What kind of atheist are you?

by Narkissos 105 Replies latest jw experiences

  • frankiespeakin


    I like your posts because you are not afraid and to me that is very good. This girl has got spunk and that can't be bad. So I think your a brave soul I have never seen one able to argue so hard with so little to use in defense.

    But just for a moment put your fear of this deity away because he is not real at least not the bible god never was and never will be he too small too petty to be God. Put aside your fear of him and look again at the evidence He's a phoney war god Jehovah of Armies

  • AlanF

    Sabrina, you're still not reasoning clearly. seattleniceguy nicely summed up why, but of course, I'll add my two cents.

    : You started out with:

    : "I believe that the Christian God does not exist, because if he did, he'd be a monster."

    To anyone with an ounce of Bible knowledge combined with an ounce of reasoning ability, it's obvious that my statement was shorthand for something like this:

    I believe that the Christian God does not exist, because the OT paints this God as loving to those whom he desires to be loving, and the NT paints this God as the very personification of love, whereas the OT, the NT, and the world around us show an extremely cruel, petty and uncaring God made in, at best, the image of man along with all of man's worst qualities, and at worst, the image of the worst monsters we can imagine, and therefore, if he did exist, he'd be a monster. The absolute contradiction between the idea that "God is love" and the fact that God displays monstrous qualities, both described in the very Bible that defines Christianity, is absolute proof that this Christian "God of love" does not exist, and is extremely strong evidence that this God does not exist even if he is a monster.

    Now you, Sabrina, apparently claim to be a Christian. So how is it that you cannot put these simple ideas together without a good deal of help? You already know all of the above ideas, so you can't claim simple ignorance.

    You can't even explain why the fictional Zarubas, if they actually existed, ought to be condemned, but the virtually identical Israelites should be held up as an example of the outworking of God's love as shown in God's dealings with them.

    : You later listed some events you felt proved your point. I said in return:

    : The context of much of what you are saying involves nation building.

    : First, let me stop right here. So.... if God does not fit your conception of what he should be then logically he does not exist?

    It's not my conception, Sabrina. What I've described is what the Bible says about the Christian God. It's simple, really: the God of love cannot be a monster.

    : If you have judged the Christian God a monster then that is enough for you to believe he does not exist?

    In combination with the facts I listed above, yes.

    : Does God really have to fit your mold?

    No. But he does have to fit into the Bible's mold, along with making reasonable conclusions from the Bible and the world around us.

    Suppose I told you that I'm a good and loving father of ten children. Suppose I also told you that I had killed all but one of these kids because each had displeased me. Wouldn't you reject either my claim to be loving, or to have killed them? Both cannot be true. Unless, of course, you can come up with a scenario that could justify the behaviors I described. You could only conclude that I'm a liar, or a psychopath. Now, you know that I exist because I type words that appear on a screen, and you read them and react to them. But suppose you read in a tract somewhere about someone named AlanF who made such claims, but you had no way of verifying the existence of AlanF. Wouldn't it be logical for you to conclude that the Alanf described in the tract didn't exist? Why or why not?

    : Are you that certain of your thinking processes that you feel capable of knowing what God should do and when he should do it and how?

    You're generalizing foolishly. We're talking about simple observations of a number of Biblical claims and of the world around us. This is not rocket science.

    Your responses about "nation building" prove that you hold double standards. When men such as Ghengis Kahn, Napoleon, Hitler, Stalin and Japanese leaders in WWII engage in it, you condemn it. On the other hand, when God does exactly the same thing, you extoll it. How do you explain such double standards?

    :: That this God was perfectly happy to hear the Psalmist write words encouraging Israelites to kill their enemies' babies. Psalm 137:8, 9 (ESV); a lament on the Babylonian captivity: "O daughter of Babylon, doomed to be destroyed, blessed shall he be who repays you with what you have done to us! Blessed shall he be who takes your little ones and dashes them against the rock!"

    : This is a song of lament.

    Tell me something I don't know. The point -- which you missed or ignored -- is that this lament extolls smashing enemy babies against rocks!

    : In the West we don't write songs like this or may not express ourselves in this way

    That's right. We'd be condemned as monsters if we did. You yourself will condemn modern people -- Zarubas, Hutus, Tutsis, Nazis, Japanese soldiers, etc. -- for killing enemy babies like this, yet you display a double standard by claiming it's perfectly ok for the Israelites to have done so under God's direction. And remember that, as a Bible believing Christian, you accept that the Psalms that advocate such behavior were "inspired of God"! So your point isn't even valid, because the expressed sentiments are approved by your God! Furthermore, I'm sure you'd also condemn any ancient non-Israelite tribes for doing to the Israelites exactly what the Israelites did to the tribes around them! Two standards, Sabrina.

    : but I am certain there have been many mothers and fathers in Iraq who after having their children killed either by Saddam or the U.S. government also expressed words similar to these.

    Sure, and these were inspired like the Psalmist, right?

    : What kind God do you want?

    A loving one who doesn't contradict himself, and who speaks back when spoken to.

    : The OT side of God is not good enough, the NT side is apparently not good enough either.

    You got it.

    : If God kills the enemies of his people that's wrong.

    Um, who invaded the land of who back when the Israelites went into the promised land? Who made the Israelites the enemies of all the inhabitants? You may justify the ouster of those people in the same way that JWs do, by claiming that God had every right to oust them since he had, some 400 years earlier promised the land to Abraham's descendents. But did God or anyone else put up "No Trespassing" signs? No. So this is a stupid argument. So is any other argument that I've seen Christians make.

    : If God Son, tells us to turn the other cheek and put down the sword then many would complain that if all Christians had strictly followed a pacifist way then Hitler would have won the war.

    Many would. I'm not making such a complaint.

    : You see....if God fights you say he's wrong. If God does not fight others say he is wrong. Thank God that God is what he is and not as people would have him be.

    Gee whillickers, Lem! Ah ain't never heard no argument better than that!

    :: That this God often encouraged the Israelites to kill all the males and nonvirgin females of their enemies, and steal the young virgins. Numbers 31: God tells the Israelites to take vengeance on the Midianites who defended themselves from Israelite aggression by cunning; all except young virgins are killed.

    : Numbers 31:14, "But Moses was angry with the officers of the army, with the captains over thousands and captains over hundreds, who had come from the battle. And Moses said to them: "Have you kept all the women alive? Look, these women caused the children of Israel, through the counsel of Balaam, to trespass against the LORD in the incident of peor, and there was a plague among the congregation of the LORD. Now therefore, kill every male among the little ones, and kill every woman who has known a man intimately. But keep alive for yourselves all the young girls who have not known a man intimately."

    : I believe you need to find a better example to support your statement, I'm sure you will.

    I probably could, but this is sufficient.

    : But in Numbers 31, it is Moses who calls for the saving of the virgins not God.

    Oh, and who was Moses but the prophet of God who spoke in God's name? And please don't try to claim that Moses was acting on his own here. When he did that, he got in trouble with God. When he claimed to act under his own authority in making water come out of rocks and failed to give God due credit, he was humiliated by God in front of all Israel and was punished by not being allowed to enter the promised land.

    : Now, here is Moses, he is leading a people from place to place securing the area.

    You Christians just love euphemisms when justifying God's bad behavior. Moses was leading an invasion in order to kill off the people who had lived there for tens of generations.

    : What would you have them do?

    Um, not invade? Go and settle down in an uninhabited place?

    : Save the whole population and then tell them, "Okay, we won and we expect you to abide by the rules. He who wins keeps the city and he who loses walks off in a dignified manner and just goes away."

    Let's apply that to Hitler's invasion of Poland. Would you have told Hitler, "Don't invade Poland!"? Or "Go right ahead and kill everyone you find!"?

    Do you see how stupid and contradictory your justifications are getting? But let's continue a bit more.

    : For the most part land was apportioned according to the male line.

    Ah, so perhaps Hitler should have divided Poland according to the male line.

    : The young captured girls could marry into a male line, the young boys and men would have no place in Israel and likely would not want one.

    A good reason for Hitler to kill off all the male and older female Poles, no? And to carry off the young girls so his SS men could have a bit of fun!

    : The tensions and rivalries between the males, Jews and conquered non-Jew would have made a very difficult and dangerous life even more so for the Jews.

    As would have been the case between the Poles and Germans, no doubt.

    : They lived in their time not in ours.

    So God's moral standards change with the times? Watch out, Sabrina, or I'll quote a scripture at you!

    : We cannot judge them by our time.

    Sure we can. You just don't want to, because you want to rationalize God's monstrous behavior.

    : This was war, not the Sermon on the Mount.

    Indeed. War started by God against innocent people merely to get land for his chosen people.

    : God made predators did he not? He also made the more timid animals. They both have their place. So do war and peace.

    A better Christian rationalization would be hard to find.

    But speaking of predators and such, why did you fail to deal with the problems that I mentioned? Do you not have the Christian moral fiber to tackle such difficult problems? I repeat:

    On this business of God's permitting a great deal of misery, I haven't even yet touched on things that even you, Sabrina, can't blame on "man". Ever watch a Discovery Channel presentation about African life? People have a fascination with the scenes of predation presented. Ever watch how lions kill elephants? It can take 4-5 hours for the lions to chew the poor elephant to death. I'm sure the elephant experiences massive pain during this long-drawn-out process. Have you ever seen a video of Orcas killing a Blue Whale by ripping out its tongue and then ripping open its side, then leaving the whale to bleed to death? You can see such a video at the San Diego zoo. How about footage of Komodo Dragons killing prey? They take a quick bite at a deer, pig or buffalo, then wait a week or so for the bacterial cocktail in their saliva to cause the poor victim to die of septicemia. Do you know how painful a death from septicemia is? How about the hyenas and African wild dogs and lions that literally begin eating their prey before it's even dead? And all of this has been going on, in one form or another, since the beginning of macroscopic life more than half a billion years ago.

    And then we have the many sorts of natural disasters that kill a great many people. God certainly has the power to stop such things, but he doesn't. Why not? The fact that he doesn't demonstrates that he doesn't care.

    All of the above is, to me, positive proof that the Christian God is simply not there.

    : If the Bible record speaks of something unseen today such as miracles etc., it's called fantasy, a made up story. But when the Bible record records a battle wherein, true to the history of its time, men, women and children are killed, it is then faulted for being cruel.

    It's a demonstration of cruelty whether it's a fantasy or not.

    : What kind of Bible record or God would suit you?

    One without demonstrated cruelty.

    : Do you want him to fix everything by a snap of his finger? No, of course not.

    Why not? Or better, make an undeniable demonstration that he exists (surely God could figure a way to do that without my help) and of how he wants people to act, explain to the satisfaction of reasonable people why he did all sorts of nasty things as recorded in the Bible, explain why he made a world containing massive cruelty in the animal kingdom, and give people some time to work it out. Also, fix the brains or whatever of damaged people, so that they'd be at their full potential to work it out. Stop outright acts of agression by people who've not yet changed. Stop natural disasters from killing people. See to it that, despite the efforts of a few bad apples, everyone has enough to eat. I could think of a few more things.

    : You don't believe in that.

    I certainly don't. The fact that the cruel world of predation has existed for more than half a billion years is pretty good reason.

    : Do you want him to get rid of all the evil people in the world by killing them outright? No, of course not, that would be cruel. Should he give his spirit in greater measure so that you and others come to know him? No, you don't believe in that either probably.

    See above.

    :: That this God is petty, jealous and often acts in a way that, if a human did the same things, he'd be viewed as a horrible criminal. Exodus 34:14: "You shall worship no other god, for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God." Genesis 34: God tells Abraham to offer up Isaac as a sacrifice, to test Abraham's faith. A present day leader who told a parent to do anything remotely like that would be denounced as a monstrous criminal in the court of world opinion.

    : Exodus 34:14 could take whole threads to discuss but the short of it: if God says he is a jealous God then we are certainly made in his image because good and bad jealously is a very human trait.

    All you've done with this verbiage is to confirm what I said: God is jealous.

    : As for the Abraham and Isaac event, Isaac was spared and the Biblical story serves a greater purpose then just a story.

    So what? The point is that God did something that the world would condemn if anyone else did it.

    :: I see. Nation building absolves God of blame for atrocities, but not men such as Ghengis Kahn, Napoleon, Hitler, Stalin, Japanese leaders in WWII, and so forth.

    : If the American Revolution were fought today, rather than the 18th century, there would be many children horribly killed and many innocent men and women would lose their lives to mines and bombs etc. Many more cities burned on both sides of the Atlantic. That in itself would not equate it with a Hitler or Stalin.

    This is complete gobble-de-goop.

    : But you choose your examples to fit your claim as do I.

    No, my examples are not gobble-de-goop. My examples have facts and reason behind them. You generally ignore facts as you find convenient (I've pointed them out) and substitute irrational attempts at rationalization for reason. This is easy to prove with the above example: How is it that when Hitler engaged in "nation building" it was bad, whereas when God did it, it was good?

    : God does not need absolution or excuses for his actions, he is God.

    But this God, the Bible tells us, invites us to see for ourselves that he's good and loving. It invites us to judge God.

    : I wonder, AlanF. If God were to make himself known to you, if you came to definitely believe in God and that the Bible has a good purpose, what would you do about that? Would you come here and tell everyone about your new faith in God? Yes, I think you would.

    Yes, I would. But it would take a fair amount of convincing. And it wouldn't be faith -- it would be knowing.

    : I believe you to be a man of integrity. A good man.

    Thank you. And despite being a Christian, I think you're a good woman.

    : I hope God does that very thing, AlanF.

    Well he's certainly had his chances, Sabrina. I've prayed my heart out on a number of occasions, without response. That, too, convinces me that no one is there to listen.


  • AlanF

    frankiespeakin said:

    : So I think your a brave soul I have never seen one able to argue so hard with so little to use in defense.

    You're a master of the art of damning with faint praise!

    Reminds me of the Black Knight in Monty Python and the Holy Grail.


  • AlanF

    Sabrina, you quoted several scriptures to seattleniceguy about how loving the God of the OT is. What do you think of the scriptures that institutionalize the owning of women as property by men, and the unequal treatment of women in general? Are they really consistent with Malachi 2:13 and Deuteronomy 10:16-19? How is the fact that men could divorce their wives, but not vice versa, consistent with a call to properly treat "the wife of your youth"? How is God showing "no partiality" by making women property and by making an obviously partial divorce law?


  • Leolaia

    I would like to suggest a middle-ground...that the Elohim of the OT is a multifaceted figure embracing both extremes. The monotheistic god of the Jews derives from two originally distinct deities: the father god El, who is otherwise known as the Merciful and the Compassionate, and Yahweh, the jealous sovereign riding in his divine chariot accompanied with armies (Yahweh Sabaoth), who wages war against his enemies and defends his people, and whose "Day of Yahweh" (the OT precursor of Judgement Day) would exact judgment for those who resist him. Mark Smith shows pretty convincingly that the war goddess Anat ceased to be worshipped very early in Israel (latent only in the Beth-Anath toponyms in the Deuteronomistic History) and was absorbed into Yahweh, so that the very violent bloodthirsty language traditional to Anat appears in the OT with reference to Yahweh (such as bashing in skulls and the like), and when Yahweh was identified with the loving father god El, the resultant single deity embraced both El qualities and Yahweh qualities. The epithets of Yahweh in Exodus 34:6 and Psalm 86:15 "merciful and gracious god" ('l-rchm w-chnn) may indeed preserve the name El.

    Christianity would seem to emphasize the fatherly and loving El-like characteristics over the warlike aspects, which survives mainly in the apocalyptic tradition, cf. Revelation (which is not at all surprising, since the concept of Judgment Day derives from the OT "Day of Yahweh" notion).

  • frankiespeakin


    I was really trying make her relax her fear,,,so she might feel a little better, I think it might be draining emotionally for her to keep defending God.


    You should not feel responsible to defend God if he is God he should be able to handle the taunts of non beleivers. After all if he really is "All Loving" he should not let the fact that people don't beleive in him even bother him in the slightest. So don't worry about defending him. You can love him more,,, if you ask me by not defending him,, your letting God be God and fight his own battles. Then you can sit back and see what developes and not take it so personal.

  • seattleniceguy

    Hey Green,

    Thanks for taking the time to write back.

    Humility is a good thing....But it does help sometimes to be reminded of our simpleness. We are nothing more than an earthworm with a brain and hands capable of fashioning tools. This is not self loathing so much as the reality of our situation.

    I certainly agree that humility is a good thing. I don't really think it has anything to do with the discussion at hand, however. The question is whether the God painted by the OT is "monstrous" as the AlanF camp has claimed, or "loving" as you have claimed. The earthworm-like nature of humanity does not bear on this question.

    Thanks for quoting the scriptures. I am very familiar with those scriptures - they are the exact ones I used to use while defending God door-to-door as a Witness. I have no doubt that the Bible contains some beautiful descriptions of God's love. But you'd have to admit, you really have to search to find them. And regardless of what a verse here or there might say, actions speak louder than words.

    AlanF's scenario in which you meet a guy who says he's a loving father, but then admits to killing a bunch of his children, is really something to think about, because that's exactly what's going on in the Bible. We have what God says, and then we have what God does, and they are - at times - very, very different.

    I can't remember if you said you used to be a Witness or not - I get the feeling that you never were. I actually had to go door to door, carrying the flag for God, in places like Seattle, where people really know their stuff. So believe me, I know where you're coming from. The only time I could really make a convincing case that God was loving was when the householder didn't know enough about the Bible to refute the handful of scripture like the ones you quoted. Because seriously, there are only a handful. In the end, I just got tired of trying to make the Bible say something it doesn't.

    Anyway, I appreciate your willingness to discuss. I hope you can see where I and some of the others on this thread are coming from. Understanding others is a good thing.


  • Narkissos


    To me the word "God" is a symbol representing something infinite. I can't depersonalise it, because of my own interactions. Nor can I truly anthropomorphise it, because I openly acknoledge it's "bigger" than that, and certainly doesn't appear to play to human rules. I see slices of peoples' opinions of interaction through sacred texts, but acknowledge this isn't the whole picture. I see science explaining things that previously would have been classed as miracles. The "god of the gaps" isn't a sufficient enough explanation, to me, but I am content to call the term "God" a placeholder.

    I'm not sure I got it exactly. I feel you use "placeholder" as a concept between the linguistic "signifiant" (or "signifier") and the mathematical "unknown" (x or y).

    As a signifiant every word we use is somehow a "placeholder", as it stands for, represents or symbolises something (the "signifié") which may belong to reality or imagination. The mathematical unknown, on the other hand, is intrinsecally undefined, and completely "free" to be defined by its context (e.g. function or equation).

    This interests me as I conscientiously stopped using "God" as a positive signifiant, realising that I would actually need to use it as an unknown and that I could not do so because it is not an unknown, but a signifiant with a determined meaning (either of deism or of theism). I feel much of modern theology tries to speak of a "God" who is not Creator, not almighty, not all-knowing -- and it fails because "God" means "Creator", "almighty", "all-knowing".

    Do you have a suggestion for the agnostic believer thing? One who beleives, but leaves the door ajar to eventually be proved wrong?
    When I was (or thought I was) a "believer" (after the JW experience), I would have called myself an "agnostic believer", but in a somewhat different sense: more along the line of negative or apophatic theology which holds that nothing can rightly be said or known about "God". Of course this cannot be "proved wrong" -- except by "God" it/him/herself.
  • BrendaCloutier
    Do you have a suggestion for the agnostic believer thing? One who beleives, but leaves the door ajar to eventually be proved wrong?
    When I was (or thought I was) a "believer" (after the JW experience), I would have called myself an "agnostic believer", but in a somewhat different sense: more along the line of negative or apophatic theology which holds that nothing can rightly be said or known about "God". Of course this cannot be "proved wrong" -- except by "God" it/him/herself.

    Agnostic Believer is an interesting box.

    My own box I put myself in is Mystic Agnostic. As I said before I believe in god-entity but not deist or theist. And I believe in the Jesus-being who is responsible for the earth. I have had too many experiences of a mystical or divine nature to not believe there is something interested in us.

  • Greenpalmtreestillmine


    Sabrina, you quoted several scriptures to seattleniceguy about how loving the God of the OT is. What do you think of the scriptures that institutionalize the owning of women as property by men, and the unequal treatment of women in general? Are they really consistent with Malachi 2:13 and Deuteronomy 10:16-19? How is the fact that men could divorce their wives, but not vice versa, consistent with a call to properly treat "the wife of your youth"? How is God showing "no partiality" by making women property and by making an obviously partial divorce law?

    The Bible is written for and reflects, its time. This is what makes those scriptures which rise above their times so unique and beautiful. The Gospel of John is an example of this.

    But AlanF, you do not believe. I do. Never will there be a meeting of the minds between us. I do respect you though, and I do feel you are sincere.

    I will not confront your posts as I recently have. It was a stupid thing to do. Not because they cannot be confronted, I believe they can, but because I no longer care to argue about something which is unargueable. (Is that a word? Don't know.)

    Keep safe please,


Share this