Sunday, December 1, 2013

Suffering presupposes God's existence

From Peter Kreeft from Boston College:



Kreeft makes the obvious point: the experience of suffering presupposes God's existence.

If God did not exist, there would be no objective moral law, so suffering would not be evil, because without God there can be no objective good or evil, but merely subjective opinions.

If one were beset with horrendous misfortune, the most one could say in a Godless world would be "I disagree with this". Only in a world governed by a just God is suffering-- understood as  evil-- even possible.

Now that does not mean that we understand suffering. God's ways are not ours, and we see through a glass darkly in this life. It strengthens me to remember that God Himself suffered, out of love for you and me. Chesterton noted that Christianity is the only religion that recognizes God's courage, along with His omnipotence.

The mystics know this. To suffer is to presuppose God, and to move closer to God.

65 comments:

  1. To suffer is to presuppose God, and to move closer to God.

    Thanks for pointing out one of the reasons that Christianity is a monstrous delusion: the belief that suffering brings one closer to the Lard. That's the min reason the psychopath known as "Mother Theresa" withheld treatment from suffering people.

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    1. Mother Theresa-- psychopath?

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    2. He's throwing around terms that he doesn't understand. Psychopath is a technical, psychiatric term that ignoramuses toss around willy-nilly.

      I'd like to know more about Mother Theresa denying people medical care. My BS meter is pegged out on that one. I'd like to know his source.

      Even if he could provide an example, Mother Theresa still wouldn't be a psychopath.

      The Torch

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    3. For more on psychopathy, see Without Conscience by Robert D. Hare, one of the foremost experts in the field.

      http://www.amazon.com/Without-Conscience-Disturbing-World-Psychopaths/dp/1572304510/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1385923429&sr=8-1&keywords=without+conscience

      The book does a decent job of defining the term. Mother Theresa does not fit the bill.

      JQ

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    4. Read this and links therein.

      Denying painkillers to those dying in agony on the grounds that it will bring the sufferers closer to Jeebus, and various other misdeeds, qualify "Mother Teresa" as a full blown category V psychopath..

      Not that the RCC would elevate a psychopath to sainthood for the first time, mind you. Far from it.

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    5. Oh, okay. Your source is Christopher Hitchens, the patron saint of the aggressive atheist movement. So, no credibility. I suspected he was your source.

      In the future, don't use words that you don't know the definitions of.

      The Torch

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    6. i've used the term psychopath loosely before. but it does have a true definition, which is to say someone who is oblivious to the feelings of others and only looks out for himself. people who spend their lives in the slums of a third world country dealing with untounchables don't usually fit that description. it sounds a bit like roman polanski who rapes little girls and then lives high on the hog in europe, all the while insisting that he's the true victim here.

      naidoo

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    7. Oh, okay. Your source is Christopher Hitchens, the patron saint of the aggressive atheist movement. So, no credibility. I suspected he was your source.

      Nice try, Torch. If you read the story I linked to, you might have noticed that the story is based on new research carried out by the University of Montreal. Hitchens take down of MT is old news, but apparently quite accurate according to the investigators.

      Have a nice day.

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  2. Suffering is one of the hardest questions to face the faithful, and it also one of the strongest proofs for good, and hence the Goodness that is Him.
    Excellent post, Dr Egnor.
    God bless you and yours.

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  3. Adm. G Boggs, Glenbeckistan NavyDecember 1, 2013 at 7:34 AM

    Because suffering presupposes God's existence, it is essential that those who would "be like gods" (Gen 3:5) have an alternative means of aggregating power to themselves.

    That alternative means is called utilitarianism, a philosophy that permits, and even encourages, the killing of the inconvenient in a twisted and deranged attempt to redistribute suffering. It is a faith that can elevate the worth of a dog or monkey above that of a child or indulge cosmetic body mutilation while denying treatment to the critically ill.

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    1. Oooooh - redistribution! Typical selfish "Christian" worried about his earthly properties. Redistribution can wait until the afterlife.

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    2. Adm. G Boggs, Glenbeckistan NavyDecember 1, 2013 at 8:26 AM

      The meat twitched. Luigi Galvani is smiling.

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    3. Troy, you really are thick. Redistribution is when the government comes and takes your private property and gives it to someone else. The Bible doesn't command us to do that. It commands us to give of ourselves.

      Are you honestly trying to tell me that you don't understand the difference between giving and taking? They're two very different concepts, poles apart.

      I can see how you as a leftist would be confused on such matters. Leftists are willing to give you the coat off of someone else's back. That really is a good analogy, though. Let's suppose you're walking home one night and a robber steps out from the shadows. He demands your coat or your life. You hand it over to him. Later on, you find your coat again, this time on the back of a homeless person. Distinguishing markings tell you that it is definitely your coat, so you know that the robber took it from you and gave it to a homeless guy.

      Is that still a robbery? What about the robber? Was he doing something selfless? Should Christians feel bad about not liking being shaken down?

      The answer is that yes, it's still robbery, and yes you have every right to be upset about it. The robber didn't do something selfless and charitable when he stole your coat and gave it to the homeless man. If he wanted to do something selfless he could have given his own.

      The Torch

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    4. Hey Torch,

      When US Catholic bishops express support for universal healthcare, are they condoning what you describe as a "robbery"?

      Hoo

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    5. If done purely for redistrutionist purposes, the answer is yes. On the other hand, there are legitimate government expenditures that require taxes to fund.

      The Church got in bed with the Obama Administration on health care and they're paying for it.

      The point I was trying to make, and which I think even you understand as much as you pretend not to, is that giving and taking are two very different things. You pat yourself on the back for your generous support of redistributionist policies and attempt to shame and blame me as a bad Christian because I don't share that support. It's not gonna work, Troy. I'm sick of you taking the coat off of my back and calling that generosity.

      The Torch

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    6. The point I was trying to make, and which I think even you understand as much as you pretend not to, is that giving and taking are two very different things.

      Thanks for explaining that, Torch. I will write that down.

      Hoo

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    7. Glad to be of service. Giving does not equal taking. Now that we've established that, do you understand that not wanting to be shaken down does not make one a bad Christian?

      The Torch

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    8. Giving does not equal taking.

      Oh, I didn't know that, Torch. What a novel idea! Can you write it one more time, maybe?

      Hoo

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    9. You laugh, as if the point is so obvious. But you clearly mistook the two concepts. There's a lot of confusion on this point, usually among people who see support for governmental handouts as the same as personal generosity.

      The Torch

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    10. Yes, the point is obvious. Crack open a thesaurus and look up give. Its antonyms would be take and receive.

      That is why I laugh, Torch. You belabor an obvious point with a pompous look on your face.

      Hoo

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    11. I didn't know you could see me.

      So you concede that giving and taking are two very different things. And now the hypocrisy argument that began this thread falls apart.

      As Troy mentioned, "Oooooh - redistribution! Typical selfish 'Christian' worried about his earthly properties."

      His implication was clear: If only we were good Christians we wouldn't mind leftists giving (relatively) poor people the coats off of our backs. How un-Christian of us to complain.

      Troy doesn't understand what Christianity teaches about charity. It's our responsibility to do charitable works. But going down the street and finding some rich guy to extract money from is not charity at all. It's selfish not selfless.

      The Torch

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    12. Torch: So you concede that giving and taking are two very different things.

      LOL, Torch. In order for me to concede that, I first have to deny it. Where did I say that give and take are the same? Show me.

      Hoo

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    13. I assumed that you didn't understand the difference because, if you did, you'd be in an argument with Troy right now, rather than with me. Troy clearly doesn't understand the distinction, or he's being disingenuous.

      Do you see now the fallacy in his argument?

      The Torch

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    14. hoo is dancing around the point. let's just ask him straight out whether he agrees with troy that it's unchristian to oppose the ever-growing welfare state.

      naidoo

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    15. Hey naidoo,

      Maybe you can answer my question first. Torch did. He is clearly to the right of Bishop Dolan, and that's saying a lot.

      Hoo

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    16. i think the torch answered it quite well. i agree with him and have nothing to add.

      there. i answered your question. now answer mine. is it unchristian to oppose an ever-growing welfare state?

      naidoo

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    17. Yep, I think it's un-Christian. US Catholic bishops have been in favor of universal healthcare. That's Christian.

      Hoo

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    18. i'm not opposed to universal health care. i'm opposed to more government encroachment into healthcare.

      your comment demonstrates that you really don't understand the difference between giving and taking.

      naidoo

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    19. Hoo wants to live in a Catholic theocracy. It's clear. He wants to legislate his and the Church's moral teachings. If the rest of us don't like it, tough nookie.

      Joey

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    20. naidoo: i'm not opposed to universal health care. i'm opposed to more government encroachment into healthcare.

      What's your version of universal healthcare? Everyone is free to buy the best care they can afford? That's not exactly what the bishops meant, I suspect.

      Hoo

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  4. And let's not forget how suffering started according to the official story. God put the tree of knowledge right next to where Adam and Eve lived. You eat from the tree, you suffer. And not just you, but your descendants for thousands of years. That was guaranteed to happen. If not Eve then one of her children or grandchildren would eat from the tree just out if curiosity. So humans were doomed to suffering from Day one. Unless they remained mindless robots.

    The story of course makes no sense in many other aspects. Death didn't arrive recently, with The Fall. Lions weren't vegetarians.

    Aside from all of the silly inconsistencies, I find the very idea that humans have to suffer because of the actions of their ancestors utterly repulsive. Sending one's own son to suffer along for a brief period of time is a dramatic but utterly useless gesture. It paints a vindictive and rather incompetent God. Imagine a car manufacturer who, instead of fixing your lemon car, slashes the tires on his. Feel better, sucker?

    He can end suffering here and now. (There used to be no suffering, remember?) Why doesn't he do that?

    Hoo

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    1. If those are serious theological questions, I would be glad to engage, Hoo. If, however, they are simply rhetorical talking points that you are somehow convinced are truths - there is no point in my wasting any time on the matter.
      Which is it? Do you seek an understanding of the symbolisms and lessons within, or do you seek to make some sort of ideological point on the matter?

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    2. Neither, crus. It's a summary of my take on it. Feel free to engage it or to leave it.

      Hoo

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    3. Hoo, it sounds as if you're quite angry with God, who you think doesn't exist. It must be strange feeling such rage at an imaginary being.

      This is quite common in the atheist community. They read certain passages of the Bible and decide that God is in fact vindictive. Therefore they choose not to believe in Him. Their credo becomes "God does not exist and I hate him."

      The portrait of God that you paint is dark but it does not mean that He does not exist. It just means that God does things that you find unfair.

      The story of the Fall is not literal. Some Protestant denominations might get upset with me for saying that, but I can safely say that the events described did not happen exactly as transcribed in Genesis. It's a story about man's sinful nature. Even when there was only one commandment, man broke it.

      It's precisely because we are not mindless robots. We thinks for ourselves and frequently think that we know better than God. Mindless robots would not have been capable of disobeying, but that does not mean that an obedient Adam and Eve would have been mindless.

      It was not guaranteed that Adam and Eve would eat from the tree, however. They had a choice in the matter. They chose wrong.

      The Torch

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    4. Nice try, Torch, but it seems like you have missed some relevant clues. I am not criticizing God, whose existence I find unconvincing. I am criticizing the God story. Here are a couple of clues you have missed, in boldface:

      And let's not forget how suffering started according to the official story.

      The story of course makes no sense in many other aspects.

      Aside from all of the silly inconsistencies, I find the very idea that humans have to suffer because of the actions of their ancestors utterly repulsive.


      Hope this clears up a few things.

      Hoo

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    5. I understand you are an atheist and therefor don't believe in God. Yet you rage at Him as if He is vindictive. There is a contradiction there, but it's in your thinking, not in mine.

      The Torch

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    6. It's amazing how low some people's reading comprehension is. I am not raging against God, Torch. I don't believe in Him, remember? I am pointing out holes in the theory of God.

      Hoo

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    7. Yours is pretty low, yourself. I even said that you don't believe in Him.

      "Hoo, it sounds as if you're quite angry with God, who you think doesn't exist. It must be strange feeling such rage at an imaginary being."

      What I am saying is that you have made a conscious decision not the believe in God because you find the God of the Old Testament to be a villainous character. His followers must be villainous too, therfore you hate them with a white hot passion. If there's a contradiction there it's in your thinking, not in mine.

      The Torch

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    8. The Torch: What I am saying is that you have made a conscious decision not the believe in God because you find the God of the Old Testament to be a villainous character.

      Stop digging, Torch. You have no idea why I don't believe in God. I didn't tell you why I don't believe in God. My motives aren't relevant to this discussion.

      In other words, you're shooting the messenger.

      Hoo

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    9. One sentence you wrote essentially concedes the point. "I am pointing out holes in the theory of God."

      What?! What "holes" have your produced?

      Your proof that God does not exist is that, according to the "official story" God played a cruel trick on Adam and Eve by putting the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil right there where the two were living. Then, when they touched it, he punished them and their offspring for the rest of eternity.

      That's not a "hole." That's just you finding the actions of God unjust. The fact that you think you've cleverly uncovered a "hole" tells me a lot about your thinking.

      This seems to be your thought process.

      1.God put the tree in the garden knowing that Adam and Eve would eventually succumb to its temptation.
      2. When they finally did succumb, he punished them and their posterity.
      3. God's actions are unjust.
      4. Therefore God must be an unjust and even cruel master.
      5. Therefore God is not real.

      The Torch

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    10. Torch: Your proof that God does not exist

      Torch, stop looking for things that aren't there. I have no intention of disproving the existence of God. I am only saying that the theory of human suffering based on the Fall is ridiculous.

      Again, it's not about me or my reasons for disbelief. It's about you. So let me ask you: do you find it reasonable that the supposed actions of your ancestors Adam and Eve brought about the suffering not only of themselves but also of the entire humankind? I am just curious.

      Hoo

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    11. "I have no intention of disproving the existence of God. I am only saying that the theory of human suffering based on the Fall is ridiculous."

      Why then did you posit that you were looking for holes in the theory of God? You're either lying or confused.

      "So let me ask you: do you find it reasonable that the supposed actions of your ancestors Adam and Eve brought about the suffering not only of themselves but also of the entire humankind?"

      I'll answer that question as well as I can. As I mentioned, I don't think that the story contained in Genesis is a literal account, so I don't really believe that Adam and Eve, if two such people existed, ate fruit from a tree and were therefore expelled from paradise. It's a story about sin, and how human beings tend to say no to God. We think we know better. It is because we disobey God that we live in a world with pain and suffering.

      We are all prone to sin, even me. Especially me. So it's not as if we are all being punished for something that is no fault of our own. We all eat the forbidden fruit whenever we choose to do what we want instead of what God wants. I've probably done that several times already just since waking up.

      The Torch

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    12. @Hoo:

      [I find the very idea that humans have to suffer because of the actions of their ancestors utterly repulsive.]

      On what basis do you condemn such a notion? Is it evil? If God does not exist, then moral viewpoints are merely opinions, with various effects on various people, but without correspondence to good and evil, which can't exist unless there is an objective standard that transcends human judgement.

      So in what way is the story of the Fall "repulsive" to you, who deny objective good and evil?

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    13. On the basis of my inner moral compass. It could be that my humble opinion is wrong, but it seems like I am not alone in holding it. You obviously condemn Stalin's deportation of the Chechens. Yet you seem to think that making the humankind suffer for the sins of their predecessors is not a problem.

      Furthermore, your point in the OP is stupid. One needn't read God-given tablets to realize that one is suffering. The feeling of pain is subjective. It is still pain. Whether you call it suffering is not particularly interesting.

      Hoo

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    14. "Yet you seem to think that making the humankind suffer for the sins of their predecessors is not a problem."

      How many times must this be explained to you before you get it?

      We don't make the rules. We're not being punished for something Adam and Eve did. We're sinners and sin fills the world with pain.

      The Torch

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    15. worse yet hoo is still trying to make the argument that god can't be real because he's a meanie. so stupid.

      naidoo

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    16. naidoo,

      I have already said that I am not disproving God. I don't need to do that for myself and the believers don't care for that, either.

      I am asking how the believers rationalize human suffering. Theodicy isn't a problem for unbelievers. It is a problem for those who believe.

      Hoo

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    17. The problem of evil is a theist problem.

      Evil is an atheist impossibility, because without transcendence nothing is objectively good or evil.

      We Christians struggle to understand evil under God's providence.

      You atheists have no explanation for evil at all, except that it is an evolutionary illusion-- confused monkeys in the savanna or whatever.

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    18. you have already said that you are finding holes in the theory of god. how can I understand that any other way?

      suffering exists. i'm not sure what I suppose to be rationalizing.

      naidoo

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    19. Hoo,
      (Sorry I took so long to reply. Busy day.)

      Okay, fair enough. It is an observation.
      But first, allow me to point out that your 'take' is not exactly accepted amongst those who study the Bible, whether they be believers or secular scholars.
      It is, rather the identical position taken by the 'New Age' theosophists and the like. The serpent becomes the good guy.

      Now let's look at the actual story itself.
      There are actually two trees that are forbidden. One is commonly known as the 'Tree of life', which could be called the 'tree of physical immortality' or in modern language perhaps the 'tree of transhumanism'.
      This first tree's 'fruit' was supposed to unlock the promise of permanent residency within the physical universe. Of this tree we do not learn much from the texts themselves. Rather, the lesson of this tree seems to be more along the lines of transcendence of living consciousness into some other realm. Adam and Eve were apparently not too concerned about this being in direct contact with God and the hosts. They did not fear (natural) death and did not understand what the nature and death experience would be outside of the place we know as 'Eden'.
      The second tree is 'the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. In modern terms it could be the called the tree of Moral Subjectivism. God warns that the punishment for eating this fruit is 'death'. Obviously not the same death that can be avoided by eating the fruit of the 'Tree of Life'.
      The serpent is noted as a deceiver and tells Eve that she will not die (physically) have her 'eyes opened' and that she and Adam become like a gods in the consumption of this (secret/forbidden) knowledge.
      Now this is a complex deception on the part of the serpent.
      As Genesis goes on to explain, the promise of death was not idle, and the result was the expulsion of these two chosen examples of humanity from the innocence that was 'Eden'. Return was forbidden, and the entrance to this 'paradise' was guarded by two immensely powerful beings charged (created?) for that specific duty. I wont get into the details on those beings, as that is a subject in and of itself. Sufficed to say they also represent more than a surface value.
      So what does all this have to do with your question/observation that God placed this specific tree within the grasp of Eve and so allow the tempting of her?
      Well, the fact there was actually two trees is not something to be ignored. Nor is the fact that the serpent chose the 'Tree of Knowledge' to use as a means of deceiving Eve and Adam. Nor should it be ignored that it chose Eve as the medium of that deception.

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    20. CNTD

      So why would God allow these trees to grow where both or either Adam and/or Eve could be tempted by them? Why would he allow a fallen/jealous Angel to take on the form of a serpent? Why would a loving God allow his children/creations to learn these hard lessons and to pass on the suffering they entail to continue to haunt their future generation?
      Well, these are extremely complex questions, but the answers are not all that tough to wrap one's mind around if one makes an effort to understand the language of the old testament and it's iconic nature.
      The trees grew in the garden because the questions and temptations they raise(d) were and are central to our existence; to our ability to be agents of free will, and hence our willing relationship with God and Goodness.
      The serpent is the agent of deception, but what is not stated openly, but is implicit in the description and use of that form, is that the serpent is also subject to it's nature.
      The serpent is invited (as all such things are) by the curiosity of Eve. Adam is in turn compelled by the fact his only companion - made of his own flesh - is committed to the quest for secret/forbidden knowledge and spurred on by the fact that Eve has not dropped dead. Here again, we see a distinction between the 'deaths' defined by the two trees.
      The punishment for this transgression is handed out when God sees the two have lost their humility and adopted shame. And, as one would expect from a God who both loves and respects His creations, is to introduce these two to the world/reality in which knowledge is power. This is the choice that they have made. This is the path God sets them upon.
      What Eve and Adam chose was the path to moral subjectivity. More accurately, I would argue, they chose the long, hard, and painful path to the truth about moral subjectivity - that it (moral subjectivity) is a form of self deception.
      Further it shows the nature of the the being in the form of the serpent. This aspect is also noted in Genesis, when it is described how the relationship between mankind and the serpent (ie the deceiver) shall be all about striking at the heals of man and being crushed for doing so.
      So we have a story in which the first fully human beings, designed by God to be like God, have made a terrible choice for the sake of power through knowledge. They have been deceived into thinking (by the Adversary) that such knowledge gives them the power to define good and evil. They have learned through this mistake that such a world is far from what they were made for, that death can be more than physical, and that the forces that would mislead them are slaves to their own hunger for power.
      Finally, you protest that God should allow a sin / wrong should affect the generations. This, you complain, is inconsistent with a loving God. I do not see this as inconsistent. Far from it.
      Being a father, I am far to familiar with the concept that children must make choices and live with them, or they will never learn to decisions based on forethought.
      In the reality in which we live - chosen and built by our ancestors - this is a daily reality. If your father or mother is a drunk and does nothing for his family, you may well grow up in abject poverty. That does not mean you cannot work to better yourself and your own family; or even that of your parents. In the very same sense, we may work to better our world. But we must do so with the deception clearly in mind. We must also take into account that our decisions will reverberate through history.
      The core of what I am saying is that we have free will. Our decisions will and do echo through the generations. Genesis illustrates this perfectly.
      That is very the nature of the choice. The purpose of the trees, and the (visible) reasoning behind allowing for it all.
      We have chosen this world for our physical existence. We must make the best of it, and that includes finding a way back to God despite our own (and our ancestors) bad decisions.

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    21. Thanks for your detailed answer, crus. I understand the responsibility of our actions for future generations. The real hard question is whether your actions should entirely determine the life of your descendants.

      Suppose, for the sake of the argument, that you commit a serious crime and you go to jail for life. Your wife, an accomplice, also gets a life sentence. And so that the lesson is not lost on future generation, your children go to jail for life, and so do their children, and so on.

      That doesn't make much sense from our modern perspective, does it? It did to the writers of the Bible, however. For most of human history, collective responsibility was the norm. You were responsible for the misdeeds of your father and grandfather.

      Hoo

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    22. Hoo,
      I can see what you mean, and I agree collective punishment is not a modern norm. Well, at least we do not admit as much. But, Earth is not a prison. At least not yet. If it becomes so, it will be by the hand of mankind.
      Nor, perhaps just as importantly, was the punishment the 'death' the serpent had perhaps hoped for.
      A better analogy would be a colony. If I were to commit a crime (petty, please!) in the 19th century and was 'transported' to Australia, and my wife was to be sent with me (her choice), and my children were born there - then we would have a semi valid comparison.
      Consider also that Australia was a choice. I could have chosen prison or even hanging (as was the case with many common and petty offences), and my wife could have left me. Instead we stood together and accepted our responsibility. We would face much hardship and a lot of very hard work to establish ourselves.
      If we made it, and clawed our way back up to a semblance of a life in this colony, with a little help...our children would have to live with that choice. They could have, as many did, helped to build a great nation and even gone so far as to have instituted and respected the same laws that I had transgressed. They would see in me my regrets. They would take from me the lesson, and pass it on to their children.
      Others (not my kids!) would perhaps be bitter, and continue to transgress the law. They would find themselves outcasts, even in this colony.
      This, while still imperfect, is a much better analogy.
      We would be faced with harsh new reality that was the result of my choice. Our children could embrace those changes and try to make a life, or despise the law and continue the error. But no matter their choices, they would be living with the real consequences of our actions. They would still be free to choose between objective good and evil deeds, but they would be living an entirely new framework where our choices determined the daily reality that they face in harsh, new, open land.
      Their choices would be forever more physical and far less symbolic.

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  5. Hoo, you seem to have it backwards, my friend. Consider this if you would. It was the freedom to choose good or evil that separated us the animals. It was the "tree" that kept humans from being "mindless robots" as you say because the tree gave them a choice. Animals don't have a moral choice. We don't consider the tiger "immoral" when it kills the cubs of the rival male so it can have sex with the female, do we? A moral choice is what separates humans from the animals, and if you think about it, I think you might see that the fall of man explains a lot about the nature of man and evil in the world. Perfection cannot be polluted with even a drop of imperfection and remain perfect. That in a nutshell is why man remains separated from God and why God sent His son to die for us.

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    1. There is no choice, my friend Big Rich. You suffer even if you behave well. Because someone else sinned. That reminds me of Stalin's deportation of the entire Chechen people.

      Hoo

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    2. Hoo:

      [That reminds me of Stalin's deportation of the entire Chechen people.]

      Comparing Christians to atheists is below the belt.

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    3. Yes, I know it hurts.

      Hoo

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    4. There was a choice in the beginning, Hoo. That is the whole point. When God created man, He created a moral agent with a choice unlike any other animal, but like The Supreme Being himself. The tree whether literal or analogy, represented that choice.

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    5. OK. It is reasonable to conclude that the man (and the woman) who made the choice should suffer. Why should the future generations? What was their fault?

      Hoo

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    6. Man separated himself from God by Adam's choice. How much imperfection can perfection take and still be perfect? How much unholiness can holiness accept and still be holy? Adam was the representative for all of mankind. That was the deal. Adam knew it. Here's the good news. The has been a second Adam who succeeded where the first failed.

      Romans5:12 When Adam sinned, sin entered the world. Adam’s sin brought death, so death spread to everyone, for everyone sinned. 13 Yes, people sinned even before the law was given. But it was not counted as sin because there was not yet any law to break. 14 Still, everyone died—from the time of Adam to the time of Moses—even those who did not disobey an explicit commandment of God, as Adam did. Now Adam is a symbol, a representation of Christ, who was yet to come. 15 But there is a great difference between Adam’s sin and God’s gracious gift. For the sin of this one man, Adam, brought death to many. But even greater is God’s wonderful grace and his gift of forgiveness to many through this other man, Jesus Christ. 16 And the result of God’s gracious gift is very different from the result of that one man’s sin. For Adam’s sin led to condemnation, but God’s free gift leads to our being made right with God, even though we are guilty of many sins. 17 For the sin of this one man, Adam, caused death to rule over many. But even greater is God’s wonderful grace and his gift of righteousness, for all who receive it will live in triumph over sin and death through this one man, Jesus Christ.

      18 Yes, Adam’s one sin brings condemnation for everyone, but Christ’s one act of righteousness brings a right relationship with God and new life for everyone. 19 Because one person disobeyed God, many became sinners. But because one other person obeyed God, many will be made righteous.Ignorance

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  6. Everyone knows pain and distress is bad because we have all experienced it. It’s easy to empathize with suffering because we all know what it’s like and can imagine what others are experiencing. No objective good and bad required, just knowledge of what suffering is. Pain is an evolved mechanism to change one’s behavior in the face of damage and distress is an evolved mechanism to change one’s behavior when under threat. Nothing subjective about it, no sky daddy required.

    Of course Christians have to come up with silly mental gymnastics to somehow make the existence of suffering a good and necessary thing, because not only is it necessary in order to claim their god is just, it conveniently allows them to ignore the teaching of Jesus and turn a selfish blind eye on suffering.

    -KW

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    1. KW,
      What you describe as 'gymnastics' is exercise of mind; an attempt to reconcile perceived reality with suffering.
      What you posit in it's place is form of intellectual lethargy.
      You are a hypocritical, philosophical and moral couch potato with a serious hate on for anyone of faith.
      But, I still love you as a fellow human - even if I hate the self deception that has you in it's grasp.
      I will, once again, pray for you. I am sure others here will join me in that.
      You need it, KW.

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  7. I think it's important to note that even politicians who advocate for a robust welfare state always assure the voting public that only the rich will pay higher taxes. They're usually pretty vague about the definition of the word rich, leaving the voters to decide for themselves what it means. The voters tend to define "rich" as someone who makes more than they do.

    The welfare state is supremely selfish. People who support it generally think that it will require no sacrifice on their part, and they may be correct in that assumption if they are on the receiving end of all that redistributed wealth. But it will always be some other richer person who foots the bill for it all, or so they believe.

    Let's not forget loyal Obama-supporter Cindy Vinson on the "Affordable" Care Act: "Of course, I want people to have health care,” Vinson said.
    “I just didn’t realize I would be the one who was going to pay for it personally.”

    Joey

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    1. vote for me and i will give you an ice cream cone. works every time.

      naidoo

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    2. Of course it does, Naidoo. And pretty soon the wealth of the treasury begins to evaporate, one ice cream cone at a time. The people who get elected don't care.

      Joey

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