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Sunday, 18 December 2011

If God Wants Us To Believe In Him

If the Judeo-Christian god want us to believe in him, why doesn't he:
  1. Do to each of us what he allegedly did to Saul on the road to Damascus?
  2. Become incarnate and perform public miracles at every generation, as he allegedly did to Moses and as Jesus?
  3. Spontaneously appear and end a famine, stop a war, cure a disease or prevent a natural disaster?

Why didn't he:
  1. Create a universe, solar system and life on earth in such a way that it is totally unexplainable by science, and leaving him as the only possible explanation above all other possible gods?
  2. Create life on earth so that it cannot be explain by ideas of common descent and divergence; so that comparative anatomy and physiology can find no connections or similarities between different species; that there are no classes intermediate between fish and mammals, or similarities between humans and other life forms; that each species had an entirely different genetic code, or no code at all; with no fossil evidence suggesting an evolutionary process with regular extinctions?
  3. Create a flat earth so it could not be logically explained any other way than by divine creation?
  4. Create an earth with no geological evidence suggesting it is very old and has formed by a dynamic process over a very long time?
  5. Created an earth with no evidence of unintelligent design?
  6. Created a monument to Abraham which could be accurately dated?
  7. Arranged for there to be archaeological and independent historical evidence of the Exodus, the wandering of the Israelites in Sinai, the destruction of the Canaanites, the massive economic collapse of Egypt following the plagues and the loss of it's slave population, etc?
  8. Left unarguable evidence of a universal flood and made remains of Noah's Ark easy to find and validate?

Why doesn't he:
  1. Make Christians nicer people who actually do what they tell others they should do?
  2. Answer prayers in ways too obvious to be disputed, making Christians people we can go to to get our problems sorted by prayer?
  3. Produce evidence that prayer works so that scientific studies would always show overwhelming evidence of their efficacy?
  4. Create a single, world-wide religion?
  5. Predict future events precisely so that we can see clearly the validity of the prediction?
  6. Create a religion which, unlike all other known religions, is not disbelieved by a majority of the world's people?

In short, why doesn't the Judeo-Christian god seem to want people to believe in him? (Tweet this)

For more on this, see John W. Loftus, "Why I Became An Atheist"


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33 comments:

  1. Hi, Good post. I was wondering if you have any advice for my blog(http://jesusmustbestopped.blogspot.com/) and how to expand my viewership to what you have today. I would appreciate any advice you have as I truly believe our content is good. Could you respond to me via Twitter (@TheAbsenceOfGod) or my blog, The Absence of God (http://jesusmustbestopped.blogspot.com/).

    ReplyDelete
  2. Sacerdotus.

    Given you propensity for disingenuous sophistry and misinformation on Twitter, I'm not surprised you felt unable to add anything worthwhile to this debate.

    It must be so difficult not having any evidence, logic or reason to fight with so even honesty is out of the question for you.

    You have my sympathy.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Hey Rose,

    How does it feel to live in YHWH's world?

    ReplyDelete
  4. 1. Because we are not all Paul, he created us with our own iris and fingerprints and each person has their own unique personage (soul).

    2. Because then we would not need faith, we would walk by sight.

    3.Then Free Will would be a lie… man is FREE to do as he pleases, much of what is wrong in this world is a direct result of our own hands. We seem to forget that there are TWO forces, good AND evil. Where Evil is allowed to reign, Good cannot prevail based on the choices of man.

    1. Because these things all DO testify to his existence and again, it involves faith.

    2. Because there are two kinds of connections IN the species if one reads Genesis and God is not black and white, which is the general impression I am getting from the questions at hand.

    3. Then the Solar system would not fit, neither would the earth’s wobble, gravitational pull of the moon creating the tides etc…

    4 Then it would not testify to an ageless God.

    5. Then it would not testify of a God that is far more intelligent than human beings

    6. Because many people would end up worshipping the “thing” instead of the creator. Which we have a tendency to do as human beings lol!

    7. Again, there would be no need to have faith and just because it has not be found now, does not mean it won’t in the future.

    8. Who says it doesn’t exist and we haven’t found it? We only recently discovered water in the heavens that could flood the earth over multiple times.

    1. God created us with Free Will and not as clones… we all still have flesh and are working it out as well by faith. I could say… why didn’t God make Gov’t People or People who take care of Health Care more compassionate and to treat themselves or their family the way they treat people they deal with daily. Choice… Free Will… no one is responsible for their actions other than the individual. And on a personal note… it seems that everyone has to come out of Egypt, through the desert before they can get to the promise land. No one gets a pass to go from slavery to the ways of the world, into instant Christ-likeness… it is process. Personally, I do the very best I can to live according to what I believe and when I fall short of that, say hurting another person, causing them pain or sadness in any manner or wronging them, I ask them to forgive me. Don’t get me started about Coach on Survivor though…. Discussion for another day! Lol!

    2. Witnessed this more than once, with no intervention by man.

    3. Faith can’t be measured in such a manner to prove evidence any more than one can prove that the prayer did not work in a favorable outcome. And again, faith would be null and void.. you wouldn’t have to “believe” for anything if you knew that prayer, just asking, would do it.

    4. He did… it was called relationship with God, no sign on the door or building and only one rule… stay away from evil… man messed that one up. And why create a tree (symbol) that had evil? If it was just all perfect, there was no choice, no need for freewill. And I truly don’t have all those answers regarding the garden.

    5 Why? The only prediction that any of us really and truly need to know is that fact that we will all die and there is an after-life… how we live here and for whom, determines what awaits us there.

    6. Relationship DID come first, before all other “religions” by man… it’s the exact same thing today.

    Are you always the very best mother or father you can be? Do you always do as you say or encourage others to be, do or say? Not if we are encouraging others to strive for more or better. Christians are NOT the perfect example of Christianity, Jesus was & is the standard, the rest of us are in the race to finish like him. Regarding having proof, proof and more proof… we would have no need to reach out and desire to know more about him if we had all this knowledge and proof. And guaranteed, we would go off to make other things to worship, other idols and gods… cause we would find fault in the natural with the proof.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Hello Rosa,

    Just a couple things in response for your own consideration:

    1) Does God “want” everyone without exception to believe and embrace Him?

    Matt 13:10-11 10. The disciples came to him and asked, “Why do you speak to the people in parables?” 11 He replied, “Because the knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of heaven has been given to you, but not to them.

    2) Is unbelief merely a matter of a lack of “proof”?

    Romans 1:18-20 18 The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness, 19 since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. 20 For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse. 21 For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened.

    3) What about when God *does* want a person to believe?

    Acts 16:14 One of those listening was a woman from the city of Thyatira named Lydia, a dealer in purple cloth. She was a worshiper of God. The Lord opened her heart to respond to Paul’s message.

    To answer your “in short” question, God has a purpose in all creation higher than simply that all would believe in Him.

    Hope this helps,

    Matt

    ReplyDelete
  6. Hezekiah Ahaz

    I've no idea. If you can show me some evidence that I do, then I will try to help you.

    If not, I might as well ask you how it feels to live in Ra's or Apollo's or Zeus' world, or, to return to grown-up reality, in a world without an imaginary invisible friend like normal people do.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Char.

    In other words, unlike Paul, Moses, Abraham, Jesus, Mary, etc, who apparently lacked faith and needed something more, we're just supposed to believe the words of other people.

    Is your god not so bothered about us or were the Bible prophets just particularly bad role models so God needed to pay them special attention to convince them?

    ReplyDelete
  8. Matt.

    >1) Does God “want” everyone without exception to believe and embrace Him?<

    No idea. There doesn't seem to be any evidence that any god exists let alone of what any of them want.

    >2) Is unbelief merely a matter of a lack of “proof”?<

    No. It's a matter of there being no evidential reason to accept the proposition that any do. If you were wrongly accused in court, would you accept that the lack of any evidence of guilt is not proof of innocence and so your guilt should be assumed on 'faith'?

    >3) What about when God *does* want a person to believe?<

    What about it? What if Zeus or Ganesh wanted you to believe in him?

    Has the circularity of quoting from the Bible as evidence that the Bible is right never occurred to you? Why don't you quote from Peter Pan as evidence that fairies are real? It would have the same logical validity and the same force as an argument.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Hi Rosa :o)

    Rosa: In other words, unlike Paul, Moses, Abraham, Jesus, Mary, etc, who apparently lacked faith and needed something more, we're just supposed to believe the words of other people.

    Response: How do you see they lacked faith? They acted on their faith and we see results due to their faith.

    Rosa: "Is your god not so bothered about us or were the Bible prophets just particularly bad role models so God needed to pay them special attention to convince them?"

    Response: Sorry I am not exactly clear on what you are asking. The entire OT is filled with stories of people who had the Holy Spirit to guide them outwardly through their faith. Under the Law, we see what the Law brought about, that's why now, there is a dispensation of Grace, where we clearly see a difference, just as you pointed out.

    I am not one to quote bible verses but, will paraphrase... in the OT we are told man had a heart of stone and a heart that devised evil. And the Laws were written on Stone tablets.

    In the NT, under Grace, with the Holy Spirit IN-FILLING man, instead of outwardly leading, we see a heart of flesh, a heart that is tender towards the things of God and a heart that has the Law of God written upon it. And Jesus summarized all the Laws of the OT for those under Grace into two things... To love God with all your might, soul etc... and your neighbor as yourself.

    Cause under the stone tablets... we see the cause and effect of man, adding some 600 additional rules...

    ReplyDelete
  10. Rosa,

    lol. Sorry for the confusion, I was actually answering my own questions with what Christians believe (the Bible), attempting to show how your premises are mistaken (since you're asking questions with the Christian God in mind).

    Put unequivocally:
    1) He apparently doesn't.
    2) All persons know God, they simply suppress the truth.
    3) He simply gives it to the person to believe. Essentially "gives belief" to them.

    As for "circularity," citing observations of physical creation as "evidence" that God *doesn't* exist, is itself circular, as it requires from the get-go the assumption that God had nothing to do with it.

    Matt

    ReplyDelete
  11. That whole question of free will is an interesting one. You say that if God made his existence obvious then it would eliminate our free will. But I don't think that is true. After all, no one buying a packet of cigarettes can be ignorant of the fact that smoking causes cancer - yet they still smoke! Over 65% of the adult population in NZ is overweight or obese which is setting a significant portion of the population up for all kids of issues including diabetes, sleep apnea and a lesser quality of life - yet they keep making bad eating choices.

    I don't think that knowledge eliminates free will. After all, Adam and Eve saw God in the Garden of Eden and still chose to disobey.

    There are numerous other figures in the bible who 'saw' God or had 'incontrovertible evidence' of his existence according to the writings. Did they lack free will? Was Mary essentially a puppet when the angel told her she was going to have a child? Was Moses' obedience and faith so heroic when we consider that God had spoken to him through a burning bush and many times since? Your own scriptures make it very clear that God making his own existence obvious and his devotees faith in him can co-exist quite happily and in fact does so in all the greatest role models of the scriptures. So the argument that faith would be not needed if God's existence was more obvious is not actually consistent with the scriptures.

    Besides which, what is so fabulous about faith? Essentially faith means believing what the evidence doesn't tell you. That is not the mark of a rational and intelligent person. Far better, I think is knowledge - to question, to seek and to find the answers in a logical manner with supporting evidence rather than just to 'believe because'.

    ReplyDelete
  12. If I may... I think the wrong questions have been posed.

    Why would I want to believe in a God who says He wants me to live forever, without any of the pain, suffering, bad stuff in plain language, that I have had to suffer in this life time... and who says he made a way for me to have that, so when I die once, I would not have to die again, ever.

    I think all the other "stuff" can just muddy the waters :o)

    ReplyDelete
  13. Char.

    No. They did and said what they did and said because they had been given evidence, otherwise the Bible wouldn't mention it.

    So, if we don't have faith, this god will give us evidence of his existence, like he did Moses, et al?

    ReplyDelete
  14. Char said: "Why would I want to believe in a God who says He wants me to live forever, without any of the pain, suffering, bad stuff in plain language, that I have had to suffer in this life time... and who says he made a way for me to have that, so when I die once, I would not have to die again, ever."

    Why wouldn't you want to believe me when I say that all you need to do is give me $20,000 then I can pass on to you $20,000,000 that a distant uncle left in his will to you personally? Questions about who this uncle is, how he is related to you, why he left money to you personally and whether he even actually existed is just "stuff" that can muddy the waters! ;)

    My point with this little simile is that its not enough to be told a good story that makes us feel good when we choose to believe it. Its nothing more than a story unless it has some basis in reality, no matter how warm and fuzzy it makes us feel. And when all experience and all evidence contradicts that story, is it enough that it makes us feel good to keep us believing anyway?

    ReplyDelete
  15. Rose,

    Look all around you. See the evidence?

    Remember God doesn't have a name he just is.

    Call him whatever you want even Rose if it makes you happy.

    Thanks Hun.

    ReplyDelete
  16. All,

    I think Rosa sees through the inadequacy of citing "free will" as some sort of answer to either the problem of evil or...whatever it is "free will" is supposed to answer. After all, is God not powerful enough to stop the "free wll" of criminals? Incidentally, the Bible speaks of man's will in terms of "slavery to sin." And since God declares everything that comes to pass, then neither with respect to pre-determination is man's will "free" according to Christianity.

    Again, concerning the post, positing all these "alternatives" by which God's existence (according to Rosa's understanding) is supposed to be facilitated simply means she (or anyone that agrees) is unwilling to accept *this* world as that which God created. Citing evidence *on either side* is utterly pointless, as believers and non-believers simply do not agree on the nature or standard of evidence.

    Why didn't God do all this differently (as Rosa describes above)? Because this is the way He wanted to do it.

    Matt

    P.S. Rosa, I'm not sure what you're capable of in terms of the format on this website, but is there any way you would be able to implement email alerts when someone responds on a post, or perhaps a "reply" button underneath the relevant posts? I think that would be immensely helpful...but of course, if you've already considered that, then never mind me :)

    ReplyDelete
  17. Hezekiah Ahaz

    A shame you could find no actual evidence, nor the honesty, to support your assertion. After all, If I were so dishonest, I could just say look around you and you will see all the evidence you need of Ra, Apollo, Zeus, or indeed any other daft notion I was trying to fool you into believing, then sit back in smugly arrogant self-satisfaction, hoping it would work too.

    It would also save me an awful lot of learning in order to understand the world because I could just pretend to know all the answers too, if I were dishonest and lazy enough.

    Perhaps you would explain to me what evidence you have that there can't possibly be a natural explanation for whatever evidence it is you're claiming to have. Having done that, we can them move on to discussing what evidence you have that the only possible supernatural explanation for it can only be your favourite deity, and not any other, or indeed any other daft notion I could dream up.

    Unless of course you're still just hoping to get away with an arrogant assertion, an implicit claim to be able to determine truth without evidence and the smug self-satisfaction of assuming you can win arguments merely by demanding others agree with you.

    As it is, you're merely showing the truth of the impression that religion is for those who are too lazy to learn science, not bothered about truth, and who want to feel superior to others.

    ReplyDelete
  18. Matt

    So far as I can see, there is a 'Subscribe by email' link below and to the right of the comment box.

    I wonder if you need to be logged on to Google to use it.

    ReplyDelete
  19. Rosa,

    Ah you're absolutely right, it has to do with how I'm publishing my comments (profile I'm using, etc). I wasn't paying attention. Thanks :)

    Matt

    ReplyDelete
  20. Rose,

    said: "A shame you could find no actual evidence, nor the honesty, to support your assertion. After all, If I were so dishonest, I could just say look around you and you will see all the evidence you need of Ra, Apollo, Zeus, or indeed any other daft notion I was trying to fool you into believing, then sit back in smugly arrogant self-satisfaction, hoping it would work too."


    Existence is the evidence. Do you deny existence?

    Said: "It would also save me an awful lot of learning in order to understand the world because I could just pretend to know all the answers too, if I were dishonest and lazy enough."

    Dont' be so emotional emotional hun.


    Said: "Perhaps you would explain to me what evidence you have that there can't possibly be a natural explanation for whatever evidence it is you're claiming to have. Having done that, we can them move on to discussing what evidence you have that the only possible supernatural explanation for it can only be your favourite deity, and not any other, or indeed any other daft notion I could dream up."

    That's easy existence. Where did everyhting come from?



    Said: "Unless of course you're still just hoping to get away with an arrogant assertion, an implicit claim to be able to determine truth without evidence and the smug self-satisfaction of assuming you can win arguments merely by demanding others agree with you."


    I never demanding anything. It's only in your head.


    Said: "As it is, you're merely showing the truth of the impression that religion is for those who are too lazy to learn science, not bothered about truth, and who want to feel superior to others."


    What is truth?


    More appeal to emotion. Wanna try again?

    ReplyDelete
  21. Hezekiah Ahaz

    >What is truth?<

    It's that thing which still exists even if you don't want it to.

    I gave you some strong hints about how to debate like a grown up and what you needed to do to substantiate your points but I see you chosen to try the smugly bigoted condescension and abuse technique instead.

    Do you find you make many converts that way?

    I think were done now, if you can't raise your game to the required level. Maybe see if you can get into your school debating society to learn how to debate like an adult, eh?

    ReplyDelete
  22. Rubi,

    Said: "It's that thing which still exists even if you don't want it to."

    Like YHWH?

    Said: "I gave you some strong hints about how to debate like a grown up and what you needed to do to substantiate your points but I see you chosen to try the smugly bigoted condescension and abuse technique instead."


    Are you raising the white flag?


    Said: "Do you find you make many converts that way?"

    what is it to you Rubi?


    Said: "I think were done now, if you can't raise your game to the required level. Maybe see if you can get into your school debating society to learn how to debate like an adult, eh?"


    I don't debate women, for the most part . They are too emotional, for example, you Rubi.




    Ever gonna answer my questions?

    ReplyDelete
  23. Hezekiah Ahaz

    Unless you can bring yourself to debate like a grown up and actually present some evidence to back up your assertions I will have to ask you to stop posting here. I appreciate that both you and I know I'm asking the impossible but that's the problem with not having any evidential or logical support for your wishful thinking.

    I realise that you need to believe you have an invisible friend but typing out your wish-list here and hoping it'll come true isn't the way to get one.

    Thanks.

    ReplyDelete
  24. Rubi,

    Said: "Unless you can bring yourself to debate like a grown up and actually present some evidence to back up your assertions I will have to ask you to stop posting here."

    What's wrong is existence not sufficient evidence?

    Are you threating me?


    Said:"I appreciate that both you and I know I'm asking the impossible but that's the problem with not having any evidential or logical support for your wishful thinking."


    After all the fallacies that you have commited, in our short exchange, I am surprised you would even mention Logic.

    Well, I am glad it's on record. How can existence be impossible?

    By the way, rube, how is it that you're not delusional?


    Said: "I realise that you need to believe you have an invisible friend but typing out your wish-list here and hoping it'll come true isn't the way to get one."


    Well, I am happy that at least you got something partially right. God is invisible. He's just not a wish. The burden is on you hun.


    Ciao

    ReplyDelete
  25. Hezekiah Ahaz

    Er... no. The burden of proof is on you since you are making the claim of existence.

    But at least trying to shift the burden onto me shows you've maybe realised that mere assertion isn't working so you need some other tactic. This is progress of a sort.

    A shame you've chosen dishonesty, though, but then what other option did you have eh?

    Now, time for you to run along and play with children of your own mental age.

    Any further assertion here, in lieu of rational debate or presentation of evidence and/or logical arguments will be ignored. I want this blog to be a place for grown up debate.

    ReplyDelete
  26. Hezekiah Ahaz

    As I warned, your infantile abuse has been removed. Please have the courtesy and common decency to desist.

    ReplyDelete
  27. I would add another question or two.

    Why would god only reveal himself repeatedly to one small tribe of goat and camel herders in one tiny portion of the globe?

    At a time when there was almost no communication between ethnic groups why would he not reveal himself equally to all the tribes of people over all the continents of the world?

    Why would untold hundreds of millions of people be left to die in sin with absolutely no chance to embrace the one true god?

    ReplyDelete
  28. Binko Barnes

    Absolutely. And why would an omniscient, omni-benevolent god place such stringent conditions on our 'salvation', and convey that message in such a way that it took another 2000 years for it's message to spread? Did it care less about the Amazonian Indians and New Guinea Highlanders than about a small tribe of Middle-eastern nomads?

    ReplyDelete
  29. Nothing drives people more than the need to feel special, to be the master race or the promised few or the chosen people. So they embrace a religious doctrine that makes them feel righteous. Sadly, this often also means, in their minds, all unbelievers are lesser humans that need to be converted or killed. Logic doesn't enter into the process, they will warp their thoughts around as needed in order to obtain that feeling of belonging to the special select few who embrace the "true faith".

    ReplyDelete
  30. Many of the questions seem to be asking why wouldn't God make it impossible NOT to believe in him-ef up science completely, land on earth and do miracles, etc. What is science? Something humans have invented to help explain the physical world, right? Religion is something else humans have invented to help explain the yearning we all have for transcendence. Both science and religions, as man-made institutions, can be biased, power-mad, nasty and just plain wrong. They can also be helpful, truth-seeking, and enriching.

    You will have to blame humans for what humans do. If they use the name of God to do wrong, that's another thing to blame them for. I was once an atheist and am now a Christian, due to a personal experience. I arrived at this when someone challenged me to have an open-mind. Thinking myself to have a more open mind than any religious people, I accepted the challenge. Atheists can as dogmatic and close-minded as religious folks-and as MEAN! This is not helpful.

    As for mean Christians, there is no excuse for it. None. Except that they are Christians in Name Only.

    ReplyDelete
  31. Je'Czaja

    Do you think humans invent the facts which science reveals?

    Sorry, but I don't believe you were ever an Atheist. Maybe you just don't know what the word means.

    ReplyDelete
  32. Christian Apologists keep using the same tired logical fallacies and confuse them for having an actual reality based argument for their supernatural claims. You should have theists read this guide to Logical Fallacies at http://www.theskepticsguide.org/resources/logical-fallacies before they are allowed to post any of their apologetics. This may help those who truly want to learn about why their faith has no basis in reality which is why it is called a "faith-based" worldview and not evidence-based reality. Also see http://www.nizkor.org/features/fallacies/ to get a pretty comprehensive list of logical fallacies to avoid in future posts.

    ReplyDelete

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