(10/20/2016 – I’ve had a lot of Christians follow recently and like this post, as well as other posts about how religion fails. Not sure why this is, but I’m more than happy to see people approve and agree with my posts.)
I’ve encountered a new Christian apologist on a friend’s website. I’ll first put up his post and give a little background. Ark has asked Christians to explain a couple of things in their religion. SailorDale has said he would do so, with some caveats. I’m not sure if he will answer or not (and I’m assuming he is a he.) We went off topic a little and I thought I’d post here to not take up time and space on another’s blog. Now, for my readers who have been around for a while, this is more making of the pate de cheval and yep, you’ve see the discussion before.
Sailordale writes: “OK, First let me say that you have the choice (free will) to accept or reject Jesus. Ultimately, that is your decision, and yours alone. Everyone has some knowledge of God, and thus no one will be without excuse when we are standing before God to give an account for our lives. We will not be able to say “I didn’t know” So I do hope that you will seriously consider Christianity! And I highly recommend the page- http://www.gotquestions.org/ That is a great place to seek answers to your unresolved questions about God & Jesus. And the Bible is the best interpreter of itself. Keep on reading it, the answers are all there. And as for the Prayers- Yes, Prayer DOES work, and all prayers will be answered! But, they may not be answered exactly as the asker is wanting. You are misunderstanding the prayers that you mentioned in your post. Never did Jesus say that all our prayers would be granted as we wish. We must pray according to God’s Will. If we pray for something that is against the will of God, that prayer will always be answered with a NO. God knows us better than we know ourselves, and He will not give us something that will not good for us. And if your mind is set on not becoming a Christian, then God will NEVER force Himself on anyone! That choice is yours. God knows everything, past, present, & future. If He knows that one will never accept Him, and His Son’s payment for all sins, then God will leave you alone. God knows all that are His, and not a single one of His will be lost. God most certainly DOES exist, and He Loves YOU more than anyone can comprehend! He also knows if you will accept or reject Him in the future. (He knows your choice, and He will honor your choice, whatever you chose…”
Dale, your reply indicates that you don’t know what the bible says and that is not an uncommon thing when it comes to Christians. Where in the bible does it say one has the free will to accept or reject Jesus? I’m very familiar with the bible, having read it in its entirety as a Christian and as not, and I don’t recall where it says there is free will. You are most welcome to show me wrong. I do remember where it says that God chooses some people to believe and some people not to believe (Romans 9) and where the character JC says that he/his god intentionally makes it impossible for some to accept and understand his words. This would not indicate free will. There are also the many instances of this god interfering with humans which also indicates no free will (I’m going with the often used definition that we somehow can make decisions and act without influence of any kind or at least no superpowereful divine influences). Considering that this god controlled the actions of many e.g. Pharoah, and removed the choices from many e.g. David’s son, there is again no evidence for free will. Perhaps you define free will differently. Please do explain.
You also use the common claim of many, if not all theists, that “everyone” has some knowledge of your version of your god, in your instance “God” (Christians usually cite Romans 1). However, there is nothing to support this claim. There is nothing to show that your god is the only one known nor is there any evidence that your god was the creator. Since no theist has any better evidence that their claims are any more valid than the next, there is little reason to accept your claims. This is why Ark, and so many of us ask questions, to see if there is actually anything there to support the claims. If it is true that there is some god, it’s a piece of important information about the universe. If it is not true that there is some god, then that is also important. It’s not an ulterior motive, it’s what people do when they question the claims of another; they question how the claim is supported. The claim fails or succeeds based on that.
You offer what is Pascal’s Wager, that I should believe in your god because the alternative is death and destruction. But per your bible, I have no choice. I also have the issue that your god is again no more supported than worshipping Vishnu, Tezcatlipoca, Allah, the wiccan Goddess, Bast, or Coyote. I have been out to the Got Questions website and have found it as lacking in evidence as any other Christian or other religion’s apologetic website. It also disagrees with other Christians on what the bible “really” means, further cloudying the claim of who are Christians and what do they believe. Also, if the bible is the best interpreter of itself, then why do Christians disagree on what it says and “means” to the point of trying to kill each other when they had power? Out of all of the hundreds, if not thousands of sects, who is the “right” one? You seem to think you know the “right” answer, but what I want to know is*how* you know yours is the right one and everyone else, including fellow Christians, are wrong.
You claim that prayer does work and will work (which seems to indicate that it hasn’t yet). Evidence for this? Your claims about prayers are not supported by your bible nor even by other Christians. The bible says that prayers will be answered exactly as the asker is wanting (a father would not give a snake if asked for a fish by his child). Jesus said exactly that *anything*, no caveats at all, would be given if asked of him. You are not telling the truth about what your bible says, Dale, and it is always fascinating to me when a Christian does this, when he should know that anyone can read the bible and find out those claims are wrong. You try to excuse this nonsense by saying we must pray according to this god’s will, which means we have no choice and means prayer is entirely pointless if praying for something has already been determined. It makes JC out to be a liar. If everything must fit an already determined result, that kills free will…again.
Predestination, free will, and what the bible actually says
As a former predestinationalist i.e. Presbyterian, at least I didn’t have the problems of claiming free will, but I’ve long known its failures when used for Christianity. If prayers work and only work if this god of yours allows it, then what does that say about your god’s opinion about atheists? This god would rather have us around than not? That this god really does intend on damning us for no reason of our own? Your claims are becoming contradictory e.g. is God controlling things or not. Why are you praying for something, when you haven’t a clue if it is approved by god or not? If God’s will is God’s will, then any prayer is completely pointless. Mom will die of that brain cancer despite the prayers of millions, and those millions can’t claim that their prayers did squat if she lives.
Again, you are misrepresenting what your bible actually says when you say your god never forces itself on anyone (again see Pharaoh, see David’s son, see anytime God kills a human or alters a battle, see Paul). Indeed, we have the big wrap-up finish in Revelation, where your god again ignores free will and intentionally allows his supposed archenemy to corrupt whomever it wants of those people who were accepting Christ and this god (all of those who didn’t were murdered by this god, and then damned for having no choice per Romans 9). We also have the conflicting claim that everyone is judged by the actions listed in their “book of life”, which would mean that JC isn’t for the universal redemption of everyone’s sins if they are still going to be counted.
We have an omnipotent, omniscient god that has supposedly set the rules, and then changes its mind on how to get back in his good graces: methods to follow or else, aka no choices. A flood that didn’t work. Commandments that didn’t work. And we have different ways per the NT how it’s supposed to work depending on the author: acceptance of JC as savior; and/or doing good works; and/or JC being a blood sacrifice; and/or grace alone e.g. no free will; and/or for women alone, childbirth. If he already knows that someone won’t accept him, or as per the bible, your god has made someone not to accept him, there is no choice. Indeed, there is no point of allowing such a person to exist, except for sadism. If one believes the bible, your god leaves no one alone, deeming torture to be what those who don’t accept him get. As for love, how do you define love? I think the bible actually has a pretty good definition of it with the whole “love is…” thing. Now, the one thing that is peculiar is that your god, as described by the bible, fails at almost everything listed.
Your last sentence can have any god put in the place of “God”. Now, if that is done, would you simply say “Oh shucks, I believe you.”? Or would you have questions just like mine?
As an aside to my theist readers, I know that your versions of Christianity vary widely and many of you have indicated you liked my posts attacking another version of Christianity other than yours. You are invited to post why Dale is wrong and why your version is correct. My atheist and agnostic readers are always invited to kibitz too.