10/30/2007                                                                                       View Comments

God, Lies and Faith

By DagoodS

Does God lie? Interesting question to demonstrate our inability to verify claims made about God. I occasionally have the following conversation:

Christian: God does not Lie!
Me: How do you know?
Christian: Because He says He tells the truth!
Me: But if he could lie…couldn’t he be lying when he says he always tells the truth? How can you tell the difference between a lying God saying, ‘I always tell the truth’ and a truthful God saying, ‘I always tell the truth’?

I leave it to the theists to wrestle among themselves as to whether God can lie. The follow-up question is: Regardless of whether or not God could; WOULD God lie? Think of all the reasons humans lie. Primarily because we think our position is better served to lie instead of telling the truth.

As children we lie to avoid the consequences the truth would bring us. Better to blame the broken television on a sibling than take the punishment ourselves. As adults, we lie to avoid a fight with our spouse. Or to cover up where we were, or what we were doing. Because we think telling the truth will cause us more harm than the lie.

We lie to convince others to believe us. If we were totally honest, we think we will never sell this used car. We lie to avoid problematic situations for ourselves. “Does this dress make me look fat?” We lie for selfish reasons to elude what we perceive as future complications.

Seems peculiar to attribute such motivations to a God, doesn’t it? God—afraid of consequences? If one holds to a fore-knowing sort of God—He already knows the consequences. (And perhaps is unable to modify them.) And if one holds to a non-preknowledge sort of Spirit...well…he is God after all—do we think humans screw something up so bad God can’t fix it?

One of my favorite lines to use comes from Die Hard 3 in which Bruce Willis drives a car erratically:

Bruce Willis: Trust me! I know what I am doing.
Samuel L. Jackson: Not even GOD knows what you are doing!

(Sometimes, when I see actions of others and even myself, I think, “Not even GOD knows what you are doing!”) The humor of the line, of course, is that God knows everything, and what the person is doing is so crazy, so insane, not even a God could figure it out.

Can we picture God thinking, “Gosh, I would like to tell the truth here, but that human could really mess this thing up…they could do something I can’t fix…Guess I am going to have to lie.” The God who can create billions of galaxies, with billions of stars in each, with trillions of planets, and space, and time, and life, and love, and déjà vu, is stumped by a human who will not live more than 100 years and cannot lift the average automobile? Seriously? We are that much of a problem for God he has to lie?

Can we create an obstacle for God? It seems almost laughable to attribute a motivation to God, commonly in humans, “fear of a predicament.” Clearly, it is just as difficult to determine an incentive for God to lie, due to lack of ability to verify, as it is to determine whether He lies at all.

But wait a minute…

I am often informed the reason God does not physically appear to everybody is that He wants us to believe by faith. (I take “faith” as a belief based upon incomplete data.) The reason God doesn’t update the Bible? Faith. The reason God didn’t “write his name in the stars” or made a 6000 year old universe look 13 Billion years old, or doesn’t answer every prayer? Faith. The reason Christians are put through human hardships, like unable to afford this year’s model car, or the sudden drop in the stock market, or the 16-year-old daughter who drained the liquor cabinet? Faith.

Every time we question why God plays this hide-and-seek game, resulting in 1000’s of different gods, with millions of variations on a personal level, the answer provided is, “He wants to be believed in, NOT by observational information…oh, no!... rather He wants us to gather the scraps of the few puzzle pieces we have, and “by faith” create the whole rest of the picture.” Some of those Gods even demand we put together the picture accurately, or there will be Hell to pay! Literally.

In point of fact, the Bible makes it patently clear evidential belief will not save you. “Justified by faith…” Rom. 5:1-2. Eph. 2:8. It would seem if we are given too much information, we could be in jeopardy of not being saved; we believed—just not in the correct way.

It seems fantastic to me the same God who created those billions of galaxies with their billions of stars, and all those planets would be so highly concerned over the method by which a sentient species on one of those planets came to discern knowledge about Him. That such a God would desire the humans to know he exists, but not know it with certainty of information. That such a God wants the final leap of belief to be on a guess.

Yet this is what they tell me. God wants to be believed in by faith. Unfortunately, this results in a God with a motivation. He is motivated to make sure we get enough information to start the journey on evidence, but not enough to finish the journey with it.

This is a curious sort of God. One who cares enough to mandate a certain method by which we can learn about him. A method we can apparently screw up. What happens if we learn too much? Will God have to take our knowledge down a notch? What if we don’t learn enough? Will God have to give a boost? Worse, would we reach a point where God, in order to achieve his goals, would have to lie?

Does this create a God who fears the truth may be more problematic than a lie?

The reality is the proofs for God peter out. Then, to make the leap to the God the theist desires, “faith” is invoked, with the defiant claim that “faith” is the thing God cares about. That God does not want us to have TOO much information (since the theist doesn’t have it to give) or otherwise everyone would believe in him.

What none of us can figure out is why God is so concerned about everybody believing in him? Why does he care?

By attempting to fill in the gap of information about God with the incentive of “faith,” the theist makes a God who would lie in order to avoid the harm of the truth.

17 comments:

resonate11 said...

Outstanding points, DagoodS. Thanks for thinking clearly.

Patrick Roberts said...

great points, DagoodS, i appreciate that you think so long and hard about how much you are not a Christian any more. You evidently think long and hard about God, who does not exist.

Bob said...

Good Morning DagoodS,

Thanks for sharing the great ammunition. Many that I had not considered.

Adds well to the one about the answer to prayer being yes, no, maybe.

Bob G.

fjell said...

Fair points, DagoodS.

When one of the constituents of a certain metaphysical proposition is that a paucity of evidence for it being true is necessary for its being useful, you have to laugh. In fact, we'd all be laughing if that belief wasn't responsible for some of the most deplorable behaviour imaginable across the globe and across the ages.

As for patrick roberts' comment, despite it reeking of unoriginality and being richly lathered with sarcasm, the point he attempts to make is meaningless at best, disingenuous at worst.

I think the following sheds some light on the error:

A) Unbelievers will quit talking about "God" the very day believers quit talking about "God". We live in a world where, on a daily basis, we come face to face with claims about "God", from our money to our billboards to the content of our textbooks and even sometimes the focii of our scientific research. When you confront someone with a claim about the supernatural that has real purchase power on his or her "here and now", and the someone in question finds the evidence for that assertion to be either faulty or scarce - make no mistake - the intelligent and courageous and sometimes necessary response is the rejection of that claim, either in word or deed or both. If you have some trouble visualizing this, imagine yourself suddenly transported to Mesoamerica circa the year 1400. Would your doubts and your vehement opposition to the Aztec's claims about the supernatural only serve to confirm those claims?

B) If what patrick asserts is meaningful, isn't it just as meaningful to suggest that the existence of
THIS WEBSITE (click me)
only serves to confirm that the deity it denies (Allah) does in fact exist (someone seems to have thought LONG and HARD about it - long enough to compile and maintain an entire website)?

Is this kind of suggestion convincing? I hope not. To include this sort of reasoning in your picture of what is "actually" true or false is nothing more than letting your emotions highjack your intellect.

Spoomonkey said...

fjell

I really appreciate when people on this site post such well constructed and thoughtful responses. I have nothing to add (both due to your "hitting the nail on the head" and my not being nearly as bright) but just wanted to say that I thought your response to patrick was brilliant!

Spoomonkey

Anonymous said...

(Ahem) I thought we had all agreed quite some time ago that the christers have a basic, fundamental flaw in thier thnking processes which seems to be very difficult if not impossible to correct...

They can't seem to think straight... Nor reason properly...


Isn't this sort of obvious? - they DO, after all, believe in an invisible ju-ju man in the sky who can do anything but only if he/she/it wants to, and who needs to be propitiated every seven days or so with offerings, burnt or not...

So why be so amazed by further evidence of this gross mental defect???

Anonymous said...

Nit pick here:

"(I take “faith” as a belief based upon incomplete data.)"

A marginally better definition of faith, I think, is: believing something to a degree of certainty which exceeds what is warranted by the available evidence.

I believe I'll get a paycheck next week, but I have incomplete data about the company's financials. Do I have faith that my paycheck will come? No, because I do not believe it will come to an excessive degree of certainty. If it doesn't, and there is a reasonable explanation forthcoming, (e.g. the company has secretly become bankrupt due to fraud, or whatever,) then I won't continue to believe my paycheck will still come. My "belief", if that is even the right word, that my paycheck will come is provisional, and only held to the degree of certainty which is warranted by the available evidence (data). So, I have incomplete data, and believe to some degree of certainty... but no faith.

DagoodS said...

Anonymous 10-31-2007, I do not find you point nit-picky in the least. “Faith” is traditionally difficult to define with any certainty. I do not hold it to be a “blind” thing, like stating a belief in little purple people who live on Persei-8 in a galaxy across the universe; (and even THAT is not completely “blind” since we know life can exist, and there are other plants) nor do I believe “faith” is a completely thought-out, fully evidenced, totally supported belief, such as the existence of rocks.

So I punted and put it somewhere in the middle.

To further demonstrate the problem I struggle with, if I can utilize your paycheck analogy for a moment—we receive paychecks every other week. We have for years from our current job, and similarly received paychecks from previous employers. Our friends discuss paychecks from their jobs; we read about them in both fiction and non-fiction. We also are aware of situations in which paychecks stop, and some of the indications of those situations.

So at what point does your belief you are receiving a paycheck go from “faith” to “trust” based upon your experience? Is there a difference between the two words, or are they synonymous?

I do not want to discount the Christian concept of “faith” as being a pure, non-warranted, non-evidential belief, but nor do I think it qualifies to the level of “trust” based upon past experience.

Your “nit-pick” is a good statement which, to me, emphasizes the problem in how to define “faith.”

Lance said...

Hi DagoodS,
Nice post. I like the reasoning.

About god lying, I have biblical proof that he does. Not that I believe that stuff, or that anyone here gives a crap about biblical proof, but when arguing with christians it is the only proof they accept. Plus it is fun to make them read their own buy-bull and have to deal with the fact that it says god lies to us just so he can send us to hell.

Check out 2 Thes 2:10,12.
"... They perish because they refused to believe the truth and so be saved. For this reason God sends them a powerful delusion so that they will believe the lie and so that all will be condemned who have not believed the truth but have delighted in wickedness."

Read that again. God lies to us, not just for fun, but so that he can send us to hell.

Great stuff! You should read the whole chapter. Paul keeps talking about "Truth" but he would not recognize truth if it was crammed us is ass. It mentions satan a lot, talks about Jesus coming back in the near future, and a bunch of other stuff that makes us look like stupid pawns in this giant battle.

There are plenty of other verses in the old testament where god sends an evil spirit to King Saul, or has one of his angels deceive some other king so that he can be destroyed.

Like I said, I gave up believing in this baloney, but it is fun to see the bible contradict itself, not only in trivial matters, but in describing the very nature of god; good and loving on one hand, and lying asshole on the other.

If there is a god and a heaven, I would not be surprised to find him asking the christians "Why did you believe that stupid book? What on earth made you think I would write such crap." But then again, if the bible does give us a true representation of the deity, then he is just the kind of asshole that would inspire it.

- Lance

Mandy said...

Lance said: Check out 2 Thes 2:10,12.
"... They perish because they refused to believe the truth and so be saved. For this reason God sends them a powerful delusion so that they will believe the lie and so that all will be condemned who have not believed the truth but have delighted in wickedness."

Before some right winged fanatical whacko like Dan shows up I'll say this.

This is what a christian would claim based on that verse:

"That only happens when people reject the truth about Jesus. God doesn't send the delusion unless they reject Christ".

No, I don't believe half of the crap in the bible either. I just wanted you to be prepared in case some whacko extremist shows up on here to debate what you said.

I know how christians operate, and how they think.

trumpeter said...

DagwoodS said: "What none of us can figure out is why God is so concerned about everybody believing in him? Why does he care?"

I would like to say: God is not concerned about you believing in him. He does not care, either. But I guess you are concerned and care. Because it's your life.

Lance said...

Hi Mandy,
Thanks for the heads up on the christian response to Second Thessalonians.

I have had this response from them, but when we read the entire chapter it clearly says that god sends the delusion, not just for their rejection of Jesus, but mainly for their wickedness. They are accused of rejecting Jesus because they want to party down. It mentions nothing about rejecting Jesus because of thoughtful reasoning.

So the only wickedness they can pin on me is the wickedness of logic and reason. Apparently using the brain I have, must be considered "wickedness" in some way or another.

It really confuses them when they see that I did not reject Jesus because I wanted to live a wanton lifestyle, but because I realized I could live a life with more love and integrity without my imaginary friend. They don't know what to do with that.

But the bottom line with that verse is that the bible says god does indeed send a delusion that they may believe a lie. So even if he does it because we reject Jesus, he is still sending a lie.

They say he is a benevolent god, and that he can do whatever he wants, but here, when he decides to start mucking around with free will and to manipulate the way people think, he chooses to send a lie instead of the truth. Don't you think that if a loving god was going to manipulate my free will he would do so in a manner that would save me from eternal torment?

But no, this jerk tweaks our brains just so he can condemn us. What a great guy!

-Lance

Lance said...

Oh one more thing. I did not reject Jesus until the very last step in my de-conversion process.

So it seems as god must have started sending that powerful delusion when I first started doubting the bible. And then he must have slowly turned up the volume on the delusion as logic and reason crept into my life. So it must be rejecting the bible, not Jesus, that pisses god off so much.

Hey, maybe logic and reason themselves are the delusion that god sends. Maybe the real world is as goofy and fucked up as the bible proclaims. Maybe epilepsy is caused by demons and is not a problem with the neural pathways in the brain. Maybe god is tricking us into believing that science is a good way to understand the world, and he fools us into thinking the world itself is a rational place.

You never know; god can be a tricky bastard.

-Lance

AtheistToothFairy said...

To Lance and Mandy:

Lance Said:
"They say he is a benevolent god, and that he can do whatever he wants, but here, when he decides to start mucking around with free will and to manipulate the way people think, he chooses to send a lie instead of the truth"
---
Lance,
Let us not forget that god manipulated the Egyptian Pharaoh as well.
Besides letting folks "believe the lie", god is also great at "hardening hearts" and making it impossible for one to change their minds, when it suits god's great agenda.

So I guess it's fine and dandy to screw with a human's mind, if it's the almighty god just toying around with his lowly creations?


From http://www.foxven.com/vcblvhc.html

[[[
"After the fourth plague, "Pharaoh hardened his heart and would not let the people go" (8:32). After the fifth plague, "his heart was unyielding" (9:7). After the seventh plague, "He and his officials hardened their hearts" (9:34). Yet two verses later, God said, "I have hardened his heart and the hearts of his officials" (10:1). From that point on, the Bible says that God hardened Pharaoh's heart (10:20, 27; 11:10; 14:4). "

"When a person's heart becomes hardened, his thinking and attitudes are firmly set. For a man to harden his heart does not mean he changes his mind; instead he defends or reinforces his position so he will not change. Pharaoh was free to decide for himself. After his decision was clear, he refused to change his decision and eventually God made it impossible for him to do so. As we said earlier, God had an important reason for doing this, because it set the stage for a miraculous exodus."
]]]


"The end justifies the means", is surely the plan of god and his jebus son.


ATF (who wishes the xtians would clear up the matter, on the subject of us having this so called Free-Will)

Mandy said...

Lance,

I understand and agree with what you said. Just wanted to prepare you for a debate from some idiot like Dan.

There are christians who I have talked to in the past who believe in, "Predestination". Here is an example.

From ATF: Yet two verses later, God said, "I have hardened his heart and the hearts of his officials" (10:1). From that point on, the Bible says that God hardened Pharaoh's heart (10:20, 27; 11:10; 14:4).

It's like a Catch 22. No matter how hard some people seek God and they try to be truly saved, it is believed that some people will never be saved, due to the fact that God has sent some people a powerful delusion, and these same people will choose to harden their hearts.

It's like God has created some people for the purpose of destruction.

Let's go all the way back to Genesis in the Garden of Eden. An all knowing God who knows already what choices we are going to make plants the tree of life, and places Satan in the garden of Eden. He has already put a temptation right in front of Adam and Eve. He knows that Adam and Eve are going to screw everything up ahead of time, so he sets both of them up for the fall on purpose. It seems that God never intended for man to have a perfect paradise.

It seems that God has his own favorites. I know some christian will come on here and say that God is no respecter of persons, however that is total Bullshit. Just look around and you will see 2 different types of people.

Example:

Person #1: This person is Mr. or Mrs. Success. Everything that they touch turns to gold it seems. They seem to succeed in everything that they do.

Person #2: This person works hard, and they are honest, but for some reason they continue to struggle through life. It seems that God does not bless them the way they deserve to be blessed and he does not honor anything that they do. They just don't seem to have luck (God) on their side it would seem.
This same person never amounts to anything, and God never does anything to empower their lives to do great things.

I get so sick and tired of hearing these little "Goody Two Shoes" who get up in front of their church and brag about everything God has done or supposedly had given them, and how they give him all the glory.

I would like to ask the same hypocrites that like to brag about what all God has done in their lives, why is it that God chooses to bless them, but doesn't seem to be interested in blessing person #2. After all God says that he is no respecter of persons. Right?

It just seems that God is out to use people for his own "Self Centered" Agenda. We are all like a bunch of rats running around in his lab called, "Earth". Seems God is bored and has nothing else better to do than create humans and torture them by playing mind games with them, and brining blood shed, and pain into the world.

This excuse "God gave us free will" which is the same excuse that christians like to use about why there is so much evil in the world is pure bullshit. I get so sick and tired of the way these right winged fanatics continue to defend their God for his wrong doings. It is sickening to me.

However, it appears that "Christian God" is a myth, and I guess we should be blaming the authors of the bible and other christians for all of these biblical lies, since they are the one's who continue to spread them.

Lance said...

Hi Mandy,
I agree. It is just too whacked out to be real. The only explanation that fits is that god is imaginary. It is funny how well that answer fits the data of the real world and religion.

No matter what kind of strange mental gymnastics they go through, the fact is, god being imaginary just makes a whole lot more sense. All the answers just fall into place when we look at it that way.

It is either that, or that god is nothing more than a kid with an ant farm. The bible god is not a realistic option.

-Lance

Mandy said...

Lance said: "It is either that, or that god is nothing more than a kid with an ant farm."

That's exactly what I think too. Either God is imaginary or he is just bored too death.

I guess creating stars and galaxies does get old after awhile.

So God decides to find something new to do. Create a living being, lie to them, and tell what a loving God that I am, and make them naive enough to believe his lies.

Then again, no such being (God) probably does not exist in the first place. At least "Bible God" doesn't.

Bible God is nothing more than man's imagination IMO.