Then why not answer it? Why not make it clear whether or not there is anything you would not sacrifice for Jesus. You said Jesus is “worth” it. But when asked if there’s anything you would not sacrifice for Jesus, you clam up.
You wrote: “rather asked you to explain why you are asking the question in the first place”
And I answered this. Check the record. I explained that I want to know who’s a real Christian. How can one tell? Self-professing Christians are always saying in one way or another that other self-professing Christians aren’t real Christians. I see this all the time. So how does one tell? You may have suggestions, but if you cannot demonstrate that you’re a real Christian in the first place, why should I take our suggestion? You can’t even say whether there’s anything you would hold back from sacrificing for Jesus!
Many topics come up for discussion in blog coments. Notice that you yourself tried to redirect the discussion to the conversion process (whatever that process may be), and you also asked “what are you worshipping right now?” None of these related to the topic at hand. On the contrary, you were simply trying to slink out of answering a direct question about your faith.
You wrote: “I perceived that you were trying to trap me as it is clear that you continued hide from me your real intention which was to discredit my worldview.”
Completely wrong. I was not trying to trap you. My view is that you are already trapped, Christian James, and my question simply brought this out. Your worldview gives you no reliable way to answer this question, and likely stirs up tremendous psychological conflict – which was already there – in your attempts to evade my question.
In the same breath, you stated: “Usually I'm asking that question of others…” So you admit to asking others this question, but you yourself are unprepared to answer it. And you call me a hypocrite?
You asked: “Now what would have been the result if you were completely honest about your motives and intentions?”
How was I not completely honest about my motives and intentions? I asked you a straightforward question and explained why I was asking it when you asked for that explanation. I’ve been completely forthcoming here.
I was completely forthcoming about my purposes in asking my question, and you still haven’t answered it!
You wrote: “So no you didn't answer my question the way I wanted. So why should I answer you question the way you want?”
You blow in here posing as a spokesman for an omniscient, infallible magical being which supposedly created the universe and demands sacrifice. The question is most appropriate, then, directed at you. Even Jesus talks about separating the wheat from the chaff.
As for how you wanted me to answer your question, I don’t know what you wanted. I take your questions as you present them. If I did not give the kind of answer that you had originally sought, perhaps you did not ask the question correctly.
You wrote: “It's amusing that I am being judged on the basis of someone's manipulation. hypocrisy!”
You are being judged on the basis of your own choices and actions, Christian James. You come here to my blog hoping to preach your imaginary Jesus, and when asked a simple, direct question, you crumble into whining and sniveling. How would Sye Ten Bruggencate answer my question? I doubt he would. He likes only to ask questions, not answer them, even though he postures himself as having a direct pipeline to a supernatural all-knowing source. And I’m being hypocritical when I ask you a simple question about the integrity of your faith??? Good grief!
You wrote: “Despite my suspicions, I demonstrated my credentials by first defining for you what Christianity is.”
No, you didn’t. You hesitated when asked whether there is anything you would hold back from sacrificing for Jesus. You still haven’t answered this. You have no credentials here. You won’t put your money where your mouth is. I never met a Christian who would. I’ve known some who come close, but you’re not one of them. Not even close.
You wrote: “Unless we have the truth we can not declare something to be false.”
If one cannot reliably distinguish between what is real and what is merely imaginary, he has no objective basis for saying anything is either true or false. This is the wreckage that Christianity leaves behind in the minds of those who get suckered into its snares and booby traps.
You wrote: “From what I can see by your blog and your responses you have a skewed and bias view of Christianity as evidenced by your awful depiction of Luke 14:25-35 which is pulled out of context and by your implication that you believe that the Bible is akin to Harry Potter or Tolkein. Sorry my friend the bible does not fit into the contemporary fiction genre. In fact it is an assortment of many genres.”
The bible may not be in a “contemporary” genre of any sort; who would suppose it is? But it is fiction nonetheless. Again, as I had asked: How much of a Harry Potter novel do I need to read to know that it’s fiction? This was asked in response to your own statement that one commenter supposedly hadn’t “read enough of the Bible.” So clearly you have a measuring stick in mind here, but you don’t indicate what it is or how one uses it.
I had written:
My view, after hundreds of hours of discussions with believers of various “denominations,” is that most people calling themselves “Christians” in the west are posers and charlatans. So far, I see no good reason to exclude you.
You asked: “On what authority do you make this claim?”
On the authority of reason.
You asked: “How then do I test your authority?”
By correspondence to objective reality.
You wrote: “Maybe I will test it by the way you wanted to manipulate me to discredit my position by not revealing every motive of your heart.”
I had no intentions of “manipulating” you or anyone. I simply asked if there was anything you would not sacrifice for Jesus. How is that question manipulative in nature? We are continually told about how the disciples sacrificed their lives for Jesus, and that such legends somehow vouch for the alleged truth of what we read in the bible. Christians are called to sacrifice everything. Abraham is held up in the NT as a model of faith given his unflinching willingness to sacrifice his own son. What believers are like this today? I find none. Instead, we find people who are easily offended and spend great amounts of energy trying to save face when asked straightforward questions that get to the heart of their faith. No manipulation there. If you want to see manipulation on display, check out your own Sye Ten Bruggencate. His entire apologetic is about manipulating people.
You wrote: “Also would you accept my testimony regarding the countless hours I spent with God as sufficient evidence for the existence of God?”
No, because anyone can claim to have spent “countless hours” with something they may merely be imagining. Such claims do not constitute evidence of the existence of said imaginary being. Do you think it should?
You asked: “Why then should I believe that your personal time spent gives you a sufficient credibility regarding the truth of Christianity?”
You don’t have to take my word for it. I’ve got over nine years of blogging activity documenting many exchanges with Christians over the years.
You wrote: “Considering your miss-use of the text based on all of your hours with us this is sad.”
Christian James has not demonstrated that I have misused any text. The text in question – i.e., the bible – is very clear on the relevant issue under discussion. For example, it models Abraham’s ready and unflinching willingness to sacrifice his own son upon mere command to do so; it models the Christian god standing by as its own son is tortured and readied for crucifixion; the gospels make it clear that Jesus puts a stiff price on discipleship: “If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple” (Luke 14:26) (and at the same time, the believer is supposed to “love” his enemies, according to Matthew 5:44); etc. I did not write any of this. Christians tell me that the bible is the key to their worldview and I’ve examined it. This is what I find. There’s no basis for the charge of “miss-use of the text” here.
You wrote: “The fact that I'm a westerner doesn't mean anything.”
This is myopic and demonstrates a lack of broader awareness of philosophy in general and its diverse expressions around the world. Historically, compared with many other parts of the world – e.g., the Middle East, eastern bloc cultures, the Far East, etc., people in the west are far more selfish and self-interested than those from other cultures. This is because of the influence of Aristotelianism. It is not without contradictory influences, of course, since Christianity has also had tremendous influence in the west, which is why so many people feel guilty for being selfish. They’ve bought into the lie that selfishness is immoral somehow. But most believers in the west, fortunately, are still too selfish to go all the way in their devotion to god-belief. By contrast, in the Middle East, for example, look how ready many people are to sacrifice themselves on behalf of “Allah.”
You wrote: “I applaud though you for your respect for those believers who are literally laying down their lives for Jesus in other countries.”
I have nowhere stated that I have respect for such persons. I don’t. How did you infer this from what I did say? I just think they’re more consistent in their mystical delusions than believers in the west. I don’t respect that. I think it’s downright catastrophic.
You wrote: “I respect them too.”
See, we’re not at all alike!
You wrote: “But not everyone has died or will die as a martyr. This adds nothing to the discussion.”
You miss the point of my statement in the context that I mentioned it.
You wrote: “How devoted I am or am not doesn't change the truth regarding Christianity or the worldview I'm presenting.”
This cuts both ways: no matter how devoted you are to Christianity, it does not change the fact that it is an irrational worldview. You may like it, you may really want to believe it’s true. But reality does not conform to beliefs and wishes. That’s the primacy of existence, a principle which Christianity denies.
You wrote: “It doesn't deny your accountability to the truth.”
And nowhere have I claimed it does. Again, if one’s worldview does not teach him the fundamental principles by which he can reliably distinguish between what is real and what is merely imaginary, then he has no objective basis for discovering what is true and what is not true.
You wrote: “If you die apart from Christ you will die in your sins.”
Similarly, the Blarkist tells me that if I die apart from Blarko, I will die in my blins. So what?
To be sure, threats will not persuade me that something is untrue is really true.
You wrote: “Dawson I pray this is not the case.”
As it has been said, nothing fails like prayer. But while we’re at it, why not pray for my ailing eyesight. For details, see here
. If you think prayer is effective and gets positive results, try it. What have you got to lose? Don’t tell me, there’s going to be some reason why you won’t pray for my vision to improve…
You wrote: “I pray that you DONT get what you deserve.”
But I will accept only that which I do in fact deserve. My worldview does not teach me to lust after the evasion of justice. I realize that Christianity encourages its adherents to desire the unearned. But I want only what I deserve. I’ve worked very hard for it. I want everything I earn. See, it’s a difference of character.
You wrote: “To be honest I don't know what I would or wouldn't sacrifice.”
Then you should have simply answered with this at the beginning. But of course, if I were a Christian and what you say here were my testimony, I’d think that I’d have some soul-stirring questions to ponder. But you seem to have never considered it before. If Jesus were really merely imaginary, and deep down you secretly recognized this but tried your best to compartmentalize this fact, your inability to say one way or another whether or not you would have anything that you would not sacrifice for Jesus, makes sense. But if you really believed all this hokum that is Christianity, your predicament is most perplexing. It can only suggest that you haven’t given your faith much serious thought.
You wrote: “All I know is that I love Jesus and I want to lay down all that I am for his sake”
So, like Abraham, would you be willing to sacrifice your own child for Jesus’ sake? How about your mother and your father? Any siblings? A wife perhaps? Next-door neighbors?
Imagine (since we have no alternative) that you die, find yourself in heaven, and learn that your mother died in her sins and has been condemned to hell for eternity: would you be willing to volunteer to take her place in hell if it meant she could spend eternity in heaven? Would you do anything? Or, would you do nothing and be satisfied with her roasting forever?
This is your worldview, Christian James.
You wrote: “because I can see that he is worth it.”
What exactly does it mean to say that Jesus “is worth it”? Jesus is supposed to be immortal (yet he died?), indestructible, in need of nothing, omnipotent, etc. But you and your loved ones are mortal: you can die, and eventually will. Even with all your lip service to your god, you will still die one day, Christian James. All this talk of death being “defeated” somehow is just nonsensical. Death still happens like it always has. But what does the statement that Jesus “is worth it” mean? This suggests that you get something in return for your devotion. But that’s not sacrifice then – it’s a trade. Actual sacrifice involves real loss of values. When a lamb was sacrificed on the altar back in Abraham’s time, it didn’t get its life back. Was there something “worth it” for the lamb? When it came to Jesus, the symbology of the lamb was invoked, but it doesn’t fit the situation that plays out in the gospels, for Jesus is supposed to have “risen” – i.e., he got to live again, unlike all the lambs sacrificed back in the good ol’ days of Abraham and Moses.
You wrote: “I can't see the future but I trust that God will walk me through it all because I have learned that he is faithful. I find great comfort in that.”
So it’s a feel-good religious attitude that Christianity enables you to perpetuate.
You wrote: “However, I trust you want greasy details,”
I’ve never asked for “greasy details.” I did specify some examples of things you might consider, whether you are willing to sacrifice them for Jesus or not, such as: your mind, your character, your family members, your friends, strangers, etc. I don’t see how any of these qualify as “greasy,” do you?
You wrote: “but I know a wolf when I see one.”
I assure you, I am wholly human.
You wrote: “Your hubris and your hypocrisy is evident.”
And yet you’re the one who seeks the unearned.
You wrote: “I'm thankful that Christ took on himself the punishment and the condemnation I deserved and in exchange gave me eternal life.”
But you don’t know whether or not there is something that you would not sacrifice for Jesus’ sake. Consider that.
You wrote: “Hope to see you one day standing with us equally excited about Our Hope, as your worldview will ultimately end in death.”
In other words, you hope that I sacrifice my mind and my character, and everything else along with these, just as you have. It’s not going to happen.
You wrote: “I would like you all to please notice the discourse that has taken place between Dawson and me.”
Yes, I encourage each reader to review the record for himself. It can be found in the comments section here
You wrote: “Dawson asked me a question regarding my devotion?”
Christian James is a self-professing Christian who chose to come to my blog, a blog that is explicitly pro-reason (and therefore anti-mysticism) and began posting a series of comments. Since Christians themselves tell us that not everyone who claims to be a Christian is a Christian, and since according to Matthew (cf. chap. 7) Jesus warned that even many of those who have “prophesied,” “cast out devils,” and “done many wonderful works” in Jesus’ name are not genuine doers of the Christian god’s will, I asked him the following question:
Given this, is there anything that you would *not* give up for Christ? Is there anything that you would resist sacrificing as part of your duty to serve Christ?
Since the bible itself warns that there will be “false teachers” (e.g., 2 Peter 2:1), it’s important to know which self-professing Christians are the real McCoy
as opposed to those who are simply pretending. I would think that a genuine Christian would appreciate such concern for authenticity of faith. But you, Christian James, seem to take steep issue with it.
You wrote: “When I inquired of his motives, the full truth wasn't given.”
Here’s what I stated in response to you when you asked me for my reason for posing this question to you:
Many people come here professing to be Christians, and Christianity calls for self-sacrifice. At Christianity.net.au
, a Christian writing under the name Armen states that following Jesus is “about what we must be prepared to do to follow Jesus. It’s about giving up everything, even our very lives for Him,” and asks: “as His followers, are we willing to place Him in first position and place the most important people in our lives in second place?”
I would like to know who is authentic in his devotion to his god and to what degree. According to Genesis, Abraham was so devoted that he did not wince one iota when commanded to prepare his own son as a sacrifice. I don’t know if you have any children, but supposing you did, would you be willing to sacrifice your own child, or your wife perhaps, or mother or father, if commanded by your god? I’m not asking if your god would ever require this. My question has to do with your character as a Christian, your devotion, your willingness to sacrifice.
If you feel uncomfortable answering this question, you don’t need to answer it. But then I admit, I’d be curious why you’d be uncomfortable answering it…
Notice that I explained my motives. Everything I wrote here is true. You say that it’s not “the full truth.” But what is this supposed to mean? You asked me, I answered.
You wrote: “By his own words he admits to trying to trap me.”
Where do I admit this? There was no intention of trying to “trap” you.
You quoted me: "Unfortunately, you’ve taken the bait and fallen for the whole thing."
You quote only a portion of what I wrote, thus concealing the context of what I had stated at this point.
Here’s what I wrote:
It is not I who condemns you, Christian James. Christianity did that already before you were even born. Unfortunately, you’ve taken the bait and fallen for the whole thing. You had no rational worldview with which to defend yourself against Christianity’s mind-game devices. And here you are, stumped speechless by a simple question.
The part about “taking the bait and falling for the whole thing” clearly refers to Christianity’s fore-condemnation of you, condemning you before you were even born, and you’ve accepted this premise and have fallen for everything that comes along with it. This was not a “confession” that I was trying to entrap you. Not at all. As I pointed out, your worldview has already entrapped you, and consequently you’re stuck. That’s not my doing.
You wrote: “Now I ask you, as you all seem to care about honor? Is this an honorable way to treat another human?”
Under no duress whatsoever, you Christian James voluntary came to my blog and chose to submit comments here. What did you expect at this blog? Did you think the regulars here are going to encourage your religious delusions? Of course, somebody here is going to ask hard questions, questions that you probably don’t get in the comfort zone of “fellowshipping” at church. At church, everybody’s trying to encourage everyone else to “stay strong in the faith.” You act as though someone tied you to a stake and beat you with a whip. Instead, you’ve been allowed to post your comments, I’ve approved them, I’ve interacted with you, others have as well, and now you’re sore because you’ve been asked a question you’re not prepared to answer. And yet, you still try to push your worldview. You cannot demonstrate that your character is fully in line with what your own worldview demands of people, and you insinuate that I’m not treating you honorably? If you don’t think you’re being treated honorably here, why do you keep coming back?
You wrote: “When I answered I was told that I didn't answer correctly.”
This is completely specious. You didn’t answer my question – either correctly or incorrectly. I even had to put little yes-no boxes so that you could see clearly and explicitly that my question is a yes-no question. Is there anything that you would *not* give up for Christ? In your most recent comments now you’ve stated that you don’t know. If this is your answer to this question, I don’t know why you didn’t come forward with this when I first asked you. Perhaps you didn’t want to reveal this at the time for some reason? Did you give “the full truth”?
You wrote: “I take he wanted all the gruesome details more specifically ‘if there was any(thing) I would or wouldn't give up for Christ’."
Before it was “greasy details,” now this has morphed into “gruesome details.” I’ve never asked for either “greasy” or “gruesome details.” This is your own hyperbole at work here. Indeed, I was quite clear: I asked for a yes or no answer. And if the answer was yes, I suggested you state what it might be that you would not be willing to sacrifice for Jesus. Check the record. I don’t even know what “greasy” or “gruesome details” might include here. Again, it’s not my worldview on trial here.
You wrote: “He wanted to exploit some weakness in me so he could discredit my position. Fair.”
Not at all. I wanted to see how much integrity you have in your faith. I stated this clearly early on when you asked me.
You wrote: “But why wasn't I told this in the beginning, when I asked?”
Because that’s not what I was looking for. There’s no need for me to discredit the believer’s position when he does such an effective job of it by himself.
You wrote: “Nonetheless, I referred him to Jesus as I felt best. He is the author of my faith.”
I know of no alternative but to imagine Jesus doing anything. I cannot see Jesus, I cannot sit down and share a coffee with him, I cannot call him on the phone, etc. My imagination is the only resource I have in this context. And yes, I can imagine that Jesus is the author of something. But the point is that I have no alternative to this. And you, Christian James, nowhere identify any alternative to my imagination as the means of interfacing with Jesus. I have to imagine and pretend what I’m imagining is real. I know – I was a Christian once myself!
You wrote: “I will, however, stand by this statement I don't know what I would or wouldn't give up, I just know that I love Jesus and he is with me.”
So, you don’t know whether or not you would sacrifice your mind, your character, your family members, some stranger down the street, etc. Okay. There you go. That’s your worldview talking, Christian James.
You wrote: “I know that he is worth me giving up my life and I am ashamed by the sin that often prohibits that. But God is working.”
So, Christian James, Jesus – something you can only imagine - is something “worth… giving up [your] life” for? You would give up your life for something that is merely imaginary?
You wrote: “Moreover, Why am I required to reveal all my deepest motives and or sin but the questioner is not?”
As I stated very clearly back on June 13, “If you feel uncomfortable answering this question, you don’t need to answer it.” You are not “required to reveal all [your] deepest motives and or sin.” I did not ask for this. I wasn’t even asking about “sin” in the first place (though since you include this in the discussion, this pretty much goes against your claim that sacrifice is not part of the conversion process, since conversion requires repentance).
And what details have you asked me to supply? Perhaps I’ve missed something? Like you, I retain the right to my privacy, and I honor your right to yours as well. You come here voluntarily; you choose to participate in these discussions. You are not expected to do anything you don’t want to do.
You wrote: “This is a clear cut definition of hypocrisy.”
Again, you apparently missed the part where I plainly and explicitly stated: “If you feel uncomfortable answering this question, you don’t need to answer it.” And even if I did not state this, your charge of hypocrisy would still not be warranted since I’m not “requiring” you to do anything in the first place. I’m in no position to require you to do anything!
You wrote: “How would our conversation have evolved if the Dawson had answered my question as I asked?”
You had asked for my motives, and I explained them. If you did not read or understand my answer to your question, I don’t think that’s my fault.
You wrote: “But I did not press him as he did me.”
One, this is my blog, not yours. Second, you come here preaching a religious point of view, which opens you up to all kinds of scrutiny here. If you don't want that kind of scrutiny, you're free not to come back here. Third, you are free not to participate in discussions here if you think you’re being treated unfairly or improperly. But since you keep coming back, I can only suppose that there’s something you want to accomplish here or that you enjoy the discussion in spite of your insinuation that you’re being treated unfairly.
There’s no double standard involved here. If anything, you have an enormous advantage here since I’ve got over nine years of my own divulgences sitting right here available on the internet all for free. So my character is on display here. So far as I know, I cannot do the same with you.
You wrote: “Instead he gave me pieces of the truth with the intent to demoralize me in the end.”
With the exception of giving any truth, you’re now coming close to describing Sye Ten Bruggencate.
You wrote: “It wasn't my Christian worldview playing mind games on me, no It was a a man with the intent to use my own worldview against me.”
Attempting to use one’s worldview against him is the presuppositionalist’s apologetic stock in trade. This is precisely what Sye Ten Bruggencate expressly sets out to do every time he engages a non-Christian. And now you, presumably a presuppositionalist yourself, are somehow saying this is wrong? And you think I’m guilty of hypocrisy?
You wrote: “None of us have the belief that worldview can say anything.”
But wait, Christian apologists are always telling me that a worldview needs to “provide” the necessary preconditions for intelligibility. Of course, this would mean that whichever worldview supposedly does this would have to be in place prior to the preconditions of intelligibility can be provided. Thus whatever such a worldview supposedly says would have been founded and developed in the absence of the necessary preconditions of intelligibility.
Hey, this is not my problem!
You wrote: “I would like to say that I am just like you.”
You are not like me, Christian James. For one, you accept the view that sacrifice is moral; I do not. Sacrifice is never moral. Second, you think something that you can only imagine is worth sacrificing your life for; I do not. Third, you want to evade justice, for you don’t want what you deserve – you want something you don’t deserve, something that you will never earn. Your worldview teaches this; my does not. Fourth, your worldview is guided by faith in imaginary forces, alleged revelations from invisible magic beings, and alleged historical events; mine is not – by contrast, my worldview is premised on unchanging and unchangeable truths (identified by the axioms), aligned explicitly and consistently with the primacy of existence (e.g., wishing doesn’t make it so), and informed by reason.
You wrote: “I must admit you all are very intelligent and I'm thankful for your objections sorry I wan't able to get to everyone. I can see how devoted you are to your position. I am also devoted to mine. The only difference is I believe in God and I believe that he sent his Son to die for our sins so we wouldn't have to go to hell.”
This statement suggests that there is much “neutral” common ground between Christians and non-Christians, and that “the only difference” is that the believer believes in his god, and the non-Christian may believe in some other god or no god at all, that all the non-Christian has to do is adopt a belief in the same god as the Christian and everything else will be hunky-dory. But presuppositionalists are typically emphatic that this is not the case, that the non-Christian’s worldview is entirely wrong from its very foundations, and that one needs to install a whole new worldview in its place.
Also, if the Christian god “sent his Son to die for our sins so we wouldn’t have to go to hell,” then what’s the big concern? Jesus took care of everything, so everything’s okay now, problem solved, right? No, of course not: everyone who wants to go to heaven needs to do his own share of sacrificing as well. He needs to sacrifice his reason, his mind, his choice of happiness, his character, etc., etc., etc. It is an insatiable demand for sacrifice. There will never be enough sacrificing so long as one tries to be a good Christian.
I’m glad that’s not my problem!
You wrote: “The bible says that God doesn't want anyone to perish”
But if it’s true that “God controls whatsoever comes to pass” (Van Til, The Defense of the Faith, p. 160), then how can anything that happens anywhere be something that the Christian god doesn’t want to have happen? If the Christian god wants everyone to go to heaven when they die, what’s the problem? How can something in the universe the Christian god allegedly created not be entirely how the Christian god wants it to be?
You wrote: “but that they would turn and trust him with their lives and be saved and Christ would raise them up on the last day.”
According to the Book of Acts, Jesus made a personal appearance right before Saul of Tarsus. Saul was supposedly an aggressive persecutor of Christians, and this dramatic visit from the supernatural changed his whole life. So if Jesus really wants to reach people like me, he should know what would work. Why doesn’t Jesus just come to me himself, instead of sending people who don’t know whether or not they would be willing to sacrifice everything for him, and let me see him face to face myself?
You wrote: “We can't do this on our own. You won't believe on your own we need Jesus (John 6).”
Then all the more. It appears that this Jesus is holding back. Way back. As it is now, I have no alternative but to imagine Jesus, just as I have no alternative but to imagine Harry Potter flying around on a broomstick. But I already know that the imaginary is not real, so there goes that option.
On the other hand, Saul got a personal visit (even though this god supposedly doesn’t play favorites). It would seem that believers today, who have not had a personal appearance of the Damascus Road sort, have greater faith than Paul the Apostle.
But if it’s all in the Christian god’s hands, then it’s out of my hands. If it wants to reach me, it needs to start trying something different from sending these easily defeated Christian apologists. They only help convince me more that their worldview is utterly false.
You wrote: “There is a sin problem.”
But if the Christian god is calling all the shots, if everything that happens is according to the Christian god’s “plan,” if it “controls whatsoever comes to pass,” how could there be any problems at all? Is this god a perpetual bungler? This god is said to be a perfect being. It is also said to have created the universe. But if there’s any imperfection in the universe, this could only mean that its creator was less than perfect, for it would be wrong to call a creator that creates imperfections “perfect.”
Again, I’m glad these aren’t my problems!
You wrote: “Until that sin problem is dealt with none of you will believe regardless of how logical the argument.”
But wait, earlier you said that Jesus took care of this when he “died for our sins.” Now the sin thing is still an ongoing problem that still needs to be “dealt with”?
You wrote: “We can't accept God on our own terms we must accept him on his terms.”
And its terms, according to what we find in the bible, is that we sacrifice ourselves and hate our fathers, our mothers, our siblings, our children, our spouses, even ourselves.
Christian James, let me very clear: I do not hate my father. I do not hate my mother. I have three siblings – I don’t hate them either. I don’t hate my wife. I don’t hate my daughter. I don’t hate myself. So long as I am loving myself and my loved ones, I’ll never be able to meet the Christian god’s terms.
You wrote: “The bible is my objective evidence here.”
The “bible” is a collection of books containing stories, legends, fables, poetry, family trees, primitive legal writings, letters, etc. A claim is not evidence of its own truth. Similarly, the bible is not evidence that its contents are true. Wake up, Christian James. Snap out of it. It’s time to grow up.
You wrote: “Think for a moment if the God I'm proclaiming is real (which he is), than why would he be subject to ‘your’ particular methods of experimenting?”
Really, what I have to do here is imagine for a moment that the Christian god is real. I have no alternative to this. But I already know that the imaginary is not real, Christian James. Now what?
Also, if something exists, why would it not be discoverable by means of my methodology, which is reason? If the Christian god exists, it would be one more existent among the existents that exist. So it would be just one more thing. It would have a definite (and therefore finite) nature, and it would be accessible by means of reason so far as actually objective evidence for it were available. The evidence we would need would have to be as unmistakable as evidence for other things that exist, and not merely imaginary in nature. Since if it really existed it would exist independently of our conscious activity, we should be able to find evidence for its existence by looking outward at reality rather than looking inward into our imagination and building our knowledge on the basis of an emotion (cf. Prov. 1:7: “The fear of God is the beginning of knowledge”). But none of this is the case. Instead, we have human beings insisting that all this is true, yet they are unable to answer basic questions about their own faith and all they have is their claim that it exists while the rest of us, meanwhile, have no alternative but to imagine the god in question.
You wrote: “Ontologically if God is the greatest being, it therefor necessitates that his authority be supreme over all other authorities namely ours and or our methodology.”
My methodology is called reason. If your god is real, why would it not be discoverable by means of reason? Why would I still need to engage my imagination to contemplate it?
You wrote: “If God subjects himself to our methodology, who is God in that equation? We are.”
Why? I would simply be applying a methodology consistently. That is not the hallmark of a god.
You wrote: “God is still God and his intent is to let his creatures know that fact, i.e. why he will not disclose himself through your methods.”
See, there’s always a some excuse for the Christian god to be out of the reach of reason. In other words, to accept this belief, we need to sacrifice reason. That’s what I’ve been saying all along. Here, Christian James, you simply confirm this.
You wrote: “To add, you are using the wrong tool.”
Indeed – I’m using reason, but I need to be using “faith” – i.e., pretending that what I imagine is real. That is the only “tool” that will work in god-belief.
You wrote: “You wouldn't use a thermometer to measure distance. Nor can you use the scientific method to measure God's existence.”
Science is essentially the systematic application of reason to some specific area of study. If the Christian god really did exist, it would be something within reality as opposed to "outside" it (i.e., imaginary). Thus it’s unclear to me why reason would be the wrong tool here. But if it’s just a figment of the believer’s imagination, then of course I would expect believers to encourage us to put down our reason and take up “faith.”
If you think there is a “tool” or methodology by which we can discover and verify your god’s existence, can you specify what that tool or methodology is, and explain how it works? Please be careful to distinguish it from imagination or some other subjective means. Also, make sure you distinguish it from simply accepting someone else’s say so on their mere insistence that what they are claiming is true – for that only methodologically disarms us. If we’re interested in what’s true, then our methodology needs to be wholly rational.
You wrote: “You can't even use the method to quantify logic or morality, will you throw these things out as well?”
Both logic and morality (i.e., The Moral Code of Life
) are accessible to reason. We can apply reason to our study of logic just as we can apply reason to our study of morality. So why can’t reason work in the case of the Christian god?
You wrote: “You are calling Christians to give you information utilizing the wrong tool.”
How so? Christians themselves have adopted a worldview which explicitly demands self-sacrifice. I simply called you on this. How is this “the wrong tool”?
You wrote: “But he has left you with tools. The bible and prayer.”
Hmmm… let’s see. When I read the bible, I find that I have to use my imagination to imagine the characters it portrays, such as when they act or speak. Thus it seems that the bible systematically requires me to employ my imagination as my “methodology” for “knowing” it’s contents are supposedly “true.”
Similarly with prayer: I have no alternative but to imagine that someone is hearing my prayers. I can imagine that my favorite childhood uncle who died in the late 1970’s, can hear my prayers. Similarly, I can imagine that Jesus hears my prayers. Methodologically, what’s different in each case? Essentially nothing: my imagination is what’s involved in both cases. But I already know that the imaginary is not real. So now what?
You wrote: “He is only a prayer away. All of those who believe on Christ will be raised up on the last day.”
So, there will be a “last day”? Another Christian recently scolded me for repeating this doctrine of end-times, saying that it’s not authentic Christian teaching, that the world will never pass away (unlike what we read in the Sermon on the Mount)…. See, ask two Christians a question, get 62 different answers…
by Dawson Bethrick