Thursday, May 3, 2012

Justify your God!!!!!!!!

That was asked of me by one of my atheist buddies at my last atheist meeting. My response was “Why do you care?”

She said, Well if you’re going to believe in something so strongly, you have to have proof to support that belief, don’t you think? I told her that I didn’t agree with her, since “proof” is in the eye of the beholder. Two police men can walk into the same exact murder scene. One says it was a murder, the other says it was suicide. How can that be? They both have the same evidence to look at, shouldn’t they both come to the same exact conclusion since they are examining the same crime scene? No, because “evidence” is in the eye of the beholder. The way a person interprets evidence is in context to the amount of study a person puts into the field the evidence falls in. For example, if a person wants to discredit the Bible, I would ask them if they speak ancient Hebrew, Greek, and Arabic languages. I would also ask how much Judaism they have studied. If you haven’t studied any of these, how can you possibly hope to completely understand a book that was written over the course of 4,000 years, 2,000 years ago, by 44 different authors, groups of people that lived in a culture we could not possibly hope to understand? For starters, you have air conditioning. How can you possibly relate to a group of people living in the desert with no air conditioning? How can you possibly relate to a Jesus, who said I have come to feed the poor, when you have never experienced real hunger pains? By the way, “real” hunger doesn’t begin until you have been denied food for about 14 hours. The hunger you feel when you know you just ate 4-6 hours ago is the entitlement you experience because you want food all the time. (It’s true, look it up)

When you try to apply science to faith, it doesn’t work because science is based on facts and evidence. Well, things we considered to be facts 150 years ago, have since been found to be wrong based on learning new things. So, some of the things we know to be “facts” today, may not be facts 150 years from now as we continue to learn.

So, then she said, what about all the bad stuff in the Bible? I said, well, there is a lot of things I don’t understand about the Bible and a lot of things I don’t like. I asked her if she loved her husband and of course she said yes. Then I said, does he ever do anything bad? Maybe, lose his temper? Maybe not always treat you the way you want to be treated? She said of course. I told her that by the same logic she wants me to condemn God for, she should also condemn her husband. I said, I cant explain everything in the Bible. NOBODY can. I have to believe that God wanted it that way, otherwise, the Bible would have just been a small tri fold brochure with some simple rules for getting to heaven.

You may not like the comparison or even agree with it and that is ok. I don’t believe I need to understand everything about the Bible to believe in God. And even if God did some things that “I” wouldn’t do, or you wouldn’t do, doesn’t mean there isn’t a God. It just means we aren’t Him. As time goes on, perhaps we will gain more of an understanding of the will of God. Or maybe we won’t. But just because I read stories about bad things happening in the Bible, doesn’t mean I think it’s ok for me to do bad things in God’s name. And that should be the important part. If God ordered a city to be destroyed, well, I don’t understand it and may not even agree with it, but I don’t think it is permission for Christians to hurt people in God’s name.

So, I am not going to justify my God. I am not going to “prove” to you, why He is real. And you should never expect me to, unless I start trying to convince you, why you need to believe in Him. Then you can feel free to ask me to prove my God to you. And in the same respect, I won’t demand that you prove with empirical evidence that you really love your family.

Fair enough?


  1. I guess the answer to this question really depends on the spirit in which it is asked. I think your response of "why do you care" is a good one. If me and you were having the conversation, I would say that I like to know how people think, and I am always curious how people look at the same thing as me and come to a different conclusion. I like your answer about the 2 cops seeing a murder or suicide, but if that happened, shouldn't they then discuss why one sees a murder and the other sees a suicide?

    Your claim that to discredit the bible you need to know multiple languages and so forth just seems silly to me, unless you want to claim that level of knowledge is necessary to understand the good things in it too. Good or bad, I think we should be able to talk about it at whatever level we are at. Sure, we should keep in mind that we are not experts, but why should we not be able to try to evaluate it at face value?

    That's not to say I think you should have to justify your God to anyone, but if you don't feel that you can, does that say something? Granted, it might just mean that person is being closed minded, but if they were not, do you think you could do it?

  2. My claim about understanding the Bible comes from talking with evolutionists. THey make the comment that you can't casually read an article from popular science and understand the complexity of evolution.

    I agree.

    But to read the Bible in english and begin tearing it apart is irresponsible to me. So many things dont translate like a person thinks when reading the Bible. This video is an example of how the use of words changes in just 200 years.

    1. Yet christians in america take the bible so literally. Women no longer have to marry their rapists, yet homosexuality is still a sin?

      You can't cherry pick from the bible. Either it is all the true infalliable word of god or it is not. And if it isn't then why put such faith in the scrawlings of iron agge goat herders?

  3. That video was really interesting. I've never heard that unicorns are in the bible, now if I do hear it like was shown in the video I can correct it.

    You do illustrate a really good point, that when analyzing the bible you need to be really careful. I would say that this applies whether you are pro-bible or anti-bible. A good example I think is what you posted just recently about evolution. That was a fairly subtle argument analyzing various English words. Is it reasonable to require that you study old scripture in other languages before advancing the idea?

    I would argue that both situations should require the same thing. And honestly, what I would say is both sides should be able to advance their ideas based on the english text, but be aware that they might not be seeing the whole picture. And that video should be a good cautionary tale, I don't think pointing out the unicorn thing was so terrible, but being smug jerks about it just makes it that much worse in the end.

  4. Yeah, most translations have unicorns in the Bible. And since it is so easy to make mistakes in the translation, I have to believe that God takes into account how often His "followers" completely miss the point He intended to make in the Bible.

    And I agree with "smugness" attitude. It's not very helpful.

    Thanks again for posting.


  5. Nice post. I would be curious as to how you'd answer the same question from someone of another religion. I'm assuming that you probably dismiss the Koran and the bagadavita(sp?) without having studied them or the respective languages or cultures etc. What would make that different? Thanks :)

    1. Close on the spelling. It's spelled "Bhagavad Gita," and can be referred to as simply "Gita" or "The Gita."

    2. I think the answer to your question might be in my blog about "Why atheists havent convinced me yet." I discuss my coming to God, and how I was influenced by other religions before I was influenced by christianity.

  6. i'm sorry i feel there are a few flaws in your argument

    1. you said that looking at evidence of a crime scene is analogous to the lookin at evidence of creation of the universe. if so happen these two policemen walk into a crime scene and conclude two different things, clearly one of them has to be right. therefore we look to the one who provides more substantial and clearer evidence. thats how investigation works. one of them has to be wrong and one of them has to be proven wrong or the investigation will go no where.

    2.If the book was written over thousands of years ago, by 44 different authors, wouldnt there be a problem in translation. after all it was written by MEN and translated by MEN (unless there is a special translation and writing centre where angels work). how could YOU possibly know what they were telling was truth?

    I'm sorry if i sound arrogant, but belief without questioning is just faith. do not assume it is fact until it is proven.

    1. I dont think you sound arrogant at all. As far as question 1 goes, see my comments below. (I started at the bottom and worked my up)

      In regards to question 2, I agree with you. There are several errors in translation. SOme words didn't translate "nicely" into english because we don't use words the way they did in other languages.

      That is why I tell people if they truly want to understand the Bible in it's entire context then they need to understand the languages it was written in.

      This is where christians argue with me. And atheists will sometimes ask me "If the Bible can be so confusing then why did God give it to us, to direct us in how to avoid hell?"

      My response to that is "maybe it's because the Bible isn't as important as some make it out ot be."

      People don't come to know God because they read the Bible and said "Well hell, that makes perfect sense to me." People come to know God because something inside them told them to. THe Bible even says that "man doesn't come to know God on his own. God calls men when He is ready for them."

      And that is the primary reason I don't judge non-believers. If God wants an atheist to believe, then the atheist will believe. It's not up to me to "convince" an atheist that God is real. That would be just arrogant on my part.

    2. I think the translation point is a good one. I'm not quite sure that it would really convince me though.. I feel like I'd find more merit in the bible if a majority of it felt significant, or divinely inspired, rather than the writings of a first century person for a first century people.

      I studied abroad in Germany at the University of Heidelberg for a yaer in college. Sometimes words in different languages don't quite translate into the same meaning in another. You have to pick the closest thing you can find to get the idea across and still some stuff gets left out. In a German film course I took here in the states we watched part of the Heimat series. It literally translates to "Homeland" but my professor wound up spending an hour lecturing about the significance of that word in German culture. In some cases, it still means "homeland" but has a lot more significance in the German culture.

  7. Your crime scene analogy loses a lot of steam when the claims are put to the test in court. It's also a bit of a false dichotomy, as the cop who claimed murder is making a positive claim. If the other cop is representative of atheists, he wouldn't assert another positive claim. He would just not accept the murder claim until there is enough evidence to justify the claim.

    Secondly, I don't speak Na'vi, but I can tell you Avatar is a work of fiction as the events in the movie incompatible with what is known of the universe at this point. That's not to say that it couldn't happen, just as I can't say that absolutely no gods exist. But accepting a claim before sufficient evidence has been presented opens up a lot of bad doors.

    I also saw your blog entry on Reddit, and I like the way you present yourself and your stances. Hope things are well in Oregon.

    1. sometimes due to a lack of evidence we can't tell whether it was a suicide or murder. SOmetimes all of the evidence points to suicide then someone produces a video that proves it was murder. It actually happens quite often.

      And in regards to Avatar, all we have is a movie. We don't have ancient pottery, scrolls, and documents that support Avatar. In fact, we have over 24,000 documents depicting Jesus. Now I agree that you can dispute the validity or the significance of that many documents but you can't deny their existance.

      I just accept their validity, where you might not.

      And I am ok with that. THanks for posting and thanks for the encouragement.

    2. I'm not quite sure if the number of documents makes it true necessarily. I'm curious as to what these documents are. Are they old copies of books from the Bible? If we had 100,000 copies of the illiad, would that make it true? I don't think the truth is democratic. You bring up a good point about evidence but I think that quality beats quantity. Thanks for engaging in a conversation.

  8. I disagree that "proof is in the eye of the beholder." If two students take a test and get different answers to a math problem, does this mean the "answer is in the eye of the beholder"!? Of course not. It means one of them made an arithmetic error.

    The same is true of the crime scene example. One of the investigators clearly made a logic error. Keep in mind that such investigation is probabilistic. If the evidence is weighed objectively and they examine the same set of evidence, they should both arrive at the same x% chance it was a murder vs. suicide.

    Just because humans are fallible does not mean evidence and reason are completely subjective.

    1. I guess where I am coming from in saying that proof is in the eye of the beholder, is from science. I can find scientists that all agree on something. Then I can find another group of scientists who completely disagree with the first group. As a "non" scientist it is very difficult for me to discern who is correct. They both sound smart, and are definately smarter than me. Ultimately, I have to either become a scientist myself, or do my best to come to a conclusion based on the data I have.

      So in that sense, I have to interpret two conflicting evidences and tryo to decide which one is correct.

    2. " If two students take a test and get different answers to a math problem...It means at least one of them made an arithmetic error."

      FTFY. Sorry, as a math teacher I couldn't help myself. :)