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.

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

  1. Mung,

    keiths, is your problem with the cross, or is it with various doctines of atonement?

    Read the OP, and wake me up when you have a counterargument to offer.

    Follow Vincent’s example. Notice how he quotes something I have written and actually responds to it, giving reasons for his disagreement. It’s called ‘debate’, and it’s a skill you should cultivate.

  2. keiths: If God isn’t doing them a disservice by failing to create them, then what would be wrong with a world in which he only created morally perfect beings?

    Even with morally perfect beings you still have the issue of hurricanes and disease.

  3. newton,

    Even with morally perfect beings you still have the issue of hurricanes and disease

    Yes, definitely.

  4. keiths: Read the OP, and wake me up when you have a counterargument to offer.

    I’ve read the OP. It doesn’t contain any argument. Sleep on Rip.

  5. keiths: Follow Vincent’s example. Notice how he quotes something I have written and actually responds to it, giving reasons for his disagreement. It’s called ‘debate’, and it’s a skill you should cultivate.

    From the OP:

    a) creates people and sticks them in a Garden;

    Not an argument. Doesn’t even function as a premise in an argument.

  6. Mung,

    Your earlier comment sums up your approach nicely:

    La la la I can’t hear you

    You’re unable to defend your faith against my argument, so you pretend that there is no argument.

    Vincent, being braver than you are, addresses the argument.

    No surprise there.

  7. Vincent,

    In modern parlance, one could say that God is a tri-polar being, with the three poles in constant communion with one another, within the one Divine Mind. Pole A (the Father) is the root pole. Pole B (the Son) is continually (or I should say, timelessly) generated from pole A’s thinking about itself. B is A’s expression of itself. Pole C (the Spirit) is generated from the mutual love between pole A and pole B.

    That doesn’t make much sense to me (nor, apparently, to dazz or to RoyLT). A separate thread on the Trinity might be useful. I’ll add it to my list of potential topics, and of course if you or anyone else is motivated in the meantime to do an OP on it, that would be great.

    I do have one quick question, though. Your account makes the Son’s existence dependent on the Father’s thinking about himself, and it makes the Spirit’s existence dependent on the Father’s and Son’s love for each other. To me, that appears to make the Son and the Spirit dependent on the Father, but not vice-versa.

    How do you reconcile that with the idea that the three are “coequal”, assuming that you do in fact believe that they are?

  8. keiths: You’re unable to defend your faith against my argument, so you pretend that there is no argument.

    If you’re arguing against a particular Christian doctrine why not just say so and make that clear? Because if you are, the book I linked to is of utmost relevance.

    You don’t want any actual discussion because your “argument” is so weak as to be non-existent.

    From the OP:

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

    Actually, there were two trees they were not allowed to eat from. In fact, that’s given as the reason they were expelled. You’re not even familiar with the text.

    Oh, and that’s not an argument. Or even a premise in an argument.

  9. RoyLT: So you’re clearly saying that God and Jesus are different beings, right Mung?

    “For this cause therefore the Jews were seeking all the more to kill Him, because He not only was breaking the Sabbath, but also was calling God His own Father, making Himself equal with God,” (John 5:18, NASB).

  10. Mung: “For this cause therefore the Jews were seeking all the more to kill Him, because He not only was breaking the Sabbath, but also was calling God His own Father, making Himself equal with God,” (John 5:18, NASB).

    I didn’t ask for John’s opinion on the subject, I asked for yours. Are you saying that God and Jesus are different beings?

  11. vjtorley: Option ( c) is correct. For all we know, God could have created a race of rational beings lacking the freedom to choose evil, but possessing the freedom to choose between alternative goods.

    Reverting to the point of the OP, if our human notion of ‘loving’ is in any way consistent with reason, then it is unfathomable that a supposedly loving God would create a world with any appreciable amount of suffering if he could do otherwise. As a nod to phoodoo, it’s whip-cream orgasms or bust.

    And considering that we are made in his image, he is the gold-standard of morality, and his only begotten son (and lots of other stuff par excellence) was such a being, I don’t see how you hold that there is no obligation.

    vjtorley:This doesn’t exacerbate the problem of evil, unless you pose this problem as a general question, “Why did God create a world in which innocent sentient and sapient beings suffer?” This is not a good question, because God has no duty whatsoever to create the best of all possible worlds (even if there were one, which there isn’t), or even a world with the least amount of evil.

    Do you not believe that Heaven is the best of all possible worlds? When I referenced the Problem of Evil, I meant it in the more specific sense that has been discussed several times on this site. If God is pleased to create a realm where souls spend eternity gazing up the Beatific Vision and never choosing evil, then what good is Earth? I’m not sure if you have been part of those previous discussions, but the problem would appear rather relevant in the current context.

  12. RoyLT, to vjtorley:

    I don’t see how you hold that there is no obligation.

    This isn’t the first time Vincent has tried the “God isn’t obligated” angle. In an earlier OP, he wrote:

    While God may indeed have obligations towards His creatures, they are not natural obligations, because God’s voluntary decision to create does not spring from His nature; nor is it necessary, in order to complete or fulfill His nature. God would still be God, even if He had never chosen to make this world. He requires nothing outside Him, in order to realize His full potential.

    It follows from the above reasoning that the atheistic argument that God must (if He is all-wise and all-powerful) be less loving than a human parent, because He fails to protect His creatures in ways that a human parent would normally be obliged to do, is invalid. God does not have natural parental obligations.

    My response:

    Your argument from “natural parental obligations” doesn’t fit the bill.

    Remember the downed Jordanian pilot who was burned alive, in a cage, by ISIS? Suppose you’d had the power to intervene, at no danger to yourself or others, to save the pilot from his agonizing death. Would you have refused, saying “He’s not my son. I have no natural parental obligations toward him. Let him burn”?

    Your God let him burn.

    vjtorley:

    I have a natural human obligation to save a drowning man – or a burning one.

    keiths:

    What if it were a dog, not a human, in danger of being burned alive? If you had the power to intervene — at no danger to yourself or others — to save the dog from his agonizing death, would you refuse? Would you say “He’s not of my species. I have no natural human obligations toward him. Let him burn”? And then go on to describe yourself as a loving person?

    Whether it’s a dog or a Jordanian pilot, “let him burn” is not the loving response.

    Your God lets him burn.

    Later in that thread:

    vjtorley:

    Should God stop bad human agents right away when they do something that hurts other people, as any parent or concerned citizen would? I have attempted to argue that God has no natural obligations towards us that would oblige Him to step in right away and prevent the harm, as a human being ought to do in similar circumstances, whenever he/she is able to do so.

    keiths:

    That argument fails, as I explained earlier in the thread, because even if God truly has no obligation to intervene, that doesn’t prevent him from voluntarily doing so. Which, after all, would be the loving thing to do.

    Imagine God saying this to the Jordanian pilot:

    I love you more than you can imagine, more than anyone else in your life ever has. But I have no obligations toward you, so I’m going to let you burn. Enjoy your agony.

    What sane person would describe such a God as loving?

    That you would even make this argument shows what religion has done to your mind. Come on, Vincent — you’re smarter than this.

  13. You would think that God would be so far above us that we would have to judge him by a higher set of standards, far above the standards we use to judge ourselves and our fellow humans. Instead, theists have to lower the bar just to avoid embarrassing God. Vincent’s “God isn’t obligated” argument is an example of this sort of bar-lowering.

    In order to defend the idea of a loving God, Vincent has to debase the concept of love so much that it hardly qualifies as love any more. It becomes a mere grudging fulfillment of “obligations”, and nothing more. Why? Because “God is loving” is a predetermined conclusion, a dogmatic commitment. It must be forced to be true, even if that means distorting and trivializing love beyond all recognition.

    So we have God passively watching as a man burns to death, or as a dog eats the head of a living baby. And then Vincent will say, with a straight face:

    God loves each and every one of us with a steadfast, unshakable love which is greater than any of us can possibly imagine.

  14. Mung:

    From the OP:

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

    Actually, there were two trees they were not allowed to eat from. In fact, that’s given as the reason they were expelled. You’re not even familiar with the text.

    My statement is correct as written. Reading comprehension, Mung.

  15. keiths:

    You’re unable to defend your faith against my argument, so you pretend that there is no argument.

    Mung:

    If you’re arguing against a particular Christian doctrine why not just say so and make that clear?

    My argument is presented in the OP. Vincent gets it. You’re pretending not to.

    You’ve failed, as expected. Step aside and let Vincent have a go at it.

  16. keiths: You would think that God would be so far above us that we would have to judge him by a higher set of standards, far above the standards we use to judge ourselves and our fellow humans.

    Now that’s funny, I don’t care who you are.

  17. keiths: My argument is presented in the OP.

    From the OP:

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

    Not an argument. Not even a premise in an argument.

  18. Hi dazz,

    The trinity was the last nail in the coffin of my deconversion. It doesn’t make any sense at all. Sorry Vincent, but the above sounds like new-agey mumbo jumbo to me. Not contrary to reason?… well, if you say so…

    God, being a personal Being, thinks and loves. Necessarily, the thinker is distinct from his thought of himself, and equally necessarily, the act of knowing is distinct from the act of loving. So there has to be, at the very least, a distinction within God between thinker, thought and their mutual love.

    Hi keiths,

    I do have one quick question, though. Your account makes the Son’s existence dependent on the Father’s thinking about himself, and it makes the Spirit’s existence dependent on the Father’s and Son’s love for each other. To me, that appears to make the Son and the Spirit dependent on the Father, but not vice-versa.

    How do you reconcile that with the idea that the three are “coequal”, assuming that you do in fact believe that they are?

    You are indeed correct in concluding that the Son depends on the Father but not vice versa, and that the the Spirit’s existence is dependent on the Father’s and Son’s love for each other, but the father and the Son do not depend for their existence on the Holy Spirit.

    One might for that reason speak of the Father as greater than the Son and the Spirit. And in a certain sense He is: He is, as the Orthodox like to say, the fount of the Trinity, and even in John 14:28, Jesus says, “The Father is greater than I.” But at the same time, the Father is incapable of existing without the Son and the Spirit, since He cannot help but think and love. Also, the Son is the very image of the Father – so much so that Jesus says, “He who has seen me has seen the Father” (John 14:9). Since the three persons are inseparable, and since they share the same Mind (of which they occupy three distinct poles), then we can truly say that they are equal in majesty.

  19. Hi RoyLT,

    Reverting to the point of the OP, if our human notion of ‘loving’ is in any way consistent with reason, then it is unfathomable that a supposedly loving God would create a world with any appreciable amount of suffering if he could do otherwise. As a nod to phoodoo, it’s whip-cream orgasms or bust.

    What’s unfathomable is that God, supposing Him to have a plan to create a world containing the morally significant individuals which live in our cosmos, would fail to create a world which is populated by the same individuals that inhabit this one, and which contains no suffering, if there were a way of creating such a world.

    What’s also unfathomable is that God, supposing Him to have a plan to create a world containing the morally significant individuals which live in our cosmos, would fail to create a world which is populated by the same individuals that inhabit this one, and in which no-one goes to Hell, if there were a way of creating such a world.

    More than this we cannot conclude. If you want to argue that God should create a world containing different individuals from ours and in which no-one suffers, rather than creating this world, then you’re simply comparing apples and oranges. We can’t say that.

    It makes no sense to speak of God as “loving,” without asking, “Loving to whom?” Disinterested love is not love at all. You suppose that God, being perfectly loving, would necessarily choose to create the best world containing no suffering. I answer that utility maximization of this sort is neither virtuous nor loving, because it is impersonal. (As you can see, I’m not a utilitarian.)

    Do you not believe that Heaven is the best of all possible worlds? When I referenced the Problem of Evil, I meant it in the more specific sense that has been discussed several times on this site. If God is pleased to create a realm where souls spend eternity gazing up the Beatific Vision and never choosing evil, then what good is Earth?

    Earth is preparation for Heaven. We happen to be the kinds of persons who are incapable of attaining Heaven without having freely chosen between it and Hell. Perhaps God could have made other persons who didn’t need Earth as a waystation, but as it turns out, He chose to make us.

  20. Hi keiths,

    Do you think he [St. Paul] is wrong to claim that we are condemned on account of original sin?

    No. What does “condemned” mean here? Let’s look at Romans 5, verse 18 again:

    Consequently, just as one trespass resulted in condemnation for all people, so also one righteous act resulted in justification and life for all people.

    Since not everyone goes to Hell, that can’t be what St. Paul is referring to. Likewise, “life for all people” does not mean Heaven for everyone. So what do these terms mean? Go back to verse 17: “For if, by the trespass of the one man, death reigned through that one man…” So it makes sense to suppose that by “condemned,” St. Paul means: condemned to die. I think he also means: condemned not to be born in a state of friendship with God – in other words, condemned to be born without sanctifying grace, which is a free gift of God.

  21. vjtorley: You suppose that God, being perfectly loving, would necessarily choose to create the best world containing no suffering. I answer that utility maximization of this sort is neither virtuous nor loving, because it is impersonal.

    But if I change “world” for “heaven”?

    You suppose that God, being perfectly loving, would necessarily choose to create the best Heaven containing no suffering. I answer that utility maximization of this sort is neither virtuous nor loving, because it is impersonal.

  22. keiths: So we have God passively watching as a man burns to death, or as a dog eats the head of a living baby.

    The message of the cross is hardly one of a passive God.

  23. keiths:

    So we have God passively watching as a man burns to death, or as a dog eats the head of a living baby.

    Mung:

    The message of the cross is hardly one of a passive God.

    Who said it was? Think, Mung. The Christian God is not passive. However, he did passively watch, without intervening, as the Jordanian pilot burned to death and as the dog ate the infant girl’s head.

  24. vjtorley: Earth is preparation for Heaven.

    vjtorley: What’s also unfathomable is that God, supposing Him to have a plan to create a world containing the morally significant individuals which live in our cosmos, would fail to create a world which is populated by the same individuals that inhabit this one, and in which no-one goes to Hell, if there were a way of creating such a world.

    If you believe that God created Heaven, that its inhabitants are a subset of the same morally significant individuals who have lived in our Cosmos, that they are free from suffering and do not subsequently go to Hell, then there is a way of creating such a world and God has already done it.

  25. keiths:

    So we have God passively watching as a man burns to death, or as a dog eats the head of a living baby. And then Vincent will say, with a straight face:

    God loves each and every one of us with a steadfast, unshakable love which is greater than any of us can possibly imagine.

    What do you think, Mung? Is it loving to watch as someone burns to death, in agony, and doing nothing to stop it? When you could easily intervene at no danger to yourself or others?

  26. RoyLT, to Vincent:

    If you believe that God created Heaven, that its inhabitants are a subset of the same morally significant individuals who have lived in our Cosmos, that they are free from suffering and do not subsequently go to Hell, then there is a way of creating such a world and God has already done it.

    Roy,

    You missed part of Vincent’s argument. He thinks that an earthly sojourn is a necessary prerequisite for “graduating” to heaven:

    We happen to be the kinds of persons who are incapable of attaining Heaven without having freely chosen between it and Hell. Perhaps God could have made other persons who didn’t need Earth as a waystation, but as it turns out, He chose to make us.

    I don’t buy Vincent’s argument, but he did at least anticipate your point.

  27. keiths: ou missed part of Vincent’s argument. He thinks that an earthly sojourn is a necessary prerequisite for “graduating” to heaven:

    Whoops. Thanks for the heads up. It was fairly obvious where I was headed.

  28. vjtorley: Earth is preparation for Heaven. We happen to be the kinds of persons who are incapable of attaining Heaven without having freely chosen between it and Hell. Perhaps God could have made other persons who didn’t need Earth as a waystation, but as it turns out, He chose to make us.

    I fail to see how that reconciles the issue. As mentioned earlier, Jesus’ Incarnation was able to have choice without defying God. And Gabriel and Michael seemed to do fairly well for themselves without having to run the Earthly gauntlet.

    “We happen to be” is a just-so explanation and free choice on Earth with a substantial proportion of the species sentenced to eternal torment seems a rather callous way of prepping you believers for your eternity in Heaven.

  29. Mung: The message of the cross is hardly one of a passive God.

    “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:46 NASB)

    If this quote is to be believed, then at the very least ‘God the Son’ thought that ‘God the Father’ was being passive with regards to the suffering of the ‘human aspect’ of ‘God the Son’. Would you not agree?

  30. Vincent,

    Since not everyone goes to Hell, that can’t be what St. Paul is referring to.

    Paul doesn’t say that everyone goes to hell; he says that everyone is condemned. Sentences aren’t always carried out. They can be reversed.

    Here’s the verse again:

    18 Consequently, just as one trespass resulted in condemnation for all people, so also one righteous act resulted in justification and life for all people.

    Romans 5:18, NIV

    Christ justifies, meaning that he reverses the condemnation. The harsh sentence no longer applies. Unless you don’t suck up to God, that is. Then you’re in trouble.

    As Rich pointed out:

    Just a little note – you get given condemnation whether you want it or not but have to ask for accept salvation…

    Hence my criticism:

    Why not forgive everyone? Why this petulant “Well, if you’re not going to suck up to me, I’m not going to forgive you” attitude?

  31. vjtorley:

    Earth is preparation for Heaven. We happen to be the kinds of persons who are incapable of attaining Heaven without having freely chosen between it and Hell. Perhaps God could have made other persons who didn’t need Earth as a waystation, but as it turns out, He chose to make us.

    RoyLT:

    “We happen to be” is a just-so explanation and free choice on Earth with a substantial proportion of the species sentenced to eternal torment seems a rather callous way of prepping you believers for your eternity in Heaven.

    Vincent thinks (or perhaps “hopes” is a better word) that hell is relatively empty, and he supports that hope with some pretty wild speculations. This is from the “FMM throws Jesus under the bus” thread:

    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.

    And:

    Christians, we’ve already established that your supposedly loving God shits on people in this life. Any of you care to explain why he refuses to accept converts after death?

    Vincent’s response:

    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;

    (ii) that after death, it is still possible for a person to change their mind; and

    (iii) that people who choose to go to Hell do so without having any firsthand knowledge of what it’s like to be in Hell.

    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.

    After having had such an experience and an encounter with God, there may be no further possibility of repentance for the individual concerned, simply because there is nothing else that could possibly sway the individual’s mind. After all, if even an encounter with God at the point of death doesn’t induce a person to repent, then what possibly could?

    Finally, the prodigal son came to his senses only after experiencing hunger and poverty. If the NDE also includes a foretaste of Hell for those who have lived selfish lives, then it could truly be said that those who go to Hell are making a fully informed choice, from which they could not possibly repent.

    This is pure ad-hockery for the purpose of getting God (partially) off the hook. But it’s a good sign in one respect: it shows that Vincent’s conscience is troubled by the doctrine of hell and that he wants to minimize the unfairness of it. He’s becoming less Christian, day by day.

  32. keiths:

    Unless you don’t suck up to God, that is. Then you’re in trouble.

    Mung:

    I guess you’re in trouble then. 🙂

    Big trouble. 🙂

    Thank God that God doesn’t exist.

  33. keiths: When you could easily intervene at no danger to yourself or others?

    Easily intervene? Every time? Or only sometimes keiths?

    How many whip creams orgasms do you require, and how many babies do you want people to be able to throw off cliffs, or let them starve to death, and just let God take care of them so you have to do nothing?

    Your stupid argument about how God should control the world so nothing bad happens, is so infantile. We are mortal, yes its true! That makes God evil, because he didn’t make you out of rubber and whip cream?

    Maybe you have a point, maybe you should be angry at God for making your brain so simple that it can’t even think beyond a third grader with temper tantrums. Part of life involves struggle, and good and bad. Poor baby keiths. That’s what mortality is.

  34. Of course you’re grumpy, phoodoo. You’d like to be proud of your God, but instead you’re ashamed of him. You worship an inferior God.

    And who wouldn’t be ashamed of him? Your God — if he exists at all — is an asshole who stands by, doing nothing, while people drown, or burn to death, or slowly die underneath the rubble of collapsed buildings.

    Your excuse is that if God started rescuing people, where would it end? Wouldn’t they they start demanding endless massages and whipped cream orgasms?

    Now imagine a father who tries to use that excuse. He hears screaming coming from his young daughter’s bedroom. He opens the door and sees that she has toppled the dresser onto herself. She’s trapped and in pain. He says “Stop screaming, you brat! Life involves struggle, so get used to it. If I rescue you, the next thing I know you’ll be demanding Disneyworld passes and fudge for breakfast every day!” He storms out and slams the door, leaving the girl sobbing and trapped under the dresser.

    Does that sound loving to you, or would you — like most normal people — consider the father to be a hateful prick?

    Except for the phoodooesque dialogue, your God basically is that prick, and you actually worship him. You make excuses and debase your standards in order to get him off the hook.

    It’s a reason to be ashamed of yourself as well as of him. No wonder you’re grumpy.

  35. vjtorley:

    What’s unfathomable is that God, supposing Him to have a plan to create a world containing the morally significant individuals which live in our cosmos, would fail to create a world which is populated by the same individuals that inhabit this one, and which contains no suffering, if there were a way of creating such a world.

    You seem to be convinced that the set of “morally significant individuals” must be the same in any world that God considers creating, but why?

    I addressed that notion in an earlier comment:

    Vincent, to RoyLT:

    But if you were to ask, “Why do innocent sentient and sapient beings suffer in this world, which God created? Why couldn’t God have made us perfect?”, then the answer is that even if God could have made morally perfect rational beings, they wouldn’t be us. They’d be other individuals.

    So? There are countless trillions of possible people who will never exist. If God isn’t doing them a disservice by failing to create them, then what would be wrong with a world in which he only created morally perfect beings?

  36. keiths,

    So try to follow your thoughts for more than a nanosecond keiths. What SHOULD a loving God do according to you? Protect everyone from everything right? So no mosquitoes, no taking care of babies, no walking uphills, no needing to wake up in the mornings, no death.

    So, according to you then, a loving father wouldn’t let his daughter go out of the house, a tree might fall on her after all. He wouldn’t let her go on a date, she might get raped? He wouldn’t let her in a car, the car might explode. No stairs n the house, she might fall, no blankets, she might choke herself in her sleep.

    Is that your loving father keiths?

  37. Mung,

    Speaking of ‘Sky Daddy’, you still haven’t responded to my challenge from the other thread:

    A reminder for Mung:

    Don’t forget to answer my questions below in terms of your sophisticated, non-sky-daddy God.

    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?

    Your supposedly sophisticated, powerful, loving, non-sky-daddy God does that. Why?

    Why are you afraid to answer? (Rhetorical question.)

  38. phoodoo,

    So, according to you then, a loving father wouldn’t let his daughter go out of the house, a tree might fall on her after all. He wouldn’t let her go on a date, she might get raped? He wouldn’t let her in a car, the car might explode. No stairs n the house, she might fall, no blankets, she might choke herself in her sleep.

    Please stop trying to paraphrase me. You’re terrible at it.

    None of that is what I’m claiming. Let me rephrase it for you.

    You say:

    So, according to you then, a loving father wouldn’t let his daughter go out of the house, a tree might fall on her after all.

    If a loving father knew in advance exactly when and where a tree was going to fall, he would not let his daughter stand in that spot at that time.

    He wouldn’t let her go on a date, she might get raped?

    If he knew in advance that she was going to be raped on a date, a loving father would not let her go on that date.

    He wouldn’t let her in a car, the car might explode.

    If he saw that the car she was in was about to explode, he would rescue his daugher from it.

    Is the pattern starting to sink in?

    A loving father would try to protect his daughter from an imminent rape. Your God just shrugs and watches her being raped.

    Your God is an ass, phoodoo (if he exists at all, of course).

    You might as well be saying this:

    But I want to believe in a loving God. I don’t like the truth. Make it go away!

    Time to put away childish things, phoodoo. Face reality.

  39. A loving parent, given foreknowledge that their child might be born with [insert condition here], would prevent the birth of that child.

    See phoodoo. Parents suck.

  40. keiths:

    If a loving father knew in advance exactly when and where a tree was going to fall, he would not let his daughter stand in that spot at that time.

    You don’t know that and can’t know that. Therefore, you’re assuming it.

    keiths:

    If he knew in advance that she was going to be raped on a date, a loving father would not let her go on that date.

    You don’t know that and can’t know that. Therefore, you’re assuming it.

    keiths:

    If he saw that the car she was in was about to explode, he would rescue his daugher from it.

    You don’t know that and can’t know that. Therefore, you’re assuming it.

    Is the pattern starting to sink in?

  41. Mung,

    A loving parent, given foreknowledge that their child might be born with [insert condition here], would prevent the birth of that child.

    Says who?

    Now stop dodging and answer the questions.

  42. keiths:

    If he knew in advance that she was going to be raped on a date, a loving father would not let her go on that date.

    Mung:

    You don’t know that and can’t know that. Therefore, you’re assuming it.

    Mung is utterly baffled by the concept of love.

  43. keiths, your whole “argument” is one huge exercise in question-begging. phoodoo is correct. Time to put away childish things, keiths. Face reality.

  44. Mung,

    Despite your generally crappy behavior, I see at least one sign that you are capable of feeling love. You seem to love your cat, and I hope for his sake that my impression is correct.

    If you saw your cat in danger of being run over by a truck, wouldn’t you try to rescue him? Your love extends at least that far, doesn’t it? Yet your God simply watches as cats (and dogs, and humans) are run over every day.

    Why? Explain to us why your sophisticated, powerful, loving, non-sky-daddy-God can’t be bothered to do something that a loving human wouldn’t hesitate to do.

  45. keiths: If you saw your cat in danger of being run over by a truck, wouldn’t you try to rescue him? Your love extends at least that far, doesn’t it? Yet your God simply watches as cats (and dogs, and humans) are run over every day.

    I don’t even let my cat outdoors for fear he’ll get fleas, that’s how much I love my cat. Boy, but if I really loved him, I’d let him go outdoors.

    You realize, do you not, that you are engaging in exactly the sort of thing phoodoo says?

    God is the creator of cats and dogs just as God is the creator of humans. Doesn’t God have an obligation to cats and dogs to prevent them from from being harmed in any way? How about rats? Spiders? Bacteria?

    How do I know that my cat is going to be harmed? I don’t. If I have a child who loves my cat and my child chases the cat into traffic which one should I save? How do I know that my child is going to be harmed. I don’t. If I choose to protect the child does it mean I don’t love the cat?

    It comes down to nothing “bad” can happen to anything.

    And I’m still baffled about your response to love.

  46. keiths,

    But keiths, every parent that decides to have a baby knows that eventually that baby will get sick, and will die. And yet they have the baby ANYWAY!

    I guess they don’t love their children, or they would never have one.

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