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hellbilly

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Questions for the believers
« on: January 12, 2010, 05:36:40 PM »

Why can god act with impunity?

Why do believers defend or explain away his acts of violence?

Why is it not acceptable for followers of a religion to perform violent deeds as suggested in holy texts?
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blackie

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Re: Questions for the believers
« Reply #1 on: January 12, 2010, 05:42:49 PM »

Why can god act with impunity?
Who would punish him?

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Why do believers defend or explain away his acts of violence?
Because there is nothing wrong with violence.

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Why is it not acceptable for followers of a religion to perform violent deeds as suggested in holy texts?
example please
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hellbilly

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Re: Questions for the believers
« Reply #2 on: January 12, 2010, 05:53:29 PM »

I was going to post these questions in the atheist ethics thread, so I'm going from some of the info there- particularly the bears killing 42 kids as ordered by god (or young adults whichever translation you fancy).

So to rephrase a bit-

Why can god act with impunity and not be held to the same standards as your neighbors?

After all, morality is made clear in regards to violence "Thou shalt not kill" - unless its god who does it, to provide a lesson or perhaps just for kicks.

Why do believers defend or explain away his acts of violence?

fatcat has already laid out the examples- stoning women, killing gays, etc. How is this made reasonable in the conscience of a believer?

Why is it not acceptable for followers of a religion to perform violent deeds as suggested in holy texts?

If god punished kids by having a bear maul them to death, why is it not acceptable for a believer to do the same?
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blackie

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Re: Questions for the believers
« Reply #3 on: January 12, 2010, 05:59:27 PM »

So  these are questions for christians and jew?
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hellbilly

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Re: Questions for the believers
« Reply #4 on: January 12, 2010, 06:32:25 PM »

No, "believers" as in those who believe in some god or another. All gods seem to have a violent streak.
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Diogenes The Cynic

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Re: Questions for the believers
« Reply #5 on: January 12, 2010, 07:00:14 PM »

Why can god act with impunity?

Why do believers defend or explain away his acts of violence?

Why is it not acceptable for followers of a religion to perform violent deeds as suggested in holy texts?

He operates in established ways, and in an order understandable to a person who studies Kaballah.

Because they're often taken out of context.

I don't understand your third question.
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theCelestrian

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Re: Questions for the believers
« Reply #6 on: January 12, 2010, 07:06:50 PM »

Interesting.  I'll bite for this one, even though I'm agnostic and don't prescribe to dogmatic religion, I'll play Devil's advocate:

Why can god act with impunity and not be held to the same standards as your neighbors?

After all, morality is made clear in regards to violence "Thou shalt not kill" - unless its god who does it, to provide a lesson or perhaps just for kicks.

You're making some interesting assumptions here.  Let me see if I can accurately break down all the suppositions at play:

  • God dictates morality: We shall refer to this as "God's law" for the sake of simplicity.
  • God's Law applies to humanity.
  • God's Law applies to God.
  • Human beings are capable of holding God responsible for his/her/its actions/inactions.

I think the difficulty here is points #3 and #4.  In my readings of the Bible, Koran, and the Torah - I do not think I have really seen any book address the applicability of God's morality upon God him/her/itself other than in the Koran when dealing with abrogation - basically Allah (through Gabriel) telling Muhammad that when two revelations seem to be in conflict, the more recent revelation chronologically is the "better" and correct revelation.  The part that is relevant to your question is that in the final part of the verse is the phrase, "know you not that Allah can do all things?"

This could then suggest that the assumption that God's law applies to God would be incorrect, and that as human beings (not the creator of all things), posing this question is a non-sequitur because the laws being set forth are not for God to follow, and even if they were, as human beings we would have no possible method of redress to "punish" God for his/her/its transgressions of the law.

Why do believers defend or explain away his acts of violence?

fatcat has already laid out the examples- stoning women, killing gays, etc. How is this made reasonable in the conscience of a believer?

Excellent question - and it's a problem I have with most dogmatic "western" religions, which I am assuming based upon your examples is whom this question is primarily posed against.  A lot of this deals with a few (now) commonly held assumptions/accepted beliefs about God in our modern, contemporary contexts and interpretations.  For example:

  • God loves everyone: This one in particular causes lots and lots of problems when counted amongst the other assumptions or statements either held as fact, or laid out in various holy books.

    However, this is very largely a result of the New Testament. Prior to this, the God of Abraham (the god shared by Jews, Christians and Muslims), have some very definite preferences as to whom he gave the lions share of his love to, which is why God made his convenant to the Jews, and not say... the Egyptians.  It was only in the New Testament that through Jesus' martyrdom that "his convenant was extended to all mankind."

    This is an issue for another reason: Assuming God has equal love for all people increases the paradox and even "last stop" I outline below - as one could argue that this renders Assumption #1 and #3 logically inconsistent.

  • God doesn't change his mind: So far, amongst the "big 3," only muslims openly will admit that God changes His mind frequently and often - again as evidenced by the passage of abrogation.  For westerners, indeed since the time of Plato's writing of The Republic, we like to hold onto the thought that because of God's omniscience, it is extremely unlikely that He/She/It would ever have a "change of heart."  Indeed, in the old testament, the only time we see God openly admit to a "mistake" was the flood, and His resulting convenant as an assurance the God would not do that again.

  • The Paradox of Omnipresence, Omniscience and Omnipotence:  In the bible, God introduces himself to Moses as, I am that which is I am.  I am the Alpha and the Omega....  Here and in other passages he declares and/or reveals Himself to be:

    • Omnipresent: That he is everywhere, and see's all of creation.  Personally, the concept of God as omnipresent is not anything I would consider overly controversial.

    • Omniscient: When Abrahams wife, Sarah scoffs at an Angel's proclamation that she would give birth (despite her advanced age), God speaks to her directly asking her why she laughed at the idea - showing that not only was every where, but he was aware of everyone's thoughts as well

    • Omnipotent:  "God has a plan."  How often do you hear this?  This many could claim this gets it's roots from the comment, "I am the Alpha and the Omega," and that because God is all powerful, He has already had his masterplan laid out, and nothing could ever possibly "surprise" Him.

      Personally, this is the one "property" of God that I find the least plausible and compelling, as an absolutist interpretation of Omnipotence invalidates suppositions of choice, free will, and several mechanical processes in Nature including quantum mechanics.

    • The Paradox: So who cares, right? All of this is important because although the devoutly religious are all too happy to lay the credit for all that is good, wholesome and just (see your conversation of ethics) in the Universe,. . . they are a little skittish of following the Logic train to it's final stop:

      Assuming Omnipotence, God is 100% responsible and culpable for all that is Evil in the world.


Part of what makes the discussion of Religion and religious texts problematic in today's culture is that we're in today's culture, and everyone who is religious is no a student of hermeneutics: basically studying the language and the context for how it was used at a certain period in history.  The good example of this would be the word, "gay" and its use prior to the late 1950's and after.

The other problem is that as is often admitted - these issues boil down to faith, and thus ensuring that the assumptions held by the faithful are not required to be consistent. 

Why is it not acceptable for followers of a religion to perform violent deeds as suggested in holy texts?

If god punished kids by having a bear maul them to death, why is it not acceptable for a believer to do the same?

Probably the easiest to address with a very simple answer were I to put on the "Boots of being Religious:" Because Man is not God, and for Man to consider his judgment, morality and actions as that equal to God is foolish and improper.

However, with fundamentalist Islam, there is no such compunction - in fact many of the acts of the more militant muslims reflects many of the actions that the Prophet Muhammed committed in his life, including the decapitation of prisoners.  In this particular case, your attempted Reductio Ad Absurdum is a non-valid reductio, because there are those (the fundamentalist muslim) who do not believe the conclusion is absurd.


----
edit: fixed a couple typos
« Last Edit: January 12, 2010, 08:27:42 PM by theCelestrian »
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fatcat

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Re: Questions for the believers
« Reply #7 on: January 12, 2010, 07:14:01 PM »

Why can god act with impunity?

Why do believers defend or explain away his acts of violence?

Why is it not acceptable for followers of a religion to perform violent deeds as suggested in holy texts?

He operates in established ways, and in an order understandable to a person who studies Kaballah.

Because they're often taken out of context.

I don't understand your third question.

Care to tell me how this is taken out of context?

Quote
"If a man lies with a male as with a women, both of them shall be put to death for their abominable deed; they have forfeited their lives."  (Leviticus 20:13 NAB)

I believe I've asked this multiple times and don't recall ever getting a satisfactory answer. ("it says in the Gemara" is not an answer if you're not going to tell me what it says in the Gemara, cause I'm not going to jew school).

How bout this one?

Quote
But if this charge is true (that she wasn't a virgin on her wedding night), and evidence of the girls virginity is not found, they shall bring the girl to the entrance of her fathers house and there her townsman shall stone her to death, because she committed a crime against Israel by her unchasteness in her father's house.  Thus shall you purge the evil from your midst.  (Deuteronomy  22:20-21 NAB)

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hellbilly

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Re: Questions for the believers
« Reply #8 on: January 12, 2010, 07:59:02 PM »

Good stuff Celestrian. Even better that such complete answers have come from an Agnostic!
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Re: Questions for the believers
« Reply #9 on: January 12, 2010, 08:13:37 PM »

Why can god act with impunity?

Why do believers defend or explain away his acts of violence?

Why is it not acceptable for followers of a religion to perform violent deeds as suggested in holy texts?

He operates in established ways, and in an order understandable to a person who studies Kaballah.

Because they're often taken out of context.




I call bulllshit. On what grounds?  I got nothing philosophically deep.... rather, its simply ridiculous bullshit opposite of common sense.  You claim that I have to study some old sily book "to understand".  Fuck your silly 'Human Being user's manual.'  It's outdated.  
« Last Edit: January 12, 2010, 08:23:40 PM by WidespreadPanic »
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blackie

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Re: Questions for the believers
« Reply #10 on: January 12, 2010, 08:43:17 PM »

No, "believers" as in those who believe in some god or another. All gods seem to have a violent streak.
I'm pretty sure the questions only work for "believers" of some organized religions, not all "believers".

Why do most atheists seem like people who are angry at god?
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Rillion

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Re: Questions for the believers
« Reply #11 on: January 12, 2010, 08:53:27 PM »

Why do most atheists seem like people who are angry at god?

Because most theists see themselves as simply doing what God says, and passing the buck of atheist anger is easier than simply acknowledging that you can't be angry at something you don't believe in.  

If I'm an asshole in the name of Fred, and you get angry about it, it is more appropriate to say that you're angry at me than at Fred.  
« Last Edit: January 12, 2010, 08:55:27 PM by Rillion »
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fatcat

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Re: Questions for the believers
« Reply #12 on: January 12, 2010, 08:54:53 PM »

No, "believers" as in those who believe in some god or another. All gods seem to have a violent streak.
I'm pretty sure the questions only work for "believers" of some organized religions, not all "believers".

Why do most atheists seem like people who are angry at god?

Why does blackie always ask condescending questions?

Anyway, most atheists I know are angry at the idea believers have of a mass murdering, petty, vain, homophobic psychopath being the most infallible, caring and merciful being alive.

being angry at a fictional character itself is silly. I'm no angrier at a god than I am at bigfoot or voldemort.

Hellbilly is right if he's talking about all major religions (that have gods). He's wrong if he's talking about bullshit new age invented gods.

Where they take the warm fuzzy stuff from the big G bible god, but don't actually think its the bible god, its some deisticic/personal god that has absolutely no fucking evidence whatsoever, as apposed to the fire and brimstone big G god which at least has some old books.
« Last Edit: January 12, 2010, 08:57:15 PM by fatcat »
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The ghost of a ghost of a ghost

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Re: Questions for the believers
« Reply #13 on: January 12, 2010, 08:56:00 PM »

No, "believers" as in those who believe in some god or another. All gods seem to have a violent streak.
I'm pretty sure the questions only work for "believers" of some organized religions, not all "believers".

Why do most atheists seem like people who are angry at god?
Being that atheist don't believe in god, they are not angry at god but rather the ridiculous notion of god.  Angry that people can be so gullible as to believe in superstitions that are bigoted and hateful.  

P.S.
Just in case I'm wrong I threw some salt over my shoulder after typing this post.
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theCelestrian

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Re: Questions for the believers
« Reply #14 on: January 12, 2010, 09:17:26 PM »

Anyway, most atheists I know are angry at the idea believers have of a mass murdering, petty, vain, homophobic psychopath being the most infallible, caring and merciful being alive.

...and for those who look govern their lives with logic and reason, this makes sense.  Other than the fact that I simply will never be able to make a meaningful conclusion on a subject which I will never have sufficient evidence to do so, is one of the major reason I've only become more Agnostic as I've gotten older.

I would actually find the case for God more compelling if the suppositions were consistent; Go ahead and tell me that God doesn't love everyone, or that "hell" as described by many simply doesn't exist, and therefore the potential of damnation as a result of playing our "parts" in life (predetermined by God, of course, because He's omnipotent) is no longer an issue.

just my (very short this time) .02
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