By Eddie Miles
We everyday skeptics often come to a point in a debate at which the question is posed, "If God really loves your uncle who was in a motorcycle accident and wants him to get better, why did he cause him to have the accident in the first place?"
Now, there are a few different answers that we get for this question but this post is just about one: "God is testing his faith."
At first, this seems like an intellectual dead end, that theistic claim that kills the debate because it becomes a matter of faith over evidence and is therefore unarguable. Fortunately, it's not. The debate can continue from this point and here's how.
Think about the implications of a test. In school, your teacher probably administered many tests. He or she did this to find out how much of the subject matter you actually absorbed. Of course, the best way to do this is to read your mind directly but since a school teacher doesn't have this power, he/she resorts to the next best method: testing. In other words, a test is a way for a being who IS NOT OMNISCIENT to know what's in your mind. A being who IS omniscient would have no use for such tools as said being could directly read your mind to know what you're thinking and what you know or believe.
What this tells us about the test of faith hypothesis is that either god isn't omniscient or things like motorcycle accidents aren't "tests of faith" because an omniscient god would have no need for tests and a being who has a need for tests obviously isn't all-knowing.
Posted from www.theeverydayskeptic.com
Thanks for sharing! I will not forget this. I am in an atheist/agnostic club at UC Davis. I table frequently, and that means live debates, regularly. I need to be able to counter from a wide range of angles. This has surely helped.
I am a theist and after praying to God and realiasing perhaps the link is broken somewhere, i say, 'Shit happens and get on with your life.'
Theists can be extremely stupid. I was in a Bible study one day and it started raining heavy (It had been raining the whole week) we had to stop the Bible study and pray that the devil would stop it from raining! I nearly fell off chair.
Maybe if it was acid rain speckled with acid-immune pornography and condoms, then I'd believe the rain is from the devil.
That said, praying to stop or start the rain is perhaps the most lulz-worthy response to something. It will, eventually, rain again, it just may take more time in certain places. It will, eventually, stop raining, it just may take more time in most places.
Also shouldn't an omniscient god know when we need rain or don't want it to rain?
Lets be honest though if it did rain pornography and condoms i would be severely impressed!!
Then we might actually have some sort of proof.
I could also say if the rain was just pornography and condoms it was telling us that we need to stop being so uptight.
I see that type of prayer as "taking the Lord's name in vain." We all know that it will stop raining at some point. I can't think of one adult person that thinks God or the Devil causes it to rain. Praying for rain to stop is a vanity use use of prayer and uses the name of your Lord in vain, because, as you know, it will not cause the rain to stop.
I really like the idea of questioning the "test of faith." I've tried that answer, and I got the "Well, God gave you free will to make your own decisions." I answer, "But, wouldn't he still know what I was going to do?" This is where it gets tricky for theists, because one answer would negate the test and the other answer would negate his omniscience.
Prayer is talking to god according to theists. So you talk to god. Does god talk to you? Have you ever recorded his voice or does he just talk to you in your mind?
Yeah, but what about animals. When he allows a gazelle to be mauled and have it's throat ripped to shreds by a lion - is God testing the gazelles faith?
What about an atheist? Atheists get into accidents all the time. If atheists don't believe in God , and have no faith - why would God waste their time testing an atheist - when he already knows an accident isn't going to make an atheist believe in him?
If a mother was brought to jury for cutting off her childs arms - and said she wasn't really sure if her child loved her - and wanted to test her childs capacity for Motherly Love - and says she believes the child still loves her - which proves her mutilation didn't cause any harm - would the Judge say ... "Oh that is the sweetest thing I have ever heard ... case dismissed!"
Why should God be any different? Why is God allowed to mutilate , rape , steal , just because he owns us as slaves?
If the theist says "God doesn't actually commit the acts ... he allows the Devil to do it ... or he allows other humans to do it ... "
Then just tell them Hitler can't thought of as a criminal either - because he didn't actually kill anyone. He had others do it for him. Most of whom were Christians by the way. It was a Christian state after all.
Which of course they often reply with the "god is giving us an amazing gift of the afterlife blah blah blah he should be able to do what he likes."
In which case it goes back to that unprovable reward after death. <sigh>
When did the Devil gain all this power? When did he become as powerful and influential as God? I was told that he we imprisoned in Hell, along with the other angels that followed him.
Oh, wait, it was when the preachers needed to fill seats and "Biblical Horror" was all the rage. Hell stories were the horror movies before horror movies. The only people that give the Devil any power are the people that believe in him and believe he has any influence.
He does make a great villain though.
This is the only thing Chopra and I agree on. That the Devil doesn't exist, and the only reason people believe in it is because they allow themselves too.
Chopra is wrong on so many levels ... but I think overall he is helping to sway traditional believers into something a bit less harmless.
Would not millions of people reciting the same prays over and over again each day not drive god crazy. Having to listen to millions of “Our Fathers” everyday – maybe he just switches off. The Mary one must hear about 1 billion “hail marys” every day. Surely she would scream “Shut up” and wish for something different. God make them STOP !!