I have been been talking to a person like you, an atheist and I have given my stance on what he said which are in quote marks. He never replied and I would like to see an answer or an atheist opinion as I am very interested to know to see how you guys reply. I have split it up into two parts: (but I have to admit I don't know much).
1.) "but if we don't pick the ones he likes we are going to burn in everlasting fire? How is that freedom to choose?"
No, it's not a real choice, more a blackmail. I don't believe in such a god. This is Hitchen's cosmic Kim Ir Sen. Your starting assumption is wrong, in order to understand, reason and find truth, you have to give up on prejudice and clichè. Otherwise you are stuck and go in circle.
First of all you have to be analiytical, to start analyze parts. There is no hope for you to understand anything if you continue with a large brush like "All religions are the same, stupid. Period." Even Bill Maher admitted that there are differences between religions, even if religion, as a whole, is stupid. He made once the distinction between Christians and Christ-like men.
There are big differences. Why is important? Because you can learn who really God is. Different people represent different gods. Don't believe them, but evaluate their claims. You have to use your reasoning, look for evidence and understand realities beyond your comfort zone. It's like throwing yourself in the abyss. But if you search for truth, it will save you. I ask you to not believe even me. I also can be wrong.
The god you invoke is a false god. It's the god presented mostly by the Catholic Church centuries ago. In order to gain power, control and money over masses, it came with this legalistic and ruthless god, a sort of modern Allah. If you don't obey as a slave, give money to the church, you will be punished, burn, tortured.
The same god that apalls you, apalls me or Luther, for example. Luther started The Reformation for that. He learned about a loving God, totally the opposite from the god presented by the Catholic Church. This was the turning point. Could be also for you, if you are ready to accept that God is also love. If you decide to remain for your own reasons to the same concept of cosmic Kim Ir Sen, I just lose my time.
Those who claim to be Christians, but speak just about a legalistic and formalistic god, are not real Christians. Those who don't speak about God's love also, are false Christians. Just like the Phariseeis, they pretend to know the truth, they judge and enjoy sending to hell. They are Christians without Christ. They are hypocrites. I don't like them, either.
2.) "not really a choice is it especially once you are commanded it... it's self cancelling."
You are right! If we talk about this legalistic, petty, avaricious and hateful god, it's not really a free choice. But if we talk about a God of love, the choice must be free. Love can be express just based on a really free choice, otherwise it's not love. Law can still be law if says "do this or you will support the consquences", but love can't do that. If really God is love, He is forces to make a real offer of choice, He must be consistent with Himself. This is about the veracity of choice that I think you got it wrong.
hell is not just that image of boiling pitch in cauldrons where demons push you with tridents while laughing. Because you have a wrong image of God, you also have a wrong image of His absence, also. If you would lived your whole life in a cave, you wouldn't care about the sun and his absence. But if you knew his daylight and warmt, his "love", when night and cold comes, you miss it. Yes, sun is not personal, is just a hot and indifferent globe, but I use it like an illustration.
In the same way is God. If you get out of you prejudices about God and see His love and goodness, His absence would become a sort of hell. You would like to be with Him in the same way you eagerly wait for the sun in the morning. This is a different image of hell. The more you love somebody, the worse the hell of that person's absence is.
None of it makes sense, except as fiction.
of course it does.
My point is you atheists have the wrong interpretation of God.. you only think of God who sets out an ultimatum heaven or hell... but that is not the case. A loving God allows you to choose what ever path you take because love does not allow for hate. God cannot hate you and wound put you in a position to be threatened.
As I said:
If really God is love, He is forces to make a real offer of choice, He must be consistent with Himself. This is about the veracity of choice that I think you got it wrong.
My point is you atheists have the wrong interpretation of God.
No, my interpretation of God is that He's a fictional character invented by men, for men, in the male image of men. People are then pressured into believing in the fiction. That's why you believe, and I'll bet you didn't grow up Muslim. You just happen to be whatever other believers around you believe.
I could be wrong about your belief, but you were wrong about mine. ;)
Someone needs to tell Christians what Christianity is all about then. Some of them, whom I have had the misfortune of conversing with, spew the damnedest nonsense, I have been told numerous times I will be punished if I don't believe in the Christian god. Sounds rather ultimatum-ish to me.
You start with the PREMISES:
1) Supernatural entities such as ghosts, fairies, angels and gods, exist,
2) The people, such as Luther, etc, were CORRECT as to the nature of god...as opposed to you merely liking their version better.
3) YOUR version of what and how to worship, is correct, and everyone on earth who disagrees with you, is wrong.
4) ONLY those who agree with you used logic and analysis to arrive at the correct conclusions, everyone ELSE on earth did not.
5) All the other people on earth, who ALSO SAY that THEY used logic and analysis to come to THEIR conclusions, lied.
Are you able to defend your premises?
RyanGutten, are you wanting debate help, or a debate?
God created evil and then had his son tortured to save the rest of us from what he will do to us. OK, right.
And the evidence of all this is a book of written after the fact by people who were not there. The ultimate proof is a bunch of reports of magic trick miracles. Oh and the people pushing all of this make alot of money.
I once was a chicken shit child-sheep afraid to use my rationality and reasoning to call it the bullshit that it is. But alas I have grown up.
I was debating with a Muslim yesterday and she told me her god is a loving god and that I will be punished by Him for choosing to reject Him. I have not made a choice. It is impossible to choose not to believe in something I don’t believe in.
Is that what you are talking about? Atheists do not reject any god. We just do not believe in their existence. I do not believe in your God the same way you don’t believe in Brahma. While you have not stated which god you are talking about I assume it is the Christian one rather than the Muslim one?
You have no evidence for the existence of your god. If you do, please tell us what it is. If it is believable then I will no longer be an atheist. However I suppose you don’t have any. Like most theists here, you only think that you do. But if you really have some then I will be compelled to believe in you god’s existence. It will be beyond being a choice.
No, it's not a real choice, more a blackmail. I don't believe in such a god.
If your god is different than the popular conception of god, maybe you should start by defining your god. Is your god the "trinity" god? i.e. father, son, and holy spirit all wrapped up into one god. Is your god omnipotent, omniscient, or otherwise magical? Describe it so we know what you're talking about.
Those who claim to be Christians, but speak just about a legalistic and formalistic god, are not real Christians
Please also define what a christian is. I thought it was someone who believes the bible's stories about Jesus Christ. I'm pretty sure the bible has lots of rules/laws in it, but I'm open to hearing your definition and working from there.
petty, avaricious and hateful god
I agree... he's such a nasty character in the bible.
But if we talk about a God of love, the choice must be free.
And yet, we are told by many "christians" that we will go to hell and be punished for eternity if we don't believe... i.e. we come back to section 1 of the OP. Maybe your definitions of god and christian will help... we can revisit this issue after you supply them.
I have been been talking to a person like you
I already know this is going to be a post full of problems when you
1) Refer to a group of people with "a person like you". Not a nice way to start when you are an outsider visiting a chat forum of people you don't agree with and attribute unpraiseworthy qualities to like our being prejudiced and staying inside our comfort zone.
2) When you lump atheists into a group that includes qualities that are more than a lack of belief in God. Atheists lack a belief in God. There is nothing more to it. Many of them may be spiritual or not, hate religion or not, be highly rational people or not and so on. The majority of atheists are in China, Vietnam, North Korea etc and I can tell you I have little in common with an average person from China and our world views are likely to be enormously different.
in order to understand, reason and find truth, you have to give up on prejudice and clichè.
No. Absolutely not. The all powerful, at times ruthless totalitarian bearded man in the sky is how he is clearly and unambiguously defined in holy scriptures and discussed throughout christian history in almost all sects. What you are doing is trying to shame us for describing things as they are actually described by others by calling it prejudice and cliche. Actually, the biggest cliche is religious people trying to pull their God away from such criticism by claiming the real God is nothing like that. Do you not see how rediculous that is? Imagine many people talked about Robert Mugabe as an all powerful controller of Zimbabew (which the people of Zimbabwe openly say with pride) and then based on further evidence and discussion claim he is a tyrranical totalitarian who demands being obeyed or you shall be punished...we are simply describing the qualities of this person based on how that person and nearly everyone describes and defines him. Your argument here is equivalent to when post-collonialist-appologists claimed that Mugabe is not a tyrrant and that they had a chance to meet the "real" Mugabe when they were flown in and given a highly staged and first class visit. Well...I'm afraid that post-collonialist-appologists are not remotely an authority on the man and you are certainly no authority on christianity or God.
You have to use your reasoning, look for evidence and understand realities beyond your comfort zone.
You can be very very very sure that the majority of us here and most humanist-secular-atheists know a whole lot more about specific religions and have tested ourselves in the uncomfortable zone far far far more than christians. We don't limit ourself to a couple books that confirm what we think but read whatever we can get our hands on (if we really care about it). Perhaps you need to start from scratch with a world that has no God and come up with a solid philosophical reason for positing God without referring to holy scriptures or dogma.
are not real Christians
This is what we call a no true scotsman fallacy. You avoid having to explain away the aweful parts of your belief (God as a rather petty totalitarian bully) by claiming that isn't the real one. Here is a link with a short article that explains this fallacy. If you really want to analyse things as you ask us to, then you ought to familiarise yourself with these fallacies. It's the first thing you do when you start studying philosophy and I really wish it were the case for all students in all fields of study. Here's the link.
If we talk about this legalistic, petty, avaricious and hateful god, it's not really a free choice. But if we talk about a God of love, the choice must be free.
Yeah...but then the stories and descriptions of God are overwealmingly negative, read the bible, scriptures and discussions of God. He only chills out at the end and even then it's Jesus who takes centre stage. And even then, he still unleashes horrors on people in the last book (Revelations). So do mention the love, you can find that in a portion of the bible and from most moderate preachers, but the horrible immoral nasty God is still there, and he is a whopping nasty one, and you cannot divorce him from that extremely dark stain...without being a first class cherry picker with no credibility.
He must be consistent with Himself.
God is anything but consistant. Have you read the bible, have you studied theology and you discussed christianity with anyone? God changes his mind all the time, he gives out highly irregular punishement, he gives contradictory rules, he completely changes the whole game at one point and has several absolute qualities that are incompatible.
His absence would become a sort of hell
This is a variation of the argument of "evil is lack of God" known as the "hell as absence of God" argument. It is a pretty bad one. Why? First because this is a theological argument that popped out of nowhere, which completely contradicts the hell as described by God and commented on by Jesus and as posited by the overwealming majority of Christians throughout Christianity. Why is this esoteric description of hell worth taking seriously when it's based on a theological guess with nothing else to back it up and few people arguing it? Secondly, if your description is actually true, then a person would still be suffering immsensely as they would live in pain for eternity. I cannot imagine how a loving God would somewho find it proportional punishement to allow his creation to suffer for eternity, just because this person didn't believe he existed. That's appauling behaviour, Here's the link again to deal with this fallicious argument.