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God’s anger and jealousy prove his unfailing “love”

One of the more bizarre aspects of Christian belief is the way it turns fundamental concepts like love and goodness completely inside out, to the evidently enthusiastic support of the faithful. I have been in an on-again, off-again discussion with a Christian called SuperFlyingNick on YouTube, and here he makes the following case for God’s love. Does any of this strike you as internally contradictory and self-refuting?

I am not surprised that you feel that my God is made up in the minds of men. I’ve heard plenty of people say that.

And I understand that the Bible says God made man in His own image. However, the characteristics you described to me are very unique to God. I’m not saying that humans can’t be loving and so forth, but God’s love is genuine and unfailing – something humans will never posses. God is jealous because he doesn’t want you to have any other gods before him (he wants your attention). His mercy is the fruit of his love, and his anger goes along with his jealousy and how humans can be disobedient.

If you really think about it, God’s characteristics are pure and genuine.

And I respond:

I confess to being utterly baffled at the way in which Christians are willing to accept jealous anger as some sort of indicator of “genuine, unfailing love.” Is it truly the benchmark of “genuine” love that it comes with a jealousy and possessiveness that erupts into anger if the love is not returned? I cannot for the life of me think so. This is more like the love of an abusive spouse. If a man told a woman, “Honey, I love you, but so help me, if I ever see you so much as look at another man, I’ll break your neck,” most people would not consider that any kind of love, least of all “genuine” and “unfailing,” and indeed they would do all they could to convince the woman in question to leave that man as fast as possible. But when their God essentially behaves the same way, erupting with jealous wrath and consigning people to eternal torment for failing to reciprocate his “love”, Christians seem to think this is all A-OK. One rule for people, another for your God, apparently.

I cannot see any reason to declare my allegiance to anyone — deity or otherwise — simply because not to do so means they’ll be angry with me and hurt me. For one thing, on God’s part, that isn’t love, merely power and control, and on my part, it wouldn’t be love either, merely fear. That Christianity has persuaded millions of its followers to be convinced that power, control and fear are all examples of “loving” behavior is deeply disturbing, as they really distort what love really means out of all recognition. Doing something because you fear being hurt otherwise is known as terrorism.

In any case, it makes no sense that, if God is — as Christians describe — a “perfect” being, that any lack of attention or obedience from me or anyone else could matter to it at all. For God to be perfect means that there is nothing you could possibly add to him to improve him in any way, nor is there anything you could deny him that would damage that perfection. No perfect divine being would care what I felt about him any more than I would care what the ants crawling on my windowsill think about me. For God to be described as perfect on one hand, and jealous, angry and wrathful on the other is an oxymoron. And anything that contradicts itself cannot exist.

PS: This is the AE blog’s 500th post. Yee!

Comments

  1. says

    Related to this, cdk007, a youtuber who has an excellent series of videos on both cosmology and refuting creationist arguments, posted this video”Is religion battered woman’s syndrome?”http://youtube.com/watch?v=ew3x4L-2b2sThe parallels are startling.

  2. says

    I must suggest Christians and Atheist to read this book “The End of Reason” by Dr. Ravi Zacharias. This book forces the reader’s mind to do the critical thinking that is so lacking in Christianity today. It should also be considered required reading for the atheist who has never really looked at a logical argument for the existence of God, or the Christian who has never really critically analyzed his own faith. Check out more information on The End of Reason here

  3. says

    We’re talking Ravi Zacharias of the Christian Apologetics site (http://www.rzim.org/)?His wiki entry (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ravi_Zacharias) is also entertaining. Somehow I doubt his arguments are very logical or critical. Oh – surprise, he’s a creationist as well. Bases loaded with that one. Maybe if I got his book for free, I might waste time, but I have far too many interesting books on my plate to read yet another rehash of apologetic arguments.For good reading, go with George Smith, David Mills, or Nicholas Everett (to pull a few off my shelf that were good).

  4. says

    Perfect response, and it amazes me that such an analogy has to be drawn for them and that it’s not obvious. Quite amazing to behold the power of delusion.Damn, how many blogs are you going to post the same plug, jaajoe?

  5. says

    The reason you don’t care about the ants on your windowsill is because you did not create them. You are not omnipresent, and you don’t know what they are thinking, feeling or doing. God knows your heart and desires. He knows what you yearn for, unlike what you know about the ants. It is a great misconception that God is so big and powerful that he doesn’t care about you or what you’re doing. He CREATED you, therefore YOU are very important to Him. It is true that the bible says God is jealous, but it is not in the same way you and I might think of jealousy. Exodus 20:5 describes God’s jealousy, and Galations 5:20 describe the sin jealousy. We are looking at two different jealousies. As human beings, we become jealous over other people’s posessions, appearances, etc, which is not the same as God’s jealousy. When we look at Exodus 20:2-5, we find that it is not that God is jealous or envious because someone has something He wants that He does not possess. Exodus 20:4-5 says, “You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; you shall not bow down to them nor serve them. For I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God…” Notice that in this verse God is talking about being jealous if someone gives something that belongs to Him to another.The bible does not contradict itself. It would not (and does not) tell us that God is allowed to be a certain way, but we should not have that characteristic. We ought to pursue God and want to have our hearts molded to be more like his. It wouldn’t make sense for God to say, “yeah, you need to be like me, except for the jealousy part”. The verses on the sin jealousy and God’s jealousy show completely different jealousies.Give it some thought. :)-Kristen

  6. Martin says

    It is a great misconception that God is so big and powerful that he doesn’t care about you or what you’re doing. He CREATED you, therefore YOU are very important to Him.Then it should be an absurdly simple matter for this God to make his existence known to me and inform me of this. That he does not do so is puzzling, if I am so important to him. And let’s not try to bring in the whole “he can’t make himself known to you because you aren’t opening your heart to him” nonsense. That’s a completely irrelevant factor. There are many things in life of whose existence I am made aware every day, and “opening my heart” is never a necessary part of the process. An omnipotent being should have no trouble.Anyway, my analogy about the ants is simply to make this point: if God is a perfect, all-powerful being, then he is complete in himself, and creating miserable flawed humans such as ourselves to worship him is logically inconsistent with that idea. If God had to create us, then he was imperfect and incomplete at the time, and if he requires our worship today, then he is still imperfect and incomplete. And why worship a God with those kinds of hang-ups and insecurities, regardless of whether or not he created us?As human beings, we become jealous over other people’s posessions, appearances, etc, which is not the same as God’s jealousy…. [snip] Notice that in this verse God is talking about being jealous if someone gives something that belongs to Him to another.Ultimately the distinction doesn’t matter. If God is simply insisting that we give credit where it’s due in deciding he’s the right god to worship, the point still stands: a god who demands worship of the beings he creates out of “jealousy” is an imperfect god. And one who goes the extra step in consigning to eternal torture those who choose (on the reasonable grounds that he refuses to provide clear and unambiguous proof of his existence) not to worship him has crossed the line into evil. It doesn’t matter that God’s jealousy, as you try to explain, is different just because God’s wants are different than human wants. And that doesn’t make his violent threats more morally permissible. The upshot is the same: he’s making demands upon people and backing them up with threats of violence. This is not love. And arguing that God somehow has a “right” to be this way because he’s God and created us still doesn’t make it love. Rather, the argument becomes that we have to worship God because he’s the biggest, baddest bully in the universe. He’s fundamentally no different form the abusive spouse — only on an infinitely larger scale.(Fortunately, God doesn’t exist, so we don’t have to worry about any of this. But it’s all in aid of illustrating what a morally suspect belief system Christianity really is.)The bible does not contradict itself.Actually it does. Quite a bit.We ought to pursue God and want to have our hearts molded to be more like his.Even if I were able to believe in an all-powerful being that tortures people for eternity for not worshiping him to his satisfaction, I would in no way want my heart molded to be anything like his.The verses on the sin jealousy and God’s jealousy show completely different jealousies.Yes, and God’s is worse.Thanks for dropping by.

  7. says

    I think I see your singular distinction Kristen, and it hangs on creation. Essentially what you’re arguing is that since he made us, he can do whatever he wants with us. Also, since everything is his, his jealousy from us refusing to love him is different than our jealousy of say our neighbor’s new car because that love is rightfully his. So since he made everything, everything is his, and if we don’t let him have it, THAT is the root of his jealousy. Is that the crux of your argument Kristen?

  8. says

    Summary if Kristen by PhillyChief:”…So since he made everything, everything is his, and if we don’t let him have it, THAT is the root of his jealousy. Is that the crux of your argument Kristen?”I would add to that summary: “and he (God) is totally without any responsibility for any shortcomings in his creation; his act of creation was perfect, without any flaws…”So, being so perfect a creation by such a perfect Diety, we do not have standing to ask pesky questions (e.g. question His request for human sacrifice to Him, like Abraham was asked for, or question actual submission of animal sacrifice, or slavery, or etc…) — We just should drop to our knees, or….go to Hell!

  9. says

    The reason you don’t care about the ants on your windowsill is because you did not create them.Okay Kristen. But we do create characters in computer programs, and we don’t expect our computer creations to worship us.As an aside, when I was watching one of the extras on one of the Lord of the Rings extended DVD movies, Peter Jackson was talking about how they created computer armies that could act independently on the battlefield. When they ran the first of the program, one of the armies fled from the battlefield.

  10. says

    Anyone who believes in God needs to look at the picture taken by the Voyager spacecraft of the Earth as a tiny speck, immortalised in Carl Sagan’s haunting words: “a mote of dust, suspended in a sunbeam.”

  11. says

    Love is irrational. God's love is unconditional, unfailing and unending. God's anger and jealousy is only released on those who abuse His love.. its important to note that when you truly accept God's love and allow it to penetrate your heart, you never see God the same way again. His amazing, abundant love causes you to only respond with love, if you've ever been loved by a girlfriend or boyfriend, the only thing you want to do back to them is love them. With God it's the same, but we as humans can often be hypocrites and say we love God but our actions don't line up with that fact. For if we love God why do we still hold grudges against our friends and enemies? If we love God why do we participate in things we know God hates like stealing, murdering, hurting other people intentionally…?And on top of that if we refuse to tell God we've done stupid things and we're sincerely sorry for hurting our relationship with Him, then that's rejecting God's love. And in return God's anger slowly builds until we've rejected God's love a million times…so we bring God's anger upon ourselves, because God would quickly forgive if we just said sorry and accepted His divine love, trusting in His love to be the only thing we need to live in this broken world.Remember, that God's unfailing love means it is unfailing, God responds to the condition of our heart, whether its genuine or just complete darkness…I hope everyone who accepts the love of God and says they do will not settle for a surface-level love but the deepest, richest, most satisfying experience of love which can take away your fears, anxieties, addictions, cravings, pain, guilt, etc.GOD IS LOVE.

  12. says

    The Bible. There's your evidence. It's been historically and archaeologically proven as accurate. Every writer in those days were extremely careful to write copies out word for word so they didn't make any errors.God's anger and jealousy doesn't prove his unfailing love but can be an extension of it..because when you're angry of your close friend getting drunk and hungover every weekend for example, your love and concern for your friend getting lung problems and overdosing on alcohol or possibly dying causes your anger to then try correct their bad habits.God is similar, He doesn't instantly get angry because He gives us many chances to make mistakes for we're human, but His anger builds when we start doing things or thinking things that are damaging to our health – whether it be physically or spiritually. He loves and cares for us so He is willing to correct us if we ask..If you dont believe in God, check the Bible – there's your evidence. From my perspective, I think it's impossible to "prove" that God exists through a logical argument because how can we as humans who are not all-knowing, think that it's possible to comprehend a God whom we claim is meant to be all-knowing?That is a flaw in the argument.

  13. says

    Tommy said…"Okay Kristen. But we do create characters in computer programs, and we don't expect our computer creations to worship us."I reckon, if you created a character in a computer program you actually do expect them to "worship" you, because you want your character to do everything you command, to act this way, or turn left, etc. you leave your character no choice but to worship your every desire.God is different in the sense that He gives us a choice. He didn't makes us robots, obviously, because no one forced you to post a comment or whatever else you did today. God doesn't force us to worship Him, worship to God isn't about rules and bowing and praying, its about love.

  14. says

    Su Pheng said The Bible. There's your evidence. It's been historically and archaeologically proven as accurate. The Bible is also evidence for the existence of dragons and of unicorns. It's evidence that the sun revolves around the earth. It's evidence that slavery is acceptable and that female equality is not."Accurate" is a slippery term. Archaeology can confirm the existence of the Sea of Galilee, but it can't confirm that two men walked on it. I invite you to read Finkelstein's The Bible Unearthed to learn more of what modern archaeology has discovered regarding Biblical texts.Every writer in those days were extremely careful to write copies out word for word so they didn't make any errors.This is not correct. While some Biblical copyists were careful to make exact copies, they were often copying from error-filled texts to begin with. What's more, a copy of an error yields two errors.Furthermore, in many periods of early Christian history, copyists were little more than trained amateurs, not professional scribes. See Bart Ehrman's Misquoting Jesus to see how errors and additions were added to Biblical texts on a wide basis.how can we as humans who are not all-knowing, think that it's possible to comprehend a God whom we claim is meant to be all-knowing?That is a flaw in the argument.When I was a child, my father was more knowledgeable than I was. Despite that disparity, his love for me and even his very existence were never in question. If God truly is all-knowing, then he should know how to make his existence as evident as my own father's existence.Yes, the Bible is a kind of evidence, but it is a weak source of evidence, and God should know that.

  15. says

    I'll have to look at that book "the bible unearthed" some time. But it doesn't explain how the Dead Sea scrolls were recently found in Qumran which contained many of the writings identicial to the book of Isaiah from before Jesus was on Earth. Have a look at http://www.allaboutarchaeology.org/dead-sea-scrolls-2.htm"in many periods of early Christian history, copyists were little more than trained amateurs, not professional scribes."From a source Ive read, "Inspired Stuff" by Peter Downey and Ben Shaw, it is believed that scribes were a highly valued and important profession. Thus they went through great lengths to ensure accuracy of copying page by page."If God truly is all-knowing, then he should know how to make his existence as evident as my own father's existence."I have to ask, can you provide evidence for the origins of the universe? If you and I, were not there to physically see it, how can we know and make evident the reason behind the earths existence?Perhaps there is an element of faith involved? Or perhaps there is something wrong on our part?Thinking back to your father analogy. You said "If God truly is all-knowing, then he should know how to make his existence as evident as my own father's existence."How did your father show his existence to you apart from being physically present? He probably provided a house for you to live in, made you food to eat, drove you to school, etc.See your dad could have done all these things for you, but that doesn't prove he loved you. He could have been doing all those things because someone paid him a million dollars to adopt you and look after you for the rest of your life.. So what if God provided us with trees for oxygen, a sun to keep the ecosystem running and for light, to show us He loves us.The difference between these two scenarios is that you believed your father loved you. but you don't believe God loves you or that He even exists because maybe you are majorly focussed on disproving His existence, than looking for evidence that does prove it…God's biggest proof or example of His love and existence is through Jesus Christ. Which is why the book of Isaiah – if you believe that book to be the only true book in the bible – is so important because it prophesies the coming of Jesus Christ.I would encourage you to read Lee Strobel's The Case for Christ.(Sorry I don't know how to do that link thingy that allows you to click on it and go straight to the site)…

  16. says

    Hello, Su Pheng.it doesn't explain how the Dead Sea scrolls were recently found in Qumran which contained many of the writings identicial to the book of Isaiah from before Jesus was on Earth.The Dead Sea Scrolls are an important piece of the puzzle in textual criticism. Prior to their discovery, the oldest copies of Hebrew manuscripts dated to the ninth century AD. The Dead Sea Scrolls push that back to the second century AD, over a hundred years after the life of Jesus. While some of the scrolls are nearly identical to traditional Hebrew scripture, other scrolls of Exodus and Samuel show significant differences in content and language from what we read in our Bibles today.But essentially, the Dead Sea Scrolls are one more copy of ancient documents now lost to us. If I write "2 + 2 = 5" and someone faithfully copies it, all that proves is that my original document was accurately copied. If my original document is lost, scholars can use the copy to determine what I originally wrote, but an accurate copy doesn't guarantee the original is correct. Only if we begin with the assumption that no one ever wrote anything down unless it was completely trustworthy does the idea that faithful copies mean the source is correct, and that assumption is not justified.From a source Ive read, "Inspired Stuff" by Peter Downey and Ben Shaw, it is believed that scribes were a highly valued and important profession. Thus they went through great lengths to ensure accuracy of copying page by page.As in any profession, not all scribes and copyists are created equal. During periods when Christianity was strong and supported by the state, the scribal profession was filled with professionals who used careful controls when creating their works. At other times, say, when Christianity was in its infancy, filled with largely illiterate people wary of discrimination and outright persecution, these controls were not in place. Copyists were more concerned with getting as many copies made and distributed than they were with accuracy. What complicates the problem is that the amateurs' copies are older than the professionals'. Again, see Ehrman's work "Misquoting Jesus" for clear examples of professional scribes making copies from amateur works which we now know to be inaccurate.I have to ask, can you provide evidence for the origins of the universe? If you and I, were not there to physically see it, how can we know and make evident the reason behind the earths existence? Perhaps there is an element of faith involved? Or perhaps there is something wrong on our part?I wasn't there to observe my grandfather being conceived, but I know that it happened, because we've learned a thing or two about biology. I don't know what occurred prior to the Big Bang, but no one does, and we may never know. Cosmologists are working on the problem however, and you are welcome to join us in the search. But they don't rely on faith or wishful thinking. They only use reason and evidence to uncover the secrets of the universe, and they don't consider the answer "I don't know" to mean that something's wrong with us.See your dad could have done all these things for you, but that doesn't prove he loved you. He could have been doing all those things because someone paid him a million dollars to adopt you and look after you for the rest of your life.I suppose he could have, but there's no evidence for that. And until there is evidence as such, the more probable scenario is that my father shows love to me because he loves me. I'm confident of that because his actions are remarkably similar to other fathers who love their children–surely not every loving father is being paid to fake it.

  17. says

    Due to character limits, I had to break up my reply.So what if God provided us with trees for oxygen, a sun to keep the ecosystem running and for light, to show us He loves us.It's possible, but that scenario is identical to a naturalistic one, one in which a ball of gas conducts nuclear fusion providing light and energy to a rocky orb filled with oxygen-excreting plant life. Adding a supernatural being to the picture complicates the scenario unnecessarily.By turns, if an earthly father provided his children with food and shelter, but never spoke to the children, never hugged them, never spent time with them in the same room, but only wrote a long series of letters before the children were born giving them instructions on how to live, we might conclude that such an absentee father doesn't love his children as much as he might claim.maybe you are majorly focussed on disproving His existence, than looking for evidence that does prove it…I have never tried to disprove God's existence because I know it would be an impossibility. What I take issue with is the positive claims of those who believe in God. Either their evidence for God is non-existent, or it is contradictory, or it can be explained by more common natural means.God's biggest proof or example of His love and existence is through Jesus Christ. Which is why the book of Isaiah – if you believe that book to be the only true book in the bible – is so important because it prophesies the coming of Jesus Christ.Isaiah prophesied to King Ahaz, who was worried that his enemies were uniting against him. Isaiah assured Ahaz that a young woman would conceive and give birth to a baby, and before the baby was very old, God would save Judah from destruction (Isaiah 7). The prophecy was fulfilled in the very next chapter when Isaiah had sex with a prophetess and she gave birth to a son named Mahershalalhashbaz (Chapter 8). Only Christians believe that Isaiah was referring to a person born over 700 years later and would be of no use whatsoever to Ahaz. In modern terms, this would be equivalent to Rick Warren telling President Obama, "Don't worry about the Taliban; one day Captain Kirk will save the Earth from Klingons." While that prophesy may one day be fulfilled, it is of no use to a modern-day listener.At any rate, Isaiah's prophesy went nowhere. Ahaz appealed to Assyria for assistance, who captured much of Judah and deported its people. Ahaz died in disgrace and humiliation.I would encourage you to read Lee Strobel's The Case for Christ.I have read The Case for Christ and found it to be of poor quality. Strobel interviews several Christians and zero skeptics, even when the Christians criticize the skeptics. Strobel asks some standard difficult questions, but he accepts any answer as sufficient, even when the Christians contradict each other within the book itself. Strobel's works appeal to an already-converted laity, but have nothing to offer to thoughtful skeptics. Here's an excellent review of Strobel's work.Creating clickable links is tricky but makes for a neater presentation. Start by typing ' Then type the words you want to be clicked. Then finish with .

  18. says

    You give an interesting argument. However, I'm also interested to know why you believe what you believe. Did you grow up in an atheist family? Or was that your choice as you grew up? And have you ever experienced a church environment or have any christian friends?As you said -"the more probable scenario is that my father shows love to me because he loves me. I'm confident of that because his actions are remarkably similar to other fathers who love their children"Could this not be the same for christians and God? For I know that my Father (God) loves me because He's shown me He loves me through the challenges He's helped me through in life and promises to continually help me. And He helps me because I ask Him to, not because He forces it upon me.Also how can we otherwise explain the many 'miracles' that happen all around the world such as divine healings, blind people seeing again, mute people speaking? Reinhard Bonnke does these things in Africa even as i'm writing this comment. Christians believe in the power of the Holy Spirit. No we cannot physically prove He is real, but we can experience and feel His presence.I realise this may sound silly from your point of view, but its like this: if you told me that eating bread with banana, vegemite, chocolate and ice cream was the most delicious thing you've ever tasted, I would think as if! Because I've never experienced it before. Even if you provided me with all the evidence that the sourness of the vegemite balances the sweetness of the chocolate, and the ice cream cools the toast down, etc… it still would not be enough to convince me that what you are saying is true. Until i've tasted it myself and agree that its good.This is what our argument sounds like, you providing evidence against God, me providing evidence for Him. But the difference is, I've experienced life without God before, and I've also experienced life with God after choosing to believe and find out for myself whether He's real or not. And so i have come to my conclusion that life with God is the fullest life I've ever tasted/experienced. But it seems on your end, you have only experienced one side and lack any experience with God… So wouldn't this make you curious to seek not just evidence that He is or is not real, but an experience of this Holy Spirit and His love?Thus, God's love comes down to experiencing it for yourself, if you've never asked God to reveal Himself if He is real, you'll never find out. However, you can't ask and expect not to be answered, because theres no faith in that.I'm simply looking at this argument from a different angle, because life isn't merely about head knowledge, isnt it also about experiential/empirical knowledge?

  19. says

    Hello, Su Pheng.I'm also interested to knowwhy you believe what you believe. Did you grow up in an atheist family? Or was that your choice as you grew up? And have you ever experienced a church environment or have any christian friends?Yes, I was raised in a loving Christian home. I prayed the Sinner's Prayer at age seven and was baptized. I attended Private Christian schools from elementary through college and attended church faithfully until my mid-thirties. I've led Sunday School, went on Mission Trips, and led other people to Jesus. In my early thirties I made a serious attempt to witness to Atheists, and their responses and challenges forced me to re-examine my beliefs. When I was 33, I deconverted from Christianity. Today, my wife, son, and closest friends are all committed Christians.Keep that in mind. Not only have I heard many of your arguments before–I used to employ them myself.Could this not be the same for christians and God? For I know that my Father (God) loves me because He's shown me He loves me through the challenges He's helped me through in life and promises to continually help me. And He helps me because I ask Him to, not because He forces it upon me.Yes, it could be that you experience a tangible relationship with a supernatural being, but what evidence do you have for that? Remember that people of other religions have similar experiences, and yet because the religions are mutually exclusive, they can't all be true. Even atheists such as myself have emotional and personal experiences that there is no God.For that matter, it could be that the reason you have challenges in your life is because you are being manipulated by aliens who are studying human behavior. Or you are actually a computer program designed to test a new Artificial Intelligence module. Or you are a brain in a vat. All of these are possible explanations for what we feel. But without evidence for any of these scenarios, it doesn't make sense to cling to one and reject the others simply because the culture you are a part of encourages and rewards belief in God.Personal experience is not a reliable method to discover truth. Our senses can be fooled. Our emotions are easily manipulated. Our interpretation of our feelings can be skewed. It's far better to rely on reason and evidence to explore and discover our world.

  20. says

    Also how can we otherwise explain the many 'miracles' that happen all around the world such as divine healings, blind people seeing again, mute people speaking? Reinhard Bonnke does these things in Africa even as i'm writing this comment.The Argument from Miracles is tricky. If I told you that a Muslim healed a blind man, would you convert to Islam? What if I told you a man suffering from demon possession was cured with a prescription of lithium to balance his brain chemistry? What if I told you of a healer who told a man his cancer was cured, and the patient shortly died thereafter? All of these problems must be taken into account before relying on miracles to prove your particular flavor of religious belief.But the difference is, I've experienced life without God before, and I've also experienced life with God after choosing to believe and find out for myself whether He's real or not. And so i have come to my conclusion that life with God is the fullest life I've ever tasted/experienced.That may work well for you. But I too have experience both scenarios, and I can assure you that I find life without God or religion to be richer and more satisfying. So now what?if you've never asked God to reveal Himself if He is real, you'll never find out. However, you can't ask and expect not to be answered, because theres nofaith in that.Believe me, I've begged God to reveal himself to me, particularly during my deconversion process. I was terrified of living a life without God. But he never did, and now I see my fears were for naught. I'm a happy atheist, plain and simple.

  21. says

    Wow it sounds like quite a journey. "I was raised in a loving Christian home. I prayed the Sinner's Prayer at age seven and was baptized. I attended Private Christian schools from elementary through college and attended church faithfully until my mid-thirties. I've led Sunday School, went on Mission Trips, and led other people to Jesus."It sounds like you've had a very blessed childhood and some crazy experiences up till your thirties. But what was your motive for doing all those things? Was it because that's all you knew to do, your parents influence or maybe force in making you go to church and you thought that was all life was about? To me that's a shallow faith, see i wasn't so lucky to grow up in a loving, supporting, christian family. It was abusive, violent, and i grew up very insecure and fearful. I could have easily gone on to live my life the way it was, going through mediocre everyday activities, the mentality these days is just go to school, get a good education, go to a good uni, get a good job, earn a good income, live your life. I was perfectly satisfied with that.Till one day I seriously thought what is my purpose on this earth? I visited afew churches, moved around to different youth groups,and genuinely sought to discover whether what they were teaching us about God and Jesus was true. Now, at the end of the day, no matter how many arguments come against God is real, I rely on my faith from the day I believed God loved me beyond any comprehension, and when i accepted that love and allowed it changed me from my heart first to my actions. I didn't even do anything to change my behaviour so it was "more christian", i simply received this love that i'd never felt or experienced before and suddenly everything had meaning. "In my early thirties I made a serious attempt to witness to Atheists, and their responses and challenges forced me to re-examine my beliefs. When I was 33, I deconverted from Christianity. Today, my wife, son, and closest friends are all committed Christians."When atheists respond to my faith, it doesn't make me re-examine my beliefs, it challenges me to make it stronger."Personal experience is not a reliable method to discover truth. Our senses can be fooled. Our emotions are easily manipulated. Our interpretation of our feelings can be skewed. It's far better to rely on reason and evidence to explore and discover our world." I would say you are right here to an extent, science and philosophy was created for a good reason, but if we only relied on reason and evidence then how would we ever explain our love for our friends and family? Because love isn't just a feeling, its a choice. And I don't base my faith on a feeling, I base it on the many experiences I've had with God in reading His Word and when I'm walking down the street thinking about how much He loves me. (The fullest extent of His love for me is when Jesus laid down His life out of His own choice because He loved us so much to let sin stand in the way of us knowing Him)I'm sure this is bringing a lot of things to your rememberance…When things do not make sense, that's when I step back in humility and say i dont need to know everything. If we knew everything and how to explain and reason everything, where's the excitement in life and the spontaneity in adventure?I would rather live for a God and discover that He's not real when I die than not live for a God and discover HE is so real.I don't rely on my feelings. As i've said before, the Bible is my guide. And as you know the Bible isn't merely a book, the Holy Spirit speaks to us through it and reveals the truth.

  22. says

    I'm sorry I don't have the most intellectual, elaborate arguments with brilliant scientific evidence to support what I'm saying. But I am doing my research and I'm sure it will challenge and strengthen my faith, not make me question and doubt it. I'm still learning about this as I'm only 17, but I know what I believe now, and only intend to grow in my personal knowledge (not just head knowledge but knowledge that impacts the way i live my faith) and do what Jesus did, simply love and help people.I really do hope and pray that you reconsider your faith, you said "I've begged God to reveal himself to me, particularly during my deconversion process. I was terrified of living a life without God. But he never did, and now I see my fears were for naught."It sounds like your fears were mixed up. Perhaps you were more fearful that God wouldn't show Himself than fearful that He is who He says He is. I've found that to be a major blockage between people who believe in God and don't seem to find it. I've questioned God why this happens, and I reckon the answer lies in the person's heart. If you genuinely pray, and genuinely seek (meaning surrender both sides of the spectrum that God could be real or could not) but not testing Him because He has nothing to prove other than He loves you. If you genuinely ask Him to show you how much He loves you, (and this would take a lot of shifting your thoughts because you've been highly skewed to see the negatives in God rather than the possibilities and positives) I promise you will find Him.And if your response is simply no you've given up, then I'm sorry for your confusion and hope that one day you see the truth.I hope this has maybe openned your mind again to reexamining your faith, but this time discovering the truth of His Word.

  23. says

    Su, be careful not to criticize my childhood as not being "authentic" Christianity. That's a fallacy called No True Scotsman. I could easily say that your Christianity is shallow because you sought it out merely to avoid the pain of an abusive home. That would be wrong of me to do so, and I would ask the same courtesy.When atheists respond to my faith, it doesn't make me re-examine my beliefs, it challenges me to make it stronger.Well, so far your responses haven't been very well supported. When asked why you believe that God is X, Y, and Z, you cited the Bible. When challenged on the Bible, you concluded that you can feel God in your heart, which is a poor substitute for reason and evidence.Here's an example. Suppose someone said, "Pistachio ice cream is the best food in the world and everyone should love it." When asked why, suppose he said, "The USDA has said so." When challenged on what that means, exactly, suppose the person said, "Well, I may not convince you, but I love pistachio ice cream more than anything, and that's that."So what else is left to talk about? A personal experience with God or with ice cream is exactly that–personal. Tell me you love pistachio all day long, but don't expect me to love it just on your say so. You'd have to bring some facts to the table, such as pistachio cures cancer or it reduces wrinkles, etc. Of course, we'll examine those facts for truth, but that's to be expected.I would rather live for a God and discover that He's not real when I die than not live for a God and discover HE is so real.This is a summary of Pascal's Wager and it isn't very convincing. Here's a demonstration of why you might not really rely on it:Give me one percent of your income for the rest of your life, and I'll make sure you don't die in a forest fire. Will you accept? Isn't one percent of your lifetime income a small price to pay to avoid burning to death? If you don't accept my generous offer, why not?

  24. says

    I'm so sorry. I didn't want to come across rude. I'm really sorry.well, i guess i have lots of research and reading to do.till then, i have one last thought.If your wife (for example, i have no idea whether she does or not..) said she loved you, would you believe her?What evidence do you have other than her "word"? It simply can't be explained by pure intellect, you have to "experience" her love, and see it when she buys you gifts or makes dinner or says she loves you.Couldn't God be the same?Hmmm, i suppose you want evidence?well ill maybe talk to you some other time when ive had a chance to research.Sorry if i offended you. Not my intention.And i didn't seek God because I had an abusive home, i thought it was normal having grown up with it, but school and education taught me otherwise and then i realised my life was going nowhere significant, and what if i died tomorrow, what legacy would i leave? none.But now i live life to love it, love others and help them out practically.

  25. says

    Hello, Su.If your wife said she loved you, would you believe her?What evidence do you have other than her "word"? It simply can't be explained by pure intellect, you have to "experience" her love, and see it when she buys you gifts or makes dinner or says she loves you.Yes, acts of service are one way of expressing love, along with physical contact, time together, verbal affirmations, etc.But God has not done any of those things. God has never told me, "I love you." Only other people have said, "God loves you." I don't trust "feeling him in my heart" because my emotions are unreliable.now i live life to love it, love others and help them out practically.That's great! And you can continue to do those very things. But you don't need God to love life, to love others, and to help them. You can continue to do so without the supernatural belief. Many non-believers do so every day.You said you're seventeen; practically an adult. I assure you that it's common for young people to feel they are drifting purposeless through life with no direction.But you are not a child anymore. It's time to stand on your own two feet, to hold your head up high and declare:"I am a human being. And as a human being, I will no longer be frightened by silly ghost stories. From now on I will accept the world exactly as it is, not as I might wish it to be. And from this day forward, I will dedicate my life to making a Heaven on this Earth, for all men and women to enjoy, not just the chosen few. All around the world people are gripped in despair, in poverty, in disease, and superstition, and they need our help. There is far too much work to be done in this world to spend any time worrying about the next."

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