July 13, 2008

Parable of the Sower

I was just asked by an admitted atheist a question, I will call him Steve. Steve asked: So Dan, you're so fond of the Parable of the Sower, I have some questions about it. (he explained his position)"So, then, who is the sower? Is he not god (or Jesus)?"

Admittedly Steve, there is a joyful glee inside of me when I read that you are actually contemplating Scripture. You are very wise to ponder as to what is being said to us in the Word.

I am humbly trembling as to not fail you with an incorrect/unacceptable answer that pushes you away from more inquiry into God's Word. With kid gloves let me try.

"So, then, who is the sower? Is he not god (or Jesus)?" I believe it is us, as Christians. ** This is really incorrect since the sower is Christ (Matthew 13:37) Yes Jesus is the husbandman, we are "like" the sower, although Jesus gets all the credit. We are to plant the seeds of salvation into the hearts of men. We are told to preach the word in season and out of season (2 Timothy 4:2).

1 Corinthians 1:17 "For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel: not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect."

Colossians 1:28 "Whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus:"

2 Corinthians 4:5 "For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus’ sake."

But if I preach the wrong Gospel to you it is I who is in grave danger. I am held accountable.

Galatians 1:8 "But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed."

But we must not put the cart before the horse, so to speak, and preach the Gospel to an unrepentant heart. We must till that soil and get it ready. Prepare that soil for the seed of Salvation.

Matthew 7:6 "Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you."

If that prepared heart is ready, that pliable clay can be molded (Romans 9:20-21)

This is one of the main reasons why I don't give the Gospel to you guys that are non-believers. You would throw that Gospel into my face but if you actually showed signs of understanding then I would, then and only then. First you have to understand how you have broken God's Law and broken His Commandments. If you have broken just one of His Commandments then you will spend eternity in Hell for breaking the Law. (James 2:10) I have to get you to understand how wicked you truly are, how wicked we all truly are.

If I can convince you that you deserve hell, just as I do. If it actually concerns you that you would spend eternity in hell and your heart is broken and contrite (Psalm 34:18,Psalm 51:17). I would then give you the Gospel (the Good News).

So let me ask you does it concern you that you will be spending eternity in hell for breaking God's Commandments?

Matthew 13:38 "The field is the world; the good seed are the children of the kingdom; but the tares are the children of the wicked one;"

So which child do you want to be? You can make that choice right now because I will let you in on a secret Steve. Your seed hasn't been planted yet. Right now in your life, your soil is being prepared for the seed. Either it will be ready or rocky. That is the great part of the sower parable. We have season after season to get it right. The sun still shines. When you die the light goes out and, as you know, nothing grows in darkness. So as long as that sun shines in your eyes we have a chance to properly prepare that soil.

So come on Steve, does the reality of hell concern you?


  1. So you decide who is ready to receive the Gospel?

    Excuse me while I edge away from you lest the lightning should strike me too.

    Aside from a Christian being able to decide who was ready to receive the Gospel or not, I, when I was a Christian agreed with and believed all of the theology you just presented.

  2. Ahem, "Dave"...

    The parable seems pretty clear that god (or Jesus) is the actual sower, but if you prefer to elevate yourself to that level, then so be it. Jesus told the disciples in his explanation, if you'll recall, that the ground was the person receiving the seed (word). That pretty clearly means that you and I, being persons receiving the word (at least at one point or another), are the ground. Unless you mean to suggest that new sowers spring forth from the fertile soil, and then immediately toss about their seed wherever it may land, god or Jesus as the sower seems about right.

    Also, this picture of god (or Jesus) as the sower fits with the Parable or the Tares of the Field, mentioned in that same chapter of Matthew.

    We must till that soil and get it ready.

    But the sower (whether you, god, Jesus, or Weird Al Yankovich), in his namesake parable, didn't till the soil -- he arbitrarily tossed his seed from one end of the land to the other, and it is evidently the fault of the seed for falling in amongst the thistles, or landing in the rocky soil, or for being scavenged by birds.

    I think you misunderstand your own bible's parable...

    Be that as it may, though, you didn't address the difficulty regarding the inconsistency when looking at the Parable of the Tares. Take a gander at that one, and explain to me how, despite its explicit explanation, I am to be blamed for being the devil's seed, tossed into god's field.

    So let me ask you does it concern you that you will be spending eternity in hell for breaking God's Commandments?

    Not at all. First, I deny that the commandments of which you speak are god's. Second, I deny the commandments themselves -- at least many of them (apart from the latter six of the Ten Commandments) -- as being outmoded. Third, I would deny any god, even were I in his presence, who would so punish his own creation.

    You see, although I consider myself an atheist, I am not against the concept of some form of deity. Rather, the idea is appealing, especially if a meaningful eternal existence is part of it.

    The problem is that first, I am not eternal right now, so far as I can tell, and I recognize that my thoughts on the wonder of an eternal existence may quickly vanish when I run out of meaningful things to do.

    Second, I will not worship any being. Any being which would require such a thing is needy and self-absorbed. If that disqualifies me from an eternity in "heaven", then so be it. All the better from my ethical standpoint if that guarantees me a ticket to an eternity in "hell". As I have said, any "god" who would eternally punish any of his creation is unworthy of praise of any kind. That being is an absolute monster.

    Let me tell you something else -- if I were a god, not necessarily an omnimax, but I had the power to create, and some sort of moral obligation to thwart evil, then if I had even the remotest suspicion that my creative act would result in even one Sentient Being being "thwarted" (e.g. eternally punished), then I would unequivocally abstain from creating.

    Your god, if any of what you say about him is true, is infinitely more despicable a god than I would ever be. Your god chose to create, according to you, and chose to damn the overwhelming majority of his thinking creation. Out of sheer principle, no one should worship such a thing.

    Anyway, that hell question of yours is a whole different topic.




  3. Thanks for voicing your opinions both of you. I feel privileged with an audience that is eloquently engaging.

    Ultimately You are correct Stan, Christ is here as the husbandman, a title given to Jehovah in His relationship with Israel. (Isa 5:1-7)

    [John] Calvin said this "Christ declared that he was there in the capacity of a husbandman, who was going out to sow seed, but that many of his hearers resembled an uncultivated and parched soil, while others resembled a thorny soil; so that the labor and the very seed were thrown away."

    We are to preach the word, the seed is the word. Have I overstepped? Possibly, but I was just qualifying that Christians are the seed sowers by other scripture. Now don't get me wrong, without God's light (sun) and nurturing (nutrients, water) there would be no growth. We have no control over that. We, as Christians, are to just plant the seed.

    2 Corinthians 4: 6-7 For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.

    NIV calls the earthen vessels 'Treasures in Jars of Clay', that is how the New Covenant was reveled to us, in earthen vessels. Ananias and Paul were examples of earthen vessels or jars of clay.

    We will have to let God judge me if I was overzealous about this one. I wished not to elevate myself, but to make an attempt to till that soil.

    Anyway, that hell question of yours is a whole different topic.

    No Stan it isn't, it's the beginning of the wisdom of the Gospel.

    Let me level with you Stan, you also Mike. Both of you understand what is at stake here. You are more versed in the Bible then most people, dare I say even I. You both are smart enough to 'get it'.

    If God does exist and he considers the wicked people are the ones that break His Law. He punishes the wicked, which he does otherwise he would be a corrupt Judge, with hell. Does it concern you that you will go to hell forever as a wicked sinner?

    "Parable of the Tares. Take a gander at that one, and explain to me how, despite its explicit explanation, I am to be blamed for being the devil's seed, tossed into god's field."

    Please, parables are designed to teach some general truth; and the circumstances should not be pressed too much in explaining them. Look how I mucked up the Sower parable, haven't you been confused enough by my words.

    (cop out)I got a great idea, ask God.

  4. Cop out though it may be, it is at least somewhat apt. You're absolutely right to avoid further discussion of these -- not so much that you've erred, but that you are on the verge of a recognition that all of my points are valid, and their sum is greater than the comparable sum of the answers found in the bible.

    The Parable of the Tares of the Field is pretty bad for your case, and Jesus should've known better, if your interpretation(s) of his vision are true. In it, he quite clearly says that the wheat is the seed that he planted -- the Christians -- and that the tare is the seed that the devil planted -- the non-Christians. He further tells us that at the harvest -- the end of the world -- he will make bushels of wheat, but burn the tare as useless to him.

    Hardly uplifting stuff, if you happen not to be the wheat. It even makes a case that the tares have a reason to complain -- they were planted as tares, and they grew as tares. They had no control over where they were planted, and no control over the kind of plant their seed would produce.

    Taken together with the Parable of the Sower, we see the extant theme I described -- that the sower is responsible for where the seed landed, not the seed itself. The sower either fails to till and fertilize the soil for all his seeds, or he allows his enemy to plant bad seed amongst his good seed, and in each case, he blames and punishes the seed in question.

    Anyway, you're right that we are familiar with the bible, moreso than many professing Christians, and well we should! If we are to deny a thing, it makes sense that we understand it first.

    Christianity -- religion in general -- is like Newton's Law of Gravitation. It is a novel concept, and explains things much better than overtly superstitious and animistic methods, but ultimately, it, too, is wrong, having been superceded by Einstein's Theory of Relativity, which was in turn modified further by Quantum Theory.

    The more we understand about things, the more obligation we have to expose fraud, and to embrace new and greater knowledge.

    The bible is a wonderful piece of literature -- symbolic, poetic, fantastic -- but it is fiction, not fact. It is about as factual as Dan Brown's The Da Vinci Code -- it references real places, real groups of people, and even some real people directly, but ultimately it is a fantasy. It has great value as a reflection of times past, and of even recent moral values and superstition, but to hold it to some supernatural standard is folly.

    It is a book -- a collection of books -- written by men, for men. It documents and details countless atrocities, and explicitly condones certain actions and behavior that is both repulsive and immoral. It is historically and scientifically inaccurate to the point that some of its claims are absolutely absurd, but it makes these claims deadpan, and people like you back them up verbally with straight faces.

    It is both wonderful and terrible -- it is a work of art to be admired and studied. It is not, however, to be taken as holy writ. Recognition that humans wrote, copied, transcribed, edited, collected, re-edited, translated, and compiled it suggests extremely strongly that some of it is just not right.

    Let me ask you this, Dan:

    If you heard the voice of god directly tell you to take your newborn son into the hills with the express purpose of there killing him as a sacrifice to god, what would you say and/or do?

    If you are at all able, divorce yourself from your reflexive denial of this hypothetical, and place yourself into Abraham's shoes. Yes, I know, the standard response to this sort of question is that god doesn't need to do this sort of thing any more, but we both know that to be utter nonsense. He didn't need to do it then, either.

    So I ask you -- what would you say or do in such a circumstance?

    Here's what I would do, if I were in Abraham's shoes, but my persona was intact:

    me: You want me to do what?

    god: Take your son into the hills and bring glory to me by there killing him.

    me: Ummm... Listen, god, I chose you from all the gods basically because I was under the impression that I could avoid this sort of thing. With Baal, for instance, I wasn't looking forward to offering my virgin daughter as a sacrifice, if I had one. So, ummmm, yeah. About that killing my son in the hills thing...

    And what response might we expect from a god worthy of any praise whatsoever? Perhaps the following:

    god: Excellent! It's about time someone showed some backbone. Everywhere I show up it's always 'Oh, lord, this', or 'Oh, lord, that', and everyone is always groveling.

    me: Sorry, lord-

    god: And don't apologize so much! If you were sick enough to kill your son for me, then you'd have some apologizing to do, but since you're not bat-shit insane like those Baalites, you've got some promise.

    me: Ahhh, thank you?

    god: You're welcome. Now, go ahead and take your son into the hills, but teach him how to fish or something.

    (Certain aspects shamelessly stolen from Monty Python)

    A god like that I wouldn't mind getting to know. The other guy -- the one who actually wanted Abraham to think he was going into the woods to slit his son's throat -- is a sadistic prick. There are countless better ways for an omnipotent being to make a point than commanding filicide, even if it's only some kind of sick joke.

    I'll be visiting my own father in a few days, and since he's a professing True Christian™ like yourself, I plan on asking him the same question. I hope for the sake of our relationship that he doesn't tell me that he'd be prepared to kill me.

    Jesus seems like an interesting fellow, and while he might make a good friend in a storm (pun intended), I'm not about to worship him, either. As I said, any being so self-absorbed as to require the adulation and self-deprecating platitudes like your god does, well, he sounds like a needy, whiny tyrant, who is bound to throw a temper tantrum any minute.

    I refuse to believe any deity could be so capricious and moody, and frankly I don't care how much such a deity might think he deserves to be worshipped. If I am the creation of any sort of deity, then I am either intentionally created, or accidentally created -- and in neither case would it be at all prudent to worship my creator. In the first case, it is intentionally not in my nature to worship. In the latter, why would anyone worship an accidental creator?

    I am that I am. If I am to be damned as a result, then so be it. I will not grovel and beg forgiveness. I will instead condemn my condemnor.


  5. For your sake I hope you are right. You can condemn your condemner all you want, try that in court "Your Honor I know I am in contempt of this court but I condemn you!" Judge then says "Bailiff, take this man away" and that's it. You are not in any position to elevate yourself to the Judges (God's) position of authority. I think you accused me of doing that also.

    Here is the difference, I believe and trust God. I fully understand your points of view towards God and I have those same views towards my drug dealing neighbors. The contempt and mistrust is palatable. The most neighborly thing I can do for my neighbors is help get them saved, and I try daily, but to let my children play with their kids would be certifiable. I couldn't imagine a more horrific scenario then to just let my kids run off and go play with those heathenish demonic children in that house, or Michael Jackson's house or any other frightening scenario.

    But the trust for God is vastly different. Abraham had something we don't have and that is conversations with God. If God talked to me as he talked to Noah, for example, I would not have any problem doing what he asks of me. Abraham had to know without any doubt that God is God, evidence of his loyalty.

    If you are asking would I do that to my child today? Of course not, because I don't here audible voices telling me things. Besides if anything is contrary to God's word (New Covenant) then it isn't of God. People that hear "voices" do it all the time as you hear in the news. So why would I be any different ? That level of psychosis in anyone would drive them to do extreme things. Just ask Andrea Yates.

    If you are asking me to project myself to the day of Abraham and place myself "in his shoes" I cannot say what I would do. Abraham was a very special man that had a unwavering trust for God. Abraham so loved God he almost gave is only begotten son, and God so loved the world he gave his only begotten son. I cannot even come close to that kind of relationship to God. I look forward to someday understanding God fully, though. I look forward to that level of understanding with Him.

    I was in the military (Navy) and we have standing rules that must be followed. Such as, there is no such thing as a 'hostage situation' on a warship. If some maniac was to try to take over our ship and held a gun to the Captain's head and tried to take command of the ship. I was given explicit orders to do whatever is necessary to regain control over that ship, even shoot through the Captain to kill the maniac. Human life is not as important to the cause, in that scenario.

    Would I steal a $100,000 pill that would save my Mother's life? No, that would be stealing and that is something that is wrong. I would try to raise the money, but I wouldn't be a thief for it. Would you?

    "I'll be visiting my own father in a few days, and since he's a professing True Christian™ like yourself, I plan on asking him the same question."

    I don't want to offend in any way, but I would be curious as to how were you raised? I would want to know what 'denomination' is your Dad's church and how he viewed the Bible. What was his core philosophy of the Bible. Does he believe in 6 literal days of creation and such. I would want to explore your history a little. God says to test to see if it's of God by the fruit and I would consider you the fruit of your Dad. If your Dad raised Godly children then you and I would have vastly different conversations. You don't have to tell me any of it, but just look back at your childhood and ask yourself was there anything your Dad did that was contrary to scripture that made you question things. Where there contradictions in your Dad's actions? How did you end up where you are at? Again, no offense, but you are not considered to be good fruit from a Biblical perspective. I am curious as the point it went wrong (or right in your eyes). Was it an epiphany moment or a constant eroding of a belief?

    As for how I turned out, my Dad used to tell me not to smoke as he was lighting up, when I got caught I was punished. See my Dadalso drank a lot and smoked pot but he was an atheist Jew, he taught me how to lie to get gain in life. He was a great salesman and a very successful business owner. He went through great hardship with my Mom having Lupus and she died very young. I was in 5th grade (10 years old) when she had her first major stroke. When I was 22 I finally read the Bible for the first time. Saw I was right about all those things that I knew in my heart was wrong that my Dad was doing, like lying for gain. I ran to get baptized because I knew deep down my Dad was wrong about a lot of things.

    If the contrary was true about your Dad then it could be understandable that you would rebel against him, and God, also. If he was a professing Christian and beat his wife and kids and drank heavily, for example, the contradictions would be too hard to bear. It would be totally understandable how you would turn from God and your Dad. Anyway I would be curious as to what was your trigger moment. If you care to share then I would be further educated as to why people turn from God. I can't even begin to tell you how many anti-Christians that started in the pedophile infested church called the RCC (Roman Catholic) for example. Just a small hypothesis that I am working on that you could help me out with. Remember you can't be biased or resistant, you must be open and honest in your reflections for the truth to come out.

    Jesus would indeed be a good friend in a storm or even on Judgement day. Repair that friendship.


  6. So I must've missed it -- if god told you to off your son after a day's hike, would you or wouldn't you?

    I had prepared for the claim that today such a requirement would be against the "New Covenant", and granted, this was before Moses and the Ten Commandments (which we have established does not mean that immoral acts were otherwise acceptable, per Cain, et al), but unless the notions of what are and what are not acceptable and/or moral actions have changed, then your god clearly commanded that Abraham commit an immoral act.

    Not only that, but Abraham offered no recorded resistance. Clearly, he was aware of the influence of false gods at the time, so why would he not suspect this command to have come instead from one of them? Why did he not at least resist even a little? Wouldn't the true source of objective morality appreciate a father unwilling to slay his son as a sacrifice to his deity?

    You've dodged the question successfully only by refusing to answer it. You're obviously troubled by the implications, which are that your god commanded an evil action, and that your religion's celebrated patriarch was all too willing to slit the throat of his son and burn his still-bleeding body.


    As to my background and upbringing, well, it's funny you should couch the question like you did. You can take off the kid gloves.

    I was raised in an Evangelical Christian household, by Christian parents who were virgins when they were wed, nine months and two days before my birth. My parents are still happily married, some thirty-plus years later, and they are still happily Christian.

    We attended a few different churches as I grew up, with no particular denominational affiliation or preference. If the church leaders taught doctrine with which my father agreed, and if the setting was amicable, we went there.

    I attended public school for the first few years of my elementary education, and then Christian school for what was effectively Junior High (plus one year), and then I attended a public High School. When I earned the privelege of transporting myself, I chose to attend a different church Youth Group (on Wednesdays) -- it had more attendees, and it welcomed my guitar for the worship service -- but I did not sever my connection with my parents' church, and continued to attend it on Sundays.

    My father has had alcohol once, to my knowledge, on his fifteenth wedding anniversary (or was it the tenth?). My mother convinced him to try some wine (a port, if memory serves), and he hated it. The only alcohol in our house aside from that brief excursion was isopropyl, or in the form of vanilla extract. In a bit of family humor, only recently did my mother inform us that she'd been a bit of a social drinker in High School. She evidently likes rum.

    Neither of my parents smoked, nor did drugs of any kind, although both sets of grandparents had been smokers. Only very rarely did my father utter an expletive -- in fact, my mother did so much more frequently -- and even then, the worst cases were "shit" or "damn". I suppose if you wished, you could consider the occasional "hell" in this category as well.

    To tell the whole story, my father's usage of these expletives was always in jest -- when we were repairing the septic tank lines, for instance, he joked that we were "mired in shit". He also loved to joke every time we'd pass by one of the area's hydro-electric dams, that we were "going down the dam road, to see the dam tour, complete with the dam water, all dam day."

    My mother's use of expletives was the more conventional use -- directed toward myself and my siblings, when we had misbehaved (and we had indeed misbehaved).

    Every Saturday morning, we'd awake to the sound of any number of records (that's right -- LPs) on the stereo, ranging from the Continental Singers, to Sandi Patti, to an instrumental group I can't remember (but they played a wonderful piece which musically described the march about Jericho).

    Sundays, of course, we'd all hop into the van and head to church -- we went early so as to attend Sunday School and the main service -- and afterward we'd often head over to one of several area restaurants for after-church brunch. Alternate Sunday evenings were spent at a fellow parishioner's home for "Home Groups", to which we looked forward very much.

    One particularly humorous memory was of a Sunday morning in January of 1984, when, immediately following the service, the resident tech-geek and sound-man wheeled a television into the back of the sanctuary, and many of the loitering congregation (primarily men -- the women and children had escaped to refreshments) turned their chairs around so as to watch the AFC Divisional Play-off game in-progress.

    During the summers, we'd attend Vacation Bible School for as many as three weeks, and when I was older, my father and I went on missions trips to Mexico.

    I was paddled (my father had crafted a device out of 1/2" plywood), we were occasionally slapped (only by my mother), and I had my mouth washed out with soap quite a few times. We were never beaten or abused, physically, sexually, or verbally (unless you count my mother's infrequent "damned kids", which we very much incited).

    The theology of my parents was one with which you would undoubtedly agree. The six literal days of creation, the global flood, a young earth, biblical inerrancy, etc. I'm sure that my father would embrace your (and Ken Hamm's) "plain reading" methodology, although I'd say he swings a bit more literal.

    My parents aren't overly educated, but they do both have Associate's Degrees (Arts). They are hovering just above the poverty line (seven kids, three still at home, well, two after this coming weekend), but we still managed to have many of the luxuries that more well-to-do families had.

    Christmas and Thanksgiving time, we'd pool together our resources, and give toys, clothing, and whatever we could to needy families through our church donation service. Ironically, on several occasions, we were greeted with care packages from these same services on more than one occasion.

    We're white -- which is only relevant because it places socio-cultural experiences into context -- and we lived in the rural northwest, though we weren't farmers. We have been lucky (my father, and you, would no doubt say "blessed") in that we haven't had too much in the way of unfortunate accidents. Some relatives have lived shorter than we'd have liked, to be sure, but overall there's been little in the way of jarring trauma. I haven't even had a broken bone.

    We were Christians. White, Anglo-Saxon Protestants. Evangelical, Pentecostal, Holy Spirit filled Christians.

    You have said before that I wasn't a True Christian™, but as I have said, you have zero facts at your disposal to make such a claim.

    As to my turning point, well, as with anything like a deconversion, in the years following the process I have been able to identify likely triggers, but during the process I was obliviously living my life as an unwavering Christian.

    I recall quite vividly my grandfather's death, when I was only 9 years old. I loved my grandfather very much -- I'd like to think I was his favorite grandson (even if his youngest, at the time) -- and his loss devastated me. He was a Christian, too, converted by my father before I was born, so I knew he was in heaven, but I was so young that I couldn't bear to think of life without him. During his funeral, I played "Allelujah" on my violin (an instrument he pushed me and my sisters to play), tears streaming down my face. I doubt anyone in attendance has forgotten that image.

    Before the funeral began, however, I made a special request of the fellow who worked for the mortuary: I asked to be alone with the body for a few minutes. My request granted, I stood in a small ante-room with my grandfather's body, held his hand, and prayed that god would resurrect him. I knew that what I was asking was selfish, and that it was unlikely to occur, but I also believed that if I had the tiniest inkling of faith, that I could revive this body, even though it had already been "prepared" for burial.

    Needless to say, he was not resurrected.

    This story is not crucial to my deconversion, which you might think at first, but it is nonetheless insightful. I knew my prayer was selfish, and I knew as such that it should not have been answered. I also knew that I was effectively asking my grandfather, who died of emphysema, to leave the blissful life of heaven in order to temporarily satisfy the wiles of a naïve 9-year-old.

    It didn't take me long to accept his death as part of the natural order of things, and that he was much better off as a result.

    A few years later, while my father and I were headed somewhere -- I forget the particulars, but it was late in the day, and it was a meeting of some kind -- my father realized with disgust, as we were minutes from our destination, that he'd forgotten his briefcase, without which the meeting was a wasted effort.

    I instantly recognized this as an opportunity to bring glory to god. I quietly prayed, and was visited with a revelation! The briefcase was in the canopy of the pickup! I informed my father, who was obviously incredulous, and asked if I had placed it there. "No", I replied, "but trust me; have faith, it's there".

    It wasn't there. With dejected shame I avoided eye contact with my father for the rest of the outing. I couldn't bring myself to explain to him what had actually happened (or failed to happen). I knew the breifcase was in the back -- god had told me as directly as he had told Abraham to go slaughter his son. But it wasn't there.

    This incident was definitely a pivotal point, in that unlike my request for a miracle regarding the resurrection of my grandfather, this particular request was completely altruistic. The meeting was so unimportant to me that I don't remember what it was about. For me, the joy of riding along with my dad was fulfilling enough. My request for a miracle, in this case, was selfless to the core. I wanted to bring glory to god, and delight to my father, all at once.

    Alas, god chose not to intervene.

    I have to wonder what might have happened if that briefcase would've shown up. I'd have known that I hadn't put it there, and that my father hadn't put it there. Would my mother, or one of my siblings, have later claimed the act? Who knows. Certainly, my own faith would have been unshatterable following such an event. My father may or may not ever have believed me that a miracle had occurred, but my suspicion is that he would eventually have sided with me. It's a shame it didn't happen, but I no longer blame myself.

    Following this, in High School, I had some interesting, and entertaining, debates with one of my teachers and with a classmate. They were arguing for evolution, I against. As it turns out, some of their arguments have since been debunked by various scientific discoveries, but in a two-for-one sort of style, many more discoveries have bolstered their position, ignorant of them though they may have been. No one won the debate, as neither side was willing to budge at all, and I would say that my faith in Young Earth Creationism wasn't really cracked, but when I look back now, I might say that I had the beginnings or the realization(s) that science was debunking various biblical accounts.

    This same teacher (his name was also "Dan") was also the advisor for the school newspaper, on which I was the Opinion Editor (they called me the "Opinionated Editor"). During my tenure, I argued, in the Opinion pages, against homosexuality, against environmentalism, for free speech, and against the de-Christification of school holidays and functions (e.g. Christmas break v. Winter break, Christmas Ball v. Winter Ball). I even defiantly placed a picture of an angel in the December edition of the paper, replete with a caption which read, "Due to the separation of church and state, the above picture is not an angel. It's a snowman."

    Perhaps the most defining moment I can recall is the Wednesday night church service in which those who had not been officially filled with the spirit would be prayed over to receive it. I forget the specifics, so I apologize if I make it sound more ritualistic than it really was. Each respondent, and I was one of them, was surrounded by a half-dozen or so spirit-filled members of the church, who laid hands on them and prayed over them. Some prayed aloud, others quietly, and still others in tongues.

    For my part in the experience, I recall knowing quite well a couple of the adults who were praying over me, and I was glad for that. I had no idea what to expect, but I knew that among the other signs of the spirit, one of the more prominently celebrated was the gift of tongues. I was extremely curious as to what it might be like to babble on in a language with which I was wholly unfamiliar, but which may be otherwise intelligible to a foreign visitor.

    I prayed with them, asking god to fill me with the spirit, accepting the gift god had bestowed upon me, and thanking him for it.

    Nothing happened.

    Instead, as I sat and continued to pray, I began to slowly realize that nothing was going to happen. I didn't know why, and I wasn't the least bit skeptical -- I simply felt no change whatsoever.

    The pastor said afterward that whoever asked for the spirit would receive it, and I had most certainly asked for it. He said that not everyone feels it in the same way, but that the feeling would materialize (for lack of a better word) in time, at the right time.

    I'm still waiting.

    Following that incident, I slowly drifted away from the church. I continued to attend Young Life gatherings, and I generally attended church, but my faith was failing.

    I joined the Army (National Guard), and went off to Basic Training, where I attended church at every opportunity. Unfortunately for reasons of belief, my attendance was based on the fact that failure to attend church on Sunday meant cleaning the barracks on Sunday. There are no atheists in foxholes, they say, but only atheists were buffing the floors on Sunday afternoons...

    After my return from BCT and AIT, I moved out of my parents' house, to live with some High School classmates in Seattle. My National Guard unit clerk had issued me a military ID which intentionally granted me two years of age, and having sampled alcohol for the first time in AIT, I used this ID at the nearby PX to purchase alcohol for my underrage roommates. During this time, I was also exposed to marijuana.

    I took up weed, cigarettes, and alcohol pretty regularly, as most college-aged kids do, and not too long thereafter I lost my virginity to a very experienced girl. Let's just say I'm glad I wore a condom.

    I partied pretty hard those few years, but I had no idea how to manage my finances, so I started writing bad checks. Luckily for me, it was before the computer boon of the late 90s, so I wasn't incarcerated.

    I was evicted from my apartment, lived on the streets for a few days, limiting myself to a single Burger King cheeseburger per day for food, until a former roommate invited me to stay at his place until I could get situated. I stayed there for six months.

    Eventually my inability to hold a job, coupled with my inability to manage my finances, led to my return home. My hosts wanted me out, so they had called my parents for me, and my father graciously rented a car dolly, drove up, packed my stuff and hauled me home.

    The fatted calf was devoured, and I managed to get a job, and soon enough I moved out again. I was still smoking cigarettes and pot, but I had pared down my drinking habit due to some strange memory lapses and the descriptions of my actions during them. I hallucinated when drunk, evidently.

    I lost another job, this time for smoking pot on the roof of the building, and when I returned from my 2-week Annual Training (I was still in the National Guard), I found that my roommates had packed up my things, and had moved out. Rather than return to my parents' house a third time, however, I found another friend with whom I could stay, and made due.

    Soon enough, I was again employed, and this time by a fellow pot-smoker, so things started to look up. I got a small apartment for myself in a building notorious for drug-dealing, but equally notorious for the lack of police presence. No violence, just relatively peaceful criminals.

    After a few years of stagnation, I met my eventual wife. We dated for a short while, then moved in together, and then moved to Seattle. I quit smoking pot (except for the extremely rare offered 'toke'), and we got married. A couple years later, we decided to start a family.

    Now, with two children, we've moved from Washington, and I'm about to finish my degree. Following my first child's birth, I'd enrolled in a community college, and once I had those two years under my belt, we moved so that I could continue with my education.

    Is that enough of a back-story?

    Now, you'll undoubtedly view much of my twenty-something years as extremely depressing, or as a sad commentary, but this is far from the truth. Sure, my employment status severely fluctuated, and sure, my living quarters were just as suspect, but my life was a blast.

    My entire life, in fact, has been a blast. My parents didn't get divorced, I had a healthy relationship with them, I played T-ball with my dad as a coach, etc. I joined the National Guard during a Democratic administration, so I didn't have to go to war, but I got to play with explosives and drive tracked vehicles, HMMWVs, and play "Army". I did a lot of "hippie" drugs, and had a lot of fun doing it. Despite a twelve-year hiatus, upon returning to school, my mind was as sharp as ever. No one can tell me that smoking pot renders stupid the genius. It is simply untrue. No one can tell me that drug-using friends, or party-friends, are not True Friends™. It is simply untrue.

    I have had fantastic jobs about which I often boast, when I lived in Seattle (the second time). I have had awful jobs about which I also boast. The whole experience thus far has been an absolute blast, and I wouldn't change any of it -- except perhaps for one thing.

    I would like for my parents, and my extended family, to become aware of the ignorance with which their belief system covers them.

    My father and I have a very close bond. I am his eldest son, and we share a great deal of memories, our sense of humor, and we even look alike. Nonetheless, we will often engage in a lively debate in his kitchen (to my mother's dismay), in which he argues for a biblical standpoint, while I argue against it.

    During the [initial] aftermath of 9/11, as an example, he was (obviously?) supportive of Bush's asinine plan to invade Iraq. He reasoned that we knew there were WMDs there, that their entire culture was anti-American (esp. anti-Christian), and that they were a hotbed of terrorism in the world.

    I pointed out that a) no evidence of WMDs has been found, b) their culture is as anti-American as ours is anti-Iraqi -- and it is just as anti-Christian as ours is anti-Muslim, and c), that the terrorists who were responsible for 9/11 were Saudis, acting on the orders of a deposed Saudi most likely living in Afghanistan.

    The argument was getting to an impasse when he said, "but Stan, they're raised to hate us; they're raised to hate America and Christianity!"

    My reply?

    "Jonah", I called to my youngest brother (10-years-old at the time), "what do you think of Arabs?"

    His response?

    "I hate them."

    I coyly smiled to my dad, who smiled back, and that was that. My point was quite dramatically made.

    Whether he was aware or not, his dogma, his moral paradigm, and his religion in general was perpetuating the very thing he despised in his perception of Iraqi (and Muslim in general) households. The intolerance, bigotry, and ignorance which so permeates Christianity, and religion in general, had made his youngest son exhibit the persecutorial attitude he loathed.

    I won that argument, pretty handily, and due to my intellectual prowess, especially over that of my father (though I love him dearly, he is unable to debate a position successfully), I tend to win all of our arguments, but he doesn't budge in his beliefs.

    I admire his resilience, but I just as well loathe his Custerianism. I admire his morals, but not his sense of morality.

    You seem to think that atheists seek validation. To be sure, some do, just as some would-be Christian apologists seek only validation of their own (see the Fanboi crowd over at Triablogue, for an easy example of that). This atheist, however, seeks truth. Not only do I seek truth, but I seek to eradicate deception.

    I don't give a rat's ass whether or not you or any other Christian deconverts. It doesn't matter in the end, as far as I'm concerned. What I don't want is for you to successfully inculcate another open mind, such that they condemn others based on the ancient scribblings of superstitious mystics.

    I want for religionists in general to admit their ignorance, and let other people live without judging or repressing them. My father prays for me whenever he finds a penny. I'm sure it's more often even than that, but that event specifically triggers his prayers for me. I sarcastically tell him that I'm sure it will help, but he is not stymied. What I seek, is for people like my father to accept others who have chosen a different path, rather than condemning them to hell, or praying for them to escape it.

    If you were so certain about the existence of hell, and so caring for your fellow human, then why not kidnap unbelievers, and force them into Christian concentration camps, until they exhibit Christian behavior, and profess Christian beliefs?

    If saving people is truly your goal, then quit paying lip-service to it, and get to saving!

    I don't think you need saving, I just think you're missing out on life. As I said, if there is a god, right on. There is no way that god can be the one you describe, however. I maintain that if there is a heaven, or eternal blissful state, then I'll achieve it. If not, then I'll merely vanish into annihilation. Regardless, whatever god there might be, he'll receive no praise, worship, or other adulation from the likes of me.


  7. Wow, I am speechless. That was true honesty from the heart. I am in total awe as to why God brought you and I together. There is a purpose and meaning to all of it. You past practically mirrored my own in many ways. I need time to absorb these points you made. First thing that popped in my head though, I should share.

    "lived on the streets for a few days, limiting myself to a single Burger King cheeseburger per day for food, until a former roommate invited me to stay at his place until I could get situated. I stayed there for six months." So strange as the parallels.

    I ran away and lived on the streets also. For some reason my Dad didn't want me to spend time with that local loose girl in the neighborhood. That was when I was 15-16. I worked at the local Burger King and towards closing I started piling up the burgers. I would ask the Manager if I could make myself a burger with the left over patties. They would all smile and allow me to. That was the invention, that I can recall, of the first ever triple whopper. It was delicious every time and sustained me for days. I did this for weeks until my pot smoking companion from school said I could move in with him and his Uncle (Now those times where a blur) To this day when I eat a whopper I get thrown back to the days I was on my own at 16 just before going into the Military. Ah good times.

    I want to thank you for sharing dude. I now know you more and it helps me understand more about us and life. It is uncanny as to how many thing in both your and my lives paralleled growing up and now I am practically paralleling your Dad's life. I just don't have the time at the moment to address thing adequately, but I will later when the kids are in bed.

    Thanks Stan, for telling the truth, you might want to think of changing your name.


  8. I didn't mention it before, but upon reflection, it's an error worth noting:

    Abraham so loved God he almost gave is only begotten son

    Except that Isaac wasn't his only begotten son. Sure, Ishmael was pretty thoroughly written out of things, but Abraham's eldest son he was ("Your father he is"?).

    It doesn't affect my take on the story at all, but after some reflection I felt it unwise to allow the improper comparison. The story of Abraham and Isaac is still comparable to god and Jesus, but you don't get to pull the John 3:16 quote out... not that the phrase "only begotten" makes it any less repugnant, in either case. Would we feel less special if god had offered one of his two begotten sons, as with the LDS?

    Offering one's child (especially rather than oneself) as a sacrifice is morally repugnant.

    Anyway, you're apparently giving Abraham a pass, despite his evident willingness to off his own son. Nevermind that god never intended for it to go through, Abraham was clearly under the impression that he was to climb a hill and spill his son's blood, to satisfy the bloodlust of his preferred deity.

    To claim that Abraham's behavior was anything other than blatantly immoral is to deny your own notion of morality. To suggest that it's okay for god to command immoral acts -- even if he later belays the order -- is okay is to deny your own notion of morality.

    And what if the biblical story were different? What if Abraham took Ishmael up to that hill on god's command, and there slew him as an offering to god? What if he slew Isaac, and god provided him with a new son at a later date?

    You conveniently point to the fact that the story avoids the undisputedly immoral act of killing one's child, but you just as conveniently ignore the moral implications of the request, and of Abaham's evident willingness to obey.

    Imagine (apart from the irony) a Nazi captain named Abraham, who was told by his SS colonel to slaughter a Jew named Isaac. Would you exonerate this man if his hand were stayed at the last possible moment by the colonel?

    "Just following orders" is an old excuse, which, as a former member of the Navy, you should be well aware is also invalid. One of the first things a new recruit is taught are his general orders, and beyond those, he is taught what is meant by an illegal order. He is told that under no circumstances is he to follow an illegal order.

    Abraham's actions were that of a soldier blindly following an illegal order. In a reasonably well-governed society, he would be tried (and convicted, if the biblical account were acceptable as evidence) for conspiracy to commit murder, and likely also for attempted murder. Attempted murder may well get plead down, but the conspiracy charge would stick.

    If it were possible, Abraham might also be offered a better plea deal, to testify against god, who had orchestrated the whole thing. In such a situation, god would himself be convicted (though I can't think of the specific charges at the moment -- I'll have to watch some more Law & Order reruns).

    Let's not forget that the only reason you'd dismiss Abraham's case is because you agree with his choice in deity. If any other deity were substituted, you'd unequivocally denounce his action (or his intended actions) as criminal. If any other deity were to require such an act from its adherents, you'd denounce that deity as fictional, demonic, or worse.

    If I felt for a moment that some supernatural being was requiring of me to slay my own child in tribute to its greatness, I'd immediately and unashamedly have myself forever committed. I might even commit suicide. Abraham should've done one or the other, rather than gathering kindling.

    Under no circumstances would you acquit Abraham, except in the one case in which he is allegedly doing the bidding of his alleged god, which you also worship.

    That, is special pleading.

    Your god required of Abraham a child sacrifice. Deny that it is immoral.


  9. I will get back to the last 'revealing' post of yours but for now I will address these last points.

    "Except that Isaac wasn't his only begotten son."

    God called him his only son (thine only son Isaac) possible legitimate v's illegitimate or just to dig even further at him.

    Genesis 22:2 "And he said, Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest, and get thee into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of."

    So the comparison to John 3:16 stands.

    "Let's not forget that the only reason you'd dismiss Abraham's case is because you agree with his choice in deity. If any other deity were substituted, you'd unequivocally denounce his action (or his intended actions) as criminal. If any other deity were to require such an act from its adherents, you'd denounce that deity as fictional, demonic, or worse."

    That is true, I can't deny that.

    Your god required of Abraham a child sacrifice. Deny that it is immoral.

    I deny it! [When I say "jump", you say "how high?"] It goes far beyond just killing his son, you do understand. God makes it really hurt. God says to go someplace very far (three days away) and sacrifice him as a burnt offering, not just kill him. Plus Isaac was the bloodline promise of all good things. Not to do it as God asks would automatically make God his adversary. What weight that was on this man's shoulders. I couldn't even begin to imagine this pressure and torment. This was after all a true act of faith on Abraham's part. A faith I could only hope to achieve.

    I was going to do my best to explain the gravity of what was at stake but then I found this from the John Calvin archives, it's very poignant as to the conversation. I can't do it justice to paraphrase it. It's great stuff! Sorry for the long read but here is it in it's entirety:

    Gen 22:2 Take now thy son. Abraham is commanded to immolate his son. If God had said nothing more than that his son should die, even this message would have most grievously wounded his mind; because, whatever favor he could hope for from God, was included in this single promise, In Isaac shall thy seed be called. Whence he necessarily inferred, that his own salvation, and that of the whole human race, would perish, unless Isaac remained in safety. For he was taught, by that word, that God would not be propitious to man without a Mediator. For although the declaration of Paul, that ‘all the promises of God in Christ are yea and Amen,’ was not yet written, (#2Co 1:20), it was nevertheless engraven on the heart of Abraham. Whence, however, could he have had this hope, but from Isaac? The matter had come to this; that God would appear to have done nothing but mock him. Yet not only is the death of his son announced to him, but he is commanded with his own hand to slay him, as if he were required, not only to throw aside, but to cut in pieces, or cast into the fire, the charter of his salvation, and to have nothing left for himself, but death and hell. But it may be asked, how, under the guidance of faith, he could be brought to sacrifice his son, seeing that what was proposed to him, was in opposition to that word of God, on which it is necessary for faith to rely? To this question the Apostle answers, that his confidence in the word of God remained unshaken; because he hoped that God would be able to cause the promised benediction to spring up, even out of the dead ashes of his son. (#Heb 11:19). His mind, however, must of necessity have been severely crushed, and violently agitated, when the command and the promise of God were conflicting within him. But when he had come to the conclusion, that the God with whom he knew he had to do, could not be his adversary; although he did not immediately discover how the contradiction might be removed, he nevertheless, by hope, reconciled the command with the promise; because, being indubitably persuaded that God was faithful, he left the unknown issue to Divine Providence. Meanwhile, as with closed eyes, he goes whither he is directed. The truth of God deserves this honor; not only that it should far transcend all human means, or that it alone, even without means, should suffice us, but also that it should surmount all obstacles. Here, then, we perceive, more clearly, the nature of the temptation which Moses has pointed out. It was difficult and painful to Abraham to forget that he was a father and a husband; to cast off all human affections; and to endure, before the world, the disgrace of shameful cruelty, by becoming the executioner of his son. But the other was a far more severe and horrible thing; namely, that he conceives God to contradict Himself and His own word; and then, that he supposes the hope of the promised blessing to be cut off from him, when Isaac is torn away from his embrace. For what more could he have to do with God, when the only pledge of grace is taken away? But as before, when he expected seed from his own dead body, he, by hope, rose above what it seemed possible to hope for; so now, when, in the death of his son, he apprehends the quickening power of God, in such a manner, as to promise himself a blessing out of the ashes of his son, he emerges from the labyrinth of temptation; for, in order that he might obey God, it was necessary that he should tenaciously hold the promise, which, had it failed, faith must have perished. But with him the promise always flourished; because he both firmly retained the love with which God had once embraced him, and subjected to the power of God everything which Satan raised up to disturb his mind. But he was unwilling to measure, by his own understanding, the method of fulfilling the promise, which he knew depended on the incomprehensible power of God. It remains for every one of us to apply this example to himself. The Lord, indeed, is so indulgent to our infirmity, that he does not thus severely and sharply try our faith: yet he intended, in the father of all the faithful, to propose an example by which he might call us to a general trial of faith. For the faith, which is more precious than gold and silver, ought not to lie idle, without trial; and experience teaches, that each will be tried by God, according to the measure of his faith. At the same time, also, we may observe, that God tempts his servants, not only when he subdues the affections of the flesh, but when he reduces all their senses to nothing, that he may lead them to a complete renunciation of themselves.

    Thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest. As if it were not enough to command in one word the sacrifice of his son, he pierces, as with fresh strokes, the mind of the holy man. By calling him his only son, he again irritates the wound recently indicted, by the banishment of the other son; he then looks forward into futurity, because no hope of offspring would remain. If the death of a firstborn son is wont to be grievous, what must the mourning of Abraham be? Each word which follows is emphatical, and serves to aggravate his grief. ‘Slay’ (he says) ‘him whom alone thou lowest.’ And he does not here refer merely to his paternal love, but to that which sprung from faith. Abraham loved his son, not only as nature dictates, and as parents commonly do, who take delight in their children, but as beholding the paternal love of God in him: lastly, Isaac was the mirror of eternal life, and the pledge of all good things. Wherefore God seems not so much to assail the paternal love of Abraham, as to trample upon His own benevolence. There is equal emphasis in the name Isaac by which Abraham was taught, that nowhere besides did any joy remain for him. Certainly, when he who had been given as the occasion of joy, was taken away, it was just as if God should condemn Abraham to eternal torment. We must always remember that Isaac was not a son of the common order, but one in whose person the Mediator was promised.

    Get thee into the land of Moriah. The bitterness of grief is not a little increased by this circumstance. For God does not require him to put his son immediately to death, but compels him to revolve this execution in his mind during three whole days, that in preparing himself to sacrifice his son, he may still more severely torture all his own senses. Besides, he does not even name the place where he requires that dire sacrifice to be offered, Upon one of the mountains, (he says,) that I will tell thee of. So before, when he, commanded him to leave his country he held his mind in suspense. But in this affair, the delay which most cruelly tormented the holy man, as if he had been stretched upon the rack, was still less tolerable. There was, however, a twofold use of this suspense. For there is nothing to which we are more prone than to be wise beyond our measure. Therefore, in order that we may become docile and obedient to God, it is profitable for us that we should be deprived of our own wisdom, and that nothing should be left us, but to resign ourselves to be led according to his will. Secondly, this tended also to make him persevere, so that he should not obey God by a merely sudden impulse. For, as he does not turn back in his journey, nor revolve conflicting counsels; it hence appears, that his love to God was confirmed by such constancy, that it could not be affected by any change of circumstances. Jerome explains the land of Moriah to be ‘the land of vision,’ as if the name had been derived from har (rahah.) But all who are skilled in the Hebrew language condemn this opinion. Nor am I better satisfied with those who interpret it the myrrh of God. {1} It is certainly acknowledged by the consent of the greater part, that it is derived from the word hry (yarah,) which signifies to teach or from ary (yarai,) which signifies to fear. There is, however, even at this time, a difference among interpreters, some thinking that the doctrine of God is here specially inculcated. Let us follow the most probable opinion; namely, that it is called the land of divine worship, either because God had appointed it for the offering of the sacrifice, in order that Abraham might not dispute whether some other place should not rather be chosen; or because the place for the temple was already fixed there; and I rather adopt this second explanation; that God there required a present worship from his servant Abraham, because already in his secret counsel, he had determined in that place to fix his ordinary worship. And sacrifices properly receive their name from the word which signifies fear, because they give proof of reverence to God. Moreover, it is by no means doubtful that this is the place where the temple was. afterwards built. {2}

    {1} This extraordinary interpretation is supposed to be sanctioned by Canticles 4:6, "I will get me to the mountain of myrrh, and to the hill of frankincense." — Vide Poli Syn. in loc. —Ed.

    {2} It may be doubted whether the interpretation of Jerome, which Calvin rejects, is not preferable to that which he adopts. From the subsequent explanation in verse 14, it seems highly probable, that ‘the land of vision’ is the true explanation of the term in question. But even this admits of a double construction. The Septuagint calls it ‘the high land,’ as if it were merely conspicuous on account of its elevation—the land that might be seen afar off. But a more suitable interpretation seems to be, that it was the land favored by the vision of divine glory, the spot on which the angel of Jehovah appeared to David, and on which the temple was built by Solomon.

  10. Soooo...

    If you were in Abraham's shoes, you'd hope that you'd be willing to kill your son?

    You support immoral acts if they are based on divine revelation, which can only truly be determined by the person receiving the revelation, so long as the deity from which the revelation is claimed to come is appreciably similar to the deity you worship?

    Oh, I forgot. Conspiracy to murder one's child is not immoral, when god tells you to do it.

    If you can't see that this entire case is special pleading, then you're blind. Calvin's boring treatise was wonderful theodicy, but nothing more. In order to accept more than a sentence of his essay, one must presuppose that he speaks the truth, or, at the least, that the bible is true and inerrant.

    Any reader of this story who does not presuppose Christianity, will see a deluded man seeking to kill his son based on the perceived voice of a sadistic prankster of a deity. Why? Because it is the story of a deluded man seeking to kill his son based on the perceived voice of a sadistic prankster of a deity.

    The objective was capricious. The required act was immoral. The approach was tortuous. The attempt was pathological. The whole of it is psychotic.

    How you could possibly suggest that it was a wonderful example of a man's amazing faith is sickening. This logic should cause you to equally well praise the faith of a suicide bomber -- indeed, their faith is greater!

    I know you understand the story, but why you don't see it as disgusting is beyond me. It was troubling when I believed in it -- I imagined myself in Isaac's shoes, and I couldn't imagine my own father doing something like that. Now that I don't believe it, it's even more troubling. Now that I have my own son, I can imagine it from both perspectives -- it's no better the other way. I'm sure the trek home included some lively conversation...

    At any rate, besides the immoral nature of the story in and of itself, remember Abraham's apparent reaction: he did it.

    No mention of reluctance, or objection, or doubt whatsoever. While you may well attribute all that to amazing faith (or selective omission by the author), there is a darker truth.

    Abraham wasn't surprised.

    It was as though a request of human sacrifice was somehow commonplace (we know this to be true of other religions at the time), and that it wasn't unexpected.

    He should at least have shown some humanity throughout the ordeal -- hesitation, offering himself in place of his son, something. Instead, there is no indication that he even caught his breath -- it seems he immediately fetched his son, some kindling, and began the march.

    Some father.

    You know what? Forget it. I recognize your point of view on the thing, and I appreciate that, but the bare fact is that god asked Abraham to do something immoral.

    You dismissed it tongue-in-cheek...

    When I say "jump", you say "how high?"

    (Actually, you're supposed to ask "how high?" while you're on your way up)

    ...but you didn't actually address it.

    If the promise to Abraham had instead been through a daughter, and if god's command had been to "Take now thy daughter, thine only daughter [girl's name], whom thou lovest, and get thee into the land of Moriah; and rape and kill her there for an offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of."

    If this had been god's command, would you have argued the same? Why not?

    Both acts are immoral. Both involve equal amounts of faith. Both threaten the covenant.

    [I suppose, though, that the appearance of a ram might not have helped much, in this hypothetical...]

    Seriously -- why the double standard? Killing one's child, or intending to kill one's child, is abominable. Period. A truly worthy god would never suggest such a thing. Ever.

    Every time you claim otherwise, look at your own son, and remind yourself that you wish that you had "faith I could only hope to achieve", so that you could kill him.

    Every time you claim otherwise, remind yourself that any immoral act would be interchangeable with the filicide so chosen, so long as it somehow threatened the covenant.

    I grow weary of this.

    I hope for your son's sake that god never asks you to kill him.

    I'll leave you with an appropriate quote, from the book of Armaments, chapter 4, verses 16-20:

    Then did he raise on high the Holy Hand Grenade of Antioch, saying, "Bless this, O Lord, that with it thou mayst blow thine enemies to tiny bits, in thy mercy."

    And the people did rejoice and did feast upon the lambs and toads and tree-sloths and fruit-bats and orangutans and breakfast cereals...

    Now did the Lord say, "First thou pullest the Holy Pin. Then thou must count to three. Three shall be the number of the counting and the number of the counting shall be three. Four shalt thou not count, neither shalt thou count two, excepting that thou then proceedeth to three. Five is right out.

    Once the number three, being the number of the counting, be reached, then lobbest thou the Holy Hand Grenade in the direction of thine foe, who, being naughty in my sight, shall snuff it."


  11. OK a couple more things need to be said. First there is no such thing as a "sadistic prankster of a deity", oxymoron?

    If true then we all, the entire world, would follow satan in rebellion when truth is laid out. Heaven would be empty. God is truth and righteousness and that is what we love about Him. Do you really believe, in all your spin, that your Dad and myself just loves injustice and immoral behavior?

    Second, your presupposition about God is just wrong. There is no way you would do anything that God asks of you. If God asks you to do something gentle and innocent like to go get some bread for everyone. You would scream foul, proclaim how you were mistreated and singled out. Your view of God is flawed not God Himself. You are a rebel teen against a Holy Father. You need milk still and soon you will be ready for the meat.

    A child that refuses to honor a parent and they run into the middle of the street, after repeated scoldings by the parent, needs to be punished. Why is the parent scolding them, because that child can literally die because of the choices they are making, there are consequences for their actions.

    The vision of hell, the Bible describes, should make all of us have fear, like a child fears a spanking if they run out in the street after the parent told them not to.(milk) When the child grows up then the child understand the perfect protecting love and does not fear the spankings but honors and respects the parent.(meat). 1 Corinthians 3:2 "I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able."

    I don't want to twist things so correct me if I am wrong. I want truth just as bad as you do. You eluded to God not giving into your wishes (briefcase prayer) and that started the resentment and finally the absolute denial of God. Because He knows better then you. You don't know that if your Dad turned that truck around that at that exact moment a car full of children would swerve off the road to avoid your Dad's truck and all of them would of died, including you. You or I do not understand the future, only God does. We always fail Him, He never fails us.

    You do understand sometimes the answer to prayers is "No". Do you think God thought you were being a spoiled brat that He wouldn't bow to 'your' prayers, so he just remained quiet until you humbled yourself to His authority? Which might of never happened (I wouldn't know). I am trying to get you to think a little, not to offend you. Just standing you up like a man instead of acting like a boy. Man up!

    From just what you said so far, your parents sound like the Christians that I refer to often.(you call them true Christians) They exemplify the correct path and visible fruit and viable growth in Christianity. You on the other hand do not. I disagree with the statement you made "We were Christians."

    They were and still are Christians but you were raised in a Christian home there is a huge difference. You are held accountable for your own actions (lying, stealing, lusting, dishonoring your parents) and haven't carried that cross yet. You believed in Jesus but when times were tough instead of carrying the Cross for Jesus (fully trusting Him to run your life) you cursed at Him because He didn't give you that special miracle you requested (demanded).

    Now I am not here to judge you in any way. I want to be your electrician and "fix the problem" because I do care about you enough to level with you. You need new wiring, yours are too thin (young). It will cost you a great deal but the rewards are worth it. You kept popping fuses every time the juice was cracked up a little. If we replace those wires (rededicate yourself to Christ on His terms) when the juice surges again, the fuses and wiring can handle the extra voltage. You will be much safer and can prevent that (eternal) fire. These are my recommendations, as your electrician.

    We must be thankful for what we have compared to others. You have it so good, don't whine because you didn't get it your way. I love you Stan. So wake up! Think of others instead of just yourself. Do you understand that instead of sacrificing his child to God that your Dad is sacrificing you to the Devil? Do you understand the sleepless nights your parents are going through thinking about you burning in hell forever! Your poor parents, you selfish prick wake up! That is not honoring your parents and you are breaking the 5th Commandment over and over again. You will be held accountable for that one, That I can promise you.

    Third point to all of this is that death is a reward for us. You think dying is some awful thing that must be avoided at all cost. If my child says he wants to do mission work in Darfur, I would ask him if he is sure, is God compelling him? I would let him know how dangerous it is out there. If he screams to me "Dad, I have too! The lost need us!" I would say to him with tears running down my face "Go then, and don't look back, give me a hug because this may be that last time I see you until we meet again in heaven" "Go now!" Stan death has no sting to us, death has been defeated and you know it. Search that young heart and ask yourself why you let man (devil) tell you there is no God. Are we all truly this delusional?

    Are you going to try a special pleading fallacy when you are in front of God? Doesn't facing God concern you? BTW you never answered my question. Does the thought of hell concern you?

    When you see your Dad ask him how it makes him feel knowing the fact that his fine young man named Stan will be spending his entire life forever in a lake of fire. Ask him if he lost sleep ever by it. I tell you one thing bro, I have and I barely even know you. I have been up until 4am thinking and praying about you. I could only imagine what your Dad is going through. Maybe I will someday. Let's all just hope I get through to my sons better then I am getting through to you.

    (sorry for calling you a prick, it was out of frustration and love. I have faults also)

    With love,

    Every time my one year old sees me talking to you he says "apple, apple" over and over again because he sees your picture.

  12. Re: Your question about hell

    See my response in this thread, a few paragraphs prior to the timestamp "July 13, 2008 6:49 PM".

    Not worried at all.

    I wanted to flesh out another thought process of yours, however, regarding the "When I say 'jump', you say 'how high?'" jibe.

    Your meaning here is clear -- when god asks something of us, the True Christian™ will immediately and unquestionably comply. You admire this abject compliance in Abraham, and hope that one day, you, too, will get the opportunity to kill your son...


    Mocking aside, you do indeed admire Abraham's faith, and his apparently immediate compliance with such an apparently immoral command on god's part. I think that's been pretty well established.

    You realize, of course, that this blind compliance is why six million Jews died in the 1930s and 1940s? If a reasonable percentage of Nazi evil-doers had stopped for a moment to reflect on the inhumanity of their orders, the Holocaust may never have occurred, or at least its scope may have been significantly reduced.

    You said you were a Navy-boy, but I imagine that even Navy pukes get some sort of training from something approaching a Drill Instructor (don't you gays -- sorry; guys -- get Marine DIs?).

    (Sorry -- I have to poke fun at Navy boys whenever I can...)

    Even if your experience wasn't with a traditional Drill Instructor, surely you can imagine, thanks to Hollywood if nothing else, what it may have been like.

    Did you ever tell a Drill Instructor, "No"?

    I'm guessing you didn't.

    I did. Many times. You most likely have no idea what sort of rush it is to say, loudly and clearly, "As you were, Drill Sergeant", and hold your ground.

    How did I get away with such disdain for authority? I was right.

    During BCT, a particular Drill Sergeant (I forget his name) was usually tasked with marching us away from our weapon storage (I also forget what it was called -- it's been a few years...). Generally, we'd be facing him, and after calling us to "Port Arms" -- a modified version of "Attention", where one's weapon is held across the body with both hands -- he'd call "Right face".

    Everyone snapped their heels to perform the maneuver, except for me. I squared my shoulders and shouted, "As you were, Drill Sergeant".

    In the ensuing hilarious commotion, my peers whispered -- gasped would be more appropriate -- and were clearly worried for themselves, much less for me. The DI had this incredibly dumbfounded look on his face and asked, "Who the hell said that?" I maintained my composure, and clearly identified myself. When he asked why I'd seen fit to deny his order, I replied, "With all due respect, Drill Sergeant, a soldier will not perform a facing movement from the position, 'Port Arms'."

    He was shocked. His jaw dropped momentarily, and then he glanced toward the other DIs who were in attendance, equally stupefied. He composed himself, offered a slight grimace, and said, "You're absolutely right. To the rest of you, 'Order Arms'" -- a position from which facing movements were allowed -- "and, half-left face" -- the dreaded position from which push-ups were performed.

    Why are facing movements not allowed from "Port Arms"? Because in the event that bayonettes are attached, a facing movement from this position will very likely result in every soldier but those in the back row receiving nasty gashes across the backs of their necks.

    How did I know this? I read the damned rules. Why did the DI not adhere to the rules? Complacency. No one had dared to challenge him, and bayonettes were not attached to show how wrong he was.

    Were my peers angry with me for this? Only temporarily. Mostly, they were awe-struck that I hadn't been killed on the spot for daring to talk back to a DI.

    Would you like another rebellious anecdote?

    At another point in BCT, a friend and I had been arguing about the position "At Ease". He maintained that it was a slouch-like modification of "Parade Rest", similar to "Stand At Ease", where the soldier must stand erect, with legs fairly spread, and with the hands loosely clasped behind his back.

    I, however, knew the truth. I made a bet with him, that I could perform Daniel LaRusso's crane kick -- at least, the balancing aspect of it -- while "At Ease", and avoid punishment. The bet was $20.

    Sure enough, later that day, we were assembled in "Full Battle Rattle" -- helmets, weapons, rucksacks, gas masks, LBE; the works -- and our Senior Drill Sergeant (Guiterrez) called us to the position "At Ease". I immediately raised my arms, cupped my hands, lifted my left leg, and bent my right knee, in an awkward and hilarious spectacle that must be causing you to laugh right now.

    Of course SFC Guiterrez noticed.

    "Private, what in the hell are you doing?"

    On being addressed by a superior, while in formation, I immediately ceased and came to "Attention".

    "Drill Sergeant, I am 'At Ease', Drill Sergeant."

    He cracked a slight grin.

    "I suppose so, but you sure look like a fairy to me."

    $20 richer.

    Why was I right? I didn't succumb to the popular view regarding the position, and instead held to the actual definition:

    On the command, 'At Ease', the soldier will remain standing and silent, with his right foot in place.

    Q.E.D. -- $20 accepted.

    What's the point? Well, it's damned funny, I'd say, but beyond that, the Trainee's Handbook was explicit and unambiguous. No special methods of interpretation were needed. The rules applied to everyone, and I happily illustrated that, in ways that were sometimes also quite amusing.

    DIs are wrong sometimes. Their task, as their title implies, is to instruct trainees, through repetition, or drill. However, when they are wrong, and no one steps up to remind them, entire classes of trainees become convinced that the bit of training which was in error is instead the proper method. Since certain of these new recruits will necessarily become DIs themselves, the process is self-sustaining, and without an observant, questioning soldier like myself, the strict rules found throughout the military can become twisted into new interpretations, which lose the purpose and meaning they originally had.

    The first anecdote shows how venerated mentors and leaders can be mistaken just like the rest of us, such that it is the duty of the instructed to question the instructor, where appropriate.

    The second anecdote shows how something which is unambiguous can nonetheless be twisted over time, as it is interpreted ambiguously to mean something else which is unambiguous. The friend in this example held to an unambiguous view of the command "At Ease", which was quite legal under the true definition, but he also held, ambiguously and narrowly, that this was the only acceptable view of the command "At Ease".

    In the first case, you are as one of the many trainees who had to do tweny more push-ups that day, and you aspire to become like the DI who made the mistake, however oblivious to the mistake you might be.

    In the second case, you are as the friend who lost $20. In that case, the DI was quite aware of the true requirements of the command, and I benefitted despite your contrarian rhetoric.

    Indeed, throughout my military career, my peers, and some of my superiors, were amazed with my ability to see beyond someone's rank insignia. Many times, my crew were visited by high ranking officers while in the field, and virtually every time, I alone spoke to them. I afforded them appropriate respect -- calling them "Sir", or addressing them by rank -- but I didn't stand, or stop performing my assigned task. I didn't salute them. I answered their questions technically, and if they didn't seem to understand, I offered a lay approach. I asked questions of them, which they seemed to enjoy, and they answered me.

    I'm sure life on a boat is a bit different, but on dirt, in a tracked vehicle, monitoring four different radios, and verifying coordinates for pending artillery strikes, I had more to do than gawk at some two-star who was out "making the rounds". If he had questions, I'd answer them. If I had questions, I'd ask them. But I wasn't about to drop rose petals at his feet, or to polish my field-boots at the announcement of his arrival.

    During my six years of duty in the National Guard, despite my anti-authoritarian stance, and my apparent disregard for military tradition, I managed to earn five Army Achievement Medals and one Army Commendation Medal. The latter is difficult to earn in anything other than wartime, and I'm especially proud of it, but more for why I earned it rather than the ceremonial aspect of earning it.

    In one excercise, during our two-week Annual Training, my state's National Guard units were fighting a neighboring state's National Guard units in a large-scale game of laser tag (called MILES). During the pre-war brief, it was uncharacteristically announced that artillery (my specialty) was going to be allowed to participate in full, despite the fact that the primary objective was to practice infantry maneuvers (mechanized).

    Upon hearing this, I quickly gathered the fireteams under my "control" (I was a mere EM, but I was in a battalion role, versus the company role of my higher ranked compadres), and told them that if they saw an opportunity to strike, take it, and I'd see that it got approved.

    Sure enough, prior to the first scheduled 'iteration' of the war, one of my teams had a clear view of virtually the entire enemy force. The rules outlined in the brief said that artillery could begin a "preparatory fire" up to five minutes prior to the official start time of the exercise. I told these guys to put together a mission and send it up.

    My captain wasn't prepared to try it. He said that no, the point was to get the infantry to waste fuel. I objected, and reminded him that artillery never got to play, and that it was about time we got our turn. This was the perfect opportunity to show that artillery truly is the King of Battle.

    He relented. We took the plan to our infantry's commander, and he loved it. With three minutes to spare, the mission was sent down, and the OCs (referees) got out of their HMMWVs, took out their "god guns", and killed all but a handful of the enemy. The way the MILES gear works, dead vehicles are identified by a rotating amber light affixed to them, and my fireteam informed me that it "looked like Christmas".

    That initial iteration was immediately canceled -- 50 to 1 odds aren't very good -- and artillery was forbidden to play in any further iterations. All of us received medals (all AAMs except my ARCOM).

    I realize I'm rambling on, but the story is useful. It shows that our various interpretations of the rules aren't necessarily correct. A willingness to follow any rule blindly can and does result in atrocities being committed by otherwise good people. Likewise, if the rules state that I can do something, then by definition I can most certainly do it, and in some cases I am obligated to do it.

    Abraham blindly took his son up into the hills to there kill him. That was his intention. He even pondered it for three days en route, and yet continued. He is guilty of conspiracy to commit murder as well as attempted murder. Your god is the mastermind, and would be guilty of charges as well, if he were real.

    Abraham's duty in the story was actually to question his god; to object to the immoral act of killing one's offspring. His failure is not something to be admired. If his god had persisted in his command, Abraham's duty was to deny his god.

    Objecting to a command to give bread to the needy? That action is not immoral. Unfair, perhaps, to the selfish, but not immoral. Objecting to a command to kill one's son is immoral. Apples and oranges?

    Here is a short list of commands to which I would object, were I Abraham:

    1) Killing my son

    2) Killing anyone who had not threatened me or my family

    3) Raping any person

    4) Burning any person

    5) Torturing any person

    6) Kidnapping any person

    ...and that's just a preliminary short list.

    Here is a similar list of commands to which I would not object, were I Abraham:

    1) Giving bread to the needy

    2) Providing general assistance to the impoverished

    3) Helping strangers

    4) Being an advocate for peace and tolerance

    5) Teaching the illiterate how to read

    6) Fighting to end tyranny

    (Funny, I already do everything on this second list, with no direction from a god whatsoever)

    Good enough?

    The argument isn't so much about whether there is a god, or even whether the portrayal of that god as seen in the bible is accurate. It isn't about the divinity of Jesus, or the miracles, or anything else. Rather, the question is whether a being such as you describe is worthy of worship.

    A being which, per your descriptions, would intentionally condemn easily 90% of all humanity to eternal punishment in the hell you so sadistically describe.

    A being which, per your descriptions, has regularly condoned -- commanded, in many cases -- immoral acts and behavior, including murder, rape, torture, slavery, sexism, kidnapping, intolerance, ignorance, etc. Many of these acts have even been regulated, such as it is.

    A being which, per your descriptions, is nonetheless the standard upon which morality is based, who is perfectly good, and who is indeed otherwise perfect in every way.

    A being which, according to you, is wholly deserving of our praise and adulation.


    That being may exist, I'll grant the possibility (however slight). It is not, under any circumstances, worthy of worship. If such a being exists, it is instead a monster. If such a being has changed his ways, and is now a perfectly good creature, then it is still unworthy of worship. Friends, we could perhaps be. I could even forgive it, but I could never worship it. I would never worship it.

    Send me to hell all you want -- I am not about to worship anything. there is no evidence which could simultaneously preserve my free will and yet convince me of a being's omnipotence. I could always conceive of a yet more powerful, more potentially deserving, entity. This is not a fault. It is not a flaw. It is responsible.

    If your god truly wants a personal relationship with me or anyone else, consider it offered. A personal relationship is not, however, one in which either party is more worthy of respect than the other. It is not a relationship in which one party fails to question the motives and commands of the other.

    Will you never have the courage to ask god why so many of his actions as portrayed in the bible are so clearly immoral and evil? If you find yourself someday in heaven, will you then have the courage? Don't you feel entitled to an answer before your so-called "Judgment Day"? Is it such a crime to wish to make an informed decision?

    While I will absolutely make certain uninformed decisions, I will not make one of such magnitude. That you would is a testament to your lack of integrity. I mean not to insult, but to expose.

    If god is so good, why are those who profess to follow him so prone to evil? If god is so good, why do his portrayed actions include some (many) which are immoral and evil?

    Screw that. I'd rather burn in hell than remain blissfully ignorant of the eternal suffering of god's own creations. I'll stick by my principles, even unto my own demise. How unscrupulous, indeed, one who would worship that god.


  13. Buddy, you sure are trivializing the situation that Abraham went through. No one ever said anything about "immediate compliance" either. Truth is truth and what you have also proved is that absolute truth exists as well as absolute morals.

    They have a term when someone forgoes their knowledge of right and wrong and does the wrong thing anyway just because authority tells them to do it. That is described as the "Lucifer effect"

    For this argument I will let you know what I would or would not do today.

    Here is a short list of commands to which I would object, were I Abraham:

    1) Killing my son

    2) Killing anyone who had not threatened me or my family

    3) Raping any person

    4) Burning any person

    5) Torturing any person

    6) Kidnapping any person

    ...and that's just a preliminary short list.

    Here is a similar list of commands to which I would not object, were I Abraham:

    1) Giving bread to the needy

    2) Providing general assistance to the impoverished

    3) Helping strangers

    4) Being an advocate for peace and tolerance

    5) Teaching the illiterate how to read

    6) Fighting to end tyranny

    (Funny, I already do everything on this second list)

    Good enough?

    Follow blindly is something I would NEVER do for any man on this green earth. You see, you have missed my point all along for this discussion.

    I will make it clear as possible for you. I would follow God to do as he wished because I "trust Him" and His judgment on the best course of action for a situation. I 'TRUST' God to be righteous! If God were to tell me to go rape that girl for the betterment of Heaven there better be the most logical reason for what he just asked me to do, otherwise I would have no choice but to "buck the system" and consider God my advisory. You are trying you hardest to put God in the light of a monster but that is not true at all. What mankind needed to be taught is that evil is a terrible thing, just what you are spouting. That we should shun evil and to resist evil. The entire Bible is about resisting evil and turning away from evil. You are claiming the same thing, but you consider doing the right thing evil. That evil (devil) is correct in rebelling against the righteous figure called God.

    You have to understand your logic here. You are telling us that your morals are so superior to God's that you will follow evil to hell willingly. You would never follow righteousness because it's bad? That lying is OK as long as you are doing something proper. That stealing is OK as long as your feeding your family.

    Two parts to God lesson for humanity. Step one. Show them evil is bad and must be, at all cost, be eradicated. (milk, Old Covenant)

    Step two show mankind that there is no way they can do it on their own and that there nature is wicked and needs saving. That only God can be glorified as the one that eradicated evil from this universe and that God is truth and kindness and righteousness. (meat, New Covenant)

    You are following a murderer saying the Law is unjust. Sure the Law would be unfair from a murderer's viewpoint that wants to consider murder perfectly OK. Is that Logical to you?

    Run through this logic:Does absolute truth exist?

    Alter Ego example # 432. I went to Captain's Mass because the head hunters (1st Lieutenant) of my division was making it hard for me because I wasn't going to reenlist. They trumped up some bogus charge that I was neglecting duty on some maintenance on helicopter equipment. Sounded serious but the fact is that it just wasn't true. Long story short, I proved that the officers in question didn't properly follow procedure in reprimanding me. That instead of handling this manner in the department, as the rules guided, they foamed at the mouth in attacking me sending me strait to the Captain. The Captain agreed with me and the officer was reprimanded. The truth set me free and so will God. Why you ask, because God is truth.

    Don't be a dink and follow the father of lies anywhere. God is doing the right thing for us even if you don't understand it right now. You have to trust him, give him a little room to explain himself.

    Make a deal with me. Trust Him for now until He can explain Himself, IF it's not satisfactory then denounce your heavenly residence and chose to make God your advisory. Give Him a chance first though, You have the story wrong, let God have His day in court. What kind of American presumes God guilty until proven innocent anyway?

    Toodles sweetheart, (that's Navy for 'Later, dude')


  14. God may or may not exist, but proofthatgodexists.org is no proof at all. It tries to lead you around by the nose and is one of the most dishonest surveys I have ever taken.

  15. That lying is OK as long as you are doing something proper. That stealing is OK as long as your feeding your family.

    ...That the intention of killing your son is OK as long as you are doing what your deity says?

    Lying is not okay. Stealing is not okay. Would I lie, or steal, for a "higher purpose"? Probably. Lying and stealing, on small scales such as in your examples, cause no lasting harm, and their effects can be reversed with relative ease. Killing one's son, however, clearly causes lasting harm, and is not easily reversible.

    To wit:

    The intention of killing one's son is immoral. The requirement to kill one's son is immoral.

    Trivializing? No. The matter is trivial as it is. You may wave your hands all you like, but based on the account, Abraham did not object to god, and instead saw fit to kill his own son at god's behest.


  16. Re: "proofthatgodexists.org"


    First attempt

    "I don't care if absolute truth exists"

    I guess that's that? Hardly convincing "arguments".

    Why wouldn't I care if absolute truth exists? For a couple reasons:

    a) Too many competing forms of "absolute truth" exist already, such that the correct determination of the "absolutely true" version is virtually impossible.

    b) My ability to doubt would be no less even if "absolute truth" existed.


    Second attempt

    "I don't know if absolute truth exists"

    D'oh! I saw that coming, but not for this choice.

    The question posed is impossible to answer, without presupposing the answer to which it is addressed (Read: paradox). I said I don't know. It was honest. Now, the site's proprietor would have me dishonestly answer a question? It is absolutely possible that absolute truth exists, just as it is absolutely possible that it does not.

    Third attempt

    (I skipped the obviously paradoxical answer, and went with the answer the proprietor requires)

    "Absolute truth exists"

    Rabbit's hole!

    Now, we are presented with a set of false dichotomies, which attempt to trivialize the existence of human ignorance.


    "Logic exists"

    (Note that logic exists; the phrase "laws of logic" is misleading.)

    "Laws of Mathematics exist"

    (Here I will grant the term "laws", in that mathematics is well-defined to behave by them.)

    Uh-oh, I think I see another false dichotomy...

    "Laws of Science do not exist"

    The proprietor here lies to his audience, first in his description of the choices, by citing the "law of gravity". Newton's Law of Universal Gravitation is wrong. It is called a "law", but it is unequivocally incorrect. Oops!

    Then, when the correct choice, detailed above, is made, the proprietor further makes the false comparison between stubbing one's toe and scientific reasoning. The "laws of science" exist only in that they are refutable, and generally refuted. They are at best temporary, so to proclaim that they are somehow universally applicable, which the author implies, is a bald-faced lie.

    "Laws of Science exist"

    (We'll continue to play your little game, however)

    Just to see what he had to say, I chose:

    "Absolute moral laws do not exist"

    Sure enough, the well is thoroughly poisoned. Strange, the options now are different than what I had expected:

    "Molesting children for fun is absolutely morally wrong"


    "Molesting children for fun could be right"

    Somehow, I should've guessed that the choices wouldn't be:

    "Heading up a mountain with the intention of killing your son is absolutely morally wrong"


    "Heading up a mountain with the intention of killing your son could be right"

    ...but I can see how that would be difficult to recognize.

    Moving on...

    "Laws of logic, Mathematics, Science, and absolute morality are immaterial"

    I'll bite. Anyway, this assertion is tough to refute.

    Heh. What have we here? A genuine non sequitur? Even if we grant that these things are absolutely true and immaterial, it does not follow that they are universal. Even here on earth, taken into a specific context, 1+1=3, after forty weeks of gestation, on a fairly regular basis.

    Without access to every scrap of evidence, making a claim regarding the universal nature of a law or abstract entity is a fool's errand.

    Note that the proprietor also appeals to the (in)experience of the user, suggesting that we "base [our lives] on their universality". This is false. We assume much of these to be locally universal (if you will forgive the oxymoron). We have found that many of them are indeed locally universal, extending to within our solar system, but we haven't exactly tested anywhere else, so the jury's still out.

    But, I'll play along...

    "Laws of logic, Mathematics, Science, and absolute morality are universal"


    More of the same...

    Get original, already. The entities to which he refers do indeed change, at least as far as our perceptions of them are concerned.

    Slavery, anyone? How absolutely immoral is slavery? How about 300 years ago? 1000? 3000? Get real.

    The Laws of Science in Ptolemy's time gave us a sun which revolved around the earth. Copernicus fixed that with an earth that revolved around the sun. The Law had changed. Kepler further revised Copernicus by introducing his own laws, regarding elliptical rather than circular orbits. The Law had changed. Newton, of course, adjusted Kepler with his law of universal gravitation. The Law had changed. Einstein, more recently, revised Newton. The Law had changed. Quantum Mechanics, currently, has even revised Einstein, to a point.

    But no, I suppose you're right, Mr. Fallacy.

    Mathematics? It was impossible to analytically gauge the volume of a solid of revolution until Newton and Liebnitz independently formulated Calculus. The Law changed.

    Christianity? It was punishable by death to work on the Sabbath until Jesus declared otherwise. The Law changed.

    ...Boy, this rain sure does smell like piss.

    But I play along...

    "Laws of logic, Mathematics, Science, and absolute morality are unchanging"

    (drum roll, please)

    Non sequitur!

    Because the proprietor contends, incorrectly, that these "laws" exist, are universal, and are unchanging, the Christian god of the bible is proven to exist! It's the only explanation!

    Poppycock. I was wondering where you got the lemons for this snowcone. I've got news for you, too -- your chocolate pudding tastes like shit.


  17. I really like this sermon on this parable, it really help me understand the symbolism. https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2004/10/press-on?lang=eng#6-


Bring your "A" game. To link: <a href="url">text</a>