Sunday, July 30, 2006
Answers for the Hillbilly Atheist: Part 3
This post follows on from part 1 and part 2...
21. Since you believe the bible word for word, why does god offer proof to some and not others (examples include the 400 prophets of Baal who saw the altar of Elijah and Saul of Tarsus on the road to Damascus and good ol' doubting Thomas and by the way, why was he wrong to be skeptical?
Well, you start this one with a false assumption. I don't believe the bible word for word. Sorry. That doesn't mean that I'm not a Christian, or there is no God.
And I have no idea why God apprently does this. Maybe he has different plans for people, and so reveals himself in different ways.
And as for Thomas, where does it say he was wrong to be skeptical? The important thing about Thomas was that when he saw the evidence, he believed it and worshiped. He didn't remain skeptical - that would have been wrong.
22. Why does god choose to torture people forever instead of just snuffing them out of existence?
Torture is such a loaded word. The bible speaks of suffering in hell, not (as far as I am aware) torture. God will not torture people forever, indeed, my understanding of hell is that it is the place where God is not present. So if he's not there, how can he be doing the torturing? Most of our contemporary concepts of hell are rooted in beliefs formed several hundred years after Jesus lived, they are not based on what Jesus said. In other words, our concept of hell is wrong.
23. Why does the bible say that god is not the author of confusion (I Corinthians 14:33) but then says he uses the foolish to confound the wise (I Corinthians 1:27)?
This is a matter of translation. In 1 Cor 14v33 it speaks of order in the church service rather than disorder. Not confusuion in the mental sense. And the 1 Cor 1v27 verse speaks of God using the foolish to 'shame' or 'humble' the wise. Not bring them disorder. The two verses are not speaking about the same thing, so are incomparable.
24. Since god can do whatever he wants why doesn’t he just show up or do a big miracle and end all doubt?
Because he doesn't want to?
25. If you believe god or his angels watch over you, why do little kids get raped and killed, is god/the angel having an off day?
For whatever reason (and I have no answer on that one), God has chosen to do everything through people. Even if you go back to the miraculous events in Exodus, for example the parting of the red sea, God didn't just part the water for the Israelites, he gave Moses the power to part the water, and it was Moses who did it. I can think of no 'intervention' on the part of God in the bible where he does not act through a person.
Thus, if no person (and by this I mean one of his followers) is there, he doesn't (or possibly can't!) act.
In almost all instances of the appearance of angels in the bible, they act purely as messengers, not participants. The idea of a 'guardian angel' is not biblical.
26. Why does god protect some and not others if he is not a respecter of persons for instance protecting someone from a burglar but not protecting someone else?
Don't know. Why do burglars choose to burgle some houses and not others?
27. If god really healed Joe blow of cancer, why then do others die from cancer even if they pray, does god not like these people as much?
Why do you think that death is a bad thing? Paul said 'to die is gain' - maybe it is. Maybe those who died had done everything they were supposed to do, maybe those who were cured had more still to do.
28. why is it that when a bad thing such as a potential robbery is averted, god gets the credit, but when the robbery is successful freewill is to blame?
Human nature. We interpret the events, not God.
29. How is god love when he demands our servitude or be burned in hell, and how does this play into the freewill argument?
God made you for a reason. If you choose not to do your part then you are no use in God's plan. Why shouldn't he throw you in the trash? If you had a car which wouldn't go and was not fixable, you'd get rid of it, right?
And maybe, just maybe, those who choose to reject God will find hell (which we certainly have wrong concept of) to be a better place to be than in the presence of God 24/7? Maybe that's where God's love comes into it - not forcing anyone to do what they don't want to do.
30. Why does god need to bribe us with heaven and threaten us with hell if he is so concerned with our freewill choice?
Maybe its not bribery. Maybe he's just saying "this is the way it is, make your choice...". I think God wants you to choose one option over the other, which is why one looks so good, but he doesn't want to force your hand, you need to choose. Why? I have no idea. But I feel another blog post coming on...
Posted by Ricky Carvel at 7:40 AM