some things I’ve never understood….
Posted: 10 May 2006 08:34 AM   [ Ignore ]
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Here are a few questions that theists have been unable to explain to me…
(sorry if this appears rather pedestrian and unsophisticated)

As I understand it, Judaism/Christianity/Islam believe that prior to the anything existing, there was just God. He was just sitting around existing forever until one day he decides that he must make something - the universe. 

1. What caused God to make the universe when he did?
2. Why make a universe at all?
3. Once he decided to make this universe, how did he decide what it would look and act like?
4. Since he is omniscient, etc., what benefit would it be to create a universe at all, if he knows how everything will play out prior to even creating it?
5. When he created this universe, with it’s laws of nature, physics, etc, he built in pain and suffering. (adam and eve don’t work because he is omniscient. He knew exactly when he would introduce pain and suffering. Why would he have not just created a universe free of pain and suffering, if he was going to go through the effort of creating a universe at all?

Having potentially un-necessarily created a universe, pain, and suffering, he decides that the chosen people of this universe (humans), are to live to some code of ethics. If they don’t follow these rules (and profess submission to him), then he will doom them to eternal extreme pain and suffering. If they do follow the rules and praise him, then they will be treated to eternal joy.

Oh, and here’s the fun part - he’s hiding. Yes, he’s hiding. So, any sane person would have no reason to believe in his existence, and would therefore be facing eternal suffering in hell.

Since god knows the results of this test prior to the creation of the universe, it appears that he arbitrarilly created a painful and deceptive application process to eternal joy. Failing this application process results in eternal pain. All of this for no reason whatsoever. 

How can this god be omni-benevolent?

Anyway, it appears to me that if the Jewish/Christian/Islamic god exists, and was the creator of the universe, it’s clear that he’s a psychopath. A sick being that is the antithesis of almost any living person’s concept of a moral creature.

Having been unable to get answers to these questions (and more), I have often characterized myself as the following….
I’m an atheist in the sense that I have reason to believe that a god exists. I can’t disprove the existence of a god or supernatural creator. I feel, however, that I can reasonably discredit any arguments for the existence of particular gods (like the popular ones), as well as unicorns, etc.
Beyond my atheism (or agnostic atheism as some might describe it), I also have a hatred for the concept of the Jewish/Christian/Islamic god. That is, if such a god was to actually exist, he would not be someone/something worthy of worship.

-tom

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Posted: 10 May 2006 08:34 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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some things I’ve never understood….

Here are a few questions that theists have been unable to explain to me…
(sorry if this appears rather pedestrian and unsophisticated)

As I understand it, Judaism/Christianity/Islam believe that prior to the anything existing, there was just God. He was just sitting around existing forever until one day he decides that he must make something - the universe. 

1. What caused God to make the universe when he did?
2. Why make a universe at all?
3. Once he decided to make this universe, how did he decide what it would look and act like?
4. Since he is omniscient, etc., what benefit would it be to create a universe at all, if he knows how everything will play out prior to even creating it?
5. When he created this universe, with it’s laws of nature, physics, etc, he built in pain and suffering. (adam and eve don’t work because he is omniscient. He knew exactly when he would introduce pain and suffering. Why would he have not just created a universe free of pain and suffering, if he was going to go through the effort of creating a universe at all?

Having potentially un-necessarily created a universe, pain, and suffering, he decides that the chosen people of this universe (humans), are to live to some code of ethics. If they don’t follow these rules (and profess submission to him), then he will doom them to eternal extreme pain and suffering. If they do follow the rules and praise him, then they will be treated to eternal joy.

Oh, and here’s the fun part - he’s hiding. Yes, he’s hiding. So, any sane person would have no reason to believe in his existence, and would therefore be facing eternal suffering in hell.

Since god knows the results of this test prior to the creation of the universe, it appears that he arbitrarilly created a painful and deceptive application process to eternal joy. Failing this application process results in eternal pain. All of this for no reason whatsoever. 

How can this god be omni-benevolent?

Anyway, it appears to me that if the Jewish/Christian/Islamic god exists, and was the creator of the universe, it’s clear that he’s a psychopath. A sick being that is the antithesis of almost any living person’s concept of a moral creature.

Having been unable to get answers to these questions (and more), I have often characterized myself as the following….
I’m an atheist in the sense that I have reason to believe that a god exists. I can’t disprove the existence of a god or supernatural creator. I feel, however, that I can reasonably discredit any arguments for the existence of particular gods (like the popular ones), as well as unicorns, etc.
Beyond my atheism (or agnostic atheism as some might describe it), I also have a hatred for the concept of the Jewish/Christian/Islamic god. That is, if such a god was to actually exist, he would not be someone/something worthy of worship.

-tom

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Posted: 10 May 2006 11:02 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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Hey Tom,

Excellent questions and good thinking. While I know that theists and theologians have what they believe are responses to the sorts of issues you raise, none I’ve heard has been even remotely convincing.

In particular, it seems that if the whole point of life on earth is to get some of us to heaven, why not just create us in heaven already? God, being omniscient, must know who is good (worthy of heaven) already. Being omnipotent, he must be able to create the good people already in heaven. Being perfectly good, he must want to be perfectly benevolent to his creations.

All the rest is just nonsense.

And re. the clear, criminal sadism of the standard Biblical God, read Ingersoll’s book Some Mistakes of Moses and Tom Paine’s wonderful The Age of Reason. You’ll see it all spelled out in the clearest terms.

BTW, check your last paragraph again ... I think you meant to say “I’m an atheist in the sense that I have no reason to believe that a god exists.”

Agreed.

Although Paine was a Deist, he also hated the God of the Bible, both old and new testaments come in for a pretty thorough treatment in his book.

:wink:

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Posted: 10 May 2006 03:03 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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Yes these questions are commonly overlooked! :shock:

If God is completely perfect,  omniscient, omnipotent and self actualized why would he create the universe? Why does he feel the need to express himself, or the need for nurturing, he is self actualized so WHY?

To say that he is compassionate, isn’t an answer, because that is saying he is like a little kid that needs to pet a dog because he has an emptyness of love if he does not.

To say because he needed to express himself would be saying he needs attention, ar that he already doesn’t know who he is. But he knows who he is, so why should he want attention, why does he need to do this? This is no answer either.

And why did he make the universe like this? Look outside, the universe is always teetering because its not completely stable. We can observe stars blowing up, and collisions on a large scale. Look closer and you can see pollution and Viruses.  There is no perfection, its all random. To say a perfect god created this is illogical because it is imperfect.  Why the heck would he make it like this if he is perfect?

I heard a hilarious explination of why this world is imperfect from a creationist point of view. He said everything was perfect until original sin, then thats when the second law of entropy came into existance.  LOL

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Posted: 10 May 2006 07:46 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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I love these questions, but I’m curious as to what responses you’ve all heard to them, and/or what responses you think you’d get from Christians or other religious people…

Personally, when I’ve challenged the logic or rationale of the God concept in conversation with Christians in a way that can’t really be answered (i.e. the way you have above), I usually get a comforted smile and a confident assurance that it’s all part of the mystery of God, that God didn’t intend for us to know everything, and of course that he is so all-powerful and out of this world that he can do anything and needs no explanation. 

Ultimately, there is no way to rationally disprove God; all we can do is make the idea seem ridiculous, which seems to have little effect on believers.

I’m so optimistic, aren’t I?

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Posted: 11 May 2006 01:09 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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[quote author=“HolyAvenger”]I love these questions, but I’m curious as to what responses you’ve all heard to them, and/or what responses you think you’d get from Christians or other religious people…

Here in Massachusetts, I don’t come across fundies real easily, so most of the theists are Catholics (or “personal” Catholics - a pick-and-choose specific aspects of Catholocism religion). Anyway, here are some responses I have received in the past…

As a child in CCD (sunday school) I once asked a priest some questions similar to these, and he told me (in a very stern voice) that “we don’t ask questions like these”. By the way, I was about 10 years old, and am certain that this experience led to my hatred for organized religion.

Later on, I would pose these questions to Catholic family or co-workers, and was faced with some rather inconsistent ramblings about free-will, etc. Most of their arguments were so full of logical fallacies that an infant could poke holes in them. However, the conversations were always brief.  Sometimes, people would just make things up. Since they already had molded their own form of Catholicism, they could define their god to anything that served the immediate needs of their current line of argument.

For example, if I had shown how god could not be omni-benevolent and omniscient and still create the current universe, they would define god as being not omniscient (but pretty close), therefore maintaining the integrity of an omni-benevolent god. Then when the argument got to it, it would turn out that he is far from all-powerfull, etc.

Anway, the discussions were far from satisfying.

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Posted: 11 May 2006 01:26 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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[quote author=“WITHTEETH”]I heard a hilarious explination of why this world is imperfect from a creationist point of view. He said everything was perfect until original sin, then thats when the second law of entropy came into existance.  LOL

Pretty funny. I always wonder about that whole “original sin” thing.

Given that God is supposed to know everything, including the future:

(1) Why allow Satan into the garden?
(2) Why plant the apple tree in the garden?
(3) Why not allow Adam and Eve to eat the apple? What is God afraid of?
(4) When Adam and Eve eat the apple, why damn all their children? It is immoral to blame a child for the crime of its parent. Hence God behaved immorally.

The problem is that if all this falls apart, then so too does Jesus’s role. After all, he’s supposed to have washed away that sin.

[quote author=“HolyAvenger”] when I’ve challenged the logic or rationale of the God concept in conversation with Christians in a way that can’t really be answered (i.e. the way you have above), I usually get a comforted smile and a confident assurance that it’s all part of the mystery of God, that God didn’t intend for us to know everything, and of course that he is so all-powerful and out of this world that he can do anything and needs no explanation.

Yes, this is the standard response “from faith”. It is an admission that the story they have just told you makes absolutely no sense. It’s totally irrational.

The problem is that the standard view of creation is that “we are created in God’s image”. That doesn’t mean that we look like God. It means we are supposedly rational and ethical like God. But if so, then God ought to have provided a “revelation” that was clearly reasonable and ethical.

It isn’t.

So the whole thing falls apart.

Or another thing: if God is totally irrational, does unethical things, and can’t be understood, why should we worship him? How is he worthy of worship?

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Posted: 11 May 2006 03:11 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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Or another thing: if God is totally irrational, does unethical things, and can’t be understood, why should we worship him? How is he worthy of worship?

And why would he demand to be worshipped?

And what in the hell is he going to do with those sacrifices we send him?  Can’t he cook his own food?

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Posted: 24 May 2006 09:15 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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The questions you have asked are all extremely relevant and I would like to include the one question you have left out that made me become and atheist and that is

“Why would God create a world of humans of different religious beliefs and then choose ONE religion in preference to the others and furthermore PUNISH all those unbelievers of THE ONE CHOSEN religion although God created all those religions.”

Funny and illogical. Don’t you think. LOL

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Posted: 24 May 2006 09:58 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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[quote author=“mfmahamed”]The questions you have asked are all extremely relevant and I would like to include the one question you have left out that made me become and atheist and that is

“Why would God create a world of humans of different religious beliefs and then choose ONE religion in preference to the others and furthermore PUNISH all those unbelievers of THE ONE CHOSEN religion although God created all those religions.”

Funny and illogical. Don’t you think. LOL

Yes, especially when, to someone looking in from outside, they all look the same. It’s sort of like a game show: pick doors one, two or three. Pick the wrong one, you go to hell!

Not a benevolent god that set that up. No sir.

There are some forms of Buddhism that aren’t too bad ... but that’s because they are essentially atheistic, and end up being sort of existential psychology and meditation.

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Posted: 25 May 2006 12:21 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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[quote author=“mfmahamed”]
“Why would God create a world of humans of different religious beliefs and then choose ONE religion in preference to the others and furthermore PUNISH all those unbelievers of THE ONE CHOSEN religion although God created all those religions.”

Funny and illogical. Don’t you think. LOL

Illogical?...yes. Funny?...ummmm…I would prefer the term, “depressing” ;(

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Posted: 25 May 2006 12:24 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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The only explanation of God that makes any sense is that people made the whole thing up.  The question is why so few of us realize this.

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Posted: 25 May 2006 01:48 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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[quote author=“nancy2001”]The only explanation of God that makes any sense is that people made the whole thing up.  The question is why so few of us realize this.

If I’m not completely wrong, I believe Dawkins and Dennett propose that organized religion has evolved from folk religions, and is a meme that is very good at propagating.  Also, we are possibly hard-wired in a way that we are good hosts for this meme.  I find religion and the supernatural to be extremely unappealing. However, if religion and irrational faith are like a virus, questions of why most people “believe” should be raised along with questions like why most people get the common cold.

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Posted: 27 May 2006 02:07 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
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Religion may be a meme, and we may be hardwired to accept it. But I think it’s astonishing that so few people are able to see through the contradictions and the nonsense. 

I had just turned eleven when I realized on my own God didn’t exist. It’s true I’d had little exposure to organized religion and was fascinated by outer space and the idea of evolution, but in every other way I was a completely ordinary child.

When I was a teenager I thought that by the time I was an adult, most people would come to their senses and reject religion. Of course, I was wrong. If anything, religion seems to taken hold more firmly than ever. This is one of the greatest disappointments of my life.

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Posted: 30 May 2006 12:25 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]
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[quote author=“nancy2001”]...
When I was a teenager I thought that by the time I was an adult, most people would come to their senses and reject religion. Of course, I was wrong. If anything, religion seems to taken hold more firmly than ever. This is one of the greatest disappointments of my life.

I completely agree. I think that my overall skepticism and distrust of authority was because of religion. If adults acted like small children and believed in foolish myths, then I really didn’t have much respect for them.

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