The Red Flag of Unreasonable Expectations

I’m taking a short recess from my work to address a point that seems to suffer a rather serious misunderstanding.
The path to this fallacious argument is pretty twisted, and I think it deserves a post here to set things in perspective.

As a freethinker, I often question the Biblical God’s character — as one should when looking for Truth.
And one must admit that many versions of “Truth” are urged on us with lofty promises and horrid menaces.

After all, Christians do have the mission to share their Faith and help people understand how to be saved, and I am more than open to arguments that would correct my understanding and prompt change. I’m not just saying this — my quest is one for Truth and Reality. I have and DO adapt my opinions to new and better information.

Of course, that information should make sense, have a level of rooting in Reality, and be consistent with the contexts involved.
This is where there is a coherent snag in most religious logic.
Because let’s face it; in the meantime, appearances are not pretty.

As you may have read here, I question the Biblical God that I am expected to worship. The claim is the same than for the all others: He is the only true God amongst our infinite panoply of deities.
In view of the evidence so far, I assert that he is not Loving, that he acts in contradiction with His own moral values, and practices cruelty beyond reason. That’s the claim I am putting to the test — and this is what I usually encounter:

I am told that I am not even close to being capable of understanding God’s ways, and what seems evil to me, is just personal and narrow-minded expectation entertained by my ignorance of God. God states as much in Isaiah 55:8-9, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, (…) As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.”

In other words, we humans are not equipped intellectually and emotionally to understand God’s ways, nor should we judge him consequently.
— He never really commits genocide; he justifies his right and glory as The God of War (Exodus 15:3).
— Punishing the innocent descendants of the parent’s wrongdoing — for generations onward — is “Justice”, because He says so.
— Jealousy and Vengeance are qualities for God, but severe flaws for humans. We are nothing but sinners who cannot comprehend his Glory, and wrongly assume a double standard.
Hmmm…

Really? So how are we equipped to choose this god over another deity (or none)?

When in real life do we chose to trust anyone with our money or children who just assures us to trust them without question? Woulden’t that be considered a red flag by any normal thinking person?

How are pagans, atheists, or any cultures, expected to come to this Biblical God if they are told right off the bat that they are not equipped to understand God’s logic anyway? That his apparent “evil” is nothing but misunderstood holy goodness? That we must suspend our standards and moral conscience in order to accept “Him”?

This is a serious matter to think about.

• Mankind is expected to accept and even love this God to avoid eternal punishment.

• For this, God offers humans of all Nations the opportunity to accept him thru Christian education (Matthew 28:19).

• However, mankind is not equipped to understand God’s ways, and questioning him for clarification is not allowed (or dismissed as a naive attempt to understand such God). (Isaiah 55:8-9).

• Therefore — we humans should not be responsible for not understanding what is expected of us, since even our deepest conscience-driven feelings of right and wrong need to be ignored in order to accept Him.

In fact, there is no reference to lean on to accept this God as good, while there is much reference to dismiss him as good.

I refer to my article on Objective Morality where I argue how impossible understanding this God really is.

So far, my atheism sees absolutely no evidence nor any remotely sane argument favoring acceptance of the Biblical God.
The only argument I get is that we cannot understand.
If this is true, it follows that we are innocent of any sincere conclusions we make that would logically dismiss this god as just another monster of legend.

Question for Christians and other theists: What makes your judgement more qualified than others as to the veracity of the Bible and its God?
— Is it not true that like all of us, you cannot explain the disparities of Gods character, and must accept thru Faith his double standards as holy and unquestionable?
— Is it not true that your source of trust is really just a subjective choice obeying to a bias or need (or calling) — like everyone else?

Saying otherwise would be the epitome of arrogance, would it not?

Why then, do we get the impression that Christians just know better?
Are they saying they know better the fact that they cannot comprehend this God?
Is that what Faith is? An abandonment of our cognitive dissonance?
What virtue is there in this trust that can attract others to this God?

I have made my reasons clear in the other articles here, and will continue to do so until someone actually gives me some good and reasonable arguments on why this God is any different from the other moody and obviously man-created gods of our human folklore.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


“There can be but little liberty on earth while men worship a tyrant in heaven.”
~ Robert Green Ingersoll

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5 thoughts on “The Red Flag of Unreasonable Expectations

  1. If I may entertain your questions…

    What makes your judgement more qualified than others as to the veracity of the Bible and its God?

    Nothing.

    Is it not true that like all of us, you cannot explain the disparities of Gods character, and must accept thru Faith his double standards as holy and unquestionable?

    I don’t know that I accept the notion of disparities of God’s character, just disparities of human understanding of God. Do I base this on anything authoritative or is it just my opinion? Just my opinion, for what it’s worth.

    But my opinion is that we can gather a notion of a good and loving God (if we do so) and that God is and will be consistently good and loving. If we read stories or hold theories that this God engages in acts that are not overtly good and loving (killing babies – or worse, commanding people to kill babies – being unjust, being hateful towards enemies, etc), then we either have to reconcile the notion that God is not good and loving or that we are misunderstanding the stories.

    I will add that I do rather like CS Lewis’ notion that God is not a “tame God” and we ought to be wary of putting an infinite God in a box of our mortal understanding, but to the degree that we accept that God is good and loving, then we must operate with that assumption and not try to work being unjust and irrational somehow “fit” with the notion of loving and good.

    Is it not true that your source of trust is really just a subjective choice obeying to a bias or need (or calling) — like everyone else?

    Yes. How could it be anything else? To be objective, we have to be able to measure, to weigh, to observe firsthand… our opinions about God are then, perforce, subjective. If we are speaking of OUR understanding of God, then we have to own that it is, indeed, OUR understanding, not an objective reality.

    Which is not to say that our subjective understanding need be necessarily bad or wholly irrational, just that it is, by definition, not objective.

    Having said all of that, my subjective opinion is that there is some good rational evidence in this world to believe in a Creator God – how can something come from nothing? – and, from that point, work our way rationally to the notion of a good and loving God who I believe to be best represented in the story of Jesus of Nazareth, whom I believe to be the Son of God and whose teachings represent NOT a list of rules to heed out of fear of an angry god, but the wisdom of Life and Good, Love and Grace.

    One man’s opinion.

    ~Dan

    • Dan, thank you so much for your response, and taking the time to address a point at a time. Please allow me to respond.

      I appreciate your honest answers.
      Of course, I totally understand that you would not accept the notion of disparities of God’s character. However the disparities of human understanding related to God are to be expected.
      As for opinion, we are all at that stage. We are usually arguing on the same plane-field of equally charged bias, albeit opposing ones.

      “…we ought to be wary of putting an infinite God in a box of our mortal understanding…”
      This is an important point indeed. One I personally battled with to be honest.
      A believer, I used to argue that if God was the Father, there was no way we could understand him completely, as we are beneath his experience, and our understanding was one of a child, in comparison.
      This seemed to calm my cognitive dissonance for a while.

      But then a thought kept nagging me, “why would a father not speak to his children in words they would understand? Worse, why would a father expect — demande even — his children to level up to his height, rather than lovingly adapt his words to the level of his children.
      It dawned on me that my God expected his children to level up to him while imperfect sinners and ultimately ill equipped to do so.
      This seemed illogical to not say cruel — especially when the child would be punished for simply not getting it.

      “…my subjective opinion is that there is some good rational evidence in this world to believe in a Creator God – how can something come from nothing?”

      You know Dan, most of us atheists do not think that something comes from nothing. Obviously, the idea itself is absurd.
      Actually, the jury is still out on a cyclic Universe, the Big Bang possibly being only one breath of its infinite Life. There are also mathematical theories that suggest multiverses. This makes my head spin.
      Far from having scientific expertise, all I have is my sense of logic — like you — like all of us.
      * I note however that we hit the same wall when referring to a God that came from nothing, or has always existed.

      May I refer you to my article about our obvious common grounds on this subject of origins:
      http://vincedeporter.wordpress.com/2014/01/06/common-grounds-for-theists-and-atheists/

      To conclude, I am not so sold on Jesus being the more loving and peaceful alter ego of the Father. After all, he lauded his Father’s harsh Mosaic Law in Matthew chapter 5. He also claimed coming with the proverbial sword that would divide family unity. Not to mention his warrior status in Revelation. So I stand from a different and new vantage point, with a perspective obviously influenced by the different angle now offered to me.

      I would conclude like you, that my argument is also just one man’s opinion. And it pleases me that we can compare notes with the mutual respect we have here.

      Thank you.

      • And thank you. You say much I can agree with and some that I differ on. If I might offer a few responses…

        You say…

        As for opinion, we are all at that stage. We are usually arguing on the same plane-field of equally charged bias, albeit opposing ones.

        I would suppose that you and I – like most of humanity – tend to be more in agreement than in disagreement. We may all have difference life experiences and biases going into discussions, but I believe that most of us strive to honestly understand and seek Truth, as best as we can understand it.

        And I happen to think that there is only One Truth, not “his” truth and “her” truth and “their” truth. Just Truth. And I tend to think that we mostly generally agree on Truth (and Truths).

        Truths like, let’s strive to be good to each other.

        Truths like, let’s strive to watch out for/tend to/side with those who are disadvantaged (and yet, at a peer-to-peer level, not in a patronizing way).

        Truths like, do no deliberate harm, especially to innocent bystanders.

        Even Truths like, forgive one another and the notion that salvation can be found in Grace.

        And so on. I suspect that most of us agree more than we disagree, at least in principle.

        Now, we will surely disagree on many of these topics when it gets down to specifics (Where does the line get drawn for “do no harm…”? Is there ever a time to choose to harm? What does it mean to find salvation by Grace? etc) and, well, that just is what it is. We, none of us, have no perfect 100% foolproof answers. We are fallible humans prone to being mistaken and biased and having difficulty in seeing all available options. We simply strive the best we can (and – for those of us who tend to think that way – by God’s grace) and hopefully have the good grace to recognize that others are doing so, as well.

        Seems to me.

        One more thing, where you say…

        I am not so sold on Jesus being the more loving and peaceful alter ego of the Father.

        This is a pretty big topic and perhaps not on topic here, but it might be interesting sometime to spend some time in looking at this. I get what you’re saying – that at least some interpretations of the Bible paint unflattering, sometimes even monstrous notions of God and even Jesus. But are those interpretations the ones that are most faithful to the Bible as a whole? To the teachings of Jesus as a whole?

        I think not. Maybe some time we could talk about this idea more deeply.

        Thanks again.

        ~Dan

      • Good morning!

        I could not agree more when you say “I would suppose that you and I – like most of humanity – tend to be more in agreement than in disagreement. (…) I believe that most of us strive to honestly understand and seek Truth, as best as we can understand it.”

        As you have read in the concluding verse of my poem, I too believe that although there are many interpretations of truth (perspective based on vantage point, bias), “… there is only One Truth, not ‘his’ truth and ‘her’ truth and ‘their’ truth. Just Truth.”
        Loving your examples of Universally accepted Truths, so true.

        It’s also true that we do the best we can, battling with our own biases and emotions — and I must agree with Jeremiah that the proverbial “heart is treacherous”. As humans, emotions stump intellectual clarity many times. Sometimes with ill intent even.
        Hence the pleasure of discussing with you, and having an honest exchange of ideas while accepting each other’s honest quest.

        I agree that the latter point is for another thread. I do intend to expound on it. One thing is for sure, you are absolutely correct to state that we must stick to context, in this case Biblical context.
        I am a subscriber of discussing the forest instead of the tree.
        We will talk about this more in depth later, as you said.

        Again, thank you for your time and wisdom. I really appreciate it.

        ~ Vince.

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