WINC: More Question Triggers

Continuing the journey

I suppose I didn’t tell the whole story in What Started My Questioning. That was what brought the question, “Is this really true?” into focus. But there had been at least a few more ideas rattling around in my brain that led me in that direction.[1]

Now, as a deconvert, I consider these ideas as sort of “soft evidence” against the Christian meta-stories and truth claims. (Harder evidence is yet to come.)

Fellow deconverts, please bear with me below, as I won’t bother to insert “allegedly” or “ostensibly” everywhere. But believers – don’t get any ideas – like thinking that I still believe somewhere deep down. It’s just shorthand.

The Garden of Eden Was a Setup.

“Whatever you do, don’t eat from this big pretty tree in the middle of the garden. Now I’m going to leave you alone for a while…”

Surely an omniscient god knew that the tempter would come. And yet, he gave Adam and Eve no help. Without the knowledge of good and evil – the very knowledge of what evil or sin are, which comes from eating the forbidden fruit, anyway – Adam and Eve were ill-equipped to defend against temptation. And so, they succumbed.

Now what kind of sick test is this, anyway? Don’t eat this tasty fruit…even though it’s “good for food, and…a delight to the eyes, and [would] make one wise” (Gen. 3:6). Why not? Because they would “surely die” (Gen. 2:17).

Why would they surely die? How would it kill them? Why would a good, loving father god put such a lethal thing right in their midst, anyway? Without explanations, the command amounts to “because I said so”. IMHO, that’s bad parenting.[2]

…In my experience, Christians (my former self included) will claim that God foreknew Adam and Eve would rebel, and let it happen, because it was part of his plan. Because…why, exactly?

Sins of the Fathers

Let’s pretend for a moment that the above all made sense, and we had understandable reasons why a loving god should test Adam and Eve this way. Now all of us get the shaft with this “sin nature” that we inherited from them? If God’s omnipotent, he’s in control, so he let it happen. How is that just?

I wasn’t there; I didn’t eat the fruit. I never met Adam or Eve, and I certainly didn’t vote for them, or choose them to represent me in any way in that choice that they made. And yet, a just and loving god allowed their single choice to affect all of us in such awful ways?

Are the sins of the fathers visited on the sons? Contradictory citations not withstanding,[3] if an active sentient agent is punishing sons (and daughters) for the “sins” of the fathers (and mothers), that’s not just.

The Problems of Natural Evil and “Divine Hiddenness”

The problem of “natural evil” – suffering and death not caused by humans – is probably the biggest counter-apologetic point against Christianity, in and of itself.

In my attempts to give Christian truth claims the benefit of the doubt, I supposed that there could possibly be a way to reconcile this conundrum. And yet, the fact that Christian apologists still grapple with it to this day indicates that we’ve not been given the answer.

And despite the “apparent” contradiction, we’re expected to believe the claims? Not just expected – required, lest we suffer eternal damnation. But this god doesn’t show up or give any concrete proof of even his existence.

I just…

Picard facepalm

The outsider test for faith[4]

There are numerous mutually-contradictory belief systems in the world. There is no obvious evidence for any of them. And…those who don’t believe in my brand of religion will be condemned?!

What of those who never heard? Certainly it would be a travesty of justice to damn those who never even had a proper shot at believing the “good news”.

Softball

Many people will be more critical of these propositions than I was here. And I’m cool with that. Remember, I was trying to give Christian “Truth” claims the benefit of the doubt, so that if they came tumbling down, that I’d be sure that I had given them a fair shot.

Make Sense

I don’t think I gave an exhaustive or rigorous treatment to any of these issues here in this blog post. But did I make sense? Do you agree with me that these points are at least enough to prompt an honest seeker to ask whether the Christian Truth claims are indeed so?

Yes? Phew – that’s a relief!

No? If you think that my points don’t make sense, or that they’re not enough to prompt such questioning, I think that’s actually indicative of the absurdity of these bits of the Christian metastory.  Besides, how does one coherently tear down multiple flavors of incoherent propositions?

Notes

Image source: File:The Fall of Man by Lukas Cranach.jpg.

1. The exact chronology is becoming a bit blurry, but I think I was formulating these ideas during “Research, Phase 1”, when I was researching Christian doctrines; and perhaps leading up to it.

2. Humble opinion, as I’m not a parent. But I’m glad I didn’t get that (much?) as a kid. I’m pretty sure it would’ve pissed me off.

3. Watch CARM equivocate.

4. No, I haven’t read the book yet. But I think the meme goes well with the idea I presented in this section.

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49 thoughts on “WINC: More Question Triggers

  1. siriusbizinus

    I remember having a discussion with someone about original sin versus a sinful nature that causes people to sin. He kept citing Deuteronomy, and he said that the Bible has to be read with the intention that all of the verses build on each other.

    What frustrates me the most is that the questions above get flippant responses and reasoning like I mentioned, and those same responses seem more and more hollow every time I hear them. I just wish they could hear themselves talk sometimes.

    Liked by 2 people

    Reply
    1. inspiredbythedivine1

      Sometimes I think the problem is all they can, and want to, hear is themselves talking. They block out the reasonable questions put to them with the circular rhetoric of their own indoctrinated voices. Easier to believe in ridiculous things that way.

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply
    2. ratamacue0 Post author

      You have to assume I’m right before you examine the subject…

      I just wish they could hear themselves talk sometimes.

      To be fair, when I believed, it just…I think it never dawned on me that we (humanity) might not have an answer and explanation for everything (existence) handed to us. In retrospect, it seems pretty obvious. But when the foundation is false or not grounded in evidence, I can understand a certain tendency to jump through hoops and contort oneself to make it fit – especially when having it fit is precisely the explanation.

      And couple that with various character traits wrongly touted as virtues…it fits together in all the wrong ways.

      That said, I think some of them can hear themselves talk – they just haven’t considered or won’t consider the possibility that they might be wrong. I’m not sure how much I’m projecting based on my own experience though – and the extent to which that’s representative.

      Liked by 2 people

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  2. Professor Taboo

    Ratamacue,

    A most outstanding post Sir! This is going into one of my Favorites! I can’t wait to read the entire Series!

    As an endnote (to this comment), in my post-deconversion and my ecstatic entry into my family/humanity reunion, I desire to maintain my actualized individuality(or return to it?) but somehow still within my human family. That includes the ‘religiously lost’, the bibli-idolators or global-standardizors, if that makes sense. The last thing I want to RETURN to is an image or feeling of elitism, or superior enlightenment. I don’t want to lose my human family on this speck of a Pale Blue Dot in our cosmos.

    Many applauding wishes for your inspiring journey Sir! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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      1. Professor Taboo

        Yes, sorry. That is a description that one of my dear college friends has given me recently given our ‘heavy duty’ indoctrination at our Christian liberal arts college & campus. Essentially what she meant by it was I’ve become my own self-actualized man, not molded into a person/man some ancient antiquated religion teaches & expects me to be. I went out on my own to create myself, find my own principles based on what other cultures, life, and Nature gave me. Does that help? 🙂

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        1. ratamacue0 Post author

          It doesn’t explain every aspect of it, but you probably couldn’t fit that into a comment. But it surely helps. 😉

          I think self-actualization is a new concept for me. (I only just read the intro at that link.) Looks like actualizing is for something/someone to manifest in such a way as to live up to his/her/its potential; then self-actualization would be for a person to do that – which would require some level of action by the self.

          I think I see some concepts worth exploring. Thanks.

          Liked by 1 person

  3. Peter

    In the past I had been asked by a young Christian convert why did God create the devil. At the time, late in 2013, I responded:

    “God has given us freewill, so that we can chose to respond to His love. Those who have the ability to love must also have the power to hate. If people are able to walk in the light by choice, they must also be able to walk in darkness. For people to have a genuine choice to love and serve God, they must also be given the choice to serve Satan.”

    I used to describe it as the ‘Bruce Almighty principle’: God, ‘Morgan Freeman’, gave Bruce some of his powers but Bruce was not allowed to override anyone’s free will. Bruce found that what he really wanted for his wife to love him. After he had been using his ‘God’ given powers for a while he asks ‘God’ “how can you make someone love you without forcing them to do so?” God’s response was “see it’s not that easy is it?”

    What should I conclude from gaining my most profound spiritual insight from a Jim Carrey movie? It just seemed to make a lot more sense than the explanations in the Bible.

    Liked by 2 people

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    1. ratamacue0 Post author

      I think your freewill explanation actually makes some sense as a principle operating between people, who are actually known to exist. But I’m not sure the extent to which I’m willing to “commit” to it, and I don’t buy it once we’re talking about it in the context of a proposed invisible being.

      I could pose an answer to your closing question, but it seems rhetorical. 😉

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  4. N℮üґ☼N☮☂℮ṧ

    Excellent post. Once specific regions of a Christian’s (or ex-Christian’s) frontal lobes begin to activate again, after being deactivated due to indoctrination, they see Christianity for what it really is. When this happens we tend to ask ourselves — “how could I have believed such immoral nonsense.

    Christopher Hitchens sums up your post nicely. Christianity has its origins in the totalitarian principle. It is a celestial dictatorship where one must love and also fear. Even if we look at it as metaphors, it’s an insult to our deepest integrity.

    Part 1 (8:40 min/sec)

    Liked by 1 person

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      1. N℮üґ☼N☮☂℮ṧ

        Thanks for sharing that. I wasn’t aware of Hitchens, Dawkins, etc., during my deconversion, but I was astounded that when I did become aware of them, that my own reasons for leaving Christianity were exactly what they were pointing out — that the core of Christianity was unethical/immoral and anti-human. That’s not an easy pill to swallow after being a believer for 4 decades, and quite devout for 20 of those years, but that’s exactly the concussion I came to and I’m certainly not alone. I think posts like yours really help people to think critically.

        Liked by 2 people

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  5. SelfAwarePatterns

    Something like the outsider test of faith has always seemed, to me, the biggest problem with just about any religious worldview. When you consider the faith of the believers in Zeus, Thor, or Osiris, it’s hard to imagine a person thousands of years from now wouldn’t look back at us in the same way.

    Of course, it’d be different if there were any evidence.

    Liked by 1 person

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      1. SelfAwarePatterns

        I did too when I was younger. If you think about it, in our society, the fact that there is zero evidence for anything supernatural is rarely stated, and the opposite is often implied, particularly in all the low quality cablevision “documentaries” these days.

        TV fiction in particular often gives the impression that there are scientists everywhere studying supernatural or paranormal phenomena. Skeptics are typically portrayed as stubborn recalcitrants, ignoring the (in the show) obvious evidence for supernatural or paranormal phenomena.

        Given that, it’s not surprising that most people who haven’t looked into it, do think that there’s tons of evidence out there for religious beliefs, paranormal phenomena, UFOs, and similar notions.

        Liked by 4 people

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        1. inspiredbythedivine1

          98% of History Channel and History Channel 2 are devoted to shows about aliens astronauts, government conspiracies to hide the fact mermaids exist, etc. People are drawn to that shit like flies to poop and think it’s legit science and archeology. Scary.

          Liked by 2 people

        2. inspiredbythedivine1

          Those channels used to do good shows about real history. But now, ugh! Even major networks like NBC will be running shows this Easter season about the TRUE STORY OF JESUS!! They’re presented as historical re-enactments of the Babble and such. We’re inundated with this shit. It sells to the indoctrinated mind trained not to think for itself.

          Liked by 1 person

        3. N℮üґ☼N☮☂℮ṧ

          Yep — and it’s really pushed here in the South. Yet so many people here who claim Jesus is the real deal don’t know hardly anything about their Bible. My parents are Catholic. I had an opportunity (a very very rare opportunity) to bring up some scriptures in the Bible with my mom. She was discussing the horrors of ISIS (was showing on CNN news) and I told her they weren’t any different than what Yahweh did in the Bible.

          She turns to me and says “Who’s Yahweh?”

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        4. inspiredbythedivine1

          Yeah. I was raised Catholic and went to Catholic school all the way through high school. Babble study is not done. They read a few gaspels and then dictate their dagma at ya. I didn’t read the Babble til I was in a lit class in college. my eyes opened wide then; until I passed out from boredom, that is.

          Liked by 3 people

        5. N℮üґ☼N☮☂℮ṧ

          Can totally relate to the boredom. Spent a couple of years in Catholic schools and many years having to go to church. I think my parents used the church as baby sitters. They rarely attended, but we had to go — not to mention CCD classes. Thankfully, that ended after age 14, but I didn’t crack a Bible until I was in my mid-20’s after I left the RCC, but like most Christians, I was a cherry picker until later in my “walk” when I really sunk my teeth into scripture.

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        6. inspiredbythedivine1

          Best way to de-convert is to read, carefully, the whole Babble. Violent, genocidal, homicidal, misogynistic, homophobic, and hateful is what the Babble is, especially if one takes it as “real”. As historical myth, and cultural history, it is imperative to understanding western thought that we read it, but to read that crap and say it is from a true loving god and needs to be followed is psychotic and sick.

          Liked by 1 person

        7. N℮üґ☼N☮☂℮ṧ

          Heh — when I started studying the Bible seriously, I got very confused. I sought counsel with pastors and elders (supposedly they are experts). I tried to point that out to my pastors and/or elders, yet they quoted more scriptures to me — to not lean on my own understanding and that Yahweh’s ways and thoughts were higher than mine. That was a huge red flag for me. It told me that they had, for the most part, lost their humanity. This marked the beginning of my exist from Christianity.

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        8. SelfAwarePatterns

          In addition to the history channels, most of Discovery, much of National Geographic, and a distressingly increasing portion of the Science Channel are harboring this junk. Examples are ‘Ancient Aliens’ on History, ‘Hunting Bigfoot’ (on Discovery I think), ‘UFO Conspiracies’ (Science Channel). National Geographic had a mermaid show and numerous equally questionable ones.

          I’ve heard rumors that the new CEO of Discovery is interested in getting away from pseudoscience. Hope that’s true. All of these channels were once decent sources of information. They all still occasionally have decent programming, but they’ve pretty much ruined their reputations as good sources of information.

          Liked by 2 people

        9. inspiredbythedivine1

          I hope that’s true, too. One good move The History Channel has made in recent years is too produce historical “dramas” like Vikings. That’s as well produced and acted a show as you’ll get anywhere. I enjoy it and I’m stunned it’s on History Channel. I’m not saying it’s hauntingly true to real history, but it is quite a good drama and such things have always lead me to do research into the era and people the show’s about. Ancient Aliens I’ve never seen, but I believe it’s on like season 6 or 7. That right there tells you a lot. 7 seasons of a “documentary” show on ancient aliens. Lordy be, we’re a doomed race.

          Liked by 1 person

        10. ratamacue0 Post author

          On Vikings, the interaction between the Christians and the “pagans” is shaping up to bevery interesting.

          I’m also quite interested to see where the Paige / born again storyline goes on The Americans.

          Liked by 2 people

        11. inspiredbythedivine1

          Yes. The Americans is another excellent show. I love the concept. Paige becomes a born again xtian or a commie spy. Cool. Vikings, though, is just great. Love, in a sick way, the “bloody eagle” scene from last year. Ouch, yuck, and ugh!

          Like

  6. Nan

    …In my experience, Christians (my former self included) will claim that God foreknew Adam and Eve would rebel, and let it happen, because it was part of his plan. Because…why, exactly?

    YUP!

    Liked by 3 people

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  7. myatheistlife

    The garden tale is bristling with issues. One, the god foreknew what would happen and yet planted the tree there anyway: either he is not omniscient or not omnipotent _or_ he wanted it that way. They say that the god’s divine plan for us was written an eternity before we existed which backs up the idea that the god wanted Adam and Eve to fail, begging the question: which was the disguise? The entity god or the talking snake?

    Having foreknowledge of the punishments that he would have to wreak upon humanity we must question the motivations of such a creator god or understand that such a god is not omniscient _or_ understand that this was exactly the plan he had in mind.

    Satan is no help for he must have wanted the satan running around as well. It’s not just bad planning on the god’s part that we have a sinful nature, that WAS the plan. My best guess is that YHWH is a trickster god who thrives off of the misery of believers. Of course, it is quite possible that there is no god, good or bad, and shit just happens.

    Liked by 1 person

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  8. Steve Ruis

    Re: Adam and Eve Yes it was a set up. You forgot to ask why God allowed the serpent to gainsay His commands in His Garden. Also, how could God have not known what was going to happen (is He not omniscient)? And why curse the unborn children of Adam and Eve? Is guilt heritable (no modern law claims this)?

    All of this contributes to a gigantic refutation (by the Bible) of the normal claims about God’s nature (omniscience, omnipotence, etc.). If God is omniscient, why is he so often surprised, disappointed, angry, reconsidering, negotiating, etc.? scripture does not support the claims for God’s nature that are usually given.

    Liked by 2 people

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    1. ratamacue0 Post author

      Hi Steve,

      Thanks for your contribution.

      I think I covered most of the stuff in your first paragraph. Regardless, I do agree with you.

      Well-said in your second paragraph. 🙂

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  9. 1jaded1

    I am agnostic. I really like this post as it brings up good points, particularly The Garden of Eden and Sins of the Father. I think I’m close to being, as you say, a deconvert.

    Liked by 1 person

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  10. Pingback: Stop asking questions… that can’t be answered. | the conflicted christian

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