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A Different Fantasy

Entry 1617, on 2014-01-11 at 15:54:07 (Rating 4, Religion)

This morning I was visited by a couple of religious nuts (two "old grannies" as it happens) who presented me with some church propaganda. I didn't get a chance to talk to them, but if I had, I would have destroyed their silly beliefs with a dazzling display of religious and scientific knowledge, flawless logic, and pure intellect... well, at least that's the way I would see it!

Some people are critical of me when I argue with apparently kind religious types but why shouldn't I? They are the ones who have visited me and attempted to convert me to their childish and sick vision of reality. And it's not surprising when I don't just believe everything they say and point out where they are wrong that they can get just a little bit nasty. And when I demonstrate a greater knowledge of their religion that what they do they generally retreat and never return!

So these people may seem superficially to be well-meaning but they aren't really. If they were members of a political party trying to gather new members would we be as generous? I don't think so. And what's the difference? There is none that I can see.

But to get back to the subject at hand. These people were from the Jehovah's Witless [deliberate typo] Church and they were distributing a pamphlet titled "Will suffering ever end?". My initial reaction might be "yes, when people like you go away and leave the rest of us alone" but that is rather trite so I should look at the subject more seriously.

The material they left contained a whole bunch of rather loosely translated Bible quotes, as if quoting from the Bible would convince anyone who wasn't already hooked into that particular fantasy world! I mean really, if I quoted Darwin would they just automatically believe me? Can't they see that many of us think the Bible is little more than a book of sometimes amusing, sometimes interesting, and sometimes disturbing myths? And quoting Bible verses to prove that the Bible is true seems rather circular.

The general message of the pamphlet seemed to be that God doesn't like all the bad things which are happening but they're not his fault. And things will get better in the future and he "will wipe away all tears from their eyes, and there will be no more death, suffering, crying, or pain" (that also sounds like the unsubstantiated rhetoric we get from some political parties).

I always thought the bad things were because of the free will God gave us. Does that mean in order to make things better we need to give up free will? And if God can make things so much better in the future why has he waited so long? Oddly enough those issues aren't discussed at all except to refer to some Bible verses (Romans 5:12 and 2 Peter 3:9) which contain the usual meaningless drivel.

Naturally, when you look at it logically, none of this makes sense, just like the story line of any other fairy tale doesn't make sense. Next time the JWs visit I'll just say I'm reading a different fantasy story at the moment, maybe I'll re-read some Tolkien like the Lord of the Rings or the Silmarillion (actually, not the Silmarillion, because it's even more boring than the Bible!)

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Comment 38 (3867) by richard on 2014-01-29 at 23:46:23: (view earlier comments)

Ha - some nice quips in there - and I am still capable of enjoying them. :) I would hope you remember from past discussions that I never want to be accused of trolling this blog and offending anyone by using it simply to promote Christianity.

I have always restricted my discussions to responses/defences of (obviously what I see as) either gross mis-representations of it, or mis-steps in 'argument logic' offered when you make quite specific assertions against it in your posts. This difference is important, and my responses are 'allowed' in that context I think.

In fact, A careful reading of my discussions shows that the 'absolute truth' of the theist ideas presented by me in these topics isn't the primary focus, as much as the defense of the internal consistency of the logic. In other words, people can and will make up their own mind about the 'truth', so any assertion on our part is pretty meaningless. What they need is the ideas of BOTH sides to be reported accurately and honestly.

It should also be an obvious 'given', that deliberately presenting ideas as possible truth while 'knowing and admitting' they are poetic pieces of fiction, would be both ridiculous and dishonest - so that statement while sounding kinda clever, really isn't (clever, or necessary).

So to end - this blog shouldn't be about what I believe - it should be about what YOU believe, and on this topic this is already quite obvious. Besides this thread is way too long now isn't it. Cheers.

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Comment 39 (3869) by OJB on 2014-01-30 at 14:01:51:

Well as long as you are still enjoying this (at comment 38) that's good, I guess! You can promote Christianity as much as you want here, as long as you provide evidence of your claims.

You haven't answered any of my questions about the problem of evil at all. You seem to be particularly enthusiastic about avoiding the animal question. I put that one in because it is rarely part of the standard propaganda believers are taught. Maybe it's something you actually have to think about?

I think there are only three possible conclusions: either god exists but doesn't have the power to make the world better, or he exists and he is evil and deliberately allows bad things to happen, or he doesn't exist. When you think about it the kindest interpretation is the last one!

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Comment 40 (3878) by Jim on 2014-02-08 at 08:34:29:

Good to see that OJB has finally solved the problem of evil after all these years when the best minds in the world couldn't do it /sarcasm.

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Comment 41 (3880) by OJB on 2014-02-08 at 17:20:20:

What's with the end sarcasm tag again? Is that your latest gimmick? :) Anyway, that was a nice piece of sarcasm in fact because superficially it does seem rather presumptuous of me to think that I have solved one of the great dilemmas in theology all by myself!

But the thing is that the title "problem of evil" is a bit misleading. It's only believers who insist there is a god who have a problem. For the rest of us the whole issue is perfectly straightforward: the natural universe is a tough place and sometimes bad things happen. It really is as smile as that!

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Comment 42 (3888) by OJB on 2014-02-14 at 13:17:00:

Looks like Richard has given up.

The thing is anyone can manufacture an answer to any problem with any theological system they want, but you need to look at not whether the answer is possible or not (just about anything is possible) but whether it is probable. None of the excuses (that's all they are) attempting to justify the problem of evil are likely.

I have seen similar excuses for the inconsistencies in Christianity, Islam, belief in UFOs, ESP, and many other superstitious and pseudoscientific beliefs. They can't all be right... but that can all be wrong!

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