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Guest Keith-Marshall,Mo

Why would a god create an imperfect being and then punish them for being imperfect?

Thier only salvation is to believe other imperfect beings who say they have all the answers in ancient writings that are no more believable then a Harry Potter novel.

If you would like to play god the home game, go buy an ant farm. Put in the ants. Tell the ants that if they love you then they won't crawl out.

Then open the top and punish (crush) those ants who would dare crawl out even though you already knew what the outcome would be. Silly? No more silly than any religious beliefs that I have heard. You have every right to believe what you want to believe you do have the right to impose those beliefs on those who choose not to participate. How come so many people don't understand that simple little concept?

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Guest Keith-Marshall,Mo
Why would a god create an imperfect being and then punish them for being imperfect?

    Thier only salvation is to believe other imperfect beings who say they have all the answers in ancient writings that are no more believable then a Harry Potter novel.

  If you would like to play god the home game, go buy an ant farm. Put in the ants. Tell the ants that if they love you then they won't crawl out.

    Then open the top and punish (crush) those ants who would dare crawl out even though you already knew what the outcome would be. Silly? No more silly than any religious beliefs that I have heard. You have every right to believe what you want to believe you do have the right to impose those beliefs on those who choose not to participate. How come so many people don't understand that simple little concept?

"Yikes!" I meant that "you don't have the right to impose beliefs" Sorry for the typo.

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Guest Red-Letter Edition
Why would a god create an imperfect being and then punish them for being imperfect?

    Thier only salvation is to believe other imperfect beings who say they have all the answers in ancient writings that are no more believable then a Harry Potter novel.

  If you would like to play god the home game, go buy an ant farm. Put in the ants. Tell the ants that if they love you then they won't crawl out.

    Then open the top and punish (crush) those ants who would dare crawl out even though you already knew what the outcome would be. Silly? No more silly than any religious beliefs that I have heard. You have every right to believe what you want to believe you do have the right to impose those beliefs on those who choose not to participate. How come so many people don't understand that simple little concept?

Keith, you criticize Christians for imposing their views. However, what I have observed on this forum is Atheists opening topics of discussion critical to Christianity and then inviting Christians to respond. When the Christian responds, they shoot back, "Don't impose your views!" It really doesn't sound like you want to discuss anything at all Keith. You merely want to smear Christianity and claim victory.

By the way, the topics you question have been dealt with Keith.

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Guest Red-Letter Edition
Why would a god create an imperfect being and then punish them for being imperfect?

Keith, I have no idea. I am so glad the God of the Bible didn't establish the world that way.

God created man perfect. He was actually created in the image of God:

"So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them." Genesis 1:27

An additional verse that points to man being created perfect is Genesis 1:31:

"God saw all that he made, and it was very good..."

Also, God cannot be blamed for man being imperfect. Man rebelled against God choosing to eat the forbidden fruit. As a result of this rebellion (sin), man was corrupted and no longer perfect. His very nature had changed. He had become a sinner. This act not only corrupted Adam and Eve, but their future offspring. Because Adam and Eve were now by nature sinners, they gave birth to sinners.

"Therefore, just as sin entered into the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all have sinned." Romans 5:12

This verse teaches that the sin nature is passed on to each successive generation through Adam.

Unfortunately, the Bible says:

"For the wages of sin is death..." Romans 6:23

However, God loved us and did not forsake us, he provided for man's redemption!

The second half of Roman's 6:23 reads:

"...but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord."

See also Romans 5:8:

"But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us."

This is why the individual "must be born again" as stated by Jesus in John 3:3. He has the sin nature of Adam which is under the penalty of sin. He therefore, by faith, must receive the new nature of Christ to be saved.

In closing and in answer to your question, man is not punished for being imperfect, he is punished for sin. However, a loving God has provided for sinful man's redemption.

Keith, you may not believe these things, however, the truth is that you have misrepresented the biblical text. It is a far cry from your ant farm illustration.

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Guest Paul
Keith, you criticize Christians for imposing their views.  However, what I have observed on this forum is Atheists opening topics of discussion critical to Christianity and then inviting Christians to respond.  When the Christian responds, they shoot back, "Don't impose your views!" It really doesn't sound like you want to discuss anything at all Keith.  You merely want to smear Christianity and claim victory.

By the way, the topics you question have been dealt with Keith.

That dodge won't fly. I'm sure Keith knows that you may respond and disagree on this forum. As I read him, he was referring to how so-called Christians force their views on the rest of us in other settings, like trying to engraft Christian theology onto the law and preaching religion as the teacher in a public school.

I find it interesting that you don't respond at all to his main point. It makes a point that isn't addressed on the other topics. Just because it states another critique of your theology doesn't mean it's the same critique. It isn't.

As for those other topics, you haven't addressed them. You've dodged them.

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Guest Paul
Keith, I have no idea.  I am so glad the God of the Bible didn't establish the world that way.

God created man perfect.  He was actually created in the image of God:

"So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them."  Genesis 1:27

An additional verse that points to man being created perfect is Genesis 1:31:

"God saw all that he made, and it was very good..."

Also, God cannot be blamed for man being imperfect.  Man rebelled against God  choosing to eat the forbidden fruit.  As a result of this rebellion (sin), man was corrupted and no longer perfect. His very nature had changed.  He had become a sinner.  This act not only corrupted Adam and Eve, but their future offspring.  Because Adam and Eve were now by nature sinners, they gave birth to sinners.

"Therefore, just as sin entered into the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all have sinned."  Romans 5:12

This verse teaches that the sin nature is passed on to each successive generation through Adam. 

Unfortunately, the Bible says:

"For the wages of sin is death..."  Romans 6:23

However, God loved us and did not forsake us, he provided for man's redemption!

The second half of Roman's 6:23 reads:

"...but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord."

See also Romans 5:8:

"But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us."

This is why the individual "must be born again" as stated by Jesus in John 3:3.  He has the sin nature of Adam which is under the penalty of sin.  He therefore, by faith, must receive the new nature of Christ to be saved.

In closing and in answer to your question, man is not punished for being imperfect, he is punished for sin.  However, a loving God has provided for sinful man's redemption.

Keith, you may not believe these things, however, the truth is that you have misrepresented the biblical text.  It is a far cry from your ant farm illustration.

No, you're the one who has misrepresented the text. You need an explanation for the unexplainable, so you make one up, or more aptly, you sign onto one that someone else made up.

By definition, a perfect being wouldn't sin. If he sins, he was never perfect in the first place. That's a strikeout.

Second, who allowed man's nature to change? Yet again you're making up a story because you have to explain the problems of the world. You're unwilling to blame God, but perfectly willing to blame your fellow man. It's not about what's true. It's about you preserving your story and salving your own insecurities.

Third, you've just pulled the equivalent of the shell game that con artists play on the street. According to you, man was created perfect, but Adam screwed up, causing man to be imperfect. But I didn't do it, and you didn't do it. Adam and Eve did it, according to you, so why are you blaming us? So now we're right back where we started. You're blaming humanity for being imperfect, which is essentially what Keith asked you and you tried to deny. It's in our nature according to you, and yet you insist that we're to blame for it, to such an extent that we deserve eternal torment in hell unless someone comes along to save us. You're saying we deserve eternal torment for something we didn't do. Instead of going through this melodrama of allowing each of us to be born corrupted, why doesn't God purify our souls before we are born? Wouldn't that be the more loving and reasonable thing to do, especially if it was God's will that we be perfect in the first place? But you can't have that because then you can't explain the world, and you know it. So what excuse are you going to invent for why God doesn't erase our corruption before birth? Is it because he can't, or because he doesn't want to? If he can't, then he isn't omnipotent and your entire story falls completely apart. If he doesn't want to, then the responsibility for our corrupted nature is right back with the one who has the power to do something about it but chooses not to. Game, set, match. And you wonder why we say no, that can't be.

And as if all that isn't bad enough, you've now told the story as though eternal torment in hell is a necessary part of natural law for each person unless he receives "Christ" through faith. So how do you accout for the fact that "God" neglected to tell most of the world about "Christ" for centuries after he supposedly died on the cross to save us? Don't give me that baloney about it being the job of Christian missionaries to tell the world. They didn't know there was a North America until many centuries later, but in fact people who had migrated across what is now the Bering Strait were living here 2,000 years ago when Jesus supposedly died for us. God would have had the power to tell them and save their souls, just as he supposedly sent an angel to tell Mary she was to be the mother of God. Why didn't he? Why did God allow generations of Native Americans and others all over the world to suffer in eternal torment because he neglected to tell them about the savior he had sent? And if, as many fundamentalists believe, Adam sinned 6,000 years ago causing our nature to become corrupt then, why did it take God 4,000 years to get around to sending a savior? Why did God allow all those generations of people to be condemned, as they would have to be, if in fact the only way for them to be saved was by receiving Jesus through faith? Of course, this would include Moses and all the prophets, which is obviously not what the authors of what you all the Old Testament had in mind. So how do you reconcile your beliefs with those parts of the Bible? There's no way around this, Red. You can't call the necessity of hell unless we "receive Christ" part of immutable nature and then carve exceptions wherever you want them. If you're going to do that, then you must admit that there are other ways for God to save a soul; but you won't do that because that doesn't preserve your story, since it allows people to be saved even though they don't believe in Jesus, which means that the savior isn't necessary to our salvation after all. All you can do is make up some more excuses to defend your belief system. Because that's all you're doing in the first place.

As for this: "God saw all that he made, and it was very good..."

God would also have to have made hell. Where does the Bible describe that? Did he call that good, too?

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Keith, you criticize Christians for imposing their views.  However, what I have observed on this forum is Atheists opening topics of discussion critical to Christianity and then inviting Christians to respond.

If a random Christian criticizes atheism on this forum, no one in their right mind, atheist or not, would consider it "imposing his views."

On the other hand, Christians have a reputation for trying to inject their beliefs into everyone's laws, and that IS imposition.

When the Christian responds, they shoot back, "Don't impose your views!"

Can you cite an example of this on this forum? 'Cause I'd really be interested in seeing that.

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Haha, oh man, it's really funny how oblivious this guy seems to be to the huge hole in the below argument.

God created man perfect...Man rebelled against God  choosing to eat the forbidden fruit.  As a result of this rebellion (sin), man was corrupted and no longer perfect.

(again, assuming that this crazy story is true for the moment)

Uh, perfect humans wouldn't rebel, unless God was 'worthy' of rebellion, which can't be the case unless GOD isn't perfect. So since you believe that God is perfect, then he's not 'worth' rebelling against (as opposed to a malevolent tyrant etc.), and therefore humans couldn't have been created perfect (by virtue of the fact that they're not perfect today)

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Guest Keith-Marshall,Mo
Keith, you criticize Christians for imposing their views.  However, what I have observed on this forum is Atheists opening topics of discussion critical to Christianity and then inviting Christians to respond.  When the Christian responds, they shoot back, "Don't impose your views!" It really doesn't sound like you want to discuss anything at all Keith.  You merely want to smear Christianity and claim victory.

By the way, the topics you question have been dealt with Keith.

Fair enough. I wasn't very clear about what I meant. I was reading the other day where there is a large group of Christians who are still pushing for a constitutional ammendment to ban gay marriage. I was infuriated after reading that , when I wrote my post I wasn't very clear. My apologies. What I mean by imposing views is, separation of curch and state of course, but also when someone seeks to turn thier religious views into law. I should have been more clear.

That being said I find it humorous that you accuse me of misrepresenting the bible. Fist of all, show me one thind in the bible you can acutally prove. Secondly, I would suggest that practicing Christains misrepresent the bible more than anyone else.

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Guest Paul
God created man perfect.  He was actually created in the image of God:

"So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them."  Genesis 1:27

An additional verse that points to man being created perfect is Genesis 1:31:

"God saw all that he made, and it was very good..."

Fascinating how far Red is willing to stretch the text when s/he thinks it serves his/her purposes.

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Guest Paul
No, you're the one who has misrepresented the text. You need an explanation for the unexplainable, so you make one up, or more aptly, you sign onto one that someone else made up.

By definition, a perfect being wouldn't sin. If he sins, he was never perfect in the first place. That's a strikeout.

Second, who allowed man's nature to change? Yet again you're making up a story because you have to explain the problems of the world. You're unwilling to blame God, but perfectly willing to blame your fellow man. It's not about what's true. It's about you preserving your story and salving your own insecurities.

Third, you've just pulled the equivalent of the shell game that con artists play on the street. According to you, man was created perfect, but Adam screwed up, causing man to be imperfect. But I didn't do it, and you didn't do it. Adam and Eve did it, according to you, so why are you blaming us? So now we're right back where we started. You're blaming humanity for being imperfect, which is essentially what Keith asked you and you tried to deny. It's in our nature according to you, and yet you insist that we're to blame for it, to such an extent that we deserve eternal torment in hell unless someone comes along to save us. You're saying we deserve eternal torment for something we didn't do. Instead of going through this melodrama of allowing each of us to be born corrupted, why doesn't God purify our souls before we are born? Wouldn't that be the more loving and reasonable thing to do, especially if it was God's will that we be perfect in the first place? But you can't have that because then you can't explain the world, and you know it. So what excuse are you going to invent for why God doesn't erase our corruption before birth? Is it because he can't, or because he doesn't want to? If he can't, then he isn't omnipotent and your entire story falls completely apart. If he doesn't want to, then the responsibility for our corrupted nature is right back with the one who has the power to do something about it but chooses not to. Game, set, match. And you wonder why we say no, that can't be.

And as if all that isn't bad enough, you've now told the story as though eternal torment in hell is a necessary part of natural law for each person unless he receives "Christ" through faith. So how do you accout for the fact that "God" neglected to tell most of the world about "Christ" for centuries after he supposedly died on the cross to save us? Don't give me that baloney about it being the job of Christian missionaries to tell the world. They didn't know there was a North America until many centuries later, but in fact people who had migrated across what is now the Bering Strait were living here 2,000 years ago when Jesus supposedly died for us. God would have had the power to tell them and save their souls, just as he supposedly sent an angel to tell Mary she was to be the mother of God. Why didn't he? Why did God allow generations of Native Americans and others all over the world to suffer in eternal torment because he neglected to tell them about the savior he had sent? And if, as many fundamentalists believe, Adam sinned 6,000 years ago causing our nature to become corrupt then, why did it take God 4,000 years to get around to sending a savior? Why did God allow all those generations of people to be condemned, as they would have to be, if in fact the only way for them to be saved was by receiving Jesus through faith? Of course, this would include Moses and all the prophets, which is obviously not what the authors of what you all the Old Testament had in mind. So how do you reconcile your beliefs with those parts of the Bible? There's no way around this, Red. You can't call the necessity of hell unless we "receive Christ" part of immutable nature and then carve exceptions wherever you want them. If you're going to do that, then you must admit that there are other ways for God to save a soul; but you won't do that because that doesn't preserve your story, since it allows people to be saved even though they don't believe in Jesus, which means that the savior isn't necessary to our salvation after all. All you can do is make up some more excuses to defend your belief system. Because that's all you're doing in the first place.

As for this: "God saw all that he made, and it was very good..."

God would also have to have made hell. Where does the Bible describe that? Did he call that good, too?

I want to state clearly that my critique is not an attack on anything that is real. It is an attack on ideas of what is not real.

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No, you're the one who has misrepresented the text. You need an explanation for the unexplainable, so you make one up, or more aptly, you sign onto one that someone else made up.

By definition, a perfect being wouldn't sin.

Yet another non sequitur by our resident Master of Logic (not).

A being that is without sin is perfect, just not perfect in the same sense as one that cannot sin by nature (as with the theological conception of God).

Paul appears to have committed a fallacy of equivocation.

http://atheism.about.com/library/FAQs/skep...quivocation.htm

If he sins, he was never perfect in the first place. That's a strikeout.

No, it's the pitcher throwing the ball into the dugout on the fly and announcing to the batter that it was strike.

Second, who allowed man's nature to change?

Man's nature was not created "perfect" in the same sense as God's. Man was given the ability to choose between good and evil. A man who chooses only good is morally perfect, while one who chooses evil once or more is not (that's how to distinguish "perfect" in this case).

Yet again you're making up a story because you have to explain the problems of the world. You're unwilling to blame God, but perfectly willing to blame your fellow man. It's not about what's true. It's about you preserving your story and salving your own insecurities.

The story is already there (Genesis); RLE didn't need to make up a thing. Once again we find LaClair employing fallacies of distraction in order to influence the jury.

Third, you've just pulled the equivalent of the shell game that con artists play on the street.

Worthless without the evidence to back it. Watch how LaClair commits fallacies in the attempt to back his claim.

According to you, man was created perfect, but Adam screwed up, causing man to be imperfect. But I didn't do it, and you didn't do it. Adam and Eve did it, according to you, so why are you blaming us?

Are we to believe that Paul has done nothing imperfect other than descend from Adam?

Seriously--what is the basis for thinking that God blames Adam's descendants for Adam's sin? Doesn't it look like Paul is making up a story to produce problems with the text?

So now we're right back where we started. You're blaming humanity for being imperfect, which is essentially what Keith asked you and you tried to deny.

Paul has committed another fallacy of equivocation here, it seems. "Blaming" humanity for being imperfect originally seems to be the assertion that humanity is imperfect. Paul turns it into blaming later generations for the imperfections of former generations, via a fallacy of ambiguity.

It's in our nature according to you, and yet you insist that we're to blame for it, to such an extent that we deserve eternal torment in hell unless someone comes along to save us.

A good illustration that my evaluation of Paul's argument is accurate, I note.

You're saying we deserve eternal torment for something we didn't do. Instead of going through this melodrama of allowing each of us to be born corrupted, why doesn't God purify our souls before we are born?

What good would that do? Does Paul think that his sin can all be blamed on his being born in sin?

Wouldn't that be the more loving and reasonable thing to do, especially if it was God's will that we be perfect in the first place?

I would think it would be up to Paul to explain in the affirmative that, yes, his plan is more loving and reasonable.

I realize that backing up claims isn't exactly his style, though ...

But you can't have that because then you can't explain the world, and you know it.

Ah, the king of the empty assertion is at it again.

Original sin isn't required to explain the world. It's only required to explain why somebody who is "good"--if there really were such a thing--would be under the threat of hell. Original sin is not required in order to explain everyday sin.

LaClair resorts to his customary Big Bad Wolf bluster.

Is this type of rhetorical intimidation tactic another carryover from his law practice?

So what excuse are you going to invent for why God doesn't erase our corruption before birth? Is it because he can't, or because he doesn't want to?

No excuse is needed, Paul's huffing and puffing notwithstanding.

If he can't, then he isn't omnipotent and your entire story falls completely apart.

Non sequitur. Supposing that God did force the forgiveness of sin nature at birth it isn't clear that anything would be accomplished. We'd still have the problem of whatever sins were chosen afterwards.

If he doesn't want to, then the responsibility for our corrupted nature is right back with the one who has the power to do something about it but chooses not to. Game, set, match.

... he said, after his double fault.

What Paul want here is for God to remove responsibility from Adam, and that's the type of plan that unthinking freethinkers tend to offer to God as an improvement on the plan they perceive.

It is not right, they seem to say, that Adam's actions can have good or ill consequences for succeeding generations. If Adam's actions have good consequences for succeeding generations, they would no doubt complain that it wasn't fair that the preceding generations did not have that advantage. And, of course, any ill effects of Adam's actions produce that same charge of unfairness in triplicate.

These "freethinkers" (who would pay for thinking like this?) do not appear to see that their suggestion, if taken to its logical conclusion, results in the removal of personal responsibility.

Let's say I'm Adam and I decide I want to saw off Jerry's left arm. I saw off Jerry's left arm. "Alright!" I think. That's one of my goal for the week out of the way! But hold! Here comes God to help ensure that Jerry isn't at a disadvantage. As soon as the arm falls to the ground, God puts it back in place as good as new.

Now, using the conception of morality we've been offered, it is the consequences of the action that determine whether it was good or bad. So, since there were no ill consequences of my sawing off Jerry's arm, sawing off Jerry's arm could not have been bad.

Now, of course there are additional details in such a scenario--God would be responsible for making sure that Jerry felt no pain, lost no blood, and even lost no time as a result of my interfering ways (wouldn't be fair, don't you know)--the point is that if this type of understanding is applied across the board it results in the impossibility of morally responsible action. The solution offered by the one thinking for free (the freethinker) is to remove free will (understood as the ability to choose between options of differing moral rightness).

Free will, as it happens, is unfair. The freethinker has offered a scenario that takes 1984 and makes it absolute.

And you're supposed to accept it as an improvement.

And you wonder why we say no, that can't be.

Given the consequences of the scenario for improvement, yes definitely.

And as if all that isn't bad enough, you've now told the story as though eternal torment in hell is a necessary part of natural law for each person unless he receives "Christ" through faith. So how do you accou[n]t for the fact that "God" neglected to tell most of the world about "Christ" for centuries after he supposedly died on the cross to save us? Don't give me that baloney about it being the job of Christian missionaries to tell the world. They didn't know there was a North America until many centuries later, but in fact people who had migrated across what is now the Bering Strait were living here 2,000 years ago when Jesus supposedly died for us. God would have had the power to tell them and save their souls, just as he supposedly sent an angel to tell Mary she was to be the mother of God. Why didn't he?

How do you know He didn't?

Paul doesn't really know, but he'd probably argue something like this:

If God told people then he'd have to do it in an unmistakable way, therefore if everybody wasn't saved in the Americas before the arrival of European explorers, therefore God didn't tell anybody.

IOW, LaClair just makes up another logical requirement to support his other absurdities.

And with each of his absurdities, no doubt he'll announce the collapse of the view he's attacking.

Why did God allow generations of Native Americans and others all over the world to suffer in eternal torment because he neglected to tell them about the savior he had sent? And if, as many fundamentalists believe, Adam sinned 6,000 years ago causing our nature to become corrupt then, why did it take God 4,000 years to get around to sending a savior? Why did God allow all those generations of people to be condemned, as they would have to be, if in fact the only way for them to be saved was by receiving Jesus through faith? Of course, this would include Moses and all the prophets, which is obviously not what the authors of what you all the Old Testament had in mind.

Good grief. I pointed out quite a few days ago that Jesus led his disciples to expect OT figures such as Abraham and Moses in heaven. And here Paul acts as though he can be justified in assuming the contrary.

I doubt that Paul can even find a fundamentalist sect that does not affirm that Moses and Elijah are booked in heaven for eternity. He's just making up a story to try to attack the opposition.

So how do you reconcile your beliefs with those parts of the Bible? There's no way around this, Red.

:P

Which parts of the Bible teach that nobody prior to the time of Jesus would have an opportunity to be saved, again?

Paul seems to have neglected any specific mention.

You can't call the necessity of hell unless we "receive Christ" part of immutable nature and then carve exceptions wherever you want them.

What exceptions have been carved out?

Paul seems to have neglected any specific mention.

If you're going to do that, then you must admit that there are other ways for God to save a soul; but you won't do that because that doesn't preserve your story, since it allows people to be saved even though they don't believe in Jesus, which means that the savior isn't necessary to our salvation after all.

Yet another non sequitur from our resident Master of Logic.

It's sufficient to point to the teaching of "Christian" universalism to blunt Paul's argument. The universalists claim that Christ died for all and that Christ's sacrifice is sufficient for all, and in addition that the sacrifice applies to all sin. Thus, all are saved regardless of whether or not they believe in Jesus.

Paul is attacking a version of Christianity that scarcely exists if it exists at all. A good straw man candidate, in fact.

All you can do is make up some more excuses to defend your belief system. Because that's all you're doing in the first place.

As for this: "God saw all that he made, and it was very good..."

God would also have to have made hell. Where does the Bible describe that? Did he call that good, too?

Some might conclude that God was talking about the things he had made in the context of the passage.

But not everyone is that logical.

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Guest Red-Letter Edition
No, you're the one who has misrepresented the text.

By definition, a perfect being wouldn't sin. If he sins, he was never perfect in the first place. That's a strikeout.

As for this: "God saw all that he made, and it was very good..."

God would also have to have made hell. Where does the Bible describe that? Did he call that good, too?

I did not misrepresent the text, I quoted the text.

In response to your assertion that a perfect being would not sin, this is your definition of perfection. A perfect being would be free. That is, have a free will of his own with the ability to make moral choices. Anything less would be a robot. Robots are not perfect, they rely on a will outside of themselves.

About Hell, God doesn't describe its creation, but you are right, He created it. If He created it, of course it would be considered good/perfect. It is the perfect and appropriate place for the punishment of sinners who have rejected God's redemption. Remember, God is just. Of course you and and I disagree on justice.

You don't associate it with fairness, you argue for rehabilitation.

By the way, men are sinners by birth because they take on the nature of their parents. Foxes, for example, have fox nature. They therefore give birth to foxes. Sinners have sin nature and give birth to sinners. However, it doesnt take long for the individual to become a sinner by choice. All sin in some way. God is justified in punishing sin. Go is love and demonstrates that through redemption.

"If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness." I John 1:9

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I want to state clearly that my critique is not an attack on anything that is real. It is an attack on ideas of what is not real.

But for some reason Paul won't add that he can't back up that what he's adding now is an assertion that he can't back up using logic.

:P

It's just one of those bald assertions that he loves so much.

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Guest Paul
I did not misrepresent the text, I quoted the text.

In response to your assertion that a perfect being would not sin, this is your definition of perfection.  A perfect being would be free.  That is, have a free will of his own with the ability to make moral choices.  Anything less would be a robot.  Robots are not perfect, they rely on a will outside of themselves.

About Hell, God doesn't describe its creation, but you are right, He created it.  If He created it, of course it would be considered good/perfect.  It is the perfect and appropriate place for the punishment of sinners who have rejected God's redemption.  Remember, God is just.  Of course you and and I disagree on justice.

You don't associate it with fairness, you argue for rehabilitation.

By the way, men are sinners by birth because they take on the nature of their parents.  Foxes, for example, have fox nature.  They therefore give birth to foxes.  Sinners have sin nature and give birth to sinners.  However, it doesnt take long for the individual to become a sinner by choice.  All sin in some way.  God is justified in punishing sin.  Go is love and demonstrates that through redemption.

"If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness."  I John 1:9

Be at peace, Red. If and when you're ready to address the issues raised in post 7 and elsewhere, you will.

Meanwhile, you choose to worship a god who would torture his own children forever for sincerely believing in the religion in which they were raised. I do not choose that path.

Peace.

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Guest Keith-Marshall,Mo
I did not misrepresent the text, I quoted the text.

In response to your assertion that a perfect being would not sin, this is your definition of perfection.  A perfect being would be free.  That is, have a free will of his own with the ability to make moral choices.  Anything less would be a robot.  Robots are not perfect, they rely on a will outside of themselves.

About Hell, God doesn't describe its creation, but you are right, He created it.  If He created it, of course it would be considered good/perfect.  It is the perfect and appropriate place for the punishment of sinners who have rejected God's redemption.  Remember, God is just.  Of course you and and I disagree on justice.

You don't associate it with fairness, you argue for rehabilitation.

By the way, men are sinners by birth because they take on the nature of their parents.  Foxes, for example, have fox nature.  They therefore give birth to foxes.  Sinners have sin nature and give birth to sinners.  However, it doesnt take long for the individual to become a sinner by choice.  All sin in some way.  God is justified in punishing sin.  Go is love and demonstrates that through redemption.

"If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness."  I John 1:9

If god had not made us imperfrct, there would be no need for redemption. It's like he's playing a game with us. For that reason I think the ant farm analogy is a perfect example. My entire family are hard core Christians whom I love very much. We've learned over the years to understand where the other is coming from. We share a great deal of love and respect for each other yet we rarley discuss religion or politics for obvious reasons.

Some of the folks in thier church however, that's a different story altogether. They will never confront me face to face if we are in the same room yet they cant' wait to stir the pot when my back is turned whicj I could care less about but It bothers my family. So you see I don't really have a problem with Christianity but certain so called "Christians" really burn my toast. These are the same people who would love to legislate the wqe love by Christian doctrine. I have a huge problem with. BTW, in case you are wondering I'm not gay although I bring the issue of gay ,marriage up alot.

I hope that you and yours have a great 4th of july. One more thing, these boards can seem very 2 dimensional. Although we may disagree, I have nothing personal against you at all. Have a great holiday!

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Guest 2smart4u
If god had not made us imperfrct, there would be no need for redemption. It's like he's playing a game with us. For that reason I think the ant farm analogy is a perfect example. My entire family are hard core Christians whom I love very much. We've learned over the years to understand where the other is coming from. We share a great deal of love and respect for each other yet we rarley discuss religion or politics for obvious reasons.

  Some of the folks in thier church however, that's a different story altogether. They will never confront me face to face if we are in the same room yet they cant' wait to stir the pot when my back is turned whicj I could care less about but It bothers my family. So you see I don't really have a problem with Christianity but certain so called "Christians" really burn my toast. These are the same people who would love to legislate the wqe love by Christian doctrine. I have a huge problem with. BTW, in case you are wondering I'm not gay although I bring the issue of gay ,marriage up alot.

  I hope that you and yours have a great 4th of july. One more thing, these boards can seem very 2 dimensional. Although we may disagree, I have nothing personal against you at all. Have a great holiday!

Your ramblings tell me you are a very troubled person. You should consider seeing a psychologist. And if you're still doing drugs, stop.

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Guest Paul
If god had not made us imperfrct, there would be no need for redemption. It's like he's playing a game with us. For that reason I think the ant farm analogy is a perfect example. My entire family are hard core Christians whom I love very much. We've learned over the years to understand where the other is coming from. We share a great deal of love and respect for each other yet we rarley discuss religion or politics for obvious reasons.

  Some of the folks in thier church however, that's a different story altogether. They will never confront me face to face if we are in the same room yet they cant' wait to stir the pot when my back is turned whicj I could care less about but It bothers my family. So you see I don't really have a problem with Christianity but certain so called "Christians" really burn my toast. These are the same people who would love to legislate the wqe love by Christian doctrine. I have a huge problem with. BTW, in case you are wondering I'm not gay although I bring the issue of gay ,marriage up alot.

  I hope that you and yours have a great 4th of july. One more thing, these boards can seem very 2 dimensional. Although we may disagree, I have nothing personal against you at all. Have a great holiday!

What they don't realize is that these discussions aren't really about the reality of the universe or the ultimate. They're about how these folks think. Notice that neither Red nor Bryan acknowledges that fact.

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If god had not made us imperf[e]ct, there would be no need for redemption.

When did god make you imperfect?

It's like he's playing a game with us. For that reason I think the ant farm analogy is a perfect example.

It does help leave out those pesky attributes of god that would otherwise force skeptics to appeal to reason ... I can see why you like it.

These are the same people who would love to legislate the wqe love by Christian doctrine.

Huh? wqe=?

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Guest Guest
You can't call the necessity of hell unless we "receive Christ" part of immutable nature and then carve exceptions wherever you want them.

What exceptions have been carved out?

Paul seems to have neglected any specific mention.

Moses, you idiot, and all the other people Christians manage to think are in heaven despite the supposed inability to get there without believing in Jesus. You keep having it both ways, on the one hand insisting that there was a price that had to be paid, Jesus paid it but in order to receive salvation you have to accept him; and yet Moses, who never heard of Jesus because he hadn't been born yet (and anyway Moses was a Jew) gets a free ticket to heaven.

Bryan writes by far the longest posts here, but he never really says anything. All he does is ignore everything he doesn't agree with, and argue as though it was never written.

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Guest Red-Letter Edition
If god had not made us imperfrct, there would be no need for redemption. It's like he's playing a game with us. For that reason I think the ant farm analogy is a perfect example. My entire family are hard core Christians whom I love very much. We've learned over the years to understand where the other is coming from. We share a great deal of love and respect for each other yet we rarley discuss religion or politics for obvious reasons.

  Some of the folks in thier church however, that's a different story altogether. They will never confront me face to face if we are in the same room yet they cant' wait to stir the pot when my back is turned whicj I could care less about but It bothers my family. So you see I don't really have a problem with Christianity but certain so called "Christians" really burn my toast. These are the same people who would love to legislate the wqe love by Christian doctrine. I have a huge problem with. BTW, in case you are wondering I'm not gay although I bring the issue of gay ,marriage up alot.

  I hope that you and yours have a great 4th of july. One more thing, these boards can seem very 2 dimensional. Although we may disagree, I have nothing personal against you at all. Have a great holiday!

Keith, I sincerely hope you and yours have a great Fourth of July as well. The discussions can be intense at times, but I want you to know I feel the same. Lets be thankful this holiday for the freedom we have to disagree and publicly express our views in forums like this. Take care...

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Guest Red-Letter Edition
Be at peace, Red. If and when you're ready to address the issues raised in post 7 and elsewhere, you will.

Meanwhile, you choose to worship a god who would torture his own children forever for sincerely believing in the religion in which they were raised. I do not choose that path.

Peace.

Concerning those who sincerely believe, sincerety doesn't determine truth. If one sincerely believes a lie, the lie does not become true. If one sincerely believes the thin ice on a lake will sustain him, despite all his sincerety, he is going to get wet and possibly drown if he steps out on his belief. The beliefs one acts on must correspond to reality if he hopes to be saved. The foundation of my faith is able to sustain me Paul. He is Jesus. He demontrated His deity by raising Himself from the dead and He gave me this promise:

"I am the resurection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies..." Jesus as recorded in John 11:25

Therein lies my faith, therefore I have peace Paul.

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Guest Paul

So now there are grades of perfect. OK, so why didn’t God create us perfectly perfect? He created Jesus perfectly perfect without interfering with his free will, so why not us? Jesus was his son, supposedly, in whom he was well pleased, so why not just create a race of Jesuses? Instead of putting a black sheep in the Garden of Eden, who would inevitably screw everything up, why not just put Jesus in there? Why not send in your A-team the first time? According to the Bible, Jesus wouldn’t have needed a woman, which would have been more consistent with the original plan according to Genesis 2. Or, if God wanted to have a companion for Jesus, he could have made a male companion and just continued creating them until he ran out of clay. For that matter, why throw on a sex organ at all? If sex is such a bad thing, God didn’t have to resort to it. He made plenty of clay, and could always make more, as many gender-neutral human beings fashioned out of clay as he wanted, like those Barbie and Ken dolls before anatomical correctness came into vogue. What’s the problem? Or, if God decided sex didn’t have to be a dirty enterprise (you don't suppose that had anything to do with human hang-ups, do you?), he could have created a female version of Jesus and let them start the human race. Why not do it like that? We’re not talking about a world of Jerries, to invoke an argument well into Bryan’s post, but a world of Jesuses. Why not create the human race with the perfection of Jesus? The only reason is that telling the story that way wouldn’t explain evil in the world, demonstrating yet again that the entire theological enterprise is about supporting a belief system. It has nothing to do with the truth.

Bryan and the theologians and would-be theologians are making it up as they go along. The biblical text says we are created in God’s image. It doesn’t say we are sort-of created in God’s image. But in order to make explain evil, they have to have someone to blame, so they choose the first man and woman and then blame us all for what is supposedly in our nature. They’ve made up an explanation for what they see, but (1) there’s no evidence for it, (2) it isn’t internally consistent, and (3) it isn’t even moral. If we weren’t created perfectly perfect, and it’s in our nature, is hell really just? Bryan can’t answer that question because he has cut himself off from all reference to values except to keep insisting that it’s just because he says it is. He has also eschewed all common sense, trying to reduce these value judgments to simple syllogisms, which is the height of intellectual folly in this subject matter. The point is, for all the blow and bluster of Bryan’s posts, there’s no there there.

Bryan accuses me of skirting the issue when I point out that no one living today is responsible for Adam and Eve’s supposed first sin. The theological concept, as he likes to put it when it suits him, is that we have a sinful nature. Whatever we have done during our lives, we are not responsible for what Adam and Eve supposedly did long before we were born. Talk about what we've done since all you want, Bryan, you still can't justify that, and you don't try, which means you've conceded the point. ( :P ) If God intended us to be without sin, we would be without sin. God would have no problem giving each person the chance Adam and Even supposedly had. But that wouldn’t explain why little babies are sinful, and the theologians decided they needed that concept so the parents would baptize the children. It was all about supporting the institution of the church, another example of constructing the argument to support an agenda, which is all the entire enterprise is about or ever was about. That is the point, and of course Bryan chooses to ignore it and attempt to shift the terms of the discussion.

Then Bryan offers this: “Original sin isn't required to explain the world. It's only required to explain why somebody who is "good"--if there really were such a thing--would be under the threat of hell. Original sin is not required in order to explain everyday sin.” But it doesn’t explain anything. It certainly doesn't explain why a loving god would supposedly creates us all in his image wouldn't create us "really good." It states a claim, but that claim makes no sense, for all the reasons previously noted by me and others. To address that critique, Bryan would have to argue the merits in defense of his position, which he never does. I’ve never seen anyone spend so much time trying to attack the other guy’s position and so little time trying to advance his own.

Bryan’s only response to the problem of God not telling the world about Jesus is that maybe he did tell the Native Americans about him, but they did not pass on the story. That dodge won’t fly because God would be concerned about each soul. He would tell each person individually if necessary. God wouldn’t leave souls to chance. He’s just, remember, or so you keep telling us. Every person and every soul would be precious to him. If you’re going to imagine a god who condemns individual souls for their actions or inactions (even if the only relevant action is accepting or not accepting Jesus), then you must be consistent. We know that when white Europeans encountered peoples in remote parts of the world beginning roughly in the fifteenth century, those peoples had never heard of Jesus. You can try to explain that by imagining a sky god who told a previous generation to make sure that each person everywhere on Earth heard about Jesus, but every culture except the one where the story originated neglected or chose not to pass it on; or you can choose the logical and reasonable explanation that the story had never been disseminated to that culture.

Then Bryan offers this: “Good grief. I pointed out quite a few days ago that Jesus led his disciples to expect OT figures such as Abraham and Moses in heaven.” Yes you did, Bryan, and the problem with your argument is that it eliminates the need for Jesus, thereby rendering your entire theology pointless and absurd. Now that’s not a problem for me, but it is a problem for you and for the story you’re trying to tell. If God could “save” Abraham, Elijah and Moses (three of the exceptions, to answer your question there), he could also “save” the rest of us in the same fashion. None of those men had ever heard of Jesus, and therefore could not accept him, yet somehow God managed to "save" them. So obviously belief in Jesus isn't necessary to salvation. And yes, I saw your other argument about that, but it doesn’t rescue your argument from the contradiction you’ve walked yourself into. Once you argue that a person can effectively “accept Jesus” without believing in him particularly, you’ve opened the door to every sincere person “accepting Jesus,” including the non-theists like me. There are quite a few liberal Christians, such as the Universalists, who would endorse that argument, but it doesn’t seem to be the argument you’re making, and it certainly isn't the argument being made by the biblical fundamentalists I've known about. Universalists are hardly biblical fundamentalists. No matter, we’re still right back where we started: There’s not a shred of evidence for any of your claims; all you and they (even the Universalists) are doing is choosing your arguments according to what you think will support your belief system. It’s all about your defense mechanisms, i.e., your ego, nothing more. I won’t quibble with the assertion that all fundamentalist sects accept the argument. All that tells me is that they’re doing what you’re doing, which doesn’t surprise me in the least. On the contrary, it’s precisely my point.

Finally, Bryan offers this: “Some might conclude that God was talking about the things he had made in the context of the passage.” Yes, some would conclude that. Like Bryan, they would quickly look past the problem of God creating hell and pretend it doesn’t exist. So Bryan, when God created hell, did he call it good? Why or why not? Please state your answer with reference to specific values.

OK, so I had some extra time on my hands this morning.

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Guest Paul
These "freethinkers" (who would pay for thinking like this?) do not appear to see that their suggestion, if taken to its logical conclusion, results in the removal of personal responsibility.

Let's say I'm Adam and I decide I want to saw off Jerry's left arm.  I saw off Jerry's left arm.  "Alright!" I think.  That's one of my goal for the week out of the way!  But hold!  Here comes God to help ensure that Jerry isn't at a disadvantage.  As soon as the arm falls to the ground, God puts it back in place as good as new. 

Now, using the conception of morality we've been offered, it is the consequences of the action that determine whether it was good or bad.  So, since there were no ill consequences of my sawing off Jerry's arm, sawing off Jerry's arm could not have been bad.

Now, of course there are additional details in such a scenario--God would be responsible for making sure that Jerry felt no pain, lost no blood, and even lost no time as a result of my interfering ways (wouldn't be fair, don't you know)--the point is that if this type of understanding is applied across the board it results in the impossibility of morally responsible action.  The solution offered by the one thinking for free (the freethinker) is to remove free will (understood as the ability to choose between options of differing moral rightness). 

In fairness, and since this is still a slow morning, I'll address this point in more detail. Bryan is of course presuming to speak for a philosophy that is not his own, and of course he has distorted it. There is no explanation for evil in the universe of an omni-everything god. Theists are satisfied with the usual twists and dodges, but they don't explain anything, which is why skeptics, freethinkers and others aren't satisfied with them. All they do is provide an apparent conceptual framework, deficient as it may be, for people who wish to believe their theology --- the same thing all theology is about.

However, let's consider nasty Jerry and a god who is powerless to reach him and improve his soul without tampering with his will (as if ours wills aren't tampered with by our genes anyway). As I keep telling Bryan and his theistic fellows, the Humanist concept of justice is: whatever is best under the circumstances. Assuming the inevitability of imperfection in God's world (an absurdity, but let's grant it arguendo), the best respose might be to give Jerry a little time to think about it, and maybe a little sting to induce better behavior. With a child, many people call that a time out; with an adult we usually call it jail. Or maybe God could have a little talk with Jerry --- coming from God it might work, but if it doesn't he can always try some form of punishment. Surely God would know the best response under the circumstances, but you can't have it both ways, which is what Bryan tries to do: assume both a perfect and an imperfect world at the same time.

Bryan keeps overlooking the same thing: What he's arguing is not real. It's just an invention of his mind. That's OK, for argument's sake, but you have to stay consistent.

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