Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Concerning atheism

I read Psalm 42 today; here is the encouraging text. Source.

1 As a deer pants for flowing streams,
so pants my soul for you, O God.
2 My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.
When shall I come and appear before God?
3 My tears have been my food day and night,
while they say to me all the day long, “Where is your God?”
4 These things I remember, as I pour out my soul:
how I would go with the throng
and lead them in procession to the house of God with glad shouts and songs of praise,
a multitude keeping festival.
5 Why are you cast down, O my soul,
and why are you in turmoil within me?
Hope in God; for I shall again praise him,
my salvation
6 and my God.
My soul is cast down within me;
therefore I remember you from the land of Jordan and of Hermon, from Mount Mizar.
7 Deep calls to deep at the roar of your waterfalls;
all your breakers and your waves have gone over me.
8 By day the Lord commands his steadfast love,
and at night his song is with me, a prayer to the God of my life.
9 I say to God, my rock: “Why have you forgotten me?
Why do I go mourning because of the oppression of the enemy?”
10 As with a deadly wound in my bones, my adversaries taunt me,
while they say to me all the day long, “Where is your God?”
11 Why are you cast down, O my soul,
and why are you in turmoil within me?
Hope in God; for I shall again praise him,
my salvation and my God.

19 comments:

WomanHonorThyself said...

what an inspiration Hannah!

Anonymous said...

Samuel Skinner
Sounds like a slave is searching for a master. Have you considered becoming a freeman?

Hannah J said...

Anonymous, what are you trying to accomplish by that comment? It's entirely unrelated to the content of the Psalm.

Anonymous said...

Samuel Skinner
I'm being critical. The psalm is about a person who yearns for god and is being mocked for it. The reason he is looking for God is he can't live without God. I think I got that right?

So short answer- I'm an atheist and when given the net I can be assetive (why would anyone want to be insuch a situation? To be simply a tool?). It could be I misunderstood the psalm, but I think such wimpering is unbecoming of freemen.

Hannah J said...

Mmm-hmm. I think I understand your position now--and in my experience, modes of thinking about religion from the "outside" (you) versus the "inside" (me) are almost too different to permit mutually comprehensible discussion--but hey, that's probably part of the definition of religion...

Anonymous said...

Samuel Skinner
Actually, I can explain my stance. I find someone who has doubts about the existance of something and hoping really bad it does exist is just odd. And thanking God for salvation is just disturbing- since god is the one damning humans, it means you are thanking him for not hurting you.
I use the term "freeman" as an insult because it isn't a swaer word, but it gets the point across extremely well.

Anonymous said...

Samuel Skinner
Technically freewomen in this case- still the origional term was freemen.

Hannah J said...

"Freewomen." LOL.

"And thanking God for salvation is just disturbing- since god is the one damning humans, it means you are thanking him for not hurting you."

That sounds like it's based on the view that Christianity is essentially no different from other, animistic/pagan religions. The Christian God is different--the substitutionary death and resurrection of Jesus Christ is the key difference, since it shows both God's hatred toward sin and His mercy demonstrated at the Crucifixion.

Anonymous said...

Samuel Skinner
Still the same thing. In order to save humanity from himself, God sacrificed himself- you simply have to follow these rules or you'll burn in Hell.

Now, I'd be impressed if Christian theology has God actually dying because of the Crusifiction (instead of killing Jesus and bringing him back) and having god declare free salvation for everyone- you can only lose it if you do really bad stuff to other people (since you can't offend the lord).

Unfortunately that wouldn't make for a very effective religion- lacks a working God, prayer, a sense of superiority and a reason to kill infidels. So there isn't any religion like that.

For the record animistic (and ancestor based) religions didn't have judging, while pagan religions usually did. However there are pagan faiths that did have gods making sacrifices for mankind- the most famous being Prometheous the titan who had his liver eaten from his living body every morning until he was rescued by Hercules. His "crime" was giving man the gift of fire and knowledge. Unlike Jesus he didn't know he would ever be freed.

Stephen Renico said...

Skinner said,
And thanking God for salvation is just disturbing- since god is the one damning humans, it means you are thanking him for not hurting you.

Actually, it's not God who is damning humans. Humans damn themselves by thoughts and deeds which estrange them from Him.

Anonymous said...

Origional didn't get through

Anyway I'd like to point out you are off in your accesment of animism and paganism. Animism doesn't involving being judged after death- there are no requirements to enter the spirit realm. At least no the varieties I'm familiar with. Pagan religions do have judging (the most famous being the Egyptian's "croc that will eat your soul if it is weighed down by lies and misdeads"). However other religions do have gods making sacrifices for mankind. India has Rama, Eqypt has Osirius and most impressive and famous is Prometheous. Crusified for three days is nothing compared to his torment!

Hannah J said...

Exactly, Panday. Until people get the concept of original sin (for our friendly atheist's benefit, that means the teaching that humans are born with a sinful nature and the tendency to sin...originally from Adam), they won't understand pretty much anything else about Christianity. If man weren't sinful, he wouldn't need a god. Which leads into...

"However other religions do have gods making sacrifices for mankind. ..Prometheous [sic]. Crusified [sic] for three days is nothing compared to his torment!"

In a sense, that's true. But, integrating the doctrines of original sin, the full deity of Christ, and the full humanity of Christ (again, confusing by human logic--but that discussion can be for another time), bearing the sins of the whole world on one's shoulders and having God the Father turn His back is a whole lot worse than having one's liver eaten one or many times.

"Now, I'd be impressed if Christian theology has God actually dying because of the Crusifiction [sic - but even if you *did* mean it as an insult to the historicity of Christianity, you could have at least used 'Cruc-'](instead of killing Jesus and bringing him back) and having god declare free salvation for everyone- you can only lose it if you do really bad stuff to other people (since you can't offend the lord)."

I'm afraid I'll have to disappoint you, at least partially. You are right on several smaller points, but incorrect on others as far as actual Christian theology goes. In order:

1. "God actually dying because of the Crusifiction" - this involves the question whether Jesus was fully God (divine) and fully man (mortal) simultaneously, or not. The theology: since Jesus was fully (100%) divine, He could bear the whole world's sins and appease the Father's justice (see Philippians 2:4-9); since He was also fully (100%) man, He could die.

2. "(instead of killing Jesus and bringing him back) and having god declare free salvation for everyone-" - see discussion on point 1. If God declared free salvation (i.e. guarantee of going to heaven) for everyone, where would be His justice (this is assuming original sin)? Jesus has been compared to the lens through which God looks to pronounce someone holy; since Jesus covered all of our sins on the Cross, we are counted holy before God the Father (Romans 3:23, 24). But belief in Jesus Christ as God is the determining factor as far as salvation goes (John 14:6; Acts 16:31).

3. "(since you can't offend the lord)." On the contrary. The theology: God is holy, without sin; He cannot stand having sin or someone who sins in His presence. We, all mankind, are sinful; by our nature we are loathsome to God. He is gravely offended by our sin and, unless we are sinless (MADE sinless, since it's impossible to please Him otherwise), He cannot stand to have us in His presence. Period.

Have you read all or part of the Bible at all? If you really want to understand what Christian theology is about, I would recommend you do so pronto. Then come with more questions.

Anonymous said...

Samuel Skinner
1 is jibberish. You can only go up to 100%. When engineers go past that it refers to safety tolerance, not composition.

2 So god judges us for not believing in him... just like before. Uhh... any change? Or does that mean everyone before than went to Hell?

3 How the heck can God be sinless if he made mankind and we are sinful? Aren't you practicing double think? Think it through slowly please. Try to explain it in a way that... well makes sense.

Tried to. It was boring. Not interesting or factual. Besides, I'm not an ex-christian- I don't have to justify leaving the flock. And as an antitheist I believe theology is a waste of time.

Hannah J said...

1 - If God created the universe, why couldn't He have exceptions to its physical laws?

2 - hmm. That's basically it, but the issue needs more explanation.

3 - There's something called "change" that went on. God created man perfect; He also gave us free will; we exercised that to our own detriment. Sin is anything against God--He didn't make it. Theologians have struggled with this question as you are doing; I recommend you read up on it.

(4) - You're certainly entitled to your opinion. Romans 8:7 (ESV): For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God's law; indeed, it cannot.

Anonymous said...

Samuel Skinner
1 Because declaring God above reason and logic means that he can similtaneously exist and not exist or do other logically impossible things that if they occured in the real world would feel like... your mind snapping? Cthullu?

3 So we were perfect, but not perfect- umm... contradiction? I have read up- it is a problem with no solution.

4 Nah- it is just because I over read SciFi- I can't read fiction anymore right now. It just got so repetative.

Hannah J said...

Like I said, Romans 8:7. As long as you continue trying to view religion, especially Christianity, from an antitheist viewpoint, you're going to be sorely disappointed. Quarreling and debate are different things.

Anonymous said...

Samuel Sinner
Antitheism isn't my viewpoint- it is an ideology. Basically it is the idea that religion is detremental on a personal level and a species level and declares for both the survival of the human race and our own existance why should fight it.

I try to avoid viewpoints (although it allows you to do neat things with your mind- soldier, architecture, atesthetics, usage, it is fun!). The prevent you from seeing things. I'd be accuse of having a naturalism viewpoint, which is technically true. However that is because I can see no other viewpoints that would work beside that- it is like accusing me of having a "sane viewpoint".

Hannah J said...

You must have been typing awful fast, "Samuel Sinner." ...

http://therenaissancebiologist.blogspot
.com/2008/03/lent-4-lutheran-schools-week.html

Anonymous said...

Anonymous,

take a look at Romans 1:18-21 and let me know what you think?