Greetings! I am just going to come out and say that I am what you might call I crazy, die hard, delusional Jesus freak, though I do not discourage any discussion about how wrong I am. That is essentially why I am here. I have somewhat become addicted to looking into religious discussion and anything and everything related to it. I want to acquire as much knowledge as I can, and I think this is an excellent place to do so. I am not here to offend anyone and I would love to be able to stay in this community for a while. I don't kow how accepting you guys are of outsiders, but judging by what I have seen on this site so far, most of you are pretty open. So, without further adieu, I would simply like to state how intrigued I am by atheism! From a theological perspective, you and I are polar opposites! I mean to the ends of the earth OPPOSITE. I as a christian believe what I have read in the book of Proverbs: that fear of God is the beginnig of wisdom. With that, my entire life is constantly in pursuit of God and this wisdom! I don't fear him because He is evil, but because He is all powerful. Surely this makes sense? If an all powerful God did exist, it would be foolish not to be afraid of Him. I read somewhere in the quote of the day section, that the beginning of wisdom is the "conquering of fear". Obviously this quote was intended to directly oppose the verse from Proverbs, but I am curious nonetheless whether all or most of the atheist community agrees with this. This would have intriguing implications! Does your life center upon eliminating fear? Fear of the imaginary God, fear of man, fear of death? Do you strive to live a fearless life in the sense that you don't allow fear to control your actions? I would too if there were no God. But instead I WANT fear to control my every thought! I am completely aware of how foolish that is, but I am completely okay with that too!
I want to get on the same page with you here. We are all human beings. We are all more or less equally able to think logically. I believe that the pivotal point from where all logic flows is whether or not God exists. Let me start by saying that if God does not exist, then I would completely agree nearly atheist based ideology-everything that has anything to do with the secular world view, I would LIVE by. Now assume for a moment that you were on the same side as I am, all evidence aside. There is a God. He is the perfect King. Everyone loves Him and everyong respects Him and admires His wisdom. Everyone also fears Him, for if they are on the wrong side of the law, He can justly punish them. Who would respect a Ruler who was a pushover and didn't care about justice? Now, if this God was perfect in the absolute sense, would it not be logical to dedicate your life to trying to be like Him? And if you weren't afraid of Him, would you be able to do that? I just want to try to clarify that if what I believe is true, then I am following the logical course of action by allowing this fear/love combination to take over my life. Do you agree with me? Yes? Then the pivotal point I established earlier must be real, and all ideology flows in two general directions starting from whether you believe God is real or not. No? Then lets continue.
If you disagree with me, then twe have arrived at a second pivotal point in our differences. First being whether you believe in God, and the second (being on the belief side) whether you want to follow this God or not. What do you guys think about these pivotal points? Which one is more important?
If we are talking about the Christian god then yes, we have shown his acts to have actually been natural works. We know the universe is not 6,000 years old, we understand big bang cosmology, we understand that the diversity on life is due to evolution, rather than instantaneous creation, etc, etc. When the Bible makes a specific claim that God did it X way, and science reveals that it actually occurred in the manner of Y, we can then see that the claim that God did it like he said he did is false. If you want to speak of a deistic god for whom there are no specific claims... Then yes, you could argue that the natural processes are how he set it up.
Something would still need to leave the atemporal real when you are talking about...creation, for example. At the very least his magic/energy would need to 'cross over'. But remember, he is said to have made visits in person and interacted with others. This would mean entering our realm entirely. To say he alone can exist in a different realm and never have to leave no matter what is nothing more than special pleading.
As for looking into Christ... I have and still do. Remember, I was once a believer. I learned all I could then, as I do now. I will review any new information I find, for or against my current stance. Thing is, the more I knew about Jesus the less likely him being a divine savior became. Obviously I ended up becoming an Atheist. That said, I don't write of his existence de facto. I actually feel that it's likely that a man named Jesus (or someone the character is based off of may have existed). But that he was just a man with a following, like many of the corner preachers of the time. But not divine, the son of a god nor resurrected from the grave. But should evidence be revealed that shows me to be wrong, I will revise this view. However, everything I've learned does nothing but reinforce it. Oh... I also agree that Strobel leaves much to be desired...
I'd agree with the statement "I believe that the pivotal point from where all logic flows is whether or not God exists.", although I have trouble using the words god and logic in the same sentence, really.
I don't believe that any "god" exists or ever has existed, but, to play along with your talking points, If I'm going to choose to follow "god", which one should I follow? There have been over 4000 throughout the course of human history...
Doesn't the bible also say you should love God (just as you should fear him)?
And doesn't the bible say that with love there is no fear?
How would that work?
As for the pivotal points. No, I don't belief in God (or any god), and even if he (Jahweh in this case) existed it would be very doubtful whether I want to follow him.
But if you revere God just so you will not be condemned, isn't that still an act of fear?
And why would you revere him? if he is omnipotent, everything should be a piece of cake. And would you revere a dictator because he has the potential power to destroy you?
As for loving God, I don't even know him (much less know if he's real). And love goes both ways.
It isn't that simple. I don't revere God because I know I will not be condemned; I know I will not be condemned because i revere God. True reverence doesn't come from terror, but terror is eliminated by reverence. That is also why I would not revere an evil dictator. But why then do I revere God? Because of His love! :D Too many people look at the evil of this world and forget one of the most fundamental beliefs of christianity: John 3:16
Do you think sacrificing his son was the only way for God to reverse the fall to sin?
If yes, can you still say that God is omnipotent, and all good for that matter since he is the one judging sin anyway.
If no, why should this brutal behavior be something that should be loved?
Very good one indeed! I'll be the first to admit I had to think quite a bit about this one! My response would be this: Jesus' crucifixion was the only way to reverse the fall of sin. So how could God still be omnipotent if He can't find any other way? Simply put, there is no other way to find. Could He create another way? Possibly, but what would that entail and who are you to say it would be a better solution? The fact is, Jesus was the best solution, and He was the plan from the very beginning. Why should this brutal behavior be loved? I'm glad you asked! Lets start at free will. God gave us free will, knowing that it would end in our demise. Why the hell would He create us to be destroyed?? Well, would you rather not have free will? If you had no free will, you may as well not be alive to begin with. How could there be purpose or meaning to anything if there were no free will? Yes, you say? You would rather have never come into existence than to exist only to be destroyed? Well what if God, in light of the fact that we would sin, knew that He was going to take that punishment for you when He created you? Then would you still be willing to be created? I would. I believe in God and I'm glad to be alive - in the same sentence. :O This is simply the only way it could have been. For more insight I suggest C.S. Lewis' Mere Christianity.