Originally posted by LemonJello
i agree. i would add that i am a little shocked and bothered by coletti's complacency toward such a temperamental god. i can certainly see how 'knowing' you are one of the select chosen few could put your mind at ease; but honestly, ...[text shortened]... and i'm glad he's around to debate these important matters.
I had an excellent discussion with my brother-in-law and his wife while on vacation. They are both xtians, she from childhood and he a convert of some 4 or 5 years. They have become less attached to church in the last year or so, and this relaxation of dogma allowed us to have an open discussion.
They began by questioning what my atheism was and wondering how anyone could not believe. I responded by arguing from the presumption of atheism. I then moved to philosphical and moral objections to being a xtian.
When I got to the problem of needless pain and suffering, they conceded that everything that exists in creation must be the will of God by the omni-attributes of God and his standing as Creator. What bewildered me was their apathy to its implications. Consider:
Me: . . . therefore every child rape that has and will occur is the will of God.
Them: Yes. So?
Me: So you are worshipping a god that conceived and desires child rape.
Me: Doesn't that bother you just a little bit?
Them: No. He is God. He can do what he wants.
So in the end, I boiled down our postions to the following three disagreements (they agreed with this exact characterization of their position):
First, as to the morality of God, it does not bother them that God commands many seemingly evil actions in the Bible. He is God and therefore he can do it. They were not persuaded by my pointing out that this was a wholesale embrace of "might makes right" and subsequent my subsequent illustrations of the weakness of this argument.
Second, as to the philosophical arguments against the existence of their god, God just is. Even if it cannot make any sense, he just exists.
Third, as to the inerrancy of the Scripture, which they use as evidence of the existence of God, the abundance of conflicts with natural laws does not incline them to suspect that the Bible is simply another collection of stories from people ignorant of the workings of the universe. God must have done it because God exists.
I concluded then by stating that our key difference is that they felt epistemiologically justified in holding both of these positions and that I did not. Further, I pointed out that the belief in any entity could be supported by their standard.
Overall, I was pleased with the conversation. Though a bit perplexed at their willingness to concede so many horrible things about their god.