Get that kid a Xbox and a copy of halo!
Condom commercials be like...
This is completely unrelated to this super amazing gif, but I have a question/challenge for the more religious people on here. I mean this seriously, though. I'm not trying to start a flame war with anybody with this, I'd like to start a genuine dialogue.
I've been thinking a lot about God lately, and I've come to what I think may be a good, simplified way to defend my stance of being an atheist.
I'm a Jew culturally, in that I recognize and respect my heritage even though I disagree with it on matters spiritual or traditional.
All four of my grandparents were Holocaust survivors. All but two of my great grandparents were not survivors. My family tree was entirely cut off, I have no idea who my ancestors were and not even places like ancestry.com could find out, the records had been destroyed.
The Holocaust was just one of so many horrible events that has happened through time to ALL groups of people.
So here's my point: any God that was capable of stopping or preventing the Holocaust, but chose not to, is not worth worshipping.
The entire point of worship is for protection. "Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for thou art with me." The point there isn't that they aren't afraid because if they get killed, they'll get to go to heaven. The point is that God will protect them from harm.
God literally protecting people is a recurring theme in many prayers. But when we needed him the most, he wasn't there.
How can I worship a being that let my people be slaughtered like cattle?
@I Are Lebo, I really appreciate your candor here, and your willingness toward honest and thoughtful discussion. It is a shame that your family has no traceable genealogical record, especially heinous because of how it was brought about. Your family is one of so many who have suffered such great loss at the hands of a ruthless tyrant and his henchmen, and you have my condolences in that regard.
Regarding your question, I would like to point out a couple of things if I may. Your statement, "The entire point of worship is for protection," is, I believe, in error. While I agree that active protection is a recurring theme in many prayers, it is not by necessity the point of worship. (I will make a distinction here between prayer and worship.) Prayer itself is a method for keeping communication open with God, just as you would keep open communication with any relationship you value. There needs to be a dialogue so that the relationship is preserved, otherwise it withers.
@I Are Lebo, Prayer is also used for supplication, or a petition toward God for protection, direction, comfort, et al. but I think you would be hard pressed to show that these things are the point of the relationship with God (unless you're Joel Osteen).
Worship, as I understand it, is more of an overarching theme in one's life; a long term dedication to their God, and the worldview, ministry, and interactions with others that dedication leads to (I feel I'm going on about this distinction, so I'll digress, but it is relevant).
So here's the meat of the question: What reason could God have to allow such atrocities as the holocaust, Stalin's regime, the black plague, hurricanes, and any number of these horrific experiences that so many people have suffered through? Well, there are a couple of factors that I can see. First, in this existence that we know, we are afforded complete free will. Meaning that you have the capacity to choose to do good, or to do harm,
@I Are Lebo, or to turn a blind eye, etc. You have freedom of choice, and with that freedom comes responsibility. Now, I think that God gave us this trait because He desires a deeper relationship, with more than simple automatons blindly doing His bidding. He desires a real choice to be made, either toward Him or away from Him. But the problem with choice is that it must be universal or it is essentially void. We cannot be partially determined and partially self-determining. So it follows we have total free will. And it is in this where we meet your problem.
God's interaction with this world is all through scripture, it would not be reasonable to say that he does not interact with us. However where does this sovereignty end and free will begin, or vice-versa? In order for God to have prevented the Holocaust He would have had to interfere with, for example, Adolf Hitler's free will and caused him to have different ideas or desires.
@I Are Lebo, Or perhaps Dietrich Bonhoëffer's, and given him a successful plan for assassination. But in doing so God would not have given all men an opportunity to come to Him, thus contradicting His word.
So if God won't interfere with free will, what are we to assume? That God is impotent and could not have stopped the holocaust? I don't think that's it either. Often when there is a tragedy, like my friend dying because of an atv accident, the first question is, "why did God do this?" I always find this interesting, because Brian was the one who got on the 4-wheeler drunk at night with no headlights. I think it is very easy, and incorrect, to indict God for the choices of Man. Adolf Hitler was an art student. He and others made choices in their lives which would ultimately bring about the deaths of millions of people. I believe people were called by God to resist that movement, and perhaps too few responded to His call.
@I Are Lebo, So I think your question becomes, "Is a God who made a world where men can make choices that destroy millions of lives really all-good and all-powerful, and ultimately is He worth worshipping?" Well, in order to indict God on these grounds, you must say that he does not have sufficient reason to allow these atrocities, even if some greater good comes of it in the future. It could be argued that you would need to have all knowledge and be all-good in order to even make the statement.
What I can see from scripture, and what I can deduce from what we know of the nature of God, is that even though God groans with us and hates the suffering and sadness that they cause, even these catastrophic events in our history can be used by God for his ultimate purpose, which is to draw as many of us to Him as possible.
@I Are Lebo, I know you are culturally Jewish, but I hope you can take this next bit from a Christian perspective. I know of no other worldview which gives an explanation and understanding of the human condition than that of the Bible. There has been no other religious figure to take part and experience human suffering like the figure of Jesus of Nazareth. I say that if God is good, His narrative should walk side by side with ours, suffering with us, comforting us, being present in true relationship with His beloved. Elie Wiezel, holocaust survivor and author, remembers during the hanging of several Jews, including a child, in his concentration camp, “Where is merciful God, where is He?” someone behind me was asking.
"For God’s sake, where is God?”
And from within me, I heard a voice answer:
“Where is He? This is where – hanging here from this gallows…”
@smittyspitoon, thanks for your thoughtful reply and for mentioning me 😃
I disagree metaphysically with the radical kind of free will you mention, but even if you're correct, and if this somehow justifies letting my purges happen, it doesn't justify the death and suffering caused by natural disasters and diseases.
@Joseph V Stalin, I think they justify themselves. Natural disasters are the result of a natural world, behaving as it was designed to, by renewing the ground, recirculating the atmosphere, and replenishing water supplies. I think we can hardly blame God for where we choose to live. We are hardly in control of the planet and can't expect there to be no unfortunate incidents anywhere. Diseases are weird. It's hard to come up with what I would call a justification for them, but I can say that we have been given bodies which resist them, and knowledge of medicine to combat them. I'm interested in why you disagree with the type of free will I mentioned. Can you explain? (I have to work in about 3 hours so I'll likely respond tomorrow, but please expound)
@smittyspitoon, I doubt I could explain that here! If you're interested you could look up criticisms of 'libertarianism' (as a theory of free will, not economics) on Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. There are more down-to-earth reasons as well: freedom is scalar, e.g. my choice to give my money to someone with a gun to my head is less free than other choices. Environments create pressure. A rich person's choices are more free than a poor person's, poverty and inequality puts pressure on people to turn to crime, etc.
Regarding the other issue, we can ask why the gods didn't create a world without tsunamis, hurricanes, earthquakes, droughts, famine and ebola.
Even the free will thing doesn't explain why the gods didn't stop me killing millions of innocent people after it was clear I'd made some pretty nasty choices!
@smittyspitoon, I forgot to mention something in my earlier comment which is my problem specifically with Christianity. Christianity preaches that if you follow a fairly narrow set of moral principles, many of which make zero logical sense, that God will protect you in this life and the next.
This is demonstratively false, as Christian death rates are no higher or lower than those of other faiths.
My point that I left out by accident is this: is it not better to act in accordance to my own logic towards being an objectively good person in spite of the fact that there is no such thing as objective morality when the objective morality religion preaches is so contradictory?
A God that would allow the Holocaust to happen, that would also keep anyone not of a specific religion out of eternal paradise (which is something several different religions claim, including Christianity) is a horrific being.
I've said before that motives matter, and that includes the motives of a deity.
If God was the biggest sadist that could ever exist, and He enjoyed being thought of as good and prayed for while he screws with humanity for pleasure, the stories in the Bible would all be the same.
I do not trust the Bible, because it is filled with inconsistencies, and barbaric answers to society's problems. Christians today pick and choose what matters and what doesn't, and it's so blatantly hypocritical that it makes me so angry whenever I hear religious fundamentalists use their faith as a weapon to attack other people's civil liberties.
I genuinely think that organized religion is the single worst thing humanity has ever invented, and while it is responsible for a lot of community and togetherness, it is also responsible for an obscenely large portion of human suffering throughout time.
I think it fits the evidence more that God is simply not there, and likely never was. It seems more likely that humanity invented God and gods as a way of bringing understanding for things we
were not capable of comprehending, and to bring comfort. I think that religious institutions like the church perverted that into a tool to control the populace, mixing politics and faith together in ways that they never should have.
I don't know what happens to our minds when we die, but eternal paradise sounds like wishful thinking to me, and while I'd be super happy to be wrong, I look at God the same way I look at Santa Claus or the tooth fairy. Fun fantasies that have no bearing on reality.
I think as a species we need to mature and take responsibility for our own existence, because way, WAY too many people have taken the stance of "fück the planet, and this life doesn't matter, my next life will be paradise."
It's childish, short sighted thinking, and if we can't collectively pull our heads out of our asses, humanity is going to go extinct on this planet.
@I Are Lebo, boy, you must be a joy to be around in person if you just randomly spout off about something completely unrelated
@Magickarp, most of my friends seem to appreciate my company, so I'm going to have to go with yes.
As an aside, downvoting all of my comments and insulting me rather than actually replying and saying anything of note is neither helpful nor appreciated. I genuinely want you to counter my arguments. If I'm wrong to feel the way I do, I want to know why.
@Magickarp, why can't you just ignore and keep scrolling if its such a problem?
@I Are Lebo, Sorry for the delay in my response, it's been a long day. I think you've made a few errors in your understanding of Christian theology.
First, it does not teach that if you follow certain moral principles God will protect you. There are moral principles intrinsic in its teachings, but I don't know anywhere scripture says that you'll be protected from death or disease because you observe them. (Also, which moral principles make zero logical sense?)
Second, the Bible does not claim that God keeps people out of eternal paradise for not observing a specific "religion"per se. Contemporary Christianity with its big churches, pastors pontificating, exclusive cliques and social contracts is a very recent development. I think your proclaimed religion matters much less to God than your relationship with him.
@I Are Lebo, Third, I don't believe that the theme and stories of the Bible would be the same if God was a gigantic sadist, and this sort of conjecture is only useful to discredit the motives of God based solely on "what ifs," and you can "what if" anything to no end with no real result.
Fourth, the Bible is not filled with inconsistencies. There are a very few areas of linguistic contradiction, most of which are not problematic with some understanding of dialectical diversity. Other differences in the text which are clearly incongruous are not doctrinally important. The thing about trusting the Bible is that it is the most complete and accurate recording of any historical document that we have. You can still go back to several actual original parchments and verify them yourself. It is a trustworthy document, whether or not you agree with its contents.
@I Are Lebo, Fifth, I think you're overreaching in saying that religion is "the single worst thing humanity has ever invented," and that it is "responsible for an obscenely large portion of human suffering throughout time." This is simply not true and there's no evidence to support it. The majority of violence and suffering in human existence has been caused by people who have determined for themselves what was right or wrong, who were conquering territories or forcing subservience upon others for their own gain. Even now, the vast majority of public sphere violence is not perpetrated by religious people on behalf of their beliefs, but by people who create morality for themselves, acting on their own judgement, which is different situation to situation.
@I Are Lebo, Lastly for the disagreements, and quickly- (I hope I'm not taking up too much of your time, but I am enjoying the dialogue), to your point that the evidence is more likely God never was there- This is a widely debated topic, and there are many views regarding evidence for and against a creator, but the majority of thinkers on this topic agree that there are many problems which cannot be so easily dismissed. One is that anything exists at all. Why is there something rather than nothing? Matter cannot be created or destroyed, but the universe is just lousy with the stuff. The amount of matter that exists is staggering, but where did it come from? Just about everyone who signed time on this topic agrees that the Universe had to have a point of origin, or a beginning of existence of some sort.
@I Are Lebo, Another is what's known as the Kalam cosmological argument, which reads as follows: Whatever begins to exist has a cause; The universe began to exist; Therefore:The universe has a cause. This argument has stood against much assault, but it has stood strong and has raised many difficult questions.
Now where we agree:
This statement- "Christians today pick and choose what matters and what doesn't, and it's so blatantly hypocritical that it makes me so angry whenever I hear religious fundamentalists use their faith as a weapon to attack other people's civil liberties." - I couldn't agree more with you about this. It is one of the major problems I have with many contemporary Christians. I would say that these people are not a good litmus test for Christian behavior. Remember, you can never judge a worldview by its abuse. The church perverting religion into a tool of political control and manipulation is an example.
@I Are Lebo, I love the way you put this: " I think as a species we need to mature and take responsibility for our own existence, because way, way too many people have taken the stance of 'fück the planet, this life doesn't matter, my next life will be paradise'. It's childish, short-sighted thinking, and if we can't collectively pull our heads out of our asses, humanity is going to go extinct on this planet." Everyone should get behind this, regardless of worldview. It is our duty to manage world resources in a way that benefits generations to come.
@I Are Lebo, One last thing and I'll quit. I think it's way too simplistic to see God on the same plane as Santa Claus or the tooth fairy, as per Richard Dawkins. I've heard this again and again, and it trivializes sound philosophy and logical arguments which attempt to explain a very real enigma of the human experience. By the way one of my favorite philosophers is William Lane Craig, who heads up reasonablefaith.org, and I encourage you to check him out. There are some really intriguing debates and myriad podcast episodes on current events and topics. I think you'd enjoy much of it. I have certainly enjoyed talking with you. I always appreciate civil discussion.
@smittyspitoon, there are some areas that I agree with you and see your point on, and there are some areas that I think are incorrect, and I'd like to address a couple of them.
Starting with what I agree with. I absolutely agree with you that the primary goal of religion is not to harm. While organized religion is always a tool of control, it's primary purpose is to help steer humanity to be better. The people that use their Bibles verses on homosexuality as excuse to oppress gay people are bigots first, and Christians second because they pervert the original purpose of Christianity, being good to your fellows.
But there is a logical fallacy you used that I'd like to bring your attention to. You said "whatever begins to exist has a cause." Why? How does existence prove purpose? I think that is an enormous leap of logic to determine that everything that happens HAS to have happened for a reason. Sometimes things happen because of aimless forces colliding. As you said, there's a LOT of
loose matter floating around the cosmos. A lot of religious people bring up the unlikelihood of life's existence. Really, we are only basing that off of the fact that as a species we are unaware of extraterrestrial life. But the truth is that with our extremely limited reach into the unimaginably large cosmos, we have such an insignificant viewpoint that we may as well be trying to figure out if a pitch black room is occupied by looking through the keyhole, and we have been at it for such a short amount of time that the analogous parallel would be if we had only looked in the keyhole for ten seconds before declaring the room empty.
When I lay the blame at religion for many of the world's atrocities, I don't mean that the organized and ran the atrocity, although that has happened many times, especially in the Catholic Churches earlier years, but Christianity is far from the only faith that's been painted on banners of war.
However, the Bibles have many outdated opinions in them. From
not mixing fabrics to not working on a specific day of the week to stoning to death people for many, many different reasons.
The Bible is an excellent place to draw inspiration from. But too many people take the stories literally and by doing so choose to embrace ignorance. If religion was the only place they clung to ignorance that'd be one thing. But they don't.
People who think that Adam and Eve were literally the first two humans are people who tend to make many decisions that negatively affect those around them. One of those things is pushing to teach things in school that provably did not happen.
It's mostly frustrating for me when Christians demand proof for everything science says (as they should), but don't require any proof for the bible outside of the bible.
As a side note, I'm very pleased by this debate as well. I just wish more people were getting involved. I genuinely want to hear your opinions. I want to hear your counters for my counters. If I don't learn
anything from this, then and only then is it a waste of time.
So keep it coming. And to anyone else, give me your best shot. I want to hear why you disagree with me so I can challenge my own perceptions.
@I Are Lebo, #respectfuldebates
@smittyspitoon, just butting in again to say matter (and antimatter) is "created" out of "nothing" all the time. It's still a mystery why there's more of one than the other though!
As for the causal cosmological argument, time is a dimension of our universe and it's unclear whether 'cause' is at all meaningful when we're talking about things outside of time. There is no "before" the big bang for something to do the causing.
If there are non-causal types of explanation possible, and we ask "Why is there something and not nothing?" the answer "The Christian-style God did it" still seems a bit of a leap. It could have been a different kind of god, or an entity utterly ungodlike, or not an entity at all but some kind of metaphysical necessity, or perhaps there's no explanation and no satisfying answer to that question.
@Joseph V Stalin, answers should fit the facts, not the other way around. "It's beautiful/complicated therefore God did it" is a copout. It's an easy answer that doesn't require proof and can be literally substituted for anything.
Remember, once upon a time the answer to the question "why does the sun appear, go up and across the sky, and then disappear on the other side every day?" was "A God does it."
@I Are Lebo, Again, sorry for the delay, I've been trying hard to work myself to death, apparently.
OK. So when you questioned my assertion that things which begin to exist necessarily have a cause, you leaped directly into the word "purpose," stating that things don't have to happen for a "reason", which I can agree with regarding general life experience, but when it comes to cosmology those are different topics. When I say that if something begins to exist, it must necessarily have a cause, I mean that @Joseph V Stalin's assertion that there was nothing before the big bang, time itself was born at that point and cannot extend beyond it backward, while a somewhat popular opinion, is not the most widely accepted nor is it the most logial. There are many theories such as the Oscillating Universe theory which contradict this. However, even so, what it does eventually come back to is that question: what causal force happened before the big bang to create so much matter?
@I Are Lebo, There's a huge mount of matter floating around in the universe, but that doesn't explain where it originted. You could argue that a gas cloud collided into a gas cloud to form planets and I think there is reason to believe that. But there is no satisfactory explanation for the substances present which caused, or at least were available for, the Big Bang to occur. @Joseph V Stalin makes a point that it seems in some experiments that matter and antimatter is created and destroyed, but the common understanding of these experiments is not that matter is created and destroyed all the time as he says, but that the first law of thermodynamics is still valid, and we don't really understand why this anomalous matter/antimatter seems to come into being and then cease to exist.
@I Are Lebo, I think I should clarify something here. Joseph said that to go from "there's something rather than nothing" directly to the Christian God is a huge leap, and I definitely agree. I've probaly made it obvious that I do ascribe to the Christian worldview, but I generally don't argue for the first cause and my own theological views at the same time for this very reason. Apologies if that has complicated our discussion. I would like to note that I have come to this belief on more than just what the bible says, researching and reading and trying to accept truth as it comes. I do not use God as a copout to explain what I don't understand, and it's frustrating when people lean on this God-of-the-gaps, as it's known, to escape their responsibility to justify their beliefs.
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Bltches at the club be like...
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Natural born tea bagger 👍🏼