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It may mystify the religious as you have to perform mental acrobatics to force your God into a good light. It is not a mystery to those unburdened by such awkward myths.
"...God has given us a strong consolation to help us overcome the pain."
This statement is meaningless. God has 'given' nothing to overcome pain. People get over pain (if they ever do) because of their own circumstance and will.
"It is faith, but it is one that trusts in the promises of God"
A faith that trusts?! Again...deep sounding but essentially meaningless nonsense.
"Let’s zero in on one specific promise. It’s in Paul’s letter to the Romans: “We know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.”"
A very cumbersome and awkward phrase. You don't really clarify it much in the next sentence, you just butcher it.
"This promise says that if we have aligned ourselves with the will of God (by turning from sin, being born again, and trusting in the Savior), whatever comes our way comes only by the permissive will of God."
Right...let's break this troublesome sentence down.
You are saying that by doing what God wants, God permits things to happen.
What is the alternative there?!
The alternative is that by doing what God does not want, God does not permit things to happen. Is that right?
How on earth could you tell the difference?
"Some terrible circumstance may not be in His perfect will, but it is in His permissive will. That means that God doesn’t send the particular suffering, but He (in His infinite wisdom) allows it to happen."
This is totally disconnected from your "if we have aligned ourselves with the will of God" statement above. But let's continue.
So if "permissive will" is allowing something to happen (in other words doing nothing and acting as if you do not exist) then what is "perfect will"? Is that where God interferes and free will is thrown out? We become puppets under his "perfect will"?
And you just finished saying that doing what God wants will result in his "permissive will" so where does this "perfect will" come into play anyway?
MAKE SENSE MAN!
This "permissive will" thing sounds an awful lot like the actions of someone who doesn't care or doesn't exist.
Also, what "infinite wisdom" could possibly be at work that allows for babies to be abused and killed? That allows for young girls to be raped? That allows for wealthy to screw over the poor? That allows for a child to starve to death in the middle of a desert? That allows a tsetse fly to painfully kill a child?
Are you telling me that this God of yours has infinite wisdom but could not come up with a way of fulfilling his plan (which seems to be to do absolutely nothing) without letting humans suffer horrible deaths?
With an infinite set of possibilities for a plan THAT is the best this God could do?!!
"This is a principle dealt with in the Book of Job. The pain is still very real, but God promises to work the situation out for good."
By allowing his wife and children to be killed in order to win a bet and then replacing them with new ones as if it didn't matter what children he had!
What an evil character you worship.
"The more you trust God in adversity, the more peace you will have in the storm."
And the more you will see God using his "permissive will" to allow anything and everything to happen to anyone and everyone therefore totally negating the possibility of any 'plan' at all.
"This is evidently seen when Jesus slept in a boat while He was in a violent storm."
"Evidently"?!! Are you kidding?
"Those who trust that God is at work in “all things” have the wonderful comfort that though the tapestry of life looks like nothing but a confusing mess, the day will come when it is turned over and His skillful handiwork will be clearly seen."
Aahhh, I see what you did there God! You allowed that baby to be raped, tortured and killed so that some people can have bliss in heaven! Well done!
What a sick and twisted view to have. When you see a news item saying that hundreds of people have been killed I am pretty sure you don't sigh and think "Well, that must have been for the greater good as God allowed it to happen"! If you do then please seek psychiatric help.
Also, if God's "handiwork" is seen anywhere then that means that free will is an illusion as everyone has been manipulated.
That does not bode well.
What an amazing contribution you have made.
I would say "I believe there are no Gods", so (it seems) would Ryk above and Anathema2 below.
My reasons are numerous but unnecessary in general discourse as I find it is enough for the theist to profess belief and give the (usually severely troublesome and awkwardly presented) burden of proof to them.
As for the Dawkins scale, I would put myself at 9 out of 10 on the side of disbelief. I would only hit 10 (this probably goes for anything) when the preponderance of evidence caused my phrasing to step into the 'knowledge' realm...and even that would be tentative with a mind to future mind-changing evidence.
What Ray fails to understand is that a belief that there are no gods ENTAILS a lack of belief in any gods.
Ray doesn't understand (among many other things) the whole "All A's are B but not all B's are A" situation.
His world is too black and white to allow for nuances.
If I shook a coin in a sealed box and said that the coin was tails, your response should be "I do not believe that the coin is tails" because you have no evidence to convince you either way - you could also say "I do not believe the coin is heads" for the same reason.
However, you would have no basis for saying "I believe the coin isn't tails (or heads)" as that belief would have to be based on some reason/evidence which you do not have.
To drive this home even clearer, imagine a marbles-in-a-jar game. The jar is large and the marbles are very small.
Person A states that the number of marbles in the jar is 56 after just looking at it and having no more information than you do.
Do you lack belief in the number 56?
Do you actively believe the number isn't 56 even though there is no reason it couldn't be?
What if the person said the number was 10,100,856?
Answer those questions and you will see why 'lacking belief' is an entirely rational standpoint and 'actively disbelieving ' is often also an entirely rational option to take.
The only 'deficiency' is believing something without justification...that's called gullibility.
Maybe that is your deficiency and you just like projecting it onto others.
"I lack a belief in gods" is equal to saying "I have no reason to believe any gods exist" - it is an intellectually honest presentation of the persons view.
"I believe there are no gods" builds upon the first belief and is equal to saying "I have reason to believe that no gods exist" - it is a statement of belief derived from being convinced by some evidence.
The 'evidence' can be questioned of course, but both viewpoints are perfectly valid and distinct.
If you realize that atheists may say different things...why insist on pigeon-holing all of them into the 'strong' atheistic view ("I believe there are no Gods") rather than the weak atheistic view ("I have no belief in any Gods")?
In either case...why do you care? Its all about belief in Gods anyhow...that is all that term describes.
"They simply say "I believe that there is no God." "
Some take the strong atheistic view..sure. But notice how that sentence does not include the word 'know'. Try and remember that next time you start rambling on about knowledge rather than belief.
"Your cut-and-paste movement only started a few years ago. But you are still connected to the old “I believe” atheists."
They are all atheists. What's your point?
"This is why. If I have a car and say, “I lack belief in makers,” it means I believe that my car had no maker. It means that I believe that nothing made it."
Failure 1: 'God' (a specific word) is not a synonym for 'maker' (a vague word). Taking away 'God' from a list of 'makers' does not leave you with 'nothing'. It leaves you with the rest of the list. (Some of the items on that list may not be known to us yet, some may never be known).
"So, carefully worded though your modern definition may be, it still leaves you believing the scientifically impossible—that nothing made everything."
Failure 2: Your conclusion is based on a faulty premise. See Failure 1.
"No wonder the Bible says, “The fool has said in his heart, there is no God.” "
That phrase is both pointless (as in - who cares?!) and irrelevant as the topic of your post was about statements of belief, not statements of knowledge. See my second response above.
Try harder Ray...you have had ages to come up with better stuff that this surely??
I fear you are not joking. Oh dear!
"As much as homosexuals may not want to be told that they are in sin, the very nature of things says so."
You mean a book says so. Try to keep your thoughts and words concise of you want to convey a specific message. Learn from your own bibles mistakes.
"It is a man and a woman who are able to produce children, not two men or two women."
And what does that have to do with anything at all? You have pulled this meaningless sentence from nowhere in some strange belief that it answers something. It does not.
Or are you claiming to know the mind of this God character? Is it only childbearing couples that are 'allowed' in your God's eyes? If so, why is it not a sin for 2 people who cannot have children to be together...why focus on homosexuality?
Do you care WHY it is a sin? Or does your worldview not require reason?
Your last paragraph is nonsensical preaching whereby you unwittingly make your God out to be the monster your bible clearly makes him out to be...so I won't bother responding to it.
Have a good day.
You are lovingly against a lot of things aren't you Ray?!
"When I meet a homosexual, I never talk about his sexual orientation."
Or hers? Let's pretend your use of 'his/him/he' includes women.
"I then show him what “sin” is, by referring to 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 (which lists those who will not enter the Kingdom of Heaven)"
But you have no idea WHY those things are sins and you don't even care do you. It is enough for you to blindly obey like a robot and not have to engage your brain.
You have no morality...you have only blind obedience.
"I gently tell him that if he has a problem with the list, he should take it up with God, because it’s His list."
Is it? The passage you quoted was written by Paul. There is no book written by God or even Jesus for that matter. There are books written by men and you are claiming that God directly inspired them.
You are asking people to believe one man from hundreds of years ago, not an almighty superbeing of your imagination.
Furthermore, I remember you once saying that you reserved doubt for biblical statements that do not begin with 'And the Lord said' (or something similar) when confronted with the passage allowing masters to own and beat people.
You cannot even remain constant within your own religion and once again fact checking seems to have gone out the window.
Le me ask you: do you think slavery or homosexuality is worse in actual effect?
Homosexuality is one adult liking/fancying/loving another of the same gender. The act (within the law) is one of privacy and consent between adults. This is no different from heterosexuality apart from 4 words - 'of the same gender'. No victim.
Slavery is the turning of a human into meat-property that can be kept, abused, beaten and exploited from one generation to the next. Victims one and all.
Your bible holds that homosexuality is a sin and slavery is not.
Why don't you go and have a quiet word with yourself about that.