Wednesday, September 24, 2008

 

Billy, my UK atheist pal, gives us something to ponder while we await financial Armageddon ...

Billy asks the question:

If God commanded it, would you kill your own child?

Good question to ponder as the fate of the West hangs in the hands of suits in Washington, D.C.

My own thoughts:

ER SAID: I am way late to this party, and I haven't read but a few of the comments. My answer is simple: I'd tell God, the Creator of All There Is, no, and I'd take my chances.

BILLY SAID: That was a surprise, but a very honest answer. Most believers try to wriggle out of the question.

LEE SAID: Most of the comments got off topic anyway so I would not worry about that. ... Good answer, I agree (but I would tell Him in stronger words you understand)... so your morals come from within and not God?

But maybe you are not surprised about that. The question was set for those who claim that absolute morals exist and they require God. By making a personal decision you show this isn't the case I think.

ER SAID: Well, it didn't occur to me at first blush to be a question of morality. So, the idea that I put "my own morals" above God's doesn't quite fit. I see it as a question of obedience, and I would disobey. I might get zapped for it.

On the other hand, I disobey God every day that I don't sell all I have and give to the poor. Every time I spend $5 or more for a good cigar rather than giving it to a charity.

Were God to ask me to kill my child, it would be a test of faith, all right. And, assuming that the Godness of God didn't leave me a quivering mass of flesh, peeing my pants and blinded by the Overt Presence of the Almighty -- :-) -- I think I'd look God in the face, as it were, disobey, and, in faith, rely on God's Grace.

BILLY SAID: Out of interest, what evidence would you require that it actually was god making the command?

ER SAID: Well, that's a whole can of worms, isn't it? Good question.

Not sure I could tell. Not sure anyone could tell. Christian tradition is that we "see as through a dark glass." Which is a good reason not to give too much credence to anyone who claims to have a singular, direct line to God.

I suppose, though, that, by definition, if God were to manifest in all God's Godness, there would be no doubt. By definition.

But I'm not sure how one, as a creature, could be utterly certain, even in the Presence of the Creator, without losing oneself IN the Creator.

Which, actually, might be the end game. There certainly are suggestions in the Bible, and through the tradition, that losing onself, on a daily basis, is the thing.

Discuss!

--ER

Comments:
DrLoboJo, aren't there alternative versions/interpretations of the Abraham-Isaac story?
 
I figure, if God wanted to kill my child (if I had one, or anyone else's child for that matter) He can do it Himself. I'm not God's hitman.
 
Bingo.
 
Arrrgh. Another dumb utilitarian talking point. These atheists are focused on finding a "gotcha" moment for Christians.

This all stems from the assumption that God is some sort of cosmic human being that talks to us in some booming voice from the clouds. God doesn't ask for specifics. Besides, the God encountered in Jesus of Nazareth probably wouldn't ask for such a thing even if this was the case.

Anyway, in regards to the Abraham/Isaac story, I've heard an interesting way to interpret the whole Bible. Interpret it as a theological dialectic--two or more streams of theology that are constantly butting up against eachother. For example, the God found in Deuteronomy (reward and punishment) is a different God than that in Job (bad things happen to good people, righteousness for the sake of righteousness). The God that Paul formulates is different than that of Revelations.
 
Well, the question is premised on the notion that God would ask. I don't really believe that, but if it did happen, I've given my answer.

I've heard all sorts of alternative interpretations of the Abraham/Isaac story:

1) We're meant to know that Abraham only thinks he heard God telling him to go kill Isaac, but didn't, or
2) That it's just a "Oh Yeah?" sort of story -- that is, while all the other religions in the area were off sacrificing goats and pigs and chickens and things, "Oh Yeah? Well, the guy who started OUR religion was going to sacrifice his son, that's just how we roll, baby!", or
3) It's a parable (not an allegory) and like parables (which are NOT allegories) that Jesus tells millennia later, we're meant to see ourselves in each of the different characters involved, and is meant to raise more questions than answers. Would *we* be faithful enough to be willing to sacrifice our most beloved thing/person for God? Would *we*, like Isaac, be faithful enough to obey? etc. When do *we* think we've heard God? How do we know? etc...
 
"Billy asks the question: If God commanded it, would you kill your own child?"

Could I have a gold star to put in my window if I did?
 
If God commanded it, would you kill your own child?
What a stupid question of course they would. They have sacrificed to me for millenium. Always their first born son was mine and I took him in the fire.

So Abraham thought he got a reprieve from my law when a goat wandered up and he made up his own story about human sacrifice, Pissed me of it did. So I fixed that old man.

You know contrary Abe wasn't a Jew at all. Those came later from his son Jacob. what I did to screw him for all earthly times was to set his son Issac whom he loved so much that he insulted me in perpetual opposition to his son Jacob (the big Jew daddy).
Hell I made Issac the father of all Arabs and Jacob the father of all Jews and set those two people into damnation fighting one another for ever.

It's true that both the Jews and the Arabs replaced me with their Els and Alas. But I have enjoyed the conflict.

So I created War and set the world to its task. They deprived me of my alter, and I made the whole world one.
 
Dang. I'm gonna have to spray for imps that get above their hell-raisin'. LOL
 
But you gotta credit him for suggesting that God is a Cancer.

The question I have put to myself before, and I put to any other atheist reading here, is, "If it turns out there actually is a God, and you are asked after your death to account for your lack of belief in Him, what would you say?"

That I came by my mistakes honestly, I suppose.
 
With ER on this one. Another check mark in the "disobedient" column for me.

I do so love the way the three-card-monte is played by Lee, suddenly talking "morality" rather than obedience.

I'm honestly surprised that no one has mentioned abortion in this context, by the way. . .
 
Well, I'd expect that the concept of obedience would be unfathomable for an atheist in such a situation.
 
(Geoffrey, a fun thing is in the mail to you from Oklahoma!)
 
Hi ER,

Glad you shared the question - I hope your readers have the time to look at the original question over at Billy's place as well to get a little more background.

I will like to point out, for the record, the original question I raised was “If God told you to kill me, would you do it”

However, I think Billy thought (maybe rightly?) that some people might be able to think of good reasons to kill me. Hope not...

Ryan These atheists are focused on finding a "gotcha" moment for Christians.

No - I thought it was about questioning... don't you do that?

Think of it as a bit of fun to gain further understanding about the world.

Alan Well, the question is premised on the notion that God would ask. I don't really believe that,

Based on the bible - God has asked this question in the past, why not ask it again?

Of course, I'm no believer in the bible.

Alan but if it did happen I've given my answer.

I suppose this depends on how much you believe the stories in the bible are accurate again.

The bible does suggest that, in the past, God has not been very focused on his killing - e.g. the flood, Exodus with it's "kill the first born son", Sodom and Gomorrah etc... a lot of (surely) innocent people (and babies please don't forget the babies) died as a result of God's actions here.

Maybe God could just be ‘getting with the times’ and killing only those who should die (based on His wisdom)?

So with your refusal of killing one person - could you be causing the death of millions (again, only if you take a literal opinion on the bible accounts - I don't)?

rich bachelor The question I have put to myself before, and I put to any other atheist reading here, is, "If it turns out there actually is a God, and you are asked after your death to account for your lack of belief in Him, what would you say?"

First question to God

“Where have you been?”

Next questions to God:-

“You claim God (in your many autobiographies) to know my ‘heart’ but didn’t realise what constituted as evidence for me? You created me with a brain that reasons – that has discovered the wonders of your creations and laws through the ‘scientific method’, to be able to spot the hoax claims about alien landings, Big Foot, ‘snake oil’ and other quack remedies a mile away – yet you God could not think of any evidence that you could provide that I could use to distinguish one ‘holy book’ from another, one God claim from another. Not one miracle in my lifetime that I could have witnessed?

I did not believe therefore because of lack of evidence – and you God should have known what evidence was required – what evidence is.

Lee exits stage right to a guy dressed in red with horns and a rather hot looking poker...

That I came by my mistakes honestly, I suppose.

Yeah – that too :-)

Geoffrey Kruse-Safford: I do so love the way the three-card-monte is played by Lee, suddenly talking "morality" rather than obedience.

Suddenly talking about morality?

The question was raised to think about morality and whether morals are absolute and come from God (as many Christianity Apologetics claim) or do they come from within.

You raised obedience – please explain.

Geoffrey Kruse-Safford I'm honestly surprised that no one has mentioned abortion in this context, by the way. . .

Are you trying to change the subject? Do you think God is telling people to abort their pregnancies? Any evidence of this?

Please expand on your point because I am not seeing where you are coming from, or going, with this point of yours.

Thanks

Lee
 
Lee, first to address my "three card monte" line, it is important to address the specifics of the issue before us. The question was asked, whether we would kill our own child on the orders of God and God alone. There was no subtext concerning morality; there is no link, except in the mind of someone who thinks that obedience to God's will and morality are somehow linked (I do not, nor do I believe such a link can be proved, although it cannot be disproved either); the question is framed in such a way that any consideration of "morals" seems, to me at least, off the table.

German theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer, in the fragmentary writings on Ethics that was published posthumously by his literary executor, deals with the relationship between ethics and obedience at the very start of his writings. He sees "morality", knowledge of good and evil, and deciding to do good and shun evil, not as adherence to Divine Law, Will, or Commandment, but rather as part of our fallen state. Consider that the tree which produced the fruit eaten by Adam and Even in the Garden was the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, and his point, while simple and clear, becomes shockingly revolutionary. To my mind, Bonhoeffer has broken, in this simple reminder of what the Bible actually says, once and for all any notion that in obeying God's Will (which is the proper subject of Christian Ethics) has anything at all to do with "morality", human or divine.

My comment on abortion was actually a semi-comical line concerning the occasional appearance of anti-abortion folks on this site, who might take some of us to task for our support of reproductive choice and our stated refusal to kill a child.

I hope this clarifies things a little.
 
At Billy's, Lee asked me what I thought of the story of Jephthahs daughter ...


Well, I think the lesson of the story of Jephthah's daughter is: Don't make stupid selfish vows to God. Also, elsewhere in the Scriptures there is the admonishment to not swear yea or nay about anything, so it's silly, in my view, to hold this up as an example to be admired or followed.

Jephthah is the primary agent in this story, not God. He vowed. He wept. And then in selfish fear, he, apparently, lived up to his vow. Since human sacrifice is elsehere condemned in the Scriptures, I don't see how one could draw from this story that he did the right thing. ... On the other hand, under the law of the time, she was his property. Yay that he wept bitter tears. But he still sinned -- twice, at least. One in making the vow, two in carrying it out.
 
ER asked: "DrLoboJo, aren't there alternative versions/interpretations of the Abraham-Isaac story?"

Think of it as one of the original Male Liberation propaganda stories.

The story of Issac and Abrahm predates the Hebrew religion by a whole bunch. It is probably not about faith and obedience as assumed but more likely about asserting the power of the male in religion, family, and society.
Prior to about 3,000 B.C. the God worshiped was a Goddess. God was not male. In that context then this story takes all power away from the woman and gives it totally to the man. Issac is not Sarah and Abraham's child he is Abraham's son. He is his property, not her property and not their property, and Abraham can even kill him if he wishes to. God is male as well. So the male Abraham is rewarded by the male God not for his faith and trust in God but for his recognition of his personal power as a male over women and children. Issac is saved to transmit this new Patriarchal religion forward into history.
Such oral traditions helped the male gods to overcome the female gods by showing the men around the camp fires where they were told this story that they could be powerful like Abraham and God would reward them.

Is that the version you had in mind?
 
Sure. What I had in mind was anything that did more than read the dang text and treat it as if it were literally, inerrantly and infallibly "God's Word," end all, be all, and amen -- the way barely literate fundamentalists, and most orthodox, and all busy, anti-everything atheists do.

What else ya got?
 
Lee asks, "Based on the bible - God has asked this question in the past, why not ask it again?"

Since you do not believe the Bible should be read literally, Lee, why (in every conversation you have over here) do you expect us to do so? So no, I do not believe God has asked this question.

Even if one reads this passage literally, the main point is not that God asked, but that he stopped Abraham from killing his son. (Sorta kills the whole penal substitutionary atonement idea, if you ask me.) It wasn't a test of faith for God (who, we presume, would have already known the outcome), it was a test of faith for Abraham (who, we presume, would not already know the outcome), so that Abraham knew what sort of God it was that he worshipped (ie. one that does not require human sacrifice.)

That is, if one reads that story literally. I tend to think of it as a parable, and I have read that there are good reasons for doing so, based on the way it is written, and the language used.

As for the story about Jephthah's daughter, the main point is that Jephthah was an idiot. That's a great story about the terrible consequences of thinking you know the mind of God better than God does -- a lesson our fundie friends should read every morning. However, later we read, "What does the Lord require? To do justice, to love mercy, and to walk humbly before God." Not to make silly promises to God-as-Angry-Santa. Or, to use another metaphor, faith and obedience to God is not a giant game of marbles.

If you really want to get into problematic Bible texts about killing children, you really should read the story about Elijah and the she-bears in 2nd Kings. Elijah (a prophet) is out walking around and some kids begin to taunt him because he's bald. Elijah gets pissy and calls out some she-bears which amble over and shred the little urchins to bits. Mwah, ha ha ha ha! That'll teach the little ankle-biters!

Um. Yeah.

Good luck figuring that one out, folks. ;)
 
Ole Elisha, say he had a temperment very similar to John McCain's did he not? It is probably cause he never got a kiss.
 
Oops, my bad, you are correct, drlobojo. I wrote Elijah, when I meant Elisha. I wouldn't, however, mock Elisha, because he might sick some bears on you. Rawr!

(And don't mock John McCain either. He would probably just send Palin to shoot you and field dress you like a dead moose. If he weren't, you know, like so totally busy with the economy stuff right now.) :)
 
Por ole Elisha, he never got a kiss.

Porr ole Elisha, he don't know what he missed.
 
Actually Alan the only reason I remember that was Elisha and not Elijah was because the boys were teasing him about his tall tale about Elijah being taken up in a chariot to heaven. Elisha was the only human witness to that you see.
 
Ah, I'd never thought about that...

The "Go up, Bald Head" wasn't picking on him because he was bald, it was picking on him re: the "Go up" (ie. to Heaven) part ... like Elijah.

Gotcha.

But it's funnier if they were calling him Chrome Dome or Cue Ball and he got pissy. :)
 
Here’s some belated thoughts on this dialogue:

1. As ER points out, the question is tied to an enamorment with literal reading of the Bible. There are other ways to read the text, as DrLobojo and others point out. The New Interpreter's Study Bible says a major response to the "moral dilemma" posed by the story of Abraham and Isaac "has been to read the story as a polemic against human sacrifice. According to this interpretation, the story describes God's demand for human sacrifice only to show that in the end God desires not human sacrifice but the substitution of an animal. This interpretation appears to be supported by frequent condemnations of human sacrifice in the OT. (Deut. 21:31; Jer 7:30-32). Of course, there are problems with this as well, like why is Abraham so highly honored for his willingness to do what the story condemns, offering human sacrifice? Other readings include 1.God's ways are not human ways, or, 2.that there is a vast different between ancient and modern cultural norms and their accompanying theologies. New Interpreters says: "While the obedience of Abraham might be understood and appreciated from a historical perspective, the practice of human sacrifice must be recognized, as it is in most biblical texts, as a contradiction to genuine worship and morality." Additionally, I have heard another take on this (and I have not checked this out) that notes that when Abraham did not argue with God on this matter of killing his son, essentially that THIS was the real test and God never again spoke audibly to Abraham in the scripture. Again, I have not gone through scripture to see if this is accurate.

2. To respond specifically to the question at hand, I would say “No.” (And personally, I would not worry about disobedience since the God I serve, the one revealed in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, would not ask me to kill my children or anyone else.) Lee, if your god --reason -- told you to kill your children, would you do it?

3. Getting behind the question a little bit, the presupposition here is that the practice of faith means answering voices you hear in your head. Also, that faith is unquestioning. Neither of which is MY understanding. Questioning is not only required of faith, it is in the definition. My faith is based on a combination of scripture, tradition and reason, also involves great doubt. Ultimately, faith for me means “trusting in God’s promises,” and is not dependent on feelings. (Btw, on the followup question from the atheist side -- How do you know it wasn’t God who asked you to kill? – I would say it was not based on my understanding of scripture, tradition and reason.)

4. I used to characterize the neo-atheist evangelistic movement represented here as kind of a RESPONSE to rampant fundamentalism here in the U.S. and around the world, but now I am tending to think that perhaps it is PART OF the movement. They have so much in common with Christian fundamentalists. For example: a. They insist on a literal reading of the Bible (not the most common reading historically among the faithful) b. They demonize the other side as evil and the cause of great calamity in the world c. They see themselves on an urgent mission to add converts to their ranks in order to save the souls of the other side before it’s too late! d. always setting up false battles between, for example, evolution and Christianity, suggesting you have to be on one side or the other.

5. ER, you may enjoy an easy-to-read (and entertaining) book by John D. Caputo called “Philosophy and Theology.” It summarizes the historical battle between reason and theology, you know with theology initially on top, then pushed aside by a total insistence on reason (which also didn’t work out too well). To sum it up: Science says seeing is believing. Religion says believing is seeing. Caputo says simply that both are types of seeing.

I apologize for my wordiness. I rarely post on blogs, as my friend ER will attest, so I guess I got more than my money's worth here, thanks....
 
Many thanks, GP. Good thoughts deserve to be shared.
 
Hi all,

Only have time to be brief now, but I thought I would try and tidy up some of the mess I have made for myself (as always)

++++

Hi Geoffrey

There was no subtext concerning morality; there is no link, except in the mind of someone who thinks that obedience to God's will and morality are somehow linked

The question was set to ‘challenge’ those who believe morality comes from God.

I hope that was clear?

If you don't believe morals come from God - great. We agree and the question is a stupid one to both you and I.

In this case, for you and others here, the question seems a poor one - but I assume you have seen on your travels other Christians who do actually believe absolute morals, and these morals come from God. (Some Christian apologists actually use it as a argument FOR God... William Lane Craig comes to mind)

It was those believers who I hoped the question would 'challenge' and cause pause to though.

As always, you guys have "been there, done that" - which is great.

Why don’t we hear more preachers like you guys, rather than the Young Earth nutters we see on TV?

My comment on abortion was actually a semi-comical line concerning the occasional appearance of anti-abortion folks on this site, who might take some of us to task for our support of reproductive choice and our stated refusal to kill a child.

Sorry, I missed that reference, so I hope you understand my confusion.

Makes sense now.

++++++

Hi ER,

Well, I think the lesson of the story of Jephthah's daughter is: Don't make stupid selfish vows to God.

Makes a lot more sense than the bible account.

++++++

Hi Alan,

Since you do not believe the Bible should be read literally, Lee, why (in every conversation you have over here) do you expect us to do so? So no, I do not believe God has asked this question.

Sorry... my mistake (again... as always... I never learn...)

Does this mean you ‘believe’ you know the mind of God BTW? You are saying believe He would not say such a thing?... Doesn’t matter, you said you would tell God no – and that was the point of the question.

Cheers

Lee
 
ER ask:"Lee, if your god --reason -- told you to kill your children, would you do it?"

I would.
Many have.
In a tribe or a hunter gatherer family, where there is not enough for all to live through the winter. Then tradition based on reason would dictate that the youngest and the oldest be denied food. the last to be sacrificed would be the breeding pair.
There are other extraordinary circumstances where I might do such. But only in the rational extreme.
But on the whim of a sky captain, never.
 
Sorry, I missed the question aimed at me. Only saw it after drlobojo replied.

Lee, if your god --reason -- told you to kill your children, would you do it

Could you give me an example please? How would ‘reason’ tell me this?

In nearly all instances I would reason I would rather kill myself than my children.

Maybe in an extreme – such as I knew 'someone' or 'some group' was about to torture and kill both me and my children so a path of ‘least suffering’ would be reasoned to kill them followed by myself. But the thought is sickening.

Another could be (as happened to a friend) after an accident a child was left brain-dead on life support. Again, reason could say it would be better to grieve (this is more debatable I suppose).

Is this what you had in mind?

However, my example was far simpler than that – God just asked you/me to do it.

I said I would refuse – as most(all?) here have.

Now, how a theist – who would follow the command - would confirm it was God could be another problem, but this is why the question was raised. To think.

Lee
 
Note that it was GP, not me, who posed that question to Lee.
 
GP-

"I used to characterize the neo-atheist evangelistic movement represented here"

What's a "Neo-atheist"? An atheist who's a fan of the Matrix? :)

I don't think you can evangelise about an absence of belief. There's no gospel of atheism.
 
My own understanding of the disconnect between morality and ethics is rooted first in Bonhoeffer's account of ethics as part of Christian duty, something transcendent. Morality is far too often understood as some prevailing sentiment. For example, Bonhoeffer and other post-liberal theologians writing at the time (the inter-war and WWII period) were reacting to the prevailing Liberal Theology in Germany which equated Christian teaching with a kind of bourgeois sentimentality. What's interesting about this, of course, is that Bonhoeffer, unlike many of the other theologians of the period was both bourgeois and pretty conservative, in both a political and social sense. His theology, however, led almost inexorably to certain radical conclusions, which he tried to separate through artificial means.

i do not believe morality comes from God, except in some kind of absolute, vague sense suggested by the idea that all things come from God. I do not believe human beings are inherently moral beings, born with "a moral sense".

As drlobojo points out, by the way, there are many logical, sensible reasons for people to murder their own children, whether it's resource depletion, population control, or what ever. We cannot pretend that human societies will not devolve to such a state in the future, either. There is a moral dimension to such issues as well, including the demand that people make sacrifices in their individual lives for the good of the whole community.

So, to say that this is some kind of absurd fantasy is ridiculous.

As far as why people like us don't get on television and preach, all I can say is that those other folks have really rich people supporting them. We don't.
 
Lee wrote, "In this case, for you and others here, the question seems a poor one - but I assume you have seen on your travels other Christians who do actually believe absolute morals, and these morals come from God."

Unlike Geoffrey, I do believe in absolute morals just as I believe in absolute Truth, but I do not believe we actually know specifically and perfectly what those are because of our share in total depravity. As to whether or not morality comes from God, plenty of people had morals well before the advent of Judaism, and plenty of believers in non-Judeo-Christian religions and non-believers have morals today, so obviously morals can come from elsewhere as well.

But I don't see what any of that has to do with the original question.

"Does this mean you ‘believe’ you know the mind of God BTW?"

Not exactly. Unlike our fundie friends, I am categorically and absolutely NOT saying I know the mind of God. I'm saying that I believe, based on the whole of Scripture, that this story is not about God telling Abraham to kill Isaac, because (again, based on the entirety of Scripture) I do not believe He would ask such a thing. That's what I believe. I might be wrong. But I'd still say "No" anyway. If the options really are 1) kill someone because God commanded it and be rewarded for obedience, or 2) disobey but go to hell for disobedience, I think the only Christian response is to put someone else's life over one's own in that situation: save the life, disobey, and go to hell. (That is, if I believed that was the way salvation works, which it isn't, and I don't.) So, when one looks at those two options, we see why the original question is not particularly interesting. It's simply one of those "Can God make a rock big enough that He can't lift" sort of grade-school paradoxes -- Can God give a command in which the only Christian response is to disobey it?

I would agree with Geoffrey, BTW, the reason that a very small, but very loud group of fundie wackjobs ends up on TV instead of more thoughtful Christian voices is because there's no money in nuance. If you can't sell someone a tape that tells them how to pray their way to a richer, more beautiful life, then people aren't likely to be interested. Lots of people have never learned from the story about the golden calf.

"I don't think you can evangelise about an absence of belief. There's no gospel of atheism."

Uh huh. The evidence, spread across thousands of blogs, quite clearly demonstrates the recent and zealous evangelism of atheism, particularly led by their Messiah Dawkins. Surely a people lead by reason and evidence aren't ignoring all that evidence now are they? I thought only us poor Christians could be so deluded. ;)
 
"How would reason tell me this?"

Hello Lee! It is no easier for me to understand a god who would ask me to kill my child than it is for you to fathom reason telling you to do it. In your case, you find it, under most circumstances, unreasonable. It my case, I do not believe such a voice would be from the God I worship, so I would feel free to ignore it. We reach similar conclusions.
 
I love what Frederick Buechner wrote about principles, and I think you can substitute "morals" and get the same point. I've added "morals" in parenthesis:


"Principles (morals) are what people have instead of God. To be a Christian means among other things to be willing if necessary to sacrifice even your highest principles (morals) for God's or your neighbor's sake the way a Christian pacifist must be willing to pick up a baseball bat if there's no other way to stop a man from savagely beating a child."

I love that. In my mind, being Christian is one thing, being moral is another; finding out where they overlap and where they don't is part of "working out salvation."
 
Hi All,

Looks like this question has run its course... at least it got us talking and thinking (however poor the question was)

ER Note that it was GP, not me, who posed that question to Lee.

Sorry, I should have pointed that out.

Geoffrey Kruse-Safford : So, to say that this is some kind of absurd fantasy is ridiculous.

Who said that it was?

As far as why people like us don't get on television and preach, all I can say is that those other folks have really rich people supporting them. We don't.

It is sad when you think people really do listen to that “Send me your money and you will be saved” stuff...

Alan I do not believe He would ask such a thing. That's what I believe. I might be wrong.

So why doesn’t this mean you ‘think’/’believe’ you know the mind of God – based on scripture and all that? OK – you might be wrong, but you don’t ‘believe’ that do you?

No matter, we are going around in circles if we continue.

I just don’t understand and lets leave it at that – something we can agree on?

It's simply one of those "Can God make a rock big enough that He can't lift" sort of grade-school paradoxes -- Can God give a command in which the only Christian response is to disobey it?

Just because it is a simple question, doesn’t mean it isn’t interesting... to me at least.

Lots of people have never learned from the story about the golden calf.

And something about a rich man, a camel, and needle?

particularly led by their Messiah Dawkins.

Bless it be his name... :-)

GP It is no easier for me to understand a god who would ask me to kill my child than it is for you to fathom reason telling you to do it.

Is reason an entity?

We reach similar conclusions.

If we can agree on the conclusions, I suppose all is well?

ER quoted ”To be a Christian means among other things to be willing if necessary to sacrifice even your highest principles (morals) for God's”

Sorry – I’m confused here.... I thought we all here argued against this view?

Doesn’t this quote mean even IF you think it is immoral to kill your children, if God told you to do it, you should sacrifice this principle for God’s will?

I must be reading this wrong?

Lee
 
I think you're misreading it. The idea is that sometimes the Christian thing to do is to SACRIFICE morals, from whatever source, in order to do the right thing. It's arguing AGAINST unthinking adherence to morals.
 
Hi Guys,

Sorry I'm late. Ryan, it is not a "gotcha" question as you assume.

Part of the reason behind the question was to test how much evidence someone who thought god asked them to kill their child needed to be sure god was actually asking it. Then, to compare that to how much evidence you require in your day to day faith life. Is it the same ammount? If not, why not?

I dont think interpretations of the Issac passage are relevent. You have to assume that you think god may be asking you to do this, so what evidence do you require?

It may also help some folk see where atheists are comming from.

So if you dont mind, I'll be quiet while folk post :-)
 
"Part of the reason behind the question was to test how much evidence someone who thought god asked them to kill their child needed to be sure god was actually asking it."

OK, so you're looking for someone who believes that God has ordered them to kill their child, and you want to know how they confirmed that belief?

Can't help you with that one! Let me know what you find out.

"It may help some folks see where atheists are coming from."

How? Please explain.
 
How? Please explain.


You would require som pretty strong evidence to believe that and execute it - wouldn't you?
 
Billy Sorry I'm late.

Well, the universe hasn't ended yet - so you still have time

Lee
 
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