Atheists Have No One to Thank This Thanksgiving

A favorite author, Chuck Colson, gives a great insight on this topic. He tells about a time in his life when he was “distinctly irreligious”. “I was on a lake in New Hampshire where I had taken a fourteen-foot Day Sailer to teach my two sons to sail. On one of our ventures across the lake, Christian, who was then ten, grabbed the sheet and was so excited over actually being able to sail the boat that his eyes sparkled. I was in the stern holding the tiller. I saw in my son’s expression the joy of a new discovery as he felt the wind’s power in his hands.

In that unguarded moment, I found myself saying, ‘Thank you, God, for giving me this son – for giving us this one wonderful moment.’ I went on to tell God that if I were to die tomorrow, I would feel my life had been fulfilled. When I realized what I had done, I was startled. I had no intention of trying to talk to God, whoever He was – if He did exist and was even knowable. I was certainly not intellectually convinced that God existed. But I had to admit that I was simply overcome with gratitude for that unforgettably rich experience with my son Chris, and I needed to thank someone – God…

What moved me that day to talk to God was an overwhelming sense of gratitude for that incredibly joyous experience… Gratitude, I have discovered, is built into every one of us, as much as a universal human characteristic as guilt. When you wake up in the morning, lift the window, feel the fresh [fall] breezes, and see the sun rising, aren’t you filled with gratitude? (Good Life, 272).”

Perhaps, in an unguarded moment, an atheist will look up this Thanksgiving and say, “Thank you” to the One who has made their life possible. Otherwise, the thing about atheism is that you have no One to thank. Someone even suggested that you cannot be grateful for some thing without being grateful to a someone. One can express gratittude only toward another intelligent, conscious being. You cannot be grateful to a fencepost, or the moon, or some collection of atoms. An atheist can be happy that the sun sets over Maui, be he/she can’t be truly grateful for these things since there is no one to whom to be grateful.

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61 Comments

Filed under Atheism, God, Gratitude, Thanksgiving

61 responses to “Atheists Have No One to Thank This Thanksgiving

  1. Joey.. Joey.. Joey.. I have many people to thank. I can thank my parents for having me and raising me to be an independent thinker. I can thank the Seventh Day Adventist and evangelical churches I came into contact with as child which made me question why so many disagreed about gods. I can thank the Air Force for giving me the opportunity to serve my country for the four years I did. I can then thank them for letting me leave in May, instead of stop-lossing me. I can thank my wonderful girlfriend for giving me the time of day, let alone the 2+ years of her life she’s given to spend with me so far. I can even thank you, Joey, for the invaluable insight you’ve given me to the mind of some Christians. I hope you enjoy this holiday as much as I will, spending it with family and friends!

  2. I appreciate your spirit of gratitude. I to am truly grateful. But you did leave One Person out… but in time… in time…. and remember love…true love…

  3. Sisyphus Fragment is right. There are so many people to thank for everything that happens to and about us.

    Deities, of course, have no demonstratable influence on such things (mainly because they don’t exist).

    You may as well be thanking Zeus for not smiting you with lightning as any other deity you care to mention.

  4. Perhaps, in an unguarded moment this Thanksgiving, when you’re laughing with your friends, hugging your son, enjoying your favorite hobby, watching a great football game, looking at your favorite art, serving some great cause, or totally losing yourself in your favorite music, you will look up and give a “wink” to the One who loves, who has given, and who celebrates our joys.

    And if, by chance, you find yourself all alone, distanced from a friend, your team has been beaten, your music won’t play, your art no longer thrilling, and the cause your serve has nearly faded, go ahead and look up anyway, because the Cosmic Stare became a smile (and a wink) to all of us “cosmic orphans” at Christmas.

    https://spiritualquestions.wordpress.com/2008/11/11/the-unblinking-cosmic-stare-smiled-at-christmas/

    Happy Thanksgiving and Merry Christmas.

  5. Aspentroll

    Joey,
    I have me to thank for all the good stuff that has happened in my life.
    I also have me to blame if I screw up, which I haven’t.

    You seem to think that without a mythical entity to watch over you and guide you, you will be lost. Have you no sense of personal accomplishment? I would doubt that you would allow just any one to tell you how to run your life, yet you allow a pastor or priest to dictate to you. Your pastor or priest is in the business of religion and will definitely tell you what to do. Why not just think for yourself for a change. I have never been involved in any kind of religion in my life and have never regretted my life style. I am 74 years old and have lived a good responsible life without a divine force to guide me. I do not fear what you fear, Hell, and I do not expect what you expect, Heaven.
    Until your God shows up and does something useful for humanity, so then and until then I will not think he exists.
    I am not alone in this, there a millions of people that want proof of this god’s abilities and are not prepared to accept the bible’s inconsistencies as a realistic belief system.
    The god of the three desert religions doesn’t cut it, Joey.
    This god doesn’t make any more sense than Zeus, Thor,
    or any of the thousand other gods that have had their chance throughout history. They have all failed miserably
    at doing a god-like job for their believers. That would be because none of them have ever existed except in the minds of uneducated and delusional people. At least that what I believe, take it or leave it..

  6. Todd

    Joey, you’re an arrogant twat. i can be plenty thankful to the people (real and existing) who enrich my life. i can be thankful (to no one in particular) that i’m just plain lucky.

    If *your* god (as opposed to the hundreds of others) exists, there very little to suggest love or even passing concern for his lab rats. Your bronze age fairy tales describe a hateful, insecure and petty child with an ant farm.

  7. scaryreasoner

    Right… he’s “distinctly irreligious,” but his son is named “Christian.”

    Fail.

  8. jason

    While we all have things to be thankful for, whether or not we are religious, let’s not deny the bloody history of this holiday.

    What started as essentially “breaking bread” between the indigenous inhabitants of this continent and white, Christian Europeans, soon turned into a blood bath of colonization and control. Countless Natives were slaughtered over religious and cultural differences, and diseases introduced by these invading Europeans decimated large numbers as well.

    While you are being thankful to, and for, your creator, think about how such a creator (if one might actually exist – which I doubt) would feel about the actions of his or her Christian followers murdering so many innocent fellow humans.

    While there are many things I am thankful for, none of them I would attribute to some invisible deity. We must not allow religious nationalism to blind us to the implications and realities of our actions, our country, its history, and our place in the world because of it.

    We have much to be proud of, much to be ashamed of, and much to be thankful for.

  9. People as “lab rats”

    A son’s name as some how “dishonest.”

    A time of gratitude for all of us, rather than enjoyed, is covered with a “bloodbath.”

    A claim that I’m terrorized by “hell.”

    A refusal to admit that just maybe, there is a Someone who is moving history toward resolution.

    You guys are messed up people.

    Check that. WE are messed up people. There is something drastically wrong with all of us. Can you not see it? I’ve got my issues too, but you guys just give yourself away time and time again. Here’s the logic. 1. God doesn’t exist. 2. I hate Him. Go figure. Your hatred gives you away. It’s your way of getting back at God. This “lack of evidence” thing is mere facade. You are a rebel. I am a rebel. It’s time to admit it.

    You are made in the image of God, but you are totally messed up in your worldview of life. No wonder you despise the idea of God so much. You have so caricatured Him that any similarity to what is true has been lost.

    I’m beginning to understand though. You have to paint this kind of picture of God, because then you feel justified. The problem is, you have totally missed the love of God, the bestower of all good gifts, without partiality.

  10. The Tofu

    “1. God doesn’t exist. 2. I hate Him. Go figure. Your hatred gives you away. It’s your way of getting back at God.”

    Loved your post on cliche answers, by the way. Wish you would follow your own advice.

    Atheists don’t hate god. We just realize that the idea of an all-loving god is incompatible with reality (problem of suffering), and the Bible itself (atrocities purportedly committed both in the name of god and by god itself).

  11. aforcier

    i’m late on this one… but still.

    On your trip on the lake… you could have said:

    Thanky you son for being there.
    Thank you lake.

    You could have slip your hand in the water and let your mind fill the water with gratitude. You could have looked up at the sun and receive in thankfulness its warmh and light…

    And you coulf have said:
    Thank you – self – for being present in this moment.

    ——
    Hey, Joey… thanks for being around.
    albert f.
    ——
    http://www.ANaturalPhilosophy.com

  12. Gratitude for all these things is good and right. But the gifts were never meant to be mistaken for the Giver.

  13. No. It is not incompatible to believe in God if there is suffering. Why? Because God does resolve it in time. We must not demand that God resolve suffering the way we think he should. We are not God; He is.

    God does not commit atrocities; people do. And when they do, they are held accountable by a holy, just, and gracious God. Those people in the Old Testament sacrificed their own babies for goodness sake. An entire culture was built on this stuff and God has a right to say, “Enough!”

  14. The Tofu

    “Because God does resolve it in time.”

    Where’s your evidence for this? Give me one example of god stepping in to end suffering.

    What use is it to punish someone in the afterlife if the suffering has already been created? Why wait? When trying a criminal, no one says “ok, we’ll punish him in 50 years, in the meantime, he’s free to do what he wants.”

    God has never prevented a fight, never prevented a murder, never prevented a war, never prevented a genocide. Why, if he’s so loving? Because he doesn’t exist.

  15. The Tofu

    “God does not commit atrocities; people do.”

    Have you READ the Bible?

    When god curses all mankind to a sinful nature (and thus, Hell) for the disobedience of Adam and Eve (who did not know evil from good), that’s not an atrocity?

    When he drowns every living thing on the planet, including innocent children and animals, that’s not an atrocity?

    When he rains fire and brimstone upon entire cities, killing all within, that’s not an atrocity?

    When he asks a man to kill his own son to prove his loyalty to god, that’s not an atrocity?

    When he kills the firstborn children of Egypt, that’s not an atrocity?

    When he instructs you to stone disobedient children, that’s not an atrocity?

    Actually, you know what? Just read through here: http://skepticsannotatedbible.com/cruelty/long.html

    Try reading your own holy book before you make ridiculous comments like that.

  16. aforcier

    Nature is the gift giver.
    (Are you of nature?)

    http://www.ANaturalPhilosophy.com

  17. Have you read the Bible?

    “When god curses all mankind to a sinful nature (and thus, Hell) for the disobedience of Adam and Eve (who did not know evil from good), that’s not an atrocity?”

    You make several errors here.

    One, we chose to disobey, in a perfect environment. We did know what we were doing (Eve more by deception, Adam by willful choice). The Second Adam (again, read your bible) was in an imperfect environment in the wilderness and chose to obey ironically enough. Christ is the Second Adam, who has come to restore back a lost Garden through obedience, and even suffering. Such love.

    Two, the sinful nature is best described as a rejection of relationship. In the final analysis, its not as if something was added to our human nature; rather, something was missing within it now, after the Fall. Our relationship with God is broken. Many atrocious things happen when we are broken inside, disconnected from a loving Creator, and aspiring to reconnect through world religions and a spirituality of our own making. We even like to caricature this God as “atrocious” because we feel unloved by Him.

    Three, you assume that a sinful nature condemns one to hell. Not true. Sin cannot send anyone to hell. This is the Gospel. Unbelief, driven by self-will, and a willful choice allows one to go to hell if they so choose it. (We’ve been here before. You should know this). Christ basically says, “You can go to hell, but it will be over my dead body.” True love.

    “When he drowns every living thing on the planet, including innocent children and animals, that’s not an atrocity?”

    When God decides who lives and who dies, it is somehow immoral and “atrocious.” But when you and I decide who lives and who dies in abortion, some how it’s our moral right. What do you call abortion Tofu? Is this not atrocious? And yet your fellow atheists will sing this song all day long, pleading the “atrocities” of God, while ripping a child from a mothers womb. To me, this is atrocious.

    “When he rains fire and brimstone upon entire cities, killing all within, that’s not an atrocity?”

    God can say “Enough” to a decadent culture. Do your research. Understand how these cultures worked before you characterize God as “atrocious.”

    “When he asks a man to kill his own son to prove his loyalty to god, that’s not an atrocity?”

    Have you not read your Bible? Abe obeyed God. Why? A rock solid faith that God would raise his Son again. Also, Christ was crucified on the same mountain, or near the same place. It was a preview of what was to come – God offering one who has known no treachery in behalf of another, and thus death itself must turn backwards. Your views are shallow Tofu. Delve in deep into the mysterious things of our Loving, Creator God.

    “When he kills the firstborn children of Egypt, that’s not an atrocity?”

    Only after warning after warning after warning. God doesn’t surprise us with judgement. He let’s us in on what He is about to do. But we can still “harden our hearts” in a choice we make.

    “When he instructs you to stone disobedient children, that’s not an atrocity?”

    Define “disobedient.” Do you have kids?

    Leave Sam Harris out of this. He’s a misguided dude and will lead you astray. He will not give you the true context of a Biblical passage. Believe him at your own risk.

  18. I love nature and in it I learn much about the One who gave it. But there is no possible way that you can convince me that “nature” is the giver of the gift of life.

    Basic anthropology. We are material and immaterial, body and spirit. Nature can only look at half of who we are. There’s an entire realm of spirit that nature cannot explain.

    To believe what you assert is to bifurcate human nature and then to ignore what every civilization seems to understand – we all reach out for the eternal, for a life without bodily contraints. Christ said “We can’t live by bread alone.” We are not mere biological machines; we are spiritual people, thirsty for a connection with Eternal Spirit and life.

    There are tons of problems with a “nature only” view of our existence.

  19. The Tofu

    “One, we chose to disobey, in a perfect environment.”

    Who’s “we.” I didn’t make this choice.

    “We did know what we were doing (Eve more by deception, Adam by willful choice).”

    They didn’t know good or evil. They may have known they were disobeying, but they didn’t know that to disobey would be wrong.

    “We even like to caricature this God as “atrocious” because we feel unloved by Him.”

    For the last time, I don’t feel unloved by god, I don’t hate god, and I’m not rebelling against god. I simply don’t think the guy exists.

    “Unbelief, driven by self-will, and a willful choice allows one to go to hell if they so choose it.”

    So my choice is to serve a being that I cannot see or interact with, or to be cast into a lake of fire? Some choice.

    “When God decides who lives and who dies, it is somehow immoral and “atrocious.” But when you and I decide who lives and who dies in abortion, some how it’s our moral right.”

    When did I mention abortion? Answer the question: Do you think it’s moral to drown every living thing on the Earth?

    “Have you not read your Bible? Abe obeyed God. Why? A rock solid faith that God would raise his Son again.”

    So it’s ok to kill someone if I believe they’ll be resurrected? You would condone it?

    “Only after warning after warning after warning”

    God deliberately hardens Pharaoh’s heart so that he can show off how powerful he is, then kills thousands of innocent children who had nothing to do with keeping the slaves.

    Why couldn’t an all-powerful god talk someone into doing something. Why does he need to kill innocent people?

    “Define “disobedient.” Do you have kids?”

    I believe the Bible’s wording is something like “whoever curses his father or mother shall be put to death.” Do you believe that cursing someone should carry the death penalty?

    “He will not give you the true context of a Biblical passage.”

    The whole Bible is on that site (King James version I believe). Yes, that particular list quotes them out of context, but it also provides links to each book of the Bible.

  20. In theology we talk about the Federal Headship of Adam, that is, in Adam, we all sinned. He represented all of us. So, in Adam, we all walked away from God.

    They were clearly told by God what would happen if they chose to walk away from a God who loved them. They did and God holds them accountable. He holds us accountable too.

    Again, read the Bible. He didn’t drown every living thing on earth. Does Noah’s Ark ring a bell? There’s always a way of escape from divine wrath for those who want it.

    You misread the text and the Abe story. The bible records things accurately. But no where do we read that we are to sacrifice our sons. Not everything is to be emulated. It’s a unique situation, not normative lifestyle patterns being taught here. Furthermore, stepping away from the Abe story for a moment, there are many things that the Bible records but doesn’t necessarily condone or present as a way that we should behave or live.

    God doesn’t show off, and you are patronizing Him when you suggest that you have “to serve” him. God is after your heart before he asks for your hand.

    You act as if death is some plague that God has caused, as if it’s the end game. You have been mislead. Death is an endless beginning, a doorway into a new dimension.

    Regardless of how children or adults die, and regardless for what reasons they have died, you act as if God is cruel in this. And just because God appears to condone these “atrocious” things to you, what you must do is understand that the text does not reveal where these individuals end up after death. The text says they died; it doesn’t say that they went to hell. You assume way too much, as many of your atheist friends do.

    God is not to be trifled with. Life is a gift, not a right. You are alive by His grace alone. Just because one’s spirit leaves their body doesn’t mean its the end game. You might even be surprised; those taken in death wouldn’t want to come back here!

  21. The Tofu

    “In theology we talk about the Federal Headship of Adam, that is, in Adam, we all sinned. He represented all of us.”

    So you support punishing many for the wrongs of the few. OK.

    “Again, read the Bible. He didn’t drown every living thing on earth.”

    Sorry, let me rephrase that- do you believe that drowning the vast majority of living creatures on Earth is a moral action?

    Do you think the flood was moral? Is it what you would have done? This is all I’m asking. Can you answer the question a yes or no question, or do I have to ask you again in my next post?

    “You misread the text and the Abe story. The bible records things accurately.”

    God asks someone to kill their own son. This is an atrocious action. The original question was whether god purportedly committed atrocious actions or not. You’re avoiding the question again.

    “God doesn’t show off”
    EXODUS
    7:3 And I will harden Pharaoh’s heart, and multiply my signs and my wonders in the land of Egypt.
    7:4 But Pharaoh shall not hearken unto you, that I may lay my hand upon Egypt, and bring forth mine armies, and my people the children of Israel, out of the land of Egypt by great judgments.
    7:5 And the Egyptians shall know that I am the LORD, when I stretch forth mine hand upon Egypt, and bring out the children of Israel from among them.

    God hardens Pharoah’s heart so that he can then show Egypt how powerful he is. Otherwise he’d just persuade Pharaoh to let the people go and avoid the whole plague difficulty. In any case, you still haven’t answered my question:

    Do you believe that killing the firstborn son of every Egyptian family, so that “no house was without one dead” is a moral action?

    “Regardless of how children or adults die, and regardless for what reasons they have died, you act as if God is cruel in this. And just because God appears to condone these “atrocious” things to you, what you must do is understand that the text does not reveal where these individuals end up after death.”

    I think it’s safe to assume that if god is killing someone as part of his divine wrath and judgment, that they aren’t going to end up in heaven. That’s more of an upgrade than a punishment.

    Is it ok for me to kill someone if I “know” they’re going to heaven? Is it justified? Is it right?

    “God is not to be trifled with. Life is a gift, not a right.”

    And you were so keen on free will earlier… Few people choose when and how they die.

    Why do you excuse god for taking life when you would condemn anyone else for the same action?

  22. No. You missed my point. In Adam, we sinned all. You and I in the same situation would have done what he did.

    Destroying the earth by whatever means is a just moral action on the part of God, providing that we are amply forewarned and a way of escape is provided. Should we chose to ignore the forewarning, we are culpable, not God. If a hurricane is coming and I refuse to leave my beach house despite multiple warnings, I have to accept the outcome.

    Again, the firstborn of Egypt could have known and applied the blood over the doorpost but chose not to. Don’t blame God; blame the Egyptian leaders for being immoral. They hardened their heart. God simply gave them over to it – which is the worst punishment of all. God gave them over to what they wanted.

    If you persist in convincing yourself that God does not exist, eventually he will give you over to it Tofu. And you’ll continue to harden your heart against a God of love. Quit trying to make God this sadistic monster! He honors our choices! Love knows no other way.

    Your logic about killing to send someone to heaven is absurd. No comment needed.

    Listen to me. I represent a voice that’s echoed down through Biblical history. There is another day coming when, not by water, but by fire, the world will be purged of evil. We know it’s coming, so God is fair. He has also provided “an ark” to escape the coming eschatological wrath. If you and I don’t yield to his way of safety, you and I will be exposed and caught up in the wrath to come and God will be moral in doing so. Justice demands it. Holiness necessitates it. Love requires it. Free will provokes it.

    God has a voice like thunder, or waves breaking on distant shores, eyes of fire, a bright shining light of total purity, holiness, justice, righteousness, love, and truth. He can be trusted. He’s always been faithful. He will balance the scales, and has already with the life of Christ. Fear him. Love him. Know him. Walk with him. Cry out to him. Complain to him. Get mad at him. But don’t call Him “atrocious.”

  23. Atheists don’t thank anyone fictional on Thanksgiving. We thank real people, and concepts that are good, rather than evil.

    The people I thanked this year included the family members I love – my parents, my wife, and my children.

    The concept I thanked was goodness, which is the opposite of godness.

    Godness is fear of death. It is unquestioning obedience to authority figures. It is the preference of faith over reason. It is the acceptance of “I dunno” in the form of “god dunnit” rather than real answers. Godness is the continuation of superstition which has long been exposed as false and primitive. Godness is clinging to the hope that your version of god is different than all the thousands of other versions that you reject. Godness is the mistrust and hatred of “the other” which is so clearly demonstrated by the author of this blog. It is the hatred that leads people to kill others in the name of their false god. Godness should not be thanked, it should be exposed, refuted, and banished to the past as unworthy of what humanity can and should be.

    Goodness, on the other hand, is something worth thanking. Even godly people can be good, when they reject the dogma, nonsense, and tribalism of the religions their parents indoctrinated them with, and concentrate instead upon reality – the earth, and their fellow humans. Goodness is what people show to each other when they embrace difference rather than fear it. It’s what people demonstrate when they take the time to find out about other ideas, like atheism, instead of demonising them.

    I have so much to be thankful for; and one of those things is that my world isn’t one of bigotry and contempt for others, which seems to be such an important focus for those who are religious.

  24. The Tofu

    “Your logic about killing to send someone to heaven is absurd. No comment needed.”

    Of course it’s ridiculous. That’s my point.

    Earlier you said:

    “Regardless of how children or adults die, and regardless for what reasons they have died, you act as if God is cruel in this. And just because God appears to condone these “atrocious” things to you, what you must do is understand that the text does not reveal where these individuals end up after death. The text says they died; it doesn’t say that they went to hell.”

  25. Drew, there is no goodness without Godness.

    Besides, who says we’re good? By whose standard do you measure it?

    No. I don’t hate others as you imply. I speak the truth as best I can, without placating or pampering.

    What I do despise is atheism, the most absurd, morally defunct, philosophically empty worldview that mankind could ever create.

    Actually, atheists are fine people who I would be honored to be counted as a friend; but atheism – the height of foolishness, the ultimate lie – and people buy in left and right. Such a tragedy.

  26. The Tofu

    “What I do despise is atheism, the most absurd, morally defunct, philosophically empty worldview that mankind could ever create.”

    Why do you keep spouting this line off? You’ve been shown again and again that it is false.

    Also, you still haven’t answered my question. Why do you believe that murder is not atrocious when committed by god?

  27. “there is no goodness without Godness. ”

    I’m still waiting for any sort of evidence or justification for this statement.

  28. Goodness is a direct result of imago dei – the image of God. Any goodness is a reflection of a greater good.

    https://spiritualquestions.wordpress.com/2008/11/17/why-are-there-so-many-atheism-blogs-part-2/

  29. God doesn’t murder; people do.

    God holds people accountable for their actions. this may include death, but it’s not murder.

    His judgment is not haphazard. God is love. In the same way, we cannot say that God is hate. Love defines his essence. God would never murder as you say.

    Physical death is not the end. That’s what you’re going to run into time and time again as an atheist. You act as if you’ve got to hang on to this life, that dying is the end-game. It isn’t.

    When God’s judgment is severe enough to include death, it is justified. But by this, we are not to assume that God is damning someone for all eternity if their physical life is taken. There is a curtain beyond which we cannot see in this regard.

    Furthermore, when God used the severity of death as judgment, it was associated with high-handed rebellion, mutiny, and in many cases a severe twisting of God’s design for creation. God get’s ticked off, I think, when one image-bearer ruins another image-bearer in self-serving lusts and a total disregard for human life (there are a few Biblical exceptions, but we can’t assume that we have all details in those cases)

    God is love and he will not overwhelm free-will, but He is also Sovereign and has the right to do as he pleases. He is perfect in holiness and justice, mercy and grace. Don’t mess with him. He is to be feared, but he is also to be loved and trusted. He’s not a tyrant, but neither does he putter around in heaven, wondering what He’s going to do about Tofu’s rejection of Him. He’s fully in control.

  30. “Goodness is a direct result of imago dei – the image of God. Any goodness is a reflection of a greater good.”

    I asked for evidence or justification of your earlier statement, not rehashes of the same old and really rather baseless statements.

    “God doesn’t murder; people do.”

    If God goes and orders a group of people to murder/kill/wipe out/decimate another group of people including children, women and animals … guess what? He’s a murderer. Just as if I hired a contract killer to bump someone off, I’d be a murderer and certainly just as guilty of that crime as the killer himself (if not more so).

    “God would never murder as you say.”

    The Old Testament is full of such examples.

    “When God’s judgment is severe enough to include death, it is justified.”

    Wow, and you were saying earlier that God wouldn’t murder someone (or have them murdered). Make up your mind.

    As for the matter of justification. Ridiculous. Even if God, as described in the Bible, did exist it would give him no right at all to go about massacring civilisations just because he has a bit of a hissy fit, when there are plenty of other options available (and when you’re supposedly omnipotent, there are ALWAYS other options available by very definition of the word).

    “He is perfect in holiness and justice,”

    Note to self: It’s alright and perfectly justified to go off and wipe out a rival tribe/country/nation/civilisation if my deity of choice gives some sort of vague indication that I can.

    “He’s not a tyrant, but neither does he putter around in heaven”

    In the OT, he’s definitely some form of localised tyrant; laying down all sorts of idiotic and really unrealistic laws to his worshippers.

    Oddly enough, since about 32 AD … he’s done pretty much diddly-squat which sort of does indicate that (if he does exist, which of course he doesn’t) the best you can say is that he’s taking a couple of millenniums off. Probably laying back on a celestial sofa, having some beers and watching questionable channels on cable.

  31. The Tofu

    “God holds people accountable for their actions. this may include death, but it’s not murder.”

    So let me get this straight… If I kill someone, it’s murder, but if god kills someone it’s “judgement.”

    It’s amazing how many mental acrobatics you’re performing here. God kills people, often innocents and children. This makes him a murderer. That’s what being a murderer means.

    “Furthermore, when God used the severity of death as judgment, it was associated with high-handed rebellion, mutiny, and in many cases a severe twisting of God’s design for creation.”

    Yeah, those Egyptian children were high-handed mutineers… OH WAIT, they actually had no say in Pharaoh’s decision whatsoever.

    “God is love and he will not overwhelm free-will,”

    Right. Except when he kills a bunch of people for not following his commands.

    Choice under threat of death is not free will.

  32. What if these same people groups were sacrificing their own children over decades of time and ignored God’s warning that destruction was coming?

    What you are missing are the decades (or even centuries) where God tolerated this despicable evil.

    God reserves the right to hold an entire culture accountable. Just because he takes them in death, does not mean that they have been damned eternally. That’s beyond what we know. You assume too much.

    If a people group so twists God’s design, then judgment may come. But more often than not, people just end up destroying themselves.

    All the Egyptian leaders had to do was say, “OK Mo, you and your people can go.” They didn’t and now you scratch your head and wonder how God could be so cruel. Perfect righteousness, perfect justice. Ample warning. Plenty of opportunity. But still, those ridiculous Egyptian leaders hardened their heart. Don’t blame God. He will hold a culture-group accountable in total fairness.

    Why don’t you focus on how cruel the Egyptians were to the Israelites? God’s not picking on a random nation here. Judgment is justified. How would you like to be a slave?

    Oh, and by the way, the enigma is not that God takes people’s life; it’s that he allows any of the rest of us to live. Some day, you will see what I mean.

    It’s only when you see yourself as you really are that you are going to comprehend the previous statement. Selah.

  33. What if these same people groups were sacrificing their own children over decades of time

    There is no indication of such. In fact, the only real reasons that biblical genocide took place under God’s direction was that the Israelites felt like expanding their tribal area.
    Not exactly what you can call a justifiable reason. Guess the sentiment of “love they neighbour” hadn’t come along yet…

    and ignored God’s warning that destruction was coming?

    You mean like the idiotic warnings he supposedly gave the egyptian pharoah? But more on that later…

    What sort of warnings did he give? Send a singing telegram? A host of angels levitating in the sky singing “Thou art screwed unless thou listen closely…”? Nope, the best he could do (usually) was send a lone man (who appeared, from their perspective) to be a complete nutter over with threats of violence unless they immediately dropped to their knees, changed religions and surrendered unconditionally.
    Absurd. Especially for a supposedly omnipotent deity.

    What you are missing are the decades (or even centuries) where God tolerated this despicable evil.

    Which, being supposedly omnipotent, the judeo christian God could have resolved in a literally endless number of ways which didn’t involve carnage, genocide, murder and general unpleasantness.

    You know, like leaving people to their free will and teleporting them to an as yet uninhabited part of the world where they could live peacefully. As they had been doing before a blood thirsty nomadic tribe wandered along and decided their land looked good to live on but really didn’t feel like sharing.

    God reserves the right to hold an entire culture accountable.

    Under what authority, exactly? He holds entire cultures accountable for actions the common person (including infants, elderly, infirm, sick) had no control over? It’s official: Your God is a complete and utter immoral bastard.

    Just because he takes them in death, does not mean that they have been damned eternally. That’s beyond what we know. You assume too much.

    Ah, I assume too much? You’re the one assuming to know what happens after death and the general intentions of your god. Now THAT is a lot of assuming that I can not even approach.

    All the Egyptian leaders had to do was say, “OK Mo, you and your people can go.” They didn’t and now you scratch your head and wonder how God could be so cruel.

    Reread your own Bible. According to that historically inaccurate story, God hardened Pharoah’s heart which basically meant he couldn’t say no. Which, once again, makes your god an immoral and cruel bastard akin to a young boy who not only pulls the wings off flies but also sets them on fire just to watch them run around in agony.

    Why don’t you focus on how cruel the Egyptians were to the Israelites?

    The life of a slave wasn’t that great, no. But it wasn’t all that terribly bad either; I suggest you do some research into the life of slaves during that period of (supposed) history.

    But regardless, retribution for slavery does not justify mass genocide of innocent children by any measure.

    By the way, it would be helpful if you started to address the actual points we make which rebuke your rather shallow statements, instead of going off on tangents and the like.

  34. Would it make any difference to you Matt if the Egyptians were throwing the Israelite babies into the Nile River to drown? Is that immoral Matt? Do they matter to you?

    If you read carefully, you’ll find my arguments spot on – but you refuse to accept them, all the while, clamoring for more information, so as to see how many holes you can find in the logic.

    God, a bastard? What does that make you Matt?

    You’ve missed the greatest argument for the existence of God. Love.

  35. Would it make any difference to you Matt if the Egyptians were throwing the Israelite babies into the Nile River to drown?

    In the specific case, no it would not make any difference. An omnipotent god with any sort of morals should NEVER have to resort to mass genocide to work out his little hissy fits. If he does, then he really is immoral.

    If you read carefully, you’ll find my arguments spot on

    You have so far failed to address any specific point, which seems to be a common tactic for you. Instead of addressing arguments or points, you continue to speak in gross generalisations without bringing forth any sort of evidence what-so-ever.

    God, a bastard? What does that make you Matt?

    A human being, one who lacks supposed omnipotence. Am I perfect? No. No one is, has been or probably ever will be. But that is no reason you should not try to be.
    And yes, any form of life (be it mortal, deity, alien or anything else) that repeatedly commits immoral acts (such as mass genocide) when there were clearly other a lot of other options available is a complete bastard.
    There can be no debate about that.

    You’ve missed the greatest argument for the existence of God. Love

    And that argument would be? Is ‘love’ your strongest line of debate or is that how you merely end all your entries?

  36. The Tofu

    Matt pretty much said all I was going to say.

    “Would it make any difference to you Matt if the Egyptians were throwing the Israelite babies into the Nile River to drown? Is that immoral Matt? Do they matter to you?”

    What does your hypothetical situation have to do with anything? It’s immoral to kill children, and it doesn’t suddenly become moral because god does it. That’s the argument.

    “If you read carefully, you’ll find my arguments spot on – but you refuse to accept them, all the while, clamoring for more information, so as to see how many holes you can find in the logic.”

    When did Matt or I ask for more information? We clearly have enough from the Old Testament to come to the conclusion that god is described as a genocidal tyrant.

    If you’re talking about evidence, I’ll stop asking when you provide some.

    “You’ve missed the greatest argument for the existence of God. Love.”

    This is not an argument.

  37. Now that you pretty much have made God out to be a bastard, atrocious tyrant, what I want you to do now, is to go through the Bible and record all the places where God demonstrates love.

    Now, stack that up with the isolated “bastard” passages.

    Tell me what you find by way of the “law of proportion.”

    I suspect neither of you are up for the results or the challenge.

  38. Thankfully, there is a website that has already listed all the good and bad stuff God did in the Bible thus saving a considerable amount of time which would otherwise be wasted on your presumptuous request.
    skepticsannotatedbible.com

    But what you’re attempting to do is set up a false comparison. You can certainly not make up for mass genocide of innocent people (on multiple occasions) by going about saying ‘love thy neighbour’ a lot; that just makes you a hypocrite and not any sort of authority on morality.

    On a side note, it’s not just God himself who is immoral; his direct agents (angels) certainly appear to be as well. There’s a rather interesting story in the OT how a couple of angels visited a faithful man in a city. Other people in the city came by and stated that they wished to ‘know’ the angels (by ‘know’, they mean to sodomise them or actions to similar affect). Now instead of that, the faithful man sent out a female member of his family who was soon pack raped (I don’t remember at this time if she died of it or not, there are two very similar stories of this line in the OT, easy to get them confused) which the Angels and faithful man did nothing to stop.

    Care to try to defend the non-actions of those angels? After all, there’s an old saying along the lines of “For evil to triumph, all it takes is for good men to do nothing.”

  39. And, as another side note, I have no choice but to point out that you have (yet again) utterly failed to directly address any point/argument made myself (or The Tofu for that matter).

    At the rate you are going, I have little choice but to start assuming you have no ability to do so.

  40. For God so loved the world (Matt, Tofu, Joey) that he gave his only Son (Jesus) that whosoever (Matt, Tofu, Joey) believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. John 3:16

    Such love…love…and true love.

  41. Think about it. It was not exactly much of a sacrifice when you rationally consider the whole affair.

    Jesus basically wasn’t about until 0 AD or so. So the most you can say was that he had a few millenniums to sort of hang out and do thing in paradise. Hardly taxing. Chances are that he simply didn’t exist in any notable form at all.

    He gets born, leads a pretty healthy childhood. Nothing bad at all there.

    We’ll skip forward thirty or so years. Yeah, this is where some bad stuff starts to happen. Assuming the gospels are accurate (and that is an extremely big assumption) then he gets arrested and beaten.
    Then he gets some spikes driven through his lower forearms and stuck on a cross where he hangs in pretty intense pain for anything up to a day. Then he croaks it.

    At this point you have little choice but to assume that a fair assumption would be that death is a fairly decent sacrifice.

    Except that three days later … he got better and floated up into the sky back to eternal paradise.

    The whole ordeal of the crucifixion was, when you think about it, no more than a minor inconvenience.

    So God didn’t give his only son, he lent him out for thirty or so years and got him back in more or less then same condition. Yeah, not much of a big deal.

    You’ll need to do better.

  42. 2 Corinthians 8:9 For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich.

    You have no idea what it cost Jesus to become a man, not just for the incarnational period, but for all eternity…

    Love…True love…

  43. The Tofu

    Joey,

    Why do you consider it moral for god to kill children when he has a literally infinite amount of other, peaceful options?

    Why do you think giving a warning (and not a very impressive one, as Matt pointed out) excuses murder?

    “You don’t know where they go in the afterlife” is a terrible argument, which you would never accept from a human murderer.

    Yes, the Bible does contain passages talking about love and peace. But this doesn’t erase the violent ones. God is remarkably inconsistent and hypocritical- not how you would describe a perfect being.

  44. Again, God does not randomly kill children; people do. God doesn’t murder. A holy, just, and righteous God reveals what he is about to do in judgment, staying consistent with His purity and perfection and attributes. We are invited to respond to His provision to avoid it. There are things within the Sovereignty of God that he can and will do to effect His righteousness in our world. But don’t convolute his love. Wrath happens; but love endures always.

    There is the courtroom and there is the family room that is in perfect balance with God. You must have the courtroom to protect creation from disintegration. You must have the family room for love in an unfair world. Never holding any one or group accountable would be absurd, chaotic, and no one would be here right now without justice (divine and legal) to protect all of us.

    Does God ever change His mind about judging a nation with physical death? Yes. See the Jonah story. God was going to destroy the Ninevites, BUT they repented and God relented. They avoided what God had revealed was going to happen unless they changed. This is not unfair. Without the perfect justice of God at work in a fallen free-will world, all creation is sabotaged by evil. You need a just God in order to just live. But God honors our decision to stop sabotaging His creation and his image-bearers. He will relent.

    Humans are bound to this dimension only – length, height, width and time. There are other dimensions of operation – God dimensions. The curtain has been drawn so that we can’t see this dimension. But this dimension does break into our world from time to time, i.e., the Incarnation. Christ lets us know what’s on the other side of the curtain – a Good Heavenly Father, not the sadistic monster you make Him out to be. You are ignoring huge passages that reveal the love of God – a Sacred Romance with creation. Rather than struggle with the obvious tensions between God’s judgment and his love, you have decided to focus on only judgment passages only. Big mistake.

    You can trust the actions of One who, even though we may have been caught up into judgment, who is Just and does all things Right all the time without fail.

  45. You still haven’t answered the question: What, exactly, did Jesus lose (apart from three days when he effectively had a nap in a cave) from his experience slumming it amongst mortals?

    After 32 or so years, he got to return to eternal paradise in the same or better condition than when he started off. No net loss is noticeable. So again I state that there was no real sacrifice apart from a day of pretty intense pain … which he recovered from rather nicely.

    Again, God does not randomly kill children; people do. God doesn’t murder.

    We’ve shown plenty of examples where god had a direct hand in mass genocide, even against those who had no say in what their leaders did/said in the least. That’s morally indefensible and you have so far shown no reasons that it can be defended in any way.

    (snip a whole lot of general statements which in no way address the points previously made or include any sort of evidence; instead include such unsupported notions as ‘god dimensions’).

  46. When Jesus became the God-Man, he did so for all eternity. There was no return to a former existence. He will alway be human and divine. That’s what is so devastating to me. Such love.

    He voluntarily laid aside the independent exercise of his deific attributes, assumed “flesh” John 1 says, a rather crude way of saying, he became like us.

    I don’t think you really realize Matt what it cost Jesus to become man. I am totally humbled by it. He reveals God to us, while he himself demonstrates what true humanity is to be – a life fully connected to God, but fully human too.

    In addition, you want to talk about Egyptian children and how God feels about them. Well, just look at how Jesus treated children, and you’ll know how God feels about them. He scooped them up in his arms and told the disciples to bug off because He wanted to take time for them.

    If you mess up in your understanding of the OT, I can live with that. But don’t miss this evidence. The God-Man loved children.

    Furthermore, you and Tofu seem so concerned for these Egyptian children…I’d like to know how many homeless children have you adopted? How many children have you cared for recently? What difference are you making in the kids around you? What about your own children? How have you invested in them? What sacrifices have you made? How many children have you and your atheist friends bailed out of orphanages and shelters? Somehow, you never see this. Amazing to me.

    See, this is what I sense… You’d rather argue over how bad God is to take all these OT children, but you do little or nothing to love “the least of these.” You’ve got to love the atheist way.

  47. When Jesus became the God-Man, he did so for all eternity. There was no return to a former existence.

    Sure there was. He floated back up to heaven according to the Gospels. So, once the whole deal was done, he lost … nothing.

    I don’t think you really realize Matt what it cost Jesus to become man.

    I believe I do. He lost nothing. The only detriments he suffered as a day of pretty horrific pain and a three day nap. There’s no long term sacrifice there.

    In addition, you want to talk about Egyptian children and how God feels about them. Well, just look at how Jesus treated children, and you’ll know how God feels about them. He scooped them up in his arms and told the disciples to bug off because He wanted to take time for them.

    So how would Jesus have treated them if those children’s parents had been keeping Jewish people as slaves? Would have have performed a blood curdling scream and snapped all their necks? Which is, after all, the localised equivalent of what God did to the Egyptians.

    If you mess up in your understanding of the OT, I can live with that. But don’t miss this evidence. The God-Man loved children.

    Yes, there seems to be quite a lot of child love within a lot of churches these days *cough*

    Furthermore, you and Tofu seem so concerned for these Egyptian children…I’d like to know how many homeless children have you adopted?

    Wow. Could you possibly come up with a more false comparison? You’re trying, once more for some reason I fail to fathom, to directly compare a supposedly omnipotent deity to a couple of relatively powerless mortals.
    Can you not see how incredibly unequal that is?

    How many children have you cared for recently? What difference are you making in the kids around you? What about your own children? How have you invested in them? What sacrifices have you made? How many children have you and your atheist friends bailed out of orphanages and shelters? Somehow, you never see this. Amazing to me.

    As false as a comparison and as logically absurd as it may be, I’m actually in a position to answer it luckily enough. I am a teacher by profession so yes, I do look after, invest in, make sacrifices for, etc a couple of hundred children every school year.
    How about you?

    See, this is what I sense… You’d rather argue over how bad God is to take all these OT children, but you do little or nothing to love “the least of these.” You’ve got to love the atheist way.

    You can probably take your foot out of your mouth now.

  48. And yet another reminder:
    You have yet to answer any specific point and/or argument that has been raised in this thread.
    Nor have you ever actually supplied any evidence, proof or independent references.

    In short, you seem to be failing rather badly.

  49. The Tofu

    “Again, God does not randomly kill children;”

    What about when he sends bears to tear apart 42 children for insulting someone’s bald head?

    “They avoided what God had revealed was going to happen unless they changed. This is not unfair. Without the perfect justice of God at work in a fallen free-will world, all creation is sabotaged by evil.”

    Why did god create evil in the first place? Why did he sabotage his own creation.

    Isn’t your judgment argument contradictory to what you said about free will earlier? I seem to remember that you said evil existed because god allowed us to choose it.

    However, if he’s regularly going around destroying those that create evil, he’s violating that free will (choice under threat of death is not free). So which is actually more important to god, free will or punishing evil?

    “Furthermore, you and Tofu seem so concerned for these Egyptian children…I’d like to know how many homeless children have you adopted?”

    Not the issue at hand. You said that god could not commit an atrocious action. I pointed out that killing children was atrocious, and that the Old Testament describes god killing children.

    “You are ignoring huge passages that reveal the love of God – a Sacred Romance with creation.”

    Again, the fact that the Bible says god is loving doesn’t erase the genocides. I have consistently argued that god is described as committing atrocities in the Bible. I am not saying and have not said that he is also not described as doing good.

    You have yet to show why killing children is not immoral.

  50. “What about when he sends bears to tear apart 42 children for insulting someone’s bald head?” The Tofu

    This was not a minor offense. They are seeking to discredit the messenger, and are antagonizing him to “go up” to heaven like Elijah, his predecessor did – a sarcastic, disrespectful taunt. These were not mere children. Translations allow for “young men”, a kind of street gang if you will. His life could have very well been in danger too. This is one prophet the gangs should have left alone.

  51. So you’re saying that it’s perfectly moral to have some young men mauled to death by bears if they insult a prophets bald head?

  52. Being bald is not really that bad I wouldn’t think.

    Anyway, I think it was probably an ancient gang, looking to rough up a man of God and they crossed a line and the bears were really hungry.

    These kind of stories do sound really cruel, but usually there’s more there than what we are able to see or know on a first reading. Deeper study is required.

  53. seathanaich

    Your comments are typical of the sort of brainless bigotry that characterises religion and the religious. It takes a truly small brain, and a truly unempathetic “heart”, to pretend that other people have nothing they are thankful for.

    Does your own happiness really rely upon imagining that others are miserable?

    Thank you for reminding me just how hateful religion is, and what a poison it is to those who swallow it.

  54. Why bring religion into it? You can’t conceive of anyone bigger than you. Quite frankly, that sounds a great deal more “small brained” than the argument I make. For the shallow atheistic worldview system, life only revolves around the atheists themselves and any others of like-mind who need companionship in their folly.

    Atheism is not just an absence of belief. It is the presence of something as well, and that something is a pride that refuses to see the obvious… of course, there’s Someone, a bigger Someone to give thanks to. But atheists have excluded even the possibility. You have no One to thank.

    Let’s leave religion out of it. This is about what is true.

  55. seathanaich

    “Why bring religion into it?”

    I didn’t – you did.

    “You can’t conceive of anyone bigger than you.”

    How do you know? You assume that out of religious bigotry.

    “For the shallow atheistic worldview system”

    There is no such thing. Atheism isn’t a worldview, any more than theism is. Find out what words mean before using them, or mis-using them, as you have here.

    “life only revolves around the atheists themselves”

    Again, this is just bigoted nonsense. Why is your sense of self-worth so reliant upon pretending others are miserable? Why do you make up things about people you don’t know? Why is this sort of pathetic dishonesty so essential to so many Christians? It is sad that your personal beliefs are so reliant upon dishonesty and hatred.

  56. Read your first remark carefully. You caricature religion. It’s your topic. You want to plead the evils of religion because you can then label and dismiss. Doesn’t work here. If you want to go that route however, I suggest you look at what has been done in the name of atheistic regimes and communists dictatorships. Way to go atheists!

    Atheism is a worldview. Accept it. It is absurd, but it is a worldview. It is defunct and cannot answer the deeper questions of life. Drive your views to their logical conclusions and see if you can live with the truth of them, the chief of which is”There is no God.”

    No pretending on my part here. I’m sure you’re going to tell me that life is great, that you are perfectly happy, and that you don’t need God to be good. Heard it all before. Don’t waste your time. Stay blind to the evidence. Play dumb to the truth. Label and dismiss me as bigoted. Nothing new. but you still haven’t answered the deeper questions of life. You can’t. Atheism won’t allow it. You’ve castrated and bidded the gelding be fruitful. Think about it.

  57. seathanaich

    You write a religious blog, and then think that those commenting on it have “introduced religion”. Hard not to be polite when pointing out how, well, stupid that is. Indeed, that sums up what a stupid person you are. It’s no surprise that you have so much misplaced hatred for things you can’t even understand. I have no idea what purpose you think trumpeting your intolerance to the world achieves for your religion, other than to make it appear ridiculous and intolerant to anyone viewing it as an outsider.

  58. You have made the fatal mistake of reading religion into this blog. Nowhere do I ever state that it is about “religion.” Sorry that this seems “stupid” to you, but perhaps it is an indication of your own ignorance. You have made the fatal mistake of making spiritual interests into “religion.” There is in fact a great distinction between religion (which is based on ideas and philosophy and moral striving) and the life of Christ (which is firmly rooted in history and proposes to end all world religions).

    No hatred here. Just a pursuit of what is true. Atheism is absurd. No intolerance here. Just a fair hearing for what is true and the truth will state it’s own case. Atheism is a ridiculous proposal because it eliminates a possibility before even hearing the evidence. Get out of it as quickly as possible. It’s the misguided leading the mislead. It simply is not true. Abandon it.

    Learn from all people, but intolerance never means suspending a good sense for truth. It merely allows all viewpoints to be heard so that a rational decision can be made. Don’t buy the “intolerance” caricature ascribed to anyone who happens to have a viewpoint on a “spiritual issue.”

    What Christian Theism asserts is simply to give everyone a fair hearing and then let the facts speak for themselves. When this is done, the Christian Worldview wins everytime. Why? Because it’s rooted in historical fact.

    Again, no hatred here. It’s more about what is true. I will not pamper you or anyone else. Atheism is false. If you are an atheists, you are loved by God and even myself. But I will not condone your “ism” for it is absurd.

  59. seathanaich

    “When this is done, the Christian Worldview wins everytime.”

    Hilarious. But sad.

    “You have made the fatal mistake of reading religion into this blog.”

    Crikey, I didn’t know it was “fatal”. So how will your god smite me?

    I know, your religion isn’t really a religion. Like used cars aren’t really used cars, they’re “pre-owned”.

    Feel free to reply, but I’m done. If you think that last post wins, by all means say more stupid things. You are too far gone to be reached by rational humans.

  60. Oh yes…and one other thing. Remember the love story…that’s what Christmas is all about… love…true love…

    God doesn’t so much “smite” as he does simply to give you over to what it is that you want and allow you to live with the consequences.

    If you want life without Him, it’s your choice (that’s why hell must exist – it’s the ultimate expression of human freedom). You eventually get it. But it’s over someone’s dead body if you do. And I think you know who that someone is.

    Again, no pampering here. It is very “fatal” to label and dismiss, especially when we’re dealing with truth. Life tends to implode when we ignore what is true.

    Love…true love…but absolutely no placating or pampering. You may call me a fanatic but here it goes: Repent or perish. Simple as that. You will thank me some day…that someone in your path was willing to confront the foolishness. Have a great holiday.

  61. Pingback: Thanks « The Hiking Humanist

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