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Atheist Community of Austin
God's nature?

I have been having a discussion with a non-religious friend of mine regarding the basis of Christian theology - basically we've gone through all the major argumentative points that one would go through and have come to the following.

Me: If God is all-powerful and all-loving then natural evil cannot exist.

Friend: It is not in God's nature to be a deceiver. We all know that the universe works in accordance to a natural order, and it would be deceitful for God to break that order and intervene - an example being that God could poof a mattress underneath people whenever they fall down, but that would render existence pointless.

Am I missing something? How do I respond to this - I basically am drawing a stalemate with him for now. Help is appreciated.

It sounds like "nothing" has exactly the same properties as your friend's god.

If the god doesn't do anything, then you should just dismiss it. "That which is asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence."

Ask your friend what your god actually does and ask for the evidence for that. Until then, you're safe not believing.

Point out that anything can be said to exist if you assume that it has the peculiar property of providing no evidence for its existence in order to maintain some odd ethical standard.

i.e. There is a magical invisible hamster which I carry in my backpack. He is able to solve any problem of math or physics by eating invisible gouda cheese. However, he is so interested in assuring that humans receive the intangible emotional and educational benefits of solving these problems for themselves that he never provides me with said solutions when I'm doing research. In fact, he only makes his presence known to me by placing an obnoxious snickering sound in my head when I get it wrong.

Your friend is saying that life has a purpose and is meaningful because everyday we step out that door we take risks. If God were to babysit us we would not grow. The question is why does God want us to grow? Why does he want us to face the trials of good and evil? Why does he allow our pain sensory mechanisms to be exploited by other humans?

The answer I think is to develop a personality based upon these experiences. Then he will judge our personality based on how we handled these situations. I accept the challenge, but atheists fear the consequences (Hell).

On a side note, my own life experiences have brought me to my knees. I fear the Lord and give Him praise, respect and servitude. Had he put a mattress under me every time I fell, I would not grow. I would be spoiled.

There has to be suffering. We have to know suffering in the worst form so that then we know how to do the right thing. Thank God for every tragedy because only in the face of tragedy does humanity shine through!

To Bluegrass Atheist:

---It is not in God's nature to be a deceiver.--- (assuming there is a God)

No. But it sure is in mans nature to be a deceiver. (No assuming) The bible is filled with human deceit, including to deceive others into believing that much of it is Gods word.

---We all know that the universe works in accordance to a natural order, and it would be deceitful for God to break that order and intervene---

Just the same as it is for humans to pray to a supernatural God asking him to intervene, which is equal to telling an omniscient being that he is a failure and that there is a need to call him out onto the carpet through the ridicule of superstitious prayer. Prayer is nothing less than telling a God that he is incompetent. But that would render existence pointless to know more than a God (not).

---an example being that God could poof a mattress underneath people whenever they fall down, but that would render existence pointless.---

Every single day the supernatural God "poofs" another sun above the horizon to ensure that we live another day. To believe anything different would render existence pointless (not).

This type of arguement can take many different turns and can be cancelled out many different times. It's called "Special Pleading" which is, an argument that ignores all unfavorable evidence. It is a pleading that alleges new facts in avoidance of the opposing allegations. eg; the mattress.

Well, you will have to use your own words break the dichotomy that your friend conveniently sets up. But that is what he is doing, basically. I don't know how else to describe or explain it to you. That is why many Atheist's just go for the shortcut answer of: Nothing = nothing. There is no need for proof when nothing exists in the first place. Usually that is not enough, though. However, given more and you stand thechance of being backed into a tricky corner of hypotheticals, etc...

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