Tuesday 12 March 2013

Unbelievable? Facebook facepalm (part 1)

Here's a recent thread from the Unbelievable? Facebook group. I post it here as an example of how rational discussion can get derailed when someone claims to have knowledge but can't substantiate it.

  • well, i've had a short & much needed break from here....but i'm still troubled by the last question i asked here....because it seems to be a question with no answer. so i decided to ask the question again....but this time, as a musician like myself would ask it. in the form of song & lyrics written many years ago by emerson, lake & palmer: "CAN YOU BELIEVE....GOD MAKES YOU BREATHE? WHY DID HE LOSE....6 MILLION JEWS?"

    Like · · · · Yesterday at 11:29 near Sydney, New South Wales

    • Paul Jenkins You're unlikely to get a satisfactory answer even now. Christian theologians have multiple theodicies in "answer" to the Problem of Evil. They are (mostly) satisfied with their answers. You won't be.

      The simplest answer to the question of why did God lose six million Jews is that there is no God. But Christians are understandably unlikely to find that answer satisfactory.

      It's an impasse.
    • Maurice D'Abruzzo then i wonder...why people would choose to spread their faith before this matter is sorted? i don't say this as an atheist...i tried to believe many years ago....but it just makes no sense!
    • David Eriol Hickman https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dx7irFN2gdI

      The Jews asked the very same question. True Story. They found him guilty, and then went to prayer...
    • Sam Priest The simplest answer to the question of why did God lose six million Jews is that there is no God. But Christians are understandably unlikely to find that answer satisfactory.

      It's an impasse.

      I believe the problem is how you could be christian without surpassing said impasse.
    • Paul Jenkins Mysterious ways, divine hiddenness, free will, evil necessary as contrast for good -- just some of the theodicies I can remember (they're all flawed, but seem to satisfy Christians).

      Or maybe the don't and Christians who accept them are in the grip of cognitive dissonance?
    • Maurice D'Abruzzo that's it Paul! that what i felt when i was a child....as a catholic, a jehovah witness, and as an evangelist.... i'm sure that's what most fair minded believers sooner or later eventually feel - COGNITIVE DISSONANCE! BRILLIANT!
    • Dane Cramer It's a very fair question, and you will likely receive various responses. I cannot speak for all Christians - only myself.

      Generally speaking, Christians do not see death as the end-all. Therefore, dying a physical death would not be considered as the ultimate loss - and certainly not a loss to God.
    • Delia Ives If I choose to believe in an invisible parrot that perches on my shoulder, accompanies me everywhere whispering words of advice & comfort in my ear, I would be rightly regarded as delusional. If I claim this parrot exists outside time & space, created the Universe and is called "God" I'm apparently considered by the religiosa as completely sane.
    • Paul Jenkins Dane, you're on dangerous ground there. To put it crudely: if heaven's so great, why don't Christians endeavour to get there asap?
    • Ken Parker This also reminds me of WLC and his excusing of genocide and the slaughter of infant children in the Bible.
    • Maurice D'Abruzzo the non sequitur for me....is this. as human beings, we all want to survive, & be free of pain & suffering, more than anything in the world. it's WRITTEN in our DNA. but what is written in the scriptures is quite different...eg abraham is required to murder his son.....job to bear terrible suffering....jesus to be tortured & murdered in lieu of the rest of us awful sinners......does this not sound like a system of control to you?
    • Paul Jenkins Agreed, Ken. Divine Command Theory as espoused by WLC is despicable, abhorrent and repugnant.
    • Paul Jenkins What's written in the scriptures, Maurice, is less about how things are or ought to be, than it is about _power_, and keeping the religious masses under control. Do what the elite priesthood says, and woe betide anyone foolish enough to ask questions.
    • Maurice D'Abruzzo Paul, you read my mind as i was editing my previous comment...bravo - agreed
    • Helen Marple-Horvat Interesting topic....but my feeling is that what is being talked about here is human on human atrocity ( You might have a case with natural disasters though....which to me is harder to argue for a theist )

      Also Paul, my reading of the NT is that Jesus speaks the truth to power by dying and by loving.Could you supply some evidence for your view that in the NT are to be found some rules about obeying what elite priesthoods say.

      We could argue about how ancient Israel organised their community without prisons etc and how that compared to mores of similar aged cultures around the world, and whether or not we do better at some things and worse at others. Its a debate etc

      But I dont see anything about obeying priesthoods in the NT or masses being controlled.Produce your evidence!
    • Paul Jenkins It's the elite priesthood that wields the power, justifying it with reference to scripture. There isn't much _about_ priests in the actual scripture as far as I'm aware.

      For an example of evidence, just listen to the Catholic Church.
    • Maurice D'Abruzzo haha....sorry Helen, must have hit "enter"... a little prematurely i'm afraid....maybe it's a freudian thing lol.....look - no, no, NO...the story of abraham/isaac, job & jesus are all meant to examples of DIRECT intervention by god - nothing to do with human/human shenanigans at all......
    • Helen Marple-Horvat Oh...if you are saying we dont find that in the NT thats fine.
    • Maurice D'Abruzzo last time i looked, jesus was a big player in the NT. got a lot of good reviews in fact
    • Maurice D'Abruzzo Helen.......why is it god's will....that a wonderful man like jesus....be tortured & murdered in the place of people like charles manson? who is merely serving a life sentence?
    • Helen Marple-Horvat Job is philosophy ...a discussion about the problem of evil...like Ecclesiastes. Both of these books pose questions. Abraham and Isaac has as many interpretations by jews as there are people who write about it. It is a bottomless well of meaning from every possible angle about human folly, love, wisdom, pride, sacrifice....

      Jesus is read by followers as Immanuel= God with us, ideas made flesh, the body of God on earth...a person who encapsulated a pure reading of torah teaching, a man obedient to the call of love on his life and willing to go through death rather than be violent.Its not like these ideas are not already in Judaeism....but Jesus embodies them and people just love him.
    • Paul Jenkins "...a bottomless well of meaning..." So it can mean whatever you like. This is not a reliable path to truth.
    • Helen Marple-Horvat Well....that is a deep question and one of the men beside him on the cross asks him.

      If you are the son of God....save yourself and us! Jesus himself is tempted by the same thoughts in the "desert" isnt he?

      Its about an emptying of power really isnt it?x
    • Helen Marple-Horvat "...a bottomless well of meaning..." So it can mean whatever you like. This is not a reliable path to truth.//

      In the sense that we can gain insights for ever about it yes Paul.I dont think we get a nailed down theology from the texts myself....but it is a starting point for talking.The story of Jacob wrestling all night with questions for God is about this....

      God is with us in the process of talking about such questions.

      If you want to look into interpretations of the Abraham story by jews you will be there for a lifetime!
    • Paul Jenkins I may think that the names of the characters in a story reveal deeper meanings about the author's motives and aspirations. If I subsequently discover he used anagrams of the dishes available at his local curry house I might question the actual depth of the bottomless well of meaning. Or I might cling obdurately to my preferred interpretation. But truth? Forget it.
    • Maurice D'Abruzzo it sounds to me like the philosophy of abrahamic monotheism...is one of complexity. it is one of non sequitur, paradox....stuff which doesn't add up....certainly not to the faithful jews of treblinka. contrast that with buddhism.....which doesn't require belief in a personal god....yet encourages us to be compassionate, because we are all part of one process in the end. to brush away all views....& simply exist in an amoral universe without cause or reason. i'm not trying to sell buddhism, but i can understand why it took hold in the west. there is a need i think, which is not being answered by either OT or NT....
    • Helen Marple-Horvat I dont know if you will find this interesting or not Paul....but until recently I always assumed that Isaac was a child. According to the rabbis he is a grown man which throws the story in a very different direction. Did he humour his old father, did he willingly go along with it? I dont know....we talk about it for ever.I guess people read the story with their own perspective dont they. Is it that God is cruel and demanding and then changes his mind ( hehe ) or is it a story about human need to do a big sacrifice thing but God being about grace?

      PS I know you are on the hook about theology actually Paul...because of your pod. lol.x

      I have enjoyed this lunch hour exploration. It has made me think about the foreshadowing of Jesus in the Abraham archetype story. Was their something of a willingness in Isaac to give his life for others....as there was a lot about appeasing gods in the ancient cultures wasnt there? We can still have that feeling that we need to please God to be loved....even today. Gottago....byeeeee
    • Maurice D'Abruzzo as you can see - no persuasion here. i have always believed that faith & skepticism/reason are both perfectly valid functions of our minds. but very different functions. i myself have been dominated by both at different times, so i don't have a favourite, but it may well be that we can't really "discuss" this subject......when we are not already of the "same" mind. whether gravity was a force or a warp in spacetime could be discussed - because all protagonists relied on "reason" & "evidence". whether there is a benevolent personal god or not....i'm not sure that we can discuss that in the same way.
    • Paul Jenkins "We can still have that feeling that we need to please God to be loved....even today."

      Wait... what happened to God's unconditional love?
    • Paul Jenkins Maurice, it's the ultimate get-out clause. God is impervious to reason because he lives outside time and space in the Land of Special Pleading.
    • Maurice D'Abruzzo right on Paul ! and if someone believes that faith is beyond reason, how can we persuade them otherwise? faith will probably always be with us....look i think the bigger issue is that faith not be hijacked in the way that it always has been - eg the inquisition, 9/11, nazism, stalinism, whatever. the tragedy is that blind faith means well, but it is also a sitting duck for the lesser angels of our nature.....
    • Helen Marple-Horvat "We can still have that feeling that we need to please God to be loved....even today."

      Wait... what happened to God's unconditional love?//

      Well that s my point really. We find unconditional love a difficult thing to accept dont we?