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November 19, 2008

Comments

"It's easy to assert goodness. It's harder to explain it without God."


I find it harder to understand that a God who has a supposed active role in the lives of Humans, would actually sit back and let the evil in the world continue. And if you want to get real technical, it was the Christian God who actually created Satan(who has the evilness in him) and lets him run amuck while we suffer. Now if thats not confusing I dont know what is. AH the joy of story telling, you just keep making it up as you go.

Titfor Tat,

You are not addressing the point of the post. Here it is: "The problem is that atheists can't explain the existence of these categories."

Try again.


My point is neither can you. lol.

Actually what I meant was the belief in a Christian God doesnt make it any easier to explain.

"We can be good for goodness sake."

No, we can't. (Romans 3:23)

"I find it harder to understand that a God who has a supposed active role in the lives of Humans, would actually sit back and let the evil in the world continue."

Evil in the world...Do you mean the sin that we are all guilty of?

Funny how you blame GOD and not YOURSELF for your sins and the consequences. Or are you claiming to be "sinless"?

Funny how you blame GOD and not YOURSELF for your sins and the consequences. Or are you claiming to be "sinless"?(chesterton)


Speak for yourself, I dont claim to believe the Christian myth. If you want to see yourself born as a piece of , be my guest, just dont include me.

Why the excrement reference?

Titfortat,

That's just the point: Is Christianity a myth or is it true? If Christianity is true then you cannot escape the truth of its claims merely by saying you do not want to be included. If it is a myth then I would agree with you.

It is clear you are operating form the assumption that Christianity is bogus and a waste of time. I would challenge you to honestly and fairly seek answers to the questions you have and a great place to start is at this website.

Start with these two articles:

You have got to Believe in Something
http://www.str.org/site/News2?page=NewsArticle&id=5728

A Good Reason For Evil
http://www.str.org/site/News2?page=NewsArticle&id=5093

>>I find it harder to understand that a God who has a supposed active role in the lives of Humans, would actually sit back and let the evil in the world continue. And if you want to get real technical, it was the Christian God who actually created Satan(who has the evilness in him) and lets him run amuck while we suffer. Now if thats not confusing I dont know what is. AH the joy of story telling, you just keep making it up as you go.>>

You have illustrated the point of Melinda's post. This rant says nothing about the questions and also completely misrepresents the Christian (and Jewish and Muslim) understanding of the terms and categories you used. If your issue with belief in God has to do with the problem of evil, I would recommend reading the actual authorities on such issues instead of your atheist colleagues who also do not understand the terms and arguments. You may find CS Lewis' "Problem of Pain" helpful as well as re-reading the Genesis account of how sin and suffering enter the world (even if it is "myth" as you claim, the point is still valid). Only after you have understood the argument can you attempt to refute it.

Why the excrement reference?(excommunicate)

The Christian faith is based on an idea that we are all inherently sinful(evil). Hence my reference to .

David Blain

Your assuming I havnt fairly and honestly sought answers to my questions. I have and my conclusions are just not the same as some others.

Ryan

"I would recommend reading the actual authorities on such issues instead of your atheist colleagues who also do not understand the terms and arguments."

1. Who said I was atheist?

2. Can there be an actual authority on the concepts of Evil and Good? Seems to me I dont know anyone who can actually talk with the Creator of the Universe. There may be lots of good ideas, just no actual proof.

3. I think Christianity has done a fine job of misrepresenting the Jewish Holy texts, dont you think? As far as Islam goes, well, we wont even touch that one.

The truth is neither the religious or atheist view point have any actual proof of why Evil exists, to make that claim is preposterous.

I did assume that and I thought it were a reasonable assumption because of your misrepresentation of Biblical teachings

Titfortat, you seem a bit bitter, and I am not saying that to belittle you in any way. I will say this, many of the things you expressed are questions that are not unique to your apparent worldview, but philosophically speaking, I dont see why this is a hinderence for you. Furthermore, how are things going to get any better if you remain in the position you take? I would think that is the least logical thing you could do, unless you expect God to supernaturally 'clense the world'. And then i would tell you that he may just be doing that in Jesus Christ. But you dont believe that, so the problem rests unanswered with you, for which their will never be an answer.

Did you read the two articles?

David Blain

Now Now, who says Im misrepresenting Biblical teachings. Firstly to even make that claim you should at least tell me which version of the Bible youre referring to and what denomination of christian. ;)

TBeer

Bitter, naw, I guess I should just put more smiley faces. The world gets better when are focus is on improving it. Believing that were all inherently Bad and are going to be bailed out if we just believe the "right" idea, isnt my idea of smart. The idea should be to Love now and not worry about an afterlife.

"A bird in hand, is better than 2 in the bush"

"

David Blain

I read them. He pretty much lost me after this statement.

"If you reject God, then you've got to reject the idea that there's anything called evil in the world because God is the standard for good which defines what evil is."

I dont need a God(presumably the christian one) to know what is Good and what is Evil, thats just not logical.

Titfortat,

The fact that you claim to know the difference other than your own personal preference makes the categories good and evil illogical based on your point of veiw. I would actually challenge the athiest to explain the existance of good.

For expample "be good for goodness sake". I have to ask "What do you mean by good?"
Should I be my good or your good? Surely without a God to ground these catergories, these categories become ultimately meaningless. What is actually fascinating to me is the ad campaign assumes we all know what good they are talking about but in reality by that worldview they have to no good reason to assume such a thing. In other words the slogan is nonsense for nonsense sake.

TitforTat,

I'm going to try to come at this from a little different perspective, if I might. You said:

"I don't need a God to know what is Good and what is Evil, that's just not logical."

I'm fine with you saying that you don't need a "God" to know what is Good and what is Evil. However, what is not logical is to say that you can "know" what Good and Evil are if there is no ultimate authority in the universe to which you can ground Good and Evil. If you are arguing that there is something known as Good and something known as Evil, which it seems you are, HOW do you know that? You can't say that you "just know it" because I can "just know" that something you think is Good is actually Evil. You can't argue that "society has just decided what is Good and Evil" because you still run into the problem of there being no reason for Good or Evil beyond what society tells us. If there is no God or Creator or Final Authority, then there can be no true consequences for "Good" or "Evil" beyond what society chooses as punishment. (This, to me, seems inadequate, as many innocent get punished and many guilty go free.) If there are no true consequences for "Good" or "Evil", then there is no REAL, objective thing that can be "known" as Good and Evil. Chew on it. Maybe you agree, maybe you don't. But, I don't see how you get around the claim to "know" what is good and evil if there is no authority by which you know it beyond human beings' ideas of them.

Damian

All religions and Cultures have their own personal preferences in regards to good and evil. Whats wrong with me doing that personally? If it is not in accordance with the community I live in, Im sure the law will do its best to take care of it. Is God necessary for us to know that murdering is evil? And if I lay down my life to save another, do any of us need God to see the Goodness in that? Why cant it just be stated that none of us really "know" where good and evil come from. We all just have our own personal preferences to which theory works best.

As an engineer, I find myself inundated with dimensions. What is a dimension, but a quantification of an attribute. When I say a component is 1 inch (25.4 mm) thick, I can assert with confidence that everyone that utilizes this component will understand how thick it is. No one will complain to me that my 'inch' is way too big or small compared to their 'inch.'
Why?
There are absolute standards by which we define these measurements. Without these absolute standards, anyone can define what an 'inch' is and be correct, for who has the authority to claim that they have the definitive 'inch?'
What is 'goodness' and why should I be good for its sake? How can we define goodness with any certainty and permanence without an absolute definition to measure it by?

But, I don't see how you get around the claim to "know" what is good and evil if there is no authority by which you know it beyond human beings' ideas of them.(josh)

Ok josh, I will replace your word(authority) with my word(format).
In my world there seems to be a format to it. Understanding how the format works does not mean I understand how it came to be. Good and Evil are pretty obvious in the formatted world I live in. What or who created that is not so obvious.

"Is God necessary for us to know that murdering is evil? And if I lay down my life to save another, do any of us need God to see the Goodness in that?"

TitforTat,
SOMETHING beyond human beings is needed for us to "know" that murding is evil and laying down our lives to save another is good. In the quoted statements you are presuming that all people agree with your statements, when you later say that personal preference is all we have to go on. Which is it? If I tell you that I'm going to kill someone I don't know who hasn't done anything wrong to me, and I'm going to do it violently will you tell me that is wrong? Why? Isn't it my personal preference? Yes, I may be punished by society, but you have no authority to tell me that it is Evil if there is no STANDARD for good and evil. If it is just my preference vs. yours, then regardless of punishment I recieve I still hold the right to call my actions good. That doesn't make sense.

I'm rooting for you, TitforTat! Hahaha, going back into the archives, I saw many of your ilk come onto these forums and get overwhelmed by responses directed towards every verbal misstep made and never once is the agnostic's arguments acknowledged as logical in any way whatsoever.

It almost seems as if people are talking above each others' heads. The agnostic eventually leaves us "fundamentalist" to "believe what we want to believe." The problem arises because we believe that it is true for you too! So I thank you for "getting out of your comfort zone" and having a chat with us. The process of learning has not stopped for most on this forum. We just have a bent towards theism and Christianity specifically. I can assure you that if you raise an objection, we consider carefully (and here is the kicker) with the philosophical bent that Christianity is true. But the same goes for you; you are coming with the belief that the God of Christianity is a myth.

Back to this post... We are claiming that you cannot _explain_ the existence of Good and Evil without God. Yes, you can know what is Good and what is Evil, but your morality is one that must ask, “and what makes that good?” ad infinitum.

Josh

I have no problem with something creating the awareness in us to know the difference between Good and Evil. My challenge is when people say they know what it is.

Augustine

Heres another kicker. If you derive your morality from the Christian faith and not Murdering is a commandment, then explain this morality to me.

Numbers 31

Now therefore kill every male among the little ones, and kill every woman that hath known man by lying with him.
But all the women children, that have not known a man by lying with him, keep alive for yourselves.

"I have no problem with something creating the awareness in us to know the difference between Good and Evil. My challenge is when people say they know what it is."

We are making progress!!! You are now a theist! Hahahaha! Just kidding.

That would be Deist, sir. Lmao

TitforTat,

I'm not claiming that I "know" that the God of Christianity is the Creator. Based on the knowledge I have from the studying and thinking I've done I BELIEVE that the God of Christianity is the Creator. I admit that I could be wrong.

I appreciate your difficulties with Christianity based on the evil that is present in the world. I guess what I have to ask myself is this: Would I rather know that I am believing in God as a result of free will, or would I rather know that I am believing in God because he constantly manifests himself definitively and saves everyone from all everything? Personally, I feel that the latter option is God forcing me to love and believe him - I have no option in that case. The way the world is now gives me the freedom to either believe in God or not, just as it does you. Just think, it is because of God's gift of free will that you are even able to have the position that you have. If things were different, you'd be robbed of intellectual freedom in this area because the answer would be given to you! :) So, now we can all be happy!

"explain this morality to me."

To be honest, I don't think that I am qualified to explain that to you. I have heard this objection brought up many times and I have heard the rebuttals, but I don't think that I can effectively explain this one to you. Hopefully some other member can ^_____^

Is this an example of a blind/ignorant faith? Well, I can tell you this, I am not going to just ignore your objection and feel good when I go to sleep tonight ;)

"That would be Deist, sir. Lmao"

Whoops, my bad =P

> Numbers 31

It was God's sovereign judgment on a wicked nation. What's the problem?

Titfortat, I appreciate your response

A few things; To assert that we should focus on improving the world, love each other and not worry about an afterlife dangerouly implies that thier is no such thing as an afterlife. To quote:

"When it comes to the origin of life on this earth, there are only two possibilities:
Creation or spontaneous generation. There is no third way. Spontaneous generation was disproved 100 years ago, but that leads us only to one other conclusion: that of supernatural creation. We cannot accept that on philosophical grounds therefore, we choose to believe the impossible: that life arose spontaneously by chance." George Wald (Nobel prize for Medicine in 1967)

Regardless of what you think of that statement, I guess, the greater point I am trying to illustrate is the I suppose, extreme folly frivolously trying to 'spread love' with no bearings... So to speak, to create a moral system where common opinion seems to be the determineing factor -- in spite of what is known -- at some point is going to require a leap of faith given the evidence.

It is difficult, perhaps impossible to honestly weigh the evidence if you are being hindered by offense, (and im reffering to the passage from Numbers you posted) becuase you are sort of saying "Oh! God is mean, so he cant exist." Even if he was (and he isint, and thier are several resources that address the passage you posted and several others), that does not neccessairily assert that God can not exist. I apologize and I realize i have slid off topic a bit, but your reasoning sounds a bit personal. To make an analigy (which I am terrible at), it would be foolish to assert that gravity does not exist because you can die from jumping off a building. Im sorry if i confused you a little, I have alot of thoughts bouncing around and i tried not to carry this post on too long.

"It was God's sovereign judgment on a wicked nation. What's the problem?" (Mike)

Here is the problem - if that is God's judgment of 'wickedness' - isn't he even more wicked than them (or at least the same)? Where of God's morality in such a case? Is God moral?

I have actually argued that one with John before - so he knows my rebuttal on such an issue (ie: Numbers 31).

However, I tend to agree with the grounding of morality based on some authority - or we are left with guesswork and possible horrible mistakes (or even worse guesswork and outcomes). not everything will be bad in trial and error - but at the end of the day 'the strongest makes the rules' (based on power). 'He with the gun tells the man to dance - and he does' type thing.

I think the NT is asking something quite easy to be honest concering defining 'good' and 'bad' - 'treat people how you want to be treated'. Now this is a fairly common human motif in all actuality - but it is nice to have your God saying it also as an idea of living...offers a form of verification. Isn't that what we are seeking - verification?

For example, my wife just called me with a dilemma. She wants to buy a book on Bam Margera and Chris Novak with her credit card - but she is unsure if she should because Christmas is coming and she owes quite a bit on the visa. The book is only $26.00.

She only called so I could re-affirm her perspective - she wanted some verification what she was doing was 'right'. Although there is no evil in what she was doing - she still needed verification and support. Faith functions this way - figuratively when we want the book and we want to buy it now (not wait until Christmas) - we seek some support on the issue.

"If you want to see yourself born as a piece of , be my guest, just dont include me."

So you claim to be free of sin? True or false?

You have never lied? You have never stolen? You have never had negative intentions of anger, hatred, greed or lust toward anyone?

Are you sure you want to make this claim? After all, it's YOUR credibility on the line here.

" Is God necessary for us to know that murdering is evil?"

Christians know murder is evil because God said so.

How do YOU know it's "evil" or not? What is YOUR source of this knowledge?

Or are you just an intellectual mooch stealing Christian ideas without giving God any credit? If so, do you really honor honesty or not? (And if not, why should any of us listen to you at all?)

"It was God's sovereign judgment on a wicked nation. What's the problem?"

The big, huge problem for TitforTat's argument is somehow he/she is claiming some sort of "Cosmic Right to Life."

We want to know the basis or source for this claim, but none have been presented. I'm sure TitforTat FEELS very strongly about it, but we are hoping for a logical, rational explanation.

It's an old atheist chesnut -- Taking God's laws ("You shall not murder) and trying to apply them to God, even though he probably sees himself as a slightly evolved monkey. The rest of us know full well he is a sinner like the rest of us, and not worth of judgment of Him.

We all die someday, even deists and atheists.

Romans 6:23 "the wages of sin is death..."

>>Here is the problem - if that is God's judgment of 'wickedness' - isn't he even more wicked than them (or at least the same)? Where of God's morality in such a case? Is God moral?

Yes, He is. Justice is moral, not immoral, and God is the judge of all mankind. (I don't know what you say about Numbers 31, but perhaps it's similar to that response.)

Romans 3:5-6 - But if our unrighteousness brings out God's righteousness more clearly, what shall we say? That God is unjust in bringing his wrath on us? (I am using a human argument.) Certainly not! If that were so, how could God judge the world?

In other words, we see God's justice when we see Him against our unrighteousness. It is right for God to bring wrath on human beings who deserve it. How would God, as judge, judge the world except by bringing His wrath on it? (The amazing, unbelievable thing is not His deserved justice, but His undeserved mercy!)

So the question is, do judges have a right to mete out justice? And I think we would all agree the answer is yes. Justice is perfectly consistent with a good God.

If one would then argue that the punishment is not just, I would just say that the punishment is equal to the crime of rebellion against God. Only if you understand how great God is (and none of us can completely grasp that) can you appreciate what a horrible crime it is to spit in His face, fight against Him, and harm other human beings made in His image.

Chesterton, as a brother who desires for you to become a more effective ambassador, I just wanted to note that you come off as more accusative and condemning than you really need to. Perhaps you find that this issue is a very pressing one and you really want to get to the bottom of the problem. I sympathize with those concerns but there must be a better way. Thanks for understanding.

Augustine: Please provide specific examples, if possible. However, I have found that matching the TONE of anti-Christians sometimes helps them understand just how irrational their position is. I appreciate your concerns.

Or are you just an intellectual mooch stealing Christian ideas without giving God any credit?(Chesterton)

Now youre making a HUGE assumption that your worldview is the correct one and because im free to choose, I wont ascribe to it. I dont much like the term sin as it is a religious model(Typically christian) for describing certain behaviours. Now as far as doing bad behaviours, I will give you your props. I have done more than my fair share. The thing is I choose to define myself from my good behaviour not my bad. I am not oblivious to it, I just believe I have more to give the world if I see myself as inherently good, rather than inherently bad(sinful). I find one of the biggest challenges I have with the traditional christian viewpoint is the fact that they think we are born into sin because of what some guy(adam) and girl(Eve) did in a garden some 6000yrs ago. WOW, talk about rational. If you choose that model, be my guest, just dont lump me and the bulk of the world with it.

"So the question is, do judges have a right to mete out justice? And I think we would all agree the answer is yes. Justice is perfectly consistent with a good God." (Amy)

I agree - justice is an aspect of God.

"If one would then argue that the punishment is not just, I would just say that the punishment is equal to the crime of rebellion against God. Only if you understand how great God is (and none of us can completely grasp that) can you appreciate what a horrible crime it is to spit in His face, fight against Him, and harm other human beings made in His image." (Amy)

I am presuming you have read Numbers 31 - you are aware there is a genocide and women slaves being taken by men (neither are commandments of God).

I would ask 'what did those people in Numbers 31 do that was so bad they get the punishment of being wiped off the planet as a form of justice'? Are you saying this is 'justice'?

We are talking about a Great God not acting so great. So perhaps we cannot understand God's greatness - but a whole race (including children) of people suffer for the crimes of some? What is the great part of that?

So the punishment is equal to the crime - some people did horrible things to their own people in the name of their god - so God purposes they all deserve to be 'wiped out'. How can some be guilty for all? I guess they were all in the same community so they deserve the same treatment?

Fact is, none of us in this room have morals anywhere near that. If someone's family was harrassing yours - or sacrificing their pet dog to their idols - we would not feel the need to kill em' all (including taking their wife as ours and doing away with innocent children). Then taking all their loot as ours to top that off.

That, in any sane person's confession, is not something a moral person would do. It sure isn't something we wouldn't relate to being Christian.

My rebuttal is a lot more simpler than that. God is just - there were problems with that group of people. If you read the passage Moses gives orders from God's basic orders of what to do - and the over-statement seems to be Moses'.

However, this is a 'war' and not normal conditions (and nothing in wars is ever clean and moral). You cannot righteously put a knife through someone's heart (there's no commandment for that). These actions were in a process of war with this group. The Isaraelites happen to 'write' their story down in this case (and a few others). But we are reading within the lense of war.

Anyone ever see 'Deer Hunter' or Platoon'? Those are also stories about a war - vietnam. Do we think those stories are not going to involve gore and muck concerning the basest of human behavior? Yes. That's no different than that story in Numbers 31.

I just love athiest evangelists (Titfor Tat).

Brilliant post amy

"If you want to do X, be my guest, just don't include me [lump me or the rest of the world into it]?"

Why not?

First, the 4:33 post by V: are you the ONE and ONLY V from QCT? If so, hello my friend!

Second, I have seen a few defenses of Numbers 31, and we could debate back and forth all day about whether God was morally justified or not in that instance, but that misses the key point. If God created the universe and this planet and all the life on it, He most definitely has the authority to do what He wills with that life. That surely does not sit well with some, but as a Christian, I believe that God has a purpose for good in everything He does even if our human minds cannot grasp it all the time, which is fine because a God that I could fully understand would not be worthy of worship. Thanks!

In a post above it was said "...I see myself as inherently good...." Quick question: What is good?
Thanks
Bill

Well, good is what benefits the society.

What is benefit?

That is what furthers the progression of mankind.

What is progress?

When things become more and more efficient.

What is efficiency?

Getting to do something in a faster way.

Why is that good?

I don't know, it consumes less net energy. My mind doesn't have to send as much neurotransmitters which eventually wear away my neurons. I feel better and I live longer.

Why is that good?

You don't have to call it good if you don't want to, I'm calling it good because that's how it feels. It makes my mind release more dopamine and I like that. You don't have to tell a rat that more dopamine released is pleasurable.

You are just avoiding the question: why is that good?

Perhaps it is evil, happy now?

That is why you got lost at

"If you reject God, then you've got to reject the idea that there's anything called evil in the world because God is the standard for good which defines what evil is."

I think someone just finished smoking something.

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