Friday, March 11, 2011

Fun with a Theist!

Oh happy happy, joy joy. I've found myself engaged in a God discussion with an evangelical theist. *giddiness* She is a very sweet girl, but after the millionth FB post about God, I couldn't stand it any more.

Generally, I am getting slightly more open about my lack of beliefs publicly. It's taken me a while to a) figure out what in the heck I believe and don't believe (and this process is still just beginning), and b) investigating arguments, forming my own conclusions and feeling confident about them. Listening to the Atheist Experience has greatly helped.

So, for your amusement, here are a few posts made that I responded to (I am "J.R."):

But this is the fun one. I'll copy and paste the text, and will call my theist "Emma":

Emma: If we truly believe God is sovereign, we must be willing to accept that he is sovereign over literally everything. There is only one degree to sovereignty......and only one being who ever was or will be. that is God.

Me:So his omnipotence and sovereignty mean he can squash our Japanese brothers and sisters with a tsunami just because?

Emma: I believe in God's word and it says that God does these things to make the riches of his glory known. Satan's goal is to twist the truth and make us see these things from a worldly perspective and in turn, reject God. We have to stop dwelling on these things and consider God's ultimate purpose. There is a great picture. (like an impressionists' painting) You have to be willing to step away from the painting to make out what it truly is and to see the beauty and glory of it all instead of just seeing one piece that appears to be nothing more than blobs of paint that are a waste

Me: I think I understand what you're saying. Considering that "God's word" (I'm assuming you mean the bible, and not the Koran or some other holy book) tells us that God is all loving and all powerful, it makes no sense to me that such a being would allow disasters to kill hundreds/thousands of innocent people, least of all for his "glory". What kind of glory is that? If he really is so powerful and loving, can he not accomplish such glory without bloodshed and suffering?

I don't think it's Satan twisting my brain to think of this from a worldly perspective. It's me using my own God-given brain to rationally analyze the situation. We're told that God loves us and is the most powerful being in the universe. So then why would his plan include any of us suffering? Does his might make right? In other words, since he is omnipotent, does that power somehow give him moral authority to hurt us senselessly?

Emma: well for starters, i do mean the bible. personally, i cannot regard any of those other books as "holy". you say "god-given brain" does it mean you believe in God? im in no way trying to offend you. its just that if you dont, i think we are having the wrong conversation. if you are not engulfed in the love of God, your rational brain is not capable of understanding what it truly means for him to be sovereign. we could go weeks before seeing an end to this discussion

secondly: none of us are innocent. if we were given what is fair, we would all surely see Hell and live it every day of our lives. It is through God sacrificing his son's blood that we are given a chance. but we throw it away like it was nothing. like it didnt even happen. its a slap in God's face.

our god-given brains decieve us. we give ourselves too much credit. we cannot possibly rationally analyze situations. it is only through God that we can begin to understand purpose and meaning for this world. God is able to straighten what is bent. he has destroyed cities since the beginning. and his glory was made known every time. Good always follows. like i said. we just dont see the whole picture right now. the old testament is nothing but God leading his people to restoration. and he is the same God today as he was on the first day he created earth.

Me: I'm open to the belief in God, but don't see sufficient evidence at this point. I'm curious why you disregard the other religious books and choose to only believe the Bible, but that's a whole 'nother can of worms. You did not offend me by your question in the least. :)

As to not being engulfed in the love of are correct, I do not believe that I am. But what you're implying terrifies me. If I were engulfed in the love of God I would somehow understand his complete sovereignty, that is, I would submit to it. Do not abused women similarly blindly rationalize their lovers' abuse? Don't they tell themselves "oh, he loves me"? I think it is a very dangerous thing to believe that a) someone has power/sovereignty over us, and b) that makes their mistreatment of us ok--i.e., the might makes right argument. I find that highly immoral. If it's wrong for us to cause the death of innocent people, why is it ok for God to do? He has a different ethical code just because he's more powerful? Sounds like a tyrant to me.

Yes, we definitely can rationally analyze situations and we do it everyday. It isn't until we base beliefs on things without evidence that "faith" comes into play, and we suddenly start telling ourselves we should believe in something that doesn't make sense. If God exists and gave us brains that are equipped to rationalize, why are we required to put our brains on hold when it comes to religious matters? Shouldn't faith make sense, too, if brains and faith both originate from God?

I agree that we can't always see the whole picture of the world. But again, if God is so powerful and loving, why would his plan allow senseless suffering? Is not God more powerful than Satan? Our concept of God insists that he abhors evil and loves us to no end. So either our concept is incorrect, or God is a jerk who like to toy with us, and keep Satan/sin/suffering around.

Egads, if God today is the same as the OT God...! His kill count is in the 1000s, and he kills people for the smallest things, even babies. I can provide plenty of Scripture for you if you like. He also really digs the smell of blood and thinks slavery is A-ok. Doesn't sound like a nice guy to hang out with.

She has yet to respond back, so that's all I have for now. But let's summarize what we've learned about God and his murderous Japanese tsunami so far:

1. God is infinitely loving, powerful, and just.
2. God decided to send a 8.9 magnitude earthquake offshore of Japan that resulted in a tsunami that has (so far) killed hundreds, destroyed people's homes, businesses, etc.
3. God did this because in his infinite wisdom can see his whole plan for the earth, and decided that the tsunami would be a productive method of making the "riches of his glory known."
4. This disaster is for the ultimate spiritual good of humans, and we are too ignorant to comprehend the mighty ways of God and his mysterious plan for us.

My conclusion? God, if he exists, is a tyrannous dick.

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