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Jolly_Penguin
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 04, 2015 12:30 pm  Existence of Holy Books as Evidence Against Their Claims Reply with quote

It occurs to me that many holy books claim a God exists that is all powerful and that this God has a message he/she/it wants you to know. But it occurs to me that an all powerful God would not have any need for such a limited and primitive means of communication. An all powerful God could simply make us all know what he is there and what he expects of us*. So the books themselves are at best redundant, and almost certainly misleading.

That we do not all know and agree on what God wants, that we have battles between different religions and different sects, tells me that if an all powerful God exists, he must intend all of this confusion. Perhaps he enjoys it. This conflicts with the messages I keep reading in these holy books.

So I wonder, is the mere existence of these holy books evidence against their claim of an all powerful God with a message he wants us to know?

* - Please note that us knowing what he expects of us doesn't in any way restrict our "free will" to obey or not obey what he wants, an in fact that only with knowing what he wants can we truly make any informed choice and have "free will" on the matter.
Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 81: Wed Nov 18, 2015 1:43 pm
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Zzyzx wrote:
A glance at current topics being debated here indicates otherwise -- which might escape the attention of someone who has been a member for one week.
I debated on Beliefnet for fifteen years, Z, and I’m quite sure that I know how most skeptics concentrate on OT passages – in particular the directives to kill all the indigenous inhabitants of Canaan, in addition to their livestock. These types of arguments – OT exclusive ones to address Christian theological criticisms – can be verified on any number of boards just like this one.

Zzyzx wrote:
Personal opinion is immaterial in debate. Those who disagree with that figure are invited to present their own information sources in dispute.
How about those who present the figure of 40,000 presenting evidence to that number or is it only opinion when one questions it?
Hmmm?

Zzyzx wrote:
It might be prudent to consult sources beyond one's personal experience and opinion.
Let’s look at the largest Churches that account for the Lion’s share of believers – rather than appealing to the extreme examples, which is illogical, fallacious argumentation.
Apostles/Nicene Creed Churches – The Roman Catholic Church, the Eastern Orthodox Church, the two largest Protestant Churches – those of the Anglican Communion and World Communion of Reformed Churches, the largest Protestant Church in the US – the Southern Baptist Convention.
That some of them reject creeds is irrelevant. The Southern Baptist Church trumpets the fact that they are Creedless and yet they believe in one God the Father, omnipotent, creator of all things, one Jesus Christ – the Son of God – and the Holy Spirit . . . inspired the prophets . . . etc. They don’t recite the Creed but they teach all of its articles and say they’re found in the Scripture.

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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 82: Wed Nov 18, 2015 3:56 pm
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Re: Existence of Holy Books as Evidence Against Their Claims

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JLB32168 wrote:
If I deliver a written message to one person and ten people read it, but interpret it a different way that has nothing to do with the fact that I gave one person the clear message. That others screw it up isn’t my fault and it doesn’t mean that I didn’t want my message to be clearly understood.


That is true. Some may also doubt the message is from you, as it is presented to them by somebody saying you told them it. We call that hearsay in court, and it isn't admissible for good reason.

But an all powerful being would have no need to rely on such limited means so prone to error and misunderstanding. If he has infinite power he would have no need to depend on a message being relayed from person to person or to even rely on human language. He could simply make us all know. That we don't means that he didn't, and that he didn't means that he didn't intend to.

Is that really so difficult to understand?

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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 83: Wed Nov 18, 2015 10:21 pm
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JLB32168 wrote:

Zzyzx wrote:

A glance at current topics being debated here indicates otherwise -- which might escape the attention of someone who has been a member for one week.


I debated on Beliefnet for fifteen years, Z, and I’m quite sure that I know how most skeptics concentrate on OT passages – in particular the directives to kill all the indigenous inhabitants of Canaan, in addition to their livestock. These types of arguments – OT exclusive ones to address Christian theological criticisms – can be verified on any number of boards just like this one.

A glance at the current topics of debate indicates that the focus is not on OT. A lot of debate involves gospels, history of Christianity and its Bible, words attributed to Jesus, etc.

With a bit of experience on this Forum one will find that it is quite different from www.beliefnet.com and other similar forums. Here there is no favoritism shown to any theistic position – "the playing field is very level". The site is owned and administered by a Christian (and accomplished debater) and is moderated by a team of eight – evenly divided between Theist and Non-Theist.

Review of Forum Rules and Guidelines for the C&A Sub-forum clarifies that rules apply to everyone equally and that the Bible is NOT considered authoritative or proof of truth. Many theists who join apparently think that experience in Christian-favored environments enables them to "Slay the Infidel" here (or thinking that the arguments that worked well elsewhere will prevail here). However, that has not been very successful.

JLB32168 wrote:

Zzyzx wrote:
Personal opinion is immaterial in debate. Those who disagree with that figure are invited to present their own information sources in dispute.
How about those who present the figure of 40,000 presenting evidence to that number or is it only opinion when one questions it?

Okay. Although that information has been presented in many debates here are some citations.

Quote:

According to the Center for the Study of Global Christianity (CSGC) at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, there are approximately 41,000 Christian denominations and organizations in the world. This statistic takes into consideration cultural distinctions of denominations in different countries, so there is overlapping of many denominations.
http://christianity.about.com/od/denominations/p/christiantoday.htm

There are about 34,000 different Christian groups in the world since AD 30. This is according to the World Christian Encyclopedia published in 2001. 1,200 different Christian denominations exist in the United States alone. Some groups classify Christianity into 8 meta-groups, namely Roman Catholicism (the largest), Eastern Orthodoxy, Oriental Orthodoxy and Assyrian Churches, Protestantism, Restorationism, Anglican Communicants, Pentecostal, and others.
http://www.numberof.net/number-of-christian-denominations/


How Many Christian Denominations Are There? It is said to be somewhere around 40,000. I can assure you that the figure is at least 39,000 and that figure is in no way inflated.
https://thefollowersofchrist.wordpress.com/2015/02/28/how-many-christian-denomin...


An extensive discussion of some of the major denominations, their beliefs, and their differences:
http://biblefacts.org/church/Denominations.html

Do you care to dispute the above with substantiation?

It is only mildly surprising when Christians indicate limited knowledge or familiarity with the great diversity of sects, denominations, cults, splinter groups within the umbrella term "Christianity".

JLB32168 wrote:

Zzyzx wrote:

It might be prudent to consult sources beyond one's personal experience and opinion.

Let’s look at the largest Churches that account for the Lion’s share of believers – rather than appealing to the extreme examples, which is illogical, fallacious argumentation.

Let's NOT eliminate sects that don't fit the conclusion. That is the equivalent of "cooking the books" to produce a desired outcome. Those "extreme examples" identify as Christian. They are not thrown out because they don't fit what one is trying to claim.

Note, argumentum ad populum is known as a logical fallacy.

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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 84: Thu Nov 19, 2015 7:52 am
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Re: Existence of Holy Books as Evidence Against Their Claims

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Jolly_Penguin wrote:
But an all powerful being would have no need to rely on such limited means so prone to error and misunderstanding.

I understand you perfectly, Yes, such a being would not need to rely on such limited means but you’re arguing that since such a being would not need to rely on it that said being definitely would not rely on it and that’s where you err.

Your assertion is that since a deity doesn’t need people to relay a message, but could relay that message directly if s/he so elected, then said deity definitely wouldn’t elect to relay that message through people and that is an illogical conclusion.
Your same logic applied to an everyday situation would say that a chef has no need to buy a Big Mac meal for dinner; therefore, said chef won’t have a Big Mac.

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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 85: Thu Nov 19, 2015 8:33 am
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Zzyzx wrote:
A glance at the current topics of debate indicates that the focus is not on OT. A lot of debate involves gospels, history of Christianity and its Bible, words attributed to Jesus, etc.

I’m quite content to let people decide for themselves if skeptics rely more upon OT passages, almost to the complete exclusion of the NT. I Googled the phrase “Genocides in the Bible” and it produced 121 million hits – the first of which was The Skeptic’s Annotated Bible with a special section on Biblical genocides. A random pick on another page of the search engine produced the title “Biblical Genocide and the Village Atheist – The Skeptic Outpost.” Another random page gave me “Michael Flannigan and the Genocide of the Canaanites” from CommonSenseAtheism. I stand by my assertion that most skeptic arguments against Christianity are founded in referencing their argument that a omnibenevolent deity doesn’t exist as evidenced by the genocides of the Bible.

Zzyzx wrote:
With a bit of experience on this Forum one will find that it is quite different from www.beliefnet.com and other similar forums.

I disagree. As for any favoritism shown toward any theistic position, how does that concern me? I don’t care if one is inimical to my position as long as they represent my arguments as I actually present them.

Zzyzx wrote:
Review of Forum Rules and Guidelines for the C&A Sub-forum clarifies that rules apply to everyone equally and that the Bible is NOT considered authoritative or proof of truth.

And you’ve addressed this comment to me because . . . . Why? I’ve never asserted that the Bible was proof of God’s existence. Once again can you please address arguments that I present if you’re going to cite my posts in yours.
Zzyzx wrote:
Okay. Although that information [that there are 40K denominations] has been presented in many debates here are some citations.

Yes, I’ve seen the statistic posted in several places and every time I saw David Barrett cited as the source of the number – one person.
The citation is from an appendix to another report and it needs to be pointed out that the defines a denomination as an organized Christian group within a specific country; therefore, a Southern Baptist denomination in Nigeria would be counted as one denomination and the Southern Baptist denomination in Uganda would also be counted.

Another example shows that although there is only one Roman Catholic Church, over 200 Roman Catholic ‘denominations’ are listed – one ‘denomination’ for each national body of Roman Catholics. Citing this report is the quintessential example of “cooking the books” to use your words. The number is indeed inflated – your protests to the contrary notwithstanding.

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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 86: Thu Nov 19, 2015 9:48 am
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JLB32168 wrote:

Your assertion is that since a deity doesn’t need people to relay a message, but could relay that message directly if s/he so elected, then said deity definitely wouldn’t elect to relay that message through people and that is an illogical conclusion.


No. That isn't my assertion. Go look again. I have stated it numerous times, and yet you still insist on misreading it. If I were an all powerful deity, I could make you understand, but I'm not.

Yes, a deity could decide to relay a message through a less than perfect means of communication resulting in confusion, if said deity intended not to be clearly understood by all, or if said deity was limited in power. An all powerful being that intended to be understood clearly by all would be. This is very simple.

So if you propose an all powerful deity with a message he wants all to know, and I see lots of people with other messages, who clearly don't know or believe yours (myself included), I can conclude that you are wrong. And any book or other document that you wave in front of me can be dismissed so long as that claim is being made.

That doesn't exclude a God limited in power, or a God who for some perverse reason intends some of us to get it wrong or likes the confusion, conflict, and horrors that come from differing religious groups battling one another.

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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 87: Thu Nov 19, 2015 10:15 am
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Jolly_Penguin wrote:
If I were an all powerful deity, I could make you understand, but I'm not.

Christ said he spoke in parables so that the arrogant wouldn’t understand. If that’s the case here then the argument that people don’t understand; therefore, the author isn’t omnipotent fails. I’m sure there are other options that are logically possible other than the two you’ve presented as the only possible conclusions. You’ve excluded the whole middle of possibilities.

Jolly_Penguin wrote:
And any book or other document that you wave in front of me can be dismissed so long as that claim is being made.

You can dismiss whatever you will but you cannot say that an author isn’t omnipotent as evidenced by the fact that people disagree with his message, which would be impossible were the entity actually omnipotent.

Jolly_Penguin wrote:
. . .God who for some perverse reason intends some of us to get it wrong or likes the confusion, conflict, and horrors that come from differing religious groups battling one another.

While I disagree with you opinion, you’ve validated my point that failure to understand does not automatically mean omnipotence is forfeited.

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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 88: Thu Nov 19, 2015 10:50 am
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JLB32168 wrote:

Christ said he spoke in parables so that the arrogant wouldn’t understand. If that’s the case here then the argument that people don’t understand; therefore, the author isn’t omnipotent fails.


So, then he didn't intend the arrogant to understand. We've already validated my initial statement with that alone. But is that so? Do you dismiss everyone who doesn't have exactly the same understanding of God and what he wants as being arrrogant? All those hindus, jews, muslims, atheists, etc, are arrogant and that's why they fail to believe what you do? Does somebody not believing what you do mean that they are deficient in character?

Quote:

I’m sure there are other options that are logically possible other than the two you’ve presented as the only possible conclusions. You’ve excluded the whole middle of possibilities.


I don't see a middle of possibilities. That is why I wrote the OP asking for any. I don't think there are any. If god is omnipotent and intends to be understood by all, and judges us presuming we understand him and can then choose whether to do as he wishes of us, etc, then we would all perfectly understand him and the test would be at least coherent if not sensible. But it isn't.

Quote:

You can dismiss whatever you will but you cannot say that an author isn’t omnipotent as evidenced by the fact that people disagree with his message, which would be impossible were the entity actually omnipotent.


Again you misstate what I wrote in the OP and numerous times since. I did not say it excludes an omnipotent God. I said it excludes an omnipotent God who intends to be clearly understood by all of us. Either he doesn't have such an intent or he doesn't have such power.

Quote:

While I disagree with you opinion, you’ve validated my point that failure to understand does not automatically mean omnipotence is forfeited.


Which again, was never my claim, as by now you must well know. Either God isn't all powerful or God doesn't intend us to perfectly understand some message he purportedly has for us.

The holy books are especially troubling because it is easy to see that they lead people or justify people in doing some pretty horrific things. It isn't hard to read hate into them, and if they come from an all powerful being, that must also be intentional.

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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 89: Thu Nov 19, 2015 10:59 am
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JLB32168 wrote:
Why is that important? The common belief is that salvation is through Christ and there are consequences for accepting or rejecting. There simply isn’t the difference that you allege.

Tell that to the Pope.
Pope Francis says atheists can do good and go to heaven too!
http://www.catholic.org/news/hf/faith/story.php?id=51077

Quote:
That’s called “proof by assertion” - a proposition is repeatedly restated regardless of contradiction, namely, that the contradictions in various Christian theological beliefs far outweigh the alleged comparisons.

This is a strange claim. Do you believe atheists can go to heaven like the Pope, or is there a contradiction?
Is going to heaven or hell all of a sudden a minor thing?

Quote:
No one has said they aren’t seeking God. All religions contain truth. They just don’t contain the same amount of truth – Christianity containing the fullness of truth according to Christian theology.

How is the bold not circular logic? It also comes across to me as an argument from ignorance. I say this because the family I grew up in acknowledged that Catholics were Christians, but they worship Mary and most wont qualify for heaven. How is it not ignorant to speak of some 'fullness of truth' when there are such discrepancies about who can go to heaven and what it takes?

Quote:
Well . . . you asked a question and I have you an answer from a Christian theological perspective. What you do with it after that is your decision.

I'll continue to notice that theological perspectives vary, therefore to refer to some 'fullness of truth' or 'TRUTH' seems illogical.

Referring to 'my fullness of truth' or 'my TRUTH' seems more appropriate.

Quote:
What about contradictory messages from people claiming to speak in a deity’s name or in the names of many deities automatically means that no one is speaking correctly? People disagree all of the time on what the Founding Fathers meant in the Constitution. How does that affect whether or not the Founding Fathers existed? Your thought process is clearly subjective and founded more upon opinion than objective, logical consideration of the evidence.

You make a good argument. Things written about your god concept have discrepancies because your god concept was created by men, much like the Constitution.
This line of thinking makes sense.

Quote:
That logic says that no good communicators exist because if they did no one would ever require clarification of what was communicated. As I said already – there’s no logical process being followed here.

The Constitution was written by men.
The Constitution has discrepancies.
The Bible has discrepancies.
Therefore, the Bible, like every other book in existence was written by men.

It seems to me to be a book written by men that are making claims on behalf of a god concept. Like the Constitution, it does not seem to be written any different (special in any way).

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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 90: Thu Nov 19, 2015 1:54 pm
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It seems to me to be a book written by men that are making claims on behalf of a god concept. Like the Constitution, it does not seem to be written any different (special in any way).


Indeed. Isn't it amazing how Jesus came and did his miracles in a day before there were video cameras in cell phones everywhere? Isn't it amazing how God only seems to cure headaches and never regrows liimbs on amputees? Isn't it amazing how God seems to operate exactly like we'd expect if it were all made up by pattern seeking and fearful humans? It almost makes one wonder if it just ain't true.

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