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Born Again

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Is God a monster?
« on: July 29, 2013, 03:32:43 pm »
When I heard Sam Harris use 'hell' as 'proof' for a monster God, it reminded me of the claim of Carl Jung, who blasphemously suggested that God needed his (!) therapy in order to be healed from His neurotic 'fear of sin'.

Harris should consider this:

Perhaps God has such an immensely high regard for the free will of every human being, for the responsibility of every human being, that He is willing to let every man face the eternal consequences of his or her choice. So in fact, one could argue that God has much more respect for us then we ourselves have!

Robert Govett MA, the late Oxford theologian and sometime fellow of Worcester College, wrote a good book on the subject titled Eternal Suffering of the Wicked and Hades, in which is also included a chapter on the character of God (if He is so loving, why would He allow an eternal hell).
« Last Edit: July 29, 2013, 07:41:33 pm by Born Again »

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Lothars Sohn

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Re: Is God a monster?
« Reply #1 on: August 14, 2013, 05:14:38 pm »
Well, if the suffering in hell lasts eternally, one is certainly justified in asking:
"what love is this?"

In order for Him to be God, God has at least to be much better than the best human being out there.

I do believe, like you said, that God is going to respect the choice of the person, but this means he or she will eventually cease to exist.


Lovely greetings from Germany.
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Lothars Sohn - Lothar's son
http://lotharlorraine.wordpress.com
"The whole modernist worldview stems from the illusion that the so-called laws of nature are explanations of the phenomena of nature."
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peanutaxis

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Re: Is God a monster?
« Reply #2 on: August 18, 2013, 04:34:06 am »
Perhaps God has such an immensely high regard for the free will of every human being, for the responsibility of every human being, that He is willing to let every man face the eternal consequences of his or her choice.

This doesn't make any sense.
So if god had less respect for the free will of humans they would face less than eternity in hell?

wtf?


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Born Again

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Re: Is God a monster?
« Reply #3 on: August 18, 2013, 10:47:12 am »
Please read this chapter first about the relation between eternal suffering and God's character (His justice, sovereignty and goodness). All three aspects of His character are dealt with there:

https://archive.org/stream/EternalSufferingOfTheWickedAndHades/Eternal_punishment_of_the_wicked_and_hades#page/n82/mode/1up

If you want to skip the first two aspects and want to read about the relation between eternal suffering and God's goodness right away, go here:

https://archive.org/stream/EternalSufferingOfTheWickedAndHades/Eternal_punishment_of_the_wicked_and_hades#page/n86/mode/1up
« Last Edit: August 18, 2013, 10:50:26 am by Born Again »

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peanutaxis

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Re: Is God a monster?
« Reply #4 on: August 18, 2013, 09:46:53 pm »
No, sorry I don't need to read pages and pages of stuff for an extremely simple claim:
               
  • That god's huge regard for our free will implies eternal suffering is justified.

This implies that if we had less free will that we would be less guilty. How does that work?

Maybe this means that god could remind us every five minutes of his existence, but instead has such a high regard for our free will that he doesn't bug us about it much.
If I told my children at the beginning of the year that they should not run in the house and remained tight-lipped for the rest of the year and then punished them hugely, would that be fair? Quite the opposite is true. They are far more deserving of huge punishment if I reminded them more often!

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Born Again

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Re: Is God a monster?
« Reply #5 on: August 19, 2013, 07:05:47 pm »
No, sorry I don't need to read pages and pages of stuff for an extremely simple claim:
               
  • That god's huge regard for our free will implies eternal suffering is justified.
This implies that if we had less free will that we would be less guilty. How does that work?

Maybe this means that god could remind us every five minutes of his existence, but instead has such a high regard for our free will that he doesn't bug us about it much.
If I told my children at the beginning of the year that they should not run in the house and remained tight-lipped for the rest of the year and then punished them hugely, would that be fair? Quite the opposite is true. They are far more deserving of huge punishment if I reminded them more often!

It seems you don't grasp the deeper meaning of the word 'claim'. It is never about 'the' claim, it is about what that claim entails. The claim 'evolution is true' is also an 'extremely simple claim', every little child understands it. But if you really think this would make all the thousands of books on evolution and all the classes in evolutionary biology unnecessary, and that you don't need to read pages and pages of 'stuff' about evolutionary biology because the claim is so extremely simple, every student will look at you with an expression on his or her face that says: Do I really see water burning? So surprised will they be. I could earn a pHD with such an attitude. 'Hi doc, I have this claim in my thesis, but you really don't need to read everything I wrote to prove my claim; just take my word for it that my claim is true.' I think the doc would have a fit.

You should be asking the right questions. First: what does this choice actually embody; what is actually being rejected if I say 'no'; why is eternal suffering a just punishment; that sort of questions. If you only focus on the word 'respect' or 'free will' as if drawn to it like a bull to a red flag (or herring), without being prepared to deal with the matters they are related to in this case, you are not really taking it very seriously. If you were really interested, you would have read that whole chapter already. And then we would have something to talk about. You must first answer the question if eternal suffering is a just punishment. And you cannot do so without talking about the nature of sin, the nature of God, the nature of salvation, and so on. If you do not see that, and if you do not even want to read a few pages about the subject, I can't help you.

Anyway, 'less free will' is a contradiction in terms. Man has free will, or not. If the will cannot have 'a little freedom'. The will stands for the entire person and cannot be compartmentalized (the will is 'part' of the soul, as are emotion and mind). But that is not even the issue here. The issue is that 'if a man knows the gospel and knows what will happen to him if he rejects it completely and for ever - the eternal conscequnces', God respects that choice. God would not respect the man if He would decide otherwise.

When you say that God should remind you more often concerning His plan of salvation, I guess you forget, oh about 2000 years of church history, a Bible which is within your reach 24/7, and the people He uses to remind unbelievers that He has actually have a very personal invitation for them in the gospel message. He doesn't do for you what you can do yourself. And here the 'respect' issue pops up again. He created us as free agents. You know that He speaks through the Bible, so why not take it up and read it?
« Last Edit: August 19, 2013, 08:11:01 pm by Born Again »

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peanutaxis

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Re: Is God a monster?
« Reply #6 on: August 19, 2013, 10:40:09 pm »
Perhaps God has such an immensely high regard for the free will of every human being, for the responsibility of every human being, that He is willing to let every man face the eternal consequences of his or her choice. So in fact, one could argue that God has much more respect for us then we ourselves have!

Anyway, 'less free will' is a contradiction in terms. Man has free will, or not. If the will cannot have 'a little freedom'.

So if free will is a black and white thing, then why are you using the phrases "immensely high regard for the free will" and "eternal consequences? Using these descriptors implies that god could have had less regard for our free will and less punishment than eternal consequences.

So in reality, your statement really is just: "Harris should consider this:

Perhaps God has such an immensely high regard for the free will of every human being, for the responsibility of every human being, that He is willing to let every man face the eternal consequences of his or her choice. So in fact, one could argue that God has much more respect for us then we ourselves have!"

This renders it merely: "Perhaps god gave us free will and responsibility, told us the 'truth' and told us the consequences. So in fact, one could argue that God has much more respect for us then we ourselves have!"

Well, the first bit is just stating a core claim about christianity. How is that anything new that Harris should 'consider'. And now that the first bit has had "immensely high regard" and "eternal consequences" removed, the second bit just doesn't even follow!

So all you're actually saying is "Harris should consider this: Perhaps god gave us free will, told us the truth, told us the consequences.

How is that new to Harris?

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Born Again

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Re: Is God a monster?
« Reply #7 on: August 20, 2013, 12:12:18 pm »
Perhaps God has such an immensely high regard for the free will of every human being, for the responsibility of every human being, that He is willing to let every man face the eternal consequences of his or her choice. So in fact, one could argue that God has much more respect for us then we ourselves have!

Anyway, 'less free will' is a contradiction in terms. Man has free will, or not. If the will cannot have 'a little freedom'.

So if free will is a black and white thing, then why are you using the phrases "immensely high regard for the free will" and "eternal consequences? Using these descriptors implies that god could have had less regard for our free will and less punishment than eternal consequences.

So in reality, your statement really is just: "Harris should consider this:

Perhaps God has such an immensely high regard for the free will of every human being, for the responsibility of every human being, that He is willing to let every man face the eternal consequences of his or her choice. So in fact, one could argue that God has much more respect for us then we ourselves have!"

This renders it merely: "Perhaps god gave us free will and responsibility, told us the 'truth' and told us the consequences. So in fact, one could argue that God has much more respect for us then we ourselves have!"

Well, the first bit is just stating a core claim about christianity. How is that anything new that Harris should 'consider'. And now that the first bit has had "immensely high regard" and "eternal consequences" removed, the second bit just doesn't even follow!

So all you're actually saying is "Harris should consider this: Perhaps god gave us free will, told us the truth, told us the consequences.

How is that new to Harris?
Perhaps God has such an immensely high regard for the free will of every human being, for the responsibility of every human being, that He is willing to let every man face the eternal consequences of his or her choice. So in fact, one could argue that God has much more respect for us then we ourselves have!

Anyway, 'less free will' is a contradiction in terms. Man has free will, or not. If the will cannot have 'a little freedom'.

So if free will is a black and white thing, then why are you using the phrases "immensely high regard for the free will" and "eternal consequences? Using these descriptors implies that god could have had less regard for our free will and less punishment than eternal consequences.

So in reality, your statement really is just: "Harris should consider this:

Perhaps God has such an immensely high regard for the free will of every human being, for the responsibility of every human being, that He is willing to let every man face the eternal consequences of his or her choice. So in fact, one could argue that God has much more respect for us then we ourselves have!"

This renders it merely: "Perhaps god gave us free will and responsibility, told us the 'truth' and told us the consequences. So in fact, one could argue that God has much more respect for us then we ourselves have!"

Well, the first bit is just stating a core claim about christianity. How is that anything new that Harris should 'consider'. And now that the first bit has had "immensely high regard" and "eternal consequences" removed, the second bit just doesn't even follow!

So all you're actually saying is "Harris should consider this: Perhaps god gave us free will, told us the truth, told us the consequences.

How is that new to Harris?

The claim of Harris is of course that God doesn't respect human beings if He sends some of them to hell for ever. This implies that human beings don't have a say in that, don't have a choice. And that simply is not true. With his free will man can make a choice. And it is the choice that matters, not the 'measure of his free will', a will he uses to make that choice. The man is told beforehand that the consequence of his choice is eternal, and has explained to him why it must be eternal, so there is nothing wrong with it. A monster does not warn beforehand, and certainly does not come to earth and die for us in order to provide a way out. This Harris completely ignored. If there are only two choices possible, even for God (hell or heaven), and Harris only mentions one of them and on that basis concludes that God is a monster, he is simply being dishonest.

It only becomes unjust if God does not actually mention both eternal realities nor explains the reasons for them. You either choose or reject the gospel. You either go for a bike ride, or you don't. No buts about it. I used the phrase simply because I wanted to point out that if God is willing to let the man face eternal damnation, which is an extremely dire consequence, it clearly shows that He fully respects the man's choice. Harris' mentioning of the eternal sufferings of hell, was loaded with 'hidden hypothesis' and 'false syllogisms' about the character of God and the nature of man. He said he did not want to believe in a monster God who sends human beings to hell. But he ignores the fact that God does not want to send them there, why else would He have us preach the gospel?

God is infinite and eternal, and therefore His attributes are too. I was not trying to 'measure' God's respect for a man's choice. That is not even possible with divine infinity. I was simply using that expression to explain that God as a matter of fact simply respects or accepts the choice of a man.

Your implication does not have any basis. Harris should consider these things because he draws conclusions about God simply based on one single christian doctrine, the doctrine of eternal damnation. He should also have considered the infinite love of God, manifested on the cross of Calvary.
« Last Edit: August 20, 2013, 12:27:05 pm by Born Again »

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peanutaxis

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Re: Is God a monster?
« Reply #8 on: August 20, 2013, 09:16:07 pm »
The claim of Harris is of course that God doesn't respect human beings if He sends some of them to hell for ever. This implies that human beings don't have a say in that, don't have a choice. And that simply is not true.

Nonsense. Harris knows the doctrine. He knows that christians claim everyone has a choice. But even if we do have a choice god is still a monster.

If you had kids, firstly why would you ever set up a system whereby you might have to damn them to hell forever? That's just retarded. Secondly, why would you give such pathetic evidence for your existence that 80% of the entire world sincerely doesn't believe you? And most importantly, why would you damn people to hell when they sincerely find no evidence for you?

You can't get much better an example of 'monster'.

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Re: Is God a monster?
« Reply #9 on: October 11, 2013, 04:39:33 pm »
When I heard Sam Harris use 'hell' as 'proof' for a monster God, it reminded me of the claim of Carl Jung, who blasphemously suggested that God needed his (!) therapy in order to be healed from His neurotic 'fear of sin'.

Harris should consider this:

Perhaps God has such an immensely high regard for the free will of every human being, for the responsibility of every human being, that He is willing to let every man face the eternal consequences of his or her choice. So in fact, one could argue that God has much more respect for us then we ourselves have!

Robert Govett MA, the late Oxford theologian and sometime fellow of Worcester College, wrote a good book on the subject titled Eternal Suffering of the Wicked and Hades, in which is also included a chapter on the character of God (if He is so loving, why would He allow an eternal hell).

How can you say that God respects our free will when he ignores it every time he kills one of us, even babies, in scriptures.

That is completely ignoring our free will choice that would likely always chose to live. As scriptures say, God is not respecter of man and he shows it by negating our free will whenever he does anything to us against our will.

Take the story of King David baby that God tortured for 6 days before finally killing it.

It's free will choice would have been to not be tortured but God ignored that and punished it while letting King David off the hook.

Regards
DL