I've become increasingly frustrated with people's insistence that words can mean whatever they want them to mean, and whatever is convenient for them to mean. Words are meant for one thing: communication. Once everyone personalizes words and definitions, we lose that ability. If "to you" a chair is what the rest of us consider a table, you're going to lose us when you start telling about setting the chair for dinner.

Even more frustrating is when people, or Bibles, make absolute claims about their deity. If you tell me your god is perfect, omnipotent, omnipresent, all-knowing, all-powerful, merciful, and all-loving, I fully expect him to live up to the literal implications of those words... and because you tell me they are absolutely true.

If "God" is omnipresent, he is everywhere. Yes, everywhere. You cannot rationalize away the horror of Hell by claiming it's merely the place where "God's" present has vacated the premises. Yes, it's hard to imagine than a merciful and all-loving god would create a place like Hell, so instead of facing the reality that he may not be those things, a new definition of omnipresent is constructed. Somehow "omnipresent" can actually exclude one very special place in the cosmos: Hell. God is everywhere... except there. But that's not really omnipresent, is it? Apparently, to some, it is... but the word has lost its meaning altogether.

If "God" is perfect, then his creation should be perfect... yes, even when given free-will. I think when we simply blurt out that everything "God" made is perfect, we forget what that implies. Humans would have perfectly understood that remaining in "God's" grace would be the best choice; that "rebelling" would only hurt them. They would have perfectly trusted "God", and perfectly behaved. Threats would have been unnecessary because they would have been able to perfectly think-through disobeying and the consequences. The only way our free-will would have tripped us up is if we did not have perfect understanding... and apparently, we didn't. We hadn't yet had a bite of the fruit of Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. So, without that essential knowledge, we were not "perfect", and to insist we were--despite a clear lack of perfect motives, thought-processes, and critical thinking--undermines the meaning of the word.

So, we've established that "God" is not literally everywhere, and did not literally create a perfect universe (because, even if people were the only thing wrong, that one blemish means the whole is not perfect). What other absolutes does "God" fail to live up to?

Well, he's not all-powerful. And do you know why? Because nothing can be all-powerful. There's the so-called omnipotence paradox: "Could an omnipotent being create a stone so heavy that even he could not lift it?" Some Christians scoff at this paradox, but the reality is that it's very telling. This is actually just one simple thing an allegedly all-powerful god cannot do, and that actually does invalidate the claim he can do anything he wants. He can't. This paradox may sound silly and childish, but it's true... and makes the idea of all-powerfulness silly and childish. And I'm sure we could think of many other paradoxes that "God" could not overcome. If even "God" cannot crawl into the definition of "all-powerful" or "omnipotent", why use such useless words? It would serve theists much better if they just said that their god was "very powerful" or even "the most powerful". But they don't.

Also, an all-knowing, all-loving, and merciful god would probably forgo creating humankind altogether, rather than insist that the bloody drama on this planet play out to the bitter end. If we're now admitting "God" is not all-powerful, but trying to make the case that he's at least merciful, the fact we exist at all speaks against that idea. Sometimes, we mercifully put suffering creatures out of their misery. If we knew their existence would only be one, long, unending sequence of horror (even with a couple good days), we might just decide not to bring them into existence at all. Even if you make the argument that there's Heaven after death to look forward to, we all know not everyone makes it in (and so, we're not really all loved, either). A god who knows our fate, but chooses to let us suffer through it, is not merciful or loving in any meaningful or remotely literal way. A merciful, loving god could not possibly know what might happen were he to create us.

Just about every absolute claim made about "God", absolutely fails. Why bother speaking in absolutes if there are so many damn exceptions, rationalizations, and excuses? The fact that there are so many apologist apologizing for the failings and failure of their god to clearly communicate, speaks volumes.

Words have specific meaning so they can convey specific ideas. If your god does not live up to the literal definition of his supposed characteristics, stop singing his praises. You've been conned.

My worldview does not suffer from glaring inconsistencies or contradictions. I do not need apologists to explain away flaws in my logic. If someone points out a real problem, I can alter my opinion to reflect reality rather than concocting elaborate dance routines to remain at my preformed conclusion. It's not about insisting I'm right, but actually finding the truth. Sure, sometimes it's elusive, but I want truth... and I need words to have meaning. Communication is important. If what you mean by "perfect" is not what I mean by "perfect", we've failed. 

Views: 531

Tags: absolutes, words

Comment by Reg The Fronkey Farmer on November 22, 2012 at 1:40pm

Hey I get a chance to post this again!  How literal is it to be taken? Enjoy.

Laura Schlesinger is a US radio personality, who dispenses advice to people who call in to her radio show. She recently said that, as an observant Orthodox Jew, homosexuality is an abomination, according to Leviticus 18:22, and cannot be condoned under any circumstances. The following response is an open letter to Dr. Laura which was posted on the Internet.

Dear Dr. Laura:

Thank you for doing so much to educate people regarding God's Law. I have learned a great deal from your show, and try to share that knowledge with as many people as I can. When someone tries to defend the homosexual lifestyle, for example, I simply remind them that Leviticus 18:22 clearly states it to be an abomination... End of debate.

I do need some advice from you, however, regarding some other elements of God's Laws and how to follow them.

1. Leviticus 25:44 states that I may possess slaves, both male and female, provided they are purchased from neighboring nations. A friend of mine claims that this applies to Mexicans, but not Canadians. Can you clarify? Why can't I own Canadians?

2. I would like to sell my daughter into slavery, as sanctioned in Exodus 21:7. In this day and age, what do you think would be a fair price for her?

3. I know that I am allowed no contact with a woman while she is in her period of menstrual uncleanliness - Lev.15: 19-24. The problem is how do I tell? I have tried asking, but most women take offense.

4. When I burn a bull on the altar as a sacrifice, I know it creates a pleasing odor for the Lord - Lev.1:9. The problem is, my neighbors. They claim the odor is not pleasing to them. Should I smite them?

5. I have a neighbor who insists on working on the Sabbath.Exodus 35:2. clearly states he should be put to death. Am I morally obligated to kill him myself, or should I ask the police to do it?

6. A friend of mine feels that even though eating shellfish is an abomination - Lev. 11:10, it is a lesser abomination than homosexuality. I don't agree. Can you settle this? Are there 'degrees' of abomination?

7. Lev. 21:20 states that I may not approach the altar of God if I have a defect in my sight. I have to admit that I wear reading glasses. Does my vision have to be 20/20, or is there some wiggle- room here?

8. Most of my male friends get their hair trimmed, including the hair around their temples, even though this is expressly forbidden by Lev. 19:27. How should they die?

9. I know from Lev. 11:6-8 that touching the skin of a dead pig makes me unclean, but may I still play football if I wear gloves?

10. My uncle has a farm. He violates Lev.19:19 by planting two different crops in the same field, as does his wife by wearing garments made of two different kinds of thread (cotton/polyester blend). He also tends to curse and blaspheme a lot. Is it really necessary that we go to all the trouble of getting the whole town together to stone them? Lev.24:10-16. Couldn't we just burn them to death at a private family affair, like we do with people who sleep with their in-laws? (Lev. 20:14)

I know you have studied these things extensively and thus enjoy considerable expertise in such matters, so I am confident you can help. Thank you again for reminding us that God's word is eternal and unchanging.

 

Comment by archaeopteryx on November 22, 2012 at 3:35pm

REG - Classic! You KNOW I'm stealing it!

Comment by James Cox on November 22, 2012 at 3:58pm

Laura Schlesinger

Wow! Priceless! Straight Faced Humor of the Most High Place!

This should be a handout to anyone that stops you on the street to preach!

Comment by James Cox on November 22, 2012 at 4:08pm

I wonder if anyone has done a study to compair % of people with Fundi beliefs and population growth? Maybe there is a lot of quiet killing of babies? Icky!

Comment by Reg The Fronkey Farmer on November 22, 2012 at 4:14pm

I mentioned this a while back in another post.

When a Christian starts telling me about how “all merciful” their god is I sometimes ask about this little known story from their book.

“Do you think Elisha went a bit OTT in the OT when the children started calling him “baldy”?

Emmm…looks of confusion etc…is this one of those Atheist trick questions???

So I continue with “Oh you must know that one – I call it Baldy Locks and the 42 bears but it is not like the other fairy tale. No porridge in this one. You must know it!! It’s about when Elisha cursed the children in the Lord’s name for calling him baldy and the two she bears came out of the woods and proceed to tear 42 of the children apart. Why would an all merciful god do such a thing? Even if they all went straight to Heaven I think he went too far – don’t you”?

Sometimes I am told that I am making this up because they have never heard this one. Even if they do know it they are almost forced to agree with me that it was extreme. Make sure you get them to justify why their god would allow this or why they disagree with him. Then wait for the apologists to get going.  “What do you mean I am being disrespectful?” “I am not taking it out of context!”

It‘s from 2 Kings 2:23-24. “What? You don’t have a bible with you? Here borrow mine!!

FUBARED!!

It's an easy verse number and story to remember so it is good ammo to use.  So stop banging you head against the wall and have some fun. It often breaks up that old Cognitive Dissonance faster than arguments because it is a very easy story to visualise. Once seen in their minds-eye it is not so easy to dismiss and they are forced to think about it later on.

Comment by _Robert_ on November 22, 2012 at 8:33pm

So the bald are really god's chosen people.

Comment by _Robert_ on November 22, 2012 at 8:56pm

Hey..is that guy wearing black socks and brown shoes with white robes. Dude..come-on! get your self some sandals or I'm thinking maybe you are just another wall street trader getting some exercise.

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