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The Perfect God

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Have you ever tried to have a conversation about religion with a devout Christian only to find them completely unable to debate rationally? It seems no matter how many sound arguments you make or how many glaring contradictions you bring up, they still hold hard and fast to their beliefs and give you that “you are SO going to hell” condescending kind of look?

To me it seemed they would scoff in the face of obvious errors and contradictions and were singularly unwilling to entertain any counterpoint or other questioning of their faith and only seemed willing to engage in debate so as to have a forum for conversion. Well think I finally figured out the reason… They have to.

Unfortunately the Christians themselves have set this up from the beginning and it is ultimately the fuel that is firing their furor, their seemingly odd behavior and beliefs and their apparent inability to debate rationally.

Let’s go back to the beginning. Before Christians and Jews and Muslims, Gods were simply more powerful versions of humans. They laughed, they played, they ate ambrosia, they drank wine and they carried on (for you kids, this means screwing). Sometimes they would drink too much and destroy a town, other times they would see some hot babe or dude and anoint them with they godly favors (this also means screwing). Sometimes they would get pissed off at something you said or did and turn you into a goat or chain you to a rock so buzzards could peck out your liver or make you roll a rock up a hill for all eternity. They were jealous, showed favoritism and generally acted like spoiled children. This attitude of the gods and their frivolous behavior extended pretty much everywhere, from the Incas and The Maya to Babylon to Greece to China and Japan.

Then the Christians came along with their all-knowing, all-seeing, omni-everything God. Which if you are trying to overshadow a bunch of fallible pagan gods is a pretty good strategy. How do you compete with a god that knows everything and sees everything? That would be the best guy to have on your team, because the implication is that if your god created the heavens and the earth and the universe, then he also must have created all the gods and demons including Satan and would have supreme power over them. (which immediately brings up the whole question of if god is all powerful why does he allow blah blah blah blah blah – but that would be a logical question and thus does not apply here).

So how does this scenario create the whole Perfect God Syndrome. Well imagine this: if you believe that your god is a perfect being that is incapable of error or wrong doing or any other failing and your entire belief system is based on that, then imagine what would happen if you questioned it? The entire thing would come apart, since there can be no room for error with a god who is perfect. So, with this in mind, how would you react to questions or contradictions or anything contrary to the perfect god system? Deny, Rationalize, Deny.

They double screwed themselves with the idea that the bible is the divine word of god vs. a book of parables and teachings written by men – now you can’t question the bible either. All of this would be fine 2000 years ago before anyone could read the bible or talk with other people in any real capacity, but now we have mass printing, computers and the internet – the age of information has really put a damper on the perfect god – so deny, rationalize, deny.

Well, why not adapt the bible and the faith to fit modern times? The U.S. constitution is only a couple hundred years old and we already have almost 30 amendments along with a group of highly educated people whose sole purpose is to interpret and adapt the constitution to our times. Why not do this with Christianity, certainly it could use an upgrade after 2000 years, couldn’t it? Oops, Perfect God Syndrome again. An omnipotent being could easily craft a religion that would be just as applicable today as it was to middle eastern shepherds 2000 years ago. Thus to say that the religion or the bible needs tweaking means god is imperfect. So what’s the result? They cherry pick the scriptures they follow – like homosexuality is an abomination, but skip the part about not eating shrimp and shellfish or follow “thou shalt not kill” as it pertains to abortion and stem cell research, but skip the inconvenient commandment about keeping the Sabbath.

I’ll give them credit though, they HAVE been able to create a nice little Teflon screen that easily deflects logic or counter arguments that has made all this denial and rationalization possible.

Anything that would potentially be contradictory or questioning, they would simply consider as a test of their faith – sent by god, like he did to Job – thus they are immune to critically thinking about anything pertaining to their beliefs or belief system.

Ultimately this situation creates a pattern of behavior which forces the devout Christian to ignore anything contradictory and avoid any and all questions that they don’t have prepared answers for. Try it next time you come across one. You’ll get stock answers to questions and contradictions and when you probe deeper and exceed their programming, you’ll probably either get a lot of repeating of the pre-programmed answers or simply an end to the conversation and some derogatory under the breath comments finished with “I’ll pray for you”.

So in the end, there is no real discussion because ultimately you cannot have an honest debate with someone who has no ability to examine their point of view. Besides, when you come to the debate armed with the holy trump card of “no one can know the wisdom of god” where do you think you are going to get? Which is why no matter what happens they will always cling to their belief because to let go of it, they risk their entire belief system crumbling and if you have built your entire life around the church and your church friends and your church world – why do anything to risk it and either be ostracized or cut off completely?

We’ve all seen first hand the net result of this belief system. It’s the very same Perfect God Syndrome that fuels most of the religio-ethical debates. Take intelligent design. The rational person asks how someone could possibly believe in things like Noah’s Ark or 6-day creation, but now see this through the lens of Perfect God Syndrome. To even entertain the idea that life evolved through a natural process, takes God out of the equation. As such for a Christian to support evolution or other non god-centric science it puts them in the uncomfortable position of God not being involved. As a result they must come up with all sorts of nonsense to explain the contradictions and non-sequiters which is how you get support for 6-day creation despite mountains of geological information or crazy ideas that dinosaurs were only a few thousand years old and roam the earth with mankind. It is all a necessity because EVERYTHING is at stake. There is no line item veto or concession of the point – it’s all or nothing. You can’t have a perfect god running around with chinks in his armor, it just doesn’t work.

Either God is omnipotent and omniscient or he isn’t, there really isn’t a middle ground. As a result of this conundrum you have people who’s only recourse is to develop more and more complex denials and rationalizations so that their God stays intact – this is what causes Perfect God Syndrome. Unfortunately it’s only going to get worse as more and more science reveals historical evidence or lack therof and the secrets of the universe continue to be explained. The fact is that the further we go down this path the worse it will get, which is why Pope Eggs Benedict is so dead set against relativism. Relativism leads to questions and conditions which then lead to thinking. Absolutism provides inflexible and unquestionable directions so no thinking is needed. It’s also why we have such incredible polarization over religion. The more we learn, the less viable superstitions and controlling beliefs become, so in response, people get even more “faithful” and then start to use it as a defining characteristic.

This is how the Republicans managed to take over the country. By nominating themselves as God’s party with God’s chosen candidates and the keepers of the covenant and defenders of the faithful – a vote against them is a vote against God and what Christian would dare do that? But we can already see the damage that Perfect God Syndrome is causing for them. Why else would they have to fight so hard over Terri Schaivo so as to make a well-respected and learned doctor like Bill Frist come out with something so obviously bogus as his “diagnosis?” How else can you explain rational people flouting a life changing breakthrough like stem cells because it goes against God? This syndrome is so dangerous because it sets up a mental condition where reality and rationality are routinely ignored for religion, so it becomes increasing easy for that mentality to spill over into other aspects of life.

The irrational and non-sensical thinking that allows someone with Perfect God Syndrome to function in a fantasy land is the same one that keeps a person from seeing Iraq as a quagmire or admitting mistakes or taking responsibility. As a result you get continual slippery slope that people are more than willing to belly surf down. In the end, since no self-respecting Christian would or truly could question their faith, no amount of evidence, science, rational thinking or logic will help. The only really viable action is to try and catch as many people who are still questioning before they go past the point of no return, and for the rest, the only option is to wait it out until the entire system crashes under it’s own illogical weight.

Originally posted on The Rudicus Report

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About Rudicus

  • http://musical-guru.blogspot.com Mike

    This, of course, assumes that all Christians are Republicans and that’s simply not true.

  • http://www.templestark.com Temple Stark

    smoooookin.

    (without the question mark)

    Shoter version of your point, but not as well written – faith = faith = faith = ?

  • http://www.morethings.com/senate Al Barger

    Rudicus, this is a particularly outstanding piece of work. There will be heck to pay if it doesn’t get chosen as a BC editor’s pick- heck, I say!

    The abstract conception of the perfect Sky God really does set up a heller bunch of traps.

    You start getting off the track of Sky God perfection yourself there at the end when you start after the Republicans, though. There’s a LOT of legitimate room for concern over, for starters, stem cell research and medical ethics without just being a religious nutjob.

    Then there’s the whole idea of “faith.”

  • Jesophat Hesophat

    The thing about it is that Christians (trinitarians) are so unwilling to listen to anyone using logic as a resource. As a result, they are so far and so badly misguided, that when you come to them to tell them the truth, they become angry.

    Look up the following verses of the Bible: Numbers 23:19, Matthew 4:1, James 1:13 and the 10 Commandments.

    Also remember that when the people came to Jesus (peace be upon him) and asked him for a sign, he said, “there shall not come unto a sign, except the sign like unto the sign of Jonah (pbuh).”

    Most Christians accept this, that’s why they have the fish and the cross hanging on the back of their car. Well, it’s true you know, IF you understand what it really means and what really was the sign of Jonah (pbuh).

    For all practical purposes, I’ll make it short and straight to the point:

    a) Jonah (pbuh) was gone from the people’s sight and sound for **3** days. Jesus (pbuh) was gone from the people for the same amount of time.

    b) Jonah (pbuh) LIVED and escaped after the dire and straightened circumstances of pain and torture. The fact that he LIVED makes this a miracle. Jesus (pbuh) also LIVED and escaped being hung on the cross. It was a miracle because Jesus (pbuh) LIVED. He never died that’s what makes it such a miracle that’s so similar to Jonah (pbuh).

    And afterwards, Jesus (pbuh) came and ate fishsticks with the disciples (the dead don’t eat fish sticks).

    How fitting! Sorry Christians, if after this proof you don’t believe that God is One God who IS NOT JESUS or the Holy Spirt and Who is HIGHER and MIGHTIER than everything and everyone, then you are part of the ranks of the ignorant and part of the ranks of those who will burn in hell for joining others in worship to God.

    Destroy the concept of the trinity and stop from saying “three” – it is better for you and your souls. Seek forgiveness from God Alone and none else; take the straight path to God; take the teachings of the prophets as a means to grow in goodness and grow closer to God. But never let anyone stand in between you and God; and pray to none else except God.

    If anything in the Bible disagrees with the 10 commandments, reject it. Use the 10 Commandments as a means of Guidance as to what’s fiction and what’s fact in the Bible.

    Oh yeah, read the Qur’an. Don’t deprive yourself of any good. If you make yourself deprived, you’ll be sorry and regretful on the Day the account is cast.

    http://www.usc.edu/dept/msa/quran

    Good luck to you.

  • JB

    It’s funny…fundamentalist Christians are no better than fundamentalist Muslims (or anything fundamentalist). They all thing they are right, they all want a theocracy for a government, and they all want others to forcibly believe their crap.

    And don’t get me started on their ignorant bashing of science! If they don’t want evolution/stem cell research, please don’t take ANY modern medicines (or let your family take them either).

    It is a pity modern people are SO DUMB!

  • http://www.morethings.com/senate Al Barger

    Folks like JB, on the other hand, make me want to start defending Christians. When you start just insulting them, and disrespecting them as human beings like that, you start to look like an atheist version of the Church Lady doing your little (unearned) Superior Dance. For one thing, you’re painting with an extremely broad brush there.

  • Jesophat Hesophat

    I care about people – Christians and what not. We are all people of the human race. If I didn’t care about you all, would I care if you burn in Hell or not?

    And really, none but God Knows who is going to hell – bottom line.

    The Science is supported by the Qur’an; science is also supported by the Bible. It’s ignornant people who love to disregard science and argue that the Bible is nothing more than a religious book.

    While the Bible and The Qur’an are not science textbooks, but have plentiful information supporting what modern day science tells us – especially the Qur’an.

  • Georgio

    I enjoyed this perfectly written article

  • http://www.rudicusreport.blogspot.com Rudicus

    Jesophat,

    I know i’m going to Hell – I’ve already lined up a sweet loft right on the lava beach, so don’t worry about me.

    I’m not clear on what the generic term “science” means pertaining to the bible or qur’an. Could you be more specific and maybe offer a few examples of what you are talking about?

  • JB

    I am not talking about general Christians, but fundamentalists/evangelical. I mean a “literal interpretation” and trying to proselytize….this is the whacko type I rail against!

  • Jesophat Hesophat

    LOL @ Rudicus. Don’t say that. As long as you repent in secret to God and don’t make anyone equal with Him, believe and do good, you’ll be okay. :)

    Science topics in the Qur’an:

    *Creation of the heavens and the Earth
    *Astronomy
    *The Earth
    *Animal and Vegetable kingdoms
    *Human reproduction (from gestation to death and decay)

    I’m providing a link to a book where a Scientist objectively examines the Holy Scriptures (OT, NT and Qur’an) in light of scientific knowledge.

    http://home1.swipnet.se/islam/quran-bible.htm

    The author gives credit to parts of the Bible that are scientifically correct, and also discredits parts of the Bible that are not scientifically correct. He examines the Science written in the Qur’an and cross examines it against today’s knowledge about science.

    It’s an interesting read, and the chapters go by fairly quickly.

    Oh JB, I am also against fundamentalists and fanatics. Religion is easy, people try to make it more difficult by inventing things and being fanatical (i.e., Pat Robertson, Fallwell, etc.). Yuck.

  • Tube

    Well, this is one Christian who defends your freedom to state your opinion. After all, if this country wasn’t free, I would be forced to attend or worship a church against my will. This is a well written piece. Just don’t lump some of us with any other groups or political parties. I worship the way I want to. And I believe in the SEPARATION OF CHURCH AND STATE. They are not one and the same.

  • Vern Halen

    This happens all the time – people get into arguments about the Bible and try to base it on rational discourse: one side says the Earth was created in 6 days & the other side says how is that possible? If the Bible is read metaphorically, the way it is supposed to be, one would get more out of it. How do we know it is to read metaphorically? It says so itself – the fact that there are two contradictory creation stories right off the start in Genesis is the Bible’s way of saying, “This is not a textbook.” And as a bonus, you can still believe in God AND evolution at the same time.

    I’ve already had my say on this topic before, and explained it better. Actually, there’s one other thing – there should be an addition right at the end of the Bible, a quote from Paul Simon: “A man hears what he wants to hear and disregards the rest.”

  • Baronius

    Rudicus is right, of course. As a Christian, I’ve never even thought about the tough questions. None of us have in 2000 years. Like evil: I never noticed that there’s evil in the world. And the Old Testament codes differing from the New Testament codes. Pope Benedict, Thomas Aquinas, Blaise Pascal, none of us ever thought of that.

    I don’t know if you’ve ever read the book which is linked up top, but it was one of the most important books in my spiritual development. Russell argues so poorly on the subject of God’s existence that I realized how intellectually lazy non-Christians could be, even otherwise intelligent ones, when they’re dealing with matters of religion.

    Truth be told, if a Christian debates a non-Christian, he’ll get predictable canned answers that show the non-Christian isn’t listening. When you present the medieval proofs of God, you’ll get knee-jerk responses, some of which can be as shallow as the ones Russell uses (though not often). When they raise the subject of evil, you respond by saying that the persistence of the idea of evil indicates a timeless quality to it, an objective good and evil. He’ll change the subject.

    When you tell them that medical records from Nazi and Japanese experiments were destroyed because society knows that some lines should never be crossed, they say that the fetus looks like a fish. When you tell them that the President blocked federal funding of new fetal stem cell lines, they’ll say that the President has “stopped stem cell research”. When you cite the President’s Council on Bioethics, they’ll counter with Michael J. Fox, then say that Bush is stupid.

    Non-Christians suffer from the Fear of God Syndrome. They’re so afraid of having to accept a moral code that they resist looking at the evidence. And they mistake Christian humility for ignorance. Don’t all non-Christian do that? Or could there be differences among people?

  • http://www.rudicusreport.blogspot.com Rudicus

    Nice try as always Boronius, but none of what you say addresses the issues or the content of the post.

    I don’t know who you’ve been talking to, but I can assure you if we ever wanted to discuss the existence (or non existence of God) I guarantee you you won’t get canned answers.

    However, since you and the other folks are asserting the existence of God, the burden of proof is upon you to establish his existence before any discussion continues.

    On the day that you can substantiate the existence of your diety without using the Bible, conjecture, myth or fantasy as proof, then we can discuss it – otherwise we may as well have a discussion about how Superman has sex with humans since that discussion will be equally fictitious, but probably more fun.

    However you provide your own proof from the second half of your post – SOCIETY dictates what is acceptable, which also covers your precious morals. Morals, ethics and whatever lines exist in behavior are defined by SOCIETY, not God.

    When vast arrays of societies throughout time and into today operate under different sets of morals, ethics and beliefs, how can you possibly hope to establish that all those varied codes of conduct stem from God? Does he have some sort fo 20 sided die that he rolls to determine which set of morals he gives to each particular age or culture within that society or are you suggesting that everyone who does not operate or has not operated by your present day moral code was immoral?

    In any event none of this has anything to do with the content of the post which was illustrating a philosophical condundrum presented by the belief in an omnipotent and omniscient being.

    Also I never said Christians never thought about evil, they simply deny and rationalize in an attempt to explain it within the context of their faith without ever truly looking at whether it is their faith that is causing the conundrum rather than figuring out how God would make it possible, and assuming the entire God portion of the equation as unassailable fact.

  • Baronius

    I believe that you missed the point of my post.

    “Also I never said Christians never thought about evil, they simply deny and rationalize in an attempt to explain it within the context of their faith without ever truly looking at whether it is their faith that is causing the conundrum rather than figuring out how God would make it possible, and assuming the entire God portion of the equation as unassailable fact.”

    Why would you say that? Because they’ve never proven their viewpoint to you, you assume that they’ve never thought about it? And I’m standing by my assessment, that “not thinking about it” is equivalent to “thinking about it, denying it, and rationalizing it”.

    The fact that I’ve come up with different answers than you have isn’t proof that I’m wrong. My persistent belief that my answers are correct isn’t proof that I’m not listening. I don’t know what you’ve truly looked at, and you shouldn’t assume what I’ve truly looked at.

    (Have you read “Why I Am Not A Christian”? Russell refers to Aquinas’ proofs of God’s existence, and (thinks that he) shoots them down. Aquinas isn’t the best writer, but he states the proofs well enough. You say that the ball’s in my court to prove God exists; Aquinas is my serve. It’s in your court to refute him. I realize that’s not the main topic here, but it came up.)

    I guess that the thrust of this topic is that omniscience and omnipotence creates some philosophical problems. True. Many monotheists have wrestled with them, and written about them. They may not have reached conclusions that satisfy you, but the fact that they have tried refutes your central claim: that something inherent in O/O prevents people from considering those philosophical issues.

  • caligula

    “Then the Christians came along with their all-knowing, all-seeing, omni-everything God. Which if you are trying to overshadow a bunch of fallible pagan gods is a pretty good strategy.”

    That’s a helluva good strategy except for the one thing — why would the contemporary followers of Jesus leave their way of life and suffer torture and death to “overshadow a bunch of fallible gods”.

    Try again.

  • Baronius

    Caligula – Valid point. The behaviour of the Apostles really doesn’t blend with the image of worldly strategy. I recall that the original English-speaking school in Rome was called the Martyrs’ School because its graduates would become bishops, return to the Isles, and be killed. Again, not great strategy.

    Arguments such as Rudicus’s imply that there’s some benefit to false belief, that Christians would want to hold on to such things as final judgement, Hell, and not sleeping with that co-worker who I think I could have a chance with even though she’s married but that’s just an example.

  • Vern Halen

    “However, since you and the other folks are asserting the existence of God, the burden of proof is upon you to establish his existence before any discussion continues.

    On the day that you can substantiate the existence of your diety without using the Bible, conjecture, myth or fantasy as proof, then we can discuss it – otherwise we may as well have a discussion about how Superman has sex with humans since that discussion will be equally fictitious, but probably more fun.”

    OK< let’s use Science instead. One of the fundamental principles is that of entropy, or the tendency of everything towards a state of maximum randomness or minimal energy (I’m not technichal so you’ll have to cut me some slack here, but I’ve heard it defined both ways). For example, if you drop a bag of marbles on the floor, they’ll not likely bounce around and form themselves into a perfect pyramid – they’ll scatter all over the floor, therby attaining maximun randomness or a minimum potential and/or kinetic energy. Same witiih a bunch of atoms – surem they might occasionally collide into basic particles of life , but you can’t expect all those random cllisions to eventually form into a human being, or even proto-life which evetually develops into the ancestors of humanity. Since life itself defies the principle of entropy, then, through logic, there must be a force that works against it. Call it God or the Creator or whatever you want, but it’s there.

    I’m sure a logician can find some kind of hole in this argument, but I’m also sure some other equally smart logician can reconstruct it better than I can deliver it here. I think the problem here is that supporting a fundamentalist belief in God gets one no further ahead than supporting a fundamentalist belief in logic, science or society. I think they are all part of the mystery of existence, and should be appreciated for what they are.

  • practical joe

    If there is no omnipotent God, is each of us omnipotent?

    You can question the validity of taking the Old Testament literally. I would not do so. It was not meant to be taken literally.

    But the New Testament is another matter. The teaching of Jesus is a model for how we are to live as a civilized people.

    If you believe what he taught about how we should live, and you believe what he said about himself, it is difficult not to be a Christian.

  • Luke

    put it this way, is a physicist going to explain in fine detail the workings of quantum mechanics to a group of preschoolers, or will he simply say, ‘we’re made of things called atoms which are so small you can’t see them’
    people can barely understand the things they can see without trying to comprehend sub sub atomic particles floating around in 10 dimensional space, so god told us how he made the universe the same way he would explain it to a pre-schooler ‘i made the heavens and the earth in 6 days, that’s all you need to know’
    instead of ‘i made the universe in 365,000,000,000 earth days, but since i’m god, i don’t experience time the same way you do, and besides, i hadn’t even made the sun yet, or even decided how fast the earth would spin, so the concept of days didn’t even exist yet, but for the sake of arguement lets say to me if felt like 6 days’

  • http://www.rudicusreport.blogspot.com Rudicus

    First off Baronius, please stop attributing positions to me that I have not taken. At no point have I said or asserted or implied that Christians are not thinking about these things. My point is that due to the nature of Perfect God Syndrome, it forces them to think about them in a skewed way based on assumed beliefs.

    Also I’m calling “fault” on your volley of Aquinas since nothing he says proves anything. Compelling sure, well thought out, absolutely, but he, like the others is operating from a faulty premise. You cannot prove God with philosophy.

    With respect to you and Caligula’s argument that followers of Jesus would not do the thing that they do intentionlly – is that really relevant? It doesn’t speak to the general concept, all it does is nit pick one comment – since I am not an absolutist, I don’t claim that to be true for all christians, merely that it was a good strategy for the orginal creators of Judaism and the Jesus mythos to establish themselves and set them apart from the pagan religions which is why they also co-opted a lot of the pagan holidays to attract as many potential followers as possible – in terms of marketing, this is called positioning.

    I’m sure they didn’t expect to be persecuted or martyred or anything else, but who does? Once the ball is rolling it’s hard to stop it.

    With respect to entropy, entropy is a natural process that doesn’t require the existence of God to occur. It may be outside our ability to fully explain it, but it neither proves nor even suggests the existence of a supernatural diety or other force. You can get much more information on this subject by following any of the intelligent design posts.

    And finally a special thank you to Luke for giving everyone a perfect example of exactly what I was talking about with this post originally.

  • Vern Halen

    If entropy is outside our ability to fully explain it, how is that different than trying to explain God? Language is a human construct, and is somewhat unable to explain natural or supernatural processes. But we do the best with what we got.

    I think the opposite of what was said in comment 15 also holds true – if you can substantiate the non-existence of life, then we can have a discussion about the non-existence of God.

    I really think there is a middle ground where one can be comfortable with both an understanding of Nature and Science and a belief in God, whatever one conceives Him/Her/It to be. Thanks for the lively & well presented discussion.

  • caligula

    “With respect to you and Caligula’s argument that followers of Jesus would not do the thing that they do intentionally – is that really relevant?”

    You, Rudicus, brought it up in your fifth paragraph.

    If it wasn’t relevant, why did you bring it up?

    Methinks you make many irrelevant statements.

  • practical joe

    Another irrelevant statement?

    “I’m sure they didn’t expect to be persecuted or martyred or anything else, but who does? Once the ball is rolling it’s hard to stop it.”

    Check your facts.

    Christians were given the opportunity to renounce their belief in Jesus.

    They could avoid persecution and martyrdom.

    A few did — most did not.

    The ball was rolling all right.

    But not where you said.

  • parker

    “So in the end, there is no real discussion because ultimately you cannot have an honest debate with someone who has no ability to examine their point of view.”

    You’ve actually got this backwards. Because the person without faith has no experience with spiritual matters, having never experienced God, they are the ones with no ability to rationally discuss the issue.

    It’s like having an argument with a blind person who has never had sight. They insist there is no such thing as color. At some point, you have to stop arguing and walk away. It doesn’t mean the blind person is right and the sighted person has the inability to provide proof.

    We all have a choice in what we choose to believe. You might give “Life of Pi” a read. It will explain it much more eloquently than I can. To put simply, belief in God is a better story than the belief there is nothing but molecules and death.

  • Baronius

    Rudicus – I’ve got to say that this site has one of the best “I disagree with your position”-to-“your a ass” ratios. I appreciate the courtesy.

    Let me clarify my earlier statement: I don’t believe that there is a practical difference between not thinking (my term) and not examining (your term). Wasn’t the thrust of your article that Christians “are immune to critically thinking about anything pertaining to their beliefs or belief system”? I suppose there is a difference, between thinking and thinking well, but one that hardly seems worth arguing about.

    (In the interest of fairness, let me be clear: I am about to make a cheap rhetorical move.)

    What is the difference between thinking and thinking critically? Is it that critical thinking means agreeing with you?

    (Man, that’s cheap.)

    Few Christians approach their faith unthinkingly, or un-critical-thinkingly. I imagine that some do. But as with any belief which has been arrived at over time, the mere presence of a counter-argument won’t cause a rout. What seem like canned responses may just be well thought out replies to questions they’ve already dealt with.

    And don’t discount the natural awkwardness of religious conversations. It’s easier in a face-to-face religious debate to just say ‘I’ll pray for you’ and bail. The internet allows us the luxury of patient, extended conversation without eye contact. If you were here in my apartment, you’d be wondering how I spilled so much food on myself, and we’d both feel like the other person isn’t going to give in. Even experienced missionaries feel weird sometimes.

    Of course, the internet also brings out the creeps and people who won’t shut up. I’ll be in both those groups if I don’t stop writing now. We should talk about proofs of God sometime.

  • http://xianleft.blogspot.com/ Michael Bindner

    There is also the whole – don’t teach that it will damage those with a weakness of faith – syndrome of the Catholic Church. This also discourages critical thinking.

    What Benedict doesn’t get isn’t that relativists don’t believe that their might be some absolute truth, but that he and the churches are not in any superior position to divine it. The whole protection against error means only that if one of the faithful sins based on what he was taught it is not a sin. This of course, is relativism at its finest (do it because I said so).

    Rudicus is mixing his demons, however. It is only the Evangelicals who believe in the inerrancy of the scriptures. The Catholics do not. They have, but don’t argue all of that any more. They are about 50 years ahead of the other Christians, although they have a long way to go toward rational thought. Their Achillies heal is the Magisterium, which I dealt with above. Papal infallibility has only been used twice – and on non-moral issues only. Pseudo-infallibility is used more often. Those of us who are Catholics on the left have learned to ignore it because we like the ritual on Sunday and have learned to sleep throught the anti-gay and anti-abortion homilies. The former are actually pretty rare – too many gay priests for them to give it much emphasis – the only who do are true right wingers and gay priests trying to make it look good.

    The Perfect God concept (rather than the syndrome) actually comes from Greek philosophy as preserved for the west by Islamic scholars. Would you rather have a God who was not perfect? That wouldn’t make logical sense. The whole omniscient thing can be explained by believing that God acts within time perfectly while seeing the whole thing. Granted, its philosophical masturbation, but any masturbation has its satisfactions.

    As a humanist, I like having a perfect God. A perfect God needs nothing from me. God is absolutely alturistic. He doesn’t have a stake in the game so the morality I live by does not have to please him unless it acts against my fellow humans. That is the test of a moral precept, if it is not humanistic it does not come from God – in philosophical terms it cannot be natural or divine law. The fact that curial bureaucracy hasn’t made that particular connection disproves the competence of curial bureaucracy, not the perfection of God. Homosexuality is the prime example. If science proves that gays and lesbians are created that way (and it pretty much has) then that creation must be good in a natural and divine law perspective. Promiscuity and pedastry are still bad ideas because of the way people link sex with emotional attachment in the former and because the latter is exploitive – especially if the younger partner is not gay (of course if the younger partner is gay – that is another story – then the question is age of consent – which is a human construct – not exploitation).

    As to Jesus (Peace be upon you), if he was anything at all the Trinity has to be true. A humanistic take on the Crucifixion is that it was a vision quest whereby Allah (most merciful) could only experience the pain of sinful man through the total abandonment Jesus (pbuy) experienced on the cross when he said Eloi, Eloi, lana sabacthani! Only a Triune God could have felt that abandonment without causing all creation to rend. When the Prophet (pbuh) came to the Arab tribes of his day, they could not have understood that message as a way to abandon the paganism of their time. That time is passed so openess to a disucssion on the nature of Allah (most Holy) can take place.

  • http://www.bittah.com RaV

    Thanks for that. It was an interesting read. You have some good ideas on religion and science :D

  • Chad

    From the book of genesis:
    “And the LORD was sorry that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him to his heart. 7 So the LORD said, “I will blot out man whom I have created from the face of the ground, man and beast and creeping things and birds of the air, for I am sorry that I have made them.”

    This proves that god made a mistake, even in his own mind. This single verse does more to disprove the god of the bible and anything else, considering the “perfect god” theory. Enjoy.

  • Ruvy

    I’ve had a ball reading Rudicus’ pile of nonsense, and reading the attempts to refute or disagree.

    1. Rudicus, you can’t prove the existence of G-d. Attempting to do that is like a cell on a fingernail trying to prove the existence of the shoulder to which it is ultimately attached. Accepting G-d’s existence ultimately requires what we call in Hebrew bitaHón which literally means belief in something that has not happened yet.

    2. None of you seem to realize that the Torah, which is the basic Revelation of G-d to the Children of Israel, is written in Hebrew, which is authoritative, and that all the translations are well, just translations. Il traddutore è il tradditore. The translator is the traitor….

    So, unless, you know the language the Torah was written in, you will have one hell of a time debating its validity.

    3. Christianity? Please, folks, spare me the humor. Christianity is a an attempt to take Hebrew ethics and marry it to Greek pagan philosophy, and then, the ultimate stupidity, to cut off the resultant mutant creation from its Hebrew roots.

    The Christian religion is falling apart because it has cut itself off from its Hebrew roots, and its creation, “western civilization”, is falling back upon its Greek roots of paganism because it is also dying. Even after 20 centuries, insanity will eventually die. Western civilization is turning into a pornographic sexualized comedy of what it ought to be, because in the end, we all seek roots and the roots of western civ are the pornographic Greek culture of sacred whores at pagan temples.

    Shabbat Shalom from Liberated Samaria,
    Ruvy

  • http://www.universaltheology.org.za saint

    the bible did not summarily say that god is without flaws, it is christian bigots who say so.