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Christianity Dismantled in 38 Words

Christianity Ruined in 38 Words

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290 thoughts on “Christianity Dismantled in 38 Words

  1. Aaaagh. If I read one more thing about free will I’ll scream – been editing a book about god, devil, free will, as I think I told Mak.

    I suppose you could get round saying there is no evil and yet there is free will in heaven, because it’s a different type of free will? 🙂 or people have learned the beauty of free will (which means to make the right decision)? Well, and every other excuse that is usually trotted out.

    Is that comic life? Or a different app? Neatly done whatever.

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    • What book? I hope, for your sake, its not long. It is a frightfully boring subject, i agree…. Hence it being sorted in 38 words!

      A different type of free will? Brilliant!! Honestly, I wouldn’t be at all surprised to hear something like that trotted out. Their problem, of course, is that by the Christian story there is evil (or at least, naughtiness) in heaven. Didn’t the angels rebel? Now, if angels can’t help themselves, what hope do humans have?

      What’s comic life? I just use Publisher.

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    • Playing the devil’s advocate:

      There can be free will in heaven and, yet, no evil. This entire life is about learning to overcome sinful desires. By the time we reach the state of heaven, those who have not overcome this desire will either be burning in hell for all eternity or obliterated. So that those who are left sing praises to the Lord Almighty day and night, and while having the choice to do evil, will only always do the good because they have overcome their evil desires.

      There. Now I’m going to stick my head in an oven.

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      • And here’s another potential problem:

        If believers, after spending enough time on this earth, are able to have freewill but remain sinless, wouldn’t they start to live that way while still here? At least towards the ends of their lives? Yet most Christians I know maintain that they are sinners, saved only by the grace of God.

        How can such reprobates remain sinless in Heaven? 😉

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      • Yet most Christians I know maintain that they are sinners, saved only by the grace of God.

        Oh? You haven’t run into any who say they are no longer sinners but are now saints? They don’t be doin’ no more sinnin’ here. Why sho’ they’s gone be good in heav’n.

        http://jamesbli dot wordpress dot com/2009/12/02/no-sinner-saved-by-grace/

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      • And Ruth therein lies the problem. The believer who argues that freewill exists here to allow us to choose to love god and also do good and make the claim that heaven has freewill but no opportunity for evil must explain why his gods couldn’t make earth with freewill and no capacity for evil.

        And if it is god that grants people freewill, the choice not to love him cannot and should not be criminalized or else why give people the ability to decide?

        Don’t get so baked 😀 we will miss you, you know!

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      • I’m only half-baked, mak!

        Can’t help myself. I’m movin’ on up. I’m no sinner. I can’t help it if all you heathen choose to continue in your evil ways.

        :saint:

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      • Aren’t the concepts of what’s “good” and “bad” subjective, too? I mean, I’d say rape is horrible, but I’m betting the psychos who are doing the raping wouldn’t agree. Maybe the big cheese in the sky, Gob (I like that name better than God. Gob), doesn’t see what we see as bad as bad? Maybe he’s malevolent and sees bad as good and good as bad? How’d we know? Unless we claim to know what Gob knows and wants. But, that would make us Gob, wouldn’t it? So how free is our will when we can’t even really be sure what it means to be truly free to exercise it? Also, speaking of Gob wanting things, why does an all powerful guy WANT anything? How can a guy like Gob even know what real want or need is? Or what’s “good” and what’s “bad?” Gob is all everything and needs nothing, so, unless Gob is just a thing we’ve created to justify our petty human feelings, he/it doesn’t exist anywhere but in our minds. I wonder, too, is Gob needed in the Andromeda galaxy? Do gas giants in that galaxy exist only because of the Gob we’ve created on this tiny speck of nothing in this galaxy, or do those gas giants orbit their stars unfazed by our belief in our Gob? These are things I wonder about. Praise be the almighty Gob!

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      • Praise almighty Gob.
        You raise another problem my friend. Some apologists have actually used that very argument that there is no evil but that it is we who are deluded. And well yes, the one who rapes or kills cannot I think say he is doing something bad. That will be said by the relatives of the victim and the dead person who will feel wronged.

        Why an all powerful god would need anything is hole I don’t want to get into, I will need help coming out, a lot of help.

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      • Well, IBTD1, that would be true if Gob were human. But since he’s the creator of the universe and, by extension, you and me he can sets the rules of what is good and what is bad. So if he wants someone raped or a village pillaged then it is good.

        Barf-bags come free of charge.

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      • That clarifies everything. I’m now a firm believer in Gob, The All powerful, who condones rape, afflicts kids with horrible genetic diseases and laughs as we try to figure out why. Got me a closet full of those barf bags. More I hear about the workings of Gob, the more I need em. 😀

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  2. “which got me thinking…”
    That’s twice in how many days?

    I don’t know why so many spend so much time and effort trying to dismantle Christianity with books and debates and so forth. I never read a book or saw a debate etc etc. As the poster says…just so easy. And that was that.

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  3. As I far as I have come to understand it(via evangelicals), all of the above cartoon is true, except Christ’s confusion, of course, on whether free will exists in heaven or not. Of course free will exists in heaven, but according to evangelicals even though we have free will we will not want to do evil because we are in the pure presence of God’s love.

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    • A fine get-out-of-Jail-free card, but it doesn’t solve the problem of evil here and now. If the evangelicals Middle Eastern god could make it so free will exists, but not evil, then his not acting to make it so right now is immoral.

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  4. You people just do not understand, As a Jehovah Witness explained to me, it was Satan who created evil. I asked, Who created Satan? Answer, Nobody, he created himself. Why god tolerates Satan to tempt us? Because god gave us free will. All you have to do is ask questions to obtain wisdom.

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    • Ah! Love it. But if the JW’s believe Beelzebub created himself then they must also believe Beelzebub is an omnipotent, omnipresent, omniscient first cause… The equal to their god-fellow, but probably more powerful as evil outweighs good.

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  5. Don’t they keep even a tiny sample of evil in a bottle, in Heaven?

    In the Pentagram’s museum, you know, for use as a prophylactic “in case of emergencies” … you know, in dire need they could clone it and make compulsory vaccinations for all the angels … you know, in case ol’ God is temporarily away on a sabbatical or tied up driving snakes back into Ireland …

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  6. Why would’t evil be part of an omni god? All includes good and bad. More than anything, life must have opposition to maintain its balance.

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    • Well, I’d be cool with that idea, but the apologist isn’t. Richard Swinburne (The Existence of God) describes his god as such: a person without a body (i.e., a spirit) who necessarily is eternal, perfectly free, perfectly good, omnipotent, omniscient, and the creator of all things. William Lane Craig uses this definition, and evangelicals swoon over everything WLC says. So, they say “perfectly good,” which doesn’t allow evil… not even a little naughtiness.

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  7. Many years ago, I came across a description of eternity that stuck in my mind. It goes like this:

    Imagine a mountain of sand, a million miles in length, a million miles in width, and a million miles in height. Now imagine that every one million years, a certain bird comes and picks up just one grain of sand from the mountain, and takes it away. How long would it take for the entire mountain to be taken away? Well, however long it might take, it is still less than a millionth of eternity. Eternity is much, much longer than this. Eternity is infinite. It is incomprehensible.

    Christians and other religious people who look forwards to an eternity in heaven rarely pause to think about what a dreadful drag eternity would be. And when you think that they look forward to an eternity of praising and worshiping their particular blend of god, you realize that they have no idea what they are talking about. The idea of an eternity doing any one particular activity, over and over again, should be enough to terrify one deeply.

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    • Agreed, 100%. The concept alone is hellish beyond all comprehension. It’s not that you will do and experience absolutely everything (e v e r y p o s s i b l e t h i n g) once, rather you will do and experience everything an endless number of times… Over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over with no hope of escape or rest. Ever. Caught in such a trap any sentient being would find itself with one option: revolutionary suicide.

      Have you ever seen the Hal Hartley film, No Such Thing? The Monster (no name offered) suffers this problem:

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  8. Free will is always at play. Choose wisely. Pick a side. And have the courage to stand by your choice forever.

    Life is an adventure! It is a mystery filled with paradoxes; a mirror of confusion! Nothing you see is what it appears. It is only a shadow of a greater reality. Embrace the mystery! Love is the answer! Choose love!

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    • Free will and God’s omniscience?
      A famed philosopher stated that contradictions are impossible—but I think you’ve just demonstrated why she’s wrong.

      As for free, and love, I like the idea! Free love!! And hang any bugger who preaches chastity!!! Or better, send ’em hot-foot to Heaven riding on the smoke of a holy stake!!!! Goodness and mercy all my life, shall surely follow me; and rack any swine who disagrees!!!!!

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    • That’s all well and good, Quack, quite romantic, but it doesn’t solve the Problem of Evil, and the existence of suffering.

      “The total amount of suffering per year in the natural world is beyond all decent contemplation. During the minute it takes me to compose this sentence, thousands of animals are being eaten alive; others are running for their lives, whimpering with fear; others are being slowly devoured from within by rasping parasites; thousands of all kinds are dying of starvation, thirst and disease.” (Dawkins, Richard. River Out of Eden. New York: Basic Books, 1995.)

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      • “but it doesn’t solve the Problem of Evil, and the existence of suffering.”

        If you’re a Young Creationist, then it’s all because of that temptress, Eve. But, this dude thinks he’s got the answer down pat:

        “The “natural evil” described by atheists actually represents the design of an intelligent Creator. Atheistic arguments claiming that God could eliminate most or all natural evil are simplistic or naïve and show a lack of basic understanding of how the physics of the universe operates. This page shows that all examples of natural “evil” are, in fact, required for the existence of sentient creatures or to provide evidence for God’s existence.

        The universe that atheists think God should have designed is the one in which He will reward those who believe in Him. The universe we live in is perfectly designed as a place to choose between good and evil. However, such choices would not be possible in a physically-perfect universe in which natural evil did not exist. This is why the God created a two universe design—the first a temporal, material universe dominated by choice, and the second, non-temporal, non-material universe designed to optimize interpersonal relationships between believers and God.”

        http://www.godandscience.org/apologetics/natural_evil_theodicity.html

        *facepalm*

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      • Mental & Moral Gymnastics, anyone? That is some astonishing bullshit, right here…. But he’s given me some brilliant material for my Omnimalevolent Creator treatise! 🙂

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      • I believe we’re actually not in the center of it all but on the far edge of a large circle. We’re so far out there on the edge of this rim, no one would know we were here, even we who are here, except for the occasional whiff of BS produced by theists who, misguidedly, think they matter to an almost infinite omniverse. It is their foul stench of self-aggrandizing crap that mucks up the air in an otherwise nice, quiet, peaceful edge of a very large obscure rim the rest of us call home. I like my obscure anonymous quiet. I hate that theists f*ck it up so often.

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      • Inspired, you shallow minded foolish manchild! The Good Lord Veles has made it so that no matter where you are in the Universe you will always be at the exact centre! How thoughtful He is!!

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      • Thank you for taking me to school, fine Sir. And thank the good Lord Veles for showing me the righteous path to enlightenment. Amen. I feel I’ve now become fully a man. The child has left, and I, at long last, can sit at the grown up table at weddings and parties. Praise be the center of it all, Lord Veles and his demanding master, Darth Jeebus, Dark Lord of the Shit.

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      • What is suffering, in a world that isn’t even real?

        At any rate, the progression is simple. Evil exists in the hearts of those who bring their evil thoughts into fruition. Once made manifest, suffering results, as a consequence of evil acts.

        Evil ends when there are no longer those who delight in evil. Without evil, there is no suffering. BOOM! Problem solved.

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      • “Evil ends when there are no longer those who delight in evil. Without evil, there is no suffering. BOOM! Problem solved.”

        Not exactly that simple, Quackzalcoat. First of all, the horrific suffering that goes on in the animal kingdom that is not caused by humans, as John mentioned in his comments. Secondly, brain damage and dysfunction (particularly in the prefrontal cortex and amygdala) always seem to be left out in these discussions among believers.

        Traumatic brain injuries are the number one cause of death and injury in children and studies show that “children who experience early damage in the prefrontal cortex never completely develop social or moral reasoning. As adults, even on an intellectual level, they cannot refer to such behavior because they have little concept of it. In contrast, individuals with adult-acquired damage are usually aware of proper social and moral conduct, but are unable to apply such behaviors.” Symptoms from these brain injuries might not show up sometimes for decades. http://learn.fi.edu/learn/brain/head.html

        When studying the brains of dictators, psychopaths, serial killers, they found the center of the frontal lobe is malformed or injured. When this part of the brain fails to activate (moral, prosocial behavior), the amygdala in the temporal lobe takes over and controls behavior (aggressive impulsiveness). Why would an all-knowing God create such fragile brains to the point that they can so easily be damaged and turn people into mass murders — psychopathic dictators, whose behaviors can affect millions upon millions causing untold suffering.

        Choice is not an option with psychopaths. Then there is the MAO-A “warrior” gene — a romantic way of saying an aggression gene. It is passed on from the mother to her offspring through the X chromosome, but it is predominately turned on in males, depending on environmental conditions either in utero or after birth. Around 30 percent of Caucasians are found to have the MAO-A warrior gene. The rate is similar among Africans. The highest level is found in the Chinese and Polynesian population at 60 percent.

        Then you have studies showing females who are subjected to stress on a regular basis produce offspring with larger hindbrains (fight or flight) and smaller forebrains (critical thinking, moral decision making). The stress could be caused from natural disasters, and according to the Bible, God is the creator of these natural disasters.

        “I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things.” Isaiah 45:7

        And this is just scratching the surface. I don’t mean to make light of your comment but it’s very complex and I do think that believers think it’s simply about choice.

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      • “With great power comes great responsibility.” Uncle Ben to Peter Parker aka, Spiderman. This has nothing whatsoever to do with your comment, Victoria. I just felt like quoting a little piece of the great Stan Lee bible. 😀 Now, as for your reply, it was, once again, deeply informative and enlightening. Thanks.

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      • Once we’ve made our choice, we will not change our minds, our hearts, on the matter. That’s the point. All created beings, and all the souls born into this world, have a season to choose. By our own sovereign will, and with freedom to do whatever we choose, in a “perfect world,” those who embrace Immortal Love will never falter in an unyielding path of selflessness. The confusion and pettiness of this age will be forgotten. Along with the suffering we once so briefly knew. Believing thusly, of course, requires an act of faith. After all, someone who would risk the ridicule and rejection of this world for something which is said to be everything you say it to be, in light of the “evidence,” is probably not going to change heart once the veil fully opens and the reality fully revealed. Just like how you find out who your true friends are, when you hit rock bottom and everyone drops you except the ones who truly believe in you, despite every incentive otherwise.

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      • Any particular reason you dodged the whole Beelzebub going rouge whilst in heaven? It might just be me, but that seems to be a rather large needle in your whole “everything will be rainbows in heaven and no one will ever be a little naughty…. Not even God’s right-hand man, sorry, angel, Lucifer”

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      • Good lord! I had to put on thigh high rubber boots, a gas mask, and get a manure shovel just to read through the first sentence of this. Sorry, friend, but not only do I not buy this gibberish as meaningful, I don’t believe you do either. What in the name of President Obama’s pet hamster, Joey, does any of that fluff mean? Don’t answer. It’s gonna take me long enough to clean my boots and shovel from reading through that as it is. I don’t wish to soil ’em again.

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      • Q,

        Once we’ve made our choice, we will not change our minds, our hearts, on the matter.

        Then why don’t we see that now, in this life?

        The confusion and pettiness of this age will be forgotten. Along with the suffering we once so briefly knew. Believing thusly, of course, requires an act of faith. After all, someone who would risk the ridicule and rejection of this world for something which is said to be everything you say it to be, in light of the “evidence,” is probably not going to change heart once the veil fully opens and the reality fully revealed

        Then why do you suppose a veil was ever used in the first place? As John said, Beelzebub was supposedly able to sin in Heaven, and you seemed to agree. So why did God need this physical realm at all?

        I’ve thought through this problem quite a bit, and I honestly haven’t seen a way out of it yet. At least, not for anyone who simultaneously believes in an eternal Heaven, eternal Hell, and a God who’s both all powerful and wholly good.

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  9. As to the eternity in heaven thing, as absurdly ridiculous it may be to us, I have literally seen the moony eyed, smiling glow in the face of many a x-ian, when they mention how splendid it will be just to bask in the glory of their friggin dog FOREVER. The look is exactly what you might picture of a gibberish speaking idiot at the moment of ecstasy.

    I don’t know or understand what level of brainwashing it takes to elicit such a response, but that is a powerful drug they have there.

    Freaky.

    There ain’t nuthin, that scares me more, than a bunch of good (insert religion here.)

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  10. “For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate…. Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.” — Romans 8:29-30

    “He hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will.” — Ephesians 1:4-5

    Where is “Free Will” found in these scriptures ?

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  11. If I were an eternal being the one thing I would develop would be the ability to forget. I can rarely remember what I did yesterday, never mind what I potentially did in a past life, or what I’m going to do in a future life…of course one has to consider that as heaven is strictly outside of the remit of the human perception of time (eternity being to time as infinity is to mathematics – a little abstract and divorced from measure or definition) then future events will almost certainly exist simultaneously as past and present…hang on…argh!
    You see, before you know it, you end up getting your knickers in a twist, because the more conditions and rules you apply to any argument, the more the thought of a full frontal lobotomy becomes attractive.
    Having an awareness of eternity conjures up a feeling within me that reminds me of the feeling I used to get as a child when trying to conceptualise what lay beyond the edge of the universe. Makes your palms a bit itchy, and actually there is not much point even thinking about it. It serves no purpose.
    So, I would learn to forget. It would be like a goldfish swimming around its bowl, thinking it’s a new stretch of water every time owing to its minuscule attention span (apparently 3 seconds). The fish is full of excitement every time this way.
    As for evil existing in heaven, werl…it would probably give you something to do to while away your eternal non-time. Nothing like devious behaviour to create some entertainment. You’d want to be devious wouldn’t you? So, in summary, heaven wouldn’t be much different than life really, and in summary of the summary, the concept of heaven encourages the concept of hell just to get around the sheer tedium of eternity. So, in conclusion, evil exists, because our ability to forget exists. If you divorce yourself from full accountability, which is what a concept of eternity really is, then you can be as devious as you like because life becomes expendable. Good and evil then, become a matter of opinion, hypothetically speaking of course, and dependant on how you choose to entertain yourself being the eternal being that you are…

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    • Exactly, and well said. The only way “eternity” could be bearable for any conscious creature would be to forget all past experiences completely. This, of course, would include a conscious god. However, we’ve already established that a conscious god cannot be an omni-max god and retain its consciousness. So…. forgetting is the key 🙂

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      • They have Wednesdays in heaven? I thought it was days without number. Bit of a bugger isn’t it? I mean, days. That implies things to do, diaries, calendars, meetings; committees chaired by Gabriel, deadlines, and just cause you’ve got into heaven doesn’t mean they can’t kick you out if you don’t meet your targets. And then what would you do? Could you nominate a destination of your choice? Say, the Turks and Caicos? I mean I’d rather not go in the first place if it’s going to be all rules and regulations, and probably no gin.

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      • No no. I have some standards. Full fry up for breakfast (don’t have to worry about your arteries) followed by tea and ciggies (ditto) on a convenient cloud. Strong coffee (ditto ditto) and a slice of cake (ditto ditto ditto) before a spot of lunch, and a lie down. No tennis. No bowls. Possible disporting in jacuzzi, more fags, crossword and tea. Then gin. Heaven.

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  12. Actually, that is my favourite way to spend a Sunday, although I don’t have a jacuzzi and I’ve given up fags. I ought to give up cake too, but that’s really going too far. Perhaps I should go to Utah with a Victoria Sandwich and bottle of Gordons, and go round knocking on their doors proselytising (and try saying that after a G&T). They come to us, seems a shame not to return the compliment.

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    • Specifically, they don’t… not in so many words, but it’s certainly implied in the writings. Luke 23:43 And he said to him, ‘Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.” Revelation 21:27: “But nothing unclean will ever enter it, nor anyone who does what is detestable or false…” The idea that is forwarded is of a perfect place; a place that contrasts the imperfect earth. Earth is imperfect, according to Yahwehists, because evil exists, and evil exists only because of free will. That is their “solution” to the Problem of Evil. For heaven to be perfect, and their god omnibenevolent, it must be free of evil. If evil exists there then it doesn’t meet the notion of “heaven.” That is to say, if evil exists in heaven, then why bother ever creating the earthly realm? Why maintain earth (where good people, and innocent animals, suffer unnecessarily) if heaven (where good people won’t suffer unnecessarily) is no different? Either the Yahwehists’ heaven is different, and perfect, or life here on earth makes no sense whatsoever to their belief-system.

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      • In order to conclude that a hypothetical Earth/Heaven/Hell system was broken, and that suffering which occurred on the hypothetical Earth part of that system was 100% definitely wrong and unfair, we’d also have to conclude the following:

        1) We now fully know ourselves and all our prior, current, and future actions, therefore we are qualified to authoritatively judge whether or not things which happen to us now are unmerited;

        2) We now fully understand the nature of reality and our part in or of it, therefore the occurrence of evil is a standing injustice and an existential problem;

        3) Our biologically-limited linear perception of time, and our traditional philosophical assumptions thereof about cause and effect, are accurate as to all forms of existence;

        4) It would be unfair and wrong for us to have to take a lot of time to learn about an incredibly vast and complex system on our own, and we would be better served learning about such a system by having it summarized briefly to us, rather than by participating in it in an intimate and thorough fashion.

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    • Nobody has made a claim here, to the best of knowledge, of 100% certainty. Your demands following that statement are all absurd. We can have no knowledge of our future actions for we become by acting.
      We don’t fully understand our reality and no one makes that claim. We can make conclusions based on what we now, they could be wrong but it is the best we have got.
      Our assumptions of cause and effect were dealt a blow they haven’t recovered from by Hume.
      Your fourth point makes no sense

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      • Here’s an example of a claim: “We can have no knowledge of our future actions for we become by acting.”

        That’s a claim; an assertion; a belief. It’s also a form of faith. What if, possessed of the proper technology, we could view spacetime as a completed tapestry? What if there is no “future,” but what we call “future” is only a word we use to describe our dimensional handicap of only being able to perceive reality in what we see as incremental moments of time? The idea of a past and future could be our narcissistic delusion, whereby we believe we are “creating reality” by rationalizing our memories of our actions. All of our science is based upon the idea that our perceptions are accurate, rather than delusional.

        Caught up in that illusion myself, this one absolutely cherishes her belief in an easily-understood 4 dimensions of spacetime, with all of the shapes and progression to which she is accustomed. However, it takes faith to believe that it can be relied upon, whereas it takes a vast arrogance to conclude that a few thousand years of human history, in a universe of so many billions of years, provide a conclusive sampling of reality.

        Regarding my “fourth point” from above, assume that you’re a newly-created self-aware entity, and that you want to learn about some of the universe. You have infinite time in which to learn, and the more you learn, the more you can do. Which would be a more effective way to learn:

        1) To have someone, either briefly or thoroughly, explain to you what emotions are, how they affect you and other things, and what it is like to contemplate existence and non-existence, or

        2) To create a laboratory where you can experience firsthand emotions, self, others, existence, and non-existence?

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    • We can be in this all day. That we become by acting is proven by experience, it is not a form of faith. Maybe you like faith too much.
      You ask a very interesting question: what if there is no future, no present and no past? With what if anything goes. There are many possibilities to be put in a what if scenario.
      Regarding your fourth assertion, I would read the bible or the Koran. They have all the things you need to know

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      • “That we become by acting is proven by experience, it is not a form of faith.”

        That’s the same as a Christian telling me, “That God exists is proven by my experience, because I’ve talked to Him and seen miracles He has caused to happen, such as beautiful sunsets and moving symphonies.” It may be a very powerful belief you have that the way your brain processes temporal dimensionality is definitive, but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t other species or technologies out there that can process more advanced sets of information and explain why your perspective is incorrect. I’m not denying the validity of your experience, but when we’re discussing such objective existential questions, we should be relying on logic and rationality, rather than on an individual’s personal experiences or preferences. Wouldn’t you agree?

        You could also be in Plato’s Cave, or if you prefer, the Matrix, in which case everything you think you know is a fabrication. It’s a form of faith to conclude that your perceptions define objective reality, as you can’t prove that you aren’t in the Matrix right now, or that some other system of deception is manufacturing every “effect” that you’re so proud of.

        I was disappointed that you didn’t answer my question about learning effectiveness. I am not sure that the Bible or the Qur’an would provide an answer to either of those questions. Even if they did, do you have your own answer as to which way would be better to learn?

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    • I will type this response slowly so you are able to understand it.
      Your analogy doesn’t work. All you could have asked me to do is clarify what I mean and I will do so now. At any given time we have ideas of how we would act in a given situation. We sometimes act in the way we idealized sometimes not. I mean to say we only know after acting. Before then it is speculation and I don’t refuse there could be technology someday that could map all situations and tell how you will act. If you think am wrong, please show me where.

      When you write

      You could also be in Plato’s Cave, or if you prefer, the Matrix, in which case everything you think you know is a fabrication. It’s a form of faith to conclude that your perceptions define objective reality, as you can’t prove that you aren’t in the Matrix right now, or that some other system of deception is manufacturing every “effect” that you’re so proud of.

      There is nothing for me to say, you could be in the same cave and everything is a fabrication. Or you are dreaming. For such a question there is nothing I can say to you.

      Am sorry you felt disappointed with my answer. The question is ridiculous. I cannot fathom infinite time, and I don’t know what to do with infinite knowledge. So anyway of learning can be suited for it.

      If you have some other question, am more than willing to clarify, till then, have a pleasant afternoon

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      • The analogy is meant to draw a comparison between you and Christians. A Christian who concludes, “There is a God,” is exercising faith. You disparage this faith, and yet, you have the same type of faith. You might be in the Plato’s Cave. God could have plugged you into His very own computer-simulated reality in order to determine whether you were able to believe in Him without first shaking His hand. Or, Warren Buffet could be the one in control of the reality, and we all dwell here merely for his amusement.

        You can never prove that reality exists, because it could all be a trick of your perceptions. A dream, a magic spell, a computer network, or an illusion caused by pending expiration, a la “An Occurrence At Owl Creek Bridge.” This is one of the most basic philosophical thought experiments, reaching back at least thousands of years into humanity’s past.

        Because of the venue in which we appear to be addressing this issue, you may be confused into thinking that I am trying to convert you, or to argue that God exists. However, I am not doing that right now. What I am showing you is that your life, and your beliefs, are made up of just as much faith–blind, unproven, untestable conclusions about what exists and what does not–as the Christians whom you ridicule for their faith.

        So, here is a question: do you believe that it is hypocritical for a person who uses faith to disparage as wishful and unproven the use of faith by others?

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      • You really an idiot of the first order!
        In my last response to you, which I typed slowly so you can understand, I said this could all be a dream, that you or I could be dreaming why you keep going to that silly line is beyond. Are you dense or just pretending to be?

        I explained to you what I meant. I asked you to show where it is wrong, you keep repeating your stupid analogies.

        I don’t give a damn if you are trying to convert me, go ahead if it will make you happy.

        This is my last response to you. Unless you can show me that you have some little ability of comprehension, adios and may your god bless you.

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      • Don’t get angry, Mak. Get out your golden foot and apply it to some arse. Trust me, it’ll make you feel better. Few who’ve had the golden foot thumped repeatedly against their arse doubt it is a very real golden foot and not at all imaginary. Golden foot + guy’s arse who thinks we’re living in Plato’s cave = one bruised ass and a new understanding of reality for its owner. Blessed be the golden foot. Long may it the bringer of truth to the deliberately dense. Amen.

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      • I apologize if I seem dense; I’m asking rhetorical questions to help you understand that your use of faith is similar to that of an orthodox Christian. The examples (dreams, Matrix, etc.) show that you believe in a reality that you want to believe in, as the orthodox Christian believes in a God that she wants to believe in–in each case without any material proof.

        There is little qualitative difference between your respective faiths, particularly when so many technological and social advancements have been achieved by people who self-identified as worshiping some form of the God of Abram (e.g., Yahweh, Jesus, Allah).

        You wrote:

        “There is nothing for me to say, you could be in the same cave and everything is a fabrication. Or you are dreaming.”

        Quite so. Maybe we are all mad, or all being deceived. There is a lot of thinking we could all do together to discover what things (1) must be real, and what things (2) are potentially real. We can make value judgments–for example, “The Yahweh described in the Bible is a genocidal madman.” We could have arguments about whether or not Yahweh was right or wrong to have taken a certain action, or about what might have potentially justified such an action.

        However, what we cannot rationally do is conclude that there definitely is no God. That’s not a rational, evidence-supported conclusion. Similarly, making fun of people because they have faith in some kind of transcendent reality is hypocritical as well as hurtful, since we’re all operating under a similar variety of faith. I’m not trying to make you look stupid; rather, I’m trying to encourage you to be more understanding of your fellow human beings who (however stupid and illogical they seem) have a different kind of faith. Recognizing that you share faith is a first step toward closer kinship.

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      • Hi Higharka

        The mistake you’re making here is conflating the god hypothesis forwarded by, in this instance, the Yahwehist, with any random thing you can think of; such as a hologram universe. You are trying to imply the Yahwehists hypothesis can’t be faithfully tested, which is in error. We can, and have, applied the known reality of the cosmos to the creation myth detailed by the Yahwehist, and have found it in extreme error. We can, and have applied archaeology to the literary attestation of this god hypothesis and found it to contradict the reality of the early Jews. That is to say, the Pentateuch is known geopolitical myth. These are facts. Beyond the physicality’s, one can assess the hypothesis using logic and philosophy. The god hypothesis forwarded by the Yahwehist either fails in both instances, or becomes so vaporous it no-longer bears any resemblance to the Middle Eastern god described.

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      • higharka, the problem is your comprehension must be below average. In the very first instance when I mentioned becoming by acting, you raised this faith issue. I have explained to you my view and asked you to show me where am wrong. You keep repeating your nonsense like the comment you wrote was dictated to you!

        Unless you forgot, you brought up the issue of dreams, matrices and caves. In response, I said to an extent it may not be possible to tell which is the reality. It is hard to disprove either, it could be done. Now you seem to be writing as if I brought up. It is for such reasons I call you dense. You may be the brightest in your family or your small town, but this is just bad.

        You could go back through my comments and I am certain there is nowhere you will find me describe your god as a genocidal madman. But that isn’t far from the truth. Am not sure it is a man though 😀

        You change goal posts when you say we can not rationally conclude there is no god. Why is this so? Is it even possible in the first place to have a discussion about god, when god can mean anything a believer wants it to mean?

        There is no hypocrisy in ridicule. If you find it hurtful, too bad, maybe you need to examine your beliefs. I am very understanding. But I can’t, for the life of me, encourage you to be ignorant. And don’t worry about your faith, keep it, you can take it to the bank. I am not interested in it. I don’t share faith with you.

        You are free to go back to my comments and point to faith statements and ask for clarifications. Short of that, enjoy your faith filled life

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      • John: “You are trying to imply the Yahwehists hypothesis can’t be faithfully tested, which is in error. We can, and have, applied the known reality of the cosmos to the creation myth detailed by the Yahwehist, and have found it in extreme error.”

        Which parts? That there is a geological record of volcanic activity that could coincide with the Sodom/Gomorrah story, or an extended flood over a large part of the Middle East, that could coincide with the Gilgamesh/Noah story? That stories about angels walking around are mere hearsay?

        Or is it that you have faith in your scriptural interpretations that, when God made man from dust, He did so very swiftly–perhaps instantly–rather than over the course of a billion years?

        If you went back in time and showed an ancient Jew a movie on your iPad, you could produce through said Jew a lot of “obviously false” histories, as said Jew told his fellows what he had seen, and had them write it down. Theoretically, any more advanced presence could do something similarly “over the head” of said Jew, and leave behind a record colored by the medium. If someone watched an accelerated video of evolution occurring (and/or had such a vision), it would be (1) accurate, and also (2) look exactly like people springing into being from dirt.

        It could also be the case that some other great force–say, Satan–has deliberately planted a confusing fossil record, or altered middle eastern archaeological finds to trick humans into believing the great game is all a myth. Sure, it’s unlikely, but as rational actors, we can’t conclude that it’s definitively true. It’s merely unlikely, or unsupported by the evidence we currently have the technology to find, and the ultimate veracity of which we’ll never be able to confirm. You don’t have to believe in God, but it’s foolish to conclude that there absolutely is not one–even the Yahweh of the Bible.

        What you can rationally conclude–not safely, perhaps, but perhaps rightly–is that Yahweh is a jerk, or Yahweh is unfair, based on the way He’s represented in the Bible. Or you can tell a biblical literalist, “The Great Flood never happened, because archaeological evidence shows there was no such flood.” And then, if it amuses you the more, you can hear them explain that Satan confused the record just to mislead people like you. But it’s more rational for you to say, “The Great Flood probably never happened, because the limited, incomplete archaeological evidence we have so far shows…”

        An intelligent ant living in a hive, with its lifespan of one year, might talk about how ridiculous it is that there are giants roaming the land who arbitrarily destroy entire communities. As far as he or any of his friends have ever traveled, they have never seen such a giant or heard of such a thing happening to any hive. They know the entire yard, as far as ants have ever gone, and an idea like “hive-kicking giants” is ridiculous. And a month later, here comes a toddler with a stick.

        In a galaxy filled with superclusters of stars powerful enough to produce energy to bend dimensions, what makes you so confident that our little collections of gray matter are able to fully process what is and isn’t true?

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      • Satan–has deliberately planted a confusing fossil record, or altered middle eastern archaeological finds to trick humans into believing the great game is all a myth

        Mmmmm…. Satan is burying dinosaur bones, huh?

        OK, I think that just about does it for me.

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      • Makagutu,

        You say that you have shown me your view, and that you have asked me to show you where you are wrong. What I have seen you say is, “For such a question there is nothing I can say to you,” and “I cannot fathom infinite time…” (September 29, 2014 at 12:46 PM).

        That sounds like a concession that my initial assertion was correct, and that you are accepting, on faith, that your sensory perceptions are true. Now you say, “It is hard to disprove either, it could be done.” That’s an interesting claim, because so many philosophers have long written that it is impossible to prove that we’re not dreaming. How would you prove that you’re not in a computer simulation? What kind of sensory information could you possibly receive in any test you could imagine, that could not simply be false information fed to you by an evil sorcerer and/or advanced computer programmer? Even the Matrix could be a matrix within a matrix within a matrix; all of Keanu’s adventures in “the world of the real” could have been a second layer of a simulation a million simulations deep. It would be delightful if you could explain what type of sensory information could prove to you that the very sensory information you were using as evidence of reality being genuine had not been itself generated by a simulation trying to trick you into believing in it.

        (On an ironic side note, the way one prominent philosopher argued that reality was as we see it was by saying, “God wouldn’t let us be fooled in that way, therefore, our perceptions must reflect reality.”)

        Makagutu: “You change goal posts when you say we can not rationally conclude there is no god. Why is this so?”

        Your question is why this one mentioned dreams/matrices so often: because this one felt that you did not understand why it is irrational to conclude there definitely is not a god. Here’s the argument again, in short form: “because we do not know that all of our experiences are not an illusion, we can never prove that there is not a god.”

        Makagutu: “Is it even possible in the first place to have a discussion about god, when god can mean anything a believer wants it to mean?”

        It is possible, and that would be a nice discussion to have. Which god or gods would be more or less likely to exist? Which would be more or less pleasant? How should we alter or not alter our behavior if a force or forces in some way greater than us has an opinion or mandate on the matter of our behavior? Et cetera.

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      • higharka,

        How does not having an answer to something translate to a faith statement. I have said I can’t fathom infinite time, how is that a faith statement? I keep asking you if you are naturally stupid or are tying to bullshit with me? Do you actually read my comments? I have said matrices, dreams, brain in a vat or whatever you fancy could be true. I also said there is no way to disprove them but that is not to mean that some future person could come up with a way to disprove it I don’t know what she would do to achieve that end.

        Your questions about god ignore the very problem I alluded to. What is god? Do you have a coherent definition of what god is for us to have a discussion about god?

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      • Higharka,

        I suppose we could do what you suggest and just talk about likelihoods. So it’s improper to say that Zeus doesn’t exist, just that he probably or even possibly doesn’t exist. Same for Thor, Krishna, unicorns, Dracula, Treebeard, and Santa Claus. Is that how we should live our lives?

        More importantly, does it seem likely that a deity would expect us to live our lives in this way? Always second-guessing the evidence (maybe Satan planted fossils), etc?

        Sure, when it comes to “ultimate truth” — whatever that turns out to be — there’s room for all kinds of things. Who knows? Maybe there really is a god. But when we tack on extras, the possibilities start to be limited. For instance, Christianity posits an “omni-benevolent” god who loves everyone and is incapable of evil. At the same time, it’s usually said that this god is going to judge everyone one day. Those who are found worthy will be rewarded, and those who aren’t worthy will be condemned. The list of what’s required varies greatly depending on who you’re talking to, but at minimum, it’s usually agreed that faith in this deity is required to be on the good side. Yet you (at least for the sake of argument) seem to acknowledge Christianity’s evidence is a bit lacking. In that case, would it be possible for an uber-great god to punish people for not believing his story when he gave sub-par evidence in the first place?

        I think when taken as a whole package, Christianity is simply self-defeating.

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      • NATE: “So it’s improper to say that Zeus doesn’t exist, just that he probably or even possibly doesn’t exist. Same for Thor, Krishna, unicorns, Dracula, Treebeard, and Santa Claus.”

        Not “improper,” but “irrational.” All of those things could exist, and the cultural references we have to them could be merely the ghost in the machine; the virtual reality giving itself away, in small part, as to what lies outside our simulation. Of course, there is a noticeable difference between “Zeus” and, say, “Santa Claus.” The Santa Claus myth is more like an open secret, where evidence shows us it was created and sustained as a well-meaning fiction. Treebeard, similarly, was created as a fictional character (presuming that JRR Tolkien actually existed and that he actually did write those books and that there actually are three spatial dimensions, et cetera). It’s possible that Zeus was, too, by some corrupt wannabe-priests in pre-Olympian Greece, but given the evidence we have of the development of Greek myths, it seems far more likely that people actually believed in Zeus.

        So, if there’s a one in a quadrillion chance that I’m living in a computer simulation, and Santa Claus is actually real in the real North-Pole world beyond said simulation, then I’d adjust my percentages a bit for Zeus, since it seems that people actually believed in him, and saw what they thought of as evidence of him (say, thunderclouds). So, maybe there’s a three in a quadrillion chance that Zeus exists, a one in a quadrillion chance that the Easter Bunny exists, and a nine hundred and ninety-nine thousand million million in a quadrillion chance that Nicholas Cage exists.

        It’s certainly reasonable for us to treat, in our discussions, entities with a greater “likelihood” of existence differently than those with a lesser likelihood of existence, but it’s arrogant of us to assign anything external a “zero” chance, out of an infinite universe, to have been true.

        NATE: “Is that how we should live our lives?”

        I suspect that that is already exactly how you live your life. You know, for example, that a small meteorite could slip through the atmosphere at any time, too small for our satellites to detect, made of an incredibly dense element, and traveling so fast it could be driven through a twenty-substory bunker and still have instantaneous killing force. And yet, despite that possibility, you have sometimes sat down to dinner and enjoyed that dinner without thinking, even once, about being struck by a meteorite.

        Same sort of example, but a home invader. Same example, but a drink driver who crashes through your living room wall…same example, but one of those light-speed anti-reality bubbles that theoretical physicists talk about, which would wipe out the planet in a few seconds.

        And yet, despite all those things, you have enjoyed a sandwich before. You are already living your life by balancing likelihoods and placing faith in certain outcomes (depositing money in a bank, rather than buying another month’s worth of survival rations, even though Russia may attack us in a day and vaporize all banks and destroy our financial system, making your deposit worthless and survival rations priceless). So I already know that you’re living on faith. You’re playing a game of guesses, chances, and hopes; you’re gambling with your own extremely limited perceptions of reality as told to you by the Koch brothers, Rupert Murdoch, and politicians who openly admit to killing children every week using flying death robots.

        NATE: “More importantly, does it seem likely that a deity would expect us to live our lives in this way? Always second-guessing the evidence (maybe Satan planted fossils), etc?”

        That’s an even better question. As part of keeping an open mind, and admitting that our sensory perceptions make us neither omniscient nor infallible–we can address important questions like that. We can ask, “What benefit do we gain from living in an environment where we must question the nature of reality, the nature of our own perceptions, and our possible utter demise once our meaty bodies expire?” Here’s one possible answer to that: living here gives us the opportunity to see who we really are, in a way that we could never understand unless we actually thought this was our one brief chance.

        NATE: “… Christianity posits an “omni-benevolent” god who loves everyone and is incapable of evil. At the same time, it’s usually said that this god is going to judge everyone one day.”

        Yes, and there are a number of interesting avenues we can consider, given that. Here are a few:

        1) If this God does exist as described by some, and if our own sense of morality is superior to this God’s rules, should we be resisting Him in some way, in order to save trillions of our fellow humans–past, present and future–from eternal suffering?

        2) Is this excessively harsh god a test imposed upon us by a higher deity, who will know that we have matured as a species once we have thrown off the yoke of the brutal desert god? Will our failure to believe in and confront the brutal desert god be a sign that our species’ intelligence is inadequate to justify its own survival?

        3) Was there a benevolent God who attempted to guide nascent human life in the desert long ago, and who then stepped back to allow humankind its freedom, and whose general messages of, “I am here, and I will take care of you when you die,” were then added to and made foul by many self-interested prophets who wanted to justify their own kings’ wars?

        4) Is God’s judgment going to be unwanted by those who receive it? There actually are people who revel in causing and receiving pain–not always in the sexual way, but in a social way. For them, Hell is not an unjust punishment, but a lavish reward. It’s a backstabbing corporate boardroom; a Brazilian slum; a Hollywood network negotiation; an endless rat race for them to use to bring out the purest selfishness in themselves. Think about investment bankers: powerful, wealthy men who work 70 hours a week, are constantly screwing over others and being screwed in return, and who then get liver cancer and die in screaming pain at age 53, leaving all their money to cat and dog charities because their kids hate them and their wife is fucking a hairy-backed car-parts sales manager somewhere in Omaha. For these guys, is Hell a condemnation, or an affirmation? These are the guys who pay six fifty an hour to get whipped by dominatrices.

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      • To me, it just seems the most likely scenario is not that all of these contradictory elements are somehow true, but that Christianity, Judaism, and Islam are just like all the other man-made religions throughout history.

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      • “How does not having an answer to something translate to a faith statement.”

        I apologize; I may have jumped a few steps ahead. There are, to be sure, varying degrees of faith. Here’s why you have faith.

        Example: you make $300. You buy dinner and rent a DVD. You have $270 left. Now, with that remaining $270, you could get another DVD, get a bottle of whisky, a tub of ice cream, and a couple joints, and pass a most enjoyable evening. Now, maybe you’ve done that a few times. But you don’t do it every time. You don’t live each moment as if it were your last; you regularly have faith that–despite all the matrix and dream potentials we’ve discussed–days will continue progressing that they have previously. And so you save your $270 for a major upcoming purchase, even though a meteor strike the next day may kill us all, making your decision to “save” the money and forego your enjoyment the most foolish thing you could have done with your last remaining hours.

        As I said, though, there are degrees of faith. When you get home from work, you probably don’t spend the rest of the evening ferociously preparing yourself for company just in case a traveling supermodel gets lost and lonely, comes to your front door for directions, and feels like spending the night with you. But you do exercise faith–even if it’s only 0.1% of the faith exercised by some token evangelical.

        “I have said matrices, dreams, brain in a vat or whatever you fancy could be true.”

        Great! Then we’re now closer to agreement, because you’re no longer an atheist. You’ve conceded that you could be dwelling inside an illusion, and that you don’t know what the true nature of reality might be outside that hypothetical illusion. For all you know, it could actually include Yahweh incarnate, walking around as tall as a building and stepping on those who refuse to bow down. You’ve become an agnostic, for you recognize, and have acknowledged, that atheism is an illogical perspective based on a currently unprovable assumption that our sensory perceptions accurately reflect objective reality.

        “What is god? Do you have a coherent definition of what god is for us to have a discussion about god?”

        I’d love to have that discussion. How about “love” as a starting point?

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      • You have jumped the gun again. I live everyday like it is my last. I am a pessimist. I believe I can die any moment but hope that it is not the case. I have no way of knowing. If it makes you happy that it is faith, go celebrate man, it must be a big victory for your small ego.

        Again I would like to disappoint you. Atheism deals with the question of whether deities exist. You jump into conclusions too fast. There is a world of difference between is and could be and I thought this should be obvious even to a dense person.

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      • NATE: “Christianity, Judaism, and Islam are just like…”

        Yeah, but what is Christianity, or Judaism, or Islam? The billion+ people who self identify as one of those have wildly divergent views about what those things are. They range from people who claim to be both Jewish and atheist, to people who claim to be Christian while also arguing that “God” is a metaphor for the theory of evolution, and that highly selective Bible-reading can produce the occasional useful life lesson.

        Which is the “real” version of Islam that is demonstrably false? Or are the philosophical thoughts of anyone who self-identifies as Muslim wrong, even if it’s an engineering student who tells his professors that Allah helped him study for his final, but otherwise who skips daily prayers whenever he can and doesn’t actually believe anything?

        How far do you go on concluding that all man-made religions are wrong? Does that include faith-based atheism? Does it include the American religious belief in buying consumer products and sacrificing children’s lives in pursuit of industrial cost-cutting?

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      • Dude, you have WAY too much time on your hands. You need to go out and get laid. Blow off some steam. Have a giggle and a brew with some friends. Your comments have all the weight and muster of cotton candy gone awry. Reading them has been like masturbating with a Brillo pad. Really, go get laid. It’s fun.

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      • Makagutu, here’s a definition of atheism I found. As you’ll see, it says:

        a : a disbelief in the existence of deity
        b : the doctrine that there is no deity

        What it does not say is:

        a : a belief that there is probably not a deity
        b: the doctrine that there might not be a deity

        There’s quite a difference between “is not” and “might not.”

        “I live everyday like it is my last.”

        I doubt that. Some issues to consider:

        1) If you got a terminal diagnosis tomorrow, how much time would you spend arguing philosophy on the internet?

        2) Do you have any money in your bank account, or have you already spent all of it on pleasurable items?

        3) Are you currently deeply indebted because you took out large loans to pay for pleasurable activities on prior days when you were acting like there would be no tomorrow?

        4) Have you ever exercised or abstained from eating an extra slice of pie?

        5) Have you ever purchased a product on the internet which was to be shipped to you at a later date?

        6) Have you ever applied for a job?

        What you probably mean by “everyday like it is my last” is not actually that–just like your version of “atheism,” what you probably mean instead is, “I have faith in some things, just not in others, and I also try to enjoy myself as much as seems reasonable at the time.”

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      • I know the definition of atheism.

        You don’t know how I live my life. You can’t be the judge of that. I will answer your questions.

        6. Yes I have applied for several jobs, once I applied to be a teacher, went for the interview and wasn’t employed. I almost felt bad about it.

        5. No

        4. Whenever possible, I have some bedminton. It is good exercise. Leaves you happy, you should try it.

        3. Yes, last I checked I had to move out of my house because of debts. Am living under a tree as we speak.

        2. I had to close my bank account. I have just enough for my next lunch.

        1. I will be arguing about my terminal illness

        Any other question?

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      • How far do you go on concluding that all man-made religions are wrong? Does that include faith-based atheism? Does it include the American religious belief in buying consumer products and sacrificing children’s lives in pursuit of industrial cost-cutting?

        I see what you’re driving at, but I think it stretches things a bit. When I say I think a religion is “wrong”, I mean in reference to its claims of being divine. Certainly, there are people who have gained benefits from religious beliefs — I’ve gained some from the ones I previously held as well. I’m not talking about that kind of thing — I’m strictly looking at whether or not a religion’s claims are supported by the evidence. I don’t see where the Abrahamic religions have any better footing there than any other religion.

        To be honest (and I truly don’t mean this as an insult), but I don’t really find the other considerations to be all that interesting: the personal meaning someone might get out of it, how it compares to other beliefs, etc. That’s not the kind of “truth” I’m talking about.

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      • Nate, am not sure you will get anywhere with this dude. His questions are quite ridiculous and he wants to assuage his ego by believing everyone has the same faith he has.

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      • Goodness! That is why I have been trying to type slowly just so he can understand. I will let him keep his madness and faith. He wears them like a badge of honour

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      • He wears them like nebulous clouds of cotton candy as he is afraid to commit to anything. Thus, I predict he’ll one day be committed. Lord! It’s SO friggin’ impossible to have a serious conversation with me. Sorry. But not really.

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      • And utterly without tangible merit. It hurts your eyes to read that tripe. I can only imagine the laborious pains it must cause while making it all up. There’s much more substance in reading the ingredients on a box of rice than reading that stuff. Ugh.

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      • That’s because we’re in Plato’s cave attached to Keanu Reeve’s Matrix and floating on clouds of opium smoke. If not for that, these ramblings wouldn’t seem like ramblings and they’d be more like nebulous shadows on the dark walls of a zombie’s brain. Man! That was brilliant tripe, wasn’t it? I said a bunch of sh*t that to an unlearned person might pass as something more meaningful than the made-up smoke cloud of non-commitant crap it is. 😀

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  13. Oh!… It was quite easy to make HIM fall into his own trap… Just a few questions and good God was busted!… He should read take some persuasion lessons with Immanuel Kant.
    Best wishes, dear John!!! Aquileana 😀

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  14. Makagutu: “Atheism deals with the question of whether deities exist.”

    Yes, it deals with it by settling it definitively; the term indicates a disbelief in a deity. Saying that the word “atheism” merely “deals with the question of whether deities exist” is like saying that the word “murder” merely “deals with the question of whether a person exists.” You’re missing a crucial part of the definition. Actually, the crucial part.

    Makagutu: “6. Yes I have applied for several jobs, once I applied to be a teacher, went for the interview and wasn’t employed. I almost felt bad about it.”

    And the obvious follow-up comes: Why did you waste time dressing up and stressing out and traveling to a job interview, then getting evaluated by someone, for a job where you wouldn’t be paid until at least the day after tomorrow? Answer: because you expected to continue living at least long enough that you’d need the money provided by said job in the future. E.g., you exercised some level of faith. Maybe a very little bit, but still some. Ergo it would be a hypocritical act if you condemned all exercises of faith.

    What you should do is make your criticism relative. You’re not an atheist, you’re a suspicious agnostic, and you can still have arguments with Christians about what things are more or less likely to exist in the universe. But what you can’t do is hold them in contempt for believing in something that, to you, is merely probably not true. You recognize that they are living wishfully, as you are, and that you are more similar as human beings than you had previously recognized. That is a first step toward something better.

    Nate: “I don’t see where the Abrahamic religions have any better footing [by the evidence] there than any other religion.”

    Well, be fair–the Abrahamic religions refer to peoples and places that have their existence verified by archaeology and world history. Compare that with, say, Mormonism, which describes a geography of the American southwest that is directly contradicted by modern science. E.g., archaeological digs can find no evidence of cities that Joseph Smith claimed were giant, old cities, and the fossil record does not indicate that domestic horses arrived on the continent until after Europeans brought them, even though the Book of Mormon describes them being used there previously.

    In some parts of the middle east, too, there’s geological evidence of (1) a large flood, and (2) a powerful volcano explosion, each of which can be dated roughly to correspond with Hebrew tribes. So there’s an anthropological argument to be made that some tribes witnessed a flood and thought it was so big it covered the world, or that a settlement was burned to brimstone by rocks and fire from the sky and the bystanders rationalized it as punishment for sodomy.

    John: “Oh, his is unique… He believes Satan buried all the dinosaur bones! Dastardly!!”

    Suggesting something as a rhetorical device does not mean the suggester believes the suggestion. In this one’s case, this one thinks it about as likely that Satan buried dinosaur bones as that Scientology is true.

    You guys seem to be assuming, from my pointing out logical inconsistencies in your philosophies, that I’m Christian. Is that because you presume that only a Christian would ever disagree with you? Is it because you don’t want to imagine that someone would challenge your worldview based on its own merits, so it’s easier to assume that anyone who disagrees with you must be a frothing evangelical?

    Being committed to logic, as you no doubt are, you would know that such behavior would be a combination of straw man and ad hominem. Ad hominem because we should be discussing the subject, not who I am, and straw man because you’re representing me as a Christian when I haven’t said or indicated that I am.

    You may assume that because I’m able to discuss “faith,” I must be a Christian. That’s quite an ethnocentric point of view. The world is filled with philosophers who could discuss why atheism involves drawing conclusions without definitive proof. They could be Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, or Shinto; they could be agnostic; they could be Inuit or Jewish. In any case, it shouldn’t matter. The discussion should be about the discussion, rather than about who is discussing.

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    • I have said repeatedly and I mean no insults that your comprehension skills are below average. Atheism is limited to one question only. Your analogies are simply stupid and ridiculous.

      I told you you run into conclusions too fast. I was on holiday from campus and wanted something to do to keep me busy. I didn’t have to dress up for the job and I was just to do it for a month or two as I waited for campus to reopen.

      You can’t make a judgement on who I am. That would be presumptuous and would not stop me from calling you a pompous ass.

      One thing I can vouch for is that you are far from a philosopher. For all I care, you could even be an atheist but still a pompous ass.

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      • That’s interesting, and I apologize. I assumed that, in our use of the English language to discuss this issue, we would be reasonably bound in our use of words by their accepted meanings. Language, you see, is a useless tool if each individual is allowed to redefine terms in a self-preferential way. How is one party supposed to know what the other party is talking about, if the accepted meanings of words can be unilaterally altered at any moment? For example, if I decided that “Christ” meant “peanut butter,” and you were arguing with me that Christ never existed, your viewpoint would seem ridiculous–but only to people who had learned that “Christ” now meant “peanut butter.”

        I’ve employed the standard dictionary definition of atheism, but you seem to prefer your own version, which “is limited to one question only,” rather than the outside world’s definition, which refers to a disbelief in a deity or deities. I encourage you to obtain a print version of the Oxford English Dictionary, or to visit Merriam Webster’s free website, and learn more about how the English-speaking world outside of your own head has defined the terms “atheism” and “atheist.”

        Please help me understand what the word “atheism” means to you. To the rest of the English-speaking world, it means the definition I cut and pasted above, but if you’ve created a hybrid version of the word for your own use, understanding that would help me figure out why using dictionary words has made you so upset.

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      • When I said it is limited to the question of whether deities exist, how is that different from when you write it makes a conclusion on the matter. It still about deities. Anything else is secondary. It says nothing about cosmology, evolution and this can only be arrived at through deduction but not a priori

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      • Here’s that dictionary definition again:

        atheism
        a : a disbelief in the existence of deity
        b : the doctrine that there is no deity

        You have previously conceded that this might all be a dream, or the Matrix, or some other comparative illusion which we might imagine by thought experiment. Therefore, you are not an atheist: you have admitted the possibility that, because you might be subject to a pervasive illusion, anything could be true. Including a deity; including peanut butter; including Satan commanding legions of men in red pajamas to fabricate dinosaur bones to trick us into believing in evolution. By accepting that what you perceive as reality could be an illusion, you have accepted that any silly example you can imagine might be real.

        You could qualify your disbelief. For example, you could say, “I mostly disbelieve in the existence of deity,” or, “I’m almost absolutely 100% sure that there is no deity.” That qualification is necessary, however. That makes you an agnostic, rather than an atheist.

        Do you understand that distinction? Do you see how, by accepting the possibility of your own sensory fallibility, you become unable to act except by using some percentage of faith, however minuscule?

        There’s nothing to be ashamed of in recognizing that. It’s actually extremely arrogant for a bipedal ape with five senses to conclude that she or he can use about a century’s worth of tools to perceive the extent of reality. Admitting that there might be greater things out there–bacteria; other galaxies; more expansive physical laws–makes you a more intelligent person, not less.

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      • I am tired of this higharka and it seems you draw much joy in long winded responses. As to the point I made earlier this could be all a dream, Russell in his problems of philosophy wrote

        it may be that the whole outer world is nothing but a dream and that we alone exist. This is an uncomfortable possibility; but although it cannot be strictly proved false, there is not the slightest reason to suppose that it is true

        So it should be evident to you, if it wasn’t before, that having said it could possibly be a matrix, I have no reason to believe it so and leaves my atheism where it was before we started this conversation.

        There is no where in my responses I have said no other galaxies exist. You seem interested in putting words in my mouth or my writing where there is simply none.

        I have no belief in gods, I don’t know what they are to believe in them. You tell me what they are, then we can have a discussion on their existence.

        Perusing my responses looking for a likely fault will not be helpful either to you or anyone else reading this conversation.

        If you think you have a question that I haven’t responded to, bring it on

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      • Here’s a more appropriate term for you:

        agnostic : a person who holds the view that any ultimate reality (as God) is unknown and probably unknowable; broadly : one who is not committed to believing in either the existence or the nonexistence of God or a god.

        Do you see how that applies to you much more than “atheist” does? You say that you don’t believe in a God, but you do–just by a very small percentage. You probably believe 100% in the existence of yourself, 99.9% in the existence of the country of Japan, 94% in the existence of Lady Gaga, 8% in the efficacy of the dieting article you read last month, and 0.00001% in the potential existence of God. As you yourself said, because your senses could be passing on illusory information, there could actually be a deity in the real world, so there is some tiny, tiny amount of belief there.

        belief : a state or habit of mind in which trust or confidence is placed in some person or thing.

        confidence : the feeling of being certain that something will happen or that something is true.

        percentage : a part of a whole expressed in hundredths; an indeterminate part.

        Because you don’t have 100% belief in the non-existence of deity, you have a comparatively small percentage belief in the existence of deity. Ergo you are agnostic; ergo the term “atheist,” like the term “Christian,” would be improperly applied if used to refer to you. Again, there’s no shame in that. Such a humility indicates an increase in your intelligence, and in your ability to process more complex versal patterns.

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      • Oh, that’s delightful! Here’s a coherent definition of one take on Christianity for you to discuss:

        17,436 years, 3 months, fifteen days, two hours, twelve minutes, and forty nanoseconds ago, an all-powerful entity created the universe by pure thought. This entity, called “God,” surrounded himself by angels, then created humans and animals upon a planet, and demanded that they worship Him by placing thoughts into the head of various patriarchs across a scattering of tribes that lived in a desert region upon said planet. Then, God retreated to watch what the humans would do out of pure amusement. He watched as some of His angels sneaked down to Earth to subtly alter the text produced by His prophets, and He watched as those same angels hid dinosaur bones to trick humans into disbelieving the story of His creation. Later on, He took the form of a human and traveled to Earth to verify that humans would kill Him rather than worship Him. And they did, but then some people worshiped Him anyway.

        Now, given that you’re ignostic, we’ve satisfied your condition–you have a very simple definition of Christianity, which your beliefs permit you to discuss. When you contemplate this belief, do you feel that it is true, or not true?

        You don’t know. Because your sensory perceptions could be illusions–as you’ve already admitted–this story might be true, and it might not be true. Therefore, you are an agnostic. Your other term is cute, and it helps you feel superior when insulting people who have faith in different things than you do, but it doesn’t solve your initial conundrum. In short, anyone who is willing to enunciate any potential faith, be it Flying Spaghetti Monsterism or Islam, can prove that you’re an agnostic, unless you are willing to withdraw your claim that reality may be an illusion.

        And you’re not, because you’ve had dreams, and you’ve seen The Matrix, and you’re aware that your sensory perceptions are limited. Ergo despite your rhetorical baiting of the unpopular people that you enjoy mocking, you’re still an agnostic. Making up new words to define different denominations of atheism does not save you from the definition of “agnostic” that I quoted in my previous response: you fit that definition, even if you also fit other definitions.

        Again, there is no shame in admitting that you might be wrong. It makes you a more honest and open-minded person.

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      • you are an idiot of the first degree! Igtheist means the word god has not been coherently defined to have a discussion about god. Whatever you have up there isn’t coherent.
        What really is your problem? Do you read? In my last response I said I have no reason to believe that my sensory data are illusions even if that were a possibility.
        I only insult idiots of your kind.
        Between you and me, I would readily concede when am wrong, I do that all time. You on the other hand are a dickhead. You keep insisting your way is the right way and are even so presumptuous as to tell me what I believe and don’t believe, what I know or not and so on.
        You deserve no respect from me whatsoever.

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      • You can accuse me of ad hominem attacks. I am sure there is no part of your argument I have responded to. I have called you a dickhead not to avoid answering your critique, no, that isn’t it. I would answer you and still call you that for that is exactly how I see you. I thought I should make that clear

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      • Makagutu: “In my last response I said I have no reason to believe that my sensory data are illusions even if that were a possibility.”

        You’ve actually confirmed to me, several times previously, that you understood the nature of the “Plato’s Cave” thought experiment (which has as its variations “evil demon” and “vivid dream” and “computer simulation,” et cetera). Here are your own words:

        Makagutu: “I also said there is no way to disprove [your assertions that reality may be illusory] but that is not to mean that some future person could come up with a way to disprove it…”

        Makagutu: “I said to an extent it may not be possible to tell which is the reality.”

        Makagutu: “You really an idiot of the first order! …I said this could all be a dream, that you or I could be dreaming why you keep going to that silly line is beyond. Are you dense or just pretending to be?”

        Makagutu: “We don’t fully understand our reality and no one makes that claim.”

        You’re dissembling as quickly as a political spokesperson. Which is the case–that your sensory perceptions could be an illusion, or that they could not be? The four latter quotes indicate that you believe that your perceptions could be in error (e.g., subject to illusion), while the former quote indicates that you believe that your perceptions could not be in error.

        Ergo you have made statements of belief that directly contradict one another. Sometimes, when people realize that they have adopted two self-contradictory viewpoints, they reach cognitive dissonance, which is troubling to their worldview. It can even cause some people to get angry and lash out, to distract themselves from their own thoughts. Please try not to become upset with me. If you are generous enough to muster the patience to explain your beliefs to me, perhaps you’ll help me become a better person.

        You seem to be made very upset by the idea that you can’t have 100% certainty in an unfalsifiable set of assumptions, much as some Christians get very angry when you ask them why the space shuttle didn’t collide with the firmament. I realize it must seem frightening and difficult to you to know that your senses could potentially be wrong, but people are tricked by their senses all the time.

        Have you ever looked at one of those jpegs which appears to be moving when you look at it, even though it is not actually moving? There are many of them on the internet, and it can be fun to discover how your brain automatically fills in unknown information by overlayering predictable patterns–which don’t always turn out to be accurate (kind of like the way mp3 players have formulae designed to make bitrate-compressed files sound more complex). There’s nothing to be disturbed about in examining the way one works.

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      • Let’s have a deal, that am going to be generous and make this my last response to you.
        In all the four quotes, I have basically said the same thing. That some of the sensory data we receive could not be accurate. While driving on a tarmac road on a hot sunny day, one perceives a water pool at the end of the road. This is an illusion. One may not know it is at the onset.

        Your problem, and why it would be a herculean task to make you a better person is because you have told yourself you are right and while it wouldn’t hurt you to admit you have been wrong, you keep looking for ways to settle scores. I am not angry. I hate to indulge in conversation such as this where there is nothing to gain from it. Maybe you gain something, I haven’t from the time we started and I really must say am bored of it.

        Tell me for example, how does saying this could all be a dream make it a dream? Are all probabilities statements of facts?

        Please, I am tired of talking to you. You bore me. You have said nothing new other than repeat your presumptions about me. Entertain yourself from now on.

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      • Higharka

        Let’s leave the sensory bullshit alone, shall we, and deal with some facts. Facts are fun. Facts matter, yes? As Rabbi Sherwin Wine said:

        “Facts are facts. They are enormously discourteous. They do not revere old books, they do not stand in awe before old beliefs. They do not bow before famous ancestors. They are simply the stuff out of which reality is made and the final judge of truth”

        Prove to me your grasp on reality, your faith, isn’t faulty. How do you explain the fact that Jesus didn’t know Moses wasn’t a real historical character? In total, Moses is mentioned a whopping eighty-five times in the New Testament with Jesus directly naming him twice in Matthew (including a rather bizarre face-to-face meeting detailed in 17:3-4), and in John 5:45 where he says: “If you believed Moses, you would believe me, for he wrote about me.” Now this is an unambiguous statement; a clear and definitive declaration that Jesus believed Moses was a real person. The thing is, Moses wasn’t real. Moses, we now know with a great deal of certainty, was a legendary motif; a fable which the majority of Jewish rabbis today openly concede was knitted together in the 7th and 6th Century BCE, and whose birth story was, for example, adapted straight from the far older Babylonian tale of King Sargon of Agade:

        “My humble mother bore me secretly. She put me in a basket of rushes and sealed me in with asphalt. Then she put me into the river…. The river held me up, and carried me to Akki, the irrigator who drew water from the river for the people. As he dipped his jug into the river, Akki carried me out. He raised me as his own son.”

        Sound familiar?

        When I say the “majority of Jewish Rabbis,” I mean the majority. Reform, Conservative, Reconstructionist, Jewish Science, Renewal and Humanistic movements, (85% of all practicing Jews today)… none of them recognise Moses as being a real, historical person. So definitive is the evidence against a historical Moses (and the Exodus he supposedly led) that the second edition Encyclopaedia Judaica concludes that the entire narrative was “dramatically woven out of various strands of tradition… he [Moses] wasn’t a historical character.” Indeed, so definitive is the evidence against Moses that the word “myth” has now even penetrated the thought-to-be-impenetrable walls of Orthodox Judaism. In 2012 Rabi Louis Jacobs sent shockwaves through the Orthodox world when he declared in his book, Torah from Heaven, that Moses and the story surrounding him was little more than a “foundation myth;” an origin dream, not a descriptive historical fact.

        Now Jesus’ colossal blunder in naming Moses as a real person is as conspicuous as it is damning to his credibility, wouldn’t you say? It doesn’t, after all, speak too highly of a witness’s authority, intelligence, competence, insight or judgment if he couldn’t distinguish the difference between inventive geopolitical myth and actual historical fact, correct? Indeed, if Jesus’ claims are to be taken seriously then there can be zero tolerance for even minor bungles in his knowledge of any earthly event, let alone one he supposedly participated in (being part of the god-head, after all), and yet here is an oversight so outrageous that it is the equivalent of a charismatic preacher three-hundred years from today proclaiming Batman existed. This bumbling ignorance of basic regional history exposes Jesus (if he indeed existed, which is doubtful) to be little more than an amateurish charlatan masquerading as a supernaturally inspired magi… a naïve magician whose word was and is, by definition, thoroughly worthless.

        So, the question presented to you is: upon what do you base your grasp of reality, your faith, knowing that Jesus was ignorant of basic regional history?

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      • Makagutu: “Tell me for example, how does saying this could all be a dream make it a dream? Are all probabilities statements of facts?”

        Saying that this could be a dream does not make it a dream. All probabilities are not statements of facts. However, saying that this could be a dream is a concession that you might be wrong. It means that you cannot say, with 100% certainty, “Moses did not exist,” because you have just admitted that this might be a dream, therefore Moses might exist outside of this dream.

        Consider your example of driving on tarmac on a hot sunny day. You see a puddle of water on the road far ahead. When you get closer, the illusion vanishes. Farther ahead, you see another puddle of water. When you get closer, you see County officials desperately trying to clean up a broken water main. It turns out that this puddle is real.

        After you are directed around the spill, you continue down the highway. You see another puddle of water on the hot tarmac far ahead. There is a 99.999% chance that it is just another illusion. There is a 0.001% chance that a second water main broke on the same day. At that point in time–before you reach the “puddle”–you do not know whether it is an illusion or a real spill of water.

        If you work for the County water department, perhaps you know more about the situation. Maybe you know the layout of all water pipes in the nation, and you know that there are no water pipes up ahead (or, conversely, you know that there is a highly faulty one up ahead). Or maybe you are a corpusculist, with an advanced prism on your dashboard, and you would estimate that the apparent “puddle” is an illusion, because of the colours it presents are different than that caused by water reflecting sunlight.

        The potential of error in either case–the tarmac’s unforeseen complexity, or the chemical contamination of the reflecting water–means that you cannot be 100% sure whether it is another illusion or another spill.

        There is a possibility that you are trapped in a vivid dream, therefore, it is foolish for you to state, “The actor known as Keanu Reeves does, in fact, exist.” It could be part of the delusion. Even if you later transcend to a higher material plane, understand the full nature of reality, and are proven correct that Keanu Reeves does indeed exist, it was still an uncertain conclusion to manifest certitude in such fact before you had proof.

        Do you understand the nature of the statement, “100% certainty”? The term “possibility”? It is an act of faith to reject possibility, and adopt 100% certainty, without proof. The only thing you can prove is that you exist. Like DesCartes, you can say, “Cogito ergo sum.” You can say, “I see a tree,” or “it appears that that tree exists.” But to say, “There is absolutely a tree there; a tree of physical presence, the reality of which is undisputed by all other living beings, who all perceive the same tree, and who can all touch it and feel it and see it as I can. There is definitely a tree there.” And then, a second later, Laurence Fishburne takes your hand and helps you out of a pod, explaining that the machines have taken over the world, that your brain has been plugged into a computer simulation, and that there are no more trees.

        John: “Let’s leave the sensory bullshit alone, shall we, and deal with some facts. Facts are fun. Facts matter, yes?”

        Did you use your ears to listen to rabbis, and your eyes to read their quotes? Is that sensory bullshit?

        When a Christian reads the Bible, and pleads with you to listen to fact, what do you criticize? You criticize an historical record, which you have used your sensory organs to process, and with which the Bible conflicts. Is that sensory bullshit?

        Like you and Makagutu, I place a lot of faith in my sensory perceptions. I consider it somewhere around 99% likely that what people call “the Bible” is mostly a series of allegories and widely-appropriated myths formed into a sociologically useful structure that benefited, and was meant to benefit, a subset of creditor-priests who probably didn’t believe in the tenets they preached.

        Does that mean that my suspicion is correct? Am I omniscient, able to define a standard for absolute reality, and verify that all of my senses are absolutely beyond deception, and that all of my impressions of past and present events are completely and totally perfect? No. It is very easy to live on 99% certainty. I expect that my automobile will work when I go to use it, even though I understand that it might be, but probably isn’t, an illusion.

        When discussing essential philosophy, however, we can be rational, and admit that it might all be an illusion. We can dispel our faith in ourselves as all-powerful gods, and admit that we might be wrong. If there are greater heights to which science and reason can lead us, we will only be fettered by a stubborn refusal to admit that our small collections of gray matter are infallible, impartial recording devices.

        I know that it can be upsetting to realize that you are using some small percentage of faith in constructing your self-image. After years of dealing with frustrating Christians–many of whom are contemptuous of your refusal to immediately subscribe to their unthinking devotion to a self-contradictory set of handpicked, unverifiable scripture–it must seem frightening to you to contemplate admitting that you are anything like them. But it should not be: these are your fellow human beings, your brothers and sisters, like you in almost every way. Like you, they want to better understand what it is to exist; they want to pursue their pleasures and avoid misfortunes. They like to explore, grow, discover, and be thought well of. They may prefer different rabbis than you do, but they are still human. Instead of ostracizing and insulting them for their differences, why don’t you try to help them learn some of the things you have, in a friendly and charitable fashion?

        John: “So, the question presented to you is: upon what do you base your grasp of reality, your faith, knowing that Jesus was ignorant of basic regional history?”

        I would guess that I base my grasp of reality on the same things as you do–my sensory perceptions of my surroundings, things I find in books that appear to have impressive and verifiable biographies, and my own self-preferential take on quotes I find on the internet.

        You all keep wanting to identify me as having some kind of faith in this “Jesus” character you so often mention. Why is that?

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      • Miss, we seem to be talking past each other. I don’t know whether that is how you do it normally. I brought up the mirage illusion to show that our sense data can be misleading.

        I have said too I have no fear of being wrong.

        To acknowledge the possibility of this being a dream does not make it so. You may want it to be so, unfortunately it can’t.

        Have you considered the possibility that you could be wrong or you will only be happy if I say I can be wrong which I have.

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      • Makagutu: “[Y]ou will only be happy if I say I can be wrong which I have.”

        Good! I’m glad to see you say that again, and glad to see that you are, like me, someone who admits her brain could be deceived. Would you therefore concede that some kind of God could exist, beyond either my power or yours to fathom? That seems to be our sticking point. Over and over, you have conceded that reality could be an illusion, but have then grown upset whenever I remind you that such a perspective makes you an agnostic. You seem to feel that I am an evangelical Christian who is trying to convert you, and perhaps you’re worried that if you lose the label “atheist,” you will become somehow vulnerable.

        Makagutu: “To acknowledge the possibility of this being a dream does not make it so. You may want it to be so, unfortunately it can’t.”

        Of course it doesn’t make it so. That’s why you needn’t be worried about being an agnostic–admitting that a deity could exist does not make a deity exist.

        “Atheist” and “Christian” are such interesting faith-based terms. On their deathbeds–given time to contemplate pending demise–the atheist will worry privately that God exists, and the Christian will worry privately that God does not exist, no matter how loudly and conclusively each has argued in favor of her or his viewpoint during life. The feeling of one’s own bodily systems shutting down for the last time does that to most people, even if they’ve worked for years in end-of-life medical care.

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      • Miss, in all fairness, where have I indicated that I think you want to convert me?

        Why would I concede a god might exist when what a god is is not or rather has not been defined coherently to enable a rational person make a decision about it?

        Indeed labels are interesting and worse they most often than not divide us. The label atheist is not necessary for we don’t have a-footballist,…. if you get my drift.

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      • Just came across this helpful advice from David Brin. Maka, you must read his novella, Stones of Significance. One of the best short stories I’ve ever read. Same goes for you, Higharka… Seems to be exactly what you are at pains to emphasise, but which no one is actually denying. Still, I think you’ll thoroughly love the story. It’s only $2, read in under an hour. Enjoy.

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      • Makagutu: “Why would I concede a god might exist when what a god is is not or rather has not been defined coherently [enough] to enable a rational person [to] make a decision about it?”

        I take it that you aren’t a rocket scientist or an astrophysicist–but are you an astronaut? If not, do you believe that humans have traveled to the moon? Have they used rockets to travel into space?

        Now, you couldn’t build one of those rockets. You haven’t ridden on one. If you’ve touched such a vehicle or seen one in person, it was probably in a museum, rather than on a live launch pad. You don’t understand all the math that governs its behavior in atmosphere and in vacuum, and even if you learned that math, you would need to rely on other experts in metallurgy to understand the different types of stresses that would be placed upon the vehicle. You’d have to trust other experts in solar flares and interstellar radiation in timing and laying out the course of travel for such a journey, and even if you took another five years to learn all those things yourself, you’d have to rely on still other experts to determine the effect of the Earth’s and the sun’s magnetic fields on your rocket.

        If you were a layperson, you’d just watch it go up on TV, in less vivid detail than in a C-list movie, and think, “That sure is a sizable rocket. Cool.”

        …and yet, I suspect that you believe that such rockets exist, or have existed. Even though it would take you years of extensive, full-time study to understand even a small part of one of them, you still believe in them. You believe that NASA exists; you believe that Neil Armstrong put a flag on the moon; you believe that unmanned spacecraft assist in your use of your mobile phone.

        Clearly, you’re able to make a decision about your belief in spaceflight-capable rockets, despite your inability to coherently define them. Sure, you could say, “Well, the definition is, it’s a pointy tube-thing with some kind of controlled explosion on the bottom with the ability of producing 36,000 pounds of thrust for a burst time of at least 9 minutes. But that’s as generalized a phrase as, “Well, the definition is, an old man in the clouds who can make things happen by visualizing them.” Ergo if you can believe that human spaceflight is 99.99% likely to exist, you can believe that an omniscient-yet-somewhat-humanlike deity is 0.01% likely to exist (or whatever other tiny percentage feels more rational to you).

        John, are you now, or have you ever been, a communist? A homosexual? A negro integrationist? A Union sympathizer? As to your earlier question, I hold all sorts of supernatural suspicions, but I’m not giving that COINTELPRO-rebooted hack a penny, much less two dollars (except what he and Goodkind and Rand’s Estate already get from my taxes as laundered through the black budget).

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      • You’re a helluva a guy, I’ll say that. BTW, you’re just a brain in the bucket on my floor attached to wires and I’m pushing buttons making you behave exactly as I want. Too bad you can’t prove otherwise, sir. Yes. I said Sir, because that’s what you are. And you’re a 78 year old Asian Sir at that. Have a little faith. It’s you’ve got. I’ll push a few more buttons and your wind-bag, sophomoric, juvenile self won’t be able to stop responding. Watch. Go ahead. Do it. I’m pushing buttons. now bark little sophomore. Bark you arrogant twit. Bark.

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  15. Hi, Free will is only for Christians. Heathens do not have a spiritual free will. You are giving a question to Jesus before the Day of Pentecost when the Holy Spirit was first made available. You do not know theology in regards to the new covenant of the Holy Spirit. I am not surprised at all on your question knowing you do not have the Spirit of God. To me you are not very bright in your question.
    Charles

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  16. Here’s a cut and paste from Wikipedia for ya Higharka, since you love definitions so much. Asshole: “The word is mainly used as a vulgarity, generally to describe people who are viewed as stupid, incompetent, unpleasant, or detestable.” Kinda describes, well, it kinda describes you, eh?

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    • Did you notice the “overconfident of knowledge” part of “sophomoric”? It’s ironic that you’d say that (You must be listening to a little too much of the ’90s Morissette), considering that my argument with the others is about how we should have less confidence in our sensory perceptions.

      In a different era, when we have better investigated the nature of matter and neuropsychology, atheists like many here will be viewed as just as dogmatic as their Christian contemporaries, for neglecting to admit that their perceptions could be deceiving them.

      My dear InspiredByTheDivine1, you must realize: you can still good-naturedly satirize religious concepts after admitting your own potential fallibility. Humility strengthens your humor as a positive commentary on life, while arrogance makes you cruel and shallow.

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  17. This meme reminded me of Anselm’s ontological argument in which he concluded somehow that If God is in my mind then God exists in reality

    ​”Anselm Of Canterbury (PROSLOGION 1078) defined God as “…that than which nothing greater can be conceived,” and then argued that this being must exist in the mind; even in the mind of the fool who denies the existence of God.
    He suggested that, if the greatest possible being exists in the mind, it must also exist in reality.
    If it only exists in the mind, a greater being is possible—one which exists in the mind and in reality.
    Therefore, this greatest possible being must exist in reality” at
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ontological_argument

    I wonder how this Greatest possible being (which is in my mind and also which exists in reality would want me to conceive Evilness as a coexistent idea with a Good God…
    I know that Evilness comes as a consequence of Sin (The Fall) but still

    If Evil is an effect of Free Will…
    Free will couldn’t be in Heaven as it it linked to Evil.
    And if it is, the Heaven is not heaven (but Hell)

    Excellent share, John!. happy week ahead to you!, Aquileana 😀

    Like

    • The problem with Anselm’s thought salad is it works just as well for an Omnimalevolent Creator. The conclusion follows:

      1. It is possible that a maximally wicked being exists.
      2. If it’s possible that a maximally wicked being exists, then a maximally wicked being exists in some possible world.
      3. If a maximally wicked being exists in some possible world, then it exists in every possible world.
      4. If a maximally wicked being exists in every possible world, then it exists in the actual world.
      5. Therefore, a maximally wicked being exists in the actual world.
      6. Therefore, a maximally wicked being exists.
      7. Therefore, the Omnimalevolent Creator exists.

      Voilà!

      Hope you have a week filled with wonder, laughter and hugs too, my learned friend!

      Liked by 1 person

  18. Pingback: Christianity Dismantled in 38 Words – oddrops

  19. You can’t possibly be actually serious with this HAHA!! This is John Zande’s knowledge of the gospel dismantled in 38 words LOL!

    Come on back over to Violetwisp’s place.

    Like

    • Hi Greg, glad it made you laugh. If you believe it’s not accurate, then please, by all means demonstrate where it’s wrong…. I’d be interested to hear your views.

      By the way, you never did answer my question over on Violet’s blog.

      How old is the Earth, Greg?

      Like

  20. John Zande says: Hi Greg, glad it made you laugh. If you believe it’s not accurate, then please, by all means demonstrate where it’s wrong…. I’d be interested to hear your views.
    God did not merely allow evil. He decreed it. Rendered it certain while nonetheless remaining free from the guilt of it’s evil. He did this by divine mechanisms known to and understood by Himself alone.

    The cross of Christ was not decreed in order to remedy sin that happened on the scene. Sin was decreed so that there could be a cross of Christ. Sin does not exist because rogue man ruined God’s plans. God’s plan WAS for man to fall into sin. God determined this to be the means by which He would receive maximum glory in displaying His holiness, judgement and wrath on one hand, AND His mercy, grace and love on the other. Actually, His mercy, grace and love portray His holiness as well. He really REALLY IS stuck on Himself. And quite properly so. He can do it and you can’t.

    Is man then not free and responsible? Yes.
    But did I not just say that God decreed man’s sin? Yes.
    How does that work? I have no idea. He’s God and I’m not see?
    That’s number one.

    Number two is that in the resurrection, the eternally elect in Christ are brought forth in transformed perfect bodies, free from any propensity to sin. We are sealed in permanent life and holiness without the possibility of sin ever again. What about the freewill talked about in the image above? We never had it in the first place. Not by that definition.

    Don’t mistake the mushy hippified gospel of today’s so called evangelical west with the one in the bible.

    Like

  21. Wow, Tiribulus. I don’t think I’ve ever run across anyone who views this quite the way you do. I truly don’t mean that in a derogatory way — it’s just a very unique way of looking at things.

    Just for some clarification, are you saying that God decreed / mandated evil, yet is still somehow devoid of evil? I know some theists who believe God is capable of (and demonstrates) both good and evil, just as humans do. But I don’t get the impression that you see it quite that way.

    If God created man with a sinful nature, then set the stage in a way that guarantees humans will exercise that nature, how can he pass judgment against them? How can he pass judgment against Satan, who is simply carrying out God’s desires? How can he ascribe any guilt to the people who crucified Christ, when it’s what he wanted from the beginning? It’s almost like he’s the director of a tragedy, and when the actors pull it off perfectly, he punishes them for their roles. That sounds insane, doesn’t it? Do you believe God is insane? I’m not asking facetiously — I’m honestly curious if you happen to think that.

    Furthermore, if you’re saying that God can create people in perfected bodies that aren’t able to sin, why wouldn’t he have done that to begin with?

    Anyway, those are the first questions that come to mind…

    Like

  22. Nate says: “Wow, Tiribulus. I don’t think I’ve ever run across anyone who views this quite the way you do. I truly don’t mean that in a derogatory way — it’s just a very unique way of looking at things”.
    It was the view of the church associations of 44 of the 55 delegates to the first constitutional convention and was the majority Christian view on this continent until the 20th century. Please the magnificent WESTMINSTER CONFESSION OF FAITH OF 1646 That site also houses many other confessions that espouse the core of what I’ve said here.

    As I said to John “Don’t mistake the mushy hippified gospel of today’s so called evangelical west with the one in the bible.”

    Nate asks: “Just for some clarification, are you saying that God decreed / mandated evil, yet is still somehow devoid of evil? “
    Yes

    Nate asks: “I know some theists who believe God is capable of (and demonstrates) both good and evil, just as humans do. But I don’t get the impression that you see it quite that way.
    I do not

    Nate asks: “If God created man with a sinful nature,”
    I would burn myself at the stake before allowing such blasphemy to escape my lips. (I know you didn’t know any better)

    Nate asks: “I How can he pass judgment against Satan, who is simply carrying out God’s desires? How can he ascribe any guilt to the people who crucified Christ, when it’s what he wanted from the beginning? It’s almost like he’s the director of a tragedy, and when the actors pull it off perfectly, he punishes them for their roles. That sounds insane, doesn’t it? Do you believe God is insane? I’m not asking facetiously — I’m honestly curious if you happen to think that.
    ============================================================
    Romans 9: (NASB. Caps indicate an OT quotations as per the translation committee))
    10-And not only this, but there was Rebekah also, when she had conceived twins by one man, our father Isaac; 11-for though the twins were not yet born and had not done anything good or bad, so that God’s purpose according to His choice would stand, not because of works but because of Him who calls, 12-it was said to her, “THE OLDER WILL SERVE THE YOUNGER.” 13-Just as it is written, “JACOB I LOVED, BUT ESAU I HATED.”

    14-What shall we say then? There is no injustice with God, is there? May it never be! 15-For He says to Moses, “I WILL HAVE MERCY ON WHOM I HAVE MERCY, AND I WILL HAVE COMPASSION ON WHOM I HAVE COMPASSION.” 16-So then it does not depend on the man who wills or the man who runs, but on God who has mercy. 17-For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, “FOR THIS VERY PURPOSE I RAISED YOU UP, TO DEMONSTRATE MY POWER IN YOU, AND THAT MY NAME MIGHT BE PROCLAIMED THROUGHOUT THE WHOLE EARTH.” 18-So then He has mercy on whom He desires, and He hardens whom He desires.

    19-You will say to me then, “Why does He still find fault? For who resists His will?” 20-On the contrary, who are you, O man, who answers back to God? The thing molded will not say to the molder, “Why did you make me like this,” will it? 21-Or does not the potter have a right over the clay, to make from the same lump one vessel for honorable use and another for common use? 22-What if God, although willing to demonstrate His wrath and to make His power known, endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction? 23-And He did so to make known the riches of His glory upon vessels of mercy, which He prepared beforehand for glory, 24-even us, whom He also called, not from among Jews only, but also from among Gentiles”
    =============================================
    Nate asks: “IFurthermore, if you’re saying that God can create people in perfected bodies that aren’t able to sin, why wouldn’t he have done that to begin with?

    I covered that with John. You read it:

    “The cross of Christ was not decreed in order to remedy sin that happened on the scene. Sin was decreed so that there could be a cross of Christ. Sin does not exist because rogue man ruined God’s plans. God’s plan WAS for man to fall into sin. God determined this to be the means by which He would receive maximum glory in displaying His holiness, judgement and wrath on one hand, AND His mercy, grace and love on the other. Actually, His mercy, grace and love portray His holiness as well. He really REALLY IS stuck on Himself. And quite properly so. He can do it and you can’t.”

    Like

  23. Thanks for the reply. Does it not bother you to believe that God is such a glory hound? If you believe in Hell, then he committed an incredible quantity of souls to horrible torment in the pursuit of tooting his own horn.

    It also seems that this is basically the doctrine of “might makes right,” isn’t it?

    Oh, and one more question: My wording of “God created man with a sinful nature” didn’t describe your view correctly, so how would you word it? If God decreed that we should sin, how is that different than creating us with a sinful nature?

    Thanks

    Like

  24. Nate says: “Thanks for the reply.”
    My pleasure. You seem a likable fella.

    Nate says: “Does it not bother you to believe that God is such a glory hound?”
    Oh no sir!!! If you knew Him like I do, you’d agree that He could NEVER receive too much glory honor and praise. It is my great joy to commit all that I am and all that I have to seeing that He is exalted in my life in every way and on every level I can.

    Nate says: “If you believe in Hell, then he committed an incredible quantity of souls to horrible torment in the pursuit of tooting his own horn.”
    He has done that, yes. But with perfect righteousness and justice.

    Nate says: “It also seems that this is basically the doctrine of “might makes right,” isn’t it?”
    It is.
    Again. He can do it and we can’t. That’s not something I tolerate. It’s a thing I celebrate.

    Nate says: “Oh, and one more question: My wording of “God created man with a sinful nature” didn’t describe your view correctly, so how would you word it? If God decreed that we should sin, how is that different than creating us with a sinful nature?”
    God created man perfect, but not immutably so. As a finite and still sin stained man, The best phraseology I can muster with the knowledge such men are allowed access to is that God “rendered sin certain while nonetheless remaining free from the guilt of it’s evil. And that by divine mechanisms known to and understood by Himself alone.”

    I am quite content leaving the secret things of the Lord to Him. The days of late night headaches, up rudely probing the divine beyond that which He has so graciously revealed are long gone for me.

    Nate says: “Thanks”
    You bet

    Like

    • “rendered sin certain while nonetheless remaining free from the guilt of it’s evil. And that by divine mechanisms known to and understood by Himself alone.”

      Wow, talk about a cosmic sting operation! That sounds to all rational minds as the wicked works of a malevolent, not benevolent, being.

      Like

  25. The fact that you think this dismantles or even comes close to touching Christianity shows a profound ignorance on your part.

    Like

      • Well for one you assume that we have absolute free-will. That is not the case. Evil has not been authored by God but has been allowed to happen for His purposes which is higher than our understanding (See Romans 9).

        Like

      • Well it goes to how you define free-will. The only man who had absolute free-will would have been Adam. After the fall we are inclined towards unrighteousness and actually do not have the moral ability to choose righteousness.

        Like

      • As far as I’m aware, David, there is no variable option when defining free will. You either have it, or you don’t… much like one cannot be a little pregnant, or a little dead. So, despite smelling like a tremendous act of thoroughly creative hermeneutics, I’m afraid to say you haven’t quite explained what “not-absolute free will” is. Your objection, then, is meaningless and the meme stands as being perfectly accurate.

        Like

      • Let me put it this way. Is man kind free to choose whatever he wills? Absolutely. However, he wills wickedness. Therefore, he cannot choose righteousness because it is against his nature due to the fall. So the notion that we have free will in the sense that there are no predispositions and predetermining factors in choice simply is not the case.

        Like

      • Again, you either have it or you don’t. There is no in-between. You are arguing here that man doesn’t, which is an interesting divergence from the teachings of your own religion (I think you made St. Augustine turn in his grave), because if man is not free he cannot be held responsible for his actions, and if he cannot be held responsible then he cannot be judged justly for his actions, and if he cannot be judged justly then any punishment for his actions is immoral.

        Is your god immoral, David?

        Like

      • Actually that is what Augustine actually taught. Notice, I did not say we do not have free-will. I said it depends on how you define free will. Romans 9 actually debunks your accountability notion specifically.

        Like

      • And once again, you either have free will, or you don’t. By arguing against free will you have un-solved the proposed solution to The Problem of Evil (evil exists because of free will, and god will not intervene to remove evil because that would contravene man’s free will), and therefore you are negating the existence of a maximally powerful benevolent Creator spirit. If a person is not—and can never be—responsible for their actions then they cannot be judged and punished. Ever. To suggest otherwise is to say you believe in, and worship, pure, immoral wickedness.

        Like

      • Wow you don’t read what I actually say do you? Adam had a free will because he could choose. He had no predisposition. However, after the fall we are inclined to evil not righteousness and lack the moral ability to choose righteousness. So do we have free will? Yes, but that doesn’t mean we can choose righteousness.

        You also don’t understand the holiness of God which is why you make your final statement. As I said, Romans 9 deals with that specifically.

        Like

      • Oh, I read it and see “opinion,” not substance. Again, there is no in-between. Period. You either have free will, or you don’t. There is no half-way point. You are arguing we don’t, but then you are moving the goal posts by trying to blunt the statement by offering some nonsense notion of “disposition.” You are trying, in other words, to argue that we have a little free will. Absolute nonsense. There is no “a little.” It’s either/or. But, and here’s the fun part, even with your “little bit of free will” you have ruined the solution to the Problem of Evil. By your own proposal you are admitting that no man can be held wholly responsible for his actions, and if they can’t be held responsible then no man can be fairly judged (and punished) by your particular Middle Eastern god. To punish a person who is not in any way responsible for their actions is evil.

        Like

      • I have admitted no such thing. Man is very much so responsible for his actions as prescribed in Romans 9. Perhaps you didn’t read that.

        Like

      • You are indeed. But, if you insist, I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt and simply ask you a question to clarify. The question does not require qualifiers.

        Yes or no, David: Do humans have free will?

        Like

      • That is where you are wrong. You just choose to not allow anything other than a yes or no which is not how this works.

        Like

      • Yes, I’m afraid that is exactly how it works, David. As I pointed out to you, one cannot be a little pregnant, a little dead, or have a “a little free will”.

        Like

      • Free will has nothing to do with ability. You realize this right?

        I will to do a slam dunk, but I don’t have the ability.

        Granted that is not a perfect analogy.

        Like

      • I am interested John, that you, as an atheist, would even ask a question about morality. Do you believe there is such a thing as morality?

        Like

  26. Pingback: Happiness In Slavery | Amusing Nonsense

  27. John, David believes there is free will because Adam had freewill. So if we can get Adam off the picture as a creation of oral tradition, we get to the inevitable conclusion there is no freewill and man cannot be judged

    Liked by 1 person

  28. And then he asks

    I am interested John, that you, as an atheist, would even ask a question about morality. Do you believe there is such a thing as morality?

    which in my view is asinine

    Like

  29. Pingback: the love of eternal torment | violetwisp

  30. This is a straw man argument. Only naive people believe “God” is omnipotent and omniscient. Once you accept that “God” is fallible, Christianity makes a lot more sense.

    Don’t throw the baby out with the bath water.

    Like

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