Why do you call the honest attempts of other people to understand the world we live in “sophistry”? Maybe I have some good ideas, maybe you have some good ideas, or less so in either case as the case may be. I don’t see what is gained by undermining the genuineness of other people when they explain how they attempt to make sense of reality. It doesn’t make any one view more likely. It comes across as a bit weak and insecure.
I heard part of an interview with Richard Dawkins in what WOULD make him believe in God and he finally said..nothing. Because he said if God spoke to him or if Jesus physically came back he would say delusion. If a message was written with the stars it would be trickster aliens.
And why do us Christians care so much and we go back and forth with you? Because we see you as that boy on the platform about to get hit by that train.
Sea Breeze: But, he does desire a relationship with us, because relationship is a requirement of love, his chief attribute.
I don't see how god can personify love, at least not as humans understand it and express it. He does things that we do not expect from a loving person, much less a being of such immense power and freedom to act.
You mention intrinsic versus instrumental value, and I am brought back to a point I made elsewhere before- that this is an example of the idea that god is necessary. That he has to exist. It is a reminder that we cannot positively demonstrate god, we can only do so by some form of a process of elimination. If X is not possible without a god, then a god must exist.
There is an alternative- we don't know enough about X yet. Thus far, anytime we learn about X, we don't find god. This works against the idea of a god who wants a relationship with us, or who sees value in us.
Theists proclaim the necessity of belief (believe or perish) in a god as follows;
- He is immanent (constantly active in the world)
- He created a perfect world for human life
- He is all knowing - nothing escapes his notice
- He is all powerful - he can do anything that is logically possible
- He is the epitome of love
- His son - who is his image - revealed the meaning of god's love in practical concern for others; even his enemies
- He has so much care for his human creation it is as if he knows the very number of hairs on the head of every person
- Nothing happens without his knowledge or consent
Reality - He drowns thousands of infants in tsunamis and crushes them to death in earthquakes every year.
The theist, instead of accepting the god they proclaim to be impossible, indulges in the most tortuous mental gymnastics that amounts in many cases to gas lighting.
I could, and perhaps will, compile a list of some of the best and worst examples of theodicies we have seen in this forum
To say that we just can't understand why god does these things is like saying a best friend - who has been discovered to be a serial killer of infants - might have his own good reasons. As soon as you go down that road you become an apologist for the worst crimes imaginable. Sophistry is the kindest interpretation.
A child falls into the path of a train, a Submarine crew is crushed to death, a newborn baby dies, you die at 100, none of it matters - DD
THIS is why Christianity is a horrible death cult.
I heard Jeffrey Dahmer's testimony of getting saved and baptized and read the book by the pastor who had bible studies with him and I was blown away by the similarities in thought that led me to Christ. But other people and Christians that hear his story are mortified! They can't fathom that they could share eternal life with a murderer such as that!
Also, David Wood, a Christian apologist, former atheist, is a psychopath and tried to kill his dad with a hammer and did other heinous, violent crimes and the thoughts he had and the thoughts that led him to Christ were very relatable to my thoughts and I believe his story and see the transformation. But a lot of Christians hearing this story, it doesn't "sit right with them" and they don't believe it.
Or that God would allow Hitler to be saved from drowning knowing what would happen later.
Or allowing children to go through immense suffering or getting aborted before they even get a chance at life or killed
All these things are very unfair and they make no sense and I see that life is complicated.
Maybe I hear Jack Nicholson yelling at me, "you can't handle the truth" and I understand what he means. Life is amazing and heartbreaking.
Theists proclaim the necessity of belief (believe or perish) in a god as follows
I don’t believe in that kind of God. Personally I think God is greater than any of us can understand and that he is able to rescue all humans in the end - if that’s what he wants to do. And the Bible tells us in a number of places that’s exactly what he want to do. Remember this verse JWs used to quote to explain why Armageddon hasn’t arrived yet.
Jehovah is not slow concerning his promise, as some people consider slowness, but he is patient with you because he does not desire anyone to be destroyed but desires all to attain to repentance.
When I had a JW mindset I used to paraphrase that verse in my head to mean something like: “Jehovah is being patient because he wants as few people to die at Armageddon as possible”. But that’s not what the verse says. What it actually says is that Jehovah doesn’t want anyone to be destroyed but wants all to attain to repentance - not just a few, or some, or even ‘as many as possible’. It says ‘all’, plain and simple. Can God accomplish what he wants? If God wants all to be saved can he make that happen?
Universalism has a long history in the Christian tradition, from Origen in ancient times to the modern theologian and author David Bentley Hart, who makes an excellent case.
Charles Taze Russell was I believe a universalist at heart. His opponents accused him of being a universalist and he disowned the label because he couldn’t quite see that everyone would be saved according to the scriptures. But he had a much broader view of salvation than many of his contemporaries and than JWs today. The man who ‘turned a hose on hell’ ruled out eternal punishment as completely contrary to God’s character well ahead of the mainline churches who have since moved closer to his position. He reckoned pretty much everyone would get a resurrection, including Adam and Eve, and that many would accept the invitation to live in perfection. He didn’t rule out salvation in other churches. He didn’t go the final step and say that everyone would be saved, but he was closer to that position than the more narrow prospectus of modern JWs.
I can't get behind universalism. I do see some places that could say that but then there is : only a handful saved in the flood, not everyone made it to the promised land, descriptions of a narrow road, and many places that say if you deny him he will deny them, sheep and goats
God set life and death before Israel. He said choose life. They didn't. (But he said some Jews will be saved and we're seeing this happen!)
God sets life and death before us in Christ and many people get mad at the choice and choose death.
But why not choose life in Christ? I think it's pride that keeps people from getting saved. I see people that think (delusionally) they are better than God. Much more moral and right thinking. And while you think that you can never at the same time bow down to him because you see him as inferior. When I got saved, my pride was on the line and that's why i was crying so much. It killed me. And I was given new life. So it's a life and death cult.
I see people that think (delusionally) they are better than God
I am better than god. I don't murder children. I didn't write a book that promotes slavery, kidnap, rape and infanticide.
God made everything. He has every right to do as he pleases with his own creation. Just because you—who were made by God—do not understand your maker, it does not mean he does not exist. From our viewpoint, many things seem unjust. But we don’t know everything. He does. And his ways are higher than ours.
”What shall we say then? Is there injustice on God's part? By no means! For he says to Moses, ‘I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.’ So then it depends not on human will or exertion, but on God, who has mercy. For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, ‘For this very purpose I have raised you up, that I might show my power in you, and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.’ So then he has mercy on whomever he wills, and he hardens whomever he wills.
You will say to me then, ‘Why does he still find fault? For who can resist his will?’ But who are you, O man, to answer back to God? Will what is molded say to its molder, ‘Why have you made me like this?’ Has the potter no right over the clay, to make out of the same lump one vessel for honorable use and another for dishonorable use? What if God, desiring to show his wrath and to make known his power, has endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction, in order to make known the riches of his glory for vessels of mercy, which he has prepared beforehand for glory—even us whom he has called, not from the Jews only but also from the Gentiles?”