Who are we to judge God?

Exploring the details of Christianity

Moderator: Moderators

Elijah John
Savant
Posts: 12120
Joined: Mon Oct 28, 2013 8:23 pm
Location: New England

Who are we to judge God?

Post by Elijah John »

"Who are we to judge God"? That is a typical refrain from the Fundamentalist, or the literalist when anyone questions the Bible or makes the observation that it contains atrocities attributed to the orders of God.

For debate:

Is questioning the Bible the same as questioning God? Why so, or why not?
My theological positions:

-God created us in His image, not the other way around.
-The Bible is redeemed by it's good parts.
-Pure monotheism, simple repentance.
-YHVH is LORD
-The real Jesus is not God, the real YHVH is not a monster.
-Eternal life is a gift from the Living God.
-Keep the Commandments, keep your salvation.
-I have accepted YHVH as my Heavenly Father, LORD and Savior.

I am inspired by Jesus to worship none but YHVH, and to serve only Him.

User avatar
JehovahsWitness
Savant
Posts: 14180
Joined: Wed Sep 29, 2010 6:03 am
Contact:

Re: Who are we to judge God?

Post by JehovahsWitness »

Elijah John wrote:For debate:

Is questioning the Bible the same as questioning God? Why so, or why not?

Logically the fundamental question is can we reasonably believe the bible is the word of God? and if so has it come to us in an uncorrupted state?. Once those two questions have been answered in the affirmative, questioning (as in expressing doubt as to the authority of a biblical instruction, account or command) is indeed the same as questioning God.
To illustrate : A father communicates clearly by a written note that he wants his teenage son home by 10pm. The son meanders in at midnight and when asked why replies "I read what you wrote (and yes I'm sure the words expressed your wishes) but I decided not to obey. But dont worry Dad, I was defying the written words on the paper not YOU! The paper and ink isnt my Father so... cool it.

What's wrong with that picture? The boy is right, paper didnt father him, paper and ink didnt pay for his food and education, so why should he obey what is written on the paper? Because if the paper was indeed from his Father, it was communicating instructions from the father. Disregarding what was written was defying his father.

If one claims "I don't know if the bible does indeed contain the unadulterated word of God?" Fair enough, one is free to build whatever flavour of faith one chooses on whatever basis one wants. But once one has convinced oneself of the authticity and integrity of scripture, the words therin have the same authority as Almighty God himself and one does well to listen.

Why obey the stones? YHWH/Jehovah was not in them!
Image

JW


RELATED POSTS
How can we be sure the bible is TRUE? [with video]
http://debatingchristianity.com/forum/v ... 733#796733

Are all parts of the bible creaed equal?
http://debatingchristianity.com/forum/v ... 997#781997

Who is the AUTHOR of the bible? [with video]
http://debatingchristianity.com/forum/v ... 132#885132

To whom do the bible writer a credit their work?
http://debatingchristianity.com/forum/v ... 869#974869
Go to other posts related to...

BIBLICAL INERRANCY , AUTHORSHIP & TRANSMISSION
Last edited by JehovahsWitness on Fri May 22, 2020 3:17 pm, edited 4 times in total.
INDEX: More bible based ANSWERS
http://debatingchristianity.com/forum/v ... 81#p826681


"For if we live, we live to Jehovah, and if we die, we die to Jehovah. So both if we live and if we die, we belong to Jehovah" -
Romans 14:8

User avatar
Divine Insight
Savant
Posts: 18080
Joined: Thu Jun 28, 2012 10:59 pm
Location: Here & Now

Re: Who are we to judge God?

Post by Divine Insight »

Elijah John wrote: Is questioning the Bible the same as questioning God? Why so, or why not?
No, of course not. Questioning whether the folklore of a culture has anything to do with any actual God is not the same as questioning the God referred by the folklore. And this is true whether the God referred to in the folklore is real or not. It still amounts to questioning whether there is an actual God behind the folklore. So it's not the same as questioning any actual God.

Secondly. even if we assume that the God referenced in the folklore is real, we then have the right to question the moral character of that God.

One thing Biblical theists seem to forget (or perhaps never truly realize) is that the Biblical God is not Zeus. In Greek Mythology Zeus could do anything he wants. To question Zeus is not permitted, because there is nothing in Greek Mythology that claims that Zeus is trustworthy, moral, or righteous. Zeus can kill you simply because he feels like it and for no other reason. Therefore there is nothing to "question" about Zeus. In other words, it would be meaningless to "judge" Zeus since he's allowed to be evil if he so desires. So what if we did judge Zeus to be evil? Zeus would just laugh and say, "That right you lowly human".


But the Biblical God cannot do this. The Biblical God is supposedly be righteous, benevolent and trustworthy. Therefore, we not only have the right to question this God's morality, but we have the right to expect a meaningful answer to our questions. The Biblical God cannot simply smote us just because we questioned his motive. To the contrary, if he truly is righteous, benevolent, and trustworthy he should not only accept being questioned, but he should also be able to explain himself as well. And his explanation cannot be "Because I felt like it". That's not an acceptable answer. That's a Zeus-like answer un-befitting of a God who's genuinely righteous, benevolent and trustworthy.

So yes, we have every right to question the Biblical God's motives and actions.

And if this God truly is righteous, benevolent and trustworthy, then he should have no problem being questioned as he should be able to provide rational answers to defend his behavior.
[center]Image
Spiritual Growth - A person's continual assessment
of how well they believe they are doing
relative to what they believe a personal God expects of them.
[/center]

User avatar
William
Savant
Posts: 5876
Joined: Tue Jul 31, 2012 8:11 pm
Location: Te Waipounamu
Contact:

Re: Who are we to judge God?

Post by William »

Elijah John wrote: "Who are we to judge God"? That is a typical refrain from the Fundamentalist, or the literalist when anyone questions the Bible or makes the observation that it contains atrocities attributed to the orders of God.

For debate:

Is questioning the Bible the same as questioning God? Why so, or why not?
There are some examples in the Bible - specifically the Jewish part - which show that YHWH was fond of finding those he could reason with and that questioning him was encouraged.

Accusing him was not encouraged.

We can ask because we are curious.

Specifically it gives the impression that to be in this type of relationship with YHWH, one had to do so through the medium of The Self - with the rare face to face encounters which did not result in the human dying.

This could be avoided by YHWH remaining invisible, but came with the risk that one would place things upon the invisible which were not true...in which case one would not be having a reasonable interaction with said invisible YHWH, but rather with some figment of imagined idea of YHWH which would be untrue, and therefore unacceptable to YHWH.

The Bible, for its part, is like a medium which does touch on aspects of YHWH while also straying away from YHWH, so is no more reliable for that, than pagan objects designed for the purpose of mediating between humans and their gods.

It becomes a task to resist the urge to make an idol out of an object. A task also to expect YHWH to respond in the manner he prefers. To be reasoned with and respectfully questioned by humans which would be like finding Gems among the rocks. A rare and beautiful thing for both parties to enjoy.

Does the Bible provide such a relationship between the individual and YHWH? I think it more a shadow of the real thing, which most are happy to settle for.

User avatar
Divine Insight
Savant
Posts: 18080
Joined: Thu Jun 28, 2012 10:59 pm
Location: Here & Now

Re: Who are we to judge God?

Post by Divine Insight »

JehovahsWitness wrote: Logically the fundamental question is can we reasonably believe the bible is the word of God? and if so has it come to us in an uncorrupted state?. Once those two questions have been answered in the affirmative, questioning (as in expressing doubt as to the authority of a biblical instruction, account or command) is indeed the same as questioning God.

JW
I agree, but there are two problems with this:

First problem is that we have no reason to believe the Bible is the word of any God.

Second problem is that even if we did have a good reason to think the Bible was the word of God, there should still be no problem with questioning God.

Why should a truly righteous, benevolent, trustworthy God be upset by being questioned? :-k

That's shouldn't be a problem at all. He should be able to answer those questions with ease.

And here's the extreme problem with your following analogy:
JehovahsWitness wrote: To illustrate : A father communicates clearly by a written note that he wants his teenage son home by 10pm. The son meanders in at midnight and when asked why replies "I read what you wrote (and yes I'm sure the words expressed your wishes) but I decided not to obey. But dont worry Dad, I was defying the written words on the paper not YOU! The paper and ink isnt my Father so...
That's not questioning the father. That's flat out refusing to do as the father says.

Questioning the father would be to ask the father why the father wants the son to be home by 10 PM?

If the father simply says, "Because I say so", that's not good enough. That's a Zeus-like answer. It's strictly a demand of authoritarianism without explanation. The father is potentially threatening to become violent if his authority is not obeyed.

That's ZEUS!

The Biblical God is not in a position to be that ignorant.

The Biblical God would need to explain why the 10PM time was set, and why it is important to keep that schedule.

That's what it means to "Question God".

You have jumped straight to "Disobeying God" instead of considering what it means to actually question God.

If the only reason the father wants his son home by 10PM is because the father wants to exercise his authority over the son, then that father is not acting like a righteous benevolent and trustworthy God. Instead he's acting like an authoritarian Zeus.

I think most Christians would have preferred Zeus as God, because they don't seem to like a righteous benevolent trustworthy God that is open to being asked questions.

The God you describe JW is Zeus, not Yahweh. Yahweh has to be open to questions lest he becomes no better than Zeus.

And if he can't answer the questions, then shame on him.
[center]Image
Spiritual Growth - A person's continual assessment
of how well they believe they are doing
relative to what they believe a personal God expects of them.
[/center]

User avatar
JehovahsWitness
Savant
Posts: 14180
Joined: Wed Sep 29, 2010 6:03 am
Contact:

Re: Who are we to judge God?

Post by JehovahsWitness »

Divine Insight wrote: Why should a truly righteous, benevolent, trustworthy God be upset by being questioned?
Well that would depend on what is meant by being questioned.

If you mean simply asking a question to seek further information, instructions or clarification, this is just fine. The scriptures contain numerous example of God patiently listening and responding to his loyal servants who couldn't understand something or asked him for further details with a view to serving him more fully.

That said, Merriam Webster dictionary points about that TO QUESTION can also mean : to challenge, contest, dispute
https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/question

Humans do not have the right to challenge their Creator's authority. Questioning his right to rule or the justice of his actions, as if one is equal to him in knowledge, ability, experience and wisdom is not only foolish but dangerous.




JW
Last edited by JehovahsWitness on Sat May 30, 2020 3:07 pm, edited 2 times in total.
INDEX: More bible based ANSWERS
http://debatingchristianity.com/forum/v ... 81#p826681


"For if we live, we live to Jehovah, and if we die, we die to Jehovah. So both if we live and if we die, we belong to Jehovah" -
Romans 14:8

Overcomer
Guru
Posts: 1123
Joined: Mon Jun 28, 2004 8:44 am
Location: Canada

Re: Who are we to judge God?

Post by Overcomer »

Divine Insight wrote:
Why should a truly righteous, benevolent, trustworthy God be upset by being questioned?

I don't think he is. In fact, the Bible gives us all kinds of examples of people questioning him, especially in the genre of lament. Over one-third of the psalms are laments in which the person voicing the lament questions many things about God -- his supposed failure to act in certain situations, his silence, his allowance of injustices. Psalm 44 is a good example:

1 We have heard it with our ears, O God;
our ancestors have told us
what you did in their days,
in days long ago.
2 With your hand you drove out the nations
and planted our ancestors;
you crushed the peoples
and made our ancestors flourish.
3 It was not by their sword that they won the land,
nor did their arm bring them victory;
it was your right hand, your arm,
and the light of your face, for you loved them.

4 You are my King and my God,
who decrees victories for Jacob.
5 Through you we push back our enemies;
through your name we trample our foes.
6 I put no trust in my bow,
my sword does not bring me victory;
7 but you give us victory over our enemies,
you put our adversaries to shame.
8 In God we make our boast all day long,
and we will praise your name forever.

9 But now you have rejected and humbled us;
you no longer go out with our armies.
10 You made us retreat before the enemy,
and our adversaries have plundered us.
11 You gave us up to be devoured like sheep
and have scattered us among the nations.
12 You sold your people for a pittance,
gaining nothing from their sale.

13 You have made us a reproach to our neighbors,
the scorn and derision of those around us.
14 You have made us a byword among the nations;
the peoples shake their heads at us.
15 I live in disgrace all day long,
and my face is covered with shame
16 at the taunts of those who reproach and revile me,
because of the enemy, who is bent on revenge.

17 All this came upon us,
though we had not forgotten you;
we had not been false to your covenant.
18 Our hearts had not turned back;
our feet had not strayed from your path.
19 But you crushed us and made us a haunt for jackals;
you covered us over with deep darkness.

20 If we had forgotten the name of our God
or spread out our hands to a foreign god,
21 would not God have discovered it,
since he knows the secrets of the heart?
22 Yet for your sake we face death all day long;
we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.

23 Awake, Lord! Why do you sleep?
Rouse yourself! Do not reject us forever.
24 Why do you hide your face
and forget our misery and oppression?

25 We are brought down to the dust;
our bodies cling to the ground.
26 Rise up and help us;
rescue us because of your unfailing love.


And then there's the Book of Job in which the beleaguered man basically says to God, "Hey! I'm struggling here! Where are you and what the heck are you doing?" I have said the same things to him from time to time.

He's a big God. He can handle anything and everything we throw at him. And, quite frankly, he'd prefer us to come at him with anger, frustration, bitterness, and confusion, etc. than not come to him at all. He wants to dialogue with us and he can't do that if we give him the silent treatment.

User avatar
DavidLeon
Student
Posts: 72
Joined: Sat May 23, 2020 12:07 pm

Re: Who are we to judge God?

Post by DavidLeon »

Elijah John wrote:
Fri May 22, 2020 12:06 pm
"Who are we to judge God"? That is a typical refrain from the Fundamentalist, or the literalist when anyone questions the Bible or makes the observation that it contains atrocities attributed to the orders of God.

For debate:

Is questioning the Bible the same as questioning God? Why so, or why not?
It depends on what you mean by judge. If you mean pass judgement upon in a judicial sense we are not qualified, but if you mean to evaluate then the Bible encourages this. It even warns that we should not trust the inspired expression. (1 John 4:1-3)

Also, I think, what you have to keep in mind with the Bible is that it isn't the inspired word of God. The inspired word of Jehovah God was given to various people at various times. It wasn't given to us in this time. So, it varied from Adam to Moses to the apostles. The Bible is an uninspired translation of that inspired word for us to use as an example.

We should question God and we should question the Bible. Jehovah doesn't have anything to hide or fear from us and wants us to seek accurate knowledge of him and the one whom he sent forth, Christ Jesus.

Alleged atrocities should be evaluated, although keeping in mind that atrocities is a subjective term.

gadfly
Student
Posts: 22
Joined: Mon May 25, 2020 2:02 pm

Re: Who are we to judge God?

Post by gadfly »

Hey there, new here (or at least it has been a long, long time since I last visited and much has changed). I am not sure if I have figured out the quoting mechanism, so apologies if this is disjointed. This response is to Divine Insight who has raised numerous and suggestive topics.
Secondly. even if we assume that the God referenced in the folklore is real, we then have the right to question the moral character of that God.
"Rights and Morality". When people speak of "rights" they typically base their rights on a higher jury: a constitution and/or a transcendent deity. Thus when we speak of the right to question God, to what authority are we appealing? To whom are we, as it were, going over his head? An even higher God? That is ruled out by the premise of the OP, since by "God" I take we all mean the highest authority conceivable. Did God himself give us the right to question him? Perhaps, but where do we find out of this is true?

The same problem poses itself when we come to God's moral behavior. IF man's moral compass derives from God's own unalterable character, by what standard are judging it?
HOwever this is less problematic if all that we mean is that our individual moral compass is the clearest and most immanent "revelation" from God, so that (to borrow Evangelical jargon) the Word of God is not so much a compilation of histories, letters and biographies (i.e. the bible), but man's moral intuitions. Thus anything that claims to be a revelation of God which exhibits moral behavior on the part of the alleged deity (whether Zeus or Yahweh) must appeal to our sense of morality: if we find the rape of Leda or the conquest of Canaan reprehensible, then deities behind them cannot be real but are figments of man's imagination.

But does this not raise all sorts of logical problems? For one, it is a favorite argument of Christians to point to a universal moral code as proof of theism, and a favorite counterargument of skeptics to point out that morality is not really universal: moral compasses change with time and even alter from person to person. Whoever wrote of the conquest of CAnaan obviously had no moral qualms with the behavior of Yahweh: for him, the god's moral compass pointed "true north". If he invented Yahweh, still, he invented him to align with his own moral intuitions.
We might (arrogantly) say that the ancients were stupid and we have progressed. But that surely won't do, since there millions of Christians today who justify the Conquest: that is, attempt to demonstrate that there was nothing immoral about it.

Do we not now find ourselves under a hopelessly subjective criterion? IF so, is there a surer criterion to stand upon other than our individual moral intutions?
we have the right to expect a meaningful answer to our questions.
Does this assertion presuppose an equality with God that many theists would deny? If a child said, "I will not take this bitter tasting medicine until you answer all my questions in a manner that satisfies my curiosity," would we applaud the father as benevolent when he sets the spoon down, attempts to explain things well-beyond the mental capacity of the child, and...tick tock, tick tock, the child gets sicker and sicker? One might respond, "I am not a child". But surely, one is not God. Is it possible that some answers would be "over our head"?


gadfly

User avatar
koko
Apprentice
Posts: 118
Joined: Fri Apr 29, 2016 11:24 pm
Location: Twin Cities

Re: Who are we to judge God?

Post by koko »

Elijah John wrote:
Fri May 22, 2020 12:06 pm
"Who are we to judge God"? That is a typical refrain from the Fundamentalist, or the literalist when anyone questions the Bible or makes the observation that it contains atrocities attributed to the orders of God.

For debate:

Is questioning the Bible the same as questioning God? Why so, or why not?


The Psalmist repeatedly asks "why?" He is often frustrated and even angry over the many persecutions he suffered. It is only when his prayers are answered in the affirmative that he stops questioning and starts praising god in his prayers. Since god is not a respecter of persons so that what is good for one person is good for another, all of us can do the same.

Post Reply