Friday, January 15, 2010

Mother Nature or Father God?



SKEPTIC: The horrific earthquake in Haiti has people once again asking the question, "Why does God allow suffering in the world?" Pat Robertson believes that Haitians are being punished by God because they made a pact with the devil hundreds of years ago, which seems nutty, but the idea of divine punishment is one of the common Christian responses to the question of suffering. According to the priest in the video above, we're just too stupid to understand why God allows suffering. We are to God as cats are to us. He may have a point, though. I've often thought that my cat sees me as a god.


PREACHER: Atheists claim that God mustn't exist or else there wouldn't be so much suffering in the world. It would be a much nicer place. This argument is flawed from the start. It assumes that in order for God to exist, He has to meet certain arbitrary human standards. It would be like if I had a first time visitor to my home who has come unannounced. On seeing the dirty dishes in the kitchen, a pile of dirty laundry in the utility room, and stuff scattered in all the rooms, he assumes that since a wife must be clean and neat, my wife certainly doesn't exist.

The argument also assumes that God is in some way accountable to humans to perform properly for them. God is in no way obligated to be good and loving to us. And, since He is the final and absolute authority on all things, He can call Himself good and loving, and objectively be so, without human approval.


SKEPTIC: So God is like a messy housewife? I guess I'm surprised that your wife is apparently such a poor housekeeper, but perhaps even more surprised and somewhat dismayed that you apparently are not in the habit of lending her a helping hand. Typical husband!


PREACHER: Thank you for acknowledging man's (husband's) responsibility in the mess the world is in. However, the visitor is an intruder into the private life of a family. How clean the residents of the house keep their home is really none of his business in the first place. Of course, if their mess becomes a public nuisance then he can call the health department and have them required to clean up the mess or else. That is what you call appealing to an authority that has the power to correct a problem. And, this is where the atheist is out of luck. Since he believes in a universe that came about by just natural random means where no moral authority exists, he has no moral authority to say that something is truly right or wrong. He is a temporary intruder into God's world, since he doesn't acknowledge Him. It is really none of his business. And, although I may acknowledge his opinion as having some sort of meaning, it is only temporary. Don't you believe that every adult alive today will cease to exist before this century ends?


SKEPTIC: Well, yes, I guess I do believe that, but you lost me. What's the point of your question?


PREACHER: The point of the question is that since you consider your existence temporary, your opinions about the situation in the world are also temporary and therefore ultimately meaningless.


SKEPTIC: Oh, that again. Well, look, if my opinions are meaningless, I'm not sure what the point of debating you is. Maybe you should just debate yourself.


But getting back to the question of suffering - the most popular arguments from the pro-God side usually have to do with free will or suffering as a punishment from God - or sometimes even that suffering is redemptive, in the same way that Christ's suffering supposedly redeemed man of his sins. Some even argue that God allows suffering in order to bring about some sort of "greater good." (Try telling that to the mothers whose babies are buried in the Haitian rubble.)


But your argument seems to be different. You seem to be saying that God allows suffering because he can (and apparently wants to), and who do we think we are to question him! He's God, and so he can do whatever the heck he wants, and we should just shut up and accept that fact.


PREACHER: I would like to commend you on your knowledge of the most popular arguments on the pro-God side. That will save me time in repeating them here. You seem to think that suffering is bad. Your amoral universe doesn't rationally allow you to pronounce suffering as either bad or good.


SKEPTIC: I see. So I'm not "allowed" to say that suffering is bad because I live in an amoral universe. Right. Of course, all this arguing is somewhat futile. Christians, when faced with these tough questions, tie themselves in knots trying to explain it. But once you can accept that God is just a concept invented by man, it's easy to explain why bad things happen. They happen because life is a series of random events. Good things and bad things happen to everyone at some point in their lives. It's irrational to try to blame (or credit) some sort of invisible magic spirit for everything that happens.


PREACHER: Funny, but I don't feel like I have tied myself in knots. God's explanations seem very rational and logical to me. He is beyond just being blamed or credited for how things are. He set the agenda before we existed and had anything to say. You might like to explain to me how you get order out of randomness, personality and rationality out of impersonal irrational forces, and morality out of an amoral universe. Talk about tying yourself in knots!


SKEPTIC: Well, okay, you can believe that God's explanation is rational and logical and that science is just a bunch of crap. That's certainly your prerogative. When it comes to the question of suffering, I'll admit that I do have a certain amount of admiration for the ability of Christians to make excuses for their God when faced with logical conundrums. As for me, I'm much more comfortable with the idea that there was no God who decided to punish and exterminate all those poor Haitians for whatever reason he might have. I believe that it was Mother Nature, not Father God, who was responsible for this disaster.


PREACHER: Although a lot of scientists happen to be atheists, science assumes a Biblical world view that guarantees that the world of nature can be understood. A universe of random events by its very nature cannot be understood by the rational human mind. Therefore to assume that the universe came about by random natural causes is irrational. That is one reason why many scientist who started out as atheists have become believers. Atheists do a lot of speculation about how the world may have come about, but in the final analysis they can't really know anything for sure, since they deny the very One who gives them and their research meaning. They have no moral authority. My Moral Authority calls such irrationality inexcusable foolishness (Psalms 14:1, Romans 1:20).


I am comfortable not knowing for sure who is responsible for the many disasters that have happened in history. Those who lost their loved ones in Haiti don't really need to know that. They need real practical help to survive, and especially know-how to be better prepared for the future. Even if we may be upset with God for allowing such tragedies, you will have to admit that He is faithful and true. Jesus promised that there would be disasters like earthquakes, famines, and pestilences throughout history. So, I am not particularly surprised (though saddened) when such disasters occur. I trust Him even when I don't understand.


SKEPTIC: Well, given that I don't believe in God, I'm certainly not upset with him and likewise, I don't have to admit that he's faithful and true. And to claim that science is irrational when they attempt to explain the universe, but Christians are totally rational when they claim that the universe is run by some sort of supernatural being that can't be explained or understood by the mind of man is, well, ridiculous.


You know, even though I say I don't believe in God, I don't know absolutely, positively if he exists or not (and neither do you, by the way). But watching the devastation in Haiti isn't putting any points on the board for The Big Kahuna.

41 comments:

  1. Paul the Preacher meets all the requirements that define a sophist (today): a person who uses confusing or illogical arguments to deceive others. I don't know why you (Skeptic) waste your time on him.

    for instance, the way Paul insists that "Atheist claim that god musn't exist" is a perfect example of his sophistry.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Doug,

    Point of clarification: I am not calling science irrational. Science is simply a tool that rational people can use to objectively understand the real world. However, since scientists are human, they make mistakes and can even choose to be irrational, when a rational approach to reality makes them feel uncomfortable. It is the interpretation of reality that atheistic scientist make not the tool that they use that I call irrational and foolish.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Paul writes that scientists, being humans, may be irrational by choice.

    true, as far as their private lives are concerned, but at work (ie in their role as scientists) they cannot.

    peer review and the need for a given theory to be testable, independendly, by others, see to that.

    preachers and other 'leaders' of religious churches/cults on the other hand hold views which cannot be verified independedly, nor can their theories/assumptions be tested.

    science does not require 'faith'.

    ReplyDelete
  4. It is precisely those peer reviews that are calling into question assumptions held by scientists who happen also to be atheists.

    True, science does not require 'faith', but atheism is a 'faith'.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Actually, science does require a faith that the universe is not just random chance but is understandable to the rational human mind.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Paul states 'atheism' is a faith.

    here's an education for people who try to define atheism in such a narrow way:

    http://www.vidoemo.com/yvideo.php?i=MklSN2FMcWuRpZlctUGs&atheism-made-idiot-simple

    ReplyDelete
  7. Paul writes "..science does require a faith.."

    I do think you're wrong, the problem with your assertion (IMO) -- since we humans live within the universe, our potential for understanding it is limited both by our senses (and their mechanical extension) and the physical / chemical reality of universal laws (and we're not sure about those yet either!).

    eg, humans have no more chance of comprehending the reality of four (or higher) dimensional spaces than Abbott's flatlander has of comprehending three.

    faith does not come into it, except perhaps when indulging in intellectual thought-games.

    ReplyDelete
  8. I reassert that science does require faith.

    Science is based on the predictability of the universe as guaranteed by our Creator. If the universe suddenly became unpredictable (which is only possible if everything is a product of random natural events as atheists believe), science would cease to be an effective tool for understanding it. As a scientist does his measurements and experiments he has to believe (have faith) the universe stays the same in order for the results of his work to have any meaning. A Christian believes the universe is predictable based on God’s promises. An atheist has no guarantee that the universe will stay predictable. His faith in its predictability is based only on modern man’s limited experience.

    (jr says) I do think you're wrong.

    What qualifies you to say that I am wrong?

    jr says
    Faith does not come into it (science), except perhaps when indulging in intellectual thought-games.

    Are not making cases for or against a Creator and speculating scientifically about the origin of the universe no more than intellectual thought games? But, if the Creator has revealed Himself through His Word and I have a relationship with Him, who is qualified to question the reality of that!

    Paul states 'atheism' is a faith. (But jr. disagrees)

    A good definition of faith is, believing something without objective proof for those who don’t believe, for it is to the one who believes very obvious. Any form of believing fits this definition, and that includes atheism in its broadest sense.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Interesting video clip!
    So, atheism is not faith that God doesn’t exist. It refuses to deal with the whole issue of the existence of God since it is irrelevant according to what defines atheism. If that is the case why even post on this blog in the first place. Such faith is nothing more than a cowardly retreat from dealing with an important moral issue.

    The real enigma though is why jr keeps coming back to post on this blog. Maybe there is a part of him that wants to be rescued by his Creator. That will happen soon enough.

    ReplyDelete
  10. I like Mark Twain's definition of faith: "Faith is believing what you know ain't so." (From Following the Equator)

    ReplyDelete
  11. @Doug: Interesting quote. Which is why I think it is important for Christians to reflect on what they believe and their experience of reality and see how they match up...

    Why can't science and faith agree? If what Christians believe is true (God is rational, etc.), does that not demand that science and faith agree? If they don't agree, then is our understanding of one or the other flawed?

    As for science requiring faith. Doesn't most science, logic, and proofs rely on a set of assumptions? Is it possible that when a Christian says science requires faith, they really just mean assumptions?

    ReplyDelete
  12. Paul wrote "Science is based on the predictability of the universe as guaranteed by our Creator."

    did you know that Schrödinger's cat had 18 half-lives?

    "As a scientist does his measurements and experiments he has to believe (have faith) the universe stays the same in order for the results of his work to have any meaning."

    no, the experiments would have a different outcomes, the measured results would differ; now that would trigger some 'soul-searching' :-)

    "A good definition of faith is, believing something without objective proof for those who don’t believe, for it is to the one who believes very obvious. Any form of believing fits this definition, and that includes atheism in its broadest sense."

    sophism (deceptive, fallacious) again.

    "Maybe there is a part of him that wants to be rescued by his Creator. That will happen soon enough."

    true, all life -- including mine -- ends in death, but "his Creator" and "wants to be rescued"?

    no, I happen to know my co-'creators', ie father and mother, and as for rescue, no thanks, I'll pass -- the company of self-styled homo sapiens is often quite sufficient to rob one of the will to live.

    "The real enigma though is why jr keeps coming back to post on this blog."

    now I am surprised, I had thought that you might believe that your 'creator' sent me to test the strength of your 'faith'. LOL

    ReplyDelete
  13. oops, missed this bit.

    Paul also wrote "So, atheism is not faith that God doesn’t exist. It refuses to deal with the whole issue of the existence of God since it is irrelevant according to what defines atheism"

    that is part of your (plural, not singular, though you may wish to include yourself) conceit, assuming that everyone has to define themselves by your given definitions. reeks of intellectual bankruptcy.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Paul wrote "Science is based on the predictability of the universe as guaranteed by our Creator."

    jr wrote: did you know that Schrödinger's cat had 18 half-lives?

    This is an off the topic statement, good only for creating chaos.
    ________
    Paul:
    "As a scientist does his measurements and experiments he has to believe (have faith) the universe stays the same in order for the results of his work to have any meaning."

    jr: no, the experiments would have a different outcomes, the measured results would differ; now that would trigger some 'soul-searching' :-)

    It would also make those measurements and experiments futile as far as determining anything about reality. There would be no purpose in doing them in the first place.

    __________


    Paul:
    "A good definition of faith is, believing something without objective proof for those who don’t believe, for it is to the one who believes very obvious. Any form of believing fits this definition, and that includes atheism in its broadest sense."

    jr wrote: sophism (deceptive, fallacious) again.

    Since jr isn’t able to show in a rational way that I am wrong, he questions the validity of my method of arguing. Extremely lame!

    ReplyDelete
  15. Paul:
    "The real enigma though is why jr keeps coming back to post on this blog."

    jr: now I am surprised, I had thought that you might believe that your 'creator' sent me to test the strength of your 'faith'. LOL

    My purpose for doing this blog is to become better at defending the Faith. (Thanks jr for being my guinea pig.)


    Paul also wrote "So, atheism is not faith that God doesn’t exist. It refuses to deal with the whole issue of the existence of God since it is irrelevant according to what defines atheism"

    jr: that is part of your conceit, assuming that everyone has to define themselves by your given definitions. reeks of intellectual bankruptcy.

    It looks like jr claims to be some sort of authority onreality and intellectual integrity. However since he believes that he will cease to exist after his hardware has a fatal crash, he is nothing more than a temporary nuisance (according to what he believes, not what I believe). Can the opinions of one who claims to be temporary have any authority?

    My Authority, Who is eternal, omniscient, and omnipotent, calls jr’s claims inexcusable foolishness. I can also guarantee that his inexperience with the Almighty is only temporary. 

    ReplyDelete
  16. "Paul wrote "Science is based on the predictability of the universe as guaranteed by our Creator."

    jr wrote: did you know that Schrödinger's cat had 18 half-lives?"

    Paul's response: This is an off the topic statement, good only for creating chaos.

    wrong because you say 'predictability is guaranteed' whereas Schrödinger aimed to clarify/illustrate the problems inherent in indeterminacy (revealed by quantum physics) -- so, very much on topic, n'est-ce pas?

    "It would also make those measurements and experiments futile as far as determining anything about reality. There would be no purpose in doing them in the first place."

    suits you sir because then we'd all have to rely on 'faith' again.

    "Since jr isn’t able to show in a rational way that I am wrong, he questions the validity of my method of arguing. Extremely lame!"

    for those who can be bothered to re-read the posts I reply: I cannot be bothered to detail every instance of your deceptive (yet plausible) arguments.

    "It looks like jr claims to be some sort of authority onreality and intellectual integrity."

    no, I argue that people who only accept other people's views IF they choose to use definitions supplied by the 'faithful' are intellectually bankrupt.

    "However since he believes that he will cease to exist after his hardware has a fatal crash, he is nothing more than a temporary nuisance (according to what he believes, not what I believe)."

    well, you're the one who believes me to be a "nuisance", but I'm big enough to smile at this.

    "Can the opinions of one who claims to be temporary have any authority?"

    an 'interesting' question. no doubt, generations of clergy will expend much of their time on such 'deep' issues. :-)

    ReplyDelete
  17. lastly, Paul sticks his neck out: "I can also guarantee that his inexperience with the Almighty is only temporary."

    just like the proverbial seller of snake-oil in the Wild West guaranteed it would cure those who bought (!!) and drank the brew of all illnesses.

    I'm sure you feel really good when you admonish so righteously. LOL

    ReplyDelete
  18. jr: for those who can be bothered to re-read the posts I reply: I cannot be bothered to detail every instance of your deceptive (yet plausible) arguments.

    .jr. has a lot of talk about my deceptive arguments, but fails to point out anything that is truly deceptive. I am not trying to deceive anyone. Could he be lost in his own deception?

    jr: Paul sticks his neck out: "I can also guarantee that his inexperience with the Almighty is only temporary." just like the proverbial seller of snake-oil in the Wild West guaranteed it would cure those who bought (!!) and drank the brew of all illnesses.
    I'm sure you feel really good when you admonish so righteously. LOL

    Isn’t the proof in the pudding? I have eternity, and am willing to wait to see the day that jr learns wisdom. jr has only as much time as his hardware lasts. Then, the return of Christ may cut that even shorter. Amen, even so come Lord Jesus.

    ReplyDelete
  19. "a lot of talk about my deceptive arguments, but fails to point out anything that is truly deceptive."

    a few of Paul's deceptive statements/arguments:

    "Atheists claim that God mustn't exist or else there wouldn't be so much suffering in the world." -- false, you've seen the video?

    from the same paragraph:

    "The argument also assumes that God is in some way accountable to humans to perform properly for them. God is in no way obligated to be good and loving to us." -- misleading, contradictory (read the whole of the paragraph).

    "You seem to think that suffering is bad. Your amoral universe doesn't rationally allow you to pronounce suffering as either bad or good." -- deceptive since it equates atheism and amorality.

    "You might like to explain to me how you get order out of randomness, personality and rationality out of impersonal irrational forces, and morality out of an amoral universe." -- purest sophistry! conflating a number of unrelated topics and presenting another's inability to rationally address such a confused 'argument' as their flawed thinking, only to be remedied by belief.

    there are more instances but I cannot be asked.

    bluster all you will Paul, you may have unwavering belief on your side, but, alas, not rationality nor any proof which would allow you to give guarantees of any sort.

    ReplyDelete
  20. jr mentions a few of Paul's alleged deceptive statements/arguments:

    "Atheists claim that God mustn't exist or else there wouldn't be so much suffering in the world." -- false, you've seen the video?

    This statement was made before seeing the video. There was no beforehand agreement between jr and Paul to define atheism by the parameters of the video. Since jr doesn’t qualify as a semantic authority he isn’t qualified to constrain Paul on how he may use a word. As a matter of fact some people who claim to be atheists do say such things, so the statement is not deceptive.
    ________
    "You seem to think that suffering is bad. Your amoral universe doesn't rationally allow you to pronounce suffering as either bad or good." -- deceptive since it equates atheism and amorality.

    Does atheism have a moral authority? Would jr please explain what his moral authority is. Unless he can, I will continue to equate atheism and amorality. My moral Authority equates the two.
    ___________
    "You might like to explain to me how you get order out of randomness, personality and rationality out of impersonal irrational forces, and morality out of an amoral universe." -- purest sophistry! conflating a number of unrelated topics and presenting another's inability to rationally address such a confused 'argument' as their flawed thinking, only to be remedied by belief.

    I have seen this lame excuse before (see earlier post).
    _________
    jr: there are more instances but I cannot be asked.

    Paul: jr’s basic problem is that he continues to think of himself as some authority. However, since he has only a temporary existence (according to what he believes!), that alone disqualifies him from being an authority on anything.

    jr: bluster all you will Paul, you may have unwavering belief on your side, but, alas, not rationality

    Paul: What could be more irrational than believing yourself to be a moral authority when you are not sure of anything? I would like to challenge jr to point out where I have been irrational apart from my belief in the Creator and His supernatural acts.

    jr: nor any proof which would allow you to give guarantees of any sort.

    Paul: My proof is the veracity of the Word of God and my experience. jr has self-imposed blindness and inexperience. Neither are very good qualifications for anything.

    ReplyDelete
  21. Paul writes "This statement was made before seeing the video."

    ignorance is not a legitimate excuse, try telling the police you didn't know your car wasn't insured. :-)

    Paul also wrote:

    "Since jr doesn’t qualify as a semantic authority.." and "jr’s basic problem is that he continues to think of himself as some authority.."

    where exactly do I claim authority?

    not once! what I did (and enjoyed) is showing up your flawed thinking/arguments.

    I also think that you are not strenghtening your position by personalising 'the attack', why not argue your case coherently instead (not that I think you can)?

    ReplyDelete
  22. since I have a few spare minutes, I'll also ask this:

    "Paul: My proof is the veracity of the Word of God and my experience."

    cannot comment on your experience(s), but when you cite the 'veracity of the Word of God', what are you talking about? the 'holy book' which has been edited and maintained by generation upon generation of monks and scribes? which of the numerous translations of the Bible? or are you talking about the Koran (which is passed on without modification)? or the Thora?

    so many versions, so many interpretations; are all of them equally true? even when they conflict?

    your answer, if any, should prove of interest. :-)

    ReplyDelete
  23. jr: when you cite the 'veracity of the Word of God', what are you talking about?

    Paul: The Bible of course! And to answer any of your doubts about its accuracy, I have provided the resources on my blog list. You should be able to search out any question you may have. Last time I mentioned these resources you refused to look at them. That is what I call self-imposed blindness. It is not meant as a personal attack.

    ReplyDelete
  24. jr: where exactly do I claim authority? not once!

    Paul: I don’t think that jr understands what I am saying. Of course he hasn’t claimed authority. He isn’t trying to rule over me or anyone else. The problem is with his world view. It is not a source of moral authority. Doesn’t atheism only recognize the physical world, that there is no spiritual existence beyond it? Therefore, concepts such as love, virtue, and morality are only formed in the minds of men and are relative. To illustrate further: I could claim that it is a good thing to personally attack jr. He would object to that, but he would have nothing to point to that I would have to obey. Atheism doesn’t have a higher authority to appeal to. When there are no moral absolutes and the man who has the loudest voice, most power or influence wins.

    A word about personalized attacks is in order. If jr doesn’t like being called a temporary nuisance, he should accept Jesus Christ as his personal Savior and get eternal life. If he doesn’t like his world view being called inexcusable foolishness he should change and consider the coherent world view of the Bible.

    ReplyDelete
  25. Paul writes: "A word about personalized attacks is in order."

    yes Paul (in terms of football): those who can play the ball, those who can't play the man.

    ReplyDelete
  26. I asked Paul which 'holy book' he refers to when claiming 'veracity', and I predicted an interesting answer -- and Paul did not disappoint!

    "Paul: The Bible of course!"

    allow me to ask again: WHICH?

    (the following are quotes from wiki.answers.com)

    "..there are a number of versions to the Bible. There are 8 primary versions found in history"

    "Originally there were about 11 of them."

    "There are dozens of different English translations of the Bible. Each one chooses different translations of various words to express what the translation's authors felt were most important or most accurate, based on the documents they had at the time."

    oh dear, 'truth', like beauty, would appear to lie in the eye of the beholder, don't you agree? :-)

    ReplyDelete
  27. It looks like jr is more keen on attacking what I say than carrying on a debate. I will change my approach.

    For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.

    ReplyDelete
  28. Paul (from the pulpit): "For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword.."

    which is why people die in their thousands in the MiddleEast and elsewhere, all in the name of their delusion.

    sometimes I ask myself how people can utter "Amen, even so come Lord Jesus" and ignore the misery and inequality that comes from it all.

    frankly, I do hope that for your likes there will be 'an eternity' though I doubt that you'll see the error of your ways even if given that much time.

    plus ça change, plus c’est pareil.

    ReplyDelete
  29. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    ReplyDelete
  30. Paul writes: "It looks like jr is more keen on attacking what I say than carrying on a debate."

    the aim was (is) to debunk what I consider to be your sophistry.

    still waiting to hear which of the numerous versions of the word of 'god' is the 'true' one, and why.

    ReplyDelete
  31. I found much about why the Bible is considered accurate, but couldn't find the quotes you mentioned at wiki.answers.com. about the numerous versions of the word of god. Give me more info. I am curious to see who says "there are a number of versions to the Bible. There are 8 primary versions found in history"
    and "Originally there were about 11 of them."

    ReplyDelete
  32. Paul: "Give me more info."

    happy to oblige.

    http://wiki.answers.com/Q/How_many_different_versions_are_there_of_the_Bible

    all quotes copied/pasted from this page.

    ReplyDelete
  33. Paul writes: "I am curious to see who says there are a number of versions to the Bible."

    nb. I'd also include the Thora and the Koran, given that all three texts are based on the same story, and include the same actors.

    ReplyDelete
  34. I have studied all of those translations and versions of the Bible, and they say the same thing. Here is the central message:

    "God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life."

    ReplyDelete
  35. Paul.

    again, wrong in my opinion.

    "..the central message" is

    - don't think for yourself.
    - do as you're told.
    - comply and we promise reward 'in the next life'.

    a message for the sheeple of this world.

    ReplyDelete
  36. Entirely unrelated... but I'd have a request for a future post:

    1) Suicide
    Is it right or wrong? And why? I imagine most people (including our authors) have at one point or another in life considered it, so why would a Christian or Atheist not commit suicide? What gives them reason to keep on living... which leads to my next topic request.

    2) Meaning of life
    By this I mean reasons for living... what in life do you derive meaning and fulfillment from.

    ReplyDelete
  37. Jeff,

    Personally, I've never considered suicide as an option. For me, even when times are bad, I believe that it's more than likely a temporary situation, and things are bound to get better. That belief has worked out pretty well for me. Besides, I'm too curious to find out how my story will end, so why would I stop reading halfway through the book?

    I think atheists, who believe that you only get one shot at life, are more likely to want to experience it to the fullest than someone who believes that he, when times are bad, can go to a "better place" (i.e. heaven), by short-circuiting his "earthly" life.

    When I was a kid in Sunday School, that question used to bother me. I wondered, if heaven is such a wonderful place, why don't we all just take the express train there by killing ourselves? Of course, there have been numerous examples of that from various cults who want to "graduate" to a higher plane, or from parents who kill their children so that they can go to heaven. It's one of the more dangerous aspects of the whole idea that our earthly life is really not all that important; it's just a rest stop on the way to our ultimate destination.

    (Jeff - The Preacher and I are looking for guest preachers and guest skeptics to go toe-to-toe with each other on this blog. Might you be interested? You could explore this topic more deeply. If you're interested, drop me an email at: douglasdelong@gmail.com.)

    ReplyDelete
  38. Jeff, here are the preacher’s answers:

    1) Suicide
    Is it right or wrong?

    Yes it is wrong. The Atheist cannot say whether it is right or wrong because he has no moral authority. He may just find it more attractive at this point to go on living and may change his mind when his situation changes. Not so with a Christian.

    2) And why?

    We belong to God, not ourselves. Intentionally ending ones life is destroying His property, and he is our moral Authority and holds us accountable. Human life, no matter how insignificant or degenerate, is created in His Image and the willful destruction of it except in the case of what is Divinely sanctioned is an affront on His Authority, His very being, and is always wrong.

    3) I imagine most people (including our authors) have at one point or another in life considered it (yes I have), so why would a Christian or Atheist not commit suicide?

    Your question is worded rather morbidly as if suicide is desirable, for what purpose?
    A Christian may end up committing suicide in a deep spell of depression or in facing an illness that is without cure and unbearably (according to him) painful. The decision to commit suicide would be based on a delusion that there is no end to the depression or illness other than to take ones life (not a guarantee that it would end such discomfort). As long as he doesn’t buy into such a delusion he won’t commit suicide. Committing suicide would be like dropping out of school, even when you were guaranteed to graduate and have a wonderful fulfilling career that will last forever..
    On the other hand, an Atheist has no reason to commit suicide as long as he has hope that his life will be worthwhile. If he is convinced that his life will never be worthwhile again, he may choose to commit suicide. It isn’t an issue of right or wrong.

    4) What gives them reason to keep on living? Meaning in life?
    The Christian believes that his life has meaning in the will of God. He exists for God’s glory and is loved by God. And, since each person is created in the image of God, he or she is of infinite value and significance.
    The Atheist makes up his reason for living and personal worth as he goes along in life. This may change over time since it depends on his opinion of himself and life which can always change.

    ReplyDelete
  39. Bowflex is known as a top rated manufacturer from the conditioning resources business.


    Feel free to visit my blog post; click the following internet site

    ReplyDelete
  40. Overall flexibility is similar towards the assortment of a body's motion and motion, and may be improved as a result of continuously stretching muscles.

    Also visit my page :: bowflex 552

    ReplyDelete
  41. No cost weights certainly are a really easy and very good solution to go into condition.


    My web blog adjustable dumbbells

    ReplyDelete

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.