Posts tagged ‘spirituality’

God is not Omnipotent

light 3Guest Commentary

Personally, I feel that most arguments for or against the existence of God are too rooted in normative conventions for my personal beliefs. In other words, I cannot accept arguments based on supposedly established conventions such as good, evil, right, wrong, etc., because those conventions were primarily established through man-made religions.

This is not to say that employing norms such as good and evil are not useful in arguing against the existence of a deity. Using religiously established conventions (Christian norms, in this case) of good and evil, and by understanding the hierarchy of God’s characteristics, we can show that the God that Christians imagine to exist contradicts himself, and therefore cannot exist.

The Christian tradition holds that God is many things: God is love, God is merciful, and so on. One characteristic, a seemingly unavoidable prerequisite to being a deity, is that God is omnipotent. God, according to the Christian tradition, is also good and cannot be or do evil…

Continue Reading December 15, 2007 at 10:34 pm 191 comments

The call for miracles

LightsI wrote this just about a year ago when I was trying to explain my doubts and thoughts on another site. Some responses to the recent “slain the spirit” post brought it back to mind.

There are certain responses that I get to my rather simple idea that a God who wants people to believe in Him and worship Him, ought to give us clear proof of His existence. By clear proof, I mean things like supernatural events, visitations, visions, revelations, and so on. And of course, I also mean that they need to be things that we can be sure are real and not just illusions, delusions, wishful thinking, or what have you.

The two main types of responses that keep coming up are what I’m calling the “normal miracles” and the “you just won’t buy it” responses.

The first goes something like, “Just look around. There are miracles you’re missing every day.” This will usually be followed by examples of what they mean by miracles, which tend to include sunsets, babies being borne, life, stars, breathing, and so on. I call this the “normal miracles response”. This response is easy to dispense with so I’m dispensing with it first.

The problem with the “normal miracles response” is that the person giving it ignores what I’m talking about and ignores the accepted definition of “miracle”…

Continue Reading December 13, 2007 at 6:56 pm 129 comments

How smart does one have to be to know Jesus?

Lately, Christians have been challenging me on the intellectual case for Christ based on the evidence for the resurrection and his miracles. For most/all Christians their faith hinges on the resurrection, so I find that it’s best to concentrate on this as opposed to the water-to-wine or heal-the-blind events. However, apparently I’m not intellectual enough to grasp this evidence.

Here’s the main points of the evidence/proof they proposed (unfairly I’m sure they’ll say):

  • The disciples claim to have seen him alive and later died for this belief – ‘people just don’t do that’
  • 513 (or so) saw him alive after the resurrection.

Before I get to the main point of this, let me give my simplistic and probably ignorant assessment of these points…

Continue Reading December 13, 2007 at 10:00 am 64 comments

Atheism vs. Theism 2: Independence from Persons

In my previous post on this subject, Independence in Thought, I discussed a point made by Phillychief in his post entitled Insularity?, where he stated that atheists, by and large, are critical thinkers.

Captain MiracleAnother point that Phillychief made, with which I agree, is that atheists are not as prone to hero worship and personality cults as theists appear to be. He cites the examples of Dawkins, Hitchens, Dennet, et al, and notes that their positions are scrutinized incessantly. What he implied but didn’t say outright, which I will say, is that much of this scrutiny comes from people who generally accept these writers’ ideas. The critics criticize because they want to sharpen their own thinking skills and also because they want to challenge these writers, and others like them, to put forward the strongest possible arguments for their positions and to articulate those arguments clearly, succinctly and coherently.

I, for example, like Richard Dawkins, and I enjoyed reading The God Delusion. That doesn’t blind me to the fact that the book has some substantive flaws. My atheism does not depend on Dawkins being infallible. Ditto for all the recent flap about Antony Flew – the fact that he shifted from atheism to a deist position doesn’t undermine my atheist position at all. My atheistic view does not depend upon the Gospels according to St. Antony and St. Richard…

Continue Reading December 11, 2007 at 12:28 am 39 comments

God is cruising down US I-35

LeoPardus recently wrote about a prayer he prayed during his de-conversion journey where he asked the following of God – “God, if you’re real, do something. Anything.”

Well Leo, hop in your car and head to I-35. God is there and he’s in full action. He’s even delivering people from homosexuality (what greater miracle could you see).

Updated December 20th: I-35: ‘Ex Gay’ Now ‘Ex Ex Gay’ »

- The de-Convert

December 10, 2007 at 11:59 pm 16 comments

Atheism vs. Theism 1: Independence in Thought

Thinking 1In Phillychief’s post entitled, Insularity?, one of his points was that atheists, by and large, are critical thinkers. I agree with this view. Even those atheists who are born into atheist families and have never held religious beliefs often, at some point in their lives, weigh their non-belief against the theistic and other religious alternatives to which they are inevitably exposed, and choose atheism as the most rational choice. For many, this process occurs in their childhood or teen years.

The other set of atheists, those who have de-converted from a particular religion, usually do so after a period of critically scrutinizing their beliefs. My cruises around the blogosphere, plus nearly 5 decades of living and interacting with evangelical theists, have shown me that many theists refuse to believe that de-conversion is a rational decision. Instead, they typically ascribe de-conversion to a multitude of other causes, such as (this list is selective and representative, not anywhere close to exhaustive):

  • anger or disappointment at being hurt by another believer
  • a desire to embrace a wanton lifestyle free of the moral constraints religion imposes
  • having been a false convert rather than a real Christian
  • failure to practice such spiritual disciplines as daily prayer and Bible reading
  • having a flawed understanding of Christian doctrine
  • harboring a secret sin that is getting between oneself and God…

Continue Reading December 9, 2007 at 1:03 pm 57 comments

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Attention Christian Readers

Just in case you were wondering who we are and why we de-converted.

de-conversion wager

Whether or not you believe in God, you should live your life with love, kindness, compassion, mercy and tolerance while trying to make the world a better place. If there is no God, you have lost nothing and will have made a positive impact on those around you. If there is a benevolent God reviewing your life, you will be judged on your actions and not just on your ability to blindly believe in creeds- when there is a significant lack of evidence on how to define God or if he/she even exists.

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