10 tough questions for theists.
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18-01-2016, 02:22 AM
RE: 10 tough questions for theists.
(14-01-2016 04:22 PM)Tartarus Sauce Wrote:  Why is this titled as being ten tough questions for theists when most of these questions very clearly only apply to stereotypical Christians?

Well for starters only a couple questions deal with creationists and I can leave them out for other questions.

Secondly, making that statement does not help me in the least. I am trying to come up with a good list of at least 10 decent questions that will apply to the most theists as possible. There is more than one account for creationism and most of them all believe the world to be around 10k years old at the maximum length. 6k if you are christian.

So having at least one creationist question works imo.

Thirdly, define Sterotypical christian. Do you mean Baptists, Pentecost, Evangelicals, Catholics, etc? Because they are vastly different from each other. What is a stereotypical christian? Are you referring to someone who just believes just because?


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18-01-2016, 07:58 AM
RE: 10 tough questions for theists.
(11-01-2016 07:57 PM)Shadow Fox Wrote:  1. How can we “objectively” see a difference between something that does not exist, and the god you believe in whom is separated from time and space and can never be observed or tested without equating events, existence to your god which would be a false cause fallacy, or making use of special pleading?

How can you objectively tell the difference between meaningful noise, and meaningless noise? Between a cosmic fluke, and what came about for a purpose? Whether life has meaning or not, whether I see it as part of some purposeful order, whether I imagine human existence as product of some cosmic fluke or not.

Perhaps your questions appeals to some sort of God, whose existence, and being are independent from these very question, but they’re not. I believe that God exists, because I find the alternative here unbelievable.

Quote:2. How can you possibly justify seeing a being whom infinitely tortures people for being born on the wrong side of the planet where Christianity doesn’t exist, believe in another deity they and their family has grown up with for generations or are an atheist as being the example of what ultimate good is?

Why can’t I? If Good is subjective, I can’t be wrong in believing this can I? I think I’d just be chasing my own tail in arguing about what’s Ultimate Good, to people who don’t believe that this is a question of objective truth, and that the question of whats Ultimately Good, is a subjectively based.

Quote:3. If you are a creationist, have you ever once actually tried to study how science determines the age of rocks, what goes into the science itself, or any of the other mountains of science in the fields of biology, medicine, astronomy, geology, Astrophysics, Quantum Physics, and everything else that has even the slightest amount to do with science that has verified irrefutably that the universe is not 6-8000 years old and is in fact billions of years old and rely almost entirely on that being a fact or most of the science in those fields would collapse entirely?

4. If you are a creationist and answered the question above than, Without using special pleading, the bible, your faith, or the statement that evolution is not real science which is a false statement, tell me why you believe that the world is only 6-8000 years old.

Not a creationist, so the questions do not apply.

Quote:5. Without using the god wants to have a relationship with us argument, why is it that I as an atheist should believe that he exists, be more important than not raping a woman, murder, stealing someone? According to most Christian faiths, believing is the only criteria and no matter what you do, as long as you believe that is how you get in as the bible is quite clear about this fact.

Yea, no one really believes that, in fact you’re repeating the mindset of an old discarded heresy. Belief is a question of the heart, and not as you imagine the acceptance of a series of propositions. In this way it’s not even about actions, but the inner life of a person, that illuminates every other aspect of who he is, what he does, and his relationship to others.

It’s more a question of what sort of Life do we seek after, what sort of Being do we desire to be. For the Christian that life and being is embodied in the person of Christ. It’s less a matter of what you refrain from doing, and more a question about the heart of why you do things in the first place. It’s the difference between a man who loves his child, and one who just merely avoids abusing them.

Quote:6. Are you aware that the first four commandments are all the same exact commandment? If god was omniscient, don’t you really think that after you were to read the commandments again without your bible glasses on, that you might see some problems with that list?

Wasn’t it Jesus and some others at the time who summarized the commandments as to love god, and like unto it love others?

But yea, I don’t see a problem.

Quote:7. From a Christian standpoint, why do so many Christians hate Islam more than the other religions like Judaism and Shintoism and voodoo or Mithraism?

White Christians generally have a negative attitude towards Islams, but this is not true for non-white Christians. Black folks tend to have a neutral attitude towards Islam. Mines tend to be a bit more positive than neutral. The sort of Christians who tend to have a bad attitude towards muslim tend not to know many actual muslims, or have muslim friends. Where as for me, and many other christians like myself, we have many close muslim friends, belong to an ethnic community that lives side by side with muslims, and tend to have family members who live in the Middle East. Our attitudes in turn tend to be more positive than negative. It’s much easier to demonize and other a group of people when your sole interactions with that group is what you see on TV, or read about on the internet.

Quote:8. I actually want you to think about this for a good ten minutes. Doesn’t having an infinite afterlife make our finite life completely meaningless?

I find this life is pretty profound and meaningful, and that whatever awaits in the afterlife, I imagine it’s to be consumed by those brief and flashing moments of beauty that erupts here as well. So no, none of if is diminished by eternity, but rather appears as what you long for in light of eternity.

Quote:9. “If“you are one of the many majority of sects of Christianity that believes that Hitler is in Heaven because he repented for his crimes before committing suicide and that repenting and accepting Jesus is the only criteria for getting saved. Why don’t you murder and rape and steal and form an armed group of Christians to take over a nuclear missile silo and take it over and destroy the world? Or rape, then cook and eat babies in front of their parents, Repent and then kill yourself? If you can do all of that, repent with a few “oh please save me jesus I am sorry for I hath sinned” and then kill yourself and enjoy an infinite afterlife of endless joy and happiness while staring at the faces of all those you murdered or harmed as they look back at you knowing what you did to them and then you look down and see me in hell etc. Why don’t you do bad things or do any of that.

I imagine that folks that can commit atrocities like the holocaust, or eat babies in front of their parents have acted so far off the course, that they’re likely not to be the sort to truly ever repent of their actions. They made of life justifying all sorts of depraved acts, that’s unlikely their going to awake to some moral epiphany, or to feel real remorse, or contrition about it. Repentance is not a matter of saying you’re sorry, but truly meaning it. It’s the difference between an authentic and inauthentic apology. Do I imagine that folks like Hitler arrived at such a moment? I don’t believe so.

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18-01-2016, 08:47 AM
RE: 10 tough questions for theists.
(18-01-2016 02:22 AM)Shadow Fox Wrote:  Secondly, making that statement does not help me in the least. I am trying to come up with a good list of at least 10 decent questions that will apply to the most theists as possible. There is more than one account for creationism and most of them all believe the world to be around 10k years old at the maximum length. 6k if you are christian.

If your intent is to make a list of questions that apply to a generic group of theists, would you like me to take a crack at answering these questions? I am, after all, grouped under the theist umbrella.
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18-01-2016, 09:26 AM (This post was last modified: 18-01-2016 12:09 PM by GirlyMan.)
RE: 10 tough questions for theists.
(18-01-2016 08:47 AM)Aliza Wrote:  
(18-01-2016 02:22 AM)Shadow Fox Wrote:  Secondly, making that statement does not help me in the least. I am trying to come up with a good list of at least 10 decent questions that will apply to the most theists as possible. There is more than one account for creationism and most of them all believe the world to be around 10k years old at the maximum length. 6k if you are christian.

If your intent is to make a list of questions that apply to a generic group of theists, would you like me to take a crack at answering these questions? I am, after all, grouped under the theist umbrella.

Yes please. At least the Jews have some credibility on these matters.

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18-01-2016, 12:56 PM (This post was last modified: 18-01-2016 07:38 PM by Aliza.)
RE: 10 tough questions for theists.
(18-01-2016 09:26 AM)GirlyMan Wrote:  Yes please. At least the Jews have some credibility on these issues.

Basically, I maintain that these questions are geared toward religious Christians, and not theists in general. -But if the intent is to reach theists as a whole, then I hope my responses (broken up over two posts) will help Shadow Fox to further refine the questions for a broader audience.

And Girly, I hope I can retain some of that credibility on behalf of my religion after you read my answers. Smile

(11-01-2016 07:57 PM)Shadow Fox Wrote:  1. How can we “objectively” see a difference between something that does not exist, and the god you believe in whom is separated from time and space and can never be observed or tested without equating events, existence to your god which would be a false cause fallacy, or making use of special pleading?

I don’t think we can see this. Some of us may have found what we consider to be evidence, but that evidence isn’t irrefutable. G-d works through nature, so all evidence can be attributed to natural events. If G-d created everything, then he also created the laws of nature. Clearly, this is how he means for things to work. Even though some “evidence” convinces some, there will be others that simply need more or different evidence. If G-d needed you to believe, he has the resources and capabilities to ensure your compliance.

(11-01-2016 07:57 PM)Shadow Fox Wrote:  2. How can you possibly justify seeing a being whom infinitely tortures people for being born on the wrong side of the planet where Christianity doesn’t exist, believe in another deity they and their family has grown up with for generations or are an atheist as being the example of what ultimate good is?

Tortures people for eternity? Not in my religion. You must not be referring to the Hebrew Bible. I encourage you to get a copy of the bible in its original Hebrew, and a copy of the Talmud and then learn from a proper instructor who understands the nuances of the language and culture.

As for believing in another deity or no deity at all, I’ll address those both separately.

The Jewish people maintain that we’re experts on understanding how G-d communicates to Jews. We believe that G-d may communicate differently to different people and that it’s not our place to dictate to others what they should believe. Our theology supports no such notion that there is eternal punishment for not believing something.

From a Jewish perspective, atheism is a valid expression of “faith” (for lack of a better word). There are seven laws that Jews believe are incumbent on all humanity, and they do not include a requirement to believe in G-d. Nowhere in the Hebrew bible (or the Talmud) does it say that non-Jews have to believe in G-d. While a religious Jew may insist that your life would be better if you did believe in G-d, they’re under no obligation and are more often than not unmotivated to attempt convince you of that.

Also from a Jewish perspective, the ten commandments and the rest of the 613 commandments are only applicable to Jews. Technically the commandment to “know G-d” does imply that a Jew has an obligation to try to make an effort to understand the meaning of G-d, but nowhere is that effort quantified or explained in any detail. Jews can and do decide for themselves whether or not they understand G-d, or if they need to keep seeking answers.

(11-01-2016 07:57 PM)Shadow Fox Wrote:  3. If you are a creationist…

Of course I’m a creationist.

(11-01-2016 07:57 PM)Shadow Fox Wrote:  …have you ever once actually tried to study how science determines the age of rocks, what goes into the science itself, or any of the other mountains of science in the fields of biology, medicine, astronomy, geology, Astrophysics, Quantum Physics, and everything else that has even the slightest amount to do with science that has verified irrefutably that the universe is not 6-8000 years old and is in fact billions of years old and rely almost entirely on that being a fact or most of the science in those fields would collapse entirely?

Yes! Yes, I have studied that! It’s all very exciting and intriguing.

I’ve been taught that if I want to believe that the world was created in 6 literal days, then I’m welcome to do that. If I’m really curious and want to know what’s actually going on behind the scenes, then I should understand that it’s billions of years old. –And I’m a curious person, so this is the path I’ve chosen to follow and learn about.

(11-01-2016 07:57 PM)Shadow Fox Wrote:  4. If you are a creationist and answered the question above than, Without using special pleading, the bible, your faith, or the statement that evolution is not real science which is a false statement, tell me why you believe that the world is only 6-8000 years old.

I am a creationist (sort of). I believe G-d created the universe and that from our perspective here on earth, the universe is billions of years old (actually, I think the Jewish dating is 15.3 billion years, and the scientific dating is 13.8 billion years). The literal reading of Genesis is what we teach our kindergartners. It’s an appropriate interpretation for children to cut their teeth on, but this simple interpretation is not necessarily detailed enough to satisfy a curious minded crowd.

Special pleading? Faith? Sorry, I'm not required to convince you about how the universe was created. As far as I'm concerned, you're welcome to believe that the universe is billions of years old, or thousands of years old, or something else entirely.

I will become very vocal, however, if anyone tries to compel me to learn about their religious and pretend-scientific version of the creation of the universe.
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18-01-2016, 01:08 PM
RE: 10 tough questions for theists.
(18-01-2016 12:56 PM)Aliza Wrote:  And Girly, I hope I can retain some of that credibility on behalf of my religion after you read my answers. Smile

The B-b approves. Thumbsup

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18-01-2016, 02:33 PM
RE: 10 tough questions for theists.
Part 2

(11-01-2016 07:57 PM)Shadow Fox Wrote:  5. Without using the god wants to have a relationship with us argument, why is it that I as an atheist should believe that he exists, be more important than not raping a woman, murder, stealing someone?

I do not think you need to believe in G-d. Though, I maintain that people benefit from having an understanding of G-d and an appreciation of what the laws are and the logic and deeper meaning behind them (Jews have 613 laws, Non-Jews have 7). But just to clarify, G-d doesn’t need to have a relationship with you in turn. G-d doesn’t need anything from you at all.

Don’t rape women! Don’t murder! Don’t steal stuff! –Your life and the lives of those around you will be better if you don’t do these things.

(11-01-2016 07:57 PM)Shadow Fox Wrote:  According to most Christian faiths, believing is the only criteria and no matter what you do, as long as you believe that is how you get in as the bible is quite clear about this fact.

The last part of this question doesn’t apply. I can’t speak for Christians. I can say that the bible doesn't say anything about this at all. If you think it does, then we can discuss those points separately or you can contact your local orthodox synagogue to let them explain it to you. Smile

(11-01-2016 07:57 PM)Shadow Fox Wrote:  6. Are you aware that the first four commandments are all the same exact commandment? If god was omniscient, don’t you really think that after you were to read the commandments again without your bible glasses on, that you might see some problems with that list?

Not sure how you see these commandments as being the same thing, but let’s take a look at them a little more closely.

1. I am the Lord your G d, Who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.

a. This is the one that tells the Jews that they have an obligation to understand who and/or what G-d is.

2. You shall have no other gods before Me. You shall not make for yourself a graven image, nor any manner of likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, 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 G d am a jealous G d, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children of the third and fourth generation of them that hate Me; and showing mercy unto the thousandth generation of them that love Me and keep My commandments.

a. This is saying that G-d is one and G-d is alone. Pretending that other things are G-d is very bad. ie: worshipping little statues or worshipping Jesus, a human being with human limitations, is wrong for a Jew.

b. It’s also about placing personal development ahead of financial success or ravenous obsessions. Focus on what’s important in life.

c. If you witnessed your father, or your father and your grandfather doing wrong, and you didn’t correct it with your own generation, then you’re more liable than you would be if you were the first generation who wronged. The third generation had the benefit of witnessing the deterioration and fall out whereas previous generations couldn’t have that perspective. And keep in mind that this is intended for people who do know right from wrong, and not people who were raised in a culture where everyone is doing wrong as such that they can’t distinguish the difference.

3. You shall not take the name of the Lord your G d in vain; for the Lord will not hold him guiltless that takes His name in vain.

a. This is referring to a physical writing of the tetragrammaton that spells out G-d’s name, and also of casually uttering one of G-d’s names. From this commandment, we understand that there is some unseen significance to words and how they’re used.

b. We also understand through this commandment that using words against other people can be hurtful so we should be careful about what we say to or about other people as well. –Especially since the effects of our words may not be immediately apparent to us.

4. Remember the Sabbath Day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work; but the seventh day is a Sabbath unto the Lord your G d. On it you shall not do any manner of work -- you, your son, your daughter, your man-servant, your maid-servant, your cattle, and your stranger that is within your gates. For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea and all that in them is, and rested on the seventh day; wherefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath Day, and hallowed it.

a. This is about taking a day off. Your body and mind need a day off.


I don’t see any problems with this list. They’re all different commandments.

1. Know G-d.
2. Understand what’s important in life and place that first; be accountable for your actions.
3. Be mindful of your speech.
4. Take a day off from work.


(11-01-2016 07:57 PM)Shadow Fox Wrote:  7. From a Christian standpoint, why do so many Christians hate Islam more than the other religions like Judaism and Shintoism and voodoo or Mithraism?

I don’t take a Christian standpoint on anything. My guess is that Christians hate Islam because Muslims proselytize. Christians believe that they’re the only ones who are allowed to do that.

(11-01-2016 07:57 PM)Shadow Fox Wrote:  8. I actually want you to think about this for a good ten minutes. Doesn’t having an infinite afterlife make our finite life completely meaningless?

Okay, I thought about this for a good ten minutes as you requested. It’s just that we don’t believe that we have infinite afterlives. Nothing is infinite or eternal except for G-d.

Oh, and reincarnation is totally on the table for Jews.

(11-01-2016 07:57 PM)Shadow Fox Wrote:  9. “If“you are one of the many majority of sects of Christianity that believes that Hitler is in Heaven because he repented for his crimes before committing suicide and that repenting and accepting Jesus is the only criteria for getting saved.

I am not from a Christian sect, majority or otherwise. We do not have a concept of salvation and my understanding of “heaven” is different from that of a Christian’s. Might Hitler have “repented” for the slaughter of 6 million innocent people? It’s possible. I don’t presume to know the truth of what happens after death. –Nor do I presume to know what might have been Hitler’s fate.

But if the Jews are right and all people are going to go through a period of “cleansing” after death, then I hope Hitler had to experience the physical and emotional pain humiliation, degradation and fear from each person that he tortured and/or killed, from each soldier who died in that war, and from each parent who lost a child. I hope he experienced with acute detail, the shame that former Nazis and their descendants experienced when the glory of war died down and the ramifications of their actions sunk in. I hope Hitler was shown the outcome of his efforts so he could see the creation of the state of Israel and understand first hand that he could not destroy the Jews any more than anyone else who had tried in the past… and failed.


(11-01-2016 07:57 PM)Shadow Fox Wrote:  Why don’t you murder and rape and steal and form an armed group of Christians to take over a nuclear missile silo and take it over and destroy the world? Or rape, then cook and eat babies in front of their parents, Repent and then kill yourself? If you can do all of that, repent with a few “oh please save me jesus I am sorry for I hath sinned” and then kill yourself and enjoy an infinite afterlife of endless joy and happiness while staring at the faces of all those you murdered or harmed as they look back at you knowing what you did to them and then you look down and see me in hell etc. Why don’t you do bad things or do any of that.

Why would I want to do this stuff?

I don’t really understand why you would go to such an extreme scenario as you did in your question. Is there some place in the world where it’s culturally acceptable to rape and consume babies in front of the parents? People live morally because our lives are improved when everyone follows the rules and has respect and consideration for others. The proof is right there in the pudding. Religion doesn’t seem to play a factor in this because we can see that there are flourishing societies from a variety of cultural backgrounds all over the world.
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18-01-2016, 02:35 PM
RE: 10 tough questions for theists.
(18-01-2016 09:26 AM)GirlyMan Wrote:  
(18-01-2016 08:47 AM)Aliza Wrote:  If your intent is to make a list of questions that apply to a generic group of theists, would you like me to take a crack at answering these questions? I am, after all, grouped under the theist umbrella.

Yes please. At least the Jews have some credibility on these matters.

No more than any other delusional belief system. Drinking Beverage

Skepticism is not a position; it is an approach to claims.
Science is not a subject, but a method.
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18-01-2016, 02:41 PM
RE: 10 tough questions for theists.
(18-01-2016 02:35 PM)Chas Wrote:  
(18-01-2016 09:26 AM)GirlyMan Wrote:  Yes please. At least the Jews have some credibility on these matters.

No more than any other delusional belief system. Drinking Beverage

Well, but the beliefs are being expounded by a nice girl, so that counts Tongue

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(06-02-2014 03:47 PM)Momsurroundedbyboys Wrote:  And I'm giving myself a conclusion again from all the facepalming.
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18-01-2016, 02:45 PM
RE: 10 tough questions for theists.
(18-01-2016 12:56 PM)Aliza Wrote:  And Girly, I hope I can retain some of that credibility on behalf of my religion after you read my answers. Smile

The B-b approves. Thumbsup

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