If You’re Sick of Thoughts and Prayers Because Shootings Still Happen, You Don’t Understand Christianity

By Natasha Crain

In response to the latest tragic school shooting, social media is on the warpath against anyone who dares to offer “thoughts and prayers” for the situation.

Thoughts and Prayers

Popular articles feature headlines like, “Everyone Is Finally Realizing ‘Thoughts And Prayers’ Are Not Saving Our Kids” and “People Sick of ‘Thoughts and Prayers’ Demand Action After Florida School Shooting.”

The hashtag #thoughtsandprayers is trending on Twitter, with scathing tweets about how worthless thoughts and prayers are.

My own Facebook newsfeed is filled with similar posts and comments.

Scrolling through these articles and social media posts, I can’t help but wonder how many people who make such comments understand the Christian worldview and the role of prayer within it. The online commentary often reflects a serious misunderstanding of what Christians believe.

With that in mind, I’m writing this post for two reasons. First, if you’re a regular reader of my blog, this is an important subject to discuss with your kids. The war on “thoughts and prayers” is one they need to understand given the unfortunate frequency with which this subject is arising. Second, I hope non-Christians will take the time to read this and better understand why being “sick of thoughts and prayers” because shootings still happen doesn’t make sense if you know what Christians believe.

Let’s start here: the phrase “thoughts and prayers” lumps two completely different things together.

The “thoughts and prayers” verbiage became part of our cultural lexicon because people wanted a way to request help and/or care from a mixed audience of religious and non-religious listeners. But just thinking something—no matter how charitable those thoughts may be—does nothing. This is something that Christians and non-Christians should all be able to agree on. “Sending thoughts” is simply an expression of solidarity with no practical consequence.

Now, some people would say, “There’s no difference between those inconsequential thoughts and prayer. Thoughts do nothing, and prayers do nothing. That’s the point.”

If God doesn’t exist, then that’s true. People are praying to a supernatural being who isn’t there. By saying, “I’m sick and tired of thoughts and prayers because they don’t matter,” you’re basically just stating you don’t believe God exists. Fair enough. In that case, it makes more sense just to say, “I don’t believe in God, so I don’t pray as part of my response, but here’s what I think we should do…”

However, there’s no reason to be sick and tired of Christians praying to the God you don’t believe in unless you hold the faulty assumption that Christians see prayer as an alternative to other actions and you’re resentful of that presumed choice. That leads me to the next point.

Christians expect to pray and take other action.

When Christians say, “We’re praying about this,” it doesn’t mean we don’t think anything else should be done. We don’t, for example, say we’re praying over the school shooting, and therefore we don’t need to have discussions about gun control policy, about how to provide for the financial and physical needs of victims, or about school security. Commenting on how prayer won’t do something, but (fill in the blank) action will, betrays the incorrect assumption that Christians think only prayer is needed. Kim Kardashian’s recent tweet is one example of such faulty logic:

Note that some people are complaining specifically about what they see as the hypocrisy of leaders who offer thoughts and prayers and allegedly do nothing else, but that’s another issue. The Bible clearly demonstrates that God asks Christians to pray and take other action.

So what do Christians pray about in a situation like this? A number of things, such as comfort for the victims’ families that God would bring some kind of good from the tragedy, that those who are injured would heal, that the families of the kids who survived would know how to get the help they need, and much more. But for purposes of this post, it’s more important to understand what Christians don’t pray for… 

Christians don’t pray expecting God to rid the world of free will.

Many people, like the Twitter user below, seem to resent that Christians and other theists still believe in God when our past prayers didn’t “work” to prevent school shootings—in other words, could we all just dump this crazy belief in God already?

It’s important to understand why this is a significant misunderstanding of the nature of free will in a Christian worldview.

Christians believe God created humans with the ability to make morally significant choices. We can use that free will to do good or to do evil. If God had chosen to create us without free will, we would simply be robots. Given this nature of our world, it’s hard to imagine how this Twitter user and so many like him envision God eliminating school shootings specifically—through prayer or anything else.

Would God make it so that every time a troubled youth enters a school for such a purpose, they change their mind? Or would He make it, so they accidentally break their gun on the way in? Or would He have them fall and break a leg? Or would He make a vicious dog appear out of nowhere to attack them?

It would be a bizarre world where God completely eliminated the free will to conduct a specific type of evil. Christians don’t pray expecting that as an outcome of prayer because it’s inconsistent with the basic nature of the world we believe God created.

The continuation of school shootings literally has nothing to do with whether or not God exists and whether or not God answers prayer.

There’s, therefore, no reason to look at Christians with contempt for continuing to believe in God after multiple school shootings. We never expected our prayers to eliminate free will.

Furthermore, it should be noted that if God doesn’t exist, there’s little reason to believe people have free will at all. In an atheistic worldview, life is the product of purely natural forces. In such a world, our decisions would be driven strictly by physical impulses—we would be bound by the shackles of physical law.

As biologist Anthony Cashmore acknowledges regarding his atheistic worldview, “The reality is, not only do we have no more free will than a fly or a bacterium, in actuality, we have no more free will than a bowl of sugar. The laws of nature are uniform throughout, and these laws do not accommodate the concept of free will.”

If you don’t believe God exists, then don’t blame the shooter. He would just be acting according to his physical impulses. And don’t blame people for offering thoughts and prayers. They didn’t have a choice.

Finally, if you assume that shootings are evil and something needs to be done, you’re assuming an objective moral standard that only exists if God exists.

I understand the outrage that everyone feels right now. A tragic event like this is evil. But here’s the thing: If you believe that certain actions like killing 17 people at a school are objectively wrong—meaning they are wrong regardless of anyone’s personal opinion—then you believe objective moral standards exist. However, objective moral standards cannot exist unless a higher-than-human moral authority like God exists.

I’ve talked a lot about this moral argument for God’s existence with my kids, and my 9-year-old son came up with an insightful example to illustrate it last week. He loves Rubik’s Cubes and for some reason had been looking at a video with my husband where someone was using an all-black one. A normal cube has different colors on each square, and the challenge is to turn the cube until each side only has one color.

The day after he saw the video, he came to me with a serious face and wide eyes and said, “I think I have an example of what we were talking about with morality. When a Rubik’s Cube is all black, none of the moves matter. You can do anything. But when they have colors, then there is a pattern you’re supposed to do.”

It took me a second and then I realized what a great insight that is! If God doesn’t exist, morality is like the squares on an all-black Rubik’s Cube. There’s no right or wrong way to go; no move is better than another because there is no pattern or standard in place. It’s just your choice. In such a world, school shootings can legitimately be considered good or evil. But if God exists, He provides the colors and the objective standard for how they are to line up; we can see where the pieces should or should not go. In such a world, school shootings are an example of what should not happen. On all-black Rubik’s Cubes, however, there can be no should.

So let’s sum up what Christians believe:

  • God exists.
  • He’s perfectly good, and that goodness is the basis for the objective moral standards by which we can call things good and evil.
  • School shootings are objectively evil.
  • School shootings and other evil actions will always occur in our world because God created us with free will.
  • We don’t expect prayer to eliminate free will because that’s the nature of our created world.
  • We pray for God’s help in the midst of evil.
  • Prayer is in addition to, not instead of, other human action.

There’s nothing here to resent if you don’t believe in God.

In fact, if you believe that shootings are evil and that people have the free will to choose whether to shoot or not, your worldview is actually more consistent with theism than atheism. Maybe you should reconsider prayer after all.

For full conversations to have with your kids on the subjects discussed in this post, see the following chapters in my book, Talking with Your Kids about God:

Chapters 1-6: Evidence for God’s existence

Chapter 23: How do we know God hears and answers prayer?

Chapter 26: Do we really have free will?

Chapter 29: How should we make sense of evil?

 


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71 replies
  1. Andy Ryan says:

    The point is that we’ve had school shootings for years and ‘thoughts and prayers’ are all that’s been offered. No practical measure gets implemented. The only thing politicians have offered this time is arming teachers – which the teachers mostly don’t want and virtually no-one else actually believe will help.
    .
    “However, objective moral standards cannot exist unless a higher-than-human moral authority like God exists”
    .
    That strikes me as a non sequitur. Why does a God existing make any difference to whether or not there are objective moral standards? That aside, the idea that you have to believe in God before you can care about kids getting shot to death is ridiculous and offensive.

    Reply
    • Thoughtful Discussion says:

      “The point is that we’ve had school shootings for years and ‘thoughts and prayers’ are all that’s been offered. No practical measure gets implemented. The only thing politicians have offered this time is arming teachers”

      The article: “Note that some people are complaining specifically about what they see as the hypocrisy of leaders who offer thoughts and prayers and allegedly do nothing else, but that’s ANOTHER ISSUE. The Bible clearly demonstrates that God asks Christians to pray and take other action.” (emphasis added)

      So to be clear, this is a resentment towards government, its regulations, bipartisanship politics, and the ability to make law. This not about individual thoughts and prayers being something to resent in them of themselves; this is the point of the article. Because we all want the shootings to be prevented.

      Why do you see it as non sequitur? An objective standard cannot be created by humans, that makes it subjective. It cannot come from a mere animal, they’re morally below us. It must come from an unchanging moral lawgiver higher than humans in authority. God follows as a logical conclusion. No such similar explanatory power comes from an atheistic worldview. Note, as pointed out, atheism actually concludes there are no objective morals.

      “That aside, the idea that you have to believe in God before you can care about kids getting shot to death is ridiculous and offensive.”

      I’m sorry you’re offended, but no one even implied that one must believe in God as a prerequisite to understanding basic moral truths. If you’re unaware, there is still general revelation that’s written on everyone’s hearts, Romans 12:14-15. The murdering of young innocent humans, for example, is objectively wrong. Would you agree? But there are those who unfortunately suppress this truth, and further those who commit evil acts.

      The article did, however, clearly point out how inconsistent it is for an atheist to call murder objectively bad without a standard of good. If there is no such standard, then murder is neither good or bad, it is just a thing that occurs. Only the theist can back the claim that school shootings are objectively wrong, and should be prevented.

      Reply
      • toby says:

        An objective standard cannot be created by humans, that makes it subjective.
        Can we agree that there is such a thing as subjective morality?
        .
        It must come from an unchanging moral lawgiver higher than humans in authority.
        And then there’s a regress of where that lawgiver got his laws and on and on. If you claim that the lawgiver is then the standard, then the lawgiver is not a subject, but an object. As such it becomes hard to argue that this thing can have free will or any sort of choice in anything.
        .
        God follows as a logical conclusion.
        Not that I can see.
        .
        No such similar explanatory power comes from an atheistic worldview.
        Not necessarily. If we were to discover some biological purpose to humanity, then we’d have a basis for building a moral code.
        .
        All of my posts above really are pointless because I don’t think objectivity is something you can ascribe to morality. It’s much like saying something is objectively beautiful, objectively funny. Some things have no standard.

        Reply
        • Thoughtful Discussion says:

          “Can we agree that there is such a thing as subjective morality?”

          Morality, moral code, and terms of the like seem to imply a standard right? It’s just a matter of if that standard is relative (user, culture, time, ex.) or not. I would say it’s fine for one to use the adjectives subjective and objective for clarity, as we have here. But I’d agree subjective morality is more akin to being simple popular opinion, if that’s what you were getting at.
          .
          “If you claim that the lawgiver is then the standard, then the lawgiver is not a subject, but an object. As such it becomes hard to argue that this thing can have free will or any sort of choice in anything.”

          Yes, God is the unchanging moral standard. He didn’t get them from anywhere, He’s always had them. That’s what unchanging means.

          How do you define free will? If free will is the ability to make a choice undetermined by causal factors outside yourself. God is clearly free in that sense. If you mean that God cannot do everything, I agree. He cannot make a rock so heavy that He himself couldn’t lift it. Why? Well, because that’s illogical. Similar to trying to make a one ended stick or a square circle. God cannot do something illogical because that’s against his perfect nature. For the same reason, God cannot do evil either.
          .
          “Not that I can see.”
          Is it that you cannot understand or you do not agree? If God was an alien, human from the future, or some other being that’s simply higher in morality than us then your prior question of regression would actually make sense. But that’s not the god we’re discussing now, is it? An unchanging perfect moral lawgiver only points to the Lord. You might not believe in Him, or are more open to some other possibility, but that doesn’t discredit Christian theology being sound. So, it’s not non sequitur.
          .
          “Not necessarily. If we were to discover some biological purpose…”
          If being the key word. I’ll restate, no such similar explanatory power comes from an atheistic worldview now. And, further, atheism’s natural conclusion is that there is no objective morals. Something with which you seem to be in agreement.
          “…I don’t think objectivity is something you can ascribe to morality.”
          .
          “It’s much like saying something is objectively beautiful, objectively funny. Some things have no standard.”
          Entertainment or personal preference is not morality. Keeping on topic, the murdering of young innocent humans is wrong objectively. Would you agree or disagree? You’re of course free to say no because you think it’s only subjectively wrong or an opinion with which most people concur.
          .
          “All of my posts above really are pointless…”
          That might be the case if you feel there are no objective truths. However, for the conversation as a whole, I have faith you can learn and benefit from the exchange. It may only be a pebble, but I hope it helps. God Bless!
          .
          (P.S. How did you get your text to be bold like that btw? Did you use HTML? Test test.)

          Reply
          • Thoughtful Discussion says:

            Great, got it!

            Well, this is certainly going to help when formating responces.

          • Mark Heavlin says:

            @THOUGHTFUL DISCUSSION
            .
            If you get the chance I would love to know your thoughts on the comments under the article “Bart Ehrman & the God of Christmas”. Specifically, regarding “free will”, “aeonios”, “aion”, and “universalist restorationist view”.
            .
            Thanks

          • Andy Ryan says:

            Given how I defined morality, then murder is wrong. You can say my definition is ‘subjective’, but all words have subjective definitions. The important thing is that two people using that word understanding the same meaning of it. If you and I both define morality the same way then we can agree that murder is wrong. The blog we’re replying to uses an analogy involving a Rubik’s Cube. Thing is, the rules of the cube are completely subjective – they were invented by a Russian named Rubik. Same as the rules of chess. But we all agree to those rules. Given that, we can say one chess player is objectively better than another. We can say certain moves are ‘illegal’.
            .
            “An unchanging perfect moral lawgiver only points to the Lord.”
            You’re the one calling him ‘perfect’ and a ‘lawgiver’. What makes him perfect and a lawgiver rather than just a being that’s a lot smarter and more powerful than us? Say we allow for the sake of argument that there’s a very powerful being that created the universe that we can see. And he has a nature that doesn’t change. How do you get from that to ‘this being is the moral standard’? His nature has a bunch of attributes that he didn’t ‘get’ from anywhere – what makes those attributes ‘good’ and what do you mean by calling them ‘good’ if the only standard for those attributes his nature itself?
            .
            Take ‘loving’ as an attribute – is it just random that God happened to have this as an attribute of his nature? If ‘vindictiveness’ had been one of his attributes, would you be calling that a ‘good’ attribute? Or is there something about ‘loving’ that is INHERENTLY good, such that a perfect God would HAVE to have that as one of his attributes?

          • Mark Heavlin says:

            Take ‘loving’ as an attribute – is it just random that God happened to have this as an attribute of his nature?
            .
            I can not even begin to fathom how something could be random in an eternal Being.
            .
            .
            From a Google search on “christian attributes of god and their meaning”
            .
            https://www.allaboutgod.com/attributes-of-god.htm
            https://www.allaboutgod.com/attributes-of-god-2.htm
            .
            AND/OR
            .
            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Attributes_of_God_in_Christianity
            .
            .
            P.S. – I am not a bot.

          • Andy Ryan says:

            “I can not even begin to fathom how something could be random in an eternal Being”
            .

            That’s fine, you’re difficulty in getting your head around the subject is understandable – meta-ethics is a tricky subject. But you seem to be saying you believe there’s a reason God has the attributes he has – it’s not random, so it has to be for a particular reason, right? For example, ‘loving’ is an attribute he necessarily HAD to have. That suggests the inherent ‘goodness’ of the attribute ‘loving’ stands apart from God. Loving isn’t good because God has that attribute; rather, God has that attribute BECAUSE it is good.
            .
            Thus, ‘loving’ is good attribute regardless of whether a God exists or not.
            .
            Unless you can explain another reason that God’s nature has the particular attributes it has that isn’t a) random or b) those attributes are necessarily good apart from the fact he has them.

          • bob says:

            “An unchanging perfect moral lawgiver only points to the Lord.”
            If that is so, then why don’t today’s followers of the Lord stone their disobedient sons to death (Deuteronomy 21:18-21) or do they, but it just doesn’t make the news…?
            .
            If that passage is no longer valid instruction from “the Lord”, then did something change? If so, then “unchanging” is not an accurate description of “the Lord”.
            .
            Was that instruction “perfect(ly) moral”? If so, then modern day followers of “the Lord” should really, really want to stone their disobedient sons to death, and should be lobbying their state legislature to enact such provisions, perhaps under a religious freedom platform…perhaps?
            But if Christians do not feel they should be able to stone their disobedient children, is it because they do not believe every old testament mandate was “perfect”?
            .
            r.u.reasonable@gmail.com

          • Mark Heavlin says:

            @ANDY RYAN – We can say certain moves are ‘illegal’.
            .
            In regards to chess ever see two people playing where the one knows and enforces the “en passant” rule and the other one does not know that rule? If not then let me tell you it gets heated pretty quickly. The ensuing argument kinda reminds me of the discussions here.
            .
            .
            “But you seem to be saying you believe there’s a reason God has the attributes he has – it’s not random, so it has to be for a particular reason, right? For example, ‘loving’ is an attribute he necessarily HAD to have.”
            .
            Again; I am not sure how “there’s a reason God has”; “not random”; and “necessarily HAD to have” even apply to a Being that is Eternal, i.e. has no beginning has no end. It is not like he himself was created. He just is. One of the things He says of himself among many others is: “I AM“. It is literally impossible for a finite being to fully comprehend the Infinite One.

          • Andy Ryan says:

            “Again; I am not sure how “there’s a reason God has”; “not random”; and “necessarily HAD to have” even apply to a Being that is Eternal, i.e. has no beginning has no end.”
            .
            Yes, it sounds like you can’t get your head around it. You’ll need to work it out for the discussion to continue though. And until then, saying that objective morality comes from God’s nature is just a non sequitur.
            .
            “It is not like he himself was created. He just is.”
            Yes, I get that – my point didn’t involve an assumption that God was created. You haven’t addressed my questions. You’re just shrugging them off by saying you don’t see how they apply to God, but they do. His nature has attributes, and he’s always had them – right. And you’re saying we get our standard of goodness from that nature and those attributes, right. Now, either those attributes and the only attributes he could POSSIBLY have had, or those are the attributes his nature HAPPENED to have, or there’s a third option you need to give me. Note, it doesn’t work to suggest a third option that’s actually one of the other two options in disguise.

          • Mark Heavlin says:

            “If that passage is no longer valid instruction from “the Lord”, then did something change?”
            .
            Yes, this was the change: Jesus Christ came to this world born of a virgin, lived a sinless life, suffered and died a brutal death on the cross; and then was resurrected on the 3rd day; ascended to heaven to prepare a place for all believers; currently sitting at the right hand of GOD; and is coming back to receive the believers unto himself; and to judge all men.
            .
            .
            Do you have no understanding of the Old Testament versus the New Testament?
            .
            The “Old” is GOD’s covenant with Israel. The “New” is GOD’s covenant with the entire world.
            .
            Matthew 5:17-20 17 Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them, but to fulfill them. 18 For I tell you truly, until heaven and earth pass away, not a single jot, not a stroke of a pen, will disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished. 19 So then, whoever breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do likewise will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. 20 For I tell you that unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.
            .
            .
            “But if Christians do not feel they should be able to stone their disobedient children, is it because they do not believe every old testament mandate was “perfect”?”
            .
            No, it is because we are covered under the “New Testament” or “New Covenant”.

          • toby says:

            Morality, moral code, and terms of the like seem to imply a standard right?
            Not at all. Beauty, comedy, art, perfection (as in perfect car, perfect shade of blue, etc). None have objective standards.
            .
            How do you define free will? If free will is the ability to make a choice undetermined by causal factors outside yourself. God is clearly free in that sense.
            This is a rabbit hole to fall into. No choice is undetermined without causal factors outside yourself. For there to be a choice there has to have been two or more things leading up to it to cause a choice to happen. So circumstance forces a choice and that choice is made by factors that have influenced the person in the past. Either you agree that past experience and knowledge influence every choice—that every choice is determined by something—or a choice is completely random. Do you think someone allergic to pickles would ignore their past experiences and knowledge and choose to eat a pickle?
            .
            God clearly isn’t free if he is unchanging. I’ve yet to hear how something unchanging can act or do anything.
            .
            He cannot make a rock so heavy that He himself couldn’t lift it. Why? Well, because that’s illogical. Similar to trying to make a one ended stick or a square circle. God cannot do something illogical because that’s against his perfect nature.
            Do you know that these are definitional trick questions? They’re absurd because we have defined what a circle is, therefore it can’t be a square, because we have defined square as being a different shape. I think it’s as illogical to say that god is eternal and unchanging, then say that he can make a decision, which would be a change. I don’t even see how something unchanging can have any kind of thoughts at all. There’s a lot of smoke and mirrors and misdirection in apologetics.
            .
            Is it that you cannot understand or you do not agree?
            I do not agree. And the reason for that is that objectivity cannot be shown to be a characteristic of morality. What theism has done is design an answer for a question it made up in the first place. Or defined a type of morality for which only a god can be the answer, but as Andy points out, doesn’t really answer it well.
            .
            the murdering of young innocent humans is wrong objectively. Would you agree or disagree?
            And this is the trick that apologists think is a gotcha. This is an emotional appeal to our naturally occurring revulsion of the thought of us getting murdered, someone we know getting murdered, or us murdering someone else. Look how you had to phrase it “murdering of young innocent humans”. Why not simplify it to “murdering humans”? Why not “taking someone’s life”? Because there are always exceptions. It’s okay to murder someone that’s trying to murder you. And now someone will say, “that’s not murder, that’s killing in self-defense!” It’s a shifting goalpost that shows that morality cannot be objective, it’s depended on knowledge and situations and social/biological traits. Look at history. Evidence for morality always having been subjective is everywhere.
            .
            That might be the case if you feel there are no objective truths.
            You’re jumping from morality to truth. Chasing a boogieman of postmodernism most likely.
            .
            Think of this. Apologists say that something is or isn’t moral regardless of human opinion. The question in my mind then becomes, “Well what use is it then?” The only use is the one it was thought up for–divine judgement. But to us, here, practically? It has no use if no one is of that opinion. Let’s say wearing the color red is immoral regardless of anyone’s opinion. Yet people continue to wear red and nothing happens. Either it’s sole purpose is divine judgement or it would have some practical utility. Either morality is a measure of what benefits us or not. You can claim objectivity from your viewpoint, but the apologists ridiculous emotional questions reveal that they too think morality is useful to avoid death and pain. No god is required for us to think that pain and death is scary and bad. Unless we’re a masochist sociopath murder. And guess what, if the world were full of masochist sociopath murders . . . life wouldn’t continue because they’d all kill each other off. As close as we can get to objectivity is that the basic function of life is to live and the best way for that to happen seems to just be “don’t be a murdering jerk” and find the best, most pleasant ways to survive.
            .
            Think about this too. Suppose there’s some objective moral standard that we never found out from god. Heck, suppose there were a million! Because he’s infinite and we’re not. There could be things your god abhors that you don’t even know or realize. Like walking a dog on Tuesdays 4pm. Having an infinite god suddenly opens up an infinite number of ways to be immoral. And if any of those infinite ways has no effect on us or our well being? They why would they be immoral? Whim I guess. A quirk of your unchanging god’s nature.

          • Mark Heavlin says:

            “Yes, it sounds like you can’t get your head around it.”
            .
            While it may be true that I have not got my head around it yet. This much is true as well; you do not have your head around it any further because you continue to use words like “there’s a reason God has”; “not random”; and “necessarily HAD to have”.
            .
            “Now, either those attributes and the only attributes he could POSSIBLY have had, or those are the attributes his nature HAPPENED to have”
            .
            Different song same theme though. How do you know these even apply to an Eternal Being ?
            .
            This much is true GOD describes himself as: “I AM”; YAHWEH; The ALPHA and The OMEGA; Elohim; Yehovah Elohim; El-Shaddai; El-Betel; Yahweh-Mekaddesh; Yahweh-Shammah; among many others.

          • Thoughtful Discussion says:

            @Toby
            .
            Not at all. Beauty, comedy, art, perfection (as in perfect car, perfect shade of blue, etc). None have objective standards.
            I stated “standard”. Further, the next sentence continued “It’s just a matter of if that standard is relative (user, culture, time, ex.) or not.” Please don’t twist my words out of context. So, yes it seems you agree, they do still imply a standard. Those phrases are comparative by nature. Unlike these examples, morality can be objective.
            .
            God clearly isn’t free if he is unchanging. I’ve yet to hear how something unchanging can act or do anything.
            I don’t think it’s wise to equivocate the terms unchanging and inaction. So, let’s be clear, His being is unchanging. He’s eternal, and doesn’t have a past to influence His current self because His existence is not dependent upon time. However, He is still capable of taking action in time He’s created. He embodies Himself throughout a course of action. Taking the action doesn’t change who He is, but it’s merely a reflection of Himself.
            Circumstances only give rise to a possibility of choice, they don’t cause it btw. That’s applicable even for humans.
            .
            Either you agree that past experience and knowledge influence every choice—that every choice is determined by something—or a choice is completely random.
            This is a false premise when applied to God. Again, He doesn’t have a past. He also has no new knowledge to be gained, He’s always been all knowing. Now, I may see the confusion that because He’s both all-powerful and all-knowing the actions He takes took Him no time at all to consider, but he wasn’t influenced beyond his own knowledge that’s always been His.
            .
            Do you think someone allergic to pickles would ignore their past experiences and knowledge and choose to eat a pickle?
            Your reference to a person when discussing God is pointless. God would have known and acted in accordance to His nature.
            .
            Do you know that these are definitional trick questions? They’re absurd because..
            Yes, I agree, and happy we do. I only bring them up as they’re all too often referenced for why God doesn’t have free will and wanted to get them off the table for clarities sake.
            .
            I think it’s as illogical to say that god is eternal and unchanging, then say that he can make a decision, which would be a change.
            Please look at what’s already covered above.
            .
            I do not agree.
            I see. Well if you believe there is no objective moral laws we may just have to agree to disagree on that. I’m unaware of any proof that there are, but if such a thing existed God is the only logical explanation. This brings us back to the subject of the article and who can back claims of unrighteousness and those who cannot.
            .
            And this is the trick that apologists think is a gotcha.
            I don’t see this a gotcha question, certainly wasn’t my intention when using it. I just wanted to find some common ground to work from. Can I assume you don’t agree then? It’s true the question can be simplified, but there are no exceptions that arise. It’s wicked to murder innocence, most people can agree to this, and see school children as innocent. It’s wicked to murder anyone, because murder is the unlawful killing of another human without justification or valid excuse. If you’re referring to killing, well there is a difference, and it’s not a shifting goalpost. God wants to preserve innocence and eliminate wickedness, if you keep that in mind it’s easy to see the distinctions that arise.
            .
            Look at history. Evidence for morality always having been subjective is everywhere.
            You mean humans, who are by Christian definition flawed in a broken world? Of course the morality throughout history is not a perfect reflection of what ought to be. I think we can both be happy with the progress we’ve made though no?
            .
            You’re jumping from morality to truth.
            I did jump, It wasn’t fully my intention.
            .
            “Well what use is it then?” The only use is the one it was thought up for–divine judgement. But to us, here, practically? It has no use if no one is of that opinion.
            If Christian theology is correct, then it has the utmost importance. According to it, we’ll live eternally with or without His presence.
            Either morality is a measure of what benefits us or not.
            It’s called the good news for a reason! It does, because further we’re told these laws are written on our hearts, they are part of us even if we choose to act against them. Unfortunately we only break ourselves when we do, not the law. Thus, we could live a much more fulfilling life if we took note, and lived in a manner that was indicative of the reasons God created us. It wouldn’t be without pain (still in a fallen world), but it’s alleviate a bunch of it that’s unnecessary. Again, you’}re free to disagree, but you’ve undercut the depth and breath of objective truth in doing so.
            .
            No god is required for us to think that pain and death is scary and bad.
            This is an overgeneralization and misses the point that without God this is just popular opinon.
            .
            As close as we can get to objectivity is that the basic function of life is to live…
            The basic function of life is to preserve our own, one doesn’t need to care about other to do so.
            Unless we’re a masochist sociopath murder.
            We can use these terms because it’s easy to call a crooked line as such when we both have knowledge of what it means to be straight.
            Having an infinite god suddenly opens up an infinite number of ways to be immoral.
            You’ve gone a bit far off here haven’t ya? Do you understand Christian theology at all? We all are sinners. We don’t need to know of any more ways to be immoral, we already fall vastly short of the ones we do know. Luckily God’s plan of salvation has already been achieve on the Cross and we can accept His grace. I pray someday you will do so!
            .
            I have to be honest, I don’t have any intention of looking back at this blog post. This isn’t as much of a discussion as it is an explanation of misconceptions, and we’ve gone far off the topic of Christian prayer. I don’t mean to be rude or cut the conversation, but there are other people and things that will benefit more from my time right now. Best of luck Toby!

          • Andy Ryan says:

            “And, further, atheism’s natural conclusion is that there is no objective morals.”
            .
            Depends which atheist you ask. Matt Dillahunty certainly argues for objective morals under atheism. I think Sam Harris does too. And I’d argue that the existence of God is irrelevant to whether or not objective morality exists. If it’s subject to a God’s existence then by definition it isn’t objective.

          • Andy Ryan says:

            “We can use these terms because it’s easy to call a crooked line as such when we both have knowledge of what it means to be straight.”
            .
            There’s no such thing as a completely straight line – even a laser is made up of light waves that bend. But we can conceptualise a completely straight line in the absence of such a thing in reality. Likewise we can formulate a system of morals and then conceptualise a perfect embodiment of those morals without such a thing actually existing. Two hundred years so Christian slavers would be imagining a ‘perfectly moral being’ who condoned slavery. You don’t believe such a God exists, but that didn’t stop them believing in Him and further believing that they were attempting to follow his morals when they bought and sold slaves.
            .
            I don’t want an argument about whether God condoned slavery – my point is that the absence of a God that condoned slavery didn’t stop people using that concept to justify their morality. Thus it’s possible for people to come up with a system of morals they ascribe to a God without that God actually existing.
            .
            So your ‘crooked line/straight line’ analogy doesn’t work.
            .
            “God would have known and acted in accordance to His nature”
            Is there more than one option God can take that is still ‘in accordance with His nature’. If there’s one perfect choice to make then it seems not, meaning that Toby is right – God has no free will. Even you admit that he is forced to act in accordance to His nature. This reduces him to a kind of automaton. I don’t see how you can argue he has free will. Especially as he knows everything that’s going to happen millions of years before it does, meaning he’s just a powerless observer watching a giant piece of clockwork playing out in exactly the way he always knew it was going to.

          • bob says:

            @ Mark
            .
            Do you have no understanding of the Old Testament versus the New Testament?”
            Well, yes – and your response was exactly as I suspected it would be…because that is what you were taught. That’s exactly what I was taught during my 25 years as a bible believing Christian. If one believes that the God of the OT and the God of the NT are the same, then one will subscribe to the claim that both are harmonized and coordinated supernaturally. Unfortunately, that is a claim that is not born of the facts, but born of confermation bias. It is propaganda – and we all know that propaganda teaches people WHAT to think, not HOW to think.
            .
            Matthew 5:17-20 17 Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them, but to fulfill them. 18 For I tell you truly, until heaven and earth pass away, not a single jot, not a stroke of a pen, will disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished. 19 So then, whoever breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do likewise will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. 20 For I tell you that unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.
            OK…so…as v.18 says, all of the OT dictates are still in effect…right?
            .
            …we are covered under the “New Testament” or “New Covenant”.
            Perhaps you need to go back and read the very verses you used in support of your belief – Matthew 5:18 For I tell you truly, until heaven and earth pass away, not a single jot, not a stroke of a pen, will disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished.
            .
            But, if, as you claim, the stoning of disobedient sons is no longer in effect, because of Jesus, then what of all the other OT dictates that Christians love to claim are still in effect – things like the ten commandments for instance – are they still in effect?
            .
            r.u.reasonable@gmail.com

          • Mark Heavlin says:

            @BOB
            .
            Sorry it took a couple days to get to the response; life as they say gets in the way of life.
            .
            .
            “confermation bias”
            .
            I am unfamiliar with the term perhaps you would like to define it?
            .
            I would suggest that you read and understand the entirety of Luke Chapter 24.
            .
            .
            “OK…so…as v.18 says, all of the OT dictates are still in effect…right?”
            .
            Again, the Old Testament was the covenant between GOD and Israel and
            the New Testament is the covenant between GOD and all mankind.
            And yes verse 18 says that the OT dictates are still in place.
            .
            .
            “Perhaps you need to go back and read the very verses you used in support of your belief”
            .
            And in verse 17 “I have not come to abolish them, but to fulfill them” go look up the meaning of the word “fulfill.”
            .
            Jesus lived a sinless life thereby fulfilling the Law. Was crucified unto death and resurrected on the 3rd day. Making him the perfect sinless sacrifice. When we accept the free gift of salvation through grace our sins are covered by his blood and sacrifice. If the free gift of salvation is rejected then you stay spiritually dead in your sins.
            .
            .
            “things like the ten commandments for instance – are they still in effect?”
            .
            .
            My understanding is that 9 of the 10 commandments are covered in the New Testament. The one that is not is the keeping of the Sabbath as Holy.

          • Mark Heavlin says:

            @BOB
            .
            “Perhaps you need to go back and read the very verses you used in support of your belief”
            .
            A second passage supporting what verse 17 above says.
            .
            Acts 13:38-41 38 Therefore let it be known to you, brothers, that through Jesus the forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you. 39 Through Him everyone who believes is justified from everything you could not be justified from by the Law of Moses.
            40 Watch out, then, that what was spoken by the prophets does not happen to you:
            41 ‘Look, you scoffers, wonder and perish; for I am doing a work in your days that you would never believe, even if someone told you.’ “

  2. toby says:

    Your god is supposedly all powerful, all knowing being. If that’s the case, then he knows what you’ll say in prayer 30,000,000,000 years before you say it. If that god has a plan, then prayers can have no effect.

    Also consider that your god is considered omnipresent, meaning he’s everywhere all at once. So when those bullets flew through the air that day in Sandy Hook, they flew right through him on their way into the heads and hearts of those little kids. And he must have thought that was just fine. Cuz our will and all. He’s a swell fella, your god.

    Reply
    • Thoughtful Discussion says:

      “If that god has a plan, then prayers can have no effect.”

      And if God’s plan is to have you openheartedly pray to Him, and use such an interaction as a jumping point to guide you in strength and wisdom?

      See it’s true that God is immutable, and that he’ll already know what we’ll say before we do, but certainly that doesn’t mean the interaction is meaningless. To us, as humans, it could be immensely meaningful. We’ll be the ones affected. Though, He too enjoys our learning, our prosperity as stated in Psalm 35:27.

      As an example, a parent may know that after smelling the cookies that came out of the oven mid-dinner their child will ask for one. They have the power to give the child a cookie, but it’ll their plan to explain that the child must wait for them to cool first, lest they be hurt, and only after they finish their dinner, there’s a proper order to things. The parent may even need to educate them how to ask properly with gratitude, not rudely out of selfishness. The parent would be happy to see the child learn such lessons because of the future positive impact they’ll have, along with the future harm they’ll prevent. Certainly, such an interaction is worth having because it’s filled with meaning and benefit.

      Also, consider that our God is omnibenevolent (He loves each and every one of us perfectly) and His omniscience plan is well beyond our day to day understanding.

      “He’s a swell fella, your god.”

      Especially a twisted understanding where we’ve taken His standard to use against Him. One simply wouldn’t be standing on solid ground when making such an argument.

      Reply
  3. Mark Heavlin says:

    Funny I kinda figured that I would find responses here from the two of you ( Toby and Andy ).
    .
    I also figured that they would be clueless; again as they are.
    .
    The title of the blog sums it up pretty succinctly : “IF YOU’RE SICK OF THOUGHTS AND PRAYERS BECAUSE SHOOTINGS STILL HAPPEN, YOU DON’T UNDERSTAND CHRISTIANITY”
    .
    .
    As neither of you made any comment about the author’s 9 year old’s Rubik’s cube analogy we will take it that you do not understand that either. I can tell you that the 9 year old’s Rubik’s Cube comments is pure genius. “From the mouth’s of babes” as it were.

    Reply
    • Andy Ryan says:

      “I also figured that they would be clueless; again as they are”
      .
      I engaged with points made. By contrast, you offer just content free insults.

      Reply
      • Mark Heavlin says:

        “By contrast, you offer just content free insults.”
        .
        My comment is not content free nor is it an insult. It is my opinion of your comments about the article. But since you feel that way you just smuggled in some objective standard again. Can’t be mine – that is opinion and subjective; can’t be yours either for the same reason. To what objective standard are you appealing?
        .
        .
        “Why does a God existing make any difference to whether or not there are objective moral standards?”
        .
        Because GOD is the source of those objective moral standards they are a part of his divine nature.
        .
        .
        “That aside, the idea that you have to believe in God before you can care about kids getting shot to death is ridiculous and offensive.”
        .
        Not if by the worldview that the shooter is only dancing to the music of his DNA. Who is to say that he is wrong or could have done anything other than what he did.
        .
        When you use the terms “ridiculous” and “offensive” you just smuggled in the concept of a standard that exists outside of the shooter or anyone else. I.e. “GOD”.

        Reply
  4. Mark Heavlin says:

    @Natasha Crain – Your 9 year old is wise beyond his years and sees more clearly than any atheist ever could.

    Reply
  5. KR says:

    “If you don’t believe God exists, then don’t blame the shooter. He would just be acting according to his physical impulses. And don’t blame people for offering thoughts and prayers. They didn’t have a choice.”
    .
    And don’t blame me for thinking that these shootings are wrong and that people who could facilitate legislation to make such shootings less frequent but offer nothing more than thoughts and prayers are immoral. I didn’t have a choice, it’s just my subjective morality – you know, the only kind of morality that can be demonstrated to actually exist.
    .
    “If you believe that certain actions like killing 17 people at a school are objectively wrong—meaning they are wrong regardless of anyone’s personal opinion—then you believe objective moral standards exist. However, objective moral standards cannot exist unless a higher-than-human moral authority like God exists.”
    .
    I believe they’re wrong, I just don’t see any way to demonstrate that they’re objectively wrong. Do you? If you don’t (and I’m pretty sure this is the case), does this mean we can’t say that these shootings are wrong? Of course not – we just can’t sat that they’re objectively wrong. So what? I don’t want to be murdered – and I’m assuming most other people don’t want to be murdered either. Why would we need anything more than that to come to an agreement that murdering people is wrong?
    .
    Appealing to God doesn’t save the argument for objective morality. If something is wrong because God says so then this by definition makes it a subjective position, not an objective one. All you’ve done is to set up God’s subjective morality as a reference point and then claim that this is what we should all calibrate our morality to. What would be the objective reason to accept this reference point? How do we even know what this reference point is? There’s a myriad of theists of different stripes who disagree on all kinds of moral issues – even within the same religion. How do we objectively determine who’s right?
    .
    ” If God doesn’t exist, morality is like the squares on an all-black Rubik’s Cube. There’s no right or wrong way to go; no move is better than another because there is no pattern or standard in place. It’s just your choice. In such a world, school shootings can legitimately be considered good or evil.”
    .
    All that happens if God doesn’t exist is that we can’t appeal to Him as a reference point. Since those who do the appealing have never been able to agree on what this reference point is, this doesn’t seem to be much of a loss. The only reference point that has proven to be useful in real life is the law – a set of rules of behaviour that is established through a completely subjective political process.
    .
    “He’s perfectly good, and that goodness is the basis for the objective moral standards by which we can call things good and evil.”
    .
    If God is perfectly good, then He can only do the perfectly good thing in any situation. This means God has no free will. Does this make God an automaton? If not, why not?

    Reply
    • Andy Ryan says:

      “All you’ve done is to set up God’s subjective morality as a reference point and then claim that this is what we should all calibrate our morality to.”
      .
      My own nine year old daughter understands this point. Whether this makes her smarter than Christians I wouldn’t like to say.

      Reply
    • Mark Heavlin says:

      “All that happens if God doesn’t exist is that we can’t appeal to Him as a reference point.”
      .
      I would like to point out that if GOD does not exist then all that happens is nothing exists.
      .
      John 1:2-3 2 He was with God in the beginning. 3 Through Him all things were made, and without Him nothing was made that has been made.

      Reply
      • KR says:

        “I would like to point out that if GOD does not exist then all that happens is nothing exists.”
        .
        Says you. I see no particular reason to believe that God exists, just as I see no particular reason to believe that there’s any such thing as objective morality. You’re simply making a bald assertion, which doesn’t make for much of an argument. Natasha Crain clearly understands this, since she wrote: “If God doesn’t exist, morality is like the squares on an all-black Rubik’s Cube” – not “If God doesn’t exists, nothing exists”. I don’t think her argument holds up but at least she’s trying to make one.

        Reply
        • Mark Heavlin says:

          Rather than rehash all of the back and forth between BOB, ANDY RYAN, and myself I will simply refer you to the discussion in “How To Become a Better Apologetics Communicator”.
          .
          .
          To be fair it was not Natasha Crain that made that assertion about an all-black Rubik’s cube; it was her 9 year old son. And I thought about saying the same thing to her to tell her son that I told you – kinda wish now that I would have. Decided not to as to keep the 9 year old out of an adult discussion.
          .
          .
          Now back to:
          “You’re simply making a bald assertion, which doesn’t make for much of an argument.”
          .
          I am not making a bald assertion: I am quoting what The Holy Bible says about your point.
          Any argument that you have is with The Holy Bible not me. Now if you want a single best argument. Well I can provide that, but before I do I suggest you go read the comments referenced above.
          .
          John 1:2-3 2 He was with God in the beginning. 3 Through Him all things were made, and without Him nothing was made that has been made.

          Reply
          • Andy Ryan says:

            “To be fair it was not Natasha Crain that made that assertion about an all-black Rubik’s cube”
            Regardless, she thought it worthy of repetition and you told me off for not addressing it.
            .
            “Any argument that you have is with The Holy Bible not me”
            You’re the one presenting it to us, you’re the one we’re having the dialogue with. It’s a bald assertion either way, and doesn’t make for much of an argument either way, as KR said.
            .
            “I will simply refer you to the discussion in “How To Become a Better Apologetics Communicator”.
            If that’s the one where you answered every question regarding why you think the Bible is true with more Bible quotes, then I wouldn’t call that a discussion and I don’t think it’s worth KR’s time to track it down.

          • KR says:

            Claims made without any supporting evidence are, by definition, bald assertions. I’m not going to be convinced by a quote from the Bible any more than you would be convinced by a quote from the Quran. “My book is true because it says so in my book” just isn’t a very compelling argument.

          • Mark Heavlin says:

            As it appears that we are going there again then here goes.
            From this website almost 4 years ago.
            .
            A SIMPLE REASON WHY THE QUR’AN CANNOT BE THE WORD OF GOD
            .
            https://crossexamined.org/simple-reason-quran-word-god/
            .
            .
            BOB said “Anyway, If what you claim is true, just demonstrate it for crying out loud – if “all scripture is God-breathed”, just offer one single best argument that it is so.” And here is my response:
            .
            Just to be ” CRYSTAL CLEAR ” here – you are NOT arguing with me.
            .
            You asked for the single best argument.
            I provided it.
            Since I also know of a warning associated with that argument I provided that as well.
            .
            First go read Acts Chapter 2 the entire chapter.
            Link provided: http://biblehub.com/context/acts/2-1.htm
            Next go read Matthew 12:31-32 and Mark 3:28-29.
            .
            Certain answers to certain questions bear permanent consequences.
            .
            https://billygraham.org/answer/what-is-the-unpardonable-sin-i-am-afraid-i-may-have-committed-it/
            .
            And be very careful before you reply again.
            .
            You are NOT arguing with me. You have been warned.

          • Andy Ryan says:

            Muslims debunk that link in the replies. That should be a warning to you. And you’re right that you’re not arguing with us – you’re arguing with Allah. So watch what you say, Mark. You’re playing with fire.

          • Mark Heavlin says:

            “Muslims debunk that link in the replies.”
            .
            You must have read a different comment section than I did.

          • KR says:

            “A SIMPLE REASON WHY THE QUR’AN CANNOT BE THE WORD OF GOD
            .
            https://crossexamined.org/simple-reason-quran-word-god/
            .
            Jonathan McLatchie’s argument seems to be that since the Bible and the Quran contradict each other on some points and agree on other points, the Quran cannot be the word of God. He sets up this syllogism:
            .
            Premise 1: Either the Bible is the Word of God or it is not.
            Premise 2: If the Bible is the Word of God, the Qur’an is not.
            Premise 3: If the Bible is not the Word of God, the Qur’an is not.
            Conclusion: Therefore, the Qur’an is not the Word of God.
            .
            It seems to me that this syllogism only works if we adopt an “all or nothing” approach with regard to the truth of the Bible and the Quran, i.e. they’re either all true or entirely false. If we don’t apply this constraint, all of the premises become ambiguous. Even if we accept the premises, it’s easily seen that the conclusion doesn’t follow from them. E.g., it could be that the Quran is all true but the Bible is only true where it agrees with the Quran.
            .
            If we accept the “all or nothing” approach, however, the problem (for the Christian) is that the syllogism is completely reversible. If we switch places between the Bible and the Quran, we get this:
            .
            Premise 1: Either the Quran is the Word of God or it is not.
            Premise 2: If the Quran is the Word of God, the Bible is not.
            Premise 3: If the Quran is not the Word of God, the Bible is not.
            Conclusion: Therefore, the Bible is not the Word of God.
            .
            IOW, the syllogism is either built on a false premise (that the Bible and the Quran must be either completely true or completely false) or – if this premise is true – it demonstrates that neither the Bible nor the Quran can be completely true. Note also that the syllogism doesn’t exclude the possibility that both books are completely false.

          • Mark Heavlin says:

            “Muslims debunk that link in the replies.”
            .
            So as an atheist when are you converting to Islam and moving to say Iran ?
            .
            And yes you certainly read a different set of comments than I did. There is nowhere in the comment section that the Muslims debunk anything.

  6. toby says:

    Guys! Guys! I figured it out. Mark Heavlin is a christian blog site comment AI! It’s all in the name. Mark. Like mark the calendar because jesus is coming, who knows when, but mark some date! And its last name is an obvious heaven reference. The L in there must be the roman numeral if it’s version. They love latin stuff.
    .
    Go ahead and ask something. If you ask about god telling Abraham to kill his kid, it’ll point out that god didn’t actually make him kill him. Ask about Judas dying and it’ll say he hung himself then fell down and his guts fell out. Ask about slavery in the bible and it’ll say that it was indentured servitude and a kind of early jobs program, good for those involved.
    .
    I don’t know how we missed the signs. Repeating things. It was there all along.

    Reply
    • TGM says:

      Ooh. And don’t forget his alter ego, Infinite Logos, which has the same alliteration as infinite loop. Sneaky clever, those bots.

      Reply
    • Andy Ryan says:

      That would explain the repetition, posting of endless Bible quotes, and failure to address any arguments.
      I particularly like “I wasn’t insulting, I was just giving an opinion”. So someone can say “You’re a moronic, ugly fool who deserves to go to hell” and then just shrug and say those aren’t insults, just ‘opinions’.
      .
      So are there any non-bots who can actually address any of the arguments that Toby, KR are I have made, or are we kind of done here?
      .
      Another amusing thing is that the bots can post endless insults and go as off topic as they like, but when I mention the hypocrisy of evangelicals supporting Trump – and that was on a blog here discussing a video where Sean McDowell actually discusses the importance of avoiding hypocrisy when it comes to criticising gays but overlooking adultery – I’m immediately told off by the moderator.

      Reply
    • Mark Heavlin says:

      One wonders then why/how I have bothered/managed to pay the mortgage on the house all these years then being just a “christian blog site comment AI”.
      .
      Personal attack aside – you comment is of course risible; understandable from the source but still risible. That you got two other people to actually agree to something so patently ridiculous is beyond me.
      .
      .
      Mark 13:32 But as for that day or hour, no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.

      Reply
  7. Susan Tan says:

    I am sick and tired of people with no understanding of the scriptures criticizing and blaming Christians when things go wrong in this world. Demons are still around. I watched a child rapist on tv the other day take responsibility for the crime and show remorse but have no explanation for his own motive in committing the crime.

    Well the BIble supplies an answer: demons.

    But most people are too busy rationalizing from the world’s perspective to repent and go to Jesus and have their demons dealt with. They think they can deal with these unseen inner enemies themselves but only Jesus has the power to vanquish demons and clear out people’s temples (bodies) from evil infestations.

    We need more deliverance ministers and less humanistic psychologists and more of us would be receiving sound counsel with less demonic activity worldwide.

    But unfortunately psychology teaches us to medicate our demons by treating symptoms instead of getting the Jesus cure.

    Read the article Christianity versus Modern Psychology for a list of things God gets right and psychology gets wrong.

    Atheists don’t have to be atheists. Believing in God is a rational choice. A rational act of the will to side with God against evil. We throw our wills toward God and He does the rest to convict and evict evil.

    But atheists have a perverse spirit they let deceive them.

    Who is a rational person going to choose to believe? A perfectly holy God or the lying voice of the perverse spirit in their heads?

    I hope you atheists reading choose to receive Jesus and let him put your demons down once and for all.

    Really why would a rational holy person choose to hang around people with evil spirits choosing to diss and dismiss God all the time in their thought lives.

    Get Jesus and get cured. Love from God is the cure to everything. Nevermind what Karl Marx said. He was a Satanist impersonating an atheist so nobody would call out his demons.

    May God’s Grace Abound to Everyone reading!

    Don’t believe me. Then read Harvard educated scientist and psychiatrist, M. Scott Peck’s work, Glimpse of the Devil where he was involved in a deliverance and an exorcism of two psychiatric patients.

    Demons have intelligence and they can choose to hide but God revealed to us that they are still around those most seem to want to operate covertly in the West maybe they do more damage than way like termites.

    Reply
    • Bryan says:

      Which Jesus should we receive? The Catholic one? The Holiness Pentecostal one? The United Methodist version?

      I think I’ll accept the Holy Republican Jesus. For he truly said “Let he who has never cheated on his wife with a porn star and then paid her $160,000 in hush money cast the first stone”.

      Reply
      • Mark Heavlin says:

        Matthew 3:16-17 16 As soon as Jesus was baptized, He went up out of the water. Suddenly the heavens were opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and resting on Him.
        17 And a voice from heaven said, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased!”
        .
        Matthew 28:5-7 5 But the angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. 6 He is not here; He has risen, just as He said! Come, see the place where He lay. 7 Then go quickly and tell His disciples, ‘He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see Him.’ See, I have told you.”
        .
        Personally, I would say this one because He is the SON of GOD and has risen from the dead.
        .
        .
        And what does politics have to do with this conversation?
        .
        ABSOLUTELY NOTHING.
        So take it somewhere else.

        Reply
        • Bryan says:

          What does politics have to do with it? We have a radio network here in the south called America Family radio. After listening to them for a while you will come to know Republican Jesus because that’s all they preach. As for your scripture quotes, that’s Mormon Jesus.

          Reply
          • Mark Heavlin says:

            “What does politics have to do with it? We have a radio network here in the south called America Family radio. After listening to them for a while you will come to know Republican Jesus because that’s all they preach.”
            .
            Last time I checked it was pretty easy to change the channel if you did not like the content of the station you are listening to. That does not change the fact that you are trying to inject politics into this comment section. So take it somewhere else.
            .
            .
            As for your scripture quotes, that’s Mormon Jesus.
            .
            Mormonism is a cult. They believe such things as men can be resurrected as angels. Which is clearly FALSE. Both are created beings. And the following verse:
            Hebrews 9:27 Just as man is appointed to die once, and after that to face judgment,
            .
            Also, things like their founder met GOD and Jesus in a grove of trees. Jesus is currently sitting at the right hand of GOD in heaven until his return to this earth.
            Exodus 33:20 And he said, Thou canst not see my face: for there shall no man see me, and live.
            .
            Yes, I am aware that they use parts of The Holy Bible; doesn’t change the fact that they are still a cult. The verses I quoted you are of The Father; The Son; and The Holy Spirit of the Christian GOD.

          • Mark Heavlin says:

            If you are getting any of your worldview from the two clowns in the video you posted you have my deepest sympathy. I learned to think for myself a long time ago.

          • bob says:

            @ Mark

            Mormonism is a cult.
            Today’s “cult” is tomorrows orthodoxy.
            .
            They believe such things as men can be resurrected as angels. Which is clearly FALSE.
            DUH!!! Of course it’s false. Men can not be “resurrected” and angels don’t exist – CLEARLY! It’s about time Mark and I agreed on something.
            .
            r.u.reasonable@gmail.com

          • Mark Heavlin says:

            @BOB
            .
            “Today’s “cult” is tomorrows orthodoxy.”
            .
            No tomorrow it is still just false teaching.
            .
            .
            And no we really do not agree. You purposely left out this:
            .
            Hebrews 9:27 Just as man is appointed to die once, and after that to face judgment,
            .
            .
            And angels are a being created for service to GOD.

          • toby says:

            And angels are a being created for service to GOD.
            This is just the most eye-rolling dreck I’ve seen in a while. Why does an all powerful god need beings to service him? He snaps his imaginary fingers and things happen. This is ridiculous. God: “I need sycophants to do stuff for me because I don’t have the time or energy.”

          • Mark Heavlin says:

            “Why does an all powerful god need beings to service him?”
            .
            As you are obviously “Biblically illiterate” I would suggest studying the subject before asking what in reality are really ignorant questions. And the first part of the comment only shows your own depth of depravity.
            .
            Tell me how you as a finite being can tell an INFINITE BEING who has created all things that something he has created is ridiculous?

          • toby says:

            I guess the all powerful being was lonely. Making him a little less than perfect.
            .
            How can an finite being like yourself know anything at all about an infinite being?
            “Because an old book written by other finite beings tells me all I need to know about him.” You’re brainwashed, man. You’re in a cult. And all you can do to defend it is spout vague insults and verses.t

          • Mark Heavlin says:

            GOD is self existent.
            .
            “Because an old book written by other finite beings tells me all I need to know about him.”
            .
            Well you are wrong again. Go study GOD’s Word – The Holy Bible.
            .
            2 Timothy 3:16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for instruction, for conviction, for correction, and for training in righteousness,
            .
            6Jesus answered, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.

          • Mark Heavlin says:

            Man the bot just is not the same before the second cup of tea in the morning.
            .
            John 14:6 Jesus answered, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.

          • toby says:

            It says it, so it’s true. Brilliant.
            .
            I have a car to sell you, it’ll get 300 miles to a gallon of gas if only you believe. It’s true because I wrote it on the pamphlet I advertise with.

          • Mark Heavlin says:

            “it’ll get 300 miles to a gallon of gas”
            .
            John 8:43-44 43 Why do you not understand what I am saying? It is because you are unable to accept My message. 44 You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out his desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, refusing to uphold the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, because he is a liar and the father of lies.
            .
            .
            I on the other hand with just a single simple Google search can offer the following:
            .
            “The Tesla Model S offers the longest range of all electric vehicles. While the base-level Model S 60 comes up short compared to Tesla’s larger Model X and the Chevrolet Bolt, the top-level Model S P100D offers an amazing 315 miles of fully electric range. Unfortunately, it’s not cheap, as it starts around $138,000”
            .
            Source link provided: https://www.autotrader.com/best-cars/here-are-the-10-electric-vehicles-with-the-longest-ranges-263793
            .
            .
            315 mile range and ZERO gallons of gas.
            Home charging station included at no extra charge of course.

          • Mark Heavlin says:

            “Right, so not the gas-powered car he was talking about. What a pointless reply.”
            .
            Pointless? Really?
            As he continues to mock The Holy Bible and make ridiculously ignorant statements about it?
            Then come up with something he feels is a ridiculous lie to attempt to prove his point?
            Only to be proven incompetent at even doing that.
            .
            I think the point is pretty obvious.

          • Andy Ryan says:

            That it was a lie but you still tried to make it reality proves his point, not yours. And you attacked the Koran, another holy book, so don’t be so pharisaic.

          • Mark Heavlin says:

            “That it was a lie but you still tried to make it reality proves his point, not yours.”
            .
            You sir are delusional. I merely pointed out the absurdity of his statement.
            .
            .
            “the Koran, another holy book”
            .
            Risible.
            .
            .
            “so don’t be so pharisaic”
            .
            Oooooohhhhh, big word and in this instance misused.
            .
            .
            “That it was a lie but you still tried to make it reality proves his point, not yours. And you attacked the Koran, another holy book, so don’t be so pharisaic.”
            .
            And then your continued statements as a whole deriding The Holy Bible and defending the Islamic position. As there are 2 and only 2 sides in this spiritual war; I would suggest that you examine yourself and decide which side you are on. Because from my perspective it is pretty obvious; but I could be wrong.
            .
            Jesus is speaking here:
            Matthew 12:30 “He who is not with Me is against Me, and he who does not gather with Me scatters.”
            .
            as well as here:
            John 14:6-7 6 Jesus answered, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me. 7 If you had known Me, you would know My Father as well. From now on you do know Him and have seen Him.”

        • Bryan says:

          Oh I’m sure you want to ignore the fact that Evangelical Christianity and Republican politics are so intertwined that they can’t be seperated. I know you would love to “take it somewhere else” because I’ve hit a raw nerve. You people claim absolute truth until that truth interferes with your quest to turn the United States into a fundamentalist Christian version of Iran. The Trump the adultery champion is ok. And you think people can’t see through this?

          Reply
        • Andy Ryan says:

          “Oooooohhhhh, big word and in this instance misused.”
          Are you twelve years old? And no, no misused. Pharisaic: Hypocritically self-righteous and condemnatory. Fits you perfectly, Mark. And yes, my point was a good one: You deride others for ‘attacking a holy book’ while doing exactly the same yourself. You may answer that you don’t believe there’s anything holy about the Koran but you know that as an atheist I believe the same of the Bible. Calling something ‘risible’ is not an argument. You seem to be reduced to playground taunts now, which I’ll take as an admission of defeat on your part.

          Reply
          • Mark Heavlin says:

            “Are you twelve years old?”
            .
            The issue of my age has been addressed in a different thread no need to rehash here.
            .
            .
            “And no, no misused.”
            .
            Yes – MISUSED. http://www.dictionary.com can be your friend if you let it.
            I suggest you start with the word “self”.
            .
            Romans3:22-24 22 And this righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no distinction, 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and are justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus
            .
            Me – righteous – absolutely not. Justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus – ABSOLUTELY.

            “And yes, my point was a good one: You deride others for ‘attacking a holy book’ while doing exactly the same yourself. You may answer that you don’t believe there’s anything holy about the Koran but you know that as an atheist I believe the same of the Bible.”
            .
            Your point is of course patently absurd. And as evidenced in other threads you do NOT feel that way about the Koran. Hello double standard. There is nothing “holy” about the Koran.
            .
            2 Timothy 3:16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for instruction, for conviction, for correction, and for training in righteousness,
            .
            John 14:6-7 6 Jesus answered, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me. 7 If you had known Me, you would know My Father as well. From now on you do know Him and have seen Him.”
            .
            .
            “Risible”
            .
            Interesting word there. I wonder where from whom I learned how to use it?
            .
            .
            “You seem to be reduced to playground taunts now, which I’ll take as an admission of defeat on your part.”
            .
            Might I suggest you go read Revelation – amazingly enough it “reveals” the winning side in this argument. I should add that it does not go well for the losing side during judgement.

    • Mark Heavlin says:

      Huh, I figured it would have been a quote from Kurt Vonnegut more or less.
      .
      .
      They say the robo-caller bots are getting difficult to tell from real people. I find this is not the case.
      When I ask for the companies billing information so I can send them a bill for my time spent talking to them the bots disconnect the call; people start cussing me out. Strange but true.

      Reply
      • toby says:

        Nah, I’ve moved on.
        “In religion and politics people’s beliefs and convictions are in almost every case gotten at second-hand, and without examination, from authorities who have not themselves examined the questions at issue but have taken them at second-hand from other non-examiners, whose opinions about them were not worth a brass farthing.”
        –Samuel Clemens

        Reply
  8. Andy Ryan says:

    Me: “Yes, it sounds like you can’t get your head around it.”
    Mark: “This much is true as well; you do not have your head around it any further because you continue to use words like “there’s a reason God has”; “not random”; and “necessarily HAD to have”.”
    .
    These are standard terms, Mark. Christians apply terms like ‘necessary’ to God all the time.
    .
    Me: “Now, either those attributes and the only attributes he could POSSIBLY have had, or those are the attributes his nature HAPPENED to have”
    Mark: “How do you know these even apply to an Eternal Being?”
    .
    As long as you agree that the laws of logic apply to God then obviously they do. I gave two options. I said either one applies or you need to come up with an alternative. You’ve not done so. You’re saying they don’t apply to an eternal being. Ok – go ahead and say a third option. How are you escaping the two options of 1) Has a reason and 2) Is random?
    .
    If you get to say something simply IS and no explanation is required because there is no reason then you can’t argue against atheists making the same about objective morality without God. It simply IS and we don’t need to explain it, and that has no more nor less explanatory power than saying it’s caused by God and requires no greater explanation.

    Reply
  9. Susan says:

    See you can’t argue anyone into faith.

    So I don’t know why anyone who claims God is unknowable takes a position against God trying to disprove His existence when a believer has already accepted His existence into evidence as evidenced by his faith.

    You can quibble against God all day but that shouldn’t have any impact on a believer’s belief in God so the activity is vain and doesn’t accomplish the aim of the unbeliever to control the heart and mind of a believer that he probably doesn’t even care about. All he cares about is defending his own ideas and thinks he has to force those ideas on believers to vindicate himself.

    Running around on the internet asking who is God.

    Is it any wonder with so many confused people in this world that God chose to reveal Himself to us.

    Read the Bible to get your own understanding of God. Your own personal understanding. And stay in it until belief arises with your own understanding of God and who he is. Don’t watch the teleevangelists. Don’t critique men claiming to serve God.

    Go and seek to know God on your own or stop arguing.

    What temerity and impertinence it is to try to dissolve another person’s relationship with God when you don’t have one.

    Seek God until you get one. Ask Him to clarify things for you in your own heart and to dismiss any evil spirits prompting you to be offended with Him.

    You are made in His image too and why wouldn’t you want Him to restore that image in you?

    Something is prompting your disbelief and combative spirit against God so start reading and praying daily unbelievers.

    Are you really going to let the devil through materialist tricks keep you in chains?

    You make up your minds atheists to start to study what God says and hold His opinion as the ultimate judge the most highly.

    He came to set you free too. You’re not going to let some devious spirits hold you back from
    getting to spiritual freedom are you?

    Why stay stuck in one materialist dimension when you can seek to be in God’s presence?

    Stop arguing and meditate on this like rational men until you can heed what God says.

    Clearly the God of Israel, Isaac and Jacob is a lot more rational than any other.

    So why are you occupying your minds with the deceitful ideas of false gods letting them compete in your minds.

    Read the Bible and ask God to show you. He is a very personal God and if you ask in the right attitude then He will bring clarity to your hearts and minds. Ask in the right way and be patient. There may be many false ideas that have taken root in your minds trying to keep your hearts and minds divided and unsettled so you cannot reach a
    proper understanding of God but pray for Him to make a way for you and He will. He can overcome any obstacle. Even a will set against Him as He demonstrated with Saul on the Road to Damascus.
    Appeal to Him until He makes peace in your hearts.

    Reply

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