68. Is God… evil?

GodEatingBabyWTF

The God of the Old Testament is arguably the most unpleasant character in all fiction: jealous and proud of it; a petty, unjust, unforgiving control-freak; a vindictive, bloodthirsty ethnic cleanser; a misogynistic, homophobic, racist, infanticidal, genocidal, filicidal, pestilential, megalomaniacal, sadomasochistic, capriciously malevolent bully.
— Richard Dawkins, The God Delusion

God is completely sovereign. God is infinite in wisdom. God is perfect in love. God in His love always wills what is best for us.
— Jerry Bridges

How is it that Christians and atheists can reach such strongly opposing conclusions about God’s benevolence?

It may come down to a simple matter of faith, but “evil” is also an ambiguous term, one that believers and non-believers tend to define differently. So in tackling this difficult question, let’s start by briefly examining how each side tends to define evil. We’ll then see if we can find any common ground, explore some of God’s allegedly “evil” deeds, and try to determine if God truly qualifies as evil.

(Note: there is also some debate over whether or not God confesses to doing evil. For now, we’ll focus on his actions, rather than this debatable confession.)

A Secular Definition of Evil

While secular definitions of evil may vary, evil tends to be measured using the tools of empathy and reason: the more pain and suffering caused, and the less purpose it serves, the more evil the perpetrator.

But for non-believers, the word “evil” does not carry the same cosmic, eternal, or religious connotations that it carries with believers. It is humans who ultimately decide what is evil, and these human judgments are often subjective (e.g. “One man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter”).

But while the term “evil” may be subjective, suffering can be measured to some degree.

For example, it can be safely argued that being burned is objectively more painful than not being burned. Or the parent of a kidnapped child is going to be more emotionally distraught than one whose child is safe at home.

Suffering is objective enough that most civilizations can agree on which “evil” behaviors (those which create suffering) should be discouraged or outlawed. But evil is not always black and white.

A Christian Definition of Evil

For most Christians, the definition of evil stems from God alone. If God declares something evil, than this is an absolute and objective truth: it is a fact. 

While this definition sounds simple enough in theory, it can be more difficult to employ in practice.

For example, is it evil to divorce one’s spouse and marry another? What about in cases of abuse?

Is it evil for one man to marry another man?

Is it evil to steal? In absolutely every case? What about to feed a starving child?

Is it evil to violate any Old Testament laws? Which ones, exactly?

If evil is an absolute and objective fact, it’s definition should be universally and inherently understood. We should all know good from evil just as we know light from dark, but rarely do all religions and denominations agree on what qualifies as evil.

There is also what is known as the “Euthyphro dilemma,” which questions where God gets his definitions. If God can arbitrarily decide what is good or evil, then even Satan could be a “good” God, by simply defining his works as “good.” But if this definition comes from outside God, then from whence does it come? Or if this definition is based on reason, then why not explain his reasoning?

In short, non-believers tend to define evil as subjectively defined by humans, while believers tend to define it as objectively defined by God, even if they can’t agree on a definition, or its source.

Finding Some Common Ground

Since we need to start somewhere, I would wager that both believers and non-believers would (at least) agree that we should try to treat others in ways we like to be treated (aka “the Golden Rule” or the “law of reciprocity”). Or conversely, we shouldn’t do things to others that we wouldn’t want done to ourselves.

“So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.”
— Matthew 7:12

This simple statute is not only Biblical, it is also reasonable: you shouldn’t stab your neighbor in the face, because you wouldn’t want your neighbor to stab you in the face. Fair enough.

This idea is so reasonable that it appears in some form in just about every religion and ethical tradition!

Defining Evil

If believers and non-believers can agree on the Golden Rule, then hopefully they can also agree that violations of this rule constitute some form of evil. A violation of the Golden Rule not only goes against the teachings of Jesus, it’s also an affront to logic and reason.

Exceptions to the Rule

In some cases, we recognize that violations of the Golden Rule may be justified (i.e. not considered evil). This usually occurs when the violation is performed to prevent an even greater evil from occurring.

For example, you may be justified in stabbing your neighbor in the face, if your neighbor is in the process of killing you and your family. In this case (in part because your neighbor has already violated the golden rule), you may be justified in violating his face (assuming no less harmful means of apprehension were readily available).

But this is a slippery slope, because we can justify all sorts of evil by simply claiming it was done to prevent an even greater evil.

God, the Golden Rule, and Evil

Differences in opinions about God emerge whenever he does something that appears evil (i.e. something he probably wouldn’t want done to himself, if the situation were reversed).

Naturally, Christians will judge these ostensibly “evil” actions as either justified or a misunderstanding of scripture. They trust that whatever God does, he does it for good reasons. They have faith that God is good, that he knows all things, and that his actions will result in the most beneficial outcome possible (Romans 8:28).

Atheists lack this faith, and instead tend to judge God by his actions, not his intentions.

But the Bible does seem to push the limits of what might be reasonable and permissible under a good God, so let’s look at a few examples.

Can genocide be justified?

“‘Now go, attack the Amalekites and totally destroy all that belongs to them. Do not spare them; put to death men and women, children and infants, cattle and sheep, camels and donkeys.'”
— 1 Samuel 15:3

To non-believers, ordering the wholesale slaughter of men, women, children, infants, and animals is textbook evil. But for those who believe in God, they know that this genocide was ordered by God for good reasons… though I imagine this logic was probably lost on the Amalekites…

Israelites: “So you see, Amalekites, God wants you all dead… but for good reasons.”
Amalekites: “Okay, but can you at least spare the women and the children? What harm have they done?”
Israelites: “Well, your women might seduce our men into following other gods, so that’s a no-go. And your little ones… well… they’re not Hebrew, so… no can do.”
Amalekites: “But… if your men are so easily seduced by other gods, how confident can they be in their own God? And why would God give us so many healthy children, only to ask you to slay them? And the animals… they are neither Jew nor Amalekite! Is your God afraid that they too might seduce your men?”
Israelites: “Don’t try to trick us with reason! Were you there when God laid the earth’s foundations? I think not! God’s prophet has ordered us to kill everything in this area, and he knows what’s best for us. God is great! God is great! Aaahhhh!”
Amalekites: “Aaahhhh!”

Today, following these kinds of orders would require a tremendous amount of faith. You’d have to have faith that God exists, that he talks to prophets, that he’s talking to your prophet, and that he’s ordering evil… for good reasons. But what if any one of these proved to be false?

What if your priest or pastor ordered you to kill all the non-believers in your neighborhood, along with their children and pets? Would you trust this message was from God? Why was it okay yesterday, but not today? Hopefully you would ask yourself, “Is this man really speaking on God’s behalf? Would a good God really desire such a thing? And if God wants these people dead, why can’t he just smite them himself?”

Can torture be justified?

Would a good God ever order someone to be tortured?

“‘If a man marries both a woman and her mother, it is wicked. Both he and they must be burned in the fire, so that no wickedness will be among you.'”
— Lev. 20:14

“‘If a priest’s daughter defiles herself by becoming a prostitute, she disgraces her father; she must be burned in the fire.'”
— Lev. 21:9

About three months later Judah was told, “Your daughter-in-law Tamar is guilty of prostitution, and as a result she is now pregnant.” Judah said, “Bring her out and have her burned to death!
— Gen. 38:24

Again, while non-believers would insist that burning pregnant women to death is always an unnecessary evil, the believer must concede that sometimes God needs pregnant women to be set on fire… for good reasons.

Today, if God were to order you to set your pregnant daughter aflame, you might want to ask yourself, “Would a good God really desire such a thing? Would God want to kill her unborn child? Why must she be tortured to death, and not just executed?”

Rejoicing in the violent death of infants?

Happy is the one who seizes your infants and dashes them against the rocks.
— Psalm 137:9

And once again, non-believers would probably insist that there is no excuse for infanticide. And even if you do have to kill an infant, to take pleasure in it is nothing short of sadism.

But believers understand that sometimes God needs children to have their head’s bashed in, and for their killers to enjoy it… for good reasons.

In this case, the reason was revenge. The Edomite’s had taken pleasure in the destruction of God’s temple, and in return, God gave his blessing to anyone who wanted to kill their children.

But if you were to go into Walmart today, and God were to say to you, “Grab that man’s daughter by the ankles, and rejoice as you bash her head in,” you might want to ask yourself, “Is this really something a good God would say?”

If you know that God loves you, you should never question a directive from Him. It will always be right and best. When He gives you a directive, you are not just to observe it, discuss it, or debate it. You are to obey it.
— Henry Blackaby

(Honestly, some people would be better off not listening to the voices in their head.)

Today, infanticide tends to be frowned upon in Christian circles, so they prefer to place their emphasis on the kinder, gentler God of the New Testament:

Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”
— Matt. 19:14

(Unless, of course, they are Edomite or Amalekite children. Because f**k those kids.)

Terrorist threats? 

Recently, I read a story about a father in South Sudan who was forced by government soldiers to eat the body of his dead 5-year old daughter. (Seriously, what the f**k is wrong with people?) One would be hard-pressed to imagine a more heinous, demented, and evil thought than this. Surely nothing could be more evil, or come from a good God… right?

“‘If in spite of this you still do not listen to me but continue to be hostile toward me, then in my anger I will be hostile toward you, and I myself will punish you for your sins seven times over. You will eat the flesh of your sons and the flesh of your daughters.‘”
— Leviticus 26:27-29

I will make them eat the flesh of their sons and daughters…”
— Jeremiah 19:9

Most non-believers (and relationship experts) would agree that such terrorist threats are a big red flag in any relationship.

But Christians understand that sometimes, when you really love someone, it’s necessary to threaten them with the most horrific things imaginable… for good reasons.

After all, if God didn’t intimidate the Jews, his love may have gone unrequited. And clearly, the Jews should have loved God, because only a God of love would threaten you this way… right?

But should you one day find yourself gnawing on your son or daughter’s thigh, you might want to ask yourself, “If God wants us to love him… why can’t he just be a God worth loving?”

Shouldn’t a good God discourage this kind of behavior, rather than threatening people with it?

Hell?

Finally, there is also the subject of eternal damnation.

If the situation were reversed, and you were God and God were human (though you’d want to change his name, obviously, because that would get confusing), do you think God would want to be sentenced to eternal torment? I don’t imagine he’d fancy that. In fact, I bet he’d wonder why you created him at all, if hell was even a remote possibility.

Similarly, would you ever order God to be burned to death? Would you kill him as a child? Would you send floods upon him and watch him drown? Would you order the slaughter of his family? Would you threaten to make him eat his children if he refused to obey?

You probably would not do this, because you’re a civilized, empathetic, and reasonable individual. You recognize there is a line between justice and cruelty. You wouldn’t do these things to God, and God probably shouldn’t do them to you, or anyone, ever.

But could it be that all these evil things are done by God… for good reasons?

All for good reasons? 

It’s easy to claim that God does these things for good reasons, because we can’t prove that these things did not prevent some even greater evil. 

But not only is it difficult to imagine what the rationalization may have been for these things, there exists several logical contradictions that make this claim seem like an impossibility.

For example, if hell is eternal, how does eternal torment eventually work for good? Wouldn’t it be better not to create mankind?

Or why would God create Satan, knowing it would not result in a greater good?

The suffering of animals is another mystery. What greater evil is presently being thwarted by making animals to consume one another? Or by striking them with custom-made diseases?

It certainly doesn’t appear as if these things result in a greater good.

Could we even tell a good god from a bad one?

All of this raises another interesting question: if a good God can partake in genocide, infanticide, and terrorism, how can we tell the difference between a good God and a bad one?

What if we arrive in the afterlife, only to find that the “real” God didn’t inspire the Bible at all? What if the real God chose to remain silent, to see how humanity would conduct itself in the absence of information?

The real God might say:

“How could you call this God you created ‘good’? Would a ‘good’ God create humans just to drown them? Or order the slaughter of innocent children? Would a good God order pregnant women to be burned alive? Or order rape victims to marry their rapists? Would a good God sanction slavery? Or terrorize his followers with threats of eating their young? Would a good God subject innocent creatures to predation or disease? Or sentence his creation to eternal damnation? I ask you, if this is a good god, what is an evil one? I gave you a brain so that you could struggle with moral, ethical, and existential questions for yourselves, in hopes that you would eventually conclude that virtue is its own reward. Instead, you invent gods and do evil in their name, whilst insisting it is ‘good’!”

Today, religious extremists still use God’s name to justify many heinous moral atrocities. They step out in faith, suspending human empathy and judgement, in hopes that God exists, and that the evil he has ordered is for a just cause. But what if that’s not the case?

Religion is an insult to human dignity. With or without it you would have good people doing good things and evil people doing evil things. But for good people to do evil things, that takes religion.
— Steven Weinberg

The Good God Next Door

To give another analogy, imagine it is one day revealed to us that there are multiple universes, each one created and ruled over by a separate God, each with his own distinct temperament and style.

Imagine we also discover that, in the next universe over, their God chose to be more lenient and merciful with his creation. Instead of creating both good and evil people, he chose to only create those who would desire good, which resulted in an entirely different world.

This God also chose to create all animals as vegetarians, so that no one creature would ever have to die just to sustain another (for that would be cruel).

In this world, there was no disease, or natural disasters; there were no miscarriages or untimely deaths. The only trials that humans faced were in their relationships with others, and their own existential questions.

When people did sin, this God didn’t threaten them with eternal hellfire, or with having to eat their young, but rather he helped them to learn and grow from their experiences.

This God did not hide from his creation, and would sometimes appear in person and say things like, “What’s wrong, Sarah? This isn’t like you. I know, I created you! What’s been going on that has made you feel you needed to act out in this way?” This God didn’t just say he loved his creation, he actually showed it!

This God never ordered murder, because no one ever needed to be murdered. He never ordered genocides, because no peoples ever needed to be… genocided. Like any good parent, he loved and cherished his creation, but also gave them room to make mistakes so they could learn from the consequences.

As his people aged, this God chose to spare them from the indignities of failing health. At the end of their life, he gave them the option to live that life over again, or live in another time, or in another world, or to retire with him to heaven, or to simply disappear from existence.

If this scenario were true, how might you feel about the God of your Universe? How do you think the people in this neighboring universe would view your God?

“It’s God’s creation, so he can do whatever he pleases!”

One final defense that is often banded about is that, “It’s God’s creation, so he can do whatever he pleases!” But does that make it right?

Imagine your brilliant neighbor has built an intelligent humanoid life form. This is no ordinary robot, but a revolutionary creation — a thinking, feeling life form that looks and acts just like a human, but is an entirely new design (i.e. no DNA, no cells, etc.). Call it, the “iHuman.”

Imagine you walk out to your front porch one morning to find your neighbor in his yard, torturing his iHuman. He has got this poor creature stripped naked, and strapped down, and he proceeds to torture it in unspeakable ways.

You hear this poor creature wailing in pain — pain it was designed to feel. With terror in its eyes, it cries out to you for help. What is the correct response?

Do you stop your neighbor? Reasoning that your neighbor should not do such things to feeling beings, because he would not want them done to himself?

Or do you retreat back inside, reasoning that it’s his creation, so he can do whatever he wants with it?

Just because someone creates life, that does not give them the ethical right to mistreat it. If anything, it morally obligates them to care for it (for if one is not going to care for it, it is better that they not create it).

But… Jesus died for our sins!

I’m not implying that God’s character is completely evil. To the contrary, the Bible contains many teachings that are still relevant today (such as the Golden Rule). But if a man tortures children one week, and volunteers at a homeless shelter the next, he is still guilty of doing evil.

Conclusion

Christians have faith God’s intentions are good, even when his works appear evil. No matter how heinous the deed, God can do no evil. Any perceived evildoing is always (somehow) man’s fault, or a misunderstanding of scripture.

As a Christian, I was quick to overlook these deeds, and eager to gobble up any explanation that would whisk these problems away. Not because they were reasonable explanations, but because I needed to believe that God was good.

But it’s difficult to comprehend how these cruel actions could ever be faithfully reconciled with a good God. God orders things that appear to violate the Golden Rule, things that cannot logically result in a greater good. God even asks that his own followers avoid the appearance of evil, lest others get the wrong impression (1 Thessalonians 5:22). God seems to understand that appearing evil leads people to conclude you are evil, yet he does not refrain from appearing evil himself.

Isn’t it enough that God should ask us to have faith in a God we can’t see? Must he also demand we have faith that his evil works are good? 

As stated earlier, if the situation were reversed, I can’t imagine doing these kinds of things to God. And if God’s “prophets” were to order me to do evil in the name of God, I would have great difficulty believing that these orders came from a good God.

If I were asked to imagine what a good God might look like, I would imagine one much like the God in the neighboring universe (above). One who always protects the innocent, not one who occasionally delights in killing them. One who abhors things like slavery, torture, and rape and takes a clear stand against them. One who doesn’t design animals that eat one another, or causes them to suffer indiscriminately. One who doesn’t create beings he knows will turn evil, or that he knows he will need to drown, or be cast into hell. One who loves and protects his followers, and doesn’t need to resort to threats of hell or filial cannibalism to inspire allegiance. I would imagine a God who avoids the appearance of evil, lest we be forced to draw the wrong conclusions… for good reasons.

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54 Responses to 68. Is God… evil?

  1. DWS says:

    You might as well ask if Santa Claus is good or evil. It’s a similarly stupid question.

    You first need to define exactly what good and evil are. Because what is evil to a cow or a mosquito, is good for a man, and vice versa. So if we assume that we define “good” as what is generally good for the human race, and “evil” as what is bad, then I think most people can agree that believing in fictitious invisible friends is probably the former.

  2. Chip says:

    Dawkins claims there is “no evil, no good” in this universe. Can’t have it both ways.

    • Daniel Dwiggins says:

      Sure you can. There is no inherent meaning in the universe, no external source of morals. So, if it is just us, you can choose to decide everything is meaningless, or you can try to make it the best possible world you can, with the most pleasure and joy possible. And that is done, by defining your own moral code.

      I’m still working on mine, and probably will be as long as I’m alive, but the starting point is simple… “Evil lies only in causing unnecessary pain.”

  3. sklyjd says:

    A great truth and nicely written, there is no argument. Unfortunately, indoctrination prevents the use of logic and common sense for these people.

  4. Anonymous says:

    I have read all of your questions and answers and they were all a great help in rescuing me from the fantasy of belief as I was finding my way out of christianity. However this is the best of all. The logic is impeccable.
    My own journey away from christianity happened when I went to a hindu temple and saw the amazing devotion that people demonstrated to all kinds of gods which obviously do not exist. I was invited there by a religious coworker at the time, and was so surprised at the fervor that these worshippers who came EVERY DAY had burning incense and kissing statues and such and began to wonder what could cause adults to believe such nonsense. That was when I realized it was because it is what they were taught as children. Then I began to analyze what I learned as a child to determine if I too had been taught things that were not true. Gradually, I realized that I had been so completely inculcated in the bible and its stories that I too had accepted lies as truth just like the followers of mohammed, buddah, joseph smith, and a ziillon other religions.. And the thing is, that (except for a brief drug filled time in college) I never questioned it even until I was about 50! Sadly, I even taught all of the same same nonsense to my own children.
    Now after 9/11, it is obvious to everyone (except muslim extremists) how deceived they are, and when you look around at the craziness in so many religions, even christians recognize how ridiculous the mormon or jehovahs witness belief systems are, but fail to recognize that same level of absurdity in their (our) own religion.
    My hope is that your words reach other christians like they reached me as a logical voice of reason that has the power to break thru all the religious training that kept me a prisoner for 50 years. Thank you, and please keep adding questions and answering them so thoughtfully, articulately, and sensitively, because in those famous words from that famous book, the truth will set you free , the real truth that there is no supreme being, no heaven, no hell, no afterlife, not the outrageous claims in that same book’s pages that claim to be true, but are just a wishful fantasy..
    – Frank

    • sklyjd says:

      Frank, you are hoping as I do that many religious people realise how ridiculous their worship is. I believe many would, but because so many depend on their beliefs and faith to organise their lives and in many cases has a major effect on keeping their mental health intact and therefore will never reject their faith.

    • Thanks for the kind words, Frank.

      I personally started to question things in my mid-30s. But similarly, it was encountering some zealous Mormons that did it for me. I knew a lot about the Mormon faith, and couldn’t believe the amount of conviction these men felt for what I knew to be false. I also ran into some JWs, and they were the same way. Then 9/11, and so on. Clearly, this deep sense of devotion is not limited to only those who hold the truth.

      500Q

  5. Doug Mason says:

    What a range of fascinating thoughts and questions you generate.

    Your piece demonstrates that all religion is based on opinion and speculation, and my religious ideas similarly fall under these categories. Every religious person has their own unique concepts and these, in turn, are subject to continual personal revision. Why should the opinions, speculations and assumptions of Biblical writers be placed above those of any other writer? The power of mysticism and mythology is beyond description. Paul was a mystic who spoke to the spirit world.

    In my opinion, death created sin, which in turn created the idea of Evil. From early in the development of sentient beings, they explained the operation of the visible, natural world in terms of supernatural beings, so they personified Evil and they countered that personification with a Good super being. This evolution of the personified Evil continued after the formation of the Bible in the 4th century. For example, Jesus is called the Morning Star (“Lucifer”) in Revelation. Did the surrounding nations (Egypt, Assyria, Babylonia, etc.) also create a personification of Evil.

    Did Jesus die for an individual’s sins or did he die for Sin? There is a critical difference. How was this achieved? Paul does not explain and any number of models has been developed. Compare Luther’s judicial penal model against Calvin’s model, or that of the Orthodox Church, or maybe Anselm’s or Abelards’s or any other model. They are all guesses, assumptions, opinions. What about those who do not know the Hebrew God?

    God arranged for his son to be murdered so that he could forgive people. What does that tell you about God? Christians look forward to the day when God will intervene and wipe out billions. What does that tell you?

    The early Christians took the word “Agape” to describe the divine love. The Greeks had three other words for love, which spoke of emotional warm love, familial love and erotic love. Agape is none of these: it lacks emotion. Agape speaks of principle, of doing right because it is right.

    Why has God not intervened in the face of any atrocity? It (s)he not willing or is (s)he not able?

    I do not want to live forever, forever and ever. In 4 billion years, Milky Way and its neighbour Andromeda will collide. Later, our sun will expand and become a red dwarf. Will this be deemed “evil”, requiring God to finally intervene?

    Doug

  6. Ahhh, welcome back 500Q! Good to see you’re posting again Sir! 🙂

    This is an excellent post that SHOULD cause many, thousands(?), millions(?), faith-followers to rethink hard their belief-system and view of observable life and the very observable world exhaustively. Recently here in Texas after Hurricane Harvey, there have been MANY of these “faith-followers” explaining why God is punishing us (America), or why God decided to make the devastating hurricane miss their homes and destroy others, or why with Hurricane Irma and Jose the evil Carribean Islands were wiped out. I tell you 500Q, the logic they purport and utilize is highly uncharacteristic of advanced Homo sapiens and more similar to wild primates in jungles. It all certainly is reminiscent of ancient cultures with wrathful weather gods and human sacrifices to appease. 😮

    Again, well done post 500Q. Thank you!

    • Thanks, Professor. Good to be back. 😉

    • Anonymouse says:

      According to The Preacher, this life is meaningless.

      Ecclesiastes 7:15 – “In this meaningless life of mine I have seen both of these: the righteous perishing in their righteousness, and the wicked living long in their wickedness.”

      Ecclesiastes 8:4 – “There is something else meaningless that occurs on earth: the righteous who get what the wicked deserve, and the wicked who get what the righteous deserve. This too, I say, is meaningless.”

      But I still don’t know exactly why God let these injustices happen. Does God want to make His concept of “eternal life” to look more promising & appealing than our earthly life?

      • Hi Anonymous,

        If you meant that reply/comment for me directly, sorry… I’m indifferent, unmoved by the Old Testament passages or your conjecturing questions. Not intending that to sound/read as rude, I am just sharing my genuine thoughts/heart about your reply. However, if you meant your reply/comment in general for everyone, then perhaps you accidentally clicked “Comment-Reply” too soon and meant it down at the very bottom?

        Anyway, best regards to you.

  7. Jef Grace says:

    It all ‘boils down’ to a matter of conscience… for us, inside of God’s created dimension of ‘time’ that we exist in, to acknowledge, fear (revere) the Lord.

    In God’s ‘economy’, He is and always will be righteously RIGHT and sovereignly HOLY… long after you and I and everything known is swept up into eternity.

    • sklyjd says:

      Jef, have you ever thought why all the gods are still around “after you and I and everything known is swept up into eternity”?

      Gods exist exclusively in man’s brain, thought by scientists to assist in survival as well as a community bonding exercise that has evolved from when man first walked the Earth and did not understand the why or how natural events happened.

      All religions have forced their faith upon the children of the next generation through emotional indoctrination techniques for thousands of years assuring the religious ideologies do not die out.

      Take a step back man, do not take everything you are told by priests and ancient scriptures to rule your life without evidence, common sense or logical explanation. And by the way, I am not being used by the devil.

  8. Brian Adams says:

    This is absolutely and unequivocally the best post I have ever read about the problem of evil. It is the most common reason for theists to become atheists, but most “studied” atheists consider it one of the weakest arguments. However, you specifically asked a couple questions that I have recently asked to friends and people close to me. (How did you determine that God was good, and how would you determine if a God or gods were evil?)

    500q, I am sure you may have heard this, but Dillahunty and maybe others discuss something specific about the golden rule. If the bible is so great, then why is there a better version? “Do unto others as they would have you do unto them.” This is because what you think is good to you, may not be good to them. In fact, basic courtesies or actions could be offensive for some cultures.

    But honestly, I’m just taken aback how just how well this is written. I don’t know who you are, but your words have helped me so often (along with many others) and I highly recommend when you get to a certain point you should attempt to turn these into a book. I would have it pre-ordered without question. You could pick the best and strongest questions, edit and improve where needed, and have it published. I think it would do really well.

    Last, but not least, I really can’t understand how anyone can justify their belief that God is good after reading this. The only possible scenario I can imagine, is that we became “evil” after the sin of Adam and God simply returning us to a perfect state through a cleansing of sorts. We all deserve the bad things that occur etc. And in the end it is the best possible scenario that is good for his children.

    Does that pass for me ? Nope, because torture etc. Is still unnecessary. Also, since we are punished in the afterlife for eternity, what possibly could the purpose be for cruelty in this one? There are other problems with that solution as well, but I’ll stop here.

    I’m still overwhelmed with how good this post is. Standing applause from me good sir.

    • Hi Brian, thank you for your kind words.

      I think I’ve seen the same video of Dillahunty’s, and would agree that the Biblical wording of the Golden Rule may not be the best (though, in this case, it’s what we have to work with). In other cultures, one would obviously need to ask, “If I were a member of THIS culture, how would I want to be treated?” (I’ve also heard it said, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you… but ask their permission first.”)

      I may do a book someday, but wasn’t planning on it. For now, I just feel “blessed” that the internet exists, and I can share this information with anyone and everyone. It’s pretty amazing. But maybe. Someday.

      500Q

      • Anonymouse says:

        You do a book, what would your wife & your Christian relatives feel by buying something with that unkosher money?

        Don’t do it too open, I think. Troublesome.

      • Daniel Dwiggins says:

        I strongly support this alternative to the golden rule. Because, as an example, if you completely believe that what happens to someone in the afterlife is more important than what happens to them in this life, then you are logically justified in torturing them until they are “redeemed”. And while that’s an extreme example, situations like the kidnapping of aboriginal children and forcing them into Christian schools fall well within the original reading of the golden rule.

  9. Anonymouse says:

    500Q, what does “the baby” represent to?

    And, who is in God’s back? Jesus?

    • I needed an illustration that hinted at an evil God. Since the article discusses God making Jews eat their young, I thought I’d (satirically) go with God about to consume a child (since God seems to think about this kind of thing).

      Jesus – who often portrays the voice of reason in other posts – is (once again) shocked by his father’s irrational behavior.

      500Q

  10. Anonymouse says:

    “Atheists lack this faith, and instead tend to judge God by his actions, not his intentions.”

    I think the better term is “Anti-theists”.
    Atheists don’t believe in God, but in the heartless nature.

  11. Anonymouse says:

    500Q, let me ask you something.

    Do you support atheistic moral relativity concept?

    • This is a complicated issue, but I’ll attempt an answer.

      If we define “atheistic moral relativity” as morality being subjectively defined by each individual, then no, I don’t support the idea.

      But I’d like to point out I don’t think Christians and atheists share the same definition of “morality.”

      For Christians, morality is objectively defined by God (just like evil). For atheists, morality is defined by humans. And while the atheist’s definition is not as absolute or objective as the Christian’s, I don’t think it’s as subjective as Christians might believe.

      Christians — attempting to prove that morality comes from God — often take the most extremist view of secular morality. They say that if God does not exist, then ALL morality is 100% subjective. “Without God,” they say, “you can drive as fast as you want! You can take whatever you want! You can rape and murder whomever you want! So long as YOU believe it’s okay!” But that’s nonsense.

      To quote atheist Penn Jillette:

      “I do rape all I want. And the amount I want is zero. And I do murder all I want, and the amount I want is zero. The fact that these people think that if they didn’t have this person watching over them that they would go on killing, raping rampages is the most self-damning thing I can imagine.”

      Even if it turns out God is NOT real, humans (and animals) ARE real, and so is their pain and suffering. Because these things are real, and can be measured (to a greater or lesser degree), we can make fairly objective statements about morality.

      For example, even without a God, you’d still be able to reason that it is wrong to stab your neighbor in the face. So long as morality is based on objective reasoning, we can safely say that it was “morally wrong” for you to do so, regardless of your personal opinion. And while there are no absolutes, stabbing your neighbor in the face is likely to be “more wrong” than not, because it will likely lead to unnecessary pain and suffering, pain and suffering that you would not want inflicted upon yourself.

      We humans (when we’re not being selfish) are perfectly capable of thinking, reasoning, and considering the needs of others, our community, and our planet. From the smallest family unit to the largest government, this kind of “reasoned morality” helps to maintain order, safety, and civility, and (hopefully) makes for a better life for all of us (even though it’s not a perfect system).

      In short, because we can objectively measure degrees of harm, we can often draw objective conclusions about morality, conclusions that go beyond any one person’s opinions. But there are also plenty of gray areas.

      500Q

      • Anonymouse says:

        If Christian moral absolute concept is true, then eating shellfish and cutting or not growing a “payot” is a sin too because these laws are written in the Torah, the very words of God.

      • Anonymouse says:

        500Q,

        Personally, do you support “eugenics” (i.e. abortion for genetically-defected fetuses like Down Syndrome, etc.)?

        • Hey Anonymouse,

          Great question!

          I plan on addressing this and other moral questions at a later date. But for now, I’d rather not turn this topic into a debate over abortion.

          Thanks,
          500Q

      • BIGFOOT says:

        Reason………Reason………………..Reason……………..REASON.

        REASON………IS THE REASON. THAT GOD, IS REAL!!

  12. BIGFOOT says:

    Hey 500,

    Your question is not one, but many………..very many!

    Therefore, to do you justice, I will try and comment on each one. Please note; my comments are in parenthesis

    “While secular definitions of evil may vary, evil tends to be measured using the tools of empathy and reason: the more pain and suffering caused, and the less purpose it serves, the more evil the perpetrator”

    (But don’t you think that we need to agree on “purpose” served by pain and suffering? If we agree that not all suffering is evil, it also mean that some suffering and pain is necessarily good. That is, if we agree on “purpose” No? )

    “But for non-believers, the word “evil” does not carry the same cosmic, eternal, or religious connotations that it carries with believers. It is humans who ultimately decide what is evil, and these human judgments are often subjective”

    (But my friend, if it is Humans who “Ultimately” determine what is “evil” where is God coming in? And if Judgements about what is evil is subjective, what then, can be used as a yardstick to determine what is evil for example between two parties, with subjective judgements? )

    But while the term “evil” may be subjective, suffering can be measured to some degree.

    (Really?)

    For example, it can be safely argued that being burned is objectively more painful than not being burned.

    (Excuse me! This is not an objective judgement! It is still a subjective judgement based on sense experience by he who is being burnt. We avoid burning others and empathise with victims, simply because we know from experience that being burned hurts terribly! Fact is, “Objectivity” is simply an illusion created by a warped or distorted perception of reality. Being burned, can never be judged “objectively” He who wears the shoe, knows where it pinches! So, where is “objectively” here? We can’t be “academic” about suffering)

    Or the parent of a kidnapped child is going to be more emotionally distraught than one whose child is safe at home.

    (Again, this is a subjective experience. A parent who kills his child, hates his child because he suspects that he was conceived by another man, cannot be a good example in this analogy, no?)

    Suffering is objective enough that most civilizations can agree on which “evil” behaviors (those which create suffering) should be discouraged or outlawed. But evil is not always black and white.

    (“Suffering” is one of the by-products of evil. And its an experience. But not all suffering is as a result of evil. But all evil leads some suffering of sorts. And being an experience, it is still based on subjective judgement. That, is why the Law of Logos, basically lays a blanket judgement on all evil. Do unto others what you would expect to be done unto you!)

    If evil is an absolute and objective fact, it’s definition should be universally and inherently understood. We should all know good from evil just as we know light from dark, but rarely do all religions and denominations agree on what qualifies as evil.

    ( Surely? I think when it comes to God and “evil” we really tend to split hairs! Lets first come to an understanding of what “evil” is. It does appear, that evil come as an “undesirable by-product in a relationship” Being an “Undesirable by product” and there being a “relationship” we can also infer that this “relationship” has a “goal” “purpose” “objective” etc. So, we can also infer an “agreement” in this relationship. So, relative to this, whatever becomes detrimental to the objectives of the relationship can be termed as “evil” and whatever that helps to further the goals of this relationship can be termed as “good” So, let us, for the purpose of demonstration imagine three guys. They are survivors of a ship that has sank, but managed to find a canoe and they escaped. They are in this canoe smack in the high seas. In order for these three guys to survive and find land, they must all cooperate. To cut to the chase, here, “evil” is not difficult to identify, nor to avoid. Its “black and white” Its absolute. Whatever or whomever act against the greater good for all, which is to frustrate their effort to find land is relatively speaking engaged in “evil” here, even talking, can be “ evil”
    So, it really only matters to understand God, and his relationship between him and Man, in order to find out why, whatever God calls “evil” is “evil” relative to the goal and the relationship between him and Man.

    And who is God?

    God, is Law. That, is what he states.

    “By my own I swear, what comes from my mouth is Truth a Word irrevocable” Isaiah 45:23-24
    Why does God seek a relationship with Man?

    Because, God created Man, in his own image and likeness! Therefore, Man, is Law, just like God!
    “God said, ‘Let us make Man, in our own image, in the likeness of ourselves, and let them be masters of the fish of the sea, the birds of heaven, the cattle, all the wild beasts, and all the reptiles that crawl upon the earth’ God created Man, in the image of himself, and in the image of God he created him, male and female he created them. “Genesis 1:26-29.

    And what does God want from Man?

    “What is good, has been explained to you O Man; this is what Yahweh asks of you, only this; to act justly, to love tenderness, and to walk humbly with your God” Micah 6: 8-8

    So, it is because we do not know God, and therefore we do not know ourselves, that we feel God as being intrusive and harsh in his judgement over our evil. But which Father among us, would not be harsh to a son, whom he has bought him a Bugatti? If he were not harsh, the Son would kill himself and destroy the Bugatti! The Earth, is “Our Bugatti” given us by God. And we are Law. Therefore if we do not use this Buggatti with wisdom, we will destroy ourselves and the “Bugatti”

    But you insist, “ The Lord is evil! ” )

    If God can arbitrarily decide what is good or evil, then even Satan could be a “good” God, by simply defining his works as “good.”

    (But you do not know Satan……do you? So, you are in no position to judge him good or evil, no? )

    But if this definition(of evil) comes from outside God, then from whence does it come? Or if this definition is based on reason, then why not explain his reasoning?

    (Surely, do you want to claim that before Judaism and Christian religion brought the term “evil” in the lexicon of humanity language, it never existed, not what it refers to? Come on, a rose is a rose by any other colour. And therefore if, other religions were aware of evil, you cannot in the same breath claim that it’s a creation of the God of Judaism and Christian faith. So, if apparently God used it as a term that men had always used to denote the same thing, then, evil did not come from God. Whence did it come from? Of course from Man! Precisely because, evil is Mans creation, not God! Man invented evil perpetrated evil, and blamed God and imaginary spirit!)

    In short, non-believers tend to define evil as subjectively defined by humans, while believers tend to define it as objectively defined by God, even if they can’t agree on a definition, or its source.

    (Precisely because, though common-sense is common to all, not everybody uses it. And we all split hairs about it. Do we not?)

    Will continue later.

  13. Kevin says:

    Being from the other side of the fence, I feel it necessary to respond with a rebuttal. First, I believe morality is absolute. I totally understand the concept of the gray areas such as the example of stealing for your starving children. Is this against the law? Yes. Is God going to condemn a person for their actions? Well I believe that depends on the sincerity of the situation. Is it absolutely immoral to break into your neighbors house and steal their TV? Yes, every time. There are plenty of good arguments for your post if you search the internet, but I am going to try to be more original. The situation with the Amalakites reminds me of Truman’s decision to nuke Japan. Truman did not have to drop those bombs and kill innocent women and children but he did. As a result many more American lives we saved and possibly Japanese lives also, not to mention a change in the direction of the country for the better. Since we are assuming there is a God, those children who were killed are now spending eternity in Paradise do to the age of accountability. They got a free ride. Life is pressious, but what if you were able to skip 70 or 80 years of life’s difficulties and go straight to perfection. This example may not be an exact parallel but its what came to mind. The Amalakites were an extremely evil people who sacrificed their own children, practiced beastiality and were extremely violent God gave them several hundred years to repent but they refused. Many times children continue to carry out the sins their parents. So God may have saved those children from damnation. In addition, if I recall correctly the verses you quoted about the Isrialites eating their children, were accurate but they were a prophecy that was carried out later when Isrial was attached and ran out of food so certain people chose to eat their children. God did not make them they chose to. This is all I have time to respond to. I enjoy apologetics and being challenged in my faith. You do an excellent job at portraying the atheist point of view but I believe their is overwhelming evidence for a transending being. Look forward to your reply although I will not respond do to the circular natural of the topics. Bye for now and God bless.

    • Doug Mason says:

      In relation to the obliteration of countless lives in Hiroshima and Nagasaki:
      Do a murderer’s motives and intentions determine whether the murder of a child is justified?
      Is the murder of any innocent child justified because in the murderer’s opinion he thinks she will be in heaven?
      Is the murder of hundreds of thousands justified because of the financial materialistic success of a future generation?
      Is it not a fact that the bombs were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki unnecessarily, since the Japanese were about to surrender anyway?
      Has murder ceased to be evil?
      Did not a Jew once say to love your enemies and to be good towards them? (US president please take note.)
      Doug

    • DWS says:

      Morality cannot possibly be absolute. A prime example is the stark differences between the Old Testament and the New. If they are both supposed to be the “true word” of absolute morality, then how can they contradict each other? For example, “Eye for an eye” vs. “Turn the other cheek”. And how can some parts of the New Testament be morally repugnant today, such as the right to own slaves?

      We know today that owning slaves is wrong, so how do we know that if the Bible doesn’t tell us?

      • Chip says:

        “We know today that owning slaves is wrong” is an absolute moral statement.

        • DWS says:

          No it isn’t. It is proof that the moral zeitgeist is a constantly evolving phenomena. Because 2000 years ago, the possession of slaves was accepted as moral, but today it isn’t. Therefore it has changed, and therefore it is not an absolute.

          • Chip Fields says:

            “It is not an absolute” is an absolute statement.

            • DWS says:

              Don’t be ridiculous. That’s like saying you should be cautious of caution – it’s nonsense. Certainly the sentence itself can be an absolute, but that does not mean the subject of the sentence is an absolute. That is the kind of illogical, circular, nonsense-thinking that all religions are based on – so I’m guessing you are a religious person.

      • Chip Fields says:

        “Morality cannot possibly be absolute” is an absolute statement

    • Hi Kevin, thanks for reading and posting.

      “Is it absolutely immoral to break into your neighbors house and steal their TV? Yes, every time.”

      Imagine a man breaks into your house and holds a gun to your spouse’s head. “Where is your TV!?” he shouts. “We don’t have one!” You reply. “Well you’d better get me one in the next 10 minutes, or your spouse is going to have a hole in her head!”

      Only a Sith deals In absolutes. 😉

      “Since we are assuming there is a God, those children who were killed are now spending eternity in Paradise do to the age of accountability. They got a free ride.”

      And if we assume God does not exist?

      We could also reason we should kill all children, just to make sure they all go to heaven. If they grow up, they might spend eternity in hell! Let’s help them “skip 70 or 80 years of life’s difficulties and go straight to perfection!” This is a dark road, indeed.

      “The Amalakites were an extremely evil people … Many times children continue to carry out the sins their parents. So God may have saved those children from damnation.”

      Do you believe Hindu’s go to heaven? If not, is it reasonable then, that we ought to nuke India, lest we let their children be damned? And should we also nuke Muslim nations? And the Chinese?

      Were the Nazis right to kill the Jews? (Think of all the children they saved from hell!)

      Should we keep killing, until ONLY Christians remain? And if one of those Christians should decide Christianity is false, should we kill them as well?

      What if all religious groups reasoned this way? Should everyone be allowed to kill everyone else who doesn’t have the same religion?

      Genocide is never the solution, and certainly not one that should be endorsed by a “good” God. Rarely is an ENTIRE population of people INHERENTLY evil (and if they are, why the hell did God create them???)

      Do you know what a “good” God does when he doesn’t want Amalakites to exist? He doesn’t create them.

      And if a “good” God realizes he has made a horrible mistake, he finds the most peaceful way of remedying that mistake. Perhaps he makes the women barren. (If God can open a barren womb [Genesis 30:22], he can surely close one.) No need for people to suffer, or infants to be slaughtered, no need for families to die fighting, no need for animals to be killed. God just curses the wombs of these evildoers, and one generation later, the Jews have outlived them all.

      If it’s true that these people refused to believe in God, perhaps God should’ve done a better job of revealing himself. I don’t imagine a neighboring tribe coming up to you and saying, “You’d better believe in our invisible God!” is very convincing.

      Moving on…

      “God did not make them [eat their children] they chose to.”

      “I MYSELF will punish them…”

      “I WILL MAKE THEM eat the flesh of their sons and daughters…”

      I do not see where it reads:

      “I MYSELF will NOT punish them or make them eat the flesh of their sons and daughters, they will punish themselves… and freely chose to eat their own children!”

      That would be… the opposite.

      “I look forward to your reply although I will not respond do to the circular natural of the topics.”

      Thanks Kevin! I do appreciate you taking the time to read the article (most Christians probably would’ve been scared away by now), and your comments. Please keep my remarks in the spirit in which they were intended; as an argument against Christianity, not against Kevin.

      Please don’t kill me and my family.
      500Q

  14. BIGFOOT says:

    Finding Some Common Ground

    Since we need to start somewhere, I would wager that both believers and non-believers would (at least) agree that we should try to treat others in ways we like to be treated (aka “the Golden Rule” or the “law of reciprocity”). Or conversely, we shouldn’t do things to others that we wouldn’t want done to ourselves.
    “So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.”
    — Matthew 7:12

    ( Period! I agree………TOTALLY!)

    This simple statute is not only Biblical, it is also reasonable: you shouldn’t stab your neighbor in the face, because you wouldn’t want your neighbor to stab you in the face. Fair enough.

    (Fair enough!)

    This idea is so reasonable that it appears in some form in just about every religion and ethical tradition!

    (Well… precisely because its Common-sense!)

    Defining Evil
    If believers and non-believers can agree on the Golden Rule, then hopefully they can also agree that violations of this rule constitute some form of evil. A violation of the Golden Rule not only goes against the teachings of Jesus’, it’s also an affront to logic and reason.

    (As I said, Common-sense!)

    Let me comment on “Exceptions to the Rule”

    (Well, I had always wondered why Socrates decided to take the hemlock beverage instead of escaping to another town, another city, of another country. Now, it makes sense. I also wondered why Jesus let himself be crucified. He could have escaped to another town, another city, or another country. But now, it makes sense!

    And what is this “sense” precisely is, why bother? You are dealing with the same nutcase! You escape to another town or another city or another country, you will be dealing with the same nutcase call Man! When it comes to pure Rationalism, Man is Mad! We are all mad, let us admit it! Admitting that we are mad is the only road to Reason! It is only the degree of madness that is the difference. Not whether we are mad or sane. Listen to our won so-called “Intellectual’s” own judgement about God.

    “The God of the Old Testament is arguably the most unpleasant character in all fiction: jealous and proud of it; a petty, unjust, unforgiving control-freak; a vindictive, bloodthirsty ethnic cleanser; a misogynistic, homophobic, racist, infanticidal, genocidal, filicidal, pestilential, megalomaniacal, sadomasochistic, capriciously malevolent bully.” — Richard Dawkins, The God Delusion

    Yet, God has explained himself……..He is Law. And he has explained how He operates.

    “Yes, as the rain and the snow comes down from the heavens, and do not return without watering the earth, making it yield and give growth to provide seed for the sower, and bread for the eating, so, the Word that goes out of my mouth, does not return to me empty without carrying out my will, and succeeding in what I sent it to do. Isaiah 55:10-11
    And he has explained how he operates with Man.

    “‘If in spite of this you still do not listen to me but continue to be hostile toward me, then in my anger I will be hostile toward you, and I myself will punish you for your sins seven times over. You will eat the flesh of your sons and the flesh of your daughters.‘”
    — Leviticus 26:27-29

    And he has explained to Man, how Man should operate with his fellow Man.

    “What is good, has been explained to you O Man; this is what Yahweh asks of you, only this; to act justly, to love tenderness, and to walk humbly with your God” Micah 6: 8-8
    Therefore, Reason, should advise us to conclude that since Man is created in the image and likeness of God, whatever God does to Man, is precisely the Image and likeness of Man’s own creation! So, whatever Richard Dawkins, and his ilk claim as the character of God of Old Testament, , they are attributing to the Spirit of Man, not God. In the old Testament, God accepted whatever Man created as his own, because He had not Manifested himself as Man. It would have been useless to accuse Man of being evil because Man did not know himself as an Intelligent Spirit.
    We need to treat Mans madness as the addiction of a drug addict. To cure the addict, you may have to periodically allow him small doses of his drug, to prevent him suffering the withdrawal effects. This does not mean that we endorse his conduct! It for his own good! This is precisely as it happened in the Old Testament. God would not have made any sense other than to speak the language of that time. Truth be told, if you were now transported back to 5000 years ago and you were made to see what your ancestors used to do during those times, you would vehemently deny them. But you are here because they passed on their seed, with is now you. God was there with them THAT TIME. He spoke their language. And God is now with you. And he is speaking your language. The language of Reason. But what do you do? Criticise what he did, 5000 year ago! AND YOU WERE NOT THERE!!

    • sklyjd says:

      You have precisely identified that God never knew anything about the future of mankind, use any excuse you like but Richard Dawkins is on the money.
      You say “Criticise what he did, 5000 year ago! AND YOU WERE NOT THERE!!”
      Of course, we can it is no different than him declaring we are all born sinners and deserve to go to hell, because none of us were there with the nudists and the talking snake either.

  15. Anonymouse says:

    “This God also chose to create all animals as vegetarians, so that no one creature would ever have to die just to sustain another (for that would be cruel).”

    I think the living things so-called the plants would have to “die & suffer” to sustain the herbivores.

    This God should make living creatures who could eat rocks.

    “As his people aged, this God chose to spare them from the indignities of failing health. At the end of their life, he gave them the option to live that life over again, or live in another time, or in another world, or to retire with him to heaven, or to simply disappear from existence.”

    My version of ideal God would make His creations forever young, never be sick & face no death. He would help us to create our private Edens.

    “This God did not hide from his creation, and would sometimes appear in person and say things like, “What’s wrong, Sarah? This isn’t like you. I know, I created you! What’s been going on that has made you feel you needed to act out in this way?” This God didn’t just say he loved his creation, he actually showed it!”

    Yes, agree with this. A God who hates drama. A God who never hides His face from us without any clear reasons. A God whom we could converse directly in real-time. A God who replies audibly to us. A God whose wills we know without doing any guessing.

  16. abchighlander says:

    Thank you 500.

    One of the most persuasive arguments yet. I’m sure the believer would say that you are dealing with concepts that the mere human mind cannot comprehend, but that’s the stock answer for most, if not all, 68 questions so far.

    Nicely done sir.

    Welcome back.

  17. Alpha says:

    I’ve really missed these. Well thought out, well phrased and presented argument. Thanks 500Q. Good to see you back 🙂

  18. Lurker111 says:

    Assuming one avoids apologetizing the word “unnecessary” to provide excuses for whatever, I find that a good, practical, secular definition of evil is simply this:

    The unnecessary infliction of pain, or failure to remediate pain when able, is evil.

    BTW, very interesting blog. Just re-read your piece on Tyre again–well done!

  19. Bobby says:

    You all sound much too intelligent to pursue this belief. We must read with a concordance and learn with tenacity to be able to see what man has snuck into the holy books because there is much. Once you get past the intent of confusion, (which God or god made claims, actions/who is attempting to stand in place of God/who is implementing good and bad thoughts within our own realm of conscious thought/etc etc etc) then you can really start to see things open up. But these things cannot be proven to each other. Friends, do NOT belief each other or a word I’m telling you. Do as scripture says: Check it yourself and test the spirit of all things, do it 3 times, and EXPECT an answer. It may not come as immediate as you’d hope because we’ve messed up along the way and sometimes it does take time because he wants to know you’re actually strong and serious enough for being revealed this knowledge and what you will ultimately do with it as we age but sometimes it does come immediately and will shake you to your very core. (the neuron of thought that we ARE behind the flesh) These things can only be revealed to you and then confirmed by another to help you solidify your thinkining. Our body (temple) must be clean or TRULY attempting to get clean for the spirit the spark some or all of the lamps of the spirit within for us to even experience this first hand. There is a process and formulas in scripture that tells us all how to do these things. Except some whether they are intent or not on this division or impure thoughts, have rearranged and added things in the Bible that make us have to really search it out, understand the TRUE meaning and not just what one particular version or translation says, and then follow through by testing it and with a humble heart and open mind towards The Creator so that we are strong enough to receive this knowledge. Don’t believe in what anyone tells you, I don’t care how educated they have been or think they are…ASK DAD! That’s what He wants us to do! Go to HIM and ask forgiveness and more understanding without this woven web of confusion that is INTENT on separating you from The Creator FOREVER. You may not realize what this means or how deep it goes, but when that time arrives we will all wish we had. We have to begin to understand with tenacity who The Great and Living Creator is, and then who The Firstborn Christ and evil one is and how they both work with the consciousness of the Oneness of God to do different works that we are subject to. We may not realize it yet, but we agreed to come down here to be the cheese in this mousetrap of earth to lure out all evil (especially since the main source is incognito always fleeing) so that it will not exist like this again in God’s Kingdom, the universe of the cosmos. Good hunting to you my friends.

    • Brian Adams says:

      “Reason is, of all things in the world, the most hurtful to a reasoning human being. God only allows it to remain with those he intends to damn, and in his goodness takes it away from those he intends to save or render useful to the church…..if reason had any part in religion, what then would become of faith.

      – Voltaire, 1764

    • sklyjd says:

      You say, “You may not realize what this means or how deep it goes,”

      I agree, and you yourself do not know how deep it goes. It goes deep inside your head into your brain, this is the place where your personal God exists. Your brain controls the perception of reality based on your beliefs, in another words it provides the reality and emotional feelings you want to experience with God.

      This has happened since man invented the first gods to explain the natural events on our planet and it has been exploited to its fullest extent within our modern era even though science has explained these natural events many years ago.

      • Bobby says:

        Sorry that you falsely choose to think and feel that way based of mans opinion or teachings especially without checking for yourself as I have stated. Most all answers can be had by asking and talking with Pop BUT with the right heart, the right mind, the right demeanor. If you try and mean it in your own PERSONAL way and do it humbly (which is near impossible for any non believer to toss away the pride of shared opinions) then it’s possible, you may even hear Him speak to you. But one has to actually try this with the right heart, sometimes several times, before an powerful response like that is given. Again, one has to actually try these things instead of offering a rebuttal. I have yet to meet a single person who denounces God and then when someone comes along and says, “Hey, stop trying or believing the cheeseball edition of religion and their false teaching of the good book and try this – that which is natural and comes from within, the connection in our dna, not in the pages of a book that has been purposely converted to confuse. And there’s a lot of ‘smart’ folk out there that will fall for it without ever attempting to truly connect to The Creator. This is self damnation. Denying your own blood and dna, which contains EVERY single other form of life ever created in the entire universe, is what condemns. Not Dad. At that point, it’s just like us raising our children whose been warned so many several times and won’t listen to the point where they objectively and subjectively appeal evils onto others and that is what is to be punished. Again, don’t believe me and most definitely don’t believe what you’ve been told that’s lead you to your belief system now, and don’t rebut – CHECK IT AND TEST IT YOURSELF. INDIVIDUALLY. If you’re hungry with the right heart and an open mind you’ll find some wild answers and I truly hope you do. There will be people up above bumping shoulders with each other that have never picked up a Bible or have learned about Christ their entire lives because they have been sheltered enough or live rurally enough that they just know the love of God and Christ and share it with others and will make it almost unaware if you will. Those who purposely deny without attempting true individual connections are who is to be warned are worse for not paying attention to the warnings. I tell you true, we can change all this badness that is within our earth. But the higher probability is that we won’t get enough people in a group with love and prayer, and also have those (like yourselves even) just sending positive thoughts from our hearts and minds towards The Great Creator and towards others. It almost sounds so simple that many will choose not to believe it can be saved like this, and instead keep returning to bitter thoughts and ways. YOU check it. YOU test it. Don’t let someone else tell you anything based on their cognitive so called education. That is good for the physical realm which is just a veil over the true reality of the spirit realm. Search spirit, not physical. You’ll get your answers friends.

        • Bobby says:

          Strong’s concordance and tracing the root word of that root word, of that root word, of that root word, and so forth with a good Bible is one of the only things we have left to use that one can start with to clear some of the mud out of the scriptures. The Indian bible has been destroyed which is already the most simplified version of “today’s” bible that is available.

          If you choose not to start there for whatever personal reasons you have then I can suggest these books to you if you’d rather have something more physical to lead you to something more spiritual.

          -Awakening Spirits
          -The Tracker
          (Both by Tom Brown Jr.)

          -Illumination
          By Antonio Vivaldi

          I have heard this version before also of “tricking the psyche” and “The Creator is deep inside your brain/imagination” etc blah blah blah. OK. So if this is you and you already believe this one side of the story BLINDLY mind you, then why have you not done as I have said and tested for yourself the opposite of that belief that it’s not “made up” within your psyche but rather a part of your own psyche and also individuality. I come to you as a fellow brother. I won’t repeat some of the terrible things I’ve done for years or the things I thought. Trust me, I’ve been on both sides of the fence. I used to listen to some terrible hate music, some which is incredibly hateful towards God and others and have carried some heinous acts out myself that I have now tossed to wayside like any other repenter. But my point is that I’ve looked at it as an unknowing person, a young and wanting to know person, a skeptic of the whole subject, a skeptic of the “why’s” of God while siding with some evil thoughts and actions to back that up, a person who is maturing physically with thought and intent, a person who is maturing spiritually with thought and intent. In today’s world of confusion, it seems we almost must go through these phases in order to truly and properly understand what no book can teach us. I really hope that you test me, test yourself, test The Creator (Dad) and use your best discernment to come to an awesome conclusion for you and those around you. 🙏🏽

        • sklyjd says:

          You said, “Sorry that you falsely choose to think and feel that way based of man’s opinion or teachings especially without checking for yourself as I have stated.”

          You can believe it when I tell you I have checked under every stone. I am not young, gullible or wet behind the ears, I live happily in the physical world that is indisputably identifiable and verifiable to all of us along with the scientific evidence and facts that are also verifiable and are the driving force and the basis of this modern world. Whereas none of those attributes can be identified for what is supposed to be the spiritual world and its superstitious myths.

          You said, “then it’s possible, you may even hear Him speak to you. But one has to actually try this with the right heart, sometimes several times, before an powerful response like that is given.”

          You are not alone with your delusion of hearing voices. Many things can cause this phenomenon and it all produced by the brain. Hearing voices is an auditory hallucination that may or may not be associated with a mental health problem. A common type of hallucination in people with psychotic disorders. However, healthy people have also reported hearing voices. Sometimes you may think you are not responsible for hearing a voice and you have no idea what this voice is going to say next and the voices are often felt as more intense and real than sensory perceptions. Persons have believed the voice is from someone standing right next to them, or the voices can manifest as in thought. Some experience a combination of both, where the voices can be critical, complementary or neutral and they may give commands that are potentially harmful or engage you in conversation.

          You need to understand that basically if you try long and hard enough to want to hear a god or a long dead relative talk to you it will likely happen.

          You said, “Don’t let someone else tell you anything based on their cognitive so called education.”

          Ok so you are saying the so called education of the majority of the worlds smartest and leading scientists accounts for nothing? Just for interest, how old do you think the Earth is?

          • Brian Adams says:

            I was a a devout Christian for 20 years. I spend roughly half of my available time studying theology and/or philosophical and scientific arguments for god, the universe, etc. This is one of my greatest interests and I’m passionate about it. It took 4 years to go from theist to atheist. And it wasnt fun or easy. Your argument is the same I’ve heard countless times except for other versions of god or religion. Only one of you can be right, which makes countless wrong for certainty. However, all of you are equally as certain you are the right one.

            The countless times I’ve heard, “if you truly seek you will find.”

            Listen to Matt Dillahunty. He hears it all the time and talks about it in his debates. Its absurd and ridiculous and is a last resort mechanism to protect your beliefs. When all logic and reason fails, this happens.

            1. Theist view an open mind as being one where magic happens and anything supernatural is possible to explain everything we dont understand.
            2. Atheist view of an open mind is investigate for yourself and have no conclusions or assumptions. Follow the evidence wherever it leads, even if it’s in complete opposition of your current beliefs. Open and honest inquiry.

            There is not, and never has been any evidence for a god or gods. I’d someone ever found evidence, they would have already collected their Nobel prize.

            • sklyjd says:

              I cannot see or understand how you would think from what I wrote that I am a theist. Maybe you should have sent it to Bobby the theist.
              Please go back and re-read my comments, you will see I am an atheist.

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