My atheist friends often have Psalm 14:1 lobbed at them as if the verse ends the conversation like a holy grenade! It says, "The fool has said in his heart there is no God".

But the verse does not mean all atheists are fools. It means anyone who "says in his heart" there is no God is a fool. In other words, anyone who denies God for merely emotional reasons is foolish. An issue this profound is not to be determined by one's psychological state or emotional disposition.

The person who has genuine intellectual questions or objections concerning God's existence is not the biblical definition of a fool. God will honor and answer in the humble quest for truth. The honest inquirer is in a better position before God than the emotionally closed-minded.

Since I'm talking about the Hebraic-Christian Scriptures, they repeatedly say we must humble ourselves before God. Think about it. If God exists, humility is certainly in order in seeking Him. "Draw near to God and He will draw near to you". "Humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God", etc.

This shouldn't be hard for the atheist intellectually. Most of my atheist friends agree that humility is in order in the quest for any truth. Don't you agree?

(On the other hand, I can see how horrible I would feel (at least at first) if, say, Islam was proven to me to be true. I would be forced intellectually and emotionally to acknowledge Allah and Muhammad. I would have to begrudgingly and reluctantly bow before them. That would suck! I would acknowledge Allah's existence, but probably continually resist any relationship or love for him until he smote me!

But I must say that my emotional resistance to Islam is mostly for intellectual reasons! Thankfully, I am confident there is nothing forthcoming in Islam that will serve as an adequate defeater of Christ's claims.)

BTW, I am aware of Christ's injunction against calling anyone a fool, yet he himself did. Keep in mind that Christ is forbidding unwarranted name-calling (literally "empty head") from people who are themselves often foolish!

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Good point. We should revise it then. "Required" can be changed to "helpful" or "suggested". Humility allows one to recognize the depth of any task, how little one actually knows, how fragile we are and other Sting songs.

We should also distinguish between appropriate and inappropriate pride. Selfish pride blinds the individual, deceives as to what is actually true, and ruins relationships.

No culture or society has ever applauded selfishness. Pride in accomplishment should light the way for others and bless them.

You should avoid the broad generalization you place on "clergy" and avoid faulting something because it can be abused! As Augustine wisely said, "Never judge a philosophy by its abuse".

But can I not judge a god based on its character?
So now you've gone from rewriting the bible to changing the wording of methodologies defined outside the bible?  Where is your humility?
What if the philosophy was designed for abuse?
It too can be abused.

We should also consider that according to Aristotle, pride is merely the proper amount of self respect.  Pride is the mean between humble and arrogant/boastful, and therefore, pride is a virtue, as one can never have too much self respect.  I also do not believe my statement about clergy is a "generalization" as I have studied with seminarians, and the overwhelming majority end up as clergy because it is an easy job that comes with a lot of clout.  I once asked a bishop why he did not tell the "flock" the whole truth.  He told me "The poor peasants don't need to know too much."--nuff said.

 

I am a Utilitarian, and therefore, I believe in doing what is right for the overall good.  I wish most Christians felt the same way.

Not sure what your posts are supposed to be "telling us". No matter how much you try rationalize your faith, it really has no bearing on how we view Christianity or apologists like yourself. I tend to agree with others here. Are you testing the waters of atheism? If so by all means, let's talk about that. Otherwise, this is a forum about understanding and exploring atheism not justifying or rationalizing something that we find utterly repulsive and not based on anything reasonable or real. Religion is harmful no matter how you interpret the bible. Making children simultaneously love and fear a god to me is immoral.

"In other words, anyone who denies God for merely emotional reasons is foolish"

By the way, I would challenge you to find an atheist on this site who denies there is a god for emotional reasons. We all search and study and learn for ourselves. Having said that, I am totally fine being the "fool" in the eyes of the believer. I would rather die as a free fool than to live as a faithful fool.

On the humility aspect, a church that I run by regularly had on their sign once, "Without humility, you can't hear God." You seem to be saying something along the same lines. My answer to that church would have been

Galatians 1:13:14 For you have heard of my previous way of life in Judaism, how intensely I persecuted the church of God and tried to destroy it. 14 I was advancing in Judaism beyond many of my own age among my people and was extremely zealous for the traditions of my fathers.

Paul has certainly heard God. Yet from his own writings, he was anything but humble. He attacked Jesus, his followers, was the son of a Pharisee, a Pharisee himself, and was fundamentally opposed to God. I would suggest that if God wants my attention, he needs to treat me equally with Saul of Tarsus. Saul was able to hear God. Is he not able or not willing to speak to me as well? If I'm not worth his time, why is he worth mine?   

Hear! Hear!

I honestly like your thinking. (I hate patronizing so I mean it.) You are examining internal consistency within a teaching or text, even if you don't believe it. 

I think that the requirement of humility is a general principle and describes a normative state of affairs. Saul's conversion was certainly not normative!

But perhaps Saul's saving grace was his intense seeking of God and adherence to what he thought was God's way. He thought he was doing great things for God getting rid of those pesky Christians. Pharisees were certainly not opposed to God and were more conservative than the Saducees.

As for me, I don't think I want any special contemporary revelation from God. Those who've received it, like Paul, pay a very high price! They never have another "normal" day again! I like to chill from time to time! ;)

Unless Paul's encounter with God was total bullshit. Sort of like Joseph Smith's encounter. Why believe one but not the other?
Are you now saying that, aside from not having a shred of falsifiable evidence for the existence of this deity of yours, you also have never received any special personal revelation sort of experience?  How did you come to devote your life to this system of beliefs?  An infomercial?

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