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Question for christians who accept evolutionary theory

#41fudrickPosted 11/26/2012 8:54:14 AM
anavriN posted...
Let me put it this way: evolution has less of a hard time explaining why the tip of my penis is shaped in such a way that it can scrape out another man's semen out of the vagina of my sexual partner.


Well that's... pretty horrible to think about.
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#42anavriN(Topic Creator)Posted 11/26/2012 9:33:11 AM
Iamvegito posted...
From: anavriN | #001
a benevolent god

Biggest fallacy that is constantly spouted by angstheists.


I think you're trying to say that the idea of an omni-benevolent God is a straw-man often set up by anti-theists. But the idea that "God is good" (i.e.: benevolent) is constantly repeated by theists.
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#43fudrickPosted 11/26/2012 9:39:48 AM
Yeah, I don't see how repeating a claim that's constantly made in the bible could possibly be an "angstheist fallacy"
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#44JonWood007Posted 11/26/2012 10:21:47 AM
Admitedly, this is a problem, but I dont think its a problem that a literal reading of Genesis solves. After all, if the world was perfect and there was no sin, why/how did Adam and Eve sin?


God's arch nemesis, Satan, infiltrated the world as a talking snake and tricked the humans? My ultimate point is, if we evolved, we had no chance at perfection, and no chance to fall from God. This eventually makes Christianity murky and unclear, because it raises questions to what Christ is here to fix. it also poses some serious issues about free will.

Generally speaking I see Genesis as a collection of early Jewish legends. Although there might be more legendary material as well. Really you might need to actually study these sorts of things(crazy idea I know).


I have, the answer is unclear. Could've been as late as Samuel.

Species is kind of hard to define with high exactitude. There will always be exceptions.


Thanks for the clarification, evolution is not something I'm an expert in.

I would be open the possibility of non-humans having souls. Although I'm not really a dualist in the classical sense.


Care to elaborate?

The ability to understand commands, reflection on actions an make moral choices.


Even if our nature lags behind this idea of perfection significantly to the point we're doomed to fail?


I dont see how evolution creates problem for this.


We're one species, out of billions. We're not even done evolving into what we'll evolve into next. There may be alien species on other worlds far more advanced than us. The point I'm trying to get it is, what makes us so great? The Bible states that God made us the pinnacle of creation, made in his image...how do you reconcile that with billions of years of evolution?

Thats because you are thinking too small. God is SO big that he can create every single thing in the universe and still care about the tiniest minutia in it. Bear in mind that he's not limited by space or time or capabilities.


I supposed that may be true, but the point is, WHY? Why does God care so much he would watch our every move, and throw us in hell for not doing exactly what he commands? If you watch the video, it seems silly that he would be that obsessed with us, he really would be a psychopath. I mean, let me explain my interpretation of that video in more detail. We're superior to ants. Ants are insignificant to us unless were covered in swarms of them. While some people may take pleasure in watching ants, do any of us really expect them to acknowledge us? Or act morally as we would? Do we really care if they kill each other? And if they do, is there anything we can do about it to stop it? No. Why? Because the ant is so inferior to us we can't possibly expect human behavior out of them, and if you do, there's something wrong with you.

Well, it's the same way with God, I'd imagine. God is God. If he can do all the things you mentioned, he is so infinitely superior to us that it seems silly that he'd expect some primitive primate species to go against their biological urges and have sex until we're married, or to act perfectly all the time. Evolution kinda shoots big holes in the fact that God made us sinless and we sinned. We evolved. We are animals. We have animal instincts and act like animals. I find the fact that we have a freaking functional society at all to be amazing, it's never been done before. But this doesn't mean we can live up to some deity's perfect standards. And then the perfect standards in question aren't even perfect I'd argue. I'll tackle that in a later response.

Sorry if this response is a jumbled mess.
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#45JonWood007Posted 11/26/2012 10:28:21 AM(edited)
Inspired, yes, dictated, no.


So God did not give Moses the law? How can we claim something is inspired by God if people can't necessarily agree on what is God inspired? Even today we have people with contradictory ideas claiming to be inspired by God. Define inspired.

Could you elaborate on this?


God is perfect. Perfect meaning that there can be no improvement over him. God gives us a law that allows rape, stoning to death over the silliest things, and stuff that makes no sense today. The OT law is irrelevant. You'd think a perfect god would give something to better stand the test of time. If it's cultural, how can we say God inspired it? We can improve on it, which means it's not perfect, which means it's not of God.

Biggest fallacy that is constantly spouted by angstheists.


As someone else mentioned, this is your religion's words. Not to mention, if he's not perfect, how can we call him God? If God is imperfect, what separates him from Satan?

I know I skipped some things, but that mainly means I don't see any point of debating there.
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#46SirThinkALotPosted 11/26/2012 10:56:16 AM
JonWood007 posted...
This eventually makes Christianity murky and unclear, because it raises questions to what Christ is here to fix. it also poses some serious issues about free will.


Jesus came for the sins of indviduals. Even if I was a young earth creationist, I'd still be leery about the original sin doctrine. And I dont think free will is the end-all answer that many Christians make it out to be.



Care to elaborate?


My own view is that while the soul is a distinct 'thing'(for lack of a better word) from the body, its not something that can be separated from it. The analogy I like to use is to a computer: the body is the 'hardware' the soul is the 'software' it is the software that makes the computer actually functional(instead of just an assemblage of computer parts), but without the hardware the software cant do anything, in fact it can even some sense said to only 'exist' in so far as it is inside the hardware.

Its not a perfect analogy, but I think it gives the general idea. In essence the soul is what make me 'me.' But without a body 'I' wouldnt exist.

The ability to understand commands, reflection on actions an make moral choices.


Even if our nature lags behind this idea of perfection significantly to the point we're doomed to fail?

We're one species, out of billions. We're not even done evolving into what we'll evolve into next. There may be alien species on other worlds far more advanced than us. The point I'm trying to get it is, what makes us so great? The Bible states that God made us the pinnacle of creation, made in his image...how do you reconcile that with billions of years of evolution?

First of all lets be clear that I think being 'made in God's image' has to do with moral agency, creative capicity, and ability to use reason. I dont think any of that means that we are necessarily the 'endgame' or that we are the only species out there who bear his 'image.'



Well, it's the same way with God, I'd imagine. God is God. If he can do all the things you mentioned, he is so infinitely superior to us that it seems silly that he'd expect some primitive primate species to go against their biological urges and have sex until we're married, or to act perfectly all the time. Evolution kinda shoots big holes in the fact that God made us sinless and we sinned. We evolved. We are animals. We have animal instincts and act like animals. I find the fact that we have a freaking functional society at all to be amazing, it's never been done before. But this doesn't mean we can live up to some deity's perfect standards.

Here's the thing: You have just described exactly what Christianity teaches in regards to humanity and God's laws. We are not perfect, we cant possibly be perfect, thats the whole point of the 'forgiveness' angle.
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#47the_hedonistPosted 11/26/2012 11:45:43 AM
anavriN posted...
I quickly skimmed through the responses of cyclonekruse's demographic poll, and I noticed that, with two exceptions, all christians accept evolution as the best explanation for the diversity of life.

That's pretty awesome. But now I wonder, how does this effect your image of God? Do you experience cognitive dissonance for believing in a benevolent and omnipotent god who uses such a slow and cruel process to create life, or do you think there is a good/necessary reason why God did this? Finally, do you think neuroscience is the best explanation for consciousness, or does this require a supernatural element (i.e. soul)?

Thanks in advance for answering!


I believe evolution is the best explanation for the diversity of life. Now what does this mean about God? That is an excellent question and it is difficult to answer with certainty, for there is no special revelation (read: Scripture) written in a time when people were wrestling with the question of God in light of evolution. What I think about God is based largely on the Bible, which was written when evolution wasn't even a blip on anyone's screen (although apparently Augustine, a couple centuries later, postulated an evolution-like model).

Do I think evolution means God is cruel? I can't see why exactly. Certainly this is no more problematic then other "problem of evil" esque questions I've already had to face - the Holocaust, suffering, death, etc. It is actually slightly comforting that there is a natural reason for what we see on earth - that God just didn't arbitrarily poof everything we see into existence exactly how it is, but that it naturally developed.

Neuroscience certainly accounts for consciousness, although I think neuroscience (or any scientific discipline for that matter) cannot account for personhood or the concept of a self. From a purely materialistic standpoint, we are merely blobs of matter and thoughts that have been strung together by memory and nearby locations in time and space. But it is difficult to conceive of a continuous self as much more than that from a materialistic view. There needs to be some metaphysical statement on the matter and Christianity offers some helpful suggestions.
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#48anavriN(Topic Creator)Posted 11/26/2012 2:13:28 PM
the_hedonist posted...
Do I think evolution means God is cruel? I can't see why exactly. Certainly this is no more problematic then other "problem of evil" esque questions I've already had to face - the Holocaust, suffering, death, etc. It is actually slightly comforting that there is a natural reason for what we see on earth - that God just didn't arbitrarily poof everything we see into existence exactly how it is, but that it naturally developed.


The reason I ask this question is because Biblical literalism absolves God from all the suffering and all the things labeled sinful in the world. This world-view implies that the creator-god never intended for these things to be here, but that they were brought into the world by the dissent of mankind.
But if evolution is how this god choose to bring humans into the world, then 'sin' because problematic: what is often called sinful (lust, anger, envy, etc.) are simply natural responses to the environment. Mankind can no longer be blamed for bringing these things into the world.

Neuroscience certainly accounts for consciousness, although I think neuroscience (or any scientific discipline for that matter) cannot account for personhood or the concept of a self.


I don't really understand this. Isn't an explanation of consciousness sufficient for a concept of the 'self'?
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#49ThuggernautzPosted 11/26/2012 2:17:58 PM
the_hedonist posted...

Neuroscience certainly accounts for consciousness, although I think neuroscience (or any scientific discipline for that matter) cannot account for personhood or the concept of a self. From a purely materialistic standpoint, we are merely blobs of matter and thoughts that have been strung together by memory and nearby locations in time and space. But it is difficult to conceive of a continuous self as much more than that from a materialistic view. There needs to be some metaphysical statement on the matter and Christianity offers some helpful suggestions.


What of other animals that are able to recognize self, or empathize? Do they contain whatever ethereal quality you ascribe to us, or some notion of soul?
#50JonWood007Posted 11/26/2012 2:33:35 PM
Jesus came for the sins of indviduals. Even if I was a young earth creationist, I'd still be leery about the original sin doctrine. And I dont think free will is the end-all answer that many Christians make it out to be.


Well, what exactly are sins? How do you define sin? Just wondering because Jesus talked a lot about the old jewish law, and paul said it's foolish to follow it because we have Jesus now (as if keeping the law, which was darn near impossible, would have been an adequate alternative, correct me if I'm wrong).

My own view is that while the soul is a distinct 'thing'(for lack of a better word) from the body, its not something that can be separated from it. The analogy I like to use is to a computer: the body is the 'hardware' the soul is the 'software' it is the software that makes the computer actually functional(instead of just an assemblage of computer parts), but without the hardware the software cant do anything, in fact it can even some sense said to only 'exist' in so far as it is inside the hardware.

Its not a perfect analogy, but I think it gives the general idea. In essence the soul is what make me 'me.' But without a body 'I' wouldnt exist.


You basically described the mind in a way I would describe it, which is not very supernatural at all. When your brain (ie, hard drive) breaks, it rots and you lose the data that makes you you.


First of all lets be clear that I think being 'made in God's image' has to do with moral agency, creative capicity, and ability to use reason. I dont think any of that means that we are necessarily the 'endgame' or that we are the only species out there who bear his 'image.'


That's nice, but are you sure you didn't just rerationalize it in the face of evidence that makes its original context false? God made the rest of the world, made humans in his image. We didn't even have the ability to really reason through moral choices until after the fall. The tree of the knowledge of good and evil and all seems to be when humans became aware of moral agency and all. Other than that it was obey God...heck, the disobedience in Genesis had next to no reasoning involved at all. Adam and Eve seemed to act with childlike innocence (similar to a kid eating something he's not supposed to) IMO as opposed to well thought out rational discourse.


Here's the thing: You have just described exactly what Christianity teaches in regards to humanity and God's laws. We are not perfect, we cant possibly be perfect, thats the whole point of the 'forgiveness' angle.


But why do we need forgiveness when we were made imperfect? How do you even define perfection? For example, by my definition, I consider much of Christianity to be imperfect.

I'd also like to ask you why exactly you believe these things. Are you just trying to reconcile your worldview with the facts, or can you actually demonstrate any of this stuff is true? A major fault with Christianity is it's so human centric....and when we really look at the world through science, we'll realize the universe isnt centered around us at all and it just seems silly that God would be so obsessed with our behavior to begin with. I'm not saying morality isn't important, it just seems silly that God would be so obsessed with how we act. I really think that a supernatural deity this involved in our every day lives is a human creation and not a reality. In the case of the loving psychopath video I posted, does an ant need to plead with us for forgiveness? I guess a god could be involved with us if he were perfect regardless, but I just...don't know. It really begins to make less sense the more I think about it.
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