I often want to ask Christians (or any theists for that matter) whether they believe things are right and wrong inherently, or because they are commanded by God.  Why does that matter?  Well, if the former is true then we can figure out what is right and wrong and decide what is best without relying on God.  If the latter is true, we must rely on God to help us figure it out -- and that is extremely problematic with Christianity.  Here's why:  

 

First, let's look at some of the key properties of God, according to the bible: 

1. God exists.

2. God communicates with some humans at certain points in time, in different forms such as a burning bush (Exo 3:1) or an angel (Judge 6:11).

3. God has asked specific people to break the primary rules he provided man (Exo 20 and Deu 5), like telling Abraham to kill his own son (Gen 22:2) and giving Moses authority to command the Levites to murder thousands of their brothers friends and neighbors (Exo 32:26-29).

 

But Satan has very similar attributes:

1. Satan also exists. (Rev 12:9)

2. Satan can also communicate with some humans at certain points in time, in different forms such as a snake (Gen 3:4) or an angel (Corin 11:14).

3. Satan has also asked men to break God's rules (Gen 3).  He's also quite tricky and can tempt even the most righteous (Matt 4:1).

 

So how would a Christian be able to tell the difference between God and Satan? Couldn't Satan come to a righteous Christian and claim to be an angel (which he is, according to many interpretations of the Bible) in order to make that person do something horrible, such as commanding the rape of women and murder of infants?  And why would that Christian believe that such a thing was actually terrible, since it has been condoned by God (e.g. Isaiah 13:16)? 

 

 

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I think he got ya on this one :)  

 

This A and E story is very very very internally inconsistent with reality.  Did adam and eve know what death is before eating of the fruit?  They discovered their nakedness ... which implies they learned something AFTER eating the fruit.  If they learned THIS , then we should ask ourselves what else did they learn after and what did they not know BEFORE eating the fruit?  

 

All these questions are best explained with the following:  The story is just a story , it never literally happened and even if it is meant to be taken spiritually or figuratively or not literally .... any other interpretation or angle you read the story from ... it still makes.  no.  sense.  

 

WIthout A and E , original sin and actual sin crumble.  Jesus crumbles because there is then nothing to forgive.  Heaven and Hell crumbles because it is all based on Jesus's forgiveness of something that never actually occurred or couldn't be explained in any other ways , as mentioned above.  

 

Now , if you want to believe none of the bible is real , but Jesus is still forgiving something called a 'sin' that is labeled a sin by a universal creator that arbitrarily labels some things as sinful and other things as not sinful ... or is everything sinful ... my head spins just thinking about theology.  

 

A non theological view of the world is just so much refreshing , cleaner , easier to understand and also it's CONSISTENT with reality!!!  Just come to the dark side , you will warmly greeted :)  

@All (but mostly those I've been talking to the most) - You people are giving me headaches! lol

Don't get me wrong, this to and fro of so many arguments is refreshing and almost like a drug to me - but goodness...

@Phil [and maybe Jim] - I don't think there is anything in this story that shows Adam and Eve were ignorant of their duties towards God or that they lacked strength of will to avoid the temptation. I'll explain myself...

You're going from the assumption that they were children insofar they were ignorant of right and wrong and merely acting on basic impulses and on a high degree of gullibility.

But none of those things can be surmised from this passage. All you can really say is that God created them, but we don't know the degree of knowledge they must have had - especially considering that they were in a nature completely different from our own.

Nevertheless, if one were to consider the whole of the Bible and the justice of God, there are two verses...:

1. If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not have sin: but now they have no excuse for their sin. [John 15:22].

2. Let no temptation take hold on you, but such as is human. And God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that which you are able: but will make also with temptation issue, that you may be able to bear it. [1 Corinthians 10:13]

We could surmise that  (1) God does not allow any punishment in terms of justice insofar a person is invinsibly ignorant (technical term, just go with it...) of something being an evil act and (2) that God doesn't tempt people beyond their ability to resist a particular temptation.

It then seems to me that, putting these characteristics of God into a story that is silent on the matter (strictly the Genesis portion of Creation), it all plays out to be that God did not tempt them beyond their ability and that they indeed knew what was at stake.

Anymore inquiry on the "irresponsibility" of God seems to me a bit too... out or proportion and lacking substance.

"Why is it morally suspect to want to be like God?"

Who being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, being made in the likeness of men, and in habit found as a man. He humbled himself, becoming obedient unto death, even to the death of the cross. [Philipians 2:6-8]

I'll make a quick answer to one of them using G.K.'s metaphor of Cinderella (I know, weird, please just go with it)...

I'll give you there are mysterious laws - but that is not tantamount to saying they are wrong. I understand that there is this inbred desire to become more and more but...

... had Cinderella asked her fairy godmother why she had to return from the dance by twelve, she could have easily answered her by saying: "Why are you going in the first place?"

If God created a Paradise with humans to enjoy this earthly Paradise and Adam would've asked why he could not have of the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, God could have easily answered, instead of telling him he would "suffer the death", by saying "How are you alive in the first place and enjoying this feast of joy in this paradise of which I have supplied everything to make you peaceful, happy, and content to indescribable proportions?"

I'm pretty sure there are laws - laws even Jesus, fully God and fully human - had to follow.

I'm merely saying that avarice is wanting to have more than what you're entitled to have and it's morally suspect to be like God when the means of becoming like God are sinful and against God in the first place... through disobedience of his rules.

In a weird sidebar, it should be noticed that Jesus sacrifice actually allows one to become like God. Never to be God, but yes, become like God. That would take too much time to answer, but yeah...

Look, Phil, I'm going to be extremely honest and I'm hoping I don't cross the line in here.

The questions you've asked - I have an answer for them... But they are TOO long and, to a certain degree, so basic (and something that is basic is not necessarily simple, just crucial for the faith) that it makes me think that you haven't really engaged yourself into actually studying Christianity or... the Doctors of the Church, for example.

If a person hasn't read... the Summa Theologica by St. Thomas of Aquinas, "Orthodoxy" and "Heresy" by G.K. Chesterton, "Christian Doctrine" or "Confessions" by St. Augustine and so many other meaningful and old authors who first answered the questions you're asking even thousands of years ago in a much more detailed manner... one can safely say one is mostly ignorant of the Church.

One cannot depend on today's preachers and followers of the Church to give a good testament of it.

Heck, most of what I know, I know because I had the sense of actually researching what the Church really is rather than the horrible image one sees in today's media - which usually just portrays it in a horrible light.

It can be, perhaps, very tedious. I remember you said something about "too many unanswered questions" and atheism being "more fun" and asking me to "turn over"... something along those lines.

Funny thing is that, even from a purely philosophical perspective - apart from religion, the very idea of me not researching thoroughly and with purity of intention for the truth makes me feel like a coward and an indolent.

Religiously speaking, that also makes me fully culpable of many sins I would otherwise perhaps not be guilty of.

I can answer some questions or another... but if I was to start going question... after question... after question (since some questions create more questions than answers) I might as well just point you to these people of which I learned much.

I don't know. Maybe I'm being a bit too melodramatic here, but it's one thing to be an atheist because the information makes no sense to him/her, and it is an entirely different thing to be an atheist for lack of information.

And the questions you've been asking me? They've been answered a LOT of time ago - even if so many modern Christians are so utterly ignorant of it.

Ok, a couple of things here... 

 

First, your point about how you believe that I'm ignorant of the true doctrine of the church:

 

The questions you've asked - I have an answer for them... But they are TOO long and, to a certain degree, so basic (and something that is basic is not necessarily simple, just crucial for the faith) that it makes me think that you haven't really engaged yourself into actually studying Christianity or... the Doctors of the Church, for example.

If a person hasn't read... the Summa Theologica by St. Thomas of Aquinas, "Orthodoxy" and "Heresy" by G.K. Chesterton, "Christian Doctrine" or "Confessions" by St. Augustine and so many other meaningful and old authors who first answered the questions you're asking even thousands of years ago in a much more detailed manner... one can safely say one is mostly ignorant of the Church.

 

I confess that I haven't read every book that you mention, but I'm surprised that you admit that those are requirements to understand the true nature of Christianity.  Why would God need theologians to clarify his greatest work? 

 

I have read much of Summa Theologica, although it's been quite a while...  I've also read a good amount of writings by (and about St. Augustine), but again, not for a number of years.  I think it's fair to say that I'm ignorant of those books, but I'm not sure it should follow that I'm also ignorant of the "Church".  If you mean Roman Catholicism, then I'm certain I'm more ignorant than you in that regard!

 

I'm not sure, however, that I'm ready to concede that Summa Theologica and the other texts you referenced are agreed upon stances just for Roman Catholicism.  Even so, they may illuminate a certain viewpoint you have, but I don't think the onus is on me to read every single book that you define as germane.  I could turn the tables and say that you just haven't read enough critique of those positions and that you too are ignorant of modern atheism as I define it.

 

Regardless, your point actually underscores mine: that Christianity isn't a simple recipe for right and wrong -- it's a complex series of subjective interpretations of ancient texts. You're essentially telling me that I need to read much more than just the Bible to understand Christianity (that is, your interpretation of it).  In other words, the Bible is not self-contained.

 

How does one know which philosophers and theologians to read to have a complete understanding of the true nature of God's creation? 

 

Now let's get back to the content and your response on Adam and Eve:

You're going from the assumption that they were children insofar they were ignorant of right and wrong and merely acting on basic impulses and on a high degree of gullibility.

I'm not assuming they're children -- I'm comparing their wisdom to that of God.  I'm also comparing their understanding of right and wrong to that of an adult human living in non-paradise. 

 

I'm also saying that if we take the story literally, then one pair of humans broke God's rule and he decided to punish all of humanity for that single transgression. 

 

I'm also saying that since God is omniscient, it is impossible for him to create a tree of knowledge, humans with access to that tree, a serpent known to be crafty enough to convince them to eat from it, and not know that those humans would eventually take a bite.  You can say that God isn't truly omniscient OR that he planned for humans to fall so they could eventually be redeemed by Christ's return (as some prominent Roman Catholic theologians have argued) -- you cannot have your cake and eat it too.

 

Finally, even granting that your creation story is perfectly reasonable and causes absolutely no inconsistencies with other assertions of the Bible, I still don't understand how modern humans could differentiate between God and Satan. 

 

If you answer nothing else for me, please expand on your earlier mention of "discernment of spirit".  I'll try to read up on it separately so I'm not ignorant of the position, but I seriously don't understand how that is different from God existing outside of morality.  I know you think that God is morality and that my initial question is bogus, but that isn't a practical answer.  That just punts the hypothetical question of what you would do if an angel came to you and told you he was a messenger from God and that you should start destroying the babies of your enemies.  How would you employ discernment of spirit in that circumstance?  Would you go back to the bible and check out the times God told his followers to do such things?  Would you just know that killing babies is wrong and ignore the direct command of a servant of God?  Would you doubt whether this was a true messenger of God because of the absurdity of such a request and wonder if it was possibly Satan telling you to do such awful things? 

 

I don't ask because I think that scenario will ever arise, I ask because I truly want to know how a Christian determines what is right and wrong.  I think I know the answer, but I'm not sure most Christians really think about it carefully enough.

@Phil

Ok, I took a long time to answer since I wanted to answer this correctly and, also, I've had short doses of free time for myself.

Have you ever considered that we live, then, on an imperfect paradise?

You say that God cannot be omniscient or, if he is, he must not be good for not stopping Adam and Eve from sinning - something he must've obviously known.

But why can't we consider the many hundreds, if not thousands of trees of which we cannot eat of their fruit in this exiled land? The fruit of murder, the fruit of stealing, the fruit of promiscuity, the fruit of drunkenness, the fruit of hypocrisy... I can only name so much!

The fruit of lies, the fruit of slothfulness, the fruit of malicious and sinful anger... if only to list secular ones!

Now let's consider all the serpents of today that creep up into our minds and tell us: "You may lie... you'll obtain praise from others. You may lie... you'll get good grades. You may lie... he/she will like you for it. You may get drunk... none would get hurt. You may get drunk... you become joyful and all like you. You may steal... these good things would make you feel good and happy. You may steal... you would use these things better than he/she. You may defame him... it's only the truth. You should mock him... it's only fair since he's a hypocrite. Consider him a hypocrite... you know he is, even if there isn't enough evidence for it".

You consider the first parents children because of the differing amounts of wisdom between the creature and the creator? That is completely irrelevant!

We are ALL children compared to the knowledge and wisdom of God. Never, then, will we be anything other than children, if comparing the amount of our wisdom to that of God's is the standard.

Yet, that is not a reason to plead ignorance for murder! For theft! For irreverence and disrespect towards our parents!

It is not whether we are close to the wisdom of God that matters, but whether or not we have the wisdom to understand what is right and wrong in a clear enough way that we know we must follow good.

Adam and Eve had, not the many hundreds and thousand fold prohibited trees... but one. They didn't have many serpents giving different reasons for each one... but one.

Over more, since they were in their elevated, non-fallen state, one could easily say that they didn't have concupiscence. Their bodies didn't, against their will, ask them anything contrary to God's law.

Much the same way as our bodies ask for sexual pleasure, even if we will it not to, or think evil thoughts even if we want them not - their bodies were free from such imperfections. Their bodies were entirely in tune with their will.

So in the end, they have not many trees, but one; they have not many serpents, but one; and they have not the very weakness of the body we have; but a perfect and holy one.

This has no excuse.

If the potential wickedness of an action is determined on who one is sinning against and the strength of one to avoid such evils: they sinned against God, goodness itself, without the many temptations we would feel.

Over more, in a Paradise! What inhibited their happiness? Who would, living in a palace full of every pleasure imaginable, complain that one cannot eat of the fruit of some far away tree?!?

To me... I just find that a truly severe and inexcusable sin.

To the next topic, did God condemn others for the sin of Adam and Eve?

As I said before, there is more to an action than the potential judgment of God of an action.

A woman may be imprudent and unloving enough to not take care of her body when she is about to give birth.

Certainly, she will receive her just recompense for any damage she may have inflicted on the child; but regardless of whether she repents or not and regardless of whether God forgives her or not (through unrepentance), the damage of the child is will occur.

If a man were to have, hypothetically speaking, thrown himself into  extra UV rays (and pardon the silly metaphor, just trying to make a point) and brought upon himself some harmful mutation or another, God will truly chastise him for not taking care of the body God has given him/her, but his offspring will still have that defect, for the damage was cellular and transferable through genes.

Just so, it is argued, that in this particularly spiritual world, of which our fallen nature has removed itself completely from, there are intrinsic effects to eating the fruit of the knowledge of good and evil that were separate from whatever chastisement is relevant for the sin of actually eating the fruit.

So, would I kill a child if an angel of God told me to kill children?

Are you serious?!? No!!! But the real question is... why would Abraham do such a thing as that when God commanded him to in the Old Testament?

(*prepares to give a looong explanation)

Never believe that God gave the entirety of truth and grace to Abraham, or Moses, or David. Whatever orders they were given, they were given as to a child who is starting to take adult responsibilities but is as yet not ready to become a full adult.

I won't bother to quoting the Bible exactly, but I'm pretty sure you'll can find where in the Bible the verse is if you look for it...

Paul says... that the old law was just a figure of the new. One can also read in the Bible that the fullness of truth has reached perfection (Epistle to the Hebrews) and that there cannot be improvement upon what is  perfect, for that which is perfect cannot be improved, and that... the Jewish law was imperfect.

Indeed, indeed. The Old Testament is a figure of the things that would come.

Just as Abraham would sacrifice his son, just so God the Father would sacrifice his only-begotten son, Jesus.

Just as Eve would come forth from the rib of Adam, just so would the Church spring forth from the wound on the side of Jesus - when the soldier pierced through his rib cage and into his Sacred Heart.

Just as sin came through Eva, life would come through through Mary. Indeed, in latin, Ave (Mary), is Eva (Eve); Eva's name reversing (as the prayer goes)

Just as death came to many through Adam, life over flooded through Jesus, the new Adam. (Epistle to the Romans)

---> On a side note, death means the chance of death, just as life means the chance of life. Ultimately, the decision is with us.

---> Jesus died for all, but not all would gain eternal life except through their choice... and just as so, Adam brought a destroyed humanity prone to sin, but it is still on the choice of men on whether death would take hold of them.

You see... the Old Testament is a figure of what was to come.

The New Testament states that evil must not be done in order to do good.

Killing a child is murder - outright murder. No angel of God would ever ask something so contrary to truth - unless, of course, in certain cases involving mothers and the children on the womb (an example I can explain later, if you want)

Such an angel, through discernment, is not really an angel - but a devil masquerading as one.

All in all, although I have many responses to the apparent differences of the God of the Old and New Testament, I don't like to incur too much in these conversations since I haven't read more in-depth the fathers of the Church who explain such differences in what I've been told is on a more detailed manner. [I'm having a course of Christianity in the Roman Empire here in college, so I'm hopeful I'll be touching on St. Irenaeus of Lyons, who touches the subject! :) ]

Lastly, you're right. VERY RIGHT... when you say Christianity is not merely a set of moral do's and dont's.

What I do NOT agree with is that it is mere "subjectivity" and that it is only a matter of personal opinion.

I don't deny it - It is a VERY long set of discussions that are very deep and long.

If I were to merely give my reasons for Catholicism and give very, very simple reasons, I'd say that Catholicism was the very first form of Christianity. That not even the Gnostics were first, for they were before Christianity in general and condemned by Paul, explicitly, in his epistles.

I think that, if there is one form of Christianity that should be followed, it should be the one that was fresh out of the time of the Apostles, for it carries no taint or alterations.

Luther himself, upon breaking the Church, stated shortly before his death a form of contrition for all he had done to the Church - even my atheistic Harvard graduate professor acknowledges it.

But this is really not the time for such discussions since I don't want to steer away from the topic.

It should be enough to say that the Bible is self-contained... just that not everyone can give proper conclusions from it since not everyone has (1) read it entirely, (2) understood the historical-cultural contents of the time each particular book was written, (3) the ability of understanding the many paradoxes (paradoxes here meaning seemingly contradicting ideas that show deeper truths) or (4) a lack of understanding in the symbolism present (usually for reasons of 1-3).

The Bible is almost infinite. People have spent their entire life reading it and they still take things from it they did not notice before.

I would... suggest a particular reading to you:

Look up the Revelations of St. Bridget at http://www.prophecyfilm.com/ 

It's an incredibly horrible... horrible site. It's extremely showy and not even Catholic to begin with. Yet oddly enough, it has the prophecies of St. Bridget in an unadulterated way (to the best of my understanding).

Feel free to browse the chapters according as to how you see fit - and if you see anything outside of the revelations (personal messages added in the text, well, you know... don't take them as if they were part of the prophecies)

There are certain questions you asked that are answered there in a more... artistic and impressive way.

And lastly, if EVER you want to understand the Passion of Christ outside of the complicated and sometimes difficult language of the Bible, I HIGHLY recommend "The Dolorous Passion of Christ" by St. Catherine Anne Emmerich.

I don't think anyone will ever truly understand the Passion until they have read this book.

I'll shut up now since I'm starting to sound a bit... picky. :)

P.S. By the way, I'm always open to debate. I just... been lately a bit compromised when it comes to time.

I also welcome any book you might be willing to recommend to me. I like learning and, for so long everyone is... "in a good fighting spirit", I don't have any problem looking and judging different ideas.

I think I'm going to have to read your post a few times to digest it, but it appears (at first blush) that you haven't really addressed the heart of my arguments.

 

In the interest of time, I'll hold myself to responding to two things...

 

First:

 

Luther himself, upon breaking the Church, stated shortly before his death a form of contrition for all he had done to the Church - even my atheistic Harvard graduate professor acknowledges it.

 

What's interesting here is that Martin Luther was arguably much more educated on the Bible than either of us, and indeed most people Christians alive today.  It sounds like you're saying that he admits the possibility of whiffing on his lifelong pursuit of the Truth.  This is exactly my point: that someone can be as informed as one can possibly hope to be about Christianity and still stand a good chance of misunderstanding the subtleties of God's word!  That seems quite problematic to me.

 

Second:

 

Killing a child is murder - outright murder. No angel of God would ever ask something so contrary to truth - unless, of course, in certain cases involving mothers and the children on the womb (an example I can explain later, if you want)

 

I'm sure I don't understand the prophets of the OT, but there are verses (which I'm sure you can justify) that mention dashing infants to pieces (Isaiah 13:16) and killing little children (Ezekiel 9:6).  I'm not sure how a true Biblical scholar could easily dismiss the words of an angel who bore the words of one of these prophets...

 

In the end, I still don't see a compelling reason why you would dismiss the hypothetical angel.  How do you know for sure that killing a child is always wrong and that an Angel would never command such a thing? 

Wow. It feels like AGES since I've been here. Feels good to be back, though.

In regards to Luther, if you actually study him, you will find yourself very much doubting, not so much his ability with the Bible - which is, however, very doubtful for anyone who has read certain portions of the New Testament and the records of how Christians lived barely after the death of Jesus - but his rectitude of intention and intellectual honesty.

There is no doubt that the Church had problems with some particular forms of corruption, but anyone who truly sees the events of the Reformation from a historical perspective (ignoring movies such as "Luther", by the way), in my opinion, would find themselves seeing that Luther used some genuine, political problems in the Church as a means of implementing his own theological ideas into it.

In other words, he used the grievances of the people against real problems of the Church  to gain enough favor from them to implement his own agenda... not a very Christian thing to do, in my opinion.

In the end, as I'm sure the Catechism of the Church would agree with me, for so long as one, with purity of intention, seeks to do God's will according to reason, one will be pleasing to God - even if one makes mistakes along the way:

"Those who, through no fault of their own, do not know the Gospel of Christ or his Church, but who nevertheless seek God with a sincere, and, moved by grace, try in their actions to do his will as they know it through the dictates of their conscience-those too may achieve eternal salvation." [CCC 847]

I recommend, by the way, this video of Luther and on why Bibles from Protestants and Catholics are fundamentally different. I think it defends many of my points.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PjvXbotd9Lw

As to the hypothetical question about the angel: it can easily be dismissed because of the nature of his petition.

Merely because there is an apparition of an angel does it mean that it really is an angel - or an angel of God, for that matter.

A true angel would as for something that is in accordance with the theological virtues and moral values as taught by Jesus and his disciples through the Bible.

The mere thought of me obeying such an angel would mean betraying every single teaching for something that could very well be either an illusion or a devil posing as an actual angel.

I do have to accept, though, that to a certain degree this "testing of spirits" is not so much something that is best taught through general instruction, but by a case by case basis.

Not so much because it's not teachable in such a form, but because I don't have the ability to explain it in such simple and short a fashion.

And to end it all, sorry!! Since college started full time I have been unexpectedly away from many things.

I think you're still missing my point -- I wasn't trying to argue that Luther was right about the Bible, but how many hundreds of interpretations there are. 

 

Your mention of the Catechism underscores that even further.  Why does the Bible itself not mention this (presumably) important feature of Christianity?  How do we know this is true?

 

Regarding the hypothetical angel scenario, it sounds like you and I either disagree about what's actually in the Bible or what it means (see most of my previous posts).  Either way, this seems to be another glaringly obvious example of God's word not acting as intended.  If you and I can't agree on what is said or meant by God's instruction manual, then I have to insist that the Bible was either written poorly or it's just an elaborate work of fiction. 

 

Phil,

Oh my goodness gracious... words can't describe the time I feel I've been away from this place. Ok, I don't know how engaged you are still in this question, since I've left for such a long time, but I'll answer really quick and, if you don't want to continue the post, just tell me and I won't post anything more.

Now, regarding your last comment, you seemed to be asking how can one trust a book when there seems to be, seemingly, so many interpretations.

I answer... what does the possibility of various interpretations have to do with the validity of the Bible? Certainly, we see the world around us and we know that there are various possible ways to explain the phenomena around us. That, however, doesn't stop us from engaging in inquiry, until we find a theorem that explains everything around us seamlessly.

The question then becomes, however... what ways should be used to seek to understand the Bible as the authors meant it to be understood? Here comes one of the main reasons I am Catholic and not another denomination...

As a Catholic, we don't believe solely in the Bible. We also rely on something called "Tradition". I have a professor who is fond of saying "A text without a context is a pretext" - and that is certainly true for the Bible. Consider the Bible as the text and "Tradition" as the context wherein the official interpretations throughout times are held, among other things.

If I want to know what Christians are wont to believe, I personally go to the source - the extra biblical references of what Christians believed - and use it as a foundation for understanding what Christ said. I mean, who else to better express what Christ said... than those who lived in proximity to the era, no more than 35 to 40 years after His Crucifixion?

Naturally, however, if you go and study this in a college, the debates among historians and biblical scholars can get rather heated while they decipher the psychological state of the people of the times, the validity of certain documents, and the structuring of the historical period - but that is another matter altogether and not meant for this small comment.

Now, I'll leave the angel question aside since I think much depends on how you view my previous argument.

This about sums up my thoughts:  

 

"I could turn the tables and say that you just haven't read enough critique of those positions and that you too are ignorant of modern atheism as I define it"

 

Thanks for writing what I didn't have too.  Oh , and Carlos , it was ME who asked you to turn to the dark side :)  mwuahaha!  Your tenacity and debating skills would be better used for the side of reason my friend.  

Great blog. Something that I never understood is why Satan has such a bad rep. If all he does is punish sinners in hell, and Christians condemn those sinners (as much as they mostly try and deny), then how is Satan all that bad? I mean, shouldn't he be praised for giving sinners eternal damnation?

Why would that ever be? Satan was the person, in Christian theology, who made us fall and, while not all temptations might come from him, he still tempts us to sin.

We don't want Christians to be damned and we don't like damning people - we [should] want people to be saved. Nevertheless, the thing about being saved is that one has to then face the possibility of being damned.

Christians themselves are sometimes the very first people that go to Hell. It's not so easy as black and white.

Really what happened to the free will argument? Now it's Satan's fault, and your god didn't put Satan on earth to test faithfulness.

Isn't this talking out of both sides of your dogma?

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