If it would be right for God to punish all men eternally, would it not be wrong for Him not to do it?
Well, realistically, there is no right or wrong in what God chooses to do with his creation. We can state our own opinions as to how we personally feel about it but at the end of the day, it doesn't belong to us so we truly have no say in the matter. One of the biggest issues that is faced is when we try to limit God to what we would have him to be instead of what he truly is
Gen 18:25...Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?
It means that everything that Goid does is right.
Out of curiosity, why would you not be sure of that?
Because I think God isn't as sweet and full of goodness as many people claim.
Look around the world. Do you not see the suffering? Why does he allow it? He won't give me an answer. What about you?
I believe the answer is found in Luke 15:11-32.
Get back to once you have read it.
That is the parable of the prodigal son.
Nothing to do with an answer for the world's suffering.
Actually is does. There are two brothers. One who went out in the world, and the other who stayed home. I believe Christ was showing us the two possible options for His creation. He could of created us and kept us with Him in heaven or send us into the world through the ages of time. He created two tools. Contrast and comparison. These tools help us live in the world to prepare us for the next coming life. In this world, we are faced with every moment of our lives with contrasts. Floods, hunger, disasters, loss of wealth, illnesses, failure, disease, all forms of suffering, until finally death. These contrasts were also experienced by the prodigal son. And when he went back to His Father, he was excepted with open arms. Now compare the love the prodigal son has for His Father with the older brother. There is a huge comparison. The older brothers love for His Father is far less than His sinful brother's love had for his Father. Are you getting me so fare?
Man's suffering is a result of sin, the consequence of his actions. God also gave us the ability to make our own decisions, whether they are good or bad for us. By allowing us to make our own decisions, He subsequently allows us to make mistakes and to also experience the consequences of our decisions and the power of God's forgiveness when we are sorry for what we have done.
Even something as terrible as suffering, can be for our greater good. The strongest steel must first pass through the hottest fire. God's church has historically flourished when it has been under persecution. In my own life, when I went through the most difficult times is when I felt closest to God.
He allows suffering because He allows us to make our own decisions and feel the consequences of what we have done, and the suffering that man inflicts upon himself can also be for our own benefit in the end if we allow it.
I agree with you, but the way I look at it, is most people do not want to admit to God wrath, why I do not know. If they claim to read the bible they also would be reading about this wrath.
Makes no sense why in the world people do not want to admit to his wrath. If you follow his ways then you have nothing to worry about.
I believe God should punish, if not then it makes no sense to even have a
God who takes care of our world that we destructed with the tools we were given.
Wrath is mentioned quite a bit in the bible. However God will give you the world if and only if you follow his ways.
Other than what is written in the Book of Revelation (which is of dubious origin and imprecise interpretation) can you supply evidence of this wrath after the story of the resurrection of Christ?
I often wonder why Christians want to resurrect the vengeful God of the Old Testament.
I don't know whether you noticed the progression of events, but according to the stories, God started out with picking one guy to favor. Then it progressed to one nation to favor. Then it progressed to people from multiple nations to favor. That last bit was from over two thousand years ago. As difficult as it is for some to fathom that all humans are of equal value and are therefore worthy of eternal love seems strange to me since that appears to be the only logical ending to the saga.
Punishment has very little to do with wrath. As pitiful as humans are, they still recognize that "punishing" their children while consumed with anger is not only counter-productive, but usually harmful to the child instead of being constructive.
No, God isn't punishing His children in such cases as Sodom and Gomorrah or even the flood of Noah. He had a temper tantrum and His children suffered the consequences of it. Most people don't want to think their "perfect" God is capable of such actions and thus either ignore or make excuses for Him.
I agree and yes I do know that wrath and punishment is not the same, however God does both and their is a difference between the way we as humans punish our children as opposed to the way God does.
God is in control and needs no justification or acceptance by any of us.
Yet, if (IF) He wants to be worshipped he does indeed justification. No one will worship an inferior being (although they will put on an act of doing so) - a creature of violent childish temper tantrums may well be respected for their power, but never worshipped as superior.
"God is in control and needs no justification or acceptance by any of us.". That's a very Islamic view of God and one used by those who find God's apparent behaviour distasteful but nevertheless do not wish to argue it.
Wrath in itself is utterly pointless just a punishment without the intention to reform character. If I deny my children privileges it is intended to get them to understand their wrongdoing and promote a change in their attitude; it is chastisement. Why to Christians and indeed Muslims not see that God ought to have the same view of punishment, that is chastisement.
It's interesting that the word often translated as 'punish' or 'punishment' in the NT is usually the result of a deliberate mistranslation, and should be rendered as chastisement:
Matthew 25:46 Then they will go away to eternal [aiõnios] punishment [kolasis], but the righteous to eternal [aiõnios] life."
[kolasis, κόλασιν] Strong's #2851, checking the growth of trees, esp. almond-trees, chastisement, correction.
2 Peter 2:9 if this is so, then the Lord knows how to rescue godly men from trials and to hold the unrighteous for the day of judgment, while continuing their punishment [kolazô].
[kolazô, κολάζω] Strong's #2849 check, chastise, to be corrected, chastened, of a drastic method of checking the growth of the almond-tree
The idea of a mortal human being, living a finite life, committing a set number of deeds in that life, being judged worthy of infinite punishment for that finite list of deeds is an oxymoron. It contradicts everything we understand about justice.
What right exactly does any non-human entity have to pass judgment on us, let alone a judgment as unfair and purposeless as an eternity in Hell. Hell cannot have a purpose beyond agony, if the fundamentalists are to be believed, it is punishment plain and simple. There is no rehabilitation, no remaining mercy from God to be begged for, just endless torment.
And for what acts is this punishment inflicted? In some religions it is as simple as not paying proper respect to the Gods, not giving them the correct offering. In others it is offenses that are completely disjointed from God. As a teenager growing up we were taught that consensual pre-marital sex was still a sin because it went against God. But what harm is incurred to God from this act?
In fact, if God is all powerful, what harm can ever be done beyond a temporary emotional duress? We human beings are fragile, we can be injured, we can be killed and if many religions are to be believed we can be entirely unmade, annihilated from existence if it is the will of the gods or God. Meanwhile a perfect and infinite God cannot suffer any injury that cannot be healed, cannot lose anything that cannot be replaced.
So, to answer your question, it CANNOT be right, by any definition of the word we understand, for anyone to be punished eternally. Furthermore no crime we ever commit could be as pointless, cruel or evil as torturing someone for eternity would be. Human beings are limited and so can only inflict limited pain. A limitless God who cannot suffer true loss or know true frailty could also give out limitless punishment, but such an act would be among the worst acts imaginable by any being, real or fictional.
Absolutely agree 100%.
You said something rather thought provoking. If our sin does no harm to another man and at best can only offend the sensibilities of God, how on Earth can that sin warrant eternal punishment subjected to wilful torture with no chance of escape? How can anyone deem this to be an act of a loving Father? It's a completely mental notion.
Christians know that their hell is totally preposterous so they try to get God off the hook with contrived devices like 'he is not a man', 'his ways are not our ways', or some other such nonsense.
Assuming that your concept of god is bound to always do what is right, and assuming the only right course of action is to eternally punish all men, and assuming you define wrong as anything that is not right, then not punishing all men would, by definition, be wrong. Anything else is logically impossible, given those premises.
Assuming unicorns are white, and assuming the animal in my garden is a unicorn, then the animal in my garden must be white. Anything else is logically impossible given those premises.
What, if anything, have we both just demonstrated?
I don't think being able to reason one's way into accepting eternal punishment as right, or not, is the point. The point is, what is reasonable and right. I'm sure Hitler had, what he considered to be, sound and rational reasoning behind policies. I'm sure Jeffrey Dahmer considered his actions reasonable. I'm sure those who commit acts of terror consider their actions reasonable and right.
It isn't so much a question of what is the essence of God; but what type of essence defines an entity who is worthy of the title. Eternal punishment could very well be reasonable and right in a different plane of existence, however; it is not reasonable or right in this plane. If we consider such behavior reprehensible in our fellow men, why would anyone worship an entity who didn't understand basic human rights? Why worship an entity who, if it existed in this plane of existence, would be hunted down and tried for crimes against humanity? Why hold its claimed musings up as an example to follow? Why not hold it to the same standards we consider to be the best and most compassionate in our world?
This is not meant to be an argument against the existence of God. It is only a question of why people need to perceive that entity as having lower standards of conduct than our own.
Exactly the point I was hoping to demonstrate.
In terms of right and wrong, I always wonder how and why people who believe in a traditional christian concept of god (omniscient, omnipotent, omnibenevolent etc.) think they are able to second guess such a being. If such a being actually existed, surely discerning whether its actions are "right" would require the ability to perceive the entirety of the universe from its beginning to end (assuming only one). In other words they would need to be equal to their own concept of god. Anything less would make it impossible to discern the final outcome of all the actions in history.
For those who don't believe in such a being, I always wonder how and why they hypothesise that if the christian concept of god actually existed it would be evil. By definition, that can't be the case. By all means people can argue with the definition, or say such a being doesn't exist at all, but it doesn't make sense to say if the christian concept of god existed it would be evil. That's a contradiction in terms.
I don't see it as a contradiction in terms. You could exist on another plane of existence and conduct yourself in a way we perceive as reprehensible; all the while being a model citizen on your plane of existence. However, that wouldn't change the fact that you are, by our standards, reprehensible.
Saying God can do whatever he wants because it is his creation doesn't change the fact that Christians claim this is his creation. If you were created to perceive certain actions on this plane as evil; it seems almost insane to expect you to then turn a blind eye to those same actions on another plane.
It's almost ludicrous when you think it through. You are to love God and others as yourself. To put others on an equal footing. To show compassion and concern. Feed the poor. Comfort the sick. Give the coat off of your back to a homeless person. Carry the pack of your oppressor and do it cheerfully. Share what you have joyfully. Be a good Samaritan.
Then, if you have done all of these things or, at the least, accepted Jesus as your savior because he did all of those things and you admire him for the effort; you will be rewarded by a place in the kingdom of God. You will be able lounge in paradise and watch as the poor guy who stole food in order to survive is murdered. The person who became sick from a sexually transmitted disease is incinerated. The guy who was homeless who you gave your coat to is extinguished simply because he was homeless as a result of a drug addiction. The oppressor whose knapsack you cheerfully lugged around, and all of his comrades, are exterminated. Those people you joyfully shared with don't have to be shared with anymore because they didn't make the cut. The person you played the good Samaritan with isn't a Christian so they get incinerated also.
What purpose would it serve to attempt to teach you to be good, kind and compassionate for a blurb of a human lifetime if the eternity you are rewarded with is at direct odds with those teachings?
Ah but that's not what most people are saying when they suggest that god as defined by traditional Christianity is evil. What they are doing is the equivalent of suggesting that they are capable of determining the moral goodness/badness of an omniscient, omnipotent being. To do that would require them to be omniscient etc. So by claiming an hypothetical Christian god is actually evil, they are themselves claiming to be the equal of such a being. In effect they are claiming to be god. As arguments go that's probably not the best. As I said, questioning the Christian conception of god, or denying such a being's existence is one thing, but suggesting that if such a being exists it is evil, is ludicrous. If such a being existed then you and I have no accurate measure by which to judge it.
Of course we do, just as a young child could come to the conclusion that their parents are not good parents we are capable of understand what is ethically and morally right or good. Extortion for example is not ethically the right thing to do and extortion is what the God of the bible is doing which is a complete contradiction to what that God wants us to do. I'm not saying God is unethical, I'm saying those who wrote the bible were unethical. The contradictions are an indication that no God was involved.
Coming to a conclusion is not the issue. Coming to the right conclusion is. A child can easily come to the wrong conclusion about her parents because she does not have the necessary knowledge and experience to make an accurate judgement.
It is the equivalent of a small child telling Mr. Einstein he is wrong because it should be ABC not E=MC2.
A child being told by his parents to do as their told or they will burn them will correctly understand that their parents are not nice people.
If the child is playing with matches and the parents tell her not to, then not doing what she is told may well lead to the child getting burned. Problem is that the child can't see that because she doesn't have the same level of knowledge as the parents. All she sees is that she's being told what to do, so she incorrectly thinks the parents are not nice people.
So what in effect you are saying is if we had more knowledge we'd understand why extortion is a good thing. The mafia must have some very smart people working for them.
What a lame excuse.
No, I'm saying that sometimes even the actions of loving parents can be misjudged by a child because the child cannot fathom what the parents are trying to do or why. A child might even say they 'hate' their parents because they lack the knowledge to accurately judge their actions. No explanation is possible because the child would not comprehend. So if that's the case between a child and a parent, how much more would that be the case between us and an omniscient being? As I said, you can deny the existence of such a being (as you have) or dispute the traditional concept of such a being, but you can't suggest that if such a being existed we would have the ability to second guess its actions. Some people try to do that, and it doesn't makes sense.
It makes perfect sense. We know what extortion is and understand it's unethical. If a leader of a country stated that extortion was a good thing would we understand that he/she is much smarter then us so we'll have to take his word for it? It's not wrong to say a loving, forgiving God wouldn't extort our worship by threatening eternal hellfire.
The gap between the smartest person on the planet and everyone else is not comparable to the gap between an omniscient, omnipotent, omnipresent being and everyone else, so that comparison doesn't work.
You're right, it's not wrong to say a loving forgiving God wouldn't extort worship by threatening eternal hellfire, but it is wrong to think you can make the determination about whether god's actions are 'extortion' . We just don't know enough. Sure, we can say it looks like that from our infinitesimally narrow perspective, but that's about it.
As I said, you can deny the existence of god, or challenge the traditional concept of god, but you can't sensibly hypothesise that if the traditional christian concept of god exists, you can determine whether its actions are good or bad of your own accord. You could only do that if you were omniscient. If that was the case then, according to the traditional christian concept of god, you are god. That's what you are effectively claiming whenever you suggest you can determine whether god's actions are good or bad, and that's why it's a ludicrous claim.
What a cope out. I know extortion when I see it. You do to.
You know what looks like extortion, but you cannot accurately determine whether something is extortion unless you know all the relevant facts about a situation.
That's not a cop-out, just a fact. You don't know all the relevant facts about humanity and you don't know all the relevant facts about god (Christians themselves don't even suggest they know everything there is to know about god) therefore you cannot accurately determine whether god's actions are extortion.
The converse is also true. If you are suggesting you can determine that god's actions are definitely extortion, then you are suggesting you are aware of all the relevant facts about god and humanity. I don't believe that's the case.
Alternatively, if you are suggesting it's possible to determine something is definitely is extortion without knowing all the relevant facts of the situation, then please explain how.
It's very simple really. We don't need to know the reasons behind a crime to know when a crime has taken place.
Someone shoots someone dead. That's a crime unless a gun was being held to the head.
I don't believe God is extorting worship because I don't think the bible was written by God. I believe the writers were trying to give their people (men) a sense of entitlement and rally the troops as well as make a few laws.
I think the fact that you and others don't want to look at it as extortion is because you'll then understand that no loving, forgiving God would be behind something that is unethical, immoral.
The mafia extorts money by demanding money for protection from the mafia. "Give me money or someone will break you legs and that someone is me"
The bible extorts worship by demanding worship for protection from hellfire (itself) "Give me worship or someone will put you in hellfire for eternity and that someone is me"
We don't need all the facts to know when a crime has been committed. This crime was by the writers of the bible and not any God.
Whether the person had a gun to their head when they shot someone dead is a relevant fact. If we did not know that, then, even by your own reasoning, we would not be able to determine whether the action was a crime. That's exactly my point.
Unless you knew certain relevant facts about god's actions, you would not be able to determine whether those actions are good or bad. You do not know certain relevant facts about god's actions, therefore you are not able to determine whether god's actions are good or bad.
You can't see the whole picture if your view is restricted to a single pixel. Likewise you can't understand an omnimax being if your understanding is restricted to that of a human being. That's not rationalisation of extortion, it's just plain reason.
The entire past, present and future of the universe and everything in it. The ultimate outcome of the thoughts, feelings, actions and reactions of every living thing in the universe. Things we don't even know we don't know. Things we can't even imagine.
If an omnimax being exists, then by definition, its scope of understanding is infinite. To accurately judge, of our own accord, whether its actions are ultimately good or bad, we would need to have the same scope of understanding. We don't. We are limited to viewing its actions from a finite perspective. Therefore if such a being existed, we would be unable to accurately judge whether its actions are ultimately good or bad. We could only say what its actions look like from our perspective.
Sorry, I know more than enough to know extortion when I see it. Would you rationalize one country extorting another? You wouldn't need to know why the leaders are committing a crime. We clearly can't know all the information, but extortion is extortion.
In the case of god, you only know what looks like extortion, because of your limited view. I have met many Christians who believe hell is simply an absence of god. They are not clear on the exact effects of that absence, but they consider god as the source of all life and goodness so you can deduce what an absence of god probably means to them. They see hell not as a punishment, but a consequence of not being with god, in the same way starving is not a punishment, but a consequence of not eating. And they say the fact god respects people's choice to be distant as part of their free will, but allows people to choose not to be if they want, is an example of two essential attributes of the Christian god being demonstrated at the same time. Perfect love, and perfect justice.
This understanding of the concept of hell leads to a different judgment from the one you have. Which concept is correct? We don't know for sure because it is beyond the scope of our full understanding. All you can say is that the idea of hell some people have, looks like extortion to you. As I've said, if an omnimax being existed we would lack the knowledge needed to accurately judge its actions. Hence the importance to Christianity of divine revelation.
I have all the knowledge I need to know what extortion is. I just wonder why you justify it.
Tip - you've used the word omnimax twice at least and it doesn't mean what you think it does.
Knowing what extortion looks like is irrelevant. What's relevant is whether it is applicable to the action you are looking at. You can only decide that if you know which of the different ideas about hell is the correct one. Please explain how you have determined that the concept of hell you are using is the correct one.
Omnimax is just shorthand for: omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent, and omnibenevolent which is the usage I have intended. What usage are you referring to?
Stop telling me when I can decide what extortion is. I don't even believe in Hell, I just don't think it's right to extort others to a religion. That's what is being done.
That's a new one for me because all I think of is the Omnimax theatres and it was the only definition in my dictionary. Carry on then.
Reason dictates what you can and can't sensibly decide, not me. In this case reason dictates that if an omnimax being existed, your level of knowledge would be insufficient to second guess its actions.
It's a fairly common term in theological/philosophical discussion. And yes, it does make for a pretty good cinema experience also.
Not the same thing, Don. If we're dead, we obviously don't need life or goodness anymore, in the same our bodies need food to survive.
As well, you were arguing with me about knowing what is good and what is bad in regard to comparing with God, yet you state here that God is considered 'the source of all life and goodness', it appears you're having your cake and eating it too.
Lastly, the absence of God could simply be the same as what we all experience now, which is the absence of God.
That is another comparison Don, for which you argued we cannot know what is perfect love and perfect justice.
And, now you go back to your original argument. Your contradicting yourself here.
What happens after death? No idea. I know what the available (objective) evidence indicates, but that's all. Do we know all there is to know about death? No idea. Is the absence of god the same as what we experience now? No idea. I know most Christians would probably argue that this is not a complete absence of god. Are they right? No idea. How do Christians know anything about god then? Christian 'knowledge' of god is dependent on the concept of divine revelation, either direct personal revelation or through some other means such as sacred texts like the Bible etc. In Christian theology everything (including the very knowledge of god) is dependent on god.
We don't even know for sure if anything happens to human consciousness after death, let alone have the ability to understand actions within the context of the entire history of the universe, past, present and future, and everything in it. As I said, you can reasonably suggest that such a deity does not exist, or that a deity exists but isn't omnimax, but you can't reasonably suggest that if the Christian god exists, you can accurately judge its actions. The most anyone could reasonably say is what such a being's actions look like from where they're sitting. If you think they look like bad actions, fine, but that holds no more weight than someone who thinks they are good actions.
Sorry Don, but our evolved brains are reasonable to know what is good and what is bad and it is easy to judge any gods actions.
True, our brains are evolved enough to know what is good and what is bad, but the thing is that we can only judge and decide what is good and bad by our own perspective of what is good and bad. Simply because there is a commonly accepted idea of good and bad doesn't specifically make that idea correct, just what is accepted.
And, that is the only perspective required, our own, because that is the only one that is relevant.
Which begs the question of whose perspective is the right one?
In this case, we can compare...
Facts and evidence with myth and superstition.
But it isn't all myth and superstition. Admittedly a lot of it is myth, but myth doesn't necessarily always mean false either. Myth is simply a story with or without a determinable basis of fact. Since it cannot be determined as to if it is true or not, You cannot totally throw it out as complete Garbage. On the other hand, cannot hold onto it as actual fact and truth. At the end of the day, the best answer to some questions is "I don't know"
Can you tell us what is and what isn't myth and superstition?
Perhaps by definition...
Myth: a person or thing having only an imaginary or unverifiable existence.
Then, if you don't know, why would you be a follower?
I sure could.. If I were inclined to do so. But why bother when your mind is already made up?
exactly, so once again you cannot say that God does not exist because his existence has not been verified. Fair enough to call him a myth and to state you don't believe in myths, but to claim knowledge when it hasn't been fully verified at this point is every bit as dishonest as for a believer to claim full verifiable knowledge.. You can state that it's reality, but the reality is that it hasn't been verified that God does not exise.
Why follow science if you don't know all of the answers? Of course the default answer is that science can be measured and tested... etc.. But science does not answer every question either.. Call it a fallacy if you will, but it's reality
That's a handy excuse, you appear to use it when you can't provide any answers.
Neither have leprechauns riding unicorns be verified. So what? Believers have had thousands of years to provide any knowledge whatsoever for their gods, none has ever been provided.
Science offers answers, real answers. And, just because science is still in it's infancy (a direct result of religious persecution and rule) doesn't mean it won't eventually provide us will all the answers, given time.
Religion may not be in its infancy, but just because it hasn't provided an answer yet doesn't mean that it won't eventually get an answer.
What do you think will have to happen that hasn't happen in the last 2000 years that will supply the answers?
Here it comes!!!... Wait for it.. Wait for it.... I don't know . Considering the way things are looking, it will probably take the having rapture to occur before people will be totally convinced.
Such as what? What question, if any, could your religion answer?
As I said before, that's a rationalization. Perhaps more people should use the ethics we learn from the bible as perhaps the mafia has done. Humans know when something isn't right, educated or not, The American slaves knew it wasn't right the they way they were treated, but it was supported by the bible so they were powerless. But they knew it wasn't right.
No it isn't really totally a rationalization. Humans know what is right and wrong as according to their perspective. Let's look at your point about slavery.. The slaves knew that what they were treated were wrong, but their owners knew that it was right.. So the question becomes who was really right? now of course, we can argue this point (and I think it was wrong, don't mistake my post). But it is easy for some to justify their behavior in some way or another. Look at the Martin case.. Zimmerman stated that he saw a suspicious looking guy in the neighborhood so he felt that he was right to follow him. Next thing he knew the guy jumped him and as such he was justified in pulling the trigger.. On the other end, Trayvon was minding his own business and someone was following him. he tried to avoid Zimmerman then confronted him out of fear and died
The Slaves knew it was wrong and the slave owner's THOUGHT they were right and used the bible as a justification.
Most people know extortion is wrong, but the mafia THINK it's except-able behaviour and if we use the bible as an example it is except-able behaviour.
at the same time, there were no american laws against slavery so as such the owners thought they were right because there was no law against it.
No, the mafia knows it's wrong because there are laws against extortion, but they choose to do it anyway because they think it's acceptable because nobody can stop them (until they are caught and tried under the law).
Criminals know crime is wrong, but do it anyway.. hence they are criminals
Here is the rub. If your a true believer then biblical laws come before secular laws. So perhaps in the eyes of the mafia they are doing no wrong as they are supported by the bible. I'm aware they do know what right and wrong, but I'm trying to make the point that some side with the holy texts and do things that perhaps even they know is unethical. I'm sure there were many slave owners who struggled with this.
It astounds me how people can go on and on about how marvellous the human brain is and claim it could have only been divinely designed, but then claim we are too stupid to see unethical behaviour?
I for one have never made such claims. I have said, and continue to say, that judging whether an action is good or bad is dependent on knowing all the relevant facts about that action. Without knowing those facts, even the most intelligent person can't judge those actions. In the case of an omnimax being, we can't know all the facts about its actions because, by definition, we cannot fully comprehend all those facts. An action that looks bad to us, may in fact be ultimately good and vice versa.
"IF" we worship THIS life as If it is all that matters; THEN it is almost imposible to see anything that we already don't see.
"IF" this life is all that there is ?? ... then of cource it would seem that many things that a higher power does and has done would seem to be unethical, and any other derogitory remark which might come up can be seen as true weather they are or not.
But if there is life after the death of this physical body, Then any "Unfairness" which you might profess would be seen as being baseless.
That's a blatant rationalization. We have all the information we need to make a judgment. You should be aware I don't blame God for these actions because well he doesn't exist. I blame the writers of the bible, so yes I can judge.
A man killed another man. Is that action good or bad? Based on that information, I'd say it's not possible to judge. That's not rationalising anything. It's acknowledging that in order to judge something, we need to know the relevant information. We cannot judge the actions of a man without all the relevant information. We cannot judge the actions of a deity. With a man, it may be possible to find out the information of our own accord. In the case of a deity, it is not. That's why if a deity existed, we could not judge it's actions. Why do you think we could judge the actions of an omniscient, omnipotent, omnipresent etc. being if it existed?
Guy walks into a store and tells the owner he wants $100 a week for protection against getting his legs broken by yours truly. The police have it on tape a two witnesses in the store. Do you need more information?
Yes, more information is needed. If the guy is part of a crime syndicate, we might judge his actions one way. If he was hired by the owner's brother for a prank that the owner mistakenly took for real, we might judge his actions another way. If he has a mental health issue and wanders the streets saying those exact lines to every person he sees, we may judge his actions differently. And if his children were being held hostage and threatened unless he went into that store, we might judge his actions differently again. Without additional information we cannot judge his actions. We can only say what they look like. As I said, we can only accurately judge something when we know the relevant facts about it. In this case, the guy's actions may not have been bad at all.
The same applies to the actions of a deity. The difference is that establishing the relevant facts about the guy in the shop is possible, because it's within the scope of our understanding. We can't do that with a deity because some of the facts would be outside the scope of our understanding. So with a deity we'd be in the same position we are with your scenario. We can say what it looks like, but not what it actually is because we just don't have enough information.
Actually in every scenario you gave the extorter would be found guilty and or arrested.
Do you think God is pranking us or do you think he's mentally ill? And committing extorting because you are being extorted is still a crime. Go to the police instead.
You are confusing ethics and law. Judging whether a person's actions are good or bad is not the same as judging whether they are legal or illegal.
We cannot tell from the information you gave us whether the man's actions are good or bad, which illustrates the point that lack of knowledge prevents us from accurately judging something. As an infinite deity is, by definition, beyond the limits of our finite knowledge, we can conclude that if it existed it's actions could not be accurately judged by us.
Any extortion for any reason is bad. Or do you think there is a time and place to extract things from people using the threat of physical pain?
Using only the information in the scenario you gave, please explain:
1) how you know that extortion is actually taking place.
2) how you know the man's action (whatever it is) is wrong.
1. Extortion is the practice of obtaining something, esp. money, through force or threats. Which is exactly what the bible teaches. Worship or eternal hellfire.
2. If someone is threatening bodily harm to obtain something for any reason, that is wrong ethically. morally and legally.
Or do you think sometimes it's okay to use extortion as a way to get what you want?
I know you say you are arguing against the biblical explanation of God, but either way; my understanding of the point here is that it would be difficult to judge the actions of said being. Think about how we interact with the 'lower animals'. We purposely sneak into the woods to kill them. Ostensibly, for their good. To control populations in order to keep them healthy. We raise them to eat them. As humanely as possible, of course. We study some living things, in order to find ways to kill them.
All of this probably doesn't look that good to any of them individually; if they are looking. Which most of them are. And yet, society at large does not find it ethically repulsive. Were any these animals to display what we consider to be a higher intelligence we would change our ways, with that species.
How would a being so far above us be different? If we make decisions for the good our species, which adversely affect others; if we make decisions for other species, as a whole, which adversely affect individuals within those species; all of this done while knowing they can't understand what motivates our actions....why would we not be able to see that the actions of a being far removed from our understanding of reality might be doing things that benefited the whole; without us being able to follow the logic?
sometimes I think you are looking in my head and finding things which needs to be said.
and you always express them so eloquently.
This statement has so much common sense all over it (smothered in it) that it really can't be argued against, Unfortunately, most people will ignore it and push it to the side. and continue making the same old arguements.
AND your comment answers SOooo many of the religious arguements
Although you keep describing the action in the scenario as extortion, you can't actually tell that it is extortion without additional information. Your scenario could just be a bad joke. How can you tell from the information you gave, that this is actually extortion?
Three children have guns pointed at their heads. This guy is told if he doesn't threaten the shop owner they will be killed. There are no alternatives available that won't result in the death of the children. So the choice is between the actual death of the children, or the threat of harm to a shop owner. Is this guy bad because he chose to save the lives of three children? Or can we say that although at first glance his actions look bad, the outcome (saving the lives of three children) was actually good?
As I said, knowing the relevant facts is necessary to judge. Without the relevant facts we are just guessing. If god existed we wouldn't know the relevant facts surrounding its actions, so would be unable to judge.
See how awful extortion is? The guy holding the guns to the head of the children is using extortion and the guy who is trying to save the children is also using extortion. No further information required. Are you saying in some cases extortion is a valid means to obtain things?
You haven't explained how, based on the information you gave, you know this is actually extortion and not something else. How can we know that without any additional information?
We are not judging whether extortion is awful. We are judging this man's actions in a certain context. Given that context, do you judge this man's actions to be good or bad? If bad, does that mean allowing the deaths of three children can be considered good?
I did answer your question. Are you saying someone is holding a gun to Gods head? Extortion is extortion, it doesn't matter why or how it's being done. Is it okay for a father to use extortion to get money to feed his kids? You are justifying God extortion or the bibles extortion by saying sometimes it's necessary, but it's always unethical.
Of course why and how matters. Extortion is obtaining something through coercion. Pretending to be a gangster in order to make someone laugh is not extortion, it's just pretending to be a gangster. How do you know, based on the information you gave, that the guy wasn't just playing a prank? Depending on that information we might judge the man's actions to be funny, morally wrong, foolish, morally acceptable or any combination of those. The relevant facts are what allows us to do that accurately. Without them we are just guessing.
Even if we did have some way of knowing this was extortion, the way we judge this man's actions changes depending on the context. Extortion just to be rich. Bad? Extortion to feed his kids. Still bad? Extortion to save the lives of three children who face imminent death if he doesn't. Still bad? How do we judge that? Is there no circumstance where the ultimate outcome of an action changes the way we judge that action?
It's not about how evolved, or reasonable we are. In short:
1) Even the most reasonable person in the world cannot accurately judge something without knowing the relevant facts. 2) The relevant facts surrounding the actions of an omnimax being would be, by definition, beyond our capacity to fully comprehend. 3) Therefore if an omnimax being did exist, even the most reasonable person in the world would not be able to judge its actions.
Which part of this don't you agree with and why?
His answer will be he doesn't agree with any of it because it's all nonsense and absurd
Which is fine. That's just denying the existence of such a deity. Whether people agree with that position or not, there's nothing unreasonable in it. What is unreasonable is to accept for the sake of argument that the god of Christianity exists, but then suggest we could judge if its actions are good or bad. That in itself is absurd and raises some questions, such as, if the claimed absurdity of god belief is unacceptable, why present an argument against it that is itself absurd? And why is a perceived absurdity considered unacceptable when it does not support a particular worldview, but acceptable when it does?
Remember, an opinion is not always absurd to the one giving the opinion.
Sorry, I don't agree with that at all, facts are not beyond our capacity to understand. There are lots of them we understand without any problem whatsoever.
If you can't observe the entity, or the nature of the environment it exists in; where are your facts coming from? All would be assumption. Yes?
We can in fact observe the bible, since it was supposedly written for us, it is us who can judge it. Or are going to claim only some can interpret the bible?
You mean, like the assumptions of the entity actually existing? Where are those facts coming from?
That wasn't his point, by my understanding. If....then. If such an entity existed, then you couldn't presume to have all of the facts needed in order to come to a final conclusion.
No more facts required. According to the bible God asks for worship using the threat of eternal pain. Should we do as God says and extort things we want from innocent people with the threat of endless pain?
Who said anything about the God of your interpretation of the Bible? The guy simply posed a hypothetical question about what he calls an omnimax.
Yea, so? What does that have to do with understanding ethics. No matter how you look at it it's justification for extortion.
I didn't say facts are beyond our capacity to understand. I said the relevant facts surrounding the actions of an omnimax being would be beyond our capacity to fully understand. Why do you think that if such a being existed we could fully understand the facts surrounding its actions?
It doesn't matter whether the being is omnimax or omnidirectional, irrelevant. Facts are facts, it's that simple.
Of course it matters. If an infinite (unlimited) being existed, there would be a gap between what finite (limited) beings know and perceive of it, and everything there is to know and perceive of it. In that gap would be facts (things that are actual) that we don't know and can't perceive.
Why do you think beings with finite knowledge and perception can fully know and perceive something infinite?
Baloney Don, you are not even remotely making a valid argument here.
That is all pure speculation.
Why do you think the argument is invalid?
The reason a finite being cannot know everything about an infinite being is because infinite is greater than finite. So it's true by definition, in the same way that saying all bachelors are unmarried is true by definition. That's not speculation, just reason.
Because, facts are facts, Don. Unless of course, you can explain to me how a fact is not a fact and that we are completely unable to understand the factless fact?
That is irrelevant to the acts committed. .
By definition it's not possible for me to explain what facts are beyond the limits of our current knowledge and perception. That's the equivalent of expecting a Roman soldier to be aware that he doesn't know how an iPhone works. Only with hindsight is it possible to see what we couldn't previously conceive.
Scale that up to the universe and everything in it, past, present and future. That's the giant blind spot we have, caused by our limitations. God, according to traditional Christian theology, is omniscient. So god's actions can take into account everything. Like the Roman soldier and the iPhone, we can't even conceive of the knowledge we lack about our own future, let alone the rest of the universe or god. So I can't tell you what facts we don't know. All I can say is that this gap is what would make it impossible for us to judge god's actions, if such a being existed.
We are not judging God's actions, we are judging the bible and it's writers who apparently have no problem using extortion to manipulate people.
As I've said, there's no issue with denying the existence of god, or suggesting that the description of god in traditional Christian theology is incorrect. The issue is when people hypothesise that the Christian god exists and is bad. I understand it's a hypothetical argument, but it still lacks consistency. Either god doesn't exist, or god does exist but is not how Christian theology describes, but god as described by Christianity can't exist AND be accurately judged as bad.
I can see how one can find this confusing. When Atheists argue that the God of the bible is amoral they/we are not saying an amoral God exists, but simply the description of the God from the bible is flawed if it's supposed to describe a just God worthy of worship.
I understand. What I'm saying is that Christians are working from the assumption god exists. As such, if the actions of god as described in the bible look bad, the Christian perspective must be that it is not because the description is flawed, but because we (humanity) cannot understand those actions from the viewpoint of an omniscient, omnipotent being. That view is entirely consistent with the assumptions of Christianity. In other words, that argument is valid based on the internal logic of Christianity.
Your suggestion that the description is flawed, implies we can independently judge god's actions, which is not consistent with the assumptions of Christianity. In other words your argument only makes sense if you already believe the Christian god does not exist. So for Christians, the argument you are making is effectively meaningless. It's the equivalent of a Christian trying to persuade you god exists by telling you something that is only meaningful if you already believe in god.
And if Christians would keep their religion separate from society we would have no problems what so ever. If we were to follow the laws of the bible as in a non-secular society we would allow slavery, extortion and the killing of anyone who doesn't do exactly as told.
I understand the your need to rationalize the ethical contradictions in the bible, but to state we just aren't smart enough to know when we are being extorted is a bit of a leap to say the least. If you stop and think about it for a moment, a few thousand years ago people wrote a book to inspire and keep people in line with rules and here a few thousand years later we have people defending and rationalizing the ethical issues that the writers didn't consider.
Problem is, for many Christians that comment would be meaningless, because they don't believe in slavery, extortion and the killing of anyone who doesn't do exactly as told. Indeed early Christians (who were Jewish) were persecuted precisely because they didn't follow the old biblical laws and traditions you are referring to. That was back in year 1. So for lots of Christians this view would indicate ignorance of what they believe, rather than a sensible argument. Why would you expect such a view to be taken seriously?
Nothing needs to be rationalised. Christianity has a mature, complex philosophical and theological underpinning (think Augustine, Aquinas etc). The result is that the internal logic of Christianity is very robust. If you apply the premises of Christianity, simple logic will do the rest. The apparent contradictions you have raised were addressed by traditional Christian theologians many centuries ago. What we are having now is essentially the same discussion. The only difference is the medium of communication.
We can thank a secular society for that, but that's no comfort for those who lived through the middle ages or even not to long ago in the southern US.
Yes like Aquinas, The female sex cannot represent Christ because women are incomplete human beings (S.Th. III Supp. 39, 1).
Ok, but it's no longer the middle ages, and while some Christians are extremists, the majority are not, which makes your argument about extortion and slavery irrelevant to the majority of Christians. How sensible is it to use an argument that is irrelevant to the majority of the people you are addressing? Isn't it the same as a Christian using an argument that is irrelevant to you because you don't believe in god? What's the difference?
What are you trying to indicate? That you don't agree with some of his arguments? Fair enough, neither do I. That Thomas Aquinas didn't make a significant contribution to philosophical thought? History disagrees with you (see Thomism). The point is, the objections you are raising have already been asserted, debunked, re-asserted, debunked etc as Christianity evolves (and it does evolve, just very slowly). So be aware that we are engaging in a discussion that has already been had. No reason it can't be expressed again in modern terms and through modern a medium, but we are essentially repeating what has gone before. Sometimes though, understanding what has gone before can help us move beyond it.
So Christians no longer say if we don't agree and believe in god we will be punished with eternal hellfire?
Lots of Christians (not all) believe that, but as I've been trying to point out, for them it's not extortion. It would be unreasonable to believe the Christian god exists, and believe that humans are able to judge god's actions as extortionate. The reason for that is pretty much everything I've been saying up until this point. The christian belief that god is infinite, humanity is limited, the resulting lack of relevant information that prevents us accurately judging the actions of an infinite being etc.. (you still haven't explained how we can tell the man in your scenario is actually committing extortion and not doing something else).
In short, your argument that hell is extortion is nonsensical to most people who believe in the Christian god, because it depends on the assumption that the Christian god does not exist. By definition all Christians believe the Christian god does exist. So your argument is the logical equivalent of saying "I don't believe god exists, and you shouldn't either". Fine, if that's your intention, but that's not really a coherent argument.
I'm not sure I can explain it in a way that would help you understand. I'm aware you most likely don't want to understand and that's why it's not getting through to you. It's likely someone pointing out flaws in a loved ones personality that you don't want to see.
If the God of the bible exists and if he is telling us we are to worship him or burn in hellfire for eternity, that is infact a threat to injure and is extortion. Extortion is when you threaten someone with harm in order to extract something from them and that is exactly what is taking place in the bible. And since the bible was written by people, it's infact reasonable to think the writers were unaware of that extorting worship is an immoral unethical act.
In the eyes of the law it would be against the law for a person to use extortion to obtain something even under the same threat of extortion. If a man points a gun at a loved one and tells you to shoot someone else or he will shoot your loved one. If you shoot and kill that person it's still murder.
Why do you think it "most likely" that I do not want to understand? Why do you think I consider it like pointing out flaws in a "loved one's personality"? You seem to have made some assumptions about me which I suspect might be wrong. Regardless, trying to shift a discussion onto the person, instead of addressing the argument is a failure of discourse. As tempting as it is to engage in ad hominems, I'd encourage you to stick with addressing the argument, not the person.
John exists, John is a batchelor, and John is married. Make sense? We know it doesn't, because the definition of a bachelor is, a man who is unmarried. So if John does exist he cannot be a bachelor and be married. It's impossible by definition. We can deny John exists, or we say he exists but isn't married/a bachelor, or we can change the definitions of batchelor and married, but we can't say John exists, is a batchelor, and is married. Not if we want to be taken seriously in a rational discussion. Unfortunately that is exactly what you are doing.
Christian theology asserts that god is omniscient, omnipotent, omnipresent, omnibenevolent, i.e. all-knowing, all-powerful, all-present, and all-good. I've tried explaining with one of those attributes (all-knowing) so let me try with another, all-good. Replace John with god, replace batchelor with all-good, replace married with extortionate. What you have is this: god exists, god is all-good, god is extortionate. Just like having a married bachelor is impossible by definition, having an all-good extortioner is impossible by definition. We can deny god exists, or we can say god exists but is not all-good/extortionate, or we can change the definitions of all-good and extortionate, but we can't say god exists, is all-good, and is extortionate. That is a logical impossibility. It's the equivalent of suggesting a four-sided triangle exists. It cannot by definition. That's not me trying to stop you pointing out the flaws in a "loved one's personality". It's just me trying to explain to you how logic works.
Rad Man, no offense but this really isn't a discussion about the law. To be honest this is not even a discussion about religion, it's about basic reason. Your argument is literally unreasonable. The internal logic of Christianity can certainly be questioned, but using an argument that itself doesn't meet the most basic principles of logic is probably not the best way to go about it.
Correct, I'm saying God can't be all those things. But we know he uses extortion to get worship so something has to give.
Logic, you are under the assumption God is perfect while extorting worship. So you claim we just don't understand, but according to the bible we were made in God's image so we should understand. A little critical thinking is sometimes necessary.
You brought up the law when you asked if it's still extortion if someone is holding a gun to a head. I explained that it's still extortion and then you say I shouldn't be bring legalities into the argument? We have laws for a very good reason and they are secular laws for an even better reason. If we were using the bible as laws we'd be killing children for disobeying their parents and keeping slaves.
So there are three assertions: 1) god exists, 2) god is omni-everything, 3) god is extortionate. The problem is that your 'knowledge' that god's actions are extortionate is a deduction made on the basis that hell as a punishment looks like extortion. However looking like extortion, and being extortion are different things, and you cannot necessarily conclude the latter from the former. You make the same leap of logic in your scenario where you assume because the man's action look like extortion, it's safe to assume they are extortion, without knowing all the relevant facts. That's a non sequitur, which is a fallacy. Reason dictates that assertion 3 can only be: 3) god looks extortionate, which completely de-fangs the argument. If that is what you are suggesting, fine. OTH if you are suggesting that you know god's actions are extortionate, then you are being as illogical as some atheists accuse Christians of being.
If we understood, that would mean our understanding and knowledge are equal to god. Being made in god's image does not mean being equal to god. No Christian I know believes that.
Whether the man's actions are legal or not is irrelevant to whether they are right or wrong. It's a question of ethics, not of legality. An illegal action is not necessarily wrong, and a legal action is not necessarily right. You have still not explained how you know extortion is actually taking place in your scenario, as opposed to something that looks like extortion. As for killing children, Christianity is based on the teachings of Jesus, so why would people be killing children and keeping slaves? Again, Christians would probably take that as an example of your ignorance of their beliefs, and rightly so I think.
That's the equivalent of 1 being false, so we don't need to state it explicitly.
Your argument started with 'if god exists . . . then . . .'. because you are trying show an inconsistency that you think demonstrates Christianity is false. Given the nature of the Christian god, reason dictates 3 can only be: god's actions look extortionate (without the relevant information we can't accurately determine the actions of other human beings, let alone infinite beings). As such the argument becomes 1) god exists, 2) god is omni-everything, 3) god looks extortionate. As I said, that de-fangs the argument because the contradiction no longer exists. Therefore this argument does not support the conclusion god does not exist.
What? Do you think I've concluded God no longer exists because the bible uses extortion to convert people.
You are making way to many assumption to get to the point where you need to say that we don't have enough information to know when someone is being extorted.
First you assume a God exists.
Then you assume the God of the bible exists.
Then you assume he is omni everything as you put it.
Then you assume the bible was written by him and is accurate.
Then you come to the conclusion that BECAUSE all that is true, the bible must be perfect and it's just our understanding that is lacking.
You haven't even established that a God exists. Start there and work your way down. You see, I haven't made the same assumption so I can say that the bible uses extortion as it was written by people to empower it's men using the threat of eternal hellfire. Anything else is speculation.
I made no such assumptions, you did.
No, that just follows on from your initial hypothetical statement about the Christian god. If you are assuming the Christian god exists, then by definition you are assuming an omnimax god exists.
Again that just follows on from your initial assumption. The bible is the sacred text from which Christians derive their most fundamental beliefs. If the Christian god exists, then those beliefs are accurate, so it follows that the source of those beliefs (the bible) is accurate.
No, the consistent application of logic, based on the assumption you started with, brings us to that conclusion. That's why your argument does not work (at least not in the way you intend it to).
I don't need to establish god exists, I didn't make that assumption in the first place, you did. And you did that to try to demonstrate a contradiction between the bible and the Christian concept of god, because you believe that supports the view that the bible was not inspired by god. Here's is what you said exactly:
". . .extortion is what the God of the bible is doing which is a complete contradiction to what that God wants us to do. I'm not saying God is unethical, I'm saying those who wrote the bible were unethical. The contradictions are an indication that no God was involved."
By assuming that the Christian god exists you are committing yourself to maintaining consistency with that concept. If you don't then your argument becomes inconsistent. As it stands, your argument does not maintain consistency with the assumptions it starts with, and is inconsistent. In short, it defies logic.
All I have done is mirrored those assumptions back at you, in a logical form, and try to explain why your conclusion does not follow. What you have done is criticise a reflection of your own argument, mistakenly thinking it is my argument.
Oh so you don't believe in God? You've not made that assumption that God is real?
Sorry I've never made the assumption that God exists. I've talked about the God of the bible as if he exist in order to show you the flaws contained in the bible.
Thanks for the lesson, but I know what the bible is and you've assumed that if there is a God he is the God of the Christian bible. The Muslims and Jews make different assumptions.
Not at all, I have not assumed any such thing. Debating the ethics of the Christian God doesn't at all mean I've assumed him to be factual.
Didn't you at all read the quote you took from me? "extortion is what the God of the bible is doing"
Now I'm sorry if you were under the impression that I assumed that the Christian God of the bible exists and I just like to bad mouth him, but it's simply not the case. Attempting to show ethical flaws in the bible doesn't start with the assumption that the Christian God exists.
Okay. Let me restate your argument as I understand it then. If this is not a fair summary, tell me which bit is incorrect:
1. The god described in the bible is extortionate.
2. Christian teaching holds that such behaviour is unethical.
3. There is a contradiction between Christian teaching and the god of the Bible (from 1 & 2).
4. This contradiction indicates that "no God was involved" with the creation of the Bible.
If that is a fair summary, the problem starts with 1 (there are other issues, but this is the main one). The bible describes god as beyond full human comprehension etc. By asserting 1, you are begging the question: how do you deduce that the god of the bible is actually extortionate, as opposed to only appearing extortionate to us? You have still have not explained how we are able to do this with human beings (remember your scenario?) let alone god. Until you do, the most you can reasonably say is that God as described in the Bible looks extortionate. That's fair enough, but this is what that does to your argument:
1. The god described in the bible looks extortionate.
2. Christian teaching holds that such behaviour is unethical.
3. There could be a contradiction between Christian teaching and the god of the Bible (from 1 & 2).
4. This contradiction could indicate that "no God was involved" with the creation of the Bible.
It makes the argument insignificant to the point of irrelevancy. For the original to hold up, you have to explain how you can reasonably deduce 1. I am suggesting that you can't, and therefore the original argument does not stand. For clarity, here is what I'm saying in the same logical form:
1. God is described in the bible as beyond full human comprehension.
2. To accurately assign a value judgement to an action, we must know and understand the relevant facts about that action.
3. We cannot assign a value judgement to the actions of the god described in the Bible (from 1 & 2).
4. We cannot determine if the god described in the Bible is extortionate (from 1, 2 & 3).
5. No contradiction exists between the god described in the Bible and Christian teaching (from 1, 2, 3, & 4)
6. We cannot conclude that the description of god in the Bible is an indicator that "god was not involved" (from 1, 2, 3, 4 & 5).
To be clear, I am not saying a deity was involved in the creation of the Bible. I don't know the answer to that. I am saying that the conclusion that no god was involved cannot be reached from the argument you are making (assuming I've understood your argument correctly). Hope that clarifies things a bit.
1. The God of the bible is described as (as you put it) omni everything and can only do good.
2. The God described in the bible uses extortion (threat of eternal hellfire) to solicit worship.
3. There is no contradiction between Christian teaching and the bible as Christians use the same practice of extorting worship as God does.
4. We now know extortion is unethical just as slavery is unethical so we as a society set a laws to prevent such behaviour. Unfortunately the writers of the bible clearly didn't know the ethical implications of both extortion and or slavery as both are practiced extensively in the bible.
5. An ommi everything God would have known the moral implications of such abhorrent behaviour.
So therefore we can conclude no perfect God would have written and used unethical practices.
You have the same problem as before. You have just changed it to premise 2. How do we deduce that a being described as beyond full human comprehension, is actually extortionate, as opposed to only appearing extortionate to us? If you we can't reasonably deduce that, then we cannot logically reach the conclusion you have reached.
That's the problem with your logic not mine. I understand extortion you don't seem to know when it's taking place. Extortion is simply the practice of obtaining something, esp. money, through force or threats. The God of the bible and some Christians attempt to obtain worship using the threat of eternal hellfire. That's extortion. We need no more information because any other information is completely irrelevant. You can justify it if you like, but don't ask me to justify extortion. This same logic applies to slavery. The bible condones and give rules for owning and being a slave. Do you think there is a time and place for slavery, do you think a loving and all knowing God would have stopped the practice of owning people? More evidence that no such God was involved in the writing of the bible.
If you do not eat, you will starve to death. Is that a threat? Am I coercing you to eat? We know it's neither. Starving is a natural consequence of not eating. We know that because we have a sufficient understanding of biology, chemistry etc. Many Christians assert that if we do not do [whatever god wants us to do (call that X)] we will experience something called hell. Is that a threat? Are we being coerced into doing X? Or is experiencing hell the natural consequence of not doing X? I can't answer that question because I do not have sufficient knowledge of god and the universe. You claim that you can answer that question. So I would like you to explain how can we deduce that god is actually extortionate, as opposed to only appearing extortionate due to our own limited perspective? How can you deduce, for example, that experiencing hell is not simply a natural consequence of choosing not to do X?
There is a difference between the two scenarios. One speaks about what will happen to you in this life and lasts unless you either correct it by eating or til you pass away. The other speaks to what will happen after you die and is eternal with no chance of correction and is primarily dealing with a choice that (for some) has no effect on your life while living it here and now.
I don't think the nature of the negative consequence is relevant to be honest. The point is the use of threat, pressure or force. That's the difference between a simple negative consequence (starving as a result of not having enough food) and extortion (having our food taken away to force us to do something).
So the question remains, is the notion of hell a simple negative consequence (a choice to be without god for eternity, made by how we choose to behave in the world), or is it actual extortion (a deliberate divine punishment to force people to do what god wants)? I'd like someone to explain how we can deduce that the notion of hell is either of these? So far no one has. I don't think it's possible for various reasons. For example, why should we assume descriptions in the Bible should be taken literally? A literal reading of the bible is not a tenet of Christianity. I know many Christians who don't believe in fire and brimstone. Why should they? So if people can't even agree on whether the descriptions of hell in the bible are literal or figurative, then how are we to deduce whether the notion of hell is extortionate or not? I don't believe we can. The most we can reasonably say is that, given a literal reading of the bible, the notion of hell could be extortionate. However the opposite could also be true. As such the argument being made is irrelevant.