Should we live as if God did not exist?
Debate Rounds (3)
Perhaps He might hear prayers, and grant a few of us miracles--but as far as we *currently* know, He has not proclaimed His existence to us.
Many will say the Bible is the very proof of God; that His words were written in the hands of saints, who had once heard His voice.
But this means very little, when one denies both the Torah and the Quran; both the Torah and the Bible; or both the Bible and the Quran. If people as a whole cannot agree on what is holy scripture or pagan non-sense, can either be taken as absolute?
(Many will happily disagree, but it still stands that the majority of theists say that others are believing in the wrong thing).
And I say "He", because it is the most common way to refer to God; it baffles me to think that humans can even begin to describe what God is. We cannot say with certainty, whether God is a "He", "She", or "It"; one or many; benevolent, omnipotent, omnipresence, or neither of those things.
It would be like an ant, trying to describe an elephant to its sisters; ridiculous, a waste of time; and to the elephant, insignificant.
Stuffing our imagination into God's mouth would be an offense from the start.
Finally, many of us will thank God for living through horrors, but the rest of us will also feel abandoned.
Millions die every year, from disease, famine, accidents, poverty, crime, and straight up extremists. For these people, even for those that prayed everyday, the help they desperately needed did not come. What do their surviving kin and friends say about God? That their dead loved ones simply weren't faithful enough? (Certainly not all of them.)
And for those that were saved, they had humanitarians speak out and act for them, and some certainly did not commit out of faith: doctors, charities, law enforcers, paramedics and others.
All of them act in the belief of what is right, do not misunderstand me, but only a fraction do it in the name of God. (In fact, some might say that they do not need a deity to tell them what is right.)
We do not see God, we do not hear God -- despite very well speaking of God. You can pray as much as you're enabled, and attend ceremonies and traditions freely as you should. But believing with certainty, that pagans and atheists will suffer eternally, is nothing more than a cruel hope.
Can God promise Hell, if He doesn't tell us to repent? To Him, such a thing would be effortless; so why the "test of faith"?
"To start off, we live in a society where God does not act". That argument is wholly false. I myself have had numerous prayers answered in my life and He is actually doing great work in other countries. It may seem like God doesn't help America anymore, and that may be because we have distanced ourselves so much from Him. I went to Tanzania last October and God worked miracles there and is still doing so today. God brought connections with the Foursquare church and a small village just outside the city we were staying in. What this will do for the people...no idea. We will have to see where that goes. God set up a meeting with a missionary group called Farming God's Way. They teach people how to farm properly in environments that are completely dry. We were doubting at first with how the pastor would feel, but he was so excited with this new technology that he wanted the missionaries to come back the very next day!!! We also were able to introduce rocket stoves-stoves made of mud mixed with straw that burn 1/10 of the wood they were burning up(which is scarce) and it produces no smoke. The pastor fell in love with it and promised that He would share this new technology with everyone in the surrounding area. I believe Africa has a great future ahead of it. As for miracles in my life- My cat was literally raised from the dead. He was taken from his mother way too early and he ended up dying on the way to the vet. Through prayer and the grace of God, our cat came back to life twice and lived for 8 years afterwards. I had a broken arm which needed surgery badly. It was coming to where I would have the surgery, but they x-rayed me and there was no need for surgery at all. They just couldn't explain it.
He may not proclaim His existence to everyone, but the millions of people across the world who have witnessed amazing miracles which is the basis for believing the Bible. When prayers are answered, faith is built up and you fully believe the Bible to be God's full word. Don't mix the Christian Bible with the Torah or Quran though. Muslims say there are 99 names for their god. Do you know which name is left out that makes it completely separate from the Christian God? Love. Love defines God and that name if left out for Muslims. They say He is a trickster. They also agree that when they go to heaven, their god may just throw them in hell just because. Yeah....
I don't have time at the moment to refute the rest, but I'll leave the rest to be answered for now.
It's true that you and millions of others have witnessed miracles, all the time in hospitals, charitable events, or just out of the blue; but when we stand in a world of billions, that only means some of us, if not only a very few.
Though I liked how you brought up a couple of personal examples. It reminded me that individual countries are not the focus here, and I can see that you have a strong faith. My point here is not to test that faith (despite some wanting that very thing), but to question why only some of us seem... "selected for".
Let's begin with your work in Tanzania, which I'm certain that the village was grateful for. It seems from what you wrote, you and your fellow followers were the ones to teach the villagers, not Him directly. I understand that everyone did it with the instructions of God, but the Tanzanians had to hear His teachings from your pastor, didn't they? It would seem simpler if God were to teach them to better care of themselves (and that it was your intervention that actually changed their lives for the better).
As for your premature kitten and broken arm... I can't denounce them. Yeah, a lot of people will say it was the veterinarian that revived him or her, and that your arm probably wasn't broken in the first place; but it takes a lot of faith and determination to give something life again, and it has been recorded that people have healed from crippling injury and disease. Perhaps you could supply a little more information.
As for the holy scriptures, I didn't mean to confuse you. I do see the Christian Bible, the Torah, and the Quran as scriptures of separate faiths. I wasn't aware that Allah was not named love (among other things), but He certainly isn't the one to trifled with. Still, I'm not sure if His lack of compassion is inaccurate, since I still think describing God in any way is short-sighted.
I know asking this will probably step on few (thousand) nerves, but I have tried reading the Bible once. Emphasis on tried. When I was still in high school, I went to the library all the time, and picked out the Bible from one of the shelves. At first, it was intriguing, and I wanted to know more; but as I picked up the book the following days, I began to feel ill. Eventually, I was halfway through, and I was at the point that I started to feel threatened if I didn't stop. I did, and I bounced back in three days. I'd like to hear what you might think of that experience... and maybe discuss about some of the chapters, that I wouldn't have repeated if I were in their soles.
Side note: Rocket stoves? Made out of straw and mud? I'm sure that not just Africa could find use for such a creation. And in hind-sight, I should have mentioned that... admittedly, satanism disgusts me to no end. My faith is warped, but not to the point of praising sin.
Onto Tanzania. The teachings were from us, yes, but there were many many things that happened that were not influenced by us at all. When we met with the Foursquare pastor there, he informed us that there was a church right in the town that was being built. It was out of the blue to go there that late at night(especially when you are white in an African country in a shady part of town) and we ended up meeting a Nigerian Foursquare pastor who was such a neat man to meat. He was the one that kinda invited himself to the village and set up connections with the church of the village. By the time we got back to our hotel, we had to spend quite a bit of time trying to comprehend all that happened in just 3 hours. It was incredible! Not only that, but the pastor's story too. He had a dream where a bus of white people was on a hill acroos from him and they tried getting to him multiple times. They tried driving over and building bridges, but nothing worked. He prayed on it and God told him that missionaries were trying to get to him, but were being held back by bishops in the region. We just happened to know a bishop who our team leaders met with 4 times before this trip and he suddenly decided that our group was too small to worry with(all about the money that guy). We also had a bus which was amazing. It was like we were the ones in his dream and that dream was fulfilled! Also, God uses His people to do things like this, so it may seem like our works but He uses people for Him to work on later on. Here's this verse for example: 1 Corinthians 3:6 "I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God has been making it grow." We planted the seed of the rocket stoves, and God will do the rest.
I'll definitely supply more information for you on the miracles. My kitten actually died twice on the way to the vet during a 20 minute drive. He was alive enough for the vets to bring him up to health, but we were the only ones in the car at that time. My arm thing is hard to provide more information since I was 6 and am now 17. My dad said it took 6 weeks to heal, but near the start of the six weeks they NEEDED to perform surgery. All of a sudden, it was healing on its own.
I'd love to hear more on your attempt at reading the Bible. I fully believe the devil was influencing you and making you feel ill while reading it. I also think you went at it the wrong way. The old testament is hard to read. A LOT harder than the new testament, so I understand your trouble with reading it. You have to approach reading the Bible the right way. Again, I'll gladly talk to you on this if you would like.
Rocket stoves. Oh yea they are amazing! You take a mixture of mud and some other material like straw. The straw is to leave tiny holes in the bricks to make miniature air gaps. This part is confusing and I would have to talk to the guys that went to missions training to learn about the science behind it. Anyways, the air is sucked up from a hole on the side and it zips up the chimney like tube. By the time it reaches the top, the smoke has broken down so much that there is nothing to come out of, making it tons healthier. I have pictures if you are interested.
On the topic though, what about psychopaths? Not the stereotypical lunatic, but people who are unable to sympathize: they don't necessarily consider the emotions or suffering of other people, and yet many act as crucial pieces of society, from CEOs to surgeons. They execute what is most efficient for them, and ignore what people might think of them.
An example is when a psychopath responds to the Trolley Problem:
From on top of a bridge, you can see four innocent people tied onto a train track below. Charging towards them is a trolley without a pilot, and basically out of control. The only way to stop it would be to throw something large and heavy onto the track--but the only other thing you can see is an obese person, standing on the same bridge.
Would you push the obese person off, killing him in the process, and save the lives of those four people?
A psychopath would ignore the guilt of murdering someone, and just do it. What would this mean they lack a conscious, and therefore don't hear God?
(Click the following if you want to visualize the problem: https://www.youtube.com... )
I'd also like to consider that our dreams are of our own volition, but I digress. What the pastor described does sound seem to be more than a coincidence, and I can only assume that his hope for aid had some influence. But why were the bishops stopping foreigners from approaching the village? It seems rather blasphemous, especially with your intentions to help the people. If they were loyal worshipers, monetary gains wouldn't have been an obstacle, and the village would have probably received a lot more aid sooner.
Perhaps divine intervention was involved, but this still builds on the idea that only a few seem... "selected for". I'm not sure what to else to note, but I still believe that the village will benefit from your aid nonetheless.
Again, I can't quite refute your personal miracles, but I'll take your word for them. It's been a while, but I might try reading the Bible again.
Ah bullocks, this going to be my closing argument, isn't it?
Well, while it is undeniable that some of us have been aided by God, the majority (billions) of us still haven't, and in many accounts, millions of us have consequently suffered or died without His intervention. People can pray to God to save the lives of others, but when it fails, they simply move on without a second thought--as if praying wouldn't have done anything to begin with.
Innocent children in many parts of world have, and will starve to death; and others still will rot from disease. We insist on training and supplying murderers to solve our world problems--or as the patriots claim, soldiers, and no voice has been powerful enough to stop them thus far.
If we could see God, and hear Him speak to all us with a true voice, everyone would gain a faith invincible to time, and would unite to make good changes in our world. But as it stands now, billions of us only think about the problems of our world has, and how they're not going to be fixed by some almighty being. "We'll do it ourselves."
The whole conscious thing is a bit tricky. I'm not sure if there is anything in the Bible on it, but I could be wrong. Again, there is so much that God hasn't answered and we may never know the answers to, but there is still a lot He has told us that is hidden in scripture. It may seem degrading to say that we can't make moral decisions on our own. Really....we can't. The minute that Adam ate the fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil we were cursed for eternity. We were doomed to sin. Everything from lying to murdering and stealing. We were all doomed to corruption and evil and there was no hope for us. Fast forward thousands of years. God helped His chosen people to take the promised land, they left Him and they were taken over by rival armies, and they eventually came back to God. That circle went on for countless generations and throughout them, prophets fortold of a Messiah. A great king that would come and free them from sin. We go to the beginning of the New Testament. Here, the plot has thickened. God has sent angels to Mary and Joseph to tell them that they are to have a son and name Him Jesus. Mary has the baby in Bethlehem, the classic story of Christmas. Jesus was born from a virgin and thus He was not born from man. He was really unable to sin. He studies the Bible completely and at the age of 12, He is teaching priests in the church. Fast forward, and Jesus is baptized by His cousin John. A great, white dove descends from Heaven and Jesus is filled with the Holy Spirit. He gains His disciples, He heals the sick, lets the blind see, brings people back from the dead, and multiplies food. He performs countless miracles and He resists temptation from the devil Himself. We go to the later chapters of Mark. Jesus foretells of His death to His disciples and the last supper takes place. Judas, one of Jesus's own disciples, sells Jesus out to Roman soldiers and Jesus is taken in front of the governor to be tried for death. The governor leaves His fate to the people and they order His crucifixion. Jesus never did anything wrong and yet they whipped Him 40 times to near death. They then made Him carry an extremely heavy cross and He carries it to the hill where He dies. His last three words are, "It is finished". He was put in a tomb and a boulder was placed in the doorway. After three days He rose again and He left us all with one mission. To spread this message to all the earth. Jesus died and rose again so that we may go to heaven and not suffer eternity in hell. "For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, so that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life." John 3:16.
The whole thing with the bishop. He only really cared about the money. That is the sad truth with many of today's pastors. Televangelists are a good example. Joel Olsteen has never opened a Bible on camera and He has never mentioned the message I gave to you. All he preaches is how much stuff you get when you pray. That is a big lie. Yes, God blesses you but He is far from a genie in a bottle. Prayers won't be answered and we will go through many trials and tribulation, but God will always love us no matter what we do. It may seem like many are selected, but God's love goes to all people.
I'm glad you have considered reading the Bible again, and I encourage you to read the book of Luke. That is the best book to read about the life of Jesus in my opinion. There are four books that go over His life and all have the same story, just written differently since those four people had different professions. Also, keep in mind that many things written were thousands of years ago. The problem people bring up with women staying quiet in church or slaves being accepted. God doesn't say those two things are okay, but those people did it back then anyways. Women got their rights not even a hundred years ago and slaves became free a couple hundred years ago. You can imagine how bad it must have been then.
You've been a good opponent and I hope that you enjoy reading the bible again.
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