Brief Thoughts on the Philosophy of Religion

Philosophy of religion is, in fact, not philosophy. It’s apologetics, a defense of a given faith. It is the inversion of the Socratic method. It is not an enterprise concerned with truth, for its practitioners claim to have already located the truth. It is an enterprise concerned with verification–even despite evidence to the contrary. Actual philosophy doesn’t proceed in this manner. Philosophers of mind (who aren’t convinced of some religious view of the mind) don’t set out to verify their predilections. Philosophers of science don’t either. Ethicists don’t either.

A philosopher of religion is usually a believer from the outset and all of their arguments and conclusions will make that obvious to anyone. It’s high time to demarcate philosophy and theology and jettison the so-called philosophy of religion from the enterprise of philosophy. Pretending to ask questions isn’t the same as actually doubting and questioning. The pretense of skepticism isn’t actually skepticism. One can question even the existence of god for a brief moment as Descartes did, but it’s all for nought if one’s conclusion is that he most certainly exists.

I’m an atheist; the nonexistence of god is a settled matter because I actually doubted Christianity and then other religions–and arrived at the conclusion that the concepts of god presented in purportedly revelatory texts do not exist. I am as skeptical of time; sure, we experience time, but my question is whether it is a fundamental reality in the universe. I am not looking to falsify or verify time. I am seeking the truth of the matter and it matters not to me whether it’s fundamental in our universe or not. That’s how philosophers proceed! Apologists would learn a thing or two if they weren’t so intent on persisting in their beliefs.

anonymous asked:

how do you balance time with God and time you spend doing things for entertainment, like reading, watching tv, etc.? i've been feeling so guilty lately and i haven't been reading as much (even though it's something i love) because i feel like i should be spending more/all time with God.

..goodness, I’m not very good at it. Recently, I’ve realized I check my phone/social media at work more than I ACTUALLY work. 

You said something interesting about how you felt guilty for doing things like reading, and I just wanted to say that you aren’t all spirit, and you don’t have to be. I want to address this first. Your life isn’t a constant mountaintop experience, and just offering God the intention of being with Him during your “daily normal duties” does a lot.

You’re a human being, your soul and body are connected in a way that is fearful and wonderful. God doesn’t ask you to become a transcendental being and float out of the material realm, which is something a lot of moderns like us believe without even realizing it. It’s like a silent lie that we absorb. It’s called gnosticism (yes, that’s right, it has affected so many people it has a name. Like a virus).

Material things (created things) aren’t bad, it’s just their use and misuse which MAKES them bad or good. Incarnation principle. :) So, your body and created-ness are good. 

What you said about feeling like you needed to spend ALL your time with God reminded me of this: that maybe what you meant was that you felt you needed to spend all your time in, like, ecstatic prayer or something, and that God couldn’t be with you in your reading. 

Well, bud, He is ALWAYS present. “Emmanuel” - God is with us, always. Even when we do very human things like read. “Jesus became like us in all things but sin”. 

If you don’t remember Him when you do things like read, but want to “stay with Him” at all times, ask for the Grace. He longs to draw you close always.

Know that you offering Jesus your intention to be with Him always is meaningful, and you can’t haul yourself up to Him; He lifts you, with His love, if you let Him.

You have duties and obligations you have to fulfill as a human being, God calls us each to a specific state in life - not every person is called to be a hermit and pray for 8 hours a day, and, likewise, not every person is called to be the parent of 6 and thus forgo quiet time for the rest of their lives (I’m kidding). 

So you really do need to sit down and have an honest look at what God may be asking of and FOR you this season, and what your state in life demands. 

In the words of St. Pio, “Duty before all else, even before that which is holy”. 

According to the Incarnation, in which Jesus was born in a stable, we can encounter God through the seemingly mundane, simple, and normal lives we lead. He’s there waiting in the “pots and pans”. 

So don’t ever shun the “normal” in favor of the supernatural (I mean, Jesus was a carpenter’s son, that’s pretty “normal” because God is present in both. 

- that’s just an aside. to continue:

As far as actually creating a healthy, holy lifestyle centered around God and making time to pray goes:

self-discipline is big, as order is the first principle of heaven. A career services mentor told me in college that if you don’t plan, it won’t happen. So: plan time for God, to make sure that it happens. 

Obviously, “God’s ways are above our ways”, and we can’t plan for EVERYTHING Grace might want us to do in a day. Jesus says, “follow Me (& the fishermen dropped their nets, and followed Him)”, not, “make a plan and then give it to me, it’s totally cool, we can follow your schedule, kiddo”

But God’s leadership/shepherding doesn’t excuse us from trying to live ordered lives, to the best of our ability, while leaving the door open for God’s grace “above our ways”. 

For me, practically, that looks like having a consistent daily routine. 

This is going to sound overly simple, but every day I try to get up before the sun rises, make some coffee, and just be silent before dawn with the Lord. 

Some days, that doesn’t happen because either I get lazy or I need more sleep, but making it a daily thing is my goal. 

After that, I try to honor the practical things I have the means to do to care for myself: breakfast, wash my face. I go to work, go to daily mass, work out daily,…y’know. Basic stuff. But, I try to do it all every day. 

This sounds silly, but having these tiny pockets of order in your life can be really helpful. Not as ends in of themselves, but as means to create facilitate the action of Grace which created self-discipline in the flesh. I don’t always succeed, but that attempt at discipline, in my opinion, is like a fast that helps us re-order ourselves around God as our center, Love, shepherd, and provision.

For me, beyond spending quiet time with God in the morning, I make a HUGE effort to attend daily Mass AND go to adoration (prayer in the chapel before the eucharist) every day because I have time to right now and I love it. My station in life permits it. We’ll get to that in a second.

Mass***** & quiet prayer with Jesus are non-negotiables, for me. I can physically feel the difference when I don’t receive Jesus and root myself in Him: in His presence, in His merciful Love, in His Word.  So, as those are the Most Important, I try to schedule myself AROUND making sure I get there.

Anyway, on the days when I literally can’t go to mass or have time in adoration with Jesus praying because of other duties (I’m a 23 year old laywoman soon-to-be student, peace out I’ll be SO BUSY SOON!) I trust that He will provide what I need, so that protects me from compulsiveness or false guilt

But when I just choose not Visit Jesus out of laziness, or even poor time management on my part, it sucks. 

It makes me feel weak, physically. 100% serious. On these kinds of days, I try to remember I can encounter God in the mundane, and I talk to Him while I do my work. I try to listen, too. You know? Bringing EVERYTHING up into God’s presence and handing them to Him, even the littlest moments. 

It sounds complicated on paper, but it’s actually super simple.

So in order to avoid that (missing daily mass and prayer), I started trying that self-discipline/scheduling thing I mentioned earlier. Time management, to the best of my ability, to facilitate healthy upkeep of my relationship with God. Put God at the center and first, and everything else falls into place. 

Practical tools like planners are things we can use to help us order our lives around Him.

About balancing that with entertainment, um, well, I mean:

Jesus Himself was accused of being too “cheerful” (”…For John the Baptist came neither eating bread nor drinking wine, and you say, ‘He has a demon!’ The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and you say, ‘Look at this glutton and drunkard, a friendof tax collectors and of sinners!’ “ (Luke 7:34))…. AND Jesus went off repeatedly to Quiet Places to pray..so I think we can take that to mean that Jesus knew how to balance both work and play and rest. (If I can say that about play).

“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens” Ecclesiastes 3:1. 

First, I would say never feel guilty for resting or for something fun. We aren’t stoics or robots. We have friends and families and communities and are human beings. Jesus had community too. And as human beings we have a NEED to rest and recuperate, and God gives us the sabbath to rest and worship Him. And in the evenings, think of an ideal gathering in Jesus’s time, around a table to eat a good meal and maybe tell stories or listen to someone sing or preach….that’s a kind of rest, I think.

TV/entertainment can help us rest and relax…through…being entertained. The purpose of the object is in the name, here. But, like any other created thing, it’s just bad when we it gets out of place, in our lives (or when we watch bad content, but that’s another post).

So second, I would suggest doing a little healthy self-inquisition in Jesus’s loving presence to see if you’re using TV/entertainment as a way to AVOID something that might be nipping at your mind or conscience, or heart, or eve subconsciousness. 

In my life, I know that often, when I feel guilty like that, it’s either because I’m using TV and entertainment to avoid something and avoid God or avoid something He wants to tell me, or because my “life” is “out of order” (see above, about ordering life around the essentials :) ) and as soon as I face up and acknowledge it in order to learn and grow and conform to Jesus, I re-find that peace and center in Christ.

But sometimes, that guilt I feel comes from me feeling like I don’t DESERVE rest, or from false SELF CONDEMNATION, which are literally straight from hell. 

So on that note, continuing, I know that God is Love, and that He doesn’t ask us to perfect ourselves on our own, which means that if I’m choosing to not making time for Him, I can go to Him and ask for His help reordering my life around Him. I know that He never leaves us, so I trust that even in my “wandering”, He is waiting for me (think Moses in the desert - God still preserved him).

The devil tries to take good, well-meaning people like yourself who want to Do The Right Thing and often tempts them with false guilt and self-condemnation. So if I’m feeling that guilt, I try to stop and evaluate it to see if it is from God or not, as well (I’m Catholic, so I usually also take it to confession and to friends for help discerning the truth). 

Remember: God never covers up our sin or equivocates around them or shortcomings, but He never addresses them outside His merciful Love.

God’s voice convicts, heals, and calls us out of error like a good coach, parent, or mentor. 

The devil’s accuses, condemns, and blames us for where we’ve messed up. 

God draws us into the light where our flaws and painful wounds and sins are exposed, offers us forgiveness, helps us wash our robes white, helps us change our ways, and heals us. We’re kids, and if a kid has a bad habit, even a deadly habit (sin is a deadly habit), the parent doesn’t push them away - the parent helps them get better.

The devil points fingers and yells until we want to curl up in a ball and die and hate ourselves and put ourselves out of existence.

So, yeah. 

I hope that rambling kind of helped you, a little. I just..typed what I felt.

To summarize: 

1) self-discipline 

2) make God / time with God the prioritiy but remember that God also wants you to do “regular” things appropriate to your state in life

>>>>the Incarnation principle>>>>

3) reflect on your actions and thoughts in the presence of God to see whether or not you’re avoiding something via media (and, thus, encountering feelings of guilt) 

4) reflect on your feelings of guilt and pray for the HS to show you if they’re from God or the Devil (based in Truth or in a Lie)

5) remember that God enters INTO your mess RIGHT WHERE YOU ARE, THE WAY YOU ARE, helps you with your burdens, etc, and helps you out of it - He doesn’t ask you to be perfect before you come to Him because He MAKES you perfect in His love, and that includes your guilty feelings over not spending enough time with God

6) practical tools like self discipline and planners help us organize and take appropriate stewardship of our time and means

7) “patience obtains all things” = slow and steady wins the race. God honors our little efforts to improve in ALL things and transforms them with Big Grace if we let Him :)

8) life is a balance between work and rest and entertainment and no entertainment, and it takes time to find it, but I trust you will.

God bless ya, dude. Lemme know if that didn’t answered/didn’t answer your question/if you have other questions/need clarification/anything.

This is a great video on being overwhelmed/scheduling/spending time with God from a guy named Fr. Mike Schmitz, and he’s super smart and clear. He might be able to help you.

This is a video from the same guy about having time to pray, which might help too. :)

(Re, Mass*****: I heard that Protestant churches don’t have daily services like Catholics have daily masses???? So if you ever wanted to go hear a sermon and have service daily, but your Protestant church doesn’t (if you’re a Protestant anon, idk), then you are MORE than welcome in the Catholic mass. #WeAreOneBodyInChrist. Catholics would only ask you abstain from the bread and cup unless you are a Catholic. It’s not exclusionary, it protects us from receiving Christ out of order or without Right Love and Understanding and Preparedness like St. Paul indicates we ought to in his letters. Catholics go through a process in our youth of intense education, learning about Jesus’s Presence there and scripture and etc, and out of respect, we would ask you refrain. Early christians had a three-year process of becoming a christian they abided, too. :) I think anglicans can partake? Idk? You’d have to check with the priest.)

"Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth." 1 Corinthians 13:6

So many people in the world today want to focus solely on the love of God, pushing aside or ignoring His other attributes, such as justness and righteousness. They want to decide what love is for themselves, instead of turning to God, the Author of love, to see precisely what real love is.

I adore 1 Corinthians 13 because it tells us exactly what godly love looks like, and verse 6 explains that love rejects evil and celebrates the truth. John 17:17b tells us, “Your word is truth.” Godly love rejoices in the truth of the Bible - all of it - and in the fullness of who God is. The very best way you can show someone love is to share God’s complete and perfect truth with them, for His is the greatest love of all.

Christianity is False and Its High Time to Accept It

What follows is an organized way of communicating what I’ve said thus far in a debate on Facebook; I apologize in advance for the length, but if you ever wanted more practical approaches to showing the many flaws of Christianity, here are some ways:

You do realize that atheists see “interpretative” as a copout? When a fact is too uncomfortable to read literally, it is considered allegory. I think Paul’s theology is quite clear about the first man called Adam. In fact, on Paul, Jesus’ entire sacrifice is contingent on the idea of a first man who brought sin and death; it’s dependent on some reading of the Fall in Genesis 3. Of course, I’m not going to push young-Earth or even old-Earth creationism on you or any Christian. I think the more elegant readings of Genesis 1-3 are allegorical. Allegories are no substitute for content though.

That is to say that some of the details are pertinent. Six days isn’t pertinent, but the idea of man and woman are. The idea of a separation from god, via a Fall from grace, is also important. Paul saw this and pounced on it. He made it pretty central to his theology, in fact. I don’t think that can be waved away so easily without sacrificing a cornerstone of Pauline theology. Paul in Romans 5 and 1 Corinthians 15 is quite clear about his explanation of sin and its origin. Without Paul’s interpretation, you’re left with wide-ranging conjecture–hence my suggestion that evolution and Christianity are incompatible.

Towards the end, you say that the biggest challenge to atheism is the improbability of abiogenesis. This seems to imply god of gaps reasoning, but I’ll set that aside. Evolution isn’t “only a theory.” I’m sure you’ve heard this and probably think this is an atheist’s way to insult your intelligence, but when we say that theory means something different in science, we aren’t trying to insult you. It’s a simple fact. Theory, colloquially, is a hunch. There’s a loud bang in your next door neighbor’s home and you say, “I have a hunch: Kathy dropped her iron again.” That’s not what science means by theory. A theory in science is a well-established representation of an actual phenomenon in nature; crucially, this means that Darwin’s evolution by natural selection is not synonymous with evolution as observed in nature. We know this because Darwin’s natural selection is not mutation or genetic drift, for example. Evolution occurs via five mechanisms, per se, and natural selection is but one of those five. So it isn’t only a theory; it is a well-established representation of evolution.

Also, evolution need not hinge on abiogenesis. You implied that a theist can accept evolution. Abiogenesis, however, does not have the issues you say it does. Michael Behe and others might cite information theory as a problem and, as they commonly do, they might even employ Hoyle’s fallacy to argue that the probability of abiogenesis is even lower than a junkyard tornado building a 747. This is disingenuous. For one, abiogenesis isn’t a theory; it is a term that describes a cluster of theories concerning the origins of life on Earth. I’ll be the first to admit that solving this puzzle comes with difficulty, but this difficulty shouldn’t discourage anyone so much that they move the buck into a supernatural explanation.

Put it this way, consciousness is also mysterious and yet, if one accepts evolution, namely gradual change in alleles and in populations over time, then consciousness arises naturally; even human consciousness and its perspicacity for quantitative reasoning and logic emerged without divine intervention. The human brain doesn’t escape the evolutionary portrait; it falls squarely within it and can be explained within the confines of the theory. Evolutionary biologists even speak of the evolution of brain regions and parts like the frontal lobe, neocortex, amgydala, and claustrum.

Given what I said above, the next extrapolation is that life emerged naturally as well. In a causally closed universe, this is very likely. Also, life is nothing more than animate chemistry, inorganic elements made organic. Chemists, and even I in my dim capacities as a student, are able to produce organic compounds from inorganic elements. Now all that one needs is a way to bring this to life and give it experience until one reaches all the way up to the higher mammalian brain. This picture is entirely consistent with the naturalism I espouse. Far from the biggest challenge to atheism, an atheist can rightfully anticipate that this is but another god-shaped gap that will be filled with future knowledge. God no longer occupies the gaps that once existed, e.g., the evolution of the eye; the diversity of life; morality; consciousness; the origin of the universe. Soon this gap will close as well and there will be no ignorance to point to.

My honest assessment: you’ve been led astray by the sophistry of apologists. Admittedly, they write in a clear manner and can be quite gifted in communicating their points. I can see why some people are seduced by what they say, but one can never forget that they have a vested interest at the start, which is to say that they started with a preferred conclusion and want nothing more than to prove it or, at the very least, show it to be rational. I don’t ignore that and that is why I consult more disinterested sources. Despite what people like Strobel and Behe claim, information theory presents no problems for abiogenesis. All of the issues present in the study are due to the nature of what’s being studied, namely life’s origins; it’s already a hard nut to crack, but that certainly doesn’t justify a move to the supernatural.

Commanding murder and carrying it out are morally equal. See 1 Samuel 15:3. That’s a command. Or consider the census of Israel. He murdered thousands via his angel; safe to say some were infants and children, don’t you think? How about the plague of the firstborns in the times of Pharaoh? I’m not a Christian because I’ve read the entire Bible. Curious that it’s god’s word, but few Christians care about everything he had to tell us. I realized very quickly that the Bible was neither inspired nor written by a benevolent god.

The Bible need not be read literally all the time, but there’s no way to read 1 Samuel 15 as an allegory. It was written as embellished history. Samuel was anointed of god, a prophet; god often spoke through him. When Saul was cast out and stripped of his kingdom, Samuel delivered that message. So when is god speaking and when is he not? Is it not him when it’s something this horrible?

Historical context: this sort of thing was acceptable as virtually all ancient religions have morally repulsive stories and epics like this. The early Israelites wanted to boast of a conquest that never occurred. They fabricated a history and in turn, proved their god to be nothing more than a figment of their own imaginations, a monster made in their own conqueror image. It’s not curious that war gods show up at different points in history, each having a peculiar interest in the group that believes in this god. Another case of the triangle believing god to have three sides… (And he writes and speaks their language too; what a coincidence!)

If the Bible, supposedly god’s word, reads “Thus the Lord said” or something like that, any reader should assume that the character of god is speaking. It’s like the red letters meant to show when Jesus is speaking. If Jesus suddenly said something deplorable, “bring my enemies to me and slay them before me,” it isn’t on the reader to decide that he didn’t really say that. The Bible is telling you and me that god actually said this–that, at some point in history, he saw such a command as moral. This isn’t in the context of a 3000 year old culture; this is in the context of a timeless entity, an entity who would presumably never issue such a command.

As for the New Testament, it seems you’re not yet as involved with Christianity as I was. The sacrifices of the OT were but a type of the ultimate sacrifice in the NT (see the book of Hebrews, specifically Paul’s explication of what Christ’s Priesthood entails). Abraham’s almost sacrifice of Isaac was an anticipation of Christ. Every sentient mammal that lost its life in these sacrifices were mere prelude to a living, breathing man dying to serve as our scapegoat. The blood sacrifice connects the OT and NT and tells us that the ancient war god of Israel didn’t really change much; he’s still as immoral as he was then, but has mercy now because he became man and died in our place. Yet this only makes sense given other details, like the Fall and aspects of Pauline theology that you appeared to reject earlier today.

I know of plenty of Christians who think god penned the Bible; they all think he inspired it, as in, inspired men to write exactly what they wrote and to an unknown purpose. Passages in the OT leave one perplexed and seem to have no real meaning at all. Leviticus is nonsense; we are reading about people being told about the correct way to sacrifice sheep and various animals, and which animals are deemed unclean.

I’ve given you my basis for morality three times now: one should never treat people as a means but always as an end in themselves. This isn’t my standard; this is Immanuel Kant’s prescription, a prescription that works better than Jesus’ egoist Golden Rule and other ethical theories like utilitarianism and normative relativism. It’s a clear cut standard: humans are autonomous, self-legilsating, rational beings. Sometimes these beings fail to recognize this in others and therefore, commit crimes against other people. That being the case, they are to be held accountable for their actions; we should not mete justice on their kin. As stated, god would have been privy to that truth already. Yet he visits the sins of the fathers up to four generations and punished an entire species for a vague Fall back in prehistory only to redeem us to him through a human sacrifice. It’s a barbaric story that doesn’t inspire me to belief. I can only look at it in disbelief–as I look at similar tales.

These last bits are very practical ways in which one can not only reject Christianity but debase it in its entirety. The OT and the NT are related blood covenants. Even Christians forget this as they sometimes try to draw a thick, rigid line to separate the two. They are not, by any means, separate, but are intertwined in an intimate way. In fact, you can’t read so-called Pauline theology without going back to read where he’s getting his ideas from. Christianity is false and its best for Christians to just leave atheists like myself alone. I have well-thought out and wide-ranging reasons for rejecting this religion: scientific, philosophical, ethical, anthropological, historical, and practical ways for rejecting this religion. If you are not interested in fielding the variety of ways I can challenge your religion, then it’s best to walk away. Stepping into a discussion will guarantee you getting frustrated and hurling insults and even threats. In six years debating these topics, it has been the most common experience. Christians are content in believing they’ve found the truth, so the realization that they might not know the truth is truly unnerving; for them to think that they might be wrong scares them to no end. I’m not afraid of being wrong; I have been. That’s why I no longer believe. Accept that and stop issuing a challenge you can’t handle.

Let's talk about morals for a minute

If you do not recognize God as the ultimate authority for moral uprightness, you get your morals from either one or both of these sources:

- Yourself
- Society

What’s so wrong with that? Well, both these sources are highly subjective and apt to change on whatever other variable whims are presently affecting them.

When discussing morals, one of my favorite examples is The Hunger Games. Complain, if you will, about teenage love triangles, but, on a political level, that book is staggeringly relevant. The book centers around the killing of children. And you say, “of course that’s wrong! It’s horrible!” But why? And who says so? If morals are determined by an ever changing society and personal standards, who is to say that teenagers forced against their will to fight to the death is wrong? Because half the people in those movies thought these killings were, not only acceptable and beneficial, but necessary. In terms of government, it was legal; the media romanticized it. By personal and social standards, it was a completely moral practice.

You see, this “child sacrifice” isn’t such a far fetched notion. There were plenty of cultures who thought child sacrifice was an acceptable practice. They murdered them in the name of the greater good. (Do note that they served them up to FALSE gods, which means the gods were the invention of immoral humans and, consequently, they are, as the humans that created them, subjective and prone to change their moral outlook). So was killing children acceptable back then because the societies determined such?

Let’s take a look at present day. Thousands of children are killed DAILY in the name of moral correctness. If you don’t want your child or think you’re ready for one, you can stop its beating heart and society calls that morally acceptable. Say child sacrifice is in the past, say The Hunger Games will never actually happen, but look around you. We have a more heinous massacre even than that of the holocaust, focused solely on the children. Killing unborn children is not only encouraged, it is applauded - glorified. Sacrificing your child so that you can have the life you want. And, much like The Hunger Games, the government deems it legal, the media romanticizes it, and by personal and social standards killing children is a completely moral practice.

Let’s take a step back to refocus. From The Hunger Games, to child sacrifices of the past, to present day, we see one thing - morals based on humans and society change - all the way to the extreme that killing children is celebrated. Morals cannot come from humans because we are IMMORAL creatures by nature. It is vital that they come from the one person who is completely holy and does not change through the ages - that is the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Because He is sinless and without blame, perfectly just, it is to Him that our standard of morality must be held.

It is sad to find so many professing Christians who appear to regard the wrath of God as something for which they need to make an apology, or at least they wish there were no such thing. While some would not go so far as to openly admit that they consider it a blemish on the Divine character, yet they are far from regarding it with delight, they like not to think about it, and they rarely hear it mentioned without a secret resentment rising up in their hearts against it.”
Arthur Pink, ‘The Attributes of God’

another christian blog posted this quote and I’ve been trying to reblog it to talk to them about Mercy and Sorrow for Souls ever since and tumblr won’t let me reblog it so I’m reposting it myself. foreverhelives posted it but tumblr won’t let me reblog it from her! Dang tumblr.

“What a good thing that God is just - He takes into account our weaknesses" 

God’s wrath isn’t something to be happy about, I don’t think God is happy when souls - His creation and children - choose hell instead of His Forgiveness and Mercy and Heaven

 The wrath of God was what was satisfied when Jesus died on the Cross – not that He deserved God’s wrath, but because we were unable to atone for our sins (to pay our debt) which are so opposite to God and all Good (Jesus was the perfect sacrifice) 

I don’t think we should be “happy” or boastful about God’s wrath. 

Even Peter didn’t want God’s wrath or suffering to happen. 

When Jesus said He would suffer, Peter said “No!” and Jesus said “Get behind Me Satan!” 

Not to punish Peter, but to teach Peter that this suffering and death was necessary in order to atone for the sins of the world

If someone is upset about God’s wrath, it may not be because they think God has a blemish, but because they are sad and upset about the souls who choose to go to hell instead of accept repentance and Mercy and Forgiveness. 

If someone is apologizing for God’s wrath, they are likely feeling the sorrow of losing souls without understanding that what makes them uncomfortable isn’t God’s wrath itself, but the fact that souls will be lost. For being Christians, the church doesn’t talk about souls very much. People forget but feel discomfort they can’t name when they talk about God’s wrath. It wouldn’t surprise me if this nameless discomfort is a gut-level instinct that souls will be lost.

These souls who chose hell instead of mercy caused Jesus mortal anguish in the garden and it should cause us mortal anguish too when we think about souls going to hell instead of choosing to spend eternity with Love Himself. 

God is much better than we realize "God desires all be saved and none be lost” We should always look at His mercy and pray with confidence for the whole world so that no souls would go to hell. 

You obviously can’t cheapen the Gospel (those who say no to Jesus and His Mercy will send themselves to hell) (you need to follow God’s commands) (”I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life”) 

but you also obviously can’t focus more on God’s Wrath than on His Mercy…

….because that’s the WHOLE POINT of of the Gospel: we don’t deserve Heaven, and Jesus is giving redemption anyway. Mercy.

& we shouldn’t boast over christians who can’t stomach God’s wrath - I’m sure there were Hebrews who were nauseated and saddened when the first-born Egyptians were killed during the days of Moses, but they still trusted God.

&& I’m sure God felt for the Egyptians and their children, too, was sorrowful for their sorrow, because He still created them and loved them, though they were oppressing His people, because He is All Love AND All Merciful AND All Just. I’m sure He wanted the Egyptians to convert to Love and be Loved by Him, too, but you can’t force someone to love.

Proverbs says God hates letting the guilty go free and punishing the innocent && we must understand that Jesus died even for the people He knew would reject Him, and His sadness and sorrow in the Garden over these souls is unspeakable.

How can we rejoice over something that made Jesus feel so much pain? Dear Mr. Pink, how can we be glad people say no to Jesus and have to face God’s wrath instead? I know you aren’t saying this explicitly, but this is the implication.

Even the biggest sinner is still His creation and He loves them, like the prodigal son. 

We should pray to have hearts Truly like Jesus’s Heart. If our hearts truly reflected and shared the Mercy of God with everyone, if we lived in the unity of the Truth and Mercy, maybe we as the Church as a body would shine Jesus so much that the world couldn’t doubt, would see the Light and be converted.

Jesus, I Trust in You, please give everyone the grace to say “yes” to your healing mercy and truth, so that all would be saved and none be lost. Amen, I love you only by your Love.

The Apologist’s Anti-Elenchus

If Socrates were one of today’s apologists, his method wouldn’t look like this:

  1. Socrates’ interlocutor asserts a thesis, for example “Courage is endurance of the soul”, which Socrates considers false and targets for refutation.
  2. Socrates secures his interlocutor’s agreement to further premises, for example “Courage is a fine thing” and “Ignorant endurance is not a fine thing”.
  3. Socrates then argues, and the interlocutor agrees, that these further premises imply the contrary of the original thesis; in this case, it leads to: “courage is not endurance of the soul”.
  4. Socrates then claims that he has shown that his interlocutor’s thesis is false and that its negation is true.

It would, instead, look as follows:

  1. Socrates claims to have shown that his thesis is true and that all other theses are false.
  2. Socrates then asserts, despite the interlocutors doubts and disagreements, that his premises refute all other theses; in this case, it leads to: “god necessarily exists.”
  3. Socrates ignores his interlocutor’s demand for justification and evidence.
  4. Socrates’ interlocutor argues a thesis, for instance, “God does not necessarily exist,” which Socrates considers false because his thesis must be true.

As stated, philosophy of religion is the inversion of Socrates method. The apologist’s interest in dialogue goes as far as their belief that they can convert their interlocutor or sway minds in an audience, assuming there is one. The apologist otherwise doesn’t see any use for debate, for the apologist thinks it impossible to be proven wrong. Socrates’ elenchus aimed at discovering the truth of a matter whilst the apologist’s anti-elenchus aims at verifying what he already takes to be the case. Philosophy is about seeking truth rather than about verification of beliefs. Philosophy of religion simply has no place in the enterprise of philosophy. It is pseudo-philosophy and should be blacklisted as such.

Addressing A Stereotype About Christians

Christians get so worked up because a lot of atheists think themselves smarter than Christians. Or they go further and claim that Christians are just plain dumb. Well, if you take such issue with the stereotype, act like you’re intelligent. Where can you start? Start by not asking “if god doesn’t exist, why does belief in god make atheists so angry?” Anyone who isn’t looking to annoy, frustrate, or anger atheists knows better than to ask such a stupid question. 

Atheists actually aren’t angry that you believe in god. What makes us angry is what results from belief in god. Belief in god can lead to belief in faith healing, for example. Belief in faith healing results in the deaths of children. Parents literally refuse to take their children to the hospital or even give them medicine because they truly believe god will heal their child of a flu. Belief in exorcism has also led to the deaths of children. Belief in god can lead people to thinking that flagellation is a valid form of worship. Children will then whip themselves and be crucified as a form of worship.

Sure (!), the Christian will then claim that these aren’t representative of real Christians. They’ll employ a No True Scotsman fallacy. Or they’ll go with the “at least all Christians don’t believe such things.” But we can be more general! How many anti-intellectual, anti-science, pro-Trump Christians are there? How many misogynistic, anti-homosexual, xenophobic Christians are there? Would I be wrong to be angry at “innocent” belief in god knowing that a given believer definitely sees homosexuality as a sin, as an aberration from god’s original design? Would I be wrong to assume that some of these believers would go on to mistreat people who are homosexual? Even if it’s something as simple as refusing to provide them goods or services? Of course I won’t be wrong.

So we’re not angry about belief in god because god exists. We’re angry about belief in god because of where belief often leads. There are any number of routes you can go as a Christian, but adopting some detestable view is a guarantee. Every wannabe apologist in the blogosphere is haughty, pompous, and believes they’re far more knowledgeable than they actually are. They may not support Trump or bash gays, but they have Dunning-Kruger syndrome and, as years of having debates with such people has proven, they lack respect for atheists. They ignore their bias because only the atheist’s bias matters. They ignore the atheist’s evidence because either, they shift the definition of evidence so that it can be whatever they deem evidence or they ignore evidence contrary to their beliefs. 

That’s your start. Now where do you go? Try being honest with yourself. Doubt isn’t “of the devil” or some such nonsense. If a belief is dubious, doubt is inevitable. Perhaps doubt happens to every Christian because Christianity isn’t true? Why isn’t that an option? Think of it this way and I’ll keep it very simple. Do you doubt that your parents are actually your parents? Do you doubt the location of your school, workplace, or the nearest grocery store? Why isn’t doubt inherent to these facts? To save Christianity from this contrast, the wannabe apologist will most certainly go down the “brain in the vat” avenue. “How can you trust that you exist?” Descartes gave us a simple process to arrive at “I think, therefore I am.” If that’s the route you want to take, start by refuting the work of one of your own brethren. But it should be clear that if you have to go that outside the box to push away doubt, something is off about what you believe to be true. When something is true, there’s simply no room for doubt. Who my parents are, where I am, the various places I frequently go to, etc. are beyond doubt. That is to say that I know the truth about my parents, my current location, and the various locations I frequent. Should the truth change, my claim would change.

Say there’s a fire at the local grocery store. The fire debilitates the business and it never recovers. Now I would say that the supermarket used to be there. Or I’d say that this burned down space was a supermarket. I wouldn’t continue to speak as though it’s currently there though it’s not. So-called religious facts simply don’t work this way. That’s because there aren’t any religious facts. There are no facts about god. The facts per Christianity aren’t actually facts either. Truth and doubt simply don’t work in tandem. If one is present, the other isn’t. Truth and doubt never occupy the same space in the same respect. In other words, with respect to my parents, there’s truth and absolutely no doubt. Even as a Christian, the supposed existence of god wasn’t such a truth; the claim that Christianity is the one, true religion didn’t stand as such either. There was always some doubt and it was a doubt I entertained.

I reasoned as follows: if god truly exists and Christianity is true, all roads would lead me to that fact. I can ask around. I can get genetic tests. I can get legal documents. I can get medical records. All roads will lead me to the fact that my parents are, in fact, my parents. No matter what I do–even a denial in a fit of anger–would not change that. You can read about Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, or even the occult; you can consider science and its multifarious theories, philosophy, history, and other disciplines, and no matter what you find, what you read, what you come across, one fact will persist: god exists and Christianity is true. In my Christian days, I believed that that would be the result. Set sail with that same belief and see what ensues; indulge your doubt and see what comes of it. 

The truth is tested in futility because doubt will never enter its space. If someone has sold you a truth that can be doubted, I’m pretty sure I don’t have to make any suggestions as to what’s going on. If the stereotype bothers you so much, conduct yourself as intelligent people do. Be skeptical wherever warranted; indulge your doubts because the mere fact that a doubt exists is hinting at a clearer understanding; ask questions and honestly seek the answers; don’t accuse someone of bias simply to shield your own bias; be as objective as possible, showing absolutely no favor to a given conclusion–even if that particular conclusion is the one that you find most preferable; this last one is hard in a time of so-called alternative facts and post-truth, but honor the facts, whatever they may be. This is how intelligent people proceed. Want to rid yourselves of the stereotype? Change your behavior because honestly, as it stands, the majority of Christians I speak to act as though they lack intelligence. That being the case, it can’t be no wonder and neither is it the atheist’s fault that they think as they do about Christians.

The form of Christ is one and the same at all times and in all places. And the Church of Christ also is one and the same throughout all generations. And yet Christ is not a principle in accordance with which the whole world must be shaped. Christ is not the proclaimer of a system of what would be good today, here and at all times. Christ teaches no abstract ethics such as must at all costs be put into practice. Christ was not essentially a teacher and legislator, but a man, a real man like ourselves. And it is not therefore His will that we should in our time be the adherents, exponents and advocates of a definite doctrine, but that we should be men, real men before God. Christ did not, like a moralist, love a theory of good, but He loved the real man. He was not, like a philosopher, interested in the ‘universally valid,’ but rather in that which is of help to the real and concrete human being. What worried Him was not, like Kant, whether ‘the maxim of an action can become a principle of general legislation,’ but whether my actions at this moment are helping my neighbor to become a man before God. For indeed, it is not written that God became an idea, a principle, a programme, a universally valid proposition or a law, but that God became man.
—  Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Ethics, 86