Fear of hell is a perfectly legitimate reason for belief

Is a fear of hell a good reason to believe in God — or become a Christian? It is accused that simply fearing hell is not a good enough reason to convert.  I get it.  But I also see a few reasons to be critical of this objection. First, I don’t think it’s true that very many Christians believe in the God they do for fear of the consequences in the first place.  But even if that is true, it doesn’t render belief irrational. It might not even be a poor reason to believe.

I think this objection makes some critical mistakes. For one, the objection does not address whether believing in God and hell are true beliefs, it simply takes as granted that both God and hell are not real. You first must demonstrate that an idea is false before you can invalidate it as a viable option. This complaint puts the cart before the horse. It assumes God and hell are not real, therefore belief in God and fear of hell are not valid reasons to believe in God and hell.

Secondly, there’s an underlying assumption that fear is an illegitimate motivation to believe in God. I am not convinced this is true either. If hell is a real place, and this is where you will end up without a means for escape, why is trying to obtain the means of escape invalid? Think of other scenarios where this objection would be offered, would fear of a consequence render the solution irrational? Is fear of lung cancer and death an invalid reason to not take up smoking?  After all, not everyone who smokes develops lung cancer and dies. In fact George Burns notoriously smoked cigars nearly his entire life and lived to be 100. Are doctors are just trying to scare you? Maybe.  What about the fear of prison or getting into a fatal crash as a reason to not drive while drunk? As we all know, there are people who can drive drunk without getting into accidents or killing anyone. Are the police just trying to scare you? Perhaps doctors and the police are trying to scare you into behaving or believing in a certain way. But that is not what is important.

If we only deal with the apparent extremeness of the consequence, and not the veracity of it, the objection is meaningless. Motivation for belief is not what is important. The motive for belief does not tell you whether the belief is true. If lung cancer and death is a real consequence of smoking, then fear of death and cancer are correct fears, and abstaining from smoking is a proper response. If prison and/or crashing are real consequences of driving drunk, then fear of prison and accidents are correct fears, and refraining from driving drunk is a proper response. If hell is a real place, then fear of hell is a correct fear, and faith in a Savior is a proper response.

Comments

  1. vincedeporter says:

    A few points I would like to address (as you knew I would, my friend).

    #1 — //You first must demonstrate that an idea is false before you can invalidate it as a viable option. This complaint puts the cart before the horse.//

    • Not really. As humans, we have the ability of abstract thinking. Anyone could very well dispute the logic of any story, like The Odyssey for example. A story does not have to be true to be debated. Most movie critics do that all the time.
    ~~~
    #2// //If we only deal with the apparent extremeness of the consequence, and not the veracity of it, the objection is meaningless. Motivation for belief is not what is important.//

    • Well, I don’t agree there, because motivation is everything for the Biblical God.
    In 2nd Corinthians 9:7 it says:
    “Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.”
    Here the intent of the heart is paramount.
    One thing that the fear of punishment does is to intimidate to obedience. This is true for man’s law, and God’s. Prison or Hell is a compulsory force. Hell is an ultimatum. Not a choice of the heart.
    In 1 Chronicles 29:9, in the OT (and before the concept of Hell was even hinted on), the idea of a willingly ‘giving heart’ under no spectre of eternal punishment states:
    “Then the people rejoiced, for that they offered willingly, because with perfect heart they offered willingly to the LORD: and David the king also rejoiced with great joy.”
    ~~~
    Having said that, I do see your point. Well taken.
    All I’m saying is that consequently the deep intent is not Love but Fear.
    That is what most of us atheists feel is wrong about The character and story of the Abrahamic God…

  2. vincedeporter says:

    Think of it this way; would you prefer your children act out of love for you, or out of fear of the punishment? Food for thought…

  3. At some point we have to become more pro-heaven than just anti-hell. I agree that the fear of hell is a legitimate motivator but it can’t be the primary. The #1 commandment is to love God will all your heart, mind and soul (Matt 22:37). Without love we loose the very essence of what makes Christianity true and unique. The agape love of 1 Corinthians 13 must be our pursuit and must extend to God and others. Otherwise we have nothing.

  4. vincedeporter says:

    Yes zanspence, I agree. I feel this very strongly, albeit an atheist myself.

    Fear is not, in my opinion, the essence of a perfectly legitimate reason for belief.
    It’s a very human sentiment, not one of a spiritual man (which I feel related to non religiously).

    Machiavelli has an interesting perspective in his book The Prince, stating that it was “better to be feared than loved.”
    This is what he says in chapter 17:
    “… men have less scruple in offending one who is beloved than one who is feared, for love is preserved by the link of obligation which, owing to the baseness of men, is broken at every opportunity for their advantage; but fear preserves you by a dread of punishment which never fails.”

    This flies in the face of the first first commandment Jesus gave his disciples, in Matthew 22 :37 —
    “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.”

    Serving with Love or out of fear of punishment seem to be two mutually exclusive heart conditions — and, I at the least believe that would be a tough point to argue.

    • I’m not trying to say fear of hell is the preferable motivator, or even is the motivator in most cases. Only that it isn’t an illegitimate motivator.

      Remember cases in the OT where God acted on outside nations so that they would know who’s boss, so to speak. God also punished Israel in an effort to bring them back.

  5. vincedeporter says:

    Yes, I do understand.
    Maybe my issue is more about why God uses (excessive) fear at all.

    Again, I call upon your fatherly love. Would you scare your kids out of obeying you?

    This brings up a discussion I had a while back with a few people who worked with abused children and adults as professionals.
    The similarities between some believers and those kids were strikingly apparent.
    For example, the Conflicting Emotions, like deep love for the abuser (Stockholm Syndrome); Reliance on the Abuser; and Jealousy being a main sentiment of the abuser.

    Here’s an interesting article on this:
    http://tinyurl.com/hellandlove

  6. “Think of it this way; would you prefer your children act out of love for you, or out of fear of the punishment?”

    That would depend on the age and stage of development of the children. A younger child would not be intellectually able to understand why something must be done, and it may be necessary to instill an artificial negative consequence (punishment, if you will) in order to prevent a disasterous natural negative consequence (like getting killed doing something dangerous). I have one daughter who, as a toddler, had a habit for running off suddenly. At 2 yrs old, she had no understanding that what was in front of her was a street filled with 3000 pound death machines. If spanking her diapered butt meant she wouldn’t run off out of fear of being spanked, I consider that a fair trade off. Did she? She would have had no understanding of the hows and why’s for a few more years.

    My other daughter, on the other hand, wasn’t a dasher like her sister was. She didn’t get the artificial negative consequences in the same way.

    Of course, as my children matured, the need for such punishment became unnecessary. Instead, they had to deal with the natural consequences of their choices and actions. Because of what they learned at an early age – and from their observations of others – they have yet to make any truly bad choices. And I trust them completely.

    To me, parenting is a great metaphor for how God interacts with humans. During our “infancy”, He has had to threaten and punish in order to achieve results, because we humans were not yet developmentally mature enough to understand the consequences of our actions. In time, like any good parent, God backed off and let go as we went through our toddlerhood, our childhood, our adolescent angst and, I hope, adulthood. As adults, we become fully responsible for our own decisions, and the consequences of them. Our parents might still try and warn us (mine certainly still do, and I’m 45), but they can’t force us to act on their advice. I think we’re all aware of “helicopter parents” who can’t let go, doing everything for their kids even after they’ve gone off to university or something. I’ve read professers writing about how many parents – mothers in particular – are doing everything for their little darlings, and even calling the profs to complain about their sweetums’ work loads or poor marks. Even employers have had problems with parents interfering with the interview process and making calls for their kids. The children of these parents often develop ridiculous entitlement attitudes and are largely unemployable.

    What I find disturbing, however, is your leap from “fear of punishment” to “similarities between some believers and those kids were strikingly apparent.” You are, essentially, equating punishment with child abuse, even with the qualifier of “some” thrown in there. I think that demonstrates the core idea behind the objection; to them, the “punishment” (eternal hell) is like abuse (mistreatment due to the nature of the abuser, irrespective of the behaviour of the abused). Punishment is a consequence of actions and choices. If we go to hell, it’s because of our own choices. This is quite different from abuse, which is arbitrary.

    As a side note, I’ve been reading the Koran lately, and that is the biggest difference I notice between God and Allah (yes, I know allah is just the Arabic word for god). God punishes; Allah abuses.

  7. Personally, I think basing one’s belief in God on fear totally misses the best part about God: His love.

  8. “Think of it this way; would you prefer your children act out of love for you, or out of fear of the punishment?”

    What we as parents might prefer is not the issue. The fact is that for most every kid, there is some level of both at work throughout their time under the guidance of their parents. To what degree of either is unique to each individual child. But even those kids who naturally seek to please their parents, who naturally are predisposed to good behavior, are still aware of what might occur should they be in breech of the laws of the household. This cannot help but influence as the level of punishments help the kids understand the gravity of a given “crime” as well as the importance of the preferred behavior.

    It is the same with civil law. The penalties indicate the seriousness of the behaviors prohibited or regulated by law.

    It is uncommon in the human condition to do anything without regard for the consequences, either good or bad. It is somewhat unnatural. How many of us do not think of some reward for good works? Even if we make every effort to remain anonymous, we experience and covet the gratification of knowing we did someone some good and made them happy in some way. Who does anything in a state of complete coldness and unconcern?

    Fear of hell does little to motivate anyone who doesn’t believe. But they are every bit like the Christian in why they do any good works they might do. They do it for some form of reward, even if that reward is simply feeling good about themselves. As they don’t truly have a basis for morality or justice, except to avoid the suffering the lack of both will bring, they assume there is something less than sincere about those for whom the fear of eternal loss of God’s presence is part of their motivation for belief.

  9. vincedeporter says:

    A few thoughts:

    Kunoichi, you say “To me, parenting is a great metaphor for how God interacts with humans,” and ” And I do agree there — hence my problem.

    There is a problem with the Biblical God, in that as a Father he has in effect “abused” his children way before the obvious overkill punishment of Hell. In Genesis, that Father found the creation of his children “good”. Yet, like any “imperfect” creation, he treated them like a prototype and put them thru testing — the kind of testing that in today’s laws, would put this Father in jail for neglect and abuse. Why do I say this?
    Well try to imagine the parallel here: What Father would purposely create a test (tree of knowledge of good and bad), then send a serpent (bad influence) in his own household (Earth) to taunt his children to disobey Him? (Btw, in legal vernacular, this is called “entrapment.”) THEN — punish them and all their descendants (grandchildren, great grandchildren, and so forth)? Worse, expect the now condemned sinner children to obey in fear of eternal Hell (whatever your idea of it is)!

    Do you not see the problem? Why rationalize what your God does when you would throw such a father in jail for identical actions?

    * Not to mention the permanence of eternal punishment totally negating an omnibenevolent god. You can’t have your cake and eat it too.
    ~~~~~

    marshalart, you say “Fear of hell does little to motivate anyone who doesn’t believe. But they are every bit like the Christian in why they do any good works they might do. They do it for some form of reward, even if that reward is simply feeling good about themselves. As they don’t truly have a basis for morality or justice, except to avoid the suffering the lack of both will bring, they assume there is something less than sincere about those for whom the fear of eternal loss of God’s presence is part of their motivation for belief.”

    Yes — I confirm that there is something that perverts the spirit of good moral behaviour when such torturous punishment is part of the equation. Of course! How can that be disputable?
    Now, is that a bad thing? John’s article suggest not. Most of us atheist would claim it’s perverted. All this is, is perspective. But I sincerely disagree with the character of the Abrahamic God. If that makes me deserve eternal Hell, then I rest my case.

    • “There is a problem with the Biblical God, in that as a Father he has in effect “abused” his children way before the obvious overkill punishment of Hell. … Do you not see the problem? Why rationalize what your God does when you would throw such a father in jail for identical actions? ”

      No, I don’t see a problem with it because 1) I am using parenthood as a metaphor, not a substitute, so I don’t expect it to be exactly the same and 2) I am not projecting my own ideas of what a parent should/shouldn’t do onto God based on my parental metaphor or current parental norms (and believe me; parental norms are extremely variable – things you and I might consider abuse is not considered so in another time or place, while things we might consider beneficial is considered harmful by others). What you seem to be doing is projecting how you think God *should* be onto how events are described, then judging God for not doing what you think He should have done. There is no requirement at all for God to be or what you think He should be or do.

      “Not to mention the permanence of eternal punishment totally negating an omnibenevolent god.”

      How? Why? Why should God do differently?

      Let me extend the metaphor a bit. Let’s say you are a parent with a whole quiverfull of children. You raise them up to adulthood, some with more difficulty that others, then they take wing and build their own nests. Some of them remain close to you, and there is a mutually respectful relationship. Some only come to you when things go wrong and they need help. Some do everything you advise them not to do, then complain if you don’t approve of them. Some struggle in their lives, too ashamed to turn to you for help, no matter how much you want to. Etc.

      Then you have some who reject you. They disown you. They deny any relationship with you. Some even go so far as to say horrible things about you and try to convince those children you *do* get along with that you are terrible and do not deserve their love (even as they deny any connection to you).

      Then the time comes to write your will and divide up your inheritance to your children. Would you divide everything up equally among all your children? That would hardly be fair. Why would you give anything at all to the children who denied you, rejected you, hated you and tried to turn others against you? Would you not give more to the children who maintained a healthy relationship with you than the ones who didn’t? Would you not give more to the ones who struggled and were afraid to turn to you, but never denied you, than the ones who constantly did what you told them not to, then moaned and complained because you did not validate their choices?

      God is a just God, and sometimes justice is painful. We will suffer the consequences of our choices and our actions. Our loving God allows us to do this, rather than running roughshod over our individuality and taking away our free will. Our good God allows us to return to Him at any time, offering us His grace and forgiveness. If we choose not to, what justice is there for God act like none of it matters? We have one chance to get it right. If we refuse to accept that our choices will have permanent consequences, than it’s our own fault, not God’s.

  10. Vince,

    Even Christians wonder about certain aspects of God’s nature, methods and expectations for us. But that doesn’t condemn anyone. Rejection of God does, just as rejecting one’s parent would likely find one looking for a place to live. But while no analogy designed to explain God’s character and His relationship to/with us is perfect, The father/child version has its merits. Your rejection of Him, based on what you’ve explained about it in the comments section of this blog suggests a very childlike attitude. Children often judge their parents based on what they are denied by them and, as we see in this discussion, the punishments laid down for violating house rules. They often don’t understand, or even care about, why the rules are in force or how they are just. They simply rebel as they insist on satiating their own desires. This is mankind in general as it relates to its Creator.

    But one thing is overlooked here, is that faith in Christ absolves one of being perfect. One remains human, but faith in Christ grants one the same “status” of perfection. We basically ride on the coattails of Christ’s perfection. So while we might backslide or fail to perfectly represent the perfect Christian, we have no real need to consider the punishment of hell at all. It is not a possibility for one who truly seeks to meet God’s expectations because of our faith in Christ. Most every Christian has some level of doubt as to whether or not one’s faith is strong enough, but this is just a human thing, and while we have those doubts, the thought of hell does not leave us completely. But it need not if our intentions to please God are true.

    So hell as a motivation is not truly a factor at all, and only an argument put forth by non-believers to denigrate the faith and justify their own rebellion.

  11. vincedeporter says:

    Metaphors do have their limits, I will gladly grant you that. They are illustrations for perspective, nothing more.

    However, may I argue the point you have put forward: ” What you seem to be doing is projecting how you think God *should* be onto how events are described, then judging God for not doing what you think He should have done. There is no requirement at all for God to be or what you think He should be or do.”

    Actually there is. It’s called objective moral values.
    Please let me reiterate a point I’ve made before:
    What apologists fail to accept, is that by condoning such standards from God while refusing them for mankind, they void all credit to objective moral values — doing this thru double standards and rationalizing thru rhetoric that has nothing to do with the reality of pain and suffering.

    May I respectfully invite you to read Part 1 of my ongoing series on this site “Objective moral Values and God”. (I’m almost done part 2 — very tough one to articulate, but getting there).
    Just an extract, a syllogism:
    • If God is indeed the creator of Objective Moral Values, it follows that those moral values are Universally Perfect.
    • If God is Perfect, he must then be the embodiment of those moral values to the ultimate Perfection.
    • Therefore, if God does not conform to his perfect Objective Moral Values, it follows that he is not Perfect — or — if God IS Perfect and does not conform to his own Objective Moral Values, then these values are not objectively Universally Perfect.

    We can’t have our cake and eat it too.

    Do you see why Christians who rationalize all of God’s actions lose all credibility for good judgement? Do you understand why if the basic fairness and well being is ignored to promote religious intolerance, others are justified in ignoring any claims about these God(s)?
    You hint on the idea that I’m not smart enough to figure out God, as he is so superior, but if this is the case, on what basis can you be sure to know you are trusting the right source with your human limits? On what basis can any judgement be made? This is the snake biting his tail: if our conscience and judgement is unreliable, what makes one think that it’s reliable in judging Christianity as truth?

    All we have is our conscience and a certain feel for obvious moral values.
    The God of the Bible is a self-proclaimed jealous God harboring vengeance and the menace of eternal and unforgiving punishment closed to any redemption! In what world is it acceptable to be beyond one’s own demands and expectations?

    There is no excuse for a Father to not be a good example to his children — and as a father myself, I would not be too eager to offer Yahweh as a role model to my kids.

    • There is a great deal in what you’ve written to respond to, but it would not be possible to do so here; you have made a lot of interpretive twists and turns that make little sense to me. I will try to adress a few key things that stand out.

      “Actually there is. It’s called objective moral values.”
      You say that, as an atheist, you have objective moral values. How? Why? The whole point of morals being ojbective, rather than subjective, is that they are true *even if no one agrees with them*. This requires that the source be external, not internal. As atheism does not accept an external source (God, in this discussion), it has no logical foundation for objective morals. What you are trying to do is redefine “objective” as internal, thereby creating an illusory foundation. You are, to use the phrase you see so fond of, trying to have your cake and eat it, too. You also seem to be creating your own definitions of “morals”, “values” and “subjective,” as well. Plus, in your post, you contradict yourself by saying there are objective and relative morals at the same time. Even how you use the term “moral values” is problematic. Morality refers to what is right and good in human behaviour; value refers to what something is worth; what is important. Your use of the words together confuses and conflates the issues.

      “You hint on the idea that I’m not smart enough to figure out God, as he is so superior, ”

      I’m not sure, exactly, where I have hinted that you’re not smart enough about anything. Are you, prehaps, reading more into what I’ve written than is actually there? I suspect, perhaps, it was my comments about projection (correct me if I’m wrong). Projection is an extremely common logical fallacy. We all do it. The problem is when we base our conclusions on our projections. What I am seeing in your comments and the post you refer to is a tremendous amount of judgements based on projections. As an example, you write, ” the Bible not only condones slavery, but God legislated it!”

      No, God did no such thing. First, when we think of “slavery”, we in North America have very specific ideas of what that means, based on what happened in the US. My father was a slave during WWII and his experience was quite different. Slavery is very much alive and thriving today, but it does not look like the Southern US did a couple of hundred years ago. That’s how a wealthy family in Vancouver, for example, can get away with having a slave and no one realizing it. Second, what was referred to as slavery among ancient Hebrews is not slavery as practised by their pagan neighbours. What they had was more like what we would call indentured servitude; it was often voluntary and, every 7 years, the “slave” was to be set go, free of debt and provided with supplies. Or, the “slave” could choose to remain indentured. The “legislated” slavery you refer to was actually a dramatic improvement on how slaves were treated. It was a baby step forward.

      Another example: “like forcing a raped girl to marry her rapist. ” This is completely backwards. Look to the culture being lived in at the time. To begin with, in Jewish culture, the sex act defined marriage. A marriage was not legitimate until it was consummated, no matter how many ceremonies, blessings or whatever. This remained true even to modern times (one of my high school teachers described a couple he knew that was able to get divorced easily, after being together for decades, because they could prove their marriage had never been consummated). If you had sex with someone, you were considered married.

      By projecting our modern sensibilities on the scenerio, we think of this as the woman somehow being punished by being forced to marry the rapist. It is the *rapist* that is being forced to marry her. A woman who was raped was culturally rejected, by her community, her friends, her family. She was “damaged goods” and her prospects in life were extremely bleak. By forcing the rapist to marry her (which they technically already were, through the sex act), he was forced to abide by the requirements made of a husband. He had to support her, care for her and be responsible for her. He would even be required to love her (note: love is a verb; it is not just an emotion. Emotions are fickle and transitory; love is required of a married couple as an action). The rapist is held responsible for his crime, and the woman is saved from what would likely be a short, harsh life of rejection.

      We can look back at these through the lens of modernity and wonder why God didn’t just do X, Y or Z and make it all better. God dealt with humanity based on how we were at the time. Remember, God had to *repeatedly* tell his own people to stop sacrificing their children to other gods and oh, ladies? When you’re on your cycle, try not to bleed everywhere (menstrual blood, btw, was used a great deal in fertility rites, so defining it as “unclean” was a major step). I rather like how my daughter described it, as she was going through the Old Testament; God had to drag His people, kicking and screaming, out of depravity, and they fought him every step of the way. She also made some interesting observations about just how different humans had to have been, mentally, to be able to do the things they did. I think the answer to that potentially lies in epigenetics. To simplify it, I suspect that there was some actual brain damage involved, and the damage was done right from conception (as we now know can happen), and we are seeing similar damage in the world today. That’s a discussion for another time, though.

      Okay, this is already getting too long and I have to get off the computer. I just want to add that, in reading your posts and comments, what I am seeing is not logic, but emotionalism. It has been my experience that “logic” is what people use to justify their emotional responses. This is not necessarily a bad thing, but it can be. In your writing (knowing nothing else about you) I am seeing a lot of twisting and turning of definitions, projection, emotionalism and judgementalism based on those.

      Bleck. I feel that I am being very sloppy in my response and would really like to be clearer, but I don’t have the time.

  12. vincedeporter says:

    //The whole point of morals being ojbective, rather than subjective, is that they are true *even if no one agrees with them*. This requires that the source be external, not internal.//

    Says who?
    Why?
    Objectivity does not have to “have a source”… it IS a source. That’s what separates it from subjectivity! There is no external or internal in this. What makes you think there are?
    ~~~
    //Morality refers to what is right and good in human behaviour; value refers to what something is worth; what is important. Your use of the words together confuses and conflates the issues.//

    I think you don’t get what I mean. Maybe I’m not articulating this well enough.
    You are subjectively placing morality as “to what is right and good in ‘human’ behaviour…” It doesn’t get more subjective than that. What I’m talking about is objective and universal moral values.
    You are pulling it all down to human perspective. You are vulgarizing the issue.
    Subjectively.
    ~~~
    // What I am seeing in your comments and the post you refer to is a tremendous amount of judgements based on projections. As an example, you write, ” the Bible not only condones slavery, but God legislated it! No, God did no such thing.”//

    WHO is projecting here? Do you really deny that God condoned slavery and legislated it? I don’t mean the slavery you talk about related to debt (which was also practiced) — but the very definition of slavery we should abhor?
    • Leviticus 25:44-46:
    “As for your male and female slaves whom you may have—you may acquire male and female slaves from the pagan nations that are around you.Then, too, it is out of the sons of the sojourners who live as aliens among you that you may gain acquisition, and out of their families who are with you, whom they will have produced in your land; they also may become your possession.You may even bequeath them to your sons after you, to receive as a possession; you can use them as permanent slaves. But in respect to your countrymen, the sons of Israel, you shall not rule with severity over one another.”
    • Also, in Exodus 21:20-21:
    “When a man strikes his male or female slave with a rod so hard that the slave dies under his hand, he shall be punished. If, however, the slave survives for a day or two, he is not to be punished, since the slave is his own property.”
    • Even Jesus talked about it as ‘normal’ in Luke 12:47-48″
    “And that slave who knew his master’s will and did not get ready or act in accord with his will, will receive many lashes, but the one who did not know it, and committed deeds worthy of [a]a flogging, will receive but few. From everyone who has been given much, much will be required; and to whom they entrusted much, of him they will ask all the more.”
    How can you deny this? And why would you? Do you deny this form of slavery was Biblical?
    ~~~
    //A woman who was raped was culturally rejected, by her community, her friends, her family. She was “damaged goods” and her prospects in life were extremely bleak. By forcing the rapist to marry her (which they technically already were, through the sex act), he was forced to abide by the requirements made of a husband. He had to support her, care for her and be responsible for her.//

    Oh! I used that one too. Shame on me. It should boggle the mind to use such outlandish rationalizations to excuse God’s laws in the Bible.
    Do you not think that God could have forced her community, her friends, and family to NOT reject the victim of a rape? Is it right to make rape an “impractical” issue instead of a crime? On what side is your moral conscience working here? Do you not see that you are arguing the consequence instead of the source problem?
    And of course, one must question the good potential for husbandhood of a rapist…
    This is a poor attempt to excuse the Mosaic Law, that is obviously and objectively wrong!
    ~~~
    //God dealt with humanity based on how we were at the time.//

    If this is true, then God was not using objective moral values “at the time”.
    Period.
    Objective moral values do not change once in place. They can only be “twisted” to serve a purpose, even a good one — but that is not practicing objective morals perfectly — as God ought to by definition.
    ~~~
    // what I am seeing is not logic, but emotionalism. It has been my experience that “logic” is what people use to justify their emotional responses. This is not necessarily a bad thing, but it can be. In your writing (knowing nothing else about you) I am seeing a lot of twisting and turning of definitions, projection, emotionalism and judgementalism based on those.//

    That is also my impression of you. Ironic I know — and I mean no disrespect.
    I write passionately, and this may be misunderstood as the driving force of my argument — but I deny it is the main force.
    I am not trying to fit scripture to my bias like I used to (and that is why I have already used your very arguments before). I am looking at the forest. A lot can be seen and understood once broken out of Biblical circular thinking.

    Christians say that objective moral values come from God.
    I say they do not.
    My syllogism still works and has yet to be properly argued against.
    It I’m wrong — I will stand corrected.
    Can you say the same in earnest?

    • Vince

      Of moral imperatives dont come from someone, how could it be said to be an imparative? Rocks dont tell me what I should do. It has to jave a source. Obligations come from someone, theyre not just there. No thing can oblige me to anything.

    • “My syllogism still works and has yet to be properly argued against.”

      Actually, it has been properly argued against, many times. You resort to an aweful lot of mental gymanstics that make no logical sense. It’s those very twists and turns that make you unable to recognise that your point has been refuted, repeatedly. (Also, my definition of morality was a dictionary definition, not my own, so you can’t blame me for “vulgarizing the issue”.)

      I will give one example, because there is clearly no point in addressing the rest of your word plays.

      “Objectivity does not have to “have a source”… it IS a source. That’s what separates it from subjectivity! There is no external or internal in this. ”

      Objectivity:
      noun
      1. the state or quality of being objective.
      2. intentness on objects external to the mind.
      3. external reality.

      adj.
      1. existing independently of perception or an individual’s conceptions
      2. undistorted by emotion or personal bias

      Subjective:
      1. existing in the mind; belonging to the thinking subject rather than to the object of thought (opposed to objective ).
      2. pertaining to or characteristic of an individual; personal; individual: a subjective evaluation.
      3. placing excessive emphasis on one’s own moods, attitudes, opinions, etc.; unduly egocentric.
      4. Philosophy . relating to or of the nature of an object as it is known in the mind as distinct from a thing in itself.
      5. relating to properties or specific conditions of the mind as distinguished from general or universal experience.

      Subjectivity:
      noun
      1. the state or quality of being subjective; subjectiveness.
      2. a subjective thought or idea.
      3. intentness on internal thoughts.
      4. internal reality.

      adj.
      1. belonging to, proceeding from, or relating to the mind of the thinking subject and not the nature of the object being considered
      2. of, relating to, or emanating from a person’s emotions, prejudices, etc: subjective views
      3. relating to the inherent nature of a person or thing; essential
      4. existing only as perceived and not as a thing in itself

      Objectivity is, by definition, external. Therefore, for objective morals to exist, they *must* be external. As objectivity is a state or quality, it cannot be a source, in and of itself.

      If morals are internal then they are, by definition, subjective, because each person’s internal views are their own. The individual is the source of subjectivity.

      If objective morals must be external, then they must have a source. If there are objective morals that apply to all humans, then the source of that objectivity must be from a source outside of humanity, otherwise it become subjective.

  13. vincedeporter says:

    Because objective imperative just “are”. Just like the rocks you mention. You are compelled by simple sanity to not hit your head on a rock, or stay under a fallen one.

    Some obligations are intrinsic to good sense, with rational force.

    Actually a “thing” CAN oblige you to something; Gravity obligates you to many things — just to name one. Extreme cold or heat obligates you to rational actions too… I could go on…

    What I am arguing is that some moral values are universally and rationally based, therefore obligate any sane person to bend to their push or pull.

    There is, as far as I can fathom, no reason to even suggest that moral values are linked to a “maker” of these values… especially since the maker in question does not follow these values. Of course I also see no evidence that gravity or hot and cold has a maker with anthropomorphic attributes. I do find it very human to believe so.

    • what happens when no one thinks the thing is immoral? Like American slavery, or the Nazi Holocaust?

      Gravity can compel me to fall to the ground, but its an actual force. By compel I mean impose on me a moral imperative. That I should do something even if it doesnt benefit me or I dont want to do it. I should give the homeless man begging for food my sandwich, it wouldnt benefit me at all, and I might not want to part with it, but I should do it. What is the natural force to gravity which says what you should do?

  14. vincedeporter says:

    //what happens when no one thinks the thing is immoral? Like American slavery, or the Nazi Holocaust?//

    Then we have a situation where someone goes against universal and objective moral values. As per your examples. This is true regardless of the moral source.
    The exception only confirms the rule of values.
    ~~~~

    Otherwise, nothing really compels you to be moral. Not you, not me. Not theists nor atheists. This is something rooted into our conscience. Again, we have seen in less than a hundred years how we are evolving as a society to better moral values. Some along the way in the past have given us values that would become universal, objective. But as I argued above, 2,000 years ago these values were not in our common conscience, although God was right there and gave evidence of his existence.

    Altruism seems to always call for a moral ‘source’ — but I argue that morality IS the source.
    I still fail to see what a God would add to the equation!

  15. vincedeporter says:

    Am I blind here? Kunoichi, where in all the dictionary’s definition do you see objectivity as needing a source??

    Objectivity:
    noun
    1. the STATE or QUALITY of being objective. — an IS.
    2. intentness on objects external to the mind. — IS.
    3. external reality. — an IS.

    adj.
    1. existing INDEPRNDANTLY of perception or an INDIVIDUAL’S CONCEPTION (like God) — An IS yet again.
    2. undistorted by emotion or personal bias — again, an IS. No suggestion to a source. It IS the source.

    For the definition of Subjectivity, the definition makes it clear that it exists “in the mind; belonging to the thinking subject rather than to the object of thought (opposed to objective ).” — Subjectivity HAS a source; the mind. (as opposed to objectivity, that is independent of the mind — even God’s.

    I personally resent the accusation of twist and turns. My argument is strait-forward, following precise dictionary definition — and logical. But it does not fit your bias. Sorry, I cannot help you there. If you refuse to see the logic of how moral values evolve, and how those values become “source” and do not come from a unique personal mindful source (which would be the epitome of subjectivity), then I rest my case.

  16. vincedeporter says:

    Sorry for the typos…

  17. vincedeporter says:

    It is also well noted that the scriptures that I brought up (in context) have not been called upon for the claim that God has in fact condoned and organized slavery, the kind that needs much rationalization to excuse. The immoral one.

    I also note that although stated that my syllogism was taken apart, it has not. Not in a long shot… which surprises me because I never would claim it as rock solid… though it may be. Nonetheless, no logical and systematical deconstruction was made.
    The only thing that was said is that I started on a false premise, which is odd since the first words are “IF”…

    The ball is in your court.

    • Vince,

      With all due respect, you need to take a class in ancient culture or something. The slavery as described in the Bible is in no sense comparable to the slavery we think of in the modern world. Not even close. People weren’t kidnapped and sold into slavery. In fact, God prohibited such practices.

      “He who kidnaps a man, whether he sells him or he is found in his possession, shall surely be put to death.” (Exodus 21:16)

      Secondly, you’re talking about a time in history where the idea of “government welfare” was completely unheard of. Slavery was in fact a form of welfare for poor people. They were given food to eat and a place to live in return for their service. All the rules and guidelines in the Bible regarding the practce are intended to protect the slave, not the slaveowner.

      • vincedeporter says:

        What I don’t understand to be honest is why you all ignore the few scriptures I offered that showcases the violence and inhumane treatment of slaves that clearly have nothing to do with welfare — another side of slavery that I aknowledge.

        Then the personal attacks on assuming I do not have the knowledge of history needed! There are always to take scripture out of context. I assure you that the case for a slavery closer to what we have in in American history is solid. In fact Christianity played a huge part in this immoral practice.

        We can argue the good points of slavery all we want. They don’t negate the sheer immorality of it. I also notice that my argument on rape is untouched. So be it.

        • Vince,

          Please, post these so-called Scriptures that prove slavery in Biblical times was inhumane or at all close to the modern definition.

          I’d like to see them.

    • Vince,

      I absolutely responded to your syllogism, if it’s the same one you posted in the other thread a week or two ago. I responded but I don’t think you did.

    • Vince,

      Nevermind. That was a different syllogism. I see the one you offered in this thread. My apologies.

  18. vincedeporter says:

    Sure Terrance.
    Here are the ones quoted above:
    • Leviticus 25:44-46:
    “As for your male and female slaves whom you may have—you may acquire male and female slaves from the pagan nations that are around you.Then, too, it is out of the sons of the sojourners who live as aliens among you that you may gain acquisition, and out of their families who are with you, whom they will have produced in your land; they also may become your possession.You may even bequeath them to your sons after you, to receive as a possession; you can use them as permanent slaves. But in respect to your countrymen, the sons of Israel, you shall not rule with severity over one another.”
    • Also, in Exodus 21:20-21:
    “When a man strikes his male or female slave with a rod so hard that the slave dies under his hand, he shall be punished. If, however, the slave survives for a day or two, he is not to be punished, since the slave is his own property.”
    • Even Jesus talked about it as ‘normal’ in Luke 12:47-48″
    “And that slave who knew his master’s will and did not get ready or act in accord with his will, will receive many lashes, but the one who did not know it, and committed deeds worthy of [a]a flogging, will receive but few.”

    Also, I argue the context of the scripture you gave me in Exodus 21:16, because this was about making a slave out of a fellow Israelite, hence following both your comment and Kunoichi’s claiming I did not know what kind of slavery I was talking about. This slavery was indeed a loving option for less fortunate ones.

    BUT — I am not talking about this form of slavery.

    I am surprised that this situation pertaining to the Hebrews only is used as a red herring, as if the Biblical God was not to be accused of the kind of slavery offered in CONTEXT of Leviticus 25. In verses 39 to 46 there is a clear distinction between the types of slavery for the Hebrews, and that of surrounding nations. The latter were even offered down as “permanent slaves” to the owners descendance!
    As for the Hebrew slave, it was an option, so non permanent — as it states in verse 55, “… [the Hebrew slave] shall still go out in the year of jubilee, he and his sons with him.
    For the sons of Israel are My servants; they are My servants whom I brought out from the land of Egypt. I am the Lord your God.”

    I hope that helped put my argument in proper context.
    I could go on and talk about the practice of sex-slave in Exodus 21:7-10, and please try to defend this from the girl’s point of view.
    Again, I could go on…

  19. vincedeporter says:

    I haven’t even touched on the Bible’s morality on rape and the treatment of women.
    When you have time, read some of these in context:

    Deuteronomy 21:10-14
    Judges 5:30
    Zechariah 14:1-2
    Deuteronomy 22:23-24
    Numbers 31:17
    … again, in context. Feel your conscience for crying out loud, and tell me you do not find this despicable!

    I’m still on Part 2 of my series on Objective Moral Values… it’s a lot of work to boil it down to the basics without altering context or meaning… this is important for me. It is important because the claim is that Moral values come from SOMEONE. Consequently that someone can order anything (like the above verses) and it will be deemed “moral”. It is pure nonsense. People have been accused as war criminals for following such orders from their “source”.

  20. vincedeporter says:

    Again, here is the syllogism I offer to be broken down if false.
    I am still waiting for someone to seriously address this:

    • If God is indeed the creator of Objective Moral Values, it follows that those moral values are Universally Perfect.

    • If God is Perfect, he must then be the embodiment of those moral values to the ultimate Perfection.

    • Therefore, if God does not conform to his perfect Objective Moral Values, it follows that he is not Perfect — or — if God IS Perfect and does not conform to his own Objective Moral Values, then these values are not objectively Universally Perfect.

  21. vincedeporter says:

    A thought also occurred to me that if moral values come from God, then they are subjective from His standpoint — OR — they are intrinsically objective and He has no choice than to follow them Himself, hence not being the originator of these values.

  22. vincedeporter says:

    I’m kinda repeating myself, sorry…

  23. vincedeporter says:

    On what basis of reference? The Bible *claim* that his nature is holy?
    Hardly a statement that has any universal reference to attract all cultures to this God in particular — especially since as I have been pointing out with scripture, that his character is at the least questionable.

    I think we can all agree that a simple statement cannot serve as evidence to anything.

    You say he is Holy, because your chosen source of trust says so. But you and I know that this is circular argumentation.
    What we need to establish in the first place is the trustworthiness of this source and if it makes sense in the Universal context.

    — I posit that it does not.

    I do not call on a written source, but to our observable evolved conscience of the past centuries. On the objective moral values that have a rational advantage to human society and our environment.
    I call on the fact that no Christian would allow in his/her conscience the type of moral values the God of the Bible practices on a humane standpoint.
    That’s why I pointed to a few obvious ones:
    Rape
    Slavery
    Genocide
    Jealous
    vengeful spirit with no forgiveness…
    etc…

  24. vincedeporter says:

    The challenge I offer is to give me good Biblical references (in context) that show us that Yahweh exemplifies objective moral values. That should not be hard if he is indeed the ultimate reference of these values.
    Just expect me to broaden the context — because I argue that you will not find any scripture that supports Yahweh’s moral superiority.

    Trust me, I tried hard to make Cinderella’s shoe fit. You may have better luck.
    I became an atheist against my most enthusiastic bias against it… if I have missed something, this is a good place to start.

    I wouldn’t be here if I didn’t think you could make a better argument than I.

  25. Vince,

    Leviticus 25:44-46 saved non-Jews from executions as POWs and in many cases famine as a result of war.

    Exodus 21:20-21 describes the punishment for beating a slave. It doesn’t condone it or give permission. You’ve simply misread the passage. It affirms “life for life” if the slaveowners intent was to kill.

    In Luke 12:47-48, Jesus is merely describing a fact of life at the time. Yes, slaves were sometimes beaten for acting contrary to their masters will. But this doesn’t negate the fact that slavery was primarily an employer/employee contract. Even today people are reprimanded at work all the time. They aren’t beaten, of course, but that fact reflects the reality of modern life. Things were different then.

    Nearly every passage you’ve quoted describes guidelines for the treatment of slaves. They in fact are intended to protect the slave. And none of them gives God’s approval of the practice. In fact, Matthew 19:3-10 proves it.

    Some Pharisees came to him to test him. They asked, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any and every reason?”

    4 “Haven’t you read,” he replied, “that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female, 5 and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’[b]? 6 So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.”

    7 “Why then,” they asked, “did Moses command that a man give his wife a certificate of divorce and send her away?”

    8 Jesus replied, “Moses permitted you to divorce your wives because your hearts were hard. But it was not this way from the beginning. 9 I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another woman commits adultery.”

    10 The disciples said to him, “If this is the situation between a husband and wife, it is better not to marry.”

    You see that God permitted many things in keeping with the nature of the people at the time. For proof that slavery should be viewed in much the same way, I quote Gleason L. Archer,

    As to the moral status of slavery in ancient times, it must be recognized that it was practiced by every ancient people of which we have any historical record: Egyptians, Sumerians, Babylonians, Assyrians, Phoenicians, Syrians, Moabites, Ammonites, Edomites, Greeks, Romans, and all the rest.”

    The difference between the Israelites and those other peoples is that Israel recognized the human dignity of the slaves and recognized them as full persons. Simply read Deuteronomy 5:14 and Job 31:13-15.

    You might also read Galatians 3:28: “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”

    And Colossians 3:11, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”

    It seems to me that if God endorsed the inhumane treatment of slaves, as you seem to suggest, then He would naturally view slaves as being unworthy of His love – yet the Bible proves this isn’t the case.

    It seems God’s interest is in salvation rather than reforming societies that will inevitably fall…

  26. vincedeporter says:

    I must admit, this was a good comeback.

    However, not at all convincing to me quite yet, because it totally bypasses certain facts still blatantly obvious:

    //Leviticus 25:44-46 saved non-Jews from executions as POWs//
    Saved from the execution imposed by whom?
    //and in many cases famine as a result of war.//
    As a result of war from whom?
    Aren’t you forgetting the fact that these wars were ordered by God in the first place?

    //You’ve simply misread the passage. It affirms “life for life” if the slaveowners intent was to kill.//
    I disagree. It does not suggest intent, it suggests life for life IF the punishment turned lethal. Do you understand what level of pain is inflicted to someone who “survives” only 2 days later?
    The fact is that it was okay to inflict close-to-deadly pain and suffering to slaves.
    My point on the moral value of this still stands.

    //But this doesn’t negate the fact that slavery was primarily an employer/employee contract.//
    I don’t think I need to argue the misleadingness of this sentence.

    I also note your argument that God just “permitted many things in keeping with the nature of the people at the time.” Hardly the position of a responsible Heavenly Father now is it?
    You let your kids make the rules, then abide to their rules? Who’s the boss?
    Rationalizations these are…

    //It seems to me that if God endorsed the inhumane treatment of slaves, as you seem to suggest, then He would naturally view slaves as being unworthy of His love – yet the Bible proves this isn’t the case.//
    I find this circular…
    First, God DEMANDS love and obedience. I have read in these very pages that we cannot ‘deserve’ nor ‘win’ his forgiveness; that there are no degrees of sin. So the logic of him naturally viewing slaves as being ‘more’ unworthy of His love does not follow.
    Secondly, you will have a hard time “proving” the Bible has a case for your argument. But, by all means, please indulge my curiosity… and I mean that in earnest.

    John, please read the above scriptures I referred to. It doesn’t say God “likes” these things, but he sure uses them to promote his show of strength and glory. In doing so, he stoops to human mayhem and war, not even close to objective moral values.

  27. vincedeporter says:

    I want to make a pause here to express my gratitude to you all for your class act.
    It is refreshing to debate — even hard — while still respecting the other. I admire your faith because it is not mindless, and as far as lazy as I have ever seen.

    I really appreciate this instructive and well learned debate.

    I hope I have never let myself be disrespectful. My passion can sometimes cut a bit, and if I have ever given any of you this impression, I apologize.

    You have managed to change my mind on some things. I know my brain is subject to bias and emotion. I fight that a lot. I really am a seeker of truth — as much as we can get close to it of course… and this journey sees me limping more than walking, as I have tripped many times in my eagerness to move forward. So I know that feedback is essential to keep me standing. Your feedback is important to me. It may change me, it may not.

    All I can really say is a sincere thank you for your kind patience with me.
    It can’t always be easy! *wink!*

  28. Vince,

    It was quite common in the ancient world to execute prisoners of war, and though the Israelites weren’t above such things, they often took POWs into bondage, certainly the more benevolent choice.

    Aren’t you forgetting the fact that these wars were ordered by God in the first place?

    No, I’m not. It just isn’t relevant.

    I disagree. It does not suggest intent, it suggests life for life IF the punishment turned lethal. Do you understand what level of pain is inflicted to someone who “survives” only 2 days later? The fact is that it was okay to inflict close-to-deadly pain and suffering to slaves. My point on the moral value of this still stands.

    No, I don’t think your point stands. Slave masters were not allowed to kill their slaves or cause them great bodily harm. The punishment for killing a slave immediately – which shows intent – was death. The punishment for severely injuring a slave was loss of the slave. Yes, that’s right. The master was required to set his slave free as compensation for the injury. (Ex. 21:26-27).

    You’re also failing to consider that all slaves, Hebrew and Alien, were full members of their master’s household, and as such were expected to keep the Sabbath, be circumcised, partake in sacrifices, and could even inherit their master’s property! (Genesis 15:3). So, while it may be fashionable to ridicule the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, much of the criticism is utterly unfounded and reeks of sciolism.

    I also note your argument that God just “permitted many things in keeping with the nature of the people at the time.” Hardly the position of a responsible Heavenly Father now is it? You let your kids make the rules, then abide to their rules? Who’s the boss? Rationalizations these are…

    It shows God’s love. People are not capable of living in accordance with God’s will – yet He loves us anyway and wants us to be saved.

    First, God DEMANDS love and obedience. I have read in these very pages that we cannot ‘deserve’ nor ‘win’ his forgiveness; that there are no degrees of sin. So the logic of him naturally viewing slaves as being ‘more’ unworthy of His love does not follow.

    You’ve made my point. We’re all equal in God’s sight, whether Jew, Gentile, Slave, or Freeman, we’re equal. And so God demanded that slaves be treated with a measure of dignity. These passages you say support your claim simply do not; they disprove it.

    I want to make a pause here to express my gratitude to you all for your class act. It is refreshing to debate — even hard — while still respecting the other. I admire your faith because it is not mindless, and as far as lazy as I have ever seen.

    I’m certainly glad to have you here. I don’t mind that you’re an atheist. We love debating with atheists on Sifting Reality. It’s just difficult to find atheists who honestly want to debate. Most of them seem to want to insult us for our belief.

    I hope I have never let myself be disrespectful. My passion can sometimes cut a bit, and if I have ever given any of you this impression, I apologize.

    LOL. Ha! I’m the most condescending writer on this blog! My rhetorical style is so matter of fact and to the point that it comes off as rude and disrespectful…But to answer your question, no, I’ve not thought you disrespectful once.

    We’re glad to have you, Vince, We hope you stick around. And I’m not trying to speak for John; I just know he’ll agree with me.

    • Vince

      You miss at least to things in your comments.

      First God did command wars. Why? To reclaim the land that had been taken by other nations. Or, to exact judgment on wicked nations. Atheists claim God is immoral for allowing evil, then when he brings judgment on evil people atheists claim he’s not loving and merciful. Talk about playing both sides of a coin.

      Next, God doesnt demand love and obedience from anyone, he expects it. You are free to not comply with that expectation.

  29. vincedeporter says:

    Thank you for making me feel at home here — which I do.

    Terrance, I have considered your comment a lot. I really do understand your perspective and how this explains your beliefs. But something really feels wrong for me. The very Character of God is a splinter in my conscience. This is relatively new — it really started when I became a father… or should I say that old doubts crept up on me when my first son was born… and I fought those for years. In trying to make everything fit in deep study of the scriptures, a big picture started to become apparent. I struggled so much that a deep depression settled in, and it ended up in a serious suicide attempt. I had lost it for a couple of days… bear in mind I had no interest in atheism, was an old earth creationist, and feared to be an apostate.

    I still have trouble dealing with it sometimes. But overall I don’t battle with any cognitive dissonance anymore. I had it since I was 12. Now I’m in peace and in a coherent place.
    There must be something to that peace, especially when it went full front against a lifetime bias.
    I don’t fear death anymore. I feel compelled by reason and love to leave this life a better place than I found it coming in. I strongly feel that we must as people continue to evolve to finer tuning of our moral values. I’m just a spit in the Universe… but like Horton learned himself, “A person’s a person, no matter how small (and can greatly help the surrounding community, as the lesson goes)!”

    So I do not believe this God is a good role model by any stretch of the moral imagination.

    From your comments, I also wanted to correct the idea that when I said “First, God DEMANDS love and obedience” I wasn’t making your point — I was arguing FROM you point. Hence, the confusion.
    For the rest, your I understand your perspective, while I do not agree that it takes all elements in consideration. It is based on the circular logic from the Bible. Take a step back in earnest, and look at the forest around the Biblical tree, and you may see something totally different, as I did… against my most cherished beliefs.
    I know what it is to lose a lifetime investment in a belief, not to mention the pressure of disappointing our peers. A lot to lose for Truth — with a lot to be gained nonetheless.
    At least that is my experience.
    ~~~
    John, two points:

    //First God did command wars. Why? To reclaim the land that had been taken by other nations. Or, to exact judgment on wicked nations. Atheists claim God is immoral for allowing evil, then when he brings judgment on evil people atheists claim he’s not loving and merciful. Talk about playing both sides of a coin.//

    Sounds like the Gaza strip syndrome. Everyone claims the Land as theirs. This is a VERY human venture, and if God was all powerful, he could have displaced those nations peacefully — a cinch for the all powerful Creator of the Universe.
    As for their “evil” sacrificing to Molech (for example), it seems quite ironic that God would frown upon it since 1) he created the concept of sacrifice, and 2) he was aiming to sacrifice the Son himself! Hardly avoiding double standards.
    I also dispute the idea that we atheists are playing both sides of the coin.
    Trust me, our idea of evil is not the Abrahamic God’s idea of evil.

    //Next, God doesnt demand love and obedience from anyone, he expects it. You are free to not comply with that expectation.//

    Not so at all. The first commandment is to Love God. “You must…” in the first “commandment”.
    People always call on free will for obeying God or not. This is at the least a definition fallacy! “Do or die” is not a choice!
    Death is a punishment or consequence of disobeying — not a choice.
    A choice would be an alternative — clearly, God is NOT giving anyone an alternative. It’s ONE way, or death.
    In plain and correct english, we call this an “ultimatum”.
    Certainly not a choice.

    I do not know how one can dispute that in earnest.

  30. vincedeporter says:

    The last comment inspired me to write a short article on the issue of God-given Free Will. I hope you will argue the point.
    The point being that there is big difference between “choice” and “consequence”. They are not synonyms…

    http://vincedeporter.wordpress.com/2014/02/05/free-will-or-ultimatum/

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