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Morality: Defining "good" And "evil"


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#1 Skeptic

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Posted 22 March 2005 - 06:48 AM

How do we objectively define "good"?

Let's say you are dealing with a guy who is willing to contemplate the existence of a deity, but suspects the deity is in fact an evil deity, who perhaps sees himself as good and demands that his creatures do too / is well aware that he is evil, but gets a kind of sadistic satisfaction out of having his creatures think he is actually good (aka the "pulling the wool" theory of divine benevolence).

How would you convince him that YHWH is actually objectively good, without resorting to the circular argument of "if YHWH does it, it must be good"?"

Some notes:

From the discussions on evil so far it would seem that one looks to the Bible in vain for answers of why YHWH allows human/animal suffering.

An approach which could work is to define the "evil" right out of human suffering by asking the existential question "what, objectively, is so bad about human suffering?"...

This relativist line of argument leaves one with the distinct feeling of being "cheated", because anyone who has suffered (physical pain, such as a kidney stone, emotional pain such as seeing a loved-one suffer or death of a loved-one), knows that it doesn't really at "gut-level" help to make light of human suffering in that way.

Human suffering is very real and the majority of people do not enjoy it and if they could remove it altogether from human experience, would in all probability opt to do so. In fact, many people look forward in their religious conviction, to a delivery from human suffering.

Any thoughts?

Edited by Skeptic, 22 March 2005 - 06:55 AM.

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#2 scitsofreaky

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Posted 27 March 2005 - 12:32 AM

Suffering is a part of life, and there isn't anything anyone or any religion can do about it, and most religions realize this (as much as a religion can realize anything). That is why the majority teaches a way to escape suffering after this life.
To me, since suffering is going to happen, it is what we do with it that counts. We can dwell on the suffering and dream about not suffering in the next life (what ever it may be), or we can focus on the here and now, the only thing we have any sort of control over. We can use our suffering to strengthen us, either physically or mentally depending on the kind of suffering. Part of that is not placing the blame for suffering on anything, man, God or otherwise.
(Now for a more eastern veiw)Suffering is just how we react to certain situations, and so if we don't allow ourselves to react in such a way, it may be possible to end suffering. So, perhaps suffering is relative.
Those are just a couple of thoughts I had. I really don't know if either one is "right" or "true." Take what you want.
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#3 Dawn

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Posted 27 March 2005 - 06:33 PM

Your question is way to academic for me to really understand - so forgive me if my few thoughts following are too anecdotal!! (a besetting sin of mine as you have discovered!!)

1) It's what the gospel is all about: one day, the curse (of suffering) will be removed and God will wipe away every tear, there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things will have passed away.

I want to be there to see that don't you? However, it is not unconditional. God has appointed a way through faith in Christ.

YHWH is a HOLY God.

What does holiness mean to you? It is important to think about it.

2) Suffering can be character forming. No-one enjoys it of course. Just look at some of the Psalms how they howled at God and shouted at God in their suffering.

The Lord Jesus Christ suffered: Hebrews 5:8 "Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered"

It's one way in which those who put their faith in Christ learn obedience.
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"Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves" Philippians 2:3

#4 He-man

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Posted 27 March 2005 - 11:23 PM

Skeptic
How do we objectively define "good"?


We don't. God does. It is called "keeping the Commandments".

Why do people suffer?

I am the Eternal, and there is none else. I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the Eternal do all these things. [Isaiah 45:5-7]

This is the continuation of sin and suffering and death. "As in Adam all die, so in Christ shall all be made alive".

For the believer there is some protection available....however to what extent is left for you to discern for yourself.
I do not believe evil shall happen to a believer of good faith!

1 Cor 7:14 For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband: else were your children unclean; but now are they holy.

Heb 2:11 For both he that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified are all of one: for which cause he is not ashamed to call them brethren

Jude 1 Jude, the servant of Jesus Christ, and brother of James, to them that are sanctified by God the Father, and preserved in Jesus Christ, and called: 2Mercy unto you, and peace, and love, be multiplied.


37. aJgiavzw hagiazoµ, hag-ee-ad´-zo; from 40; to make holy, i.e. (cer.) purify or consecrate; (mentally) to venerate:— hallow, be holy, sanctify.
38. aJgiasmov" hagiasmoás, hag-ee-as-mos´; from 37; prop. purification, i.e. (the state) purity; concr. (by Heb.) a purifier:— holiness, sanctification.
James Strong, New Strong’s dictionary of Hebrew and Greek words electronic ed., Logos Library System, (Nashville: Thomas Nelson) 1997, c1996.
The King James Version, (Cambridge: Cambridge) 1769.
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#5 Evangelion

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Posted 28 March 2005 - 01:15 AM

How do we objectively define "good"?

Let's say you are dealing with a guy who is willing to contemplate the existence of a deity, but suspects the deity is in fact an evil deity, who perhaps sees himself as good and demands that his creatures do too / is well aware that he is evil, but gets a kind of sadistic satisfaction out of having his creatures think he is actually good (aka the "pulling the wool" theory of divine benevolence).

How would you convince him that YHWH is actually objectively good, without resorting to the circular argument of "if YHWH does it, it must be good"?"


Three simple proofs, off the top of my head:

  • God's response to the very first sin was to instigate a plan of salvation.


  • God loves us so much that He was prepared to sacrifice His only begotten Son for our benefit.


  • Despite constant reversals by His wayward creation (including (a) the widespread rejection of His Son, (b) the widespread rejection of His plan of salvation and © immeasurable mockery from unbelievers) God has continued to work with humanity over thousands of years.

I defy anyone to believe that these are the actions of a truly evil being. Surely they speak of something far nobler.

Some notes:

From the discussions on evil so far it would seem that one looks to the Bible in vain for answers of why YHWH allows human/animal suffering.


Privileges bring responsibilities; the breach of those responsibilities brings consequences. The first human beings chose to breach their responsibilities despite knowing the consequences; God's solution is a long-term plan, and necessarily so.

  • Genesis 3:13-19
    And the LORD God said unto the woman, What is this that thou hast done? And the woman said, The serpent beguiled me, and I did eat.
    And the LORD God said unto the serpent, Because thou hast done this, thou art cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life:
    And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.
    Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee.
    And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life;
    Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field;
    In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.


  • Acts 17:30
    And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent:


  • Romans 8:18-22
    For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.
    For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God.
    For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope,
    Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God.

    For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now.

An approach which could work is to define the "evil" right out of human suffering by asking the existential question "what, objectively, is so bad about human suffering?"...

This relativist line of argument leaves one with the distinct feeling of being "cheated", because anyone who has suffered (physical pain, such as a kidney stone, emotional pain such as seeing a loved-one suffer or death of a loved-one), knows that it doesn't really at "gut-level" help to make light of human suffering in that way.

Human suffering is very real and the majority of people do not enjoy it and if they could remove it altogether from human experience, would in all probability opt to do so. In fact, many people look forward in their religious conviction, to a delivery from human suffering.

Any thoughts?


All suffering is a direct consequence of the Fall - and the Fall itself was a direct consequence of free will exercised by fallible beings. God's promise is to remove the fallibility from our nature whilst still retaining our free will. (We made the mess, but He's offering to clean it up.)

The challenge for us is to submit to His will (without being deterred by our present suffering) in return for a perfect, immortal life.

I happen to think that's pretty reasonable.

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#6 Billi

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Posted 29 March 2005 - 01:02 AM

Three simple proofs, off the top of my head:

  • God's response to the very first sin was to instigate a plan of salvation.


  • God loves us so much that He was prepared to sacrifice His only begotten Son for our benefit.


  • Despite constant reversals by His wayward creation (including (a) the widespread rejection of His Son, (b) the widespread rejection of His plan of salvation and © immeasurable mockery from unbelievers) God has continued to work with humanity over thousands of years.
I defy anyone to believe that these are the actions of a truly evil being. Surely they speak of something far nobler.

There are things that are unknown to us... such as God's real intentions. At the moment, we'll just have to take His word for it... that he did those things because He loves us... however, it is possible that He disguised his actions as 'love' but in actuality, may have done those things due to other reasons.

Take for example the 'Architect' in the move Matrix. The creator of the Matrix created that computer simulated world in order to keep those people alive... not because he loves those people, but he needs those people to provide him with energy... in order to sustain himself. If this is also the case for our God, then His plan for our salvation is also really for His salvation. The fact that He sacrificed his one and only son really isn't all that big of a deal... because Abraham also did the same thing... sacrificing others... even his beloved son..., but when it comes to his own neck, he'd twice lie about his wife being his sister and given her away in order to save himself.

Anyway, IMHO, the only way to tell whether or not if something is good or evil is thru time. In time, all ill intentions will surface. Truth always surfaces like bubbles to the top. The fact that God would give us eternal life lend me to believe that He indeed has nothing to hide from us. If I ever found out that my God is an 'evil' self serving God, for sure I'll rebel against him to the end... and even be willing to goto hell in order to avoid Him. For now, I don't believe He's an evil God. I have no evidence to proof this, but time is on my side. I will eventually find out if my God is really really that Good! :stereo:

#7 Skeptic

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Posted 30 March 2005 - 11:44 AM

Evangelion

God's response to the very first sin was to instigate a plan of salvation.


There are those who would argue that if God had presented his plan to put Adam and Eve to the "free will test" to an ethics committee first, they would have ordered the plan scrapped due to the issue of it being unethical to conduct an experiment in the full knowledge that the results will cause damage. They would have said his divine foreknowledge would have made such an "experiment" in human free will redundant to begin with. They would say that the ideal end product (people with free will, who display a commitment to obey God) would be achievable to an omnipotent being without having to go through the actual "experiment". He could simply create such people from scratch.

God loves us so much that He was prepared to sacrifice His only begotten Son for our benefit.


There are, again, those who would argue that since God made the rules specifying that salvation could only be obtained if one perfectly obedient specimen of human being could be found, he could have "unmade" the rule and saved his own son an agonising death. There are those who would argue that his insistence on maintaining a pedantic rule that lead to incredible suffering on the part of Jesus, is a direct proof that he is cruel and obtuse. (This is based on the assumption that an omnisicient deity would have been able to find a way out of the dilemma of sin, without the involvement of blood and gore).

[*]Despite constant reversals by His wayward creation (including (a) the widespread rejection of His Son, (b) the widespread rejection of His plan of salvation and © immeasurable mockery from unbelievers) God has continued to work with humanity over thousands of years.


There are those who would argue that relying on human beings accepting second hand "proofs" of his existence (such as a book, prophesies, miracles, etc.) has been a wholly inefficient approach to mass persuasion.

I defy anyone to believe that these are the actions of a truly evil being.  Surely they speak of something far nobler.


"Truly evil" might be a bit extreme. How about a guy with the personality of Hank (or as Flew calls it, that of a "cosmic Saddam Hussain"), who thinks he is wonderful and cannot understand why people don't like him? In the mean time they are scared to death of his wrath...

Edited by Skeptic, 30 March 2005 - 11:48 AM.

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#8 mordecai

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Posted 30 March 2005 - 12:53 PM

Three simple proofs, off the top of my head:


God's response to the very first sin was to instigate a plan of salvation.

God loves us so much that He was prepared to sacrifice His only begotten Son for our benefit.

Despite constant reversals by His wayward creation (including (a) the widespread rejection of His Son, (b) the widespread rejection of His plan of salvation and © immeasurable mockery from unbelievers) God has continued to work with humanity over thousands of years.

I defy anyone to believe that these are the actions of a truly evil being. Surely they speak of something far nobler.


If god was truly noble he wouldn't use death as a means of punishment, he would have designed people to make sinning pointless. i.e. if I was made indestructable and had the power to fulfill my desires in non-harmful ways doing bad things to other people wouldn't be an option.

Most evil is caused either by

1) Intent (fun, maliciousness, hatred of others, irrationality, ignorance)
2) By product of satisfying ones hungers (sex, food, entertainment, etc)
3) Unforseen consequences of seemingly inert choices and actions
4) God's bad design of human beings (i.e. limited memory capacity, forgetfulness, being born ignorant, bad genetic/dietary environment for growth, etc)
5) Giving into pre-programmed instincts programmed by god into your genetics
6) Bad design of the world a) Scarcity of resources, b) Designing humans that consume resources and purposely making them scarce, c) No protection measures (via intelligence/biology) to prevent overpopulation ecological devestation of an area. d) Giving human beings a universe/planet of finite resources, but not the means to acquire them (i.e. space is huge and resources are vast, but we lack the technology to convert them, transport them close to us for consumption)

Edited by mordecai, 30 March 2005 - 12:58 PM.


#9 Adanac

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Posted 30 March 2005 - 05:21 PM

Yes, we're all wiser than God and think we know best. :popcorn:
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#10 Evangelion

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Posted 30 March 2005 - 06:55 PM

Evangelion

God's response to the very first sin was to instigate a plan of salvation.


There are those who would argue that if God had presented his plan to put Adam and Eve to the "free will test" to an ethics committee first, they would have ordered the plan scrapped due to the issue of it being unethical to conduct an experiment in the full knowledge that the results will cause damage. They would have said his divine foreknowledge would have made such an "experiment" in human free will redundant to begin with.


Then they obviously don't understand the relationship between divine foreknowledge and human activity.

The relationship is certainly causal - but not in the way that many people mistakenly assume. The specifics of the divine foreknowledge are defined by the human activity - not the other way around.

They would say that the ideal end product (people with free will, who display a commitment to obey God) would be achievable to an omnipotent being without having to go through the actual "experiment".


It certainly is. But this does not prove that God is evil, rather than good.

He could simply create such people from scratch.


He could indeed, but that's not what He chose to do.

God loves us so much that He was prepared to sacrifice His only begotten Son for our benefit.


There are, again, those who would argue that since God made the rules specifying that salvation could only be obtained if one perfectly obedient specimen of human being could be found, he could have "unmade" the rule and saved his own son an agonising death.


He could indeed have done this. But the fact that He didn't, doesn't prove that He is evil, rather than good.

There are those who would argue that his insistence on maintaining a pedantic rule that lead to incredible suffering on the part of Jesus, is a direct proof that he is cruel and obtuse.


The objection is utterly facile and carries no weight whatsoever. Furthermore, it carefully avoids several pieces of indisputable evidence:

(a) The fact that God Himself suffered immensely as a result of Jesus' own suffering; He didn't just sit back and enjoy the show.

(b) The fact that Jesus willingly chose to endure that suffering, despite having the ability to avoid it.

© The fact that if Jesus had decided to avoid the crucifixion, God would have enabled him to do so - as Jesus himself confirms:

Matthew 26:53-54
Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to my Father, and he shall presently give me more than twelve legions of angels?
But how then shall the scriptures be fulfilled, that thus it must be?

This proves that Jesus was motivated by his righteous desire to fulfil the prophecies at great personal cost - even though he could have cancelled the whole show at a moment's notice - and acted on his own volition.

(d) The fact that God didn't force Jesus to go ahead with the crucifixion - which He would certainly have done if He is evil, rather than good.

So I see nothing in this argument which proves that God is evil, rather than good. If anything, it proves the reverse.

(This is based on the assumption that an omnisicient deity would have been able to find a way out of the dilemma of sin, without the involvement of blood and gore).


The assumption is a valid one, but it does not prove that God is evil, rather than good.

[*]Despite constant reversals by His wayward creation (including (a) the widespread rejection of His Son, (b) the widespread rejection of His plan of salvation and © immeasurable mockery from unbelievers) God has continued to work with humanity over thousands of years.


There are those who would argue that relying on human beings accepting second hand "proofs" of his existence (such as a book, prophesies, miracles, etc.) has been a wholly inefficient approach to mass persuasion.


They might very well argue thus. But it is totally irrelevant to the question of whether or not God is evil, rather than good.

So who cares?

I defy anyone to believe that these are the actions of a truly evil being.  Surely they speak of something far nobler.


"Truly evil" might be a bit extreme.


Well hey, I'm simply running with your original suggestion - which was...

Let's say you are dealing with a guy who is willing to contemplate the existence of a deity, but suspects the deity is in fact an evil deity, who perhaps sees himself as good and demands that his creatures do too / is well aware that he is evil, but gets a kind of sadistic satisfaction out of having his creatures think he is actually good (aka the "pulling the wool" theory of divine benevolence).


My "truly evil" comment was merely a reflection of your proposition that the deity in question is genuinely evil, despite wishing to be seen as benign.

How about a guy with the personality of Hank (or as Flew calls it, that of a "cosmic Saddam Hussain"), who thinks he is wonderful and cannot understand why people don't like him? In the mean time they are scared to death of his wrath...


But this would require a deity whose actions were consistently evil - which is totally at odds with the God of the Bible.

So I'm not really interested in that particular proposition, since we're supposed to be talking about the morality of the Biblical - not just any old God that you care to define in any old way.

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#11 Evangelion

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Posted 30 March 2005 - 07:02 PM

If god was truly noble he wouldn't use death as a means of punishment, he would have designed people to make sinning pointless.


Well, that's just your opinion. It doesn't prove that God's current method is bad, nor does it prove that He is evil, rather than good.

In the same way, I could just as easily say that if the coalition forces had truly wanted to remove Saddam Hussein for the good of his people, they would have sent a team of assassins to nail him instead of launching all-out war, destroying half the country and torturing innocent civilians for their personal gratification.

But it wouldn't necessarily prove anything.

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#12 mordecai

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Posted 31 March 2005 - 08:04 PM

If god was truly noble he wouldn't use death as a means of punishment, he would have designed people to make sinning pointless.


Well, that's just your opinion. It doesn't prove that God's current method is bad, nor does it prove that He is evil, rather than good.

In the same way, I could just as easily say that if the coalition forces had truly wanted to remove Saddam Hussein for the good of his people, they would have sent a team of assassins to nail him instead of launching all-out war, destroying half the country and torturing innocent civilians for their personal gratification.

But it wouldn't necessarily prove anything.

:(


My 'opinion' is firmly grounded in logic. If god put everyone that was ignorant of god in a room they couldn't get out of and made them immortal and indestructable, and god kept teaching them until they understood, then at some point in time everyone in the room would see the pointlessness of disobedience and sinning.

Look ev, any being that is both omnipotent and omnscient that resorts to violence to 'solve' problems is neither, inherent to the definitions of both is the power to solve any problem in anyway in any manner. So out of the best possible ways to solve problems the biblical god chose the worst and most impractical methods, this is incomprehensible.

Edited by mordecai, 31 March 2005 - 08:07 PM.


#13 Adanac

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Posted 31 March 2005 - 08:07 PM

So out of the best possible ways to solve problems the biblical god chose the worst and most impractical methods, this is incomprehensible.

They’re only the worst and most impractical methods according to Mordecai’s understanding.

Perhaps the omniscient god Mordecai would like to humble himself for a moment?

Edited by Adanac, 31 March 2005 - 09:25 PM.

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#14 Adanac

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Posted 31 March 2005 - 08:09 PM

My 'opinion' is firmly grounded in logic.

No. It is in fact firmly grounded in what Mordecai thinks is right because he thinks he is all wise. He isn’t, he doesn’t know what he is talking about.
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#15 mordecai

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Posted 03 April 2005 - 03:00 PM

My 'opinion' is firmly grounded in logic.

No. It is in fact firmly grounded in what Mordecai thinks is right because he thinks he is all wise. He isn’t, he doesn’t know what he is talking about.

Utter nonsense.

This is what I call turning a blind eye to the definitions of omnipotence and omniscience. You can't have it both ways, you believe in contradictions and breach of definitions of the qualities of omnipotence and omniscience. My logic is not faulty, nor breached, nor based on my own authority. It stands independently of anyones mind. It's like the earth, it sits there in plain view whether or not you choose to acknowledge it's there.

Would you like to address the argument instead of the straw man?

Argument Below:

If god put everyone that was ignorant of god in a room they couldn't get out of and made them immortal and indestructable, and god kept teaching them until they understood, then at some point in time everyone in the room would see the pointlessness of disobedience and sinning.

Look ev, any being that is both omnipotent and omnscient that resorts to violence to 'solve' problems is neither, inherent to the definitions of both is the power to solve any problem in anyway in any manner. So out of the best possible ways to solve problems the biblical god chose the worst and most impractical methods, this is incomprehensible.


Edited by mordecai, 03 April 2005 - 03:04 PM.


#16 Skeptic

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Posted 04 April 2005 - 07:46 AM

So out of the best possible ways to solve problems the biblical god chose the worst and most impractical methods, this is incomprehensible.

They’re only the worst and most impractical methods according to Mordecai’s understanding.

Perhaps the omniscient god Mordecai would like to humble himself for a moment?

Adanac, if your contributions to this thread are going to be characterised by ad hominem attacks on mordecai, then please use someone else's threads. I've seen too many threads closed down for this reason already.

Take Evangelion's response as a good example of how to respond in a calm, restrained way to questions that Evangelion must certainly be finding just as offensive as you do. His is the type of well-reasoned response that makes a reasonable person sit back and think.

It takes two to tango. If one person continuously refrains from sinking to the level of personal attack on a forum, the other person cannot sustain a personal fight with him. Moderators will soon put a stop to it anyway.

So there is really no excuse for this sort of thing.
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#17 Adanac

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Posted 04 April 2005 - 04:41 PM

I'm sorry Skeptic. But it wasn't an attack, it was a piece of advice. I'm sorry it came across as an attack and if a moderator would like to delete it that would be fine. I honestly think Mordecai needs to understand that he isn't the be all and end all of all wisdom.

Edited by Adanac, 04 April 2005 - 04:42 PM.

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#18 Evangelion

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Posted 04 April 2005 - 05:44 PM

My 'opinion' is firmly grounded in logic.


...and it is still just your opinion. :BTDF:

It doesn't prove that God's current method is bad, nor does it prove that He is evil, rather than good. :book:

Look ev, any being that is both omnipotent and omnscient that resorts to violence to 'solve' problems is neither, inherent to the definitions of both is the power to solve any problem in anyway in any manner.


Non sequiter. This argument is invalid. :bow:

So out of the best possible ways to solve problems the biblical god chose the worst and most impractical methods, this is incomprehensible.


You're totally ignoring the fact that the Biblical God has solved many problems (a) calmly, (b) gently, © generously, (d) patiently, and (e) without resorting to violence.

Once we take this into account, your assertion fails. :stereo:
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#19 mordecai

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Posted 04 April 2005 - 08:41 PM

My 'opinion' is firmly grounded in logic.


...and it is still just your opinion. :BTDF:

It doesn't prove that God's current method is bad, nor does it prove that He is evil, rather than good. :book:

Look ev, any being that is both omnipotent and omnscient that resorts to violence to 'solve' problems is neither, inherent to the definitions of both is the power to solve any problem in anyway in any manner.


Non sequiter. This argument is invalid. :bow:

So out of the best possible ways to solve problems the biblical god chose the worst and most impractical methods, this is incomprehensible.


You're totally ignoring the fact that the Biblical God has solved many problems (a) calmly, (b) gently, © generously, (d) patiently, and (e) without resorting to violence.

Once we take this into account, your assertion fails. :stereo:

Once again you miss the point there is plenty of evidence god of the bible is evil.

Like I said before ev, why doesn't god put everyone he wants to believe of him in a building and make them immortal and indestructable while taking as much time as necessary to teach them the pointlessness of disobedience? Why not have a world with infinite resources and indestructable people so there is no need to sin because of scarcity, disease, etc? Explain to me why god designs a universe that promotes the very thing he hates? Explain to me why god cannot generate infinite amounts of resources and re-absorb/re-cycle the waste from them eternally? Explain to me why god put us around a star that's going to explode once it's fuel runs out? Explain to me how god is going to interevene and prevent our star from exploding if he evolved the cosmos like OEC christadelphians believe? Of which all those previous galaxies and the stars in them all eventually have exploded or will explode once their fuel runs out and such evidence gives us no comfort or reason to suspect that the biblical god will intervene when our sun dies as per christadelphian theology that the kingdom of god will be on earth and you guys will reign with jesus forever and ever around our little star.

There are other problems with gods alleged love and morality:

1) Everyone who doesn't hear of the bible automatically gets eternally destroyed for ever, for being born geographically distant from the biblical message. where was god's plan for these people? Oh right, he's a lazy god who gets slow and inefficient PEOPLE to spread his message which takes YEARS these people don't have and they end up dying not hearing anything and hence are gone forever despite the fact if they were very good people.

2) Babies who die young, mentally handicapped, etc, can also have no salvation because they are 'incapable' (caused by god btw) of knowing the truth in any meaningful way. God intentionally kills things for no reason or purpose.

3) Natural disasters who snuffed out unbaptized children of believers, or do they get a free ride?

4) Suicides of unbaptized children of believers, etc.

I could go on and on about the people that don't get any consideration or love from god, they are just puppets or tools of an egotistical dictator of the bible. they get no love or justice at all in this life just through the time and place they were born which god ordained from the beginning. Hardly fair or just, it's a sick game and disgusting game.

There is way more injustice then their is justice, the fact that god eternally punishes anyone for finite actions proves he's not just, period. He has infinite amounts of time and power, he should be able to spend as much time that is needed on each and every inidividual. To not do so is to lower human status to that no better or worthy of love then a pet and animal, which is disgusting, we're gods pets, toys and playthings.

The fact that religious division exists, proves the bible and it's god is not an effective communicator, nor effective designer of beings capable of understanding his message. The ultimate blame falls upon god, and has nothing to do with free will. All beings with free will can't deny 2+2=4, so god could have easily communicated his message infallibly to everyone without the need for intermediaries, the fact that the bible god has to and MUST use intemediaries proves he's not god.

Edited by mordecai, 04 April 2005 - 09:04 PM.


#20 Adanac

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Posted 04 April 2005 - 09:05 PM

EDIT: Deleted by author.

Edited by Adanac, 04 April 2005 - 10:00 PM.

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#21 Evangelion

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Posted 04 April 2005 - 09:51 PM

Like I said before ev, why doesn't god put everyone he wants to believe of him in a building and make them immortal and indestructable while taking as much time as necessary to teach them the pointlessness of disobedience?  Why not have a world with infinite resources and indestructable people so there is no need to sin because of scarcity, disease, etc?


Because that wouldn't take any effort on humanity's part. We'd all become cogs in a pretedermined wheel which effectively bypassed our free will by giving us perfection on a plate.

Explain to me why god designs a universe that promotes the very thing he hates?


He didn't; He designed a beautiful universe which humans went on to ruin.

Explain to me why god cannot generate infinite amounts of resources and re-absorb/re-cycle the waste from them eternally?


He could - but what would be the point?

Explain to me why god put us around a star that's going to explode once it's fuel runs out?


Because He knows that we'll all eventually be immortal, so the lifespan of our sun will cease to be relevant.

And to be perfectly frank, I personally believe that human beings - if left to their own devices - would destroy themselves several hundred million years before our sun dies, so it's a moot point.

Explain to me how god is going to interevene and prevent our star from exploding if he evolved the cosmos like OEC christadelphians believe?


He doesn't need to. (See below.)

Of which all those previous galaxies and the stars in them all eventually have exploded or will explode once their fuel runs out and such evidence gives us no comfort or reason to suspect that the biblical god will intervene when our sun dies as per christadelphian theology that the kingdom of god will be on earth and you guys will reign with jesus forever and ever around our little star.


I don't think that's an issue worth worrying about, Mord. When the time eventually comes for those stars to die, everyone who's still kicking around will be immortal anyway - so who cares?

May I remind you that the lifespan of Sol is currently estimated at 5 billion years? And here you are talking about its immanent demise as if it's just around the corner! :stereo:

There are other problems with gods alleged love and morality:

1) Everyone who doesn't hear of the bible automatically gets eternally destroyed for ever, for being born geographically distant from the biblical message.  where was god's plan for these people?  Oh right, he's a lazy god who gets slow and inefficient PEOPLE to spread his message which takes YEARS these people don't have and they end up dying not hearing anything and hence are gone forever despite the fact if they were very good people.


They're not "eternally destroyed forever"; they simply die without being resurrected. There's no "destruction" involved - and they lived as they chose to live, so what's the big deal?

If they were plunged into the depths of hell, you'd have a point. But they're not, so you don't.

2) Babies who die young, mentally handicapped, etc, can also have no salvation because they are 'incapable' (caused by god btw) of knowing the truth in any meaningful way.


As above. And their mental state is not "caused by God." That's just ridiculous. In many cases, they're actually killed by their parents (ie. smokers, drug users, etc.) who poison them with second-hand toxins while they're still in the womb.

God intentionally kills things for no reason or purpose.


He does nothing of the kind.

3) Natural disasters who snuffed out unbaptized children of believers, or do they get a free ride?


No, I don't believe they get a free ride - and I don't see anything evil about their demise by natural disaster, either.

4) Suicides of unbaptized children of believers, etc.


Them's the breaks, Mordecai.

I could go on and on about the people that don't get any consideration or love from god, they are just puppets or tools of an egotistical dictator of the bible.  they get no love or justice at all in this life just through the time and place they were born which god ordained from the beginning.  Hardly fair or just, it's a sick game and disgusting game. 

There is way more injustice then their is justice, the fact that god eternally punishes anyone for finite actions proves he's not just, period.  He has infinite amounts of time and power, he should be able to spend as much time that is needed on each and every inidividual.  To not do so is to lower human status to that no better or worthy of love then a pet and animal, which is disgusting, we're gods pets, toys and playthings.

The fact that religious division exists, proves the bible and it's god is not an effective  communicator, nor effective designer of beings capable of understanding his message.  The ultimate blame falls upon god, and has nothing to do with free will.  All beings with free will can't deny 2+2=4, so god could have easily communicated his message infallibly to everyone without the need for intermediaries, the fact that the bible god has to and MUST use intemediaries proves he's not god.


So basically, you want God to give everyone a free ride into the kingdom - regardless of whether or not they are capable of knowing Him, loving Him, obeying Him and believing in Him - without any effort on their part whatsoever, and you believe that anything less than this is both cruel and evil.

:pffft!:
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#22 Colter

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Posted 04 April 2005 - 10:28 PM

How would you convince him that YHWH is actually objectively good, without resorting to the circular argument of "if YHWH does it, it must be good"?"



Skeptic,

This is how I would answer the question:

First I would explain that primitive man was always in the habit of ascribing nearly everything in life good or bad as coming from God or the Gods. The dim view of God in the OT can be attributed to this misunderstanding of God and his dealings with mankind. With the revelation of God the Father in the life of Jesus we can plainly see that God is not at all wrathful but incomprehensibly patient and loving. So it is all together improper to say that Yahweh did many of the things in the OT, or at the very least inconsistent with the teachings of Jesus.

Sin need to be redefined as follows:

"Evil is the unconscious or unintended transgression of the divine law, the Father's will. Evil is likewise the measure of the imperfectness of obedience to the Father's will.

"Sin is the conscious, knowing, and deliberate transgression of the divine law, the Father's will. Sin is the measure of unwillingness to be divinely led and spiritually directed.

"Iniquity is the willful, determined, and persistent transgression of the divine law, the Father's will. Iniquity is the measure of the continued rejection of the Father's loving plan of personality survival and the Sons' merciful ministry of salvation.

"By nature, before the rebirth of the spirit, mortal man is subject to inherent evil tendencies, but such natural imperfections of behavior are neither sin nor iniquity. Mortal man is just beginning his long ascent to the perfection of the Father in Paradise. To be imperfect or partial in natural endowment is not sinful. Man is indeed subject to evil, but he is in no sense the child of the evil one unless he has knowingly and deliberately chosen the paths of sin and the life of iniquity. Evil is inherent in the natural order of this world, but sin is an attitude of conscious rebellion which was brought to this world by those who fell from spiritual light into gross darkness.
We must give up all hope for a better past.

#23 Apokalypse

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Posted 17 January 2006 - 04:44 AM

why doesn't god put everyone he wants to believe of him in a building and make them immortal and indestructable while taking as much time as necessary to teach them the pointlessness of disobedience?  Why not have a world with infinite resources and indestructable people so there is no need to sin because of scarcity, disease, etc?

its like playing a game with cheats on, the structure of the game falls to pieces and then you eventually get bored (well i do anyway).

the negative aspects (or the complications) of the game define us and so we become better players, if we play with cheats then the difficulties are removed, and the develpment or progression of the player diminishes or dies completely.

#24 mordecai

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Posted 31 January 2006 - 02:55 PM

why doesn't god put everyone he wants to believe of him in a building and make them immortal and indestructable while taking as much time as necessary to teach them the pointlessness of disobedience?  Why not have a world with infinite resources and indestructable people so there is no need to sin because of scarcity, disease, etc?

its like playing a game with cheats on, the structure of the game falls to pieces and then you eventually get bored (well i do anyway).

the negative aspects (or the complications) of the game define us and so we become better players, if we play with cheats then the difficulties are removed, and the develpment or progression of the player diminishes or dies completely.


Give me a break! This world has to be the most unfair and impossible world there is for any kind of god to create. Think about all the millions and billions of children that die before even becoming mature enough to know much of anything about the world, how did this world "serve them" or were they just puppets in "the game" to test the "real believers" who god pre-ordained? In both worlds you still have "a game with the cheats on", some people get picked over others who are destined from birth to die. You make no sense at all.

#25 nsr

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Posted 31 January 2006 - 03:06 PM

3And he said: "I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. 4Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.



I think humility is what you're lacking, Mord. And I don't mean that unkindly.
"But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, to an innumerable company of angels, to the general assembly and church of the firstborn who are registered in heaven, to God the Judge of all, to the spirits of just men made perfect..." (Heb 12:22-23)

#26 jamiezz

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Posted 01 February 2006 - 03:40 AM

How do we objectively define "good"?

Let's say you are dealing with a guy who is willing to contemplate the existence of a deity, but suspects the deity is in fact an evil deity, who perhaps sees himself as good and demands that his creatures do too / is well aware that he is evil, but gets a kind of sadistic satisfaction out of having his creatures think he is actually good (aka the "pulling the wool" theory of divine benevolence).

How would you convince him that YHWH is actually objectively good, without resorting to the circular argument of "if YHWH does it, it must be good"?"

Some notes:

From the discussions on evil so far it would seem that one looks to the Bible in vain for answers of why YHWH allows human/animal suffering.

An approach which could work is to define the "evil" right out of human suffering by asking the existential question "what, objectively, is so bad about human suffering?"...

This relativist line of argument leaves one with the distinct feeling of being "cheated", because anyone who has suffered (physical pain, such as a kidney stone, emotional pain such as seeing a loved-one suffer or death of a loved-one), knows that it doesn't really at "gut-level" help to make light of human suffering in that way.

Human suffering is very real and the majority of people do not enjoy it and if they could remove it altogether from human experience, would in all probability opt to do so. In fact, many people look forward in their religious conviction, to a delivery from human suffering.

Any thoughts?


About good and evil you can go back to Genesis 1. Existing in the beginning was darkness, waters and the Spirit of God.

God, the logos, created light - hence constituted light and is seperate from the darkness... Anything that is out of the light would be in darkness.

Evil = darkness, anything out of the light would be in darkness - this is where we reside in now - anti logos - anti christ. God didn't create evil contrary to epicurean thought, evil is darkness and basically out of the realm where God resides, just as light is seperate from dark.

#27 Cajowa

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Posted 01 February 2006 - 07:28 AM


why doesn't god put everyone he wants to believe of him in a building and make them immortal and indestructable while taking as much time as necessary to teach them the pointlessness of disobedience? Why not have a world with infinite resources and indestructable people so there is no need to sin because of scarcity, disease, etc?

its like playing a game with cheats on, the structure of the game falls to pieces and then you eventually get bored (well i do anyway).

the negative aspects (or the complications) of the game define us and so we become better players, if we play with cheats then the difficulties are removed, and the develpment or progression of the player diminishes or dies completely.


Give me a break! This world has to be the most unfair and impossible world there is for any kind of god to create. Think about all the millions and billions of children that die before even becoming mature enough to know much of anything about the world, how did this world "serve them" or were they just puppets in "the game" to test the "real believers" who god pre-ordained? In both worlds you still have "a game with the cheats on", some people get picked over others who are destined from birth to die. You make no sense at all.




God fromt he beginning of creation has gone out of his way to teach man his ways, which are infinitely better than our ways.
Man unfortunately has consistently rejected God, and there are rather unfortunate consequences of mans actions, all families of the earth have had opportunity to know God, however somewhere along the line there were people who rejected God and did not teach their children about God, some even blatantly rejected god and set up their own religion, with themselves as prominent, because they thought they were better than God!

So who is to blame that a majority of the world is clueless about God? it is the people who rejected him in the first place!
Where does Aids come from? Mans stupidity --- if man obeyed God's ways it would never happen.
Where does poverty come from? Men exploiting others and taking more for themselves than what they need
Where does famine come from? At a bible mission evening in hearing about a country in Africa the speaker said that the place is so fertile it could feed all of africa, if they knew how to manage it properly! There is enough food to feed everyone in the world... but some take more than they need... think of the obesity problem in america, sharing is a Godly attribute!
There are natural disasters which come from God, and hopefully that makes people see the seriousness of their predicament without him and search him out!
I would say that 95% of human suffering and heartache come from the problems that man causes himself, man has stuffed this world up by going astray from God and doing things his way instead of God's it is no wonder the world is full of problems.
You cannot blame God for that, yes it can seem unfair, but thinking logically about it, you can see most of the problems come back to mans rejection of God!

We have to be prepared to accept that God is Righteous... as is declared in the bible, meaning he is right.... all the time, which means if there is a problem between you and God, then it is quite likely you have the problem!!!


:bye:

Edited by Cajowa, 01 February 2006 - 07:28 AM.

The day is so short ... the work to be done so great!!!

"See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, Redeeming the time, because the days are evil."

#28 Cajowa

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Posted 01 February 2006 - 08:15 AM

Oh... and another thing, regarding people in areas of famine!
What did Abraham do when there was a famine in the land... he went somewhere where there was food, so why cant people in countries of famine do that? because man has made up borders and keeps people in them, and if they try and flee because of famine they get put in refugee camps, where they rely on others to support them!!!
whose fault is all that, is it God's or mans?

:bye:
The day is so short ... the work to be done so great!!!

"See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, Redeeming the time, because the days are evil."

#29 Kremlin

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Posted 01 February 2006 - 11:30 AM

Cajowa, some people are born with AIDS - it's rather unfair to say that the only reason they have AIDS is because of people not obeying the commandments of God, especially when the bible says that God doesn't punish the children for the sins of their fathers.

But Skeptic's original point, I think, was that an omnipotent God that is benevolent should have both the will and the means to end human suffering, and yet humans still suffer. His challenge was to prove that God is benevolent, given that a) he is omnipotent, and b) there is human, or even animal suffering.

Ev has made the statement that one can't prove that God is evil, but that is not addressing Skeptic's point that the burden of proof is not on him - Skeptic made no claims about the morality of God. The burden of proof is on Ev (and others) to prove that God is benevolent. There also appears to be the implicit suggestion that recourse to biblical proof is not sufficient. Given that criteria, I would suggest that one cannot prove that God is benevolent, in much the same way that one cannot prove that God actually exists without recourse to the Bible.

The argument is made that either God is not completely benevolent, he is not omnipotent, or he "works in mysterious ways", since if he was both omni-benevolent and omnipotent, there would be no problem of evil (God could snap his fingers and suffering would be gone). This either means that God is willing to let people suffer, or that he is not powerful enough to actually prevent suffering.

Another argument often made is that suffering "improves character". However, many people suffer that do not know about God, and will never know about God, and thus arguably their "character improvement" is wasted, since they will not profit from it ultimately anyway. A counter argument is that all people have opportunity to learn about God, but this is obviously not true. Paul made the claim in Romans 1 that man is "without excuse", and that all people everywhere should know of God's existence, but one wonders about the validity of this claim - the subject of another thread perhaps. Paul claimed it was the wonder of creation that removed excuse from man, but men today have explained creation by other means. Descartes claimed that the lack of excuse was due to internal reasoning, but this does not appear to hold water today either - and certainly some cultures have come to know a "god", but not the same "God" that we would hold requires ultimate belief in, and thus although they have found a god, they still have no hope.

I don't think that the problem of evil has been adequately answered by any on this thread, although Adanac has raised the point that mankind can be arrogant in questioning God's ways. I think he should, however look at Skeptic's original proposition, which was that this hypothetical person is questioning the right (or existence) of God to be right in the first place.

#30 Cajowa

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Posted 01 February 2006 - 12:12 PM

Cajowa, some people are born with AIDS - it's rather unfair to say that the only reason they have AIDS is because of people not obeying the commandments of God, especially when the bible says that God doesn't punish the children for the sins of their fathers.

But Skeptic's original point, I think, was that an omnipotent God that is benevolent should have both the will and the means to end human suffering, and yet humans still suffer. His challenge was to prove that God is benevolent, given that a) he is omnipotent, and b) there is human, or even animal suffering.

Ev has made the statement that one can't prove that God is evil, but that is not addressing Skeptic's point that the burden of proof is not on him - Skeptic made no claims about the morality of God. The burden of proof is on Ev (and others) to prove that God is benevolent. There also appears to be the implicit suggestion that recourse to biblical proof is not sufficient. Given that criteria, I would suggest that one cannot prove that God is benevolent, in much the same way that one cannot prove that God actually exists without recourse to the Bible.

The argument is made that either God is not completely benevolent, he is not omnipotent, or he "works in mysterious ways", since if he was both omni-benevolent and omnipotent, there would be no problem of evil (God could snap his fingers and suffering would be gone). This either means that God is willing to let people suffer, or that he is not powerful enough to actually prevent suffering.

Another argument often made is that suffering "improves character". However, many people suffer that do not know about God, and will never know about God, and thus arguably their "character improvement" is wasted, since they will not profit from it ultimately anyway. A counter argument is that all people have opportunity to learn about God, but this is obviously not true. Paul made the claim in Romans 1 that man is "without excuse", and that all people everywhere should know of God's existence, but one wonders about the validity of this claim - the subject of another thread perhaps. Paul claimed it was the wonder of creation that removed excuse from man, but men today have explained creation by other means. Descartes claimed that the lack of excuse was due to internal reasoning, but this does not appear to hold water today either - and certainly some cultures have come to know a "god", but not the same "God" that we would hold requires ultimate belief in, and thus although they have found a god, they still have no hope.

I don't think that the problem of evil has been adequately answered by any on this thread, although Adanac has raised the point that mankind can be arrogant in questioning God's ways. I think he should, however look at Skeptic's original proposition, which was that this hypothetical person is questioning the right (or existence) of God to be right in the first place.


Hi Krem,
My point about the aids is that unfortunately man suffers from the consequences of the actions of another man, the person born with aids has it as a result that someone was stupid and they just happened to be procreated from that person.
We all experience suffering through no fault of our own at some point, we are just experiencing the consequences of someone elses mistake/sin.
This is the case with the fact that we are born with a sin-prone nature (thanks to Adam and Eve)!

I think that the fact we are given life, is a blessing and shows God's benevolence, he could have wiped us from the earth long ago for our sins.

It is God's will that his character be shown throughout the earth through people that want to show his character to others, is it God's fault that on the whole man has rejected doing this?

God has given us the way to eternal life, man on the whole has rejected it, in wanting to live for the present, and for those of us who know the way, it is our responsibility to let as many people know about this way as possible, if it is rejected by one person, then that is one less person to spread it to someone else.

Whose fault is it that man has invented religions that blind people to the true knowledge of the truth, what this shows is that God does allow free will, he has given us life.

People don't realize that if they choose not to have life, what chance have their children got of choosing it? the parents don't sit them down and say here are your options, i have chosen to reject God but it is up to you, so what chance then do their grandchildren have? and it goes on.

What it needs is people standing up and declaring God, who he is and what he wants for this earth, if you know what that is, then you see his benevolence.

The problem is... who is going to be his messengers? God gives us the choice, and not enough people have taken it up, and that is why there are so many people who don't know about God.

Can you really blame God? he has done so much, he even allowed his son to die so we might be moved by his love for us to follow him, how do you think God feels that even this has been snubbed by most of mankind?
Surely the time is coming when God will shake terribly the earth because of the stink of the attitude of man which rises to him, the stink of selfishness, which stops man from showinbg forth the Characteristics of God!
The day is so short ... the work to be done so great!!!

"See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, Redeeming the time, because the days are evil."




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