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Dobson: Abortion, Homosexuality To Blame For Shooting

Jim Burroway

December 17th, 2012

Of course I’m not surprised that someone would say this. I’m just surprised it took three days for it to happen:

Our country really does seem in complete disarray. I’m not talking politically, I’m not talking about the result of the November sixth election;  I am saying that something has gone wrong in America and that we have turned our back on God.

I mean millions of people have decided that God doesn’t exist, or he’s irrelevant to me and we have killed fifty-four million babies and the institution of marriage is right on the verge of a complete redefinition.  Believe me, that is going to have consequences too. 

And a lot of these things are happening around us, and somebody is going to get mad at me for saying what I am about to say right now, but I am going to give you my honest opinion: I think we have turned our back on the Scripture and on God Almighty and I think he has allowed judgment to fall upon us.  I think that’s what’s going on.

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Rod Roddy lookalke
December 17th, 2012 | LINK

S Great!!! Just what the world needs! Another bigot with their head up their ass…… I’m surprised he still even gets press, since he stepped down from head bigot at Focus on the Freak Show. Does anyone REALLY give a shit what these boneheads have to say? Moreover, Dorkhead Dodson needs to go visit his boyfriend/partner in bigotry from Colo Springs who got caught with his pants down a couple of years ago. Strange bedfellows? Not quite!!! They ‘re BOTH hiding something. Again, “me thinketh thou protesteth too much!!!” As Jallen Rix says in his book, “straight men don’t think about it (gay sex). They think about having sex with women (paraphrased, from page 87, paperback edition.)”

Gene in L.A.
December 17th, 2012 | LINK

A god who would have spared the terminally-wicked city of Sodom for the sake of one innocent man would not allow the killing of children to prove his point. Then again, he did cause bears to kill children who mocked his prophet. I guess that means I should start watching out for bears, because I find Dobson fit only to be mocked. He seems to think that if there were no gay people and no abortion the world would be a sweet, happy place where nothing bad ever happens. The simple-mindedness of these knee-jerk responses blaming tragedy on nonconformity to a specified belief system would be ridiculous if they weren’t so dangerous.

Ryan
December 17th, 2012 | LINK

Looks like he’s in total agreement with the Phelps clan over at the Westboro Baptist Church. Maybe they’ll let him join them.

Corey
December 17th, 2012 | LINK

If that is the dieatie he prays to, then I am glad I’m not a Christian!

Russ
December 18th, 2012 | LINK

What a fucking loser. But it’s just like Falwell and Robertson blaming 9/11 on feminists, gays, and abortions:

http://youtu.be/kMkBgA9_oQ4

Everything bad that ever happens in this country, they are determined to blame it on the people who don’t agree with their twisted version of God. Even little 6-year-old victims.

Beyond pathetic.

DN
December 18th, 2012 | LINK

I hear that, Corey. I haven’t heard a single sensible religious comment in weeks. And yet somehow that’s *my* fault for not being able to translate their words as spoken into some sort of hidden meaning of love.

If religion were to have only one failing (ha!), it would be this: the sensible religious people aren’t calling these people out. In the same way that a god who does nothing is indistinguishable from a god that doesn’t exist, I have no ability to fathom what the good religious people think, so I’m left with the impression that they’re like this guy.

And, again, that’s somehow *my* fault.

gsingjane
December 18th, 2012 | LINK

Another thing that’s so terribly unfortunate about remarks like these (aside from their insensitivity and outright cruelty) is that they get bounced around, amplified, and circulated until many people get the idea that this is the uniform Christian response to the tragedy. In point of fact, the vast majority of religious leaders, of Christian and other faiths, are horrified and shocked and trying to cope with the spiritual implications of this, the best they can. I live in Connecticut, about 40 minutes from Newtown, and believe me… faith leaders in our community, whether mainline, evangelical, Jewish, whatever, are NOT broadcasting vicious remarks like this, in the slightest.

Yet what happens is that many folks, especially folks who may not already be part of faith communities, get the impression that most or all Christian leaders had Dobson’s heartless and judgmental response. It’s just not so, he is absolutely on the radical fringe here and his remarks should be weighted as such.

I really do feel that one of the biggest enemies of Christianity today is people like Dobson. If they are wondering why young people are deserting the faith in droves, they could start by looking in the mirror.

DN
December 18th, 2012 | LINK

Exactly my point, gsingjane :) Please, spread your message as loudly as you can. I am not a member of Dobson’s religion, and at least in my case, what you said about people only hearing his point of view is exactly right.

revchicoucc
December 18th, 2012 | LINK

@DN: We do spread our message as loudly as we can. My worship service on Sunday (I’m a United Church of Christ pastor) included a memorial time with a reading of the names and my sermon called on people to turn their guns in to the police.

Now, most of my members don’t own guns. But some do, and one called me yesterday and asked me to go with him to the police to turn in his hunting rifle. It’s not worth having anymore if it could be used by anyone against people, he said.

Dismiss that if you want, but it was an individual acting that killed those children and it will be individuals acting for peace in our communities that will bring peace. Public policy is only one aspect.

Problem is, folks like me don’t have access to radio and television networks, like Dobson, Huckabee, and Fischer do. We don’t try to raise millions of dollars by making people afraid of their neighbors and then use that money to make them more afraid.

Unfortunately for small, liberal, progressive, gay-affirming, marriage equality supporting churches like mine, the damage Christianists like Dobson have done have created so much suspicion and hostility against all religion that people who want us to speak more loudly don’t help us do it.

So we’ll do the best we can without any resources. If you don’t see me on Fox News, or NPR either, it’s because I don’t have the money to make me famous.

revchicoucc
December 18th, 2012 | LINK

@ DN, first post: On the matter of sensible religious people calling out these voices, here’s what I said in my sermon on Sunday about them.

‘We don’t much believe in hell around here. We don’t much believe that a loving, forgiving God would consign someone to eternal damnation. Lots of people, I’m sure, are hoping the shooter in Connecticut will burn in hell forever. I don’t know what his life after death will be like, of course.

Some days, I regret not believing in hell more than I do. Even before all the children and teachers at Sandy Hook Elementary School had been accounted for, voices in our society were saying the shooting was God calling down judgment on our country for one thing or another.

Bryan Fischer of the right-wing hate group the American Family Association was first out of the gate, saying this happened because God is not allowed in our schools, and this was God expressing his anger. Mike Huckabee, former Governor of Arkansas, former candidate for President, now a commentator on Fox News said essentially the same thing, if we still had mandatory prayer in the schools, God would have been protecting the children and this would not have happened.

Why can’t these people shut up? What makes them think having access to the media gives them a warrant to embarrass God?

The National Rifle Association, on Friday, as the news from Connecticut was sinking in, noted in a Twitter message, that they had reached 1,700,000 friends on their Facebook page. I thought about friending them just so I could unfriend them!

Those are the people I want to send to hell, the ones who insist that owning a gun is so precious a civil right under the Second Amendment of our Constitution that they cannot see, cannot see how they are promoting violence in our country, promoting individual rights over shared responsibilities. The people I want to send to hell are the ones who won’t see, can’t see their own need to repent.”

But fewer than 100 people heard me . . .

I’ll stay off the comments board for a while.

gsingjane
December 18th, 2012 | LINK

Well, my own feeling is that, for better or for worse, there are many voices in the GLBT online community that are giving these hateful and hurtful “Christian” voices a bully pulpit. It’s partly, in my view, because they, themselves, are admittedly and profoundly anti-religious. It serves their agenda as well if people walk away thinking that all Christians are monsters like Dobson. The measured, caring, compassionate voices from most faith leaders are, to their way of thinking, irrelevant to the “greater cause” of convincing folks that atheism is the only way to go. I’m very saddened by this, because at times, especially reading the torrents of spiteful comments, it’s actually sort of hard to tell who is more prejudiced … I don’t think there is any logical reason we need to ask people to give up their faith in order to support GLBT folks, but I’m afraid that there don’t seem to be a lot of folks who agree with that, on either side.

But at any rate – yes – I do think this is one reason (not the only one) that the ridiculous and horrible Newtown “Christian response” comments are getting so much play on “our side,” too.

SharonB
December 18th, 2012 | LINK

“Those are the people I want to send to hell, the ones who insist that owning a gun is so precious a civil right under the Second Amendment of our Constitution that they cannot see, cannot see how they are promoting violence in our country, promoting individual rights over shared responsibilities.”

I am glad you are not God, also. I think you have set up a fallacious argument. I’d want a deity with a little better critical thinking skills.

SharonB
December 18th, 2012 | LINK

Oh, and I think Dobson is a self-righteous tool. I consider that when he thinks he is speaking on behalf of god, he is speaking for himself.

Regan DuCasse
December 18th, 2012 | LINK

I’ve been reading and seeing broadcast articles on less and less religious belief in this country. And less and less people are claiming any affiliation to any particular faith.
If people are turning from it, it’s precisely because of people like James Dobson and so on. There are millions who have seen with their own eyes, the lavish mega churches and lifestyles of their spiritual leaders.
Most of these are men, they are white men and they continue to engage the political message that loyalty to the faith imbues a person with moral and other superiority, without really DOING something that earns it
The hypocrisy and contradictions in terms, send mixed messages.
Which eventually can be seen as very empty of substance.
Of course, this becomes harder to hide, or harder to deny as people become more socially and spiritually INDEPENDENT of organized religious community.
If the James Dobsons, Pat Robersons and Mike Huckabees of the nation, resent it.
And resent it with grossly insensitive and cruel statements when people are in pain, they simply exacerbate exactly why no one wants to hear from them any more.
It was bound to come to a point, where such people, who claim they are being silenced, refuse to accept that what’s really happening, is they are being IGNORED.
And, they should be.

Maurice Lacunza
December 18th, 2012 | LINK

I always thought Dobson was closeted gay. Who else but a self loathing gay can be so hateful towards himself?

His attacks on gays are less these days because he is getting older: less testosterone. The hornier he was, the more he increased his hatred towards gays.

I am sure a linear relationship exists between his own sexual decline and the decline of his attacks. In his prime, he was a non-stop opponent against gay people. Now, as his penis drys up, so does the frequency of his attacks. Interesting.

CP
December 18th, 2012 | LINK

No, God doesn’t have to do anything but turn his back on us. We’ll do the rest.

God is asking the same question to us as we are asking of Him, Why would you let that happen? He’s saying, “My instruction to you is to love one another (not sexually) whay are you choosing to hurt each other.

gsingjane
December 18th, 2012 | LINK

@Regan – but this is just what I’m trying to say! Not articulately enough I see!

Although people like Dobson et al. (unfortunately enough) speak for or to large numbers of people in the Christian faith, they do not speak for ALL of us, or probably even MOST of us. It’s the exact same thing that you used to see all the time with coverage of gay events – what made the evening news? The gay actuaries and nurses? No – you saw the most flamboyant, sexualized, “out there” people, even though those people were not close to being representative of the entire community. Why? Because a lot of people have an ingrained “ewww” to guy in chaps and boas, and actuaries aren’t nearly so photogenic or incite-ful.

I completely agree with you that polarizing figures like Dobson, Huckabee etc. have only themselves to blame for the exodus of young Christians. It’s horribly ironic.

But… and of course you are free to hold whatever opinions you like about any subject … please consider giving us the same benefit of the doubt you’d like others to give the GLBT community. Don’t judge us all by the actions of those on the margins.

Steve Gunter
December 18th, 2012 | LINK

Christians died in this tragedy. So accusing God of allowing this as a judgment is against his word since he has said that there is no judgment for believers.

John 3:16-21 “For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who BELIEVES in him will not perish but have eternal life. God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him. “There is no judgment against anyone who BELIEVES in him. But anyone who does not BELIEVE in him has already been judged for not BELIEVING in God’s one and only Son. And the judgment is based on this fact: God’s light came into the world, but people loved the darkness more than the light, for their actions were evil. All who do evil hate the light and refuse to go near it for fear their sins will be exposed. But those who do what is right come to the light so others can see that they are doing what God wants.”

This is a consequence of neglecting the mentally ill. We can not expect the families of the mentally ill to bare the burden of counseling and psychiatry bills alone. Health care needs to be declared a right. Why should the rich have better access to health care than the poor? I wonder how God feels about that?

Look here, you rich people: Weep and groan with anguish because of all the terrible troubles ahead of you. Your wealth is rotting away, and your fine clothes are moth-eaten rags. Your gold and silver have become worthless. The very wealth you were counting on will eat away your flesh like fire. This treasure you have accumulated will stand as evidence against you on the day of judgment. For listen! Hear the cries of the field workers whom you have cheated of their pay. The wages you held back cry out against you. The cries of those who harvest your fields have reached the ears of the Lord of Heaven’s Armies.(James 5:1-4)NLT

Rod Roddy lookalke
December 18th, 2012 | LINK

Maurice Lecunza, others: When I mentioned the quote from the Jallen Rix book “Ex-gay No Way,” that was what I was driving at. Dobson, Ted Haggard, and the Congressional reps that got caught sexually acting out in public only serve to re-enforce my point: many men will not admit their same-sex issues, and those who think about it (other guys) are being dishonest about their “obsession” about gay sex. Straight men truly don’t think about it. When they’re finally done beating their proverbial “drums,” saying everything under the sun causes disasters like Columbine, Newtown and the rest, and tell the truth about their own shortcomings, will there be anyone listening? I doubt it. They’ve already “cried wolf,” FAR too often now, to really be credible.

revchicoucc
December 18th, 2012 | LINK

@SharonB. I’m glad I’m not God too.

Steve
December 19th, 2012 | LINK

And yet the best so-called “liberal Christians” can come up with is that their god wanted these children to die. Even Obama said “God has called them all home”. And he is far from alone in that opinion. Tons of Christians have said similar crap. It’s a vile, disgusting and immoral in its own way, and ultimately not much better than what Dobson and co. are saying.

SharonB
December 19th, 2012 | LINK

@Revchicoucc:
:)
I wouldn’t want the job either!

gsingjane
December 19th, 2012 | LINK

@Steve, no, sorry, to say that as a matter of Christian faith, anybody, including God, “wanted” the Newtown angels to die, is just flat-out wrong and actually pretty hurtful.

The question of “why do bad things happen?” or “why does God let bad things happen?” might be the central one for any religion to answer. Certainly any adult with any life experience has asked him or her-self that, many times. Certainly all of us, whether believers or unbelievers, have been doing a lot of soul-searching and questioning since these most recent events.

Many of us find our answers in our faith; you don’t, and you’re of course free not to. And at any rate, I could never do justice to what the Christian faith says about the Big Questions in a single blog post, or even in a blog all my own.

It’s better not to hurt and wound further, even if we are hurt and wounded ourselves. And comments to the effect that Christians “wanted” these little children to die are just that, hurtful and wounding and terribly unfair.

Priya Lynn
December 19th, 2012 | LINK

gsingjane,

According to most christians there god is all powerful and all knowing. That being the case he knew exactly how the world would turn out when he created it. If he wanted it to be different it would be, the world is exactly as the christian god wants it to be, dead children and all – there is no way around that if you believe in an allpowerful and allknowing god.

Timothy Kincaid
December 19th, 2012 | LINK

Steve and Priya Lynn,

Theology is a complex subject and not well suited for bumper sticker slogans.

Arguments that purport to present the side of Christians – but do so in extremely simplistic terms – are strawman arguments.

There is a broad and diverse collections of beliefs about God, even within each faith, and so say that God is omniscient and omnipresent is not easily followed by demands that are temporal and limited.

I don’t have time or space enough to get into any depth, but the response to such situations – even when phrased as “God called them home” ranges from fatalism to mercy to protection. Without defending any of these positions, I’ll give just a tiny illustration.

Some believe that “when it’s your time to go, you go”. That’s the idea behind the Final Destination movies.

Others might think that while the parents are grieving, the children themselves have gone to a better place where there is no bullying or rat race or old age illness to look forward to. (That doesn’t sell well on a grand scale.)

Other might ponder that among those children was one or two who were horrifically evil – a Hitler or Pol Pot. And that God, in his infinite wisdom and mercy chose the lesser tragedy.

And there are those who take a more Deist approach, thinking that God has a hands-off policy when it comes to the way we choose to treat each other. He calls for love, but does not force anyone for obey. It’s Free Will, writ large.

And there is always the notion that pain and suffering in life strengthen us and build character.

I think a good many Christians incorporate all or most of those ideas into their responses to tragedy. And I’ve only just barely touched on the idea.

But here’s something to consider: suppose that the only possible morally acceptable god by some definitions – one that prevents such tragedies – were to meet your demands.

No more wars, no more senseless killing, no more starvation, no more major sickness. Everyone had enough to cover their needs, had good health and when they got old just laid down and didn’t wake.

I somehow doubt that would be adequate. No, we would insist that if there was a God then my boss wouldn’t have been an Ahole and given my promotion to that jerk; that if there was a God, my spouse wouldn’t have cheated, my parents wouldn’t like my sister better, my favorite politician wouldn’t have lost election, my dry cleaners wouldn’t have burnt my shirt.

Yes, these are trivial – but only in context. In a perfect world, they’d be a calamity.

It might be a good question to ask why there was the bubonic plague – that killed about 1/3 of human population. And, should God show up to have a chat, I might ask him. But somehow I suspect the answer might be, “And yet, you survived.”

In any case, let’s not play the “you believe XYZ and thus you’re evil” game. Especially as most people of faith have a far more complex belief system than XYZ.

Priya Lynn
December 19th, 2012 | LINK

Straw man Timothy, I never said “you believe XYZ and thus you’re evil”. Assigning simplistic straw man beliefs to me may make it easier for you to tell yourself I’m wrong, but there’s no truth to it.

Theology regarding why there is evil in the world is necessarily complex and highly abstract because there is no rational explanation for it given a just and loving god. Only two scenarios are possible:

1) God does not exist.

2) God is not just and loving.

To try to come up with a rational explanation for an evil world and a just and loving god necessitates complex and lengthy explanations where one can hide the lack of logic in ambiguity and abstractions that pretend to answer the question, but in reality just avoid it altogether, for example with statements such as “to say that God is omniscient and omnipresent is not easily followed by demands that are temporal and limited” which amounts to “trust me god is allknowing and allpowerful but somehow the world isn’t how he wants it to be and I’d explain it to you but I don’t have time.”.

Its no different than dropping a dumbell on your foot and then asking people to believe that at no time after you dropped it was the dumbell on a path towards your foot.

Christians ask us to respect their beliefs which requires the acceptance of logical fallacies, its too much to ask. We know christians are well practiced at holding contradictory thoughts at the same time, you’re welcome to do so, but don’t ask us to believe that somewhere, somehow there is a complex rational theology that resolves the contradiction. I know no christian can describe one and deep down inside so does every christian.

Priya Lynn
December 19th, 2012 | LINK

“But here’s something to consider: suppose that the only possible morally acceptable god by some definitions – one that prevents such tragedies – were to meet your demands.

No more wars, no more senseless killing, no more starvation, no more major sickness. Everyone had enough to cover their needs, had good health and when they got old just laid down and didn’t wake.

I somehow doubt that would be adequate.”.

In other words, if god prevented atrocities it wouldn’t be good enough for you, you’d then complain about more trivial stuff so there’s no point in god preventing evil because you wouldn’t appreciate it anyways.

“He calls for love, but does not force anyone for obey. It’s Free Will, writ large.”.

That’s a specious excuse. Implicit in that idea is that if there are any restrictions on free will then one does not have free will. If that were true then no one has free will now and no one has ever had free will because free will has never been absolute. You cannot instantaneously transport yourself into my living room to discuss this, you cannot walk through a wall, or fly to another star and check out the planets there and yet you believe you have free will. If there was a god and he prevented people from doing evil that would be just one more limition on an infinite number of limitations we alread have on free will. You could still decide what you wanted to eat every day, where you wanted to vacation, what kind of career you wanted, who you would marry and on and on and on. So the “There’s evil because god wants people to have free will.” excuse just doesn’t fly, its total B.S.

Timothy said “And there is always the notion that pain and suffering in life strengthen us and build character.”.

This raises the question as to why its better to suffer, die, be tortured and have a strong character than it is for life to be easy and people to be happy and without character in the first place. If suffering is about building character to help us deal with suffering, how does having character make us any better off than we would be without character and suffering? It doesn’t make us better off, that’s the answer.

If suffering were for building character and good and necessary then why is heaven assumed to have no suffering? If suffering and evil is good on earth than why not in heaven? If its not necessary or desirable in heaven than why should it be any different on earth? If my husband were to die and my happiness end how am I better off than if he doesn’t die and my happiness continues? No, the “suffering builds character” excuse is utter B.S. as well. Being tough is only useful in dealing with suffering, if there is no suffering there is no value in being tough.

Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able?
Then he is not omnipotent.
Is he able, but not willing?
Then he is malevolent.
Is he both able and willing?
Then whence cometh evil?
Is he neither able nor willing?
Then why call him God?

Timothy Kincaid
December 19th, 2012 | LINK

And, Priya Lynn,

You are, as always, free to believe, or not believe, anything you like. Including your “if thens” and your “only two possible scenarios”.

Richard Rush
December 19th, 2012 | LINK

Timothy said, “Theology is a complex subject and not well suited for bumper sticker slogans.”

I think that’s largely true because, with theology, molehills become mountains, and minutia become monumental issues. The existence of a vast multitude of religious sects seem to demonstrate that. The issues that separate them can’t possibly all be substantive, but have simply been inflated in their heads. I’m so thankful that I don’t feel the need to quibble over such things.

Steve
December 20th, 2012 | LINK

[This comment has been removed for violations of our Comments Policy. Derogatory names are prohibited. Please keep it civil. — Jim B.]

Priya Lynn
December 20th, 2012 | LINK

I didn’t want to bring it up, but I agree with Steve that technically there is no such thing as free will. Christians often accuse atheists of believing people don’t have autonomous minds, that people’s thoughts are merely reflexive reactions to outside stimuli and I agree that if we go down to the level of neurons and photons and electrical charges this is true, we are just reflexively reacting to stimuli. However, there is such an incredibly large number of stimuli that cause our reflexive actions, including internal stimuli consisting of millions of recorded memories, beliefs, likes, and dislikes that for all practical purposes our reflexive actions are so unlimited and varied we can say we have a fake free will that does an almost perfect imitation of actual free will. So, while technically speaking we don’t have free will, for all practical intents and purposes we do.

Perhaps an analogy with the weather would help illustrate this. There is no free will or intention in weather. Theoretically only a few variables control what happens with it and if we could measure the direction, speed, mass and so on of every atom precisely we could predict the weather flawlessly until the end of time because what we get is merely the result of reflexive collisions between air and water molecules and so on. But practically speaking, that is such an outrageously complex task it will always be impossible to precisely predict the weather much into the future so although the weather we get is technically speaking merely reflexive reactions for all practical intents and purposes there will always be a degree of randomness and unpredictability to the weather just as there is with human decisions.

Eric in Oakland
December 20th, 2012 | LINK

Priya Lynn, there are at least two more possibilities besides the two you listed:

3) God is not omnipotent
4) God is not omniscient

I suppose you may argue that without those attributes, what we are describing is not a “god”. However, one may be super powerful without being all-powerful or super knowledgable without being all-knowing.

On a related note, isn’t it fascinating that the “major sins” people like Dobson are always blaming for tragedies like this are sins he and his flock are not prone to committing? Why not blame inhospitality

Eric in Oakland
December 21st, 2012 | LINK

Incidentally, I am disappointed that Steve’s comment was deleted in its entirety. I heartily agree with the intention to keep the dialog here civil. However, this instance seems too close to censoring different opinions. I expect better than that from a site that usually shines as an example of excellence.

Priya Lynn
December 21st, 2012 | LINK

Eric, my statments were made on the condition that god is omnipotent and omniscient so your points are valid to a degree.

However I would say that if god is neither omnipotent or omniscient, if he created the universe and all the people in it from nothing it seems hard to believe he could be that powerful, but not powerful enough to create people without the desire to do evil. Further, if he is powerful enough to create people without the desire to do evil, its rather obvious after all these millenia that a world where people have the power to do evil is a much worse world than one in which they do not, so he does not need to be omniscient to see his mistake and correct it – surely that should have been done long ago, so once again assuming a less than omniscient and omnipotent god its unlikely the world is anything other than the way he wants it to be.

I think you’re correct that one can posit scenarios without an omnipotent and omniscient god in which the world is not as he wants it to be and he has insufficient power to change it but I think even doing that would be quite a challenge if you accept that he had the power to create the universe and people in it from nothing and has at least the awareness of the state of the earth that the average person does.

Although I almost always refer to myself as an atheist, technically I’m agnostic in that I can’t 100% rule out the possibility of some sort of god. What I am 100% certain of though is that a god as decribed in christian theology cannot exist – a loving and just, all powerful and all knowing god that eternally tortures the vast majority of people that have ever lived primarily for the thought “crime” of not accepting Jesus as their lord. The punishment should fit the crime and eternal torture isn’t a fitting punishment even for someone like Hitler. Humans can only committ finite crimes and infinite punishment for anything any human has ever done is a gross miscarriage of justice.

Ben In Oakland
December 21st, 2012 | LINK

Priya, I often refer to my self as an it-doesn’t-matterist, neither atheist nor agnostic.

If god is the omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent being that so many people believe him to be, or if he simply doesn’t exist. nothing would be any different than it is. As Matthew says, “Not a sparrow falls but the Lord god knows about it.”

And yet the sparrow still falls, and god’s presence or absence is simply not relevant. It simply doesn’t matter.

If god is simply an immensely powerful being, like Q in the old star trek series, then why should we consider him/it divine and holy, the fount of morality (now there’s a sarcasm), or the fount of truth? He is certianly no better than Q. And if he truly delights in creating a hell to send the vast majority of his puppets to, why is that worthy of worship?

And where is william shatner when we need him? He certainly hammed up his Jesus persona often enough in the old days. But if god is a being like Q, extremely powerful but basically an immoral child, why on earth would he incarnate himself and die a horrible death merely to appease his own bloodthirsty nature?

the contradictions abound in this kind of thinking, all of which lead me back to the first point.

It simply doesn’t matter.

Priya Lynn
December 21st, 2012 | LINK

Very interesting perspective Ben – I like it.

Timothy Kincaid
December 21st, 2012 | LINK

But Richard,

It’s very very important to know exactly how many angels can dance on the head of a pin.

Timothy Kincaid
December 21st, 2012 | LINK

or, even (dare I say it):

5) Priya Lynn’s definition of “just and loving” are different than that of the universe.
6) Priya Lynn has a misunderstanding of what Christians believe about their God
7) Christians have but a limited understanding of their own God
8) Shiva wonders just what the hell this debate is all about

Let’s remember, a debate about the existence of God which is based solely on the dogma of the most conservative of Christians is rather limited. It’s a bit like deciding whether packaged food tasted good, but only sampling spam.

Priya Lynn
December 21st, 2012 | LINK

I know people have a definition of “just and loving”, but I didn’t know the universe had one. Hmmph, learn something new everyday

Timothy, I’m well aware of what most christians believe about their god – you don’t speak for anyone other than yourself.

Priya Lynn
December 21st, 2012 | LINK

Timothy’s constant apeal to authority arguments carry no weight with rational people.

Liam
December 21st, 2012 | LINK

‘What I am 100% certain of though is that a god as decribed in christian theology cannot exist – a loving and just, all powerful and all knowing god that eternally tortures the vast majority of people that have ever lived primarily for the thought “crime” of not accepting Jesus as their lord.’

Just a few remarks:

According to orthodox Christian theology – and most fundamentalism decidedly does *not* fall into that category – God is not a god. He is not a Q or a super-powerful being. He is not one cause amongst many, even the first or most important. Rather, He is Being Itself, the reason there is something rather than nothing. That’s why we use a capital letter ‘G’ to refer to Him, to clarify that we are not speaking of mere entity like Zeus or Santa Claus.

Furthermore, to say that God is omnipotent does not mean to say that he can do anything. He cannot make a square triangle or a pointed circle. He cannot make white black or black white. He cannot make good evil or evil good. And He cannot act contrary to His nature. The word omnipotent, as used in the Nicene Creed, is a translation of the Greek word Pantocrator, which means literally the one who holds or rules over all things. The reference is to the scope of His power or authority, not to the theoretical range of possible actions He can take.

Finally, no Christian body except for the fundamentalist sects that seem so influential in the United States actually believes that God will condemn the vast majority of humanity for what amounts to a ‘thought crime’. I agree that that would certainly be unjust. Most Christian groups – including the Roman Catholic Church since Vatican II, the Orthodox Church, and many Protestant Churches – believe that God will judge people based on how they lived in response to what they received. Furthermore, many Christian Churches hold out the hope of universal salvation, that all will ultimately be reconciled to God and to each other. Such Churches tend to view Hell in rather more purgatorial terms.

The problem with most such discussions is that people who have (rightly) rejected a perversion of Christian teaching as illogical or immoral very often assume that they know very well what it is that Christians believe, and thus presume to dismiss a two-thousand-year-old tradition that has produced some of the world’s greatest art, music, philosophy and ethics, all on the basis of a caricature of Christianity that is not really held by any educated, thinking Christian.

Priya Lynn
December 22nd, 2012 | LINK

Liam, its standard theology in most churches that if one does not believe in jesus and accept him as one’s boss then that person is going to hell so it is most certainly the case that most christian theology says god is eternally torturing the vast majority of humanity that ever lived for a thought “crime”.

People obsessed with theology and their religion like to think they can speak for most christians when in reality the vast majority of christians hold beliefs nothing like they themselves do. The vast majority of christians know very little about the bible or theology, certainly a lot less than myself and virtually none of them would agree with you that god is not a god.

To say that god is “Being Itself, the reason there is something rather than nothing.” is really a pathetic attempt to sound deep in the hope that your ambigous and nebulous statement will encourage those who disagree with you to think you know something they don’t. B.S. doesn’t impress me Liam, save it for yourself.

To say “He cannot make good evil or evil good. And He cannot act contrary to His nature.” is merely circular logic people use to claim god decides what is moral but that the implications of that do not apply. For example, if god determines what is moral and said to you “When the next innocent child you see comes around the corner I want you to do the moral thing and rape it and set it on fire”. Would you agree that your god determines what is moral and therefore that action would be moral? If you agree then I can accept that you believe your god determines what is moral. If you say no that is not moral then that means you have a moral standard that is independent from your god, a morality that has nothing to do with a god but is based on harm and culpability. If you say (as you’ve already suggested you will) “god cannot act contrary to his nature and would not do that” you’re using circular logic and avoiding the question by saying god is good because its his nature. However, if you didn’t have a concept of morality seperate from your god, one based in culpability and harm it would never cross your mind that it would be immoral for you god to tell you to rape and set fire to an innocent child. If you didn’t have a morality that has nothing to do with the bible and your god you would see no contradiction whatsoever in god telling such a command was moral. Its only because you have a sense of right and wrong derived from extensive personal experience and interaction with others you’ll deny your god could issue such a command and it would be moral.

You say that your god being ominipotent doesn’t mean he can do anything and that point goes more to my argument than to yours.

If you posit a god with the astounding ability to create the universe and the people in it it it isn’t plausible that he couldn’t have created people without the will to do evil and it certainly isn’t plausible that he couldn’t see a world without evil is infinitely more desirable than one with it. So once again we are left with the conclusion that either god does not exist or the evil world is what he wants.

“people who have (rightly) rejected a perversion of Christian teaching as illogical or immoral very often assume that they know very well what it is that Christians believe, and thus presume to dismiss a two-thousand-year-old tradition that has produced some of the world’s greatest art, music, philosophy and ethics, all on the basis of a caricature of Christianity that is not really held by any educated, thinking Christian.”.

Its fitting that you end your comment with an arguement that is an appeal to emotion logical fallacy. It is utterly irrelevant to the arguments I’ve made that christianity is a two thousand year old tradition or that you think it has produced some of the world’s greatest art, music, philosopy, and ethcis. The ethics that have come out of christianity in particular are shamefully arbitrary and bigoted in all too many instances.

It is the height of arrogance for you to
complain that anyone is making “a caricature of Christianity that is not really held by any educated, thinking Christian. The vast majority of christians have no in depth knowledge of christian theology, virtually no christian gives a damn about the word omnipotent, as used in the Nicene Creed, being a translation of the Greek word Pantocrator. What obsessed christians like you and Timothy think is largely irrelevant to this discussion as neither of you represent what the typical christian thinks and believes.

Your entire comment is just a longer version of Timothy’s appeal to authority logical fallacy, neither of you have specifically attempted to refute any argument I’ve made, you both think declaring yourselves experts on christianity and handwaving away the points I’ve raised is sufficient to refute me – it most certainly isn’t.

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