Why don't they tell this to victims of crime or disease-"Well, actually, you don't deserve any better. Stop complaining! You deserve any awful thing that happens to you and more!"In fact, why try to even help anybody? They don't deserve help-they're rotten sinners at the mercy of a God. They should feel guilty for thinking they deserve to take any breaths after being born.To me, this is sick stuff. It means you are wrong, screwed-up, guilty, vile, undeserving, worthless from the moment you're born. Why do we then tell children how precious and wonderful they are? Would that not be lying to them then?
Good clip. I think he does a fine job presenting the non-philosophical, Calvinist answer.@Lynn; I'm basically Calvinist, so I guess I can respond to some of your questions:Why don't they tell this to victims of crime or disease?The guy is not encouraging anyone to "blame the victim". The would be to become a "Job's comforter". He's flipping it around. Be thankful for the great gift of life, and the love and mercy God has shown us. When it's hard to do that, by all means cry out to God in your anguish and need. But never accuse God or blame God. That's the central story of the book of Job.People who bring up "the problem of evil" often seem to want to start from a position of blaming or judging God. That's the one thing that is explicitly off limits (though Job was forgiven for doing so). And, frankly, it's illogical even from an atheist perspective. When I was an atheist, I *never* used the "problem of evil", since it seems like nonsense to me.In fact, why try to even help anybody?Because it's the most important commandment we've been given? Because God first loved us, and the only way we can express our love of Him is by loving the poor, the crippled, the lame. The last, the lost, and the least.It means you are wrong, screwed-up, guilty, vile, undeserving, worthless from the moment you're born. Why do we then tell children how precious and wonderful they are?Because children are a gift from God, and life is better than death?The Bible (and Calvinism) teaches that man is made in God's image (that's why murder is a sin, for example). But fallen man's heart is hopelessly depraved. You're focusing on the "depraved" part, and ignoring the question that the guy told his congregation to ask.If you ask the question, "Why are we still alive? Why have we been given all of these blessings?", then the answer comes to you. Because God loves us and wants to restore us to His image. The guy in the video is saying that we need to focus on that instead.
@JS AllenAccording to Bauchman in this video, whenever he is asked for a solution to the problem of evil he refuses to answer and instead asks why God has not already annihilated everyone. Whether or not you find this picture of God disturbing, as Lynn and myself do, surely you appreciate the plain fact that the problem still stands in need of resolution. Retorting that people are no-good dirt-bags who deserve only to suffer, die and then go to hell in no way addresses the original question.
I think he answered it just fine. He may not have given the reasons why God allows suffering but I don't think we need to know why God allows it. God will reveal that to us in His time. The point is God cannot be said to be unjust for allowing suffering. Grace, being unmerrited favor, is never owed by by God. If He witholds it (for morally sufficient reasons) then He does nothing wrong. God reserves the right to have mercy on whomever and whatever He pleases. Whether it's common grace or saving grace. This is the Divine prerogative.
@Reuben - I don't think he ever used the words "no good dirtbag", or "deserve only to suffer".As an atheist, I always thought it was an incoherent argument. The atheist is faced with the exact same "problem" of not deserving to live as the Christian. We were all born, and we are alive, but it's through no merit of our own. Life didn't need to arise in this universe, life didn't need to evolve into the human race, and the human race didn't need to produce you or me.So an atheist can't credibly argue that we "deserve" to have been born, or that we "deserve" a life of comfort or ease. There is no scientific basis for teaching children that the universe revolves around them.Does the atheist look at our cosmic irrelevance and say "we are no good dirtbags who don't deserve to exist"? No! Just like the Christian, they say that we are extraordinarily lucky to be alive. They say that life is a precious gift.The only way I can imagine this challenge making any sense at all, and not being hypocritical, is if the atheist thinks that the evil of the suffering in this world outweighs the good of life. But in that case, the person would be saying it would be better if the human race didn't exist at all. There are people (like the Discovery Channel gunman) who believe this, but it's a fringe belief.And regardless, Christians already have an answer to that. First, we affirm that life is better than death. And second, we have faith that God wants to restore everyone to a point where death and suffering is no more, and has offered a way to do that.
Christians already have an answer to that. First, we affirm that life is better than death.Is it? For those that are predestined to an eternity of torment, would it have not been better for them had they never been born? I am not sure that eighty or so years here is worth an infinity of time in anguish.And second, we have faith that God wants to restore everyone to a point where death and suffering is no more, and has offered a way to do that.That smells more like Arminian theology than Calvinism. Under Calvinism, God is only offering a "way" for a few preselected individuals who have won the divine lottery. Everyone else is born damned without hope.
Perhaps the problem in question needs to be explicitly stated.1. If God exists, God is all-powerful/knowing/loving2. If all-knowing, God is aware of evil3. If all-loving, God desires to eliminate evil4. If all-powerful, God can eliminate evil5. Evil exists6. If evil exists, God is either unaware, unloving, or impotent7. Therefore, God does not exist@RayExactly which premise do Baucham and you take issue with? As far as I can tell from the video and your post, both implicitly target premise 1 by undermining omni-benevolence. I doubt if that is what you are intending, so perhaps you can clarify at exactly which point the argument fails. @JS AllenThe problem of evil is a specifically theistic one, as is clearly evident in its above formulation. Moreover, we are looking for a specifically Calvinistic solution to the problem. Whatever philosophical difficulties that may beset atheism are irrelevant to resolving the problem at hand. So where does the argument break down?
JS Allen "The atheist is faced with the exact same "problem" of not deserving to live as the Christian."Uh, no we don't. We don't place the same decider on our existence. What does even that mean, to deserve life? Even to Christians that should pose a problem of pre-life philosophy (the pool of souls, or more to the point, what have you done to deserve anything before you exist as you haven't done anything yet? The omnipotent God cannot make judgement on a future you unless you give up the Christian belief in free-will ...) not addressed by neither Calvin himself nor this "you're all sinners deserving of death and punishment, and it's only because God is good he hasn't killed you already" lunatic on show here.JS Allen: "No! Just like the Christian, they say that we are extraordinarily lucky to be alive. They say that life is a precious gift."Uh, yes we say we're lucky to be here. No, we specifically do not say that life is a gift. A gift implies a giver. You've got the problem of gifts and guilt, not atheists.JS Allen: "But in that case, the person would be saying it would be better if the human race didn't exist at all."But, just like any other person out there, we can have to colliding thoughts in our heads at the same time, and make statements in and out of various contexts. For example, when I sympathize with the whales it's easy to think they would be better off without the humans, or the Tasmanian Tiger especially, and any other living creature on this planet. That doesn't mean we hence go forth and start killing people, it means now now go forth and work hard to change our fellow mans outlook, make it political, change our behavior. No need for the black and white stereotypes here.JS Allen: "First, we affirm that life is better than death."No you don't. It's the afterlife that is the bee's knees, and this current life is just a temporary evil that, if you weren't prohibited to commit suicide by yet another funny piece of exegesis, you'd all jump off a cliff to get to that one place you all can't wait to get to. Even if you know nothing about what it is, or even if it is real.JS Allen: "And second, we have faith that God wants to restore everyone to a point where death and suffering is no more, and has offered a way to do that."Right, so what way is it? Belief alone, or with actions? Baptism or not? Good deeds or not? Praying, or not? Trinity, duality, or not? Absolute belief in the ressurection, or not? Rich, or not? Chaste, or not? Suicide, or not? Die before 7 years old, or not?There's plenty of options from all sorts of exegetic followings, so which one is the one true guaranteed way to get to heaven? You would think that if this was so important that the Bible would be a bit more clear on the issue ...
1. If God exists, God is all-powerful/knowing/loving2. If all-knowing, God is aware of evil3. If all-loving, God desires to eliminate evil4. If all-powerful, God can eliminate evil5. Evil exists6. If evil exists, God is either unaware, unloving, or impotent7. Therefore, God does not exist Surely God can and desires to eliminate evil. He just hasn't done so yet. He will one day eliminate evil for good.Moreover, God can love people who reject Him and don't want to have anything to do with Him but still withold His blessing of common grace (for morally sufficient reasons)from them and allow evil. Grace is never owed. God is under no constraints by anything outside Himself. He is never obligated to be gracious.
@Walter - Yes, I sort of weasel worded it. But the end result is the same. Whether people are predestined or simply resist God's grace, the end result is that people end up in hell. I don't know how relevant that is to this discussion about PoE, though. Many (most?) atheists don't believe in libertarian free will anyway, and some Christians believe in universalism (that everyone will go to heaven).
@Reuben - I took it that we were talking about the "rhetorical" problem from evil, rather than the philosophical argument, as I made clear in the first sentence of my first response. The "logical problem of evil" that you outline was essentially refuted Plantinga, and after his refutation, philosophers have shifted almost entirely to the "evidential problem of evil". It is debatable how strong that is. As Baucham said, people who haven't studied philosophy shouldn't be attempting to argue philosophy, and the people who bring up the "problem of evil" are usually arguing much more colloquially.The problem of evil is a specifically theistic one, as is clearly evident in its above formulation.I was responding to your indignant complaint that "Christians don't think humans are entitled to life or comfort". My response was, "True, but neither do atheists. So it's hypocritical to act as if the Christian universe deprives people of some intrinsic entitlement."
@Alexander - You seem to be agreeing with me. Atheists do not believe in any intrinsic entitlement for the human race to exist, nor do Christians. So it's silly for atheists to kvetch about Christianity's refusal to elevate humanity to some glorious status of "deserving".It's almost as if atheists have brainwashed themselves with their own propaganda about God being a cosmic vending machine. When they find out that humans aren't anymore entitled to exist under God than under atheism, they react with mock outrage: "ZOMFG! Christians say that humans a lucky to be alive! The HORROR!"I won't respond to your other comments, since you seem to be trying to change the subject and fire off a lot of tangential grievances against your own caricature of Christianity. But please at least tell me that your bit about "Tasmanian Tiger" was a parody of a mentally imbalanced person? If you can convince me that it was a clever parody (perhaps by telling me the animal that would've been more appropriate in context?) I'll be impressed at your rhetorical skill, and might indulge you in your tangential points.
@JS Allen: Uh, I think that even if we both say "we're lucky to be alive", it's for very different reasons. Christians because of the will of their God, atheists because of the randomness of the cosmos configuring their temporary consciousness. "grievances against your own caricature of Christianity"Why not answer the statements made, and we'll find out if they are a caricature or have some resemblance to Christian reality? Hint: I wasn't always an atheist.As to the Tasmanian Tiger postulate, well, first you need to explain why you have a problem with the statements, parody or not. You can't imagine cross-specie sympathy?
@Alexander:"Christians because of the will of their God, atheists because of the randomness of the cosmos configuring their temporary consciousness."That's true, but I'm not sure how relevant it is to the PoE. Either way, the fact that we're alive is a tremendously fortunate thing.The key difference is that Christians believe God has guaranteed to eternally rescue massive amounts of people from this tenuous condition. Atheism gives no such guarantee.Hint: I wasn't always an atheist.Forgive me for stereotyping, but I was already certain that you weren't always an atheist. I wasn't always a Christian. I guess we both understand each other, at least in semblance. :-)Why not answer the statements made, and we'll find out if they are a caricature or have some resemblance to Christian reality?Because the suggested topics are not the topic of the thread, and experience tells me that these questions can lead to long and unproductive tangents which would hijack the thread. If you want to engage via private e-mail, I'm happy to do so. You can find my e-mail in my profile."As to the Tasmanian Tiger postulate, well, first you need to explain why you have a problem with the statements, parody or not. You can't imagine cross-specie sympathy?"LOL, I don't need to imagine cross-species sympathy; I've seen it firsthand. I've even seen people hate their own species on behalf of another species (like the Tasmanian Tiger).I don't know much about Tasmanian Tigers. Can you tell me why they are so special to you? Maybe I'll grow to love the Tasmanian Tigers too.
@JS AllenYou are correct that my comments had nothing to do with the PoE. It is just that I find Calvinism so utterly repugnant that I sometimes cannot help myself from commenting on it. It completely amazes me how someone can praise and worship a deity who they believe created the majority of people on this planet for no other purpose than to be tortured for all eternity because that somehow brings God some great glory. Anyway, back to your regularly scheduled programming.
JS Allen: Two things;First, a tangent should not be avoided in the honor of some original concept, otherwise the world would never move. I don't think my self-proclaimed tangents were tangents at all, but actually on-topic and highly contextual; Calvinism does not adhere to free-will (otherwise life is not a gift, but something else) and so we should examine what that means for things like gifts and how we deserve anything (what exactly is deserved if everything is predetermined?). Also, the section about how to get to heaven, or the guarantee for such, well, you brought it up as a response, and I find it important to go a bit deeper as it lies at the heart of the original post; deserve to live (before-life), guarantees of an after-life (in-life), and the meaning / value of death in-between (and the oncoming after-life) for the Christian. Heaven is the carrot for the Christian; the promise of eternal life in this goody-goody place of complete ambiguity. Yet, as there is no clear path to it, how are you to say anything is deserved, that anything is a gift, that free-will guarantees salvation, and so on? Heaven is a post-you thing, and to get there you need to do certain things. What things? Life is a gift, but heaven is a choice? Then the Calvinistic deterministic model all falls apart, no?Second, there's a stark contrast between concepts here with the atheist model which isn't much comparable.Atheists don't see it a gift, but an event. We don't require the guilt or thankfulness of this event, nor do we require the guilt of sin and thankfulness of the promise of an after-life. The only bit which is relevant to both parties is this life-part in the middle, but the Christian cannot concede this constraint. To some degree, that makes him/her quite the tyrant. Of course, some Christians are better at shifting the model than others, but the guy in the video is a serious case of "my way is the only way, and fuck you."As to the Tasmanian Tiger, more correctly known as the Thylacine, was a marsupial in Tasmania that was treated as a fox; a pest with nice fur / pelt, hunted, and, by 1933 gone extinct. Just another animal in a long line of dishonorable human accomplishments, and it's special to me because I live in Australia, I love marsupials, and the Thylacine was a victim of false PR; they didn't hunt the chickens and sheep they were hunted down for, but because they *looked* the part we humans made it their part. And we will never see them again.
@Walter: OK, thanks. I actually sympathize with your perspective on hell and Calvinism. The "problem of hell" bothers me a lot more than the "problem of evil". The former is complex and challenging, while the latter is (IMO) nonsensical. I have my own ways of coping with the former.@Alexander; Sorry, I didn't know about the Tasmanian Tiger. I just did some research and realized they were recently made extinct.I erroneously thought you were making a joke about the Discovery Channel gunman, who always advocated for the annihilation of humanity while saying that it was on behalf of "all animals", but saying, "Don't forget the squirrels, especially the squirrels". Forgive me for making the linkage to the Discovery Channel gunman, since you were responding directly to my comment about him.I highly doubt that we'll "never see them again". I'm convinced that we'll clone Neanderthals within 100 years, and other extinct species (like Tasmanian Tigers) well before that.
JS Allen: "I'm convinced that we'll clone Neanderthals within 100 years, and other extinct species (like Tasmanian Tigers) well before that."Dare I say I don't think you know how hard the problem of cloning really is? :) The only reason it's somewhat easier to clone a sheep is because you've got a sheep to put your clone into to grow it. With all these extinct species you have no surrogates that guarantees a product; it's almost impossible to do, without some serious gene therapy of the host to accept an alien in their womb. The alternative of a synthetic cradle is terribly tricky. But I haven't even talked about the hardest part which is to actually clone the DNA; most of these are terribly broken, and you need a bucketload of fixing of the DNA to be able to replicate it. Next you have to have the ability to actually create a string om amino-acids, and we're not even in the vicinity of sniffing that one yet.But then, I'm not even a genetics engineer playing on TV. :)
@JS AllenThe question asked of Baucham by students is, “If you believe in a God that is omnipotent and omni-benevolent, then how do you reconcile the issue of theodicy?” This appears to me to be a serious question, whereas Baucham is the one resorting to rhetorical devices that do not address the problem raised. The defense against a deductive formulation of the PoE by Plantinga is not open to Calvinists, as far as I can tell. Perhaps you can demonstrate how they might employ his strategy. I made no statement resembling the one you ascribe to me about entitlements. @RayI gather from your post that you dispute premise 3, with the claim that God does not desire to immediately eliminate evil, though God does desire to eventually eliminate evil. If I am correct, then in order for this clarification to succeed, you must explain in what sense God remains omni-benevolent when permitting the existence of evil for any amount of time. Perhaps one might appeal to overriding moral goods of some kind, though this strategy seems to be unavailable to the Calvinist.
Ya'll have gotten way over my head with this for the most part. What I picture is God sitting up there on his throne getting annoyed if you ask questions, especially if you don't display the proper attitude.Is he not up there watching when a child is being sexually abused? When a person is being eaten alive by a crocodile? When a person is in agony and screaming for God to please help them?What I see is that people give God the credit for good things, and just keep quiet re the bad things and hope nobody starts thinking. So no matter what horrible thing you go through, you are never to blame God. Even if you've been taught that he loves you, that you are his child, that you are so very precious, you are just supposed to believe that no matter what is staring you in the face that tells you otherwise.This is bouncing around, I guess, but one more question-how are regular Calvinists different from the Westboro Bapist people? Do they think the same way, but have better manners?
One more thing. How is this situation with God different than a mother who assures her child that the child's father truly loves them. Yet the child can plainly see 10 different reasons to think that the father does NOT love them. It creates great confusion in the mind.It's like if your father is passed out in the front yard drunk, and your mother says, no, he's just sleeping, everything's fine.How is it different with God? You see lots of evidence for one way of looking at it, but you are not to trust your own thinking. You are to believe what others have taught you.
For a good debate between an atheist and a Christian on the problem of evil, I highly recommend this debate between Michael Brown and Bart Eherman on the topic "Does the Bible Provide an Adequate Answer to the Problem of Suffering?".
Wes,Thanks for the link. I have been meaning to listen to that debate. BTW, I have a post coming up next week on Plantinga's Free Will Defense for the Problem of Evil.
This is bouncing around, I guess, but one more question-how are regular Calvinists different from the Westboro Bapist people? Do they think the same way, but have better manners? I asked that to one of the Triablogue guys (Calvinists), and while he denounced Fred Phelps in the strongest possible language, he never explained how his beliefs were really any different.
Fred Phelps is a Calvinist. Jeffrey Dahmer was an atheist. Comparing Baucham to Phelps would be the same as comparing Alexander to James Jay Lee. In other words, it would be illogical and nasty. It's something people do when they're emotional and feel cornered.@Lynn - I think you're doing a good job demonstrating the psychology of the people who bring up the "problem of evil". Instead of blaming the rapist committing the rape, they'd rather blame God. Instead of praising all that is good and wonderful about life, and what's in store, they'd rather find reasons to judge God.Your comment about a "drunk father" is pretty perceptive. What do you think about this story from Genesis? How people react to that story will reveal a lot about how they react to the "problem of evil".
Walter,Exactly! Yes, we all think Fred Phelps is not a nice person. BUT how is he incorrect in his theology??I tried to find some answers on this once, and one guy said Phelps couldn't be a Baptist cause there are no Baptists that are Calvinists. Well, I wasn't sure on that one, so I researched that, and found out there certainly ARE Baptists who are Calvinists-and that number is actually getting bigger.I would LOVE to hear Calvinists tell me how their theology differs from Fred Phelps's theology. Cause Fred sure does know his Bible, and so do his children and grandchildren.
JS Allen,I'm sure Bachaum is a much nicer peson than Phelps. But how does their theology differ?What Jeffrey Dahmer did was not connected to atheism in the way that what Phelps does is all about his theological beliefs.I'm not saying Calvinists are lousy people. But Phelps is representing their theology and acting on it very publicly, so why would I not want it explained to me how there are differences in Calvinists?Re the rapist commiting the crime-I'm certainly blaming the rapist for raping. But, it seems to me, there's one who is certainly ABLE to see and stop the rapist, yet he does not do so. I think if you yourself could see the rape happening, you would certainly do all in your power to intervene, would you not?Now I'll go read the story in Genesis, then comment. And I appreciate the feedback.
@Reuben:"I made no statement resembling the one you ascribe to me about entitlements"Well, I quoted you verbatim three times, and when I used the word "entitlement" I was trying to paraphrase you charitably to make you sound less strident.Word-for-word, here is what you (falsely) accused Baucham of saying: "people are no-good dirt-bags who deserve only to suffer, die and then go to hell."Charitably, this sounds like you are saying that Baucham believes (at a minimum) that humans are not intrinsically entitled to live. If you think that's inaccurate, please explain why.The fact is, Christians don't believe that humans are entitled to live, and neither do atheists. So it's hypocritical for atheists to get all riled up about the Christian perspective on this."This appears to me to be a serious question, whereas Baucham is the one resorting to rhetorical devices that do not address the problem raised."Well, you may be right about it being a serious question, but Baucham obviously didn't think so. He seems to be insinuating that people put it in philosophy-speak to make it sound more serious. We certainly see people do that on Internet message boards, so it's not implausible."The defense against a deductive formulation of the PoE by Plantinga is not open to Calvinists, as far as I can tell."Like I said (and you conceded), the "logical problem of evil" is what Baucham was talking about. I don't think two non-philosophers will get very far discussing it on a message board, when literally thousands of pages have been written by serious philosophers about the question over the past 20 years.However, I will say that Arminians have always accused Calvinists of making God into the author of evil, and I think that's roughly the same as saying the free will defense is not available to Calvinists. As I'm sure you're aware, most Calvinists vehemently deny the charge that God is the author of evil, but you may not find their reasons very convincing.
@Reuben: Typo above: Baucham is *not* talking about "logical problem of evil". We both agree that he turned it into a different question.@Lynn - I'll look forward to your reaction to the Noah story.Now, there is a word for when people grab one ugly man like Fred Phelps, and smear an entire community, like Calvinists. It's called bigotry. There are non-Calvinist homophobes who use the Bible to support their homophobia. There are atheist homophobes who use science to support their homophobia. Darwinism has often been used to support homophobia. So I guess evolutionists are evil.Check out this post about atheist bigotry on Common Sense Atheism, and follow up by reading Alonzo Fyfe's post on the matter.
Now, there is a word for when people grab one ugly man like Fred Phelps, and smear an entire community, like CalvinistsThe question was: How does your beliefs differ from Phelps? Where has Phelps erred in his ways? Phelps believes that God actively HATES most of the people on Earth, and all Calvinists--to the best of my knowledge--share this belief. It just seems to me that the Westboro folks simply lay their cards on the table and they don't apologize for their hateful beliefs. Not saying that I approve of Phelp's antics, but I can't tell where he has strayed from Reformed theology?
“How can a holy and righteous God know what I did and thought and said on yesterday and not kill me in my sleep last night?”“Why has he not consumed and devoured each and every one of us?”I do not think that humans are intrinsically entitled to live. Baucham is the one who claims that we positively deserve to die, to experience the “wrath of God,” at every moment of our wicked existence. Barebones atheism entails no such negative desserts.Whatever Baucham thinks about the motivations of his interlocutors, his response completely dismisses the problem at hand. He explicitly refuses to answer a legitimate question and instead requires that one ask an entirely different one that is irrelevant. You originally described him as doing a fine job presenting a non-philosophical, Calvinist answer. Perhaps you are right and dodging the problem is the best that they can do with those criteria. Well, is the free will defense open to Calvinists or not? Otherwise, Plantinga ain’t gonna help them out here.
I wrote my last response before noticing your typo correction post, if that is significant to your reading of my last post.
JS Allen,I get your point. There are mean people and nuts in any group. That does not mean the ideology they latch onto is incorrect in and of itself. It's unfair to connect everybody in the group with an unattractive member of that group.Is that what you were trying to tell me? If so, I stand corrected.I read about Noah and his son that "saw his father's nakedness." I looked at one article online that was talking about what that phrase actually meant. I'm assuming the son did something sexual to his father, then the other sons tried to preserve his father's dignity.I'm not sure how that relates to a drunken father in the front yard, unless you're saying it's a good thing for people to try to preserve his dignity?My point was the confusion that results in the mind when you are told that someone is loving (such as God) when they so obviously are not. You then have to choose who to believe-your own eyes, instincts, common sense, etc. or what someone is telling you.
@Reuben "You originally described him as doing a fine job presenting a non-philosophical, Calvinist answer. Perhaps you are right and dodging the problem is the best that they can do with those criteria."Well, his questioners aren't real philosophers, and he's not a real philosopher, so I don't think it was out of line for him to answer the question he thought was really being asked. You call it a dodge, I call it a good answer.I'm virtually certain that the vast majority of people asking that question are not trying to play a "gotcha" game to try to show how Calvinist compatibilism is incompatible with Plantinga's free will defense. That's not at all what most people are thinking about when they bring up PoE. It seems that neither you nor Lynn were thinking about compatibilism and Plantinga initially, either, you were making emotional arguments about, "How dare God say that I don't deserve to draw another breath, and that I only breathe due to his great love! HOW DARE HE!"I think people want to focus on the "don't deserve to live" part and ignore the "and yet allowed to live, due to His love and mercy".@Lynn - The story is that Noah got super drunk and fell asleep naked. His son Ham saw Noah drunk, passed out, and naked. Instead of covering his father and keeping it quiet, he told his brothers and mocked Noah. Noah's brothers covered their father, and he woke up. When he realized what Ham had done, Noah becanme very angry and cursed Ham so that Ham and all of his descendants would be slaves of the other two.What's your gut reaction to that story?@Walter - Calvin taught that God loves everyone (even the unelect). For example, in writing on John 3:16, he said "He has used a general term ["whosoever"], both to invite indiscriminately all to share in life and to cut off every excuse from unbelievers. Such also is the significance of the term 'world' which he had used before. For although there is nothing in the world deserving of God's favour, He nevertheless shows He is favorable to the whole world when he calls all without exception to the faith of Christ, which is indeed an entry into life."Baucham has never said "God hates fags", nor have I, nor do Calvinists as a whole say anything like that. So it's a bit silly for you to fixate on Phelps in this thread. If you have such a problem with the guy, you're welcome to go troll on his Web site or make prank calls or whatever.
Baucham has never said "God hates fags", nor have I, nor do Calvinists as a whole say anything like thatI am not fixated on Phelps, I am fixated on Calvinism. I despise it. But yeah, I'll shut up now.
JS Allen,Actually, I was NOT thinking how dare God say I don't deserve to draw another breath. I learned from a wonderful lady who was a Calvinist that "we must let God be God."And that only makes sense. If there is a God, he most certainly is in charge. And he can do whatever he wants, however he wants. And it doesn't matter if I like it or not.But I dare to complain that it doesn't make sense to me. God's supposed goodness and what happens in this world-does not make sense to me.God loves everybody, but has his elect. The rest will burn forever. But that's not his fault, it's their fault. Doesn't make sense to me.We all deserve hell, but God's chosen some to be his children, and they get to go to heaven. God's rules. Who am I to question?I do question though, and I do not like that preacher basically telling the guy, "How dare you question God?" People have honest questions, and if things don't make sense to people, then they just don't. And I'm not afraid to say I find it repulsive and very confusing.I think Calvinists like to keep their theology on the down-low when presenting the gospel. It's like a family secret. It's naturally repulsive, so they don't tell people what the Phelps people tell others. Maybe we should admire Fred for being upfront and not trying to hide what the Bible says.Frankly I think Fred can back up everything he says with the Bible.DOES God hate fags? DOES God punish nations for disobedience? I don't think Fred Phelps is making this stuff up. He got it from the Bible. The general public doesn't know their Bible very well. That's why they think he's so awful.Re Noah-my initial gut reaction to your version of the story is that Ham was disrespectful to his father. Please go ahead and tell me what point you want to make with this Bible story.
@JS AllenStudents: "How do you reconcile divine attributes with the existence of evil?"Baucham: "Wrong question. You should ask why God does not kill us all."You interpret his rhetorical response as being legitimate because whenever students ask him about the problem of evil, they are not asking in earnest. Fine. I only point out that he does not address the problem by asserting in question form that, not only do we not deserve to live, but we positively deserve to die (and judgment and wrath and so on - or translated from Christianese, suffering). Mine is not an emotional observation, though what he is suggesting is of course monstrously stupid and completely deserving of emotional charged ridicule.
@Lynn - Well, I think the most natural reaction is something like what you mentioned in your comment about a mother covering up for dad's indiscretion:1) Noah was a bad person. Public nakedness was even more shameful back then, as was drunkenness.2) Noah is culpable. It's not like he accidentally got drunk. He *planned* out the whole thing and waited for the grapes to grow!3) Having a laugh at a drunken fool's expense is no big crime, why were the older brothers so uptight?4) It's *terrible* to condemn your own son, and all of his unborn children, to suffer the crime of slavery. It's especially unjust for Noah to retaliate that way, since Noah is the one who sinned!Justifying Noah's behavior is a really difficult puzzle. By any modern standard of judgment, what he did was really, really bad.OTOH, when you consider that this happened immediately after Noah's righteousness has saved the entire human race from destruction, it's possible to think that different standards might apply. According to the story, Noah is the father of all living; "all descend from Noah". There are plenty of other distinctions to consider, and I'm not saying that any one distinction justifies what Noah did, but we have to admit it's *different*.
Ok. Well I guess we're talking about Noah cursed one whole line of people, and God cursed the whole human race because of Adam's sin.
JS ALLEN brought up Plantinga. Luke at commonsenseatheism has a great podcast from Oct. 10 by a philosopher named Tyler Wunder who does a pretty thorough critique of Plantinga.
"Noah was a bad person. Public nakedness was even more shameful back then, as was drunkenness.""Back then" when there were supposedly 6 people in existence in the entire world, I don't see how anything could be shameful. Who was he going to embarrass? The remaining animals they hadn't eaten yet?Shame is a cultural term that requires a society to be applicable, and six shipwreck survivors hardly fit the bill.
@Kilo - Yes, that's a good podcast from Luke@Paul - 3 points:1) Supposedly, God had just finished slaughtering the entire human race because of their immorality. If anyone were to have a heightened sense of morality, it would be these "six shipwreck survivors". Shame at nakedness was the very first instance of shame, according to the book of Genesis.2) Even today, in the absence of religion or a flood, any random set of six shipwreck survivors would still retain their cultural norms. If you're ever shipwrecked on an island with 5 other people, I'd advise you to not start flashing people.3) The idea that shame can only exist when there are more than 6 people is ridiculous. Did you make that up all by yourself? Shame can exist when there are only two people, and, indeed, even when someone is alone. For a good discussion of shame, including some empirical research, see "Moral Emotions" by Prinz and Nichols.
Wes,I listened to the debate between Brown and Ehrman. I was not convinced by Brown's answers. He makes natural evil a result of man's sin retroactively. This seems ad hoc to me and there is not a shred of biblical evidence for it. In fact, the Bible seems to indicate that nature changed after man fell. It was a perfect environment before, no carnivores, no thorns and thistles, etc.I think Ehrman is correct in saying that the Bible does not present a unified theodicy for evil. In Job, it comes as a test, some sort of game that God and Satan are playing. When Job complains, God basically tells him to shut up because he is the creature not the creator. In the prophets suffering comes mostly as a punishment for sin. In the NT, Jesus says that suffering is not necessarily a punishment for specific sin. Peter and James presents suffering as something that can make a person better (the idea that if something doesn't kill me it makes me better).In the debate they never get in to the question of how an absolutely moral and perfectly good God could allow evil to exist and that is no doubt because the Bible does not address such a philosophical topic. It is just assumed that God is the creator and has a right to do what he pleases.
'Why, if God's so good, do bad things happen?'- 'Because people are at His mercy.'I think I've missed something. Can somebody pinpoint in the video where he actually gives the answer to the question? Or is this again apologetic rhetoric larded with red herrings?Stefan Detrez, Antwerp, Belgium