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June 17, 2009

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Nico:

On the other hand, nobody is placing God currently on the physical world (except for ID advocates). Therefore we can't demonstrate with material evidence that God exist. But we also can't demonstrate with material evidence that God does not exist.

That's one reason the God you're describing is like Carl Sagan's dragon: If he can't be detected by "material" means in principle, it means he's incapable of doing anything material: It's like breathing heatless, lightless fire. If the fire doesn't generate heat, light, or anything else that affects the world, how can you even say it's doing anything?

If gods don't have any effects, what's the difference between a world with gods and one without?

"If gods don't have any effects, what's the difference between a world with gods and one without?"

That's the point I made in my first post, why I believe debating the existance of God is futile.

I never said God could not do anything material. If he is omnipotent, he can interfere with the world even if he is not in it.

Nor can we demonstrate with physical evidence that the dragon doesn't exist. Not a difference between the Dragon and God.

I never said God could not do anything material. If he is omnipotent, he can interfere with the world even if he is not in it.

If he interferes with the physical world, it's a physical interaction that should measure on meters and sensors designed to measure such interactions.

Trouble is, there's no evidence that God (or the dragon) are doing anything to the world.

That's the point I made in my first post, why I believe debating the existance of God is futile.

Which is a win by default for the null hypothesis.

I never said God could not do anything material. If he is omnipotent, he can interfere with the world even if he is not in it.

If he can do material things, that means he's material and subject to scientific study. About all you can argue at this point is that he's a particularly exotic material.

Yeah, but nobody is claiming God lives on his garage we can know no dragon lives in the garage, because we can study the garage. But God would exist outside the universe, if he exists.

If God is omnipotent he can exist outside of the universe and is not subject to the laws of nature. If God was material, he could not be eternal (which he is according to theology). If God is omnipotent his interactions with the world do not have to be measured in meters or with sensors.

Now, If I told you I saved my self from being run over by a car, form being robbed or that I got fired from my job which was attacked by terrorists the next day You'll say:
-coincidence

If I told you that I had incurable cancer which dissapeared overnight you'll say:
-we can't explain it therefore God does not prove anything.

If I told you God wanted somebody to enter my life and change it radically you'll say:
-coincidence again.

I also don't understand what you mean by a null hypothesis.

Yeah, but nobody is claiming God lives on his garage we can know no dragon lives in the garage, because we can study the garage. But God would exist outside the universe, if he exists.

If God is omnipotent he can exist outside of the universe and is not subject to the laws of nature. If God was material, he could not be eternal (which he is according to theology). If God is omnipotent his interactions with the world do not have to be measured in meters or with sensors.

If this god is interacting with the world, then his actions have material consequences and can be measured materially. There's no way around that. If god makes any material alteration to the world, then it is detectable. An "immaterial" alteration, whatever that is, would not be any different from no alteration at all.

A null hypothesis is one that suggests that the posited phenomenon does not occur. In this case, the null hypothesis is: "there is no god."

But if a hypothetical God is worth his salt, he would interact with everything all the time. Unless you bias your god-o-meter with a Satanic reference signal, wouldn't the god-signal drown in the background god-noise?

In other words, you're a Satanist.

sorry nico, Frank Snow is correct

even if a deity were outside the bounds of the universe it created/controls

the things the deity decides to do CAN be measured, in cubits if you like

the deity put our home in the bestest orbit around a star like ours

that required a deft touch of OUR space and it's 150M Km or 8 minutes away

"If I told you I saved my self from being run over by a car, form being robbed or that I got fired from my job which was attacked by terrorists the next day You'll say:
-coincidence"

There is not a lot of detail here, but to me the only coincidence is the last example. The other two are down to personal ability and the presence of mind to react in such a manner as to limit injury in a given situation.

One could be fired for: incompetence (poor performance... to physical altercations...); office politics; layoffs.

In most cases one's disemployment is planned in advance and even if it weren't, the events the next day are irrelevant - unless further investigation does tie the two events together as in the building was bombed because there were layoffs.

anyhoo, anyone let go would be lucky unless they came back the next day for their stuff - these would be the satanists


If God is omnipotent he can exist outside of the universe and is not subject to the laws of nature. If God was material, he could not be eternal (which he is according to theology). If God is omnipotent his interactions with the world do not have to be measured in meters or with sensors.

Riiiiight. Let me guess, you subscribe to the Hollywood idea that science is all about tricorders and pouring colored liquids between funny-shaped glasses.

If God were to conjure a can of Longview cane sugar Dr Pepper next to me in a flash of light and puff of smoke, like I sometimes ask for as proof, are you arguing that said beverage would be invisible, insubstantial, and flavorless?

If so, then you can continue to say gods are immaterial and immune to science.

If not, then your god is material because he has an observable effect on the material universe.

[blockquote]If I told you that I had incurable cancer which dissapeared overnight you'll say:
-we can't explain it therefore God does not prove anything.[/blockquote]

Lousy argument. Just because we can't explain it doesn't mean any ad hoc ecplanation someone chooses to apply must be the case. The answer could just as easily be, "nobody knows - yet."

Imagine a cancer survivors' group:

Janet says the chemotherapy she thought hadn't worked must have had some effect after all.
Terry says "sometimes, these things just happen."
Barry says wheatgrass extract cured him.
Grant just swears by Gerson therapy.
Alice likes magnetic bracelets.
Todd smiles indulgently at his fellow survivors' credulity and points to his wire-frame pyramid.
Martha says the Jolly Green Giant cured her.
Bob says his faith in God cured him.

All these people cannot be right at the same time.

Oh, and several thousand other people just got worse and died - they are not present.

Medicine cures a lot of cancer victims - more with every passing year. However, lots and lots of others die despite medical help - and science doesn't know why.

Is your argument that anything we don't understand is down to God? If so, then God must have killed them, mustn't he?

Or is "sometimes, surprising things happen by chance" an adequate explanation in just this particular case, but not when good things happen?

I will argue no more with bronze dog and big al, I recognize I've been pinned down. =)

My last points:

God is not necessarily material to interfere witht he physical world (if he wants to move a rock X meters he can, we can measure the rock's speed, weight and displacemnt, but we won't see God)

I believe God (if he exists) has many reasons to keep his interventions pretty subtle.

If God starting making fire rain from the heavens and changes the laws of nature every day, life could end up really depressing, nothing would be absolute or certain. Doing everyhting would be pointless if it was god-given.

I don't think we should stick god whenever we don't understand something, that was not the point I tried to make my point is atheists wwould not be covinced by the cancer curing miracle, even if they can't explain it (which is fine with me).

I can't know god exists, I believe he does out of pure faith.

I don't know where martin got the fact that I was a satanist, I never adressed hell, and I believe a doctrine of hell goes against my vision of god.

"I do not believe in the creed professed by the Jewish church, by the Roman church, by the Greek church, by the Turkish church, by the Protestant church, nor by any church that I know of. My own mind is my own church." - Thomas Paine

Nico:

God is not necessarily material to interfere witht he physical world (if he wants to move a rock X meters he can, we can measure the rock's speed, weight and displacemnt, but we won't see God)

So, God's like (material) gravity, then? Gravity can move a rock, we can measure the rock's acceleration, and use that observation to make predictions.

You don't seem to understand what we mean by "material." The quickest way to put it is material is defined as ANYTHING that does stuff. Science studies anything that does stuff.

I believe God (if he exists) has many reasons to keep his interventions pretty subtle.

All the more reason to bring in science: Science specializes in subtle. We wouldn't need it if everything was obvious.

I don't think we should stick god whenever we don't understand something, that was not the point I tried to make my point is atheists wwould not be covinced by the cancer curing miracle, even if they can't explain it (which is fine with me).

One miracle alone wouldn't prove anything, but a series of miracles occurring in some form of predictable pattern would be much more interesting and potentially convincing.

I can't know god exists, I believe he does out of pure faith.

Faith is the highest form of arrogance and hubris. Faith is the act of believing your ego and self-importance are better guides than evidence (the universe).

I believe a doctrine of hell goes against my vision of god.

At least you're not a complete savage like those who do believe in Hell.

Bronze Dog:
"Faith is the highest form of arrogance and hubris. Faith is the act of believing your ego and self-importance are better guides than evidence (the universe)."

I've not seen convincing evidence that God does not exist, just the arguments for existence refuted.
Besides what's the problem with believeing in faith? We'll be fine as long as we don't start a new inquisition, or engage in faith-healing.

"So, God's like (material) gravity, then? Gravity can move a rock, we can measure the rock's acceleration, and use that observation to make predictions.

You don't seem to understand what we mean by "material." The quickest way to put it is material is defined as ANYTHING that does stuff. Science studies anything that does stuff."

The difference here is that God could move the rock at the speed he likes, if he moves it. Gravity accelartes objects at -9.81m/s2.

I've not seen convincing evidence that God does not exist, just the arguments for existence refuted.

I say the same of unicorns. Nonexistence is a null hypothesis, not a conclusion.

Besides what's the problem with believeing in faith? We'll be fine as long as we don't start a new inquisition, or engage in faith-healing.

Closed-mindedness is a vice, not a virtue.

The difference here is that God could move the rock at the speed he likes, if he moves it. Gravity accelartes objects at -9.81m/s2.

So, are your god's likes predictable or knowable (i.e. nonrandom) in any sense?

"Closed-mindedness is a vice, not a virtue"
Had I been closed-minded I would never have reached the conclusion that Hell can't exist, that the Bible is not a reliable source of moral comandments, that its accounts are not litearate, that what a revernd or priest says does not have authority just because he is a "holy" man.
I was raised a catholic and have abandoned the church, and I have walked away from any form of organized religion simply because I don't see anything holy on them they're all man-made institutions.

I believe God exists, that there's a heaven period.

A closed minded faith is one that believes it is the one and only authority and that everybody is obliged to bleieve it. A closed minded faith refuses to think outside its point of view and refuses to challenge it.

A "smart" faith is one that respects other points of view, admits it may be wrong, thinks outside its point of view and challenges the faith.

One cannot say he/she has true faith until he/she challenges it (therefore ID and hell advocates have no true faith at all)

"So, are your god's likes predictable or knowable (i.e. nonrandom) in any sense?"

if by random you mean dependent on God's will then yes, random.

If faith brings all the good feelings of a person afloat, then I don't understand why it could be wrong to believe it.

if by random you mean dependent on God's will then yes, random.

Nico, what I think Bronze Dog was saying is that God only ever seems to want to accelerate a falling rock, dead bird, ballistic missile or hailstone at 9.81m/s, whenever we choose to measure it.

This chimes in nicely with Newtonian mechanics and General Relativity, which agree very closely as they always do if you don't get too close to 3 x 10e8 m/s.

God never seems to want to make rocks fall upwards, stop ten feet above the ground, disappear from the sky and immediately appear on the ground without passing through the air.

As far as we can tell, going back at least as far as Galileo's relativity experiments, He's always done exactly the same.

This is rather antithetical to the concept of randomness in my book.

if by random you mean dependent on God's will then yes, random.

Is God's will random, or is it predictable? I may not know about ethereal entities made of as yet unknown material, but the wills of humans are predictable a greater-than-chance levels with a bit of study.

Nico, what I think Bronze Dog was saying is that God only ever seems to want to accelerate a falling rock, dead bird, ballistic missile or hailstone at 9.81m/s, whenever we choose to measure it.

I wasn't intending to move this into Intelligent Falling, actually. Just pointing out that if God moves rocks, in principle, we should be able to use the God hypothesis to predict when, where, and how fast he will move them. The only exception is if God and his will are unpredictable in principle, i.e. random.

If you believe the will of humans is predictable, you definately have not asked your girlfriend what she is thinking or what she wants.
haha

No, seriously it is hard to predict how a human thinks, or what a human wants since we are so different.

None of us is perfect, if God exists and he is perfect his will would not be like anything we have seen.

"God never seems to want to make rocks fall upwards, stop ten feet above the ground, disappear from the sky and immediately appear on the ground without passing through the air."

Imagine if God started doing this how would you feel? If God did this our "perfect" universe would no longer exist, life could become really dpressing if the laws of nature would change every day. That's why I state (again) that I believe God has resons to keep his interventions to the universe, if any, extremely subtle.

Bronze Dog, my apologies for misquoting you.

That's why I state (again) that I believe God has resons to keep his interventions to the universe, if any, extremely subtle.

Almost as if He weren't there...

Yeah, humans are difficult to predict, but it's still possible at greater than chance levels. Picking out a perfect gift might be difficult, but knowing how someone might react to danger and such is easier. But back on topic:

The problem with a supremely subtle and unpredictable god is, as Big Al implies, there's no way to tell the difference between a universe with a god and one without. Occam's Razor favors the one without, since it involves fewer entities. Such a hypothesis is useless for understanding the universe, since it can't explain or predict anything.

I never said we should stick God to understand the Universe, that is ID.

Off topic:
the reactions to danger can be more predictable than the perfect gift, not necessarily.
-When facing danger humans are flodded with adrenaline, starting a fight or flight response, which varies from person to person. When ben attacked a person might:
-run
-get paralyzed
-fight the atacker
(these actions can be acompanied by yelling)
Moreover, the reactions after the trauma also vary from person to person.

Spend a few hours studying this particular web page,
http://www.outersecrets.com/real/biblecode2.htm
and you will begin to realize that coincidence is not within the equation.

You will begin to learn the encoding patterns, especially if you Click on the speakers located per code or code group revealed.

The number of codes has now grown dramatically since the last post.

How about predicting something concrete using these infallible codes and letting us in on it, Beyond? Preferably something due to happen in the next few days or weeks?

And you get (surprise) 666 for "George Walker Bush" after the event: what do you get for "Barack Hussein Obama" while he's still in office?

Yes, "after the event.".
Bush was defeated. This was an event no less in scale than the creation of the universe. However, one would not have seen this magnitude of truth if one was displaced from truth, as are the many.

Step two is to understand what Satan is now up to due to his plan "A" having failed, and do so by accepting the truth of such matters rather than be interested in mere trivialities.

This is important since those who reject or ignore the truth, and thus blindly support Satan, can only be led to the truth via massive pain and suffering be forced upon them eventually. This is he only way left to capture their attention to direct them toward the seriousness of pure truth.

I predict a lot of pain be experienced by the ignorant.

http://www.outersecrets.com/real/biblecode2.htm

I predict a lot of pain be experienced by the ignorant.

That sure is nice and specific. Good job.

If I told you that I had incurable cancer which dissapeared overnight you'll say: -we can't explain it therefore God does not prove anything.

This is a good example of how many people use the explanation they like best when facing unexplained phenomena. Somebody else might say: “The Law of Attraction healed my cancer!” or “Homeopathy healed my cancer!” And everyone who disagrees with their pet theory is obviously close-minded. Because, I mean, it’s the only explanation, right?

Bush was defeated. This was an event no less in scale than the creation of the universe.

I understand English quite well, Beyond Belief. Can you please explain what you just said in that language, rather than the apparent gibberish (obviously, only to the pain-deserving ignorant like me) you actually used?

Why does God not need a first cause? If there can be one thing that does not need a first cause, why can't there be others?
God is not affected by space and time. He is outside of time, and so he does not experience the process of cause and effect.
In order for the appearance of design to be evidence of God, you have to assume that the designer can only be God.
I have yet to hear your idea of what could possibly be the designer of the universe and at the same time not
The universe could quite happily exist without us, so our existence proves nothing other than that the universe has evolved in such a way that we can exist in it.
Since you seem to love pointing out presuppositions, I will do the same to you. You have just presupposed that the universe evolved into its present form, and that it thus cannot have begun in the state it now is in. Explain what makes you come to this conclusion.
We aren't bothered by God, we're bothered by his followers.
Well, I'm not bothered by atheism, I'm actually bothered by you. You see, just because Christians are bad, that doesn't automatically make the God whom they follow, (And who they disobey when they are bad) himself bad.
Skeptics and atheists don't have scripture or authorities to follow.
Since when have skeptics and atheists not had brains? If you have no authority to follow, then you are not a person. If you do as you please, you are your own authority. If you put others in importance in your decisions, they have authority over you.
Nothing to do with science or rational thought.
Oh, now I understand where you are coming from! You think that since morality is not rational, those who believe there is a such thing as morality are psychos! Thank you for clarifying.
And it’s a useless explanation. Unless you know something about this “God” – how he created everything; why he created it; what he’s likely to do next - it’s a lack of an explanation. It’s just a placeholder until a real explanation comes along.
God created everything with verbal command. (See Genesis chapter 1) He created it: 1) As a gift from God the Father to God the son 2) To glorify himself. What is he going to do next? Are you talking about historically, or literally? He is always influencing life. Historically, the next thing he will do is what we call, from the Latin word, the Rapture. I hope it won't take the Rapture happening for you to believe.
I didn’t agree that logic is always correct and will always lead you to the correct solution.
In other words, you don't agree that logic exists. If logic exists, it must always be the same. If you deduce from logic that a rock is falling, and then go somewhere else and see a rock fall and say "I deduce logically that this rock is not falling," you are lying in the face of truth. (This is a valid reductio ad absurdum, by the way)
I’m not running from something that (probably) doesn’t exist.
No, you're running from the idea that God exists, which is pretty much to the same effect.
I've tried pointing them towards Godel's incompleteness theorem, which demonstrates that no axiomatic system can ever be shown to be absolutely true because if you don't rely on assumed axioms, you must recourse to other axiomatic systems to prove the truth of the first.
In other words, pigs fly. I admit I don't know the exact definition of "axiom." However, in the context of truth, there is absolute truth, even if the only absolute truth is that absolute truth must exist. "I do not believe in absolute truth." "Are you absolutely certain?" "Yes." "Then you are contradicting yourself, because you just said that it is absolutely true that there is no absolute truth."
I've tried explaining to them that the brute, physical fact that, say, a rock cannot not be what it is is not the same as the concept of the Law of Non-contradiction; one is a fact about reality, the other is an idea describing that fact.
And? The Law of Non-Contradiction says that, according to logic, you cannot say that a rock both is falling and is not falling, because !(P & ~P)
The laws of science aren't unchanging, we adapt them as new information comes to light (even though the phenomena these laws seek to describe may be unchanging).
The concept referred to as the laws of science are not the same as mankind's law of science. The true laws of science are the laws in discussion.
Really, if you say there's an "absolute morality", where is it? How do we know what it is? How do we know that's the absolute morality?
How do you know that it would be morally wrong for me to kill you? (Not that I would)
Or maybe the Jewish god.
This is not part of the debate, but the Jewish God and the Christian God are one and the same.
Chances are, debunking this argument won't do much to convince them of anything
Neither will debunking your arguments convince you of anything.
You claim there is a supernatural deity. Prove it, and I'll change my mind.
You claim there is not a supernatural deity. Prove it, and I'll change my mind.
No matter what you think of the morality of Calvin's predestinationism
So you admit that morality exists, and thus, unless you can give me a valid alternative, God also exists.
Logic does not create reality by fiat; it has no ontological power, despite what people may think coming out of a Phil 101 classroom.
Therefore, I do not exist.
Actually, it looks more like Strobel ran around interviewing intelligent design proponents such as Michael Behe, Jonathan Wells, Guillermo Gonzalez, and Stephen Meyer, all of whom are renown for butchering science, lying, and making complete fools of themselves in their hackneyed apologetics.
I love how you say that as if you were any better.
Except, y'know, we don't have a yearning, and conscience doesn't work that way.
In the Christian belief, that would simply mean you are not saved. If you feel no guilt, you are not saved. If you feel guilt, however, that does not always make you saved, but I cannot explain that off the top of my head.

I always wonder why apologists always dig up these old posts, post weak criticisms but no answers and then flee into the night. I think it was likened to entering a home uninvited, pissing on the carpet, and leaving without warning.

YA said - If you have no authority to follow, then you are not a person.

ah the true meaning of life, we exist to serve authority

YA obviously hasn't read scripture very closely as it is full of examples of god doing nasty things to innocent people

but those are the metaphores and allegories

You claim there is not a supernatural deity. Prove it, and I'll change my mind.

I also thought that, read what happened:
My statement: I've not seen convincing evidence that God does not exist, just the arguments for existence refuted.

Response by bronze dog: I say the same of unicorns. Nonexistence is a null hypothesis, not a conclusion.

I thought about it but what can I do? he is right after all

Nico,

In case you're interested, you also have Carl Sagan's essay The">http://spl.haxial.net/religion/misc/carl-sagan.html">The Dragon In My Garage. I think it sums up nicely how Skeptics view not only the existence of god, but any claim that is not backed by physical evidence.

He is outside of time, and so he does not experience the process of cause and effect.

So... How exactly can he have an effect on anything? You're arguing in favor of an impotent, do-nothing god.

You have just presupposed that the universe evolved into its present form, and that it thus cannot have begun in the state it now is in. Explain what makes you come to this conclusion.

That's a conclusion based on all the evidence so far, not a presupposition.

Well, I'm not bothered by atheism, I'm actually bothered by you. You see, just because Christians are bad, that doesn't automatically make the God whom they follow, (And who they disobey when they are bad) himself bad.

Unfortunately, many, many Christians define their god as bad: Genocidal, pro-torture, big on unnecessary violence in general. You know.

Oh, now I understand where you are coming from! You think that since morality is not rational, those who believe there is a such thing as morality are psychos! Thank you for clarifying.

Certainly a straw man. The most basic principles of morality are irrational. We use reason to make systems of ethics that optimize them.

Oh, and if anything, it's usually my experience that Christians are the ones more likely to argue that morality doesn't exist: Selfishly exploiting rules made up by an arbitrary, random authority to get into Heaven trumps altruism.

God created everything with verbal command. (See Genesis chapter 1) He created it: 1) As a gift from God the Father to God the son 2) To glorify himself. What is he going to do next? Are you talking about historically, or literally? He is always influencing life. Historically, the next thing he will do is what we call, from the Latin word, the Rapture. I hope it won't take the Rapture happening for you to believe.

1. How exactly do these verbal commands cause anything? Of course, you've already argued that's impossible.

2. Ah, yes, glory. Because the selfish pleasures of fame and recognition trump love and compassion.

3. Care to provide anything specific about those predictions? You know, like a date? Otherwise, you'll just be giving yourself more and more room to move the goal posts. There are lots of flying saucer cults out there who specialize in that sort of thing. What makes you any different?

[Complete misunderstanding of the point of Godel]

That wasn't about denying the existence of objective truth, only about our inability to ever achieve a complete description of it that doesn't end up producing contradictions.

Of course, again, it's usually my experience that Christians are much, much more likely to argue that truth is subjective.

How do you know that it would be morally wrong for me to kill you? (Not that I would)

Would you be able to justify the act of harming another for no reason? Usually, when a theist asks questions like this, it's a sign that they've got some fundamental problem with their psychology: That they're incapable of considering anything other than selfishness for a basis of morality.

You claim there is not a supernatural deity. Prove it, and I'll change my mind.

Fallacy: Shifting the burden of proof. Why should we go around proving the non-existence of unicorns?

So you admit that morality exists, and thus, unless you can give me a valid alternative, God also exists.

That's a complete and utter non-sequitur. How exactly does the existence of morality prove the existence of your specific god?

In the Christian belief, that would simply mean you are not saved. If you feel no guilt, you are not saved. If you feel guilt, however, that does not always make you saved, but I cannot explain that off the top of my head.

Guilt most likely evolved as a form of negative reinforcement to prevent socially hazardous behaviors for social animals, such as humans. Harming your group is an effective way of harming yourself in the long run. Just like helping others is often an effective way to helping yourself in the long run, hence altruism (aka teamwork) is a part of human nature, and the foundation of our morality.

So... How exactly can he have an effect on anything? You're arguing in favor of an impotent, do-nothing god.
God does not experience cause and effect. God created time when he created the universe, and Genesis doesn't say that God spoke the actual universe into existence. God willed the universe and time into existence.
Also, an omnipotent being not within the bounds of time certainly has no difficulty affecting things bound by time. Omnipotent: It doesn't matter what the task is, God would have no more difficulty doing it than he would have making the decision to do it.
That's a conclusion based on all the evidence so far, not a presupposition.
Humor me, then. Give me the evidence which led you to your conclusion.
Unfortunately, many, many Christians define their god as bad: Genocidal, pro-torture, big on unnecessary violence in general. You know.
Yes, but that doesn't make those "Christians" representative of what they claim to believe in. You are referring to imperfect people as though they could possibly be perfect.
The most basic principles of morality are irrational. We use reason to make systems of ethics that optimize them.
In that case, tell me the basic principles of morality.
Oh, and if anything, it's usually my experience that Christians are the ones more likely to argue that morality doesn't exist
If you look at imperfect beings as representative of the perfect Word.
Selfishly exploiting rules made up by an arbitrary, random authority to get into Heaven trumps altruism.
Certainly. However, I am not a Pharisee from the time of Christ, nor even am I Jewish. Jesus died so that I would not have to earn my way to heaven with deeds. If entry to heaven was by works, not a soul would get there. Everyone (Save for Jesus, God himself) is a sinner. The punishment for sin is eternal death, but Jesus died, that those who accept Him don't go to hell, but instead go to be with Him forever.
How exactly do these verbal commands cause anything? Of course, you've already argued that's impossible.
You expect me to know everything there is to know? How about yourself? How do you know God doesn't exist, other than lack of evidence to convince you he does? You don't have enough evidence to say God cannot exist; for that, you would have to know all things. Only God knows all things.
Ah, yes, glory. Because the selfish pleasures of fame and recognition trump love and compassion.
Glory for creation, but also for the infinite grace and mercy of God. For there is no greater love than this: That a man lay down his life for his friends. Jesus said those who do his commands are his friends. This is infinite love, and simultaneously glorifies God.
Care to provide anything specific about those predictions? You know, like a date?
No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come. But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what time of night the theif was coming, he would have kept watch and would not have let his house be broken into. So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.
Would you be able to justify the act of harming another for no reason?
If morality is a creation of mankind, then it is not real, and so there would be no need to justify anything.
How exactly does the existence of morality prove the existence of your specific god?
How can morality exist without an omnipotent entity to enforce it?
Guilt most likely evolved as a form of negative reinforcement to prevent socially hazardous behaviors for social animals, such as humans.
* Assuming evolution is true
* Assuming morality is subjective
* Assuming every person feels guilty when they are selfish
The list goes on...

Young Apologist:

The punishment for sin is eternal death, but Jesus died, that those who accept Him don't go to hell, but instead go to be with Him forever.

Then you say:

Glory for creation, but also for the infinite grace and mercy of God.

According to you God's infinite mercy stops when someone does not follow him, so basically we must obey god at gunpoint.

If your faith needs to exist in order to be "saved" from hell it is not faith at all.

Did you ever analyze the doctrine of hell this way?

I know what hell is.



However, I also know that God's infinite grace is a gift, not a given. You have to accept his grace, or you will prevent him from giving it to you.

God created His own hell, and then tried to give us His word. But his infinite grace and mercy does not allow him to forgive those who did not accept his word. Meaning his patience is severly limited.

Did it ever occur to you:
A person is condemned to ETERNAL TORMENT and this is ok. Since God is always right, this would imply forgiveness under certain circumstances is wrong.

The greatest patience is that God would allow anyone forgiveness. No one person is any better than the next; I was born no less a sinner than you were.

The greatest patience is that God would allow anyone forgiveness

Including nonbelievers? You are contradicting yourself. If not, why not?

God willed the universe and time into existence

That's interesting. Did he do anything before that? Did he think about doing this before he created it? If so, he really didnt create time did he?

Yes, but that doesn't make those "Christians" representative of what they claim to believe in

Yes it does, and it makes them just as representative of what they claim to believe in as whatever brand of christianity you happen to bleeive in. None of it is based on a single verifiable source, making any brand as authoritative as your brand. What makes your particular interpretation any more "right" than theirs?

My personal basic morality its really not that hard, and certainly doesnt require a sky daddy.

Jesus died so that I would not have to earn my way to heaven with deeds

Now I really am starting to think that your brand of christianity is worse than most I have heard. You can sit on your ass and do nothing just so long as you believe in sky fairies? Good for you.

How do you know God doesn't exist, other than lack of evidence to convince you he does? You don't have enough evidence to say God cannot exist; for that, you would have to know all things. Only God knows all things

null hypothesis. This same argument, as has been pointed out to you a number of times, goes for unicorns and dragon. How do you know they can not exist.

No one here says God can not exist. Everyone here, but you, points out that there is no reason to beleive he does any more than there is reason to believe that unicorns do. When you can figure out that statement, you can continue.

As for you nonsense about rapture, you simply have not a single lick of evidence that this will ever happen. every year someone predicts it will happen and every year it fails. since there is nothing to back up your entire religious view, there is nothing to back up this bizarre idea that rapture will come. But if an asteroid actually starts heading this way, despite fully understand the probabilities of that event, being able to prepare for it, perhaps even prevent it, if it does hit, you will call this rapture, or some other cataclysmic event, of which most by understanding the universe as it is (see Plait, death from the skies book), you will still pretend this was for told in some silly book written decades after the event it describes and edited further hundreds of year later. If I did this with unicorns, you would laugh at the notion, just like I do at sky daddies.

If morality is a creation of mankind, then it is not real, and so there would be no need to justify anything

as time goes on you say the most absurd things. things created by mankind are not real? Sure there would, because you live in a community. If you choose to kill someone, you better have a damn good reason, otherwise this community will not feel secure with you in it. Thats as real as it gets.

How can morality exist without an omnipotent entity to enforce it?

No wonder jails are filled with religious people.

Including nonbelievers? You are contradicting yourself. If not, why not?
I mean that as in, that he forgives anyone at all, not that he forgives everyone. He only forgives those who ask for forgiveness.
That's interesting. Did he do anything before that? Did he think about doing this before he created it? If so, he really didnt create time did he?
God is atemporal. He does not need to think separate thoughts, as he is omniscient.
None of it is based on a single verifiable source, making any brand as authoritative as your brand.
I hate to say this, but you just made the most blind statement I have ever heard. What do you think my Bible is?
Now I really am starting to think that your brand of christianity is worse than most I have heard. You can sit on your ass and do nothing just so long as you believe in sky fairies? Good for you.
No. Forgiveness is free; laziness is not a sign of being forgiven. If someone is saved, they will begin to desire to obey God. Those who are in the Lord's will for a time and fall away permanently were never saved.
This same argument, as has been pointed out to you a number of times, goes for unicorns and dragon. How do you know they can not exist.
Suppose I think dragons have existed? The Bible says they have, corroboratory evidence suggests they have, so maybe they once did exist. As for unicorns, I do not know. I have no need to prove unicorns, nor to think they cannot exist; I simply know I do not need to know. God is something which I need to know about. Notice, and not entirely to boast, I am only 15, I have the IQ of Albert Einstein. Why do you think I am not like you in belief? Atheism is not a belief; it is apathy. You must know all things to refute God.
As for you nonsense about rapture, you simply have not a single lick of evidence that this will ever happen. every year someone predicts it will happen and every year it fails.
It will not happen as long as at least a single person on Earth has not heard the Gospel. Once that happens, you will find your surprise. I can only pray that you will realize what it truly is, and not try to explain it away as radioactivity or some other less plausible event.
things created by mankind are not real?
That is not the implication. The implication is that subjective morality is not morality at all; it is going by what you think you want to do. Objective morality is the only form of morality which is real; for that, it must be given to you.
No wonder jails are filled with religious people.
That made no sense; jails are not moral enforcement, they are social standard enforcement. There is a serious difference: Social standards are subject to change. Morals are not.

On the subject of the Law of Non-Contradiction: It must be true. If you say it is not true, then it must also be true, so that it will be contradicting itself. To say it is not a true Law is self-refuting.
God does not experience cause and effect. God created time when he created the universe, and Genesis doesn't say that God spoke the actual universe into existence. God willed the universe and time into existence. Also, an omnipotent being not within the bounds of time certainly has no difficulty affecting things bound by time. Omnipotent: It doesn't matter what the task is, God would have no more difficulty doing it than he would have making the decision to do it.

In other words, you're using special pleading to have your cake and eat it, too.

Humor me, then. Give me the evidence which led you to your conclusion.

Some examples: The Cosmic Microwave Background Radiation, the expansion of the universe, the distribution of ERV sequences in various species, geology, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera.

Yes, but that doesn't make those "Christians" representative of what they claim to believe in. You are referring to imperfect people as though they could possibly be perfect.

And what makes your particular brand any better than theirs? Hint: "My ego" isn't a good answer.

In that case, tell me the basic principles of morality.

You might want to look into game theory. Altruism combined with survival is a way to put it simply: By protecting others, we protect ourselves. The complexity comes from optimizing everyone's survival and happiness.

Certainly. However, I am not a Pharisee from the time of Christ, nor even am I Jewish. Jesus died so that I would not have to earn my way to heaven with deeds. If entry to heaven was by works, not a soul would get there. Everyone (Save for Jesus, God himself) is a sinner. The punishment for sin is eternal death, but Jesus died, that those who accept Him don't go to hell, but instead go to be with Him forever.

So, you're morality is utterly without meaning. Selfishness trumps a desire for truth. Cowardice trumps the humility of saying, "I'm not certain."

God's purposeless torture chamber of Hell comes up, along with the inherently violent argument from force. Yeah, you're doing a wonderful job of separating yourself from those pro-torture Christians.

Glory for creation, but also for the infinite grace and mercy of God. For there is no greater love than this: That a man lay down his life for his friends. Jesus said those who do his commands are his friends. This is infinite love, and simultaneously glorifies God.

This is in utter and absolute contradiction to your previous paragraph. You described a god of absolute hatred, and now you try to say that he's one of absolute love.

Jesus had a bad weekend so that people performing random, arbitrary rituals get to experience empty pleasure in some afterlife. Yeah. Let's ignore the whole "rights" thing, roll the dice, and treat some people as inherently superior and the rest as inherently valueless and worthy of eternal, purposeless torture.

You're a monster.

No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come. But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what time of night the theif was coming, he would have kept watch and would not have let his house be broken into. So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.

In other words, you only have your arrogance to back it up, and can only hope that we'll give into cowardice and abandon all reason.

If morality is a creation of mankind, then it is not real, and so there would be no need to justify anything.

Oh, really, and how does your god make it more "real"? Let me guess: A) Chants of Randomrandomrandom! or B) Might Makes Right.

How can morality exist without an omnipotent entity to enforce it?

How does an imperfect universe rule out morality?

I'm reminded of a show called Psychology of Batman, discussing the Joker: The existence of injustice means that there is no injustice. Which is why the Joker is an agent of chaos. Probably explains some crazies like VenomFangX dressing up in Joker makeup while proudly committing perjury.

Please, no Molotov Cocktails on my patio.

* Assuming evolution is true * Assuming morality is subjective * Assuming every person feels guilty when they are selfish The list goes on...

And those are mostly true. (Not every person feels guilt, regarding clinical cases.)

So far, all you're proposing as an alternative is Objectively Random Morality: God randomly and arbitrarily (because he is completely baseless, as you've asserted) threw up some laws and threatens people with torture if they don't comply.

I'd rather not base my decisions off dice rolls, like you apparently have.

One thought on the "enforcement" thing: Usually, the people who need a god to enforce moral laws are the sorts who start looting once the police are occupied with a crisis: For them, it's getting caught that's the real sin, not the harm the crime inflicts. The only reason those sorts don't go crazed is that they've been led to believe in an omniscient, omnipotent cop.

On "willing" things into being: Another process that can't be described in any meaningful manner.

When I will my arm to move, there's every reason to believe that we could, in principle, figure out all the electrochemical reactions involved from beginning to end.

When gods "will" stuff to happen, there's no mechanism to be described. It's just magic, forever blocked from scientific inquiry for no other reason than because the theist said so. The supernaturalist's ego is more powerful than the humble methods of science because the universe, including the gods, bow down to their denotational might.

Faith is the ultimate act of hubris.

Young Apologist:

This is not part of the debate, but the Jewish God and the Christian God are one and the same.

Most Jews would disagree. See, most Christians worship a God who exists in three persons. Judaism sees that as blasphemy and heresy. So, if you believe in a God who has, among its defining characteristics, multiple persons, a history of becoming human, and a mission to save humanity from original sin, then you do not believe in the Jewish God.

God does not experience cause and effect. God created time when he created the universe, and Genesis doesn't say that God spoke the actual universe into existence. God willed the universe and time into existence.
Emphasis mine. So, if we're concerned with what Genesis says, where does it say God "willed" the universe into existence? Where in the Bible does it say that God is not subject to cause and effect? (For that matter, where in the Bible does it talk about "the Rapture"?) If God exists outside of time and space and doesn't experience cause and effect, then what are we to make of all the places in the Bible where something causes God to react--the sinfulness of humanity causes him to kill them with floods, the inhospitality of Sodom and Gomorrah caused him to rain fire down on them, the construction of the Tower of Babel caused him to punish humanity with confusion, and so forth. Over and over, especially in the early books of the Bible, humans do things and God reacts. How does this happen if God doesn't experience cause and effect?

My prediction: your response will fall back on omnipotence, the ultimate "get out of logic free" card. God adheres to the rules you set out (cause and effect don't affect him) except when he doesn't. Before you predictably make that point, I recommend reading up on special pleading.

Yes, but that doesn't make those "Christians" representative of what they claim to believe in.
Tell us, YA: is the Bible an accurate representation of God? You reference Genesis as if it is. It is in the Bible that God commands things like genocide, torture, and excessive violence, and that's the lightest charges that could be leveled against him. If the Bible provides an actual description of God, then he is a despicable character, and even if he did exist, I'd want nothing to do with such a monstrous villain.

And if the Bible's picture of a wrathful God who eventually wraps the wrath up in a peaceful facade even as institutes infinite punishment for finite crimes isn't accurate, then why reference Genesis? How do you come by any knowledge of what this God is like, what it wants, or whether or not it exists?

How do you know God doesn't exist, other than lack of evidence to convince you he does? You don't have enough evidence to say God cannot exist; for that, you would have to know all things. Only God knows all things.
How do you know Thor doesn't exist, other than lack of evidence to convince you he does? You don't have enough evidence to say Thor cannot exist; for that, you would have to know all things. Only Odin knows all things.

For any claim, the default position is disbelief--this is the null hypothesis. We need positive evidence to overturn the null hypothesis. Until we have positive, significant evidence to support the existence of God--or Thor, or unicorns, or leprechauns or ghosts--the only reasonable position is the null hypothesis--that those things do not exist.

We're willing to change our minds, given convincing evidence; so far, no such evidence has been provided, only lame arguments and untestable anecdotes and faith in ancient books.

Now, to the point of knowledge: your comment presupposes that the only way to "know" something is to be 100% absolutely certain of it. That's not an uncommon definition, but it's certainly not a useful one. I can't be absolutely 100% certain of anything; should I just excise the word "know" from my vocabulary? Or should we use the word "know" the only way anyone uses it: to represent things we believe to a high degree of certainty--but not 100%? When I say "I know there's no such thing as unicorns," I don't mean "I am absolutely certain that unicorns don't exist." Obviously, I'd have to have searched the entire universe to have that absolute certainty, and even then, it's possible that I missed something or that unicorns are invisible or that when I was looking in one spot they were all hiding in another. I could never be "absolutely certain" regarding my negative assessment of the existence of unicorns.

But I reject the notion of absolute certainty outright, so when I say "I know there's no such thing as unicorns," I mean that I have never seen any evidence of unicorns, that past searches which were likely to produce evidence of unicorns failed to produce any evidence, and that the existence of unicorns generally violates what I understand to be true about how the universe works. Naturally, this knowledge is subject to change; if after saying that, a unicorn walked into my bedroom and could be reasonably confirmed to be a unicorn and not a hallucination or hoax, then I would admit that my previous knowledge was in error.

The same is true of gods. It's actually quite trivial to demonstrate something's existence to me; there are quadrillions of things whose existence I accept without any effort on their part. It should be effortlessly simple for an omnipotent god--or even just a very potent god--to demonstrate its existence to me. So far, bupkus.

For there is no greater love than this: That a man lay down his life for his friends.
That's great and all, but it loses some of its value when you realize that the man laying down his life is the one who created the danger in the first place. It's one thing for a firefighter to run into a burning building to carry out his partner. It's quite another when it's discovered that the firefighter set the fire so that he could play hero and get the glory for himself. If God wanted to demonstrate his love, then he shouldn't have invented a system that condemned his creations to eternal punishment in the first place.

My prediction: you're going to bring up "free will" as a defense, trying to claim that humans chose punishment when they sinned in the Garden. Before you do that, consider how it could possibly be just to punish children for crimes committed by distant ancestors--what about my free will? Further, consider why it was necessary for God to create the forbidden trees in the first place, or why he punished people who were expressly created with no knowledge of right and wrong (and thus no inkling that disobedience was wrong).

If morality is a creation of mankind, then it is not real, and so there would be no need to justify anything.
This is just silly. Things which are creations of people aren't real? Tell me, YA, do you obey traffic laws? If so, why? After all, traffic laws are created by mankind--there's nothing in the Bible about who has the right-of-way at a four-way intersection with stop signs--so they must not be real, right?

Human-determined morality is far more real than what's dictated in the Bible, and the evidence is all around you in the Christians and the apologetics that have progressed morally as society has progressed morally, even as their supposed book of morals has remained stuck in the distant past. Take, for instance, slavery--it's laid out in the Old Testament, endorsed by God, and it's spoken of further in glowing passages by Jesus in the New Testament. Today, there's a whole cottage industry of apologetics designed to explain this point away--Biblical slavery was different, they really just meant "servants," and so forth--but if morality were dictated by this book, then there would be no need for such justifications. It would be right, always right, and perfectly right, and there'd be no reason to scramble around trying to explain why it doesn't mean what it says.

And we could say the same about any number of things--genocide, sexism, homophobia, murder, etc.--that are commanded in the Bible. The reason apologetics exist for those things today is because we recognize that it's morally wrong to force a woman to marry her rapist, for instance.

No, social law and morality, with its instant punishments--from fines and imprisonment to ostracization and stigmatization to guilt and heavy conscience--is far more real to anyone than the alternately obsolete and obvious "morals" dictated in the Bible, with a punishment that is deferred until after death and only meted out if the violator didn't believe the right thing. Exactly what morality is offered by a system which suggests that people who do no wrong except being unconvinced get punished eternally, while people who spend their lives doing bad things can get eternal reward by holding the right set of fantasies when they die? If we're judged on beliefs instead of actions, then what does morality matter?

* Assuming evolution is true * Assuming morality is subjective * Assuming every person feels guilty when they are selfish The list goes on...
We assume none of these things. Evolution is true, and supported by mountains of evidence. Morality is subjective; it differs from society to society and from era to era; on the other hand, you could call it objective for the same reason, because it is based on what society has agreed on and not any one person's interpretation of any one entity's opinion. And we needn't assume that every person feels guilty when they do bad things; we know that most people do and that some don't. The power of society is that we come to some consensus about what things we think are wrong, and we use our collective pressure to enforce that consensus. Those who disagree with the consensus can work to change it, leave, or be removed.
The greatest patience is that God would allow anyone forgiveness.
How very merciful of him. If that's infinite mercy, then why is it that I can think of a situation which is even more merciful: closing up Hell, or giving forgiveness to everyone regardless of whether or not they accept it?

Techskeptic:

No one here says God can not exist.

Well, there is the contention that an actually omnipotent entity is logically impossible because it's fundamentally contradictory. I'm not going to get into that since it's obnoxiously boring, but it is a mark against omnipotent beings.

I hate to say this, but you just made the most blind statement I have ever heard. What do you think my Bible is?
Just as useless as a source of knowledge as anyone else's holy book, or anyone else's subjective interpretation of what their holy book says. For instance, the word "Rapture" never appears in the Bible, and the event described as "the Rapture" by Christians who believe it is drawn from out-of-context passages spread across several New Testament books. Consequently, quite a lot of Christians reject it as a heretical fantasy; what makes your interpretation better than theirs?
No. Forgiveness is free; laziness is not a sign of being forgiven. If someone is saved, they will begin to desire to obey God. Those who are in the Lord's will for a time and fall away permanently were never saved.
Ah, the old No True Scotsman fallacy. No saved Christian behaves badly, and if a Christian starts behaving badly, then they must never have been really saved.
Notice, and not entirely to boast, I am only 15, I have the IQ of Albert Einstein.
And why should we care? Being smart is no insulation against being wrong. What you're doing here is a form of appeal to authority, and it's a fallacy.

You're young, and you probably haven't done this before. You're at a bit of a disadvantage, because chances are we've heard all your arguments before and we know the sorts of fallacies they tend to rely on. I recommend, for your own benefit, reading through the lists of logical fallacies at Nizkor and the Don Lindsay archive, and trying to make sure that your arguments aren't based on them. In our experience, most apologetics are fallacious in one way or another.

Atheism is not a belief; it is apathy.
No, atheism is a lack of belief. In fact, you'll find that most atheists here and in the blogosphere are generally the opposite of apathetic. We care quite a lot, particularly about whether or not our beliefs and knowledge is true and accurate. That's why we reserve belief until it is justified; that's why we require that our beliefs be based on verifiable evidence--because we recognize the harm that is created by holding irrational, unsupported beliefs.
I can only pray that you will realize what it truly is, and not try to explain it away as radioactivity or some other less plausible event.
Oh, it's cute, someone has been reading the Left Behind books. While the worldwide sudden disappearance of all Christians of a certain stripe would be compelling evidence for the Rapture, there certainly could be other possible explanations, and there's nothing less plausible about some exotic form of radiation or alien abductions or the wrath of Thor than a silent kidnapping by a magical man who lives in the sky.

Young Apologist, I'll do you a favor: start reading the Left Behind annotations on Slacktivist. Fred Clark is a Christian himself, but not a premillennial dispensationalist. His analysis of the series is both hilarious and poignant, and I think it's worth reading for anyone who's sat through those stories. At the very least, you'll get to read about some much better apocalypse stories that have been available in the past.

Objective morality is the only form of morality which is real; for that, it must be given to you.
How is objective morality given to you by the society into which you are born inferior to "objective" morality given to you by an ancient book that can be interpreted by different people to mean mutually inconsistent and completely contradictory things?
Social standards are subject to change. Morals are not.
Really? Then tell me: is it morally acceptable to own another human being? Is it morally acceptable to force a woman to marry her rapist? Is it morally acceptable to stone a child for being unruly?
On the subject of the Law of Non-Contradiction: It must be true.
Please don't get into Transcendental arguments; they're ultimately pointless, since logical arguments are useless without evidence to demonstrate their validity.

Incidentally, there are systems of logic where the law of non-contradiction isn't necessarily true, but that's not really here or there.

Finally, Young Apologist, I commend you for seeking out people with an alternate viewpoint and opening up dialogue. That takes courage, and it's a sign of intellectual honesty. I hope that you maintain that quality.

Tom

there is the contention that an actually omnipotent entity is logically impossible because it's fundamentally contradictory

I think this contradiction is in an omniscient, omnipotent, and benevolent god. I was just talking about the existence of a god.

the rapture

can't wait

there was a hilarious take on this in "Siz Feet Under"

a woman with a fish on her car is waiting for a light to change at a three way intersection

unbeknownst to her and behind the building opposite her car, someone is attempting to transport a whack of helium inflated blow-up dolls in the back of a pickup

for some reason, the netting covering the payload lets go and the inflatable girlfriends drift towards the heavens

fish lady sees them rise from behind the building and wants to go the lord with them

so she ignores the lights and the traffic and pulls into the intersection to go up with him

WHAM t-boned

back from commercials, she's being prepped for her funeral...

You're young, and you probably haven't done this before. You're at a bit of a disadvantage, because chances are we've heard all your arguments before and we know the sorts of fallacies they tend to rely on

Sounds exactly like what happened to me...
I'm 17 after all

Tech:

I think this contradiction is in an omniscient, omnipotent, and benevolent god. I was just talking about the existence of a god.

No, that's not so much a contradiction as an opening for the Problem of Evil. The potential for omnipotence's logical self-contradiction is laid out pretty well here, starting with the "can God make a square circle" objections and moving on to typically stated limits on omnipotence.

Once you add in the other omnis, though, other paradoxes present themselves. Can God do something he didn't expect? If so, he's not omniscient; if not, he's not omnipotent. Can God do evil? If so, he's not omnibenevolent; if not, he's not omnipotent. The paradoxes run hot and fast in this arena.

Nico: All these young'ins around here--you, YA, King of Ferrets, MWChase--are making me feel old. Stop being so young! :)

The Bible as source of morality only begins to even remotely make sense if you accept that we are all born as sinners. Otherwise, there is virtually nothing of moral value in it, even at the most basic level. I have no idea why Christians think they are on firm ground when they suggest the Bible as a source of moral teachings in any way other than the crass "believe in Jesus or fry" approach.

Ok, Jesus said don't judge people, but then he goes futher and says you will be cast into hell if you call someone a fool. It's all a bit haywire. You can't make a sensible moral system out of it.

The only moral teaching that I can find in the entire Bible that is both appealing and not contradicted anywhere else is the precept in Leviticus that one shouldn't eat bats. Fine, I won't even ask for a justification for that. I just won't eat them.

But are there any others?

Compare the morality of the Bible - and, JA I mean the morality as it is written in the Bible - with the moral lessons contained in, say Grimm's Fairy Tales.

Hey Yakaru, have you thought about putting that to music?

Well that all sums it up perfectly! (see Tom's link to Tim Minchin's latest song)-

'Cos the Good Book is a book and it is good and it's a book
I know the Good Book's good because the Good Book says it's good
I know the Good Book knows it's good because a really good book would
You wouldn't cook without a cookbook and I think it's understood
You can't be good without a Good Book 'cos it's good and it's a book...

The fine-tuning argument is based on notions of conditional probability.
I have two types of twenty-sided dice: type A and type B. Type A dice have the numbers 1 through 20 on them, as normal. Type B dice have the number 6 on all twenty sides.
I pick up a die and roll it once, and the outcome is 6.
Which is more likely, that I picked up a Type A die or a Type B die? Because the Type A die would produce the observed result only 5% of the time while the Type B die would produce the observed result 100% of the time, the conventional answer is that it's more likely, based on the information at hand, that I picked up a Type B die.
Similarly for the fine tuning argument. Since a nondesigned universe would only produce the observed result (fine tuning) very, very, very, VERY rarely, while a designed universe would be expected to produce the observed result, the existence of improbable fine tuning makes the design of the universe more likely.

AvalonXQ:

You are assuming the existence of the die whose sides are all sixes. But, in your analogy, "there is a type B dice that has the number 6 on all twenty sides" is what you are trying to prove - it is an assumption as well as your conclusion.

if there is only one die, and it has numbers 1 to 20, then rolling a six proves nothing.

I nev er really got the fine tuning argument. The argument implies that the universe is friendly to life. It most certainly is not. Now if it was called the "barely tuned" argument, I would understand it better but it would hardly be a case for god.

Avalon:

The other error in your analogy is that you're assuming there is just one die with numbers 1 to 20 on it. In fact, there is no reason to suppose there are not an infinite number of dice with numbers 1 to 20, all being rolled. (Or one die being rolled an infinite number of times - whichever analogy works better for you.) Given that, it's no surprise that we get a six now and again.

Plus, what TechSkeptic said.

The fine-tuning argument fails because we only have one example and don't know what the possibilities are in order to derive the probabilities. There is no justification for saying "a universe like ours is unlikely," because there's no way to determine what's likely for universes. It's equally possible that this kind of universe is the only possible kind. We have no way of knowing what constraints there are on universe-building, so any attempt to assign numbers or probabilities is pure guesswork.

The fine tuning argument falls flat for me because it's like saying, "What are the chances that we'd roll 461359 on a d1,000,000? (A one million-sided die, for those not familiar with D&D notation)

The problem is that they aren't interested in explaining why 461359 is more "special" than the other million possibilities. They're all improbable, and if you rolled the die, no matter what came up, it'd still be a million to one.

Oh, yeah, forgot I wanted to add a little thing I've brought up with a few theists: Could you pray for your god to conjure a Longview cane sugar Dr Pepper to appear in a flash of light and smoke on my TV tray while I'm around it?

It's not much of a request. A tall 20 oz. can of flavored sugar water shouldn't be worth more than $2, so I don't benefit all that much from the gift, like others who jokingly demand piles of money. I'm completely serious. A $2 snap of the fingers shouldn't be too much to ask for.

Nico: All these young'ins around here--you, YA, King of Ferrets, MWChase--are making me feel old. Stop being so young! :)

We never will! Never, you hear me? NEVER!

I'll post something of actual substance once I defeat the Wall of Text in a battle of attrition.

BD,

I've asked that very same question

I asked for a small frog. Seems like a dumb request now that you mention I could have asked for a soda.

oops

this is the right link

Yeah, I remember that one. Fun times.

And what makes your particular brand any better than theirs? Hint: "My ego" isn't a good answer.
I am not speaking of their denomination. I am no better than they; and neither are you any better than the worst of them.

You might want to look into game theory. Altruism combined with survival is a way to put it simply: By protecting others, we protect ourselves. The complexity comes from optimizing everyone's survival and happiness.
By that philosophy, one concludes that Hitler's actions towards the Jews and other groups were morally justified.
God's purposeless torture chamber of Hell comes up, along with the inherently violent argument from force. Yeah, you're doing a wonderful job of separating yourself from those pro-torture Christians.
Since hell is a wholly biblical subject, presupposing the bible to be true in this will be logical, as I am sure you are aware.
First off, I do not know what pro-torture is. Secondly, hell is not purposeless. The Bible says that hell was created as the place of punishment for Lucifer and his followers, because he turned against God. A person goes to hell for doing the same thing. The New Testament states that all who are not for God must be against him, and that all have sinned. To sin is to act against God. Since all have sinned, and the punishment for sin is death, God would be unjust to exempt those, they who do not accept Jesus, from going to hell. God would contradict himself if he didn't create hell.
Yeah. Let's ignore the whole "rights" thing, roll the dice, and treat some people as inherently superior and the rest as inherently valueless and worthy of eternal, purposeless torture.
As I said before, it is not purposeless. Moreover, God is not willing that any should perish, but that all would come to repentance.
You're a monster.
Resorting to name calling, are we?
In other words, you only have your arrogance to back it up, and can only hope that we'll give into cowardice and abandon all reason.
I simply gave you verbatum what the Bible had to say on the subject. I am sure that you will easily find a way to explain the Rapture as wholly natural. What evidence of God would convince you? Surely nothing, unless you remove the barrier of pride which makes you refuse to believe your eyes. And not a round square or a square circle; if God were to show you such a thing, you would not be able to comprehend it in your mind.
How does an imperfect universe rule out morality?
That is ambiguous. Please clarify.
And those are mostly true. (Not every person feels guilt, regarding clinical cases.)
Mostly true? By what standards? Your own? Your conclusion gathered from reason? Not only that, morality cannot be subjective, for then it would be nothing more than "I say it is right for me, so it is morally okay." Subjective morality equals relative morality.
Morals are important in society, in the home, and in all interactions. Would you believe me if I started lying to you in this paper? No. You expect me to be fair, honest, logical, and forthright. Can I be that if I believe all morals are relative? Heck, if I did, I could try and deceive you into getting me to believe what I want you to.
(For that matter, where in the Bible does it talk about "the Rapture"?)
Obviously, it is impossible for the verbatum word "Rapture" to be in an English Bible. The word comes from the Greek, and is in the Greek version.
Tell us, YA: is the Bible an accurate representation of God? You reference Genesis as if it is. It is in the Bible that God commands things like genocide, torture, and excessive violence, and that's the lightest charges that could be leveled against him.
If it is not, then we are not talking about the same God. The punishment for sin is death; before Christ came in the body of a man, there was the law. It is that law which the death of Jesus completed and by which we have been forgiven according to that law.
If God wanted to demonstrate his love, then he shouldn't have invented a system that condemned his creations to eternal punishment in the first place.
But God is not willing that any should perish; rather, that all would repent and confess the Lord Christ Jesus.
Take, for instance, slavery--it's laid out in the Old Testament, endorsed by God, and it's spoken of further in glowing passages by Jesus in the New Testament.
Slavery is not endorsed anywhere in the Bible. Slavery was the norm up until recently, and the Bible only gives commands as to how to go about it. Nowhere does it say slavery is good or bad.
Exactly what morality is offered by a system which suggests that people who do no wrong except being unconvinced get punished eternally, while people who spend their lives doing bad things can get eternal reward by holding the right set of fantasies when they die?
The thing is, there is not a soul save for Christ whom lives that does nothing wrong. It is not the unbelief; it is the refusal to be forgiven. Those who are not forgiven must pay the price; God is a just God. I assure you, there is not a person in history that you can name, who has committed no sin other than to refuse God. All have sinned.
Morality is subjective; it differs from society to society and from era to era; on the other hand, you could call it objective for the same reason, because it is based on what society has agreed on and not any one person's interpretation of any one entity's opinion.
I will refrain from correcting your mistaken reference, mind you. You are speaking of social opinion, whilst I am speaking of divine law.
If that's infinite mercy, then why is it that I can think of a situation which is even more merciful: closing up Hell, or giving forgiveness to everyone regardless of whether or not they accept it?
Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers (liars) nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.
Ah, the old No True Scotsman fallacy. No saved Christian behaves badly, and if a Christian starts behaving badly, then they must never have been really saved.
That is not the full meaning. If a Christian falls away for a time, then returns to God, he may or may not be saved. Those whom God loved he disciplines; what may appear to be a time of turning from God to men, God may be using to teach a lesson.
that's why we require that our beliefs be based on verifiable evidence
Tell me: What evidence would God have to give for you to realize he exists?
your comment presupposes that the only way to "know" something is to be 100% absolutely certain of it.
No; it presupposes that the only way to know something is nonexistent is to know all things.
How is objective morality given to you by the society into which you are born inferior
Humans are not self-perfected.
is it morally acceptable to own another human being?
And where are you bringing this argument from? What base do you have to stand your statement on? The Bible is neutral on the morality of slavery; so am I.
Incidentally, there are systems of logic where the law of non-contradiction isn't necessarily true, but that's not really here or there.
Not to say you follow any of those systems, but if logic can including contradiction, then I can say that absolute truth does not exist. As such, the relativity of contradiction is a paradox: if it is relative, it is absolutely true that it is relative. If it is absolute, then there must be absolute truths. Thus, to deny the Law of Nonn-Cointradiction is self-refuting.
The fine-tuning argument is based on notions of conditional probability.
In a debate between creationists and evolutionists, the fine-tuning argument is moot. Evolution would suggest that life conformed to the universe. Creation says that everything that was made was made by God and nothing else was made.
Could you pray for your god to conjure a Longview cane sugar Dr Pepper to appear in a flash of light and smoke on my TV tray while I'm around it?
Blessed is he who does not see and yet believes.

Whew.... you guys make me want to take a nap...

Before anyone else replies, I feel it necessary to add something that is slightly an old point: Math is absolute.

Go ahead, throw the predictable "2+2=4 into 2+2=5" argument. I don't mind it. In fact, it pointed something out. It is not our math that is absolute, but rather, the underlying concepts represented by our math. 2 represents a pair of units, ||. So, || + || = ||||

Thus, math cannot be altered, although the terminology and representations can. Binary will work just as well as decimal, albeit in more digits. You can change the words to mean anything, but the original concepts cannot change.

Also with logic. If you say there is no necessity for the Law of Non-Contradiction, then i is fairly easy to prove you wrong.

Matt Slick: Evidence for what? God's existence?
Rashbam: I don't agree that there was any begging the question.
Matt Slick: I can offer you an argument for God's existence, if you're interested. It is a bit involved, but worth a look.
Rashbam: I do hope it won't be one of the old hackneyed ones (cosmological, transcendental, etc.) Since they have been pretty much thrashed.
Matt Slick: I didn't think the transcendental argument was hackneyed. I prefer to use the transcendental argument.
Rashbam: Ah, a "transcendentalist". How quaint.
Matt Slick: Would you like to try and thrash the transcendental argument?
Rashbam: I don't even find it to be a coherent argument.
Matt Slick: Would you agree with me that if there are only two options to explain something, and one of them is proven false, that logically speaking, the other position is validated?
Rashbam: Well, let's see about that, Matt. Do you know anything about quantum mechanics, for example? About the fact that there can be linear superpositions of physical states?
Matt Slick: Are you an expert on quantum mechanics?
Rashbam: Yes, in fact I am an expert. Ph.d. in physics, professor of physics.
Matt Slick: We'll then good. This should be interesting. I suppose that what you're going to try and do is bury me with esoteric terminology and concepts that you know I don't know about. I further suppose that you would try to do this in order to try and win an argument. Though it is not winning an argument.
Rashbam: No, but it will be difficult if you don't know about some basics.
Matt Slick: Since we both agree that logic is something we should use, let's discuss logic. Do you agree that logic exists?
Rashbam: I'm not sure what you mean by that statement.
Matt Slick: Logic is something we use in our dialogues, "if then" propositions, etc.
Rashbam: I think logic is a mode of thought.
Matt Slick: Okay. Logic Is a mode of thought. I would agree.
Rashbam: What you find logical may not be logical to me. I would then have to try to convince you that you have made an error, consistent with your own views of the rules of logic
Matt Slick: Would you agree with me that, for example, the law of non-contradiction is true? That something cannot be both true and false at the same time in the same sense?
Rashbam: Well Matt here's where I need to ask about quantum mechanics.
Matt Slick: Don't ask me about quantum mechanics. I'm not the expert.
Rashbam: Because we can have a state of physical reality where an electron has spin "up" and spin "down" simultaneously.
Matt Slick: However, I do know about logic and I am asking you a question. Would you agree with me that, for example, the law of non-contradiction is true? That something cannot be both true and false at the same time in the same sense?
Rashbam: It is equivalent to having a person being alive and dead, simultaneously. Presumably you would claim that a person cannot be both alive and dead simultaneously. But quantum mechanics proves otherwise *with the following caveat*...
Matt Slick: Excuse me, but I'm not here to discuss quantum mechanics.
Rashbam: That caveat is: Macroscopic states, due to something called "decoherence", generally assume classical behaviors.
Matt Slick: Excuse me, can we stick to the topic? Can you please stop trying to bury me in esoteric terminology?
Rashbam: Well then I'm sorry but I cannot accept the "law of noncontradiction" because I know of instances where it does not apply.
Matt Slick: So then the law of non-contradiction is not true, correct?
Rashbam: As applied to quantum systems, it is problematic. A more nuanced form would be required.
Matt Slick: If the law of non-contradiction is not true, then I immediately claim victory over you in all of our arguments because I have already won everything logically because I said so yesterday and today.
Rashbam: Can you make progress in your argument without invoking the law of non-conradiction?
Matt Slick: I never mentioned a law of non-contradiction.
Rashbam: You did about 2 minutes ago.
Matt Slick: No I did not. You are obviously an error. Since The law of non-contradiction cannot be assumed to always be true, then I have not contradicted myself when
I tell you I never mentioned the law of non-contradiction, even in this statement.
Rashbam: I didn't say you contradicted yourself. By the way, I claim victory too!
Matt Slick: Therefore, I win again because the law of non-contradiction is not absolute. Therefore, I cannot be proven to have contradicted myself.
Rashbam: And I thank you for graciously conceding the argument to me!
Matt Slick: Ah, then according to your system of thought, we all win. Yeah! I like what you have done. You've invalidated rational discussion. Well done.
Rashbam: No, only I have won. You conceded -- remember?
Matt Slick: Is this what you're atheism leads to, irrationality?
Rashbam: No, Matt -- you're the one who started playing games here.
Matt Slick: No, since I claimed it first, I win first. No matter what you say, I double that. Therefore, I win. Nya nya nya.
Rashbam: I simply pointed out that there is a problem with classical notions of contradiction when one goes to the quantum level -- the way the universe works.
Matt Slick: Now, if by chance you are willing to have a rational discussion with me, then we could continue. But if you want to assert that the law of non-contradiction is not rationally true in all places, and then there is no basis for rational discussion.
Rashbam: You dismissed that as "jargon" and started ranting.
Matt Slick: I never dismissed any jargon and I was not ranting ever. Not at all.
Rashbam: This is why we need to talk about quantum mechanics, Matt.
Matt Slick: Or.... are you going to cite the law of non-contradiction as being true in which to prove me incorrect?
Rashbam: Because you insist that the "law of non-contradiction" is essential.
Matt Slick: Which is it going to be. Are you going to validate the rule or invalidate the rule?
Rashbam: It depends on how you try to apply it. Of course.
Matt Slick: I'm just trying to establish a rational dialogue. It is you who is trying to undermine it. When I assume you're a presupposition regarding the law of non-contradiction, the previous several minutes is the result.
Rashbam: This isn't going the way you thought, huh?
Matt Slick: Actually, I thought you'd be logical. I didn't think you would use illogic to try and win an argument.
Rashbam: No, I have simply pointed out that your assumptions might be problematic in certain cases.
Matt Slick: "might be"? That's it? "might be" is what you're offering? So you have a possibility, a "might be" for your position? Is that rational?
Rashbam: Well as I don't know how you are going to invoke this "law" that is the best I can do. Why don't you proceed and I'll tell you when you've made an error.
Matt Slick: The law of non-contradiction is something you cited earlier. I purposely was illogical, violating the law of non-contradiction. You cited my error, thereby presupposing the validity of the law of non-contradiction.
Rashbam: Ah, so you admit you were intentionally being illogical.
Matt Slick: So you either must tell me that it is true or it is not true. The law of excluded middle tells us that the statement is either true or false.
Rashbam: So you were the one who started to derail the conversation.
Matt Slick: Now, is it true or false that the law of non-contradiction is always true? I was not derailing the conversation. I was precisely on topic.
Rashbam: Again, I need to ask you about quantum mechanics.
Matt Slick: I see, so you can stick to the issue at hand?
Rashbam: Because the physical world behaves differently than you think.
Matt Slick: On what basis do you make that statement?
Rashbam: Can't you just get on with your argument?
Matt Slick: On what basis to make the statement that the physical world behaves differently than I think?
Rashbam: Well you yourself profess ignorance of Qm. So obviously you are not thinking about it.
Matt Slick: You don't know what I know or don't know about quantum physics.
Rashbam: And since Qm has been verified in experiments to excruciating detail, it is a very good model for physical reality.
Matt Slick: Don't ask me about quantum mechanics. I'm not the expert.
Rashbam: Matt, just get on with your argument, please.
Matt Slick: Rash, can you think logically? Saying I'm not an expert doesn't mean I know nothing about it. Therefore, you don't know what I do know or don't know about it. You are not being logical. On what basis do you make your arguments? You are assuming the validity of the laws of logic in our discussion here.
Rashbam: Ok, so you should already recognize the problem with "noncontradiction" vis-a-vis Qm superposition. Do you or do you not?
Matt Slick: I don't know what that is so I can't comment.
Rashbam: Lol
Matt Slick: I'm trying to ask you a question. I'm trying to ask you on what basis are you attempting to make your rational arguments?
Rashbam: I base my arguments on my own rationality, of course. You might not agree with what I say, but that's fine.
Matt Slick: What you mean by your own rationality? Did you invent it?
Rashbam: No, it is a product of my genetic makeup and my environmental experiences.
Matt Slick: Wait, your rationality is a product of your environment and genetic makeup? Then how can it be valid?
Rashbam: Sometimes it is not valid. I make mistakes.
Matt Slick: So you sometimes offer irrationality? How do I know that you are not being irrational right now?
Rashbam: You don't.
Matt Slick: Since you apparently can make up your own rationality, then there is no way to prove you wrong on anything because you would just change what you think is rational.
Rashbam: I never said that.
Matt Slick: I didn't say you said that.
Rashbam: I never said that I can make up my own rationality.
Matt Slick: I said that since you can apparently make up your own rationality, then there is no way to prove you wrong on anything because you would just change what you think is rational.
Rashbam: I disagree with the premise.
Matt Slick: Your rationality is a product of your genetics and your environment. You said that. Since your environment changes therefore, rationality based upon what you perceive in your environment would also change.
Rashbam: Right. With no brain, no thought.
Matt Slick: In fact, if the wind starts blowing in a different direction to my house, I think that's going to affect my rationality. Hold on a second, the wind is changing.
Rashbam: "would"? Where did I say that?
Matt Slick: I just figured something new out. Did you know that blue sleeps faster than Wednesday? My environment just changed, and my rationality change with it.
Rashbam: Matt, you aren't making much progress and I need to get to work soon.
Matt Slick: Hold on a second, the wind is changing back to where it was. Now I can be rational again.
Rashbam: Are you going to start with your transcendental argument or not?
Matt Slick: I already have.......
Rashbam: So far you've done a terrible job.
Matt Slick: You are correct. I'm not making much progress with you because you're not rational. I'm only showing you how to irrational you really are.
Rashbam: You're failing miserably.
Matt Slick: Once that has been done, and once you see that you cannot argue rationally from your perspective, then we can begin to discuss what true rationality really is. Then we could get to the heart of the transcendental argument.
Rashbam: Well, you're failing here Matt.
Matt Slick: But I am not failing miserably. In fact, I think I'm demonstrating that your position is irrational.
Rashbam: I can play these games too. You're not demonstrating it to me.
Matt Slick: Of course I have proven my point. YOU are the one who is irrational. When I used your rules against you, you say I'm failing. This means that your system of rationality is self-defeating.
Rashbam: And as I am your interlocutor, that means you have failed.
Matt Slick: So, I thank you for validating my position and invalidating your own.
Rashbam: You are just insisting that I am being irrational. This is comical. Is this the best that Christians have to offer?
Matt Slick: Since the law of non-contradiction is not absolute, and since your rationality depends in part on your environment, and if your environment changes, then rationality itself can change.
Rashbam: No wonder that Christian philosophy is such a tiny insignificant minority in the field.
Matt Slick: So, please don't tell me that I'm being irrational since your "rationality" is, basically, relative. It is relative, and if I assume your position, I claim victory.
Rashbam: You already conceded, Matt!
Matt Slick: But, I don't think any of us here have gathered to discuss with irrationality and to hear argumentation done in such a way. I think those who are here, desire to hear a truly rational discussion. And I do not believe you have demonstrated that at all.
Rashbam: You haven't even gotten your argument off the ground.
Matt Slick: Rash, how can I when you're so irrational? If you want to deny rationality, then we really don't have much we can talk about.
Rashbam: Next comes the threat of eternal damnation.
Matt Slick: But this dialogue will be very interesting and profitable for my website. Thanks
Rashbam: I never denied rationality, of course.
Matt Slick: Rash, when you are ready to affirm the laws of logic being valid, then we can have a discussion using logic.
Rashbam: I'm not going to affirm anything you might abuse, Matt.
Matt Slick: But if you want to continue to say that the laws of logic are not true, or are in question, then we don't have anything we can discuss because you undermine the very basis of rationality itself. Therefore, it is you who have cut the branch of the tree off on which you are sitting.

This is an example of the simplicity of proving the law of non-contradiction.

This is something I just noticed:

So, you're morality is utterly without meaning.

No. Your morality is without meaning if you have nothing outside nature to base it upon. If this world is all there is, then the best thing would be to party till the cows come home, would it not?

Wait, so you are saying that a false dichotomy is a logical fallacy and that things that are true for quantum mechanics aren't true for macroscopic scale things? Shocking. Where did you cut and paste that silliness from?

While I do find athiests to be far more life loving than any of the theists I have ever met, there is a reality of partying all the time. 1) it hurts 2) you have to eat 3) we have to live with each other. Those three things leads to all the other things we have to do before we are dead, so we try to enjoy the mundane parts to, because there isn't a second chance.

Athiests have plenty besides nature to base morality on. Personal experience, history, logic, care for others. Gimme a break. Its like arguing with a 15 year old. Oh wait.

Why arent you standing in front of bullets for people? It wouldnt be killing youself (why your god might care about that if you have confessed your sins and declared JC as your savior, but whatever), and it would quicken your pace to ever lasting life.

YA:

By that philosophy, one concludes that Hitler's actions towards the Jews and other groups were morally justified.

Did you read what Bronze Dog wrote, or are you just working from a script? In what possible way can "By protecting others, we protect ourselves. The complexity comes from optimizing everyone's survival and happiness" be interpreted as "it is morally justified to arbitrarily subjugate and kill millions of people"?

If you're not actually going to engage with what people are saying, then there's no reason to pretend like you're having a dialogue.

First off, I do not know what pro-torture is.
Being in favor of or supporting torture.
Secondly, hell is not purposeless.
What is the purpose of punishment which does not end, does not protect others, and has no chance of eventual rehabilitation? The reason we imprison people is to remove them from society so they do not harm others, to teach them not to commit crimes in the future, and ultimately/ideally (in most cases) to make them into productive members of society again. Hell, so far as I understand it, has no parole program. The people in Hell are dead, so they can't possibly present any danger to others. What possible purpose is there except satisfying an omnipotent deity's boundless lust for suffering and revenge?
The Bible says that hell was created as the place of punishment for Lucifer and his followers, because he turned against God. A person goes to hell for doing the same thing.
With one big difference: Lucifer turned against a God whom he knew with certainty existed. There's a big difference between fighting someone you know, and not acknowledging an entity for whom there is no evidence. If we're to be given the same fate as Lucifer for the same reason, then we should be given the same chance as well.
Since all have sinned, and the punishment for sin is death, God would be unjust to exempt those, they who do not accept Jesus, from going to hell.
I'd like you to go back and read this again, because you'll note that you said "the punishment for sin is death," not "the punishment for sin is Hell." Why not just leave it at death? Where does "eternal torment" enter into the picture?
God would contradict himself if he didn't create hell.
Oh yes, because it's far worse to change your mind than to torture billions of people for all time. How merciful.
I simply gave you verbatum what the Bible had to say on the subject.
Bronze Dog's point here is that your only justification for the Rapture is your interpretation of the Bible, and the only reason you think your interpretation and your Holy Book is any better than anyone else's is because you're you, and you're special, or something. Skeptics have no reason to believe that your interpretation of the Bible is any more valid than the interpretation of the various sects which deny that a Rapture will occur. Further, we have no reason to believe that the Bible is any more reliable than any other holy book--or any other book period. When you make predictions about specific events--events that clearly have been colored in your mind by works of fiction--and then claim that you have no knowledge about when or how such events will occur, you should understand why people would be disinclined to believe you.

Imagine that I told you, "unless you pledge a blood oath to Kahless the Unforgettable, a Klingon Bird of Prey will fry you where you stand." Would you drop on one knee and begin cutting yourself ceremonially? Or would you ask for more information? What would you think if I told you "just do it, man, or someday, eventually, that Bird of Prey is going to come, and then what are you going to say?"

What evidence of God would convince you? Surely nothing, unless you remove the barrier of pride which makes you refuse to believe your eyes.
Bzzzt! Wrong! See, the defining feature of skeptics is our willingness to reconsider our positions in light of new evidence. While I sometimes have difficulty imagining what evidence would be sufficient to demonstrate a god's existence to the general populace, I know there are certain things which would convince me. A manifestation of God in front of a large crowd, where he submitted to various tests of authenticity would be an ideal case--and not out of the realm of possibility for the guy who wrestled Jacob and let Thomas finger his wounds.

But I'd settle for the miraculous appearance of a verifiable, replicable cure for cancer or AIDS in a gift-wrapped box on my coffee table. Such an appearance would be a specific response to my request, would be something I couldn't do with the kind of equipment and knowledge I have access to, would be able to be verified easily, and would be useful and beneficial to boot. It might not be terribly convincing to everyone, but it would certainly convince me.

For a more comprehensive list of the sorts of things that would convince non-believers, I recommend you check out EbonMuse's Theist's Guide to Converting Atheists.

As to pride, which is the prouder position: the one which says "I haven't been convinced but I'm open to changing my mind," or the one which says "my view of the world is absolutely correct, and everyone else is wrong, even though I have no evidence to support my view"?

And not a round square or a square circle; if God were to show you such a thing, you would not be able to comprehend it in your mind.
Balderdash. Isn't God omnipotent? Can't he make me comprehend? This is the biggest problem with the "oh, nothing would convince you" excuses: if God is as all-knowing and all-powerful as you say he is, then he knows exactly what it would take to convince me and could do it, even if I don't know what would convince me.
Not only that, morality cannot be subjective, for then it would be nothing more than "I say it is right for me, so it is morally okay." Subjective morality equals relative morality.
Again, if you're just going to work from your script instead of reading what people have actually said, then you might as well go home right now, because there's no point in any of us wasting the time or effort.

Morality is necessarily subjective, even if it comes from God. Holy books like the Bible must be interpreted--there is no reading without interpretation--and if you're going to get your morals from such books, then there's going to be a subjective element necessarily. But even if the whole "God has written morals on your heart" schtick is true, then we can see still that there must be subjectivity involved, because different people come to different moral conclusions, even in similar situations. If we all had the same morals imprinted upon us, then there would be no moral dilemmas--we'd all be inclined to do the same thing in each case.

All of which is secondary to the Euthyphro Dilemma, which any moral argument for God must resolve, and yet none have.

Having subjective morals is not the same, though, as having completely arbitrary or individual morals. There are moral issues where we can differ as individuals--genetic engineering, stem cell research, nuclear power, preservation of endangered species, and a host of other things that no one in Biblical times ever even considered--and then there are the moral issues that we have decided collectively as a society to share: stealing is wrong, lying is a bad thing, it's good to help people in need, all people should be treated equally, killing is bad, etc. Some of these moral values are necessary for a society to exist--chief among them being that it's wrong to kill your own kind. There can be no society without some kind of prohibition against murder, because society cannot exist if I can't reasonably trust you to not kill me when I turn my back. Not surprisingly, not only do all human societies have a rule like this, but so do all social animals.

So, no, subjective morality is not the same as "I say it is right for me, so it is morally okay." That may fly for some things, but not the ones where we have achieved a solid social consensus on what is morally acceptable--and certainly not the ones which we have coded into law.

Obviously, it is impossible for the verbatum word "Rapture" to be in an English Bible. The word comes from the Greek, and is in the Greek version.
All English New Testaments are translated from the Greek; why wouldn't the word "rapture" be used in the English version? The word "rapture" is actually from the Latin word rapio, which means "caught up." The term comes from an old, fairly inferior Latin translation of some of those Greek New Testament books. You're working from a translation of a translation there, and not a particular good one at that. The term "rapture" itself dates to the mid-18th Century, and the pre-millenialist Rapture as espoused by the Left Behind books and most popular concepts only goes as far back as 1827.

So, Young Apologist, nearly eighteen centuries of Christians came and went, including all of Jesus's followers, without believing that the Second Coming would be preceded by a mass disappearance of Christians. How did they all miss that? What makes you so sure that John Darby was the first one to get the Bible right?

If it is not, then we are not talking about the same God. The punishment for sin is death; before Christ came in the body of a man, there was the law. It is that law which the death of Jesus completed and by which we have been forgiven according to that law.
Okay, now step out of the Bible-speak for a minute and tell us what that actually means, and how does it excuse the terrible things that God did and commanded others to do in the Bible?
But God is not willing that any should perish; rather, that all would repent and confess the Lord Christ Jesus.
If there is something that God does not want to happen, then it's certainly within his power to stop it from happening, if he is omnipotent. If any people perish, then God shares at least some of the blame, since he did not stop it when it was within his power to do so.

If he really doesn't want anyone to perish, then he ought to demonstrate himself in such a way that no one would doubt him.

Slavery is not endorsed anywhere in the Bible.
Let's set aside the point that by telling people who you can own, how you should treat them, how much you can pay for them, and how you should mark them, and never saying "oh, hey, it's wrong to own other human beings," God was at least tacitly endorsing slavery by not condemning it, I'm curious what we're meant to make of passages like Colossians 4:1: "Masters, provide your slaves with what is right and fair, because you know that you also have a Master in heaven;" or Luke 12:46-47, where God is favorably compared to a slave's master who beats his servants "with many stripes;" or Exodus 21:20-21, where it says it's okay to beat slaves as long as they live for a couple of days afterward, "since the slave is his property;" or Exodus 21:16, where the death penalty is prescribed for anyone who steal slaves? In any of these--and the dozens of other passages where God lays out specific rules for slave ownership and treatment--God could have said "thou shalt not own another human being" and be done with it. How is that not endorsement?
It is not the unbelief; it is the refusal to be forgiven.
How do you refuse to be forgiven? That doesn't even make sense. I can forgive people even if they don't know about it. If someone cuts me off in traffic, it's totally within my power to forgive him, even if he doesn't know I exist, or that he's done anything wrong that needs forgiving.

So how can I be more powerful than God?

I will refrain from correcting your mistaken reference, mind you. You are speaking of social opinion, whilst I am speaking of divine law.
Then you're not speaking of morals. And you're certainly not speaking of anything objective or useful, since "divine law" depends entirely on who's doing the interpreting of the law, since there are no divine entities around to actually lay it out for anyone, just vague ancient books and the contradictory religious leaders who interpret them.
Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God?
Really? I thought you said that people weren't judged on their works. So, which is it: can someone commit all manner of egregious crimes and sins and repent at the end, accept Jesus, and get into Heaven, or not?
That is not the full meaning. If a Christian falls away for a time, then returns to God, he may or may not be saved. Those whom God loved he disciplines; what may appear to be a time of turning from God to men, God may be using to teach a lesson.
Right, so no matter what happens, none of it can be used as evidence against your claims. It's a win-win scenario: if someone falls away, then they weren't really saved. If they come back, then God was just teaching them a lesson.
No; it presupposes that the only way to know something is nonexistent is to know all things.
Which, again, requires a definition of "know" that is utterly useless. When I say that I know something, I do not mean that I know it to an absolute degree of certainty, whether I say "I know pies exist" or "I know leprechauns do not exist." In either case, I could be wrong. If I found out that I was wrong, I'd revise my knowledge. The same is true for everything.

"Knowing everything" would be necessary to say something does not exist with absolute, 100% certainty. I'm content with having a definition of "knowledge" that actually has some utility, and being wrong some of the time.

Humans are not self-perfected.
And? You trust your imperfect human interpretation of a book that you read with imperfect human senses written by imperfect humans and copied and translated by other imperfect humans, and trust that as the source of your morals. How is that any more perfect than social morality? How do you know that you aren't being deceived somewhere along the way? How do you know that the Bible wasn't actually inspired by Lucifer, and that it doesn't actually represent the opposite of what God wants? How do you even know that God is the good one? Any of your "knowledge" is derived through your human imperfections, so why do you assume that your understanding is infallible?
And where are you bringing this argument from? What base do you have to stand your statement on?
Logical reasoning from the common principles on which our society is built (e.g., equality, justice, personal liberty) and the fundamental principles necessary for societies to exist (e.g., the ethic of reciprocity).
The Bible is neutral on the morality of slavery; so am I.
Then the Bible is useless as a moral guide. Any monkey can figure out "thou shalt not kill"--in fact, most monkeys have--the place where a moral guide is necessary is in the details, the sticky situations, the moral quandaries that we face occasionally as individuals and as societies. If your moral guide gives no guidance in such situations, then it's useless.
The Bible is neutral on the morality of slavery; so am I.
Then should society be neutral on the subject as well? What are we to do with the moral questions that the Bible offers no guidance on? If we are able to figure out the morals of those difficult situations on an individual and social level, then again, why do we need the Bible?
Not to say you follow any of those systems, but if logic can including contradiction, then I can say that absolute truth does not exist. As such, the relativity of contradiction is a paradox: if it is relative, it is absolutely true that it is relative. If it is absolute, then there must be absolute truths. Thus, to deny the Law of Nonn-Cointradiction is self-refuting.
Depends on how you define "absolute truth." I don't pretend to be an expert on paraconsistent logic, but the fact that it exists without axiomatically assuming the law of non-contradiction demonstrates that your simplistic refutation doesn't apply in all cases.

Not that it needs to; the Transcendental Argument is still a giant argument from ignorance, and Matt Slick's particular version is built on a series of logical fallacies--and is still useless as an argument for God, as any pure logic argument must be. One can logically reason to any conclusion, provided one starts with the right premises; logic is only useful so far as it is valid, and validity is only determined by comparison with evidence.

Blessed is he who does not see and yet believes.
I guess "blessed" means "gullible."

I'm not going to bother with your overlong copypasta. I don't care what Matt Slick has to say, frankly; I've heard his argument, and it's not convincing. If you can't be bothered to argue for yourself, then my link above to the IronChariots refutation of his version of TAG will suffice.

No. Your morality is without meaning if you have nothing outside nature to base it upon.
Why? Why does anything need to be validated by some supernatural, external entity to have meaning? The "meaning" of our morality is that it allows us to live with each other in a relatively happy, productive society, to form relationships and be secure, and to feel some measure of confidence that the people we love will be able to enjoy the same. I'm perfectly happy with that meaning, thanks.
If this world is all there is, then the best thing would be to party till the cows come home, would it not?
The same charge applies to you: if this world is just a stepping stone to eternity, if your time here in this fallen world of sin and pain is infinitesimal compared to the eternity you'll be spending in paradise, then why not get out of this world as quickly as possible? Obviously you'll say suicide is a sin, but the Bible is neutral on the morality of wearing seatbelts or following traffic laws or looking both ways before you cross the street, right? Why take the normal precautions we take to extend our lives if it only means that you'll have longer to sin and might die without repenting properly?

In truth, both Christians and atheists have the same interest in this world. Whatever you believe, this life and this world is the only one anyone knows we have. I know that once I'm dead, whatever happens to me, there's nothing more I'll be able to do here. Consequently, I want to make the most of the time I have, and I want to make the world a better place so the people I care about can have a better life than I did. Partying might be great if I were only concerned with myself and my immediate pleasure, but I'm not, and few are. Atheists are people just like anyone else, and we have brothers and sisters and husbands and wives and friends and children just like anyone else. We care about each other, and so we're concerned about the happiness of the people we care about, not just ourselves. My ability to be happy ends when I die, but I'll be happiest in those last moments if I know that my loved ones will continue being happy after I'm gone.

If that's not meaning--if that's not enough--then I'd have to agree with Bronze Dog's "name-calling."

Tom: You should read that long copypaste actually, it's quite entertaining. I don't know why Young Apologist believes it to support his view, though.

Matt gives the Law of Non-Contradiction; 'something cannot be A and not-A at the same time'. Rashbam then gave an example where this definition could be considered problematic; the case of quantum superposition, where something can be in multiple states at the same time, such as alive and not-alive. And Matt Slick? Doesn't even bother to address Rashbam's case, not even to tell him how it might be wrong. Which would have been quite interesting; does a quantum superposition count in this case? What do we mean when we say 'be'? Matt doesn't try to work it out, which could have furthered his own case; he just says that because Rashbam has violated the Law, he's being irrational, and that's all there is to it.

Why arent you standing in front of bullets for people?
Because God has not told me to do so.
There's a big difference between fighting someone you know, and not acknowledging an entity for whom there is no evidence.
The epitome of sin is pride.
I'd like you to go back and read this again, because you'll note that you said "the punishment for sin is death," not "the punishment for sin is Hell." Why not just leave it at death? Where does "eternal torment" enter into the picture?
A person's soul, once created, is never destroyed. At physical death, the soul is not destroyed. A human's soul has a beginning and no ending. Thus, it must go somewhere.
Oh yes, because it's far worse to change your mind than to torture billions of people for all time. How merciful.
God is not willing that any should perish; he is saddened that anyone should have to suffer in hell, and so, God the Father sent God the Son to Earth to die, that whoever accepts him shall not perish, but have everlasting life. All have sinned, but the gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus, whom gave himself to the worst death in the existence of time that we may be forgiven and purified in the eyes of God.
Bronze Dog's point here is that your only justification for the Rapture is your interpretation of the Bible,
That was not an interpretation; that was verbatum the Bible's texts.
colored in your mind by works of fiction
You cannot assume that the Bible is a work of fiction.
But I'd settle for the miraculous appearance of a verifiable, replicable cure for cancer or AIDS in a gift-wrapped box on my coffee table.
Prayer is useless without faith, and it will only happen if it is God's plan.
my view of the world is absolutely correct, and everyone else is wrong, even though I have no evidence to support my view"?
I have much evidence, even though I myself may not be able to supply the exhaustive list.
if God is as all-knowing and all-powerful as you say he is, then he knows exactly what it would take to convince me and could do it, even if I don't know what would convince me.
That is what he has done; but he has given you free will, and you refuse him in your will.
All of which is secondary to the Euthyphro Dilemma, which any moral argument for God must resolve, and yet none have.
I am not fond of the usage of links in such manner. Please explain the dilemma yourself.
If there is something that God does not want to happen, then it's certainly within his power to stop it from happening, if he is omnipotent
He cannot go against his nature.
I'm curious what we're meant to make of passages like Colossians 4:1: "Masters, provide your slaves with what is right and fair, because you know that you also have a Master in heaven;" or Luke 12:46-47, where God is favorably compared to a slave's master who beats his servants "with many stripes;"
Paul was addressing an audience for whom slavery was simply a fact of life. It was something they could understand, and so he used it for the analogy.
Which, again, requires a definition of "know" that is utterly useless.
You cannot know with any degree of certainty that a null hypothesis is correct without having unlimited knowledge.
To say "I do not believe in God" is self-refuting, for it implies that one does not believe in a being with unlimited knowledge, and to conclude a negative would imply having unlimited knowledge.
You trust your imperfect human interpretation of a book that you read with imperfect human senses written by imperfect humans and copied and translated by other imperfect humans, and trust that as the source of your morals.
You say that from your own perspectives. If God is the God of the Bible, then the Bible is divinely inspired, and He gives me the ability to understand it.
You forget; Hebrew writings transcribed over several times maintains a 99.9 (etc) accuracy, given the lack of diacritical marks to leave room for error. The Hebrew Torah today is exactly the same as the Torah when it was written. So also the New Testament.
Depends on how you define "absolute truth." I don't pretend to be an expert on paraconsistent logic, but the fact that it exists without axiomatically assuming the law of non-contradiction demonstrates that your simplistic refutation doesn't apply in all cases.
And I won't pretend to understand everything you just said. Absolute truth is truth that is true everywhere and at all times; a truth that cannot be changed. For example, the fact that 2+2=4 is always true, speaking of the underlying conceptual values normally given the terms, and is true here, is true at the edge of the universe, was true before time began, and will be true for all of eternity.
I guess "blessed" means "gullible."
You have not seen the Law of the Excluded Middle in the material world, and yet you believe in it. I suppose you must be gullible, too.
if your time here in this fallen world of sin and pain is infinitesimal compared to the eternity you'll be spending in paradise, then why not get out of this world as quickly as possible?
  • It is not God's will
  • We (Christians) are to spread the Gospel to the world. "Everything is permissible"--but not everything is beneficial.
    the Bible is neutral on the morality of wearing seatbelts or following traffic laws or looking both ways before you cross the street, right?
    That is because those are things which have no moral value of right or wrong. Also, they were nonexistant in the biblical world, just as slavery is (legally) nonexistant today. (Of course, it happens behind the scenes, but that is illegally)
Why arent you standing in front of bullets for people?

Because God has not told me to do so.

Really? I dont recall any bullets in the bible. Perhaps you mean he actually talked to you? As tom mentioned, there is no reason to pay attention to things like washing hands, or looking both ways when you cross.

The epitome of sin is pride.

Oh how cute biblical banalities. How is anything in the quote you responded to proud?

A person's soul, once created, is never destroyed. At physical death, the soul is not destroyed. A human's soul has a beginning and no ending. Thus, it must go somewhere.

What color is it? What does it sound like when it moves? Let me guess, there is no difference between a soul and the previously mentioned invisible dragons. You just know a) that it exists b)all the properties of it and c) how it behaves for all of eternity.

Have you noticed that 100% of your knowledge of things that can't be seen, or touched or measured in any single way all comes from one single book? Have you noticed that the majority of the world must be wrong for you to be right? Its possible that you are right and most people are wrong, but this use usually determined by evidence and supporting sources of evidence. You have your interpretation of your book, just like the majority fo the world has their interpretation on their books. Talk about eggs in one basket.

God is not willing that any should perish; he is saddened that anyone should have to suffer in hell, and so, God the Father sent God the Son to Earth to die, that whoever accepts him shall not perish, but have everlasting life.

so god is now knowable? You know how he feels? How he will respond? Who is filled with sinful pride now?

All have sinned, but the gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus, whom gave himself to the worst death in the existence of time that we may be forgiven and purified in the eyes of God.

You have got to be kidding. Isnt god eternal? Isnt he all powerful? You are telling me that a couple of days on a cross is the worst death in the existence of time? Oh please, that should be like a mosquito bite for me. Never mind that is hardly the worst death. Drawn and quartered is worse. Tons of young women are raped for weeks, then tortured, then killed. You are going to tell me that isnt worse? I mean really if they are going to make the claim that this was the worst death ever in your storybook, then it should really be the worst death ever.

That was not an interpretation; that was verbatum the Bible's texts.
Oh so now you are going to choose passages from the bible as truth verbatim? How about Pi=3? Or how about killing your kids if they talk back? Or that Gods power is stronger when you are weak. If you choose that to be verbatim, why not everything? That fact that you are picking and choosing what is real from the bible and not realizing that its ALL your interpretation (or your parents as the drilled it into your head) is kind of funny.

Other christians read the same books as you and worship snakes. Hey, its right there in that book.

Prayer is useless without faith, and it will only happen if it is God's plan.

Then prayer is useless (which it totally is). Either something is in his plan or not. What, are you such a big guy as to make him change his mind? Since prayer is useless, then you are now living in a world where it simply doesnt matter if he exists or not. Hence not.

I have much evidence, even though I myself may not be able to supply the exhaustive list.
Apparently you are unable to supply any list at all.
That is what he has done; but he has given you free will, and you refuse him in your will.
More nonsense. We have free will in many things, but not in belief. If you had free will on that then tomorrow you would be able to go the whole day not believing in god. you are unable to do this. You can act the fool, but you will not be able to stop believing that he is not looking at you.

we stand from a place where we are able to change our minds, but evidence is required. Strong evidence. Each of us have explained to you what should be a minor parlor trick for a god to perform, and yet no tiny frog appears ion my hand any time I have put it out there for a test (and no soda in BDs). You stand from a place where blind faith has forced you to take facts from a highly edited, repeatedly translated, text whose first incarnations were written decades after the events. Yeah, hardly a frog appearing in my hand as evidence.

I am not fond of the usage of links in such manner. Please explain the dilemma yourself.
Meh? you cant click a link? Methinks we are talking to daddy at the moment.
You cannot know with any degree of certainty that a null hypothesis is correct without having unlimited knowledge.

What an utter and absolute fail on your part. Are we still talking to daddy here? Seriously this is the most ignorant of basic logic thing you have said so far. Seriously, I know you are only 15 (again I am starting to think some sock puppetry is going on here), but if you are going to argue, you should at least know this part. Evidence is what takes you from the null hypothesis. Provide some, where is my frog? Evidence is not: God exists because its in the bible and god wrote the bible. Then anything exists, even Dr. Suess characters.

you start with presuming (not "knowing") nonexistence then work your way from there. As mentioned 100 times so far, no one here says God in any form definitely doesnt exist. Provide something substantial. (click the link, its pretty cool). Otherwise, all the stories, all the morals, all the rules and regulations, all the things you think other people should do are completely worthless without providing strong evidence of existence. Until the null hypothesis is shown to be wrong, it simply doesnt matter what is in your book no matter how you try to dress it up with centuries old arguments. Logic and Arguments without evidence are completely and utterly useless.

If God is the God of the Bible, then the Bible is divinely inspired, and He gives me the ability to understand it.

That's a pretty big if that you have based your whole life around. Here is a bigger one: if god exists.....

Start there first. Then we can talk about whether or not you happened to pick the right one.

Hebrew writings transcribed over several times maintains a 99.9 (etc) accuracy, given the lack of diacritical marks to leave room for error.
bzzt. Sorry, the only way you can know that is if you have the original texts. You don't, no one does. Lots of textural critics recognize massive amounts of changes from our earliest and best copies of bibles and the many forms of present day ones.
You have not seen the Law of the Excluded Middle in the material world, and yet you believe in it.
I know you meant that for Tom, but as for me, why do you assume this? The statement "The glass is full" is pretty true when the glass is 3/4 full. Its not completely true, its certainly not false. The world is rarely a set of absolutes. I suggest reading "fuzzy thinking" by Bart Kosko. Aristotle wasnt right on this. (and we see bringing up age old arguments again instead of actual evidence for a god)
It is not God's will
Oh there you go again presuming you know God's will. What height of arrogance!
We (Christians) are to spread the Gospel to the world.
yes and most of us find it very annoying, perhaps its god's will now that you stop annoying people.

Venus Mousetrap (love the name!):

Which would have been quite interesting; does a quantum superposition count in this case? What do we mean when we say 'be'?

As much as I'd like to agree, it all hinges one what we mean by "identity." Sure, Schröedinger's cat may be simultaneously Alive and Not-Alive (if the Copenhagen Interpretation of QM is correct), or (more usefully) an electron may be both a particle and a wave (or a not-particle), but that's not necessarily what these logic laws are talking about; the cat is never simultaneously a cat and a non-cat; the electron is never simultaneously an electron and a non-electron. The identity is consistent even if the properties may not be.

If you've got a lot of patience, you might check out the Atheist Experience episodes where Matt Slick called in, or examine some of the post-mortem. It's why I can't stand the tedium of the Transcendental Argument.

Young Apologist:

Because God has not told me to do so.

Somehow I imagine that you're capable of doing things without God telling you to do them. Otherwise, when would you poop?

The epitome of sin is pride.
A stitch in time saves nine.

Oh, we weren't just responding to each other with random phrases that don't address anyone's point?

A person's soul, once created, is never destroyed. At physical death, the soul is not destroyed. A human's soul has a beginning and no ending. Thus, it must go somewhere.
Like Hell it must (no pun intended). There is no "must" when we're talking about an omnipotent deity. If he is omnipotent, then it's well within his power to destroy a soul that he created.

Incidentally, I'd like to know where in the Bible you get all this information about the soul. Feel free to cite chapter and verse.

God is not willing that any should perish; he is saddened that anyone should have to suffer in hell, and so, God the Father sent God the Son to Earth to die, that whoever accepts him shall not perish, but have everlasting life.
YA, instead of shifting back into preacher-speak every time something gets uncomfortable, it'd be a lot more useful if you actually responded. This is the second time you've said that same boilerplate speech, and I've already addressed my problems with it:
If there is something that God does not want to happen, then it's certainly within his power to stop it from happening, if he is omnipotent. If any people perish, then God shares at least some of the blame, since he did not stop it when it was within his power to do so.

If he really doesn't want anyone to perish, then he ought to demonstrate himself in such a way that no one would doubt him.

YA:

All have sinned, but the gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus, whom gave himself to the worst death in the existence of time that we may be forgiven and purified in the eyes of God.

Emphasis mine. Excuse me? Jesus had "the worst death in the existence of time"? Really? That's patently absurd on nearly every level. The man was beaten for a day and crucified; you really think that no one else--not one person given the pear in the Inquisition, not one person tied down as bamboo grows through his chest, not one person pressed under heavy rocks during the Salem Witch Trials, not one person trapped under rubble for days after an earthquake, not one person incinerated and petrified where they stood in Pompeii--none of these people have died a worse death?

When it comes right down to it, Jesus's death was easy. Yes, he was tortured (though for a relatively short time) and executed (in the same way as many others), but after a weekend in the crypt, he came back, and then got to be God. No one else has had that to look forward to in the existence of time; no other person who has died has been given that reward. Jesus was well-compensated for his suffering, while according to your belief there are countless who died at the same time who are still suffering because they didn't accept that he was God.

No, Jesus most emphatically did not die the worst death in the existence of time. At best, he had the worst weekend in the existence of time, and the best Monday.

That was not an interpretation; that was verbatum the Bible's texts.
There is no such thing as reading without interpretation, period.

Besides that, though, we've already established that the Bible doesn't even say the word "Rapture" verbatim, let alone say "the true Christians will all suddenly disappear before the Apocalypse starts." The doctrine of the Rapture is pieced together from several different out-of-context passages taken from several different books, and appears nowhere verbatim. After all, if it appeared anywhere verbatim, it wouldn't be rejected by most Christians. There wouldn't be a dispute between premillennial dispensationalists (the Rapture happens before the Tribulation) and postmillennialists (the Rapture happens at the end of the Tribulation--which is probably the more literal way to read the 1 Thessalonians passage) and amillennialists (there's no Rapture).

But go ahead, find the place in the Bible that describes the Rapture you've talked about verbatim.

You cannot assume that the Bible is a work of fiction.
I wasn't talking about the Bible there, I was talking about "Left Behind." Your suggestion that we'll try to explain the Rapture as "radioactivity" is straight out of that book, and was ridiculous even in fiction. I was saying that your interpretation of the Bible is colored by your consumption of popular religious fiction, particularly "Left Behind."

All of that is beside the point, however: I most certainly can assume that the Bible is fictional, just as I can assume that the Prose Edda and the Iliad and Beowulf are fictional. I actually don't have to assume those things; I've concluded them based on their inconsistency with reality.

Prayer is useless without faith, and it will only happen if it is God's plan.
I wasn't talking about prayer. You asked for something that would convince me that God exists; I offered an example of such a thing.

And you really didn't need more than the first three words, by the way.

I have much evidence, even though I myself may not be able to supply the exhaustive list.
If you have evidence, present it. So far, all you've presented are assertions, copypasted fallacious arguments, and citations of an ancient Holy Book that no one has any reason to think is reliable.
That is what he has done; but he has given you free will, and you refuse him in your will.
No, he hasn't. Your pastor may have told you that atheists really know God exists and just deny him, and that's simply not the case. I'd be honest with you if it was; if the terrible God of the Bible were real, then I highly doubt that I would worship him if I knew he existed, but I'd still acknowledge his existence. I am perfectly willing to accept that God exists, provided I were given sufficient evidence. As it is, I have been given no evidence that he exists.
I am not fond of the usage of links in such manner. Please explain the dilemma yourself.
Ah, you're not fond of links, but you have no problem with posting long blocks of copy-pasted text. I knew a troll once with the same proclivity, no offense.

The Euthyphro dilemma asks "Is what is moral commanded by God because it is moral, or is it moral because it is commanded by God?" If a thing is moral because God says so, then morals are completely arbitrary and based on the whims of God. This makes morality purely subjective, means that God has no reason for what he commands, and that something like genital mutilation or murder are just a divine command away from being morally perfect.

If God commands things because they are moral--which is what's implied any time someone talks about God's inability to go against his nature--then morals are independent of God and not dependent on him, and so we can cut out the middleman and seek the source of God's moral instinct.

He cannot go against his nature.
Then he is not omnipotent. I can act against my nature; why am I more powerful than God?
Paul was addressing an audience for whom slavery was simply a fact of life. It was something they could understand, and so he used it for the analogy.
And what about when Jesus made similar comparisons? Was Jesus really concerned with not rocking the social boat? What about when God laid out the specific rules for how hard you can beat your slaves and who you can own? He could have nipped the process in the bud at the start; was God unwilling to rock the social boat?
You cannot know with any degree of certainty that a null hypothesis is correct without having unlimited knowledge.
If that's your position, then I am God and I command you to send me all your money and your parents' credit card numbers.

Why aren't you scrambling for mom's purse? Is it because you don't believe my claim? But you can't know with any degree of certainty that my claim is not true without having unlimited knowledge, so you should follow my divine commands.

The null hypothesis is the default position. It does not require support, only refutation. We all recognize this in every normal aspect of our lives; it's why I don't have your dad's MasterCard number in my e-mail inbox right now. You recognize, as everyone recognizes, as is only reasonable, that the only reasonable position on any claim is disbelief until there is some reason or evidence to accept it.

That being said, you're quite simply wrong about not having any certainty. One can be provisionally certain to various degrees. I am about 15% certain that string theory will provide the solution to quantum gravity. I am about 50% certain that it will snow tonight. I am about 75% certain that I will need to iron some clothes for tomorrow morning. I am 99% certain that leprechauns do not exist. I am 99.9% certain that morning will come tomorrow. To say that you'd need to know everything in order to have any degree of certainty about any claim is just silly.

To say "I do not believe in God" is self-refuting, for it implies that one does not believe in a being with unlimited knowledge, and to conclude a negative would imply having unlimited knowledge.
This doesn't even make sense. Belief does not require knowledge, limited or otherwise.

If it takes unlimited knowledge to conclude a negative, then again, I am God and I command you to send me your parents' checkbooks and samples of their handwriting and signatures.

You say that from your own perspectives. If God is the God of the Bible, then the Bible is divinely inspired, and He gives me the ability to understand it.
So why do so many people who believe the same things come to mutually inconsistent conclusions? Why is your interpretation of God's wishes superior to the interpretations of other people who believe in the same God, use the same book, and think that your beliefs are heretical and wrong?
You forget; Hebrew writings transcribed over several times maintains a 99.9 (etc) accuracy, given the lack of diacritical marks to leave room for error. The Hebrew Torah today is exactly the same as the Torah when it was written.
Even if this were true, (and it isn't) we'd have no way of knowing, since we don't have any original copies of the Torah. What we do have are a lot of copies from different periods of history in different languages, all possessing various differences--especially the translations. Even if the Hebrew Bible were the same today as it was thousands of years ago, the act of translation necessarily changes and loses some of the meaning; go ahead, pick up two different translations of the Old Testament, even find two that used the same source texts, you'll find that they differ in how they decided to convey the Hebrew in English.
So also the New Testament.
This is simply false. Again, we lack any original copies of New Testament books, but we know from the copies we do have that there have been many changes over the years, both accidental and intentional (some copies even have notes in the margin from one scribe scolding another scribe for making the change!), to the point where there are more differences between our 5700 or so ancient New Testament manuscripts than there are words in the New Testament. Most of the differences are minor, but then there are more significant problems--like how our earliest copies of Mark do not have the last twelve verses, or how our earliest copies of John do not have the story of the adulterous woman. Your statement demonstrates that you're acutely unaware of the history of the book you revere so highly.
For example, the fact that 2+2=4 is always true, speaking of the underlying conceptual values normally given the terms, and is true here, is true at the edge of the universe, was true before time began, and will be true for all of eternity.
I was with you until "was true before time began." No, no it wasn't. Math and logic are descriptive things, not prescriptive ones. Math is a description of what we observe in terms of how numbers of things behave in the universe. Before there was a universe, there were neither numbers of things nor ways to observe them. They could not have been true before time began because there was nothing for them to describe, nor anyone to describe them.
You have not seen the Law of the Excluded Middle in the material world, and yet you believe in it. I suppose you must be gullible, too.
See, this is what you get for falling for Matt Slick's argument and not following links. Matt Slick's transcendental argument is built on a collection of fallacies, most significantly here the false dichotomy, trying to break things down into either "material" or "conceptual," when not only are there other categories (for instance, "emergent properties"), but those categories are not mutually exclusive. The law of excluded middle is a description of how certain logical systems and how aspects of the observable universe behave. I'd say it's shakier than the other two "laws of logic" that get cited by folks like you, because it actually is threatened by things like quantum mechanics.

In other words, to the degree in which I believe in the law of the excluded middle, it is because it has been validated by observed evidence and sound reasoning. This is the same reason that I lack belief in your God, or anyone else's.

But if it's better to believe without evidence, then I am God, and I command you to hop on your left foot without stopping for the next twelve hours.

That is because those are things which have no moral value of right or wrong.
My point being, why would a Christian take safety precautions if their actions do not matter, if a longer life means more time to sin, and if they're ultimately going to spend eternity in Heaven?
Also, they were nonexistant in the biblical world, just as slavery is (legally) nonexistant today. (Of course, it happens behind the scenes, but that is illegally)
Okay, so if I illegally own someone from an enemy nation (Deut. 20:10-11), is I still morally right to beat them with a rod so long as they get up after two days (Ex. 20:20-21)?

Tom's pretty well covered what I wanted to say, and in greater detail.

So, I'm devoting this short comment towards some very simple concepts you need to get your head around, YA:

1) Read what we actually write, what we actually believe, and respond to that.

2) Science is a process of enforced humility. Scientists conduct every experiment and record every observation, knowing that they could very well find out that they've been wrong. It doesn't matter who they are.

3) Faith is an act of pure arrogance. Those who cling to faith believe that they are the supreme, infallible authority, and no amount of evidence could convince them otherwise. Even if their various gods were to come down to Earth and tell them to their face that they're wrong, they'd rationalize it as devils trying to confuse them.

What color is it? What does it sound like when it moves? Let me guess, there is no difference between a soul and the previously mentioned invisible dragons.
Souls have no color. They are immaterial. You cannot assign material attributes to immaterial souls.
so god is now knowable? You know how he feels? How he will respond? Who is filled with sinful pride now?
I said nothing of my own accord; that was what my Bible says.
Or that Gods power is stronger when you are weak
God uses our weakneses for his purpose.
Apparently you are unable to supply any list at all.
True, because I am young and do not know everything on the subject.
More nonsense. We have free will in many things, but not in belief. If you had free will on that then tomorrow you would be able to go the whole day not believing in god.
I know I believe in God because when I need help, I think, "Help me, Lord."
What an utter and absolute fail on your part. Are we still talking to daddy here? Seriously this is the most ignorant of basic logic thing you have said so far.
Firstly, I am not familiar with that phrase. Anyways... The logic, unless you prove otherwise, still stands.
Start there first. Then we can talk about whether or not you happened to pick the right one.
If you start with the presupposition God doesn't exist, you will always explain away things which cannot be explained.
The statement "The glass is full" is pretty true when the glass is 3/4 full.
No. The glass, if 3/4 full, is not full. To say it is full would be false. It would have to be close to the top to be full. This is similar to the heap of sand paradox in the arbitration of the change of state.
yes and most of us find it very annoying, perhaps its god's will now that you stop annoying people.
God wants me to try to show you the truth.
Oh, we weren't just responding to each other with random phrases that don't address anyone's point?
When I said "The epitome of sin is pride," I was speaking from my own knowledge, not some quote. The reason you do not accept God is you take pride in your reasoning and thus refuse to take a leap of faith.
If he is omnipotent, then it's well within his power to destroy a soul that he created.
God is, first and foremost, one who does not go against his own nature. So, since his nature is to never destroy a soul, he will not do so.
There is no such thing as reading without interpretation, period.
There is when the reading is transribed verbatum, and the context is considered first.
wouldn't be rejected by most Christians.
You do not know, then, that "Christianity" is more than itself. Many "Christian" denominations are agnostic, tolerant, etc.
Your suggestion that we'll try to explain the Rapture as "radioactivity" is straight out of that book, and was ridiculous even in fiction.
I was not asserting that such will be the proposed explanation. You will, however, try to explain it away.
the Iliad and Beowulf are fictional.
The Iliad was written to be fictional.
Then he is not omnipotent. I can act against my nature; why am I more powerful than God?
God, being perfect and holy, will not taint his perfection. He is not capable of contradicting himself. All other things considered, he is omnipotent. If he contradicted his nature, he would cease to be God.
Before there was a universe, there were neither numbers of things nor ways to observe them. They could not have been true before time began because there was nothing for them to describe, nor anyone to describe them.
The material universe is not required for the existence of immaterial maths, logics, and concepts. Absolute truth, truth that is always true, is self-existent; it exists with or without a universe. If there was nothing before time began, then how could it have begun? All things within the scope of time and including time must have a cause which is greater than themselves.
My point being, why would a Christian take safety precautions if their actions do not matter, if a longer life means more time to sin, and if they're ultimately going to spend eternity in Heaven?
Well, maybe I should quit trying to show you how to go to heaven. (Which would be a showing of me hating you, by the way, and I don't hate you)
Okay, so if I illegally own someone from an enemy nation (Deut. 20:10-11), is I still morally right to beat them with a rod so long as they get up after two days (Ex. 20:20-21)?
You took me in the wrong way. What I meant is that since God knew nobody would know what guns were until someone invented them, he said nothing of them.

I would like all of you to know that the reason I do not kill myself is firstly, that it would prevent me from spreading the gospel to people like yourselves, and second, that it would be a sin that could no be repented of.
He is not capable of contradicting himself.

interesting. Ithought you said he was omnipotent. Now you are saying he is incapable of things?

Follow BDs advince. Then follow mine, prove god exists before we start talking about you particular brand of god. If you have no evidence that god exists (you don't, no one ever does, you guys have had thousands of years to make this case and trilions of dollars, and here we are again listening to the same old tripe over and over again), then you have no evidence that Tom Foss isn't your god.

Conversely you could make an attempt to understand our position. Nothing is true until there is evidence for it. If there is no evidence for it, then there is no reason to live in a way as if it exists. God, unicorns, or fairies. Doesnt matter.

I recommend you investigate the resurrection of Christ. Quite interesting, to be honest. And no, you cannot consult your atheist experts. That would be biasing your results. Have a discussion with top experts in the fields of evidence as though it were a global court case.

I recommend you investigate the resurrection of Christ. Quite interesting, to be honest. And no, you cannot consult your atheist experts. That would be biasing your results.

I wouldn't even want to waste my Ask the Expert lifeline on this one. I choose 50/50. Zing!

I recommend you investigate the resurrection of Christ.

First provide evidence for the existence of god (and no other gods)
Then provide evidence that your brand of religion is the one that this god wants
Then provide evidence that your interpretation of christianity is the one that this god favors

Then, I might take a look at anything that will be in your favorite story book.

...rolls up sleeves and clears throat.

Souls have no color. They are immaterial. You cannot assign material attributes to immaterial souls.

And you know this... how? Because you've never seen one?

I said nothing of my own accord; that was what my Bible says.

Well, how about using your own words, then?

True, because I am young and do not know everything on the subject.

But the issue is, how do you actually rationally know any of these things, as opposed to having just read them in the Bible? How do you know the Bible is accurate and the Q'uran, the Rig Veda, and all the other holy books aren't?

I know I believe in God because when I need help, I think, "Help me, Lord."

But could that not just be a reflex action, like crossing one's fingers, not walking under ladders, touching wood, etc? I find myself doing some of those things sometimes, but I don't believe they do any good. Have you considered that possibility and dismissed it for explicable reasons, dismissed it out of hand because you don't want to, or just never thought of that way?

If you start with the presupposition God doesn't exist, you will always explain away things which cannot be explained.

But most atheists don't. They start from the position of "There's no reason to believe in something for which there's no evidence." Most of us are willing and waiting to be convinced.If the Bible is correct, Thomas was a skeptic, but he was granted direct proof. And then there's turning water into wine, revivifying dead people, burning bushes that don't burn away, parting the Red Sea... the Good Lord seemed quite capable of providing proof to unbelievers all the time, sometimes for quite trivial reasons. Yet now He contents Himself with burning His son's image into toast, or appearing in rust patches or briefly in melting snow. Why is that? Where are our miracles?


God wants me to try to show you the truth.


I'll let my usual reflex "and you know this... how?" tag slide here. However, if God is omniscient, he knows whether you will succeed in this laudable goal or not. I can tell you with certainty that if your arguments continue in the same manner they have gone hitherto, you will fail utterly in at least one case, and I sincerely doubt you will convince anyone here (although I admit I may possibly be wrong here). If God exists, He knows this. He also knows I am an atheist, he knows why, and He knows I am sincere and honest in my disbelief. He is therefore deliberately setting you up to fail.

On the other hand, if you have anything better, any argument at all that isn't just a Biblical quote or paraphrase, please feel free to use it.

The reason you do not accept God is you take pride in your reasoning and thus refuse to take a leap of faith.

Then it seems to me that God must want me to do so, if He exists. Who am I to oppose the Almighty Himself.

God is, first and foremost, one who does not go against his own nature. So, since his nature is to never destroy a soul, he will not do so.

But He's more than happy to leave countless numbers of them to burn in helpless agony for ever and ever and ever and ever and ever, just because they don't tell Him how marvellous He is, every day of their miserable lives.

There is when the reading is transribed verbatum, and the context is considered first.

Verbatim from what? The KGV? Latin Vulgate? Ancient Greek? Aramaic? A version where "virgin" means "young woman" and "witch" means "poisoner" and "fox" means "fruit-bat"?

You do not know, then, that "Christianity" is more than itself. Many "Christian" denominations are agnostic, tolerant, etc.

You imply these denominations are correct. However, for most of history, agonising death has been the punishment for those who express the slightest doubt.Their killers claimed to have the ear of God without the slightest doubt, and that anyone who disagreed was welcome to join the sizzling supplicant on the pyre. No booming voice from above seems to have thundered out to condemn them. So the Almighty doesn't seem to care what it done in His name.

I was not asserting that such will be the proposed explanation. You will, however, try to explain it away.

To paraphrase Yusuf Islam, né Donovan Leitch ... quite rightly.

The Iliad was written to be fictional.

It doesn't explicitly say so. Neither does Moby Dick Neither does the Bible. How is one to tell?

God, being perfect and holy, will not taint his perfection. He is not capable of contradicting himself. All other things considered, he is omnipotent. If he contradicted his nature, he would cease to be God.

So He's omnipotent, sorta, kinda, but only if He sticks to what he can do. Hey, that make me sorta, kinda omnipotent, too! WA-HOOO!

The material universe is not required for the existence of immaterial maths, logics, and concepts.

Nonsense. The concept even of number, the basis of mathematics, explicitly requires the material world.

Absolute truth, truth that is always true, is self-existent; it exists with or without a universe. If there was nothing before time began, then how could it have begun?

What if time is not a thing in itself, but just a basic property of a material universe? It did not "start" at all.

All things within the scope of time and including time must have a cause which is greater than themselves.

You state this as a definite fact. Do you have an argument why it should be so, or is it just "self-evident"?

Well, maybe I should quit trying to show you how to go to heaven. (Which would be a showing of me hating you, by the way, and I don't hate you)

I don't hate you either, I promise.

You took me in the wrong way. What I meant is that since God knew nobody would know what guns were until someone invented them, he said nothing of them.

You dodged the issue about the Bible specifically countenancing slavery. However, to address your point here, the Bible supposedly goes to the very, very end of time. Revelationsmentions some very weird things indeed, completely out of the experience of anyone I can think of not employing hallucinogenic drugs. Yet it doesn't mention even Medieval technology that might not have scared off the coeval audience.

I would like all of you to know that the reason I do not kill myself is firstly, that it would prevent me from spreading the gospel to people like yourselves, and second, that it would be a sin that could no be repented of.

Good. Life is great. Enjoy it, as long as that enjoyment doesn't entail hurting anyone else. I strongly believe that without needing a book to tell me. Honestly.

Me:

Could you pray for your god to conjure a Longview cane sugar Dr Pepper to appear in a flash of light and smoke on my TV tray while I'm around it?

YA's response:

Blessed is he who does not see and yet believes.

An unsurprising endorsement for arrogance as a basis for epistemology. That's what faith is, after all: The ego is all that matters, and evidence only for those of us who are foolishly convinced that we're all weak, fallible creatures who need to double-check for errors. Faith is a belief in personal infallibility.

I'd rather trust in the humility that underlies science: Evidence matters, ego doesn't.

I'm still getting over the idea that someone who wishes to remain "neutral on the matter of slavery just like the bible" could then go on to lecture people about the Bible as a source of morals and himself as an expert.

I'm surprised anyone can manage to become so stupid in only 15 years.

a 15 year old with the intelligence of Einstein and an inability to comprehend a wiki-page said -

"Prayer is useless without faith, and it will only happen if it is God's plan."

sounds like it don't matter either way

pray without faith and it won't happen

prey with faith and without knowing the mind of god and it might happen if god wills it

don't pray and it might happen anyway cause god wills it

sounds like god will do what god will do

sounds like if she wants to spread some of her lovin my way

she could easily do so without the mewling self-aggrandizing interpreter

YA:

Souls have no color. They are immaterial. You cannot assign material attributes to immaterial souls.

Again, either evidence or chapter and verse.

True, because I am young and do not know everything on the subject.

So someday you might know everything on the subject?

Here's a question: what convinced you that God was real and the Bible was an accurate description of him and that your particular way of reading the Bible was the only correct way?

I know I believe in God because when I need help, I think, "Help me, Lord."
I think you've got that backwards.
Anyways... The logic, unless you prove otherwise, still stands.
Even if logic stands, it's useless without verification. Again, depending on your premises, you can prove anything with valid logic. That's why we require soundness from arguments: they must be logically valid and supported by evidence.
If you start with the presupposition God doesn't exist, you will always explain away things which cannot be explained.
None of us here has started from a presupposition that God doesn't exist. God's nonexistence is a conclusion that I think all of us here have reached through examination of the evidence and arguments used to justify belief in said God. I know I used to believe in God, and I think you'll find that most atheists were in that same position. In fact, many were in the exact same position as you.
No. The glass, if 3/4 full, is not full. To say it is full would be false. It would have to be close to the top to be full. This is similar to the heap of sand paradox in the arbitration of the change of state.
Isn't the heap of sand paradox a knock against those laws of logic you keep touting?
God wants me to try to show you the truth.
How do you know?

When I said "The epitome of sin is pride," I was speaking from my own knowledge, not some quote. The reason you do not accept God is you take pride in your reasoning and thus refuse to take a leap of faith.
Ah, and you're a mind-reader too. I guess there's no pride whatsoever involved in telling other people what they think, or proclaiming that your interpretation of God's desires is superior to anyone else's, that other Christians are "agnostic" or "tolerant," while you're just taking things "verbatim" and "in context." No pride whatsoever.

Tell me, Young Apologist: why don't you believe in Thor? Why don't you believe in Zeus? Why don't you believe that I'm God?

God is, first and foremost, one who does not go against his own nature. So, since his nature is to never destroy a soul, he will not do so.
Please cite the chapter and verse where it describes God's nature, specifically that he will never destroy a soul.
There is when the reading is transribed verbatum, and the context is considered first.
Who transcribed the reading? What context are you considering? How do you know that you've considered the context correctly?
You do not know, then, that "Christianity" is more than itself. Many "Christian" denominations are agnostic, tolerant, etc.
Does this include all Christians from before the mid-1800s, when the doctrine of the Premillenialist Rapture was first conceived? Was the Council of Nicaea "agnostic" and "tolerant"?
I was not asserting that such will be the proposed explanation. You will, however, try to explain it away.
So you're psychic as well? I think the mass sudden disappearance of all Christians of a certain denomination would be a pretty difficult thing to "explain away." It wouldn't be, necessarily, sufficient evidence to believe in the existence of your particular God, but it'd sure be close.
The Iliad was written to be fictional.
Was it now? Where did you get this gem of knowledge? Did you interview Homer?

So, when ancient Greeks wrote and talked of the Trojan War as a part of their history, they were intending it to be fiction? When they traced their ancestry back to gods, they were intending fiction? When they recorded the origins and acts of the Caesars in similar language, talking of those emperors as gods, they had intended the Iliad as fiction? When the Romans traced their ancestry back to the Trojan Aeneas from The Iliad, it was because they so revered the Greek's work of fiction?

I'll grant that Beowulf was probably a work of intentional fiction. I'll grant that even Gilgamesh was probably intended to be largely fictional. I'll grant that The Iliad is a written version of a story that was handed down for generations of oral tradition. But intended to be fiction? I'd like to know where you're pulling that information from.

God, being perfect and holy, will not taint his perfection. He is not capable of contradicting himself. All other things considered, he is omnipotent. If he contradicted his nature, he would cease to be God.
Ah, so God can do anything that God can do, and nothing that he can't. That sounds like pretty lame omnipotence. I mean, you can say that about anyone. Except that people are totally capable of contradicting themselves. Which again, makes me more powerful than God, and makes God anything but omnipotent.
The material universe is not required for the existence of immaterial maths, logics, and concepts. Absolute truth, truth that is always true, is self-existent; it exists with or without a universe.
I was with you up to the last bit. First, I don't know of any truth that is "always true." There are truths that are "always true" within certain formal logical systems, but those systems are always necessarily either grounded in reality, or grounded in unprovable assumed axioms.

But truth that exists outside of a universe? How can you make that claim without a no-universe system to base it on? Any claim about what can or can't happen outside of the universe or independent of it is necessarily complete guesswork. You have no basis for that statement, except for a formal logical system that was developed within a universe.

If there was nothing before time began, then how could it have begun?
Time is a feature of the universe in its current state. Time began, in any meaningful sense, at the moment that the universe began in its current state. Asking what happened before time began is like asking what's north of the North Pole. It's a nonsensical question. By definition, there can be nothing before time.

Which is, again, a knock against your outside-of-time God, who therefore cannot react to things or act serially.

All things within the scope of time and including time must have a cause which is greater than themselves.
This is an assertion with no basis in reality, let alone support from your argument. The term "greater" here is not even defined (nor is it defined in the argument you're borrowing from). In truth, there are many uncaused events, including but not limited to radioactive decay and particle-antiparticle creation in vacuum fluctuations.
Well, maybe I should quit trying to show you how to go to heaven. (Which would be a showing of me hating you, by the way, and I don't hate you)
Great! I don't hate you either; that's why I hope you're willing to listen to what we're saying and the advice we're providing to you.
You took me in the wrong way. What I meant is that since God knew nobody would know what guns were until someone invented them, he said nothing of them.
So why did he mention other things that people knew nothing of, like Heaven and Hell and the future Armageddon?
I would like all of you to know that the reason I do not kill myself is firstly, that it would prevent me from spreading the gospel to people like yourselves, and second, that it would be a sin that could no be repented of.
Great...which is why I never suggested that you kill yourself. In fact, I addressed this above: "Obviously you'll say suicide is a sin, but the Bible is neutral on the morality of wearing seatbelts or following traffic laws or looking both ways before you cross the street, right? Why take the normal precautions we take to extend our lives if it only means that you'll have longer to sin and might die without repenting properly?" My point was not that you should kill yourself, because you'd think that was a sin. But is it still suicide if you just don't take extra precautions to protect yourself from potential harm?

What Techskeptic suggested is even better: if there's no greater love than to lay down your life for someone, then why aren't you rushing into burning buildings to rescue children or throwing yourself in front of bullets to save mugging victims? Is it still suicide if you're sacrificing your life to save someone else?

I recommend you investigate the resurrection of Christ. Quite interesting, to be honest.
Agreed, but difficult to do, for reasons I'll enumerate below.
And no, you cannot consult your atheist experts. That would be biasing your results.
What, so we should only consult Christian sources? Wouldn't that introduce the same kind of bias? Wouldn't it be best to examine the objective evidence, or failing that, what all sides have to say?
Have a discussion with top experts in the fields of evidence as though it were a global court case.
Ah, so you're a Lee Strobel fan, too. Here's the problem with treating the resurrection like a court case, YA: we have no eyewitness accounts of its occurrence (and before you say "but the Gospels were written by eyewitnesses," try actually reading them and a little history: the books were anonymous until the early church attached names to them long after they were written, and even then at least two of them are explicitly attributed to non-eyewitnesses). There is no contemporary verification of any event from Jesus's life, and some events are clear fabrications--such as the Census in Luke, Herod's massacre of children, and the rising of the dead after the Crucifixion. All we have is hearsay written decades after the purported events occurred. Hearsay, you may or may not know, is not admissible as evidence in a courtroom.

What other evidence is there? "The empty tomb"? Where's the tomb, how do you know it's the right tomb, how do you know a body was ever in there in the first place? A spot with no body or evidence that a body ever was there is not compelling physical evidence for any positive claim.

Have you noticed yet, Young Apologist, that we're already familiar with the sources of your arguments? Has it made you think yet that we've already examined your claims and arguments and found them wanting?

Here's the thing, YA, and I really hope you read this next bit carefully: what they don't tell you in church or seminary or theology class is that apologetics aren't for the nonbelievers--at least, not for the scientifically-minded skeptics that you're likely to find in the blogosphere. Apologetics' primary purpose is to shore up the beliefs of existing believers, to convince them that their preexisting beliefs have a solid foundation. You're not going to convince or convert anyone by trotting out the same fallacious arguments and lame "evidence" that we've all heard a hundred times before--nor are you going to get anywhere by being so woefully misinformed about history, science, and logic.

If you want to be a more effective apologist, Young Apologist--and I assume that's why you came here--then take this advice: first, stop listening to what your pastors have told you about atheists. Instead, listen to what atheists tell you about themselves. Nothing shuts down your evangelism faster than when you presume to tell another person what they think or believe. When you start accusing people of being prideful or working from the presupposition that God doesn't exist or actually believing in God but denying him so they can sin without guilt, they stop caring about what you have to say. And I guarantee that if someone started telling you similarly wrong things about your beliefs, you'd stop listening to them too.

Second, listen. This is a corollary to the first bit of advice, but it's one where a lot of evangelists and apologists fail. Too many apologists stick to some kind of script, ignoring what their opponents are actually saying and just throwing out repeated arguments or rehearsed responses, while failing to address criticisms or counterarguments. If your opponent thinks you're not actually engaging in the discussion, then they have no reason to continue talking to you. When you listen and respond and address the actual points that your opponent makes, then you're going to earn a lot more respect than if you try to shoehorn everything into a script you've learned.

Third, be willing to change your mind or admit being wrong or ignorant. I know, I know, you're never going to be convinced that God isn't real and the Bible isn't true. But that doesn't mean you aren't wrong about a lot of things and unaware of a great many more. That's true for all of us. If I don't know something in an argument, I either admit my ignorance or take some time to do the research and correct my ignorance. One of the key points of being a skeptic is that we have to be constantly open to being wrong or ignorant, and theists often seem unwilling to show the same humility or open-mindedness--which makes it kind of laughable when they call us closed-minded and prideful. If in the course of your education, you're faced with evidence that some of your beliefs are wrong--say, your apparent denial of evolution--then you shouldn't react by assuming that you're right and ignoring the counter-evidence. You should examine the evidence as objectively as possible and come to a reasonable conclusion--even if that means enduring the discomfort of rejecting a belief that you hold dear. If you're wrong, what use is there in persisting in that wrongness?

Finally, think about what convinced you of your beliefs. Chances are, it wasn't one of the apologetic arguments that you present to atheists. If those arguments didn't convince you initially, what makes you think that they'll convince anyone else? why not present the argument or evidence that convinced you? And if you don't think that your reasons for believing would be convincing to anyone else, then maybe you should consider why it's convincing to you.

There are a lot of apologetic arguments that finally come to the believer saying that his or her belief is just based on personal faith, or is based on some personal revelation that God gave directly to them. Such believers may even be totally justified in their beliefs, but they cannot expect anyone else to be convinced by their personal faith or personal revelation. God may have spoken to you, but you telling me about that isn't convincing and isn't evidence. If your reason for believing is personal like that, then you might as well give up on apologetics and start praying that God will reveal himself in similar ways to each of us. After all, if it was good enough for you, why not us?

I present this advice honestly and without agenda, Young Apologist, and I hope you'll take it. Doing so would make you the rare apologist who isn't tedious to discuss things with.

Well said, Tom, though I suspect all that good advice will fall on deaf ears. After all, people of faith believe they're infallible gods with the ability to know the unknowable.

I havent seen YA here in a couple of days...


... Perhaps he ran into a burning building?

Perhaps he realised that religious faith is a poor substitute for reason and healthy skepticism...

...Jeez, I crack myself up sometimes.

Boy, I just read my previous comments on this piece...
what a bunch of crap I really don't remember what the hell I was thinking...

I stand corrected, the existence of God cannot be defended.

Nico,

Welcome to the world of skepticism. A place where its perfectly OK to say "I was wrong", as long as it was evidence (or lack there of) and reasoning that brought you there.

We generally value the opinions of people who are able to change their minds.

Yak, I meant to write:

(or recognition of the lack there of)

damn, its late.

"..based on some personal revelation that God gave directly to them. Such believers may even be totally justified in their beliefs, but they cannot expect anyone else to be convinced by their personal faith or personal revelation. God may have spoken to you, but you telling me about that isn't convincing and isn't evidence."

A personal revelation directly from some deity is often a symptom of schizophrenic episodes. So such revelations may be evidence for neurological anomalies, either caused by illness or some form of altered mental state caused by taking drugs.

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