Monday, December 1, 2008

The Execution!

You are a career criminal, standing before the judge with a long list of charges against you. Witness after witness takes the stand, and with pointed finger, they tear your defence apart with overwhelming evidence. One by one the recorded phone calls and surveillance videos are played, the intercepted emails and text messages are read out. They had been tracking you for years.

The case is water-tight. You sit quietly in the dock. You know what the result is going to be. You know that you are guilty, the judge knows that you are guilty, all the spectators watching know that you are guilty – you hear them whispering it amongst themselves in the gallery. The writing is on the wall.

Before passing sentencing, the judge asks if you would like to say anything in your defence. You decline! What can you say?

"How do you plead?" demands the judge. "Guilty, your honour", you whisper, "I have no defense."

The judge pronounces his sentence, "Having reviewed your case and listened to the evidence presented, and in light of the charges laid, notwithstanding your guilty plea, I have no choice but to sentence you to death by firing squad - to be carried out immediately!".

The gallery erupts. Some cheer as others gasp. The deafening roar of camera shutters, and blinding flashes, seem strangely distant as your mind swims in shock!

Before it has time to sink in the prison guards, half dragging you across the room, begin to escort you towards the outer courtyard. You turn towards the judge. He is busy writing some notes on the case. "You Honour!", you cry out, "Please! Have mercy on me!".

"I'm guilty! I'm sorry! Please have mercy on me!", you cry out from the heart as you are shoved through the doors.

It is unusually warm outside. In the centre of the yard you see the execution post. The timber looks as though it has been clawed by a wild beast. The bullets from past executions have, like lead teeth, bitten great splinters out of it.

As an old man roughly ties you to the post, you see five young men dressed neatly in parade uniform form a line ten yards from where you stand, rifles by their side. Before you get a chance to look into their eyes, a dark hessian sack is pulled over your head. You feel the heat of your own breath on your cheeks. It begins to condense, and mix with the beads of sweat running down your face. The itching of rough fibres in the stifling heat becomes unbearable as your pulse begins to quicken.

Though muffled, you hear the sharp click of safety catches being released. You draw a deep breath and wait.

"Any last words?", the squad leader barks coarsely. You sigh, and once again apologise for your transgressions. "Please, if there be any way, have mercy on me!".

You pause, hoping that someway, somehow your plea might pave the way to safety. Your heart seems to hold its beat in unison with your hopes as you strain to hear the reply. Nothing.

"Guard, A-tten-tion!". Your legs begin to lose their strength as you release your end is but a shot away. As you lean forward, the ropes stop you from toppling. Your heart turns to wax, and melts.

"Ready!", you hear the sound of shuffling feet and the sharp metallic noise of rifle bolts driving it's deadly round into the chamber.

"Aim!", every muscle in your body begins to tense up in preparation to meet the white hot lead.

Before the executioner can give the final command you hear a shout from across the courtyard, "Hold It!" You flinch, momentarily thinking the shot has been taken! It's surreal, you were expecting it to be more painful than that.

As your thoughts begin to focus, you hear muffled talking and then the sound of someone coming over to you. They cut the ropes that have been holding you up these last few moments, and your legs give way. You pitch forward and fall heavily on the cobblestone paving.

In the confusion you hear the squad leader begin. "Ready, Aim..."

You begin tearing at the hessian bag over your head as your mind races.
"What's going on?" your mind screams searchingly.

"Fire!" The sharp crack of rifles is hurriedly followed by the sickening thud of bullets finding their mark. As you begin to draw the bag from over your head, you hear the sound of a body crumpling on two lifeless legs.

Turning, you see him there on the ground. Lifeless. Bloodied. It doesn't make sense. That should have been you.

You crawl over to base of the post and sweep away the mop of hair from across the mans face. In shock, you gasp, it is the judge who minutes before had pronounced your death sentence.

You see in his tightly clenched hand, a crumpled piece of white paper with crimson red stains on it. You reach for it, and prying it loose, begin to unfold it and read:

"My son. I am a just and righteous judge, and you are a condemned criminal. Because I am just, I must see that justice is done and the law upheld! To let your crimes go unpunished would be a severe miscarriage of justice - a wicked act of a corrupt judge. My son, you begged for mercy, but the law had to be satisfied! You cried out for pardon, but someone had to pay the price! I wanted to save you, but I could not let you walk free and your crimes go unanswered. I was willing to pay that price! I was willing to die in your place, so that you might live! Though I am just, I prefer mercy. You have this day received my mercy and my full pardon. Your sins have been forgiven! Go in peace."

"This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins."
1 John 9-10

11 comments:

The Celtic Chimp said...

Jesus’ Sacrifice.
This has to be the crowning achievement of Christianity. Making you feel indebted to some guy who apparently did you a favor two thousand years before you were born. He got you off the hook for a crime you had no part in. You now won’t be punished by the most merciful and forgiving God for something you didn’t do because his pettiness has been satisfied by the torturous death of his own son.

A more fitting analogy to the Christian scacrifice tale would be something like this.

You arrive in a strange country and immediately start breaking laws you didn't even know existed. They don't seem like crimes to you but apparently they are. You were supposed to be praising some king that no-one has ever seen but they are still sure he is real because they have an old book that says he is. They think he is a good king even though the same book has stories about him ordering the death of women and children, condoning slavery and rape and taking delight in the smell of burnt flesh. Some of them even think they can hear him talking to them when he clearly isn't there. Ok, so these folks are little crazy but that is the least of your concerns. You daughter has just been raped and murdered. The guilty man was quickly apprehended and brought to trial. Your pain is boundless at the loss of your daughter who meant the world to you. You may at least get some comfort knowning that the guilty man will be suitably punished. Even though he has in past commanded others to rape and murder the judge in this case has done a u-turn on those things and now sees them as really bad. The guilty man confesses his guilt and breaks down sobbing and begging for forgivness. The judge sentences him to death by poisoning. The condemned man again begs the judge for mercy. "Like the mercy you showed my daughter?" you shout from the back of the court. The judge harshly scorns you for your anger and compares you to a murder yourself for it. You fall silent, the judge is obviously a little unbalanced. The judge turns back to the sobbing murder and smiles warmly at him. "I will have my own son poisoned in your stead my child. You are absolved of your sins." The prisoner is overjoyed. He thanks the judge and looks at him adoringly. "Further more! says the judge, I will give you a room in my house where you will live in complete happiness for all the rest of your days. YOU will NEVER suffer any form of punishment for the things YOU did. An innocent, the only real innocent there ever was infact will suffer in your place. Actually, while he is at it, he can suffer for all the criminals!"
The guilty man is led from the courtroom to his eternal reward. You feel outraged. This is not justice. You are about to protest when the judge speaks again
"A crime was committed here and as I am just, I will have to see that someone gets punished for it. I have nominated my completely innocent son. Marvel at my justice and mercy!" You can't believe he said that with a straight face. What fools he must take the people assembled in the courtroom to be. You are astonished that they seem to agree that this is justice. He brings out his son to be poisoned to death. Someone in crowd leans over and whispers to you "Don't worry about his son, he is immune to the poison. It will just make him sleep for a while. Might be a bit painful though."
You are completely confused as to what is going on. This is all utterly unfair and unjust. That is not even the same punishment he had decreed for the criminal. Yet all around you can hear the rapt people in the court murmuring to each other. "Most righteous and just judge there ever was or ever will be" The son of the judge bravely drinks the poison he knows won't really kill him. Sure enough a little while after taking the poison he gets up and walks off to the brightest of possible futures.
"YOU" the judge calls out pointing at you.
"Who me?" you exclaim
"How do you plead?" he says.
"Plead? What you talking about? What am I accused of?"
"I saw you looking at a young lady two weeks ago when you entered town. I know what you were thinking!!"
"But I didn't do anything, I was courteous to everyone...I don't under..."
"Enough! You thought about having sex with a member of the opposite sex, didn't you!!!!"
"Well....yeah. Of COURSE I did. I'm designed that way. Hey wait a minute you were the one who pointed her out to me! Regardless, I only thought about it!?"
"Thinking about it is bad enough to earn you a punishment"
"Wow, the laws are pretty harsh around here. Where I come from the idea of thought crime is the ultimate tryanny."
"Well, around here I make the rules. You have admitted your guilt. You will be punished."
"So what is the punishment for an idle thought?"
"Oh all crimes in this land have the same punishment."
"WHAT???? That not fair at all!"
"The sentence is death. They is only one way to save yourself."
"What?....How?" You are uttely bewildered by this point.
"Just accept that I am right and you are wrong and agree to be in my son's private army. You'll get to praise me and him for all the rest of your days..oh and I love you by the way. I love everyone in fact, even the ones I sentence to be tortured forever. Just recognise the great sacrifice my son made in dying for you and I'll let you come to my house too"
"....but your son isn't dead. He just slept for a while?...I didn't ask him to do anything for me, I mean I didn't even get a say in it. Besides, he only saved me from a crime that you invented. Seems like a scam to me...."
"Don't push me boy. I do love you more than even your daughter did, more than you loved your daughter but if you keep getting lippy with me I'll have burned in fire forever!"
"Thats HORRIBLE!!. What kind of monster are you???"
"I am not a monster, I am the most loving, merciful and forgiving entity that ever existed....did I mention just? I'm perfectly just too. So make up your mind, if you come with me, I'll shoot you up on cocaine forever more. You'll be so high you won't even think about the terrible thinks that other guy did to your daughter, hell you'll even get high with him!!"
"My daughter!"
"Oh don't worry about her, turns out she wasn't quite dead. We managed to revive her. We brought her over to my house earlier and shot her full of coke too. She is to high to even remember being raped and visciously beaten. Infact, she is shooting up with her rapist right now, they get along just fine. Everyone does in my house. So what do you say? Confess, beg for forgiveness (oh it wouldn't hurt if you forgave the guy who raped your daughter, I like when people can take it on the chin like that) and see your daughter again or don't and burn. Whats it going to be?.......

You wake up from the horrify nightmare.
You go and make sure yout daughter is safe. Relief washes over you.

As you walk back to bed you start to feel a little silly.

The judge isn't real. Now that is something to be truely thankful for!!

Sam said...

Dear Celtic Chimp,

Thank you for taking the time to respond to this post!

Seemingly, in the blogosphere, you and I have a lot in common. We are both male, in our thirties, have blogs that take a stand on God, albeit from different viewpoints, we are both in IT (or so it seems from reading your blog) - no one else would be nerdy enough to write a post using binary in their attack of the 1010 commandments. There are only 10 types of people in this world, those that understand binary and those that don't! We both blog on blogger, using the same template but with different backgrounds. Mine is black and yours is white. And this is where I'd like to begin...

The story you posted brings out this difference in our background colours - you feel that you are basically a pretty good person, perhaps with a few slips (after all, we are human) and therefore God would have to be a corrupt, unloving, unjust ogre to lump you in with murderers and rapists and other such types (The white background). I, on the other hand, believe with all my heart that I deserve hell beyond a shadow of a doubt, and if God were to pour out his wrath on me I'd absolutely, unquestioningly deserve it and he would be right to do so (The black background).

Question is, which one of us is right? Which background colour should we view the blog of our lives with - black or white?

In my case, I have taken a stand with Jesus, which is also a stand against me! He says there is no one good but God (Mark 10:18) and that all men are evil (Matthew 7:11). I agree with that! I'm ok with the truth that my heart is a black, that I am not a sinner because I sin but I sin because I am a sinner.

I used to view my heart as white. I thought I was basically a pretty good person - never took drugs, never slept around, never murdered anyone, tried to be polite and courteous to people older than I, had never stolen anything from a store (God forbid). I knew I had done some small stuff that God had said not to do - lied a bit, gotten angry a bit, looked at other women in various states of dress and undress because I enjoyed that, gossipped a bit out other people - but I believed myself to be pretty good. Because of that, I used to see God as a very judgemental, angry, God who looked down on me with a scour on his face, wielded a big stick and was not afraid to threaten me with it. It seemed a pretty heavy punishment for a few small mistakes. It would trouble me that God's word said he was angry with the wicked, and that he would punish all wrongdoers! I had done wrong, but not that much - surely! I cringed at the passage, "all liars would have their part in the lake of fire" - there was no way I could avoid that! It's black and white! Then I got married... I could say that being married brought out the worst in me. Truth is, it just brought out what was in me... Me! Man, I started to see how selfish, how ungrateful, how unthoughtful, how uncaring, how spiteful, how bitter and proud and self righteous I really was. My white background started looking a little GhostWhite, then WhiteSmoke, Gainsboro, LightGrey, Silver, DarkGray, Gray, DimGray, Black! (for those who have no idea what I am talking about, please visit http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Web_colors).

It began to dawn on me that I wasn't as good as I thought I was, in fact, I was a bad tree loaded with bad, stinking rotten, maggot filled fruit! I started to get very afraid! I began to see that God might be right and I might be wrong! So I started pulling myself up by my bootstraps. Get it together man, you need to do better than this. I would try to do better, be better, be more righteous, fall, despair, try to do better, be better, be more righteous, fall, despair. No matter what I tried to do, I could not convince myself that I was good. I gave up! I surrendered! I began to read the Word of God as a condemned man, a criminal, a godless, helpless, hopeless individual who was no friend of God. That's when I found the Saviour! That's when I began to see God's amazing grace and wonderful kindness to sinners. That's when I realised why Jesus did what he did, and that he came for people such as myself! When I gave up trying to save myself, he saved me! Because of what he has done, because of His love for me – I love him in return and want to live my life for him!

Why does that make you angry?

The Celtic Chimp said...

Sam,

I don't think I am especially good or virtuous but in terms of being deserving of hell, I don't think that matters. Nobody deserves hell. Not murders, not rapists, no-one. They deserve punishment certainly but hell is concept so alien to justice and fairness that I think it can be rightly called evil. Now you obviously have always been brainwashed to some degree by this Christian nonsense. There is no hell so you don't need to worry. Did you ever ask yourself why you believe? Why do you not believe in the ancient greek gods instead?

Many of those who lived in the time of Zeus et al believed wholeheartedly in those gods, they believed with every bit as much conviction as you do. Are you going to be worried when you die about someone putting two coins over your eyes so you can pay the boatman your passage accross the river styx?

You believe in a lie. You believe it confidently and without question. This lie has taught you to see people as evil, flawed things. People are people. Some are morally better than others, some are smarter, kinder, more considerate, etc. Your bronze-age superstition pisses all over the good people who have lived. The ones who have overcame their more instinctual natures and lived by a higher standard. You think them foul and wicked because some guy two thousand years ago says they are. You prefer to put your faith in long dead, uneducated, superstitious loons than in your fellow man.

Any idiot reading the bible HONESTLY can see that the god depicted there most certainly is an angry, jealous god. I think he even says so himself, right?

I get angry becasue you read your precious nonsense with such blinkered vision. You proudly proclaim some dead guy to be the saviour of humanity based on a book with less credibility than creation science. When the book says something you don't like though, you conviently overlook it. Do you stone adulterers where you are from?
The god of the bible is not wonderfully kind to sinners. He made them in the first place. He designed their natures. They are sinner becasue god made sinners. God invented sin, he invented death and suffering and all the nastiest, cruelest stuff the world contains. How much responsibility does he take for his actions - NONE. He is perfect, yet strangely he managed to created an imperfect creation. That alone does not make sense.

Tell me Sam, do you think it is fair that the crimes of one person be vicariously borne by an innocent surrogate? Do you think that is just?

I think it is backward tribal justice, which is exactly the kind of justice I would expect to find promoted by backward tribal people (i.e. the authors of the bible.)

Why do you not believe the Quran is the word of god? Why do you not praise Mohammed and Allah? - becuase you by pure chance were born in a christian country. Thats it, no other reason. If you had been born in Bagdad you would be spouting on about Mohammed and how holy and great he was etc etc.

I get angry because you accept a doctrine of utter nonsense on faith. Faith by the way is just a fancy way of dressing up gulliblity. You promote the odious, horrible morality of christianity and have the audacity to speak of god's great grace. There is nothing just about your gods treatment of people you just don't see it because you have been trained not to see it.

Jack said...

"The judge isn't real. Now that is something to be truely thankful for!!"

I have to agree with you here. I'm glad I don't serve the judge in your story, but rather the fair and loving judge I came to know and love as my God after he graciously accepted me as His child. And I'm thankfull He did."

Thanks for viewing your opinions on this blog. It is obvious that you invest a lot of time in thinking about and writing about issues of faith and Christianity. And although we do not agree on a lot of things, I am really glad that we both view it as important enough to invest a part of our lives in it. Because it is important. If you start talking about something that would happen for ever and ever, you have me interested, because eternity is a long time to take your chances on.

Although you have an interesting story that have some similarities to God and Christ, your story are based on a totally different philosophy than Christianity and on half-truths.

Let me tell you about an interseting court case:
A man called the police to report a man with a gun. Sergeant Scanlon arrived at the scene to find the man's neighbour, Mr. Dixon in a noisy argument with his girfriend and her father. He had a gun in his hand. When Scanlon arrived, a fight broke out between Dixon and the girl's father, which Scanlon tried to break up. A shot was heard and Sergeant Scanlon staggered away wounded in the midsection. Just then other officers arrived at the scene and restrained Dixon. The evidence was strong enough to find Dixon guilty of attempted murder. They found a .22 caliber gun near the place where the incident occurred, with Dixon's finger prints on it and one bullet fired. The gun was registered in Dixon's name. The father had been unarmed. Scanlon's revolver never left his holster. Powder burns on Scanlon's skin indicated that the shot was fired from quite a short distance. Dixon had previously been convicted of shooting someone else and in the court room he admitted guilt. He was found guilty and justice had been served.

So what is the point of my story? It is easy to come to a logical conclusion, with water-tight reasoning and clear-cut answers if you have enough evidence.

But you can be completely wrong if you miss a small bit of information.

The case was reopened a few weeks later when new information came to light. A few weeks before the incident, Sergeant Scanlon showed off his new pen gun at a party - a .22 calibre pistol made to look like a fountain pen. It was however illegal for anyone to carry. Even for cops. But what about the shot fired from Dixon's gun? Before he entered the house Dixon banged on his girlfriend's door with the gun and a shot went off, injuring no one - that's why a shot was fired from his gun. Why did he admit guilt then? It was a plea bargain. If he pleads guilty, he would be sentenced to a year in prison of which he already spend 360 days during his trial. If he insisted on a trial and was found guilty, he could be sentenced for a lot longer. All he had to do was plead guilty and he would be home in a few days.

Do you see my point? It's easy to colour a story in a different way if you just hide one or 2 bits of information. Or just tweak it a bit. I would like to point out some of the cases where you have done that.

In your story the man broke silly laws that he didn't even know exist. Interesting story, but not related to Christianity. You view laws as giving the king an excuse to punish whoever he wants to. Laws a bad. They hurt people. But where did the laws came from? Imagine a society where we had no laws. Wouldn't that be great!! If you like something, take it. If you don't like someone, murder him and he would never bother you again. That's fun enough when you are on the giving side. But what if you are on the receiving side. Do you want to come home to find it emptied by someone who loved your stuff? Would you like to be murdered if you say something someone else doesn't like? The principle you miss is that rules are primarilly there to protect and not to hit with. Rules are there to make sure that you live a life that you can enjoy. If someone breaks that rules, you may be the next victim and steps need to be taken to make sure he doesn't do it again on your behalf!!

You refer to laws you didn't know existed. The Bible is quite clear that anyone who doesn't know the commandments will be judged in a different way. But that's a topic for a different day. It's a different story if you have read the rules, but prefer to ignore them. One of the most basic principles of any law is ignorance about the law is no excuse. Go and try it. Go to the nearest policeman and hit him in the face. Then claim you didn't know it is illegal.

Try it and see what happens... I believe I am right if I say that almost all atheists ignore the rules - not becuse they don't know them. I bet you know them at least as well as I do. But because you choose to ignore them. They don't appeal to you. So let's ignore them and pretend they aren't there.

You see, already the story is beginning to look a bit different. It's not a man that broke a silly law that he didn't know exist. It's the story of a man that read the bill-board with the rules when he enetered the strange country and decided to ignore the rules that were there to protect the citizens.

But there's another place where you didn't quite get the message. In your story the man is found guilty. I agree with that. If you break the law, you should be guilty. But then you say that the judge just let the criminal walk free while he dishes out the criminal's punishment to his own son. I would like to point out 2 places where I differ from you here.
1. God didn't order punishment to his Son. Jesus choose to take the punishment on our behalf.
2. Jesus doesn't do that blindly. There is a big condition attached to that. You need to accept His offer AND out of thankfullness stop breaking the law and do what is right.

Think about this. Why do we have prisons? Partly because we want to take criminals out of the society for a while to protect the society. Partly as punishment, but also because we want to rehabilitate them. So they would stop doing wrong, come back into the society and live a productive and good life.

So here is your story retold.

Judge: "Based on the evidence of the case, you are found guilty of rape and murder. I hereby sentence you to the appropriate punsihment of death. Take him away."
Criminal (sobbing): "No, please, I have mercy..."
Judge: "No, you should have thought of this before you committed the crime. Take him away."
Criminal: "But it wasn't really that bad. I can still fix this."
Judge: "Take him away!!"

And that is the point where Jesus steps up and says:
"Wait! You deserve to die for what you have done. But I will give you the chance to live. I would love nothing more than to see everyone in this country be good. To have a burning desire to do only good and to detest bad things and reject them with your whole heart. I want you to change who you are. We both
know what you have done is wrong. If you really want to change, I can give you the opportunity. Think carefully and make your choice. If you like my offer you need to do 2 things. You need to shake my hand on that and trust me that I will keep my word. And you need to have a burning desire to change who you are. It's a tough choice, I know. If you're not willing to do that, you will never be a good citizen of this country and I will not help you. But if you really want to chance, I will give anything to give you the chance. Even take your punishment on your behalf. It's your choice... What will it be? Change and seek good and live or persist and be taken away. If you are not willing to accept this last offer to change and seek good, you deserve what you get..."

I can see you know a bit about Christianity. Good deeds don't count in the sense that this criminal, couldn't get free even if he offered to do many good deeds. He only had the opportunity to get free, because Jesus offered him that choice. But don't fool yourself to think that anyone gets away with anything for free. You only get free if you are willing to chance. I offer you the following verse in Matt 7:21 as proof. "Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,'

will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he WHO DOES THE WILL OF MY FATHER who is in heaven."

So the story changes again from an evil judge, who punishes the wrong guy and let the criminal go free, to a loving hero who make sacrifices in order to safe someone else, but only if the criminal changes to the benefit of everyone else.

I could go on, but I think by this stage you should get my point. The Bible tells of a powerfull God, who created humans with free will, who rejected their creator. It continues with the story of a just and mercifull creator who cannot tolerate the slightest bit of evil and wrong doing and even though we all do wrong, gave us the opportunity to be saved again. The point I made is: by changing one or 2 small bits of detail it is possible to re-write the story in a way that make the hero the villain. Look at any history book written by 2 sides. You want to believe something and then you make the facts fit your believes.

In your later response to Sam you asked if we as Christians ever ask ourselves why we believe? Yes I have. Many of the arguments you have used is not new to me. I have used them myself. I grew up in a Christian home, became agnostic and became a Christian again. Of course I have thought about it. It has big implications if you get it wrong. Let me tell you, to label Christians as people who have committed intellectual suicide is plain ignorance. You're in a science / IT / engineering field, right? You depend on your bright mind, because you know you are clever. Well, how many scientific publications do you have? How much knowledge did you add to science? And yet, some of the most influencial scientists in history and today was and is Christians. Do you have such a superior intellect that they just didn't see it, but you do? I admit that a lot of the big names was agnostic as well. So you see, intellect has nothing to do with it. You can reason all you want, and I can do the same, we won't convince each other. We won't get answers to the questions of Christianity that way. It's like using Newtonian laws to explain a chemical reaction. It's the wrong tool to use to findi an answer to the problem.

I guess it's up to everyone to determine for himself how you would judge if faith is real and usefull. So I can only tell you what I used. Intellectually I found no difference between being a Christian and not being one. In both cases I pondered on how things work and try to get to the truth. Being a Christian, I can use the knowledge in the Bible and to me, the world make a lot more sense when I take that into account. I can get answers to philisophical questions that would not make sense without religion as context.

But we are not only intellect. The times in my life when I was a Christian I had been happier, more at peace with myself and everyone arround me and felt real joy and purpose. Part of me believes because I could find evidence suggesting that God exist and could find no evidence absolutely convincing me it's a lie. And part of me believes because I just know it's the truth. I guess that's why it's called 'faith'.

I honestly doubted Christianity and spend some years free from that "chains". But I came back to it and will never leave it again, because the alternative is empty and pointless. I did a lot of damage to some of my relationships because I didn't want to believe something if I was not convinced that it's the truth. I don't believe because I have been brain washed and never thought about it. I believe because I have tested the options, found the alternative empty and find Christianity satisfy me intellectually, spiritually and emotionally. I believe because I choose to belief. And I thank God for that every day.

Being a Christian had a positive influence on every aspect of my life and I cannot live any other way. And that is the only reason I took the trouble to write this reply.

You see, we are more the same than you think. Believeing in nothing but science is a faith in itself. The science we know today are totally different than what we knew a century ago. Why do you believe in something that proofs itself wrong from time to time and keep changing? Yes, there's a good deal of usefullness in science, and I love it. But science has its place and its limits. I know you are also so brain-washed by half-truths and things you believe that you take as facts, that you are blind for any reasoning that supports Christianity. All I beg you to do is this: Don't believe because anyone tells you

too. Begin with an open mind. Drop all your preconceptions, and give Christianity a fair chance and decide for yourself... Honestly try to be a Christian for a year and make up your own mind... Give it a go... I'm glad I did!!!

The Celtic Chimp said...

Jack,

I assure you I don't believe the things I do because someone told me too. I have been atheist for as long as I can remember. I have looked at Christianity objectively, the same way I looked at Islam and to some extent Judaism. Christians always refuse to answer some of the questions they are posed because the answers are obvious. Is it just that an innocent bare the punishments of the guilty? Almost anyone asked this in a non-religious context would be outraged at the notion. Drop the thought into a Christian setting and hey presto it becomes the most beautiful wonderful thing. Is it just that crimals go unpunished entirely, regardless of their contrition. Most people would say no it is not just. Christians claim that even God finds such a notion unjust that he being a just God must punish sin. This of course raises many uncomfortable suggestions about the nature of God. He is apparently just in that he cannot simlpy forgive all sin and leave it at that. Punishment must be meted out. He then acts in a terribly unjust way by inflicting (some) punishment on Jesus - who also happens to be himself. I think it is important to note that punishment God sets aside for one set of sinners is infinitely worse than the punishment set aside for another group. If the sinner repents and Jesus is to bear his punishment, the sentence of eternal damnation is commuted to crusifiction and a three days nap. Is the sinner does not repent he is tormented forever!
This is not unjust it worse, it maliciously evil. He lets his own son off with a much lighter punishment than he would have given those he let off the hook. Why also should a price paid two thousand years ago still be considered payment for crimes committed today. Shouldn't Jesus have to be crusified everytime a sinner is saved? Would you consider it just if one criminal was punished and then all other criminals crimes were deemed to be paid for on account of that one punishment?
There is no justice in Christianity.

On the point of intelligence, I hope you can see why it is a little silly to point out that scientists of the past have been christian. They didn't have an enourmous amount of choice about it and they had much less information than is available today. Amounst scientists today, the rate of disbelief is staggering when compared against the general population. There is a lot of evidence to suggest that intelligence and education go hand in hand with disbelief. Does this mean that all Atheists are smart and all believers are stupid? No, of course not. It does indicate though that the more someone knows about how the universe operates the less likely they are to believe.

I find the suggestion that believing in science is a faith to be a little silly to be honest. I don't believe in science. I think the scientific method is a reliable means to discovering truth. It has proven itself such.
Faith is the act of believing something without evidence. The notion is antithetical to scientific investigation. I find it telling that so many Christian think the opposite to religion is nihilism, an empty nothingness. Why should this be so. Ultimately the Christian and the Atheist value much the same things. Family, friends, love, community etc.
The Christian needs to wrap these things in myth to be able to enjoy them. The atheist takes them as they are.

Tell me, if a child of yours lived a reasonable good life but just didn't believe in God (and was therefore condemned to hell) how would you feel in heaven? Would you love the God with all your heart who was eternally torturing your loved one? Would you view him as just and wonderful and full of perfect grace?
Don't answers those questions to me. Think on them for yourself. Your God is not just. He says he is but the nonfaithful amoung us don't just take him at his word.

I think chisitianity and Islam and udaism and hinduism are all important. I also think that examination of nazi germany is important. This is not a comparison of christianity to nazism or anything so no need to get your knickers in a twist :) I am just illustrating that finding something worthy of study does not at all suggest it is important for positive reasons. :)

Why should I be a Christian for a year and not a muslim? Maybe you should try being a wiccan for a year, you might like it. The fact of it is I don't like it. I think it is morally terrible, the ten commandments a joke. Half of them are God being jelous :) Do you think you could come up with a rule more important to human life and living together than "Thou shalt not take the lord's name in vain" How about something like "thou shalt not mistreat children" certainly better than suggesting we stone diobeidient children. What would you do if you say the village elders stoning a child to death? Praise the lord?

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Sam said...

Hi Celtic Chimp,

I’m going to jump around a little and answer some of your questions. I hope it is not too hard to digest.

1. Is it just that an innocent bare the punishments of the guilty? Yes and No.

I agree with you, in the scenario you present, that justice is not satisfied. I kill your daughter, someone is forced against his will to stand in my place, the judge lets me off the hook, punishes him and you are robbed of justice.

How about this scenario? I kill your daughter. I am standing before you, and you hold the power of life or death in your hands. If you choose the letter of the law, I should rightly die for my actions, if you choose to show mercy, my life will be spared. What will you do? Show me mercy – if you had the power to do so?

Is it unjust to show mercy to your enemy? Is it unjust to show mercy to someone who sins against you? Is it unjust to forgive someone who sins against you?

How about if the only way you could save me, was to give your own life to satisfy the law? Would you choose rather to let me die for murdering your daughter? I think so.

Who in their right mind, being the victim, would take on the punishment for a crime committed against themselves, so as to see that justice is truly done, and mercy shown? Only he who truly loves justice and mercy!

2. Did you ever ask yourself why you believe? Call me a big Samaritan girl if you like, but I’m going to quote an old Samaritan woman for a minute. John 4:39 "He [Jesus] told me everything I ever did."

His words are true. Everything he says about me, who I am, what I am – everything I ever did – are true. I can find no fault with them. He says I am a liar – I cannot argue with that. He says I am a thief – I cannot argue with that. He says that I have put other Gods before him – I cannot argue with that. Therefore, when he says believe in me and I will save you – I will not argue with that! To me his promises are certainties, because I can find no fault with Him.

3. Why don’t I believe in another god? Because other gods don’t give me a reason to believe in them! Can you give me a compelling argument why I should believe in another god, other than the God of the bible?

4. You believe in a lie. (technically this is not a question, but…) I would say the same thing about what you believe in (that there is no God), so who is right? We both can’t be! Question? Why do you get so angry at people who believe in a God you don’t believe exists? Do you get similarly upset at people who believe in Zeus, or the boatman? That’s like me getting upset at my neighbour because he believes in the tooth fairy and teaches that to his kids.

5. Any idiot reading the bible HONESTLY can see that the god depicted there most certainly is an angry, jealous god. I think he even says so himself, right?

a) God is angry with the wicked everyday! Psalm 7:11
b) God is a jealous God! Exodus 20:5

6. Do you stone adulterers where you are from? Nope! I should have been stoned on numerous occasions though!

7. Tell me Sam, do you think it is fair that the crimes of one person be vicariously borne by an innocent surrogate? Do you think that is just? If I loved you so much that I was willing to die in your place, and the plaintiff were happy to accept payment in my life's blood instead of yours, and I were to go to the electric chair instead of you while you were still in your prison cell oblivious to all this occurring - would that be unjust? 1. The law has been satisfied, 2. There is no injustice because I voluntarily laid down my life out of love for you, 3. Justice is done – and payment cannot be demanded of you also. If this were the case, would you demand to die anyway?

8. Why do you not believe the Quran is the word of god? Why do you not praise Mohammed and Allah? Because there is no certainty! Islam teaches that all people are sinners (Quran 16,61) and that salvation can be attained through observing the Five Pillars of Islamic practice:

1) the belief that Allah is the only god and that Muhammad is his messenger;
2) performing the five daily prayers;
3) fasting throughout the month of Ramadan;
4) charity, giving to the poor;
5) the pilgrimage to Mecca at least once in a lifetime, if one can afford it.

By performing these works, a Muslim hopes that at the judgment day the recorded good deeds will exceed the bad ones, and so he or she will reach the paradise of material and sensual delights (56,16-41). Faith in Allah and belief that salvation is by his grace and mercy is also encouraged. Yet, despite all one's deeds, Allah reserves the absolute right to send the deceased to wherever he pleases, paradise or hell. Those who do not conform their lives to the demands of Islam will surely be thrown into hell, a place of extreme physical pain (56,42-45; 94-95).

There is no way I can ever do enough good deeds to outweigh my bad deeds! Even if I did enough good deeds, there is no certainty until the day I stand before Allah, and he might be having a bad day! What do I do if I only make four daily prayers, or didn’t think I could afford a trip to Mecca, but Allah thinks otherwise?

The gift of God, salvation through Jesus Christ, is guaranteed! Can Christ go and undie on the cross, or unressurect himself? Having once accepted Christ’s sacrifice, can God turn and refuse to accept the sacrifice of his own Son and punish me as well?
My disqualification (failure to keep the law) is in fact my qualification for salvation by grace. And for someone who knows beyond the shadow of a doubt that he is disqualified by his own merits – this is indeed good news.

Jack said...

Hi Chimp,

I think we got closer to the truth in your last email when you said:

"Why should I be a Christian ... The fact of it is I don't like it."

I think it summarise why you are angry at Christians and why you don't believe. You don't like it. And who can blame you; it's no fun to admit that you are not as good as you would like to believe you are? I mean, who would admit being a bad person? Except him who realises that it is the truth and who sees that in spite of that, due to God's grace He still accepted us as His children. Now that is something to be thankful for.

But even though you just "don't like it", you still have to justify it for yourself and for others. That's why you said of Christians:
"You believe in a lie." and
"You obviously have always been brainwashed to some degree by this Christian nonsense"

while you said of yourself and implied of other atheists:
"I assure you I don't believe the things I do because someone told me too." and
"I have looked at Christianity objectively"

Can you see that you have blinkered vision? That you only see and believe what you want to and ignore the other facts?

I would state a number of facts:
1. We both grew up in homes with different philosophies. I grew up as a Christian; you grew up as an atheist.
2. We both heard arguments from the people around us and from books we've read. We both have been influenced to some extend by our environment when we grew up.
3. We both analysed the information and made up our own minds.
4. We ended with different conclusions, based on all our experiences, based on our history and based on what we believe is the truth.

I will point out your blinkered vision in each of the statements you have made:
"You believe in a lie. You believe it confidently and without question."
That's an opinion. According to you I believe in a lie. According to me, you believe in a lie. But yet you believe this opinion as a fact.

"You obviously have always been brainwashed to some degree by this Christian nonsense" and
"I assure you I don't believe the things I do because someone told me too."
"I have looked at Christianity objectively"
Yes - I have been influenced by Christians in the same way you have been influenced by atheists.
No - I didn't take it on face value. I still thought of it critically and made up my own mind. You did the same. And yet you believe only Christians are influenced by others and only atheists evaluated the facts critically.

Did I proof the point that in reality we both follow the same thought process and you believe a lie if you think that only parts of that is applicable to Christians and only other parts of that is applicable to atheists?

So what makes the difference? Why do I believe and you not? I cannot answer that for you. You need to do that for yourself. But I can answer for myself:
I believe in God, the almighty, the creator of everything
And in Jesus Christ His son, who saved me from death by standing in for my guilt
for who I will ever be grateful
And in the Holy Spirit that leads and guides me.
I believe in every word contained in the Bible, because:
1. I have never found a single piece of evidence or a logical argument that convince me otherwise.
2. I have found a lot of indicators in the world surrounding me that points to Him as the creator and affirms the Bible.
3. I have personally experience His love in my life and has never been happier and more contend than the times in my life when I am close to Him.

I will ever be thankful for what He did in my life. I will always tell of what He did in my life and I will always try to help others - Christians and non believers to experience the same, because it is great.

To answer your questions again that you say Christians are never answering:
"Is it just that an innocent bare the punishments of the guilty? Is it just that crimals go unpunished entirely, regardless of their contrition?"
I already answered and explained explain that in my previous response. No, it is not just for someone to dish out judgement to an innocent. But it is for someone to volunteer to stand in for punishment. It happens every day. Is it just for a father to pay for damages after his son drove into the back of some else's car? Why punish the father? He is innocent? The owner of the other car demanded money from the son. The son couldn't pay it back, and the father bailed him out. The father was punished, although he is innocent. But I can also assure you the son would not just 'get away with it'. But it’s up to the father to determine how he wants the son to compensate him for his "bail out". The same applies for Christianity. We are guilty of things we do that are against the rules of the Creator of the Universe. I would think being the Creator of us He is free to make any rule He wishes. The fact that they are reasonable and moral is only grace. We cannot repay and Christ chose to stand in for us and make demands for how we can repay Him for the bail out; the fact that His demands are to love and to be good is only grace again. I don't see a difference between what we do on earth and what He did and can't see why it is not just - as long as it is the choice of the one whos stands in to pay the price. I think you confuse unjust with unbelievable. Why would someone whish to pay on behalf of someone else? And that to me is just proof of His unbelievable love for us. It's difficult to understand how He can love us so much while we are still sinners.

"I hope you can see why it is a little silly to point out that scientists of the past have been Christian. They didn't have an enormous amount of choice about it and they had much less information than is available today."
No, I fail to see why it is silly. I agree that there is more information available today. But not all information translates to usable knowledge. Pick any topic and do a search on the internet. You will get a lot of information, but a lot of that is just noise - different opinions, with little justification. So you can see already that although we have added some knowledge to science we also added a lot of opinions which I cannot see would strengthen or weaken the truth of any case. It can see it would make it easier to change popular believe by propaganda, but I cannot see that information void of substantiation can change the intrinsic truth of something.

And yes, I agree that even our scientific knowledge have expanded. We know a lot of useful things we did not know centuries ago. But I am also quite sure from a science perspective in real terms we are not a lot closer to knowing everything there is to know. Its like building a ladder to reach the moon. By all means, I agree that the ladder is now 3km high where it was only 2m high for those scientists. And that's impressive. But will it get us to the moon?

Those scientists had almost as much information than we have today. I think you overestimate our own knowledge and you underestimate the gap in our knowledge still today. Let me give you one example. Let's build a scale model of the universe. Let's use a scale of 1:40 000 000 000 000 000 000. I chose this scale to make the average distance between starts in our galaxy equal to 1mm, the size of a grain of sand. On this scale, about 3 000 000 000 earths would fit side by side into the width of a human hair. Our galaxy consists of 100 billion starts. In our model, we would be sitting in a sand pit, about 1m high with a diameter of 10m; each mm a grain of sand representing a different star next to each other. There are estimated to be in the order of 100 billion galaxies. That translates to 100 000 000 000 other sand pits similar to us surrounding us at a distance of between 17m and 4 000 000 km away. The fastest man made object was one of the Helios space craft that reached a speed of 240 000 km/h for a very short period of time. To put our model into perspective, if we could sustain that speed, and we would have launches the space craft when Adam was created, it would not have reached the closest start to us. In other words, in our model world of 100 billion sand pits, each containing 100 billion grains of sand, some of them being 4 000 000 km away, the fastest thing we ever made could not even reach the closest grain of sand next to us in the entire history of mankind. Yes, I know you would respond that it's a technology issue that will still be solved. It may, or it may not, but there's an incredible long way to go. But that's not my point. My point is, to claim we know a lot is an arrogant position. We know less of the universe than an ant knows about the tsreet he lives in. We are as insignificant as a bit of dust. In terms of knowledge, we know just about the same as the scientists knew 2 centuries ago. Every new answer creates more that 1 new question. Take dark matter and dark energy as an example. If we study the gravitational effect of galactic objects, we realise that energy and matter as we know it make up only 4% of what is out there. We are not even at a point where we begin to understand that 4% and we realise that 96% of what is out there is something we know nothing about. Mr. Spec of dust, I think you are arrogant to think we know even a little bit. No doubt scientists of the future will look back at us today and shake their heads in disbelieve at what we thought was the truth and they will be thought of in the same way.

To answer your question: We know just about as little as past scientists knew. How would still knowing very little help us with the issue of faith? We think that even though we don't know everything, with the knowledge we have today, we can see where it leads. So did they. Some see and believe. Others see the same and don't believe. Why? Is it because the same evidence tells different things to different people? Or is it because different people choose to believe different things? Past scientists had the same chances of getting faith right or wrong as we have today. And yet a lot of them were religious. And yet a lot of scientists are still religious today.

"Amounst scientists today, the rate of disbelief is staggering when compared against the general population."
That depends on who you talk to. Different sources say different things. I found just as many sources on the internet that says the opposite. I have no way to verify that. So to me that's your opinion.

"There is a lot of evidence to suggest that intelligence and education go hand in hand with disbelief."
Can you elaborate? Lot of evidence, such as...?

"It does indicate though that the more someone knows about how the universe operates the less likely they are to believe."
And yet you have a lot of scientists that say they believe because of their knowledge of how the universe operates and not in spite of. Personally I find the Universe fascinating. The more I learn about it, the more I am convinced that it was created by the God the Bible speaks of. And a lot of scientists today share my view. Do a search for creationism.

"I find the suggestion that believing in science is a faith to be a little silly to be honest... Faith is the act of believing something without evidence."
Do you believe the sun generate energy by means of nuclear reaction? So do I. But how do you know that? Have you personally witnessed that? Have you seen the evidence? I believe because I trust what a lot of scientists have said they found during experiments and what they have seen through telescopes and how they reasoned that it must be true. It make sense to me and I believe them. But do I have direct evidence of that? No - I trust and I believe. Science is not the truth, it is just a model we create for our selves to assist us in making some predictions about the world. Do you really think light is waves and particles? Have you seen it? Or did you hear scientists say that it sometimes behaves as a wave and it sometimes behaves like a particle. That doesn't make it a wave and a particle. That just means it help us to think and reason about it as if it was that. A lot of what you believe about science, you believe because you read it, you like it and you accept as truth without having seen one piece of evidence about that. You don't have the knowledge, the funding or the time to perform most experiments for yourself. That's why you believe without evidence. By your own definition, that makes it a faith.

Do you think you could come up with a rule more important to human life and living together than "Thou shalt not take the lord's name in vain"
Not really. I can clearly see "taking the Lord's name in vain" would only happen if you disrespect God. And I can also see that if everyone honours God and live according to all His commandments the world wouldn't be in the mess it is currently in. So no, I can see it will be most beneficial to human life and living together if we honour God.

There are more to be said to your reply, but I think I have said enough for now... I would leave it to God to convince you in whichever way He sees fit.

The Celtic Chimp said...

Sam,

Is it unjust to show mercy to your enemy? Is it unjust to show mercy to someone who sins against you? Is it unjust to forgive someone who sins against you?

No. It is not at all unjust to show mercy to your enemy. What is unjust is the person you has wronged you is forgiven by someone else.
Is it unjust to show mercy to your enemy if he does not ask for your mercy? God seems to think so.

It is not unjust to show mercy to someone who sins against you. Again is it unjust to show them mercy if they aren’t sorry. Is it just that someone else comes alone and forgives them for the sins they committed against you?
God seems to think so.

it is not unjust to forgive someone who sins against you. It is unjust to not forgive them, demand satisfaction anyway and just slide their punishment onto someone else.

Jesus has told you nothing. He has never spoken a single word to you. If you are referring to the confusing mess that is the bible, it tells you that you are unclean if you sit in a seat that was occupied by a menstruating woman. Is that true about you. Even if you disregard the embarrassing, morally horrible fiasco that is the O.T., Jesus thinks that you are the same as a murderer if you get angry with someone. I think he overlooked his own anger with that one two. God is also a “murderer in his heart” every day.

a) God is angry with the wicked everyday! Psalm 7:11

In God’s case though he is not just a murderer in his heart, but also in actuality. He wiped out every living human on earth so he could start again with a truly righteous man, Noah. Strangely things seem to have gone downhill immediately for humanity despite this fresh start with a righteous man.

So it seems God operates on a “One rule for you, one rule for me” policy. He can commit every sin there is and that’s just dandy, people are supposed to be morally better than God though.

If I loved you so much that I was willing to die in your place, and the plaintiff were happy to accept payment in my life's blood instead of yours, and I were to go to the electric chair instead of you while you were still in your prison cell oblivious to all this occurring - would that be unjust?

Yes! That would be absolutely unjust!!

The law has been satisfied, 2. There is no injustice because I voluntarily laid down my life out of love for you, 3. Justice is done – and payment cannot be demanded of you also. If this were the case, would you demand to die anyway?
1.The law has not been satisfied. The law demands that guilty party be punished. 2.There is injustice, the guilty have not been punished and someone else was punished for a crime it has been established they did not commit. 3. Justice has not been done. A most vile corruption of the concept of Justice has been done.

Consider this scenario. I am an evil man. I kidnap a young a girl and keep her locked in my basement for many, many, years where I physically, psychologically and sexually abuse her in every way. I am apprehended. She has known no-one else all her life . Despite my cruelty, I am all she knows. She believes that she loves me. She offers to take the death penalty for me.
Justice.

A slightly less extreme example. A murdering, rapist is brought to justice. He admits to everything. His wife, who loves him despite everything, offers to take his punishment for him. Justice?

You don’t believe the Koran because you don’t like what it says, you prefer the offer being made by Jesus. Ok. Not a good reason in my universe but then I actually care about the truth of what I believe.

Oh, I liked the poem!. I have written another in response. :)

Jack,

I don’t like Christianity but the main reason I am not a Christian is that I don’t believe it. I am not solely angry with Christians, I am angry with religious people of all stripes. I am angry with them for believing fairy tales and then trying to make everyone else believe it.

Can you see that you have blinkered vision? That you only see and believe what you want to and ignore the other facts?

This is really very simple Jack. I believe what I do because there is evidence to support the position. You believe what you believe because you want to believe it even when there is no evidence. You think I have the blinkered vision.

1. We both grew up in homes with different philosophies. I grew up as a Christian; you grew up as an atheist.

I was raised catholic. I just never believed it. My atheism was a private matter in my youth.

2. We both heard arguments from the people around us and from books we've read. We both have been influenced to some extend by our environment when we grew up.

No doubt, there was nothing in my environment that would have led me to atheism. I attended a Christian brothers, catholic school and most people around me were de facto believers.

3. We both analysed the information and made up our own minds.

True to a point. There is zero reason to believe a word of the bible is divine in origin or even that a divine entity exists. The bible and the Koran provide no proof of their positions what so ever. I analysed the facts, you gave unwarranted credence to a bronze-age superstition. There is absolutely no logical or empirical reason why you should be a Christian and not a Muslim. I suspect your particular faith is a matter of geographical fluke.

4. We ended with different conclusions, based on all our experiences, based on our history and based on what we believe is the truth.

I look to evidence and reason, two things which have a long history is reliably revealing the truth. You base a belief on what?

I will point out your blinkered vision in each of the statements you have made:
"You believe in a lie. You believe it confidently and without question."
That's an opinion. According to you I believe in a lie. According to me, you believe in a lie. But yet you believe this opinion as a fact.


I believe that your beliefs are not true because reality tells us both that they are not true. The history described in the bible is provably false. It is not a matter of contention of debate. It can be shown to be untrue. That meets the definition of a lie; you seem to think the truth is a matter of personal conclusion.

"You obviously have always been brainwashed to some degree by this Christian nonsense" and
"I assure you I don't believe the things I do because someone told me too."
"I have looked at Christianity objectively"
Yes - I have been influenced by Christians in the same way you have been influenced by atheists.
No - I didn't take it on face value. I still thought of it critically and made up my own mind. You did the same. And yet you believe only Christians are influenced by others and only atheists evaluated the facts critically.


I was an atheist long before I ever read anything by an atheist. I used to sit in church and boggle that people around actually bought into the load of BS the guy in the fancy costume was selling. I would not suggest at all that only atheists evaluate the facts critically but as we are living in ostensibly christian nations, atheism suggests at least that the atheist has gone to the trouble of questioning and thinking critically. If this were not so, there would be no atheists.

Did I proof the point that in reality we both follow the same thought process and you believe a lie if you think that only parts of that is applicable to Christians and only other parts of that is applicable to atheists?

I am not at all convinced, no. You claim to have evaluated the evidence for something that has no evidence. That simply doesn’t make sense. There are zero facts about God.

So what makes the difference? Why do I believe and you not? I cannot answer that for you.

I think I have answered why I don’t believe. Let’s look at why you do.

I believe in God, the almighty, the creator of everything
And in Jesus Christ His son, who saved me from death by standing in for my guilt
for who I will ever be grateful
And in the Holy Spirit that leads and guides me.


Pure assertion. This is your believe not why you believe.

I believe in every word contained in the Bible, because:
1. I have never found a single piece of evidence or a logical argument that convince me otherwise.

Can I assume then that if you cannot find a logical argument that convinces you otherwise that you will believe in anything? Give me a logical argument as to why tooth fairies don’t exist or why the Koran is not literally true. I can only hope you can see why this is a really terrible reason to believe anything. As must be reminded to Christians constantly. It is the person who posits a positive belief that must provide the evidence. If I offered you a vial of liquid that I maintain will provide you with perfect health for the rest of your life, are you going to start from a position of believing me and continue to do so until someone proves to you that I am not telling you the truth or are you going to start from a sceptical position and require me to prove to you that liquid can do what I claim it can?

2. I have found a lot of indicators in the world surrounding me that points to Him as the creator and affirms the Bible.
I would love to know what those are!

3. I have personally experience His love in my life and has never been happier and more contend than the times in my life when I am close to Him.
A follower of any religion can and do make the same claims. So either they are all true (a simple contradictory impossibility) or such feelings are generated by the person in question or are, at the very least, highly questionable sources of truth.

I will ever be thankful for what He did in my life. I will always tell of what He did in my life and I will always try to help others - Christians and non believers to experience the same, because it is great.

Most drug addicts will tell you that the drug of their choice is great and will make you feel amazing. It probably does. This is not a good reason in my mind to take drugs. By the same token, self-delusion may be great in many ways but I prefer the truth.

No, it is not just for someone to dish out judgement to an innocent. But it is for someone to volunteer to stand in for punishment. It happens every day. Is it just for a father to pay for damages after his son drove into the back of some else's car? Why punish the father? He is innocent? The owner of the other car demanded money from the son. The son couldn't pay it back, and the father bailed him out. The father was punished, although he is innocent. But I can also assure you the son would not just 'get away with it'. But it’s up to the father to determine how he wants the son to compensate him for his "bail out".

Try extending that to a murderer or rapist. How just does it look now?
Even in your example. Assume the son is found guilty of dangerous driving and is sentenced to a short jail term. Can his father go in his stead? Of course not. It would be completely unjust. Thankfully we live in a society that recognised that. Most people can see that without needing it explained to them.

We are guilty of things we do that are against the rules of the Creator of the Universe. I would think being the Creator of us He is free to make any rule He wishes. The fact that they are reasonable and moral is only grace. We cannot repay and Christ chose to stand in for us and make demands for how we can repay Him for the bail out; the fact that His demands are to love and to be good is only grace again.

It is true that any entity with sufficient power can arbitrarily impose any rules they want. I disagree that the rules are moral and reasonable. Regardless, any Tyrant can make rules and force people to follow them. Does that make it moral to follow these rules? Does that make the tyrant just? I think not.

I think you confuse unjust with unbelievable. Why would someone whish to pay on behalf of someone else? And that to me is just proof of His unbelievable love for us. It's difficult to understand how He can love us so much while we are still sinners.

No, I think it is unjust. I also think that many people would choose to stand in for a loved one in the case of punishment. He loves us so much he is going to send us to hell for breaking rules he invented which are impossible for us to follow by virtue of the nature he gave us. Not such wonderful love in my book.
Also. we are only “sinners” by his arbitrary standard. He could decide that breathing is a sin and we would all then be sinner by his definition.

"I hope you can see why it is a little silly to point out that scientists of the past have been Christian. They didn't have an enormous amount of choice about it and they had much less information than is available today."
No, I fail to see why it is silly

If you were to go to a modern Muslim country and convert to Islam and then later change your mind, you would discover VERY fast why scientists in the past claimed to be Christian regardless of their beliefs.
Also, it was once believed that rain was water falling though holes in the “firament”. That was not unreasonable to believe when we had no information at all as to where rain came from, it is certainly unreasonable to believe it now in light of modern knowledge. Our relatively recent advances in cosmology, palaeontology and evolutionary biology show that belief in thing like a God creating humans in the present form in the relatively recent past is simply false. This is no longer a reasonable thing to believe.

but I cannot see that information void of substantiation can change the intrinsic truth of something. Agreed but I am not talking about information ‘void of substantiation’.

But I am also quite sure from a science perspective in real terms we are not a lot closer to knowing everything there is to know.

I emphatically agree with you. There is an unimaginable amount of undiscovered knowledge that we have not acquired. Do you think that fact strengthens the case for a flat earth or the case for rain being water falling through holes in the firament?
That we do not know everything does not at all mean we “cannot know anything.” Biblical history can be shown to be false with the knowledge we have now.

We know just about as little as past scientists knew. How would still knowing very little help us with the issue of faith? We think that even though we don't know everything, with the knowledge we have today, we can see where it leads.

The first part of the statement could mean scientist from 2 thousand years ago to scientists yesterday but the amount of knowledge we have has grown enormously in the past few centuries. Regardless, even if we are wrong about where the evidence leads, we can be certain that no new evidence is going to surface that will show that earth is indeed flat. It is absolutely not beyond our knowledge to make some claims with certainty.

"Amounst scientists today, the rate of disbelief is staggering when compared against the general population."
That depends on who you talk to. Different sources say different things. I found just as many sources on the internet that says the opposite. I have no way to verify that. So to me that's your opinion.


No it doesn’t really matter who you talk to. Polls and reports on the topic are all but unanimously in agreement. Here is a link to Christian site that acknowledges the fact. What possible reason could they have for supporting the notion other than the fact that it is true. Indeed it is to there credit that they tackle the subject at all.

"I find the suggestion that believing in science is a faith to be a little silly to be honest... Faith is the act of believing something without evidence."
Do you believe the sun generate energy by means of nuclear reaction? So do I. But how do you know that? Have you personally witnessed that? Have you seen the evidence? I believe because I trust what a lot of scientists have said they found during experiments and what they have seen through telescopes and how they reasoned that it must be true. It make sense to me and I believe them. But do I have direct evidence of that? No - I trust and I believe.


You are kidding me right? In science, one person comes up with a theory. They must then show why they believe it. Experiments are conducted to see if the theory fits the facts. Other people conduct experiments to see if it is really true. Only after investigation and though falsifiable evidence is any theory considered to be accurate. It is not a matter taken on faith. I know that if there is any well established scientific theory I am not sure about, I can go and find a mountain of evidence on the topic. I am not expected to take anyone’s word for anything. The fact that we often do speaks to the fact that we have a certain amount of trust in the scientific method and the scientific community to be reliable at uncovering the truth and self-correcting. There is no faster way to make a career in science than by finding fault with established theory.

Science is not the truth, it is just a model we create for our selves to assist us in making some predictions about the world. Do you really think light is waves and particles? Have you seen it?

Scientific theories are models true but they must make accurate predictions or they are discarded or modified in favour of ones that do. They predict our world as it is. What more do you want from the truth other a description of things as they actually are? There are experiments I can conduct to prove to me that light is waves and particles or at least behave that way.

You don't have the knowledge, the funding or the time to perform most experiments for yourself. That's why you believe without evidence. By your own definition, that makes it a faith.

Very true, nor indeed do I have the inclination to experimentally test everything. Someone has done the experiments though and they publish their results. It has been reviewed by other scientists and found to be accurate. There is evidence. I have never been to china, should I withhold judgement about it’s existence until I see it for myself? This is an argument “ad absurdum”. For religious believe there exists no evidence. No one has any and no experiments have ever been conducted. Trying to equate the two ideas is bordering on dishonest.

Do you think you could come up with a rule more important to human life and living together than
"Thou shalt not take the lord's name in vain"
Not really. I can clearly see "taking the Lord's name in vain" would only happen if you disrespect God.


All religions, unsurprisingly, have prohibitions against disrespecting their deities. You can only disrespect God if he actually exists.
And I can also see that if everyone honours God and live according to all His commandments the world wouldn't be in the mess it is currently in. So no, I can see it will be most beneficial to human life and living together if we honour God.

Right, lets go back to the utopian societies we used to live in when almost everyone believed…..Oh that’s right they really weren’t any better than today’s society. Regardless the statement is as pointless as saying. “I can see it will be most beneficial to human life and living together if no-one believed in God but obeyed our secular laws “

As to waiting for God to convince me, I won’t hold my breath.

Omah's Helping Hands said...

First off Sam, thank you for this post! It really says it like it is but in a more human sense to really allow people to realize the great sacrifice.
As for Celtic Chimp, my heart hurts for you and I'll be praying for you. I hope that some day you see the light. It's hard to see a soul so lost, but am believing you will be saved some day.
Jack, your last response was well put.
Celtic Chimp, I think you have the meanings confused and all twisted. Try clearning your mind and really listening to what God and Jesus is really all about. Try looking at it in a positive rather than negative thought. When living in total negativism, it is hard to see anything straight.
God Bles you Sam for your wonderful writings.

The Celtic Chimp said...

Omah,

You accuse me of twisting the meaning but I state the facts as they are presented. It is you who is required to reject every instinct you have about what is just to view the immoral message of the bible as something ultimately just. I do not live in negativity at all, in fact I celebraate humanity with all its flaws. How much nobler an act of sacrifice from a mere human than one by an omnipotent entity which cannot be harmed and can nerver lose anything. Can God sacrifice at all, what does he lose? Indeed, what did Jesus sacrifice? Three days? Hardly seems to make up for all the crimes every committed by anyone and all the crimes yet to be committed but as anyone who honestly appraises the bible version of justice will conclude, God doesn't have a clue about what justice is and doesn't care for it at all. He is just a rule maker with a sadistic streak. I think it is the religious who live lives of fear and negativity, seeing only wretched flesh where I see people. People with flaws maybe but I would not change them if I could. Where I can love without condition for I make no demands of perfection, God's love is repleat with caveats and conditions. What would you think of the parent who says they love their child and then burns them to death anyway citing the reason as "rules are rules, what kind of parent would I be if I ignored the rules?" I would think them cruel and psychotic, would apparently would see them as just.