How do you rectify the need to believe the great myth that god works in mysterious ways and in the end all will know he was right... with the fact that we have the capacity to understand suffering and assign blame to god here and now
As for an intellectual out for hell its quite easy.
1. The torah has one occurrence of a word that means netherworld similar to hades not a place of suffering just a place of afterlife. Judaism has no set dogma on life after death beyond a vague idea that there is an afterlife and when the messiah finally arrives that the faithful may gain eternal life.
2. The gospels ... being the 3 that were chosen by committee to enter the bible not the 200+ others that were not chosen ...all have different accounts of Hell .. jesus speaks at length about it but has differing words on the subject. In Matthew Jesus goes to hell for 3 days and 3 nights. This trip to hell isnt mentioned in the other 2.
Its not hard just takes a little bit of critical thinking and reasoning.
The answer could lie in the fact that, in the end, the Judge of all the Earth is righteous and just.
@ d.clair. - Or the answer could be that your God is not just or it could be that there is no God, and that men wrote the Bible. It could be a lot of different things.
The number one thing I respect about atheists, is they are the first to step up and admit it when they don't have all the answers. Christians feel like even saying something like "ours is not to question why" is perfeclty acceptable as "an answer".
It's a cop out. It is an excuse not to use logic. It is the corner stone of why religion remains relevant at all in today's world. People cannot deal with not knowing where they are going.
He's not doing alright by child soldiers, by the millions starving in Somalia at this very moment. He didn't do alright by the Spanish and German Inquisition.
How could he sit on his hands, when a run of the mill atheist would,could and should do something when seeing people tortured.
My heart bleeds for people I don't know. Yet you say God will come good - but in the meantime they can starve and be tortured.
Perhaps you should give some serious thought to whether you would want any of your children to behave in the way the Jewish/Christian god behaves in relation to punishing others for someone else's crime and inflicting cruel and unusual punishment that has no relationship to the severity or time constraints of the "crime". Would you want your children to feel just if they got a small child and tortured him unmercifully for the rest of his life, making sure that he got whatever was minimally required to keep him alive for decades, simply because he failed to do what they told him to do in several instances, or because he exercised his natural genetic nature and pooped in his pants or sat on an ant or pulled the wings off flies to see what happened?
If you wouldn't want your children to grow up thinking that the barbaric behavior of the god in the bible is perfectly just and something to be copied whereever possible, then you need to rethink your ideas about morality and just and merciful behavior. Would you children's apparent cruelty be excused by the fact that others do not have the capacity to understand how they think? Could their behavior be excused because they were following the example of an entity that is defined as being perfect in every way, meaning that whatever they have been recorded as doing must, by definition, also be perfect, even when it appears otherwise to those who do not have the magic of god residing in them to make all the contradictions seem perfectly clear.
If this god does not measure up to the values you want to teach your kids then he is not "perfect" or "moral" or "good" and you have no reason, other than lack of critical thinking, for worshiping it.
El shitto, xians are doing that NOW. A teenager comes out and says she/he is an Atheist - out the fucking front door they go. Loving xians parents. AAghhhh.
This really makes no sense to anyone but someone who has suspended their reason and critical faculties because of indoctrination achieved prior to the full development of the reasoning frontal lobes of the brain, or because of a reason suspending emotional conversion experience.
How do you make sense of the idea that all humans are cursed because an early ancestor ate some fruit that helped her tell the difference between right and wrong, just like the Yahweh god who put the tree in the garden? How do you make sense of this god's anger over Adam and Eve's acquisition of this divine attribute (not because they had disobeyed an order that they did not yet know to be "sinful")? How can humans develop a moral sense without first have some understanding of what "good" and "bad" is in their community, time and nation? How do you explain how "Adam" and "Eve" were painted as sinful but nothing is said about the negligence of the Yahweh god in leaving them alone in the garden without proper supervision and support, given their naivette and vulnerability? Isn't this an example of poor parenting, one that you would condemn in any human who emulated it?
How do you make sense of a half god-half man being offered as a sacrifice to its father, which is really part of its god half, in order to appease himself on behalf of all of human kind who are deemed guilty because they caught "sin" from a tree that the parent god left within reach without proper safety guards in place.
How do you make sense of the idea that the Yahweh god originally "saved" his adopted Nation on the basis of animal sacrifice? This god required that first born lambs were first cruelly bleed to death, then burned so that the stench of burning flesh would excite his quivering divine nostrils. How did this work to cleanse this nation's sins? Why doesn't it work in this day and age?
Before you suggest that the Jewish nation were also required to keep the "statuates" of this god make sure you know what these were. Can you recite the Protestant version of the Top Ten Commandments? How about the Catholic version? What were the earthly penalities for breaking each of these commandments? Would any of these punishments be permitted under the laws of the country you currently live in? Can you recite God's Amended Commandments? Remember that Moses broke the original tablets in a fit of rage before going on a horrifically cruel killing spree so the Yahweh got had to provide him with a Replacement Set. What is the Tenth Commandment this time?
And what about the other 600 or so commandments that were given to Moses to give to the people at the same time? Can you recite these requirements? Is there any reason why you might not want to follow them? Do any of them seem immoral to you?
How is it just to make an innocent party suffer on behalf of a guilty party? How is the relatively short torture of the Jesus god-man, his temporary death and his 2 day visit to hell in any way comparable to the agonizing eternity in god's torture chamber for those who believe the wrong things after this god-man's death? The agony of Jesus was not even comparable to the agonizing and prolonged deaths and tortures inflicted by good Christian Inquisitors, Crusaders, Heretic Burners, Witch Hunters throughout the age of Christendom, including the horrific Christian-inspired treatment of Jews by Nazis with belt buckles reading "God WIth Us".
Jesus Christ is not half-god, half-man.
I think I have actually answered most of the other questions in this thread already, although now that I think of it I really cannot imagine how these are even related to the topic. :D ;) If there are some which have not been mentioned yet, like your references to inquisition and crusades (I was rather waiting for these as no thread would seem complete without them :D), surely you are aware that these have been discussed ad nauseam. Therefore search is the only word I am going to relate to you concerning this topic. :D
When confronted with news of the death of a believer, I personally feel no sadness, no sense of mourning, and have not really understood why there is grief attached for so many other Christians, but it breaks my heart when I hear of one passing in unbelief.
@ d.clair. - If you sit down and think about it, when you behold the innocence of a new born baby and then juxtapose that with the knowledge that there exists a chance that human being may one day suffer intensely for all of eternity... don't you even get a little bit of a red flag emotional hitch in your heart that something is amiss? Or is your heart sign, sealed, and delivered into such maddening fantasies?
Like i said, my heart breaks thinking of the suffering of hell. It is agony to me just to comprehend that greater agony.
@ d.clair. - The fact that you can even accept that you can look at an innocent baby and comprehend that there is a chance that baby may grow up and end up in an eternal tormenting fiery hell is incomprehensible to me; even if it was HITLER. Sure, let him burn for a million years, but eternally NO. Not acceptable to me.
i'm wondering: are you a parent?
@ d.clair. - No, I never had children but I feel like a mother to my niece who I have always been very close. But anyway, I have always adored children. The most delightful thing on this earth, to me, is a baby's laughter.
Your concept of God teaches that it should be taught to these children they are unworthy of his love unless they (jump through Alice in Wonderland non existent hoops or else). It wipes that innocent laughter right of their faces in a hurry. Christianity disgusts me.
Babies are instinctual. They are hard-wired to do what they need to survive and parents are hard wired to provide for their needs. That is not "selfish" behavior. Selfish behavior requires an intent that a child does not have. If you see it is as "selfish" then your thinking has been warped by your religion. If you teach your child that it is naturally selfish and bad then you are doing psychological damage to that child that will have to be undone, if it can, by a therapist in the years to come. This is irresponsible parenting.
Your claims about your version of god are not universal or self-evident. They are acquired by indoctrination. The "loving" sacrifice of part of god to another part of the same god via a short lived period of torture and a gruesome, but relatively quick death (by the barbaric standards of the time) makes no sense to a person who has not been indoctrinated to believe this craziness before they developed the capacity to reason. How often has it occurred to you that the main symbol of Christianity is an ancient torture device? Never? What would your reaction be to someone who wore a minature gullotine around their neck, complete with severed head, in reverence for those innocent people who lost their lives in the French Revolution? What about someone who hung pictures of water board torturing by U.S. soldiers on his walls out of reverence for those who were permanently psychologically maimed by Christian Americans who love their version of God?
It all depends on the perspective you take. If you have never looked at your faith through the eyes of someone who does not see things from your limited perspective then your faith is based on ignorance and doctrines that have never been subjected to critical examination. You hold your belief system like a 4 year old child who thinks that the moon follows him where-ever he goes, but not anyone else.
I once thought, like you, that the sort of thing you are asserting made perfect sense. Then I walked around the other side of it and it looked ludicrous and horrific. There is really nothing "loving" about an entity that wants to punish a finite crime of any magnitude with the worst possible form of torture for eternity, just because someone does not think it has provided sufficient evidence of its existence to be sure that it does exist and therefore rejects the notion as highly improbable. There is really no way to describe this kind of entity as anything but truly barbaric - unless, of course, you have been brainwashed since birth into believing that it made perfect sense.
When confronted with news of the death of a believer, I personally feel no sadness, no sense of mourning
This statement not only qualifies you as a sociopath, but would suggest to me that you are mentally unstable and should be getting treatment. To feel no compassion for your fellow human being when they die, regardless of whether or not they believe in a god, is an act of lunacy. You, sir , should seriously seek out help, as this kind of indifference to your fellow human being makes me wonder what else you would be indifferent about.
If you saw a child being abused, would you look the other way? If a woman you knew told you she was raped, would you say she deserved it? If your child told you he or she was gay, would you dehumanize and attack them physically? Do you now, or have you ever, tortured animals? These are all some markers of a psychotic sociopath who needs serious mental help.