The Worst Religious Holiday - EVER!!!!!!
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05-03-2015, 09:06 AM
RE: The Worst Religious Holiday - EVER!!!!!!
(04-03-2015 04:48 PM)Reltzik Wrote:  
(04-03-2015 01:28 PM)The Q Continuum Wrote:  God judges nations, not just individuals. The Bible is explicit in this matter. Also, God has a fine sense of irony. Look at post WWII Nazi Germany if you think God takes the destruction of Jewish infants lightly. They are the Chosen People, you know?

That isn't the question I am getting at. You say God judges nations, not individuals? That dodging away from your original point.

We're still talking about an appalling lack of discernment. We're still talking about a being who supposedly is tormenting and killing the innocent as well as the guilty for such-and-such crime, solely because those innocents happened to live in the same nation.

You say God does this. I will agree that God, as depicted in the Bible, does this.

And consider that question vis-a-vis the following alternative available to a supposedly omnipotent and omniscient god: Punishing ONLY the guilty (including Pharaoh... assuming he had the free will to be guilty with that hardening of heart thing) and not touching the innocent, and doing so without a single erroneous conviction. Or if the nation as an entity were guilty, causing some political strife that undid the governance and unity of the nation and forced it to disolve into separate polities, but leaving the innocents in the land untouched?

These (along with other options) is what you would have me believe that God passed up to judge the entire nation, and to do so by striking down innocent and guilty alike, those who had offered offense to the Jews and those who hadn't... and ALSO leaving untouched some who HAD harmed the Jews. (After all, might there not be a man who had engaged in the genocide, who was not himself firstborn and was childless, or whose firstborn child was already dead? What punishment would he have received?)

Fine. I'll agree that is what transpires within the narrative.

But the real topic of this thread, and the one you were brave enough to acknowledge only when you thought you had a decent argument in "but wait the Egyptians were committing genocide" and then promptly ran away from when that dissolved, is whether this is just and righteous, something that a good being could do, or not. Can the act depicted here... even if you name it judging a nation rather than individuals... be anything other than the act of a monster?

I'd say an issue here is that on other threads you and others say there is no proof of anything, anything at all (!), in the Bible. The Bible says clearly in several places that God judges nations and empires, and a look through history, not just the Egypt/Israel conflict of the Exodus, will confirm this fact. So look, why don't you?

I'm told atheists on forums like TTA are bitter and angry. If you are not, your posts to me will be respectful, insightful and thoughtful. Prove me wrong by your adherence to decent behavior.
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05-03-2015, 10:18 AM
RE: The Worst Religious Holiday - EVER!!!!!!
(05-03-2015 09:06 AM)The Q Continuum Wrote:  
(04-03-2015 04:48 PM)Reltzik Wrote:  That isn't the question I am getting at. You say God judges nations, not individuals? That dodging away from your original point.

We're still talking about an appalling lack of discernment. We're still talking about a being who supposedly is tormenting and killing the innocent as well as the guilty for such-and-such crime, solely because those innocents happened to live in the same nation.

You say God does this. I will agree that God, as depicted in the Bible, does this.

And consider that question vis-a-vis the following alternative available to a supposedly omnipotent and omniscient god: Punishing ONLY the guilty (including Pharaoh... assuming he had the free will to be guilty with that hardening of heart thing) and not touching the innocent, and doing so without a single erroneous conviction. Or if the nation as an entity were guilty, causing some political strife that undid the governance and unity of the nation and forced it to disolve into separate polities, but leaving the innocents in the land untouched?

These (along with other options) is what you would have me believe that God passed up to judge the entire nation, and to do so by striking down innocent and guilty alike, those who had offered offense to the Jews and those who hadn't... and ALSO leaving untouched some who HAD harmed the Jews. (After all, might there not be a man who had engaged in the genocide, who was not himself firstborn and was childless, or whose firstborn child was already dead? What punishment would he have received?)

Fine. I'll agree that is what transpires within the narrative.

But the real topic of this thread, and the one you were brave enough to acknowledge only when you thought you had a decent argument in "but wait the Egyptians were committing genocide" and then promptly ran away from when that dissolved, is whether this is just and righteous, something that a good being could do, or not. Can the act depicted here... even if you name it judging a nation rather than individuals... be anything other than the act of a monster?

I'd say an issue here is that on other threads you and others say there is no proof of anything, anything at all (!), in the Bible. The Bible says clearly in several places that God judges nations and empires, and a look through history, not just the Egypt/Israel conflict of the Exodus, will confirm this fact. So look, why don't you?

Bible proves the Bible. There ya go again. Facepalm

Gods derive their power from post-hoc rationalizations. -The Inquisition

Using the supernatural to explain events in your life is a failure of the intellect to comprehend the world around you. -The Inquisition
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05-03-2015, 11:23 AM
RE: The Worst Religious Holiday - EVER!!!!!!
(05-03-2015 10:18 AM)TheInquisition Wrote:  
(05-03-2015 09:06 AM)The Q Continuum Wrote:  I'd say an issue here is that on other threads you and others say there is no proof of anything, anything at all (!), in the Bible. The Bible says clearly in several places that God judges nations and empires, and a look through history, not just the Egypt/Israel conflict of the Exodus, will confirm this fact. So look, why don't you?

Bible proves the Bible. There ya go again. Facepalm

Harry Potter books prove the Harry Potter books, these book :

has an evil villain, just like the bible
has a lot of filler, just like the bible
has no outside corroboration, just like the bible Evil_monster


reference to timon & pumba :


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05-03-2015, 05:41 PM (This post was last modified: 05-03-2015 05:56 PM by Reltzik.)
RE: The Worst Religious Holiday - EVER!!!!!!
(05-03-2015 09:06 AM)The Q Continuum Wrote:  
(04-03-2015 04:48 PM)Reltzik Wrote:  That isn't the question I am getting at. You say God judges nations, not individuals? That dodging away from your original point.

We're still talking about an appalling lack of discernment. We're still talking about a being who supposedly is tormenting and killing the innocent as well as the guilty for such-and-such crime, solely because those innocents happened to live in the same nation.

You say God does this. I will agree that God, as depicted in the Bible, does this.

And consider that question vis-a-vis the following alternative available to a supposedly omnipotent and omniscient god: Punishing ONLY the guilty (including Pharaoh... assuming he had the free will to be guilty with that hardening of heart thing) and not touching the innocent, and doing so without a single erroneous conviction. Or if the nation as an entity were guilty, causing some political strife that undid the governance and unity of the nation and forced it to disolve into separate polities, but leaving the innocents in the land untouched?

These (along with other options) is what you would have me believe that God passed up to judge the entire nation, and to do so by striking down innocent and guilty alike, those who had offered offense to the Jews and those who hadn't... and ALSO leaving untouched some who HAD harmed the Jews. (After all, might there not be a man who had engaged in the genocide, who was not himself firstborn and was childless, or whose firstborn child was already dead? What punishment would he have received?)

Fine. I'll agree that is what transpires within the narrative.

But the real topic of this thread, and the one you were brave enough to acknowledge only when you thought you had a decent argument in "but wait the Egyptians were committing genocide" and then promptly ran away from when that dissolved, is whether this is just and righteous, something that a good being could do, or not. Can the act depicted here... even if you name it judging a nation rather than individuals... be anything other than the act of a monster?

I'd say an issue here is that on other threads you and others say there is no proof of anything, anything at all (!), in the Bible. The Bible says clearly in several places that God judges nations and empires, and a look through history, not just the Egypt/Israel conflict of the Exodus, will confirm this fact. So look, why don't you?

Are there several cases of nations falling on hard times? Yes. Well established by historical evidence.

Were their falls linked to their misdeeds? Sometimes, yes. The Nazis are indeed a clear example (though it was more the consequence of continent-wide imperialism and pissing everyone off, than their treatment of the Jews, which was not published widely prior to the liberation of the camps). Other examples include Easter Island, where deeply self-centered lack of environmental conservation rendered the civilization extinct, and the Confederate States of America (if we wish to refer to that as a nation), which was weakened in the face of the Union principally by a love of slavery, and the deleterious long-term effects of that slavery upon their economy, industry, infrastructure and population. (In particular, the shortage of railroads and factories was disastrous, and this was linked to the South's model of slave-heavy, agrarian labor.)

Other times, it is not so clear. Spain, for example, engaged in acts of genocide in the New World, and grew rich in silver and gold because of it. This wealth made it the greatest empire in Europe for over a century, and flexing those muscles it worked to dominate the Catholic Church and spread its Inquisition far and wide. Eventually it declined through a combination of economic mismanagement, lack of military control of the New World, and a social system that favored aristocratic rank over actual capability. The Coup de Grace was the War of the Spanish Succession, which was brought about in large part by inbreeding (due to frequent political marriages between the rather small pool of European rulers) in the Hapsburg house. In all of this, we could, if we strained, point to this or that or the other mistake as a self-inflicted wound that did Spain in, but it is hard to definitively identify any one cause of the fall, or establish a clear link between that fall and any or all of Spain's misdeeds.

Then there are examples of nations that fell, and did not seem to deserve it. The people of the Chatham islands, for example. The Olone Indians of California. We could probably wave our hand and say there was some reason that we just didn't know about... but then, that wouldn't be looking for evidence, like you say. That would be simply assuming it's there and not looking.

What you will not find in the historical record... anywhere... is evidence that your god or any other had a hand in any of this. You'll find people that believed that was true... but belief is not evidence. You'll find cases where contemporary faith played a significant role in that fall... the Spanish attack on the Incans because their Emperor didn't respect the Bible, a book in a language that he couldn't read, comes to mind... but that is only evidence that people of the time believed, not that their beliefs were true.

So exactly what evidence am I looking for in history, rather than in the Bible narrative? That some nations have hardship and disaster befall them? MOST do, eventually. But where's the evidence that this is God's judgement at work, rather than just the course of human history? That some of them deserved it, in some sense, due to misdeeds or mismanagement? This would seem to be LESS evidence of God, rather than more -- after all, if the fall has an explanation that isn't God, why would we assume that the real explanation IS God?

The phenomenon of nations rising and falling would have been familiar even in ancient times. It would not be surprising to know that an ancient, superstitious people took one more phenomenon that they did not understand -- like why crops grow or why planets move or where the world came from -- and simply said "God did it".

So exactly what evidence of God are you asking me to look for? That nations rise and fall is not, itself, the evidence of something supernatural behind it, much less evidence of your particular god's judgement. Nor is the fact that your Bible claims that your god is behind it proof. So, where is this evidence?

And I note that you are still avoiding the central topic of the thread. NOT whether your God judges entire nations, rather than individuals. But whether him doing so (if he existed and did so) would be morally repugnant, and specifically the atrocities attributed to him with the killing of the Egyptian firstborns.

(And yes, I can ask that question in the context of a fictional narrative, just as I can ask about the moral questions surrounding Frodo's unwillingness to let Sam carry the One Ring.)

EDIT: So, please, answer two questions. First, exactly what constitutes evidence that your god is behind the fall of nations? (Not evidence THAT they fall, or that they have misdeeds linked to their falls... evidence that the judgement of a god, and specifically YOUR god, is behind it.)

And second, within the Bible narrative how is it moral to kill the newly born infant of a midwife, who defied Pharaoh and did not murder newborn Jewish infants, simply because she lives in the land ruled by the Pharaoh who gave that order? Could not an omnipotent and omniscient god known of her actions and spared her and her child? Would not the slaying of the many people in Egypt who actually participated in the genocide be wide-sweeping enough to constitute judgement upon the nation? Why kill that newborn baby?

Your cowardice in refusing to face this moral question squarely is quite telling. It tells me that, deep down, you believe that such actions are wrong, but that clashes with your belief in an infallible, perfect god of the Bible, and so in your cognitive dissonance you grasp about for any red herring you can to change the topic, rather than address it squarely. If you believe that this is just, you should simply declare it so! Proudly! If you really believe, why this embarrassment? Extoll to us how just and worthy of worship a god is who slays innocent infants for the crimes of their countrymen! We have both agreed that this is what is happening in the narrative. What is it that is keeping you from stepping up and OWNING your love of a being that would do such a thing?
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05-03-2015, 06:17 PM
RE: The Worst Religious Holiday - EVER!!!!!!
And this meddling with nations that god supposedly does is directly in conflict with the weak human choice apologetic that he self-righteously employs to explain the piles of dead bodies due to god's inaction/non-existence.

Gods derive their power from post-hoc rationalizations. -The Inquisition

Using the supernatural to explain events in your life is a failure of the intellect to comprehend the world around you. -The Inquisition
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06-03-2015, 02:30 AM
RE: The Worst Religious Holiday - EVER!!!!!!
(05-03-2015 09:04 AM)The Q Continuum Wrote:  
(04-03-2015 09:50 PM)Mark Fulton Wrote:  Hi Q, you write
"Hi Mark, you are unaware of the Christian concept of types and shadows in the Bible,"

Actually I am very aware of it. One of the words for it is "hermeneutics," which is the art of making the bible say what you want it to say. It is bullshit. It is the excuse most commonly used by evangelical types to try and explain away the grossly immoral and pathetically ridiculous writings in the Bible.

"My statements had less to do with reason and logic..."

So very very true. Take that thought, and ponder on it, and try not to let other thoughts pollute it.

You imply I am intolerant of other views. This is what you wrote...
"Jesus shed water and blood for us. Those who are covered in water have living water flow through their spirit. So again an OT event has shades of Christ."

I'm sorry, but this sort of nonsense deserves to be called out for what it is. Read what you wrote carefully and slowly, and it should dawn on you why I have derided you.

You claim to be offended. Get over it, and pull your socks up. You claim I've upset your god, but your god could not possibly be offended. Firstly... he doesn't exist. Secondly, even if he did, he's got better things to do than throw a hissy fit over a few words. He or she is bigger than that. Your god is only a reflection of you... you have created him in your own likeness.

I don't care whether you pray for me or not. The fact you say you will only reflects back on you, because you have failed to influence, impress or control me. You therefore resort to imagining that praying will somehow influence me. By all means try to impress me with your arguments, but you're not going to change one iota of what I do by praying to your imaginary friend.

I see, Mark. You are aware of hermeneutics and type and shadow, and merely felt like expressing some rude comments. Thanks for explaining. You are certainly entitled to be rude. It's a free country where I'm typing.

However, hermeneutics, which is a serious look at studying the Bible, and reconciling difficult passages, is something you shouldn't disdain outright. That seems to be an anti-intellectual stance to me.

Nearly everyone on this forum has had hermeneutic nonsense shoved down their throat time and again. The problem with hermeneutics is that it assumes that everything in the Bible was written by clever, intelligent, all knowing, god knowing individuals. The preacher lovingly fingers his leather bound tome and assumes it contains the words of God. If something in the Bible appears ridiculous, immoral or pathetic, it must be because the reader is interpreting it incorrectly.

In reality, the objective historians amongst us know that the Bible was written by primitive, ignorant, empire building, anonymous individuals who were using theological concepts to control and profit from superstitious crowds.

The control agenda is still being played out today. You are just the latest version of another priest or preacher or teacher or rabbi or imam who thinks he can wield a stick by interpreting these ancient texts.

What has been pointed out to you time and again by numerous posters here is that you are not reading these texts objectively. You assume we are the ignorant ones because we don't have the same level of understanding that you do, yet you fail to see the obvious nonsense in the Bible.
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06-03-2015, 08:24 AM
RE: The Worst Religious Holiday - EVER!!!!!!
(06-03-2015 02:30 AM)Mark Fulton Wrote:  
(05-03-2015 09:04 AM)The Q Continuum Wrote:  I see, Mark. You are aware of hermeneutics and type and shadow, and merely felt like expressing some rude comments. Thanks for explaining. You are certainly entitled to be rude. It's a free country where I'm typing.

However, hermeneutics, which is a serious look at studying the Bible, and reconciling difficult passages, is something you shouldn't disdain outright. That seems to be an anti-intellectual stance to me.

Nearly everyone on this forum has had hermeneutic nonsense shoved down their throat time and again. The problem with hermeneutics is that it assumes that everything in the Bible was written by clever, intelligent, all knowing, god knowing individuals. The preacher lovingly fingers his leather bound tome and assumes it contains the words of God. If something in the Bible appears ridiculous, immoral or pathetic, it must be because the reader is interpreting it incorrectly.

In reality, the objective historians amongst us know that the Bible was written by primitive, ignorant, empire building, anonymous individuals who were using theological concepts to control and profit from superstitious crowds.

The control agenda is still being played out today. You are just the latest version of another priest or preacher or teacher or rabbi or imam who thinks he can wield a stick by interpreting these ancient texts.

What has been pointed out to you time and again by numerous posters here is that you are not reading these texts objectively. You assume we are the ignorant ones because we don't have the same level of understanding that you do, yet you fail to see the obvious nonsense in the Bible.

Yes, but you are being quite assumptive regarding my rubric. When I see something in the Bible that alarms me I research it. I look around, I wrap my mind around it. I'm open-minded and will deconvert if I see something I discover in my research to be immoral--not on the part of the Bible "heroes" whose weaknesses are presented--but on the part of God.

You are also skirting the issue that the Bible itself makes claims about the text--that those who give it cursory readings are missing the "meat". Jesus spoke of wise people building on stone, not shifting sand--he gave this lecture in one of the lakeside spots where to get from sand to stone you have to dig deeper.

So overall, when you use remarks like "obvious nonsense" in the Bible, you must be referring to your presentist readings in the English; looking deeper into historical context, textual context, the original languages, etc. is recognized by serious scholars from liberal to conservative, from Christian to atheist--you and others here like to quote for example, the Jesus Seminar garbage--but that group does hermeneutics also.

Further, NO ONE reads Bible texts in the West objectively. NO ONE. But knowing my biases and being aware of them helps. Since I am again protesting that I, too, can be shocked or startled by Bible texts read in English without looking at surrounding context and honest research--you are making inflammatory statements as if you can read my mind, which you cannot.

Quote:In reality, the objective historians amongst us know that the Bible was written by primitive, ignorant, empire building, anonymous individuals who were using theological concepts to control and profit from superstitious crowds.

If that is an "objective" statement you might explain:

*How Jesus profited financially or otherwise from His preaching, not having a coin to address the Pharisees, not having a rock to lay his head on at night

*How much power and control Moses exerted over his charges as they rebelled against him and God ten times in the desert and called for his stoning

*How the apostles profited by limiting their income, number of wives, and wandered thousands of miles on foot and by sea through hardship to--as Paul put it--make tents and preach the gospel without charge...

Etc.

In sum, when you insult hermeneutics, you insult the liberal scholars who practice it also. And when you say I'm not objective, well, I'm not, but I have experience in the text, same as you. The difference is I haven't yet started a forum where people coalesce not only for fellowship but to make posts, 90% of which are indeed against Christianity and without substance or merit also.

Thanks for your patience with my rant.

I'm told atheists on forums like TTA are bitter and angry. If you are not, your posts to me will be respectful, insightful and thoughtful. Prove me wrong by your adherence to decent behavior.
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06-03-2015, 08:31 AM
RE: The Worst Religious Holiday - EVER!!!!!!
(05-03-2015 05:41 PM)Reltzik Wrote:  
(05-03-2015 09:06 AM)The Q Continuum Wrote:  I'd say an issue here is that on other threads you and others say there is no proof of anything, anything at all (!), in the Bible. The Bible says clearly in several places that God judges nations and empires, and a look through history, not just the Egypt/Israel conflict of the Exodus, will confirm this fact. So look, why don't you?

Are there several cases of nations falling on hard times? Yes. Well established by historical evidence.

Were their falls linked to their misdeeds? Sometimes, yes. The Nazis are indeed a clear example (though it was more the consequence of continent-wide imperialism and pissing everyone off, than their treatment of the Jews, which was not published widely prior to the liberation of the camps). Other examples include Easter Island, where deeply self-centered lack of environmental conservation rendered the civilization extinct, and the Confederate States of America (if we wish to refer to that as a nation), which was weakened in the face of the Union principally by a love of slavery, and the deleterious long-term effects of that slavery upon their economy, industry, infrastructure and population. (In particular, the shortage of railroads and factories was disastrous, and this was linked to the South's model of slave-heavy, agrarian labor.)

Other times, it is not so clear. Spain, for example, engaged in acts of genocide in the New World, and grew rich in silver and gold because of it. This wealth made it the greatest empire in Europe for over a century, and flexing those muscles it worked to dominate the Catholic Church and spread its Inquisition far and wide. Eventually it declined through a combination of economic mismanagement, lack of military control of the New World, and a social system that favored aristocratic rank over actual capability. The Coup de Grace was the War of the Spanish Succession, which was brought about in large part by inbreeding (due to frequent political marriages between the rather small pool of European rulers) in the Hapsburg house. In all of this, we could, if we strained, point to this or that or the other mistake as a self-inflicted wound that did Spain in, but it is hard to definitively identify any one cause of the fall, or establish a clear link between that fall and any or all of Spain's misdeeds.

Then there are examples of nations that fell, and did not seem to deserve it. The people of the Chatham islands, for example. The Olone Indians of California. We could probably wave our hand and say there was some reason that we just didn't know about... but then, that wouldn't be looking for evidence, like you say. That would be simply assuming it's there and not looking.

What you will not find in the historical record... anywhere... is evidence that your god or any other had a hand in any of this. You'll find people that believed that was true... but belief is not evidence. You'll find cases where contemporary faith played a significant role in that fall... the Spanish attack on the Incans because their Emperor didn't respect the Bible, a book in a language that he couldn't read, comes to mind... but that is only evidence that people of the time believed, not that their beliefs were true.

So exactly what evidence am I looking for in history, rather than in the Bible narrative? That some nations have hardship and disaster befall them? MOST do, eventually. But where's the evidence that this is God's judgement at work, rather than just the course of human history? That some of them deserved it, in some sense, due to misdeeds or mismanagement? This would seem to be LESS evidence of God, rather than more -- after all, if the fall has an explanation that isn't God, why would we assume that the real explanation IS God?

The phenomenon of nations rising and falling would have been familiar even in ancient times. It would not be surprising to know that an ancient, superstitious people took one more phenomenon that they did not understand -- like why crops grow or why planets move or where the world came from -- and simply said "God did it".

So exactly what evidence of God are you asking me to look for? That nations rise and fall is not, itself, the evidence of something supernatural behind it, much less evidence of your particular god's judgement. Nor is the fact that your Bible claims that your god is behind it proof. So, where is this evidence?

And I note that you are still avoiding the central topic of the thread. NOT whether your God judges entire nations, rather than individuals. But whether him doing so (if he existed and did so) would be morally repugnant, and specifically the atrocities attributed to him with the killing of the Egyptian firstborns.

(And yes, I can ask that question in the context of a fictional narrative, just as I can ask about the moral questions surrounding Frodo's unwillingness to let Sam carry the One Ring.)

EDIT: So, please, answer two questions. First, exactly what constitutes evidence that your god is behind the fall of nations? (Not evidence THAT they fall, or that they have misdeeds linked to their falls... evidence that the judgement of a god, and specifically YOUR god, is behind it.)

And second, within the Bible narrative how is it moral to kill the newly born infant of a midwife, who defied Pharaoh and did not murder newborn Jewish infants, simply because she lives in the land ruled by the Pharaoh who gave that order? Could not an omnipotent and omniscient god known of her actions and spared her and her child? Would not the slaying of the many people in Egypt who actually participated in the genocide be wide-sweeping enough to constitute judgement upon the nation? Why kill that newborn baby?

Your cowardice in refusing to face this moral question squarely is quite telling. It tells me that, deep down, you believe that such actions are wrong, but that clashes with your belief in an infallible, perfect god of the Bible, and so in your cognitive dissonance you grasp about for any red herring you can to change the topic, rather than address it squarely. If you believe that this is just, you should simply declare it so! Proudly! If you really believe, why this embarrassment? Extoll to us how just and worthy of worship a god is who slays innocent infants for the crimes of their countrymen! We have both agreed that this is what is happening in the narrative. What is it that is keeping you from stepping up and OWNING your love of a being that would do such a thing?

1. I agree with Kingschosen in that the evidence you are "seeking", which I don't think you're really seeking, isn't to be found in many cases. But what is a true fact is that the Bible states that God will judge nations for not only wickedness but their treatment of Israel and the Jewish people. You can find a lot of truth in the latter if you look. Spain is an oft-cited example. It was a long time after the Inquisition began but the Spanish armada was destroyed and the Spanish empire broken. Germany is another, at the risk of Godwin, we don't speak German in America or the UK and Germany was utterly thrown down after the holocaust. Not so utterly that she couldn't rise again to become a European power, but...

2. You want me to own that God is great because babies died? I do. Of course He's still great. The Passover has been celebrated in Jewish homes millions of times for millennia. The issue is that you won't own how great God is if babies go to Heaven. If Heaven and Hell are real, we have you upset at God for genocidal, slave owners going to Hell and their children getting free tickets to Heaven. Do you deny this? Of course you do because God's ways are usually only mysterious to nonbelievers. But the babies were denied life? No, they weren't. They live FOREVER. The parents were grieved at their losses, yes. Switch to that if you want to make a more persuasive argument.

I'm told atheists on forums like TTA are bitter and angry. If you are not, your posts to me will be respectful, insightful and thoughtful. Prove me wrong by your adherence to decent behavior.
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06-03-2015, 12:16 PM (This post was last modified: 06-03-2015 12:53 PM by Reltzik.)
RE: The Worst Religious Holiday - EVER!!!!!!
(06-03-2015 08:31 AM)The Q Continuum Wrote:  
(05-03-2015 05:41 PM)Reltzik Wrote:  Are there several cases of nations falling on hard times? Yes. Well established by historical evidence.

Were their falls linked to their misdeeds? Sometimes, yes. The Nazis are indeed a clear example (though it was more the consequence of continent-wide imperialism and pissing everyone off, than their treatment of the Jews, which was not published widely prior to the liberation of the camps). Other examples include Easter Island, where deeply self-centered lack of environmental conservation rendered the civilization extinct, and the Confederate States of America (if we wish to refer to that as a nation), which was weakened in the face of the Union principally by a love of slavery, and the deleterious long-term effects of that slavery upon their economy, industry, infrastructure and population. (In particular, the shortage of railroads and factories was disastrous, and this was linked to the South's model of slave-heavy, agrarian labor.)

Other times, it is not so clear. Spain, for example, engaged in acts of genocide in the New World, and grew rich in silver and gold because of it. This wealth made it the greatest empire in Europe for over a century, and flexing those muscles it worked to dominate the Catholic Church and spread its Inquisition far and wide. Eventually it declined through a combination of economic mismanagement, lack of military control of the New World, and a social system that favored aristocratic rank over actual capability. The Coup de Grace was the War of the Spanish Succession, which was brought about in large part by inbreeding (due to frequent political marriages between the rather small pool of European rulers) in the Hapsburg house. In all of this, we could, if we strained, point to this or that or the other mistake as a self-inflicted wound that did Spain in, but it is hard to definitively identify any one cause of the fall, or establish a clear link between that fall and any or all of Spain's misdeeds.

Then there are examples of nations that fell, and did not seem to deserve it. The people of the Chatham islands, for example. The Olone Indians of California. We could probably wave our hand and say there was some reason that we just didn't know about... but then, that wouldn't be looking for evidence, like you say. That would be simply assuming it's there and not looking.

What you will not find in the historical record... anywhere... is evidence that your god or any other had a hand in any of this. You'll find people that believed that was true... but belief is not evidence. You'll find cases where contemporary faith played a significant role in that fall... the Spanish attack on the Incans because their Emperor didn't respect the Bible, a book in a language that he couldn't read, comes to mind... but that is only evidence that people of the time believed, not that their beliefs were true.

So exactly what evidence am I looking for in history, rather than in the Bible narrative? That some nations have hardship and disaster befall them? MOST do, eventually. But where's the evidence that this is God's judgement at work, rather than just the course of human history? That some of them deserved it, in some sense, due to misdeeds or mismanagement? This would seem to be LESS evidence of God, rather than more -- after all, if the fall has an explanation that isn't God, why would we assume that the real explanation IS God?

The phenomenon of nations rising and falling would have been familiar even in ancient times. It would not be surprising to know that an ancient, superstitious people took one more phenomenon that they did not understand -- like why crops grow or why planets move or where the world came from -- and simply said "God did it".

So exactly what evidence of God are you asking me to look for? That nations rise and fall is not, itself, the evidence of something supernatural behind it, much less evidence of your particular god's judgement. Nor is the fact that your Bible claims that your god is behind it proof. So, where is this evidence?

And I note that you are still avoiding the central topic of the thread. NOT whether your God judges entire nations, rather than individuals. But whether him doing so (if he existed and did so) would be morally repugnant, and specifically the atrocities attributed to him with the killing of the Egyptian firstborns.

(And yes, I can ask that question in the context of a fictional narrative, just as I can ask about the moral questions surrounding Frodo's unwillingness to let Sam carry the One Ring.)

EDIT: So, please, answer two questions. First, exactly what constitutes evidence that your god is behind the fall of nations? (Not evidence THAT they fall, or that they have misdeeds linked to their falls... evidence that the judgement of a god, and specifically YOUR god, is behind it.)

And second, within the Bible narrative how is it moral to kill the newly born infant of a midwife, who defied Pharaoh and did not murder newborn Jewish infants, simply because she lives in the land ruled by the Pharaoh who gave that order? Could not an omnipotent and omniscient god known of her actions and spared her and her child? Would not the slaying of the many people in Egypt who actually participated in the genocide be wide-sweeping enough to constitute judgement upon the nation? Why kill that newborn baby?

Your cowardice in refusing to face this moral question squarely is quite telling. It tells me that, deep down, you believe that such actions are wrong, but that clashes with your belief in an infallible, perfect god of the Bible, and so in your cognitive dissonance you grasp about for any red herring you can to change the topic, rather than address it squarely. If you believe that this is just, you should simply declare it so! Proudly! If you really believe, why this embarrassment? Extoll to us how just and worthy of worship a god is who slays innocent infants for the crimes of their countrymen! We have both agreed that this is what is happening in the narrative. What is it that is keeping you from stepping up and OWNING your love of a being that would do such a thing?

1. I agree with Kingschosen in that the evidence you are "seeking", which I don't think you're really seeking, isn't to be found in many cases. But what is a true fact is that the Bible states that God will judge nations for not only wickedness but their treatment of Israel and the Jewish people. You can find a lot of truth in the latter if you look. Spain is an oft-cited example. It was a long time after the Inquisition began but the Spanish armada was destroyed and the Spanish empire broken. Germany is another, at the risk of Godwin, we don't speak German in America or the UK and Germany was utterly thrown down after the holocaust. Not so utterly that she couldn't rise again to become a European power, but...

2. You want me to own that God is great because babies died? I do. Of course He's still great. The Passover has been celebrated in Jewish homes millions of times for millennia. The issue is that you won't own how great God is if babies go to Heaven. If Heaven and Hell are real, we have you upset at God for genocidal, slave owners going to Hell and their children getting free tickets to Heaven. Do you deny this? Of course you do because God's ways are usually only mysterious to nonbelievers. But the babies were denied life? No, they weren't. They live FOREVER. The parents were grieved at their losses, yes. Switch to that if you want to make a more persuasive argument.

1. So, what you would have me look for is a statistical trend that nations who greatly mistreat their Jewish populations eventually, even after centuries, suffer severe reversals, to a significantly greater extent than those who do not? That's not there. There are too few examples of nations with significant Jewish populations, who treated their Jewish populations well, and did not eventually suffer reversals, to draw a sufficient contrast.

I leave out nations practicing modern religious liberty for two reasons. First, because we are talking about a judgement which could come only after centuries, meaning that it takes centuries after that treatment for us to say whether or not the trend has been satisfied or defied. If some scientist discovers that a certain chemical is poisonous but takes 5 years to kill a person, we can't point to someone who is alive 5 weeks after ingesting it as a counterexample. We have to wait at least 5 years before that person is a data point. Similarly, if you say it sometimes takes centuries to have an effect, we have to wait centuries for a nation to count as a data point, be it as an example or as a contrast. Second, I view nations which practice freedom of conscience and ethnic equality as being inherently more stable and prosperous than those that don't. Nazi Germany is an example of both conditions -- an unfree dictatorship which also persecuted Jews -- and cannot be seen as supporting one proposition over the other.

(EDIT: Also, even if there were data to establish such a statistical trend? There would still remain the question of what was behind it.)

2. I actually am a bit upset at the notion of Hell in general... not the possibility that it's real, but the way it seems to be viewed by many people as a good thing, the way it speaks to some primally dark instinct in large parts of humanity. If I were a believer, I'd wish for universalism, mercy for everyone, regardless of their crimes.

But no, I'm not upset at the idea of children going to the heaven you describe. (I don't think it HAPPENS that way, but it wouldn't upset me if it did.) Does that make ending their lives justified or even excusable? Why should we not simply kill every child at the age of 2 months, then, to guarantee their entry into heaven? Give the task to unrepentant murderers, if you want to keep from (further) damning everyone who participates. Let those murderers convert on their deathbeds, even. For the record, no, I don't think we should do this. But what is the moral distinction in your eyes? Does thinking or believing that the children will go to heaven make killing them morally acceptable? If so, why not do it to guarantee their entry into heaven before they have the moral agency to sin? If not (and I guess you'll say not... quote "as you do unto the least of these" if you like), then how does their supposed entry into heaven make the killing of infants morally defensible?

(Also, we're talking about unbaptized children who'd never accepted Christ, but I'll let that slide. I don't know your stance on those theological points.)

And I won't switch to arguing about the grief of the parents, many of whom would themselves have been innocent... because that's been part of my argument all along. I can hardly switch to it if I'm already on it. Feel free to address it whenever.
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06-03-2015, 12:58 PM
RE: The Worst Religious Holiday - EVER!!!!!!
(02-03-2015 03:40 PM)The Q Continuum Wrote:  Looks like you and the author of the webpage forgot that God revisited on the Egyptians the infanticide they practiced on the Israelites. Moses was one of a few who survived an entire generation condemned to slaughter; God brought the infanticide on the Egyptians because sometimes we see people reaping what they sow. Other times we must wait for the next world...

God: "Those evil, immoral Egyptians committing infanticide against the Israelites! Angry I'm going to commit the very same immoral act against them... that'll show 'em!"

It looks like you forgot logic. Drinking Beverage

I am not accountable to any God. I am accountable to myself - and not because I think I am God as some theists would try to assert - but because, no matter what actions I take, thoughts I think, or words I utter, I have to be able to live with myself.
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