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Spencer Neff

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05:08 pm: School/God/Dinosaurs
School:
New schedule that I like much more!

Calc - Gabbard
Physics - Bailey
Psychology - Sieg
Lunch
AP Chem - Jones

God:
I've been leafing through George H. Smith's book The Case Against God, and these three paragraphs are really standout excellent:

If the theist has no difficulty accepting an uncaused god, why does he complain when asked to accept an uncaused universe? There is absolutely no evidence to suggest that the natural universe is in any way dependent upon some supernatural agency. On the contrary, the concept of causality makes sense only within the context of the natural universe, and to demand a cause of the universe is nonsensical.

Now consider the idea that nature itself is the product of design. How could this be demonstrated? Nature, as we have seen, provides the basis of comparison by which we distinguish between designed objects and natural objects. We are able to infer the presence of design only to the extent that the characteristics of an object differ from natural characteristics. Therefore, to claim that nature as a whole was designed is to destroy the basis by which we differentiate between artifacts and natural objects. Evidences of design are those characteristics not found in nature, so it is impossible to produce evidence of design within the context of nature itself. Only if we first step beyond nature, and establish the existence of a supernatural designer, can we conclude that nature is the result of conscious planning...

In exchange for obedience, Christianity promises salvation in an afterlife; but in order to elicit obedience through this promise, Christianity must convince men that they need salvation, that there is something to be saved from. Christianity has nothing to offer a happy man living in a natural, intelligible universe. If Christianity is to gain a motivational foothold, it must declare war on earthly pleasure and happiness, and this, historically, has been its precise course of action. In the eyes of Christianity, man is sinful and helpless in the face of God, and is potential fuel for the flames of hell. Just as Christianity must destroy reason before it can introduce faith, so it must destroy happiness before it can introduce salvation.


The second paragraph demonstrates the case for theism as the original pursuit in circular logic. We must start with the assumption that God the Creator exists in order to argue that God exists.
The third paragraph is definitely my favorite, probably in the whole book. I've made comments here and in others' journals stating essentially the same thing, that Christianity views humanity as a gross and sickly thing, and that this clashes violently with my view of man as heroic and valuable in his own right. I was excited to come across Smith's similar observation.

Dinosaurs:
A new Dinosaur Comic! T-Rex and Utahraptor discuss utilitarianism.

Current Music: Rautavaara - Angel of Light

Comments

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From:secondman
Date:August 12th, 2005 04:52 am (UTC)
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The thing is, Christianity has everything to offer a happy man; however, a happy man doesn't think he needs anything to make him "happier" for lack of a better expression, because he is already happy.

I know this because I am and have been that happy man. Christianity promises something that this world cannot offer: Salvation. The conviction is that Jesus provides the means for life after death. Without it, man IS helpless. There is nothing man can do to prevent the ultimate destruction of himself, and thus man is insufficient.



The problem I have with books providing cases against God is that they are, also, built upon emotion. Any apologist or really anyone who has read and understood the Bible and God's plan can refute these arguements because the Word of God is deemed infallible, living, and God breathed. Seriously, and with no offense meant towards anyone, there is no point in arguing against God unless one has read, understood, and applied the principles of the Bible (walked righteously before God), and come up empty-handed because unless man has done these things, man will not have experienced both lives: what we call abundant life and a dead life.
[User Picture]
From:spenwah
Date:August 12th, 2005 09:26 pm (UTC)
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Religion breaks a man's leg and offers him a cane. That isn't happiness, and I want no part in it. In order to make the promise of Salvation appealing to me, you have to chop off my leg. I think that's sick and disgusting. You need to make me look at my fellow man as worthless and ugly. You have to put the fear of Hell into me, a place of total pitch blackness where maggots and giant worms devour sinners' live flesh, where their skin and eyes are perpetually being singed, where all that exists is fear and panic and hopelessness. And to top it off, I must accept that this real place called Hell is part of God's all-knowing, perfect, loving plan. You have to make me see this universe I inhabit as a terribly ugly place. That isn't happiness.

"Life after death" is as absurd a concept as "life before birth." We're both going to the same place, you and I.
[User Picture]
From:secondman
Date:August 12th, 2005 11:49 pm (UTC)

I don't know how much I'm going to ramble, but humor me I have nothing else to do.

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Like I said, there's no point in debating against God because unless you have lived the life of a "saved" individual, you simply will not understand anything the other person is saying. Christ breaks a man's leg and offers him an entirely new life. I can't put the fear of God into you. Heck, very few Christians even fear God, they use Christianity as a crutch, forgetting that God knows the heart of man and what his intentions are. That's why it's so hard to become a Christian, because it is in man's sinful nature to be number one in his life, and surrendering one's life to someone else is a nearly impossible thing to do by one's own will. That's why, if you've wondered, when people are faced with bad situations or are somehow humbled by man himself, they turn to God. Not as a crutch, but because they've been humiliated to the point that surrender isn't as much of an issue. I find it hard to believe that you haven't gotten past this "worthless and ugly" thing because how can you possibly look around at some people and say "man you are sick and ugly." That outlook only comes from the fact, from my experience, that this new life that people have as (truly Christ-like)Christians is indeed pure joy, and as someone like that, it's easy to see the uglines and sin in life as I witness it in myself, and compare it to how I could be. However, there are some very very ugly things in this world that make it unable for me to see it and not say that man is evil. If there is no God, there is no other way to explain it. If there is a God, sin is how to explain it. Belief in life after death is what changes things: To realize that one is insufficient, and cannot possibly live after dying without the help of a supernatural being is humbling in itself. Man is not immortal, and life after death is not absurd, by that quote because there was indeed life before birth- it is a concept that our brains cannot fathom, for Christians believe that The Word was, is, and always will be- hence life before birth. I believe that God has written eternity on the heart of man, otherwise the thought of life after death never would have evolved as it has. Man would have simply thought that he was immortal. From the beginning of time, man was made to be immortal. However, when sin entered the picture, man found out that he was no longer immortal by earthly standards and God was his only saving grace.

But anyway... I don't think Mr. Sieg liked me very much, I didn't speak out a lot-- actually no one did.
[User Picture]
From:bejaman
Date:August 12th, 2005 09:22 pm (UTC)
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Sieg is the baddest ass.
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From:spenwah
Date:August 12th, 2005 09:27 pm (UTC)
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You'll have to come down for norm violations. You owe me big for that jellybean misadventure.
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From:bejaman
Date:August 13th, 2005 04:17 pm (UTC)
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Hahaha, will do.
From:(Anonymous)
Date:August 25th, 2005 05:23 pm (UTC)

God

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What you have quoted only makes sense if choose to believe what the book attempts to rationalize in is "inference's".

"Only if we first step beyond nature, and establish the existence of a supernatural designer, can we conclude that nature is the result of conscious planning..."

Absolutely! and nature can be concluded to include man. Thus we must step beyond ourselves to conclude that we are not God. Establishing the existence of a supernatural designer is an attempt to establish that God is. Or the reverse. To establish that he isn't. If that were possible, then we would have proof and each would know what to believe.

Your title is God, your reference is Christianity in paragraph 3. Christianity is not God. Thus Christianity will do many things in the name of God. Many things people hold up and say. Look what christians do. The appropriate response is. Look what sinners do. God has laid out the evidence. There is no attempt by God to convince anyone they need salvation. That comes from man(christians).

Yet! your believe this earth and it's existence, life, nature, you, are one big accident and over billions of years has led us to where we are today. Now that's faith.

More importantly Spencer, you keep seeking. You keep thinking.

Lindsay did a fairly good job in stating her position.

Maybe hell isn't fire, pain suffering as you stated in one of your comments. Maybe hell is after we die, knowing God, and not being able to be with him in our death, or eternal life.

Maybe Lindsay's right. Maybe you need to read the other way before you make you final "faith" decision.

Mr. B radley
[User Picture]
From:spenwah
Date:August 25th, 2005 08:34 pm (UTC)

Re: God

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In middle school I had a shelf reserved for theology books. The pastor of my church made an exception for me, and I came every week to the men's Bible study class. I was into it. I wanted to learn Hebrew. I was intellectually certain that I was going to heaven, most of my friends were going to Hell, and that the Earth was 8,000 years old. I was one of the chosen Elect, Saved, my sins repented of, etc. I prayed through every day.

But as I got older and more capable of tossing around heavier ideas, I began to really dislike the way God viewed His creation. The Israelites were as barbarous as any other tribe of their time, with God leading the army. God sent men like Aristotle and Gandhi to an eternity in Hell. He gave us a mind and ordered us to suppress it. Eve ate the apple of knowledge, and that's why we have war and disease. The last sermon I ever heard as a Christian was the condemnation of Doubting Thomas.

The only thing I'll ever have faith in is the laws of the universe. I might even use the word "God" occassionally, but this is what I mean. And so do Einstein and Hawking when they drop the G-word. And within that framework, there are no accidents. Everything happens per the decrees of universal law. And it all has a mathematical description.

God wouldn't send a nice guy like me to Hell. And He wouldn't give Heaven to a bunch of other people and wag it in my face either, for that matter.
From:rjay41
Date:September 21st, 2005 04:11 pm (UTC)

Re: God

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Saved people go to Heaven, good people go to hell.
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From:fairlyobscure
Date:September 19th, 2005 02:28 am (UTC)
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I had a problem with the paragraphs because he started out talking about theists and, in the third, segued into Christians. There are lots of theists who aren't Christians and many who belong to no organized religion.
Christianity is just one particular cult. Disillusionment with any particular religion should make you reject that religion, not the deity the religion has corrupted for it's own purposes.
[User Picture]
From:spenwah
Date:September 21st, 2005 07:37 pm (UTC)
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The error is faith. When I speak of my disdain for theism, I have faith in mind as the subject. When I speak of individual religions, I refer to their philosophies, not metaphysics.
[User Picture]
From:spenwah
Date:September 21st, 2005 07:40 pm (UTC)
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The three paragraphs I quoted are not consecutive. I should have done more to emphasize that.
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