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Does God exist? (2 Viewers)

do you believe in god?


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dan964

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The fact is says so in the bible is not valid evidence.
That's presumptuous. The Bible can be weighed up the same as any testimony.
There are any number of much more reasonable explanations other than literally a suspension of the laws of nature.

Again, isn't it truly bizarre that all these miracles occurred only just slightly before (relative to the entire history of humanity) the advent of video cameras?

Where is the moral value in making people have to believe in unreliable bronze age eyewitness testimony instead of waiting a few thousand years and letting them witness it directly? God waited 198,000 years after the first humans existed, why not wait a few thousand more instead of making people rely on faith?
Christ had to come when the Roman Empire was in power. And the miracles all are tied up with him.

So no its not bizarre at all. Secondly, God intended that people would rely on the testimony of those eyewitnesses (who then penned the gospels, which form part of the bible).
 

SylviaB

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That's presumptuous. The Bible can be weighed up the same as any testimony.
Okay? There's testimony of all kinds of goofy shit throughout history but you only choose to accept the ones that align with your religious views. Did muhammad split the moon too? Or is only biblical testimony valid?

Christ had to come when the Roman Empire was in power. And the miracles all are tied up with him.
Okay? But why not send down other prophets in the modern age to perform miracles? There's no reason this couldn't be done except god is an asshole and wants people's souls to be risked on the basis of belief in fantastic claims with no valid evidence. Or, of course, god doesn't exist, and there cannot be prophets today because there are no such thing as miracle performing prophets.

So no its not bizarre at all. Secondly, God intended that people would rely on the testimony of those eyewitnesses (who then penned the gospels, which form part of the bible).
But why? Why make people dependent on unreliable testimony written mostly in dead languages in order to save their souls? Why is 'faith' virtuous? Why punish people for not accepting unreliable, ancient testimony? Why is it immoral for me not to believe in bronze age mythology? Why is it "moral" to accept the bible? Why is that what is most important? How totally bizarre that an omnipotent god would make imperfect, powerless humans but for some reason attach cosmic significance to whether they believe in him or not, and threaten to punish them for not believing in him despite offering no direct evidence, even though he easily could.

Of course, all of this is bad enough as it is, but then we have to acknowledge that free will doesn't even exist, and cannot possibly exist even if we have souls, because the idea of free will is logically incoherent. I cannot "choose" to believe the bible is accurate any more than I can "choose" to believe ancient greek mythology is true or the easter bunny is true or that 1 + 1 =3. I couldn't make myself believe these things are true even if my life depended on it.

These things are not a choice, they cannot possibly be a choice. My unconscious mind either manifests belief in them, or it doesn't. It is logically incoherent to suggest I can consciously "choose" to believe something, so to punish people for not believing in something is totally absurd and is the most obvious proof that christianity and other similar religions must be false. This is EXACTLY the kind of thing that would exist in a man made religion, not something of divine origin.

Imagine a religion like christianity is totally of human origin, what would we expect to find? Only a handful of people get to witness these alleged 'miracles', there are never any prophets ever again when these acts could be independently recorded and verified, there are no supernatural methods employed for god to make his existence known and he is equally constrained in communication method (written eye witness testimony) as mortal humans are, and we get told that 'faith' is the most fundamental part of the religion and no direct evidence is ever made available. People believing in the religion is what matters (not helping others or something that actually aligns with the sense of morality that humans are imbued with) and belief is enforced under threat of punishment in the after life. This is EXACTLY what we would expect a totally man made religion to be like, so don't you think its an enormous coincidence that god chose to make things exactly the same as if he didn't exist?

Seriously, what would be different if god didn't exist? You can say there would have been no miracles and therefore no testimony for these miracles, but we know that there are countless examples of testimony for miracles throughout history that did not occur (or at least christians do not believe in), so we know for a fact that miracles actually occurring is not a prerequisite for testimony of miracles occurring.

If all of this could exist and therefore be explained without the existence of god, it would be a grand coincidence if god actually existed.
 

dan964

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Okay? There's testimony of all kinds of goofy shit throughout history but you only choose to accept the ones that align with your religious views. Did muhammad split the moon too? Or is only biblical testimony valid?
Your whole post hangs on what is considered 'valid or direct evidence'. If by valid evidence you only consider 'scientific evidence' aka. more specifically what you can see, touch or hear. Then you have a lot of problems.

I was more challenging your based assumption that historical books (e.g. some of the books that make up the Bible) could not regarded as valid evidence; especially those that are written as historical accounts such as the gospels.

We have to weigh that and any account. There is criteria by which we assess whether an reported incident or not. There are factors to consider like:

Multiple attestation: are their more than one account of the event? We have 4 detailed early accounts of Christ's life, corroborated to a lesser extent by Roman and Jewish sources.
Coherence: is what happened (the key facts/details) clear?
The character of the person writing the account. How they present themselves in the material aka. do they only present themselves in a positive light.
Correspondence: is there any details that correspond with known locations, figures to which are attested in history.
(In the case of Biblical criticism/theology, this also extends if the prophet claims succession from previous prophets or fulfilment, does his message line up or continue consistently on from what previous prophets spoke of)
(I reject the Quran partially on the basis that it claims to succeed/continue the previous prophets but at many points is at direct contradiction)
This is the textual criticism, and the same standard would apply to accounts from 100 years ago; say from the late 1900s.


Okay? But why not send down other prophets in the modern age to perform miracles? There's no reason this couldn't be done except god is an asshole and wants people's souls to be risked on the basis of belief in fantastic claims with no valid evidence. Or, of course, god doesn't exist, and there cannot be prophets today because there are no such thing as miracle performing prophets.

But why? Why make people dependent on unreliable testimony written mostly in dead languages in order to save their souls? Why is 'faith' virtuous? Why punish people for not accepting unreliable, ancient testimony? Why is it immoral for me not to believe in bronze age mythology? Why is it "moral" to accept the bible? Why is that what is most important? How totally bizarre that an omnipotent god would make imperfect, powerless humans but for some reason attach cosmic significance to whether they believe in him or not, and threaten to punish them for not believing in him despite offering no direct evidence, even though he easily could.
There are some who claim miracles still happen today. But regardless I don't think you would accept them.
(Nowadays, yes we have video cameras but we can also the existence of cinemas, suggests that photography / videography has its weaknesses).

This is because when you actually pick up from any point in the Biblical timeline, it all converges on this figure of the Messiah or Christ. You could ask why didn't he come now instead of 2000 years later. The point of the miracles in the time of Christ was to verify that he was the Christ; not to prove God's existence. (Miracles do nothing for the existence of God, since most people who are unbelievers just reject them anyways). Since God's own revelation about himself converges on this figure called Christ, that is why aptly named Christians attach (as you say) cosmic significance to our response to this person of Christ.

Post Edit: For e.g. the Holy Fire miracle posted by an Eastern Orthodox Christian, if one of their own people comes and says well actually we lit the candle, then it does cause doubt on the whole thing.

Interesting the opponents of Christ e.g. in the Talmud, do not deny the wonders but they attribute it to evil origins rather than to God. If both the proponents and opponents agree on something that is more likely for that something to have occured.

Of course, all of this is bad enough as it is, but then we have to acknowledge that free will doesn't even exist, and cannot possibly exist even if we have souls, because the idea of free will is logically incoherent.

I cannot "choose" to believe the bible is accurate any more than I can "choose" to believe ancient greek mythology is true or the easter bunny is true or that 1 + 1 =3. I couldn't make myself believe these things are true even if my life depended on it.

These things are not a choice, they cannot possibly be a choice. My unconscious mind either manifests belief in them, or it doesn't.

My edit: These things are not a choice, they cannot possibly be a choice. My subconscious mind either manifests belief in them, or it doesn't
(Excuse the subtle correction in the last line). That's a broader debate/topic lol, that is in the realm of philosophy or perhaps even anthropology/psychology (which sometimes intersects with this topic).

It comes down to what you think freedom is. If you take this idea of freedom as a unimpeded mind not affected by anything decision, then no that idea of a will unaffected, doesn't exist (because we all have motivations and habits and tendencies). And even then I can choose to do something that I cannot actually execute, e.g. I would like to drive to the moon; but I have no ability or authority to do so. But humans still make choices e.g. what you ate for breakfast was a decision you made. It may have been affected by other factors, but its still a decision made.

That topic deserves its own thread. I'll reply to your criteria in the next post.
 

dan964

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Imagine a religion like christianity is totally of human origin, what would we expect to find?
Lol, I would expect that by now, we would found direct evidence of its fabrication.
Take the one thing that would proof for sure that Christianity was made up by the disciples. Just produce the dead body of Jesus and there you have it, Christianity disproven. And the Jews and Romans had ample opportunities?

Lets say we don't have the ability to do that, the next thing is to look at the disciples. At any point under trial, they could have admitted the whole thing was made up, but instead they were killed. Either they were insanely stupid or they really believed in what they saw was the risen Jesus.
Take for instance a skeptic who is actively killing Christians, then suddenly all of a sudden is promoting the message of the cross. What happened there?

On a more serious note, lets assess your criteria. I've numbered them.

1. Only a handful of people get to witness these alleged 'signs'
Firstly notice, I have replaced the word 'miracles' with a substitute. In fact the word 'miracle' (or 'miraculum') never appears in the gospel account, rather than language that John (and the other writers of the NT) uses is that of 'signs' and 'wonders' rather this modern idea of miracles.

This introduces an important but subtle differences that signs and wonders are displays of power and goodness; rather than the stuff of legends or mythos (which is what connotation the word miracle carries in pop culture). They are intended to confirm the truthfulness of the message of the one performing it.

This means to assess the truthfulness of a religion we have to assess the contents of the message (aka. what does the religion say about this world, about humanity, about morality), since the miracles (at least in Christianity) are acted to verify the authenticity or identity (or creds) of the speaker.

So its actually back-to-front. The aptly named signs were the verification back in the day for the message, and nowadays we have the preserved written testimony. John writes about this matter:
" Jesus performed many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name."

In terms of numbers, what you actually have is at least 513 people witnessing the resurrection of Christ, 900 men (not including women) witnessing 2 occasions of Jesus multiplying loaves and fishes etc; plus several others miracles with differing.

2. There are never any prophets ever again when these acts could be independently recorded and verified
3. There are no supernatural methods [today] employed for god to make his existence known.
These are basically saying the same thing. If we cannot accept the testimony of those who witnessed such signs then yes we would have no 'supernatural methods'.

To answer your question as to why not more today, a different writer writes:
"In the past God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom also he made the universe. The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven."

The reason why God is not sending any more prophets (again another reason why I reject Islam and Mormonism) is because his will/plan are finished in Christ, and there is no new words/message. I've often used this analogy, before a film premieres we are given like short clips e.g. trailers that reveal part of the movie; and then once the movie is released we don't go back to trailers, we watch the movie.

There is no need for miracles today to confirm the testimony of the prophets is because Christ is the final 'prophet'. However his work is carried out today in the church. As his people share the message and people's lives are changed - that is the wonderous acts of God that are continuing to this day (so the nature and extent of his works have changed).

This authority or verification then is carried on, in the preservation of the eyewitness' testimony, Peter writes close to his death:

"So I will always remind you of these things, even though you know them and are firmly established in the truth you now have. I think it is right to refresh your memory as long as I live in the tent of this body, because I know that I will soon put it aside, as our Lord Jesus Christ has made clear to me. And I will make every effort to see that after my departure* you will always be able to remember these things.

For we did not follow cleverly devised stories [myths] when we told you about the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ in power, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty. He received honor and glory from God the Father when the voice came to him from the Majestic Glory, saying, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.” We ourselves heard this voice that came from heaven when we were with him on the sacred mountain. We also have the prophetic message as something completely reliable, and you will do well to pay attention to it, as to a light shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts. Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet’s own interpretation of things. For prophecy never had its origin in the human will, but prophets, though human, spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit."
*e.g. by writing this letter.

3. There are no supernatural methods [today] employed for god to make his existence known.
4. He is equally constrained in communication method (written eye witness testimony) as mortal humans are
Lol maybe God knew that naturalists would just reject any supernatural methods or explain anyway everything naturalistically.

In all seriousness, God has primarily utilized the spoken and written word about himself as his revelation rather than miraculous.

Secondly, God has revealed himself in such a way that most people think is frustrating or even foolish, Paul writes:
"For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe. Jews demand signs and Greeks look for wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, but to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God "
and it is this same message that Christians proclaim today.

Jesus prayed this prayer "I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me".

The point is that people don't believe on the basis of signs and wonders, but rather on the acceptance of spoken (and written) testimony.
Knowing a person has always been to do with speaking. I don't know a person if they don't speak to them. God is the same (and we inherit that aspect from him).

"He said to him, ‘If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.’"

5. People believing in the religion is what matters (not helping others or something that actually aligns with the sense of morality that humans are imbued with)
6. Belief is enforced under threat of punishment in the after life.
Even religion or ideology demands commitment, and what that entails differs. Islam for instance requires certain good deeds etc.
What you are tapping into is the question of "why does God send supposedly good people to hell?"
Because if God says it is not good to reject him, then you are not good.

In the case of Christianity, people are not saved because they are good, but because they trust in Christ who was good.
But belief and actions are not completely inseparable. The idea of 'faith' is closer to idea of trust than mere intellectual acceptance of the existence of God. And when you believe something it affects your actions. If you believe that God is good and loving, then you would be good and loving because God is; not merely out of self-preservation.

John writes: "From this time many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him. “You do not want to leave too, do you?” Jesus asked the Twelve. Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life."

The reason why people believe something is because they believe the testimony of those who saw, heard things firsthand.
In most cases, people stay Christians not out of fear of self-preservation against judgement, but rather they actually love Christ for who he is and what he is done, as John writes in his first letter:

"Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.... God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them. This is how love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment: In this world we are like Jesus. There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. We love because he first loved us. Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen. And he has given us this command: Anyone who loves God must also love their brother and sister."
 

dan964

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Maybe a good aim of this thread is to come up with some questions for people to ask regarding assessment of stuff:

Does a religion's main message still make sense if God doesn't exist? If so, then the religion is either not a religion, or is man-made.

Does the character of the person on which the religion comes from match the teachings of the religion?
If the founder/foundation of the religion is inconsistent or hypocritical; and that cannot be reasonably justified, then the religion is man-made.
e.g. if their is one rule for the leader, but a different for others.

Religions that tend to be man-made tend to emphasise more what man has to do to know and please God, rather than what God is doing so that people can know him and be pleasing to him.

Correspondence with science (provided we don't assume naturalism) and other known and accepted historical details.
 

SylviaB

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Multiple attestation: are their more than one account of the event? We have 4 detailed early accounts of Christ's life, corroborated to a lesser extent by Roman and Jewish sources.
The existence of Jesus as an historical figure is not the issue here, and is insufficient for proof of his divinity.

(In the case of Biblical criticism/theology, this also extends if the prophet claims succession from previous prophets or fulfilment, does his message line up or continue consistently on from what previous prophets spoke of)
I'm not sure I understand why this is proof. Aligning your claims with those of established historical prophets seems to be perfectly consistent with a prophet not actually being divine. It's not proof of a lack of divinity, but this can be explained without Jesus being divine, so it cannot be proof that he is.

There are some who claim miracles still happen today. But regardless I don't think you would accept them.
(Nowadays, yes we have video cameras but we can also the existence of cinemas, suggests that photography / videography has its weaknesses).
There are numerous people alive today, almost certainly hundreds of thousands of people around the world, who believe in ghosts on the basis of having witnessed them. Which is to say, we have convergent eyewitness testimony for the existence of ghosts. I am 100% certain that at least a sizable proportion of these people are entirely sincere in their belief of what they claim to have witnessed and are not fabricating their experiences. Does this prove ghosts exist?

I would imagine you would think the answer is no, but I'm not sure why.

This is because when you actually pick up from any point in the Biblical timeline, it all converges on this figure of the Messiah or Christ. You could ask why didn't he come now instead of 2000 years later. The point of the miracles in the time of Christ was to verify that he was the Christ; not to prove God's existence. (Miracles do nothing for the existence of God, since most people who are unbelievers just reject them anyways).
If I witnessed a convincing miracle, it would cause me to seriously consider the existence of god. This would be categorically more true for people in the past who lacked natural explanations for many phenomena.

Since God's own revelation about himself converges on this figure called Christ, that is why aptly named Christians attach (as you say) cosmic significance to our response to this person of Christ.
Except, we have no genuine evidence of "god's revelation". People may have claimed to have communicated directly with god, but even if these experiences are not actual fabrications, they can be wholly explained without the existence of god.

Interesting the opponents of Christ e.g. in the Talmud, do not deny the wonders but they attribute it to evil origins rather than to God. If both the proponents and opponents agree on something that is more likely for that something to have occured.
This is not evidence they happened. The people in question would not have directly witnessed these acts even if they occurred, and people in these times strongly believed that these kind of things can happen.

(Excuse the subtle correction in the last line). That's a broader debate/topic lol, that is in the realm of philosophy or perhaps even anthropology/psychology (which sometimes intersects with this topic).
It's not a valid correction. Everything that we think, feel and believe necessarily comes from our unconscious mind. The origins of our thoughts or feelings are totally mysterious and not subject to introspection the way the subconscious mind is. You have no more idea of what you're going to think next than what somebody you're talking to is going to say next. No amount of introspection can reveal this to you.

This is not a different debate though, but because it is absolutely central to religion. Without free will, religion makes no sense. Even if you believe in free will, it is undeniably true that belief is not a matter of CHOICE. It is something that happens. I don't choose to believe 5 * 6 = 30. I understand multiplication, and so the idea that 5 * 6 = 30 is utterly, hopelessly compelling to me. I could not possibly decide to consciously believe that it equals 31 instead, even if my life depended on it.

It comes down to what you think freedom is. If you take this idea of freedom as a unimpeded mind not affected by anything decision, then no that idea of a will unaffected, doesn't exist (because we all have motivations and habits and tendencies).
The problem with free will is considerably more fundamental than this.

People who believe free will exists believe that their conscious thought process is the cause of beliefs, choices and actions. This is logically incoherent.

To consciously decide something, it means you would have to think about something BEFORE you've thought about, and that thought itself would had to have been brought into existence by a prior thought, ad infinitum.

I mean, let's say you were to think "I'm going to think of an elephant" and lo and behold, an elephant appears in your mind's eye. Free will, right?

Well, why did you choose an elephant? Why not a golden retriever? Why not an inanimate rock? You chose elephant, but where did this decision come from? Was the decision made by your conscious mind? What does that even mean? You thought about an elephant instead of a mountain, but where did that choice come from? You thought about thinking about an elephant? Okay, but where did THAT thought come from? You thought about thinking about thinking about an elephant? At some point down the causal chain, the thought must have simply appeared in consciousness. It cannot have been created by your conscious mind, which means it must have come from your unconscious mind.

And even then I can choose to do something that I cannot actually execute, e.g. I would like to drive to the moon; but I have no ability or authority to do so. But humans still make choices e.g. what you ate for breakfast was a decision you made. It may have been affected by other factors, but its still a decision made.
Yes, but its a decision made by your unconscious mind.
 

SylviaB

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Lol, I would expect that by now, we would found direct evidence of its fabrication.
I never said it was a fabrication. I don't believe it was.

Take the one thing that would proof for sure that Christianity was made up by the disciples. Just produce the dead body of Jesus and there you have it, Christianity disproven. And the Jews and Romans had ample opportunities?
Well, how do you prove a body belongs to christ? It cannot be proven after even modest decomposition, which means even if the resurrection is true, the romans could have claimed to have found the body of christ if they had wanted to, and so the failure of romans to produce a body is consistent with resurrection true and with it being false.

Lets say we don't have the ability to do that, the next thing is to look at the disciples. At any point under trial, they could have admitted the whole thing was made up, but instead they were killed. Either they were insanely stupid or they really believed in what they saw was the risen Jesus.
Take for instance a skeptic who is actively killing Christians, then suddenly all of a sudden is promoting the message of the cross. What happened there?
People in ancient times believed a wide assortment of things that appear crazy by today's standards. It was much easier for them to believe in supernatural claims, and the fact that numerous other religions have people who believe to have spoken to god shows that this experience can be explained without the existence of god.

Firstly notice, I have replaced the word 'miracles' with a substitute. In fact the word 'miracle' (or 'miraculum') never appears in the gospel account, rather than language that John (and the other writers of the NT) uses is that of 'signs' and 'wonders' rather this modern idea of miracles.
The distinction is meaningless. We're talking about the same fundamental thing. Acts that suspend the laws of nature. The definition of the latin world miraculum is literally 'wonder'.

This means to assess the truthfulness of a religion we have to assess the contents of the message (aka. what does the religion say about this world, about humanity, about morality), since the miracles (at least in Christianity) are acted to verify the authenticity or identity (or creds) of the speaker.
There's no reason why some people should get to witness these miracles directly, while others should have to rely on unreliable written testimony. Except of course, if people are mistaken about miracles ever having occurred at all.
 

SylviaB

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In terms of numbers, what you actually have is at least 513 people witnessing the resurrection of Christ, 900 men (not including women) witnessing 2 occasions of Jesus multiplying loaves and fishes etc; plus several others miracles with differing.
We don't know if this is true though. You simply accept it as being an accurate account of things because you want it to be.

These are basically saying the same thing. If we cannot accept the testimony of those who witnessed such signs then yes we would have no 'supernatural methods'.

To answer your question as to why not more today, a different writer writes:
"In the past God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom also he made the universe. The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven."

The reason why God is not sending any more prophets (again another reason why I reject Islam and Mormonism) is because his will/plan are finished in Christ, and there is no new words/message. I've often used this analogy, before a film premieres we are given like short clips e.g. trailers that reveal part of the movie; and then once the movie is released we don't go back to trailers, we watch the movie.
Except, in your analogy, the movie was screened a single time, and then can never be watched again. And we have to take the word of people thousands of years ago written mostly in dead languages who possibly saw the movie, and possibly remember some of the details accurately, and didn't misremember or misinterpret what they saw, weren't subject to hallucinations, and weren't confusing their experience with previous lore they were exposed to and so on. And to make things worse, believing the word of these unreliable strangers who write in a language you do not even understand is the most fundamental moral problem facing humanity and you will be punished after death if you do not mindlessly accept what they allegedly wrote.

There is no need for miracles today to confirm the testimony of the prophets is because Christ is the final 'prophet'. However his work is carried out today in the church. As his people share the message and people's lives are changed - that is the wonderous acts of God that are continuing to this day (so the nature and extent of his works have changed).
But there's no reason why this would necessarily be the case unless miracles and holy prophets aren't real. This is entirely what we would expect from a fake religion, because new miracle performing prophets cannot be conjured on demand by god. If the religion isn't true, its necessarily the case that there can never be another miracle performing prophet again. But if god is real, his decision not to send more prophets is entirely arbitrary, and it completely contradicts the sense of justice and fairness with which we are imbued, because he is saying that the fate of our soles are dependant on us believing in something on the basis of ancient writings, and this is bizarrely considered a MORAL decision, when there is no reason he couldn't reveal himself directly to us. Explaining why he doesn't reveal himself directly to us is pure rationalization.

For prophecy never had its origin in the human will, but prophets, though human, spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.
Again, testimony about having spoken to god is THE most unreliable testimony imaginable. The alleged experience of having talked to god is wholly explainable by natural means, and the fact that people from other religions report having had similar experiences (and the accuracy of these experiences are mutually incompatible with each other) makes this kind of testimony entirely worthless. You want to base your understanding of the nature of existence on something which can easily be understood as a mere hallucination or dream.

Lol maybe God knew that naturalists would just reject any supernatural methods or explain anyway everything naturalistically.
You joke, but this is an absolutely fundamental problem with christianity. God knows before a person even comes into existence whether or not that person is going to believe in him, but then creates them anyway and judges them for not believing in him. What kind of morality is this?

In all seriousness, God has primarily utilized the spoken and written word about himself as his revelation rather than miraculous.
First of all, saying that he primarily relies on spoken communication is totally false. Canonically, he has spoken to a percentage of people who have ever existed that is barely above 0. We're literally talking about a few people out of around 100,000,000,000 people.

As for writing, the best possible explanation for this is that he doesn't exist. This is exactly what we would expect to find if god isn't real. There's no reason this should necessarily be the case if he is real, though it would necessarily be the case if he weren't real because there are no other options.

Secondly, God has revealed himself in such a way that most people think is frustrating or even foolish, Paul writes:
"For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe. Jews demand signs and Greeks look for wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, but to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God "
and it is this same message that Christians proclaim today.
Yeah, this makes zero sense.

Jesus prayed this prayer "I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me".
This also makes no sense. People's thought processes are a result, fundamentally, of the arrangement of matter in their brain. Literally. Ignoring quantum indeterminacy, if two people's brains are identical down to the subatomic particle, they will think the same things. The fundamental reason our brains are ordered the way they are if because of the way god created us and the world around us. We are the product of our genes and our environment. If we believe in god, its because god created us and our environment in a way that led us to believe, and the same is true if we don't believe in god. Why is jesus praying for people to believe? What we believe is a product of our brains, and our brains are a product of god. If he wanted us to believe in him, he could have made us in such a way that we believe in him.

What you have failed to answer is this point: We cannot consciously choose what we believe in.

You keep ignoring this but it is the most fundamental truth and it is incompatible with christian morality. I cannot CHOOSE to believe in god any more than I can choose to believe that 5*6 =31. Literally. I am completely at the mercy of my brain, and if my brain does not find arguments for god compelling, then I CANNOT believe in it, even if my life depended on it.

Where is the morality in this? Why would god punish people for something they have no control over?

"He said to him, ‘If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.’"
People would be convinced if they actually witnessed this stuff themselves. But this all happened thousands of years ago and never again, which is precisely what we should expect from a false religion.
 

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Even religion or ideology demands commitment, and what that entails differs. Islam for instance requires certain good deeds etc.
What you are tapping into is the question of "why does God send supposedly good people to hell?"
Because if God says it is not good to reject him, then you are not good.
Yes, and this is COMPLETELY at odds with the sense of morality we have EVOLVED to have. As I said, belief in something is not a moral decision. We do not control what we believe.

"Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.... God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them. This is how love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment: In this world we are like Jesus. There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. We love because he first loved us. Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen. And he has given us this command: Anyone who loves God must also love their brother and sister."
Yeah, this is all crap. The primacy of faith is precisely what we should expect to find in a false religion. Nobody, anywhere, ever has provided justification why belief in bronze age stories in dead languages is a measure of morality, and why our evolved sense of morality is in such contradiction with god's. God made us the way we are, he primed us to not believe in him, he KNEW most people will end up not believing in him, and bizarrely we're supposed to accept belief in him as a moral issue.

ALL of this is transparently rationalisation. Religions like christianity are clearly built around the world existing as it happens to exist. There's no reason why any of it needs to be the way it is.

Let me explain this problem in a different context:

Why do we require oxygen? Obviously, to react with glucose to provide energy. And you will say "god filled the atmosphere with air so that humans have access to the oxygen they need to survive".

But WHY do we have a need for oxygen to react with glucose? You're presupposing the world existing a certain way. God could have effortless created humans such that they do not need oxygen. He could have made us be perfectly happy surviving in an atmosphere full of H2S or in a cold vacuum. There's literally NO reason why things necessarily had to be this way. You're assuming the laws of nature inherently exist a certain way and god has to obey those laws when he created us, but that's nonsense, he created the laws in the first place. There's no reason we had to require oxygen, he could have made us so that glucose spontaneously releases energy with oxygen input.

The necessity of oxygen serves no purpose, and makes our life considerably worse because it makes us vulnerable to death by choking, drowning etc.

The reason we have a requirement for oxygen is because the atmosphere contains oxygen and so life evolved to make use of this oxygen. This is the way the world exists, but there's no reason it had to be this way if god created us. Christian explanations for this are rationalsions. The world exists a certain way and you bend your beliefs around them.

Why do we need eyes? Obviously, because they serve as light receptors which are used by our brain to generate visual perception. You may say, "god gave us eyes to see", but why? Why did he make us so that we require eyes to see? Why not make us be able to see without eyes? There's no reason he couldn't have created us like this, and the fact we need eyes to see is a tremendously bad thing because we are vulnerable to having our sense of sight lost to injury, and many people are bizarrely born without the ability to see, which is another one of those facts of reality that believers in god just flippantly dismiss as perfectly consistent with god having created us despite making no sense. What's more likely? Some people are born with faulty eyes because the naturally arising and complex process of gene replication happens to be error prone? Or that god deliberately made this process error prone for some insane reason?

And then we come to what I thin is the most fundamentally baffling part of religion: Why did god make us?

There is no possible explanation for why god made us. And the morality of creating us is totally at odds with the sense of morality that he gave us.

God knows before we even come into existence who will and who won't believe in him. He knows that some people will go to hell, but then creates us anyway, and our only path to salvation are some bronze age writings in languages we don't understand and which we have no power to make ourselves believe to be true. Why do this? Why bring us into existence when he knows so many people will suffer, in this life or the next?

So we could experience the glory of god's light or something? Okay? Then why the heck does earth exist? Why not just populate heaven with an infinite number of humans to experience this glory? Why jeopardise their souls with this demented scheme of making them believe in something based on stuff written thousands of years ago in dead languages? The morality of this is UTTERLY inscrutable to humans, which itself is bizarre since our understanding of morality is a product of our genes and environment, both created by god, and again, god knows whether we will believe or not before we even exist.

There's no way any of this makes sense other than it being the creation, however sincere, of crazed bronze age peoples
 
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Lol, I would expect that by now, we would found direct evidence of its fabrication.
Take the one thing that would proof for sure that Christianity was made up by the disciples. Just produce the dead body of Jesus and there you have it, Christianity disproven. And the Jews and Romans had ample opportunities?

Lets say we don't have the ability to do that, the next thing is to look at the disciples. At any point under trial, they could have admitted the whole thing was made up, but instead they were killed. Either they were insanely stupid or they really believed in what they saw was the risen Jesus.
Take for instance a skeptic who is actively killing Christians, then suddenly all of a sudden is promoting the message of the cross. What happened there?

On a more serious note, lets assess your criteria. I've numbered them.


Firstly notice, I have replaced the word 'miracles' with a substitute. In fact the word 'miracle' (or 'miraculum') never appears in the gospel account, rather than language that John (and the other writers of the NT) uses is that of 'signs' and 'wonders' rather this modern idea of miracles.

This introduces an important but subtle differences that signs and wonders are displays of power and goodness; rather than the stuff of legends or mythos (which is what connotation the word miracle carries in pop culture). They are intended to confirm the truthfulness of the message of the one performing it.

This means to assess the truthfulness of a religion we have to assess the contents of the message (aka. what does the religion say about this world, about humanity, about morality), since the miracles (at least in Christianity) are acted to verify the authenticity or identity (or creds) of the speaker.

So its actually back-to-front. The aptly named signs were the verification back in the day for the message, and nowadays we have the preserved written testimony. John writes about this matter:
" Jesus performed many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name."

In terms of numbers, what you actually have is at least 513 people witnessing the resurrection of Christ, 900 men (not including women) witnessing 2 occasions of Jesus multiplying loaves and fishes etc; plus several others miracles with differing.


These are basically saying the same thing. If we cannot accept the testimony of those who witnessed such signs then yes we would have no 'supernatural methods'.

To answer your question as to why not more today, a different writer writes:
"In the past God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom also he made the universe. The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven."

The reason why God is not sending any more prophets (again another reason why I reject Islam and Mormonism) is because his will/plan are finished in Christ, and there is no new words/message. I've often used this analogy, before a film premieres we are given like short clips e.g. trailers that reveal part of the movie; and then once the movie is released we don't go back to trailers, we watch the movie.

There is no need for miracles today to confirm the testimony of the prophets is because Christ is the final 'prophet'. However his work is carried out today in the church. As his people share the message and people's lives are changed - that is the wonderous acts of God that are continuing to this day (so the nature and extent of his works have changed).

This authority or verification then is carried on, in the preservation of the eyewitness' testimony, Peter writes close to his death:

"So I will always remind you of these things, even though you know them and are firmly established in the truth you now have. I think it is right to refresh your memory as long as I live in the tent of this body, because I know that I will soon put it aside, as our Lord Jesus Christ has made clear to me. And I will make every effort to see that after my departure* you will always be able to remember these things.

For we did not follow cleverly devised stories [myths] when we told you about the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ in power, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty. He received honor and glory from God the Father when the voice came to him from the Majestic Glory, saying, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.” We ourselves heard this voice that came from heaven when we were with him on the sacred mountain. We also have the prophetic message as something completely reliable, and you will do well to pay attention to it, as to a light shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts. Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet’s own interpretation of things. For prophecy never had its origin in the human will, but prophets, though human, spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit."
*e.g. by writing this letter.


Lol maybe God knew that naturalists would just reject any supernatural methods or explain anyway everything naturalistically.

In all seriousness, God has primarily utilized the spoken and written word about himself as his revelation rather than miraculous.

Secondly, God has revealed himself in such a way that most people think is frustrating or even foolish, Paul writes:
"For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe. Jews demand signs and Greeks look for wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, but to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God "
and it is this same message that Christians proclaim today.

Jesus prayed this prayer "I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me".

The point is that people don't believe on the basis of signs and wonders, but rather on the acceptance of spoken (and written) testimony.
Knowing a person has always been to do with speaking. I don't know a person if they don't speak to them. God is the same (and we inherit that aspect from him).

"He said to him, ‘If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.’"



Even religion or ideology demands commitment, and what that entails differs. Islam for instance requires certain good deeds etc.
What you are tapping into is the question of "why does God send supposedly good people to hell?"
Because if God says it is not good to reject him, then you are not good.

In the case of Christianity, people are not saved because they are good, but because they trust in Christ who was good.
But belief and actions are not completely inseparable. The idea of 'faith' is closer to idea of trust than mere intellectual acceptance of the existence of God. And when you believe something it affects your actions. If you believe that God is good and loving, then you would be good and loving because God is; not merely out of self-preservation.

John writes: "From this time many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him. “You do not want to leave too, do you?” Jesus asked the Twelve. Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life."

The reason why people believe something is because they believe the testimony of those who saw, heard things firsthand.
In most cases, people stay Christians not out of fear of self-preservation against judgement, but rather they actually love Christ for who he is and what he is done, as John writes in his first letter:

"Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.... God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them. This is how love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment: In this world we are like Jesus. There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. We love because he first loved us. Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen. And he has given us this command: Anyone who loves God must also love their brother and sister."
that was perfect!!!
 

dan964

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Yes, and this is COMPLETELY at odds with the sense of morality we have EVOLVED to have. As I said, belief in something is not a moral decision. We do not control what we believe.
I would have to disagree with you on that; otherwise conversion from one belief system to another is an illusion; and you trying to argue with all the Muslims on the other threads that why Islam is wrong is pointless - clearly even you hold that you can convince someone
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You presuppose a particular sense of morality but evolution itself has no objective basis for that morality. The preconditions for logic and morality presuppose the existence of God. Because intelligible thoughts and concepts
e.g.
1. Logical absolutes exist
2. Logical absolutes are conceptual.
3. Concepts are mental - they exist in the mind only.
4. Logical absolutes would exist even if your mind did not.
5. From 4, therefore logical absolutes are transcendent.
6. From 3 and 5, logical absolutes are transcendent and conceptual they must exist in a transcendental mind.

The primacy of faith is precisely what we should expect to find in a false religion.
No it is precisely what YOU think makes a false religion, which is the point I'm making. I don't agree with your conditions on what makes a religion false, because you are not actually assessing the contents or the message of the religion; only the concept of religion and faith itself.
That is because you are thoroughly non-religious; and you misunderstand and have a different definition of 'faith' to that of which I've been working with.

The primacy of faith is important because God is personal, Jesus Christ is personal, the kind of knowledge invoked and involved in religion, is knowing a person not merely some fact or proposition (e.g. in science we have empirical knowledge and in maths we have logical absolutes and that).

Since Christ was a historical figure, that is why is based on events from 2000 years ago.
Nobody, anywhere, ever has provided justification why belief in bronze age stories in dead languages is a measure of morality,
If you disregard the words then Jesus. Belief is not merely accepting or rejection a proposition. You are accepting or rejecting a person.

God made us the way we are, he primed us to not believe in him
Maybe to be clearer, belief is not what Christians use a measure of morality, because morality is the wrong measure. In fact there is no-one good but God, so the reality is we use morality as the measure, no one measures up.

What the belief is, in Christianity, is depending or appealing to the only one who is able to make you right with God; who is Christ. And it comes from certainty that the things that did happen, actually did happen and therefore actually accomplished salvation, once for all time. So it is hardly a virtuous act but rather an admittance that we aren't good enough but there is one who is, and so we appeal to him.



Religions like christianity are clearly built around the world existing as it happens to exist. There's no reason why any of it needs to be the way it is.
Ironically most of Western thought comes out of Christianity. Most of today's society structure owes to ideas that were championed by people who believed the gospels. Even movements like existentialism and the Enlightenment arose in reaction or response to varying degrees Christianity and its claims about God and the world.

Why do we require oxygen? Obviously, to react with glucose to provide energy. And you will say "god filled the atmosphere with air so that humans have access to the oxygen they need to survive".
Again this demonstrates your problem. There can be multiple valid ways of explaining why something happens; and in the example you used, the two are not contradictory explanations. We don't use God to explain what we cannot understand via science, like kind of plugging our holes in our understanding (like a God of the gaps).

Questions of why, can have both scientific explanation but also the personal explanation. Why did you do X? You can talk about chemical processes in the brain and nature vs. nurture; or you simply talk about the idea of agency and "cause I felt like it" moments. Not everything can be reduced to a mere evolutional perspective.

But WHY do we have a need for oxygen to react with glucose? You're presupposing the world existing a certain way. God could have effortless created humans such that they do not need oxygen. He could have made us be perfectly happy surviving in an atmosphere full of H2S or in a cold vacuum. There's literally NO reason why things necessarily had to be this way. You're assuming the laws of nature inherently exist a certain way and god has to obey those laws when he created us, but that's nonsense, he created the laws in the first place. There's no reason we had to require oxygen, he could have made us so that glucose spontaneously releases energy with oxygen input.
Does there need to be a reason? This is a strawman argument and your argument is self-refuting. God made the laws of nature, and set how things were to be, including that we were to breathe and require oxygen to make glucose for energy. We do not as you suggest hold these laws to be greater than God himself as something is subject to. But rather the way things are is an expression of his aseity and autonomy.
There doesn't need to be a reason why this over that. Yes he could have, but he didn't - so its irrelevant. Christians still do science, we still conduct experiments to work out how God has made things.

The necessity of oxygen serves no purpose, and makes our life considerably worse because it makes us vulnerable to death by choking, drowning etc.



The reason we have a requirement for oxygen is because the atmosphere contains oxygen and so life evolved to make use of this oxygen. This is the way the world exists, but there's no reason it had to be this way if god created us. Christian explanations for this are rationalsions. The world exists a certain way and you bend your beliefs around them.
And how is naturalistic evolution not a rationalisation either? I could substitute "naturalistic explanations for this are rationalisations". The world exists a certain way and you bend your "beliefs" around them.

But I would say you go a step further and presuppose particular assumptions; like you presume the existence of life. What if it was some reason yet unknown to us in science, that we required oxygen.

And then we come to what I thin is the most fundamentally baffling part of religion: Why did god make us?
Again you are presume a morality that your worldview doesn't allow you to hold.
What if God's purposes including condemning a lot of ignorant people to hell?

"Therefore God has mercy on whom he wants to have mercy, and he hardens whom he wants to harden. One of you will say to me: “Then why does God still blame us? For who is able to resist his will?” But who are you, a human being, to talk back to God? “Shall what is formed say to the one who formed it, ‘Why did you make me like this?’” Does not the potter have the right to make out of the same lump of clay some pottery for special purposes and some for common use?

What if God, although choosing to show his wrath and make his power known, bore with great patience the objects of his wrath—prepared for destruction? What if he did this to make the riches of his glory known to the objects of his mercy, whom he prepared in advance for glory— 24 even us, whom he also called, not only from the Jews but also from the Gentiles?"

There's no way any of this makes sense other than it being the creation, however sincere, of crazed bronze age peoples
Your inability to believe or comprehend a religion or my faith does not make it a created concept. That is a bad bad fallacy.
 

dan964

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We don't know if this is true though. You simply accept it as being an accurate account of things because you want it to be.
No I accept it accurate because it explains the world rightly and is consistent. See my previous post for such rationale.

These are basically saying the same thing. If we cannot accept the testimony of those who witnessed such signs then yes we would have no 'supernatural methods'.
You don't, I do. That's a point of difference.

Except, in your analogy, the movie was screened a single time, and then can never be watched again.
Ah no, you can read of it, in the book which I doubt you have. So yes my analogy was not perfect.
I don't mindlessly accept what they wrote, otherwise I wouldn't be here overstating my case; I don't think the case for hallucination stacks up, the evidence doesn't support it.

This is entirely what we would expect from a fake religion, because new miracle performing prophets cannot be conjured on demand by god.
Jesus said it quite clearly, if you believe what Moses and the prophets wrote, then you wouldn't believe even if someone came back from the dead (the ultimate miracle).

So quite simply as I said before, people don't believe in a religion because of miracles, not affirm the existence of God based on miracles; because the skeptic will simply find some way to dismiss it as ludicrous; or as you say later, a dream.

his decision not to send more prophets is entirely arbitrary
Well he has sent Christians in the world to share his message. The difference between his message is the same as it was 2000 years ago. Hasn't changed. Christians have been sharing the same word for that duration of time.

contradicts the sense of justice and fairness with which we are imbued,
You have no rational explanation or basis for this.

when there is no reason he couldn't reveal himself directly to us. Explaining why he doesn't reveal himself directly to us is pure rationalization.
You wouldn't believe him even if he showed up at your doorstep. If God decided to make himself in a particular way, he is totally free to do so. Same reason you can choose to make yourself known to particular people and not to others.


but this is an absolutely fundamental problem with christianity. God knows before a person even comes into existence whether or not that person is going to believe in him, but then creates them anyway and judges them for not believing in him. What kind of morality is this?
Not just not believing, rejecting him. Atheists do not just reject God, they hate him too. They accuse God of being unfair or being unreasonable.

First of all, saying that he primarily relies on spoken communication is totally false. Canonically, he has spoken to a percentage of people who have ever existed that is barely above 0. We're literally talking about a few people out of around 100,000,000,000 people.
Where did you pull that number from?

As for writing, the best possible explanation for this is that he doesn't exist. This is exactly what we would expect to find if god isn't real. There's no reason this should necessarily be the case if he is real, though it would necessarily be the case if he weren't real because there are no other options.

Yeah, this makes zero sense.
Again this seems to be your main objection. That is doesn't make sense. Of course its not going to all make sense.

What we believe is a product of our brains, and our brains are a product of god. If he wanted us to believe in him, he could have made us in such a way that we believe in him. What you have failed to answer is this point: We cannot consciously choose what we believe in.
Literally. I am completely at the mercy of my brain, and if my brain does not find arguments for god compelling, then I CANNOT believe in it, even if my life depended on it.
Well there are examples of twins, where one is a Christian and one is not. So, go figure.
I don't think your argument holds water. And I'm saying this theologically, I'm saying scientifically. I don't think we can explain scientifically the origin of information and therefore beliefs in the brain. Yes we can say that our beliefs comes from our brains, but there are conscious thought processes involved in that; you clearly are not unconsciously bashing keys in a keyboard, you are I assume, taking the things to mull over things.

I will repeat and I've said this before in a different way, your whole argument is fatalistic which is logically problematic. I think it is incredibly morally problematic to suggest that humans have no accountability for what they think or what ideologies they hold from.

It means you can have no outrage for Muslims behaving the way they do, which I know you do, because they are just as you say "at the mercy of their brains". Hitler wasn't wrong, he was just speaking his mind. You cannot say that you are at the mercy of your brain; and then demand for justice; since they cannot be held accountable for something they are 'forced' to do.

Christians do not hold that God designed the brain to be preconditioned to unbelief. It is a not a design thing. While the will is not unimpeded (in the libertarian sense, like not influenced/not affected), Christians hold that humans have true agency - something which neuroscience does not explain at the moment; and maybe it will; and maybe it won't.

There are reasons why we tend towards unbelief, is because it is suppression.

You talk for instance of an innate morality or sense of justice, so where does that come from?
 

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I would have to disagree with you on that; otherwise conversion from one belief system to another is an illusion; and you trying to argue with all the Muslims on the other threads that why Islam is wrong is pointless - clearly even you hold that you can convince someone
No, I never said people can't be convinced, I am saying being convinced is not a conscious decision. If someone changes their mind, they are not choosing to change their mind, their mind is being changed because they find it compelling. If you held a gun to my head and told me to believe in god, I couldn't do it. I could tell you I believe in god, but I cannot make myself actually believe in god. Putting aside the absurdity of suggesting that belief in god is a moral decision, it's much more absurd to suggest something I have no control over is a conscious decision.
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You presuppose a particular sense of morality but evolution itself has no objective basis for that morality. The preconditions for logic and morality presuppose the existence of God.
I never said morality has an objective basis, because it doesn't. I said our SENSE of morality and justice. God does not need to exist for us to have a sense of morality. We inherently find some things bad and some things good. We evolved to feel this way because it enhanced individual and group success. The way christianity works is contrary to this, so god is to blame for creating a religion that does not align with the sense of morality and justice he gave us. This may surprise you, but almost nobody bases their sense of morality of logical derivation of right and wrong. All of this is merely a manifestation of how we naturally feel about things.

No it is precisely what YOU think makes a false religion, which is the point I'm making. I don't agree with your conditions on what makes a religion false,
I didn't say it makes it false, I'm saying that is what we should expect to find in a false religion. We can easily explain the existence of a religion like christianity without its supernatural claims being true, therefore it would be a coincidence if they were true.

because you are not actually assessing the contents or the message of the religion; only the concept of religion and faith itself.
The only thing to assess are the bronze age stories written in dead languages. That's literally all there is to Christianity. Without that, there is nothing, literally no reason to think any of it is true. As I have said multiple times now, there are numerous other examples of these kinds of stories outside of christianity, which means either many of them are true (which is unlikely because they are mutually exclusive e.g. polytheism & monotheism), christianity is the only example of this which is actually true (which is a completely arbitrary thing to decide), or, it shows that the existence of (alleged) convergent eye witness testimony is not sufficient proof for extraordinary claims.

If you disregard the words then Jesus. Belief is not merely accepting or rejection a proposition. You are accepting or rejecting a person.
It is not meaningful to talk about rejecting a person if you do not believe they exist (as an eternal holy prophet). To reject christ, I have to believe he exists.

Still, this does not get around that belief is not a choice, therefore it cannot be considered a moral action.

Maybe to be clearer, belief is not what Christians use a measure of morality, because morality is the wrong measure. In fact there is no-one good but God, so the reality is we use morality as the measure, no one measures up.

What the belief is, in Christianity, is depending or appealing to the only one who is able to make you right with God; who is Christ. And it comes from certainty that the things that did happen, actually did happen and therefore actually accomplished salvation, once for all time. So it is hardly a virtuous act but rather an admittance that we aren't good enough but there is one who is, and so we appeal to him.
God made us, god made us the way we are, he is the reason we "aren't good enough", he is the reason we fall short. He knew how humans were going to turn out, he is the reason we are the way we are, and then punishes us for falling short by HIS standards, and we fall short because of him in the first place. He's making us faulty and then offering to make us right as if that is an act of mercy or benevolence.

Ironically most of Western thought comes out of Christianity. Most of today's society structure owes to ideas that were championed by people who believed the gospels. Even movements like existentialism and the Enlightenment arose in reaction or response to varying degrees Christianity and its claims about God and the world.
This is utterly irrelevant to what I was saying. But in any case, the enlightenment tellingly occurred once christianity began to decline. Europe had great thinkers and philosophers long before christianity, and there's no reason for this not to be the case if christianity never came to exist.

Again this demonstrates your problem. There can be multiple valid ways of explaining why something happens; and in the example you used, the two are not contradictory explanations. We don't use God to explain what we cannot understand via science, like kind of plugging our holes in our understanding (like a God of the gaps).
I didn't say they were contradictory, I'm saying it makes no sense that god would make us require oxygen. That is an unnecessarily impediment created by god for no reason. The obvious explanation for this is that we evolved to suit the world, we weren't designed by god.
 

SylviaB

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Does there need to be a reason? This is a strawman argument and your argument is self-refuting. God made the laws of nature, and set how things were to be, including that we were to breathe and require oxygen to make glucose for energy.
And for what POSSIBLE reason would he create such laws? These are a tremendous and unnecessary disability for humans. "We evolved to adapt to the world being the way it happened to be" is a categorically better explanation for why humans have such fatal limitations.

We do not as you suggest hold these laws to be greater than God himself as something is subject to.
But ALL of your explanations for how god created humans and nature implicitly do treat them as greater than god. God gave us water to drink (why do we need water though?), god gave us air to breathe (why should he make us with a requirement for air?), god made the sun to provide energy for plants to grow (why should plants need sunlight to grow?). All of this is much more consistent with humans evolving to suit the world being the way it is, not with god intelligently designing things.

There doesn't need to be a reason why this over that. Yes he could have, but he didn't - so its irrelevant.
It's not irrelevant. It demonstrates that the world is much more consistent with naturalistic evolution than design.

And how is naturalistic evolution not a rationalisation either? I could substitute "naturalistic explanations for this are rationalisations". The world exists a certain way and you bend your "beliefs" around them.
Not at all. When I say you bend your beliefs around the world, what I mean is you believe something to begin with, independent of nature, and then you find a way to make nature consistent with these prior beliefs i.e. god is all powerful but bizarrely and needlessly designed humans to be hopelessly limited and vulnerable.

What the naturalists do is the opposite of this. There are no prior beliefs to make sense of. We look at the way the world is, and then develop a theory that explains it being the way it is. If something we believe is incompatible with observation, we discard that belief.

But I would say you go a step further and presuppose particular assumptions; like you presume the existence of life. What if it was some reason yet unknown to us in science, that we required oxygen.
If gold is all powerful, then we do not inherently require oxygen. He could have created the universe in such a way that we do not require oxygen. If god created us, then our need for oxygen is a deliberate choice on his part, one that makes zero sense.

Again you are presume a morality that your worldview doesn't allow you to hold.
No, I'm saying humans have a sense of morality and it is at odds with the demented scheme of punishment in the afterlife.

What if God's purposes including condemning a lot of ignorant people to hell?
What the fuck does this even mean?

God is the reason people are ignorant. He created us, he knew what we were going to turn out like, he could have made us non-ignorant.

If he KNEW people were going to be ignorant, he shouldn't have made them. But instead, he creates them and PUNISHES them for being the way he created them? That is psychotic! Why create people you know you are simply going to end up inflicting punishment on? Its the highest form of barbarism imaginable.

This is yet another example of you bending your beliefs around the way the world is. Some people are "ignorant", but instead of wondering why an omnipotent, omniscient god would deliberately create a flawed thing, you just assume that ignorant people happen to exist and then god reacts to the existence of these ignorant, flawed people as if they weren't the product of his own hand.

"Therefore God has mercy on whom he wants to have mercy, and he hardens whom he wants to harden. One of you will say to me: “Then why does God still blame us? For who is able to resist his will?” But who are you, a human being, to talk back to God? “Shall what is formed say to the one who formed it, ‘Why did you make me like this?’” Does not the potter have the right to make out of the same lump of clay some pottery for special purposes and some for common use?
It is utterly absurd that god cares so much about what we pathetic, insignificant little things think or believe. This is absolutely the kind of thing a man made religion would come up with, not something that is all powerful and created the universe.

What if God, although choosing to show his wrath and make his power known, bore with great patience the objects of his wrath—prepared for destruction? What if he did this to make the riches of his glory known to the objects of his mercy, whom he prepared in advance for glory— 24 even us, whom he also called, not only from the Jews but also from the Gentiles?"
Your inability to believe or comprehend a religion or my faith does not make it a created concept. That is a bad bad fallacy.
I comprehend it perfectly well. It's a nonsensical concept. He created flawed pathetic people who he knew weren't going to believe them, and punished them for it, even though it is necessarily his fault in the first place.

You have not provided any explanation for why humans exist, and you have not addressed my fundamental point that we cannot decide to believe in things or not. We either believe them, or we don't. I cannot decide to believe in god. You could tell me you will murder me and I could still not get myself to believe in god, any more than you can choose to believe that 1 + 1 =3.
 

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No I accept it accurate because it explains the world rightly and is consistent. See my previous post for such rationale.
No, as I have explained, the world makes no sense in a christian worldview. We were created for no good reason, knowingly designed to be hopelessly flawed, and then punished for things we have no choice over which are a result of god's design in the first place.

Ah no, you can read of it, in the book which I doubt you have. So yes my analogy was not perfect.
I don't mindlessly accept what they wrote, otherwise I wouldn't be here overstating my case; I don't think the case for hallucination stacks up, the evidence doesn't support it.
Yes, you can read of it in bronze age book written in dead languages. And of course hallucination stacks up, otherwise you are forced to accept countless examples of bronze age mythology, which you don't.

Jesus said it quite clearly, if you believe what Moses and the prophets wrote, then you wouldn't believe even if someone came back from the dead (the ultimate miracle).
Yeah, no, that's a load of shit. Taking the alleged word of somebody thousands of years ago writing in a language I don't understand is utterly different to witnessing something first hand. They're not even close. This is another one of those sad rationalizations for why no direct evidence can be provided to people. "Oh well if I showed you you wouldn't believe anyway, so Im not going to show you". Well, why not try? These are people's SOULS we are talking about, what kind of benevolent god punishes people without giving them every chance to succeed?

So quite simply as I said before, people don't believe in a religion because of miracles, not affirm the existence of God based on miracles; because the skeptic will simply find some way to dismiss it as ludicrous; or as you say later, a dream.
I am dismissing the testimony of what other experienced as dreams and hallucinations, because there are thousands of people throughout history who claimed to have spoken with different gods, and even according to you most examples of this must be false because they're incompatible with christianity. Experiencing it firsthand is totally different. If god knew people wouldn't accept his existence, hit's HIS fault for designing us this way. He knew this would happen and it is unspeakably cruel to send people to HELL because of something that is his fault.

Well he has sent Christians in the world to share his message. The difference between his message is the same as it was 2000 years ago. Hasn't changed. Christians have been sharing the same word for that duration of time.
There is no reason why he couldn't have sent more prophets. None. If he had, you wouldn't be confused by this. You wouldn't be questioning why he would do that. It would make total sense to you. Because yet again, your are bending your beliefs around reality.

And no, the message is dramatically different today than it was 2,000 years ago.

You have no rational explanation or basis for this.
For fuck's sake dude, there are entire scientific books written on this subject: https://www.angusrobertson.com.au/b...ItZcCC2roDxWIRENdLgtNxvkSBzmcSIRoCzNwQAvD_BwE

But what's the alternative? God gave us our sense of morality? That's even worse! He behaves in a way that directly contradicts the morality he gave us!

You wouldn't believe him even if he showed up at your doorstep.
Of course I would. Directly witnessing something is COMPLETELY DIFFERENT to believing in ancient stories.

If God decided to make himself in a particular way, he is totally free to do so. Same reason you can choose to make yourself known to particular people and not to others.
That's moronic. I do not send people to HELL for not believing in me. God punishes people for not believing in him, so in what universe is it fair that he doesn't give us good evidence he exists.

Not just not believing, rejecting him. Atheists do not just reject God, they hate him too. They accuse God of being unfair or being unreasonable.
I think the description of god you provide me is horrifying, which it is judging by sense of morality, which is the morality you claim GOD gave me in the first place?

Let's just recap:

-Omnipotent and omniscient god creates flawed people he knows will be flawed and who won't believe in them
- Gives us a sense of morality and then makes a system of punishment and reward that is totally at odds with this religion he created
- He punishes us for not believing in him, even though belief is not a choice and is ultimately a result of his design

God could have made everyone a good person and sent them all straight to heaven. There's literally no reason not to do this except for a worldview where an omnipotent being is bizarrely human-like in his pettiness.


Where did you pull that number from?
.

Well there are examples of twins, where one is a Christian and one is not. So, go figure.
No, not "go figure". Identical twins are not identical down to the atomic level. They are not even completely genetically identical, and they're physiological different due to environmental differences.

I don't think your argument holds water. And I'm saying this theologically, I'm saying scientifically. I don't think we can explain scientifically the origin of information and therefore beliefs in the brain. Yes we can say that our beliefs comes from our brains, but there are conscious thought processes involved in that; you clearly are not unconsciously bashing keys in a keyboard, you are I assume, taking the things to mull over things.
We can't explain it fully yet. But we can be 100% certain that we cannot consciously decide to believe things. This is absolutely not up for debate.

You cannot "Decide" that you believe 1 + 1 =2. You cannot "decide" that you believe in the waster bunny. You either believe these things or you don't.

I will repeat and I've said this before in a different way, your whole argument is fatalistic which is logically problematic. I think it is incredibly morally problematic to suggest that humans have no accountability for what they think or what ideologies they hold from.
You accuse me of making fallacies, then you straight up say what I'm saying isn't true because you don't want it to be true.

It means you can have no outrage for Muslims behaving the way they do, which I know you do, because they are just as you say "at the mercy of their brains". Hitler wasn't wrong, he was just speaking his mind. You cannot say that you are at the mercy of your brain; and then demand for justice; since they cannot be held accountable for something they are 'forced' to do.
People ARE at the mercy of their brains. It's still perfectly rational to stop people from doing harm, by either keeping them away from you, removing them from society (putting them in jail) or killing them if need be (e.g. Hitler). Punishment only makes sense in the sense of removing people from society so they cannot do harm, reforming their behavior or as a deterrent. It makes no sense as punishment for the sake of punishment.

Christians do not hold that God designed the brain to be preconditioned to unbelief. It is a not a design thing.
He is omniscient. He KNEW people would turn out to be unbelievers. He could have made everyone automatically believe in him. There is no reason not to do this, because belief is not a moral decision and makes zero sense to punish people for not believing something.

While the will is not unimpeded (in the libertarian sense, like not influenced/not affected), Christians hold that humans have true agency - something which neuroscience does not explain at the moment; and maybe it will; and maybe it won't.
We don't have true agency. We CAN'T have true agency. It's logically incoherent. I already explained this but you ignored it. It would require thinking about something before you think about it. It makes no logical sense, god or no god. It is more fundamental than issues of neuroscience, its a nonsensical concept.

You talk for instance of an innate morality or sense of justice, so where does that come from?
We evolved to have brains that have inherent beliefs and behaviors, morality being one of them. If something appears morally wrong to us, its not because we thought about it logically and decided it is wrong. We instinctively FEEL it is wrong. I don't get angry if I see somebody robbing an old lady because I logically reasoned that this is immoral, it is in inherent response, the same way that fear or disgust are. There are perfectly obvious explanations for how such a set of reactions could have evolved. Not being okay with people raping and robbing increases your groups evolutionary fitness. Being afraid of dangerous things makes you more likely to avoid death. Being disgusted means you won't eat things that are harmful to your health etc.
 

dan964

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And for what POSSIBLE reason would he create such laws? These are a tremendous and unnecessary disability for humans.
"We evolved to adapt to the world being the way it happened to be" is a categorically better explanation for why humans have such fatal limitations.
...
Words like categorically better make no sense unless you qualify the standards by which we determine "what is better".

Let me logically break down your argument:

1. The world is such a way that humans require oxygen and water.
2. If God exists he could have created it such that humans don't require water and oxygen.
3. Because there is no scientific/apparent reason for why God created it such that (1) holds
it is bad explanation for why is the way it world.
4. Therefore random mostly unguided process (evolution) is more consistent/better.

The implict assumption in (4) is that we adapt to match the environment around us.
That is life evolved or originated in such a way to adapt to the environment around us.

It is a fallacy of false cause. Because the presence of oxygen does not necessitate the presence of life that depends on oxygen.
So the explanation provided in (4) is incomplete at best. If there was a sudden explosion of oxygen 2.1 billion years ago similar to the Cambrian explosion.

Something (the Cambrian explosion) which I don't think from my reading that evolution theory is able to account for. Evolution might explain why information changes,
but it does not explain the origin of that information.

Secondly, it commits a categorical error. Most theists are not "God of the gaps" where by in the lack of evidence or explanation that we then invoke God as kind of intellectual laziness.
This is factually untrue, because many Christians historically and nowadays are involved in science and understanding the world.

The reason it is a categorical error; is because one is answering the 'how' question and one is answering the 'who' question. Or more similar there are different categories of explanation. For e.g. why did I drive to Sydney today. You could give the chemical/neuroscience explanation about synapses in our brain while informative, does not explain things like motives, purposes, affections, relationships and other psychological factors that may have affected things. To put it simply I drove to Sydney to catch up with a friend. These are 2 different explanations. Which is more meaningful? Depends on what you are measuring.

To actually address your questions. When we ask (2), there is assumption that each possible outcome is either equally good, and worth considering. But actually only one outcome is pragmatic; that is of (1), life breathing oxygen. We can always that question what if and hypothetical but we need to take care. Only once we have counter examples in nature, then it becomes maybe relevant.

Even then asking 'Why did God decide to create it this particular way?', which is what (2) is asking, is a different category of question to 'Why is it this way' because the former requires knowing the mind of God; the latter does not require the same level of knowledge.

A more detailed explanation, however God determined it was good that humans breathe oxygen consistent with an atmosphere of oxygen.
as it is written: "God saw all that he had made, and it was very good."

The only real difference between that and the naturalistic explanation, is the latter is a mostly unguided process based on random mutations;
(while the other is a directed process whereby God intentionally set that life should have breathe, and the atmosphere was going to contain the necessary gases and elements for life to breathe and to therefore speak and have their being).

(There is obviously more to the latter answer, because God intend for us to breathe and speak has actually a purpose behind it that is theological and relational - but that is a separate post)

So there is no basis for the conclusion of (3)

Aside: while I personally don't hold to this as strongly, there are some Christians who hold that God was involved in evolutionary process;
that evolutionary process is not merely unguided or random, that actually is directed and 'assisted' if you like. I've haven't done enough reading as to whether I accept their positions.

Edited: reworded some stuff for conciseness.
 
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dan964

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You have not provided any explanation for why humans exist, and you have not addressed my fundamental point that we cannot decide to believe in things or not. We either believe them, or we don't. I cannot decide to believe in god. You could tell me you will murder me and I could still not get myself to believe in god, any more than you can choose to believe that 1 + 1 =3.
1. Why humans exist - No I haven't, but this is the first time you've mentioned. This probably deserves a post on its own.

For brevity, short answer - humans exist to the glory of God. Refer to the quotation at the bottom of this post https://community.boredofstudies.org/threads/does-god-exist.106355/post-7372916
[which is from Romans 9].

2. Firstly the burden of proof is on you. You have made a claim that is unsubstantiated (in the context here). I'll respond below to this...

But what's the alternative? God gave us our sense of morality? That's even worse! He behaves in a way that directly contradicts the morality he gave us!
Lets address your second argument.

1. You claim that we have an inherit morality or moral compass.
2. You claim, even if God exists, then our brains are "determined" to belief or unbelief (fatalism)
3. It is immoral to expect someone to do something they cannot do (an absolute of (1))
4A This extends to believing in God which SylviaB is unable to do according to (2))
4B. God is a moron to expect us to believe in him on the basis on "no evidence".

Putting aside that the burden of proof for claims (1) and (2) fall on you, (and posting a link to a book only shows that people have written on this, but you need to present the argument)

Putting aside that clearly we don't agree on what constitutes valid evidence; with you being limited to what you 'see' and 'hear' or can
explain with naturalism aka if you explain scientifically it isn't true/real etc. (I reject such view as narrow-minded).

The reason why this argument doesn't hold is because both (1) in naturalistic worldview presumes the existence of God. (see my numbered points 1-7)
here: https://community.boredofstudies.org/threads/does-god-exist.106355/post-7372916


Even if we grant you (1), how we would even begin to validate or justify your claims of innate morality absolutes such as (3)?

The main issue though is (2) is an unfounded claim that completely undermines (1) anyways.

From (2), if our behaviour, thinking, belief e.g. what an extremist Muslims believe, is fixed and predetermined by brain chemical makeup.
(I'd like to see the science behind this); then logically you cannot (consistently) complain that for e.g. a extremist Muslim being consistent with their internal wiring
is violent nor demand that he be held accountable for his actions; we cannot hold him responsible; because it would be immoral for us to expect him to do something he is unable to do;
he is simply doing what his predetermined brain. This is basically (3) applied to a different situation.

Obviously this kind of fatalistic thinking is not consistent and needs to be rethinked or we need to abandon the idea of moral absolutes (the latter of which has massive implications)
So actually the thing you claim is sensible is absurd and futile.

Why are we held accountable for unbelief? For those who accept what God has to say on this matter:
"The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness,
since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. 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."
For although they knew [of] God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened..."
(These two qualitys a transcendental mind can be determined logically through observing as per the 7 point argument above)
(Basically the existence of God should be self-existent from certain things in nature understood correctly; e.g. the concept of logic)

If we reject (2) (and consequently (4A), then (3) is not as much a problem. Because we can definitely conclude that belief is something impossible.
But this is where we hit a slight problem, what is belief?
Belief is not merely accepting the existence of God, it is the idea of love, commitment, trust and acceptance of a person; the antithesis being hate, dischord, rejection. Some of theses involve decisions some involve convincement.

We are left with (4B) we then ask the question about evidence. The Christian worldview presents it like this:
"From one man he [God] made all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands.
God did this so that they would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from any one of us. ‘For in him we live and move and have our being.’ As some of your own poets have said, ‘We are his offspring.’
'Therefore since we are God’s offspring, we should not think that the divine being is like gold or silver or stone—an image made by human design and skill. In the past God overlooked such ignorance, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent.
For he has set a day when he will judge the world with justice by the man he has appointed. He has given proof of this to everyone by raising him from the dead"

So the proof that God will judge the world for their ignorance which has previously overlooked; is by the resurrection. Examine the case for that, disprove the resurrection and Christianity is a stack of cards fallen over.
Christians are those who believed a particular non-fungible event in history happened, and that event has significance/relevance.
Christians are those who particular the word of Christ in what he says about God.

If you look closely at your posts, you actually give the actual reason for why you don't believe: because you reject the word about God from Christ.
Nothing to do with inability, since we are all perfectly capable of reading. It is a lack of desire to believe or commit to it as you yourself said:
"If you held a gun to my head and told me to believe in god, I couldn't do it." (you could not because you would not because you don't find it compelling).

If someone changes their mind, they are not choosing to change their mind, their mind is being changed because they find it compelling.
This is delving in area of philosophy which I haven't done heaps of reading in, as to the idea of 'doxastic voluntarism' vs. 'doxastic involuntarism' whether we have any control over what we believe in; is something I might do some reading into.

What I've merely suggested is the extreme interpretation of the later which is what we you have presented is logically incoherent with the other claims you make.
 

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It is a fallacy of false cause. Because the presence of oxygen does not necessitate the presence of life that depends on oxygen.
So the explanation provided in (4) is incomplete at best. If there was a sudden explosion of oxygen 2.1 billion years ago similar to the Cambrian explosion.
This really doesn't prove what you seem to think it does. All it says is that oxygen is necessary but insufficient for the evolution of advanced life. This doesn't contradict any of what I'm arguing. It absolutely does NOT mean that some all-powerful deity was necessary. And to say god played his role in this again is a really bizarre way of looking at things, in which an all-powerful being needlessly engages in this outrageously convoluted process to create humans.

What I'm arguing is that the reason we use oxygen to derive energy from food is that the state of affairs that happened to exist on earth made this the most effective way for life to develop, and probably the only way for advanced life to develop. It can't have been any other way in naturalistic evolution because it is proceeding in a universe with certain physical laws and the presence of certain elements in certain molecular arrangements. That we are dependent on oxygen is perfectly consistent with naturalistic evolution. Given the world existing a certain way, things could not have been any different. There was no way for evolution to contravene the laws of physics and find a way to allow us to spontaneously metabolise nutrients.

There's no reason it had to be this way if god created humans, and its hard to imagine why it was. Our dependence on oxygen is not a benefit for humans, its a grave weakness. Its the sort of thing that we should expect to exist only if it had to. If we were all-powerful and were building reality from the ground up, so to speak, including all of the laws of physics and the nature of reality itself. We could create humans to not need external sources of energy, let alone ones that require a constant supply of oxygen. Even if we decided to make people eat food, we could have made humans be able to metabolise their food without oxygen or any other gas.

Seriously, I don't think you're grasping this point: There's no reason food molecules need to be reacted with oxygen for energy to be released except if you assume the existence of certain physical laws that require it. But if we're building up reality from scratch, there is absolutely NO reason for these particular physical laws to exist. If god created us, it is necessarily the case that he deliberately reality and humans exist in such a way that oxygen was necessary, which is to say he deliberately and needlessly made us extremely flawed and vulnerable

Something (the Cambrian explosion) which I don't think from my reading that evolution theory is able to account for. Evolution might explain why information changes, but it does not explain the origin of that information.
Secondly, it commits a categorical error. Most theists are not "God of the gaps" where by in the lack of evidence or explanation that we then invoke God as kind of intellectual laziness. This is factually untrue, because many Christians historically and nowadays are involved in science and understanding the world.
Except your first point is literally a god of the gaps argument. You're saying that we (supposedly) cannot explain the Cambrian explosion in naturalistic terms, therefore it must have been god. That's it. That's what god of the gaps is.

To actually address your questions. When we ask (2), there is assumption that each possible outcome is either equally good, and worth considering. But actually only one outcome is pragmatic; that is of (1), life breathing oxygen. We can always that question what if and hypothetical but we need to take care. Only once we have counter examples in nature, then it becomes maybe relevant.
No, it's absolutely relevant to a discussion on the likelihood of the existence of god. The world exists in a way that is inconsistent with god, therefore that is an argument against god's existence.

Even then asking 'Why did God decide to create it this particular way?', which is what (2) is asking, is a different category of question to 'Why is it this way' because the former requires knowing the mind of God; the latter does not require the same level of knowledge.

A more detailed explanation, however God determined it was good that humans breathe oxygen consistent with an atmosphere of oxygen.
as it is written: "God saw all that he had made, and it was very good."
Yeah, this whole "we can't understand the mind of god" is a TOTAL cop out. If we cannot understand why god made us in such a fatally flawed manner, we cannot understand anything to do with e.g. Christianity, we cannot trust that moses or whoever else allegedly received the word of god understood or communicated it properly. How could he? How are we pathetic flawed humans supposed to know what god wants us to do or behave? And we are the way we are because of how god made us, so it is totally bizarre that he would create us to have a way of thinking that is totally inconsistent with the way he behaves.

The only real difference between that and the naturalistic explanation, is the latter is a mostly unguided process based on random mutations;
The fact it is unguided is irrelevant. You're assuming that humans had to be the final product of evolution on earth. They didn't unless god existed. If the world had been different, other species would have existed. It by chance that humans are things that happened to exist, but there isn't any significance to this unless you assume the point of evolution is to create humans, which it wasn't.

As for the randomness of mutations, there's no reason to think that random mutations wouldn't lead very gradually to more advanced forms of life. The mutations are random, or at least random in a highly constrained manner, but only those mutations that happen to have a positive impact continue to exist and get passed on. Its not that everyone had these same random mutations which happened to code for advanced life.

(while the other is a directed process whereby God intentionally set that life should have breathe, and the atmosphere was going to contain the necessary gases and elements for life to breathe and to therefore speak and have their being).
My whole point is PRECISELY that none of these elements actually even are necessary unless god decided to make them necessary. You're saying life came to exist because he created the things which were necessary for life to exist, but it was he who decided what was necessary in the first place. Life could have existed without these elements if he wanted. He could have created life spontaneously.

Aside: while I personally don't hold to this as strongly, there are some Christians who hold that God was involved in evolutionary process;
that evolutionary process is not merely unguided or random, that actually is directed and 'assisted' if you like. I've haven't done enough reading as to whether I accept their positions.
Yeah, that's nonsense. We can explain evolution in strictly naturalistic terms. There are some gaps that have not been explained, but you said you're opposed to god of the gaps arguments so you cannot be arguing that these gaps prove god exists. What absolutely does not exist are events in evolutionary history that contradict our scientific understanding of the world. The gaps in evolution are a lack of data, they are absolutely not the existence of data that contradict the previously established laws of science that we can't explain i.e. examples where god intervened.

And yet again, the idea that an all powerful god would use evolution to create humans, and in such a way where he had to periodically direct it through millions of species over some 3.8 billion years is insane. He has the power to create us spontaneously and yet he used this outrageously convoluted method absolutely reeks of Christians moulding their views around the world even if these views don't make a lot of sense as a result.
 

SylviaB

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For brevity, short answer - humans exist to the glory of God. Refer to the quotation at the bottom of this post
This is a meaningless statement. How does the existence of humans bring glory to god? By creating tiny, flawed, insignificant little creatures, this "brings glory" to an all powerful being? Really? And for whose benefit is the glory being brought? Does an all powerful god need to create insignificant little creatures to feel good about himself? To earn the esteem of angels in heaven? Why on earth would he do that?

2. Firstly the burden of proof is on you. You have made a claim that is unsubstantiated (in the context here). I'll respond below to this...
No, the burden of proof is on you to demonstrate that humans can literally will beliefs into existence. There is no evidence of this, and it contradicts the experience of virtually everyone on earth. And even if I can only know that this is true of myself personally, that would be enough. I know I cannot choose what I believe, so it absurd to treat my belief or disbelief in a certain thing as a moral failing.

If I hold a gun to your head and tell you to believe in the easter bunny, can you do it? Can you choose to sincerely, truly, genuinely believe that the easter bunny exists? You can want to believe it exists, you can say you believe it exists. But whether you actually believe it exists deep down is something entirely out of your control.

The burden of proof is on you because its not even clear what consciously deciding to change your mind even means.

Everything we think or feel consciously comes from our unconscious brain as the product of some neurophysiological events that can be functionally described as performing some sort of information processing. Which is to say, our conscious experiences are an effect that arises from unconscious causes. To consciously choose what we believe would mean that an effect, conscious thought, is driving unconscious information processing, a cause; that is, an effect is controlling the thing causing it. This is nonsensical and necessarily cannot be the case.

4B. God is a moron to expect us to believe in him on the basis on "no evidence".
1. I'm not saying god is a moron, I'm saying that a god which holds us morally accountable for things we cannot control is nonsensical.
2. My criticism is more fundamental than belief without evidence. If you show somebody evidence and they still don't believe, this is still not a decision. Their brain either finds it compelling or it doesn't. To say we can consciously decide these things is nonsensical.

Even if we grant you (1), how we would even begin to validate or justify your claims of innate morality absolutes such as (3)?
Morality is fundamentally how we FEEL about a subject. We cannot choose how we feel about something. I do not have a "moral" aversion to murder because I decided there are reasons why murder is wrong. There are logical reasons I think it is wrong, but fundamentally I have an aversion to it for non-conscious reasons.

These reasons may not necessarily be innate, though some almost assuredly are. But even if they are the result of 'society' or something, how is that under my control? It's not. And god made our brains capable of having a certain moral viewpoint, and he KNEW when he created us that at least some us of us would helplessly end up having this moral viewpoint. And then he punishes us because of this moral viewpoint which we have no control over?

From (2), if our behaviour, thinking, belief e.g. what an extremist Muslims believe, is fixed and predetermined by brain chemical makeup.
(I'd like to see the science behind this); then logically you cannot (consistently) complain that for e.g. a extremist Muslim being consistent with their internal wiring is violent nor demand that he be held accountable for his actions; we cannot hold him responsible; because it would be immoral for us to expect him to do something he is unable to do; he is simply doing what his predetermined brain. This is basically (3) applied to a different situation.
1. What you're saying isn't actually proof against what I'm arguing. Whether or not we can hold terrorists responsible for their actions is irrelevant to whether it is true or not. It's either true or or isn't, the societal impacts of it being true do not affect its truth value.

2. I'm not saying they're morally responsible. I'm saying they're doing harm, so its rational to get away from them or stop them from doing harm. Punishment makes no sense as a strictly punitive measure. It makes sense to remove people from society to stop them doing harm, to dissuade others from doing harm, or to rehabilitate people (if possible) so they do not do harmful behaviours again.

Why are we held accountable for unbelief? For those who accept what God has to say on this matter:
"The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness,
This is merely presupposing that people are "supressing the truth by their "wickedness" ". There is no basis for this.

since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen,
But it HASN'T been clearly seen. Some people saw something that their unconscious minds found compelling. How can something "invisible" AND "clearly seen"? Its a contradiction of terms.

For although they knew [of] God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened..."
Yeah, no, this is moronic. I do not know of god anymore than I know of the easter bunny. I'm not being facetious , this is literally true. I have never seen god and I cannot make myself believe in god.

(Basically the existence of God should be self-existent from certain things in nature understood correctly; e.g. the concept of logic)
No, this is absolutely, 100% false.

If we reject (2) (and consequently (4A), then (3) is not as much a problem. Because we can definitely conclude that belief is something impossible.
But this is where we hit a slight problem, what is belief?
Belief is not merely accepting the existence of God, it is the idea of love, commitment, trust and acceptance of a person; the antithesis being hate, dischord, rejection. Some of theses involve decisions some involve convincement.
This is even more nonsensical. I cannot "love and accept" that which I do not believe in, and I cannot choose what I believe in. Which makes punishment for not "accepting god" completely nonsensical.


We are left with (4B) we then ask the question about evidence. The Christian worldview presents it like this:

'Therefore since we are God’s offspring, we should not think that the divine being is like gold or silver or stone—an image made by human design and skill. In the past God overlooked such ignorance, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent.
Says who? Where is the evidence that god commands this? There is none.

So the proof that God will judge the world for their ignorance
For the hundredth time, god calling humans ignorant makes no sense. He made us the way we are. He knew how we would turn out. We have no control over what we what think or believe. It is god's fault if we do not turn out as he wants us to. He is punishing us for his own actions.

which has previously overlooked; is by the resurrection.
I have no reason to believe that the resurrection happened. I have no reason to believe the alleged writings of the alleged experiences of alleged historical figures written in dead languages I don't understand, any more than I do the various other goofy claims of millions of other people throughout history which you also reject.

Christians are those who believed a particular non-fungible event in history happened, and that event has significance/relevance.
Christians are those who particular the word of Christ in what he says about God.
Again, I literally CANNOT CHOOSE TO BELIEVE IT HAPPENED. I CANNOT MAKE MYSELF BELIEVE IT HAPPENED, NO MATTER HOW MUCH I WANTED TO. It is not something I have control over.

If you look closely at your posts, you actually give the actual reason for why you don't believe: because you reject the word about God from Christ.
I do not even know if Christ even existed in the first place. I sure as shit have never heard anything this potentially non-existent person ever said.
 

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Nothing to do with inability, since we are all perfectly capable of reading. It is a lack of desire to believe or commit to it as you yourself said:

"If you held a gun to my head and told me to believe in god, I couldn't do it." (you could not because you would not because you don't find it compelling).
What does it even mean to say "I would not". My unconscious mind either finds what you're saying compelling or it does not. It's out of my control. I cannot choose to believe it is true. If you understand arithmetic, you cannot "choose" to believe 1 + 1 = 3 even if you wanted it to be true. Seriously, are you going to sit there and tell me you could choose to sincerely believe that 1 + 1 =3? Seriously?

But even if it were a matter of desire: How could I possibly be responsible for my desires? Desires absolutely cannot be a product of choice. I mean, even if we have free will, its always described as a matter of us choosing to act on our desires or not. It's not the thing that we choose. Our desires exist and we (supposedly) make choices regarding those pre-existing desires.

And what the fuck does it mean that "we are all perfectly capable of reading"? So fucking what? Two people with the exact same level of literacy can read the same passage of text and believe two totally different things about it. Ability to read is totally irrelevant. Do you believe everything you read? OF COURSE NOT.


This is delving in area of philosophy which I haven't done heaps of reading in, as to the idea of 'doxastic voluntarism' vs. 'doxastic involuntarism' whether we have any control over what we believe in; is something I might do some reading into.
It's not even clear how we could possibly control our actions, let alone our beliefs.

I've explained in three other posts already: To consciously control our actions, we would need to think about our actions before we've thought about them. Say you decide to put your hand on your head. Why did you do this? Because you decided to. How did you decide to? You consciously thought about it. Where did that conscious thought come from? You thought about it....but where did that thought come from? It's an infinite regress. Our conscious mind does not control our actions. It bears witness to the decisions that our unconscious mind makes in a way that makes it feel like "we"(our conscious self) "made" them even though that logically cannot be what has happened

To consciously control our actions, it would mean our conscious thoughts are having a causal impact on our unconscious mind (that executes the actions). But its necessarily true that our conscious thought is generated by our unconscious mind in the first place, it doesn't just spontaneously appear. So the cause is the unconscious mind, and the effect is conscious thought. Conscious thought cannot play a causal role on the thing causing it, because that would mean the unconscious mind is causing a change in itself. The unconscious mind obviously can and does affect itself, its just that there's no room for the conscious mind is the causal chain.
 

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