Of all the pages in the Bible, the one on forgiveness was “fossilized” in steel at World Trade Center Towers at 9/11. No, there’s no God, and He wasn’t giving a message to America, an erstwhile Christian nation. Missionaries should not take up the call to bring love and forgiveness to the languishing lost in Islam. It is all a coincidence, according to non-believers.
I have copied the article from the New York Times without altering a word, which if you were so inclined you can find here:
“Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth: But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also.”
So many chapters. So many verses. But these were the words — from Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount, in the Gospel of Matthew — found permanently exposed at Ground Zero after the Sept. 11 attacks. The pages of the Bible in which they were printed had fused to a chunk of steel as the World Trade Center collapsed, to be found only months later.
The artifact is to be shown to Pope Francis when he visits the National September 11 Memorial Museum. It was given to the museum by the photographer Joel Meyerowitz, whose book “Aftermath: World Trade Center Archive” is the definitive pictorial chronicle of the months following the attack.
A firefighter found the fragment in March 2002, under the Tully Road, a temporary truck route that covered the last remnants of the south tower. He called out to the photographer, who happened to be nearby.
“This shredded, burned and rubble-covered Bible came to me from the loving hands of a fireman who knew that I was the record keeper of ground zero,” Mr. Meyerowitz said Thursday in an e-mail from Italy, where he now lives.
“My astonishment at seeing the page that the Bible was open to made me realize that the Bible’s message survives throughout time,” he said, “and in every era we interpret its teachings freshly, as the occasion demands.”
forgiveness heals all wounds
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even as Islam wounds all forgiveness
wow! thank you so much for sharing this Good News!
He who is in us is greater than anything in the world! Because he lives in us we can face tomorrow and all fear is gone! The all-consuming fire burns everything that is not God! The old heaven and earth pass away, but God’s Word will never pass away! The fire of God does not consume God in us even if there is fire all around us: “Christ in you the hope of glory”!!!!!!!! We all fell short of the glory of God, but now and is to come we can receive Christ’s Light and the glory of God and LIVE eternally with him, now and forever and ever Amen. Hallelujah!!
“The glory of God is our light, the Lamb of God is our lamp” Hallelujah!! Jesus keeps us from falling and presents us a spotless bride before our Father! Good News! His Truth is marching on!! His Word is eternal Spirit and Life and it is written on our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus!!!!!!!! We share his resurrection as the first born of many; we need not fear the second death or fire; his Word in us cannot be burned by fire, it just shines brighter and brighter!!!!!!!!
Wow! Thanks for the gush of enthusiasm!
It happens en theos! 🙂
Are we speaking Greek now? I won’t be able to accompany you too far.
You are great company on the journey no matter what the language! thank you for your wonderful blog!
wow, Jesus be praised! Thanks for the encouraging words! And thanks for friendship!
Wow. I had never this. Thanks for posting it!
incredible! What a mighty God!
interesting. Now, rather than wasting magic to put a page on a lump of wreckage, why didn’t your god help those who died in the disaster? Those firemen and policemen? Those that decided to jump to their deaths rather than burn alive?
and yes, I do very much expect that this comment will be ignored.
Well, I won’t ignore. But you would surmise correctly to know that I don’t have an answer. It is a tough question and a very good question. And I would intellectually dishonest to pretend an easy answer. What I can do is thank you for joining the discussion!
Thank you. How is it that you do not have an answer when you say that it would not be an easy answer? That does seem to indicate you’ve given this some thought.
Did I say it was easy? When did I say that? I’m sorry. I don’t think it is easy. If it were, I would offer it immediately.
I didn’t say it would be an easy answer and neither did you. You said “And I would intellectually dishonest to pretend an easy answer.”
and I said ” How is it that you do not have an answer when you say that it would not be an easy answer? ”
That you know it is not an easy answer indicates that you do have an answer.
But really, I think we are both focusing the same question: Why is there evil in the world? You focus it: why did not or can’t God prevent it? I focus it: where and how and why did evil enter the heart of man? That’s what I think we have in common.
No, I am not focusing on why there is evil. I am asking why you want to claim that your god is so wonderful for the pages of the bible on a piece of wreckage and claim that you know that this god put these pages there for the reasons you claim and ignore the problem of an omnipotent, omniscient, and supposedly omnibenevolent god not being able to help thousands of people who died horribly, choosing instead to do what cannot be seperated from simple coincidence. It seems no more than a form of paradiolia, wanting to see images of jesus in toast, but wanting to see the act of a god in wreckage to excuse its nonaction when it could really help. Look, Jesus has taken the time to appear in breakfast food, but can’t actually do anything.
But if you wish to ask the question where man got evil, that can have many different answers. The bible says that your god made humans a blank slate that didn’t know good or evil. Then it either intentionally allowed, or was unable to prevent the entrance of the snake (or Satan, depending on the Christian) to corrupt humanity.
I will guess that you will invoke the idea of free will.
whoa, there’s a lot here! You’re always welcome to comment on my blog. But please, don’t lump me with the guys who see Jesus in toast. Please, I beg you.
There’s not a lot there at all, but I do understand that you are uncomfortable with the questions asked. I would have been uncomfortable to be asked such questions when I was a Christian (Presbyterian). You may indeed hope that no one would lump you with the “guys who see jesus in toast” but there is no reason not to do so. You want to claim that your god decopages bible pages on “steel” for a reason you have assigned but you have nothing to show this is true. This god of yours is assigned action in events that are just as easily caused by coincidence, just like images of Jesus on toast. But when someone asks why this god can waste time and power on arts and crafts, and not saving people, many Christians claim that they can’t understand. This is contradictory since such Christians make claims that they understand their god with no problem.
It is also worth noting that the provenance of the bible pages is questionable: http://www.snopes.com/911-bible/
I thought I’d also your claims about evolutionary theory here so we don’t fracture the thread to badly.
You may disagree, respectfully or not; it doesn’t make your claims any more supported by reality. Humans do indeed have a consciousness; what that exactly is we still aren’t sure although we do know that it is a result of biological activity since harm to that biological activity changes that consciousness. And most human cultures do agree that stealing, murdering rape, are unacceptable. That is because humans also have empathy and compassion. There is no need of a god to show that actions that are violent and restrict/eliminate personal choice are harmful to humans. It is not a problem to show that evolutionary theory can support that human beings started as social groups and that the idea of empathy and compassion has come from that, as other animals also show these behaviors.
Unsurprisingly, you seem ignorant of what evolutionary theory is and that it is not a simplistic statement of “survival of the fittest”. Many people, including Christians, have no idea what evolutionary theory is and that it has advanced far beyond what Charles Darwin stated. The “fittest” is not an individual, it is a breeding population, and if caring for one that is similar to you is beneficial, then this tendency will be passed to descendants. It isn’t an insult to say that you are ignorant, anyone can recover from that. It is when your claims about evolution are not true and are based on a strawman that you run in to problems. If you aren’t addressing what evolutionary theory really is, then your arguments against it fail. You may want to read about the current research. A good way to start is with the wiki article on this: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evolution_of_morality It has a good set of references.
ok friend, thanks for all the comments. it’s quite a compliment that you give me so much time, and you are quite right to point out that I’m giving scant responses, but I’m not sure where you got the idea that I am “uncomfortable” with your challenges. actually, your challenges to my reasoning are all very good, cogent, rational. But I persist with my original opinion: it is extraordinarily strange that of all the pages of the Bible to be fossilized on steel out of the accident (if any at all were to survive the horrible carnage that happened that day), that this one should be. You can scoff all day long with big impressive words (decoupage for example). But nothing you say lessens the impressive probability that this would just happen. You can even question the provenance of it. But it seems like you are working feverishly to discredit and insane coincidence. Go ahead. It still strikes me as overly improbable, enough so to suggest that maybe God orchestrated it. Now in regards to evolutionary theory recently postulating the idea that morals are evolved, is it not because of what Sartre said: The existentialist thinks it very distressing that God does not exist, because all possibility of finding values in a heaven of ideas disappears along with Him; there can be no longer an a priori Good, since there is no infinite and perfect consciousenss to think of it.” He continues to quote Dostoevsky: “If God didn’t existe, everything would be possible.” I give you credit: the theory has merit; it’s plausible. And it will be interesting to see how scientists try to find proof of such a theory. my trouble with it is that it appears to me to be a frantic attempt to explain what is otherwise utterly unexplainable in a world view with no rational creator.
I guess the bottom line is that I really don’t think my world view is so preposterous. I say: God created man and everything was good. Man rejected God’s plan, and evil entered his heart. Man does evil things against man. God has a better plan. You say: There is no god. Morals have evolved. The fact that horrible unexplainable evil happens to innocent people proves that god (if he exists) either doesn’t care or is incapable of preventing it. Thus, he doesn’t exist.
So I think you have a pretty sound world view. But I don’t agree with you that mine is ridiculous.
Ok, friend, excuse my sparse reply again. You have been very generous to spill so many words on lowly me. I have not been polite to respond in kind. Forgive me.
And welcome! I like a bit of spirited debate! Thank you!
You will likely complain about the length of this post.
I have come to the conclusion that you are uncomfortable with my questions because you have done a lot to avoid answering them. If my questions are “very good, cogent, rational”, and you won’t, or can’t, answer them, this may be a cause for concern on your part.
It may “extraordinarily strange” that pages are stuck on a piece of wreckage, but again, no need for a god. We also do not know if any other pieces of paper were stuck to wreckage, a likely possibility considering how much paper was in those buildings. Paper sticks readily to items if water is involved. It is also not “fossilized” onto the item; you apparently have no idea what fossilization means or how it occurs, and it occurs in various ways, none of which has been shown to have occurred in the affixing of paper to whatever the lump is.
Again, the snopes article shows that we have no idea if this item is a real relic from the disaster or not. This means your claim that these pages are magically revealed is baseless; we have no idea if this was magic, coincidence or a manufactured item. You claim your god’s agency in this. When you are asked about your god’s agency when the result isn’t so nice, that thousands of people died, you don’t like it.
Decoupage is a “big impressive” word? Well, if you say so; I knew it when I was about 7 when I was decoupaging images of Jesus onto wood in bible school. Much I can say and have said does lessen the idea that these bible pages were miraculously attached to wreckage. It took less than 5 minutes to find the snopes article, which belies your claims that I am “working feverishly” to discredit your claims.
I am pointing out that many Christians want to claim that their god does miracles because they need evidence for their faith and these miracles are just as likely coincidence (improbably but possible), intentional fraud or never happened at all. This god never does anything that can only be explained by the complete suspension of physical laws. If this god is indeed omnipotent, omniscient and as most Christians claim, omnibenevolent, the question is why this god does nothing to help people, only evidently leaving vague messages, rather than stop the planes, changing the terrorists minds (as per it did the pharaoh in the bible), putting out the fires so the buildings would not collapse, etc. You have said that your god did put the pages on the lump, you did not say that it was “maybe” orchestrated by God. Let me quote your sarcasm “Of all the pages in the Bible, the one on forgiveness was “fossilized” in steel at World Trade Center Towers at 9/11. No, there’s no God, and He wasn’t giving a message to America, an erstwhile Christian nation. Missionaries should not take up the call to bring love and forgiveness to the languishing lost in Islam. It is all a coincidence, according to non-believers.”
It’s nice that you quote Sartre but that doesn’t mean that Sartre’s claims are true. It’s quite easy to find values without your particular god or any god at all. You are welcome to give evidence that values are impossible to find without your god. There doesn’t need to be a priori Good, and if there is, there is nothing to indicate that your god or any god needs to “think” of it. Indeed, Christians themselves don’t agree on what good is, so there is no reason to think that you have some magical knowledge that the rest of us don’t. If you would wish to show that your version is the true version, I would welcome that evidence.
The quote that “If God didn’t exist, everything would be possible.” appears to be no more than nonsense since there is no evidence at all that reality sans deity would allow everything to happen, and is a version of the usual attempt by a theist to claim atheists don’t want to believe in their god because their god has rules. Again, theists don’t agree on the rules, and atheists have many reasons that they have come to the conclusion that your god and other gods do not exists.
I know that the theory that evolutionary pressure can give rise to morality has merit; it has evidence to support it. I do not see how years of observation and research can be construed as “frantic”. I will admit I found this hilarious “my trouble with it is that it appears to me to be a frantic attempt to explain what is otherwise utterly unexplainable in a world view with no rational creator.” Since there is no evidence for your supposed “rational creator” or the one described in the bible, it is definitely an attempt to explain observations that scientists have made based on evidence. That’s what science is, seeking explanations for the world without relying on magic. This science is what allows you to have a computer, to have modern medicine, to have modern foodstuffs, to have forensics to find criminals, etc.
I know that you don’t think that your world view is preposterous; I didn’t either when I was a Christian. However, I would guess that you do find the worldview of a Hindu, a native religion shaman, a Muslim, etc “preposterous” because they don’t believe what you do, and that they have no evidence their religion is true. Am I correct?
You can make all of the claims you wish, that your god created man, that everything was good, that God has a plan, etc. Where is your evidence? Your claims aren’t even supported by your own bible or your fellow Christians. Evil is not unexplainable, it is part of human psychology, based on greed and hatred of the “other”. It is true that the existence of evil, in the face of claims by theists that their gods are omnipotent, omniscient, and omnibenevolent, does call into question those claims for the reasons that Epicurus gave, if evil exists, one of those claims isn’t true because it is contradictory(https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Problem_of_evil#Logical_problem_of_evil).
If one goes with logic, then your claim that there is a god that is omninpotent, omniscient, and omnibenevolent, *and* that this god allowed evil to happen while sticking paper on steel, then yes, your worldview is ridiculous. If this god was limited, and could only put pages on a piece of wreckage, then that would be a great excuse why it couldn’t help people and it did what it could to guide people , but that’s not what Christians claim. I’ve asked for evidence and these questions: why didn’t your god help those who died in the disaster? Those firemen and policemen? Those that decided to jump to their deaths rather than burn alive? How is it that you do not have an answer when you say that it would not be an easy answer?
I don’t know if you intend it, but your replies do come across as quite passive-aggressive with all of the claims of “friend” and the “compliments” which don’t seem so complimentary at all. You can call me Vel.
You are getting a bit verbose…
Discussing and presenting evidence does take up more room than making baseless claims. If you would, point out what parts are not needed, if you find my post “verbose”.
Hello friend, It seems like my efforts to sustain a discourse on friendly terms have been construed as “passive-aggressive.” In reality, I see no need to get upset when engaging an atheist, and I like to offer friendship to a fellow human being, no matter how different his thoughts are. I do this to the Hindu, to the Muslim, to the atheist. We are all humans on this orb and should seek the good of each other. Whether or not there is an afterlife, who has the right sacred scriptures, are all debatable. What we share is this Earth and I see no need to fight others but to lovingly reach out to them without insults and condescension. I enjoy energetic discourse but don’t lose my temper. So I call you friend.
Why did God allow the attack on the Trade Towers? Why didn’t he thwart the plans, put out the fires, change the minds of the terrorists? You are insisting on these questions. Thank you for doing so. Why doesn’t he end worldwide hunger? Why doesn’t he stop Ebola, AIDS and cancer? The questions funnel to an either/or fallacy that seems to be the trump question for the atheist. If He can’t stop it, He’s not God. If He can and does not want to stop it, then He is not loving. Sorry, but I see no reason to fall into an either/or argument. You can trumpet your triumph: I refused to answer. I didn’t have an answer. I am illogical. Whatever you might wish to say when this is over and one with. But humbly I submit to you that I refused to be reduced to an either/or fallacy.
We Christians see the world very differently. God made everything good. The evidence is all around us. We see a beautiful universe, a beautiful creation. It is an ordered universe that follows ordered laws. It sustains, nurtures life. We can enjoy existence. We can laugh at a puppy or savor a coffee with a friend. Joy is not an evolutionary product. It is a God-given emotion.
Man rejected God’s goodness and wanted his own way — in the Garden of Eden, and all of us thereafter. We are sinners. Sin brings evil into the world. We were warned. It would bring death. then when death came, we say there is no God. The wars, the famines, the disease, the breakdown of the human body, the envy, the hatred, the ambition — all these are evils that have come into the world out of the sinful heart of man. This is why these things happen. And I do believe the answer is the preaching of the gospel to the entire world so that humanity may learn to live in love. I don’t think universal harmony will be possible outside of Christianity. I don’t believe in communism’s utopia, nor Islam’s. I have seen their failures. I believe that ultimately, Jesus will triumph over these evils. I believe in His millennial reign, or however the divine denouement plays out.
When I see the Trade towers, I shake my head and wonder why man chooses evil. What a delusion! He thinks he is serving Allah killing innocent people. You don’t need me to tell you if this or my religion is right. You can see for yourself what his religion teaches.
Well, my friend, these are the macro ideas. But I spend most of my life on the micro level, helping individual people. For 16 years, I was a missionary in Guatemala. I saw how Jesus helped a gang-banger get out of gangs. I’ve seen how people got out of drinking and drugs, how husbands have stopped beating their lives. Maybe you might discount these “miracle” but they are important for those people. I have felt love for these people, and I know that it is the love of God. It is the love He felt when He sent His Son to die for us on the cross, to forgive us of our sins.
You say, “Why didn’t God prevent evil from happening to man?” But He did. He prevented us from going to Hell when His son died in our place. Anyone who accepts His Son can lay hold of that promise. These are some of the evidences I have seen through my life. Thank you for insisting that I give you evidence. I hope you can find them satisfactory if not conclusive.
In any case, thank you for continuing to honor me by engaging in this discussion. It is very valuable. Maybe somebody will see it and be encouraged.
For complaints about verbosity being bandied about, I’m glad that you don’t mind responding in kind to me, Mr. Ashcraft. The length of a post doesn’t have much to do with its quality.
Calling a random person friend, when there is no evidence that you would consider me a friend, nor that I would consider you a friend, is always questionable. Take this sentence of yours “Ok, friend, excuse my sparse reply again. You have been very generous to spill so many words on lowly me. I have not been polite to respond in kind. Forgive me.” Now, if I was reading this in a book, it reads with false humility, sarcasm (which you’ve used before), and there’s nothing “sparse” about your comments. There are plenty of words, which makes me wonder why you would try to present them as “sparse”. Calling me a friend seems to indicate you want me to treat you like a friend and you assume this means that friends don’t question the claims of other friends. Of course, I may be wrong and you may not realize how your words come across. If you didn’t intend being nasty, then I will accept your claims that you did not. It still seems strange that you intentionally refuse to address me as Vel, and continue with “friend”. I also see no reason to get angry when discussing religion with you. It’s pointless.
I do find it hard to believe that you offer friendship since you do make some false claims about atheists. A friend, at least as I understand the term, wouldn’t do that. We are indeed all just humans on this world. The problem is that most theists claim that anyone who doesn’t agree with them is damned and is evil, claims that are quite insulting, and go out of their way to force their beliefs on others. For a Christian, I find your claim that you now claim that belief that there is an afterlife, what sacred scriptures are right (if any) is now “debatable”, when it appears that you do not believe that at all when you claim your god exists and that it is the only right one.
I am insisting on asking these questions because you claim that your god can stick paper on a rock and everyone should believe this claim and find it impressive. You have brought up even more questions on why one should find the actions of a god putting paper on a rock believable. Indeed, why doesn’t your god end hunger, etc? You claim that asking why your god can put paper on a rock but not help people leads to an “either/or” fallacy. What fallacy is this, Mr. Ashcraft? That your god can do either“x” or “y” but not both? I’m afraid I don’t understand.
If God can’t stop something then he is not the god Christians claims to worship. You do worship an omnipotent god, correct? If your god allows people to be harmed, it is not omnibenevolvent, aka all-loving. I love my spouse, I do not want harm to come to him and will do all that I can to prevent it. If your god loves humans, it should not want harm to come to them. Perhaps I am not understanding what you think love means. Can you explain this? I know you are illogical, at least when it comes to religious claims. You can refuse to answer and that is your choice. That doesn’t mean the problems with your religion don’t exist. I don’t have to trumpet anything. I’m more than happy to discuss things on a blog where it’s just me and you.
You claim “we Christians” when I do know that your version of Christianity is not shared by all Christians. Your argument that your god made everything “good”is meaningless unless you define what you mean by good. This universe does have known laws; there is no evidence that a god is needed for this. Life does exist in the universe, but most of the universe, and a good part of the earth itself is utterly inimical to life. There are some very nice things on earth, but there are also worms that eat out a child’s eye, lakes that belch out gasses that kill hundreds, etc. Most, if not every, religion claims that their particular god can be seen in the universe. I’m waiting for evidence that any god exists and that it was the creator. Why should I believe it was your god when you have no more evidence than another type of theist?
There is no evidence at all that joy is a “God-given emotion”as you claim. Joy can be explained just like morals can be explained, as a byproduct of biology. There are some people who do not experience joy, those who have depression. Depression can be traced to biological imbalances. If it is only from this god, why do chemicals (and electricity) help these people?
Even if one accepts your bible, there is nothing that said man rejected your god’s “goodness” , however that is defined. Adam and Eve were created intentionally without any concept of good or evil; they were allowed to run around naked which is considered “evil” by god, if one goes with the bible. They were told that they were in the garden and not to eat of one tree. They were told that they would die if they did. A snake came in to the garden, some Christians claim it was just a snake, some claim it was the second most powerful being in the universe; it was either allowed in or this god didn’t know it was there. This entity says that it’s okay to eat, and the humans were told that everything in the garden is of God. They did not understand right and wrong, and obeyed something else that told them what to do and did not die. Now, Mr. Ashcraft, is this an accurate presentation of what happened in Genesis? If it is, your claim of man’s rejection is not true for we were not warned. If it’s not, I’d like to see your version. There is also the problem of being damned for someone else’s action, which the bible says this god doesn’t do (it of course also contradicts this and says others are punished for another’s actions). Why harm a child with cancer if this child has not sinned? We also know that, that there was envy, hatred and ambition in the universe long before humans made it on the scene, if the stories about Satan are to be believed.
The gospel of Christianity has little with people living in love, although there are some good parts about love in it. Your own bible says that this god intentionally wants to spread strife. The only way it says that people can live without strife is agreeing with Christianity, and Christians can’t agree what this entails, so there is little reason to think that universal harmony is possible with Christianity. I don’t believe in the utopias promised by big-C communism or Islam’s claims either. I’ve seen their failures and Christianity’s failures too. How many claims of utopia have been made by Christians and have failed, Mr. Ashcraft? I can count quite a few just here in Pennsylvania.
Christians also make claims of their end times and how great JC’s millennial reign will be, after their god murders everyone who disagrees with it. It’s been thousands of years and still nothing happening about that. There is also the strange part in Revelation where the Christian god intentionally allows its archenemy to return after the aeon of peace so it can corrupt more people. Now, if this god is loving, why would it put the snake back into the garden?
I also wonder why humanity often chooses harm and destruction. It’s often because they claim their god wants it. There were people who were praying to their god in those planes and there were people praying in the towers not to die horribly. The religion of Islam teaches the same as the religion of Christianity teaches: that they and only they are right, that all unbelievers deserve death or worse and that true beleivers get a magic afterlife. Individual humans pick and choose from each holy book, creating their own religion from those books in their image, so there are perfectly decent Christians and Muslims, perfectly horrid Christians and Muslims. Your religion is no better or worse than Islam.
I read that you were a missionary. Can you explain to me why you were trying to convert people in a country that is 90+% Christian already? Other faithful can also show how their religion supposedly helped people escape gangs, etc. Does this mean that their religions are as true as yours? I agree, such events are very important to people, but as you seem to already know, there is no reason to think that such life changes are evidence for your god. Love for one’s fellow man is not limited to Christians at all, and again no more reason to think it’s your god’s love than to think it’s a Muslim’s god’s love.
Your god did not prevent evil from happening to man. You have a story that he did, but again, no evidence for this at all. When this god could help people right here and right now, it does not. All Christians have are promises and myths, just like every other religion, religions that you don’t believe in either. Saying “look God saved you from hell” is meaningless since there is no evidence of this god, no evidence of hell and no evidence of any action. I can say with just as much fervor “Look, Sekhmet has saved you from the jaws of Apep” but without evidence I doubt you would believe me.
As above, this god either intentionally let already existant evil affect humanity in the garden or couldn’t prevent it. If one believes the bible, it then tried to murder everyone to get rid of evil, then it gave laws to follow, which failed. Rather than send JC down right away, this god failed. It promises a messiah in the OT, which doesn’t match the one claimed in the NT. This new version of the messah also isn’t consistent because one gospel claims that just accepting that JC is ones savior is enough for not going to hell, but then it evolves into there is a need for a bloody sacrifice to satisfy this god or one is going to hell anyway. Then we get the curious claims of Paul who says that this isn’t even guaranteed because this god has made some people to be damned no matter what they do. I’m not sure what evidence you think you’ve presented. A claim that the bible is true isn’t evidence. For example, the bible claims that the noah flood was real. To support this, one would evidence, facts that would show that this happened, like a dead body and a bloody weapon would show that a murder occurred. I join you in the hope that this discussion will be seen and people will be encouraged by what they see and will no longer feel that they must accept claims blindly or feel afraid of a being that doesn’t exist.
Hi Vel, Sorry about not using your name. Um, I didn’t see it. But now that you offer it, I use it. Please call me Mike from now on. In response to your cogently argued comments here, I have posted an article written by Peter Hitchens in the UK Daily Mail. You are probably already familiar with it, but I think it approaches your concerns from a different angle. I will limit myself to say that some of the tough questions you ask about faith could be applied with equal effectiveness to science or government programs. At the end of the day, people choose to believe in something. I think that history will prove that those who believe not in God but in science or in government programs will have far greater problems than those who believe in God.
I am curious on how you think the questions I have asked about your god and your religion can be “applied with equal effectiveness to science or government”. Can you give me an example? And, if this is true, I would point out that this doesn’t make the problems with your claims go away.
You seem to be trying to claim that everyone believes in something so that excuses the belief in things that aren’t true. Is this correct? There is a difference between faith, which religion claims is the belief in things without evidence, and trust, which is the belief in things that are supported with evidence. For example, I trust my parents because they have given me reason to; I do not have faith in them, not as theists would use the term. I believed in the Christian god because people I trusted with good reason claimed that this god exists. That trust was misplaced in this instance since there is no evidence for this god.
History has not proven at all that those who believe in your god or any gods were somehow exempt from problems. There is no reason to expect that this will prove true in the future. History has shown that those who trust science have benefited greatly and we certainly haven’t had far greater problems than believers. Rather than believe that disease was caused by some upset deity, those who decided to look for the real cause of disease have greatly improved human lives. We can see this now in the awful cases where Christians who believe their god will heal their children refuse medical treatment and they murder their children. Rather than believing some god would do something to help humans, humans helped themselves. Humans built replacement limbs taken from amputation, and we have some pretty cool things now that can help injured humans move. Humans developed grains and animals that could feed more and take less resources, and give benefits like vitamin A to keep children from going blind. Humans invented drugs that help things like bipolar disorder which my husband suffers from.
I’ll post my thoughts on the Hitchens article there. Thanks for posting it.
ok, let me say that I am fully in favor of science, medical treatment and secular government. But at the same time, I believe a nationwide belief in God will keep mayhem from breaking out, as we are seeing today with proliferating massacres in schools and such. It appears to me that the more we kick God out of our consciousness, the worse things are getting. The greatest atheists have never had any problems killing millions of people because they believed in ideas that were anti-God.
I’m very glad that you say you are for science, medical treatment and secular government. This doesn’t seem to be quite true when you think everyone should follow your version of Christianity. There is nothing that says a nationwide belief in your version of God will stop any kind of mayhem for it hasn’t so far, and I know people were certainly praying when they were being attacked. This is demonstrated in history where countries were completely Christian and had the same problems, and benefits, as other countries that weren’t Christian. There is nothing that shows that Christians behave any better than anyone else, so your claim is belied by evidence.
There certainly are a lot of shootings in the US. Now, is this because of the lax gun laws, the lack of the “right” Christianity (since Christians do not agree on what their god commands), or the existence of other religions? We have countries that are very secular and who have tight restrictions on gun ownership and they don’t have nearly the problem the US does. We also have very religious countries and they do have big problems with violence. Your claims of cause and effect seem to have little basis.
I had wondered if you would bring up another tired old falsehood about atheism. We’ve gone from school shootings to you claiming that atheism causes genocide. Unfortunately, that claim is not true. The greatest killers in history had in common megalomania, not atheism, and that appears to be the unifying factor. Again, you seem to be trying to claim that atheists are all evil beings that would do anything. Is this correct?
I would also point out that genocide is quite common in the bible, consistently commanded to be done by your god, so I’m not sure what “anti-god” ideas you may be thinking of. Can you give me any examples?
in this phrase “Unfortunately, that claim is not true”
replace unfortunately with fortunately.
hey vel, can you help me? what is “false humility?” Even people in my church have said this to me. But I wonder, if this is what I feel, what is wrong with it? Shouldn’t be sincere about what I feel and think? Why does it seem people wish to me to fake another set of emotions? Why is it “false” if it is what I really feel and believe? Maybe you can explain.
Sure, I think I can help. As I said, your writing seemed to me to be occasionally laden with false humility. False humility is when someone says how awful they are, but doesn’t really mean it. In the sentence that I showed you “Ok, friend, excuse my sparse reply again. You have been very generous to spill so many words on lowly me. I have not been polite to respond in kind. Forgive me.”, you call yourself “lowly me”, and that doesn’t ring true. You may mean it sincerely but when someone goes to such lengths to claim how awful he is, it can sound like one of two things: fishing for compliments e.g. “Golly, Pastor Mike you aren’t lowly, you’re a great guy!” or you don’t really feel lowly, but you want to your partner in conversation feel that way, by implying that they did something wrong and you are the long suffering martyr; in this case “spilling” so many words. The use of “spill so many words” strikes me a curious word choice, when you could have said “you have been very generous to write a detailed comment to me”. Saying “spill” makes it sound like you think what I wrote was thoughtless and the use of the word “lowly” isn’t needed. Does that help you understand how your words can come across not quite as you might mean them? I think it’s mainly a connotation of words problem, which can always be an issue in a totally written medium.
Ok, well I’ll try to pray about it. I guess I’m pretty much taken over by false humility then because it’s kind of my natural response. hmmmm.
I am curious: did you pray about it when you were told similar things by others?
No. I didn’t. I have spent the weekend thinking about it. I have decided to continue being true to myself, what I think, how I feel, regardless of what people may label it.
But I thank you for this digression, Vel. I feel like you are a friend now. I search for friends anywhere because they are not an easy thing to find and they are a gem. If you are ever in Santa Monica, I invite you to a coffee, and we can continue our debate!
So, is this the result of what you heard from your god? I’m always curious on how people know what they want to believe is from their god is actually from their god.
I do feel that it is often best to be true to ones self, always cautioned that sometimes one needs a neutral party to tell them if this is a good thing or not. I’ve found much help in cognitive therapy.
And am I to understand that our discussion is done, only to be picked up if I make it to Santa Monica?
By no means would I consider our conversation finished. I don’t know why you would understand it that way. I just wanted to extend our friendship.
In any case, I wanted to reach out to you as more than a debating opponent. I wanted to reach out to you as a fellow human being. I wanted to share with you and be real with you, since you mentioned an interesting topic.
I also believe in referencing others, in cognitive therapy, as you say.
As far as “hearing” from God, it is rarely so simple as imputing an equation into a calculator. Very few times have I received an answer to prayer immediately. There are answers that are mid-term and long-term. It seems that the longer I serve God, the more long-term answers I get. It would seem He is developing patience an dpeace in me. So I’m not sure if God told me to continue exposing my insecurities or if I just decided to do it myself. But I thought, what the heck? Let’s see how much Vel wants to be a friend. I’ll try being sincere wit her.
I really enjoyed reading about how you would protect and cover your husband at all costs. I recently celebrated my 25th anniversary. Many blessings for you.
Well, the reason I would think you might consider our discussion finished is because you indicated that we could continue our debate over coffee, which would preclude continuing our debate otherwise. But no matter, I welcome continuing it here. I hope you folks in CA are getting more rain; it’s raining quite a bit here thanks to the remmants of Hurricane Patricia.
I am not saying that hearing from God is like an equation. I’ve heard many people claim to hear from their gods and I do wonder how they know they are hearing from their god and not another, or just hearing their own desires and hatreds, because it is very rare that anyone hears something that they don’t believe already. Not hearing anything at all is often accepted as their god’s tacit acceptance of what they do. I’ve also been told repeatedly that I would hear from this god as long as I pray “right”; I’ve prayed as a believer and as I was losing my faith and got nothing. What “right” is, no one is willing to say, since if it fails, then that provides one more reason to doubt the claims of the theist.
I would ask you why you don’t hear from your god immediately regarding a prayer since the bible says that one will get this immediate response e.g. the mountain moves at the request, it doesn’t just wear away in a billion years and ends up filling in a valley; the door will be opened at a knock, the traveler isn’t left outside and ignored. This qualifying of the results of prayer strikes me as very similar as the claims that the Christian god adhered bible pages to a piece of wreckage, claims of cause and effect and no evidence for this at all. I would also point out that other people claim that they get answers from the same god and they are utterly contradictory to what you have claimed, for every Christian that claims that God approves of a certain action, there is one that says this god abhors this action. It makes a zero-sum game, and indicates that there is no god to have an effect.
My 25th wedding anniversary will be next year, though we’ve been together now 26 years. It’s been an interesting time, especially as we figured out he was bipolar and got the right combination of drugs to control it, but we’re best friends as well as a married couple. To return to my question if I may, if I can want to do anything to protect my husband because I love him and I do as much as I can as a regular ol’ human, why doesn’t your God, which you claim loves humanity, do the same for those humans since it is supposedly omnipotent? As I indicated before, perhaps we have different ideas of what love means.
Hey there. There’s a lot of good stuff here. So prayer is not a science. It is perhaps more of an art? I specifically refute — and I believe the Bible basically refutes — the idea that some magical encantation, some formula of words does the trick of prayer. It is more like a husband-wife relationship. You go about it trying to discover and resolve issues. I praise God that you and your husband have made it so long in our divorce-prone society, and I’m happy that you have found an answer to the bipolar issue. In any case, the Bible describes, as you know, our relationship with God as a marital one (He is the bridegroom). So I know communication has been one of the big challenges between my wife and me, so I kind of approach prayer in the same way.
I can’t think of any passage in the Bible that says God will answer immediately. There are times when He answers immediately in the Bible and other times He appears silent and other times He comes late. So that’s the spectrum we’re dealing with. Prayer is a seeking of God. And as followers of God, we are to continually be seeking. I can only explain what I know and what I’ve experienced. I can’t answer about your unfortunate experience. But I don’t blame you and would wish to be understanding.
Um, in regards to the whole Bible-page-on-the-girder scenario, let me say here: Maybe it is totally by chance. Maybe God had nothing to do with it. My observations were that it was extraordinarily coincidental, enough so for me to incline to think it was possibly God-orchestrated. I think you were right to pick apart my thoughts, given your frame of mind, and ask the pointed question: Why not just prevent the disaster instead, if He is God? Yes, good question, and I’m hard-pressed to answer that. In fact, I’m stupid to try. The answer for you is there is no God. The answer for me is that evil has been unleashed in the world and sometimes God just lets man follow his own evil course and suffer the consequences. But I can understand how this would be a completely unsatisfactory answer for you. In any case, I can own up to the fact that maybe the preserved Bible page was simple a freak chance. Why? Because my faith is not based on coincidences. My faith is based on the Bible.
Thank God for science and all it has done to help humanity live in rationality and leave superstition. But at the same time, it seems to me that there is enough ambiguity in the world as to extend out of the range of science’s grasp. I don’t believe science can explain everything. I don’t think they ever will. Can they explain love between two human beings? Yes, they described the electrical-chemical processes that accompany love. They theorize about evolutionary attraction and whatnot. There are social factors and genetic factors. But at the end of the day, love remains the domain of the poet and out of the realm of the scientist. Ultimately, it’s Cupid’s arrow (JK), not a scientific law that governs love.
What about the human heart’s cry for justice? How did this “evolve?” I’m familiar with the theory that we have evolved morality as communal animals, but how does something bad become bad through evolution? Honestly, the theory seems incredibly weak, fabricated to fill a major gap in evolutionary theory. As I said earlier, it will be interesting to see what sort of evidence science can produce to back up such a theory. I’ll be waiting by the sideline, watching, ready to read and learn. But as of yet, I must confess I’m pretty skeptical about the idea.
What about forgiveness? If our heart has a moral mooring of some evolutionary sort, how is that some humans are able to forgive and others are not? Forgiveness overrides justice, the revenge instinct. Where does this come from? These are very complex and human traits. I humbly submit to you that they fall more comfortably into a biblical scheme of things than an evolutionary one. The whole buildup of the New Testament is to show us how grateful we may be in receiving the undeserved forgiveness offered in Christ. I know you don’t accept that, but that’s my view. Christ’s forgiveness inspires me to forgive. But I don’t always forgive well or easily. Sometimes I hold on to a grudge. I need God’s help to process through some of these deep heart issues.
Well, these are just some ideas. Maybe I don’t answer all of your questions or answer them very well. I’m not trying to have a perfect answer for every question. I’m just trying to say: Wait, there’s another way of looking this whole thing. Is it really so irrational? is it really superstitious? I don’t think it is. If you do, I respect you for that. I don’t question your intellectual integrity, your reasoning. But I do think that the Christian worldview is at least as good as the entirely scientific, rational and atheistic worldview (all three of those together).
Great to chat with you again today. I hope you and your husband are well. Be safe.
The bible makes direct claims about prayer, to start with that it is immediately answered, that the thing asked for will happen. The mountain moves immediately, the door is answerer and that a father would not give a child a snake if asked for a fish. There is nothing that says prayer is an art or a science, only praying will get results, and JC himself does seem to indicate that at least one prayer is a repeatable incantation, e.g. the Lord’s Prayer, made in order to ask for certain things from this god. You have claimed that prayer will increase one’s financial gain for one’s ministry. It seems that there is definitely claims of cause and effect, but actual evidence for such cause and effect are not to be found.
Prayer is not a husband and wife relationship, at least not as mine is. Prayer is asking something for an occurrence or flattering an entity telling it how wonderful it is.
Your god has nothing to do with the longevity of my relationship to my husband. It was hard work on both our parts, not some magical entity. Considering that Christians have a very high divorce rate, it seems that your god is doing nothing at all for his people, again showing that prayer and religion don’t appear to be based on reality. The answer to the bipolar disease came from scientists who didn’t throw up their hand and says “It’s God’s will.” And not look for answers. When a Christian wants to claim that their god is responsible for scientific discoveries, I ask: if this god was responsible, why was this information not made available earlier? What about this god kept it from “revealing” antibiotics a thousand years before it did?
In the bible it does treat Jesus as the bridegroom and the church as the bride. I do not recall where God is referred to as a bridegroom. I am sorry that you have problems in communication with your wife. My husband and I do not have any problems; as hard as it may be to believe, we’ve never fought. I answer my husband immediately and he does the same for me. He gives me what I ask for and I do the same for him. Neither one of us makes the other wait.
The claim by modern Christians that prayer is now answered by “yes, no and wait” is an adaptation to the fact that the god of the bible isn’t evident anymore. Rather than the god that interfered in battles, healed people, murdered people, etc immediately, a new god has appeared, one that only can be claimed to act in events that are simply coincidence, through the hard work of humans, or to ignore prayers and give something entirely different. Again, I showed you the verse that says that prayers will answered quickly, and it is most curious that you don’t know it since your blog title comes from it. “Because you have so little faith. Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.” – Matthew 17 (Mark 11) and again in Matthew 21 ““Truly I tell you, if you have faith and do not doubt, not only can you do what was done to the fig tree, but also you can say to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and it will be done. 22 If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.” And earlier in the chapter, the fig withered immediately. The bible never says that the prayer will be ignored, nor that this god will be late. This god has healed people not even being there, so claims of lateness are bemusing. In the context of the 9/11 tragedy, would one claim that your god was just “late” in getting around to answering those desperate prayers?
It does not surprise me that you can’t answer me about my experiences, but you can make up claims of what you supposedly “know” about your god, including your claims about the pages on the steel piece. This reminds me of claims by other Christians who make up claims that prayer will save their children from disease and who murder them in that baseless belief. The bible makes claims that this god will care for people as it does the lilies and the birds and those claims fail. Claims that prayer will work are fraught with failure, for the care and concern never comes.
You seemed to have quite different opinions about the girder in your blog post when you were sarcastically claiming that anyone who disagreed with were wrong “Of all the pages in the Bible, the one on forgiveness was “fossilized” in steel at World Trade Center Towers at 9/11. No, there’s no God, and He wasn’t giving a message to America, an erstwhile Christian nation. Missionaries should not take up the call to bring love and forgiveness to the languishing lost in Islam. It is all a coincidence, according to non-believers”, and now are admitting that it could indeed be by chance. Again, all theists point to coincidence as “evidence” for their god, and none of them can show that it is their particular god that does anything at all.
I’m not quite sure what you think my frame of mind is when I have repeatedly asked you the question “why not save people rather than decoupage paper onto a rock”. I know you are hard pressed to answer, but it is not stupid to try in the least. It appears to me is that you don’t want to think about it or to answer and thus you claim it is “stupid to try” because you don’t want to see the answers that come from trying. In my experience with myself and with other theists, it is willful ignorance that supports religion; that and fear. Thinking about difficult questions is always worthwhile, following the evidence no matter where it leads.
The answer for me is indeed that there is no god and thus people fly planes into buildings and other people try to save those in those buildings and the laws of physics are just that. Your answer is that evil has been unleashed, but you have no evidence for this at all. You have created a god that does nothing, except when you want to claim that it does something. It’s a god that is no more good or real than the Bronze/Iron Age gods it was created along with; randomly interfering with humanity and not showing one jot of this love you claim it has for humanity. Your faith appears to be based on the parts of the bible you like as it is with all Christians, not the entire bible at all, not from what I can see, and I am indeed happy that you do ignore parts of it. This is again why I do not find the claims of theists to be believable. Christians all claim that their faith is based on the bible, but oh what different faiths those are. I would also point out that your faith isn’t just based on the bible, but the belief that the bible is true and again that has not been shown to be the case; none of the essential events in it can be shown to have occurred.
You may thank your god for science, but your religion has done its best to harm that science, so your attitude does strike me as a bit hypocritical. Your argument is the god of the gaps argument, and those gaps have always been closing. Love between humans? Just as easy to explain by chemistry and psychology than magic. You can claim that at the end of the day love remains the domain of the poet, but nothing supports that at all. The description of love is the domain of the poet, that is all. Animals seem to love each other, so your attempt to claim that love is some magical thing doesn’t have much support at al. And even if science cannot explain everything,yet or ever, that still doesn’t mean that your god exists.
It is the same with justice and forgiveness. No magic needed at all, and one can read from the bible that your god isn’t interested in justice at all, and forgiveness only in a rather strange way, considering how it acts in Revelation. How did justice evolve? Not sure, but again, plenty of hypotheses to be looked at and tested, and it appears that the idea of empathy plays heavily in the idea of justice. How does something become “bad” or perhaps more clearly put, not beneficial through evolution? Well, murder becomes bad if one wants a stable community; same with stealing. All you have is personal incredulity, when you claim the theory is “incredibly weak”, not one bit of actual evidence to stand against the theory. There is plenty of evidence, like I gave with the wiki article, but again, I have observed that many Christians avoid looking at evidence presented in order to keep their beliefs. I do challenge you to read the information that counters your claims. It can’t hurt, can it?
You do bring up a curious point: if our heart has a moral mooring, as you claim from some god and I think is supported by evolutionary theory, indeed how is it that some humans are able to forgive and others are not? How is it that other religions were about forgiving long before Christianity? How is it, that if the only moral mooring is from your particular version of your religion, how is it that atheists can forgive? Evolution says we’re failble biological constructs, no problem explaining why we screw up. Much harder to explain why divinely created beings so often screw up and disagree.
Forgiveness doesn’t not override justice, it mediates it. Justice isn’t revenge, that’s a false claim on your part. There is no reason that human traits, complex or not, cannot have evolved.
You may humbly submit to me anything you want, but there is nothing to show that your bible scheme of things ever happened; and plenty of evidence that shows that these myths were made up as just-so stories long after the fact. I can make up a great story on why humans are the way they are, and so has every other religion in the world that explains why humans are what they are. No evidence supports any of those myths, including yours.
The NT does indeed try to make everyone feel guilty, trying to claim that no one deserves this forgiveness. It forgets that the act that this forgivness is supposedly for was caused by the same entity that offers the forgiveness, rather like a fireman who wants to appear to save the day when the fireman started the fire in the first place. No crime was done so no forgiveness needed.
It is good that something causes you to forgive. I forgive because I know no one is perfect, and I have empathy because I’ve screwed up many a time. I don’t need the promise of a heavenly carrot or a hellish stick to act humanely.
I’m not asking for a perfect answer to every question. I am asking for an answer though. I have no problem in that you do not or cannot answer. That is quite fine, we can go onto other things. Yes, your different way of looking at things is irrational and superstitious. You have no evidence for your claims. You invoke supernatural causes that have no evidence of existing. Is the belief in fairies irrational and superstitious? Is the belief in spirits in everything irrational and superstitious? Is believing in magical healing and magical killing irrational and superstitious? The most heavily religious parts of the world are where people suffer most. If Christianity is “at least as good” as the scientific world, then why is this not demonstrated in reality?
Hi Vel, By now, you may have surmised that I’m not really a scientist nor a logician. What I am is a literature guy and somewhat of a linguist. So I may beg to differ with your assertion that God says He will respond immediately. Actually, there is no passage with such a time adverb. You may get that sensation when you read the scriptures, which is fine. But you are in fact supplying an adverb that is not there. So if you are going to accuse God or the Bible, you would do well to stick very closely to what the Bible actually says and not what you think it means. And this is a very important point for Christians to keep in mind: God never tells us WHEN He will respond. It may take a long time. I prayed for Dad to come into right relationship with Christ, and it took some 20 years. (Actually, I despaired and gave up. But when I met my wife, she encouraged me to resume prayer for him, and God answered.) I hope that is helpful.
One doesn’t have to be a logician or a scientist to know things. You may disagree that your god says he will respond immediately. What supports your claim that this god won’t respond immediately, by literary concepts or linquistics? My husband is a lit major, and he is curious what your basis for your claim is. As it is, your claim seems to be based on claiming that since the bible never literally says “immediately” this means that this god will not do anything immediately. This is belied in the actions of this god in response to requests from biblical characters. It is also belied in the context of the claims of the bible. Again, JC says that belief will get results as fast as his destruction of the fig plant. Now, this is what Matthew 21 says earlier “18 Early in the morning, as Jesus was on his way back to the city, he was hungry. 19 Seeing a fig tree by the road, he went up to it but found nothing on it except leaves. Then he said to it, “May you never bear fruit again!” Immediately the tree withered.” It does seem that at least one set of Christian translators thinks that the word immediately is in the bible, and other translations use the term “forthwith”, “presently”, “at once”, etc, all synonymous with immediately. So, if one can get the results like Christ did with the fig, this would indicate that answers to prayer are immediate in this context. We also see claims of immediate answers in Matthew 8 and Matthew 20. People get healed immediately, and even when JC isn’t there, as long has enough faith. Biblegateway.com is a great source for finding information in the bible.
I do not have any “sensation” when I read the bible, what I get is what the words mean in context, translated by experts in their fields, if one is to believe them. And my observation from the bible does not seem to be unique. Unlike your claim, I do stick very closely to what the bible actually says. Since the bible does say that your god will immediately respond, your insistence that Christians should keep in mind that he doesn’t, does not track very well. I also see it as a problem in that I am not aware of any place in the bible that says god will be late. I do know that JC says he’ll be back before the deaths of the generation listening to him, so in at least one case he does give an ETA.
Your father may have come into a belief in your god that you approved of later in his life; many people do return to their religion, no matter what it was, because they are very afraid of death, want the support of a community, etc. Since this action is found in all religions, it is at best weak evidence that some god exists, not that a particular one does or answers prayers. This is a bit tangential but, do you believe in the idea of free will since you believe that prayer can alter actions of another?
You make a very good point about scientific discoveries when you say that resignation and trust in God might lead us to NOT look for a scientific solution. This has been the case to a certain extent. Fortunately, there have been inquisitive scientists, both Christian and non-Christian, who have pressed forward with scientific inquiry and discovered solutions. I think that even IF you don’t believe in God, you need some element of resignation and trust in your life (trust the doctors, for example). So striking the right balance would seem to be the answer, as with so many things in life. Knowing when to resign yourself, accept tough fate, trust God AND at the same time, keep looking for practical solutions to problems (if there might be one). So it is a good question that helps us Christians reorient our balance.
It is certainly fortunate that scientists have ignored the claims of religion and the threats of harm if they dared question the various holy books. No one needs any resignation in one’s life, but I’m thinking you may have not quite intended what that word means. Perhaps you’d like to clarify? One does have a need for trust in one’s life, but trust is from experience and facts. One can trust doctors because their actions have beneficial results. One can trust a physicist because their discoveries can be corroborated, for instance Einstein’s theory has consistently been shown to accurately predict what happens in reality. One can trust an auto mechanic because she can fix your car. There is no similar reason to trust the claims of any religion. A theist will claim that his god loves everyone but when asked why this god allowed people to be harmed, avoids giving an answer. A theist claims that magical events come from his god, but when asked why is there no evidence, the theist avoids an answer.
To say that one should just accept fate is rather sad, in my opinion. If I had just said “nothing I can do for my husband to help him with his bipolar, I just have to sit on my hands” then he would likely be dead. You offer a contradictory choice, to resign to fate but to still look for solutions, to trust god, but still look for something else. I’m reminded of the phrase “Trust in Allah but tie up your camel”, something I heard in The Golden Voyage of Sinbad but supposedly a real Islamic saying, and the bible certainly doesn’t have the phrase “God helps those who help themselves”. It says the exact opposite. One cannot do both, have faith and hedge by having plan B. you either trust your god or you don’t trust him and look for something else. It isn’t a balance, it is a theist trying to have his magic cake and eat the real one too, to claim faith in something but when that something fails, offer an excuse and use what does work. Again, this is a modern theist idea, to ignore the silly bits of the bible or whatever holy book, because they know it fails, that the lilies aren’t cared for at all, so it’s up to humans to care for themselves.
I realize I haven’t answered all of your questions. I thank you for your patience. Hopefully, I can find/make time to respond to a few more good points you make.
I’d also like to ask a question: am I correct that you claim on your website that saying the correct prayers to your god will get you financial support for a ministry?
If it is “not exactly”, then can you explain why you do say that prayer will help one get financial success for a ministry? Can you give me some more details?
It is not a “magical formula” of words or phrases that works but the activating of faith in the heart. That is what we are after. Sometimes, it is a verse in the Bible or a story that can help activate faith.
This seems to mean that one must be activated correctly in some manner to get benefits from your god. Is this correct?
hmmmm interesting point.
oh, and I find that “evil” is subjective, and is often defined by humans as “not me/my tribe” or “hurts me/my tribe”. Easily enough explained by human evolution and human psychology.
um, ok I’ll respectfully disagree here. Evil is not subjective. We have a conscious. We know that stealing, murdering, rape, etc. is wrong. That is NOT the product of evolution, which can only support survival of the fittest. That is the imprint of God.
you may also find this take on evil and man interesting: https://thesuperstitiousnakedape.wordpress.com/2015/10/20/incompetence-or-malevolence-the-failure-of-the-christian-narrative/
ok, thanks for the recommendation.
Wow. That must have been the Hands of Providence.
We must Forgive just like Jesus Christ did!!
Help us Jesus!
so have we thought of what the consequences would be of forgiving unconditionally a religiously motivated bully that is bent on killing anyone who will not convert? and as one commenter has already said, what of the justice of a God who would have you forgive your attackers rather than bring them to justice or punishment for the religious and ritualistic murder of 3000 innocent men, women and children (yes there were children)?
while we are at it… if God is so into forgiving without penalty, why did Jesus have to pay for our sins? Why didn’t God just ‘turn the other cheek’ and forgive unconditionally, regardless of repentance or justice as you have interpreted the gospel here?
good question. why didn’t God turn the other cheek and forgive unconditionally the sins of mankind without the ‘need’ for a sacrifice to pay the penalty for sin? -KIA
Hey KIA, these are all very tough questions, and I thak you for asking them. Obviously, I don’t have all the answers. But I’m not saying we just bow to evil people in the world. Bringing the perpetrators of this crime to justice is important. I guess I think of forgiveness in terms sending missionaries over there independently of what I think our government’s military should do.
lets bring it more local then. what would be the real world consequences of unconditionally forgiving someone from your neighborhood to repeatedly break into your home, steal your stuff and rape your wife and daughters (sorry for the graphic imagery)? no punishment, no justice and no resistance. just turning the other cheek? -KIA
Justice ought to be served. Did you think I meant that we should not use military action to stop these murderers?
Wow! That is definitely a God thing. So amazing how His eye is upon us at all times.
I never knew about this. Thanks for sharing.
Amazing. There are so many fearful things threatening and destabilizing us in this world. But this artifact, this messages from Christ, reminds us that He will prevail over all things. I will share on all social media with which I am connected.
That’s the way I view it, but my atheist friend (see comments) doesn’t see it that way.
Our atheist does not understand the Big Answer. God cannot be proved by empirical means. Faith and science are on two different planes and they do not intersect. So it is foolish to try to use religion to disprove science and just as foolish for science to try to disprove religion. Jesus said His Kingdom was not of this world.
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