Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Justice?

Lately I have been engaging in several discussions about why the Christian god is evil and offends my sense of morality. The Yahwheh of the old testament is an easy mark, clearly a wicked, petty, tantrum throwing, weasel. However it is harder to explain what is wrong with the new testament with its message of forgiveness and salvation. On the surface it seems nice enough. I have talked about it before many times but few Christians seem to get the point I am trying to make about why salvation through grace is an evil doctrine.

Dark Matter has a new video which may explain it better than words can. This is how Christian justice appears to many of us who do not practice the religion. Despite all of the apologetics and scripture quoting I have been subjected to I have yet to hear anything that contradicts this portrayal.

53 comments:

Fiat Lex said...

Oh that is too funny.

I only watched the first "case", but it does seem about right. The only mitigator I can think of is that the Christian God would keep considering the person's sins and the progress of their repentance throughout their lifetime. So God would arrange a series of life circumstances for rapist guy in which he could learn the true meaning of his evil actions, and have the opportunity to change the parts of himself which led him to commit evil deeds.

However, that additionally requires belief that God is both able and willing to intentionally arrange life events. Most Christians do not have a problem with this. For atheists like yourself or ex-Christians like me, however, the idea that every aspect of every person's life is carefully choreographed by God is extremely disturbing.

Personally I am a Discordian. I don't think or talk about it very often or get along well with others who self-identify as Discordians, though. Its chief feature as a religion is being almost entirely DIY, and hence is most frequently used to add flair and amusing rhetoric to things one already intended to do. Sort of a pseudo-official contrarianism.

It suits my nature and my sense of irony to be contrarian, in this angry cyberspace and during these times where everything is a controversy, to be really, really nice to everybody and try to find common ground between apparently opposite viewpoints. (When I'm not being longwindedly self-centered, which I do a lot a lot a lot.)

I know this personal-religion stuff belongs on your last post, but consarnit, I had to say some stuff to Tracy and forgot to put it there. My apologies!

Leigh said...

Fiat, I used to know a Discordian! He was awesome, he worshipped Jeebus and cast circles while smoking a cigar and wearing a Cat in the Hat style hat. Ah, good times.

rhiggs said...

LOL

Great video.

Tracy Wagman said...

Without divine revelation from God you will never understand His justice or how incredibly horrible sin is. Just as the scriptures teach.

Test yourself in that. Question- Do you understand His justice the way that I have been trying to explain it to you? Yes or No

It will all be foolishness to you, just as the scriptures said it would.

Test yourself in that. Question- In regards to everything that I have been telling you about God- Is it foolishness to you? Yes or No

I don't consider myself to be skeptical. But for whatever it's worth Ryk, I am trying to think that way for your sake. To relate to you and somehow help you.

Tracy Wagman said...

Ryk,

If hell was intended for Satan and his demons ONLY, not people, as the scriptures teach...
("God is not willing that any should perish,but all come to repentance.")

And if God warned us about hell repeatedly and provided a way of escape from hell through the death of His Son Jesus on the cross as the scriptures teach...

And if God gave us a freewill to choose as the scriptures teach... (Seriously, would you want to be forced to beleive in God?! Would you want to force your little girl to love and obey you Ryk?)

God is being blamed for evil. He warns us, He gives us a choice. Satan and your own choices are to blame.

You have it partly right, owning up to your mistakes and living by a moral code (instead of God's Commands), etc...

But, if it's God you've sinned against then what? Wouldn't your moral code and all the owning up you've done be in vain?

Perhaps you just don't like the choice set before you. The choice to do this God's way.

The Old Testament shows the wrath of God. Now if I were a skeptic I can imagine thinking like you do.

Or I could look at it like this...

I haven't got a clue as to how horrible sin is, that it would be punished to the extreme, as the scriptures teach. (btw this is how I viewed it before I was a Christian.)

And again, it wasn't until I received a divine revealation from God to see sin and His justice from His perspective.

Tracy Wagman said...

"The gospel which was preached by me is not according to man. For I neither received it from man, nor was I taught it, but it came through the revelation of Jesus Christ."
Galations 1:11,12
I posted this on my blog for you yesterday.

Fiat Lex said...

:D Thanks Leigh! I have great respect for your faith; it takes guts to be openly pagan. Even in these degenerate times when it's cool for people to declare themselves this-or-thatians without having had, or even sought, an experience of the deity whose name they take. Which you have done, and I salute you for it!

Your friend also sounds like a cool guy. And his style sets a good example; even today I think I am often way too serious in my approach to invisible stuff. Maybe it's all the agnostic apologetics; my interlocutors' deadly earnest is rubbing off on me. XD

O_O You just accidentally gave me an awesome idea. When my relatives pray for me, I should ask if they would let me pray for them! Even though I freely admit I am not at all certain how to properly categorize, describe, or determine the degree of actual existence of the invisible friends to whom/which my prayers would be addressed!

Hee hee heee, mutual respect and toleration exercises, hee hee, hee hee. *rubs hands together*


Dear Tracy, dear dear Tracy,

You are certainly persistent here! I admire that. It takes a long, strong line and an eagerness to wrestle to fish for men in these waters.

I'm familiar with the argument you bring up at the end there. Namely, that any sin committed against another finite being is a finite sin, but any sin committed against the Almighty is infinite. Hence the just punishment for any sin against God is logically infinite.

But I think it's also important to follow up on something JD Curtis brought up on the previous thread: the idea of hell being finite. Since the idea of infinite torture is one of Ryk's big qualms, even setting aside the theodicy issues with any torture, this is a point worth exploring further! IF hell only exists as long as the universe does, then the torment of every person and/or demon inside it would only last until the end of linear time. At which point presumably God will withdraw into eternity, accompanied by his faithful. Demons and the wicked would simply cease to exist.

As to why the Christian God would want a place of ultimate torture to exist in the first place, I'm kind of stumped there. He could just as easily have caused all wicked human souls to cease to exist at death, rather than putting them through hell and then annihilating them.

Although if Hell is more like the way CS Lewis described it in The Great Divorce, it would make a lot more sense. Hell in that book is just a vast, dim city in which nothing much ever happens. It's only really dangerous and unpleasant because it's chock full of people who habitually do bad things to one another. In a prominent, easily accessible location in Hell, there is a bus stop. Every so often a bus comes along, which anyone can board if they wish and be conveyed to Heaven. The residents of Heaven do their best to convince the tourists to remain. But for the most part the residents of Hell choose to go back to their familiar dimness, where they can keep right on being mean to others and not acknowledging any of their own flaws.

Really good read. And it's a version of Hell that doesn't set off any theodicy alarms, for me anyway.

Fiat Lex said...

PS - I just realized my grammar was awful in that first paragraph. I did not mean to imply that Leigh had done the former thing, that is, taking on the name of a deity in vain (without experiencing it), but rather the latter thing, viz., having a specific of a deity and choosing a religion based upon it. Sorry for any confusion. :)

Tracy Wagman said...

Fiat Lex, Fiat Lex, Fiat Lex, What does that even mean?

I won't stop fishing till I catch the fish or the pole snaps. And even then, I'll cast a new line. I'm already in too deep, but I'm not in over my head.

I believe that hell is for eternity as the scriptures teach.

I don't agree that we burn up like a match and that's it.

Yes, I am aware that this is one of ryk's biggest qualms with my God.

If you are stumped as to why God would make a place called hell...

The answer is the same thing I've been saying all along.

We have no clue how horrible sin is. We need a revelation from God's perspective. divine revealtion from God.

And human reasoning or any amount of knowledge is not going to be able to wrap itself around it and gain understanding. The only understanding that you will get from that approach is that, whatever I say about God is absoultey foolishness to you.

Only God can give you the understanding.

Only then will you see that we as people minimize sin.

It's bad for my son to kick my daughter. Groundiing and apologizing seems like a fair consequence.

Murdering someone is really, really bad. Perhaps sitting in prison for the rest of their lives would be a suitable consequence.

Even in the worst of crimes committed it's hard to think that hell's eternal torment would be a suitable punishment. I hear you, and in my OWN reasoning I totally agree with your abhorrance of the idea of hell. And even as a Christian I abhor hell.

But through God's view of sin, it's an indication that we don't see sin as horribly as He sees it. Can you agree with that?

If you think of it in terms of how God punished Adam and Eve. Hmm... God warned them, don't eat the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. Satan came along and deceived them, told them something that itching ears wanted to hear. Didn't God say, you could be like God? Then they ate and badabing we are suffering the consequences of their choice to this very day. The ground is cursed. Women have great pain in childbirth. It's true, I would have literally died from the pain, if it weren't for an epidural.

So my point...
Seek it out with God Himself. Stop telling Him who He is and allow Him to reveal who He truly is.

Even in our sometimes corrupt justice system in America- The person on trial is innocent before proven guilty.

Am I really dear or am I annoying you?

Tracy Wagman said...

P.S We can't make that divine revelation happen only God can do it.

Tracy Wagman said...

Oh yes, I forgot to add that Adam and Eve's sin was one simple act of rebellion.

Ryk said...

Tracy, your question is difficult. Is what you have been telling me silly? Since you asked for a yes or no answer I will say yes but qualify my answer.

It is not silly to you, nor are you silly. If I could male myself believe it would not be silly to me either. If I could believe in Leighs conception of Odin then that would not be silly to me. However at this time it is.

The very idea of eternal torture for any "sin" is both offensive and ridiculous. Likewise the idea that this place of torture was only intended for demons is also offensive and ridiculous. After all since your god is omnipotent he could have created angels that would not rebel and therefore not require eternal torture or any punishment at all. This conception of a deity is comparable to someone who raises a fighting breed of dog. Abuses it horribly and teaches it to kill. Then tortures it to death if it bites him.

Then if we accept that we have to deal with the idea that an omnipotent being can't create mortals who won't sin. Ridiculous. Your argument that I wouldn't want to make my daughter love me is a silly analogy. I am making her love me by being a good and dilligent parent. Seeing to her needs educating her, showering her with affection and support. Your deity throws his children to the wolves. It won't even prove conclusively it exists, it just throws out a stupid and illogical old book of stories, into a world full of similar books of old stories, and expects people tolove him or burn in hell for all eternity. To make it worse he turns the world over to his evil minion and allows it to try to corrupt abd turn away those few who even believe in the old book of stories, and teach them heresy and leads them to believe in false books of stories. By this conception, the only parent that could be compared to your god would be someone who gives birth to a child, writes them a letter and then gives them away to be raised by a sadistic pedophile. Then when the child is grown up, the parent, without actualy introducing itself,decides that if the child doesn't love them after reading the letter, then it is going to torture him to death.

I find that sort of god to be not only offensive but too improbable to be true.

Fiat Lex said...

Tracy:

In Latin, the first two words of the Bible are "Fiat lex", let there be light. Fiat as a verb means "let there be", and as a noun means the power to decree laws. So my name can mean both "let there be law" and (as was pointed out to me by a co-religionist), "arbitrary law."

I've thought about your answer to the question of hell--that to understand God's justice people need a direct divine revelation such as you experienced. Following up on that, I want to ask you something about your testimony.

"After she left, I was arrested. Backed up against the wall, in holy fear. I had a revelation of how absolutely horrible and despicable sin was, before a holy and righteous God. Sin from God's perspective. It wasn't an intellectual thing. I had already known that swearing was wrong, inappropriate, even sinful. This was different. It was conviction of sin at the conscience/heart level. I realized that the consequence for these curse words, (and even the measly little swear word I thought was funny) would wind me up in Hell. I somehow understood that I deserved to go to hell for sinning.

I was terrified. Undone and beside myself in fear. I threw myself on my aunt's bed and began to wail in despair. I thought I blew it with this God thing. Just then the phone rang. I never, ever would have answered it considering the state I was in. However, I did. It was Linda, from church. She said God told her to call me. What a gas! I told her what happened and and how I was doomed for hell. She explained that I could be forgiven. I just needed to ask God to forgive me. She encouraged me to pray right then and there on the phone with her. I did and I was overwhelmed with peace. I felt clean on the inside. I knew I was forgiven."


Now, the Jesus of the Gospels didn't go around making people afraid. He took people who had been made afraid by humans, and took away their fear. Like the woman caught in adultery. "'Who is here to accuse you?' 'No one, sir.' 'Then neither do I condemn you. Go, and sin no more.'"

I know you said this was a warning from God, rather than a threat or intimidation. It seems like a pretty threatening experience to me. And it is kind of backwards from the way Christ did things. God made you feel miserable and terrified and filled with despair, and another human being came and took that fear away.

My question is: How can you be certain it was God who sent you those feelings? Could it instead have been your own personality, sending you a backlash of guilt and shame for having treated people unkindly and done many things you already believed were wrong? After all, "God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, of love and a sound mind."

(Continued after the 4096 character cutoff!)

Fiat Lex said...

I'm not saying your experience was not a genuine or legitimate spiritual experience. After all, you came to convert because of it, and this has brought you much joy and peace and purpose in life. And I don't think it would diminish your God to say that he took the opportunity presented by your own negative emotions and used it as a way to bring you closer. Equally effective, just a little less impressive-sounding. That jolt of fear was apparently just what you needed, given the person you were at the time, to drive you into the arms of God. It was a message to which you were primed to listen.

But no two people are the same, no two spiritual journeys are the same. Even if you believe that all journeys are meant to end at the feet of the same God. What got through to you, the person you were on that day, may not be the same thing that will get through to Ryk or anybody else.

The point I'm trying to make is this. You say, "Stop telling Him who He is and allow Him to reveal who He truly is." But you seem to be encouraging Ryk to ask God for a carbon copy of the spiritual experience you had. I say you should stop telling Ryk who God is, how one is "supposed" to experience him. I can see that you mean well, and sharing your own experiences can be a pretty scary thing. (Especially with people like me around to second-guess your past self!) But just because it worked for you, doesn't mean that's the way it's going to happen to someone else.

Let God, if he's out there, find the best way to get the message across. Your God is supposed to be infinitely wise, not just infinitely good and powerful. I'm sure he can figure it out, as long as Ryk is keeping an open mind and heart and really asking.

And if I am annoyed by you, dear, as Macbeth said: "Tis a joyful trouble to me." I like being annoyed in this way. It makes me pay attention and always leads to something interesting.




Ryk:

I keep getting the feeling, with this endless discussion of hell, that this conversation has gotten sidetracked.

I know theodicy is your main objection to Christianity, and hell is a huge part of that. Hell is also something us unsaved types hear about a lot, so it's understandable to focus on it right off the bat.

But belief in hell isn't actually necessary for salvation. What's necessary is to believe the following:
a) God exists, and Jesus is both God and man.
b) Humans are flawed and unable to commune with God.
c) Jesus, by dying and rising from the dead, somehow made it possible for humans to overcome this flaw through his mediation.
d) Oneself, as an individual, desires to enter into a relationship with Jesus for this purpose.

See? No hell there.
It is thus entirely possible to convert without believing in hell, and then spend a happy lifetime arguing with God about hell's existence and/or morality. There's a long and noble Biblical tradition of arguing with God. From what I can tell, the Christian God likes it when people argue with him. It means they're paying attention.

So let's assume, for the sake of argument, there is no hell and never was. Bad people just cease to exist when they die.

Is salvation through grace still an inherently evil doctrine? Is theodicy still an insurmountable problem?

Ryk said...

Fiat Lex

Without hell I would still be pressed by an inability to believe, and the way the Christian religious stories are clearly contradicted by the observed world. However I would no longer consider it evil.

The god of the old testament is an evil temper tauntrum throwing creature, those are just stories. I could overlook that just as easily as the evil depicted in other stories. It is the fact that modern people believe in this hell and the Christian salvation doctrine that offends me so heavily.

I have said before that the Jehovas Witnesses who do not have a doctrine of hell, do not offend me at all. I don't accept their religion either but I consider it to be morally acceptable.

I can say the same about other religions as well, even if I don't accept them there are some which are morally sound and inoffensive. Particularly those that are also compatible with objective reality.

You do however have a point about what Christianity requires. Technically belief in Genesis or any other part of the old testament including the ten commandments is optional. According to the scriptures, only belief in Christ is required. A person who did believe in Christ could believe in science, consider the old testament creation account and legends to be simple stories. In fact I know some people exactly like that. The problem for me is no matter how I rationalize, or justify, or pretend, I can't make myself believe.

Fiat Lex said...

:D

Nor, in my opinion, should you.
Though as an ex-Christian my opinion probably doesn't mean much in this context.

But a belief entered into forcibly, whether under external duress of concentrated effort of will, is not a belief as such. Even if the thing you have forced yourself into accepting is true, the belief itself is a delusion. I actually wrote a long post about this, after Tracy got me stirred up on the subject, a little while ago.

So my (totally free) advice to you is, once you've asked God to come and find a way into your life, and meant it, the ball is in his/her/its/their court unless you change your attitude. If it's your destiny to be atheist, then nothing will continue to happen, no matter how sincerely you ask. That's not a life I think I'd be able to lead, but I don't think it sounds meaningless or empty; just a little more challenging to adapt to. If there really is a One True God and/or a host of lesser, false gods, somehow or other they'll all make their presence known, and the real one will easily distinguish itself from the rest.

Oh! There's another thing with a grand Biblical tradition. Asking for signs. You could do something like a challenge.

For example. Get a bunch of candles. Painstakingly and by hand (to focus your intent and make said intent more obvious to any spiritual beings out there) mark each candle with a name or symbol identifying a different deity. Make sure they are big candles able to burn for long periods of time. Fasten them securely to some non-flammable surface, light them, then leave them all outside on windy and/or rainy nights. Do this as many nights as you feel is appropriate to give the alleged gods a fighting chance.

Any deity whose candle remains lit all through the night and is still burning when you come to check them in the morning, gets a point. At the end of the given period of time, the deity with the most points will be the one to whom you give the benefit of the doubt.

You would commit, before embarking on the test, to conscientiously watch for signs of possible communication from the winning deity. This may include but may not be limited to the following behaviors: re-think apparent coincidences as possible metaphorical messages from said deity, consider this deity's personality and teachings as a source of good life advice when confronted with a challenging situation, incorporate the wishes and preferences of that deity, as best you understand them, into your judgments of daily events, as you would so incorporate the judgments and wishes of a trusted and valued friend.

The God of the Bible did lots of stuff like that--even had his prophets suggest 'em. And, according to the Bible, he always kicked butt at spiritual challenges. So hopefully our Christian friends would allow this to be a legit way to proceed with your search!

Fiat Lex said...

Er, if you're interested, here is that post of mine.

Tracy Wagman said...

I, in no way, meant to imply that my spiritual experiences are for anybody else. This is what went down between God and me. I know it's real because it's ALL lined up with the Word of God. God Himself convinced me,confirmed it, sealed it, and caused me to somehow know that I am indeed heavenbound, just as He said He would in the Bible.

Fiat lex, God did not deal with me in the ways you listed. Hell is terryifying, but God did not intimidate me. He allowed me to see what I was in danger of. With the motive of showing the way of escape.

Tracy Wagman said...

Ryk,

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever. He is our Father unchanging.

You're not thinking right.

I hope that you aren't settling with these same conclusions.

You have NOT failed! Don't give up.

You are NOT destined to be an atheist.

Tracy Wagman said...

Ryk,

The proof of Jesus' conclusive existance is revealed by way of faith. Only.

Ryk said...

@Tracy

I know that you say proof is only revealed through faith. The problem is I am unable to have faith without proof. I have tried. Needing faith in order to have proof is problematic in another way in that, it disallows any possibility of knowing if you are correct. If you believe something soley on faith then there never really is any proof because what you see as proof may only seem that way because you have faith. Like the argument that creation is proof. That is only aplicable if you already have faith. If you don't it only proves that the universe exists and implies nothing beyond that.

That is exactly the dillema I have been talking about.

Tracy Wagman said...

Ryk,

I get your dilemma. I understand where you are coming from. I am honestly trying to think skeptically.

Doesn't it help at all when I say that God confirms and convinces you of the truth or proof? It's not something that 'seems' at all. God sows the truth to my spirit. It resonates within me. It's undeniable. Unarguable. (I know it's not a word, but it sounds good.)You can test the spirits. You can distinguish between what is right and wrong. And if you're serious about not being deceived and walking in the truth as I am- You take it back to the Lord for confirmation.

This is something that is obviously by faith but also experience. Had I not experienced it I wouldn't know.

Tracy Wagman said...

Ryk,

You really can have faith without proof. You already have faith. Your information overloaded mind gets in the way.

Ryk said...

How can you have faith without proof and not have it be self deception. I realize Martin Luther said a Christian must tear out the eye of his reason, but for one I find nothing redeming in anything written by Martin Luther and secondly It would not be worth it. Eternal torment or voluntarily abandoning my ability to reason. I will take eternal torture. More importantly there is, as you say no non faith based evidence for your deity but there is an abundance of non faith based evidence against it.

I am not information overloaded, I simply posess reason. I have not torn out the eye of it and chosen to believe that what I can observe and calculate and appreciate is false and something which can not be observed, or calculated and appreciated must be true simply because I believe it is. I understand that god and miracles and the creation story and hell, and demons, and every other magical thing is real to you, that you have chosen to believe it. I am not trying to say that makes you stupid or silly or any other bad thing. It does however mean that you have substituted faith for reason which is something I lack the ability to do.

Tracy Wagman said...

Ryk,

I didn't mean information overloaded in a negative way. It's actually a compliment. You're very smart. I don't agree with you, but that's beside the point.

If my God is real and He created us. That would mean He created our minds,our reasoning,etc..

Love the Lord Lord your God with all you heart all your mind, etc..

Wouldn't this be an indication that He wants us to use our minds.

Come let us reason together.

Doesn't this indicate that He desires us to reason?

I don't beleive that God wants you to lose your ability to reason. It sort of works together except faith comes first before reason, because your mind can't wrap itself around the spiritual. Once you get spiritual understanding, then you can reason. Just as I am with you.

And I know for sure that God doesn't want you to be separated from Him for all eternity. don't you get it Derrick! I don't want you to go to that horrible place either. I care about you. You make hell something flippant. you 'no big deal' it.

Does any other atheist, religion or god reach out like Christians do? (I'm not speaking of Chrisitans that are obnoxious and giving God a bad name.) I do not mean to say that other gods,religions, etc aren't kind or don't care. I mean has anyone invested this much time with you ( the behind the scenes prayer) and literally love you enough to persistently share their faith with you the way I do? Does this mean anything to you?

Ryk said...

Once again you say faith first, well I have tried to believe without evidence and got nothing. I am afraid that if your deity is real it is not making an effort. Either I am failing at forcing belief or it is failing at whatever its job is supposed to be, which seems rather strange for an omnipotent being. I have gotten nothing from this experiment that does anything other than reinforce my atheism. If my very best effort to believe in and accept your god goes unanswered by this supposed proof then the simplest and best explanation is that it does not exist. Obviously there are other possible explanations such as I didn't have enough faith or I didn't do it right or god is mysterious or god is reaching out to me in a way that doesn't seem supernatural or god doesn't do tests and probably hundreds of others but they are all overwhelmningly less likely than the answer that there is no god.

As to my trivializing hell you are partially correct. I take the doctrine of hell very seriously and condemn both the belief and the religion that spawned it as evil. That is because both doctrine and religion are things that exist and they are dangerous and can hurt people. As you have demonstrated they can also help people and I am glad of that. In either case they are real. Hell however as a literal place is not real so it is easy to trivialize, you can say what if I am wrong, but I am not wrong. Science proves that Christianity is false, it does not prove atheism, because in theory there could be some sort of god and I would require omniscience to disprove it. However the Christian religion makes specific claims which have been proven false so it has been falsified. People can of course choose to believe as you do through faith alone but believing something does not make it true.

I really did hope I could force myself to believe, it would have explained some of the things I find puzzling about humanity. However I may have accomplished that anyway. You have explained very clearly how you believe and what faith is to you. That answers my questions nearly as well as personal experience could have. It explains why perception and evidence are not persuasive to believers, it explains why believers can excuse and justify even the strangest and most paradoxical aspects of their faith, and it explains why believers will kill and die for their faith and do any other thing they thionk their god commands. It explains Jonestown, and Waco, and the LDS cults. It explains the people who let their children die rather than going to the doctor. It explains why people will starve and lose their homes from poverty while writing huge checks to a televangelists ministry. It explains why a wife who has been beaten and raped by her husband will take him back when a pastor tells her she should.

Noe I don't mean you are the same as these people. Faith in your life seems to be good and beneficial and I am not equating you with these kooks and cranks. However the conviction without evidence and the belief that god can do no wrong and the unwavering devotion to that god and the belief you know its will are the same. Though they are good for you they are bad for others. You may believe that the sorts of people I listed are wrong and not doing the true will of god, but they would say the same about you, they have faith and conviction just as you do. The mother who allows the cult leader to rape her young daughter, the Muslim who blows himself up in a day care center, the father who watches and prays while his daughter die slowly from an easily cured illness rather than see a doctor, are all fully convinced by faith that they know gods will and that they are doing what god wishes. If you can explain in some objective way how what you know is true through faith is more real than what they know is true through faith, please do so and I will be thrilled to hear it, but so far you have not.

Ryk said...

Tracy

As to the love and compassion you feel they are a testament to you as a good person. They are touching to me and I value them, however they only speak about you and your belief. They do not make your belief true. What you are saying essentially is that.

1. You believe something.
2. Part of what you believe is that bad things will happen to me if I don't believe.
3. You badly want bad things not to happen.
4. You invest emotion and effort in to making me believe.

There is nothing in there that demonstrates that what you believe is true, only that you believe it.

As to anyone else reaching out as intensely who is not a Christian, I can attest to Mormons and Jehovas Witnesses who have but both groups consider themselves Christian. I knew a witch who tried very hard to convince me to practice witchcraft with her but she did not claim such an emotional investment in the task. She loved me but was not committed to converting me in the way you are.

That leads me to my point, there is no reason to believe that not being evangelical makes a faith less true than an evangelical one. Proselytizing and conversion are doctrines of your faith not proofs of it. For many religions they would not be emotionally invested in converting someone because their faith does not make an issue of it. It is not because they are less loving, just that sharing their religion is not an automatic requirement of love as it is for you.

Much like many Christians claim that their faith is true because it is the only one that has an innocent man die for the sins of mankind. That is not a proof it is a doctrine, other faiths don't have such a doctrine but that doesn't make them less true. Other religions don't all have a concept of sin that would need forgiven, others have different means by which sin would be forgiven. For some and I think Leigh would back me up, killing an innocent as payment for the crimes of the guilty would be considered horrible.

So I value you as a person, I am touched that you care, and I believe that says great things about you and even says pleasant things about your religion, but it does not make your religion true.

Tracy Wagman said...

These kooks and cranks truly break my heart. But then so do you. Those people were in cults, deceived!

If you haven't read my post on, 'Beware of Deception' please do. Above the tacklebox on my sidebar. This is what I seriously practice to be in the truth.

I don't think you are failing. I think you are seeking for answers and that takes time. I think you have a measure of faith. God meets us where we're at. He will show you what hindrances are there and what you need to do. I think God began a good work in you long ago and He will be faithful to complete it.

I'm afraid that you will give up seeking God, resort to your old conclusions and have something more to write about here on this blog, or other blogs. Is that what this all comes down to something more to affirm atheism to you. You said
athism can't be proved. Is that
what you choose to hold onto. You've also said that you don't know that you will just non exist after death and that you can't prove that either. Is atheism that solid to you b/c to me is seems like sinking sand.

Your question about answering in an objective way...What have you done with all that I've already said? Will anything be acceptable for you? I'm not trying to be rude here. I'm trying to understand. Is is like you need a list of things proven to you first? You're a mystery to me.

Tracy Wagman said...

Do you see how I am puzzled? If it comes down to proof for you... then how in the world can you settle for atheism and non existance after death if it can't be proven?

Ryk said...

I don't believe in atheism or non existence after death. There is no need to believe in them. They are in fact simple non belief because nothing else has been demonstrated. Atheism is not a belief it is the absence of belief. God and Existence after death are hypothesis, they must be demonstrated, if they are not then there is no reason to believe them. Atheism on the other hand is not a hypothesis it is simply saying that no alternative has been proven.

It is like I said that something calls a floofinshtoofil exists. You ask that I demonstrate my hypothesis. I do not do so and simply state that it exists and that you have to prove it doesn't. Are you settling for "A-floofinshtoofilism" or are you simply not believing in an unsubstantiated assertion. The same applies to gods or existence after death. I am not settling for atheism. I am simply choosing not to believe in something that has not been proven.

If you do have an objective proof of God I would love to hear it. However I have seen a great many and none have withstood falsification. I fear the list you suggested would be similar to the sort of list that one of my readers JD presents. Which is nothing but a list proving the existence of Christianity and Christians. I don't dispute those. Or perhaps it will be proofs such as Ray Comforts argument from creation, which only prove the existence of the universe and do not imply anything beyond that.

However if you have objective evidence or even convincing objective argument please share them. However subjective arguments based on having faith first are not effective. I have tried having faith without evidence and recieved nothing from it. As I said if your god plays any role in this faith thing then it has failed. If it does not play such a role then faith is simply delusion.

Tracy Wagman said...

I know that you don't beleive in atheism.

Ok then it seems as though you have resolved this and made your conclusions. I guess all that's left now for you is to engage in more discussions and write something about it to bash my God.

I'm sad but who cares it's just an emotion.

Ryk said...

Tracy I am sorry you take it that way and if you are angry or hurt I apologize. I am not intending to write something specifically about this to "Bash your god"

My interest was not an attempt to smear your faith it was serious interest and curiosity about what you said.

I may and probably will say negative things about your god in the future, if you go back through these blog postings there are posts where I have done so. However that is not the purpose of this blog. The purpose is to discuss my life, my philosophy and my feelings. Atheism is part of that and I do discuss it, however it is just a part.

I have come to enjoy discussing things with you and have come to consider you a friend, I hope my not finding faith in your deity does not change that.

At any rate I am off to Hawaii for three weeks and my blog posts are going to be about my island adventures. I will be dependant on hotel Wi-Fi, working long days, and playing hard on my days off, however I will find time to post.

Tracy Wagman said...

I really can't walk away thinking about where your heart is at with any of this. I can't judge that. I shouldn't have said that. I'm sorry Derrick.

I just don't want you to give up seeking. I am pleading with you not to give up. I don't want you to push aside the things I've said to you. I want you to take it to heart, ponder it and seek it out. There are things you must work through to break through this apparent wall between you and God.

I understand that I can't control you or be pushy.( I hope I'm not coming off that way.) If I could body slam you into this or jump on your back and shake you into this I would but, I can't make it happen. I have had someone try this with me... doesn't work. :)

I am just so passionate with you because you strike as the sort of person that would get to the bottom of this and not lean on your own conclusions, or go back to what you've already had. Why? b/c you've already done that with all these gods and religions. You like a good challenge, a new adventure don't you?

I need to have a take it or leave it attitude. I give it my all when I witness or in whatever God thing I do. My all! I am prone to take it personally. And in your case- well your one for the textbooks. I'm broken and spent and my husband wonders if we're having an affair. But he knows and trusts that I'm passionate about salvation action and that's what I'm in this for.

For whatever it's worth, I'm not givng up on you. I consider you my friend and that's more important to me than words can convey. I have never had a friend that opposed God so vehemently. I always steered clear of people like that. My interest in you, is because God is intersted in you. So put that in you pipe and smoke it. Ok don't smoke, but you know what I mean.

I have learned so much from you, although I don't agree with you. You have asked some tough questions. I intend to get to the bottom of those questions and your accusations against God for myself, but more for an answer for you. In the hopes that it would help you understand and come to terms with this.

Have a safe and wonderful trip to Hawaii. Post some pics of the ocean for me. Your blog needs some color. Blue or green. I'd like to design your blog for you. LOL

Tracy Wagman said...

You get to go to Hawaii and I get to go to a Hawaii themed party today. I'd rather go to Hawaii.

Ryk said...

Thanks Tracy. I have not given up "seeking" I have been doing so for 27 years and see no reason to stop now. Jowever at this time I am not finding.

It is funny about your husband, I am glad he trusts you. My wife trusts me as well. To the point where if I weren't really worthy of it I cvould take advantage of it terribly.

On my job there are a number of young girls in their early twenties who have attatched themselves to me, as friends. I am always talking about things they said or did. I have a number of young male friends as well but that wouldn't be an issue. Another woman could easily suspect unfaithfulness but my wife knows me well and realizes that my interest is fatherly not lecherly.

My favorite of these girls is my travel partner, she lives in my town and we spend a lot of time on the road together. She is twenty two and a very pretty young lady. I talk about her a lot. When discussing my Hawaii plans, I mentioned a day trip I wanted to take with snorkeling and catamaran, and fishing etc. I said to my wife that I wished she were coming to Hawaii so we could take that day trip together. She just said "Well maybe you can take "Jenny" then you will have a friend to share it with." At first I thought that sounded like a barb but I quickly realized that she was absolutely serious in wanting me to take my friend so I can enjoy it with her.

I really feel humbled by her trust. I am worthy of it, having been faithful to her for thirteen years since we first started dating. Yet I don't know if I could be so generous and loving if she were taking a trip with a handsome young man. My sweetheart truly is an angel and I could never betray her, in thought or deed.

I am going to try to find the answers to some of your questions. At this time the only answers I am getting are atheistic ones,but as I have said atheism is a default position because nothing else has been proven. This makes it a very open minded philosophy because it is subject to change if something else is proven.

Enjoy your party.
Sincerely
Ryk

Tracy Wagman said...

How old are you? If it's ok to ask.

My husband is the one that interacts with all the lady teachers at school and travels to different homes to give private lessons. Trusting is a difficult thing for me. I never struggled with it insofar as his job though.
Which is good b/c he would probably be unemployed.

We actually had a guy that I dated that helped me convert to Christainity over for our annual Christmas Eve Party. He was alright with that.

I could never do that with his former love interests. That's where I draw the line.

I could always tell that you adored your wife. And kids. I admire that.

Ryk said...

I am 40 actually just about exactly 40 and a half. It is odd being this age. I still feel and act young. My musical tastes are modern, I am active and adventurous. I still feel bullet proof and immortal. I fit in better with the younger people at work than I do with my peers.

I am starting to feel my age a bit though. At 39 I was in amazing shape. I was at a good weight, all of my vitals, heart rate, cholesteral, blood pressure and such were just excellent. My doctor said I had the health of a thirty year old. This year I quit smoking back in January, right after my birthday. My health went down hill. I am up about thirty pounds, my blood pressure and cholesteral spiked and I had to start taking medicine, my running endurance has dropped. I thought quitting tobbacco was supposed to make me healthier. I am getting it under control, my weight is dropping back down and I exercise a lot. Hopefully I will be off the meds before I am forty one. I am not too worried, but getting suddenly hit with the rigors of age has been an eye opener. It has made me want to do more of the things I want to do with my wife and kids. It makes me want to spend more time with my friends and speed up the timetable on some of my projects. I do not fear death but I love life and I think I need to start living it harder. It is after all close halfway over.

Tracy Wagman said...

I will be 42, Sept. 17. Shhh! Don't tell anyone. LOL Like that's possible on a public blog. Some days I feel old and others, like today, I feel like a spring chicken.

I like oldies. I'm a 70's girl. Check my blog when you get a chance. I don't know if it registerd my new post yet. If it did, you'll know what I'm talking about.

Tracy Wagman said...

I thought of a trip I'd go on with you. To Ohio at the Creation Museum. :)

Ryk said...

I would enjoy the creation museum. I am really not sure they would enjoy me though. PZ MEyers is currently in the process of taking an expedition of atheists to visit with biologists leading the tour groups. I understand the museum staff is a bit nervous.

Ryk said...

That is funny, in my mind I pictured you as very young. I knew that wasn't the case with you having two kids and such but it was the impression that stuck. It is a bit amusing that you are actually my generation.

My best friend is turning 40 this year on Sep. 11 and I have a friend at work who is 45 but otherwise most of my friends and loved ones are younger.

My other two close male friends are 34 and 36, my wife is 34 as is my close female friend, my sister is 36 and my work friends are mostly early twenties. I am accustomed to being the old guy. I often make jokes and references that fly right over the heads of most people I hang out with, when they look confused I just say "it's an eighties thing, you wouldn't remember" or in one case "you weren't born yet" which cracks me up.

I am actually pretty comfy with my role as the old guy, my age suits me. I do however miss the strength and endurance of my twenties.

jcdisciple said...

Ryk,

I would still like to know "WHY" you think it is that you are drawn to discovering the Truth about Christ in the first place?

Tracy Wagman said...

Who is PZ Meyers?

Why did you get the impression that I was very young? Is that good or bad? Just wondering.

Most of my friends are my age or a couple years younger.. I get along with anybody though.

Ryk said...

@Tracy

PZ is a somewhat notorious atheist blogger and noted biology proffessor.

I would say thinking you were young is good, it certainly wasn't meant as bad. As to why I don't know, just an impression that stuck.

@JCdisciple. I dunno, I don't think it is about discovering the truth about Christ or any other particular religion, I think it is about discovering the truth about re]ligious conviction in general. I found it troubling when I was young and it has elicited varying degrees of interest from me throughout the rest of my life.

JD Curtis said...

Tracy,

I admire your persistance, however the intellectual dishonesty displayed by someone who states without condition that..

A. God tortures people while providing no evidence to support such a statement and..
B. Doesnt make mention of the fact that we on this earth are warned well in advance of impending spiritual death and
C. Calls God evil even though He sent his Son to take his (and all of our) rightful place in hell so that suffering would be avoided

Cannot be thought of as anything else than a dodgy, lying, bitchy crybaby whose only arguement boils down to an emotional plea whose basis is....

Whaaaahh!

God does not fit my worldview and thus he does not exist!

Whaaaahh!

Anders said...

You write:".. of the old testament is an easy mark, clearly a wicked, petty, tantrum throwing, weasel"


The Creator described in Tanakh is not evil.
To state an absolute moral – for example that a person is evil - without stating a Creator is illogical. No Creator implies no absolute moral.
See the latest blog post at bloganders.blogspot.com

To prove the existence of a Creator and that Torah is the instructions of the Creator is done here:www.netzarim.co.il ; click at ”Christians”

Anders Branderud

Ryk said...

JD I have tried to be nice to you assuming that you were actually trying to have a discussion and that you were just a bit stupid and couldn't understand what I was saying. I answered all of your mindless little questions perfectly and got nothing but semantic games in return.

While I was willing to be patient with someone who was interested but unintelligent I am not willing to put up with an ignorant fundytard piece of human garbage who can't win with his childish little semantic games so he resorts to name calling.

You are no longer welcome here so take a hike you useless stinking fucktard bitch.

Ryk said...

Tracy, I apologize for my language towards JD but I have a firm policy of reciprocal treatment. Those who are civil can expect civility those who call names can expect that in return. You asked once why I thought you were different from other Christians, well part of that is the contrast between you and JD. That one is pretty typical of the sort of troll that creationists and evangelicals typically are and why I ignore them. You and certain friends of mine are better than that and worthy of having a dialogue with.

Ryk said...

Anders.... argument from morality?..check. Been there refuted that.

JD Curtis said...

I answered all of your mindless little questions perfectly and got nothing but semantic games in return.

Must have missed it then. Evidence please that God is a torturer.

I answered all of your mindless little questions perfectly and got nothing but semantic games in return.

No, if I'm not mistaken, we left off with you changing the meaning of "God tortures people" to "demons torture people". God simply

A. Judges mankind
B. Tells how judgement can be avoided and..
C. Provided his only Son to take your (our) place.

Are we caught up to date? If not, please inform me where I'm mistaken.

Ryk said...

JD what part of fuck off are you not getting. I am done playing your ignorant preschool bullshit. You are a retarded fucking troll and I want you gone. So take your mindless opinions, your semantic games and your worthless attitude and shove them straight up your bitch ass so far that they come right out of your snarky whining mouth all over again.

Tracy Wagman said...

Ryk,

Thank you for considering me.

The message at my church this past Sunday had to do with atheism. I thought of you, infact so did my friends. You should've been there. Have you watched Expelled?

Tracy Wagman said...

Ryk,
I was thinking you could go to the Creation Museum in silence. :)