Sunday 12 May 2013

More Facebook arguments (part 1)

Why oh why oh why do I do this? (I had stuff to do this evening....)

This photo was shared on Facebook by Jonathan M. S. Pearce. Some discussion ensued.

Photo: God is love and miracles.
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  • 3 people like this.
  • Tasha Rae This picture always depresses the shit of me.
  • Johno Pearce Aside from the cynicism, it is SUCH a powerful picture.
  • Jamie Page Leech Depressing, powerful and thought-provoking.
  • Sergio Paulo Sider God loves the birds
  • Johno Pearce Sergio, strangely, one could make an argument, I am sure, to conclude that.
  • Jamie Page Leech Shameful as well
  • Sergio Paulo Sider "And I want to suggest to you that it is not only tiresome, when otherwise intelligent people speak this way, it is morally reprehensible. This kind of faith is the perfection of narcissism; God loves me, don't you know? He cured me of my eczema. He makes me feel so good while singing in church. And just when we were giving up hope he found a banker who was willing to give my mother a mortgage. Given all that this God of yours doesn't accomplish in the lives of others, given the misery that's being imposed on some helpless child at this instance, this kind of faith is obscene. To think in this way is to fail to reason honestly, or to care sufficiently for the suffering of other human beings. " Sam Harris
  • Johno Pearce Awesome quote.
  • Dave Alexander This photo shouldn't be used for anything except helping kids like this.
  • Johno Pearce If you are serious, Dave, then any picture involving any harm to anyone ever cannot be used to make a point. I think the point is made ALL THE MORE powerful by the juxtaposition of immensely powerful and sad with irreverent and praiseful.
  • Johno Pearce The point being that no God is seemingly helping this child, though he apparently helps people have enough milk in their fridges, therefore humanity is the only manner to help such unequal situations.
  • Johanna Collins No one has the right to blame god for what's wrong in this world,its all man made.
  • Paul Jenkins "No one has the right to blame god for what's wrong in this world..."

    I agree with this sentiment, but not for the reason given...
  • Laurence England God did not recommend that the rich of the World should withhold love, mercy and food from the poor. In fact, Jesus says, clearly that at the Last Judgment we shall be judged on what we did for 'the least of these my brethren', since when we did not do it to them, 'you did it not to me.' Blaming God for the poverty of the poor is absurd. Blaming the rich for their avarice, greed and lack of mercy is sensible.
  • Johno Pearce Johanna, answer me this. If God designed and created the world with full foreknowledge of everything that came to pass, who is responsible? For example, if I created a sentient life form in the lab, gave it 'free will' and knew 100% without a single doubt that they would go out and murder 4 people, and STILL created them (but also designed every component in them that would lead towards such action) and if I had the power AT ANY TIME to stop them murdering, who do you think the police would come to for ultimate responsibility? I literally couldn't disagree with you more on your point. I have the right to blame God if he created every single parameter in which this came to pass, and at any time he could have created different parameters or stopped it. Yes, I can blame him. In fact, it would be inhuman not to.
  • Johno Pearce Laurence - he could alleviate the pain and still hold those rich accountable.He could have actualised a world which did not have this pain. He could have actualised a world in which he only created people he knew would freely be nice and would freely come to love him. Instead, he actualised a world full, historically, of people whom he knew would end up in hell, tormented for eternity. He chose to have this world, new all of the counterfactuals, AND STILL went on to create it. Who's to blame?
  • Laurence England 'a world in which he only created people he knew would freely be nice and would freely come to love him' - The World of Saints? Or the World of Robots?
  • Laurence England It's interesting, you raise an interesting point. Jesus in His Sermon on the Mount basically says that rich are doomed to perdition and the Kingdom of God (Heaven) belongs to the poor.
  • Paul Jenkins "Blaming the rich for their avarice, greed and lack of mercy is sensible."

    Bit of a generalisation to assume that avarice, greed and lack of mercy are necessary characteristics of the rich. I'm not rich, BTW, but I don't assume that those who are rich necessarily lack mercy or are greedy or prone to avarice (tautologically or otherwise).
  • Johno Pearce "The World of Saints? Or the World of Robots?". You don;t get it. If he foreknows freely willed decisions, as you claim, then they would not be robots. This is an argument to disprove heaven and hell as coherent concepts put forward by Ray Bradley. See
    Posted by Jonathan MS Pearce on Sep 26, 2012 in Philosophical Argument Against God, Philosophy of Religion | 16 commentsHell defeated, God creating this world defeated; Bradley vs William Lane CraigThis is taken from an old post of mine. I still find it a real defeater for the concept of hell.I have...
  • Johno Pearce ie, they would not be robots because there is no difference between them in that world and those same people in this world other than the fact that this world has all of the nasties too.
  • Johno Pearce Paul is right, you have a very simplistic idea of what leads to world hunger. I would suggest reading Guns, Germs and Steel.
  • Laurence England Just because He knows everything we think, say, do, and fail to do and, indeed, our eternal destination (whether we shall be saved or whether we shall be damned) does not mean He has not given mankind the great gift of choice. God never wanted automatons, but those who He loves who will LOVE HIM in return.
  • Paul Jenkins "Just because He knows everything we think, say, do, and fail to do and, indeed, our eternal destination (whether we shall be saved or whether we shall be damned)..."

    Laurence, is there even the tiniest scrap of evidence that this is, in fact, the case?
  • Laurence England "How hard it is for the rich to enter the Kingdom of Heaven! It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle..."
  • Johno Pearce He has created people whilst in advance knowing they would sin (and designing the environment to facilitate this as well as emotions, biology and chemistry), and then punishing them for it. Explain that coherently.I have taught children from a very young age where already you know they are destined to a life of crime and misery based on factors outside of their control. What a lovely gift.
  • Johno Pearce Paul - I imagine we might see a use of the Bible now to prove the Bible. See my post:
  • Laurence England Yes He did. Yes, choice is the great gift that the Creator has bestowed upon man. Of course, you are neglecting also to mention that He (knowing we would fall through disobedience) would send His Son, Jesus, to save us, redeem us, so that through the grace that comes from Christ, we may be made SAINTS!
  • Johno Pearce It's not his son. It's him. He sacrificed himself to himself to eventually sit on his own right hand in the greatest place imaginable to conception. Not much of a sacrifice...
  • Johno Pearce Johanna - may I send you to my article here: which points to the idea that things have been getting better across the world for the last half decade. Some things are ...See More
    Posted by Jonathan MS Pearce on Apr 1, 2013 in Morality | 32 commentsWe are not going to hell in a handcartOne of the most, if not the most, common arguments I seem to be having online in various places is about the notion that the world is morally bankrupt, that we are in the end days. And this is…
  • Laurence England 'Not much of a sacrifice''ve obviously never meditated on the Passion of Our Lord who suffered everything He suffered for each of us, personally - taking upon Himself the horror of OUR SINS.
  • Paul Jenkins Joanna, something that's wrong with the world is the fact that humans can't breathe underwater. That's not man-made, so your thesis fails.
  • Johno Pearce If I can find a single person who might have suffered more, then your claims are erroneous.
  • Laurence England That is hardly the point, Johno. Nobody has ever suffered, in such a way, FOR YOU, so that what you did not deserve, HEAVEN, may be opened up to you.
  • Johno Pearce For something that he created, knew would happen, could have changed but different, and could have created with only non-sinners?
  • Laurence England In the beginning our first parents were not sinners. So, He did as you wish. They fell from Grace and at that moment, the game changed, because God is Just.
  • Laurence England But because God is Mercy, He sent the Redeemer.
  • Laurence England The ones who disobeyed the Holy Will of God who graciously granted them choice, out of His love.
  • Paul Jenkins How is one supposed to know that disobedience is a sin, without the knowledge of Good and Evil?
  • Paul Jenkins Mmm. Still waiting for evidence. Just some. Even poor evidence, for starters. No takers?
  • Paul Jenkins According to unsubstantiated mythology, Adam and Eve couldn't sin because they had no knowledge of Good and Evil. Who was it who made a particular point of pointing out to them what he didn't want them to do, in the full foreknowledge of what would happen if he did so? Who's the sinner here?
  • Laurence England Well, the very definition of sin is to disobey God. Their innocence was so sublime that they knew ONLY the Good - the Supreme Good - God Himself.
  • Paul Jenkins That's not the "very definition" of sin. "Transgression against divine law" is more in line with accepted understanding of what sin is. Because of their "sublime innocence" Adam and Eve would not have known about transgression, so they couldn't be expected to comprehend that disobedience was "transgression".

    Face it, they were shamefully set up as pawns in a pre-ordained story that God had full foreknowledge of. They were utterly blameless.

    Either that, or the whole escapade is an incoherent muddle unworthy of even a third-rate fantasy novelist.
  • Laurence England Sin is any thought, deed, word, or omission contrary to the will of God. That is the definition of sin.
  • Paul Jenkins And how would Adam and Even know that, without benefit of the knowledge of good and Evil?
  • Laurence England Their sin was to not do the will of God, knowing what the will of God was.
  • Laurence England Er...because God told them not to do what they decided to do, 'Thou shalt surely die.'
  • Paul Jenkins But how would they know it was sinful, without the knowledge of Good and Evil?
  • Laurence England Well, that's a good question, but ultimately they knew what God wanted them to do and chose the opposite. They will have realised what sin is after the event since, you are correct, they were innocent and had no sense of what sin is.
  • Paul Jenkins 'Thou shalt surely die.'

    But that's an argument from consequences, not from sin. Did they even know what "die" meant? And in the event, they lived on for many years, despite their "sin". Not calculated to instil them with respect for God's reliability, is it?
  • Laurence England Well, die they did, so God was true to His promise. It is not an argument from consequences, so much as a very human explanation from someone who isn't God into a great mystery. The mystery of the Fall.
  • Paul Jenkins "They will have realised what sin is after the event..." Like I said, blameless. They were unaware of the sin, or the consequences.
  • Laurence England No. Not blameless. Of all the sins in all the World theirs was the worst in history. They were aware of their relationship with God and that God had told them, out of love, to obey Him. They chose, freely, to disobey Him.
  • Laurence England The Blessed Virgin, likewise, was 'full of Grace', immaculate, innocent, blameless, pure and holy. She always CHOSE to do the Most Holy Will of God. She is the new Eve.
  • Paul Jenkins They chose, freely, to disobey Him because they had no concept that doing so was in any way sinful or that it would produce undesirable consequences. If "death" was unknown before the Fall they wouldn't have understood what it meant.
  • Paul Jenkins "She is the new Eve." You're changing the subject. Adam and Eve, without any concept of sin or death, were blameless for eating the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge.
  • Laurence England Hmm...Our Lady never disobeyed God out of fear of the consequences. She obeyed God out of pure LOVE.
  • Paul Jenkins "Our Lady never disobeyed God..." You're changing the subject. Adam and Eve, without any concept of sin or death, were blameless for eating the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge.
  • Laurence England We can have no comprehension of the imperfect, if we have no comprehension of that which is perfect and Our Lady is perfect, from the moment of her conception to her holy death.
  • Paul Jenkins "Our Lady is perfect..." You're changing the subject. Adam and Eve, without any concept of sin or death, were blameless for eating the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge.
  • Laurence England Adam and Eve should have obeyed God out of pure love. Their relationship with God was one of love - not servile fear - but love - they were created to love God.
  • Laurence England No, I am not changing the subject. I am presenting to you a woman, the woman, whose obedience to God would reverse the ultimate sin in all of history. It would be an insult to her not to remind men of her in the context of the Fall.
  • Paul Jenkins "Adam and Eve should have obeyed God out of pure love." So it's nothing to do with sin after all?
  • Laurence England Well, if you want to put it like that you may. What is the first commandment we are given? 'Love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, with all thy mind, with all thy strength and with all thy understanding.' In disobeying God, Adam and Eve broke with God's friendship through an act of disoedience contrary not just to the Will of God, but the Love of God.
  • Paul Jenkins "No, I am not changing the subject." Yes, you are. It's plain for anyone to see. We were not discussing Mary. Nor should we; she has no relevance to the story of Adam and Eve.
  • Laurence England Of course, she has. She is the Woman spoken of in Genesis.
  • Paul Jenkins Citation please.

Continued in part 2