8 of 22
8
“Evil” does not exist?
Posted: 13 August 2013 12:25 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 106 ]
Sr. Member
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  296
Joined  2013-07-25
DarronS - 12 August 2013 07:26 PM

Yet the Christian god commands people to enslave people, commit genocide, stay overnight in whorehouses and bash babies heads against rocks. That is Christian morality. You cannot educate us on the reality of religion because we understand it better than do you.

Rookie mistake.  Just because something is in the bible doesn’t mean God approved of the behavior or commanded it.  There are a lot of good commentaries out there which explain these things.  You could check one out if you want to be knowledgeable about the Christian religion, but these kinds of comments show you barely understand the basics.  The Skeptics Annotated Bible, which comments on one line of the bible at a time, may as well be a commentary on the dictionary.  And evilbible.com isn’t any better.  I suggest finding better sources of material.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 13 August 2013 12:30 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 107 ]
Member
RankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  108
Joined  2013-05-31
Lausten - 13 August 2013 12:18 PM

brmckay - Does it matter how we come up with our “criteria for good”?

Huh?

If you use a completely arbitrary means of defining it, yes it matters. If you come up with something that very few people agree with, it matters. I start from the position that most people are good, so agreement should hold some weight. If it’s a majority opinion, but still lacks a sense of fairness, it matters.

Maybe I’m not understanding the question.

Good enough. Thank you.

Here is another line of thought I was sitting on while we sorted out LilySmith.

Is the question of “Good and Evil” only relevant to humans?

Profile
 
 
Posted: 13 August 2013 12:33 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 108 ]
Sr. Member
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  813
Joined  2009-10-21

You need to grant her the point rather than compounding your error by “inferring” a ton of stuff you want her to have said.

I’ll grant that I am making inferences, and there is no need to continue down that road. I don’t know what LilySmith is thinking, but I think I can be forgiven for making some assumptions based on her claims of being a Christian. What would help is if she clarified what she means by:

actually understand and practice that faith

Now I’m curious what you might consider “a high level of debate”?

A couple possibilities; 1) using logic and theology like the cosmological argument. That would be “high level”, but I wouldn’t get into it since those arguments are elsewhere all over the web.
2) A deeper description of her faith, beyond the 3 or 4 obvious commandments, something that really delineated it as different. At least that would lead to more understanding.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 13 August 2013 12:34 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 109 ]
Sr. Member
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  296
Joined  2013-07-25
brmckay - 13 August 2013 08:55 AM
LilySmith - 12 August 2013 04:48 PM
Occam. - 12 August 2013 04:35 PM

Nah, it’s mainly the dumber criminals who get caught and go to jail, so you’d expect them to be predominantly religious. LOL
Occam

I guess this is an example of an atheist’s respect for others?  The moderator no less.

Yea, I noticed that too.

Have to re-evaluate my opinion.

I decided not to debate you, but consider you a friend instead.  Hope that’s okay.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 13 August 2013 12:39 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 110 ]
Sr. Member
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  813
Joined  2009-10-21

Is the question of “Good and Evil” only relevant to humans?

Not to me. We can learn a lot about our own nature by observing chimps and dolphins. Even natural acts, like a volcano has a sense of “evil” to me. I realize there is some ultimate good to it, or necessary evil, but it is destructive for the most part. And so, sunshine is good, not just because it feels nice, but because it brings life and energy.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 13 August 2013 12:43 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 111 ]
Sr. Member
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  813
Joined  2009-10-21

Just because something is in the bible doesn’t mean God approved of the behavior or commanded it.

So easy to sit back and criticize everyone’s exegesis. Not so easy to sort out the Old Testament laws with the New Testament’s guidance. Peter and Paul couldn’t do it and no one ever has. If you want to say it’s “love and forgive”, that’s great, but we don’t really need Christianity to tell us that.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 13 August 2013 12:53 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 112 ]
Member
RankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  108
Joined  2013-05-31

brmckay - Now I’m curious what you might consider “a high level of debate”?

Lausten - A couple possibilities; 1) using logic and theology like the cosmological argument. That would be “high level”, but I wouldn’t get into it since those arguments are elsewhere all over the web.
2) A deeper description of her faith, beyond the 3 or 4 obvious commandments, something that really delineated it as different. At least that would lead to more understanding.

I call it high level because she has:

1) Not resorted to making inferences that she already has arguments against.
2) Stayed within what I feel is a logically coherent framework.
3) Acknowledged the “unprovability” of Gods existence, and therefore her reliance on “Belief”. (Which I consider more related to “Intuitive Comprehension”.  But that’s another thread.)
4) Demonstrated what I consider a “Zen like” integrity. (I admit that this is VERY subjective.)

What I think you want, is for her to say things that you have been able to “knock down” in other discussions.  In my mind she is demonstrating “Skilfull Means”  and I admire it.

Because she is Christian, does not make her “wrong”.  In fact I am gaining some appreciation of her “path”.

[ Edited: 13 August 2013 12:56 PM by brmckay ]
Profile
 
 
Posted: 13 August 2013 01:02 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 113 ]
Sr. Member
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  296
Joined  2013-07-25
Lausten - 13 August 2013 11:12 AM

No, I’m pointing to the problem of not being able to define what is meant by “Christian”. Beyond, “Christ died on the cross”, it gets pretty difficult. Most Christians don’t know their Bible or their theology. This is a lament often repeated by clergy. People may check a box “Christian”, but time-use studies show not that many are really going to church, again, a well known problem acknowledged by Christian leaders. But, does going to church and reading the Bible really make you Christian? Does following the 10 commandments? What about all the other laws, and which covenant are we under, what miracles do you believe, what powers, what about hell?

For me, any statement of what a Christian is, is meaningless because there are so many different definitions. It’s become another word for “good”, except it has this exclusionary aspect to it. I’d rather just have criteria for “good” and accept that there are degrees of good and evil and that each of us has both.

Christianity has been defined for two thousand years.  It’s in the bible, it’s taught in the letters of the early church fathers, there are countless commentaries both old and new that expound on it, and it continues to be preached in churches today.  The trick is not to follow those who add to the message or subtract from it, and even that is taught in the Scriptures themselves.  The message is still there.  It is that Jesus is the Christ/Messiah/Anointed of God who came to fulfill all that was written about him in the Law, the Prophets and the Psalms.  He brought a new covenant and a new teaching as laid out in the New Testament (Covenant)—the Christian Scriptures.  Christians obey Christ, not the Law of Moses.  They fulfill the Law of Moses by their faith and the new law is the royal law of love.  If you love your brother, you don’t murder him, cheat with his wife, steal from him, etc.  But if your motivation is something other than love, then you have failed to fulfill the righteousness of God.  The new covenant in Christ is entered in by faith—believing in Jesus as the Christ.  The provision given to those who have entered into the new covenant is the ability to do the works of God from a pure heart.  Being made a new creature, the believer then has the hope of being like Christ and receiving eternal life.  That’s the teaching.

As for hell, there are two words and two concepts in the New Testament.  One describes the OT Sheol, which is where the souls of the dead go to await judgment.  Jesus describes this in the Parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus.  The other is Gehenna, and is a place of final judgment at the end of the age—the second death. 

Christianity is not about a person being good as the world describes good.  If it were, the world would love Christians.  But they don’t, because Christianity is about being perfect as God defines perfection, and this often steps on the toes of those who don’t really want to be THAT good.  Example:  Is it really good to kill an unborn child?

Profile
 
 
Posted: 13 August 2013 01:23 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 114 ]
Sr. Member
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  296
Joined  2013-07-25
Lois - 12 August 2013 11:59 AM

When atheists challenge your stated belief they are not stating their belief.  Atheists have no belief to state.  They are rejecting your claim because you have failed to support it. Most atheists don’t say there is no god.

Lois,

I understand this has been the atheist line for some time now, but it’s based on a sleight of hand that people are noticing, even atheists and agnostics themselves.  Philosophically and traditionally, according to Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, atheism has a specific meaning: “‘Atheism’ means the negation of theism, the denial of the existence of God.” Atheism is the belief that no God exists.  It is a belief.  What modern day atheists have attempted to do is redefine the word to include agnostics, children and others with no belief either way, but that’s not the correct meaning of the word.  This incorrect definition also excuses atheists from having to make a case for their belief, as they then insists theists make the case for their belief in God.  There’s an excellent article on this at the Huffington Post, written by an atheist that sees the sleight of hand and seeks to correct it.  His name is Vlad Chituc and he writes:

“Do you think atheism can be right or wrong? Then you can see where I’m coming from. There’s no sense that “lacking a belief in a deity” can ever be true, because it doesn’t make a specific claim. But if we stick with atheism as the belief that God does not exist, then it does. It’s specific, concrete and, most importantly, potentially true or false. It puts something at stake for atheists. Instead of simply saying “there is no evidence for theism, the burden of proof is on them” we have to say ‘here’s what we believe, and here is our evidence.’ It’s what atheists have been doing for centuries, and it’s a cop-out to define away responsibility for our position, just so we can artificially bolster our numbers with vague labels.” 

Here’s a link to the article: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/vlad-chituc/simplifying-our-language_b_2600247.html

Profile
 
 
Posted: 13 August 2013 01:55 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 115 ]
Member
RankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  108
Joined  2013-05-31

LillySmith - I decided not to debate you, but consider you a friend instead.  Hope that’s okay.

Thanks.  Though I may still toss out a point or two now and again.

I have enjoyed the chance to compare vantage points and learned from it.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 13 August 2013 02:17 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 116 ]
Sr. Member
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  813
Joined  2009-10-21

It is that Jesus is the Christ/Messiah/Anointed of God who came to fulfill all that was written about him in the Law, the Prophets and the Psalms.

Thanks for all that. I appreciate that you are not a hard line wacko.  I still don’t think we need something like “the righteousness of God” to tell us that people should not do good things for bad reasons. Nor do I believe that there is one correct version of Christianity. The Bible and the early church fathers include arguments within their texts. This is the beauty of the texts. In this way they DO reveal the spirit of us all, they show the difficulties of attempting to reach the divine or any ideal. But they don’t provide a “message” or a “law” and certainly not a path to eternal life. But I’m not going to continue going on about that.

Nor do I want to get into the stuff about Vlad. I know there are people who say that stuff. They have the same misunderstanding of logical proofs that you do. Just because you found an article, it doesn’t mean you’ve uncovered some trick we’re all doing. What atheists “have been doing for centuries” is responding to millions of shamans, gurus, priests and magicians who say we have to sacrifice a goat, give them some of our crops, burn a witch, sing a certain song or teach a horrible story about drowning everyone to our children. And we say, no, we don’t have to do that, not if you can’t show me a reason why.

More recently, some atheists have been pointing out that if you can get someone to believe one thing with no proof, then you can get them to believe more. Eventually you can lead them just about anywhere you want. I’m not accusing you of anything, but I’m saying it’s something mainstream Christianity needs to address. Atheists have reasons for believing what they do. They have evolution to explain why we are a social animal and why we feel cooperation is good. We have physics to provide theories for how the universe we observe got here. We don’t have all the answers but we have ways of addressing the questions and we’re okay with being wrong and accepting new data. I find it a much more comforting system.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 13 August 2013 03:52 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 117 ]
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  5976
Joined  2009-02-26

I started reading this thread but gave up after the first page.

Let me try a different tack, using logic.
Before we can ask if Evil exists as a separate entity, we should first ask if Good exists as a separate entity.
Define good and define evil and how does one become filled with good or possessed by evil.

If a theist believes that God is the supreme entity, encompassing everything that happens in the universe, Evil must be part of God.
OTOH, if Evil is a separate entity, then we have two Gods. A good God and an evil God, but that cannot be in a monotheist world.
Thus we have a God which allows both good and evil to exist, IOW a neutral (implacable) god who is only responsible for Causality of everything, both good and bad.
The OT is correct in that it depicts God as both good and bad.

Those names of evil people who existed are meaningless anecdotals. Other examples of unspeakable evil can also be attributed to “good” theists. Has anyone actually read the purpose of the Inquisition?  It was not instituted to bring evil people to justice, but to instill fear to prevent “free thinkers” from voicing dissent and thereby corrupting the God sanctioned order. Thus the intent and practice of the Inquisition was totally evil, perpetrated by the highest authorities in the church.  The recent scandals in the Catholic church, involving children is an example that evil can be done by the very people who are charged with moral guidance.

A perfect example of good people becoming corrupted by their religious zealotry may be found in the story of Hypatia.
http://www.womanastronomer.com/hypatia.htm

If Evil exists as an entity, it is present everywhere (as is the entity of Good) and the argument that doing evil is caused by a possession of some vaguely defined Demon God is wrong on so many levels it prohibits any reasonable discussion. Was Jim Jones possessed by a demon or did he truly believe in his “special connection’ to god?

To an atheist, the universe and its causalities is a neutral system, things get created, things get destroyed. The concepts of good and evil do not exist in the natural world. There is only change. This change can be either constructive or destructive to societies.
Is Change an entity?
Unless any of these things can be defined the argument should conclude at this point, lest it deteriorates into the definition of God, and no one has EVER defined the properties of God to everyone’s satisfaction. Witness the myriad of religions and cults, all of them engaged in spiritual wars, which inevitably end up in evil doing on the side of Good in accordance with their scriptures.

Nowhere in the definition of Evil does he concept of a separate intentional possession by a spiritual entity appear, except in scripture.
http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/evil

[ Edited: 13 August 2013 04:10 PM by Write4U ]
 Signature 

Art is the creation of that which evokes an emotional response, leading to thoughts of the noblest kind.
W4U

Profile
 
 
Posted: 13 August 2013 04:17 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 118 ]
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  5976
Joined  2009-02-26
LilySmith - 13 August 2013 12:25 PM
DarronS - 12 August 2013 07:26 PM

Yet the Christian god commands people to enslave people, commit genocide, stay overnight in whorehouses and bash babies heads against rocks. That is Christian morality. You cannot educate us on the reality of religion because we understand it better than do you.

Rookie mistake.  Just because something is in the bible doesn’t mean God approved of the behavior or commanded it.  There are a lot of good commentaries out there which explain these things.  You could check one out if you want to be knowledgeable about the Christian religion, but these kinds of comments show you barely understand the basics.  The Skeptics Annotated Bible, which comments on one line of the bible at a time, may as well be a commentary on the dictionary.  And evilbible.com isn’t any better.  I suggest finding better sources of material.

But that is where you are making a rookie mistake. If God is unable to stop an evil entity to command evil acts, then your God is not perfect. And if god could control Evil, but allows Evil to exist, then blame God. You cannot have it both ways.
In another discussion I asked the question “in a disaster where may innocent people die, at what point do the “mysterious ways of God”, become the work of the Devil?”

If the bible is NOT the final word of God, then what is?

Separating yourself as a Christian, but then using the OT as the literal word of god is duplicitous. If you want to be a good Christian you must deny the OT in its entirety, only then can you claim that Jesus’ teachings were beneficial. I could respect that.

[ Edited: 13 August 2013 04:28 PM by Write4U ]
 Signature 

Art is the creation of that which evokes an emotional response, leading to thoughts of the noblest kind.
W4U

Profile
 
 
Posted: 14 August 2013 08:42 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 119 ]
Sr. Member
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  296
Joined  2013-07-25
Write4U - 13 August 2013 04:17 PM

If God is unable to stop an evil entity to command evil acts, then your God is not perfect. And if god could control Evil, but allows Evil to exist, then blame God. You cannot have it both ways.

Evil is not an entity, it’s a behavior.  Evil is rebellion against God and his ways.  God allows evil on earth to accomplish his purpose, but always has complete control over it.  Here’s what God is doing on earth.  He has created mankind with a will of his own. He’s placed him in a temporal world—not the eternal kingdom of God.  For man to exercise his free will, he must know both good and evil.  Man must be able to choose to obey God or rebel against him.  Each generation of men and women play out their lives here on earth for all of God’s creation to witness.  We each choose our own way and reveal our hearts through our actions.  When each person has made his choice and God’s purpose for this earth is over, he will destroy all evil and bring into his kingdom all those who chose good.  God could destroy all evil now, but since mankind through his behavior is the source of evil, he would have to destroy all mankind.  Instead he has provided a way to save those who will come to him.  So he puts up with evil on earth—for a time.

You’re concerned about the innocent people who may die in a disaster, but all of us are going to die.  That’s the nature of a temporal world—we all die and the world will end.  The reason for death is so that those who have chosen evil rather than good will not have eternal life.  They face God’s destruction, because, as I said, God has complete control over evil at all times.

The Hebrew Scripture contains the basis of Christianity.  The Christian Scripture means nothing without it.  It is filled with teaching, law, prophesy and poetry all picturing Christ.  I suspect you don’t like some of the judgments of God against those who stood against him, but that is just an illustration of the final judgment to come.  It’s better to learn from it.  Evil behavior was judged then, and it will be judge in the future.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 14 August 2013 08:56 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 120 ]
Sr. Member
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  296
Joined  2013-07-25
Lausten - 13 August 2013 02:17 PM

Atheists have reasons for believing what they do. They have evolution to explain why we are a social animal and why we feel cooperation is good. We have physics to provide theories for how the universe we observe got here. We don’t have all the answers but we have ways of addressing the questions and we’re okay with being wrong and accepting new data. I find it a much more comforting system.

You need to watch your wording, because I think you just proved Vlad’s point.  If you have reasons for believing as you do as an atheist, then you have a belief, not a lack of one.  If you have a belief, then you should be able to stand up and give the reasons why.  I think this statement of yours is an excellent example of articulating the reasons why you believe as you do.  It makes your argument much stronger than simply saying you have an absence of belief so you have nothing to explain or defend.

Profile
 
 
   
8 of 22
8