October 1, 2010

Triumph. A call to us all!


Gianna Jessen survived her mother's abortion. Lecture held September 8th, 2008 Queen's Hall, Melbourne.

Abortions are intentioned not to go well. The description of "well" doesn't even come close to this result. She triumphed, all the glory goes to God.

God bless GW. Bush and Congress, for passing the The Born-Alive Infants Protection Act (BAIPA) with the help of my friend Jill Stanek, of course.

102 comments:

  1. Touching.

    Unfortunately, old, and defeated argument. Yet again.

    "I've been aborted but I'm still alive", "The knife fell on my leg, but I can still walk", "I was almost crushed by the bus, but the driver stepped on the brakes, and I wasn't struck" - "Thank that god"

    It's called the Argument from Personal Experience.

    >> The Problem with argument from personal experience is that the religious often miss out to think of a natural cause by chance, and directly assume a supernatural cause out of imagination. Just like the 'Teleological Argument', whatever you see that you can't explain, you make up something absurd and unrealistic.

    Suppose she was saved by some god from abortion. Does this god play favorite and not save those other fetuses aborted everywhere else in the world? It's kind of pathetic of an explanation to say 'this god sometimes tests us'.

    What kind of a 'perfect', 'omnipotent', 'omniscient' being would do such an imperfect thing?

    There's an explanation to that: a god is not likely to exist, and everything happened by chance. Life is all about chance. Doesn't matter whether you're good or bad, bad and good things happen to everyone.


    -------------------------------
    Thanks for the refresher. I think the more you keep this website up, the more empowered atheists seem to feel (based on all the comments I've read on the blog). I go here, read your blog, then I find things funny, and then I read the people's responses (mostly atheists) and it's so fun to read how they respond every opinion you make.

    'Matthew 13:13-15'... There's one problem with that, though. We LISTEN to you, but you just can't convince us with your absurd imaginative arguments.

    By the way, we read the bible, too.

    Let me know what arguments you have next. I'm pretty sure I've heard them all before.

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  2. I'm with The Sojourner. Why, Dan, does your god decide, apparently randomly, to save some folks and not others? How, for example, is it justifiable to say that one passenger on a train was saved by your god when the other thousand or so were left to die or be irreparably maimed?

    Why, for that matter - and to get back to an earlier topic of 'discussion' (I use that term loosely in regard to this blog) - does your god allow so much suffering in the first place, given that suffering is by definition a negative experience for sentient beings, and your god is supposed to love and care about us?

    To say that your god has a morally sufficient reason for creating conditions in which suffering is inevitable is kind of like saying that an abusive parent has a morally sufficient reason for beating their child and locking said child in the basement without food and water.

    Until you can spell out exactly what such a morally sufficient reason might be, Dan, your claims about your god's goodness hold no water whatsoever.

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  3. Didntcha know? Those reasons exist because Dan believes they do. Whether other people think they hold water or not is immaterial.

    ie. Dan's too arrogant to consider that his exegesis might be flawed.

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  4. Sojourner ,

    >>It's called the Argument from Personal Experience.

    DUDE, you're crazy!!!! Are you kidding me? She is not claiming there is a God because she survived an abortion. She is saying abortions are wrong, Saline abortions are bad, because she is a survivor of a saline abortion. We thank God for that.

    We are celebrating BAIPA, we are celebrating her ability to be hated and yet survived an abortion to be there to speak about it. We celebrate to be able to speak truth in love and accept being hated. She is

    You NEED to watch this short clip my buddy made. Its exactly as you are acting here, in a cold, clinical, calloused way instead of...

    >> It's kind of pathetic of an explanation to say 'this god sometimes tests us'.

    Now you need to watch this post! I would spell it out here but it is far better to watch those video's and then start from there instead of having to try to explain EVERYTHING to you from the beginning. It is to save me from typing it all out so please watch those two and we will continue this conversation.

    >>I go here, read your blog, then I find things funny, and then I read the people's responses (mostly atheists) and it's so fun to read how they respond every opinion you make.

    I am sad you find your plight funny. We have fun at times but this is certainly no laughing matter.

    >>We LISTEN to you, but you just can't convince us with your absurd imaginative arguments.

    My argument is not intended to be convincing, I am merely commanded to speak the truth, 'convincing' is out of my hands.

    >>By the way, we read the bible, too.

    Thank God!

    >>Let me know what arguments you have next. I'm pretty sure I've heard them all before.

    Now, you are committing the fallacy of a “hasty generalization.” You are too much. I guess we can consider this your "A" game? *pshaw

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  5. DD,

    >>I'm with The Sojourner.

    Shocker!

    >>Why, Dan, does your god decide, apparently randomly, to save some folks and not others?

    You assume randomly, but not certain? To answer your question God saves those who want to be saved. He saves the repentant, certainly not the unrepentant.

    Keep in mind that repentance comes BEFORE knowledge of truth, not after: 2 Timothy 2:24-26. Certainly evidenced by you many questions about Him.

    >>Why, for that matter - and to get back to an earlier topic of 'discussion' (I use that term loosely in regard to this blog) - does your god allow so much suffering in the first place, given that suffering is by definition a negative experience for sentient beings, and your god is supposed to love and care about us?

    Well that certainly depends on your definition of love doesn't it? If your definition of love is coddling and cocooning people, then in your eyes God, and I, don't love or care about people. And if you do think that love is coddling then I can be almost certain that you do not have any children. Am I wrong?

    Bible lesson of the day: Jesus gave us the example of how to love. Matthew 22:39, Leviticus 19:17-18 tells us how to treat people so that is what I do. I am not here to strive for popularity. It takes far more love to confront to ignore the situation, perfect love is a constant confronter. Plus, I believe God holds us accountable to our actions as it states in Ezekiel 3:20.

    "And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself"

    But what does this truly mean? Does that mean we are to love them no matter what they do because we are sinners also? Do we coddle them in their sins, tell them God loves them no matter what? Nope, Jesus was clear when he said this. He was telling us what the standard was. The way to show your love to your neighbor is to warn them and their sins will take them to hell.

    The only way you can show your love to your neighbor was outlined in Leviticus 19:17-18 "Thou shalt not hate thy brother in thine heart: thou shalt in any wise rebuke thy neighbor, and not suffer sin upon him. Thou shalt not avenge, nor bear any grudge against the children of thy people, but thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself: I am the LORD."

    So love is in confrontational and not coddling.

    I fully understand that truth always is confrontational, there is always someone on the wrong side of truth. This is a very serious and real subject for you and I. If I didn't love you enough to tell you the truth, then I wouldn't. Truth hurts, I understand.

    >>To say that your god has a morally sufficient reason for creating conditions in which suffering is inevitable is kind of like saying that an abusive parent has a morally sufficient reason for beating their child and locking said child in the basement without food and water.

    My certainty of you not having children is even more increased with that absurdity.

    >>Until you can spell out exactly what such a morally sufficient reason might be, Dan, your claims about your god's goodness hold no water whatsoever.

    I attempted to in the past with that post, but I'd be more comfortable if you asked Him, not me. (Proverbs 3:5-6, John 14:26, 1 Timothy 2:5-6, 1 John 2:27)

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  6. Um, Dan, I think you'll find that 'coddling and cocooning' is what you're doing with your children. And it's a very, very long way from coddling to burning alive, burying in a landslide, or permitting a person to be gang-raped and butchered. If you created conditions in which it was inevitable that one of these calamities would happen to even one of your children, what would that make you? It would make you more like your god, for a start.

    And yes, I said 'apparently' randomly. First of all, I don't need to be certain to make that observation. Secondly, are you seriously suggesting that of the millions of people a year who are subjected to some form of traumatic experience, not a single one is a Christian?

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  7. Me: To say that your god has a morally sufficient reason for creating conditions in which suffering is inevitable is kind of like saying that an abusive parent has a morally sufficient reason for beating their child and locking said child in the basement without food and water.

    Dan: My certainty of you not having children is even more increased with that absurdity.


    Care to explain exactly how my comment is 'absurd', Dan, rather than leaping to irrelevant conclusions? To me it seems a fair comparison.

    Your god, if he exists as you believe, created conditions in which large amounts of suffering are inevitable - even to creating human beings in the full knowledge that they would reject him. If anything, your god is worse than an abusive parent, who, although they may be aware on some level of the damage they're doing, is otherwise unable to control their impulses. Your god is supposed to be all-knowing and all-powerful, and therefore has no excuse for creating a less-than-perfect world.

    Except the excuse of nonexistence, that is.

    To an atheist, the universe is a harsh, uncaring place that turns a blind eye to suffering, yet is full of wonder, beautiful in its imperfections, and affords great joy to those who pursue it. It is not for us to apportion blame where there's no-one to bear it; not for us to mitigate the plain truth of life and death with a comforting myth; not for us to tie ourselves in knots trying to puzzle out the insoluble contradictions of religious faith. That way cognitive dissonance lies, and you, Dan, are swimming in it.

    Life is for living, here and now, in the best way we can. For me, and for many others, that way is without your - or any other - god.

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  8. Hmmm, so if God can stop abortions, then why are you guys all so worried about getting laws enacted to stop them? Shouldn't he be able to handle this stuff on his own?

    ~Rhaco

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  9. I watched nearly the whole thing.

    *shrug*

    It's not like I supported aborting 7 and a half month old fetuses in the first place. But the thing that sticked out for me in the video was her utterly faked humbleness. She was merely using her persecution complex to bolster her own ego, and she did the same with God. She may have surrendered herself to God, but only because this allows her to think of herself as "holier than thou".

    "I am God's Girl. You better not mess with me for my father runs the universe!"

    Oh please. Thinking God saved her from that abortion to become His messenger on earth about the subject must make her feel damn good. She's not humble at all, she believes she's God's chosen one, essentially. Standing up for the truth despite people hating you, being the shining light amidst the darkness, being the righteous underdog etc. is a great feeling she has achieved through religion. But I'm not convinced there's anything to her speech other than that feeling.

    Am I being too cynical?

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  10. I find it confusing that Atheist can say things like "you are wrong", when they have themselves no moral guidance.
    How can you judge.... ANYTHING, if there is no right and wrong. Surely you must understand that there is is no "objective evidence" ever, only "subjective circumstantial evidence", for everything.

    And don't start picking apart my sentences saying that I contradict myself and what not.
    It's not a match of rethoric.
    I think the reason atheist respond like little children with sarcasm and ridicule (see "what if your wrong" video), is because they know, without absolutes, without morals, there IS NO right and wrong, and whole fact you are debating is null and void.

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  11. @Tres Jose

    While some immaterial, objective and transcendent 'oughts' may not exist, an atheist still has very good reasons for behaving morally. For me, I find it beneficial to, for example, 'do unto others as I would have them do unto me'. That way I can enjoy good relationships with other people, which is what I want to do. If I went around raping everyone, no one would like me very much and even I couldn't like myself because of the guilt. So even if there's no God telling rape is wrong, I have multiple extremely good reasons for refraining from it.

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  12. DD,

    >>Um, Dan, I think you'll find that 'coddling and cocooning' is what you're doing with your children.

    Once again you would be mistaken. Understandable because of the various conclusions that you are coming to. Your logic is blindly apparent.

    >>And it's a very, very long way from coddling to burning alive, burying in a landslide, or permitting a person to be gang-raped and butchered. If you created conditions in which it was inevitable that one of these calamities would happen to even one of your children, what would that make you? It would make you more like your god, for a start.

    Again, your logic is blindingly apparent.

    Please listen to my response to that in this video.

    >>First of all, I don't need to be certain to make that observation.

    So, you are not sure of your observations then. Got it.

    >>Secondly, are you seriously suggesting that of the millions of people a year who are subjected to some form of traumatic experience, not a single one is a Christian?

    Huh? No clue what you mean. I will say that Christianity is to save us from hell that we deserve, not to make the ride better.

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  13. DD,

    >>Care to explain exactly how my comment is 'absurd', Dan, rather than leaping to irrelevant conclusions?

    Irrelevant, or SPOT ON? You don't have to tell me. I know for certain now. If you did have children this would not be difficult for you...as it apparently is with your claim:

    >>"To me it seems a fair comparison."

    If you only had kids, you would not believe that.

    >>Your god, if he exists as you believe, created conditions in which large amounts of suffering are inevitable - even to creating human beings in the full knowledge that they would reject him.

    So the blame is not on mankind, Adam, for disobeying God but its God's fault? Again, I know you have no children now. So, with that logic, you kill people and rape babies if you are a parent? Since people have done these things, parents are directly responsible? Hilter's Mom killed the Jews!!!

    Hitler was innocent as DD claims. Riiiight!!

    >>If anything, your god is worse than an abusive parent, who, although they may be aware on some level of the damage they're doing, is otherwise unable to control their impulses.

    Perceived damage that is, funny part is that you presuppose that punishment is wrong all the while you wish to punish, chastise, God for being wrong. *snicker

    >>Your god is supposed to be all-knowing and all-powerful, and therefore has no excuse for creating a less-than-perfect world.

    Your absurd logic is palatable. Is it any wonder why you have no children yet? God knows what he is doing.

    Breaking news!! The world was perfect until Eve, and Adam, placed themselves as gods and judged God as you have just done. Eve placed herself in the judges seat and judged God. That was her fall.

    Go try to run into a court room and grab the gavel and robe from the judge see where that will get you. In JAIL (hell)

    >>Except the excuse of nonexistence, that is.

    Oh, so then you blame mankind then? Got it!

    >>To an atheist, the universe is a harsh, uncaring place that turns a blind eye to suffering, yet is full of wonder, beautiful in its imperfections, and affords great joy to those who pursue it.

    Great joy in suffering and a harsh, uncaring place. Got it!

    >>It is not for us to apportion blame where there's no-one to bear it

    Its the parents fault. Got it!

    >>not for us to mitigate the plain truth of life and death with a comforting myth

    Like there is no Creator for creation? Got it!

    >>not for us to tie ourselves in knots trying to puzzle out the insoluble contradictions of religious faith.

    Like atheism. Got it!

    >>That way cognitive dissonance lies, and you, Dan, are swimming in it.

    First, tell me since you are already in, is the water cold?

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  14. "So the blame is not on mankind, Adam, for disobeying God but its God's fault? Again, I know you have no children now. So, with that logic, you kill people and rape babies if you are a parent? Since people have done these things, parents are directly responsible? Hilter's Mom killed the Jews!!!"

    Let's try a more apt comparison. For the Hitler's mom analogy to make sense, Hitler's mom has to know in advance that if she becomes pregnant in situation x, her child will become history's most ruthless dictator, responsible for millions of deaths. At the same time, she has to know in advance that if she became pregnant in situation y, her child will not become a dictator. There's also a n number of possible situations in which her child would not become Hitler and she is aware of all of those, as well.

    Out of these infinite possible situations, she chooses situation x knowing it will lead to the Holocaust. In this circumstance, she should be held partly responsible.

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  15. Rhaco,

    >>Hmmm, so if God can stop abortions, then why are you guys all so worried about getting laws enacted to stop them? Shouldn't he be able to handle this stuff on his own?

    Since you sound like Satan I will answer as Jesus did to Satan.

    Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God (Matthew 4:7, Deuteronomy 6:16)

    So your welcome for us not wanting to pass laws that allow abortions, gay marriages, and legalizing illicit drugs.

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  16. So the blame is not on mankind, Adam, for disobeying God but its God's fault? Again, I know you have no children now. So, with that logic, you kill people and rape babies if you are a parent? Since people have done these things, parents are directly responsible? Hilter's Mom killed the Jews!!

    Wow, Dan. You're a master at grabbing the wrong end of the stick and shaking it for all you're worth, aren't you?

    Are you claiming that as a parent, you're omnipotent and omniscient now?

    I've heard of parents being self-righteous, but that really takes the cake.

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  17. Your absurd logic is palatable.

    Why, thanks, Dan, but I'm sure that's not what you meant.

    Is it any wonder why you have no children yet? God knows what he is doing.

    Gosh, Dan - I must really be getting under your collar if you're going that low. Wow, I'm feeling really inadequate now... Nah, just kidding. Seriously, dude - leave the schoolyard behind if you want to set a positive example for your own kids.

    Now, to get back to comments that are actually relevant - do you understand, Dan, that by blaming mankind for evil, you're denying that your god is omnipotent and omniscient? Based on your last couple of replies to me, this connection has so far escaped your notice.

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  18. Dan's most recent attempts to respond to my comments:

    Breaking news!! The world was perfect until Eve, and Adam, placed themselves as gods and judged God as you have just done. Eve placed herself in the judges seat and judged God. That was her fall.

    Go try to run into a court room and grab the gavel and robe from the judge see where that will get you. In JAIL (hell)


    >>Except the excuse of nonexistence, that is.

    Oh, so then you blame mankind then? Got it!

    >>To an atheist, the universe is a harsh, uncaring place that turns a blind eye to suffering, yet is full of wonder, beautiful in its imperfections, and affords great joy to those who pursue it.

    Great joy in suffering and a harsh, uncaring place. Got it!

    >>It is not for us to apportion blame where there's no-one to bear it

    Its the parents fault. Got it!

    >>not for us to mitigate the plain truth of life and death with a comforting myth

    Like there is no Creator for creation? Got it!

    >>not for us to tie ourselves in knots trying to puzzle out the insoluble contradictions of religious faith.

    Like atheism. Got it!

    >>That way cognitive dissonance lies, and you, Dan, are swimming in it.

    First, tell me since you are already in, is the water cold?


    It's been a long time since I've seen such a splendid parade of incomprehension. Probably the last time I read Ray Comfort's blog, actually. I'm guessing that's where you lifted the 'creation requires a creator' schtick.

    This was nothing less than an epic fail, Dan. Let's take it one step at a time.

    Where's your nonfiction evidence for a perfect world prior to a 'fall' of humans? And what was your allegedly perfect god doing creating imperfect beings in the first place? Why insert a fatal flaw in the system? Just for yucks?

    When we say things like the above, atheists are not supposing that your god exists but, as has been pointed out to you before, highlighting the fundamental inconsistencies in your god-concept. But then, it actually surprises me not at all to find that you don't recognise this.

    Last I checked, it was Christians who took joy in suffering and glorified an instrument of torture. Atheists just deal with reality and enjoy life as it is.

    As for the rest, well, you already know that atheism isn't a religion, Dan. You know that your faith requires a huge effort at ignoring facts and exercising fallacious logic even to get off the ground. If you didn't know this, you wouldn't be resorting to presuppositionalism.

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  19. Over the last few days, an idea has been floating through my head and I haven't been able to banish it:

    Dan is proof that Dan's God doesn't exist.

    Characteristics of Dan's God:

    1) His nature is such that logic springs from Him

    2) Ditto objective morality

    By contrast, Dan regularly turns a blind eye to logic, at times willfully and at others simply out of ignorance. For example, Dan regularly accuses his detractors of circular reasoning, appealing to the definition of that logical fallacy. And yet, he also fully admits that both presuppositional apologetics and the Christian world view itself are circular.

    Dan also rejects his God's objective morality. He's clearly dishonest when he avoids answering questions, and when he intentionally mischaracterizes those same questions. Liberal use of the non sequitur and the double standard, and the near-continual evasion of points being raised here. Not to mention demanding answers for questions which have been answered. Repeatedly.

    One can only conclude that Dan is not afraid of his God. If he were, he'd take more care to avoid sin and blasphemy. Previously, I've suggested these things imply that Dan is a false Christian, but I'd forgotten the more obvious explanation:

    Dan's God doesn't exist.

    Dan probably knows this, too, but is so caught up in the masturbatory nature of this blog that he doesn't care whether his readers see it or not.

    So, I guess I'm putting this to Dan's critics: does Dan's behavior make a statement about Dan's religious belief, or about the existence of the deity he so laughingly tries to defend?

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  20. So, I guess I'm putting this to Dan's critics: does Dan's behavior make a statement about Dan's religious belief, or about the existence of the deity he so laughingly tries to defend?

    That's a good question, Whateverman, but I very much doubt it would give Dan pause to consider or rethink his approach.

    My own suspicion is now leaning very much towards Dan actually being a bit too dim to realise he's betraying the emptiness of his religion with every post and every comment he makes. It's quite possible that he really thinks he's onto something. As evidence I cite his apparent inability to address questions or join discussion in any meaningful fashion.

    If he was really in this for the masturbatory benefits, my guess is that he would do a better job of putting his case, assuming he had one. It must be said that little proofreading goes a long way!

    So, in short, my speculative answer to your question, Whateverman, is that Dan's ramblings are definitely making a statement about his religious beliefs, but probably not the kind of statement he intends - unless he wants to give the impression that he is confused, delusional, gullible and generally a bit simplistic in his outlook. I'd wager that if his god really did exist, he would be rather embarrassed to have Dan fighting in his corner...

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  21. Hey Dan,

    I was actually at that debate you llinked to between Michael Sizer and Mariano Grinbank. My question was asked at 1:38 of part 11. I went out with the atheists afterwards, told Michael which question was mine, and challenged him to debate me. He appeared reluctant, then a week later e-mailed that he would not debate me. Surprise surprise.

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  22. I just listened to his 'answer' again. I remembered that he totally ducked the question but I did not remember how bad his 'answer' actually was.

    Would still love to debate him. Oh well :-)

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  23. Er, that should be, "a little proofreading". Oops. My bad...

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  24. DD,

    >>In this circumstance, she should be held partly responsible.

    So then, no one should have children, They WILL do bad things.

    It goes deeper then that though. I just read the other day even Moses questioned God in Exodus 5:22.

    "And Moses returned unto the LORD, and said, LORD, wherefore hast thou so evil entreated this people?"

    Its normal. You are right and wrong. Did God create evil? No, you cannot put evil in a jar. Evil is the absence of good, like cold is the absence of heat. Does God allow for evil? Yes...for now.

    Does that make Him evil? Nope. I enjoyed how GotQuestions.org worded it "If God had not allowed for the possibility of evil, both mankind and angels would be serving God out of obligation, not choice."

    Is free will evil? Is freedom evil?

    GotQuestions.org also answered the question of "Why does God allow evil?" thoroughly. Certainly to my satisfaction.

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  25. "So then, no one should have children, They WILL do bad things."

    Um.. No. Omniscient parents should not have children they know will end up murdering millions of people. But there are no omniscient parents, so... not a problem for anyone who wants to become a parent. Similiarly I would not have children if I knew with certainty that they would inevitably be tortured forever in Hell. God, however, seems to have no problem doing this?

    "Its normal. You are right and wrong. Did God create evil? No, you cannot put evil in a jar. Evil is the absence of good, like cold is the absence of heat. Does God allow for evil? Yes...for now."

    The problem here lies in making 'good' a thing and 'evil' the absence of said thing without actually justifying such a distinction. Can you put goodness in a jar? No. As for things like heat/cold and light/darkness, there is an actual physical difference between those two things. When something is hot, that means it's atoms are moving about and bumping into each other at a high velocity. When something is cold, it's atoms are moving quite slowly. So from that it's clear that 'cold' only exists as the lack of something, namely the lack of movement of some object's atoms.

    But how do you make such a distinction between good and evil? Why is good the thing that actually exists and evil the lack thereof? Couldn't you equally well say that God created only evil, and all the good we see is simply the lack of God's evil?

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  26. Wem,

    >>Dan regularly accuses his detractors of circular reasoning, appealing to the definition of that logical fallacy. And yet, he also fully admits that both presuppositional apologetics and the Christian world view itself are circular.

    Never said it wasn’t circular, just that it is not viciously circular, as your view is.

    >>Dan also rejects his God's objective morality.

    Huh?

    >>Dan's God doesn't exist.

    You believe this you mean. Otherwise you would have to tell us how do you know that your reasoning about this or ANYTHING is valid?

    >>Dan probably knows this, too, but is so caught up in the masturbatory nature of this blog that he doesn't care whether his readers see it or not.

    Is that what you had in mind with circular? You feel left out? lol :7)

    >>So, I guess I'm putting this to Dan's critics: does Dan's behavior make a statement about Dan's religious belief, or about the existence of the deity he so laughingly tries to defend?

    Let me try. I fail to glorify God. What's going on inside of me? I despise my own behavior and this only serves to confirm my suspicions that I'm still a man in need of a Savior! I wanna be in the Light, as He is in the Light. I wanna shine like the stars in the heavens Oh, Lord be my Light and be my salvation. Cause all I want is to be in the Light. All I want is to be in the Light! (DC Talk)

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  27. Hi Sye,

    Sorry, gathering a backlog in discussing things with Dawson(Bahnsen Burner). I am sure you can see how easily that can happen. I have been hacking away at these comments straight for days. Today, I started at 5am and still have well over 40 to go. Whew. Gives a whole new meaning to 1 Peter 3:15-16 huh? I am sure you can relate.

    I'm not afraid!

    That was your question huh? Very good one at that. I did notice how it went right over his head. This is a point, that you brought up, that definitely needs to be pressed to the point of being uncomfortable for the Atheists.

    It is, by all means, post worthy. I will work on it, if you don't mind. It will take a few to sweep the cobwebs though.

    Blessings brother.

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  28. Hey Dan,

    Early on I enjoyed engaging in these arguments for the experience, but what you will soon discover, if you have not done so already, is that it is Satan's duty to employ some people to waste the time of Christians. Looking at Dawson's verbosity, I would not be surprised if he belongs in that category. He has been described by some as using the strategy of "argumentum ad verbosium' where he just inundates his opponents with lenghty tomes that really do not say much if anything.

    I would caution you to not feel the need to answer every post, as indeed some of these people just want to waste your time. Answer the ones that you feel will edify you and any Christians who may be reading, but don't bother with the same old arguments that you have refuted time and again.

    Keep up the good work brother!

    Sye

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  29. Wow. Dawson, did you know you're in league with Satan? That's what you get for pointing out Dan's mistakes.

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  31. Its normal. You are right and wrong. Did God create evil? No, you cannot put evil in a jar. Evil is the absence of good, like cold is the absence of heat. Does God allow for evil? Yes...for now.

    Does that make Him evil? Nope. I enjoyed how GotQuestions.org worded it "If God had not allowed for the possibility of evil, both mankind and angels would be serving God out of obligation, not choice."

    Is free will evil? Is freedom evil?



    There you go, Dan, setting limits on your god's abilities again. An omnipotent god would have no problem setting things up such that all conscious beings freely chose to do what was good and just. That's what omnipotence is all about, see? Being able to do anything. Any excuse you try to make is just setting a limit that wouldn't be there if your god truly were extant and omnipotent.

    As for free will, well, that feeble defence has been debunked for much longer than you or I have been around. Surely you're not suggesting that all those people who choose to treat others fairly and help those in need, who choose to create, choose to nurture relationships, and choose to pursue happiness in general are doing so merely from a sense of obligation? That your god couldn't have created people who freely choose to do good? What a dismal outlook you have.

    GotQuestions.org also answered the question of "Why does God allow evil?" thoroughly. Certainly to my satisfaction.

    Sorry to be the one to point this out, Dan, but "to your satisfaction" appears not to be a very high standard...

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  32. Brummer,

    >>But how do you make such a distinction between good and evil? Why is good the thing that actually exists and evil the lack thereof? Couldn't you equally well say that God created only evil, and all the good we see is simply the lack of God's evil?

    For omnibenevolence, ‘good’ is that which comports with the absolute character and nature of God. Since God is the very standard of ‘good’, He cannot do evil, as this would require Him to contradict His character, which, again, is not possible. The absence of God's 'goodness' is by definition evil. Its the void of God's goodness. Much like darkness to light.

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  33. Dan, despite my rather bullish comments, I think I do get where you're coming from with the parental responsibility thing. It's true that I'm not yet a parent, but I'm well aware that it's an idea deeply ingrained in our society, that parents should bear some of the blame (or credit, as the case may be) for the way their children turn out.

    That's fair, up to a point. But the fact of the matter is, no human in history has proved to be omnipotent, nor indeed infallible in their judgement. No parent can be expected to bear full responsibility for the way their children turn out, especially once said children reach the point at which they can consciously make decisions about their own behaviour.

    The most that can be expected of any parent is to exercise (what is often erroneously called) common sense, and do the best they can for their children with what knowledge they have.

    I do think it's rather sad that you think presuppositionalist Christianity is the best you have to offer. I do believe you're cheating your children out of a whole world of experience, understanding and wonder. But at the end of the day, it's so very much not my business how you choose to raise and educate your children. They will turn out how they turn out, regardless of what I think.

    If I do decide to have children of my own one fine day, they will be raised in a freethinking household (my husband is an atheist and freethinker too, in case you were wondering). They will be taught to value themselves and understand their place in the universe, to comprehend both the difference and the relationship between imagination and reality, and to recognise their responsibility to all sentient life. If this is something to which your god would object, so be it. My children, should I have them, will recognise the Christian god for what it is - a mythological figure, influential to those who believe, but utterly irrelevant to those who don't.

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  34. Since God is the very standard of ‘good’, He cannot do evil, as this would require Him to contradict His character, which, again, is not possible. The absence of God's 'goodness' is by definition evil. Its the void of God's goodness. Much like darkness to light.

    If I may say, Dan, this does sound like a very passive rendering of your god's nature.

    Are we to understand by this that the incidences in the Bible of your god commanding the slaughter of women and children, along with the men who were presumably actively engaged in unsavoury deeds, was 'good'? Or that the mere avoidance of active engagement in destructive behaviour renders one a good person?

    By this light, if I were to stand by and do nothing whilst a man was beaten to a pulp by a gang of thugs with whom I had nothing to do, I would be innocent of any wrongdoing - after all, I hadn't told anyone to attack the man; if I were to allow my dog to run into a playground full of children, despite not having trained him to refrain from biting, I would be innocent of any harm he might inflict - after all, I hadn't trained him to bite...do you see where I'm going with this?

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  35. Hi Dan, I have been lurking as usual and watching you shout out proudly your Presup claims. I first want to mention that all you have done so far is show how little you understand what anyone has said, you are completely blinded by your own biases that you can see more than a foot in front of you, and you don't really understand your own argument/claims in the first place. You're like a little boy who brought a rubber knife to a Gatling gun fight. Though your arguments have been repeatedly torn to shreds, you still act as if they are bullet proof.

    Ok now on to the one point I wanted to inject.

    You said,"Does that make Him evil? Nope. I enjoyed how GotQuestions.org worded it 'If God had not allowed for the possibility of evil, both mankind and angels would be serving God out of obligation, not choice.'"

    That does not rule out the fact that though you claim your god gave us this freedom of choice, free will as you have put it in the past, we are still obligated to serve him anyway and actually have no true free will. As pointed out before Dan, You have no more free will under your god that you do with a criminal who hold a gun to your head an says, "your money or your life." With your god its much worse since if you do not do as he says, you will suffer an eternity in hell, even for some of the smallest of infractions. Thats serving your god due to intimidation Dan.

    Dan your god is a parent who intimidates his children to do whatever he/she asks without question or they will suffer great physical and/or emotional punishment. He makes them imperfect and then berates them for being imperfect and inadequate. He then punishes them for being exactly as he created them. Where I come from Dan this would be called call child abuse at the least.

    Though I have yet to see you put forward a good argument on your blog for any of your points Dan, The attempts at the failed Presup baloney is your worst yet, and barely entertaining to read or participate in.

    ~Atomic Chimp

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  36. "For omnibenevolence, ‘good’ is that which comports with the absolute character and nature of God. Since God is the very standard of ‘good’, He cannot do evil, as this would require Him to contradict His character, which, again, is not possible. The absence of God's 'goodness' is by definition evil. Its the void of God's goodness. Much like darkness to light."

    So basically, it's that way because it's convenient for your theology. How would you argue against someone who believed in an omnimalevolent god? He would say all the evil in this world is proof of his omnimalevolent god. You could point out the 'Problem of Good' to him. He could just shrug it off saying his god created only evil, and all the good in the world is merely the lack of evil. Or perhaps god merely uses good to accomplish an even greater evil in the end.

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  37. Absolutely wrong.

    Good is the absence of evil. Just as darkness is the absence of light.

    See if you can define good without referring to an evil. You can't. You need me. You don't believe it? Tell me how is it that the "presuppositional" rhetoric uses "absolute" evils to set the trickery in motion rather than "absolute" goodness. You can't define the very thing that you claim to be the nature of God without me. God is not either. God does not need any. God is God. You can't change His nature at your will. You are His creation. Don't you dare to define Him by your whims. You don't have the right to even mention Him: You shall not take the name of The Lord in vain. You shall not make for yourself an idol.

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  38. Dark Light wrote the following: See if you can define good without referring to an evil. You can't.

    Absolutely wrong

    Definitions of good on the Web:

    * having desirable or positive qualities especially those suitable for a thing specified; "good news from the hospital"; "a good report card"; "when she was good she was very very good"; "a good knife is one good for cutting"; "this stump will make a good picnic table"; "a good check"; "a good ...

    * full: having the normally expected amount; "gives full measure"; "gives good measure"; "a good mile from here"

    * morally admirable

    * estimable: deserving of esteem and respect; "all respectable companies give guarantees"; "ruined the family's good name"

    * beneficial: promoting or enhancing well-being; "an arms limitation agreement beneficial to all countries"; "the beneficial effects of a temperate climate"; "the experience was good for her"

    * agreeable or pleasing; "we all had a good time"; "good manners"

    * of moral excellence; "a genuinely good person"; "a just cause"; "an upright and respectable man"

    * adept: having or showing knowledge and skill and aptitude; "adept in handicrafts"; "an adept juggler"; "an expert job"; "a good mechanic"; "a practiced marksman"; "a proficient engineer"; "a lesser-known but no less skillful composer"; "the effect was achieved by skillful retouching"

    * dear: with or in a close or intimate relationship; "a good friend"; "my sisters and brothers are near and dear"

    * dependable: financially sound; "a good investment"; "a secure investment"

    * most suitable or right for a particular purpose; "a good time to plant tomatoes"; "the right time to act"; "the time is ripe for great sociological changes"

    * resulting favorably; "it's a good thing that I wasn't there"; "it is good that you stayed"; "it is well that no one saw you"; "all's well that ends well"

    * effective: exerting force or influence; "the law is effective immediately"; "a warranty good for two years"; "the law is already in effect (or in force)"

    * capable of pleasing; "good looks"

    * appealing to the mind; "good music"; "a serious book"









    Care to try that again?

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  39. Dark Light wrote the following: Dictionaries? Really?

    Yes, really. Good has been defined without reference to evil. Your entire argument springing from this premise is therefore null and void.

    Hand-waving wont hide that.

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  40. Dictionaries? Really?

    "good news from the hospital"

    Can you guess why these come from the hospital and are "good"? Absence of sickness: an evil.

    "a good report card"

    Nothing to do with good and evil proper. Does it? Why would you keep this one in your answer unless you want to mislead?

    "when she was good she was very very good"

    Meaning? Unless you can show how she was very very good you have said nothing. Can you show that she was very very good without referring to an evil?

    "a good knife is one good for cutting" "this stump will make a good picnic table"; "a good check"; "a good ..."

    Again, nothing to do with the good and evil problem. Despite my very old age, I have not heard of evil knives, or evil tables. At least you could have selected the ones that belong with the problem. You are just being lazy.

    You have many more like that. Why?

    morally admirable

    How? How do you define someone to be morally admirable without a reference to evil? The most morally admirable people are those who oppose, at risk of their life, the worst evils. The harder the hardship, the more morally admirable. See? There are degrees of evil. The apparent "degrees" of goodness depend on the degree of the evil fought, meaning that good is the absence of evil.

    * beneficial:

    Oh seems like this is closer to what we are looking for.

    promoting or enhancing well-being;

    Meaning suppressing evils.

    "an arms limitation agreement beneficial to all countries"

    As opposed to the evil of possibility of destruction by these arms.

    So, you didn't even try. just a misleading and lazy attempt to answering the unanswerable?

    Go have some sleep WEM.

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  41. WEM,

    Yes, really. Good has been defined without reference to evil. Your entire argument springing from this premise is therefore null and void.

    What hand-waving? Read the repost. Then come back.

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  42. I should add WEM, that by using the word "define" to jump at dictionaries, rather than think about the problem, you became an unwilling Poe. An unwilling cartoon indistinguishable from a creationist.

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  43. Fact: good is defined without reference to evil

    Fact: although you asserted otherwise, you don't care if that assertion has been refuted

    Fact: 95% of the rest of your argument is bluster.

    Given the above, why should I care about anything else you say? Start over, and then maybe we'll have something to discuss; lacking that, we don't.

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  44. Fact: good cannot be measured without the recourse of how much evil is fought.

    Fact: You played with the word "define," rather than think of the problem as presented.

    Fact: An attempt to answer an argument by showing poor dictionary definitions is lazy and misleading.

    Fact: You did not dismantle anything.

    Fact: That you call the rest of my answer "bluster," failing to admit how you misrepresented the problem at hand, shows your indignation at your own failure.

    Fact: You have become a cartoon of the likes of Dan.

    Good night WEM.

    I leave you in your denial.

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  45. Dark Light babbled much, most of which is responded to as follows:

    Fact: good cannot be measured without the recourse of how much evil is fought.
    Interesting that this is different from what you first said. isn't it.

    Fact: You played with the word "define," rather than think of the problem as presented.
    If by "played" you meant I used it correctly, whereas you did not? Then I would agree. Seriously, how can one play with the word "define"?

    Fact: An attempt to answer an argument by showing poor dictionary definitions is lazy and misleading.
    "Poor dictionary definitions"? What exactly is "lazy" or "misleading" about showing you that you've used the word incorrectly? You don't like being wrong, do you...

    Fact: You did not dismantle anything.
    Considering that I've shown Good is NOT defined by Evil, I'm pretty sure that's exactly what I've done. How about we take a poll of the readers here and ask what they think about it?

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  46. WEM,

    Fact: good cannot be measured without the recourse of how much evil is fought.
    Interesting that this is different from what you first said. isn't it.


    A rewording maybe, but this is exactly what I meant by "good cannot be defined without evil." Interesting that rewording did not help you understand, isn't it?

    Fact: You played with the word "define," rather than think of the problem as presented.
    If by "played" you meant I used it correctly, whereas you did not? Then I would agree. Seriously, how can one play with the word "define"?


    "Used correctly" would be right if you got the message. There was a context that you missed. The context made it clear: Good is the absence of evil. Proof is: without referring to an evil, you cannot say "how good" somebody is. Defining good, given the context, is not "let us find what a dictionary says about good." Defining good is about how do you know that someone/something is good rather than evil. What about you show me an undeniable good without it being the abolition of some evil?

    Fact: An attempt to answer an argument by showing poor dictionary definitions is lazy and misleading.
    "Poor dictionary definitions"? What exactly is "lazy" or "misleading" about showing you that you've used the word incorrectly? You don't like being wrong, do you...


    Lazy because you did not bother to understand the argument and think of a counterargument. Misleading because by doing so, you answered the wrong problem claiming to answer what I argued. I did not use the word "define" incorrectly. You took one of its meanings to jump to the dictionary. Just look at the context. You don't like being wrong, do you?

    Fact: You did not dismantle anything.
    Considering that I've shown Good is NOT defined by Evil, I'm pretty sure that's exactly what I've done. How about we take a poll of the readers here and ask what they think about it?


    If you think polls solve issues about text and context, be my guest. I would rather have you read what I said and show me that you did not use a different definition of the word "define" than the definition I used.

    Oh, I was forgetting, you think dictionaries are good answers:

    verb [ trans. ]
    1 state or describe exactly the nature, scope, or meaning of : the contract will seek to define the client's obligations.
    • give the meaning of (a word or phrase), esp. in a dictionary.
    • make up or establish the character of : for some, the football team defines their identity.
    2 mark out the boundary or limits of : [as adj. ] ( defined) clearly defined boundaries.
    • make clear the outline of; delineate : she defined her eyes by applying eyeshadow.


    So, the little part in bold is your definition of "define." Clearly there is more to "define" than that, right?

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  47. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  48. I LOLed at the clip Dan linked to in these comments entitled :"Theist Gives A Great Response During the Q&A Session of a Debate".

    The theists answer is about as good as yelling "God did it!" all the way through science class.
    It explains nothing.
    The theists answer is so stupid, you can see the non-theist is clapping sarcastically.

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  49. Dark Light, you said,

    Defining good is about how do you know that someone/something is good rather than evil. What about you show me an undeniable good without it being the abolition of some evil?

    Is this necessarily the case, though, that 'good', as such, must be contrasted with 'evil'?

    Surely there is a middle ground between good and evil, just as there is a middle ground between, for example, food that is delicious and food that is revolting. Blandness is an absence of flavour, neither tasty nor repugnant.

    Why must the absence of good necessarily entail evil? Couldn't it simply entail numbness, an absence of feeling? Personally, I can readily discern the difference between being in a 'good' mood, and simply feeling flat and disinterested. I don't need to be in some kind of physical and/or emotional pain, as such in order to notice the contrast between that and feeling happy.

    Why, then, should actual evil - ie: acute suffering, cruelty, malicious intent - be necessary to notice that which is good?

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  50. DD,

    >>Surely there is a middle ground between good and evil...

    Ray has an analogy that is fitting for your logic: "A little girl was once watching a sheep eat grass and thought how white it looked against the green background. But when it began to snow she thought, "That sheep now looks dirty against the white snow!" It was the same sheep, but with a different background. When we compare ourselves to man's standard we look pretty clean, but when we compare ourselves to the pure snow-white righteousness of God's standard—His Law, we can see ourselves in truth, that we are unclean in His sight. That Law is the holy standard by which humanity will be judged on Judgment Day."

    >>Why must the absence of good necessarily entail evil?

    Because it does. Look what happened to the Pharaoh when God's loving, saving, grace was removed to allow Pharaoh's heart to be as wicked as it wished. No matter what Moses did to show the evidence (frogs, locus, selective crops and herds dying), Pharaoh still would not let them go. It was only until he lost his family, his son, that he saw the gravity of his error. Some don't have God there to hold them back and they are pure evil. God holds us back from being evil, thank God.

    >>Why, then, should actual evil - ie: acute suffering, cruelty, malicious intent - be necessary to notice that which is good?

    Well you kind of said it. yourself. I posted about it. God has a morally sufficient reason for the evil which exists.

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  51. DormantDragon,

    The problem is one of equivocation. I am using "good" and "evil" as within the context of the current discussion. Under this context, "evil" can be slight, like a toothache, or not, as per your definition (ie: acute suffering, cruelty, malicious intent). Perhaps it would be more proper to talk about "bad," or "wrong," rather than "evil."

    Now, let us test if I might be tricking the definition to disarm any come back. Can we say that a toothache is good? Can we say that it is neutral?

    You might notice that for something to be wrong, it is enough to refer to pain and suffering (kind of synonymous, really, but very real and self-evident). For something to be considered good, we cannot but rely on how much pain and suffering is corrected. Thus, good is an illusion dependent on degree of correction. Notice how a piece of bread might be said to be good, even if it does not correct hunger but for a few minutes. The perception of how good this bread is depends on how long you have been hungry. Ultimate good would thus be the abolition of evil. Once there, there is nothing else you can do to "increase" good. If there were, it would mean that something is still not quite "right."

    Where is neutrality then? Can we say that if no wrong is corrected then things are neutral? Maybe arithmetically, but I would doubt that leaving people in a static state of hunger is neutral. Thus, there seems to be no middle.

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  52. Me: Surely there is a middle ground between good and evil...

    Dan: Ray has an analogy that is fitting for your logic: "A little girl was once watching a sheep eat grass and thought how white it looked against the green background. But when it began to snow she thought, "That sheep now looks dirty against the white snow!" It was the same sheep, but with a different background. When we compare ourselves to man's standard we look pretty clean, but when we compare ourselves to the pure snow-white righteousness of God's standard—His Law, we can see ourselves in truth, that we are unclean in His sight. That Law is the holy standard by which humanity will be judged on Judgment Day."


    Ray Comfort's analogies are rarely fitting for anything except mockery, Dan - however, as you appear to have used this one to prove my point for me, I'll refrain from tearing it to shreds for the time being.

    I will simply say that if noticing goodness is nothing more than a matter of comparison, then it would follow that someone who has experienced acute suffering or some act of immense cruelty, say, would require relatively little in order for it to be perceived as an improvement. Given the state of the world, your god could be completely morally neutral, or maybe even just a bit of a bastard, in order to be perceived as good by comparison.

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  53. You might notice that for something to be wrong, it is enough to refer to pain and suffering (kind of synonymous, really, but very real and self-evident). For something to be considered good, we cannot but rely on how much pain and suffering is corrected. Thus, good is an illusion dependent on degree of correction.

    Clearly you have never experienced an emotional high, Dark Light, or been in love, or experienced the satisfaction to be found in the completion of some project to which one has devoted many hours of enjoyable and challenging labour.

    Notice how a piece of bread might be said to be good, even if it does not correct hunger but for a few minutes. The perception of how good this bread is depends on how long you have been hungry. Ultimate good would thus be the abolition of evil. Once there, there is nothing else you can do to "increase" good. If there were, it would mean that something is still not quite "right."

    But better bread will always be perceived as better in comparison to ordinary bread; it's true that when one is hungry, food often tastes better than if one is simply eating out of habit, but that only demonstrates what I said in my previous reply to Dan. If you claim that good and evil are nothing more than a matter of comparison, then what you are saying is that there is no concrete means of assessing the goodness or evilness of anything - essentially, that it's all relative.

    If, on the other hand, one were to say that suffering is, by definition, bad for sentient beings, and that pleasure is, by definition, good for sentient beings, then one has a much stronger basis upon which to make the claim that something is good or evil. I know that many Christian types take a rather dim view of earthly pleasures, but that doesn't mean that they aren't simply denying themselves such pleasures for the sake of what they think will be a far greater pleasure after they are dead.

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  54. And I must say that, after having frequently had such an accusation ill-naturedly flung in my direction, it is quite satisfying, indeed pleasurable, to have Christians giving me a basis upon which to accuse them of moral relativism...

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  55. I love it when they can't even keep their own theology straight.

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  56. WEM,

    I was not answering from a theological perspective. I assumed that DormantDragon was an atheist. Thus, theological answers would not mean anything to DD. Are you a Christian DD?

    As for yourself. You can't keep your answers honest. I would first address that.

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  57. Well then, Dark Light, you have a knack for seamlessly integrating theology with 'not theology'. One would suspect you differentiate between the two only when it's convenient for you to do so.

    Perhaps you shouldn't lecture other people on the merits of honesty?

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  58. DormantDragon,

    Again, it seems like you are confusing a state of mind with the good and evil under discussion. I might have veered into equivocation myself. Problem being that good has several meanings, and these meanings don't seem to have definitive boundaries. Keep in mind "wrongs," and maybe we reach an understanding.

    Yes, I have experienced "emotional highs," but that is not what we are talking about, or is it?

    But better bread will always be perceived as better in comparison to ordinary bread;

    Sure, but we were not talking about flavor perception.

    ... previous reply to Dan. If you claim that good and evil are nothing more than a matter of comparison, then what you are saying is that there is no concrete means of assessing the goodness or evilness of anything - essentially, that it's all relative.

    Well, I don't know about Dan. But this is not what I said. What I am saying is that pain and suffering are self-evident, and that to describe and "measure" good, then you have to compare it to the wrongs that get fixed.

    If, on the other hand, one were to say that suffering is, by definition, bad for sentient beings,

    Fine here.

    and that pleasure is, by definition, good for sentient beings,

    And here is where your argument fails. How much pleasure? Which source of pleasure? Have you heard of pleasures that end in a person's defeat? Pleasure does not seem to run into a single direction, does it? Seems good to a point, then it breaks into evil.

    I know that many Christian types take a rather dim view of earthly pleasures ... after they are dead

    Maybe true about some Christians, not necessarily about all. As I showed you, the problem does not seem to be as simple as pain and pleasure.

    [From a Christian perspective, the difficulty to defining good without evil might be a consequence of a fallen creation. But I doubt that means anything to you.]

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  59. WEM,

    Are you saying that I am dishonest to suppose that an unbeliever will not find a lot of merit in a purely theological answer? That would be interesting.

    While Christians will not find any problem with "seamless integration of theology and non-theology," I doubt atheists would be satisfied with Dan's answer alone. Where is my dishonesty in understanding this?

    I didn't lecture you about honesty. I describe you on your own merits. May The Dictionary bless you.

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  60. Are you saying that I am dishonest to suppose that an unbeliever will not find a lot of merit in a purely theological answer? That would be interesting.

    No, that's not what I was saying. Mischaracterization of my position. Dishonesty (#1)


    While Christians will not find any problem with "seamless integration of theology and non-theology," I doubt atheists would be satisfied with Dan's answer alone. Where is my dishonesty in understanding this?

    That's not what I was implying. Non-believers may not find theology compelling, but as long as the theist is honest about how they blend it with non-theological reasoning, it may be acceptable on a case-by-case basis.

    What I was implying was that your dishonesty lay in pretending your argument was non-theological. Your use of 'good' and 'evil' is classically Christian. To pretend otherwise was transparently false.


    I didn't lecture you about honesty. I describe you on your own merits

    Same thing. Dishonesty (#2)

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  61. Dark Light, you wrote,

    What I am saying is that pain and suffering are self-evident, and that to describe and "measure" good, then you have to compare it to the wrongs that get fixed.

    Surely if pain and suffering are self evident, then pleasure and benefit are likewise self-evident. I wouldn't say that the mere absence of any particular suffering equates to pleasure, for example. There must be a positive impact in order for an experience to count as pleasurable, or so I would have thought.

    It is of course too simplistic to equate pain and pleasure with evil and good respectively. However, these biologically based responses do tend to equate with those things which are respectively harmful and beneficial to sentient beings.

    To give a very basic example, we take pleasure in eating, and eating is obviously beneficial to a living being. We experience pain when we are deprived of food, and wasting away from malnutrition is obviously harmful to a living being.

    However, there is harm to be experienced from excessive eating, and thus a pleasurable experience ultimately proves to be harmful; similarly, depriving onesself of food may serve a beneficial purpose, such as loss of excess weight, or perhaps the necessity of fasting prior to a surgical operation.

    There are of course other pleasures that don't carry any obvious threat of harm from overindulgence. It would be hard to argue, for example, that one could ultimately suffer from witnessing too many beautiful sunsets, or from enjoying the company and conversation of too many friends.

    So this is a complicated picture, but it's one built upon very simple foundations - the primal instinct that seeks to experience pleasure and to avoid suffering.


    From a Christian perspective, the difficulty to defining good without evil might be a consequence of a fallen creation. But I doubt that means anything to you.

    I still think it is possible for something to be self-evidently good, regardless of whether or not one contrasts it with a negative experience. Be that as it may, claiming that we have difficulty in discerning good absent the ubiquity of evil as a result of the fall, still doesn't excuse the Christian conception of god from responsibility for creating imperfect beings in the first place. It takes a huge mental disconnect to transfer responsibility from the creator to the creation.

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  62. WEM,

    It was obvious that I was asking for clarification. So, dishonesty #1 doesn't hold.

    I could argue back that you mischaracterized my request for clarification, making it dishonesty #n on your part. (I don't remember how many you had, I am not counting.)

    What I was implying was that your dishonesty lay in pretending your argument was non-theological. Your use of 'good' and 'evil' is classically Christian. To pretend otherwise was transparently false.

    Interesting again. I was not "pretending" that the argument was not theological. I was using "good" and "evil" in the sense others seemed to be using them, which, I doubt, was theological. You might be right that it is. Let me read. Tricky indeed to figure out. I don't see them as classic Christian, otherwise I would not understand why are nonbelievers using them that way, nor why would nonbelievers try to refute the existence of the Christian God based on Christian concepts. Kind of self-refuting.

    Also, I think it is pretty clear I am using them as wrong-doing, good-doing, as related to state of affairs, as related to something as obvious as pain and suffering. If pain and suffering are Christian concepts, then you are right.

    Let me know.

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  63. DormantDragon,

    I think the equivocation is still there. You keep mixing feelings, and I am insisting that we are talking good/evil. Yes, there is a connection with feelings. But maybe you should try and understand what my argument is about.

    Under the original context, evil is about wrong-doing, causing harm (which may or may not be perceived). Given that context, what would be well-doing? I don't see how one can escape the concept from being about fixing something that is wrong.

    Maybe this will veer us back to the real concepts under discussion.

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  64. WEM,

    I didn't lecture you about honesty. I describe you on your own merits
    Same thing. Dishonesty (#2)


    Same thing what? You did not admit to making a mistake before (your lazy and misleading "answer"), thus I can only assume that it was not a mistake, but dishonesty. Thus I describe you on your own merits.

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  65. DormantDragon,

    I think you failed to read Dan's post properly. He did not say that good is relative. he said that by human standards you might think something is good, but the only real good would be pure from any evil. That is much closer to what I said (though from a very theological perspective), and it is nothing about good being relative, but about theological good being attainable only through the complete absence of evil. Nothing relative there.

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  66. Completeness of "good" is relative to amount of absentness of "evil"?

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  67. No Adam, that is not what I said ("completeness" seems like a very odd word to add to the conversation)

    Measuring good is impossible without referring to an amount of eliminated evil.

    Think of those who have done the most good that you can think about. Why is that good so good? Is it that good by itself, or is it because they fought some great evil (such as some terrible disease).

    From that I am tempted to say that ultimate good would be the abolition of evil.

    Then again, maybe not. Maybe if we had no more evils to fight we would feel empty. Would then evil be necessary? Or is it necessary out of human nature?

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  68. "Measuring good is impossible without referring to an amount of eliminated evil"

    Okay, got it. You are claiming the amount of good is relative to eliminated evil.

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  69. Would you say evil is measured by the amount of eliminated good?

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  70. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  71. Okay, got it. You are claiming the amount of good is relative to eliminated evil.

    Kinda closer. My fault that it is not there yet.

    The apparent amount of good is relative to the amount of eliminated evil.

    But I go further. I claim that good is not truly measurable. Evil is. It is an illusion that we can measure good, an illusion due to the above. Just like darkness would be the absence of light. We still have the illusion of dark and darker. But that is dependent on how much light we take away. A bad metaphor because it puts "evil" in a simile with "light", but I can't find another.

    Would you say evil is measured by the amount of eliminated good?

    No I wouldn't. See above.

    ---
    I am curious about your "web page" (through your profile). Truly yours? Are you that kind of a Christian?

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  72. Dark Light:

         You claimed that "good" cannot be described or defined without reference to "evil." This is incorrect. You define it by such reference; but other people use other concepts (such as "pleasure" and "pain") as simpler building blocks by which to derive "good" and "evil." Still other people -- and I have seen this -- think "good" is the inherent quality and define "evil" as the amount of removed "good." It's a matter of perspective. I, personally, am inclined to take "pleasure" and "pain" as base concepts by which to define "good" and "evil."
         You objected to Dormant "mixing feelings" into a discussion about "good/evil." I do not think his actions were inappropriate. If "good" and "evil" are concepts derived from those feelings, it is fitting to talk about them as the measuring rod.

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  73. Hello Pvblivs,

    I hope I did not say "inappropriate". I have meant "equivocal" to mix feelings with good/evil.

    I have shown why it cannot be as simple as pain and pleasure, since there are levels and sources of pleasure that can be harmful, proving that pleasure doesn't have a single direction.

    Still other people -- and I have seen this -- think "good" is the inherent quality and define "evil" as the amount of removed "good." It's a matter of perspective.

    That might look so, but it is not. If I am hungry, I don't see how I could call the situation half "well" (half well sounds pretty insulting if you ask me). If I am starving, I do not see how that would still be 10% well. Both hunger and starvation have to be corrected. It looks "better" to correct starvation, but both are wrong, and, upon correction, both reach the same point.

    Now, what should we expect if evil was the removal of good. If so, then evil should reach a bottom once we have removed all good. Well, what I see is a world where evils don't seem to touch a bottom. There seems to always be a possibility for something worse.

    As for feelings, well I think starvation would still be wrong if I were happy while starving.

    I have tried to refute this idea myself. After all, I did not reach it but by thinking about the problem. It seems consistent, but I can live without it. I have yet to see any clear and obvious refutation though.

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  74. I am curious about your "web page" (through your profile). Truly yours? Are you that kind of a Christian?

    I didn't create the page and I'm not a Christian but I was involved with the Christian cult group called the Potters House.

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  75. Dark Light:

         "I have shown why it cannot be as simple as pain and pleasure, since there are levels and sources of pleasure that can be harmful, proving that pleasure doesn't have a single direction."
         I disagree. Sources of pleasure that are harmful cause a pain (either immediate or delayed) that outweighs the pleasure. This pain is also often forced on some other being.
         "That might look so, but it is not."
         Clarification please: Are you saying that it might look like "good" is the inherent trait? or that it might look like some people think "good" is the inherent trait?

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  76. Dark Light, you said,

    Under the original context, evil is about wrong-doing, causing harm (which may or may not be perceived). Given that context, what would be well-doing? I don't see how one can escape the concept from being about fixing something that is wrong.

    You seem to be implying that it is intent and conscious action that qualify something as good or evil. That I can accept, since it bridges the gap from objective harm and objective benefit to what we may subjectively call evil and good - intent is the key. We don't normally describe the suffering caused by natural disasters as 'evil', for example (although we might if we were to suppose that an all-powerful god allowed or perhaps even caused such a thing to happen...)

    As to escaping the notion that good is only ever remedying some evil, I don't see how this follows. Yes, we see it as good to alleviate suffering where we can (well, some of us see it as such) and it is obviously an act of goodness to feed someone who is hungry, or to tend to someone who is ill or injured, for example.

    But what of good actions or experiences that are not specifically addressing a need or alleviating suffering? If I happen to fall in love, and consequently build a relationship with a partner, certainly it may be that I'll be happier for having done so, but it doesn't follow that I was suffering for the lack of such a relationship. Similarly, if I give someone a gift as a demonstration of my appreciation for them, does it follow that I am somehow correcting a lack by this action? If we consider the great masters of the Renaissance, we perceive their paintings to be good - but it isn't obvious that the creation of such paintings was necessary to overcome some inadequacy in the world.

    Again, it seems quite clear to me that there are some things that are self-evidently good from the point of view of sentient creatures, just as there are other things that are self-evidently bad. To perform a beneficial action with intent is to do good; to perform a harmful action with intent is to do evil.

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  77. Dark Light, you wrote,

    I think you failed to read Dan's post properly. He did not say that good is relative. he said that by human standards you might think something is good, but the only real good would be pure from any evil.

    Apologies if I didn't make clear in the comment in question that I was referencing a discussion arising from Dan's (and other Christians') attempts to address the problem of evil in previous comment threads. Dan quoted Ray Comfort in apparent support of his claim that his god sets the standard for good against which everything else is measured (and found wanting, according to some brands of Christian theology).

    However, this was after Dan pointed me to a post in which he claimed that the reason for the existence of evil is to demonstrate his god's goodness, by means of comparison. The point of my previous comment to this thread was that if the only means of measuring goodness is in comparison to evil, which seems to be the line taken in subsequent comments, then Dan's god wouldn't have to do much to be perceived as good relative to the state of the world he supposedly created.

    On the other hand, if good and evil are not relative, but based upon objective and self-evident, it ought to be possible for any god, even if not actually omnipotent, to demonstrate goodness independently of the existence of evil. The Christian god could have no excuse, if it actually existed.

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  78. Pvblivs,

    I disagree. Sources of pleasure that are harmful cause a pain (either immediate or delayed) that outweighs the pleasure. This pain is also often forced on some other being.

    I disagree, there are things that can kill you while you enjoy them.

    "That might look so, but it is not."
    Clarification please: Are you saying that it might look like "good" is the inherent trait? or that it might look like some people think "good" is the inherent trait?


    I am saying that it might look as if "It's a matter of perspective," but it is not. Then I continued to show why not.

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  79. DormantDragon,

    Unfortunate that I was not able to show you that it seems impossible to define (as in "measure") good without the recourse or reference to evil. But seems like it is not easy to define and agree on which good and evil we are talking about in the first place.

    I find the idea of "justifying evil" to be evil in and of itself. So, I don't try. Unlike Dan, I cannot claim to be able to define God, nor to be able to speak in His name. That would risk me making an idol.

    Do I wonder about it? Yes. Do I find "explanations" satisfactory? No. Do I feel like I could do better? No. I am not God.

    I know this is not an answer. But I rather look lame and weak, than become self-righteous and blasphemous.

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  80. To sum up these comments...

    What is "Good"? Opinions differ.

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  81. Dark Light, you wrote,

    Unfortunate that I was not able to show you that it seems impossible to define (as in "measure") good without the recourse or reference to evil. But seems like it is not easy to define and agree on which good and evil we are talking about in the first place.

    I guess the definition of good and evil does rather depend upon settling some objective criteria by which we can say that there are certain things that are self-evidently good and beneficial for sentient creatures, and other things that are self-evidently bad and harmful for sentient creatures.

    I don't see how it is possible to define good and evil independently of objective benefit and harm. As I wrote previously, it is intent that leads us to consider something 'evil' rather than merely harmful. The issue with the philosophical problem of evil is that if we suppose an all-powerful and all-knowing creator god, such a being cannot but have intended the vast amounts of suffering that mar the experience of sentient creatures in this world.

    I find the idea of "justifying evil" to be evil in and of itself. So, I don't try. Unlike Dan, I cannot claim to be able to define God, nor to be able to speak in His name. That would risk me making an idol.

    It always amazes me, the lengths people will go to try to explain why it was necessary for a god who is claimed to be maximally good to create and allow evil/harm/suffering to exist on such a scale in the world he is claimed to have created. Some people meet this challenge by claiming that we cannot possibly understand the mind of god - which to me seems like not meeting the challenge at all.

    Dan's response that his god has a morally sufficient reason for allowing immense suffering - a reason Dan doesn't know, and a reason this supposedly benevolent god does not see fit to share with his creations - seems to me to be a similar sort of cop-out. Dan's speculation that his god had to allow evil in order to make people aware of his goodness rings very hollow as an explanation for the actions of an omnimax being.

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  82. Just to pursue a slightly different tangent in addressing the problem of evil, it could be said that those who play the mystery card are actually shooting themselves in the foot, philosophically speaking, if they're seriously trying to defend their god-belief.

    There are things Dan and other Christians claim to 'know' about their god, such as that he is maximally powerful, maximally knowledgeable and maximally benevolent.

    But these things don't sit well with the state of the world as we humans perceive it. So what do the god-believers do? Throw in a lack-of-knowledge claim to support their knowledge claims! To wit - we can know that god is maximally powerful, knowledgeable and good but we can't know what he's really up to.

    I mean, how can you seriously claim to know that your god is maximally powerful, knowledgeable and good without being able to offer any satisfactory explanation for the presence of evil in the world?

    Dan claims that his god has a 'morally sufficient' reason for allowing (let's not say creating) evil; but the fact that he - along with every other philosopher who has attempted the same feat - cannot articulate what such a morally sufficient reason could be without implicitly undermining or denying the maximal abilities attributed to his god, does rather give the lie to his knowledge claim here.

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  83. Dark Light,

    >>I find the idea of "justifying evil" to be evil in and of itself.

    God has a morally sufficient reason for the evil which exists. To say otherwise would equate to blasphemy.

    >>So, I don't try. Unlike Dan, I cannot claim to be able to define God,

    You can read. He defines Himself in His Word. I am not claiming things out of the ordinary. Questioning God is not blasphemous either. Remember Moses questioning God? "And Moses returned unto the LORD, and said, LORD, wherefore hast thou so evil entreated this people? why is it that thou hast sent me?" ~Exodus 5:22

    >>nor to be able to speak in His name.

    Is that Biblical? In the name of Jesus Christ, I rebuke evil.

    >>That would risk me making an idol.

    I disagree that its making an idol. We all know what God hates in His Word. (e.g. Deuteronomy 16:22) We are not making gods to suite ourselves, (definition of an idol) we are trying to understand God Himself. There is a Howard Huge difference here. With that logic being a YEC is blasphemy since I am merely trying to figure out what is. YEC doesn't change my Salvation, I could be wrong.

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  84. DD,

    >>Dan's speculation that his god had to allow evil in order to make people aware of his goodness rings very hollow as an explanation for the actions of an omnimax being.

    Only if logic is hollow. Plus, its not "allow evil in order to make people aware" its more like evil allows us to see His goodness. We see His goodness in observing evil.

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  85. DD,

    >>To wit - we can know that god is maximally powerful, knowledgeable and good but we can't know what he's really up to.

    Exactly, we are not maximally powerful, knowledgeable and good so how could we ever understand Him? This is where trust comes in. Even in the afterlife we will not be omniscient because that would make us gods or equal to God in knowledge. Something we may strive to be, but will NEVER be. God is right to allow us to see what we need to see. His choices are the best for this universe and beyond. Period.

    >>I mean, how can you seriously claim to know that your god is maximally powerful, knowledgeable and good without being able to offer any satisfactory explanation for the presence of evil in the world?

    But I have! God has a morally sufficient reason for the evil which exists. That is all the explanation that we need. Its dependable, we can trust Him for it. Its twofold though, the Bible also makes the claim and backs it up with the authenticity of being God's Word. Its trustworthy.

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  86. God has a morally sufficient reason for the evil which exists. That is all the explanation that we need. Its dependable, we can trust Him for it.

    Why should anyone trust such a bald assertion, Dan?

    Its twofold though, the Bible also makes the claim and backs it up with the authenticity of being God's Word. Its trustworthy.

    No, it's viciously circular, and you know it is. You claim the bible as your god's word because it says so in the bible. I could, with equal justice, claim to be writing this with the authority of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, and as long as I continued to assert that it was the great FSM's noodly appendage guiding my hand over my keyboard, you would, by your lights, have no basis upon which to refute my claim.

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  87. Dan:

         "But I have! God has a morally sufficient reason for the evil which exists."
         And that morally sufficient is... what? Just claiming there is a morally sufficient reason is not a satisfactory explanation for the evil we see in the world. Identifying a morally sufficient reason would be -- at least to anyone who was satisfied the reason was, indeed, morally sufficient.

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  88. God has a morally sufficient reason for the evil which exists. That is all the explanation that we need.

    You would have been a great Nazi.
    "Hitler has a morally sufficient reason for the death camps. That is all the explanation that we need."

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  89. DD,

    Its twofold though, the Bible also makes the claim and backs it up with the authenticity of being God's Word. Its trustworthy.

    >>No, it's viciously circular, and you know it is. You claim the bible as your god's word because it says so in the bible.

    Not so, I have said this before,

    * (1) The writings in question are true on all specific points we can verify. (With arguments in each case.)
    * (2, from 1) Hence, we have good reason to assume that they are completely truthful throughout.
    * (3) The writings describe many events that demonstrate the existence of God.
    * (4, from 2 and 3) Hence, these descriptions must be truthful, so God must exist. (It actually suffices for just one of them to be truthful.)
    * (5) If the writings had been authored by man, they would not have been true on all of these points. (With arguments in each of these cases.)
    * (6, from 1 and 5) Hence, they must have been authored by someone other than man.
    * (7, from 2 and 5) Hence, we have good reason to assume the existence of someone who, unlike man, is completely truthful, and who authored these writings.
    * (8, from 7) This someone is God.

    What we see here is not an instance of circular reasoning, but two different arguments, only partly deductive, for the existence of an all-knowing higher being who wrote the writings in question.

    Even so it (begging the question) is formally logical, and in fact logically valid – that is, the conclusion does follow from the premise – they are tautological.

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  90. Adam,

    >>You would have been a great Nazi.
    "Hitler has a morally sufficient reason for the death camps. That is all the explanation that we need."

    In that case I would be like Moses and question him exhaustively. (Exodus 5:22)

    Besides, there is a 'Howard' Huge difference between God and Hitler.

    If I were you I wouldn't compare the two as equal. You are storing up God's wrath enough as it is. Stoking that fire is just crazy.

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  91. Dan,

    When you say:

    In the name of Jesus Christ, I rebuke evil.

    You are not really speaking in the name of Jesus Christ, as in pretending to know what Jesus would say. It is more like you are conjuring Jesus with you in the rebuking. Whether He will answer or not is another story. But you cannot and should not pretend to truly speak for God. In other words, every time you talk as if yu know what God is thinking, you are trying to speak as if YOU are God. This is also the problem with self-righteousness. Self-righteousness puts you before God.

    If you try and define God to your convenience, you are making an Idol. Idols are not just physical images, but mental images too. Presuppositionalism is both blasphemous and idol making. You cannot and should not define God to suit you. Let alone to suit a series of pretentious, self righteous, and deceitful techniques to put others in the defensive. How is it not blasphemous to play with God that way? How is it not making idols if you define and redefine God to your own purposes and self-gratification? How is it not blasphemy to then try and justify your actions by eisegesis of the Bible? (Interpretation to suit your fancy.) How is it not blasphemous to use God and God's name in this treachery?

    This is why it is so hard to follow Jesus Christ. It is easy to fall into pretentiousness, into self-righteousness, into blasphemy. More so if we think we are doing the right thing. Maybe this is why they say "The Devil is in the details."

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  92. Dan

    we are not maximally powerful, knowledgeable and good so how could we ever understand Him?

    See? You agree with me.

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  93. You would question him and then settle on the "answer".

    He has a morally sufficient reason for it. That is all the explanation that we need.

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  94. And so, you would believe Hitler MUST be right.

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  95. * (1) The writings in question are true on all specific points we can verify. (With arguments in each case.)

    Your first premise is false, Dan. There are many writings contained in the bible that do not stand up to empirical or logical investigation.

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  96. DD,

    * (1) The writings in question are true on all specific points we can verify. (With arguments in each case.)

    >>Your first premise is false, Dan. There are many writings contained in the bible that do not stand up to empirical or logical investigation.

    You missed the point though. On all specific points we can verify they are shown true. Can we verify a donkey talking? Nope. But we can find evidence for the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah as an example. I don't have enough room here to list all the Biblical archaeological finds either.

    Also, as for empirical evidence, we have been over this before but there is overwhelming evidence of Jesus and the Bible from the standpoint of evidence presented in a courtroom.

    Your first premise is false, DormantDragon. Your first claim does not stand up to empirical or logical investigation. Please try again

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  97. Dan:

         "Also, as for empirical evidence, we have been over this before but there is overwhelming evidence of Jesus and the Bible from the standpoint of evidence presented in a courtroom."
         That's funny. You didn't produce any evidence. Instead you presented the bible (written by unnamed sources) as though it were a witness that did not require cross-examination. And no matter how much you like to say "ancient documents rule," all you really get out of it is a stipulation that the bible is, indeed, an ancient document. So are the Greek legends. Big deal.

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  98. You missed the point though. On all specific points we can verify they are shown true.

    Does that include the pillars supporting the earth, and the dome of the heavens holding back the waters, and the undead companions of Christ who are waiting for the second coming?

    "Points we can verify" is an interesting phrasing, Dan. Did you mean to specifically exclude the category of "points we should be able to verify but still haven't"? Or perhaps, "Points that could have been verified but have been contradicted"?

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  99. Pvb,

    Assuming that the Bible is not evidence for God because you do not believe the Bible is evidence, is question begging.

    Also, assuming that the Bible is not evidence for God because you do not believe God exists, is question begging.

    You are full of it,...fallacies that is. Please try again.

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  100. Assuming that the Bible is not evidence for God because you do not believe the Bible is evidence, is question begging.

    Also, assuming that the Bible is not evidence for God because you do not believe God exists, is question begging.


    Wow. Way to mischaracterise the opposition, Dan. But then we've come to expect that from you, of course.

    The only problem is that we don't assume the bible is not evidence for your god because we don't believe the bible is evidence, nor because we already don't believe in your god. It's just that we came to the question with open minds and examined the bible, both on its own merits and in relation to other possible sources of evidence for your god, and found it wanting.

    It's excellent evidence for what ancient Semitic tribespeople believed, of course, but that doesn't mean their beliefs corresponded to any objective reality.

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  101. counting the hits not misses.

    let's ignore the amount of babies that don't make it thanks to God.

    Of course if this baby turns out to have a genetic disease killing it 5 months down the line well I guess it'll be "God's plan"

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