Sunday, October 05, 2008

Does God order hits on people?


I stopped for a bit to eat earlier today. There was a stack of the local newspaper so I picked one up to read. On the front page was a story that saddened me. There was a photo of an elderly woman who had been murdered.

Her killer was the woman who lived in the apartment above. When the killer was asked why she did it she replied that she was following orders from God.

My view is that she is crazy. I don’t think any deity told her to kill anyone. But I have to wonder how theists know what did, or didn’t happen.

How would a Bible-believing Christian know whether or not God had ordered the woman to murder?

There are two possible ways, that I can think of, both problematic for the Christian. One is that God doesn’t speak to people. That, however, would rule out Moses, Abraham, Paul and many others. Christians regularly say that God speaks to them in some way or another. One of the hymns I remember from my childhood said: “And he walks with me, and he talks with me and he tells me I am his own.”

I’ve had Christians inform me that God told them to witness to me. It hasn’t worked so apparently God got it wrong.

Pat Robertson thinks God gives him weather reports. George Bush thinks God directs his foreign policy. (God’s record is pretty dismal actually.) Christians of all sorts regularly are told to listen to the voice of God. Not only do they talk to him but they expect him to talk to them.

I don’t see how the Christian can claim that God doesn’t speak to people. So that avenue of escape isn’t open.

The other escape hole they have is to argue that God doesn’t order murder. Unfortunately for them the Bible is full of incidents where God allegedly did order murder.

So, if there is a God, and if God speaks to people today, and if God also has a history of commanding the death of sundry types of people, they exactly how do we know that he didn’t order this woman to murder the old woman?

They could technically argue that the Bible isn’t accurate. It may recount God speaking to people and it may have him ordering the killing of people but the real God doesn’t act this way. The Bible got it wrong. But if the Bible got it wrong then precisely where do they get their view of their Christian God? It couldn’t be that God speaks to them as that would put them back into the bind they are attempting to get out of.

My answer to the bind is simple. The woman is crazy. I know she is crazy because there is zero evidence that a god exist and thus no evidence that he speaks to people and orders hits on old women.

16 Comments:

Blogger Zman said...

You missed the obvious Believer 'get out of jail card'. It was "The Devil" (TM (c) Christianity 1000 BC).

See the wiley old Devil sometimes pretends to be God and tells people to do things. He does God's voice so well that once even God's own brother thought it was him... oh what fun those deitys and anti deitys have playing with our miserable little lives ;-)

October 06, 2008

 
Blogger GodlessZone said...

Zman: No, I didn't miss that, it doesn't answer their problem. How then does one tell whether it is God ordering the killing or the Devil pretending to be God. If they both act the same how do you tell them apart? What it was the Devil ordering the genocide in the Old Testament not God? And if the Devil is so good at pretending to be God how do we know that the God that Christians worship; isn't the devil in disguise?

October 06, 2008

 
Blogger Zman said...

You wait for the reaction. If "god" tells you to kill someone and afterwards everyone is shocked you blame the Devil. If "god" tells you to kill someone and everyone cheers then you give God the credit. Hindsight is a wonderful thing.

Hmmmm Devil and God being some kind of Jeckyl and Hyde type character. I like that. Maybe all God needs is some better drugs ;-)

October 06, 2008

 
Blogger Fence_san said...

I was visiting an insane assylum with my abnormal psychology class and we interviewed some patients. One of them was there because Jesus had told her to kill herself. By the standards of the DSM-IV she was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia because she thought someone (God) was watching her, and heard voices (Holy Spirit speaking to her). However, many of my classmates knew healthy Christians who also have these symptoms.

Both women pose a threat to either themselves, or others, therefor need to be treated. It is common for a mentally ill person to hear voices that aren't there--and so do many healthy people. Sometimes I hear my phone ringing when it's off. I do not think Christians who hear God are crazy. It's what the voices tell you to do that makes the difference.

November 09, 2008

 
Blogger Timothy J. Roberts said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

August 02, 2010

 
Blogger Timothy said...

I'm a Christian and I think that woman was out of her dang mind. Just because SHE said it was "God" doesn't mean it was or wasn't. But since she said it, you took her word for it apparently, and tried to make something out of it.
She probably spat that answer out because she had nothing better to say. She tried to place the blame on God rather than accepting it for herself.

August 02, 2010

 
Blogger GodlessZone said...

Timothy: I have little doubt she was out of her mind, but then I think all people who claim a god speaks to them are out of their mind. No, I didn't take her word for it. I posed a dilemma that you ignore.

If God does speak to people, and he has told them to kill in the past (read your Bible for examples) then how do you know he hasn't done the same thing today?

Answer that question consistently with the Bible.

August 02, 2010

 
Blogger Timothy said...

Hey dude, just so ya know, I'm praying for you. It's tough, I know, to be in a spot wher you a think God ain't listening... Like a prayer wouldn't go higher than the ceiling.
Sorry, I didn't mean to ignore anything. I'll leave it alone i guess. The lady did what she did for whatever 'reason'.
Hey I havea question for ya though. I don't want to sound mean or anything, I was wondering if you could tell me, do you study the bible, and if so, why?

August 05, 2010

 
Blogger GodlessZone said...

Timothy: I'm not in "dude" or "ya" instead of "you." It doesn't bother me that I don't think there is a god or any kind anymore than I am disturbed that Santa won't bring me what I want on Christmas.

I studied the Bible when I was in seminary and when I attended a Christian high school and for years in church. But these days I don't have much time for fiction.

August 05, 2010

 
Blogger Timothy said...

How come you went to seminary, were you wanting to be a preacher at some point in time, or youth pastor?

August 06, 2010

 
Blogger GodlessZone said...

It was expected that all the young men would graduate the Christian high school and attend Bible college to be preachers. I believed what I preached until I got up the nerve to really consider the matter.

August 06, 2010

 
Blogger Timothy said...

what do you mean? Did you believe, what you were preaching at one point and then suddenly just want to stop, or what happened? What made you, as you put it, consider that matter?

August 06, 2010

 
Blogger Timothy said...

sorry, i meant, THE matter.

August 06, 2010

 
Blogger GodlessZone said...

What made me consider it was that I was an adult and thought it absurd that I had not contemplated the arguments for and against the existence of a supernatural entity. Considering that I was basing so much of my life on that premise alone I had an intellectual obligation to consider the arguments, so I did.

What surprises me is not that I considered them but that people routinely accept beliefs by cultural osmosis without considering whether or not they are true. Worse ye, they then want the law based on these premises and wish to force others to live by them—as the Religious Right is trying to do, as well as the Islamists.

You seem surprised I considered the matter, I am surprise that surprises you and shocked that people don't routinely challenge their own beliefs.

However, given that they don't challenge their own beliefs I can understand why so many fear it when others do. Since they have not rationally considered their beliefs they fear they will be exposed as irrational -- which I think they are.

August 06, 2010

 
Blogger Timothy said...

No not surprised... just curious. I didn't know what kind of answer to expect. There are so many different kinds of people and their beliefs.

Naw, don't think that I don't ever do a cup-check on my beliefs. I intentionally chose to believe what I believe, because I understand it (at a minimum, not fully. Thats why God says to trust. If I knew everything already I wouldn't need God but, woe-is-me, i sure need Him. If i keep believing and following he'll lead me to know and trust more.) In the bible it even talks about making sure of what you're doing before you do it, that you shouldn't go into something without questioning it first.
Also, it says to test things and keep that which are good.

Its not like a got led by someone holding a cookie into some religion trap. I've grown up in church but not in a christian school, and only recently started to understand and really started have the actual want to understand, what Christ really did and what it really all means. (I'm 22, college senior)

God loves me and seeks me daily and I fail to seek him back everyday, but still try to do the best I can.

I don't fear that anyone will try to 'expose' my beliefs or whatever. I'll tell people what I believe, I don't mind at all. I don't have all the answers but I'll share what i can. It's not that they are or aren't rational, only a matter of comprehending them. But like I said you can't know everything, and that's where that trust comes in. God's love sometimes seems too good to believe in, doesn't it?

I have another question (sorry for all the questions) What, when question and considering, made the pieces fall apart for you, how did things not add up for you?

August 06, 2010

 
Blogger GodlessZone said...

The concept itself doesn't make sense. There tend to be two main Christian positions. One goes into a literalistic, fundamentalist view which gives god specific traits which are contradictory. All-powerful and all-good are contradictory if he then allows natural disasters (or causes them). Any human who was good, who had the power to stop such things would do so. The normal excuse is rather pathetic: that there is some higher good that no body understands. Appealing to ignorance is not a good argument.

The other, more liberal sects, create a deity that is so undefined as to be meaningless. "God is incomprehensible" is often heard from them. So they believe a something that they can't define, can't explain and can't be understood.

The appeal that one must eventually just believe without evidence makes no sense to me. And ultimately all believers go there at least in my experience. They ultimately appeal to what they don't know to try to prove something. The absence of evidence is not evidence.

Once the concept of a deity is discarded then it doesn't matter which faith is being discussed.

I concluded that there was no evidence sufficient to believe a deity exists, of any kind. As for the Christian god there is no doubt in my mind that he was the invention of a primitive, violent, culture.

While I have no reason to believe in a deity of any kind, I am sure that the christian god is false. There are two kinds of atheisms: one is an affirmation that there is no god, or no particular god. The other is that there is no reason to believe there is a god but not a certainty that one is impossible, just that there is no evidence for one.

Regarding the Christian god I am the former kind of atheist, regarding any concept of a deity possible, I am the latter kind of atheist.

August 06, 2010

 

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