That’s a Good Question!

There’s a recent article on ExChristian.net by Astreja entitled “So What?“. The post regards common remarks by believers toward atheists such as:

You just want to sin!“, or “You wouldn’t believe even if God suddenly appeared!“.

XPDAN-avatar

XPDan

The referenced post is fairly short and definitely worth the read, but there was a comment made by XPDan that I really want to draw attention to. Dan is an ex-pastor who was a Christian for over 40 years but eventually left the faith like so many of us. He often comments at the ExChristian.net site and his remarks are routinely thought provoking.

With Dan’s permission, I am posting his comment below because he raises a damn good question. I’ve had similar thoughts but I love the way that he puts it:

How would we know if God came down to earth and revealed Himself to us?? The Bible proclaims that no one has ever seen God. Moses supposedly got mooned by God (Exodus says that Moses saw God’s hindquarters), but no man shall see God and live, proclaims the surrounding contextual verses.

So when God decided to “reveal” Himself to mankind, he sent another “Man”! We’ve had lots and lots of these “sons of God” proclaim to be sent from God. Are we supposed to believe all of them? No! So logic tells us that we can’t accept any of them.

I asked my preacher friend the other day a question that gave him pause; I don’t think he had ever thought of it. I asked him why, if God was omniscient, omnipotent, omnipresent, without beginning or ending, and desperate to get man’s attention, so that man could be saved – why doesn’t he reveal himself NOW, in a way that is unmistakable? Why not use today’s technology? Technology that can send internet messages around the world simultaneously. Why not take control of all the computer monitors and TV screens and simply “REVEAL” Himself? Why leave mankind with such shoddy evidence, i.e., disputed, ancient texts that are full of mistakes, contradictions, forgeries, and un-original platitudes. This is the best that the Creator of the Universe can provide, as His only (perfect, according to some) means for reaching humans with this most infinitely, important message? Really?

My good, Christian friend just looked at me for a second and said – “That’s a good question.”

Thanks Dan, it is. For those of us who have truly sought answers, the silence from the God of the Bible is quite deafening.

Silence

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39 thoughts on “That’s a Good Question!

  1. When Jesus was in the flesh and performed miracles, people did not believe. OT Jews turned from God though He led them in a pillar of fire and parted the Red Sea. The Heavens and the Cosmos, indeed all of Creation reveals God. Yet people still do not believe. This is why Jesus responded as follows: “The Jews who were there gathered around him, saying, ‘How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Messiah, tell us plainly.’ Jesus answered, ‘I did tell you, but you do not believe. The works I do in my Father’s name testify about me, but you do not believe because you are not my sheep.'” John 10:24-26. Similarly, with the story of Lazarus, we are told that even if the dead returns to speak to survivors, they will not believe: “‘No, father Abraham,’ he said, ‘but if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent.’ “He said to him, ‘If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.’” Luke 16:30-31. Man likes would not believe even if God appeared in a flash of light. But God does reveal Himself today. But He does so through the Holy Spirit. This is what Jesus left behind to shepherd in His people. The Spirit is far better than the Internet.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Daddyblitz, as a fellow father of 5 and a busy professional, I appreciate that you took the time to visit and write. Perhaps like me, you’ll one day decide to seek truth even in the face of fear and the potential loss of faith. I would encourage you to do so. Take a hard look at the other world religions. Why should Christianity be held up on a pedestal vs Hinduism, Buddhism, Islam or Mormonism? (Or even the more ancient, Judaism?). Why do you believe that Christianity is true while the other faiths are not? There are critical flaws in the Christian dogma and its holy book.

      “When Jesus was in the flesh and performed miracles, people did not believe. OT Jews turned from God though He led them in a pillar of fire and parted the Red Sea.” – There’s an embarrassing lack of both contemporary historical evidence and archaeological evidence for either of your examples.

      “The Heavens and the Cosmos, indeed all of Creation reveals God. Yet people still do not believe.” – If the cosmos declares there’s a god, why should it be the god of the Hebrews? Why not Brahma/Vishnu/Shiva? Or Xenu? Or Ra the sun god? If it were the god of the Hebrews, it might be more believable if the ancient stories in Genesis weren’t plagiarized variants of others. It would be more believable if it didn’t declare that humanity started with a single pair of humans (which genome mapping and DNA studies have clearly demonstrated is not even remotely likely). The Bible would also be more believable without a talking snake, talking donkey or the story of a man living inside a whale for 3 days, etc., etc., etc.

      You shared some verses from the New Testament, specifically from John and Luke. As an attorney, you know the importance of evidence and the lack of credibility for hearsay. You know how stories can alter and expand with each telling. In the case of the 4 NT gospels, we’re dealing with writings that are anonymous; not told in the first person; not corroborated in other external historical accounts; and which are all written some 40 to 60 years AFTER the life of Christ. It’s embarrassing.

      I speak as someone whose formal education was focused in theology. I spent 30+ years as a devoted Christian. But I eventually reached a point of willingness to be open to truth. I encourage you to continue your journey.

      Liked by 5 people

      • In a reply thread, I cannot convince you nor will you convince me. I was simply responding to your posted question: why does God not reveal Himself? As you know from prior belief, Christians believe that He does reveal himself. What you mock, 2.2 billion people believe. That is no small number. As I stated, the Bible reveals this is due to the work of the Holy Spirit. Can that be proved? Obviously not. That requires faith, just as a belief that there is no God requires faith. Believing that all of this just randomly popped into existence is no more logical than belief in a designer. So, whether it is Jesus or some other god, I think the existence of a designer is made obvious by everything around us, including the Cosmos. Many renown scientists have even conceded this point. As far as the Bible, I understand your questions. I’ve had the same. But the clips you mentioned, such as Adam and Eve, I don’t read every jot and tittle as literal. Much of the Bible is comprised of stories, parables, songs, poetry, etc. In many cases, passages are stories to describe real events, but not necessarily literally. For example Jonah. Was he actually swallowed by a fish? I don’t think he was. My interpretation of the story of Jonah is a description God provided of how He interacts with man. In the story of Jonah, the fish could have simply been a metaphor for resistance to God. So, I don’t get hot and bothered about talking snakes and such. Nor does the Bible disprove science. As far as Genesis copying older stories, it has never been proven that such stories, such as those found in Egypt, were not contrived from the same revelation that inspired the Bible. Simply looking at similarities does not prove one copied the other. Now how to prop up Christianity over other religions, that I cannot answer. That is a matter of faith. I think all the world’s religions point to the obvious that God exists. Who is right may not be known until the end. But, as I said earlier, I believe the Holy Spirit convicts us. This is not something that can be proven; it can only be experienced. And 2.2 billion Christians alive today, plus the uncountable predecessors, demonstrate that reality. I cannot here get into all the historical texts that also back up the Bible or archeological evidence. But I would be careful calling foolish what so many believe. And not just Christians, the overwhelming percentage of humans believe in a higher being. So who is worthy of the foolish label I will leave to you, but being wrong, I feel much better being on God’s side. If I am wrong, I will know no different. If a nonbeliever is wrong, well, you know the story. But as for me, faith comes from an enlightening source. As a lawyer, I am not accustomed to simply believing the unprovable nor do I accept things without a lot of thought and analysis. The fact that I am comfortable with my faith, I attribute to the supernatural, the same you might attribute to foolishness.

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        • “What you mock, 2.2 billion people believe. That is no small number.”

          Surely you’re not arguing “lots of people believe it, therefore it must be true” (argumentum ad populum)? Virtually the whole planet at one time believed the sun orbited the Earth… was it therefore true? 1.6 billion people are Muslims, which is also no small number… if they someday outnumber the Christians, will that make them right?

          “As I stated, the Bible reveals this is due to the work of the Holy Spirit. Can that be proved? Obviously not. That requires faith, just as a belief that there is no God requires faith. Believing that all of this just randomly popped into existence is no more logical than belief in a designer. So, whether it is Jesus or some other god, I think the existence of a designer is made obvious by everything around us, including the Cosmos. Many renown scientists have even conceded this point.”

          I think this is an unhelpful use of the word “faith”… an equivocation, in fact. And we need to distinguish between “there are no god(s)” (a claim), and “I don’t believe there are any god(s)” (rejection of another’s claim). The latter requires no “faith” at all. That’s where I’m at.

          On questions of cosmology, abiogenesis, evolution, and how the universe came to be, I’m an agnostic. If it turned out the Deists were right and there is some kind of creator being (or 5 of them, or 12 of them), it wouldn’t substantially change my views. But that only gets you to “some kind of god”—it wouldn’t prove the CHRISTIAN God exists. The existence of an intervening, supernatural, “personal relationship” god is what I see no good evidence for, and disbelieve.

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    • There is a difference between believing in the EXISTENCE of something/someone, and choosing to trust/follow/worship/surrender to that something/someone. It’s true the former doesn’t guarantee the latter; in the case of the Christian story, Satan is exhibit A. But establishing the existence of God is the first step… and that hasn’t happened.

      If the Christian God exists, what his revelation would do is make following him or not an INFORMED choice. I am convinced that an omnipotent and omniscient God, if he existed, could contrive a method of revelation that would convince billions that he exists. It is clearly the case that no such revelation has happened. Why not?

      What we see around us is a planet whose people are divided in belief between many incompatible religions, specificially because all the god(s) of those religions are hidden… only inferred, not demonstrated… supported only by subjective and suspect evidence. Clay is thus right to ask the question: What makes Christianity unique or any more believable than the alternatives which Christians reject?

      “But God does reveal Himself today. But He does so through the Holy Spirit. This is what Jesus left behind to shepherd in His people. The Spirit is far better than the Internet.”

      I totally disagree that “The Spirit is far better.” Lots of religions claim to have such an “internal witness”—a subjective experience that convinces the person that they have the truth. But they can’t all be true. And this is the weakest kind of “evidence” for a claim of the existence of god(s). A visible, audible revelation of such a being, witnessed by everyone on the planet, captured by millions of cell phone cameras and replayed at will—in short, an experience that is the same for everyone—would be far superior evidence. Billions would believe in the EXISTENCE of such a being, even if they did not choose to worship or follow him/her/it.

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      • I will rely on my reply to Clay’s response. In addition, I quoted the above scripture because, for those of us who accept Christianity as true, the Bible tells us that God has revealed himself as you request over and over and people still denied him. That is why the holy spirit was sent into the world. How to convince you one belief over another is true, I cannot. As I said above, that is a matter of faith and conviction. One chooses to put faith in something from nothing and spontaneous combustion so to speak while others believe the cosmos screams the reality of a designer. From the conclusion of a designer, I do not have the mind of God to answer why one thing is done over another. But those who believe in nothingness have a much more difficult argument from human experience and reason than those who submit to a higher being.

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        • “I quoted the above scripture because, for those of us who accept Christianity as true, the Bible tells us that God has revealed himself as you request over and over and people still denied him. That is why the holy spirit was sent into the world.”

          But that’s the catch-22, isn’t it? If you already believe the Bible is true, of course you’ll accept its account of people rejecting his visible revelation, and the Holy Spirit as (in my opinion) a convenient excuse for why that visible revelation doesn’t happen now. But what reason do we have to believe the Bible is true? A god who actually showed up and said “this is my word” would go a long way to establishing that, wouldn’t it? Instead we’re left with many gods, many holy books, and no agreement (even within those separate camps on many issues). Nothing is clear. Why would a god who wants people to love and trust and worship him allow this state of affairs to exist? What makes Christianity stand out above other religions and mythology?

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        • Fair questions. If I could answer them, I’d be the most renown theologian and philosopher of all time. The religions of the world typically have common threads. One of those threads is God working in a man’s heart. How can I dissect that? The same questions arise when considering the existence of evil and suffering. Why would any god allow such things? My faith reveals God giving man a will, which leads man one way or another. This leads to all sorts of calamity. But without it, what would we be but unsatisfactory minions worshiping their maker? So, by the will, man strays from or believes in Truth. That leads to perversions of Truth, such as multi-religions. So which one is true? I cannot give you a piece of paper or hard evidence to answer this. The believer resolves to faith or a combination of history, archeology and faith. Some men must have proof and cannot rely on faith alone. Who is the fool? Both sides point the opposite direction. Your concession to the possible reality of a designer though should fuel within you a desire for truth, because ignoring or defying a designer could be catastrophic. And you may be searching for that, wanting proof of one over another. I can answer from the Bible all of your questions but those answers will forever be disagreeable to you without acceptance of the truth of what is revealed in scripture. So I will not go there. But if any of the religions are true, then I agree that the god would reveal himself to a person in some way. And none currently appear before us in their true form and proclaim themselves. But that is not the end of the story, for those who have faith and believe what is revealed to them. But not having the mind of God should not be proof that He does not exist.

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  2. One other point here is not unimportant. How arrogant are we to expect God to appear before every generation and repeat himself? Consider how minuscule we are in comparison to the vastness of the Cosmos, and even beyond to what we have absolutely no knowledge of at all? Also consider how insignificant we are in the spectrum of infinity in which a deity would occupy. The Bible says for God a thousand years is like a day, and a day is like a thousand years. And yet we demand that he reappear regularly to show himself? The very fact that some of us believe that he attends to us at all is the height of all arrogance. Demanding that God should do one thing or another crosses the line to absurdity.

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    • “Unless I see in his hands the mark of the nails, and place my finger into the mark of the nails, and place my hand into his side, I will never believe.” (John 20:25) Yes, how arrogant Thomas was to demand this of God, after all the miracles he’d already witnessed. How right Jesus was to curse him and send him to Hell for his unbelief!

      …oh wait. Jesus didn’t do that. He appeared to Thomas, physically, and visibly. And what was the result? Worship. Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!” (John 20:28) Don’t you agree that is what would happen for many many many many many many people, if Jesus did this today? But he doesn’t.

      You seem to think once should have been enough. But we don’t even know he did it once, let alone “regularly” to “every generation”. The Bible is a story, itself requiring proof.

      I think “demand” is another unhelpful word. What I’m saying is: Without good evidence and reasons to believe the Bible’s extraordinary claims, and the existence of the Christian God, we are justified in not believing them… until such time as good evidence and reasons are presented. We treat Christianity no differently in this regard than other religions, philosophies, or claims. I’m open to it, but I’m still waiting to see it.

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      • Jesus appeared to His disciples to confirm His resurrection so that they could then spread the Gospel with confidence. That is why he appeared to Thomas. Later appearances described are angelic-type appearances, such as to Paul on the road to Demascus. You can’t count the number of Christians today who have witnessed miracles, received answers to prayer, encountered Angels, received inexplicable healing, and some who have even heard the very words of God. Do we all see these? No. Are all of these people crazy? Or is there always a scientific explanation? Well, such doubter would require sticking his finger into Jesus’ wounds. We can keep going round and round, but I think we both at least understand each other, even if not in agreement.

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        • “Jesus appeared to His disciples to confirm His resurrection so that they could then spread the Gospel with confidence. That is why he appeared to Thomas.”

          I think you missed my point. I’m specifically answering your charge of the “arrogance” of “demanding” that God reveal himself. My point is: If in the Biblical story it wasn’t arrogance for Thomas to require visible revelation before he would believe, why would you say it is “arrogance” for me to do the same today?

          My contention is that this is neither “arrogance” nor a “demand” as if I’m stomping my foot before a being I already know exists and am insisting he do things my way. The whole point is that I don’t think he exists at all! I’m saying “show me, or don’t be surprised when I don’t believe you.” This is not at all unreasonable, nor any different from how I treat any other religion, philosophy, or claim.

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        • No, I understood your point about Thomas. I was explaining why Jesus appeared after His resurrection to a targeted few who would then begin the ministry of the Holy Spirt, who would take the Gospel message to the four corners of the earth. Jesus didn’t appear to Thomas because Thomas demanded him to. Jesus appeared to the disciples, including Thomas, but not in response to a demand. Whether or not Thomas was to doubt, Jesus planned to appear to the disciples. And Thomas did not doubt that Jesus was who he said he was all the time Thomas was with him. Thomas, in the scripture you quote, was doubting Jesus’ resurrection and that the person standing in front of him was the very shepherd Thomas witnessed being crucified. But Jesus did not appear again in that form after returning to Heaven because, as I’ve said before, he was leaving the Holy Spirit behind to do his work. There was no longer any need for Him to appear. And no I can’t prove this any more than one can prove that God doesn’t exist.

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        • You’re still not answering my question. I’ll try one more time.

          In the Biblical story, Thomas said “Unless I see […] I will never believe”. Would you call that arrogant? Presumably not. But I am saying THE EXACT SAME THING Thomas did: “Unless I see, I will never believe”. My saying that is no more or less a “demand” than it was for Thomas. Why would you call that arrogant for me (as you did at the beginning of this part of the conversation), and not for Thomas?

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        • Why do you presume that Thomas wasn’t arrogant making a demand upon God? Do you read the entire passage and get the impression Thomas was justified in his doubt? No, in fact, Jesus told him: “Stop doubting and believe . . . Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” And I will restate, Jesus didn’t appear to Thomas because Thomas demanded Him to. No, Jesus appeared to all of the disciples, Thomas just wasn’t with the others when Jesus first appeared to them, so Jesus went to see Thomas separately. Thomas is an example of what we are NOT to do–doubt Jesus. And I’ll also restate that Thomas never doubted that Jesus was God. Thomas doubted that Jesus had risen. Big difference in the immediate discussion when we are talking about demands for God to come and prove Himself. So, if you want me to say it precisely, I do believe Thomas was both arrogant and unfaithful when he demanded that he have proof before he would believe that Jesus had risen from the dead as Jesus had told them beforehand he would do. Thomas is not a justification for demanding that Jesus reappear to us. He is an example of a skeptic to whom Jesus rebuked “Stop doubting.” Also, Jesus did not appear to all of mankind after His crucifixion. He appeared to the disciples multiple times over a period of 40 days to continue ministering to them and instructing them before He ascended into heaven, not to return until His Second coming. And when He ascended into heaven, the Holy Spirit was poured out on the disciples in order to empower their ministry to gather in God’s people until He returns in judgment. I keep saying this because the Holy Spirit was sent in the place of a physically present God. This is why the Holy Spirit came in a different way once Jesus rose from the dead. And the Holy Spirit is who opens the eyes of unbelievers, reveals Jesus, and cries out “Abba, Father.” So there is no need of proof from God. I know that doesn’t satisfy the doubting Thomas’ of the world. But what we did not see was Jesus saying, “Thomas, because you rightly did not believe and have faith in what I told you was to come, I am reappearing to you in response to your demand for proof, and because you did not believe, I will also go out and show myself again to all of those who rejected me while I was here in the flesh and performed miracles and now they will believe.” Much to the contrary.

          John 20:21-22 Again Jesus said, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.” And with that he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit.

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        • “So, if you want me to say it precisely, I do believe Thomas was both arrogant and unfaithful when he demanded that he have proof before he would believe that Jesus had risen from the dead as Jesus had told them beforehand he would do. Thomas is not a justification for demanding that Jesus reappear to us. He is an example of a skeptic to whom Jesus rebuked “Stop doubting.””

          OK, thanks… that’s exactly what I was asking, and you’ve clarified that you are being consistent. I haven’t gotten that consistency from many Christians when I raise this question.

          This doesn’t mean I agree with you. I don’t think it’s “arrogance” to expect evidence, reasons, and revelation before believing claims as extraordinary as the Bible’s. But at least you’re being consistent.

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      • Well said Brent. It is not as though the Christian Church is a good witness for the truth of Christianity. I spent years in Churches and concluded the people in churches looked very similar to those outside, if anything I saw at times more division and machiavellian behaviour in churches than in the general community.

        If the Christian Church really was different from society, showing consistent evidence of transforming people for the better then this would provide testimony. But such testimony is mixed at best. Indeed browse through an average Christian book shop and you will see it filled with what are in essence self help books to help Christians to cope with the reality of life. They are nothing more than psychology dressed up a Christianity.

        I am not denying that some people are transformed for the better when they embrace Christianity, but speak to the same people 30 years later and judge for oneself whether it was a permanent rather than a temporary psychological impact. We also see dramatic, temporary, transformations of people when they embrace other religions.

        I was for some time convinced by various signs and wonders claimed for Christianity. But having seen some of these first hand and once again noting how many healings that are claimed don’t last I became wary of this sign.

        In the end it is difficult to see Christians as any different from the folk around them. This causes others to question the truth of the Bibles claims and naturally to doubt whether it is anything other than a human book.

        What really puzzles me is if there is a supreme deity why would that deity allow rival religions.

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    • The points you make about the vastness of the cosmos and how minuscule and insignificant humans are is exactly why I cannot believe a God exists. To consider that such a being would be interested in the trivialities of human life is simply beyond fundamental rationality.

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      • But isn’t the converse true? That something so large and complex and yet mathematically consistent seems ridiculous as spontaneous? Examine the biology of a leaf, or the structure of an atom, or the human body, are you not left in wonder? How about the bending of time? Or the uniformity of solar system structure? How can having no designer be fundamentally rational? That boggles my mind, and I am a lover and believer in science.

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        • I accept such things as part of nature, as simply the ways things are. You, on the other hand, choose to attribute them to an invisible supernatural “designer” entity. To each his own.

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        • But see you mock my belief and hold up yours. Yet in my opinion, looking at an atom and saying, yeah, poof, this just appeared out of nowhere or formed into its overwhelming complex structure simply at the hands of nature seems wholly illogical. So it confounds me that the later could be accepted in faith but the former is for the stupid and naive.

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        • Methinks you are much too sensitive. My comments were not to mock you or your faith. The fact that you believe in an invisble and silent creator is a choice you have made to explain your world. I, on the other hand, look at life from a more rational point of view. Like I said before– to each his own.

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        • I don’t think I’m too sensitive when you claim to be rational and call me irrational. My point was believing in spontaneous creation is no more rational than believing in a designer. Both could be called foolish from the other’s perspective. That much, I can agree to.

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        • believing in spontaneous creation is no more rational than believing in a designer. Both could be called foolish from the other’s perspective.

          Admitting that we don’t know what caused the known universe to exist – if anything, if that’s even a sensible question – is not the same as a positive belief in “spontaneous creation”. And if there was a cause, as of yet we have no way of knowing whether it is/was sentient, or whether it was the “first cause” – if such a thing even makes sense.

          (I don’t want to presume to speak for others, so I’ll speak for myself…) I don’t presume that humanity should necessarily be given the answer to these questions, least of all from some “superior” being. Could such a thing conceivably have been true? Sure – but it does not comport with the evidence we do and don’t find, nor the reality in which we find ourselves.

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      • Nan, what we do know is that so-called science in the Bible has a faulty view of the universe. Thus if there is a creator it is unlikely to be the deity revealed in the Bible.

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  3. I read through this post this morning before I went out for my walk. I just returned and am reading through another post of Captain Cassidy’s (she’s on Patheos -Roll to Disbelief) It’s a few lines from Tim Minchin and I immediately thought of what was said on this thread –

    Isn’t this enough?
    Just this world?
    Just this beautiful, complex
    Wonderfully unfathomable, natural world?
    How does it so fail to hold our attention
    That we have to diminish it with the invention
    Of cheap, man-made Myths and Monsters?

    🙂

    It seems to me that the Daddy Blitz chooses to believe in myths and monsters while the rest of us have embraced the natural world and its wonders. As I read somewhere else, “Science explains most things; religion explains nothing”.

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    • Really? So your response is to plunk your head into the earth and say you need nothing more than to know the dirt encasing your head? Even those who reject the divinity are driven to explore the farthest reaches through science and exploration. Whether one believes in a god or inanimate creation, I respect the quest for answers. My biggest point here all along has been less about proving my God and more about proving that belief in inanimate creation is no more noble or wise than belief in a designer. The question of the original post was why would God not reveal himself and prove to everyone that he exists. I answered what the Bible reveals, but that is not good enough. And I get that, but that skepticism doesn’t obviate what some believe as revealed truth. Also, my point about the “beautiful, complex, wonderfully unfathomable, natural world” and the Cosmos in which it resides and the unfathomable beyond the Cosmos to which the Cosmos point by science is so grand and wonderful and complex and orderly and sophisticated and uniform and mysterious and unsearchable that for man to summarily whisk away any possibility, whether it be a first cause or a designer or whatever, is not only the height of folly but also disingenuous in the pursuit of “truth.” This is one of my biggest objections to modern science is it is often (not by all, but by many) used to disprove God as opposed to simply an exploration for truth, in whatever form that truth may be. If it can’t be tested, proven or disproved, modern scientists seem to prefer to toss it out. Yet many renown and well respected scientists have been led by their exploration to the very conclusion that this all cannot be random. I understand questions about one religion over another and concede they are very legitimate questions from a skeptic. I do not look down on those questions at all. But what I cannot fathom is plucking one’s head from its hole, blinking out the dust and staring into the sunlight and being content with not knowing more or summarily dismissing what so many find glaring from nature–a designer. If we can at least be honest with each other, we should be able to reach agreement that neither of us can either prove or disprove an intelligent designer. It may seem more noble to disbelieve, but if it can’t be proven one way or another, I don’t get the confidence in rejection. Put the talking snake aside and just reflect on the possibilities. If I concede your point that my faith could be in a fairy tale, you should concede my point that there may be something far more sophisticated and intelligent out there than pebbles and sand.

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      • Oh, I don’t totally reject the idea that there MAY be something out there more sophisticated and intelligent . . I just reject the idea that it’s the christian god or any of the gods so far. THOSE, most certainly, are man-made tales.
        I’m also wondering if you realize that every person who is commenting on this thread (as far as I’m aware) once believed the same thing you currently do. (?)
        Also, I think you mentioned you were a lawyer. Do you have any comments about the behaviour of Yahweh? It seems to me that if he were to be put on trial for all his dastardly deeds, he’d have been hung a long time ago. (cheery thought, eh?) 😉

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      • ” My biggest point here all along has been less about proving my God …”

        You could have fooled me.

        “If I concede your point that my faith could be in a fairy tale, you should concede my point that there may be something far more sophisticated and intelligent out there than pebbles and sand.”

        OK, I’ll bite. Yeah, there could be something “out there.” For for me, it would take much more than the word of a believer … or the bible … or the “Holy Spirit”… to convince me of this reality.

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  4. Isn’t there an easy and obvious answer to the question, “Why doesn’t God reveal himself?”
    It can be answered in four words. Everyone on this thread knows what those four words are, too. (And no, class, this isn’t a trick question). 🙂

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    • “Because he doesn’t exist”, is of course, the answer. 🙂 Thanks for contributing Carmen.
      I do want to give props to Daddy Blitz here. He is far more reasoned and reasonable than many fundamentalist evangelicals who stop by.

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      • I get the idea that Daddy Blitz is an extremely intelligent, well-spoken person. The fact that he’s been bamboozled (like lots of other extremely intelligent, well-spoken people) will – we can hope – be resolved by his persistent reasoned and reasonable conversations with heathens like us. 😉

        (Oh, and I caught the, “See ya later, alligator!”) My grandchildren have arrived and I’ll be occupied anyway, Clay. 🙂

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      • I suspect the “fundamentalist evangelical” might be a back hand, but I don’t really know what that term even means. My understanding of fundamentalism is literal interpreters of the Bible, who will defend that literalism in the face of all countervailing evidence and reason, whether science or otherwise. If that is true, I would be a fundamentalist heretic. For example, I believe that science informs my interpretation of the Bible instead of opposes it. I would be excommunicated from most fundamentalist churches if that ever got out. I also read much of scripture as figurative or metaphorical. That also would justify my head on the chopping block. But I enjoy these conversations, even if I know neither side will prevail. My only hope is they can be held in a manner of mutual respect, exploration and without arrogance. I think that is the most productive environment for discovery of truth. But this topic in particular tends to get nasty. Thanks for tolerating me, even if a trespasser.

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        • You’re very welcome here Daddy Blitz. My reference to someone being a fundamentalist is what I once was: someone who believed in the inerrancy of the Bible and someone who interpreted all things literally unless it was truly obvious it should be taken as an allegory or interpreted in some other literary mode. Most Southern Baptists, Independent Baptists, Grace Brethren and Presbyterians (to name a few) tend to fall in the camp of being true hard core fundamentalists. You can often tack on ‘Young Earth Creationist’ to the mix (but we know that’s not always true).

          It’s of course more logical to view the fantastical stories in the Old Testament as just that – stories to teach a lesson or convey some truth. But Christians (especially in the south of the U.S.) are not inclined to do that. “Every word in the Bible is true! Especially ‘dem dare words of Jesus in red!” (sorry, I’m poking a little fun at my southern neighbors).

          Regardless, while I respect the view that we shouldn’t take the Old Testament stories as literal historical accounts, there’s still a problem even with that stance. Original sin. The doctrine of original sin is introduced in Genesis with the fall of man, and if someone views the story of Adam and Eve as just a tale, the rest of the Bible tends to fall apart. Romans 5 makes it clear that Paul believed in a literal Adam and Eve. He declares that sin began with Adam’s fall. If there was no Adam, there’s no original sin.

          Science makes it clear there was no Adam. Hence, Paul was out in the sun waaaayyyy too long one day on the road to Damascus and afterwards, he started writing down a lot of crazy shit.

          Liked by 2 people

        • Many believe Adam and Eve were literally the first two humans on Earth. I am skeptical of that literal interpretation. For one reason, when Cain is banished for killing Abel, Cain is concerned about strangers killing him. If Adam and Eve were the first two human beings and Cain and Abel were their children, there shouldn’t be strangers that would kill Cain. Science also calls into question a literal reading, although it is inconclusive at this time as to the actual beginnings of modern man. This suggests to me what I was getting at earlier that a story is used to explain real events but not necessarily literally. The way I look at the opening chapters of Genesis is God painting a picture of the beginnings of His people. He never ever intended the Bible to be a detailed science book or biology book. If it were, it would be 20 times as thick at least. Instead, we are provided with a literary interpretation of millions of years summed up in a few chapters of a book that was probably originally written on clay tablets, papyrus or parchment. The story of Adam and Eve could easily be a story God uses to describe the beginnings of Christ’s lineage instead of describing the literal beginning of all men. Whether Adam and Eve were actual persons, I have no idea. The genealogy suggests that they were. But again, I’m not married to the literal interpretation and am open either way. As far as Original Sin, whether there was a literal Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil again falls within this literary tradition. Eden may have existed, but I suspect it more likely represents a paradise lost due to some rebellion of early man against God. In this vein, original sin could be true whether it was a literal Adam and Eve or not. The important message would be the consequence of sin and death due to some activity of man. Paul’s reference to Adam neither demands nor dismisses a literal Adam and Eve any more than Jesus referencing Jonah as a metaphor for baptism demands or dismisses a literal Jonah or a literal fish swallowing. In both cases the stories were referenced for their meaning, not necessarily for their literal facts. This may seem very loosey goosey but I think a lot of problems for skeptics and for Christians arise simply out of unnecessary expectations of certain Biblical stories. Yes, this is heresy in many churches. But I think it is a very logical approach to the Bible. I read it for its messages more than for literal facts, particularly with the early OT books that seem to be far more story driven than literal historical facts.

          Liked by 1 person

        • Hey Daddy Blitz,
          You raised an interesting point about Cain I hadn’t heard before. Thanks for sharing.

          I was reminded recently of a passage in the NT that referred back to the OT that I thought I’d make mention of.

          In Matthew, Jesus makes direct reference to the crazy story of Jonah being inside a large fish for three days:

          “For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of a huge fish, so the Son of Man will be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.” (Matt 12:40)

          Could Jesus be speaking in a non-literal way? In some very figurative way? If so, it really strains the language. A person has to make some crazy leaps since the OT story of Jonah is quite literal in its telling, and Jesus later refers to it with that same literal telling.

          Jesus also infers a reference to Adam when he quotes Genesis chapter 2 in stating “a man shall leave his father and mother…” (when Adam is being written about). Of course, Paul takes it much further and directly refers to Adam as the first man. But Jesus does make mention of other OT characters and stories.

          I suppose the point I’m raising is, what’s more likely? Is it more likely that anonymous story tellers in the first century wrote these things with their (then) current understanding of the world, which included their belief in the fantastical stories of Jonah and Adam & Eve? Or is it more likely that Jesus truly existed and even though he was a God-man with full knowledge of all things, he nonetheless makes direct reference to a man living inside a big fish for 3 days?

          I think the former is far more logical and likely.

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