hitchens vs lennox

I know it’s a bit belated, but I have to tell you about the debate I was at on Saturday, between the famous atheist Christopher Hitchens and the also relatively famous Christian apologist John Lennox. The motion they were debating was, ‘The new Europe should prefer the new Atheism,’ a motion which gives plenty scope for intriguing discussion in itself, but also – perhaps deliberately – backgrounded some of the more commonly debated fundamental issues surrounding the tenability of the new atheism as a worldview.

Oddly enough, there wasn’t much in what Hitchens said that I found particularly objectionable. He discussed the Danish cartoons controversy in terms of how appalling it would be if Europe turned into an Islamic theocracy, as indeed it would be, then mentioned a few other things which he disapproved of (such as teaching creationism in schools and selling indulgences), pointing out that they were religiously motivated – as indeed they are. Nor in fact was he as offensive as I might have feared. Hitchens strikes me as charming, entertaining, and also ruthlessly ferocious in his denunciations of religion – I went prepared to steel myself against the arrogance and merciless scorn which I perceive (I’m sorry to say) as the clearest hallmarks of the New Atheism. Yet, strangely, all guns blazing he wasn’t. And although he rounded off by saying that the New Europe should adopt secularism as a core value, if you were simply going on the contents of what he said in his 15-minute opening statement, he didn’t seem to be arguing particularly closely or strongly that ‘the new atheism’ should be the specific philosophy flavouring that secularism.

This left Lennox in the happy position of not having much to disagree with – and freed him up to expose those aspects and implications of the arguments embodied in the new atheism which are most problematic, and most undesirable – whether for any given individual, or more relevantly, for the New Europe as a whole. He brought up many of the most obvious popular apologetics arguments which serve as a convenient first line of defence when the choice is between the New Atheism and religion of any sort whatsoever. (It is interesting, if I can interpolate a comment of my own, that Hitchens seemed to act as though demonstrating the flaws in any religious system whatsoever, say militant Islam, is a demonstration that all religions of every sort are worthless, including Christianity as represented by, say, traditional Anglicanism. As if they were equivalent in any meaningful way.) Lennox mentioned, for instance, the need to distinguish between the use and abuse of religion, then went on to point out the way that Christian values underpin many of the aspects of European civilisation, including the freedoms which the new atheism makes use of in order to condemn (Christian) religion, and he also highlighted how illiberal it is of the new atheism to desire to eliminate religion from public and private life.

There followed a discussion based on questions from the floor. On two questions, there was what we can only call a mysterious and selective glitch in the sound system such that specifically Mr Hitchens was unable to hear or understand what was being said. One challenged his analysis of Russian militarism, giving points of information which undermined the argument he’d been making; the other came from an elderly and slightly doddery local gentleman, who wanted to know how an atheist would counsel the parents of a twenty-something involved in a tragic accident whose injuries couldn’t be treated by the doctors. For whatever reason, we didn’t hear a response from Mr Hitchens on either issue.

Another contribution from the floor was intriguing in a different way. Someone made the brief statement that she thanked John Lennox for defending her right to believe whatever she wanted, while believing she was going to suffer in hell eternally. Hard to tell if she meant it seriously – if she did, it was a generous acknowledgement that no reciprocal generosity is offered from the New Atheists, who, it would seem, are devoted in the main to ridiculing Christianity out of existence. Yet it remains perplexing that if people think about heaven and hell at all, they are automatically convinced that hell is their inevitable destination – as if heaven wasn’t a genuine alternative, or as if it wasn’t the case that (to paraphrase what someone said yesterday) everyone who ends up in heaven is someone who in themselves deserved the opposite.

The closing statement from Christopher Hitchens has also stuck in my mind. Rather than restate any of his arguments or rebut points raised by John Lennox, everything he said in conclusion was a new point which hadn’t been discussed in the preceding hour and a half. Specifically, he spent a lot of time on what he called vicarious redemption (neither redemption nor vicariousness had been mentioned at all previously). The strange thing was that he gave a passable and quite gripping account of what the gospel offers – someone to pay the debt of all your sins, so that you are no longer accountable for them – yet he twisted it round right at the end to exclaim over how immoral this scheme of redemption seemed to be to him. Setting aside the issue of where his standards of morality came from that allowed him to pass such a judgment, his condemnation of vicarious atonement (for so it would probably be better termed) is a fine example of nothing so much as breathtakingly missing the point: the counter-imputation of our sins and Christ’s righteousness is a scheme where the most absolute standards of morality and justice are preserved absolutely intact. As Romans 3 explains, in the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, God declares his righteousness: he declares, I say, his righteousness, that he might be just, and the justifier of those that believe in Jesus.

As I say, I don’t think Hitchens was on top of his scathing form, and I don’t think he presented much of a case for the New Atheism as a prescription for the New Europe rather than generic secularism – and on the positive side, Lennox heartily presented some upbeat recommendations, a vision for the new Europe based on the shared morality of its population, interacted with questions from the floor in a cheerful and non-patronising manner, and basically was geniality personified. Whatever made the difference, when they counted the numbers for and against the motion at the end, there was a clear majority opposing the motion. At least from what I could see, there were no fewer in favour of the motion compared to when the numbers were counted right at the start ahead of the debate, but the people who had identified themselves as don’t-knows had swung substantially against the motion. Whatever difference it makes.

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32 thoughts on “hitchens vs lennox

  1. The question is flawed. It should be about the truth of the matter, not which Europe should prefer. Europe should prefer racism towards North African and virulent anti-semitism as they would help provide a unifying factor and help repel outside influences, but they are both built on lies.

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  2. Many thanks for posting this account of the evening. I was at New Horizon, a large Christian conference on Northern Ireland’s North coast, at the end of July. John Lennox (geniality personified indeed) was the morning speaker. He asked us to bear the date of this debate with Hitchens very much in mind as he wanted to give a good account of himself. I was wondering how it had gone. It sounds like he gave it his best shot!

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  3. Thanks for commenting Joanne! It was a very encouraging event and I’m glad to hear of one more batch of people that must have been praying about it! I was really struck by H’s performance actually – he really didn’t do half the damage i feared. The counsel of Ahithophel turned to foolishness, or nearly :)

    If you googled you might have also come across this post, which sums up the atmosphere very well i thought:
    http://andyatgreenview.blogspot.com/2008/08/on-mars-hill-edinburgh.html

    “Hitchens – urbane, carrying the constant whiff of disdain for the world around him, well read, and fascinating on his analysis of trends. Lennox – warm, with keenly structured arguments, and wonderfully unashamed to use the Bible and talk freely about Jesus.

    It was the latter point that heartened me most – a man of the intellectual calibre of John Lennox, sitting in the ancient city of ‘Enlightenment’ thinking, surrounded by the savvy sophisticates of Edinburgh’s Festival – who was clear and unembarrassed to speak of final judgement, miracles, and the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. …”

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  4. Hi Cath,

    Thanks for the post!

    I agree with you that a frequent atheist tactic is to criticize radical Islam and then somehow tie it in to a general statement about all religion.

    Short example: Religion caused 9/11. Therefore all religion should be banned.

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  5. Cath,

    The point of referencing Islam is not to attack one religion and tie your objection to another. The point is that religious violence is universal, which it certainly is, and easily obtainable with the proper faith.

    Suicide bombing does not seem endemic to Christianity, but a history of violence all its own, but identifiably religious in nature, is.

    I’ll only add, that the doctrine of vicarious redemption is immoral in that an omnipotent, omnibenevolent being manifested his own son amongst humanity, only to kill him, somehow ridding humans of their sins.

    Killing, to erase one of the very sins of humanity, is not the only contradiction to be found in theology.

    Needless to say, it did not have to transpire that way.

    Given the first two tenets- God’s omnibenevolence and omnipotence, by accounting for his omnibenevolence, he should have forgiven humanity without vicarious redemption (non-violently), and by accounting for his omnipotence, he certainly could have.

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  6. But God is also a *just* God.

    God is a holy being and sin is completely abhorrent to him. Sins against him must be punished.

    Christ willingly took the punishment for his people’s sins so they would not have to.

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  7. Michael, thanks for commenting, but as Ruth says your argument overlooks his omnirighteousness, if you’ll excuse the term. I’ve quickly cobbled together this post,
    https://ninetysixandten.wordpress.com/2008/08/30/justice-and-grace/
    which you’re welcome to pursue the discussion on, if you’re interested. But just to warn you that I’m going to be out of town and without computer access (at least for blogging purposes!) till late on Wed evening.

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  8. Ruth,

    Christ is God, is he not? If it was God’s idea to stage a human sacrifice, Christ would of course willingly go along with it for the sake of agreeing with himself.

    My take is that in redeeming humanity, God was really redeeming himself. He designed us with the potential to commit sin, but specified that we could not (a recipe for failure), and instead of accepting that we will commit mistakes as a free species, and learn, as would be expected of a “parent,” he commits an act of supreme masochism, supposedly our own punishment, but taken upon himself in consideration of his fallen creation.

    This is hugely suggestive of a guilty conscience.

    As it happens, I don’t believe God has redeemed any of the two millenia of atrocities since his species-saving stunt.

    As to before the crucifixion, as Hitchens put it, why would God wait for 100 millenia since the emergence of modern humans “with folded arms,” and after everything that transpired since then, finally intervene, completely arbitrarily? At least it seems so.

    Cath,

    Omnirighteousness I presume you define as God being able to do what he pleases.

    Of course he can. He can impregnate married virgins, but because he’s God, it isn’t adultery…

    He can do all sorts of things.

    If God wants to redeem his fallen creation by killing his own son, he’s quite at liberty to do so, but he could just have easily redeemed us without doing so.

    There just isn’t any good reason, if you put yourself in God’s shoes, to enable redemption only by means of sacrifice- not least human sacrifice. The reason you cite is “omnirighteousness.” Well, in effect, all God did, was send a part of himself to Earth, kill it, and declare all humanity’s sins carried off with his own crucifixion.

    It makes no sense at all. It is utterly arbitrary.

    Why not, for instance, just stage another flood? Kill all the sinners, and save the pious and shelter them in an Ark?

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    • Michael, you are very intelligent. After the harrowing ordeal of being born into the Catholic faith, I only attend the services to take my very devout elderly Mother so as not to hurt her. This is not hypocritical, as I am sparing my Mother any pain for her to argue her case in her twilight years. I am respecting my Mother. All the remote actions – bowing, kneeling, paper shuffling and money collecting during the service makes me realise that no one actually listens to the sermons. (I do as I find them entertaining) Confession when I was in Kindergarten up to being able to decide not to be involved anymore was (in looking back) degrading and hypocritical. In the playground we all took turns to make up sins to confess every week in a dark split double box and then have to walk around looking at horror pictures with blood and misery to repent reciting Hail Mary’s and Our Fathers. The only time we were so called sinning was telling lies in the confessional to appease the priest and the nun’s. I just can’t believe in the ridiculous. The nun’s weren’t very nice either. It was a schooling of fear. I cannot bear anyone saying. “God is on my side!” It is so ignorant, especially after they have attended mass and come home to a family meal, get drunk and abuse everyone in the name of god. (No not my Mother thank goodness) No blood relation. This person has holy icons everywhere. I prefer real art and books. Funnily enough I am the only one in my family who has actually read the bible from cover to cover. This may have led me further towards an intelligent path in my life.

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  9. Dear Michael,

    I am not an expert in the various Protestant interpretations of the atonement. I do remember some very strange things from university Christian Unions, where basically God was really angry and had to take it out on someone, so took it out on Jesus and now everything is okay. This is warped.

    The last bit. Er, the point rather is that Jesus came for sinners. Actually that’s pretty much the whole point of the whole thing since Adam and Eve up to the end of the world.

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  10. Everything in reply #13 is so strange and confused that I don’t really know where to begin. Why would anyone bother to have a “take” on an event and a doctrine that intrinsically involves a being they scarcely believe exists and have nothing but contempt for? Why would it make sense to “presume” that the nonce term omnirighteousness can be conflated with “doing what you please”? When a person has such limited and flawed understanding of how the persons of the Godhead even relate to each other (“a part of himself”?), what can possibly motivate them to try to discuss these things in the first place? The whole thing just gets a bit tiresome.

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  11. Pingback: Religion News, Blogs and More » - christianity religion

  12. @cath – “The whole thing just gets a bit tiresome.”

    Exactly, hiding & not providing a rebuttal when your religious theology is rebutted IS tiresome. You didnt provide any rebuttal’s to Michael’s excellent points above.

    As represented by your remakr:

    “Why would anyone bother to have a “take” on an event and a doctrine that intrinsically involves a being they scarcely believe exists and have nothing but contempt for?”

    This is utterly irrational. One has a “take” on these imaginary beings precisely because many believers have been shoving it others’ faces through various means – teaching creationism in schools, door to door witnessing (JWs for eg) & using these stories to control their fellow humam beings for political or financial gain.

    Not to mention the fact that these religious stories are not factually true ( see the The Bible Unearthed for many such examples)- hence why our “bothering” to have a take on it – ie the pursuit of truth.

    I dont believe in Ram as an existing deity along with your Christ (one of the Hindu incarnations competing with Christ)- yet that doesnt mean I dont have a “take” on his expulsion of Sita from his village when he (Ram) saved her from the demon king Ravana.

    Did you use your A-grade christian theology to come up with such an intellectually advanced apologetic rebuttal?

    “When a person has such limited and flawed understanding of how the persons of the Godhead even relate to each other (”a part of himself”?), what can possibly motivate them to try to discuss these things in the first place?”

    Why dont you try & correct Michael & advance the correct “understanding of the persons of the godhead” – instead of hiding behing banal rhetorical questions designed to slither christian theology away from criticism.

    While you are “advancing the correct understanding of the godhead”; in the pursuit of intellectual honesty (since we are talking about the Christian fantasy, others should be discussed) we could then decide on the correct understanding of the Hindu godhead – Vishnu, Shiva & Brahman.

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  13. Thanks, Nick, for a contribution so brimming with joie de vivre, and panache.

    Rebuttal … well, there was the offer of a discussion on a post specifically written for the occasion … then it just seemed that there were too many misconceptions … yawn, where to start …

    If you want to talk, we could maybe do worse than if you would care to read the first few items in the Westminster Shorter Catechism, just in the interests of clarifying where we’re all coming from, and take it from there.

    Here, so you don’t even need to google.
    http://reformed.org/documents/WSC.html

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  14. Thanks Cath – I AM usually brimming with a love of THIS life, so presumably my contributions WOULD reflect this; especially when addressing people & their irrational dogmas postponing this focus or “joie de vivre” to the AFTER life via the DEATH of one man.

    Unless that was a puerile attempt at sarcasm on your part?

    Thanks for the link – do you think somehow that just because you paste this link, that Michael’s comments are somehow negated?

    His comments above actually do deal with some of the points in the link – like Michael’s comments about omnirighteousness (which you poorly & very unconvincingly attempted to rebut by offering up: “Why would it make sense to “presume” that the nonce term omnirighteousness can be conflated with “doing what you please”

    Ahem, excuse me, but if you actually READ what your own link says:

    Q. 7. What are the decrees of God?
    A. The decrees of God are, his eternal purpose, according to the counsel of his will, whereby, for his own glory, he hath foreordained whatsoever comes to pass.[22]

    Counsel of his WILL? Foreodained?

    http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/foreordained

    –verb (used with object) 1. to ordain or appoint beforehand.
    2. to predestine; predetermine.

    It is utterly baffling that you can believe this stuff which you unthinkingly regurgitate. Predetermining pain & suffering in this world (& allegedly the next) is not consistent with omnirighteousness my dear, no matter how hard you wish to commit logocide to keep your belief system.

    By the way, conjecture such as (2 of many examples in your link):

    Q. 5. Are there more Gods than one?
    A. There is but one only,[18] the living and true God.[19]

    Q. 6. How many persons are there in the Godhead?
    A. There are three persons in the Godhead: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost;[20] and these three are one God, the same in substance, equal in power and glory.

    doesn’t help bolster your general christian conception of reality. Surely you must be aware of the theological attributes of the great god, Quetzalcoatl? (400 BCE– 600CE)

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quetzalcoatl

    Such as him being the god of the morning star, and his twin brother Xolotl – the evening star (Venus). As the morning star he was known by the title Tlahuizcalpantecuhtli, meaning “lord of the star of the dawn.” He was known as the inventor of books and the calendar, the giver of maize (corn) to mankind, and sometimes as a symbol of death and resurrection. His birth, along with his twin Xolotl, was unusual; it was a virgin birth, to the goddess Coatlicue.

    Do you really think your incessant repetition of related phrases such as: “yawn, where to start” (above)
    or “The whole thing just gets a bit tiresome” (your 2nd to last comment)
    somehow delivers your theology from either being debunked, refuted & generally just shown to be silly or immoral???

    (if you want to reveal your moral reasoning ability & pull out the oft debunked card of “how do you know what is moral or not without 1 of the magic books that have come out of the middle east or without 1 of the thousands of imaginary astronomical beings created by homo sapiens” – then we can have this conversation as well. I find this card says a lot about the joker pulling it but I am eager to have it.)

    Your whole denial using the excuse of your oft repeated “yawn/tiresome”, is laughable considering you make the following comment much earlier – which in reality depicts your intellectual stand:

    “cath
    Yes – the New Atheism seems to almost pride itself on its failure to engage with any particular set of doctrines!”

    Pot, Kettle ey Cath?

    Michael attempted to engage – so your above waffling is just that.

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  15. @berenike & @jbell

    “That was a proper rant” / “What is the point of this rant?”

    LOL! So typical. Accusations abound above, about how “new” atheists cant/dont engage with religious doctrine & when we do engage & religionists cant or are unable to rebut, then suddenly its a rant. lol

    “Omnirighteousness “as well as the “foreordained” dogma (amongst others) that was on Cath’s link were specifically addressed – see Michael Toft’s comment as well.

    Not to mention cath’s comment of “tiresome/yawn” shown for the intellectual ostrich like behaviour it is.

    Fantastic hermetic sealing of your religious belief system ladies/gentleman. Well done.

    Thanks for depicting this so poignantly for me.

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  16. Mr F. Please remember that some of the people who frequent this blog are ‘religionists’ and as such are possibly not endowed with enough mental ability (such as yourself) to deny that God created them and will soon bring them to judgement. From my point of view as a fallen sinner, I would much prefer if you and your logical mind were to condescend to communicating on this forum in a more friendly neighbourly way. It seems to me that this blog normally tends to be reasonably civilised!

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  17. @Jbell

    “I would much prefer if you and your logical mind were to condescend to communicating on this forum in a more friendly neighbourly way”

    Ah yes, the blighting hypocrisy. Such motions weren’t forwarded by yourself when your fellow co-religionists exercise their condescending remarks. Remarks made above such as

    Cath -“When a person has such limited and flawed understanding ….”

    Cath – “the New Atheism seems to almost pride itself on its failure to engage with any particular set of doctrines!”

    Pot, kettle ey Jbell? Or is this the “Reasonably civilised” manner you were referring to?

    Has seeing what you want to see become a habit adopted from the christian conception of reality?
    Or are the comments by cath “fair game” only when it comes to avoiding reality & defending 1 of many christian views?

    ……………………………

    I addressed the banal comments & platitudes made by cath in my original comments. This WAS “engaging with doctrines” – doctrines such as omnirighteousness/ foreordination etc.

    There was no swearing or personal insults offered by myself ( nothing such as “Individual X is stupid” etc – although ridiculing an IDEA / doctrine with substantiation is fair game in rational discourse)

    Your last comment appears as a beautiful exercise in rhetoric & hypocrisy deftly constructed to ignore my & Michael’s criticism discrediting the christian comments above.

    Why do you & some other religionists above even bother to put up the appearance of wanting to engage in religious discourse with atheists; because when the time actually comes for this discourse, some of you then hide behind odius comments such as “yawn/this is tiresome” or accuse others of condescension? lol

    No doubt, as evidenced by the much earlier remarks above, lots of intellectual backslapping & high-fiving will be done to keep the faith / circular logic intact-“ooh yes, we christians showed them (ie atheists fail to engage with doctrine)”

    lol. Thanks for the unintended humor Jbell.

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  18. @cath

    Officially bored.

    Away and troll somewhere else mate.”

    lol you have utterly proved my point ‘mate’. You have an intellectual inability to engage in rational discourse regarding your doctrines & then you attempt to side-step your obstinacy by resorting to name-calling (troll) – which you inaccurately use rather predictably.

    http://kb.iu.edu/data/afhc.html

    Troll is a term for an individual who contributes off-topic or frivolous posts – something which I didnt do – I challenged your idiotic regurgitation of the doctrine such as the link which you pasted ….uh, foreordination for one.

    Trolls make such remarks – “atheists dont engage with doctrine” then resort to namecalling when you get called out on your irrational dogmas.

    In short, cath, look no further than YOUR own comments above & you will find a troll lurking in your own ramblings ;not too mention your comments depicting those of a stupendous hypocrite.

    Is that your example of “christ like” behaviour?

    I would be bored too if I emulated you by living in a little mental bubble immune from the onslaught of reason.

    ………….

    @Jbell

    Uh, I am contributing in THIS blog.

    Why not try to articulate a response instead of trying to add me to your facebook list? What IS wrong with posting a response here or are you somehow unable to? Or do you not want others to see your hypocrisy as laid bare above?

    Stunning red herring fellas. Your comments stand utterly exposed.

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  19. @Nick
    I applaud your concise, polite, articulate and very acccurate posts. Both Hitchens and Dawkins regularly make reference to this double standard from religious apologists. If you dare to come back with strong evidence they pull out the old “why are you so angry”, bully allegations or spout the exremely condescending “New” atheist card.

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  20. Nick, and others,
    You may have gone now, but I’d like to engage with what you’ve said anyway; in the spirit of 1 Peter 3:15, I don’t want the impression to be gained by readers that believers cannot rationally maintain their beliefs.
    By way of a preamble to a more detailed discussion of the morality or otherwise of vicarious atonement, it’s important to acknowledge that the question of God’s existence is not a trivial point in the discussion. Those of us who believe in his existence are obliged to believe certain things about him; for example, that he is obliged to act consistently with his own nature, and therefore punish sin. If you deny his existence, it is rather easy to equate his omnipotence with the ability to ‘do anything’. That is not what omnipotence means, though – some of what’s been said above suggests that you think it is. Omnipotence, in Christian thought, is the unlimited power of God to accomplish that which his will determines to be done. It does not entail an ability to contradict his own holy nature. Failing to punish sin would be entirely at odds with God’s justice, holiness and truthfulness, and we therefore say that God cannot do otherwise than punish sin.
    The question then arises as to why sin exists at all; why did God permit it. In the first place, those who believe in a creating, omnipotent God must believe that all things are made for him as well as by him. The creature is not the end in itself; it merely serves to demonstrate an aspect, or aspects, of the infinite glory of God. In the case of man, God willed to show the extreme glory of his mercy in salvation. Was this intrinsically necessary to the being of God? No, but that is irrelevant, because once you believe in the existence of God, you cannot have an issue with God acting according to his pleasure, and entirely for his own ends. Belief in God makes man an awful lot less significant than we like to think we are. To the non-believer, the idea of a God who demotes humanity and makes him irrelevant is an outrage; immoral even, to those for whom humanity is the supreme height of what is good. But to a believer, it is merely a practical application of the doctrine of God’s ineffable and sovereign glory.
    Secondly, God made man capable of sin precisely so that man could choose what was right, and in doing so glorify God. By sinning, man rejected the moral authority of God, and became an enemy of God. That was done by free choice, not compunction. By referencing God’s infinite wisdom, believers escape the need to explain how the freedom of man’s will is consistent with the doctrine of foreordination by God of all things. This is not intellectual laziness or failure of logic, but rather an acknowledgment that the very idea of God is too high for us to understand. On this point, Christians are quite content to be seen by unbelievers as foolish, because natural man believes that he has the capacity, the right and the wisdom to ascertain the truth of all things, and cannot accept the idea that there are matters beyond his comprehension.
    Thirdly, the existence of a moral law delivered by a superior power necessitates the possibility of one’s failing to adhere to it. If man was made incapable of breaking the moral law, the law would be irrelevant. If you assume that morality is inherent in man’s condition, or derived from society’s norms, you can envisage a set of circumstances where the code was perfectly adhered to by all, but the imposition of a moral code by God necessitates the possibility of sin.
    What you have done is to take your preconceived notion, that belief in a God is ridiculous (of which, more later), and used it to inform your judgement of what we believe about the God who we believe exists. You haven’t actually engaged with real Christian doctrine, only with a rather crude caricature of it, invented by yourself.
    More later, perhaps…

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  21. @Finlay

    “he is obliged to act consistently with his own nature, and therefore punish sin. If you deny his existence”
    – Who set those rules or this “moral code of it” for it (your god) to follow? I thought he created everything?
    – And his nature is to necessitate the possibility of sin, which is everyone usually commits everyday, therefore forcing himself to punish his creation? which he already know beforehand.. But he loves you?

    “ahh, it will be friday tomorrow, the day where @Finlay will have a bad morning and will hate 1 of his neighbor for accidentally doing something (specific) not good to him, i will then be giving this punishment for him the next day… oh wait, that will be his punishment for next friday 38 years from now for a sin (to him) that he will commit by then.. ah there it is, the one for tomorrow.” – god.

    I exaggerated it, but don’t tell me this fits your god. how silly.

    Twist however you want, you don’t need to be a genius in order to analyze these things, like what @JBell said, “endowed with enough mental ability”. At least cath knows when she has no sound argument anymore, un-implied, but still wants to stick with unreason.

    And not intelligent enought? Exactly, you and I are not sure, so why start with the premise that it is true? Do you pray everyday already seconds after you were born? or was it after the concept of hammering those things to our heads during indoctrination? And of course based on time and specially based on your geography where you live right?

    We don’t know exactly yet, so the logical thing to do is withold belief. You seemed to do that with aliens, zeus, thor, unicorns, leprechauns, and the kracken.. And if ever something has been cemented to your mind early on, get them while their young type, we now have the ability to reason and start analyzing everything from the start again.. I’m pretty sure most of you did that same thing with the Tooth Fairy and Santa Claus right? Now try it with your gods..

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  22. Papapau,
    To be honest, I don’t know what much of your message means – I’m going to try and respond to the points I think you’ve made, and I apologise if I’ve misunderstood you at any stage.

    I mentioned that there was an obligation on God to be consistent with his own nature – I say this because acting contrary to one’s nature is, by definition, an imperfection. If God’s character is impeccably holy, for him to act contrary to this would require him to be unholy to some degree. If he did so, he could no longer be described as perfectly holy, and his essential Godhead is undermined. So the answer to your question, “who set those rules…?” is that God himself “set” those rules. Any other view leaves us with an unholy god, which cannot be the God of infinite perfection and holiness.

    I’m really struggling with your next sentence, and the whole of the following paragraph, but I guess you might be taking issue with the idea that God permits sin in his creatures, and then punishes them for that very sin, when he could prevent the sin. I suspect you would argue that this is inconsistent with the concept of God’s love. In my initial post, under the paragraph headed “The question then arises as to why sin exists at all…”, I have tried to address this point, but you haven’t engaged with it; can you perhaps do so, and I will try to understand your objection to my position?

    Your comments about intelligence are odd, because you seem to be equating belief in the Kraken, leprechauns etc., with belief in God, as if there is a similar scarcity of evidence for each. I suspect you know this is nonsense, but it’s enough for me to point out that there is still no scientific explanation for how matter could have arisen from nothing, so it remains perfectly logical to suggest that an infinitely powerful Being is responsible for creating the universe. Evolutionary scientists have not simply withheld belief in the existence of God, they have explicitly rejected the possibility of any God in their examination of nature – my argument is that, since this is an unreasonable and unwarranted assumption to start with, I have every reason to doubt the conclusions they’ve reached, and especially to question their motivation when they come up with explanations which they claim disprove his existence. It isn’t reasonable to start from a position that God does not exist, because there is no better explanation for the most basic and fundamental of questions in all of nature.

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