Calc BC class was supervised today by a laissez-faire substitute, and, interestingly, a number of the IB Philosophy seniors began heatedly debating about Christianity and justifications for belief. I didn't participate, but some remarks by the Christians stood out as I listened:

Hell wasn't asserted to be a physical place but actually spiritual "separation from God" (probably similar to the idea of alienation from theistic existentialists). God doesn't threaten physical punishment because He wants you to voluntarily come to Him, which is why we are given free will. Of course, the counterargument runs, if there's no perceptible difference between that hell and current life to a nonbeliever (who has no intimate connection to God in the first place), there's no compelling reason to start believing. The Christian response would be that closeness to God "completes" a human being, that it is necessary to transcend to a higher state, etc... But the debate is uphill for skeptics, because there's no easy way to get past the basic "God is the best" mindset.

So I wonder: how does one effectively argue to Christians that faith in God is really is not as important as they claim? An atheist already thinks that looking to God for salvation is as absurd as looking to a rock for guidance, but to a Christian, love of God is of unparalleled importance, needless to say. For former Christians, were there any debates that compelled you to question your faith? Thanks in advance...

Anyway, the second assertion, slightly more absurd, is that God created humans because He *wants* to have a "relationship" with us. For a supposedly infinitely powerful guy, God must have quite a low self-esteem if he needs petty humans to continually assure Him of His worthiness...

Tags: debate, faith, hell, philosophy

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I've had Christians admit Hell is not a physical place before as well. As far as atheists being separated from God, the answer I've most often received to that is that we aren't truely separated from God until we die, since we could still change our mind (fat chance).
That makes me wonder why God would even bother with us. If he is really the omnipotent being, surely he would know that we would not change our minds with the way he's acting.
Nope. There wasn't a single debate that lead me to atheism. I know this might sound strange, but I just thought about over a period of weeks.
Yeah, debates are rarely successful at convincing people to change their minds, since the confrontational setup only makes people more unreasonably rigid in order to not appear weak, and this can apply to both sides.

Still, debates are a frequent by-product of trying to set the facts straight...
Here's what I think about that whole "Hell is just a separation from God" thing.

When a Christian tells me that, I say, "So, hell isn't so bad, then? Isn't it a punishment?"

yes.

"Would I want to have that happen to me?"

no one would.

"Is it the worst thing that could ever happen to someone?"

yes!

" So, hell is still hell. OK. A Twilight Zone hell. And it's still torture. No reprieve from me. The concept is still evil."
Ok,I'm disagreeing with this statement and going off topic:

"killing off all the cats in Europe as witches' "familiars," which led to overpopulation by rats, which led to the Black Plague"

Cats never would have been able to control the rodent population and they do not,to this day.
The reason why is cats do not just prey on rats. They will kill anything too small to fight back,so that includes rodents,reptiles,rabbits,etc.
Cats actually go after the easiest prey,which is birds.
Because most bird species have no night vision,they are sitting ducks...Babies in nests are in the same fix.
Ratse,on the other hand,can more easily escape cats by going down a hole,under a house,etc.
In other countries where there were cats,the plague occurred in those places as well.
It also was not the rats,it was the fleas...
And lastly, there were cats during the plague years,and dogs and they were killed by it as well,as were the fleas and all of the rats who were exposed to the flea bite.
Yes, what Alex said. My cat once brought home a living rat. She also liked to show off how good she was killing off the local rodent population by putting the dead mouses just outside the doorsteps. Never ever did she bring home a dead bird or was found with feathers in her mouth. If she did eat or catch birds she did it quite secretely.
"This is obviously the origin of the god myth in the first place, as primitive Man sought explanations for death, disease, famine and other natural disasters."

I thought this too before, but now I am not so sure. There is a book written by Boyer that claims it's the completely opposite.

"The free will argument is used by fundamentalists to explain why there is evil in the world: "If Man chooses to stray from God, then the evil is a result of that straying." Free will is seen as Man's freedom to consider arguments for and against the existence of the Christian god and to choose whether or not to follow the Christian god. Investigation by any rational person must include elements of logic, reason and the pursuit of knowledge. To negate these elements of investigation by simply declaring "don't think, don't question, just believe" is to negate Man's ability to utilize his own free will in order to make a determination about the truth or falsity of the Christian god. If asked to believe in the Christian god without any evidence other than the proselytizer's demand that he do so, the investigator may as well be asked to believe in the Easter Bunny, Santa Claus, or the Invisible Pink Unicorn for that matter."


There is also the idea that if god is so powerful, than any inquiry will not hurt, since whatever we may come up with will not disapprove god's existence in any whatsoever way.
I stumbled upon a similar reasoning not too long time ago when my new anthropology course was introduced.

It all seems to be a sadomachossistic part from the Christians, who somehow uphold their own worldviews without any good reason to more than fear of what happens if they don't (nothing of course, but we always fear what will happen, not what actually happens). I have yet to understand why, and my teacher said he will help to explain to me now on Friday. There is obviously some kind of theory about this!

But to round down what I was getting to, we must understand Christianity as a power system that needs believers to be held up and the thoughts that you presented are examples of people trying to uphold that system.

Of course, the question is once again, why. Obviously not because of some feel good, I can surely feel as good without good so in reality, it's all about fooling yourself you are doing it for your own greater good, actually pretty much like abusing men who manipulate their women into thinking what they have is the best thing they can get.

It's all power abuse, but by whom? Not god anyway.

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