An Open Letter to Sedative

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Sep 02, 2009 11:58 PM GMT
    Dear Sedative,

    Yep, I have seen the kind of post you submitted to Phem's thread #638430, and I think I know where you're coming from.
    Richard Dawkins in his book, "The God Delusion" has this to say, p. 31:

    "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 vindictitive, bloodthirsty ethnic cleanser; a misogynistic, homophobic, racist, infanticidal, genocidal, filicidal, pestilential, megalomaniacal, sadomasochistic, capriciously malevolent bully."

    For one who is a Christian believer, this sort of thing is practically impossible to just pass by. The Bible quotes, mainly from the Old Testament, which you submitted, does at first sight, verify the above accusations Dawkins had listed. As a human being, how can I love a God like that? Fear, rather, being terrified of such a being would be the only natural response.

    In his list, Dawkins includes "infanticidal" and in the case, for example, of Korah's rebellion, the children die with their sinful parents or grandparents.
    This was, and still is the sorest point in the whole debate, because being a father myself, I have a very soft spot for young children.

    So you see, I realise where you are coming from.

    But allow me, a couple of points I like to bring up here, which were not so obvious in the texts you quoted:

    1. The Canaanites sacrificed living infants everyday as sacrifices to their pagan gods. Living babies were placed naked on glowing hot coals, young boys and girls screamed with terror at the sight of the priest standing before a fire grate and wielding the knife that would end their lives.

    2. Sex was rampant in Canaan and sexual-transmitted diseases were a huge problem among the inhabitants. This could be the meaning of the phrase that "the land consumed its people" as Joshua's spies once reported.

    3. The laws given by God to Moses were
    a) To forbid such child sacrifices and to avoid the spread of such diseases.
    b) To show us how sinful we really are, and even the slightest transgression would result in death. The only solution is for someone to take all our sins upon himself so we can be reconciled to God through faith alone, and live eternally (faith alone for salvation is denied by catholicism).

    All I need to do is look around me and see the beauty of God in the created world. But most of all, I had many opportunities to watch, via the ultrasound scan, the development of the fetus I fathered. I have marvelled on how a tiny sperm meeting a bigger ovum resulted in the birth of my newborn daughter, her first wail brought me to tears, and had to be supported by a couple of nurses. I have wondered how different we humans are from all other animal species. Our vast intelligence, compared to our "nearest cousins" the primates. Our ability to make decisions, to work out complicated problems, to understand maths, speak languages, construct beautiful edifaces, invent things like the computer, so on and on...No other animal comes anywhere close. This space is limited, but I will close with this:
    We are made in the image of God. No other species hold that distinction.
    We were made to love God, and we were even given the ability to choose to love or reject him. Evolution cannot do all this in us.

    NTO



  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Sep 05, 2009 5:53 PM GMT
    Why single me out ~_~

    But what the hell...

    1) Saying that the acts of infanticide and the sacrifice of human beings (Isaac and Jephthah's daughter, both of which imply that such acts made to the hebrew god was very commonplace indeed) is forgivable and permissible because such acts where commonplace at the time, does NOT make it right.

    It only emphasizes the fact that the god of the Bible was very much a manmade god and subject to human customs and beliefs of what was acceptable back then.

    Other civilizations that did not practice infanticide and human sacrifice at all had different gods. So why are their gods not the right god? Why yours?

    Most importantly, why are you apologizing for him?

    2) I am confused as to what the importance of this is. Where did I mention 'The land shall consume its people'?

    If you meant this in conjunction with Jericho, then wrong. Oh so wrong. You are again taking sentences out from paragraphs and explaining it out of context. That is not the only account of Joshua's exploits. Please read the entire story of what Joshua did, because it is quite clear what he did. He was a brilliant and bloodthirsty war general. He ravaged Canaan, conquering city after city, and sparing no one. Not even women, children, and livestock.

    3)

    a) None of those things are mentioned in the 10 commandments. The commandment was 'Thou shalt not kill'. And apparently it only applies to free MALE hebrews. Women, children, slaves, and non-Hebrew people were not subject to that law. Not to mention that killing apparently is not punishable if only the perpetrator says "God told me to do it".

    b) Would result in death indeed. In the hands of human zealots. Not by the hand of the being who apparently wanted it. If being sinful is indeed deadly, why do we not simply get struck down by lightning? Why don't I just fall down dead for being gay? The answer is clear: All the threats of 'sin' being deadly are only true when humans are so stupid they would carry out the 'punishment' themselves. You should try and talk to suicide bombers. After all, they are also simply punishing sin with death. Hundreds of innocent deaths. And it's the will of God.

    If he truly wanted to save us, if he truly wanted to give us eternal life, if he truly exists even, I would've expected him to do much much more for something as serious as eternal damnation.

    If a child of mine was drowning in the river, I wouldn't simply write down instructions on how to swim properly and then throw it at him. That's what your god apparently does. In the hopes that we could somehow learn how to swim to him and be saved. Bollocks.

    As for the natural world. I'm sorry but beauty is subjective. So is intelligence. Do you really hold such a high opinion of humans? Doing complex maths is nothing much at all. Compared to how complex the universe really is, we are still monkeys. Nay, we are still protozoans bumbling around in the complexity of nature. Our civilization is only a few thousand years old, and already we are claiming to know the secrets of the universe. Arrogant apes that we are.

    If we were indeed made in the image of god, then god would then be quite pathetic. He would literally be limited to the physical. The Biblical gods sounds like a human wizard-king (or more accurately a tyrant, Sauron probably), and his appointed priests, pastors, popes, and whatnot, his regents. And I do not worship humans, thank you.

    If you refer to the beauty of the natural world as proof of God, then how come you don't even appreciate it? None of you listen to its 'laws', preferring the paltry list of do's and do not's in Moses' tablets to the truth that is screamed at you every moment you breathe. The law of gravity, the theory of evolution, the speed of light, special relativity, the laws of thermodynamics, entropy, etc. These are all imposed on us. None of us escape them. We don't need a priest to tell us that we are affected by this, we experience them everyday.

    The laws of nature transcend the laws of man and his religions. Evolution is not a human invention. Nor is the oblate spheroid shape of the Earth a human invention. Nor is DNA a human invention. Nor is the fact that the Earth orbits the sun a human invention. Nor is the insignificance of the Earth in relation to the vastness of the Universe a human invention. This is observed data. This is fact. This is natural law. So why is it so hard for you to accept it? If you point out nature as proof, then why do you continue to refute nature?

    Religion on the other hand IS a human invention. And when it does start to disagree with what little truth we can observe of nature itself, it's already proof that it is NOT natural law. So do not turn to nature to prove your god, when you don't even listen to what it says.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Sep 05, 2009 11:56 PM GMT
    Dear Sedative,
    If you believe that I have singled you out, what I have seen in the RJ's forums, it looks to me that both yourself and USBioNerd have submitted posts that reveals you high IQ. Damn! I have to admit that I admire you! I have checked your profile, and and I have read your poems and your story about catching up with a schoolmate about to move away, in a storm. I have admired your fine art, especially with those futuristic war vehicles your have created so well.

    In contrast, I have struggled at school back in the sixties, and I never saw the inside of a University. All my working life had been manual, fortunately I have been running my own business as a handyman since 1980 and I hope to retire (or partly retire) in about eight years from now (when I reach 65).
    Some years ago during a counselling session, I had to undergo an IQ test, and found that I had above average intelligence. I think that reading and believing the Bible has literally raised my IQ to a higher level than I ever had in my schooldays. I can't think of anything else. (To tie any loose ends, I became a Christian by choice in 1973, when I was twenty. Before then I was agnostic/atheist).

    The Bible and the Christian faith means everything to me, how it applies to my life now, not just after death. It is really an instruction book on how I can be a better person to others, and believe me, that and what I'm learning out of the daily run of my working life has achieved this, and it is still ongoing.

    I won't attempt to answer everything you posted above, except that about the twelve spies, I had gotten the wires crossed - the spies were dispatched by Moses, and Joshua was one of them.

    Other than that, there are many questions we need to face - such as if the churches are into the healing ministry, then why doesn't God heal amputees?
    Or why are Christian divorces at the same rate as non Christian separations?
    Or the classic - If such a loving God exist, then why so much suffering?
    Or Why has God in the Old Testament behave the way he did with the Canaanites?
    These are challenges we face in our faith as you do in yours. Perhaps contrarily to what you may think, we don't live in cloud cuckoo land or pie-in-the-sky world. Our world is just as real as yours, and we too need to ask questions.

    About glorifying mankind, where I was coming from was, if man and primates evolved side by side, and our genes are almost identical to theirs, (less than 1% different?) why hadn't the monkeys and apes achieve a much higher intelligence, more closer to ours, than they did, given that they had the same evolutionary time-span? It is true that some can crush open a nut with a stone, but isn't that immensely primitive compared to what we've achieved? And aren't there some species of birds which uses a stick or twig to prise out a grub from under the bark of a tree?

    And as for the beauty of nature, I too, of course am fully aware of erupting volcanoes, earthquakes, tsunamis, harmful germs, viruses, illnesses, hunger, warfare and other bad things in this world.

    But Paul also wrote to the church in Rome that the whole of creation was subjected to groan as if in pain until the redemption of the sons of God (still future). In other words, it is far from perfect and the Bible is clear about this.

    Thanks for reading this, all the best,

    NTO