Monday, July 6, 2009

This Little Insomnia of Mine!

Last night, I was trying to get some sleep and was awakened by someone screaming. I thought that maybe my neighbors were fighting. I went outside and realized it was preaching. There a small little church down the block, so since I was up and it was a nice cool summer night, I decided to take a walk and see what was going on.

I got to the church around the corner and it was empty. No one was there. I could still hear the preaching so I headed in that direction and it seemed that I wasn't getting any closer. Finally, I gave up and went home.

When I got home, I decided I'd end this mystery. I got in the pickup and drove that direction. What I found was a tent revival. 14 blocks away! My goodness! The people who came to hear the preaching was sitting right in front of the pastor. Why did they need to be so loud that I could hear them half the town away? Man was it loud! I heard them 14 blocks away in my bedroom and I thought it was the neighbors having a tiff.

Well, I sat down and listened to a little. The minister was screaming. I only understood every third word he yelled. Eventually, they took a break to play some music. That was the best part because they have this guy that can play a mean bass. I clapped for him, but not for Jusus. After the music, I came back home.

Well, I found out that PhotoBucket hosts videos like YouTube. I think I'll test it out. So, enjoy (or not) this very poorly done video of that bass player doing his rendition of This Little Light of Mine. Now that I've lost some sleep time, I'm going back to bed.



Good Night.

88 comments:

The Rambling Taoist said...

Now here I thought the punchline was going to be that the screaming was, in fact, a mountain lion. Their growl often sounds like a woman screaming, ya know.

Years ago, when I lived in your neck of the woods (Osage, Arkansas off of Hwy 103), I heard such a noise. :)

Billyist said...

You know, the interesting thing is that, as a reasonable, curious skeptic you found the source of this noise. But some theists may have walked three blocks, felt like they weren't getting any closer and assumed that it was a SIGN! FROM GOD, even!

By the way, I enjoy your blog very much, it's on my blogroll.

GCT said...

Why all the screaming? Doesn't the Bible say something about those who have to make a show of piety? (Something along the lines of don't do it?)

Robert Madewell said...

Yep, I know where Osage is.

Now, I live in Harrison. Not too many panthers get into town. When I lived down by the Buffalo, I heard mountain lions every rare now and then. Mostly, I heard coyotes out there.

Going out to that tent revival last night seems so sureal. Nothing like sleep deprivation to trip a person out. I'm still not so sure it actually happened. Oh wait... I took a video, so I know it was real. Now I just need an actual video of God, then maybe I'll start believing again.

PersonalFailure said...

I spent July 3, 4, 5 and 6th (last night) listening to my entire neighborhood set off professional (illegal) fireworks and what sounded like sticks of dynamite. I've gotten about 15 hours of sleep in 4 nights.

At this point, if I came across a tent revival, I'd probably convert. I'll take your word on the video being real.

Robert Madewell said...

Don't ya worry PF. The devil's got a firm hold on me.

As a matter of fact, I usually test God at these functions. I try to telepathically tell God that I'll convert if he has the preacher come up to me and say, "God told me that you're an atheist!" or something like that. It hasn't happened yet.

TY, Billyist. You are on my blogroll as well.

An alternate title to this article could be When the LOL is called up yonder.

Anonymous said...

I love you Robert Madewell, and I don't want to see you go to your grave an unbeliever. I'm not here to preach at you, but I will pray for you, and hopefully your heart can be softened once again.

GCT said...

"I love you Robert Madewell, and I don't want to see you go to your grave an unbeliever."

So, what does that say about god? You love Robert enough to want to save him (from god) and god supposedly loves us all, but god will toss Robert into hell and never make an effort to appear to Robert to allow him to make an informed decision. By your own words and actions you condemn your god.

Robert Madewell said...

"I love you Robert Madewell, and I don't want to see you go to your grave an unbeliever. I'm not here to preach at you, but I will pray for you, and hopefully your heart can be softened once again."

I apreciate the sentiment. I really do. However, I am not an atheist because my "heart is hardened". I am an atheist because I just don't believe anymore. I've swallowed all the dogma that I can handle, since I was old enough to talk. I just don't find it believable anymore and I have to be honest with myself.

Would you have me pretend to believe? Going to church only because I was afraid of going to hell? Most evangelicals I know would tell me that that wouldn't work anyways.

There's no switch that I can pull to make myself believe again. The things that I do believe, I believe because they make sense to me. If it doesn't make sense to me, I won't believe it until I have sufficient evidence. If no evidence can be found, I won't believe it.

BTW, if you want to preach, preach. I have never deleted any comment because I disagreed with it. You're free to say whatever you want on my blog. I'd love to hear what you have to say. My email address is in my profile. Write if you want to.

As far as praying? If you want to, but it's not nessecary. When you think of me, go for a walk, spend a moment with your wife/husband, or some thing that you enjoy. Do something for yourself and don't worry about me. DOn't dwell on something that worries you.

I love you too, whoever you are.

Judy Madewell said...

Anonymous! This is Judy, Robert's wife. I am a Christian and right now, I am an angry one!

What happen to Christianity being a choice? Are we under the Inquisition?

Robert, his brothers, his mother. . . all were micromanaged all their lives, and that included what to believe, exactly how to believe, exactly how to think. . . and by who? An ultra religious zealot and now. . . Robert has a chance of being a believer because he can choose it with his own freewill. I will pray that you have the same choice and are not under someone else's control. And being a believer out of fear of going to hell, that is under another's control too. I am angry with you. Think for yourself man. Think. Think. Think.

Also, many family members have come up to me and said what good I have been to Robert. They can see that he is much better, happier, ect. Uh, he is a moral man. He has a kind heart. He is intelligent. . . all I had to do was get out of the way.

Lorena said...

Judy,

A tip of the hat for you. Well said.

Robert,

Great post! I'll watch the video tomorrow, when husband is at work and not sleeping next door.

ethinethin said...

They love you. They're praying for you. They're too afraid to sign their comments.

When people like this point out that all you need to do is believe, I like to point out how difficult that really is. Take a picture of a kitten and ask them "if I demanded it of you, could you BELIEVE this was an elephant? Not just that it was an elephant in name, but that it was enormous and had a great trunk and tusks?"

"Now what if I made that same demand with the threat of eternal damnation?"

Without already deep mental problems, no-one could even force themselves to believe a kitten was an elephant. Believing in god with no evidence is just like that to me.

I'll just enjoy the kitten for how cute it is.

GCT said...

"They're too afraid to sign their comments."

In all fairness, there's many reasons besides fear that one might leave an anonymous comment.

Anonymous said...

Miss Judy said,"being a believer out of fear of going to hell, that is under another's control too."

Yes it is. It is under God's control. That's the way it is supposed to be. Not mindless, but fearful of God.

While I am indeed fearful to fall into the hands of a living God, I am not a Christian because of it. I am a Christian because God sent his only begotten son, Jesus Christ, to die on the cross in order to wash me clean of my sins, thereby cleansing me of all unrighteousness that I might have a mansion waiting on me in Heaven.

Does the Bible not say, "Fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom?"

GCT said...

"Yes it is. It is under God's control."

Why is it good to be under the control of god?

"Not mindless, but fearful of God."

Why should I be afraid of some entity that supposedly loves me?

"While I am indeed fearful to fall into the hands of a living God, I am not a Christian because of it. I am a Christian because God sent his only begotten son, Jesus Christ, to die on the cross in order to wash me clean of my sins, thereby cleansing me of all unrighteousness that I might have a mansion waiting on me in Heaven."

No, you are a Xian because you believe those things are true. Of course, that whole story makes absolutely no sense, but whatever.

"Does the Bible not say, "Fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom?""

Why and how would fearing something bring me wisdom?

ethinethin said...

Why and how would fearing something bring me wisdom?


I remember when I was going through a tragedy once, my fundamentalist sister offered me advice to the effect of "god uses tragedy to draw us closer to him". One thing I have learned is that you cannot apply logic to the supposed actions of god according to these people.

It's just like the whole "only begotten son" crap they spew... so was jesus really the son of god? I thought he was god. Isn't that the idea of the trinity? Or are you echoing the sentiments of the Arian heretics that jesus is "made of the same stuff as god, but inferior"? HERETIC! BURN THE HERETIC!!

But you know.. "only begotten". Despite being all powerful and all knowing, god refuses to come back down to earth to save the 5 billion people in the world who don't believe in him (you know, all those billions of people he'll have to burn for eternity). Lucky for anonymous, he'll have a mansion waiting for him in heaven. I hope heaven has enough subservient angels to keep all those heavenly mansions clean.

We just have to have faith, you see. Even though people all throughout the bible talked directly to god, and people who lived in the time of jesus saw him perform miracles, none of those people had to have faith, but we have to have faith for some reason.

No, I will continue rejecting this bullshit. Anonymous believes it because his parents believed it. It's the same reason anyone believes any flavor of religion. They were raised with it. Think about it.

Who taught you to speak language? The people who raised you. You still speak in that language. Being raised by someone is an immensely powerful thing. You're just really, really lucky to be born into the family who had "the one true faith", aren't you?

GCT said...

The talk about mansions in heaven makes me want to call Poe.

Anonymous said...

"Why should I be afraid of some entity that supposedly loves me?"

Because, thanks to Eve, we are born at enmity with God.

You can reject these things all you like. You can reject that the sun is hot too, but that doesn't make it any less so.

When Jesus came to earth the first time, it was not to prove his existence. That was a byproduct of what happened. If it wasn't necessary for him to die, nobody would ever have seen him on this earth.

Robert Madewell said...

"Anonymous believes it because his parents believed it."

Which is the real reason I believed it. Though, I did have my own reasons other than that.

The way that anonymous writes makes me think that he may be my brother. I'm probably wrong, but anonymous's concern mode reminds me alot of how my brother talks.

Robert Madewell said...

"Because, thanks to Eve, we are born at enmity with God."

Because a remote ancestor listened to a talking snake and ate the wrong fruit, every person on the planet is doomed? I just don't buy it anymore. Doesn't that sound absurd to you too, anonymous?

"You can reject that the sun is hot too, but that doesn't make it any less so."

True! But there's a difference. We have very good evidence that the sun is hot. So, I tend to believe that the sun is indeed hot. I've actually studied about the sun and similar stars, so I have some understanding of what evidence we do have for the sun being hot.

So, what kind of evidence do we have that the ancestor of every human that has ever lived ate a fruit that damned her and every human since to hell, unless we accept a guy that was executed by Romans as our personal saviour?

Probably the hardest book in all history to read.

GCT said...

"Because, thanks to Eve, we are born at enmity with God."

So, because Eve at an apple we are all doomed to perish in fiery hell due to god putting us there, and yet, he supposedly loves us at the same time. I'm sorry, but if you loved someone, would you be willing to torture them for any amount of time, let alone eternity? (Hoping you aren't sociopathic right now...)

"You can reject these things all you like. You can reject that the sun is hot too, but that doesn't make it any less so."

And, you can uncritically accept lots of things too, which doesn't make them true.

"When Jesus came to earth the first time, it was not to prove his existence. That was a byproduct of what happened. If it wasn't necessary for him to die, nobody would ever have seen him on this earth."

So, god came to Earth in the form of his own son in order to die for our sins so that he could convince himself to forgive us for our sins...yeah. So, why does such a loving god require human/god sacrifice in order to forgive sins? Why did he have to sacrifice himself in order to appease himself? Since he's omniscient, didn't he already know that he would forgive us? So, why all the folderall? Further, he would know that the "suffering" would not be real and that he could not actually be hurt, so it's not really a sacrifice is it? This is what I mean by it not making sense. It clearly doesn't.

ethinethin said...

When Jesus came to earth the first time, it was not to prove his existence. That was a byproduct of what happened. If it wasn't necessary for him to die, nobody would ever have seen him on this earth.


Yes, but at the same time, wasn't that a "faith shattering" event? The people who witnessed it would not require faith, which is such a strong tenant of your religion. Couldn't he have died off in a cave somewhere and then divinely inspired someone -- oh, I dunno, St. Paul maybe? -- to write about it, sans public execution?

As far as corroborating evidence goes, that's probably closer to the truth than what's in the gospels (since there's no historical proof that jesus even existed).

In any event, since you didn't make it to the end of my last post, I'll say it again (and probably in vain):

Anonymous believes it because his parents believed it . . . You're just really, really lucky to be born into the family who had "the one true faith", aren't you?

Anonymous said...

"since there's no historical proof that jesus even existed"

I guess Josephus is a liar?

For your information I was not born into the Christian faith. I did not gain my faith through parental indoctrination.

Faith was something that even the disciples had to have, because otherwise why would they believe he was the Son of God?

God did not choose to torture those he loves. He chose to give us free will, and between influence of the devil, and our own free will, Eve chose for us all to be tortured for eternity.

Anonymous said...

Quote: "Since he's omniscient, didn't he already know that he would forgive us? So, why all the folderall? Further, he would know that the "suffering" would not be real and that he could not actually be hurt, so it's not really a sacrifice is it?"

Yes, he did already know. Did you ever consider that all of what happened was simply a lesson in order to convince us to love Him? For instance, he created the world, then destroyed the occupants. Why else do that, but for it to be a lesson to us today?

Jesus did indeed suffer. His body was 100% human.

ethinethin said...

I guess Josephus is a liar?

The simple fact that Josephus was born in 37 CE (a matter of years after the supposed date of jesus's death) is enough to discredit him as a historically reliable source.

He wasn't an eye witness and he may have just been parroting the claims made by the gospels, which are not historically reliable.

Note: I would give the gospels more credit if there was any evidence that supported them being true. As it is, there are so many geography and timeline errors and major contradictions between them that it is folly to accept the gospels as a historically reliable source.

For your information I was not born into the Christian faith. I did not gain my faith through parental indoctrination.

Then you are an incredible exception to the rule. Why did you accept christianity?

Funny thing about making a claim like that, my dad makes the same claim (that he "wasn't born into the christian faith") but it's just a sly "lie for jesus". He may have not been raised with the religion, but his mother was a christian who went to church every sunday. And though I don't know this for sure, it's probably safe to assume his mother did tell him about jesus and such while he was young. What self-respecting christian would raise their child in an otherwise godless manner?

So you'll have to forgive me if I'm skeptical about your claim.

Anonymous said...

"Then you are an incredible exception to the rule. Why did you accept christianity?"

You know, I can't really pinpoint the moment I was convinced, but it started with a tract someone had left at my work. I was appalled someone would leave something like that in a place of business they didn't own. Seemed ridiculous to me. I got the name of the church off the back, and started researching the scriptures listed to disprove them. I don't know at what point in the process I started believing, but it was one of those situations where you start to feel the "rightness" of it all. I know it's not some testable hypothesis, but I honestly felt myself falling under conviction of the things I read. If it was simply psychological trickery like psychic's "cold reading" people, it was so ridiculously advanced it couldn't have been from a people, or a time such as these writers were living in.

GCT said...

"I guess Josephus is a liar?"

The people who changed his words many years after he wrote them certainly were.

"God did not choose to torture those he loves. He chose to give us free will, and between influence of the devil, and our own free will, Eve chose for us all to be tortured for eternity."

So many issues with this, so little time.

OK, so Eve chose torture for us? And god allowed that? What right did Eve have to somehow choose that for us? Why did god allow that choice to be made? How is justice done by god allowing it? Did Eve know she was choosing that? Was it an informed decision? Plus, god would have known before creation that this would happen, which makes god just as guilty as any other party in this...actually, god is the most guilty party because of this. You have not avoided the issues with having an omniscient god.

"Yes, he did already know."

Then he's a monster and highly irrational.

"Did you ever consider that all of what happened was simply a lesson in order to convince us to love Him? For instance, he created the world, then destroyed the occupants. Why else do that, but for it to be a lesson to us today?"

So, you are claiming that god killed and tortured (still tortures) countless other people simply so that you can get some special lesson? This is the height of hubris, as well as monstrous from your supposedly loving god. Again, your own words are convicting your god of the most heinous crimes imaginable.

"Jesus did indeed suffer. His body was 100% human."

Depends on which gospel you read, doesn't it?

Anonymous said...

I only know of the four gospels, and they all agree on that.

GCT said...

"I only know of the four gospels, and they all agree on that."

Not so fast. In Luke's account (I believe it was Luke, but if not it was another) Jesus sort of transcends the punishment he receives. Luke was trying to paint Jesus as a god, not as a human. Later critics were laughing at the Xian god for being too human and too able to be hurt, so Luke changed the narrative in order to paint a more godly figure that was above this world of pain, etc. He was never in grief, never in pain, never panicking, etc. I suggest reading Bart Ehrman's book "Misquoting Jesus."

Anonymous said...

Luke does no such thing. This is a complete fabrication. What verses are you speaking of?

GCT said...

"Luke does no such thing. This is a complete fabrication. What verses are you speaking of?"

Again, I'll refer you to Bart Ehrman's work on this for more detail. But, if we simply look at the way the torture and crucifixion goes down, it's pretty evident. In Mark, Jesus is weepy and hurt, he's crying out for god and asking why he's being forsaken. In Luke, he's in control. He's preaching to others, he's able to carry his own cross, he's forgiving others for their sins, completely unconcerned with his own fate. The stories are simply different.

Anonymous said...

Really? According to Luke 23:26 they had to give it to Simon the Cyrenian... just like in the other gospels.


"And as they led him away, they laid hold upon one Simon, a Cyrenian, coming out of the country, and on him they laid the cross, that he might bear it after Jesus."

Maybe you should put down Mr. Ehrman's book and pick up the actual Bible.

GCT said...

That's what I get for going off of memory. It is John's gospel where Jesus carries his own cross. No matter, the point remains that the gospels are not harmonized stories, but stories that are in competition with one another. They don't all agree on lots of things. Where was Jesus born, and why was he there? That's another good contradiction.

"Maybe you should put down Mr. Ehrman's book and pick up the actual Bible."

I have, as has Ehrman. As I said, I was going off of memory, and my memory was faulty. Ehrman is a pre-eminant Biblical scholar - distinguished prof and head of his department at UNC. Instead of simply hand-waving his arguments away, perhaps you should engage them and see if there is anything to them. Ah, but that would require you to actually question your faith. Don't you think that if you had the truth it could stand up to questioning?

Anonymous said...

Pot, meet kettle. Kettle, meet pot.

I am not afraid of questioning my faith at all. If I were, I wouldn't be here.

However, you would have to become an honest to God believer in order to honestly question your beliefs. Are you willing to do that also?

As for your comments on the gospel of John, it is pretty obvious by reading the account, and how few verses are devoted to the crucifixion that his is an abbreviated version of the story. There are many aspects he didn't go into detail over compared to the other gospels. Of course, while the others were just watching, he was caring for Jesus's mother at the foot of the cross.

The gospels do not disagree, they simply tell the account from different views. That's why we have all four of them instead of just one. Just like modern man, if he wanted to most accurate picture possible of an event would point more than one camera at it, this is essentially the same thing. In my opinion this is an argument for proof of God's guiding hand on the process of recording scripture.

GCT said...

"However, you would have to become an honest to God believer in order to honestly question your beliefs. Are you willing to do that also?"

Say what? How does this make any sense? In order to question my atheism, I have to believe in god? Oh yeah, that's because one has to beg the question in order to come to god belief - is that what you're getting at?

"As for your comments on the gospel of John, it is pretty obvious by reading the account, and how few verses are devoted to the crucifixion that his is an abbreviated version of the story."

Look, I said I was going off of memory. Let me look at the book when I have a chance and see what it says. I may not be able to do that until tomorrow though.

"Of course, while the others were just watching, he was caring for Jesus's mother at the foot of the cross."

No he wasn't. None of the gospel authors were there.

"The gospels do not disagree, they simply tell the account from different views."

That's a common misconception.

"In my opinion this is an argument for proof of God's guiding hand on the process of recording scripture."

And, if we only had one account, you would say that it is correct and that god only needed one account to get it right, so that would also be proof of god's guiding hand. Anything could be considered "proof" of god's guiding hand, meaning nothing is actually proof of it - not unless you can connect a logical argument to it and show how a counter view would constitute proof against god.

GCT said...

I'm looking at Ehrman now.

He uses the following argument: he compares Luke to Mark (noting that Mark was a source for Luke) and notes that Luke omits that "Jesus 'began to be distressed and agitated' (Mark 14:33), as well as Jesus's own comment to his disciples, 'My soul is deeply troubled, even unto death' (Mark 14:34)." He also notes that Jesus does not fall to the ground in anguish, but kneels, does not ask for all this to pass, asks once for the cup to be removed instead of praying three times (prefaced by "If it be your will").

During the crucifixion, Mark portrays a silent Jesus who has been left by his disciples and faithful women and is derided by all passers-by, Jewish leaders, and the robbers, and he only says something at the end when he cries out imploring god to find out why he's been forsaken.

Luke's Jesus warns women not to weep for him but for their families due to upcoming disasters, tells god to forgive the ones nailing him to the cross, has an intelligent conversation with one of the robbers, and then finishes with a flourish about commending his spirit.

Later in the book he says,
"Luke has changed the account, and if we wish to understand what Luke wanted to emphasize, we need to take his changes seriously. People don't take his changes seriously...when they pretend that Luke is saying the same thing as Mark. Mark wanted to emphasize the utter forsakenness and near-despair of Jesus in the face of death...For [Luke], Jesus was not in despair. He was calm and in control, knowing what was happening to him, why it was happening, and what would occur later...

...The point is that Luke changed the tradition he inherited. Readers completely misinterpret Luke if they fail to realize this - as happens, for example, when they assume that Mark and Luke are in fact saying the same thing about Jesus...for example, by taking what Mark says, and taking what Luke says, then taking what Matthew and John say and melding them all together, so that Jesus says and does all the things that each of the Gospel writers indicates."
[Emphasis in original]

Anonymous said...

I appreciate your time in looking that up for me. Unfortunately, I disagree whole-heartedly with what he has to say. It seems clear to me that the four gospels are simply different accounts. You are correct that two of the gospels were written after the other two and had them as a reference point, but they did not "omit" things to change the portrayal of Jesus. They didn't rewrite much of what was already written because their was no point. They added things that were not mentioned by the other 2disciples. All of this is how we know we've got the complete story.

I'm not sure how you could argue that John was not there. Jesus told him that Mary was to now be his mother, and John was to be her son.

Ehrman shows his lacking knowledge by failing to realize that when Jesus asks about being forsaken, He is actually recalling the Psalmist's (David's) original prophecy about His crucifixion in Psalm 22.

I'm curious now what date you would consider the Psalms having been written, and how you suppose David would have known important details of the crucifixion that hadn't yet happened.

The Rambling Taoist said...

"I'm curious now what date you would consider the Psalms having been written, and how you suppose David would have known important details of the crucifixion that hadn't yet happened."

I have my hand up. Call on me. I know the answer to this one!

It's because David didn't know. When the people wrote the fable of the crucifixion, they incorporated some of the info from the Psalms to make it appear more authentic. By employing this clever literary device, people like you would assume that David saw into the future.

In your case, this ploy seemed to have worked as planned.

Anonymous said...

LOL! I knew there'd be an excuse of some sort.

Apparently Josephus and Tacitus (both SECULAR historians) were in on the conspiracy too.

GCT said...

"I appreciate your time in looking that up for me. Unfortunately, I disagree whole-heartedly with what he has to say."

Why am I not suprised?

"You are correct that two of the gospels were written after the other two and had them as a reference point, but they did not "omit" things to change the portrayal of Jesus."

Luke and Matthew both used Mark as a source, while John was written well after all the other three.

Ehrman's argument is pretty good. You can't simply wave it away by asserting the opposite and claiming that it seems clear to you. The difficulties in harmonizing the accounts are well documented.

"They added things that were not mentioned by the other 2disciples. All of this is how we know we've got the complete story."

So, Jesus was both crying out "Why have you forsaken me?" and also stating that he commends his spirit? The robbers were taunting him and he was having an intelligent conversation about saving one of them? This makes no sense.

"I'm not sure how you could argue that John was not there. Jesus told him that Mary was to now be his mother, and John was to be her son."

The gospel of John was not written until about 90AD at the earliest. Also, simply because it is named the gospel of "John" doesn't mean that John wrote it.

"Ehrman shows his lacking knowledge by failing to realize that when Jesus asks about being forsaken, He is actually recalling the Psalmist's (David's) original prophecy about His crucifixion in Psalm 22."

This is simply absurd. This would be like me saying that you show your lack of the English language because you don't type your comments in iambic pentameter.

"LOL! I knew there'd be an excuse of some sort."

Excuse? Hardly. If I were writing about a messianic figure, I would make sure that he fulfilled all the prophecies too.

"Apparently Josephus and Tacitus (both SECULAR historians) were in on the conspiracy too."

I think you are way underinformed about the roles of Josephus and Tacitus. Please see here.

Anonymous said...

This is a good example of how the athiest changes stances constantly to stay uninformed of the truth.

"Though there are some later extra-biblical references to Jesus, the lack of first-hand evidence alone makes them all into hearsay. "

Kind of like the Big Bang, Origins of Life from inorganic material, Man and other primate's common ancestors?

Now all of this stuff the athiest says, "I know to be true because other smart guys I trust said so." However, when a Christian says, "I know the Bible to be true because of the records kept by people I trust." it's written off as "hearsay" so it can't possible count.

GCT said...

"This is a good example of how the athiest changes stances constantly to stay uninformed of the truth."

Um, wrong.

"Kind of like the Big Bang, Origins of Life from inorganic material, Man and other primate's common ancestors?"

You mean those things for which we have physical evidence? Yeah, I'm sure that the forged writings that someone placed into Josephus's work are just as good if not better than empirical evidence that we can measure.

"Now all of this stuff the athiest says, "I know to be true because other smart guys I trust said so.""

No, we know it's true because we have empirical evidence. Where is yours?

"However, when a Christian says, "I know the Bible to be true because of the records kept by people I trust." it's written off as "hearsay" so it can't possible count."

Because the records are all written well after the fact, some are forged, etc. None of these would stand up in a court of law. And, the link I provided gives quite a bit of good argument as to why. But, I guess it's easier to just complain about how unfair we atheists are.

Anonymous said...

" But, I guess it's easier to just complain about how unfair we atheists are."

Like when athiests say every argument is a "strawman" or a "red herring"?

Always a double-standard.

GCT said...

"Like when athiests say every argument is a "strawman" or a "red herring"?

Always a double-standard."

Sigh. If you wish to dispute my pointing out that your arguments are illogical, then go ahead and I'll explain it to you. But, it's still not a double standard, especially since you're doing exactly what I just chastized you for. Instead of dealing with the arguments, you simply cry out "double standard" when in point of fact, I have been dealing with the arguments. I've pointed out why your arguments are false or debunked or don't make sense. You simply come back at me with complaints about mistreatment instead of dealing with the counter-arguments, and this somehow constitutes a double standard to you? What a joke.

Anonymous said...

Okay, then let's see your physical evidence of the Big Bang. Also show me any evidence that life can come from non-life.

GCT said...

"Okay, then let's see your physical evidence of the Big Bang. Also show me any evidence that life can come from non-life."

Sure, but let's get something straight here, because I know what you are about to do. You're hoping that I'll present something, you'll deny that it's correct or constitutes evidence, etc. etc., and that in the interim we'll all forget about the fact that you're avoiding having to present any evidence for your claims. This is all a diversion for that end, especially considering that you conjured up these two topics out of thin air.

Big bang

Abiogenesis

Care to complain some more about double standards, considering I'm putting up and you are not?

Anonymous said...

Wikipedia links? Really?

I'm not sure what points you want evidence on in this thread that I haven't provided. I'm happy to oblige, and it won't be in the form of wikipedia links.

Anonymous said...

I have to agree with anonymous. If I direct you to websites that show the Oxford Papyri have small portions of the Book of MATT dated 60/65 AD which make him a contemporary of Jesus, you will shoot that down.

We could make the same claim about Wikipedia that you make about Josephus Flavius. How do we know that that information is not tainted?

GCT said...

"Wikipedia links? Really?"

Because they have good summaries.

"I'm not sure what points you want evidence on in this thread that I haven't provided. I'm happy to oblige, and it won't be in the form of wikipedia links."

How about all of your accusations against me and atheists in general? Actually, maybe you could just answer all the questions that you conveniently neglect to answer. Etc.

"...60/65 AD which make him a contemporary of Jesus..."

A) No, it doesn't.
B) Perhaps you could explain why no contemporary historian mentions Jesus at all or any of the other miraculous happenings (like the sky darkening and the earthquake and all the zombies walking about Jerusalem).

"We could make the same claim about Wikipedia that you make about Josephus Flavius. How do we know that that information is not tainted?"

It's just a quick summary. I was asked what the evidence is, that link lists it. Background radiation, the expansion of space, etc.

Note how my prediction is coming true as well.

And, if there are two of you, could you please use some sort of signature at the bottom to tell you apart or use the Name/URL option?

Debbie said...

GCT,
After reading the posts, I notice a common symptom here and it is anger. Why are you so angry? You are free to believe as you please. If Christians did not come here to blog with you, it would be pretty boring and there would be nothing for you to be angry about. You give facts on Wikipedia that are true, but ultimatley you or I cannot prove how everything came into existence prior to the big bang and the time before that and the time before that. It ultimatley comes down to faith for me. All I can say is that it brings me great joy in my life and that is enough for me. I can never explain it to you so that you would accept it. Call it Christianity, religion, whatever you want, but it works for those of us who accept it. Good luck in your endeavors. MARANATHA

Anonymous said...

Still waiting for you to list what claims I haven't backed up in this thread?

You have quite the victim complex.

Robert Madewell said...

"... but ultimatley you or I cannot prove how everything came into existence prior to the big bang ..."

Space and time both were created in the Big Bang. There was no prior. All the mass (and more) was compressed into an infinitely small point. So there was something, just nowhere for it to be.

The Big Bang on Wikipedia

GCT said...

Debbie,
"GCT,
After reading the posts, I notice a common symptom here and it is anger. Why are you so angry?"

Wow. And, this is after I chided you for pulling such a bigoted and stereotypical card? I have to doubt that you actually did read the posts. Once again, the stereotype of the angry atheist is simply that, a stereotype. Don't mistake concise argumentation for anger.

"You give facts on Wikipedia that are true, but ultimatley you or I cannot prove how everything came into existence prior to the big bang and the time before that and the time before that."

There is no "before" the big bang. Time came into existence at the big bang, so talking about "before" the big bang is meaningless. Still, saying that we don't know doesn't give you license to claim that "goddidit." Frankly, it's irrational.

GCT said...

"Still waiting for you to list what claims I haven't backed up in this thread?"

I figured it would be easier for you to just read.

See my posts on the following dates/times:

July 8, 2009 4:26 AM
July 9, 2009 10:29 AM
July 15, 2009 5:10 AM

Your comments:
July 13, 2009 8:22 AM
Your references to Josephus
July 14, 2009 10:13 PM
July 15, 2009 12:39 PM
July 16, 2009 9:19 AM

"You have quite the victim complex."

Really? Pot, kettle, and all that...I mean, complaining about double standards and all that, but I'm the one with the victim complex for pointing out that you keep making accusations and arguments and not backing them up? Why do you persist in making personal attacks?

Anonymous said...

July 8, 2009 4:26 AM

" god will toss Robert into hell and never make an effort to appear to Robert to allow him to make an informed decision. "

God has given him more than enough evidence. The innumerable things of the visible world are all evidence of God. If you guys can't see the forest for the trees, that's not God's fault. And that's not even mentioning God's own word that tells us explicitly about Him.
-----------------------------------

July 9, 2009 10:29 AM

"Why is it good to be under the control of god?"

Matthew 11:30
For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.

"Why should I be afraid of some entity that supposedly loves me?"

Same reason a child should be afraid of a parent who is angry. Not that the parent doesn't love them, but punishment is unpleasant. We all are driven by either positive or negative reinforcement. You can listen to your parents because they love you and you love them too, or you can listen to them for fear of repercussions of disobeying.

"Why and how would fearing something bring me wisdom?"

Because by fearing God, you will be careful to learn His statutes, which will allow you to better serve Him.

Anonymous said...

July 15, 2009 5:10 AM

No questions were asked of me. Not sure why you listed this one. We obviously disagree about the integrity of Josephus and Tacitus' writings. Only someone who was there at the time of the true events can 100% verify that these historians accurately recorded the events. You or I don't have any further ground for argument here. Mutual disagreement.
----------------------------

July 13, 2009 8:22 AM

The evidence of my belief is the gospel of Luke itself. I will not repost it in its entirety here.
---------------------------------
July 14, 2009 10:13 PM

Goes back to the Josephus and Tacitus disagreement.
---------------------------------
July 15, 2009 12:39 PM
I was referring to the men who wrote down the word of God, not Josephus or Tacitus.
---------------------------------
July 16, 2009 9:19 AM

Again, not sure why you included this one. Please elaborate.

Anonymous said...

I apologize for whatever you take as a personal attack, but there is a difference between an attack, and calling a spade a spade. You are poorly informed, and have obviously spent more time trying to learn "rules" or argument, rather than trying to learn whether what you are arguing for is true.

Robert Madewell said...

"Same reason a child should be afraid of a parent who is angry. Not that the parent doesn't love them, but punishment is unpleasant."

Yeah, I guess I'd be afraid of a god that would torture me forever because someone else ate the wrong fruit. That's if I actually believed that such a creature exists, of course.

The parent analogy is flawed. If you use that anology, it makes God look like an abusive parent, not a corrective parent. There is a big difference. Abusive parents hand out punishment that is usually extreme and excessive. Doesn't it seem extreme and excessive to punish people by burning them forever for simply being human? I think so.

Anonymous said...

"Doesn't it seem extreme and excessive to punish people by burning them forever for simply being human?"

It seems extreme enough that you'd think it would be an effective deterrent. You have a choice whether to go through that or not.

GCT said...

"God has given him more than enough evidence."

Obviously not.

"The innumerable things of the visible world are all evidence of God."

If everything is "evidence" then nothing is really evidence of god.

"If you guys can't see the forest for the trees, that's not God's fault."

Yeah, it is. god is supposedly omniscient and should know what I need to see to be convinced, yet he does not do that. In fact, he claims in his book that I have all the evidence I need, which is flatly inaccurate. So, you've got a big problem to solve right there.

"And that's not even mentioning God's own word that tells us explicitly about Him."

We have no evidence that thoes are god's own words.

"Matthew 11:30
For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light."

This makes no sense and doesn't answer the question.

"Same reason a child should be afraid of a parent who is angry."

So, is god always angry? What is god angry about?

Further, children aren't afraid of their parents so much as afraid of the punishment that is to come. Yet, as Robert points out, that punishment must accord with the "crime" and is used in order to teach a lesson. Hell is a strictly punitive measure.

"We all are driven by either positive or negative reinforcement."

What development happens in hell?

"Because by fearing God, you will be careful to learn His statutes, which will allow you to better serve Him."

Fear keeps people from actually learning. It does not bring wisdome, it brings forced obedience. And, simply because I fear god doesn't mean that I will correctly learn anything. This is empirically demonstrated by the fact that so many religions exist and so many different sects of Xianity.

GCT said...

"No questions were asked of me. Not sure why you listed this one."

Just pointing out that your refusal to consider Ehrman's point or deal with it (beyond simply saying, nuh-uh) and the lack of information that you seem to possess that I provided for you that speaks against you...Oh, but I'm the uninformed one, I forgot.

"We obviously disagree about the integrity of Josephus and Tacitus' writings."

Yeah, and your whole entire argument consists of "You're wrong, so there."

"Only someone who was there at the time of the true events can 100% verify that these historians accurately recorded the events."

Ah, so when you think your view is supported, you rely on them, but when you're worried about whether it does, you rely on wishy-washy claims that we can't be sure. Problem is that your view simply isn't very likely at all, and there's ample evidence that it is not correct.

"The evidence of my belief is the gospel of Luke itself. I will not repost it in its entirety here."

Luke is your evidence? There's so much wrong with that, it's hard to know where to begin.

"Again, not sure why you included this one. Please elaborate."

Just pointing out your accusations that you never seem to back up.

"I apologize for whatever you take as a personal attack, but there is a difference between an attack, and calling a spade a spade."

When it is in lieu of actually answering an argument, it's an attack. Instead of answering the points made, you've instead decided to simply attack me and act as if that answers the points.

"You are poorly informed, and have obviously spent more time trying to learn "rules" or argument, rather than trying to learn whether what you are arguing for is true."

I think the evidence in this thread speaks differently. And, remember, not believing what you believe is not the same as being poorly informed.

"It seems extreme enough that you'd think it would be an effective deterrent."

And I'm uninformed? Is the death penalty an effective deterrent to crime? Plus, one would have to believe in hell in order for this to work.

Even worse, it's decidedly not used as a deterrent. god is not saying, "Be good or else you'll go to hell," which would be bad enough. god is saying, "You're going to hell, unless I happen to grace you with heaven." To go back to the parent analogy, it would be like a parent that routinely withholds food from the child unless the child does something to earn the food.

"You have a choice whether to go through that or not."

There's multiple problems here.

1) Free will can not exist with an omni-max god - so we don't actually have choices.
2) If the criteria hinges on belief, then I suggest you try believing in Zeus for a day and see if you can choose to believe.
3) Most people go to hell - do you honestly think that they choose that?
4) The evidence we need to make an informed decision is not given to us until after it is too late.

I'm sure I could go on.

Anonymous said...

"1) Free will can not exist with an omni-max god - so we don't actually have choices."

Totally false. Choose to accept Jesus as your Savior or not. Pretty free to make the choice. Live or Die. Eternal joy or eternal torment. Help the cause of God or help the cause of Satan.

"2) If the criteria hinges on belief, then I suggest you try believing in Zeus for a day and see if you can choose to believe."

Do you not realize that what is being asked is not to believe as in you'd believe in the tooth fairy. The biblical "believe" is to put your trust in. The Bible says that even demons believe Christ exists. We're not talking in "Do you believe in the Tooth Fairy?" It is like saying "Do you believe in Barack Obama?" It's about whether or not you have faith in someone, not whether you think they are real.

"3) Most people go to hell - do you honestly think that they choose that?"

Yep. Seems dumb to me too, but people do choose that option.

"4) The evidence we need to make an informed decision is not given to us until after it is too late."

According to you. Your earlier statement is easy to show this with. I said, "God has given him more than enough evidence." And you replied, "Obviously not."

Let me apply the same question to evolution. You would absolutely say that you've shown me enough evidence to prove macroevolution. I would say, "Obviously not."

I also wanted to address your response to when I said, "We all are driven by either positive or negative reinforcement."

You responded, "What development happens in hell?"

I apologize in the reinforcement was definitely not the correct term. I should have used the term incentive. The point being that God really wants us to worship Him because of our love for him. However, if you are the type of person who does not do things out of love, he's given another good reason: fear.

I understand you don't think that's fair, and you absolutely have the right to think that. Unfortunately you are not the one in charge. We are HIS people, living in HIS universe, and it's HIS right to do as He wishes. Whether you want to think it moral of him or not, that's the way it is, and the options are either follow it and live eternally in Heaven, or don't follow it and experience eternal torment in Hell. Again, it's your choice.

Matt said...

"So, is god always angry? What is god angry about?"

Psalm 7:10-12 (King James Version)

10My defence is of God, which saveth the upright in heart.

11God judgeth the righteous, and God is angry with the wicked every day.

12If he turn not, he will whet his sword; he hath bent his bow, and made it ready.

GCT said...

"Totally false. Choose to accept Jesus as your Savior or not. Pretty free to make the choice. Live or Die. Eternal joy or eternal torment. Help the cause of God or help the cause of Satan."

I like the false dichotomy of helping god or helping Satan, but it simply not false that we have free will if god exists. Since god is omni-max, then at the moment of creation of the world, everything that we would do/think/feel/etc. was determined by god. god set everything in motion with pre-determined results, thereby negating my ability to make a choice.

"Do you not realize that what is being asked is not to believe as in you'd believe in the tooth fairy."

I see little difference.

"The biblical "believe" is to put your trust in.""

Can you put your trust in the tooth fairy for a day then?

"We're not talking in "Do you believe in the Tooth Fairy?" It is like saying "Do you believe in Barack Obama?" It's about whether or not you have faith in someone, not whether you think they are real."

Wow, what fine hairs are being split here. How does one have faith in Barack Obama if one doesn't even believe Barack Obama exists?

"Yep. Seems dumb to me too, but people do choose that option."

How callous. I'm sure the majority of people (including Xians) wake up every day and yearn for the comforting feeling of eternal torture. This is simply absurd.

"Let me apply the same question to evolution. You would absolutely say that you've shown me enough evidence to prove macroevolution. I would say, "Obviously not.""

Apples and oranges. We actually have empirical evidence of evolution and a logical, causal chain. With god, you first have to beg the question, and then anything and everything could be considered evidence, which is useless.

"I apologize in the reinforcement was definitely not the correct term. I should have used the term incentive. The point being that God really wants us to worship Him because of our love for him."

OK, we can go with incentive. How would you feel if a significant other came to you and said, "I want you to love me, and as incentive, if you don't love me sufficiently, I'm going to pull your toenails out, let them regrow and then repeat the process until you die." And, that doesn't even come close to what god is threatening us with in hell. You don't get people to love you by threatening them, and I'm surprised that a supposedly omni-max deity isn't bright enough to understand that. (And also see my response about the death penalty not being a deterrent for crime.)

"However, if you are the type of person who does not do things out of love, he's given another good reason: fear."

Except that the fear component hangs over all of us. It's not like god is only threatening some people. The threat of hell is put upon us from birth, by default.

"I understand you don't think that's fair, and you absolutely have the right to think that."

It's not fair. It's unjust, mean, cruel, vindictive, etc. And, according to god I don't have a right to think that. According to god, it's a crime to think that, one that is deserving of eternal torment. If a dictator tortured other humans for dissent, we would rightly think the dictator to be a monster. Yet, when god does it, it's OK?

"Unfortunately you are not the one in charge."

It's unfortunate for all of us if this monster of a god is in charge.

"We are HIS people, living in HIS universe, and it's HIS right to do as He wishes."

No, it is not! god is morally obligated to us just as parents are morally obligated to their children.

"Whether you want to think it moral of him or not, that's the way it is, and the options are either follow it and live eternally in Heaven, or don't follow it and experience eternal torment in Hell. Again, it's your choice."

No, it's not my choice, but if it were, I think it would be far better to stand up against oppression and evil than to cuddle up to it in order to gain material rewards.

GCT said...

"Psalm 7:10-12 (King James Version)

10My defence is of God, which saveth the upright in heart.

11God judgeth the righteous, and God is angry with the wicked every day.

12If he turn not, he will whet his sword; he hath bent his bow, and made it ready."

Why would an omni-max entity ever be angry with/at/about anything? He's impervious to harm, and able to fix any situation, yet still he's angry? Is this omni-max deity that incapable thinking?

Why would this god create beings that would anger him by default? Why would god not have seen this coming at the moment of creation? In fact, if he's omni-max, he would have, and the only conclusion we can make is that he created us knowing that it would anger him and that he could have done it differently. So, he's to blame for his own anger, yet he takes it out on us. In short, he's a sadist.

Anonymous said...

God did not dictate anything you would do. He created things, set them in motion, and then allowed us to make the decisions. He simply set up the rules, and will step in if things get too far out of control

GCT said...

"God did not dictate anything you would do. He created things, set them in motion, and then allowed us to make the decisions. He simply set up the rules, and will step in if things get too far out of control"

Point of fact, but the definition of omni-max requires that he did dictate everything. If he does not dictate it, then he can't know what the outcome is, and he is not omniscient.

Many theists and even some atheists are in the same boat as you, not understanding the implicit contradiction between free will and an omni-max deity. It's hard to imagine because we certainly feel like we have free will, like we make choices in this life. If god exists, however, this can not be so.

If god is omni-max, then this entity can hand a person a book that outlines what the person will do/think/feel/etc. for the rest of the person's life, correct? Now, if the person reads the book, will that person be able to do/think/feel/etc. anything contrary to the book?

Let's say that the book chronicles how the person dies. The book notes that the person carelessly crosses the street without looking both ways at such and such date and time, and is killed when struck by a car. Now, any normal person would look at that and call home sick from work on that day, thus avoiding their accidental death. This would, however, prove the book wrong, and prove that god is not omniscient. In order for god to be omniscient, the events of the book must be carried out to the letter, meaning that the person must follow what god already knows will happen.

I trust that this example will not be enough for you to simply deny what is being argued and simply re-assert that free will exists, but please at least try to come up with a counter-argument.

Anonymous said...

The problem with the omni-max argument is that it assumes there is no use for evil in the world. Unfortunately, without something contrary to God, we could not by free-will CHOOSE to love God, therefore nullifying any love of God at all. Love is all about a choice. Mind you, He's done His best to show what the right choice is, and what the wrong choice is, but it's still your choice.

GCT said...

"The problem with the omni-max argument is that it assumes there is no use for evil in the world."

I've not assumed that at all. You are talking about the problem of evil, which is a problem, but not one that we've discussed in this thread.

"Unfortunately, without something contrary to God, we could not by free-will CHOOSE to love God, therefore nullifying any love of God at all."

You might want to address my argument against free will being possible. And, I will point out that you do not even believe that this is so, or else you do not believe in heaven.

"Love is all about a choice."

I'm not so sure that's true. At least, it's not as simplistic as that.

"Mind you, He's done His best to show what the right choice is, and what the wrong choice is, but it's still your choice."

How can you determine that god has "done his best?" In fact, I would say that if god did his best, we would all love him and all believe in him, because god would have shown us that love unambiguously. god is supposedly omni-max after all, and can do whatever we need him to do without any cost to himself. So, on what grounds do you conclude that god has done his best or done all he can? If there are so many people in the world that do not believe in god, shouldn't we consider god to be a failure? Isn't that contradictory to your notions of a perfect god?

Anonymous said...

"In fact, I would say that if god did his best, we would all love him and all believe in him, because god would have shown us that love unambiguously."

He chooses to leave it open to faith so that we must take that leap towards Him. If he just came down and appeared in some physical form so all could see, nobody would not love him. If nobody dislikes him, then love is no longer love.

GCT said...

"He chooses to leave it open to faith so that we must take that leap towards Him."

Then, you can not claim that he is doing his best to have us love him.

"If he just came down and appeared in some physical form so all could see, nobody would not love him."

No, that would convince us that he exists. That is quite different from loving him.

"If nobody dislikes him, then love is no longer love."

Is that what you think? Really? Then, once again I point you to your conception of heaven, which must not have love. And, if heaven does not have love, then it is not heaven. You can't very well claim that heaven exists and that the conditions of heaven are impossible.

Anonymous said...

Heaven will indeed have love because the people there will have gone through life having the option to choose not to love God. They will have made their choice. If nobody in heaven had ever been presented with the option of not loving God, then you would be correct.

GCT said...

"Heaven will indeed have love because the people there will have gone through life having the option to choose not to love God."

And, they no longer have choice then? Once you get to a fork in the road, you must travel down one direction and never go back?

And, I guess this excludes stillborn babies and miscarried fetuses, as well as aborted fetuses, right? How does a fetus make a choice?

"They will have made their choice."

Again, please see my arguments against free will.

"If nobody in heaven had ever been presented with the option of not loving God, then you would be correct."

I'm still correct. There exists a place where all people love god, where all people are happy, and where no evil exists. Your argument basically boils down to a contradiction. You hold that free will is good and that we need it in order to have love, but that necessarily evil must come with it. But, free will must be abolished in heaven if evil is abolished, which contradicts the idea that having free choice is good. The goal for us, it seems, is to give up our freedom in order to go to heaven, which is a place that is supposed to be good - but how can it be good if we are not free?

Heaven is supposedly a place where all good exists and we are all happy. Do you really wish to contend that god could not create a place like this without hell and without AIDS, malaria, ebola, typhoid fever, dengue fever, war, famine, drought, etc? Do you really see no better way that would do this? I'll give you one right here. There's no necessary reason to have hell. If one chooses not to be with god, there's no reason that god must torture that individual for eternity. This alone puts the lie to any assertion of omni-benevolence on the part of god. If hell exists, it was made consciously by god, and the only reason to make a place like that is to torture people. If god is making a place with the explicit intention of committing torture, then god is a sadist and evil. You have no good answer for these arguments, because you are taking a logically tortured and evil theology and trying to defend it.

Anonymous said...

"If god is making a place with the explicit intention of committing torture, then god is a sadist and evil."

It was not made with an intention to torture people. It was made with the purpose of influencing people to choose God. He doesn't desire for you to go there. Unfortunately you are choosing to anyway.

The Rambling Taoist said...

It was not made with an intention to torture people. It was made with the purpose of influencing people to choose God.

Hah! You admit it. God is a blackmailer. (Never thought I'd live to see the day when a Christian would admit to this.)

GCT said...

"It was not made with an intention to torture people."

Yes, I'm sure that this omniscient god was totally unaware that it would be a place of torture.

"It was made with the purpose of influencing people to choose God."

What a spectacular failure for such a perfect god. Why is your perfect god such an abject failure? How can a perfect god be so incompetent.

"He doesn't desire for you to go there."

If that were true, then I wouldn't go there.

"Unfortunately you are choosing to anyway."

Once again, see why free will is a myth if god is omni-max. Also, see all of my objections to this. You can't simply continue to assert this as if no one has made any objections to it.

Robert Madewell said...

"It was not made with an intention to torture people. It was made with the purpose of influencing people to choose God."

Wow! At least you admit it! Hell is the ultimate scare tactic.

Jesus is gonna burn you
when you're dead, The bible said.
He's gonna make you scream and cry.
After you've already died.

So, you better do exactly what we say.
All the way.
Or Jesus is gonna burn you some sweet day.


Besides, when has scare tactics actually worked? People in general do not like to be threatened. That's why there's more emphasis on the God of Love than the God of Torture. Even fundies can appreciate that.

Also, most christians I know, would say that going to church and doing good only because you are afraid of heck, will not get you into heaven. To me that's problematic if you use the avoidance of hell to "win souls". Because, all you'll accomplish is filling the pews with hypocrits.

Belief, IMO, is not a decision. I can not choose to just believe. I believe what I do because it seems logical to me. I can't just throw that away and believe something that seems absurd to me, because I'm afraid of hell (which is also absurd in my eyes).

Anonymous said...

Robert, you make the mistake to think that we are talking about belief in existence. We are talking about "belief in" as in "depending on" or "trusting in" as in "I believe in Barack Obama to get us out of this economic crisis." Which I don't, by the way.

Believing in Jesus is simply saying to God, "I trust that His sacrifice on the cross was sufficient to pay my sin debt." It is absolutely a decision. That's all it is and nothing more.

GCT said...

And you make the mistake in thinking that one can "trust in" something that one does not believe exists. For instance, see if you can choose to believe for a day that "Billjidndlereder will get us out of this economic crisis."

Anonymous said...

If you don't believe Jesus exists, you need to check out John Roberts books.

Robert Madewell said...

"Robert, you make the mistake to think that we are talking about belief in existence. We are talking about "belief in" as in "depending on" or "trusting in" as in "I believe in Barack Obama to get us out of this economic crisis." Which I don't, by the way."

I fail to understand what the difference is. I couldn't believe in Barack Obama to get us out of this economic crisis (I actually don't, either), if I didn't believe that Barack Obama is real. The difference is that, I'm pretty sure that Obama is real. I'm pretty sure (not 100%) that God is not.

"Believing in Jesus is simply saying to God, "I trust that His sacrifice on the cross was sufficient to pay my sin debt." It is absolutely a decision. That's all it is and nothing more."

How can you trust that His sacrifice on the cross was sufficient when you don't believe that he actually made a sacrifice? How can you say anything to God when you don't believe he exists?

GCT said...

"If you don't believe Jesus exists, you need to check out John Roberts books."

If you believe that he does, you should think about how accepting that level of evidence would negatively affect you in other areas of your life were you to adopt the same level of rigor.

Anonymous said...

Seriously, check out John Roberts.

GCT said...

What does a supreme court justice know about it anyway?

Anonymous said...

*cuckoo*

GCT said...

So, you're unaware that John Roberts is a supreme court justice? Add ignorant of current and social events to your list of failings I suppose.

Anonymous said...

Not unaware. Not the same guy. John Roberts is probably the name of more than one guy, you know? You are clueless about more than just science. I'm done with this blog.

GCT said...

"Not unaware."

Then, unable to get a joke.

"You are clueless about more than just science."

Wow, bravo for your false bravado, coming from someone who thinks that people poof into existence by miracles and magic, that their beliefs are better than empirical evidence, etc. Ha ha ha.