The Pastor of my Old Church Tried to Re-Convert Me Yesterday
Cofty said- Three times I have asked you how preventing the tsunami would negatively impact on his long-term solution. If you actually constructed an argument I might attempt to dismantle it. An inappropriate analogy is not an argument.
Do I really need to state the obvious for you, when you must've seen the response of religious organizations afterwards on TV? You already know this, but I'll spell it out, if you insist.
The "benign neglect" theodicy is coupled by claiming that God's lack of intervention provides an opportunity to:
1) test the faith of onlookers (hopefully you know the MANY scriptures that point to the need to build faith, since faith is challenged when people ask the theodicy question of "why did God let this happen?"),
2) give believers an opportunity to demonstrate compassion to their fellow man by providing aid and comfort, by engaging in emergency relief efforts, rebuilding of devastated towns, donating funds to Red Cross, engaging in telethons, etc. See the Jesus' example of the Good Samaritan, etc. This gave some an opportunity to BUILD their faith.
Of course, faith is a necessary component needed for salvation (which is the long-term solution), whether the "happily ever after" scene is set on a paradise Earth, or behind Pearly Gates.
The fact is, those 250k dead are a drop in the bucket compared to a Worldwide population of 7 BILLION (i.e. 1 out of 28,000 people alive today), and their deaths give survivors an opportunity to count their blessings as a survivor who looks at the death toll and say, "Thank God I survived". The survivors generally feel blessed by God, and surviving family members are all-too readily willing to assume their loved one(s) are in Heaven since "God called them home", and that provides motivation for them to seek activities that will facilitate their being rejoined with their dead relatives up in Heaven.
Despite your assuming that such natural disasters take a toll on the faith of believers who struggle with the theodicy issue, the bad news for you is you're projecting your own loss: such events have quite the OPPOSITE effect, overall, as they actually BOOST religiosity; more people see the news and search for answers to unanswerable questions, and religions are just waiting with their prevalent supply of non-answers. Many people who aren't even particularly religious suddenly become interested after such events, and many DO buy the "benign neglect" theodicy, quite willing to swallow it whole without question.
(The believers on JWN were getting it in chunks and pieces, but the concept has a formal name and title which unifies it as a cohesive whole. It has MAJOR problems with it, which you can try to shoot down....)
Cofty said- As I showed above christians believe that god intervenes millions of times every day.
Many Xians do; not all believe that.
Many believers will deny it, even though they DO expect some kind of reward for their efforts; they just cannot recognize or admit it to others, since intuitively they know it's a selfish motivation and Xianity requires deniability of the inherently selfish nature of saving one's soul. That same tendency also helps to dismiss the death of others, esp if it can be excused for theological purposes (eg blame the victims).
Fact is, pre-exilic Judaism had the right approach to theodicy, since Hebrews had NO PROBLEM conceiving of Jehovah as the originator of both good AND evil (before later syncretism with Zoroastrian beliefs), since Satan originally was a member of the Elohim, the Heavenly Divine Counsel, and Satan actually tested humans with God's permission to see if they possessed loyalty to God, such that they deserved to be blessed afterwards. Job passed his test and was blessed with twice as much as he had before.
In fact, the entire sacrifice system was based on the concept of offering God a little of your best so you get much more back in return. It's actually a very selfish system, as if one is investing and expecting a good 'return on investment' from God. Of course, that's the promise: like all other Ponzi schemes, it doesn't actually 'pay out', but thanks to confirmation biases, people will see blessings wherever they will see it. And if a believer feels they're not seeing the rewards they deserve, it's addressed by reading it as punishment from God. It's an airtight system, that's had thousands of years to develop, being that it operates on the perceptive bias of humans to see what they want to see (selective attention), combined with the relative difficulty with whcih they can identify contradictions. Nasty biases, those.
Cofty said- Adam please stop playing devil's advocate. It's disingenuous. This is not an intellectual exercise for me, it's not a game. It is the issue that led directly to my loss of faith, a process that was far more difficult than leaving the Watchtower.
As you have said to others repeatedly in this thread (including me):
"tell that to the bereaved survivors."
I'm sure they'll cry their eyes out once they hear that YOU lost your faith in God, that which gave you immense comfort in your personal life, which makes their loss pale in comparison ....
Cofty said- It is about real human suffering on a scale we cannot even imagine.
Save the faux concern and crocodile tears for the 250k who died, since I'm not buying it: I've seen your brusque approach with others on JWN long enough to be pretty certain you're no empathetic Mother Theresa type. I suspect you and I both don't give a rat's about complete strangers who died in a foreign land 10 years ago, esp if we didn't personally know anyone who died.
I was really enjoying this thread, not even sure why Adamah and Cofty are going at it?
I asked Adam sincerely to back off from his self-serving rhetoric. He thinks this is a game.
His last post aded nothing new that hasn't been discussed already with genuine believers.
It is unfortunate that people may think that Adam and I are on the "same side" because neither of us believe in god.
I hope that discerning readers will notice that Adam and I have nothing in else common.
Adam, do you even enjoy posting here? With the contempt you seem to treat everyone with I have to think it must be an incredible chore for you.
That question is every bit as valid coming from one as from 250,000. - Humbled
That is very true Humbled. I am only questioning "natural evil" which tends to kill lots of people at once but your point is valid. By the way what does "skeeting" mean?
I am interested in hearing how christians reconcile petitionary prayer with god's inaction.
If god answers even one of those prayers it destroys the argument that god was not in the intervention business on 26th December 2004
During a physical examination for an insurance policy the nurse filling in the auestionsire asks, " Are your parents alive or dead and if dead how did they die? If from sickness what kind? answer " Dead they died in the tsununi" The nurse lowers her head " How many sisters and brothers do you have or did you have? Are they alive or dead? " Answer " 4 sisters, and two brothers and they were killed in the tsanmi" The nurses eyes filled with tears and answerd him " arnt you lucky? isnt it great God chose you to stay alive." ....How would YOU answer.
Thanking god for surviving a natural disaster is like sending a letter to a serial killler to thank him for killing the neighbours.
Yes true Cofty, but i can understand how having survived a person may either reject that having survived they were some how chosen or somehow feal chosen...either way i personally wouldnt judge.
My son-in-law indeed lives a tragedy as large as this. He had a dozen brothers and sisters, mother and father. Only he and two sisters survived the genocide in Rwanda and only because they were out of the country at the time of the killings. His eighty year old father was crucified. Is he grateful to be alive? He has to be.
Yea..and that story saddened me jgnat...and i personally wouldnt judge how your son in law views God...but as for me this thread has left more weeds than grass in how i view God.