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Old 06-05-2010, 05:12 PM   #1
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Default Why Did God Create Atheists?

This article poses a great question. Why don't we all perceive him? If God is powerful enough to reach out to believers just by sending out his thoughts or love or whatever... why isn't he powerful enough to reach all of us? Why is there anyone who doesn't believe in him?

http://www.alternet.org/belief/14709...s/?page=entire
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Old 06-05-2010, 07:53 PM   #2
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Camille Paglia convinced me that whether or not you believe in God that no education is complete without studying comparative religion. It is essential to understanding man and to seeing the common threads and universal truths that connect us.

Ralph Waldo Emerson, Plato and C.S Lewis convinced me there are universal truths and that we lose our way when we stray from them. Some people need religion to tell them what these universal truths are, perhaps most don't.

I was thinking about evolution and the math problems. Basically if evolution was due to random mutations it would take a lot longer. Some people like to point to this as evidence of intelligent design. Another interesting theory has to do with complexity theory applied on a universal scale. You add another physical law "Things tend to organize themselves in ever more complex patterns." This could eliminate the math problem if it was true. I was thinking if it this was true then maybe if it hasn't already then someday the universe will become so complex that it will develop sentience. Over time this sentience would become ever more complex and smarter. Eventually it could become so advanced that its own point in time could not contain it and it would expand into all time. If that were the case then it would be simultaneously in the beginning and the end, the alpha and the omega. The distinction between the universe being created by this sentience or the sentience being created by the universe would be no distinction at all. Just a thought.

I was exposed to the application of complexity theory to evolution by Michael Crichton, I'm fairly sure he got it from somewhere else but I couldn't tell you where.
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Old 06-05-2010, 08:03 PM   #3
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We are all free moral agents, having the ability to choose to acknowledge him or not. If we were preprogramed to serve the events in Eden wouldn't have happened.
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Old 06-05-2010, 08:18 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by bigmac View Post
This article poses a great question. Why don't we all perceive him? If God is powerful enough to reach out to believers just by sending out his thoughts or love or whatever... why isn't he powerful enough to reach all of us? Why is there anyone who doesn't believe in him?

http://www.alternet.org/belief/14709...s/?page=entire
It couldn't be people could it? Certainly we have all had an experience in which we presented options to someone only to have them dismiss them; Perhaps God speaks to everyone only subtly and we as individuals acknowledge it as we see fit. History is filled with cultures who have all served under a supreme deity or deities; How could all these people come to a similar conclusion when they had very little or no contact with one another?

I sincerely doubt that there are any true aetheists at all, after all, why would they argue his existence if they didn't acknowledge him? It is all a matter of how stubborn and egotistical we are if you truly think about it.

Which is more ignorant? Dismissing a concept or belief system because you find flaws in it, or simply acknowledging that it could very well hold valuable truths and wisdom.
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Old 06-05-2010, 08:25 PM   #5
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We are all free moral agents, having the ability to choose to acknowledge him or not. If we were preprogramed to serve the events in Eden wouldn't have happened.
Eve was supposed to eat the apple, there's no story without conflict and there's no conflict when there is nothing but innocence.
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Old 06-05-2010, 08:26 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Fat Brian View Post
We are all free moral agents, having the ability to choose to acknowledge him or not. If we were preprogramed to serve the events in Eden wouldn't have happened.
Faith is the substance of things hoped for and the substance
of things not seen. I think that faith is pleasing to God and
has more value to Him than physical matter because faith is
spiritual. Every thesis has an antithesis and people are given
the choice to believe or not to believe as free moral agents.
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Old 06-05-2010, 08:35 PM   #7
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Eve was supposed to eat the apple, there's no story without conflict and there's no conflict when there is nothing but innocence.
That is true for most of the old testament as the people were led along by God in those eras. If one reads the bible they will find that free will did not truly come about until Jesus died upon the cross and broke the old covenants and way of life.
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Old 06-05-2010, 08:51 PM   #8
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Eve was supposed to eat the apple, there's no story without conflict and there's no conflict when there is nothing but innocence.
If Eve was supposed to eat from the tree why did God punish them ? God doesn't set us up for failure.
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Old 06-05-2010, 09:46 PM   #9
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If Eve was supposed to eat from the tree why did God punish them ? God doesn't set us up for failure.
I could look to the Cathars or Gnostic Christians to answer that by saying that was just an aspect of God and not the higher Universal whole. I could say that Genesis isn't really meant to be taken literally. I could say that Adam and Eve without eating from the tree of knowledge weren't really "us" at all so God wasn't setting "us" up for failure. But the fundamental truth is that free choice doesn't exist without knowledge, virtue has no meaning without sin and if Eve didn't eat the apple that would have been a really short book. The punishment may have been the best way to teach us at that point in time, the Lord works in mysterious ways.
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Old 06-05-2010, 10:09 PM   #10
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Gods ways are not mysterious and are clearly evident with careful study. There would have been no need for the Bible without sin because we would still have the relationship with God described before Eve's disobedience. The eating of the fruit did not bestow on us any ability we didn't have before, it was an act which signified that they felt they could direct their lives better than God could. There was no great secret unlocked, they basically gave a big middle finger to God and "screw you buddy, we're goin' it alone".
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Old 06-05-2010, 11:26 PM   #11
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well it's simple. God did not create anyone. we evolved through many millions of years to where we are now through natural selection (not random mutation), to where we are now. God or other deities in question have nothing to do with it.

and also, I don't know whether I should be offended by the implication that it's the christian god in question, because this is something that has always struck me (going off on an extreme tangent here and i hope it offends no-one.) the human brain tends to rationalise things into things that we know and that we have already experienced. So when people have "Experiences of God" like being born again, is it possible that it is some other entity other than the christian god, and the receivees brains simply rationalise it as thus because It's they think it's the only one possible given the environment. I mean, could God in that case possibly be Allah, Ganesh or Zues? why are people so convinced that it's the christian god, as if there is a god, his/her/its/their identity could be any one of the deities that humanity has created over the years, or any number of possible future deities, or deities we have never even thought of, like bertha the cosmic-wonder-fragglegimp-badger.

this is why I am an atheist, not because I have had bad experience with religion (though I despise dogma in all it's forms, religious and irreligious), but it's because if there is a deity/group of deities, then I want to approach it with an open mind and no investment into the outcome. I'll study religion, yes, but I've devoted equal time to it, and I go in purely as a curiousity. I don't believe that religion is the root of all evil, as it has done much to shape the world that we live in today, for better and for worse, and the mirade of cultures around the world are dependent on religion. I just prefer not to be defined by my religion, and would instead prefer for people to listen to me and what I have to say before judging me.
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Old 06-05-2010, 11:45 PM   #12
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Because God has given us the gift of free will. (you love that catholic school answer, dontcha)

Free will as long as your mailing address does not read Sodom or Gomorrah.
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Old 06-06-2010, 03:51 AM   #13
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God to my mind is more of a programmer/clockmaker. He sets things up and then allows them to unfold. He wrote the laws of physics, coded the DNA, and then let those things play. As for worship of him, I believe that its demonstrated benefits show that it's more about us than it is about him--we are healthier and happier when we care for our spiritual side.

As for the question of whether it is the Christian God or some other God...I'm inclined to believe that although Christianity has a more accurate picture of who God is, the supreme deities of other faiths are pointing to the same creator. Most especially when it comes to the Abrahamic faiths (Judeaism, Christianity, and Islam), which should all freely acknowledge that the God they are worshipping is the same being, whatever their doctrinal differences and disagreements about his prophets.
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Old 06-06-2010, 04:15 AM   #14
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I would post something here but i'm afraid i may really annoy somebody....so i'll keep quiet
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Old 06-06-2010, 06:41 AM   #15
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God to my mind is more of a programmer/clockmaker. He sets things up and then allows them to unfold. He wrote the laws of physics, coded the DNA, and then let those things play. As for worship of him, I believe that its demonstrated benefits show that it's more about us than it is about him--we are healthier and happier when we care for our spiritual side.
I agree that taking care of our spiritual side is very important, but does it necessarily need to be through religion? I mean, you could feel just as happy and healthy by painting a picture, reading a book, or simply meditating, as an introspective function. contemplation of a problem rather than simply praying for it to be fixed will help it immensely.

also, why do we need to be thanking god for creating the universe? surely if we were thankful for it, we should actually do something with our lives, rather than constantly thanking god. a minor gripe, but still.

Also, if god is the programmer, then who programmed god? and who programmed the being who programme god? this could go on infinitum, but it could also be possible that the universe created itself (much like god, in a way).

the reason why I don't believe anything is that I don't want to be unaccepting of anything. I want to be able to decide for myself if a particular theory about existance seems reasonable. Admittedly, this leaves me with alot of very out-there and bizarre theories (like all galaxies are distorted reflections of a galaxy at the center of the universe, including ours, the milky way), but they are based on the evidence at hand.

this is not to knock religious belief, far from it. if you can believe in god and be tolerant of other peoples beliefs, than you're probably better than me who believes in nothing and accepts everything.

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As for the question of whether it is the Christian God or some other God...I'm inclined to believe that although Christianity has a more accurate picture of who God is, the supreme deities of other faiths are pointing to the same creator. Most especially when it comes to the Abrahamic faiths (Judeaism, Christianity, and Islam), which should all freely acknowledge that the God they are worshipping is the same being, whatever their doctrinal differences and disagreements about his prophets.
ok... lets put some variables in.
what if there were mutliple creators?
what if the creator was female?
what if the creator wasn't humaniod?
what if the universe was self contained and self created?
what if... let us never loose those two words. Along with Why and how and where and when and who and what, those are the most important words in our mutal exploration of the universe. Let no possiblity be disregarded in uncovering the universe, and when we find the truth, let that be considered fact and queried over it's existance.

Also, To Toni about free will. humans are naturally ingrained with free will as a species, regardless of any deity in question. also, if he did ingrain us, then it means he's not all loving. I know people will have heard this before, but it's a fair point over the issue.
1. god is all loving
2. god creates heaven and hell. hell is of course a place of everlasting punishment (contradiction 1- why would he create a place of punishment if he was all loving?)
3. god creates man and gives him free will, knowing that man will fail
4. God has made it so man will go to hell if he fails (again, all loving?)
5. god has made it possible to fail by not believing in a specific religion, regardless of how good you live you're life (all loving?)

hell related point- if hell is infinite punishment, then surely no matter how many crimes someone commits, it will still not be justifiable to send someone to hell until they have committed infinite crimes.

again, these are just my problems with a particular dogma, and I am not expecting answers at all. I respect everyone of faith (with the exception of dogmatics, young earth creationists, bigots who use religion as a reason for their hate, and jehova's witnesses who knock on you're door at 8;30 on sunday!), but these are just my problems with it.
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Old 06-06-2010, 06:51 AM   #16
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Gods ways are not mysterious and are clearly evident with careful study. There would have been no need for the Bible without sin because we would still have the relationship with God described before Eve's disobedience. The eating of the fruit did not bestow on us any ability we didn't have before, it was an act which signified that they felt they could direct their lives better than God could. There was no great secret unlocked, they basically gave a big middle finger to God and "screw you buddy, we're goin' it alone".
Yeah, I've heard that view before. What always bothered me about that is the garden also had the tree of life which bestowed immortality. Why would the tree of life be so special and the tree of knowledge be just an ordinary tree? And why do we always blame Eve? She persuaded Adam the way she was persuaded by the serpent. Muslims say the serpent was Satan, there were others who say the serpent was actually Lilith (Adam's first wife.) I mean, Adam could have not eaten the fruit and said "Um, can I have another wife?" But then God might have thought "How many wives do I have to give this guy before he eats the fruit and we can move on with the story?"
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Old 06-06-2010, 07:06 AM   #17
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Christianity basically mucked up the whole point of Hell by re-working it as an eternal punishment, unlike the Jewish version where you are punished only until your soul is clean, and then rise to Heaven. Making it neverending merely serves the purpose of insulting the intelligence of the believers and making the God look like a megalomaniac.
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Old 06-06-2010, 07:14 AM   #18
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I was thinking about evolution and the math problems. Basically if evolution was due to random mutations it would take a lot longer.
A lot longer than - 3.8 billion years?

Anyway: It's not due to random mutations as such.
This is a common error in understanding evolution.
It's due to survival and reproduction by the fittest, as opposed to the less fit.
In effect this is selection, from any given pool of mutations and just as significant - if not more so - from combinations thereof.
This process works must faster in any given direction than random mutation alone.

Quote:
*snip*
You add another physical law "Things tend to organize themselves in ever more complex patterns."
*snip*
Errr... what Law of Physics are you talking about?
I'm pretty sure that's not one.

If you're referring to the idea that life seems to organize itself in more complex patterns? That would be an artefactual observation on your part as a "more complex" organism. Possibly a hangover from the "Ladder" model of hierarchy which has historical religious roots (with "angels" and "god" placed above man on the ladder).

Whether more complex or more simple life forms are favoured depends purely on the environment in question... When Earth gets hit by giant meteors (as happens every eon or so) many of the more complex species get eliminated... but simple bacteria have endured and continue to endure as the dominant life form on the planet in terms of both individual numbers and biomass...
Quote:
This could eliminate the math problem if it was true. I was thinking if it this was true then maybe if it hasn't already then someday the universe will become so complex that it will develop sentience. Over time this sentience would become ever more complex and smarter. Eventually it could become so advanced that its own point in time could not contain it and it would expand into all time. If that were the case then it would be simultaneously in the beginning and the end, the alpha and the omega. The distinction between the universe being created by this sentience or the sentience being created by the universe would be no distinction at all. Just a thought.

I was exposed to the application of complexity theory to evolution by Michael Crichton, I'm fairly sure he got it from somewhere else but I couldn't tell you where.
He had a great acid trip by the sounds of it!
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Old 06-06-2010, 07:25 AM   #19
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Originally Posted by Fat Brian View Post
We are all free moral agents, having the ability to choose to acknowledge him or not. If we were preprogramed to serve the events in Eden wouldn't have happened.
If there were a god.
And that god were omniscient. Knew all that would happen.
And omnipresent. He's everywhere.
And omnipotent. He can do anything.
And the fucked-up events deliniated in the bible were literally true, such as:

"Hi! You just got born! Don't eat from that tree!"
"Oh Me! You ate from the tree! Cast you out forever!" (Eden)
"Ugh. Humans bad. I kill them all in a flood. Animals too. Just because." (Noah)
"Argh! Humans have bumsex! I kill them with fire!" (Sodom)
"Lot's daughters are raping him! Oh that's fine!"
"Sacrifice your child to me! Just kidding!" (Jacob / Isaac)
"Slaughter all these people! I command it!" (Midianites / Jericho)
"Sacrifice your child to me! Not kidding!" (Japheth's daughter)

Then the logical compassionate man is forced to conclude either:

-That god is an asshole who enjoys fucking with us, a bit like a human child who burns up ants with a magnifying glass for kicks. And thus is not worthy of our love, never mind our worship.

- That god is not all of omniscient / omnipresent / omnipotent. In other words it is a limited being that makes mistakes and has overreached itself with creation.

-It's all nonsense and there is no such cosmic asshole at all. And the universe is fairly indifferent to the existence of man one way or the other.

I choose option 3.
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Old 06-06-2010, 07:32 AM   #20
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Originally Posted by Paragon_of_boredom View Post
*snip*
I sincerely doubt that there are any true aetheists at all,
*checks*
No, I definitely exist. So that's one.

Quote:
after all, why would they argue his existence if they didn't acknowledge him?
Ahahaha!
No. This^ is what's called doublethink.

Try this on for size:

"The world was created and is ruled by the Flying Spagehtti Monster"
"No it's not, that's nonsense!"
"Aha! you must really believe in Him if you are arguing against Him! You have been touched by His Noodly Appendage!"
"No, no, your'e just mad."
"Do not deny His Holy Meatballs! You love Him!"

See. It's a rubbish argument. Epic Fail.
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Old 06-06-2010, 07:38 AM   #21
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Originally Posted by Mack27 View Post
Eve was supposed to eat the apple, there's no story without conflict and there's no conflict when there is nothing but innocence.
Ah, so god did it cos he was bored! It was a set-up!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Fat Brian View Post
If Eve was supposed to eat from the tree why did God punish them ? God doesn't set us up for failure.
Seriously, if you said to your just-born child - don't stick your fingers in the socket, and one day they did?
Would you cast them out of your home forever?
Your god would.
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Old 06-06-2010, 07:45 AM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joswitch View Post
If there were a god.
And that god were omniscient. Knew all that would happen.
And omnipresent. He's everywhere.
And omnipotent. He can do anything.
And the fucked-up events deliniated in the bible were literally true, such as:

"Hi! You just got born! Don't eat from that tree!"
"Oh Me! You ate from the tree! Cast you out forever!" (Eden)
"Ugh. Humans bad. I kill them all in a flood. Animals too. Just because." (Noah)
"Argh! Humans have bumsex! I kill them with fire!" (Sodom)
"Lot's daughters are raping him! Oh that's fine!"
"Sacrifice your child to me! Just kidding!" (Jacob / Isaac)
"Slaughter all these people! I command it!" (Midianites / Jericho)
"Sacrifice your child to me! Not kidding!" (Japheth's daughter)

Then the logical compassionate man is forced to conclude either:

-That god is an asshole who enjoys fucking with us, a bit like a human child who burns up ants with a magnifying glass for kicks. And thus is not worthy of our love, never mind our worship.

- That god is not all of omniscient / omnipresent / omnipotent. In other words it is a limited being that makes mistakes and has overreached itself with creation.

-It's all nonsense and there is no such cosmic asshole at all. And the universe is fairly indifferent to the existence of man one way or the other
And before anyone jumps down your throat and says that those are all Old Testament, let's just recall that:

* Jesus claims that the eternal fires of damnation will take you if you call another man 'Fool', AFTER he did just that to the Pharisees;
* Jesus explicitly says he has come to get people to fight each other, and wishes the entire Earth were on fire;
* Jesus explicitly says you should mutilate yourself for fear of your body parts doing sin;
* Jesus explicitly says that no-one can worship him unless they hate their father, mother, sister, brother, etc., 'even life itself';
* Jesus explicitly says all of the laws and practices in the Old Testament - including the 10 Commandments, as well as the laws about stoning disobedient children and marrying widows to their brothers-in-law without any consent - should be still practised by his followers.

Oh, and how about Paul's epistles?

* ANY AND ALL AUTHORITY with power has been backed by God, and rebelling against that authority will send you to hell. Sorry, George Washington.
* God MAKES people obstinate, yet still destroys them for the sins that their obstinacy causes them to do, and cannot be questioned for doing so. In other words, he created murderers and rapists purely to show how great he is for punishing murderers and rapists.
* Women must ALWAYS have their hair covered or it is a sin, and men must NEVER cover their hair because they are 'the image and glory of God'. A woman in church with her hair out is a disgrace, she might as well be bald, and if she does go into church with her hair out it should be cut off. It is 'disgraceful' for a woman to speak in church. No woman is allowed to teach a man or have authority over him. Because Eve was made from Adam's rib, a woman must forever be submissive to him.
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Old 06-06-2010, 09:44 AM   #23
Fat Brian
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Originally Posted by JimBob View Post
And before anyone jumps down your throat and says that those are all Old Testament, let's just recall that:

* Jesus claims that the eternal fires of damnation will take you if you call another man 'Fool', AFTER he did just that to the Pharisees;
* Jesus explicitly says he has come to get people to fight each other, and wishes the entire Earth were on fire;
* Jesus explicitly says you should mutilate yourself for fear of your body parts doing sin;
* Jesus explicitly says that no-one can worship him unless they hate their father, mother, sister, brother, etc., 'even life itself';
* Jesus explicitly says all of the laws and practices in the Old Testament - including the 10 Commandments, as well as the laws about stoning disobedient children and marrying widows to their brothers-in-law without any consent - should be still practised by his followers.

Oh, and how about Paul's epistles?

* ANY AND ALL AUTHORITY with power has been backed by God, and rebelling against that authority will send you to hell. Sorry, George Washington.
* God MAKES people obstinate, yet still destroys them for the sins that their obstinacy causes them to do, and cannot be questioned for doing so. In other words, he created murderers and rapists purely to show how great he is for punishing murderers and rapists.
* Women must ALWAYS have their hair covered or it is a sin, and men must NEVER cover their hair because they are 'the image and glory of God'. A woman in church with her hair out is a disgrace, she might as well be bald, and if she does go into church with her hair out it should be cut off. It is 'disgraceful' for a woman to speak in church. No woman is allowed to teach a man or have authority over him. Because Eve was made from Adam's rib, a woman must forever be submissive to him.

The Bible is like anything else, if you want to find fault with it you will. Nothing I can say will change your mind because you believe the source is flawed. I will say that one single scripture or occurrence of something does not constitute a belief, when you find something that doesn't sound right compare it to other passages and get the broader picture.
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Old 06-06-2010, 10:01 AM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joswitch View Post
Seriously, if you said to your just-born child - don't stick your fingers in the socket, and one day they did?
Would you cast them out of your home forever?
Your god would.
People don't realize there is a larger issue than human life involved in the Eden story. When Satan caused the snake to speak to Eve he told her God was holding something beneficial back from her, that if she disobeyed she would be like God. Yes, Eve was inexperienced, there is no way to tell how long she was in the garden but it was clearly a shorter period of time than Adam. If Adam had not disobeyed maybe things would be different, its really his sin that set up our current state. But in that moment humans said to God we don't need you, we can do better than you in running our lives.

Satan had challenged Gods universal sovereignty, his right to rule his creation. If God had acted right away then the issue would have never been solved. Right now we are in a time when God has allowed us to rule ourselves to prove that we do not have the capability to do it. When this time is over he will restore things to the way they were intended to be, he has the power to do that.
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Old 06-06-2010, 10:11 AM   #25
Fat Brian
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Originally Posted by Mack27 View Post
Yeah, I've heard that view before. What always bothered me about that is the garden also had the tree of life which bestowed immortality. Why would the tree of life be so special and the tree of knowledge be just an ordinary tree? And why do we always blame Eve? She persuaded Adam the way she was persuaded by the serpent. Muslims say the serpent was Satan, there were others who say the serpent was actually Lilith (Adam's first wife.) I mean, Adam could have not eaten the fruit and said "Um, can I have another wife?" But then God might have thought "How many wives do I have to give this guy before he eats the fruit and we can move on with the story?"
The tree called the tree of knowledge was a symbol of obedience. If you are put in a situation where it is impossible to do wrong can it really be said you have free will ?

Lilith is a construct of a Jewish tradition which sought to connect seemingly and mostly truly unconnected scriptures. The only real reference to Lilith is in Isaiah. She was never Adams wife and actually never existed at all, the passage she occurs in is about the gods of other nations
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