Tuesday, March 22, 2011

where's the mini buffet?

Is it a deal breaker for you that your belief (or lack there of) in God is because you can't understand why He does things His way? You guys usually ask some fair questions about why God would..... or how come He didn't..... or you'd think logically He would have done it this way or that way. "His Lordship the Guntoting Atheist" was the latest to ask me a question like this. So instead of me trying to answer a question that really doesn't have one, let me try another approach.

Is it so hard to believe that if there is a God who created the world in 6 literal days and knows what everyone in the world is thinking at the same time and is in control of every molecule, that maybe, just maybe He has His reasons why He does things His way?

Logically I have no idea why Whoopi Goldberg is famous? I can't understand logically why Nebraska football joined the Big Ten. Sheez, for that matter I can't explain logically why there are like 12 or 13 teams in the Big Ten? Please explain to me logically what the hell Beyonce sees in Jay Z? I've been married for over 26 years and still can't figure out why my wife does things her way... her ways aren't logical to me. Tonight she wants to go on a walk for the health of it, but she wants to walk to the ice cream shop for a chocolate malt. You figure it out.

I like God, so maybe I just give Him the benefit of the doubt? But don't let facts get mixed up with stupid. When you think of God assume He is really, really, really smart.

Dueces

28 comments:

  1. I couldn't help but chuckle about the comparison of your wife making you walk to the ice cream store. There is some good theology there. God gives us richly all things to enjoy, and yet he knows that too much of a good thing will have some devastating consequences.

    I Timothy 2:3-4

    :-)

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  2. Krusty said "God gives us richly all things to enjoy" Words of wisdom terpy, words of wisdom.

    I'm gonna read the whole book of 1st Timothy, watch some tv and go to bed.

    peace

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  3. "Is it so hard to believe that if there is a God who created the world in 6 literal days and knows what everyone in the world is thinking at the same time and is in control of every molecule, that maybe, just maybe He has His reasons why He does things His way?"

    What make it lots harder to believe.Is history is a pretty good record reminding us it was obviously the humans who had their reason to say he does things his way.Theists have been changing ways of Gods for generations upon generations.If theism suggests anything solid about God it tends to solidly suggest maybe God is awfully schizophrenic.The fellow didnt seem to know whether he Arthur or Martha.And over the years chopped and changed like the wind.

    Theists think its not hard to believe an omnipotent God who create the world in 6 literal days.should really have need of human to try letting human know who God is.Yet find it hard to believe God might have done this part with such really great ease himself.Plus saved a whole lot of lives and turmoil in trhe process.

    To be honest,if i bothered,given enough time im sure i can easily think of really good answers for all those other things you mentioned.

    Feeno riddle me this.You quite likely have some ancsetors you are quite proud of.And your family remembers them right?.If Jesus truly was such a fine man who actually did so very many miracles who's life ended on a cross,who then resurrected from the dead.Where are his proud family ancestors?.Crikey even the Maori over here in little old NZ, seem far more proud of their ancestry than the family of Jesus seem to be.And im sure even those in the direct blood line of Michael Jackson wont ever be quitting loudly crowing about the fame of it for very many generations to come yet.

    Theists have found things "easy to believe" for gerations Feen.Thats how come live babies were once thrown into fire,while following the faith that this might help human gain better fertility.

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  4. When God actually did do something about child sacrifice, atheists bitch and moan.

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  5. I don't really find that approach very compelling either, Feeno. Then again, the only thing I would bother questioning is: why I can't seem to feel anything when it comes to Christianity?

    Well, that, and why did the God take Heath Ledger and leave us with Charlie Sheen?

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  6. Feeno why bother?,seems christian JD cant even handle and atheists obervations and opinions, even when you ask for one.Guess the man has a personal relationship with God,and as such is just displaying evidence of having Gods divine guidence.Not totally sure why i couldnt see good "reason" to believe it.

    But anyway Feen what are your "beliefs" about this http://new.exchristian.net/2011/03/check-and-mate.html#

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  7. "maybe He has His reasons why He does things His way? "

    If God is all-powerful and all-knowing... why did He bother creating the Universe in the first place? Why create people just to put them through all sorts of challenges, punish them with Original Sin and only offer redemption to those to accept His own crucified son as their savior?

    I mean that's an overly complicated story. I just can't believe that 'it had to be that way'.

    Why bother with all that? Just because you can? Why not just create a chair and sit on it for a while and amuse Himself for eternity with His own thoughts?

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  8. By 'just because you can' I was actually trying to say 'just because He can'.

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  9. Feeno, you say, "maybe, just maybe He has His reasons why He does things His way?" But if your religion is based on "maybe", that seems pretty lame. Maybe God is really an elephant with three trunks who dances the macarena, but I'm not about to go worship elephants.

    The reason atheists challenge the way God allegedly did things is that this might call into question whether he actually exists. If you posit an all-loving being who you then say acts in a less-than-perfectly-loving way, that calls into question whether this all-loving being really exists (or at least, questions whether he is truly all-loving). To then answer this challenge by saying, "Maybe he had reasons we don't know about" doesn't resolve the situation. It just means, "I have no idea but I still want to believe that God exists, so I'm willing to believe in mere possibilities in order to do so."

    Atheists tend to look at probability. (Whether they accurately assess the probability is a different matter, but that's what they try to do, anyway.) What I have found, in my experience, is that religious people retreat to the realm of mere possibility. They like to say that it's very probable that God exists, but when they're backed into a corner they throw up a lot of "maybes" and "possiblys" and "God is mysterious". But that doesn't cut it if the probabilities truly are against the existence of God. You need something instead that tips the probability in his favour.

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  10. Jeff, Gandy Man and Lordship

    You all missed the point. That's probably my fault tho. Geenks, although not impressed with my reasoning and also does nothing for his lack of faith at least understood my question, I think?

    Gandy, would you ever say something like this; "people throw their babies on big ass fires so that proves there is no God"? Also no matter how many times people change their belief in God to fit into the age and or political climate they live in doesn't make a difference to God, who always remains the same.

    Jeff, you said "Atheists tend to look at probability". Dude, for real? The probability of all the things that would have to happen so that life could exist on Earth are.... well, the opposite of probable.

    Also let me share with you what I experience from many atheists. I'll ask a question to an atheist that wont prove anything about the existence of God but they still wont answer it. Let me try to ask again in a easier way. If there is a being that is all knowing, all seeing and all powerful wouldn't it be "probable" that he'd be smarter than you?

    Lordship, I guess I'm gonna have to try to answer your questions. That wasn't my intent for this post, but for you guys, I will. Right after dinner. (meat loaf, cheesy mashed potatoes and corn, for those scoring at home). Actually my wife will make two meatloaf's, one for me with cheddar cheese and bar-b-que sauce and one for everybody else.

    Thank you for commenting and please stay tuned.

    late, feen

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  11. Good to see you posting again with your down home wisdom.

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  12. Do I believe in God? Yes. Do I know everything about Him? No. Do I understand Him perfectly? No. Nor will I ever be able to on this side of eternity.

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  13. I can't understand logically why Nebraska football joined the Big Ten

    So we can watch Penn State-Nebraska each and every fall. I'm still disppointed that nobody answered my trivia question that I posted in December.

    *sniff*

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  14. Tēnā koe Feeno ,

    You said.."Gandy, would you ever say something like this; "people throw their babies on big ass fires so that proves there is no God"? Also no matter how many times people change their belief in God to fit into the age and or political climate they live in doesn't make a difference to God, who always remains the same."

    No i wouldnt say that.But if i said throw your live babies into fire and it will stop famine and sickness and stop earthquakes.Then later said opps!,that was wrong you need to be killing a herd of cattle sheep and goats.Then later on i say oh no sorry that was wrong again,never mind bothering with all that rubbish,there is no need cause my homie Jesus fixed it on the cross.Yet again i suggest there might be all these other rituals i need to do too,like going to church and tything and what ever else.Yet still famines arrive,and faithful folks get sick and die in earthquakes while the wicked live.

    Its the accumulative evidence,or lack of it.

    I not going to say you missed my point or not.Im just going to say it again.Theists have found things "easy to believe" for gerations Feen.And they will say it,but saying things is one thing,and making it meet with facts is something else.When it sure doesnt seem a whole lot like "God has really been the same yesterday today and tomorrow" does it.And saying it was humans making mistakes just dont cut the mustard,because when do we know for sure you theist not making mistakes?.Valid theorys most usually provide some good evidence.Why expect any less of theism.

    I understand theist want to think of throwing live babies into fire,or all the mistake made by theists over generations like it only some "contingency plan" of an omnipotent God who need feeble fickle human to help do his work.But some atheists cant see that should be any good "probability" just like Jeff already tried to explain to you.

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  15. You say to Jeff ? ..."If there is a being that is all knowing, all seeing and all powerful wouldn't it be "probable" that he'd be smarter than you?"

    What are you saying Feen? ..That you feel God is smarter than atheists ,but then the theists IQ is all clones of Albert Einstein?

    Your suggestion make little sense, when it seems all the theist obviously been thinking they smarter than God for years.Seems they think God be omnipotent this that and everything else,but they still seem to like dumbing God down,by thinking God would have need of theist humans to help make so many mistakes,mistakes that also once includeded throwing some live babies into fire.

    I mean sure, fine if you want to make claims God smarter than us...But that also included Theists too right?...So why is it you theist like to think you know?

    Feeno on another thread you say somethings that also includes this..."I love my family, so going out to eat with family is a big time for me."

    If i offer you choice between 1, Christian charity, or 2, the chance to love family and enjoying going out to eat with family big time.

    What your choice gonna be Feen?.Or is it a matter of all being sweet-as!so long as some christian is happy?

    "Im not here to pick a fight with" any of you Christians either Feeno.But you know what.I cant help wondering if you went near a blog full of those ancient babies who were once cast into the flames of fire by some theists ,you might still have some trouble understanding why some of them might seem a little "gloomy"? and you might still tend to consider they also had "sad assessments"?

    Just saying.Wasnt going to at first.But still. maybe its something that does indeed need to keep being said.

    E noho ra! Feeno āpānoa āpōpō.Arohanui

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  16. Feeno,

    "Jeff, you said 'Atheists tend to look at probability'. Dude, for real? The probability of all the things that would have to happen so that life could exist on Earth are.... well, the opposite of probable."

    The probability of any given person winning the lottery is also vastly improbable, and yet people win it every week. With repeated sampling, the probability of the event occurring increases. So even if the probability of life on Earth is very improbable, the probability of life happening on one of the billions and billions of planets out there becomes very probable. Your challenge would be comparable if you could demonstrate that God had repeated opportunities to come into existence, or if there are multiple Gods each with a variety of characteristics. But otherwise, I suggest we put it aside, because it's a tangent.

    "If there is a being that is all knowing, all seeing and all powerful wouldn't it be "probable" that he'd be smarter than you?"

    Sure. But what's your point? Your original question was, "Is it a deal breaker for you that your belief (or lack there of) in God is because you can't understand why He does things His way?" I pointed out that the inconsistency between God's alleged characteristics and his alleged actions makes me suspect that he exists at all. Your answer of "he's smarter than you" is an attempt to wave away the inconsistencies. But it's not an explanation for them! You're appealing to the mere possibility that there is a God out there who is smarter than I am. But mere possibilities don't do much to affect an argument based on probability (or more precisely, inference to the best explanation).

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  17. The probability of any given person winning the lottery is also vastly improbable, and yet people win it every week

    Demonstrably false. Individual lotteries sometimes go multiple weeks without a winner.

    I pointed out that the inconsistency between God's alleged characteristics and his alleged actions makes me suspect that he exists at all

    If we begin from the starting point that God is a creature that is very much different than we are then it begins to make sense.

    This is before we even get into the fact that God is eternal and and thus His vantage point most likely is quite different from someone who is finaite and here only for a brief blip on the historical timescale.

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  18. "Finite", not "finaite". Pardon.

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  19. "Demonstrably false. Individual lotteries sometimes go multiple weeks without a winner."

    I was obviously referring to lotteries that pick a distinct winner(s) every week. But even still, a lottery that doesn't do so typically doesn't go months/years without a winner. With repeated sampling, the probability of a winner is still pretty high.

    "If we begin from the starting point that God is a creature that is very much different than we are then it begins to make sense."

    Actually, if you go that route, it (practically by definition) starts to make less sense. The less that God is like us, the less we can have any understanding of who he is or why he does the things he does. If you simultaneously say "God is all-loving" and "God is entirely unlike us", your first statement becomes meaningless. I only know what love is in reference to people who have intentions and desires like my own. Still, since Christianity typically claims that humans are made in the image of God, I won't stress the point too much.

    "This is before we even get into the fact that God is eternal and and thus His vantage point most likely is quite different from someone who is finaite and here only for a brief blip on the historical timescale."

    Again, you're appealing to mere possibilities. Under normal circumstances, I can make reasonable inferences about your actions based on what I know of your character, personality, past behaviour, etc. even though I don't know every thought that's going through your head (in fact, I don't know any of them). This certainty begins to grow when your character qualities become more absolute. I can only infer so much if I know that you're "reasonably honest", but if I know that you're "always honest", I know that in every situation you will act honestly. I will grant that there may still be instances where I get it wrong, because you knew something that I didn't, but I should be able to predict your behaviour with a very high degree of accuracy.

    Now we have the matter of God. He is defined in absolute terms: all-loving, all-knowing, all-powerful. He also has apparently given us a book that has outlined his major plans from the creation of the world all the way into the future to the end of time. He has apparently given us a huge set of particular instances in which he acted in history, all laid out nicely in a book. Now, again, I'll admit that in some instances, we might still predict his behaviour wrongly, but I think this shows that in the vast majority of cases, we should be able to predict it with a very high degree of accuracy. So, if there are any inconsistencies between our knowledge of his character and his alleged actions, there's something wrong here.

    To put it more simply, you can't say that we have all this information about God, and then backpedal and say "God is mysterious". Either we know who God is, or we don't. And although we might be wrong about specific instances, if he shows a general trend (in the Bible, let's say) of doing something that is against his nature, I think it's pretty reasonable to assume that either we don't know as much as we think we do about this God, or the account is inaccurate, or the being (as we know it, anyway) does not exist at all.

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  20. Actually, if you go that route, it (practically by definition) starts to make less sense. The less that God is like us, the less we can have any understanding of who he is or why he does the things he does. If you simultaneously say "God is all-loving" and "God is entirely unlike us", your first statement becomes meaningless. I only know what love is in reference to people who have intentions and desires like my own. Still, since Christianity typically claims that humans are made in the image of God, I won't stress the point too much

    This entire paragraph is completely wrong from beginning to end.

    The less that God is like us, the less we can have any understanding of who he is or why he does the things he does

    Since when did being different=unable to understand something?

    If you simultaneously say "God is all-loving" and "God is entirely unlike us", your first statement becomes meaningless

    How so? If God is able to forgive a terrible sinner and see them come to repentance after all of their sins, it's quite possible that you and I most likely would have given up on them miles ago.

    I only know what love is in reference to people who have intentions and desires like my own. Still, since Christianity typically claims that humans are made in the image of God, I won't stress the point too much

    And yet I think you could differentiate between God loving you and hating you. If God hurled a bucket of slop at you every day at 8:00, I doubt that could be defined as "love" in any way.

    Yet, if He sent His only Son to take our place and be a sacrifice that allows us out of damnation, then that can be understood to be "love".

    Again, you're appealing to mere possibilities. Under normal circumstances, I can make reasonable inferences about your actions based on what I know of your character, personality, past behaviour, etc. even though I don't know every thought that's going through your head (in fact, I don't know any of them). This certainty begins to grow when your character qualities become more absolute. I can only infer so much if I know that you're "reasonably honest", but if I know that you're "always honest", I know that in every situation you will act honestly. I will grant that there may still be instances where I get it wrong, because you knew something that I didn't, but I should be able to predict your behaviour with a very high degree of accuracy

    We are different in that we do not have the benefit (in this life anyway) of seeing the whole picture on a wide variety of events that we may not fully understand.

    If we see God's hand at work in other, more knowable circumstances though, then we can make a decision if He is good or not.

    If He is good in all cases where we see His hand at work, then we can trust that He is good in other instances that might not be fully explained to our satisfaction.

    Let me givve you an illustration.

    Gregg Metcalf is making a series of posts over on his blog of his journey through seminary. Gregg had noble intentions. He wanted to serve God, right? But Gregg recounts in stunning detail of how at numerous times during his seminary years,, various roadblocks were put in his way. Trials and tribulations would happen as a matter of certainty. And yet he saw God's hand at work constantly in that he learned something from each trial he endured and picked up a valuable lesson each time.

    If God was good during those trials, then why not at other times?

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  21. Now we have the matter of God. He is defined in absolute terms: all-loving, all-knowing, all-powerful. He also has apparently given us a book that has outlined his major plans from the creation of the world all the way into the future to the end of time. He has apparently given us a huge set of particular instances in which he acted in history, all laid out nicely in a book. Now, again, I'll admit that in some instances, we might still predict his behaviour wrongly, but I think this shows that in the vast majority of cases, we should be able to predict it with a very high degree of accuracy. So, if there are any inconsistencies between our knowledge of his character and his alleged actions, there's something wrong here

    How? We are not gods, so how is something "wrong" here?

    if He shows a general trend (in the Bible, let's say) of doing something that is against His nature, I think it's pretty reasonable to assume that either we don't know as much as we think we do about this God, or the account is inaccurate, or the being (as we know it, anyway) does not exist at all

    I think I would need an example of an alleged "inconsistency" in order to address this.

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  22. Whoopie is famous because she was the first African American actress ever to be nominated for an Oscar.

    Also, she was in STNG as Gainan where she played a sagely bar tender and gave wisdom to Captain Jean Luc Piccard--the captain of the U.S.S. Enterprise NCC1701-D. How could she not be famous?

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  23. "Since when did being different=unable to understand something?"

    Think about your ability to imagine the experience of a chimpanzee. Now think about your ability to imagine the experience of a spider. Now think about your ability to imagine the experience of an alien being with no corporeal form. The less similar to humans a being is, the less able we are to "put ourselves in its shoes", so to speak. When the desires, intentions, beliefs, thoughts, etc. are completely different, how can we even contemplate what it is like to be that creature? And thus, if God is "wholly other" (which is not an uncommon position amongst theologians), then we should be entirely unable to even understand how or why he does what he does -- if he even takes "action" for particular "reasons", that is.

    "How so? If God is able to forgive a terrible sinner and see them come to repentance after all of their sins, it's quite possible that you and I most likely would have given up on them miles ago."

    It's not that God is more loving than us. If God is fundamentally a different sort of being than us, how can we even refer to his actions as "loving" in any meaningful sense? We only understand "love" because we know what love feels like to human beings with human brains and human emotions.

    "I think I would need an example of an alleged 'inconsistency' in order to address this."

    Fair enough. God is supposed to be all-loving. This means that in every situation, he will always choose the most loving option that is possible (all else being equal). Of course, he may have to balance other things, but he will always be "pointed towards" the loving action, so to speak. And yet, most Christian denominations believe in hell, a place of eternal punishment, torment, and death caused by separation from God. (I know not all Christians believe this, but it's fairly standard.)

    Now, it is said that sinners must be punished for their sins, and that hell is the punishment. However, I can think quite easily of a more loving way to do things that includes punishment but doesn't involve eternal torture: annihilation. Simply cause the souls of sinners to cease to exist. It still punishes them by a) no longer allowing them to exist and b) depriving them of the pleasures of heaven for eternity. But yet, it seems more loving than throwing them into a place where they suffer for billions and billions of years, and then billions of billions of years more.

    Thus, it seems that God's alleged all-lovingness is inconsistent with hell. This means that either a) God isn't all-loving, and we don't know as much about God as we thought we did, b) hell doesn't exist, and we don't know as much about God as we thought we did, or c) God doesn't exist at all (sort of a combination of a and b). Take your pick.

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  24. Thought of a couple more examples for you. How about God flooding the entire earth to rid the world of sinful humans? Not only was it not loving to the billions of animals that died, but drowning also isn't a pleasant way to die. If God had to kill them for some reason (which in itself seems debatable, since sin still stuck around anyway), why didn't he choose instant death of all the humans instead? He could just snap his fingers and kill them all, so why did he go through the whole process of making Noah build a boat, gather all sorts of animals, etc. and then drown everyone?

    Another example: The conquest of Canaan. Now, as the story goes, the Canaanites were wicked and deserved judgment, which means that the Israelites were justified in going in and slaughtering them all (even the children and livestock, which were apparently also wicked?). By why didn't God simply relocate these Canaanites elsewhere if he wanted the Israelites to live there? Or again, if he really needed to kill them, why did he rely on brutal warfare, letting people get sliced with swords, raped, and cut open? Why not send in a disease that killed them all quickly? Or again, why not simply snap his fingers and get the job done instantly?

    These are more examples of where God quite clearly chose the less loving option. This challenges the idea that he truly is perfectly loving.

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  25. The less similar to humans a being is, the less able we are to "put ourselves in its shoes", so to speak. When the desires, intentions, beliefs, thoughts, etc. are completely different, how can we even contemplate what it is like to be that creature?

    I don't wish to confuse the experience of imagining what it would be like to be God with Him providing us a moral code that gives us a good idea of what God stands for, what pleases Him, and what He detests.

    If God is fundamentally a different sort of being than us, how can we even refer to his actions as "loving" in any meaningful sense?

    First I would cite the lives that have been healed, made better, made whole when one accepts His existance and follows in His ways.

    Isn't this one indicator of a loving God?

    God is supposed to be all-loving. This means that in every situation, he will always choose the most loving option that is possible (all else being equal). Of course, he may have to balance other things, but he will always be "pointed towards" the loving action, so to speak.

    Jeff, where is this idea from? The reason I ask is that if it's from the Bible, maybe we can examine the relevant passage in it's context.

    For instance, how does this idea square with Psalms 7:11? "God is an honest judge. He is angry with the wicked every day"?

    I can think quite easily of a more loving way to do things that includes punishment but doesn't involve eternal torture: annihilation. Simply cause the souls of sinners to cease to exist. It still punishes them by a) no longer allowing them to exist and b) depriving them of the pleasures of heaven for eternity

    I addressed this question in a blog entry entitled Hell is not a Tortue Chamber

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  26. the story goes, the Canaanites were wicked and deserved judgment, which means that the Israelites were justified in going in and slaughtering them all (even the children and livestock, which were apparently also wicked?). By why didn't God simply relocate these Canaanites elsewhere if he wanted the Israelites to live there? Or again, if he really needed to kill them, why did he rely on brutal warfare, letting people get sliced with swords, raped, and cut open? Why not send in a disease that killed them all quickly? Or again, why not simply snap his fingers and get the job done instantly?

    Couple of problems here.

    1. What knowledge are you in possession of that would cause me to belive that if the Amalekites (or Canaanites) were "relocated" that their practices of child sacrifice and bestiality would have ended or not crept into other cultures they came into contact with?

    2. Dead is dead my friend. What is they huge obstacle that you have here that makes death by natural disaster all that much more moral?

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  27. Ever hear of Catholicism? Ever hear you're gonna croak? I'm gonna. See the similarities? No?? Lemme put it to you another way, my friend --- Whetha or not you wanna believe makes no difference to God and the Liar when you croak, dude - totally irrelevant. We're mortal with levels of sin on our shoulders which MUST be paid for. You have 2 choices if you don't believe: either continue on in thy unbelief and we'll see what Jesus does with ya after He gives you EVERY CHANCE to repent in your mortal existence ...or repent and start to follow. I'm going Upstairs, dude, where I can party-hardy for eternity around size B cup, young women. YOUR choice. YOUR demise. Jesus has ABSOLUTELY nuth'n to do with your lackOfaith: ever hear of FREE-WILL?? God totally respects FREE-WILL. And if you wanna journey to the Abyss o'Misery, who's bloody fault is that?? TOTALLY your own. See ya in Heaven after you read this. God blessa youse -Fr. Sarducci, ol SNL

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