Unintelligent Design and Eternal Life

Writing at the Huffington Post, John Blumenthal offers a humorous take on intelligent design:

Thanks to Michele Bachmann, the tired concept of Intelligent Design has once again become a topic of conversation among Creationists, most of whom, ironically, often sound like Neanderthals. In case you don’t know, this boneheaded theory claims that the human body is simply too remarkable to have come into being through millions of years of haphazard evolution, and that some super-intelligent deity must have been the engineering wizard behind the miracle of our anatomies.

Miracle? Really? If you’re over 50 and your body is starting to fall apart, it’s pretty obvious that the design is anything but intelligent.

Let’s start at the beginning. If you’ve ever given birth, you know that the notion of a seven-pound baby struggling to fit through an opening that’s roughly the size of a silver dollar is hardly an example of brilliant engineering. Why do turtles, hens and fish have it so much easier? Even the stork idea would’ve been better.


I know, I know. It’s an old argument. But it’s especially useful for driving anti-evolutionists to distraction. The YEC’s will tie themselves into knots trying to deny that the human body is in any way imperfectly designed. The ID folks prefer to give sage lectures about how poor design does not imply no design at all. Whatever. The fact remains that the human body is pretty much of a disaster from the standpoint of basic engineering. We’d better hope we’re the result of a long, haphazard evolutionary process, because any designer responsible for human anatomy has an awful lot of explaining to do.

But Blumenthal does raise one issue that leads to a serious question:

Let’s consider the divinely-inspired concept of mortality. I can understand why the Intelligent Designer created death — living forever would probably be insufferably boring by the age of 200 or so. After all, how many “Seinfeld” reruns can one person endure? And who wants to buy birthday presents for someone for 200 years, unless they don’t already have a blender?

Michael Shermer, the editor of Skeptic magazine has a standard reply to questions about immortality. When anyone asks him for his position on eternal life he says, “I’m for it!”

Well, I’m not so sure. I wonder if fans of eternal life have really considered just how long a period of time is intended by the term “eternal.” I always wonder what exactly one does with eternal life. There are many things I enjoy doing in this life, but it is hard for me to imagine maintaining my motivation through eternity. And I definitely don’t relish the idea of spending eternity, day after interminable day, in supplication to the God who created me. But what else is there to do in heaven?

I really don’t understand people who say life has no point or meaning unless it’s a prelude to the eternity we will spend with God in heaven. This seems precisely backward to me. It is hard to imagine anything more pointless and soul-crushing than the thought that we are just marking time here on Earth while waiting for our real lives to begin after we die. Whatever meaning life has surely arises in part from the fact that it is finite. You have only so many years in which to cram as much experience, learning, love, friendship or whatever else it is that gives you satisfaction, so you had better make every moment count. That’s the realization that gives life its point and its zest.

The world’s religions have nothing to teach us about the meaning of life. They are about Earthly power and nothing more.

Comments

  1. #1 Physicalist
    October 28, 2011

    I recall a good friend of mine telling me that he was really freaked out by the notion of eternal life when he was a kid. You could still pick up on the horror he felt as he told the story.

  2. #2 Cornelius
    October 28, 2011

    Since we’re nearly in the season – a good definition of eternity is two people and a ham.

    Cheers

  3. #3 kishin
    October 28, 2011

    Reminds me of the old Steve Martin joke: What if you got to heaven and found that everything there was always just as you’d heard it was. Wouldn’t you feel stupid?

  4. #4 dean
    October 28, 2011

    “Michael Shermer, the editor of Skeptic magazine has a standard reply to questions about immortality. When anyone asks him for his position on eternal life he says, “I’m for it!””

    He has something in common with Woody Allen.

    I don’t want to achieve immortality through my work. I want to achieve it through not dying.

    Makes as much sense as the ‘no purpose unless you serve God’ notion.

  5. #5 AL
    October 28, 2011

    Meh, infinite life or finite life, I’m mostly indifferent between the two. If I have to live a finite lifespan, so be it, I can accept mortality. If I had to life an infinite lifespan, I can accept that too. I might have the occasional mid-infinite life existential crisis, but for the most part, I’d probably end up finding some way to get over it and continue to enjoy another span of eternity until the next crisis.

  6. #6 Alan E.
    October 28, 2011

    I’m fond of Yossarian’s quote in Catch-22. “I intend to live forever, or die trying.”

  7. #7 Pierce R. Butler
    October 28, 2011

    I always wonder what exactly one does with eternal life.

    This would be a problem only for those with an infinite memory.

  8. #8 Anton Mates
    October 28, 2011

    The YEC’s will tie themselves into knots trying to deny that the human body is in any way imperfectly designed.

    Or they’ll just credit the Fall.

    But what else is there to do in heaven?

    Depends on the heaven. Some people (C.S. Lewis, for instance) have envisioned a heaven which is infinitely large and complex, so there’s always more to do and discover. And as long as the universe contains not-completely-wonderful bits, like Earth or Hell, there could be tasks that need doing by the saved.

  9. #9 eNeMeE
    October 28, 2011

    Bah, if I ever got tired of ‘eternal’ life (which I wouldn’t really anticipate, since I’ve got limited storage capacity in my noggin (mind you, first task is memory improvements)), I’d just go find a convienent star to fall into. So I’m all for living forever!

    …unless it involves some weird place where I don’t have a body, and I just sit around basking in some strange thing’s ‘love’.

  10. #10 Collin
    October 28, 2011

    Eternal life itself is not about power. Only the duality of heaven and hell is about power. It does not confer any power to say that everyone will go to the same afterlife. If anything, many people would find it repulsive to believe they’ll share eternity with their enemies.

  11. #11 David
    October 28, 2011

    Speaking of time…

    http://reelthinking.wordpress.com/2011/10/27/in-time-or-in-eternity/

    [snip]

    …But have you thought about the fact that time is a created thing? Yes, I mean to
    say that there was a time in which there was no time. Even better, the eternal God,
    is not restrained by boundaries of time like we are, but as the omnipresent and
    eternal he is not limited by time. He is the creator of time and sees all things
    simultaneously. Wrap your mind around that. Come on, try. You can’t. That is one of
    the reasons we worship the eternal God. He is the greatest, God is the eternal,
    uncreated being. It comes to a point in which we need to simply fall to our knees
    and worship. Where were we when God began time? Only the triune God witnessed this.

    [snip]

  12. #12 Peter
    October 28, 2011

    It will take an eternity to wrestle with this contrived debate between two differently contrived concepts. They are two theories that were created for two different reasons. One to explain the world and the other meant to oppose that explanation. Strange how both theories could play either role when used by different people.

    In regards to Intelliegent Design, I would reject it out of theological concerns. It would be limiting to God’s infinite power to demand the world must be intelligent from our prespective. God can deal with uncertaincy as we see it. Just look at me!

  13. #13 Peter
    October 28, 2011

    The world’s religions have done nothing… but maybe build hospitals, schools and universities; while feeding the poor, weeping with the mourning and celebrating new life.

    It is no secret to being a genius once you disregard everything that has gone before you.

  14. #14 Max
    October 28, 2011

    re: Peter

    Well obviously the roads. I mean the roads go without saying, don’t they?

  15. #15 Kel
    October 29, 2011

    Provided I have a brain chemistry that would continue to get excited by new things, and wouldn’t have to worry about physical decay and suffering, then I’d be happy to live eternally. A couple of tweaks to the human condition and I can’t see the problem of eternal life.

  16. #16 Marshall
    October 29, 2011

    There might be a chance to catch up on my reading. But probably I’d just get farther and farther behind.

  17. #17 Jason Rosenhouse
    October 29, 2011

    Anton –

    Or they’ll just credit the Fall.

    The Bible does imply that pain during childbirth is a result of the Fall, so perhaps the Creationists have a point on that one. But I don’t recall the Bible saying anything else about physical changes in human bodies as a result of the Fall. At any rate, they do seem inordinately concerned with showing that things that certainly appear to be poorly designed are really quite splendid. And not just in humans! Here’s Jonathan Sarfati grimly taking on the thankless task of explaining why the giraffe’s famously convoluted recurrent laryngeal nerve is really very well-designed after all.

  18. #18 Anton Mates
    October 29, 2011

    The Bible does imply that pain during childbirth is a result of the Fall, so perhaps the Creationists have a point on that one. But I don’t recall the Bible saying anything else about physical changes in human bodies as a result of the Fall.

    Well, there’s the bit where God says “Don’t eat this or you’ll die.” YECs usually interpret that as meaning that people were physically changed after the Fall, to be vulnerable to disease and aging.

    AFAIK, there are longstanding Christian, Jewish and Muslim traditions that Adam and Eve had assorted other superpowers. The Talmud says that he was giant-sized and radiated his own light, for instance.

    The idea was also influential among British scientists and natural philosophers in the seventeenth century, such as Joseph Glanvill. They argued over whether modern experimenters could ever learn more about the natural world than did Adam, who would have been an incredibly erudite scientist thanks to his superhuman senses–such as telescopic and microscopic vision–and intellect.

    Which probably sounds like an incredibly useless discussion, but it was actually important for establishing the social/religious legitimacy of experimental science. Glanville argued that, because we’re fallen, and our faculties are imperfect, researchers mustn’t place their faith in armchair reasoning and naive “naked-eye” observations. But through rigorous experimentation we can effectively regenerate our faculties, and recover some of the clarity of understanding that Adam enjoyed. Experimental science thus becomes almost a moral and spiritual obligation!

  19. #19 leebowman
    October 29, 2011

    It is hard to imagine anything more pointless and soul-crushing than the thought that we are just marking time here on Earth while waiting for our real lives to begin after we die. Whatever meaning life has surely arises in part from the fact that it is finite.

    Precisely, and that may in fact be the very reason for what I refer to as bioforms. I view Earth as several things.

    • A realm for a somewhat constrained existence. By constrained I mean limited in various physical ways.
    • Wasn’t it Shakespeare who penned, “We are only actors … “ ?
    • And of course, a biologic workshop.

    First point, since the physical body is a mechanistic contraption, with a multitude of metabolic processes going on, you would expect the kinds of shortcomings and limitations, yes and failures of processes that occur, some avoidable, some not so. If it were life in toto, I might agree with its critics.

    From that, you can how I view ‘actual’ life, and consciousness. When I listen to Daniel Dennett, an extremely sharp mind tussle with the issue, I see his consternation. If I could have a beer with him sometime, I’d explain my take and I’d bet I’d get some nods.

    If so, then what is our true lineage? I’d say it goes way back, and may even be tied in with bio design efforts.

    Point two, if carnal life, limited as it is, and in the setting that it’s constrained to, is analogous to ‘play acting’, then we may in fact be entertainment for the gods, or surrogates of higher ups, and of our direct lineage. And if so, we may alternately share that role.

    And finally, down here we put together various vehicles to expand our horizons. My view is that carnal life is analogous in principle. Prior to higher multicellular forms, sports, fights , meals and sex would have been only a dream, but indeed a dream come true!

    Regarding eternity, as a math geek, would you agree with a non-math educated dude that eternity may have more than one meaning? First, an infinite number cannot exist in reality. But, infinite time can, assuming it continues on. If it terminates, it quantifies to a number of units. So even if we live on, the ‘eternity’ term may merely mean ‘extended’ for an unknown time period. Also consider that our concept of time may in an incarnate form may be different. We get tired [like me, now] and require metabolic replenishment. That may lead to exhaustion and various negative moods. But in the morning, the perceptions are generally much better, with exceptions of course. In a non-carnal state, those mood shifts may not occur.

    That said, boredom may ensue nonetheless, and may have led ultimately to earthly and biologic constructs. To go one god, er ‘thot’ further, that very boredom may have led to, and be the reason for predator-prey, parasite-host, and yes, wars. Motive possibly, but that’s just conjecture. But if a give-and-take does exist, we may in fact be Netflix for others out there, at least in part.

  20. #20 leebowman
    October 29, 2011

    Jason –

    Here’s Jonathan Sarfati grimly taking on the thankless task of explaining why the giraffe’s famously convoluted recurrent laryngeal nerve is really very well-designed after all.

    Casey Luskin has also written about it. The points made seem relevant to function, but for some reason you only see these points brought up on Creationist and DI websites. I haven’t seen refutations of these points made yet, but I’m open to any and all relevant data.

    I had done some research several years back which turned up the Gray’s Anatomy text as well. From an engineering standpoint, I see no problems with it. And if in fact filament nerves innervate the heart and other areas, and they do, they may have ancillary functions. The point that the nerve runs the same route in all mammals does in fact make sense, since taxonomic progressions have advance by modification of existent forms. That is my view of ‘creation’, NS along with ‘as needed’ incremental tweaking processes. No poof [Sorry Ken H], nor design from a blueprint [sorry RD].

    I have viewed the Dawkins ‘Inside Nature’s Giants’ Part 2/5 many times, and it is quite revealing of intricate and IMO well designed anatomy. To view it, click on the red second from the left icon at the lower left. Otherwise, you will get “This video is no longer available … “ BS.

    Ever see giraffes neck boxing? They do it a lot. So bad design perhaps, but hey, the physiology appears to work just fine.

    Cheers

  21. #21 leebowman
    October 29, 2011

    Clarification:

    The high resolution video has been removed, so:

    “To view it, click on the red icon second from the left, located in the group of tabs at the lower right corner of the screen.”

  22. #22 cwfong
    October 29, 2011

    Life has likely existed in the universe “forever” and on earth since it was likely “seeded” here. Human forms are some of its latest complicated configurations. They don’t simply “die,” they replicate. Their memories remain to the necessary extent in their cultures. They are already planning for the colonization of other “worlds” in anticipation of the eventual destruction of this one. And get over all this accidental or divine design bullshit. Life has always designed itself. It doesn’t just take advantage of accidents. It expects them and if necessary makes them happen.
    Etc.

  23. #23 Gingerbaker
    October 29, 2011

    …Even better, the eternal God,
    is not restrained by boundaries of time like we are, but as the omnipresent and
    eternal he is not limited by time. He is the creator of time and sees all things
    simultaneously. Wrap your mind around that. Come on, try. You can’t…

    I don’t have to wrap my mind around it. As blithely as you can assert it, I can deny it.

  24. #24 H.H.
    October 29, 2011

    Humor is closely tied to novelty, the surprise that follows a setup which was seemingly going to lead elsewhere. We laugh much harder the first time we hear a joke than we do the second time or the tenth. If we lived eternally, eventually everything would seem stale and trite. This could be why god is always depicted as a humorless bastard.

  25. #25 Kristine
    October 29, 2011

    The Civil Rights Movment of the 1960s began with the organizing led by American congregations of many religious factions-and really began the idea of social justice based on principles taught by many religions. Seems like that was a valuable life lesson, and one that we are not finished with yet in this country.

    Learning how to forgive your enemy is also another valuable lesson that many of the world’s organized religions try to aspire, however difficult that may be to teach and practice in reality.

    I’m not sure that you can really lump all those who believe in eternal life into one category–seems a bit shallow to believe that all of human kind would have the exact same version. As a Christian I certainly have never been taught that eternal life means worshipping god forever–it’s a lot less defined and more open to interpretation when you are a liberal Protestant ( i.e. think for yourself). We are also taught to respect and try to accept all the other points of view–surprisingly no ” my way or the highway” kind of dogma, but more of wherever you are on your journey, you are accepted and loved.

  26. #26 dean
    October 29, 2011

    “The world’s religions have done nothing… but maybe build hospitals, schools and universities; while feeding the poor, weeping with the mourning and celebrating new life.”

    No, religions have not done that, people have. People both religious and non-religious. Just as people both religious and non-religious have done horrible things.

    Claiming allegiance to a religion is no more a predictor of decent behavior than is hair color.

  27. #27 Anton Mates
    October 29, 2011

    Here’s Jonathan Sarfati grimly taking on the thankless task of explaining why the giraffe’s famously convoluted recurrent laryngeal nerve is really very well-designed after all.

    Eh, I don’t think his argument (on that particular point–the rest is irrelevant nonsense as usual) is substantially worse than Dawkins’. Giraffes have working larynxes, and AFAIK laryngeal nerve malfunction isn’t a major cause of giraffe mortality. So does it matter whether the nerve is long and convoluted?

    But of course any design inferences here are, as usual, unfounded speculation. What did our hypothetical designer design giraffes for? Is their divinely-mandated purpose to walk around looking silly, or to serve as food for lions, or to make as many more giraffes as possible, or what? Unless you know that, you can’t say whether anything about the giraffe body plan is good design or lousy design.

    Maybe if their nerves were laid out better giraffes would be impossible to catch and all their predators would starve, and the designer doesn’t want that. But maybe the fact that all their predators need to eat meat is crappy design, because a smarter designer would have made those predators run on zero point energy. Who knows?

    No hypotheses about a completely unspecified designer are scientific.

  28. #28 Jason Rosenhouse
    October 29, 2011

    Eh, I don’t think his argument (on that particular point–the rest is irrelevant nonsense as usual) is substantially worse than Dawkins’. Giraffes have working larynxes, and AFAIK laryngeal nerve malfunction isn’t a major cause of giraffe mortality. So does it matter whether the nerve is long and convoluted?

    Yes, of course it matters. It matters because it’s a structure that makes sense in the light of evolution but does not make sense from the perspective of intelligent design. “It works” is not the correct standard when determining if something makes sense from the perspective of engineering. I’m pretty sure that was Dawkins’s point, and it sure looks like a good one to me.

    No hypotheses about a completely unspecified designer are scientific.

    But for creationists like Sarfati the designer isn’t unspecified. He’s actually specified in great detail. It is precisely because Sarfati thinks he understands something about the abilities and intentions of this designer that he is stuck trying to argue that desperate anatomical kludges slapped together haphazardly by evolution are actually things a loving an omnipotent engineer would have designed.

    For heaven’s sake, Anton, I didn’t hallucinate the part where creationists spend an awful lot of time explaining why things that are obviously instances of poor anatomical design are actually just splendid. After all, we’re talking about folks who think that ear wax proclaims the glory of God.

  29. #29 leebowman
    October 30, 2011

    Competitveness is the norm in the animal kingdom, and for all we know, designers place ‘side bets’ [2:1 in favor of tigers]. But I have seen a film of a giraffe killing a tiger with one kick.

    Comment 19 sums it up, and RBH’s theory explains it in a much more coherent way than monotheistic religious dogma. Although Hoppe has always been an ID critic, at least he’s open to more amenable postulations than the dogma on either side of the mainstream origins debate.

    Currently, I definitely hold to MDT.

    http://www.iscid.org/boards/ubb-get_topic-f-6-t-000172.html

    http://pandasthumb.org/archives/2004/09/introduction-to.html

  30. #30 wblue
    October 30, 2011

    Intelligent Design, Creationism, Creation Science, Multiple Designer Theory… all of these ‘theories’ (and I use that word VERY loosely) are based on the existence of a supernatural entity for which there is no direct evidence. Believe in the Bible (or other work of fiction) all you like, but until you can provide a definitive proof for the existence of God (or Allah, or Xenu for that matter) then you’re just indulging in primitive blind worship of the unknown. Period.
    For all that’s wrong with Science – and there’s a lot – at least the general movement is towards extending our understanding, not just saying “God did it.”

    http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/AWizardDidIt

  31. #31 Anton Mates
    October 30, 2011

    Yes, of course it matters. It matters because it’s a structure that makes sense in the light of evolution but does not make sense from the perspective of intelligent design.

    But no one has shown that it does not make sense from the perspective of intelligent design. Sarfati and Woodmorappe are quite correct when they say that there are lots of intelligently designed machines which contain weirdly long loops of wiring and the like. Sometimes that’s because the designer was lazy or stupid; sometimes it’s because there was some other design constraint which prohibited a more direct route; sometimes it’s because including a long loop of wire just didn’t matter very much one way or the other. Unless you know more about the designer and their goals and constraints than Sarfati’s willing to offer here, you can’t rule out these possibilities.

    The intelligent design hypothesis is perfectly consistent with the shape of the recurrent laryngeal nerve. The problem is that it’s equally consistent with every other possible shape the nerve could have, but doesn’t. Evolutionary theory can explain why the nerve is shaped in this way and not in any other way. ID can’t.

    “It works” is not the correct standard when determining if something makes sense from the perspective of engineering.

    So what is the correct standard? What design rules should we assume are respected by an ancient, inhuman, bodiless engineer with superhuman powers and a penchant for “moving in mysterious ways?”

    But for creationists like Sarfati the designer isn’t unspecified. He’s actually specified in great detail. It is precisely because Sarfati thinks he understands something about the abilities and intentions of this designer that he is stuck trying to argue that desperate anatomical kludges slapped together haphazardly by evolution are actually things a loving an omnipotent engineer would have designed.

    Well, the designer is specified when Sarfati wants him to be. And as a YEC, he’s more likely to publicly admit that he thinks the designer’s name rhymes with “Smeezus Feist.” But he’s still willing to recede into IDish vagueness when he’s on the defensive. Notice that there’s nothing in this article about the designer being loving or omnipotent. No details are given about the designer at all, in fact. There’s just a laundry list of facts about the nerve–the tissues it innervates, its embryonic development–and the vague suggestion that any of these might constitute the nerve’s “function” as far as the designer’s concerned.

    Sarfati’s never actually going to sit down and try to puzzle out what YHWH was thinking when he built the giraffe, and he knows his audience doesn’t expect him to.

    For heaven’s sake, Anton, I didn’t hallucinate the part where creationists spend an awful lot of time explaining why things that are obviously instances of poor anatomical design are actually just splendid. After all, we’re talking about folks who think that ear wax proclaims the glory of God.

    Sure. But those very same folks also think that cancer is “is the result of ongoing genetic deterioration in our body cells, and as such is a manifestation of the Edenic curse of decay and death.” Meanwhile, over at Answers in Genesis, they blame the Fall for our badly designed backs:

    “Some evidence exists that a mutation is responsible at least for some forms of back problems, specifically intervertebral disk conditions and sciatica. The further we move from the Fall the greater becomes the mutational load and the more likely ‘poor mutations’ for disk strength and longevity become the norm rather than the occasional.”

    If something about the body works well, credit God. If something about the body works badly, blame the Fall. Heck, the ICR folks are happy to make both arguments at the same time, about the same system:

    “Communication breakdowns within and between different organisms’ tissues can result in disease, and this is a manifestation of the curse under which all creation was placed as a direct result of human sin. However, the fact that vestiges of such a complicated communication apparatus still exist testifies to an original creation of high order. The benefits that worms apparently provide [to the human immune system] could only exist because of well-designed, purposefully created systems. Though marred, such design suggests that parasitic worms were originally created as part of a very good creation.”

    “Marred” design! Just like the ID crowd, YECs have a design hypothesis that can explain anything, and therefore explains nothing.

  32. #32 SLC
    October 30, 2011

    Here’s another conundrum for the creationists to explain. How come the apes and humans, virtually alone amongst the mammals, have a broken gene for generating vitamin C? Since the consequences of vitamin C deficiency are quite serious (e.g. scurvy), that would not seem to be something a good designer would do.

  33. #33 paleobarbie
    October 30, 2011

    “The intelligent design hypothesis is perfectly consistent with the shape of the recurrent laryngeal nerve. The problem is that it’s equally consistent with every other possible shape the nerve could have, but doesn’t. Evolutionary theory can explain why the nerve is shaped in this way and not in any other way. ID can’t.”

    This is an excellent point. And the RLN isn’t necessarily a *bad* design — injuries to this nerve mainly happen during surgery, not normal life. If it was indeed a bad design, selection might have acted to change it (I’m sure there is natural variation in its course). But, bad or not, it’s an *unnecessary* “design”, which can’t be explained by ID except in the post hoc goddidit sense (which can, of course, explain everything, or at least explain it away).

    Also, it should be noted, when creationists start talking about all the ancillary functions and branches of the RLN, that it’s but one branch of the vagus nerve. The main branch of the vagus follows the same initial route (without then returning back up the neck), and then goes down further to innervate much of the body.

    The point here is that, if you’ve got a nerve stuck in a developmental glitch, like the RLN, there’s no reason why selection wouldn’t have encouraged various offshoot branchings en route. But when creationists say this, one could be left with the impression that if the RLN wasn’t there, then these innervations would be missing. Not so, the main branch of the vagus is performing the identical function (plus more). So no actual need for these “additional” functions of the RLN.

  34. #34 Jason Failes
    October 30, 2011

    I always wonder what exactly one does with eternal life.

    I would start by learning absolutely everything while exploring the entire observable universe. After that, if there is an “after that”, I don’t know.

    Really, I’m not going to worry all that much about an existential issue that, should any of us be lucky enough to live long enough to confront it, would be millions or billions of years in the future.

    Also, unlike religious views of eternal life, a technology-based “nerd rapture” would likely be both customizable and voluntary.

  35. #35 Jason Rosenhouse
    October 30, 2011

    But no one has shown that it does not make sense from the perspective of intelligent design. Sarfati and Woodmorappe are quite correct when they say that there are lots of intelligently designed machines which contain weirdly long loops of wiring and the like. Sometimes that’s because the designer was lazy or stupid; sometimes it’s because there was some other design constraint which prohibited a more direct route; sometimes it’s because including a long loop of wire just didn’t matter very much one way or the other. Unless you know more about the designer and their goals and constraints than Sarfati’s willing to offer here, you can’t rule out these possibilities.

    I don’t think there’s really any mystery about the designer Sarfati has in mind. He’s talking about the Christian God. I’m sure he assumes we take that for granted when we read his writing, even when he doesn’t spell it out specifically. And given that we’re talking about the Christian God, we do, indeed, know quite a bit about his abilities and intentions. We know that he loves his creatures, and therefore would not saddle them with design flaws unless it was absolutely necessary to do so. We can assume that he’s rational, meaning he would not favor a wasteful and inefficient machine when a more efficient design was possible. And we can draw inferences from reverse engineering what he created. Whatever else it is, a giraffe is a machine that carries out certain functions. We can certainly ask if, from the standpoint of a human engineer, the giraffe machine is well-designed for what it does.

    Now, you can certainly make things up to explain why God might have designed an inefficient nerve. Maybe God just likes long nerves. Or maybe it appealed to his sense of whimsy (as Phillip Johnson once suggested in the context of the peacock’s tail.) And you can always hypothesize into existence possible design constraints that may not be obvious to human engineers pondering the giraffe. Neither Dawkins nor anyone else has ever said that odd designs in nature flatly rule out ID. But the fact remains that we have a class of facts (odd designs in nature) that make perfect sense under the evolutionary hypothesis, but which don’t make sense if you assume they were designed by a rational engineer with good will towards his creatures. Saying, “But we might not know everything about the creator’s intentions!” salvages the ID hypothesis from logical oblivion, but it doesn’t make it seem any more plausible.

    The intelligent design hypothesis is perfectly consistent with the shape of the recurrent laryngeal nerve. The problem is that it’s equally consistent with every other possible shape the nerve could have, but doesn’t. Evolutionary theory can explain why the nerve is shaped in this way and not in any other way. ID can’t.

    But, again, given the assumptions we’re making about the designer the ID hypothesis is not perfectly consistent with any possible shape of the RLN, unless you are just using “consistent” in its bare logical sense. Specifically, it is inconsistent with a design that harms the giraffe in some way unless that design was absolutely necessary for some reason. And the giraffe is plainly harmed by the nerve’s crazy design, if only at the obvious level that it requires wasted energy and biological resources to construct it.

    Your argument is at the same level as arguing that a person who goes on a random killing spree might actually be a nice guy, because it is possible that an unknown parasite bored into his brain and turned him into a violent zombie. It’s possible. You can’t rule it out!

    So what is the correct standard? What design rules should we assume are respected by an ancient, inhuman, bodiless engineer with superhuman powers and a penchant for “moving in mysterious ways?”

    Well, basic efficiency is one such rule. Not causing undue harm to his creations is another.

    Just like the ID crowd, YECs have a design hypothesis that can explain anything, and therefore explains nothing.

    But from their perspective ID explains why there is biological complexity at all. Not a bad feat, since as they see it there’s nothing else that can explain it.

  36. #36 Bayesian Bouffant, FCD
    October 30, 2011

    The name of the bar – the bar is called Heaven.

  37. #37 Bayesian Bouffant, FCD
    October 30, 2011

    Anton Mates: Well, there’s the bit where God says “Don’t eat this or you’ll die.” YECs usually interpret that as meaning that people were physically changed after the Fall, to be vulnerable to disease and aging.

    Yes, this is a curious lapse in their drive toward literalism. It is much more straightforward to interpret that verse (Gen 2:16-17) as God lying to Adam.

  38. #38 Gingerbaker
    October 30, 2011

    If humans were designed by the Christian God, they were supposedly made in His Image. The Christian God is a triumvirate, yet we have virtually no trilateral symmetry, as far as I know. Strange.

    And why are we allowing goal post creep on the “Intelligent” part of “Intelligent Design?” Intelligent design can also mean Not Very Intelligent Design? Seriously?

    How about Just Barely Above The Intelligence Quota of a Bag of Hammers Design? Just how stupid is an all-knowing God, who, btw, can keep every subatomic particle in the universe simultaneously tweaked to do his bidding for every contingency for all eternity, allowed to get these days?

  39. #39 leebowman
    October 30, 2011

    “It is much more straightforward to interpret that verse (Gen 2:16-17) as God lying to Adam. “

    Taken out of context, words can easily become ‘a play on words.’

    Could it be that Eve was quote mining in Gen 3:2-3?

    Or as Diane Sawyer might say, “God was obviously misquoted.”

    I might add, in the millenia since, too many edits.

  40. #40 eric
    October 30, 2011

    I’m with Shermer, for the simple reason that a person with eternal life can always choose to end it, but we people ‘with death’ cannot choose to avoid it. If you choose A (mortality), you don’t get takebacksies. But if you choose B (immortality), you can change your mind. :)

  41. #41 Christopher Doherty
    October 31, 2011

    I was disappointed to find this as a featured ScienceBlogs article. There’s nothing informative here at all. Do evolutionary biologists really think that the human body is a complete engineering failure? I doubt it. And the argument seems self-defeating to evolutionary theory. So why say it?

    Not that you can fail to know this, but the world’s religious thought is not really summed up by American Protestant creationism. I get that you’re angry at them, but you’re attacking a straw man if you’re trying to go after religion altogether. I realize this is probably a waste of words, but the most typical concept of eternity (starting from, I believe, Augustine) is hardly “day after insufferable day” but a timeless now, etc etc, which you can easily research on your own if you care.

  42. #42 Anton Mates
    October 31, 2011

    And given that we’re talking about the Christian God, we do, indeed, know quite a bit about his abilities and intentions. We know that he loves his creatures, and therefore would not saddle them with design flaws unless it was absolutely necessary to do so.

    This is the young-earth-creationist Christian God, however. This is a god responsible for the Fall, the flood, the future destruction of the world as per Revelation, and Hell. He’s obviously very willing to inflict mass death and suffering on mortal beings. For such a god to saddle his creations with design flaws is not even mildly surprising. Indeed, the folks at ICR claim scriptural proof that he intentionally did so.

    Yes, it sounds incredibly strange that a “loving” God would do these things, but so what? We established long ago that the YEC God isn’t “loving” in any normal sense of the word.

    Of course, even a non-YEC God apparently finds it necessary to maintain an ecosystem which involves predation, disease, starvation and so forth. Again, design flaws don’t seem at all out of place in that parade of horrors.

    We can assume that he’s rational, meaning he would not favor a wasteful and inefficient machine when a more efficient design was possible.

    Efficiency is not rational, unless resource limitations demand it. Look at the amount of plastic packaging our merchandise comes in. That was designed by perfectly rational human product engineers–plastic is cheap now, so we can afford to waste lots of it.

    The Christian God has no resource limitations. He could have arranged for every giraffe to be powered by a miniature nuclear reactor if he felt like it. If Genesis 1 is taken literally, he created the sun, the moon, and all the stars, just so the earth would be well-lit and people could tell time more easily! Why should a being that can create universes with a word care about efficiency?

    And we can draw inferences from reverse engineering what he created. Whatever else it is, a giraffe is a machine that carries out certain functions. We can certainly ask if, from the standpoint of a human engineer, the giraffe machine is well-designed for what it does.

    And what does a giraffe do? It takes up space and consumes oxygen. It makes baby giraffes. It eats plants and is eaten by predators. It entertains humans. If creationists are correct, it illustrates the glory of God, served Adam in Eden, and now embodies the consequences of human sin. Which of these functions should we assume are most important to a hypothetical God, and what’s the net impact on them of a wonky nerve?

    But, again, given the assumptions we’re making about the designer the ID hypothesis is not perfectly consistent with any possible shape of the RLN, unless you are just using “consistent” in its bare logical sense. Specifically, it is inconsistent with a design that harms the giraffe in some way unless that design was absolutely necessary for some reason. And the giraffe is plainly harmed by the nerve’s crazy design, if only at the obvious level that it requires wasted energy and biological resources to construct it.

    Really? You have evidence that it’s significantly more costly to build this one long nerve, than it would to be to build a couple of short ones and fill in the leftover space with some other kind of tissue? Seriously, there are plenty of anatomical features which do cause their owners some plain harm, but the giraffe’s recurrent laryngeal nerve isn’t one of them AFAICT. As a matter of fact, so far as I can glean from the literature, giraffes have fewer problems with this nerve than do shorter-necked mammals like horses. This just isn’t a very good example of suboptimal design, even from an adaptationist viewpoint.

    But okay, let’s assume that giraffes would do better with a more direct nerve path. What of that? Giraffes would do a whole lot better if God had given them bulletproof skin and a healing factor, but apparently he didn’t. I don’t think Christians anywhere think that God designed the universe to maximize the survivability or happiness of the giraffe. And if you believe that the Christian God would not harm a giraffe unless absolutely necessary…well, that’s why Christian apologists have 10,000 answers to the Problem of Evil. Maybe better-designed giraffes would multiply and devour every last leaf on the savanna, and that would be bad. Or they’d be uncatchable by predators, who would then starve, and that would be bad. Or: the Fall.

    Your argument is at the same level as arguing that a person who goes on a random killing spree might actually be a nice guy, because it is possible that an unknown parasite bored into his brain and turned him into a violent zombie.

    Well, no. I’m arguing that, even though people call this person a nice guy, he’s well-known to have killed and tortured and whatnot several times in the past. So it’s silly to say that such a nice guy couldn’t be the culprit now! Whatever “nice guy” means to his fans, it’s obviously compatible with random killing sprees.

  43. #43 eric
    October 31, 2011

    The most typical concept of eternity (starting from, I believe, Augustine) is hardly “day after insufferable day” but a timeless now, etc etc, which you can easily research on your own if you care.

    Ah, the “you’re not addressing real theology (by which is meant theology so academic only a few percent of believers are even cognizant of it)” defense.

    I have two responses to that. One – you cannot defend common belief using an argument common believers don’t understand, let alone subscribe to. Two – my goldfish lives in a timeless now. I do not envy it, nor do I want to achieve that state.

  44. #44 rob
    October 31, 2011

    the heat death of the universe precludes eternal life. unless you end up as a bath of photons in the ground state.

  45. #45 Anton Mates
    October 31, 2011

    Jason,

    My last reply got caught in the mod filter, and cutting it in half didn’t seem to improve matters. Could you wave the original, longer reply through when you get a chance? Thanks!

  46. #46 heddle
    October 31, 2011

    wblue #30,

    For all that’s wrong with Science – and there’s a lot

    Utter nonsense. On what basis can you claim there is “a lot” wrong with science? I would like to see you make the case.

  47. #47 Jason Rosenhouse
    October 31, 2011

    Anton –

    Sorry about the hold up with your comment. I have now released it! My comments have been getting sent to moderation too, lately. I’ll let you have the last word on this one.

  48. #48 amphiox
    October 31, 2011

    Well, there’s the bit where God says “Don’t eat this or you’ll die.” YECs usually interpret that as meaning that people were physically changed after the Fall, to be vulnerable to disease and aging.

    That just pulls the design question back, away from the design of the female human pelvis to the design of the whole frakkin garden.

    We’re talking about putting what’s basically the most toxic fruit in all creation (and what’s the point of making it in the first place? God doesn’t need it, He already knows good and evil, supposedly, and Adam and Eve aren’t supposed to eat it, so who or what’s it for???) right in the middle of the garden (within easy reaching distance no less) with two unsupervised (unless you count the snake!) complete innocents.

    Even comparatively incompetent parents know to put the bleach and rat poison out of reach.

  49. #49 Christopher Doherty
    November 1, 2011

    @eric – that’s hardly uncommon theology. It’s hardly academic. It’s not simple, but the necessity of the First Cause being outside time, etc, is not that high of a leap to make. I believe I first heard about it in grade school. Also, even if only academics believe it (which is hardly true), that still proves my point that this article expressed about a juvenile straw-man articulation of a religious idea that rational minds have churned over for centuries. Sorry. If someone started attacking news-media science in an effort to discredit real science, you’d probably defecate a brick.

    As for your goldfish, if he was an ecstatically happy and fulfilled rational animal of a goldfish…ah, nevermind.

    @amphiox – I’m pretty sure that consensus view is that the forbidden tree was an obedience test. Perhaps the tree didn’t have anything special about it at all, but when the obedience was violated this imparted knowledge of (the difference between) good and evil. Granted I’m not trying to convince you this really happened, just that you seem to have an honest confusion about this.

  50. #50 Indrid Cold
    November 1, 2011

    I think if I attained eternal life, I’d become a really motivated serial killer.

  51. #51 Wow
    November 1, 2011

    “It’s not simple, but the necessity of the First Cause being outside time, etc, is not that high of a leap to make.”

    Sorry, you’re wrong.

    Being outside time is a massive leap of faith.

    It’s as massive as “What is North of the North Pole”, a definitional problem that makes the existence nonsensical.

    What is outside time? What does it mean to exist there? You exist over time, not outside it. Nothing we can find exists outside time. So you have to leap to the conclusion that it is possible to exist outside time.

    This is the massive leap of faith.

  52. #52 Ian Kemmish
    November 1, 2011

    You missed the opportunity to point out that to a creationist, “poor design” is infinitely worse than no design at all, implying as it does that the Abrahamic deity is not omniscient.

    My favourite dumb design point has always been lungs that empty fluid from the top, not from the bottom.

    As for living forever… at current rates, it will take me about 400 years to fully master the works of J S Bach, enjoying every moment. After a few thousand more I’ll have forgotten all I learnt, and will have the joy of starting all over again. The only downside to living forever is that the Big Rip at the end of the universe is bound to be Really Painful.

  53. #53 heddle
    November 1, 2011

    Ian Kemmish

    You missed the opportunity to point out that to a creationist, “poor design” is infinitely worse than no design at all, implying as it does that the Abrahamic deity is not omniscient.

    It implies no such thing. The only thing that would imply “creator is not omniscient” is the impossible demonstration that the design, poor or not, is not what the creator intended.

    So you are, on this point, simply wrong. Planned obsolescence can be the result of a successful design.

  54. #54 Wow
    November 1, 2011

    Hedless is right: it doesn’t disprove an omniescent god, it proves either incompetence or malice.

    hedless seems to ascribe to the incompetence answer…

  55. #55 eric
    November 1, 2011

    Christopher Doherty: @eric – that’s hardly uncommon theology.

    I guess we will have to disagree. If you polled actual believers on the street about their concept of heaven, I doubt 1 in 10 would give as sophisticated an answer as you did.

    And I don’t think you’ve been following Jason very long if you characterize this as a straw man argument. Folks like Jason and Jerry Coyne are intentionally addressing common religious belief because they seek to change the minds of the folks who hold those common religious beliefs. They are not attacking A as a strawman of B; they are attacking A because a lot of people believe A, and they want to change their minds. If I understand you correctly, you don’t believe A either and find it so overly simplistic as to be wrong. Okay, so you should be supportive of their attempts to change people’s minds about A, since you think A is wrong too.

    Now, it turns out that folks like Rosenhouse and Coyne also occasionally address B (sophisticated theology). Consider the recent case of Coyne discussing religion with John Haught. Oops, I guess you can’t. Haught got so soundly whupped he now refuses to release the tape of the event, even though he had given is prior approval for said taping. It seems that (at least one of) the sophisticated theologians insisting scientists stop attacking common belief and instead address sophisticated theology, did not actually want scientists to take them up on that offer.

  56. #56 eric
    November 1, 2011

    If someone started attacking news-media science in an effort to discredit real science, you’d probably defecate a brick.

    Very poor analogy. News media science is not what scientists believe. In direct contrast, the special creation version of design is the religious belief of approximately 40% of Americans. Nor is that a passing trend – its been around 40% for at least three decades. News media science is a mischaracterization by an outside group. Design is a self-characterization by 4 in 10 believers.

    Is this an example of the sort of sophisticated theological reasoning we are supposed to consider? You compare a religious belief of greater than 40% of the population of believers (because not all Americans are believers) to a scientific belief of essentially 0% of the population of scientists, and from that draw the conclusion that our arguments contra that religious belief should be ignored as irrelevant?

    I think you do far more of a disservice to common believers than you accuse Jason of doing. When they say they religiously believe in a ‘classic’ heaven, or a spontaneous “Poof!” explanation of species, he believes them. And he tries to show the problems with those religious beliefs. You, OTOH, seem to respond by claiming they are doing religion wrong, or those aren’t real religious beliefs, or we shouldn’t bother with such proles, or something along those lines.

  57. #57 planeman
    November 1, 2011

    I’m not sure what eternal bliss would be but I’m sure that it had something to do with sex.

  58. #58 OldStone50
    November 2, 2011

    Posts 9, 15, 40 say it all. Death is always an option; life isn’t.

  59. #59 Creationkid
    November 2, 2011

    “The fact remains that the human body is pretty much of a disaster from the standpoint of basic engineering”.
    So by implication, basic engineering is able to build a better human being. I have to ask, what is the engineering community then waiting for?

  60. #60 eric
    November 2, 2011

    Creationkid: So by implication, basic engineering is able to build a better human being.

    No, by implication humans are able to think up better plans. Instantiating those plans in biological organisms is, as you point out, currently beyond our technical capability.

    But this is still a problem for religious creationism, since if you were right, humans should not be able to think up better plans than the designer. If we can, that says something fairly significantly negative about God.

  61. #61 hoary puccoon
    November 2, 2011

    Creationkid–

    I don’t know about the engineering community, but doctors, dentists, and optometrists make entire careers out of correcting design flaws in the human body.

    Hairdressers, too.

  62. #62 sandoz
    November 2, 2011

    Eternity? it’s very long, especially at the end…

  63. #63 Michael
    November 2, 2011

    Fantastic post I very much enjoyed it, keep up the good work.

  64. #64 Christopher Doherty
    November 2, 2011

    eric: Folks like Jason and Jerry Coyne are intentionally addressing common religious belief because they seek to change the minds of the folks who hold those common religious beliefs.

    Then he’s writing his post all wrong. He specifically addressed the concepts of design, eternity, and the meaning of life. He didn’t say he was only talking about how idiots in the street conceive these concepts. He gave no indication that he knows that the history of real religious thought is not this stupid. If he had, I probably wouldn’t have replied in the first place in an effort to clarify this.

    News media science is not what scientists believe. In direct contrast, the special creation version of design is the religious belief of approximately 40% of Americans.

    Is it really 40%? I’m sure 40% of Americans believe that God is behind creation, but I don’t know that 40% of Americans believe in a literal seven-day special creation, or would ever argue that the human body is perfect. That seems doubtful. Most Catholics don’t believe that and they’re still a huge minority of the population. Do evangelical Protestants even make up 40% of the US? Not just evangelical Protestants, but the ones who know and care enough about ID to defend it? I’m not contesting you – I might be wrong.

    But it wouldn’t surprise me if this is the oversimplification I’m talking about. You’re angry about seven-day creationists who hate evolution, but you’re taking it out on all religious people everywhere. ID is bunk – so eternal life is bunk too? If you tried that line of logic on regular religious people on the street, you’d mostly get blank stares.

  65. #65 eric
    November 2, 2011

    Christopher, a consistent 40% of Americans say that they believe God created the humans and the world in its present form. When asked whether they think the earth is 10,000 years old or less, 40% answer yes. No evolution, no old earth. This is not news; they’ve answered that way for decades. Just google “Gallup poll evolution” and click the first link (I’m not including it because Jason’s blog holds posts when they have links).

    He didn’t say he was only talking about how idiots in the street conceive these concepts. He gave no indication that he knows that the history of real religious thought is not this stupid.

    These comments are exactly what I was referring to when I said that you’re doing much more of a disservice to believers than Jason is. You want to ignore or discount the beliefs of a significant portion of Christians as not representing ‘real religious thought.’ That’s a sectarian choice. But being outside both your sects, I can’t see how your claim to represent real Christianity is any stronger than theirs. Can you explain it to me, without appealing to the same sources of authority they would appeal to?

  66. #66 alex macdonald
    November 3, 2011

    The world’s religions are the dead hands of dead civilizations. Nowhere is this more clear than in the desert and mountainous regions where Islam prevails: the worst and most deadly practices — stoning, the veil, the subordination of women, the power of the father over the son, female circumcision, ritual beheading, sharia law — all these preceded Islam by thousands of years and ambushed the Prophet’s message (and not only his). They continue to hold those regions in thrall to ancient constructs ofauthority by which clergy, in order to mobilize believers, promote as divinely ordered in a quest to draw the rest of the world backwards, not to the stone age, as General Curtis LeMay would have done with his hydrogen bombs and B-52s, but just to the end of the late Bronze Age. Enjoy.

  67. #67 Wow
    November 3, 2011

    “and most deadly practices — stoning, the veil, the subordination of women, the power of the father over the son, female circumcision, ritual beheading, sharia law”

    Ever watch Top Gear episode (UK car magazine program) when they went to the USA and for a dare put “I heart man-love” on their cars?

    Christian sects who demand women wear concealing clothing still exists, and the Republican party practically runs off the idea of subordination of women in the USA.

    And G W Bush presided over more death row murders than any other Texas governor when he was in office. Texas has the highest number of death row deaths in the USA, one of the very few countries (first or otherwise) with a death penalty.

    Fundamental Christianity is no different from Fundamental Islamism. Except the latter gets demonised when it appears on TV and the former have several channels on Cable in the USA…

  68. #68 Steve W
    November 3, 2011

    Reinvent the wheel, if you will, but these points were made with panache aplenty long ago by Voltaire in his novella “Candide”. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Candide. Or, uh, read the book.

    The fact that we are living in a far-from-perfect world was recognized as a problem for a certain brand of theism long before Darwin.

  69. #69 porzitski
    November 3, 2011

    I looked for something scientific to hold onto in the article, but once again, the evolutionist uses sneering condescension and an absurd Seinfeld reference to “refute” arguments showing their Emperor in dishabille. Good work, science (I mean scientists)! Lack of evidence doesn’t mean you’re beat, it merely means it is time to resort to jokes and your imagined intellectual superiority to sway the masses (who really don’t care where you or I think they came from aanyway). Perfect record so far!

  70. #70 Christopher Doherty
    November 4, 2011

    @eric – I’m pretty staggered by that poll. I’m not joking. I still wonder about its applicability, though. I live in Chicago and I know 40% of adults here do not believe in strict literalist young-Earth creationism without evolution. Okay, that’s Chicago. The thing is, I also lived for several years in the rural South, and I’m pretty sure 40% of people there didn’t either. And I went to evangelical youth groups as a kid because that was a social thing to do. Probably 40% of people there think evolution means atheism, though. I also lived in Ohio and I’m doubtful it’s true there. I’m not sure how to explain Gallup’s results. Maybe they’re more real than my experience. How about you? Do almost half the people you know believe in a young Earth?

    But I’m kind of straying from the point. Even if all Americans believe in this, it’s a minor (and recent) subset of Christianity. You don’t have to decide between “sects” here. You just have to learn a little history.

    Fundamentalist Americans are more significant than their numbers or history warrants because they’re vocal, they can publish, and they are wealthy. Most of the world’s Christians don’t have these luxuries. (Though I thought the last Pope came out in favor of evolution? Doesn’t the leader of 1 billion folks outweigh 40% of the American population?)

    We’re probably on the same team when it comes to scientific principles, but I think my point is still safe. The OP took hard atheist positions on some broad philosophical topics, and then defended their reasonableness by attacking irrational fundamentalism, which is the easiest target there is. It probably wasn’t an intentional straw man; it was probably borne out of honest frustration. But not everyone who has believed in eternity also believed in seven-day creationism or ID. And I wish evolutionary theorists would stop confounding evolution with atheism or hard agnosticism.

  71. #71 Wow
    November 4, 2011

    “I’m pretty staggered by that poll. I’m not joking. I still wonder about its applicability, though.”

    Since the poll was to canvass opinion in the USA, I would suggest it applies to the USA.

    PS how many people did you ask if they believed in YEC? It’s not like it comes up naturally in conversation every day. This is why we have polls.

  72. #72 Christopher Doherty
    November 4, 2011

    Wow: Since the poll was to canvass opinion in the USA, I would suggest it applies to the USA. PS how many people did you ask if they believed in YEC? It’s not like it comes up naturally in conversation every day. This is why we have polls.

    Actually, in the South I participated in and witnessed many of evolution vs. creationism ‘debates’ among regular folks (in school, in churches, etc). I’d feel safe saying that 40% of the people in these discussions didn’t believe in ‘YEC’ and couldn’t explain ID very well. And now I live in Chicago, where I know the background and the style of education of pretty much everybody who grew up here. I can safely say that if I try to explain YEC to people here in an effort to ask them if they believe it, I’d be 1. introducing an entirely new concept to them and 2. cause a lot of laughter. That includes among the religious.

    The poll applies to the USA. But does it apply everywhere equally? That may be the problem. Are there pockets of America where YEC and ID are 80% prevalent, which makes it seem like the spread across the States is greater than it is?

    This applies to you too, Wow. Do almost half the people you know believe in a young Earth?

    That’s still straying from the point, though, so I suppose I should just swallow it. As I said, even if the entire US population believes in YEC, that doesn’t mean that you can use their religion to bludgeon all religious thought on other topics, i.e. purpose, eternity. I can see how effectively I’m communicating this idea, though, when I see that other commenters are suddenly ranting about sharia law and beheadings. What?

  73. #73 Anton Mates
    November 5, 2011

    Christopher,

    I’m pretty staggered by that poll. I’m not joking. I still wonder about its applicability, though. I live in Chicago and I know 40% of adults here do not believe in strict literalist young-Earth creationism without evolution.

    Almost certainly not, but Chicago is a relatively well-educated, politically and religiously liberal area.

    Okay, that’s Chicago. The thing is, I also lived for several years in the rural South, and I’m pretty sure 40% of people there didn’t either.

    I’m pretty sure they did. Gallup’s been doing these polls for over twenty years. So has Pew, and NBC and CBS have done a few polls too. They all show roughly the same number: 40-ish percent supporting young-earth creationism.

    And yes, these attitudes are strongly concentrated in the South; Google “acceptance of evolution by state”.

    And I went to evangelical youth groups as a kid because that was a social thing to do. Probably 40% of people there think evolution means atheism, though.

    Probably, but that doesn’t mean they don’t actually reject what they know of the factual content of evolutionary theory. Rather, they reject it largely because they think it implies, or at least inevitably leads to, atheism.

    Pew, for instance, has about 65% of white evangelicals reporting that humans and other animals have existed in their present form since the beginning of time.

    I also lived in Ohio and I’m doubtful it’s true there.

    I lived in Ohio too, and I can well believe it’s true there. Did you go to any of the state school board meetings where they discussed whether to put creationism in the curriculum? An awful lot of hardcore YECs came out to support that. A still larger alliance of pro-science people showed up, thankfully.

    But I’m kind of straying from the point. Even if all Americans believe in this, it’s a minor (and recent) subset of Christianity.

    Recent, yes, but hardly minor. There are significant creationist minorities across Eastern Europe and in Latin America, and young-earth creationism is probably the majority position among Christians in Sub-Saharan Africa (though this is based mostly on anecdotal evidence, because AFAIK no one’s polled them.)

    Americans stand out as exceptionally anti-evolution when compared to other Western cultures, but not so much when compared to global Christendom.

    (Though I thought the last Pope came out in favor of evolution? Doesn’t the leader of 1 billion folks outweigh 40% of the American population?)

    The leader of 1 billion folks is still one guy; the question is what his followers actually believe. That said, sure, Catholics tend to be a lot more accepting of evolution than white evangelicals. There’s still a significant creationist minority among American Catholics, though, and to my knowledge this is true in the Catholic third world as well.

    But not everyone who has believed in eternity also believed in seven-day creationism or ID.

    Quite true, but Jason didn’t claim anything like this. He made a point about eternal life because it was discussed in an article which also discussed ID; he didn’t say that belief in ID and in an afterlife were equivalent.

    I agree with you that Jason’s description of heaven isn’t too close to what the majority of American Christian actually believe, but I don’t think that’s because he’s tarring them all as fundamentalists. As a matter of fact, I don’t think fundamentalists are particularly likely to believe in a heaven consisting of “spending eternity, day after interminable day, in supplication to the God who created me” either. If anything, Jason’s description is actually closest to the heaven of traditional Catholicism, not fundamentalist Protestantism. (Though still not that close.)

    And I wish evolutionary theorists would stop confounding evolution with atheism or hard agnosticism.

    If you read back through this blog, you’ll see that Jason doesn’t do that at all. He’s perfectly aware that there are lots of theistic evolutionists out there; he simply argues that their position is weak, because evolutionary theory exacerbates the Problem of Evil. (I disagree with that, personally.)

  74. #74 Jason Rosenhouse
    November 5, 2011

    As a matter of fact, I don’t think fundamentalists are particularly likely to believe in a heaven consisting of “spending eternity, day after interminable day, in supplication to the God who created me” either. If anything, Jason’s description is actually closest to the heaven of traditional Catholicism, not fundamentalist Protestantism.

    For what it’s worth, my little caricature of heaven was based on what I read in the Left Behind novels. But my point stands. Eternal life doesn’t sound all that appealing to me.

  75. #75 Anton Mates
    November 6, 2011

    His heart was still with Jesus, of course. He thought about Him constantly. And he wanted to see Him, sure. But because Rayford was so preoccupied with Him, eager to love and serve Him forever, he found himself free from his normal temptations. He had to wonder if this was temporary. Was he free from lust, from pride, from greed only because this was like being in church, in the presence of your pastor? Or did the binding of Satan and the death of his demons have something to do with it? Rather than being tempted by the world, the flesh, and the devil, he had to worry about only two of the three. And the world was new and ruled by Jesus.

    Would the novelty of having Jesus physically present eventually wear off? I mean, a thousand
    years, and then eternity…

    God didn’t have to create Hell. He just created Heaven and asked Jerry Jenkins to describe it.

    Still, even Left Behind‘s millennial kingdom isn’t very static–or, for that matter, eternal. All sorts of intrigues and stuff go on there.

  76. #76 Wow
    November 7, 2011

    “Actually, in the South I participated in and witnessed many of evolution vs. creationism ‘debates’ among regular folks”

    Christopher, that would tend to be selection for a 50:50 split.

  77. #77 Jon S
    November 25, 2011

    Here’s another conundrum for the creationists to explain. How come the apes and humans, virtually alone amongst the mammals, have a broken gene for generating vitamin C? Since the consequences of vitamin C deficiency are quite serious (e.g. scurvy), that would not seem to be something a good designer would do.

    SLC, human to ape evolution has always been of interest to you, but the vitamin C deficiency is not a very solid argument. Evolution isn’t necessary to explain this supposed conundrum. According to an AIG article titled “Potentially Decisive Evidence Against Pseudogene ‘Shared Mistakes’”, the deficiency can be ascribed to an independent inactivation of the gene GULO. In fact, according to a recent study by Inai, we could conclude that humans are more closely related to guinea pigs than apes. C.A Smith from Shepherd Project Ministries has also posted a similar response.

  78. #78 southpaugh
    November 26, 2011

    OMFG, this sure is alot of bloviating for nothing. The meaning of life is “just because.” We’re here to be here, we reproduce to perpetuate the species. There’s no hidden or supernatural component. We’re here to be here because we’re here for not other reason that to continue being here. Everything that’s accomplished under the watchful eye of religion can be achieved better, faster, more cheaply and more completely without all the religious baggage weighing it down. I don’t care if anybody has some psychological dependence on magical beliefs as long as they keep it to theselves. Nothing in another’s freedom of religion obligates me to enable their delusion. Nothing in the idea of religious tolerance compels me to pretend religion even has a point.

  79. #79 Jon S
    November 26, 2011

    Southpaugh: The meaning of life is “just because.” We’re here to be here, we reproduce to perpetuate the species. There’s no hidden or supernatural component. We’re here to be here because we’re here for not other reason that to continue being here. Everything that’s accomplished under the watchful eye of religion can be achieved better, faster, more cheaply and more completely without all the religious baggage weighing it down. I don’t care if anybody has some psychological dependence on magical beliefs as long as they keep it to theselves. Nothing in another’s freedom of religion obligates me to enable their delusion. Nothing in the idea of religious tolerance compels me to pretend religion even has a point.

    Southpaugh: The meaning of life, as you described, seems bleak, meaningless and hopeless. I’m not sure what society you’re referring to that can accomplish so much more than a Christian nation, such as the United States. Perhaps you’re referring to communist China, or another communist nation? I hope that’s not your idea of utopia. Living in a country that allows religious freedom is a tremendous blessing for those who value freedom and oppose tyranny. I don’t claim to have any dependence on magical beliefs, but what I do have, in good conscious, I can’t keep to myself because I genuinely love people, and I don’t want to be selfish and keep the gift all to myself. In fact, if we know of a treasure or priceless gift, it makes no sense to keep it to ourselves simply because we don’t want to risk offending someone who might genuinely be able to prosper from it. Sure, you have no obligation to accept the free gift, but nothing obligates Christians to keep the gift of eternal life to themselves, even if others find it delusional or offensive. Anyone who tastes eternal life has achieved victory and will not grow weary or board from being there, for there will be no sin. And lastly, why is it that you’re so intolerant? Should we all be equally as intolerant toward you and your beliefs?

  80. #80 Wow
    November 29, 2011

    “Southpaugh: The meaning of life, as you described, seems bleak, meaningless and hopeless”

    A lot less bleak than eternal torment for eating shrimp and wearing polycotton mix clothes.

    And as for meaningless, the life has the meaning we give it. It’s not lived for eternal life. It’s not lived by some invisible psychopath. And it’s the only one we have. That makes our lives infinitely precious.

    Your philosophy has our lives meaningless, cheap. After all, compared to infinity, our lives (and the lives of others) doesn’t even exist.

    “a Christian nation, such as the United States”

    The USA is a secular nation. It’s just that you fundies pretend you’re the only ones there.

    “Living in a country that allows religious freedom is a tremendous blessing for those who value freedom”

    So not a christian nation, then.

    Seems like you don’t even know what you know.

    “I genuinely love people”

    Unless they’re communist or not christian…

    “and I don’t want to be selfish and keep the gift all to myself.”

    How about the “Gift” of syphilis?

    “but nothing obligates Christians to keep the gift of eternal life to themselves”

    There IS an obligation to change everyone else to Christian (the RIGHT christian sect, mind!). See above for “religious freedom”. Contrast and compare.

    “even if others find it delusional or offensive”

    So you love people but will offend them. Yeah. A whole lotta love…

    “And lastly, why is it that you’re so intolerant?”

    Funny you should ask that. You’re not tolerant of people who are offended by your hard sell tactics.

  81. #81 AgelessAnnie
    November 29, 2011

    “….I always wonder what exactly one
    does with eternal life.”

    I have a well-worn book that looks like a little pile of scrap paper and is so beat up I don’t expect it to stay together much longer. Its title is “The Quotable Atheist” and has marvelous thoughts that humans have noted (and are quoted) from Euripides (c. 480-406 B.C.E.) all the way up thru the centuries to people I was quite amazed to learn were proud, erudite non-believers. Or “Freethinkers” as we despised atheists call ourselves.

    OK. I’m old and I blather. Sorry. The quote I was looking for applies as a reply to what one would do during all eternity (when you are presumably not just a rotting pile of bones in a cemetery)….That person notes:

    “People are worried about what they will do thru all eternity who don’t know what to do on a rainy afternoon”

  82. #82 Jon S
    November 30, 2011

    Wow: And as for meaningless, the life has the meaning we give it. It’s not lived for eternal life. It’s not lived by some invisible psychopath. And it’s the only one we have. That makes our lives infinitely precious.

    What meaning do you find in yourself and others? In the end, whatever meaning you find is, at best, temporary, and at worst, meaningless if there is no God. We will all perish, and every memory will be lost as if we never existed. Utterly meaningless and hopeless.

    Your philosophy has our lives meaningless, cheap. After all, compared to infinity, our lives (and the lives of others) doesn’t even exist.

    First you say that our lives are infinitely precious, but then you say that compared to infinity, our lives don’t even exist… which is it? Regardless, we do have value, meaning and purpose because we were created in the image of God. That’s what gives us our worth. And for anyone who is born again they will have eternal life and will be with their creator forever where there is no death, disease, or suffering. Eternal life does not come cheap. A steep price was paid for it.

    The USA is a secular nation.

    I just pulled out a penny and a one dollar bill and they both say “In God We Trust”. I also have the Declaration of Independence, and it attributes our equality to other humans directly from God, our creator. Even though Atheism is actively trying to tear God and religion away from our great country and create a nation where secular humanism is the new religion, for the moment we are still one nation under God. In fact we should be pitied above all other nations if we ever turn our back on our Creator.

    Unless they’re communist or not christian…

    Not true. God commands us to love others, including our enemies. So that means I love all people, including atheists and communists. If I didn’t have that love, I certainly wouldn’t waste my time here to proclaim the truth of scripture.

    How about the “Gift” of syphilis?

    There won’t be syphilis or any other disease in heaven.

    There IS an obligation to change everyone else to Christian (the RIGHT christian sect, mind!). See above for “religious freedom”. Contrast and compare.

    This isn’t true, for Christians don’t have super powers that would give us the ability to change hearts and minds. Becoming a Christian is between you and God only and has nothing to do with a particular mindset.

    So you love people but will offend them. Yeah. A whole lotta love…

    It’s not my intent to offend others. However they may be offended, and if they are, then that’s their choice. I love others because I don’t want to see anyone go to hell and am willing to proclaim the truth in the hope that some will come to know Jesus as their Lord and Savior. If you’re offended because I attempt to tell you about a gift more valuable than anything on earth, then you have that right to be offended. Perhaps atheists should learn not to be so easily offended and be more tolerant.

    Funny you should ask that. You’re not tolerant of people who are offended by your hard sell tactics.

    How am I being intolerant? I think I’m being very tolerant. Just because I disagree and have opposing views doesn’t make me intolerant, does it?

  83. #83 Wow
    November 30, 2011

    “What meaning do you find in yourself and others”

    Something much more than subservience to a fantasy, Jon.

    > whatever meaning you find is, at best, temporary

    And any meaning you have in life compared to an infinity of afterlife is nonexistent.

    > and at worst, meaningless if there is no God.

    Nope, there’s no meaning in God. Just fear.

    > I just pulled out a penny and a one dollar bill and they both say “In God We Trust”.

    And that was put in long after the USA became a nation.

    Because christians wanted to push THEIR god onto others. What was that you said about “freedom of religion” again?

    > Not true. God commands us to love others

    He commands you burn in hell for not believing in him, though he gives no clues as to his existence.

    He killed Onan for NOT taking his dead brothers’ wife.

    He insisted that every man, woman, child and animal be killed because they were on the land he promised to someone else (though if he was the only God, why didn’t he not put people there in the first place?).

    God commands you kill in his name.

    > There won’t be syphilis or any other disease in heaven.

    There is on Earth. He has gifted that to people, so are they free to spread that gift around?

    Plus why not do some extreme sports and shuffle off this mortal coil? Why all the weary willie weeping when somoene dies. They just hit the jackpot!

    You don’t really believe in God, you’re just afraid of living because it ends.

    > This isn’t true

    This IS true. Your religion requires that you convert others to your faith.

    Being completely pants at it doesn’t make the obligation go away.

    > How am I being intolerant?

    By preaching to people even if you know it pisses them off.

  84. #84 Jon S
    December 5, 2011

    Wow: Something much more than subservience to a fantasy, Jon.

    For example? Seriously, instead of ridiculing me, tell me how do you find meaning after you and the rest of humanity pass away into nothingness? Sounds meaningless to me.

    And any meaning you have in life compared to an infinity of afterlife is nonexistent.

    From a Christian perspective our lives have meaning even before we’re born, and throughout all eternity.

    there’s no meaning in God. Just fear.

    The meaning we have in God is to enjoy fellowship with him, like we would with our best friend (John 15:15). But we should fear God… a reverent fear in which we stand in awe of his righteousness.

    And that was put in long after the USA became a nation.

    How about the Declaration of Independence?

    Because christians wanted to push THEIR god onto others. What was that you said about “freedom of religion” again?

    Atheists do the same thing you accuse Christians of, so it seems hypocritical that you want to deny others that same freedom. Anyway, freedom of religion means you’re free to worship and practice your religion without discrimination or persecution. It doesn’t mean that others may not share their religion. Atheists don’t seem to have any problem pushing their religious views on the rest of society, but they scream and cry foul when Christians do it.

    He commands you burn in hell for not believing in him, though he gives no clues as to his existence.

    Then perhaps you should believe in him… Satan does. But, as you can see, just believing in God is not good enough. God wants us to seek his forgiveness and be in fellowship with him. And God has given us many “clues” and evidence as to his existence. It’s just that you choose to reject them. If you were serious about knowing him you should search a little harder. But I get the impression that you don’t want to know him, even if he does exist.

    He killed Onan for NOT taking his dead brothers’ wife.

    Yes, because what Onan did was wicked. God was perfectly just in putting him to death.

    He insisted that every man, woman, child and animal be killed because they were on the land he promised to someone else (though if he was the only God, why didn’t he not put people there in the first place?).

    Again, the inhabitants were wicked and served false gods. God is a jealous God and doesn’t want his creation to live in rebellion against him. He wants us to be wholly devoted to him and will reward those who obey his commands and punish those who reject him. He allowed those inhabitants to occupy the land for some time until he passed judgment upon them.

    God commands you kill in his name.

    God has never commanded anyone to kill indiscriminately. And when he did command his people to put others to death, he often took care of business himself through natural disasters. He also provided signs and wonders to show that it was his will, and not the will of man. What you don’t realize is that God doesn’t find pleasure in putting man to death or sending them to hell, for he wants all men to repent and be saved (Ezekiel 18:32, Ezekiel 33:11). He does, however, allow sinful man to rebel.

    There is on Earth. He has gifted that to people, so are they free to spread that gift around?

    Syphilis, of course, is a disease and not a gift from God. It’s actually part of his curse upon Adam for rebelling.

    Plus why not do some extreme sports and shuffle off this mortal coil? Why all the weary willie weeping when somoene dies. They just hit the jackpot!

    Yes, you are correct. If they know the Lord then they have hit the jackpot. Paul, in Philippians 1:21-26, says “to live is Christ and to die is gain”. But death is still the enemy, and none of us look forward to suffering, so it’s natural to weep, as my family and I did when my sister passed away in May. But we rejoiced that she is no longer suffering and was united with her Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. We still miss her, but we know she’s finally home where she belongs. She did not look forward to dying and missing out on the lives of her husband and children, but she still found pleasure in praising God and proclaiming his goodness.

    You don’t really believe in God, you’re just afraid of living because it ends.

    Not so. I really do believe in God, and I look forward to spending eternity with him and so many others that know him. While I don’t look forward to suffering, I do not fear death.

    Your religion requires that you convert others to your faith.

    You misunderstand. We physically can’t convert anyone to our faith. The best we can do is spread the gospel message and truth of God’s word. It’s between God and that person as to whether or not they’re truly “converted”.

    By preaching to people even if you know it pisses them off.

    That’s not how the word “intolerant” is used or defined. Intolerant means unable or unwilling to endure, or unwilling to grant equal freedom of expression, such as religious matters. It seems as though you’re the one unwilling to endure my speech, while I’m quite willing to endure what you have to say. Atheists are the ones unwilling to grant equal freedom of expression… just the thought of allowing evidence contrary to evolution in public schools is enough to cause an outcry among the faithful. And my intention is not to piss anyone off. My intention is to have an honest discussion and debate.

  85. #85 NJ
    December 5, 2011

    Jon S @ 84:

    allowing evidence contrary to evolution in public schools is enough to cause an outcry

    No such evidence extant. You’ve been sold the Brooklyn Bridge, son.

  86. #86 Christian Troll? You gotta be kidding me!
    December 8, 2011

    The problem is that poor or unintelligent human design defies evolution as well. You would think that millions of years of evolution would produce something extraodinary, but this doesn’t seem to be the case. Many people are still pretty much raw unmolded material as well as kids that need to be tought, structured and adjusted from the day they are born until, well, the day they die.

    It seems that not much really is encoded in human DNA. You have to acquire the most basic knowledge through learning and experience, and it might still be insufficient.

  87. #87 Owlmirror
    December 8, 2011

    Posted by: Christian Troll

    (Indeed)

    The problem is that poor or unintelligent human design defies evolution as well.

    Why?

    You would think that millions of years of evolution would produce something extraodinary

    What do you even mean by “extraordinary”?

    Many people are still pretty much raw unmolded material as well as kids that need to be tought, structured and adjusted from the day they are born until, well, the day they die.

    So… people need to learn about the environment and culture in which they find themselves… therefore, what, exactly?

  88. #88 Christian Troll
    December 8, 2011

    My comments are intended for poorly intellectually evolved.

    The reason why life on earth is so poorly designed is because intelligence is not a standard for the creator.

    You won’t even come across the word “intelligence” in the Bible.

    Just take a look at Jesus. The son of God never even engineered or built anything out of the ordinary, and never said anything super INTELLECTUALLY brilliant. With his level of intelligence, he would probably scored very little on the US standardized tests, and scientists or even Dawkins’ type would kick his behind easily. Not to mention, they would mock him to death because he couldn’t even come up with a decent sound response to a simple question.

  89. #89 Anton Mates
    December 8, 2011

    You would think that millions of years of evolution would produce something extraodinary, but this doesn’t seem to be the case.

    Uh…why would you think that? The whole premise of ID is that millions of years of evolution can’t produce anything very impressive.

  90. #90 Owlmirror
    December 8, 2011

    Posted by: Jon S @#84

    Seriously, instead of ridiculing me

    What makes you think you don’t deserve to be ridiculed?

    tell me how do you find meaning after you and the rest of humanity pass away into nothingness?

    Here and now, we are alive.

    From a Christian perspective our lives have meaning even before we’re born, and throughout all eternity.

    By personal fiat, you mean, with no evidence in support of this assertion. Well, if you can declare your lives have meaning because you say so, those who don’t believe in your fairy-tale can declare that their lives have meaning, because they say so.

    The meaning we have in God is to enjoy fellowship with him, like we would with our best friend (John 15:15). But we should fear God… a reverent fear in which we stand in awe of his righteousness.

    Ah. A “best friend” who will turn on you and torture you forever if he wants to. Yeah, that’s real sane.

    Of course, since the “friend” is imaginary, you never have to worry too much.

    Atheists do the same thing you accuse Christians of, so it seems hypocritical that you want to deny others that same freedom.

    It’s hardly hypocritical since the “freedom” you want is the freedom to force your religion on everyone.

    Anyway, freedom of religion means you’re free to worship and practice your religion without discrimination or persecution. It doesn’t mean that others may not share their religion.

    What does “share” mean, here?

    Then perhaps you should believe in him… Satan does. But, as you can see, just believing in God is not good enough.

    Or in other words, belief does not provide salvation from damnation.

    But why should anyone believe in a God who provides no evidence of its existence, let alone of damnation or salvation? Why should anyone believe in a Satan, when there is no evidence of such a thing either?

    God wants us to seek his forgiveness and be in fellowship with him.

    Forgiveness for what, exactly? And what does “fellowship” mean when it’s indistinguishable from having an imaginary friend?

    And God has given us many “clues” and evidence as to his existence.

    Exactly like an imaginary friend gives “clues” and “evidence” to his “existence”. Nothing at all, reinterpreted by the one doing the imagining.

    Say, why would a God who was actually real need someone else to speak on its behalf?

    If you were serious about knowing him you should search a little harder.

    Hey, I just searched for God, and I found him! And he told me to say that you’re a moron, and that you’re making up everything about God, because you haven’t found him, and you are actually worshipping yourself.

    Or, wait, maybe I just made that last bit up. How would you know?

    How am I supposed to know that you’re not making up everything about God?

    But I get the impression that you don’t want to know him, even if he does exist.

    And if you were making everything up about God, would you even want to know that?

  91. #91 Owlmirror
    December 8, 2011

    More @#84:

    Yes, because what Onan did was wicked. God was perfectly just in putting him to death.

    How was it wicked? What made it worthy of being deserving of the death penalty?

    Because you say so? Because you make-believe that God said so?

    Again, the inhabitants were wicked and served false gods.

    How were they wicked? What is a false god? What makes serving a false god deserve the death penalty?

    God is a jealous God and doesn’t want his creation to live in rebellion against him.

    Ah. So God hates freedom.

    He wants us to be wholly devoted to him and will reward those who obey his commands and punish those who reject him.

    Hm. Which commands, exactly? I mean, I understand that God hates freedom, but for some strange reason, Christans seem to think that they can pick and choose which commands to follow.

    God has never commanded anyone to kill indiscriminately.

    In the bible, God does kill indiscriminately, and does indeed command that people — including children — be killed indiscriminately. Heck, you yourself just said that killing people indiscriminately was fine. You just call them “wicked”, and presto! you can kill them as indiscriminately as you want.

    And when he did command his people to put others to death, he often took care of business himself through natural disasters.

    Right. God killed and kills indiscriminately, and commands others to do so.

    He also provided signs and wonders to show that it was his will, and not the will of man.

    How do you distinguish as sign and a wonder from a natural disaster?

    What you don’t realize is that God doesn’t find pleasure in putting man to death or sending them to hell,

    If God did not find it pleasurable, God wouldn’t do it. God, in the bible, does put men to death and send them to hell, so he must enjoy it.

    He does, however, allow sinful man to rebel.

    What does that even mean?

    Syphilis, of course, is a disease and not a gift from God. It’s actually part of his curse upon Adam for rebelling.

    Or in other words, God hates man and curses him.

    What does “rebelling” mean, there, and why does it deserve cursing?

    But death is still the enemy

    Why? In your mythology, it guarantees that you get to be with God, assuming that you grovel to the imaginary friend that you’ve created in the right way.

    She did not look forward to dying and missing out on the lives of her husband and children,

    Why would she care? Isn’t being with her imaginary friend better than being with her husband and children?

    but she still found pleasure in praising God and proclaiming his goodness.

    I’m sorry that she died, and I’m sorry that she died thinking that pretending that an imaginary friend deserves praise or needs to have its imaginary “goodness” proclaimed.

    I really do believe in God, and I look forward to spending eternity with him and so many others that know him.

    Then why are you alive?

    While I don’t look forward to suffering, I do not fear death.

    Why should you care about a bit of suffering, if at the end you get to be with your imaginary friend?

    Something tells me that you think — or suspect — that your imaginary friend is imaginary, and that the make-believe you tell yourself about it is make believe.

    But you presumably try not to think about it too hard, while simultaneously protesting that you do believe it, while simultaneously not acting as if it were true.

    Atheists are the ones unwilling to grant equal freedom of expression… just the thought of allowing evidence contrary to evolution in public schools is enough to cause an outcry among the faithful.

    There is no evidence contrary to evolution. There’s just religious dogma masquerading as evidence.

  92. #92 Owlmirror
    December 8, 2011

    My comments are intended for poorly intellectually evolved.

    So… for yourself alone?

    The reason why life on earth is so poorly designed is because intelligence is not a standard for the creator.

    Ah. Unintelligent design.

    Welp, that’s us told. Design is stupid because God is stupid!

  93. #93 eric
    December 8, 2011

    Jon S:

    Wow: Something much more than subservience to a fantasy, Jon.

    Jon: For example? tell me how do you find meaning after you and the rest of humanity pass away into nothingness? Sounds meaningless to me.

    I think what Wow was saying is that “life is meaningless without God” is not an argument for the existence of God any more than “life would be better with unicorns” is an argument for the existence of unicorns. ‘Subservience to a fantasy’ in this case is is way of telling you that your claim ‘life would have meaning with God and heaven’ does not make God and heaven any less of a fantasy.

    Atheists don’t seem to have any problem pushing their religious views on the rest of society, but they scream and cry foul when Christians do it.

    Go ahead, share your religion. Can we both agree, however, that nobody – not you, not me, not anyone – should be able to use the power and offices of state to spread their religion? Teachers and so on should not lead children in prayer – to Vishnu, to Yahweh, to anyone. Nor should they push atheism on their students. Agreed?

  94. #94 Wow
    December 9, 2011

    ” ” He killed Onan for NOT taking his dead brothers’ wife.”

    Yes, because what Onan did was wicked.”

    So respecting your dead brother and not copping off with the widow as soon as he’s been planted is wicked?

    If that’s how your god feels, then yes, he is a psychotic.

  95. #95 Wow
    December 9, 2011

    “But why should anyone believe in a God who provides no evidence of its existence”

    Worse, a God who actively HIDES from science is worth believing in WHY, exactly?

    ” ” God is a jealous God and doesn’t want his creation to live in rebellion against him. ”

    Ah. So God hates freedom.”

    Worse, this God actively designed the place so that it looks like he DOESN’T exist and makes absolutely certain that it’s not possible to prove he exists, letting you decide he doesn’t, in fact, exist.

    Then when you take him up on his offer, torches you for eternity…

    Such a being either doesn’t exist and is merely said to torture you for eternity so that you’ll be too scared not to believe in the fiction, or he’s not worth believing in.

  96. #96 Raging Bee
    December 9, 2011

    Late to this debate, marveling at the sheer stupidity of Christian defensiveness…

    My comments are…poorly intellectually evolved.

    There, fixed it for ya. Quote-mining is fun — that’s probably why so many Christians do it, when most other forms of fun are against their religion.

    You won’t even come across the word “intelligence” in the Bible.

    All the more reason not to take it too seriously.

    Just take a look at Jesus. The son of God never even engineered or built anything out of the ordinary, and never said anything super INTELLECTUALLY brilliant.

    Bullshit. According to the Bible (FWIW), Jesus showed unusual intelligence and wisdom very early in his life, and was seen, around the age of 10-12, arguing as a virtual equal with much older members of his society’s intellectual elite. It never ceases to amaze me when atheists and Pagans show more knowledge of the Bible than the people who wave it about like a flag of convenience.

    Atheists do the same thing you accuse Christians of…

    Even if that statement were true, it would not justify any Christian action, any more than recent Israeli actions justify the Holocaust. Seriously, fool, when you trot out the babyish “you do it too” dodge, that’s a pretty clear admission you know you’re wrong.

    …allowing evidence contrary to evolution in public schools is enough to cause an outcry…

    No, allowing LIES in public schools is enough (we hope) to cause an outcry. And so far, no one has ever namaged to advance ID, or any other form of creationism, without lying and lying big.

  97. #97 I am not even Christian
    December 9, 2011

    @87

    It’s really sad that you can’t even tell a Christian from an atheist, who has some knowledge of Christianity, and who is constantly trying to question it.

    You asked me why unintellegent design defies evolution right after I gave an explanation for my statement.

    I’ll repeat it for you:

    Evolution through natural selection selects favorable qualities. Good looks and intelligence should be definitely among them. However, after millions and millions of years of such brutal sorting, we still see a pretty bleak picture of what humans have become. The ones that have survived or “been selected” until present represent what this article calls unintelligent or pretty ugly design, where you are nothing but a link in a long food chain. Just think of the bacteria that likes to feed on you, and you can’t even kill all of it with antibiotics, where people have to die from the impossible to treat or cure infections, when humans merely become hosts for parasites while being parasites themselves.

  98. #98 Anton Mates
    December 9, 2011

    Evolution through natural selection selects favorable qualities.

    Again, does this mean that you reject ID?

    Good looks and intelligence should be definitely among them.

    Evolution is about tradeoffs. If good looks and intelligence are costly in some ways–and intelligence certainly is–then you cannot assume that evolution will maximize them at the expense of everything else.

    The ones that have survived or “been selected” until present represent what this article calls unintelligent or pretty ugly design, where you are nothing but a link in a long food chain. Just think of the bacteria that likes to feed on you, and you can’t even kill all of it with antibiotics, where people have to die from the impossible to treat or cure infections, when humans merely become hosts for parasites while being parasites themselves.

    Well, yeah–bacteria and parasites have also been evolving for millions and millions of years. We evolve new defenses against them, they evolve new ways of getting around those defenses. Google “Red Queen’s Hypothesis.”

    There’s no reason to expect that we would eventually “out-evolve” all the things that feed on us.

  99. #99 Owlmirror
    December 10, 2011

    It’s really sad that you can’t even tell a Christian from an atheist, who has some knowledge of Christianity, and who is constantly trying to question it.

    It’s really sad that regardless of your beliefs, you sound like you have no idea what you’re talking about.

    You asked me why unintellegent design defies evolution right after I gave an explanation for my statement.

    Except that your “explanation” made no sense at all. The demonstration of confusion about basic concepts cannot be an explanation of anything.

    Evolution through natural selection selects favorable qualities. Good looks and intelligence should be definitely among them.

    First of all, not necessarily. Organisms need only appear attractive to their respective mates — not necessarily to you. And that applies to human organisms as well. You’re picky, and think that too many humans are ugly? Fine, you’re picky. But pickiness is not necessarily a beneficial trait.

    Secondly, many traits have a statistical distribution. Humans are not all identical clones, but demonstrate variation in appearance and intelligence.

    Thirdly, both intelligence and appearance have social components. Are the people you think are attractive really that way, or is it because you have absorbed societies ideals about what makes people attractive? Would you have what you consider to be intelligence if you had not been taught to consider that to be intelligence by your society?

    Fourthly, intelligence and appearance aren’t at all well defined. It’s been pointed out that intelligence is modular, and someone who has excellent mathematical skills may be terrible at language — or at getting along with fellow humans. What exactly do you mean by intelligence, and which kind is more important, and why is it that important over all other kinds of intelligence?

    Fifthly, it should be obvious that “intelligence” and “good looks” — by human standards, that is — are not necessary for survival, inasmuch as most organisms on Earth are less intelligent and less “good looking” than humans, and have been surviving quite well over the course of Earth’s history without those traits.

    Sixthly, there’s no particular reason that the traits responsible for intelligence and appearance should necessarily always go together.

    Finally, humans do have good looks and intelligence. Almost every single human is intelligent enough to survive, and good-looking enough to find a mate. Obviously, if that were not the case, we would be exinct.

    However, after millions and millions of years of such brutal sorting, we still see a pretty bleak picture of what humans have become.

    You still sound confused.

    The ones that have survived or “been selected” until present represent what this article calls unintelligent or pretty ugly design, where you are nothing but a link in a long food chain.

    Your despair and greedy reductionism are noted. And you are not making any sense.

    Evolution does not work magic. We are the descendants of apes; we necessarily retain many of the traits of our ape ancestors, modified over time. That’s what would be expected from evolution — as unintelligent or ugly as the result may be, like the conflict in size between the human head and the human pelvic opening.

    Why do you think that evolution should work magic?

  100. #100 Christian Troll :)
    December 10, 2011

    I think if there was an intelligent designer, he would at least, create food separately so species wouldn’t have to resort to destroying life forms in order for species to feed themselves because life that feeds on itself kind of loses its meaning. A species is born just to be eaten by another species, and that would make the designer extemely cruel, which also doesn’t make any sense.
    A monstrous creator? Sounds very frightening.

    The only way it makes sense to me is when I think of life as a phenomenon that came into existence accidentally, and life forms simply evolved the way they have.

  101. #101 I prefer no name
    December 10, 2011

    @99

    “First of all, not necessarily. Organisms need only appear attractive to their respective mates — not necessarily to you.”

    If that’s the case, then no need to call me confused and accusing me of saying nonsense because what is not understandable to you is understandable to me and, I am sure, other people, who are not picking on my comments.

  102. #102 Owlmirror
    December 10, 2011

    If that’s the case, then no need to call me confused and accusing me of saying nonsense

    Implying that appearing attractive is somehow equivalent to making sense is even more confused nonsense.

    because what is not understandable to you is understandable to me

    Is it, I wonder.

    and, I am sure, other people, who are not picking on my comments.

    I should probably stop picking on your comments, since you don’t seem interested in actually discussing your ideas or presenting them in a more coherent form.

  103. #103 Jon S
    December 11, 2011

    Owlmirror: What makes you think you don’t deserve to be ridiculed?

    I could ask you the same question. To begin with, I’m trying to have a serious discussion and debate, and instead of using logic and reason you resort to ridicule, which demonstrates a basic lack of reason. If your beliefs have any merit, then lets discuss them without resorting to infantile tactics.

    Here and now, we are alive.

    True, but two hundred years from now that will be meaningless. And when the universe comes to an end it will be even more meaningless. However, if there is a God and an afterlife, then suddenly there is meaning.

    By personal fiat, you mean, with no evidence in support of this assertion. Well, if you can declare your lives have meaning because you say so, those who don’t believe in your fairy-tale can declare that their lives have meaning, because they say so.

    No, I don’t mean by personal fiat with no evidence. There is plenty of biblical evidence (Psalm 139:13, Genesis 1:26-27). There’s also such a visibly huge chasm between any other animal and man. There’s also the fact that the evidence in favor of evolution is weak, while evidence against evolution and in favor of a young earth is strong.

    Ah. A “best friend” who will turn on you and torture you forever if he wants to. Yeah, that’s real sane.

    No, God will never leave us or forsake those who know him (Psalm 103:12, Ephesians 3:17-19, John 5:24). In fact we can have assurance of our salvation found in the promises of Christ.

    It’s hardly hypocritical since the “freedom” you want is the freedom to force your religion on everyone.

    Not true at all. God doesn’t want us to “force” our religion on people. He simply commands us to tell others about the good news of Christ. No one is trying to “force” you to become a Christian. But if I present the truth about salvation and eternal life, then you have the choice to either accept or reject the gift of life.

    What does “share” mean, here?

    It means to tell others who Christ is and what he’s done for us.

    Or in other words, belief does not provide salvation from damnation.

    Correct. In order to receive salvation from damnation we need to have a personal relationship with Jesus. We need to be forgiven from our sins and put our faith and trust in Christ (Acts 2:38).

    But why should anyone believe in a God who provides no evidence of its existence, let alone of damnation or salvation? Why should anyone believe in a Satan, when there is no evidence of such a thing either?

    There’s plenty of evidence found in scripture, historical data, scientific data, and through prayer. The problem is that many people reject any evidence in favor of the existence of God simply because they don’t want to be held accountable, or they want to be their own ‘god’, or they refuse to believe in the supernatural, or they find some other excuse. Satan is fine with any excuse not to believe in him or God because he wins no matter what.

    Forgiveness for what, exactly? And what does “fellowship” mean when it’s indistinguishable from having an imaginary friend?

    Forgiveness from our sins. We all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). The penalty for sin is death (Genesis 2:15-17, Romans 6:23). Therefore we need to be forgiven from our sins so that we don’t experience eternal death, which is why Christ became a man and died on the cross. Since Jesus is real and is alive, we can have a personal relationship with him, which is what he desires (1 Corinthians 1:9).

    Say, why would a God who was actually real need someone else to speak on its behalf?

    God doesn’t have any ‘needs’ like you and I have needs. Therefore he doesn’t need anyone to speak on his behalf. In fact there are many times when he spoke directly to men without having someone else do it on his behalf (Genesis 2:15-17, Genesis 4:6-7, Matthew 3:17, Romans Acts 9:4). And I’ve heard many stories today where God has spoken directly to people. But when God does have someone else speak on his behalf he uses their witness to glorify himself through faith and obedience, as he did with Moses and many others, and those persons have done miracles to show that they were sent by God and weren’t just making it up.

    Hey, I just searched for God, and I found him! And he told me to say that you’re a moron, and that you’re making up everything about God, because you haven’t found him, and you are actually worshipping yourself. Or, wait, maybe I just made that last bit up. How would you know?

    If you can perform a miracle, or if you have any wonders or signs to show that what you’re saying is from God, then I’d be willing to listen. If not, then I can be sure you’re making it up.

    How am I supposed to know that you’re not making up everything about God?

    Because you can look up what I’m saying in the Bible. I’ve provided scriptural references so that you can see for yourself that I’m not making it up.

    How was it wicked? What made it worthy of being deserving of the death penalty?

    Scripture is quite clear as to what made Onan’s sin worthy of deserving the death penalty. Onan was to fulfill his duty to his deceased brother by raising up his offspring. He slept with his brother’s wife, but spilled his semen on the ground to prevent any offspring. God considered this wicked and put Onan to death. In fact God considers all sin worthy of death, but it’s only because of his love and patience that he doesn’t put us all to death and wipe out mankind completely (John 3:16).

    How were they wicked? What is a false god? What makes serving a false god deserve the death penalty?

    Worshiping any other god but the one true God is wicked in God’s sight. The very first commandment is to have no other gods before him (Exodus 20:3). A false God can be anything that we worship or put ahead of God. An Asherah pole (Exodus 34:12-14), Baal worship, human sacrifices- God finds these all wicked. In fact today people worship things such as money, intellect, science, nature, and other things over God. These are all false gods, and since God is a jealous God (Exodus 34:24-14), he finds it necessary to punish this sin with death.

    Ah. So God hates freedom.

    Not at all. He wants us to have freedom in Christ, and he wants us to be freed from sin and death (Galatians 5:1, Romans 8:20-21)

    Hm. Which commands, exactly? I mean, I understand that God hates freedom, but for some strange reason, Christans seem to think that they can pick and choose which commands to follow.

    To love God with all our heart, mind, soul and strength, and to love others like we love ourselves (Matthew 22:36-40). And Christians should not pick and choose which commands to follow; if they do that then they are not being obedient to God.

    In the bible, God does kill indiscriminately, and does indeed command that people — including children — be killed indiscriminately. Heck, you yourself just said that killing people indiscriminately was fine. You just call them “wicked”, and presto! you can kill them as indiscriminately as you want.

    When God kills he is just and has a good reason to put people to death. They sinned. God does not treat any sin lightly. All sin is worthy of death. It was because of Adam’s one little sin that mankind is prone to suffering and death. He also puts wicked people to death to protect those who love him. God knew that if the inhabitants of the promised land weren’t wiped out completely they’d be a snare to his people Israel (Exodus 34:12-14). So God does not kill indiscriminately, nor does he command others to do so. God is righteous and does not sin when he puts anyone to death or takes our lives. He is our creator and has every right to treat us as our sins deserve.

    How do you distinguish as sign and a wonder from a natural disaster?

    A sign or wonder could be a prophecy or miracle, such as when Moses brought the plagues upon Egypt. Jesus, as well as other prophets and disciples also did many miracles to show that they were sent from God. Miracles such as parting the Red Sea, raising the dead to life, giving sight to the blind, walking on water, calming storms, rising from the dead, etc. According to science none of this could happen by a simple command or by will power.

    If God did not find it pleasurable, God wouldn’t do it. God, in the bible, does put men to death and send them to hell, so he must enjoy it.

    In Ezekiel 18:32 it says “For I take no pleasure in the death of anyone, declares the sovereign Lord”. He does it for the good of those who love him (Romans 8:28).

    What does that even mean?

    God allows sinful man to rebel against him. This means that he doesn’t immediately put everyone to death for every sin and allows man to go on sinning as they see fit in their own eyes. God shows his patience by allowing man to do sinful and wicked acts and waiting many years before bringing his judgment upon them. He brings judgment upon man at his own timing.

    Or in other words, God hates man and curses him.

    No, God doesn’t hate man. God loves mankind (John 3:16). The curse was a result of man’s disobedience. God disciplines those he loves (Deuteronomy 8:5, Proverbs 3:11-12, Hebrews 12:5-11) because it produces righteousness and peace for those who’ve been trained by it.

    What does “rebelling” mean, there, and why does it deserve cursing?

    It means disobeying God’s commands. It deserves cursing because God is righteous and holy, and cannot be in the presence of sin. The curse was a punishment, and punishment, as seen in the above scripture verses, is meant for our ultimate good.

    Why? In your mythology, it guarantees that you get to be with God, assuming that you grovel to the imaginary friend that you’ve created in the right way.

    No one wants to experience death and suffering. That’s just human nature. Even Jesus didn’t look forward to suffering (Luke 22:44). He was under great duress because he knew exactly how bad he was about to suffer. But he did it willingly for you and me because he knew that the result would be paradise and eternal life for those who put their faith in him (Luke 23:39-43).

    Why would she care? Isn’t being with her imaginary friend better than being with her husband and children?

    It’s far better to be with Jesus, the living God. But we still have emotions and are filled with feelings of sadness and grief because we’re human.

    I’m sorry that she died, and I’m sorry that she died thinking that pretending that an imaginary friend deserves praise or needs to have its imaginary “goodness” proclaimed.

    And I’m sorry you don’t believe in God. We have confidence that Jesus is anything but imaginary, and I truly hope that someday you may know him personally as well.

    Then why are you alive?

    Because God isn’t finished with me yet. For now he sees fit to continue using me for his glory.

    Why should you care about a bit of suffering, if at the end you get to be with your imaginary friend?

    Suffering is not fun, although I do look forward to being with the living God forever.

    Something tells me that you think — or suspect — that your imaginary friend is imaginary, and that the make-believe you tell yourself about it is make believe. But you presumably try not to think about it too hard, while simultaneously protesting that you do believe it, while simultaneously not acting as if it were true.

    I can’t find any sense in your statement. Perhaps you know that God is real, but you just don’t want to admit it, because if you were to admit it, that would mean you’re a sinner, but you don’t want to admit you’re a sinner worthy of death. You’d much rather live a life where you are your own god and make your own rules without any ultimate consequences for your actions.

    There is no evidence contrary to evolution. There’s just religious dogma masquerading as evidence.

    There is much evidence contrary to evolution if you’re willing to examine it. You just don’t think there’s any contrary evidence because that’s what you’ve been taught. Of course in public schools it would be illegal to teach the truth since there’s a religious aspect to it, but I guess that’s beside the point, huh?

  104. #104 Wow
    December 12, 2011

    “To begin with, I’m trying to have a serious discussion and debate, and instead of using logic and reason you resort to ridicule”

    Ridicule is the only response to unformed and vague ideas, Jon.

    I’ll also point out it’s hilarious that you want others to use logic and reason when you have used neither.

    “There is much evidence contrary to evolution if you’re willing to examine it.”

    Every single one pushed forward as such has been shown false. Note that you’re unable to posit a single one.

  105. #105 Owlmirror
    December 12, 2011

    To begin with, I’m trying to have a serious discussion and debate,

    No, you’re not. You’re proseletyzing, and repeating common religious nonsense.

    , and instead of using logic and reason you resort to ridicule, which demonstrates a basic lack of reason.

    If ridicule demonstrates a basic lack of reason, I hope that you would agree that Jesus, who ridiculed the Pharisees, demonstrated a basic lack of reason.

    If your beliefs have any merit, then lets discuss them without resorting to infantile tactics.

    Why should I, when Jesus gladly resorted to infantile tactics when it suited him?

    True, but two hundred years from now that will be meaningless.

    Even if this were true — and it isn’t, necessarily — why would it matter?

    I’m alive now, not two hundred years from now.

    And when the universe comes to an end it will be even more meaningless.

    Nonsense. You can’t subtract nothing from nothing.

    However, if there is a God and an afterlife, then suddenly there is meaning.

    Even more nonsense. You wrote that you wanted a serious discussion and debate, and all you’re doing is repeating your prior garbage.

    If you get to claim that “God and an afterlife” give meaning, with nothing in support of this besides your bare assertion, my claim that life has meaning because I say so is just as good — and mine is even better, because I know I am alive now, while you don’t know that there is a God or afterlife.

    No, I don’t mean by personal fiat with no evidence.

    Yes, you do.

    There is plenty of biblical evidence

    That doesn’t count as evidence, because it’s just someone else’s personal fiat with no evidence.

    (Psalm 139:13, Genesis 1:26-27).

    Neither of which support your claim. There is no “meaning” to human life, in those verses.

    There’s also such a visibly huge chasm between any other animal and man.

    So what?

    There’s also the fact that the evidence in favor of evolution is weak, while evidence against evolution and in favor of a young earth is strong.

    I thought you wanted a serious discussion and debate, and all you have in support of your arguments are pathetic, stupid, religous fanatic YEC lies.

    There is no evidence against evolution.

    There is no evidence in favor of a young earth. The earth is about 4.55 billion years old, and that’s supported by multiple lines of hard geochronological evidence.

    You fail.

  106. #106 Owlmirror
    December 12, 2011

    No, God will never leave us or forsake those who know him

    Which is a lie, even in the myths. Adam and Eve knew God in the Garden of Eden, according to your myth, and God abandoned them over a trivial matter of eating some fruit.

    God’s a shitty “friend” if he turns on his children for eating fruit.

    The bible is also full of stories of how God forsook those who knew him.

    Heck, your own religion is founded on God forsaking his own son! “My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?”

    In fact we can have assurance of our salvation found in the promises of Christ.

    Since the promises were never kept, and the assurances of salvation are contradictory, you have nothing.

    God doesn’t want us to “force” our religion on people. He simply commands us to tell others about the good news of Christ.

    God doesn’t command anything, since God doesn’t exist. Christians pretend that God exists, and pretend that they know what God wants — just like every other religion.

    The point is not that you’re not allowed to tell your make-believe to other people. You’re just not allowed to do it on state time and on state money.

    But why do Christians whine when atheists tell others the good news that religion is unsupported by evidence, contradicts itself, and contradicts reality, and that no-one has to believe religious nonsense?

    No one is trying to “force” you to become a Christian.

    No one is trying to “force” you to become an atheist, either.

    But if I present the truth about salvation and eternal life, then you have the choice to either accept or reject the gift of life.

    If you present the make-believe that there is such a thing as salvation and eternal life, I can make-believe too, or I can choose to reject your silly nonsense.

    And if I present the truth that your silly nonsense is silly nonsense, you can accept or reject the gift of truth.

    In order to receive salvation from damnation we need to have a personal relationship with Jesus.

    Oddly enough, the gospels offer contradictary claims about what brings salvation.

    We need to be forgiven from our sins and put our faith and trust in Christ

    Right, you need to make-believe that you have “sins”, and that you’re forgiven them, and put “faith” and “trust” in an imaginary friend.

    What, exactly, is a sin?

    There’s plenty of evidence found in scripture, historical data, scientific data, and through prayer.

    Nonsense. None of those are evidence for God. They’re evidence of people making believe about God.

    The problem is that many people reject any evidence in favor of the existence of God simply because they don’t want to be held accountable, or they want to be their own ‘god’, or they refuse to believe in the supernatural, or they find some other excuse.

    That’s moronic. If I wanted not to be held accountable, I would become a Christian, and make-believe that all my “sins” were “forgiven”. I don’t want to be my own god, since there are no gods. There’s no reason to believe in the supernatural, since there’s no evidence for it.

    There is no evidence for any God, let alone the God of the bible, and that’s why I don’t believe in God.

    Satan is fine with any excuse not to believe in him or God because he wins no matter what.

    That’s stupid, too. Satan wins? If Satan wins no matter what, then why are you worshipping God instead of Satan?

    Do you not care how little sense you make?

    Forgiveness from our sins.

    What, exactly, are “sins”?

    Therefore we need to be forgiven from our sins so that we don’t experience eternal death, which is why Christ became a man and died on the cross.

    This is moronic incoherent nonsense.

    Since Jesus is real and is alive, we can have a personal relationship with him, which is what he desires

    More make-believe. You make-believe that Jesus is real, make-believe that he’s alive, and make believe you know what he wants, and that you can have a “personal relationship” with him

    You have an imaginary friend.

  107. #107 Wow
    December 12, 2011

    “Nonsense. You can’t subtract nothing from nothing.”

    See, for example, “Life of Brian”.

  108. #108 Owlmirror
    December 12, 2011

    God doesn’t have any ‘needs’ like you and I have needs. Therefore he doesn’t need anyone to speak on his behalf. In fact there are many times when he spoke directly to men without having someone else do it on his behalf

    Excellent! You agree with me. So, you shut up, and as soon as God talks to me himself, and offers evidence that he’s not a figment of my imagination, I’ll believe that he’s real.

    Do we have a deal?

    But when God does have someone else speak on his behalf he uses their witness to glorify himself through faith and obedience, as he did with Moses and many others, and those persons have done miracles to show that they were sent by God and weren’t just making it up.

    All you have in support of that, though, is people just making it up. No evidence at all.

    If you can perform a miracle, or if you have any wonders or signs to show that what you’re saying is from God, then I’d be willing to listen. If not, then I can be sure you’re making it up.

    Excellent! Wonderful! Since you have no miracles to offer, or signs and wonders, I can be sure that you’re making it up — by your own standard!

    By the way, how do you distinguish a “miracle” or a “sign and wonder” from a trick, or something non-miraculous that you’re misunderstanding?

    Because you can look up what I’m saying in the Bible. I’ve provided scriptural references so that you can see for yourself that I’m not making it up.

    But you’re not providing any miracles! You’re not providing any signs or wonders! Why does it matter if there’s stuff in the bible? That’s not a miracle or a sign or a wonder. It’s just words, unsupported by evidence.

  109. #109 Owlmirror
    December 12, 2011

    Scripture is quite clear as to what made Onan’s sin worthy of deserving the death penalty.

    Obviously not.

    Onan was to fulfill his duty to his deceased brother by raising up his offspring. He slept with his brother’s wife, but spilled his semen on the ground to prevent any offspring.

    So what?

    Look, are you really so completely ignorant that you don’t know how human reproduction works?

    Any offspring that would have resulted would have been Onan’s own, not his brother’s! Onan’s own children, from Onan’s own sperm!

    God considered this wicked and put Onan to death.

    You haven’t answered the question: How was it wicked?

    In fact God considers all sin worthy of death

    What exactly is “sin”, and what makes it worthy of death? Just because God says so?

    but it’s only because of his love and patience that he doesn’t put us all to death and wipe out mankind completely

    Ah, so God hates us and is impatient with us, but not enough to kill us all at once, like he did that one time. God hates us and is impatient with us just enough to kill us whenever he feels like it.

    Worshiping any other god but the one true God is wicked in God’s sight.

    What makes it wicked? Don’t quote scripture at me; give solid reasoning.

    A false God can be anything that we worship or put ahead of God.

    How are we supposed to know that? Obviously, if it’s worshipped, people think that it’s a true God.

    You’re saying that God thinks that making a mistake is wicked. How do you know that you’re not making a mistake?

    An Asherah pole (Exodus 34:12-14), Baal worship, human sacrifices- God finds these all wicked.

    Obviously not all. God commands human sacrifice (Genesis 22), and accepted it (Judges 11:30-40).

    What makes an Asherah or Baal worship wicked besides God “finding” them wicked?

    In fact today people worship things such as money, intellect, science, nature, and other things over God.

    What does “worship” even mean, here? People don’t bow down to any of those things.

    These are all false gods, and since God is a jealous God (Exodus 34:24-14), he finds it necessary to punish this sin with death.

    So why don’t Christians live forever? Are you sure that you’re not worshipping a false god? Say, maybe you are, and God is punishing your sin with death, too!

    He wants us to have freedom in Christ,

    You’re just using different words to say the same thing: God hates freedom, and wants us to be his slaves.

    and he wants us to be freed from sin and death (Galatians 5:1, Romans 8:20-21)

    Since Christians still die, they must still sin, so they aren’t freed from death or sin. They’re probably worshipping a false god.

    To love God with all our heart, mind, soul and strength, and to love others like we love ourselves

    Since those are not the only commands in the bible, that looks suspiciously incomplete.

    And Christians should not pick and choose which commands to follow; if they do that then they are not being obedient to God.

    Christians should obey the Sabbath? Christians should avoid pig meat and non-fish seafood? Christians should stone Christian adulterers and girls who are not virgins when they marry?

    Hm.

    When God kills he is just and has a good reason to put people to death.

    You haven’t given a single one. You just keep repeating “sin” like it means anything, without ever defining it, or explaining what it means.

    God knew that if the inhabitants of the promised land weren’t wiped out completely they’d be a snare to his people Israel

    Because the inhabitants were more powerful than God? Simply by existing, they could defeat what God wanted, instead of being converted to worship of God?

    How weak do you think God is?

    So God does not kill indiscriminately, nor does he command others to do so.

    God does kill indiscriminately and commands others to do so. Just because you make excuses for his killing doesn’t change what it is.

    God is righteous and does not sin when he puts anyone to death or takes our lives.

    Since you haven’t defined “sin”, it doesn’t really make sense to say that God doesn’t do it when he does something cruel. It also does’t make sense to say that God is “righteous”; generally speaking, that doesn’t mean someone who kills as indiscriminantly as God does.

    And for that matter, what difference does it make to the dead and tortured whether God “sins” when he kills or tortures?

    He is our creator and has every right to treat us as our sins deserve.

    So God has the right to be cruel, because he’s allowed to be cruel, because you say so.

  110. #110 Wow
    December 12, 2011

    “What does “worship” even mean, here? People don’t bow down to any of those things.”

    Heck, people don’t generally bow down to God, now.

    I’ve never seen it common except in Muslim countries to genuflect to their God.

  111. #111 Owlmirror
    December 12, 2011

    No one wants to experience death and suffering. That’s just human nature.

    And yet you say that it’s just great that God causes death and suffering to humans, as much as he wants to do it.

    But he did it willingly for you and me because he knew that the result would be paradise and eternal life for those who put their faith in him

    And yet you don’t want to do it willingly even though the result would be “paradise and eternal life”, by your mythology.

    It’s far better to be with Jesus, the living God. But we still have emotions and are filled with feelings of sadness and grief because we’re human.

    So you’re just fine with God causing you sadness and grief.

    We have confidence that Jesus is anything but imaginary,

    No, you don’t. Every Christian who really believed in Jesus would seek to end their own lives to be with Jesus.

    You’re just making believe that Jesus isn’t imaginary.

    Because God isn’t finished with me yet. For now he sees fit to continue using me for his glory.

    Or maybe he’s just waiting, patiently, to punish you for your sin of worshipping a false God.

    I can’t find any sense in your statement.

    That’s because your brain doesn’t work rationally.

  112. #112 Owlmirror
    December 13, 2011

    [trying again, with some edits]

    A sign or wonder could be a prophecy or miracle, such as when Moses brought the plagues upon Egypt. Jesus, as well as other prophets and disciples also did many miracles to show that they were sent from God. Miracles such as parting the Red Sea, raising the dead to life, giving sight to the blind, walking on water, calming storms, rising from the dead, etc.

    There’s no evidence that there were plagues in Egypt, or that the Red Sea was parted.

    Calming storms sounds impressive, but, depending on circumstances, might be natural. If someone knew the microclimate of a particular area, such that storms come and go very quickly in some conditions, they might pretend that they were responsible for the “going” part.

    Doctors do sometimes give sight to the blind — are you sure that counts?

    There’s no evidence of anyone raised from the dead. Doctors do sometimes revive people whose hearts stop. Does that count?

    There’s a video out there of Criss Angel walking on water — does that count?

    According to science none of this could happen by a simple command or by will power.

    According to science, those that could have happened are not necessarily miracles. And there’s no evidence that any of them actually happened.

  113. #113 Owlmirror
    December 13, 2011

    [trying again, with some edits ...]

    In Ezekiel 18:32 it says “For I take no pleasure in the death of anyone, declares the sovereign Lord”. He does it for the good of those who love him (Romans 8:28).

    Why should I care what the bible says? If God kills, he obviously likes it, because if he didn’t like it, he wouldn’t do it.

    This means that he doesn’t immediately put everyone to death for every sin and allows man to go on sinning as they see fit in their own eyes. God shows his patience by allowing man to do sinful and wicked acts and waiting many years before bringing his judgment upon them. He brings judgment upon man at his own timing.

    So God is not only cruel, he plays “gotcha” games.

    No, God doesn’t hate man.

    Of course God hates man. If he didn’t hate man, he wouldn’t curse him, kill him, and torture him, and play “gotcha” games.

    God loves mankind (John 3:16)

    Sorry, “love” does not include cursing, killing, and torturing, or playing “gotcha” games.

    The curse was a result of man’s disobedience.

    Ah, blame the victim.

    God disciplines those he loves (Deuteronomy 8:5, Proverbs 3:11-12, Hebrews 12:5-11) because it produces righteousness and peace for those who’ve been trained by it.

    In other words, God is cruel towards those he hates, and those who survive his cruelty are too depressed and broken to do anything but suffer in silence. Or the survivors become masochists.

    God is an abuser.

  114. #114 xmcvxmc
    December 13, 2011

    “There’s no reason to expect that we would eventually “out-evolve” all the things that feed on us.”

    Actually, there is. Millions and millions of evolution could’ve produced an amazingly strong immune system in humans that could repel any microscopic life forms that try to destroy them. Humans or other life forms could’ve also evolved skin that’s more impervious to injuries and environmental damage. Seems that evolution is just as unintelligent a machanism as the intelligent design would be.

    “God doesn’t want us to “force” our religion on people. He simply commands us to tell others about the good news of Christ. No one is trying to “force” you to become a Christian. But if I present the truth about salvation and eternal life, then you have the choice to either accept or reject the gift of life.”

    If God truly exists, why is it so difficult for so many of his own creations to recognize him as their creator? Shouldn’t he, at least, encode in his creations this type of knowledge, so they would automatically know that they have a creator if it’s next to impossible for him to reveal himself in a way that would make you know with absolute certainty that he exists?

    Why should I trust other humans, who are usually known as conniving, cheating, manipulative, always taking advantage and exploiting, for the most part, with teaching me what I should probably know by default myself. I see nothing wrong with knowing for sure if there is a creator, and, if there was a creator, he shouldn’t really have a problem with this either. The reliance on faith in heresy usually leads to wrong conclusions, thus I wouldn’t want to use the faith method to derive definitive knowledge.

    “God is an abuser.”

    Does it mean we have to live in fear? Where does the LOVE part fit in here then? In this case, Christians should again rewrite the Bible, and change the word “loving” god in to “beware of our abusive and dangerous unintelligent designer, he’ll wipe you off the face of the earth in a swoop, and crush you like bacteria”. In either case – Good luck, humanity!

  115. #115 eric
    December 13, 2011

    xmc:

    Millions and millions of [years of?] evolution could’ve produced an amazingly strong immune system in humans that could repel any microscopic life forms that try to destroy them.

    And what do you think the bacteria are doing during this time? Please educate yourself on the concept of “coevolution.” Its not hard to find.

    If God truly exists, why is it so difficult for so many of his own creations to recognize him as their creator?

    Indeed. What – that wasn’t rhetorical????

    Why should I trust other humans, who are usually known as conniving, cheating, manipulative, always taking advantage and exploiting, for the most part, with teaching me what I should probably know by default myself.

    You shouldn’t, unless a human’s discoveries can be confirmed by other independent humans. That’s how science works – independent confirmation is practically a requirement.

    OTOH, none of the truly spectacular claims (i.e., miracles) of either the NT or OT have been independently confirmed. Makes you wonder whether you should trust those conniving, cheating, manipulative, biblical authors, doesn’t it?

  116. #116 Owlmirror
    December 14, 2011

    [trying again w/edits... why does evolutionblog hate evolution?]

    There is much evidence contrary to evolution if you’re willing to examine it.

    There’s nothing to examine.

    The following postulates are the basics of evolution. No creationist has ever provided evidence against any of them.

      1.    Individuals within a species are variable.

      2.    Some of an individual’s variations are passed onto its offspring.

      3.    More offspring are produced than survive.

      4.    Those offspring that survive and reproduce have inherited a variation that gives them an advantage.

  117. #117 Wow
    December 14, 2011

    “Does it mean we have to live in fear? Where does the LOVE part fit in here then?”

    We HAVE to love God else he will abuse us.

    You’re rather like the beaten housewife defending their abusive husband, absolutely CERTAIN that it’s your fault.

  118. #118 Jon S
    December 14, 2011

    Wow: So respecting your dead brother and not copping off with the widow as soon as he’s been planted is wicked?

    No. Have you read the passage? Onan disrespected his dead brother, his father, and his sister-in-law. He had sex with her, but made sure she wouldn’t have any offspring. Yet it was his duty to provide her with offspring in place of her dead husband. But he was selfish and didn’t want her to have any offspring because he knew it wouldn’t be his. So he tricked her into having sex without fulfilling his obligation. Thus his sister-in-law would be without an heir or anyone to provide for her and her needs. I’m not sure why you’re defending Onan against God when Onan was clearly wrong, and God had every right to take his life.

    If that’s how your god feels, then yes, he is a psychotic.

    If God is psychotic, then perhaps you’d better watch out. Displeasing a psychotic god can’t be good for your health or eternity.

    “But why should anyone believe in a God who provides no evidence of its existence” Worse, a God who actively HIDES from science is worth believing in WHY, exactly?

    God doesn’t hide his existence (Romans 1:20). I think you’re just refusing to acknowledge his existence.

    Worse, this God actively designed the place so that it looks like he DOESN’T exist and makes absolutely certain that it’s not possible to prove he exists, letting you decide he doesn’t, in fact, exist.

    Not true. The evidence is there, but you actively choose to reject that evidence in favor of evolution.

    Such a being either doesn’t exist and is merely said to torture you for eternity so that you’ll be too scared not to believe in the fiction, or he’s not worth believing in.

    Or he provides plenty of evidence that myself and many others have accepted and has declared that no one is without excuse (Romans 1:20).

  119. #119 Owlmirror
    December 14, 2011

    Have you read the passage?

    Have you lost your mind?

    Yet it was his duty to provide her with offspring in place of her dead husband.

    Why?

    But he was selfish and didn’t want her to have any offspring because he knew it wouldn’t be his.

    I repeat, have you lost your mind completely?

    Are you seriously claiming that his brother’s sperm magically entered his balls?

    Thus his sister-in-law would be without an heir or anyone to provide for her and her needs.

    Why does she need an heir from Onan?

    I’m not sure why you’re defending Onan against God when Onan was clearly wrong, and God had every right to take his life.

    I’m not sure why you’re defending God when your defence is completely insane.

    If God is psychotic, then perhaps you’d better watch out. Displeasing a psychotic god can’t be good for your health or eternity.

    I’m glad you agree that your God is psychotic. The trouble is, it sounds like you are psychotic — and you’re confusing your own psychosis with God.

    Why should I believe that the psychotic imaginary friend of a psychotic person is real?

    God doesn’t hide his existence

    So why do you need to speak for him? Are you claiming to be God? That would fit well with you being psychotic.

    The evidence is there

    And we’re supposed to believe the word of a psychotic person who believes that sperm magically goes from a dead person to his brother’s balls?

    Or he provides plenty of evidence that myself and many others have accepted

    Or maybe you’re a crazy person who has no idea what evidence is, or what it should look like if it actually existed, and you’ve accepted your psychosis as “evidence”.

    and has declared that no one is without excuse

    My excuse is that I’m not crazy.

  120. #120 mnbmnbmn
    December 14, 2011

    @117
    “Does it mean we have to live in fear? Where does the LOVE part fit in here then?”…

    “You’re rather like the beaten housewife defending their abusive husband, absolutely CERTAIN that it’s your fault.”

    All I meant was that if god exists and if he is abusive, he’s not exactly loving. The Bible tries to pursuade you that God loves you, while the reality is absolutely grim, and reflects quite the opposite. This kind of reality points to a very low probability of anything or anyone being behind its creation, especially if they are described as intelligent, and loving towards the products of his own extremely bizarre creativity explosion by the pious.

    My gut instinct tells me that life, in a biological sense, has an inherent property to create itself, and is a self-sustaining phenomenon, the concept many people find extrememly difficult to comprehend. That’s what distinguishes organic life from the objects created by humans from non-organic materials. Some people believe that if a chair needs to be made in order for it to exist, then the same applies to living organisms. This is how the mind of most humans is wired to perceive their surroundings. They tend to apply the same pattern of reasoning to completely unrelated things.

    I am not defending anyone here because, at this point, all you would be defending is a mere delusion.

  121. #121 eric
    December 14, 2011

    Jon S:

    No. Have you read the passage? Onan disrespected his dead brother, his father, and his sister-in-law. He had sex with her, but made sure she wouldn’t have any offspring. Yet it was his duty to provide her with offspring in place of her dead husband. But he was selfish and didn’t want her to have any offspring because he knew it wouldn’t be his. So he tricked her into having sex without fulfilling his obligation. Thus his sister-in-law would be without an heir or anyone to provide for her and her needs. I’m not sure why you’re defending Onan against God when Onan was clearly wrong, and God had every right to take his life.

    I am in agreement with Owlmirror here – your proposal is a bit crazy.

    But maybe I’m wrong. Could you please describe how and why you think the death penalty is a just punishment for not fathering a child on your brother’s widow?

  122. #122 Jon S
    December 14, 2011

    Eric: I am in agreement with Owlmirror here – your proposal is a bit crazy. But maybe I’m wrong. Could you please describe how and why you think the death penalty is a just punishment for not fathering a child on your brother’s widow?

    I suppose ‘my proposal’ sounds crazy because you don’t know God, and you don’t understand his character (as described in the Bible). The death penalty was a just punishment for several reasons:
    1: It was a form of rape.
    2: It was culturally unacceptable.
    3: Onan purposely failed to fulfill his duty.
    4: Onan dishonored his father.
    5: Onan disrespected and showed contempt for his family.
    6: Onan’s act and motive was completely selfish.
    7: Onan’s Selfish act would leave his sister-in-law’s life in jeopardy.

    God is perfectly just in putting anyone to death for any sinful act, and it’s only by his loving grace that he doesn’t put us all to death as he did during Noah’s flood. In this case there were many sinful acts Onan committed. Sin is when we disobey any one of God’s commands. We can make a case that Onan violated God’s 5th, 7th and 10th commandments (and potentially the 6th). God found this violation of his commands to be wicked; therefore God was perfectly just in putting Onan to death.

  123. #123 Owlmirror
    December 15, 2011

    I suppose ‘my proposal’ sounds crazy because you don’t know God, and you don’t understand his character (as described in the Bible).

    Right, we don’t know your crazy imaginary friend, and his character, as you imagine is described in the Bible, is crazy.

    The death penalty was a just punishment for several reasons:

    …says the crazy man.

    1: It was a form of rape.

    More craziness. Where does it say that Tamar was forced into sex?

    Besides, the bible implicitly considers women the property of men, and doesn’t really care about rape.

    2: It was culturally unacceptable.

    Since when did “culturally unacceptable” include the death penalty? Do you realize that you’re saying that Rome was right and justified to execute Christians because their rejection of Roman religion was “culturally unacceptable”?

    3: Onan purposely failed to fulfill his duty.

    What duty? When did impregnating women become a “duty”?

    4: Onan dishonored his father.

    His father told him to do something insane.

    5: Onan disrespected and showed contempt for his family.

    Just like Jesus commanded people to do. Why is Onan declared to be bad, while followers of Jesus are declared to be good?

    6: Onan’s act and motive was completely selfish.

    So was God’s.

    7: Onan’s Selfish act would leave his sister-in-law’s life in jeopardy.

    Now you’re just blathering more insanity. Since women die in childbirth, Onan helped keep Tamar’s life out of jeopardy.

    We can make a case that Onan violated God’s 5th, 7th and 10th commandments (and potentially the 6th).

    You’re completely bugfuck rug-chewing head-smashing knee-biting NUTS. The whole point was that the brother was dead; there cannot have been adultery. What was he supposed to be coveting? And the only murderer in the passage is God! God murders Er for no known reason, then God murders Onan for not pretending that his brother’s sperm was in his own balls! Onan didn’t kill anyone!

    Psycho fundies, how do they work?

  124. #124 Owlmirror
    December 15, 2011

    In this case there were many sinful acts Onan committed. Sin is when we disobey any one of God’s commands.

    Oh, and Onan hadn’t received any of God’s commands that you claim he violated. The commandments aren’t given until an entire book later!

    Fundy psycho morons, don’t even know their own damn bible.

  125. #125 Wow
    December 15, 2011

    Plus isn’t the withdrawal method the only method of contraception allowed by the RCC? And, given that the Pope is the earthly representative of God via Jesus and Paul, doesn’t that mean that it isn’t wrong to pull out before completion?

  126. #126 Wow
    December 15, 2011

    “All I meant was that if god exists and if he is abusive, he’s not exactly loving.”

    OK, understood, mn.

    I though you were trying to say that God loves us therefore we have to read that love into the bible if it doesn’t seem to exist in there.

  127. #127 eric
    December 15, 2011

    God is perfectly just in putting anyone to death for any sinful act, and it’s only by his loving grace that he doesn’t put us all to death as he did during Noah’s flood.

    Wow. I mean, just, wow.

    Justice – I do not think it means what you think it means.

  128. #128 mnnmb
    December 15, 2011

    @122

    So you’re saying that you should be put to death for stealing a “Snickers” bar from the store, if ANY sin or mistake makes you unworthy of life on earth, but because God loves you he keeps you here?

    However, love cannot exist under the condition of such a contradiction!

  129. #129 mnbbmnb
    December 15, 2011

    @126

    “Love one another” was Jesus’ only commandment, according to the Bible. However, love is impossible amidst good and evil.

    Jesus was wrong!

  130. #130 Jon S
    December 18, 2011

    Owlmirror (Post 106): Which is a lie, even in the myths. Adam and Eve knew God in the Garden of Eden, according to your myth, and God abandoned them over a trivial matter of eating some fruit.

    God didn’t abandon them. Right after they sinned, God clothed them and continued to commune with them and their children.

    God’s a shitty “friend” if he turns on his children for eating fruit.

    No, he’s a good father for disciplining the ones he loves. If he didn’t discipline those who belong to him, then that would be evidence he doesn’t love them. However a loving father will discipline his children.

    The bible is also full of stories of how God forsook those who knew him. Heck, your own religion is founded on God forsaking his own son! “My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?”

    Jesus knew the answer to his own question and went to the cross willingly. His statement wasn’t an admission that God abandons those he loves. In fact, shortly after that, Jesus was taken up into heaven and was seated at the right hand of God.

    Since the promises were never kept, and the assurances of salvation are contradictory, you have nothing.

    God always keeps his promises. He’s not like men who lie, change their minds, or break their promises (Numbers 23:19).

    Christians pretend that God exists, and pretend that they know what God wants — just like every other religion.

    Then I suppose atheists pretend that God doesn’t exist. In fact atheists seem to hate God, as indicated by your remarks. The fact that you hate God tells me that you know he exists.

    The point is not that you’re not allowed to tell your make-believe to other people. You’re just not allowed to do it on state time and on state money.

    How very hypocritical of you. Then neither should atheists be allowed to promote their evolutionary beliefs on state time and state money. Secular faith should be treated no differently than any other religion.

    But why do Christians whine when atheists tell others the good news that religion is unsupported by evidence, contradicts itself, and contradicts reality, and that no-one has to believe religious nonsense?

    I wish Christians wouldn’t whine. God is so much bigger than us that we just need to be obedient to God and let him do the heavy lifting. We really have nothing to fear from atheist’s. God is in control and will work out all things for the good of those who love him (Romans 8:28).

    Oddly enough, the gospels offer contradictary claims about what brings salvation.

    There’s nothing contradictory; rather they’re complimentary.

    What, exactly, is a sin?

    Sin is ultimately disobedience to God and his commands. This is why some teachers of the law accused Jesus of blasphemy (Matthew 9:1-8). They knew that only God can forgive sins, and that Jesus was claiming to be God by declaring that he has the power to forgive sins.

    Nonsense. None of those are evidence for God. They’re evidence of people making believe about God.

    No, it’s legitimate evidence. You just simply reject it. Other people find such evidence very reasonable.

    That’s moronic. If I wanted not to be held accountable, I would become a Christian, and make-believe that all my “sins” were “forgiven”. I don’t want to be my own god, since there are no gods. There’s no reason to believe in the supernatural, since there’s no evidence for it.

    Christians are still held accountable even though their sins are forgiven. We are not immune from the consequences of poor actions. You claim that you don’t want to be your own ‘god’. Good. Perhaps there’s hope for you. Most people think they’re in control of their own destiny, or think they ought to be.

    There is no evidence for any God, let alone the God of the bible, and that’s why I don’t believe in God.

    There are many Creationist websites providing plenty of evidence in favor of a young earth, as well as evidence contradicting evolutionary beliefs. Unfortunately you won’t find any of this in schools because it’s been conveniently outlawed by the evolutionary establishment. Furthermore, scientific evidence has shown that life always comes from life. The fact that there is no counter evidence for this is solid evidence for God. You have to believe by faith that somehow life came from non-life, even though it’s never been observed.

    That’s stupid, too. Satan wins? If Satan wins no matter what, then why are you worshipping God instead of Satan?

    I’m not saying that Satan has beaten God. Jesus already claimed victory over Satan at the Cross. I’m saying that Satan will gladly take anyone who doesn’t believe in him or God. He’s the real monster and enemy. He’s been deceiving man since the beginning.

    This is moronic incoherent nonsense.

    How so? The Bible tells us that if we’re not forgiven from our sins then we will go to hell. If, however, we put our faith and trust in Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior and are forgiven from our sins, then we will go to heaven and experience eternal life. It’s fairly simple and straight forward. Just because you don’t believe it doesn’t make it moronic, incoherent, or nonsense.

    You have an imaginary friend.

    Hardly make belief or imaginary. The first time Jesus came it was to be judged by man. The second time he comes will be to judge (Augustine).

  131. #131 Owlmirror
    December 19, 2011

    Right after they sinned, God clothed them

    And then abandoned them.

    and continued to commune with them

    Obviously made-up. Once again, you prove that you can’t even be bothered to read the bible before making up nonsense.

    and their children.

    Ah, yes, he talks to Cain after Cain smashes Abel’s skull, rather than before, when it might have possibly prevented Cain from committing murder. Oh, and then God decides that Cain should not be punished at all for committing murder!

    No, he’s a good father for disciplining the ones he loves.

    God didn’t “discipline” anyone; he cursed and banished them.

    I pity any children you might have if you consider a permanent curse and banishment to be “discipline”.

    If he didn’t discipline those who belong to him, then that would be evidence he doesn’t love them.

    Ah. So torturing people is “love”, because not-torturing them is “evidence” of not-love.

    And war is peace, ignorance is strength, and slavery is freedom.

    The first victim of totalitatarians and religious fanatics is language itself.

    However a loving father will discipline his children.

    “Discipline”, by an actual loving father, is not permanent.

    Therefore, since what God did was permanent, it was not merely discipline and was not loving.

    Jesus knew the answer to his own question and went to the cross willingly. His statement wasn’t an admission that God abandons those he loves.

    Obviously it was, else why did he say it?

    In fact, shortly after that, Jesus was taken up into heaven and was seated at the right hand of God.

    And yet, we see no evidence of this having happened.

    God always keeps his promises. He’s not like men who lie, change their minds, or break their promises

    God is indeed like men who lie, change their minds, and break their promises, because he’s the figment of the imagination of men who lie, change their minds, and break their promises.

    Then I suppose atheists pretend that God doesn’t exist.

    Your supposition is a moronic non-sequitur, though, since I cannot possibly be pretending if it is in fact true that God doesn’t exist.

    In fact atheists seem to hate God, as indicated by your remarks.

    I think that the character of God in the bible is quite hateful. Is there no-one that you think is hateful?

    The fact that you hate God tells me that you know he exists.

    More idiocy. Since God doesn’t exist, I cannot hate God. I can, however, hate the character of God in the make-believe of those who wrote the bible, and who proselytize it now. That only tells you that I’ve read the bible — which tells made-up stories of God’s cruelty — and know that the stories in the bible exist.

    Or at least it would, if you weren’t a complete moron.

  132. #132 Owlmirror
    December 19, 2011

    How very hypocritical of you.

    You only see hypocrisy since you’re a complete moron. But it is you who are the hypocrite.

    Then neither should atheists be allowed to promote their evolutionary beliefs on state time and state money. Secular faith should be treated no differently than any other religion.

    There is no such thing as secular faith; those are contradictions in terms, as you’re using them. Secular education is nothing more or less than facts about the world. Mathematics, physics, chemistry, are all secular facts; so too is evolutionary biology.

    Religious dogma is not secular fact, and should not be taught in public schools.

    God is so much bigger than us that we just need to be obedient to God and let him do the heavy lifting.

    What “heavy lifting”?

    There’s nothing contradictory; rather they’re complimentary.

    What, they say nice things about people?

    They cannot be complementary, since they are contradictory.

    Sin is ultimately disobedience to God and his commands.

    So, God would not sin, as you say, when he kills and tortures, since God commands the deaths and torture. But the direct implication is that God is a hypocrite.

    This is why some teachers of the law accused Jesus of blasphemy (Matthew 9:1-8). They knew that only God can forgive sins, and that Jesus was claiming to be God by declaring that he has the power to forgive sins.

    And we know that Jesus did not have the power to forgive sins because Christians, at that time and until now, still die, just like everyone else. Since the wages of sin is death, those whose sins were actually forgiven would not die. But they did and do die, so their sins are not forgiven.

    No, it’s legitimate evidence. You just simply reject it.

    I reject it because it’s not legitimate evidence — just as you reject the same sort of thing from all other religions, and sects of your own religion that you disagree with!

    Christians are still held accountable even though their sins are forgiven.

    You can’t have it both ways. Either you’re accountable because not all your sins are forgiven, or you’re not accountable because all your sins are forgiven.

    Which is it?

    We are not immune from the consequences of poor actions.

    Why would you make poor actions at all? Aren’t you supposed to have a personal relationship with your imaginary friend, who would guide you away from poor actions if he weren’t actually imaginary?

  133. #133 Owlmirror
    December 19, 2011

    There are many Creationist websites providing plenty of evidence in favor of a young earth, as well as evidence contradicting evolutionary beliefs.

    Since there is no evidence in favor of a young earth, and there is no evidence contradicting evolutionary biology, what is on those websites is nothing more than misrepresentations, distortions, and outright falsehoods.

    Unfortunately you won’t find any of this in schools because it’s been conveniently outlawed by the evolutionary establishment.

    It’s been “outlawed” because it’s religious dogma, and falsehoods about science.

    Furthermore, scientific evidence has shown that life always comes from life.

    No, it’s been shown that life comes from previously existing cells; from meiosis and mitosis. But it has not been shown that cells have always existed — how could it? We have good evidence that for billions of years, life was nothing but single-celled colonies. And it’s a reasonable inference that cells themselves arose from some chemical reactions, since cells are made only of chemicals.

    The fact that there is no counter evidence for this is solid evidence for God.

    Obviously not, since there is no solid evidence for God.

    You have to believe by faith that somehow life came from non-life, even though it’s never been observed.

    How is it faith? Life is a chemical reaction; living things are made of cells that are made of chemicals; therefore, we infer that life arose as a chemical reaction that gave rise to the first cells.

    ======

    I’m not saying that Satan has beaten God. Jesus already claimed victory over Satan at the Cross. I’m saying that Satan will gladly take anyone who doesn’t believe in him or God.

    If Satan had been defeated, then Satan would not be able to take anyone.

    He’s the real monster and enemy. He’s been deceiving man since the beginning.

    And God just lets him do this.

    Well, since God commands that Satan be allowed to deceive man, Satan is not sinning in his deceptions.

    But wait. How do you know that you’re not being deceived by Satan?

    This is moronic incoherent nonsense.

    How so? The Bible tells us that if we’re not forgiven from our sins then we will go to hell. If, however, we put our faith and trust in Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior and are forgiven from our sins, then we will go to heaven and experience eternal life.

    That’s ludicrously roundabout, though. If God actually wants to forgive someone, then he’ll forgive it. If he requires some penance or atonement from the one to be forgiven, that at least makes some sense.

    But why would God send his son to be tortured, and then tell people that the only way to be forgiven is to believe that his son was tortured? It’s completely insane. It sounds like something Satan would dream up to deceive people. People will believe in Jesus instead of atoning as God really wants, and then die and go to hell. Satan wins!

    Hardly make belief or imaginary.

    What makes your imaginary friend different from any other imaginary friend?

  134. #134 Jon S
    December 21, 2011

    owlmirror (Post 108): Excellent! You agree with me. So, you shut up, and as soon as God talks to me himself, and offers evidence that he’s not a figment of my imagination, I’ll believe that he’s real. Do we have a deal?

    Sorry, no deal. I’m responding to the questions, insults, charges and misconceptions in this post. While God doesn’t need man to fight the cause for him, he does command us to do so (1 Peter 3:15-16). God wants Christians to be part of his plan to proclaim the gospel and not sit idly on the sidelines (Romans 1:15-17). God commands us to do this so that our actions are in line with our faith. If we only claim to believe in God, but don’t want to lift a finger for fear of offending unbelievers, then God will be ashamed of us (Mark 8:38). Since I’m not ashamed of God, I gladly answer your questions and proclaim the truth of Christ.

    All you have in support of that, though, is people just making it up. No evidence at all.

    You don’t seem to mind when Darwin, Gould, Hitchens, Dawkins, or any other atheist makes things up to prop up their evolutionary beliefs. No evidence at all. But you keep falsely accusing me of making things up even though I’ve provided references that can easily be verified. So where did they get their evidence? They made it up based on their own atheistic belief that all things came to be without the existence of God.

    Excellent! Wonderful! Since you have no miracles to offer, or signs and wonders, I can be sure that you’re making it up — by your own standard!

    My standard is the Word of God. The Bible has documented many miracles regarding the authority and claims of Christ, the prophets, and disciples (which I don’t claim to be). What is your standard?

    By the way, how do you distinguish a “miracle” or a “sign and wonder” from a trick, or something non-miraculous that you’re misunderstanding?

    I’d describe miracles, signs and wonders as violations of the laws of nature. Since God created the elements and laws of nature, he has authority over them, just as a father has authority over a child. When Jesus silenced the storm, the wind and the waves obeyed him (Mark 4:35-41). When he called Lazarus from the grave, Lazarus arose from the dead after four days (John 11:40-43). Prophesies about the coming Messiah were recorded hundreds of years prior to the birth of Christ that only apply to him. Since these things are “impossible” in the eyes of science, they are considered miracles. With God all things are possible (Matthew 19:26). With atheists, however, anything that is considered a miracle is automatically denied because of their prior commitment to a secular worldview in which there is no God. Therefore any true miracle will be rejected outright.

    But you’re not providing any miracles! You’re not providing any signs or wonders! Why does it matter if there’s stuff in the bible? That’s not a miracle or a sign or a wonder. It’s just words, unsupported by evidence.

    I’ve referenced many miracles in the Bible because this is what convinced people that God is real and that Jesus is who he claimed to be. If God grants me the power to do miracles, I would be glad to perform one. But since that’s not the case I can only do as millions have done before me and declare God’s word. The story of Lazarus, however, is very interesting (Luke 16:19-31) because it’s very clear that if you don’t listen to Moses and the prophets, you won’t be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.

  135. #135 nbmnbm
    December 21, 2011

    “But why do Christians whine when atheists tell others the good news that religion is unsupported by evidence, contradicts itself, and contradicts reality, and that no-one has to believe religious nonsense?”

    Exactly! Religious literature could be nothing more than ancient science fiction.

  136. #136 Owlmirror
    December 22, 2011

    While God doesn’t need man to fight the cause for him, he does command us to do so

    Or rather, men pretending to speak for God pretend that God commands it, because God doesn’t actually exist to command anything.

    If we only claim to believe in God, but don’t want to lift a finger for fear of offending unbelievers, then God will be ashamed of us

    Why doesn’t God lift a finger, ever, if he’s not make-believe?

    Since I’m not ashamed of God,

    If not lifting a finger makes you deserving of shame, then God definitely deserves for people to be ashamed of him.

    You don’t seem to mind when Darwin, Gould, Hitchens, Dawkins, or any other atheist makes things up to prop up their evolutionary beliefs.

    Like what? There’s a difference between a reasoned inference, and making stuff up. Reasoned inferences can be abandoned if and when contradictory evidence is found, and are bolstered when corroborating evidence is found.

    Christians don’t abandon make-believe even when obvious contradictions are shown.

    No evidence at all.

    Of course there’s evidence. What are you blathering about?

    But you keep falsely accusing me of making things up even though I’ve provided references that can easily be verified.

    Of course you’re making things up. You are not God, and your references are worthless without God demonstrating his own existence, and support for those references.

    So where did they get their evidence? They made it up based on their own atheistic belief that all things came to be without the existence of God.

    Now you are definitely making false accusations. How unsurprising that you ignore your own bible.

    My standard is the Word of God.

    Your standard is making believe that you have the word of God. You are not God.

    The Bible has documented many miracles regarding the authority and claims of Christ, the prophets, and disciples

    The Bible isn’t God either, and its alleged “documentation” of alleged miracles cannot be distinguished from make-believe.

    What is your standard?

    Logic, math, and empirical reality.

  137. #137 Owlmirror
    December 22, 2011

    I’d describe miracles, signs and wonders as violations of the laws of nature.

    How do you know that the laws of nature can be violated? How do you know that the appearance of such a violation isn’t a trick?

    Since God created the elements and laws of nature, he has authority over them, just as a father has authority over a child.

    Your analogy is false, because a father cannot command a child to do that which it is impossible for the child to do. Or he can command it, and look stupid when the child fails.

    When Jesus silenced the storm, the wind and the waves obeyed him

    That’s one story. Another story is that the wind and waves quieted on their own, and Jesus took the credit.

    When he called Lazarus from the grave, Lazarus arose from the dead after four days

    That’s one story. Another story is that Lazarus pretended to be dead, and his sisters pretended to mourn him and bury him. Then he waited a few days, and then crawled out when Jesus made a big production of calling him.

    Prophesies about the coming Messiah were recorded hundreds of years prior to the birth of Christ that only apply to him.

    That’s one story. Another story is that the alleged prophesies had nothing to do with him, and he and his followers took the credit.

    Since these things are “impossible” in the eyes of science, they are considered miracles.

    Since there’s no evidence that any of the stories as the bible tells them actually happened at all, there’s no reason to believe that they were miracles.

    With God all things are possible

    If that were true, God could demonstrate it. But all there is is a book written by men making believe.

    With atheists, however, anything that is considered a miracle is automatically denied because of their prior commitment to a secular worldview in which there is no God. Therefore any true miracle will be rejected outright.

    You haven’t shown anything that even might be a miracle. All you’ve shown is a book of stories! I’m not rejecting a true miracle; I’m rejecting your book of stories, written by men, passed down by men, copied by men, and pretended to be true by men.

    I’ve referenced many miracles in the Bible because this is what convinced people that God is real and that Jesus is who he claimed to be.

    So because Christians in the past were gullible, and accepted that a book written by men was true, you think that referencing this book and demonstrating your own gullibility is supposed to be just as good as God doing a trick.

    The story of Lazarus, however, is very interesting (Luke 16:19-31) because it’s very clear that if you don’t listen to Moses and the prophets, you won’t be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.

    That’s completely moronic. If Christians actually rose from the dead, that would be very compelling evidence indeed that a miracle was happening!

    Luke 16:19-31 is just bullshit to obscure the simple fact that Christians have no miracles at all, and no evidence of miracles having happened in the past.

  138. #138 Jon S
    December 23, 2011

    nbmnbm: Religious literature could be nothing more than ancient science fiction.

    It can also be said that atheist literature could be nothing more than modern science fiction (see the latest X-Men movie).

  139. #139 Jon S
    December 23, 2011

    Owlmirror (Post 109): Look, are you really so completely ignorant that you don’t know how human reproduction works? Any offspring that would have resulted would have been Onan’s own, not his brother’s! Onan’s own children, from Onan’s own sperm!

    You’re funny. Of course I know how human reproduction works. I just don’t think you have any understanding of the culture of that time. What Onan did was wrong. He was instructed to “raise up offspring” for his brother. So even though the offspring “physically” was Onan’s, the offspring wouldn’t belong to him. The child would belong to Er and Tamar (much in the same way an adopted child becomes part of the family that adopts it). According to the cultural setting of the time, Onan had an obligation to his family, but he dishonored them by having sexual relations with his dead brother’s wife for his own selfish desires and purposely avoided providing offspring. Onan did it for his own benefit and sexual pleasure, while assuring that his brother’s wife would not have anyone to provide for her needs as she grows older and can’t take care of herself. Perhaps you don’t understand the meaning of an obligation and the importance of it during this period of time, but obligations were not to be taken as lightly as we take them today. Obligations and promises were taken very seriously and were expected to be fulfilled. Not fulfilling it is a grievous sin.

    You haven’t answered the question: How was it wicked?

    I’ve answered the question very thoroughly several times over (also see posts 103, 118 and 122). Wicked means “morally very bad… causing or likely to cause harm, distress, or trouble”. In other words what Onan did was morally very bad and was likely to cause harm, distress and trouble for Tamar and her family. Therefore, like it or not, God judged Onan and put him to death. This is a warning for us as to how seriously God considers sin and how strongly God expects us to keep our promises and obligations.

    What exactly is “sin”, and what makes it worthy of death? Just because God says so?

    Sin is when we disobey one of God’s commands or rebel against him (see post 122). Most people would say sin is when we do something wrong or harm someone else, but it’s much more than that because the offense is chiefly against God. When we wrong or harm someone, the offense is against God because man was created in God’s image. And sin is worthy of death because God is righteous and holy and won’t let sin go unpunished (Exodus 34:7, Proverbs 11:21, Psalm 33:5). Ultimately we will all end up dying because of sin. And sin must be punished in order to make amends. But since the price of sin is death, there is ultimately only one person who can pay the penalty in full and satisfy God’s wrath. This is why Jesus came. He led a righteous life and was perfect, even unto death on the cross (2 Corinthians 5:21, Philippians 2:8). By faith he received the punishment and wrath we deserve because of his great love for us.

    Ah, so God hates us and is impatient with us, but not enough to kill us all at once, like he did that one time. God hates us and is impatient with us just enough to kill us whenever he feels like it.

    God loves us (John 3:16), which is why he sent his son. Denying this and mischaracterizing God’s attributes doesn’t change his character. When he instantly puts anyone to death, that doesn’t mean he’s impatient, as you suggest. Instead it’s meant to be a warning to others to take God’s commands seriously. God is very patient with us (1 Peter 3:19-21, 2 Peter 3:9).

    What makes it wicked? Don’t quote scripture at me; give solid reasoning.

    I’ll do both. God is a jealous God (Exodus 20:5, Exodus 34:14). He doesn’t want our worship or devotion going to anyone or anything else. Your question is like asking what’s wrong with adultery. If you’re married, do you ask your spouse if he/she would mind if you had a sexual relationship with someone else, or why they have a problem with it? Most spouses would be justifiably jealous if you decided to give your love and devotion to someone else. In the same way God doesn’t want us rejecting him and serving other gods. He created us and wants what’s best for us, yet you want to slap him in the face and expect him to be understanding if we commit idolatry.

    How are we supposed to know that? Obviously, if it’s worshipped, people think that it’s a true God.

    How do we know what God doesn’t want us to worship? He tells us in the Bible. Throughout the Bible are examples of humans putting things ahead of God, and it describes the consequences of such actions. What was recorded in the Bible is an example to us of how we should and should not behave.

    You’re saying that God thinks that making a mistake is wicked. How do you know that you’re not making a mistake?

    I make lots of mistakes. I also know right from wrong and am aware when I’m making mistakes. I’m also repentant when I make mistakes and humbly seek God’s forgiveness.

    God commands human sacrifice (Genesis 22), and accepted it (Judges 11:30-40).

    You’re way off here and are taking these verses grossly out of context. Genesis 22 is where God tested Abraham to see if he loved his son Isaac more than him. This is a classic example of just how much God hates idolatry. Abraham loved his son Isaac very much, but God wanted Abraham to demonstrate that he loved God more than his son and that his son hadn’t become an idol to him. God actually stopped Abraham from sacrificing his son. The answer to your question lies in Genesis 22:12-18: God said “Now I know that you fear God, because you have not withheld from me your son, your only son.” And “I swear by myself, declares the LORD, that because you have done this and have not withheld your son, your only son, 17 I will surely bless you and make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as the sand on the seashore. Your descendants will take possession of the cities of their enemies, 18 and through your offspring all nations on earth will be blessed, because you have obeyed me.” In fact all nations on earth have been blessed through Jesus Christ’s birth and resurrection. So as you can see God loves us, wants what’s best for us and wants to bless us, but he also wants us to be devoted to him and him alone. If we’re obedient, God promises us many blessings. Many people miss out on God’s blessings because they end up giving their devotion to someone or something else. You’re also mistaken about Judges 11:30-40. Where does it say that God accepted a human sacrifice? It doesn’t. This passage shows that Jephthah made a rash and inappropriate vow and ended up paying for it with the life of his daughter. The blood of his daughter was strictly on his own hands. Would Jephthah had been so troubled if a servant had come out of the house? Probably not. He surely would have felt justified. But when his daughter came out of the house he realized his mistake and suffered the consequences. God never approved or condoned the behavior. On the contrary Hosea 13:1-3 shows that God opposes human sacrifice.

    What makes an Asherah or Baal worship wicked besides God “finding” them wicked?

    It’s idolatry.

    What does “worship” even mean, here? People don’t bow down to any of those things.

    It means something else has become more important to that individual than God. If we devote ourselves to things that can’t save us, and neglect God or rebel against him, he finds that to be no different than if we were bowing down and worshiping a false god.

    So why don’t Christians live forever? Are you sure that you’re not worshipping a false god? Say, maybe you are, and God is punishing your sin with death, too!

    In a way we all do live forever. Firstly God created us to live forever, and it’s only because of Adams sin that we are destined to die (Genesis 2:15-17). However we have souls, so even though our fleshly bodies perish and return to dust, our souls continue to live forever (Matthew 10:28, Matthew 16:26). This is also why there are so many accounts from people who have actually died, went to heaven, and returned to life (90 Minutes in Heaven). Further, I’m worshiping the one true God who created the heavens and the earth and everything in them (Isaiah 45:12, Isaiah 45:18, Revelation 10:6). This God has revealed himself to man and has given us his word so that we would know him intimately.

    God hates freedom, and wants us to be his slaves.

    No, God wants us to be heirs and sons (Acts 3:25, Romans 8:17, Galations 3:29, Ephesians 3:6, Titus 3:7), he wants us to have freedom (Isaiah 61:1, Luke 4:18, Romans 8:20-21, Galations 5:1). If, however, we don’t know Christ then we’re slaves to sin (John 8:33-35) and will receive eternal punishment.

    Since Christians still die, they must still sin, so they aren’t freed from death or sin. They’re probably worshipping a false god.

    We won’t be freed from sin and death until our earthly bodies pass away.

    Since those are not the only commands in the bible, that looks suspiciously incomplete.

    There are many commands in the Bible. But these are the most important commands because all the others flow from them. (Matthew 22:35-40, Mark 12:29-31).

    Christians should obey the Sabbath? Christians should avoid pig meat and non-fish seafood? Christians should stone Christian adulterers and girls who are not virgins when they marry? Hm.

    Yes, we should obey the Sabbath. All food, however, is clean (Romans 14:20-21), so we are permitted to eat pig meat and non-fish seafood. And we shouldn’t stone people for adultery (John 8:3-11). These things were first commanded by God for specific purposes, such as to protect his people and express his hatred of sin. We still observe the Sabbath because it was designed for our benefit as a reflection of God’s rest on day seven. But we don’t treat it as legalistically as it was in Biblical times. God, also choosing to express his compassion, forgave the woman caught in adultery, but he also warned her to leave her life of sin. God has expressed and revealed his character in different ways and at different times in history (wrath, love, anger, compassion, strength, humility, strict, permissive, etc.). There are times when he treated disobedience very harshly, and other times when he shows great patience over many ages.

    You haven’t given a single one. You just keep repeating “sin” like it means anything, without ever defining it, or explaining what it means.

    Onan was the main example we were discussing, but there are other examples of God justly putting people to death, such as Uzzah when he reached out to steady the ark of the covenant. God’s anger burned against him because he defiled the ark, which is where God was dwelling. God is so holy that he cannot stand sin being in his presence. Like all descendants of Adam and Eve, Uzzah was born in sin, so he could not touch the ark without dying. Anyone who touched the ark would die, which is why it was to be carried on poles. God was very specific in his orders. Uzzah was more concerned about the ark falling onto the ground and getting dirty than he was about his own sinfulness. But in God’s eyes it was worse for a man to touch the ark and defile it than it would have been had the ark fallen on the ground and gotten dirty or broke. God is very serious about sin and disobedience, which is why Uzzah was put to death. God can certainly put anyone to death for any sinful action, but it is by his grace (another quality of God’s character) that he doesn’t put us all to death for every little sin and allows us to live and experience any kind of happiness and enjoyment of life. This is why we should have a reverent fear of God.

    Because the inhabitants were more powerful than God? Simply by existing, they could defeat what God wanted, instead of being converted to worship of God?

    No. Because God knew the inhabitants of the promised land would end up intermarrying with the Israelites and cause them to start worshiping other gods, which God finds detestable. God allowed the Israelites to disobey him on many occasions, and also allowed them to suffer the consequences for their sin, which is why the Israelites aren’t still on the promised land today. God certainly could have wiped out the inhabitants of the promised land himself (as he did with Sodom and Gomorrah). It’s almost funny that you suppose the inhabitants were more powerful than God and that God feared them, which is obviously absurd, considering that God is all powerful and has expressed his power many times over. But when he shows restraint you still mock him. God does show his patience by allowing man to sin and suffer the consequences of sin so that we can learn from it and grow in maturity. In fact all things work for the good of those who know God (Romans 8:28), even when we can’t see what good can come from bad situations, such as a loved one dying.

    God does kill indiscriminately and commands others to do so. Just because you make excuses for his killing doesn’t change what it is.

    I don’t need to make excuses for God’s wrath. If you think he’s wrong, then put him on trial and condemn him to death… wait, we did that already (Mark 14:60-65).

    Since you haven’t defined “sin”, it doesn’t really make sense to say that God doesn’t do it when he does something cruel. It also does’t make sense to say that God is “righteous”; generally speaking, that doesn’t mean someone who kills as indiscriminantly as God does.

    I’ve previously defined sin as disobedience to God. But your definition of cruel is not the same as God’s definition. It’s not cruel when God puts someone to death for a sin because the wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23). So he’s actually committing justice when he puts someone to death for their sin, not cruelty. Humans are cruel because when they murder they’re doing it out of evil motives. God does it for our ultimate good (Romans 8:28) because he wants us to live in righteousness, which will only happen to those who love him after we pass away and shed our earthly bodies. Furthermore, when you try to hold God to the same standard as man, you’re forgetting that we don’t even hold all men to the same standard as other men. For example, do you condemn a father for commanding his child not to cross the street without an adult, even though the father and other adults may cross the street on his own? How dare the father tell his child not to cross the street on his own! That’s so cruel!!! But in reality the father gives this command in the best interest of the child, because he loves the child and doesn’t want him to be harmed. If, however, the child disobeys his father, the child could end up dying because of his disobedience. Or if the child is unharmed after the incident, the father has a right and obligation to discipline his child for disobeying him so that the child learns not to make the same mistake again. This is why God is not cruel. What he does is actually done for our best interest, even though we don’t always see it that way, in the same way a child doesn’t understand why a parent tells him no. We’re like the defiant child who shakes his fist at his parents and tells them how much he hates them for not letting him do what he wants. But the loving parent will set rules and limits and punish their child for disobedience. In the same way God disciplines those he loves (Deuteronomy 8:5, Hebrews 12:10).

  140. #140 Owlmirror
    December 24, 2011

    [Trying again, with splitting...]

    Of course I know how human reproduction works.

    And you go on to prove that you have no idea how anything works. Oh, well.

    So even though the offspring “physically” was Onan’s, the offspring wouldn’t belong to him.

    This is completely incoherent.

    The child would belong to Er and Tamar

    How, exactly, is a child supposed to belong to a dead man?

    Onan did it for his own benefit and sexual pleasure, while assuring that his brother’s wife would not have anyone to provide for her needs as she grows older and can’t take care of herself.

    He “assured” no such thing, since nothing prevented anyone from providing for her in her old age. She could have married someone else, or adopted a child, or simply been provided for by someone else in Judah’s family. Or God could have provided for her, if he thought it was so important.

    Perhaps you don’t understand the meaning of an obligation and the importance of it during this period of time, but obligations were not to be taken as lightly as we take them today. Obligations and promises were taken very seriously and were expected to be fulfilled.

    Obviously not, since Judah doesn’t fulfill his obligation and promise to Tamar a few verses later.

    Wicked means “morally very bad… causing or likely to cause harm, distress, or trouble”.

    Ah! So God was wicked in causing harm and distress to Er by killing him, and was wicked in depriving Tamar of her husband (more harm and distress!), and was wicked in causing the death of Onan (even more harm and distress!), and was wicked in depriving Tamar of her second husband (still more harm and distress!).

    In other words what Onan did was morally very bad and was likely to cause harm, distress and trouble for Tamar and her family.

    Except that the “harm, distress and trouble” did not exist.

    Therefore, like it or not, God judged Onan and put him to death.

    Yes, but that was wicked of God. You haven’t shown that Onan caused any specific “harm, distress and trouble”, and the verses are clear that God did cause “harm, distress and trouble” to Er and Onan, and to Tamar.

  141. #141 Owlmirror
    December 24, 2011

    [Take 2, with splitting]

    Sin is when we disobey one of God’s commands or rebel against him

    So whatever God says, goes. If God tells you to rape and murder, you would do it, because it would be a sin not to rape and murder.

    Most people would say sin is when we do something wrong or harm someone else, but it’s much more than that because the offense is chiefly against God. When we wrong or harm someone, the offense is against God because man was created in God’s image.

    But apparently God is OK with offending himself any time he wants, by killing anyone at all for any reason, or for no reason, and torturing them forever.

    And sin is worthy of death because God is righteous and holy

    God is wicked, because he causes harm, distress, and trouble to humans.

    and won’t let sin go unpunished

    That doesn’t explain why the punishment has to be death, though. It also doesn’t explain why God is allowed to offend himself without punishment. Or is that another one of God’s commands? “I’m allowed to offend myself without punishment, because I say so!”

    But since the price of sin is death, there is ultimately only one person who can pay the penalty in full and satisfy God’s wrath.

    Why can’t God make himself not be wrathful?

    This is why Jesus came. He led a righteous life and was perfect

    So, being perfect means to tell people to hate their parents?

    even unto death on the cross

    Jesus didn’t die. Jesus had a bad half-weekend.

    God loves us (John 3:16), which is why he sent his son.

    God hates us, which we know because God kills us and tortures us. People who love other people don’t kill and torture those they love.

    Denying this and mischaracterizing God’s attributes doesn’t change his character.

    Denying that God hates us and mischaracterizing what love is doesn’t change God’s hatred into love.

    When he instantly puts anyone to death, that doesn’t mean he’s impatient, as you suggest.

    Denying that instant death is a sign of impatience doesn’t change the fact that it is a sign of impatience.

    Instead it’s meant to be a warning to others to take God’s commands seriously.

    So the life of the one who is killed is meaningless except as a warning to others. Thank you for demonstrating how nihilistic Christianity is.

  142. #142 Owlmirror
    December 24, 2011

    God is a jealous God (Exodus 20:5, Exodus 34:14). He doesn’t want our worship or devotion going to anyone or anything else.

    So what?

    Your question is like asking what’s wrong with adultery.

    This is a false analogy. Two people who marry usually make an explicit commitment to sexual fidelity with each other.

    If God can’t be bothered to even talk to me in English, and demonstrate that he’s real and powerful and not a delusion, I have no obligation towards God.

    And I have no obligation to commit to an imaginary person who was dreamed up by men who claim that God exists and is jealous, but cannot provide any actual evidence that this is true.

    If you’re married, do you ask your spouse if he/she would mind if you had a sexual relationship with someone else, or why they have a problem with it?

    Actually, some couples do have open relationships. It’s not for me to judge that they are wrong, as long as all parties involved are in agreement.

    Why are some humans able to be less jealous than God?

    In the same way God doesn’t want us rejecting him and serving other gods.

    If God doesn’t talk, God has no grounds for complaint on being rejected.

    He created us and wants what’s best for us, yet you want to slap him in the face and expect him to be understanding if we commit idolatry.

    God does not demonstrate having created us or wanting what’s best for us. God does far worse to us than slapping us in the face. God kills us and tortures us. That’s not what’s best for us, you liar!

    Idolatry is perfectly understandable in the face of a cruel, wicked, hateful God.

    But more to the point, everything you claim about God cannot be distinguished from make-believe by people.

    Idolatry, as a different make-believe by different people, is perfectly understandable in the face of a make-believe God.

    How do we know what God doesn’t want us to worship? He tells us in the Bible.

    Or rather, the men who wrote the bible just made believe that God exists and told them what to put in the bible.

    I make lots of mistakes. I also know right from wrong and am aware when I’m making mistakes.

    How can you possibly be aware that you’re making a mistake about who God is and what God wants? You’ve demonstrated here that you have no idea what the difference is between reality and make-believe!

    I’m also repentant when I make mistakes and humbly seek God’s forgiveness.

    Or rather, you pretend that God exists, and make-believe that you’re seeking forgiveness.

  143. #143 Owlmirror
    December 24, 2011

    Genesis 22 is where God tested Abraham to see if he loved his son Isaac more than him.

    This is where God commanded Abraham to cut his son’s throat and set his body on fire.

    This is a classic example of just how much God hates idolatry.

    This is a classic example of how much God hates.

    God said “Now I know that you fear God, because you have not withheld from me your son, your only son.”

    See how cruel and hateful and wicked God is! He wants to be feared, just like any human tyrant.

    It doesn’t say that God said never to sacrifice a human to him, note. Also, note that Genesis 22 ends with Abraham coming down the mountain alone.

    Where was Isaac at the end of the chapter?

    In fact all nations on earth have been blessed through Jesus Christ’s birth and resurrection.

    Another human sacrifice?

    You’re also mistaken about Judges 11:30-40. Where does it say that God accepted a human sacrifice?

    It’s implicit. God certainly doesn’t reject the human sacrifice.

    This passage shows that Jephthah made a rash and inappropriate vow and ended up paying for it with the life of his daughter.

    …by sacrificing her, a human, to God. Who accepted the sacrifice. No ram was offered as a substitute for Jephthah’s daughter.

    The blood of his daughter was strictly on his own hands.

    Only if God does not exist. If God does exist, God shares the blame for accepting the sacrifice.

    Would Jephthah had been so troubled if a servant had come out of the house?

    If he’d killed a servant, it would still have been a human sacrifice, accepted by God.

    God never approved or condoned the behavior.

    Of course he did. If he hadn’t, he could have substituted a ram, like he did with Abraham. Or he could have just said “Don’t sacrifice any human to me.”

    Hosea 13:1-3 shows that God opposes human sacrifice.

    No, it shows that God opposes human sacrifice to idols. It doesn’t say that he opposes human sacrifice to God himself.

  144. #144 Owlmirror
    December 24, 2011

    [take 2]

    What does “worship” even mean, here? People don’t bow down to any of those things.

    It means something else has become more important to that individual than God. If we devote ourselves to things that can’t save us, and neglect God or rebel against him, he finds that to be no different than if we were bowing down and worshiping a false god.

    Ah. So kind of like you worship the Bible, and you worship YEC lies about science. Looks like you’re an idolater after all.

    Oh, and you also worship this thread, devoting yourself to increasing its length.

    In a way we all do live forever.

    What a nice piece of make-believe.

    Firstly God created us to live forever, and it’s only because of Adams sin that we are destined to die

    It’s only because God wickedly (causing “harm, distress, or trouble”) cursed us, rather.

    However we have souls, so even though our fleshly bodies perish and return to dust, our souls continue to live forever

    Don’t quote the bible at me. Where’s the evidence that this is true?

    This is also why there are so many accounts from people who have actually died, went to heaven, and returned to life

    People had vivid dreams, rather, about dying, going to heaven and returning to life.

    Further, I’m worshiping the one true God who created the heavens and the earth and everything in them

    You think you are, certainly. But you cannot be getting it right, otherwise you wouldn’t die.

    God wants us to be heirs and sons [...], he wants us to have freedom

    God hates freedom, and wants us to be slaves. If he didn’t hate freedom, he would not cruelly and wickedly punish humans making different choices about who to worship.

    If, however, we don’t know Christ then we’re slaves to sin (John 8:33-35) and will receive eternal punishment.

    God will wickedly and cruelly punish humans eternally for making a mistake, or for freely choosing not to be God’s slaves.

  145. #145 Owlmirror
    December 24, 2011

    We won’t be freed from sin and death until our earthly bodies pass away.

    Right, you aren’t free from death and sin, so you’re sinning in some way, maybe by worshipping a false God, maybe by committing idolatry, or something else.

    All food, however, is clean (Romans 14:20-21), so we are permitted to eat pig meat and non-fish seafood. And we shouldn’t stone people for adultery (John 8:3-11).

    So you’re picking and choosing which commands you want to keep, which is what I wrote in the first place.

    These things were first commanded by God for specific purposes such as to protect his people and express his hatred of sin.

    How does a command not to eat pig meat protect anyone? Expressing hatred, well, what makes you think that God has stopped hating?

    But we don’t treat it as legalistically as it was in Biblical times.

    Right, you pick and choose which commands you like, and reject the ones you don’t. And you say that God changed his mind, so you can disobey God’s old commands, if you don’t like them.

    God has expressed and revealed his character in different ways and at different times in history (wrath, love, anger, compassion, strength, humility, strict, permissive, etc.).

    So God changed his mind.

    There are times when he treated disobedience very harshly, and other times when he shows great patience over many ages.

    So God acts on whim.

  146. #146 Owlmirror
    December 24, 2011

    but there are other examples of God justly putting people to death, such as Uzzah when he reached out to steady the ark of the covenant.

    “Justice” does not include treating people wickedly (causing harm, distress, or trouble), as God did to Uzzah.

    God’s anger burned against him because he defiled the ark

    Because God’s things are so easily defiled?

    God is so holy

    What does “holy” mean?

    that he cannot stand sin being in his presence.

    So, God is not omnipotent?

    But in God’s eyes it was worse for a man to touch the ark and defile it than it would have been had the ark fallen on the ground and gotten dirty or broke.

    Because getting dirty or broken doesn’t defile anything? If it had gotten dirty or broken, they should have just left it like that?

    God is very serious about sin and disobedience

    Yet Christians have no problem with disobeying God, by claiming that God changed his mind.

    God can certainly put anyone to death for any sinful action,

    Maybe that’s why Christians die — they sin by claiming that disobeying God is OK, because God changed his mind.

  147. #147 Owlmirror
    December 24, 2011

    Because God knew the inhabitants of the promised land would end up intermarrying with the Israelites and cause them to start worshiping other gods

    If God were actually real, why would the Israelites do that? Why wouldn’t the inhabitants convert to worshipping God?

    All God would have to do is speak up and tell the Israelites, and the Canaanites, that they were getting it wrong. Do a few flashy miracles, and there you go.

    What kind of incompetent God relies on genocide rather than miracles?

    God allowed the Israelites to disobey him on many occasions

    Instead of making it clear what his commands were? God is really incompetent, according to you.

    It’s almost funny that you suppose the inhabitants were more powerful than God and that God feared them, which is obviously absurd,

    But God did fear them. He was so scared of them he killed them rather than try to talk to them.

    considering that God is all powerful and has expressed his power many times over.

    God hasn’t expressed his power, ever. All there are is people claiming that God has done so.

    But when he shows restraint you still mock him.

    God doesn’t show restraint. God acts on whim.

    God does show his patience by allowing man to sin and suffer the consequences of sin so that we can learn from it and grow in maturity.

    Since God’s commands are often arbitrary, we cannot learn anything from them, or grow into anything.

    In fact all things work for the good of those who know God

    Obviously not. Adam and Eve knew God, and it didn’t work out so good for them.

    even when we can’t see what good can come from bad situations, such as a loved one dying.

    If you can’t see what the good was, you cannot claim that there even was any good.

  148. #148 Owlmirror
    December 24, 2011

    I don’t need to make excuses for God’s wrath.

    Yet here you are, doing just that.

    If you think he’s wrong, then put him on trial and condemn him to death… wait, we did that already

    Obviously false. God was not put on trial. That was Jesus.

    I’ve previously defined sin as disobedience to God.

    Right. But sin — obedience — has nothing to do with cruelty or injustice or wickedness or hate.

    So while you say that God doesn’t sin, that means that God can be cruel and/or unjust and/or wicked, and/or hateful — and not sin.

    But your definition of cruel is not the same as God’s definition.

    True; my definition of cruelty reflects what effect God’s actions actually have on people. God does not seem to care.

    It’s not cruel when God puts someone to death for a sin because the wages of sin is death

    Actually, it is cruel, because it is needless. God doesn’t need to kill people, so doing so on a whim is cruel.

    So he’s actually committing justice when he puts someone to death for their sin, not cruelty.

    It is not just, and it is cruel, because it is needless.

    Humans are cruel because when they murder they’re doing it out of evil motives.

    God’s motives must be very evil, since when he murders, he knowingly condemns his victims to eternal torture.

  149. #149 Owlmirror
    December 24, 2011

    God does it for our ultimate good

    Obviously false. Eternal torture cannot possibly be called “our ultimate good”. Indeed, it is our ultimate evil.

    because he wants us to live in righteousness

    So, why doesn’t he just let us live in righteousness? He can supposedly do anything, after all.

    which will only happen to those who love him after we pass away and shed our earthly bodies.

    So, you only find out if you were wrong after you die. Maybe you don’t really love God. Maybe you love what you think is God, but is really just a mistake you’re making. Maybe you love only yourself; or an idea in your own head.

    And God will condemn you to eternal torture for getting it wrong.

    For example, do you condemn a father for commanding his child not to cross the street without an adult, even though the father and other adults may cross the street on his own?

    That’s a stupid analogy. God’s commands are often arbitrary, not like not crossing the street.

    How is touching the ark like crossing the street, when the only danger is from God cruelly killing the one who disobeys?

    But in reality the father gives this command in the best interest of the child, because he loves the child and doesn’t want him to be harmed.

    But God is not like a loving parent, because he does kill people and torture them forever. He doesn’t have our best interests at heart, and wants most people to be very badly harmed.

    If, however, the child disobeys his father, the child could end up dying because of his disobedience.

    The only way harm comes to us from disobedience is from God’s direct or indirect action.

    Or if the child is unharmed after the incident, the father has a right and obligation to discipline his child for disobeying him so that the child learns not to make the same mistake again.

    If the parent were like God, the father would torture the child to death for no other reason than for disobeying. The street remains completely empty, or the only one who ever drives on it is the father — who will gladly and cruelly run over his own child if he sees the child on the street.

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