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Can an all-good/all-powerful God allow evil/suffering?

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Can an all-good/all-powerful God allow evil/suffering?

Postby Scepcop » 21 Apr 2011, 16:49

Hi all,
Here is part of an essay debunking and exposing Christianity that I'm working on. Let me know what you think.

http://www.debunkingskeptics.com/Christian_Problems.htm

Here is something inescapable. It is a valid and logical argument that Atheists and Anti-Christian writers (e.g. Thomas Pain, Robert Ingersoll, Bertrand Russell) have used throughout history that Christians and theists have never been able to debunk or explain away logically.

Now, we all know that there are billions of people suffering in the world, most of whom are innocent, both now and throughout history. And we all know that evil sociopaths often go unpunished and attain positions of power more often than good people do (since power attracts evil rather than good). Therefore, it is logically impossible for there to be a God who is both all-powerful and all-good, as the Christians claim, and yet allows all this to be so. Logically, such a deity would not allow the suffering of billions of innocent people throughout history, nor allow evil sociopaths to constantly attain the majority of positions of power and go unpunished (while the good die young). There is no escape from this dilemma.

To put this in perspective:

1) Billions of innocent people are suffering in the world, both now and throughout history.
2) Evil is allowed to exist, run rampant, and attain positions of power in the majority of cases, more often than good virtuous people do.
3) God is all-powerful and all-good, yet allows #1 and #2 to exist, both now and throughout history.

All three of the above CANNOT logically co-exist at the same time. The only logical possibilities are:

1) God is not that powerful. (if so, then how did he create the whole universe?)
2) God is evil, or not good, or doesn't care.
3) God doesn't exist.
4) God is nothing like what you think he is, or is something beyond your comprehension.
5) God lets suffering and evil exist for reasons beyond your comprehension, and/or does not have the same morals that you do. Thus he does not do what you would do if you were him.

The standard Christian explanation for the above makes no sense at all and is a ridiculous cop-out:

"God allows evil and suffering to exist in the world because Man chose to Sin in the Garden of Eden. God gave Man freewill, and Mankind chose Sin. Hence death, pain, decay and evil entered into the world. God is 100 percent just and righteous, so all this is Mankind's fault, not God's. It says so in the Bible."

I'm sorry but these are mere words and just do not cut it. They make ZERO SENSE and the implications of it are 100 percent ridiculous too. Anyone who takes such an explanation seriously must either be completely insane and lost his marbles, or is completely brainwashed and mind-controlled, in order to accept something that makes zero sense as Gospel Truth.

What the standard Christian explanation implies is that:

"A good and all-knowing God allowed billions of people throughout history to suffer, die, and go to hell (if they died unsaved) simply because two naive people named Adam and Eve took a bite of the fruit of a forbidden tree in the Garden of Eden. In other words, one little mistake (or bite) caused a lifetime and eternity of pain for billions of people, and deservedly so, which all-wise and all-good God allowed."

Um excuse me, but even if I were on crack, I wouldn't buy such an insane explanation. I'd sooner believe that Santa Claus visits every home in the world in one night on Christmas Eve than that! Come on now. Gimme a break. Get real! I mean, I know you don't have to be intelligent to be a Christian, but really... Anyhow, that's their version of reality, which they take seriously, believe it or not.

Not only is this explanation 1000 percent insane, but it is 1000 percent UNJUST as well. I mean, what kind of a parent would allow their children to suffer pain and death (not to mention damnation) as a consequence of taking a bite out of a fruit that you told them not to touch? It doesn't make any sense! Wouldn't such a parent be the most evil and sociopathic parent in the world? (Yet a God who is 100 percent perfect and righteous would do that?!) There is no escaping that. There is no way in hell (pardon the pun) that one little mistake could be worth a lifetime or eternity of pain. No way. No Christian in the world could justify that. It is completely unjustifiable, insane, nonsensical, and there is no logical reason to believe it either.

Yet Christians take this explanation seriously?! And they believe in a 100 percent righteous and just God too?! WTF?! This is nothing short of pure and total mind control. No question about it.

Besides, how do they know that God is 100 percent righteous and just? Because the Bible says so? And that alone makes it true?! Gee, what low standards. I mean, how do they know that Satan isn't the good guy and God the bad guy? They don't! All they can do is believe whatever someone TELLS them, and labels the rest as "lies of Satan". But life teaches us that things are not always what they seem, life teaches us. They simply take it on faith, that the Bible is all true because it is, and that's that. It's the weakest logic of all.

Also, why does Lucifer/Satan wanting a little freedom when he was an angel of God make him 100 percent evil? Teenagers naturally want some freedom from their parents too, but does that make them 100 percent evil and demonic? You see how nonsensical all of this is? Nothing in the Christian fundamentalist version of reality makes the slightest bit of sense...

Plus, if I were an all-knowing God and knew BEFORE I created the world that the majority of the people on Earth would suffer through life and end up in the eternal torment of hell afterward (since most people do not become Christians in their lifetime), I would certainly not create such a world. No sane person would create something knowing in advance that the bad that would come out of it would far exceed the good. No sane person would go through with that, let alone an all-wise God. Think about it: If you knew before setting up a business that you'd incur a loss of $75,000 and reap only $25,000 in profit (based on 1/4 of the world's population claiming to be Christians), would you go through with it? Get real.

So you see, nothing about the Christian version of reality makes any sense at all, in any way at all, once you look at it with a clear mind free of fear and mind control. There are way too many irresolvable problems with it.

In fact, many ex-Christians report in their deconversion testimonials that while they were believers, such logical impossibilities and unresolvable questions as the above, kept entering their minds from time to time. But since they could not be satisfactorily explained away, they had to be mentally filed away on a mental shelf labeled "Unresolvable". However, eventually, such unresolvable questions accumulated until they became too heavy to ignore and deny any longer. At some point, their "mental shelf" simply broke and they could no longer live in denial anymore. It was only then, that the mind control imposed on them by Christianity broke down, and they were finally set free from it.

(One great example of this is my friend Darryl Sloan, an aware skeptic, freethinker and author who described many such logical impossibilities in Christianity in his YouTube videos, which you can see at http://www.youtube.com/darrylsloan. And my own Christian deconversion story is at http://www.debunkingskeptics.com/Christian_Story.htm)

So why do Christians believe such extreme things then? If you ask them about it, their mind-controlled condition will become very apparent, as they say things like "Because God says so in his word, the Bible, which is his revelation to us" and "Because it's true, and truth is self-apparent once you've woken up to it" etc. However, the same could be said about any religion or belief system. So what makes theirs any truer than others? In short, they believe it because they were TOLD TO BELIEVE IT, but they don't really realize that. They simply think "The truth is the truth, and that's that" so they do not question it (nor are they taught to) and do not think freely for themselves either. Their reasoning is 100 percent circular, and besides that, their beliefs do not even have a valid INITIAL FOUNDATIONAL BASIS either (which doesn't cross their mind).
“Devotion to the truth is the hallmark of morality; there is no greater, nobler, more heroic form of devotion than the act of a man who assumes the responsibility of thinking.” - Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged
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Re: Can an all-good/all-powerful God allow evil/suffering?

Postby Craig Browning » 21 Apr 2011, 23:54

Ok, a couple of points you need to look at in that they will be the "come-back" made by the bible-thumpers. . .

FIRST: they promote the lie that poverty and torment on earth is a kind of "dues" we pay in order to not endure an eternity of hells fire in death. This was part of Mother Theresa's claim to fame and what you find as the cornerstone when it comes to vows of poverty throughout the ages, but most especially in regards to the church. Too, you need to bring out the fact that socially-politically, it was far easier to control and manipulate the impoverished in that such unfortunates were desperate and generally willing to turn on their neighbor for sake of status elevation. . . look at how people were rewarded for screaming "witch" during the centuries surrounding the Inquisition and compare that to the antics of the Tea Party lots of today or the racial bigots throughout history. Let's face it, it was because the evil Jews betrayed Jesus that everyone suffers under their whip. . . they sold their soul in order to run shod over governments; just look who controls the banking systems, rare gem trade, entertainment. . . (zeeek!)

Yes, there is a secondary factor here which you do touch upon; Punishment of "our" Sins. Like you I don't buy that in that it only makes sense if you believe in Karma & Reincarnation (which by the way, was part of the gospel tradition well into the 5th century when it was officially removed from church teachings in exchange for the Zoroastrian idea of the one way ticket -- hell or heaven -- which was far more profitable for the orthodoxy. The majority of eastern religious ideology, including ancient Judaism, all taught some form of reincarnation as a "law", it is the Romanizing of Christianity that changed this.


SECONDLY: there is a voluntary factor certain Christian groups embrace such as can be seen in the Mennonites, Amish and even the Mormons in certain cases; the idea of "modesty" and not flaunting any form of wealth, lavishness, etc. Even a woman wearing make-up, extravagant jewelry (other than a simple wedding band) is viewed as "sinful" or "prideful" in a manner that is vain. Finery is a taboo and this includes those mechanisms that take away from the spiritual value of a hard-days toil -- hard, physical work. This is why use of certain types of appliances and technology is essentially non-existent in these communities, including how far they will allow the medical profession go when it comes to health treatment.

I consider these views far more honorable and honest over the other, in that it is a voluntary thing that comes from a conscious decision vs. the blanket EXCUSE promoted in cult propaganda found in the first point.


In the course of my personal studies, the only religiously oriented perspective that makes sense when it comes to general suffering in the world, is the Law of Necessity a.k.a. Karma and Reincarnation. In other words, we make our our beds and the things we must endure in life stem from a series of choices made both, in a past lifetime as well as on the spiritual plane prior to inception, when we were looking at our karmic account and how to bring balance to it through this new life we are about to enter. It is the only "fair" and unbiased system in that it is based on two things only; personal choices/actions, and the Universes need to have all things run in harmony -- to keep things balanced. It's really that simple and we see it in life itself; how our decisions can bring about good things for us and our fellows or else create madness and hell for all concerned, and that's just carnal-karma -- the instant mode of karma that hits the fan with great frequency in life, much of which will follow us forward, until we correct the wrong.

Ok... I'm getting to philosophical, I hope what I've shared gives you some solid thought-kernels however when it comes to your argument. ;)
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Re: Can an all-good/all-powerful God allow evil/suffering?

Postby Craig Browning » 22 Apr 2011, 06:38

I just found this site and thought I'd share it with you as well... it's priceless!

http://www.liesthechurchbelieves.com/

WARNING: This isn't an anti-church piece, but is one minister challenging the LIES and Misrepresentation being waged in the name of God by the politically motivated idiots out there.... just in time to make the Tea Party look less "Christian" if you ask me.
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Re: Can an all-good/all-powerful God allow evil/suffering?

Postby Scepcop » 24 Apr 2011, 11:01

Here are my thesis points in my new essay about Christian beliefs.

Christianity's Irresolvable Problems, Circular Reasoning and Lack of Foundational Basis

Thesis points:

1. The existence of enormous amounts of suffering, evil and injustice in the world and throughout history renders the Christian concept of an all-powerful and all-good God logically impossible, for such a being would not permit such suffering, injustices and tragedies upon the innocent in a seemingly Godless world. No Christian theologian or apologist in history has ever been able to explain this away. All their attempts have been cheap copouts that make no sense at all.
2. Besides #1, there are many other irresolvable problems with Christianity that even the best Christian apologists and theologians are unable to truly resolve. Plus there is no logical or valid reason for believing that Christianity is true in the first place, or that it is absolute infallible literal divine truth.
3. Christian beliefs are based on 100 percent circular reasoning which lacks even a valid initial basis or foundation for, which Christians do not see due to their brainwashing and mind-control.


Here now is the rest of my essay, or the second half of it rather.

-------------------------------------------------------

Here are some simple key facts that devout mind-controlled Christians fail to realize, even though they are right under their noses:

- There is NO FOUNDATIONAL BASIS or logical reason for their belief that "The Bible is the infallible word of God and absolute literal truth. All men are sinners and the only way to God is through Jesus Christ. All who believe in Christ go to Heaven, while all who don't go to Hell". There is no good reason to believe such extreme things. And no basis for it at all. They were simply TOLD this "Gospel message", and somehow, it gave them a sense of purpose or brought meaning into their empty chaotic lives, or it was what they needed to hear at that time, or it was what they were taught by their Christian families. So they accepted it, and once they did, it became absolute authority in their minds, above all questioning and skeptical inquiry, thus forming a complete circular loop in their train of thought which filtered their sense of reality so that all incoming data that fit with it was accepted, while all data that didn't was rejected. Once this circular loop formed in their minds, they forget that there was NO REAL initial basis for their extreme beliefs in the first place!

- Once the Christian believes that the Bible is infallible truth and authority, his/her mind becomes HIJACKED in that such a belief will place Christian teaching at the TOP of the hierarchy in their mind, with Truth becoming subservient to it. In other words, Truth must serve the Bible, not the other way around, so that all facts and data MUST conform to the Bible or be rejected. What this means it that the Bible and their beliefs can NEVER be questioned, even if it's false, because it has occupied the highest seat of power in their minds. However, if Christians were to place Truth at the top, above the Bible, then they could question and analyze the Bible and see the obvious errors, contradictions and irresolvable problems with it. But instead, they place Christianity above Truth, so that their beliefs can never be questioned no matter how absurd, thus creating a completely closed and circular loop. This is the epitome of "brainwashing". Thus, in a sense, the Gospel is like a "trojan horse" that offers the newly converted everything, at the expense of hijacking and imprisoning their own mind.

- Just because an ancient set of books written by ancient unknown authors says something does NOT mean that it must be true, any more than a random book I pull out from the library must be true. Text in ancient books is not proof of absolute inerrant truth, especially when it contains so many contradictions, errors and far-fetched legends. Besides, there are many ancient books from all throughout history, so why do you not believe that all of them are infallible divine truth too?

- Just because someone, a believer himself, tells you that Christian teaching is absolute truth does NOT make it so, any more than any other belief system must be true because someone says so, or any more than the email spam and scams you receive everyday must be true because it says so.

- Think about this: If I pulled out a random book in the library and said "This is absolute infallible truth and cannot be questioned because God wrote it", does that make it true? Or suppose I were to write this in a book: "The Gobblygook Monster created us. He is perfect, righteous and infallible, while we are all condemned sinners. He says that the only way to him is through his son, the Gobblygook Son, who died for your sins and rose from the dead. His disciples witnessed his resurrection and were willing to die for it, so it must be true. Your eternal destiny lies upon whether you accept this or not." Would that make it true?! Think man!

- God did not physically appear in God-like form (i.e. as a pillar of fire to Moses) to you and tell you that the Bible and Christianity are the whole literal and complete truth. PEOPLE told you that, and FALLIBLE people at that. No one is perfect. So why do you believe that imperfect humans who are no more perfect than you, wrote something that was perfect and infallible and never to be questioned?! Simply because someone told you so?! Are you that gullible and naive?!

- The Bible shows every indication of being written by fallible and imperfect human beings. There are thousands of contradictions between its 66 books, many unfulfilled prophecies, mistakes, misunderstandings by its authors as they referenced other books (i.e. New Testament interpretations of Old Testament books), different teachings (e.g. regarding salvation and theology in the Old and New Testaments), etc. The Bible is far from a set of unified beliefs of agreement in all its books. In fact, the Old Testament and New Testament teach different things regarding theology, salvation, morality, the messiah, the devil, hell, the afterlife, etc. (I have described many examples in my Debunking Christian Fundamentalism treatise here) Sure the Bible contains some wisdom, great teachings and eloquent stories, but so do many other ancient books as well. But there is no logical reason to believe that every word in it is absolutely infallible, true and unquestionable, just because believers tell you so. Even if the Bible itself says so, it does not make it true, as explained earlier. (In fact, the Bible itself does really not claim to be infallible, only its followers do. I've elaborated on this here.)

- The arguments used by Christian Apologists (e.g. Josh McDowell, C.S. Lewis, Lee Strobel) such as the Fulfilled Prophecies argument, the Resurrection argument, the Trilemma argument, etc. all collapse under simple casual scrutiny. They are no more sensible than the loaded agenda-driven arguments used by advertisers in commercials. In fact, I have debunked all of them in my treatise here.

- To the Christians who say "I believe the Bible not for logical or rational reasons, but because I feel its truth deep inside of me. God spoke to my heart through the Holy Spirit. That is how I know it is true." let me ask you this: I can find sincere believers of EVERY RELIGIOUS FAITH who say the same thing about why they believe too. For example, I have met many sincere Muslims, Mormons and Jehovah's Witnesses that have said that too. So why should I believe you and not them? They are just as sincere are you. What makes your belief right and theirs wrong? They have a right to "feel the truth of their religion in their hearts" too. So what's the difference between you and them? What makes them wrong? Simply because they don't share your beliefs, which are based on ancient books written by unknown people you never met?

- To Christians I ask: How do you know God is all-good, all-righteous and perfect without blemish, fault or sin? How do you know whether God is good or whether Satan is evil? How do you know that the Bible is true and Satan is the Father of lies? Aren't you taking the Bible's word for it? What if it's not true? What if the Bible has deceived you? How do you really know?! YOU DON'T! You are taking it all on one-sided faith without a valid basis. Sheesh. No one and nothing is perfect. In fact, the Old Testament stories depicted God as angry, vengeful, jealous, etc. possessing all the traits that humans did, and making mistakes and regretting them as well. In fact, he was not always just, fair or even reasonable. In Exodus, he made the Israelites wander the desert aimlessly for 40 years under harsh conditions while expecting them to never complain about it. And numerous times, he killed innocent children to punish the sins of their fathers. (See list of verses here) No one can justify such things as "fair" or "just". Get real. Words in a book are NOT a valid basis to form an infallible belief on. Your reasoning process is completely foolish, no better than those who fall prey to obvious scams artists and hand over all their money to them.

- The Atheist has a valid argument and reason for his/her disbelief. (Not that I'm an Atheist) If God never physically shows himself to them, then one has a perfect right to doubt or disbelieve his existence, no matter what any book or person tells him about it. Moreover, their argument that an all-powerful, all-good God is logically incompatible with all the suffering and evil in the world, is a VALID argument for sure, and one which Christians have never been able to resolve logically, except with copout excuses like "God wants us to have free will otherwise we'd be robots".

So you see, there is no real basis to the Christian's beliefs or version of reality. They make no sense, are without foundation, and follow a completely circular reasoning loop - "It's true because God said so --> because the Bible says so --> because it's true..." ad nauseum. Furthermore, there was no INITIAL BASIS for their extreme beliefs in the first place, which they fail to realize once their reasoning became completely circular.

Now, devout Christians will usually respond to such arguments and facts that they can't explain away, with something like this:

"You can think whatever you want. But God makes the rules. You either follow them or reap the consequences. Be careful what you choose to believe in. Your eternal fate may hang on it."

But again, we come back to the obvious points and facts outlined above. How do they know what "God's rules" are? Because of what the Bible says? Again, just because people create a religion around their interpretation of an ancient set of books does NOT mean it constitutes "God's rules", nor does it represent unquestionable divine truth. Get real. I could say that the book of Koran are "God's rules" too, but would that make it so? Wouldn't you be a heretic for not accepting the word of the Koran too? Again, just because someone tells you something doesn't mean it's true. And just because an ancient book says something doesn't mean it's true either. I'm sure you've gotten spam emails that make big promises or offer to wire you millions of dollars, if you just send a release fee of a few hundred dollars first... but does that mean it's true?

To Christian readers: You see, your reasoning is completely circular but you don't realize it. Such is the effect of mind control. Your reason is completely subdued due to an "infallible truth" placed at the top of your mind. To you, "your beliefs are the truth because they are the truth" and that's that...

But I can tell you this though: Within such a nonthinking loop (which you don't even see) your mind can never be truly free and clear. Your mind is completely imprisoned, but you don't even realize it. That's why it's so effective. (until you break free of it that is, for only then do you realize what it was all along)

Many Christians will often utter this one as well:

"Who are you to question God? He created the universe and you too. You have no right to question him or his word. He has every right to do whatever he wants with his creation. You ought to be thankful that he sent Jesus to die for you, so you could be saved and go to heaven. He could have chosen to not send a savior to us, let us all go to hell, and he'd be just as perfect and righteous. None of us deserve his mercy. Yet he chose to be merciful to us and offer us a way out of sin and damnation. You ought to appreciate that and accept his free gift of salvation through Christ, and stop rebelling against him."

To them I say this: Again, see the above points and links, which your mind has probably filtered out with cognitive dissonance. Your basic fallacy here is that you assume that all these extreme religious beliefs you hold are true, when in fact there is no logical reason, or even any "good reason", to believe that they are. You believe that your Christian beliefs are true simply because "they are true because God said it in the Bible" and that's that. It's a given to you, without any foundational basis. Thus, your mind is in a complete circular loop, and you don't even realize it. I know what that's like because I used to believe as you do, so I know what it's like to be inside such a closed circular loop that you don't even see.

When you are in such a closed black and white circular belief system, your reality and incoming data are COMPLETELY EDITED - All incoming data that agrees with your extreme (but baseless) beliefs is accepted, while all data that doesn't is rejected. It's a form of cognitive dissonance that filters your reality, based on your absolute belief that "The Bible is true because God says so in the Bible, so it's true..." ad nauseum, to the point where you don't even see the closed loop itself (which clear-thinking people outside your loop can easily see).

Plus, to believe in a God or love him simply out of fear of the consequences of not doing so, is not a genuine or pure motive. It is nothing less than coercion. Doing something out of fear brings you in tune with a lower vibration. Why would an all-wise God want to bring people down to such a low weak vibration?

Also, why am I automatically a guilty sinner with no worth just by being born on Earth? It's like I'm assigned automatic guilt for no reason, just like that, simply cause Adam and Eve ate the wrong fruit off the wrong tree?! Gimme a break...

So you see, these unexplainable questions and irresolvable problems with Christianity are endless and unresolvable. Plus there are too many valid arguments and reasons to doubt the claims of Christianity too. If you are a devout Christian and have gotten this far, then you are one of the few, since most Christians would have stopped reading this near the beginning. So I commend you for your open mindedness.

Now I'm not saying that Christianity has no value. I acknowledge that it has changed lives, produced miracles, answered prayers, etc. and that believers can and do have supernatural experiences. However, this is true of every religion. I have met Mormons, Jehovah's Witnesses, Buddhists and Muslims who have had supernatural experiences, life changes, and seen miracles happen. But that doesn't mean that the "holy book" of their religion is all literally true, infallible and above questioning. Moreover, people with no religion have had supernatural experiences as well. You don't even need a religion to experience such things, or even to have spiritual experiences. What this means is that there are many ways that man can tap into a "higher power" or come into contact with extra-dimensional forces. Religion is just one way. There are many others. The nature of such experiences is a subject of debate and not completely understood by logic or science. However, the point is that just cause they happen to believers of a certain religions does NOT make everything about that religion and its "holy scriptures" completely true and infallible.

On the other hand, in the theist's favor, I will say that believers in God have valid reasons for their belief as well. The argument that all of creation and the seeming design in it (aka "The Design Argument" implies a "Creator" is a VALID argument (despite what Atheists "religiously" claim against it and despite that it could lead to a "Who created the Creator then?" counter-argument as well). Add the fact that 1) there are numerous irresolvable problems with the Darwinian Evolution Theory, and that 2) studies show that human belief in God is innate rather than based on culture, learning or upbringing, and 3) the fact that some have met God during Near Death Experiences, and you do have some valid reasons for believing in God as well.

However, NONE of these valid reasons for believing in God or a Creator prove the "Christian God" of the Bible, nor do they support the belief that the Bible is God's word or that is it infallible inerrant divine literal truth either. These reasons DO NOT provide a basis for that at all. That is what Christians miss due to their mind-controlled absolutist beliefs.

Anyway, I do not claim to have all the answers here. Christians, Atheists, Buddhists and New Agers do not have all the answers either. You see, life is not about having answers to all the big questions handed to you. Truth is a continual lifetime search process of asking questions and questioning everything. To be a truth seeking, one has to learn to be happy to simply say, "I don't know" and embrace the uncertainty that comes with it.

One can choose between two paths: That of a truth-seeker who seeks to become more and more "aware" everyday, or that of a follower of a herd mentality who lives a "happy slave" life of ignorance and doesn't like to think too much. Some are happy being conformists and followers, while others aren't. You will have to decide which one you are.

All I know for sure is that reality is far more complex and vast than the confines of any one religion and its doctrines, whether it be Christianity or another faith. Thus, a truth seeker must venture beyond the rigid belief system of orthodox religions in order to learn more, understand more, expand his/her reality, and evolve.

The most important thing I'd advise for the truth-seeker is this quote by my friend Darryl Sloan from his book Reality Check, which says it all:

"The most productive mindset you can have is simply this: always, always, always have a belief system that doesn’t resist change. Go wherever the information leads you, without fear, because surely the truth is never something to dread." - Darryl Sloan, Reality Check
“Devotion to the truth is the hallmark of morality; there is no greater, nobler, more heroic form of devotion than the act of a man who assumes the responsibility of thinking.” - Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged
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Re: Can an all-good/all-powerful God allow evil/suffering?

Postby Scepcop » 24 Apr 2011, 11:30

Check out this video about how "religion is fast food theology". It's over the top, but funny.

“Devotion to the truth is the hallmark of morality; there is no greater, nobler, more heroic form of devotion than the act of a man who assumes the responsibility of thinking.” - Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged
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Re: Can an all-good/all-powerful God allow evil/suffering?

Postby Craig Browning » 24 Apr 2011, 19:16

I would suggest you check out the books written by Bart D. Ehrman, Helen Ellerbe, Elaine Pagels and there are a few others I can't recall off the top of my head. While you have some ok bullet points they have nothing to substantiate them and so they come off as "typical atheist rhetoric" -- a rant that is nearly word for word the same thing "they" have heard time and again.

This is something I've studied for over 35 years (everyone in my family thought I would leave show biz and move into Evangelist work as a vocation after all). It is not an easy thing to take on; just do some searches on anti-church/christian views and look at how many mirror what you've said but more importantly, look at how much material is out there that is better structured when it comes to scholastic perspective -- deeper thought. Just look at Bertram Russel. . .

While a very complicated area to make sense of initially, look at the early history of the church's formation; the political and theological contentions of the 2nd well into the early 6th centuries let alone the games played through throughout the course of the formal institutions' history; Catholic & Protestant aspects let alone those facets invented in and traditionally connected to the American idea of what Christianity is... huge variants and perspectives in that alone, especially over the past 30-50 years where massive dynamic changes have been seen. . . just look at when the Mega-Church idea got started alongside the money-grabbing (and ministries) followed. . . I'm certain J.C. would be paratrooping in with a swat team now days, when it comes to dealing with the Money Changers in the Temple :twisted:
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Re: Can an all-good/all-powerful God allow evil/suffering?

Postby Scepcop » 18 Jun 2011, 18:29

Here is the full revised version of my essay. I just posted it here:

Christianity's Irresolvable Problems, Circular Reasoning and Lack of Foundational Basis

http://www.debunkingskeptics.com/Christian_Problems.htm
“Devotion to the truth is the hallmark of morality; there is no greater, nobler, more heroic form of devotion than the act of a man who assumes the responsibility of thinking.” - Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged
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Re: Can an all-good/all-powerful God allow evil/suffering?

Postby Craig Browning » 18 Jun 2011, 21:30

Winston, PLEASE start doing some actually research on things before you try writing about them. You know next to nothing about this subject; a first year seminary student could eat you alive and they don't know anything when it comes to the deep dodo tied to the church.

The ORIGINAL form of Christianity (as taught by that Jewish kid that everything claims to be "God") was strongly Buddhist with a Jewish twist and as such, a cornerstone of that message was Reincarnation which, if you were to study the older aspects of Jewish theology, was a perspective in said traditions that was known to the clergy while not so much the laity. For this reason, the original Gospels and understanding of transgression related more to Karmic ideology and not what would later become the dogma we know today as christianity (much of which was "borrowed" from Zoasterism)

Reincarnation and all that goes with it, was removed from the Christian tradition in the Mid-5th Century during one of the big counsels in Constantinople (I forget exactly the numeric factors) and in its place the public was given the whole One Way Ticket to Heaven or Hell alongside the original "Carbon Credit" concept via which one could buy off their sins by giving loads of cash, property, etc. to the church. . . not that the clergy was composed of greedy bastards or anything :roll: Those that refused to let go of this tradition we part of the still extant Gnostic side of Christianity that the political orthodoxy of Rome simply couldn't stamp out, that would take another few centuries and a matter as to how time and generation make things shift . . . forgotten or reaccessed :roll: (thank the gods, some have begun reevaluating things and trying to recapture Gnosticism, even though most seem to be doing little other than inventing a new version of the same old dogma).

This is something I wasn't just raised in Winston, I've studied it for decades and from several different points of view. What you are offering is little more than the typical "I'm a Born-Again Atheist" rant that's most common to a college Freshman or maybe a Grad with his BA degree in Comparative Religion. The people that you need to appeal to and challenge wont only discard it as being the same old rhetoric they've heard for years, they'll chalk you up as being another wayward fool that's following a trend. If you want to them to take you serious however, you MUST study, do the research and get the FACTS vs. supposition. They already know what you're saying and how to counter such arguments, you need to give them something different that they can't refute otherwise you're just wasting time and space regurgitating what all the other choir members are ranting about.
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Why can't God have an evil side or be flawed?

Postby Scepcop » 17 Aug 2011, 13:51

This might be a blasphemous question. But why can't God be evil or have an evil side? Why do people need to believe that he is perfect and flawless and all good, all righteous, all just, all loving, etc. just because religion says so?

It just doesn't make sense given our imperfect world that is cold and cruel. In a world where evil rules, where 75 percent of the world live in poverty and suffering, where terrible things happen to good people, where animals have to kill and eat other animals to survive, wouldn't it make more sense for God/the Creator/the programmer of our matrix to be evil, sadistic, or revel in chaos? I mean if you can accept that, wouldn't the world make a lot more sense?

Humans have an evil side with harmful destructive qualities. They are imperfect with flaws and negative traits. So why can't God be the same way? The Old Testament describes God as a "jealous God" with regrets and anger. So why do we need to make him out to be perfect and flawless? Why can't he be flawed? Why do people need to believe that he is completely perfect?

When I'm talking about God, I'm not necessarily referring to a traditional God, just to whatever mind or consciousness at a higher level or dimension is running things and created us. It could also refer to some computer programmer outside of our universe or dimension who put us in a sort of holographic matrix or super computer simulation, since our universe does have some of the properties of a computer program, as some experts have pointed out. (Google "Are we living in a computer simulation" to find some experts, books and websites about this) I'm just referring to whoever or whatever is running things.

Why can't this Creator or super consciousness be evil and flawed, or at least have an evil side? Or at least have negative/bad/imperfect qualities? It would make more sense wouldn't it, given this cold, cruel, unjust universe that we live in that makes no sense. Everything has a good side and bad side. It's part of the ying and yang of our universe. So why can't that apply to the Creator too? If the creation reflects the creator, then this would make sense, wouldn't it? A perfect Creator cannot create an imperfect world.

What do you think?
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Re: Why can't God have an evil side or be flawed?

Postby ProfWag » 17 Aug 2011, 18:15

Scepcop wrote:... wouldn't it make more sense for God/the Creator/the programmer of our matrix to be evil, sadistic, or revel in chaos? I mean if you can accept that, wouldn't the world make a lot more sense?

What do you think?

Actually, I think it would make a lot more sense if there was no God to begin with.
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Re: Can an all-good/all-powerful God allow evil/suffering?

Postby Arouet » 18 Aug 2011, 06:30

But given the existence of a god, it would make much more sense that it was not completely good nor completely bad, given what we know about this universe.
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Re: Can an all-good/all-powerful God allow evil/suffering?

Postby ProfWag » 18 Aug 2011, 19:31

Arouet wrote:But given the existence of a god, it would make much more sense that it was not completely good nor completely bad, given what we know about this universe.

But the existence of a god cannot be a given. I became an Atheist after my time in the Middle East during the Iraq war and saw far too much death and destruction that no god should allow that to happen and if they did, I wouldn't want to worship that person to begin with.
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Re: Why can't God have an evil side or be flawed?

Postby Craig Browning » 19 Aug 2011, 00:21

Scepcop wrote:This might be a blasphemous question. But why can't God be evil or have an evil side? Why do people need to believe that he is perfect and flawless and all good, all righteous, all just, all loving, etc. just because religion says so?

It just doesn't make sense given our imperfect world that is cold and cruel. In a world where evil rules, where 75 percent of the world live in poverty and suffering, where terrible things happen to good people, where animals have to kill and eat other animals to survive, wouldn't it make more sense for God/the Creator/the programmer of our matrix to be evil, sadistic, or revel in chaos? I mean if you can accept that, wouldn't the world make a lot more sense?

Humans have an evil side with harmful destructive qualities. They are imperfect with flaws and negative traits. So why can't God be the same way? The Old Testament describes God as a "jealous God" with regrets and anger. So why do we need to make him out to be perfect and flawless? Why can't he be flawed? Why do people need to believe that he is completely perfect?

When I'm talking about God, I'm not necessarily referring to a traditional God, just to whatever mind or consciousness at a higher level or dimension is running things and created us. It could also refer to some computer programmer outside of our universe or dimension who put us in a sort of holographic matrix or super computer simulation, since our universe does have some of the properties of a computer program, as some experts have pointed out. (Google "Are we living in a computer simulation" to find some experts, books and websites about this) I'm just referring to whoever or whatever is running things.

Why can't this Creator or super consciousness be evil and flawed, or at least have an evil side? Or at least have negative/bad/imperfect qualities? It would make more sense wouldn't it, given this cold, cruel, unjust universe that we live in that makes no sense. Everything has a good side and bad side. It's part of the ying and yang of our universe. So why can't that apply to the Creator too? If the creation reflects the creator, then this would make sense, wouldn't it? A perfect Creator cannot create an imperfect world.

What do you think?


I wanted to address this yesterday but got side-tracked by doctors (they can be such a pain)

The "God" most people recognize in today's world is incomplete. If you go back in the early books of the Old Testament you will find many names e.g. many facets of the One God -- you may have a single diamond but look at how many faces it has once "perfected" by the craftsman -- GOD has the same sort of thing going on IF we are to listen to theology as well as the folklore tied to the Talmud; all in all there are some 40 different names and two-dozen alternate titles attributed to this one deity. There is likewise a huge amount of Hermaphroditus elements that get swept under the rug by all 3 of the Abrahamic faiths in that several of these older names (primarily found in Genesis) were feminine, which means we either have a Heavenly Mother (as Jewish Mysticism and certain other religious groups (christian) suggests) or GOD is at minimum, cross-gendered in some way.

In the more mystical sense, the Jewish God that was usurped by Paulists and other "Christians" was both Good & Evil. . . or, if we are to be more accurate about it, "Grey" -- while the Old Testament tales give us a very vengeful, arrogant, sod once the deal is set with Moses, the GOD prior to this was quite balanced for the most part -- a true loving parent believe it or not. . . you see, the whole Adam & Eve thing as well as Cane & Able are metaphor and based on far older, non-Jewish resources (as is the whole creation tale or "tales" shared in Genesis) Metaphor was used as a way to pass on certain moral wisdom, not as some kind of literal event. Nonetheless, the duality of the Divine is so well known by theologists that some have theorized for centuries now, that the famed snake in the Garden was actually Jesus.

Why?

Because GOD needed man to "fall" or rather "awaken" in order for him to evolve and, as the phrase goes, "Become as God" -- Our entire reason to exist is to help the divine rediscover itself by watching and from time to time helping us grow from animal to productive sentient, one that potentially will know the ability to create life. . . not just clones but terraforming planets and putting life on them in "magickle" ways. . . or so it will seem to these primitive creations we place there by way of DNA and simply letting nature do what she does so well.

If you take an honest look at the Old Testament in particular, you will find that GOD is far more "evil" and guilty of inhumanity that any devil that may be mentioned there or in the latter testament books. Just look at the hell GOD put Job through and Job was a loyal believer and teacher of GOD; Satan never lifted a finger to do a thing and even expresses a greater sense of compassion towards this abused individual than GOD. Then again, the God of Moses (specifically) is an arrogant sod who's personality quirks are more akin to a God of War than some benevolent entity.

The majority of philosophies in the world that deal with man's immortality/soul promote the idea of balance and in so doing, sustain the idea that nothing is of pure evil or pure good when it rests in its natural state; all things seek balance -- water must lay flat and at the same level of all similar bodies; chasing that balance gives us flow. . . figuratively. Humans however seek the same, we're just more dramatic about it and love to complicate what is amazingly simple.

GOD as it is known today, is nothing remotely close to what was known to Abraham, Adam, David or Moses; modern mad (well, starting a few thousand years back) simple made God in its own image & likeness (thank you George Carlin). We have created something that nature cannot sustain -- a thing that is of pure goodness. Fact is, you can't have such a thing in that goodness and even divinity is a matter of perspective; millions around the globe see the Dahli Lama as being the epitome of spiritual greatness and high wisdom and yet, there are millions of others that view him as being evil and an "anti-Christ" of sorts; a "False Prophet" if you would. The same goes for the Pope, even the president of the United States (though most of us do know that George W. really is the devil's spawn).

I've rambled sufficiently in an attempt to give several points of perspective that supports the traditional understanding shared by religious scholars when it comes to this particular question. Understand that it is a very deep question with an abundance of theories, the majority of which I believe I've condensed down, here.
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Re: Can an all-good/all-powerful God allow evil/suffering?

Postby Ben Masada » 06 Sep 2011, 01:47

God has absolutely nothing to do with the suffering of millions of people on this planet. Man was granted with the attribute of freewill. If you read Deuteronomy
30:19, you will see that the Lord has set before us life and death, blessing and cursing; and has advised us to choose life that both, we and our seed may live without suffering. It means that it has become up to us the kind of life we will choose for us and our seed to live. Usually, the kind of suffering we subject ourselves to, we are the ones who have subject ourselves to. Therefore, it is up to us to fix our blunders and return to the ideal way, which was God's way. Now, sufferings as a result of natural disasters, it is a little more complicated to understand but God is still not in the picture. The problem is that we just happen to be on the wrong place at the wrong time. When the first commandment to man was given in Genesis 1:28, to grow and multiply, it was not to mean only as far as progeny was concerned but also in the development of man's intellect. It is expected by now of man to know of earth's vulnerable places for natural disasters to happen, and take care that casualties be brought to a minimum if not completely eliminated. Therefore, man is supposed to learn and avoid what causes suffering, and not to blame God for our own shortcomings. This is simply childish behaviour.
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Re: Can an all-good/all-powerful God allow evil/suffering?

Postby ProfWag » 06 Sep 2011, 05:09

Ben Masada wrote:God has absolutely nothing to do with the suffering of millions of people on this planet. Man was granted with the attribute of freewill. If you read Deuteronomy
30:19, you will see that the Lord has set before us life and death, blessing and cursing; and has advised us to choose life that both, we and our seed may live without suffering. It means that it has become up to us the kind of life we will choose for us and our seed to live. Usually, the kind of suffering we subject ourselves to, we are the ones who have subject ourselves to. Therefore, it is up to us to fix our blunders and return to the ideal way, which was God's way. Now, sufferings as a result of natural disasters, it is a little more complicated to understand but God is still not in the picture. The problem is that we just happen to be on the wrong place at the wrong time. When the first commandment to man was given in Genesis 1:28, to grow and multiply, it was not to mean only as far as progeny was concerned but also in the development of man's intellect. It is expected by now of man to know of earth's vulnerable places for natural disasters to happen, and take care that casualties be brought to a minimum if not completely eliminated. Therefore, man is supposed to learn and avoid what causes suffering, and not to blame God for our own shortcomings. This is simply childish behaviour.
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You're kidding me. Right?
God, according to the bible, is THE most destructive person in history. If he doesn't like something, he has no problem killing it. Sorry, I can't worship that kind of person. Moses was a murderer, God killed Egyption children, and so forth. We're supposed to worship that kind of supportive destruction? Nope, not for me. Sorry.
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