The Cross: An embarrassment at the heart of Christianity

In a recent thread, I challenged Christians and other believers to explain why their supposedly loving God treats people so poorly. Toward the end of the thread, I commented:

We’re more than 1200 comments into this thread, and still none of the believers can explain why their “loving” God shits all over people, day after day.

If you loved someone, would you purposely trap them under the rubble of a collapsed building? Or drown them? Or drive them from their home and destroy their possessions? [Or stand by, doing nothing, while a maniac mowed them down using automatic weapons?]

Your supposedly loving God does that. Why?

As you’d expect, the Christians struggled to find a good answer. One of their failed attempts was to appeal to the Cross. Fifthmonarchyman, for instance, wrote this:

I just think that the way to understand God’s love is to look at the Cross and not at the latest natural disaster.

That’s fairly typical. Christians do see the Cross as a great symbol of love. Jesus was willing to lay down his life for us, after all. What could be more loving than that?

The problem is that they haven’t thought things through. When you do, the Cross becomes rather appalling. Here’s how I put it in response to FMM:

That’s right. God had the power to forgive Adam and Eve. A loving God would have forgiven them. The Christian God refused to forgive them, banished them from the Garden, made their lives miserable, and then blamed their descendants as if they had anything to do with it.

The Christian God is an unloving asshole. Thank God (so to speak) that he doesn’t exist.

And just to complete the picture, he decides that since Adam and Eve ate a particular fruit — something he knew would happen before he even created them — everyone must be tortured for eternity after they die. (Can’t you feel the love?)

But wait — there’s a way out! This psychotic God is willing to forgive us after all, because he tortured himself to death! He just needed a little more blood and gore in order to forgive us, that’s all. (Can’t you feel the love?)

So FMM comes along and says “ignore the natural disasters, ignore all the ways God torments people, and look to the Cross,” as if the cross were some great symbol of love. It isn’t. It’s the symbol of a creepy God who

a) creates people and sticks them in a Garden;

b) gets the bright idea of putting a tree in the Garden that he doesn’t want them to eat from;

c) blames them for eating from it, even though he knew that would happen before he even created them;

d) blames their descendants, as if they had anything to do with it;

e) decides that everyone must be tortured for eternity, because Adam and Eve ate from a tree that he was stupid enough to put in the Garden;

f) decides that he might be willing to forgive everyone in exchange for more blood and gore;

g) in the ultimate act of self-loathing, tortures himself to death; and

h) with his blood lust satisfied, finally agrees to forgive people;

i) except that even with his bloodlust temporarily satisfied, he’s still an asshole; so

j) he decides that he’s still going to torture for eternity the folks who don’t believe in him at the moment of death, and only forgive the ones who suck up to him.

Can’t you feel the love?

Christians, pause and ask yourselves: What happened to me? How did I end up believing something as stupid and ridiculous as Christianity? Why am I labeling this monstrous God as ‘loving’?

The Holy Spirit is a wondrous thing. It descends on people, making them incredibly stupid. It even makes them forget what love is.

Now, I’m fully aware that Christians don’t all agree on the historicity of the Adam and Eve story or on how atonement works. We can discuss some of those differences in the comments below. But I do think it’s striking that Christians have not come up with a story that makes sense, and that a large number of them unwittingly hold beliefs that paint God as monstrous, not loving, and the Cross as the symbol not of love, but of a petty and ungenerous refusal to forgive until blood is spilled.

The Cross truly is an embarrassment, right at the heart of Christianity.

613 thoughts on “The Cross: An embarrassment at the heart of Christianity

  1. keiths: So tell us, Christians: Why didn’t God just forgive our sins, without demanding punishment?

    God does not demand punishment. A person’s higher self, the god within, seeks to compensate for the wrongdoings they are responsible for. So it could be said that we punish ourselves.

  2. God does not demand punishment.

    Says Charlie. The Bible, and most Christians, disagree.

    A person’s higher self, the god within, seeks to compensate for the wrongdoings they are responsible for. So it could be said that we punish ourselves.

    Including by sending ourselves to hell?

    Either way, what was the point of Jesus’s death on the Cross, in your (presumably Steineresque) version of Christianity?

  3. CharlieM:

    In your opinion if someone has experiences that differ from the experiences of keiths then they cannot be counted as evidence.

    I’ve said nothing even remotely like that.

    The reason we can’t take the “clairvoyant investigations” of Steiner or the “research” of Hubbard seriously isn’t because I haven’t had similar experiences. It’s because they are the unverifiable blitherings of a couple of fatuous gasbags, and they bear the hallmarks of grade A crackpottery.

  4. CharlieM:

    There is definitely something undesirable about murder. It is undesirable that a person interferes in any way with the free will of another person.

    But when God does it, it’s A-OK in Charlie’s book.

    keiths:

    And if he just wanted to bring the Jordanian pilot “closer to him”, you think God is too weak to have done it in a way that didn’t involve excruciating pain?

    CharlieM:

    God is always close.

    Then you’ve invalidated your own “because it brings us closer to him” excuse.

    CharlieM:

    If for the sake of argument you are assuming that the Heavenly Father is real then you must see that the comparison with a biological father does not hold.

    keiths:

    Then go ahead and explain to us why it’s so loving of the Heavenly Father to let al-Kasasbeh burn to death in a cage, or to let children die lingering deaths while trapped under the rubble of a collapsed school.

    CharlieM:

    Because if you allow others to exercise free will you have no choice but to follow through unless you want your word to mean nothing.

    What are you talking about? Suppose God had intervened at the last second to save al-Kasasbeh. Whose free will would he be obstructing? He didn’t stop the ISIS knuckle-draggers from trying to kill al-Kasasbeh — he just prevented them from succeeding. Do you think God has promised to us “Whatever you attempt, you will succeed at”? Obviously not.

    And IMO no one suffers in this life in any way that are not prepared to suffer in their higher nature.

    So you’d walk up to someone being tortured, who’s begging for the pain to stop, and say to them “Don’t complain. Your ‘higher nature’ signed up for this”? I imagine they’d tell you to take your own ‘higher nature’ and shove it up your ass.

    How sick do you have to be to minimize a person’s suffering by saying “Oh, their higher nature is fine with this. It’s all for the best”?

    Look at what you’re doing, Charlie: “Evidence show God bad. Me no like. Bad evidence! Me ignore bad evidence! Me want loving God. Me like! Me believe!”

  5. phoodoo: If giving everyone Heaven is what a loving God should do, how many souls should be there? If its just brains in a vat, with no prior experience of what good and bad is, wouldn’t one be exactly the same as an infinite number?

    Not sure what the significance of the question is, but I’ll gladly take a stab at it. However, I will also pose a question in return and I expect you to answer it.

    Answer: Assuming the existence of souls arguendo, I have no idea how many souls exist or will exist. But I cannot fathom a reason why any of said souls (if they are in fact Created by and dear to a loving God), should be excluded from the eternal paradise in his presence. So while I can’t guess a number, I would say all of them.

    Question: Assuming that you believe in the existence of souls and a loving God… what percentage (very roughly estimated) of souls do you think have been sent to the fiery depths for eternal torment?

  6. CharlieM: God does not demand punishment.

    33 The Lord replied to Moses, “Whoever has sinned against me I will blot out of my book. 34 Now go, lead the people to the place I spoke of, and my angel will go before you. However, when the time comes for me to punish, I will punish them for their sin.”

    35 And the Lord struck the people with a plague because of what they did with the calf Aaron had made. (Exodus, 32)

  7. Kantian Naturalist,

    Street gives us a new version of the problem of evil, which I find compelling: if every horrific incident happens for some good reason, then we are not competent judges of what a good reason is.

    The world has been set up such that choice is shared. It is also set up for probabilistic outcome which is required if decisions are part of the process. The horrific incident is part of the nature of this condition.

  8. colewd,

    The world has been set up such that choice is shared. It is also set up for probabilistic outcome which is required if decisions are part of the process. The horrific incident is part of the nature of this condition.

    The obvious follow-up questions: Why did a supposedly loving God set things up that way, and why doesn’t he intervene to prevent horrific outcomes?

  9. keiths,

    The obvious follow-up questions: Why did a supposedly loving God set things up that way, and why doesn’t he intervene to prevent horrific outcomes?

    -It is horrific from the perspective of the well, maybe not outside it.
    -He set things up so we have to make decisions from which we develop. If the outcome is always ok then there is no real decision. Similar to how we raise our children. As loving parents we do not completely insulate them from risk.

  10. colewd,

    It is horrific from the perspective of the well, maybe not outside it.

    You come across your daughter being brutally raped. Do you

    a) defend your daughter and fight the rapist off; or

    b) encourage him to continue, saying to your daughter “This may seem horrific, honey, but we’re just frogs at the bottom of a well. God knows best, and if he’s allowing you to be raped, there must be a good reason for it.”

    He set things up so we have to make decisions from which we develop. If the outcome is always ok then there is no real decision. Similar to how we raise our children. As loving parents we do not completely insulate them from risk.

    Your grandchild is about to be burned to death in a cage by her demented captors, and is crying out to you for help. Do you

    a) immediately help; or

    b) say “Sorry, honey. God is teaching someone an important lesson here. I mustn’t interfere.”

    Good grief, Bill.

  11. keiths: Charlie accepts that humans, not God, are responsible for the Bible’s contents, so he presumably would be unmoved by passages such as the one you quote.

    I had seen that exchange, and I certainly don’t expect anything that I say to move him. Just putting a specific example to your general comment about the Bible and Christians at large disagreeing with his assertion.

    I’m completely in favor of people drawing their own understanding from the Bible. Likewise from the Ramayana, the Tao Te Ching, Aesop’s Fables, etc. However, the ad-hoc hermeneutics employed by Apologetics often strain my credulity. When your starting assumption is a literal view of the resurrection of a 3-day old cadaver, I would beg leave to question criteria by which you filter other narratives in the Bible as literal or analogical.

  12. keiths,

    b) say “Sorry, honey. God is teaching someone an important lesson here. I mustn’t interfere.”

    Good grief, Bill.

    Can you now try to paint the scenario where I have 10 billion kids and 7 billion that are currently reside on earth? From this perspective I can at least see the light outside the well.

  13. keiths,

    keiths, you are at the hospital getting more medicine for that irritating rash you have had for a while, when you see a husband taking his pregnant wife in for a check-up. Do you:

    A). Pull your hand out of your shorts to stop itching, smile, and say, hello.

    or

    B). Rush up, push the man out of the way, kick the women in the gut as hard as you feel necessary to give her an abortion, because, well, the baby is going to die one day, so why would you want to cause such grieve. Then reprimand them for being so selfish. Then as the husband is coming forward to choke you, do you say, “You could say thank you, you are just digging the hole deeper by insisting you are right. Remember the last time you were wrong in an argument, that didn’t go so well did it? See, here, here, and here…”

    ?.

  14. colewd:

    Can you now try to paint the scenario where I have 10 billion kids and 7 billion that are currently reside on earth?

    What are you arguing, Bill? That God is too weak to treat 7 billion people well? That he can’t muster enough love to go around?

  15. RoyLT:

    I had seen that exchange, and I certainly don’t expect anything that I say to move him [CharlieM]. Just putting a specific example to your general comment about the Bible and Christians at large disagreeing with his assertion…

    When your starting assumption is a literal view of the resurrection of a 3-day old cadaver, I would beg leave to question criteria by which you filter other narratives in the Bible as literal or analogical.

    Charlie’s case is particularly interesting, because he doesn’t really seem to trust the Bible and instead gets his Christianity from Steiner, of all people.

    Here are some Steiner gems, taken from The Mystery of Golgotha:

    For the occultist this question is a double one: For we must distinguish between the personality who lived at that time in Palestine and reached the age of thirty, and what became of him afterwards. In the 30th year of his life Jesus became Christ.

    In the case of ordinary people, only insignificant portions of the astral body, the etheric body and the physical body are transformed into Manas, Buddhi and Atma, or into Spirit Self, Life-Spirit and Spirit-Man. Jesus of Nazareth was a Chela of the third degree, and his bodies were therefore in a state of high purification.

    When a Chela has absolved the purification of his three bodies, then he acquires at a certain moment of his life the capacity to sacrifice himself. In his 30th year, the Ego of Jesus left his three bodies and passed over into the astral world, so that the three sanctified bodies remained behind on earth, emptied as it were of their Ego, so that room was made for a higher individuality. In the 30th year of his life, the Ego of Jesus of Nazareth made the great sacrifice of placing his purified bodies at the disposal of the individuality of Christ. Christ filled out these bodies. And from that time onwards we speak of Christ-Jesus who lived upon the earth for three years and fulfilled all his great deeds within the body of Jesus.

    In order to understand the true being of Christ, we must go far back into the history of the development of the earth and of mankind. Before the earth became Earth, it was the old Moon, and the present moon is only a fragment of the old Moon. Before the Earth was Moon, it was Sun, and at a still earlier stage it was Saturn. We should bear in mind that milliards of years ago there existed in the cosmic spaces a heavenly body, Saturn. Also planets develop through different incarnations: Before the Earth was EARTH, it existed as Saturn, Sun and Moon.

    And:

    Christ’s deeds on earth gave man the capacity to absorb into his Manas what we designate as Buddhi.

    And:

    All initiations into the Mystery of the Spirit pointed to the coming of Christ Jesus. This initiation was attained in the Yoga sleep, in the Orphic sleep, in the Hermes sleep. When the initiate woke up again and returned into his body, so that he could again hear and speak with his physical senses, he uttered the words which are rendered as follows in the Hebrew language: “Eli, Eli, lama sabathani.” The pupil of the Mysteries woke up with the words: “My God, My God, how thou hast raised me!”

    Pure horseshit. “Clairvoyant investigation” my ass.

  16. keiths:

    God does not demand punishment.

    Says Charlie. The Bible, and most Christians, disagree.

    As I say below, our higher ego, the god within, in other word, we ourselves realise that we must compensate for our misdeeds.

    A person’s higher self, the god within, seeks to compensate for the wrongdoings they are responsible for. So it could be said that we punish ourselves.

    Including by sending ourselves to hell?

    IMO after death we go through what Roman Catholics would term purgatory where we experience the consequences of our selfish desires and actions, we feel the pain and suffering that we have inflicted on others. This must be experienced if we are to progress.

    Either way, what was the point of Jesus’s death on the Cross, in your (presumably Steineresque) version of Christianity?

    At the time when humankind was going through a stage where it was progressing from having an animal like nature to gaining a self-conscious ego it received the temptation. At that time it was not developed enough to resist this temptation. So sin entered humankind through no fault of its own. So in order to compensate for this something had to take place by which humankind could be redeemed. That something was achieved by the actions of Christ uniting himself with earth existence.

    Is that Steineresque enough for you?.

  17. keiths:
    CharlieM:

    I’ve said nothing even remotely like that.

    The reason we can’t take the “clairvoyant investigations” of Steiner or the “research” of Hubbard seriously isn’t because I haven’t had similar experiences.It’s because they are the unverifiable blitherings of a couple of fatuous gasbags, and they bear the hallmarks of grade A crackpottery.

    When you have read any of his basic works such as The Way of Initiation, and I believe that you have thought about and pondered over what is written therein, then I might take your criticisms seriously.

  18. keiths:

    CharlieM: And IMO no one suffers in this life in any way that are not prepared to suffer in their higher nature.

    So you’d walk up to someone being tortured, who’s begging for the pain to stop, and say to them “Don’t complain. Your ‘higher nature’ signed up for this”? I imagine they’d tell you to take your own ‘higher nature’ and shove it up your ass.

    How sick do you have to be to minimize a person’s suffering by saying “Oh, their higher nature is fine with this. It’s all for the best”?

    We are not in any position to judge the suffering of another. All we can do is to help as best we can to alleviate that suffering, that would be the default position.

  19. RoyLT,

    keiths: Charlie’s case is particularly interesting, because he doesn’t really seem to trust the Bible and instead gets his Christianity from Steiner, of all people.

    It’s not that I don’t trust the Bible, it has more to do with the fact that what I read in the Bible is a translation of original communication in languages that that I do not speak and so in the main I have to rely on second hand sources in which the intended meaning may be lost. I do not believe that the translators always get it right.

  20. CharlieM:
    RoyLT,

    It’s not that I don’t trust the Bible, it has more to do with the fact that what I read in the Bible is a translation of original communication in languages that that I do not speak and so in the main I have to rely on second hand sources in which the intended meaning may be lost. I do not believe that the translators always get it right.

    Even worse, you come from an entirely different culture than the original author, your knowledge of the world is radically different. And finally the intended meaning was the intention of a divine being as told to a finite being

  21. CharlieM: We are not in any position to judge the suffering of another.

    CharlieM: And IMO no one suffers in this life in any way that are not prepared to suffer in their higher nature.

    Which is it? Are you agnostic on suffering or do you feel that suffering is finely tuned to the spiritual needs of the victim?

  22. CharlieM: MO after death we go through what Roman Catholics would term purgatory where we experience the consequences of our selfish desires and actions, we feel the pain and suffering that we have inflicted on others. This must be experienced if we are to progress.

    I’m confused as to your beliefs in this regard. Do you believe that damnation is eternal or do you think that all souls not sent directly to Heaven end up there eventually after an unspecified period of spiritual remediation in a post-life Purgatory?

  23. RoyLT:
    Which is it?Are you agnostic on suffering or do you feel that suffering is finely tuned to the spiritual needs of the victim?

    What I mean is that if we see someone suffering we should not speculate on why they are suffering we should do what we can to alleviate their suffering. It’s okay to speculate on past suffering but definitely not on suffering that is in the process of happening. There is a time and place for everything.

  24. RoyLT: I’m confused as to your beliefs in this regard.Do you believe that damnation is eternal or do you think that all souls not sent directly to Heaven end up there eventually after an unspecified period of spiritual remediation in a post-life Purgatory?

    Maybe it would help if you knew that I believe in reincarnation and karma.

  25. newton: Even worse, you come from an entirely different culture than the original author, your knowledge of the world is radically different…

    I agree. Consciousness evolves. Do you agree that our modern day ego consciousness is something that at some stage the ancestors of humans did not possess? We are evolving beings and at any stage up to the present it can be assumed that there are no physical beings on earth with an unlimited awareness of reality. Ancient humans did not have a consciousness which was the same as ours but with less knowledge, they had an altogether different consciousness.

  26. CharlieM: Maybe it would help if you knew that I believe in reincarnation and karma.

    Interesting. But by itself, that fact is not particularly helpful. With that statement you have diverged so far from anything recognizable as Christianity that every detail of further discussion would have to be qualified to such an extent as to be highly burdensome.

  27. phoodoo: to keiths: Hey, you didn’t answer the question!!

    And you haven’t answered mine:

    RoyLT: to phoodoo: Assuming that you believe in the existence of souls and a loving God… what percentage (very roughly estimated) of souls do you think have been sent to the fiery depths for eternal torment?

  28. CharlieM:

    What I mean is that if we see someone suffering we should not speculate on why they are suffering we should do what we can to alleviate their suffering.

    Why? You’ve told us that God has reasons for allowing their suffering. Who are you to interfere with God’s plan?

    You clearly haven’t thought this through, Charlie. You’re just making it up as you go.

    The conclusion — that God is loving — comes first. The rationalizations follow, as necessary. It’s the very opposite of truth-seeking.

  29. CharlieM: It’s okay to speculate on past suffering but definitely not on suffering that is in the process of happening. There is a time and place for everything.

    CharlieM: We are not in any position to judge the suffering of another.

    Unless it is in the past? Remember that several examples discussed on this thread did in fact occur in the past (e.g. Earthquake in Mexico, Jordanian Pilot).

    CharlieM: And IMO no one suffers in this life in any way that are not prepared to suffer in their higher nature.

    That does not sound like you are limiting it to the past only. It sounds like a general speculation on the nature of suffering. It appears to me that you are being highly inconsistent.

  30. keiths:

    Charlie’s case is particularly interesting, because he doesn’t really seem to trust the Bible and instead gets his Christianity from Steiner, of all people.

    CharlieM:

    It’s not that I don’t trust the Bible, it has more to do with the fact that what I read in the Bible is a translation of original communication in languages that that I do not speak and so in the main I have to rely on second hand sources in which the intended meaning may be lost. I do not believe that the translators always get it right.

    You’ve quoted this passage from Steiner with approval:

    However, it is very difficult to establish the facts about Jesus of Nazareth. In the first place all the principal documents that must come under consideration are the Gospels and the Pauline letters. But it is obvious that documents such as the Gospels cannot be counted as historical. There are four Gospels and from the external materialistic point of view they all contradict each other.

    You’re letting Steiner tell you what the supposed real meaning of these contradictory texts is.

    Steiner hurks up stuff like the following, and you lap it up:

    Thus we see that Esoteric Christianity has good reason for stating that the human being cannot yet master what he today possesses as physical body, because he has not yet reached the end of his evolution when his ego will have worked down even into the physical body. He also cannot yet master the ether body. He will only be able to master that when the Earth has reached the Venus state. Thus he cannot yet master physical and ether bodies through his ego. Only when he has developed Budhi and Atman will he be able to do this.

  31. keiths:

    The reason we can’t take the “clairvoyant investigations” of Steiner or the “research” of Hubbard seriously isn’t because I haven’t had similar experiences. It’s because they are the unverifiable blitherings of a couple of fatuous gasbags, and they bear the hallmarks of grade A crackpottery.

    CharlieM:

    When you have read any of his basic works such as The Way of Initiation, and I believe that you have thought about and pondered over what is written therein, then I might take your criticisms seriously.

    In other words: “You don’t know Rudy the way I do. If you did, you’d see that he isn’t a crackpot. He’s a misunderstood genius!”

    Out of curiosity, Charlie, how long have you been a Steiner acolyte? How many years?

  32. keiths:

    Either way, what was the point of Jesus’s death on the Cross, in your (presumably Steineresque) version of Christianity?

    CharlieM:

    At the time when humankind was going through a stage where it was progressing from having an animal like nature to gaining a self-conscious ego it received the temptation. At that time it was not developed enough to resist this temptation. So sin entered humankind through no fault of its own. So in order to compensate for this something had to take place by which humankind could be redeemed. That something was achieved by the actions of Christ uniting himself with earth existence.

    How does “Christ uniting himself with earth existence” entail getting tortured to death on a cross? Couldn’t Christ have found a less bloody way to “unite” himself with us?

  33. keiths:
    CharlieM:

    Why?You’ve told us that God has reasons for allowing their suffering.Who are you to interferewith God’s plan?

    Where did I say that suffering was part of God’s plan? Maybe by failing to act I am going against God’s plan. Christ commanded us to love one another. If I saw someone suffering and I saw no reason for their suffering I hope that I would help them if I could.

    You clearly haven’t thought this through, Charlie.You’re just making it up as you go.

    The conclusion — that God is loving — comes first.The rationalizations follow, as necessary.It’s the very opposite of truth-seeking.

    What if it is not a conclusion but an experience?

  34. RoyLT,

    RoyLT: Answer: Assuming the existence of souls arguendo, I have no idea how many souls exist or will exist. But I cannot fathom a reason why any of said souls (if they are in fact Created by and dear to a loving God), should be excluded from the eternal paradise in his presence. So while I can’t guess a number, I would say all of them.

    I think this doesn’t quite get my question. Your suggestion was to just skip the experience of life on Earth, because its evil to struggle, so why not just give everyone a Heaven instead. This is also what Rumraket has said, and Keiths, well who knows what he believes. So what I am saying is, if there is no Earth first, which has both good and bad experiences, and instead all you have are souls which never experienced anything but pleasure, then we must forget about choices. We must forget about relationships, we must forget about doing good, and being heroic, about being decent, about every aspect of human existence that we call good, because instead we are just brains in a vat which do nothing. So if you were only always just brains in a vat doing nothing, is there any difference between God only creating one souls ever, and creating an infinite number of souls, since the experience will be the same for all, and all will never have known any different.

    So if God created 10 souls, and just made them brains in a vat for eternity, then no one exists to complain why not 20 (if you are just a brain in a vat experiencing 24 hours of only pleasure, when is there time for complaining?). Or why not a billion, or why 5, or why not none. Its all the same.

    No choice, no good, not bad, no motivation, no movement, no love, no regrets, no improvement, no ideas, …1 or a billion, its all the same.

    So what percentage of souls are in hell? I have no idea, because I don’t believe in hell the way it is described. Maybe hell is just nothingness.

  35. keiths: The conclusion — that God is loving — comes first. The rationalizations follow, as necessary. It’s the very opposite of truth-seeking.

    The conclusion — that God is not loving — comes first. The rationalizations follow, as necessary. It’s the very opposite of truth-seeking. Yet it’s the keiths way.

  36. The conclusion — that God is not loving — comes first.

    No, the evidence comes first. This is not difficult, Mung.

  37. keiths:

    The conclusion — that God is loving — comes first.The rationalizations follow, as necessary.It’s the very opposite of truth-seeking.

    CharlieM:

    What if it is not a conclusion but an experience?

    A rational person would evaluate the experience. Is it trustworthy? Is it just wish fulfillment? Does it fit with the evidence? Does it make logical sense?

    A Steineroid, on the other hand, would just think “Me like! Me believe!”

  38. keiths:

    Any Christians out there who can answer the question I raise in this comment?

    (Also see the comment following that one, which preempts one possible answer.)

    Mung:

    I can.

    But of course he didn’t.

    Now’s your chance, Mung.

  39. CharlieM:

    What I mean is that if we see someone suffering we should not speculate on why they are suffering we should do what we can to alleviate their suffering.

    keiths:

    Why? You’ve told us that God has reasons for allowing their suffering. Who are you to interfere with God’s plan?

    CharlieM:

    Where did I say that suffering was part of God’s plan?

    Don’t play dumb. You’ve been telling us all along that God allows suffering for a reason.

    Maybe by failing to act I am going against God’s plan.

    Maybe by acting you are going against God’s plan. If God is willing to allow their suffering, then why aren’t you? Do you think God is screwing up and that you have to step in to fix God’s mess?

    If suffering is a learning experience that the victim’s ‘higher nature’ signed up for, then who are you to deprive their ‘higher nature’ of that experience?

    You’re tripping over your own arguments, Charlie.

  40. CharlieM: What if it is not a conclusion but an experience?

    What’s your motivation for being at TSZ if you’re not interested in having a reasoned argument about what is most likely to be true?

  41. phoodoo: So what percentage of souls are in hell? I have no idea, because I don’t believe in hell the way it is described. Maybe hell is just nothingness.

    Maybe that is an argument for a good God, we were in hell before we were born and we will be in hell after. Life is just a vacation from nothingness.

Leave a Reply