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February 12, 2007


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You know what God's hobby is, right? He listens to see what team Uri Gellar endorses, then He causes them to lose. Man, He gets the giggles over that!

God works in mysterious ways, you know. He struck down D. James Kennedy (one of his favorite ministers, I hear!) with cardiac arrest, but doctors worked feverishly to save his life. Does Kennedy's congregation or organization thank the nice doctors? Well, maybe, but I've seen no sign of it. Instead they keep praising God for sparing Kennedy from his wrath and offering up more prayers. Yeah, that's going to work.

Is it just me, or does this remind anyone else of the time Dick Cheney shot a man in the face, and then that guy apologized? Man, apparently God can just do anything to these people and they'll thank him.

I wonder how many other God-fearing people during that period actually died of heart failure, perhaps because they were from poor developing countries who couldn't afford heart bypass machines?

I wonder how many other God-fearing people during that period actually died of heart failure, perhaps because they were from poor developing countries who couldn't afford heart bypass machines?

It was all part of his plan, BigAl. He was testing the rest of us by killing a few of His creatures.

Once again, we see more evidence that God is a cat.

[1] Capricious sense of fun - strikes down a child and then allows the doctors to save him. I would have been more impressed with "God's" power if the boy had recovered spontaneously - no surgery required.

[2] Short attention span - forgets about the boy he tried to kill for four days and only then "restarts" his heart.

[3] Indifference to the suffering of others - if this was truly an "act of God", then why did God wait four days?

For longer than I can remember, I've been fascinated by people's tendency to attribute things to the will of a benign, omniscient, omnipresent and omnipotent God.

Unfortunately, human history suggests that this is not the case. The sad reality is that there are three alternate explanations that fit the available data (see: History Channel) much better:

[1] Random events and acts of human will in the absence of an omnipotent deity of any variety.

[2] The activities of a benign deity that is not omniscient, omnipresent or omnipotent - OR one that has a lot of external distractions and a short attention span.

[3] The activities of a malignant, omnipotent deity.

Personally, I find [1] more reassuring than any of the other alternates.


Well, this is all very nice, backslapping, mutually affirming stuff. Good to see you all agree with each other.

As for me, I agree with the OP that the remarks quoted are none too critically minded. But I wonder where all this sneering takes you. What's your plan of life, I can't help thinking. You really think credulous and ill-thought-out ways of making sense of the world, and de haut en bas contempt for such credulity, are the only alternatives?

'Cos I don't.

Are saying one can have no plans for his or her life if they don#t include God?

Your logic eludes me.

No, I'm saying that the vibe I get from a lot of the posts on these forums is "Aren't we clever and aren't believers stupid", and that doesn't seem a very generous or promising basis for a world-view :)

However, it's time for me to do some WORK

Though I'm an agnostic, I always try to err on the side of sympathy (and empathy) for those who seek to find the hand of God in the midst of tragedy or crisis. Nevertheless, I often find that it's hard to follow their logic of "God's will."

I was reminded of this issue, and this particular thread, when I saw a front-page headline today in the Houston Chronicle. The article concerned a house fire in Fresno, Texas, which is near Houston. The owner of the home tried in vain to rescue her four grandchildren, but was only able to save one. The other three were killed, as was the woman's nephew, who also tried to save the children. The grandmother said, "I got the one God wanted me to get."

This same woman was in a house fire in Houston back in 2001, and lost three relatives, including her husband. She'd tried to save her loved ones in that fire, but instead was burned on her back and legs, and sustained lung damage.

Does this mean that there's a sadistic creator behind all of this, a creator who has it out for this family? Or a benign creator who is trying to make the survivors better people through a literal "trial by fire?" Or is it just another case of an impoverished family whose home is inadequately heated, so they rely on dangerous space heaters to keep them warm?

When tragedy strikes, many people do seem to feel a need to bring "God's will" into the picture. When my dad was killed by a drunk driver, I got the "God's will" bit a lot. After a while the words ran together and sounded like "Godswill." It didn't make me feel any better. And I have to say that of the three possibilities mentioned above by Prometheus, I too find [1] the most reassuring.

I used to be an agnostic, Connie. I thought that was the best way: I didn't think there was a God, but I didn’t know, either. In my late teens, I realised I was just hedging my bets.

I don’t believe in Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny or Bigfoot, but that’s OK with most people. I soon realised that I had as much reason to believe in God as any of them: what some people said a long time ago.

Before God, we had Odin, Jove, Mithras, Osiris… any number of little gods for any season. What makes a single god better? If one god is better than hundreds, isn’t no god even better?

About twenty-five years ago, I realised that I didn’t need God, because just saying, “Well, God did it,” didn’t explain anything more than saying, “Well, the Easter Bunny did it.”

Maybe I’m wrong. Maybe there is a big bearded guy in the sky who kills some and spares others, just to test people’s belief in him: if so, he’s a bully. I find it easier to believe that the only justice in the Universe is the justice we poor humans make. I find that liberating: I am in charge of my own destiny. I can be decent and nice to people because I choose to be, not because I have to be.

Jehovah hasn’t struck me down or given me a sign yet. Should he send me to eternal fire and brimstone for saying what I (don’t) believe?

ok i've never been on this site before....but this article is interesting...i mean, you guys are all saying the heart machiene thing kept the boys heart alive...but it wasnt alive, it was dead, and a michiene was moving it, it didnt make his heart START beating on its OWN again...machines like that dont really bring people back to life by moving their heart around, sorry. and why do you think god gave the boy a heart failure?? well, if he didnt then there would be no story about divine restoration now would there?

1. I'm pretty sure nonmagical biological processes made his heart beat again.

2. Are you making an argument for vitalism?

3. You saying God nearly killed the kid so that we can ooo and ah at him allegedly bringing him back to life?

well, if he didnt then there would be no story about divine restoration now would there?

That's one way of looking at it. Another one would be looking at the amazing level of cruelty this god has gone to in order to make himself look good.

{god} 'Well, another day. What should I do to get the masses praising me again? Not another one of those blood weeping statues, that's so passe. Got it! I'll give a boy a possibly fatally flawed heart. Then I'll let him nearly die so those interfering doctors can keep him going on a machine, and then for a laugh I'll make his heart beat again without any warning. Eventually. Oh, and I'll leave the flaw so provided the doctors don't fix it I'll have something to do next week. All that physical and mental pain is well worth it so I can get another juicy bit of divine restoration publicity.' {/god}

Oh, that god's a charmer alright.

In any case, if this is to be taken as PROOF of God's existence, why is it that when skeptics claim that there's no proof of God's existence, they're always given the mantra "God refuses to prove his existence. You must have faith."?

ghost, would YOU throw a kid who can't swim into the deep end of the pool, let him struggle till he's half-drowned, then fish him out and give him CPR, just to prove that you can swim and do CPR?

If so, then you are as kind as your God is. If not, you're a better person.

I have a disabled child and, from time to time, well-meaning people of faith will tell me that "God gave you that child because He knew you could raise him." or "God never gives you more than you can handle."

I usually just nod my head and mutter under my voice, but what I really want to say is:

"Do you mean that if I had been less competent, my child wouldn't have been disabled?"

I don't have any data on whether God exists or not - so far as I know, nobody does. But I can get really tired of people telling me how they interpret "God's will".


@Tim Chappell

"No, I'm saying that the vibe I get from a lot of the posts on these forums... However, it's time for me to do some WORK"

.....The *vibe* you get -- from *forum posts*? Even your garden-variety 'psychic' would wince at that.

As for your limp closing remark: it's telling, with regard to your capacity for critical thinking. Only an egocentric nincompoop would haughtily trumpet the fact that they *WORK*, as if no one else had a job.....

De haut en bas, indeed.

>Aren't we clever and aren't believers stupid?

Well, we're certainly not all clever. But you gotta be pretty frickin' retarded to build your life around a bunch of bollocks like religion. So, yeah, believers don't generally overwhelm me with their smarts.

Here's another way of looking at it: most of us *are* surprised when we find someone who is well-read, well-educated, and smart - who believes in Zod. What does that tell you?

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