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How can I respond to the following Christian “apologetic”......
Posted: 03 October 2013 01:20 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 121 ]
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LilySmith - 03 October 2013 01:04 PM

...God knew before the world was created that man would sin and he even planned his redemption.

This is the central problem with Christian theology. God knew before creation that he would have to condemn the majority of people on Earth to eternal torment, yet he proceeded anyway. That makes him by far the worst mass murderer in history. Your god, if he existed, would be an evil tyrant with the morals of a spoiled child.

Edit: added missing comma.

[ Edited: 03 October 2013 01:29 PM by DarronS ]
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Posted: 03 October 2013 01:21 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 122 ]
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LilySmith - 03 October 2013 01:04 PM

No Christian is claiming that bacteria die because they sinned.  That’s a red herring. The question is, can God create a world where natural disasters occur and organism and plants have temporary lives and then die even though MAN has not sinned?  I see no reason that he can’t. 

Lily, the reason God can’t do that is obvious. He can’t create unnecessary suffering, since he is perfectly good.

Doh!

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Posted: 03 October 2013 01:28 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 123 ]
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DarronS - 03 October 2013 01:20 PM

This is the central problem with Christian theology. God knew before creation that he would have to condemn the majority of people on Earth to eternal torment, yet he proceeded anyway. That makes him by far the worst mass murderer in history. Your god, if he existed would be an evil tyrant with the morals of a spoiled child.

Yes, Darron.

And WAKE UP!!!!! Lily

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Posted: 03 October 2013 03:27 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 124 ]
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Hm.

StephenLawrence - 03 October 2013 01:28 PM
DarronS - 03 October 2013 01:20 PM

This is the central problem with Christian theology. God knew before creation that he would have to condemn the majority of people on Earth to eternal torment, yet he proceeded anyway. That makes him by far the worst mass murderer in history. Your god, if he existed would be an evil tyrant with the morals of a spoiled child.

Yes, Darron.

And WAKE UP!!!!! Lily

Darron,
Heh, ‘the central problem with Christian theology’. Sez you. but in any case: describe Augustine’s theodicy, the most common one people deal with. Define ‘theodicy’. Give one *other* theodicy. Explain the chief weakness of Augustine’s theodicy. Describe the evolutionary reply to the argument from evil (did you know there is one?), and explain *its* chief weakness. A good introduction that’s easy on atheist eyes is John Perry’s Dialogue on Good, Evil and the Existence of God. I’ve used it with profit.

Stephen,
What should Lily wake up to? The unseriousness of this thread? The straw-man fallacy - demanding she defend a god forged by her opponents?

Lily,
Note the very title of this thread, with its scare-quotes around ‘apologetic’.
You, ma’am, have been cordially invited to a mugging. Bring sensible sandals.

Chris

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Posted: 03 October 2013 03:33 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 125 ]
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for what it’s worth, here’s an interesting summary of theodicies from back in 2005:

The Problem of Evil Hits the Papers

(btw: hm, wonder why I did not get a ‘spam’ warning this time, and got one for earlier links I wanted to post?)

Chris

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Posted: 03 October 2013 10:13 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 126 ]
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inthegobi - 03 October 2013 03:27 PM

Stephen,
What should Lily wake up to? The unseriousness of this thread? The straw-man fallacy - demanding she defend a god forged by her opponents?

 

It’s clear that Lily and I are talking about the same God: perfectly good, all powerful, all knowing and outside of spacetime.

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Posted: 03 October 2013 10:19 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 127 ]
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inthegobi - 03 October 2013 03:27 PM

Stephen,
What should Lily wake up to? The unseriousness of this thread? The straw-man fallacy - demanding she defend a god forged by her opponents?

 

Also Chris the topic I’ve been arguing over is the idea that natural disasters and death are the result of sin,
which of course they aren’t. It’s that Lily should wake up to.

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Posted: 04 October 2013 12:20 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 128 ]
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LilySmith - 03 October 2013 01:04 PM

The charge was that God created a fallen world billions of years before man sinned.  My point was that the billions of years is from man’s perspective, not God’s, and that God knew before the world was created that man would sin and he even planned his redemption.

And my point is that science, specifically relativity theory, gives you no support for such a contention.

LilySmith - 03 October 2013 01:04 PM

The Bible teaches that God created the universe, “By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible,” and the space-time that exists within it.

I think that it is telling to see exactly where the end-quotation marks stand in this sentence.

Sorry Lily, your belief boils down to ‘because I believe it to be true it is true’. You cannot give any arguments outside what you already believe, the least from science. Your only ‘scientific argument’ is the god-of-the-gaps argument, which is a very bad argument because the gaps tend to be filled up as science progresses, and the gaps as they exist now do not support the specific Christian God. It is a huge explanatory gap from ‘we don’t know what caused the big bang’ till ‘Jahweh brought his people to the promised land’.

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“The light is on, but there is nobody at home”

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Posted: 04 October 2013 01:06 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 129 ]
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Chris,

This is what Darron said:

DarronS - 03 October 2013 01:20 PM

God knew before creation that he would have to condemn the majority of people on Earth to eternal torment, yet he proceeded anyway.

That has nothing to do with the theodicy, which is about the existence of evil in the world.

And as a general remark about your posts: instead of saying that people should read external texts extensively, I would prefer you give your questions and remarks here directly, not by referring to (authoritative?) texts. This is a forum, not a study group. People bring in their opinions; some with no arguments, some with bad arguments, some with good arguments. But giving people the impression that their opinion does not count because they did not read XY which treats the topic much deeper is not much use.

I am perfectly happy to discuss with you (I think I can learn a lot of it), but I am not if that means I must do a lot of reading outside the forum. Which does not mean you might not refer to interesting texts, but I would be glad if you bring your points here, in the forum, and just use references as illustration, support, or maybe authoritative sources.

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Posted: 04 October 2013 08:20 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 130 ]
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inthegobi - 03 October 2013 03:27 PM

What should Lily wake up to? The unseriousness of this thread? The straw-man fallacy - demanding she defend a god forged by her opponents?

Lily,
Note the very title of this thread, with its scare-quotes around ‘apologetic’.
You, ma’am, have been cordially invited to a mugging. Bring sensible sandals.

Chris

Happily, I am losing track of this thread. It strayed from the title a long time ago anyway. And inthegobi, you haven’t followed Lily’s history very well either. We let her define God in great detail before we started arguing against that definition and her methods. She started out with some decent points and seemed to be reasonable in many ways. Then she showed some lack of understanding of science. And I don’t mean difference of opinion, I mean she didn’t understand our definitions, which are completely standard. She could have explained how they are wrong in her view, instead she just started repeating how they are different from her way, and both ways are equally valid. Things have gone from bad to worse since then. I would have kept attempting to understand her but she has defended things about sin and genocide that I can’t just set aside.

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Posted: 04 October 2013 08:22 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 131 ]
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GdB,

On your first point, briefly: the comments about theodicy are relevant to Darron’s claim. Theodicy, greek for ‘god’s justice’ just is about the problem of evil, or the problem of unjust suffering (synonyms, I think)

You’re frustrated. Sorry about that.
On the other hand! Well, why not read extensively? And why not a study group, yea many study groups? (Not to the elimination of private opinions or expressions of feelings.) This isn’t just any group of forums, it’s that of the Center For Free Inquiry. I thought inquiry was a non-trivial enterprise, that involved a lot of study, and for most fields of study that includes books, articles, even news items and encyclopedia entries. There’s a thread on gender identity that’s gone on for pages, full of speculation about something that going to Wikipedia would clear up a lot of smoke - and then allow the thread to *advance*. A Wikipedia lookup is hardly a demand for ‘extensive reading’, it’s a plea for a little, well, inquiry. A very little, you must admit. If a man has time to read this forum, he can ditch one thread and read an encyclopedia entry.

Sure, people bring bad arguments. But what’s a freethinker but someone who’s a Bright, a *thinker*, someone who - garbage man or city clerk or brandy-sipping academic in a leather armchair - has some real thirst for reason and its fruits? Why not benefit from others who have thought about this?

We aren’t in one of Mel Gibson’s post-apocalyptic landscapes, wearing strings of diodes around our necks for charms. (The Mad Max movies have been on TV lately.) We have the benefits of three thousand years of other people who’ve chewed on many of the same issues. And every year that *you* get older, I’m betting you realize that old is not automatically lame and outdated, and age and authorityin fact count for something. Vast amounts of information, including the worlds best and most thoughtful arguments, are at our fingertips; much of it is translated into passable English; much of that can be accessed for free, and with a Google search. That’s hardly a plea to haunt the Vatican Archives for days, tho’ there are worse things you could do.

As for pointing to links or quoting extensively: I just prefer to do it that way. I find that others say things better than I much of the time. Most of the people I’m linking or quoting are more learned or smarter than I, and why examine the lesser when you can get to the greater.

More important, imo, and relevant to arguing here: when people are passionate about positions - especially when they’re very passionate - it’s a good idea for the parties to examine a third person’s work: it blunts the edge of personal animus, it encourages working together, it educates all on important thinkers who deserve our attention (or who we realize should remain obscure!). There is nothing but good in working on someone else’s work together. Finally, most of what we know is indeed from ther work of other people. It’s right and proper to know the real sources of your knowledge, and to acknowledge them. After all, you might have to jettison some belief that turned out wrong, and you’ll want to know whence that crappy belief came. And let’s face it, most of ‘our’ opinions were gotten from someone. Dennett, Dawkins, Lakoff. C’mon, admit it. To be blunt, it makes things less personal to say ‘Krauss is a fool to claim that the quantum foam is ‘nothing’ in any relevant sense’ than saying ‘you, GdB, are a fool to claim etc.’ Eh?

Chris

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Posted: 04 October 2013 08:25 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 132 ]
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StephenLawrence - 03 October 2013 01:28 PM
DarronS - 03 October 2013 01:20 PM

This is the central problem with Christian theology. God knew before creation that he would have to condemn the majority of people on Earth to eternal torment, yet he proceeded anyway. That makes him by far the worst mass murderer in history. Your god, if he existed would be an evil tyrant with the morals of a spoiled child.

Yes, Darron.

And WAKE UP!!!!! Lily

Stephen,

I’m awake.  DarronS has made this charge before and when asked to provide the scripture, he failed.  There is nothing in the Bible teaching that God condemns any man to “eternal torment.”  DarronS then accuses God of being a mass murderer.  Which is it?  Does God keep man alive and poke him with a stick throughout eternity to torment him, or does he end his life?  You can’t accuse God of sentencing man to eternal torment and then accuse him of mass murder.  This is nothing more than inflammatory rhetoric based on emotion, not understanding.

God is the creator of all life, but he has no obligation to provide eternal life to any of his creation.  A Creator who gives his creation a temporal existence is not a mass murderer.  If my God does exist and shows himself as a righteous and merciful God who upholds justice, where does that leave DarronS and his false accusations and erroneous judgments?  Wouldn’t it be better to either learn the truth about God or remain silent?

As for unnecessary suffering, who decides what’s necessary?

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Posted: 04 October 2013 08:35 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 133 ]
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Lausten,

I won’t finger any particular person, and not you, as a mugger. (Senatus bestia est, senatores bon viri: ‘the Senate is a beast, the senators are good men.’) I’ve followed Lily only in a general way. I *feel* she would do better *if* she had a more generous audience - but this ain’t no knitting club. IMO, Lily is ‘witnessing’ and doing apologetics at the same time, and *maybe* the two don’t sit well together, especially with this crowd. But (sorry Lily for talking about you in the third person) she also seems to be game enough to try and try again, and I admire that just for itself, and I’m sure with patience and charity and a spirit of inquiry you and other posters will get the hang of each other.

I personally hate doing apologetics; even when I’m right, to quote Daffy Duck I bruise like a grape. I think the best that one can usually hope for is to clear away rubbishy thinking. (God seems massively unjust? Well, let’s see if there’s a way to explain that without just giving Him a ‘pass’....The Bible seems inconsistent? Only if you must assume….. etc.)

Chris

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Posted: 04 October 2013 08:51 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 134 ]
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GdB - 04 October 2013 12:20 AM
LilySmith - 03 October 2013 01:04 PM

The charge was that God created a fallen world billions of years before man sinned.  My point was that the billions of years is from man’s perspective, not God’s, and that God knew before the world was created that man would sin and he even planned his redemption.

And my point is that science, specifically relativity theory, gives you no support for such a contention.

It most certainly does.  We measure time from our vantage point in the universe at this stage of its expansion.  DarronS is then trying to put God in our time frame.  I’m pointing out that God is not so easily put in a box of our making.  Science does not belong solely to the atheist. 

GdB - 04 October 2013 12:20 AM
LilySmith - 03 October 2013 01:04 PM

The Bible teaches that God created the universe, “By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible,” and the space-time that exists within it.

I think that it is telling to see exactly where the end-quotation marks stand in this sentence.

That’s because the Biblical quotation ends where I put the quotation marks.  Scientific theory tells us that space-time is a part of this universe.  If God created the universe, then he also create the space-time that exists as a part of it.  That’s a logical conclusion given the premise.

My belief does not boil down to ‘because I believe it to be true it is true.’  I’m giving you reasons and explanations for what I believe.  You don’t have to accept them, but please don’t tell me I’m not providing them.  So far scientific study has not corrected anything provided in the Bible.  It’s corrected itself since science used to posit the universe was eternal, but it has not corrected the Bible since it has always claimed the universe had a beginning and will have an end.

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Posted: 04 October 2013 09:01 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 135 ]
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inthegobi - 03 October 2013 03:27 PM

Lily,
Note the very title of this thread, with its scare-quotes around ‘apologetic’.
You, ma’am, have been cordially invited to a mugging. Bring sensible sandals.

Chris

Good advice. smile  Thanks!

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