Why The Judaeo-Christian God Makes No Sense to Me

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DarthMetaKnight
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26 Aug 2017, 6:39 pm

Hi all. I want to talk about why the Judaeo-Christian God has never made much sense to me.

I'm a nature nut. Some of my earliest memories involve me going on camping trips and reading birdwatching books. We are supposed to believe that nature is a creation of God, but nature doesn't look like a creation of a God. Nature and God are practically opposites of one another. They are completely different in terms of character.

What if nature was designed by a supreme being? That's what I want to talk about.

What I would expect: If nature was designed by a supreme being, life forms would probably fall into very strict categories. After all, God is supposed to be a person and people love strict categories.
Reality: The biological categories that we learn about in elementary school aren't that clear-cut. Several mammals are nearly hairless. The hoatzin is a bird that has clawed wings when it is a hatchling. Several fish have the ability to breathe air. We are supposed to believe that amphibians begin their lives as aquatic larvae, which later metamorphose into terrestrial adults. In reality, there are some frogs that go through their tadpole stage before they hatch. Lungless salamanders also exist. All of the neat little categories that we create fall apart when you look at them more closely. This is especially true when you look at the fossil record. Ichthyostega and Australopithecus existed. No amount of right-wing political correctness will change that. ... and don't even get me started on ring species.

What I would expect: The nuclear family is "natural" right? That's what fundies keep telling me.
Reality: The "nuclear family" is extremely rare in the natural world. In most animals, "promiscuity" is the norm. Necrophilia and incest have also been observed in the natural world. Furthermore, most "monogamous" animals aren't as monogamous as you think. Scientists have actually done paternity tests on wild baby birds. As it turns out, "monogamous" birds cheat on each other constantly. Furthermore, matriarchal animals are just as common as patriarchal animals.

What I would expect: God can create complex life from nothing. He did that in the Book of Genesis. He turned a rod into a snake in one of the other books. For a long time, people refused to believe that the Dodo was extinct because they saw the concept of extinction as "unbiblical".
Reality: When we kill off an animal species, it stays dead.

What I would expect: Don't most fundies believe that diseases come from the Devil? Shouldn't bacteria have something besides DNA? Why would God and Satan use the same sort of code?
Reality: Bacteria and harmful parasites have DNA, which we also have.

Overall, Christians believe that God is simple, orderly and caring. Nature is completely different. Nature is complex and uncaring. Nature doesn't give a damn. Religious people are supposed to avoid sin. Meanwhile, wild animals only believe in pragmatism.


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SilverProteus
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26 Aug 2017, 6:47 pm

'Intelligent design' is not so intelligent.

One example:


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kitesandtrainsandcats
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26 Aug 2017, 6:56 pm

While God is considered to be a person he is also very, very, different from us. I would expect that being infinite leads to a somewhat different way of thinking than a finite human would have.
Those neat little categories are an invention of finite humans. How an infinite being would categorize things I'm not going to try to guess.
That the nuclear family is considered "natural" for humans is independent of what animals do - animals are not humans.

Re:

Quote:
What I would expect: God can create complex life from nothing. He did that in the Book of Genesis. He turned a rod into a snake in one of the other books. For a long time, people refused to believe that the Dodo was extinct because they saw the concept of extinction as "unbiblical".
Reality: When we kill off an animal species, it stays dead.
I'm not figuring out what you are getting at there. That God can scratchbuild life is often not part of what people conclude either accurately or mistakenly.
I don't recall the Bible much if, at all, addressing the matter of extinction beyond being connected to the flood event and preservation of those species.
And that a species goes extinct when all are killed is a logical cause and effect, that's the expected result.

Quote:
Why would God and Satan use the same sort of code?
Why not? God apparently set up most life to work with DNA, and if you are a Satan wanting to corrupt God's creation then you pretty much have to work with the processes which happen in that creation.


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ailuzhin
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27 Aug 2017, 5:37 am

Slight quibble:

I am not sure that God is supposed to be, or is even said to be, a person.

I think the Bible quote is 'God made man in His own image'. It doesn't necessarily follow that God is or resembles a human. 'In His own image' could mean a multitude of things.



kitesandtrainsandcats
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27 Aug 2017, 6:17 am

ailuzhin wrote:
Slight quibble: I am not sure that God is supposed to be, or is even said to be, a person.
It depends on how the word person is used.
If person means a being who has self-awareness, has an individual identity, has a will, has an intellect, has feelings, has intent, has desire, has agency, has ability to communicate those, then God is a person.
And that is how the word person is generally used when referring to God.
And then there's that quite bizarre to human experience thing of the triune God - one God in three persons.
From the human point of view that is a huge Whaaaaaaaat???????
"Okay, let me get this straight, there is one God who is at the same time three individual and distinct persons, God, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit?"
Yep.
That's just too weird!
Indeed it is: all a human can do is accept that we mortal and finite humans may or may not be able to wrap our heads around the mode of existence of an immortal and infinite being.


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27 Aug 2017, 12:49 pm

It's definitely an idea with a lot of turbulence and confusion, especially surrounding issues of cosmology and the existence of evil.

I really think the core idea of an omnipotent, omnipresent, omnipotent God at it's most coherent development wasn't delivered by Christianity - rather it was delivered by the neoplatonists - ie. Plotinus et. al., mainly because their God truly has no competition, everything emanated from It, and It is thought of as 'The Good', ie. ultimate harmony. To that extent evil would be something that happens as the outward sphere of that deity's energy further attenuates until it's wracked by chaos and disharmony and suffers and labors with the problem of evil until it can draw down enough of God's knowledge and ways of being to broaden it's sphere of harmony into these new realms.

Really in thinking about what I just said I'd have to slightly correct the very first item - ie. that God would be supreme in terms of organized living structures but it would not be omnipresent or omnipotent if it had to grind it's way through chaotic states or phases of nature in order to sublimate the chaos into the right kind of order-in-motion that it is the epitome of.

This brings us of course to Zoroaster, with his Ahura Mazda vs. Ahriman, a good god vs. an evil god, the depth of influence that idea had on the Persians (conquerors of Babylon and supposed liberators of the Jewish people) or Manichaeism which apparently sets the bar for material pessimist dualism, ie. suggesting that God is distinctly separate from matter and that matter is evil. It seems like this particular strain of thinking was woven, in much lighter quantities, through early Judaism although they didn't really have a lot to say on matter, saw Satan or The Adversary as God's curmudgeon and quality-tester, and while I can't say too much about the evolution of ideas of evil during the Hellenistic period it seems like shortly after Christianity came around guys like Augustine had a lot to do with the classic Jesus vs. the Devil either arm-wrestling or facing off with football helmets - that is to say that Zoroastrian concepts of a good god vs an evil god became really prevalent.

I think this is where it's important for both believers and non-believers to sort this stuff out. The concepts and ideas presented aren't all crap in isolation, just that when you wind them together in a manipulative manner with no explanation and lots of dogma - or in the New Testament blend good/evil dualism with emanationism and no coherent segue for compatibility - that's where the problem comes in.


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shlaifu
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27 Aug 2017, 5:45 pm

why do you demand the deity in a book that has been written and rewritten for something like 4000 years make sense to you?
who knows why and what for stuff was written or dismissed. There's wisdom in these books, and nonsense, and which is which depends on who reads it...
If that religion doesn't add up to you, maybe you need to move on.


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27 Aug 2017, 10:42 pm

Why are atheists are always arguing with fundies?

DarthMetaKnight wrote:
Reality: The "nuclear family" is extremely rare in the natural world. In most animals, "promiscuity" is the norm. Necrophilia and incest have also been observed in the natural world. Furthermore, most "monogamous" animals aren't as monogamous as you think. Scientists have actually done paternity tests on wild baby birds. As it turns out, "monogamous" birds cheat on each other constantly. Furthermore, matriarchal animals are just as common as patriarchal animals.


DarthMetaKnight wrote:
Religious people are supposed to avoid sin. Meanwhile, wild animals only believe in pragmatism.


Any Christian with half a brain will tell you that the nuclear family is not the natural state for humans. That's why it requires so much personal effort, sacrifice and social support to maintain. What is natural or instinctual is not necessarily what is moral - if you don't immediately understand and accept this, you have a seriously warped moral compass, I wouldn't trust you to dig a hole with a stick.

@ the rest of the post
Christianity does not require literal interpretation of the Bible, it's not and never was the Christian Quran. The creation stories are likely half remembered remnants of pre-Judaism oral tradition. The important part for Christians is the idea of creation itself, not the schedule or the specifics of how involved the creator was.


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kitesandtrainsandcats
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27 Aug 2017, 10:58 pm

Mikah wrote:
Why are atheists are always arguing with fundies?
It passes more time than arguing with agnostics does.


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Yo El
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04 Sep 2017, 3:27 pm

Starting to think that 'fundies' might be the ones not making sense. Since you bring them up all the time. Don't know why you have to bring God into this lol.



GnosticBishop
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04 Sep 2017, 6:44 pm

ailuzhin wrote:
Slight quibble:

I am not sure that God is supposed to be, or is even said to be, a person.

I think the Bible quote is 'God made man in His own image'. It doesn't necessarily follow that God is or resembles a human. 'In His own image' could mean a multitude of things.


Or it shows the more intelligent thinking before Christianity and Islam became idol worshiping cults who adore their immoral Gods.

Here is how we should think of Gods of the supernatural type.

[youtube]http://bigthink.com/videos/what-is-god-2-2[/youtube]

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04 Sep 2017, 6:55 pm

DarthMetaKnight wrote:

What if nature was designed by a supreme being? That's what I want to talk about.
.


Natural law creates for the best possible end of all organisms. The good of the many is always given superiority over the few, naturally.

God creates knowing that the vast majority will take the wide road to hell and only a few will take that narrow path to heaven.

God also chose Jesus to die before he did. Natural law prefers that the young bury the old and not the way God did it.

Both these are against natural law so if God created natural law, you would think he would follow it. Right?

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05 Sep 2017, 1:06 am

What you "expect" from God, or God to be, will not always correlate with what God actually is. It is only extreme hubris that would compel a person to say, "According to my line of reasoning and expectations, God should have done this and that, and be like this, and shouldn't be so wasteful, and should value efficiency, and be tolerant of gays, and be progressive, and value what I personally value. Since He (or She or It, if you prefer) doesn't meet my expectations and requirements, I will choose to ridicule and dismiss Him/Her/It".

Have I summed up your attitude accurately?



Lintar
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05 Sep 2017, 1:14 am

Mikah wrote:
Why are atheists are always arguing with fundies?

DarthMetaKnight wrote:
Reality: The "nuclear family" is extremely rare in the natural world. In most animals, "promiscuity" is the norm. Necrophilia and incest have also been observed in the natural world. Furthermore, most "monogamous" animals aren't as monogamous as you think. Scientists have actually done paternity tests on wild baby birds. As it turns out, "monogamous" birds cheat on each other constantly. Furthermore, matriarchal animals are just as common as patriarchal animals.


DarthMetaKnight wrote:
Religious people are supposed to avoid sin. Meanwhile, wild animals only believe in pragmatism.


Any Christian with half a brain will tell you that the nuclear family is not the natural state for humans. That's why it requires so much personal effort, sacrifice and social support to maintain. What is natural or instinctual is not necessarily what is moral - if you don't immediately understand and accept this, you have a seriously warped moral compass, I wouldn't trust you to dig a hole with a stick.

@ the rest of the post
Christianity does not require literal interpretation of the Bible, it's not and never was the Christian Quran. The creation stories are likely half remembered remnants of pre-Judaism oral tradition. The important part for Christians is the idea of creation itself, not the schedule or the specifics of how involved the creator was.


Exactly! Too many people get caught up in the details of it all, whilst failing to see the bigger, overall picture. Yes, we understand that bats are not birds, and that the Noah's Ark story is implausible if taken literally, and that stoning for adultery is rather retrograde, but there are deeper levels of meaning, most of which are not appreciated when one takes every word as being literally and infallibly true. Fundamentalists and atheists have that one thing in common - the belief that the Bible can only be read literally.



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05 Sep 2017, 1:47 pm

Lintar wrote:
Quote:
What you "expect" from God, or God to be, will not always correlate with what God actually is.


True, given that we cannot know what a supernatural God is.

I think we can expect, or reject if missing, a God with poor morals.

That is not the case with mainstream believers as they have accepted Yahweh and Allah as good Gods even though they are both slavery promoting Gods.

Quote:
It is only extreme hubris that would compel a person to say, "According to my line of reasoning and expectations, God should have done this and that, and be like this, and shouldn't be so wasteful, and should value efficiency, and be tolerant of gays, and be progressive, and value what I personally value. Since He (or She or It, if you prefer) doesn't meet my expectations and requirements, I will choose to ridicule and dismiss Him/Her/It".


Setting a moral standard is hardly hubris.

You have a moral standard that you apply to men and Gods. No?

Quote:
Have I summed up your attitude accurately?


I am afraid not.

Regards
DL