1. Hao says

    God has Dissociative Identity Disorder: it explains everything! :) The associated memory loss with the disorder explains why the bible says the Earth is n-thousand years old.

  2. says

    No wonder the poor guy is confused. His Christian correspondent neglected to clear up the whole problem by pointing out the mediating role of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit uses his/her/its[?] powers to reconcile all the contradictions. Oh, and the Holy Spirit = Jesus = Father (sort of; it’s a Trinity thing).

    See? Now it’s simple!

  3. remy says

    I love that video.
    I heard a christian song with the chorus: “The trinity is one.”
    1+1+1=1, So I can’t see why anyone would be confused:)

  4. dwarf zebu says

    No, see, it’s MUCH simpler than the holy spirit thing…

    Jesus loves you, even when you’re in hell. Not enough to get you out, mind.

  5. Damon B. says

    ” The Holy Spirit uses his/her/its[?] powers to reconcile all the contradictions. Oh, and the Holy Spirit = Jesus = Father (sort of; it’s a Trinity thing).”

    Ah, so it’s like the id/ego/superego thing then? Father/Son/Superspirit.

  6. says

    I know Jesus loves me, it just that, well, it hurt to find out He started seeing someone else so soon after. I’m totally over that now though. Look, we knew for a long time that we were no longer in love, and I just want Him to be happy and all and–

    Damn! He’s probably with her right now listening to the Faith No More album that I bought Him.

    Listen, anybody want to come over later and watch When Harry Met Sally? Otherwise I’m just going to get drunk on cheap wine and eat ice cream right out of the carton.

  7. says

    It’s worse than you think, Brownian. A lot worse than mere two-timing. Have you seen the pins and bumper stickers that say “Jesus Loves Me”?

    He got over you really quickly.

    Sorry to be the one to tell you.

    That ice cream thing sounds like a good move, though. No dishes to hassle with later.

  8. says

    As I understand it, the confusion arises from thinking that Hell is where you are sent as punishment. In fact, Hell is simply the state you are in if you do not accept God’s love. You are not sent to Hell, you go there by your own free will and under your own power because you are too, ah, damned proud to accept what God offers.

    Let me add, though, that as far as I’m concerned, the question is moot, because when my body dies, that’s it. I’m not going anywhere, I (that is, the particular thought patterns that self-identify as me) will cease to exist.

    When the hardware quits, the software does not automatically load itself into some Heavenly network cloud.

    But I have to then admit that I’ve heard it argued that this oblivion is, in fact, Hell itself. The only way to gain eternal life, eternal persistence of the self, is to believe in God and accept His love. Again, this is not an arbitrary standard God requires you to meet. If you want to get to the top of the stairs, you must climb the steps.

    This is the pernicious thing about theology: Once you accept the basic premise of God’s existence, or of the afterlife, it’s perfectly possible to create an internally consistent metaphysics. It’s useless to argue about the details of the afterlife, or God’s powers, or what have you. You give the game away when you accept the premise. You have to butch up and refuse to argue the details of a mechanism whose existence has not been proven, which cannot, in fact, even be stated as a falsifiable hypothesis.

    There’s a math puzzle, the details of which I forget at the moment, which involves hiding a divide-by-zero operation. It ends by “proving” that 1=0.

    This kind of Hell v. God’s Love argument founders in the same way: postulationg God’s existence amounts to ignoring a divide-by-zero. Once granted, anything else can be “proven”.

  9. frog says

    So, Damon, if Christianity is simply a projection of Christian’s internal personality structures, what does that mean for atheists?
    For polytheists, it’s pretty clear – weak, distributed ego structures which would make them look like semi-schizophrenics. Jews, overdeveloped superegos with strong compensating ids. Muslims, practical obliterations of the ego by the superego, resulting in intermittent explosive release of id forces. And I won’t even get into Commie and Libertarian S&M issues…

    But your general secular humanist? The ego and superego get along so well, that they aren’t really distinct? The id as a nice puppy? Maybe that’s why we’re so boring to everyone else…

  10. Numad says

    “You are not sent to Hell, you go there by your own free will and under your own power”

    I was going to point out the difference in the phrasing, but it really doesn’t make any substantial difference.

    The rules and conditions of the afterlife are still set by the god of that particular religion. The point stands.

  11. says

    The point is irrelevant. There is no god and there is no afterlife.

    That said, and purely as an exercise in debate:
    Of course any religion is going to have rules; otherwise there would be no point to it.

    A creed of “It doesn’t matter whether you believe in god or not, and it doesn’t matter how you behave; everyone lives on in perpetual bliss” cannot be used to modify people’s behavior, for good or for ill.

    Moreover, such a theology renders human choice and human striving irrelevant, which is demeaning in its own way.

    There is a huge difference between a naive theology that claims God is so petty he punishes you for unbelief; and a theology that claims God loves everybody, and has therefore provided a method for achieving eternal bliss, but you do have to take certain steps on your own as logical prerequisites. (For instance, you must accept God’s love to receive it; He will not force it on you.)

    God will not punish you for stepping off a cliff–but the rules of physics He has established will nevertheless result in your being dashed to pieces on the jagged rocks below.

    See Machiavelli: “God is not willing to do everything, and thus take away our free will and that share of glory which belongs to us.”

    The reason that I’m harping on this is to show that when you start arguing these points, you are arguing on the enemy’s home ground, with his weapons and his rules. Given a well-informed and competent opponent, you will lose, at least in the eyes of the audience, if not your own.

    The argument must be cut off at the root–at the assumption of God’s existence. Move the argument to your ground, and enforce the rules of falsifiable hypothesis: “In principle, what evidence would you accept as proving that God doesn’t exist?”. You will likely not win any converts, but you will not be trapped into fighting ghosts in a hall of mirrors, either.

  12. woozy(who always looks both ways at zebra crossings) says


    Even dividing zero by zero is undefined. Divide-by-zero is meaningless in all contexts.

    Heh. Heh.

    N/M = 0 (assuming M != 0) => N = 0.

    If JESUS is anything at all (a historical figure, some guy, a myth, words on paper, anything at all) then GOD = 0.

    *Occasionally* 0/0 is fudgeably allowed if the zeros are removable singularities. But not really.

    For example if f(x) = x^2 – 1 and g(x) = x – 1. In most situations you could get away with claiming h(x) = f(x)/g(x) = x + 1. But in actuality you must technically say h(x) = x + 1 where x != 1. x = 1 is a removable singularity with limit of h(x) being 2 as x approaches one.

    Hmmm, can we put this into the GOD/JESUS = 0 equation? Let’s see:

    As I showed in another thread: The Whole is equal to the product of its parts.

    So JESUS = GOD = The Father * The Son * The holy spirit = GOD * JESUS * The holy spirit

    So GOD/JESUS = GOD * The holy spirit = JESUS * The holy spirit.

    Now we must express JESUS in terms of x. So

    GOD/jesus(x) = jesus(x)*The holy spirit

    Let x be a person and let LOVE(x,y) be the amount x loves y. Now when you love someone, she is your whole world so

    LOVE(x,y) = y/world(x) where world(x) is x’s whole world.

    so if x loves Jesus

    Love(x, jesus(x)) = jesus(x)/world(x)


    GOD/jesus(x) = LOVE(x, jesus(x))*world(x)*the holy spirit

    Now x is going to go to hell of he doesn’t worship jesus and worshipping jesus is proportional to how much x loves jesus so

    HELL(x) = c*LOVE(x, jesus(x)) where c is a positive constant.

    Hell is the opposite of hell so HEAVEN(x) = 1/HELL(x) so

    GOD/jesus(x) = c*world(x)*the holy spirit/HEAVEN(x)

    My world pales in comparison heaven so when I examine my life I find

    lim x->me c*world(x)*the holy spirit/HEAVEN(x) = 0

    so at x = me jesus(x) is a removable singularity and

    lim x->me GOD/jesus(x) = 0 so GOD = 0.

  13. Numad says


    I’m thoroughly unconvinced.

    It’s possible for a system of religious belief to be internally logically consistent in full, defining its own terms and making its own rules, so that argument against it from the inside would be impossible.

    It’s just not automatically the case. It’s not the case now.

    Your consciously debate friendly sample of theology is only a reformulation of the ‘naive’ theology. You defend the former the same way a ‘competent, well informed opponent’ would defend the latter.

    The appeal to ‘limited cosmogonical configurations’ is notably shared between both hypothetical defences. God is omnipotent and omniscient but at the time of creation there was only a limited number of different universes he could have created.

    God could only create a universe with these rules, or a universe with no rules at all. God could only create a universe in which human beings have this amount of freewill on this selected number of aspects, or create a universe with no freewill. And so on.

    A logical contradiction, between God being omnipotent and between God being severely limited, that’s introduced in order to deflect attention from the original logical contradiction: the given characteristics of creation don’t match the given characteristics of the creator.

    Funny thing is, these internal logical inconsistencies don’t really hinge on much. It’s not incompetence that keeps debating believers from making their belief system actually logically consistent, as it’s not incompetence or an especially naive mindset that makes some religious believers from insisting on the ‘punishment’ aspect.

    Not that these weaknesses to logical arguments make internally arguing against such beliefs any less of a waste of time. I agree that it usually is, but not because of the inherent lack of flaws of theology’s internal logic.

  14. sfcouple says

    I’m beginning to understand the Christian religion: god so loved the world that he (god) sent his only son (or himself) to earth so that he (god) could be killed . In this way god could convince himself to offer forgiveness to mankind–his own creation. Makes perfect sense to me.