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Monday, June 08, 2015

The Devil's own

It's not at all hard to understand why Phil Sandifer so dislikes "One Bright Star to Guide Them". Indeed, the strength of his distaste for it is a testimony to its depth and power, to say nothing of its appeal to Friends of Narnia, as can be seen in this exchange that took place outside the actual literary debate.
PS: From my perspective, this is the most basic disagreement that exists between Vox and me. Both Vox and I look at the problem of the world being far more complex than even an extremely intelligent person like ourselves can hope to fully understand. Vox's reaction is to give complete trust to an unknowable higher being with the capacity for full and total understanding of the world. Mine is to instead try to fully understand my experience of the world, a task that is still staggeringly difficult, but at least feels accomplishable within the scope of a human lifetime and intellect.

I view his approach as a horrifying act of submission to an authority that is at best imaginary and at worst illegitimate. He views mine as nihilistic solipsism.

VD: I think you need to revise that. At best imaginary, at worst legitimate. Your biggest concern isn't that God exists and His authority is not legitimate. It's that He exists and it is.

PS: That's actually not a concern of mine, although we should be precise here and distinguish between his authority and his power. I am profoundly concerned that your god exists and wields the power you describe. It is literally my greatest existential fear; a terror that has genuinely kept me up at night, because in the event that it is true I am knowingly signing myself up for an eternity of torment that goes beyond anything I am capable of imagining.

I have no concern whatsoever that his authority is legitimate, however. It is not, at least over what I understand to be me, Philip Sandifer. The self that I am solipsistically invested in has an independent consciousness from your god. I am but a sinner, cast out into a material world and fundamentally separated from your god. But where you view my sin as my imprisonment in a lowly, materialist prison, I view it as my freedom from the tyrant you choose to serve.

To misquote Blake, I am of the devil's party and know it.
It is not uncommon for people to ask me why I treat atheists, particularly those of the militant or evangelical variety, with such open contempt. The reason is very simple. The only way they can be reached, the only way they can even begin thinking rationally about Christianity instead of thoughtlessly reacting to it, is for their pride to be broken first. Since their pride tends to revolve around their intelligence, it usually requires a higher intelligence to break it and I happen to be reasonably well-equipped in that regard.

It's not knowledge that keeps men like Phil from submitting to the Most High, to the Creator God of the Universe, it is pride in the independent consciousness that they possess as a gift from the very tyrant they refuse to serve. As an arrogant man myself, I recognize that fierce and independent pride when I see it. I even admire it, to a certain extent. But I also know its futility, and worse, its sheer pointlessness.

Does the jar demand the potter admire its beauty? Is the jar foolish enough to be proud of its existence separate from the very mind that conceived it, the very hands that shaped it and brought it into being? Does the jar so lack perception that it fails to grasp it can be unmade as easily as it was made by its maker?

In what, O jar, is your petty pride?

How strange it is that those who refuse to grovel before God so readily bow before other men and genuflect before some of the most foolish ideas of Man ever conceived. And how pointless, when we know that one day every knee will bow, and every tongue will confess, that Jesus Christ is Lord. Serve freely or defy as you see fit, because every path leads to the same destination, submission before the Almighty.

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274 Comments:

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Blogger Markku June 08, 2015 4:59 AM  

When an orc lives in Mordor, it's quite possible for him to think himself as not all that bad an orc. Same for us. We know only fallen beings.

Except for animals. That's why many of us would let a human die, before letting an animal die. When we are brought to face that contrast, even in the mildest possible manner (meeting an angel would be an ENTIRELY different experience), we recognize the truth on an emotional level.

Anonymous Rufus June 08, 2015 5:04 AM  

This is a very powerful post - thanks for sharing, Vox.

I appreciate Phil's honesty and despair at his obstinacy. He has an inkling of Whom he is messing with, but instead of making him humble and penitent, the utter hopelessness of his position vis a vis his Creator fuels his hatred.

I love your analysis Vox. I've seen is time and time again myself in the atheists I deal with - the passionate hatred of God and His people, while at the same time claiming He doesn't exist...it's obvious that deep down they know. They KNOW.

Anonymous Freddy June 08, 2015 5:04 AM  

Self decieved regarding their willful self deception.

Blogger Seneca June 08, 2015 5:15 AM  

Cogently stated Vox. "There is a God, it is not I."

Blogger camperbot June 08, 2015 5:17 AM  

it's obvious that deep down they know. They KNOW.

Indeed.

18 The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness, 19 since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. 20 For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.

Blogger Positive Dennis June 08, 2015 5:18 AM  

I find this post disturbing. Why? It appears that a lack of faith Is a lot more willful than I want to admit.

Blogger Bobo #117 June 08, 2015 5:18 AM  

"Despite what they may say, men don't have intellectual problems with the Bible, only moral problems."
-A.W. Tozer

Blogger Markku June 08, 2015 5:29 AM  

I think that to a large degree, this phenomenon is the answer to the question, "why doesn't God just reveal himself in an overt fashion that cannot be gainsaid?"

Because having the human believe that God exists, is by far the smallest of God's problems. The human would just spit in his face (or more likely, do it passive-aggressively) if He did that, and that crime would require an immediate punishment.

Blogger Jew613 June 08, 2015 5:35 AM  

This is an unusually honest Atheist. The mistake he makes is refusing to realize he is inferior to G-d. Phil Sandifer uses what intelligence he has to rebel. But he seems to more hate G-d then not believe.

Blogger Sherwood family June 08, 2015 5:42 AM  

Believing or not believing is a choice. Mr. Sandifer has chosen not to believe. He is informed enough to understand that he has made a choice and as such must live with the eventual consequences should his choice, or rather, when his choice not to believe comes to its full fruition. But what is he afraid of giving up? His autonomy? He has none. Phil Sandifer has a master he serves just like the rest of us. It simply happens that Sandifer's master is the enemy of our own. So while Sandifer may conclude that he preserves his independence, he does not. He even alludes to knowingly being of the Devil's party.

So if it is not intellectual independence that he craves, what is it that motivates him to act as he has?

Sandifer seems to view his "lowly materialist prison" (as he calls it) as a way to get free from the "tyranny" of God. It seems that Sandifer's fear is the fear of the damned: namely that the Lord will not always suffer him to take happiness in sin.

Rather than coming unto Jesus with a broken heart and contrite spirit he would rather curse God, and die. Nevertheless, Sandifer is the kind that will continue to struggle for his life to preserve that "lowly, materialist prison" until the last possible moment because he fears what waits for him on the other side. Not the bodily and spiritual annihilation which would be a relief in some ways from the tedium and suffering that comes from sin, but a Judgment. And that Judgment will bring Sandifer face to face with Whom he has rejected (at least up to this point).

What Sandifer rejects or does not understand is that Christ's mercy satisfies the demands of justice, and encircles the repentant in the arms of safety, while the unrepentant are exposed to the whole law of the demands of justice. Every last jot and tittle.

OpenID xsyq June 08, 2015 5:47 AM  

In the end faith is a choice. Even many of those who had the privilege of hearing and seeing the Savior during his time on this earth did not believe. Like the rich young man that could not bear to give up his wealth, people today often cannot give up their pride and face the truth. "God can't exist because there is evil in the world", "The Bible doesn't condemn homosexuality", "Jesus would be in favor of legalizing weed", whatever notions the devil succeeds in planting become an anchor weighing them down to Hell. I hope Philip can let go of his anchor before he falls too far.

Blogger jayb June 08, 2015 5:50 AM  

Funny, I was thinking, "how much like Satan from Paradise Lost?" the whole time.

Like a tiny fist, shaken at an omnipotent tyrant who refuses to force his subjects to submit... for the moment.

Anonymous clk June 08, 2015 5:57 AM  

"I find this post disturbing. Why? It appears that a lack of faith Is a lot more willful than I want to admit." .. my own thoughts exactly... I see in VD's actions a mirror to my own shortfalls.

"Pride goeth before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall" ....

What I find interesting of late is that the so called non believer is often showing more christian characteristics than the actual Christians... and that the later actually revel in this fact... it would seem to be sin of higher degree to have great knowledge of Jesus and not follow than to know nothing and live a good life ... and certainly an even greater sin to allow ones hubris to then lead astray the less intelligent by your example.

I will have to work in this in myself...

Anonymous Fp June 08, 2015 6:00 AM  

Atheists are followers.To see such a brazen attitude is not surprising as there is very little admiring awe of God in the Church of Christ.

"Redemption puts God where He belongs -- exalted to the throne -- and man where he belongs --
down in the dust -- in order that God may .... raise man to the throne."

Blogger Sherwood family June 08, 2015 6:12 AM  

The good news, is that Mr. Sandifer is not yet dead. There is still time for repentance. As we have seen with other atheists, there are those who have also been against God or not believed in His existence but who have been brought by Him to acknowledge their errors and repent of their sins. We can hope and pray that such is the final state of Mr. Sandifer and that he chooses freedom and eternal life.

OpenID simplytimothy June 08, 2015 6:14 AM  

Sin is enmity with God and we have all been there or are there. A lot of people avoid the topic, its good to see a person wrestling with it.

if Phil Sandifer is reading this; know this. As you are, you can and must talk freely and honestly with God. He knows you hate Him and He loves you anyway.

Start the conversation, hold nothing back, speak honestly

I am praying for the man.

Vox, thanks for the post; you continue to teach by your actions. thx.




Blogger Markku June 08, 2015 6:21 AM  

You can remove obstacles from the path to salvation with arguments and apologetics, and that is often important work. Sometimes there is just one major obstacle holding up the trip.

But you can't lead a man there with them. One has to "taste and see that the LORD is good". Only prayer can help with that.

Blogger Philip Sandifer June 08, 2015 6:23 AM  

A couple of points.

1) For better or for worse, the case that my distaste for One Bright Star to Guide Them is a testament to its power works equally well for a Chick Tract. Which may well pass as moving religious art here. I honestly wouldn't pretend to know.

2) I am, of course, not an atheist. Indeed, there is a real sense in which I believe in the existence of your particular god, although I imagine him as a sort of Reverend Harry Powell figure; a sort of conniving charlatan, running a scam that is chilling in its efficacy.

3) Related to this, the crux of the problem is the sheer intensity of my revulsion in the face of your god's demands. There are few things in the world I am as certain of as my complete and utter horror at the idea of an all-powerful being that would inflict unimaginable suffering on someone for failing to accept a set of metaphysical claims. The idea sickens me to my core. It is a matter of faith on my part, as simple and pure as any you have ever felt, that such a being would be genuinely evil.

4) Equally, I have no shortage of faith in the beauty and worth of other things. I am staggered by the depth and profundity of Blake's visions. I think the magickal vision of the cosmos mapped out in Alan Moore's work is a breathtaking wonder. I think the Christ worshipped by some of my dearest friends, an all-forgiving God who welcomes His entire flock into eternity regardless of their sins, to be as profound a vision of love as has ever been expressed.

5) Which brings us to another clarification: it is not submission I reject, and certainly not submission before the almighty. It is submission to what is nothing more than a threat. It is submission to a god who would frame his demand in such a repulsive way. Who would create me to feel such horror at him and then punish me for the absoluteness of my faith. There are worthy things to submit to. Your god has shown me nothing that suggests for a moment that he is one of them.

6) All of which said, as someone who values nothing more than those things I have seen that have instilled in me a sense of beauty, wonder, and majesty, I continue to live with my eyes and heart open. If such beauty as you describe exists in the world, I should like nothing more than to see it. But there is literally nothing that you have ever shown me that looks anything like it.

Anonymous Difster VFM #109 June 08, 2015 6:28 AM  

There is no unbelief, only rebellion.

Blogger Danby June 08, 2015 6:30 AM  

I have no concern whatsoever that his authority is legitimate, however. It is not, at least over what I understand to be me, Philip Sandifer. The self that I am solipsistically invested in has an independent consciousness from your god.

P.H.D, huh?
"I have an independent consciousness, given me by God, so therefore God's authority is illegitimate?"
This guy is wrong to take such pride in his intelligence if that's an example of his reasoning ability. There's a whole lot of unstated and observably false premise in that logical chain. In fact it sounds much more like an excuse than any kind of reasoning. Working backwards from the desired result, if you will.

He knows, he just about says it himself, it is an error, and he persists in it willfully.

Is it really that pleasurable to sneer at other people that you're willing to swallow your own lies?

Blogger Philip Sandifer June 08, 2015 6:32 AM  

"I have an independent consciousness, given me by God, so therefore God's authority is illegitimate?"

I do not believe my consciousness was given to me by the god that Vox believes in.

(It may well have been given to me by a god. But not by that one.)

Anonymous Eric the Red June 08, 2015 6:32 AM  

To have a conversation with God is different than having an argument with Him. Constantly asking Him "Why..." is the intellectual road to infinite regression, as a seemingly clever way to keep on blaming God instead of finding a way to ultimately humble yourself and acknowledge Him master.

Anonymous AbuDhabi June 08, 2015 6:35 AM  

>>>>(...) a Chick Tract. Which may well pass as moving religious art here.

I doubt it. Chick is incredibly ignorant, and it shows in his works. I guess they're good for comedy, though.

Anonymous Phil2 June 08, 2015 6:35 AM  

me mad because me not god

Blogger Philip Sandifer June 08, 2015 6:36 AM  

I doubt it. Chick is incredibly ignorant, and it shows in his works. I guess they're good for comedy, though.

Ah, well, fair enough. In any case, I dislike them in almost the exact same way I dislike One Bright Star to Guide Them.

Blogger Philip Sandifer June 08, 2015 6:37 AM  

me mad because me not god

Furious, yes. Apotheosis is most certainly on my bucket list.

Blogger VD June 08, 2015 6:37 AM  

Related to this, the crux of the problem is the sheer intensity of my revulsion in the face of your god's demands. There are few things in the world I am as certain of as my complete and utter horror at the idea of an all-powerful being that would inflict unimaginable suffering on someone for failing to accept a set of metaphysical claims.

And yet you take pleasure in the perversions and suffering of the innocent in The Wasp Factory. Why feel so much horror at what is essentially an easily avoided punishment for stupid willfulness? Most rational people don't feel much sympathy for those who actively choose their own suffering. Why do you?

It is a matter of faith on my part, as simple and pure as any you have ever felt, that such a being would be genuinely evil.

Your philosophy is flawed. Such a being DEFINES the good. You don't. You are attempting to judge the judger. That's hardly a new concept; the Bible openly parodies it with the jar attempting to judge the potter.

It is submission to what is nothing more than a threat. It is submission to a god who would frame his demand in such a repulsive way. Who would create me to feel such horror at him and then punish me for the absoluteness of my faith. There are worthy things to submit to. Your god has shown me nothing that suggests for a moment that he is one of them.

Your very ability to submit to anything is a gift. Your very existence is a gift. If you reject the gift, that's on you. All your Maker is asking you to do is acknowledge and accept your place in His Creation. If you won't, then you will be thrown out. How is that horrible or evil? How is that anything but common sense?

I think you would not survive the Total Perspective Vortex. Perhaps I have you wrong, and it's not your pride that is the problem, but your solipsism.

Blogger VD June 08, 2015 6:38 AM  

Ah, well, fair enough. In any case, I dislike them in almost the exact same way I dislike One Bright Star to Guide Them.

I would expect so. Because what you dislike about the latter has nothing to do with art or aesthetics or literary quality.

Blogger Doom June 08, 2015 6:39 AM  

*grins* Oh, yes. There is that.

As for submission? In one sense, yes. In another, no. Further, they know everything now that they will know then. The difference is that there they cannot lie. They submit now as they will submit then.

Oh? Their emotional refusal IS, I would suggest, the very truth of their submission, merely bastardized through grasping lies in the hopes of... they know not what. They have submitted, merely corrupted it. As above, so below, as if in facing mirrors.

Blogger Danby June 08, 2015 6:39 AM  

5) Which brings us to another clarification: it is not submission I reject, and certainly not submission before the almighty. It is submission to what is nothing more than a threat. It is submission to a god who would frame his demand in such a repulsive way. Who would create me to feel such horror at him and then punish me for the absoluteness of my faith. There are worthy things to submit to. Your god has shown me nothing that suggests for a moment that he is one of them.

God does not demand of you anything more than that you repent of your sins. He does not cast anyone into hell. You are casting yourself into hell, right now, and every moment you slander God. Hell consists of precisely this: utter self awareness and utter separation from God. That's all. All the physical torments described in Dante, for example, are an attempt to describe in physical terms what is essentially a spiritual torment.

He's trying to save you. But He will not force you.

15 minutes research into Christianity would have explained this to you.

Blogger Sherwood family June 08, 2015 6:40 AM  

Mr. Sandifer: 'Tis no threat that God offers. Rather, it is a very real choice: come into the lifeboat and escape what will be destruction and suffering or go your own way and perish in the inevitable wreck. The choice is yours. It is not a threat. Christ, did after all die to procure your escape. There is literally nothing that He has not willingly consented to suffer so that He can effect an eternity of wonder with Him for you and yours. But He will not force you. It is up to you to choose it. The proposition of Christianity is not a set of metaphysical claims. It is the warning that the boat is sinking and there is a way out but you have to take it. If you chose not to you have no one to blame but yourself. God is not gleefully waiting to inflict suffering on those who misunderstand or who are weak. He is lovingly seeking for you to take His outstretched hand.

Blogger Philip Sandifer June 08, 2015 6:47 AM  

And yet you take pleasure in the perversions and suffering of the innocent in The Wasp Factory.

Well, yes. But they're not real.

Why feel so much horror at what is essentially an easily avoided punishment for stupid willfulness? Most rational people don't feel much sympathy for those who actively choose their own suffering. Why do you?

I'm not choosing my suffering. Your god just really seems to have it in for me.

Your philosophy is flawed. Such a being DEFINES the good. You don't. You are attempting to judge the judger. That's hardly a new concept; the Bible openly parodies it with the jar attempting to judge the potter.

I prefer to think of it as the character judging the author. Which is a perfectly respectable thing for a character to do.

Your very ability to submit to anything is a gift. Your very existence is a gift. If you reject the gift, that's on you. All your Maker is asking you to do is acknowledge and accept your place in His Creation. If you won't, then you will be thrown out. How is that horrible or evil? How is that anything but common sense?

I think you would not survive the Total Perspective Vortex. Perhaps I have you wrong, and it's not your pride that is the problem, but your solipsism.


Yes. My existence is a gift. I quite love it. As for my place in the universe, I'm, what, one of seven billion? What will be at most a century of experience in amidst millennia of history? A minor blogger who just about gets by, but at least is accountable to no master but himself when it comes to his art? You're right that pride is not my problem. I'm nothing but a speck of dust that has unexpectedly sat up and taken notice of its own existence, blinking dumbfounded at the sheer wonder of it.

As for the Total Perspective Vortex, you are right; I am no Zaphod Beeblebrox. I am under no illusions that such an experience would shatter my mind.

I would also look into it if given the chance. Without hesitation. I should like nothing more than to find a mystical and spiritual experience so sublime as to annihilate me.

Blogger Philip Sandifer June 08, 2015 6:48 AM  

I would expect so. Because what you dislike about the latter has nothing to do with art or aesthetics or literary quality.

I think it has everything to do with aesthetics. I think it's nothing but aesthetics.

Blogger Student in Blue June 08, 2015 6:50 AM  

I wanted to put in a few words before I head off to work:

@Philip Sandifer

1. Chick Tracts feature low quality storytelling. Actually it's more telling than showing, which is a sign of low quality from the start. They don't get everything right, but the one tract I just read to verify didn't seem to be terribly wrong by the time I reached the end.

Really, they reminded me of comic books from the Silver Age.

2. A funny thing is that a lot of atheists generally say they are atheist, but rail against one religion in particular, and one religion only - and if they were truly atheist, they'd rail against all of them. It becomes an oddity that, once you notice the pattern, you can't help but see in many, many atheists: that they aren't believers that no god exists, but rather they really really really don't like Christianity. And atheists from predominately Buddhist and Hindu places don't seem to act like that at all either.

Unfortunately I'm out of time so this will have to do. Farewell.

OpenID eidolon1109 June 08, 2015 6:51 AM  

It's odd to conceive as a threat something that is the very opposite. God says: "Drink of the living water and be satisfied, or go thirsty. There is no other way, not because I demand that you drink, but because the only thing you thirst for is living water, and the only living water is here with me."

The freedom Mr. Sandifer demands is the freedom to refuse to drink but not be thirsty; the freedom to refuse to stop for gas but never run dry. It simply cannot be. It is in fact not a freedom but a demand in itself: "satisfy me in the way I want, God, or else you're holding me hostage. I refuse to be satisfied in the way you offer, yet I blame you for not being satisfied."

Blogger Philip Sandifer June 08, 2015 6:52 AM  

A funny thing is that a lot of atheists generally say they are atheist, but rail against one religion in particular, and one religion only - and if they were truly atheist, they'd rail against all of them.

Again, not an atheist.

Blogger Philip Sandifer June 08, 2015 6:56 AM  

Drink of the living water and be satisfied, or go thirsty. There is no other way, not because I demand that you drink, but because the only thing you thirst for is living water, and the only living water is here with me."

I am satisfied. I do not thirst.

I do not believe that there is a one true god who tortures people for all eternity if they don't believe in him. I drink of the living water. I have a profound, fulfilling spiritual life. My cup runneth over. I continue not to believe.

There are many gods I believe in; none of them are one true gods who torture people for disbelieving them.

Anonymous AbuDhabi June 08, 2015 6:57 AM  

>> Chick Tracts feature low quality storytelling. Actually it's more telling than showing, which is a sign of low quality from the start. They don't get everything right, but the one tract I just read to verify didn't seem to be terribly wrong by the time I reached the end.

Chick Tracts are much like journalism. If you're ignorant of the subject matter yourself, or only mildly familiar, they pass inspection. OTOH, when someone with good familiarity or expertise in a given subject reads a Chick Tract relating to that subject, then everything is wrong, misinformed, ignorant, illogical.

Blogger Student in Blue June 08, 2015 6:58 AM  

Again, not an atheist.

I wasn't attempting to force the name on you, but rather pointing out the oddity that many atheists effectively act/believe in the same way you do, yet they claim to be atheist.

Blogger Philip Sandifer June 08, 2015 7:00 AM  

I wasn't attempting to force the name on you, but rather pointing out the oddity that many atheists effectively act/believe in the same way you do, yet they claim to be atheist.

Fair enough. I agree that is a strange position for an atheist to take.

I think it's an eminently sensible position for an uncertain theist. I have seen the face of god. There are many accurate descriptions of what I saw. "Definitlely 100% not Vox's god" is among them."

Anonymous zen0 June 08, 2015 7:01 AM  

@ Philip Sandifer

I do not believe my consciousness was given to me by the god that Vox believes in.

(It may well have been given to me by a god. But not by that one.)



If it may have been a god, which god may it have been?

Blogger W.LindsayWheeler June 08, 2015 7:07 AM  

VD ought to know what he is talking about. Thanks for posting this exchange. VD was once the same as Phil, highly intelligent. Proud of his intelligence. That is why he was an Atheist---once. Very high intelligent people are very prone to atheism. It is eye-opening of Phil's comments about his self, him knowing that he is going to hell if he doesn't change. Eye-opening is that it is his pride in himself that prevents him from acknowledging his Creator and then his Salvator. Amazing.

I believe any parent and/or cleric that notices a highly intelligent boy must, early on, imbue him with religious piety and observance and then intellectual training and personal tutelage to begin to steer him away from his natural proclivity to atheism. This was the whole problem of the Renaissance and so-called "Enlgihtenment". All sorts of highly intelligent boys/teenagers LEFT TO THEIR OWN DEVICES, left untrained and un guided, became revolutionaries and atheists and undermined Christendom. They destroyed Europe and its religion--all because no one took the time to train them right. Highly intelligent boys cannot be left to themselves. They are dangerous. Just like Lucifer, left to his own devices, started a rebellion. Society must, must, take special care of highly intelligent people. For they have weapons, that when they are untrained, lack in virtue, they explode into radical atheists of destruction.

Blogger Philip Sandifer June 08, 2015 7:08 AM  

If it may have been a god, which god may it have been?

Glycon. Albion. Azathoth. The Christ that my friend Doug believes in. The YHWH that my friend Lisa believes in. A purely materialistic and more than faintly nihilistic one in which my consciousness is just a biochemical delusion that exists by blind chance. The content of a half-remembered dream from my childhood. Many other possibilities.

Anonymous Phil2 June 08, 2015 7:10 AM  

having a "god-complex" is common to sociopaths.

protip: if Phil ever ends up on your front door step, hide the silverware and pistol before inviting him inside.

Blogger LP 999/Eliza June 08, 2015 7:13 AM  

What a fine wake up call to my own pride and ego. Lord help LP.

Contempt is required reality in this matter. The ending of PS's comments are rather sad, he does not have to be party to evil or the devil. Now is the day of salvation, come and see the Lord is Good.

Blogger Edd Jobs June 08, 2015 7:15 AM  

Reminds me of David Gerrold's hatred of Mormons and Catholics.

Blogger Edd Jobs June 08, 2015 7:16 AM  

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Blogger W.LindsayWheeler June 08, 2015 7:16 AM  

This totally amazes me! Phil's comments:
2) ... a sort of conniving charlatan, running a scam that is chilling in its efficacy.

"Running a scam"? What is the evidence? What evidence of a scam is there?

All these atheists and Protestants point to the Roman Catholicism as a scam. Yet, the visual evidence of Britain turning into Islamabad is proof positive of the scam of atheists and the Enlightenment and of Masonry and Communism. Under Catholicism, there were NO muslimoids in Europe. The two greatest wars of Europe WWI and WWII were started by atheists. Who is running what scam?

The Greatest Being in the world that created the Universe, and Phil doesn't trust the God that made the World? Look at the Beauty of the World---Why wouldn't you trust Him? He then sent his Son into the World to save and why can't you Trust him?

The Natural Law proves the existence of a Triune God. It also proves the necessity of the clerical office. The Natural Law proves the existence of God. Law is a product of God. So laws in Nature prove the existence of a higher power, a mind, that created those laws. Intelligence is what is the background, foundation of Law.

Blogger Edd Jobs June 08, 2015 7:16 AM  

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Blogger VD June 08, 2015 7:16 AM  

Hey Phil, since you're here: is the podcast posted yet?

Blogger Philip Sandifer June 08, 2015 7:18 AM  

One final comment before I wander off for a while;

I have prayed. "Lord," I have said. "There are men who tell me that you torture those who disbelieve in you. For all eternity, with no possibility of salvation once you have begun their torture. Are they right, Lord? Would you do such a thing?"

"No, child. I never would," was the answer.

And so I believe.

Blogger Nate Winchester June 08, 2015 7:20 AM  

The only way they can be reached, the only way they can even begin thinking rationally about Christianity instead of thoughtlessly reacting to it, is for their pride to be broken first.

Hmmm... I'll double check but isn't that like... the universal feature of humanity? We all must have our pride broken. Because pride involves looking down on someone, and when you're looking down, it's hard to see what's above you.

I recognize that fierce and independent pride when I see it. I even admire it, to a certain extent. But I also know its futility, and worse, its sheer pointlessness.

Is that a hint at your own conversion? What is Vox's tale in how his pride was broken?

Blogger Philip Sandifer June 08, 2015 7:20 AM  

Hey Phil, since you're here: is the podcast posted yet?

I am told it will go up today, but I've not gotten word yet. (Indeed, I've stayed up later than I should waiting for it myself.)

Blogger Ron Winkleheimer June 08, 2015 7:21 AM  

I do not believe that there is a one true god who tortures people for all eternity if they don't believe in him."

Me either. I agree with C.S. Lewis. The gates of hell are barricaded from the inside.

Anonymous AbuDhabi June 08, 2015 7:23 AM  

>>This was the whole problem of the Renaissance and so-called "Enlgihtenment". All sorts of highly intelligent boys/teenagers LEFT TO THEIR OWN DEVICES, left untrained and un guided, became revolutionaries and atheists and undermined Christendom.

I'd quibble if this is quite how it works. Revolutionary ideology could not have arisen in non-Christian soil. To a large extent, revolutionary ideology is a warped and perverted Christianity, with inconvenient concepts, such as God, simply filed off. Consider the ease with which a (western) Christian becomes a socialist; the changes are subtle (people being equal before God -> people being equal, people being brothers due to being children of God -> people being brothers, people having freedom to choose Good or Evil -> people having freedom, etc), but enough to twist the whole thing into evil. There's no shortage of Christian(oid) spiritualists and clergy who don't quite see the distinction between communism and orthodoxy.

Blogger Philip Sandifer June 08, 2015 7:24 AM  

(I've pinged James and told him to shoot you an e-mail when it goes live, so you'll know as soon as I do.)

Anonymous Tom B June 08, 2015 7:24 AM  

With all due respect to Mr. Sandifer, number five on his post just above shows that not only pride but profound ignorance is in play in his rejection. What he perceives as a threat is nothing of the kind; it is a warning given by someone in a position to know what will happen to him should he fail to take a curative freely available. God, by definition more intelligent than the good Mr. Sandifer, respects you and your intelligence and self-sovereignty so much that He doesn't force anything upon you that you do not want. If God were the character Mr. Sandifer claimed, He wouldn't have bothered to create the cure for the problem in the first place, much less bother to tell you that it existed. These facts should dispel the notion that God is a tyrant, if Mr. Sandifer can entertain the idea that there is an alternative interpretation to the way he sees the world and God's role in it. Hopefully, it would also show him that for all of our disagreement over fictional characters and worldly things that this corner of the Internet is not filled with lock-step robots and moral monsters, but with a group of individuals who are united in truly only one believe: that as wonderful as Heaven will be, it would be far better with Mr. Sandifer in it.

Blogger Nate Winchester June 08, 2015 7:25 AM  

I have prayed. "Lord," I have said. "There are men who tell me that you torture those who disbelieve in you. For all eternity, with no possibility of salvation once you have begun their torture. Are they right, Lord? Would you do such a thing?"

"No, child. I never would," was the answer.

And so I believe.


A question, Phil:

So then if someone just doesn't like God and doesn't want to be around Him, does the Lord drag him into Heaven to spend eternity forced to participate in a party they don't want or enjoy? (as someone not very social, sounds like torture to me)

Or would the Big Guy send them to a place where they don't have to be near Him ever again? (and given that He is an infinite being, that's going to be a pretty good trick to find somewhere where He's not)

Blogger bethyada June 08, 2015 7:25 AM  

Philip, you despise Christ for being a king but if he is the creator he must be the king. Yet while his subjects all want to usurp his throne he tells them to reject their self-centredness and live for others. His desire for us is to the very death. You may not understand why he says he had to die, but if it is that he had to, well he did.

And what's not to love? A tyrant you say? Why, I have done things that are inexcusable, yet he forgave me and loves me anyway.

You say you object to his solution for men not wishing to dwell with him. They don't want him so he gives them their wish and you find that abhorrent so you don't want to be with him either? What other option is there? Heaven fill of men who hate God and hate their fellow man. Kind of makes it unheaven.

Blogger 2Bfree June 08, 2015 7:26 AM  

Science continues to prove God's existence. A recent experiment demonstrates that reality itself doesn't exist until God decides to look at it (measure it). It appears that quantum theory explains His omniscience and omnipotence very well. Failing to accept the creator doesn't change the reality that he creates.

Anonymous TroperA June 08, 2015 7:28 AM  

If it may have been a god, which god may it have been?

Maybe it wasn't a god. Maybe it was a sufficiently advanced alien disguising itself as a god. Of course, since we're not all powerful and can't travel to a frame of reference outside of the universe where we could judge for ourselves if any creature's claims to be the Creator God are valid, we would have to take it on faith that any being that declared itself to be God, is God. Even if the being is all powerful and could read minds and create planets with a snap of a finger; we could never be sure if said being is a billions-year-old Eldritch Eidolon which has evolved powers beyond our comprehension, or just an alien grifter messing with our brain chemistry, making us see hallucinations...

Of course, by looking at the beings who claim to be God and studying their behavior, it should be possible to judge which being shows actions which would conform most closely to those of a creator God. And which beings are most likely to be constructed by the feverish brain of a hedonist who doesn't want to relinquish his lusts, or the Puritan who doesn't want to relinquish his control over the people. If your God never does anything to disturb or mystify you, odds are pretty good you just made him up.

Anonymous Phil2 June 08, 2015 7:35 AM  

I call bullshit.There are Christians who believe that hell isn't eternal. If you accepted their teachings, would you then take up the cross to follow Jesus? SPOILER ALERT: You still would not. Why? Because you pretend that eternal Hell is a "dealbreaker" but really this is a strategy on your part. Someone takes eternal Hell off the table, and lo and behold, Phil has another personal request to replace God's word with Phil's. We see the game, psycho. From your own lips you believe the world should revolve around you. Classic sociopath behaviour. I've read the suicide notes of "spree killers"... your ideas are a dime a dozen, pal. You ain't that special snowflake, you'll never be a god. No matter how depraved you try to be.

Blogger Nate June 08, 2015 7:40 AM  

"To misquote Blake, I am of the devil's party and know it."

As I have said many times before... Atheism is just rebellion.

Anonymous Earl June 08, 2015 7:41 AM  

clearly, Philip is not a rationalist materialist atheist, there for you all should shift your goals to evangelize a pantheist new age humanist

Anonymous Heaviside June 08, 2015 7:52 AM  

>I do not believe my consciousness was given to me by the god that Vox believes in.

"In its more definite form this idea of evil implies that Man becomes evil through knowledge, or, as the Bible represents it, that he ate of the tree of knowledge. In this way, knowledge, intelligence, the theoretic element, and will enter into a more definite relation, and the nature of evil gets to be discussed in a more definite way. In this connection it may accordingly be remarked that as a matter of fact it is knowledge which is the source of all evil, for knowledge or consciousness is just the act by which separation, the negative element, judgment, division in the more definite specific form of independent existence or Being-for-self in general, comes into existence. Man's nature is not as it ought to be ; it is knowledge which reveals this to him, and brings to light that condition of Being in which he ought not to be. This obligation which lies on him is his Notion, and the fact that he is not what he should be originates first of all in the sense of separation or alienation, and from a comparison between what he is and what he is in his essential nature, in -and -for -himself. It is knowledge which first brings out the contrast or antithesis in which evil is found. The animal, the stone, the plant is not evil; evil is first present within the sphere of knowledge ; it is the consciousness of independent Being, or Being-for-self relatively to an Other, but also relatively to an Object which is inherently universal in the sense that it is the Notion, or rational will. It is only by means of this separation that I exist independently, for myself, and it is in this that evil lies. To be evil means in an abstract sense to isolate myself ; the isolation which separates me from the Universal represents the element of rationality, the laws, the essential characteristics of Spirit. But it is along with this separation that Being-for-self originates, and it is only when it appears that we have the Spiritual as something universal, as Law, what ought to be.

It is therefore not the case that reflection stands in an external relation to evil, but, on the contrary, reflection itself is evil. This is the condition of contrast to which Man, because he is Spirit, must advance ; he has, in fact, to be independent or for himself in such a way that he has as his object something which is his own object confronting him, which exists for him, the Good, the Universal, his essential or ideal character. Spirit is free, and freedom has within itself the essential element of the disunion referred to. It is in this disunion that independent Being or Being-for-self originates, and it is in it that evil has its seat ; here is the source of the evil, but here also the point which is the ultimate source of reconciliation. It is at once what produces the disease, and the source of health. We cannot, however, better illustrate the character and mode of this movement of Spirit than by referring to the form it takes in the story
of the Fall." -- Hegel

Anonymous DissidentRight June 08, 2015 7:52 AM  

Phil:

Imagine the Christian worldview minus Jesus. Do you object to God damning people because we are evil?

Saying we are damned for metaphysical beliefs is just rhetoric. We are, apparently, evil by default and thus damned by default. If God gives someone an out (on the basis of metaphysical beliefs), and he refuses to take it, that doesn't in fact reflect badly on God.

Blogger Markku June 08, 2015 7:56 AM  

I probably don't need to ask for his opinion on His Dark Materials...

Blogger Cail Corishev June 08, 2015 7:57 AM  

This guy is wrong to take such pride in his intelligence if that's an example of his reasoning ability.

Yes. His punch line, which he clearly thinks is so clever and cutting, doesn't even make sense, as Vox had to point out. It's great that he knows when to use "you and I" versus "you and me," but that hardly makes you such a super-intelligence that you can't bring yourself to submit to a greater One. When you can't tell the difference between Chick Tracts and real theology, it doesn't mean your giant brain has spotted something that billions of others couldn't; it means the imperfection is yours.

Blogger Loyd Jenkins June 08, 2015 7:57 AM  

Well put.

Anonymous WhiteKnightLeo June 08, 2015 8:01 AM  

Vox's words suggest that an atheist who does *not* bow to some of the most foolish ideas ever conceived by man is not objectionable to him.

I hope I've interpreted that correctly.

"Give your bodies to Atom, my friends. Release yourself to his power, feel his Glow and be Divided.
Come forth and drink the waters of the Glow, for this ancient weapon of war is our salvation, it is the very symbol of Atom's glory!
Behold! He's coming with the clouds! And every eye shall be blind with his glory! Every ear shall be stricken deaf to hear the thunder of his voice!
Each of us shall give birth to a billion stars formed from the mass of our wretched and filthy bodies.
Yea, your suffering shall exist no longer; it shall be washed away in Atom's Glow, burned from you in the fire of his brilliance."

Blogger maniacprovost June 08, 2015 8:06 AM  

I sympathize with Phil's position of wanting to exist as something other than a slave for eternity. That said, we're not slaves. We can do whatever we like with only occasional consequences from God. So why wouldn't you willingly cooperate with His plan, which seems to be in the best interest of mankind?

Theologically, I don't have any basis for this, but I do not believe that God casts people into an eternity of torment for moderate sin and disbelief. But surely, it is not a good idea to reject Heaven and wander the cosmos as a literally lost soul.

Anonymous Earl June 08, 2015 8:06 AM  

to sit up and realize you are but a speck of dust does not warrant awe and amazement in the cosmos. It warrants horror, despite what Philip and Oprah say. That a speck of dust gets the authority to judge gods, men, or anything, is a self serving delusion of grandeur, an invented religion.

Anonymous Fp June 08, 2015 8:07 AM  

In Hell everything that is of God and that he created will be gone. Even now Phil and his fellow atheists are enjoying the Lord's work. But later it will be pitch black, but you will have one sense that registers... sound. He will hear the screams and groans of his fellow prisoners forever. And the lights will never come on.

Blogger Tupla-J June 08, 2015 8:14 AM  

The god this Phil is objecting to sounds like a scheisskopfian Allah. Not much common with Christ there.

Anonymous Daniel #0189 June 08, 2015 8:21 AM  

Well, yes. But they're not real.

Thus it is right to take pleasure in imaginary sufferings of the innocent. This is no different than reading One Bright Star for the imaginary judgment of God. You have no logical basis for advocating The Wasp Factory and rejecting One Bright Star. It is just a matter of taste: you simply enjoy the imaginary suffering of the innocent more than you enjoy the imaginary judgment of a righteous God.

After all...neither are real (in the sense of historic events).

Blogger Ann Kellett June 08, 2015 8:23 AM  

God's eternal fire is the same for each of us. Christians experience it as purifying and strengthening. Others experience it as torment. The choice is ours.

Blogger Sherwood family June 08, 2015 8:25 AM  

The crux here is repentance: acknowledging that one is wrong, that one needs to change, and then doing one's best to do so, while being painfully aware of one's inadequacy to do so without God's help. I do not know if Mr. Sandifer believes that he is perfect and therefore needs no change or that there is no good or evil so no action can be said to be objectively better than another. However, he seems averse to the idea of repentance, i.e. that a person should turn from doing wrong and do good.

However, it seem to follow from his own comments that a god that would torture people for eternity is a bad thing. Hence, he has shown his hand in demonstrating that in his view some things are better than others. If some things are better than others then it follows that if one could have done better one ought to do so. It also follows that if one does worse some effort needs to be made to do better.

So why the beef with a god that wants him to do better? Mr. Sandifer would undoubtedly acknowledge, that like all humans, he does some things better and some some things worse. I assume that he has, like all of us, done things that he regrets. If that is the case, then changing is the rational choice to make.

It is the idea, that Mr. Sandifer seems to have, that those who do not change. Who refuse to change, should have to live with the consequences of that refusal. Yet, we see the results of the kind of behavior all around us. But much is revealed by this mindset. This explains why people want to sue or blame others for their own choices rather than do the hard work of realizing their mistake or poor choice and doing something to rectify it.

It also indicates those whose time preferences are bounded by this mortal sphere.It is the marshmallow experiment on an eternal time scale.

These are individuals who have little to no acquaintance with the law of the harvest. No farmer who does not plow and plant and cultivate and reap blames the ground for not yielding a crop. He knows as he sows he reaps. It is odd that this simple idea seems so hard to grasp by so many in our world today.

Blogger Cail Corishev June 08, 2015 8:26 AM  

Me either. I agree with C.S. Lewis. The gates of hell are barricaded from the inside.

The way I heard a priest explain it is that Hell is actually an example of God's mercy. He allows the unrepentant to go there, because to be in His presence for eternity, having rejected Him, would be far more torture than to be separate from Him.

Blogger njartist June 08, 2015 8:28 AM  

@ 23. AbuDhabi June 08, 2015 6:35 AM
Chick is incredibly ignorant, and it shows in his works. I guess they're good for comedy, though.

I am looking at Wikipedia's Chic page as I write: exactly which of those doctrines listed do you find to be the mark of an incredibly ignorant man? You might disagree with him; but that does not make him ignorant.

Anonymous WhiteKnightLeo June 08, 2015 8:30 AM  

@Cail Corshev

My understanding is that most of the early Bronze Age religions were all about fiery torment for the wicked.

What that priest said to you sounds very much like "Well, the Book said that here, but then it said this much latter, and this contradicts that, so we must have misunderstood that."

OpenID xsyq June 08, 2015 8:31 AM  

I have prayed. "Lord," I have said. "There are men who tell me that you torture those who disbelieve in you. For all eternity, with no possibility of salvation once you have begun their torture. Are they right, Lord? Would you do such a thing?"

"No, child. I never would," was the answer.

And so I believe.


Perhaps you should investigate the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, Phil. I am a member and I can tell you of a certainty that the torment of Hell is not eternal. I would also recommend The Great Divorce by C.S. Lewis. His depiction of Hell is inspired.

Blogger Jew613 June 08, 2015 8:32 AM  

Philip, G-d tells you what is right and what's wrong out of love for you.

It is the same if you tell me jew613 don't put your hand in fire. It's not to be a tyrant over me but to prevent me from harm.

Blogger Booch Paradise June 08, 2015 8:35 AM  

While I get the perspective of hell that it's just God being a gentleman and not forcing Himself on those who would rather be separated, I don't think you can really square that with scripture.

"And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire." Cast not allowed to walk walked.

"Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity." Clearly an example of people wanting to go to heaven, but not being allowed.

Not to mention that the idea that every knee will bow and every tongue confess kind of flies in the face of the idea that hell is the place that the eternally rebellious are allowed to go. There won't be anyone eternally rebellious.

Blogger Sherwood family June 08, 2015 8:36 AM  

There will be torment in hell. Have none of you known someone who has had a tough hand dealt to them in life but who refuses to be comforted and wallows in an ever deepening pool of misery and bitterness? There are people who are only happy when they are unhappy. There are people who love recounting the rich horror of their own existence. There are people who cannot stand to be around anyone who is smiling or happy or having a good time. That is hell. A place filled with people who refuse to experience anything but anger, hatred, frustration, and bitterness. We've all met them. It is a mercy to all of us not to be forced to share company with each other forever.

Blogger Markku June 08, 2015 8:38 AM  

Rev 14:9 And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand,

Rev 14:10 The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb:

----

Hell is God's presence, not absence.

Blogger njartist June 08, 2015 8:41 AM  

The Total Perspective Vortex

A cure for feminists and nagging wives, but not for the solipsistic.

Blogger IM2L844 June 08, 2015 8:41 AM  

Phil's obstinance is anchored in his faith that the eternal suffering option is a myth and will never actualize.

Blogger Jourdan June 08, 2015 8:45 AM  

Reading the comments here, it appears to me that many believers here overestimate just how obvious belief is, probably due to the strength of their belief. The idea that non-believers are simply willfully ignoring the blindingly obvious is absurd. The truth of Jesus Christ is not obvious to early 21st Century man, especially not a man paying attention to what is going on around him.

To a man looking for answers, the opposite appears to be true: the closer one gets to the church, the faster Jesus and his teaching recedes.

I think rather than spiking the football and congratulating oneself on one’s wisdom and insight, it would be better to set forth why you believe that faith in Jesus is blindingly obvious and only a willful denial could explain non-belief.

I can tell you from my perspective, the people around me who were believers growing up well into my mid-twenties were the kind of people who:

-- Ascribed holy power to work to make appearances in everyday objects, including tortillas.
-- Ascribed their good fortune to God, in a completely random manner. (16 people killed in accident, 1 survives, thanks God for saving him, other 16 folks? Well, I guess their time was up or they didn’t believe in God hard enough).
-- Ascribed their fiercely tribal political agenda to Christ’s work on Earth.
-- Celebrated a host of obvious miracles, all of which conveniently happened hundreds of years ago.
-- Fell over each other slobbering over murderers, forgiving them, before the bodies of their victims were even cold.

Now, one could say this is not “real” Christianity, but it is the Christianity that was in my community and in my churches. So, no, it’s correctness is not obvious. Quite the contrary, in fact, which raises the issue Phil S. raises about “hiding the ball” with regard to faith. If an all-powerful God who is good incarnate is our creator, why hide the ball?

Again, the answers to these questions are, essentially, it’s a mystery and who are you to question?

Fair enough, but, again, that doesn’t make belief *obvious*.

Anonymous AbuDhabi June 08, 2015 8:47 AM  

njartist:

It is not his doctrines that I'm calling ignorant (they are largely irrelevant to me, since they are heresy), but the subject matter of his comics, to which he applies said doctrine.

Would you have me believe that Dungeons and Dragons players actually get up to satanic rituals with functional magic, coming to identify with their characters to such a point that they kill themselves when their characters die? His Dark Dungeons read as if he's heard about the game from someone who knows someone who played once.

Would you have me believe that the Roman Catholic Church is actually a pagan satanic conspiracy, conspiring with everyone, including the large-C Communists to bring about world domination under a made-up theology? It's as if he got his impression of what Catholicism is purely from Protestant propaganda, and never sought to verify any wild claims he heard.

Blogger Scott6584 June 08, 2015 8:55 AM  

24 Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. 25 They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen.

And what is the result of God leaving them alone?

26 Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural sexual relations for unnatural ones. 27 In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed shameful acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their error.

This is why I believe that the manifestation of sexual deviancy is the RESULT of God backing away. It is NOT God actively bringing judgment. It is the result of God leaving man to himself.


28 Furthermore, just as they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, so God gave them over to a depraved mind, so that they do what ought not to be done. 29 They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, 30 slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; 31 they have no understanding, no fidelity, no love, no mercy.

The manifestations of sin we see in the world are the result of our own depravity, and God's judgement is to allow us to have the depravity. It is only his goodness that keeps the evil at bay. But even with all this, those who have rejected God do not find it sufficient to be depraved themselves. They actively seek the defilement of other, also.

32 Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.

Blogger Scott6584 June 08, 2015 8:56 AM  

I think Phillip Sandifer and others like him have a fundamental misunderstanding of the nature of the eternal torture they will endure. They think that the God we speak of is angry and vengeful. In fact, the torture they will endure is to be left to themselves, without the goodness of God keeping them from their own desired ends.

Recently, because of the news, I've been thinking about Bruce Jenner and his search for personal value. He first attempted to find value by becoming a world class athlete. That wasn't enough. Then he married 3 different women and had 2 children with each of them (modern day version of polygamy). That wasn't enough. Finally, he's decided to transform his body into the appearance of a woman, although he's elected to keep his man parts for a while longer. This too, will not give him value.

People ask me if I think God will judge America because of the societal acceptance of homosexuality and sexual deviancy. I always respond that the manifestation of homosexuality and rampant sexual deviancy is the RESULT of God's judgment, not the cause of whatever may follow. The sin is denying God.

18 The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness, 19 since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. 20 For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.


Here, the Bible is saying that the existence of God is obvious to all, so that all must acknowledge Him. No one has the excuse of saying they don't know. The key passage is the one that follows.

21 For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like a mortal human being and birds and animals and reptiles.


There is a step by step process of falling away from God. 1) They knew God, but didn't acknowledge Him, 2) They stopped being thankful for the blessings that flow from God's hand, 3) Because of their lack of gratitude, their thinking is perverted, and their ability to reason is diminished. There heart becomes dark, 4) They then claim to be wise in their own right, not realizing they have become fools, 5) they exchange the glory of God for mere images of creation - as evidenced in the modern day strain of what is called environmentalism, but is really just nature worship.

It is AFTER this falling away that the judgment of God comes in. And what is that judgment? Is it the torture that Phillip Sandifer so despises and reviles? No. It is simply God backing out, and letting the natural course of man's depravity take its course.

Blogger Scott6584 June 08, 2015 8:56 AM  

What is the way back from such an awful predicament?

Romans 2:4 Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, forbearance and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness is intended to lead you to repentance?

It is the kindness of God that leads men to repentance, not the fear of future punishment. One of the most profound insights I ever had was when I was questioning the part of Exodus where the Bible says God hardened Pharoah's heart. That didn't seem just. But when I realized HOW Pharoah's heart was hardened, then I understood.

There is a misunderstanding in the church. Some believe that warning of punishment will cause men to repent. Others believe that God brings judgment in order to cause repentance. But if you look at the stories in the Bible, people NEVER repented while being judged. The very judgment is what caused their hearts to become even harder against God. And the judgement of God is to remove Himself from you. THAT is the ultimate judgment - something today's atheist believe they want. They do not realize that the very thing they are asking for is the worst possible judgment of God. It is only His patience and love that keeps Him from completely granting their desires.

The way to repentance is to begin to see the kindness and goodness of God. The way to evangelize the world for Christ is to show the world the manifestations of His love and blessings. We know this as his Grace, and His Grace is the Gospel - the Good News.

Anonymous Ridip June 08, 2015 8:59 AM  

3) Related to this, the crux of the problem is the sheer intensity of my revulsion in the face of your god's demands. There are few things in the world I am as certain of as my complete and utter horror at the idea of an all-powerful being that would inflict unimaginable suffering on someone for failing to accept a set of metaphysical claims. The idea sickens me to my core. It is a matter of faith on my part, as simple and pure as any you have ever felt, that such a being would be genuinely evil.

My question would be what good and beloved person died in an unbelieving state?

The couple people I have known who have expressed the same sentiments had a dear, innocent, loved one who died not believing and either the preacher at the funeral or a person in the family said or implied that that person was in hell. The idea of which was so anathema to them that if it were true, then God, if he would do such a thing, must be evil and could not be the one, true, benevolent and good God.

For them it was the question of why do good people suffer, played out on an eternal scale.

Blogger Scott6584 June 08, 2015 8:59 AM  

There is coming a judgment, and Romans 2:5 goes on to say. But today is the day to see God's goodness, His kindness, His patience, and His love. That is the Good News. That is the Gospel.

I strongly disagree with Vox on this point. Having a superior intellect will not convince another, or cure him of his pride. But seeing the power of God work in his life for good will soften the hard heart of a man, and allow him to once again see God. I too have a genius level IQ. I NEVER try to argue people into heaven. I NEVER try to argue people out of hell. What I do is ask God for opportunities to demonstrate the power and love of God in their lives. That is what will bring an atheist to his knees - not condemnation, or mental superiority.

Blogger Booch Paradise June 08, 2015 9:04 AM  

@Jourdan

You seem to be looking to beliefs and behaviors of believers as though it should serve as a proof of their belief rather than a proof THAT they believe.

For example, saying that God is good because 1 person in 16 survived a car crash. If you have accepted both that God is good and that His ways are higher than our ways, then their actions are entirely rational. But it's inappropriate to look to that as proof of anything other than that they actually believe what they say they believe.

OpenID xsyq June 08, 2015 9:05 AM  

If an all-powerful God who is good incarnate is our creator, why hide the ball?


God "hides the ball" because he wants us to make our own decisions. The strength and experience that come by exercising your free will is what He wants for all his children. The reason Satan was cast out in the first place was because he wished to enslave men and force them to be virtuous. We see the echoes of his plan and how it would have played out in the SJWs of today. They produce nothing of value, they squander the great wealth that was given them, they have no compassion for others, and they cannot tolerate opposing views. They have no comprehension of what it means to make their own way in the world. They never grow up.

And that is why God does not interfere as often as He would like. Eventually a child must have their training wheels removed and face the scrapes and cuts that result if they ever wish to ride freely.

Blogger Sir Wilshire (#320) June 08, 2015 9:07 AM  

"I do not believe that there is a one true god who tortures people for all eternity if they don't believe in him. I drink of the living water. I have a profound, fulfilling spiritual life. My cup runneth over. I continue not to believe. "

So are you going to answer the point that there are other views of hell within Christianity? Even annihilationism is considered to be within the pail of biblical orthodoxy.

What you should really be concerned about with the regard to the truth of Christianity is did Jesus rise from the dead or not? The apostle Paul who wrote most of the NT says this is the linch pin of whether one should follow Jesus or not. And his disciple Luke records him as preaching in Athens that the resurrection is proof that God will judge the whole world in righteousness one day.

Also, you butcher the eternal torment view of hell. Besides others noting Scripture doesn't teach that nature of the torment is physical torture, you also err in saying it teaches people are sent to hell for rejecting Jesus. That is just one of the many sins one ends up in hell for. And people continue to sin in hell, and against people there too.

Finally, people actually aren't "sent" to hell. See Romans 1. There's also an argument that it's not so much a place as a state. One writer put it well in an analogy. God is the magnet, and sinners' polarity is all wrong. Since he is omnipresent, his glory finally being plainly revealed in all creation is "torment" for them.

This also connects with God being the Good as Vox mentioned. Evil is the absence of good. Once one understands the philosophical arguments for this, it is immediately apparent how it is logically impossible for sinners to not "go to" hell.

Blogger Booch Paradise June 08, 2015 9:07 AM  

"No, child. I never would," was the answer.

There is more than one spirit in this world, and some of them are very seductive liars.

But, if you believe that this spirit you contacted is god, and Vox's god is a charlatan, why would you fear his power?

Anonymous MrGreenMan June 08, 2015 9:10 AM  

@Phillip Sandifer

Thanks for being straightforward with your position. The Ilk will pray for the perfection of your understanding and hope that you do come to fully accept Jesus Christ. It would be great to talk to your friend Doug more.

There's a hyper-individualism in America where consideration that, if something was done in the past, it cannot be held against we the living now. However, whether it's a defeated nation paying tribute to the victor, or the line of a traitor to the crown being disinherited from their land, things echo through time.

Like most things in Christianity, then, there is a duality: there is both the inherited wage of sin, death, as well as what one finds through self examination of the impulse to do what we know is wrong. As Mick Jagger put it - to know the "sinful pleasure of doing something wrong."

Peter says quite directly that God would like everyone to come around to do the right thing, but that he doesn't force this because he desires everyone to make a grown up decision:

"The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us,[b] not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance."

If you look at the story of the Old Testament system of sacrifices and atonements and rules, one thing jumps out page after page after page: Set up rules and people will break them. God tried a purely rule-based covenant approach; it usually went astray in under three generations.

Jesus Christ is freely offered to every single person, but, he explains - you either are a slave to your own desires or to him. Humans serve somebody or something, even if it's themselves. God will allow you to serve yourself, but he would prefer you accept correction, because he'd like you to achieve your full potential.

The curse doesn't come at judgment day - the curse has happened; the curse proceeds from the idea of living for all eternity with the weird mix of sinful inclinations - lust, greed, envy, anxiety, wrath. Human justice would not give a murderer a second chance; God will offer eternal life if one accepts Jesus Christ, repents, turns away, and follows his commandments. The sin nature is already settled, and the future is certain, the prosecutor is offering friendship and clemency in acceptance of he himself having paid your bill, but you can choose to pay it yourself.

OpenID xsyq June 08, 2015 9:10 AM  

@ Scott6584 This piece says it well.

Anonymous daddynichol #126 June 08, 2015 9:12 AM  

"Mine is to instead try to fully understand my experience of the world, a task that is still staggeringly difficult, but at least feels accomplishable within the scope of a human lifetime and intellect."

At the end of your life (which could be someday soon) you may find that what you believed was all wrong and your intellect failed you.

As a wise friend once told me, "If God seems so distant, who moved?"

Anonymous Viking June 08, 2015 9:14 AM  

At least he knows that the question isn't the one we ask, "does God exist?" but rather it's the one He askes "will you serve?"

Blogger James Dixon June 08, 2015 9:21 AM  

> As an arrogant man myself, I recognize that fierce and independent pride when I see it. I even admire it, to a certain extent. But I also know its futility, and worse, its sheer pointlessness.

Bingo. It's a trap many people fall into, and I've been prone to it myself on occasion.

However, I recognize that I am a created being, and that there is nothing wrong in acknowledging the creator.

In fact my greatest fear is in fact the exact opposite of his. That then when I stand before the judgement throne my pride will not allow me to accept the price paid on my behalf or my place in creation. That I will value my free will and independence to much to give it up.

My only solace in this fear is that God did in fact give us free will to choose, even at the cost of our possibly choosing to be separated from him. If he values free will so highly, why would he than strip it away from us in the end?

> "Definitlely 100% not Vox's god" is among them."

How would you know, Phil? By definition a God capable of creating the universe and everything in it would be infinite in scope and not fully knowable by the human mind. Why should the part of him you saw be the same as the part Vox sees? "Through a mirror darkly" is an important concept for Christians.

> I have prayed. "Lord," I have said. "There are men who tell me that you torture those who disbelieve in you. For all eternity, with no possibility of salvation once you have begun their torture. Are they right, Lord? Would you do such a thing?" ... "No, child. I never would," was the answer.

You understand Christianity far less than you think you do if you asked that. God isn't the one who tortures you, and the torture is not of his choosing, it's of yours. He merely gives you what you asked for, to be removed from his presence.

So if that's the question you asked, the answer was literally correct. And that's as true of Vox Day's God as it is of anything you saw.

Blogger Josh June 08, 2015 9:27 AM  

It's interesting that he only objects to "vox's god."

Blogger Ron Winkleheimer June 08, 2015 9:29 AM  

@Jourdan

Your examples of why Christianity isn't "obvious" seem mostly to illustrate that you find Christians to be human beings with human foibles.

However, it is not a Christian Doctrine that Christianity is obvious, in fact the Bible states:

"For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God."

1 Corinthians 1:18

And not because the followers have issues. Dissension and foolishness among believers began pretty much the instant the Church was instantiated. The first martyr, Stephen, was appointed to his post due to arguments over the division of aid to widows belonging to the Church.

The reason that Christianity isn't obvious is because of John 3:16

"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life."

Christianity asserts that God became a man and willingly suffered torture and death in order to redeem humanity.

What a preposterous idea!

Also, I would ask you, did none of the Christians you knew ever do a good thing? None of the Christians you have had contact with ever did anything that would demonstrate that they took their faith seriously?

Anonymous Rob June 08, 2015 9:29 AM  

My understanding is that most of the early Bronze Age religions were all about fiery torment for the wicked.

Your understanding is wrong, and, regardless, Christianity is not a Bronze Age religion.

Anonymous Leonidas June 08, 2015 9:30 AM  

It's pretty bad when your whole argument boils down to, "You[r God is] not the boss of me."

Anonymous ??? June 08, 2015 9:30 AM  

The two greatest wars of Europe WWI and WWII were started by atheists.

World War I? Who was the atheist there? Emperor Francis and Kaiser Wilhelm? (No.) Tsar Nicholas? (No.)

Who, then?

Blogger John Wright June 08, 2015 9:32 AM  

He is to be given accolades for at least being intellectually honest enough to identify his intellectual dishonesty: for a rebel against a legitimate authority breaks a moral obligation he himself acknowledges as owing, for the sake of pride, and calls it a tyranny (illegitimate) when it is precisely the opposite. The is what the word legitimate means.

Notice what happens in the sentiment expressed by an atheist when you substitute one word for its closest three-word synonym:

"I have no concern whatsoever that goodness is legitimate, however. It is not, at least over what I understand to be me, Philip Sandifer. The self that I am solipsistically invested in has an independent consciousness from virtue, truth and beauty. I am but a sinner, cast out into a material world and fundamentally separated from goodness, truth and beauty. But where you view my sin as my imprisonment in a lowly, materialist prison, I view it as my freedom from the tyrant called goodness, truth and beauty you choose to serve."

Blogger darkdoc June 08, 2015 9:32 AM  

“It is not kindness to tell patients that need strong medicine that nothing serious is wrong with them.”
― Cornelius Van Til

Blogger Markku June 08, 2015 9:32 AM  

Also, I think Hitler should be described as pagan (or possibly neo-pagan) and not atheist.

Blogger Josh June 08, 2015 9:34 AM  

It's pretty bad when your whole argument boils down to, "You[r God is] not the boss of me."

You're not the boss of me now
You're not the boss of me now
You're not the boss of me now
And you're not so big
Life is unfair

Anonymous Elijah Rhodes June 08, 2015 9:35 AM  

Atheism is not an attempt to solve an intellectual problem but rather a moral one. Atheists desperately want to be their own god, from which their own moral law can be derived. To achieve this autonomy, atheists blanket themselves in a sort of quasi-rationalism and scientism that gives them the smallest of footholds from which to proclaim the ground solid.

This describes me for most of my life, although I was never conceited enough to call myself an atheist, preferring the fence-sitter position of agnostic, which, while giving me the satisfaction that I was adopting the most rational of positions, conferred no tangible benefit in the event that God exists. As Pascal would have said, we must choose. A non-choice is still a choice.

Blogger John Wright June 08, 2015 9:39 AM  

"There are few things in the world I am as certain of as my complete and utter horror at the idea of an all-powerful being that would inflict unimaginable suffering on someone for failing to accept a set of metaphysical claims"

And, of course, that is not what God requires and that is not what any Christian denomination says He requires.

You have said yourself that you would fling yourself into Hell rather than love and serve God. He respects your free will, which He granted you as a divine gift, too well not to let you have your way.

So, you are lying here, and knowingly. You are erecting a straw man argument about what God demands because you are afraid to admit what He really demands.

You say He asks for your intellectual assent to a set of metaphysical propositions. False. God is love. Love demands love. For a man to hate the source of all goodness, all love, all truth, beauty and virtue is an evil and incorrect emotional response, but then again, so is a mere cool intellectual assent to the proposition that goodness is good.

A true man loves goodness, merely because it is good.

Blogger John Wright June 08, 2015 9:43 AM  

"(...) a Chick Tract. Which may well pass as moving religious art here."

Sir, I wrote that story I wrote when I was an atheist. The tale is about the role of fairytale and its relation to a grown man's philosophy. You see a religious message in it because your eyes are clouded by pride and hate for an unrelated matter, namely, religion: it is simply not in the work.

Anonymous Mr. Rational June 08, 2015 9:44 AM  

how pointless, when we know that one day every knee will bow, and every tongue will confess, that Jesus Christ is Lord.

Meanwhile, Muslims believe and profess that all will say much the same about Allah.  These are two of many mutually exclusive claims.  Aristotelian logic says that only one of them can be right, but they can all be wrong.

Does the jar demand the potter admire its beauty?

Jars don't come from other jars.  We don't see creation events going on in the biological world, we see descent from extant forms.  If some mind made all of this, it was practicing deceit from the beginning.

Is the jar foolish enough to be proud of its existence separate from the very mind that conceived it, the very hands that shaped it and brought it into being?

This is projection.  Being shaped by such a mind and hands makes one very special.  Being instead a happy accident of aeons of natural processes is a cause for wonder and delight, but not pride.

Does the jar so lack perception that it fails to grasp it can be unmade as easily as it was made by its maker?

Anyone who appreciates evolution knows how easy it is not just to die, but to go extinct.  Ammonoids, dinosaurs (save modern birds), and numerous types of genus Homo (to list a few) have gone into history.  It's Christians like Inhofe who claim that our special position in creation means we can't screw things up badly enough to matter.  The consequences of getting THAT wrong are enormous.  Who fails to grasp the possibility of un-making again?  Hint:  it wasn't a theologian who asked "Are humans smarter than yeast?" with the implied answer "no".  That's real humility.

Blogger Sir Wilshire (#320) June 08, 2015 9:45 AM  

Markku,

It's actually a little known fact that even historians who specialize in Hitler and the Third Reich say he was an adherent of a cult called "Positive Christianity."

J.P. Holding has good little ebook on it called Hitler's Christianity.

He also has some free videos about it on his YouTube channel, tektontv.

Blogger Markku June 08, 2015 9:45 AM  

a sort of conniving charlatan, running a scam that is chilling in its efficacy.

This, by the way, is just basic vanilla Luciferianism.

"The thought of a spiritual hierarchy or submission to a higher power is looked down upon on the grounds that being a god is not enough; even a deity must earn respect and admiration from those who follow him. In some cases, Lucifer is seen as a rebel angel or opposing God who sought to move humankind forward in defiance of Jehovah’s will to keep them ignorant and childlike. In other cases, Lucifer is believed to be the actual creator of Earth and the mortal realm, and was punished for bringing humans into existence. Exact beliefs and practices vary greatly, as they do within any religion, but in all cases Lucifer is considered to be a positive figure of both social and intellectual progress, with magic and ritual as potential tools to follow in his footsteps."

Anonymous zen0 June 08, 2015 9:58 AM  

@ 88. Jourdan

Now, one could say this is not “real” Christianity, but it is the Christianity that was in my community and in my churches.

That is usually referred to here as "Churchianity".

Blogger CM June 08, 2015 9:59 AM  

“Then the servant with the one bag of silver came and said, ‘Master, I knew you were a harsh man, harvesting crops you didn’t plant and gathering crops you didn’t cultivate. I was afraid I would lose your money, so I hid it in the earth. Look, here is your money back.’ - Matt 25:25-26

Note there is no admission that the Master does these things... just acknowledgement that this is how the servant views the master...

Much like Phil.

I also am impressed with his original honesty. His first comment in the thread seems to depart from that original candor.

They love what is evil and hate what is good.

Blogger Markku June 08, 2015 10:01 AM  

"Positive Christianity."

Looking at the Wikipedia article it seems obvious to almost the point of hilarity that it was indeed just a transparent attempt at co-opting Christendom. However, I might be persuaded to the effect that Hitler didn't actually believe in the pagan pantheon that he is generally claimed to have believed in.

Anonymous Porky June 08, 2015 10:02 AM  

I have prayed. "Lord," I have said. "There are men who tell me that you torture those who disbelieve in you. For all eternity, with no possibility of salvation once you have begun their torture. Are they right, Lord? Would you do such a thing?"

Anti-christian genius reveals his abject ignorance of the bible, while rejecting the God of the bible with great certainty.

Happens...every...time.

Blogger Rabbi B June 08, 2015 10:12 AM  

Mr. Sandifer,

You seem like a reasonably intelligent and honest man. Perhaps you will honestly and intelligently consider the following if you happen to still be lurking here.

Consider this question:

A collection of teachings that simply asks us to recognize the presence of G-d in this world and to accept His will as our task; that reveals Him as the Father of all humanity and everyone as our brother; that transforms our entire life into the service of G-d, asking us to behave justly, mercifully, humbly, truthfully, and lovingly towards each and every other being, and to teach these basic truths of life to ourselves and to others - can this be a world view that cripples the heart as well as the mind, that, as one of our Sages puts it, "stifles the joys of life and turns men into brooding monks?" Do you honestly believe that the study of these teachings, so long as it is pursued honestly and intelligently, perverts and deadens the mind, numbs and stunts the heart?

May you thoughtfully consider the words of the sweet singer of Israel which are surely not relegated to "romantic fantasy," but communicate to us the truth, truth that is profoundly felt:

For the director of music. A psalm of David.

The heavens declare the glory of G-d; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.
Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they reveal knowledge.

They have no speech, they use no words; no sound is heard from them.
Yet their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world.
In the heavens G-d has pitched a tent for the sun.

It is like a bridegroom coming out of his chamber, like a champion rejoicing to run his course.
It rises at one end of the heavens and makes its circuit to the other; nothing is deprived of its warmth.
The law of the L-rd is perfect, converting the soul. The statutes of the L-rd are trustworthy, making wise the simple.
The precepts of the Lord are right, giving joy to the heart. The commands of the L-rd are radiant, giving light to the eyes.

The fear of the L-rd is pure, enduring forever. The decrees of the L-rd are firm, and all of them are righteous.
They are more precious than gold, than much pure gold; they are sweeter than honey, than honey from the honeycomb.

By them your servant is warned; in keeping them there is great reward. But who can discern their own errors?
Forgive my hidden faults. Keep your servant also from willful sins; may they not rule over me. Then I will be blameless, innocent of great transgression.

May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, L-rd, my Rock and my Redeemer (cf. Psalm 19).

My prayer for you, Mr. Sandifer, is that you will someday, sooner rather than later, come to understand and experience the true freedom that is found in submission to the G-d Who formed you and gave you life. Not the freedom to do as you please, but the incredible and glorious freedom to gratefully do as you ought. As it stands now, you are anything but free and, believe me, it sucks to be a slave.

Anonymous Trimegistus June 08, 2015 10:13 AM  

I've mentioned before that I'm an unbeliever. Mr. Sandifer's reaction to Christianity is one of the most shocking things I've ever seen. He's angry and afraid because it may be true? What the hell? That's logically incoherent.

Assume for a moment that God exists, and is every bit the "charlatan" Mr. Sandifer fears. How can his anti-Christian proselytizing and argument affect an omnipotent eternal being? All he's doing is helping doom others to punishment at the hands of that menacing evil God. Which means Mr. Sandifer is consciously and deliberately lying to people in order to cause them eternal torment. That makes him WORSE than the evil threatening God he's mad at. Other people are supposed to suffer in Hell to satisfy Phil's pride?

Or assume for the moment (as I do) that the universe is entirely mechanistic and human intelligence is the highest there is (within our current experience, anyway). If that's true then Mr. Sandifer is arguing and proselytizing against an ethical/moral belief system which has been instrumental in creating the highest civilization Earth has ever seen. He is fighting for chaos and barbarism because he doesn't want churchgoers to be able to criticize his conduct. Again, that makes him worse than what he's fighting, driven by his own intolerance and ego.

Either way, Phil, with God or without, you are a horrible person.

Anonymous zen0 June 08, 2015 10:14 AM  

43. Philip Sandifer June 08, 2015 7:08 AM

> If it may have been a god, which god may it have been?

Glycon. Albion. Azathoth. The Christ that my friend Doug believes in. The YHWH that my friend Lisa believes in. A purely materialistic and more than faintly nihilistic one in which my consciousness is just a biochemical delusion that exists by blind chance. The content of a half-remembered dream from my childhood. Many other possibilities.


Of course. I should have guessed. That seems to be your style. Always use a barrage of words when few will do, always have a panoply of gods when One will do.

Blogger Markku June 08, 2015 10:16 AM  

That's logically incoherent.

A luciferian, or someone who is intellectually an ally to the religion, thinks there is nobility in the rebellion. I remember a neo-pagan girl I knew recommending Pullman's His Dark Materials to me, "to understand the rebellious mind". Her words. And her words WHILE being one, and not someone who analyzes her past motives from a different perspective.

Anonymous BigGaySteve June 08, 2015 10:18 AM  

Your philosophy is flawed. Such a being DEFINES the good. You don't.

GRRM Defines Doritos as good. I am surprised the feminists are not more upset over the "TOO OLD" than Sansa rape.

Your very ability to submit to anything is a gift.

You might not want to use the word submit with him, he probably is used to doing it in a different way.

suffering of the innocent in The Wasp Factory.Well, yes. But they're not real.

So if the Drone kiddie snuff films that Bath House Barry fraps are not real would you enjoy them?

"To misquote Blake, I am of the devil's party and know it."As I have said many times before... Atheism is just rebellion.

You only have wine at your parties, at the DNC & Jeff Epstein's island you can snort cocaine off of 14yo boys penises.

Blogger Zaklog the Great June 08, 2015 10:21 AM  

By characterizing God's authority as "illegitimate", Sandifer has implied that there might be, theoretically, such a being whose authority is legitimate. I'm curious on what grounds such an entity would claim his authority which the Christian God does not have

Blogger Desiderius June 08, 2015 10:23 AM  

"unknowable higher being"

"For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him.…"

Those who do not know do not want to know.

Anonymous JI June 08, 2015 10:25 AM  

I would ask Mr. Sandifer, where does Pascal's Wager fail in your view? Is it because there are an infinite number of possible imaginary gods with varying contradictory demands whom one would have to please in order to play it safe? Or is there another reason?

Anonymous Giuseppe June 08, 2015 10:26 AM  

I would go a step further.
I would say Phil's prude is actually a result of his lack of brainpower.

1.) he has failed to make the assumption (or check the premise to speak properky) that God is a LOVING power.
2.) he has failed to check what that premise leads to given that this is the domain of the adversary
3.) he has failes to verify the results of 2. With tje observable reality all around us.

No honest person can do those things and choose the Adversary. In a sense, Phil has been lied to. I doubt he really is choosingvthe Devil's side. He's just too dim to have thought things through properly.

Anonymous Giuseppe June 08, 2015 10:28 AM  

Pride, not prude. Damnit.

Blogger Markku June 08, 2015 10:29 AM  

In a sense, Phil has been lied to. I doubt he really is choosingvthe Devil's side.

I'd say, he is choosing the fake, Angel of Light -disguise of the Devil. But in the end, it has the same result. Or else the Devil wouldn't be playing that game at all.

Blogger W.LindsayWheeler June 08, 2015 11:01 AM  

At comment #108, ???, questions my assertion on who started WWI and WWII. It is a given that WWII was a carry over from WWI. Stalin, Hitler, Mussolini (who was a rabid anti-Catholic), were all non-Christians.

What started WWI was the Young Bosnians. Many Young Bosnians went to Switzerland to visit Trotsky who inflamed them with passion to attack the Austro-Hungarian Empire, especially with assination. There is also Freemasonry influence in the Serbian ranks. Many of the Young Bosnians were not religious, most were atheists.

Many of the prime ministers of the kings were not exactly Christian. Many at the time gave lip service but believed in Enlightenment values. I believe the Austrian prime minister was very much enthralled with Enlightenment values, not Christian. By the early 20th century, Christianity is all but over. Notice the flurry of encyclicals by the popes in the 19th and early 20th century in hopes of steming the tide. All for naught.

The French Revolution unleashed the power of nationalism which fueled WWI. President Woodrow Wilson was a nominal Christian at best; he was a thorough-bred progressive who, like the European kings, followed un-Christian ministers. Bernard Baruch, Jew, counseled Wilson; I considered most Jews as atheists. The German Finance Minister that really gave the green light to move Lenin from New York thru Germany into Russia was Jewish. I don't think the German Emperor really knew the truth about that.

Yes, the kings were Christian or nominal Christians but the movers and shakers were the prime ministers and many of them are suspect with alterior motives.

Anonymous DNW June 08, 2015 11:02 AM  

Why should anyone not Phil Sandifer care if Phil Sandifer suffers an eternity of torment? Speaking from an ex hypothesi "we're all atheists here" point of view, there is no reason not to simply shrug and move on.

It is true of course that many of the people we label and who label themselves as atheists are pretty emotional types, and that they seek refuge in the kind collective identities and snuffling circles which tend to pass for communities of moral sensibility in their part of the world. But that rather humid "taste", shall we say, does not follow from the mere negation of the proposition that a God created the reality we know.

You have to care about Phil first. I am sure that he would be the first to agree that based on his own fundamental assumptions, you have no compelling reason to bother.

Blogger automatthew June 08, 2015 11:11 AM  

Here's what "an official of the State and ... a political leader within the Party" wrote in 1935: “Positive Christianity” may be taken to mean what is universally known as “practical Christianity”, which is a Christianity not exhausting itself in expressing convictions of faith but one active in loving one's neighbour. But the sense of the word “positive” must not be strained too much in interpreting “Positive Christianity”. A political Party Programme like that of the National Socialists has most certainly not taken upon itself the task of pronouncing a limited and special type of Christianity to be its religion. Moreover, the Programme itself adds that it “does not bind itself in the matter of creed to any particular confession”. Hence generally speaking, it is obvious that nothing else except the historical and real Christian Religion is meant, which, as the living religion of the Volk cannot be confined within a narrow scheme, but encloses within itself individual opinions and points of view in abundance.

Blogger Quadko June 08, 2015 11:14 AM  

I do wish more atheists were that honest and thoughtful on the topic, at least. Too bad he sees his own creations as his, but can't generalize that to God.

Anonymous DNW June 08, 2015 11:14 AM  

Vox Day writes:

"Does the jar demand the potter admire its beauty? Is the jar foolish enough to be proud of its existence separate from the very mind that conceived it, the very hands that shaped it and brought it into being? "


Yes, the fundamental point, whether from a theistic perspective or not, is the sheer contingency, the non-self-actualizing (except in the most trivial Maslovian sense) conditionality of the "Sandifer" thing.

Whether God set reality in motion by his will, or whether the Sandifer thing is the product of a series of historical accidents, the Sandifer thing is still, even in any attempt to fully realize his "potentialities" a radically conditioned entity.

At least the Aristotelian virtue ethicist recognizes that he is not self-creating but merely maximizing some local or broader teleology. The lunatic followers of Blake though, seek to have it both ways.

Like I said the other day, their primary philosophical ( and moral) problem is with the law of non contradiction.

Blogger Rabbi B June 08, 2015 11:19 AM  

"Why should anyone not Phil Sandifer care if Phil Sandifer suffers an eternity of torment? . . . . there is no reason not to simply shrug and move on."

G-d is not Phil Sandifer, and I believe He cares and cares more deeply than anyone here possibly can. He cared enough to do something about it that no one else could.

As we are commanded to love the L-rd our G-d with all of our heart, soul, mind and strength, we are also commanded to love our neighbor as ourselves.

Phil Sandifer, along with the rest of humanity, just happens to be my neighbor. When afforded the opportunity to reach out to the Phil Sandifer's of the world, shrugging and moving to the other side of the road is not very neighborly.

Anonymous ??? June 08, 2015 11:19 AM  

Eh WLW, you're flailing.

Leaving aside the dubious contention that the Young Bosnians were mostly atheists, what they did wouldn't have mattered if Serbia (run by Christians) hadn't supported them; if Austria (run by Christians) hadn't decided to punish Serbia; if Germany (run by Christians) hadn't decided to back Austria; if Russia (run by Christians) hadn't decided to mobilize against Germany and Austria; if Germany (run by Christians) hadn't decided to march against Belgium and France; and if Britain (run y Christians) hadn't decided to declare war on Germany.

The Kings and Prime Ministers at the time were Christians. Your efforts to dismiss them as merely "nominally" Christian are unconvincing to say the least.

Blogger Chiva June 08, 2015 11:20 AM  

"Therefore justice is far from us, And righteousness does not overtake us; We hope for light, but behold, darkness, For brightness, but we walk in gloom. We grope along the wall like blind men, We grope like those who have no eyes; We stumble at midday as in the twilight, Among those who are vigorous we are like dead men." -- Isaiah 59:9

Blogger darkdoc June 08, 2015 11:26 AM  

Theologically, I don't have any basis for this, but I do not believe that God casts people into an eternity of torment for moderate sin and disbelief.

I have prayed. "Lord," I have said. "There are men who tell me that you torture those who disbelieve in you. For all eternity, with no possibility of salvation once you have begun their torture. Are they right, Lord? Would you do such a thing?"


Way too many people, including too many Christians, have mistakenly assumed that sin is no more a big deal to God than it is to many people. Moderate sin ignored? I'd love to know how to determine what is moderate or even minor sin. The wages of sin is death, except for the moderate or less variety.

But the real point is that ALL sin is extremely offensive to God, and must be accounted for. Just because it is not offensive to a particular person is irrelevant.

The proof of this lies in one extraordinary event. If sin is less than a great big deal to God, why did Jesus ever have to come to earth to save mankind. Even Jesus, the night before the crucifixion asked His Father if there wasn't perhaps another way to do this.

But no, because man's sin is so offensive, Jesus had to come to earth and pay for sin, something man would never be able or willing to do for himself. Hell has to exist for the eternal enjoyment of sinners.

If Sandifer had even a small concept of the offense of his sin, he would instead wonder why he wasn't struck down long ago as punishment. He mistakes grace for weakness or indifference.

Anonymous Sam the Man June 08, 2015 11:33 AM  

Great column,

made my day

Once you accept G-D and his absolute dominion over your existence life is much easier and has much more of a purpose.

Blogger James Dixon June 08, 2015 11:39 AM  

> Meanwhile, Muslims believe and profess that all will say much the same about Allah.

Last time I checked, Mohammed was still dead. Jesus, on the other hand...

Blogger Tim_W_Burke June 08, 2015 11:39 AM  

Getting into Bible study, because for Silly Ol' Ego, one philosophical problem is based on who *isn't* Christian:
All of Prehistory, including the acknowledged Neanderthal and Cro-Magnon
Everyone who lived anywhere until that "where" had been proselytized.
Anyone living now who has not been proselytized.
One billion Hindu.
Approximately one billion Buddhists.
(Here's the tricky part)
Lutherans for not recognizing the supremacy of the Church
All other Protestants for the same (especially Episcopalians if they follow the teachings of their leadership).
The Latter Day Saints.
Despite their having maximized teleology and built supportive, perpetuating civilizations.

IMO The great advantage of Western Civilization at this moment in time is that people are now commenting civilly, where in the past we would have been at each others' throats.

Anonymous Leonidas June 08, 2015 11:40 AM  

Mr. Sandifer,

I do want to take a moment to say that despite being in large disagreement with you, and despite the snarky comment earlier, and also despite the fact that I will continue to leave snarky comments... here's a hat tip for at least having the balls to debate Vox. And a second for coming over here, afterward, and running the gauntlet.

With that said, like too many moderns (especially the over-educated king) there are some parts of Christian dogma that your understanding of is simply erroneous. The version of Christianity you attack isn't what Christians believe at all. That is, other than a handful of the under-educated variety, which are unfortunately the ones given the loudest voice by our modern media complex.

I say this as a fellow student of philosophy (though a mere BA instead of a PhD) and a former atheist myself who once suffered from a similar problem: your conception of the relation of sin, damnation, and hell to God is flawed. You don't adequately understand the course material and you need to do your homework.

There is a huge issue to be aware of - and it was this issue that tripped me up for decades as well, and impeded my own conversion. The explanations of Christian faith that are typically given, even by the educated and intelligent and to the educated and intelligent, are highly watered down. They always have been, because a large portion of humanity simply isn't capable of understanding the true depth of Christian theology and philosophy. And, unfortunately, too many of the highly visible modern sects have all but thrown out the rich intellectual depth in favor of actually taking the simplistic Sunday metaphors as the entirety of understanding.

It makes it easy to "explain" things to the uncritical, uneducated masses. But for those actually capable of critical, higher order thought (which you actually appear to be), it has the opposite effect: we see right through the flaws of the simplistic version, call it for the BS that it is, and dismiss the whole thing out of hand.

The catch is: that is the simplistic version. It's Newtonian physics compared to Einsteinian relativity. The simplistic version works well enough in a lot of cases, it's a lot easier to understand, and most people will never need to use or understand the more complex version. But if you understand enough of the more complex version, then you understand that the simplistic version... actually isn't how things really work at all.

Hell is a great example, and the one you seem to be hung up on. Hell is not God's punishment for us. That's the kiddie version. Hell is being apart from God. It is that simple. Lucifer is not the Prince of Hell because God put him there. Lucifer is there because he put himself as far from God as he could. So it is with us when we sin. God is not punishing us. But when we sin, we distance ourselves from Him - by our own choice. That own act of distancing ourselves from him creates Hell, not God willing us to be punished. And yet God does everything in His power - short of preempting our free will, which He could do but won't because He gave it to us in the first place - to pull us back in to Himself and keep us from the Hell that we ourselves create. Indeed, He so desperately wants us to be close to Him that He Himself became man and suffered the most horrifying death imaginable to bring us back.

The version of God's punishment that you describe is not believed by any serious Christian theologian. For two thousand years, no serious Christian theologian has proposed it, supported it, or defended it. I cannot speak for him personally, but from what I've read here over the years I'm pretty certain that it's also not the God that Vox believes in. It is merely the language that parents use with children... and unfortunately also that some fire and brimstone preachers use with their congregations.

Willfully or ignorantly, you're arguing against a straw man.

Blogger Danby June 08, 2015 11:41 AM  

Well, I come back after a few hours of sleep to see Sandifer's reply to my previous, and... it's ignored. I and at least 3 people explained to him that his most dear narrative "Christian God tortures people for all eternity for purely mental acts" is merely the opposite of Christianity, and... he repeats it.

So he is lying. He doesn';t believe that's what we believe, he insists that's what we believe, because if he didn't, he would either have to renounce all his carefully staked out pseudo-moderate positions (there are gods, but Yahweh is the worst of the lot, etc) and actually think about the subject

And we can't have that. Oh no no no, we can't have that.

So I'm done with him. He's just posing and strutting and pretending to believe a bunch of crap he's made up to try to insulate himself from Christianity. I've pointed out his error, prayed for him, because I must, and I'm done with him.

Blogger Russell (106) June 08, 2015 11:43 AM  

Better a false king over your own coffin than to serve in Heaven?

Pass.

"an extremely intelligent person like ourselves "

Followed by:
"For better or for worse, the case that my distaste for One Bright Star to Guide Them is a testament to its power works equally well for a Chick Tract. Which may well pass as moving religious art here."

Let me laugh harder

Anonymous NZT June 08, 2015 11:44 AM  

It was a huge epiphany for me during my conversion to finally grasp that God literally is goodness itself. All joy, love, peace, beauty, creativity, and truth are the signatures of His handiwork, which He greatly desires to share with us for all eternity. We see faint glimpses of Him in all these things here on earth ("through a glass, darkly"); in the next life we will experience them full-blast, with no interference or obstructions. But only if we want to.

God's goodness is so abundant that He created us to share it with, and gave us free will so that this sharing would be meaningful and we wouldn't just be puppets dancing on His strings. A necessary consequence of free will is that we have the capacity to reject Him and turn away, even though this pains Him greatly. I agree that The Great Divorce illustrates it very cleverly, that those who love ugliness and pain and lies and sin more than God create their own hell, and defend it against God's tireless attempts to show them the truth.

Many who claim to hate and reject God simply don't understand that He's there, standing behind all the things they do love and embrace in the world. "Why would I need God when I have Art and Philosophy and Friendship and Health and Prosperity?" they say, utterly ignorant of where all these things came from. Meanwhile the devil whispers in their ear that God is a tyrant who demands they abase themselves and wishes to cut them off from all worldly enjoyment, and in their ignorance the lie sounds good.

The surest sign of someone who has achieved true understanding of God is that he's downright eager to bend the knee and praise His name, not out of fear or dreary obligation but profound gratitude and humility. I think it's no accident that these are perhaps the most ennobling of all human emotions.

Blogger Rabbi B June 08, 2015 11:48 AM  

" . . . but profound gratitude and humility. I think it's no accident that these are perhaps the most ennobling of all human emotions."

No "perhaps" about it. They truly are. Well said.

Blogger Cail Corishev June 08, 2015 11:54 AM  

He's just posing and strutting and pretending to believe a bunch of crap he's made up to try to insulate himself from Christianity.

Polite, nimble dishonesty is still dishonesty.

Blogger W.LindsayWheeler June 08, 2015 12:13 PM  

@ automatthew: Hitler was part of the "Los von Rome" program that many adhered to in Austro-Hungarian program. Hitler, as a Nationalist German, saw Rome as an evil, as did many others. Just like Bill Clinton went to church every Sunday, doesn't make him a Christian. Him and his wife are neither. National Socialism was condemned by Mit Brenneder Sorge when it elevated race above the Church. Yes, many Protestants were part of the National Socialist experience. As Erik von Kuehnelt-Leddihn points out in his book Liberty or Equality it was the Protestant areas that voted overwhelmingly National Socialist, not Roman Catholic. Politicians say anything to be elected but if you look at the real actions of the National Socialists they hated Christianity. Towards the end of the war, the Nazi's took off the traditional German saying off their military belt buckles of "Mitt Got". They also replaced Christian holidays with pagan festivals. This at the end of the war.

@ ??? Flailing? For example, Britain was NOT run by Christians. Most of Britain was run by Masons. Oh, yes, one can be a Christian and a Mason; albeit a Protestant Christian. Protestant Christianity is far different from Roman Catholicism. There is much more of a chiliastic heresy in Protestantism that is not in Roman Catholicism. When I talk of "Christian", I mean Roman Catholic, traditional and orthodox.

The war would have been over earlier if Masonic Progressive Chialist America did not get involved. France was ready to surrender. America made it drag on which killed more.

Look the Germans hate the Slavs and the Slavs hate the Germans. Your view, ???, is to simplistic. You will have to do an indepth analysis of all the government ministers of WWI to conclusively prove that it was all "Christians" fault. It wasn't by a long shot. Hell, the Prussian king at the time of Hegel's birth was a Freemason and the second one was a Rosicrusian. The third was a Roman Catholic.

America was not a Christian country. The population was majority Christian but George Washington was a deist. Many of the intellectual elite, i.e. the FFofA, were deists, NOT trinitarians.

Blogger Chent June 08, 2015 12:16 PM  

@Philip Sandifer

Dear Philip,

I hope it's not too late and you read my comment. I know that you would probably reject what I am going to say. But sometimes seeds take time to take root.

I really understand you. In fact, some years ago, I was at the same place as you are. This does not mean that you are going to follow the same path because God gives us the freedom to accept it or reject it, but I will pray because you do.

The God you are rejecting is not the real God. If God were a tyrant that punished with anger those who do not believe in Him, I would also reject it. You are rejecting a caricature of God.

Since you seem an intellectually honest guy, I recommend you for you to know more about Christianity (this blog is not the right place because it is not its role) so you know more about the God you are rejecting. Then, you can reject God if you want, but you will be sure that you are rejecting God and not rejecting your false ideas of God.

I was like you: proud of my intellect and my judgement (a PhD, two masters, four languages and so on). Who is God to tell me what I should believe or do? But, I don't know if you have children or dogs, but this is exactly what grown-ups do with them.

My sister has a dog and she loves him. Because she loves him, she knows what it is best for him. So, when my sister leads her dog to be vaccinated, her dog complains and doesn't like it. But my sister does it for the good of her dog.

The same way, my sister has a little kid. When this little kid is playing with a knife, she takes the knife from my nephew's hands, no matter how loud he cries.

God is a Father who loves us. His knowledge is so superior to our knowledge. "As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts." (Isaiah 55:9). At the end of the day, we are not that smart and knowledgeable. Our intelligence is only a few millions of evolution separated from the intelligence of a dog. Why should we understand God? Our distance is far bigger than the distance between a virus and a man.

(continues below)

Blogger Chent June 08, 2015 12:18 PM  

So, when God forbids us to do what is bad for us, it is only showing us His love for us. Even more, when you rebel and do things against the will of God, God understands and forgives us, as long as we ask Him for forgiveness. God knows we are weak.

This is why Hell is only what we choose freely, because the worst sinner is only a confession away from Heaven. As a Roman Catholic, I think purgatory is for the sins we haven't confess and Hell only for those who reject God. But, beyond these differences, every Christian knows that God is a gentleman. If you want to be separated from Him, He would oblige so you will be in Hell all the eternity. Because this is Hell: separation from God. You don't seem to mind it right now because it is not too unpleasant so far, but this is growing inside you and it brings an eternity of suffering. God wants to save you so you avoid being in this place but He won't force you to choose Heaven. This would be being a tyrant. Hell is the thing you are choosing and I really want

You can believe this or you cannot believe it. If you don't believe it, the God you are judging is not the real God so, if you judge it, it's not my problem. It's like you are judging Santa.

But, if you think (now or later) that this has some small probability of being true, why don't you try it? I can only tell you that nothing (sex, intellectual pride, hedonism) compares to the happiness that God gives. I know it because I have lived in both sides of the fence and I have experienced it all. Do you want to know what real happiness and peace is? In fact, God will forgive you even if you ask for forgiveness the last second of your life. But why waste your life putting your time in things that don't make you happy? Look for God and you will reach levels of happiness you haven't experienced. It's not an easy path, it's only the most rewarding one.

I don't expect you to believe this (unbelief is not a sin, by the way). God loves you even if you don't believe it. But if you remember some of this for the future, my time would have been well invested.

Best wishes,

Vicent (real name)

“There are only two kinds of people in the end: those who say to God, “Thy will be done,” and those to whom God says, in the end, “Thy will be done.” All that are in Hell, choose it. Without that self-choice there could be no Hell. No soul that seriously and constantly desires joy will ever miss it. Those who seek find. Those who knock it is opened. ”
― C.S. Lewis, The Great Divorce

Blogger Mark Citadel June 08, 2015 12:21 PM  

"I am but a sinner, cast out into a material world and fundamentally separated from your god. But where you view my sin as my imprisonment in a lowly, materialist prison, I view it as my freedom from the tyrant you choose to serve.

To misquote Blake, I am of the devil's party and know it."

This is beyond disgusting. Essentially, he openly declares his allegiance to evil. He likens God to a dictator that he heroically opposes. This is folly. Dictators can be defeated, overthrown, avoided, evaded, hidden from. They fail in measures of strength, intelligence, and moral aptitude.

God is none of these things. He is infallible, unstoppable, and is never absent from any corner of the universe. Those who defy Him are destined for utter ANNIHILATION. The tragic thing is, this lost soul will regret his choices a fraction of a second after his judgment. He cannot imagine what lies ahead on his road of rebellion. It's well and good to say you defy while you strut in freedom, but NONE are free from the clutches of death, and none escape judgment.

The abyss hungers. Some men march willingly into its mouth with jibes and sneers, but all are left screaming.

Anonymous RD Miksa June 08, 2015 12:23 PM  

Dear Mr. Phil Sandifer,

I am not sure if you are still reading this thread or not, but if so, this is for you. You said:

I have prayed. "Lord," I have said. "There are men who tell me that you torture those who disbelieve in you. For all eternity, with no possibility of salvation once you have begun their torture. Are they right, Lord? Would you do such a thing?"

This is a complete distortion. Indeed, from the Christian perspective, the best way to understand Earth, Hell, and Heaven is through the following illustration. Imagine that a person has a perfect lover who can give that person perfect happiness. Now Earth is like the porch of that lover’s house. While on the porch, we are partially protected from the rain, and the wind, and the dark things that lie outside the house, but not completely. At the same time, we feel the warmth, protection, and love emanating from the inside of the house. Now Heaven is like the inside of lover’s house. Inside the house is complete safety, security, love and warmth, but at the same time, obedience and a restriction on our freedom (an inability to sin). Why? Because it is the lover’s house and therefore, inside the house it is the lover’s rules that are supreme. Now Hell is the land outside of the lover’s house. You have total freedom (the ability to keep sinning), but because you have total freedom, you also have pain, a lack of security, danger, violence, and so on. With this in mind, it must be realized that the purpose of life is simply a choice (a choice made through repentance and then belief): do you want the peace of the lover’s house but also the necessary obedience that comes with it or do you want the freedom from the lover’s rules but also the necessary pain and suffering that comes with such freedom. (Or it would like a police station in a horrible neighbourhood. Go inside the police station and you will be safe, but you will have to absolutely follow the rules or else you cannot enter the station. By contrast, feel free to do your own thing and stay outside, but live with the fact that you will have to live amongst others who are also totally free and able to harm you.) So this, in my view, is a good way to think about this topic from a Christian perspective.

Next, what about the justice of God and the punishment of sin? Does God actively torture us in Hell, or do we torture ourselves, which is actually much worse, but which nevertheless achieves the justice of God? Well, imagine the lover analogy again. Imagine that while on the porch, you start a fight, or kick the house and damage it, or commit adultery with another person who is also standing on the porch. After doing this, you then knock on the door to your lover’s house and demands to be let in. The lover, however, refuses to admit you until and unless you admit that they were wrong to commit adultery (or start a fight, or damage the house) and so repent, and that you then strive to never to do so again, which would show that you are willing to follow the rules of the household once inside without regret or disdain. This is all that your lover asks of you. But you, in pride or rage or whatever, scream at the lover that you did nothing wrong. Again, the lover just asks you to admit your sin and repent. Again you refuse. So the lover offers you the opportunity to repent dozens, hundreds, and thousands of times, but every time, you refuse. Finally, the lover offers you a final opportunity to repent and show that you want to follow the rules of the household or else walk off the porch (after all, this cannot go on endlessly). And yet, once again, you tell your lover to screw off and then step off the porch into the land outside the confines of the house. And so, by voluntarily leaving the porch and entering the outer land yourself, you begin to suffer the pains that total freedom provides. Furthermore, over time, you suddenly realize that you just spurned your perfect lover forever and that you did so for something as stupid as your pride, or rage, or whatever.

Con't...

Anonymous RD Miksa June 08, 2015 12:24 PM  

Con't...

Realizing this causes you such psychological pain that that pain more than pays for your sins, and thus the lover’s justice is done, even if the lover does not do so directly themselves (after all, just imagine the psychological pain that would result to you if you, at the age of eighteen, committed adultery and then lost your perfect lover for the rest of your life because you did not wish to admit that you did something wrong; the psychological pain over your next 60 to 80 years would more than pay for the adultery that you committed). So here is a way to understand God’s justice. The eternal psychological pain that results from the realization that you have lost your perfect lover (God) pays for your sins, and thus God’s justice is done and yet he does not torture you; he just allows you the freedom to make your own choice, even if that choice means that you will actually torture yourself for eternity.

Finally, note that any loving God, by definition, must create an eternal Hell. To see why, imagine again the lover’s house. Now imagine that you are on the porch of the lover’s house, and you do not wish to go inside the house. But suddenly, the lover opens the door, grabs you, forces you inside against your will and then forces you to love them. Obviously, we would not call such a person a lover but a rapist. But it is the same with God. Imagine someone like Christopher Hitchens who, even if God existed, would not wish to be with God. Would it be loving for God to grab Christopher Hitchens and force him into Heaven against his will? Of course not. And let us say that someone like Christopher Hitchens, with full knowledge, actively and willfully wanted to reject God for eternity but also wished to exist for eternity in order to curse God (such a thing is certainly logically possible). Again, would it be loving for God to force Christopher Hitchens to love Him? No! Would it be loving for God to destroy Christopher Hitchens against his will or desire? Again, no! So here we can see that Hell, and an eternal Hell is a logical necessity if a loving God who respects our free will exists.

Hopefully that clears up the confusion that you have.

Take care,

RD Miksa

Blogger John Wright June 08, 2015 12:39 PM  

"Muslims believe and profess that all will say much the same about Allah. These are two of many mutually exclusive claims. "

The statement betrays a woeful ignorance of the claims of Christianity and Mohammedanism. Mohamed, like Martin Luther, merely rewrote the Bible to suit himself, and proclaimed that the priesthood to be unneeded to seek the face of God. That Mohammed calls God by the name "God" in his own language hardly demonstrates that his is a separate religion, rather than a heresy.

The whole point of a heresy is that is it NOT making a logically incompatible claim with orthodoxy. Heresy accepts the basic premisses,and wrestles one or two ideas out of the organic whole of the orthodox thought, and elevates a side branch to the main trunk.

And, even if the claims of the various denominations of the one religion actually mutually incompatible, this would prove just as much as the existence of counterfeit currency proves that money does not exist.

Anonymous DNW June 08, 2015 12:41 PM  

Rabbi B June 08, 2015 11:19 AM

" 'Why should anyone not Phil Sandifer care if Phil Sandifer suffers an eternity of torment? . . . . there is no reason not to simply shrug and move on.'

G-d is not Phil Sandifer, and I believe He cares and cares more deeply than anyone here possibly can. He cared enough to do something about it that no one else could.

As we are commanded to love the L-rd our G-d with all of our heart, soul, mind and strength, we are also commanded to love our neighbor as ourselves.

Phil Sandifer, along with the rest of humanity, just happens to be my neighbor. When afforded the opportunity to reach out to the Phil Sandifer's of the world, shrugging and moving to the other side of the road is not very neighborly. "


You quote Scripture pretty well, Rabbi.

Unfortunately you did not quote me very well. You elided the portion in bold, shown below. Sandifer's position was ostensibly and proudly so, a purely intellectual one. I replied in predicates consistent with his own assumptions. Yet that predicate is precisely what you elided in responding to me.

Perhaps if I repeat the text, it will become clearer to you, what you did. Because I actually said:


"Why should anyone not Phil Sandifer care if Phil Sandifer suffers an eternity of torment? Speaking from an ex hypothesi "we're all atheists here" point of view, there is no reason not to simply shrug and move on. "

Now allow me to quote a famous passage from someone in the Christian tradition; someone who is generally though of as being fairly perceptive: C.S. Lewis.

"“There are only two kinds of people in the end: those who say to God, "Thy will be done," and those to whom God says, in the end, "Thy will be done." All that are in Hell, choose it. Without that self-choice there could be no Hell. No soul that seriously and constantly desires joy will ever miss it. Those who seek find. Those who knock it is opened.”

Telling Sandifer he's welcome to go to hell on his own terms may seem rude; but it may also be doing no more than granting him his insistent will.

Blogger Josh June 08, 2015 12:47 PM  

Mohamed, like Martin Luther, merely rewrote the Bible to suit himself, and proclaimed that the priesthood to be unneeded to seek the face of God.

Freaking Catholics, man...

Blogger Markku June 08, 2015 12:50 PM  

Word

Blogger CM June 08, 2015 12:53 PM  

Rabbi B -

Phil Sandifer, along with the rest of humanity, just happens to be my neighbor. When afforded the opportunity to reach out to the Phil Sandifer's of the world, shrugging and moving to the other side of the road is not very neighborly.

Love the reference :)

I think you are my favorite commentor here.

@ Tim Burke -

While discussing someone in outright rebellion against God, it boggles my mind that you would judge those who don't conform to your idea of True Christianity.

Shall I then call you an unbeliever because to you, faith in church > professed faith in Christ?

Anonymous DNW June 08, 2015 12:55 PM  

Geez,

While I was typing, "Chent June 08, 2015 12:18 PM" used the same quote from Lewis I did. But from a position apparently, of a great deal more human sympathy for the Sandifer thing than I have.

For very little leaves me so indifferent to its fate as does a preening, yet emotional nihilist and nominalist; one that yammers on as if there is a "we" and objective standards of justice and fairness, despite taking an intellectual stance that entails that there can be no such things.


Sorry to have stepped on Chent's citation.

June 08, 2015 12:50 PM

Blogger Laramie Hirsch June 08, 2015 12:56 PM  

"I am of the devil's party and know it."

Hell is a place devoid of love and friendship. As the smoke rises from the ever-living bodies of the immolated damned, the righteous will be rejoicing in Heaven about God's perfect justice.

Blogger Rabbi B June 08, 2015 12:59 PM  

@DNW

"Unfortunately you did not quote me very well."

Re-read your comment. Fair enough. I stand by my comment, generally, but I retract it's initial link to yours, which I misread. Thanks for the clarification.

Blogger John Wright June 08, 2015 12:59 PM  

"Freaking Catholics, man..."

During a debate with atheists is not the best time to show our disagreements with each other, but I was attempting to ennoble the Mohammedans, not insult the Lutherans.

Mohammed is an older heterodoxy than Luther by a thousand years, but also rewrote the Bible stem to stern, rather than merely cutting out some books here and there. Both claimed the book had priority over the apostles, and both edited the book.

My apologies if I spoke too directly for your ears. I meant no disrespect.

Blogger Josh June 08, 2015 1:04 PM  

My apologies if I spoke too directly for your ears. I meant no disrespect.

Accepted. Our rhetorical swords return to their scabbards in anticipation of the next great refighting of the reformation, which is probably a monthly occurrence in these threads.

Anonymous p-dawg June 08, 2015 1:17 PM  

A child also sulks when you slap its hand away from the bright red stovetop it wanted to play with. But you don't do it because you hate the child and want to keep it from happiness. You do it to keep the child from getting burned. And the parent no more needs the child's consent to exercise his authority than does the Creator need ours to exercise His.

Anonymous Frodo June 08, 2015 1:18 PM  

"the only way they can even begin thinking rationally about Christianity instead of thoughtlessly reacting to it..."

The evidence for the existence of the Christian God described in the bible is extremely limited. Faith is required not only by the alleged creator, but also in order to embrace much of what is outlined in the bible.

Given this, what does "thinking rationally about Christianity" mean?

Anonymous ??? June 08, 2015 1:19 PM  

Britain was NOT run by Christians.

They would strongly disagree with you, but whatever.

When I talk of "Christian", I mean Roman Catholic, traditional and orthodox.

Austria was run by traditional Roman Catholics. Their poor decisions were fundamentally responsible for the war.

Not to mention, there have been many, many wars in history between Roman Catholic nations, so being Catholic hardly prevents war.

Lastly, there is a CONSIDERABLE distance between your new position - that those who started WW1 were not "true" traditional Catholics - and your original position that "The two greatest wars of Europe WWI and WWII were started by atheists."

Your view, ???, is to simplistic.

BWAHAHAHAHA, this from the guy who blames it all on the Freemasons????

You will have to do an indepth analysis of all the government ministers of WWI to conclusively prove that it was all "Christians" fault.

But I don't need to prove that. All I need to prove is that they were not atheists, as you claimed, and undeniably they were not. Moreover, the key decisionmakers were ALL Christians.

America was not a Christian country.

From 1916 to 1918, it most certainly was.

Enough with your balderdash already.

Anonymous DNW June 08, 2015 1:19 PM  

Well, Rabbi. Thanks for the acknowledgement regarding the misreading. To paraphrase Lewis again, it's often difficult to get the precise sense of opinions we find generally disagreeable.

However, I now have a question for you. You earlier wrote:

" 'Why should anyone not Phil Sandifer care if Phil Sandifer suffers an eternity of torment? . . . . there is no reason not to simply shrug and move on.'

G-d is not Phil Sandifer, and I believe He cares and cares more deeply than anyone here possibly can. He cared enough to do something about it that no one else could."

What then, Rabbi, did He care enough to do that no one else could, regarding Sandifer-like, and presumably other, cases?

June 08, 2015 1:15 PM

Anonymous Feh June 08, 2015 1:21 PM  

Have you ever noticed that anyone who goes by the internet handle "Frodo" is invariably an idiot?

Blogger ScuzzaMan June 08, 2015 1:22 PM  

What is revealed is a demonstration of another of Vox's observations about SJW's; it's all about the feelbads, the emotions. Phil's is an emotional response to an idea - eternal torment - which is not at all a necessary element of Christianity or even of a more vague deism. There are many denominations who are "annihilationist", believing that when God kills you you're gone, every bit as much as before he created you.
But the man flounced out of religion the moment he found something to be offended at, in exactly the same way he reads fiction such as "One Bright Star". You SHOULD pity him, because he has only defrauded himself by his obstinate willful ignorance.

Blogger Rabbi B June 08, 2015 1:36 PM  

"What then, Rabbi, did He care enough to do that no one else could, regarding Sandifer-like, and presumably other, cases?'

He sent His beloved Son, Israel's promised Messiah, into this world to pay a debt He did not owe and that we could never pay. For that, I am eternally in His debt and grateful.

Baruch Hashem!

Blogger Ron Winkleheimer June 08, 2015 1:38 PM  

"Have you ever noticed that anyone who goes by the internet handle "Frodo" is invariably an idiot?"

It says something about an atheist that they would choose Frodo as a handle. I'm not sure what, but it must indicate something.

Blogger Al Cibiades June 08, 2015 1:42 PM  

One should not be overly concerned with atheism in its modern form as it's a reactionary novel doctrine consumed with hatred for a constructed and not a revealed image of God. It can't help but fail because it ultimately consumes its adherents and those around it because supreme self referential authority can never easily place trust in others, hamstringing intimacy as well as justifying predation. It is the philosophical underpinning of everything dyscivic and dysgenic. The choice seems to be digital: do what thou wilt or do unto others; empathy or a self-absorption, complete with all the neuroses that come from an ill-fitting crown worn by creatures observably non-omnipotent.

Blogger John Wright June 08, 2015 1:46 PM  

"The evidence for the existence of the Christian God described in the bible is extremely limited."

I myself am an eyewitness. I have seen God. The only faith I require is the faith that I am not hallucinating to an untoward degree. Since I have none of the other characteristics, signs, or causes associated with hallucination, no history of psychotic episodes and the like, this is roughly the same level of faith needed to assert that I am a science fiction writer living in the Commonwealth of Virginia, which are statements I also take on faith, due to the belief that I am not presently hallucinating.

I suggest that it requires a lot more faith in much more doubtful evidence and questionable authorities to believe that self aware rational intelligence could arise by purely mechanical undirected processes, and have that intelligence be able correctly to distinguish true statements from false concerning that universe, including metaphysical statement not open to empirical proof or disproof.

Have you even read Darwin? Very few who claim to believe in his account of the origin of the human species have done. Do you go on the voyage of the Beagle with him, and see his evidence, look the material on which he bases his proofs?

Have you read the debates between Hoyle and Lemaitre concerning the question of whether the universe has an origin point? Did you look over their research, perform their observations yourself to confirm it?

Who is taking more on faith in our respective worldviews, sir, you or I? I am talking about something I have seen. You are talking about something you take on faith in the authority who has told you of these things.

Anonymous disgusted June 08, 2015 1:48 PM  

"like Martin Luther, merely rewrote the Bible to suit himself, "

"Freaking Catholics, man..."

[Looks around for "Rome or Die" fellow. Is shocked to see this troll is also a big-name author. Decides to double-down on boycotting Tor Books... ]

Anonymous Frodo June 08, 2015 1:52 PM  

"I myself am an eyewitness. I have seen God. The only faith I require is the faith that I am not hallucinating to an untoward degree."

Were you sleeping at the time? Were you on drugs or drinking? What does this god look like? How long did you gaze at this god. Did the god explain why others don't see him and some do?

"could arise by purely mechanical undirected processes"

We see mechanical processes occur on a minute by minute basis, every day of every year. Yet we don't see all knowing supernatural occurrences at anything like the same rate, if ever.

So, I'll ask again...what is the best evidence for the God you worship?

Blogger Markku June 08, 2015 1:52 PM  

No, I can say with almost absolute confidence (due to both having been in the same thread at the same time) that Wright is not Rome or Die.

Blogger Sir Wilshire (#320) June 08, 2015 1:55 PM  

Frodo,

Tell us about the scholarly treatments of the evidence for Jesus' resurrection you've read.

Then explain why your unbiblical definition of faith still applies.

Blogger ScuzzaMan June 08, 2015 1:57 PM  

Well put, sir.

God has indeed offered us all a binary proposition, life or death.

Some confuse George Michael with God, but it was the latter who said:

"Therefore, choose life "

Blogger ScuzzaMan June 08, 2015 2:01 PM  

You have never observed a mechanical process give rise to novel information such as is necessary for life.

Your argument is not.

Blogger Josh June 08, 2015 2:02 PM  

No, I can say with almost absolute confidence (due to both having been in the same thread at the same time) that Wright is not Rome or Die.

I'm not even sure Rome or Die is an actual Catholic or NeoRx troll. I think he's a parody designed to make Catholics look bad.

Blogger Rabbi B June 08, 2015 2:02 PM  

This comment has been removed by the author.

Blogger Rabbi B June 08, 2015 2:09 PM  

"So, I'll ask again...what is the best evidence for the God you worship?"

"What may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.

The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they reveal knowledge. They have no speech, they use no words; no sound is heard from them. Yet their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world.

Open your eyes and your ears so that your heart your mind may follow. I would also advise that you not be too quick with your mouth (or your keyboard), nor too hasty in your heart to utter anything before God. God is in heaven and you are on earth, so let your words be few.

After all, He did give us two ears and one mouth so that perhaps we all might learn to listen twice as much as we speak.

Anonymous DNW June 08, 2015 2:12 PM  

Rabbi B June 08, 2015 1:36 PM

"What then, Rabbi, did He care enough to do that no one else could, regarding Sandifer-like, and presumably other, cases?'

He sent His beloved Son, Israel's promised Messiah, into this world to pay a debt He did not owe and that we could never pay. For that, I am eternally in His debt and grateful.

Baruch Hashem!"


Ok. Based on that statement, unless it is merely a whimsical screen name, you appear to be a Messianic Jew rather than Orthodox, Conservative or Reform.

Did you actually undertake formal rabbinical studies - Hebrew Union or some such place?

You don't have to answer if you feel that this is putting you on the spot.

Blogger Russell (106) June 08, 2015 2:16 PM  

"So, I'll ask again...what is the best evidence for the God you worship?"

Hiya, Brian. Trying this again?

What's your definition of evidence?

Anonymous Frodo June 08, 2015 2:17 PM  

""What may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse."

"Open your eyes and your ears so that your heart your mind may follow.."

I can see and hear the effect of various observable mechanical processes. So, my eyes and ears both work.

Is there a picture of this god somewhere that is authentic and verifiable? Is there evidence of its ongoing existence.

Or will you, as all others when I ask, simple tell me to allow the spirit to come into me?

When you ask me, "what is the evidence for the fermentation process" i claim to control, I can actually provide you with the evidence. In fact, I can have you observe it with your eyes, with your ears and with your nose. I can show you it working under a microscope. I can predict what will happen when sugar and yeast come in contact and my prediction will be correct every time.

Now, what is the evidence you have for this god?

This is an utterly useless explanation of "best evidence".....Or is this really the best one can offer as evidence of this god.

Blogger Rabbi B June 08, 2015 2:19 PM  

"Did you actually undertake formal rabbinical studies - Hebrew Union or some such place?"

I did. I also continue to study with Orthodox rabbis and maintain a frum (observant) lifestyle that is consistent with the tenets of Torah-observant Judaism. Of course, it is my position on the identity of the Messiah of Israel that separates me from many of my contemporaries, in more ways than one.

Blogger Tim_W_Burke June 08, 2015 2:21 PM  

Hi CM,
I only provide an example of my own confusion and agnoticism (sp).
In comment 166, John Wright seems to be demonstrating my point.
He will not argue the heresy of Lutherism because his intended subject is the heresy of Islam.
Is there a God? Sure!
For me, the issue is who gets to define what is good, beautiful, or true.
And what became of those in history who shared those values but did not hold a Bible.

Blogger Rabbi B June 08, 2015 2:21 PM  

"Or will you, as all others when I ask, simple tell me to allow the spirit to come into me?"

No. And I said no such thing.

However, you speak of "the effect of various observable mechanical processes." Would you care to speak to the "cause." of the "various observable mechanical processes"?

Anonymous Hoppes #9 June 08, 2015 2:34 PM  

Rabbi B, do the tenets of Torah-observant Judaism envision an eternal place of torment or do they envision God as reconciling all things unto Himself? Just curious. Thanks for all of you comments.

OpenID luagha June 08, 2015 2:36 PM  

On the topic of Hitler:

It's great fun to call Hitler a pagan. And there are loads of roleplaying game supplements based on exactly that, and not a few fantasy stories which re-imagine Hitler's purposes as some sort of pagan blood ritual sacrifice to bring forth Ragnarok/The Elder Gods/other.

And Hitler did have committed pagan underlings who were totally into it, who held meetings in old drafty castles and inscribed occult symbols on the floors and walls and tried to use runecrafting against their enemies and it was wicked awesome, man.

But I'm Jewish, so I have to follow the money.

When the money got tight and the Allies started waking up and it was a choice between working the pagan angle and killing undesirables, the pagans got purged and their money dried up. The only thing Hitler kept was some symbolism and iconography.

Killing undesirables was much more important than any religious action to Hitler, indeed to the point where it took away from his military resources. Over and over when checking the history, Hitler only used religion as a tool to sway people - Wodenism if it got support, fake Christianity if it got support, anything.

Blogger Ron Winkleheimer June 08, 2015 2:38 PM  

@Frodo

What evidence will you accept? I find the evidence of Jesus' resurrection from the dead to be pretty convincing.

"3 For I handed on to you, among the first things, that which I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures;
4 and that he was buried, yes, that he has been raised up the 3rd day according to the Scriptures;
5 and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the 12.
6 After that he appeared to upward of 500 brothers at one time, the most of whom remain to the present, but some have fallen asleep [in death].
7 After that he appeared to James, then to all the apostles;
8 but last of all he appeared also to me as if to one born prematurely"

1 Corinthians 15

Paul did not ask anyone to take the resurrection on faith. He stated that there were numerous eyewitnesses who could be questioned to establish the veracity of Paul's claim.

Note also that simply producing Jesus' body would have ended the nascent Jesus movement. Yet for some reason neither the Roman or Jewish authorities choose to do so.

Whether or not Christ rose from the dead is an historical fact. If he did not then our faith is in vain. If he did then that would seem to have certain implications.

Blogger Josh June 08, 2015 2:40 PM  

Now, what is the evidence you have for this god?

This is an utterly useless explanation of "best evidence".....Or is this really the best one can offer as evidence of this god.


Define evidence.

Anonymous Frodo June 08, 2015 2:41 PM  

"However, you speak of "the effect of various observable mechanical processes." Would you care to speak to the "cause." of the "various observable mechanical processes"?"

You mean, would I care to explain what causes yeasts to process sugars? Why they do it?

I can't. Well, that's not true. I could make up some magical power as the explanation.

Blogger CM June 08, 2015 2:41 PM  

Mr. Burke,

Ah. I see.

I am not catholic. I'm actually the oft villified Episopal who doesn't hold to my national church's teachings :p. I'm a C.S. Lewis girl, if I must pick a theologian whose teachings reflect my own.

For me, the issue is who gets to define what is good, beautiful, or true

God & Scripture do. Of course, that KIND OF deviates from Catholic teaching... but I find false Christians can be found in every church... and that true Christians are likewise... that to judge one based on their church membership/protestant/catholic invites the same judgement upon yourself.

I will stick with "do not quench the Spirit... but test everything" 1 Thess 5:19,

Anonymous Frodo June 08, 2015 2:42 PM  

"Define evidence."

The available body of facts or information indicating whether a belief or proposition is true or valid.

Blogger CM June 08, 2015 2:42 PM  

*pressed submit on accident...*
21
And
The book of James for the fruit of Christians

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