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Monday, April 24, 2017

CXIII. The Atheist Dilemma

Is God real?  This is the question that actually makes or breaks all life.  If God is real then we need to find out what He wants.  If God is real then we need to understand what our future holds.  If God is real then we need to try and do what we can to follow Him.  If God is real we have all the answers to life that we need.  If God is real then we have purpose.  If God is real we have a relationship.  And there can be more that is added to the list but, if God is not real then to be honest nothing matters.  If all we have is this life and no consciousness after we die then why even live this life?  But because there is a God, all things matter.  This causes a dilemma for the atheist.  Most atheists believe in nature as the ruling essence of existence (although they will not acknowledge that specifically) with science as their religion (although they will argue they have no religion) and evolution as their savior. But the same three things that are the basis of their beliefs are also the same three things that are their biggest obstacles.

They cannot answer three questions, realistically.  Yes, they can rationalize their thoughts and use human logic to disregard religion and belief in God, but it always falls short and they don't even know it.  Here are the three questions:
  1. What lies on the other side of the universe?  Or Where does the universe end?
  2. What is the hardest thing to believe in about God?
  3. Where did all life begin?
What the atheist will do with these questions is they will take the first one and say it is a misleading question.  They will claim that you are limiting them in their choices, or they will say "the question implies there is something beyond the natural world, so it is invalid", or they will give you some pet answer that atheists are now using about multiple universes.  That will be discussed later.  For the second question, they will give you reasons about what they dislike about God or what they dislike about what the Bible says. That is not answering the question being asked.  Sometimes they will say you can't prove a negative so they will not answer.  And of course some may say the pet atheist answer of "who created God if He created everything" and think they have a valid point.  This will be discussed later.  Then the third question they will usually hijack.  This one they will either answer with, "I don't know and neither do you", or they will say "I don't know...but it doesn't take a Creator to have life".  Or they will go the whole evolutionary route starting with conditions of the universe and amino acids, and RNA, and energy sources.  Again this will be discussed later.

WMAP
Raisin Bread Analogy
So what is the answer to the first question?  There are only a two choices in reality.  Either the universe is infinite or the universe is finite.  There is a problem for the atheist here.  If the universe is infinite then it goes against the science they believe in.  NASA says it is not infinite.  Steven Hawking says it has a beginning.  The latest scientific model explains that the universe is conical. Cone Expansion Earlier models say it was like a loaf of bread, expanding where it can pushing the oldest stars and clusters of the universe out to the brim. Raisin Bread Theory  But both of these go against infinity as a choice. Even worse, if the universe is infinite then it actually explains one of the issues atheists have with God.  How can God be infinite?  Who created Him?  How can atheists believe what they do if something natural can be infinite and not believe something that is more powerful than nature not be infinite?  The second answer by atheists to this question says that the universe came from another universe and those came from other universes, called Multiple/Parallel Universes.  But the issue doesn't change.  One of them has to be the original.  One of them has to be the first and therefore it all had a beginning and is still not infinite.  So the second option is the only option.  The universe has to be finite.  So, what lies on the outer side of the universe?  What is on the outside of the cone or raisin bread?  Their answer:  absolutely nothing.  Well, that is exactly what the Bible says. Thought XLV.  Strike one.

So, what about the second question?  There are infinite (see what just happened) answers here.  But what usually comes up are things like: if God is real then why do bad things happen?  Or, if God is real then why does the Bible say this or that?  Well, the problem is, even though these questions may have actual answers, it is not answer to the question being asked.  The question is, what is hard about believing God exists, not what issues you have with God.  Here is this dilemma for the atheist. Atheists can not use the argument of if God is real then why do bad things happen because how can you blame God for things if He is not real?  Nature to an atheist is the all-powerful force driving life. If God is not real, there would still be death, caused by nature (the essence of all living to the atheist). yet they still believe in nature.  So if nature causes death then by the same argument they gave about God, they should not be believing in nature.  This is not to presume that death is good because "God did it" or say that death is OK.  That is an issue even Christians have a hard time with and even people like Job had issues with this topic.  No one knows why God does things at times.  But that is not the question.  God is still an option of existence no matter what or how you feel about God.  If you believe that way then you are an atheist but a better term for you would be anti-Theist, Atheism. You just hate God, but turn it into a disbelief.  The second answer they say for this question is you cannot prove a negative, so the burden is on the believer.  But if that is the case then why do so many atheists go to the internet, forums, and discussion boards just to say, "there is no God"?  Why do they burden themselves by going to these places?  In both cases, they are really acknowledging the existence of God.  The most common answer is, "if God created all things, then who created Him?". The answer to that lies in the first question.  If space, which is natural, can be infinite then so can a super-natural being.  Strike two.

Finally, the third question is one they think they have an answer to.  Where does life begin?  This is where their savior comes in--evolution.  But some of the other answers may be, "I don't know".  That is a good answer but they will feel the need to add, "and neither do you".  Their ego will not just let them say, "I don't know".  Well, we do.  Another answer would be, "a Creator isn't needed for life to begin".  But, that does not answer the question.  Even if evolution was true, it still had to have its start somewhere.  But, it is not true, Evolution.  And for the Christian, evolution is not an option since God did not use it, Theistic Evolution.  Many scientists have stated that life points to a designer.  The atheists now have come up with new theories like RNA World and the Origins of life,  RNA World but again, they only show life itself, not the actual beginning of life.  In the end they can't admit but nevertheless is true, they don't know where life begins.  But we do.  The Beginning.  Strike three.

51 comments:

No Doubt said...

First of all, how many "ifs" do you think you used in your post? :-)

Honestly, I think you hit the nail on the head, when you said, "Their ego will not just let them say, "I don't know"." The average atheist comes across as "all knowing". Therefore, how can an all knowing atheist accept an all knowing God. In their mind, there's only room for one kid on the block, themselves.

Their ego and the resulting arrogance comes out, especially when you show them that their beliefs require faith, thereby making their faith-based belief system, a religion.

Tim said...

Well, the word if shows a correlation. If-then.

Yes. The thing that they think makes them better than others (minds) are the things that stops them from really living. Their belief requires more faith because they are banking their whole eternal life on a risk.

This is of course does not mean in any way that they are bad "people" or have horrible morals but the ones on Yahoo forums are atrocious in their attacks verbally. EGO.

No Doubt said...

I don't know Tim. Aren't morality and civility closely tied together? If a person isn't civil, most of the time, their morals can be legitimately questioned.

Tim said...

To you and me perhaps. But there are many atheists who are not "immoral" in terms of human standards. Gandhi was "moral" by human standards. On the other hand many people who are Christians still have human desires and issues they deal with. There are more Christians in prison than atheists. Some claim only 1% in prison are atheists. But, yes, I would still agree with you. If a person is not civil then they most certainly can be questioned about their morals.

Paul G said...

Hi Tim, You said, "If God is real".

The first thing we need to ask is, WHICH GOD is real ????
Is Allah real ? or is Krishna real ? what about Jehovah or Yahweh etc. are they real ?
Well, I think that they are ALL false gods who can do nothing, and if you believe in anyone of them, you will perish with them.

Those gods cannot give you life or insight into the Scriptures and His creation, and neither can they teach you the truth or testify to the truth.

There is only ONE God who IS the TRUTH, and that is the Lord Jesus Christ of Nazareth, He alone is the TRUTH (John 14:6) and any other is a liar.
If you believe in Him ALONE, you shall be saved, if you don't believe in Him you will perish, regardless what you believe.

Tim, Everybody in the whole world believes that God exists, even the atheists, for God has made it EVIDENT to them that He exists in that which He has created, and is clearly seen around them so that they are WITHOUT excuse (Romans 1:18-22).

You see, apart from the Lord Jesus Christ NOTHING really matters, even if they would know all the answers to your questions, it still would not profit them anything.

I think that the most important step in everyone's life is to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ.
Only IN Jesus Christ is all wisdom and knowledge, and IF we are IN Christ Jesus, we have the mind of Christ and know all things.

For that reason I am preaching the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ so that He (Jesus) would lead them into ALL the truth.



Tim said...

Paul,

The first part I will skip over...not going down that circular pattern and you know that.

I agree with all the rest except for one thing. If they answer the questions they will have to admit that their thinking has holes in it. It will let them understand that God is a possibility. And when there is possibility there is opportunity. And when there is opportunity God will knock.

Paul G said...

Well Tim, the first part is the most important part of ALL knowledge concerning God, and you should not skip that part.
That part will profit you and everyone else very much.

I understand that that part causes the most controversy and anguish in every believers heart, but that is just one light burden which we have to carry and the Lord Jesus will NOT let you go on this.

As I have said many before, that the knowledge of God is faaaar above every other knowledge, and NO man of God ought to err on that most important question.
To neglect that knowledge has severe consequences and I do not want you or any brothers of mine to suffer, but to be saved from all afflictions and suffering.

Even in your Church you should ask every brother that most important question, and you will be surprised and astonished of the answers you will get.

No Doubt said...

Paul, I agree with Tim's last comment. However, if I may correct your last comment, it is not the Lord Jesus, who leads us into al truth. It is the Spirit of God that leads us into the truth. In John 16:12-13, Y'shua said,

"I still have many things to tell you, but you can't bear them now. However, when the Spirit of Truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth."

Tim said...

Paul,
You know why I am skipping over it. This thought is not about that subject. If someone wants to talk to you about that topic then they can go to your blog. You try and hijack every post into that topic. I will not do that. You have been shown to be in error and I will not go down that path. I will post your remarks but will not respond to your circular argument that gets nowhere.

Tim said...

Keith
Stay in topic.

No Doubt said...

Tim, Go, as the Spirit leads. Do no be afraid. Truth is never anything to be afraid of, even if you think it uncomfortable. He needs to be presented the truth of the Word.

Tim said...

You know I believe that but we have already done that EVERY TIME he responds. This thought is not about his topic. It's about atheism. The atheists needs to understand the possibility of God before we move on. He wants to jump into his circular argument (that gets us nowhere) and then refuses to answer the questions we ask because he said it gets us nowhere. The reader gets it. He doesn't, but go to his site and let him know about there, which you have done. We have shown him to be in error of how he adds to scripture and how he changes things to fit his man-made doctrine and how he refuses to understand that English was created in 1400's. If this topic was about who God is or what His name is then do it...again. But this is not the thought and I refuse to let him hijack it off the topic. People want to know what they are dealing with when it comes to atheism in this thought. It's not being afraid of him, but tired of him.

No Doubt said...

Tim, I'm not saying to actively engage in his inane and clearly non biblical circular reasoning, but to always engage in a truthful and sometimes correcting discourse. What if he's under the influence of Satan or one of his cohorts? ('Im not saying he is) isn't God always reaching out to all, even those with inane circular reasoning. Rebuke, using the Word, and then cut off that that line of conversation and let the Word of God and His Spirit work. By the way God's Work is tiring, sometimes, but very rewarding.

No Doubt said...

As for the Atheist, their arguments are just as illogical, inane and tiresome as Paul's. I don't see you shutting them down. I treat all the same, with the truth. There are times, as the Spirit leads, we are to dust the dust from our sandals. If God has lead you to that point with Paul, then go as the Spirit leads. As for me, the Spirits says counter with the Word of God, at every turn.

Tim said...

Keith,
That is exactly what I am doing. He can post all he wants and I will post it as I said. I just will not be suckered into his conundrum. If the topic was rainbows he would bring back his topic. If the the topic was caterpillars he would bring back his topic. I am not shutting him down. But just like right now, this comment is not on topic and who wants to reads that? :)

If I want that topic then I will go to his site or start a thought that involves it. The same with my house. I only let certain topics in.

But, you nailed a good point. When he said "Is Allah real ? or is Krishna real ? what about Jehovah or Yahweh etc. are they real? That is the same argument atheists give but they will just add one more name....Jesus to the list.

The point of this whole thought is that atheists have a dilemma that we do not. We understand the choices. They do not. They claim logic as the key but they are blinded by their own intellect.

Oddly enough I am currently involved with an atheist named...Paul...on Yahoo right now who is not quite so smart as he thinks. That is no offense meant to our friend Paul that is here, just a coincidence. I invited him here but he refuses because I am "stupid".

Paul G said...

Hi Tim, you said, “This thought is not about his topic. It's about atheism.”

Well Tim, I don’t comment on topics like rainbows and caterpillars.
I have responded to YOUR topic ‘atheism’, saying that every atheist believes in God. Well, do you want me to say WITHOUT EXCEPTION ?
For God has made it EVIDENT to EVERY human being that He IS, including atheists, they already know the possibility of God.

ALL atheists are liars just like every human being on the face of this planet (apart from the Lord Jesus Christ).

Atheists and all mankind does NOT need to believe in a god, they ALREADY believe in a god.
If the Lord Jesus Christ said that He as made it evident to them that He exists, then WHY do you try to convince them that God exists ?
And the most important question is, WHICH God. ?

THEY, just like YOU need to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ ALONE and then they will be saved.
You ought to present the Lord Jesus Christ to this EVIL and WICKED world, or else they will perish.
Believing in a god does NOT save them, they will only get religious.
We already have a whole world full of churches who are religious, we don’t need any more hypocrites.

And NO ! Not the Siamese triplets (the trinity), or Jehovah, or Yahweh and Allah etc. those are ALL false gods who cannot save those lost atheists. They need to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ alone and only then they will be saved.
That is the good news (gospel) which you ought to preach Tim.

Paul G said...

Hi Keith, you said, ‘As for the Atheist, their arguments are just as illogical, inane and tiresome as Paul's. I don't see you shutting them down.’

Very well said my friend :-) and thank you !

Atheists are not stupid people, even they are created in God’s image just like you and me, and even they can see the differences and the hypocrisies among all those who claim to believe in God.
And the so called christian churches are a disgrace to the Lord Jesus Christ of Nazareth who have long ago abandoned the Lord Jesus Christ and turned to other gods called Jehovah, Yahweh and whatever they like.
And that is the reason why the NAME of God is blasphemed among the nations.

Keith, you don’t believe that the Lord Jesus Christ is the Lord God, but Tim does believe that the Lord Jesus Christ is God.

Even among both of you is a BIG difference in the God that you believe.
Tell me, what is the difference between you, Tim and an atheist ?

Tim said...

Paul,

I was only making a comparison. Every time you comment it always goes back to the same topic. We already know how you feel about that topic. Can you just have a conversation about how you feel about the topic being discussed? I assume you are married, I apologize if you are not and that became offensive. But if your wife asked you what you like for dinner, would you say "I am not answering that because it won't profit anyone and by the way Jesus is the only name and it has to be English".? I hope not but that is what you seem to do with all topics. Yes, Jesus is the answer and the only way to the Father, but when we talk to atheists they will not listen to you until they understand that God is a possibility in the first place. This thought is about how they respond and their problem. So I ask stay in topic. I am not shutting anyone down or out but I just won't go down the circular path.

So with that said, atheists all claim they don't believe in God but I know kind of like you said that they all know there has to be something. But I feel they are blinded by their own intellect and they talk themselves out of knowing, with a little help from satan. The universe alone is enough to believe but what they do is try and "prove" everything with some kind of scientific formula and that is not the way God is. Having faith is a blessing. Using faith is rewarding. They do not have faith.

Most atheists are probably more agnostic. That is why I wrote about the ideas of God on my home page up at the top to describe the different beliefs. I hope you take time to read those.

I don't try to convince them...I try to open up the possibility in their mind. I let God do the rest. Atheists tend to be intellectuals so I try to reach them or witness to them based on intellectualism. I show them science in the Bible because God created all scientific laws. Once they open up their mind to the idea then I present to them why Jesus is the Lord.

You said, "Believing in a god does NOT save them, they will only get religious.
We already have a whole world full of churches who are religious, we don’t need any more hypocrites." Very nicely put.

I can assure you that Keith believes that Jesus is the King of Kings, Lord of Lords, and Creator and Savior of this world. I have known him for 20 years. Trust me. I now know you for almost two. I know you feel the same way. Although I know him personally.

But your last question is what atheists say to me all the time. But guess what? They would add you to the list. And here is what they would say: Christians believe in one God and one God only, they believe in one less god. I get that all the time. So my first step is to get them to know that God is a possibility.

No Doubt said...

Tim, I tend to categorize atheists, not as intellectuals, but as rationalists. Rarely, do they allow logic into the conversation. They rationalize their beliefs and positions to the point of ignoring the facts. I approach Atheists the same way I do with everyone else. I try to find some common ground with admitting there isn't any proof that proves or disproves the existence of God, and ask the question, "With being ignorant of more than 95% of what's really out in the universe, how can you say that there is or isn't a God. If they are willing to admit their ignorance, I then show them the evidence that points to God and let the Spirit work on them.

No Doubt said...

Paul, I have never said that Y'shua/Jesus isn't our Lord and God. I have tried to help you understand what that really means. As Tim says, you go into your rehearsed mantra, without listening.

As for Atheists, I agree that most are not stupid. However, most are ignorant. They are agnostic and blind.

Tim said...

I can't disagree. I say intellect because that is what they rely upon. They use rationalization for sure. And that is only to satisfy their insecurities about their beliefs.

Anonymous said...

Tim, posting this here since Yahoo was dying on me. Feel free to moderate/delete as it is off topic. Just wanted to get an answer to you since you asked.

"Do I want to believe?"
Excellent question. A very complicated question. At the root level, I want to believe in what is true and I want to have good evidence for the things I believe. So, do I want there to be a God? That will hinge upon the question: Which God are we talking about? Would this be a God that is more apparent and discernible in reality? Or, would it still be the case that everything on the planet is exactly as it is today? The answer would depend entirely on the attributes of the God, and requires he does a good job.
I think there are imaginable versions of a God that would be fantastic. It would be great to have a loving God who helped us on Earth, granted us an afterlife, took care us here and there. To come and settle disputes between warring religious factions, to fix disease, hunger. A truly present omnibenevolent being would be grand. I would love to believe such a being exists, but… it doesn’t.
So, we then have a God some proclaim as real today. That has more problems. I am truly bothered by the concept of basically condemning millions to eternal torture for what essentially boils down to a function of what region of the world they were born into and the culture of that area, in essence honoring people's fathers and mothers by following their religious traditions... a God that was fine with drowning all of humanity save for one family.. a God that allowed death to exist because someone was tricked into eating fruit... A God that would sentence someone to eternal torture, knowing that would be the end result, instead of just not creating that person in the first place… Do I want a God that would send even one person to hell for all eternity, given completely attainable options of rehabilitation? I don’t think so. I think such a being would be immoral.
And, on somewhat of a meta level to this question, I don’t really like this concept of “belief” as we’re using it here. I find something very problematic with the prospect. I mean, I understand why it is a required element of religion’s existence in the absence of a discernible God. Once you start making direct claims and nothing happens, the wheels start to come off (see again Harold Camping). So, matters a great deal whether this Higher Power has any discernable influence in our lives or is simply lurking in the shadows, sending out his faithful promising eternal reward or torment.
In short, I don’t want to only believe in anything, true or not. I want to have a sound and reliable way to test if any claim is so, and the more impact that claim is, the more rigorous and definitive such testing should be.
So, in the end, wanting is not really the issue. It's just that I cannot justify the claims of theists that such a being wants a personal relationship, but obfuscates Himself from us in every way, exists. I find beauty in science and complex explanations it provides. They make more sense. And whether or not I want something to be true is secondary to whether or not I can discern if it is. If we don’t have an ability to discern whether or not something is true, belief isn’t warranted.

~Jeremy

Tim said...

Jeremy,

Not a problem at all!!! This is easier to find and it won't delete your comments! Only issue is you have 4000 characters and then you have to make another post.

For the other readers Jeremy is a person who I have been having a nice conversation with on Yahoo. He has some good questions, good insight, and it's been a pleasure talking to him but Yahoo is temperamental.

I can totally see where you are coming from. I am sure we all have felt that in some way or another. I get angry at times when I see some people being healed by God's word (which I have seen) and then see others suffering in their pain and I don't know why it happens, me being one of those people. I am suffering from an unknown illness for the last three years.

And I am sure that some here will respond to your question with an answer that will not suffice because we all believe in free-will. I will not even try to explain why God created us. All I know is that life has a purpose and I am here to find it.

All I can say about free-will is without free-will nothing is real. If I force my love on someone it is psychological rape. If I give them two choices, even if one is evil, then if they choose me I know I am more important that just their pleasure. Believing out of fear is not right choice. When God gave us a choice, listen to the choice---We had the whole earth and all its glory. We had every single solitary fruit in this world to eat from. We were told only one tree was not good. Millions of trees to one. And we chose the one. He granted us all the wonders of the universe, its beauty, its vastness, its warmth, its company and we chose the one thing. All we had to do was obey to show that we love Him for all of the things He gave us and we choose the one thing that will destroy us. We chose our own pleasure over what He gave us. Imagine if we did that with our significant other. We are in love and you gave them everything but they end up choosing the one thing that you don't want them to do. Did they choose love? No they chose their own selfish desires and prove they don't want your love. YET, God never stopped loving us and kept giving us chances. After another 1000 years of humans turning away so much that only 1 family was worth saving God decided to start us over. And once we started over, we started over the disobedience again. He laid down the Law. That didn't work. The only thing He could do is send His Son and make Him a sacrifice for all the human race. Shedding His own blood to show how much He still loves us even after we deny Him, point fingers at Him, curse Him, and He still says Here I am for you.

Each day that we live we could get that relationship back but many do not.

So, I don't have the answers you want. I appreciate your questions and your view on this.

I suffer each day but with each day I am comforted. I don't see God in the disaster, I see Him in the healing process. And one day I pray that He heals me like He did with my friend who no longer suffers from fibromyaliga, or my dad who was cured of large cell lymphoma cancer.

I also find beauty in science, in the discovery of it, and then I remind myself that these scientific discoveries were put here somehow by something greater.

Wanting to believe may be to you secondary but if you don't want to believe...you never will be able to see things that we talk about. Not an insult, just a fact.

Keep coming back, this place is better than Yahoo.

No Doubt said...

Hi Jeremy, A quick hypothetical for you. If there is a God and he did require faith as a prerequisite to revealing himself to you, how would he initiate or convey this message or requirement to you?

Brenda said...

Hi Jeremy,
Tim mentioned on Keith's (No doubt) blog that you had come over to his blog, and that what you discuss is interesting and I just wanted to read about what your thoughts are.
Where you say:-
'I think there are imaginable versions of a God that would be fantastic. It would be great to have a loving God who helped us on Earth, granted us an afterlife, took care us here and there. To come and settle disputes between warring religious factions, to fix disease, hunger. A truly present omnibenevolent being would be grand. I would love to believe such a being exists, but… it doesn’t.'

I have to say that this God that you would love to believe exists does exist. I know this because of the experiences I have had, and I do understand that there is no way that a person could believe this unless they had been re-born of the Spirit of this God.
One of the most beautiful experiences I have had was what people call a near death experience. I was twenty eight and been married for ten years. I was taken to a place the beauty of which I could not describe. I had never seen colours and beauty like what was there, nor experienced the love that I felt coming from the beings there. I knew I had been there before. That was reality and my twenty eight years of life was as a dream. I was told that it was not time yet and that I had to go back.
Seven years later, after becoming a believer in Christ I opened my Bible to Jeremiah ch. 1 to where God was saying to Jeremiah that He knew him before He formed him in the womb, before he was born.
Those words spoke to me and comforted me after seven years of wanting to know what my experience meant.
There are many other experiences that I could share, and lots that I could discuss with you regarding your comment to Tim, but it is the Holy Spirit that has to do the convincing and the convicting and there is a time for everything. Just as there is a time to be born in the flesh, there is a time to be born in the Spirit.

Jeremy said...

Hello everyone. Hope you all had a nice 4th!

No Doubt - How should a God that wants to remain hidden reveal himself? By dropping the desire to remain hidden. By removing this strange prerequisite that faith is required. I realize that is a bit glib, but it is exactly what God purportedly did to start this chain. It is a bit of a question why we can remove such preconditions and give Saul some road to Damascus experience, and yet the rest of us are supposed to take it on faith. If there is a God, that God should know what it would take to convince me and should be capable of doing it, should he want me to know he exists, and yet for some reason hasn't done so.

I can understand the utility for an ancient tribal leader acting as the avatar of god for people to have faith that he actually was. I can understand why people having faith would be important to clergy, to fund their temples and keep them employed. And this needn't be a con. The benefits are still there if these religious leaders truly believe it themselves. But, I see no reason for a god to require faith and yet hide himself, resulting in uncountable different interpretations (to the point where people kill over the differences), as well as people that simply don't believe at all.

Now, I take it some of you here would argue this remaining unseen, acting in the shadows, has something to do with free will. I've always found the "free will" explanation to be a bit of an excuse, and an absurd one at that. First, it isn't an absolute state. You can let a kid pick toys to play with of his own free will, but if you see a kid about to stick a fork into an electric socket, any caring authority figure will put a conditional restraint on the kid's free will. It doesn't mean the kid is then devoid of free will, it means he isn't allowed to electrocute himself. Absolute free will isn't an absolute good. Allowing a child to do something lethally dangerous to preserve his or her free will is insane. Allowing absolute free will is not morally good.

Second of all, do you believe that Satan exists exists? And do you believe that he has had direct experience of God, other angels, etc.? Assuming those to be true, he still didn't follow God. In other words, having direct evidence of God doesn't interfere with an entities free will about following that God. So, God remaining in the shadows for the upkeep of free will makes no sense, because it is clearly there either way. Even assuming that was the purpose of remaining hidden, there's still no good reason for it. Actually demonstrating you exist isn't "forcing your love on someone," not "psychological rape." Or, if you insist that it is, then by that logic, God psychologically raped Satan.

Beyond that, since when is free will the prime directive? Where, specifically, does the Bible say anything about free will? Calvinists exists because the Bible makes a number of good arguments for Predestination. Just look at verses like Romans 8:29-30: For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. 30 And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.

The Bible is full of stories about Yahweh's direct intervention that in no way line up with this concept of free will. Noah’s flood? If you want to say that is a true event, I'm pretty sure the people didn't choose to drown themselves. The death of the firstborn of Egypt? Against their will. Don’t forget also that the Bible says Yahweh hardened Pharaoh’s heart to make him not want to let the Israelites go in the first place. A story with a clear instance of God directly altering someone's free will.

Jeremy said...


Now, I'd like to pose a question to anyone who cares to answer. Tim and I were discussing an element of the debate between Ken Ham and Bill Nye. The question was, "What, if anything, would ever change your mind?" I found the difference in their responses fascinating. Ken Ham stated "I'm a Christian,” and "No, no one is ever going to convince me that the word of God is not true…", while Bill Nye said all it would take to change his mind was evidence.

I found Tim's response very similar Ham's, troubling and dogmatic. He said:
"I saw the debate between the two. I think both did a horrible job with their discussion. But yes, I will give it to you. I would agree with Ken Ham’s answer. Nothing could change my mind. Nothing is able to because the rest is a lie. Even with Bill Nye’s answer it shows that what he believes may not be the truth. God’s word never changes but science changes all the time. I don’t agree everything with Ken Ham. I am sure he does exactly what you say. But one thing he does that I like, he starts from the beginning and works forward to find answers. Nye starts in the middle and works backwards which allows distortions and major assumptions because they have to fill in the blank of what they don’t know."

Nye doubts, he explores to find answers to the questions. He starts with a question, and works to find the best answer. I try to do that too. Ham explores only to validate that which he already believes to be true, readily ignoring things that don't line up with his preconceptions. He starts with his answer, then looks for ways to stretch questions to fit it. It is the picture of a dogmatist, holding out against all evidence for an Earth that’s somehow supposed to be only a few thousand years old.

So, I'm wondering how others here would answer.

And Tim, if you want to expand on that, I'm curious how you got to the point where you'd refuse to change your mind, that everything else must be a lie. Was there ever a time in your past when you would have entertained the possibility of something that didn't line up with your preconceptions?

Jeremy said...

Brenda, so long as cancer (especially childhood leukemia), ALS, Huntington's, and cystic fibrosis exist, then this idyllic omnibenevolent being I'm talking about does not. You are claiming the one you believe to exist does, but the God you believe to exist does allow such suffering, and purportedly has the ability to end it. I was trying to make a distinction between these two conceptual beings in my original post. I see them as very different.

On the topic of near death experiences, I have to ask, why would a God choose this as the best time to make himself known? I mean, this is when your brain is possibly on pain medications, deprived of oxygen, when all sorts of things are going wrong in your body, and the vast majority of people aren't even conscious. This is when you get the best possible evidence? When it is least reliable? When events are subject to explanations of cerebral hypoxia, anoxia, and hypercarbia; endorphins and other neurotransmitters; and abnormal activity in the temporal lobes. I hope you can understand why I'm skeptical.

Our brains are incredibly complex. And, I should point out that I have no doubt people have experiences. I have no doubt what you experienced felt as real as real can be. And these experiences may be similar because our brains are similar (going through a long tunnel into the light, etc). But, once you start informing these, they have influence on the experience. The light seen in near-death experiences can change into different figures, such as Jesus, Buddha, Krishna, mandalas, archetypal images and signs. Our beliefs shape the kind of feedback we get. If we were a Buddhist or Catholic or Fundamentalist, we would get a feedback loop of our own beliefs. And, when we can't explain these bizarre neurons & synapses, we may desperately want to ascribe some value to them, to find some explanation.

So, how much credibility do you think we should ascribe to someone whose brain chemistry is undergoing such a radically disruptive process? Also, if it was so convincing, why did it take seven years between the actual experience and you becoming a believer? Is it at all possible that your following religious teachings could have colored your memory of the event at all in that time? Our minds are fickle things, and we aren't exactly dealing with a strong and reliable foundation to start with in this state. Finally, if you had the first hand experience and it took that long, why should I find it compelling? What reason should I have to believe your experience was reality, and the reality that I can test is “a dream,” that this vision was not hypoxia and so on? If you want to want to say that is your road to Damascus, then you're entitled to that. But, why would a God's best way to make himself known to me be having someone else's brain nearly shut down, and them to tell me that in the process they saw the realm of a deity?

Tim said...

Jeremy,

As you have done all along, wonderful questions and thoughts. I don't have all the answers and as you know I stated before, I won't claim to know. The best I can give you is my thoughts, feelings, backed with some scripture, some experience, and some science, not always in that order.

I know a lot of that was not directed towards me, but I would still like to give some of my thoughts.

I don't think God was always "hidden". I feel that when Adam and Eve disobeyed God, then He withdrew from their presence. His essence (Spirit) was now too powerful for the human eye to look upon since our flesh sinned. Those who do not "walk by faith" will have a hard time seeing God. I don't think He is hidden but more or less...not seen. We refuse to see Him. Some refuse to believe in Him. Our flesh denies His existence since sin is destroying our flesh. Yes, some had special encounters, like Saul (Paul).

As for knowing what it takes to know Him using your desire/ability, you kind of limit Him actually. All you want is appearance. His appearance has been here since beginning of time. He came to earth before and people still didn't believe in Him and they saw His miracles and many wanted to kill for it. I still say that He is showing you who He is, NOW, you and I are no accidental meeting.

I am sorry you feel that all ministers are in it for the money. I am even more sorry for the fact that some did exactly what you say. But the money issue is not about the church, it's about the individual. God ever said you have to give to the church. God said you have to give it to Him. Charities, homeless, hungry, orphans, widows, are all of Him. He said if we see these people we are seeing Him and it is up to us to help. Faith comes in because the more we give to these things, the more God will take care of us. Unfortunately, too many who follow Him do not do that.

I will now let Keith answer the rest that was given to him. But now let me address the part where I was mentioned.

I "refuse" to change my mind because there is nothing that will ever disqualify the existence or even the possibility of the existence of God. No matter what science cannot explain Him. Math cannot prove Him. History cannot record His whole existence. Language cannot describe Him. The only thing that will change my mind is when I die and I don't see anything ever again. But at that point who cares? It's not that I had preconceptions. I had to study a lot. Compare a lot. Ask A LOT. Using science, using feelings, using the universe. Not one thing turns me against what I have learned. All you say (not an insult) is that the non-proof of God is the proof He doesn't exist. Yet, what makes it impossible???? Nye said he would change his mind which means he has doubt. I do not have doubt. There are many ways to tell a lie, but only one way to tell the truth. Allowing doubt means you are not sure of what you believe.

Just my thoughts.

Tim said...

By the way, thank you for asking these things Jeremy. Believe it or not it helps us (Brenda, Keith, and myself) in our faith to discover things and it makes us want to know God even more if we don't know the answer.

Brenda said...

Hello Jeremy.
Firstly, nothing would ever convince me that God does not exist.
Regarding all the why's and wherefores about God, Isaiah ch. 55 vs. 8.9 states:-
'For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, says the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.' and this has proved true as I have come to know more of God's ways through the teaching of the Holy Spirit.

Regarding the God who allows all the sicknesses you mention, once again I can only share my own experiences. I experienced a healing from sickness when I was about seven years of age when I was brought home from school ill. My father prayed for me and I was instantly made well. The same happened with my sister when she was brought home from work ill. My father prayed for her and she was instantly made well. The scriptures tell us it is all down to the prayer of 'faith'.

I have received a miraculous healing and other healings, which brought me to ask the Lord to teach me about sickness and healing. He spoke to me through that written Word telling me not to go to the world for help but to trust in Him. Shortly after, lumps started forming in my body. He has kept me for over twenty five years, encouraging me to trust in the Word spoken to me as my mind is being renewed, and not in the negative thoughts coming from my carnal mind that try to question that Word. It is a spiritual war and just as I have read in the book of Job ch. 3 v. 25 that the very things Job feared came upon him, I am being shown that the same can happen in my life when I question that Word spoken to me. That written word is not a book, it is a vocabulary - a voice speaking to me. Those words are spirit and life, and just as I do not say 'yes' and 'no' at the same time - neither does God.

Regarding what you say about why it took seven years after me having that experience of being 'carried away to the third heaven - or Paradise, as Paul describes a man having the same experience', I should have said that seven years after that experience I was baptized in water and in the Holy Spirit. During that seven year period many things happened which brought me to search more for the God that I believed existed.
Every morning when I awoke for a week following that NDE my husband said to me. 'You was speaking in a foreign language in your sleep.' I said to him 'What do you mean a foreign language, was I muttering?' 'No' he said, 'it was a foreign language.' I grieved for the place where I had been, where I had been told that it was not time yet, that I had to come back - even though I had been married for ten years.
Seven years later when I came up out of the baptismal water I was speaking in a language I had never learned. It is described in the scriptures as a language which no man understands - 'speaking mysteries to God'. I immediately felt 're - connected' to my experience and began to be 'directed' in my life by that written Word.

Neither I nor any other person could convince anyone that there is a God, only the Holy Spirit can do that, but I know that I have been brought to share my testimonies and experiences on my blogs. It was 'prophesied' to me years ago through a poem that just dropped into my head, that did not make any sense to me then.

I am being shown more and more that 'faith' is the substance of things hoped for' and that 'faith' comes by hearing the word of God. The only thing that prevents me receiving what I ask for is 'doubt' which comes from questioning that Word spoken to me. I am forever learning, but the one thing I truly know is that the God of the Bible is real and He loves me and wants me to be reconciled back to Him, as He does all of mankind.


No Doubt said...

Hi Jeremy, I don't know if you inadvertently or deliberately dodged the question by changing the aspects of my question, but I'll give you the benefit of the doubt.

In your original post, you asked which God? My question was directed to narrow down which God it would be. Since all gods in this world do not appear to the individual believer, doesn't it require you to play by the rules that the individual God has put in the place? Requesting that God remove 'this strange prerequisite that faith is required' is the same as you wanting to use the rules of blackjack in a game of Texas hold 'em. You cannot do that. Therefore, please answer the question.

As for your other statements within your comment, there are so many misconceptions there, such as avatars, clergyman, cons, freewill, etc. You have mixed so many different beliefs. This begs the question, have you ever read the Bible for yourself rather than reading someone else's opinion? No insult intended.

A great example of this is free will. You cannot get predestination out of the Bible, if you read it in the original text. Predestination requires God to sin. However, fore-knowledge, which is what the Greek word actually says, fits perfectly into the free will doctrine.

Your statement that "any caring authority figure will put a conditional restraint on the kids free will.", you are assuming two erroneous positions of God.

One, do you think God cares about these physical bodies, which will fade away in due time? God doesn't care about these physical bodies that you and I inhabit. He committed to the salvation of your soul. Your body and mine are nothing but a vessel for a very short period of time, a blip in the overall scheme of things. Therefore, sickness', cancer, etc. is the natural result of this bodies natural and sinful degradation. I say this with many of my family passing from such illnesses and my mother having dementia.

Two, absolute does not necessarily result in absolute goodness. Absolute can have many results based on your free will.

Satan does exist and the fact that he has free will to rebel against God actually supports the notion of free will. If God created Satan or you or me in order to rebel, then rebellion would be in God's heart. That is not the case, as the Bible actually says. Therefore, again, another case against predestination.

Your statement "having direct evidence of God doesn't interfere with an end of these free will to follow God." actually supports the notion of free will, not predestination.

God does reveal himself to all people in different ways. Therefore, I don't understand your "psychological rape". You'll have to explain that one a little further.

As for Romans 8:29-30, it's easy if you read it, word for word, in the original text.

"Because those whom he knew in advance, he also determined in advance would be conform to the pattern of his son, so that he might be the firstborn among many brothers; and those whom he does determine in advance, he also called: and those who he called, he also called, he also caused to be considered righteous; and those whom he caused to be considered righteous he also glorified!

In other words, those, through their own free will, who choose God, were chosen to be in the pattern of the son. There is no salvational predestination as the Calvinist state. It is very clear that God has a chosen pattern for those to follow, those who freely choose him and his ways.

Finally, if you read the Bible in the proper context, God's direct intervention only came when there were outside forces attempting to circumvent man's free will, such as the fallen ones trying to corrupt the messianic line, just before the flood.

I hope I didn't scare you off. It was not my intention. Sometimes, as the know, text doesn't come across with the intended emotion.

No Doubt said...

Jeremy, As for your other question, "What, if anything, would ever change your mind?", my answer would be the same as Tim and Brenda's. The reason, that I know won't sit well with you is that God has revealed and continues to reveal himself on a daily basis. You question is equivalent to "Would I Turn My Back On God?". Absolutely Not!

You also say that our answer is, "troubling and dogmatic." Honestly, that statement, to me, shows that you are not open to where the facts lead. Now, I would definitely change my mind as to where the bible and science leads as to define our existence. However, Bill Nye's Evolution is just not supported by the facts. There are aspects that has been absorbed by evolution, that I agree with, in the same way that there are aspects of creationism, that you probably agree with.

Jeremy said...

Thanks Tim. Now, I should note that I don’t think many pastors are in it for the money. I’d agree that most clearly are not. But, I have a bit of special anger for the ones that are, the Jim Bakkars, peddling fear of a coming apocalypse and selling food buckets in the same breath. I was more just noting how such a system can exist whether the belief is true or not. I think we can agree on that, because Hinduism, Sikhism, and other world religions exist in the same way.

God was not always hidden, but withdrew his presence, because God is incapable of displaying himself or conveying direct instruction without incinerating humans? An all powerful and all knowing God doesn’t have a way to do that? Angels were showing up all the time in the bible. Why’d that stop after we discovered photographic technology?

Jeremy said...

Nothing will ever disqualify God. Sure. Neither will anything disqualify Shiva. History cannot record exactly how the sons of Bor slew Ymir and fashioned the world. Math cannot prove Czernobog. And no telescope is powerful enough to see Bertrand Russell's teapot floating in deep space. (Brenda and Keith, if you aren’t familiar with that analogy, see: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Russell's_teapot). But, we don’t believe in those. That is the point of the teapot analogy. We don’t believe in things because we can’t disprove them. It is up to the person claiming something is true to provide evidence that it is.

Now, I never said non-proof of God is the proof He doesn’t exist. That is a substantial misrepresentation of my position. I say there is insufficient evidence to warrant a belief in Shiva, Odin, Czernobog. Insufficient evidence to warrant a belief in a week starting with the waters of the Earth nothing and ending with stars and people, with plants coming about before the sun. Insufficient to warrant a belief that a 600 year old man built a boat to survive a global flood, with a pair of all animals of the planet as cargo.

Jeremy said...

We have countless testimonial claims. And most people in the west pick the one selected and spread as the official religion of the Roman empire. Most people in India pick Hinduism. Consider that two testimonials are in conflict with each other, then it is the case that at least one of them is incorrect. And, there's no reason to arbitrarily assume one of the to be true and the other to be false in the absence of other evidence supporting the claims of either. The logical conclusion, therefore, is to go with the null hypothesis. There is no reason to assume a relationship between x and y until we have sufficient evidence to say there actually is a relationship between x and y. There is no reason to assume there is a relationship between Yahweh and the creation of the universe without evidence that Yahweh was the one that did create the universe, just as there's no reason to assume Brahma created the universe without clear evidence Brahma created the universe. And, the testimonial claims alone of either side are not sufficient evidence, as there is no reason to give more weight to one than the other in the absence of evidence for them.

“Using feelings,” is an interesting phrase you used there. You tell people take it on faith. What you can imagine to be the case is not adequate evidence. Is there any position you couldn’t take on faith? You can take it on faith that Anansi is was the creator of the sun and the moon and the stars, as well as the one who instituted the succession of day and night, that he created the first man, into which his father Nyame breathed life. Why should that faith be any less valid?

Tim said...

Jeremy,

I will again stick to what is directed towards me unless I have a disagreement. So, in response:

Unfortunately there are people like Jim Bakker who really messed up. Jimmy Swaggart had same issue. But what I know about them is that I believe they are still followers of Christ. But they let the pressures of this world into their hearts. I am not excusing them. What they did was wrong in the eyes of God and man. They needed to be called out and they were. I do believe that they have repented and God gave them new starts. Now, whether they are doing the right thing in their lives now I will let God judge. I hope they are. I know Bakker really made some sincere apologies. Look at it this way though, imagine what topic could destroy a minister of God the most and at the same time take down a large group of believers and add fuel to the fire of atheists? A sexual crime by a religious leader. My opinion, and again it's the person's fault for allowing it to happen, but I see this as a work of satan. He can find our weakness and exploit it. If we don't take these thoughts into captivity and let them breed, it produces a sinful thought which turns into a sinful action. We are warned to watch it. And if a leader of believers in brought down then many will fall as well. Bakker and Swaggart hurt a lot of people. The Catholic Church is really under fire, but what is the biggest denomination of Christians in the world---The Catholic Church. But in all honesty, and this is not lessening the crime, these are very rare cases but they are always brought to the front of the news pages. There are more molestations out there that are never reported or exploited for news. Main point is none of them are perfect and they do sin, all the time, like any other human being. We're just watched more and ridiculed more when we mess up.

God did "display" Himself. He talked to some. He talked through some. He showed signs. He displayed miracles for people. And they still didn't listen to Him. An analogy is this: I work part-time in the summer for an amusement park. People come to the guest service area all the time to have someone paged over the PA system. We don't do that. The reason why is we reserve the PA for special messages. If we made every announcement people would start to phase out what they hear and the PA then becomes useless. God came to earth for 30 years or so. He displayed all kind of miracles and spent 3 years in progressive ministry and people killed Him for it. Do you really think Him being here is going to change anything to a generation who doesn't care? Angels are still around. We refuse to believe it. We see some pictures with "angelic" forms in them and we quickly make an excuse. "OH, well, it must be the lighting", "No, it's just spots on my camera", "You're just adding what you think you see". Sometimes we have angels among us and we don't bother to see them at all. But to comment directly to your point, you have to remember the Bible is compiled over 4000 years. The stories we read are not all within a few years. So if 400 people saw Him then that is an average of one person every 10 years. Billions and billions of people but only one would see Him or an angel. So it's not that they were showing up "all the time"

Tim said...

Keith,

I agree with your assessment about our bodies. I tried to explain one time to an atheist that we look at death the wrong way. And of course the conversation ended with me "not caring about human life". But this body technically is an illusion. It is not the real existence of who we are. Heck, even some scientists like Neil deGrasse Tyson believes we all could just be a hologram. But I wonder who created this hologram??????

Yes, death and pain suck! But there is more than just life and death here. If that is all we had then we all just might as well end it all and not worry about the junk we have to deal with. No, there is more beyond what we see and feel. Our physical lives are just a vapor in time. Once the vapor evaporates begins the real existence.

Brenda said...

Keith,
where you have said:-
'...... God has revealed and continues to reveal himself on a daily basis. You question is equivalent to "Would I Turn My Back On God?". Absolutely Not!'

I would say exactly the same. We are told that no man can come to God except through Jesus and that no man can come to Jesus except he is called by God. No matter how much we try to figure the answers out with our carnal minds we will never know the truth and be convinced of that truth until it is revealed to us through the Holy Spirit. Just as there is a time to be physically born, there is a time to be spiritually born - and that is organized by God Himself. The things of God are foolishness to the carnal mind.

No Doubt said...

Tim, Chuck Missler has a saying. "What you see is hardware, which will pass away. The real you is software, which can be corrupted but could be maintained as pure, with care and proper maintenance."

No Doubt said...

Brenda, We are in agreement.

Jeremy said...

I’ll be addressing some people’s comments directly by name. But, by all means, anyone feel free to respond to anything. Just because I’m responding to what one person posted doesn’t mean I don’t want to hear multiple opinions. I absolutely do. And, I don’t think it would do anyone else any harm to get out of their own personal echo chamber either.

Tim, if God showing up and trying to convince people wasn’t convincing enough for everyone there, why should someone 2000 years removed and not able to personally witness or verify these events be more willing to accept them? Apologies if that sounds mocking. I would like to hear your answer. I’m trying to get my head around this, because it comes across sounding like you’re trying to say faith is important because when God tried to provide evidence, it wasn’t convincing enough, and that simply doesn’t make sense. Do I really think a God that wants to make his presence known is going to make a difference? Yes, absolutely. I believe an all powerful all knowing being would be able to convince anyone. You don’t?

Keith, I think we’re getting off in the weeds. I really don’t care much about the Calvinism vs. Arminianism vs. whatever -ism you want to plug in there. The main reason I mentioned it was only secondary to my primary question as to why a God would even need faith in the first place rather than just showing up and making his intentions clear to everyone. Your primary source of information about this God is written primarily by people claiming that they had such first hand experience. But, we can’t verify any of that.
And free will is often used as the big excuse here. Some people make claim if God showed up, gave us this sort of first hand information in a verifiable way, people would lose their free will. I was pre-emptively showing that was a bad excuse, saving us the time if any one of you were planning on going there. First, so what? God purportedly hardened Pharaoh's heart, so he isn’t that God seems too concerned about us having constant unimpeded free will. And Satan purportedly has this first hand experience, but it didn’t effect his free will one bit. So, regardless of stance in the Calvinism debate, free will is not a good excuse for no verifiable information being provided by God.


So, we’re left with a God who’s best plan of action was a limited revelation to specific set of ancient tribal nomads, who would go forth claiming they speak for God, amidst other tribal nomads in the region claiming other gods. To this day, we have no shortage of factions in the middle east and all around the world claiming to speak for god. So, why is this the best plan for an all-knowing being to make itself clearly known to his most precious creation?

Jeremy said...

absolute [free will] does not necessarily result in absolute goodness.
Yes. That was exactly my point. I thought that was obvious from my point about letting a child stick a fork in an electric socket. Perhaps it wasn’t. I think such electrocution a bad thing. I don’t want to assume that you thought it was good either. But, given your talk about bodies being nothing but a vessel for a short blip of time, maybe you're a bit more indifferent on it. At any rate, I hoped we could agree that not intervening when you have the power and knowledge to do so is not good and that allowing suffering to continue in such circumstances was immoral. But, I guess not. I’m getting the sense now that you have a very different definition of morality.

Anyway, I realize I’m again not giving you the answer you want to your question. But, in order for me to do so, I will need a more clear understanding of the preconditions at play. The answer of how a God can best convey we need faith depends upon why He thinks we do need it. If there’s no clear way to understand what these motives are, there’s no way for me to answer how He should best convey them. And if His motives are, as I’ve heard so often, to have a personal relationship with us, the best way to do that is to show up and unequivocally initiate them rather than going through vague and convoluted third parties, an odd angel showing up to one person out of a billion, and so called “evidence” which makes just as much sense merely being hypoxia.

Jeremy said...

On evolution, Keith, I just will say, I, with an overwhelming majority of the scientific community involved in studying biology, paleontology, molecular biology, anthropology, The U.S. National Academy of Sciences, the CDC, all people that study this kind of thing for a living see a wealth of evidence that you refuse to acknowledge exists. 47 of the last 50 Nobel Prizes in medicine or physiology depended on an understanding of evolutionary theory. Then, add to these the majority of Buddhists, Hindus, Jews, Religiously unaffiliated, Catholics, Orthodox Christians, and mainline Protestants say you're completely wrong. So, it seems there is no shortage of people who have no problem accepting evolution even though they also hold religious beliefs. So, is there something about your religious beliefs that is incompatible? I find it hard to think you would stop believing if you found compelling evidence that evolution was in fact true. So, explain why evolution could not be the case.

Jeremy said...

On disease, cancer is not caused by someone coveting their neighbor’s goat. And, I’m very sorry to hear of your mother’s dementia, but it was not caused because a talking snake convinced a man made of mud and a woman fashioned from his bone to eat magical knowledge imparting fruit. Some diseases exist because of viral and bacterial infections. Some exist due to parasites, others due to bodily trauma. Others still are caused by mutations inherited from parents. And, they all affect theists and atheists. Baptist, Mormon, Jew, or Buddhist. And frankly, this is one place superstitious garbage can turn truly dangerous. Just last month, we had another completely preventable faith healing death. Disgusting. Infuriating.
https://www.yahoo.com/news/couple-believe-prayer-healing-charged-babys-death-224654231.html

I hope you aren’t into the whole faith healing scene. It is another thing that I find reprehensible, and I wouldn’t assume it of anyone. But, your statements are making me ask that question. What do you think of the practice?

Anyway, life is full of tough questions and tough problems, and the answers are often way too complex. So, I can sympathize with someone who gets overwhelmed by all the crap life can throw at them, and looks for a simpler option than actually solving their problem, or wanting to face the hard reality that some issues, horrible crap like dementia, don’t always have solutions right now.

Life is simpler when you can insulate yourself from these, I'll grant you that. Life gets really freaking simple when you let somebody else do your thinking for you. Life is full of tough questions and tough problems, and the answers are often way too complex. I can sympathize.

The sad fact is, there is no simple. Terrible diseases aren’t the end of some simple equation sparked by immoral acts. Simple is an illusion we pick up from TV shows and charlatans. Simple is a sales pitch. If you want a simple life, go find yourself a good coma. If someone’s sick, the real answer is any number of pathogens or genetic conditions that can afflict anyone, deserving or not, but the simple answer is that everything was hunky dory until that pesky snake got us to eat fruit. If you're depressed about the loss of a loved one, the real answer is a long mourning process that never fully zeroes out, but the simple answer is a postmortem surprise party. If you're struggling to find your place in the world, well welcome to the human race.

Jeremy said...

And finally, one of the four of us is open to change given evidence. Three of the four say they will never change their minds. And the one who is open to change based on demonstrations is the one “not open to where the facts lead.” Really? I don’t know if that is more absurd or insulting, but it is certainly a bit of both. But, I’m slowly coming you don’t realize that, and I don’t think you really want to.

I’ve tried to answer your questions to the best of my abilities. They no doubt won’t be to your satisfaction. So, no, you didn’t “Scare me away.” You’ve simply made me consider how much time I should bother trying to have a reasonable conversation with people who have stated, “the rest is a lie,” who have said what I have to say is “illogical, inane and tiresome,” before I’ve even posted them. Because, despite any claims to the contrary you have previously made or have yet to make, someone skeptical really isn’t welcome here.

Tim said...

Jeremy,

I think the question about God showing up that should be asked is why didn’t people believe? The answer in what I have seen and what the Bible pretty much states is that we are stubborn individuals who want to do things on our own (pride) but was also deceived with doubt by satan. Now, how can I verify these events? I can’t. And yes, that is where faith comes in. I know that is not a sufficient answer for you. That is something you will have to deal with if you so choose to. God moves in my life. Things in life I can see clearly. And when things don’t go so well in this world, He is there for me and has gotten me through some situations I couldn’t do on my own. The evidence has always been convincing enough but people have been too stubborn to listen. The evidence is there, but we seek other answers because we don’t like them. When I teach a student and they don’t listen to me and come later and ask why they got an answer wrong and I explain it to them, some get upset because they didn’t like the answer I gave them. Another example is a relative of mine will not out down his phone. I explain to him each time why texting on his cell phone while at my house is rude yet he can’t understand how and why. And why can’t he see it? Because he would have to change who he is. And it’s not that He couldn’t convince people but He won’t force you into it. Yes, free-will. It all starts there. You stated to Keith that this is an excuse but listen to it. If all God did was present Himself and in ways that there is no other option but to believe then it is not free will. If God came and slapped you on the face every day and said here I am, what choice do you but to know there He is? I have said this before, the world thinks that seeing is believing, but the Christian knows that believing is seeing. Your pre-emptive strike didn’t phase that reasoning. I do agree though that some like satan, pharaoh ,and a few others seem to have special circumstances. I don’t know why except that these were exceptional situations. I do not have an answer for that. Maybe one day I will.
The movie Stepford Wives is good analogy. Would you like to be a Stepford wife? Oh, it would be easier. But there is nothing there to love.

Again, as I stated before I think on Yahoo, you’re turning the existence into God a philosophical question. You are trying to understand how God can exist by questioning why He does things. The first step is either to say He is a possibility or not. If you say He is the we can start to explore the philosophical side. If you say He is not a possibility then we have to stick with why. And right now all you can say is “there is no verifiable” evidence. And with that we again say that there is not evidence that has unverified Him. But that doesn’t set well with any atheist.

I am telling you right now, God is calling you. You keep coming back asking things, which is good. Your spirit is calling out but your psyche will not allow it to be heard. Perhaps I or the others is the intervening in your life you keep wondering about. You and me talking on Yahoo may not have been just a huge coincidence. Millions of people and you happen to read what I said.

Tim said...

Jeremy,

About evolution, one major step of the scientific method is missing here…observation, direct observation. Even Lucy, was found to be mostly an ape. Many findings are showing that man and ape bones are found together and are not from the same species. Some say we have steps that show evolution. Well, no we don’t. We have collections that we try to tell a story from and have developed a theory. We see frozen pictures in time but cannot see the whole picture because we do not know all the factors that are involved. If all things being constant were known then maybe we could prove it but all things aren’t constant. Temperature, moisture, movement on life forms, wear and tear, earthquakes, diseases at the microbiological level, just to name a few. As one of my posts says we can get from point 1 to point 6 by seeing what we have found, but for evolution to be true we would have to see 1.2, 1.24566, 1.435567422 and all the other changes that got us to point 6. When does a species officially become a species? How many changes or budding did it take to make a “new” species? Our data techniques have been proven wrong before. It was said that C12 can be off by 500,000 years. Well, duh. Evolution just has too many holes. Not even to mention that none of the studies on fossils mention the possibility of a flood that would change everything. Sea species found on mountain tops. Land species found at the bottom of the oceans.

Yes, Keith’s mother did not get dementia because of a talking snake (wasn’t a snake anyway). But since sin entered, the possibility of all our flesh becoming corrupted by disease has entered. The article from Yahoo about the couple I did not read to be honest, I may do it later, but there are some people like that who I don’t understand either. But I also don’t know their real faith and personal beliefs. They may have other issues that we never heard about. I am not saying they were right in what they did. I believe that God placed medicine here for our use. He even said He placed all the trees here for us to use. But I also believe that God does heal. And let’s face it, sometimes medicine (science) doesn’t do it either but I don’t see anyone giving up on that.

I really am frustrated (not angry) with some of your comments. You make it out like we are Christians only out of convenience in life. Like we can’t find answers so we turn to God as an excuse. We escape reality by turning to some failing hope but we refuse to see it. And you also act like we aren’t open to science or ideas. That is way off. Life as a Christian is hard. As a matter of fact it would be easier to live your life (as an atheist). Wouldn’t have to think through about death, accept that nothing can be changed, accepted by the world, feeling that all I need is an education. I know some of that sounded like I was being a jerk and are only generalizations, and that is how we feel when you say those things. I don’t care about my feelings being hurt, but I would like less insults to my intelligence. Being a Christian is not easy.

I am open to change my mind about anything. But there is absolutely no evidence that will ever disprove God. So there is no way I will ever change my mind.
You are welcomed here but your comments will just not be in agreement with ours and will be met with some opposition. Just a fact. Same as it was on Yahoo when I had Frankie and all the others come after me for my belief.

We are just starting to touch the surface of our faith. From the very first verse of the Bible, the language itself starts to add up. It is amazing how all the words in the Bible show us things and all the "coincidences" that are in there. Maybe one day we will start to discuss that.

Brenda said...

Hi Tim,
where you say in your last comment to Jeremy:- 'I have said this before, the world thinks that seeing is believing, but the Christian knows that believing is seeing.'
I don't know if you have read it, as it was written some time ago, but I wrote a post on this. If you would like to read it, and if Jeremy would too, (I am not sure if Keith had come over to my blog at that time) it can be found here:-

http://lighthousevision.blogspot.co.uk/2013/05/believing-is-seeing.html

I still don't know how to use a 'link' :-)

Tim said...

Believing is Seeing

Brenda said...

Tim,
I just felt I had to tell you this. Yesterday, my friend and I were taking communion in her house before we went out to give out our leaflets. I opened my small new testament Bible that I carry with me in my handbag straight to the page in John ch. 20 where Jesus appears to Thomas and speaks about believing is seeing (vs. 24 - 31).
Nothing is coincidence.

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