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when *god's mysterious ways* backfires

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  • when *god's mysterious ways* backfires

    Are god's ways mysterious?

    If so, how can you be sure he would never command you to kill a child?

    If you cannot be so sure God "would never" command you to kill a child, does it make sense to have a planned response at the ready in case you start thinking God is telling you to kill a child?

    You cannot say that this would be inconsistent with New Covenant theology. So what? We also think the presence of an all-loving all-powerful god is inconsistent with the sad reality of child rape, as testified by many Christian parents who come close to, or actually do lose the faith when somebody rapes their child. But you are not impressed with such alleged inconsistency, you will still insist that despite what looks like a genuine contradiction, "maybe god has a higher mysterious reason for allow child rape".

    If the contradiction between an omnimax god and the reality of child rape is not as conclusive as atheists would like it to be, then the contradiction between New Covenant theology and your God commanding you to kill a child, is not as conclusive as Christians would like it to be.

    For this reason, the "god's mysterious ways" excuse is a two-edged sword...

    In light of that reality, I'd like to know: If God told you to kill a child, and you concluded it was really the biblical god commanding this of you, would you kill said child, yes or no?

    If you answer "yes", your answer is consistent with the bible: As a Christian, you highest authority is not worldly laws but God. But then you would appear in the eyes of most others as just another dangerous looney. You'd happily put your common sense and personal morality on a shelf if you seriously thought your god was telling you to kill a child. You certainly wouldn't want to hear your babysitter expressing such unquestioning obedience to her god. So in your desire to avoid giving the world a reason to lock you up, you might answer "no".

    If you answer "no", then your Christian profession is false and makes you as bad as a catholic ("father, forgive me for what I am about to do...") since such answer indicates your planned disobedience to God, and planned disobedience is even worse than the choice to disobey made in the heat of the moment. Biblical faith is exemplified by Abraham. He did not question God upon first hearing God's command that he sacrifice Isaac, right? Do you have the biblical level of faith, yes or no? How did sinner Abraham manage it, if being a sinner is an excuse to be a disobedient follower?

    Read the extensive list of horrors in Deuteronomy 28:15 ff God would bring against Israel should they disobey his voice.
    Suppose, when you tell god "no", he threatens you with the destruction of your family? Would you obey god's command to kill a child if he tacked such a threat onto his command? Or will you resort to atheist-type reasoning and insist that the contradiction your imperfect mind perceives between theology and reality moots the question?

    You cannot avoid the discussion because "god's mysterious ways" leaves open the possibility that God might indeed command you to do something that you think is inconsistent with a biblical or divine attribute, just like you expect atheists to think god's mysterious ways leaves open the possibility that god is all-powerful and all-loving despite its apparent contradiction with the reality of child rape, an alleged contradiction so apparently conclusive it has created the classic "problem of evil" today's apologists happily admit they cannot explain away.

    When you hear about alleged Christians who kill kids, do you wonder for any length of time whether God really did tell them to kill the kids? Or do you automatically conclude, as most hearers of such news do, that anybody who invokes god to justify killing kids is a dangerously deluded fool?

    What makes you so certain that killing children today in the name of god is a sign of mental illness, but killing children in the name of God for Israelites living under Moses was a sign of mature mental and spiritual health?
    Last edited by B&H; 02-19-2015, 07:17 PM.

  • #2
    Color me unimpressed.

    Western society - well, lets just call them liberals - tell us to kill children all the time for the august principle of self-freedom, so you'll forgive me if I don't value their condemnation of the "omnimax god" very highly.

    Comment


    • #3
      Question B&H: As a liberal Christian, do you believe that God is an objective reality? If so, do you believe that God can deal with a human being in an objective manner - meaning speak and interact with them as described in the Bible, as with Abraham for example?

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by B&H View Post
        Are god's ways mysterious?

        If so, how can you be sure he would never command you to kill a child?
        And I will keep on doing what I am doing in order to cut the ground from under those who want an opportunity to be considered equal with us in the things they boast about. For such people are false apostles, deceitful workers, masquerading as apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. It is not surprising, then, if his servants also masquerade as servants of righteousness. Their end will be what their actions deserve.
        1 Corth 11:12-15, NIV


        How do you explain this verse? Is the command in accordance to the scriptures or not?
        Last edited by lilpixieofterror; 02-19-2015, 11:18 PM.
        "The man from the yacht thought he was the first to find England; I thought I was the first to find Europe. I did try to found a heresy of my own; and when I had put the last touches to it, I discovered that it was orthodoxy."
        GK Chesterton; Orthodoxy

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by lilpixieofterror View Post
          How do you explain this verse?
          As a self-serving apologetic argument. It's Paul's say of saying, "Anybody who disagrees with me is disagreeing with God."

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Doug Shaver View Post
            As a self-serving apologetic argument. It's Paul's say of saying, "Anybody who disagrees with me is disagreeing with God."
            But Doug, Paul also says that even if he presents a gospel that is other than the gospel he presented before, you shouldn't listen to him. Here, try it from this angle, vaccines have been very helpful to humanity; correct? So if somebody is telling you they are harmful, should you listen to them? I don't think you should and think of the angle Paul is giving. To him, somebody who is preaching another gospel is putting people in danger much like people who are anti vaccine are putting people in danger. Besides, what did Paul actually gain from preaching a resurrected Christ? As I recall, he was beheaded in Rome for it. How is it 'self serving'?
            "The man from the yacht thought he was the first to find England; I thought I was the first to find Europe. I did try to found a heresy of my own; and when I had put the last touches to it, I discovered that it was orthodoxy."
            GK Chesterton; Orthodoxy

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by B&H View Post
              Are god's ways mysterious?

              If so, how can you be sure he would never command you to kill a child?

              If you cannot be so sure God "would never" command you to kill a child, does it make sense to have a planned response at the ready in case you start thinking God is telling you to kill a child?

              You cannot say that this would be inconsistent with New Covenant theology. So what? We also think the presence of an all-loving all-powerful god is inconsistent with the sad reality of child rape, as testified by many Christian parents who come close to, or actually do lose the faith when somebody rapes their child. But you are not impressed with such alleged inconsistency, you will still insist that despite what looks like a genuine contradiction, "maybe god has a higher mysterious reason for allow child rape".

              If the contradiction between an omnimax god and the reality of child rape is not as conclusive as atheists would like it to be, then the contradiction between New Covenant theology and your God commanding you to kill a child, is not as conclusive as Christians would like it to be.
              Doesn't follow at all.


              Originally posted by B&H
              For this reason, the "god's mysterious ways" excuse is a two-edged sword...

              In light of that reality, I'd like to know: If God told you to kill a child, and you concluded it was really the biblical god commanding this of you, would you kill said child, yes or no?

              If you answer "yes", your answer is consistent with the bible: As a Christian, you highest authority is not worldly laws but God. But then you would appear in the eyes of most others as just another dangerous looney. You'd happily put your common sense and personal morality on a shelf if you seriously thought your god was telling you to kill a child. You certainly wouldn't want to hear your babysitter expressing such unquestioning obedience to her god. So in your desire to avoid giving the world a reason to lock you up, you might answer "no".

              If you answer "no", then your Christian profession is false and makes you as bad as a catholic ("father, forgive me for what I am about to do...") since such answer indicates your planned disobedience to God, and planned disobedience is even worse than the choice to disobey made in the heat of the moment. Biblical faith is exemplified by Abraham. He did not question God upon first hearing God's command that he sacrifice Isaac, right? Do you have the biblical level of faith, yes or no? How did sinner Abraham manage it, if being a sinner is an excuse to be a disobedient follower?

              Read the extensive list of horrors in Deuteronomy 28:15 ff God would bring against Israel should they disobey his voice.
              Suppose, when you tell god "no", he threatens you with the destruction of your family? Would you obey god's command to kill a child if he tacked such a threat onto his command? Or will you resort to atheist-type reasoning and insist that the contradiction your imperfect mind perceives between theology and reality moots the question?

              You cannot avoid the discussion because "god's mysterious ways" leaves open the possibility that God might indeed command you to do something that you think is inconsistent with a biblical or divine attribute, just like you expect atheists to think god's mysterious ways leaves open the possibility that god is all-powerful and all-loving despite its apparent contradiction with the reality of child rape, an alleged contradiction so apparently conclusive it has created the classic "problem of evil" today's apologists happily admit they cannot explain away.

              When you hear about alleged Christians who kill kids, do you wonder for any length of time whether God really did tell them to kill the kids? Or do you automatically conclude, as most hearers of such news do, that anybody who invokes god to justify killing kids is a dangerously deluded fool?

              What makes you so certain that killing children today in the name of god is a sign of mental illness, but killing children in the name of God for Israelites living under Moses was a sign of mature mental and spiritual health?

              You should read up on the Problem of Evil. Really.
              ...>>> Witty remark or snarky quote of another poster goes here <<<...

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by lilpixieofterror View Post
                But Doug, Paul also says that even if he presents a gospel that is other than the gospel he presented before, you shouldn't listen to him.
                It would have been a fascinating irony if he had shown up in Corinth a month later saying, "OK, folks, I was wrong before. I've had a new revelation, and this time I've got it right. You've got to believe everything I'm telling you now and forget everything I said earlier."

                I don't expect apologists to be logically consistent all the time. The idioms of natural language don't always allow it, for one reason. At least it's true of English, and it was probably true of ancient Greek. On top of that, our brains aren't wired for us to always be perfectly logical. We who've had some training in logic might sometimes try harder than other people, but we're going to fail at least occasionally and certainly more than we realize. Humans can't be Vulcans even if they want to, and most don't want to.

                Originally posted by lilpixieofterror View Post
                So if somebody is telling you they are harmful, should you listen to them?
                If I can spare the time, yes, I should listen for long enough to determine whether they are offering good evidence to support what they're saying. Considering all the evidence I already have for the beneficence of vaccines, it is likely to become immediately obvious that they don't have good evidence to the contrary, and then I can tell them that I don't want to hear any more of their nonsense. What I should never do is presuppose that, just because they disagree with something that I feel very certain about, they cannot possibly have a good reason for disagreeing with me.

                Originally posted by lilpixieofterror View Post
                To him, somebody who is preaching another gospel is putting people in danger
                I'm sure he sincerely believed that. But why did he believe it, and why was he telling the Corinthians that they should believe it? He believed it because he thought God had revealed it to him. And why were the Corinthians supposed to believe that God had revealed it to him? Because he, Paul, had told them so.

                Originally posted by lilpixieofterror View Post
                As I recall, he was beheaded in Rome for it.
                That's what the legend says.

                Originally posted by lilpixieofterror View Post
                How is it 'self serving'?
                Martyrdom itself is not self-serving, obviously, at least for sane people. I don't think Paul was insane, and I'll stipulate that he was willing to be martyred even if probably he actually wasn't. But so what? Jim Jones martyred himself. Are you going to tell me that his leadership of the People's Temple cult was an exercise in altruism?

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Doug Shaver View Post
                  It would have been a fascinating irony if he had shown up in Corinth a month later saying, "OK, folks, I was wrong before. I've had a new revelation, and this time I've got it right. You've got to believe everything I'm telling you now and forget everything I said earlier."
                  So kind of like Joseph Smith and the Mormon church?
                  I don't expect apologists to be logically consistent all the time. The idioms of natural language don't always allow it, for one reason. At least it's true of English, and it was probably true of ancient Greek. On top of that, our brains aren't wired for us to always be perfectly logical. We who've had some training in logic might sometimes try harder than other people, but we're going to fail at least occasionally and certainly more than we realize. Humans can't be Vulcans even if they want to, and most don't want to.
                  The problem with your argument is pretty obvious. There is zero evidence to suggest that Paul gained a single thing, by preaching the gospel. Take the example of Joseph Smith, isn't it interesting that he got all of his followers money and he had a 'revelation' that he could sleep with lots of women? Does that sound like a man that was gaining things from his 'revelations'? I think so (even though he did die in a hail of bullets, but you can't say he didn't gain things). The question is... what did Paul gain?

                  If I can spare the time, yes, I should listen for long enough to determine whether they are offering good evidence to support what they're saying. Considering all the evidence I already have for the beneficence of vaccines, it is likely to become immediately obvious that they don't have good evidence to the contrary, and then I can tell them that I don't want to hear any more of their nonsense. What I should never do is presuppose that, just because they disagree with something that I feel very certain about, they cannot possibly have a good reason for disagreeing with me.
                  And do you have any evidence to the contrary, that Paul really gained anything from his works or words?
                  I'm sure he sincerely believed that. But why did he believe it, and why was he telling the Corinthians that they should believe it? He believed it because he thought God had revealed it to him. And why were the Corinthians supposed to believe that God had revealed it to him? Because he, Paul, had told them so.
                  Have you read Paul's works and Paul's writings? He gave plenty of reasons for his claims and arguments (remember he talked about the 500 witnesses to the resurrection)? So nope, that is just plain false, he didn't just say to trust him on that, he told them to go and check for themselves and named off people they could go and check with. Remember, Paul was living in an oral culture, not a literature culture as ours is.

                  That's what the legend says.
                  Do you have any evidence that the legend is wrong?

                  Martyrdom itself is not self-serving, obviously, at least for sane people. I don't think Paul was insane, and I'll stipulate that he was willing to be martyred even if probably he actually wasn't. But so what? Jim Jones martyred himself. Are you going to tell me that his leadership of the People's Temple cult was an exercise in altruism?
                  Jim Jones also demanded absolute obedience to him and him alone. Paul didn't. There's your difference.
                  "The man from the yacht thought he was the first to find England; I thought I was the first to find Europe. I did try to found a heresy of my own; and when I had put the last touches to it, I discovered that it was orthodoxy."
                  GK Chesterton; Orthodoxy

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Jim Jones iced himself rather then be taken into custody if I remember correctly. Even if Paul wasn't martyred his life was still negatively impacted through heavy persecution and ostracization
                    "Some people feel guilty about their anxieties and regard them as a defect of faith but they are afflictions, not sins. Like all afflictions, they are, if we can so take them, our share in the passion of Christ." - That Guy Everyone Quotes

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Doug Shaver View Post
                      I'm sure he sincerely believed that. But why did he believe it, and why was he telling the Corinthians that they should believe it? He believed it because he thought God had revealed it to him. And why were the Corinthians supposed to believe that God had revealed it to him? Because he, Paul, had told them so.
                      If we're going to believe his subsequent letter to the Corinthians it wasn't quite as simple as that.

                      Source: 2 Corinthians 12:11-12 HCSB

                      11 I have become a fool; you forced it on me. I should have been endorsed by you, since I am not in any way inferior to the “super-apostles,” even though I am nothing. 12 The signs of an apostle were performed with great endurance among you—not only signs but also wonders and miracles.

                      © Copyright Original Source

                      ~Formerly known as Chrawnus~

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        His bottom line is still: If I say it, you'd better believe it.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Doug Shaver View Post
                          His bottom line is still: If I say it, you'd better believe it.
                          Yes, but it seemed to me like you were saying that they only had Paul's words to go by, and nothing else, which Paul himself denies in the passage I cited. They did not only have Paul's words to go by, they also had the miracles that Paul performed, as confirmation of Paul's claim that he was an apostle of Jesus.
                          ~Formerly known as Chrawnus~

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Chrawnus View Post
                            Yes, but it seemed to me like you were saying that they only had Paul's words to go by, and nothing else, which Paul himself denies in the passage I cited. They did not only have Paul's words to go by, they also had the miracles that Paul performed, as confirmation of Paul's claim that he was an apostle of Jesus.
                            Also, for a guy who's bottom line is "If I say it, you'd better believe it". He does a lot to justify his position as an Apostle (meeting the brother of Jesus, staying with Peter, etc.), and that he's working with the Jerusalem church (going to so far as to collect an offering for them while foregoing a paying wage outside of tent making).

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Chrawnus View Post
                              They did not only have Paul's words to go by, they also had the miracles that Paul performed, as confirmation of Paul's claim that he was an apostle of Jesus.
                              I'm not so sure he was claiming to have performed any miracles. The word so translated by the HCSB's editors is dynamesin, which basically just means powers or abilities. In the KJV and most other standard translations it is rendered "mighty deeds."

                              I will concede, though, that nobody gets a hearing by the mere assertion, "God has given me a message for you, and if you don't believe me, you're going to be really sorry." What Paul actually did to convince the Corinthians that God had revealed his gospel to him, I don't claim to know, except that I don't believe it was anything actually supernatural. I think history provides ample evidence that you don't need to do any real miracles to get a large number of people to believe that your words are God's words.

                              Comment

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