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.

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

  1. Christians, here’s my latest question again:

    Why does your supposedly loving God limit salvation to those who suck up to him? Why not do the loving thing and grant salvation to everyone?

  2. keiths: Christians, here’s my latest question again:

    Why does your supposedly loving God limit salvation to those who suck up to him? Why not do the loving thing and grant salvation to everyone?

    Why should Christians spend time correcting your misunderstandings given that you don’t admit when you’re wrong and you don’t change your ways?

    For example, aren’t there numerous passages in the bible that specifically address people who “suck up” to God? What do they say? In my recollection, they don’t paint a pretty picture.

    The same can be said with regard to salvation. Apparently you believe what you want to believe.

    So I reject your premise. As usual.

  3. keiths: Poor phoodoo. Reduced to lying about my position.

    Your position is that God does not exist. You don’t seem convinced though.

    Meanwhile, the list of questions he’s avoiding just gets longer and longer.

    Endless questions. And from the lack of response you can conclude what, exactly?

    The Grand Inquisitor

  4. While the first of these comments is from an earlier post on this thread, the second is from a different OP that I came across while I was browsing. It is actually somewhat relevant to the discussion of Heaven we are currently having and I would be curious if vjtorley has any thoughts on it.

    From the current OP:

    vjtorley: Augustine was indeed a Christian, but he was a pretty cranky one, with a warped view of human nature. Thankfully his ideas had little influence over Eastern Christianity, and Aquinas forcefully rejected his gloomy view that unbaptized infants go to Hell.

    From the “God loves you, enjoy your eternity in Hell” OP in May of this year:

    vjtorley: You ask why God couldn’t make “two Paradises, one for those who want to be close to God and one for those who desire a separation.” At the very least, Paradise has to be a perfectly satisfying state, otherwise it isn’t Paradise. But if our hearts are made for God, as St. Augustine famously declared, and if the fact that our final happiness can only be found in God is an essential part of what it is to be human (or rational), then a Paradise without God will be impossible.

    To an unbiased observer it might appear somewhat incongruous that Augustine could have ‘famously declared’ while having (thankfully) ‘little influence of Eastern Christianity’.

  5. phoodoo: Of course, all along, I have said the consequences of this world are necessary, given choice, but you apparently don’t want choice as well.

    Yes, you have repeated that bald and unsupported assertion several times. But you have not shown why it should be so.

    phoodoo: No choice, no consequences no motivation.

    The key question is: Do you think that those things exist in Heaven?

    If so, then what good is Earth? And if not, why are those things so important for 70 or so years (or far less in the case of infant fatalities) on Earth if they are not needed in the paradise of eternity?

    In your ‘Loving God’ model, we toil and suffer through 70 years if we are lucky and then some subset of us go onto 24-hour whipped-cream orgasms for eternity while the other non-elect either go for eternal torment (or the much milder sentence of nothingness). In my ‘Loving God’ model we have the benefit of the whipped-cream orgasms for eternity without the toil and no one gets sent to Hell or Hell-Light. How is the God of your model more loving than the one in my model?

  6. Mung is avoiding the question in typical Mung fashion, but can any of you other Christians tell us why your supposedly loving God limits salvation to those who suck up to him? Why not do the loving thing and grant salvation to everyone, regardless of belief?

  7. keiths:
    CharlieM:

    Do you actually think you can defend it?Last time I asked, you begged off, citing your ignorance of tomatoes.

    See this:

    You lost the desire for truth a long time ago, Charlie, and installed Steiner-worship in its place.Decades have passed, but it isn’t too late to reverse course and seek the truth again.

    You seem to be obsessed with getting me to talk about Steiner and tomatoes although I already said that I thought it was off topic, and it’s true that I am no expert on them but I do like to eat them.

    You took the Steiner quote from his Agriculture Course given to farmers and interested parties at their request in 1924.

    Towards the end of the lecture he said:

    Full recognition is due to the tolerance which has been shown, which has allowed a number of interested persons, not actually farmers, to share in this Course. They must now recall the well-known opera and fix a padlock on their mouths. Do not fall into the prevalent anthroposophical mistake and straightway proclaim it all from the housetops. We have often been harmed in this way. Person who have nothing to say out of a real or well-founded impulse, but only repeat what they have heard, go passing things on from mouth to mouth. It has done us much harm. It makes a great difference, for example, whether a farmer speaks of these things, or one who stands remote from farming life. It makes a difference, which you will quickly recognise.
    What would result if our non-farmer friends now began to pass these things on, as a fresh and interesting chapter of anthroposophical teaching? The result would be what has occurred with many of our lecture-cycles. Others — including farmers — would begin to hear of these things from this and that quarter. As to the farmers — well, if they hear of these things from a fellow-farmer, they will say, “What a pity he has suddenly gone crazy!” Yes, they may say it the first time and the second time. But eventually — when the farmer sees a really good result, he will not feel a very easy conscience in rejecting it outright.
    If, on the other hand, the farmers hear of these things from unauthorised persons — from persons who are merely interested — then indeed “the game is up.” If that were to happen, the whole thing would be discredited, its influence would be undermined. Therefore it is most necessary: those of our friends who have only been allowed to take part owing to their general interest and who are not in the Agricultural Circle, must exercise the necessary self-restraint. They must keep it to themselves and not go carrying it in all directions as people are so fond of doing with anthroposophical things.

    What he wanted to achieve with this course is that the farmers that attended should first experiment with his recommendations, satisfy themselves that the methods brought beneficial results and only then openly talk about them from out of their own experiences.

    So, contrary to what you say, I am not a very loyal disciple of Steiner. Otherwise I would not be talking about things which I am relatively ignorant. As you seem to be happy for me to do so I am willing to speak about topics relating to this subject here. It shouldn’t have to be said that what I write are my beliefs and I don’t claim them as facts.

    If you want to know my thoughts about what Steiner said regarding tomatoes I will first have to explain things as I see them in general. I believe that this physical reality extends into a higher spiritual reality and whether or not we are aware of it we are part of that higher reality. I look around this physical world and I can differentiate between lifeless minerals, plants, animals, and humans. Plants have the quality of living growth over and above minerals. And we observe that animals possess the extra quality of sentience. Humans have these qualities and also rational self consciousness. The terms Steiner uses here are physical body, etheric or life body, astral body and ego.

    Now in reality everything has these attributes, but only in the human is it condensed into individual physical organisms. Plant egos remain as spiritual entities and the physical bodies which belong to those egos are made up of groups of plants such as complete species. When Steiner was talking about the qualities of tomatoes in the quote you posted, he was talking about the being of the tomato plant in its entirety, ego, astral, life and physical aspects, and not just the physical plant that we see before us. That is as much as I want to say at the moment.

    It is not hard to understand why someone with your world outlook would consider it horseshit. These thoughts are totally foreign to your way of thinking.

  8. RoyLT: In my ‘Loving God’ model we have the benefit of the whipped-cream orgasms for eternity without the toil and no one gets sent to Hell or Hell-Light.

    So in your model, where is choice and consequences?

  9. phoodoo,

    Speaking of “choice and consequences”, here is one of the many questions you’ve been avoiding:

    If earthly life, with its choices and consequences, is so important, why does God steal it from infants and children who die young?

    Guess it’s not so important after all.

  10. CharlieM,

    You seem to be obsessed with getting me to talk about Steiner and tomatoes although I already said that I thought it was off topic, and it’s true that I am no expert on them but I do like to eat them.

    It isn’t just the tomatoes, Charlie. Every Steiner quote we’ve discussed has been evidence-free horseshit, whether he was talking about tomatoes, black people, or this:

    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.

    CharlieM:

    It is not hard to understand why someone with your world outlook would consider it horseshit. These thoughts are totally foreign to your way of thinking.

    My “world outlook” is not the issue. I’ve come to accept things, like quantum mechanics and relativity theory, that were completely “foreign to my (earlier) way of thinking.”

    I accepted them because they made sense and the evidence supports them. The deliverances of Steiner’s sphincter do not qualify by that standard.

  11. keiths,

    Just to be sure you understand what you are quoting can you tell me what Steiner means by “Saturn” here and how it compares with the present planet that we observe in the night sky?

  12. phoodoo,

    The answer to my question does matter to your argument.

    You and I know that, and the readers know it.

    Here it is again:

    If earthly life, with its choices and consequences, is so important, why does God steal it from infants and children who die young?

    It’s OK to admit that you have no idea. If you could answer my questions, you would have done so by now.

  13. CharlieM:

    Just to be sure you understand what you are quoting can you tell me what Steiner means by “Saturn” here and how it compares with the present planet that we observe in the night sky?

    The quote is Steineresque, evidence-free horseshit about the “spiritual aspects” of the heavenly bodies.

  14. keiths:
    CharlieM:

    The quote is Steineresque, evidence-free horseshit about the “spiritual aspects” of the heavenly bodies.

    It may very well be Steineresque, evidence-free horseshit but in order for your claim to be taken seriously you really need to demonstrate that you understand what he meant by the term.

  15. Charlie,

    Here’s another sample:

    Whereas in endeavouring to fathom the mysteries of the universe we should turn to the Moon in vain, whereas we must win the confidence of the Moon Beings if we are to learn anything from them about cosmic mysteries, this is not necessary with Saturn. With Saturn, all that is necessary is to be open to receive the spiritual. And then, to the eyes of spirit and soul, Saturn becomes a living historian of the planetary system. Nor does he withhold the stories he can tell of what has come to pass in the planetary system. In this respect Saturn is the exact opposite of the Moon. Saturn speaks unceasingly of the past of the planetary system with such inner warmth and zest that intimate acquaintance with what he says can be dangerous. For the devotion with which he tells of past happenings in the universe arouses in us an overwhelming love for the cosmic past. Saturn is the constant tempter of those who listen to his secrets; he tempts them to give little heed to earthly affairs of today and to immerse themselves in what the Earth once was. Above all, Saturn speaks graphically about what the Earth was before it became Earth, and for this reason he is the planet who makes the past unendingly dear to us. Those who have a particular inclination towards Saturn in earthly existence are people who like to be gazing always into the past, who are opposed to progress, who ever and again want to bring back the past. These indications give some idea of the individuality, the individual character, of Saturn.

    This is typical of Steiner’s output. Page after page of horseshit produced by “clairvoyant investigation” and supported by no evidence whatsoever.

    Tell us, Charlie — can you confirm that “whereas we must win the confidence of the Moon Beings if we are to learn anything from them about cosmic mysteries, this is not necessary with Saturn”? If so, how did you ascertain that? If not, why should we take Steiner’s word for it?

    And do you honestly fail to see how convenient it is for Steiner to say:

    He must begin with a certain fundamental attitude of the soul: the student of Occultism calls it the Path of Devotion, of Veneration. Only he who maintains this attitude can, in Occultism, become a disciple. And he who has experience in these things is able to perceive even in the child the signs of approaching discipleship. There are children who look up with religious awe to those they venerate. For such people they have a respect which forbids them to admit even in the innermost sanctuary of the heart any thought of criticism or opposition. Such children grow up into young men and maidens who feel happy when they are able to look up to anything venerable. From the ranks of such children are recruited many disciples.

    Don’t admit, even in “the innermost sanctuary of the heart”, any thought of criticism or opposition. Just blindly believe, says Steiner.

    Unfortunately, you seem to have taken Steiner’s advice.

  16. keiths: And do you honestly fail to see how convenient it is for Steiner to say:

    He must begin with a certain fundamental attitude of the soul: the student of Occultism calls it the Path of Devotion, of Veneration. Only he who maintains this attitude can, in Occultism, become a disciple. And he who has experience in these things is able to perceive even in the child the signs of approaching discipleship. There are children who look up with religious awe to those they venerate. For such people they have a respect which forbids them to admit even in the innermost sanctuary of the heart any thought of criticism or opposition. Such children grow up into young men and maidens who feel happy when they are able to look up to anything venerable. From the ranks of such children are recruited many disciples.

    Don’t admit, even in “the innermost sanctuary of the heart”, any thought of criticism or opposition. Just blindly believe, says Steiner.

    Unfortunately, you seem to have taken Steiner’s advice.

    Fortunately Steiner updated the book after the copy you have taken the quote from. He did this in order to avoid the misunderstandings such as those you demonstrate. As he said in a later edition:

    I believe I have sufficiently stressed the fact that the teacher’s authority and the pupil’s faith in him should play no greater part in spiritual schooling than in any other branch of knowledge or life.

    The updated version of the passage you quoted reads:

    He must begin with a certain fundamental attitude of soul. In spiritual science this fundamental attitude is called the path of veneration, of devotion to truth and knowledge. Without this attitude no one can become a student. The disposition shown in their childhood by subsequent students of higher knowledge is well known to the experienced in these matters. There are children who look up with religious awe to those whom they venerate. For such people they have a respect which forbids them, even in the deepest recess of their heart, to harbor any thought of criticism or opposition. Such children grow up into young men and women who feel happy when they are able to look up to anything that fills them with veneration. From the ranks of such children are recruited many students of higher knowledge. Have you ever paused outside the door of some venerated person, and have you, on this your first visit, felt a religious awe as you pressed on the handle to enter the room which for you is a holy place? If so, a feeling has been manifested within you which may be the germ of your future adherence to the path of knowledge. It is a blessing for every human being in process of development to have such feelings upon which to build. Only it must not be thought that this disposition leads to submissiveness and slavery. What was once a childlike veneration for persons becomes, later, a veneration for truth and knowledge.

    He does not advise devotion to any person, he advises “devotion to truth and knowledge”.

  17. keiths: Mung is avoiding the question in typical Mung fashion…

    I said that you were clearly wrong on both counts. If that’s what you want to call “avoiding the question” then so be it. You appear to lack the requisite familiarity with the relevant texts. You can’t blame me for that. [Well, you can, lol. But who will believe you?]

  18. keiths: Sucking up to God gets’ you in!

    Malachi:
    It is you priests who show contempt for my name.
    But you ask, How have we shown contempt for your name?
    By offering defiled food on my altar.

    God seems to be not at all pleased with these people trying to “suck up” to Him. So keiths premise 1 is false. Sucking up to God doesn’t guarantee you anything.

    keiths, do you want more examples of attempts to suck up to God which are rejected by God? Will you admit that your premise is false?

  19. God’s voice thunders in marvelous ways; he does great things beyond our understanding. He says to the snow, ‘Fall on the earth,’ and to the rain shower, ‘Be a mighty downpour.’

    Job 37:5-6 NIV

    According to Job, God is responsible for the intensity of the rain. keiths chooses to ignore this evidence.

  20. Those who sacrifice thank offerings honor me, and to the blameless I will show my salvation.

    – Psalm 50:23

    So keiths premise 2 is false.

  21. Poor Mung is afraid to quote my actual question, because it spoils his attempts at equivocation:

    Mung is avoiding the question in typical Mung fashion, but can any of you other Christians tell us why your supposedly loving God limits salvation to those who suck up to him? Why not do the loving thing and grant salvation to everyone, regardless of belief?

    [emphasis added]

    Well, Mung? Why doesn’t he?

  22. CharlieM,

    Steiner’s revised version of that paragraph is hardly any better. After all, he’s the one claiming to impart “truth and knowledge” to his followers through those lectures, and so the “truth and knowledge” he’s asking his followers to “venerate” is still coming from him.

    And by “veneration”, he still means the same sheeplike, unquestioning acceptance he was urging before:

    He who possesses within himself this feeling of devotion, or who is fortunate enough to receive it from his education, brings a great deal along with him, when, later in life, he seeks an entrance to the higher knowledge. But he who brings no such preparation will find himself confronted with difficulties even upon the first step of the Path of Knowledge, unless he undertakes, by rigorous self-education, to create the devotional mood within himself. In our time it is especially important that full attention be given to this point. Our civilisation tends much more towards criticism, the giving of judgments, and so forth, than toward devotion, and a selfless veneration. Our children already criticise far more than they worship. But every judgment, every carping criticism, frustrates the powers of the soul for the attainment of the higher knowledge, in the same measure that all heartfelt devotion develops them. In this we do not wish to say anything against our civilisation. It is in no way a question of passing a criticism upon it. It is just to this critical faculty, this self-conscious human judgment, this “prove all things and hold fast the good,” that we owe the greatness of our civilisation. We could never have attained to the science, the commerce, the industry, the law of our time, had we not exercised our critical faculty everywhere, had we not everywhere applied the standard of our judgment. But what we have thereby gained in external culture we have had to pay for with a corresponding loss of the higher knowledge, of the spiritual life.

    He’s telling you to withhold judgment and blindly believe. You’ve taken his advice, with disastrous results.

  23. I also notice that you passed over these questions:

    Tell us, Charlie — can you confirm that “whereas we must win the confidence of the Moon Beings if we are to learn anything from them about cosmic mysteries, this is not necessary with Saturn”? If so, how did you ascertain that? If not, why should we take Steiner’s word for it?

    Is this a “truth” we must “venerate”, as Steiner urges, by withholding our questions and criticisms?

    Do you see how much horseshit you’ve swallowed as a result of following Steiner’s goofy advice?

  24. keiths: He’s telling you to withhold judgment and blindly believe. You’ve taken his advice, with disastrous results.

    No he isn’t. You cannot do both of these things simultaneously. How can you withhold judgement and blindly believe when to blindly believe is to judge something to be true without good reason? Think about it. You seem to have a one-sided view of what it means to judge.

  25. keiths:
    I also notice that you passed over these questions:

    Is this a “truth” we must “venerate”, as Steiner urges, by withholding our questions and criticisms?

    We should never withhold questions.

    I passed over these questions because I reserve the right to withhold judgement on these matters and so I have nothing to add. You have still not come close to answering my earlier question:

    Just to be sure you understand what you are quoting can you tell me what Steiner means by “Saturn” here and how it compares with the present planet that we observe in the night sky?

  26. Mung: According to Job, God is responsible for the intensity of the rain. keiths chooses to ignore this evidence.

    And lack of intensity of rain as well?

  27. CharlieM:

    Just to be sure you understand what you are quoting can you tell me what Steiner means by “Saturn” here and how it compares with the present planet that we observe in the night sky?

    I told you already. Steiner is talking about the “spiritual aspects” of the planets, not their physical nature. When he says crap like this…

    In this respect Saturn is the exact opposite of the Moon. Saturn speaks unceasingly of the past of the planetary system with such inner warmth and zest that intimate acquaintance with what he says can be dangerous.

    …he is not saying that Saturn flaps his rings and thereby tells us these things. Even Steiner is not that loony, though he comes close. He is talking about a kind of planet-soul communicating through non-physical means.

    keiths:

    Tell us, Charlie — can you confirm that “whereas we must win the confidence of the Moon Beings if we are to learn anything from them about cosmic mysteries, this is not necessary with Saturn”? If so, how did you ascertain that? If not, why should we take Steiner’s word for it?

    CharlieM:

    I passed over these questions because I reserve the right to withhold judgement on these matters and so I have nothing to add.

    Ha ha. Interesting how reticent you become whenever I ask about specifics.

    Perhaps you could weigh in on the following statements, or do you “reserve the right to withhold judgment” on them, also?

    Jupiter is a planet with a different character. Jupiter is the Thinker in our planetary system, and thinking is the activity cultivated by all the Beings in his cosmic domain.

    And:

    When efforts to bring clarity of thought to bear upon some weighty problem of existence are unsuccessful because of physical, etheric, and especially astral hindrances, the Jupiter Beings come to the help of mankind.

    And:

    Unlike Jupiter, who withholds his wisdom in the form of thoughts. Mars is constantly blurting out to the souls in his sphere whatever in the cosmos is accessible to him — which is not everything. Mars is the most talkative planet in our system, and he is particularly active when human beings talk in sleep or in dream. Mars has a great longing to be always talking, and whenever some quality in human nature enables him to make a man loquacious, he stimulates this tendency.

    And if you happen to “withhold judgment” on all of those, then let’s talk about something you weren’t so reticent about. These are your own words:

    In anthroposophy the forces for good are opposed by two forces, the Luciferic and the Ahrimanic. These can be considered as forces of light and darkness. It is the Luciferic influence that we have gained freedom but we have acquired it before we have become mature enough to us it in the correct way. Ahrimanic influences blind us to true reality. We become trapped in materialism due to Ahrimanic influences.

    Care to tell us how you ascertained all that?

  28. keiths:

    He’s telling you to withhold judgment and blindly believe. You’ve taken his advice, with disastrous results.

    CharlieM:

    No he isn’t. You cannot do both of these things simultaneously.

    Sure you can.

    How can you withhold judgement and blindly believe when to blindly believe is to judge something to be true without good reason?

    You can blindly believe something without applying any judgment. You just accept it without judging it. This appears to be a process you have some personal acquaintance with.

  29. Charlie,

    It’s no mystery why Steiner discourages the very things that would enable people to see through his horseshit.

    He who wishes to become a disciple must therefore assiduously cultivate the devotional mood. Everywhere in his environment he must look for that which demands of him admiration and homage. Whenever his duties or circumstances permit, he should try to renounce entirely all criticism or judgment.

    No judge. No criticize. No want truth. Me like Steiner! Me believe Steiner!

  30. keiths: Poor Mung is afraid to quote my actual question, because it spoils his attempts at equivocation:

    Another keiths attempt to rewrite history. He actually had two questions and I answered both. His premise is false.

  31. keiths: …but can any of you other Christians tell us why your supposedly loving God limits salvation to those who suck up to him?

    Sucking up to God doesn’t ensure acceptance by God. The bible is quite clear on this point. So keiths has relied on a false premise. No doubt he’ll take that as yet more evidence that God does not exist.

  32. Mung,

    How convenient that you dropped my last sentence (in bold below):

    Mung is avoiding the question in typical Mung fashion, but can any of you other Christians tell us why your supposedly loving God limits salvation to those who suck up to him? Why not do the loving thing and grant salvation to everyone, regardless of belief?

    You’re ashamed that you can’t give a good answer. It’s obvious and completely unsurprising. People already know that you can’t defend your faith.

    You’re not a thinker, and so when people who do think about such things pose these sorts of questions to you, you’re caught flat-footed.

  33. Christians,

    Hours from now, many of you will be in church, worshiping your supposedly loving God. How would you answer my question? Why doesn’t God do the loving thing and grant salvation to everyone, regardless of belief?

  34. And if any of you happen to be universalists (who think that God grants salvation to everyone), then congratulations — the God you believe in is more loving than the one many of your fellow Christians believe in. But then, how do you reconcile your belief with conflicting passages from the Bible (assuming you even bother to try)?

  35. keiths: How convenient that you dropped my last sentence (in bold below):

    Yet another pathetic attempt at revisionist history. I answered both your questions.

    keiths: And if any of you happen to be universalists (who think that God grants salvation to everyone), then congratulations — the God you believe in is more loving than the one many of your fellow Christians believe in.

    So you knew that your premise was false.

  36. keiths: Christians,

    Hours from now, many of you will be in church, worshiping your supposedly loving God. How would you answer my question? Why doesn’t God do the loving thing and grant salvation to everyone, regardless of belief?

    What happened to your other question, the one about sucking up to God? Are you ashamed that you could be so ignorant about what the bible says so you want everyone to just forget that you asked such an ignorant question?

    You were wrong. Admit it.

  37. Mung,

    From the OP:

    j) he [God] 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?

    You’ve been equivocating on the meaning of “sucking up”, but the OP makes it obvious that I am talking about belief.

    Your desperation is palpable. You’ll do anything to avoid addressing the question, which is

    Why doesn’t God do the loving thing and grant salvation to everyone, regardless of belief?

    Thinking folks can see the problem. You are afraid to confront it.

    You were told what to believe, and so you believed it. You’re not the kind of person who thinks for himself.

  38. Steiner informs us that the heart is not a pump. Thanks, Rudolf!

    What in Osteology and Myology is only a slight defect becomes an evident defect in Cardiology. For, what is the common belief about the nature of the human heart? It is regarded as a kind of Pump, to send the blood into the various organs. There have been intricate mechanical analogies, in explanation of the heart’s action — analogies totally at variance with embryology, be it noted! — but no one has begun to doubt the mechanical explanation, or to test it, at least in orthodox scientific circles.

  39. What about the people that get shot in the head and don’t get a chance to squeeze in their final plea? Even though had they the chance they would have?

    And presumably Mung’s god knows they would have done that, given the chance.

    It’s a bit like why god hates amputees. The difference between a life of eternal suffering or eternal bliss is simply what way you happened to be facing when the shooter pulled the trigger. Seems a bit arbitrary. Likewise limb regrowth. god’ll cure cancer, blindness and even fly you around the village for a day like a bird but he’ll be fucked if he’ll regrow a missing limb.

    Only in America, I guess.

  40. OMagain:

    What about the people that get shot in the head and don’t get a chance to squeeze in their final plea?

    I raised that issue with Vincent Torley:

    keiths:

    What’s interesting is most Christians’ odd insistence that if you convert after death, it’s too late. You’re gonna burn.

    Why in heaven’s name (so to speak) would God take such an uncompromising, unloving stance? It’s the opposite of the attitude the father takes in the parable of the prodigal son.

    vjtorley:

    You’re making three assumptions here, all of which may be mistaken:

    (i) that death comes suddenly and unexpectedly upon certain people, so that they have no time to repent;

    keiths:

    If you’re killed instantly by a bomb explosion or a shotgun blast to the head, you don’t have time to even think about repenting.

    vjtorley:

    Good point. But it all depends on how you define “death.” A doctor would define it in terms of brain death, but it doesn’t follow that death in the spiritual sense of the word is an instantaneous process.

    And:

    People, in their dying moments, may have an extended sense of time, if the reports of NDE experiencers are anything to go by. What appears to us to be an instantaneous death (e.g. decapitation by guillotine) may feel like a prolonged period to the person undergoing it. During that time, the individual may have an out-of-body experience and a life review, making a final decision to love or defiantly oppose God, just prior to the separation of soul and body.

    keiths:

    Do you see how ad hoc this is, Vincent?

    You’re starting with your desired conclusion — that God is loving — and reasoning backward from it to the necessary assumptions.

    The evidence shows that God is unloving, so what do you do? Propose some assumptions, out of the blue, to rescue your assumed conclusion.

    You don’t want the truth; you want Jesus. (And I say that with some sympathy. I remember feeling the same way at the beginning of my apostasy.)

  41. phoodoo,

    Hey Keiths, where is the choice, for a brain in a vat having 24 hour orgasms?

    Why are you asking, when that has nothing to do with the argument I am making?

    Now back to my question, which has everything to do with your “choice” argument:

    If earthly life, with its choices and consequences, is so important, why does God steal it from infants and children who die young?

    It’s obvious that your answer is “I don’t know; I hadn’t thought of that.” Why not just admit it?

  42. keiths,

    Its obvious its very important to your argument. Saying “Its not important to my argument” is just you being afraid to answer, right?

    Be brave. Where’s the choice? Enough dodging keiths. That didn’t work out so good for you last time, did it?

  43. phoodoo,

    Its obvious its very important to your argument.

    Then you’ll be able to explain why. Quote me and tell us how what you’ve quoted depends on whether perpetually orgasming brains-in-vats are exercising choice.

    Or fail again, as usual. It’s up to you.

  44. Meanwhile, if choice is so important to your God, why does he steal it from infants and children who die young? And what about all those fetuses he aborts?

    Choice doesn’t seem so important after all, does it?

  45. phoodoo: So in your model, where is choice and consequences?

    phoodoo: To RoyLT: No choice, no consequences no motivation.

    It seemed quite clear to you 2 comments ago. No choice, no consequences. My model is Heaven for all, whether it’s one brain in a vat or an infinite number of brains. Just whipped-cream 24 hours a day.

    So, once again I ask you:

    RoyLT: To phoodoo: How is the God of your model more loving than the one in my model?

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