Turek vs. Hitchens II, Debate Video

Thanks to Christopher for a second opportunity to debate.   The question of this debate is “What Best Explains Reality:  Atheism or Theism?”   Recorded at the College of New Jersey!  (Also available to view on line here.  If you’d like to order a DVD of this debate, click here).

Frank Turek vs. Christopher Hitchens: What Best Explains Reality? from Andrew Ketchum on Vimeo.

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444 replies
  1. Toby R. says:

    How do you justify comparing a soldier throwing himself on a grenade to Jesus?

    What I mean here is that soldier was a man, a human, not a god. Jesus was “the son of god” or he was god himself or both or however someone chooses to believe it. How does the sacrifice of someone who knows that he can’t really be hurt by death, can in fact come back from death of his own accord, come anywhere near the magnitude of sacrifice of a mortal man with no such inside connections and no real certainty of continued existence? The soldier was brave and self-less, and the “sacrifice” of jesus was meaningless by comparison.

    Reply
  2. Frank Turek says:

    Toby,

    Jesus was also a human being who suffered immeasurably through crucifixion. Knowing what’s on the other side does not diminish the sacrifice. As a Christian, Petty Officer Monsoor knew what was on the other side too. Yet his sacrificial act was heroic. And while Petty Officer Monsoor died for two people, Christ died for all people. If the former is “brave and self-less” as you put it, then so is the latter.

    Blessings,

    Frank

    Reply
  3. Andrea Theis says:

    Mr. Turek,

    Great job on your side sir.

    Your C.O.S.M.O.S. argument was genius, and specially adding the Solitary Life excerpt in there. Hitchens really didn’t answer any of your arguments, he was just complaining about the results of false religion.

    I find it funny that Hitchens keeps saying that “Religion” is man-made… and he doesn’t figure that his whole “anti-theist” belief is more man-made than anything else….

    God Bless & Congrats on a debate well done….
    -Andrea

    Reply
  4. Toby R. says:

    I beg to differ with you. You can say that knowing doesn’t diminish anything, but I think a lot of people that honestly consider it will think otherwise. Belief is not knowing. You can believe that 1 + 1 = 7, but that doesn’t make it certain. You can believe in the easter bunny too. Charlie Brown always believed that this time the football would be there when he went to kick it, but he never knew (in fact I think he was always wrong, but maybe he got to kick it once – I’ve not read them all).

    And Jesus was a man god. So he could probably feel the pain that men can feel, but what would that be to a god? Thirty some years of life and a little pain at the end would be barely a blip on the radar compared to eternity. So, no, I don’t think jesus was brave and self-less. Also I think the phrase, “He died for your sins.” is pretty meaningless. I assume that means he had to die because of all of the sinfulness before him and all of the sinfulness after him. In that case it’s all been paid in full and no one should worry about it.

    How does an eternal god that sacrifices himself to himself anything more than a grand charade? It really seems meaningless and very much like a rigged game.

    I’d never heard about the dead rising and walking around Jerusalem during the crucifixion. And that’s only in ONE of the books? That’s something that probably should have made it into all of them. I don’t understand how Return Of The Living Dead pt 7: The Jerusalem Crawl could not be significant enough to be noticed by all.

    The question you got about god having gender made me think about the whole image thing. The hebrew word used is tselem, or however you’d write it in english, and the translation is literally image or likeness or shape, so wouldn’t this indicate form?

    How do you get your hair like that? Gel?

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  5. Shawn Trumbo says:

    2 Timothy 2:24 And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient,

    I really believe that if you would make an honest critique of your own comment you would find fairly obvious inconsistencies in your statements. I would assume you understand that Jesus died for the sins of the world, but only a few would accept the payment for their sins by Him on their behalf. The bible clearly teaches that God will resist the proud and Jesus came to save sinners. Those who will acknowledge their sin before God, turn from their sin(repent), confess Jesus as Lord, and believe on His Righteousness(not their own) shall be saved. This is what it means to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ. Anything less is a false confession of Faith and their Faith is misplaced and they will still die in their sins. If I were to die right now and I received the just punishment for my rebellion against the just, righteous, merciful creator God of the Universe I would spend an eternity in hell where I will continue to spew out blasphemies against the Holy one of God who gave Himself for me. The strange thing is that the Bible teaches that I would not be rejecting the God of the Bible at all. The Bible also clearly teaches that those who know not God will not inherit Eternal Life. The kicker is I would be rejecting my made up false idol God that I am choosing to reject. Eternal life is to know God and His Son Jesus Christ. If you ever knew Him you would be saved right now. He will say to those who reject Him in that day, “depart from me, I never knew you.” 1 Corinthians 2:14 But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. Two more essential points, the Religious leaders of the day knew not God, but had memorized the Torah. They misinterpreted the Old Testament. What a kicker. By the way, I never understood any of this until after I was given Eternal Life and the Holy Spirit became my teacher. Christ didn’t fear what the people were going to do to Him. He feared the cup of God’s Wrath that was about to be poured out on Him. That he took it upon Himself willingly. He has the authority to lay down His life and to pick it up again. Jesus left his first estate in an Eternal loving relationship with God the Father, by the Holy Spirit to Suffer and die for the sins of the World. This doesn’t stop at the cross. He will bear the marks of believer’s sin for eternity and will dwell among us as our sin bearer for all eternity. This is not something that He was ever demanded to do on our behalf. Their our only two destinations for men. Heaven, for sinners who have put their Faith and trust

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  6. Shawn Trumbo says:

    Sorry.

    in Jesus Christ and sinners who choose to remain in their sins and take their chances that their is not going to be a judgment or that if their is a judgment they can be allowed into Heaven taking their rebellion with them. I am by no means implying that A Christian does not sin, we still have flesh that is corruptible, for know. We are only left behind as willing servants to proclaim this unspeakable gift. If there was any other way to have Eternal Life then Jesus would not have had to die to purchase us.

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  7. Toby R. says:

    The whole idea of sin, to me, is foolish. All of the sins are pretty much the same thing, “Do not defy my mightiness.” It’s not about loving each other or being good, it’s about, “I’m the biggest and mightiest and any sin is an affront to my might and I’ll get you for it.”

    In Mr. Turek’s book he describes a creator that’s so powerful that he created everything. Nothing would exist without this creator. So in addition to creating everything, he also created evil. You can’t claim that evil comes from men or the devil because those are creations of god and hence god created evil and allows it to happen. If you deny that you’re left with one of two choices, that god is an imperfect creator. Or that there is another god (we’ll call him the devil) at odds with god that would have to be equally powerful enough to cause ripples in the peace. So if god is the only god and he created everything, then evil is his fault (or design) and all that is left is a huge shell game where this creator says, “You can do anything you want . . . as long as it’s sucking up to me or pertains to sucking up to me. Anything . . . except this list of ten things and anything else written in this book or else I’ll make you survive your death in eternal torture.”

    So maniacal is this creator that the punishment he doles out doesn’t even fit the crimes committed. We are more moral than this postulated god because if someone murdered someone else we would not condemn them to eternal torture. We’d probably condemn them for the length of the life they took, plus whatever time the victim would have lived had they lived to die naturally. That’s infinitely more just than, “You’re a woman that had sex with another woman, so I’m going to send you to a nasty place forever, you shouldn’t have crossed me.” Or “You were disgusting in my eyes from the day you were born, you’re guilty until proven innocent.”

    THe god of the bible is a horrible example. I think if you “honestly critique” your religion you’ll see I’m not far off.

    Reply
  8. Toby R. says:

    Question for Mr. Turek,

    Are you planning on debating any physicists? Are there any out there that even care to bother with debates like these? It’d be interesting to see a video of that.

    I wonder if you’d still use the science approach though. Would you instead switch to moral arguments? One can look at your use of your science theories in debates with Hitchens as being calculated. As Hitchens admitted in the debate he’s not a scientist and presumably he doesn’t know a lot about it in depth. Would the strategy change if you were debating a well versed scientist?

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  9. Toby R. says:

    Another post for Mr. Turek.

    You mention in the debate that Jesus was the most influential person in the past 2000 years. Is that accurate? I think it’s more the religion itself that has allowed it to survive so long. I think it’s malleability has been the key to it’s success. Look at all of the denominations. If a group didn’t like this or that of a particular denomination they simply formed a splinter group and ignored or emphasized some portion of the bible that was in contention. The religion spread itself by absorbing the traditions and cultures of older religions in order to trick people into converting to christianity. You can’t make a valid argument that a rabbit and eggs have anything to do with the biblical easter. Nor does Santa claus and Christmas. People still sing songs and talk about the yuletide, yule being a old european pagan celebration.

    Other than the book you probably wouldn’t recognize the christian religion a thousand years ago and the one from today as the same thing. As a matter of fact those christians a thousand years ago would probably string up those heretics today for having easter bunnies and fertility eggs.

    The religion has survived this long because it conforms itself to whatever the culture of the day decides it likes and dislikes.

    Reply
  10. Frank Turek says:

    Hi Toby,

    Have you read our book “I Don’t Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist?” The arguments I used during both Hitchens debates are from the book. I would use them with anyone, including physicists. Most physicists and cosmologists agree that space, matter and time had a beginning, and there is strong evidence that is indeed the case. As I quoted, several Nobel Prize winners who discovered aspects of the SURGE evidence I mention agree that this is consistent with the biblical view. Others, however, are uncomfortable over what actually caused the universe.

    Technically, physics only studies the physical world and takes you back to a beginning. Philosophy then takes over to help you discover what was the nature of the cause. Since all space, time and matter were created at the big bang, it’s philosophically sound to conclude that the cause must be beyond space, time and matter.

    I think your post about sin and eternal torture is a misunderstanding of Christianity. God is perfectly Just and also perfectly loving. His justice demands he punish sin, but his love compels him to offer a way out. That’s why Christ came. Moreover, God tortures no one and he doesn’t force anyone into Heaven against their will. As Christopher Hitchens admits himself, Heaven would be Hell to him. People get what they have chosen– to be in God’s presence (Heaven) or to be separated from God (Hell). “The Great Divorce” by C.S. Lewis is a book you may want to check out if you’re interested in that topic. Also, as we’ve posted here before, God did not create evil because evil is not a thing. It is a lack in a good thing. http://crossexamined.thehuntercreative.com/?p=93 You may want to check that post you’re interested.

    Finally, there are traditions that have grown up around Christianity over the centuries (such as Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny), but they are not biblical and have nothing to do with core Christian faith. The center of Christianity is Christ. Without Him, there is no Christianity. It is Jesus who has changed individual lives and the world so immeasurably — not Santa Claus or the Easter Bunny.

    Blessings,

    Frank

    Reply
  11. Toby R. says:

    I read the post referring to the Augustine statement. It’s kind of nonsensical. Evil is the lack of good. Yet you could easily say good is the lack of evil. That’s just abstract wordplay. Let’s think of these things in the physical world. Tell me what’s good? You can’t because you’re not god. Ah, yes, you can—god. So let’s assume god is good (that’s a big assumption). Before the universe was created there was just this eternal god. I know you think this god is good, you’ve made that clear. So therefore before the creation of the universe there was no evil because there was only god and you think he’s good. Great, so now he creates the universe. And what happens . . . hmm, before creation there was just god and it was all good, but after creation suddenly there’s evil. You’ll say he didn’t create it, but how could your god create anything that wasn’t all good? There’s no way to get around the idea that your god isn’t culpable for evil. The very act of creation, making something that had space, time, and material gave birth to evil. Your god is responsible for evil.

    So this leads me to ask: was the universe evil before the beginning of humanity? If not then evil began with man. Or maybe the universe itself is evil because of the lack of god. God had to make somewhere that he wasn’t in order for there to be evil. Either he did it willingly or he’s a fallible entity that messed up a bit on the creating.

    Reply
    • David McCarthy says:

      TOBY. The distinction between Good and Evil is not merely a question of semantics. In all cases of polar opposition,the opposing elements are not mutually interchangeable, but exist in a chronological as well as a logical relationship in which the positive form is always the original, while the negative correspondent is the derivative, owing its identity entirely to the prior existence of the original form.

      This is true in the same way that the Exception requires the original existence of the Rule to subsequently become known as an exception “to.” Without the Rule the exception would have no potential to exist in the first place. There can be no deviation without a norm. Evil is the exception to, and a deviation from, Good, which must exist as the original norm in order for evil to become identified in the first place.

      Evil is the negatively inverse reflection of an original Good. In relation to the physical world, to claim co-equal interchangability between Good and Evil is identical to the claim that a photographic negative could emerge spontaneously and independently without the existence of any positive original object to reflect.

      Reply
  12. luke says:

    I haven’t really had time to post my few comments about the debate. I was stuck, though, by Dr. Turek’s statement in these comment that “G-d did not create evil.”

    It seems, Dr. Turek, that you’ve taken to explicitly denying the Bible, or calling G-d a liar. (Of course, many would say the same thing of your little swipe at Calvinists, but that’s a much more theological point, whereas this one is a much simpler matter of black and white.)

    Who is he that saith, and it cometh to pass, when the Lord commandeth it not? Out of the mouth of the most High proceedeth not evil and good? – Lamentations 3:37-38 (KJV)

    I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things. Isaiah 45:7 (KJV)

    (I suspect Dr. Turek may appeal to more modern translations, so I’ll go ahead and point out that the Hebrew here is translated as evil a majority of the time throughout the OT. Furthermore, I am not sure if saying that “G-d didn’t create evil, just ill and calamity” will really help him in his argument. The message is the same — one he seems to explicitly deny. As the Bible says though, humanity will rebel against Him.)

    Toby, it’s interesting to read the Bible while concentrating on the depictions of evil and the character of the devil. Such a reading illuminates some of the questions you pose above, I think.

    Luke

    Reply
  13. Toby R. says:

    Luke,

    I’ve seen those verses you quote above, but I find it hard to debate using quotations from the bible (first, because I don’t believe in it; second because there are so many outs that can be taken, the translation, the quoting of different verses that contradict the one you quoted. More often than not I find it gives me a headache.). What I attempted in my previous post was to show Mr. Turek, using his own theory, that god is responsible for evil. If before there was only god, and god is all good, and then after creation of the universe there was evil, then it had to come from the creator (or as an added bonus due to creational ineptitude). But once you admit that evil came from the creator then you pretty much admit that it’s all just a big rigged game. And the best way to avoid the game is to not play.

    Reply
  14. Frank Turek says:

    Gentlemen,

    Dr. Geisler (my coauthor) along with Dr. Howe, addressed the good guestions Luke and Toby have asked in the book “When Critics Ask.” Here is the question and their answer.

    PROBLEM: According to this verse (Is. 45:7), God “creates good and evil” (kjv, cf. Jer. 18:11 and Lam. 3:38; Amos 3:6). But many other Scriptures inform us that God is not evil (1 John 1:5), cannot even look approvingly on evil (Hab. 1:13), and cannot even be tempted by evil (James 1:13).

    SOLUTION: The Bible is clear that God is morally perfect (cf. Deut. 32:4; Matt. 5:48), and it is impossible for Him to sin (Heb. 6:18). At the same time, His absolute justice demands that He punish sin. This judgment takes both temporal and eternal forms (Matt. 25:41; Rev. 20:11–15). In its temporal form, the execution of God’s justice is sometimes called “evil” because it seems to be evil to those undergoing it (cf. Heb. 12:11). However, the Hebrew word for evil (r?) used here does not always mean moral evil. Indeed, the context indicates that it should be translated, as the nkjv and other modern translations do, as “calamity.” Thus, God is properly said to be the author of “evil” in this sense, but not in the moral sense—at least not directly.
    Further, there is an indirect sense in which God is the author of moral evil. God created moral beings with free choice, and free choice is the origin of moral evil in the universe. So, ultimately God is responsible for making moral creatures who are responsible for moral evil. God made evil possible by creating free creatures, but the free creatures made evil actual. Of course, the possibility of evil (i.e., free choice) is itself a good thing. So, God created only good things, one of which was the power of free choice, and moral creatures produced the evil. However, God is the author of a moral universe and in this indirect and ultimate sense is the author of the possibility of evil. Of course, God only permitted evil, but does not promote it, and He will ultimately produce a greater good through it (cf. Gen. 50:20; Rev. 21–22).

    Geisler, N. L., & Howe, T. A. (1992). When critics ask : A popular handbook on Bible difficulties (271). Wheaton, Ill.: Victor Books.

    Reply
  15. Luke says:

    Dr. Turek,

    I’ll post a better response to your (their) answer, as well as some comments on the debate (I think you did well overall), when I have a bit more time, but I’d like to ask a couple of questions first. (I simply think this is more interesting.

    1. Why is free choice (will) a good thing? (In other words: why is the possibility of evil a good thing?)

    2. Is it possible to have (or give) free choice (will) without introducing the possibility of evil?

    Thanks,

    Luke

    Reply
  16. Toby R. says:

    Your god creates evil by proxy. It’s kind of like the stupid question “can god make a rock so large he cannot lift it.” Is there anything your god cannot do? No . . . well . . . evil, so he has to make a loophole so that it can exist.

    A creature capable of evil is an evil creature. If a person is born, they they are sinners are they not? Sinners at birth. Sin in your worldview is evil. If a creature is evil at birth then that creature is evil, hence god created evil.

    Free choice or free will is a bogus concept. An all knowing omnipresent being knows everything that will happen in the universe from the beginning of time to the end. If he knows there’s going to be a horrible holocaust in the ’40s before it happens and doesn’t do anything to stop it then he has willingly, knowingly created evil. But apparently that’s okay because you can justify that by saying, “He will ultimately produce a greater good through it .”

    And why is “the possibility of evil (i.e., free choice) is itself a good thing.”? Evil is good? What the heck are these people even saying?
    God is responsible for evil, but the option to perform evil is a good thing? Do you see how christianity has survived? You can talk it and bend it and twist it into a big circle to justify everything and all in defense of a god that creates evil. How is giving people an option to commit evil not a blatant form of temptation? It’s like god is fishing for it.

    Reply
  17. Luke says:

    Dr. Turek,

    The response you posted seems to have only validated the point Toby was making, no?

    Toby: G-d made evil, at best He did so by proxy.

    Dr. Turek: Na-uh. G-d didn’t make evil, or at worst He made it by proxy.

    I am not sure where you were going with that I guess.

    Though I am more interested in the questions I asked you a few posts ago about free will, I have some other questions and comments on what you posted.

    Firstly, What effect does your post have on the moral argument?

    You say (errr… the writer says): the execution of God’s justice is sometimes called “evil” because it seems to be evil to those undergoing it

    Isn’t part of the basis of the moral argument the fact that humans (“well-functioning” ones) are able to tell right and wrong, evil and good?

    Yet what you’re saying here is that even though something is good, well-functioning humans construe it as evil.

    I see a bit of a paradox in this. If our moral perception is in fact faulty, then where does that leave us?

    Secondly, what is the difference between evil and calamity (or ill)? (I alluded to this in my prediction of your response, which I must say was pretty good.)

    Let me give an example from the news. I am sure that you heard about the 7 year old girl who was swept from the rocks and into the sea by a giant wave yesterday. She was killed.

    Now, if some stranger would have pushed her into the sea and to her death, you would call that evil.

    If her mother had done it — evil. Her brother — evil. Anyone — evil.

    Yet if G-d does it (waves do not have free will, I think we’ll agree) — calamity.

    Why? Why is one calamity and one evil?

    It seems that the only way you can argue that it is not evil if G-d has done it , is if you accept the premise that G-d is in no way evil and is incapable of evil. (If He did it, then He must have had a “good” reason, since He is not evil.)

    It’s not evil because G-d did it, and G-d is not evil. This is a circular argument.

    It’s an assumption — a faith.

    Without that premise, things become much more difficult. Your own writer admits that the things that G-d does seem evil.

    (We could say this in a rather silly way. If it looks like a frog, sounds like a frog, and smells like a frog, it’s not a frog as long as we accept the premise that it’s not a frog.)

    Reply
  18. Toby R. says:

    I’d like to thank Mr. Turek for taking time to answer these posts. I have a few questions regarding your book and a few others.

    Why does the “first cause” have to be eternal? Without time the idea of eternity has no meaning. If the big bang was the beginning of time then the idea of eternity is meaningless.

    Another question is how do you address heaven? I assume you think it’s outside of the universe. But if all that exists outside of the universe is a spirit first cause, then there is no heaven because this place outside the universe isn’t even a place it’s as you say spaceless.

    How do you get around the fact that spaceless, timeless, and immaterial is the definition of “nothing”?

    Getting back to the idea of evil:

    “Christian: My point is not the degree of evil, but the source of evil. the source of evil is our free choice. If god were to do away with evil, then he would have to do away with free choice. And if he did away with out free choice, we would no longer have the ability to love or do good. This would no longer be a moral world.”

    Following along with this, if there were no free choice then this would be a perfect universe, something that one would assume a perfect and omnipresent creator would produce. No choice would mean that all that was done was good and everything would be love because ostensibly we’d all be acting in accordance with the creator’s wishes. Since we’d have no thought of our own we’d never know what we were missing. And apparently all that we’d be missing was agonizing labor, murder, general pain and suffering, and constantly letting down the creator. In setting up the world like this, ensuring that all men are sinners, the creator created and is responsible for evil. it seems quite diabolical.

    For example: Suppose I made the most powerful nuclear weapon, say a 1 teraton explosive that would totally obliterate the world. Suppose I am of supreme moral character and would never use the weapon myself. But here you come along and I give this weapon to you with the caveat that if you used it it would be totally destructive. My giving you control of that nuclear weapon knowing you’re capable of anything is morally wrong. The same with a creator and free will.

    Today I read Sam Harris’s Letter To A Christian Nation (short and a quick read). He says:
    “Questions of morality are questions about happiness and suffering. This is why you and I do not have moral obligations to rocks. To the degree that our actions can affect the experience of other creatures positively or negatively, questions of morality apply.”

    Do you agree with this?

    And finally:

    Can you tell us something that is objectively moral?

    Sorry for being so full of wind.

    Reply
  19. Derek C. says:

    “Yet if G-d does it (waves do not have free will, I think we’ll agree) — calamity. Why? Why is one calamity and one evil?”

    Simple. Authority. Remember, God has a complete and perfect ownership over all of creation. Humans merely have stewardship over a small portion of creation. We do not have all of the rights that God has concerning anything in creation, including ourselves(thus why suicide is morally wrong, for example). You’ll notice that according to the laws laid out in the Bible, humans have very limited rights over the lives of others. They are only allowed to take such life in limited situations, such as in self defense or during war. The government has slightly more rights in this regard, and is allowed to take life as punishment for some crimes so long as adequate evidence and testimony has been presented and due process has been followed. God’s authority is higher still; in fact it is total. He has the rights over life and death in any and all circumstances, no exceptions.

    To put it simply, for one to overstep one’s bounds in any regard(which all boils down to disobeying God) is morally wrong. It is impossible for God to overstep his bounds because such bounds simply do not exist.

    Reply
  20. Frank Turek says:

    Hi Luke

    1. Why is free choice (will) a good thing? (In other words: why is the possibility of evil a good thing?)

    I don’t think humans can exhibit moral good or evil unless there they have free choice. Free choice allows the possibility for love, but also the possibility for evil. I don’t suppose we would know good or evil unless we were free creatures who could think and choose for ourselves. Is that what you’re getting at? Or are you asking is free choice good from an ontological perspective?

    2. Is it possible to have (or give) free choice (will) without introducing the possibility of evil?

    It certainly is possible that free creatures will not do evil, but if they have free will they can do evil. So I’m not sure you can introduce it without allowing the possibility.

    Blessings,

    Frank

    Reply
  21. Luke says:

    Derek,

    If G-d simply has this authority, then why call it calamity or ill? Doesn’t your answer rest in large part on the supposition that G-d can do no evil? Or are you saying for example that if G-d killed someone because He was having a mighty bad day (sorry, couldn’t resist the pun) and just wanted to watch to someone suffer so He could laugh at that suffering, that would be fine, because creation is just G-d’s plaything to use for whatever purpose he chooses?

    Dr. Turek,

    Thanks for your answer, I think this is a very interesting area of thought. Let me follow up on what you, if I may.

    It seems that your answers lead us to a paradox.

    Either those in heaven cannot and do not love G-d.

    or

    Those in heaven can do evil to one another.

    What are your thoughts on this?

    Reply
  22. Toby R. says:

    Luke,

    It does present an interesting loophole that believers could make, and have made, and do make.

    If god can do no evil then everything that god does is good whether or not we consider it evil. The girl washed into the ocean last week. Starving people. Etc. They really have to work the wording to get a deity off the hook.

    Reply
  23. Frank Turek says:

    Luke,

    Excellent questions on Heaven. The Christian position is that people still have free will in Heaven but they freely choose not to sin because:
    a. they will see God for who he is (sometimes called the “beatific vision” from 1 John 3) and will be so fulfilled they will have no desire to sin (sin is often a short cut to get something we want that we don’t have; since we’re fulfilled, there’s no need to sin). See also 1 Cor. 13.
    b. their fallen natures will be redeemed
    c. those who want to do evil are quarantined in Hell
    There are probably other reasons as well. In fact, Randy Alcorn has written a good book called “Heaven.” Have you seen it?

    Toby, I’ll try to get to your posts tomorrow. Thanks for your patience.

    Blessings,

    Frank

    Reply
  24. Michael says:

    Dr. Turek – Bravo. You presented your case as well as any I have seen. I especially enjoyed your closing statement.
    I think that Hitchens did a better job this time, but he did not provide anything that did any justice or provide any evidence for the disbelief of God. He put up a good fight, but if it were up to my judgment on the matter, Turek won that debate.
    What you did for me in this debate was provided an even greater encouragement for believing in my God and Savior Jesus Christ.
    Bravo, sir, Bravo.

    Reply
  25. Luke says:

    Dr. Turek,

    Thanks for your responses and for engaging in this conversation.

    It seems to me that the discussion of free will has kind of come full circle.

    I think an honest reading of the answer you posted from Dr. Geisler is that G-d gave us free will, which is a good thing — good enough to warrant the introduction of evil. You said it (free will) is such a good thing, because it allows us to love.

    But then you said that free will does not necessarily mean that there will be evil (heaven).

    So it seems that bringing up the idea of free will has become totally irrelevant.

    If we look at the causes for a creation with evil and a creation without evil, free will is simply not a determining factor according to what you’ve presented us with.

    After all:

    We can have a universe with free will in which evil occurs. (Our universe would seem to be an example.)

    We can have a universe with free will in which evil does not occur. (Heaven would be an example.)

    We can have a universe without free will in which evil occurs. (Such as a universe in which human “robots” have been “programmed” to commit evil acts.)

    We can have a universe without free will in which evil does not occur. (A universe in which human “robots” have been “programmed” to commit only good acts, for example.)

    It seems to me that free will has nothing to do with the existence of evil, according to your answers. It has no explanatory power. It seems that Occam’s razor should have cut it out long ago.

    Again, we can propose universes which have or don’t have evil, and knowing whether or not free will exists in those universes does not help us in the least to determine whether or not evil will be present.

    Reply
  26. Matt says:

    WOW Frank Turek’s conclusion was VERY moving! Hitchens could not explain reality whatsoever from the atheistic perspective. It would take a truly stubborn person to reject God after watching this debate! I hope and pray to see Christopher Hitchens saved one day!

    Reply
  27. Frank Turek says:

    Luke,

    Free will is a necessary condition for evil but not a sufficient condition. You need someone to make a bad choice for evil to occur. There can be free will and no evil (as in heaven), but if there is evil there must be free will. So free will is necessary for evil.

    If you look at Appendix 1 of “I Don’t Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist” we lay out the logical possibilities there in a dialogue format.

    Blessings,

    Frank

    Reply
  28. Luke says:

    Our library does not have your book, but I think I know what you mean.

    I will write more on this later in the day. But in hopes that you’re still around, maybe you can help me with some of your understanding of the terms.

    1. Can a universe with no free will have good, in your view, or are both good and evil a matter of motivation behind choice?

    2. How do we know that we have free will?

    Thanks,

    Luke

    Reply
  29. Andrew Ryan says:

    Quick question – how can someone be happy in heaven if they know their brother is suffering in hell? If a Muslim converted to Christianity, he might find himself the only member of his family in heaven – meaning dozens of his relatives would be in hell.

    For such a man to be happy, he’d either need to lose his empathy, of lose his memory of his family – either scenarios are quite disturbing.

    Reply
  30. Frank Turek says:

    Hi Andrew,

    Good question. I think the answer lies in the fact that Heaven and Hell will be both places of perfect justice (unlike this world). The people who populate both places are there by their own choice and at the right level of reward from God or separation from Him for the choices they made.

    In short, Hell cannot veto Heaven, especially since we’ll better understand that people in each place have freely chosen their destiny. And it’s only loving to respect people’s ultimate choices. As Christopher Hitchens himself admitted, Heaven would be “Hell” for him. He doesn’t want to be in the presence of Christ, so God gives him his wish– separation.

    There’s been a lot more written on this. Randy Alcorn’s book has much more if you’re interested.

    Blessings,

    Frank

    Reply
  31. Frank Turek says:

    Hi Toby,

    I’ll try to deal with one question tonight (its’ better if we stick to one issue or the posts get too long and hard to follow).

    You wrote: “Why does the “first cause” have to be eternal? Without time the idea of eternity has no meaning. If the big bang was the beginning of time then the idea of eternity is meaningless.”

    The BB is the beginning of time. Timelessness is not meaningless. The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy puts it this way. “The theory of relativity is generally taken to support the idea that the universe is a 4-dimensional space-time block, that time is a matter of perspective and that an ideal knower outside the universe would observe it ‘all at once’.”

    Of course, this is another big issue that many have written and theorized about. William Lane Craig has a unique view that God entered time when he created. Not sure that’s true, but the main point of BB cosmology is that the cause of the BB must be timeless because time was created at the BB.

    Blessings,

    Frank

    Reply
  32. Luke says:

    As Christopher Hitchens himself admitted, Heaven would be “Hell” for him. He doesn’t want to be in the presence of Christ, so God gives him his wish– separation.

    Dr. Turek,

    So you don’t believe that hell is a place of active torture or punishment. Just a place full of people who don’t really belive in G-d? (Is Hell a lot like Europe?)

    Also, since there is free will in heaven, I assume you believe there is free will in hell as well?

    Reply
  33. Seth says:

    There is only one universe that we know about. The purpose of this universe, according to the Christian perspective, is to glorify God . Other theoretical universes can provide for a myriad of situations, but the only present situation is ours in this universe and how it is. Most humans have an innate want to live and where that came from is debated.

    An objective, reasonable way to look at it, however, is that if the goal of the whole human race is self preservation/happiness, then the optimal thing to do is to submit to whatever “high and mighty dictator” there is if he(or she) offers that. Christianity does not deny the fact that one has to give up himself, but does offer a better, happier existence if you do. Of course there are many factors that deal with the choice to submit, but the point still stands.

    God created us for his pleasure, call him selfish but i enjoy my free will whether its fake or not. But, just think of how you would want your creation to be like,e.g. children. One might enjoy complete obedience from a child who does not love and grows to be an adult who fully serves and fulfills every need possible of the parent/creator. Most people would also feel an emptiness if all of it were due to an absence of choice. The only true enjoyment would truly prove to come out of the loving and serving bond children/creations and parents/creator have, thus proving the true reason to procreate. Parents can be dictators,but that is only compared to what a “better” parent would be, or rather, the perfect parent.
    The issue with free will does not really bother the evidence for a personal god or what he rightly chooses to do with his creation. To put it one way, i would rather risk a “harder” life for a seemingly unfair God on earth in return for eternal bliss than be wrong. Call me a coward, but i have a whole lot of good, logical reasons for believing what i do. Faith only goes so far, but i can also believe and use mathematics to solve complex problems without actually understanding the intricate underworkings of it. Its not the perfect comparison, but what is?

    I wish i could spend more time on this today, but i hope something stuck out. Also, Occam’s razor “can separate two theories that make the same predictions, but does not rule out other theories that might make a different prediction. Empirical evidence is also required, and Occam himself argued for empiricism, not against it.”

    Reply
  34. Andrew Ryan says:

    Thanks Frank. As Luke says, your answer only applies if you reject the idea of an ‘eternal punishment’ hell. Otherwise, my point still stands about the Muslim who converts to Christianity, then finds in heaven that dozens of his family members are suffering in hell. And as far as they were concerned, not only did not they get there by their own choice, they actively lived the lives they believed brought them closer to God – suffering or even just separation was never their choice.

    This convert in heaven, how can he be happy, knowing the suffering of his parents, brothers, sisters, children etc?

    “The main point of BB cosmology is that the cause of the BB must be timeless because time was created at the BB”

    I’ve recommended Victor Stenger to you before, but again I’ll mention that this professor of Physics and Astronomy has written at length about how the BB is not evidence of God. And you mention yourself in your debate that Stephen Hawking is not a believer either. These two men understand physics better than you, me, William Lane Craig or Hitchens. This doesn’t mean they have to be right – but it undercuts the idea that BB is clear evidence of a creator.

    Very entertaining debate by the way, and well worth the wait for. Congratulations to you. Hitchens and your senses of humor are so different, but both amuse in their own way.

    Reply
  35. Andrea says:

    Hey Andrew!!!

    Wasn’t the debate awesome?!!!

    Hey man if you don’t mind…. here’s what I think about the question you posted above:

    The people in hell hate God and love themselves. In the case of a Muslim… just the thought that anyone could even measure up to the infinite Creator is blasphemous… Muslims think they can be “good” enough for God. There’s no way… that’s thinking that they are God… if they can even imagine they can be good enough for Him.

    Thing is we are finite and God is infinite. Totally incompatible…. we can’t measure up to God…. the only way OUT is that GOD makes us measure up to HIM.. by doing it Himself… cuz we sure can’t do it. BUT HOW?? God is God… we are human… He can’t relate to us… that’s where Christ comes in…. God became a man and He DID it Himself… He made us measure up to Him…. by HIS own doing.. in Christ.

    So if someone hurts your mom…. I don’t think you are going to be very sympathetic towards that person right?? If someone hates your FATHER… your Giver of Life…your Savior…. and that’s why they are in Hell.. & by their own choice on top of that… so you have to respect their decision to be there. You can’t do anything about it… it’s not your fault, they chose their destination. Is your heart humbled in desiring to be with God… and knowing only HE can make it possible to be with Him… or is your heart conceited in thinking you can be good enough for the Infinite Creator? That’s the question.

    “I’ve recommended Victor Stenger to you before, but again I’ll mention that this professor of Physics and Astronomy has written at length about how the BB is not evidence of God.”

    Andrew… here’s the point….
    – In order for there NOT to be an infinite regress, the cause of the Universe has to be eternal. Something eternal needs no cause, it just always exists. It’s like the constant in chemistry experiments. Everything depends on this constant.
    – The BB gives evidence that matter, space, and time are co-relative…. so the cause must be spaceless, timeless, and immaterial…
    ~I’ve talked to people that tell me… maybe some “source material” matter is eternal.. but inanimate matter can’t create…. you don’t expect a random horse to appear in your living room out of nothing.
    -That’s why a Creator outside of space time is logical and reasonable….. because of the intricate design we see in the Universe that CAN’T come through mere natural law.

    You know bro?

    Reply
  36. Andrew Ryan says:

    Andrea, you missed my point. A Somalian who converts to Christianity may well be the only non-Muslim they know. So when they get to heaven they would know that all their friends and relatives were suffering in hell. How could this Christian be happy in heaven knowing this?

    And he couldn’t say ‘they deserve it cos they hate Jesus’, because he’d know it wasn’t true. Muslims accept Jesus as a holy prophet of God, they just don’t think he was the son of God. And it is baseless to claime that Muslims hate God, or even love their God less than you. They might make the same claim about you! Speaking as an outside observer who has travelled in Muslim countries, they are just as devout and loving about their God as you are about yours. And loving Allah is not easy – praying several times a day, long pilgrimages, starving yourself for weeks over Ramadam, forsaking alcohol – and bacon! These aren’t things people do because they hate God.

    That’s where the Christian argument falls down that cites the devotion of the early Christians: ‘why would they do it unless they believed in Jesus?’ No-one’s denying they didn’t believe – the point is that one can point to equal devotion (including willingness to die for their faith) from other religions. None of us thinks that ‘proves’ their religion’s veracity – so why make that claim for the early Christian followers?

    As for your points about physics and the universe, my advice stands: read Victor Stenger. You’ve said nothing that he doesn’t address.

    Reply
  37. Andrea says:

    Andrew,

    What I was trying to say is that Muslims, for example, have to do all the things you mentioned in order to have a hope of going to Heaven or to be with God.
    What I’m saying is that by the mere assumption that you can be “good enough” for God… is blaspheme…. in that you are thinking you can reach the infinite perfections of God by your own actions.

    -There might be Muslims that haven’t heard about Jesus…. the real Jesus… the Jesus depicted in the gospels written 600 years earlier than the Q’uran… who do all the praying and fasting truly and honestly to honor God and trust God for their salvation… and when they hear that God became a man in His Son Jesus Christ they forsake it all and follow Jesus…. because they found their answer. The legit followers of God know that they can’t measure up to Him, and that they only way to Him is that He grants them His salvation by His grace and mercy.

    God is so great, we can’t measure up to Him. He made us measure up to Himself by becoming a man and living the infinitely perfect life we could never live…. and taking the punishments for our sins which we would never finish paying God… since He is infinitely perfect.

    No mere human can claim to be God and get away with it… obviously… in order to pull it off this person must do something BEYOND the ordinary. That is what Jesus Christ did…. He Resurrected….. leaving clear proof of His deity and divinity.

    The Roman militia outnumbered the “heretics”, I would assume there would be few that were delusional or crazy… if there are a HUGE amount of people saying the same “impossible” thing: that Christ resurrected…. then there had to be something more to that… it must have happened… because if it just happened in someone’s imagination…. usually only a few are dumb and the militia could have wiped them out in a sec…. What in the world made this movement spread above all others… when there is NO seeking of personal gain for the ones who started the movement.. they got killed and couldn’t hurt others… so Christ resurrection must have happened…proven true by eye-witness attestation.

    Why didn’t it just cease, dissipate, and not be taken seriously like those stories that are actually myths…. because Christ REALLY did rise from the grave…. people were willing to give their lives saying that they SAW the Risen Christ… His tomb was empty, the Roman peeps could’ve just shown the body and bring a dead end to Christianity. Someone is not going to devoutly copy manuscripts over and over for some random story that never happened. No one is dumb enough to waste their time doing that. The N.T. has more manuscripts than any other historical document in history… why? Delusional people? I don’t think so.

    Early Muslims die and say… “We believe Muhammed’s revelation was from Allah, we weren’t there but he said so!”

    Early Christians die and say, “Jesus is the Savior of humanity, He resurrected, I saw, touched, ate with Him… and here I got 500 plus people that say the same thing….”

    Reply
  38. Luke says:

    Andrea,

    You said: What I’m saying is that by the mere assumption that you can be “good enough” … is blaspheme

    How would this be true if G-d asked you to do something, or a specific set of things? Why is it necessary for one to equal G-d to please Him, not simply do what He asks? Presumably, if G-d says “do a,b and c” and one does those things, G-d should be pleased, no? (It would sound silly for Him to say “well, you did exactly what I asked, but I can still jump higher than you, therefore I am sooooooo displeased.”)

    What you’re saying here makes me think of a first grade math teacher.

    Can such a teacher not be pleased with her students and what they have learned and accomplished simply because his or her math knowledge remains far, far superior to theirs?

    Of course not; that’s ludicrous.

    (Dr. Turek, it may be next week before I get a chance to write back to you. Short thoughts are all I can spare at the moment.)

    Reply
  39. Andrea says:

    Luke,
    You took a word out of what I said… I said that thinking that you can be “good enough” for God is blaspheme. Big difference. I’m not talking about doing things to please God…. I’m talking about people that say, “God I am good enough to be in your Holy Presence because I did a, b, and c”… rather than…. “Lord…. I can’t ever be good enough for you… I cling on Christ, because only YOU God…. only YOU did it…not me”….

    It would be like a student telling a math teacher, “say teacher give me the two math problems I have to solve in order to sit in your chair….” That’s foolish talk… vs. “teacher I did these math problems to please you.. but I could never solve the type of problems you solve…”

    Or someone thinkin that they could never be good enough for the NBA or Hollywood… or any of that stuff… well much less the infinite Creator of the Universe… we can’t be good enough for Him…. He did it for us in Christ and & if we are willing to humble ourselves to that fact… we’re clean in His eyes. Free gift… your choice….

    Just an example Luke.. cuz God is infinite… we are finite… we literally can never measure up to Him on our own… that’s why Christ came…. His Son, to make us measure up to Him IF we humble ourselves to the fact that He alone is Good and Perfect.

    Reply
  40. Luke says:

    Andrea,

    Honestly, I took out your two words so that I could copy and paste, instead of having to retype parts of your statement.

    I didn’t see it as changing the meaning in any way. If you feel that it did, I apologize, that was not intended in any way.

    That being said, I don’t think what you’ve said or the inclusion of those words changes my point.

    I think you are taking what I said out of context though. I did not say:

    people that say, “G-d I am good enough to be in your Holy Presence because I did a, b, and c”

    Many people, such as Muslims and Jews hope to please G-d by doing the things He asks.

    It is not “because I did a, b, and c;” it is “because I did a, b, and c, just as you asked.”

    Do you not see the tremendous difference here?

    If anyone said: G-d, I should go to heaven because I ate a cheese stick this morning, then I would see your point.

    And as far as sitting in the teacher’s chair… Who exactly is asking to sit on G-d’s throne? Isn’t it a matter of just being in His presence?

    Reply
  41. Andrea says:

    Hey Luke,

    Right.. I see your point…. yeah so what you said fits in with what I was saying in my earlier post….

    “There might be Muslims that haven’t heard about Jesus…. the real Jesus… the Jesus depicted in the gospels written 600 years earlier than the Q’uran… who do all the praying and fasting truly and honestly to honor God and trust God for their salvation…and when they hear that God became a man in His Son Jesus Christ they forsake it all and follow Jesus…. because they found their answer. The legit followers of God know that they can’t measure up to Him, and that they only way to Him is that He grants them His salvation by His grace and mercy.”

    The point is trusting God for our salvation…. not our abilities as if we could measure up to Him. In turn, out of love towards Him we please Him with our lives knowing that He alone can grant us salvation.

    So yeah.. I think we’re good man….

    Peace.

    -Andrea

    Reply
  42. Toby R. says:

    I can agree that timelessness is not meaningless. But to be such is to essentially be frozen in a single instant. I can’t get around the fact that you say it has to be timeless, spaceless, and immaterial. These things together point to nothingness.

    Reply
  43. Andrea says:

    Hey Toby,

    I can say that you are impaperish (not paper), imcolorish (not paint or color)… but that doesn’t mean that you are nothing… you are just composed of other materials that are not paper or colors.

    YET the painting you painted required a painter, in order to exist, that is outside of it’s realm.

    God is outside of our realm as a result He is timeless since He made time, spaceless since He created space, and immaterial since He created matter.

    ** You can spot an ant from far away, but to the ant you don’t exist. You can see the ant, but the ant can’t see you because you are too big, and outside of the realm of the ant.
    Yet you DO exist… it’s just the ant is too small to realize it.. the ant has certain limitations which you don’t have.

    I think the evidence around us (Creation), our conscience, and Christ point to God clearly and effectively. God gave us brains so that we could reason things out. His existence is the most reasonable.

    Reply
  44. Andrew Ryan says:

    “Yet you DO exist… it’s just the ant is too small to realize it.”

    So the ant should be tortured forever for not being able to detect you? Even though you designed the ant without the ability to detect you?

    “God gave us brains so that we could reason things out.”

    And what if my reason tells me there probably isn’t a God?

    Reply
  45. Toby R. says:

    Andrea,

    The most you can say of Frank’s god as he postulates it is that it’s outside this universe. In order for something to exist it must have space, time, and material. So all that you’re saying, building on Mr. Turek’s god with your ant analogy, is that god is just too big to detect. It’s an apt analogy in that if such a being exists then us being ants could in no way understand what it says to us and at best make ludicrous claims about it which we could not possibly hope to base on any sense of real understanding. So all Mr. Turek’s claim about his god is, essentially, that it exists in some other dimension or universe. If god is all of the three things you claim (spaceless, etc) then where is heaven? Is heaven then god himself?

    And how does the leap get made from Mr. Turek’s god creating the universe through the big bang to being the god of the bible? If you’re basing it on genesis then you’re basing it on controversy itself. No one can really agree that in the beginning if god created the earth out of existing material or not. Another flaw is that it says the earth was formed before the sun. The gravity of the sun would have been a necessary part of the formation of our solar system.

    “the earth was [a] formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters. 3 And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light.”

    And there was even water on before the sun was formed? You can’t seriously link Mr. Turek’s creator to the god of the bible.

    Reply
  46. Andrea says:

    Andrew,
    My example with the ant is not that we made the ant, because we didn’t. My example is the ant is not omnipotent and doesn’t know all things. The ant could think you don’t exist, and the fact is you do exist. Yet if you put foods in front of the ant without the ant seeing you…. the ant should be able to reason that someone is putting the food there, even if it can’t see you…. not just appearing out of nowhere.

    The difference between us and my ant example is that we have clear evidence for God and WE CAN reason out that there is a Creator.

    So what if one ant thinks you don’t exist? Does it change the fact that you do exist? No. Does that change anything? No. The facts are the facts. Creation, our conscience, and Christ.. CLEARLY… clearly.. point to God.

    We are obviously way smarter than ants… and we can definitely reason in a level that they can’t. So therefore WE have no excuse. The ants are part of creation. Creation is what points to God, that’s the point of all the creatures around us. So that we realize there is a Creator, Sustainer, and Ultimate Constant that keeps everything in line.

    Reply
  47. Andrea says:

    Toby,

    God needs to be outside of the realm of creation or else He would be part of creation. The painter needs to be outside of the painting or else he’s just part of the painting. The building has to have a builder that is outside of its realm. It makes sense in everyday life.

    God is outside of our realm BUT we can see the evidence of His existence through creation. When we look at a building we know that there is a builder, that’s a no-brainer right?

    (Gen. 1:1) “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth”….

    God is separate from everything He created…. God is in Heaven but He is not Heaven… because He made Heaven. God is not contained by anything but He can make Himself present wherever He wills. God is separate and Holy.

    God can make the Universe and after He’s done… set it in motion in the way we know it works today.

    Reply
  48. Toby R. says:

    Ms. Andrea,

    If god is in heaven then god is material and confined within the space of heaven. The only logical way that you can argue this is that god is in some alternate dimension or universe in which he is material in some form.

    Your whole set of analogies have a variety of problems, but we can all see that they are creator/creation analogies. Mr. Turek can say that his creator is spaceless, etc, but even if you say it’s “spiritual” then you’re saying that it’s an energy (I think we can all agree that a creator would have to have some kind of energy in order to be as intelligent as Mr. Turek surmises) and energy has to have place and time otherwise it would be frozen in a single instant. You can say that energy is immaterial, but energy can change form to mass so in effect energy is material. So Mr. Turek’s god exists materially, spacially, and temporally in some form in some dimension/universe. Leading to infinite regression of what or who made who or what.

    Here’s an interesting question I would like to pose to you as well as Mr. Turek:

    If god created all creatures then why do we not see creatures on this planet comprised of a system other than DNA? Certainly there should be other chemical configurations to make a plant or fish. Why do we only see DNA (and RNA in the case of some viruses) lifeforms? Is god lazy or is he limited by physics or what?

    Reply
  49. Andrea says:

    Luke,
    I have no idea how old the earth is. No matter how old the earth is, it still needs a Creator. I can find an old ragetty car, or a new Mercedes Benz and they both require a maker. So how old the earth is makes no difference whatsoever on the existence of God.
    ———————————————————————————————-

    Mr. Toby,

    I said God can make Himself present in Heaven… but He is not contained by Heaven. He is not contained by another “Universe”… He is the Creator of all containers. He stands aside.

    God is infinite and there can only be one infinite being. God is perfect and there can only be one perfect being. Anything less than perfect ceases from being perfect. Chemistry lab experiments depend on constants. This Universe also requires an ultimate constant that it is dependent on.

    When we say God is immaterial, timeless, and spaceless the point is that God is not composed of THIS we are made of. I’m made of atoms and so is the painting I painted, but we are not the same. God is Spirit, God is alive, we have a spirit, and we are alive but we are not of the same essence. The Creator always has to exist in a different realm than the creation. The Creator is always on a whole ‘nother level. In order for there not to be an infinite regress this Creator must be self-existent and eternal. Something eternal doesn’t need a cause. Only things that come to be require a cause.
    The Creator can’t be part of the creation or else He becomes part of the creation. There has to be a START, period, CONSTANT where everything depends and comes forth from. The reason this Constant has to be personal, powerful, and intelligent is because inanimate matter can’t create. Nothing=Nothing. Intelligent mind always = creation.

    I think it’s great that everything is composed of DNA…. this points to a common Creator that uses the same blue-prints for His work of art. You usually know who cooked your food by the way it tastes. Certain people like to use certain spices and can be identified by the spices they use on the food they cook. It all points to a common, consistent, unchanging Creator. God is the smart one… we are the ones that are lazy and limited by physics. So God tries to make things easy for us to figure out His existence.

    Reply
  50. Frank Turek says:

    Thanks Andrew,

    Hitchens is blessed with a great wit. He’s a good story teller too.

    I believe that Hell is a place of punishment, but not torture. No where does the Bible refer to torture. Of course, there is much imagery in the Bible about it (darkness, weeping and gnashing of teeth, torments, sorrows, destruction, fire, separation, etc.). Certainly unpleasant, but it is difficult to get a literal idea of what it will be like. But the people who are there are there because of the choices they have made.

    With regard to Muslims who think they are pursuing the true God themselves, the Bible says if you seek you will find. I do know there are many Muslims who have come to Christ through dreams and visions (I have spoken to one of them personally and know of several others). Of course, there is no way of knowing who is sincerely seeking and who isn’t. But if there is a God, He knows and his moral nature would ensure that everyone receives the proper destiny.

    This question is related to “What about those that have never heard?” William Lane Craig has some interesting possibilities in his answer to that question here, suggesting that it is possible that those who never hear the gospel wouldn’t have believed it anyway. He writes:

    “I think it’s clear that on my view no one is “written off”: every human being is given sufficient grace for salvation, even the unevangelized. Salvation is universally accessible. But God is too good to allow folks to be damned because they happened to be born at the wrong time and place in history. So He places those who would respond to the Gospel if they heard it at times and places in history where they do hear it. He does no injustice towards the unevangelized who reject the light of general revelation and are lost because He knows that they wouldn’t have responded to the Gospel anyway, even if they had heard it.” More on this here: http://www.reasonablefaith.org/site/PageServer?pagename=q_and_a_archive (Click on Question 8).

    Is it the right answer? I don’t know, but it is a possibility that seems to be supported by a passage in Acts 17 where Paul says ?“And [God] has made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth, and has determined their preappointed times and the boundaries of their dwellings, 27?“so that they should seek the Lord, in the hope that they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us.”

    By the way, been looking at Stenger per your recommendation. Did you see he debated Craig? Craig pointed out that Stenger’s naturalistic view of the origin of the universe is contradictory (see it on You Tube). Of course, a debate doesn’t cover all the material. Will be looking more at Stenger’s written work. .

    Blessings,

    Frank

    Reply
  51. Toby R. says:

    Ms. Andrea,

    you really like using analogies. Food, art, construction.

    How can god not be contained by heaven? Where does it say he made heaven? There can only be one infinite being and one perfect being. Hmm. where did you come up with this?

    The whole spaceless, timeless, and immaterial thing is based upon physics, correct? Big bang theory. Einstein’s relativity. Newton’s theory of gravity lasted over 200 years before Einstein’s breakthrough. Einstein led us to the big bang. But Einstein’s theory of gravity ceases to be valid at subatomic levels. So something needs to change. Mr. Turek’s postulating does not deal with this and in further books he’s going to have to address cyclic universe models such as proposed by Baum and Frampton or Turok and Steinhardt (each model deals with 2nd law of thermodynamics and entropy which would probably be Turek’s main issue with them seeing as how he and you like eternal gods). Also, you do know that the big bang theory doesn’t start with nothing, right? Really the theory starts at the planck epoch (the first 10 to the -43 seconds of the universe). Before that moment relativity doesn’t work and we need a quantum theory of gravity. Which is what physicists are scrambling around looking for. It’ll either confirm the big bang or turn it into a big bounce. So you’re better off arguing with people from a faith standpoint than a god-of-the-gap position. The physics may go your way or it may not and Frank will have to go back to the drawing board.

    So . . . why is Mr. Turek’s creator the god of the bible? How is that leap made. No one really cleared that up for me.

    An all powerful creator could make a multitude of critters on one planet with each of them vastly different chemical make up. If this guy can make the universe we should at least be able to see a few odd genetic models on one planet. And if this creator were so good at what he does it would be obvious to everyone and there would be only one religion rather than thousands throughout time.

    Reply
  52. Frank Turek says:

    Hi Toby,

    The cosmological argument alone does not prove that the cause of the universe is the God of the Bible. It simply provides reasonable evidence for a spaceless, timeless, immaterial, powerful and personal cause (i.e. theism). When combined with the teleological and moral arguments, along with the witness of history regarding Jesus, we have a probability argument that the theistic God of the cosmological argument is the God of the Bible. This is all laid out in our book.

    You mentioned: “I can agree that timelessness is not meaningless. But to be such is to essentially be frozen in a single instant. I can’t get around the fact that you say it has to be timeless, spaceless, and immaterial. These things together point to nothingness.”

    We all believe in things that are timeless, spaceless and immaterial. Our thoughts are an example. You believe in the proposition that “God does not exist.” That proposition is certainly not extended in space time, nor is it made of molecules. Neither is your quote above. The laws of logic are immaterial as well.

    In other words, to say that only things comprised of space time and matter exist, is self defeating and it also begs the question in favor of naturalism. But with regard to the universe, the evidence seems to strongly but not absolutely indicate (science is always somewhat tentative) that there is a cause beyond space time and matter. It is reasonable to believe that this is an unembodied mind. (i.e. God). It certainly makes more sense than to believe that the universe just popped into existence uncaused from nothing.

    Blessings,

    Frank

    Reply
  53. Toby R. says:

    yes, as Andrew says, thanks for replying.

    As you explain the cosmo argument then you must see that people of other religions won’t believe that that god would be the christian god. If they accept the cosmo argument then they’ll apply that to their own religious texts and validate their beliefs and gods the same way that you do. Comments?

    Yes, I actually do think my thoughts are all molecular. I think all of your thoughts are based on molecular activity. In your first debate with Hitchens you ask what does love or justice weigh. I think it’s different based on each individual. What does love weigh? Tell me what kind and how many neurotransmitters are released and I’ll use the molecular weight to calculate it and tell you. Here’s an experiment for you: let someone come up behind you and whack you on the head with a Louisville slugger. I’m betting you’ll not have any thought without the proper functioning of your brain. As a matter of fact I’m betting that it’ll be a lot like the time before you were born. You just aren’t there. And you just aren’t there because your brain isn’t working.

    I reject the idea of objective morality, that morality is something outside of us. You can’t really make a claim that anything is objectively moral because to make such a claim is to be omniscient. And as the omniscient being you can change the objective morals to fit your whim. You can tell people not to murder and then tell the same people, “Hey, that group a few towns over is really ticking me off, go murder all of them, I command it.”

    I’m currently watching the Craig/Stenger debate. In regards to the argument for jesus being a god don’t feel some qualms about the idea that the new testament was written after the old testament and such things could have been written to fit the bill?

    Reply
  54. Andrea says:

    -If the NT events are fictional, then why do the non-Christian writers record some as though they actually occurred?
    *Jesus Christ is cited by Josephus, Tacitus, Pliny the Younger, Phlegon, Thallus, Suetonious, Lucion, Celsus, Mara Bar-Serapian, the Jewish Talmud (which said he did sorcery-admitting the miracles he did had to have happened, these are the opponents to Christianity.)

    -The New Testament alone has over 6,000 manuscripts, the ancient document that follows that is Homer’s Illiad with only 600 manuscripts, and all ancient document go down from there.

    -By the process of comparison and cross checking, the original New Testament can be reconstructed with great accuracy. Since there are copies spread all over the ancient world, there’s NO way one scribe or priest can alter the Word of God. No other ancient book is so well authenticated.

    -Jerusalem was demolished by 70 A.D. by Titus the Roman emperor. All info included in the NT is so detailed on Jerusalem before it was demolished that it couldn’t be written by someone of a later generation. All NT books were written before A.D. 100, about 70 years after the ascension of Jesus.

    -If there was ever a place that a legendary resurrection could not occur it was Jerusalem, because the Jews and the Romans were all too eager to squash Christianity and could have easily done it by parading Jesus’ body around the city.

    -There are about at least 30 characters in the N.T. who have been confirmed as historical through archaeology or non-christian sources.

    -No eye-witness dies for something that they KNOW is a lie. Why would the N.T. writers endure persecution, torture, and death for a fictional story?

    -Historical novelists usually don’t use the names of real people, especially powerful gov’t and religious officials who could easily deny the story and the writers know they are getting into a heap of trouble by writing about them. They were willing to run the risk.. why? The saw Jesus, they saw Him alive, they touched Him, after He had been put to death…

    No mere human can claim to be God and get away with it… obviously… in order to pull it off this person must do something BEYOND the ordinary. That is what Jesus Christ did…. He Resurrected….. leaving clear proof of His deity and divinity.

    The Roman militia outnumbered the “heretics”, I would assume there would be few that were delusional or crazy… if there are a HUGE amount of people saying the same “impossible” thing: that Christ resurrected…. then there had to be something more to that… it must have happened… because if it just happened in someone’s imagination…. usually only a few are dumb and the militia could have wiped them out in a sec…. What in the world made this movement spread above all others… when there is NO seeking of personal gain for the ones who started the movement.. they got killed and couldn’t hurt others… so Christ resurrection must have happened…proven true by eye-witness attestation.

    Why didn’t it just cease, dissipate, and not be taken seriously like those stories that are actually myths…. because Christ REALLY did rise from the grave…. people were willing to give their lives saying that they SAW the Risen Christ… His tomb was empty, the Roman peeps could’ve just shown the body and bring a dead end to Christianity. Someone is not going to devoutly copy manuscripts over and over for some random story that never happened. No one is dumb enough to waste their time doing that. The N.T. has more manuscripts than any other historical document in history… why? Delusional people? I don’t think so.

    Reply
  55. Tim D. says:

    What does love weigh? Tell me what kind and how many neurotransmitters are released and I’ll use the molecular weight to calculate it and tell you.

    “What does love weigh?” is like asking, “What does chr$(13) mean?” It makes no sense because it is not phrased properly. “Love” here is used as a complex metaphor to refer to actual behaviors, or literal information. The terminology of the metaphor itself is simply not specific enough to quantify; it’s too vague. Direct quantification can only occur at a certain level of precision.

    Likewise, if you try to tell a computer to carry out a command symbolized by “chr$(13),” the computer will not be able to process that command. It needs to know what that phrase “chr$(13)” means in literal “machine code” — the language of computers which translates human symbols and words into literal actions. By itself, “chr$(13)” means nothing; it is only when it is assigned to a specific functional signal (in a specific language) which is then converted into direct machine code that it becomes useful; the computer recognizes that the phrase “chr$(13)” is basically referring to a specific set of commands in direct machine code. So whenever we type that command into a JB script-writing program, the program’s interpreter tells the computer what the command means — we use our language in this case, the JB language, to form a command, then translate it into the computer’s language so that it can be carried out.

    So basically, the phrase “chr$(13)” has no meaning, objectively speaking. It’s just symbols. It’s only because we have this sort of “contract” with the machine — an agreed-upon statement of what the words mean, and a physical process to associate that statement with — that the statement is allowed to have any meaning. So if you told me to quantify what that means by itself, I of course could not tell you — it is not the statement itself that has meaning, but the processes we manually attribute to it via the construction of a programming language. But it would be foolish of me to then respond by saying, “It means nothing.” Taken as an irreducible concept, no, it doesn’t; but if we follow the chain of code to a level at which the process is broken down into computable parts, we see that it can actually have a very precise, literal meaning.

    Reply
  56. Andrew Ryan says:

    “There are about at least 30 characters in the N.T. who have been confirmed as historical through archaeology or non-christian sources”

    But fairly crucially, Jesus isn’t among them. No first hand accounts of him exist outside the bible.

    “Josephus, Tacitus, Pliny the Younger, Phlegon, Thallus, Suetonious, Lucion, Celsus, Mara Bar-Serapian”

    Which of these are contemperaneous with his life, ie wrote before he died?

    “No eye-witness dies for something that they KNOW is a lie.”

    But 1) we’ve got very little evidence for the existence of the oppostles outside the bible either, 2) you’re ignoring the thousands of martyrs boasted by other religions. Just in my lifetime, Jim Jones had hundreds of ‘eyewitnesses’ who willingly killed themselves for him. You think HE was divine?

    Reply
  57. Toby R. says:

    Ms. Andrea,

    Do you honestly think resurrection is some unique event? Lazarus, anyone? Jesus. The unnumbered amount of the dead that rose at the moment of jesus’s death and paraded through jerusalem like night of the living dead? Which incidentally is only written about in Matthew. The claim that all of the books are accurate because they don’t contain the same account of the events is ludicrously stupid. You don’t think the dead rising would be a noticeably relevant event that all would include in their books? THE DEAD RISING? Of course it does also make the idea of resurrection cheap. Hell, everyone dead gets up and walks around in the bible. Why is jesus so special in this regard? No go google resurrections in other religions. Resurrections came cheap in early religions. And you want to claim that the one in yours is any better or more valid than the others?

    Reply
  58. Andrea says:

    Andrew,

    The extra-Biblical sources concerning Jesus do write about Him. They definitely catch on to the impact He had. If He did nothing, no resurrection, no one would have even written about Him. How does a crucified man from a random village become the Lord of Glory if nothing happened? The earliest biographies of Alexander the Great are written 400 years after his death, by Arion and Plutarch, and they are considered reliable sources. We have WAY way better sources for Christ than any other historical figure.

    About the eye-witnesses…. The disciples SAW Christ resurrected…. they could have denied the whole thing and saved their lives. Why do you think they didn’t deny Him after-the-fact? You think the appearance had something to do with it?

    The gospels were written during the age of the eye-witness if there was false info going around, surely those around would have corrected it. People like Jim Jones…. and all other false dudes…. they fade, dissipate, and get nowhere.

    What made Christ flourish above every person that has ever existed in this world? Nothing = Nothing. Obviously Christ had to do something HUGE in order to be considered God incarnate.

    Reply
  59. Andrea says:

    Toby,

    The difference between Jesus, and the people that HE raised to life in the Bible… or were risen because of Him is:

    1) When the regular people rose from the dead.. they rose in a regular carnal body to later one die again.

    2) The dead peeps that rose parading around the city is actually a sign that authenticates Christ in Ezequiel 37 it says how when the people rise then you know it is the LORD. It doesn’t matter that the other accounts don’t mention it. The point they were trying to get across was Christ as the Savior of humanity. They have the same core story with divergent details which is expected when different people collaborate to the same story.

    3) So Toby my point exactly…if the resurrection is something cheap in other religions.. it happens all the time.. no big deal.. then WHY and HOW did Christ stand out above ALL?? The difference is we have clear eye-witness attestation that is found nowhere in other religions. No one EVER claimed to be God and got away with it.. no one.. except Christ… because He authenticated Himself through His resurrection. The eye-witnesses could tell Christ’s body was GLORIFIED unlike any other… which is why He clearly stands out. He rose to live on forever vs. those who rise to die later on.

    4) Lets say you and I make up a story about a guy named “Billy Joe” who is an amazing singer and dancer. We pass this story on.. but of course everyone knows it’s a story because we didn’t physically show them a person who could sing and dance. This story spread before Michael Jackson .. a REAL amazing singer and dancer came around. Yet Michael Jackson flourished in popularity tremendously… all over the world… now he’s dead… but would it make sense for someone to say Michael Jackson couldn’t sing and dance when his impact has been so great worldwide.. No obviously.

    5) You have to look at the genre of the literature to determine its veracity. The gospels are ancient biographies, not made-up fairy-tales.

    6) You have skeptics like James and Saul of Tarsus who suddenly become followers of Christ when it is not to their advantage to do so. Who would want to join the “get beat up, persecuted, and killed club”… no one.. unless it actually happened.

    7) You have to account for the empty tomb and the appearances… and THEN the growth of the believers of Christ as Savior.

    8) I think ma bro Gamaliel says it well in Acts 5:34-39:

    “But a Pharisee named Gamaliel, a teacher of the law, who was honored by all the people, stood up in the Sanhedrin and ordered that the men be put outside for a little while.Then he addressed them: “Men of Israel, consider carefully what you intend to do to these men. Some time ago Theudas appeared, claiming to be somebody, and about four hundred men rallied to him. He was killed, all his followers were dispersed, and it all came to nothing. After him, Judas the Galilean appeared in the days of the census and led a band of people in revolt. He too was killed, and all his followers were scattered. Therefore, in the present case I advise you: Leave these men alone! Let them go! For if their purpose or activity is of human origin, it will fail. But if it is from God, you will not be able to stop these men; you will only find yourselves fighting against God.”

    No one can stop God’s Holy Spirit from convicting of sin and bringing people to repentance and trust in Christ. No one. The proof is in the pudding.

    Reply
  60. Toby R. says:

    Ms. Andrea,

    So that whole thing about the dead saints getting up and walking around wasn’t worth mention or even notice from the other writers? That’s the worst reporting in the history of written documentation. It also makes it suspect. As in: someone included that in there just to fulfill some stuff said in the O.T.

    Your argument is just vox populi, vox Dei. You’re saying that Jesus was who early writers claim he is because he’s popular. People have all kinds of popular ideas that are false. Like say, “We’re this tribe, and that other tribe (or race) is inferior!” Or like: “Hey, the sun revolves around the earth!” That first one is still a popular idea and has been around a whole lot longer than written language. Doesn’t make it true though.

    That the N.T. books are ancient biographies is highly debatable as is the date they were written. believers can’t seem to get it into their heads that if they were written after the events, such as the destruction of the temple, that they could be written to fit the history. On one hand people believe these ancients were too stupid to be able to make it up based on history and on the other they can overlook gross inconsistencies that call into question the veracity of the whole mess—like the missing dead men walking around and whether Judas hung himself or fell down in a field and his guts exploded out of him. It make take more faith to be an atheist, but it takes a lot more naivete to be a theist, particularly a christian theist.

    Why would it be to the advantage for skeptics to turn into believers? Possibly because they become filled with delusional religious mania and believe that the sooner they get persecuted they’d get martyred and then they’d get their eternal reward . . . or at the very least notoriety.

    The EMPTY TOMB! HOLY CROW! HOW DO I EVER ACCOUNT FOR THAT?!!?! A myriad of possibilities. 1) Roman soldiers drug out the corpse, dismembered it, and spread it to the wind. Or cremated it which the romans preferred at the time. 2) The believers themselves stole away with the body and then made up the whole resurrection to start a revolution against their roman oppressors as well as jewish oppression (stoning for trivial things, any takers? No? Remember not to eat pork!). 3) Jesus was completely mythical like other man-gods. 4) There wasn’t a lot to do back then so why not start up a new religion. 5) It was something George W. Bush did. 6) They didn’t want to wear the black fedoras that the orthodox wore. 7) It’d been a long time since the Red Sea parted and everyone was due for another miracle. 8) “Hey, Saul, this kosher wine is great . . . let’s write something that’ll get us killed.” 9) it was all part of the jewish/roman conspiracy. 10) Cthulu devoured the body and it was excreted into an alternate dimension.

    Reply
  61. Andrew Ryan says:

    “We have WAY way better sources for Christ than any other historical figure.”

    Nonsense. We have no contemporary portraits of him, no verified date of birth or death, no hand-writing, no direct quotes outside the bible, in fact no contemporaneous reports of him outside the bible at all. And on this you want to prove the existence of a God? Comparisons to Alexander the Great are spurious – you’re not using A the Great to prove a deity.

    Reply
  62. Luke says:

    Dr. Turek,

    Sorry for not posting much as of late, I know I owe you a few responses. It’s the first week of school…

    Anyway, back to a couple of points:

    You said that Christopher Hitchens “wish” was to go to hell, but then said “I believe that Hell is a place of punishment… Certainly unpleasant, but it is difficult to get a literal idea of what it will be like.”

    First of all, what has Mr. Hitchens said that made you believe he wished to be punished?

    Second of all, how can you say he would be getting what he wished for, when you admit to not knowing what it is actually like?

    Also, back to the idea of free will. You said that free will is necessary for evil. I think maybe there was some confusion on the terms, as I said before. Let’s look at the situations I proposed before:

    We can have a universe without free will in which evil occurs. (Such as a universe in which human “robots” have been “programmed” to commit evil acts.)

    We can have a universe without free will in which evil does not occur. (A universe in which human “robots” have been “programmed” to commit only good acts, for example.)

    If you could live in one of these worlds, which would you choose? Why?

    Do you honestly believe that there is no moral difference between the two?

    If you would not call them good and evil, how would you describe these worlds if you had to do so with one adjective?

    Now, let me back up and admit to my own sloppiness here (and maybe we will find agreement here): it is incorrect to say that the universes above feature no free will. The do of course… the creator in each has free will. Therefore, I think both satisfy your condition of free will being necessary.

    Even if we ignore these two universes, and concentrate on the other two I postulated (one like heaven and one like earth), free will is still a bad predictor of the existence of evil, in fact a useless one. So my original questions still stand.

    I said: “It seems to me that free will has nothing to do with the existence of evil, according to your answers. It has no explanatory power… knowing whether or not free will exists in those universes does not help us in the least to determine whether or not evil will be present.”

    So why was it used in the explanation you posted? It seems that talk of fulfillment (which you talked about when we got into more detail) would have provided us with a lot more information.

    I also asked before: if there is free will in heaven, is there free will in hell: what do you think?

    Two new points:

    Dr. Turek said::We all believe in things that are timeless, spaceless and immaterial. Our thoughts are an example.

    How so?

    How are thoughts timeless? Every thought I have ever had, had it’s place in time. I can say: I though about how hot it is from 10:42:11.8821123 to 10:42:15.33267362 today. Thoughts take time, do they not? Perhaps there is actually something to discuss on the immaterial front, but have you ever known a thought to exist without material involvement? If so, please describe it.

    Also, about the answer you posted from Dr. Craig. You have posted this before. I responded at the time, but I don’t think I heard back from you.

    If what Dr. Craig says is true, isn’t it terribly odd, then, that G-d has decided to make those people, those who would not have accepted Him, and therefore had no need to hear be pretty much confined to the non-white for well over a millennia?

    Not a single Native American had a chance for well over a thousand years. Some brown-skinned islanders didn’t have a chance for many years after that.

    To this day Christianity is a minor religion in places like India (less than 3% of the population, I think), and many there live a full life without hearing about Jesus.

    Do you not find this terribly odd? I think you would have to concede that a great majority of those who have been Christian since the death of Jesus have been white. It’s only in the last two hundred years that we’ve really seen a strong influx of some much needed diversity.

    The other side of this coin would be that most of the people in hell are non-white.

    This is something that makes me terribly uncomfortable with this idea. It’s not logically binding in any way, but how can the emotional appeal here not make you question it?

    I just find it hard to fathom that G-d would function this way.

    Reply
  63. Andrew Ryan says:

    “If what Dr. Craig says is true, isn’t it terribly odd, then, that G-d has decided to make those people, those who would not have accepted Him, and therefore had no need to hear be pretty much confined to the non-white for well over a millennia?”

    Christopher Hitchens has a nice quote in his book about the first Missionaries preaching the gospel in China, and an emperor asking words to the effect of ‘If such news existed of a deity manifesting himself, why has it taken so long to reach the Chinese?’.

    Frank, quoting WL Craig: “But God is too good to allow folks to be damned because they happened to be born at the wrong time and place in history”.

    I don’t understand what the word ‘good’ means in this context. If good has no meaning outside of God’s own standard, what does it mean to say ‘God is too good to allow that’?

    Frank, you have said before that anything God does is by definition good, that it’s impossible to come up with an act that would be bad if God did it. That means that if God said ‘Folks born at the wrong time in history are damned and that’s their bad luck’, you would tell me that there was nothing unjust in this – God said it, therefore it is just, by definition. Is this what you believe?*

    Given that, what does it mean to say ‘God is too good to do that?’, if the word ‘good’ simply refers to God’s own nature? You’re saying ‘God is too Godlike to do that’, with the word ‘Godlike’ merely meaning ‘like God’. It therefore is a circular statement that means nothing.

    * [Hypothetically, if I then tried to argue that this wasn’t ‘good’ or wasn’t ‘just’, wouldn’t you then tell me that I had no right to use such terms, given that I didn’t believe in an ‘objective morality’?]

    Reply
  64. Andrew Ryan says:

    Something else I’ve wondered. I can understand that if you’re a believer and are presented with an atheist mind-set, then it feels like when it comes to morality or love, the atheist has lost something.

    But imagine a developed people that has never come into contact with ideas of a deity, and has its naturalistic ideas about what love is or morality. If you tell them about God, what exactly are you adding to their understanding of what love or morality is? You can tell them you’re dissatisfied by THEIR theories, but I don’t really know what you’re adding to it.

    What are you telling them love is? “it’s from God”, “it’s magical” – what would they make of that? And morality – OK, they accept that you don’t like their naturalistic ideas of morality, but all you’re telling them is that your ideas make more sense, which is simply asserting that ‘God is good’, without explaining what you mean by that.

    Reply
  65. Andrea says:

    Toby,

    Would you stand up to the U.S. army saying something completely illogical to get yourself killed?

    Would anyone else be dumb enough to join you?

    I’m not talking about popularity…. there are a lot of “popular” men that make history. Neil Armstrong did something completely OUT of the ordinary, but he wasn’t considered GOD. No one can claim to be God and get away with it, they eventually plummet to the ground for lack of evidence and reliability.

    Reply
  66. Andrea says:

    Andrew,

    God is the standard which we use to compare everything that is good or bad. If there is no God…. then how do you know what is good or bad. There is always a standard for everything. If you’re going to build a house.. there’s a standard, there’s a how-to book. You don’t just relatively come up with what you “think” will build a car… you follow the standard rules that tell you so. God is good… we act contrary to Him and our conscience testifies to that.
    ———————————————————————————————–

    I think someone in the woods can reason and come up with this:

    1) No one can objectively measure up to God. God is infinitely perfect. We know we are not perfect. We are finite, and God is infinite.

    2) Who can measure up to God?
    No one. Only God can measure up to Himself.

    3) Can we measure up to God through good works?
    No. God is in a totally different level. Just like someone may think they can’t measure up to marry someone in Hollywood, well much less measure up to the Sovereign Creator of everything.

    4) Can we do enough good things to cancel out the bad?
    No way, that is like telling a judge in a court of law you’ll do “good things” so they won’t give you the punishment for your crime. A just judge would always have the person pay for the punishment they committed.

    5) Why should we deserve eternal punishment for mere mistakes?
    We willingly choose to sin. We suppress the truth to satisfy our own appetites and totally blow God out of the picture. Not only do we choose to sin, we do it knowing that it is wrong because our conscience testifies to it being wrong otherwise we wouldn’t make excuses. We deserve eternal punishment for offending the very One who gave us life, who is eternally perfect.

    6) But why hasn’t God given us justice then? Why aren’t we in hell now?
    It must be that God has a way out.

    7) What’s the only way out of you taking the punishment or paying for something you absolutely can’t pay?
    That someone else pays it for you. If I don’t have a million bucks to bail me out of jail, the only way out is someone rich pays it for me.

    8)What if I ask for forgiveness?
    Won’t work. Forgiveness from a debt can only come if the debt has already been paid for. We can try it with our bank-teller. If I owe the bank $100 and the next day they send me a letter saying to not worry about it; the only conclusion is that it was paid for by someone, and it wasn’t me.

    9) So someone else would have to pay my debts (which are infinite and we would never finish paying God for our sins because He is infinitely perfect and we are finite and willingly imperfect.) In order for this to happen it would have to be a human in order to accurately literally replace me. But no mere human can literally replace me in living the perfect life I could never live, and taking the punishments for my mess-ups. No human can measure up to God anyways. Only God can measure up to Himself.

    10) The only option left is: That God becomes human and breaks these infinites that He and only He can break. God did become human in the person of His Son Jesus Christ and bore the complete wrath we deserved, because not only is God just but loving at the same time. Justice and Love met at the cross. Did God leave it at that? How can we know this is objectively true? Jesus Christ resurrected, leaving the clear sign that this is a God event, that only God could do, to emphasize the point that we need to humble ourselves to God and admit that we flat-out can’t do it. We can’t measure up to Him. It is only by His grace and love that He can get us in His Kingdom to be with Him, and it is He Himself who did it, not us. Then out of love for God our ways change. To where we want to live for Him and reach out to others with this free gift of salvation that ONLY God can give.

    Reply
  67. Andrea says:

    Toby,

    Also… take into account that when a people are controlled/oppressed it is even more scary to stand up against them. If you are going to stand up to a communist society for example, and make exclusivist claims they will kill you, no question.

    The disciples are standing up to the Romans… all of these guys outnumbered them….. the Romans could have wiped them out in a second and brought Christianity to a dead end. If we’re talking 12 disciples saying something that is illogical…. and people see them getting killed for saying that…. no one will go forth with it unless there is Truth in that. The resurrection of Christ is empirical evidence for the eye-witnesses. They weren’t saying, “We believe Christ resurrected”… they said, “We saw, touched, smelled, ate with the risen Christ.” Always remember when we talk about eye-witnesses dying for what they SAW was TRUE…. we’re talking about the BEGINNING.. the start of Christianity… if there was no truth in Christ’s claims Jesus would not have become the central figure of human history. Never. Christians made exclusivist claims from the beginning and got killed for them… yet they kept spreading… how??

    The Muslims way after they gained momentum and grew in number…. THEN they wanted to take over the world… but in the beginning.. haha.. there’s no way.. If Muhammad and his people made exclusivist claims like the disciples did… they would have been killed from the start and the movement wouldn’t have grown.

    My question for you is: How does a regular crucified man from a simple village become the Lord of Glory?… if NOTHING happened where He authenticated Himself…

    If you think it is nothing special… lets see YOU pull it off….
    You get the point??

    Reply
  68. Jeff Jones says:

    Toby,

    Concerning you comments on the empty tomb: (“The EMPTY TOMB! HOLY CROW! HOW DO I EVER ACCOUNT FOR THAT?!!?! A myriad of possibilities.”)

    1) “Roman soldiers drug out the corpse, dismembered it, and spread it to the wind. Or cremated it which the romans preferred at the time.”

    This is extremely unlikely as the Romans had every incentive to disprove the Resurrection. Having the soldiers remove the body would be like leaning into a left hook to avoid the punch. In fact, if they wanted to dispel any notion of the Resurrection why didn’t they ever just come our and say: “Yep, you got us. We took it. That whole resurrection thing never happened. We were just messing with you”

    2) “The believers themselves stole away with the body and then made up the whole resurrection to start a revolution against their roman oppressors as well as jewish oppression (stoning for trivial things, any takers? No? Remember not to eat pork!).”

    Once again, not to the Roman’s advantage. The could easily have come out at any time and tried to stop the growing Christian movement by simply stating the body had been stolen when the guards “fell asleep and/or were overpowered (and subsequently executed)”. In fact I’m quite sure there some that tried to sell this idea, but they couldn’t. Why? The risen Jesus was physically seen, not by one or two, but by hundreds.

    3) “Jesus was completely mythical like other man-gods.”

    Sorry, there are too many first and second century non-Christian (some decidedly anti-Christian) documents that acknowledge his existence. In the case of the anti-Christian writings, if you are trying to attack the religion at that time, why not just say “Hey, they made the whole thing up. He never existed”? Simple, they couldn’t because there was too much evidence to dispute the fact.

    Numbers 4 through 10 are very amusing, of course not really worth refuting… with the possible exception of Number 5 – “It was something George W. Bush did.” Personally, if I were going to accuse anyone of fabricating stories it would be the Clintons.

    Reply
  69. Toby R says:

    Ms. Andrea,

    I think you misunderstand. It’s easy to see why. In an age of cellphones and twitter you assume that information travels as fast then as it does now. At the same time you revere these disciples as geniuses, sages, and enlightened you, indirectly, assume they were pig-ignorant ancients. Even by your own words the earliest books of the bible were written decades after the events like crucifixion. What better way to start an uprising from oppressors than to wander around spreading the word quietly. Plant the seeds and let them grow. Why weren’t they murdered immediately to stifle them? It’s not hard to imagine why. Who were they spreading this message to? Other oppressed people who equally feared reprisal from the de facto rulers (romans and jewish leaders). Don’t assume these ancients to be retarded.

    It is very interesting that you didn’t even assume that they were no longer afraid of death. You think they witnessed first hand that a man died and came back and that man was a god. Why wouldn’t they rush headlong into the fray knowing that god was on their side?

    Christianity was probably spread by lots of backroom meetings. And by the time the romans fell they had spread their seeds far. The assumption that it’s true because it’s popular and survived is silly.

    Muslims did make exclusivist claims and got away with it. Many religions have. A reason for it not be squashed is that it borrowed heavily from hebrew and christian influence.

    “How does a regular crucified man from a simple village become the Lord of Glory?”

    The short answer to this is politics and ignorance.

    “If you think it is nothing special… lets see YOU pull it off.”

    I wouldn’t because l find lying to people to extort money and power disgusting. It could easily be done. Are you so blind that you don’t know what a load of dung that Mormonism is? That’s a mighty load of false claims conjured up from a lot of grade A prime B.S. and, hell, they even have their own state.

    Reply
  70. Toby R says:

    Also Mr. Jones:

    “with the possible exception of Number 5 – “It was something George W. Bush did.” Personally, if I were going to accuse anyone of fabricating stories it would be the Clintons.”

    I would expect this from a religious person opposed to sex, especially sex using entryways that are not birth canals. Interestingly the religious George Bush was the bigger liar and more morally bankrupt for starting a war based on the lie of weapons of mass destruction. I’ll take oral sex over a war any day.

    Reply
  71. Toby says:

    Toby,

    -Thanks for the media point you made. Through media news go world-wide in just seconds nowadays. Two thousand years ago news didn’t spread this way. It was slow, like you point out. The point I’d like to make here is: If media was slow then, then HOW did Christ shake history after His Resurrection if there were no eye-witnesses to that? It would have gotten nowhere if it didn’t literally happen.

    – I love the point you made that the disciples weren’t retarded. That’s my point all along. They weren’t dumb, they know what they saw and touched. If they didn’t experience the Risen Christ first-hand they would not plunge into the water making unique exclusivist claims of Him (being God and Savior), at their own risk. The disciples and early Christians had no motive for spreading lies that would get them killed. It is common to human nature to seek survival not death.

    – If Christianity spread quietly and in secret it would just blend in with everything else in this world. Jesus Christ stands out because He impacted people to the point that they were willing to stand up to even the toughest and highest authoritative officials, and still do.

    – Toby… YES.. I agree with you.. Mormonism is a bunch of junk.
    1) There were no eye-witnesses to Joseph Smith’s revelation and even if there were it contradicts Gal. 1: 6-9.
    2) The supposed “golden plates” have never been found.
    3) The historical crosshairs are off and not authentic.
    ** Lacks historical reliability.

    – My point remains though… no one claims to be God and gets away with it. And trust me there have been a lot of people who have claimed to be God, but none have pulled it off, except one: Jesus Christ.

    – The 1 Corinthians 15:3-8 creed goes back to the cross itself, people memorized this creed orally before Paul recited and wrote it to the Corinthians.

    – The New Testament dates very early and close to the events themselves. We have the most pure and authentic manuscripts from all ancient literature. EVEN IF we were to lose ALL our manuscripts, we could still re-construct the N.T. through the writings of the early church fathers who quoted the N.T. writings a total of around a million times or more.

    -The roots/beginnings of Christianity are full of oppression and persecution. The disciples were willing to put their lives at stake because the evidence called for their immediate action.
    ———————————————————————————————

    -We can’t measure up to God. He’s perfect, and infinitely good.

    * IF we want to eat pancakes and we are physically unable to make them, the only way we could eat pancakes is that somebody else makes it for us. Got it? Ok…

    – Only God can measure up to Himself. Once we realize we are created we want to be with our Creator, but we realize that we can’t get to Him.

    – If we can’t be perfect, the only way out is that someone with our same limitations is perfect for us (does it for us).

    – Bad news: No human can do it. Only God can. Only God has no limits.

    – Solution: God becomes a man and does it for us…. so that those that want to be with Him, actually get to… through HIM.

    Deadliest sin is PRIDE. By accepting Christ’s sacrifice you let go of all pride and humble yourself to the one who did it for you: Christ- God incarnate.

    People don’t choose God to avoid hell. They go with God because they WANT to be with their Creator more than anything else. Just like a baby would want to be with their mother who they depend on. Free will love is choosing God above all else period.

    I mean you wouldn’t tell your wife, “Oh yeah honey, I married you so that I wouldn’t marry that ugly evil woman over there.” You tell her, “I married you, because I would pick you over any woman that has ever existed.”

    God simply loves us enough to grant us our desires, either to be with Him, the Creator and Sustainer of our souls; or apart from His glorious Presence in hell.

    Thank God for His Salvation in Christ.

    Reply
  72. Andrea says:

    My bad I accidentally typed Toby instead of my name above…. Toby what I wrote above is from me to you….. oops…. sorry…

    Reply
  73. Letitia (The Damsel) says:

    “We have WAY way better sources for Christ than any other historical figure.”

    I lost who wrote this in the thread. “Any” is an overstatement of the fact. We have good sources for Christ, not “better than any other.”

    Andrew wrote in response:
    Nonsense. We have no contemporary portraits of him, no verified date of birth or death, no hand-writing, no direct quotes outside the bible, in fact no contemporaneous reports of him outside the bible at all. And on this you want to prove the existence of a God? Comparisons to Alexander the Great are spurious – you’re not using A the Great to prove a deity.

    Andrew,
    The comparison to AtheG is to demonstrate that your criteria are unreasonably strict, for no one doubts that AtheG existed even though the reports about him come much later and are far fewer than those of Jesus. Historians don’t need contemporaneous reports of Jesus just like they don’t need contemporaneous reports of AtheG. I assume you can agree that historians should be fair in applying criteria for historicity to all ancient figures, right?

    When you ask for reports “outside the bible,” you should realize first that the New Testament is comprised of 27 separate attestations to the historicity of Jesus, four of which are independent biographies (the Gospels), all of which were written by contemporaries of Jesus. Wouldn’t you say that a biography of JFK written today by someone who knew him while he was the president should still be reliable even though JFK similarly died decades ago? What you have asked for in the case of Jesus is unreasonable.

    Two separate things: The question is whether Jesus and his words and deeds are likely historical, not whether the historical evidence in comparison to AtheG proves Jesus is God. No one is making that claim. That “Jesus is God” is a conclusion one must draw based on his words and deeds, which, in the milieu of 1st century Jerusalem, is exactly the conclusion his contemporaries drew. If people back then wanted to push Jesus off a cliff, picked up stones to kill him, and ultimately had him executed for blasphemous claims, then I think it’s safe to say that he gave them a reason. Just sayin’!

    Reply
  74. Jeff Jones says:

    Toby,

    Some observations on you most recent post:

    “…and enlightened you, indirectly, assume they were pig-ignorant ancients”

    I don’t recall ever thinking of the disciples in that manner, and I would gather from her response, neither does Andrea. Rather there were those among them, Luke and Bartholomew in particular, who were highly educated.

    “Why weren’t they murdered immediately to stifle them? “

    Some were. Those that lived a little longer frequently had close calls such as the various attempts on Paul’s life.

    “Who were they spreading this message to? Other oppressed people who equally feared reprisal from the de facto rulers (romans and jewish leaders).”

    The truth is they spread the message to all they could, including the Roman and Jewish leaders.

    “It is very interesting that you didn’t even assume that they were no longer afraid of death…Why wouldn’t they rush headlong into the fray knowing that god was on their side?”

    I don’t feel that is an assumption I am qualified to make. Regardless of whether or not they feared death, virtually all of them suffered terrible torture and brutality, a fate worse than death some would say, and would still hold fast to their faith. One would only do that if they truly believed the message they were spreading.

    “Christianity was probably spread by lots of backroom meetings.”

    While their may have been some backroom meetings, there were also those that took place in very public venues. Additionally the public execution of the disciples was specifically staged to be viewed by as many as possible if for no other reason than to discourage people from following their teachings.

    “…i find lying to people to extort money and power disgusting.”

    I absolutely agree with you. Moreover, I do not agree with the Mormon philosophy.

    Also, with regards to my “Clintons” comment, I actually found your George W. Bush line rather amusing in a good way. My attempt at an equally humorous response was based on Bill’s “I smoked but I did not Inhale” and Hilary’s “I remember landing under sniper fire…” in Bosnia comments. I’m sorry if it fell a little short of the mark.

    Reply
  75. Toby R. says:

    Ms. Andrea,

    Yo! You can see my point though with morons, er . . . mormons. Or maybe you can’t. Maybe that’s what religion does best. All religions are, by design (of men, rather than the divine), a set of blinders. They put in front of their believer a set of “truths” through which they can’t, or at least aren’t, supposed to look beyond. The religions put forward sets of injunctions and recommendations—nope, wrong word, COMMANDMENTS—that must be followed or else there is peril of eternal nastiness. To mormons their “truth” is every bit as valid to them as yours is to you. But you have your blinders and they have theirs. Sure, the golden plates have never been found. But they can’t be. Because they were taken up to heaven after translation. Can you positively say that is not true? How different is this from you claiming that your god’s body can’t be found because it went up to heaven? Eyewitnesses, you might say. Well, Joseph Smith was eyewitness to the plates being taken to heaven. Isn’t that good enough? Probably not for you, but it is for many in the state of Utah and enough for the one of the fastest growing sects of christianity.

    An example of your truth. God is perfect and infinitely good. Why is this necessarily true? In one of the other posts there is mention of the Stenger/William Craig debate. I watched that and in it Stenger says that a perfect being has no needs. So why create? Craig says that the universe wasn’t created for the creator, but for the created. Interesting, but it still supposes a desire in the perfect being. Desire being a want and want negating the claim of perfection. Why wouldn’t a better argument be that a perfect being is perfectly balanced, good and evil? Such a being would be able to make choices and it would account for evil in the world, rather than the circular argument that evil is a choice, choice is from free will, free will which comes from god . . . so then evil points back to god.

    Further then what makes the death and resurrection of jesus special at all? A half god man with knowledge that he created you with the capability to do evil has to come down and give a blood sacrifice of himself to himself in order that you can ask that he forgive you. In addition to that the suffering which this infinite being undergoes really doesn’t amount to much as he’s only half inside this mortal body and the short amount of time he undergoes this suffering would be equivalent to to nothing in an eternal being. In fact would this being feel the pain at all, and even if it did it wouldn’t produce the slightest harm. Then he dies and then comes back a few days later saying, “Hey look at me. Spread the word. Going up to glory now, but I may come back someday.”

    Would not this be a better moral scenario. A man is born, fully human, into which is given the knowledge of salvation and how it may be attained by all man. He spreads it around, is killed for it, then taking all of the sin of the world is banished to hell forever in the place of mankind so that no person born on earth might have to suffer there for eternity. It’s a sacrifice that has meaning. But it’d still be an abominable way for a god to behave. Why have to go through a middleman (jesus) at all. Was he so disgusted by what he’d made that it made him feel too dirty to talk directly to us? Apparently not, he talked to everyone in the old testament. What happened that he didn’t communicate directly in the new? Oh, yes, he sent himself down so that he could communicate in a lesser believable form.

    You can claim your truth until you’re blue in the face, but there is no reliable evidence anywhere to believe in any sort of virgin birth, resurrection, or any form of miracle. Or even that jesus ever lived at all. So what if there are lots of copies of old manuscripts. In two thousand years there will lots of copies of The Da Vinci Code around too. Does that make them true? There are too many inconsistencies in the bible to believe any of the reporting in it is accurate.

    Sure, say I have pride. I don’t know what you think that is or means. I certainly don’t know. A few of the definitions of pride are: delight or elation arising from some act, possession, or relationship; and: ostentatious display.

    I make no display every sunday by walking into a church all dressed up in my sunday best. Neither do I claim to KNOW the truth.

    Oh, I figured out what was bothering me about your analogies. They are all faulty because they assume creation with preexisting elements. Painters and paintings, builders and buildings. Same is true for Mr. Turek’s design argument in this second debate. The one about messages in the sand. The all fall flat when considering existing matter (and in the case of a message in the sand, an existing language that is manmade). The best is to forgo faulty analogies and just claim your god made everything. Analogies render that claim weaker because there’s no way to do it well.

    “Doubt is not a pleasant condition, but certainty is absurd.”
    –Voltaire

    Reply
  76. Toby R. says:

    Just another, shorter thought (in two parts) on the abundance of manuscripts of biblical writing.

    1) might there not be more manuscripts, scrolls, books, etc from other works had not the early christians not been such prolific book burners and destroyers of what they thought of as heretical knowledge.

    2) might not literacy levels have had an effect on increased copy production of written works. Such booms aren’t uncommon. Look how far technology has come in the past 100 years.

    Reply
  77. Andrea says:

    Toby,

    I’m sorry but your religion keeps you from seeing the truth because you have blinders man. What?? That is what you are telling me. I’m giving historical info and you give me none, and I have blinders? What makes you think it isn’t YOU who has the blinders? How do you know what “truth” is? Apparently you have no standard for truth, or do you? If you do have a standard, then were did THAT standard come from, and infinite regress on…. man you know that there is a point where everything starts that HAS to be eternal, so it doesn’t require a cause.
    A test has a key. Building anything, has a manual. Everything has a standard. You want to get a career, there is a standard. There is a standard for everything.

    God is perfect. What do you think the word perfect is ultimately describing? We always say, “Oh I’m human, I’m not perfect.” Well then who is this “perfect” we compare everything with? God. Anything less than perfect ceases from being perfect. Perfect is one. There can only be one infinite being who is good. Something infinite can’t be both good and bad, it can’t be both light and dark. Which is why God is infinitely good. The absence of God is what brings evil. And Satan is a finite being who is pure evil. Good and evil can’t come from the same place. Lemonade and tea can’t come from the same pitcher. It’s either lemonade or tea by definition, not both. God is the ultimate standard we compare what is good and evil with. Just because you create something it doesn’t make you any less good. He doesn’t need anything, creating is an outpouring of His goodness and power.

    God made Himself a man. Only God has no boundaries, in doing things consistent with His perfect nature. Christ was in a carnal body, therefore He felt pain as we feel it, but never sinned maintaining His perfect nature. He willingly lowered Himself, and became human. God was made just like the ones He made from dust, so we can’t say that He can’t relate to us. Especially at the cross, Christ took God’s wrath to the full, this is pain to a degree that no human being could EVER relate to. It’s like condensing all the pain and wrath into a moment (at the cross) is the greatest pain, and no human being could take it…. only God as a human.

    The most moral world is the one God has created. I don’t find it moral to force someone to be with you when they don’t want to be with you. I think if someone doesn’t want to marry you for example, you shouldn’t force them if you truly love them.
    All of us are provided the SAME evidence (Conscience, Creation, and Christ)… and we can respond to that as we choose. We choose either to want to be with our Creator or to be apart from our Creator. It is our choice. God knows the end from the beginning so He knows already who out of their own free will, will choose Him. But He leaves it up to us to make that decision. God is so good to do this Toby. So good.

    Any book 2000 years ago can have a lot of printed copies thanks to the printing press, but with the New Testament we’re talking MANUscripts… written intricately by hand. The Bible will always super-quadruple any book, thanks to the printing press.

    Again Toby, you are totally missing my point on the resurrection. There would be no Christians to burn anything. If you are saying just a couple of delusional guys said Christ resurrected but He really didn’t. There would just be a couple of dudes that if they even tried to burn a little anything…. the Romans and Pharisees who outnumbered them would make their false idea plummet to the ground by killing them. It would get nowhere. Christ HAD to have resurrected, or else He wouldn’t be considered God and the Savior of humanity.

    Example:

    If I tell you, “Toby I can do a super-flying sidekick, climb on the wall kick!”
    You say, “whatever… I don’t believe it till I see!”

    I do it.

    You go and you tell people… “Hey check this chick out, she can do a super-flying sidekick, climb on the wall kick!”

    IF I can’t do this kick…. you wouldn’t tell people.. because if you tell people that I can do something.. that I can’t.. then YOU lose credibility.. and YOU look bad for lying to them.

    A movement like Christ doesn’t come from just one or two eye-witnesses, it comes from a LOT of eyewitnesses… and the Holy Spirit to back this up and keep it going. Christ Resurrected, He proved He was the Savior of Humanity. I don’t think this is an issue. Everyone knows it’s obvious He did.

    When do you think the disciples realized Christ was divine and not just a mere prophet? Obviously when He resurrected. Why? Men die because of the sin of Adam, that’s human nature. When they saw Christ risen from the dead in a glorified body, they must’ve been like, “This isn’t a mere man prophet, this is God!!” Everything created has boundaries except the Creator. Only He could become human, and rise to prove that He was God in the flesh, who came to redeem us to Himself. Of course.. those who accept His free gift of salvation.
    ———————————————————————————————-

    “I say unequivocally that the evidence for the resurrection of Jesus Christ is so overwhelming that it compels acceptance by proof which leaves absolutely no room for doubt!”

    – Sir Lionel Luckhoo, listed in the Guiness Book of Records as the most successful attorney in history.

    Reply
  78. Toby R. says:

    Ms. Andrea,

    Am I trying to sell you an afterlife? No. Am I offering you truth? No. Am I professing truth? No. I’m just questioning your beliefs, your religion because I don’t understand how you can believe what you believe. I haven’t a religion of my own. I don’t think I need one. The idea that I have a religion is weak assertion. In fact it seems to denigrate the idea of religion.

    How do I know what truth is? Gee, I guess because I don’t believe in god I don’t know how to behave. I’m going to run out and murder someone now . . . okay, I’m back! So much blood. you’re the religious one here and know what truth is so tell me something that is morally perfect. Tell me something that objectively moral.

    I want you to read what you wrote. At the risk of making this long, I’ll copy and paste.

    “God made Himself a man. Only God has no boundaries, in doing things consistent with His perfect nature. Christ was in a carnal body, therefore He felt pain as we feel it, but never sinned maintaining His perfect nature. He willingly lowered Himself, and became human. God was made just like the ones He made from dust, so we can’t say that He can’t relate to us. Especially at the cross, Christ took God’s wrath to the full, this is pain to a degree that no human being could EVER relate to. It’s like condensing all the pain and wrath into a moment (at the cross) is the greatest pain, and no human being could take it…. only God as a human.”

    Yeah, yeah, perfection in a human form and all that, but you’re missing what I’m saying. Just because he was in a human form doesn’t make him someone else. Jesus was god and god was jesus. So he bore his OWN WRATH! What does that accomplish or even mean? I don’t care about the pain or all that jazz. I’m concerned with motives. A sacrifice of a god to himself. How is that supposed to help humanity? Why is it even necessary? To me it seems meaningless. A DEITY SACRIFICED HIMSELF TO HIMSELF! So what? And who cares if it’s his full wrath? Why does this make any sense to you? What makes this a sacrifice AT ALL?

    “. . . but with the New Testament we’re talking MANUscripts… written intricately by hand.”

    What’s that got to do with anything? So people wrote them out. if someone wanted a copy, then they had to make a copy.

    “Christ Resurrected, He proved He was the Savior of Humanity. I don’t think this is an issue. Everyone knows it’s obvious He did.’

    Yeah, tell that to the jews.

    Obviously we’re not going to agree on the authenticity of the bible. You think it’s inerrant and that its spread implies proof and I think it’s inconsistent pig-latin that caught the imagination of people that thought you had to put a hand over your mouth when yawning or a demon would get in. What I’d really like to know is your ideas about a god sacrificing himself to himself.

    Also, how can a perfectly good being have wrath? There doesn’t seem to be much room for vengeance in being perfectly good. Perfectly good seems to imply perfectly forgiving.

    Oh come on, you have to feel some pause at the rise of mormonism. See how easy that was?

    “better to be a skeptic and wrong than a believer and wrong.”
    —Me

    Reply
  79. Andrew Ryan says:

    “God is the standard which we use to compare everything that is good or bad”

    Andrea, you didn’t answer my question in that post. Please read it again. I’ll sum it up here: “What does it mean to say ‘God is good’?”, but please read it in context in the original post. If you can’t answer, that’s fine, just say so.

    Reply
  80. Toby R. says:

    Andrew,

    What does it mean to say that god is good? Nothing. It’s philosophical nonsense. It’s an enormous assertion that has nothing behind it but abstractions. And the thought continues to persist because there is no way to prove or disprove it. It’s like saying that god created man in his own image (which the word image translates to likeness or form) and yet someone comes along and says, “Yeah, I know what it says, but this is what it REALLY means—blah, blah, spaceless, timeless, immaterial—” which humans clearly are not. It’s a lot like the supposition that minds are timeless and immaterial. yeah? Says who? It’s another enormous claim. You can take a stopwatch and measure how long it takes me to work through the quadratic equation. Or you could smear my brain all over the floor and all of that destroyed material would mean I don’t think anymore.

    Reply
  81. Andrea says:

    Toby,

    “So he bore his OWN WRATH! What does that accomplish or even mean? ”

    He bore His own wrath towards YOU, and I, and humanity as a whole so that we could be made clean in His eyes and in turn get to be with Him forever.

    “Perfectly good seems to imply perfectly forgiving.”

    Exactly. He provides perfect forgiveness in Christ.

    “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16)

    God is so good He doesn’t want to force anyone into His Kingdom, but only those who desire to be with Him and trust HIM for their salvation through Christ. We have no excuse because God authenticated Christ through His resurrection, which was witnessed as empirical evidence, and without it the name of Jesus wouldn’t have spread as God incarnate or Savior of Humanity anywhere.

    Joseph Smith, Muhammad, Buddha are slick… they never claimed to be God.. obviously because no one can pull it off unless they are Divine. That’s how Christ stands aside, He DID pull it off, because He IS Divine.

    P.S.: Do people forget that Jesus was born a Jew. His disciples were Jewish. Skeptics like Saul of Tarsus and James were pious Jews, there are messianic Jews world-wide…. So when people say, “Christ is the Truth? Tell that to the Jews.” Uhh.. THE JEWS TOLD US Toby….

    Reply
  82. Toby R. says:

    Ms. Andrea,

    It doesn’t matter who the wrath was meant for! It could all have been meant for me. That’s not the friggin’ point. the point I’m making is that it’s a shell game. IT’S A CHARADE! It’s sadomasochistic.

    God: I find you filthy and undeserving so I’m going to come down there MYSELF and beat MYSELF up so i can feel better about you as long as you then believe in me and ask that I forgive you.

    Do you not see that this isn’t a sacrifice of any kind?

    And by the way, if he’s perfectly forgiving then why would you need to continue to ask forgiveness. Perfectly forgiving would mean, once forgiven, always forgiven.

    And how does a perfectly good being have wrath rather than forgiveness?

    “Joseph Smith, Muhammad, Buddha are slick… they never claimed to be God.. obviously because no one can pull it off unless they are Divine. That’s how Christ stands aside, He DID pull it off, because He IS Divine.”

    You don’t want to go there because Jesus never explicitly claimed to be god either. Like every other part of the bible it is ridiculously vague.

    Yeah, the jews sure told us. Then why are there still jews? It’s an infantile question, sure, but if he’s so wonderful and divine then there would be no doubters out there and islam would never have developed and all the eastern religions would have fallen. If all of this proof is in there like you say, then there would be no doubters.

    Reply
  83. Andrea says:

    Andrew,

    “What does it mean to say ‘God is good’?”

    How do you know when someone is good to you? By their actions right? Would it makes sense to say that someone is evil towards you when they are good to you? No.

    We both agree God IS or in your case means Creator.
    If God is evil WHY make fruits, vegetables, seeds of all kinds, animals, flowers, give us eye-sight, hearing, taste, smell, skin, white blood cells to fight off sickness, give us sense of pleasure…. etc etc etc.. ? Through God’s creations we can see His GOOD intention in providing for us.

    An important point is that good and evil can’t come from the same source. Apple juice and milk can’t come from the same pitcher. So if we see evidence of God’s goodness, we have to conclude that evil comes from another finite source (since God as the Ultimate Constant is infinite/eternal).

    1) THE ABSENCE of God in peoples’ hearts causes evil. Many diseases we have today come from US doing stuff that isn’t moral in the first place because we disregarded God. It is the PEOPLE who are evil, or take in the devil’s lies instead of God’s truth…. and they willingly choose to be evil.

    2) Satan is the distractor and tempter and puts traps for evil to grow everywhere.. but WE have the free will to take or reject them. Adam and Eve had the free will to take the fruit or reject it, but THEY CHOSE otherwise. Satan hates God, and inturn hates His creation and wants to destroy it.

    * You don’t make a cake and later smash it to pieces do you? Obviously the Creator makes something for a good reason, but it is someone else who goes and smashes the cake… not the Maker of the cake. Otherwise the Maker wouldn’t have made the cake in the first place. ( That’s just a small example bet. God and satan trying to destroy creation, except a cake isn’t personal and has no free will… but we do).
    ——————————————————————————————–

    Our CONSCIENCE testifies to God’s goodness, because as Creator God is the Boss. When we do something evil or think evil thoughts we feel guilty. When we do something good we feel good. It’s like a censor. If God was evil… we would feel guilty if we did good things… and good when we did evil things…. the STANDARD is GOOD… which is why we compare everything to THIS STANDARD.

    “This isn’t fair”… What is fair?? We know God is fair and just… it’s just that before knowing Him… we don’t want to acknowledge Him.

    Conclusion: Therefore IT IS reasonable to say God is good.

    Not to mention He took our sins on a cross to reconcile us to Himself because He loves us so much but STILL lets us choose our destination, because His goodness compels Him to never force us into His Presence if we don’t want Him.

    I would rather be with my Creator who knows me better than I know myself, and knows perfectly how I work and what I am for…. than to be apart from Him. I don’t know about you….

    Reply
  84. Andrea says:

    Toby,

    Put yourself into perspective. Blow on a piece of paper. You can’t see the air coming out of your mouth but you know it’s there because of the effect: It moved the paper. You can’t see God because He is outside of our realm but you can see the effect of His existence: Creation.

    There are people that when they realize they are created, they want to be WITH their Creator. There are people that realize that they can’t get to God because they are finite and He is infinite. Also the peoples’ consciences testify to their evil acts offending their Creator… and they don’t know what to do because they WANT to be with Him, and they know there must be way to Him or else why would He create them in the first place. God did what He did for those that WANT to be with Him.. but we can’t do it… so He did it.. He came and got us so that we could be with Him, by taking our sins and imperfections upon Himself and being the PERFECT we could never be to get to Him. So HE did it for us, because we objectively can’t do it ourselves. So what God did for us in Christ is GOOD and LOVING and JUST- (in that wrath was paid for).

    You can be mad at your kid for slapping you in the face, but that doesn’t make you any less good. The point is to not SIN in your madness. God’s wrath is JUSTICE, it comes from our pure evil acts against Him, He BORE it, but for those who don’t accept His gift then they can bare His wrath themselves. We deserve it. We reject and ignore our OWN Maker to satisfy ourselves with the creation instead of the CREATOR.
    ———————————————————————————————

    Christ clearly claimed to be the Son of God. In John 8:58 He clearly claimed to be God- the I AM of the Hebrew Scriptures. He claims to be the WAY to God, and THE TRUTH, and THE LIFE in John 14:6 and many other scriptures where He claims to be divine and more than a prophet…

    Son of a human: human:: Son of God: God
    ———————————————————————————————–

    To put it in a way you can understand: No one claims someone is God, unless who they claim to be God proved it.

    -Or if you try to get me with mythical stories then….

    Someone isn’t regarded as God for very long if there is no proof to back up their divinity. They eventually fade, dissipate, and blend in as a myth but never stands apart and distinct as objective Truth.

    Christ proved His divinity through His resurrection. The “doubters” are people that suppress the truth, and make up objections to Christ’s reliability so that they can continue on indulging in pleasures that offend God.

    Reply
  85. Toby R. says:

    Ms. Andrea,

    So you really have no comment on the crucifixion being a charade? You really see some kind of rejuvenating goodness in that? A god comes to earth on a suicide mission just so that he can appease himself. At what point does this god, seeing how horribly he’s physically treated while on earth, suddenly think as he’s hanging from a tree, “Gee, they’re not so bad after all. I’m glad I’m killing myself because I demand it of myself to die in sacrifice to myself so that these dirty things can speak to me more or less directly.”

    I don’t want to be with your creator. In fact I offer to go to hell and take all of the sins of humanity with me when I go so that no other human should worry about it. So in 10 minutes, or 10 days, or 10 years or whatever when I off it, you’ll be scott free. Isn’t that nice of me?

    In reference to something you said to andrew:
    “2) Satan is the distractor and tempter and puts traps for evil to grow everywhere.. but WE have the free will to take or reject them. Adam and Eve had the free will to take the fruit or reject it, but THEY CHOSE otherwise. Satan hates God, and inturn hates His creation and wants to destroy it.”

    Do you also believe in ghosts? Obviously you believe in malign spirits maraudering around doing no good. Is that your answer to all other religions? The devil did it? How about this thought exercise. God created angels without free will. Therefore the angel that fell was created evil and hence god is responsible for evil.

    Reply
  86. Andrea says:

    Toby,

    If you want to misinterpret the gospel, well that’s your choice. I think I’ve explained it and you are twisting it to make a different picture than the mercy and grace it really is.

    You can’t pay for the sins of humanity because you aren’t God. Only God can measure up to Himself. Which is why He became a man and did it for us- made us able to be in His Presence, but only if we want and desire to be with Him. Besides somebody already paid for our sins and took all of the sins of humanity with Him, and conquered over them: Jesus Christ.

    Angels do have free will, it’s just you don’t see a lot falling because once you are in the Presence of God there is no excuse for not believing in Him, you’re standing right in front of Him. It’s extra-obvious. Satan out of his own free will chose to rebel and bounce out.

    God’s power ALWAYS outdoes the powers the devil has. It makes sense because the Creator has more power than a creature that is created. That is how the people in the Old Testament knew when something was from God… when the miracle OUTDID those that the sorcerers and magicians of the day could do.

    Reply
  87. Andrew Ryan says:

    “Through God’s creations we can see His GOOD intention in providing for us.”

    Yes, but what do you mean by ‘GOOD’ intentions? What does good mean? What actually makes it ‘GOOD’? You’re not answering the question. Again, if you can’t answer it, just say so.

    Reply
  88. Andrew Ryan says:

    “If God was evil… we would feel guilty if we did good things… and good when we did evil things”

    Well how do you know that we don’t? You’re still defining ‘good’ things by his standard. It’s a completely circular argument. Perhaps the acts you feel guilty about ARE good things, perhaps you DO feel good when doing ‘evil’ things. You just don’t realise that they are good/evil.

    Imagine an alternative reality where the God was ‘evil’ by your current definition and murder was seen as good. In this alternative reality you’d be arguing ‘Of course God is good, otherwise I would feel guilty for doing good things like murder, and I’d feel good when I did evil acts such as giving to charity’.

    Where does your standard of ‘good’ come from? If it comes from God then you have no way of telling if it is actually ‘good’ or if you’re just copying the standard of a evil God.

    If your ONLY method of judging whether an act is good or evil is by reference to your God, then how can you say that God is doing something good? Again, the argument is circular – ‘That act was good because God did it, I know that it was good because God did it, God is good because he does good acts’.

    Or are arguing that you can come to an independent standard of what good is, based on reason and common sense, and you are judging God by this standard? If so, then fair enough. But that is the OPPOSITE of what you were saying before, and the complete opposite of everything Frank has ever said on this site.

    Reply
  89. Toby R. says:

    Ms. Andrea,

    How is it a misinterpretation to say that god sacrificed himself to himself? According to the bible THAT’S WHAT HE DID! If you can infer that he is god himself from ambiguous remarks, then that was what he did. You don’t see all the twisting and turning and hoops you have to jump through to arrive at your faith? All of the intellectually dishonesty? You have what you call the inerrant word of god in the bible, but yet William Lane Craig and Frank Turek and all that rest pretty much throw the whole idea of “god made the world in seven days” out the window when they start talking about the big bang. From the very first pages of the bible excuses have to start being made for its ancient stupidity. What about that doesn’t set the rest of it up for doubt? And if you make some claim about the length of a day being different for god then you are PUTTING WORDS INTO HIS MOUTH. You’re very nearly claiming to be god or at the very least claiming to know god’s thoughts which is the very act of futility.

    Reply
  90. Luke says:

    Toby said: William Lane Craig and Frank Turek and all that rest pretty much throw the whole idea of “god made the world in seven days” out the window when they start talking about the big bang… And if you make some claim about the length of a day being different for god then you are PUTTING WORDS INTO HIS MOUTH.

    Toby,

    First of all, He made it in six.

    Anyway, when I read your post I realized something. I’ve heard this idea that a day can be a billion years for G-d, but this comes nowhere near solving the problem of the description of creation found in Genesis.

    Let’s look at Genesis.

    (Dr. Turek, if you’d like to weigh in on a few of these I’d be curious what your thoughts are.)

    In the beginning G-d created the heavens and the earth.

    Was the earth really created in the beginning, or was the universe created, with the Earth being formed some 7,000,000,000 years later?

    Next, I think we can have a discussion of the Hebrew meanings of what we translate as light and dark, and we can talk about that. Let’s take the simple view for now though. Did light not exist moments after the big bang. Do you believe the universe contained no light until sometime after the Earth was created?

    Then G-d creates dry land in the waters of the earth and creates vegetation. Only then does G-d create the sun and moon, and presumably the other stars (this is not as explicitly clear, but I doubt many disagree).

    Do you believe that the earth and plants all existed before the sun and moon? Before the other stars were created?

    Do you believe that light existed without the sun and other stars (the light-bearers as some say)?

    Perhaps most importantly, why do you not think that G-d could have done all of this exactly how He said He did?

    Reply
  91. Luke says:

    Toby,

    By the way, did Dr. Turek or anyone else ever answer your question about G-d creating man in his image while at the same time being spaceless and immaterial? It’s an interesting question I think.

    Reply
  92. Jeff Jones says:

    Luke,

    I believe your questions revolve around the events of the fourth day as listed in Genesis 1:16: “God made two great lights—the greater light to govern the day and the lesser light to govern the night. He also made the stars.”

    I believe the key to this rests in the interpretation of the Hebrew word for “made” (asah). Most biblical scholars concur that today’s equivalent for this word would be something akin to “had previously made”, indicating an action that had been completed in the past. Thus the verse would more correctly be written as:

    “God ‘had previously made’ two great lights—the greater light to govern the day and the lesser light to govern the night. He also ‘had previously made’ the stars.”

    The next question to as would be: “OK, so if these actions took place in the past, when did they take place?”

    Genesis 1:1 tells us the answer. “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” The Hebrew phrase “the heavens and the earth” (hashamayim we ha’ erets) refers to the entire universe, with the heavens coming along first and the earth following. Thus God had created the light prior to the events of the subsequent creation days.

    From a purely scientific view, current thought indicates that the Earth was the result of an accretion disk from the Sun. The geological time-line indicates that as the Earth cooled and the crust solidified, a dense dark atmosphere formed (obscuring much of the light from reaching the surface) accompanied by rain which ultimately covered the surface of the planet. If you continue along the scientific chronology of the events surrounding the development of the Earth, you will see an incredible parallel to the description in the bible.

    Reply
  93. Jeff Jones says:

    Toby,

    In reference to you comments:

    “The point I’m making is that it’s a shell game. IT’S A CHARADE! It’s sadomasochistic.
    God: I find you filthy and undeserving so I’m going to come down there MYSELF and beat MYSELF up so i can feel better about you as long as you then believe in me and ask that I forgive you.
    Do you not see that this isn’t a sacrifice of any kind?
    And by the way, if he’s perfectly forgiving then why would you need to continue to ask forgiveness. Perfectly forgiving would mean, once forgiven, always forgiven.
    And how does a perfectly good being have wrath rather than forgiveness?”

    The only way I can think to respond is in thinking of my own experience as a parent ( albeit a very far from perfect one).

    While Jesus was the son of God, he was also part of God, just as my children are part of me and vice versa.

    As a father there have been many times where I have been disappointed by the actions of my children. I forgive them for the problems they create as long, of course, as they show true regret for those actions.

    Even though my kids may have blanket forgiveness from me does that mean they are allowed to run around and do whatever they want without potential consequences? No way! Does their saying their sorry once mean they can go through the rest of their lives without ever uttering the word again? Of course not. Do I get disappointed and angry at them? You better believe it.

    Have I sacrificed for them? More than they are ever likely to know (just as my parents did for me). Would I subject myself to pain and suffering to protect them? Absolutely. Any intelligent being who truly loves his or her children would

    Reply
  94. Andrea says:

    Andrew,

    What is good? You answer it.

    It is YOU who has no objective source for good or bad if you are just a bunch of molecules floating around without a Creator who made you….

    If we are all a bunch of molecules floating around they how do YOU know what good is? Maybe your molecules are off. I may think the complete opposite.. but then maybe my molecules are off too… So what is the standard???

    In school you feel guilty when you cheat off of people because your teacher (the standard) clearly said you shouldn’t…. if the teacher said, “eyy kids don’t worry about it… you can cheat..” then you wouldn’t feel guilty… you know VERY WELL that even our conscience testifies to God’s ultimate goodness and our evil acts….
    You know it comes from outside of you….. you know that there has to be a standard of good and wrong outside of the human intellect.. you know it Andrew….

    Reply
  95. Andrea says:

    Toby,

    God sacrificed His Son (God), or Himself…. FOR US… because WE can’t measure up to Him. Only God can measure up to Himself. If we choose to love Him, if we want to… we get to be with Him forever… but not because we did it… because HE did it for us. It causes you to humble yourself before your Creator not only because He made you, but also saved and forgave you. We are evil in that we slap our own Creator’s face by our actions. It’s like eating food at a restaurant and denying the existence of the chef that cooked the food.

    Must we light a candle to see the sun?? It is obvious we have a Creator through that which is created… ex: YOU.

    I said that you DON’T KNOW… that maybe the creation in 6 days is literal…. maybe it means a different length of time…. I clearly said in one of my posts above:
    “I have no idea how old the earth is. No matter how old the earth is, it still needs a Creator. I can find an old ragetty car, or a new Mercedes Benz and they both require a maker. So how old the earth is makes no difference whatsoever on the existence of God.”
    -I wasn’t even referencing the Bible in the argument I was making there.

    So please don’t put words into my mouth that I never said.

    Reply
  96. Toby R. says:

    Ms. Andrea,

    If he can only measure up to himself then why does him sacrificing himself to himself allow salvation for us? What does that change? According to christians everywhere we’re still born dirty dirty, guilty until proven innocent.

    I’m not putting words in your mouth. I was saying that people that follow along the Turek/Craig line of thought are disavowing the creation myth. And if in doing so they make unsupportable claims that a day isn’t a day, then they are putting words into the ultimate someone’s mouth. You seem to follow along with everything else these two guys advance I just assumed. Pardon me. But the point is that if you start saying part of the bible is wrong (the very beginning in fact), what makes any of the rest of it reliable at all? What makes it inerrant in the least? Hence doubt in any of the new testament accounts of the resurrection, all of which disagree with each other on a great many things, leading to believe that they weren’t eyewitness accounts, but second, third, or 50th handed accounts. It’s like the telephone game.

    Reply
  97. Andrea says:

    Toby,

    You know God is one but eternally exists in three right? And it’s not something that’s totally illogical.

    Ex: The Universe consists of time, space, and matter right?

    Matter: Solid, Liquid, Gas
    Space: Length, Width, Depth
    Time: Past, Present, Future
    (All these are one but exist in three)

    -Now this example can’t compare with God because He is infinite and these are finite… but my point in it is, that if we can see this in the literal material world we live in.. how much more can God do… you know?
    ———————————————————————————————

    Since we can’t measure up to Him, He allows for there to be a way to measure up to Him through HIM doing it…. all we have to do is humble ourselves and accept His gift of salvation. Only Christ can give us His innocence/perfection, and in turn Christ was treated as dirty and guilty while on the cross on our behalf. Through Christ we are made clean in the eyes of God, because there has been a heart change; a bowing of the heart towards our Creator.

    ———————————————————————————————-

    I don’t disavow Creation. I think the point Mr. Turek, and Mr. William Lane Craig are making is that whether something is young or old it still needs a Creator. No one can know for certain if the earth is young or old since there is evidence for both. I personally think that everything was created in 6 days just like the Bible says. If the days were a longer period of time than a day…. I’m not sure… but it doesn’t make the Genesis account wrong. I just play along with the macro-evolution myth pointing out that everything has an instigator and how every mechanism created is designed to do just what it does by a MIND, regardless.

    I haven’t talked much about the Old Testament because if the New Testament is true.. then you get the Old is thrown in with it… because Christ affirmed the writings of Moses, the prophets, and the law as Scripture. Christ said He came to fulfill the Scriptures. By simply looking at the New Testament we have evidence of early eye-witness testimony of the facts concerning Jesus and His Resurrection.

    When someone collaborates to the same story there may be variations but the same core story is maintained and that is what we have with the New Testament documents. All our manuscripts have no distinct variations other than spelling, or grammar. If something isn’t found in the earlier manuscripts there is a side-note in the Bible that says so. Nothing to hide.

    In most of my conversations with you… I don’t even use the Bible. Ok, if you don’t want to admit the historicity of the documents which can be objectively noted, just ask Francis Collins, but my argument still stands….

    ***Someone isn’t regarded as God for very long if there is no proof to back up their divinity. They eventually fade, dissipate, and blend in as a myth but never stands apart and distinct as objective Truth.***

    And this is what we have with Christ, objective Truth by how He authenticated Himself by His Resurrection in an empirical glorified body. ~ No eye-witnesses to this- Christianity wouldn’t have lasted even a day, since the Roman militia clearly outnumbered any crazy heretic going around.. Romans would have brought Christianity to a dead end on the spot, for someone giving allegiance to someone (Jesus) other than them.

    How does a crucified man from an obscure village become the LORD of Glory if nothing happened where He authenticated Himself?

    CHRIST had to have done something HUGE, to be regarded as God incarnate literally….. and no one can deny that. No one.

    Reply
  98. Toby R. says:

    Ms. Andrea,

    There are a few additions to your examples.

    Matter: Solid, Liquid, Gas —– in addition to Plasma in very hot instances, such as our star. And a relatively new one known as Bose-Einstein Condensates at extreme cold, near absolute zero.

    Space: Length, Width, Depth —- according to relativity time must be included in this and it’s all known as spacetime (4 dimensions . . . it’s complicated).

    Time: Past, Present, Future —- technically there is no present unless time stops. And really the only important feature of time is the future because you can’t travel backwards.

    I like reading about physics. I’m a geek like that.

    I can understand the idea of god in three parts, much like ice, liquid, and steam, but it’s all still the same entity. If salvation is a gift then why all the rigmarole? Why have to go through the gaudy, bloody spectacle? So what if everyone is dirty with sin? Shouldn’t a perfectly forgiving being be able to forgive without preconditions? Without a gruesome blood offering? Why the cut open pregnant women and children dashed upon the rocks? I know, I know, hisself was the best sacrifice and the only good one, so why all of the animals and death before hand? There just doesn’t seem to be any good in this at all.

    Here’s a question, does it say anywhere that jesus was reincorporated or is it just assumed that he wasn’t just a phantasm? Who’s to say that the body wasn’t transmitted straight to immateriality and what was seen was a ghost? A holy one in fact.

    Also I think it’s a little odd that in your argument (not just yours of course, but many) for the resurrection that you use the resurrection itself as the proof of the resurrection. How does that hold up? Seeing as how much of the argument for god is philosophical and words and definitions are very important in these arguments how is it then justified to use a recursive explanation?

    Reply
  99. Andrea says:

    Toby,

    All the animal blood sacrifices before hand were foreshadowing the coming of the One who actually could eliminate sin, Jesus the Christ. So God was trying to get the people to understand that there was a price to pay for sin. A crime needs punishment. Just like when someone commits a crime and a just judge has them pay for their crime in jail and so forth, a just God would have to have sin paid for. All of us are sinners and commit our own individual sins. Either we pay for them, which we can never finish paying for them because if we ever did finish we would be perfect and we can’t be perfect on our own behalf….. or someone else pays for them who is perfect and passes off their perfection to us…. on HIS behalf; so God did it. And we didn’t just commit a crime against someone who isn’t important, we committed the crimes against our own Creator, the One who gave us everything we hold dear to us, and gave us life.
    So God has provided a way out, a way to be in His Holy Presence through Christ, it’s His doing, His sacrifice. When we bow our hearts and recognize, “God wow… I’m sorry, all my life I’ve lived for myself… just taking and taking all you give me, and completely ignored you… like a slap on the face… I’m sorry Lord.. I could never measure up to you… I want to be with you.. and the only way I could ever be with you is if YOU do it, because I can’t.” So we humble ourselves towards God as our provider, giver of life, and Savior.
    ———————————————————————————————

    About the ghost question…. in John 20:26-29 it talks about how Thomas who didn’t believe, believed after He saw and touched the Risen Christ. But ok… I won’t use the Bible to refute your point… here it goes:

    John (the disciple): My fellow Roman and Jewish people! You guys are trippin’…. you killed the Lord of Life, your own SAVIOR!!!!!

    Roman guard: Hahaha!!!! Yeah and my momma is the Savior of humanity too…. haha.. rofl!!!!

    John: BRO!!! Man.. what you laughing about man??? Jesus Christ ROSE from the grave literally and I touched Him… and He proved that He is the Lord of Life, otherwise He wouldn’t have resurrected.

    Roman guard: Uhh… John??? Look… here’s the body…. (shows body)

    John: uhh…. haha….. just kiddin buddies… April fools!!! (wink wink) just don’t kill me masters… I’m sorry.. maybe I had a little too much to drink last night! ha ha ha….

    ———————————————————————————————-

    If Christ didn’t resurrect literally He would just be considered a regular prophet like Moses, Isaiah, or Elijah. He would never be considered as God incarnate. Not only is it totally blasphemous for a Jewish person of the day to worship a man as God especially if they didn’t understand the Isaiah 52:13-53:12 passage or Isaiah 9:6…. but it was their culture and way of life. For pious Jews to leave their sacred “religion” and worship Christ with their LIVES at stake…saying that they SAW, TOUCHED, and witnessed the Risen Christ is proof that it happened. Because if this was something like the example I gave you above… I can understand that there is one crazy dude going around claiming heretical things… and the Roman guards kill him and end the ruckus. But for 12 guys, then 500, then 3,000, then 5,000…. then these going world-wide saying the same thing.. that Christ is the Savior of humanity and authenticated Himself through His Resurrection is something HUGE. Something that without empirical evidence would have gotten NOWHERE, and that’s for sure.

    Reply
  100. Philip says:

    Dr. Turek,

    Your response to Christopher’s objection from Andromeda is not possible to make while sustaining an argument from design. I watched this debate a few weeks ago, but as far as I remember you said, “We cannot know the intentions of God.” To not know the intentions of God, however, is to never be able to say that God’s intentions have been fulfilled. Therefore, the way the world presently is could be *entirely* contrary to God’s intentions, if, after all, we have no way of knowing what those intentions are.

    There are a few other options. First of all, you could simply grant that Andromeda heading towards us makes more sense on atheism than it does on theism. To an extent, it does. It’s by no means something which adds drastically (or barely at all) to atheism’s probability of being true, but in conjunction with a lot of other similar examples it might add up. Second, you could say that it would only add to atheism’s probability if humans would still exist when Andromeda hit. In itself, it is quite irrelevant that Andromeda is *heading* toward us. It doesn’t matter in the same way that comets that hit the earth before there was any sentient life on it don’t matter.

    But the responsey you gave is inconsistent with saying God can explain things. For God to be able to explain things, you need to know why he explains them. And to know that is to know how he forms his intentions, i.e. because they are good. If they aren’t good, as the Andromeda example might suggest, it could offer a little evidence for atheism.

    Reply
  101. Frank Turek says:

    Hi Phillip,

    Thanks for your post. Perhaps in my haste I did not articulate my point adequately. My point in the debate was that Christopher has no way to say that our universe is not designed properly unless he knows the intentions of the designer. This is the same problem Steven J. Gould did not recognize when he wrote “Panda’s Thumb.” To say something is not designed properly implies:
    1. Design can be detected empirically (which contradicts the assertion of Gould and others that intelligent design cannot be considered science in any way)
    2. That one knows the intentions of the designer (Whose to say the Panda’s thumb is not designed to merely strip bamboo? Whose to say Andromeda is not designed to head toward us?)
    3. That one knows what optimal design is. But what is optimal design unless you know the ultimate purpose of the universe? Design implies purpose, but an atheistic worldview provides no ultimate purpose. That’s why I mentioned that Christopher continually needs to borrow from the theistic worldview in order to argue against it (like he does with morality, reason, mathematics, etc.)

    Also, suboptimal design is not no design. My car is not designed optimally, but it is nevertheless still designed. Despite their collision course, Andromeda and our galaxy– as well as the entire universe– seem to be designed, and design implies a designer.

    If the Bible is true (which was not the subject of the debate but the subject of my book), then we can know the intentions of the designer. This designed but fallen world (due to our sin) is heading toward oblivion, but ultimately God intends to redeem it.

    Thanks again and welcome to the site.

    Blessings,

    Frank

    Reply
  102. Andrew Ryan says:

    Andrea: “It is YOU who has no objective source for good or bad if you are just a bunch of molecules floating around without a Creator who made you….”

    But Andrea, I never claimed to have an objective source for good or bad. That is YOUR claim, and yet you can’t explain it in any reasonable way.

    “you know VERY WELL that even our conscience testifies to God’s ultimate goodness and our evil acts….”

    So what does it mean that for hundreds of years people didn’t feel guilty about slavery? The things people feel guilty about changes from generation to generation. Many Nazis were convinced they were doing the right thing by killing Jews.

    And again you are using a circular argument – “We know action x is objectively wrong because it makes us feel guilty; because we feel guilt we know that objective wrongs exist.” You haven’t proved anything, just made two assertions that back each other up. Again, if you lived in an alternative reality were an ‘evil’ God made you feel good and doing evil and made you feel guilty about doing good, how would you know the difference between that and the reality you are in now? How do you know that you in fact are NOT in such a reality?

    Reply
  103. Luke says:

    Jeff said:: I believe your questions revolve around the events of the fourth day as listed in Genesis 1:16: “God made two great lights—the greater light to govern the day and the lesser light to govern the night. He also made the stars.”

    Not exactly. My question which dealt with that verse revolved around that issue. 🙂

    Jeff said:: I believe the key to this rests in the interpretation of the Hebrew word for “made” (asah). Most biblical scholars concur that today’s equivalent for this word would be something akin to “had previously made”, indicating an action that had been completed in the past. Thus the verse would more correctly be written as:
    “God ‘had previously made’ two great lights—the greater light to govern the day and the lesser light to govern the night. He also ‘had previously made’ the stars.”

    So would 1:7 be more correctly be written as:

    “G-d had previously made the expanse, and separated the waters which were below the expanse from the waters which were above the expanse; and it was so”

    Would 1:25 be more correctly be written as:

    “G-d had previously made the beast of the earth after their kind…”
    Would Joshua 5:3 to take a random example be more correctly written as:

    “So Joshua had previously made himself flint knives and circumcised the sons of Israel at Gibeath-haarloth”

    If most Biblical scholars concur, then why has this phrasing not appeared in any of the major translation, including those like the NASB which strives to be and is known to be a very literal version (Pope 2007; Lockman Foundation) or Net Bible which strives to be non-sectarian (just actuate).

    Jeff said:: “In the beginning G-d created the heavens and the earth.” The Hebrew phrase “the heavens and the earth” (hashamayim we ha’ erets) refers to the entire universe, with the heavens coming along first and the earth following.

    I can agree with you on this, actually. I was pointing out though, that what you’re really saying when you take this view, if we are to be more literal about, it should say: In the beginning G-d created the heavens and the earth, but he really only created the heavens at the beginning and created the earth a long, long time after that.

    And that’s just a little odd.

    Jeff said:: From a purely scientific view, current thought indicates that the Earth was the result of an accretion disk from the Sun. The geological time-line indicates that as the Earth cooled and the crust solidified, a dense dark atmosphere formed (obscuring much of the light from reaching the surface) accompanied by rain which ultimately covered the surface of the planet. If you continue along the scientific chronology of the events surrounding the development of the Earth, you will see an incredible parallel to the description in the bible.

    You yourself disagree with the Genesis account in your description here.

    My last question went unanswered: Perhaps most importantly, why do you not think that G-d could have done all of this exactly how He said He did?

    Reply
  104. Andrea says:

    Andrew,

    To answer your question about “what is good?”

    The answer is God is good. He is the ‘perfectly good’ standard we compare everything to.

    The people who do evil things like Hitler or Stalin ignore their conscience. Of course their conscience would’ve got them, but they just chose to ignore it. I think all of us do that from time to time.

    If there is a teacher who devotes her time to her students, has tutoring for them, gives them free food, and loves them…. would it make sense to say the teacher is evil??
    The teacher has students that mistreat her, because they simply choose to. Who is evil in this scenario? The students obviously.

    I had a teacher like that… that was really nice, and the students would take advantage of her because she was kind, in that case it is the students who are evil. Then the kids distract the other kids, then everyone fails the class. But it’s not the teacher’s fault.. it’s the students’.

    1) God is good.
    2) God is the objective source for Morality.
    3) God is the Moral Law Giver.
    4) God is who we are accountable to.

    He is the constant everything else is based on. I find no problem whatsoever with that. I’m not sure what it is you’re trying to get at.

    Question: How do YOU know what is good or bad if you don’t have an objective source for morality?

    Reply
  105. Andrew Ryan says:

    “The answer is God is good. He is the ‘perfectly good’ standard we compare everything to.”

    But you’re just asserting that. Why not just assert ‘God is bad’?

    “If there is a teacher who devotes her time to her students, has tutoring for them, gives them free food, and loves them…. would it make sense to say the teacher is evil?”

    Andrea, you are arguing two contradictory positions :
    1: In your teacher analogy you are saying that it is common sense to call someone good if they are doing acts that you judge to be good, such as giving free food.
    2. But you are also saying that God is the only objective source judging something good.

    I understand the first point. You are using your own judgement, and pronouncing something to be good based on that judgement. You could use this to judge a teacher, a friend or even a God.

    But your second point is opposed to this – you’re saying that your own judgement wouldn’t even exist without the God. In that case, when you judge a God to be good, you’re judging him by his OWN standard. This is, once again [!], a CIRCULAR ARGUMENT!

    It means that the God would be pronounced ‘Good’ regardless of his acts. It wouldn’t matter if the ‘teacher’ went round kicking some of the students, infected some with a virus and slaughtered some of them because their parents offended him – if you’re only judging the teacher by what HE considers decent behaviour, then you’ve got to say the teacher is a ‘good’ one.

    So again, can you explain what you mean by ‘God is good’? Do you mean ‘good by his own standard’, and if so, how does this assertion have any actual meaning other than a circular one?

    Reply
  106. Andrea says:

    Hey Andrew,

    Oh ok I got your point when you said, “if you’re only judging the teacher by what HE considers decent behaviour, then you’ve got to say the teacher is a ‘good’ one.”

    So what you mean is like, lets say Hitler, says killing people is good, and because he says so, then it’s good right? So is God good because He says so, or because He can be judged to be good objectively….

    Ok, for your first question you asked earlier on what is good, well God is good. Contrary to what you’re thinking, I think we can conclude God is good through checking things out ourselves. Just like when we do an experiment and we get the same answer, then we conclude that we indeed have the correct answer. Through God’s actions we can tell that He actually is good.

    1) Provision- If God was evil, he wouldn’t provide for us in any way, actually I think He wouldn’t have made us in the first place.
    2) Pleasure- God made us in a way that we can experience feelings of joy/happiness/pleasure, through other things created, etc… if God was evil, He wouldn’t care. Who’s to blame for the great things in life?
    3) Salvation- I think that in Christ is where we definitely note that God absolutely is the pinnacle of absolute good, kindness, and forgiveness.
    4) Grace- Why is God good to evil people? We are all evil in that we shun our own Creator, and instead of giving us justice here and now He is patient with us trying to get us to see His goodness so that maybe, just maybe, we’ll want to be with Him forever; which is why we were originally created.
    5) Awe- It’s incredible the things God can do and create. I mean just look at your beautiful little daughter who brings so much joy to your heart. Isn’t God good to bless you in this way?
    ———————————————————————————————–
    What about the atrocities in the Bible?

    I think many times because we don’t know the intent of God we might judge something bad before knowing what it actually did in the long run. I mean I might be mad at my coach while he’s making me work out like crazy with my muscles throbbing with pain, but in the long run thanks to my coach’s hard training I’m able to be stronger for my challenges that are ahead. I actually think that if the coach was “evil” or didn’t care about me, he would give me doughnuts all day, which I may think is great, but in the long run it will harm me more than aid me.
    Since we can conclude God’s goodness through observation, then we can also conclude that whatever happens is for good in the long run. In 2 Peter 3:9 it says that God’s will is that people come to repentance, so He does the most He can to get people to know Him while not intruding with their free will to do so.
    I’ve experienced that sometimes my “good” teachers tell me to do things and I totally ignore them and get hurt for my disobedience. But really and honestly it was my fault, not theirs. A lot of times humans need to face up to their own responsibilities and recognize that it is us who willingly choose to be in a lot of the messes we are in. Instead of complaining about things we should do something about it, and we should be good stewards of the blessings and provisions God has given us.

    “For the LORD is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations.” (Psalm 100:5)

    Reply
  107. Toby R. says:

    Ms. Andrea,

    We’re like ships passing in a busy lane. You’re atheist turned christian, I’m baptist turned atheist!

    To butt into your exchange with andrew:

    1) provision – An evil god may not have created us at all (but that would be unlikely because such a creature would be filled with such super ego that it’d want to show off—of course it can’t be ruled out that the popularly theorized god isn’t a crazed, prideful, egomaniac—are such attributes actually bad? Or it could create so that we carry out our evil natures for a more evil plan. Or sick amusement.

    2)pleasure – it could be that an evil creator would create us with the capacity to know right from wrong, but incapable of living up to the right thing all of the time . . . kind of like people now. That we’d be given such a wonderful exercise as sex and then be told it’s wrong and dirty just so some evil creator could laugh at our silliness over the matter is highly plausible.

    3) Salvation – again an evil creator could put the idea of salvation into our heads, yet have no real intention of offering salvation or even caring about what happens to us when we let loose the mortal coil.

    4) Grace – an evil being could be indifferent to all suffering and the human condition in general. Again it would be for its own diabolical laughter.

    5) Awe – an evil creator could instill such a sense of wonder, say about the universe and whatnot, yet set the game up that no one could ever fulfill their curiosity about such things. Or instill love and then take away the very thing that someone loves.

    Wow, now that i think about it . . . you can’t really say that any of those things aren’t true, that we’re not all part of some sick game. Certainly everything you describe as “good” could be given as an ultimate purpose for diabolical, wicked, and cruel ends. Think about that for second. You believe that there was a crucifixion, you believe it for all of the reasons posted here, and yet the real evil part is that it really didn’t happen and some evil creator gains ultimate pleasure for this.

    Reply
  108. Andrew Ryan says:

    Toby answers pretty well, but I’ll pick out one point:
    “Pleasure- God made us in a way that we can experience feelings of joy/happiness/pleasure”

    And we also have the feelings of sadness, misery and pain. What does that prove? It doesn’t serve your cause to point to our ability to feel happy, when a billion people in the world are homeless, and millions of babies die of starvation every month. This suggests an evil God who created us to torture us.

    “As flies to wanton boys, are we to the gods, —They kill us for their sport” – King Lear, William Shakespeare.

    Try again Andrea.

    Reply
  109. Andrew Ryan says:

    Andrea: “I think we can conclude God is good through checking things out ourselves. Just like when we do an experiment and we get the same answer, then we conclude that we indeed have the correct answer. ”

    Unfortunately for your argument, Andrea, even if you succeed in doing this, you still defeat your own point. So imagine that you manage to prove that something is good by ‘checking things out’ yourself, and doing an experiment, rather than than judging that thing by its own standard (which I believe we both now agree doesn’t work). Well if you achieve this then you’ve proved that you can come up with a standard for good that doesn’t come from God.

    Which is the opposite of what you were trying to prove!

    I pointed this out in my post before yours, and you then went on to demonstrate my point. In other words, I’m not telling you anything in THIS post that I haven’t pointed out before. So we seem to have got to a stage where I am having to repeat myself to you.

    To sum up again, either:
    1) You’re right that one can rely on ‘observation’ or whatever, to judge God to be good, in which case you can use the same method to judge a teacher, a friend or anybody. And so you’ve shown that you didn’t need God to arrive at your standard. Or
    2) You can only judge God by his own standard, which you seem to agree makes no sense.

    As I said before, we’re going round in circles now, so either decide which of these you’re pegging your flag to, or dazzle me with a third option that makes sense and isn’t self-defeating or circular. Good luck.

    Reply
  110. Frank Turek says:

    Hi Andrew,

    I haven’t had time to follow your entire thread with Andrea, but I did notice a couple of things you posted.

    If I understand you right, you’re claiming that God being the standard of good is a circular argument. I don’t think it is circular as much as it is foundational. The foundation of Good is God, and you cannot go below the foundation. It is the bedrock upon which all else sits.

    Put another way, it is impossible to justify the ultimate by something beyond the ultimate. Just as you cannot prove the foundational laws of logic by other logical principles, you cannot justify the foundational laws of morality by other moral principles. Some logical principles are self-evident as are some moral principles (as our Declaration of Independence points out). Where the buck stops, the buck stops.

    Someone who does not believe in objective morals (as I think you have said) must base morality on himself. That certainly is circular. That person thinks he, a temporal being, is the arbiter of morality. There is no foundation there, only self-referential circularity. At least the theist is pointing to something eternal, outside himself for a foundation.

    With regard to God being evil– the assertion assumes an objective standard of Good. There can be no evil if there is no good and there can be no objective good unless there is a God. That’s why a Satan figure cannot exist unless God exists. Pure dualism is impossible because evil is a privation in good. Your countryman, C.S. Lewis did a masterful job explaining this in “Mere Christianity” in a chapter called “The Invasion” (pages 46-51 in my edition). Take a look. It is a rather short section.

    Now I will agree with you that the existence of objective morality does not prove that the God of the Bible exists. Morality is a necessary but not a sufficient condition for the God of the Bible. Maybe another theistic God exists. We have much more work to do to get to the God of the Bible, and that’s what we try to do in the book. Have you gotten very far in it yet?

    Blessings,

    Frank

    Reply
  111. Jeff Jones says:

    Luke,

    Notice that I never said that the use off “made” was incorrect. The word “made” properly infers any action that has occurred in the past. However, it is the context of the statement in which it is used that ultimately determines its specific meaning.

    If, for example, I said:

    “I had a degree Engineering and worked only on engineering projects from 1995 until 2005. Because I earned a degree in Biology, starting in 2006 I worked on medical projects as well.”

    Now, when did I earn the Biology degree? It is difficult to say from this sentence alone. Suppose, however, I had previously said:

    At the beginning of my adult life I went to college where I earned a Bachelors degree in Biology followed by a Masters in Engineering.”

    Now after a few more sentences describing my early work years we come across the original statement. The time reference associated with “earned” is much clearer and makes more sense when taken in the context of the entire paragraph.

    The same is true with Biblical verses. It is easy to view each verse as a “stand alone” entity given the verse numbers in the Bible. However, these numbers were not part of the original text only being added a few hundred years later.

    While they do provide a great reference tool, unfortunately they frequently separate a flow of concepts that should be grouped together. This can cause problems with interpretation of meaning when we look only at one or two verses in isolation rather than in the context of the entire paragraph or chapter.

    If you look at the use of “made” in the light (no pun intended) of the entire first chapter of Genesis, it makes more sense to interpret it as I noted above.

    Why is it not written that way (“had previously made”)? Primarily because the literal translation for “asah” in this situation is the word “made” (It can also have several other English equivalents). That does not, however, limit its temporal meaning just as the word “earned” is not limited in my example above.

    Again, to discern how the word is being used, read the surrounding paragraphs and simply ask yourself what makes the most sense.

    Also, I can’t concur with you comment that I “disagree with the Genesis account” in my description. I find it totally consistent as at the time of the rains coming (“separating the water under the expanse from the water above it”), the “land” as we know it today was yet to form.

    As for your final question “why do you not think that G-d could have done all of this exactly how He said He did?”… I do believe God did it exactly as he said he did. Whether he took six days or six billion years doesn’t ultimately matter, he still did it all.

    Reply
  112. Andrea says:

    Thanks Mr. Turek! Guys read his answer above Mr. Jones.

    Andrew and Toby,

    I have two questions for you guys.

    1) If you guys were my personal trainers, would you give me doughnuts and let me sit on my couch like a couch potato OR would you dare HURT my muscles by making me work-out to burn my fat off???

    2) If you guys were my teachers, would you pass me without having to do any work in your class OR would you dare HURT my brain by making me study in order to pass the class???

    Whatever happened to “No pain, no gain”?

    Is it, “Just chill, and get spoon-fed all your life” now?

    Reply
  113. Andrew Ryan says:

    “With regard to God being evil– the assertion assumes an objective standard of Good.”

    Frank, it makes no difference to the question of whether God is evil if it does or doesn’t make such an assumption. If you allow that it DOES assume objective standards of Good, you’ve still got to explain why your God is good rather than evil.

    And yes, circular arguments are still all we’re being given. ‘We know he’s good because he tells us he is’.

    Reply
  114. Andrea says:

    Toby: Andrew man people these days fall for so many religions…. it’s ludicrous bro.

    Andrew: I agree with you Toby, you have all these people killing and doing crazy things in the name of their god, nonsense.

    Toby: Everyone claims to be a prophet of God… even my aunt is in some cult where she thinks she “hears from God” and writes letters and people actually think they’re from God.

    Andrew: I don’t understand how people can be so gullible.

    Toby: By the way if God existed He would have to do something that would out-do all these wanna-be guys. Something so incredible that no mere human can duplicate.

    Andrew: Yeah and maybe God could become a man and bust out over all of these guys.

    Toby: Could be, and if so, other people would write about this man who is God… because lets face it anyone could write a story making themselves look good and claiming to be God.

    Andrew: Yes there is more credibility when others say good things about you instead of you bragging on yourself, definitely.

    Toby: Then the writings of those that witnessed this man-God would be copied over and over like crazy making sure they don’t miss a dot, because they realize this is God they’re talking about.

    Andrew: Yeah, and whoever witnessed whatever huge thing this man-God did would have to be willing to sacrifice himself admitting that what he saw empirically happened.

    Toby: And it would spread everywhere and not fade after the years… it would have to be like a HUGE movement that would stand out above myths as objective truth. Something incredible must have happened, and have people lose themselves for this man-God or in other words not use God as a genie or a good luck charm, but actually live for Him and not for their own benefit.

    Andrew: Hey Toby so what about this Jesus guy everyone talks about, what is it that He did again?

    Toby: Andrew have you heard how his followers are complete hypocrites man…

    Andrew: Yeah yeah… I mean have you looked into who Jesus is?

    Toby: Well I usually just get the summary of it from Dawkins or Hitchens…. and I went to a Baptist Church for most of my life… I don’t trust the gospels… I don’t trust anybody.. except skeptics… so yeah…

    Andrew: Hmm… I understand… besides if this Jesus was like the man-God we’ve been talking about I mean SOMEBODY would have told us about Him you know…

    Andrea: Hey guys!! I heard you talking about Christ… did you know that Jesus Christ IS….

    Toby: Andrea please… I don’t go forcing my beliefs on anyone… and I don’t claim to have the truth… OK…. so don’t disrespect me by telling me the religious nonsense you are about to tell me… I don’t trust you… I don’t trust anyone… get away… your claims are ludicrous…

    Andrew: Andrea please…. I agree with Toby… and by the way God is not good… how do you know what good is?? What is good Andrea?… uhh… well I’m not sure what I mean when I said good… but uhh… well stop trying to force your beliefs on us lady!!

    Andrea: Alright… you guys have the free will to think and rationalize, if you don’t want to listen to me… then maybe God will get to you guys another way.

    Toby: Andrew… don’t listen to her.. she’s ludicrous…

    Andrew: Of course man…. only Dawkins and Hitchens can properly rationalize, they are what we base our truths on….

    Toby: Yes sir! Everyone else is just ludicrous….

    —————————————————————————————-

    Sound familiar? 🙂

    Reply
  115. Andrew Ryan says:

    Hi Frank,

    Regarding CS Lewis’s argument. He was a smart man, a great writer, and a good thinker. But his conversion seemed to come down to this:
    “If there’s no God then I’m being irrational in railing against the injustice in the world. Therefore there must be a God”.

    This seems to be an extreme way of dealing with cognitive dissonance! If the choice is that either there is a God or you have to re-think your position on the world, then one shouldn’t be too hasty in rejecting the second option.

    “With regard to God being evil– the assertion assumes an objective standard of Good. There can be no evil if there is no good and there can be no objective good unless there is a God.”

    1) Why does that make any more sense than saying ‘there can be no good without evil’? If we make such an assumption, assume there is an objective standard of Good, that still doesn’t mean that God isn’t evil. You say that humans are too mortal to come up with their own moral judgements, in which case you are not capable of judging your God to be good. You can assert it, but you haven’t shown why it is true.

    I would like to address the rest of your book’s morality chapter, but it would require not just a separate post but several. You probably don’t have time to read it and I probably don’t have to write it right now, so I’ll over summarise!

    Reply
  116. Frank Turek says:

    Hi Andrew,

    I think Lewis made the logical choice. There can be no in-justice unless there is justice, and there can be no objective justice unless God exists. Moreover, it wasn’t like the grounding of justice was his only evidence for believing in God. It just happens to be the issue that once was keeping him away from God, until he realized that in-justice (evil) actually pointed back to God.

    You ask: Why does that make any more sense than saying ‘there can be no good without evil’?

    Because, as we discussed on the previous post about the definition of evil, evil is not a thing– it is a lack in a good a thing. Lewis explains it far better than I ever could. Here is a section from “Mere Christianity” that I recommended before. Sorry for the length, but it is one continuous thought (this is from pages 47-50):

    Now what do we mean when we call one of them the Good Power and the other the Bad Power? Either we are merely saying that we happen to prefer the one to the other–like preferring beer to cider–or else we are saying that, whatever the two powers think about it, and whichever we humans, at the moment, happen to like, one of them is actually wrong, actually mistaken, in regarding itself as good. Now if we mean merely that we happen to prefer the first, then we must give up talking about good and evil at all. For good means what you ought to prefer quite regardless of what you happen to like at any given moment. If ‘being good’ meant simply joining the side you happened to fancy, for no real reason, then good would not deserve to be called good. So we must mean that one of the two powers is actually wrong and the other actually right.

    But the moment you say that, you are putting into the universe a third thing in addition to the two Powers: some law or standard or rule of good which one of the powers conforms to and the other fails to conform to. But since the two powers are judged by this standard, then this standard, or the Being who made this standard, is farther back and higher up–than either of them, and He will be the real God. In fact, what we meant by calling them good and bad turns out to be that one of them is in a right relation to the real ultimate God and the other in a wrong relation to Him.

    The same point can be made in a different way. If Dualism is true, then the bad Power must be a being who likes badness for its own sake. But in reality we have no experience of anyone liking badness just because it is bad. The nearest we can get to it is in cruelty. But in real life people are cruel for one of two reasons–either because they are sadists, that is, because they have a sexual perversion which makes cruelty a cause of sensual pleasure to them, or else for the sake of something they are going to get out of it–money, or power, or safety. But pleasure, money, power, and safety are all, as far as they go, good things. The badness consists in pursuing them by the wrong method, or in the wrong way, or too much. I do not mean, of course, that the people who do this are not desperately wicked. I do mean that wickedness, when you examine it, turns out to be the pursuit of some good in the wrong, way. You can be good for the mere sake of goodness: you cannot be bad for the mere sake of badness. You can do a kind action when you are not feeling kind and when it gives you no pleasure, simply because kindness is right; but no one ever did a cruel action simply because cruelty is wrong–only because cruelty was pleasant or useful to him. In other words badness cannot succeed even in being bad in the same way in which goodness is good. Goodness is, so to speak, itself: badness is only spoiled goodness. And there must be something good first before it can be spoiled. We called sadism a sexual perversion; but you must first have the idea of a normal sexuality before you can talk of its being perverted; and you can see which is the perversion, because you can explain the perverted from the normal, and cannot explain the normal from the perverted. It follows that this Bad Power, who is supposed to be on an equal footing with the Good Power, and to love badness in the same way as the Good Power loves goodness, is a mere bogy. In order to be bad he must have good things to want and then to pursue in the wrong way: he must have impulses which were originally good in order to be able to pervert them. But if he is bad he cannot supply himself either with good things to desire or with good impulses to pervert. He must be getting both from the Good Power. And if so, then he is not independent. He is part of the Good Power’s world. he was made either by the Good Power or by some power above them both.

    Put it more simply still. To be bad, he must exist and have intelligence and will. But existence, intelligence and will are in themselves good. Therefore he must be getting them from the Good Power: even to be bad he must borrow or steal from his opponent. And do you now beg to see why Christianity has always said that the devil is a fallen angel? That is not a mere story for the children. It is a real recognition of the fact that evil is a parasite, not an original thing. The powers which enable evil to carry on are powers given it by goodness. All the things which enable a bad man to be effectively bad are in themselves good things-resolution, cleverness, good looks, existence itself. That is why Dualism, in a strict sense, will not work.”

    Blessings,

    Frank

    Reply
  117. Andrew Ryan says:

    That was a very interesting read Frank, thanks for that.

    “evil is not a thing– it is a lack in a good a thing. ”

    I walk past a stranger in a street and don’t say anything to them – have I done an evil thing? No. I go up to a stranger and say something nice to them – that is a good thing, but not saying anything to them at all isn’t evil.

    Most people would say it would be an evil act if I approached a stranger and hit them in the face. That wasn’t ‘the lack of a good thing’ – that would just be ignoring them completely. So to say evil is the lack of good doesn’t really make any sense.

    Onto Lewis’s quote, the crux of his argument seems to be here:

    “You can do a kind action when you are not feeling kind and when it gives you no pleasure, simply because kindness is right”

    So a good thing may be defined as ‘something you do not for yourself, but just because you believe it is right.’

    This is just assertion – to quote you ‘this sentence is full of loaded terms!’. What does he mean by ‘kind’ action, what does he mean by ‘right’?

    I would say that ‘kind’ be defined in utilitarian terms – you’re helping other people out – but in your book you shoot this down – ‘Whose definition of kind? Mother Theresa’s or Hitler’s?’. So who’s to say that Hitler wasn’t being kind? (I wouldn’t try to construct a utilitarian defence of the holocaust, but you seem to claim that one can).

    And why is it wrong to be selfish? Lewis seems to have snuck that assumption in there.

    Some people do things others consider to be bad, not to give themselves pleasure, but because they genuinely believe it to be ‘the right thing to do’. Others – I believe including the Marquis de Sade himself – believe that simply giving yourself pleasure IS the right thing to do.

    At any rate, I suspect that Lewis and you WOULD get pleasure out of doing something because you consider it ‘kind’ and ‘right’. You get the pleasure of doing the right thing. Certainly you would feel distress if you thought you were doing the ‘wrong’ thing, no? It comes down to ‘I would feel guilty doing that, therefore it’s bad’. But again, some people feel guilty for doing things you don’t consider bad, and some people would be astonished that you feel no guilt for some of the things you do! It’s not that they ignore their conscience, their conscience ‘tells’ them different things to yours.

    So that falls down.

    “We called sadism a sexual perversion; but you must first have the idea of a normal sexuality before you can talk of its being perverted”

    But who is the ‘we’ here? The people who think themselves normal! The ‘pervert’ might not call himself that at all; they might think others are the perverts!

    This reminds me of Lewis’s logic about ‘if I talk about a crooked line, then I must have a straight line to compare it to’.

    A straight line is a human construct – it basically means the shortest route between two points. One can certainly say that one line is less crooked than another without ever having seen a straight line, because such a thing does not exist in nature. Even a laser is not completely straight as the light waves that make it are not straight.

    I can construct in my head the idea of ‘normal sexuality’ based on my own criteria – it must lead to child birth, or both partners must enjoy it or consent, or it must be preceded by a particular ceremony. Then I can start calling anyone outside it a pervert. It doesn’t mean that there is an ‘objective’ normal, unless you say ‘objective based on a certain definition of normal’, which could perhaps simply be statistically based.

    Reply
  118. Andrew Ryan says:

    I will give kudos to CS Lewis for attempting to construct an entirely logic-based argument for why one philosophy is more moral than another. Obviously he’s not the first, from Kant’s categorical imperatives backwards.

    But the problem for him, you and WL Craig, is that if you succeed with logic in ‘proving’ that God is more moral than Satan – then whatever argument you use could presumably also be used by an atheist to answer your ‘Mother Theresa or Hitler’ question.

    ‘Mother Theresa was more moral because she was kind for its own sake, not to make herself feel better’* and so on to the rest of Lewis’s argument.

    If you think that’s not a convincing argument for why she was more moral than Hitler, than surely it is inconsistent to accept the same argument from CS Lewis as to why God is more moral than Satan.

    *(Although Hitch spent a whole book refuting that notion).

    Reply
  119. Frank Turek says:

    HI Andrew,

    When we say evil is a lack in a good thing, we don’t necessarily mean sins of omission vs. comission (as in your example of ignoring someone or slapping them in the face); we mean in terms of ontology or being. As Lewis points out (and Augustine before him) evil has no ontological essence. There is no such thing as absolute badness, only absolute goodness. Measurement is only possible from positive being or the standard of goodness. In other words, wrongness only makes sense if there is a goodness. Goodness can exist without wrongness, but wrongness cannot exist without goodness.

    You said “simply giving yourself pleasure IS the right thing to do.” But you wouldn’t say that torturing babies for fun was the right thing to do if it gave you pleasure. Moreover, you don’t believe in an objective “right,” so what do you mean by “the right thing to do.?”

    More later. Got to run.

    Blessings,

    Frank

    Reply
  120. Andrew Ryan says:

    “Moreover, you don’t believe in an objective “right,” so what do you mean by “the right thing to do.?” ”

    Frank, either you are reading my posts too quickly, as you’re reading things into them that I didn’t say, or you are deliberately trying to distract from the points I’m making.

    Here’s the full quote:

    “Others – I believe including the Marquis de Sade himself – believe that simply giving yourself pleasure IS the right thing to do.”

    Please don’t confuse an opinion from the inventor of Sadism with my own! My own opinions on right and wrong were not mentioned in that quote. So your response is irrelevant as a response.

    Lewis was asserting a moral system based on not pursuing your own pleasure. But he was asserting it as a truism, when he was supposed to be demonstrating why it is the case. And yes, some people may well say that it is moral to torture babies for pleasure – whether I agree with them or not is not the point. You can’t just say ‘seeing as no-one would say that, therefore God’. Or ‘It is important that we condemn these people, therefore there must be a God’

    “Goodness can exist without wrongness, but wrongness cannot exist without goodness.”

    You can just swap those terms over and they’ll make just as much sense. ‘You can’t define goodness with objective wrongness. Goodness cannot exist without wrongness’.

    More assertion: “But pleasure, money, power, and safety are all, as far as they go, good things. The badness consists in pursuing them by the wrong method”

    Money is a good thing? Power is a good thing? How does he assert this? Money can be used for things you agree with or do not agree with, as can power. A rock is a neutral object – it can be used to hit someone with or to build a house. If you say that ‘as far as it goes, a rock is a good thing’, then you are putting your own values on it. Lewis’s assertion that something ‘good’ is therefore being perverted doesn’t stack up.

    “There is no such thing as absolute badness, only absolute goodness.”

    And as I said about the straight line – it doesn’t need to exist for you to conceptualise it, based on your own values or definition, which is why one person’s ‘absolute goodness’ differs from another.

    Hope you get to read through this properly when you’ve got time. Will email you my thoughts on the morality chapter some time in the next day or so.

    Reply
  121. Andrew Ryan says:

    By the way, just so you can see why it’s not good to quote someone out of context Frank, this is basically what you did:

    Frank: “torturing babies for fun was the right thing to do”

    Frank, how do you square your Christian principles with your assertion here that torturing babies is the right thing to do?

    Reply
  122. Frank Turek says:

    Hi Andrew,

    Sorry. My bad. I misunderstood your quote. I thought you were agreeing with Sade.

    Of course, without an objective standard, we couldn’t say he was wrong for believing that torturing babies for his own pleasure was the right thing to do. Agreed?

    I said: “Goodness can exist without wrongness, but wrongness cannot exist without goodness.”

    You said: “You can just swap those terms over and they’ll make just as much sense. ‘You can’t define goodness with objective wrongness. Goodness cannot exist without wrongness’.”

    No, Andrew, that’s not right. Think about it. Goodness can exist independently of evil, but evil cannot exist unless there is a standard of good that evil corrupts. Metal can exist independently of rust, but rust cannot exist independently of metal.

    You said, “about the straight line – it doesn’t need to exist for you to conceptualise it, based on your own values or definition, which is why one person’s ‘absolute goodness’ differs from another.”

    No, we wouldn’t even be able to understand and communicate “straightness” to one another if we each only had our own private idea of what straightness is. The only reason we can understand and communicate “straightness” to one another is because “straightness” is a immaterial universal that we conceive of mentally, even if a perfectly straight object does not exist in the physical world. (BTW, the idea of immaterial universals, famously written of by Plato, is another evidence that strict naturalism is false– reality is not merely made of molecules. There are immaterial universal realities that we are using as we communicate.)

    Blessings,

    Frank

    Reply
  123. Andrew Ryan says:

    “No, we wouldn’t even be able to understand and communicate “straightness” to one another if we each only had our own private idea of what straightness is.”

    And yet none of us have ever seen a completely straight line! It’s a human construct Frank, something that only exists in our heads. You’re not presenting a successful argument against this.

    Reply
  124. Andrew Ryan says:

    “Goodness can exist independently of evil, but evil cannot exist unless there is a standard of good that evil corrupts. ”

    Evil can exist indepently of good, but good cannot exist unless there is a standard of evil that good corrupts. See what I did there? I’m imagining a dialogue between Screwtape and Wormword, where the former explains to the latter why satan is ‘the good one’, using just the argument you present here.

    “My dear Wormword, of course Satan is the good one, otherwise you’ve got no way of justifying torturing babies, and where does THAT leave you!”

    Back to Lewis’s ‘perverted’ argument, I’m sure there are Jews and Muslims who think it is perverted not to circumcise children. They could argue ‘Now, we know the others are the perverts because they don’t cut off parts of their children’s private parts’. ‘Perverted’ is a subjective term based on what you consider to be normal. So it’s meaningless for Lewis to say “but you must first have the idea of a normal sexuality before you can talk of its being perverted”.

    Anyone can call themselves the normal one, and say that the ‘other’ is perverting it. Doesn’t mean that your side is ‘better’ than the other.

    “Of course, without an objective standard, we couldn’t say he was wrong for believing that torturing babies for his own pleasure was the right thing to do”

    But so far you haven’t shown why your ‘objective standard’ is not arbitrary, which is to say, not objective at all. Go back to the point I was making in the original post. Lewis was taking it as a given that it is wrong to be selfish or to do things for your own pleasure. I pointed out that some people argue that to be selfish IS moral. Whether you or I or Lewis agree with them is irrelevant – Lewis is trying to argue that it is OBJECTIVELY true that being selfish is immoral.

    Reply
  125. Toby R. says:

    Mr. T,

    Analogy error!

    “Metal can exist independently of rust, but rust cannot exist independently of metal.”

    This isn’t true. Or at least its a bad analogy. I’m assuming that you’re talking about iron rust which is iron oxide. But a metal need not have existed for iron oxide to form. People with hard water see it all of the time in their whole house water filters that have gone from white when new to rust red after a month.

    Your analogy actually betrays you. Iron and oxygen both exist separately and only when they combine do they form rust. So your analogy falls apart because iron is corrupted by the evil oxidizing power of oxygen and each exists independently. Rust could not exist without the two separate parts. So who’s to say that one is the good one and one is the evil one?

    Reply
  126. Andrea says:

    Andrew,

    “Evil can exist indepently of good, but good cannot exist unless there is a standard of evil that good corrupts. See what I did there? I’m imagining a dialogue between Screwtape and Wormword, where the former explains to the latter why satan is ‘the good one’, using just the argument you present here.”

    before you wrote this you said,

    “And yet none of us have ever seen a completely straight line! It’s a human construct Frank, something that only exists in our heads. You’re not presenting a successful argument against this.”
    ——————————————————————————————–

    Andrew, so the argument you posted above only exists in your head… who’s to say what exists in your head is better than what exists in my head… who, who??? Haha.. no for real man… you are claiming something to be correct or right… you are trying to point to an objective moral BAM… something, because you are arguing for something that you think is right and should be pointed out, correct?

    If I understand you correctly you are saying that it is Satan who is good…. and God is evil??? Andrew, there can only be ONE standard, one Ultimate Constant everything depends on…. Only one….

    So what I’m getting from you is that you agree there is an objective standard…. it’s just that you don’t know if the standard is good or evil correct??
    ———————————————————————————————-

    Andrew….. if I make you a cake..lol.. back to my examples man so you get a clear picture….

    Andrea: Andrew!! Look I made you a cake!
    Andrew: Oh nice!!! It looks great on the plate.

    Someone swipes it..

    Andrew: Heyy… the cake isn’t on the plate!!!! There’s NO cake on the plate!!!!

    How do you know the plate has ‘no cake’…. because you KNOW what a plate ‘with a cake’ looks like….

    That word you are using, ‘evil’ does not exist without good… Evil is dependent on good. Evil= not good, it presupposes good.
    The word ‘no cake’ presupposes a ‘cake’…. make sense??

    Andrew: But what if the ‘no cake’ is actually the ‘cake’???

    ***That contradicts itself.

    Reply
  127. Toby R. says:

    I find this debate about good and evil tiring. It’s childish quibbling over definitions. Definitions, I might add, that aren’t even very good or coherent.

    What is good? Good is the absence of evil. What is evil? Evil is the absence of good.

    This kind of argument is unresolvable with the above definitions because they can be turned around in either direction (and in this I’ve found one of the few glimpses of faith on this website; the theists believe this isn’t true), Also the argument can be made that you can’t have one without the other, or actually you can’t know one without the other.

    I think the more productive route to take is to state definitions of good and evil without using either of the words in either of the definitions. So come on, let’s hear them.

    Reply
  128. Andrea says:

    Hey Toby,

    Good to hear from you.

    “This kind of argument is unresolvable with the above definitions because they can be turned around in either direction.”

    When someone is skinny they are absent of fat. When someone is fat, that isn’t the absence of skinny; fat is presupposed. When someone is short it is the absence of height, when someone is tall that isn’t the absence of short. So it’s not like you can seriously turn the definitions in either direction.

    Good- morally excellent; virtuous; righteous; honorable.

    Evil- morally wrong or bad; immoral; wicked ;mischief.

    They are opposites, and completely distinct from each other.

    Reply
  129. Andrew Ryan says:

    Andrea, from glancing at your post I saw it was another pointless attempt at Socratic dialogue where you put words on my mouth, and I didn’t bother reading it.

    I read your next post. If you say that Good means morally excellent, you’re just dealing in tautologies. Good = morally excellent, and morally excellent = good. This gets you nowhere.

    “When someone is short it is the absence of height, when someone is tall that isn’t the absence of short.”

    That’s just a convention of our language, nothing more. And anyway, just because you can come up with examples of a thing that is defined as being ‘the absence of another thing’, you’ve not proved that good and evil fall into the same category.

    Even if rust only was only present on metal, you can easily come up with examples of situations where the positive can only exist with the negative, whereas the negative can exist on its own. What if the metal is the negative and the rust is what you want? You can have oysters without pearls, but you can have pearls without oysters. You can have rain without rainbows but not the other way round. You could have had 9/11 without people getting together and reacting positively to it, but people couldn’t have joined together like that unless 9/11 had happened.

    In fact what we tend to see is things starting off ‘bad’ and getting ‘better’. People look at a situation and see how it can be improved for all concerned. ‘Good’ arises out of ‘bad’, with the criteria for those words being defined by those who use it. Someone invents a mousetrap and then someone improves it. This doesn’t mean that some ‘perfect mousetrap’ exists in the ether. (No-one knew they wanted their mobile phone to have a text facility until someone else invented it.) All you needed was someone looking at something and saying ‘wouldn’t it be better if…’

    Even the word ‘perfect’ infers a criteria – whereas that may change over time. People might need a cheap one in hard times, one that doesn’t kill the mouse in others, and in times of a mouse plague you might just want one that kills the most mice in the quickest time.

    Reply
  130. Frank Turek says:

    Hi Andrew,

    I said: “No, we wouldn’t even be able to understand and communicate “straightness” to one another if we each only had our own private idea of what straightness is.”

    You said: “And yet none of us have ever seen a completely straight line! It’s a human construct Frank, something that only exists in our heads. You’re not presenting a successful argument against this.”

    Andrew, the concept of universals is essential to this discussion or any discussion (which is why many consider modern philosophy to be “footnotes on Plato”). If “straightness” is a mere human construct, as you put it– if it were just a private idea in your head and a private idea in my head– we wouldn’t be able to communicate the concept to one another. But we each know what straightness is. Hence, it is an objective truth– a universal– that we subjects can perceive.

    Even if something material is not perfectly straight, we know what perfectly straight is– it can be expressed mathematically. In fact, for you to say straightness is a human construct, you would have to say math is human construct. You don’t believe that, do you? Math tells us objective truths about the objective world– it is not a human construct: 2+2=4 is not my invention, but a truth about reality. Even before there were any material things, 2+2=4.

    I’m saying that like the laws of math and the laws of logic, the basic laws of morality are universals– they are not human constructs. They can’t be proven by other principles, you just know them. You can’t prove the law of non-contradiction (LNC) by other logic. You have to assume the LNC to reason at all. You can’t prove arithmetic is reliable by using the laws of arithmetic. Likewise, no one can prove to you that torturing babies for fun is objectively wrong, you just know it.

    At the very least, we have no good reason to doubt our moral perception that “it is wrong to torture babies for fun” is a universal than we have reason to doubt our perception that the law of non-contradiction is a universal. It seems to me that anyone who doubts these universals has the burden of proof (and, of course, you can’t prove anything without assuming that the law of non-contradiction and other laws of logic are universals).

    I guess a good question would be, “What principles do you believe are universal (i.e. NOT human constructs)?”

    Thanks for the discussion. Stimulating!

    Blessings,

    Frank

    Reply
  131. Andrew Ryan says:

    “If “straightness” is a mere human construct, as you put it– if it were just a private idea in your head and a private idea in my head– we wouldn’t be able to communicate the concept to one another. ”

    Of course we could Frank, because we can both understand the idea of ‘the shortest line between two points – it’s common in our culture. The song ‘Yesterday’ was invented by a human being, but you and I can both sing the song together without rehearsing before hand. Our very language isn’t a ‘universal truth’ – it developed over time as an amalgamation of different languages. But any two people who speak it can understand each other.

    So a concept can be both man-made and understood by different humans, and you haven’t shown that morality could not fall into this bracket.

    “Likewise, no one can prove to you that torturing babies for fun is objectively wrong, you just know it.”

    Saying ‘you just know it’ is not enough. Just because you and I both agree on something, it doesn’t mean it is ‘objectively true’, only that it is ‘objectively true’ that we both agree on it. It doesn’t become ‘more objective’ the stronger we agree on it. People used to ‘just know’ that slavery was OK. The burden of proof is still on your side to prove that morality is a universal in the same way as the laws of logic are.

    And by the way, you can have slavery without anti-slavery campaigners, but you can’t have anti-slavery campaigners without slavery. Even if there was no slavery at all, you’d still have to have the concept of slavery to be against it. So I don’t agree that you have to have a ‘good’ BEFORE an ‘evil’ can come along to ‘pervert’ it.

    Reply
  132. Andrew Ryan says:

    Would you argue that ‘One can’t say that another person is singing the words to “A Hard Days Night” incorrectly unless you have a universal template against which to compare it’? No – someone else wrote the song, you and I both know it, we can tell if someone is singing it wrong. The template is man-made, not universal.

    I can generally assume that most people I meet will share most of my ethical values. Therefore it is meaningful for me to say ‘Richard Nixon was a bad man’ and have them understand what I mean, even if they don’t agree with the assessment. It doesn’t have to come from ‘universal truths’ in the sense that ‘Richard Nixon did not ‘exist’ and ‘not exist’ at the same time’ does.

    By the way Frank, Nicholas Everitt wrote a book called ‘The Non-existence of God’ that deals very well and succinctly with the ‘God through universal morality’ argument. I think the relevant chapter is called ‘God and morality’. That chapter is short – I was able to read it in a book shop on my lunch break today – and very much worth you tracking down in a bookshop or library, as explains why the argument doesn’t work with far more articulacy than I can manage. He speaks fluent logic, unlike me! I’d love to know your response to it.

    Reply
  133. Andrew Ryan says:

    “Even if something material is not perfectly straight, we know what perfectly straight is– it can be expressed mathematically. ”

    By the way, the letters of the alphabet can all be expressed mathematically too, yet they are still human inventions. Your computer stores the letters as vectors – mathematical constructions.

    And bushmen in Australia who have no concept of maths, who don’t even have a word for numbers higher than four (it all just becomes ‘many) can still talk about what the quickest route to get somewhere is. One route is quicker than another because it is more direct doesn’t require a universal concept, just common sense.

    Likewise, it’s not hard to imagine why it would be useful for tribesmen to come up with a word that people could use to warn each other that another man was dangerous or best avoided. Why not ‘evil’? No universal ‘non-human’ concept required there either.

    Reply
  134. Andrea says:

    Hey Andrew,

    Regarding your earlier post to me. I looked up good and evil in the dictionary to make sure I wasn’t biased in what I wrote on here, you can go to dictionary.com and check the definitions out for yourself.

    So you agree that we all have ‘common sense’ right? Good is a word we use to express something that is right, whole, complete, and/or lacks nothing. Evil/bad are words we use to express something that is wrong, and lacking in comparison TO the ‘good’.

    Bad is the corruption of good.

    When does a good banana go bad?? When you leave it too long in your kitchen counter and you don’t eat it. The word bad or evil ALWAYS presupposes the good/ complete side that is the standard which it corrupted. It doesn’t work backwards Andrew, a bad black spotted banana doesn’t turn ‘good’ if you leave it out too long.

    Our common sense tells us that good always means the optimal standard and that bad is that which is lacking.

    Example:

    -A good round-house kick lacks nothing.

    -A bad round-house kick lacks technique.

    *A good strawberry shake lacks nothing.

    *A bad strawberry shake lacks sugar.

    ~ A good student lacks nothing.

    ~ A bad student lacks responsibility.

    *** Andrew, it is common sense, that: that which is good is the standard which lacks nothing and is whole and complete. Whenever we EVER use the word ‘evil’ or ‘bad’ we are always ALWAYS presupposing that which is good i.e. the standard.

    Reply
  135. Toby R. says:

    I’ve never really understood the universal morality concept. An animal need only step on a cactus once to know that it’s “evil” and to avoid it. That is its experience with it. It’s not the same for a cactus bug that makes it’s living off of that plant.

    We can say that torture is evil but Dick Cheney wouldn’t agree (or countless others afraid of some 24-style extreme nuclear situation).

    We could say that rape is evil, but the bible pretty much stands mute on the subject of not doing it and even condones it (as in Judges 21:10-24 and Numbers 31:7-18 and Deuteronomy 20:10-14 and Deuteronomy 22:28-29 and 12:11-14 and Deuteronomy 21:10-14 and, most clearly and bluntly stated, Zechariah 14:1-2 and 2 Samuel 12:11-14).

    We can say that abortion is evil (but I suppose that if the ultimate good in the universe does it or says to do it, then it’s a good thing as in Hosea 13:16).

    We can say that child abuse is evil but the bible is rife with it; what else would we call it when someone drags their kid up a hill and puts a knife to their throat and then hears voices in his head and kills an animal instead? What kind of nightmares did that kid have later? Not to mention all the stoning of bad children and beating with rods.

    Where’s the universal morality in any of that? It was a bunch of illiterate ancients afraid of eclipses and someone putting curses on them and people that believed by sacrificing things their god was happy and wouldn’t cause earthquakes or volcano explosions. If stoning and murdering children was okay then, then why would it be bad today Mr. Turek? Are we more moral than anyone in the bible because we’d never murder someone with a hail of stones?

    Reply
  136. Toby R. says:

    “Example:

    “-A good round-house kick lacks nothing.

    -A bad round-house kick lacks technique.”

    Or ability. Or the proper judge of what a “good” kick should be based on angle, speed, power, etc.

    What’s a good roundhouse? One that breaks a nose? What if it doesn’t break any bones or teeth? Is it still good if it hits a gym bag rather than a person?

    “*A good strawberry shake lacks nothing.”

    “*A bad strawberry shake lacks sugar.”

    Or perhaps strawberries. Or proper mixing. Or correct temperature.

    Depends on the individual’s taste. Is it bad because there are no sprinkles or whipped topping? Or chocolate swirl?

    “~ A good student lacks nothing.

    ~ A bad student lacks responsibility.”

    Or mental ability. Or time to study. Or money to buy the correct text books. Or a ride to school.

    What’s a good student? One that gets straight A’s. Then a B student is bad. Is a mentally handicapped person a bad student?

    Reply
  137. Andrea says:

    Toby,

    I was giving an example in that the word ‘good’ is always emphasized as the standard which lacks nothing. In consequence the word ‘bad’ is always emphasized in something lacking.

    In fact Toby you can go to dictionary.com right now….. and search for the word ‘good’ and the first definition you get is:

    “morally excellent; virtuous; righteous; pious: a good man.”

    and when you search for ‘bad’ in dictionary.com you get:

    “not good in any manner or degree.”

    So Toby if you want to argue with the dictionary scholars… be my guest…..

    Reply
  138. Andrea says:

    Toby,

    Question: If Universal Morality exists in our heads, then how do you know what is morally right or wrong?

    Do you base it off of your feelings? How do you know if your feelings are off? If there is no standard, what are you complaining about… hey there’s no standard right… we can do whatever we want???

    *** If there is no key for the test…. how do you know the right answers of it?

    *** If there is no constant to your experiment how do you know your experiment isn’t flawed?

    Reply
  139. Andrew Ryan says:

    “Bad is the corruption of good”

    Or good is an improvement on bad. But who’s standards of good and bad are you using, and what’s your criteria? That banana that you said went bad? Well as far as some bugs are concerned it has now ‘gone good’!

    “A good strawberry shake lacks nothing.”
    One person’s good strawberry shake is another person’s bad. It’s good for someone trying to put on weight, bad for someone trying to lose weight.

    “Good- Standard lacking in nothing.”
    Everyone thought that mobile phones were good and ‘lacking nothing’ 10 years ago, but then someone added cameras, texting, online access etc. So phones then may have been ‘good’ then, but only in comparison to the ‘bricks’ that preceded them.

    Anyone can try to stack the deck from the start by starting with the assumption that their side is ‘the good one’, then start reading out definitions to back them up. Moral = good and good = moral, you’re just using tautologies.

    And any philologist or scholar of words can tell you that dictionaries just reflect usage, they don’t assert universal truths.

    Try harder Andrea!

    Reply
  140. Frank Turek says:

    Hi Andrew,

    I said: “If “straightness” is a mere human construct, as you put it– if it were just a private idea in your head and a private idea in my head– we wouldn’t be able to communicate the concept to one another. ”

    You said: “Of course we could Frank, because we can both understand the idea of ‘the shortest line between two points – it’s common in our culture. The song ‘Yesterday’ was invented by a human being, but you and I can both sing the song together without rehearsing before hand. Our very language isn’t a ‘universal truth’ – it developed over time as an amalgamation of different languages. But any two people who speak it can understand each other.”

    As much as I love the Beatles, let’s stay on the central point. Language isn’t the universal, but the truth expressed by the language is. The shortest line between two points = a straight line. Is this a mathematical universal or just a private idea in your head?

    Blessings,

    Frank

    Reply
  141. Andrew Ryan says:

    I am staying on point, Frank. Let’s go back to CS Lewis’s point and unpack what he is saying.

    He was saying that it’s not possible to say ‘This line is crooked’ unless you’ve got a concept of a straight line to compare it too. He saying that this is analogous to saying ‘This is immoral’, with a ‘perfect morality’ to compare it to. You add that it has to be a ‘universal concept’ in order to make the comparison

    Now, I’d say that this analogy would fall down if we can come up with any two things where we can say one of the two has more of a quality x than another, without there being a perfect x to compare it to. Would you agree? Lewis’s analogy isn’t much cop if it only applies to morality and straight lines.

    You say: “If “straightness” is a mere human construct – if it were just a private idea in your head and a private idea in my head– we wouldn’t be able to communicate the concept to one another.”

    Now, you seem to be saying here that a private idea cannot be communicated to another person. Do you really mean that NO ideas can be communicated to another person unless it is a ‘universal’?

    Songs are private ideas, and yes, they can be communicated to other people and passed on. The words and tune in combination are the idea that’s being passed on. Someone else can then judge a singer of the song and say that one person is singing it more accurately than another.

    So that is man-made, but it’s still holding up an unchangeable ‘template’ against which we judge other versions. That’s still a little bit like your claim that there’s a ‘perfect morality’. But we can come up with other examples where there doesn’t even have to be a ‘perfect template’, man-made or not.

    I’ve already demonstrated that just because an idea can be expressed mathematically, it doesn’t automatically mean that it is a ‘mathematical universal’. Letters of the alphabet are expressed in maths on you computer, but they are still human inventions.

    CS Lewis didn’t have to say ‘a straight line’. He could have said ‘We can say that a letter ‘t’ has been written badly’, and he would have been comparing it to a man-made concept – the design of the letter. There’s no ‘perfect t’ to compare it to.

    I could come up with some device to help people round the home – the nature of it is not important to my point. Within a year or so perhaps it is successful, rivals have sprung up producing variants of the device and most homes in the country have one or maybe several. Everyone knows what they look like, everyone knows what functions they have. People can say ‘that’s a bad one, that’s a better one’.

    And yet, this doesn’t mean that some perfect archetype exists somewhere. People might think there’s a hi-spec version that is as far as it can go, then someone brings out a version that runs on lower power, or is lighter, or whatever. Would you claim that there’s a universal ‘perfect version’ of everything yet to be invented? Even it’s ‘the perfect torture device’ or ‘the perfect killing machine’?

    It doesn’t have to be man-made either. I can say ‘Your dog is better than my dog’, even though there’s no ‘perfect dog’. We all know what a dog is, we all have similar expectations of dog behavior. If a perfect dog exists, what breed is it?

    All that’s required for a person to compare one thing from a group to another, is to have some kind of criteria. Anyone else who understands that criteria can talk to that person about the comparison. And yes, that applies to morality too. We can compare how dangerous two diseases are, why not compare how dangerous two people are? We don’t need to imagine a ‘perfectly dangerous person’ first. And then we can use the word ‘evil’ to differentiate someone who’s dangerous by accident (Typhoid Mary?) from someone who deliberately damages other people.

    By the way, another reason your ‘everyone knows it automatically’ point about morality falls down is that it simply isn’t true. Have you never heard people talking about ‘teaching children the difference between right and wrong’? We all know that children can learn bad behavior the same as they can learn good behavior. If only social behavior was innate!

    Reply
  142. Frank Turek says:

    Hi Andrew,

    Forgive me, but we can’t move on until you directly answer these two questions. The first is a yes or no and the second a short answer.

    The shortest line between two points = a straight line. Is this a mathematical universal or just a private idea in your head?

    “What principles do you believe are universal (i.e. NOT human constructs)?”

    I’ll be speaking a lot the next two weeks. Please don’t take my slowness of response to be disinterest. Thanks!

    Blessings,

    Frank

    Reply
  143. Andrew Ryan says:

    Frank, forgive ME but this is a red herring. There are a thousand ways of comparing two journeys. For some it may well be possible to express the comparison mathematically – one more closely approaches the fibonacci sequence for example. If I allow that this is a mathematical universal then it makes no difference.

    And this is because your task is not to show that one CAN compare things compared to universals. Your task is to show that one can ONLY compare things along the grounds of universals. It must be a NECESSARY part, not just a sufficient one.

    And your assertion falls down because we could also compare two routes along the grounds of which is faster, which route is more painful (thistles!), which route smells better, etc. Four brothers could discuss which route makes them feel more nostalgic for their dead grandfather. These are NOT universal truths, and yet a meaningful comparison can be made.

    And yet for Lewis’s analogy to work it must ONLY be possible to make the comparison if it can be a ‘universal truth’.

    So as I said, it is irrelevant and a red herring what I consider to be universal, not human constructs. I’ve more than clearly enough addressed why Lewis’s analogy does not work.

    Reply
  144. Frank Turek says:

    Andrew,

    A discussion of universals is not a red herring. It is essential to discovering the truth about this or ANY issue. Logical universals (e.g. Law of Non-Contradiction, Law of excluded middle) must be accepted to know anything else about reality. Likewise, moral universals are necessary to make any objective moral evaluations. That’s Lewis’s main point. The one’s you mention above (smells, nostalgia) are matters of taste, not morality.

    We perceive and use logical and mathematical universals. These are immaterial realities that we not deny (evidence that strict naturalism is false). In fact, with regard to logic, to deny them is to use them. With regard to morality, we also perceive the immaterial universal that torturing babies for fun is wrong (even if a few indiividuals may disagree). Why deny this moral truth? Just to avoid God? Someone denying it has the burden of proof, just like someone denying logical or mathematical universals has the burden of proof. In other words, since neither of us has complete knowledge. we are dealing in the realm of probability, and it’s much more likely that our perception of this moral universal (and others) is correct rathter than not.

    Since you believe there are no moral universals, then on what grounds do you hold this belief? Why is torturing babies for fun just a matter of opinion? What strong evidence do you have that should cause thinking people to reject what seems self-evident?

    Blessings,

    Frank

    P.S. About to get on a plane…. talk to you later. BTW, that book you recommended is $125 on Amazon!!!

    Reply
  145. Andrew Ryan says:

    “That’s Lewis’s main point. The one’s you mention above (smells, nostalgia) are matters of taste, not morality.”

    And a straight line, according to you, is a matter of maths, not morality. So, yes the point stands. You have not shown that a ‘universal truth’ is necessary to compare two things. Get back to me when you’ve got an argument to defend it.

    Have a good flight!

    Reply
  146. Frank Turek says:

    Andrew, There is no argument for a self-evident truth, just like there is no argument for the law of non-contradiction. The point is that math, logic and morality are in the same camp– they are immaterial universals. What evidence do you have that would cause us to deny those? Why do you deny that torturing babies for fun is really wrong? And what is your self-evident starting point from which you reason to that denial?

    Flight is delayed 🙁

    Blessings,

    Frank

    Reply
  147. Jeff Jones says:

    Andrew,

    I believe we are dealing with standards that are set on different levels. Certainly there are man-made standards that allow us to compare things such as a song by the Beatles or different routs of travel. The issue here is that these are variable standards.

    We can both understand and converse about a Beatles tune however, the manner in which we evaluate other versions is based on our own personal opinion of the original song. There is no invariant ‘absolute’ standard for the song. You may view a certain musician’s version as being inferior to the original while I feel it far surpasses it.

    Suppose I’m hanging a picture on the wall and after finishing my wife says ‘That picture is crooked’. My answer may well be ‘Relative to what?’ The walls, the ceiling, the furniture, other pictures on the wall, the floor, the windows, etc. The only true method for assessing the absolute straightness of the picture would be to use a level which is based on the ‘universal’ gravitation field of the Earth.

    When sending spacecraft to the Space Station, Moon. Mars, or other planets, NASA recognizes that the shortest, fastest rout may not a straight line. Rather, we use a curved trajectory based on where the destination object will be at a given rendezvous time. Rather much like leading a target.

    While this shortest/most efficient path will vary based on the relative positions of the Earth, the destination, and the specifics of the spacecraft and mission parameters, it does not change the universal definition that a straight line is the absolute shortest distance between two points. It merely defines what we view as the best option given the overall mission scenario.

    Relative to your thoughts on mathematical universals, a few years ago, we lost a Mars spacecraft because one group used a standard based on Metric units while the other used English units. The issue was not that the universal mathematical principles varied, but rather our human expression of them was inconsistent.

    Likewise there is an absolute standard for morality. You stated ‘We all know that children can learn bad behavior the same as they can learn good behavior.’ The key word here is ‘learn’. Even if a child has been taught it is OK to steal, he/she still innately knows it is wrong. How can you tell this? Simple, watch their reaction when something is stolen from them. Will their response be ‘That’s alright, it’s OK to steal’ or something more like ‘Hey, that’s not right’? My vote is for the latter.

    Reply
  148. Toby R. says:

    “The only true method for assessing the absolute straightness of the picture would be to use a level which is based on the ‘universal’ gravitation field of the Earth.”

    Relative to the earth. What about relative to jupiter? Or Mercury. Or what if you were in empty space with no gravitational body near?

    Reply
  149. Toby R. says:

    Mr. T,

    What does the idea of universal morality actually add to life? Of what use is it? Fodder for debates? Fodder for doctoral theses? What’s the practical application?

    This is off subject, but relevant to morality. Where I work I work with a woman in her late forties who is a methodist preacher. Her husband is also a methodist preacher and they each have their own churches. She’s been out of work this week because he assaulted her, raped her actually, when she finally admitted to herself and him that she was gay.

    The argument in these debates is always that god is the designer of morality. And the loophole when someone does something awful is “well, we’re all sinners, we’ll all sin.” So my question is why even bother with a god if even those that believe will ignore what they believe in. Why bother if atheists are equally capable of being as good or as bad as a theist? There wouldn’t be a slip into moral hell on earth. Nonbelievers are perfectly capable of treating each other well. So why bother with all of the gobbledy-gook of religion? Who cares if there’s a hell you could burn in forever, worry about that when you’re there cursing the creator that created you flawed.

    Reply
  150. Jeff Jones says:

    Toby,

    You are correct in pointing out the existence of the gravitational forces of these external bodies. However, the key here is my frame of reference.

    Relative to my picture (which is located on the Earth) there is little to no gravitational effect by these entities or other. While any effects they do have would theoretically be taken into account by my level, the resultant forces on my picture would be negligible when compared to that of the Earth.

    Still, in the spirit of accuracy, I will amend my statement to read: “The only true method for assessing the absolute straightness of the picture would be to use a level which is based on the total ‘universal’ gravitation effects of the Earth and surrounding bodies”.

    Reply
  151. Andrew Ryan says:

    “The point is that math, logic and morality are in the same camp– they are immaterial universals.”

    And the point is that you were trying to SHOW that morality was in the same camp as maths with the Lewis quote. You were saying ‘this applies in the case of maths – the ability to make comparisons – where we know there is a template against which to make those comparisons. We also make comparisons in morality, and so therefore there must also be template against which we compare, and therefore morality is a universal truth like maths’.

    This is faulty logic, and I’m sure you’d realise this if you thought it through. You’re making the assumption that only can ONLY make comparisons if you have a universal template. I pointed out many situations where this is not the case. You don’t deny this, but say ‘that’s different, because it’s opinion, whereas morality is a universal truth’.

    Do you not see what a massive cop-out this is? That morality is a ‘universal truth’ is what you were attempting to DEMONSTRATE. You can’t therefore assume that it is, as PART of that proof.

    We can see many situations where being able to make comparisons does NOT infer a universal standard, but you’re saying it doesn’t count unless you’ve already decided that there IS a universal standard for that situation. So it doesn’t demonstrate anything that you haven’t already decided to be true.

    So you’ve given another circular argument, assuming what you were trying to prove. What a huge disappointment.

    Sorry about the high price of that book – that’s why I suggested reading it in a book shop or finding it in a library – as I said, the relevant chapter is perhaps 6 pages long. Skip to the final two pages of the ‘God and morality’ chapter if you’re really stuck for time!

    “Why do you deny that torturing babies for fun is really wrong?”
    I’m still baffled as the difference between ‘wrong’, and ‘really wrong’? I told you that in my opinion it is wrong – and my own opinion is the only one I can give. If I were you I’d be more concerned about Andrea believing that stoning children and slavery is moral – based on her understanding of the bible.

    Jeff: “Will their response be ‘That’s alright, it’s OK to steal’ or something more like ‘Hey, that’s not right’? My vote is for the latter.”

    Watch a thief’s reaction when his ill-gotten gains are taken away from him – much the same as my daughter’s if you take away her dolly. So does that reaction mean that they ‘know some injustice has taken place’? No, it just means they’re annoyed that things aren’t going their way.

    Did Americans ‘know’ that slavery was wrong for hundreds of years? Some may have done, but the majority ‘knew’ it was right because the bible told them it was. It certainly wasn’t innate in them. And Christians still argue on this website that slavery is OK. Check out the comments of Matt Garwood and Andrea.

    Reply
  152. Toby R. says:

    In regards to my previous comment: why not apply occam’s razor to religion. It doesn’t seem to make people behave any better. In fact it might make them behave worse.

    The minute a group separates itself from everyone else you create rifts that fill in with prejudice, hate, and distrust. This doesn’t just apply to religion, but to any kind of segregation. One of the worst may be patriotism.

    “I live in the best country in the world.”
    “No, I do.”
    “No, you’re wrong.”
    “Then eat my bombs!”

    Or the needless labeling people apply to themselves. Irish-American, Italian-American, African-American, Anglo-American. The minute you take these identifications seriously you distance yourself from others and develop prejudices. So why bother?

    Reply
  153. Andrew Ryan says:

    Toby, Frank doesn’t tend to argue too much that atheism makes people behave worse, probably as he knows that the stats don’t support this. Instead he argues that he doesn’t understand how we account for morality itself. But his own account for religious morality is generally circular – as you can see above.

    Reply
  154. Toby R. says:

    Andrew,

    True. He even says that there’s a moral code in our heart, so again, why bother with a god at all. It seems to multiply things beyond necessity. So there’s this moral code in our heart (I hate that idiom—heart—we’ve all known for a long time that the heart is just a muscle). If that’s there then why bother with a creator? Just slice that away with the razor and say we’re born with a sense of morality in our brains.

    Reply
  155. Andrew Ryan says:

    I get your point, but I don’t think one can base one’s morality purely on our gut instincts. You need to step outside those instincts. Humans are very good at convincing ourselves that we’re making a choice for ‘moral’ reasons when the real reason is something else entirely and unconscious. And people often do terrible things that they sincerely believe to be fair and just.

    But likewise, ‘God wrote a moral code in our heart’ presupposes that God himself is good, and how can one show that in an argument that isn’t circular?

    Reply
  156. Andrea says:

    Andrew and Toby,

    You still haven’t answered my questions I posted above:

    *** If there is no key to the test…. how do you know the right answers of it?

    *** If there is no constant to your experiment how do you know your experiment isn’t flawed?

    Reply
  157. Toby R. says:

    Do you mean control? As in experimental control? If so, bad example. There are negative controls as well as positive. If you were performing an experiment to determine if a specimen wasn’t sterile you’d innoculate one plate with your unknown and the other with nothing. This is a negative control. You don’t know what the end result will look like.

    If there is no answer key to a test then how would you know the answers were right? I would guess that if there were no key and you had absolutely no idea about what the answers to the questions might be then you cannot for certain know anything at all about the answers. In fact if this is the situation then you’re probably wrong on all of the questions. Which kind of parallels the idea that you can know anything about a creator that is spaceless, timeless, and immaterial.

    Reply
  158. Andrea says:

    Hey Toby,

    Thanks for answering!

    – In my first question I’m asking about a constant period, not whether it is positive or negative.

    If there is no constant to your experiment how do you know your experiment isn’t flawed? So you wouldn’t know if your experiment is right or wrong if there is no known constant it depends on.

    “I would guess that if there were no key and you had absolutely no idea about what the answers to the questions might be then you cannot for certain know anything at all about the answers. In fact if this is the situation then you’re probably wrong on all of the questions.”

    Beautiful answer Toby.
    So now replace the word ‘key’ with ‘Objective Moral Law Giver’ and the ‘test’ pretty much means ‘life’ and the right or wrong answers means what is ‘right or wrong morally speaking’.

    Using your answer with my word replacements:

    “I would guess that if there were no ‘Objective Moral Law Giver’ and you had absolutely no idea what was right or wrong ‘in life morally speaking’, then you cannot for certain know anything at all about what is ‘right or wrong in life’. ”

    Right on the nail Toby, I couldn’t have said it better myself. If there is no Objective Moral Law Giver then we can’t know anything, how would we know what’s right or wrong?… if there’s no answer key, ya know…

    If there is no ‘known constant’ to our experiment… we just simply wouldn’t know if we were flawed in our results or not.

    So if Objective Morality doesn’t exist, we have absolutely no objective idea of what is right or wrong… and as you put it…” In fact if this is the situation then you’re probably wrong on all of the questions.” So no objective moral law giver= most likely wrong in your assertions.

    Great job Toby…. awesome answer!!!!! 🙂
    Exactly the point I was trying to get across to you…..

    Reply
  159. Andrew Ryan says:

    “If there is no Objective Moral Law Giver then we can’t know anything, how would we know what’s right or wrong?… if there’s no answer key, ya know…”

    Right, so I’m going to announce that from now on Toby is the Objective Moral Law Giver. Does that answer the problem? No, because you’ve got to make sure you choose the RIGHT Law Giver.

    But how do you do that, given that you’ve already said we’re are incapable of knowing what’s right and wrong WITHOUT the Law Giver?

    Back to square one Andrea!

    Reply
  160. Toby R. says:

    A problem with this universal morality argument is that there should exist absolute morals. Let’s take a commandment.

    You shall not murder.

    So in any circumstance this is wrong. Self defense? Nope, still wrong. Going to war with someone that’s mass murdering people because of their race or beliefs? Nope, still wrong. If there is a perfectly good creator then there should be perfect morals as well. But your perfect creator often tells his imperfect creations to go slaughter and rape and next village over because they displease him. So it follows that a perfect creator can’t exist if he cannot conform to his own morals. This leads to the Euthyphro dilemma: Is what is moral commanded by God because it is moral, or is it moral because it is commanded by God? It’s never been answered, just dismissed by Aquinas and others and their answers are just tautologies. God is good, good is god. Blah-de-blah-blah blah.

    Reply
  161. Andrea says:

    Andrew,

    You do understand that without an objective moral law giver, then there would be no objective right or wrong. Everything would just be our opinion. As humans beings we do have a sense of morality, but without God there is no way of justifying it.

    Andrew, Toby isn’t the one stopping you from killing innocent people… it comes from within you. What a coincidence that it comes from within all of us, WHERE does this come from? How do we know killing innocent people is wrong without something outside of us guiding us.

    So my question is… IF there is no objective moral law giver like you and Toby say, THEN everything goes right? You can’t complain about anything in the Bible, or anything going on in the world because they are free to their opinion, and if it’s right for them, then it is ok…. Is that how it works, Andrew?

    Do you base morality off of your feelings? How do you know if your feelings are off? If there is no Ultimate Standard, then we can do whatever we want, correct??

    Please answer the question and stop dodging it or trying to talk about the Bible. You guys already were talking about the good is evil, and evil is good…. so maybe killing is good but we think it’s evil?? So stop the whole good and evil talk. I’m talking about a STANDARD, period. If there is no standard, there is no objective right or wrong….agreed?

    Obviously something is right or wrong IN RELATION to the Standard, regardless of whether you or I call the standard evil or good.

    Hey Andrew, is your name Andrew? But how do I know and why? Oh because it just is…. but how can that be, without it being a circular argument?

    Reply
  162. Andrew Ryan says:

    “You do understand that without an objective moral law giver, then there would be no objective right or wrong. ”

    Right, so I’m going to announce that from now on Toby is the Objective Moral Law Giver. Does that answer the problem? No, because you’ve got to make sure you choose the RIGHT Law Giver.

    But how do you do that, given that you’ve already said we’re are incapable of knowing what’s right and wrong WITHOUT the Law Giver?

    Back to square one Andrea!

    Seeing as you added nothing new, I posted the same reply. It is equally valid to that post as it was to your previous one.

    Reply
  163. Toby R. says:

    Hurray for me! I’m the objective moral lawgiver! My first decree is that it’s wrong to charge for cheeseburgers! FREE CHEESEBURGERS FOR EVERYONE!

    Reply
  164. Toby R. says:

    “IF there is no objective moral law giver like you and Toby say, THEN everything goes right? You can’t complain about anything in the Bible, or anything going on in the world because they are free to their opinion, and if it’s right for them, then it is ok…. Is that how it works, Andrew?”

    Yes. Exactly! Can you not see it? You can see it in action throughout history. It shifts through the ages. Slavery is good in the bible, but it’s bad now. Sacrifice is good in the bible and among tribes all over the place but it’s out of vogue now. Female circumcision is accepted by some but rejected by others, but was more popular in the past. Foot binding in asia was good, but now is bad. Sacking the next village and killing the men and children and keeping the virgin girls for raping was good back in biblical days, but it’s bad now. Homosexuality moves up and down in being tolerated by cultures, now seems to be an upswing. Eating pork was immoral once, now some jews, muslims, and hindus eat bacon.

    These are small moral issues here. These things are huge and they’ve gone in and out of fashion. If there was a supreme morality how did the people in the bible miss it? If murder is bad and rape is bad how could they rape and murder their neighbors even if commanded by a god? Is that moral? You can’t tell me that it is or isn’t. You think murder and rape are wrong now, yet in the case of the bible tribes it’s okay. Do you think if there wasn’t this garage idea of universal moral standard that we’d go around killing each other? Are you that cynical? Do you realize that if we did that our species would have murdered itself into extinction long ago? We’re creatures of balance. We tolerate a little of this and little of that, because there is no ultimate morality. BALANCE. Just try to tell someone that when a serial murderer/rapist comes to take your daughter that you wouldn’t shove a knife in his/her throat because you think some supreme morality forbids it. If you were in a position to prevent that and didn’t or say that you wouldn’t you’d enjoy a life of solitude because no one would want to be your friend (and your family would and should reject you if you let a thing like that happen).

    Reply
  165. Andrea says:

    Toby,

    “Sacrifice is good in the bible and among tribes all over the place but it’s out of vogue now.”

    That’s because Christ was the Ultimate Sacrifice.

    “Just try to tell someone that when a serial murderer/rapist comes to take your daughter that you wouldn’t shove a knife in his/her throat because you think some supreme morality forbids it.”

    OK. Self defense is obviously moral. So how is it that when in the Bible there is ‘killing’ in self-defense then you guys don’t see that and just call it ‘murder’. God gave the people up to their sin because they totally disregarded Him, He lets them take pleasure in what their heart desires and it has its consequences: diseases, suffering, etc…
    God created this world and we are supposed to be good stewards of it. What.. is He supposed to spoon-feed us? No, right. God created the raw materials and we feel a sense of achievement when we do something with them.

    You know in the commercials when they say, “Made possible by Nike….” Well everything YOU and I take pleasure in is made possible by God who created absolutely all the raw materials for everything that exists.

    I don’t know why Andrew doesn’t understand me. I thought you understood me when I said, “How do you know the right answers to the test without an answer key”.. and you said, “You don’t.” So my point is that we can’t complain in what is right or wrong if there is no objective moral law giver. Then Andrew makes you the objective moral law giver so we can have free cheeseburgers, and apparently thinks you’re not the ‘right’ moral law giver.

    My point stands: There has to be an objective source of morality more authoritative than humans (so not Toby, Andrew) and all creation, hence: GOD.

    God is the Ultimate Standard and Constant of Reality.

    No constant= experiment is a failure.

    Reply
  166. Toby R. says:

    How do you know that self defense killing is moral? Where’s that written? How can you know what is objectively, universally moral without putting words into your god’s mouth? Are the 10 commandments the closest thing we got? Four of which offer little in the way of morality in that they’re warnings about having any god but one and you shouldn’t tick him off or may any kind of image of pretty much anything. What about all of the 600 or so jewish laws? Are those morals? Don’t eat pork?

    My point with the whole thing about the answer key is that you couldn’t even know the questions if you had no idea of the answers. You cannot know anything about the objective moral law giver much less the laws.

    God gave the people up to their sin because they totally disregarded Him, He lets them take pleasure in what their heart desires and it has its consequences: diseases, suffering, etc…

    He didn’t give up on them. He told his “choosen people” to murder them! GOD MURDERED THOSE PEOPLE.

    You know in the commercials when they say, “Made possible by Nike….” Well everything YOU and I take pleasure in is made possible by God who created absolutely all the raw materials for everything that exists.

    So theists can claim an ex nihilo creation, but a physicist could claim the same thing naturally (without a superbeing) and it’s suddenly stupid.

    Reply
  167. Andrea says:

    How do you know that self-defense isn’t moral? What are you complaining about IF there is no objective moral law giver?

    You’re the one who says there is none.

    Again, if there is NO Constant, the experiment FAILS.

    You ALWAYS need a standard to compare everything to. There HAS to be an Ultimate Standard of Reality.

    Reply
  168. Andrea says:

    By the way Toby we live our lives in RESPONSE to the Moral Law Giver.

    We have a conscience and we try to suppress it, but God has written His morality/law in our hearts. That is how we know what is right or wrong.

    Reply
  169. Andrea says:

    P.S.:
    “So theists can claim an ex nihilo creation, but a physicist could claim the same thing naturally (without a superbeing) and it’s suddenly stupid.”

    Nature can’t make itself.

    So what was before the big bang? Nothing. What was before ‘nothing’? Nah nothing.. nothing just is.

    Or

    What was before the big bang? Some sort of ‘source material’ that always existed and arranged itself…..

    The thing is nothing creates NOTHING… and inanimate matter cannot create. Do you expect a random deer to appear in your living room if you think inanimate matter can create?

    God is the Eternal being who CREATED everything that exists. God is the Standard, the Ultimate Constant and Moderator life depends on…. and of course the Ultimate Objective Moral Law Giver….

    Toby, so what do you base your morality on? If there is no standard everyone can get away with doing whatever they want….. it would just be everyone’s opinion and in turn cause chaos.

    We usually think morality is not objective until something that ‘isn’t fair’ actually happens to us and THEN we cry out for justice….

    What are your thoughts?

    Reply
  170. Andrew Ryan says:

    “If there is no standard everyone can get away with doing whatever they want”

    Well we have laws to stop things falling into chaos, is that what you mean? Or do you mean ‘what’s there to punish or reward people in the afterlife?’. If you mean the latter, the answer is nothing. That’s why we should work hard to make things fair on earth, in this life.

    But we’ve told you several times, YOU haven’t got an objective standard if that standard was chosen arbitrarily. You had the choice between Satan and God. You chose God – was THAT just ‘your opinion’?

    Either:
    1) You chose, in which case it’s ‘just your opinion’.
    2) The choice was made for you by God, which means your argument is basically ‘I know God is right because he told me he is’.

    So why don’t I just say that I DO have an objective morality – it’s whatever Toby tells me it is. Hamburgers for all!

    Reply
  171. Toby R. says:

    FIsh and chips for all!

    “Toby, so what do you base your morality on? If there is no standard everyone can get away with doing whatever they want….. it would just be everyone’s opinion and in turn cause chaos.”

    I was born completely ignorant of anything to do with morality. As I grew up I was taught by my parents and teachers and society that we have laws in place to make sure that everyone pretty much remains safe and free. Some people don’t follow these laws and they are called criminals. If they’re caught they go to jail or pay some penalty. They’re probably the way they are because of lack of education, lack of money, lack of guidance early in life, and/or biological dysfunction in their brain. Humans are social creatures. Social creatures collectively decide how to govern their societies (unless they fall into some system of totalitarianism) so that each creature can be safe and relatively free. These rules are an extension out of biological evolution. For example, if there is a murderous species that kills itself it wouldn’t survive long enough to evolve beyond that. Murder is then learned to be counterproductive to life and leads to unpleasantness such as feelings of depression and loss. Empathy allows our species to put ourselves in the shoes of victims and imagine what it would feel like to be wronged. This is a strong deterrent to running around and murdering at random and also taking what doesn’t belong to one. Though these things do occur and are justified by the survival of the individual or it is a result of biological dysfunction. We are nothing more than smart animals. Do you see animals running around, anything goes, kill, kill, kill? There are four squirrels outside my window at the moment and they are more or less ignoring each other to search for nuts and seeds. Why doesn’t one pick up a rock and murder another? Or bite out another’s neck?

    Reply
  172. Andrew Ryan says:

    If our judgement is so poor that me saying ‘torturing babies is wrong’ is ‘just an opinion’, then how can we be trusted to judge who the ‘lawgiver’ should be?

    If I’m smart enough to choose the one who says ‘torturing babies is wrong’, then why aren’t I smart enough to come to that conclusion without the lawgiver?

    And if YOU can come up with a ‘logical’ reason to choose God over Satan, then why can’t you come up with a logical reason for baby torture to be wrong WITHOUT God?

    The flip side of the notion that “atheists only having opinion to tell them that baby torture is wrong”, is that it would follow that Christians don’t even have the opinion. They can only say that it’s wrong on the says-so of someone else. It’s just a received piece of wisdom that they take on trust, equivalent merely to a mathematical equation. To me, that seems a worse scenario!

    Reply
  173. Andrew Ryan says:

    And the practical argument using the ‘baby torture’ tack falls down too. This is the one where you say to someone ‘You believe that baby torture is wrong, right? Well if there’s no God, what’s to stop other people saying that baby torture is fine?”

    The problem here is that the person will either say ‘You’re right, I DO thing baby torture is wrong’ – in which case he’s not a threat to babies anyway – or he’ll say ‘Actually, I DON’T believe baby torture is wrong’, in which case he won’t be convinced by your argument anyway.

    Reply
  174. Toby R. says:

    Andrew,

    A few posts back you said “Hamburgers for all!” I specifically said “Cheeseburgers.” You have gone against my supreme moral teachings! Your punishment is a day without beef!

    Reply
  175. Andrea says:

    Andrew,

    You asked why I pick God over satan. I pick God because He is the Creator. Everything and everyone else, even satan who is a fallen angel is a creature and he didn’t make me; so I’m going with the Creator.

    God put His morality in all of our hearts Andrew…. which is why there are atheists that are more moral than “christians”, etc…

    Reply
  176. Toby R. says:

    Empathy can be a evolutionarily derived feeling that is outwardly selfless, but at base selfish for a few reasons. 1). seeing a fellow creature in need inspires pity because empathy causes us to put ourselves in the place of the pitiful creature, which we in turn help because we would want help to survive if we were in its place (meaning that creatures with the capacity for empathy would survive more often than creatures without). 2) Helping can either earn a helpmate or mate (procreation of empathetic creatures!). 3) helping generates pleasure stimulation because we feel like heroes and saviors (heehee) 4) being social creatures we reason that if we help, then others might help us if we need it (we’ve even kind of built this into our government; if we donate to a charity then we will in turn get a tax benefit).

    There need not be a supernatural explanation for these things. I believe that a supernatural explanation cheapens things. That we have learned to treat each other well by ourselves is infinitely better than being commanded to do so under penalty of eternal consequences.

    Reply
  177. Andrew Ryan says:

    “I pick God because He is the Creator.”

    So you’d pick the creator, regardless of what he decreed? If the creator told you to torture babies, you’d do it? If Satan had been the more powerful one, you’d have picked him – a ‘might is right’ argument? That’s seems unconvincing to me.

    Toby, I think your scientific explanations are well made, but I fear you are wasting your time presenting them to Andrea. She won’t understand them, and will reject them out of hand anyway.

    Reply
  178. Toby R. says:

    Andrew, I think you’re right. I’m getting ever closer to giving up. I don’t come here to “convert”. I just come to find out why people believe this stuff. How they believe. I amazes me.

    Reply
  179. Andrea says:

    Toby,

    When we do good deeds and have empathy, we do it out of our own selves. God gave us free will and wrote His law in our hearts which is why we feel like helping others, and punishing crimes that hurt others. So it’s not like we do good things because God is forcing us to, it comes out of our own selves, hence free will.

    Andrew,

    I’m not talking about who’s more powerful…. I’m talking about the Creator. I want to be with the one who created me. I didn’t make myself. My mom didn’t sew me up in her womb. It just happens that the Creator I’m talking about is YOUR Creator and the Creator of all of us and all the raw materials to build all things around us. I’m talking about the Ultimate Constant of Existence. God means Creator. There can only be one Creator because everything starts from one point, God is the uncreated Creator of all that exists.

    Reply
  180. Andrew Ryan says:

    Why does that mean he’s ‘right’ about morality? Either he created morality, in which case it’s arbitrary, or he didn’t, in which case we don’t need him to tell us about it.

    Reply
  181. Toby R. says:

    Yeah but . . . I’m saying that it doesn’t come from god. I’m saying it’s naturally derived without having to be told to do so, and that though forced was the wrong word to use coerced is a perfect fit.

    Says the creator, “You have free will to do whatever you want . . . but you better do it my way or else.”

    Coercion:

    1. the act of coercing; use of force or INDIMIDATION to obtain compliance.
    2. force or THE POWER TO USE force in gaining compliance, as by a government or police force or a god (that last I added).

    Reply
  182. Andrew Ryan says:

    “I’m saying it’s naturally derived without having to be told to do so”

    You’re in good company with that idea:

    “I consider ethics to be an exclusively human concern with no superhuman authority behind it” – Albert Einstein.

    Frank’s never explained how he reconciles an ‘argument through physics’ with the fact that Einstein and Stephen Hawking – the two most respected phycisists of the past century are both agnostic.

    Reply
  183. Andrew Ryan says:

    From Atheist Experience Blog:

    “If a person knows their claim is a lie—such as a claim someone made up himself—it is impossible that person would die for it.”

    Coercion 1: This would be a situation where someone who knows you is being interrogated, and they name you as someone who was running around preaching the resurrection. It is a lie. You know it is a lie. You are brought in and beaten and questioned. You, like many people today who admit to murder due to police interrogations that I will wager are not nearly as horrible as what I would expect to encounter in antiquity, tell them whatever they want to hear to get them to stop beating you. You hope for leniency, but you are executed. You have now become a Christian resurrection martyr who died for a lie.

    Coercion 2: This would be identical to coercion except that you know you will be executed. You tell them what they want to hear in order to die, because they are not going to believe you were not preaching, and ultimately you will either die painfully and slowly or be more quickly executed, which you deem is preferable. You confess and are executed. You have now become a Christian resurrection martyr who died for a lie.

    Protecting Someone You Love: Someone reports to the authorities that a person in your house was preaching the resurrection. You know it was your child, who is involved with the Christians. You lie and say it was you. You are arrested and executed. You have now become a Christian resurrection martyr who died for a lie.

    In any of the three situations above, somebody would, understandably, die for a lie. They would also be logged as a religious martyr, that is, someone who died for their religion. People would die for lies—even lies they knew were lies. And nobody can deny that people have offered confessions to capital crimes, under coercion, or to protect other people. Such people have been discovered and sometimes exonerated.

    Reply
  184. Andrea says:

    Andrew,

    Coercion 1: ” tell them whatever they want to hear to get them to stop beating you.”

    The disciples did just the OPPOSITE. They would not stop claiming the resurrection and as a result got killed for it. They wouldn’t have been beaten in the first place if they didn’t mention the resurrection. If they simply denied it, which is what the Romans wanted, they would have saved their lives. So Coercion 1 is actually one of the strongest arguments FOR the reliability for Christ’s resurrection.

    Coercion 2: “You tell them what they want to hear in order to die, because they are not going to believe you were not preaching, and ultimately you will either die painfully and slowly or be more quickly executed, which you deem is preferable.”

    This is a good point. If someone preaches and this is what they get for it, Uhh… it would STOP getting preached!!!!! If I see someone getting their hand burned by placing it on the stove, I would know NOT to do that. You learn from other peoples’ mistakes, and you refrain and turn the other way. The disciples didn’t turn the other way, infact they kept on it… even through the persecutions affirming that they had seen, touched, and eaten with the Risen Christ. If people didn’t have objective evidence for said fact, they would not go through with it Andrew, it would have stopped dead on its tracks.

    Protecting Someone You Love: “Someone reports to the authorities that a person in your house was preaching the resurrection. You know it was your child, who is involved with the Christians. You lie and say it was you.”

    As a result the child would feel remorse for his diseased mom and knowing that it was a lie, would tell people, “HEY PEOPLE… LETS STOP PREACHING THIS…. WE DON’T WANT TO GET US AND OUR FAMILIES KILLED”. Again, would have stopped dead on its tracks.

    ***Someone isn’t regarded as God for very long if there is no proof to back up their divinity. They eventually fade, dissipate, and blend in as a myth but never stands apart and distinct as objective Truth.***

    Reply
  185. Andrea says:

    Toby,

    “Says the creator, “You have free will to do whatever you want . . . but you better do it my way or else.”

    Actually Toby, I think it’s more like…” You have the free will to do whatever you want…. period….” because the people that reject God and go to hell….want to go to hell… they really do.. they don’t want to be with the One that made them… they don’t…. and they reject Him out of their own free will, even though God’s law is written in their hearts they reject the lawgiver.

    Toby.. listen… you don’t go to heaven by being moral… you go with God because you sincerely want to go with Him above all costs and you realize that only HE can get you there to be with Him…. which causes a genuine humbling of the heart.

    When you have Christ in your life, you want to please God… and the way you act comes naturally.. you naturally want to tell others about the Savior, you naturally have this love for all people in that you want to see them know the Christ. You start to want to spend time with people and point things out to them that maybe they’ve never thought about before…

    Before you have God in your life…. well yeah like you say I agree… you naturally have “empathy” because God wrote His law in our hearts… it’s just we reject the very One who gave us that empathy…. God wrote the law in our hearts and we ultimately choose what to do with it…

    Do you kinda see what I mean?

    Reply
  186. Toby R. says:

    “because the people that reject God and go to hell….want to go to hell… they really do.. ”

    Oh yes! Oh yes! Send me to eternal torture! Hurray for bamboo under my nails!

    You have to be deluded to believe this. Think for yourself, not for others that can’t believe what you do.

    “you naturally have “empathy” because God wrote His law in our hearts… ”

    Or empathy came about naturally through evolution and has nothing to do with a creator. The idea of evolution is so easy to grasp that it must scare a lot of people like you. Because if it’s so easy, then why should anyone bother with thinking about an imponderable, immaterial, spaceless, timeless old man with a long white beard and a throne? the even idea of putting such a complex thing as that next to evolution makes the former look like sci-fi.

    Reply
  187. Tim D. says:

    the people that reject God and go to hell….want to go to hell… they really do.. they don’t want to be with the One that made them… they don’t…. and they reject Him out of their own free will, even though God’s law is written in their hearts they reject the lawgiver.

    Yep. Ya got me. All the time, it was my secret conspiracy to get into hell. I just like the idea so very much.

    Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got some babies to eat and some sheep to sodomize now….

    -_-

    Reply
  188. Luke says:

    Andrea said: This is a good point. If someone preaches and this is what they get for it, Uhh… it would STOP getting preached!!!!! If I see someone getting their hand burned by placing it on the stove, I would know NOT to do that. You learn from other peoples’ mistakes, and you refrain and turn the other way.

    So when was the whole people burning themselves on the stove thing solved Andrea?

    Oct 14, 2008
    New York Times
    Hoboken, NJ

    It has been 70 years since the last stove burning accident in the United States took place — right here in Hoboken. Emergency room workers from previous generations remember these awful accidents, but thankfully, the younger generations learned from the mistakes of others. Americans have learned NOT to do that; they refrain and turn the other way.

    Reply
  189. Andrew Ryan says:

    Andrea needs to read up on Cognitive Dissonance. People do irrational things all the time. People will do the most astonishing things to avoid reconciling two conflicting ideas that they hold in their head, and yes that often can include facing death.

    In fact the more that has already been lost, the most people are willing to lose in the future, rather than admit a mistake. The more more you’ve lost gambling, the harder it is to stop.

    So you find out your parent has died for a cause – many people certainly rather would carry on believing in that cause in the face of evidence to the contrary, rather than believe their parent died for no reason or a lie. The former is more appealing.

    How’s about this: when you were a child your parents mutilated a part of your body in some way, and all their peers did the same to their kids. When you have children what do you do:
    1. Figure your parents did something terrible for no good reason, shudder and say ‘Thank God I don’t have to make the same mistake’, or
    2. Mutilate your own children in exactly the same way.

    You’d choose the first, right? Well all over the world people choose the second option. ‘My parents must have had good cause, therefore I’ll do the same’. See Sudanese tribes pulling out the front two teeth of adolescents, Muslims circumcising girls, Americans circumcising boys.

    Presenting such people the evidence that they are wrong tends not to help. In fact, the more evidence you present, the more dogmatic they will become. Every now and then a Doomsday cult will spring up where a charismatic preacher convinces a bunch of people to sell all their possessions in preparation for the end of the world. You’d have thought that when it didn’t happen the preacher would lose all their followers. And some do walk. But often the followers will become even MORE convinced of their leader’s powers. ‘He managed to stop the end of the world!’ It’s easier to do that than admit they sold all their possessions for no reason.

    I would recommend the book ‘Mistakes were made – but not by me’, as it explains all this in great detail.

    Reply
  190. Andrea says:

    Andrew,

    I understand what you mean. But the point is that when it comes to saying something that will no doubt get yourself killed, no one will do that willingly. Like I’ve said before maybe one person will run around doing or saying heretical things… but it won’t last very long. It may attract a good amount of followers for some time, but then it fades, spreads out, and doesn’t exist anymore.

    Even an insect when you try to get it, it gets away. It’s instinct in all living things to avoid being killed. People do die for what they believe. But if we go back to the beginning of Christianity, this is what they were preaching (Christ Resurrected), no one will go around preaching something unless they saw objective evidence of it, especially something as unbelievable as a Resurrection. It really wouldn’t get anywhere without evidence. People aren’t stupid, all of us can rationalize and think for ourselves. Otherwise we wouldn’t be where we are today.

    Again this point stands Andrew:
    “Someone isn’t regarded as God for very long if there is no proof to back up their divinity. They eventually fade, dissipate, and blend in as a myth but never stands apart and distinct as objective Truth.”

    Reply
  191. Andrea says:

    Toby,

    “The idea of evolution is so easy to grasp that it must scare a lot of people like you. Because if it’s so easy, then why should anyone bother with thinking about an imponderable, immaterial, spaceless, timeless old man with a long white beard and a throne? the even idea of putting such a complex thing as that next to evolution makes the former look like sci-fi.”

    The fact that Christ resurrected is so easy to grasp it must scare people like you. Because Christ’s resurrection is confirmed to be true through the evidence, then why would anyone bother with thinking about a single-celled organism that magically transformed itself into all that exists today, with no proof whatsoever of it except the words of some Darwin guy with a long white beard who they make sit on a throne. The even idea of putting such a logical assertion as the Resurrection of Christ next to evolution makes the latter look like sci-fi.

    Reply
  192. Andrew Ryan says:

    “with no proof whatsoever of it except the words of some Darwin guy with a long white beard who they make sit on a throne”

    Andrea, I’m done with you. You’ve just shown you’ve no idea about science, and no idea what the word ‘proof’ means. I’m sorry that you obviously never got a decent education – that’s not your fault. But you’ve no excuse not to educate yourself, don’t pretend that your country doesn’t have decent libraries. I can’t believe I wasted time trying to discuss serious subjects with someone so proud of their own ignorance. I won’t make that mistake again.

    Reply
  193. Andrea says:

    Andrew,

    How would you feel if I told you to go read the Bible and that it is because you haven’t read it that you don’t understand it? Or how would you feel if I told you that it’s your fault for not going to Seminary that you don’t get what I’m talking about?

    I don’t tell you that kind of stuff. I’m sure you have read some parts of the Bible. I know what evolution is, I believed that stuff before. There are things that as human beings we can rationalize without having a book brainwash us. We can reason that a Creator exists without using any book whatsoever.

    Reply
  194. Tim D. says:

    But the point is that when it comes to saying something that will no doubt get yourself killed, no one will do that willingly.

    Not true. Have you ever heard the term “death-seeker?”

    no one will go around preaching something unless they saw objective evidence of it, especially something as unbelievable as a Resurrection. It really wouldn’t get anywhere without evidence.

    In saying this, you are also defending every other religion on the face of the earth that has even an iota of popularity. Do you accept the consequences of that?

    I mean, according to what you’re saying here, all religions except Christianity should be completely gone by now.

    We can reason that a Creator exists without using any book whatsoever.

    Let’s say someone comes to believe in a Creator, or at least a central entity. Let’s say that person says they feel that this being exists without the use of a book. Let’s say that this person feels exactly the same way about Christianity that you feel about, say, Islam — that it’s just a series of tenets that are needlessly added to a root concept (the concept of a god/creator/central entity) that serve only to further complicate an already delicate and intricate aspect of human interpersonal behavior?

    I guess what I mean is….I actually feel a little encouraged reading your arguments here, Andrea. Not because I think you’re making a case for Christianity, but because you’re describing something that I think a lot of people believe in….and yet, I think that most people are able to identify that something without using words like “god” or “Christ” or “Jesus.” I don’t think those words are (or ever have been) in any way necessary to understand concepts like love, justice or truth. What you say here is a lot like the church’s influence in Galileo’s time; you think you understand the edges of something great and wonderful that is beyond immediate human perceptions, so you take that, run with it, and replace any unanswered questions with assurances of your own certainty. And you dedicate your life to imposing those assurances on others. And you take confidence in the belief that other people don’t understand what you’re talking about, or else they’d feel the same way you do.

    When I was a lot younger, I thought that way as well; I relished the idea that I could freely discount people as intellectual individuals when I realized they didn’t agree with me on something I felt was important. It was like a “get out of debate free” card to just wave my convictions at people. But once you do that for a long time, I promise you, you will start to fall into a routine, and it will begin to lose its luster even to you. Sooner or later, you will be forced to confront that certainty against your own peril. Either that or you will hide from true happiness for the rest of your life, content to let the illusion of ultimate knowledge keep you from really understand what it is you’re so convinced you understand. My family has an old saying that the only person who really understands is the one who understands that he can’t fully understand.

    The more people I meet who understand this basic concept, the more faith I begin to have in humanity. I think, maybe there will be one day in the distant future where we can finally talk about things like love, justice and morality like mature adults, instead of second-guessing each other, attributing to things like god, repeating catchy slogans our pastors told us (or that we read on the internet) like we’re the first person who’s ever heard them, using chic internet slang to try and create the illusion of a retroactive subcultural bond with someone we’re trying to convert….all those things that people do when they’re not really listening to someone. I’m really glad that folks like you and Mr. Turek have taken it upon yourselves to confront people with concepts like love, justice and truth outside of their normal realms of understanding, because I think that only by confronting that which we don’t immediately understand can we ultimately overcome the facade of religious doctrine, Judeo-Christian myth, and the need to adhere to rules instead of beliefs; doctrines instead of people; and gods instead of people who need help.

    [/bored rant]

    Reply
  195. Andrea says:

    Hey Tim,

    Thanks for your detailed response.

    If you take a look at the claims of other religions like Muhammad’s which is: “I got this revelation from an angel”. This isn’t something spectacular, it is believable, and people could truly believe that Muhammad did receive that from an angel even though there were no eye-witnesses. You see people claiming stuff like this today, and some go along with it.

    Now when you say something like, “I can fly like a bird”. Well no one, no one will back you up on that, no one will buy that for a sec. In the case that someone DID do something out of the ordinary it would cause a tremendous impact in world history like that which Christ had after His resurrection. That is how Christ really does objectively stand aside all other religions.

    Also, if you were to analyze all religions as a whole, you would see a common theme. Do this, and that and you can make it to heaven. They’re making it as if YOU can do it, pride suddenly becomes prevalent. When if you think about it, God is perfect, infinite, eternal, THE Creator… so no one can measure up to Him. Only He can make us measure up to Himself… it is HIS doing. Do you see how that causes a humbling of the heart, that is distinct from the others? Through Christ’s sacrifice on the cross we are made clean from our sins and able to be in God’s Presence forever, but that is because only HE could do it, not us.

    I think that anyone, wherever they are born, can reason that there is a Creator. Then reason that they can’t measure up to Him. And then reason that He had to have provided a way to Him, the He Himself did, and when they hear about Christ or happen to know about Him, their life radically changes because they’ve found their answer. But of course everyone has to go on their own journey and experience things in life, and then hopefully they’ll find the One who they were searching for: GOD, through Christ. Only through Jesus can we be made right with God, it’s not something that WE work up to or anything.

    Most importantly you can study history, you can look at the evidence, and come to realize that Christ’s claims are genuine. It’s not something merely subjective, God’s Truth is out there for you to search out and reason for yourself. You can compare and contrast, and make a conclusion that matches where the evidence leads you. All the evidence out there points to the reliability of the Scriptures, and most importantly the reliability of Christ being the Son of God.

    It’s not something to force on people, but something that they must search, wrestle with, and experience for themselves.

    Reply
  196. Tim D. says:

    If you take a look at the claims of other religions like Muhammad’s which is: “I got this revelation from an angel”. This isn’t something spectacular, it is believable, and people could truly believe that Muhammad did receive that from an angel even though there were no eye-witnesses. You see people claiming stuff like this today, and some go along with it.

    Maybe I’ve not been clear….this discussion about whether or not Christianity is true is over, as far as I’m concerned. If I pointed out to you why (again), I’d just be repeating myself (and frankly, as much as you’ve been repeating yourself, I have to give you the benefit of the doubt and at least assume you feel like you’re repeating yourself, as well). I’d rather not waste any more of our time by arguing a position on which neither of us is likely to be moved.

    I mean, when your case that Jesus was in fact resurrected starts with, “Did you know that Jesus proved his credibility by resurrecting?”, that can come across as quite an insult to the other party’s intelligence. It might pay for you to visit urban dictionary (or dictionary dot com) and look up “begging the question.”

    Besides….you and I both know this isn’t about “proof,” so perhaps we should stop acting like it is? What about god is “scientific” that leads you to believe such a thing?

    Most importantly you can study history, you can look at the evidence, and come to realize that Christ’s claims are genuine. It’s not something merely subjective, God’s Truth is out there for you to search out and reason for yourself. You can compare and contrast, and make a conclusion that matches where the evidence leads you. All the evidence out there points to the reliability of the Scriptures, and most importantly the reliability of Christ being the Son of God.

    Let these bold-faced comments be an example of why I don’t like internet arguing; we are simply discussing the discussion itself, talking in circles. There is no merit to this kind of discussion; there is no substance; there is no point.

    [/bored follow-up rant]

    Reply
  197. Andrea says:

    “Let these bold-faced comments be an example of why I don’t like internet arguing.”

    I guess any comment seems bold-faced to any person of the opposing viewpoint. Every person has a point they want to argue for, and if someone disagrees they give their reasons for their point. But everyone, everyone does this. There is such a thing as Truth. And like I mentioned to you earlier it’s not hidden, it’s pretty smack dab in the open. The name of Christ has gone all over the world for centuries. It is up to us as human beings with free will to analyze the evidence for ourselves. No one can force anyone to do anything, each person needs to look at the evidence and make their own conclusions and be willing to face the consequences.

    The evidence for Christ is historical, logical, and evident in the world today.

    “Life is a test and what you do with Christ determines whether you pass or fail”. We know this because unlike any other Jesus Christ PROVED Himself to be God incarnate and the only Savior of humanity.

    This point stands:

    “Someone isn’t regarded as God for very long if there is no proof to back up their divinity. They eventually fade, dissipate, and blend in as a myth but never stands apart and distinct as objective Truth.”

    I think that really it is only God who can truly convict hearts and take the blindfold off our eyes. If you are looking for God, seek Him out with all your heart, analyze the evidence, and make your own conclusions from that evidence. Think about the impact Christ has had in the human race and ask yourself this question:

    * How does a crucified man from a small village become the LORD of glory, without Him authenticating Himself as being so?

    No man that has walked the face of this earth has had the kind of impact Jesus the Christ had, no one.

    Reply
  198. Toby R. says:

    “No man that has walked the face of this earth has had the kind of impact Jesus the Christ had, no one.”

    I find that a little presumptuous and biased. How about these people?

    Guglielmo Marconi for his work on radio transmission.Edison and his work with electricity.Tesla.Galileo.Einstein.Alexander Graham Bell.Bill Gates and Steve Jobs.Eric Clapton.Abraham Lincoln.Kurt Vonnegut. And so forth and so on.

    What did jesus give the world? “Be good to each other.”

    Those in the list above have done more for humanity. We wouldn’t even be able to exchange ideas like this if not for some of them and their intelligence. And no one ever started a war in their names.

    Reply
  199. Andrea says:

    Hey Toby,

    I didn’t say that everyone else that contributed to society did nothing. I meant to say that Christ had a kind of impact on a whole ‘nother level than anyone who has walked the face of this earth.

    Jesus Christ brought salvation to humanity. Christ is the ultimate revelation of God. Through Jesus and only through Him can our relationship be restored with our Creator and in turn know and be with Him for eternity.

    We mustn’t confuse Christ with his supposed followers ever. He
    shook the world in a way, that no human being ever has.

    What did Jesus give to the world? Salvation, Truth, and Eternal Life.

    I hope you think higher of the One who gave His life for humanity— you included. To receive this gift all we have to do is accept it.

    I think this video portrays what Christ gave to the world very well:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5WCTltHR-Hg

    Reply
  200. Toby R says:

    “We mustn’t confuse Christ with his supposed followers ever.”

    If I can never trust a christian, then i can never trust what ANY of them try to tell me. Any of them. Including the ones that wrote the new testament. If they’re flawed now, they were flawed then.

    “What did Jesus give to the world? Salvation, Truth, and Eternal Life.”

    What truth? You can get truth from addition or subtraction. Salvation and eternal life are your opinions.

    “kind of impact on a whole ‘nother level”

    “other” rather than “‘nother” because that is sort for another which makes no sense in that sentence.

    Reply
  201. Andrea says:

    Toby,

    You can trust the New Testament writers.

    You got:

    -Early Testimony (written prior to 100 A.D.)

    -Eye-witness Testimony- (1 Cor. 15: 3-8)

    -Embarrasing Testimony- The disciples make themselves look bad in the Gospels, especially when they said WOMEN were the first to find the tomb empty, etc…

    -Excruciating Testimony- Disciples were brutally tortured and killed for NOT denying the fact that THEY SAW Jesus Resurrected, that HE was the Savior of Humanity, and the ONLY way to God through repentance. Also they left their Jewish tradition and forsaked it ALL for Christ, causing severe persecution on their behalf…

    -Expected Testimony- The O.T. predicts the Messiah would come with specific characteristics that have only been accomplished by Jesus Christ. Prophecies are fulfilled by Christ, just as predicted way earlier.

    -Extra-Biblical sources- Josephus, Tacitus, Pliny the Younger, Phlegon, Thallus, Suetonious, Lucion, Celsus, Mara Bar-Serapian, the Jewish Talmud, etc…

    “Salvation and eternal life are your opinions.”

    They would be my opinions if Jesus didn’t resurrect and prove Himself legit, which He did, so case closed.

    Reply
  202. Tim D. says:

    Andrea, perhaps I can explain something to you that I’ve failed to clarify thus far.

    It would be a huge favor to both you and whomever you find yourself in discussion with in the future to keep this in mind: You are appealing to my sense of “internal morality,” or “common sense,” or what-have-you, to try and direct me towards your cause. Your argument thus far basically seems to be that I know it already (“it” being “the truth of your cause”), and so why won’t I admit it/acknowledge it/observe it? There must be something between that realization and I, you say, and so you take blind shots at what that might be.

    Let it be known, I call them “blind” not as an insult, but because there is simply no way that you can know what that might be, were it to actually exist; you don’t know me, I don’t know you, and even if you were the world’s most prominent Super Deductive Genius, you simply would not be able to draw any real conclusion about my inner behavior based on the information you have, which is very, very little. So simply put — you are guessing.

    Now….allow me to be frank for a moment (not Turek, mind you….-_-); it’s not that I don’t believe in a sense of justice and love and truth (so to speak) that guides me from within, because in a very weird sense I actually do. The reason I want you to keep that in mind is because when you talk about god, and you describe him as being that sense of justice that I feel, I do not agree with you. As a human being, I feel that I have a biological link with other people of my species; as such, I feel driven to do things that may seem illogical, like (try to)help people when it’s against my immediate interest. I don’t think this has anything to do with “god” or “objective morality” or “Jesus.” I think it has to do with that simple link that everybody has that allows us to try and understand each other based on our own experience and biology. Some of us feel the link because that is normal for humans to do; some do not, cannot, or will not because they feel something stronger that motivates them against it — be it the desire for personal gain, or a twisted view of the world, or whatever else.

    I guess the point of my rant is this: I know what you’re talking about when you talk about god, or feelings of transcendence, or personal experience. I just don’t think that “god” is what it is. You can deny that, or explain it away however you please, but what will never change is this simple fact. It’s not that I’m ignoring this grand penultimate revelation that you are trying to bestow upon me; it’s that I don’t agree with you on the nature of the bonds that connect people.

    That is all, good night.

    Reply
  203. Toby R. says:

    No, you can’t trust the new testament writers. You said, “We mustn’t confuse Christ with his supposed followers ever.” Who are these supposed followers? People that you don’t agree with? People that make things up? How are they different from the new testament writers.

    Early testimony – Even if these things were written before 100AD, the earilest is thought to be in the 60’s, long after most of the “eye witnesses” would be dead. So what was originally written might have been taken from oral traditions. Matthew and Luke share so much that they may be from a common source. Then there’s the synoptic problem:
    Synoptic problem

    The relationships between the three synoptic gospels go beyond mere similarity in viewpoint. The gospels often recount the same stories, usually in the same order, sometimes using the same exact words.

    Scholars note that the similarities between Mark, Matthew, and Luke are too great to be accounted for by mere coincidence. Because multiple eyewitnesses reporting the same events never relate a story using identical words, scholars and theologians have long assumed that there was some relationship between the three synoptic gospels that was based upon common literary sources.

    The precise nature of the relationships between the gospels of Mark, Matthew, and Luke is known as the Synoptic Problem. The recognition of the question, and attempts to resolve it, date to antiquity. For example, Augustine of Hippo, a 5th-century bishop, tried to explain the relationships between the synoptic gospels by proposing that perhaps Matthew was written first, then Mark was written using Matthew as a source, and finally Luke was written using Matthew and Mark as sources. Although this specific solution has fallen out of favor among modern scholars, it represents one of the earliest and most influential proposed solutions to the synoptic problem.

    1 Cor. 15: 3-8 – how is the word “appeared” explained in this? Sounds as if he magically poofed out of nothing.

    Embarrasing Testimony – this is the stupidest argument I’ve ever heard. Since these were not written by the eyewitnesses themselves, then why is this an debating point? I can divulge embarrassing things about myself as well, so can you, so what?

    Excruciating testimony – Again, this is lame. If you hated your tormentors enough (romans and jews) you’d spout your dissent as they were branding your feet if you thought they’d get theirs in the end. As a matter if fact you’d probably find it honorable to die in that way. In fact martyrdom seems to be a pretty big thing even today in that area of the world.

    Expected Testimony – Yippee-skippy, this people can fill in the blanks of previous writings. They can fulfill their own prophecies.

    Extra Biblical sources – These people were not eyewitnesses. It’s not even known if the roman historians ever even left rome so their accounts were so far removed from the events that they have no real historical merit. Celsus was quite against the notion of the religion, as were pliny and tacitus. Tacitus actually saying mischevious superstition in his writing. Josephus’s writing was long after the fact and probably based on christian oral tradition or writings.

    ““Salvation and eternal life are your opinions.”

    They would be my opinions if Jesus didn’t resurrect and prove Himself legit, which He did, so case closed.”

    That, too, is your opinion.

    Reply
  204. Andrea says:

    Toby,

    When I say that we shouldn’t confuse Christians with Christ that is because He is perfect, just, and good and us followers are obviously not Him; we are not perfect. Christ is THE Savior, not the people we may talk to. As Mr. Turek says, none of us can live up to the pure words of Christ.

    1) When you get eye-witnesses to tell a common story, you will always have divergent details but one common and strong CORE, and that is what we have with the synoptic gospels. Matter of fact this was in the age of the eye-witnesses where if someone was making up a story they could correct it. It takes 2 generations plus for legendary aspects to come about, it is extremely hard to wipe out a solid core of historical evidence. We all know the lyrics to “rudolph the red-nose reindeer” and could recite the same thing without copying each other. The tremendous acts of Christ have MORE impact than rudolph… if anything, I’m sure there would be some of the same wording when referring to a common event. If we were asked to explain what happened 9/11 we would all say the same core story but with divergent details; as we have with the gospels. Not to mention that the writers had the Holy Spirit in them, God is a God of order, so I’m glad they are writing the same story… that shows consistency.

    2) (1 Cor. 15:3-8)- These refer to Christ’s post appearances after His resurrection.

    3) No one writes a fictional story where they make themselves look bad. Matthew and John were eye-witnesses to Christ. Luke hung out with Paul, and Mark hung out with Peter. So we have eye-witness attestation for sure. Infact, their traditional authorship is so legit, they didn’t even have to write their names on it, it was passed on, and manuscripted from the authors they were received from (Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Paul, Peter, etc). When we say embarrassing things about ourselves that means we are saying the truth. Who makes themselves look bad on purpose unless it happened?

    4) Again Toby nobody willingly signs up for the “get beat up, bruised, persecuted, turn the other cheek” club unless they are doing it for the Truth it represents- Christ IS the Son of God and Savior of Humanity, and He authenticated Himself through His resurrection.

    5) Fulfill their own prophecies so that they can accomplish their dream of being crucified upside down for proclaiming the Savior… ?? They were claiming Truth and didn’t back down because of its veracity.

    6) The extra- biblical sources are non-christian writers who write as if the events in the N.T. happened, so it corroborates to the truth of Scripture.

    “That, too, is your opinion.”

    This is YOUR opinion. Christ reliability is based on factual evidence…

    “I say unequivocally that the evidence for the resurrection of Jesus Christ is so overwhelming that it compels acceptance by proof which leaves absolutely no room for doubt!”

    – Sir Lionel Luckhoo, listed in the Guiness Book of Records as the most successful attorney in history.

    Reply
  205. Tim D. says:

    Footnote:

    – Sir Lionel Luckhoo, listed in the Guiness Book of Records as the most successful attorney in history.

    Now if only being a successful attorney had anything to do with one’s religious credibility…..

    Now that you mention it, doesn’t the Church of Scientology have a crack team of pretty successful lawyers?

    Also, a footnote to my footnote — is someone else going to make the joke about lawyers being able to cheat the devil out of hell, or am I going to have to do it?

    Reply
  206. Toby R. says:

    “No one writes a fictional story where they make themselves look bad.”

    Have you never read one single memoir? One single autobiography?

    “Infact, their traditional authorship is so legit, they didn’t even have to write their names on it, ”

    The names were put to each of these books in the late 100’s. Kind of out of nowhere suddenly they are labeled with names. One could question if the right names ended up on the right books.

    “nobody willingly signs up for the “get beat up, bruised, persecuted, turn the other cheek” club unless they are doing it for the Truth it represents- Christ IS the Son of God and Savior of Humanity, and He authenticated Himself through His resurrection.”

    Tell that to the people the flew the planes into those buildings and fields. They did what they did for “The Truth.”

    “Fulfill their own prophecies so that they can accomplish their dream of being crucified upside down for proclaiming the Savior… ?? They were claiming Truth and didn’t back down because of its veracity.”

    Or to foment rebellion. Or because they were whipped into a fit of religious craziness. Or they only existed on paper (or oral tradition). Or, hey, you seem to think you have the truth—Wouldn’t you let someone strip the flesh from your back for your lord?

    “The extra- biblical sources are non-christian writers who write as if the events in the N.T. happened, so it corroborates to the truth of Scripture.”

    Show me where they say he resurrected himself. i must have missed that one. But then maybe they did too. Show me something bigger than the few sentences each of them committed to it as if it wasn’t really all that special.

    It’s an interesting thing you put forward. Along with Frank you say that, “I don’t have enough faith to be an atheist.” But the argument you’ve made is that you don’t have any faith at all. You have THE TRUTH! YOU KNOW! So you’re pretty faithless really. If you didn’t have these arguments would you still believe any of it? Coming from an atheist background and all… It’s kind of like you went from a background of no faith to even less that no faith.

    Tim D. Yes, and we all know how morally upstanding lawyers are, what with getting people who they know are guilty aquitted from time to time. And the extortionate fees for writing a single page letter on someone’s behalf. The theists can have all of the lawyers.

    Reply
  207. Tim D. says:

    “nobody willingly signs up for the “get beat up, bruised, persecuted, turn the other cheek” club unless they are doing it for the Truth it represents- Christ IS the Son of God and Savior of Humanity, and He authenticated Himself through His resurrection.”

    Two words: gay dudes.

    Reply
  208. Andrea says:

    Toby,

    The extra-biblical sources talk about Christians who kept saying Christ resurrected and got persecuted for that. So we have evidence that this persecution really happened.

    Toby I have a question for you:

    Will you stand in front of U.S. Gov’t Officials and tell them that you have a flying car when you don’t have one?

    And if you are willing to do this…. who is going to follow you without empirical evidence of it?

    Christ’s scenario is completely different from all others in that you could disprove the resurrection by showing the body, that never happened; which caused the news of Christ to spread everywhere.

    Faith- To put trust in. I can put my trust in God through Christ because He has authenticated Himself and revealed Himself to mankind since the very beginning, and most importantly in the Resurrection of Christ.

    There is lack of evidence for someone to put their trust in atheism.

    I mean I spit a piece of gum on the ground, give it a billion years and it turns into bubble-gum world?? Come on now Toby….

    Reply
  209. Toby R. says:

    “Will you stand in front of U.S. Gov’t Officials and tell them that you have a flying car when you don’t have one?

    And if you are willing to do this…. who is going to follow you without empirical evidence of it?”

    Obviously you don’t have much knowledge of governments. I’m sure I’d get all kinds of grants and contracts.

    “I mean I spit a piece of gum on the ground, give it a billion years and it turns into bubble-gum world?? Come on now Toby….”

    You’d probably have a little petrified chicklet pebble. Or perhaps you would become the god of some world you inadvertantly created. A huge willa wonka wonder of bubble gum.

    Faith as by merriam webster:

    1 a : allegiance to duty or a person : loyalty b (1) : fidelity to one’s promises (2) : sincerity of intentions
    2 a (1) : belief and trust in and loyalty to God (2) : belief in the traditional doctrines of a religion b (1) : firm belief in something for which there is no proof (2) : complete trust
    3 : something that is believed especially with strong conviction; especially : a system of religious beliefs

    Frank’s idea of atheism as a faith doesn’t fit with the above definitions. If you argue that 2b (1) fits atheism then you lose the argument because if you’re assuming they “believe and have faith” in science you’re mistaken. It’s more like, “I don’t know, but it could be found out eventually but in any event I’m not going to worry about it.” Personally I think nonbelief is better because if everyone gave up religion then what would there be nothing to separate people. Religion is a divisive wedge that has lead to most of the hate and murder in the world. Religion is an artificial barrier. We’ve proven that by our long series of posts here. We go around and around and what does it accomplish? You won’t change your mind and I won’t change mine (mainly because of what we are willing to accept as proof from documents so old that we don’t really know who wrote them). Religion is racism. Religion is intolerance. Religion is conservativism, the rigid holding onto of the past despite everything around changing. It’s inflexible. Tradition is the anchor that weighs humanity down, the old ideas that stifle originality. Religion is poison. Wouldn’t all of the time we’ve spent here trying presenting our sides have been better spent keeping it to ourselves and doing something useful for others? Working in a food bank or finding charities to donate to (and again in my head these arguments flare up because I think you’d probably only donate to religious charities, ones that would, for example, not give condoms to Africans which I think everyone would agree is the best way to slow down HIV even if they think they’d go to hell for vicariously providing the latex—where’s the african’s choice and free will in the matter?). See, a rant. It’s useless what we do here. You believe you have the truth? So what? What good does it do anyone here on earth? Not a whole hell of a lot. You could tell them about it I suppose, but what good is that? I think it’s best to live as if there is nothing beyond this life. It makes this life worth so much more than the idea that it’s a passing blip on the way to an eternity of forever praise or forever torment. So help people, relieve suffering, have sex when you can because it’s good for you, and let the barriers fall.

    Reply
  210. Tim D. says:

    Well, the primary issue of this “faith” facade is twofold. And as much as I know that I am wasting my time by saying this, I will still say it, because I’m bored and this is something to do while I wait for my clothes to dry so I can take a shower.

    1) “Faith” is basically another word for “how much you’re willing to take on someone’s word” — whether that someone is an ancient author or the little man inside your head that tells you to persecute people. So basically, how much “faith” you have in someone/something (in the context of the comments being made here) is how many benefits-of-the-doubt you are willing to give them/it.

    2) What you still don’t seem to understand, Andrea, is that the argument “against” Christianity isn’t really against it, per se; I mean, one can be made for that case, but most people (such as myself) aren’t arguing “for” or “against” religion or non-religion. I can’t speak for anyone else, but I agree with the comment Toby made above that it basically doesn’t matter that your idea of god “may or may not” be accurate. It’s not a “you’re wrong,” it’s an “I don’t care,” except there’s more to it than just that statement.

    I start by saying, “I don’t care if your idea of god is accurate or real.”

    You come back with, “But if god is real, then you’re in a lot of trouble, so it’s in your best interest to try to learn the truth one way or the other.”

    ME: “If your idea is NOT real, then it’s in YOUR best interest to examine EVERY OTHER religious system in the world and determine their accuracy for yourself — but not just written religious or spiritual beliefs. You must also examine the word-of-mouth traditions of ancient tribes and nations that have been passed down through rituals and traditions; remember, not all occurrences will leave enough evidence to determine that they occurred. So just because you don’t find evidence that one religion is “true,” doesn’t mean there isn’t any. It just means that there might not be any left. This applies to Judeo-Christianity/Islam/Satanism, it applies to Zoroastrianism, it applies to any and all religious/spiritual/whatever systems.

    Which is, again, a long-winded way of saying, “The exact points that you guys make to defend Christianity also — I suspect inadvertently — provide ammunition for people who are defending other religions, even obscure ones. Your case exists largely on giving the benefit of the doubt to Christianity in particular in many instances; if we gave the same benefit of the doubt — even half as much — to any other religious system, I think we’d find that there is much less room to claim a ‘preponderance of evidence’ on the part of any particular set of doctrines.”

    Reply
  211. Andrea says:

    Toby and Tim,

    You’re right. IF there is no truth in Christianity or religion, then sure live your life however you want. But it is BECAUSE of the evidence FOR Christ that this isn’t a waste of time.

    It would be criminal of me to know the cure for cancer, for example, and to keep it to myself. Jesus came and provided a way for us to be with God. Apart from Jesus we are pure sinful and don’t deserve to be in God’s presence. We can’t measure up to Him, only He can make us measure up to Himself, and He did this through Christ. But it is up to us to either accept His free gift or not. God doesn’t want to force us to be with Him, He wants those that out of their own free will want to be with Him.

    IF there was no evidence for Christ, no evidence that He is the ONE and Only Truth, then we wouldn’t be here. At least I wouldn’t be here, I’d be living it up somewhere else.

    When Muslims die as martyrs for Islam they die believing that Muhammad received his revelation from an angel of God. They weren’t eye-witnesses of him receiving his revelation, they only proclaimed him as a prophet and nothing else. Does that mean Muhammad didn’t exist? No, of course he existed, he had to do something, or else Islam wouldn’t be around.

    Christians that die as martyrs NOW die believing that Christ resurrected, but not the disciples. The disciples died KNOWING Christ resurrected because they confirmed it through seeing, touching, and eating with Him. Christians don’t just proclaim Christ as a mere prophet, we proclaim Him as God incarnate. No one can pass for being God incarnate without doing something HUGE like the many tremendous miracles Jesus did, closing with His resurrection.

    Toby you say that life is better knowing the we live, we die, end of story. Actually no… none of us want to die… you know why?? We all want to live forever… we all want eternal life… you know what we REALLY want and look for?? JESUS.

    “Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6)

    “Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies” (John 11:25)

    We dream of finding someone who would love us so much they’d die for us… and you know who we are looking for? JESUS.

    “Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.” (John 15:13)

    “Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.” (1 John 4:8-10)

    Toby, that’s why everyone is so crazy about those self-help books that will help them find a “purpose”…. what they are really looking for is God… and until YOU find God you will never be satisfied with anything this world has to offer. That is because you are looking for YOUR Creator, your Savior, and the One who can LOVE you with the type of love you are looking for: Only Christ can love that way.

    “For the essence of sin is man substituting himself for God, while the essence of salvation is God substituting Himself for man.”
    -British theologian John Scott

    As Christians we live with a humble gratitude for what Christ did for us, and we want to extend His love with others that don’t have this kind of unconditional love.

    Reply
  212. Tim D. says:

    But it is BECAUSE of the evidence FOR Christ that this isn’t a waste of time.

    I’m gonna have to stop ya right there once again, and interject….you just kind of project this point and then keep moving without me. I’m still stuck on this point. I don’t accept it. And so any conclusions you draw forth using that point — the one I quoted just above — as a foundation will ultimately be completely moot to me.

    Not that you should particularly care what I think; just that I was hoping you would have something new to say instead of that….again….

    IF there was no evidence for Christ, no evidence that He is the ONE and Only Truth, then we wouldn’t be here. At least I wouldn’t be here, I’d be living it up somewhere else.

    Au contraire, my friend, that is exactly why I spend my time here. You guys are the only ones who use arguments outside of the normal convention of run-of-the-mill dingleberries that I have to work with/around in my daily life. Even though I still largely disagree with almost everything that you have to say about almost anything, I still find it refreshing to hear something new from the “other side” (even if only occasionally; there must be an Evangelical writer’s strike going on, or something).

    When Muslims die as martyrs for Islam they die believing that Muhammad received his revelation from an angel of God. They weren’t eye-witnesses of him receiving his revelation, they only proclaimed him as a prophet and nothing else. Does that mean Muhammad didn’t exist? No, of course he existed, he had to do something, or else Islam wouldn’t be around.

    ….pardon me, but I do believe I had actually said this before….

    Christians that die as martyrs NOW die believing that Christ resurrected, but not the disciples. The disciples died KNOWING Christ resurrected because they confirmed it through seeing, touching, and eating with Him. Christians don’t just proclaim Christ as a mere prophet, we proclaim Him as God incarnate. No one can pass for being God incarnate without doing something HUGE like the many tremendous miracles Jesus did, closing with His resurrection.

    -_- Eye-witness testimony — assuming it exists at all in the first place — is non-transferrable. If Mohammed himself DID receive a revelation from an angel, even if nobody else “saw” it, that doesn’t mean it’s not possible. Likewise, if someone claimed to have done just that for Jesus — seen him do something “miraculous” — then that doesn’t necessarily mean that they DID. And IF they did, and therefore the eyewitness testimony was true, the people who WEREN’T there DIDN’T see it. And so from that second generation of “believers” onward, Christians are faced with the exact same dilemma that you attribute to Muslims — you didn’t OBSERVE anyone who observed the original act, and so you don’t even know that there WAS an original act. All you know is what you’ve heard through the grapevine, several generations removed.

    Reply
  213. Tim D. says:

    P.S. Basically, what you’re telling me is, “more people saw Jesus’s ‘revelations’ than Mohammed’s, therefore Jesus’ is true and Mohammed’s is false.” This was clearly not thought all the way through.

    Reply
  214. Andrea says:

    Tim,

    Not at all what I’m saying. Lets say that Muhammad really did receive this revelation from the angel, what did he do really?? He was just a prophet, and proclaimed as a prophet by his followers, that’s it.

    But Christ is proclaimed as God incarnate, that means that whatever miracles Christ did had to greatly greatly SURPASS all the miracles ever done, to be called God. That’s the big difference with Jesus…. if Muhammad had people witness his stuff..ok.. well who has more credibility a regular prophet, or GOD? Jesus debunked everyone Tim.

    I’ve posted this before but just in case you didn’t read it…. here it goes:

    -If the NT events are fictional, then why do the non-Christian writers record some as though they actually occurred?
    *Jesus Christ is cited by Josephus, Tacitus, Pliny the Younger, Phlegon, Thallus, Suetonious, Lucion, Celsus, Mara Bar-Serapian, the Jewish Talmud (which said he did sorcery-admitting the miracles he did had to have happened, these are the opponents to Christianity.)

    -The New Testament alone has over 6,000 manuscripts, the ancient document that follows that is Homer’s Illiad with only 600 manuscripts, and all ancient document go down from there.

    -By the process of comparison and cross checking, the original New Testament can be reconstructed with great accuracy. Since there are copies spread all over the ancient world, there’s NO way one scribe or priest can alter the Word of God. No other ancient book is so well authenticated.

    -Jerusalem was demolished by 70 A.D. by Titus the Roman emperor. All info included in the NT is so detailed on Jerusalem before it was demolished that it couldn’t be written by someone of a later generation. All NT books were written before A.D. 100, about 70 years after the ascension of Jesus.

    -If there was ever a place that a legendary resurrection could not occur it was Jerusalem, because the Jews and the Romans were all too eager to squash Christianity and could have easily done it by parading Jesus’ body around the city.

    -There are about at least 30 characters in the N.T. who have been confirmed as historical through archaeology or non-christian sources.

    -No eyewitness dies for something that they KNOW is a lie, i.e. the disciples said they saw, ate, and touched the Risen Christ, and got killed for saying that. Why would the N.T. writers endure persecution, torture, and death for a fictional story?

    -Historical novelists usually don’t use the names of real people, especially powerful gov’t and religious officials who could easily deny the story and the writers know they are getting into a heap of trouble by writing about them. They were willing to run the risk.. why? The saw Jesus, they saw Him alive, they touched Him, after He had been put to death…

    ***Someone isn’t regarded as God for very long if there is no proof to back up their divinity. They eventually fade, dissipate, and blend in as a myth but never stands apart and distinct as objective Truth.***

    And this is what we have with Christ, objective Truth by how He authenticated Himself by His Resurrection in an empirical glorified body.
    ~ No eye-witnesses to this- Christianity wouldn’t have lasted even a day, since the Roman militia clearly outnumbered any crazy heretic going around.. Romans would have brought Christianity to a dead end on the spot, for someone giving allegiance to someone (Jesus) other than them.
    ———————————————————————————————
    John (the disciple): My fellow Roman and Jewish people! You guys are lunatics!! You killed the Lord of Life, your own SAVIOR!!!!!

    Roman guard: Hahaha!!!! Yeah and my momma is the Savior of humanity too. haha.. rofl!!!!

    John: BRO!!! Man.. what you laughing about man??? Jesus Christ ROSE from the grave literally and I touched Him and He proved that He is the Lord of Life, otherwise He wouldn’t have resurrected.

    Roman guard: Uhh John??? Look here’s the body. (shows body)

    John: uhh. haha.. just kiddin buddies April fools!!! (wink wink) just don’t kill me masters I’m sorry.. maybe I had a little too much to drink last night! ha ha ha.
    ——————————————————————————————-

    If Christ didn’t resurrect literally He would just be considered a regular prophet like Moses, Isaiah, or Elijah. He would never be considered as God incarnate. Not only is it totally blasphemous for a Jewish person of the day to worship a man as God especially if they didn’t understand the Isaiah 52:13-53:12 passage or Isaiah 9:6. but it was their culture and way of life. For pious Jews to leave their sacred religion and worship Christ with their LIVES at stake saying that they SAW, TOUCHED, and witnessed the Risen Christ is proof that it happened. Because if this was something like the example I gave you above I can understand that there is one crazy dude going around claiming heretical things and the Roman guards kill him and end the ruckus. But for 12 guys, then 500, then 3,000, then 5,000. then these going world-wide saying the same thing.. that Christ is the Savior of humanity and authenticated Himself through His Resurrection is something HUGE. Something that without empirical evidence would have gotten NOWHERE, and that’s for sure.

    ***How does a crucified man from an obscure village become the LORD of Glory if nothing happened where He authenticated Himself?

    CHRIST had to have done something HUGE, to be regarded as God incarnate literally….. and no one can deny that. No one.

    Reply
  215. Toby R. says:

    “Toby you say that life is better knowing the we live, we die, end of story. Actually no… none of us want to die… you know why?? We all want to live forever… we all want eternal life… you know what we REALLY want and look for?? JESUS.”

    Yes, it’s better knowing that this life is all there is. If you start assuming that there’s more, then suddenly you see things around you that are wrong, see people suffering, and think, “Aw, well, they’ll have it better in the next life.” At which point you hand them a book that is no help to them at all and walk away while they suffer. In someone’s life suppose that there is something going wrong, something about which they could do something, but what motivates them do change? Again it’s, “Gee, I could do something about this, but it’s not worth it. I’ll just have it better in the next life.”

    You don’t want to die. No one wants to die, but even in your belief system that still happens. Do you think you’ll wake up in some other body somewhere else? You’re not likely to have a body in a place that’s spaceless, timeless, and immaterial. So what’s so bad with the end of your life being like the beginning? Or actually before the beginning. Mark Twain put it wonderfully, “I do not fear death, in view of the fact that I had been dead for billions and billions of years before I was born, and had not suffered the slightest inconvenience from it.”

    “Toby, that’s why everyone is so crazy about those self-help books that will help them find a “purpose”…. what they are really looking for is God… and until YOU find God you will never be satisfied with anything this world has to offer. That is because you are looking for YOUR Creator, your Savior, and the One who can LOVE you with the type of love you are looking for: Only Christ can love that way.”

    I find this to be counter to everything you believe. I think I enjoy more of what this world has to offer than you. I think this is all that there is, you think not. How would you possibly think it more valuable that me? In fact you want this world to fade away so you can go be with your lord of all glory. I’m not so shallow that I need to constantly be “looking for the love of my creator”. I’m looking to give my love to whoever wants and needs it.

    I find it funny that you’re just a christian because something happened that made you afraid you’d never be able to practice karate again. And then that something went away and TADA! THANK YOU GOD I CAN STILL PUNCH AND KICK! What do you worship? God or a “perfect roundhouse kick”?

    Reply
  216. Andrea says:

    Toby,

    Yeah, karate was my idol seriously it was what I replaced God with. I left it for good almost a year ago, because I decided I wanted to live for God and not just worshiping my “roundhouse kicks”. A lot of people flipped out when I left it because it was my life before I knew Christ, but I fell out of love with it because God just got bigger and bigger in my life. I’d rather spend my life serving people and talking to people like you; sharing the love of the Savior.

    Actually Toby, I think you got it backwards bro. Let me give you some info from my experience. Before I had God in my life I was indifferent to some people. I just didn’t care, I cared about myself because I thought this was the only life I had. I just cared about getting trophies, medals, and claps. I was looking for love, only to realize that humans aren’t perfect and can’t give the type of love we’re looking for.
    After you have God in your life you actually see everything in a brand-new perspective. You start to care for everyone, you’re willing to serve them, and help them because you want to give back the love God has shown you. Since Christ forgave us, you start to react different when others hurt you, you forgive easier. Also, you appreciate everything around you much more. You think about the raw materials God made to make all the things we take pleasure in and you can’t help it but thank God for it. You realize that you are created by God, and created on purpose for a reason. You don’t make an airplane and then throw it in the trash. You make it for a reason. We are created, and I don’t think God is going to spend His precious time in making us for nothing…. obviously there is life after death, while we live here and now we get to decide where we want to spend our lives. We either desire from our hearts to be with our Creator and Sustainer, or apart from Him because we think we made ourselves or something and don’t sincerely want to be with Him.

    Reply
  217. Tim D. says:

    Not at all what I’m saying. Lets say that Muhammad really did receive this revelation from the angel, what did he do really?? He was just a prophet, and proclaimed as a prophet by his followers, that’s it.

    So Jesus was better because he did magic tricks/miracles? I thought it was his teachings that were more valuable, not his spells. Why the change of heart?

    I’ve posted this before but just in case you didn’t read it…. here it goes:

    I read it twice, actually.

    -The New Testament alone has over 6,000 manuscripts, the ancient document that follows that is Homer’s Illiad with only 600 manuscripts, and all ancient document go down from there.

    Translation: “there are more stories, therefore they are ALL true.”

    Response: Popularity =/= authenticity. Actually, the argument in question is built on establishing that very principle, so asserting otherwise as a response is really just begging the question.

    -By the process of comparison and cross checking, the original New Testament can be reconstructed with great accuracy. Since there are copies spread all over the ancient world, there’s NO way one scribe or priest can alter the Word of God. No other ancient book is so well authenticated.

    This is somewhat of a contradiction; if not all of the ONT is in one place (which is necessary in order for these “fragments” to be separately available to “piece together” to “reconstruct” the ONT), then that would mean that it’s certainly possible for someone to manipulate the separate fragments and cause dissent over how they overlap. Anyone short of the most practiced Biblical scholars could easily be misled simply due to the sheer diversity of possible claims.

    Not that it’s ever been my case that anyone would have a real reason to do that; I’m not one of those Illuminati-conspiracy-theory types who think that Christianity is some underground conspiracy to control the world. I just think dogmatically categorizing the natural laws of the universe (and the natural tendencies of humans to interact) into a rigidly-defined set of “objective moral laws” is ludicrous and arrogant.

    -There are about at least 30 characters in the N.T. who have been confirmed as historical through archaeology or non-christian sources.

    Stephen King is a real person. He’s also a character in the fictional novel, “The Dark Tower VI: Song of Susannah.” Therefore, this makes it more likely that the Dark Tower VI is actually a true story. The more “factual” characters appear in this “fictional” novel, the more likely the novel is to be true — no matter how blatantly impossible many of its events would be in the “real world.”

    -No eyewitness dies for something that they KNOW is a lie, i.e. the disciples said they saw, ate, and touched the Risen Christ, and got killed for saying that. Why would the N.T. writers endure persecution, torture, and death for a fictional story?

    Since you seem so bent on bringing it up again and again, perhaps you can quote the segment wherein I asserted that anyone “died for something they KNOW is a lie?”

    “Toby you say that life is better knowing the we live, we die, end of story. Actually no… none of us want to die… you know why?? We all want to live forever… we all want eternal life… you know what we REALLY want and look for?? JESUS.”

    Actually, no, I don’t want to live forever. There’s actually a lengthy list of reasons why living forever would be the most horrible torture imaginable to any living person. Death exists because it’s a necessary part of life; like sleep comes at the end of a hard day of work, death comes at the end of life. Just because we seek to avoid death for as long as is practical doesn’t mean that it’s somehow unnatural or ultimately undesirable. And considering your position on god as an inventor and controller of natural laws, I’m surprised you would make the statement you do here.

    Reply
  218. Andrea says:

    Tim,

    My main argument for Christ is that He is proclaimed as God. He is proclaimed as God in the flesh or God incarnate, and Savior of Humanity. In contrast, Muhammad is proclaimed as a prophet (messenger of God).

    Who do you think deserves more credibility, or who will you go with?

    A) Someone who through what He did, taught, etc… proved to be God.

    B) Someone who through what they did, taught, etc.. proved to be a prophet.

    Someone isn’t regarded as God unless they proved themselves to be so. No one can pull off being God for very long without empirical evidence.

    Would Michael Jackson, even though dead, be the King of Pop if he never existed or couldn’t sing or dance? Obviously the answer is no.

    Tim, I have a question for you…. what is the difference between a humble heart and a proud heart? Which do you think is better and what attitudes go along with them?

    -Thanks!

    Reply
  219. Andrea says:

    Tim,

    Just in case you may not know where I’m going with this, I will give you my thoughts on being humble/proud.

    Proud-
    1. feeling pleasure or satisfaction over something regarded as highly honorable or creditable to oneself (often fol. by of, an infinitive, or a clause).
    2. having, proceeding from, or showing a high opinion of one’s own dignity, importance, or superiority.

    Humble-
    1. not proud or arrogant; modest: to be humble although successful.
    2. having a feeling of insignificance, inferiority, subservience, etc.: In the presence of so many world-famous writers I felt very humble.

    * from dictionary.com*
    ———————————————————————————————

    Tim,

    If you compare and contrast religions you will see that most religions offer a works based salvation. They focus on that you can be “good or moral” enough to go to heaven with God. So they’ll tell you things like take 2 trips to Mecca and do the macarena and you got it made.

    But if you actually take time to think about that and look at it objectively, it isn’t logical that you can measure up to God. If God is separate, holy, the uncreated Creator, perfect, infinite, etc… well nothing that is created can measure up to Him ever. Just like I’m a human and I can’t be a rock. Well no human can be “good enough” for Him because there is a disconnect between us, between Creator and creation.

    When we can’t do something to get what we want, the only way we will have it is that someone else does it for us.

    Ex: I want a pancake and my hands are swollen, the only way I will have a pancake is that someone else makes it for me.

    As a human I want to be with God. I want to be with my Creator. But I can’t get to Him, I’m here, He’s way up there, I could never be good enough for Him. So if ‘as a human I can’t measure up to Him’, the only way I can be with Him is that someone else ‘as a human measures up to Him’ FOR me. Who is the only one that can measure up to God though? No one but God Himself. So the only way I would get to be with God is that HE becomes a human and measures up to Himself FOR me (because only He can), so that I get to be with Him. That is what Christ did when He came to Earth. He lived the infinitely perfect life we could never live, He paid for the sin we would never finish paying God on a cross on our behalf, in order to be reconciled to God.

    As a result this humbles your heart to God to where you serve Him with gratitude, love, and desire for saving you on HIS account and mercy, i.e. HE did it.

    But when religions say you can “measure up to God” by praying 5 times a day.. etc.. all that is doing is building up your pride and ego. For you to think that YOU are even capable of measuring up to God is nonsense and completely illogical. He is Creator, we are created, only HE can bridge the gap…. not us… and He bridged the gap through Jesus Christ 2000 years ago.

    Reply
  220. Tim D. says:

    Someone isn’t regarded as God unless they proved themselves to be so. No one can pull off being God for very long without empirical evidence.

    The book 1984 has something interesting to say on this note: about how easy it is to create a person (solely through empirical evidence) who existed in the past, as opposed to creating a person who exists now. In this case, of course, “creating” being defined as “using (possibly falsified or otherwise erroneous) empirical evidence to ‘prove’ that a person existed.'”

    Basically….it’s very, very easy to make claims about empirical evidence that is no longer accessible to us. It’s this two-and-three-steps-removed process of consideration that sets me apart from the way a lot of you Biblical literalists think.

    If you compare and contrast religions you will see that most religions offer a works based salvation. They focus on that you can be “good or moral” enough to go to heaven with God. So they’ll tell you things like take 2 trips to Mecca and do the macarena and you got it made.

    Just like Christianity.

    But if you actually take time to think about that and look at it objectively, it isn’t logical that you can measure up to God.

    Why would doing what your god tells you to do be considered “measuring up to” that god? That doesn’t make sense.

    Reply
  221. Andrea says:

    Hey Tim,

    Sure you can create a falsified person with supposed falsified empirical evidence but it will not gain momentum.

    There are claims that could be taken as true because they aren’t totally impossible.

    But EVERY incredulous claim, ALWAYS gets nowhere without evidence.

    If I tell you that I can fly, that claim will get nowhere because it’s unbelievable, unless I actually do it. The claim of Christ’s deity and resurrection would have gotten totally nowhere IF Christ didn’t actually resurrect and prove Himself to be God by many infallible proofs.

    Tim, I don’t know what you are talking about, I told you that works is not what can get you to Heaven or to be with God. Doing what God says is good, but when someone thinks that by what THEY do they can measure up to God, that’s where the problem is. We can’t be good enough for God. He alone is perfect. Christ came and bore our sins on a cross so that we could be reconciled to God by admitting that only HE could get us to measure up to Him (be with Him), because as created beings we can’t do it. Then out of a humble and thankful heart you automatically want to serve God out of your own free will.

    It’s all about you realizing that He’s the boss and you’re not. He has provided a way for those that want to be with Him, to do so, through Christ, His Son. Those that don’t want to be with Him out of their own free will are free to be separate from Him for eternity.. He lets them go where they want to go. I remember I talked to a guy once who said he didn’t care if went to hell, and I told him that he knew he didn’t want to go to hell. Then he said that he did want to go to hell… and I told him, “You see, you can’t blame God…it’s you who wants to go there.”

    We get to be with God for eternity because of God’s work on the cross, not our own.

    God is a gentleman and won’t force you to be with Him. Those that want and desire to be with Him are the ones God grants them the way to do so, through His atoning work on the cross.

    Reply
  222. Nathan Barley says:

    “God is a gentleman and won’t force you to be with Him”

    …He just sends everyone else into eternal hell. Sorry, he ‘allows them to choose hell themselves’ No coercion there at all then.

    “I didn’t force her to sleep with me – she had a choice between sleeping with me or having me strangle her. I’m a gentleman!”

    Reply
  223. Luke says:

    Adrea said:: When someone thinks that by what THEY do they can measure up to G-d, that’s where the problem is. We can’t be good enough for G-d. He alone is perfect.

    Andrea:

    You have said this I don’t know how many times now, but it’s always just an assertion; it’s as if you think if you say this enough times, it will just become true. Perhaps it is true, but you’ve never taken the time to show anyone why this is so.

    It’s as if you believe that there is some physical or metaphysical necessity that two beings must be of equal “goodness” or some other sort of status.

    Why should this be so? Why couldn’t a “good” person and a “bad” person be in the same room? Why couldn’t a “bad” person and G-d be in the same room? Why couldn’t G-d and the devil hang out together if G-d so chose?

    The basic question this leads me to is:

    Why do you believe G-d is not powerful (omnipotent) enough to decide who is good enough for Him — good enough to be in His company?

    What you present forces some higher standard upon G-d which makes it impossible for Him to be in the presence of imperfect beings (which is clearly not Biblical anyway; have you ever read the Book of Job, where Satan comes to see the L-rd with the angels and G-d and Satan have some nice conversation back and forth — clearly able to be in one another’s presence).

    The other alternative is that G-d himself created this standard — that no one can hang out with him lest they are perfect (combined with the corrupted nature that no human has any control over), but that is not how you present it anyway (you don’t say “G-d decided that no one is good enough for Him). If this is the case than the whole idea sound like some very odd charade.

    G-d makes a world, decides that no one is good enough to be with him — except that for those who are not good enough to be with him, but believe that His son came to earth, and as long as they believe in the son, then they can be “good enough” even though they’re really not, and that doesn’t applies to the millions of people who lived in places that never gave them a chance to hear about the son — they’re just not good enough and no out for them, though, maybe G-d just knew that they wouldn’t believe anyway, so why put them through a test of faith, that would be silly (though everyone else does have to go through a test of faith); it also doesn’t apply to babies and aborted babies, who even though they didn’t believe are considered good enough, even though they are corrupt too, even if they never even had a chance to do anything wrong; as for everyone else if they do believe they become good enough for G-d even if they’re child rapists, because child rapist can be good enough to be with G-d, even though no one is good enough to be with G-d.

    My big run-on above is not intended as some mean-spirited caricature of Christianity itself, just what it becomes if we accept your assertion on its face (which as I’ve said is not Biblical anyway). With different assertions, it doesn’t have to sound so silly.

    Perhaps you just need to clear up exactly what you mean, maybe I am just misunderstanding. If that’s the case, I am ready to read. So far though, you’e just repeated and repeated something that doesn’t hold up to deeper analysis.

    Luke

    Reply
  224. Luke says:

    Andrea said: But EVERY incredulous claim, ALWAYS gets nowhere without evidence.

    So Jesus really was married to Mary Mags, Jews secretly run the world (and there was no holocaust), man has never landed on the moon, George Bush was behind 9/11 and Obama was born in Kenya.

    Thanks!

    Reply
  225. Tim D. says:

    Sure you can create a falsified person with supposed falsified empirical evidence but it will not gain momentum.

    There are claims that could be taken as true because they aren’t totally impossible.

    But EVERY incredulous claim, ALWAYS gets nowhere without evidence.

    1) Begging the question.
    2) “EVERY claim ALWAYS gets nowhere” = Blatantly false. In making this statement you have shown to me that you completely lack even a rudimentary grasp of basic reality and so I have to ask myself why I waste my time arguing with you as though you do.

    I guess it’s back to the studio to do something productive to relieve my boredom 0.0

    Reply
  226. Andrea says:

    Tim,

    I think you are misunderstanding what I mean when I say “incredulous or incredible or unbelievable”… By that word I mean- NOT possible in any shape or matter. When I say this it’s because it is not possible for a human being to claim to be God and get away with it for very long.

    I’m talking about Christ’s claim to be God, his miracles, closing with His resurrection which are not possible humanly speaking, and can only be possible with God… this is something only God could do objectively.

    That’s what I mean…

    Reply
  227. Andrea says:

    Luke,

    What I mean is that God as the Creator is different than the creation He created. It is logical to realize that creation can’t measure up to Creator, right?

    Ok… Luke, read each question really carefully, think about it, and then get back at me:

    1) No one can objectively measure up to God. God is infinitely perfect. We know we are not perfect. We are finite, and God is infinite.

    2) Who can measure up to God?
    No one. Only God can measure up to Himself.

    3) Can we measure up to God through good works?
    No. God is on a totally different level. Just like someone may think they can’t measure up to marry someone in Hollywood, well much less measure up to the Sovereign Creator of everything.

    4) Can we do enough good things to cancel out the bad?
    No way, that is like telling a judge in a court of law you’ll do “good things” so they won’t give you the punishment for your crime. A just judge would always have the person pay for the punishment they committed.

    5) Why should we deserve eternal punishment for mere mistakes?
    We willingly choose to sin. We suppress the truth to satisfy our own appetites and totally blow God out of the picture. Not only do we choose to sin, we do it knowing that it is wrong because our conscience testifies to it being wrong otherwise we wouldn’t make excuses. We deserve eternal punishment for offending the very One who gave us life, who is eternally perfect.

    6) But why hasn’t God given us justice then? Why aren’t we in hell now?
    It must be that God has a way out.

    7) What’s the only way out of you taking the punishment or paying for something you absolutely can’t pay?
    That someone else pays it for you. If I don’t have a million bucks to bail me out of jail, the only way out is someone rich pays it for me.

    8)What if I ask for forgiveness?
    Won’t work. Forgiveness from a debt can only come if the debt has already been paid for. We can try it with our bank-teller. If I owe the bank $100 and the next day they send me a letter saying to not worry about it; the only conclusion is that it was paid for by someone, and it wasn’t me.

    9) So someone else would have to pay my debts (which are infinite and we would never finish paying God for our sins because He is infinitely perfect and we are finite and willingly imperfect.) In order for this to happen it would have to be a human in order to accurately literally replace me. But no mere human can literally replace me in living the perfect life I could never live, and taking the punishments for my mess-ups. No human can measure up to God anyways. Only God can measure up to Himself.

    10) The only option left is: That God becomes human and breaks these infinites that He and only He can break. God did become human in the person of His Son Jesus Christ and bore the complete wrath we deserved, because not only is God just but loving at the same time. Justice and Love met at the cross. Did God leave it at that? How can we know this is objectively true? Jesus Christ resurrected, leaving the clear sign that this is a God event, that only God could do, to emphasize the point that we need to humble ourselves to God and admit that we flat-out can’t do it. We can’t measure up to Him. It is only by His grace and love that He can get us in His Kingdom to be with Him, and it is He Himself who did it, not us. Then out of love for God our ways change. To where we want to live for Him and reach out to others with this free gift of salvation that ONLY God can give through Christ.

    Reply
  228. Andrea says:

    Luke,

    Also I think we need to take something to account:

    Ex: Angels are created to be in the presence of God, they don’t have sin, and they are with God out of their own free will (we know Satan fell). Angels can’t measure up to God either but they are already with Him, they were created in His presence at once.

    As humans we are different in that Adam and Eve were created first. Sin is in our genes… and God wants those that are actually willing to be with Him. We are simply created differently. The point is that we can see evidence of God’s existence, and from seeing the evidence as created beings we would want to be with our Creator. Then we would realize that only He could get us to be with Him because we are unable to. Then from that humble heart we willingly serve God out of our own free will…. and we get to be with God. I mean no created thing could ever measure up to God. I’m talking about being WITH God, we have to realize that it is something that only He can accomplish not something that we can do out of our own works. It’s a matter of the heart.

    You see what I mean?

    Reply
  229. Luke says:

    Andrea said: Luke, read each question really carefully, think about it, and then get back at me:

    Andrea,

    You are asking me to read carefully, but I am left wondering if you’ve really read what I’ve written.

    My criticism of what you’ve said here was largely predicated upon the fact that you furnish assertions, but don’t bother to show how or why they might be true. As I said: “it’s as if you think if you say this enough times, it will just become true. Perhaps it is true, but you’ve never taken the time to show anyone why this is so.”

    Now you’re asking me to read carefully, but all you’ve done is said the exact same thing yet again. Again, you have not provided any evidence to back these claims. (Nor have you commented on the questions raised by your first assertion, if we accept it.)

    You’ve now given a list, but each item simply rests on the previous assertions — assertions which you have not bothered to back up.
    (As I said before, maybe they’re true, maybe they’re not — either way, you’ve shown no evidence.)

    Some of these assertions seem like they may well make sense, but some are clearly not based in any form of reality (sorry, I’m just being honest).

    You said:Forgiveness from a debt can only come if the debt has already been paid for. We can try it with our bank-teller. If I owe the bank $100 and the next day they send me a letter saying to not worry about it; the only conclusion is that it was paid for by someone, and it wasn’t me.

    The truth is debts are forgiven all the time. I doubt I could even count the times I have had a debt forgiven.

    Have you honestly never borrowed $0.50 for a Coke (or something like this) from a friend and when you went to pay it back, they simply said “don’t be silly; don’t worry about it”? Is “the only conclusion is that [the debt] was paid for by someone”? Of course not! Your friend has simply forgiven your debt. This happens on large and small levels all the time (countries forgive millions of dollars in debt, for example — not secretly paid by anyone).

    You place a large strain on your credibility by presenting such blatant falsehoods as truth.

    Luke

    p.s. My reference was to to Satan; I mentioned the Angels to provide context so you would be more clear as to which part of the story I was referring to.

    Reply
  230. Andrea says:

    OK Luke,

    What are you asking? You say I’m not backing something up.. what am I not backing up, what’s your question??

    “Have you honestly never borrowed $0.50 for a Coke (or something like this) from a friend and when you went to pay it back, they simply said “don’t be silly; don’t worry about it”? Is “the only conclusion is that [the debt] was paid for by someone”? Of course not! Your friend has simply forgiven your debt.”

    My friend has forgiven my debt, ok….

    “Your friend has simply forgiven your debt.”

    God has forgiven our debt on HIS account, He did it… out of His goodness and kindness. Just like you say a friend does.

    The problem is people are proud and they keep trying to pay it back… and apparently they’re not taking God’s gift or they wouldn’t keep trying to pay it back, instead of embracing it and sharing it with others. Others don’t even take the gift.

    So Luke, how come you don’t want to take God’s free gift of salvation in Christ? You can’t pay Him back, all you have to do is take the gift and so something with it (share your gift with others)…. so what stops you?

    Luke the evidence for Christ is there. You don’t have to look very hard to find it. I’ve posted some evidence over and over on here.. and apparently you guys ignore it.

    1) You can look at yourself and all the raw materials to build everything around you and know that there is a Creator, because a creation doesn’t come from nothing, it always comes from a Mind.

    2) Your conscience testifies to the Perfect Moral Law Giver who we ignore to feed our fleshly desires which we know are wrong.

    3) God sent His Son Jesus Christ so that we could have empirical evidence of His existence, and security of His salvation and deliverance found only through Him.

    So what other proof are you looking for? Everything that exists testifies to Him Luke….

    Reply
  231. Luke says:

    Andrea said: What are you asking? You say I’m not backing something up.. what am I not backing up, what’s your question??”

    In one sense I am not asking anything, just pointing out that you keep repeating the same assertions, but never get around to supporting them — it’s as if you’re hoping that if you say the same thing enough times, people will believe you (this seems to work wonders in politics, so I can’t really blame you).

    If you would like specific questions, I did pose a couple of questions in my post from 9/29.

    Andrea said:God has forgiven our debt on HIS account, He did it…

    You are simply contradicting yourself. Either a debt is forgiven (nothing is paid by anyone) or it is paid by someone else.

    Andrea, you say many things, don’t back them up, and when it’s pointed out that some of them don’t make sense you pretend as if you never made a mistake.

    Andrea said:So Luke, how come you don’t want to take God’s free gift of salvation in Christ?

    You also seem terribly presumptuous.

    Reply
  232. Andrea says:

    Luke,

    We have to realize that whenever anyone thinks something differently than us we’re going to think THEY are presumptuous, but we all do the same thing, we’re all in the same boat. We are all exclusivists and we just have to look at the evidence for what it’s worth instead.

    “Why do you believe G-d is not powerful (omnipotent) enough to decide who is good enough for Him — good enough to be in His company?”

    Luke, it’s not about what I believe and what you believe. God has revealed Himself through Scripture (Bible) and has authenticated Himself through miracles which way superceded those that sorcerers could do, and closed the deal with Christ’s resurrection. He has revealed that we have free will. Infact as human beings we like free will. We think free will is the right way to go. Would you force someone into loving you when they didn’t? Would you force someone to marry you who you thought was “good enough” for you when she didn’t want you? No right? God wants those that out of a pure heart actually desire Him, and acknowledge that the only way to be with Him is that He does it because we can’t measure up. This causes a humbling of the heart. This is logical, I think we all know this… so it’s not like I’m repeating myself off base.

    Debt is forgiven- Nothing is paid by anyone… it is God who paid the price by becoming a man and doing it Himself. When you don’t pay your friend back THEY have to deal with the consequences of having less money and in one way of another they paid for your coke.

    “Andrea said: But EVERY incredulous claim, ALWAYS gets nowhere without evidence.
    So Jesus really was married to Mary Mags, Jews secretly run the world (and there was no holocaust), man has never landed on the moon, George Bush was behind 9/11 and Obama was born in Kenya.”

    Luke…. when I say incredulous I mean NOT possible… it is NOT possible for a dead man to rise from the dead in the same body he was dead in, and in a glorified body on top of that. All the examples you mentioned above are “claims that got nowhere” in comparison to the impact Jesus Christ has had in history as a whole.

    Again the question Mr. Turek asks Mr. Hitchens on this debate which goes unanswered:

    **How does a crucified man from an obscure village become the LORD of Glory if nothing happened?

    Reply
  233. Jay says:

    Frank,

    Thanks again for such a wonderful debate. I have watched all of Christopher Hitchens’ debates and the previous debate with you and I can honestly say that he has gotten worse over time. He intelligently uses gifts of debate like intentionally interrupting to make your points look insignificant, he continually fails to answer any questions because he likes to appeal to feelings not fact, and he continually makes blanket statements that he cannot back up like saying 99% or we know for certain how the universe started (still not sure how he exactly knows that). Your book is much better than Hitchens, his just contains the same complaints and ramblings that he brings to the discussions. But I do appreciate some of his concerns because they helped me to investigate and become a stronger Christian.

    Thanks for your time and dedication!

    Reply
  234. Luke says:

    Andrea said: We have to realize that whenever anyone thinks something differently than us we’re going to think THEY are presumptuous

    Andrea,

    Why? Why should this be so? One of my best friends loves the Dave Matthews Band; I don’t. I don’t think he’s presumptuous; he just has different taste.

    I have a friend who thinks it’s very likely the US government had a large part in planing and executing 9/11. I don’t think he’s presumptuous — just wrong.

    I consider people presumptuous when they think they know things which they have no way of knowing, or believe that rules of normal social interaction don’t apply to them.

    Andrea said: it’s not about what I believe and what you believe. G-d has revealed Himself through Scripture.

    This seems to prove what I was trying to say, Andrea.

    You make assertions and present them as some kind of logical or metaphysical necessities, but when questioned about it, you seem to admit that it is not. You simply say “the Bible says so.” This argument only works if one presumes that the Bible is true.

    Andrea said: Debt is forgiven- Nothing is paid by anyone… it is God who paid

    This is another example of how you have made an assertion and then completely backed off of it when questioned. What you’ve written above simply contradicts itself and what you’ve written before. EIther something is paid, or nothing is.

    Andrea said: Luke…. when I say incredulous I mean NOT possible

    Are you sure? If something is “NOT” possible, then it is just that — not possible. If something has occurred, then it must indeed be possible. Are you sure you don’t mean highly unlikely or incredible?

    Luke

    Reply
  235. Andrea says:

    Hey Luke,

    You said: ” I consider people presumptuous when they think they know things which they have no way of knowing, or believe that rules of normal social interaction don’t apply to them.”

    You do have a way of knowing whether or not historical claims are legitimate or not. You use different tests to determine its veracity like eye-witness attestation, outside historical info, embarrassing testimony, excruciating testimony, etc. This whole time I’ve been trying to explain how you can know beyond a reasonable doubt that Christ did resurrect and prove to be the Son of God through His historicity and impact.

    So Christ affirmed the Scriptures were true. He resurrected proving to be God incarnate and Savior of Humanity. So He has ground to stand on to make a claim true because He proved to be God.

    When you forgive someone’s debt you end up having to deal with the consequences, so YOU end up paying for it one way or another. So when God forgave us our debt He ended up paying it, and nothing is paid by us. God is love and can’t force someone to be with Him in His Kingdom who doesn’t willingly wants to, so this is a free gift for those who want Him.

    If God exists then He can influence/disrupt natural law so that people see that it is only HE who is capable of doing it. It isn’t possible for us humans to do it, but since God as the Creator is the only one who can break the boundaries of that which is created; then when something “not possible for us” happens like the resurrection… we know it is only Him who could do that.

    So if we didn’t create the raw materials for what exists around us, and other living things didn’t either, it is logical to assert that a MIND/CREATOR outside of our realm exists who caused everything that exists as we see it.

    Reply
  236. Mark Ducharme says:

    Andrea,

    Where is the wise? where is the scribe? where is the disputer of this world? hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? 1 Cor. 1:20

    You are a patient one but even He can’t make hear, who will not.

    Reply
  237. Luke says:

    Andrea said:You do have a way of knowing whether or not historical claims are legitimate or not. You use different tests to determine its veracity like eye-witness attestation, outside historical info, embarrassing testimony, excruciating testimony, etc. This whole time I’ve been trying to explain how you can know beyond a reasonable doubt that Christ did resurrect and prove to be the Son of God through His historicity and impact.

    Andrea,

    I’ve said next to nothing about that component of your posts.

    Look, I take from what you’ve written that you see my point since you seem to have backed off the assertions I questioned.

    As far as historical claims, I simply think that this is where the idea of faith comes in. The whole idea of “eye-witness attestation, outside historical info, embarrassing testimony, excruciating testimony, etc.” comes down to one’s level of faith. Bruno has a good post about this in the other thread. None of these seem to actually provide concrete proof. What Bruno is missing though (he may understand it, but he didn’t write about it), is the fact that religion is faith — the question is: how much evidence does an individual require before believing. It makes me think of the phrase “if it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck…” Sure, none of those elements by themselves prove that something is a duck. Taken together though, they make it more and more likely. For some people, walking and quacking like a duck is enough. I see nothing wrong with that. Some people also like to see webbed feet and feathers. Others want even more.

    None of these people are “correct” — they just have different standards for what causes them to believe. The historical evidence may be enough for you, but it may not be enough for others. (There is also the Calvinist view, which you guys seem to love to take shots at now and then — for reasons unknown to me — which is a bit different in it’s approach to this very question.)

    Reply
  238. Mark Ducharme says:

    Luke said: // For some people, walking and quacking like a duck is enough. I see nothing wrong with that. Some people also like to see webbed feet and feathers. Others want even more.

    None of these people are “correct” — they just have different standards for what causes them to believe. The historical evidence may be enough for you, but it may not be enough for others. \

    To borrow -and paraphrase- a concept from Dennis Prager, can we all just have clarity if not agreement? The quote above tells one that reality (remember the subject of the debate?) is subjective in the mind of the atheist (w/ all apologies to Ayn Rand) and absolute in the mind of the Christian. Now, seeing as how you, Luke, insist that reality is ones opinion why do you even care what someone else’s views are? If a duck is not a duck (unless one agrees that it is), then why can’t our “disagreement” be, actually (or not. depending on how you feel about it. you know, whatever…), be one big, ecstatic, orgasmic, harmonic convergence of peace love and music? I mean, some people need more than YOUR perception of a disagreement before they will agree that a standard of disagreement has been met sufficiently to suppose that one might be having a disagreement in the first place.

    For sake of clarity, can we both “agree” that that last sentence is nonsense? Okay, good. Now you know how the whole concept of subjective reality appears to a crazed, gun toting, right wing nut who clings to his Bible and flag. That is, if any of those things exist outside of the imagination of Mandy the super unicorn, or Darwin, or whatever other myths/myth tellers you adhere to. God is real. God is here. God is all. And yes, He did create evil. So stand back, take in the grandeur of the Universe and consider that its existence itself is a witness to the Creator. Because it is. The fear of Him and acknowledgment of Him is, not the absence of but rather, the beginning of wisdom. He is undeniable. A Bushman can see it and, quite often, some do.

    Please don’t waste this opportunity. Someday, you will be asked if a woman named Andrea witnessed the truth to you and you will have to answer “yes”. I pray that your following testimony will be, “And from that day forward I sought you, my Lord!” May God bless and take you from the spirit of this world. Amen

    Reply
  239. Andrea says:

    Hey Luke,

    What is your definition of “faith”?

    Faith means “confidence or trust in a person or thing”. I trust that when I click the ‘submit comment’ button below, my comment will be posted on here. We put our trust in practically everything. The key is to look at the evidence to see if where you are placing your trust is legitimate or not.

    I want you to at least comprehend the point of how the Resurrection of Christ stands apart from all other religions or events in history. Simply put, if this didn’t happen… this idea wouldn’t have gotten very far. We can concur from history that Jesus clearly stands aside from all historical figures in the level of His impact and historicity.

    This is a big point I want to get across… Christ debunked all other men in history through proving He was God incarnate otherwise His claims would have gotten nowhere.

    Ex: How about you get a friend to spread the rumor that you can dance better than Michael Jackson, therefore you deserve to be the actual King of Pop… see how far that’s going to get….

    Get my point?

    P.S.: Mark, my comments are also for others that may be reading the blog….

    Reply
  240. Focused says:

    Great debate! I thought it was very interesting to hear the following exchange:

    Turek: “ok so you don’t have an answer for how the universe came into existence out of nothing?”

    Hitchens: “No more than you do”

    Turek: “If all space all matter and all time had a beginning the cause must be outside space matter and time.”

    Hitchens: “You don’t know how it happened and neither do I”

    Hitchens is outright admitting he believes there is no God and that belief is based on a huge leap of faith with no evidence. I think the perfect response is, “And that is why I don’t have enough faith to be an Atheist”. Case closed, debate over, good night. If college was truly a place for critical thinking, this would be taught and open for debate in the classroom. Even if there was scientific evidence to prove there was or wasn’t a creator, Hitchens doesn’t require it. He turns his back from the evidence presented and chooses his beliefs based on ignorance (not being rude but that seems to be the case here).

    For me, all of the responses on this thread are nit picky, all over the board, and based on secondary details. One must answer the creation of the universe before debating the rest. The evidence clearly points to a creator. Let’s start here.

    In Him,
    Focused

    Reply
  241. Nathan Barley says:

    Focused, for a start, the following: “The universe came into existence out of nothing” is not something physicists actually believe.

    That undercuts Turek’s argument from the start.

    For a second, Hitchens was simply saying that if there is a question for which two people lack evidence towards an answer, “God must have done it” is not a superior conclusion to “I don’t know”.

    Three hundred years ago, “I don’t know how diseases are caused, but will keep trying to find out” was a better answer than “Diseases are casued by demons, so no more investigation is needed to preventing them.”

    And every time you go to the doctors, you can thank the people who said the former, rather than the latter.

    Reply
  242. Tim D. says:

    God is real. God is here. God is all. And yes, He did create evil. So stand back, take in the grandeur of the Universe and consider that its existence itself is a witness to the Creator. Because it is. The fear of Him and acknowledgment of Him is, not the absence of but rather, the beginning of wisdom. He is undeniable. A Bushman can see it and, quite often, some do.

    I actually laughed a little bit when I read this….just because I recently came to realize exactly how wrong you are XD

    And ever since, I can’t seem to bring myself to feel any real hostility towards you guys anymore….it’s alright. And it’s a great feeling; to know in my heart that you are wrong and that your insane fanaticism is completely unfounded.

    Laters (maybe)~

    Reply
  243. Nathan Barley says:

    I’m sure that looking it up yourself would do you immeasurable good. Why not start with Stephen Hawking and Victor Stenger.

    Reply
  244. Nathan Barley says:

    “Was hoping to have it up here on the boards for debate purposes.”

    If you’ve got no idea what the current views are in cosmology, how do you know that you disagree with them?!

    Reply
  245. Nathan Barley says:

    At any rate Focused, what is the point in two non-cosmologists with limited knowledge of physics debating such a technical subject?

    Imagine a guy says he wants to debate you to prove that magic exists. You agree, and he starts off by asking you how computers work. You say you don’t know.

    “You don’t know? Well how can you justify your world view that magic doesn’t exist if you don’t even know that. Look at all the things computers can do, look how little those boxes are – does that sound normal to you? The only explanation is magic.”

    Would this be a reasonable argument? Especially if the guy has no training as an engineer, or in computers etc? Who wins here – the guy who admits he doesn’t know how computers work, or the guy who claims they’re supernatural? I mean he’s got a self-sufficient argument – it’s magic – and you’ve just got your ‘I don’t know’.

    Anyway, how are you supposed to combat this argument? Well, I don’t think the onus is on you to understand every aspect of science in such a debate. If the other person makes a claim not backed up by mainstream science, then it’s up to them to make a very good case that they are experts in that area. I don’t think Frank claims to be an expert in physics or biology. And Hitchens doesn’t need to be one either to reject Frank’s claims.

    Any argument that rests on creationism is suspect from the start. Although a slick-tongued showman may be able to bamboozle a scientifically-ignorant audience with strawmen arguments and arguments from incredulity, the test is in peer-reviewed literature and repeatable experiments. And it is here that intelligent design has failed every test.

    Reply
  246. Focused says:

    Nathan,

    That is an interesting viewpoint. No discussions on a discussion board, because we are not “experts”. If that was the case I wouldn’t be able to post on any discussion boards ;o)

    If you are not interested please allow others to reply. I am simply asking for some thoughts on how the universe was created.

    In Him,
    Focused

    Reply
  247. Nathan Barley says:

    “No discussions on a discussion board, because we are not “experts”.”

    Sorry if you took that funny Focused, but I think my point was fairly clear.

    I can’t see much value in me crudely summarising current cosmology to you, due to my limited knowledge, and then you poking holes in what I’ve said based on your own limited knowledge, and then me trying to correct misconceptions you may have, when neither of us really understand the subject. It would be just like the fable of the two blind men discussing an elephant.

    What value would YOU see in such an exercise?

    And my point stands about Frank’s position not being superior to Chris’s, and also about Frank’s summary of modern cosmology being a strawmen representation.

    Reply
  248. Focused says:

    Is it not the point of a discussion board to have discussions? I do not believe there is an “expert” requirement to discuss different viewpoints here. If there is then I will apologize and withdraw my question.

    Dr. Turek provides clear and concise arguments that point to a creator/designer of the universe. These arguments are very easy to understand and make sense.

    I am simply asking for an opposing viewpoint that makes as much or more sense.

    In Him,
    Focused

    Reply
  249. Andrew Ryan says:

    “Dr. Turek provides clear and concise arguments that point to a creator/designer of the universe”

    a) He said that cosmologists claim that the universe ‘came from nothing’. They do not claim this.
    b) He said he finds this difficult to believe, therefore he believes in God. Although this may be ‘clear and concise’, it combines 1) a strawman argument, 2) an argument from incredulity, and 3) a ‘God of the gaps’ argument.

    “I am simply asking for an opposing viewpoint that makes as much or more sense.”

    Unfortunately, not all viewpoints can be concise or simple, but this is not the test of the viewpoint’s validity. Ideas about the start of the known, current universe are unsurprisingly rather complicated. If you are interested, you’ll need to find a good book on the subject. Otherwise, content yourself with ‘God did it’.

    Reply
  250. Frank Turek says:

    Andrew,

    There are plenty of cosmologists who believe (or believed before they died) the universe and time itself had an absolute beginning out of nothing at the big bang including, Jastrow, Penzias, Eddington, Davies, Wilson, Tipler, and others. Hawking has said the same, although he keeps positing other theoretical possibilities which he admits do not work in the real world. Einstein’s GR– while his personal beliefs seem more deistic– also points to an absolute beginning, consistent with his statement “I want to know how God created this world… I want to know His thoughts, the rest are details.” And Vilenkin, Guth and Borde admit that even if there is a multiverse, it requires an absolute beginning.

    I agree with you, however, that the argument from authority doesn’t mean it’s right. It’s best to present the evidence and let people make up their own minds. The quotes from these physicists in the debate are just to show that it’s not just me who believes it.

    Your objections regarding incredulity and God of the gaps are really the same objection. I can’t see how there could be a natural cause, so God must have done it. But this objection doesn’t succeed against the cosmological argument because: 1) we are talking about the cause for all of nature, which, by definition, cannot be a natural cause, and 2) it’s not just that we lack a natural cause for the universe, but we have what appears to be positive empiricially verifiable evidence for a supernatural cause (since all of nature had a beginning out of nothing with extreme precision.)

    Blessings,

    Frank

    Reply
  251. Nathan Barley says:

    Apologies for the confusion of again posting under the old name. Am on a relative’s computer, which had my old login details.

    “I want to know how God created this world”

    You know that Einstein uses the word God as a metaphor here?

    He also said “The word God is for me nothing more than the expression and product of human weakness”

    Steven Hawkins is an atheist. He doesn’t feel the evidence leads one to a deity. Perhaps he’s wrong, but you can’t say his position is rooted in ignorance of the facts..

    Reply
  252. Nathan Barley says:

    Hitchens strikes again. This time in the UK, with Stephen Fry on his side arguing against the motion “The Catholic Church is a force for good in the world”. Their opponents were the right-wing Christian politician Ann Widecombe and an Archbishop.

    There’s a good reported on it today in the right-wing paper The Telegraph, under the headline “Intelligence Squared debate: Catholics humiliated by Christopher Hitchens and Stephen Fry”

    Before the debate, for the motion: 678. Against: 1102. Don’t know: 346. This is how it changed after the debate. For: 268. Against: 1876. Don’t know: 34. In other words, after hearing the speakers, the number of people in the audience who opposed the motion increased by 774.

    The journalist is a Catholic and ends his report:
    “I found myself wishing, one, that the Catholic debaters would for once not content themselves with offering pettifogging excuses but instead actually own up to some of the charges, and, two, I wished that there still existed a great Catholic apologist like Chesterton or Belloc, someone who was not only brave and prepared to square up to the Hitch, but was his intellectual equal. Surely there is someone today who could do that?”

    Reply
  253. Mark Ducharme says:

    “…someone who was not only brave and prepared to square up to the Hitch, but was his intellectual equal. Surely there is someone today who could do that?”

    Mr. Barley, send him the link to the above debate. That should make him happy.

    Reply
  254. Andrea says:

    “Dr. Turek provides clear and concise arguments that point to a creator/designer of the universe. These arguments are very easy to understand and make sense.”

    Right on Mr. Focused.

    I don’t understand how people don’t find reasonable that:

    1) Everything has a starting point that just is.

    A line starts from one singular point. A building can’t exist without a foundation. An experiment can’t function without a definite constant.

    2) Our Universe can’t make itself. Inanimate matter can’t create all that exists.

    3) Therefore it is reasonable to assert that there is an eternal and intelligent Mind behind it all, that IS the starting point that just IS and therefore doesn’t require a cause.

    On top of that…

    Ex: If Michael Jackson didn’t empirically prove to have the skills to be the King of Pop, he wouldn’t be the King of Pop today or have caused the tremendous impact he did….

    -Two thousand years have passed. If Jesus Christ didn’t prove to be God incarnate, He wouldn’t be considered God today.

    -Surely over time somebody would have been able to out-do Him if indeed He didn’t prove Himself to be the Savior of humanity/ God in the flesh. BUT that didn’t happen.

    -Christ outdid those that came before Him, and those that have come after Him fall short in comparison to Him.

    ” My high school science teacher once told me that much of Genesis is false. But since my high school teacher did not prove to be God by rising from the dead, I’m going to believe Jesus instead.”

    -Andy Stanley

    Reply
  255. Toby R. says:

    “Therefore it is reasonable to assert that there is an eternal and intelligent Mind behind it all, that IS the starting point that just IS and therefore doesn’t require a cause.”

    Let me ask this. If this entity is spaceless, timeless, and immaterial, then what does eternity mean? Eternity is an infinity of time. But if there is no time, then there is no infinite time.

    Reply
  256. Andrea says:

    Hey Toby,

    Eternity means not restrained by time. Or in other words, limitless. Something that is eternal is not constrained by time, since God as Creator created- He alone is the infinite one, and everything else is finite since it is created by Him.

    You know when something is eternal a.k.a always existed, it doesn’t require a cause.

    God is the uncaused first cause. He alone is Creator and everything else is created and finite.

    Reply
  257. Toby R. says:

    Ms A,

    If something “always existed”, then it has existed either an infinity or it would appear frozen in one changeless instant. If it is changeless then it can effect nothing else. It cannot create. If you say it is infinite or existed infinitely, then that is presupposing an infinite measurement of time.

    How does one on your side of the table deal with the idea that the future is infinite? It will continue forever. If the universe ends in “heat death” time would still continue on into infinity.

    Reply
  258. Toby R. says:

    No. you can’t separate “eternity” and “time.” They are locked together. One is a measure of the other. One, time, is essentially numbers and math, which is always brought up here as being “objectively true” or transcendent or whatever and immaterial. So how an you separate time from the immaterial ether if time is essentially an “immaterial” idea?

    Reply
  259. Andrea says:

    In reference to God being infinite, He exists outside of the realm of that which He created. He created time, therefore He is not bound by time.

    Something that is infinite has no beginning or end, it is self-existent.

    Infinite- Not constrained by anything.

    Reply
  260. Toby R. says:

    Well, how convenient for him/her.

    Infinite. How can something be infinite and yet still have space for the universe? How can something be infinite, perfect, changeless, timeless, immaterial, spaceless, and yet have a need for imperfection. change, time, material, and space?

    Reply
  261. Toby R. says:

    “Infinite- Not constrained by anything.”

    Yet this god is constrained by your ideas of him/her/it being spaceless, timeless, and immaterial. To classify something is to constrain it.

    Reply
  262. Tim D. says:

    Nothing can be truly, literally infinite, within or without the universe. If it were infinite, then there would be nothing else but it. If god exists but is infinite, then we should only see god and nothing else — no life, no nature, nothing. Just god, god, everywhere. Not in the loose, swimmy metaphorical sense that pastors love to twist this into, either — in the literal sense. We as humans could not exist if an infinite god existed. There would be no space for us to exist in, because god would occupy everything; there would be nothing anywhere except for god.

    Reply
  263. Toby says:

    Toby,

    That’s why God has no boundaries and shouldn’t be constrained by us either. When we say He is immaterial, spaceless, timeless, personal, powerful, and intelligent we are classifying Him as inexhaustible, perfect, and without limits. He didn’t create this Universe because He needed it or was found lacking in Himself, but as an overflow of His greatness.

    But on Tim’s side that would be like saying that a building can’t have a foundation, because the whole building would have to BE the foundation. That’s not the case with what we can observe. Experiments depend on constants, and a picture starts from one singular point. Everything goes back to what it depends on. Anything that has limits is created, and it all goes back to what the created creatures depend on- their Ultimate Uncreated Creator, outside of all realms.

    Reply
  264. Tim D. says:

    But on Tim’s side that would be like saying that a building can’t have a foundation, because the whole building would have to BE the foundation.

    Analogy malfunction. Foundations aren’t infinite.

    Reply
  265. Andrea says:

    Tim,

    How do you define a Constant?

    A Constant just is.

    The Ultimate Constant by definition would have to have no limits, consequently it would be eternal/self-existing/infinite/no boundaries.

    Everything that is created would have to depend on the Ultimate Constant a.k.a. The Uncreated Creator.

    Reply
  266. Mark Ducharme says:

    Two realities:

    atheists
    1) those who don’t believe in what they won’t understand but 2) will believe in that which doesn’t require humility (see: absolute, moral standards) eg; “Not being able to quantify ‘love’ in any known human experiment, atheists (must) conclude that it is a figment of our, chemically induced, imaginations and not the result of the sacrifice of a loving Creator.”

    Christians
    1) those who fall to their knees at the realization that they were created by a loving God and 2) forgiven by the spilling of His blood, and 3) want desperately to bring this revelation to “the lost” eg; “When humans experience the revelation (ie: epiphany) that God took on flesh and knowingly went to the Cross for their salvation, they usually become Christians.”

    Reply
  267. Toby R. says:

    ““Not being able to quantify ‘love’ in any known human experiment, ”

    What does this even mean? What kind of jibberish are you spouting?

    Reply
  268. Mark Ducharme says:

    //What does this even mean? What kind of jibberish are you spouting?//

    If there is no God -ie: the Creator of all, whom we all must answer to- what is your explanation for the concept of love? I (we)have an absolute law giver who wrote the truth on my (our) heart(s). The atheist? The atheist is a beginning and end in his self. Created by none other than the union of sperm and egg. So, “love” can exist as no more and no less than it’s physical composition as affected by ones “environment”. In other words: you have an evolutionary urge to procreate which -over the centuries- has come to be called “love”. Given the chemical make-up of most humans, it would more accurately be called “rutting about in the buff w/ the other ‘centers of the Universe’ “. Honestly, how one can extrapolate that out to other, more altruistic, forms of love is beyond me but please, do tell.

    Reply
  269. Tim D. says:

    The Ultimate Constant by definition would have to have no limits, consequently it would be eternal/self-existing/infinite/no boundaries.

    No limits means no boundaries. No boundaries means nothing outside of it. Which means nothing else.

    Or are you of the persuasion that “everything is god?”

    1) those who don’t believe in what they won’t understand but 2) will believe in that which doesn’t require humility (see: absolute, moral standards) eg; “Not being able to quantify ‘love’ in any known human experiment, atheists (must) conclude that it is a figment of our, chemically induced, imaginations and not the result of the sacrifice of a loving Creator.”

    Hm. Catchy. Did you make all of that up just now? Or did you read it in a book somewhere?

    Reply
  270. Mark Ducharme says:

    //Hm. Catchy. Did you make all of that up just now? Or did you read it in a book somewhere?//

    Four score and seven…er, um, I made it up of course. Although, now that you mention it, it is about time I get down to writing the great American novel. (Readers Digest ® version of course…danged carpal-tunnel!)

    Reply
  271. Nathan Barley says:

    “Not being able to quantify ‘love’ in any known human experiment”

    It’s not jibberish – just patently false. This is purely an assumption on your part, and a false one.

    Reply
  272. Mark Ducharme says:

    Nathan Barley said: “It’s not jibberish – just patently false. This is purely an assumption on your part, and a false one.”

    I’ll bite. Sans the Creator, how do you “quantify” love? Morality? Justice?
    Also, please explain why one persons’ idea of right and wrong or, reality or, anything, for that matter, should have more value than anyone elses. To paraphrase Mr. Turek: what is the atomic weight of an idea? If it’s just chemicals and natural selection then atheism is only “correct” if its opposition can be ground into a fine pulp by its “fittest” representatives.(see: Tian’anmen square…well, that’s one for atheism)

    Reply
  273. Andrea says:

    Hey Tim,

    I’m not a pantheist.

    So that you get an idea of what I’m trying to say it’s like a painter vs. the painting itself. The painter is NOT the painting, but is outside of the realm of the painting.

    So right. God is outside of ALL realms…. He alone is IT… and the Ultimate Constant… but He is the Creator. To intertwine it with my example…. the Painter of (all that exists)- the painting.

    It’s a matter of painter vs. painting. The painter is NOT the same as the painting. The painting depends on the painter and exists because of the painter who painted it.

    Hope you get a better view of what I’m trying to say.

    Thanks!

    Reply
  274. Toby R. says:

    If god is great and infinite and perfect, then how could anything else exist? Where would there be room for it? If there is perfection why would perfection have a desire to create imperfection? If something is perfect then you might imagine that it’s perfectly content, it lacks nothing. So what would spawn creation? I’ll probably get the answer, “But creation wasn’t for the creator, it was for the created.” But then there’s still the desire to create something. Not only that there’s a whole book about how this creator wants you to suck up to him. (“Oh, no. He wants you to want to be with him.”) Well there goes that perfection wanting and desiring again.

    Reply
  275. Nathan Barley says:

    “I’ll bite. Sans the Creator, how do you “quantify” love?”

    Mark, go ahead and do your own research. You’re the one making blanket statements about the limits of science, not me. You could try starting with ‘serotonin’.

    Anyway, ‘sans the creator’? What difference does positing a creator make to the question? That means you don’t have to ‘quantify’ love any more? You just get to say ‘it’s magic, no more questions required.’

    “what is the atomic weight of an idea?”

    What is the atomic weight of Tuesday? There, I’ve just proved that Tuesday doesn’t exist!

    “atheism is only “correct” if its opposition can be ground into a fine pulp by its “fittest” representatives.”

    Add ‘survival of the fittest’ to your research, it’s something else you don’t understand.

    Reply
  276. Tim D. says:

    The painter is NOT the painting, but is outside of the realm of the painting.

    No it’s not. It’s in the exact same physical realm as the painting. They are both comprised of matter and bound by the same physical rules.

    It’s a matter of painter vs. painting. The painter is NOT the same as the painting. The painting depends on the painter and exists because of the painter who painted it.

    Then it’s impossible for the painter to be infinite. If he was, there couldn’t be a painting; definitions (and limitations) are what allow things to exist. The only way you can tell what is god and what is not god is if god has a definition (i.e. limitation) that separates him from other things.

    Also, analogy malfunction; comparing a human to a painting is in no way similar to comparing god to the universe, unless you mean to imply that god himself also needs a creator — according to you, if something exists, then it must have had a creator, simply by virtue of the fact that it exists. So if a painting exists, it needs a painter. If a painter exists, then it needs a….painter-maker….0.0

    “But creation wasn’t for the creator, it was for the created.”

    ….which would be odd because the created wouldn’t need anything if they hadn’t been created….

    Reply
  277. Andrea says:

    Toby,

    Creation is an overflow of God’s abundance. You’re right, He doesn’t need us. He’s perfect in and out of Himself .

    What I was trying to tell Tim is that it makes sense to have a stable constant for creation, outside of its realm, just like a science experiment requires a constant in order to work. Or just like a building needs a foundation. A building can’t just float in the air, you know what I mean?

    Reply
  278. Andrea says:

    Tim,

    Aren’t you limiting God by saying that He can’t create? You said it yourself He in infinite, therefore has no limits in His perfect nature, correct?

    I
    I
    I
    I
    I
    O——————————————->
    I
    I
    I
    O—————————->
    I
    I
    I
    O——->

    Tim, I think it’s more like: We know we are not God because we have limitations. Anything that has limitations is NOT God and by definition is created. You see my example is flawed in that a painter and a painting are finite. But I’m trying to give you an example were I don’t use God to try to emphasize a point. God alone is infinite, so He can’t be compared with things of the world.

    My point in the painting example is how we are outside of the realm of the painting, and that a painting can’t paint itself.

    You like my drawing? 🙂

    Reply
  279. Andrea says:

    Tim,

    My drawing didn’t post like I made it…..

    I drew it like this:

    O—————–>

    O——->

    The created lines depend on the Creator line.

    I think my drawing came out sideways or something… hope you get the picture though…..

    Reply
  280. Andrea says:

    My infinite line keeps not wanting to post, but I put the infinite line at the top and the created lines (had a beginning) at the bottom….

    I think I’m going to stop drawing pictures…. it’s not really posting like I want it… haha…

    Reply
  281. Toby R. says:

    “Creation is an overflow of God’s abundance. You’re right, He doesn’t need us. He’s perfect in and out of Himself .”

    Hence my above post. If he’s completely, utterly perfect then there should be nothing else. Creation implies a lack or desire, even if the desire is, “I’m so perfect I want to see what I can do.”

    Reply
  282. Tim D. says:

    it makes sense to have a stable constant for creation, outside of its realm, just like a science experiment requires a constant in order to work. Or just like a building needs a foundation. A building can’t just float in the air, you know what I mean?

    That in itself does make sense. But you are positing far, far beyond that by presuming that (A) this constant is outside of the physical universe (because the only way we can know about this rule is due to research conducted from inside the physical universe, and therefore we not only don’t but can’t know if the same would apply from outside of THE penultimate sum of all physical systems, i.e. our universe); and (B) that it is infinite.

    But I’m trying to give you an example were I don’t use God to try to emphasize a point.

    This is impossible if god is real, and if your claim that god is not in any way comparable to any finite object or concept.

    God alone is infinite, so He can’t be compared with things of the world.

    Exactly.

    My point in the painting example is how we are outside of the realm of the painting, and that a painting can’t paint itself.

    Yet we *aren’t* outside the realm of the painting….

    Maybe this will make it clearer….if something has no limits, then it is everywhere all the time without exception; no matter where you point, there it is, because that thing is infinite and therefore has no end; it is *everywhere.* That’s what “infinite” means. If it is everywhere, then that means that it occupies all space, both metaphorical/metaphysical and physical, such that there is literally no room for anything else to exist.

    If god is infinite, then I should be able to point anywhere and say, literally — without deference to metaphor or hyperbole or analogy — “there is god, he’s right there.” Because he should be there, literally, because he is infinite and therefore everywhere. Note that I say he should be there, not his creation should be there; something perceived to be evidence of god does not fulfill this criteria (such as “the wonder of nature” or what-have-you).

    The very fact that there exists ANY point in space to which I can point and say, “that’s not god, he’s not right there,” or “that is something that is separate from god,” is solid metaphysical proof that, insofar as this deity exists at all, he is not truly infinite.

    Reply
  283. Tim D. says:

    Didn’t catch this:

    even if the desire is, “I’m so perfect I want to see what I can do.”

    Keeping in mind that if he’s truly perfect, then he should already know what he can do, so that’s moot anyway.

    Reply
  284. Andrea says:

    Toby,

    “Utterly perfect then there should be nothing else.”

    In order for something to be called “Perfect” there has to be something else. How do you know what is perfect unless you got something to compare it with?

    Reply
  285. Andrea says:

    Tim,

    To make my point about the painting clearer I meant that the painter is not paper. The painter is outside of the realm of ‘paper’.

    Tim we can use the knowledge we have to logically conclude that there should be an Ultimate Constant i.e. Creator that everything is dependent on for its existence.

    God is present everywhere like you say, His Spirit is who convicts us of sin, and His Presence is everywhere. Since He has no limits He can control what we see of Him. Right now we see the products of His existence: Creation.

    I find this interesting, because it poses good emphasis on our free will. Because of the failure of Adam and Eve, Scripture indicates that God wants those that trust Him for survival and desire Him. If God showed us His literal tremendous Glory, who wouldn’t want to go with God? Just like you would want your wife to fall in love with YOU and not your gifts, possessions, or power.

    Since God has tremendous power, is perfect, infinite, etc… He can create, and what He creates then by definition wouldn’t be infinite, because infinite means no beginning or end.

    Every time I say ” A Creator outside of our realm”…. think…. ” A painter who is outside of the realm of paper.”

    Does this make better sense?

    Reply
  286. Toby R. says:

    “In order for something to be called “Perfect” there has to be something else. How do you know what is perfect unless you got something to compare it with?”

    So either you’re saying that god couldn’t exist without the imperfection of the universe, mean that he’s dependent on the universe’s existence, or you’re saying that he made something imperfect to prove that he’s perfect. In which case he’s a braggart.

    “Since God has tremendous power, is perfect, infinite, etc… He can create, and what He creates then by definition wouldn’t be infinite, because infinite means no beginning or end.”

    If god is perfect and infinite and has tremendous power then he can create infinite things. Otherwise he’s impotent. So what you’ve done here is restate the cliche, “Can god make a stone so big that he cannot lift it.”

    Reply
  287. Mark Ducharme says:

    On October 25th, 2009 at 10:23 pm,Toby R. said: If god is great and infinite and perfect, then how could anything else exist? Where would there be room for it?

    This is a good question and much like one I’ve always wanted to ask you: If natural selection is, well, the natural order of things why is life so abundant and diverse? Wouldn’t it be inexorably headed towards one giant, all consuming (literally! I mean, this thing would be able to eat dirt, its own feces, anything), self sustaining organism that could NEVER die? We are talking about billions of years here. Why the beauty? Why the intricacy? Why the life forms that resemble / utilize human type engineering? If the 2 cell monster could eat the 1 cell midget, then the 4 cell colossus could devour them all. And on and on. There is NO scientific explicatus for the absolute splendor of creation anymore than there is for the creativity and beauty of your imagination. Those qualities come from the Light of the Creator (“…created in His image…”) and when that Light is absent, the horror of darkness comes in to play.

    Wish I could say it better but, Turek is right when he says, “You have to sit in Gods’ lap to slap His face.” Your anger towards the very concept of Him reveals the source of, virtually, every atheists’ quandary: denial. God loves you, Toby. He really does. More than my silly little words could ever express. Deep down inside, you know it. Otherwise, you wouldn’t be “wasting” your precious, oh so finite!, time on this issue. You want us to prove you wrong, and we are failing. Well, I will pray that He reveals Himself to you. Just remember, you’ll still have a choice. You can even choose to continue not to see Him. He’s inviting you to the prom. Ball’s in your court now…or very soon, anyway.

    Reply
  288. Mark Ducharme says:

    @ Nathan Barley

    “I’ll bite. Sans the Creator, how do you “quantify” love?”

    Mark, go ahead and do your own research. You’re the one making blanket statements about the limits of science, not me. You could try starting with ’serotonin’. Got it: serotonin = love

    Anyway, ’sans the creator’? What difference does positing a creator make to the question? That means you don’t have to ‘quantify’ love any more? You just get to say ‘it’s magic, no more questions required.’ Not to be rude, Nathan my friend, but “magic”? Perhaps we both need to study the “other camp”.

    “what is the atomic weight of an idea?”

    What is the atomic weight of Tuesday? There, I’ve just proved that Tuesday doesn’t exist! Well, smarty-pants, can you prove that Tuesday exists? Seriously, haven’t seen it in like a week or somethin’. Seriously II: since most living things are not aware of Tuesday (and many humans don’t even agree on it) it seems that we are out voted on that one. ? Good-bye / Nathans’ Tuesday / Who could really prove you’re real? / When you change w/ each new Leap Year / Still don’t get his point though… ?

    “atheism is only “correct” if its opposition can be ground into a fine pulp by its “fittest” representatives.”

    Add ’survival of the fittest’ to your research, it’s something else you don’t understand. For the ironically impaired (not you, Nate, those other people): I was mocking the “force the square peg into the round hole” mentality of Communism right there. But thank you for the advice just the same.

    Reply
  289. Andrea says:

    Hey Toby,

    When I talk to my friends they often say “Yeah well I messed up today, you know because nobody is perfect.” That word “perfect” implies that which lacks nothing. Every time us finite creatures use the word “perfect” we are implying the Ultimate Standard, the Creator.

    Infinity is one, you can’t have more than one infinity. Everything that comes to be has one singular starting point. From creation it would be logical to assert that there is a Creative Mind behind that.

    Then you have the tremendous historicity of Christ proving to be God incarnate i.e. the Savior of Humanity.

    God has given us concrete proof of His existence through Creation, our Conscience, and Christ.

    Like Mr. Ducharme says God loves you, so much He sent His Son to die for you. He took your place, so that you would be free to spend eternity with Him- your Maker. It’s all a matter of who you’re going to trust, God or yourself. God made you, so how could you trust yourself? You know what I mean?

    It’s like you’re a newborn baby… who are you going to trust for your survival, you or your mom? Answer is obvious huh?

    Reply
  290. Nathan Barley says:

    “I was mocking the “force the square peg into the round hole” mentality of Communism right there”

    Thank Goodness, Mark. For a minute I thought you were one of those people who think that communism = atheism. If you want to discuss communism, we can, but I thought we were discussing something else.

    Your irony might have been lost due to it being so similar to the many Christians who DO try to conflate the two, and who also think that ‘survival of the fittest’ is the same as ‘the strongest wins’. When of course, the ‘fittest’ in nature could easily be (and often IS) the smallest, weakest or slowest. Apologies if you already understood this.

    “Seriously II: since most living things are not aware of Tuesday (and many humans don’t even agree on it) it seems that we are out voted on that one. ”

    So it comes down to a popular vote? Most living things aren’t aware of Mars either, or a god for that matter. Not sure where you’re going with this. My point was that it is a strawman to say scientists/atheists don’t believe in anything that can’t be weighed.

    Reply
  291. Toby R. says:

    “This is a good question and much like one I’ve always wanted to ask you: If natural selection is, well, the natural order of things why is life so abundant and diverse?”

    Uh, this isn’t much like the question I asked at all.

    Your idea of an undying crap-eater displays a lack of imagination in conjunction with a lack in research into how evolution works.

    “Why the beauty? Why the intricacy?”

    Because of the billions of years. You must either be very impatient or you have a concept of evolution that is very fast. It’s a slow, slow, slow process.

    Why the intricacy?

    Because it is slow, small changes.

    Why the beauty?

    It is what it is. You’re calling it beauty is just a human reaction to it. To it’s power to amaze.

    I’ll not respond to the rest of your post because it is, in my estimation, a plea attempt to win someone over. It’s piffle.

    Reply
  292. Toby R. says:

    Andrea,

    Neither you nor ducharme have attempted to answer why, if god is infinite and perfect, then is there anything else. Instead you’re both trying to recruit me with the same old stuff you’ve being saying over and over.

    Reply
  293. Tim D. says:

    To make my point about the painting clearer I meant that the painter is not paper. The painter is outside of the realm of ‘paper’.

    That’s a fair point in itself. But your terminology is wrong and thus confusing; “a painter is not a piece of paper” is not the same thing as “a painter is outside the realm of a paper.” Realm meaning dimension, which refers to the manner in which they exist. Which is very much the same.

    It’s best to avoid excessive poetic license when discussing precise physical attributes, I think 0.0

    Every time I say ” A Creator outside of our realm”…. think…. ” A painter who is outside of the realm of paper.”

    Analogy malfunction, version 3.0. Are you still trying to compare god to the universe in the way that you can compare a painter to a painting? If so, it’s an analogy malfunction because the painter-painting relationship is not at all like the god-universe relationship you are supposing. Why?

    1) If god creates a universe, then he does so without preexisting materials. The painter requires preexisting materials. So the painter manipulates what already exists; it exists outside of him, independently of his state, and changes it. He does not create, he rearranges. God in the same analogy does not rearrange; he creates from scratch. The role of a painter is very, very different from the role of a god in this scenario.

    2) If god is infinite, then there can exist no other being or form except for his own; if he is without boundary, then there is nothing separate from him. It is a blatant contradiction for god himself to have no boundary, but for his creations to have a boundary; that’s like saying a 3-dimensional object like, say, a door, has only one side; the other side doesn’t exist. It needs to have enough sides to complete its shape. Such an incomplete geometric shape cannot exist in 3- or 4-dimensional space.

    In that same way….you are working backwards and thus causing analogy malfunction. You are starting with humans, saying that we (and our universe) have boundaries, and then moving on to suppose a god that has no boundaries. Were you to start with god as infinite (without boundaries), you would see right away that it is impossible to proceed past that point; if god exists first and foremost, and is infinite, then he has no boundaries; thus, all things everywhere are god (for there can be no other entity, inside or outside the universe, that is god), and you have a Universalist approach to god.

    This is a good question and much like one I’ve always wanted to ask you: If natural selection is, well, the natural order of things why is life so abundant and diverse?

    This confirms my theory that you are arguing based on pretexts obtained somewhere other than here; you keep bringing up “natural selection,” “atheism,” “evolution,” and other such things as a response to genuine criticisms of points you’ve parroted from elsewhere. I suspect you also barely understand the claims you’re repeating; hence, you assume that the other person is an atheist or a ‘darwinist’ or such and you argue against that. It’s as if you’re saying, “Oh yeah? I’m wrong? Well you’re more wrong!”

    Even if you were to actually manage to “shoot down” evolutionary theory, natural selection, atheism, or any of your other off-hand targets with such shoddy technique, it still wouldn’t change the fact that you are completely incapable of defending your own theories (which isn’t that bad, really, nothing to be ashamed of — they’re not yours, anyway. You’re just repeating what you’ve been told. So I can’t say I blame you for being so unable to defend them).

    Well, smarty-pants, can you prove that Tuesday exists?

    It doesn’t. There’s no such thing as “Tuesday.” It’s a word — nothing more — that we adopt to describe the state of our solar system (more specifically, our planet within that system) once it has reached a certain portion of a cycle that repeats over time (the “weekly” cycle, another such word that we have adopted based on our planet’s state at a certain point in an even larger cycle, the “yearly” cycle….so on and so forth).

    Infinity is one, you can’t have more than one infinity.

    First off, no; infinite is not one, it is infinity. It has no definite value because it is infinite. Second; you can’t have more than one infinity, precisely, because the very existence of that infinity rules out the possibility of other existing infinities, especially in the meta/physical sense. This has nothing to do with the other infinity being infinite, though; it has to do with the fact that another, definite entity exists (which happens to be infinite). Even if that other infinity were finite, it still couldn’t exist because the first entity is infinite and thus leaves no room anywhere for another disconnected entity that is not itself to exist.

    Reply
  294. Mark Ducharme says:

    Nathan, when I said “Seriously II: since most living things are not aware of Tuesday (and many humans don’t even agree on it) it seems that we are out voted on that one. ”, it was a reference to the fact that “Tuesday” -or love or justice or any other abstract- is merely each individuals’ opinion. Without some authority declaring it such, that is. Most of us (W.A.S.P.S.) agree on Tuesday, otherwise markets, schools, etc. would go bonkers. To wit, to the extent that we deny the ultimate law giver, mankind is now in a state of chaos and depravity.

    Q) Why do you think America is so exceptional in leading the way on science, medicine, compassionate outreach to the afflicted and every other positive human endeavor, while communistic, and other non Christian nations do almost nothing to advance the human condition? And remember, virtually all modern technology is born of western culture. That’s why more has been done in the above areas in the last one hundred years than in the previous known history of the Earth. W/o U.S., the Arabs are still sitting on the oil that they currently hoard to NOBODY’S benefit but their own. W/o U.S., the Ruskies are still huddled in starving masses over a bowl of gruel. W/o U.S., Japan knows nothing of technology, EXPORT-import or the joys of Cheap Trick concerts. W/o U.S., the current state of depravity in the world has countless unfettered monsters doing their work w/o fear of reprisal. Granted, they’d still be doing it w/ long guns and machetes but they would be unchecked. Sorry to break it to ya, but the above GOOD things come courtesy of our love for and faith in a higher power. Simple as that. (Oy, this ought to make his head explode! I just went from “God is great” to “USA – NUM-BER1!!!” -and back again- in the blink of an eye…steady, Nathan, steady…)

    Reply
  295. Nathan Barley says:

    Mark, you present a false dichotomy between America and the rest of the world. It’s not America on one side and communist states on the other. America beats many Western European nations in some stakes, loses in others (eg murder rates, obesity rates, abortion rates, childhood mortality, suicide rates).

    America has more money to invest in science than many other nations, but other nations more than pull their weight per capita. And these scientists that you hold up are much less likely to be religious than the general population. So props to you on your scientists, but they’re not flying the flag for Jesus like you wish they were.

    “the Arabs are still sitting on the oil that they currently hoard”

    Right, but look what atheistic Norway has done with theirs. (I’m guessing this is a(nother) subject you know little about).

    Reply
  296. Toby R. says:

    I’ll add that if this were, or there were somewhere else, an entirely christian nation their literature, their music, their arts, would suck. Big time. You can only write so many songs with the phrase, “God/Jesus/He is mighty/awesome/great.” Has anyone ever listened to christian music? Blah. The movies would all about about the sinner turned clean. The books would be the same. Paintings and sculpture would all be about crosses or holey hands or naughty women with snakes and apples. It would be a stifled, boring mess.

    Reply
  297. Andrea says:

    “Neither you nor ducharme have attempted to answer why, if god is infinite and perfect, then is there anything else.”

    Toby and Tim,

    Would you agree that a constant in physics is a number expressing a property, quantity, or relation that remains unchanged under specified conditions, and in mathematics a quantity assumed to be unchanged throughout a given discussion?

    That makes sense….

    Then do you agree that everything that comes to be has a starting point? So that you don’t have the infinite regress problem?

    So if you combine constant + everything that comes to be has a beginning= It would be logical to reason that God, meaning Ultimate Cause and Creator of everything, is indeed a reality.

    Inanimate matter can’t create. Things that are designed and intricately made logically have a Mind behind that.

    Something is created by the Creator, and the Creator is different from that which is created.

    I’m not postulating something that is illogical. It is reasonable, you agree?

    Instead of using the word ‘infinite’, I’m going to use the word ‘constant’ since they both mean- never changing, something that JUST IS, period.

    Reply
  298. Mark Ducharme says:

    //You can only write so many songs with the phrase, “God/Jesus/He is mighty/awesome/great.” Has anyone ever listened to christian music? Blah. The movies would all about about the sinner turned clean. The books would be the same. Paintings and sculpture would all be about crosses or holey hands or naughty women with snakes and apples.//

    Religious bigotry, it’s what’s for sinners. Gotta thank you for the illumination there, Adolph, er, Tim, my friend. Your thoughtless rant serves to illustrate why the advancement of atheism was responsible for the high concentration of mass murder in the last century. Once you can pigeon hole a group as worthless, it’s much easier to start taking their rights away. If you think that’s outrageous, just spew your hate this way: “You can only write so many songs with the phrase, “booty/fried chicken/watermelon is delicious/awesome/great.” Has anyone ever listened to black music? Blah. The movies would all (be)about about the welfare and food-stamps. The books would be the same. Paintings and sculpture would all be about basketball or gold teeth or naughty women with gigantic bottoms and huge afros.”

    But hey, at least you have the good sense to fling your hate at a target approved by congress and the Obama administration. Which, come to think of it, puts you in very appropriate, fascistic, company.

    Reply
  299. Tim D. says:

    So if you combine constant + everything that comes to be has a beginning= It would be logical to reason that God, meaning Ultimate Cause and Creator of everything, is indeed a reality.

    There is a marked discrepancy between your science and your claims about god here. How do you know that (a) god exists as a physical or metaphysical entity, and (b) that he is uncaused? There is nothing about causation that infers or implies that anyone’s god is the first cause; if anything, theories about a first cause only necessitate that there IS a first cause. Nothing has ever been established to show that, even if a being like god does without a doubt exist somehow, that it is the first cause.

    Given the information we have, it’s entirely possible that god himself really *does* exist, but isn’t the first cause. He himself could have been caused by something else from outside the scope of his existence. There’s just no relation between the two whatsoever. It’s a common copout to claim, “Well, god’s super powerful and just IS the first cause,” but that’s nowhere in the established canon, even Biblically speaking. That’s just fanon that we’ve made up to fill in uncertainties to help creationism look bettwe in the war against science.

    Inanimate matter can’t create. Things that are designed and intricately made logically have a Mind behind that.

    Analogy meltdown; if being caused is a prerequisite to exist in ANY sense — which you conveniently assert for any entity that isn’t specifically named to be your particular god that you believe in — then god himself MUST also have been caused. If god exists but is not caused, that that is solid metaphysical evidence that existence does not have to be caused; that it can spontaneously happen. Maybe not within a closed system like our universe (such as matter randomly appearing), but that says nothing for the alignment of the states of our universe which allowed such things as matter, space and time to exist or be perceived in the first place, or about the universe itself….but then that’s a whole different theory, anyway~

    Instead of using the word ‘infinite’, I’m going to use the word ‘constant’ since they both mean- never changing, something that JUST IS, period.

    Well, at least you’re not arguing crazy things like “something infinite/with no borders to itself can exist at the same time as something finite” anymore.

    Religious bigotry, it’s what’s for sinners. Gotta thank you for the illumination there, Adolph, er, Tim, my friend.

    I’m sorry, did you just attribute someone else’s quotation to me? -_-

    But hey, at least you have the good sense to fling your hate at a target approved by congress and the Obama administration. Which, come to think of it, puts you in very appropriate, fascistic, company.

    You’re a funny guy. For one, the part of Toby’s post you quoted is about Christians, not blacks, which is a fine line indeed; blacks do not have a codified behavioral standard that causes strict similarities between them even across regions. Christians do.

    Not to say I necessarily agree 100% with what was said. Just that your response is, as usual, even more inept than the original statement. You still have yet to correct (or even acknowledge) any of the numerous factual blunders you’ve made in your most recent statements, so for better or worse you seem to have been delegated to comic relief in my book 😀

    Reply
  300. Tim D. says:

    But hey, at least you have the good sense to fling your hate at a target approved by congress and the Obama administration. Which, come to think of it, puts you in very appropriate, fascistic, company.

    You’re a funny guy. For one, the part of Toby’s post you quoted is about Christians, not blacks, which is a fine line indeed; blacks do not have a codified behavioral standard that causes strict similarities between them even across regions. Christians do.

    Forgot to mention; this argument you’re using now is the same argument that you’ve attacked in the past when people have invoked it to defend gays. Christianity is a set of choice actions and beliefs, not something unchangeable like being black. Attacking a person for something that is beyond their control (being black, for example) is an entirely different statement from attacking someone for their choice actions and/or superstitious beliefs (i.e. being Christian), just like you guys like to keep us constantly reminded that attacking someone for being gay (i.e. according to you, a “choice action”) is supposedly different from attacking someone for being black.

    Reply
  301. Mark Ducharme says:

    //America has more money to invest in science than many other nations, but other nations more than pull their weight per capita.// You mean like China? Seriously, what does this mean? That we have more money, but only because of our population? But America is evil because we have TOO MUCH money per “capita”, remember? Get your bumper stickers in order before posting please. Also, as one might note in the area of American “education”, money does not equal quality when you are talking about a government operation. But competition does. A bunch of mind numbed Swedes or Norwaydians or whoever putting their stamp of certification on the UN mandated conclusion to the question of “climate change” only proves that said mind numbed nuts understand how to keep the “research” funds coming.

    //And these scientists that you hold up are much less likely to be religious than the general population.// Oh, I love this one. Atheists always stroke themselves w/ the old, “Were smart an yer dumb, so they’re!” point w/ imaginary and or meaningless facts like this. Yes, your average idiot propagating the incomprehensibly infantile notion that man made global warming is an undeniable truth probably is an atheist. They may even be the majority but you yourself just pointed up the fact that a majority does not reality make. The status-quo of 30 years ago warned of the coming Ice Age! Godless, egomaniacal twerps, as well, no doubt.

    //So props to you on your scientists, but they’re not flying the flag for Jesus like you wish they were.// They may not give Him credit but, with each new TRUTH discovered, they prove more and more that the Universe was designed and created by an intelligent being.

    //Right, but look what atheistic Norway has done with theirs. (I’m guessing this is a(nother) subject you know little about).// If you ever deny your denial of the sovereignty of God, please pray for a genuine sense of humor. These petty swipes are not only 100% imagination free, but they are not very interesting as well, either, also. (see? i can be a redundant, crashing bore too!)

    Reply
  302. Mark Ducharme says:

    //blacks do not have a codified behavioral standard that causes strict similarities between them even across regions. Christians do.// It seems I have just scratched the surface of how a bigoted mind works. Somehow you can say the above w/ a straight face and not even know yourself how bigoted it is. Amazing! It’s like watching an experiment in a laboratory…as portrayed in a dramatic rendering about bigots in the days of old. Wow!

    Now that you’ve established that all Christians are narrow-minded, uncultured, racist, cretins it seems silly to ask you why you hold the next knee-jerk assumption to be true as well but here goes anyway:

    //just like you guys like to keep us constantly reminded that attacking someone for being gay (i.e. according to you, a “choice action”) is supposedly different from attacking someone for being black.// Who attacks homosexuals here? Does being against the restructuring of society, via the family, as it has been for thousands of years constitute a hateful attack?

    Tell ya what, you go on your hateful way and I’ll go on being whatever it is you think I am. I’ll “hate” the “gays” and you can go on disapproving of us Neanderthals because, surely, never the twain shall meet.

    p.s. Sorry for the err in attribution of quote(s). Being a bigot, you guys all look the same to me.

    Reply
  303. Tim D. says:

    It seems I have just scratched the surface of how a bigoted mind works. Somehow you can say the above w/ a straight face and not even know yourself how bigoted it is. Amazing! It’s like watching an experiment in a laboratory…as portrayed in a dramatic rendering about bigots in the days of old. Wow!

    Sure, whatever.

    Now that you’ve established that all Christians are narrow-minded, uncultured, racist, cretins it seems silly to ask you why you hold the next knee-jerk assumption to be true as well but here goes anyway:

    Why don’t you tell me where I said that? I can’t seem to find it on my own. Or do you mean to say that there’s nothing whatsoever that you Christianfolk agree upon, be it morally, scientifically, or otherwise?

    It’s a simple fact. There has to be something that ties you all together as Christian, or else the label would have no point — and I’m not talking about poetic license, either. As much as I’d hate to get into an argument about the semantics of what a “bigot” is with someone who uses the word so freely, there is nothing more “bigoted” about identifying the common behavioral ties between Christians than there is about saying that “all atheists lack belief in a god,” or “all black people have dark skin.”

    I once again propose the theory that you are a paranoid parrot. I think you’re like an accused killer being interrogated by a police detective; you’re jumping to conclusions and spitting out things that haven’t been claimed or established by either party yet, simply because you’re so obsessed with “beating” me at my own game….whatever you may think that is.

    Who attacks homosexuals here? Does being against the restructuring of society, via the family, as it has been for thousands of years constitute a hateful attack?

    _>

    Tell ya what, you go on your hateful way and I’ll go on being whatever it is you think I am.

    What are you so angry about? Was an atheist mean to you before or something? What do you have against atheists so badly?

    I’ll “hate” the “gays” and you can go on disapproving of us Neanderthals because, surely, never the twain shall meet.

    Gah, I hope not. If you hate anybody, then I surely want as little to do with you as possible, especially considering how fervently this “hate” you’re confessing to seems to be.

    p.s. Sorry for the err in attribution of quote(s). Being a bigot, you guys all look the same to me.

    That’s what I figured, but I wasn’t going to say anything….

    Reply
  304. Andrea says:

    Tim,

    God is the un-caused first cause. Or in other words… the TOP of the tops. That’s what I mean when I say Ultimate Constant.

    If there was something that caused “god” then whatever caused IT would be what we mean by GOD, or Ultimate Uncreated Creator.

    Hey Tim sorry to get into yalls conversation… but us Christians are no different from the worse sinner down the street apart from Christ. All of us deserve to go to hell, all of us have desecrated God, and none of us can measure up to Him. Jesus ate with sinners and showed tremendous compassion to everybody. That’s how we are to be. We share the gospel, and Christ does the changing of the person from the inside out. We should not discriminate, hate, or avoid people since we are all in the same boat and can only be saved by the same Savior: Jesus Christ.

    That’s what I do…. I share the gospel… try to show love to people… and let them exercise their free will… because after all I can’t force them to accept God, ya know. It’s between them and God, but at least I can educate and inform. God does the changing, not us.

    Reply
  305. Nathan Barley says:

    “But America is evil because we have TOO MUCH money per “capita”, remember? ”

    Really? If you say so.

    “You mean like China? Seriously, what does this mean? That we have more money, but only because of our population? ”

    My post was quite clear. Where did you get China from? China – that communist nation USA owes trillions of dollars to – has a larger population than America, so obviously I was not referring to them.

    Mark, if you have an opinion on America’s scientific success, I’d hope you are basing it on figures of some kind, rather than pulling it out of your ear. I’m sure you can do your own reserach to compare USA to other countries to make per capita comparisons, using whatever measure you feel is fair. Why not start with Sweden, UK, Austria, Denmark.

    Or don’t. Just keep chanting ‘USA USA USA’ to yourself with your fingers in your ears.

    “Gotta thank you for the illumination there, Adolph”

    It’s not unusal to see people accusing using others of being like Hitler, when they have very little knowledge about Hitler. But it’s funny to see someone doing it who can’t even spell the guy’s name right.

    “please pray for a genuine sense of humor”

    Don’t worry mate, I had a pretty good laugh about your “Japan knows nothing of technology” post.

    Or is this all a joke – you’re doing a parody of ‘The American who knows nothing about the rest of the world’? Is so, good job.

    Reply
  306. Tim D. says:

    God is the un-caused first cause. Or in other words… the TOP of the tops. That’s what I mean when I say Ultimate Constant.

    Interesting hypothesis. What evidence do you use to draw the conclusion that, if god exists, he is uncaused?

    If there was something that caused “god” then whatever caused IT would be what we mean by GOD, or Ultimate Uncreated Creator.

    Exactly. And your creator may not even be aware that he had been created, much like I assume humans weren’t before the whole Biblical era thing (again, assuming god existed).

    Hey Tim sorry to get into yalls conversation…

    I actually don’t really care about that other conversation. I was just pointing out that Ducharme was relying on the same arguments that he normally discounts. But it wasn’t really my case to begin with.

    It’s not unusal to see people accusing using others of being like Hitler, when they have very little knowledge about Hitler. But it’s funny to see someone doing it who can’t even spell the guy’s name right.

    There’s a phrase people often use in this kind of situation called “Godwin’s Law.” If you’re not familiar, I recommend Wiki’ing it as it’s pretty funny and interesting given the context (and especially given how frequently Hitler’s name gets thrown around places like this without much consideration; what’s that? You did something politically ambiguous? HITLER! Huh, you want to increase government influence over the medical industry? NAZI! What, you want to give money to charity? Nice job, ADOLPH!).

    It reminds me of dealing with hardcore gun nuts — not just the NRA kind, the REALLY far-out kind that sits around with their trigger fingers twitching, ignoring any and all safety rules for gun ownership and operation, shooting holes in the floor by accident every time somebody says “Obama” or “new gun regulation.”

    Don’t worry mate, I had a pretty good laugh about your “Japan knows nothing of technology” post.

    I am SO VERY glad I’m not the only one who saw that XD

    Reply
  307. Nathan Barley says:

    I called someone else out on a ‘Godwin’ a couple of days ago on another thread here. If you were a right-wing Christian, wouldn’t you want to avoid reminding people about a right-wing mass murderer who was obsessed with Martin Luther?

    And it was you who pointed out the ‘Japan’ comment to me Tim. As a matter of fact, I love your country, the dozen or so states I’ve visited anyway. There’s not much point in discussing American supremecy with someone who doesn’t seem to know anything about the rest of the world.

    Reply
  308. Toby R. says:

    “Religious bigotry, it’s what’s for sinners. Gotta thank you for the illumination there, Adolph, er, Tim, my friend.”

    You are truly the first four letters of your last name (the addition of an ‘o’ and an ‘e’ at the end would clarify it.” You invoke Hitler? HITLER? What kind of person are you? I give a critics response to christian music and suddenly I’m some sort of mass murderer? A bigot? Then you follow it up with this crap:

    “But hey, at least you have the good sense to fling your hate at a target approved by congress and the Obama administration. Which, come to think of it, puts you in very appropriate, fascistic, company.”

    You have revealed yourself. You are nothing more than an AM radio, Rush O’Reilly. You’re a tea bagging Beck in love with your conspiracy theories. You draw Hitler moustaches on pictures of people you don’t agree with. You read the morning paper over a cup of cheap Hills Bros coffee, smoke your cigarette and continually mutter, “This whole country is going to hell.”

    Reply
  309. Tim D. says:

    You have revealed yourself. You are nothing more than an AM radio, Rush O’Reilly. You’re a tea bagging Beck in love with your conspiracy theories.

    I think the word was, um….wait….

    *mumblemumbleparrotmumblemumble*

    ….hmmwhat?

    Reply
  310. Andrea says:

    “And your creator may not even be aware that he had been created.”

    Tim,

    I’m not even referencing the Bible here though. I’m talking about THE Creator, the One who caused everything else, and the definite starting point.

    So my creator is NOT the one not aware of being created…. mine and your Creator is the One aware that He created and is Uncreated/ Self-existent, like a Constant should be.

    That’s what I mean.

    Reply
  311. Tim D. says:

    I’m not even referencing the Bible here though. I’m talking about THE Creator, the One who caused everything else, and the definite starting point.

    So my creator is NOT the one not aware of being created…. mine and your Creator is the One aware that He created and is Uncreated/ Self-existent, like a Constant should be.

    That’s what I mean.

    That’s all fine, but you still haven’t explained how you know that. What evidence do you draw upon to hypothesize that your god — assuming he does exist beforehand — is THE one true uncaused first cause? How do you know that god didn’t just create this universe, but not the realm in which he exists?

    It’s entirely possible that god exists in a non-physical realm outside of this universe that is easily beyond our comprehension — we would not even be aware of it if not for god’s direct intervention, correct? So then it’s entirely possible that there exists a “god of gods” beyond that realm which created god, overseeing his progress as god himself created this universe and ensuring that god himself was bound to his definition of good. In fact, this theory solves a lot of plotholes in your current one — this god of gods could be the “supreme” law to which god himself is bound, the nature of good and evil. And it’s entirely possible that this new god of gods is what keeps your god in line (adhering to the “objective moral code” of “goodness”), and thus solves the dilemma of your god being his own judge and jury.

    Wow, you know what? I think I’m going to write a paper on this. It’s actually not bad for something I came up with while arguing on a forum 0.0

    Reply
  312. Andrea says:

    Hey Tim,

    You know I was talking to a guy about just what we are talking about and he also asked this question:

    “That’s all fine, but you still haven’t explained how you know that. What evidence do you draw upon to hypothesize that your god — assuming he does exist beforehand — is THE one true uncaused first cause?”

    I told him that he wasn’t getting my point. I’m saying that whatever/whoever really IS the uncaused first cause is God. God means Ultimate Creator of creators, Ultimate Cause of the causes. Just like you were saying above. Except I don’t get the part when you say that “how do I know that my god is the first cause”…. no no. I don’t have a “god”. I’m talking about THE God. My Creator, your Creator, the Creator of all the raw materials.

    So the Top (and I mean TOP) of the tops is God who caused everything else to exist and take place, a.k.a uncaused first cause.

    You see where I’m getting at?

    Reply