Imagine If There Was A God (And How This Shows There Isn’t One)

Imagine if there was a God. Now for some you, this is not asking anything much if you already believe in God, but for others it’s a stretch. Either way, hear me out. Imagine there was an all-powerful, all-loving God, who knew everything, created everything and could do anything. A God who spoke to humans, wanted us to prosper and wanted us to worship him. Imagine if everything they say in church is true, that you can achieve anything imaginable through faith and God. What would that look like?

Well religion would be very straight forward for a start. God would reveal himself and clearly explain what he wanted humans to do, how they should live and how he should be worshipped. We would all have a clear idea of who God is, his nature and his plan. Questions such as the meaning of life and the point of our existence would be easily answered. We might not even need churches or organised religion, after all, God could speak directly to each individual person. Questions over morality, what is right and wrong could be easily dealt with by directly asking the ultimate source of morality in the world. There would be little space for theology or philosophy as we would already know the nature of world.

Questions over our origins (one of the biggest questions humans have) would be quickly and easily answered. Instead of wasting time with silly stories about the world being created by giants or mythical creatures, we would know the actual way that the planet was formed. Instead of worshipping the sun and stars as divine beings or mythical heroes, we would know what they really are and our own place in the universe.

Imagine the impact it would have on science and our knowledge of the world if there was a God who explained it to us. Instead of living short pitiful lives like humans did for most of our existence, we would thrive and prosper. We could cure diseases that plague human existence, after all, can you think of a more typical divine intervention than curing a dying person? Imagine if Jesus didn’t just heal a handful but all people? Imagine the impact on society is there was a God. It would be transformed from primitive tribes to advanced cultures. Can you think of a more convincing demonstration of divine blessing than an advanced civilisation with state of the art technology compared to primitive tribes surrounding it? No one could doubt that they were the chosen people.

Imagine the impact on an individual level. Religious people often attribute their success to divine intervention and claim that God grants them the power to do anything. Imagine if this was actually true. Imagine if faith really could move mountains. Imagine if the most successful people in the world were those who believed the most, while non-believers dwindled in squalor. Imagine if prayer was more important than studying for exams or if it counted for more than hard work or skill in performing a job.

Imagine if miracles were real and happened frequently. Not merely the odd case with vague details the kind you would expect from random chance, but if prayer and faith could cure cancer and mend broken bones. If being religious could block bullets and let people survive incidents that would have killed a non-believer. If the righteous never starved or were the victims of war, because famine and war can easily be overcome by God.

I don’t think I am exaggerating or setting too high of a standard here. Anyone who has been to church has heard the wide range of benefits that faith and God supposedly deliver. All of the above has been claimed to have occurred according to religious people, so all I ask is to imagine these miracles and divine interventions not as rare hearsay but as regular events.

Now take this imagination and compare it to the real world. It doesn’t match up. Human history has not been a story of progress under the light of God, but instead resembles fumbling around in the darkness. What little we know about the world and universe did not come from God or religious books but were discovered by humans, often by sheer chance. Questions over morality are still as hard to answer today despite hundreds of years of philosophers trying their best.

Nor does religion have any answers. The Bible gives plenty of detail on how to sacrifice an animal to God or what to do if your neighbour’s sheep wanders onto your land. If your problems are not agricultural related, then you’re not going to have much luck. There is no explanation of the formation of the universe and the story of the creation of humanity is an embarrassing myth. When it comes to explaining life to us, it seems that religion is just as much in the dark as the rest of us.

Nor do religious people seem to be any better off than non-believers. The most religious place in the world is probably Africa, where non-belief is almost unheard of and an extremely literal view is taken of religious practice. Yet there is little sign of divine blessing in a continent plagued by poverty, disease and war. Other highly religious continents like South America and the Middle East are not prospering either. In contrast, the least religious place in the world, Europe, or more specifically Scandinavia, is also the richest, both in terms of wealth and scope for personal development. Lack of belief or contact with God doesn’t seem to hurt, if anything it seems to make people better off.

Looking through the annuals of human history, it is hard to see the hand of God. Countless numbers of people were killed and slaughtered in wars that a divine being could have easily prevented. Famines and plagues scourged humanity throughout history without divine relief. People who were claimed to be chosen by God were slaughtered in a genocide that no divine protector could ignore.

This wouldn’t matter if religion was only about spirituality and community. But religion goes one step too far by claiming that it has the answers. It claims that it alone has the source of human morality, that it knows the secrets of existence, that only it can explain the creation of the world. It claims that it is the source of truth. Yet these answers are wrong and people get closer to the truth without religion rather than with it. It seems that believing in God has no real impact on your life and non-religious societies succeed and fail just as much (if not more) without God as with him. The gap between what the world would look like with God and the way the world really looks is just too great.

93 thoughts on “Imagine If There Was A God (And How This Shows There Isn’t One)”

  1. Like all of your writings, clear and well framed. And, a beautiful rational argument works on issues on the ledger under “Rational Decisions.” Unfortunately, belief in a god is on another ledger entitled “Emotional Decisions” along with all of our habits we know are bad for us, yet we do not give them up and the foods we know we shouldn’t eat but taste so good.

    What we need are emotional arguments, maybe framing belief in a god as a childish thing and grownups see things differently. maybe by providing ways for people to get together and sing and share bread and share common purposes without religion being involved will meet the emotional needs for community, fellowship, common purpose, etc.

    As an adeist, you had me at “Imagine there Was a God …” but the religious require something non-rational to help them decide. (And shouldn’t that be “Imagine there Were a God …”? Subjunctive, no?)

    Love your work, young man. Keep it coming.

  2. Imagine there was an all-powerful, all-loving God, who knew everything.

    Such a God would know everything that has happened and that will happen – so what would it mean for such a God to want … anything. From the perspective of such a God, everything is already decided so there are no wants and in fact nothing to be concerned with.

    1. God might “want” real caring relationship with created creatures who have some ability for intelligent goodness. But “real” means not coerced, thus those creatures must have the ability to reject that relationship. Christian belief indicates this is a the crux of the problem between God and humankind. Therefore, God gives free-will within a limited, developmental scope on limited earth (this is called evolution), and only intervenes at times to make his/her/its presence known to individuals. God’s ways can not be observed or judged by human behaviors or expectations. After all, God, by definition, is of higher intelligence than any human can be. God is too intelligent to be boxed-in or concerned by uninformed humans. Thus, development and spiritual growth is necessary but must be chosen by humans to create that relationship with God. Lots of people fake that relationship for political reasons which is why we see “God” ideas (religion) used for nefarious purposes.

    1. I know this is going to blow your mind, but just because they happened to be atheist and did horrible things, doesn’t mean that atheism teaches horrible things. Now compare that to what the bible teaches. Also, Hitler was a christian. One who actually killed in the name of his religion. There was also the whole…inquisition thing. In case you forgot.

      1. In the entire time of the inquisition only 2500 people were killed.
        More people died on 9-11-01 than the entire inquisition.
        And we aren’t following an institution, or at least we aren’t supposed to. We are to follow Jesus Christ. He never hurt anyone.

        1. The Bible is the product of an institution. Everything you think you know about “Christ” is the product of an institution, including the belief that there was a Jesus who was the “Christ.”

          1. That´s true, but even an entirely fictional character can become a useful rôle model and source of moral inspiration. What it can´t become is a source of unquestioned authority. That´s where I have to part company with the Christians.

          2. Laurie,
            You need to do some research.
            Manuscript Evidence.  There are way more copies of the biblical manuscripts, with remarkable consistency between them, than there are for any of the classics like Plato, Aristotle and Socrates.  “There is no body of ancient literature in the world which enjoys such a wealth of good textual attestation as the New Testament.”  F.F. Bruce, The New Testament Documents: Are They Reliable?Archaeological Evidence.  Again and again archaeological discoveries have verified the accuracy of the historical and cultural references in the Bible.  The more they dig, the more it confirms the Bible.  “It is important to note that Near Eastern archaeology has demonstrated the historical and geographical reliability of the Bible in many important areas.” E.M. Blaiklock, The New International Dictionary of Biblical Archaeology.Eyewitness Accounts.  The Bible was written by people who witnessed the events it describes; many were persecuted or martyred but never changed their story.  Would you die for something you knew was untrue? “It is no moderate approbation of Scripture that it has been sealed by the blood of so many witnesses, especially when we reflect that they died to render testimony to the faith …with a firm and constant, yet sober, zeal toward God.” John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion.Corroborating Accounts. There are plenty of references in non-biblical sources to the events described in the Bible. The Jewish historian Josephus, born in 37 AD, “provide(s) indispensable background material for the student of…New Testament history. In them, we meet many figures well known to us from the New Testament. Some of his writings provide direct commentary on New Testament references.”  J.D. Douglas, ed.,The New Bible Dictionary.Literary Consistency.  The Bible contains 66 books written over 1,500 years by 40 different writers but it tells one “big story” of God’s plan of salvation that culminated in Jesus Christ.  You can’t even pass a secret around a circle of 12 people and get the same message at the end. “There is indeed a wide variety of human authors and themes (in the Bible). Yet behind these…there lies a single divine author with a single unifying theme.” John R.W. Stott, Understanding the Bible.Prophetic Consistency.  There are over 300 specific prophecies in the Old Testament that are fulfilled in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ in the New Testament.  “The very dimension of the sheer fulfillment of prophecy of the Old Testament Scriptures should be enough to convince anyone that we are dealing with a supernatural piece of literature….God has himself planted within the scriptures an internal consistency that bears witness that this is his Word.” R.C. Sproul, Now That’s a Good Question.Expert Scrutiny. The early church had extremely high standards for what books were judged to be authentic and therefore included in the Bible. A book had to have been written by an Apostle or someone in their immediate circle, had to conform to basic Christian faith and had to be in widespread use among many churches. This was a careful process of “the people of God in many different places, coming to recognize what other believers elsewhere found to be true”; these writings were truly God’s word. G.J. Wenham, J.A. Motyer, D.A. Carson and R.T. France, The New Bible Commentary.Leader Acceptance.  A majority of the greatest leaders and thinkers in history have affirmed the truth and impact of the Bible. “I believe the Bible is the best gift God has ever given man. All the good from the Savior of the world is communicated to us through this book. But for it we could not know right from wrong.” Abraham Lincoln.Global Influence.  The Bible has had a greater influence on the laws, art, ethics, music and literature of world civilization than any other book in history.  Can you think of one that even comes close? “Christianity”, as set forth in the Bible “is responsible for a disproportionately large number of the humanitarian advances in the history of civilization—in education, medicine, law, the fine arts, working for human rights and even in the natural sciences….” Craig L. Blomberg, inChristian Apologetics: A Comprehensive Case for Biblical Faith.Changed Lives.  From St. Augustine to Martin Luther to Joni Eareckson Tada to countless everyday men, women and children, the words of the Bible have transformed lives unmistakably and forever.  “As unnamed masses of Christians down through the ages have shown us, the Bible is the most reliable place to turn for finding the key to a life of love and good works.” T.M. Moore, The Case for the Bible.

            1. What I was trying to say is, that is a horrible argument, you are implying you don’t care about those people, “only”. Things like that are why we call you people brainwashed.

              1. Hmmm. No.
                Not at all what I’m saying.
                It’s interesting that you would use ,”you people” in the same phrase you are using to cast judgement. Check yourself.
                As for calling others brainwashed while attempting to appear objective? Again. Check yourself.

  3. He came here to become one of us, to live like us, only He was without sin. All so He could die in our place and take the punishment we deserve, so He could offer life to we who do not deserve it. We never could be perfect. He was perfect for us.

    1. In which case, due to Christ´s self-sacrifice and redemption of all human sin past and present (if my theology is correct), or indeed from a secular POV if Jesus´ teaching of love, non-violence, co-operation etc. had been universally successful, then the world AD ought to be a very significantly better place than it was BC.

      But TBH is there really that much difference? The powerful still oppress the weak, wars are still waged (indeed religion is often their supposed justification), people still lie, cheat, rape, murder and torture one another, with probably no less enthusiasm than when we were all ´wicked pagans´ …

      In short you have to material case, just a load of self-delusional wishful thinking.

        1. Well it´s certainly clear that you have ¨much to say¨ 🙂

          Perhaps you´d like to amuse us further with you prophesies and ´proofs´? However would it be uncharitable to point out to you that a desire for proof goes against the central Christian tenet of salvation through (blind?) faith, by uncritically accepting this one (among many) religious doctrine?

          What however would be more likely to sway my opinions of Christianity would be some evidence that the world has become even a little more charitable, forgiving or humane over the course of the past 2K years, and some plausible argument that this was due to Christian thought, rather than simply the improvement of the material conditions of life, in the West at least.

          And while we´re at it, how to you square the Last Judgement, where sinners are condemned to burn in agony for eternity, with Christ´s teaching of forgiveness? An total contradiction IMHO, but then religions love such illogicality, no doubt it´s a ´mystery´ 😉

            1. That´s not how I understand Christ´s teaching. Unconditional forgiveness is probably the only way to cleanse the world of (for want of a better word) ´sin´. Otherwise we´re caught in a perpetual cycle of revenge and retaliation, while we burn up inside with resentment and anger. A viscious self-destructive circle that can only be broken through unconditional love and forgiveness.

              I don´t claim to be much good at this myself, I can nurse a grudge for years, but I do see the truth of the doctrine. Ultimately holding a grudge, ´bearing malice´ is a destructive habit, like say smoking. In the long run it can seriously damage your health and that of those around you.

            1. Unfortunately the Church was all to ready to condemn and punish, often in quite horrible ways, and thus provided the justification for those ¨nasty pieces of work¨ who crop up in every time and place and enjoy inflicting pain and suffering.

              1. I just watched the movie “Spotlight”.
                The same kind of cronies in the Catholic Church depicted in that incredible movie are the same kind of cronies who crucified Christ. Men who were drunk on power and position while cloaked in religion.

          1. Marco,

            In every reference here, the unborn have identity. He, I, a real being. A person with personage.

            For You created my inmost being; You knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise You because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from You when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, Your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in Your book before one of them came to be (Psalm 139:13-16).

            Yet You brought me out of the womb; You made me trust in You even at my mother’s breast. From birth I was cast upon You; from my mother’s womb You have been my God (Psalm 22:9-10).

            Did not He who made me in the womb make them? Did not the same one form us both within our mothers? (Job 31:15).

            Know that the LORD is God. It is He who made us, and we are His; we are His people, the sheep of His pasture (Psalm 100:3)

            This is what the LORD says–He who made you, who formed you in the womb, and who will help you … (Isaiah 44:2).

            And now the LORD says–he who formed me in the womb to be his servant to bring Jacob back to him and gather Israel to himself, for I am honored in the eyes of the LORD and my God has been my strength (Isaiah 49:5).

            The word of the LORD came to me, saying, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations” (Jeremiah 1:4-5)

              1. Mattew 18
                The Words of Jesus Christ.

                10“Take heed that you do not despise one of these little ones, for I say to you that in heaven their angels always see the face of My Father who is in heaven.

                11“For the Son of Man has come to save that which was lost.fn

                12“What do you think? If a man has a hundred sheep, and one of them goes astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine and go to the mountains to seek the one that is straying?

                13“And if he should find it, assuredly, I say to you, he rejoices more over thatsheep than over the ninety-nine that did not go astray.

                14“Even so it is not the will of your Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones should perish.”

                1. Thank you again. I´m still looking into the OT texts you provided. I don´t think most of them quite prove your point, but they are interesting in their own right, if only because they demonstrate a degree of ¨creative translation¨, but they´ve also made me think about exactly what Christians are supposed to believe about the origin of the individual soul etc. which we may be able to discuss. So please bear with me for the moment …

                    1. Sorry I had a computer crash and lost the files where I´d saved your quotes etc. I wondered just how closely your texts reflected the originals since they were from a translation I was unfamiliar with (I was brought up on the AV). I won´t take it any further now, life´s too short …

                      What is your point re the Dead Sea Scrolls?

                2. I´ve taken a look at the whole chapter, which is about innocence and forgiveness, innocence in the sense of lack of guile and deceitfulness. With the trusting nature of a child given as a very direct example. There is nothing there that I can or indeed would wish to disagree with.

                  However I asked you if you could justify your anti-abortion position, and this text has nothing to say about the rights or otherwise of an unborn foetus, and my particular question as to when it should be considered a human being with human rights, or in religious term when it is invested with a soul.

                  “For the Son of Man has come to save that which was lost¨

                  If this means the sinful nature of humanity, lost through original sin, then as I´ve already said, it doesn´t really seem to have worked, since humanity appears to me to be just as sinful now as it ever was.

                  In any case if God had been a good Christian he would have have forgiven Lucifer for his rebellion rather than condemn him to Hell, which gave him the motive of revenge whereby he tempted Eve to get back at God, and thus sin entered the world. If in your theology God is all-knowing and all-powerful, then he is also ultimately totally responsible for everything that happens :
                  ¨For t´was God that made the apple and the woman and the man / and there wouldn´t be an apple if it wasn´t in the plan¨

                    1. I consider all life to be wonderful and regret when occasionally it must be destroyed, I regret having to swat a fly. I see a gradation between the simplest of animal life and human life, a gradation of complexity, awareness and consciousness, and this gradation is to a large extent retraced by each of us as we transition from a single cell following fertilisation to hopefully a fully functional human person.

                      As a society we have laws and moral codes etc. and of necessity draw lines along this continuum. No one much cares if I swat a fly or set mousetraps, but if I ill-treated my cat or even a stray dog I´d come in for disapproval and possibly prosecution. Obviously even more so is I mistreated or injured a child, even by neglect.

                      So, an embryo passes from being a thing that is clearly not yet human, to something else, a full-term foetus that clearly is human, or at the very least something that most of us are predisposed to love and cherish so that it may complete it´s journey to full humanity. Therefore law makers, individuals and those who set themselves up as fonts of moral authority (e.g. churches) must draw a line somewhere.

                      So I ask again, when does an embryo acquire a soul and what is your basis in scripture or otherwise for the particular position you take.

                      So far you are simply beating about the bush. Until you come up with something that addresses the issue you are simply wasting my time and no sensible discussion is possible.


                      Incidentally, as I understand it, Christians believe that Christ, as part of the Trinity, existed as a distinct individual entity prior to his incarnation, otherwise there would have been no ¨he¨ to choose to be born and die to redeem mankind. And obviously Christians also believe that Christ continued to exist following his death, resurrection and ascention, othewise why prey to him etc. So his life as a human was just a part of his eternal existence.

                      Since Christians believe that we all have immortal souls that continue to exist after are bodily death, do you also believe that individual souls exist before birth, perhaps before conception even? Have they always existed as individual entities (at least from the Creation?) or are they hived-off form some undifferentiated universal soul from time to time.

                      TBH I´ve never thought about this before, but religious folk have had a couple of millenia to ponder such questions so they must have come up with some kind of doctrine.

                    2. How so? I´m a biologist and that´s how I perceive the world. Please explain where you´re coming from. If your dogma is based on scripture, quote the relevant texts.

    1. Given fetuses are hardly more than a mindless clump of multiplying cells until quite late in development, the same argument should be applied to cancer. And teratomas. Cysts of all kinds. From a biological standpoint, a child is just a growth until several months in. That’s an observable fact, and cannot be argued.

      1. Well not quite, a foetus has its own developing structure and unfolding plan as it were, a malignant growth does not. But OTOH an animal foetus, even a developing plant seed, has its own structure and development plan too.

        Christians, I believe, hold that humans are different from all other life forms in that they are formed ¨in the image of God¨, whatever exactly that is supposed to mean, God being incorporial. But if we´re generous we might agree that on the idea that adult humans on the whole have certain mental and moral qualities that religious folk abstract and call ´God´.

        Yet a foetus, and indeed a growing infant and child only acquire these qualities gradually over time, and some would hold I think that morality isn´t even innate, but acquired from the surrounding society, at least to a significant extent.

        At which point therefore in an individual´s development does he or she sufficiently resemble ¨the image of God¨ to qualify as a ´human´ with a ´soul´ as distinct from soulless beasts (an possibly heathens?).

        I´m still waiting for an answer …

        1. Thank you.

          Don´t most states/nations place a legal limit on abortion after round about that stage, unless there´s a real risk to the mother´s life, or the foetus is grossly deformed etc. ?

            1. So an unwanted child is carried to term and then ´disposed of´. Can you imagine what it feels like to go through life knowing that your own flesh and blood mother rejected you at birth or soon after and only tolerated you in her womb because she was forced to do so by the law or the church? Can you imagine being born into a world that has no place for you?

              1. No, but I someone who does.
                God came to us as Jesus Christ, to save us from our sins, death, and hell.

                1″He came to His own,fn and His ownfn did not receive Him.

                12But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name:

                13who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.

                14And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.”
                (John 1:12-14, The Bible)

                1. That´s a different situation altogether, that of the reformer who´s ahead of the crowd. I´ve experienced that, not in any world-shattering way, just in a small way, and it´s very frustrating but it doesn´t challenge your validity to exist as individual, not unless you´re totally obsessed with that one aim or mission.

                    1. It would depend on which language and dialect you spoke, I´ll investigate. That phrase is certainly found in the AV, did it still have literal resonance or was it simply an idiom, a speech habit by then?

                    2. “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I have appointed you a prophet to the nations” (Jer. 1:5).

                      “For he will be great in the sight of the Lord; and he will drink no wine or liquor, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit while yet in his mother’s womb” (Luke 1:15).

                    3. You first reference I´m already looking into.

                      The second is flatly contradicted by the gospels, since Jesus drank wine at the Last Supper, and produced wine out of water at a wedding feast. So clearly he had nothing against drinking in moderation.

                    4. I´m afraid you´ve lost me. Please explain the point you´re trying to make. If you hold that Jesus refrained from drinking wine, how do you explain the use of wine by afaik every (or at least every major) Christian denomination in their most central ritual act, the Mass or Holy Communion?

                    5. I never said Jesus didn’t drink wine. I drink wine. My point is the the English traslations for grape juice and fermented wine from the Hebrew oinos and ya yin are the same. The Eglish traslations make no distinction between alcoholic wine and non alcoholic grape juice. New wine was grape juice.

                    6. Marco,

                      This was published today.

                      “Bright flash of light marks incredible moment life begins when sperm meets egg”


                      “Human life begins in bright flash of light as a sperm meets an egg, scientists have shown for the first time, after capturing the astonishing ‘fireworks’ on film.

                      An explosion of tiny sparks erupts from the egg at the exact moment of conception.

                      Scientists had seen the phenomenon occur in other animals but it is the first time is has been also shown to happen in humans.

                      “To see the zinc radiate out in a burst from each human egg was breathtaking.” Professor Teresa Woodruff, Northwestern University

                      Not only is it an incredible spectacle, highlighting the very moment that a new life begins, the size of the flash can be used to determine the quality of the fertilised egg.”

        2. Wrong. Life begins at conception. When an egg cell is fertilized, at that moment a new living human is formed and begins to mature. Three months? That is ridiculous! I am honestly surprised that you even named your account “Christ Centered Teaching” if you don’t even have a solid foundation. To compromise with the world’s beliefs is to demean God’s ultimate authority.

          The act of abortion is as hateful to God as the act of murder. There is no distinction between the two – abortion is cold-blooded murder. Abortion is to end the reality of another human being in order to serve your own purposes – and isn’t murder exactly that? You are aborting a life that would have gone on to experience life, and no one has any right to take that away from anyone.

          1. Sheesh Val!

            Read everything I’ve written about this subject before you burn the house down with me in it,
            We both know that life begins at conception.
            I mean, wow!
            I was arguing against full term abortions that Hillary Clinton is for!
            I never said abortion was right under whether early or late.
            An apology would be fine and decent of you.

            1. I do indeed apologize. It was unclear whether or not you supported life from conception – the three months comment threw me. My reply was stronger than I would have liked, and I must confess that the it was written in anger.

  4. Donald Trump’s success in wooing adoring multitudes with nothing but hot air and big promises stands as evidence that multitudes can be enticed to believe hot air and big promises. However, it doesn’t mean that the hot air and big promises are true.

  5. You have made a very good argument…

    At least as many people were murdered “in the name of G-d” ( Christians murdering non-christians in the Crusades,the Inquisition, Catholics killing Protestants and visa versa, Moslems doing their “jihad” , etc) as in all the nonreligious wars throughout history.

    It is indeed difficult to believe in a benevolent Creator, who continues to be involved with His creations, in the face of so much calamity and suffering.
    It is even more difficult to believe, when we witness, as you so eloquently put it, an unjust reckoning where the believers seem to be suffering even more than the atheists.

    However, who claims that these “believers” are, in fact, really GOOD in G-d’s eyes?
    Only an omnipotent, omniscient G-d can be a true judge.

    Is the priest who secretly molests a child worthy of anything G-d’s benevolence?

    I believe that every human being knows in his heart what is right and what is wrong.

    In my mind, as a religious person, The greatest question of all is how does G-d tolerate the evil that man perpetrates against his fellow man.
    What keeps me committed is the belief that there is an afterlife, and everything we understand and experience is limited.

    1. But (at least according to Christian and Jewish scripture) humans were made in the image of God, by which I understand that we have a similar personality and motivations to God, including our tendencies to anger, destruction, revenge, murder etc. All of which in fact are displayed at one point or another by God in the OT.
      People have believed in many gods at different times and places. If you insist that only one god is the true god, how do you know you´ve picked the right one? The evidence might suggest that you´ve made a poor choice.
      According to Christian belief, the Devil is a fallen angel. God and Lucifer took part in a heavenly civil war and the loser was consigned to Hell. But we all know that ¨history is written by the winners¨, so can we be sure that the ´right´ one won? Whichever of the pair came out on top would call himself ´God´ and literally demonise the vanquished.

  6. I believe everyone has missed the point. Let’s say God did solve everything in this article and there were never any problems and this was, by default, a perfect world. If this was the case, all would have been for nothing. The whole purpose of our existence as human beings – created entities – is to love God and be with him when we leave this earth (but only if we accept him). True love comes through trial, as many people know. If there is nothing making a relationship difficult, it has no value because no work has been put into it. Free will ties along with this. Is there any actual love if you are forced to love someone? No. It would stand to reason that if God created a perfect world with no temptations – the Tree of Knowledge – then there would be no love because nothing else is able to be chosen over a relationship with God.

    There was a perfect world AND love in the beginning – but ONLY because there was also temptation with it. Man chose to love God in the beginning over choosing evil which made that love true and pure. Only when Man chose otherwise was the world we see today made possible.

    The pain we see today is meant to try Christians’ faith so that they may choose God over sin and be worthy of eternity with Him. But keep in mind it never had to be this way – Man chose a broken world over God, and it is because God is loving that he had to punish humanity. A child who makes a mistake and is not punished will make the same mistake again.

    1. Why should God need our love? Does he lack self-confidence or something? Doesn´t he have nine orders of angels eternally singing his praises? If he can create perfect beings to flatter him, why create imperfect ones?

      The only possible interpretation is that he takes some kind of sadistic pleasure in watching us struggle and fail, like say a pile of crabs trying to climb out of a bucket.

      And this is a model we should aspire to???

      1. Marco, God just wants to be with us. I can’t explain it, it just appears to be his nature.
        The interpretation you missed is that God takes pleasure in seeing us overcome our struggles to be with him.

        1. ¨God just wants to be with us. I can’t explain it, it just appears to be his nature¨
          Or more likely IMHO, it just appears to be in our nature that we crave a God-figure, a kind a super-father, perhaps a throw-back to our childhood and its associated sense of security.

              1. That’s not what you said, though. You described God as he is but never mentioned Him being an imaginary construct. Had you actually said that the first time, I would have refuted you. (By the way, He is not an imaginary construct.)

      2. Also on the point of the Dead Sea Scrolls.
        These texts were discovered having been untouched for over two thousand years. They match almost word for word with our “creative translations”.

        1. IIRC there were copies of some of the OT texts, but also various enigmatic and ´heretical´ texts. Who can say which are ´true´ and which in ´error´ ?
          If you´ve ever dealt with texts from a distant time or place or society, it´s often quite difficult to know exactly what a given form of words really meant to the people who set them down.

          1. Actually, it is quite easy to know what the ancient texts meant to the people of that time period when you study the culture. By studying what they emphasized and celebrated, for instance, we can interpret the text through their eyes.

            1. Yet countless different Christian groups interpret the Word in countless different ways to suit their own ancient and modern biases. If the meaning was unique and obvious this would not be possible. There could be no argument, or at least any differences would quickly be settled by authoritative scholarly analysis.

              1. What you seem to have missed here is that we had been talking about the original interpretation of the texts, Marco. I realize that many groups interpret the text differently, and that is quite unfortunate. I beleive, however, that everything in the Bible should be interpreted as it appears – so really there is no interpretation neccessary. The Bible means the same today as it always has.

  7. Like your honesty and imagination. I think you hit the nail on the head; religion is effort aimed at G-d. But what of G-d revealing himself to man? Can science disprove Christ’s ressurection? Can science define the power of forgiveness: if self? Of others? Of G-d? Can science encapsulate love? Maybe the divisions you speak of haveto do with using the correct yardstick? I cant speak for other faiths, but have found this to be true in my research. where G-d makes scientific claims, test Him using science. Where The Bible tells epic tales of Israel, test it with archaeology. Test the Bible against books of antiquity using manuscript evidence. Where Christ speaks of the heart, use a measuring rod of psychology. I’m not trying to belabor the point. Just believe measuring faith by science is like trying quantify Bach, the Beatles, or the Beastie Boys. Science may answer HOW the composed, recorded, performed, but not WHY that method grabs the heart. Thanks for goid thoughts to ponder…my wheels will be turning!

  8. “Looking through the annuals of human history…” “annuals”?
    91 comments and tons of readers and yet this author, who has important ideas, couldn’t be bothered to check his spelling and diction.

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