In John 10:10 Jesus promises His followers abundant life. This blog is about my life as His follower.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Terrific Tuesday with Rosel from Off the Beaten Trek

Starting today I'm going to have a guest blog each Tuesday as part of what I'm calling Terrific Tuesdays.

We're starting with a blog from Rosel, who writes at Off the Beaten Trek; a blog that's totally blessed me on more days than I can count. Rosel is a registered nurse and works in a correctional facility. Her posts are an interesting glimpse into her life there, as well as spiritual lessons she's lifted from her daily encounters. Her writing is such that I find myself thinking on what I've read long after I've finished reading.

Enjoy this Best of Off the Beaten Trek post...

The Attacker

The sun was just peeking from the Eastern skies.

Out in the prison’s yard, some huge Sheriff’s buses were illuminated by the soft glow coming from the lights all over from the tall lamp posts. Their engines were turned on, warming up, before the buses would take the inmates to the different courts where they would have their trials.

Orange-uniformed men were lined up in pairs, joined together with handcuffs and chained, forming a long line. They already had their breakfast and had their morning medications prior to going to courts. Some were fidgeting, as they waited to board those buses.


All of a sudden, all hell broke loose! Two men were engaged in a fight, using weapons they made secretly for a while. Deputies called for help on the radio, both for custody back-up and medical staff, as well.


When the air was cleared and the other inmates were secured, one man was down on the floor. He sustained multiple gashes but two of them were deep. One cut was vertically etched from his left ear going down to the jaw line. The other dangerous cut was horizontal on his left neck, close to the jugular vein. Pool of blood dripped all over the floor. Holding his bleeding neck, he was pointing at the other inmate few feet away, being guarded by the other deputies.

The other man being accused was not hurt. There were no lacerations nor any other signs of trauma. He was obviously very agitated as he was being questioned by those deputies, while the medical staff started treating the other man on the floor. They cleaned the wounds and controlled the bleeding. That man was sent to the nearby hospital.


When the investigation was finalized, it turned out to be that the “downed man who was accusing the other inmate” was the attacker and the other one who didn’t have injury was the one attacked. The deputies found out that it was the second attempt to attack the unhurt man. Both attacks on him failed. He was well-prepared after the first attempt on him, that when the second attempt was done, he was able to defend himself and ended up injuring his attacker severely.

[Source: Life Application Bible]:


We also have an “accuser of the brethren.” Satan and his army of demons are the enemies of God and of everything good.


“Because God’s children are human beings – made of flesh and blood – Jesus also became flesh and blood by being born in human form. For only as a human being could he die, and only by dying could he break the power of the Devil, who had the power of death.” –Hebrews 2:14

Because of what Jesus had done [dying on the cross], we, who live in constant fear of death shouldn’t be afraid anymore. Jesus had freed us from that fear so we can live for Him. When we belong to God, we know that death is only the portal that leads into “eternal life”. [“Thank You Lord!].

Paul warned us, too that we also battle against the evil forces of Satan, who is a vicious fighter. But to be able to withstand their attacks, we must depend on God’s strength and use every piece of His armor. We face an army whose goal is to defeat Christ’s church. When we believe in Christ, they become our enemies. They will try any device to turn us away from the Lord.


Fear not! For God has provided His supernatural power to defeat Satan and his army, through His Holy Spirit within us. So, arm yourselves with God’s armor.

Let us be strong in the Lord's mighty power. Let's put on His whole armor to resist the enemy's attacks: put on the sturdy belt of truth and the body armor of God's righteousness. For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News, so that we are well-prepared. We will need faith in every battle as our shield to stop the fiery arrows aimed by Satan and his army. Let us put on salvation as our helmet, not forgetting the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God. Let's pray at all times, on every occasion in the power of the Holy Spirit. We must stay alert and be persistent in our prayers for all Christians everywhere. [Ephesians 6:10-18].

41 comments:

GCT said...

Question:

If god wants everyone to be saved, and if Satan leads some people away from god so that they are not saved, and if god has the power to defeat Satan so that everyone is saved, why doesn't he simply defeat Satan and be done with it?

RCUBEs said...

Thank you sister Tracy for featuring my site. I'm truly humbled by this and this is for the Lord. So, may many more truly know His love and grace.

@GCT: Good question...One time, we had a big riot. It would be easy for the deputies to just take down and even hurt the one who initiated that riot. But doing so, if others joined in, then, they would still be prone to causing more riots. There would be no change in their hearts as they were a part of that riot. Even if the leader would be taken away, they would still remain like that: rioters...

God can end Satan like that [He is the Creator;Satan, one of the created things], but the condition of the people's hearts who had done evil things are prone still for that kind of rebellion: turning away from God. What kind of love is that if God forces us to change and love Him? He wants our free will...He wants our hearts to seek Him, to draw near Him and not turn away from Him.

Andrea said...

Tracy,
I came over from my dear friend, Rosel's blog. God bless you for featured her site here. God is using her in a powerful way and will continue to do so.
I have joined to follow you and look forward to getting to know you.
Blessings, andrea

Loren said...

Tracy,

Came here from Rosel and the Lord has led you to an amazing woman of God! It is no wonder you have featured her here today!

Look forward to knowing you :)

Bless you

GCT said...

Rosel (if I may call you that) I don't think you've quite caught the idea behind my question...either that or I don't understand your response.

Let me try to rephrase, since my original question was rather run-on-y (not a word, I know).

god supposedly wants as many souls to reach heaven as possible. satan is out there trying to achieve the opposite. In between humans are being lead away from heaven by satan, so god's goal of having as many souls in heaven as possible is being frustrated by the actions of satan. If god were to simply make satan not exist, then these people would be less likely to be lead away from the path of salvation, correct? This would help god's supposed goal of having as many souls go to heaven as possible. So, why would he not do it?

Does it harm anyone's free will to eliminate satan? I would argue that having satan around would be an impediment to free will, because one is not making choices based on good information, but on information obtained from a dubious source (satan) leading to a path that one would not choose freely (hell). Can we both agree that no one would willingly choose to be tortured for eternity if the alternative was eternal happiness in a just universe? But, if some people are choosing a path that leads to eternal damnation due to the lies of some other entity intruding on our free will, shouldn't that be considered a detriment to our free will? IOW, god has a win/win situation. god is giving us greater chance to exercise our free will and eliminates a force that reduces the number of souls that go to heaven. I'm not seeing the down side to a supposedly all good and all loving deity excising an evil satan from the universe.

Alleluiabelle said...

Hi Tracy,

I came over to visit your site by way of my dear friend Rosel. She is an amazing woman who is filled to the brim with the Lord. She shines so brightly for Him because He resides in her and she in Him at all times. She is humble in every sense of that word. He uses her so mightily at her work place and every where she goes and as she will tell you, "It's all for His glory" and that is so true. I, too, am totally blessed each time I visit her.

I have joined your site today. I've been battling some physical maladies, but I try to get around to visit when I am able. I look forward to visiting here more.

Rosel did an amazing job here today in your first featured posting here under Terrific Tuesdays.

Blessings,
Allelluiabelle

JD Curtis said...

Pertinent question GCT,...are you married?

Denise said...

Bless you for featuring sister Rosel, she is so precious.

Michelle said...

Stop by my blog for a short post recognizing you.

sarah said...

I'm here too because of RCube. She is the absolute best and her words are so powerful. This is a great reminder of the spiritual warfare. I tend to frustrate myself until I get exhausted only to realize....the enemy was at work and I tried to fight him off with human weapons. :{ Thanks again RCUBe and Tracy.

Saleslady371 said...

This is a great featured post by Rosel. She is a great writer and Christian sister who loves Jesus and witnessing for the gospel of Jesus Christ. Thanks.

BeadedTail said...

Powerful, thought provoking post.

GCT said...

JD,
At the risk of going down another rabbit trail with you, no, I'm not. Note that I did just answer you.

I have a feeling that you're going to make the argument that if I were, I wouldn't want my wife to be forced to love me or something like that?

JD Curtis said...

That's OK. We can approach this from a hypothetical example.

IF you were to love someone and you thought they were THE ONE that you wanted to marry, wouldnt you want to know that your future wife loves you and wants to be with you out of her own free will? Imagine that a full range of options are at her disposal. She is not in any way "pre-programmed" to love you. She could reject you outright for another or no one in particular. If somebody is programmed to love you and has no choice in the matter, then that really isnt love at all...is it? If that person freely chose you above all others then that makes it quite special. Wouldnt you agree GCT?

GCT said...

Yes.

I would also endeavor to show myself to that person and develop an actual relationship. I would not send someone to intentionally talk badly about me to try and make sure that the person I desire would still choose me. If someone were doing that, I would speak up for myself. I also wouldn't torture the person I love for not choosing me. I also don't see why this is being brought up.

Are you and others contending that god wants satan around so that humans will have the ability to choose god despite the roadblocks that god/satan put in our way, fully knowing that some people will burn in hell for not being able to see through the obfuscations that satan puts forth, and that further this is a good thing even though it goes directly against the supposed wishes of god that no one should perish? Are you and others contending that without satan no one would rebel from god and that god isn't satisfied unless someone does rebel?

JD Curtis said...

I'm glad that you agree because after all, if someone was programmed to love you (or me) and didnt play an active part in said "love" out of their own freewill, then by definition it really wouldnt be love as it is typically defined.

I would also endeavor to show myself to that person and develop an actual relationship.

That's wonderful. Many people DO in fact have a relationship with God. They pray to Him. He speaks to them through his written word. He works all things for the good of those who are His. They do not have this prerequisite of the necessity of physical sight of Him in order to establish a loving relationship with Him. He works His will in their lives, if the let Him, and many know an abundance of joy and peace through a relationship with the living God.

I would not send someone to intentionally talk badly about me to try and make sure that the person I desire would still choose me.

Neither would I. The Bible tells us that the Earth is Satan's domain. That doesnt mean that people cannot discern the truth if they earnestly seek it. In fact the Bible promises us that we can.

I also wouldn't torture the person I love for not choosing me.

When it's all said in done, you might be cast into Hell GCT (I hope that you arent though). The idea of God actively "torturing" you or anybody else is inaccurate. Besides, you or I could burn forever due to any number of the sins we have ever committed. Rejecting God would just be one more.

Are you and others contending that god wants satan around so that humans will have the ability to choose god despite the roadblocks that god/satan put in our way, fully knowing that some people will burn in hell for not being able to see through the obfuscations that satan puts forth,

I merely stated that Satan is in charge of this domain. Yes, it would appear that he can obfuscate and I am certain that he does. He will try to take as many souls to Hell as possible. We have freedom to accept or reject his tricks. If someone goes to hell, it is of their own choosing. We are born with a rebellious spirit (to God). Only God can change us.

and that further this is a good thing

I'm not prepared to state that it's a good thing, bad thing or indifferent. The only instance I can think of from the Bible whereas someone questions if it's fair or not is in Job. God basically pulls rank on Job. If you don't like it, feel free to create your own complex universe and set your own rules accordingly. Until then...

it goes directly against the supposed wishes of god that no one should perish

How so? The fact that He doesnt really want anyone to perish is seperate from the issue of freedom. We can choose to accept or reject. We ultimately decide.

Are you and others contending that without satan no one would rebel from god

Apart from the fall that occured in the Garden of Eden, I don't know of a previous instance of man's rebellion which Satan helped to cause.

and that god isn't satisfied unless someone does rebel?

This is a huge leap. I give you the entire Bible to cite something that proves this. I'm not aware of any passages that support this though (At least off the top of my head)

GCT said...

JD,
There's a lot to respond to, so I'll break this into two comments and apologize (to everyone) for the length of these posts...

"I'm glad that you agree because after all, if someone was programmed to love you (or me) and didnt play an active part in said "love" out of their own freewill, then by definition it really wouldnt be love as it is typically defined."

Or some facsimile of free will at least, right? I just hope you aren't confusing belief in with choosing to love. There's no reason why god can't appear to us as we would still have to choose to love/follow him or not.

"That's wonderful. Many people DO in fact have a relationship with God. They pray to Him. He speaks to them through his written word."

Sorry, but that's not a relationship. That's like saying you have a relationship with Herman Melville because you get a nice feeling when you read Moby Dick. Except it's worse, because you can't even be sure that god exists or that if he does that it's him talking to you and not some other supernatural entity.

"Neither would I."

Good, then we agree, so why did god do it? That was one of my central questions. If you and I wouldn't send satan to lead people astray, why did god?

"When it's all said in done, you might be cast into Hell GCT (I hope that you arent though). The idea of God actively "torturing" you or anybody else is inaccurate."

It's not inaccurate at all. Who created hell? Who will send me there after I die for not conforming to specific rules? And who made up those rules?

"Besides, you or I could burn forever due to any number of the sins we have ever committed. Rejecting God would just be one more."

This is plainly ridiculous. Do you really believe that you have done something in your life that is worthy of torture as punishment? Do you really feel that what you have done is worthy of infinite punishment? Your "sins" are finite by definition, since you are a finite being. To receive infinite torture for finite sins is infinitely unjust.

"Yes, it would appear that he can obfuscate and I am certain that he does. He will try to take as many souls to Hell as possible."

Which is contrary to what I'm told god wants - as many souls in heaven as possible. Why would god allow this unnecessary state of affairs?

"We have freedom to accept or reject his tricks. If someone goes to hell, it is of their own choosing. We are born with a rebellious spirit (to God). Only God can change us."

First of all, does anyone actually choose to be tortured? Of course not. Second of all, if only god can change us and we are born with our tickets punched for hell, how is that a choice? Third, how is it a choice if someone basically has a gun to their head?

GCT said...

Continued...

"God basically pulls rank on Job. If you don't like it, feel free to create your own complex universe and set your own rules accordingly."

Then, don't describe god as good.

"How so? The fact that He doesnt really want anyone to perish is seperate from the issue of freedom. We can choose to accept or reject. We ultimately decide."

As I described, throwing up unnecessary roadblocks doesn't increase our freedom, but decreases it. He's withholding information from us and intentionally allowing misinformation to cloud our judgements.

As an example, let's say you go to a public pool. The manager says that it's fine to swim, but when you get in you find out that the chlorine level is way too high and you get sick from it. Would you have chosen to get in the pool if you knew the chlorine level was too high? Do you feel like you've freely chosen to get sick?

"Apart from the fall that occured in the Garden of Eden, I don't know of a previous instance of man's rebellion which Satan helped to cause."

So, are you saying that satan does not help humans rebel from god? Either way, god either didn't want rebellion or he did. If he didn't want rebellion, why put satan there at all? If he did, well then he wants satan to make us rebel, which speaks for itself.

"This is a huge leap. I give you the entire Bible to cite something that proves this. I'm not aware of any passages that support this though (At least off the top of my head)"

That's what I'm asking you guys. You don't believe the god wants anyone to rebel, but he doesn't do what he can to eliminate satan from the equation, knowing in advance that his inaction will lead to people rebelling.

JD Curtis said...

I just hope you aren't confusing belief in with choosing to love.

Not at all. The Bible tells us..."Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble." (James 2:19). Insofar as "love" is concerned, we read "My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than alld; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand. I and the Father are one.” (John 10:27-30). The emphasis in these verses would be on the word follow. One way we show our love for God is following his ways and commandments. Mere "belief" in God apparently doesnt meet the criteria for entrance into heaven.

Sorry, but that's not a relationship. That's like saying you have a relationship with Herman Melville because you get a nice feeling when you read Moby Dick.

This would make alot more sense if there was 2000 years worth of Melvillian exegesis, a claim of being a diety on Melville's behalf, statements from Melville such as " I am with you always, even unto the end of the world." (Matthew 28:20) along with a whole host of other factors including such things as numerous archeologically verifiable facts first known only through the writings of Melville.

you can't even be sure that god exists or that if he does that it's him talking to you and not some other supernatural entity.

God speaks to us through his written word. I think that I might have heard that certain charasmatics might have, at times, claimed to have received direct revelations from God. If there are any reading this and would like to address this point, feel free to do so. Personally? I am not on a level where I feel that I am "talking" to God or any other supernatural beings for that matter.

If you and I wouldn't send satan to lead people astray, why did god?

I'm not entirely sure that this particular belief of yours isnt extra-Biblical. Do you have a verse that we can examine that states outright that the reason Satan was sent to this world is to lead people astry? This might be a by-product of him being here. but that's about all I'm aware of.

Who created hell? Who will send me there after I die for not conforming to specific rules? And who made up those rules?

This isnt what you originally alluded to. You stated the God "tortures" people. By your definition, judges would be guilty of "torture" by sentencing people to prison. Even if torture occured in prison, the judge wouldnt be torturing anyone, especially if he is physically miles away. To be accurate, the judge sentenced the person to prison. Unless you can cite chapter and verse where God is physically torturing people, then you are incorrect.

Do you really feel that what you have done is worthy of infinite punishment? Your "sins" are finite by definition, since you are a finite being. To receive infinite torture for finite sins is infinitely unjust.

You are attempting to rationalize this using what amounts to your personal opinion of what is just and unjust. To be fair, there are others who would agree with you just as there would be those that would disagree with you. God apparently has a different standard and this is spelled out for us.

Give me a little while and I'll address your other points and you can read them in their totality.

JD Curtis said...

Which is contrary to what I'm told god wants - as many souls in heaven as possible. Why would god allow this unnecessary state of affairs?

Unnecessary, again is your definition, not that of other people. Again, it isnt contrary to God wanting that all might come to repentance. You can or you can decide not to. If a full range of options are at our disposal, from completely embracing or outright rejection, then it would appear that God only wants those who chose to love Him and walk in His ways. If there werent other options available, then this might lean more toward the "programmed" side.

does anyone actually choose to be tortured? Of course not.

If by torture you mean atheists choosing to seperate temselves from God by rejecting His offer of peace, and joy and blessed assurance because they choose to not examine in a thoughtful and unbiased manner the word of God and create every obstacle they can to be at odds with Him then, yes. It happens all the time.

if only god can change us and we are born with our tickets punched for hell, how is that a choice?

GCT, I (or anyone else) could present the gospel to you in as clear a manner as possible. At the end of the gospel presentation you could decide to either...

A. Accept that which was presented, repent, pray, accept Jesus Christ as Lord of your life, begin studying the Bible in a way that doesnt presuppose God is bad, and start attending church.

B. Reject it outright. Or

C. even remain non-commital at the present time, hope that your time on this earth isnt going to end soon, and leave the door open to further investigation into the matter with something other than a mind that's completely closed.

Could you please explain how the above 3 options you could choose from do not qualify as "choices"?

how is it a choice if someone basically has a gun to their head?

But thats the whole thing, isnt it? If this world is all there is and there's nothing beyond this plane of existance then you don't have a thing to worry about. If it isnt, then maybe you can start to investigate the matter further on the off-chance that

A. There is more than just this life and
B. God truly is good.

Then, don't describe god as good

He not only is good, He gets to define the good. His universe, His rules. Again, if you don't like it, feel free to create your own world.

If in fact God is the creator of the universe, then might we assume that his wisdom and understanding are several orders of magnitude higher than ours? If I slap my nephew's hand after repeated attempts on his part of trying to touch the squat, black object in the middle of the room after my verbal warnings go unheeded, I would expect him, in his toddler' mentality, to think that I am unfair and mean. He probably wouldnt understand if he laid his hand upon the pot-bellied stove that he could severely burn himself. Given that when Job questioned God, he was met with a volley of questions he could never possibly answer in a million years, I think that's what God was implying. For high have the heavens been above the earth, So high have been My ways above your ways, And My thoughts above your thoughts. Isaiah 55:9

throwing up unnecessary roadblocks doesn't increase our freedom, but decreases it

Not true. What you refer to as roadblocks others would refer to as opportunities to sin. There is no shortage of different types of sin that you or I could engage in. Are there only 1 or 2 types of sin? I think you would agree that there are many.

Homosexual men in the West enjoy more "freedom" to engage in their types of behavior than anywhere else in the world. God's laws might be considered a "roadblock" to their freedom and good times. That they have such devestatingly short life expectancies would attest to the fact that maybe there is a reason that God would wish that they not engage in such behavior.

JD Curtis said...

He's withholding information from us and intentionally allowing misinformation to cloud our judgements.

"There was a rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen and lived in luxury every day. At his gate was laid a beggar named Lazarus, covered with sores and longing to eat what fell from the rich man’s table. Even the dogs came and licked his sores.

“The time came when the beggar died and the angels carried him to Abraham’s side. The rich man also died and was buried. In hell, where he was in torment, he looked up and saw Abraham far away, with Lazarus by his side. So he called to him, ‘Father Abraham, have pity on me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, because I am in agony in this fire.’ “But Abraham replied, ‘Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, while Lazarus received bad things, but now he is comforted here and you are in agony. And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been fixed, so that those who want to go from here to you cannot, nor can anyone cross over from there to us.’ “He answered, ‘Then I beg you, father, send Lazarus to my father’s house, for I have five brothers. Let him warn them, so that they will not also come to this place of torment.’ “Abraham replied, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets; let them listen to them.’“‘No, father Abraham,’ he said, ‘but if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent.’ “He said to him, ‘If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.’” Luke 16:19-31.

let's say you go to a public pool. The manager says that it's fine to swim, but when you get in you find out that the chlorine level is way too high and you get sick from it. Would you have chosen to get in the pool if you knew the chlorine level was too high? Do you feel like you've freely chosen to get sick?

"Swimming" is not sin. Did the manager intentionally mislead you?

are you saying that satan does not help humans rebel from god?

Satan is working at cross purposes with mankind.

If he didn't want rebellion, why put satan there at all? If he did, well then he wants satan to make us rebel, which speaks for itself.

"One day the angels came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan also came with them. The Lord said to Satan, “Where have you come from?”

Satan answered the Lord, “From roaming through the earth and going back and forth in it.” Job 1:6-7


Apparently Satan has the ability to move about on his own free will.

GCT said...

JD,
You've given me a lot to work with here, and I think that there's some confusion to be cleared up. Perhaps you could spell out what role you think satan plays and what it is that satan actually does?

Also, I have to point out that you seem to be laboring under some misperceptions about atheism in general. I'm not presupposing the god is bad - in fact I'm not presupposing anything. Also, it seems rather odd to accuse me of having a closed mind, considering that I'm more than willing to say that it's possible that a god exists, because it is possible. That doesn't mean that I should believe that a god exists. I trust that this clears some things up for you?

Now, you've claimed that you don't confuse belief with love, so I'm now assuming that you would agree with me that there should be no impediment to god showing himself to us in unambiguous ways (not speaking through a book, for instance, but actually being here with us and conversing, etc). I expect that you might object that this would violate free will, but surely it would not. I would still be free to choose or choose not to love god, and besides do we really choose to believe or not believe that god exists? If you think that we do, I suggest you try and believe that Zeus exists and see how far you get.

As for Melville, we can substitute in any other religion's scriptures and your objections would no longer hold weight, although I'm not sure that they do anyway. Many stories in the Bible have no support what-so-ever, like the Exodus story. The few things that we have found were more of history. This indicates that the Jews did record some of their history, but this doesn't lend credence to the idea of there being a god or that this god wrote to us in the Bible. In fact, I would say that we should be highly suspect of such claims in light of the fact that the Bible contains many errors.

So, claiming that god is speaking to us through the Bible is rather suspect at best, and even if it were so, I still contend that this is not a relationship. We have letters from other historical figures, but no one claims to have a relationship with them just from reading their works.

GCT said...

Continued...
In regards to hell and your judge analogy, let's make the analogy more accurate, shall we? Would we blame a judge for sentencing a criminal if that criminal were later tortured? Probably not. If the judge knew that the criminal would be tortured? Yes, we would. If the judge also built the prison to facilitate torture, would we blame the judge? Yes, we would. Yet, you seem to want to give a free ride to a god that builds hell, a place where people will be tortured, knowing full well that people will be tortured there either through god's action or by his inaction, and then goes ahead and sends people there? This is barbaric and immoral.

Now, god sends people there for eternity for committing finite "sins" and you think that is just as well? And, to defend your stance, you simply claim that I'm using my idea of justice while god has some idea that condones this sort of punishment? How absurd. god's "justice" as you describe it surely doesn't align with any concept of justice that we have, so I suggest you not use the word at all, since it requires you to redefine the word. I would argue the same goes for the word "good." You definition of "good" seems to include the ability to create torture chambers and then kill people and send them to be tortured for eternity for petty crimes, which doesn't line up with any concept that we have for the word "good."

And, I honestly am not swayed by the might makes right argument that god gets to make the rules because he created the universe. Sorry, but divine command ethics is a poor substitute for actual morality. By your idea, we would have to conclude that rape is good if god came down to us and told us that it is. You also can't assume that simply because god is really really smart and knowledgeable and powerful that he's also morally good.

Lastly, (and I know I probably haven't touched on everything, but it's getting too unwieldy) if you want to defend the gun to our heads idea, then you'll have to explain how it is not a gun to our heads. We have to do what god wants or we are sent to hell for torture. The idea that we must do X or else we are punished is having a gun to our heads. It's not about choice, because the "choice" in this case is to do X or be tortured. To make matters worse, yeah someone could read me the gospel, but someone could also read to me from the Koran or the Vedas or any other of a large number of scriptures, and without god giving us some reason to choose one over the other, he's not really helping us choose, is he?

JD Curtis said...

I think that there's some confusion to be cleared up.

Great. I feel that a bit of clarity would be helpfull to the discussion.

Perhaps you could spell out what role you think satan plays and what it is that satan actually does?

I suppose that could make for an intersting topic. Let's begin by again re-examining the question that I just asked you. You have made the statements "If you and I wouldn't send satan to lead people astray, why did god?" which would imply that God sent Satan to deceive you and I. I was wondering what support you would cite in favor of this hypothesis.

I have to point out that you seem to be laboring under some misperceptions about atheism in general. I'm not presupposing the god is bad - in fact I'm not presupposing anything.


Outstanding. I welcome this response.

#1. Let the first item of business be that we do not presuppose that God sent Satan here only to lead us astray. There just might be other factors at play here that you're privy to and that you still havent advised me of as of yet.

#2. Does this sound familiar? I also wouldn't torture the person I love for not choosing me.

Are these not you words? The only really interesting thing to come out from the upcoming Kabuki dance would be to see which cock-and-bull story you would try to sell me on. That you are not presupposing anything by implying God tortures people or (less likely) that those who engage in torture are really good people.

I'm glad that you are so open. I would like to ask you something re: torture in a little while.


I'm now assuming that you would agree with me that there should be no impediment to god showing himself to us in unambiguous ways (not speaking through a book, for instance, but actually being here with us and conversing, etc).

I'm not prepared to say that a personal experience like that never happened. However, one thing I do know is that the Bible states "Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you." Matthew 7:7. This would indicate that it is not really a passive process if one wants to get to know God. The above quotation would indicate that WE should be seeking Him. Are you? Are any of us.....really?

JD Curtis said...

I suggest you try and believe that Zeus exists and see how far you get.

I had exposure to a lot of the Greek mythology as a youngster. The reason that I don't believe in Zeus is because it all seemed just like that. Mythology. Might that help explain why we don't see Temples Of Zeus dotting the landscape anywhere?

As for Melville, we can substitute in any other religion's scriptures and your objections would no longer hold weight, although I'm not sure that they do anyway.

A comparative study of the foundational documents of the world's major religions is just that. A comparative evaluation of competeing claims on different types of religion based on their sacred writings. If youre going to drag Moby Dick into this, what's stopping you from introducing Dick Meets Jane?

If the judge knew that the criminal would be tortured? Yes, we would. If the judge also built the prison to facilitate torture, would we blame the judge? Yes, we would. Yet, you seem to want to give a free ride to a god that builds hell, a place where people will be tortured, knowing full well that people will be tortured there either through god's action or by his inaction, and then goes ahead and sends people there? This is barbaric and immoral.

My thoughts are as follows....You're above, short quotation contains the word "torture" 4X. By invoking such an emotionally charged noun, you're not trying to illecit an emotional response from people....are you? We'll come back to "torture" in a minute.

Now, god sends people there for eternity for committing finite "sins" and you think that is just as well? And, to defend your stance, you simply claim that I'm using my idea of justice while god has some idea that condones this sort of punishment? How absurd. god's "justice" as you describe it surely doesn't align with any concept of justice that we have, so I suggest you not use the word at all, since it requires you to redefine the word.

Basically amounts to "It has to fit my definitions, worldview, emotional state". This would make more sense if God were a creature like us...But He really isnt.

You definition of "good" seems to include the ability to create torture chambers and then kill people and send them to be tortured for eternity for petty crimes, which doesn't line up with any concept that we have for the word "good."

Again with the fixation on "torture". Might I inquire further in a seperate entry?

I honestly am not swayed by the might makes right argument that god gets to make the rules because he created the universe.

Could you let this be the absolute LEAST of your concerns at this moment? I suggest that we set this one aside for now and you address that which I've raised above. Please?

Lastly, (and I know I probably haven't touched on everything, but it's getting too unwieldy) if you want to defend the gun to our heads idea, then you'll have to explain how it is not a gun to our heads. We have to do what god wants or we are sent to hell for torture.

Again with the torture. What if what God wants cannot harm us, but only lead us to happiness, better health and greater economic prosperity? Again, I would like to set this one aside and concentrate on the above issues and " torture" before moving on to anything else.

JD Curtis said...

I notice that you are obsessed with the word "torture" and the idea that God is torturing people. Just for funsies I went to a pretty good online Bible resource, biblos.com, and typed the word "torture" in the SEARCH field. It yielded exactly 20 results..

Revelation 18:7 "Give her as much torture and grief as the glory and luxury she gave herself."

A reference to the "Whore of Babylon", not not anything to do with me or you. Only translates to "torture" in 3 of 15 different translations of the Bible I examined.

Revelation 9:5 "They were not given power to kill them, but only to torture them for five months. And the agony they suffered was like that of the sting of a scorpion when it strikes a man."

An end-times prophecy in which certain locusts will torment people on the earth for a period of, apparently, five months. This isnt in Hell and it isnt eternal. Only translates as "torture in 3 out of 15 translations that I examined.

Luke 8:28 "When he saw Jesus, he cried out and fell at his feet, shouting at the top of his voice, “What do you want with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I beg you, don’t torture me!”

A demon stated this to Jesus just before he is cast out. This has nothing to do with us. 3 of 15 again.

Matthew 8:29 “What do you want with us, Son of God?” they shouted. “Have you come here to torture us before the appointed time?”

Ditto. 3 of 15 again.

Mark 5:7 "He shouted at the top of his voice, “What do you want with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? Swear to God that you won’t torture me!”

Ditto again. Only 2 of 15 different translations use the word "torture".

Some translations of Revelation 18:10 use the word "torture", as in..."Frightened by her torture, they will stand far away and say, 'How horrible, how horrible it is for that important city, the powerful city Babylon! In one moment judgment has come to it!'

We are back to the Whore of Babylon again. Not Hell.

Most translations do not use the word "torture" in Revelation 14:11 but let's examine it "The smoke from their torture will go up forever and ever. There will be no rest day or night for those who worship the beast or its statue, or for anyone branded with its name."

To put this in it's context, let's examine the verses around it. "A second angel followed and said, “Fallen! Fallen is Babylon the Great, which made all the nations drink the maddening wine of her adulteries.” "A third angel followed them and said in a loud voice: “If anyone worships the beast and his image and receives his mark on the forehead or on the hand, he, too, will drink of the wine of God’s fury, which has been poured full strength into the cup of his wrath. He will be tormented with burning sulfur in the presence of the holy angels and of the Lamb. And the smoke of their torment rises for ever and ever. There is no rest day or night for those who worship the beast and his image, or for anyone who receives the mark of his name.”This calls for patient endurance on the part of the saints who obey God’s commandments and remain faithful to Jesus. Then I heard a voice from heaven say, “Write: Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.”“Yes,” says the Spirit, “they will rest from their labor, for their deeds will follow them" Revelation 14:8-13.

This refers to the suffering of a segment of the population who worship the "Beast" in end times prophecy and receive his mark. Unless you are, literally, hell-bent on worshiping Satan or his proxy, I wouldnt worry about this one. However if you would like to offer any arguments to the contrary, that is, to argue in favor of demon worship and accepting his mark, I would be pleased to see you do so here. Personally? It's nothing I would want to do.

JD Curtis said...

Acts 22:29 "Immediately therefore they departed from him that were about to torture him. The tribune also was afraid after he understood that he was a Roman citizen, and because he had bound him."

Only one out of fifteen translations I examined translate the word as "torture". It's irrelevant to our discussion in that it refers to the treatment of Paul by a Roman official, nothing about you or I.

Luke 16:28 "because I have five brothers-to warn them, so that they won't end up in this place of torture, too.'

Two out of fifteen translations use the word "torture". Thirteen use 'torment" and one uses "pain". This is from the account of Lazurus and the rich man that we examined on Thursday. The only thing we can draw from the rich man's statements was that he was thirsty and it was hot. We can assume that Hell is quite unpleasant from what we can glean from the Bible. At no point does the the rich man ask Abraham to "get God off my back", or "please tell God to stop torturing me" or anything remotely like that. He appears to be using the word metaphorically and does not mention that God is "torturing" him.2 Peter 2:8 "Although he was a man who had God's approval, he lived among the people of Sodom and Gomorrah. Each day was like torture to him as he saw and heard the immoral things that people did."

A metaphorical use of the word.

Hebrews 11:35 "Women received back their dead, raised to life again. Others were tortured and refused to be released, so that they might gain a better resurrection"

The "others" referred to here are OT prophets and the fate that some of them met.

Revelation 20:10 "The devil, who deceived them, was thrown into the fiery lake of sulfur, where the beast and the false prophet were also thrown. They will be tortured day and night forever and ever."

End time prophecy. Pertains to the "devil, beast and false prophet". Not you or I. Again, it it translated "torture in only 2 of 15 different translations.

Revelation18:15 "Frightened by her torture, the merchants who had become rich by selling these things will stand far away. They will cry and mourn,"

Again, we are back to the Whore of Babylon. Only one of fifteen translations uses the word "torture'.

JD Curtis said...

2 Peter 2:8 "Although he was a man who had God's approval, he lived among the people of Sodom and Gomorrah. Each day was like torture to him as he saw and heard the immoral things that people did."

A metaphorical use of the word.

Hebrews 11:35 "Women received back their dead, raised to life again. Others were tortured and refused to be released, so that they might gain a better resurrection"

The "others" referrred to here are OT prophets and the fate that some of them met.

Revelation 20:10 "The devil, who deceived them, was thrown into the fiery lake of sulfur, where the beast and the false prophet were also thrown. They will be tortured day and night forever and ever."

End time prophecy. Pertains to the "devil, beast and false prophet". Not you or I. Again, it it translated "torture in only 2 of 15 different translations.

Revelation18:15 "Frightened by her torture, the merchants who had become rich by selling these things will stand far away. They will cry and mourn,"

Again, we are back to the Whore of Babylon. Only one of fifteen translations uses the word "torture'.

Judges 16:5 "The Philistine rulers came to her and said, "Trick him, and find out what makes him so strong. Find out how we can overpower him. We want to tie him up in order to torture him. Each of us will give you 1,100 pieces of silver."

Refers to what the Philistines want to do to Samson. Only one translation of fifteen actually uses the word "torture".

Judges 16:6 " So Delilah said to Samson, "Please tell me what makes you so strong. How can you be tied up so that someone could torture you?"

Ditto Samson-Philistines. Ditto only one of fifteen translations uses the worrd 'torture".

Judges 16:19 "Delilah put Samson to sleep on her lap. She called for a man to shave off his seven braids. Then she began to torture him because his strength had left him"

Ditto Samson. ditto 1/15th.

2 Chronicles 16:10 "And Asa is angry at the seer, and giveth him to the house of torture, for he is in a rage with him for this; and Asa oppresseth some of the people at that time."

Young's Literal Translation says "house of torture. The 14 others use "prison".

Matthew 24:9 ""Then they will hand you over to those who will torture and kill you. All nations will hate you because you are committed to me."

1/15th of the translations again. Refers to what will happen to Christians here on earth in the end times. Not Hell.

Jeremiah 38:19 "King Zedekiah answered Jeremiah, "I'm afraid of the Jews who have deserted to the Babylonians. The Babylonians may hand me over to them, and they will torture me."

Refers to the fears of Zedekiah. Only appears in 1/15th of the translations again. Usually translated as "mock" or "insult".

Jeremiah 29:26 "Jehovah hath made thee priest instead of Jehoiada the priest, for there being inspectors of the house of Jehovah, for every one mad and making himself a prophet, and thou hast put him unto the torture and unto the stocks."

Again, Young's Literal Translation uses "torture" whereas the other 14 use the word "prison".

JD Curtis said...

Given that you are not presupposing anything and there is not a single referrence to God "torturing" anyone in the entire Bible, might I ask where you aquired this, so far, extra-Biblical belief?

GCT said...

JD,
"I suppose that could make for an intersting topic. Let's begin by again re-examining the question that I just asked you."

So, would you kindly answer the question?

"Are these not you words?"

Yes, and I stand behind them.

"The above quotation would indicate that WE should be seeking Him. Are you? Are any of us.....really?"

Do you honestly think that no atheists have ever earnestly sought out god? Some atheists have had rather traumatic experiences in deconverting because they wanted so badly to believe. Your contention here is frankly a bit insulting.

"The reason that I don't believe in Zeus is because it all seemed just like that. Mythology. Might that help explain why we don't see Temples Of Zeus dotting the landscape anywhere?"

And Xianity isn't mythology? I suggest you look closer at your own beliefs. Popularity doesn't make your beliefs more credible. Also, I'll note that this sidesteps the issue. If you don't like Zeus, then try believing in Vishnu or Ganesh for a day. When you admit that you can't do it, then you can talk about the "choice" of belief.

"If youre going to drag Moby Dick into this, what's stopping you from introducing Dick Meets Jane?"

Nothing really, and that's the point.

"...you're not trying to illecit an emotional response from people....are you?"

Nope, simply using your own religion's language.

"Basically amounts to "It has to fit my definitions, worldview, emotional state". This would make more sense if God were a creature like us...But He really isnt."

Then simply admit that you are a moral relativist and be done with it.

Lastly, thank you for the legalistic reading of the Bible, but it's quite un-necessary. Your own religion proclaims that hell is where souls go that don't find favor with god and that it's a place of eternal torment/torture. god created it and then sends people there, hence god is guilty of it, especially since god is purported to be omni-max. By your reasoning, a mafia don that orders a killing but doesn't actually pull the trigger is not guilty of murder. Thankfully, other humans understand the concepts of justice and morality a little better than that.

Of course, no literal hell study of the Bible would be complete without Jesus's own purported words, including Matthew 18:9, for just one example. He talks about casting sinners into hellfire. I believe there's a bit of that talk in the Sermon on the Mount as well. I'll leave it to you to try to lawyer out of it, however.

The plain truth is that god is saying to us, "Do what I want or I will cast you into hell, which is a place where you will be tormented whether I'm physically doing it to you or some demon is doing it." This is an implicit threat. If a mugger held a gun to your head and said give me all your money or I'll shoot you, but if you do give me your money I'll let you live, do you think that they should be allowed to go free from their crime if you give them your money? According to you, wouldn't it be simply a part of your free will that you handed over your money?

GCT said...

JD,
I suggest that we get back to the original question, which was a rather simple one. All this other stuff is tangential and not central to the reason this discussion started (I'm not surprised, judging by how our previous interaction has gone, but I will try to focus this one).

I'm told that god wants that all should go to heaven after death. I'm also told that satan is a counteracting force and leads people astray, thus keeping them from attaining salvation and going to heaven. I'm also told that god has the power to negate satan's efforts. So, my very simple question is why does god not do this? If god were to negate satan (either through destruction or simply neutering his power over us) he would bring more souls to heaven.

Now, I understand that you may not believe that satan actually has any power or does anything. If that is the case (which I asked you previously and you missed or decided not to answer) then this question is not directed at you. You should be aware, however, that this belief is rather prevalent in Xianity, including many who hold to mainstream Xian beliefs. So, although the question may not be pertinent to your particular beliefs, it is pertinent to many other Xians.

JD Curtis said...

GCT, I'll make this simple for you.
You've stated that you arent "pre-supposing" anything.

1. Since you are not presupposing anything I asked you how you arrived at at the conclusion that the only reason Satan is here on this planet is to lead you and I astry. What factors did you consider? You stated on Nov. 12th If you and I wouldn't send satan to lead people astray, why did god?. That same day I asked you to express how you arrived at this conclusion. Feel free to cite the relevant books, article, etc. you examined before arriving at this point of view. We are now on Nov. 16th and I'm still waiting for a reply. On Nov. 13th you actually acknowledged that I asked you the question, however the form of acknowledgement that you chose was to ask me the same question, not provide an answer of your own. 4 days later and I'm still waiting for your open-minded, non-presupposing answer.


2. Since you arent presupposing anything, how did you arrive at the conclusion the God tortures people when it doesnt appear anywhere in the entire Bible?

3. Furthermore, I could ask why you seized upon such an emotionally charged word like "torture" with all of the graphic imagery that it conjures up when it is rarely used at all and when it is, it is only translated as "torture", at best, 20% of the time and usually not even that. You did not use the word three or four times in your above arguments but at least a dozen times on this thread thus making it a cornerstone of your argument. If it is not meant to paint the God of the Bible in as bad a light as possible in a prejudiced sort of way and to play upon the emotions of those you converse with, then what was the reason that you seized upon such an extremely narrow interpretation of scriptural translation on such a consistant basis?

4. Please substatiate the existances of "torture chambers" in Hell. I havent been able to find a reference yet.

5."If youre going to drag Moby Dick into this, what's stopping you from introducing Dick Meets Jane?"

Nothing really, and that's the point.


Here. I'll try and clock down to your speed lay this as absolutely flat as I possibly can for you.

The foundational documents and sacred texts of the major relions of the world ....... Apples.

Self-described works of fiction from the from the mid-19th century.... Oranges.

I find it amazing that you still cling to this canard as some sort of substantive argument. In order to legitimize this viewpoint of yours, could you please cite a single, credible historian who is comparing self-described works of fiction with documents that are said to be divinely inspired and what he or she is/was hoping to accomplish?

GCT said...

JD,
It seems plainly obvious that you don't want to answer my question (first posed on Nov 10, well before you even got into this thread). I'll take your non-answer as an admission that you can't explain it.

"1. Since you are not presupposing anything I asked you how you arrived at at the conclusion that the only reason Satan is here on this planet is to lead you and I astry."

As much as you want to protest that I haven't said anything about this, I've already said that it's what many Xians believe. If I can't ask about what Xians tell me they believe, then there's no way to hold a discussion.

"2. Since you arent presupposing anything, how did you arrive at the conclusion the God tortures people when it doesnt appear anywhere in the entire Bible?"

Yet, it does, as I pointed out to you, which you obviously didn't read. Also, this is the belief of many Xians. I don't have to presuppose anything to ask about the specific beliefs of Xians. Finally, since god is supposedly omni-max, it beggars belief to think that hell exists and people are tortured there, but that it is not part of god's plan/will. To assert that is to assert contradiction.

"3. Furthermore, I could ask why you seized upon such an emotionally charged word like "torture" with all of the graphic imagery that it conjures up when it is rarely used at all and when it is, it is only translated as "torture", at best, 20% of the time and usually not even that."

And, I could equally point you to where I already addressed this just a couple comments ago this morning. If you aren't going to read what I write, just say so and I'll duly note it and not waste my time.

"4. Please substatiate the existances of "torture chambers" in Hell. I havent been able to find a reference yet."

Again, this is what many Xians believe, that people are tortured in hell for eternity. If you don't believe that, good for you. It doesn't invalidate the questions.

"Here. I'll try and clock down to your speed lay this as absolutely flat as I possibly can for you."

Is condescension really the best course of action for you to take?

"The foundational documents and sacred texts of the major relions of the world ....... Apples.

Self-described works of fiction from the from the mid-19th century.... Oranges."

Please substantiate that. Are you claiming that the Koran is more than a work of fiction? I would find that idea from a Xian to be rather extraordinary.

"I find it amazing that you still cling to this canard as some sort of substantive argument."

What canard? I find the Bible to be a work of fiction and see no reason to believe otherwise when it comes to the talk of the supernatural. There may be some bits here and there that describe actual, historic events, but so do works of historical fiction, like what Gore Vidal writes. Unless you can give a reason to hold the Bible above other works of fiction and above other works of scripture, there's no reason for me to hold it in higher esteem than any other book. And, remember, it was you who introduced the idea that god is speaking to people through the written word and that you have a relationship with god because of that. You have fully ignored the idea that even if god wrote down his thoughts, it does not constitute a relationship anymore than reading old letters from a historical figure means that we are in relationship with that historical figure (hence the reason that you don't get the reference to Herman Melville).

"In order to legitimize this viewpoint of yours, could you please cite a single, credible historian who is comparing self-described works of fiction with documents that are said to be divinely inspired and what he or she is/was hoping to accomplish?"

Why should I have to do this? Simply because some people believe the Bible is not fiction does not mean that it is not fiction? Are you making that argument? I sure hope not.

JD Curtis said...

It seems plainly obvious that you don't want to answer my question (first posed on Nov 10

I'm sorry GCT, I've re-examined you Nov. 10th entries and I notice that you did not ask me anything.

This would be a bit different when juxtaposed to Nov. 12th when I both quoted you and asked you a direct question, to which I'm still waiting for something that resembles an "answer".

I've already said that it's what many Xians believe.

And just who are these (anonymous) Christians that you are quoting? Did they state this is the only reason that Satan is on this earth? Could we have just a little bit of clarity? Where these Christians published in peer-reviewed articles at all?

Please note that this is (at least) the 3rd time that I'm asking you why "you seized upon such an emotionally charged word like "torture" with all of the graphic imagery that it conjures up when it is rarely used at all and when it is, it is only translated as "torture", at best, 20% of the time and usually not even that." You, *ahem*, "answered" by stating you were "simply using your own religion's language" which, I'm afraid, doesnt do anything whatsoever to explain why you seized upon the Greek word XXXXX which is translated "torture" in only 20% or less of the NT translations. Since you are not presupposing anything and you examined the subject with an open mind, just what is this particular word in Greek and which lexicon did you utilize? Again (Please note, 3rd attempt) why did you seize upon the translation that appears in only a very small minority of texts?


Please substatiate the existances of "torture chambers" in Hell. I havent been able to find a reference yet."

Again, this is what many Xians believe, that people are tortured in hell for eternity


This does not answer the question. You stated that there are "torture chambers", citing again, (thus far) unnamed, anonymous "Christians". I find this quite odd that I have never encountered Christians who believe that God tortures people or that He even has "torture chambers". I give you the entire Bible. I would ask that you either support the idea of "torture chambers" from scripture or retract your statement in that it has no basis whatsoever in the pages of the Bible.

"Here. I'll try and clock down to your speed lay this as absolutely flat as I possibly can for you."

Is condescension really the best course of action for you to take?


Tone is not truth and your pattern of evasion is becoming as tiresome as it is predictable.

JD Curtis said...

"The foundational documents and sacred texts of the major relions of the world ....... Apples.

Self-described works of fiction from the from the mid-19th century.... Oranges."


Please substantiate that. Are you claiming that the Koran is more than a work of fiction? I would find that idea from a Xian to be rather extraordinary.


I'm claiming nothing of the sort. Apparently one of us has the ability to discern between texts whose writers claim are divinely inspired and self described fiction and one of us does not.

I find the Bible to be a work of fiction and see no reason to believe otherwise when it comes to the talk of the supernatural.

I thought that you didnt presuppose anything. Did you not state earlier that I'm more than willing to say that it's possible that a god exists? Neither you nor I can claim that we posess even 1/2 of 1% of all of the knowledge in the universe and yet you can claim that the supernatural, (nevermind God) does not exist? Please prove this. I don't want "evidence", I want "proof". And once you have accomplished such a Nobel Prize worthy effort, then let's submit it for review in a scientific journal, shall we?

Simply because some people believe the Bible is not fiction does not mean that it is not fiction?

Could you please demonstrate that you actually know the difference between a statement of opinion and a statement of fact? Once you have accomplished this, I await your explanation that the Bible is absolutely, without question, 100% fiction. Again, I want proof, not evidence.

GCT said...

JD,
"I'm sorry GCT, I've re-examined you Nov. 10th entries and I notice that you did not ask me anything."

I'm on to your tactics. You simply try to muddy the waters, go off on tangents, argue about anything and everything except the issue at hand, and then hope that your opponent gets frustrated and/or tired and leaves so that you can declare yourself the victor. You tried it in the other thread, and you are doing it here. It would be so much nicer if you could actually try to have a civilized conversation, and I would hold you in much higher esteem. Instead, we get something like you just wrote.

The very first comment was a question that I asked of anyone here that I've since repeated to you and you have danced around unwilling and/or unable (my bet is on the "and" part) to answer. Although I did not specifically pose it to you, it is the question that started all of this, which you seem to want others to forget. It's a simple question, but apparently beyond what you are capable of answering. Don't feel too bad, however, considering that this sort of question had dogged apologists for milennia.

As for your assertion that I'm not answering your questions, I freely admit that I may not have touched on every single interrogative that you may have launched at me with your dancing and avoiding the topic. You'll just have to deal with it as I will not be interrogated and I simply want to deal with the question I raised. I've been rather accommodating in answering many questions from you with virtually no reciprocation, and it seems that is not enough for you as the only thing that would satisfy you is if I never made a point of my own and simply answered your questions in the exact fashion that you'd like for me to answer them and then shut up. Sorry, but it doesn't work that way.

"And just who are these (anonymous) Christians that you are quoting?"

OK, please don't be absurd. Are you really going to contend that many Xians don't believe that satan leads people astray? I'm sorry, but this is pretty intellectually dishonest or else you are highly ignorant of your own religion.

"Where these Christians published in peer-reviewed articles at all?"

When has that ever happened?

"Please note that this is (at least) the 3rd time that I'm asking you why "you seized upon such an emotionally charged word like "torture" with all of the graphic imagery that it conjures up when it is rarely used at all and when it is, it is only translated as "torture", at best, 20% of the time and usually not even that."

If you dislike it, then I suggest you deal with what I've said instead of ignoring. Further, I suggest you deal with the Xians that invoke hell as torture that we should avoid in order to proselytize, if you are so opposed to making emotional arguments.

"Tone is not truth and your pattern of evasion is becoming as tiresome as it is predictable."

Physician, heal thyself.

GCT said...

"I'm claiming nothing of the sort. Apparently one of us has the ability to discern between texts whose writers claim are divinely inspired and self described fiction and one of us does not."

Wow, that just went right over your head.

"I thought that you didnt presuppose anything."

Swing and a miss. It's not a presupposition to not believe the Bible's claims.

"Neither you nor I can claim that we posess even 1/2 of 1% of all of the knowledge in the universe and yet you can claim that the supernatural, (nevermind God) does not exist? Please prove this. I don't want "evidence", I want "proof"."

Another swing and a miss. (I think that's about strike 1000 for you right now.) I did not claim that the supernatural does not or can not exist. Where did you get such an idea? If I can turn your legalism back on you, where did I state such? In fact, I stated the opposite, that I'm more than willing to state that it is possible for a god to exist.

You seem to lack some basic knowledge in epistemology here. What do you mean by "proof?" 100%? You'll never have that for anything. What we need is evidence in order to hold something as provisionally true. When enough confirmatory evidence is accrued and we have a lack of disconfirming evidence, then we say something is "true." It doesn't mean that we've proven it to 100%.

"Once you have accomplished this, I await your explanation that the Bible is absolutely, without question, 100% fiction."

Considering that I never said this, I don't see why you should be asking me to "prove" it. This is nothing more than an attempt at a straw man and more diversion on your part.

I suggest that we could get out of this quandary if we would simply focus on the question that started off this whole thing. Yes, once again I find myself asking you to simply deal with the original question and not all of this irrelevant tangential stuff. Until you can deal with the relevant question and not solely focus on all these other issues, you have no standing to call me evasive in the least. If you want to bring up side issues X, Y, and Z and I don't feel like answering your interrogations, I'm under no obligation to indulge you. That I do indulge you to a point is me simply trying to be polite on Tracy's blog (and you would do well to also at least try and be polite).

You, of course, are under no obligation to answer my original question, but I wonder why you would even engage me at all under the guise of answering my original question if you have/had no intent on doing so?

GCT said...

JD,
I'm feeling generous, so one more reason why your "the word torture is not in the Bible" argument is specious:

Using your logic, you can't say that abortion is bad since the word "abortion" is nowhere to be found in the Bible. You also can't claim homosexuality is sinful, since the word "homosexual" is not in the Bible. Hopefully you can see why your argument isn't that great...but I don't have high hopes.

JD Curtis said...

I'm on to your tactics.

Yes, it's called pin-the-tail on the snipe-and-dodge artist.

The very first comment was a question that I asked of anyone here

Yes you did. You made some statements and I have (been) asking for clarification.

As for your assertion that I'm not answering your questions, I freely admit that I may not have touched on every single interrogative that you may have launched at me with your dancing and avoiding the topic.

You havent answered one with what could be considered at least a half-answer or they have been irrelevant to the question.

"And just who are these (anonymous) Christians that you are quoting?"

OK, please don't be absurd. Are you really going to contend that many Xians don't believe that satan leads people astray?


I merely asked for your source.

"Please note that this is (at least) the 3rd time that I'm asking you why "you seized upon such an emotionally charged word like "torture" with all of the graphic imagery that it conjures up when it is rarely used at all and when it is, it is only translated as "torture", at best, 20% of the time and usually not even that."

If you dislike it, then I suggest you deal with what I've said instead of ignoring. Further, I suggest you deal with the Xians that invoke hell as torture that we should avoid in order to proselytize, if you are so opposed to making emotional arguments.


Please note that you still havent answered my question as to why you seized upon a very narrow interpretation of scripture. If you want to make an arguemment that 80% or more of the translators through the years have rejected, feel free. I was just wondering about your reasoning.

Because you see, seizing upon specific, narrow interpretations is something you have in common with cults. I figure about half that are cited in the linked page apply to you.

I did not claim that the supernatural does not or can not exist. Where did you get such an idea?

November 16th, 2009. "I find the Bible to be a work of fiction and see no reason to believe otherwise when it comes to the talk of the supernatural."

Might you wish to flesh this out a little?

"Once you have accomplished this, I await your explanation that the Bible is absolutely, without question, 100% fiction."

Considering that I never said this, I don't see why you should be asking me to "prove" it.


Then you thinks it's possible that the Bible is true? Again, a little fleshing out is needed.

We are back to the whole "opinion-fact" thing.

That I do indulge you to a point is me simply trying to be polite on Tracy's blog (and you would do well to also at least try and be polite).

I never said you werent polite. Just completely dodgy (although in a polite manner) .

GCT said...

"Yes, it's called pin-the-tail on the snipe-and-dodge artist."

Whatever. If you really think so, I invite you to come to my blog. Say the word and I'll open up a thread just for you. I have nothing to hide and nothing to fear from truthful questions and answers. You, on the other hand, continually rely on having questions only flow one way and complaining loudly whenever things don't go your way.

"Yes you did. You made some statements and I have (been) asking for clarification."

Which are completely irrelevant to the question at hand. You're focusing on tangents that have nothing to do with the question I've asked so that you can avoid answering the tough question posed, but make it look like you have an answer.

"You havent answered one with what could be considered at least a half-answer or they have been irrelevant to the question."

You really should work on that intellectual honesty thing, because from where I'm sitting your hyperbole doesn't meet it. Like I've said multiple times now, if you aren't going to read what I wrote and then claim that I didn't say anything, why even bother?

"I merely asked for your source."

No, what you are trying to do is get me to quote one specific person so that you can try and discredit that person and shift the focus of the argument. Do you or do you not agree that some Xians believe that satan leads people astray? If you agree with this statement then there's no need to argue this point (and you need look no further than the OP to find an example of someone advocating that "They will try any device to turn us away from the Lord."

If you don't agree that any Xians believe that satan leads people astray, then I suggest you do a quick google search and find out just how wrong you are. I doubt that you aren't aware of this fact, however, and that you're just playing games in an attempt at a "gotcha" moment and in an attempt to draw all of this out so that you don't end up answering the original question. Why are you so afraid of that question?

"Please note that you still havent answered my question as to why you seized upon a very narrow interpretation of scripture."

Yes, I did (and here's more of that lack of intellectual honesty). I said that it's because Xians believe such. If you want to argue this point, again I suggest you take it up with them. I also pointed you to Matthew, which you obviously missed - more evidence that you aren't reading my words.

"If you want to make an arguemment that 80% or more of the translators through the years have rejected, feel free."

Wow, further proof that you haven't actually read what I've wrote. I already told you why your argument is specious, which you obviously have not read. How dare you accuse me of evasion and dodging when you have demonstrated that you aren't even reading what I wrote?

"Because you see, seizing upon specific, narrow interpretations is something you have in common with cults."

Again, I suggest you take that up with them. If Xians come to me and claim that I will be tortured in hell for eternity if I don't repent and believe as they do, I'm well within my rights to ask about this torture. And, again, if you don't think torture happens in hell, then this argument doesn't apply to you. Of course, you won't describe what you think happens in hell or if it exists (yes, some Xians don't believe it exists at all) but that's because you'd rather accuse me of obfuscation and dodging than actually present something that you can be pinned down on.

GCT said...

"November 16th, 2009. "I find the Bible to be a work of fiction and see no reason to believe otherwise when it comes to the talk of the supernatural."

Might you wish to flesh this out a little?"

I see that reading comprehension is not your strong suit. There's nothing in there that claims that the supernatural does not or can not exist. Want to try again?

"Then you thinks it's possible that the Bible is true? Again, a little fleshing out is needed."

The concept of the Xian god that most Xians espouse is logically contradictory, so most concepts of the Xian god are impossible. That doesn't mean that the Bible doesn't describe a god that could exist. I think that some stories in the Bible have some truth to them as historical accounts (much as other myths do) but that many of the stories are inaccurate (like the example I've already given: Exodus).

All of this is irrelevant, however.

"I never said you werent polite. Just completely dodgy (although in a polite manner) ."

Answering irrelevant questions is not dodging. Pointing out that they are irrelevant is not doding. Going to great lengths to not answer the one relevant question that has been asked and touched off this whole entire discussion is dodging. Now, feel free to go back to not reading what I write and accusing me of not answering your irrelevant questions (even though I have) and making sure that you don't ever get around to actually answering a single question of mine - and especially not the question that started all of this off, which is the only relevant question. Once again I find myself saying, "Physician, heal thyself."

Blog Widget by LinkWithin