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  #526    
Old October 12th, 2012, 10:00 AM
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First, thank you for taking the time to respond so politely! :D It's always nice when you can have a civilised discussion on the interwebs. To that end, here are my thoughts on your rebuttal:

Quote:
He has the authority, because he is God. We sin when we judge, because we aren't perfect either. From a thousand miles away, two miles doesn't look much different than one.

And besides, look at our forum's rules - no mini-modding. This is the same idea.
I'm not entirely sure I comprehend your argument. As I see it (and please do correct me if I'm wrong!), this is what you believe:
1) We have one moral code ('turn the other cheek' etc.).
2) This directly contradicts God's stated intentions ('you will be punished for your sins' etc.).
3) Therefore God has a separate moral code.
4) Therefore morality is not universal - there is no 'right' way to behave. It all depends on who you are (i.e. God/human). There is no true morality - there is one rule for us and one rule for God in all circumstances (although occasionally these might be the same).

Here's where I see the argument running into problems - leaving aside the fact that it is hypocritical by definition to judge others for doing something you yourself engage in, shouldn't we be trying to behave in the best way possible throughout our lives? Since God can't sin, all his behaviour must therefore be perfect. It follows that we ought to imitate God as much as possible in order to strive for perfection - or at least as close to perfection as we can achieve.

It really doesn't make sense to say that we should be governed by a separate moral code if this code is inferior to God's. Internally it's just not consistent. If our code truly showed the right way to live, God would obey it too. Likewise, if God's code is the right way to live, we should obey that instead. Handwaving it with talk of 'authority' is irrational - since when did a big stick imply rightness? We are talking of morality here, not punishment or reward. The truly moral man does not flinch from sticks and stones - or indeed fire and brimstone - if they are an inevitable consequence of doing the right thing.

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The fact of fact is that sinning is not much a big of a deal as taking his place - the Devil was thrown out of heaven not because he screwed up but rather because he tried to take God's place. Whether this is fair isn't up to me, but that's what happens.
This is really interesting to me. 'Whether this is fair isn't up to me' - that sounds almost like resignation to what is, in my view, a horrible state of affairs! And I disagree - it is absolutely up to you to examine the situation and decide whether or not it is just. That's the moral thing to do. How can you justify supporting a cause you deem to be unfair? You can't - your heart's not in it, you're unwilling, you know deep down that what you are doing isn't honest. It's the Nuremberg defence all over again - here, I'll quote from the Nuremberg Principles:

"The fact that a person acted pursuant to order of his Government or of a superior does not relieve him from responsibility under international law, provided a moral choice was in fact possible to him."

In our case, 'a superior' is obviously God. And a moral choice is, at all times, possible. I'll leave you with this question: who is more moral, the man who blindly follows orders or the man who first examines them to see whether they are just and should be followed?

Quote:
Not everyone deserves to be with God. It's not a privilege, it's a gift. You must accept it first to get it, and it's sure as hell easy to get.
Given the circumstances, this is chilling. It's not as if the 'undeserving' simply don't get to be with God in Heaven - they are actually tortured. In my view, no one deserves to be tortured for not accepting a belief for which there is no sound basis. You might as well tie me to a rock and summon an eagle to eat out my heart for not believing in Superman - it's just as unfair.

I'll condense this. Sure, God is allowed to pick who he wants in Heaven. That's fine. Okay. But if there is only one alternative - eternal damnation - then no, he absolutely is not. I cannot accept under any decent moral standpoint that people deserve to be tortured - which is what you are saying. If you and I disagree on this, then our concepts of morality are so wildly different that we might as well be speaking in a foreign language. We're just spinning our wheels, trying hopelessly to convince the other of the rightness of our position.

I also take issue with the assertion that it is 'easy' to believe in God. We need only study the countless examples of men and women (C.S. Lewis is probably one of the most famous) who have struggled backward and forward with belief to see that this is not universally the case.

Quote:
You're taking this as if it's Earth, and we are in control of this gift. It's so easy to gain what's 100% it's pretty much impossible to get any less. This is the gift of Jesus - everyone now has access eternal heaven, not just the few privileged ones.
Could you possibly rephrase this sentence? 'It's so easy to gain what's 100% it's pretty much impossible to get any less.' I've read it every which way I can think of and it's not making any sense to me.

Also, I'm worried you may be misunderstanding: you originally stated that 'if one lets him carry out his actions through you, he will pay you back ten times as much as you lost, and ten times as much as you ever have earned.' I'll do a logical breakdown again:
1) If you are a good Christian, God will pay you back ten times as much as you ever lost, and ten times as much as you ever earned.
2) Some people lose more than others. Likewise, some people earn more than others.
3) Using the formula given in 1), we have 10 x overall loss and 10 x overall gain.
4) Imagine Adam, Betty and Chris. Adam loses his house, his job, his family and dies penniless. Betty, on the other hand, prospers - she becomes a CEO, then a mother, all the while living in absolute luxury. Chris lives a middle-of-the-road sort of life, neither losing nor gaining huge amounts.
5) For the sake of argument, we may quantify loss and gain. (We have to, anyway, to accept 1) as a valid premise.)
6) Say Adam's loss is -90 and his gain is +5. Betty's loss is -5 and her gain +90. Using God's formula, they both receive the same amount in Heaven (namely, +950) - so up to this point, the argument works.
7) But Chris comes along and throws a great big spanner in the works. Say his loss was -30 and his gain +30. His total is +600. This obviously comes nowhere near the relative luxury Adam and Betty are enjoying!
8) So... without completely breaking mathematics, it's impossible for everyone to be equal in the Kingdom of Heaven.

If you choose to break mathematics, you'll have to provide a substitute system - which, since maths is basically logic, will be rationally incoherent. If you choose to state that everyone is equal in the Kingdom of Heaven, you're contradicting your original statement.

--

You didn't answer my question: 'how could anyone possibly be happy in heaven knowing the overwhelming pain and suffering happening beneath them?'

OK, so I'm assuming you're a lovely person who feels empathy for others. My point is that unless that empathy is stripped out, you cannot be happy while imagining the infinite pain and suffering underneath you. Empathy is the ability to understand the feelings of another - and imagining that infinite pain isn't going to be pleasant by definition (since pain is unpleasant). So we have ourselves another conundrum:

If you have the capacity for empathy, you can't be happy in Heaven. It follows that the version of you that eventually makes it there is missing some of its original parts - I would argue the parts that are vital to your sense of self. So whatever warped resultant entity is strolling around with the angels, it's not you. Not you as you could recognise yourself. That, to me, is a terrifying thought - and it's why Heaven holds no appeal for me. It isn't me who's going there, after all. Perhaps it looks like me - perhaps it sounds the same. But it is simply a bright machine.

Again, thanks for reading! To make it easier to continue the discussion, here's a list of points I'd like answered:
1) Isn't it hypocritical by definition to judge others for doing something you yourself engage in? Didn't you yourself define hypocrisy as a terrible sin?
2) Who is more moral, the man who blindly follows orders or the man who first examines them to see whether they are just and should be followed?
3) Do people deserve to be tortured just for failing to believe something utterly irrational (e.g. in Superman)?
4) Are you choosing to break mathematics or contradict your original statement with regard to relative rewards in the Kingdom of Heaven?
5) Given the following quotes:
Quote:
Wouldn't the mothers who'd lost their children want more than anything to be with them, even if the pain was unimaginable? Anything but sit helplessly on their cloud, knowing how much their baby boy or girl was hurting. That, to me, sounds like Hell.
Quote:
I wouldn't sympathize with them, because this is God's choice.
Do you claim to speak for everyone deserving of a place in Heaven?
6) How can the entity in Heaven be, in any meaningful sense, the same as the entity on Earth and thus provide some sort of consistency (which is required if salvation/punishment are to be justified) if it is missing vital parts of the original persona?

Once again, thank you for being so polite, and I eagerly await your response! :D
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  #527    
Old October 12th, 2012, 12:26 PM
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Originally Posted by Barrels View Post
Wouldn't the mothers who'd lost their children want more than anything to be with them, even if the pain was unimaginable? Anything but sit helplessly on their cloud, knowing how much their baby boy or girl was hurting. That, to me, sounds like Hell. An insidious, emotional Hell, with none of the stereotypical fire and flames, none of the brimstone, the cackling demons - and somehow all the worse for that.

Trapped upstairs while your child burns beneath you - with no hope of escape in either case. I genuinely shudder to think of it.
Geez, I'm already in the non-believer camp, but I've never thought of this kind of situation before. There are probably lots of "good Christians" out there who have loved ones who are "sinners." This is reminding me of stories you read about, like ones of people who have left war-torn areas of the world, leaving their families behind and not knowing if they are alive or dead. I already thought those were pretty heart-wrenching stories, but if you were safe and you knew for certain that someone else was suffering that would probably crush you.
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  #528    
Old October 12th, 2012, 02:13 PM
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I'm not entirely sure I comprehend your argument. As I see it (and please do correct me if I'm wrong!), this is what you believe:
1) We have one moral code ('turn the other cheek' etc.).
2) This directly contradicts God's stated intentions ('you will be punished for your sins' etc.).
3) Therefore God has a separate moral code.
4) Therefore morality is not universal - there is no 'right' way to behave. It all depends on who you are (i.e. God/human). There is no true morality - there is one rule for us and one rule for God in all circumstances (although occasionally these might be the same).
This whole 'turn the other cheek' subject must be understood within the context in which it was stated. Put simply, Jesus didn't want His followers (or anyone, for that matter) to follow the path of revenge. We all know what revenge is. However, it is important to understand that there is a difference between revenge and justice. Revenge simply creates more physical and emotional pain for the parties involved and is sprawled from an unholy hatred of a person or a group of people. Justice seeks to reward the good and punish the wicked. The former is wicked while the latter is righteous. When Jesus told us to 'turn the other cheek,' He was telling us to do the opposite of what our nature would want us to do: get even.

Now, it is crucial to understand that God is, indeed, a loving God. The world today has adopted this view of God as an all-powerful being who is sitting upon His throne in heaven, looking down upon the inhabitants of earth waiting for someone to do something wrong so that He may smite them. That's not who God is. He wants all to be saved and to enter the gates of heaven one day to be with Him eternally; the Bible says that God is a patient God and desires all men to be saved. This is why He sent Jesus. For those of you who do not know who Jesus was (and is), put simply, He is the Son of God. Why exactly did He send Jesus to earth? How does that display God's love for us in anyway? This is where the topic of justice comes back in.
The Bible says that "all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." The Bible also says that the punishment for sin is death: both physical and spiritual. While we must realize that God is a loving God, we must also understand that He is a righteous and holy God. Therefore, sin must be atoned for somehow. This is why God ordained the animal sacrifices in the first five books of the Bible. He alone is holy, and he cannot stand the sight of sin.

However, these animal sacrifices were meant to be temporary: these sacrifices were only meant to lead to His ultimate plan. This is where Jesus comes in. Because He was and is the Son of God, He is perfect. This is what His death on the cross was all about: because He is the perfect and living God, only His blood alone can completely and forever cleanse us from our sins. No other sacrifices had to be made because God the Father was satisfied with the sacrifice made on the cross.

That is how God displayed His love for us through Jesus Christ. "While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us." While we were still his enemies spiritually, He allowed himself to be made a sacrifice for our sins and was thinking about all of us as he hung there on the cross. Yes, there is a hell. But God loved us enough to send His only Son to die for us. Even if you, reader, were the only person on earth He still would have come to lay His life down that you may be forgiven and allowed to enter the kingdom of heaven. His gift of everlasting life has been offered to all of us freely. How do we obtain it? We simply receive it. The Bible says "it is by grace through faith that we are saved, and that not of ourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast." We can't earn our way to heaven because we are sinful by nature (recall all the animal sacrifices even the righteous people in the Old Testament had to make); because we are sinful by nature, our good works will never be enough to get us into heaven. But Christ offers eternal life to us freely if we will only repent (change our way of thinking, turn away from sin and turn our lives towards Him) and put our faith in Him. Once we put our trust in Him alone for salvation, He saves us. In fact, the Bible says that we receive His Holy Spirit when we do, and that Holy Spirit is the assurance of our place in heaven. Salvation is through faith alone: not through any good works we can ever do. No one ever has to work for a gift, right? And that's what salvation is: a gift to all who are willing to receive it. And Christianity isn't about living a perfect life. I, and every Christian living today, are far from perfect. We make A LOT of mistakes. But God promised to forgive those who ask for forgiveness.

God does not follow a different set of morals: morality is ultimate and does not change with time. However, His ways certainly are different than ours. We think of our own plans, but He has even higher plans in mind: for each and everyone of us. Salvation truly is through faith in Him alone: we are made pure by His sacrifice alone. When we ask Him to forgive us and to be our savior, he will never turn his back and reject our request. Certainly, all of this takes faith, but it is through our faith that Jesus will save us that God redeems us.

I hope I made sense in responding to your message. I love Jesus not because of anything on my part, but because He first love me.
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  #529    
Old October 12th, 2012, 02:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Barrels View Post
1) Isn't it hypocritical by definition to judge others for doing something you yourself engage in? Didn't you yourself define hypocrisy as a terrible sin?
2) Who is more moral, the man who blindly follows orders or the man who first examines them to see whether they are just and should be followed?
3) Do people deserve to be tortured just for failing to believe something utterly irrational (e.g. in Superman)?
4) Are you choosing to break mathematics or contradict your original statement with regard to relative rewards in the Kingdom of Heaven?
5) Given the following quotes:

Do you claim to speak for everyone deserving of a place in Heaven?

6) How can the entity in Heaven be, in any meaningful sense, the same as the entity on Earth and thus provide some sort of consistency (which is required if salvation/punishment are to be justified) if it is missing vital parts of the original persona?
1) What is the hypocritical part? I don't understand what you're trying to say...
2) I have never said to blindly follow orders. I have only said that faith is the one salvation. In fact, you should never blindly follow orders, because that clouds you from the truth. What if someone misguides you?
3) It's not the failure to believe - God will show Himself to you when it's time, in the right form. It's the pride that blinds you that is so wrong.
4) I never contradicted myself - I merely said that it's up to Him, rather than you, or any worldly authority.
5) I wouldn't feel for them, because they were stuck up in refusing God's gift for so long. He doesn't require anything from you, and he is in fact, actively giving you his gift. If you don't accept it, you don't deserve a place in heaven. I can't stress this point enough. All you need to be is to submit to him. Obtaining His gift is the easy path out (since he has taken your place and done the hard work), and yet it is the best path to take.

6) The person above me has answered that. God loves all of us, and is actively trying to help us cleanse ourselves of our sin. However, if one refuses his effort to help us (which is harder than to not), we have shown that we don't want, nor deserve, his love.
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  #530    
Old October 12th, 2012, 02:56 PM
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Geez, I'm already in the non-believer camp, but I've never thought of this kind of situation before. There are probably lots of "good Christians" out there who have loved ones who are "sinners." This is reminding me of stories you read about, like ones of people who have left war-torn areas of the world, leaving their families behind and not knowing if they are alive or dead. I already thought those were pretty heart-wrenching stories, but if you were safe and you knew for certain that someone else was suffering that would probably crush you.
I spoke to my aunt a few months ago and was horrified at what she was saying. She's a hardcore Catholic, she watches EWTN all the time and goes to church multiple times a week. Her husband that she had been married to for 60+ years died a few years ago. She's insistent that he's in hell because he didn't go with her to church or believe in God. I was so taken aback and honestly hurt that she was so nonchalant about it.

Then I told her if God exists I couldn't imagine him being so unmerciful as to reveal that he exists to a person and then ignore their repentance in the afterlife to torture them for eternity, and she just kept interrupting me and saying "no" over and over again. ;_;
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Old October 12th, 2012, 03:13 PM
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Originally Posted by Toujours View Post
I spoke to my aunt a few months ago and was horrified at what she was saying. She's a hardcore Catholic, she watches EWTN all the time and goes to church multiple times a week. Her husband that she had been married to for 60+ years died a few years ago. She's insistent that he's in hell because he didn't go with her to church or believe in God. I was so taken aback and honestly hurt that she was so nonchalant about it.

Then I told her if God exists I couldn't imagine him being so unmerciful as to reveal that he exists to a person and then ignore their repentance in the afterlife to torture them for eternity, and she just kept interrupting me and saying "no" over and over again. ;_;
It certainly can be a scary thought. However, I simply cannot call God unmerciful. He gives many the opportunity throughout their lives to place their faith in Him. It's true that God really is love. He desires everyone to come to the knowledge of the truth. This is why He sent Jesus: to give all of us a chance to be forgiven through Him.

Also, I understand that the thought of a loved one being in hell can certainly be scary and quite hurtful. In the case with your aunt, simply because she speaks of it so nonchalantly does not necessarily mean she didn't carry hurt inside when her husband passed away. What appears on the outside isn't necessarily a representation of what people feel on the inside. But forgive me if I am out of place in speaking on such a matter. I just understand what it is like to mask hurt from others.
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Old October 12th, 2012, 03:55 PM
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Originally Posted by Toujours View Post
I spoke to my aunt a few months ago and was horrified at what she was saying. She's a hardcore Catholic, she watches EWTN all the time and goes to church multiple times a week. Her husband that she had been married to for 60+ years died a few years ago. She's insistent that he's in hell because he didn't go with her to church or believe in God. I was so taken aback and honestly hurt that she was so nonchalant about it.

Then I told her if God exists I couldn't imagine him being so unmerciful as to reveal that he exists to a person and then ignore their repentance in the afterlife to torture them for eternity, and she just kept interrupting me and saying "no" over and over again. ;_;
She may not show her emotions, as again, this is God's decision. But inside, I'm sure that she's hurting just like you at what she's saying herself.

And she's right in that he probably is, based on the fact he didn't believe in God or whatnot. However, if he has asked for God or even thought about repentance to some sort, he's probably not.

However I have never known him, so I can't say. We can all only hope what is true is true...but as a Christian I do hope that he isn't.
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  #533    
Old October 12th, 2012, 04:16 PM
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It certainly can be a scary thought. However, I simply cannot call God unmerciful. He gives many the opportunity throughout their lives to place their faith in Him. It's true that God really is love. He desires everyone to come to the knowledge of the truth. This is why He sent Jesus: to give all of us a chance to be forgiven through Him.

Also, I understand that the thought of a loved one being in hell can certainly be scary and quite hurtful. In the case with your aunt, simply because she speaks of it so nonchalantly does not necessarily mean she didn't carry hurt inside when her husband passed away. What appears on the outside isn't necessarily a representation of what people feel on the inside. But forgive me if I am out of place in speaking on such a matter. I just understand what it is like to mask hurt from others.
Saying "God is merciful" and then agreeing with the premise that he would not give you a chance to repent after death, instead judging you on your life regardless of your repentance after death is a massive contradiction.

Droomph: please don't try to speculate on whether or not my family members are in hell, that's not really acceptable in this situation.
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Old October 12th, 2012, 04:33 PM
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Saying "God is merciful" and then agreeing with the premise that he would not give you a chance to repent after death, instead judging you on your life regardless of your repentance after death is a massive contradiction.
Excuse me. Let me elucidate. We are given the opportunity to repent in this lifetime. If we put our faith in Christ, we are promised eternal life. Mercy is holding back what we deserve: and we all deserve punishment for our sins. We don't deserve a second chance yet He offers us one anyway. God is patient and is waiting for people to make their decision: whether or not they will accept His gift--His free gift which He offers to all people regardless of anything they have done in the past--of salvation. God loves you! God loves me! He doesn't want anyone to suffer in hell. Why else would Jesus have come down to die the agonizing death on the cross if He didn't want any of us to be saved? if he didn't want to bestow mercy and grace upon people?

We must remember that God is righteous and just. He cannot leave sin unpunished. You know that hell wasn't created for people? It was created for Satan and his demons. However, after the fall of man kind (the story of Adam and Eve) sin entered the world and the hearts of people. This is why God sent Jesus: to show mercy and grace to a people in desperate need of cleansing and forgiveness. As I stated before, He doesn't want anyone to go to hell, but people must make their choice now: to accept His forgiveness or deny it. He has made a way for us because He loves us.
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Old October 12th, 2012, 05:10 PM
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God is apparently the all-powerful being. If he didn't want anyone to suffer in Hell and if his "gifts" were truly "free" then we would all make it into Heaven whether we believe in him in this lifetime or not. If he doesn't want something to happen, then it needn't.

droomph, I find myself becoming more and more disturbed by the things you say. You seem to have ignored most of Barrels' points and just answered his summary questions as though he had said nothing. In any case, of all the things you've said, sticking to your lack of empathy is possibly the most disturbing thing of all:

Quote:
Originally Posted by droomph
I wouldn't feel for them, because they were stuck up in refusing God's gift for so long. He doesn't require anything from you, and he is in fact, actively giving you his gift. If you don't accept it, you don't deserve a place in heaven. I can't stress this point enough. All you need to be is to submit to him. Obtaining His gift is the easy path out (since he has taken your place and done the hard work), and yet it is the best path
What you're saying is that you have a lack of empathy for these people. Empathy for those less fortunate than yourself (as the people who are burning in eternal Hellfire undoubtedly are) is a key ingredient in morality - that is, it seems, unless the misfortune comes as a result of the action of God, at which point those people are unworthy of your thought or feeling.

So my question to you is, if you only feel selective empathy and are lacking a key aspect of moral and righteous thought, are you any better than those condemned to Hell? God's word notwithstanding and using only your own sense of morality as a guide, does your lack of empathy not mean that you should also be condemned to the same fate?

And on that note, is it not possible that God is testing you on this point? Would he want you to feel empathy regardless of his actions and be displeased that you don't?
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  #536    
Old October 12th, 2012, 06:03 PM
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Originally Posted by Shining Raichu View Post
God is apparently the all-powerful being. If he didn't want anyone to suffer in Hell and if his "gifts" were truly "free" then we would all make it into Heaven whether we believe in him in this lifetime or not. If he doesn't want something to happen, then it needn't.

droomph, I find myself becoming more and more disturbed by the things you say. You seem to have ignored most of Barrels' points and just answered his summary questions as though he had said nothing. In any case, of all the things you've said, sticking to your lack of empathy is possibly the most disturbing thing of all:



What you're saying is that you have a lack of empathy for these people. Empathy for those less fortunate than yourself (as the people who are burning in eternal Hellfire undoubtedly are) is a key ingredient in morality - that is, it seems, unless the misfortune comes as a result of the action of God, at which point those people are unworthy of your thought or feeling.

So my question to you is, if you only feel selective empathy and are lacking a key aspect of moral and righteous thought, are you any better than those condemned to Hell? God's word notwithstanding and using only your own sense of morality as a guide, does your lack of empathy not mean that you should also be condemned to the same fate?

And on that note, is it not possible that God is testing you on this point? Would he want you to feel empathy regardless of his actions and be displeased that you don't?
People can accept gifts. People can also reject them. Jesus Christ is the way, the truth and the life. His gift of salvation is truly free, but accepting is something that a person must do out of his own will.

And as I stated before, God simply will not let sin go unpunished. Yes, he loves the sinner, but he must punish sin. And as I stated before, this is the reason why Christ came to earth: to make us clean from our sins.

And yes, God is the only all-powerful being. However, he gives everyone a choice. Imagine a world where people were forced to believe in him--a world where everyone was programmed to love God. God wouldn't be showing true love if he were showing forced love. No, because God truly loves each and every one of us, he gives us a choice. He wants us to be with him.

Now, on God's righteousness and judgment. Consider a judge. What does a judge do? He punishes evil and rewards good. He wouldn't be a good judge if he didn't do that. Imagine further if a loved one of his was caught in the act of murder. The judge wouldn't want to send him to prison, but because justice and righteousness must be upheld, he must give him his sentence. It doesn't make the judge love his friend any less, but the judge understands what is right and knows he must carry out justice in the name of righteousness--even if it brings him much sorrow to do so. Because God is holy, he cannot allow sin into heaven. He can't allow it not because he is following some rules that he must keep, but because it is his character. The laws in the Bible were created by him because he knows what is right because, as we mentioned before, he is the only all-powerful, omniscient being. God is righteousness in its truest form. Christ's sacrifice makes us clean, however, so we are given passage into heaven. But, as I said before, people need to make a choice.

I know I've been doing a lot of talking, but the main point I want to get across is this: God really, really does love you. As I have said before, he doesn't want anyone to go to hell. And as I mentioned earlier, God hates sin, not the sinner. His love is so real: and real love allows people to make their own choices out of their own will. I know that talk of hell can really scare some people, but don't let this conversation fool you into thinking that God is scary. He wants to come into your life and be, not only your God, but your friend. He did die for you, after all. The last thing I want to do is misrepresent him, and all he wants is for you to know that he loves you, and that he has made a way for all of us.

Quote:
Originally Posted by droomph
If you don't accept it, you don't deserve a place in heaven. I can't stress this point enough.
The truth is that none of us, Christian or non-Christian, deserves a place in heaven. We have all sinned. We have all failed God. God is proud of the good things that his followers do for others, but that doesn't make us any more deserving. Christ in us, Christ covering our sins, is the only reason we could ever dream of living in heaven with him someday.

Christians aren't any better than non-Christians. I want to make that point clear. We still make mistakes. We stumble. The only difference is that Christians have asked Jesus to come into their lives and hearts to change them. Our only hope is Jesus. Truly, it takes faith to believe that he loves us more than we'll ever know. It takes faith to believe that he will save us from hell if we only put our trust in him for salvation. In the end, it is by grace through faith that anyone is saved.
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Old October 12th, 2012, 06:35 PM
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People can accept gifts. People can also reject them. Jesus Christ is the way, the truth and the life. His gift of salvation is truly free, but accepting is something that a person must do out of his own will.

And as I stated before, God simply will not let sin go unpunished. Yes, he loves the sinner, but he must punish sin. And as I stated before, this is the reason why Christ came to earth: to make us clean from our sins.

And yes, God is the only all-powerful being. However, he gives everyone a choice. Imagine a world where people were forced to believe in him--a world where everyone was programmed to love God. God wouldn't be showing true love if he were showing forced love. No, because God truly loves each and every one of us, he gives us a choice. He wants us to be with him.
The point is, what person do you imagine knows that God exists in the afterlife (for obvious reasons) and then still rejects him? So are you saying there are repentant, God-loving people in hell? They don't deserve forgiveness for the sin of not believing in God as much as you deserve forgiveness?

I'm fairly certain if I was 100% sure that God existed I wouldn't reject his love. Which is the point I'm making here. After death, if God is real he would make himself known to the person. And then this person who was bad in life becomes repentant, asks for forgiveness. Who are you to say that they are not receiving forgiveness? Why are you claiming to know which sin in life is worth hell and which isn't? Isn't it part of your religion not to pretend to be God by judging others? Arguing "sin has to be punished" and "people who don't believe in God in life are all going to hell" are two entirely separate things.

Quote:
Now, on God's righteousness and judgment. Consider a judge. What does a judge do? He punishes evil and rewards good. He wouldn't be a good judge if he didn't do that. Imagine further if a loved one of his was caught in the act of murder. The judge wouldn't want to send him to prison, but because justice and righteousness must be upheld, he must give him his sentence. It doesn't make the judge love his friend any less, but the judge understands what is right and knows he must carry out justice in the name of righteousness--even if it brings him much sorrow to do so. Because God is holy, he cannot allow sin into heaven. He can't allow it not because he is following some rules that he must keep, but because it is his character. The laws in the Bible were created by him because he knows what is right because, as we mentioned before, he is the only all-powerful, omniscient being. God is righteousness in its truest form. Christ's sacrifice makes us clean, however, so we are given passage into heaven. But, as I said before, people need to make a choice.
Are you not a sinner then? Since, you know, no sin can make it into heaven and since you accepted God's love you're obviously going to heaven.

Quote:
I know I've been doing a lot of talking, but the main point I want to get across is this: God really, really does love you. As I have said before, he doesn't want anyone to go to hell. And as I mentioned earlier, God hates sin, not the sinner. His love is so real: and real love allows people to make their own choices out of their own will. I know that talk of hell can really scare some people, but don't let this conversation fool you into thinking that God is scary. He wants to come into your life and be, not only your God, but your friend. He did die for you, after all. The last thing I want to do is misrepresent him, and all he wants is for you to know that he loves you, and that he has made a way for all of us. :)
If God loves people then he wouldn't send anyone that repents into eternal damnation, whether they repented in life or after death. A God that looks at a person begging for forgiveness for their actions and says "no, burn for eternity", is not loving. You can't reconcile a merciful, forgiving God and a God that judges you entirely on how your life was, disregarding your repentance after death. One of those has to be not entirely true.
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Old October 12th, 2012, 06:49 PM
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I think the general consensus of religion would disagree with your claim that we are not all God's children.

Are you not a sinner then? Or are you resigned to going to hell?
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Old October 12th, 2012, 07:57 PM
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Originally Posted by Toujours View Post
The point is, what person do you imagine knows that God exists in the afterlife (for obvious reasons) and then still rejects him? So are you saying there are repentant, God-loving people in hell? They don't deserve forgiveness for the sin of not believing in God as much as you deserve forgiveness?

I'm fairly certain if I was 100% sure that God existed I wouldn't reject his love. Which is the point I'm making here. After death, if God is real he would make himself known to the person. And then this person who was bad in life becomes repentant, asks for forgiveness. Who are you to say that they are not receiving forgiveness? Why are you claiming to know which sin in life is worth hell and which isn't? Isn't it part of your religion not to pretend to be God by judging others? Arguing "sin has to be punished" and "people who don't believe in God in life are all going to hell" are two entirely separate things.
Okay, before I say any more, I would like to kindly ask that you stop putting words in my mouth. Did I say that "this particular sin will send you to hell and this sin won't"? Did I judge anyone at all? I simply stated that all of us have sinned. Me, you, everyone on earth has committed some sin or another. Tell me, have you ever told a lie? I know I have. Have you ever used God's name in vain? I have. Have you lusted after a person? Jesus equates that with adultery. All I'm trying to say is that no person is better than another. God created us all equal--we are all his creation. However, because of original sin (the sin Adam and Eve committed when they disobeyed God) man was separated from God. Did you know Adam and Eve walked in the Garden of Eden with God himself? But sin ended that direct relationship. And I'll get to it in a moment, but through Christ's atonement, we can once again have a close relationship with God.

Perhaps you're misunderstanding the meaning of "don't judge others." I did not say that I was better than anyone in my previous posts. In fact, I was hoping to avoid that, because nothing can be farther from the truth. All men are created equal in the eyes of God.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Toujours
Now, on God's righteousness and judgment. Consider a judge. What does a judge do? He punishes evil and rewards good. He wouldn't be a good judge if he didn't do that. Imagine further if a loved one of his was caught in the act of murder. The judge wouldn't want to send him to prison, but because justice and righteousness must be upheld, he must give him his sentence. It doesn't make the judge love his friend any less, but the judge understands what is right and knows he must carry out justice in the name of righteousness--even if it brings him much sorrow to do so. Because God is holy, he cannot allow sin into heaven. He can't allow it not because he is following some rules that he must keep, but because it is his character. The laws in the Bible were created by him because he knows what is right because, as we mentioned before, he is the only all-powerful, omniscient being. God is righteousness in its truest form. Christ's sacrifice makes us clean, however, so we are given passage into heaven. But, as I said before, people need to make a choice.
Perhaps I didn't explain it clearly. This is how the miracle of salvation works. When a person is born, he is born a sinner by nature, again, because of original sin. This makes us incapable of entering heaven. The animal sacrifices performed by the Israelites in the Old Testament were performed because blood had to be shed because of the sins of the people. They couldn't simply sacrifice any animal, either. It had to be without blemish. This is how serious God takes sin. Jesus came to die on the cross for the sins of everyone. Because he is the Son of God, he is without blemish, but in a different sense than the animals (a lot of the laws in the Old Testament were also symbolic of the things to come in the New Testament). Clearly, he is holy, and animals are not. He truly is without blemish. He took the punishment that we deserve. Because of this sacrifice, all who turn to him can and will be saved. The righteousness and holiness of Jesus is imputed upon the believer (remember, He lived a perfect life, so he really is righteous and holy). This is why believers are given passage into heaven. Not by any good works they may have done during their life time, but because when God looks into the hearts of the believers he sees the perfect sacrifice of his son, and that sacrifice is sufficient. When a person accepts Jesus, the sins of the past, present, and even the future are wiped away. He completely disregards and forgets about them. When God sees us, he does not see our sin but the perfect blood of Jesus Christ.

This is the only reason why anyone can make it into heaven. I'm sorry if I lead you to think that I'm not a sinner. I still fall. I still stumble. I make mistakes. But I have faith that when God looks at me, he doesn't see my sin any longer because he has forgiven me. Why? Because of the blood of Jesus. And also because he loves me, just as he loves everyone else. I'm not trying to sound conceited. He offers the very same thing to you and to all on earth.

We must also consider the fact that the Holy Spirit is given to those who believe in his name. The Holy Spirit changes us, gives us new desires to not sin and to live for him. Am I saying that Christians no longer have a desire to sin? Of course not. As long as we live in this body, on this earth, we are prone to all kinds of temptations. However, as a person continues to know God more and more, he will want to become more and more like him because of how righteous and loving he is. God's Holy Spirit changes people. In the end, it is his love that leads people to repentance.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Toujours
If God loves people then he wouldn't send anyone that repents into eternal damnation, whether they repented in life or after death. A God that looks at a person begging for forgiveness for their actions and says "no, burn for eternity", is not loving. You can't reconcile a merciful, forgiving God and a God that judges you entirely on how your life was, disregarding your repentance after death. One of those has to be not entirely true.
Was my analogy of the judge not clear? Forgive me, but do you realize that one can love while still being just? This is why God the father sent Christ to die for us. Jesus gave his own life for you and me. If he didn't love us then he wouldn't have died the excruciating death on the cross. Did you think it was easy? John 15:13 says "Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends." And you need to realize that he died for you while you were still against him. How many of us would do that? How many of us would go out into lands foreign to us (not that God didn't know earth, but it's true that Jesus gave up his position in heaven to come to our corrupt world; yes, you and I know that it's corrupt) and deliberately die for the people who treated him like garbage? Plus, we must remember the other ways he displayed his love for people. He healed the leper, restored the cripple, restored the sight of the blind. He had true, sincere compassion for the lost. Also, because Jesus is the Son of God, he is an exact reflection of who God was and is. How can we say that he's not loving after all the things he has done for people? For us? Not only that, but consider the blessings in your own lives. A lot of those blessings we could go without, but God still gives them to us anyway! I know that many of you own video games (it is a Pokemon forum, after all). Even that is a blessing from God. Many of you are still breathing today. That's a gift from God as well! Now let me go a little deeper. Consider science. Many people say science disproves God--they couldn't be any more wrong. Science actually proves the existence of the living God. Romans 1:20 states "For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse." Think about the fact that the earth is just the right position away from the sun. If it were only a few centimeters closer to the sun, the atmosphere on earth would be too hot for life to exist. If it were any farther away from the sun, it would be too cold. Consider the miracle of the human eye! The complexity of how this body part works is beyond us! We can't imitate the way the eye focuses light, not even with the most complicated cameras and other technology that we have today. Think about just how stable the electrons and protons within an atom are! Oh, how easy it would be for God to simply end it all with the snap of a finger; how easy it would be for him to say the word and cause all atoms on earth to lose that stability, or cause earth to shift in the direction of the sun, or simply crush all under his heel! After all, we did spit in his face with our sins. Why shouldn't he destroy all of man kind? Can't he simply start over? But no. He doesn't do that. Regardless of how people over the years have disregarded and rejected God, he doesn't do it. Now do you understand the magnitude of his patience? Some of us can hardly stand the sarcastic student in our class who lets his mouth slip (I know I can be rather irritable at times). As I said, he wants all people to be saved, so he withholds his hand. Many people are given the chance to accept his love, but some people don't. People are without excuse: creation itself testifies of the majesty and glory of God. All of it points back to Jesus. This is the magnitude of his love for us. By the time the unbeliever dies, he had already made his choice. For those who have been offered the truth during their lifetime, they are without excuse. Do I enjoy this? No! Does God enjoy it? No! But he is righteous and holy. He cannot allow sin into his kingdom. But as I said, God already went to great lengths to make a way for us, to reveal himself to us, and to redeem us.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Toujours
I think the general consensus of religion would disagree with your claim that we are not all God's children.

Are you not a sinner then? Or are you resigned to going to hell?
There is a difference between being God's "children" and being his "creation." We are all his creation. You, me, everyone on earth. The Bible states that when a person is saved, he is adopted into God's family. People are given the Holy Spirit when they are saved, and Romans 8:15 says "For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, 'Abba, Father.'" The term 'Abba' signifies the close relationship people gain with God when they receive him. As I stated before, I am a sinner. However, God is continually changing my life, making me more like him. And again, I'm not saying that I'm perfect. I do admit, however, that he has been changing my desires. He's been placing desires for me to follow after him and reject the sins I once called common. But I'm not perfect. Any change for good in my is all because of Jesus.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Toujours
I'm fairly certain if I was 100% sure that God existed I wouldn't reject his love.
Are you 100% God exists? This is the point of faith. It is through faith that we are saved, remember? All it takes is for us to trust in him, and he will come into our life and lead us. Life isn't simply about "don't do this" and "don't do that." There's a reason why God gave us rules in the Bible. It says that "the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord." God knows that sin will get us into nothing but trouble during our life on earth. This is another act of love on his part: he wants to give us a true and satisfying life here on earth. Now let me ask you, now: what's keeping you from accepting his sacrifice today?
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Old October 12th, 2012, 08:21 PM
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Okay, before I say any more, I would like to kindly ask that you stop putting words in my mouth. Did I say that "this particular sin will send you to hell and this sin won't"? Did I judge anyone at all? I simply stated that all of us have sinned. Me, you, everyone on earth has committed some sin or another. Tell me, have you ever told a lie? I know I have. Have you ever used God's name in vain? I have. Have you lusted after a person? Jesus equates that with adultery. All I'm trying to say is that no person is better than another. God created us all equal--we are all his creation. However, because of original sin (the sin Adam and Eve committed when they disobeyed God) man was separated from God. Did you know Adam and Eve walked in the Garden of Eden with God himself? But sin ended that direct relationship. And I'll get to it in a moment, but through Christ's atonement, we can once again have a close relationship with God.

Perhaps you're misunderstanding the meaning of "don't judge others." I did not say that I was better than anyone in my previous posts. In fact, I was hoping to avoid that, because nothing can be farther from the truth. All men are created equal in the eyes of God.
Sigh. The point is, when you try to justify why a person would decide "This person is in hell", you are agreeing that it's acceptable for that person to pass judgment on this person's life. This began because I talked about how horrified I was with my aunt passing judgment on my dead uncle, and you're trying to justify it. Perhaps you forgot the source of this?

Quote:
Perhaps I didn't explain it clearly. This is how the miracle of salvation works. When a person is born, he is born a sinner by nature, again, because of original sin. This makes us incapable of entering heaven. The animal sacrifices performed by the Israelites in the Old Testament were performed because blood had to be shed because of the sins of the people. They couldn't simply sacrifice any animal, either. It had to be without blemish. This is how serious God takes sin. Jesus came to die on the cross for the sins of everyone. Because he is the Son of God, he is without blemish, but in a different sense than the animals (a lot of the laws in the Old Testament were also symbolic of the things to come in the New Testament). Clearly, he is holy, and animals are not. He truly is without blemish. He took the punishment that we deserve. Because of this sacrifice, all who turn to him can and will be saved. The righteousness and holiness of Jesus is imputed upon the believer (remember, He lived a perfect life, so he really is righteous and holy). This is why believers are given passage into heaven. Not by any good works they may have done during their life time, but because when God looks into the hearts of the believers he sees the perfect sacrifice of his son, and that sacrifice is sufficient. When a person accepts Jesus, the sins of the past, present, and even the future are wiped away. He completely disregards and forgets about them. When God sees us, he does not see our sin but the perfect blood of Jesus Christ.
This was unnecessarily long. I understand religion, I've been to 7 years of Catholic school. None of this refutes the argument I'm making, which is that if you start believing after death you should be subject to the same forgiveness, and to try to justify claiming otherwise is really pushing it. If you accept that, then you can never justify a person claiming they know whether or not someone went to hell.

Quote:
This is the only reason why anyone can make it into heaven. I'm sorry if I lead you to think that I'm not a sinner. I still fall. I still stumble. I make mistakes. But I have faith that when God looks at me, he doesn't see my sin any longer because he has forgiven me. Why? Because of the blood of Jesus. And also because he loves me, just as he loves everyone else. :) I'm not trying to sound conceited. He offers the very same thing to you and to all on earth.

We must also consider the fact that the Holy Spirit is given to those who believe in his name. The Holy Spirit changes us, gives us new desires to not sin and to live for him. Am I saying that Christians no longer have a desire to sin? Of course not. As long as we live in this body, on this earth, we are prone to all kinds of temptations. However, as a person continues to know God more and more, he will want to become more and more like him because of how righteous and loving he is. God's Holy Spirit changes people. In the end, it is his love that leads people to repentance.
Once again, we come back to why you seem so sure that people no longer get this chance after death.

Quote:
Was my analogy of the judge not clear?

...

But as I said, God already went to great lengths to make a way for us, to reveal himself to us, and to redeem us.
Holy crap, condense. Condense. You're making the same mistake here that you keep making over and over - claiming to know for a fact what happens after death. That alone is making your faith-filled rants really obnoxious and personally offensive to me. I shared my comment in a club that is meant to support people that don't believe, and instead I get condescending evangelist who knows what happens after death and thinks it's perfectly alright to tell me why I should expect my family members to be in hell and still accept that God is a wonderful being that loves everyone, especially the ones he throws into eternal damnation for 70-100 years of not acknowledging him.

Quote:
There is a difference between being God's "children" and being his "creation." We are all his creation. You, me, everyone on earth. The Bible states that when a person is saved, he is adopted into God's family. People are given the Holy Spirit when they are saved, and Romans 8:15 says "For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, 'Abba, Father.'" The term 'Abba' signifies the close relationship people gain with God when they receive him. As I stated before, I am a sinner. However, God is continually changing my life, making me more like him. And again, I'm not saying that I'm perfect. I do admit, however, that he has been changing my desires. He's been placing desires for me to follow after him and reject the sins I once called common. But I'm not perfect. Any change for good in my is all because of Jesus.

Are you 100% God exists? This is the point of faith. It is through faith that we are saved, remember? All it takes is for us to trust in him, and he will come into our life and lead us. Life isn't simply about "don't do this" and "don't do that." There's a reason why God gave us rules in the Bible. It says that "the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord." God knows that sin will get us into nothing but trouble during our life on earth. This is another act of love on his part: he wants to give us a true and satisfying life here on earth. Now let me ask you, now: what's keeping you from accepting his sacrifice today?
Am I 100%...what? I'm posting in a club for people who are agnostic/atheist. Is the question is if I'm 100% sure God exists? Obviously I'm not. And honestly, the more you argue the more I believe I made the right decision. You are not coming off well for your religion.

Edit: I shared this anecdote because this club is a safe space for people to share things like this. Don't make this into a place where people have to fear getting preached to every time they post, please.
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Old October 12th, 2012, 08:39 PM
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Okay. Let me apologize if you believe I am ranting. Like I said, I'm far from perfect, ha ha. You're going to have to forgive me if you think I'm trying to put you down. I'm not. But just like the members of this club, I want to get my point across: even if that view may be opposed to what everyone else thinks.

Also, I meant no offense whatsoever. If I created or even opened already closed wounds, I apologize. If I put you down or sounded proud or anything like that, then I messed up. But I just really, really wanted to get my point across: even if that meant laying down different verses and such. Is it so wrong to support my view with as much as I can? I'm sure anyone would want to the same. Again, I apologize if my words came out wrong, but I simply can't apologize for what I believe. I respect you.

You know that the reason why I believe the whole thing about hell to be true because the Bible says so. This is why I am confident. But I won't force you to believe anything. I wanted to share my views with you, not offend you, so please forgive me for any unintended blows.

EDIT: By the way, I didn't intend to make people afraid to post their opinions. It's good to share your views. I understand that sometimes people make it intimidating to voice your opinions, and if I did that to anyone, I apologize. I just wanted to share my views as well.
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Old October 12th, 2012, 09:39 PM
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Okay. Let me apologize if you believe I am ranting. Like I said, I'm far from perfect, ha ha. You're going to have to forgive me if you think I'm trying to put you down. I'm not. But just like the members of this club, I want to get my point across: even if that view may be opposed to what everyone else thinks.

Also, I meant no offense whatsoever. If I created or even opened already closed wounds, I apologize. If I put you down or sounded proud or anything like that, then I messed up. But I just really, really wanted to get my point across: even if that meant laying down different verses and such. Is it so wrong to support my view with as much as I can? I'm sure anyone would want to the same. Again, I apologize if my words came out wrong, but I simply can't apologize for what I believe. I respect you.

You know that the reason why I believe the whole thing about hell to be true because the Bible says so. This is why I am confident. But I won't force you to believe anything. I wanted to share my views with you, not offend you, so please forgive me for any unintended blows.

EDIT: By the way, I didn't intend to make people afraid to post their opinions. It's good to share your views. I understand that sometimes people make it intimidating to voice your opinions, and if I did that to anyone, I apologize. I just wanted to share my views as well.
I'm not a member of the club, but when I saw your post, I just felt a need to reply. Your reasoning is that "The Bible Says So". What makes you so sure that if there is a God, the Bible is his direct word, or even that he influenced it at all? The book is At LEAST a thousand years old, and it has been translated from Latin again and again. The Bible you have today is a transelation of a transelation of a transelation. Even if this were not the case, how can you be sure that these authors were being sincere? On top of all this, the Bible was written down long after the death of the supposed Christ, so there is very little reason to believe that the records in the New Testiment are accurate. As for the Old Testiment, that's MUCH older and a great deal of it came from Judaism, A religion that came about in ancient times and existed at about the same time as Greek, Egyptian, and Persian Mythology, all religions that have been blatantly discarded. Who's to say that their texts are any more historically accurate?

ON TOP of all this, the Bible is FILLED with contradictions:

http://www.thethinkingatheist.com/pa...contradictions

and Atrocities:
http://www.thethinkingatheist.com/page/bible-atrocities

Why would you take any of your morality or beliefs from a book like that?


I'm not meaning to be disrespectful here, just giving my two cents.

Also, I'd like to join the club. The topics of Religion and Secularism greatly intruigue me.
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Old October 12th, 2012, 10:28 PM
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Originally Posted by Pppgggr View Post
I'm not a member of the club, but when I saw your post, I just felt a need to reply. Your reasoning is that "The Bible Says So". What makes you so sure that if there is a God, the Bible is his direct word, or even that he influenced it at all? The book is At LEAST a thousand years old, and it has been translated from Latin again and again. The Bible you have today is a transelation of a transelation of a transelation. Even if this were not the case, how can you be sure that these authors were being sincere? On top of all this, the Bible was written down long after the death of the supposed Christ, so there is very little reason to believe that the records in the New Testiment are accurate. As for the Old Testiment, that's MUCH older and a great deal of it came from Judaism, A religion that came about in ancient times and existed at about the same time as Greek, Egyptian, and Persian Mythology, all religions that have been blatantly discarded. Who's to say that their texts are any more historically accurate?

ON TOP of all this, the Bible is FILLED with contradictions:

http://www.thethinkingatheist.com/pa...contradictions

and Atrocities:
http://www.thethinkingatheist.com/page/bible-atrocities

Why would you take any of your morality or beliefs from a book like that?


I'm not meaning to be disrespectful here, just giving my two cents.

Also, I'd like to join the club. The topics of Religion and Secularism greatly intruigue me.
Haha, no, no. It's cool that you wanna share your views. I took a look at some of the "contradictions" on that website. However, some of these seem to be very minor and can hardly be called legitimate contractions. Yes, it is true that the various books of the Bible were written by different people. Look at the "contradiction" where Satan takes Jesus to the temple, for example. The truth is, it doesn't change anything. Both authors wrote about the same thing, but we must remember that these men probably weren't worried so much about the order of places Satan brought Jesus. The order doesn't teach a person anything. The main goal of these authors was to get the message of Jesus across. What was important was the context: how Satan tried to tempt Jesus but failed to cause him to stumble. Plus, read the passage from Luke. He didn't use any words indicating time at all. Perhaps Matthew was more accurate with chronology, but that doesn't remove the context of passage. Also, we need to go back to the original language of the Bible. Sometimes translations brings about variances, those differences are so minor and unimportant that they do not change the ultimate message of the Bible. These cannot be viewed as contradictions that discredit the Bible.

As for the atrocities, yes, there are atrocities in the Bible. As for the sins that the people of God committed, the Bible is in no way supporting those actions. The Bible has stories. Stories have ups, but they also have downs. We must also consider the culture of the people of the time. Although some things were acceptable during a specific era or culture, the Bible does not support these things at all. However, if you read throughout the Bible, one will be able to discern what is right and what is wrong (there are many verses that are very direct about what is right and wrong). If you put the entire Bible together, it all points back to peoples' need of a savior, Jesus. As for God destroying nations, we must recall that those nations were wicked and enemies of his children, Israel. God is just, and he must punish sin. It's just that in the Old Testament his punishment was much more swift and direct. The New Testament is were the new covenant comes in, where the Gentile people are introduced into God's family. If you read the Bible, you will see that the things it does support are morality and righteousness.

And I know you're not trying to be disrespectful.
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Old October 13th, 2012, 06:49 AM
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And based on the fact you may think that the bible has been mistranslated, there's always the original Hebrew and Greek version, complete with particle translations!

I understand that you're all iffy about religion, and I respect that. (After all, this is the ATHEIST alliance :p) However, I wish that you guys didn't bash on us...not that anyone here is necessarily, but...like...YouTube. They bash on religion all the time, on every science-y video saying, "hey dumbass isn't it great to be able to explain things other than..."

Just my two cents. However I know for a fact that most atheist people are pretty nice. However, the few just ruin it for me, and I'm sure the few of us ruin Christianity(or any religion, while we're at it) for you too. And I'm sorry, don't listen to them :)
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Old October 13th, 2012, 07:38 AM
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Ah, intelligent discussion! *rubs hands* I love it. Let’s go!

Quote:
1) What is the hypocritical part? I don't understand what you're trying to say...
Well, stooping to the level of the sinner by hurting them makes God as bad, if not worse, than they are. To quote Amy Pond: ‘we have to be better than him, Doctor’.
Quote:
2) I have never said to blindly follow orders. I have only said that faith is the one salvation. In fact, you should never blindly follow orders, because that clouds you from the truth. What if someone misguides you?
Precisely my point! What if the translators of the Bible screwed up? What if a particular word doesn’t mean what you think it means? Is your interpretation of the Bible at five years old the same as it is at fifty? What if God himself is malevolent? It’s hardly sensible to argue that ‘God is not malevolent because God says so.’
Quote:
3) It's not the failure to believe - God will show Himself to you when it's time, in the right form. It's the pride that blinds you that is so wrong.
But it conflicts completely with rationality – and thus science – to stick to old beliefs when evidence proves you wrong. If God reveals himself to me, I’m not going to shut my eyes and stick my fingers in my ears! To quote Tim Minchin:
‘Science adjusts its beliefs based on what's observed
Faith is the denial of observation so that belief can be preserved.
If you show me
That, say, homeopathy works,
Then I will change my mind
I'll spin on a ****ing dime
I'll be embarrassed as hell,
But I will run through the streets yelling
It's a miracle! Take physics and bin it!’
Quote:
4) I never contradicted myself - I merely said that it's up to Him, rather than you, or any worldly authority.
That’s not what I was arguing, though! It is absolutely up to God and not me to decide who gets what in his Kingdom. What I took issue with was the illogical assertion that everyone can be equal while some people have more than others! (I’ve just realised that this was the entire point of Animal Farm. Orwell sums it up far better than I ever could:
‘All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.’)
Quote:
5) I wouldn't feel for them, because they were stuck up in refusing God's gift for so long. He doesn't require anything from you, and he is in fact, actively giving you his gift. If you don't accept it, you don't deserve a place in heaven. I can't stress this point enough. All you need to be is to submit to him. Obtaining His gift is the easy path out (since he has taken your place and done the hard work), and yet it is the best path to take.
Stuck-up? Tragic, I’d say. And he does require things from me: my time every Sunday, my love, the way I choose to live my life. Having given me freedom, he should know that I may not want to hand it straight back in at the desk again.
…Also, you answered a different question! I do appreciate the time spent on the answer, but in essence all I wanted was a yes or no. Again, do you claim to speak for everyone deserving of a place in Heaven?
6) The person above me has answered that.
Nope, Shdwg answered number 1) – the one relating to hypocrisy. (No one’s actually yet tackled 6!) I’ll just quote it again, since I think you must have misread – if I’m wrong and the problem was that you didn’t understand my argument, just let me know and I’ll happily reword it!
Quote:
You didn't answer my question: 'how could anyone possibly be happy in heaven knowing the overwhelming pain and suffering happening beneath them?'

OK, so I'm assuming you're a lovely person who feels empathy for others. My point is that unless that empathy is stripped out, you cannot be happy while imagining the infinite pain and suffering underneath you. Empathy is the ability to understand the feelings of another - and imagining that infinite pain isn't going to be pleasant by definition (since pain is unpleasant). So we have ourselves another conundrum:

If you have the capacity for empathy, you can't be happy in Heaven. It follows that the version of you that eventually makes it there is missing some of its original parts - I would argue the parts that are vital to your sense of self. So whatever warped resultant entity is strolling around with the angels, it's not you. Not you as you could recognise yourself. That, to me, is a terrifying thought - and it's why Heaven holds no appeal for me. It isn't me who's going there, after all. Perhaps it looks like me - perhaps it sounds the same. But it is simply a bright machine.
--

Quote:
‘Saying "God is merciful" and then agreeing with the premise that he would not give you a chance to repent after death, instead judging you on your life regardless of your repentance after death is a massive contradiction.’
Far conciser than I managed. I agree wholeheartedly with this statement: again, we have to bend the common definition of mercy so far it snaps.

--

Quote:
‘Also, I understand that the thought of a loved one being in hell can certainly be scary and quite hurtful.’
Yes, scary. Yes, hurtful. Also absolutely, abhorrently wrong.

Quote:
‘Justice seeks to reward the good and punish the wicked. The former is wicked while the latter is righteous.’
But this entirely conflicts with your statement: ‘God does not follow a different set of morals: morality is ultimate and does not change with time’. If there are universal moral concepts – i.e. shoving someone in an oven is wrong – it doesn’t matter who breaches them. If I push someone into my oven and turn the gas up all the way – and don’t repent – I’m going to Hell. If a demon then shoves me into his oven and turns the gas up even higher on God’s orders, that’s justice. Unfortunately, it’s also hypocrisy.

Quote:
'forced love'
Quote:
'coerced, compulsory love'
We're using the same example! Here's the key point, at least as I see it - the love IS forced, IS compulsory, because the alternative is eternal torture. That isn't a choice! That's not just a rock and a hard place but a cloud and a sulphur pit. As Shining Raichu said, who chooses Hell over God secure in the knowledge that both exist? Either someone severely mentally ill (who in any case is not responsible for their actions) or the most courageous and moral of all of us. Someone prepared to dispute the broken morality preached in the Bible. Someone who does not believe in torture under any circumstances… but I’ll get to that.

Bottom line: I would have absolutely no problem with a God who did not hurt those who do not 'love' him. But since he promises to do so… how is this Father any different to the domestic abuser who punches his children because they no longer worship the ground he walks on? How is that reconcilable with any definition of morality as we know it?

Quote:
‘The laws in the Bible were created by him because he knows what is right because, as we mentioned before, he is the only all-powerful, omniscient being.’
This is circular - as you know, I think, but see no problem with. 'God knows what is right because he knows what is right (in other words, he's omniscient and knows everything).' And, I mean, that's fine - far be it from me to tell people what they can and can't believe. I certainly wouldn't torture those who hold a different worldview. But if you're prepared to accept circular logic – broken logic - I literally cannot argue with you because there's no hope of either of us being convinced. We're just spinning our wheels. It's exactly the same as me saying, 'a cat is a cat' and you saying 'a cat is a dog' and just having to agree to disagree because we don't share logic as a means to reaching a conclusion.

Quote:
'He did die for you, after all.'
Mmm. Yeah. But he's not in eternal Hell, is he? God has never inflicted eternal punishment on himself (to the best of my knowledge – again, correct me if my scripture is rusty). If God just killed me outright, that would be far more merciful than continuing to roast me even after I am dead!

Quote:
'Now, on God's righteousness and judgment. Consider a judge. What does a judge do? He punishes evil and rewards good. He wouldn't be a good judge if he didn't do that. Imagine further if a loved one of his was caught in the act of murder. The judge wouldn't want to send him to prison, but because justice and righteousness must be upheld, he must give him his sentence. It doesn't make the judge love his friend any less, but the judge understands what is right and knows he must carry out justice in the name of righteousness--even if it brings him much sorrow to do so.'
This is a wonderful example - thank you for introducing it. And I do agree that acting morally sometimes requires acting in the world's best interest rather than the interests of those you love.

But only to the most minimal extent possible. And this is where I cannot comprehend the Christian mindset. To extend your analogy, the judge sentences his child to prison. Prison. Not death. Certainly not everlasting torment. To do so would be ridiculously disproportionate and unfair – it would be unjust. To make the argument that failing to believe in something for which there is no reasonable basis – i.e. Superman – deserves eternal torture directly and absolutely conflicts with morality as I see it. Although your point is relevant and well-made, to me, it still doesn’t answer the question.

…Perhaps rather than continuing to miss one another, we should agree to stand by certain statements. (If I am unintentionally straw-manning, please do correct me!)
1) I believe that no crime is so great as to deserve everlasting torture. This is because I believe in fairness, in justice – I believe that no crime deserves disproportionate retribution. (Or indeed proportionate – Christians no longer believe in ‘an eye for an eye’, am I correct? We have to be better than the sinners. We can’t sin alongside them by punishing them. If murder is wrong, murdering the murderer – whether you’re God or human - is just as wrong. One follows from the other entirely logically.) Thus Hell is unjust.
2) You believe that failing to believe in God deserves everlasting torture. Thus Hell is just.

If we agree to stand by these statements, it’s self-evident that our definitions of morality miss each other completely. Thus it’s futile to argue over who is right – because we don’t agree what ‘right’ even is!

--

Quote:
‘As a Christian I do hope that he isn't.’
But but but that’s contradictory! You’ve spent the last few replies stringently denying that you’d feel empathy for those in Hell: ‘I would not sympathize with them, as this is God's choice.’ You can’t hope he’s not in Hell without sympathising with his predicament if he is. Wouldn’t a true Christian say that ‘if he sinned and never repented, I hope he is in Hell – because I support God’s decision’?

--

Quote:
‘And on that note, is it not possible that God is testing you on this point? Would he want you to feel empathy regardless of his actions and be displeased that you don't?’
Absolutely. I’ve refrained from explicitly making this argument so far just because it’s so divisive, but I believe that the most moral man of all is the one who looks at God’s ‘justice’ and finds it abhorrent. And thus faces Hell, not because he is unafraid or arrogant, but because he will do what he believes to be right at all costs. A truly moral God, who only wrote the Bible as a test, would thus let him into Heaven!

Quote:
‘He wants to come into your life and be, not only your God, but your friend.’
I don’t want him in my life. I don’t want a friend who threatens me. I don’t want to have to sit by as my children burn, screaming, in Hell on his orders and pretend I’m okay about that. Friendship is reciprocal - and I sure wouldn't throw his kids into a furnace! I couldn’t live with myself if I did. I wouldn’t be myself if I did (see 6).

Quote:
‘The truth is that none of us, Christian or non-Christian, deserves a place in heaven.’
So why create us in the first place, if we’re all so pathetic? Why create a species you’re going to condemn to eternal torture if they stick to their factory-default setting? Isn’t that horribly cruel?

Quote:
‘Christians aren't any better than non-Christians. I want to make that point clear.’
You have, and I thank you for doing so. Too often discussions are derailed by claims of superiority. (But if no one's better than anyone else, why do you go to Heaven and we go to Hell? Surely accepting God is a virtue in itself - and that'd throw the scales way out of order.)

Quote:
‘Science actually proves the existence of the living God. Romans 1:20 states "For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse." Think about the fact that the earth is just the right position away from the sun. If it were only a few centimeters closer to the sun, the atmosphere on earth would be too hot for life to exist. If it were any farther away from the sun, it would be too cold. Consider the miracle of the human eye! The complexity of how this body part works is beyond us! We can't imitate the way the eye focuses light, not even with the most complicated cameras and other technology that we have today. Think about just how stable the electrons and protons within an atom are!’
Intelligent design is not science. Here: ‘intelligent design has been widely criticised for its failure to state what mechanism drives it, its lack of falsifiability, and many other problems that leave it lacking as a scientific theory’ [source: RationalWiki]. Under the current definition of science, it’s not even a theory! It can’t be proved or disproved.
Also…
Quote:
‘We can't imitate the way the eye focuses light, not even with the most complicated cameras and other technology that we have today.’
And in ten million years? Say we all have far superior cybernetic implants. Does the argument then collapse?
Quote:
'Consider the miracle of the human eye!'
OK. Assume you're right and it is a miracle. How on earth does this prove that it was performed by the Christian God? 'Possible candidates for the role of designer include: the God of Christianity; an angel--fallen or not; Plato's demi-urge; some mystical new age force; space aliens from Alpha Centauri; time travelers; or some utterly unknown intelligent being' - Michael Behe.
Quote:
‘Think about the fact that the earth is just the right position away from the sun. If it were only a few centimeters closer to the sun, the atmosphere on earth would be too hot for life to exist. If it were any farther away from the sun, it would be too cold.’
Yes! Yes, it is extremely unlikely. Incredibly unlikely. I wholeheartedly agree with you! But the solution to the problem of complexity is most definitely not to posit a creator who would by definition have to be even more complex! If your argument is, ‘the eye is far too complex to be anything but an intelligent creation,’ the exact same logic applies in the next step! God is way more complex than the eye, right? So: ‘God is far too complex to be anything but an intelligent creation.’ By your own chain of logic, God himself was created by an intelligent designer!

Quote:
‘Oh, how easy it would be for God to simply end it all with the snap of a finger; how easy it would be for him to say the word and cause all atoms on earth to lose that stability, or cause earth to shift in the direction of the sun, or simply crush all under his heel! After all, we did spit in his face with our sins. Why shouldn't he destroy all of man kind? Can't he simply start over? But no. He doesn't do that. Regardless of how people over the years have disregarded and rejected God, he doesn't do it. Now do you understand the magnitude of his patience?’
No! Because the fact that someone ignores and rejects you does not mean you are justified in murdering them! Worse, torture them for all eternity! If we want freedom, we have to accept that others are entitled to it too. So while it may not be, for example, very pleasant to be ignored and rejected, that is someone’s free decision and to condemn it takes away your own right to ignore and reject people. God is hypocritical in this respect! He rejects people straight into Hell for the sin of rejecting him. ‘The practice of claiming to have moral standards or beliefs to which one's own behavior does not conform’ – this is the definition of hypocrisy!

Also:
Quote:
'Can't he simply start over?'
No, because that implies that he made a mistake to begin with. And he's perfect, so he couldn't have done.

Quote:
‘Now let me ask you, now: what's keeping you from accepting his sacrifice today?’
The fact that it would be a betrayal of everything I believe in. Of everything I love – my family, my friends, the decent people all over the world I will never meet. I cannot and will not accept that these people deserve to be burned alive for all eternity for not believing in God. I will not sit quietly in Heaven as they scream below me. This is my moral stand.

…Whoo. Okay. Deep breaths.

Again, sincerely, thank you for replying and arguing so politely. And please don’t take this as a personal attack – believe it or not, I’m really enjoying this discussion and would like nothing better than for it to continue! (I’m especially interested in your perspective on the sixth point I put to droomph – ‘How can the entity in Heaven be, in any meaningful sense, the same as the entity on Earth and thus provide some sort of consistency (which is required if salvation/punishment are to be justified) if it is missing vital parts of the original persona?’)

EDIT: Reading this back, I feel I ought to make one thing clear - I'm really not trying to hold myself up as this supremely moral entity who's courageous enough to face Hell for my beliefs. I mean, I don't actually believe in God, so any moral stand I take is hypothetical at best - it's all 'what would I do if I was certain that God, Heaven and Hell existed', you know? Drop me in front of an eternity of flames and torture and who knows how I'll react. Perhaps I'll sacrifice my integrity to get into Heaven. If I'm being brutally honest with myself, I don't think I'm anywhere near brave enough to face punishment like that. I'm no Gandhi, no Luther King. (Obviously.)

The key point here is that it wouldn't be honest of me to repent in that scenario - I'd be abandoning my morality. And that's the problem. To me, it doesn't matter that I couldn't lead by example. The fact that I, personally, don't have the courage to face down Hell doesn't make Hell itself any less wrong.
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Last edited by Barrels; October 13th, 2012 at 10:27 AM.
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Old October 13th, 2012, 08:22 AM
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Okay, I understand where this is going. Forgive me, but I am stepping out of this conversation. I have already said that God has made a way out for all of us, but all of you keep insisting he does not have any love to offer us. As I have stated many times before, believing that he does love us requires faith. And with that, I will end my discussion here because it looks like this conversation may end up looping itself.

However, I do thank you for reading our posts, and I thank you for being kind enough to share you views as well.

Oh, but before I go. That whole thing about intelligent design? My point was that I simply cannot come to the conclusion that we were made by chance. I believe that there is a creator and that he has done a lot to show his love for you and me.
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Old October 13th, 2012, 10:19 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by droomph View Post
And based on the fact you may think that the bible has been mistranslated, there's always the original Hebrew and Greek version, complete with particle translations!

I understand that you're all iffy about religion, and I respect that. (After all, this is the ATHEIST alliance :p) However, I wish that you guys didn't bash on us...not that anyone here is necessarily, but...like...YouTube. They bash on religion all the time, on every science-y video saying, "hey dumbass isn't it great to be able to explain things other than..."

Just my two cents. However I know for a fact that most atheist people are pretty nice. However, the few just ruin it for me, and I'm sure the few of us ruin Christianity(or any religion, while we're at it) for you too. And I'm sorry, don't listen to them
"Ridicule is the only weapon which can be used against unintelligible propositions."
-Thomas Jefferson

Though we find it unintelligable, we are not attacking most Christians. The issue we have with Christians and other religions, is in some of the legislation they try to pass, The ways some denominations are hateful of Atheists, And how most have at the very least a small hatred of homosexuals.

We have people like the Westboro Baptist's church protesting at funerals and weddings with signs saying "GOD HATES ****" in relation to homosexuals, or "AMERICA IS DOOMED, AMERICA IS GOING TO HELL." or teaching their children that everyone who's not a Christian is going straight to Hell, and to be as hateful as possible. In the middle east, we have Islam, where people are willing to burn down Embassies and murder Ambassadors over Cartoons of Muhammad, such as the Dutch ones from the earlier two thousands, or movies attacking him like the "Innocence of Muslims" that was released this year. We have organizations like Al Qaeda willing to rise up and slaughter with their religion as an excuse.

In America, especially along the Bible Belt, the term "Atheist" is cursed. In some places in the US, you can lose your Job simply for using the term. In schools, Atheist Children(Including myself) have, in many cases, been bullied and belittled by their peers.

On top of all of this, we have people like Texan Governer Rick Perry who want to break down the barriers between church and state and run our government solely upon religious ideaolgy, taking no heed to the fact that our country contains more than just Christians.

As well as worrying about the barrier between church and state, we have to worry about the position of Evolution in schools. There are MANY religious organizations that want to remove the idea of Evolution, with is based in facts and science, with the 6,000 Year old Earth theory as well as Creationism.

We also have organizations such as the Flat-Earth society who, in the name of religion, shun everything that science has to offer if it doesn't wholly agree with what's in the bible.



It's not just its followers that plague us, but the idea of the Christian God as well.

“Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able?
Then he is not omnipotent.
Is he able, but not willing?
Then he is malevolent.
Is he both able and willing?
Then whence cometh evil?
Is he neither able nor willing?
Then why call him God?”


-Epicurus.

Even if we disregard this quote and assume the Christian God is omneiscent and omnipotent, then the man is playing with our lives. Because he's all-seeing, he knows whether or not we will be "Saved" and whether we will go to Heaven or Hell LONG before he even creates us, and thus the Test of life is unnecessary and he's essentially creating people just for them to be tossed into hell. Also, if he's all-seeing, then that completely destroys the idea that we have free will. If he can see what's going to happen in the future before it even occurs, then we only have the illusion of free will. Our lives will take the path that he sees.

On top of that, the God of the bible allows slavery (EXODUS 21:20-21), condemns homosexuality yet condones rape (GENESIS 19:4-9), and condemns simple mistakes (2 SAMUEL 6:6-7 ). Oh, and let's not forget how Jesus said that according to Old Testiment Law, Children who curse their parents must be slaughtered (MARK 7:7-10). These are just a few instances of your God's "Benevolent Justice"

Use http://www.biblegateway.com/ or a bible beside you to check the sections of the Bible I had listed as proof.

“The God of the Old Testament is arguably the most unpleasant character in all fiction: jealous and proud of it; a petty, unjust, unforgiving control-freak; a vindictive, bloodthirsty ethnic cleanser; a misogynistic, homophobic, racist, infanticidal, genocidal, filicidal, pestilential, megalomaniacal, sadomasochistic, capriciously malevolent bully.”


― Richard Dawkins, The God Delusion


This quote rings true as you attempt to read the Bible from its very beginning, to its very end.

All of these things combined are why a great deal of us(Though not all) are completely and utterly against religion.
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Old October 13th, 2012, 12:42 PM
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Oh how ironic that as I type this there is an ad for a Christian Website on the page.
First of all, I consider myself quite tolerant of Religions. Muslim, Islam, Judaism, Rastafarianism and even Pastafarianism. I respect Catholics, and even respect the pope.

Many years ago I was christian. I was about 9 years old. I had just started learning about world history and was a big dinosaur fan. Then I learned about the fact that Dinosaurs were not mentioned in the bible, nor how long ago they lived. My belief started to falter, then ultimately shattered. I became a pure atheist, one who respects most religions, and believes that if any religion is the true one, it will probably be something like the Mayans or Egyptians.

I see many contradiction with the Bible. The bible is actually built up of Letters by various people, sent to the original author of the first bible. He/She then chose quotes from the letters to include in the book. This is one thing that sticks out in my mind.
Secondly, Jesus possibly had other Brothers like him, and might possibly have been married. Even small things like this can turn religion on it's head, yet it is not widely known because of the panic it might cause.

Then there are other things I have problems with:

Hate against Gay People - Let them do what they want, God apparently loves everyone, and if he made everyone, then why are they gay if he made them?

Women aren't supposed to wear Pants/Trousers/Whatever - Why? So she can be "used" by the husband more easily?

It's nice to have a decent Debate about religion. I'm willing to hear other peoples views, but if I don't agree with them, you'll know.

P.S Please don't read the above as being nasty/hateful/spiteful/blah blah as when I get passionate about something, my writing sounds/looks like it's meant to be nasty. Please take what I say above as a proper and decent argument
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Old October 13th, 2012, 12:50 PM
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Originally Posted by Scruffington View Post
I'd like to join. If you had to put a label on me, I'd consider myself an atheist.

However, my philosophy follows much of what the intellectual Sam Harris advocates. So long as we call ourselves atheists, people will associate that with negative connotations, or categorize us as simply "those who don't think there is a deity." Rather, if we call ourselves advocates of logic and reason, it becomes very hard to argue against us. Not many people are going to bite the bullet and say that they don't support those.

Just wanna pop in and say, yay! Another Sam Harris-ian in the house!
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Old October 13th, 2012, 01:03 PM
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droomph
mmm gurl that 90s
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Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: bar'jách
Age: 17
Gender: Male
Nature: Impish
SR, please take me off the list. You all have proven that you will not tolerate Christians here, so I'm gonna not even try to get you to respect my view.

You find it unintelligible? How insulting! I may believe in what could be an imaginary man, but that doesn't mean I'm a retard!

With that, I see the atheists here on PC (or the Internet, for that matter) won't tolerate religion, and justly so.

I'm sorry to have even ever bothered you, and I'm sorry that I ever bothered to try to explain myself and my religion.
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