deal with the devil” to spare their souls from hell.

        If this were not the case, Christians — you and others — would be obliged to warn the unbelievers of the monster that was hell-bent [sic] on coercing people to worship and obey him. But it would be the warnings about a monster, as that’s the only rational way to assess such cosmic tyranny, not assisting in the coercion and manipulation, and — gasp! — worshipping this monster as you do.

        It’s laudable to warn, if it’s really in my interest. But it’s immoral to assist in a assisting a tyrant in coercion, and threats-worse-than-death.

        Just as an aside, I was a devout Christian for more than 30 years, raised in a fundamentalist Baptist home, thoroughly immersed in that culture, brought up with an intensely “Biblical worldview”. So I am well familiar with the kind of cowardice and moral abdication that’s in play here in your post. That doesn’t make me right, ipse dixit. Rather, I’m just pointing out that I’m an atheist who has spent WAY more time on the inside of “sold out” (!) Christian fundamentalism than outside it, and am quite familiar with the worldview you are working from, here.

      • First, while I can’t confirm or deny your life experiences, as a point of fact if you aren’t a Christian now you never were one. I don’t mean that in a pejorative sense, just a factual one. If you had the Bible training you indicated you would know what passage I’m referring to. And it is hard to imagine how bad your church was if you spent that much time there and know so little about how Christianity works.

        I must also point out that your continued references to monsters, moral outrage, cruel being, flourishing, cowards, etc. make no sense in an atheistic worldview. You imply that there is some standard that we should care about. But in a nothingness to molecules to man worldview the White Rose Resistance Movement was no better or worse than the Nazis. No, wait, using the moral relativism of most atheists you’d conclude that the Nazis were better and the Resistance was bad for rebelling against what society had agreed was the best way to operate. Or survival of the fittest, or whatever.

        You simply have no grounding for universal morality or your judgment of God (or your mis-characterization of him). I just find it irrational that you would continue to make such judgmental claims.

      • I wasn’t pointing out my history as a Christian as the basis for some judgment of yours on that, but rather as a way to accelerate the conversation, if it were to continue; I’m familiar with the Christian worldview, having lived with it, and within it in my family, church congregation, friends, etc. for decades. A tip on avoiding tedium in the exchange, if you will.

        As for never having been a Christian, suit yourself on that question. It’s not relevant to my point, which was that I’m steeped in the thinking and trappings of that culture, being saved or no notwithstanding.

        The Christian attempt to own “objective moral values’ is a curious one indeed. If value is “morally good”, per God’s will, it is by definition a subjective value; by “objective”, we separate facts and states of reality that are true and actual, independent of any mind or will. On cannot find a more subjective source for morality than some impassible, inscrutable personal god with a will!

        What Christians really mean to say is something more like “universal authority”, where their god is by definition authoritative about what is good or evil, just by virtue of his will, his might, his nature. “Subjective but binding and universal” is a more cumbersome, but much more accurate way to put it, for a Christian.

        On a materialist/atheist view, objective moral values obtain in the nature human beings as evolved beings with moral dispositions that are no more and no less objective than gravity or the monitor you are reading this on. Humans have evolved social behaviors and moral impulses and instincts that are as immutable and objective as the color of their eyes. There is no “cosmic authority” that could ground these objective moral values; they are simply facts of nature as it has developed.

        In the interests of permitting the discussion to proceed, I won’t obsess on this disability in Christian thinking about morals, or club you over the head with the facts of humans as natural beings with objective facts of their impulses and moral dispositions as a truly objective grounds for morality that Christians generally are unaware of or deny.

        If you go to your church nursery some Sunday morning and pick out three eighteen month old cuties and sit them down, and arbitrarily lavish praise and cookies and milk on two of them, while visiting scorn and derision and threats of a swat to the third child, that scorned child will naturally and inevitably react with as sense of unfairness in your actions. This isn’t learned — the child cannot even talk yet. Their inborn sense of fairness, fairness as an ideal that is an objective fact of human psychology, is the grounding for many other moral principles and reactions they will adopt. As I said, it’s an objective fact about that kid you are mistreating. They are objectively wired to understand, and recoil in anguish at such treatment, and this is a moral foundation that is not only objective — true independent of anyone’s will or opinion or belief — but it has another advantage over claims of God as a “moral source”: the kid and his reaction are real, tangible, verifiable facts of our reality.

      • “they are simply facts of nature as it has developed.”

        But that can’t come close to addressing the vast differences within and across societies. I have met countless people in prison ministry who had their own set of morality and obeyed it quite well.

        I don’t see how the nursery story provides any meaningful distinctions. Did your church ever go through Romans and explain how the law is written on our hearts? The fact that we observe people noting unfair situations could just as easily be attributed as evidence for our worldview. And we’ve got endless examples of original sin! ;-) Take a close look at a toddler throwing a tantrum sometime. As one pastor noted, it is a good thing he is tiny, because he is so angry that if he had a weapon he would kill you.

      • I do appreciate your agreement that regardless of what God is (or would be, if from the perspective of an atheist’s hypothetical) that you wouldn’t be in a position to change him or dictate terms to him. That puts you in the top quartile of atheists I’ve come across.

    • Hi, eigen,

      I know you already replied to a reply, but I wanted to reply to this one first….

      Two things about your hypothetical creator scenario. First, your creator is somewhat deistic; he simply creates and then steps aside. Christianity affirms that God sustains his creation. Second, your creator is itself a creature. Christianity affirms that God is uncreated, the creator of all things.

      I’ll set the second one aside for a moment, but let’s assume your creator not only creates this new life but sustains it, too. I am genuinely curious, this is not a trick question, if you were that creator, what would you do if your creation rebelled against you? Would you continue to sustain it, or would you choose not to sustain it any longer? Or maybe you would have chosen not to create it in the first place? I assume you would not force your creation not to rebel against you.

      • Erich,

        On your first point, my non-involvement was not stipulated, affirmed or denied. I did say that in this case I had the power to trivially punish/kill the creatures I made whenever and however I pleased. In some minimal sense, at least, I am sustaining All Eigenstate’s Creatures™ with every moment that I don’t press the torture/kill buttons (and I note that per above, and Christianity, I would on that view ask my creatures to worship me for such grace, for my divine generosity in every moment in which I do not press the torture/kill buttons).

        Even granting your interpolation here, that my creation is “left alone”, outside of any killing/punishing/torturing I might engage in, the moral calculus doesn’t change at all, so far as I can see.

        If my creation rebelled against me, I would certainly sustain it. Why would rebellion against me change that. I have six kids, who I don’t suppose I’ve “created” in any but the most trivial sense, but over whom I have some amount of control, authority and responsibility. And they certainly do rebel in their subordinate positions, often with bad motives and moral reasoning behind their rebellion.

        That’s not grounds for me to kill them, torture them, or fail to sustain them. As their guardians, I may apply disciplinary measures, but these are implemented toward their own long term success and flourishing, not as vengeance or punishment for its own sake.

        The Christian God and Christian hell cannot even pretend to “disciplinary reasons”, aimed at the ultimate benefit of the damned. They are tormented eternally. It’s literally the most cruel and anti-human concept ever invented, an infinite amount of suffering toward no end other than the blood lust of a vengeful god.

        If I created these creatures to be intelligent, sentient, autonomous, by virtue of that aspect of their nature, I would have renounced any moral right to “do as I please”. I may have the power but I have necessarily conceded their moral autonomy when I gave them sentience and rational powers, their own individual interests. My using my technological powers to kill them and make them suffer as I please is just an exercise in will-to-power.

      • eigenstate,

        I won’t go on at length on the irrationality of your universal moral claims coming from a being whose alleged creation process was based on selection for survivability and not truth or morality, but I will note that you did it many times.

        You used the word torture several times, which is not biblical. You did correctly use torment, so kudos for that.

        Your entire premise hinges on you knowing and accurately judging that the one true God wouldn’t have a morally justifiable reason for Hell. Neither your worldview or mine supports such a bold assertion.

        Perhaps your kids think they should never be punished for anything, ever. Who are you to tell them otherwise? What if they deem 20 minutes in “time out” as cruel and anti-human? Who are you to tell them they are wrong?

      • As above, I won’t press on your problem with God as a subjective source of morality vs. the objective realities of human psychology, and would you don’t have a case to make there, let alone to get hung up about.

        On torture/torment, that’s not even a meaningful distinction given the eternal nature of hell. “Eternal torment” doesn’t quality as torture — the most exquisite torture ever conceived! — for you? Not much to be said to that, if so.

        As a human, I am not aware of any moral case for eternal suffering in hell, for anyone, for any reason. Neither the Christian god or any other god has any basis for such, beyond the sheer power to make it happen (“might makes right”). Moreover, at length and after much consideration, over centuries, there is no conceivable argument to be made that justifies such an atrocity in terms of human morality. So if I claim to be possessing human moral principles, the ideals that promote human flourishing, happiness, and productivity, I have no other conclusion available but that Yahweh, like Allah and so many other putative gods, is a monster.

        If I punished my kids, but could not offer a basis for my actions, a moral foundation that provided warrant, and fulfilled my moral accountability for providing for their flourishing and happiness, they’d have a case against me. And even and especially where they are not old enough to understand my reasoning (you need these hypodermic needles stuck in your arm to protect you against diseases that are a thousand times worse!), I don’t begrudge them their anger and confusion, and even outrage. These are good, normal, human reactions from a three year old. That won’t stop me from seeing that they get the vaccinations they need, but I don’t resent their “morally reacting as best they are able” or condemning them for it. I’d have to be a monster to react that way, someone with deep antipathy toward them, and humans in general.

      • Torture vs. torment: Words mean things. If you don’t care to use the proper biblical terms, then please don’t comment. I don’t have time to address repeated straw men.

        As a human, I am not aware of any moral case for eternal suffering in hell, for anyone, for any reason.

        Thanks, that was my point — especially since, in your worldview, you were “created” based on survivability, not rationality, truth or moraltiy.

        Neither the Christian god or any other god has any basis for such, beyond the sheer power to make it happen (“might makes right”).

        Ah, back to sitting in judgment of God, I see. The creature tells the creator how things must work?

        So if I claim to be possessing human moral principles, the ideals that promote human flourishing, happiness, and productivity, I have no other conclusion available but that Yahweh, like Allah and so many other putative gods, is a monster.

        Ugh. I’m tiring of the repetition so you’ll be on moderation now. The Nazis that you brought up used social Darwinism to its full extent in creating what they defined as flourishing, happiness and productivity. And you have no grounding to criticize them or anyone else, yet you can’t go three sentences without doing so!

        If I punished my kids, but could not offer a basis for my actions, a moral foundation that provided warrant, and fulfilled my moral accountability for providing for their flourishing and happiness, they’d have a case against me.

        Nice try, but you cheated. My hypothetical noted that they thought the punishment was wrong. Who are you to tell them otherwise, whether they are 3 or 18? How can you assume infallibility? Your response implied some fantasy authority figure who sides with you. But why on earth would we go with that?!

        Thanks for the comments, and please keep reading. And I know you won’t complain about the moderation as it would violate your worldview to assume that just because you think it is wrong that it is really wrong.

        All the best to you. I sincerely hope you reconsider your views and return to (a better) church. This is one of those “I hate being right” situations when you have exemplified the theme of the post.

      • eigenstate,

        I appreciate the honest reply. I don’t think the parent-child relationship fully captures the attributes of the creator-creature relationship though, especially in the sense of a sustainer-sustained relationship. Children are beings independent of their parents. But Christianity affirms that we are not creatures independent of God. We are dependent on God for our very existence. Keep in mind he not only created me, he created the air I breathe, the animals and vegetables I eat, the ground I walk on.

        So let’s assume that the creatures you create are sustained by you in that sense: they are fully and completely dependent on you for their existence. They can do absolutely nothing without your involvement. They cannot exist without your involvement. They cannot breathe unless you provide them air. They cannot eat unless you provide them food. Anything they desire to do — let me repeat that: anything they desire to do — they cannot do unless you provide the means to them. You still maintain that if such a creature rebelled against you that you would feel no motivation to stop sustaining them? You would not feel betrayed? Offended? Not even a little bit? C’mon, be honest… :)

      • Erich,

        I don’t think the parent-child relationship is fully isomorphic to this either, and said as much (pointed out that being a parent is not “creating” in any but a trivial sense). That said, I would say we are as independent, and must be from God, as my child is from me, and arguably more independent. If that weren’t the case, then the human cannot be responsible for his or her choices, as they aren’t sufficiently independent to bear the responsibility for their choices. That is, God’s damnation is predicated on independence as a moral agent, at least for Christians who believe God judges humans on their actions and choices.

        As for my sustaining every action, every neuron firing in the creatures I created in the hypothetical above, I’d certainly feel offended, betrayed, annoyed, etc. when the creatures I created rebelled against me or turned on me, cursed me, etc. These are the inevitable results of creating them as I did, though, a predictable and certain consequence of creating them with brains, hearts, free will, emotions and their own individual impulses and desires.

        That’s a natural, visceral reaction on my part, but even so, I’ve only myself to blame in such a scenario. I’ve gotten PRECISELY what I anticipated. I could not have expected otherwise. Moreover, their rebellion and autonomous behavior, even if it is behavior that rejects and despises me, their creator, is the “proof in the pudding” of my benevolence, the manifestation of my earnest efforts to endow them with genuine agency, rather than “coerced sycophants” or automatons.

        So if I have intelligence and any moral integrity at all, I would wince at being denounced, but as soon as I thought about what was happening, I’d realize that I was getting just what I’d created, and would accept that treatment as the painful proof of the grandness of my design.

      • Christianity affirms our independence as moral agents, but it also affirms our dependence on God for our existence. The two are not incompatible.

        I just wanted to point out the nature of our rebellion against God. It is rebellion not only against the being who created us, but against the being who sustains our very existence. It is rebellion against the being who made rebellion against him possible. In my opinion, it is inconsistent for the rebel to reject his creator, and then demand that his creator continue to sustain him. This is not just a disagreement about whether or not some rule was broken, like arguing with the umpire. This is rebellion. And when you rebel against your creator, you get what you asked for. That’s hell: separation from God. I think it is inconsistent for the creature to rebel against his creator and simultaneously expect heaven.

        You also spoke earlier of God “coercing people to worship and obey him.” But what does obedience to God mean? It means loving one another. When Jesus was asked what is the greatest commandment, he didn’t say “Obey God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength. Period.” He said “Love God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength, AND love your neighbor.” Love God AND my neighbor? That doesn’t sound very self-centered to me.

        When Jesus gave a parable of what the final judgment would be, he spoke of pronouncing judgment on people who did not feed him when he was hungry or clothe him when he was naked. That sounds self-serving. But those people protested, “We never saw you hungry or naked!” and Jesus said whenever you saw someone in need and rejected them, you rejected me. Hmm. Not very self-serving after all.

        God wants our affection. But he’s God, he doesn’t NEED our affection. God does not benefit from our affection. I am convinced that God wants us to love him because he knows WE benefit from it. In a sense it means we’re working with him, not against him. If that’s what God is “coercing” us to do, I don’t think that’s a bad thing.

        And I think that’s about all I have to say about that.

      • Of course when your children do rebel against you, I thoroughly doubt you do nothing to correct and/or punish that rebellion. I doubt even more strongly the notion that if your creation rebelled against you, acting in a manner totally at odds with what passes in your mind for moral behavior, that you would again do nothing. You are obviously not considering just how bad a rebellion could be, what your creatures could do to each other and to themselves that you would find abhorrent. You pretend that their “sins” would have no effect on you, or not to an extent that would compel you to act against it.

        God hates sin. As the creator of your little world, you imply you do not, but only speak of something you refer to as “morality”. You judge God based on YOUR morality, and don’t grant Him the same permission to judge based on His.

  2. “If you go to your church nursery some Sunday morning and pick out three eighteen month old cuties and sit them down, and arbitrarily lavish praise and cookies and milk on two of them, while visiting scorn and derision and threats of a swat to the third child, that scorned child will naturally and inevitably react with as sense of unfairness in your actions. This isn’t learned — the child cannot even talk yet. Their inborn sense of fairness, fairness as an ideal that is an objective fact of human psychology, is the grounding for many other moral principles and reactions they will adopt.”

    Either single celled life also has “an inborn sense of fairness” or else it evolved as a response to it’s environment per your worldview. Since it evolved, it could further evolve away from a sense of fairness to a sense of what we currently define as cruelty if that is the best adaption to a new environment (such as someone unilaterally always scorning a child). In other words, the “inborn sense of fairness is only the current adaption to the current environment and is by no means permanent. There is no such thing as a permanent inborn sense of fairness in your worldview. Only an evolved stimulus response reaction as an adaption to one’s current environment. I guess I do not understand your point. There is no moral foundation that never changes in such a worldview. Only evolved responses which can further evolve and change.

    • That’s correct, there is no “permanent inborn sense of fairness” in the world as I look at the evidence. But while that psychology is dynamic, and will change over time at the pace of evolution, it is an objective grounding for human morality. In a million years, it will likely be different than it is now, that’s how evolution works. But for us, here, and stretching WAY back into the past, and WAY into the future, this is how humans are wired, objectively, independent of what any mind or will desires or chooses.

      The point here is that William Lane Craig’s axe he grinds on “objective morality”, and the myriad variations of that trope, identified by sentiments like ‘without God you have no basis for morality” is based on badly misunderstanding the terms used. “Universal and unchanging” would be better, but those terms don’t carry the brand equity (that of scientific epistemology) that “objective” does. Christian morality is perfectly subjective, under its own understanding (good is good because God says it is).

      The evolution of humans, leading to a different moral constitution from contemporary humans, does not in any way diminish the objective grounding of the impulses and dispositions we have now. God corrupts the grounding of objective morality, conceptually, rather than reifying it.

      Humans will continue to evolve and change, and so will their basic moral instincts. So what is the problem with this? For better or worse, we are stuck with what we are now, and for hundreds and thousands of generations hence.

      • Feeling generous so I let one more comment through.

        That’s correct, there is no “permanent inborn sense of fairness” in the world as I look at the evidence. But while that psychology is dynamic, and will change over time at the pace of evolution, it is an objective grounding for human morality. In a million years, it will likely be different than it is now, that’s how evolution works.

        No, that’s how you think it works. You beg the question and assume there is no God, then by fiat say everyone had to come from evolution. But there is still no grounding in your materialistic universe. It doesn’t necessarily get better — unless you think the 14 million killed by Hitler and the 100 million killed by atheistic Communists and the millions killed by abortion would think the 20th century was an improvement over the 19th.

        But for us, here, and stretching WAY back into the past, and WAY into the future, this is how humans are wired, objectively, independent of what any mind or will desires or chooses.

        That’s a nice fairy tale.

        The point here is that William Lane Craig’s axe he grinds on “objective morality”, and the myriad variations of that trope, identified by sentiments like ‘without God you have no basis for morality” is based on badly misunderstanding the terms used. “Universal and unchanging” would be better, but those terms don’t carry the brand equity (that of scientific epistemology) that “objective” does. Christian morality is perfectly subjective, under its own understanding (good is good because God says it is).

        You once again mis-characterize our position. What a terrible church you went to! Goodness is part of God’s nature.

        And you did nothing but call our view trope and have nothing to objectively critique it.

        The evolution of humans, leading to a different moral constitution from contemporary humans, does not in any way diminish the objective grounding of the impulses and dispositions we have now. God corrupts the grounding of objective morality, conceptually, rather than reifying it.

        That’s more question begging on your part. Whatever you call morality isn’t really morality, because you have no grounding to expect anyone to share your morality.

        Humans will continue to evolve and change, and so will their basic moral instincts. So what is the problem with this? For better or worse, we are stuck with what we are now, and for hundreds and thousands of generations hence.

        Oof — bad note to end on — there is no better or worse under your view — just molecules in motion that make you think you are being “moral.”

        Please save your keystrokes from now on, unless there is something specific to close out with your conversation with Erich.

      • “unless you think the 14 million killed by Hitler and the 100 million killed by atheistic Communists and the millions killed by abortion would think the 20th century was an improvement over the 19th. ”
        you clearly don’t know alot about history, all this was evidence of the primitive thinking that dominated the 19th century, as well you have no idea of the number people that where killed in the 19th century

  3. Ematters,

    It’s like no matter how much perfect sense you make, it goes in one ear and out the other. Without God there is no absolute moral standard. It’s so clear.

    Atheists,

    My question to atheists is why do you judge at all? Why judge the character of God, when you yourself believe good and evil are relative? What a hypocritical stance to take! Judge God, and think your judgements to be superior?

    God will forgive you, just repent. See how clear the error of atheism is. It’s immoral, and without divine justice. It’s a deception, an illusion, a lie.

  4. This is an interesting thread. I am an atheist now, after being a devout and zealous Christian for over 40 years. My conversion was not a choice, and went painfully against my bias and love for God.

    The problem I see here is what actually started me questioning my beliefs.
    Is the Abrahamic God Yahweh the source of objective morality? Or do we have room for personal moral standards based on the evolution of empathy and experience?

    My first answer was of course, that God is the source of true morality.
    So what has disturbed me to the point of doubting this to be true?

    Scripture.

    From the very start, if we truly read the account of creation in Genesis, and do our homework on semantics and context (I believe context is everything), we discover a not so moral Creator.
    I will concede, just for the sake of this argument, that God had the right to punish Adam & Eve for their sin. But what about the animal kingdom? Why have Animals begin to devour each other in a violent fight for survival, feeding off each other’s flesh?
    But wait — the cycle of life is not a consequence of mankind’s sin.

    In Genesis 1:24,25, it is said that on the 6th day God created the animals, making a clear distinction between the herbivores like the cow, and the “Beasts of the Earth” (or “wild Beasts”), the carnivores. The word used in Genesis is “Chayah”, and appears more than 120 times in the OT, referring to wild carnivore animals — to give just one example in Genesis 37: 20:
    “Come on, let’s kill him and throw him into one of these cisterns. We can tell our father, ‘A wild animal (chayah) has eaten him.’ Then we’ll see what becomes of his dreams!”

    Using different translations and interlinear Hebrew translations confirm that God created wild, carnivorous animals before even creating man. So death and mayhem existed before sin.
    * Noteworthy also, is that the first human to “kill” was Abel (for his blood sacrifice — another odd idea — where did he get that?)

    Would a moral and loving creator create such a thing?

    Now about justice.
    Please read 2nd Kings 2: 23,24. Where is the morality in slaughtering 42 young boys (children in many translations) for simple teasing a bald prophet?
    How can one talk about objective morality from a God of such a hyper-violent and over-punishing nature? Am I, now an atheist, to assume that any Christian does not have a stronger moral fiber than that of his/her God?

    Food for thought…

    • Hi Vince,

      Thanks for visiting and commenting. I offer a few things to consider:

      1. The book “Is God a Moral Monster?: Making Sense of the Old Testament God” — http://tinyurl.com/5w64e9r I didn’t agree with everything, but I thought the author made a lot of good points.

      2. Proverbs3:5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. 6 In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. Keep in mind that his ways are not your ways. There are countless things we don’t understand in this life until we learn more. And as Job and other books point out, we don’t necessarily get to know the answers in this life. You might try giving God the benefit of the doubt. Maybe — just maybe! — there is more to the story than you understand.

      3. God used the most evil act in history to bring about the greatest good in history. Jesus was the perfect man (far beyond our comprehension) but was betrayed, given an unjust trial, brutally beaten and then nailed to a cross like a piece of meat until He died. That was the most evil act in human history. Yet it brought about the greatest good: The salvation of countless sinners who could never be reconciled to God on their own. So never underestimate God’s ability to appropriately punish and redeem evil.

      • Thank you for your comment.

        My question is this:
        How does one judge the morality of any divinity, of any religion claiming truth, if we can’t trust our own moral sense that is presumingly given to us by that divinity?

        The problem that I encounter is that the statement that we can’t understand God because his “his ways are not our ways” is once again, written in the Bible. It is a self-serving scripture that would have us think our moral conscience is worth nothing.

        In the same inspired pages however, in Romans 2:14-15, Paul talks about how even the nations that do not recognize the Lord have a conscience built in them, written in their hearts by the Creator:
        “14 for when Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do the things in the law, these, although not having the law, are a law to themselves, 15 who show the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and between themselves their thoughts accusing or else excusing them)”

        So how are you and I expected to rationalize the deeds of the Biblical God if the very conscience he gave us leads us to dismiss him as a monster?

        Furthermore, the sacrifice of his Son also witnesses to his dismal standards.
        Before Cain committed the first murder, Abel was the first human to actually kill and draw blood, thinking that it was somewhat a better idea to kill a sentient being for a sin that never implicated blood per se? Where God Abel get the idea of blood sacrifice in the first place? Was it when God slaughtered the animals to give clothing to his parents before that — no likely, an obvious stretch.
        Cain had a reference to what ending a life was, he did not come up with the idea by himself.

        In short, please explain to me how any atheist or pagan believer, is guilty of not accepting the Abrahamic God and the sacrifice of his son if the alleged God-given conscience is a tool we must ignore to accept the genocides and cruel laws of that God?

        Thank you for your time, and future response.

      • How does one judge the morality of any divinity, of any religion claiming truth, if we can’t trust our own moral sense that is presumingly given to us by that divinity?

        You are assuming that you get to judge your creator. Try sitting in judgment of your teacher, judge, policeman, boss, etc. and dictating the terms and conditions to them (i.e., you set the laws about speeding, murder, etc., you decide what it takes to get an “A,” you decide your pay and vacation terms, etc.).

        Yes, you have the law written on your heart, but if you read the entire book you’ll see how you suppress the truth in unrighteousness.

        You assume that Jesus isn’t divine and ignore that He laid down his life willingly.

        You misuse the term genocide. There is no such thing in the Bible. God gave them the land to clear out, not an ethnicity.

  5. Sorry for the typos:
    Before Cain committed the first murder, Abel was the first human to actually kill and draw blood, thinking that it was somewhat a better idea to kill a sentient being for a sin that never implicated blood per se. Where did Abel get the idea of blood sacrifice in the first place?
    TY.

  6. Addendum:

    I just realized I had repeated myself with the argument on Abel. Sorry.

    This is because I would like, if you please, that you address the points I put forward in my previous comments.
    I trust you have good arguments to invite one to Christ. My quest is to understand these arguments.

    Given that for me Proverbs3:5 and Romans 2:14-15 are mutually exclusive, please address these points:

    • How does one rationalize a God using punishments that exceeds the ‘crime’ (sin)?
    (Examples: 2 Kings 2:23,24 (42 children massacred for teasing); Hosea 13:16 (for rebelling against God, even babies are slaughtered); Deuteronomy 21:18-21 (death for rebellious teen!)… etc…)

    • What possible protocol justifies the blood sacrifice of sentient beings?
    Clearly a symbol, as the blood does not obliterate responsibility, why not invent a more humane standard?
    God had full power to chose his protocol for justice.

    • Please address the question of creating the cruel circle of life even before creating Man, and thinking it was “good”.
    God had the power to create vegetation that would sustain all life, yet he chose the violent murder of sentient beings by other sentient beings for survival, a more Darwinian concept.
    Was that is the “Paradise” Adam & Eve was born in?

    Thank you for addressing these three points for now, one at a time, please.
    I await with curious anticipation your arguments. Thank you.

    • I gave you a resource to examine that addressed the bear example and others. If you are not interested in doing that homework, then I am under no obligation to answer you further. I have extensive experience with people quoting from the big book of atheist soundbites. It is like a whack a mole game. You answer one question and then they just move onto another one. The clay does not get to judge the Potter. I encourage you to keep reading the Bible. Eternity is a mighty long time to think about how silly and prideful rationalizations against God brought you nothing but sin and misery in this life.

      >

  7. I will be honest with you.
    I respectfully see your arguments as bias rationalizations.

    If you question my right to judge any Divinity through my conscience, then, I question your right to judge him also. You have no more insight that I do to affirm his divinity You trust the Book. I do not. Give me a non circular reason to trust it.

    If you refuse to use the word genocide, that is your problem. I will abide by the dictionary. I could have also used “ethnic cleansing” by definition justifiably too.

    Nobody should “assume” the divinity of Christ or his non-divinity.
    It is the Christians who offer this proposition.
    So what standards do you expect others to use to accept his Divinity, if it makes no sense to an independent mind expected to accept Christ thru understanding?

  8. gen·o·cide
    ˈjenəˌsīd/Submit
    noun
    noun: genocide; plural noun: genocides
    1.
    the deliberate killing of a large group of people, esp. those of a particular ethnic group or nation.
    synonyms: mass murder, mass homicide, massacre

    • Yes, they they were supposed to have cleared out the nation of people who had committed child sacrificed, beastiality and more for over 400 years. They did not go outside those borders after any ethnicity. And even if they had been commanded to, God is sovereign over all life and death. In your rebellion, you minimize what a great send it is to rebel against the perfect and holy God.

      >

  9. // Try sitting in judgment of your teacher, judge, policeman, boss, etc.//

    Hopefully, we all do this. And must.
    Society has the duty to question its authority, especially when the authority is morally corrupt.
    If more Germans had questioned authority, Hitler would have never had a chance.

    How do you rationalize that I cannot with my (god-given) conscience, judge the gods out there?
    And why would Yahweh be any exception? Because he is YOUR God? Do you see the problem here?

    If you cannot give me a reasonable reason to accept your god through reason, logic, and morality — why should I accept him?

    • Nice dodge. You are welcome to assess all those leaders from your biased viewpoint all you like. The question is whether you have any power to do anything about it. Tell the IRS you won’t be paying taxes this year, tell the policeman that you set the speed limits, tell your boss he must give you 10 times the pay, and then let me know how that all turns out. Once you have complete mastery over week, fallible human beings, then it will be fun to watch you explain how you get to tell the God of the universe how things work. And if there is no God, then you have no basis to say that anything is immoral. By your own words, you lied about being a Christian for 40 years. Nice morality.

      >

      • This I had to comment.
        It is not a lie to confess faith for over 40 years, just because my journey and personal study of the Bible has brought me to the conclusion that I was wrong.
        I was as sincere as you are in my faith. I don’t question your sincerity, do NOT question mine.

        It’s called the quest for Truth.

        I had a very hard time facing my Faith and having it clash with reason.
        It cost me so much that I would ask you to at least be respectful of it, even if it goes against your own conclusions for now.

        Thank you.

  10. Just as a reminder, I am a bible student and I know all the arguments, as I have ministered for over 40 years. Do not assume I quote out of context. The link you sent me gives a bad argument… so I didn’t waste time arguing it.

    • You ministered for 40 years?! Well then I assume you noticed all the teachings on fake conversions and false teachers. And I didn’t assume you quoted out of context, I can tell when you’re doing it.

      >

  11. Do you not find it ironic that to punish child sacrifice, God ordered “they shall fall by the sword:
    their infants shall be dashed in pieces,
    and their women with child shall be ripped up.”

    you find that okay?

    • I am completely on board with the proper interpretation of every verse in the Bible. That’s because I trust God to know better than me. I don’t trust any interpretations from someone whose career was based on lies and now claims to understand what the text says as he is a committed enemy of the faith.

      >

  12. Please tell me when I cited out of context. If I have, I will correct it. But while reading my arguments over again, I have not seen any out-of-context quoting from myself.

  13. I still await your reasoning on the 3 points I asked.
    I will accept a response based in Scripture… but I will also call on logic to argue.

    The ball is in your court.

    Thank you for your passion and time. We will probably end up agreeing to disagreeing.
    But I do appreciate the discussion.

  14. //I am completely on board with the proper interpretation of every verse in the Bible. That’s because I trust God to know better than me. I don’t trust any interpretations from someone whose career was based on lies and now claims to understand what the text says as he is a committed enemy of the faith.//

    We should probably end this here, with respect for each other’s stand.

    I wish you could see the circular mode you are in. Maybe you are familiar with this meme, that pretty much boils down to your comment above:

    It was a pleasure talking to you. I’m left a little wishing you had good points to defend my 3 questions, but that’s okay.

    The bottom line is you have Faith. There is absolutely no argument possible about faith.
    My mind needs more, that’s all.

    Happy New Year. Bravo for opening to discussion.
    Sincerely, Vince.

    • You don’t even understand what biblical faith means. Biblical faith is trusting in what reason has assessed. Somehow you missed that in your decades of Bible study and false teaching.

      You suppress the truth in unrighteousness so you can place your faith in something that isn’t supported by facts or logic. People have been rationalizing sin since Genesis 3.

      • You are arguing against Hebrews 11:1.
        That should be your definition of Faith… although you seem to refute it and clothe it with the word “reason”.

        Be consistent with yourself.

        You have such Faith that you are on board with the most immoral acts of your god. Acts that are so egregious, that if human, this god would get life in prison, if lucky enough.
        I was blinded to them too… so I don’t blame you.

        Your journey isn’t over.
        I hope you wake up from this.

      • LOL. You weren’t blinded, you were a false convert and false teacher. I appreciate your concession that your career was based on your ability to lie. If your worldview is true, you have no grounding to criticize any acts. We are all just molecules in motion that “think” we are doing things that are moral or immoral. Darwinian evolution would select for survivability, not truth, reason or morality.

        Using your logic, the journey is over when you die. That’s a useful fantasy for you to deny the reality that you’ll be accountable to God, but wouldn’t be a liability for me. I have nothing to wake up from. I love being a true Christian. I hope that you experience it someday yourself.

  15. I must admit to you that I’m writing a book on Faith and its different meanings. I have saved this whole discussion, as it is very revealing to me, of what the constructs of Faith are.
    Rest assured you will not be mentioned… you are just one of many that I have attempted to understand.

    If you have anything to say that may clear up your stance, please feel free to shed more light to the subjects at hand.

    • I have a couple thousand blog posts you’re welcome to review. I frankly am stunned that someone who claims to have been in biblical training in ministry for so long is acting like he just heard these arguments. Something is very, very fishy.

      >

      • I am not pretending anything.
        My modus operandi is to start fresh on any subject.
        I open myself as if I had no opinion, so I can see things as unbiased as humanly possible.

        This is why I seem to act like all these points are new to me.
        I ever considered it hypocritical to open to new arguments, without resorting to the old ones.

        I am sincere and open to logical argumentation. Hence, my questions to you.
        Of course I have my answers, but unlike most believers, I do not assume that the knowledge I have now is set in stone.

        Does that explain my position better?

      • Sigh. I never made that claim. I just pointed out that if your worldview is true – and it’s transparently false – then you would have no rational grounding for moral claims.

        >

    • You claim to of been in ministry for four years. That would require the belief that Jesus died and rose from the dead. You obviously didn’t believe that. And you have no evidence to disprove it. I think it’s time for you to move on.

      >

  16. You are SO feeding into my research right now.
    This has been so enlightening.

    All you have done is assert, accuse, and insult.
    Your personal attacks are well noted, and confirmed a lot about my suspicions on fundamentalists… Christian in your case.

    • I will cite you as “Mr. Strawman”… lol!
      You think you know what I think, and base your slurs on that belief.
      Faith has many ills indeed…

      • Everyone will notice that this atheist never questioned your sincerity, and has never insulted you, or accused you of any ill.

        You will probably yank my thread away, as it does not speak well of you.
        But I have saved every word.

        Here’s your chance, yet again, to redeem yourself of your hate and unfounded accusations.

      • That’s pretty funny — in the same comment you accuse me of false accusations and saying you didn’t make any accusations, then you say I’m hating. Hypocrisy – you’re doing it right. I am glad to leave this thread for all to see. Please link to it as often as you can. I shared these truths because I actually care about the eternal souls of other people. I know it makes me unpopular with the world. I entertain atheists to a point because it’s a public forum, but there is that pesky pearls before swine commandment that kicks in at some point.

        >

      • No, I actually knew of how much of Christianity distorts the scriptures.
        That was much of my work: offer scriptural fact in Biblical context.

        After many snags and harsh cognitive dissonance, I started doubting, against my own bias and beliefs. My journey went in a direction I did not wish… but I followed Truth, and was ready to follow it despite my leanings.

        But of course, you will continue to smear me with unfounded accusations of lying and insincere aims. That speaks more of you than it does of me.

  17. //That’s pretty funny — in the same comment you accuse me of false accusations and saying you didn’t make any accusations, then you say I’m hating. //

    Really? This is your logic?
    Yes I did accuse you of hate, AFTER saying that (so far) I had not accused you of nothing.

    Revealing hateful commentary of someone is still not an insult, like calling one a liar.

    I’m glad you are keeping this up. You comment above reveals your care of context.

    • You don’t seem keen on the truth, but hopefully you’ll be honest enough to refer to this entire thread in your book. That way people can see your silly games about rationalizing your claim of hatred (as if it mattered whether you made your ad hominem comment before or after your hypocritical accusation!).

      Thanks for revealing your true motives. I could write your book for you: “I was such a sincere believer and ministered for 40 years and never came across someone who used facts and logic to defend Christianity, then this big meanie on a Christian blog saw through my bad arguments and called me on them. He is such a hater! There’s the proof that I’m right and there is no God and I won’t be accountable for my sins!”

      • I promise a verbatim account.

        FWIW, I DID think my beliefs were logical.

        I think what I question is stagnation. You cannot claim to be a lover of Truth if you pause at one point and refuse to question further.
        Life is not like that. We discover, reevaluate understanding…

        What is wrong with that?

      • Straw man. I love the truth. Just because I don’t change my mind to revert to lies doesn’t mean I’m not open to new information.

        You claimed to study the Bible and minister for 40 years. If after that time you couldn’t answer questions like this or find answers somewhere then you are being disingenuous or were confused beyond description.

        • What possible protocol justifies the blood sacrifice of sentient beings?
        Clearly a symbol, as the blood does not obliterate responsibility, why not invent a more humane standard?
        God had full power to chose his protocol for justice.

        God gives you a perfectly free way out of your eternal damnation and you want to judge it because you think He should have been more creative? What an insulting, rebellious joke.

        You studied and ministered for decades and didn’t realize the Biblical answer for that? Jesus is completely human and divine and offered the only adequate sacrifice, and He did it willingly and out of love. I know you don’t believe that, but it is a perfectly coherent description of what the Bible teaches. For you to claim all your learning and experience and to pretend you didn’t know that is also an insulting, rebellious joke. That’s why I stopped taking you seriously 10 comments ago.

        Put that in your book.

  18. Because I care, I would advise you to stop the strawmen and red herrings. I don’t need to accuse you of these because they are blatantly apparent to any reader.

    I want the personal attacks to stop please. I will also abide to that.

    It is so distracting to the subjects at hand, do you not agree?
    Rather, address my points, and let’s discuss them.
    We are better than this, no?

    • You are making false claims (I had no straw men or red herrings). I gave you resources (e.g., the book “Is God a moral monster”) that you are welcome to read. It thoroughly goes through many of your concerns. But it appears that you just want to play games and make yourself appear to be a martyr. I’m not playing that game. You have not demonstrated that discussion would be fruitful.

      • Let’s be honest, we both think we have a handle on “truth”.
        I don’t question your sincerity because I was believed exactly like you, and I was just as passionate and sincere.
        Again, my quest led me to uncomfortable conclusions (open to change of course). But this is where I stand FOR NOW. Only a fool thinks that his understanding is definitely closed to any new information, and I do not think of myself as a fool.

  19. //I could write your book for you: “I was such a sincere believer and ministered for 40 years and never came across someone who used facts and logic to defend Christianity, then this big meanie on a Christian blog saw through my bad arguments and called me on them. He is such a hater! There’s the proof that I’m right and there is no God and I won’t be accountable for my sins!”//

    I rest my case. You are a ridiculer. Your childish comments betray bad faith.
    Thank you for helping the cause of all freethinkers, that will plainly see my attempts to a serious discussion, that will never be met.

    • There is a strawman right there. I never said that, quite the contrary.

      Do you have ANY intention to address the points?

      • Above, I was referring to “ministered for 40 years and never came across someone who used facts and logic to defend Christianity”

    • LOL re. “freethinker.” You can’t go three sentences without mocking your own worldview. You haven’t been serious at all, just playing games to manufacture things for your book.

      • Please stop the childish finger pointing. You are embarrassing both of us, as this thread should be about the issues, not your contempt for me (that I do not return btw…)

      • I repeat: You claimed to study the Bible and minister for 40 years. If after that time you couldn’t answer questions like this or find answers somewhere then you are being disingenuous or were confused beyond description.

        • What possible protocol justifies the blood sacrifice of sentient beings?
        Clearly a symbol, as the blood does not obliterate responsibility, why not invent a more humane standard?
        God had full power to chose his protocol for justice.

        God gives you a perfectly free way out of your eternal damnation and you want to judge it because you think He should have been more creative? What an insulting, rebellious joke.

        You studied and ministered for decades and didn’t realize the Biblical answer for that? Jesus is completely human and divine and offered the only adequate sacrifice, and He did it willingly and out of love. I know you don’t believe that, but it is a perfectly coherent description of what the Bible teaches. For you to claim all your learning and experience and to pretend you didn’t know that is also an insulting, rebellious joke. That’s why I stopped taking you seriously 10 comments ago.

        Put that in your book, and go try another blog to generate your material alleging how no one can answer your questions.

      • Wait — were you a JW?! That’s not Christianity, that’s a cult! I’m glad you got out of that. But Richard Dawkins is a terrible philosopher. Search for him on my page for examples.

        You have been wildly misled about evolution as well — http://www.uncommondescent.com/intelligent-design/its-time-for-scientists-to-come-clean-with-the-public-about-evolution-and-the-origin-of-life/ .

        Remember, even if Darwinian evolution was true it wouldn’t disprove God, it couldn’t explain morality or consciousness, and more.

      • I promise to send you the link to my book.
        You have encouraged me to write this discussion verbatim. I will let the readers decide for themselves if I the spirit of my argumentation was wrong.

  20. I will come back on here later. I have work to do.
    Please, let us bring back this discussion to the points at hand. Just give me your understanding and the references you accept. Okay?

    • Try another blog. I’ve wasted enough time. God has blessed me with many things, including time, and I need to be a good steward of it. I answered your objection about the crucifixion and exposed how ridiculous it is for you to pretend that Christianity doesn’t explain the need for a sacrifice like that. You are either highly disingenuous, because anyone with your alleged experience would know that, or confused beyond my ability to help you.

      • Thank you for the discussion. I will indeed move to other blogs.
        The slur of calling me disingenuous speaks volumes.
        You have been a precious help.

  21. Sorry, Vince. You are a fool. Anyone who has tasted of the glory of God, and turns his back on it, is hopelessly lost. ergo, a fool. You claim to have tasted and now believe differently, so….We can only hope you weren’t really a preacher for 40 years. Then there is still some hope for you.
    And if you keep shifting your views based on the latest research, your most recent quest, you will never reach a settled conclusion. You may not think of yourself as a fool, but you are.

    • Thank you for such bold and honest commentary.
      If it’s your judgement of me. So be it.

      I don’t change with the wind, mind you. But there is such a thing of ignoring evidence to a book that was written 2,000-3,500 years ago.

      I would be a fool if I went for a surgeon who believes the Bible to be flawless, and wished to operate by beheading birds and smearing the blood on the walls like a witch doctor. I would be a fool if I trusted both my physical and spiritual life on 2,000 year old knowledge.

      • I have ignored no evidence. I’ve probably studied way more arguments against the Bible than you have (I used to be an atheist).

        Your surgeon analogy makes no sense.

        The age of a truth claim is irrelevant to its veracity. If the Bible came to us last year you’d say it was too new. Since it came 2,000-3,500 years ago you claim it is too old. That’s really bad logic, but convenient for your worldview.

        If the central claim of the Bible is that Jesus died for our sins and rose again, then the timing of the writings makes perfect sense.

        I hope in your quieter moments you realize how bad arguments like that are, and ask yourself why you would use those to dismiss God.

      • I realize it must be tough after being in a cult like the JWs. I wish you would have said that up front. I encourage you to start fresh, pray to God to reveal his truths to you, then read the Bible for all it is worth. Going from one set of lies (JWs) to another (Darwinists) makes Satan happy.

      • I do not dismiss a godlike intelligence. I do dismiss the Bible’s.
        If you would at least address the points I asked you to answer!
        Of course I have found a reasonable answer to those points — but I am open for you to prove me wrong.
        Your accusation of me pretending to not have found the answers is ridiculous.
        This is a debate — that’s what we do, trigger an answer to see if the other has a more logical one.
        Even on the simple point of death and mayhem created before man has been ignored. Then again, I must say you did give an ersatz answer to it, claiming that you believed that God is always right.

      • Yes, let’s just drop it.
        I’ll pretend you did address my 3 points.
        Happy now?

    • Turns out that he was a Jehovah’s Witness*. Now I feel more sorry for him — he is so confused that he thinks that is Christianity! Please pray for him.

      *Assuming my Internet search was accurate, which it appears to be.

      • You could feel sorry for me if I stayed a JW, and did not study other religions, and go further into Christian dogma.

        Yes, the internet is accurate.

        But your cheap shot assuming the JW dogma is my image of Christianity is naive.

      • That’s no cheap shot, that’s a perfectly logical take on it. You claimed to be in Bible study and ministry for 40 years and implied that it was Christianity, while all the time you knew it was the JW religion.

        Again, if you didn’t think your JW backward was relevant to the discussion then you are being disingenuous or wildly confused.

  22. You really insist on finding fault with ME instead of answering to my questions.
    It says a lot about you.

    Have I done that? No.

    Readers will judge.

    • I answered your question about the crucifixion. If you can’t understand that then of course I’m under no obligation to try and answer more questions.

      Again, use the entire thread and let the readers judge — especially after noting that you failed to inform me that you were part of the JWs, and that you either deliberately hid that or that you knew so little about true Christianity that you didn’t realize the JWs were a cult. The latter isn’t a dig at you, just a statement of fact.

      • I DID realize the JWs were a cult. Why do you assume I have not past that stage? I admit with glee that their domas are rubbish… I don’t parade my being an ex JW precisely because people like you can’t see past it.

        You treat me as if my understanding of Christianity is based on that cult. Nothing could be further from the truth. This is why I do not volunteer my ex affiliation.
        I do not deny it however. But please, let’s move on, as I have.

    • No problem. I need to get more done as well.

      My apologies for being rough. The fact that you were a JW explains volumes. We weren’t even talking about the same thing. Things make more sense now.

      But my recommendations haven’t changed: try the “Is God a moral monster” book and read the Bible with as fresh a set of eyes as you can. There is no way I can undo decades of JW falsehoods with a few blog comments.

      The good news is that we agree that whatever you believed before was false!

  23. Let me resume my stance.

    • I was brought up a Jehovah’s Witness, and yes, I am embarrassed to have had any link to this destructive cult. I admit out loud that their understanding of the Bible is false and even toxic.

    • My journey led me to open myself to what the Bible REALLY said, and what beliefs other Christian Faiths had.

    • My quest led to me studying not only the Bible, but the Qur’an, the Book of Mormon, and Buddhism, to name the main ones.

    • My focus turned to the Abrahamic God, and the books claiming his inspiration.

    • I have found the Bible, both the OT and the NT to be inconsistent with scientific evidence today in cosmology and geology (I’m still wrapping my mind around evolution, and have questions there too)… AND i find the Bible to be morally reprehensible.

    • I take umbrage at the idea that only God is the reference of objective morality, and I even contend he is a reference of immorality.

    People that I admire most, that have helped me in my quest are, Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens, and Sam Harris to name a few main ones. I DO NOT AGREE with everything they say, but they make a mountain more sense than you, or any apologist I have encountered on my journey.

    If I have left anything out, please Google me further.

  24. I will concede you have won the argument.
    Not that I feel you have proved to me anything, but because I cannot dispute Faith.

    There is no evidence or logical argument that will persuade you. And I understand that, because all argument against your God is human based, and you trust that the Bible is God inspired.
    Even my moral argument falls short because you have Faith that God is unjudgeable, and that everything he does is perfect, even if your own conscience has another standard for human justice. You Trust him.

    My perspective is that men wrote the Bible, and that is why it is written from a humans perspective of the cosmos, as well as other misconceptions of the time. But my position does not hold against Faith.

    Hebrews 11:1 gives the inspired biblical definition of faith:
    “Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.”
    (Different translations are consistant with this: http://biblehub.com/hebrews/11-1.htm )
    But for me and a plethora of others, both atheist and agnostics, this is a definition of credulity.

    This is not your position of course, and that’s why I concede you have won the argument.

    I can’t dispute Faith, nor do I have any will to. I have just given my opinion on it, and that’s all I can do.

  25. I do want to thank you eMatters. I admire that you are ready to defend your viewpoint, and I hope you know I do respect your opening this site to people like me.

    Everything you have said did not fall on deaf ears. I do question myself more than I do others.
    I am sincere in my quest, I just hope you end up realizing this.

    I apologize for having left out my upbringing as a JW, but as I have said in my defense, I am embarrassed by this fact. Be assured my perspective on Christianity is not that of this toxic cult.

    Here’s to debaters of good will, as we both are. :)

    • Hi Vince,

      No problems at all. My apologies for getting curt. I realize now that your motives were honorable. We obviously just got cross-ways on some assumptions and went off track from there.

      We do agree on some things: We are both glad you are out of the JWs. No need to be embarrassed, I’m just glad you are out. I could fill up the Interwebs with things I’m embarrassed about!

      We also agree that there are some challenging passages in the Bible.

      We differ on the definition of faith. I’m familiar with Hebrews, of course, but read it in the context of the entire Bible and how faith is defined. In the Book of Acts, for example, people are given reasons to believe over and over. The Book of John explicitly claims to provide reasons to believe. And more.

      I really do trust the process. I believe that the Holy Spirit goes where He will (John 3) and that God’s word will accomplish what He desires (Isaiah 55). That’s why I always encourage people to read it carefully for themselves. I’d rather people read the Bible than my blog.

      All the best to you!

      • Thank you.

        Yes, I agree on the further definition of Faith.
        And yes, context is everything.

        It has been a pleasure to discuss with you. Passion usually gets in the way sometimes, and I can be terse at times. But I love exchanging perspectives as it broadens my views.

        It’s an honor to have met you.
        All the best to you too! :)

  26. What if you were to be judged by Tyagtha, who will reveal Itself in the 25th century Christian Era as the Creator of the Universe? Will It judge Atheists to be worse than Christians, or better? Does Jesus judge Atheists to be worse than Satanists, or better? As a really disturbing possibility, how would Satan judge Atheists? This is no game. There are eternal consequences…

    • Jesus will judge all based on their own sins. Repent and believe while you have time.

      Romans 1:18–20 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.
      More bad news: You’ll be judged on the standard of Jesus, not by comparing your best traits to your neighbor’s worst traits. All your deepest, darkest secrets will be brought to light and judged by a holy and perfect God.

      Romans 2:15-16 They show that the work of the law is written on their hearts, while their conscience also bears witness, and their conflicting thoughts accuse or even excuse them on that day when, according to my gospel, God judges the secrets of men by Christ Jesus.
      It is foolish and rebellious to think that you get to define whether God exists and what He must be like. Repent and believe while you still have time. Eternity is a mighty long time to suffer for your foolish pride. Seek God on his incredibly gracious terms and not only will your past, present and future sins be completely forgiven, but you will have the righteousness of Christ imputed to you.

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