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. . . we are told, that he "gave his only begotten son" to be tortured and crucified on our "behalf."

If God existed, and wanted me to believe in his goodness, and had he bothered to ask, I would have told him:

"God, if you want me to believe that you're a god of love, a good place to start would be to refrain from ever making anyone available to torture and death on my behalf. I do not regard torturing and killing others -- ANY OTHERS -- EVEN YOURSELF -- EVEN YOUR OWN CHILD -- WORSE YOUR OWN CHILD -- to be an exhibition of love."

The notion that God allowed his own child to be tortured for us reminds me uncomfortably of that Hinckley chap who tried to kill President Reagan to impress Jodie Foster.

The story of the "sacrifice" God made "for mankind" by allowing his son to be tortured and killed to "save us from our sins" is the central feature of Christianity. It is the entire point of Christianity. It is the point of the Christmas story and the point of the Easter story. It is the inescapable assertion of scripture, and it is only of the most immoral stories ever told.

That anyone should wish to "profit" -- even by the "gift" of salvation from hell and eternal life -- from the torture of another is, in my opinion, deeply wicked. In agreeing to "profit" from such an act, one tacitly endorses the act. The "saved" have essentially agreed that the suffering inflicted on Jesus was God's "way" of showing his "love" for mankind.

If the most powerful expression of God's "love" is thought to be an act of such abject cruelty, how is any thinking, feeling person supposed to reconcile the obvious disconnect between "love" and "torture?"

I cannot understand how people can get beyond the inherent evil of the story of God's supposedly most compelling expression of his "love."

SLL
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"If you love someone, set them free."

- Sting

:-)Charlie
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The story of the "sacrifice" God made "for mankind" by allowing his son to be tortured and killed to "save us from our sins" is the central feature of Christianity. It is the entire point of Christianity. It is the point of the Christmas story and the point of the Easter story. It is the inescapable assertion of scripture, and it is only of the most immoral stories ever told.

That would be the case if God created a person for the purpose of torturing him. That would not be the case if Jesus himself had always existed, was himself God, and did what he did knowingly and willingly.

"I lay down my life–only to take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again." John 10: 17-18

Andrea
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That would be the case if God created a person for the purpose of torturing him. That would not be the case if Jesus himself had always existed, was himself God, and did what he did knowingly and willingly.

"I lay down my life–only to take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again." John 10: 17-18


No, Andrea. It doesn't matter how you choose to interpret the Trinity.

Whether God/Jesus tortured HIMSELF or SOMEONE else isn't the point.

The point is that God/Jesus did an evil thing -- torture -- purportedly on our behalf. A thing, by the way, which God/Jesus claimed was "necessary" if mankind weren't to be damned in its entirety to hell for all eternity. That is, God/Jesus tortured God/Jesus so that we could believe that this "sacrifice" saved us from the punishment for being human that God/Jesus inflicted in the first place.

Why do I bother?

God/Jesus/whoever is bloodthirsty, condemning humans to eternal suffering -- according to the Bible -- and "saving" them with an act of torture and death.

I would much rather have had him prove his "love" in some more "loving" way -- if he existed at all, which, thankfully, we have no reason to suppose he does.

SLL
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"I lay down my life–only to take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again." John 10: 17-18

Ooooo...sorry, side thought. So how does this apply to end of life decisions? Say I want to die to prevent suffering...why is it suicide for me, but not for 1/3rd of a god thing?

Buffy (who just wonders...)
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That would not be the case if Jesus himself had always existed, was himself God, and did what he did knowingly and willingly.

No matter how you slice it, the torture, suffering and death of Jesus are all presented as good, or at least necessary, things by the Bible and Christian doctrine. What you never seem to be able to address is: why? We all know and agree that we shouldn't torture each other or ourselves. So why was torture and suffering necessary?

You've alluded before to some kind of metaphysical pathway that this suffering created, that this was a requirement God had to fulfill to get around his own physical laws. One wonders: why do you pledge your allegiance to something that requires suffering?

I once asked you sarcastically if the Flood actually did what it was supposed to do. It seems quite evident that it has not. People are still good and evil, loving and cruel, tribal and visionary. So now I'm thinking, this was the second attempt by God to get it right, instead of through physics, through metaphysics, and it hasn't worked either.

This entity you worship just doesn't seem very effective.
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That would be the case if God created a person for the purpose of torturing him. That would not be the case if Jesus himself had always existed, was himself God, and did what he did knowingly and willingly.
-----

This makes my brain hurt worse than my legs.






Rich
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That would not be the case if Jesus himself had always existed, was himself God

Then who was he talking to?

And how did he impregnate his own mother with himself?
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Re: The Redemption: God submits to torture by Man, in order to make Man lovable to Himself

If I wronged you and you tortured yourself for me, would you forgive me?

If my ancestor Adam wronged you and you tortured yourself for me, would I become lovable?

I would like some informed Christian to explain how this works.
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And how did he impregnate his own mother with himself?

No wonder Kentuckians have been trying to reproduce that effort for so long.

6
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I would like some informed Christian to explain how this works.

It doesn't work, at least the way you have set it up. Try this:

Re: The Redemption: God submits to torture by Man, in order to make Man lovable to Himself

The Redemption: Jesus offered himself, to pay the penalty (which I couldn't pay) for me (who broke God's law), to restore my relationship to God (who loved me, but couldn't justly relate to a lawbreaker).

If I wronged you and you tortured yourself for me, would you forgive me?

Simple analogy: If I were a traffic court judge, and you were before my court, and my son said he'd pay your fine, then yes, I'd let him. Doesn't matter ultimately where the cash comes from.

If my ancestor Adam wronged you and you tortured yourself for me, would I become lovable?

There is a symmetry here. One man sins, brings death penalty on himself and his descendants; One man dies, pays penalty for all man and gives life.

People like to take a couple aspects (attributes) of God and try to fit them together (like love and judgement), and don't like what they see. But it's not that simple.

I don't want to get into a long discussion here. Take it to another board and I'd be happy to discuss it with you. Even if you don't buy it, understanding the concepts accurately is better than arguing from misunderstanding.

Bryan
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And not to be stupid but as a moderately nonreligious person who was raised Jewish, I always have the questions:

1. If he's God, why couldn't he beget more sons? Surely having only one of anything is meaningless if you are an all-powerful God, right?

2. Heck, aren't we all sons and daughters of God - even according to the Bible? How does it become so magical and special to be the son of God when every man on the planet can claim the same?

Not to insult ANYONE but just these 2 questions make Christianity somewhat ridiculous to me. [It could be my own ignorance.]

Just a couple of questions related (somewhat) to your post . . .

MitsouR
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<<
Simple analogy: If I were a traffic court judge, and you were before my court, and my son said he'd pay your fine, then yes, I'd let him. Doesn't matter ultimately where the cash comes from.
>>

You mean oversimple analogy. If God works this way then She is unjust.

In general, you restated the problem of the Redemption using 10 times as many words, but the illogic and injustice remain as powerful as before, just not as obvious.
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There is a symmetry here. One man sins, brings death penalty on himself and his descendants; One man dies, pays penalty for all man and gives life.

Except that justice doesn't work this way.

If a guy murders your family, and then the judge says "Don't worry, I'll get executed in this guy's place!" is that a positive step in your mind?

I suppose it really depends on whether the point of justice to you is vengeance or prevention. If it's vengeance, a very twisted mind MIGHT feel better about the judge getting killed for a crime he didn't commit. But I don't see why.

If it's prevention, then there is absolutely no point to the judge's sacrifice. The real killer might or might not kill again unless he is executed himself. Either way, the judge's death is irrelevant.
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Hello

All I can say at this small space is you have no idea of the concept of Holy Trinity. "The Son" does not translate into "child".

If there is God with infinite power ( which I belive to be true) God is the Law, just like king is the Law in a kingdom. So whatever the King decides people obey. Same here. You are judging with your limited understang of something infinite. And you are reasoning that, just because God did not think the way you think, God is wrong.

A simple example is if a man tell his wife now that he is going to marry a second time, his wife will be so mad. But in many societies
woman would love to have another one as husband's wife. ( I was surprised). Why ? That is the differance in the culture they are brought up.

Again, 2B people on earth believe on God not because they are stupid.
There is a reason. That is salvation. I believe our life will not end here. Can you prove that it will end here?

regards


giml



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"A simple example is if a man tell his wife now that he is going to marry a second time, his wife will be so mad. But in many societies
woman would love to have another one as husband's wife. ( I was surprised). Why ? That is the differance in the culture they are brought up."

To continue your analogy, our "atheist culture" believes that the Christian god and the holy trinity are falsehoods. You aren't expected to understand why we think the way we do.

"If there is God with infinite power ( which I belive to be true) "

You've identified the difference between you and atheists. We believe what we see and what we think is within the grasp of our finite minds. Theists, for some reason that we don't quite understand, want to believe in something that they admittedly can't comprehend. Despite this admitted incomprehension, they will claim to have understanding of god when they state that:

Abortion is a sin.
Contraception is a sin.
in vitro fertilization is a sin.
Embryonic stem cell research is a sin.
Gay marriage is a sin.
Atheists will go to hell.

The list can go on, but you have the idea.

Bob

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And not to be stupid but as a moderately nonreligious person who was raised Jewish, I always have the questions:

1. If he's God, why couldn't he beget more sons? Surely having only one of anything is meaningless if you are an all-powerful God, right?

2. Heck, aren't we all sons and daughters of God - even according to the Bible? How does it become so magical and special to be the son of God when every man on the planet can claim the same?

Not to insult ANYONE but just these 2 questions make Christianity somewhat ridiculous to me. [It could be my own ignorance.]


MitsouR,

Good questions. I can't see why anyone would be insulted by someone asking honest questions.

Yes, we are all God's children, as you stated. But the way in which we, created humans, are children is different than the way Jesus is a son. We are more like adopted children according to the N.T., or spiritual children of God. It's an analogy from human family relationships.

This is where the concept of the Trinity comes in. God, according to Christian theology, is "One what, and three whos". That is, God is not a unitary being made up of one person like we are, but rather is three persons, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, in one being. Jesus, the Son, was not "created" like we are, but existed with the others from eternity. "Only Begotten Son" is not a meaningful translation in today's everday English; "Unique" probably better captures the meaning, while "Son" is used loosely (doesn't imply physical offspring).

So God didn't "make a son" as you say, rather Jesus exists as the second person of the Trinity and was not created.

When Jesus was talking with the Jewish religious leaders one day, they were arguing over Abraham. Jesus made a comment that angered the Jews, as if he had met Abraham or something. "You are not yet fifty years old,and you have seen Abraham!” And then Jesus really pi$$ed them off and said, "Before Abraham was, I am!" (the same phrase God had used of himself with Moses). They tried to stone him for claiming equality with God.

"Son of God" is sort of like a title; the N.T. uses "Son of Man" (reference to Daniel's term), "Christ" (from Heb. 'Messiah')

Bryan

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I cannot understand how people can get beyond the inherent evil of the story of God's supposedly most compelling expression of his "love."


Because it automatically let's them off the hook. It's Christianty's safety valve - even if you've been rilly rilly bad, there's still hope because Jesus walked the walk. Without it, Christians who sinned, wouldn't have a carrot to keep them on the straight and narrow.

Carrot and Stick method. That's all Christianity is.

Ahote
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Except that justice doesn't work this way.

Humanly speaking, you are correct. And my traffic fine analogy is a poor comparison. In a criminal case, no judge is going to let anyone do the time except the one who committed the crime. It wouldn't be justice.

I suppose it really depends on whether the point of justice to you is vengeance or prevention.

When a federal judge hands down a sentence, is it revenge or prevention? It might have a preventative effect, but the purpose is to satisfy the requirements of the law. You break the law, you pay the price.

The scenario that God set up is similar. He made us to have the capacity to freely love and obey him. But he claims the right to establish the ground rules for relating to him. But he freely allows you to say "No, way, I'm not playing by those rules". He told Adam that the penalty for breaking the law was death. Adam had the freedom to obey or disobey. You can hardly say God was being too restrictive, one little rule. But Satan was able to get them to question whether God was really going to follow through with the penalty. "God said we must not eat the fruit, or we will die". "You will surely not die . . . when you eat of it . . . you will be like God". An appeal to their pride as well.

So the penalty for sin is death, and since we've all sinned, we all are under that penalty. Bad for us. In fact, we have no way to pay the fine other than with our life. We have nothing else. But God is supposed to love us, right? It is in Jesus's death that God's justice (has to punish sin) and his love (doesn't want us to be separated) are brought together. Jesus never sinned, so did not fall under the penalty. God decided that he would accept Jesus' death as satisfaction of the penalty.

So in sense, God decided the rules, the penalty, and he also decided what would satisfy that penalty. You don't break the rules, you got no problem. You break the rules, you either pay up yourself, or let Jesus pay for you. I don't see why that's not being fair. You have the choice, life or death. You freely choose which it is.

This is not the only way Jesus's death has been described. It has also been compared to a ransom paid to free someone; when we sin, we become Satan's property. Jesus' buys us back with his death.

This is a difficult concept. Theologians have been debating for 2000 years exaclty how this works, and how to understand what happens. I'm sure there are better ways to explain it, but that's what I've got today.

Bryan
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You mean oversimple analogy. If God works this way then She is unjust.

In general, you restated the problem of the Redemption using 10 times as many words, but the illogic and injustice remain as powerful as before, just not as obvious.


Mike,

Yes, grossly over simplified, you are right. But it does establish the precedence in law for one person to pay another's penalty. See my response to Kazim.

Bryan
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God decided that he would accept Jesus' death as satisfaction of the penalty.

It had to kill itself to make itself happy?


This is a difficult concept. Theologians have been debating for 2000 years exaclty how this works, and how to understand what happens.

They should have thought that all out when they made it up.
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"This is a difficult concept. Theologians have been debating for 2000 years exaclty how this works, and how to understand what happens. I'm sure there are better ways to explain it, but that's what I've got today."

When do the theologians expect to get it right? The trinity is the most fundamental precept of Christianity, and one of the most obscure. People have got kilt for having the wrong understanding of the nature of Jesus - Cathars, Arians, Nestorians, Monophysites. Christians have persecuted eachother for not "getting it right", because god won't send a note or give a phone call to set the record straight. God does work in such strange and cruel ways.

Bob
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The trinity is the most fundamental precept of Christianity, and one of the most obscure.

I think you're right. Despite Bryan's valiant attempt to explain it to me, I am more confused about it than before. Others who have explained it to me haven't succeeded either. One friend told me (years ago) that the Trinity was "the beautiful mystery of Christianity." I found that a simple way for her to say that she didn't really understand it and no one else did either.

Why would God be 3 anyway, when the Old Testament [FWIW] takes great pains to explain - over and over again (the fundamental tenet of Judaism) that God is ONE!? One God but, per the New Testament, in three slices or parts or separable yet inseparable parts?

Plus "son" of God - whether like a regular son or not - is clearly junior to the Father. There is no way anyone called "son" isn't in some way inferior or junior to the one called "father." Is this part of the standard explanation?

It may be beautiful to some but it seems like an indecipherable mystery to me({and I often wonder why so many people find it compelling).

Regards,
MitsouR [more an agnostic than an atheist and hoping that doesn't disqualify me from posting here.]
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Plus "son" of God - whether like a regular son or not - is clearly junior to the Father. There is no way anyone called "son" isn't in some way inferior or junior to the one called "father." Is this part of the standard explanation?

And now he sits on his own right hand.
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MitsouR [more an agnostic than an atheist and hoping that doesn't disqualify me from posting here.

Naw. They even let pagans post here.

Moonglade
(resident drag-racing pagan)
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MitsouR,

More good questions. I'm sure I'm wearing out my welcome here by answering, so apologies to those who are bored . . .

Why would God be 3 anyway, when the Old Testament [FWIW] takes great pains to explain - over and over again (the fundamental tenet of Judaism) that God is ONE!?

Christians affirm this as well, ONE God. If Jesus never came, our understanding of God probably would still be there with Judaism. But we've got to figure out how he fits in, thus the efforts at understanding it.

The O.T. hints at the trinity, or at least plurality in some sense. Take Genesis 1:26 "Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, in our likeness". Who's the "us" and "our" here? Plural pronouns or verbs are used of God in Gen. 3.22, 11.7; Isaiah 6.8 as well.

The Angel of Yahweh is sometimes equated with God, sometimes distinguished from God (Gen. 16.7-13; 18.1-21; Malachi 3.1), possibly pointing to personal distinctions.

Other passages that point to personal distinctions in God:
Gen 19.24; Hosea 1.7 (the Lord is distinguished from the Lord);
Isaiah 59.20 (The Redeemer [who is divine] is distinguished from the Lord);
Isaiah 48.16; 59.21; 63.9-10 (The Spirit is distinguished from the Lord)

Someone once said, if God was just a single being with a single person, who did he love before he created anything/anyone? What sense does it make to say God is love if there is not object of that love? The concept of the trinity resolves that to some extent.

But to me the O.T. just gives hints that suggest Persons within God. The N.T. gives more suggestions and a little more material to work with in figuring out what God is.

Plus "son" of God - whether like a regular son or not - is clearly junior to the Father. There is no way anyone

You are correct. But Christian theology says it is a positional "juniorness", not lesser in substance or divinity. Jesus was obedient to the Father, and carried out the Father's will on earth; in turn, Jesus "sends" the Spirit. There are clearly some lines of authority or something to that effect.

I found that a simple way for her to say that she didn't really understand it and no one else did either.

I think anyone honest must come to the same conclusion. String theory posits 10 or 11 dimensions of space and time. How many people really can conceptualize that? The trinity is beyond our ability to understand or describe in a way that is 100% accurate, more so than any theory of physics.

Bryan



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I think anyone honest must come to the same conclusion. String theory posits 10 or 11 dimensions of space and time. How many people really can conceptualize that? The trinity is beyond our ability to understand or describe in a way that is 100% accurate, more so than any theory of physics.

Bryan


Where are the equations that describe the behavior of the Trinity ?

g2w


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String theory posits 10 or 11 dimensions of space and time. How many people really can conceptualize that? The trinity is beyond our ability to understand or describe in a way that is 100% accurate, more so than any theory of physics.

But the Trinity doesn't explain anything or serve any purpose, except to attempt to dig out of a theological hole with a bigger shovel.
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Where are the equations that describe the behavior of the Trinity ?

g2w


In the mind of God.

Bryan
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But the Trinity doesn't explain anything or serve any purpose, except to attempt to dig out of a theological hole with a bigger shovel.

I like your analogy. If you want to think of Christianity as one huge hole full of stuff, then the Trinity is useful to try to make sense of how some of the stuff relates to other stuff in the hole.

But to some it's all just stuff.

One way to look at it, is that Christianity is partly comprised of beliefs/doctrines that define what it is, and what it is not. The doctrine of the Trinity is useful in distinguishing between what is Christian, and what is not Christian. Once defined, it can be used as a filter. For example, is Islam Christian? No, the Muslim god is in no way a triune being.

But the most important part of Christianity is not doctrine, but relationship. Jesus called people to believe in him, and be part of God's kingdom, not to memorize a bunch of theology books.
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MitsouR [more an agnostic than an atheist and hoping that doesn't disqualify me from posting here.

///////
Naw. They even let pagans post here.


in the same sense they 'let' anyone post here --
the MF rules don't let them exclude anyone


-=
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String theory posits 10 or 11 dimensions of space and time. How many people really can conceptualize that? The trinity is beyond our ability to understand or describe in a way that is 100% accurate, more so than any theory of physics.

And so...to recap. Because something is too hard for Bryan to understand, it must be true. And the use of an elegant, tho unproven, theory bolsters his inelegant, and apparently unprovable, belief system. Since he can't understand either of them, they must both be true.

God, who is hold up someplace in ever receding gaps, has revealed himself to Bryan in one, and only one, historically inaccurate, poorly thought out, and oft times self contradictory, book. He knows that that book is the right book because it says it is in that book.

He also knows it because string theory might be true. Of course, if it is, it might prove that god doesn't exist. Which would just bolster Bryan's belief all the more.

The less evidence one has of something, the more one must believe in it. And anything it implies, like, say, the trinity, must be defended with whatever tortured logic is available.

That's the very essence of faith.

l1soul (Who, like Carlin, prays to Joe Pesci. Joe just seems like the kind of guy who can get things done.)
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Ogrecat,
Something a computer programer might appreciate:

http://chi.gospelcom.net/DAILYF/2003/11/daily-11-23-2003.shtml

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And so...to recap.

Not very flattering the way you analyze me. I thought I'd come across better than that.

Because something is too hard for Bryan to understand, it must be true. And the use of an elegant, tho unproven, theory bolsters his inelegant, and apparently unprovable, belief system. Since he can't understand either of them, they must both be true.

My point was the opposite: just because something is hard to understand, it is not immediately false. Not immediately true either.

God . . . has revealed himself to Bryan in one, and only one, historically inaccurate, poorly thought out, and oft times self contradictory, book. He knows that that book is the right book because it says it is in that book.

That logic satisfied me as a child. I found it lacking as an adult.

Say hi to Joe for me.

Bryan




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My point was the opposite: just because something is hard to understand, it is not immediately false. Not immediately true either.

If that were your point, your conclusion would not have been 'the trinity does make sense'. It would have been 'we don't know anything about the trinity if it exists at all'. The proper answer to 'is this thing that you don't understand true or false?' is 'I don't know.'

That logic satisfied me as a child. I found it lacking as an adult.

Me too. Odd, how that worked. When I found that the bible was senseless twaddle I decided not to embrace it.

l1soul.
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Again, 2B people on earth believe on God not because they are stupid.
-----
No, it's because they refuse to actually examine their beliefs.



There is a reason. That is salvation.
-----
No, only the hope of salvation, based on a myth.



I believe our life will not end here. Can you prove that it will end here?
regards
giml
-----
Can you prove it won't?

Believe what you will, but stop imposing your beliefs on me!






Rich
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I believe our life will not end here. Can you prove that it will end here?
regards
giml
-----
Can you prove it won't?


... no Silicon Heaven? Preposterous! where would all the calculators go?

http://www.simon-turner.co.uk/reddwarf/scripts/lastday.html

l1soul (Red Dwarf fan)
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MitsouR [more an agnostic than an atheist and hoping that doesn't disqualify me from posting here.

Naw. They even let pagans post here.
Moonglade
(resident drag-racing pagan)

-----

Buddhists too!




Rich
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Except that justice doesn't work this way.

Humanly speaking, you are correct.


Then, humanly speaking, God (if he existed) must be unjust. So clearly God's justice would be wrong for humans.

When a federal judge hands down a sentence, is it revenge or prevention? It might have a preventative effect, but the purpose is to satisfy the requirements of the law. You break the law, you pay the price.

The whole point of having laws is to prevent crimes. There is absolutely no other reason. A civilized society does not want crimes to occur in the first place. Laws prevent crimes in two ways: by deterring people from committing them in the first place, and by imprisoning, executing, and generally incapacitating people who have showed a propensity for committing crimes. The ONLY reason people need to "pay the price" is that if there were no price, there would be more incentive to commit crimes.

So in sense, God decided the rules, the penalty, and he also decided what would satisfy that penalty.

Could the god have decided on a different set of rules? Suppose the rules it made said that murder, theft and rape are good ideas? Would we still be bound to follow them?
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Could the god have decided on a different set of rules? Suppose the rules it made said that murder, theft and rape are good ideas? Would we still be bound to follow them?

We see some of "god's" rules in nature every day. Mothers killing their offspring if there are too many of them to nurse, or if they are "substandard." Males fighting aggressively over females and killing competing males. Animals withholding food from the weakest of the flock/brood/pride.

As humans we tend not to do these things, or at least we pay lip service to not doing these things. Why would "god" have one set of rules for everything else and a different one for us?
 
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As humans we tend not to do these things, or at least we pay lip service to not doing these things. Why would "god" have one set of rules for everything else and a different one for us?

Because we are made in "his" image and my puppy Belladonna wasn't.

At least this is what I was told when I was a mere tyke.

About the 5th grade I did wonder about the "his" part and me being a girl.

Now if I am to believe my sister in law the tree scientist all mammals are suffered to exist by the Great Tree merely for the purpose of expelling carbon dioxide for the saplings.



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Then, humanly speaking, God (if he existed) must be unjust. So clearly God's justice would be wrong for humans.

I'm certainly no expert in theology. But I can think of several responses to your assertion. One, human justice can only be considered an analogy to God's justice, and if it breaks down at some point, well, that's the nature of analogy, and doesn't imply anything about God's justice.

Second, the "justice" motif in explaining what Jesus did on the cross is only one facet, or way of looking at it. If you look at it as a ransom paid, then that theme is played out in the movies all the time: one life is traded for another (say a father to redeem his daughter from terorists). If one person willingly gives himself up to free another, I don't see the injustice.

Third, God's justice in other cases does seem to fit with your concept of justice. The people that do the crimes (against God) are often depicted as paying the price in the bible. So maybe your statement is true concerning God's justice in the case of Jesus. But that leads to:

Finally, when you judge God's justice by human standards, the question arises: which should take precedence? Why should human understanding of justice trump God's in the case of Jesus' death? Since it clearly is a unique case in history, and since we don't have unlimited insight into the mind of God, a different conclusion than yours may be warranted.

The whole point of having laws is to prevent crimes.

Yes, in human systems of government. But the difference is obvious. Why do parents give rules to their children? Is it simply to prevent crimes? There are many reasons I make rules for my kids. For their safety (Don't stick your finger in that!), to learn to be law-abiding, to learn to respect authority, etc.

Our relationship with God was intended to be parent/child, not judge/criminal. This analogy has limits as well. But a parent doesn't make rules for their children just to boss them around and make life miserable (which seems to be the common complaint here against God)

Could the god have decided on a different set of rules? Suppose the rules it made said that murder, theft and rape are good ideas? Would we still be bound to follow them?

I think the question is moot, since we have the rules we do. If there was a god who made different rules, and said you must follow them or else, and gave you the choice to follow or not, then you'd be in the same position you are now. A choice to not believe in the god in the first place is equvalent to a choice to not follow. And if that god doesn't actually exist, then it doesn't matter what you do. If he does . . .

Bryan
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Why would "god" have one set of rules for everything else and a different one for us?

I assume by "in nature" you mean the animal kingdom. To me, animals don't appear to have the ability to understand externally imposed rules, at least not the full meaning. Dogs can learn not to pee on the carpet, but do they understand "right" from "wrong", or is it just learning to please master? I don't know that you can teach rattlesnakes anything, much less "Don't bite the hand that feeds you".

So I'm not sure how God could give the animal kingdom rules in the same way he does for us.

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