Proof against (an all loving) god

Are you sure that your god is all loving? Imagine a god, let’s say a Christian god, that is all knowing all loving and all powerful. Sounds about right doesn’t it? Well the bible says that only those who love Jesus and the God will go to heaven. But there are people in the world who have no idea about Christianity. They have no method of finding out about the bible. They live their whole lives and die without access to the bible, without praying to Jesus or even knowing that they should do this! God is all knowing, so he knows these people exist. He is all loving, hence he would want everyone to join him in heaven. And he is all powerful, meaning if he wanted to let those people love him, he would make sure a copy of the bible arrived on their doorstep immediately. But this never happened. Either the christian god doesn’t love everyone, or he doesn’t exist. Do you still think that your god loves everyone?

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14 comments

  1. Chris Ormerod · August 30, 2011

    This is not usually my style, but why not! Since you raised it. Many might not know that Catholics have doctrine that addresses that very point. According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church (847) clearly states:

    “This affirmation is not aimed at those who, through no fault of their own, do not know Christ and his Church:

    Those who, through no fault of their own, do not know the Gospel of Christ or his Church, but who nevertheless seek God with a sincere heart, and, moved by grace, try in their actions to do his will as they know it through the dictates of their conscience – those too may achieve eternal salvation.”

    Just FYI.

    • James Jansson · August 30, 2011

      Nice work on the specific Catechism. Yet I still feel uneasy about this. How should I know that the men of the Catholic church have the true word of God? These men are, of course, the ones who want condoms banned, along with Harry Potter, divorce, abortion, songs… etc etc while also actively refusing to punish or to hand over those behind child abuse.

      • anon · August 30, 2011

        Where’s the catechism against Harry Potter?

      • James Jansson · August 30, 2011

        Representatives of the Vatican have taken varied views with regards to Harry Potter. How about all the other seriously fallible judgements of the Catholic Church? How about the way it has actively stopped the progression of science, including execution of science’s practitioners?

  2. Vaughan Smith · August 30, 2011

    Hi mate, saw your post on FB and though I might comment.
    There’s a few flaws in your argument:

    1) The God of Scripture is not “all-loving” in the sense that you assume (as in unqualified omnibenevolence). In fact, people in Scripture incur the hatred of God (see Psalm 5:4-6, Romans 9:5 etc.).

    2) You assume that because people don’t have the Bible they don’t know God. This is directly contradicted by Scripture (see Romans 1-2). God’s attributes are clearly known through creation, and humanity suppresses that knowledge in sin.

    3) You assume that if God has any kind of love for people, he must therefore “want everyone to join him in heaven”. This isn’t proven by your argument. God also hates sin, and has wrath stored up for sinners (Romans 1:18). God is love, but God is also justice.

    And in response to the Roman Catholic Catechism: that statement is directly refuted by the first two chapters of Romans. Humanity knows God, and suppress that knowledge in unrighteousness. It is only through the saviour, Jesus Christ, and his perfect righteousness that people can be saved.

    • James Jansson · August 30, 2011

      1) I never said that he was unqualified omnibenevolence. The conditions for you to be accepted by God is to believe and to follow his word. Infact that passage from Psalm alludes to this directly “But let all those that put their trust in thee rejoice: let them ever shout for joy, because thou defendest them: let them also that love thy name be joyful in thee.” God’s love is reserved for those who put faith in God. In fact, all those who put faith in God should rejoice!

      2) So what is the point of the bible? If man knows God, surely he doesn’t need to rely on a text that is incomplete, contains errors, has changed over the centuries, and is incapable of stopping people changing and adding parts (think Mormons). How is any human capable of distinguishing between the real and false Gods? Why do you follow the bible? Does it not help you to get closer to God? If it does, then why doesn’t everyone get a chance to be closer to God?

      3) God is supposedly a God that loves everyone Matthew 5:44-45 “But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.” What does this mean? Saying that God loves you by sending rain and sun to sustain yourself as a mortal while basically creating people with no choice to avoid hell for eternity is like saying that you love a mouse because you give it food or water, but in a few weeks time you will torture it until it almost dies, then revive it again, and torture it some more! If that is the love of God, I don’t want it. If this is what God’s love is like on Earth, surely heaven will be a torture chamber just as hell is.

      There’s a reason why my article is titled “Proof against (an all loving) god”. It’s because any god that exists, as you clearly point out, is hate-filled, vengence-filled and plain unfair.

  3. Sean McCallum · August 30, 2011

    A recurring problem I find with Christian arguments is that they often resemble an academic argument, save for one exception: An academic argument must by design rely on multiple sources to provide veracity for an argument, verifiable also by author, publishing date and institution of original publishing. The typical Christian argument refers to the same predictable text which has none of these extra correlates, save for the historical context attached to which version of the ‘Good Book’ they refer to. (How can ‘Absolute Truth’ have versions any way?)
    In addition to this flaw in their arguments, I am ever perturbed by their arrogance in assuming that I, the heathen, will accept their text as being in any way legitimate. Not only can you not verify scores of the original authors of the text, it often contradicts itself, makes no allowance for context (the majority of us are no longer pig farmers) and has its priorities way out of whack (thou shalt not bear false witness – okay fine, but what about thou shalt not commit rape? Thou shalt not cause physical or sexual harm to children?)
    On top of all this, I don’t see why they bother – who has been swayed to sign up to any religion by means of Clayton-academic argument? Just accept that yours is not the realm of logic. Contrarily, your advantage lies in the collective good you affect on the world (which isn’t looking particularly good at the moment).
    Religion and logic don’t mix. As stated in the opening pages of the Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, a faith-based movement must always by necessity have an incontrovertible gap in logic – that’s where the leap is. Were I Christian, and someone posited a paradox along the lines of ‘if God makes an immovable Rock, how can he possibly move it?’ my response would be ‘If an omnipotent God existed in a time before logic, being its creator, why would he necessarily be bound to it?’

    • James Jansson · August 30, 2011

      Nice. I like this response. What’s interesting about the quotes that have been brought up so far is that they do little to discredit the original premises of my argument.

      Unfortunately though, the mojority of Christians believe that they are rational. They also use their perceived rationality to convince others to join, and to force others to live in ways (through government etc) that have no basis in fact. If a Christian said to me “I have no good reason to believe in God, I just do” I would leave it at that. If they said “My beliefs are illogical” then that’s fine too. But I honestly believe that people who would say things like this should not hold offices of important positions, such as in government, science, teaching, research, high levels of management etc. These people have very important roles that require people who are rational.

      Like you said the bible is full of inconsistencies. There are a plethora of ways in which the bible contradicts itself and hence you could disprove Christianity in many ways. My argument above is simply a concise response to people who are Chirstians and think that God loves everyone. It is more than clear that he doesn’t. He obviously holds some people more to account for the original sin than others. Which makes it clear that he doesn’t exist.

    • Vaughan Smith · August 30, 2011

      ‘If an omnipotent God existed in a time before logic, being its creator, why would he necessarily be bound to it?’

      This is pretty easily answered.

      Both you and I would agree that “logic” is immaterial and immeasurable.

      I believe that logic is a reflection of God’s character, not a created entity. God is logical as water is wet. God can’t be illogical, not because he is bound by logic, but because that is who God is.

      The real question is, how do you account for and justify your use of logic?

  4. Vaughan Smith · August 30, 2011

    1. You didn’t say explicitly the words “unqualified omnibenevolence”, but you’re presupposing it, and presupposing that whenever the Bible uses the word “love” it means the exactly same thing every time. As you’ll see below, that is a false presupposition.

    And no, strictly speaking, the “condition” of being accepted by God are clean hands and a pure heart. That is, complete righteousness. By our nature, we can’t be righteous, and in fact are naturally inclined to hate God and our neighbour. The only way we can be saved is by faith in the one who was perfect – Jesus Christ.

    2. The Bible is God’s special revelation to humanity, as opposed to his general revelation in the created universe. It reveals God as Creator and sustainer, and Jesus Christ as redeemer.

    General, unproven and contested assertions about the content of the Bible (“a text that is incomplete, contains errors, has changed over the centuries, and is incapable of stopping people changing and adding parts”) lower the standard of your argument. There are adequate answers to all your assertions freely available, if you’re willing to put a bit of effort in.

    How is any human capable of distinguishing between the real and false Gods?

    Not by natural reason. The Bible says that the fall not only affected our moral faculties, but also our ability to reason and observe God in creation (hence Romans 1-2).

    The true God is revealed in the person and work of Jesus Christ.

    Why do you follow the bible?
    Because it’s the word of God.

    I want to ask you a question: why do you follow rationalism?

    I think you’ll find that both our answers are just as circular as one another 😉

    Does it not help you to get closer to God? If it does, then why doesn’t everyone get a chance to be closer to God?
    You are assuming a premise that I reject. Humanity doesn’t deserve to “get a chance to be closer to God.” We’re sinners. God is holy, righteous, and just, and can’t look upon evil. However, in grace, mercy and love, God has sent his Son Jesus to live as we can’t, to die the death we deserve, and be raised again for his people. Those who put their faith in him get to get “closer to God”, but never deserve it.

    3) Here is where you’re assuming a) unqualified omnibenevolence and b) that the Bible means the same thing every time when it uses the word “love”.

    The love of God that causes him to send rain and sun on the evil and the good is not the same kind of love that redeems from hell and restores relationship.

    My message to you is this: the fact that God has continued to show patience and love to you in taking care of you and providing for your needs should lead you to repentance. There will come a time when that this grace is no longer given, and God holds you to account for your life. Do you really think that you’ll be able to stand on that day with arguments like this? If what I believe is true, there is no possible way you will. Put your trust in the righteous one, Jesus Christ.

    There’s a reason why my article is titled “Proof against (an all loving) god”. It’s because any god that exists, as you clearly point out, is hate-filled, vengence-filled and plain unfair.
    I didn’t clearly point out anything of the sort. Just because God hates doesn’t mean that he doesn’t also love. Your argument is against unqualified omnibenevolence, which I, orthodox Christians, and the Bible, reject.

  5. thatsnumberwang · August 31, 2011

    Interesting the conclusion of the discussion so far. James proves an all loving Christian God cannot exist, and then to invalidate the proof Vaughan says that the Christian God isn’t all loving.

    If God is capable of hating and loving, how can we respect him above humans, when even as a species we consider hate, revenge, etc to be petty?
    So then I must assume you would not agree that as a species we consider these things so.
    It would seem faith in God comes from a lack of faith in humanity.
    (Apologies if i am wrong as i am making lots of inferences!) Where does your lack of faith in humanity come from?
    Why should we love a God unconditionally, who either loves conditionally or both loves and hates simultaneously?
    Are not Christian values about living without hate, revenge etc ?

    • lawwellsy · October 6, 2011

      Thatsnumberwang, your actually missing the point. God loves sinners, but hates sins. He loves us, but hates what we do. Certainly, it’s wrong to hate someone because they’re not of your faith, or have the same skin colour of you, or are of a different sex to you, or are younger or older. But it isn’t wrong to hate the thought of a child being raped by those he/she trusts (this coming from a Catholic, I might add), or to hate the thought of people being forced to starve because of the injustice of those who have the power to save them.

      In answer to the general point, James, the Church has never proclaimed precise knowledge of the state of a soul at the moment of death. Who is to say what miracles God works? All we can say is that the only sure means to get to Heaven is through faith in Christ, grace derived from the Sacraments, and the living of a Christ-like life. Outside of the Church, we just don’t know. That’s it – it’s a grey area.

      Also, you speak of Christ as love? He braided a whip for himself and cleansed the Temple. He almost got stoned a few times and wound up being executed by the Romans. He called the religious authorities of his day, corrupt and serving Rome and themselves rather than God, sons of the Devil. This isn’t “I luvs you just da wai u r!” – this is “Repent – the Kingdom of God is at hand!” This is a love you might not recognise – a just love. It’s in Proverbs – He who spares his rod hates his son, but he who loves him takes care to chastise him. I’d say God’s just following His own advice.

      And as a final note – for all those souls that are damned because they haven’t heard of Christ, a reckoning will be demanded of ME, and EVERY other faithful Christian.

  6. Kate Kay · September 27, 2013

    I urge everyone to watch the Youtube link above, and following that, go on to watch the second part. It is from a series by documentarian Evid3nc3. The full series is about 3 hours long, but if you have the inclination, it is well worth your time, whether you are Christian, Atheist, Agnostic, or like myself, Other.

    Some of my own thoughts:

    Short version:

    Without a full understanding of their own Bible, Christian are at a massive disadvantage in discussing their own faith. It’s up to every Christian to take the time to fully engage and understand what “Christian” means, before getting defensive when non-Christians ask questions about the religion. As an ex-now-semi-Christian, I find I know so much more than most Christians that I have met, and have actually helped them know their own faith better, which I hope helps them have a deeper and more solid connection to their faith. I would never try to dissuade someone’s beliefs, but I do believe that they should at least have all the facts.

    Long version:

    It is hard to discuss what constitutes the Christian God. This is because there is no such thing as a singular Christian Church.

    If a Christian argues that their church is the true Christian Church, and that their interpretation of the Christian Bible is the only correct and valid version, then it is doubtful that you will be able to go far in discussing theology with them.

    A wise and insightful Christian will be knowledgeable on at least a rudimentary history of Christianity and its Holy Text.

    It’s easy to say the history of the Bible starts with the Jewish Old Testament, and that after Jesus’ ministry the New Testament was added. That is the simplest version of events, and it’s the tip of the iceberg.

    So we have two clear segments of the Bible, a nice neat line down the middle.

    If we examine the Old Testament, the first thing we need to acknowledge is that it was written in the tradition and faith of Judaism. Every story within the Old Testament relates to the one particular tribe of people who carried the text from place to place and recorded their important information and stories in the book. Whether you believe it was divinely inspired or not is actually irrelevant.

    Even divinely inspired words are written down by a human.

    This is the next important thing, that any Christian worth his weight in salt will know (10 points if you get the Biblical reference), is that there were at least five separate authors or author-groups who wrote text for the Judaic Bible. This is not ground breaking news, it is actually something we learnt at my Catholic school in Religion Class. It by no means lessens the importance or specialness of the Bible – if anything, it adds to its importance to the story of Christianity. Bible scholars have pulled apart the text and observed differences in syntax, vocabulary, and content.

    The most important thing to notice is all the different names God goes by.

    Adonai, Elohim, Yahweh, to name the most well known.

    These names all signify different personas. Elohim (or more correctly, the Elohim, seeing as it is a plural) are the creative force, found in Genesis. Yahweh was a warrior God, and Adonai a king God, if I have them around the correct way. Check Part 2 of the video I linked above to see if I have them right.

    Are these just nicknames for God? Are they facets of the same divine being? Is it the version of God that the Jewish people needed at the time? Or is their comprehension of God growing as their history rolls on?

    The interesting thing is that the names crop up in different orders, and Biblical scholars have confirmed that this is because the text was edited over time to add and rearrange already-written stories. Again, this does not make it less worthy as a text, as it simply shows an active engagement with faith and history on the part of the Jewish people.

    Therefore the nature of a vengeful, angry, father-like, king-like, creating, forgiving God becomes the God of the Israelites. The idea of God is a multi-faceted one, and Judaism readily acknowledges this (if you know about Qabalah you will be aware of this, if not, research Ain Soph Aur for a deeper understanding.

    And then comes the New Testament.

    Mostly, Christians are willing to admit that a lot of the Old Testament is superseded by Jesus’ new commandments. These are commandments of peace and love.

    But we have to remember who recorded the New Testament. Many of the stories about Jesus’ ministry and what he said about God would have come from his followers – Jewish people. That’s the thing we need to remember. Jesus’ belief would have been that he was strengthening and renewing the Jewish faith. He was trying to modernise it a little – not make a whole new religion! Nevertheless, it’s ok to call yourself Christian. But be knowledgeable that Christianity is a sect of Judaism. And therefore, it inherits certain “conceptions” about what God is.

    What Jesus tried to make God about was Love. But the people around him and those who wrote down the stories would have been Jewish or other faiths. And therefore, messages about the cruelty and anger of God crept in here and there, interwoven with the ideas that Jesus would have tried to get across.

    This leads us to people who get to go to Heaven because they know about Jesus and have become Christian, and the rest of the human race who either don’t know him or don’t accept him.

    When Jesus said “The way to my Father in Heaven is through me,” he was saying it in person to the people around him. In a violent and dangerous time, when Romans were everywhere and being total bossy mean jerks, Jesus was asking his followers to listen to his message of peace and kindness. If you act in a Christ-like manner, you will not add violence to the world. There’s already enough violence in it. That’s what he wanted to say. He wanted people to treat each other with kindness and respect and understanding.

    If someone is not Christian, but they treat others with kindness, respect, love and understanding, then they are already close in their hearts to the spirit of Goodness that Jesus saw as the spiritual way forward.

    They do not need to become Christian to attain heaven. “Render to Caesar what is Caesar’s.” Jesus said this because he meant that things are meant to go where they belong. A person of kindness will exists in a more positive world than a person who is cruel, because the person of kindness has changed their heart.

    If you imagine a person is a coin belonging to Caesar, with mud all over it. If the coin figures out how to clean itself, it is ready to go back to Caesar. However, if the coin is muddy, Jesus is the kind of awesome guy who will clean it off, and then give it to Caesar.

    In the same way, a person may be already connected to God/Morality/Goodness/Spiritual Awareness (whatever you want to call it). But if they are not, Jesus offers a path of self-improvement, cleansing and wisdom that will help someone who is lost become the most complete, happy, kind and loving person they can be.

    In the end, I think there is a “Loving God”, and I think there is even a “Loving God” of Christians.

    It is just extremely hard to find a Christian who loves the message of Jesus enough to truly spend time on understanding it for themselves, and cleansing themselves of the hate that they keep forcing back into the Bible after Jesus did so much to try to remove it.

  7. Kate Kay · September 27, 2013

    Oh my goodness, I made a typo!

    ” their were at least five separate authors ”

    *there

    Embarrassing!

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