On God and Evil . . . Christian Apologists Play “Defense”

July 10, 2013

A Theological/Bible Related Commentary

Part V

It’s a “Mystery”

Why Are People of Faith Made to Suffer?

Why Are People of Faith Made to Suffer?

     Rather than provide a blow-by-blow account of what Christian commentators have had to say elsewhere in respect to the issues covered in this series, I will simply focus on the two most resilient “defenses” apologists have had to offer when caught in a particularly difficult exegetical bind.

     The first of these I find inherently dishonest and intellectually bankrupt. It is completely devoid of any real  quantitative substance. Yet, it is, without a doubt, one of the most frequently used defensive rebuttals atheists have encountered in debate with believers, and the one which usually puts an end to any further discussion. It is the tried-and-true “It’s a Mystery” defense; favored most by Catholic  apologists.

     What the It’s-a-Mystery   defense purports  to maintain as fact is that we humans are so stupid (in relation to God) that we cannot even hope  to fathom the reason why God did this or God did that―that “something” being anything one finds theologically perplexing to the point of being left wholly baffled by it; such as the question: Why are people of faith made to suffer so? Another one being: Why do we find real  contradictions in God’s sacred word? (Such as: Did Jesus actually rise on the 3rd  day as per I Cor. 15:4, or on the 4th  day as per Mark 9:31?; to cite just one example.)

     Therefore, the faithful must accept that any “perceived” theological conundrum; any inexplicable problem dealing with biblical inerrancy issues; or any apparent “ungodly” acts of behavior on the part of God, are “mysteries” only God  holds the answers to. In spite of the  obvious staring the believer right in the face, the believer is to believe, no matter what!

     But what about the skeptic who finds such “blind” faith utterly revolting, even dangerous? Where is the “truth” of the Christian faith supposed to exist if it is entirely  unprovable? And why on earth  should children be made to pray to, and then worship and adore the actual Creator of everything evil? Out of “love,” or because of the fear that if one doesn’t, one will be made to suffer horribly?

     (I would just point out that a real  God could just poke his head through the clouds and at least attempt  to explain himself in terms we humans could understand; but that it would be just plain knock-down impossible  for an imaginary  God to do, now wouldn’t it? I would further point out that God would rather an atheist suffer indescribably brutal torment, agony, and anguish for all of eternity (!) for simple non-belief than truly reveal himself as He did to Doubting Thomas and Paul on the way to Damascus, and thus save their “soul.” (Makes you wonder how much the God of Christianity really  wants to save souls, doesn’t it?)

Either it is beyond His “limitless” powers to reveal Himself to us moderns, or else He’s really  a Supernatural Sadist simply having his way with hapless man. But most obvious is the fact  that He’s simply flat-out imaginary!)

     The question now becomes, does the It’s a Mystery  defense truly  provide any real kind of a substantive rebuttal to the skeptic, or is it merely an evasive “cop-out”? We atheists believe it the latter. The statement, “It’s a Mystery,’ for all it’s worth, answers absolutely nothing.

     The second, and the most  intellectually bankrupt “defense” imaginable for an “out-debated” Christian  apologist to resort to, is to simply blurt out: I don’t care what  you say! I’m going to believe anyway !! (Followed by a parting, exceedingly pious, “I’ll pray for you” directed towards the skeptic.)

      Now how many times has the atheist heard that retort (or some variation of it) at the end of a hotly contested theological debate? And the “clincher” for the apologist? Why Paul’s words in I Corinthians 1:20:

Where is the one who is wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? (NIV)

     In other words, a God who has an absolutely astounding inability to prove to skeptics he truly exists, has decided to reinforce that inability by counseling believers to treat logic and reason―in other words, “God-given” intellect―as so much used toilet paper when it comes to matters of personal faith.

     And what other  passage of scripture do apologists gleefully point to in defense of such irrational belief? Why I Corinthians 1:19, where God says, “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate.”

     Some  kind of “Super Intellect,” that “God,” isn’t He?

      We have focused on the decidedly evil nature of God in this series. But not to despair, for God does not really exist. He is purely the invention of man. Nonetheless, it is astonishing to see that Christians worship and adore the true Creator of evil (within the scope of their faith) instead of despise Him. But that’s blind faith for you. It is as irrational  as it gets.

Part I (here)         Part IV (here)

Next Time: Jesus God versus God the Father     (here)

Advertisements

22 Responses to “On God and Evil . . . Christian Apologists Play “Defense””

  1. “Its a mystery” is the worst non-answer used in a debate. It is completely ridiculous and not in anyway a legitimate response.

  2. edwin2026 said

    Actually, this kind of argument applies not only to God but also for humans in general.

    How do you determine whether one person is ‘good’?

    People trust their favorite figure of authority, regardless they have made mistakes, ranging from financial advisors, scientists, nutrionists, politicians and so on. They believe in the sincerity of these figures. Why can’t believers do the same thing to God?

    I would like to give Him benefit of the doubt the same way you give benefit of the doubt to scientists even when they have been caught lying (For example, see here: http://www.examiner.com/article/whistleblowing-virologists-sue-merck-for-alleged-falsification-of-mumps-data)

    As for complain that there are some discrepancies in the Bible. Indeed, there are discrepancies. However, not all Christians regards Bible as inerrant like evangelicals in United States. You may want to ask: if there are some errors, then why do you trust Bible? The same way you believe newspaper reporting the truth about 9/11 and other events. There are some discrepancies in details among different newspaper but generally they report real event.

    God has no interest to convince skeptics who have constructed their own ideologies prior to examining evidences. Or more precisely, they already determined what constitute real ‘evidence’ in their mind. It is like you define ‘smart’ people as people who agree in all your worldviews and preferences.

    • Greywolf said

      Hmmm. You’ve given me quite a bit to chew on here. But here goes:

      One way to judge whether a person is good is simply to determine if that person treats others in the same way most people would like to be treated. That they are ethical. That they are individuals of the highest integrity. This is a generality and speculative, I know. But it’s a start.

      As for scientists “lying,” it’s, no doubt, despicable; to be sure. But in most cases it is other scientists who expose the fraud.

      Atheists are baffled by Christians who will admit to historical errors, contradictions, theological difficulties, and the like in the Bible, but then turn around and tell atheists that they are going to spend all of eternity in Hell for their nonbelief.

      You’ve misinterpreted what I’ve posted. It’s been after examining the biblical evidence and theological dogma that I’ve reached the conclusions I have, not prior to.

      I would just like to close with this: One of most influential individuals that has help form my views on the Christian faith has been the Catholic scholar Raymond E. Brown. What was so striking about this great scholar was that he was so incredibly honest with bible text. It was that honesty I so admire in the man. And guess what? He was a believer until his dying day . . . unlike Mother Teresa, who I’ll probably be sharing my eternal torment and suffering in Hell with thanks to your infinitely “loving” and forgiving God, eh?

      • edwin2026 said

        You are saying right that person adhere to Golden Rule then the person is good. However, it is not my point. My point is to determine whether the person is good, you have to look at BOTH his action and his heart. If we just pass judgement based on what we can see (actions or events), we will arrive at wrong conclusion. Some people are nice and generous but they have ulterior motive (like bribing or marketing) whereas others seem so strict but they serve greater good.

        The same with problem of evil. We only can see visible evil but we did not see what is God’s intention to allow or do so-called evil things.

        Have you checked things comprehensively? Do you check both sides of island (Reading both Christian, other religions and atheist books alike)? Because, for me, to determine whether God exists or not, requires me to check more than Bible or theological problem. For myself, I prayed and asked for miracles. And it was granted. You can observe all God’s design in nature (especially DNA).

        My recommendation to you is to pray to God and ask him to give you sign so that you can believe – if you are sincere

        As for soteriology doctrine (who can or cannot be saved) is not the simple formula like most evangelicals believe (if you do not believe in Jesus then you will go to hell). Because it is not so obvious in Bible whether ALL non-believers go to hell.

        As for me, I don’t think so. I checked both Bible account and testimony of Near Death Experience for many people, I concluded that non-Christians can also be saved. However, I do not become Christian just because want to escape hell. I become Christian because I saw Jesus as perfect example of God’s love to whom I would like model.

      • Greywolf said

        You certainly do judge people by their behavior (‘actions”), but you cannot truly read a person’s heart, for you can be deceived.

        How many Germans did Catholic Hitler deceive before exposing his deeply-rooted evil?

        As for evil: the very act of intentionally creating it is in itself inherently evil! And remember, God had the “free-will” not to create it!

        As for checking things out “comprehensibly,” I think my work speaks for itself. I’ve done a vast amount of research–including the works of some very far right apologists. I have, indeed, looked at both sides of the fence, so to speak.

        As for praying, it’s totally useless. Look at the photo near the top of this article. It symbolizes all the pious faithful who have drowned during countless floods and hurricanes down through the years after praying to the Almighty to spare their lives. He was absolutely pitiless, wouldn’t you say? So much for prayer. (Oh, try praying for world peace. See where praying for it, gets the faithful!)

        God created DNA? Okay. Then who created God? And more to the point: Who created the supernatural powers God has been endowed with? They just didn’t pop out of thin air, did they?

        I don’t think I alone should be exposed to actual proof of God’s existence. It’s up to God to reveal Himself to everyone born so He can spare individuals who find absolutely no proof of God from spending all of eternity in Hell. (Which in itself is a monstrously cruel and evil thing to do to someone simply because God chose not to reveal Himself to them for some nonsensical reason.)

        What happened to all that infinite love, mercy, compassion, and . . . forgiveness God is so famous for?

        Let me close with this: I believe that if your faith makes you the best possible person you can be, well have it, Hoss. But don’t preach nonsense to those who know nonsense when they see and hear it. And don’t impose the nonsensical on the defenseless. (This, not necessarily being directed at you, personally.)

      • edwin2026 said

        As for evil: the very act of intentionally creating it is in itself inherently evil! And remember, God had the “free-will” not to create it!

        But how do you know that God is responsible for creating evil? Did he say this directly to you? Remember, creating beings with free will is different thing with creating evil.

        Just like father and mother decided to have sexual relation to have a child. They will never know whether their child will become good or bad person because the child has his own free will.

        As for checking things out “comprehensibly,” I think my work speaks for itself. I’ve done a vast amount of research–including the works of some very far right apologists. I have, indeed, looked at both sides of the fence, so to speak.

        Could you give me your references (i.e. what books do you read)?

        As for praying, it’s totally useless. Look at the photo near the top of this article. It symbolizes all the pious faithful who have drowned during countless floods and hurricanes down through the years after praying to the Almighty to spare their lives. He was absolutely pitiless, wouldn’t you say? So much for prayer. (Oh, try praying for world peace. See where praying for it, gets the faithful!)

        How do you know before you even TRY? This is why I said you have already constructed your own ideologies before even trying to ask for evidence.

        And how do you know that God did not answer ALL their prayers? Do you know every prayers each people say in their heart?

        I don’t think I alone should be exposed to actual proof of God’s existence. It’s up to God to reveal Himself to everyone born so He can spare individuals who find absolutely no proof of God from spending all of eternity in Hell.

        Why do you think that knowing God exists automatically meaning escape from hell? It is not.

        Consider example of family (Parents are creator of children). Child knew that their parents exist, they created him and have authority to expel him from their property, but many children still rebel against their parents…

      • Greywolf said

        Remember now: We atheists do not believe in the existence of God in any way, shape, or form. I’ve been discussing God in the hypothetical sense, simply for the sake of discussion.

        As I’ve already pointed out, Scripture points to God creating absolutely everything that exists. Evil certainly exists. Ergo, God created evil. And as I’ve repeatedly pointed out, God had the option not to! That makes what He did immeasurably EVIL! Worse, he CONTINUES to provide Satan with his evil power. Do you not see how evil that is of God?

        I have a reference library that makes a local pastor who occasionally pays me a visit drool with envy. But that aside, who I’ve studied makes no difference whatever. It is the “facts” that I’ve presented that count. They need to be addressed, not what author I may or may not have read.

        Do you not think I’ve prayed as child? And if you think prayer actually works, why not pray that God stick His head through the clouds and address we humans as best He can. See where prayer gets you with that one.

        And ask yourself a very simple question: What makes it so darn difficult for God to simply reveal Himself to the world in a way that is irrefutable? It should be as easy as a stroll down 5th Avenue, figuratively speaking,
        for a God to do. And yet He can’t. Tells me, He doesn’t exist. What about you?

        Like many a former Christian, I was absolutely bombarded with Christian beliefs as a child. So I was shown only one side of the fence, so to speak. It was only after studying scholars, both liberal and conservative, that I formulated my current world view. I was not predisposed to atheism as you seem to suggest.

        I would further point out that you have not disproven a single “fact” I’ve presented. That’s because you can’t. And I mean no disrespect here. Christians are certainly behind the 8-ball, so to speak, because the things I’ve pointed out here cannot be refuted with fact. Christians can only say, “I’m going to believe no matter what anyone says.” A sad use of so-called “intelligence.”

        Note: If you believe you know of a scholar who can dismantle my arguments, please, by all means, invite that individual to read this series and let’s have at it—in a thoughtful, respectful, scholarly way, of course.

      • edwin2026 said

        As I’ve already pointed out, Scripture points to God creating absolutely everything that exists. Evil certainly exists. Ergo, God created evil. And as I’ve repeatedly pointed out, God had the option not to! That makes what He did immeasurably EVIL! Worse, he CONTINUES to provide Satan with his evil power. Do you not see how evil that is of God?

        Ah, you now refer to the Scriptures. So do you believe in Scriptures or not? I thought previously you said Scripture is full of contradiction =)

        If you think that part of Scriptures is correct, that implies God exists. If it is not correct, then how do you know God create evil?

        I have a reference library that makes a local pastor who occasionally pays me a visit drool with envy. But that aside, who I’ve studied makes no difference whatever. It is the “facts” that I’ve presented that count. They need to be addressed, not what author I may or may not have read.

        Which fact are you talking about? Care to summarize in point form?

        And ask yourself a very simple question: What makes it so dang hard for God to simply reveal Himself to the world in a way that is irrefutable? Figuratively speaking, it should be as easy as a stroll down 5th Avenue for a God. And yet He can’t. Tells me, He doesn’t exist. What about you?

        Can something be objectively ‘irrefutable’? ‘Irrefutable’ for one does not mean ‘irrefutable’ for others. Even if you saw God how do you know that you are not hallucinating?

        For myself, I encountered at least 3 miracles during my lifetimes. You can see my testimony on my blog. I do not know how often do you pray as a child, what thing did you pray about. However, I saw now you stopped trying already so it is no wonder that you do not receive it.

        I would further point out that you have not “disproved” a single “fact” I’ve presented. That’s because you can’t. And I mean no disrespect here. Christians are certainly behind the 8-ball, so to speak, because the things I’ve pointed out here cannot be refuted with fact. Christians can only say, “I’m going to believe no matter what anyone says.” A sad use of so-called “intelligence.”

        I thought that we are debating not about the fact. I also knew that evil exists. What we are debating is conclusion derived from the facts…(i.e. whether God exists, does not care, or something else)

      • Greywolf said

        I see this going nowhere really fast.

        I’ve made it clear that I’m taking the position that God exists and the Bible is His revealed word—and free from error—merely for the sake of discussion. Christians maintain the preceding is true. I am simply demonstrating there are severe problems with almost universally held Christian precepts. I certainly do not believe any of it to be true. (You seem to forget I am an ATHEIST blogger.)

        You want me to “summarize” in point form? How’s this: The Christian God is the most evil being in all of existence (assuming He really exists) because He actually thought-up the concept of evil, and then deliberately brought it into existence—when there was absolutely no need for Him to do so. Now tell me what could be more evil than that!

        Read this short article to get a better understanding of what I am talking about: https://theatheistobserver.wordpress.com/2009/06/14/

        Having a problem with the term “irrefutable”? How about this: If you pray that God poke his head through the clouds and reveal Himself to the entire world—and He does it—that would constitute absolutely “irrefutable” evidence in my view.

        And I noticed that you are keen on me to pray. Well if prayer truly works, why don’t YOU pray for God to reveal Himself in the manner proposed; and if successful, YOU will have demonstrated the prayer, does indeed, “work.”

        Finally, you have to focus on the fact that this series set out to demonstrate that your God is truly evil, and that He’s wicked, and that Eve was not truly guilty of “disobeying” God; that it was God Himself who tempted Eve to sin, but only by using Satan as His tool to do it.

        I’m afraid you need to re-read my articles and get a better grip on what was said. I don’t want this to end up being “the dog chasing his tail” here. Get yourself a top-notch scholar to take your side. That way we’ll all be better off.

      • edwin2026 said

        I’ve made it clear that I’m taking the position that God exists and the Bible is His revealed word—and free from error—merely for the sake of discussion. Christians maintain the preceding is true. I am simply demonstrating there are severe problems with almost universally held Christian precepts. I certainly do not believe any of it to be true. (You seem to forget I am an ATHEIST blogger.)

        Right now my used assumption in this discussion is simply evil exists and I don’t use assumption that God exists or Scriptures is free of error. So you don’t need to presume Scripture is true.

        Let’s just use assume evil exists. How can you derive from there that God does not exist?

        You want me to “summarize” in point form? How’s this: The Christian God is the most evil being in all of existence (assuming He really exists) because He actually thought-up the concept of evil, and then deliberately brought it into existence—when there was absolutely no need for Him to do so. Now tell me what could be more evil than that!

        Does God explicitly say that He created evil in Genesis? If yes, I somehow missed it!

        Read this short article to get a better understanding of what I am talking about: https://theatheistobserver.wordpress.com/2009/06/14/

        Thanks for the article. I am familiar with Epicurean objection on God. The question is this: Is it logically possible to create free, conscious being without risk of evil?

        Having a problem with the term “irrefutable”? How about this: If you pray that God poke his head through the clouds and reveal Himself to the entire world—and He does it! That would constitute absolutely “irrefutable” evidence in my view.

        Did you even READ what I said? Why do you think ‘irrefutable’ to you mean irrefutable for EVERYBODY else? For fanatics, any evidence contrary to their belief will be rationalized. Maybe it is hallucination. Maybe it is alien. Maybe I am dreaming. Any kind of rationalization will be used as long as you DO NOT WANT to believe.

        Furthermore, why do you think God need to do such extraordinary thing just to convince YOU? What can God get from you if you ‘believe’ He exists? Will you spread Gospel to Afghanistan and North Korea?

      • Greywolf said

        I am sorry to have to say this, but our discussion has to end here. You are just leading the conversation in a never-ending circle. You are not focusing on the ramifications of what has been gleaned in my articles at all.

        As for wondering why God would need to prove to me, or anyone else, that He exists; well it’s because I say he’s purely the product of man’s imagination. He’s not real. Despite all the claims made by Christians, the fact is that God exists only in the imagination. That should be crystal-clear to you by now. If it were untrue, He’d reveal Himself. He hasn’t because He’s pure fiction.

        As I’ve stated, our discussion has to end here. There is nothing of value to be learned from your statements. But hey, just go ahead and pray to God that He poke his head through the clouds and address mankind. When God answers your prayer, why heck, we can just start right back up where we left off. Okay?

      • edwin2026 said

        Still further point:

        And I noticed that you are keen on me to pray. Well if prayer truly works, why don’t YOU pray for God to reveal Himself in the manner proposed; and if successful, YOU will have demonstrated the prayer, does indeed, “work.”

        You want me to be honest?

        Because I do not have sympathy for you. I do not know who you are and you also refuse to disclose yourself to me how was your spiritual journey. I do not care if you go to Hell because you even refuse to pray.

        Any people that dismissed the possibility of success before even trying only have themselves to blame for their own failure. You only have yourselves to blame (if you go to hell) when you can pray to God and ask for sign but not willing to do that

    • edwin2026 said

      I am sorry to have to say this, but our discussion has to end here. You are just leading the conversation in a never-ending circle. You are not focusing on the ramifications of what had been gleaned in my articles at all.

      Quite typical. Ending the discussion one sidely and then later claimed behind to unbelievers that no ‘evidence’ or ‘rational discussion’ offered.

      As for wondering why God would need to prove to me, or anyone else, that He exists; well it’s because I say he’s purely the product of man’s imagination. He’s not real. Despite all the claims made by Christians, the fact is that God exists only in the imagination. That should be crystal-clear to you by now. If it were untrue, He’d reveal Himself. He hasn’t because He’s pure fiction.

      People who do not have patience for continuing more than 10 posts discussion are fanatics that do not deserve to be convinced. I have engaged in discussion over 10 people over copyright for more than 500 posts.

      Believe whatever you want to believe.

      As I’ve stated, our discussion has to end here. There is nothing to be learned from your statements. But hey, just go ahead and pray to God that He poke his head through the clouds and address mankind. When God answers your prayer, why heck, we can just start right back up where we left off. Okay?

      Everybody decided their own destiny by their choice. I don’t have an obligation to pray for you neither I want to. And I also do not care what you believe. I do not know nor care about you.

  3. Atheism is system dependent on miracles.

    • Greywolf said

      Actually, it is supposed “miracles” that caused belief in Jesus. Now if you lived back in the day of Jesus and actually watched him raise Lazarus from the dead, for example; and I mean watch him really do it, you would have very good reason to believe him to be supernaturally gifted, and naturally believe him to be the Messiah.

      Why are atheists not given such “proof”? Why does it take blind belief in the preposterous to spare one from an eternity of unremitting suffering? Explain that one, if you would.

      • Because God walking the earth once is enough proof. Jesus actually answers that question – Luke 16:31.

      • Greywolf said

        I’m curious: Why do you think someone thought to be a God some 2000 years ago is “proof” that a) he was, indeed, a “God,” and b) that there is no need for Him to reveal Himself to those who have very solid reasons to think the claim groundless? After all, isn’t everyone’s “salvation” at stake?

        He did, after all, reveal Himself to be a God to those who watched him perform “miracles” right before their very eyes–accepting the gospels to be true for the sake of discussion–but refuses to reveal himself to unbelievers who find the accounts utterly absurd and preposterous–for some seriously good reasons.

        Isn’t revealing Himself to a few, and not to others, a tad unfair?

        And speaking of the absurd: Now I ask this in all earnestness; Do you believe in the historicity of Matthew 27:50-53? And if so, why on earth, Why !! Neither Flavius Josephus nor Justus of Tiberias, two Jewish historians writing around the time of Jesus, make mention of this episode. But worse, neither does any other gospel author.

        Just because something is stated in a book, it does not necessarily mean it’s true. We atheists simply aren’t that gullible.

  4. Derek said

    You can argue all you like, it’s not gonna make “God” exist.

    • Greywolf said

      We need to focus better on what we’re reading, Derek.

      The following is the ending paragraph to the article:

      “We have focused on the decidedly evil nature of God in this series. But not to despair, for God does not really exist. He is purely the invention of man. Nonetheless, it is astonishing to see that Christians worship and adore the true Creator of evil (within the scope of their faith) instead of despise Him. But that’s blind faith for you. It is as irrational as it gets.”

      Don’t feel too bad. I’ve done something similar. And yes, it’s a bit embarrassing, but it taught me to be a more careful reader.

  5. Incredibly dense, your posters. Dancing around in the never ending land of make believe. True x-ians to boot, do not give a damn about you, becuz you are going to hell!! Take that atheist, eleventy!!1!

    These people may never realize that the likes of them, are what usually make the likes of us. They have forfeited their right to think critically in favor of the land of imagination. The easiest argument ever, just make shit up (rationalize), or point to bible quotes as if that really means something…faith in something that has no evidence whatsoever to support it, cannot be twisted into an unshakable truth no matter how much you pretzel logic your way into fantasy land.

    ..oh, blog followed 🙂

    • Greywolf said

      You are certainly correct. Most Christians I’ve encountered in debate absolutely refuse to think critically, let alone know all that much about the bible itself. In the end, when beaten, they will simply adopt the attitude: “I don’t care what the so-called “facts” may be, I’m going to believe anyway!

      So much for intellectual honesty.

      And you’re right again: No amount of reason and logic will dissuade the die-hard Christian from seeing “reality.” They simply want to believe too much for any of that. Don’t bother them with the truth.

      And hey, they insist we actually “hate” a God we don’t even believe exits. How’s that for nutso!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: