God Given Knowledge?

Introduction

A long while back I did a series of hubs detailing all the absurd things that God gets credit for in our world, everything from recoveries from diseases to athletic ability. God seems to possess the ability of getting credit for doing all the wonderful things in the world while somehow shirking his all powerful responsibilities when misfortune comes our way.

In this hub I'm going to dust off the series to talk about one of the primary ways in which God supposedly communicates with mankind – direct divine “revelation”. The way that God told the Biblical authors what to write and the way that millions of Christians to this day believe that God conveys messages to those chosen few with spiritual ears to listen. I'm going to try to show that not only should God not receive credit for these messages but that even if he was the one sending them they wouldn't be trustworthy.

Ye of No Faith

In many debates theists will make the claim that without God true knowledge is impossible. This is most commonly on display when the believer is employing a form of presuppositionalism, or the brand of apologetics that claims that we all know God exists because apart from God we couldn't know anything at all. The argument goes that if there is no God there is no reason to assume our senses and perceptions are accurate or that our experiences are even real. In other words if there is no God than Solipsism becomes a real serious problem for us because we can never truly know. All the debater then has to do is say that God, the ultimate omniscient authority, dissolves any doubts because he knows everything.

The problem with this, other than the fact that it creates a problem which God has nothing to do with and awkwardly shoves him in as a solution, is that theism does nothing to dissolve the problem of Solipsism. If reality is all just an illusion happening in our minds than there is nothing stopping God from simply being a part of that illusion. Even if he did exist outside of our minds there is nothing stopping God from deceiving us or fooling our senses because our senses and mental abilities would still be just as fallible and prone to mistakes whether theism was true or not.

You see presuppositionalists like Sye Ten Bruggencate will often make the claim that without a God, an ultimate authority to back things up, everything is somehow subjective, that reality is somehow forfeit as a concept without a grand puppet master to shove its hand up the Universe’s ass and make it talk. If we're all just chemical machines processing the world through fallible and often deceptive sensory input how can we really know anything at all? Insert God here.

Like it or not we all have to rely on our brains to perceive reality, whether an immaterial immortal soul exists or not.
Like it or not we all have to rely on our brains to perceive reality, whether an immaterial immortal soul exists or not.

The Good Shepard

God has the last word on what is real and what is not, after all he created the Universe, so Sye and his ilk have weaseled their way out of the problem they so pain-stakingly created right? Wrong.

Recently atheists on youtube have been reacting to and laughing hysterically at Pastor and professional bullshitter Josh Feuerstein, who posted the now world famous 100,000 Dollar Challenge for atheists to provide evidence for the non-existence of God. Of course this same argument could be used to “prove” anything, not just God. Everything and anything imaginative and ridiculous that might exist outside the current purview of our knowledge could be held up with this same broken burden-of-proof shifting logic.

In his video the good Pastor explains a version of this diagram:

In it he asks atheists if God could exist in this vast expanse of knowledge that we do not yet possess as human beings. Well yes Josh, yes he could, but so could a million OTHER Gods that you reject.

You would not pretend, for fear of Hellfire, that Zeus and Thor were also out there, dwelling within that circle of knowledge not yet possessed by mankind. That is because everything we know about these things we call Gods exists within that self-same minuscule dot that represents human knowledge.

Every last piece of information about the God of the Bible exists only within the minds of human beings and, like all other claims, the claim to God's existence fails or succeeds based on whether it can be objectively verified by evidence. People presupposing God because without him they'd have to rely on their own faulty human minds have not provided any evidence for God and have not provided an escape route by which an unproven God concept can somehow solve the problem to begin with. Whether God exists or not our understanding of him would necessarily be based on those self-same flawed human senses and reasoning. That's where direct divine revelation steps in in an attempt to rescue the theist, for how can we doubt when God can simply MAKE US KNOW directly?

Loki, the trickster God of Norse myth and also Marvel myth I guess
Loki, the trickster God of Norse myth and also Marvel myth I guess

The Trickster God

All of these arguments from the theistic side are meant to make us doubt ourselves as human beings because some Christians still go around thinking that atheists have faith that “there is no God”. They are there to say, “we know so little about so little and that through our limited senses, shouldn't we trust in the one true authority, that way we can rest easy? Why deny he exists when you know that you don't know he ISN'T real.”

There is also, of course, an element of shifting the burden of proof. But as a skeptic and an atheist I do not start believing in things on the basis of the fact that they haven't been disproved completely enough to totally rule out their existence.

According to Sye Ten Bruggencate however God has revealed himself to certain Christians in such a way that they might KNOW that he exists. Direct divine revelation is knowledge granted directly by God, it can come in the form of prophetic dreams, wisdom, etc. But in case Christians have forgotten, they are still limited by their own ability to discern reality from fantasy.

Even if we grant the existence of God Christians can still only learn of this God through their own fallible senses, there simply is no other mechanism for them to learn it. Even if conveyed telepathically from some spiritual plane of existence their knowledge could still be faulty. You might ask yourself, how can knowledge from an all-knowing God be faulty or unreliable? Because there is absolutely nothing stopping God from lying.

Let's say the God of the Bible DOES EXIST but that every revelation he has given mankind has been a grand deception on his part. If our only knowledge of God comes from God himself how can we say that it is truthful? If a seemingly supernatural being descends from the sky and tells you that he is always honest and never lies and that he possesses all knowledge you have only your own faculties to explore the claim. You might test this being's knowledge by asking it to give you knowledge that human beings did not yet possess, perhaps some scientific formula we had not yet discovered but even if the formula was accurate how could we say the being was ALL knowing or ALWAYS honest?

Even more troubling such a God could be lying but have the power to force you to believe what it was saying, you would be powerless to stop an omnipotent being from persuading you. The odds of such a being turning out to be perfectly benevolent would be astronomically small and making such an assumption about that being, whether based on that beings own word or not, would be astronomically stupid.

Christians have to use the same flawed sensory organs, the same reasoning prone to irrationality and bias and the same natural and societal moral sensibilities that EVERYONE ELSE has. God is not a “Get out of Solipsism” free card nor does he answer the question of how we can know something is actually true if anything the existence of a being makes knowledge on any subject more difficult to be sure of. God could be lying and the only thing that makes theists think he is not is because he said so.

Faith Reloaded

Because the supernatural cannot, or has not, been objectively verified the employment of faith is used, would faith even be necessary if divine revelation were a thing? Would an honest God not make itself known in such a way to, well, everyone, even remote tribesman in the Amazon? And yet we see a world of religions with contradictory ideas divided primarily by geography, Buddhists teach their children to be Buddhists, Muslims teach their children to be Muslims, etc. We do not see the evidence of direct revelation, otherwise Missionaries spreading the good word to distant lands would never have even been necessary.

What we see from claims of divine revelation, channeling, and other supposed contacts with the spiritual and supernatural are a vast and varied array of different and contradictory claims none of which have ever met even the simplest burden of proof. So we might well gather that if these people are receiving messages that they are being lied to by the great big circle jerk in the sky. But what if the solution was much much simpler? What if the lack of evidence and contradictory nonsensical messages weren't the product of supernatural forces at all but were the product of overactive imaginations trying to fill gaps in our understanding of the Universe.

Then add in some folks who want to make a living, manipulate and control people, suddenly this vast cosmos of unknowns in inhabited by the spirits of the dead wanting to charge you 50 dollars for the first fifteen minutes of the call and preachers filling your adolescent heart with guilt for all your sexual thoughts so that one day you will be a regular attendant, church member, and always pay your tithe on time. Build up these ideas not just as if they were true but as if they were sacred, Holy messages that would bring down a fiery sea of wrath if you questioned them. Build up the people that receive these messages, they become heroes, trusted, beloved, beyond the reproach of the law, hidden safely behind the skirts of “divine revelation”.

Conclusions

To my knowledge if there is a God he/she/it has never opened their mouth to speak a word to humanity. Yes that knowledge is very limited but that limitation is not a call for the credulity of faith but rather for added skepticism. The heavens are silent and so we have filled them with heroes and gods, legends and stories to fill the incalculable gulf of our ignorance. That might sound frightening, like we are alone, but it gives us the time to explore the rest of that circle together without fear of imaginary judgment, without bended knee to a celestial dictator or the Priest who has claimed to see visions of him. It's not frightening, not when you really think about what that means; freedom. Maybe, if there is a God, that would be his greatest gift.

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Comments 77 comments

JMcFarland profile image

JMcFarland 2 years ago from The US of A, but I'm Open to Suggestions

Fantastic, and much appreciated hub. I will most definitely be linking and referencing back to this one.


Lybrah 2 years ago

Very sad, Titen. Another hub filled with scorn and hopelessness, yet I could not help but read or comment. I have come to the conclusion that the reason an excellent writer such as you is not officially published is because of your hatred of God--have you ever considered the possibility that He is withholding that blessing from you for that reason alone? I also wonder, are you past the point of no return?


Paladin_ profile image

Paladin_ 2 years ago from Michigan, USA

The funny thing is -- I just re-read this hub and saw no hatred of God mentioned. The only "scorn" I saw expressed was for apologists who make flimsy, ridiculous or cynical arguments about supposed "knowledge" of God.

As Titen has already correctly stated in other hubs, it's impossible for atheists to "hate" God, for we don't believe that he even exists.

If we "hate" anything at all, it's the specific characterizations of the fictional God that are found in religious texts. Or, more commonly, we hate what religious faith/delusion does to people, to cultures and to the world.


Lybrah 2 years ago

I find that hard to believe--that one would write so many hubs about something he does not believe in--he would feel so passionately about something he does not believe in. Saying that believers have no self-respect is an insult and is scornful. Saying that apologists are ridiculous and flimsy is also a low blow--bordering on scorn.

Why write 100 hubs on the topic?


Link10103 profile image

Link10103 2 years ago

How prevalent do you think religion, specifically Christianity, is in the United States Lybrah?


Paladin_ profile image

Paladin_ 2 years ago from Michigan, USA

Lybrah, I believe you're missing the point. We're writing hubs on the subject, not because WE believe in God, but because EVERYONE ELSE does! And, for better or worse, it matters what other people believe. It affects us all.


Lybrah 2 years ago

No, it does not. So you are writing these in the hopes that others will abandon their faith? It is written: Their blood will be on your hands.


Titen-Sxull profile image

Titen-Sxull 2 years ago from back in the lab again Author

Actually it has more to do with the fact that I don't have a literary agent, which is the main way in which authors get published. Most of what I write isn't currently in a marketable form (ie edited into a proper manuscript format) or is incomplete (the amount of unfinished ideas I have for creative writing is absurd).


Titen-Sxull profile image

Titen-Sxull 2 years ago from back in the lab again Author

"that one would write so many hubs about something he does not believe in"

Have you ever been to Comic-Con Lybrah? People put AMAZING effort into their costumes. Human beings are often just as passionate about things they know are fictional as they are about reality. Also, I have not written 100 hubs on the subject of religion, go back and check, you're exaggerating.


Titen-Sxull profile image

Titen-Sxull 2 years ago from back in the lab again Author

It is written. More fear mongering with empty threats of supernatural reprisal. Anyone can write anything Lybrah, the question is why should we BELIEVE what is written? I can start a religion on my own and write that anyone who doesn't believe it will be eaten alive by tiny furry gnomes from space for all eternity, scary right, except that its ridiculous nonsense not founded in reality - just like hell.


Lybrah 2 years ago

I do not have an agent either, yet have been approached by three or four publishers.


Titen-Sxull profile image

Titen-Sxull 2 years ago from back in the lab again Author

The only publisher I ever had direct contact with was Wizards of the Coast, owned by Hasbro, the guys who publish all the Dungeons and Dragons expanded universe novels, they turned me down in the end. Every novel I try to start I usually hit a dead end, for some reason I tend to have an easy time writing fan fiction and song lyrics both of which are hard to make money from.


Paladin_ profile image

Paladin_ 2 years ago from Michigan, USA

Am I writing my hubs in the hope that others will abandon their faith?

Absolutely!

It's my philosophy that the minimal goal of any life should be to leave the world a better place than you found it. For me, as an anti-theist, that means leaving the world a much more rational and humanistic place than I found it. That means doing everything I reasonably can to eliminate the evils of religious delusion from the face of the planet -- one believer at a time (which is really the only reasonable and effective way to do it).


Titen-Sxull profile image

Titen-Sxull 2 years ago from back in the lab again Author

A sentiment I completely agree with Paladin. I escaped religion and found that not only are its claims unfounded or outright false but they are often harmful if accepted. How could I NOT want to explain and elaborate upon my objections to it? How could I NOT want to wake others from the cult and the superstitions they've been led into?


Joseph O Polanco profile image

Joseph O Polanco 2 years ago

@Titen

“The vulgar modern argument used against religion, and lately against common decency, would be absolutely fatal to any idea of liberty. It is perpetually said that because there are a hundred religions claiming to be true, it is therefore impossible that one of them should really be true.

The argument would appear on the face of it to be illogical, if anyone nowadays troubled about logic. It would be as reasonable to say that because some people thought the earth was flat, and others (rather less incorrectly) imagined it was round, and because anybody is free to say that it is triangular or hexagonal, or a rhomboid, therefore it has no shape at all; or its shape can never be discovered; and, anyhow, modern science must be wrong in saying it is an oblate spheroid. The world must be some shape, and it must be that shape and no other; and it is not self-evident that nobody can possibly hit on the right one.

What so obviously applies to the material shape of the world equally applies to the moral shape of the universe. The man who describes it may not be right, but it is no argument against his rightness that a number of other people must be wrong.”

― G.K. Chesterton


Titen-Sxull profile image

Titen-Sxull 2 years ago from back in the lab again Author

Yes Joe, you've posted that exact quote before in a prior discussion and its just as much a stupid strawman as it was then.

"It is perpetually said that because there are a hundred religions claiming to be true, it is therefore impossible that one of them should really be true."

There isn't a single atheist out there who would use the language that it IMPOSSIBLE for one of the religions to be true, let alone it being PERPETUALLY SAID (such an utterly worthless strawman).

What I will say, however, is that when we look at religions we see the same hallmarks and generally those point to religious supernatural claims being false. We see anthropocentric gods obsessed with humanity who meddle with, guide, punish, reward and often create humanity. We see gods and spirits obsessed with human morality, interaction and behavior. This is logically more consistent with some bullshit we just made up than it is with the behavior of any real being, especially because no religion has ever shown any evidence of its gods or spirits.

This lack of evidence is not, in and of itself evidence of absence, it is, however, a minor hint that works in conjunction with all the other reasons to withhold belief in both religions and the supernatural things they claim exist.

Think about it in simple terms Joe. A God like the Christian God is meant to be obsessed with humanity, guiding it using pillars of fire, miracles, angelic communication and even direct divine visitations. Yet we do not see such things, and the only place we find reports of such things are in mythology, ancient texts that cannot be used to verify such outlandish and often supernatural events.

We cannot look at Odysseus descent into the Underworld assuming it actually happened until proven wrong, that is not the way the burden of proof works, rather we must assume that such claims are part of mythology, epic story-telling.

We don't see Poseidon and Apollo involving themselves in the wars of men as the ancients surely believed they did and we also see no evidence for Yahweh, no evidence for Jesus, no evidence for Allah and no evidence for the work of the spirits of our ancestors. And yet meddling in human affairs is EXACTLY what these gods and entities are meant to do - so where is the evidence?

And please do not tell me that I've just declared gods to be IMPOSSIBLE. Demanding that supernatural claims meet some basic burden of proof before being believed is not declaring something impossible.

Please, if you're going to post another comment, make sure it has some words from you as well, not just a quote, I have no interest in talking to someone who has no opinion of their own.

"The world must be some shape, and it must be that shape and no other; and it is not self-evident that nobody can possibly hit on the right one."

The difference between science and religion is that science takes its conclusion FROM the data and experiment and works toward a consensus. Religion seems to always take its conclusion and FORCE the data to it because it already has a set dogma that it must defend. That dogma may be malleable and indefinite enough to adapt to almost any changes, as we see from the self-contradictory and endlessly re-interpreted Bible, but the true doctrine never grows past the falsehoods and truths it may be built upon. Whereas with science we update our conclusions based on further evidence, further experiment, new observations and better data and get closer to the actual answers.


Joseph O Polanco profile image

Joseph O Polanco 2 years ago

@Titen

i. Here's why it's fatuous for Atheists to suggest, much less claim, that Christ never existed: http://bit.ly/18UraA6

ii. "as we see from the self-contradictory and endlessly re-interpreted Bible"

To what contradictions are you specifically referring to?

iii. The Irrefutable Case For The Necessary Existence Of God: http://bit.ly/1197U6R

One caveat, though. As Frank Zappa put it, "A mind is like a parachute. It only works when it's open."


JMcFarland profile image

JMcFarland 2 years ago from The US of A, but I'm Open to Suggestions

Joseph, where did anyone bring up the historicity of Jesus but you? You do realize, don't you, that all of the links in the article you referenced are from historians who don't believe in the historicity of Jesus, right? And that the author is advocating a position of Agnosticism on whether or not Jesus existed, and not outright saying he did or didn't? I've not met an atheist who claims that jesus flat out didn't exist, although I have met several including myself who are skeptical about his existence at all. Since I am studying currently to get my degree in ancient history, that would put me, according to the author of your article, among those who SHOULD be having those discussions, along with other historians. You may want to read articles you link to in order to make sure you understand what position they're advocating prior to using them.


Joseph O Polanco profile image

Joseph O Polanco 2 years ago

@JM

Thank you for your kind suggestion :)

I'd also like to take this opportunity to kindly encourage you to read my interlocutor's rejoinders before jumping into the middle of a dialogue I'm having with him/her. Had you done so you would have noticed how Titen suggests we should not believe in neither Jehovah nor Jesus because "we also see no evidence for Yahweh, no evidence for Jesus."

As you pointed out from the article I referenced, for any non-historian to even hint at such a claim is fatuous.

But thanks for sharing! :)


JMcFarland profile image

JMcFarland 2 years ago from The US of A, but I'm Open to Suggestions

I don't find that to be true. If it were true, though, by similar deduction it would also be fair to say non scientists would be fallacious to soak of our deny evolution, don't you think? Yet I've seen you do it several times. Is your degree in science?


Joseph O Polanco profile image

Joseph O Polanco 2 years ago

@JM

But wouldn't that also extend to all non-scientists in general? That is to say, no non-scientist should preach the GTOE, correct?


JMcFarland profile image

JMcFarland 2 years ago from The US of A, but I'm Open to Suggestions

If your claim is that no one but a historian should discuss history or the historicity of Jesus, then that eliminates you, but I'm in the clear. We would both be excluded from discussing science. Is that what you're advocating by posting a link to that hub? So I won't see any more posts from you on history or evolution?


Joseph O Polanco profile image

Joseph O Polanco 2 years ago

@JM

The article, rather, dashes the hopes of all the uninformed simply because their opinions cannot possibly sway. In other words, those in the dark about any particular subject matter should keep their benighted opinions to themselves :)


JMcFarland profile image

JMcFarland 2 years ago from The US of A, but I'm Open to Suggestions

Yes, and since I am pursuing several advance degrees in history (master's and doctorate) and formerly studied at a collegiate level in theology and you do not have, as far as I know, a degree in theology, science or history, wouldn't that then make you one of the uninformed you speak of, in reference to what the article is saying? Or do you make an exception for yourself because you have independently researched so that YOU alone are qualified somehow in all these fields but others (mostly who disagree with you) who have done similar research are not? Isn't that a perfect example of special pleading? You don't have a degree in these subjects but you're qualified, but others aren't? How does that game work exactly?


Joseph O Polanco profile image

Joseph O Polanco 2 years ago

@JM

There are many autodidacts whose understanding of these subjects can stand toe-to-toe with yours. As my own comments in these areas clearly show, I am but one of them :)


JMcFarland profile image

JMcFarland 2 years ago from The US of A, but I'm Open to Suggestions

I see. So you don't need a degree, but everyone who holds a position contrary to yours should have one to be able to converse with you? How humble of you. So the point of referencing that article is what? To give yourself a free pass while holding your opponents to a standard you excuse yourself from? Why should anyone take that blatant double standard or the person who created it seriously?


Joseph O Polanco profile image

Joseph O Polanco 2 years ago

@JM

Hardly. As I explained earlier, those in the dark about any particular subject matter should keep their benighted opinions to themselves. If you'll notice I do not qualify this with the need for a piece of paper with the letters "DEGREE" on them. Nice Strawman, though :)


JMcFarland profile image

JMcFarland 2 years ago from The US of A, but I'm Open to Suggestions

But you've made a judgement that the hub author and many others are not qualified to make such statements or form an opinion on the historicity of Jesus by referencing that article, have you not? Do you know how long or how in depth they've studied it to pronounce said judgement? What is your degree in, if you have one?


Joseph O Polanco profile image

Joseph O Polanco 2 years ago

@JM

Yes, I did. My experience is that most internet Atheists, like Titen, are merely parrotting what they've found at their pet Atheist site. They've actually done very, very little research themselves.

This is clearly evident with Titen in his angry rant here in that he mostly relies on rhetoric than actual historical evidence (or evidence of any kind really) to bolster his outlandish claims ...


JMcFarland profile image

JMcFarland 2 years ago from The US of A, but I'm Open to Suggestions

Since you see no problem with passing judgement on so-called "Internet atheists" with no knowledge or regard to their own journey or research, I see no reason to put any stock in yours, regardless of how deep or insightful you seem to think it is. Consider me one actual student and soon to be graduate historical scholar who chooses to not engage with you further. I have no time for such arrogance or such blatant application of Hypocrisy and double standards. I encourage others, in light of this disturbing application of special pleading and arrogance to stop responding to your comments as well, since you seen to be spamming multiple atheist hubs with identical comments and quotes in an almost desperate seeming attempt to find someone willing to take the bait and engage.


Joseph O Polanco profile image

Joseph O Polanco 2 years ago

@JM

Have a nice day! :)


Titen-Sxull profile image

Titen-Sxull 2 years ago from back in the lab again Author

"To what contradictions are you specifically referring to?"

I'm not referring to any specific ones, I'm referring to the self-contradictory nature of the Bible as a whole. If you want specific examples we can get into them.

"The Irrefutable Case For The Necessary Existence Of God:"

Again I'm not interested in having a link war or seeing quotes from other people, please post something of substance, you generally don't even see me linking to MY OWN hubs let alone someone else's articles online. I've seen plenty of attempts at defining God into existence, both from the ontological argument and the idea of God being somehow NECESSARY, such arguments are not persuasive.

""A mind is like a parachute. It only works when it's open.""

And a claim should only be accepted when it has met a basic burden of proof. My skepticism about claims to the supernatural is proportion with my desire to believe such claims. I would love to believe in aliens, gods, telepathy, past-lives and all sorts of wonderful things like that but I have yet to see evidence for them. You know that poster on Mulder's wall in X-Files that says "I want to believe" well that's me with one caveat (good word choice there by the way) I want to believe ONLY if I have good reason, I don't want to be lied to in order to believe it.


Titen-Sxull profile image

Titen-Sxull 2 years ago from back in the lab again Author

Joe, I'm sorry if you assumed that my claim that we see no evidence for Jesus was a claim about a historical Jesus. I exist in a sort of middle ground when it comes to the historicity of Jesus as a human being, I can see both sides. I do not, however, take the historicity of Jesus for granted and just assume that he must've existed.

However I consider the Biblical Jesus and the historical Jesus (whoever might have inspired the myths) to be entirely separate entities. When I say we see no evidence for Jesus I mean we see no evidence for anything supernatural actually having taken place, we see hearsay, stories, and legends that may or may not have been based on a real person.


Joseph O Polanco profile image

Joseph O Polanco 2 years ago

@Titen

"If you want specific examples we can get into them."

I'd very much like to see them :)


Titen-Sxull profile image

Titen-Sxull 2 years ago from back in the lab again Author

"This is clearly evident with Titen in his angry rant here in that he mostly relies on rhetoric than actual historical evidence (or evidence of any kind really) to bolster his outlandish claims ..."

I'm confused about which part of my rant requires "historical" evidence. You do understand that I need NO evidence whatsoever to dismiss supernatural claims as unproven right? Disbelief requires no evidence, it merely requires being unconvinced of the side making positive claims. As such no supernatural claim, to my knowledge, has ever presented any substantial evidence or met even the barest burden of proof. I would also love to know which of my claims you find outlandish as I would love to bask in the irony that someone who has faith in supernatural entities thinks my mundane claim that the world is natural and needs no supernatural element to function is outlandish.


Joseph O Polanco profile image

Joseph O Polanco 2 years ago

Indirect evidence is often reliably depended upon to establish the veracity of a fact. For instance, it's been utilized to prove that the Sun produces energy through nuclear fusion, hydrogen exists on it and that the Earth has an iron core. In like manner, the fact that there are dozens upon dozens of fulfilled Bible prophecies constitutes irrefutable evidence for the existence of it's author, Jehovah God.

Indeed, for millions of rational people the world over, the fact that all of the fulfilled prophecies the Bible contains were accurate predictions of future events constitutes the greatest evidence of all of the Bible's divine origin and the necessary existence of it's Magnificent Author, God. No other writings, religious or otherwise, shares this distinct mark of divine authorship.

Here are some preeminent examples of these extraordinary and precise prophecies:

http://bit.ly/11s7PTp

http://bit.ly/136NAEZ

http://bit.ly/18jlXQq

http://bit.ly/11wklzZ

Only the Bible reveals that our Creator has a personal name, Jehovah, and informs us that He is “abundant in loving-kindness.” (Ex. 34:6) “Give thanks to Jehovah, you people, for he is good; for his loving-kindness is to time indefinite.” (Psalm 118:1, 29) “[God] is kind toward the unthankful and wicked,” states Luke 6:35. “He makes his sun rise upon wicked people and good and makes it rain upon righteous people and unrighteous.” (Matt. 5:45) “Your loving-kindness, O Jehovah,” sang the psalmist, “has filled the earth.” (Ps. 119:64) The scriptures contain numerous accounts of how Jehovah showed loving-kindness to his worshippers.

For instance, Jehovah protected and fed the Israelites while they spent 40 years in the wilderness. In the Promised Land, God provided judges to rescue them from their enemies and to bring them back to true worship. Because Jehovah stuck with them through good times and bad during all those centuries, he could tell the nation: “With a love to time indefinite I have loved you. That is why I have drawn you with loving-kindness.”—Jer. 31:3.

Only the Bible informs us that Jehovah goes beyond speaking about forgiveness. He acts accordingly. Jehovah used Jeremiah to exhort: “Do return, O renegade Israel . . . I shall not have my face drop angrily upon you people . . . I shall not stay resentful to time indefinite.” (Jer. 3:12) God does not feel lingering anger or bitterness toward any of his people whom he has forgiven. Rather, though a wrong has been committed, Jehovah wants to repair the damaged relationship. Despite the sins a person may have committed, if that sinner truly repents and seeks God’s forgiveness, Jehovah will ‘bring him back’ to His favor and blessing. (Jer. 15:19)

Consider the example of King David of ancient Israel, who sang: “[Jehovah] is forgiving all your error, [he] is healing all your maladies.” How David must have appreciated being shown forgiveness for his sin with Bath-sheba and for murdering her husband. He extolled Jehovah, saying: “As the heavens are higher than the earth, his loving-kindness is superior toward those fearing him.” (Ps. 103:3, 11)

Everything you need to know about your loving Creator and how to develop a close personal relationship with Him is right there in the Bible.


Joseph O Polanco profile image

Joseph O Polanco 2 years ago

What Reasons Do We Have To Believe Everything Exists For A Purpose?

To borrow from an illustration by Richard Taylor, "Imagine you are walking through the woods on a hike and you come across a translucent ball lying on the forest floor. You would naturally wonder where that ball came from – what is the explanation of its existence? If your hiking buddy said to you, “Don’t worry about it – it just exists, inexplicably!,” you would think either that he was crazy or that he wanted you to keep on moving. But you wouldn’t take seriously the idea that this ball just exists without any explanation of its existence.

Now suppose that the ball, instead of being the size of a basketball, were the size of an automobile. Merely increasing the size of the ball would not do anything to remove or satisfy the demand for an explanation of its existence, would it? Suppose it were the size of a house? Same problem! Suppose it were the size of a planet or a galaxy? Same problem! Suppose it were the size of the entire universe? Same problem!

Merely increasing the size of the object does not do anything to remove or satisfy the demand for an explanation of its existence. And so I think it is very plausible to think that everything that exists has an explanation of why it exists." (http://bit.ly/Pm4s92)

Therefore -

(1) Everything that exists has an objective explanation of its existence, either in the necessity of its own nature or in an external cause.

(A) If atheism is true, the universe has no objective explanation of its existence.

(B) If the universe has an objective explanation of its existence then atheism is false.

(2) The universe exists.

(3) The space-time universe does not exist out of the necessity of it’s own nature for it did not exist until 13.70 billion years ago.

(4) Therefore, the space-time universe exists because of an external cause.

(5) The external cause of the universe must necessarily be a transcendent, beginningless, spaceless, immaterial, timeless, unchanging, omnipotent and personal being.

(6) A transcendent, beginningless, spaceless, immaterial, timeless, unchanging, omnipotent and personal being is the definition of God.

(7) Therefore, the objective explanation of the universe's existence is God.

"If the whole universe has no meaning, we should never have found out that it has no meaning: just as, if there were no light in the universe and therefore no creatures with eyes, we should never know it was dark. Dark would be without meaning." - C. S. Lewis


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Joseph O Polanco 2 years ago

“Ex nihilo nihil fit.” In other words, something can't come from nothing. (Not Hawking’s or Krauss’ mendacious pseudo-definition of “nothing” (“The Grand Design”/ ”A Universe From Nothing“) but the concept that describes the absence of anything; the state of nonexistence: http://bit.ly/14Ff2hg) If it could, why doesn't everything or anything? Why aren't dinosaurs, for instance, popping out of thin air, devouring everyone in sight? Why aren't we afraid of elephants suddenly popping into existence and crushing us as they fall from the sky? If nothing can in fact produce something why would it discriminate? Conspicuously, then, such an argument is laid bare as nothing more than fallacious special pleading.

Furthermore, from the whole of human experience, knowledge, wisdom, empiricism and discovery we’ve distilled other self-evident, irrefragable truths such as:

- A posteriori causality

- Being does not arise from nonbeing

- Whatever begins to exist has a cause

- Information does not spring from chaos

- Fine-tuning does not emanate from randomness

Given these unshakable abecedarian truths, the natural questions that follow are, “Where did the universe come from 13.70 billion years ago?” and “What caused it to come into existence in the first place?” Whatever this cause is, it must possess certain requisite properties.

Therefore -

(1) Whatever begins to exist has a cause.

(2) The space-time universe began to exist 13.70 billion years ago.

(3) Therefore, the space-time universe has a cause.

(4) The cause of the universe is a transcendent, beginningless, spaceless, immaterial, timeless, unchanging, omnipotent good personal being.

(5) A transcendent, beginningless, spaceless, immaterial, timeless, unchanging, omnipotent good personal being is the definition of God.

(6) Therefore, God caused the universe to exist 13.70 billion years ago.

Now, let’s take a closer look at each of the premisses of this elegant syllogism. First and foremost, this cause must itself be uncaused. Why? Because an infinite regress of causes has no basis in reality; it can’t be turtles all the way down. (Lookup “Hilbert's Grand Hotel” if you're interested in a more in-depth analysis: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H2W2vduP22Q)

Second, this uncaused cause must transcend space-time because it itself created space-time. It is therefore, spaceless.

Third, since this uncaused cause exists beyond space and time it is must be a non-physical or immaterial cause. Why? Because physical things exist only in space – they have dimensions.

Fourth, this uncaused cause must necessarily also be timeless for the simple fact that it itself doesn't exist in space-time.

Fifth, it must also be changeless. As I'm sure you're well aware, all matter exists in a state of constant flux. This is especially apparent at the atomic level. Since this uncaused cause is immaterial it is not subject to the same forces that affect matter, therefore, it is unchanging.

Sixth, this uncaused cause is obviously unimaginably powerful, if not omnipotent, for it brought matter, energy, space and time into existence completely on its own.

So, to sum up, whatever it is that caused the universe to come into existence 13.70 billion years ago it must be beginningless, spaceless, immaterial, timeless, unchanging and omnipotent.

But we're not done for there are two more properties of this uncaused cause that we can deduce from what we observe of the universe. Before we get to these, though, we first need to take a closer look at cause and effect. Here's what I mean: if a cause is sufficient to produce it's effect then the effect must also be present. The two are joined at the hip, so to speak; you can't have one without the other.

Let me borrow from an illustration to make this clearer. “Suppose that the cause of water’s freezing is the temperature’s being below 0°C. If the temperature were below 0°C from eternity past, then any water that was around would be frozen from eternity. It would be impossible for the water to just begin to freeze a finite time ago. Once the cause is given, the effect must be given as well.” (http://bit.ly/WQtgZY)

The issue is, if we have in fact a timeless, transcendent cause why isn't the effect permanent as well? In other words, if this timeless, transcendent cause actually brought the universe into being, why hasn't the universe always been? How can a cause be eternal but its effect commence a finite time ago? We know the universe is about 13.70 billion years old but we've also deduced that whatever caused the universe must be transcendent and timeless.

The only way this is possible is if this timeless, transcendent, uncaused cause were also a free agent – a being with free will who can act of its own volition. As we all know, free will is the hallmark of personhood.

So here we arrive at this uncaused cause of the universe 13.70 billion years ago that is beginningless, spaceless, immaterial, timeless, unchanging, omnipotent and personal being who is all good and all loving: http://bit.ly/15mmyNx.

This is the very definition - of God :)


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Joseph O Polanco 2 years ago

Over the years, skeptics have challenged— and continue to challenge— the Bible’s accuracy regarding the names of people, events and places it mentions. Time and again, though, evidence has shown such skepticism to be unwarranted. The Bible record, therefore, is wholly factual.

For example, at one time scholars doubted the existence of Assyrian King Sargon, mentioned at Isaiah 20:1. However, in the 1840’s, archaeologists began unearthing the palace of this king. Now, Sargon is one of the best-known Assyrian kings.

Critics questioned the existence of Pontius Pilate, the Roman governor who ordered Jesus’death. (Matthew 27:1, 22-24) But in 1961 a stone bearing Pilate’s name and rank was discovered near the city of Caesarea in Israel.

Before 1993, there was no extra-biblical evidence to support the historicity of David, the brave young shepherd who later became king of Israel. That year, however, archaeologists uncovered in northern Israel a basalt stone, dated to the ninth century B.C.E., that experts say bears the words “House of David” and “king of Israel.”

Until recently, many scholars doubted the accuracy of the Bible’s account of the nation of Edom battling with Israel in the time of David. (2 Samuel 8:13, 14) Edom, they argued, was a simple pastoral society at the time and did not become sufficiently organized or have the might to threaten Israel until much later. However, recent excavations indicate that “Edom was a complex society centuries earlier [than previously thought], as reflected in the Bible,” states an article in the journal Biblical Archaeology Review.

There were many rulers on the world stage during the 16 centuries that the Bible was being written. When the Bible refers to a ruler, it always uses the proper title. For example, it correctly refers to Herod Antipas as “district ruler” and Gallio as “proconsul.” (Luke 3:1; Acts 18:12) Ezra 5:6 refers to Tattenai, the governor of the Persian province “beyond the River,” the Euphrates River. A coin produced in the fourth century B.C.E. contains a similar description, identifying the Persian governor Mazaeus as ruler of the province “Beyond the River.”

Regarding the historical accuracy of the Bible, the October 25, 1999, issue of U.S.News & World Report said: “In extraordinary ways, modern archaeology has affirmed the historical core of the Old and New Testaments— corroborating key portions of the stories of Israel’s patriarchs, the Exodus, the Davidic monarchy, and the life and times of Jesus.” While faith in the Bible does not hinge on archaeological discoveries, such historical accuracy is what you would expect of a book inspired by God.

Even more staggering, however, is the fact that there’s more historical evidence for the death and resurrection of Christ than there is for evolution. In fact, any denial of the historicity of Christ’s resurrection is comparable to denying the US declared its independence in 1776 or that Columbus landed in America in 1492.

In his book "The Historicity of the Resurrection of Jesus", Michael Licona provides a list of scholars who attest to the historicity of Christ’s death and resurrection which includes Brodeur, Collins, Conzelman, Fee, Gundry, Harris, Hayes, Hèring, Hurtado, Johnson, Kistemaker, Lockwood, Martin, Segal, Snyder, Thiselton, Witherington, and Wright.

Concordantly, British scholar N. T. Wright states, "As a historian, I cannot explain the rise of early Christianity unless Jesus rose again, leaving an empty tomb behind him.” (N. T. Wright, “The New Unimproved Jesus,” Christianity Today (September 13, 1993)), p. 26.

Even Gert L¸demann, the leading German critic of the resurrection, himself admits, “It may be taken as historically certain that Peter and the disciples had experiences after Jesus’ death in which Jesus appeared to them as the risen Christ.”(Gerd L¸demann, What Really Happened to Jesus?, trans. John Bowden (Louisville, Kent.: Westminster John Knox Press, 1995), p. 80.)

These are just a minute sampling from the massive throng of scholars who all attest to the historicity of Christ’s resurrection - http://amzn.to/13MQiTE

Prominently, in his book, “Justifying Historical Descriptions”, historian C. B. McCullagh lists six tests which historians use in determining what is the best explanation for given historical facts. The hypothesis “God raised Jesus from the dead” passes all these tests:

1. It has great explanatory scope: it explains why the tomb was found empty, why the disciples saw post-mortem appearances of Jesus, and why the Christian faith came into being.

2. It has great explanatory power: it explains why the body of Jesus was gone, why people repeatedly saw Jesus alive despite his earlier public execution, and so forth.

3. It is plausible: given the historical context of Jesus’ own unparalleled life and claims, the resurrection serves as divine confirmation of those radical claims.

4. It is not ad hoc or contrived: it requires only one additional hypothesis: that God exists. And even that needn’t be an additional hypothesis if one already believes that God exists.

5. It is in accord with accepted beliefs. The hypothesis: “God raised Jesus from the dead” doesn’t in any way conflict with the accepted belief that people don’t rise naturally from the dead. The Christian accepts that belief as wholeheartedly as he accepts the hypothesis that God raised Jesus from the dead.

6. It far outstrips any of its rival hypotheses in meeting conditions (1)-(5). Down through history various alternative explanations of the facts have been offered, for example, the conspiracy hypothesis, the apparent death hypothesis, the hallucination hypothesis, and so forth. Such hypotheses have been almost universally rejected by contemporary scholarship. None of these naturalistic hypotheses succeeds in meeting the conditions as well as the resurrection solution.

http://bit.ly/10y5Qfp


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Titen-Sxull 2 years ago from back in the lab again Author

The first and most obvious contradiction I can think of is the constantly changing criteria for Salvation in the New Testament. We have versus like John 3:16 where all that is required is belief, and later on in the New Testament we see arguments over whether it is faith, works, or some combination of the two (ie faith without works is dead).

Another one that comes to mind is 2 Peter 3:9, which states that God is not willing for anyone to perish but for all to repent which is contradicted by the fact that most human beings end up in the Lake of Fire in revelation, there are also verses which have God hardening hearts while 2 Thessalonians has him "sending strong delusion" to make sure certain people are damned.


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Titen-Sxull 2 years ago from back in the lab again Author

"Here are some preeminent examples of these extraordinary and precise prophecies:"

I have to assume that you're just copying and pasting from your favorite links here, again I have to remind you that I have no desire to have a discussion by proxy and with links and quotes from other sites.

I was a Christian until I was 19 Joe and I've been an atheist for the last five years, do you seriously think I haven't heard of and checked the "amazing" prophecies in the Bible. Needless to say I am not impressed.


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Titen-Sxull 2 years ago from back in the lab again Author

"If atheism is true, the universe has no objective explanation of its existence."

This premise has not be demonstrated at all and I contest it because its, pardon my french, completely made up horseshit. If atheism is true there are no gods, that is the repercussions of atheism because that is all atheism entails. However there can still be an objective explanation for how the Universe came into existence or where the Universe came from (you would likely call it the First Cause). Nothing about atheism makes their being a first cause or an ultimate explanation impossible.

" If the universe has an objective explanation of its existence then atheism is false."

Since A is bullshit B is also bullshit as it follows from A.

"(4) Therefore, the space-time universe exists because of an external cause."

I think you could combine this with premise 3. Kalam does this quite well. My only objection here is the word external, because if space did not exist than the idea of something being external doesn't really make much sense. This is the problem with all formulations of the cosmological argument, our understanding of physics breaks downs when dealing with the subject of "BEFORE" the big bang, it might seem logically intuitive to assume that there is a first cause and that it is "external" to the existing singularity/Universe but we don't know for sure.

"Therefore, the objective explanation of the universe's existence is God."

Here lies the problem, the words PERSONAL BEING do not belong here as there is literally nothing suggesting the this cause external to our Universe must be a living personal being. In fact I would argue that attributes such as spacelessness, beginninglessness and being immaterial preclude any kind of living being (you've read my Deconstructing God's Characteristics hub so you know this already).


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Titen-Sxull 2 years ago from back in the lab again Author

"These are just a minute sampling from the massive throng of scholars who all attest to the historicity of Christ’s resurrection -"

Joe, I don't care how many historians believe in Jesus, arguments from authority are not going to work on me.

"1. It has great explanatory scope: it explains why the tomb was found empty, why the disciples saw post-mortem appearances of Jesus, and why the Christian faith came into being."

Elves and gremlins have great explanatory power too Joe, and so do Ghosts. Oh why did your camera batteries die so quick? Ghosts drained the battery. What happened to your car keys, you just KNOW you left them on the counter how'd they get in the sofa cushions. Ghosts did it. Explanatory power means nothing if the explanation itself is a ridiculous one that invokes magic or the supernatural. Second of all there is no empty tomb, none, its never been found, thousand of years later there are dozens of locations that CLAIM to be Jesus' tomb. The post-mortem appearance of Jesus require no explanation, people saw Elvis decades after he was dead. And as for the Christian faith, cults and religions pop into existence all the time, there is no reason to assume anything actually supernatural exists at their core.

"It is plausible: given the historical context of Jesus’ own unparalleled life and claims, the resurrection serves as divine confirmation of those radical claims."

We have no historical context for Jesus, we have mythic context for Jesus' life written down decades after it was over. Of course the Resurrection is plausible WITHIN THE NARRATIVE of the Gospels, they're part of the religious texts these people wanted to spread, they were part of their beliefs and their faith. Spider-Man can stick to walls, that's plausible within the narrative of a comic book, its not plausible outside of one for a man to have those powers.

"The hypothesis: “God raised Jesus from the dead” doesn’t in any way conflict with the accepted belief that people don’t rise naturally from the dead."

Hey look Joe, we can agree on this one, I actually agree that the idea of Jesus' miraculously coming back to life doesn't conflict with the fact that we don't observe other people naturally rising from the dead - here's the problem, we don't observe anyone supernaturally doing it either. As the premise above states there is one additional hypothesis necessary, that God exists, so we must accept the supernatural first. But not only do we not see evidence for Resurrections, we don't see evidence for any other supernatural events either.

"None of these naturalistic hypotheses succeeds in meeting the conditions as well as the resurrection solution."

Of course they don't meet the Christian criteria, the Christian criteria involve assuming there really is an empty tomb and assuming the Gospels in general are true accounts. The idea that Jesus might have just been a man who started a cult and the oral tradition of that cult built him up with mythology around him is the most obvious hypothesis, and it is INFINITELY more plausible than the additional hypothesis that "God exists" and "Raised Jesus from the dead"


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Joseph O Polanco 2 years ago

"My only objection here is the word external, because if space did not exist ..."

"the words PERSONAL BEING do not belong here as there is literally nothing suggesting the this cause external to our Universe must be a living personal being"

I've anticipated these objections and addressed them about a half hour ago. I kindly invite you to perlustrate these :)


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Joseph O Polanco 2 years ago

History records that Babylon took the Jews into captivity. Yet, about 40 years before this happened Jeremiah foretold it. Isaiah predicted it some 150 years before it happened. He also foretold that the Jews would return from captivity. So did Jeremiah, saying that they would be restored to their land after 70 years.—Isaiah 39:6, 7; 44:26; Jeremiah 25:8-12; 29:10.

This return was made possible by the overthrow of Babylon by the Medes and Persians in 539 B.C.E. It was foretold by Isaiah nearly 200 years before it happened, and by Jeremiah about 50 years before it occurred. Jeremiah said that the Babylonian soldiers would put up no fight. Both Isaiah and Jeremiah foretold that Babylon’s protecting waters, the river Euphrates, “must be dried up.” Isaiah even gave the name of the conquering Persian general, Cyrus, and said that before him “the gates [of Babylon] will not be shut.”—Jeremiah 50:38; 51:11, 30; Isaiah 13:17-19; 44:27; 45:1.

The Greek historian Herodotus explained that Cyrus actually diverted the flow of the Euphrates and “the river sank to such an extent that the natural bed of the stream became fordable.”Thus, during the night, enemy soldiers marched along the riverbed and entered the city through gates that had been carelessly left open. “Had the Babylonians been apprised of what Cyrus was about,” Herodotus continued, “they would have made fast all the street-gates which [were] upon the river . . . But, as it was, the Persians came upon them by surprise and so took the city.”Actually, the Babylonians were involved in drunken revelry, as the Bible explains, and as Herodotus confirms. (Daniel 5:1-4, 30) Both Isaiah and Jeremiah foretold that Babylon would eventually become uninhabited ruins. And that is what happened. Today Babylon is a desolate heap of mounds.—Isaiah 13:20-22; Jeremiah 51:37, 41-43.

Cyrus also restored the Jews to their homeland. But why would he do such a thing? The Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary explains, "Cyrus, according to Josephus, heard of this prophecy of Isaiah delivered so long before; hence he was induced to do that which was so contrary to Oriental policy, to aid in restoring the captive Jews and rebuilding their temple and city." (See "The Works of Flavius Josephus" - Translated by William Whiston, Book XI, Chapter I, Sec. II -http://bit.ly/19vwuDg)

Indeed, over two centuries before, Jehovah had foretold of Cyrus: “All that I delight in he will completely carry out.” (Isaiah 44:28) True to prophecy, after 70 years Cyrus returned the captives to their homeland, in 537 B.C.E. (Ezra 1:1-4) An ancient Persian inscription, called the Cyrus Cylinder, has been found that clearly states the policy of Cyrus to return captives to their homelands. “As to the inhabitants of Babylon,” Cyrus is recorded as having said, “I (also) gathered all their (former) inhabitants and returned (to them) their habitations.”

Isaiah made a further startling prediction regarding Babylon: *** “She will never be inhabited.” *** (Isaiah 13:19, 20) To predict permanent desolation for a sprawling city occupying a strategic location was bold indeed. You would normally expect that such a city would be rebuilt if ruined. Although Babylon lingered on for a while after its conquest, Isaiah’s words eventually came true. Today the site of ancient Babylon “is flat, hot, deserted and dusty,” reports Smithsonian magazine.

It is awesome to contemplate the magnitude of Isaiah’s prophecy. What he foretold would be the equivalent of predicting the exact manner in which a modern city, such as New York or London, would be destroyed 200 years from now and then emphatically stating that it would never again be inhabited.


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Joseph O Polanco 2 years ago

"the constantly changing criteria for Salvation in the New Testament."

Except that John 3:16 and James 2:14-26 are not mutually exclusive. If one has authentic faith this will be evident by the actions they cause one to perform.

"Another one that comes to mind is 2 Peter 3:9, which states that God is not willing for anyone to perish but for all to repent which is contradicted by the fact that most human beings end up in the Lake of Fire in revelation"

What specific text in Revelation are you referring to?

"there are also verses which have God hardening hearts while 2 Thessalonians has him "sending strong delusion" to make sure certain people are damned."

Jehovah “let [Pharaoh’s] heart wax bold” -Exodus 7:3 (Rotherham)

The appendix to Rotherham’s translation shows that in Hebrew the occasion or permission of an event is often presented as if it were the cause of the event, and that “even positive commands are occasionally to be accepted as meaning no more than permission.” Thus at Exodus 1:17 the original Hebrew text literally says that the midwives “caused the male children to live,” whereas in reality they permitted them to live by refraining from putting them to death. After quoting Hebrew scholars M. M. Kalisch, H. F. W. Gesenius, and B. Davies in support, Rotherham states that the Hebrew sense of the texts involving Pharaoh is that “God permitted Pharaoh to harden his own heart—spared him—gave him the opportunity, the occasion, of working out the wickedness that was in him. That is all.”—The Emphasised Bible, appendix, p. 919 (cf. Isa 10:5-7)

Corroborating this understanding is the fact that the record definitely shows that Pharaoh himself “hardened his heart.” (Exodus 8:15, 32, KJ; “made his heart unresponsive,” NWT) He thus exercised his own will and followed his own stubborn inclination, the results of which inclination Jehovah accurately foresaw and predicted. (Exodus 8:30-32; 9:34,35) The repeated opportunities given him by Jehovah obliged Pharaoh to make decisions, and in doing so he became hardened in his attitude. (cf. Ecclesiastes 8:11, 12.) As the apostle Paul shows by quoting Exodus 9:16, Jehovah allowed the matter to develop in this way to the full length of ten plagues in order to make manifest his own power and cause his name to be made known earth wide.—Romans 9:17, 18.

Re: 2 Thessalonians 2:11,12

First off, the passage correctly reads, "καὶ διὰ τοῦτο πέμπει αὐτοῖς ὁ Θεὸς ἐνέργειαν πλάνης εἰς τὸ πιστεῦσαι αὐτοὺς τῷ ψεύδει, ἵνα κριθῶσιν πάντες οἱ μὴ πιστεύσαντες τῇ ἀληθείᾳ ἀλλὰ εὐδοκήσαντες τῇ ἀδικίᾳ." So you see and just as with Pharaoh, it's not that Jehovah God Himself is deluding anyone but rather that he allows "a deluding influence mislead them so that they may come to believe the lie." How does this work exactly? 1 Timothy 4:1 answers, "However, the inspired word clearly says that in later times some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to misleading inspired statements and teachings of demons." Makes sense?


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Titen-Sxull 2 years ago from back in the lab again Author

Again, not impressed by these prophecies.

"Today Babylon is a desolate heap of mounds."

Big effing deal, as is most of the ancient world except those cities we ended up building over top of. Again I was a Christian for years Joe, I've already been through all this - not impressed.


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Joseph O Polanco 2 years ago

But creation itself was a supernatural event! To put it another way, if exceptional intellect is required to merely duplicate designs and systems present in nature ( Biomimetics ) then much more the original being replicated. Creation is thus proof of an Almighty Creator.


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Joseph O Polanco 2 years ago

"The idea that Jesus might have just been a man who started a cult and the oral tradition of that cult built him up with mythology around him is the most obvious hypothesis, and it is INFINITELY more plausible than the additional hypothesis that "God exists" and "Raised Jesus from the dead""

Do you honestly believe anyone would willingly sacrifice their life for something they knew was a mendacity?


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Titen-Sxull 2 years ago from back in the lab again Author

"“Why? Because an infinite regress of causes has no basis in reality”

We're uncomfortable with infinite regress yes but that doesn't mean that some form of infinite regression of causes isn't the actual answer. There is still debate among physicists as to whether the Universe – in some form – is finite or eternal. We have NO IDEA how strange things get when dealing with these ideas.

“a being with free will who can act of its own volition. As we all know, free will is the hallmark of personhood.”

As we all know free will is the hallmark of personhood? What the hell. First off I don't believe free will exists, especially not in the sense the theists purpose. I'm a determinist. Second of all, as I've said before, it doesn't make ANY sense for something that doesn't take up space (spaceless), or exist within time, or possess a beginning to even be ALIVE. In fact the DECISION MAKING PROCESS that this “FREE WILL” needs to function WOULD REQUIRE THE PASSAGE OF TIME.

Sorry Joe but this is simply unimpressive to the extreme.


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Joseph O Polanco 2 years ago

You're not impressed by the fact that Cyrus actually read the prophecy in Isaiah which predicted that he would be the one to restore the Israelites back to their homeland?


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Titen-Sxull 2 years ago from back in the lab again Author

"Makes sense?"

Hardly. First off in the case of Exodus God himself admits that he wants to make sure all of his "WONDERS" are played out in Egypt before going off to harden Pharaoh's heart.

"What specific text in Revelation are you referring to?"

Revelation 21:8, which I might also add suggests that Salvation and damnation have a lot to do with works, specifically sins. Pretty much any scripture regarding the end of the world and Hell suggests that only a few will travel the "narrow road" while most will be burned. This would mean that God's will is that some will be damned (and don't give me that Free Will defense BS).

""However, the inspired word clearly says that in later times some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to misleading inspired statements and teachings of demons.""

And God is not more powerful and persuasive than these demons?


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Titen-Sxull 2 years ago from back in the lab again Author

No, a self-fulfilling prophecy is not impressive.


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Joseph O Polanco 2 years ago

"that doesn't mean that some form of infinite regression of causes isn't the actual answer."

The video I linked you to succinctly explains why an infinte regression of causes has no basis in reality.

"I don't believe free will exists, especially not in the sense the theists purpose. I'm a determinist."

If free will is an illusion and everything is predetermined then our senses are lying to us for we certainly perceive that the choices we make are done so freely. But if our sense are lying to us about our free will then we shouldn't believe anything they tell us about reality, including Determinism!

"it doesn't make ANY sense for something that doesn't take up space (spaceless), or exist within time, or possess a beginning to even be ALIVE."

Argumentum ex incredulitátem. Your lack of imagination is only proof of that, nothing more.

"In fact the DECISION MAKING PROCESS that this “FREE WILL” needs to function WOULD REQUIRE THE PASSAGE OF TIME."

This conclusion obtains if and only if we equate the perception of time with analytical measures of time . This reductionistic perspective is glaringly misguided for a succession of mental events by itself is sufficient to establish relations of before and afterwards , entirely devoid of any kind of material occurrence . Which means that there could be a point in time in which God Almighty fashioned the original cosmological singularity , regardless of whether that instance is not in material time .

"Even if God is timeless sans creation, His creating the universe can be simultaneous with the cosmic singularity. Such an appeal to metaphysics is not illicit because Hawking makes the metaphysical claim that God cannot create the universe because the singularity is not in physical time. In any case, even if we do accept this reductionistic move, all that follows is that God did not create the universe at a time. We can still say that God’s creating the universe was coincident with the singularity (that is, they occur together at the boundary of spacetime), and by creating the singularity God created the universe."

http://bit.ly/1nCfYye


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Joseph O Polanco 2 years ago

"No, a self-fulfilling prophecy is not impressive."

How was the Cyrean Prophecy a self-fulfilling one?

"before going off to harden Pharaoh's heart."

Except that in Hebrew the occasion or permission of an event is often presented as if it were the cause of the event, and that “even positive commands are occasionally to be accepted as meaning no more than permission.” Thus at Exodus 1:17 the original Hebrew text literally says that the midwives “caused the male children to live,” whereas in reality they permitted them to live by refraining from putting them to death. After quoting Hebrew scholars M. M. Kalisch, H. F. W. Gesenius, and B. Davies in support, Rotherham states that the Hebrew sense of the texts involving Pharaoh is that “God permitted Pharaoh to harden his own heart—spared him—gave him the opportunity, the occasion, of working out the wickedness that was in him. That is all.”—The Emphasised Bible, appendix, p. 919 (cf. Isa 10:5-7)

RE: Revelation 21:8

First, I need to clarify that he Hellfire doctrine is a perverse Antichrist mendacity that defames God. As a God of justice and love he would never prescribe infinite punishment for a finite crime no matter how wicked: http://bit.ly/17fVMYm

Moving right along, it goes without saying that Jehovah God would love for all of humanity to survive Armageddon. He does not delight in the deaths of the evil:

"‘“As surely as I am alive,” declares the Sovereign Lord Jehovah, “I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that someone wicked changes his way and keeps living. Turn back, turn back from your bad ways, for why should you die?" - Ezekiel 33:11

The reality is, though, that, like you, many choose to ignore Him and live in disapproval of Him. The good thing, though, is that there's still time for you to draw close to Him and gain everlasting life in Paradise Earth! :) http://bit.ly/18CngYk

"And God is not more powerful and persuasive than these demons?"

Of course he is but that's irrelevant. He respects your right to choose to do his will or theirs. In the end, the choice is yours and only yours to make.


Paladin_ profile image

Paladin_ 2 years ago from Michigan, USA

Just to give you a 'heads-up,' Titen -- this is Joseph's Modus Operandi. It's the "Gish Gallop." He'll post paragraph after paragraph of the same nonsense, on multiple hubs, even after it's been addressed and refuted on those other hubs. He'll fill pages with this stuff -- perhaps in the hope that it's so voluminous that we'll eventually tire of it and leave it unchallenged.

For example, those "prophecies" he's listed are the same four prophecies we've been discussing on my hub, "God's Dead -- And I Killed Him" for the last few weeks. Only one of them is even open to doubt, as both the "prophecy" and the "fulfillment" occurred prior to the last transcription of the relevant Old Testament texts (sort of like writing your "prediction" for the Super Bowl winner AFTER the Super Bowl).

The other three - including the Babylon "prophecy" -- are indisputable failures. In each case, there are specific aspects of the prediction that were NEVER fulfilled or outright incorrect. In at least one case, EVERY aspect is wrong.

In the case of Babylon, he dishonestly focuses on the fact that the city is now only ruins, but completely ignores that the "prophecy" also declares that Babylon will be destroyed by the Medes and covered by the sea (hundreds of kilometers away) -- neither of which ever happened.

In actuality, Babylon existed as a city for CENTURIES after it was supposed to have been destroyed. As for its current state, it simply declined over the subsequent centuries and fell into disuse and disrepair.

But -- hey -- one can never let a little white lie get in the way of a good talking point!


Joseph O Polanco profile image

Joseph O Polanco 2 years ago

@Paladin

Do you chew his food for him too? :)


Link10103 profile image

Link10103 2 years ago

Coming from someone who primarily uses opinions from others through a multitude of links, well I just find that slightly ironic Joseph.


Joseph O Polanco profile image

Joseph O Polanco 2 years ago

@Link

Here's a shocker for you, 99% of the time I'm linking to my own essays on the matter. But what do you care? After all, you're not here to learn anything, right? :)


Titen-Sxull profile image

Titen-Sxull 2 years ago from back in the lab again Author

"If free will is an illusion and everything is predetermined then our senses are lying to us for we certainly perceive that the choices we make are done so freely. But if our sense are lying to us about our free will then we shouldn't believe anything they tell us about reality, including Determinism!"

Our senses lie to us all the time, we know that and the reason we know that is because we can often determine WHEN our senses are lying to us and what they are prone to lying about (for example an optical illusion demonstrates the limits of our senses). Determinism is not the idea that everything is PRE-Determined, but rather that every action, even those we undertake, has underlying causes behind it. Those causes may be, for example, thoughts in our minds, thus creating the illusion that we are consciously making the choice when in reality it is all subconscious processes. As to why we should ever believe our senses well we have no choice for starters and secondly through practical application of observations we can determine when our senses are reliable, also verifying that things work with other human beings.

"Your lack of imagination is only proof of that, nothing more."

I call bullshit on you for this Joe and here's why, your argument states that we know God is a personal being because of some convoluted nonsense about FREE WILL. Free will, you said, is the HALLMARK OF PERSONHOOD. Existing within time and space are also "hallmarks of personhood" in fact they are prerequisites for being alive.

Life, noun - the condition that distinguishes animals and plants from inorganic matter, including the capacity for growth, reproduction, functional activity, and continual change preceding death.

Nothing about the thing you are describing as God makes any sense as a living personal being. That's not a fallacy Joe, if it doesn't fit the definition of being alive then it isn't alive. If you want to argue that the definition of life be changed or amended please explain why it should include a timeless and spaceless first cause with no beginning.

" . This reductionistic perspective is glaringly misguided for a succession of mental events by itself is sufficient to establish relations of before and afterwards , entirely devoid of any kind of material occurrence"

Are you saying that God can perceive time passing without it actually passing? No, rather, if you'll permit me to accuse you of a fallacy for a change, it sounds like SPECIAL PLEADING on behalf of God by pretending that thought processes can move forward linearly without TIME passing. Boy oh boy, we get to make up all kinds of bullshit rules once we've defined God into existence don't we.


Titen-Sxull profile image

Titen-Sxull 2 years ago from back in the lab again Author

@Paladin

"perhaps in the hope that it's so voluminous that we'll eventually tire of it and leave it unchallenged."

When he first started posting I considered blocking his comments due to the endless walls of text and the profuse use of links and external content. I understand that he is the author of some of it however so it would be a bit cold-hearted.

It's funny because in one comment he accused me and other atheists of simply repeating the same talking points as "our favorite atheist websites" - and in the meantime he reuses William Lane Craig arguments almost verbatim along with quotes from other sources.

I do have to wonder what his intent is. If he thinks he is going to convince me and the best evidence he has is Kalam and Lee Strobel's Empty Tomb nonsense he has another thing coming.


Joseph O Polanco profile image

Joseph O Polanco 2 years ago

"Our senses lie to us all the time, we know that and the reason we know that is because we can often determine WHEN our senses are lying to us"

Alright, then. Prove our sense are lying to us with respect to Free Will.


Joseph O Polanco profile image

Joseph O Polanco 2 years ago

Existing within time and space are also "hallmarks of personhood""

There's your fallacy! Just because you can't imagine a living being existing beyond time and space just means that you lack imagination, nothing more.


Joseph O Polanco profile image

Joseph O Polanco 2 years ago

"Are you saying that God can perceive time passing without it actually passing?"

A succession of mental events by itself is sufficient to establish relations of before and afterwards , entirely devoid of any kind of material occurrence.


Titen-Sxull profile image

Titen-Sxull 2 years ago from back in the lab again Author

"Alright, then. Prove our sense are lying to us with respect to Free Will."

I'm not a neuroscientist Joe, however there are studies that suggest the subconscious brain makes decisions before the brain is consciously aware and our own experience confirms this. Free will tends to only exist for people in the few decisions they have time to actually consider and even there the decision appears to be made not by the "WILL" but by the brain as a whole, including the subconscious processes that control and create consciousness and thought.


Titen-Sxull profile image

Titen-Sxull 2 years ago from back in the lab again Author

That's not a fallacy Joe. It's pointing out a double-standard. If your argument can conjure the First Cause into a Personal God by saying he meets one of the HALLMARKS of PERSONHOOD than I can make that God non-existent by explaining that he meets NONE of the other "Hallmarks of Personhood".

By the way, being able to imagine something doesn't make it plausible, OF COURSE we can make up a God that breaks all the rules however the concept of a LIVING BEING that is timeless, spaceless and immaterial is still nonsensical.


Joseph O Polanco profile image

Joseph O Polanco 2 years ago

"the concept of a LIVING BEING that is timeless, spaceless and immaterial is still nonsensical."

To you, perhaps. To us and many, many others it's perfectly rational.


Joseph O Polanco profile image

Joseph O Polanco 2 years ago

The capability of asking "Why" is not to be taken for granted for there is absolutely no "Why", simply no curiosity, without Free Will. There's only acceptance. Free Will creates dissatisfaction. It's what is at the core of our consciousness, our identity. Contrast that with the substances of our material reality. There's simply no doubting. Everything operates just as the rules and regulations of nature's laws determine. So systematically is this adherence that it is possible to outline those principles simply by studying these substances.

Now, imagine if every element of the universe could ask "Why"? Suppose they were able to decide if to abide by those laws or perhaps act in another way? This is precisely what sets us apart. Our minds are designed to evaluate information and make choices based upon it. The final result is not contingent upon how the natural laws govern the behavior of the atoms that make up our brains. Without Free Will we would certainly have no more volition than a waterway has in deciding its actual course. There is absolutely no "Why". There is certainly no wondering. There's simply doing - like water rushing down its riverbed.


Titen-Sxull profile image

Titen-Sxull 2 years ago from back in the lab again Author

Yes, with the power of imagination and no standards you can make any stupid bullshit believable.

The being you are suggesting doesn't make any sense, timeless but able to think, act and feel different emotional states, also somehow a timeless being has a sense of morality about beings it has not created yet that exist temporally. Spaceless but somehow still physical (the Bible does suggest that god has a physical image and body does it not?). And immaterial but still somehow physical (I'm guessing you would say human beings also have an immaterial element, but you don't have any evidence for dualism).

A being that is all powerful in the absence of things to act upon (especially if you believe in creatio ex nihilo and as a Craig fanboy I assume you do). A being that is all knowing in the absence of anything to be known. A being that is all loving in the absence of beings other than himself.

A living being with no antecedent genetic lineage that exists as the only thing of its kind that ever was or will be outside of time and space. It violates every definition of the word ALIVE or LIFE that I can find. In the immortal words of Doctor Bones McCoy, He's dead Jim.


Titen-Sxull profile image

Titen-Sxull 2 years ago from back in the lab again Author

"Suppose they were able to decide if to abide by those laws or perhaps act in another way? This is precisely what sets us apart."

We don't act outside of the laws of nature Joe, our thoughts don't exist outside of nature either.

"Our minds are designed to evaluate information and make choices based upon it."

Agreed. Where the two of us disagree is on what part of the brain is actually making the choice. The consciousness is not what is making the choice, that is simply how it SEEMS to us.

"Without Free Will we would certainly have no more volition than a waterway has in deciding its actual course."

With this statement you seem to be implying that you believe animals and even simple organisms like single-celled amoebas have free will because surely they are more complex and more alive than a "waterway". Does my cat have free will? I don't think she does. As an animal becomes more intelligent its range of potential behaviors increases because the brain can now access the world around it better.

"There is absolutely no "Why". There is certainly no wondering. There's simply doing "

Yoda once said "Do or do not, there is no try"


Joseph O Polanco profile image

Joseph O Polanco 2 years ago

"The being you are suggesting doesn't make any sense."

To you, perhaps. It makes perfect sense to me :)


Joseph O Polanco profile image

Joseph O Polanco 2 years ago

"We don't act outside of the laws of nature Joe, our thoughts don't exist outside of nature either."

But we most certainly can bend matter and energy to our will.

"The consciousness is not what is making the choice"

It is incorrect to say that we make unconscious decisions; the decision is conscious, but the consciousness of the decision is imperceptibly separated from the decision itself by an infinitesimal interval of time. That is to say we don't make a choice now but become aware of that choice days, weeks or years later ...

"you seem to be implying that you believe animals and even simple organisms like single-celled amoebas have free will because surely they are more complex and more alive than a "waterway"."

No because neither are examples of sentient beings.

""Do or do not, there is no try""

Which is pure hokum. You can certainly attempt but fail to do anything. Don't believe me? Try to fly out of a 10 story window ala Wonder Woman. Let me know what happens :)


Titen-Sxull profile image

Titen-Sxull 2 years ago from back in the lab again Author

"But we most certainly can bend matter and energy to our will."

Only in the sense that we physically act upon matter and energy within the confines and limitations of nature.

"That is to say we don't make a choice now but become aware of that choice days, weeks or years later ..."

But we do make unconscious decisions all the time, in fact most of our decisions are OBVIOUSLY subconscious. How many times have you had an itch and scratched it? Just in the last few days the answer is probably in the dozens, where some minor itch or skin irritation has caused you to scratch, chances are you don't remember most of the instances. Almost all of our decisions fall into this obviously deterministic realm, its only in those decisions where we SEEM to have the free will, that illusion is created by our awareness of the processes of our subconscious, which is all that consciousness really is - yes the delay is short but brain cells are not far apart from each other.

I have a habit of biting my nails, it isn't a conscious decision. All of the thoughts present in our conscious awareness stem from our subconscious mind, they are just a clearer focus, a better awareness.

"Which is pure hokum. You can certainly attempt but fail to do anything."

I agree its pure hokum but it sounds nice, kinda like a lot of religious ideas.


Joseph O Polanco profile image

Joseph O Polanco 2 years ago

"Only in the sense that we physically act upon matter and energy within the confines and limitations of nature."

The point is that we have the freedom to manipulate, deconstruct, engineer, transform and guide matter and energy as we see fit. The great latitude we have to accomplish these feats would be impossible under the Deterministic world view.

"I have a habit of biting my nails, it isn't a conscious decision."

Sure it is. You certainly have the freedom to stop biting your nails and even choose to never bite them ever again. This freedom of choice is certainly antipodal to philosophical Determinism.


Titen-Sxull profile image

Titen-Sxull 2 years ago from back in the lab again Author

"Sure it is. You certainly have the freedom to stop biting your nails and even choose to never bite them ever again."

Freedom is not the same as free will. Free will, as I understand it, is about being able to consciously make decisions. I don't think that if I decide to stop biting my nails it is something I am doing independently of prior causes or subconscious thoughts. This is a hard subject to articulate about because we may end up talking past each other but what I am saying is that the thoughts we are consciously aware of, and any and all decision making that appear in our conscious awareness are there as an extension of the subconscious mind.

If I decide to stop biting my nails the decision is completely mine but my conscious will is not the thing making the decision, it merely appears that way.


Joseph O Polanco profile image

Joseph O Polanco 2 years ago

"If I decide to stop biting my nails the decision is completely mine but my conscious will is not the thing making the decision"

Then who or what is making that decision for you?


Titen-Sxull profile image

Titen-Sxull 2 years ago from back in the lab again Author

I am the one making the decision, just not in the way that I think I am.

It SEEMS as though I am making the decision on a purely conscious level, ie Free Will, but in actuality the decision is not made that way. Like I said there is neuroscience that backs up the fact that decisions are made subconsciously and the conscious mind, while it thinks it is making the choice, is made aware of it afterward. The choice or decision is still mine, like I said, but the idea that I have conscious control of it goes out the window. Think of consciousness like a spaghetti strainer or even like a mirror with a second of delay in the image, it gives us a reflection of our subconscious processes and we mistake that reflection for control because the delay is so minor.

Again like I said I'm not a scientist so a lot of this is me trying to reason it out myself

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